Tag Archives: New Orleans teeth whitening

luster premium home whitening

I’m considering whitening my teeth. I know a lot of dentists tout the Zoom Whitening because it has the light that speeds up results. I noticed that the Luster Premium Home Whitening kit has the same light. It’s significantly less money than my dentist charges for Zoom. Do you know if they get similar results?


Dear Cath,

Patient using Zoom Whitening light
Zoom Whitening Light

I’ll address the light first. Yes, with Zoom Whitening the light activates the gel and allows you to meet your maximum whiteness in just one appointment.

The light from the Luster Premium kit is too weak to have any effect. My guess it is there to associate it with Zoom and help patients feel like it is making a difference.

The main whitening ingredient in this kit is also less than legitimate. This is a pigment in their SuperWhitener, Zinc Oxide. What it does is stick to the teeth to make them appear whiter. Unfortunately, that effect is temporary and will fade away.

Sadly, the consumer won’t realize that. They’ll see the whiter teeth in the beginning and feel like it is working. Then, continue purchasing the product thinking they “re-stained” their teeth.

Best Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

If you are after whitening your teeth quickly, than Zoom is the standard. It works. However, it is pricier than other options. If the price tag is what’s bothering you, then it is more affordable to do traditional teeth whitening through your dentist.

He’ll custom design trays for your teeth and provide you with professional strength whitening gel. You’ll place the gel in the trays and wear them for a minimum period of time every day at your convenience at home.

These can also help you achieve your maximum whitening potential. It will just take a few weeks rather than one appointment. Though it does have the benefit of you getting to control the level of whitening. With Zoom, you get the maximum. Period. With at-home whitening, once you achieve the level you want, you simply stop wearing the trays and gel.

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

Can I bleach my non-veneered teeth?

I had four porcelain veneers done several years ago. They look fine, but the teeth next to them have stained a bit and it looks weird having white teeth and not white teeth when I smile. I was thinking of getting Crest Whitestrips but don’t want to hurt the veneers. Would it be safe?


Dear Mia,

custom-fitted teeth whitening trays

Crest Whitestrips are safe for your teeth and they will whiten them some, but very slowly. They only cover a few teeth so to get the teeth you need whitened, you’ll need to cut them and try to fit them on those teeth.

I wouldn’t use other over-the-counter products. They’re not as safe. Some have citric acid and some have things which will etch the teeth to make the look whiter. Unfortunately, they also cause micro scratches on your teeth which will cause them to pick up stains.

Consider Professional Teeth Whitening

If you want to whiten them faster, you may want to consider professional teeth whitening with a dentist. They can get all the teeth you want without any damage to your porcelain veneers.

Another option would be to add porcelain veneers to the teeth which are exposed when you smile. This way you wouldn’t have to constantly worry about the discrepancy in color.

In fact, originally, your cosmetic dentist should have suggested to cover all your teeth visible when you smile. For most smiles, that would mean 6-8 veneers. Some wide smiles require up to ten.

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

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.

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.

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.

Teeth Whitening with a Cavity?

Today I was told I have a cavity. My first cavity. I was shocked. Before I recovered from that golden news nugget, I received a second shock. My dentist said if I want to get my teeth whitened, I should do it now before I fill my cavity. Once the filling is done, the color can’t be changed. I didn’t even realize I needed teeth whitening until he said something. Now, when I look in the mirror I see yellow everywhere! But, I looked it up and while he’s right that the color can’t be changed, I also read that you shouldn’t have your teeth whitened when you have a cavity. So…which is it?

Hannah H. – Montana


You’re in one of those catch-22 situations. There is evidence that your teeth are more sensitive to the whitening procedure with decay. The theory is because some of the enamel is weakened, it allows the whitening gel to get that much closer to the nerves.

There isn’t any evidence to support that teeth whitening worsens the cavity or weakens the enamel. The only real concern to having teeth whitening done while having decay is that of sensitivity. So, if you think you could handle that, there’s no real concern. If, however, the potential for sensitivity terrifies you there is another option, though it will admittedly it costs more.

You could fill the cavity, then get your teeth whitened. Then, re-do the filling to match the new color. That is very inconvenient and incurs unnecessary expenses, so it’s definitely not ideal. But, the inconvenience in time and added expense is yours to choose or reject. You may find the peace of mind to not fear additional sensitivity well worth any additional time or funds.

There’s not a right or wrong choice. No one will judge you as being weak if you choose to do the filling twice. And no one will think you foolish and cheap for doing the whitening first. It’s truly a matter of whatever your preference is.

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

Can I Substitute My Teeth Whitening Trays for My Retainer?

I lost my retainer. It’s almost Christmas time, so of course I have no money left whatsoever. I have my old teeth whitening trays. Can I use those as my retainer until after Christmas?

Ben – Kansas


Unfortunately, your teeth whitening trays are not a good substitute for your retainer. The whitening trays are soft and flexible, specifically designed not just to cover your teeth, but to be comfortable as well.

Your retainer, on the other hand, is made of solid, stiff material designed to keep your teeth locked into place. Your teeth will start shifting without it.  Depending on how long you’ve been wearing your retainer, they may not shift far. But, they will shift.

If I were in your place, I’d call your dentist and let him know what happened. They can likely work with you on payment for a new retainer.

Hopefully you’ll find it soon. If not, call your dentist.

I hope you have a great Christmas.

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

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!