Category Archives: Teeth Whitening

Premium Home Whitening Versus the Dentist

I want to whiten my teeth but I’ve been avoiding going anywhere with the surge of covid cases. I just feel like I need something to cheer me up. Looking online, one kit I see that has some positive reviews is Premium Home Whitening. How does this rank with what I’d get from my dentist? Will it actually whiten my teeth?

Gina

Dear Gina,

teeth whitening trays
Professional teeth whitening trays

I’ll start with the positive about this kit. The teeth whitening ingredient is valid and will whiten your teeth. So, if you decide to use this product and really stick with it, you could get some good results. That being said, I have some concerns.

Disadvantages to Premium Home Whitening

This first one I would not call a disadvantage as much as a red flag. The light they provide does nothing. It is simply a marketing ploy. Why not just sell the kit without it and lower the price. To me, that calls into question the integrity of the company and I’d wonder if the rest of what they list is true. For instance, is the whitening ingredient really the percentage they say it is?

The second is the whitening trays. These are not custom fit the way you would get with your dentist. Instead, you DIY them at home. This causes two problems with the whitening gel. Your saliva can get into the tray, which will weaken the strength of the gel. Now it will take more kits to do the same amount of work. In addition to that, your gel can leak from the tray. Not only does this further weaken the gel, but it puts your gums at risk of irritation. There have been cases where patients needed a root canal treatment as a result of an over-the-counter whitening kit because of this type of leakage.

My Recommendation

I would get your teeth whitening done with your dentist. In the long run, you should save money and it is safer. You mentioned concerns about COVID for not wanting to go in. Dentists are all taking extra precautions to ensure the safety of their patients, especially at this time. Something you could request is to ask to come at a time when they have fewer patients, that way you are not surrounded by as many people. Also, some patients have even requested they wait in their car and the receptionist just texts them when it is time to go back.

I hope this helped.
This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Dentist Can’t Match My Crown

I need some advice. I don’t know if the problem is the dentist or the lab, but my dentist cannot get my dental crown white enough to match my teeth. I’m new to the state and am using a different dentist than I normally would. However, this is my first dental crown so I don’t really know what to expect. I only came to him because of a dental emergency and he was available. I was in a car accident and had serious damage to a canine tooth as a result. He says he is using the whitest shade possible. I do whiten my teeth, but they don’t look unnaturally white. Just whiter than what he’s offering. It’s a noticeable difference though. Is it worth it for me to drive to my old state to get this to match or am I asking for the impossible?

Brooke

Dear Brooke,

I don’t think you’ll have to do anything as drastic as going to another state. I think I know what the problem may be here. Understand that this is mostly guess work, but I feel fairly confident with it. This dentist is probably a great bread and butter general dentist. He knows how to fix teeth and he does it well. However, he is more interested in the engineering factor than cosmetic work. He probably doesn’t really do any cosmetic work. This is the problem.

Old Vita Shade Guide
Old Vita Shade Guide

General dentists use a shade guide to help them match the crown they are making to your current shade of teeth (see above). He is probably using the same shade guide he’s always used. The problem with that is the popularity teeth whitening gained in the 90s. Teeth whitening does not just remove stains. It can also make your teeth whiter than even their original shade. That means the old shade guides were no longer as useful. Dental supply companies realized this and soon came out with an updated guide that included shades for whiter teeth (see below).

New Vita Shade Guide
New Vita Shade Guide

I would ask this dentist for a refund and then go to a dentist who does more cosmetic work. They will have the updated guide and can match your teeth.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

How Much Do I Need for a Smile Makeover?

I am a tad confused about something and hope you can help clear some things up. I want to get porcelain veneers but in order to do that, my dentist is insisting I also get teeth whitening and Invisalign first. I was under the impression that porcelain veneers can make your teeth look white and straight. My teeth aren’t really crooked enough to justify a full orthodontic case. I just have one front tooth that crosses over the adjacent tooth. Have I misunderstood this completely?

Theodora

Hi Theodora,

Porcelain veneer being added to a tooth

Let’s start with the teeth whitening. Whether or not this is useful to you depends on how many veneers you are getting. Very few people can afford to get a porcelain veneer placed on every tooth. That means the other teeth may need some whitening done in order to match your porcelain veneers. Most smiles are 8-10 teeth wide. If you’re only getting four or six veneers, you’ll want to whiten your teeth first to have everything blend naturally. The same goes for your bottom teeth. I doubt you want to spend money to veneer your bottom arch. In most cases, people get enough veneers on their top arch to have a beautiful smile and only whiten the bottom arch.

The Invisalign is a completely different story. Given the scenario you described to me, I don’t think you need orthodontics. Porcelain veneers done well can take care of that issue. The fact that your dentist is suggesting Invisalign tells me that he or she is not comfortable reshaping your teeth for the procedure. Don’t force his hand. Instead, find a cosmetic dentist who has done this lots of times and will be skilled getting it done.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Luster Premium At-Home Teeth Whitening

I don’t really feel comfortable with dentists but want to whiten my teeth. I saw an advertisement for a DIY kit call Luster Premium At-Home Teeth Whitening. It seems to have one of those light things that dentists use with teeth whitening. Do you know if it is safe? There are some good reviews, but these days it is hard to tell if they are legitimate.

Kristen

Dear Kristen,

teeth whitening trays
Professional teeth whitening trays

Looking at this particular whitening kit, I am glad you wrote before purchasing it. It won’t harm you, but you won’t be getting the whitening you think you are. True teeth whitening kits use a special peroxide gel to get your pearly whites looking youthful and bright again. Many over-the-counter kits have a legitimate ingredient, such as Crest Whitestrips. Though, by law, they are significantly weaker than what you would get with a dentist’s office.

Unfortunately, this kit doesn’t use a legitimate whitening ingredient. The whitening effect they achieve appears to be from a pigment in the zinc oxide. The pigment will stick to your teeth and make them look whiter, but only temporarily. The pigment will only last a few days. My suspicion is many of these positive reviews were written before the pigment wore off.

The light is another issue altogether. It is too weak to be of any effect even if they had a valid teeth whitening ingredient. It appears to be there for psychological effect. So, you essentially have a company using a bogus lamp that is supposed to aid the whitening, with an ingredient that merely colors your teeth.

If you are absolutely committed to doing this without a dentist, I suggest you use Crest Whitestrips. At least their product will work. It will cost you more in the long run to get the same results you would with a dentist, but it will work.

Dealing with Dental Anxiety

You mentioned being uncomfortable with the dentist. I wanted to make sure you knew dental anxiety is a pretty common thing and there are dentists equipped to help. Most dentists who enjoy working with and helping anxious patients will have a way to locate them on the internet by doing a search for a sedation dentist.

There are medicines available that will relax you in the dental chair and give you an anxiety-free and pain-free experience. I’ve found this has changed the lives of patients who were afraid to go to the dentist. Now they are able to get regular dental care and get the work done they’ve been avoiding for years.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Why do I have stains between my front teeth when I have porcelain veneers?

I am so sad about my porcelain veneers. I got them a little over a year ago and they were a dream come true.  My smile was exactly what I wanted.  My problem is I’m getting some dark spots in between my front teeth, almost like a line. Have I somehow ruined my new teeth?

Terry in Honolulu

Dear Terry,

Porcelain veneers are nice because they can not only make your smile more beautiful, but they are pretty stain resistant.  Teeth whitening is not needed or suggested when you have porcelain veneers.

So why are there stains on your porcelain veneers?

There is a glaze that is applied to your new porcelain veneers when they are made. The glaze determines the shine of your teeth so they look natural, not dull.  That glaze is also a big factor in the stain resistance of your veneers. Your teeth shouldn’t stain unless that glaze is somehow compromised. This can happen if your dentist uses a power polishing machine at the office or an inappropriate fluoride treatment.

There are several foods that cause stains on teeth. Coffee and juices are just a couple, not to mention how smoking stains your teeth.  If your porcelain veneers were absorbing stain because of a problem with the glaze, it would be more across the surface of the tooth, not just in one line between the teeth.

Porcelain veneer being added to a toothBecause of the area of stain you describe, it’s likely that your problem is where the veneer meets your tooth. This could be caused by a gap between your tooth and the porcelain veneer that wasn’t bonded well and has allowed the stain to enter there.

It could also be that there was some bonding composite on that line that wasn’t polished well. The stains may just be on that bonding agent. If that’s the case, it’s just a matter of repolishing that area.

In either case, a return visit to the dentist who put on your porcelain veneers would be a good place to start.  Hopefully, it’s just a simple polishing issue. Really, it’s a good idea to schedule regular maintenance appointments for your veneers. It will help maintain their stain-resistance and increase their lifespan.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.

Can I whiten a bonded area on my tooth?

I had a little black space near my gums covered with dental bonding a few weeks ago. I love having that space filled because I really self-conscious about it. It looks like my bonding is turning yellow, though. My husband says it’s not, but I swear it’s more yellow than it was when I got it put on. I typically brush with baking soda and that’s not helping.  I have a tooth whitening tray from my dentist a year ago. Should I try it on my bonding?

Amelia, Four Corners area

Amelia,

Baking soda is not your best option on dental bonding or porcelain veneers. It is very abrasive and can cause damage to the glaze on the bonding or veneers. The baking soda may be what has made your bonding turn yellow. If the polish has been compromised, that area may be more susceptible to stains from food or drinks, such as berries, coffee, or tea.

The problem could just be the bonding material itself.  If your dentist wasn’t experienced in cosmetic dentistry, there’s a chance that the materials he used weren’t quality materials. It may have caused the area to yellow.

How do I fix my yellowed bonding?

As you said you had this bonding done a few weeks ago, you should return to your dentist and ask about the coloration of your bonding.  Ask if they can repolish that area. Unfortunately, as with porcelain veneers, no whitening will work. Actually, with bonding, whitening can actually make that area look worse because it will whiten the tooth around the bonding and leave the bonded area the color it is.

If you can resolve the coloring issue with your bonding with your dentist, look for a specialty toothpaste designed specifically for bonded areas or porcelain veneers, such as Supersmile toothpaste. If your dentist can’t remedy this, you may need to see another cosmetic dentist. That area may not need to be completely redone, but may be corrected with just better materials.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.

 

Should I whiten and straighten before porcelain veneers?

I am thinking about getting porcelain veneers since I don’t love my front teeth, especially my top ones.  I have looked a little and know it’s expensive to get porcelain veneers, so if I’m going to get them, I want them to look the best they can.  Should I do teeth whitening and invisalign before I get veneers so my teeth will be perfect when I’m done?

Thanks,
KC, San Diego

Dear KC,

Someone's "perfect" smileYou mentioned you wanted perfect teeth. “Perfect” for you may mean something different than another patient. “Perfect” may be dazzling white and perfectly straight teeth.  Maybe “perfect”  is whiter, straighter, natural-looking teeth that are better than what they are now. No matter what your definition of perfect is, it is important to consider your answers before spending the money on porcelain veneers, whitening, or invisalign.

Should I whiten before getting porcelain veneers?

If you are unhappy with the general color of your teeth before veneers, whitening is a step that needs to happen before you start the porcelain veneers. Veneers themselves do not whiten. Good cosmetic dentists will match the color of your porcelain veneers to your regular teeth so they look more natural. If you want the new veneers to be matched to whiter teeth, complete this step before you start the porcelain veneers.

Should I straighten my teeth before porcelain veneers?

It is not necessary to straighten  crooked teeth before you start. That’s one of the beauties of porcelain veneers. They can make your teeth look straight. Invisalign isn’t necessary.  It won’t affect the placement of the veneers and will save you a lot of money, especially if your teeth aren’t too crooked. If you are generally not happy that several of your teeth, top or bottom, are crooked and you are only planning to get a couple of veneers, it may be something to consider.

The best path for you to take to get the smile you want is to discuss your “perfect” teeth with a cosmetic dentist. Ask for his or her opinion about your treatment plan. Discuss your options so you are comfortable and happy with what the outcome will be before you start anything.

This post is sponsored by Vista Dorada Dental in Gilbert, AZ.

 

 

Can I bleach my teeth with clorox?

I’ve been using whitening toothpaste for months now and my teeth are no whiter. I really want to whiten my teeth, so I’m wondering if I can use my bleach at home, like Clorox?

Anthony P.- Miami, FL

Anthony,

The ingredient that dentists use to whiten your teeth is not bleach. Bleach will actually poison you, so under no circumstances should you use Clorox. In small amounts, bleach can remove moisture from your teeth. That will cause them to weaken and become brittle. Small amounts also causes vomiting and stomach irritation. Larger amounts act as a poison causing heart issues, shock, and death.

The whitening toothpastes cannot do a deep whitening, like you can get from your dentist’s office. The most it can do is remove surface stains. If your stains are below the surface you will not be satisfied with anything but professional results.

My suggestion is that you go to your dentist and ask for professional teeth whitening. The gel they use will oxidize  your teeth from the inside out, eliminating all your stains and giving you a bright, white smile.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

Review of Luster White Premium At Home Teeth Whitening

Luster White Premium is advertised as an at-home type of Zoom Whitening. Does it really work?  Your teeth will get whiter….for a while, then the whitening will fade away. Rather than the whitening coming from a bleaching agent that whitens your teeth from the inside out as you get with professional teeth whitening, Luster White has a pigment in the “super whitener”–zinc oxide– that sticks to your teeth and makes them look whiter. This is  only temporary. The light that come with the kit does nothing and seems to only be psychological in nature.

My opinion is that it is a waste of money. If you’re determined to do an over-the-counter kit instead of professional teeth whitening, than I’d suggest Crest Whitestrips. They will whiten your teeth, though it will take significantly longer than it would if you went through a dentist.

This blog is brought to you by Gilbert Dentist Dr. Matt Roper.

A more affordable treatment

I am looking for ways to make my dental care more affordable and I was wondering if dental bonding will save me money over porcelain veneers?

My teeth are very yellow even though I brush my teeth after every meal. It seems that you can see through the ends of my two front teeth. I’m unhappy with my smile but I don’t want it to look fake.

After the research I’ve done, I don’t think I want to have porcelain veneers done. They seem like they may not look natural and they are extremely expensive. I guess I’m wondering if simply whitening my teeth will work or if tooth bonding is a better choice for me. Or maybe I should get the bleaching done first and then the bonding? I don’t want to spend a lot of money and then have my teeth turn yellow again either. Can you explain how bonding works and let me know your thoughts.

Thanks,

– Tanya from Florida

Tanya,

After hearing your case, I don’t think dental bonding is the alternative that is right for you just because you are looking to save money on porcelain veneers. Teeth whitening sounds like the best solution from what you have described. This is because good dental bonding will end up costing almost as much as veneers and it won’t last as long. In fact it would probably only last about one-tenth as long as veneers.

Teeth bleaching will take care of the yellow color of your teeth and they will not return to their original color. Your teeth will pick up stains as time passes, but you can always do some touch up bleaching to keep your white new smile.

This post is sponsored by Glibert dentist Vista Dorada Dental.

Related link: affordable dentistry