Category Archives: Teeth whitening

What’s the Best Teeth Whitening for Home Use?

What’s the best teeth whitening for home use? I prefer to do it myself and avoid the dental office and the cost of whitening. Several people I know got whitening at the dental office, and others did it at home. The dental office whitening doesn’t look much better to me. Rather than trying different brands, what’s the best teeth whitening or the best brands I can use? Thanks. Shelby from MN

Shelby – Although many people use whitening strips or peroxide, the results will be limited.

What’s the Best Teeth Whitening for Home Use?

The best teeth whitening for home use is professional strength gel from a dentist and custom teeth whitening trays. High-strength whitening works fast. Most people can notice the difference the next day if they follow their dentist’s instructions. If you prefer over-the-counter whitening, look for brands with carbamide peroxide, which is in the gel dentists use.

Why Does Teeth Whitening from a Dentist Work Best?

The whitening from the dentist works better because the custom-made bleaching trays fit your teeth precisely. With the trays snugly fitting your teeth, the bleaching gel penetrates better for effective stain removal. Also, your dentist will provide professional-strength bleaching gel to make your teeth whitest.

Another advantage of seeing a dentist for teeth whitening is that he or she can determine whether bleaching your teeth will whiten your teeth or make the stains in them more noticeable. Depending on the cause of the stains in your teeth, whitening them may worsen matters.

If cost is a concern, speak with your dentist about your desire to whiten your teeth. You may be surprised at how your dentist can make your take-home treatment affordable. Some dentists offer free teeth whitening with your exams.

Dr. Miranda Lacy, a Plano, Texas, female dentist, sponsors this post.

Why Aren’t Teeth Whitening Strips Working for My Tetracycline Stains?

Hi. Why aren’t whitening strips working for tetracycline stains on my teeth? I have been using teeth whitening strips for 6 months, and they have done nothing for my teeth. I have tetracycline stains on my teeth, so I expected it would take a little longer, but the strips have made no difference. Does it matter which brand I use, or must I buy whitening from a dentist? I feel like I’ve wasted so much time and money without improvement. Thanks. Kyndal

Kyndal– Tetracycline stains are intrinsic to the teeth and are very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to remove. Over-the-counter whitening strips won’t budge the stains.

Even professional teeth whitening from a dentist will result in limited improvement—if any–for tetracycline stains. However, a skilled cosmetic dentist can use porcelain veneers to hide the stains without making your teeth look pasty or opaque. Veneers are custom-crafted porcelain shells that fit over the fronts of your teeth. Veneers restore the teeth that show when you smile, but they are unsuitable for back teeth.

A cosmetic dentist can manipulate the porcelain to hide tetracycline stains, making the veneers look completely natural. The dentist will bond the veneers to your teeth for a solution lasting eight to ten years—even longer.

Schedule consultations with at least two cosmetic dentists to discuss your options for concealing the stains in your teeth.

Dr. Miranda Lacy, a Plano, Texas dentist, sponsors this post.

Is Peroxide Good for a Mouthwash Against Dental Office Germs?

I read online that hydrogen peroxide can disinfect dental office germs like coronavirus. I have a teeth whitening appointment before I get veneers in August. So, I looked online and found a do-it-yourself mouth rinse recipe that includes hydrogen peroxide. My only concern about rinsing my mouth with it is that it will only be helpful until I get veneers. I know alcohol-based mouthwash can loosen the bonding on veneers, but what about peroxide? Thank you. Cassie


It’s good that you have a dentist who understands you must whiten your teeth before getting porcelain veneers to ensure they match your whitened teeth. Whitening teeth after getting veneers can make them look darker than your teeth.

While the American Dental Association recommends at least a one-and-a-half percent concentration, some dental offices use about four or five percent rinses. Alcohol-based mouthwash can weaken the bonding behind porcelain veneers and cause stains. Still, weakening porcelain veneers’ bonding is not the only concern when choosing a mouthwash.

A Rutger’s School of Dental Medicine study published results on mouthwash and its effect on coronavirus. Additionally, the Environmental Protection Agency lists hydrogen peroxide as a disinfectant for COVID-19.

Still, if you get porcelain veneers, you must be cautious about which toothpaste and mouthwash you use. But even if you do not have porcelain veneers, regularly using hydrogen peroxide as a mouthwash can cause other problems.

What Are the Effects of Hydrogen Peroxide Mouthwash?

The effects of hydrogen peroxide mouthwash include:

  • It kills many harmful microorganisms
  • Long-term use kills healthy bacteria, too
  • Long-term use causes yeast (candida albicans) to thrive

Regular use of peroxide as mouthwash can result in an oral yeast infection. Your oral issue will turn white, peel, red, and become painful.

If you get an oral yeast infection, your dentist will recommend taking oral antifungal tablets, lozenges, or using a liquid for seven to fourteen days to eliminate the infection. You must complete treatment to prevent the infection from recurring.

Are Ceramic Crowns a Metal-Free Option for Me?

I have three porcelain on metal crowns, but I want to get ceramic crowns instead. After successful cancer surgery last month, I want to reduce as many risks as possible and treat myself to new crowns. I read online that crowns contain metal ions. Should I be concerned? Also, I want my teeth whitened before the crowns because they are yellow from 30 years of smoking. I quit smoking when I got a cancer diagnosis, so whitening my teeth will make me feel more confident. Are ceramic crowns the way to go to reduce my metal exposure? Joshua


Although all-ceramic crowns do not contain metal known to provoke reactions, they have metal ions.

Metal Ions

Metal ions are essential for human, animal, and plant life. These ions are in the human body:

  • Calcium
  • Cobalt
  • Copper
  • Magnesium
  • Manganese
  • Molybdenum
  • Potassium
  • Zinc


Lithium is in the sodium family. The ceramic lithium disilicate is in strong ceramic dental crowns, including e.max crowns.


Zirconia crowns are of high strength. Dental ceramists use zirconia to build dental bridges that are so strong they do not need a metal framework.

Advanced cosmetic dentists understand the types of ceramics available for dental crowns and will work with you to find a ceramic that matches your needs.

The condition of your teeth and the location of your crowns affects the type of ceramic that will look natural and be durable. Look for an experienced cosmetic dentist who understands which ceramics are best for front and back teeth for aesthetics and durability.

Teeth Bleaching

Ask your cosmetic dentist which brands they use and research the contents. Your dentist will work with you to ensure your metal-free crowns match your whitened teeth.

Best wishes for your healthier smile with new crowns.

Dr. Miranda Lacy, a Plano, Texas dentist, sponsors this post.

I Wanted BL4 Shade Crowns, But My Dentist Declined

My eight upper front teeth have old crowns that I got in 2004. I am happy that the crowns lasted so long, but they need an update. My previous dentist retired six years ago. My current dentist recommended a B1 shade, although I wanted lighter crowns. She made my temporary crowns in the B1 shade anyway because she thought I would like them when I saw them. The crowns do not look any whiter than my old ones.

My dentist said a brighter shade would make the post in my left front tooth show through. She also says that she will not be able to get my lower teeth as light as B1 crowns when she does teeth whitening. Would BL4 work without showing the post? My dentist wants me to decide, and I feel pressured. Thank you. Anastasia from IL


Thank you for contacting Dr. Lacy’s office. We are concerned about your dentist’s approach to cosmetic dentistry and your preferences.

Are BL4 Crowns Too White for a Tooth with a Post?

Although your dentist says BL4 crowns are too white for a tooth with a post, she is confusing crown color with translucence. Making a crown whiter does not increase translucency. If the tooth post does not show through with B1, it will not show through with BL4 or super white crowns.

Why Is Your Dentist Insisting on Her Preferences?

When you get a smile makeover, an artistic cosmetic dentist will ask about your preferences for tooth shape, color, size, and other characteristics. If your dentist continues to insist on her preference, ask how much experience she has with crowns in bleached shades. Ask to see pictures of her patients who had a complete smile makeover with crowns in whiter shades.

After you see pictures of her work, if you feel confident that she can complete the dental crowns you describe, tell her the color you want, and ask if she agrees. When your crowns are ready, ask your dentist to use a try-in paste to ensure you are happy with the results. Only allow your dentist to cement or bond the crowns if you are happy and have no reservations about the results.

Getting a Second Opinion

If your dentist cannot meet your requests, we recommend scheduling consultations with at least two cosmetic dentists. Experienced cosmetic dentists will readily explain how they achieve the crown shade you want with natural-looking translucence. They will also explain why they would complete teeth whitening before ordering dental crowns from the lab.

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

Can I Trust Ads for Discounted Teeth Whitening?

I’ve been getting Groupon e-mails weekly for at-home teeth whitening products and teeth whitening specials with dentists. Do these really work? I’ve always wanted to have a really white smile, and now it looks like I can do it affordably. How do I know if it’s not a waste of money? – Karla R. from San Antonio


Thank you for your question.

At-home teeth whitening products are becoming increasingly popular. Some of the products contain 35% carbamide peroxide, which will whiten your teeth.

Still, be careful. Getting teeth whitening from your dentist has many advantages, even if you decide to get a take-home kit from your dentist. Factors to consider:

  • Types of stains – The American Dental Association confirms that teeth whitening does not work with all types of stains. Depending on the cause of the stains, the bleaching gel may not correct them and can even can make the stains more noticeable.
  • Whether you have dental restorations – A dentist needs to check existing dental work on your teeth, including crowns, veneers, and bonding, before starting the teeth whitening process. Bleaching your teeth can make them whiter than the restorations, and you will have mismatched results.
  • Custom bleaching trays – Your dentist will provide you with customized trays for your teeth. The trays help you avoid wasting the gel or irritating your gums from bleaching gel that oozes out of the trays.
  • Progress checks – Your dentist can monitor the progress of the teeth whitening and adjust your treatment as needed.

Be cautious about the products that you use. Talk with your dentist about the coupons you have seen and discuss the cost. Your dentist might be willing to work with your budget so that you can get your teeth safely whitened.

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

Should You Choose Ultra-thin or Traditional Veneers?

Porcelain veneers transform smiles. A skilled cosmetic dentist and ceramist can manipulate porcelain to mimic the color and translucence of natural teeth. Advanced dental technology has introduced ultra-thin veneers. Which type of veneers should you choose?

Should You Choose Ultra-thin or Traditional Veneers?

Whether you choose ultra-thin or traditional veneers depends on your case, the condition of your teeth, and your dentist’s recommendations. We explain some factors that may influence your and your dentist’s decision.

Traditional Porcelain Veneers

Traditional veneers have the following characteristics:

  • About .5 millimeter thick
  • Require preparation of your natural teeth so they fit correctly and will not look bulky
  • 0.3 to 0.5 millimeters of the front surface of a tooth is removed to prepare it for a veneer

Ultra-Thin Veneers

Ultra-thin veneers have the following characteristics:

  • About .3 millimeter thick
  • Can be bonded to your teeth without preparation
  • Cosmetic dentists strive to remove a minimal amount of a tooth’s front surface

What Do Ultra-thin and Traditional Veneers Have in Common?

Ultra-thin and traditional veneers have several things in common:

Teeth whitening application
Your cosmetic dentist can whiten your teeth before placing veneers
  • Custom-made in a dental lab
  • Match the characteristics of your natural teeth, so in the hands of a skilled cosmetic dentist, people will think your veneers are your natural teeth
  • Stain-resistant
  • Can last 15-20 years if you take diligent care of them and have them maintained by a trained cosmetic dentist

Which Should You Choose?

Schedule an appointment with a skilled cosmetic dentist. They can determine which type of veneers will give you the best results based on the condition of your teeth, the shape, position, and size of your teeth, and the results you want to achieve. You should not insist on either traditional or ultra-thin veneers. A cosmetic dentist will also preserve as much tooth structure as possible yet produce natural-looking results. The dentist will bond your veneers to ensure they look natural and are durable.

Many patients find it helpful to schedule at least two consultations before making decisions about porcelain veneers. Below are a few tips for scheduling your consultation:

  • Select experienced cosmetic dentists, preferably accredited, who have advanced, post-graduate training.
  • Look for a smile gallery on each dentist’s website and find photos of patients who received porcelain veneers.
  • Ask the dentist how many porcelain veneer cases they have completed.
  • Compare the recommendations, treatment plan, and costs of each dentist.
  • Look for patient reviews on the dentist’s work.

What Can You Expect?

After the consultation, if you are interested in porcelain veneers, you can expect the following:

  • An exam
  • Digital x-rays
  • A smile design that includes your preferences and considers your facial features to ensure natural-looking results

If you want a bright smile with porcelain veneers, your cosmetic dentist must whiten your natural teeth first. It will ensure that your veneers match the color of your teeth.

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

Is My New Dentist Overdoing It with X-Rays and Fluoride Treatment?

I have a new dentist and have some questions about their recommendations. Do I need x-rays every six months? Also, as an adult, do I need a yearly fluoride treatment? I want to limit treatment that I do not need frequently. Thank you. Susanna from San Francisco


Thank you for your questions.

How Often Do You Need Dental X-rays?

General guidelines for dental x-rays are as follows:

  • Bitewing x-rays – Yearly
  • Panographic x-ray – once every five years

However, the American Dental Association (ADA) states that your dentist may recommend x-rays more often depending on several factors, including:

  • Your age
  • Your oral health
  • Your risk for disease
  • Signs and symptoms of oral disease, including tooth decay, bone disease, or gum disease

Dental x-rays expose you to minimal radiation. Still, the ADA document, Dental Radiographs – Benefits and Safety, recommends providing a new dentist with your existing x-rays to avoid duplicating them.

How Often Do Adults Need Fluoride Treatment?

Although dentists usually give fluoride treatment to children, adults may receive treatment for aggressive decay. How often you receive fluoride depends on your condition and its severity.

Teeth whitening application
Fluoride treatment can calm lingering sensitivity from teeth whitening

Reasons that your dentist might recommend fluoride treatment

  • Advanced tooth decay
  • Lingering sensitivity from teeth bleaching
  • Minimize decay from reduced saliva flow from diseases, medications, or medical treatments.

Most dental offices use acidulated fluoride. If you have porcelain veneers or crowns, acidulated fluoride can etch the surface, roughen it, and increase the risk of our crowns or veneer staining. If the dental lab makes your porcelain restorations tinted the surface, acidulated fluoride can dissolve the tint.

And if you want your teeth whitened, ask your dentist to supervise it, help you minimize sensitivity, and avoid the need for fluoride treatment.

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


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


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.