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Rules for Touching Up Teeth Whitening

I’m looking to touch up my smile ahead of my upcoming dental crown placement. However, I’m having trouble getting information from my dentist on how to go about this. My specific questions are mostly in regard to how long I have to whiten, such as how many hours per day and how many days/weeks to plan.


Dear Fannie,

Teeth Bleaching trays in their case

I’m a bit concerned that your dentist cannot answer these questions. These are pretty basic cosmetic questions. Much more basic that making a dental crown blend in naturally to the adjacent teeth.

While there isn’t an definitive number of hours and days I can give you, there are general principles. The first of which being that the longer you wear the teeth whitening gel each day, the faster your teeth will whiten. For example, if you wear them for five hours a day, your teeth will whiten much faster than if you just whitened for 30 minutes a day.

If you are in a hurry, the most effective way to do it would be to wear the teeth whitening trays over night. This is not only because the gel will be on your teeth longer, but also because we produce less saliva at night. If that is not possible for you, then just wear them for as long as you can tolerate throughout the day. Another speedy option is Zoom Whitening. It is an in-office teeth whitening procedure that will whiten your teeth in just one appointment.

The one definitive is something you did not ask. That is how long you need to wait between the time you finish your whitening and when you can get your dental crown made. Your teeth will continue whitening for up to two weeks after you complete your procedure. After that, you will be safe to have your dental crown done.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Thomas Goebel.

How to Get a Refund Because of a Dental Mistake

I had a crown put on one of my teeth because it was a slightly slanted tooth. A few weeks after the crown was placed, I noticed that I started having sensitivity to hot and cold. I called the dentist’s office and he said that those sensitivities are normal the first few weeks. I was a bit confused about that because it had not happened before that, but decided to trust him. A few months later, it was hurting so much that I went to the E.R. They told me I needed to see a dentist. The next morning my cheek was completely swelled. I called a dentist who could see me the very next day. This dentist told me the tooth was severely infected and I needed to have a root canal treatment done. I was shocked and asked how it got infected with a dental crown on it and she told me the margins were open and showed it to me on the x-ray. When I called the original dentist, thinking that they should pay for my root canal treatment, they blamed me for not taking care of the crown. Is there any way I can get my money back from this dentist because I’m obviously going to have to pay for this root canal treatment?


Dear Brooke,

A porcelain crown being placed on a tooth

I am sorry that this happened to you. Your dentist violated the standard of care and that led to you having a dental emergency. Even worse, they refuse to take responsibility. A dentist is supposed to run an explorer around the margins of the dental crown to make sure it is fitted correctly. Otherwise, they risk what happened to you.

The good news is that you have another dentist telling you that your crown was done incorrectly and has x-ray proof to help with that. Unfortunately, the amount you would get generally isn’t worth the expense of a malpractice suit. That being said, there are some things you can do that will increase your chances of a dental refund.

First, I would threaten to complain to the dental board. I don’t know a dentist who would be thrilled at that prospect, especially when you have documentation. Second, threaten to call your insurance company and tell them about the shoddy work. A third option is to ask the dentist who helped you during your dental emergency to speak to your dentist. Sometimes, they are more willing to give a refund so as to not look bad in front of their peers. Finally, you could ask a lawyer to write a threatening letter on official letterhead. It will not cost you as much as a court case and can produce results because the dentist thinks you are willing to go to court.

This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Thomas Goebel.