A whiter brighter smile is one of the top ways people want to improve their teeth. Many people look for do-it-yourself whitening kits or even free teeth whitening.
But there are questions about how the bleaching gel will affect existing dental work. What results can you expect with free teeth whitening if you have dental implants?
What Can You Expect?
Dental implant crowns are usually made from porcelain or another material that is colorfast and doesn’t respond to attempts to whiten them. Crowns are stain resistant, but they can’t be penetrated by bleaching gel.
Sometimes, a dental lab can change the color of crowns, but the original color is baked in, so even if it can be changed, it the color would be darker, not lighter.
Depending on the position of your natural teeth in relation to the implant crowns, whitening your teeth may not be a problem. If your implants are toward the back of your mouth, people probably won’t notice that your natural teeth are much whiter.
It is possible to get your teeth as white as you want them and later replace the implant crowns to match them. But if the crowns are being replaced for cosmetic reasons only, your insurance company probably won’t offer any benefits toward the replacement, unless your implant crowns are old.
Before You Start the Whitening Process
Bottom line: You can whiten your teeth if you have dental implants, but only your natural teeth will whiten. You should consider the position of your natural teeth in relation to the implant crowns. The dental implant crowns will not whiten, and replacing them for a color match can be costly.
If you have received a free teeth whitening kit, check the contents of the bleaching gel. The most common whitening agent is carbamide peroxide. If your bleaching gel contains a different whitening agent, research it for safety. Also check online to see what other users say about the gel in your bleaching kit.
Your dentist can provide safe, predictable results. Speak with him or her about how teeth whitening can be made affordable for you.
I need sedation dentistry for dental implants. I’m wondering whether I should go to a prosthodontist, an oral surgeon, or a periodontist to place my dental implant. Do these specialists handle sedation dentistry differently? I’m not sure what the difference is between all of these specialists anyway. I normally see a general dentist and he’s a great guy, but I guess he won’t do the actual surgery when placing an implant. He says he always refers patients out to a specialist and that he only does the crown on top. He gave me three different referral sheets and told me I could go to anyone. I didn’t really look at them while I was in the office, but now that I’m home, I see that one specialist is a prosthodontist, another is an oral surgeon, and the last one is a periodontist. How do I know which one to choose, and will each of them be willing to give me sedation dentistry?
Great question! Basically, any dentist can do dental implant surgery. And dentists who provide oral surgery offer some level sedation. From a general dentist who just graduated from dental school to a specialist—all of them can place dental implants. But if you’re going to have extensive work done, you want an expert. Statistically speaking, the doctor’s level of training and experience is the most influential factor in the outcome of dental implants.
Even some general dentists have taken extensive post-graduate training in implantology and are highly qualified to place implants. But your dentist is referring you to a specialist. So how do you choose your specialist, and will he or she be willing to provide sedation dentistry?
Which Levels of Sedation Dentistry Will Be Offered?
Most general dentists often offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas). Specialists offer higher levels of sedation, including oral conscious sedation (anti-anxiety medication in pill form) and I.V. sedation. You can call each specialist’s office and ask what levels of sedation will be offered to you.
“Oral and maxillofacial surgery is the specialty of dentistry which includes the diagnosis, surgical and adjunctive treatment of diseases, injuries and defects involving both the functional and esthetic aspects of the hard and soft tissues of the oral and maxillofacial region.”
The ADA defines this area as:
“Periodontics is that specialty of dentistry which encompasses the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases of the supporting and surrounding tissues of the teeth or their substitutes and the maintenance of the health, function and esthetics of these structures and tissues.”
From the ADA:
“Prosthodontics is the dental specialty pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes.”
Which Specialist Should You Choose?
Regardless of which specialist you choose for dental implant surgery, each of them will offer adequate sedation dentistry to relax you and minimize your sensitivity to pain.
Oral surgeon – Oral surgeons are trained to surgically treat diseases, injuries, and defects. In other words, it’s their job to treat damage, trauma, and malfunction. This could include:
Wisdom teeth extraction
Dental implant placement
Periodontist – The periodontist description, mentions “teeth or their substitutes” and talks about maintaining health and function. Periodontists typically
Bone loss, including bone grafting
Prosthodontist – The description for prosthodontics says, “clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth.” Prosthodontics is an entire specialty for missing tooth replacements, ranging from dentures to dental implants.
We suggest that you review each dentist’s website to learn about his or her qualifications. Look for the following:
Years of experience
Credentials, including state board certification, fellowship, or mastership in dental implant organizations
Published works on implantology
Patient testimonials or reviews (some might be published on external sites)
Choose at least two specialists and schedule consultations with each. This gives you an opportunity to ask questions about dental implant placement, as well as your options for sedation dentistry.