Clorox for teeth whitening

I want to whiten my teeth fast. I know that traditional teeth whitening costs money and takes several weeks. I’d like it done faster. I was thinking if Clorox bleaches clothes, maybe it can bleach teeth too. If I put it on with a Q-tip, how fast will it work?


Deqr Margie,

Patient using Zoom Whitening light
Whitening your teeth in one appointment is easy with Zoom

While I appreciate your enthusiasm and creativity, this is a bad idea for two main reasons. First, Clorox bleach is a corrosive and will burn living tissue like your gums as well as eat away at the enamel on your teeth. Second, if it comes in contact with certain other chemicals, it will cause a toxic gas. That’s not something you want in your mouth.

If you’re after fast teeth whitening, there is a safe, healthy alternative. Find a dentist who offers Zoom whitening. This uses a special light, like the one pictured above. The purpose of the light is to activate the whitening gel. This can whiten your teeth in just one appointment.

Considerations With Zoom Whitening

With Zoom Whitening, your teeth will get as white as possible in that appointment. If you’re not interested in your teeth being their whitest and want a more subtle white, you’ll want to do traditional teeth whitening.

No matter which type of teeth whitening you choose, you need to be aware that it only works on natural tooth structure. That means, if you have a dental crown or a dental filling, they will not whiten along with your teeth.

That doesn’t mean you can’t whiten them, but rather those things will need to be replaced after your teeth are whitened. The good news is, a good cosmetic dentist can match any color, no matter what level of whiteness you choose.

If you have a crown on a front tooth, make sure your dentist gives you an all porcelain crown. They look much more natural than their metal based counterparts. Again, the dentist matters with this. Make sure your dentist is skilled and artistic. Look at their smile gallery to get an idea about what type of results to expect.

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

worried teeth whitening store damaged my teeth

I’d been considering teeth whitening for a while. My dentist is pretty pricey so I had been putting it off and slowly saving. I happened to notice a new teeth whitening shop in my mall when I was window shopping. I popped in and asked some questions.

What they offered sounded great. Their workers were trained and certified teeth whitening specialists and the cost was so much less I’d already saved enough. I asked them why it was cheaper and they said it’s because they’re not running an entire dental practice and focus on one treatment which lowers their cost.

I went the next day. I’m in absolute agony. My gums feel like they’re on fire. My teeth are dark where my fillings are so they look splotchy and my dental crown didn’t whiten at all. My smile looks ridiculous and I’m in pain. Did they damage my teeth?


Dear Karyn,

Patient using Zoom Whitening light

It’s likely true they have less overhead, but they should have invested a least a little more in some training for their employees. First, you should know there is no such thing as a “Certified Teeth Whitening Specialist”. My guess is that’s simply an internal term they use for their employee training.

If you had the procedure done in one day in the store than it was likely something like Zoom Whitening, which can be completed in one appointment.

Your gums are in pain because they neglected to protected them from the light which jump starts the whitening agents. A dentist would have placed a special coating on your gums so they’d be unaffected by the light. Without that, you get the equivalent of a severe sunburn on your gums.

To help you alleviate the pain, you can try some over the counter pain meds and salt water rinses. It won’t take it away completely, but it should take the edge off of it.

What Went Wrong

Your teeth aren’t damaged, but you will need some additional work. They should have informed you that teeth whitening only works on natural tooth structure. That’s why your teeth look splotchy and the crown is dark.

The only way to get them to match your teeth is to have them replaced. If your crown is visible, which it sounds like it is, make sure your dentist provides you with an all-porcelain crown. They look completely natural and can match your teeth exactly when done by a good cosmetic dentist.

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

Deciding between traditional & ultra-thin Veneers

I’m very excited about getting a smile makeover. I don’t want to go into this blind. At the moment, I’m trying to decide between traditional veneers and ultra-thin veneers. The only thing is, i keep reading that some people who get the ultra-thin veneers end up with a bulky smile, while others a beautiful one. I can’t figure out how ultra-thin veneers can create a bulky smile. How do I know which one to choose?


Dear Katherine,

porcelain veneer being held up by dental tool

It’s great that you are doing research. I’m a big believer in increasing our knowledge of everything we can. The only thing is you are researching the wrong thing.

The reason some cases of ultra thin veneers look wonderful and others don’t is the various skills of cosmetic dentists. An expert cosmetic dentist can make a beautiful smile out of both traditional and ultra-thin porcelain veneers. However, a so-so cosmetic dentist will make a lot of artistic errors.

You asked how ultra-thin veneers can look bulky. I can answer that. There is a particular brand of ultra-thin veneers which is highly marketed to inexperienced cosmetic dentists as being easy to place because no tooth prep is required. While it may not be required, it is sometimes necessary. Not every smile does well without any tooth preparation and ends up with that bulky look you read about.

Finding an Expert Cosmetic Dentist

If the key to a gorgeous smile makeover is the artistic and technical quality of the dentist, how does a patient go about finding the right one?

I’m sure you’ve seen the commercials that Staples did with an “easy button”. Here’s the easy button to finding a quality cosmetic dentist. Go to They have a link for finding a dentist. You input your zip code and how far you’re willing to travel. They provide a list of dentists for you.

Every dentist on their list has been pre-screened for both their technical knowledge as well as their artistic ability. They cannot just pay to get on the list. Anyone listed can give you beautiful results.

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

Composite filling hurts

I needed a dental filling on a back tooth. My dentist prefers placing the silver ones, but I didn’t really want that. I kind of pressured him to place the white one. Now I’m worried I made a mistake. The tooth hurts when I chew. I checked when I’m not eating and clenched, but it’s fine then. It only hurts when I’m biting down on something. Can this be fixed or am I stuck with it?


Dear Brooke,

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

When it comes to choosing your filling, you did a great job. Composite fillings are much better than their amalgam counterparts. However, you need a dentist who is able to to place them properly.

Bonding a composite filling has a totally different technique than their silver counterparts. If not done properly, it can cause the pain you are describing.

This can be eliminated by having the crown re-done the right way. There is also an occasional problem with small composite fillings. We aren’t sure what causes it, but we do know if the dentist uses a self-etching primer or a glass ionomer base under the filling you won’t have pain.

You Need a Mercury-free Dentist

If you want this to be done properly, you’ll need a dentist to understand the procedure. I’m sure your dentist did the best he knew how, but at this point you need someone else, unless he’s willing to learn.

Either you or your dentist can contact a mercury free dentist who understands the right technique and can re-do your filling properly.

I hope this helps. It’s always better to find a different dentist for a procedure you have your heart set on in which your dentist is trying to steer you away from.

Usually, it means they don’t know this procedure as well, but they don’t want to admit it.

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