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Can Teeth Be Too Bleached for Dental Work?

I whiten my teeth every other year because I like a very white smile. This year, I was in an accident that damaged a tooth and now I need a dental crown. My dentist cannot seem to find a crown shade white enough to match my teeth. He told me he is using the whitest color, but it is markedly darker than the rest of my teeth. What do I do?

Candice


Dear Candice,

I have some good news for you. It is definitely possible for you to get a porcelain crown that matches your white teeth. However, you may have to do it with a different dentist. Here is why.

Basic shade guide before whitening was popular

Dentists use a shade guide to match dental work to your teeth. Above was the standard shade guide for many years. I’m willing to bet your dentist is still working from this shade guide. This served dentists very well until about the 1990s, when teeth whitening exploded in popularity.

Once people started whitening their teeth, the shade guide no longer had shades white enough for these patients. Dentists who did a lot of cosmetic work recognized this was an issue that needed to be addressed. As a result, the shade guides developed an extention for dentists who did cosmetic work. Here is an image of that below:

Shade guide with extension for whiter teeth

As you can see, this has much whiter options. I’m also willing to bet your dentist does not do a lot of cosmetic work in his office. He probably does not have this shade guide. I think you will be better served if you went to a dentist who has the tools required to give you a natural looking result. This is especially true with a tooth that is visible when you smile. A flat shade, is not going to be enough. In order to have the variance of translucency that a natural tooth has, your dentist will have to provide a color map with various creams and tints to truly mimic your other teeth. I don’t think your current dentist will know how to do this.

Look for a dentist who does regular cosmetic work and you should be able to get the dental crown you need.
This blog is brought to you by Moline Dentist Dr. Thomas Goebel.

Evaluation of Premium Home Whitening

I have been considering whitening my teeth for some time now. I keep seeing ads for Premium Home Whitening. It is less expensive than what my dentist offers. Do you know anything about this product? Will it work?

Carla

Dear Carla,

Teeth Bleaching trays in their case

I will start with the positive about this option. Their whitening ingredient is 35% carbamide peroxide. This is a legitimate whitening ingredient and will whiten your teeth. That being said, here are my concerns.

First, the blue light. This does nothing to help with the whitening of your teeth. It won’t hurt anything either. What bothers me is that they are advertising it as if it helps with the whitening. I don’t like it when people mislead patients. However, the biggest issue is their whitening trays.

When you get teeth whitening done by a dentist, they custom make trays to fit your bite precisely. This keeps the whitening gel securely on your teeth and only your teeth. With premium whitening, you are not going to get a secure fit. This causes some of the gel to leak out, wasting the whitening gel. It also allows your saliva to mingle with the gel weakening its potency even further. There is an additional consideration of the gel getting on your gums, which will cause irritation.

You would have more effective and safer whitening through your dentist. If price is the only obstacle, you have a couple of options. First, just be honest with your dentist. Tell him that you’ve been wanting to bleach your teeth but are having a hard time meeting his fee. See if he’ll come down on the cost a bit. If not, you can call around to other dental offices and see if their whitening is within your budget. Make sure you do it following a check up and cleaning or the results will not be good. Let them know you have recently had your teeth cleaned and just want the price for whitening only.

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

Teeth Whitening and Dental Bonding

I have a chipped tooth due to the concrete and I having a disagreement. The concrete won. I figured that while I am fixing the chip in my tooth I should also whiten my teeth. Is there any special procedure or rules I need to follow in order to get both of these done?

Andy

Dear Andy,

Teeth Bleaching trays in their case

Sorry about your battle with the concrete. Having dental bonding done is a fantastic solution for a chipped tooth as long as you go to an artistic dentist who has experience as well as post-doctoral training in the procedure. This is quite an advanced procedure, because it has to be done freehand.

You asked a very important question about the procedures and rules. When it comes to dental bonding with teeth whitening, it is imperative that you have the teeth whitening done first. The reason for this is the nature of the whitening gel. While it does wonders for natural tooth structure, it will have zero impact and the bonding itself. That means your teeth will whiten, but the bonding will stay the original color with which it was designed.

If you have your teeth whitened first, then the dental bonding can be formed to match the new color exactly. While bonding requires an expert cosmetic dentist, teeth whitening is a pretty basic cosmetic procedure and can be done by any dentist who offers it. The next question is how fast do you want to get this done.

At home teeth whitening can take several weeks to months, depending on how long you whiten each day along with how white you want your teeth. If you are in a hurry, then I recommend in-office Zoom Whitening. This can be done in one appointment. However, you will want to leave one week between the time of your whitening and when you have the bonding done. This is because the teeth will continue to whiten for a bit after the appointment is done. This is true with at home whitening as well.

Then, when that is completed you can see the cosmetic dentist for your dental bonding.

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

Is the Tanda Pearl Whitening System Safe and Effective?

I have bleaching trays that my dentist gave me, but they always seem to aggravate my TMJ Disorder. I was looking online for alternatives and came across this Tanda Pearl System. It says it whitens your teeth in just 5 minutes a day. I’m thinking I could handle 5 minutes, but wanted to make sure it was safe and effective before I did. Do you have any thoughts on it?

Cassie

Dear Cassie,

Teeth Bleaching trays in their case

The system works with the same premise as your current bleaching tray system with a few exceptions. Because it is done without dental supervision the gel will be weaker. If you are considering this because your TMJ is affected, I think it will have the opposite affect from what you are hoping for.

The trays you have now are worn independently on each arch. The Tanda Pearl system has one tray that you have to bite down on in order to keep it in place. I think that will drive your jaw pain through the roof. On that basis alone, I would not recommend it for you. That does not give you a solution to your problem, however. Here are some suggestions for that.

First, were your trays custom-fitted to your bite? They should have been. You don’t want some generic trays that you get warm and then bite down on to form to your teeth. Your dentist should have taken a mold and built the trays to fit your specific bite. If that did not happen, talk to your dentist about getting new trays.

Second, you didn’t mention how long you were wearing your trays. There is no required amount of time. If you’re wearing them for an hour, but your TMJ starts bothering you halfway through, then just wear them for thirty minutes. Obviously, the longer you wear them each day, the faster your teeth whiten. However, whitening a smidge slower in order to keep yourself from unnecessary pain seems the wiser course to me.

Communicate your concerns with your dentist. You paid for professional teeth whitening. Part of what you are paying for is his (or her) expertise and oversight to make sure nothing goes awry with your treatment. Teeth whitening should be pain free.

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

Will Lemon Peels Whiten My Teeth?

I read something that said rubbing lemon essential oils on my teeth or even just lemon peels would help to whiten my teeth, but my sister thinks it is a bad idea because it could damage my teeth. I love my sister but she is sort of a know-it-all. However, I don’t want to ignore her if she is right. So…am I going to have to admit to my sister that she is right or do I have something one up on her finally?

Harriet

Dear Harriet,

Lemons

I am glad you wrote. So, I don’t know if you will consider this good news, but your sister is right. It is a bad idea to try to whiten your teeth with lemons. As a citrus fruit, it contains citric acid. This will etch the enamel. While that will temporarily make them look a bit whiter, the etching will cause your teeth to pick up stains more quickly. In the long run, it is a bad idea.

DIY is not the best way to go. If you are looking for something over the counter, then I would recommend Crest Whitestrips. They do work but there are some things to consider. First, it will only cover the front six teeth. Most smiles are eight to ten teeth wide. This means you will have to double up on the number of strips you use.

A second issue is that the strength of the whitening is only a fraction of what you would get with your dentist. This also translates to having to use more strips to get the same amount of results. To give you an idea of what I mean, professional teeth whitening is usually about a 33% concentration of the whitening ingredient. Crest Whitestrips is about 6%. I am not trying to discourage you from getting them. I just want you to be realistic about what you’ll get out of the purchase.

If cost is the only reason you are trying to go DIY, I might suggest talking to your dentist and asking if he would allow you to make payments so you can get your teeth whitened under a dentist’s supervision.

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