Tag Archives: In-office Teeth Whitening

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?


Dear Lora,

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.

Teeth Whitening Using Lemons and Baking Soda

I’ve been considering whitening my teeth. I got a quote from my dentist. It wasn’t as expensive as I thought it would be, but then my friend told me she whitens her teeth with fresh lemon juice and baking soda. She has pretty teeth so I’m thinking it may actually work. Is there anything I need to be concerned about if I try this?


Dear Lacee,


I’m glad you wrote before you did this. Your friend may have a beautiful smile, but she won’t for long if she continues with this. Lemons contain citric acid which will eat away at her tooth enamel, leaving her vulnerable to decay. She’ll also start to develop sensitive teeth.

If you think about it, lemons and other citrus fruits are often one of the main ingredients in cleaning solutions. Hopefully, you can warn her and she can see her dentist and forestall as much damage as possible.

It’s great that you want to whiten your teeth, but it’s more important to do it safely. The tooth bleaching gel that a dentist uses is perfectly safe for your teeth. There are two different options for professional teeth whitening.

Professional Teeth Whitening Options

Your first option is to get custom made trays to do at-home teeth whitening. Your dentist will provide you with the trays and the gel you need. You choose when you wear it and for how long, with a minimum of twenty minutes.

Your second option is to have in-office whitening done. This is often done using the Zoom Whitening system. You go in for your appointment and when you come out, your teeth will be as white as possible.

One thing to be aware of is if you have any dental work, such as crowns, bridges, or fillings, they’ll have to be re-done if you want them to match the whitened teeth. Of course, that’s only necessary if they’re visible. If any crowns are on your front teeth, make sure your dentist gives you an all-porcelain crown. These look more natural.

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

Zoom Whitening and Marijuana Stains

Let’s say I’m a pot smoker (for medicinal reasons) and that my teeth have started turning a funky kind of color. I’ve been applying for jobs and just got called up for two interviews. I need to whiten my teeth quickly. I’ve been doing some research and know that Zoom is the fastest, but there doesn’t seem to be any information on how it does for marijuana stains. Would it be worth my time?


Dear Jess,

Zoom Whitening Logo

You’re right that Zoom is the fastest. However, like any teeth whitening, it’s most effective when you’ve recently had your teeth cleaned. Otherwise, the results can be splotchy. My suggestion is you get a checkup and cleaning done, if you haven’t recently, and then schedule a Zoom Whitening right after or the next day or so if you think your mouth will need a break.

As for the research on Zoom Whitening and marijuana stains, I’m sure you can imagine that not many companies want their brand associated as the “pot brand” so there hasn’t been much research done on it. However, with the increase in the legalization of medical marijuana, I’m sure there will be studies done without the worry of the negative publicity that would have brought in the past.

Truthfully, marijuana stains are fairly superficial and easy to remove if done regularly. That means excellent oral hygiene habits at home and faithful adherence to twice a year professional cleanings. If you stick to that after your whitening procedure you shouldn’t have any funky buildup such as you’re currently experiencing.

One thing to be aware of, and another reason to make sure you see your dentist regularly, is the increased chance of gum disease with smoking. Studies have shown that smokers, whether that be cigarette or marijuana, are more likely to develop gum disease than other patients. Most of that is likely due to the decrease in blood flow in your gums as a result of smoking.

Alternatives to Zoom Whitening for that Perfect Smile

If you’re wanting a bit more than just a whiter smile, there are some options. For a mini-smile makeover, you can combine Zoom Whitening or at-home teeth whitening with Invisalign or Six-Month Smiles to have both straighter teeth and a white smile.

However, if you’re wanting to go “all out” for a total smile makeover, I’d suggest you go with porcelain veneers. This can change anything and everything about your smile—it’s shape, size, color, even it’s character.

If you decide to go this route, it’s important you get not just a skilled cosmetic dentist but one with an artistic eye as well. The mynewsmile.com website recommends the best cosmetic dentists in each area. You’ll just have to input your zip code and the distance you’re willing to travel.

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

Can You Really Whiten Teeth with Charcoal?

My sister-in-law has been whitening her teeth using charcoal. She swears by it. I haven’t seen a ton of difference in her teeth, but I think there has been some. I have a couple of questions, though. One, does this actually work? Two, if so, is it safe?

Mandy L.

Dear Mandy,

An image of charcoal
Is Charcoal Safe for Teeth Whitening?

There are always fads in things like teeth whitening and wrinkle cream. This particular fad is because of a group of YouTubers. I worry about the impact this is having and how many people will end up ruining their teeth because of it. It’s important to ALWAYS consult your dentist before trying anything on your teeth. You obviously know to do that because you wrote the blog.

The first thing you should know is charcoal whitening is referring to activated charcoal and not the kind you use to grill your favorite burger. So, I wouldn’t run down to home depot to stock up thinking you’ll get a bright, white smile.

Here are some good things about activated charcoal:

  • It’s non-toxic, so ingesting it is perfectly safe. Some people swear by it as a detox agent.
  • It’s absorbent. This is one of the reasons people use it for detox. It also may be why it sometimes works for whitening. Certain stains can be soaked up.

Here is why you DON’T want to use charcoal for your teeth.

Everything has an abrasiveness rating. Charcoal is more abrasive than toothpaste. It’s so abrasive that it can scratch your enamel. That will lead to your teeth picking up more stains, which is counterproductive.

Safe and Effective Options to Whiten Your Teeth

If you want to do something without a dentist, those over-the-counter teeth whitening strips, such as Crest, actually do work. There are some downsides.

1. They’re not as strong as professional teeth whitening, so you have to use quite a few boxes to get the effects you can get with a dentist. With the number of boxes you’d have to purchase to get your teeth really white, you’re likely going to end up spending more money instead of saving money.

2. It only covers a few teeth (I think about six). Most people have a much wider smile than six teeth.

If you want to whiten all of your teeth at the same time with professional strength teeth whitening gel, you can do teeth whitening through your dentist. It’s still possible to do it in the privacy of your own home during a time which is convenient for you. Just tell him you want whitening trays for at-home whitening.

Finally, you can have all your teeth as white as they can possibly get in just one appointment with Zoom Whitening. This is done in-office, but usually only takes about an hour. Most offices use Zoom Whitening for this procedure, but there are other brands as well.

If You Want to do More than Whitening

If there are other things you’d love to change about your smile, porcelain veneers can give you a total smile makeover. With a skilled cosmetic dentist, they can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth all in one swoop.

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