Is Zoom the only thing that will whiten my filling?

I been through some tough times in the last couple of years. I had some depression and self-confidence issues that really set me back and I didn’t take care of myself. I’ve come along way and am in a really good place. I feel good about myself emotionally and now I want to make the outside match the inside. I figured I’d start with my teeth – who doesn’t want a beautiful, white smile? Unfortunately, Zoom whitening was too expensive for me, so I decided to try an at-home kit I found online. It’s been a couple of months and I’ve been using it every day. I can definitely tell my teeth look whiter – except for one small spot where I have filling. How can I get the filling to whiten? I’d rather not pay for Zoom whitening if I can get it done here at home. — Heather


It’s so great to hear that things are looking up for you! As for the filling, there’s no amount of whitening that can be done that will change the color of it – not even Zoom. If you want it to look like rest of your teeth, you will have to have it removed and replaced with a shade that matches.

Did the kit you are using recommend whitening every day? If not, you should be careful because many of the stronger formulas can cause problems if overused. Have you experienced any pain or gum irritation?  If so, you should discontinue use immediately so you don’t cause more serious pain or even permanent damage.  You might even notice discolored enamel or  uneven color depending on the product’s strength.

Schedule a consultation with your dentist. It’s always best to have a check up and cleaning before starting a whitening regimen. They can also help troubleshoot any problems you may have or even make custom trays to be used with a professional-strength solution that costs a lot less than expensive in-office procedures. Good luck!

Lumineers are leaving my smile in the dark!

I had a Lumineers smile makeover about eight years ago. Back then, I had quite a bit of money and was able to afford to have sixteen teeth done. There’s no way I could afford that now. The problems started almost immediately after having them put on. My original dentist was in Hawaii, but I moved to Texas about a month later and the veneers started falling off. I found a dentist here and he re-bonded two of them. It took months for my dentist in Hawaii to finally give me a small refund so I could at least put it toward having the work done here. They also started to look like they didn’t fit right – and they were starting to darken. It really made me hesitant to show my smile. It been a year and all of them are still in place, but now my front teeth are also getting darker and it appears to be underneath the veneers. If I have to get these replaced, I have no idea how I am going to pay for it. Is there anything I can do? — Tana

From what you are describing, your veneers are leaking. Aside from the color changing, the more urgent problem is the risk of decay. Where there’s stain leaking in, there’s usually bacteria, too.

It sounds like neither one of these dentists really knew what they were doing. The veneers were not bonded correctly in the first place, and unfortunately, there are not very many dentists who truly know how to re-bond them. The old bonding needs to be sandblasted off so that there is nothing left on the tooth and then the inside of the porcelain would need to be etched with hydrofluoric acid (not many dentists even have this in their office). After being primed and bonded onto your tooth, the veneer should last for many years without leaking or falling off.

If your veneers can be taken off without breaking, there’s a chance they could be cleaned, prepped and re-bonded. It’s hard to tell without visit a cosmetic dentist to have them looked at. The other problem will be matching the color to your other teeth. This is where it’s important to find a cosmetic dentist. If you cut corners now, you may be paying even more down the road. Good luck!

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.


It’s been six months and I still have no teeth!

About six months ago, I decided to try and do something about a couple of my lower front teeth that were loose. After doing some research, I decided that my best option was dental implants, but knew it was going to be very expensive. I started looking around for a doctor who could do affordable dental implants and when I came across an ad for a doctor a few miles away from where I lived, I was sure I had found the right person for the job. At my consultation, he priced everything out for me. He said I should go ahead and have the teeth pulled that day and that I needed bone beads to help with the healing (I had to pay for that because my insurance wouldn’t cover it). I went ahead with his recommendation and waited six months — with a toothless smile no less — to go back for the surgery. Much to my disappointment,  he told me that he couldn’t move forward until I had more procedures done – including bone grafting and gum treatment. Now I’m thinking it would have just been better to keep my teeth because I’m having to spend more and more money and I’m still toothless. I feel like my smile is ruined. What can I do? — Christina


There’s several concerns here, but the biggest one would be that your dentist didn’t first address why you teeth were loose. If you had periodontal disease, you should have never been considered for implants until that was under control. I’m guess that is why he is now saying you need additional gum treatments.  Since the teeth are gone, there’s no way to know if they could have been saved.

The other treatments are probably necessary before moving on with the implant surgery to ensure they don’t fail. Get a second opinion to be sure you’re getting the right treatments. As far as going without teeth for six months, your dentist should have offered you a temporary solution – such as a flipper or partial denture. Either one would not only help with appearance and eating, but also prevent the other teeth from shifting into the open space. You could still get either one of these options now, so schedule a consult with another dentist to find out what they can do.

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 it worth the extra money for custom abutments?

I need some advice. I’ve had two dentists give me a quote for dental implants and one is a little higher than the other. I asked the one dentist why he was more expensive  and he said he does custom abutments and the other quote likely only includes pre-fabricated abutments and other cheaper parts. I wasn’t sure if he was trying to pull one over on me, so I went back to the first dentist and asked whether his quote included custom abutments. Come to find out, the other dentist was right! Quite honestly, I’m still not sure what my best option is. Are custom abutments really that big of a deal? Should that be a reason to pay more for dental implants? — Cecelia


You bring up a really great question. There are three main parts to dental implants – the implant itself, the abutment and the crown. All of these parts need to fit together perfectly to ensure the success of the implant long-term.

When it comes to prefabricated or “stock” abutments, dentists only have a few sizes to choose from and it can be difficult to achieve a natural shape with the crown, making it more difficult to keep the area clean. When a crown is cemented, cement often seeps out of the edges and dentists can’t get all the extra cleaned off when the space is too tight. Cement that is left behind traps food and bacteria, and when you’re unable to remove those particles, infection, inflammation and eventual implant failure can occur. If this happens, your only option is to start over, and you’ll likely incur even more expense for bone grafting before having surgery again.

Are custom abutments really that big of a deal? They do provide a better fit than stock abutments which means you’re less likely to be at risk of infection. And while custom abutments are not necessary for every implant case, it’s still good that you have both options on the table. You’ll need to decide what’s right for you (and your budget), but keep in mind that you may be risking a lot if you choose to go the prefabricated route. Good luck!

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.