Category Archives: Teeth Whitening

Can Teeth Be Bleached to Match Something Specific?

I want to get my teeth very white. In fact, I have a white sweater I love that I want them to match. Is that possible or am I asking too much?


Dear Carol,

Zoom Whitening

What an interesting question. I can tell you that we haven’t found an upper bound to how white teeth can get. So, it is possible. That being said, the results of teeth whitening can be a bit unpredictable. Zoom Whitening can get them really white fast, but there is not a definitive ending color result.

My suggestion if you have a very specific color you want, would be to go with porcelain veneers. These are custom designed and the color you want can be made to order.

You do need to go to an office that employs an expert cosmetic dentist, though. We have an AACD accredited dentist who comes to our office. Smile makeovers are his art form of choice.

Whoever you end up with, make sure they use a temporary try-in paste so you can see the veneers in place and determine whether you like them or not. If you’re not thrilled, they should be sent back to the lab to make the changes you request.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Mysterious Brown Stains

Close to a year ago I started getting these mysterious brown stains on my teeth. My dentist could not figure out what was causing them. I finally went to see a natural dentist who diagnosed them as fluoride stains. I couldn’t imagine how I could be getting fluoride stains at this age, but then I read the tea I drink is fluorinated, so that must be it. Can you recommend a dentist who can do dental bonding to cover these, please? I am 60 years old and am suddenly embarrassed to smile.


Dear Lynette,

I am puzzled at your dentist’s inability to diagnose this, as well as surprised at the natural dentist’s diagnosis. Let’s start with the natural dentist. Fluorosis stains are caused by ingesting too much fluoride while your teeth are still forming. There is no way to get fluorosis stains as an adult. A lot of natural dentists are against fluoride, which may be why he or she said that but it shows a fundamental misunderstanding about both dentistry and fluoride.

Now that we have crossed off the fluoride cause, what is it actually? At your age, there are two types of brown stains you can be getting. The first is external. These should be able to be polished off by your dentist rather easily. I would also recommend using Supersmile toothpaste. It is very good at removing external stains. Yet, unlike other whitening toothpastes, it does not cause damage to your enamel.

The second type of stain is internal. Our teeth absorb pigments from food and drink. You mentioned you drink tea. This beverage, along with coffee, is well known for its staining pigments, so that would be the top suspect in my detective notebook.

The solution to these internal stains is bleaching, not bonding. If you want to get rid of them fast, I recommend Zoom Whitening over take-home trays.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Zoom for White Spots

I have had white spots on my two front teeth since childhood. I would like to have a more evenly colored smile. My dentist suggested Lumineers but that is very expensive. I was thinking something closer to Zoom whitening or something. Would that work?


Dear Ada,

Can Zoom Whitening fix white spots?

I am very glad you wrote. What your dentist suggested is a bit of an overtreatment, unless you were looking for a complete smile makeover. Even then, Lumineers would not be my first choice in the brand of porcelain veneers to use. They’re often marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists. If you didn’t suggest a desire for a smile makeover, I worry that your dentist may have been using you for practice.

That being said, while Zoom whitening is a very effective means of whitening your teeth, it will not be the solution you are looking for in this situation. Any type of teeth whitening will whiten all the tooth structure evenly. That means as your teeth get whiter, so will the white spots. This is probably not the look you were going for.

The simplest solution would be to see an expert cosmetic dentist who can do microabrasion and then dental bonding. Or, if you do desire to get a complete smile makeover, you could see that expert cosmetic dentist, but for porcelain veneers instead.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Solution for White Spots

I had braces in my mid-twenties. Yes, that is late, but my parents were quite poor and I needed to wait until I had the money to do it myself. After they were off, I noticed these white spots on my two front teeth. I asked my dentist if there was anything we could do about that and her response was, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” While that might be fine for her to say, they aren’t her teeth. I just spent a small fortune getting my teeth straight, I would like to be proud of them when I smile and not have people staring at my white spots. So, do you think something strong like Zoom Whitening would help? I’d have to go to a different dentist for that because my dentist doesn’t offer teeth whitening, but I’d really like to fix their appearance.


Dear Kelly,

Patient under a Zoom Whitening light.

I’m glad you wrote. It sounds like your dentist has what we call an engineering mindset. They got into dentistry because they like to fix things. As a result, they are not as interested in the cosmetic side of things.

I am glad to hear you are willing to go to another dentist to get this fixed because that is what it will require. Unfortunately, Zoom Whitening will not be the solution though. No matter what type of teeth whitening you use, it will whiten your teeth evenly. That means the white spots will get whiter along with the rest of your tooth structure.

You have two possible solutions here. Both of them will require that you see an expert cosmetic dentist. This is important because you want a beautiful result. Check out their smile galleries to see if you like their results.

Your first option is to have dental bonding done. Whatever dentist you go to will need to carefully remove the white spots (which are actually areas of decalcification) and then place composite dental bonding on top.

If your spots are very large, I suggest you have two porcelain veneers placed on your front teeth instead of the bonding. Especially for large areas, this will give a more aesthetic, longer-lasting result.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Whiten or Replace Fillings First?

I plan on replacing my old silver fillings with the nicer white fillings. I wondered if it is better to whiten my teeth first and then get the white fillings or to get the white fillings and then whiten everything at the same time?


Dear Adelaide,

Teeth Whitening Trays

These are good questions and I am glad you brought them up. One important principle of teeth whitening is that only natural tooth structure is impacted by the whitening gel. Because of that, it will be important that you whiten your teeth to the color you want first. Then, you can get the white composite fillings done.

This way your dentist can match your fillings to the new tooth color you have. This is especially important if any of your fillings are visible when you smile.

Sanitary Amalgam Removal

One thing I do want you to be careful about is who you have to switch out these fillings. I do not know if you are aware of this but the silver amalgam fillings are made mostly of mercury. That is not an element you want to be swallowing or inhaling as it is a known toxin.

What you need is to go to a dentist who knows how to do a sanitary amalgam removal. It is a process that requires special equipment and knowledge. I would look for either a mercury free dentist or a holistic dentist. Either one of them should be familiar with the procedure.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Using Home Peroxide to Whiten Teeth

Is there a reason I cannot just use the peroxide I have at home to whiten my teeth. It’s basically the same thing, right? I was thinking if I rinsed with it everyday it would have the same effect.


Dear Callie,

Great question! There are some teeth whitening principles here to think about. First, most of the color from our teeth comes from our dentin. that means in order to whiten our teeth, the gel needs to whiten the dentin.

For that to even have a chance to work, the peroxide will have to soak into your teeth, which takes longer than anyone would be willing to rinse. That is one of the reasons dentists use bleaching trays, such as the ones pictured above.

The next consideration is the strength of the whitening gel. The peroxide you have at home is likely 3%. The gel your dentist will use is closer to 35%. That is a huge difference. Even then, dentists suggest you wear their gel, that has direct contact to your teeth, for a minimum of 20 minutes. Any whitening you do will have very little, if any, effect.

If you really want your teeth whitened, I suggest you go through a dentist. Not only will you save money and comfort in the long run, but your gums will be much safer than they would with other methods, which is another reason for the custom-fitted bleaching trays. There have been cases of patients using over-the-counter whitening to end up needing a root canal treatment.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Pain With Teeth Whitening

I’ve been doing at home bleaching of my teeth with a kit I purchased over the counter. Everything was fine until today. While wearing the gel strip, I had a zing of pain that lasted for about 40 seconds. I noticed the area getting the zing is a tooth where I had a chip repaired. The dentist used dental bonding to repair it. Does this mean the whitening gel is weakening the bonding?


Dear Karen,

Teeth Whitening Trays

Dental bonding is a great solution for a chipped tooth. Fortunately, the teeth whitening gel will have no effect on the bonding. The problem, based on the type of pain you are describing, likely has to do with there being a sensitive spot on your tooth. Hopefully, you are doing this bleaching under the supervision of a dentist. This way he can treat the sensitive spot.

If you’re just doing this on your own, you’re going to need to see a dentist. Don’t whiten until that spot is treated.  Be careful about DIY kits. While many times they turn out just fine, there have been occasions where it led to a person needing a root canal treatment. Until your dentist treats the area, pause your bleaching.

One thing to be aware of is that teeth whitening gel only works on natural tooth structure. That means everywhere, except where the dental bonding is will whiten. The composite material that repaired your chipped tooth will stay the same color.  This means you will have to redo the bonding to get the tooth uniform. Wait until you reach the level of whitening you want though. Then, wait a week to give the color time to stabilize.

If you ever decide you want to whiten your teeth in just one appointment, ask your dentist about Zoom Whitening.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentist Dr. Emily Foreman.

Bleaching Non-Veneered Teeth

I have porcelain veneers. They still look fine, but the natural teeth they have are beginning to stain again. I drink a lot of coffee so that is probably why. I want to bleach my teeth using Crest Whitestrips, but want to make sure they won’t damage my porcelain veneers first.


Dear Brenda,

Tooth Bleaching Trays

Crest Whitestrips will whiten your teeth slowly without damaging your porcelain veneers, but it will be a bit of a hassle. It will only cover six of your teeth tops and I am guessing that four of those are veneered. In order to get any of your natural teeth covered, you will either have to cut the strip in half, which will be messy or use two of them, one on each side of your veneers. That is double the strips. If you consider that the strength is only a fraction of what you would get with your dentist than you can see you will need to purchase many kits to get the results you will likely want to see.

My suggestion is that you see your dentist and ask him to make you some teeth whitening trays. He can even have them cut around your veneers if you don’t want the whitening gel to have access to them. You will find your teeth will whiten much faster and you will be safer under the care of a professional.

One word about the picking up of stains from your coffee. I am going to suggest that you purchase a product called Supersmile Toothpaste. This is specifically designed to care for cosmetic dental work, such as porcelain veneers, all while safely removing stains from your teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Tanda Pearl Ionic Teeth Whitening

I just saw an advertisement for an at home teeth whitening system that is supposed to work in just 5 minutes using a special ionic light. My teeth whitening trays ache my jaw so I was thinking just doing it for five minutes would be much better. Do you know anything about this system?


Dear Pam,

Teeth Bleaching Trays
Teeth Bleaching Trays

Looking at this, it has the same basic technology as other home whitening kits. However, there are some differences.

First, the ionic technology they talk about. seems bogus to me. They don’t list what makes it work, nor has their been any peer review of this which tells me they do not want to be subject to scrutiny. It won’t hurt you, but it doesn’t look like it does anything either. My suspicion is it is a sales gimmick.

Second, the teeth whitening tray. Notice I said tray — singular– here. If you look at the image above, you can see that tradtional teeth whitening trays have two, a tray for each arch. With the Tanda Pearl System, you would get a single tray that you have to bite down on in order to keep it in your mouth.

If you think your mouth aches now, imagine having to bite down the entire time you are trying to whiten your teeth.

I am curious as to why your jaw is aching. Is it possible that you don’t have custom-fitted trays but rather just generic one-size-fits-all type? If so, I would talk to your dentist and ask him to make you some to fit your bite.

If you do have custom trays, then maybe you can just cut back on the amount of time you are wearing them. It’s up to you how long you wear them. If you choose to wear them less time each day, then you just have to wear them for a few more days.

Another option is to do in-office teeth whitening, such as with Zoom Whitening. This would allow you to whiten your teeth in just one appointment. One day and you are done.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.

Brown Spots on Teeth

I am trying to figure out if getting professional teeth whitening will help the brown spots on my teeth. My dentist doesn’t offer teeth whitening but she’s been helping me with all the over-the-counter brands we can find. None of them have helped. Now she is thinking about grinding down the brown spots until we get to white, but has admitted she isn’t sure how far down she’ll have to grind. Before I do this, which admittedly makes me nervous, I’d like to double-check if the professional whitening would be better.


Dear Callie,

I am glad you wrote. I do not recommend that you allow this dentist to experiment on you. Her heart may be in the right place, but she does not have the knowledge or skills to deal with this and she can end up doing some serious damage to your teeth.

Teeth whitening does not help the type of tooth stains you are dealing with. There are two possible solutions. The first option is dental bonding. This has to be done freehand. Depending on the severity and the amount of the stains it may not be a cost-effective option.

porcelain veneer being placed

This leads me to your second option, porcelain veneers. These tiny wafers of porcelain can cover the brown spots, but they can also give you a complete smile makeover, changing the shape, size, and color of your teeth all at the same time.

As I mentioned earlier, your dentist is not qualilfied to deal with your situation. Teeth whitening is one of the easiest, least complicated type of cosmetic procedures there are.

The two procedures we are talking about now are much more advanced. You will need to find a different dentist to do this. One way to know if they are a decent cosmetic dentist is to look at their smile gallery and see if the before and after images are beautiful.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.