Can I start my free teeth whitening while I’m wearing braces?

Can I start teeth whitening while I am wearing braces? We moved from Georgia last month and I have already found a new orthodontist. Now I am working on getting a new general dentist. I found a few dentists from postcards sent to my home as a new resident in the community. Both dentists offer free teeth whitening if you keep your regular exam and cleaning appointments. I think it would be great to have my teeth white when the braces come off. I am noticing some spots on my teeth anyway, so why not? My husband told me that I should check first instead of signing up for something that I can’t use. I see that your office offers free teeth whitening too. Can I start it while I’m wearing braces? Thanks. Brenda Leigh

Brenda Leigh – When a dentist offers free teeth whitening, you will likely receive customized bleaching trays and bleaching gel. The trays are made based on impressions of your teeth. But you’re wearing braces, so to make the trays, you’re braces would have to be removed, and you wouldn’t be able to whiten your teeth with the braces on. So you do need to wait until your orthodontic treatment is over.

Even people who wear removable braces such as Invisalign need to wait until treatment is completed before whitening their teeth. Invisalign trays are not made for whitening teeth. The trays, as well as your teeth and gums can be harmed by using Invisalign in ways for which they were not designed.

This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t select a dentist who offers free teeth whitening. Choose a dentist based on his or her experience and training, as well as your oral health needs. After you find a qualified dentist who offers free teeth whitening, explain your interest in the treatment. The dentist is probably willing to give it to you after your orthodontic treatment is completed.

It’s easy to call two or three dental offices first and explain your situation. Have a consultation at each office to meet the staff and dentist. It will help you determine if you will be comfortable with the practice. After your braces are permanently removed and your teeth are cleaned, you can enjoy a bright smile.


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

Will sedation dentistry interfere with my PTSD medication?

I take medication for stress from some traumatic events I experienced during childhood. During the past 3 years, I have been able to cope with therapy and medication. Situations that can potentially make me nervous are heightened because I am predisposed to anxiety. Dental appointments are a real challenge for me. I manage to get through the x-rays and exams. Now I need a root canal and crown and the thought of it is making me nauseous. My dentist mentioned sedation. The office has a list of my current medications. Although he says everything will be okay, I am afraid that there might be a conflict between the sedation from the dentist and my PTSD medication. Should I be concerned? – Jen

Jen – If you are taking any medication, you should always be concerned about how it will interact with other medications. The mild anti-anxiety medication given for sedation dentistry is typically compatible with most medication. If your dentist has a list of your current medications, he can double-check for contraindications and you receive a compatible medication.

Sedation dentistry helps you relax so you won’t be focused on what’s happening during your dental appointment. Many patients find that it also dulls their sensitivity to pain.

When you speak with your dentist again, talk to him about your anxiety disorder. Let him know your concerns about sedation dentistry, as well as what can be done to increase your comfort level during the appointment. Some patients are more relaxed when they are notified before a dentist or a staff member enters the room, instead of being quietly approached from behind.

Communication through each step of the treatment process can also help. It might be helpful if you are told in advance what will happen during treatment and why, as well as what you can expect in terms of sounds and sensations.

Another way to increase your comfort level during sedation dentistry is to ask your dentist the name of the medication you will be given to help you relax. Speak with your medical doctor or pharmacist about the medication and any possible contraindication with your current medication. You can also do your own research on any contraindications with the medication.

Best wishes for an anxiety-free dental appointment and a healthy smile.

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


Can’t afford a dental bill but I need a root canal

Last month I had a cavity filled and I had to pay for it out of pocket. I saw a dentist in a hurry because I had a toothache that was getting worse. I thought something was stuck between my last two top right molars because it didn’t hurt until 2 days after I ate popcorn. The pain kept getting worse. I was able to floss and pick until a piece of popcorn kernel came out but my tooth kept hurting. There was nothing I could do but get to a dentist fast. He said I had a cavity and the popcorn kernel probably irritated it. He filled the cavity the next day and I had to pay for it out of pocket because my insurance only covers cleanings and exams. The problem is that the same tooth has started hurting again. Now I think I need a root canal and I cannot afford another dental bill. I just finished paying for the filling and it still hurts. Now I am not so sure that there really was a cavity. How do I get a root canal if I can’t afford another dental bill? – Dexter


Dexter – Although you need an affordable dentist, take a moment to consider the potential seriousness of the condition of your tooth. If you do need a root canal treatment for your tooth, it is a time-sensitive situation. If it is left untreated, your dental expenses—and possibly medical expenses—can escalate quickly.

A root canal treatment removes infection from a tooth. An untreated infection can affect other teeth, your jawbone, and in serious cases, spread into your bloodstream. A progressive dental infection can also become a medical problem. So consider the consequences of not treating the tooth.

You may not need a root canal treatment. Your tooth needs to be x-rayed and examined to find out the cause of your pain. It is possible that there is tooth decay remaining that was not removed. Have the tooth examined again. You may want to receive an examination from a different dentist, as a second opinion. Contact a few dental offices first to find out the cost of root canal treatment without dental insurance.

Another option is to find a new dental insurance plan. You might be able to find a plan that provides more coverage. Find out how soon you can start using benefits for different services, including root canal treatment. Even if a new insurance plan has a higher monthly premium than your current plan, it will probably be less expensive than having to pay out-of-pocket for root canal treatment. If you do need the treatment, your tooth will need to be protected with a dental crown, or which you will incur additional expense.

For each dental office you contact, find out what can be done to make treatment affordable for you. Most dental offices offer some type of financing or payment plans that allow you to pay for treatment based on your budget.

The condition of your tooth is a dental emergency. Don’t put it off. Find a skilled, but affordable dentist who can help.


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