Regular Versus Zoom Whitening

I want to get my teeth whitened. I was going to my dentist to get those trays but everyone is saying Zoom is better. Should I do that instead? I’m so confused. I tend to be a people pleaser so I feel bad when someone tells me to do something and I pick something else.

Patsy

Dear Patsy,

Patient using Zoom Whitening light

Don’t feel bad about going a different direction if that is what’s better for you. I wouldn’t say that Zoom Whitening is better; just that it is faster. With Zoom, your teeth are whitened quickly in just one appointment.

It uses a special light (pictured above) which activates the whitening gel allowing the process to move faster. Your teeth will get as white as possible in that one appointment.

With at-home whitening, your dentist will use the trays to custom fit them to your teeth, then provide you with professional strength whitening gel. It will get your teeth just as white, it just takes longer and works more gradually.

This is ideal for people who want to control the level of whitening. Or people who don’t want to suddenly show up with super white teeth. Instead, it will happen gradually and won’t be a sudden change which makes it obvious you’ve had your teeth whitened.

So, one is not better than the other, just different ways of accomplishing the same goal— getting your teeth as white as you want them.

When You Want to Change More than Their Color

Some people are thrilled with just getting their teeth whitened. They already have fantastic teeth which just picked up stains as they got older.

Others, however, have several things they wish they could change about their teeth. If that happens to be you, porcelain veneers may be a better option for you. They give you a total smile makeover. The veneers can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth all in one go.

They are more pricey than teeth whitening, so only do it if you want to completely remake your smile.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

Lemons for Teeth Whitening

I keep reading that lemons are a great way to naturally whiten your teeth. Is this true? I’d think the citrus acid would actually be bad for your teeth, but I’m not a dentist. So, I guess I’m asking if I can give this a try or is my amateur concern actually correct?

Lora

Dear Lora,

Lemons
Can Lemons Wash Your Teeth?

Your reasoning is spot on. The citric acid in certain fruits is a danger to teeth. In fact, I would even recommend not brushing your teeth immediately after eating or drinking citrus without first swishing some water around in your mouth. Otherwise, you are grinding the acid right into your enamel.

What citrus fruits do that is useful is kill bacteria, that’s why teeth appear brighter when using them as a “whitener”. The same is true for apple cider vinegar which is also touted as a natural way to bleach teeth. However, it kills bacteria with acetic acid.

The problem with both of those options is their corrosive nature, as you surmised. If you think about it, citrus and vinegars are used in almost all cleansers because how powerful they are at breaking things down.

Safely Whitening Your Teeth

There are two ways you can safely whiten your teeth. The first is the over-the-counter whitening strips, such as Crest Whitening strips. They do work. They’re just limited in their strength and in the number of teeth they reach. You’d have to use many kits, to get to the level of one professional treatment. This leads me to the second option.

Professional teeth whitening is the standard for safely getting your teeth as white as possible.

Teeth Whitening At-Home with Custom Trays

This is done at your convenience with trays your dentist will custom fit to your bite. You’ll inject the whitening gel into the trays and wear them for a minimum amount of time each day until you reach the level of whitening you want. In fact, that’s their biggest benefit, you control how white your teeth get. If you just want to get them as white as possible, in-office whitening is faster.

Teeth Whitening with Zoom

In office whitening allows you to whiten your teeth in just one appointment. It uses a special light system which activates the whitening solution to work faster. By the end of your appointment, your teeth will reach their maximum level of whiteness.

Talk to your dentist. He’ll help you find the right way to get the bright smile you want.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

Do I Need to Replace Every Crown for them to Match?

I’m kind of hoping you give me the answer I want, but am willing to follow your advice regardless. I had crowns on eight teeth on my top arch for a smile makeover. One of them became loose. I went back to my dentist. He said there is decay on the edge and the crown needs to be replaced. However, he wants me to replace all of them so they’ll match. I want my teeth to match but don’t have a ton of money. Is that really necessary?

Candace

Dear Candace,

A porcelain crown being placed over the prepared tooth

I think the biggest problem here is your dentist isn’t a cosmetic dentist. Was there a particular reason he gave you a makeover with dental crowns instead of with porcelain veneers? Veneers are the standard treatment for a smile makeover because it doesn’t require your teeth to be ground down the way crowns do.

While there’s nothing you can do about that now, and those teeth will always require crowns now that the tooth structure is gone, you don’t have to replace all of them in order to get them to match. Though, to get a good result you will have to use a different dentist for this procedure.

Your Crown Replacement Options

You basically have two choices here: replace them all at once or replace them one at a time. The benefit to doing them all at once isn’t for them to match. A great cosmetic dentist can match a single tooth. It’s more to save you time. You’d replace them all and be done.

If you do them one at a time, it means a new trip to the dentist every time one goes bad. That could get annoying. The benefit to that is you’re only having to fork out money a little at a time instead of all at once.

Either decision will still require you to find a skilled cosmetic dentist if you want an attractive result.

Finding a Cosmetic Dentist

I’m going to suggest you go to mynewsmile.com. They have a “find a cosmetic dentist” link. You simply input your zip code and the distance you’re willing to travel. They’ll provide a list of qualified cosmetic dentists for you. The best part about this is they’ve carefully screened every single one of them for both technical knowledge as well as artistic ability in their work. No matter which dentist on their list you choose, they can give you a gorgeous smile.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.

Dentist Won’t Remove My Mercury Fillings

I have a mouthful of silver fillings. I learned a few weeks ago they are mostly made of mercury. This terrifies me because of the neurotoxicity. I went to my dentist and asked him to remove them and replace them with the white fillings. He refused because he said it’s too dangerous for me because I’ll inhale the mercury. If it’s too dangerous to take out, surely it’s too dangerous to keep in. What should I do?

Maya

Dear Maya,

Image left of silver amalgam fillings loaded with mercury. Image right: mercury-free composite fillings

It is understandable that you’re nervous about having a large amount of mercury in your mouth. There is a special procedure known as a sanitary amalgam removal which is designed to protect you from inhaling or swallowing any mercury.

However, it sounds like your dentist doesn’t know that procedure. It wouldn’t be safe for you to have him do the removal. If you are serious about removing them, your best option would be to locate a mercury-free dentist in your area. Almost all of them know how to do this procedure and already has the necessary equipment.

Mercury-free Fillings and Tooth Color

Before you get your white fillings, you want to think about your tooth color. The filling material can be made to match your teeth. However, the color is permanent. If you decide to whiten your teeth later, your natural tooth structure will whiten, but not the composite fillings.

That doesn’t bother some people at all. If you feel that way, then no problem. However, if it will bug you the simple solution is the get your teeth bleached before you switch out your fillings. You can do that two different ways.

Your first option is to have your dentist make you custom fitted trays and provide you with professional strength whitening gel. This will allow you to whiten at home as well as control the level of whitening.

If you want it to work faster, so you can get your fillings removed sooner, you can look at Zoom Whitening. This is an in-office procedure which gets your teeth very white in just one appointment.

This blog is brought to you by New Orleans Dentist Dr. Duane Delaune.