Is it okay to use free teeth whitening on my porcelain veneers?

Is it okay to use free teeth whitening on my porcelain veneers? I don’t want to put anything on them that could mess up the veneers. I smoke a lot and thought I would be able to stop smoking by now. This is the 3rd year I’ve had veneers and they are starting to pick up stains. Instead of paying to have my dentist whiten them I wonder if I can do it myself. I found a promotion for a free teeth whitening kit as a starter and I plan on cancelling the subscription before my credit card gets charged for an ongoing supply. Brooke


Your porcelain veneers can neither be whitened with free teeth whitening nor any other type of teeth whitening.

An Alternative to Teeth Whitening for Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are colorfast and bleaching them won’t remove the stains. They are also virtually stain resistant, but if they are getting stained by smoking, there are some things you should and should not do:

  • Avoid brushing your veneers with abrasive, whitening toothpaste. The toothpaste can crack the glaze on your veneers and cause them to stain more easily.
  • Only have your teeth cleaned by a dentist and dental hygienist who are specifically trained in caring for and cleaning porcelain veneers. There are dental tools specifically designed to be gentle on veneers and keep the glaze intact.
  • Keep your regularly scheduled appointments for dental cleanings and exams.
  • Ask your cosmetic dentist to polish surface stains off your veneers.

Even on natural teeth, free teeth whitening might not be effective. The contents of the bleaching gel determine if it will clean your teeth. Carbamide peroxide is the whitening agent in professional-strength bleaching gel. In order to get predictable results, teeth whitening should be supervised by a dentist.

Only ask a trained cosmetic dentist for help removing stains from your porcelain veneers. Don’t use your free teeth whitening on them.

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

Need an affordable dentist for new crowns for my front teeth

Normally I wouldn’t be asking for an affordable dentist to get crowns on my front teeth. The problem is that my crowns are fairly new. I got them in 2015. I went to a cosmetic dentist who showed me lots of pictures and really seemed to know what he was doing. The problems started when I tried in the temporary crowns and they looked too big. Maybe too thick is the correct word. They clearly sit too far forward from my natural teeth. My natural teeth aren’t that thick at all. The dentist bonded on the crowns without me knowing that it was permanent. This makes the crowns almost look like buck teeth. They uncomfortably touch the back of my lips and my profile in pictures is different than it used to be. My lips poke out slightly. People who didn’t know me before I got the crowns probably can’t tell unless they really look at my smile. My friends who knew my smile before notice that something is different. I don’t get into the subject of getting new crowns and they ended up thicker than the dentist and I agreed on. It goes without saying that this dentist isn’t going to replace my crowns. I don’t trust him. I want to replace the crowns. My dental insurance isn’t going to provide benefits for them because they crowns are barely 2 yrs old. So that brings be to the question of how can I find an affordable dentist to replace the crowns on my front teeth? Thanks for your help. Camila

Camila – We sympathize with your disappointment in your crowns. It’s clear that the dentist you visited was a cosmetic dentist in name only. We also understand your desire to find an affordable dentist to restore your smile since you won’t receive insurance benefits. Still, insist on an experienced cosmetic dentist to replace your crowns. There are several reasons why.

  • Care must be taken to remove the existing crowns. If your crowns were bonded to your natural teeth, they must be carefully removed. A cosmetic dentist will use diamond burs to carefully grind the crowns away from your natural teeth without damaging your teeth. Aggressive removal can cause serious damage your natural teeth.
  • Precision is required to match your natural teeth. The dentist who originally placed your crowns either isn’t interested in precision or doesn’t know how to achieve it. A trained cosmetic dentist is an artist who is usually more concerned about symmetry and aesthetics than his or her patients. Your crowns can perfectly match your natural teeth.
  • A great cosmetic dentist is also a great communicator. You have the right to be told when a restoration is bonded to your teeth. Your new dentist will ensure that the crowns are exactly what you want before they are bonded. You should insist on approving the look and feel of your smile before crowns are bonded to your teeth.

How to Find an Affordable Dentist

  • Make quality—not cost—your priority. Find several experienced cosmetic dentists in your area. Ask friends or family members for recommendations.
  • Check each dentist’s website for his or her training and credentials.  A dentist should be serious about continuing education to stay current with the latest tools and techniques that will give you a winning smile.
  • On each cosmetic dentist’s website, look for before-and-after photos of actual patients who have received crowns from the dentist. Otherwise, ask to see photos during a consultation.
  • Schedule consultations with at least two dentists to discuss your options and the cost.
  • Ask each affordable dentist how he or she can work with your budget to replace your crowns. Don’t insist on a bargain. “Affordable” can mean that you will be able to pay for services through a payment plan or financing.

If you are uneasy about any dentist’s ability or chairside manner, move on to the next affordable dentist. Best wishes!

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

How long should a dental cleaning take and why aren’t they sedating me?

I want to know why my dentist isn’t sedating me. My past 2 dental cleanings took almost 2 hours. The first time it took so long that my underarms were soaked and my shirt was wet. It was the craziest experience. My gums were bleeding and when the hygienist rinsed my mouth and told me to suck on that straw thing to dry my mouth, I almost gagged. So did she! I heard her make a gagging sound. At the end of the appointment she and the dentist told me I have gum disease so I have to floss more often and I need to go back more often to get my teeth cleaned. I’ll do whatever it takes to get rid of gum disease but what is taking so long with these cleanings? I only have 23 teeth, so what is the problem people? Last week I went back again and this 2nd appointment took almost 2 hours again. This time neither of us gagged. Maybe that’s improvement… Is the time involved normal? And with all of this bloody mess and my soaked underarms after the appointment why are they not sedating me? How long should a dental cleaning take? Thanks. Geoff

Geoff – Your concern about the length of your dental cleanings and your level of anxiety without sedation are understandable. And your dentist should provide you with the answers.

Average Time for a Dental Cleaning

A dental cleaning for a patient who has good oral health and maintains excellent oral hygiene at home takes about 30 to 40 minutes. The time can vary, depending on the condition of your teeth and the hygienist’s speed. Keep in mind that when you receive a dental cleaning, more is involved than just cleaning and polishing your teeth:

  • X-rays are taken.
  • Your hygienist will check the space between your teeth and gums for signs of periodontal (gum) disease.
  • Your dentist will also need to examine your teeth, gums, tongue, and other oral cavities to ensure they are healthy and disease free.

The “extras” are necessary to help you maintain good oral hygiene. And they naturally add more time to your dental visit. But let’s discuss what might be taking your appointment so long and why you aren’t being sedated.

What’s Taking So Long?

So what’s affecting the time it takes to clean your teeth? Several factors might be involved:

  • The condition of your teeth – A professional dental cleaning removes plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth. The amount of plaque and tartar buildup is related to how often you brush and floss your teeth. The more you floss between your teeth, the less plaque and tartar there will be. Stains can develop from everyday eating and drinking, but if you smoke, or if you are a heavy coffee or tea drinker, your teeth will have more stains.
  • Periodontal (gum) disease – When the pocket, or space between each tooth and the surrounding gum tissue, is infected, the gum tissue pulls away from your teeth. Deep periodontal pockets need to be thoroughly cleaned to get rid of gum disease. This process, scaling and root planing, is a deeper cleaning than normal and takes more time. In cases of severe periodontal disease, a specialist (periodontist) might be needed.
  • Your anxiety level – It takes a little more time and patience to provide dental care for anxious patients. If your dentist and hygienist know you’re anxious, they will work at a slower pace to ensure your comfort and to take time to explain what’s being done throughout the dental procedure. Some dental professionals do this regardless of a patient’s anxiety level. Sedation can help make dental cleanings easier for you.

Why Aren’t You Being Sedated for Your Dental Cleanings?

Perhaps your dentist and hygienist haven’t noticed your sweaty armpits. Maybe it’s not that noticeable to them, or maybe they need to be more observant. Have you explained how nervous you’re getting with the lengthy dental cleaning appointments?

Your periodontal disease needs to be well controlled, so it’s time to let your hygienist and dentist know just how much the cleaning appointments are affecting you. Ask for sedation so you won’t start to dread your appointments—and possibly start skipping a few.

Your dentist should work with you to provide a level of sedation that matches your anxiety and the length of your dental appointments. If he or she isn’t responsive enough to your anxiety, it might be time to look for another sedation dentist.

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