Tag Archives: Teeth Whitening

How Can I Get the Most Dental Work at Once?

I need a LOT of dental work done. I’ve neglected my dental care over the last few years because of finances. I have dental insurance with my new job and am hoping to really to catch up with my work as quickly as possible. Is there a best practice way of getting the most work done at once, such a fillings one day, crowns another? Or is it better to mix them?


Dear Brooke,

An image of a woman resting in a dental chair with dental sedation to relax her

I’m sorry you have had such a hard time the last few years, but congratulations on the new job! Hopefully, this is the start of many blessings for you.

How much work you have done in one sitting has more to do with the dentist and your level of tolerance. Each dentist is a bit different on the amount of work they are willing to do per appointment.

I have found that the ones willing to do the most work are those who use dental sedation. I would especially recommend oral conscious sedation. Though it is administered by a pill, it is extraordinarily effective. In fact, many patients call it sleep dentistry because of how strong it is. If you want to, you could sleep through your entire appointment.

If you decide to use oral conscious sedation, you will need someone to drive you to and from your dental appointment as well as stay with you for a few hours after your appointment until you are lucid and steady on your feet.

You did not mention root canal treatments, but if you need more than one and they are on molars, I recommend using an endodontist for those. A general dentist can do them, but an endodontist would be faster.

I hope this helps you and I’m glad you are in a position now to get your teeth where you want them.

This blog is brought to you by Lafayette, LA Dentists Drs. Foreman and Thimmesch.
Click here to learn about teeth whitening.

Dental Treatment While in Addiction Recovery

I have been dealing with an opiate addiction. I am on the path to recovery and am in a methadone program to help with that. I go to counseling regularly and have a full time job now. I’m even working toward going back to school. the problem I’m having is my teeth. Due to my addiction, I really neglected them and now need a ton of work done. I do have a bit of dental anxiety and am having trouble finding a dentist willing to provide me with any dental sedation, let alone pain medication after the procedure. I’ve offered to give each of them the number of the clinic that provides my methadone and even will sign a waiver to let them have access to my records there. Still no one is willing to help me. If you have any suggestions or advice for me I would be quite grateful.

Once I get my teeth healthy, I’m hoping to spruce up how they look, but I think just getting them in shape will cost most of my savings.


Dear Damien,

An image of a woman resting in a dental chair with dental sedation to relax her
Sedation Dentist is sometimes dubbed sleep dentistry because you are so relaxed.

You are in a tough position. In case nobody has said it to you recently, you are doing amazing things getting your life back on track. It is hard picking yourself up like that and you seem to be crushing it! That is something to be proud of.

Though you are probably feeling judged, what is more likely happening is that the dentists are afraid of the D.E.A.. There have been stories circulating about dentists getting in trouble just for being compassionate and prescribing extra pain meds.

I think you will be able to find someone who is willing to help you. Start by calling dentists whose website says they offer dental sedation. Just keep calling. You will find someone.

As for sprucing them up. An inexpensive way to make a huge difference in the appearance of your smile is to have teeth whitening done. That one simple procedure will take years off their appearance.

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

Zoom Whitening After Spots from Braces?

My daughter had gotten her braces off several weeks ago and there were white spots on her teeth. Our orthodontist told me to see our dentist who would know how to fix the white spots. Our dentist suggested we whiten her teeth. Because we were in such a hurry to get her teeth looking normal and attractive, she suggested Zoom Whitening, which is a new procedure she had started doing. We did it but it made the spots a lot worse. Did she do something wrong? She did tell me we’d be one of the first patients to use the procedure.


Dear Kelly,

A patient under a Zoom Whitening Light
Zoom Whitening

I am sorry your daughter has been getting such poor care. I think your dentist is well intentioned but doesn’t understand the principles of teeth whitening very well.

When teeth are whitened, they are whitened uniformly. That means the white spots will get whiter along with the remainder of your daughter’s teeth. Zoom whitening is very effective, which meant it just whitened the teeth uniformly faster.

The Cause of White Spots on Teeth

When there are white spots on teeth after braces, it is because of decalcification. This happens when the teeth are not adequately cleaned during the time they are wearing braces. It can be hard to get around all those metal wires and brackets.

There is a tooth mousse that could help with the decalcification, however it does not usually help with the esthetics. One way that will deal with both issues is dental bonding.

However, dental bonding is a very advanced cosmetic dental procedure. As your dentist did not have a grasp of the principles of teeth whitening, which is the simplest cosmetic procedure, she will not be able to do the dental bonding well.

My suggestion is that you take your daughter to an expert cosmetic dentist to have the dental bonding done.

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

Ways to Straighten a Crooked Tooth

I have two crooked teeth and a couple of small gaps. I went to my dentist to discuss braces. I heard there are clear braces these days. My dentist is suggesting porcelain veneers because my teeth are yellow and these can straighten my teeth and make them whiter. I am a bit concerned on how expensive porcelain veneers are. Are there better options?


Dear Enid,

Invisalign aligner

Let’s start with the porcelain veneers. They can make your teeth look straight, but they will not actually straighten your teeth. These are more useful if you are looking for a complete smile makeover, but not a great use of your money if you are just wanting to straighten and whiten your teeth.

In all honesty, there is a much less expensive option for you. If you get Invisalign, which use clear aligners. These can both straighten and whiten your teeth simultaneously. The aligners can double as teeth whitening trays so all you will need is to get some professional strength gel from your dentist.

This will straighten and whiten your teeth at a fraction of the cost of porcelain veneers.

Of course, if there are other things that you would like to change about your teeth, such as their shape or size, then porcelain veneers will be a great option. Just make certain that you go to an expert cosmetic dentist to have the work done. Otherwise, you could end up with a smile that is less attractive than your natural smile.

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

Will Zoom Whitening Refresh My Porcelain Veneers?

I have had my porcelain veneers for a little over seven months. Everything was fine, but recently I have noticed that they have begun taking on stains. I tried over-the-counter teeth whitening strips, but they do not seem to be helping. My dentist does zoom whitening. Would that help?


Dear Laurie,

a porcelain veneer being held up to a tooth

The glaze on porcelain veneers are very stain resistant. In fact, they are more stain resistant than your natural teeth. If they are picking up stains then something has damaged the glazing that protects them.

You mentioned that you have had them for a bit over seven months. This is enough time for you to go in for a check up and cleaning.  It is possible that the hygienist was unaware that using a power prophy jet or acidulated fluoride could damage the glazing.

My suggestion is you ask your hygienist what he or she used during your appointment. If they damaged the veneers then they should be the ones to repair them.

Unfortunately, Zoom Whitening will not help. Teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure, not dental work. This is also why the over the counter strips didn’t work.

The good news is that there is a way to repair the glazing. If your dentist does not know how, have him cover the expense of having an expert cosmetic dentist do that for you.

Once they are repaired, I recommend you use Supersmile Toothpaste. It is specifically designed to keep dental work in top shape. It can even remove coffee stains without any damage to your porcelain veneers.

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

Retainer After Invisalign Treatment

I am on my last pair of aligners for Invisalign. An opportunity I cannot pass up has been offered to me, but it will require me moving in the next week to another state. As you can imagine, I have a LOT to take care of between now and then. Fortunately, my new company is paying for my move and a temporary home until I find something. However, I still have to figure out what to do about my Invisalign. I don’t know if I will need to find another Invisalign dentist when I move or not. My dentist mentioned that I will need to wear a retainer after my treatment is done. I don’t know if that is like a regular retainer or if Invisalign does something different. Can you give me some guidance here?


Dear Belinda,

Invisalign aligner


Congratulations on the new job! It sounds like you have exciting things ahead of you. If you were in the middle of your Invisalign treatment, I would say that you would need to find another Invisalign certified dentist to continue your treatment.

You are on your last pair of aligners, so unless there have been some complicating factors  that you have not mentioned, then I see no need for you to have to find another Invisalign dentist.

Retainers are something just about any dentist can do. Plus, your current dentist is ethically obligated to send them all of your diagnostics and treatment records, including his notes.

Using Your Invisalign Aligner as a Retainer

You may not even need to do that, though. It sounds like you are going to be very busy so I want you to focus on getting your new life and home set up and not have to squeeze getting fit for a retainer in for that. You can actually use your final aligners as your retainer. Here is how:

  1. Start by wearing them all the time for a month.
  2. Then wear them only at night for one to two months.
  3. Try every other night, testing for movement.

Here is how you test for movement:

If you find it a bit more challenging to put the aligner in after you went to the next stage, that means that the teeth shifted some. Go back to the previous stage for another month or two and then test it again.

4. If every other night works, do that for a couple of months.
5. Try every 3 nights. After each new stage, test for movement.
6. Go to once per week.
7. Try not wearing them at all.

Keep your aligners around even after this for two reasons. First, you can periodically check for shifting of your teeth and use them as needed. Second, the aligners can double as teeth whitening trays. If your dentist offers teeth whitening, they can provide you with the whitening gel and you can wear them without having to have custom trays made, which will save you money.

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

Am I Too Old for Invisalign?

I have never had a straight smile. When I was little, my parents could not afford dental care, let alone braces. In adulthood, I had one tragedy after another, which also kept me from getting braces. Now, I am 57. I know it sounds vain, but I am in a situation where I can finally do something about this. I know the teenagers are mostly using Invisalign to straighten their teeth. Am I too old for that way of straightening my teeth? I was hoping to do it without a mouth full of metal.


Dear Althea,

Invisalign aligner

First, let me say there is absolutely no vanity in wanting straight teeth no matter what your age. Not only is it just taking the best care of your teeth that you can, but when your teeth are not straight, it can contribute to jaw pain and even migraine headaches.  That means that straightening your teeth is also taking care of your health.

Second, you are definitely not too old to have Invisalign. While you may know about it from teenagers, it was actually made first and foremost for adults. Invisalign Teen didn’t come into play until several years later.

I personally know of an 80 something year old woman who used Invisalign and was quite pleased with it! You’ve got quite a few years to catch up with her. In fact, you’re practically a pup!

I’ll let you in on a little secret too. If you were also interested in whitening your teeth, you could do it simultaneously with your Invisalign treatment. The aligners you would use for your orthodontic treatment can double as teeth whitening trays. Then, your dentist would only need to provide you with the whitening gel.

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

Zoom Whitening Left One Tooth Lighter than Others

Two days ago I had Zoom whitening done. It all went pretty well, and I had very little pain or sensitivity after. It didn’t burn my gums or anything like that. I was surprised because a friend of mine did experience those things, but she does have extra sensitive teeth.

But now I can’t help but notice my right front tooth, the one next to the eye tooth, is lighter than all the others! At first, I thought I was imagining things, but I’ve looked at it under different lights and it’s definitely lighter than its neighbors. I asked my wife and she can see it too.

Why would this happen? What should I do?


Dear Eric,

Zoom whitening patient under the light


For those who are unfamiliar with this procedure, Zoom Whitening works by having a professional place a hydrogen peroxide based gel on the teeth, which is then activated by shining a specific type of light upon it. It will whiten any natural tooth structure, but will not whiten dental work, such as tooth-colored fillings or crowns, whether porcelain fused to metal, zirconia, or veneers.

The light activation allows you to get your teeth completely whitened in just one appointment.

What Would Cause One Tooth To Be Lighter Than The Others?

There are a few reasons this might happen. If the neighboring teeth have more filling material than this tooth, it could appear lighter due to the higher presence of natural tooth structure that is responding to the whitening agent. If this tooth happens to have an already-light crown or veneer, this may occur.

Sometimes it may be due to differences in the application of the gel, if it had been applied unevenly. Other times it may simply be caused by the original shade of the tooth itself, compared to the others. These shade differences occur naturally at times, and a tooth that was slightly lighter to begin with may end up lighter at the finish.


What Can Be Done?

Call your dentist; they should be able to get you in for an evaluation. If this was not due to an existing filling, crown or veneer, the doctor may choose to do a touch-up, where additional Zoom whitening treatment is given to the neighboring teeth to see if they can be lifted to match the shade of the lighter tooth. This may take a few appointments. Barring that, you may consider bonding or a porcelain veneer to attain the shade match desired. Many options exist, but they all begin by calling the office.

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

Will Invisalign Work for Crooked Teeth?

I was hoping to get Invisalign to fix my crooked teeth. They have bothered me my entire life. My dentist referred me to an orthodontist. However, the orthodontist said that Invisalign is not intended to fix crooked teeth. His suggestion is that I go with traditional braces. I’m 47 years old and will feel ridiculous with a mouth full of metal. Is there another option for me?


Dear Kelly,

Invisalign aligner


Not intended to fix crooked teeth?? What in the world does he think they were designed for? My suspicion, in this case, is that the orthodontist you went to see is not trained in Invisalign. All of his training is with traditional braces, therefore that is what he is going to recommend.

My recommendation, however, is that you get a second opinion. Look for a dentist in your area that does Invisalign. It does not have to be an orthodontist and see what they think of your case.

The procedure has advanced quite a bit over the years. While, originally, it only worked on ideal cases, now it is also effective with the complicated cases as well.

You’ll find it has a high patient satisfaction rate and can straighten your teeth in about half the time as the metal braces.

Additionally, there is a hidden benefit. The clear aligners used to straighten your teeth can also double as teeth whitening trays. This means, if you wish, your dentist can provide you with teeth whitening gel to wear in the trays, enabling you to straighten and whiten your teeth at the same time.

By the time your procedure is over, it will be like having a mini smile makeover with a straight, white smile you can be proud to share with the world around you.

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

Matching My CEREC Crown

I needed a dental crown and thought this would be a good chance to try my dentist’s new CEREC machine. I knew it would save me some time. At the appointment, we never really discussed the color. It felt fine and I assumed everything else would be as well. It was not until I got home that I saw the color discrepancy. Now, it is all I notice about my smile and I feel like the tooth looks fake. I don’t know what to do. I have tried using over the counter whitening products in order to get my other teeth as white as the CEREC crown, but thus far, no luck. Is it crazy to ask my dentist to darken it?


Dear Sandra,

Block of porcelain for a CEREC crown

I do not think it is crazy at all to want your teeth to match one another. I can already tell you that your dentist has no real expertise in cosmetic dentistry. A true cosmetic dentist would have let you get a good look at the crown to make certain you approved of them before permanently bonding them on. It is possible that he noticed the color difference and didn’t want to have to redo them.

CEREC crowns are very convenient, but if you are having one placed on a front tooth, it will be important that the dentist have real cosmetic expertise. CERECs are milled from a single block of porcelain. This makes them look rather flat and bright. However, there are stains and tints a skilled cosmetic dentist can use in order to make them blend in well with the remainder of your teeth. Unfortunately, these have to be baked into the crowns before they are completed.

You have a couple of choices here. You can give your dentist another opportunity to get these right or you can ask for a refund and get this done properly elsewhere. Whichever you decide, make certain they let you see the crown with a temporary try-in paste first so you can get a good look at them in several lights and give your approval or disapproval to get it permanently bonded on.

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