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?

Karyn

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.