Is it Normal to Need a Root Canal Because of Porcelain Veneers?

I had porcelain veneers placed. I really love them. The change they’ve made to my smile makes me feel beautiful. The only problem I’ve run into is tooth sensitivity, especially cold substances. My dentist said this can happen and I’ll need a root canal treatment. Shouldn’t he have warned me this was a possibility? I’m terrified of the idea of a root canal. Is it absolutely necessary, or ore there other options to explore first?

Corrine – Maryland


The need for a root canal treatment is actually very rare with porcelain veneers. Your teeth are made up of layers. Those layers protect the nerves in your teeth. Exposed or bothered nerves cause the sensitivity. If someone has thin enamel or larger than normal pores, that can lead to sensitivity. Porcelain veneers usually help with that because even though there might be some minor shaving for tooth preparation, the veneer itself adds extra protection.

The nerves respond to their environment. If nothing is going on around it, it will generally stay pretty happy. Initially, when you had your veneers placed, your nerves could have popped their heads up wondering what was going on, but that should have settled down fairly quickly. If several weeks have gone by and it’s still acting up, some investigating needs to be done— before you get a root canal treatment. The cause of the sensitivity needs to be nailed down.

I can think of two things right off the bat which should be looked into.
1. The bond between the veneers and your teeth could be damaged allowing things to get between the teeth.

2. Your bite could be off. If your bite has never been off before, improperly placed veneers can throw it off. If your bite is off, the teeth can be continually bumping up against one another angering the nerve. If it’s from the veneers, some adjustments can be made to repair that.

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Can Children Have White Fillings?

My pediatric dentist says that children cannot have white fillings. I’m not too keen on putting the silver fillings in their mouth. I heard they’re made mostly of mercury. He says they’re perfectly safe and are made mostly of silver, but I just don’t have a good feeling about it. Is it true that children can’t have the white fillings?

Sasha M. – Wisconsin


Your pediatric dentist is being a little misleading. While amalgam fillings are often called silver fillings, that decision was made for marketing purposes. There is silver in the fillings, but the largest ingredient is mercury.

The American Dental Society has declared amalgam fillings are perfectly safe. There have been numerous studies to back them up. However, that doesn’t’ make many patients feel any better about putting a toxin in their bodies. Mercury free dentists understand that and provide composite (white) fillings for their patients.

As far as white fillings for children, it is possible, but it isn’t easy. They have to stay perfectly still during the procedure to ensure no moisture gets on the filling. That is difficult for most children. Only you’ll know if your child can handle that. If so, call around to pediatric dentists and ask if they do white fillings. You’re bound to find one. If you don’t, try a general dentist who enjoys treating children. If your child would have trouble sitting still, but you’re still determined to do white fillings, try a mercury free dentist who also does sedation dentistry.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Duane Delaune.

How Can I Avoid Nuclear Teeth if I Get Them Whitened?

I’ve been considering whitening my teeth. They’re showing their age. Plus, I drink a lot of coffee. The only thing holding me back is an episode of the TV show “Friends” where one of the characters has his teeth whitened so much they practically glow in the dark. Is there a way to avoid nuclear teeth if I do decide to get them whitened?

Sam Q. – Nevada


A lot of it depends on what type of whitening you do. Zoom Whitening, an in-office procedure, whitens your teeth as much as they can be whitened. At first, they seem super, super white, but the color generally calms down after a week.

However, if you want total control over the level of whitening, then you may consider take-home whitening. It will whiten in increments. You wear it a certain amount of time every day, then when you reach the level of whitening you desire, you’re done. It’s that simple. It can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks, depending on how stained your teeth are.

Most dentists will want to do an examination first, to make sure you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening. If you have any fillings, they’ll check those and make sure they’re healthy, etc.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Duane Delaune.