Can I get my teeth white while I am wearing braces?

2018.06.13

I really should have gotten my teeth whitened before I got braces. I don’t know why I didn’t. I just kept putting it off. Thanks, M.A.

M.A. – Yes, it is possible to whiten teeth while you are wearing braces, but it may be best for you to wait until your braces are removed. There are several factors to consider.

Teeth Whitening While You Wear Braces

  • Certain brands of teeth whitening have whitening trays that are made to fit over braces. The whitening gel will get beneath the braces to whiten your teeth, but it may not get beneath the brackets that are bonded to your teeth. When your braces are removed, your teeth will look patchy.
  • Many dentists don’t recommend whitening your teeth while you wear braces. Many whitening products, including whitening toothpaste, scratch ceramic braces.
  • It is easier to whiten teeth during orthodontic treatment if you wear Invisalign. The invisible braces are easily removed, so whitening your teeth will work well and evenly. For patients who wear Invisalign, your dentist will tell you the best time to begin whitening your teeth.

Speak with the dentist or orthodontist from whom you received the braces to determine if you are a candidate for teeth whitening. Do not try to whiten your teeth yourself without speaking with your dentist about it first.

Your dentist will also give you tips on how to avoid staining your teeth while wearing braces.

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Four Things to Know about Teeth Whitening Parties Before Accepting the Invitation

2018.04.11

I received an online invitation from a friend to a teeth whitening party at a friend’s house. The entire thing is supposed to last about 4 hours. I am not sure about the company that is offering the whitening because I can’t find any information about it online. The invite looks very professional and it says that we will keep the gel on our teeth for 45 minutes to an hour and my teeth will be whiter when I leave. Is this something done that dentists are doing that you know of? It sounds like a dental house call for a group of people. The price is $145 per person, which is cheaper than what my dentist is offering. Is it safe? – Yanika

Yanika – If you received an invitation for a teeth whitening party with no clear information about the sponsor, beware.

Some Facts about Home-Based Teeth Whitening Parties

Photo of teeth whitening trays in a case, for information on DIY teeth whitening from Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Teeth whitening trays keep gel on your teeth

A teeth whitening party lacks the ability to provide some common-sense precautions to ensure you get safe, predictable results:

  • Examination – A dentist examines your teeth in advance of teeth whitening to determine if you are a candidate for it. For some people, bleaching gel makes stains in teeth more noticeable. Others experience a lot of sensitivity. Only an examination by a dentist can anticipate the results you will get from teeth whitening.
  • Proper sanitation and monitoring – It is difficult to monitor a group of people who are getting their teeth whitened. Do you know who will be doing the whitening, and what will be used to whiten your teeth? Will the environment be sanitary for your oral health?
  • Effective whitening – Professional treatment includes customized bleaching trays to keep the gel in contact with your teeth and away from your gums. There is no way you can receive custom trays at a four-hour teeth whitening party.
  • Follow-up – Dentists schedule follow-up appointments to ensure the results are as expected and your teeth and gums are healthy. At times, more sessions are needed to ensure your teeth are as white as you want them.

If you really want your teeth whitened, we advise asking your dentist or a dentist who offers it. This is the only way you can be reasonably sure that you will receive quality treatment.

 

This post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

What’s the safest, cheapest DIY teeth whitening?

2018.02.13

I really want my teeth whitened, but I don’t have a lot of extra money. In September, I graduated university, and I’ve had to pay for my own education. Any extra cash is going toward payment of student loans. When I have any extra money, I can’t justify using it to whiten my teeth, but I do want a bright smile. I’m sure it will help my career. Before I waste money on cheap online kits or stuff that they say is free online, I want to know what really works. Is there any safe teeth whitening product that I can get cheap or free? Kamrin

Kamrin – Before we answer your question, we want to ensure you understand: The safest way to brighten your teeth is under a dentist’s supervision. If you do it yourself, the results are unpredictable.

It is possible to get limited results with inexpensive teeth whitening. But don’t expect a super-white smile. The ingredient to look for in effective whitening gel is carbamide peroxide. If you have sensitive teeth, find gel with a lower percentage of the ingredient.

Tips for DIY Teeth Whitening

  • Over-the-counter whitening strips – They can be effective. Check for the amount of carbamide peroxide in the strips. The higher the percentage, the more powerful the strips. But the more powerful strips may cause sensitivity in your teeth. If you experience sensitivity, take a break from the gel for a few weeks before using it again. You can also consider using strips with a lower percentage of carbamide peroxide. You may have to use whitening strips longer than two weeks to get the best results. Wait at least two weeks before using a new box of strips for another round of whitening. It will allow time for the color of your teeth to stabilize.
  • Discounted whitening from a dentist – There are some dentists that offer discounted teeth whitening to their existing patients who keep their dental cleaning and exam appointments. You may have to establish yourself as a regular patient before receiving the whitening treatment. Some dentists who don’t offer discounts provide a payment plan for the treatment.
  • Free or online kits – Avoid online kits that are advertised as free. These often are ineffective, damage your teeth, or have very high shipping fees. It is difficult to verify the active ingredient in free bleaching gel, so it’s best to stay away from it.

Before You Whiten Your Teeth

Photo of teeth whitening trays in a case, for information on DIY teeth whitening from Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Teeth whitening trays keep gel on your teeth

Before you begin whitening your teeth, ensure that they are free of decay and your gums are free of disease. If your oral health isn’t good, the whitening gel can cause irritation. Dentists look for the causes of stains in your teeth to determine if they should be bleached.

If you decide to use bleaching gel that comes in tubes, only use it with customized trays. The trays keep the gel in contact with your teeth and away from your gums.

This post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Teeth whitening scam with crazy shipping charges

2017.12.21

Every now and then I search for deals on teeth whitening. I finally found one that sounded good. It was for a month trial of whitening and all I had to do was pay shipping and handling. The cost for shipping was posted on the website as $9.99. I thought that was pretty expensive but compared to free whitening I thought it was nothing. Within the last 2 months, I’ve received 3 charges for shipping and handling, but I still don’t have the whitening kit. My credit card company is investigating it now. I just want to know where I can get legitimate, free teeth whitening trials. Do you have any recommendations? Todd

Todd – We’re sorry to hear about your experience. Unfortunately, it is common. There are some risks that come with getting free teeth whitening online. What should you consider?

Beware of Getting Free Teeth Whitening Online

  • Source – On the website, instead of a business address, there is usually only a toll-free number or a contact form if you need to speak with someone at the company. The website probably doesn’t tell you the source of the whitening. If you call the company, you are unlikely to find out exactly where the whitening kit was made.
  • Contents – How do you know if the syringes really contain bleaching gel? Some consumers have found out that the contents were either ineffective or harmful to their teeth.
  • Results – If what you receive isn’t bleaching gel, either it won’t work, it can harm or discolor your teeth, or it can burn your teeth, gums, or other oral tissue.

If your dentist doesn’t offer free teeth whitening, ask for a payment plan to make it more affordable for you. It’s best to receive quality bleaching gel, along with supervision from your dentist. You’ll get predictable results that will last.

 

This post is sponsored by Lowell cosmetic dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.

Do I really need porcelain veneers instead of teeth whitening?

2017.11.29

Why would a dentist tell me I need porcelain veneers instead of teeth whitening? My teeth are really yellow. I have tried to whiten them myself but it’s hardly noticeable. I know that no one else can tell that I’ve been trying to whiten my teeth. So I gave up. 2 weeks ago I talked to my dentist about it and she told me that she can get my teeth super white. I told her that I don’t want them to be super white just natural white. She said she can get them to the white shade of my choice and she started talking about porcelain veneers and prepping my teeth. She also said that if I really want my teeth white, because they are so yellow porcelain veneers are the way to go. The problem with her reasoning is that I want all of my teeth white, not just my front teeth and there is no way I am going to spend over $1k for each tooth. This is ridiculous. I just want to know if I really need porcelain veneers or if there is another way to get my teeth white. – Artuela

Artuela – We recommend that you schedule an appointment with an experienced cosmetic dentist. There are several reasons why you should see a cosmetic dentist before receiving teeth whitening or porcelain veneers.

Why See a Cosmetic Dentist about Porcelain Veneers?

  • He or she will examine your teeth, do diagnostic studies if necessary, and determine the cause of the stains in them. You will also find out which treatment is best to brighten your smile.
  • Artistic cosmetic dentists have significant training and experience with whitening teeth that other dentists have had difficulty whitening.
  • If you are a candidate for teeth whitening, a cosmetic dentist will know which form of whitening will work for your case.
  • He or she may also be able to explain why porcelain veneers were recommended by your dentist. Without examining your teeth, we can’t speculate on the reason for that recommendation.

Find a few experienced cosmetic dentists—preferably accredited cosmetic dentist—in your area, and schedule a consultation with each of them. You will be more comfortable choosing a provider for your treatment after the consultations. See our blog post on what you should know before choosing porcelain veneers.

 

This post is sponsored by Lowell, MA dentist Dr. Michael Szarek.