How do I dilute teeth whitening gel I got for free?

I am going to be in my friend’s wedding in September. I am wearing Invisalign. I love the aligners because they are so clear, but my teeth are not white. My cousin get free take home whitening gel from her dentist. She has more than she can use before the expiration date so she is giving some of it away. She gave me 4 tubes and told me that I probably can get a month worth of whitening from the tubes. So I am going to do the whitening myself at home. I wear Invisalign so I figure that the trays can serve a dual purpose. I wore the trays with the gel in them for the past few nights. Now I am wondering if the gel is too strong because my gums are burning. Is there any way to dilute the gel? How do it? Thanks. Darcy

Darcy – It is exciting to be able to get free teeth-whitening gel that works! But Invisalign aligners are made specifically to align your teeth, not to whiten them. They are not designed to support teeth bleaching gel. The structure of bleaching trays is different from teeth aligning trays. You may ruin your Invisalign aligners and damage your gums if you continue to put bleaching gel in the trays. Teeth bleaching trays are designed to keep bleaching gel sealed against your teeth and away from your gums. It is best to use customized trays.

Dentists provide bleaching gel based on the causes of stains in a patient’s teeth, the level of sensitivity the bleaching gel may cause for the patient, and the fact that custom bleaching trays are provided. A teeth whitening system that works for one patient may not work for another patient. If the bleaching gel is too strong for your teeth, you are unable to dilute it. You may need a get that has a lower concentration of the bleaching agent. But the problem may be due to using Invisalign aligners instead of custom teeth-whitening trays.

Although you received free teeth-whitening gel from your cousin, it might not be the best option for you. If you want your teeth whitened, speak with your dentist about your options for receiving it during your Invisalign treatment. It’s the safest way to get it done.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Did I get ripped off by an affordable dentist?

I did a lot of research to find an affordable dentist. My dental insurance expired in March because my hours were cut to part-time work. I don’t mind paying out of pocket but I guess this is not at all what I was expecting. When I got to the dentist I needed digital x-rays. The hygienist told me that it looks like I have gum disease, so I needed a deep cleaning. The dentist found 2 teeth that he says needs porcelain inlays, and I have a follow up appointment in 2 weeks. I am beginning to wonder if this dentist is trying to line her pockets a little thicker. What about this dental visit says this is really an affordable dentist? Last night I started thinking about switching dentists but I am concerned that the new dentist will want to repeat some of the same work I had done already and it will cost me even more money. Should I have left the office when they told me I needed a deep cleaning?  Thanks Rozalia


There are many variables in the cost of dental care, including the cost of living and operating a business in a certain area, an individual dentist’s fees, and how that dentist makes treatment affordable. Affordability may be offered in the form of lower fees for treatment, but it can also be provided through payment plans or financing.

A deep dental cleaning is not uncommon. A buildup of tartar, inflamed gums, or periodontal disease will prompt a conscientious hygienist to complete a deep cleaning. Scaling and root planing are completed to ensure that plaque beneath your gumline is removed. This will help your gum tissue adhere to your tooth roots and ensure your teeth are stable. Otherwise, your teeth can loosen. Although you should have been given a reason for the deep periodontal cleaning, ask your dental hygienist why he or she thought it was necessary.

X-rays are a routine part of ensuring your teeth and the cavities of your mouth are in good condition. A panoramic x-ray examines your teeth, mouth, and jaw. It is taken every few years. Bite-wing x-rays assist your dentist with early detection of cavities, and they are taken yearly.

Depending on the previous dates of your dental cleanings and x-rays, the dental care you received was likely routine. Ask your dentist why she is recommending porcelain inlays instead of composite fillings. Carefully consider the reason inlays are recommended. In the long term, they may last longer than fillings in the teeth would.

You will likely receive reasonable explanations for the diagnosis and treatment. If you decide to switch to a new dentist, ask for fee estimates, and inquire about what that particular practice does to make dentistry affordable for its patients.


This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Is sedation dentistry like anesthesia?

Is sedation dentistry like anesthesia during outpatient surgery? I’ve received a few postcards from new dentists in the area who do sedation. My dentist doesn’t offer it at all, but I am not attached to him because I’ve only been going to the practice for a year. I like him, but I feel no commitment. I think my anxiety at the dentist would be much better if I got sedation so I am thinking of making the switch. Before I get talked into it I would just like more information on how it works. Is sedation like anesthesia? Thanks Kerry


The main difference between sedation dentistry and general anesthesia is that with sedation dentistry you are awake. There are different levels of the treatment, depending on your level of anxiety. A sedation dentist may offer some or all of the levels.

The levels of sedation are nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, and IV sedation. The treatment makes you drowsy. Some patients actually fall asleep through the dental procedure, including tooth extractions, root canal treatment, dental crowns, or whatever treatment they are receiving. Since you won’t be unconscious, you will be able to respond to your dentist’s questions and commands throughout your procedure.

Sedation dentistry relieves a lot of anxiety before, during, and after your dental procedure. Often just the anticipation of a dental appointment can make you nervous. Your sedation dentist will speak with you about the cause of your anxiety. He or she will match your anxiety level with the procedure being done and determine whether you need nitrous oxide, oral conscious sedation, or IV sedation.

After your dental appointment, you will still be drowsy. Like outpatient surgery, you will need transportation and need to take the rest of the day off.

We recommend that you visit at least two sedation dentists. The levels of sedation offered can vary, so you may want to find a dentist who offers at least two levels. Before you receive any dental treatment with sedation, the dentist will review your medical history to ensure you are a candidate for it. Ensure you are comfortable with the dentist first before you receive sedation. Your trust in his or her qualifications will give you confidence in the dentist during your appointment.


This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.