Getting rid of white spots…Zoom whitening didn’t work!

I just recently got my braces off. I love how straight my teeth are, but I have very noticeable white spots on some of my teeth. When I asked my dentist about how to get rid of them, he suggested Zoom whitening. I did the Zoom, but for some reason it didn’t work. What went wrong? — Aliya

Aliya,
This is one of the problems that happens when general dentists try to do cosmetic dentistry. Unfortunately, in your case, your dentist doesn’t really know the right thing to do. While Zoom whitening is a very effective treatment, when teeth are uneven in color like you are describing, it simply doesn’t work and neither will at-home systems. As you might be noticing, the spots are probably getting worse rather than better.

The good news is that there are treatments available to help. For the most part, white spots are caused by calcification around the braces due to oral hygiene issues. There is a product called Tooth Mousse that was developed specifically to help re-mineralize these spots. Microabrasion is also an option, but it tends to result in more of a “creamy” look, rather than white.

Direct dental bonding is probably your best option because the softened and de-calcified enamel (which is actually the early stages of tooth decay) is removed and replaced with composite that can be matched to your exact tooth color.

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

67% off implants… deal or no deal?

I am a sucker for great deals! I recently got a 67% off dental implants deal in my eamil and it totally caught my eye.  I’ve been consulting with my dentist regarding implants and his quote was several thousand dollars, so saving 67% sounds right up my alley! But there’s another part of me that thinks this may be too good to be true. Could a dentist really cut his rate by that much? My dentist is great, but if I can if I can get more affordable dental implants from someone else, I would consider switching just to get the implants. — Marla

Marla,
Who doesn’t love to save money? Daily deals can be great for things like jewelry, household items and clothing, but when it comes to dental procedures like implants, your best advice would be to say, “no deal!” Most of the companies that distribute these deals are taking at least half of the the profits, so if this dentist is offering 67% off, he is making a very small profit.  Think about it this way… if an implant normally costs $2000, the affordable price they are charging you is $660, and the dentist will only receive half of that amount.

High-quality dental implant materials that have been approved by the ADA and FDA can cost anywhere from $300-$500. When you factor in the cost of the crown that goes on the implant any other materials he uses as well as his time and his office staff time, it’s impossible to understand how or why he would make such an affordable offer, unless he’s:

  • Using lesser quality materials
  • Offering mini implants when you think you’re getting traditional
  • Inflating the rates for the special to make it look like you’re getting a good deal when in reality, the discount is much lower
  • Taking a loss on the procedure in hopes that he’s gaining a new patient and can recoup his costs in the long run

Read the fine print carefully. Before committing to anything, be sure you understand exactly what you are getting for the price and ask for the dentist to spell out any additional costs you will incur. Unexpected expenses or even a failed implant are definitely not something to smile about.

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

I broke my tooth and my mom will freak… can I see an emergency dentist alone?

My mom and I have differing opinions on wearing protective gear when I go long boarding. She’s always nagging me to be safe, but I don’t want to wear the stuff… it’s just not cool. Well, I guess I should have listened to her because today I face-planted right into the cement and broke off a small piece of my front tooth. There’s no way I can tell her what happened! I’m not quite seventeen, but I’m wondering if I can see an emergency dentist without her knowing? It doesn’t look that bad, so is it a big deal if I don’t even have it looked at? — Jeremy

Jeremy,
While it may seem that you are trying to step up and act responsibly to take care of this on your own, it might be best to re-think the situation and tell your mom what happened. The choice is yours, but she will probably see that as being more responsible than trying to take care of it behind her back.

With that said, there are laws in place that don’t allow people under a certain age to consent themselves to medical treatment and in most states that is age 18. An emergency dentist is going to want your mom or another consenting adult to be present and sign the consent for your treatment.

It’s obvious that your mom cares for you or she wouldn’t have bugged you so much about wearing the gear. She may be upset at first, but her main concern will be to protect you and help you find the right dentist to fix your tooth. Plus, your family probably has dental insurance which will help cover much of the cost. Without it, you may have to pay hundreds of dollars more and also have a full cash payment.

You definitely need to see a dentist. While it might seem like a simple chip on your tooth, your dentist will want to do an x-ray just to be sure there is no other damage beneath the surface. Take the high road and tell mom – you’ll feel better about it in the end and have your smile back in no time!

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

Can I get implants instead of dentures?

I’m finally at a point in my life where I have access to dental insurance. It’s been a while since I’ve had consistent dental care and unfortunately, I’ve lost several teeth due to advanced periodontal disease. My gum line is very low and I’m wondering if I could get implants instead of dentures? — Mike

Dear Mike,
When you need to replace missing teeth, there’s no doubt that implants are a great choice for several reasons. With dentures, you lose at least 50% of your chewing efficiency simply because they don’t stay in place. With dental implants, you can eat normally and they will also help preserve your jawbone and prevent facial collapse – a condition that happens over time when you are missing teeth. When the jawbone is no longer supporting teeth, the body will begin to absorb the minerals and use them elsewhere in the body. If you suffer from facial collapse, eventually there will be no bone left, making it nearly impossible to wear dentures. Your face will also start to look sunken in, making you appear much older than you really are.

Are you a good candidate for dental implants? The answer to that question will depend on your overall health and whether or not you’ve had a lot of bone loss due to the advanced periodontal disease. You may need some bone grafts in order to provide enough bone to hold the implants. It’s certainly worth checking into, but just be sure you find an experienced dentist who has done a lot of dental implants and clocked many hours of continuing education in the area.

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