Category Archives: Teeth whitening

Is My Toothpaste Scratching My Veneers?

I think I misunderstood something about whitening toothpaste and porcelain veneers. My dentist gave me free teeth whitening gel and trays. I wanted to get all my natural teeth whitening before she placed veneers. After I finished whitening my teeth, I used whitening toothpaste to keep them bright. And after I got veneers, I kept using the toothpaste. But last week, at my dental appointment, the hygienist said that I could damage the veneers with the whitening toothpaste. I thought that other whitening agents do not change the color or harm veneers. Could I really scratch them with the toothpaste that I’m using to keep my natural teeth bright? – Deynah from Long Island

Deynah,

Thank you for your question.

Whitening toothpaste cannot change the colors of your veneers. But if you use them long-term, their abrasiveness might scratch the glaze on your veneers. If you have not been using the toothpaste long, do not worry about it.

What Can Scratch Porcelain Veneers?

Certain toothpastes, dental materials, and dental chemicals can damage the glaze on porcelain veneers. Some of them include:

Photo of a yellow toothbrush with toothpaste being applied to it; for information on free teeth whitening in Plano, TX
Long-term use of abrasive toothpaste can scratch porcelain veneers
  • Abrasive toothpaste
  • Abrasive polishing pastes
  • Acidulated fluoride
  • Power polishing equipment at a dental office

We recommend toothpaste made for cosmetic dental work.  Supersmile is a toothpaste brand that will remove surface stains from veneers without damaging them. Be careful about types of toothpaste within a brand that claim to be low abrasion. Read the labels for specific instructions about using the brand of toothpaste on cosmetic dentistry work. Consistently rubbing your veneers can wear away the bonding between your teeth and veneers.

You can use bleaching gel from your dentist to touch up your natural teeth and keep them bright without harming your porcelain veneers.

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

Dentist won’t whiten my teeth without treating a broken tooth first

I have intense pain in a tooth that broke three years ago. I did not see a dentist about it until I decided to get my teeth cleaned and whitened. Last week, I saw a dentist who says that there is no way I can get my teeth whitened without treating this tooth that is hurting my chin and jaw. The dentist asked me to return for an x-ray because I was in the office for a teeth whitening consultation. Is it necessary to take care of an old broken tooth before whitening my teeth? – Brandon from Denver, CO

Brandon,

A tooth infection is causing your pain, and it needs treatment right away. If the pain is traveling into your jaw and chin, the infection is spreading.

Tooth Pain in Your Jaw and Chin

If you have tooth pain in your jaw and chin, schedule an appointment for an x-ray as the dentist you saw recommended. And ask her to x-ray your other teeth. Your broken tooth probably had a large cavity. Before pain spreads to your jawbone, other teeth can get infected along the way. Stopping the infection now is a wise decision.

When Can You Get Your Teeth Whitened?

Nose-to-chin photo of a man's white teeth - from Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy

You can get teeth whitened after the infection is clear. If the dentist can save your broken tooth, she will recommend root canal treatment and a crown. But if most of the healthy tooth structure is gone, or if the tooth is too damaged, you will need an extraction.

If root canal treatment is an option, you can wear a temporary crown until completing the whitening process. After your teeth are as white as you want them, your dentist can make a crown to match.

Check the Dentist’s Cosmetic Dentistry Training

The improvement you want for your smile can benefit from a cosmetic dentist, so check for the dentist’s advanced cosmetic dentistry training. A cosmetic dentist can perfectly match a crown to your newly whitened teeth. The results will look natural.

Miranda Lacy, DDS of Plano, TX, sponsors this post.

Why are my teeth darker after Zoom whitening?

I got Zoom whitening in June, but now my teeth are not as white as they were at first. My dentist gave me the impression that my teeth would stay white. I am concerned that I paid for treatment that is not going to last. Is this normal? And if so, how often will I need to repeat the treatment? Thank you. Jade

Jade –

When you receive in-office Zoom Whitening, your teeth will be ultra-bright–much brighter than in the following days. In a week or so, after your teeth rehydrate, the color might be a few shades darker than when you first received the treatment, but that’s normal. In-office Zoom treatment jumpstarts the process. But you may need to follow up with another in-office whitening session or take-home whitening.

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on free teeth whitening from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Custom teeth whitening trays for home use keep your smile bright

Your dentist probably gave you a take-home whitening kit to use after in-office treatment. When you use the kit as directed by your dentist, your teeth will continue to whiten. But do not use the take-home kit more than directed by your dentist. It is possible to over-bleach your teeth. When that happens, teeth can get brittle and turn dark.

If you follow your dentist’s instructions for at-home treatment but want your teeth even whiter, speak with our dentist about it. They will explain how to safely whiten your teeth without causing a lot of sensitivity or damaging your tooth structure.

Miranda Lacy, DDS of Plano, TX, sponsors this post. Dr. Lacy offers free whitening to patients to maintain regular dental cleaning and exam appointments.

How Can I Fix a Chipped Tooth?

My teeth are healthy, but I want to make some changes that will make my smile look better. Three weeks ago, my tooth chipped. It’s really a small chip on the outer edge of my front center tooth. You can see it, but it is not very noticeable. But I have also been wanted to get my teeth whitening. I read online that I should get my teeth whitened before getting a porcelain veneer for the chip. How natural looking will the veneer look? Can a dentist shape it exactly the way it was? And if I get my teeth whitened, will the veneer be a close match or a perfect match? I am afraid to get a veneer if it is not going to match perfectly. Since it is a cracked front tooth, I think a mismatched veneer will be more noticeable than the small crack. Thank you! M. Santiago fro LA

Dear M. Santiago,

We wish that Dr. Lacy could examine your tooth to explain your treatment options. But you likely have two options for your cracked tooth, and a porcelain veneer is one of them.

How Can You Fix Chipped Tooth?

A dentist can repair a chipped with a porcelain veneer or dental bonding. Either cosmetic dentistry treatment can make your tooth look like it was never chipped. Let us explain the difference between repairing a chipped tooth with a veneer vs. dental bonding.

Porcelain veneer for a chipped tooth

If a cosmetic dentist repairs your chipped tooth with a porcelain veneer, you can expect the following:

  • Coverage – A porcelain veneer will cover the entire front of your tooth.
  • Tooth preparation – A dentist will likely need to prepare—or etch—the tooth lightly to ensure the veneer fits well.
  • Crafting the veneer – After your dentist takes an impression of your teeth, a lab will make a custom veneer to fit over your chipped tooth.
  • Skill level – A dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry training can give you a lifelike veneer that matches the characteristics of your chipped tooth and matches your brightened smile.
  • Cost – The average cost of one veneer in the U.S. is about $1500.
  • Longevity – Well-made veneers can last up to 20 years.

Dental bonding for a chipped tooth

If a dentist uses dental bonding to conceal a chipped tooth, you can expect the following:

  • Coverage – Dental bonding will fill in the chip and blend with the surrounding tooth structure. A dentist will not need to cover your entire tooth with bonding.
  • Tooth preparation – A dentist will roughen your tooth enamel in preparation for bonding.
  • Crafting the bonding – A dentist mixes composite bonding in the office to match your tooth shade. Afterward, the dentist will shape, harden, and polish the bonding.
  • Skill level – Almost any dentist can use dental bonding to conceal a small chip.
  • Cost – The average cost of dental bonding in the U.S. is about $100 – $400 per tooth.
  • Longevity – Dental bonding lasts three to five years.
Before and after photos for information on free teeth whitening, from Plano TX dentist Miranday Lacy DDS.
A cosmetic dentist can whiten your teeth and match bonding or a veneer

If you prefer a porcelain veneer over dental bonding, look for a dentist with advanced cosmetic dentistry training. Then, you will get natural-looking results that match your newly whitened teeth.

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

My Teeth Are Dark Beneath My Veneers. Can I Whiten Them?

I got Lumineers in 2010, and although I had problems with them falling off, I finally got that issue fixed by visiting a different dentist. Since February 2020, my teeth beneath the veneers began turning dark. Also, the veneers do not fit well at my gums anymore. My veneers are not as white as some of my friends’ natural teeth. Is the issue with the veneers or my teeth beneath them? Can a dentist remove the veneers, clean and whiten my teeth and bond them on again? – Anika from GA

Anika,

You have had an unfortunate experience with porcelain veneers. We hope that it will not take long to find an experienced cosmetic dentist to correct the issue.

Why Are Teeth Dark Beneath Porcelain Veneers?

When your teeth are dark beneath your porcelain veneers, the veneers are leaking. You no longer have a tight seal between the veneers and your teeth. That is why your veneers are separating from your gumline. Fluid and bacteria leak in, cause staining, and promote decay.

The first dentist who bonded your veneers did not do it correctly. That’s why they were falling off. But it seems that the second dentist did not understand how to re-bond porcelain veneers. Several steps are required.

Can Porcelain Veneers Be Re-Bonded?

A trained cosmetic dentist can re-bond your porcelain veneers. But it takes care using these steps:

  • Remove and clean the veneers
  • Remove the old bonding material with sand-blasting equipment
  • Clean your teeth
  • Etch the inner surface of the porcelain with hydrofluoric acid
  • Prime the veneers
  • Bond them onto your teeth

After the above process, your veneers will remain on your teeth without leaking for many years.

Can You Remove and Clean Your Veneers?

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on free teeth whitening from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
A dentist will not be able to remove your veneers to whiten your teeth

Removing the veneers, whitening your teeth, and bonding the veneers on again is risky. Your veneers are not loose, so they will probably break in the process. A dentist must grind the veneers off your teeth. At this point, it is best to replace your porcelain veneers.

This time, look for an advanced cosmetic dentist with post-graduate cosmetic dentistry training. You can schedule consultations with one or two cosmetic dentists before you ask for an exam.

Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy sponsors this post.

My dentist extracted my tooth and left two roots behind

I had not been to a dentist in years, so I decided to get an exam and cleaning and schedule teeth whitening later. A needed several fillings before I could get my teeth whitened, and the dentist said one tooth was severely decayed and required an extraction. The dentist extracted the tooth last Thursday, and this weekend when I looked at the extraction hole to clean it, I saw two roots of the tooth left. Will those roots interfere with a dental implant, and why would my dentist leave them? Thank you. Konnor

Thank you for your question. Molar teeth have multiple roots, and it is a challenge to see into an extraction site near the back of your mouth. Are you sure that you see tooth roots are left and not debris stuck in the socket?

If your dentist left two roots behind, there must be a reason for it—although your dentist should inform you when this happens. Sometimes the location of tooth root tips is so close to the sinus that removing them could puncture the sinus or damage or nerve. But the roots must be removed before getting a dental implant.

Not all dentists are comfortable retrieving tooth roots and tips, and some do not have the instruments required to do it. The process can be challenging and lengthy for a dentist who does not have much experience in this area. If you have roots left in the extraction site instead of debris and your dentist cannot remove them, an oral surgeon can. It is easier to remove the roots soon after extraction, so schedule an appointment promptly

Teeth Whitening After Extraction

After the extraction site heals, you can begin teeth whitening treatment. When your teeth are as white as you want, your implant dentist will begin the process. A lab will make your dental crowns to match your brightened smile.

Selecting Your Dental Implants Provider

Diagram of dental imlant components, including the root form, connector, and crown
Dental implant

Look for a skilled implant dentist or oral surgeon. If your dentist left roots and not debris behind, it might be challenging for him to resolve the issue with the roots before placing a dental implant. It might be best to ask for a referral to an oral surgeon for tooth root removal and implant placement.

Plano, TX dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy sponsors this post.

Do I really need both wisdom teeth extracted?

My dentist is going to remove my lower right wisdom tooth because it aches. He says that if I don’t remove the upper right wisdom tooth, it will drop into the space of the lower one and eventually hit my gums or interfere with other teeth. Is that true. Do I need both wisdom teeth extracted? I am 54 years old and do not want unnecessary complications. I am anxious to begin teeth whitening treatment. Thank you. Regina

Regina,

Your dentist is right. It is wise to remove wisdom teeth in pairs for several reasons.

  • Drifting – Keeping the upper right wisdom tooth can cause it to drift into the lower space.
  • Bite disruption – The unevenness can disrupt your bite or contribute to tooth decay or gum disease.
  • Tooth decay or gum disease – Without a lower tooth to chew against, if the upper tooth disrupts your bite, tooth decay or gum disease can occur in other teeth.

What Can You Expect with Wisdom Teeth Removal?

You can expect painless surgery and progressive recovery with wisdom tooth removal. Impacted wisdom teeth can be challenging to extract. If your dentist is not experienced with a variety of cases and your teeth are impacted, he may refer you to an oral surgeon.

Comfort – Before surgery, the oral surgeon will sedate you.

Surgery length – Your time in surgery depends on how many teeth the surgeon will remove and if they are impacted. Average time for removing all four wisdom teeth is about 1.5 hours.

Progressive recovery – You will see some swelling and feel soreness, but post-operative instructions explain how to manage them both and keep comfortable. Each day, you will progressively feel better. Although complications are rare, your oral surgeon will explain the signs and symptoms of complications, including:

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on free teeth whitening from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Teeth whitening can begin after wisdom tooth extracation
  • Dry socket
  • Infection
  • Sensory nerve damage
  • Sinus perforation

Follow-up visits – You may have one follow-up visit after extraction, but it is often not needed.

Your dentist will schedule an appointment to check the extractions sites and ensure your gums and remaining teeth are healthy before starting teeth whitening treatment.

Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy sponsors this post.

Is an extraction instead of a root canal necessary?

I scheduled an appointment for a dental exam and teeth whitening consultation. The exam included an x-ray, and the dentist said he isn’t comfortable doing teeth whitening yet because one of my top left molars that already has a crown on it no longer has a canal. The tooth has been uncomfortable for a few months, but I didn’t think it was that serious. My dentist prescribed antibiotics and said that since the tooth doesn’t have a canal, he can’t do root canal treatment. If the tooth doesn’t improve from antibiotics, he recommends extraction. I’ve read many times that it is always better to keep your natural teeth. My dentist didn’t give me any options. Are there alternatives to an extraction? – Thank you. Latha

Latha,

Although Dr. Lacy would need to examine your tooth and x-rays for an accurate diagnosis, we are not comfortable with your dentist’s evaluation.

Antibiotics for tooth discomfort

Your tooth cannot be treated with antibiotics alone. A dentist might use antibiotics as a diagnostic tool.

  • Tooth pain that improves with antibiotics – If tooth pain goes away with antibiotic treatment, you have a tooth infection. Treatment options can include root canal treatment or extraction. But if your dentist does not treat the tooth and remove the infection, after you stop taking the medication, the symptoms will return.
  • Tooth pain that does not improve with antibiotics – When antibiotics do not resolve tooth pain, it is an indication that a tooth infection is not the source. Your dentist would need to find the cause before recommending treatment.

A tooth without a canal?

If a dentist tells you that your tooth does not have a canal, two possible factors include:

  • Upper molar teeth have a lot of bone around them, making it difficult to see the root canal, so your dentist’s assessment might not be correct.
  • Tooth irritation causes a buildup of dentin (layer beneath tooth enamel) inside the tooth pulp and canals. The buildup narrows the canals and can make them more challenging to see on an x-ray.

Saving your natural tooth

If you want to save your tooth, we recommend getting a second opinion. Look for an endodontist (root canal specialist) or ask your dentist for a referral to an endodontist. Be aware that your dentist might refer you to a friend who will agree with your dentist’s assessment. You may want an independent opinion.

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on free teeth whitening from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Only begin teeth whitening treatment if your teeth are healthy

After an examination and x-ray, an endodontist will explain if it’s possible to save your tooth and the results you can expect with root canal treatment. It is wise to postpone your plans for teeth whitening until your tooth is healthy. Otherwise, it may become further irritated.

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

Which Toothpaste Will Brighten My Dental Crowns?

Hello,

I don’t think that teeth whitening will whiten my crowns, but I read online that some toothpaste brands will help brighten veneers. Will you tell me if Supersmile toothpaste works for veneers and porcelain crowns? Thanks. Terri

Terri,

Your question has two parts: whitening cosmetic dental work and toothpaste that is safe to use on it.

Can You Whiten Cosmetic Dental Work?

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on free teeth whitening from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Ask for teeth whitening before you get cosmetic dental work

Cosmetic dental work, including ceramic crowns and porcelain veneers, cannot be whitened. The dental materials are colorfast. The same is true with dental composites. You cannot whiten it. Although you can use teeth whitening products if you have cosmetic dental work, only your natural teeth will get brighter. The cosmetic work will stay the same shade.

If you need new cosmetic work and want to whiten your natural teeth, ask your dentist for teeth whitening first. Your dentist will ensure your new crowns or veneers will match the shade of your natural teeth.

What Kind of Toothpaste Is Safe for Cosmetic Dental Work?

Supersmile toothpaste is safe for cosmetic dental work. Most toothpaste is abrasive and can scratch the surface of porcelain veneers or ceramic crowns—but not Supersmile. It will help keep your dental restorations white.

Will Supersmile Toothpaste Whiten Crowns or Veneers?

Supersmile toothpaste will keep your crown or veneers white, but it won’t make them a lighter shade. But your question seems to be about whitening your dental crowns. Toothpaste will not whiten crowns that are already dark. Depending on the cause of stains in your crowns or veneers, a cosmetic dentist can polish them. But if your dental crowns are old, worn, or have a metal foundation, polishing won’t work.

We recommend scheduling an appointment with an advanced cosmetic dentist to examine your crowns. It might be time to replace them, but the dentist will explain your options.

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

Why Do My New Composite fillings Hurt?

I’ve had to put off teeth whitening because I have four small composite fillings that are painful. I received the fillings in early September. I get a brief sharp pain when I chew hard or crunchy foods. The pain isn’t worse, but it’s consistent. Also, I’ve noticed that I don’t feel the pain when I clench my teeth tother.

After my online search about this issue, it seems that I need to find a dentist who uses self-etching primers or a glass ionomer base. I’ve called a few dental offices, but the receptionists don’t know what I’m talking about. How can I find the right dentist to replace the fillings? – Thanks. Eve from S. Carolina

Eve,

The sensitivity you describe occurs more often with small fillings than large ones.

Why Do New Composite Fillings Hurt?

The reason that new composite fillings hurt seems to be related to a dentist bonding the filling to dentin of the tooth. Most dental office receptionists are not familiar with self-etching primers or glass ionomer bases. Maybe a dental assistant who helps the dentist with the procedure might be familiar with the terms.

Although Dr. Lacy would need to examine your teeth, two possible solutions include:

Schedule an appointment to make your request – Before allowing a dentist to work on your teeth, insist on a glass ionomer base beneath the filling to protect the dentin and keep composite away from it. If the dentist doesn’t agree with your request, find another dentist.

Find an advanced cosmetic dentist – You might have to travel to find a cosmetic dentist who is familiar with self-etching primers and glass ionomer base. A dentist with post-graduate training in cosmetic dentistry knows how to protect your teeth, and you don’t have to explain your position or tell the dentist what materials you want in your teeth.

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 can further irritate sensitive teeth

Although a cosmetic dentist would usually whiten your teeth first and place the fillings afterward to match them, your teeth are sensitive. The bleaching gel can increase sensitivity. Speak with the dentist about the best time to start teeth whitening treatment.

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