Tag Archives: Teeth Whitening

My Aligners are Curled

I did the stupidest thing and I am too embarrassed to ask my dentist about it. I’ve been wearing Invisalign and really like the treatment. However, I was going to lunch with some old college friends and one of them was someone I was always competing against. I didn’t want to take out my Invisalign in front of her, so I just took them out in the car and popped them in the glove box. I wasn’t thinking about it and we all went out to a movie afterward, then drinks. We carpooled, so by the time I got back to my car the aligners were warped and curled in the back. They fit snuggly. Can I just wear them like this or do I have to call my dentist? I just find it embarrassing.

Laura

Dear Laura,

Invisalign aligners
Invisalign Aligner

Don’t be embarrassed. We’ve all left stuff in the car before that we probably shouldn’t. While very durable, one of the things that can be damaging to Invisalign aligners is prolonged exposure to heat. You do not want to keep wearing the curled aligners. The Invisalign procedure is based on small movements. You do not want drastic movements which will happen if you wear the deformed aligners and then go to the next set.

If you were just starting that pair of aligners, you can wear your previous pair a new set can be made for you. It’s possible you can go to the next set, but before doing that you really need to see your dentist and have him look at the situation. I know you feel embarrassed, but honestly, you do not need to. I promise you, things like this happen all the time and your dentist is not judging you.

Whitening While You Straighten

As you have to see your dentist anyway, I thought I’d fill you in on this hidden benefit to Invisalign. Your aligners can double as teeth whitening trays, allowing you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time. Your dentist can provide you with professional strength teeth whitening gel that you can just wear in your aligners at a time that is convenient to you each day. By the time you are done with your Invisalign treatment, you will have a mini smile makeover with straight, white teeth.

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

Looking for a cheap new smile

I have discolored front teeth and two chipped teeth from when I fell. My dentist fixed them several years ago and while they were fixed, the color sticks out as being different from the rest of the teeth. I want to fix the discoloration on both my natural teeth and the bonded teeth. My dentist suggested porcelain veneers which colors the whole tooth, but the price is pretty hefty. Is there a way to get a uniform smile cheaper?

David

Dear David,

before and after dental bonding

I am very glad you wrote. First, your dentist does not need to do either bonding or porcelain veneers on you for your smile makeover. I posted a picture above that shows how dental bonding should blend in naturally when done correctly. If he can’t do dental bonding, he cannot do porcelain veneers well either.

If you want to go cheap, I would not suggest veneers. The good news is that you won’t need them if they only thing you are concerned about is the discoloration. This can easily and affordably be fixed in two steps.

The first step would be to get your teeth whitened. Any dentist can do this, even yours. It is the easiest cosmetic procedure around. Once that is done, the next step will be to get your dental bonding replaced. However, I do not recommend you have your normal dentist do this. He doesn’t have the skills and/or materials to match the bonding to your natural tooth structure. Instead, I want you to go to someone with cosmetic dentistry training. Look at their smile galleries to see what type of results they get. Also, see if they have someone on staff who is AACD accredited. That would be ideal.

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

Getting White Teeth Fast

I had read on a dental blog similar to yours that over the counter Crest whitestrips actually works. I’ve been using them, but they seem to take forever. I want really white teeth, but need it faster because I have an event coming up. Is there a product for that?

Misty

Dear Misty,

Zoom Whitening Logo

While it is true that Crest Whitestrips really will whiten your teeth, the whitening gel concentration is pretty weak. That is why it is taking so long. It’s not Crest’s fault. Because they are over-the-counter, there are regulations on the strength they can use in order to protect patients.

If you are looking for something to get your teeth really white really fast, than I will suggest you see a dentist who offers Zoom Whitening. This is a procedure that you will do in-office and your teeth will be white in just one appointment. The gel is highly concentrated. Plus, there is a special light they use to activate the gel and kick the whitening process into gear. You’ll get remarkable results.

Make sure you ask for a take home tray so you can do upkeep and touchups in a year or so. That will save you money in the long run.

Getting a Complete Smile Makeover

single porcelain veneer being placed

Another option you have, if you’ve ever considered a total smile makeover is to get porcelain veneers. These use tiny wafers of porcelain that can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth simultaneosly. It is the go-to for Hollywood to get that celebrity smile they all seem to have.

It is quite an advanced procedure, though. You won’t want to let just any dentist do it. They need training, technical skill, and artistry. We have an AACD accredited dentist on our staff which means he is in the top 1% of cosmetic dentists in the country. If you decide you want to go the complete makeover route, find one in your area. If you have to drive to a nearby city or state, it will be worth it.

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

Tooth Mousse & Zoom Whitening

I have some white spot lesions on my teeth. My dentist prescribed tooth mousse for me. It is a nine week treatment. After that, if the white spots are not gone, then we will finish it up with Zoom Whitening because it is fast. However, we are hoping the mousse will take care of it on its own. Is there a chance that both those things together won’t work and I’ll need a third treatment?

Eve

Dear Eve,

someone getting zoom whitening
Zoom Whitening

I’m glad you wrote. Your dentist is sort of close on this, but not close enough for me to not give you some warnings. First, tooth mousse is a decent treatment option. However, I’m concerned he doesn’t understand the point of the treatment. It is designed to treat white spots, but mostly to remineralize the area.

White spots are precursors to decay. Using the tooth mousse will repair the demineralization that occurred to cause the spots in the first place. The company makes no claim that it will change the aesthetics of the tooth.

As for the Zoom Whitening finishing that up, it will actually make things worse. Teeth whitening, no matter what method you choose, will whiten your teeth evenly. This means the white spots will get whiter along with the rest of your teeth.

While the remineralization is a great idea. The thing that will make the teeth even in color is dental bonding. However, I would not ask your dentist to do the bonding himself. This is an advanced cosmetic procedure. If he did not understand how teeth whitening works, he will not be able to do the bonding well.

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

Should She Finish This Smile REconstruction?

I have worn teeth because of teeth grinding. I didn’t realize I was doing it and my last dentist never mentioned it. However, when I moved I switched dentists because of the location and this dentist pointed out a whole bunch of things I didn’t know about. The grinding makes sense and does explain why my teeth have become more sensitive in recent years. She mentioned that I would need a mouth guard to protect my teeth from nighttime grinding and to repair the teeth, most of them would need crowns. We did the lowers first and it was a bit traumatic for me. I tend to have trouble with change. Plus, I have had some gum inflammation. My dentist wants to finish the procedure, but I am hesitant. My teeth aren’t hurting as much anymore and I miss my old smile. It wasn’t perfect, but it had a quirky nature I enjoyed and fit my personality. Do I really need to finish? Could I just whiten the tops?

Patty

Dear Patty,

Woman Smiling.

I have not seen your case, so it would be tricky to give you a definitive answer, but I can give some general guidelines.

First, change is hard for some. I know. Though in my experience, when a case is done by a skilled cosmetic dentist patients are thrilled when the results are finished and grateful they went through the trouble. It’s a bit like remodeling a house. It’s inconvenient, but when it is done you have the home of your dreams. This leads me to the quirkiness issue.

These are your teeth. If you want quirky in your smile, by golly, your dentist and their ceramist can put it there. In fact, because most patients want a perfect, flawless smile, my guess is they’d be thrilled at the chance to put some character in a smile.

Finally, while you could just whiten the upper teeth, dental ceramics will be harder on your upper teeth than your natural tooth structure was. If you have structural loss from teeth grinding, that would include the upper teeth. I am afraid only doing half the fix will actually make things worse for you in the long run.

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

CEREC Crowns on Front Teeth

I had an accident that damaged my front teeth. I am in a hurry to get this fixed and asked my dentist to do CEREC Crowns, but he said he does not do them on front teeth. Should I see a different dentist who does or just spend extra time getting the old fashioned crowns?

Dave

Dear Dave,

Unless your dentist is one of the top cosmetic dentists in the country, I would go with the traditional crowns. CEREC crowns are milled from a single block of porcelain, which will look very uniform or flat. Our natural teeth are varied. They’ll be more opaque in some parts and more translucent in others.

Unless your dentist understands advanced staining and color theory, the teeth will end up looking fake. In this case, it is better to invest the extra time and do the traditional crowns.

A ceramist building crowns with the traditional method can use different blocks of porcelain in order to mimic that natural variation found in your teeth. This will allow the crowns to look perfectly natural.

One other tip. While dental crowns can be made to match any color, once that color is set, it is permanent. If you plan on whitening your teeth, the time to do it is before your dental crowns are completed. This way they can be made to match your new permanent color. If you are in a hurry, Zoom whitening can do it in just one appointment.

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

Closing a Tooth Gap

I asked my dentist about how I can close my tooth gap on my front teeth. It has always bothered me. He said we could do it with porcelain veneers. The price was a bit higher than I was expecting. Is that the typical way to solve this problem or do I have other options?

Melanie

Dear Melanie,

Invisalign aligners

You have a few options here. If the only thing you were wanting to change about your teeth is the gap, then I would consider porcelain veneers a major overtreatment. Veneers are designed for people who want a complete smile makeover. They can change anything and everything about your teeth, including the shape, size, and color. It is the procedure people use to get that Hollywood Smile.

That did not sound to me like what you needed. In that case, you have two much more affordable options. Your first is to simply use dental bonding. This uses a composite resin that the dentist will place and sculpt between the two teeth to fill in and close the gap. It does take an expert cosmetic dentist to do this well because it has to be done freehand, so I would not just let any dentist do that.

Another option is Invisalign (pictured above). This is the modern way of straightening teeth. Instead of metal wires and brackets that traditional braces use, this uses clear aligners, allowing you to straighten your teeth without anyone even knowing. It also has a hidden benefit where the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. This means you can straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time for a fraction of the cost of what you’d pay with the procedure your dentist suggested.

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

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?

Carol

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.

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.

Kelly

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.

Required Visits with Invisalign

I have been saving up to get Invisalign for a couple of years now. I’m finally ready, but six months ago my family moved out to the middle of nowhere. It takes me three hours to get to town. I don’t think I can get there every two weeks. I have three kids and I’ll either need to take them with me or find someone to come up the mountain every time to watch them. Is there any way to do it in fewer appointments?

Kate

Dear Kate,

Invisalign aligners

A lot of it will depend on the dentist, but I don’t see any reason that you couldn’t go once a month instead of twice. Generally, with Invisalign, your dentist will provide you with new aligners every two weeks after an exam to make sure everything with your case is on target.

As long as you don’t have any unusual circumstances which require more careful observation, it would not be an issue to provide you with two sets of your aligners at each visit.

One other thing you should be aware of. Invisalign has a hidden benefit of being able to double as teeth whitening trays. This will allow you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time. It is the equivalent of a mini smile makeover for a fraction of the cost. If teeth whitening is something you’ve considered, this will allow you to double up your treatment saving you additional time of going back and forth to a dentist at a later date.

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