Cosmetic Dentistry Blog Cosmetic and General Dentistry Questions Answered

August 19, 2014

How white are bleached teeth?

I’ve had this question come up in discussions with dental writers and with patients who have a misconception about teeth bleaching. They understand that teeth tend to accumulate stains over the years. They absorb the pigments from coffee, highly pigmented fruits, wine, and other sources. Bleaching, they think, is a way to remove all those stains.

They’re only partly right. Yes, bleaching will remove those stains, but it will whiten even the natural pigment in your teeth. Let me illustrate this with a couple of stories.

When I went to dental school, I learned about shade guides. The most popular one was the Vita shade guide. Here is a picture of it:
vita-shade-guide

It has a full spectrum of the range of shades a dentist is likely to encounter in natural teeth. When we needed a porcelain crown to match a patient’s other teeth, we could almost always find a shade in this guide that came pretty close to the patient’s natural tooth color.

In the 90’s, ivoclar-shade-guide-bleached-teeth when teeth bleaching became popular, we started to have a problem with this shade guide. We would have people who needed porcelain crowns, and when we tried to find a shade that matched them, they would be “off the chart.” Their teeth would be much whiter than the whitest natural shade on the shade guide. In response, shade guide manufacturers developed new whiter shades. Ivoclar was the first manufacturer that I remember doing this, and our office purchased this four-shade guide and used it to communicate with dental laboratories. You can see that shade guide at the right.

Vita also updated their shade guide, and here is a picture of the current version, with what they call the “bleached extension” shades on the left:
vita-shade-guide-bleached-extension

Serious cosmetic dentists will, of course, use this amplified shade guide because they are frequently dealing with patients who have bleached their teeth. Often, regular family dentists will only use the original A1-D4 shade guide. This led to a problem with one patient who e-mailed me around 2005. She had bleached her teeth, and was now getting porcelain veneers on four front teeth. Not knowing how specialized cosmetic dentistry is, she chose a regular family dentist to do these veneers. For the shade, this dentist selected the whitest shade on his chart. When the veneers came back from the lab, they were noticeably darker than her teeth. The dentist assured her that by using the whitest cement the veneers would match her teeth. She wrote to me, “Alas, this was not the result: there is at least an entire shade (if not more) of difference between my porcelain veneers and my other teeth.” I answered her that unfortunately, her dentist used the classical shade guide, and the whitest shade on that guide could be considerably darker than bleached teeth. For the full story, see the page under “Cosmetic Dentistry Horror Stories” where I discuss her question, can you bleach porcelain veneers?

When my own children got all of their permanent teeth in, I let them bleach their teeth if they wanted to. Even though they weren’t old enough to have any accumulated stains, they were able to whiten their teeth significantly.

So how white can you get your teeth? The results of studies seem to show that the longer you bleach, the whiter they will become, and no one, to my knowledge, has found the limit. The rate of whitening decreases the longer someone uses the bleaching gel, and everyone will hit a point where they don’t want to do it anymore. Some people get them so white that they seem to glow.

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

June 27, 2012

A Review of the Tanda Pearl Ionic Teeth Whitening System

Hello Doctor Hall,
I have read and heard advertising recently regarding the Tanda Pearl Ionic Teeth Whitening System. It reportedly only requires 5 minute treatments twice a day to achieve professional results. First of all, is this system safe? Secondly, what do you think about the results it should yield? The customer satisfaction reviews are generally very positive, but these are few in number and do not address safety. I currently have professionally made trays for bleaching. Wearing them seems to aggravate my TMJ, so the 5 minute treatment suggested with the Tanda Pearl was of interest to me. Thank you for your help!
– Debbie from Kansas

Debbie,
I read all the information about this on the Tanda website and read the reviews by users that are posted on Amazon and I will tell you what I think.

First, this is the same basic tooth whitening concept that is used in professional teeth whitening products like Nite White and Opalescence. It’s a peroxide gel that is placed in a tray so that it has time to penetrate the tooth. I don’t see anything revolutionary here, other than this mysterious “ionic” system, which I will talk about later. The whitening with the Tanda Pearl system is accomplished by the release of tiny oxygen bubbles inside your teeth just like other systems. Here are the differences:

1. The tray. The Tanda Pearl tray is a homemade custom tray that is fabricated by biting into an impression material while it hardens. It is bulky and requires that you keep your mouth closed while using it, because it is a single tray that fits both your upper and lower teeth at the same time. You could not, for example, sleep with it and you would not want to be seen in public. The professional tray, by comparison, is made out of thin, clear plastic, and there are separate trays for your upper and lower teeth. You could be seen in public without anyone knowing that you are wearing teeth whitening trays. You can sleep wearing it.
2. The time frame. They recommend using it for 5-minute periods, where the professional trays have recommended use times varying from 15 minutes at a time to overnight. There is nothing magic about those times. You could wear the Tandy Pearl tray for 30 minutes, but it would get quite uncomfortable, as you would have to keep your mouth closed for the entire time. You could wear a professional tray for 5 minutes at a time. The less time you wear it, the less sensitivity. The more you wear it, the more profound the results. There is no secret formula with the Tandy Pearl that I can see that makes it faster. The time factor is what allows the gel to penetrate the tooth, and there is no evidence presented that the Tandy Pearl gel penetrates any faster than any other tooth whitening gel. If the five-minute time frame appeals to you, my recommendation would be to use your professional system for five minute periods, and I believe you would get equal or superior results to the Tandy Pearl results.
3. The patented “ionic” technology. I am suspicious about this and the veil of secrecy with which they have shrouded this. There is no information about what this is or what makes it unique anywhere on their company website. I don’t think there is any magic with their system. They tout low sensitivity with this product, and user reviews seem to confirm this. But I believe the low sensitivity comes from the five-minute use periods, not from any mysterious ionic technology. If this is such a breakthrough, they could make a lot of money producing a professional system for in-office use by dentists. Their apparent unwillingness to do this contributes to my suspicion – maybe they don’t want to become subject to professional scrutiny.
4. The cost. The Tandy Pearl is $195. Wow. If you’re willing to spend that much money on teeth whitening, why not go professional?

Is it safe? Pretty safe, in that it is as safe as the milder professional whitening systems, however you don’t have the professional supervision which introduces a risk factor. Their bold, upfront advertising proclaims zero sensitivity. But the fine print admits that you could have some sensitivity and warns you what to do if that occurs.

As far as the effect on your TMJ disorder, if the professional trays aggravate your TMJ a little, expect this Tandy Pearl tray to aggravate it a lot. If you really need a solution that is more TMJ-friendly, as I said, there is nothing sacrosanct about the time periods recommended with any of these systems – longer periods of time simply mean deeper penetration and faster results. So just wear your trays for shorter periods, and realize that you’ll have to increase the number of days you bleach, in order to compensate.

I hope this is helpful.

Dr. Hall

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About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

June 18, 2012

Some expert tips on bleaching your teeth

Dr. Hall,
I have received various answers on retouching my bleached teeth with Opalescence PF used with trays. I want to do this before deciding on the color for crowns. I used 20%.

  1. How long should I touch-up (for example, 1 week, 2 weeks)?
  2. How many hours each day (1 hr., 2 hours, or 3 hours)?
  3. Is it necessary to stop whitening a certain length of time before appointment (not necessary, 1 week, 2 weeks)?

Cathy from Texas

Cathy,
There is no real fixed answer on how long you should touch up with Opalescence 20% PF or any other brand of bleaching gel, and I’m concerned if you’re having these crowns done by a dentist who can’t answer these questions for you. I would have to see your teeth, know a little of the history, and know how white you want them. Is this really the dentist you want giving you a new smile? Is this a dentist with an engineering mentality who has little passion for appearance-related dentistry and who will leave you with a well-fitting smile that looks very mediocre – kind of like the photo on our home page? Or is your dentist a true artist, one of the 1-2% minority of dentists who will actually give you a beautiful smile?

Here’s the deal on teeth whitening and how much to do it. No one has found a real limit on how much you can whiten your teeth. The longer you whiten, the whiter they get. The pace of whitening slows the more you do it, but the teeth keep getting whiter. So if you were my patient and had questions like this, I would ask questions like how satisfied you are with the current color, how much you bleached them before, have the teeth darkened much since you first had them whitened, and then how much work you are willing to go through to get them to what you would consider to be their ideal whiteness.

And the amount of time each day you should whiten depends on whether or not you are getting sensitivity from the bleaching gel. Do them as long as you can, is the bottom line, as long as you’re not having any sensitivity. Now if you are sleeping, your saliva flow goes way down and the bleaching gel will stay in the trays much longer. One application should last through the night. You don’t need a gel that is specifically designed for nighttime use – they all contain peroxide. During the day, depending on how tightly your trays fit, saliva will get into the trays and wash out the gel, and you’ll need to keep replenishing it. You do need a minimum period of 20-30 minutes for the gel to soak into the tooth. Beyond that, the more the better.

The one fixed answer that I can give you is how long to stop whitening before any color-matching is done on the new crowns. The whitening is accomplished by the peroxide gel releasing tiny bubbles of pure oxygen within your tooth, and the oxygen oxidizes the stains and darker colors. Once you’ve completed the bleaching, you need to give time for those little oxygen bubbles to disperse in order to get a true color for the teeth, and that takes a couple of weeks. Now if you are doing eight front teeth, the color of the back teeth and the lower teeth doesn’t need to really match – it just needs to be close – and a week would be enough time to wait. But if you need an exact color match of a front tooth with a crown matched to another front tooth with natural enamel, you need to wait the full two weeks.

So what I’ve answered goes beyond simple teeth whitening touch-up. Once your teeth are whitened to the degree you want, then there is a certain amount of teeth whitening relapse that you will have, as the teeth pick up stains from your food – coffee, tea, berries, fruit juices, etc. But whitening for two or three days maybe an hour a day and doing that once every year or two should take care of that and enable you to maintain that bright white bleached color.

But again, I’m quite worried about what kind of work is going to be done on you. An excellent cosmetic dentist would have brought up this subject with you when the case was treatment-planned and would have covered all these points. Do NOT rely on the claims of a dentist about being a cosmetic dentist, or advertising. The problem with the dentists who don’t do very good appearance-related dentistry is that they aren’t artistically inclined and they are blind to their own shortcomings in this area. Dentists with strong academic credentials, dentists who are prosthodontic specialists, and dentists with “high standing” among other dentists can be particularly problematic. They may do highly functional, long-lasting dentistry with absolutely no artistic taste. Be careful.

Dr. Hall

Link: Click here to read our page about the home teeth bleaching procedure.

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

April 25, 2012

What is your opinion of Premium Home Whitening products?

Dr. Hall,
I got an offer through Groupon for a product called Premium Home Whitening, for whitening your teeth. Is this a worthwhile product?
– Ann from Arkansas

Ann,
I looked at their website, and I have a couple of comments.

First, their teeth whitening agent is 35% carbamide peroxide. This is a valid whitening agent – it will whiten your teeth. And, with the exception of the “cold blue light” that they add to the process, which I don’t believe will accelerate anything, I don’t see any hocus-pocus in the technique or the products they offer. However, I can’t endorse what they are doing for a couple of reasons.

First, their price is kind of high. They are charging $158.00 for the whitening kit. While some dentists charge more than this (some charge a lot more), some charge less. If your dentist charges more than this and you just don’t want to pay that fee, I’d just shop around for another dentist. Sometime, just after you’ve had your teeth cleaned and checked, just call around. Tell the new office you’ve just had a cleaning and an exam and just need the whitening. How much would it be? Go to that dentist for your whitening, and back to your regular dentist for your other care. Or, another approach would be to level with your dentist. If it were me, I would just say, ‘Hey, I found this offer for a kit I can buy for $158, and I read comments by a dentist online who said this would really whiten my teeth. If you can come down on your fee to something close to that, I’ll get it from you.”

You see, there are two problems with buying this kit over-the-counter. The first is the tray that they make is not going to fit nearly as closely as the one a dentist will make for you. So you are going to have a lot of leakage, which causes three problems. First, there is a reduction in effectiveness when the tray leaks. Second, you waste a lot of gel, which drives up the cost even more. Third, there is a greater chance of irritating the gums.

And then there is the safety issue. I published a report a couple of years ago of a woman who needed a root canal on her front tooth because of the side effects of an over-the-counter whitening system. It’s always best to use this kind of thing under professional supervision. There are issues about existing dental work, exposed root surfaces, open margins on fillings, etc., that should be checked before starting whitening.

For those reasons, you are much better off getting this service from a dentist. You do not need an expert cosmetic dentist for most routine whitening cases – this is one area of cosmetic dentistry where almost any dentist will do.

– Dr. Hall

Links: Can I whiten my teeth while nursing or pregnant?
Three types of teeth stains.

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

May 26, 2011

Luster Premium White at Home Tooth Whitening – review

Filed under: Tooth whitening — Tags: , , — mesasmiles @ 7:19 pm

Dear Dr.Hall,
What do you know of the whitening product “Luster Premium White At Home Tooth Whitening Light System “? How safe is it?
– Irene from Iowa

Irene,
I looked up information about this Luster Premium At-Home Whitening System by Luster Oral Care, went through their website, carefully studied their ingredients and the comments of users, and it appears to me to be a phony.

The light is way too weak to do anything, and I believe its purpose is purely psychological.

The whitening appears to principally come from a pigment that is in the Super Whitener – zinc oxide. This will stick to the teeth and make them look whiter, and then it will gradually fade away. But it makes the teeth look whiter temporarily, and I believe this is why they get some positive reviews from people who write before the whiteness wears off.

I wouldn’t waste my money on it.

The only over-the-counter whitening system I’m aware of that works is the Crest Whitestrips. And you have to be careful with them – they can cause tooth sensitivity. You’re best off getting teeth bleaching done professionally by a dentist, but if you want to save some money, go with the Whitestrips.

Dr. Hall

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

November 13, 2010

Bleach Your Teeth with Clorox?

Filed under: Tooth whitening — Tags: , , — mesasmiles @ 4:54 pm

I was checking out the dental questions on the Yahoo! Answers websites this morning, and found this interesting one from a guy. Here’s the question:

“Can I bleach my teeth with regular bleach?

“I want to bleach my teeth, and I have a whole like jug of bleach (like what you use on white clothes), how should I use it just gurgle it around in my mouth or what?”

He had thirteen answers from sensible people who responded with varying levels of horror.

I have a rather different take on this question, colored by my experience as a cosmetic dentist. It was maybe about 25 years ago, before teeth bleaching was widely practiced, that I had a patient who told me that she gargled with Clorox to help keep her teeth white. She was a young woman, and I have to admit that she had nice, white teeth. But I told her that I didn’t think that was smart.

Clorox isn’t an acid, it’s a base, kind of like lye. And it’s corrosive and can burn living tissue. Plus, contact with certain other chemicals can cause it to release chlorine, which is a toxic gas that will kill you.

But interestingly, it’s probably a majority of dentists who use Clorox or another brand of household bleach in doing root canal treatments. The active ingredient is sodium hypochlorite, which is an excellent cleanser to use inside a tooth root for dissolving away all the dead organic debris inside a cleaned-out root, and for disinfecting the tooth. They taught us this technique in dental school.

But don’t gargle with it.

There’s actually a question posted on the Clorox website in their FAQ section: Can I use Clorox® Regular-Bleach to gargle, brush my teeth or clean cuts and scrapes? Their answer: “No. Clorox® Regular-Bleach is not for personal usage.”

So there you go. That’s the official word. There is also a notice on the label: “It is a violation of federal law to use this product in a manner inconsistent with its labeling.” So beware. In addition to poisoning yourself, someone may sic the bleaching police on you. It would be a bad scene all around. Just don’t go there.

We thank our advertisers who help fund this site.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

November 8, 2010

Can I whiten my dental bonding?

Filed under: Tooth bonding,Tooth whitening — Tags: , , — mesasmiles @ 6:51 pm

Dr Hall,
I have bonding on my two front teeth. The bonding is about 14 years old and should be replaced but I dont have the money at the moment. I understand that bonding doesnt change color with bleaching. My questions is can I atleast bleach the bonding back to its orginal color? Will the white strips change the color at all?
– Robert from Philadelphia

Robert,

No teeth bleaching will get your dental bonding any whiter. It will only make it look worse because it will whiten your natural teeth and won’t affect the color of the bonding.

It’s possible that the bonding could be made to look better with a little polishing. If the discoloration of the bonding is from external stains and is not internal to the bonding material, it’s possible that the discoloration could be polished away by an expert cosmetic dentist.

Otherwise, it would have to be replaced.

If you’re short of money, it would be smart to wait. Don’t go looking for bargains in cosmetic dentistry, especially with dental bonding. It requires artistic talent to do that right, and most dentists don’t even have the materials on hand to do that right. We list several excellent cosmetic dentists in the Philadelphia area, and I would go to one of them if it matters to you how this looks.

Dr. Hall

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

May 18, 2010

Crest Whitestrips damage a tooth.

Filed under: Tooth whitening — mesasmiles @ 4:48 pm

This is a follow up to a post of a couple of days ago: Crest Whitestrips Risks, where I discussed with Susan the root canal treatment she ended up needing for a tooth damaged by Whitestrips.

Susan,
Very interesting.

I have a follow-up question, if you wouldn’t mind writing back. Was this Crest PROFESSIONAL EFFECTS Whitestrips, or Advanced Vivid? Or Vivid? Or another type of Whitestrips? Which product did you use, exactly?

The lingering pain after the cold test is a strong indication that a tooth needs a root canal treatment, so I’m confident, from what you’re telling me here, that it did need that. And it is reassuring that your dentist didn’t think the Whitestrips would help your esthetic issue. I had assumed that your dentist had recommended this.

The peroxide that is in the bleaching ingredient in the Whitestrips is irritating. I am aware of one case, a number of years ago, where a woman had exposed cavities and used the clinical-strength peroxide bleach on her teeth and ended up needing root canals. This was a very rare occurrence, and at the time was the only reported case of bleaching damaging a tooth. But the bleaching treatment was used contrary to recommendations. Now the peroxide in Whitestrips is fairly weak, and I have never heard of a tooth being harmed by that. I do not believe that there are any reports in the literature of this happening before.

If the bleach did cause this, there needed to be some other compromising factor. Perhaps the gum recession left some exposed dentin. The root of your tooth is supposed to be covered with cementum, but in some cases, there is a gap between where the cementum ends and the enamel begins – an area of exposed dentin.

Anyway, this is a very interesting case of teeth damage from Crest Whitestrips.
– Dr. Hall

Dr. Hall,
I used the “Crest 3D Whitestrips – ADVANCED VIVID – once a day -14 whitening treatments”. I used them for 3 days and then stopped over the weekend and then used them 1 more day, forgot the next day, and then used them for 3 more days, making a total usage of 7 days. I had no problems with sensitivity until midday after using them on the 7th day.

That is when my front incisor began hurting and then the pain increased daily. I contacted my dentist four days after the pain began and you know the rest of my story. How safe do you think I am in continuing to bleach my teeth using the other 7 packets left in the box? Like I said earlier, I’d much rather have yellow, healthy teeth than white, unhealthy teeth!

Thanks again for your help and advice!
Susan

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

May 17, 2010

Crest Whitestrips risks – Does Susan now need a root canal?

Filed under: Tooth whitening — Tags: — mesasmiles @ 2:52 pm

Dear Dr. Hall,
My front left incisor was pushed back in my mouth 30 years ago in an accident and then put back into place by an oral surgeon. Since then it has been slightly discolored and the gum has been recessed from it very slightly. Just recently I asked my dentist about teeth whitening products and he suggested that I try CrestWhite Strips. After using them for 7 days with no problems my front incisor started to ache. I did not use the strips any more, yet the pain did not go away. I have not used the strips for 1 week now, yet my incisor still hurts when anything cold gets near it. It is sensitive to hot & aches much more when I exercise (even walking). It is not sensitive to pressure or being tapped on and feels ok as long as I am sitting and non-active. My questions for you are 1) Do you think I need a root canal? My dentist seems to think so. 2)Do you think the Crest White Strips caused the tooth to become infected? 3)If this was caused by the whitening product, than should my dentist not have warned me that this was possible? I’d greatly appreciate your input ASAP as my dentist wants to begin the root canal on Thurs., May 13. Your website has been extremely helpful! Thank you!

– Susan from Missouri

Susan,
I’m not sure why this incisor is hurting now. It is irritated. I don’t think it could be said for certain that it is infected. The sensitivity to cold indicates it is irritated. The sensitivity to heat is more a concern and tends to indicate that it won’t recover on its own.

And the idea of bleaching this tooth with Crest Whitestrips wasn’t a good one. This dentist doesn’t seem to know much about bleaching. The Whitestrips are very mild and will whiten your teeth a little but not a lot, and they will whiten your front six teeth evenly, which would still leave this tooth darker than all the others.

I would get a second opinion from an expert cosmetic dentist. I’m jumping to conclusions a little bit here, but this error of judgment on the bleaching to me reveals a serious lack of knowledge about cosmetic dentistry.

As far as the bleaching irritating your tooth, that is possible. That’s why it is always a good idea to bleach under the supervision of a dentist. There are some rare instances where a tooth that is otherwise irritated or has exposed dentin has been “pushed over the edge” by bleaching it, but that is very rare, and I have never heard of that happening with Crest Whitestrips. As I said, they are very mild.

Dr. Hall
Filed  under: Crest Whitestrips risks.

Follow up:
Susan wrote back a few days later and reported that she had sought a second opinion about the root canal treatment. The other dentist did cold tests on her teeth. On the affected tooth, the pain to cold lasted 2-3 minutes. This is a classic sign of a tooth needing a root canal treatment. Susan subsequently had the root canal on this tooth.

This is a very unusual case, and may be the only reported case of this type of risk – a tooth being damaged by Crest Whitestrips. My recommendation is that Crest restrict their stronger whitening products so that they are only available for use under the supervision of a dentist, and that they issue warnings that these stronger products should only be used after a dental examination reveals that there is no exposed dentin on the teeth to be bleached.
– Dr. Hall

Another follow-up question from Dr. Hall about the tooth damage from Crest Whitestrips, where Susan explains the exact Whitestrips product she used and gives more information about the damage they caused.

Click here to ask Dr. Hall a question.
Click here for referral to an expert cosmetic dentist.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

May 3, 2010

Pain from teeth bleaching

Filed under: Teeth sensitivity,Tooth whitening — mesasmiles @ 2:07 pm

Hello, I have been using an at-home whitening system for about 2 weeks with no problems. Then yesterday, I used them and I felt a sharp pain that lasted for about 30 seconds The source of the pain was my front tooth which has a dental bond. It was chipped and repaired about 10 years ago. My question is – is my bond nearing the end of its life cycle, or is the whitening weakening the bond? I suspect it is both. Thank You, Kim from Texas

Kim,
I doubt that the tooth bleaching system would weaken the bond on this tooth. Bleaching gel hasn’t been known to weaken bonds like this. Plus, if the bond were weakened, the repair to the chip would probably fall off – it wouldn’t just be this pain.

The kind of pain you experienced can be caused by the bleaching gel on a sensitive part of the tooth. That’s what I would suspect. If this tooth was otherwise injured and repaired, there could be a sensitive place that used to be covered by some bonding agent and that has come off.

Your case is a good illustration of why, when you’re doing teeth bleaching, you need to be under a dentist’s supervision. I assume that you are. You should let the dentist know about this, and hopefully they can find the exact cause of your problem. If it is indeed a sensitive spot, it could be coated with something to take care of the sensitivity, and you can go on with your bleaching. But get this solved before you bleach any more.

– Dr. Hall

Read more about sensitive teeth.
Other links: Chicago porcelain veneers.

About David A. Hall

Dr. David Hall was one of the first 40 accredited cosmetic dentists in the world. He practiced cosmetic dentistry in Iowa, and in 1990 earned his accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. He is now president of Infinity Dental Web, a company in Mesa, Arizona that does complete Internet marketing for dentists.

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