Can I share my leftover Zoom gel with my friend?

It’s been almost a year since I had Zoom whitening done and I love the results! My dentist sent a tray and gel home with me for maintenance and touch-ups, but I haven’t had to use it. My friend wants to try Zoom, and since mine is just sitting around not getting used, I thought why not give the syringes and kit to her? I’m thinking that should be plenty for her to get good results, and there shouldn’t be any problem with her using it, right? — Trixie

I’m sure you were always taught you that it’s good to share, but when it comes to your Zoom take-home whitening kit, think again. Here’s why:

  1. The gel could be expired. Most whitening gels are good for about a year, and if you’ve had it that long, who knows how long your dentist had it before prescribing it to you. It also depends on how and where you stored it (in the fridge vs. a warm place, like your bathroom).  A good indication is it’s color —  if cloudy or white, it’s definitely no good. And even if it’s still clear, there’s no guarantee it will be effective because of age.
  2. Your friend’s current dental state. If she hasn’t see a dentist recently for a cleaning, it can affect the whitening results. Also, any fillings or crowns will not respond to whitening — so if she has dental work on any teeth that show when she smiles, she will definitely be disappointed.
  3. Your trays will not fit anyone else. Your dentist took impressions of your teeth to make a tray just for you. Even if your friend thinks yours sort of fit her mouth, ill-fitting trays cause unevenness and splotching and the gel can ooze onto her gums and cause irritation.

It’s always fun to share with friends, but stick to clothes or your best-kept secrets. If you want to be a good friend, encourage her to visit her dentist and have a custom kit made just for her to ensure she’s smiling in the end.

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.

Is pain and tenderness around my implant an emergency?

I had an implant placed about three months ago and the healing process has been great – up until last night. Something felt different and now this morning there’s tenderness and pain that is radiating into my jaw. It hurts enough that I can’t really eat. Of course it’s the weekend, so I’m not sure if this is something I should be worried about having looked at immediately by an emergency dentist or wait until Monday. Any advice? — Gabrielle

It’s probably a good idea to see an emergency dentist. From what you’re describing, you likely have an infection at the implant site since the pain is getting worse and spreading to your jaw. Not being able to eat is also a concern and worthy of a visit to the dentist, too.

Oral infections can spread quickly if not taken care of. They can even become deadly if it attacks the heart or brain. Infection can also lead to complete implant failure and significant bone loss. If that happens and your implant needs replaced, bone grafting will need to be done before placing a new post. Early treatment with an antibiotic can stop this from happening.

If your regular dentist has an answering service, try calling there first.  If they don’t have an on-call line or they don’t respond in a timely manner, look up your nearest emergency dentist and get an appointment as soon as you can.

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.

Tongue tied over my Lumineers!

I got Lumineers done about a month ago, thinking they would really make my smile pop for a convention that I’ll be giving a presentation at in a couple of weeks. I noticed right away that they felt really thick. My tongue keeps catching on them and it sounds like I have a lisp. I went back in and asked the dentist to make some adjustments. He did smooth them out some, but he said that it would take a few weeks to get used to talking with the Lumineers on. I went in again last week and we went through the same process… slight adjustments and him telling me I’d get used to them. I’m really worried now because the convention is coming up soon and I still can’t speak properly. Will I adapt or is there something more I should ask my dentist to do? — Matt


Lumineers are tricky to get right. They’re often referred to as a “no-prep veneer,” which means no tooth structure is removed when they’re placed.  They’re incredibly thin, so the amount of bulk they add onto the surface of the tooth is minimal. Traditional porcelain veneers are much thicker, so the front of the tooth has to be shaved down some to make it sit flush.

To be blunt, not all dentists have the skill to do a veneer without removing some of the tooth, no matter how thin that veneer is. Moreover, not every patient is a good candidate for the no-prep variety. A skilled cosmetic dentist can examine your teeth and give you the best option, which may or may not be the no-prep variety. If you’re still having trouble a month after having it done, it sounds like your dentist lacked the skills to identify whether or not you were a good candidate or to place them properly.

You can go back and have him adjust them some more and it should help, but there will always be some added bulk due to the nature of Lumineers. If he can’t adjust them well enough that you can talk properly, visit another dentist who is skilled at cosmetic work. It’s possible that someone else can recountour them so that they work out better for you, but there’s also a possibility that you’ll have to have them redone.

In the meantime, practice talking as much as possible. Read aloud, sing in the car, or do whatever you have to do. The more you talk, the more your tongue will learn to adapt, so your speech sounds natural. You may still be able to overcome this problem on your own.

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.

Why does my dentist refuse to do mini implants?

I’ve been wearing a partial denture for several years to correct a missing tooth. At the time, I would have rather had an implant placed, but budget-wise, it was way out of my league. I’ve been working to save money toward an implant, and recently read about mini implants. If I understand correctly, I would have the same result as a traditional implant, but they are quite a bit cheaper. I asked my dentist why he didn’t offer them as an option a few years ago and he basically said they weren’t FDA approved and that he prefers traditional implants – and many dentists would consider them controversial. What does he mean by that? If they are so controversial, why is there so much information out there about them? — Jeremy

Controversial would be a good word to describe mini implants, but even more it seems is that most dentists really don’t understand mini implants so they tend to avoid them altogether. They are much like  traditional implants in the fact they they are implanted and integrated into the jawbone, however, as the name indicates, they are smaller. The fact that your dentist said they are not FDA approved is simply not true, and that shouldn’t be the case he makes for not suggesting them.

There are many people out there who have to live with missing teeth because dental implants are just too expensive, so mini implants are a viable and cost-effective solution. They are more affordable for a couple of reasons:

  • Less surgery and recovery time
  • They consist of just one piece (rather than separate/multiple parts like traditional implants)

Keep in mind that mini implants are not a solution for everyone, however, they are a viable option and should be considered. Find a dentist in your area that is familiar with mini implants and get a second opinion.

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.