Tag Archives: tooth bleaching

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.

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.

Callie

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?

Karen

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.

Brenda

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?

Pam

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.

Callie

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.

Can Dental Bonding be Whitened?

I have dental bonding that is almost 15 years old. It has lasted longer than I expected and I know it is time to replace it, I just don’t have the money at the moment. I know you can’t make dental bonding any whiter with teeth whitening, but will it at least get it back to the color it originally had?

Mazie

Dear Mazie,

Unfortunately, teeth whitening in this case will only make things look worse. It will whiten the natural tooth structure, but the dental bonding itself will remain the same. This will make the difference striking, but not in the good way.

One possiblitilty to make these look better in the meantime is to get them polished by a cosmetic dentist. This will help if the stains are surface stains. However, if the stains are internal to the bonding material, then that will not help either.

In that case, your best bet is to do nothing and save up for the replacement. While there are some cosmetic procedures (such as teeth whtiening) where the cosmetic expertise and artistry of the dentist does not matter, which will allow you to price shop, dental bonding is not one of them.

It will be important when you do get them replaced, it is with someone that has real skill and artistic talent. These have to be done freehand. When it is not done well, it is a disaster.

You may check see if your dentist works with Care Credit. Some do. This is a medical credit card. Fortunately, its payment plans and interest are significantly lower than consumer credit cards. This will allow you to get the bonding replaced and then pay out the fee a ittle at a time.

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

Premium Home Whitening

I received an offer for Premium Home Whitening. This is almost $100 less than what my dentist charges. Is it effective and safe to use?

Morgan

Dear Morgan,

As far as their teeth whitening ingredient goes, it is a valid one. It will whiten your teeth. However, I am having a bit of trouble endorsing the product whole-heartedly for three reasons.

First, the light they advertise is useless. I believe it is there more for psychological reasons than anything else. I don’t like that they are charging for something that isn’t really legitimate. It speaks to the character of the company. If they are misleading about that, what is to say their other ingredients are what they say they are.

The second issue I have is with the tray. This DIY tray is not going to fit they way the tray the custom-fitted tray will fit. This not only makes the whitening ingredient less effective, but it also puts you at risk of problems with your gums. I recently read a case about a woman who needed a root canal treatment because of an over the counter whitening product.

Finally, the price. It’s a little pricey for what you get. Some dentists come much closer to its price than your dentist. You could get professional service for that or close to it. There are two ways you can accomplish this.

The first is simply to talk to your dentist. Tell him about the offer you received. Let him know that you would rather have your teeth whitened by him if he can come down on the price a little.

If he is unwilling to do that, then after your next cleaning I would call around to some other dentists. Let them know you just had your teeth cleaned and you are looking for someone to whiten them. This is the type of cosmetic procedure you are safe to price shop around for. It doesn’t take any specialized skill the way porcelain veneers do.

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

Dentist SAid My Teeth are Too White

I am needing to get a crown on a tooth, but my dentist can’t seem to match it to my other teeth. He said my teeth are “too white”. It is true that my teeth are very white. I did do Zoom Whitening with my last dentist about two months ago. I’ve relocated since then. The dentist that whitened them never told me that I wouldn’t be able to match any dental work to them. Have you encountered this? How do you handle dental work?

Kennedy

Dear Kennedy,

The problem here isn’t with your previous dentist not warning you about matching dental work. It is actually with your current dentist. He sounds like your typical bread and butter general dentist who hasn’t invested much time in learning cosmetic dentistry.

Cosmetic dentistry is isn’t a recognized speciality, but neither is it taught in dental school. It is up to the dentist to decide how much time and effort they invest in learning the skills.

Teeth whitening is the most basic of all the cosmetic procedures, but many dentists don’t understand how it works. Most people know that teeth whitening will bleach out stains on your teeth that are naturally accumulated over time. However, it will also bleach the natural pigment of your teeth. Here is where that becomes a problem for dentists who don’t understand cosmetic work.

Shade Guides in Dentistry

When a dentist needs to match a tooth, they use a shade gude such as the one you see above. Before teeth whitening became very popular, a dentist could match just about any tooth using this shade guide. Enter teeth whitening…

Dentists began to find that teeth were whiter than anything on their shade guide. The companies that produce these shade guides noticed it too. They came out with an updated shade guide (see picture below).

With this shade guide, they added whiter shades that go beyond the natural tooth pigment. This is the shade guide your dentist needs to use in order to match your whiter teeth.

At this point, you have two choices. The first is to show him this post and hope he is able to add to his knowledge base. The second is to go to a new dentist to have your porcelain crown done, preferably one who understands the type of procedures you are likely to want or need.

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

Will Crest Whitestrips Damage a Tooth?

I have a damaged incisor that has always been a bit darker than the other teeth. It has started to embarrass me now that I am older. I wanted to whiten it, so my dentist suggested I try Crest Whitestrips. I bought their strongest. After a week, that tooth started to hurt, so I stopped using them. However, the tooth doesn’t seem to be getting any better. It is sensitive to both cold and heat. Do you think it needs a root canal treatment? Is it normal for teeth whitening to do that?

Livvie

Dear Livvie,

Woman covering her mouth with hand. Seeing something shocking surprised and speechless face expression.

In general, using Crest Whitestrips are safe. That is mostly true because they are not very strong. For safety reasons, the over-the-counter brands are weaker than what you would get if you were doing teeth whitening with a dentist. I’ve only heard of one other time someone needed a root canal treatment after using Crest Whitestrips and the situation is eerily similar to yours.

My recommendation would be to have your dentist do a cold test on your teeth. That will help him know if the tooth needs further treatment.

The Right Fix for a Dark Tooth

One further thing here. Crest White strips (or any teeth whitening) was the wrong treatment for this. When your teeth are whitened, they whiten uniformly. That means the dark tooth would still be darker than the other teeth.

A better treatment for this would have been either dental bonding or even a porcelain veneer. Either way, don’t allow your current dentist to do the treatment.

Teeth whitening is one of the easiest cosmetic procedures available. Every dentist should be able to do it properly. It seems, however, that your dentist doesn’t understand even that. Dental bonding and veneers are much more advanced. When you are ready to get this tooth fixed, you will want to seek an expert cosmetic dentist.

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