Category Archives: Teeth whitening

3 Reasons Why Whitening Might Be Bad for Your Teeth

Whiter teeth can make your smile look more youthful and enhance your facial appearance. But in some cases, teeth whitening attempts can do more harm than good.

1. Gum Disease and Cavities

If your gums bleed or are inflamed or irritated, teeth whitening will make matters worse. The bleaching agent will further irritate your gums and cause pain. Gum disease needs to be treated and controlled before bleaching your teeth. Also, bleaching gel will penetrate through cavities and increase sensitivity in your teeth.

2. Challenges of Charcoal for Whitening Teeth

Researchers at the Creighton University School of Dentistry concluded that charcoal toothpaste is harsh on tooth enamel and can cause premature wearing and tooth decay. Laboratory students observed that charcoal toothpaste caused discoloration and made teeth look yellow or gray.

3. Hydrogen Peroxide Hype

Hydrogen peroxide can whiten teeth, but it can be harmful to your oral health. Some people are tempted to purchase the most potent solution available to brighten their teeth. Studies show that high concentrations of hydrogen peroxide can burn your gums and oral tissue and break down tooth enamel. And if you ingest high-powered peroxide, it releases dangerous levels of oxygen in your bloodstream.

Long-term use of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (low strength) can kill beneficial microbes in your mouth and cause microorganisms, including candida albicans (yeast), to thrive.

What Are the Alternatives?

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Dentist-supervised whitening is safe

If in-office whitening from your dentist isn’t within your budget, consider the following alternatives:

  • Take-home whitening from your dentist is effective.
  • Keep your dental exam and cleaning appointments. Often, your dental hygienist can get tough surface stains off your teeth.
  • Limit things that cause tooth stains, including smoking and drinking coffee, soda, wine, and dark juices.
  • Ask your dentist how whitening treatment can be made affordable for you. Some dentists offer free whitening for patients who keep their exam and cleaning appointments.

This post is sponsored by Miranda Lacy, DDS of Plano, TX.

Teeth Whitening Gel or Baking Soda to Brighten Your Dull Veneers?

Are you thinking about using teeth whitening or baking soda to brighten your porcelain veneers? What you use to clean your veneers can maximize—or minimize—their lifespan.

The Properties of Porcelain Veneers

Well-made porcelain veneers replicate tooth enamel. Although porcelain beautifully mimics enamel, the properties of porcelain are different. The dental ceramics used to make veneers are harder than tooth enamel. And veneers are stain resistant. So how can you whiten them?

Teeth Whitening

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Teeth-whitening treatments won’t brighten porcelain veneers

Professional bleaching gel is made of carbamide peroxide, which penetrates through tooth enamel into the dentin in teeth. The gel lightens the natural pigmentation in your teeth. But porcelain veneers are colorfast—teeth whitening won’t change their color.

Baking Soda or Teeth-Whitening Toothpaste?

Powdered baking soda is abrasive. If used for an extended period, it can scratch tooth enamel or the surface of porcelain veneers. Additionally, most types of toothpaste—including those with teeth whitening properties—are too abrasive to use for an extended period on cosmetic dental work. At the margin of your gumline and the veneers, abrasive pastes can wear away the composite bonding that secures the veneers to your teeth.

Many advanced cosmetic dentists recommend low-abrasion toothpaste for any cosmetic work, including porcelain veneers. Supersmile® toothpaste is gentle on teeth and cosmetic work.

Bottom line: Don’t use powdered baking soda or teeth-whitening gels or pastes on your porcelain veneers. Long-term use will create scratches that attract stains. Use a low-abrasion brand of toothpaste that is recommended by your cosmetic dentist.

If Your Porcelain Veneers Are Dull or Stained

If porcelain veneers are stain resistant, why do yours look dull? Several factors can cause veneers to look dark and detract from your smile, including:

  • Bacteria leaking behind the cosmetic work
  • Excess dental cement that your dentist didn’t thoroughly remove when bonding the veneers to your teeth
  • Damage that results when a hygienist uses dental instruments or chemicals that work well on tooth enamel but not on veneers

It’s best to determine the cause of your dull or stained veneers. Teeth whitening gels or pastes won’t help. You can schedule an appointment for an exam with an advanced cosmetic dentist. Your cosmetic dentist might be able to polish your veneers and enhance their gloss. He or she will explain your options.

Miranda Lacy, DDS, a female dentist in Plano, TX, sponsors this post.

3 Surprising Ways Your Toothbrush Can Affect the Brightness of Your Smile

Teeth whitening is an easy way to make you and your smile look younger. Although your teeth get stained and darken over time, regularly brushing them will help remove surface stains and prevent a buildup of discoloration. But does your toothbrush matter?

1. Lifespan of a Toothbrush

Photo of a yellow toothbrush with toothpaste being applied to it; for information on free teeth whitening in Plano, TX

The lifespan of a toothbrush is three to four months. If you haven’t switched your toothbrush in a year, your brushing might be in vain. And the brush won’t make your teeth any whiter. Scattered, worn bristles aren’t doing the job. Settle the issue by keeping a few toothbrushes on hand so you can switch to a new one when the current one is worn. Can’t remember to switch to a new brush? Make a note in your calendar—hardcopy, phone, tablet, or iPad.

2. Hard or Soft?

Is a hard toothbrush more effective at removing surface stains from your teeth? That might seem logical, but below are a few facts:

  • Hard and medium bristles can promote gum recession.
  • Exposed tooth roots from gums that recede will make your teeth more sensitive to heat and cold.
  • A soft-bristled brush with long, angled bristles can easily clean between each tooth. It will be effective without harming your gum tissue.

3. Manual or Electric?

The American Dental Association reports that manual and electric toothbrushes are equally effective. Does this mean that your loved one needs no longer needs to gift you with an electric brush? An electric toothbrush has several advantages.

  • If you have dexterity issues, lack the motivation to brush properly, or don’t brush long enough, an electric toothbrush can help. Many electric brushes have a two-minute timer.
  • Just hold the brush and move it along the front and back of each tooth.
  • Don’t brush aggressively. Let the toothbrush do the work.

It’s all about you

Often, the brightness of your smile is related to the effort you put into maintaining good oral health. Brush your teeth twice daily. If you want a bright smile—even if you received professional teeth whitening—there is no substitute for brushing your teeth. Floss between your teeth to remove food debris that can lead to a buildup of plaque and discoloration.

In some cases medication or medical issues can change tooth color. A cosmetic dentist can help improve your smile.

If you’re doing all you can keep your teeth clean, but some stains remain, ask your dentist if professional teeth whitening is right for you. It can break down stains beneath the enamel and will give your teeth the sparkle you want.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy of Plano, TX. She provides free teeth whitening to patients who keep their dental cleaning and exam appointments.

5 Cheap Ways to Whiten Your Teeth and What to Expect

There are plenty of advantages to whitening your teeth. When it’s done safely, you really can’t go wrong. Just some of the benefits include:

  • Making your smile look younger
  • Improving your social life
  • Creating a good first impression
  • Helping you feel more confident

Cheap Paths to a Brighter Smile

Of course, you can get your teeth whitened by your dentist, but are there less expensive ways that work? Let’s review five common ways people brighten their smile, and what you can expect.

1. Whitening toothpaste

There are many brands of whitening toothpaste. Some of them remove surface stains on your teeth. Many of them are abrasive and can scratch your tooth enamel. You’ll receive minimal results—if any—and if stains are trapped deep in your teeth, you probably won’t notice a difference with whitening toothpaste.

2. Whitening strips

Some strips will provide decent results depending on the strength of the peroxide in them. The higher the percentage of peroxide, the whiter your teeth will get. Remember not to overdo it. And keep the bleaching gel away from your gums.

3. Over-the-counter bleaching kit

The success of over-the-counter kits depends on the contents of the bleaching gel. Carbamide peroxide is the most effective bleaching agent. Bleaching trays need to fit well to keep the gel in contact with your teeth so it can penetrate them and break down stains. The gel in most kits is less than half the strength of what dentists offer, so it will take more whitening sessions to brighten your teeth.

4. Baking soda

Baking soda can help with minor stains, but it is also abrasive to your tooth enamel. You shouldn’t use it for an extended period. And if you have composite bonding on your teeth or other types of dental restorations, you shouldn’t use it at all.

5. Free teeth whitening

Teeth whitening makes your smile look younger

Yep – free teeth whitening. Did you know that some dentists offer it if you keep up with your regularly scheduled appointments for cleaning and exams? You will receive custom bleaching trays and professional-strength gel. The results? A dynamic smile.

This post is sponsored by Miranda Lacy DDS, a female dentist in Plano, TX who offers free teeth whitening.

Teeth whitening isn’t helping the white spots left after braces

I got my braces off in late February. I’ve been waiting to see how the color of my teeth would turn out. They are a mix of beige and white. There are white spots in most of the places where the brackets were on my teeth. This is really embarrassing. I kept telling people that my braces would be off soon. So everyone is looking at my teeth and they are spotted! I am using free whitening strips that my sister got from her dentist but they are not helping. What should I do now? – Charleigh

Charleigh,

The issue you’re having with white spots on your teeth after braces is common, but should you try to treat the stains yourself? Consider a few facts.

What Causes Stains on Teeth after Braces?

Stains on teeth after braces are often a result of a process called decalcification.

  • Decalcification starts with dental plaque. If you don’t maintain diligent oral hygiene each day, bacteria will cling to your teeth and result in a buildup of sticky dental plaque.
  • As you eat food, the bacteria will feed off of the sugar in food and produce more bacteria.
  • An acidic reaction from the bacteria gradually dissolves your tooth enamel.
  • The decalcification of your tooth enamel leaves a white spot that, if left untreated, will weaken the enamel and create a cavity. The cavity will continue to spread until it is treated.

Reasons the Free Teeth Whitening Gel Isn’t Working

Decalcification is a result of bacteria and decay. It’s not a stain that teeth whitening can remove.

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Teeth whitening might not the be answer for white spots on teeth
  • If there is sufficient carbamide peroxide (bleaching agent) in whitening gel, your natural teeth will be whitened, but the spots from decalcification will remain.
  • Remember that the white spots on your teeth are the beginning stages of a cavity. Teeth whitening gel can penetrate the area and create sensitivity.
  • Bleaching your teeth might make the stains even more noticeable.

What’s the Solution?

  • An examination is needed – It’s best to have your teeth examined by a dentist. He or she will examine them, determine the cause of the stains, and recommend treatment.
  • Cavities should be treated – The decalcification and any cavities in your teeth will need to be treated before you receive treatment to brighten your teeth.
  • Dental bonding can help – Although bleaching your teeth might be not the solution for the white spots, dental bonding can help. A cosmetic dentist can blend shades of dental composite to match the shade of your natural teeth.
  • Stop trying to correct it yourself – We recommend that you stop trying to whiten your own teeth. The results you can expect are unpredictable, particularly because of the decalcification.

It’s best to get professional help in treating the stains.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy’s office is convenient to Addison, Allen, Carrollton, Farmers Branch, Frisco, Garland, Highland Park, and Little Elm.

How Long Do Teeth Whitening Gel and Trays Last?

Almost 2 years ago, I took advantage of a free teeth whitening promo offered by a new dentist. I had new patient cleaning and exam. They took impressions of my teeth, made custom trays for me, and gave me whitening gel. I haven’t returned to that dentist because the office environment was unprofessional. It’s a family dentist but I don’t feel comfortable taking my daughter there. Are the trays and gel good for life? I didn’t use it right away. I actually put the supplies in the cabinet below my bathroom sick and forgot about it. Is it still safe to use? And will it work? D.L.

D.L.,

The trays you received with your free teeth whitening kit should be good for life if you have kept them in their protective case and have not experienced any of the following issues:

  • The alignment of your teeth has changed
  • You’ve recently received a considerable amount of dental work
  • The bleaching trays are damaged

You can rinse the bleaching trays, place them on your teeth, and check them for fit.

Is It Save to Use the Free Teeth Whitening Gel?

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Custom teeth whitening trays can last for many years

Most whitening gel lasts about a year after it is made. If it is kept in the refrigerator, the gel can still be good for use a little longer than a year. Over time the gel oxidizes and loses its potency. The gel will begin to look white or foggy if it is old. It doesn’t necessarily mean that it is dangerous to use, but it probably won’t whiten your teeth.

Dentists offer quality teeth whitening, so the tubes you received probably have the manufacturer’s name on them as well as the gel type. You can search online for the guidelines for using the gel. If you can’t find any information, it’s probably best to throw away the gel.

Custom bleaching trays cost more than gel. If you are keeping up with your dental appointments for cleanings and exams, tell your current dentist that you already have custom trays. He or she might be willing to offer you the gel at no cost or for a reasonable fee.

 This post is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy of Plano, TX offers free teeth whitening to patients who maintain regular dental exams and cleanings.

Thinking about Whitening Your Own Teeth for Free?

Are you thinking about whitening your teeth without having to pay a dentist? Some people think that as long as they get a good product, completing their own treatment is the next best thing to free teeth whitening. But how do you know which bleaching gel to use? And what results can you expect?

It Starts with the Trays

Before you consider which brand of bleaching gel to use, keep in mind that custom whitening trays will give you the best results. Why use custom trays?

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
You’ll get better result with custom teeth whitening trays
  • Precise fit – Custom whitening trays are made from impressions of your teeth. They will fit precisely to maximize the whitening treatment.
  • Results – The trays will keep bleaching gel in contact with your teeth and away from your gums. You won’t have to worry about wasting gel.
  • Comfort – Since the trays are the exact shape of your teeth, the bleaching process will be comfortable. The bleaching gel won’t burn your lips or gums. You can read, relax, or watch a movie without trying to keep a one-size-fits-all tray on your teeth and away from your lips and gums. There is no mess to clean up with custom trays.

And Now the Teeth Whitening Products

So which product will you use? There are so many whitening products available. If you search online, you can even find free teeth whitening kits. But what results can you expect?

  • Whitening strips – The strength of over-the-counter whitening strips is limited because they don’t require the supervision of a dentist. The most potent whitening strips are a fraction of the strength professional bleaching gel.
  • Brush-on gel – This bleaching gel is brushed on your teeth. There are many brands available. Based on the common ingredients, you can expect a mild whitening effect. Like whitening strip, it is not as effective as professional-strength bleaching gel.
  • Opalescence or Zoom Nite White – Some dentists use these brands. They are available in various strengths for comfortable whitening. If you have sensitive teeth, a less potent gel will be used. Within two weeks your teeth will be dramatically whiter. These high-potency gels contain carbamide peroxide, one of the most effective whitening agents, and should be administered by a dentist.
  • Snow® whitening – Snow teeth whitening is a popular brand that is advertised on TV. It also ranks highly on Google search. After painting on bleaching gel, you will place a tray over your teeth that will shine an LED light on them. The idea is that the light will boost the whitening process. But does it work? It’s difficult to find information on the website about the ingredients in the bleaching gel. And no studies are published on the Snow website.

If you want safe, effective whitening, the best way to get it is from your dentist. If you want free teeth whitening treatment, even some dentists provide it if you maintain your cleaning and exam appointments.

But if you’re determined to do your own teeth whitening, ensure your teeth and gums are healthy, and use caution in your product selection

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

Will Crest Whitening Strips Help a Child’s Gray Tooth?

My daughter is in gymnastics. 5 weeks ago she had a serious collision with a teammate that included a blow to her mouth. She complained about her teeth hurting, but none of them are loose. One of her teeth started turning gray. Our pediatric dentist said that we shouldn’t worry about it because it’s a primary tooth. My daughter is in school and very self-conscious about her gray tooth. Although the dentist isn’t concerned, my daughter is. Can I use Crest whitening strips to lighten her tooth a bit? Thanks. Fallon

Fallon – Most causes of stains in teeth are from the outside in. Over time smoking, eating, drinking coffee or dark beverages create stains on our teeth. The stains can become imbedded in teeth. Teeth whitening can remove them.

Before Using Whitening Strips on Your Child’s Teeth

  • Effectiveness of whitening strips – Whitening strips are about ¼ the strength of professional whitening from a dentist. Even deeply embedded stains from external sources are difficult to remove with whitening strips. In your daughter’s cause, the stain is coming from damage within the tooth. Whitening strips won’t help.
  • When there is internal damage – The color of your daughter’s tooth indicates internal damage.  Skilled cosmetic dentists are able to provide internal whitening treatment. The process is complex and generally not recommended for children. If the damage was to a permanent tooth, the discoloration would be a lingering issue and internal bleaching might be an option.
  • Whitening can create problems – You didn’t mention that the tooth is causing your daughter any pain or discomfort, which is good. Bleaching, particularly when it’s not supervised by a dentist, should only be applied to healthy teeth. The gel can irritate tooth nerves and cause sensitivity to heat or cold. It’s best to let the tooth remain as it is. In a year or two, it will be replaced with a permanent tooth.

Don’t Ignore the Symptoms

If your daughter begins to feel discomfort in the tooth, schedule an appointment with her pediatric dentist. The tooth might require a pulpotomy, which is similar to root canal treatment for adults. Whenever possible, primary teeth should be preserved as a placeholder for permanent teeth and to guide them into the correct position.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy of Plano, TX. Dr. Lacy offers free teeth whitening to her patients who maintain regular cleaning and exam appointments.

Unfairly Disqualified from Free Teeth Whitening Offer

I think I’ve been scammed. At my new dentist’s office, I was told that as a new patient, I qualified for a free teeth whitening offer. That wasn’t the only reason I chose the dentist, but it was certainly a motivating factor. I’m in the military – active duty – and I was deployed for 16 months. Obviously, I could not make it to the dentist for my regular appointments while on assignment. When I returned to the dentist, I asked for my free whitening gel. I was told I no longer qualify because I didn’t come in for my cleanings. That’s crazy. Is there any logical reason for them to do this, or are they just being difficult? Thanks. Kristin

Kristin,

It’s very unfortunate your dental office has chosen not to honor their agreement to give you free teeth whitening. Many dental offices use free whitening to attract new patients and help you keep preventive appointments.

What’s More Important than Free Teeth Whitening?

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Teeth whitening trays

Your oral health is a priority over aesthetics, including free whitening. If you have cavities, gum disease, or other issues, it’s not a good idea to focus on the appearance of your teeth while letting your oral health suffer. Your oral health needs to be restored first.

Depending on the severity of the issues with your teeth, there may be exceptions. For example, if you only need a filling or other restorative work, the whitening should be completed first so restorative material can be selected to match the lighter shade of your teeth.

If your oral health is good, you’ve received a recent dental cleaning, and your original whitening trays still fit, your dental office should be willing to resume your free whitening privileges. Unfortunately, if they refuse to do so, there is little that can be done about it. However, you may want to speak with the dentist directly to explain why you were not available to keep your cleaning appointments. He or she might agree to provide you with free teeth whitening.

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy. Get details on Dr. Lacy’s offer for free teeth whitening in Plano.

Four Facts about Free Teeth Whitening and Dental Implants

Before and after photos for information on free teeth whitening, from Plano TX dentist Miranday Lacy DDS.
Only your natural teeth will respond to whitening

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy. She offers free teeth whitening to her patients who maintain regular cleaning and exam appointments.