CARTERVILLE, IL (KFVS) - When you look at someone with a knockout smile, the thought of brightening your own pearly whites doesn't seem so bad.
In fact, each year Americans spend approximately $1.4 billion on tooth-whitening products, and that's just over-the-counter solutions.
But there are some hidden dangers to whitening your teeth.
Pearly whites are everywhere you look, and so are products claiming to whiten your teeth, fast.
But can they do more harm than good?
"A lot of times, I wake up in the middle of the night with pain and I take them out," said Amanda Hoffman.
Hoffman has been using an at-home treatment for the last five years and has seen more than just a difference in the color of her teeth.
"It felt like I had, when you bite into something cold with your front teeth and it hurts really bad, I had that feeling all day long, nonstop," she said.
The pain, she says was so bad she had to drink through a straw.
"It was kind of like a shooting feeling through my gum and I just kind of stuck it out waiting for it to go away," Hoffman said.
Dental hygienists say if it sounds too good to be true, don't bite.
But not all whiteners will leave a bad taste in your mouth.
They say it's all about being well-informed.
"Patients come in, and in about two hours they're whiter when they leave," said Dental Hygienist Jennifer Kistner.
She says getting your teeth whitened professionally can save you a lot of pain.
Each month she sees's about five to ten new patients for the 'Zoom' treatment.
In it hygenishygienistsprotective gel to shield your mouths most sensitive areas from the bleach they use.
"It's not going to burn your gums, your gums are going to be protected," Kistner said.
This can't be guaranteed with over-the-counter strips.
The hydrogen peroxide has also been known to cause stomach problems and gum soreness. When teeth are bleached too often it can create the illusion of having translucent or grayish teeth.
Just another reason why Kistner says professional guidance is key.
"You're going to be 100 percent protected," she said.
It's advice Amanda says she'll consider with her next trip to the dentist.
"I think having white teeth is really important to me, so Ii will keep doing it," she said.
Dentists say for anyone who uses teeth whitening products to pay attention to early indicators, like sensitivity or pain when eating or drinking cold drinks or food, which could be the results of damaged teeth.
The cost of getting your teeth professionally whitened versus over-the-counter treatments is a few hundred dollars.
The 'zoom' treatment for example costs about $300, but is only done once.
Over-the-counter products range in price from $45 to $85.