Category Archives: 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.

 

Can I use my sister’s free teeth whitening trays to straighten my teeth?

I understand that Invisalign trays are pretty much like my sister’s free teeth whitening trays. Her dentist gives her new whitening trays every few years and she keeps them in her bathroom drawer. My sister’s teeth are perfectly straight, but mine are scattered. Can I use her free teeth whitening trays to move my teeth to a straight position? Our teeth are basically the same shape, but mine are not evenly spaced. If I use her whitening trays, will they work like Invisalign or other clear braces? Thanks. Giovanna

Giovanna,

Not at all!

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 are not designed to straighten teeth

Many dentists offer free teeth whitening to their patients, but both the trays and the gel are for the patient’s use. Your sister’s free teeth whitening trays are not a substitute for orthodontic treatment. There are several reasons why.

Will Free Teeth Whitening Trays Straighten Your Teeth?

  • Design – Teeth whitening trays are designed to keep bleaching gel in contact with your teeth and away from your gums. That’s it. They have no other purpose. They are not designed to move your teeth. But if you wear someone else’s trays, your teeth could be damaged.
  • Material – Even if they are custom made, the material of whitening trays is not rigid enough to correctly move anyone’s teeth.
  • Customization – Teeth whitening trays only come in a single set. Invisalign trays are a series of custom aligners that gently move your teeth to the correct position over time. The aligners and treatment plan are customized for each patient. The attempt to move your teeth to the correct position with a single set of trays can damage your tooth roots.

Orthodontic trays are developed based on the structure of your teeth and mouth, so it is unsafe to wear someone else’s aligners, even if they are specifically made for orthodontic treatment.

Want Your Teeth Safely Aligned?

The only solution to correctly align teeth is to receive orthodontic treatment from your dentist or orthodontist. A treatment plan and braces will be customized based on the condition and position of your teeth—not someone else’s.

If you want your teeth aligned, speak with your dentist or an orthodontist about your smile goals. He or she will explain affordable options and how financing or payment plans can help you meet your goals.

Don’t take orthodontic treatment into your own hands by using free teeth whitening trays or any other means that is unsupervised by a dentist. It will cause serious damage to your smile and make the current condition of your teeth worse.

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

Are Lemons or Oranges Safe for Free Teeth Whitening?

I’ve been looking at some alternatives for free teeth whitening, but I really want it to be natural. My teeth aren’t that bad, but I would love them to be a few shades brighter. One of the things I keep reading about is the use of lemons and oranges. Supposedly, if you use the essential oils or rub the peels on your teeth regularly, they work as a whitening agent. I figure it can’t hurt, so I might as well try it. Any idea if there is science behind this or how it works? Also, is it safe for long-term use or will the acid harm my teeth?

Thanks. TJ

TJ

Although lemons are listed on some natural health sites as a way to whiten your teeth, it’s a really bad idea that can permanently damage your teeth. Let’s explain.

Teeth Can Be Discolored for Many Reasons

Tooth discoloration can be intrinsic or extrinsic. An intrinsic discoloration comes from within the tooth. For example, certain medications can make a tooth change color from the inside out. If a tooth dies, it may become gray. If your enamel becomes thin, perhaps due to age, brushing too hard, acid wear, or taking certain medications, the color of the dentin below may show through. Genetic factors can also have an effect. You may get extrinsic staining from certain habits, including drinking cola, coffee, tea, wine, and juice. Smoking is also a big culprit.

External Stains Don’t Usually Collect on Clean Teeth

Our teeth naturally build up plaque. This is actually a biofilm that forms when bacteria adheres to your teeth. If you’ve ever wadded in a river and felt a slippery rock, it was due to a type of biofilm. The biofilm on your teeth includes the bacteria responsible for tooth decay and gum disease, which brushing twice daily is recommended. It is also important to get regular professional cleanings. When your teeth clean and smooth, the coloring in the foods you eat or drinks you consume are less likely to cling to your teeth. When your teeth build up biofilm, stains adhere. Your primary defense against staining is to keep your teeth clean. It might require limiting certain foods or drinks that are bad for your teeth.

What about Citrus Fruits for Teeth Whitening?

Citrus fruits can brighten your teeth because the acid in them kills bacteria. Apple cider vinegar is also routinely touted as a cure for discolored teeth, but it contains acetic acid.

Acids are Bad News for Your Enamel

Eventually, the acid will weaken your tooth enamel wear it down over time. As you lose enamel, the discoloration will likely worsen and your teeth can become sensitive and more prone to decay. Worse yet, once the enamel is gone, it will not regrow. Your dentist can help with some of the issues that occur, but the enamel will be permanently affected.

Use Professional Whitening Systems

Before and after photos for information on free teeth whitening, from Plano TX dentist Miranday Lacy DDS.
Free teeth whitening should be dentist supervised

There are many natural “cures” for stained teeth, but they are often dangerous. Before you try do-it-yourself methods, talk to your dentist about what he or she recommends, or use a professional system that has been tested and is safe.

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy. Learn more about her Plano free teeth whitening special here.

How Long Should Free Teeth Whitening Last?

I got free teeth whitening when I started at a new dentist in February of this year. It was take-home whitening, but I thought it was probably a higher grade because I received custom whitening trays. I followed the instructions precisely for about two weeks. I was really happy with it at first because it looked like my teeth really were getting brighter. However, now when I look at them, they don’t look quite as bright. I’m really disappointed because I thought it should last much longer. It seems all too coincidental that the color seems changed back right before my next dental visit. Is there any chance they actually did something to it that would make it wear off so I need another dental appointment? Or could it be just a lower quality gel and that’s why the free whitening deal was offered? Curious indeed.

-Ali

 

Dear Ali,

Before and after photos for information on free teeth whitening, from Plano TX dentist Miranday Lacy DDS.
Free teeth whitening should be dentist supervised to last

More than likely, the free whitening you receive was a professional-strength gel. While it’s true that most dentists only provide whitening if you return for your regular visits, it’s almost impossible to predict how bright your teeth will get and how long they’ll stay that way.

Your Teeth Will Stain Faster if You…

  • Drink coffee
  • Drink tea
  • Drink red wine
  • Smoke
  • Eat dark sauces (soy, tomato, curry, etc.)

Consuming these items in moderation probably won’t cause an issue, especially if you’re diligent with brushing. But if you consume them a lot, your teeth will stain faster.

You Can Minimize Staining By…

Avoiding acidic foods. Acid wears down your enamel, making it easier for your teeth to stain.

Brushing well. Brush after each meal or at least two to three times per day.

Not sipping beverages. Prolonged sipping on anything other than water isn’t good for your teeth. Coffee and tea drinkers will experience more teeth stains that those who don’t drink these beverages. Cola and even sports drinks are acidic and contain sugar. They feed bacteria, which leads to decay. If you drink anything other than water, finish it all at once to minimize contact and follow it by rinsing your mouth with water or brushing your teeth.

Drinking through straws. When you drink through a straw, the beverage won’t come into contact with the fronts of your teeth. It’s not a cure-all, but it can minimize the potential for staining.

Not smoking. Enough said.

You Can Make Your Teeth Look Whiter By…

Getting a tan or using a sunless tanner. No joke. The darker your skin is, the whiter your teeth will look.

Wearing red lipstick. Most red shades work well, but you’ll want to avoid dark hues because they tend to make teeth look yellow or brown. Nude shades can also be problematic, though pinks, berry colors, and those with purple undertones can make your teeth look whiter.

Keeping water with you. While water won’t magically whiten your teeth, you’ll be more likely to drink it, thus replacing other drinks and getting them off your teeth quicker when you do indulge.

Visiting your dentist regularly. A professional cleaning will remove buildup that can make teeth look dull, yellow, or brown.

Touch up with your free teeth whitening kit. Your teeth will eventually go back to their original darker shade, but how quickly it will happen depends on your habits and genetics. You don’t need to wait until they darken to their original color and do the full treatment again. Instead, just use your kit for a couple days at a time to revive your preferred shade.

 

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy who has an inviting Plano free teeth whitening offer for patients.

 

 

 

 

5 Things to Know about Teeth Whitening, Dating, and Your Smile

How important is teeth whitening for dating and your social life? A 2015 survey conducted in behalf of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry concluded that our smile is one feature of our appearance that can defy age. It can be the secret to our attractiveness.

Before and after photos for information on free teeth whitening, from Plano TX dentist Miranday Lacy DDS.
White teeth can make a lasting first impression

The majority of survey participants said that an investment in their smile is more important than an investment in weight loss, hair enhancement, or enhancements to other facial features.

What does it all mean? That your smile is important to other people. If you are dating, or trying to find someone to date, don’t take your smile for granted. A clean, bright smile can go a long way in attracting a date—or even just friends. In addition to teeth whitening from your dentist, what else can you do to make a great first impression?

Enhance Your Smile with Teeth Whitening and More

  • Floss between your teeth daily – Flossing not only makes your teeth look better, it helps prevent gum disease, and can help freshen your breath.
  • Brush your teeth twice daily – This helps keep teeth clean and bright.
  • Whiten your teeth – Professional whitening from a dentist gives you the best results. If you can’t afford professional whitening, whitening toothpastes will help control surface stains. Over-the-counter whitening strips will help. Brushing your teeth with baking soda, or rubbing the inside of banana peel (which contains magnesium and potassium) can help reduce surface stains on our teeth.
  • Cosmetic dental treatment – Dental bonding is an affordable way to restore chipped teeth, or to reshape teeth. If you need to restore a broken down tooth, porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns can help. Orthodontic treatment can align your teeth, which is not only better for your smile, but also for your overall oral health.
  • Keep your breath fresh – Regular flossing, brushing, and mouthwash should keep your breath fresh. If you’ve tried them all, but are still struggling with bad breath, speak with your dentist about it. Gum disease, tooth decay, medication, or a medical condition may be causing the problem. Your dentist can help you identify the issue.

Your smile can make a first impression and leave a lasting impression. Don’t take it for granted.

 

This post is sponsored by Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy. She offers free teeth whitening to patients who keep their regularly schedule appointments for a dental cleaning and exam.