Zoom whitening made my white spots look worse

My teeth have always had little white spots on them, and I was hoping that having them bleached would make them less noticeable. I talked to my dentist about Zoom whitening and decided to have it done, but I am utterly disappointed with the results. Instead of hiding the white spots, they are even brighter. What happened?
— Stephanie in Mississippi

Stephanie,
The white spots sound like fluorosis – a condition that results from excess fluoride while the teeth are still forming. Zoom whitening and other bleaching products typically brighten natural tooth structure for most people, but if you have fluorosis, your dentist needs to use a different treatment.

You need to talk to your dentist in more detail about the results you were hoping to achieve. There are treatments that will hide the spots, but you and your dentist need to determine which one is best for your situation, and more often than not, it will be either using tooth-colored composite material or placing porcelain veneers. The good news is that it’s best to bleach before having restorative work done – especially if your goal was to not only hide the white spots, but overall have a brighter smile.

Also, you can expect it to take about a week for your new tooth color to stabilize, and you may even notice the white spots even less and decide that they look ok. Regardless of whether or not you seek further treatment, let your dentist know how you felt about the results.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Can I whiten my bonding?

About 14 years ago I had bonding done on my two front teeth. I really need to have it replaced because it is no longer white, but I am still saving up the money to do it. Until then, will bleaching help with returning it to its original color?  — Sara in Texas

Sara,
Unfortunately, you cannot whiten dental bonding – not even with those high-powered whitening procedures that are done in the dental office. If you try to do it, it will only make your natural teeth look whiter and the difference in color will probably be even more noticeable. Have you talked with your dentist about polishing the bonding? If the discoloration is from external staining it’s possible that the discoloration could be polished away. If the staining is internal, you’ll get the best results by having the bonding replaced.

Be patient and continue to save your money. When it comes to bonding, the worst thing you could do is go bargain shopping for the best price. You’ll want to be sure your dentist has the expertise, artistry and skill to do it right.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

What can I do to make implants more affordable?

I don’t have dental insurance, so haven’t been to the dentist in a long time. I finally had to break down and go because of a tooth that has been causing all sorts of problems. My dentist wants to remove the tooth and place an implant. I really want to do this so my tooth will stop hurting, but I can’t afford the cost of the implant. I’m considering purchasing one of those online discount insurance plans. Will it help pay for some of the implant?  — Mark in Idaho

Mark,
Even if you have a traditional dental insurance plan, most don’t guarantee any coverage for dental implants. Before you definitely decide to purchase a discount insurance plan, make certain that your dentist is in the network and they will abide by the fees listed in the plan. Get online and check the fee list (the discounted cost of treatment you will be paying for) or call and ask if a treatment is covered.  It could be that the implant surgery itself may not be covered, the restorative phase is. This will reduce your out of pocket cost for the implant, plus, you’ll reap the benefits of savings on other dental coverages.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.

Why are my veneers yellowing and looking black at the top?

I am so depressed about my teeth right now. I have a class reunion coming up and I don’t even want to go because my teeth look so bad. When I was 16 I had two veneers placed on my front teeth and now, 16 years later they are yellow… and, to make matters even worse, they look black at the top. What is causing them to look this way and can anything be done to fix them?  — Leisha in Nebraska

Leisha,
There’s no reason why porcelain veneers shouldn’t last 16 years if you are taking good care of them. And they definitely shouldn’t be turning yellow, unless for some reason you had them cleaned with a power polishing spray such as the Prophy Jet. This type of cleaning can cause porcelain veneers to lose their glaze and start to yellow. If, however, your veneers are composite, they can discolor quite easily and quickly – especially if you are eating or drinking foods and beverages that can stain or if you smoke.

If you are noticing black at the gumline, that is a whole other issue and could be a sign of leakage from the bond failing. If a dentist isn’t skilled or simply is careless during the bonding procedure, fluid can seep up from the gums and contaminate the bond. Over time, this contamination will cause the veneer to blacken near the gumline. If this is happening, the veneers absolutely need to be replaced because the leakage will lead to decay underneath them. If the decay continues to spread, it can cause even more damage. So, replace the veneers, not only to get the smile you love back, but to ensure the future health of your teeth.

This post is sponsored by New Orleans cosmetic dentist Dr. Duane Delaune. Read more about Find out why many consider Dr. Delaune to be the best dentist in New Orleans.