Category Archives: Teeth whitening

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.

Will my free teeth whitening match the fillings on my front teeth?

I got free teeth whitening, but now I’m getting concerned about the fillings in my front teeth. The fillings are 4 years old and although they still look white with my current tooth color, what will happen after I use the gel. Is it okay to use the gel even though I have the white fillings? Thanks. Raven

Before and after photos for information on free teeth whitening, from Plano TX dentist Miranday Lacy DDS.
Ensure your teeth are healthy before using free teeth whitening

Raven – There are a few things to keep in mind when using bleaching gel on teeth that have fillings.

  • White fillings won’t prevent you from being a candidate for teeth whitening. Of course, the bleaching gel will whiten your teeth, but not your fillings.
  • After your whitening treatment is complete and your teeth are as white as you want them, if the fillings are noticeable, they can be replaced. If the fillings are too dark, a cosmetic dentist can use dental composite to replace them. Composite will be mixed to match the shade of your bright smile.
  • It’s best to wait a few weeks until the color of your teeth has stabilized to ensure the dentist makes a good match.

If you anticipate needing cosmetic dentistry (e.g, porcelain crowns, dental bonding), it should be completed after your teeth are whitened. The restorations can be made to match the color of your teeth. Otherwise, the restorations will be darker than your bleached teeth.

Caution before Using Free Teeth Whitening

Before whitening of any kind is used, it’s best to consider the following factors:

  • Ensure you’ve had a recent dental cleaning and exam.
  • Your teeth and gums should be healthy and free of decay.
  • Bleaching gel can irritate unhealthy teeth or gums and cause inflammation.
  • Depending on the cause of stains in your teeth, bleaching gel can make them more noticeable.
  • Follow the instructions to avoid overbleaching your teeth. Too many whitening sessions, or sessions that are too long, can make your teeth brittle and discolored.

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

Free teeth whitening didn’t help spots on my teeth

I have been trying some cheap and free teeth whitening techniques  to try to even out my smile some. For the past six months or so, I’ve noticed my teeth have developed some white spots on them. I wanted to get rid of the spots or make them blend in more. I tried special toothpastes and strips, but none of those were working, so I finally went and saw a dentist who was offering free teeth whitening treatments to all new patients. We went through the whole thing and I followed their instructions exactly. Well, my teeth seem a little brighter, but the spots look brighter too. I called the office and the woman told me that spots like I have won’t respond to bleaching and that I should have known that before I started. How could I have possibly known if they didn’t tell me? I have to wonder if it’s possible that they were just using a fake gimmick to get people in the dental office. If, however, they are being truthful and the spots can’t be fixed this way, where exactly does that leave me in terms of fixing the problem? Thanks. Kris

Kris,

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

Sorry to hear you’re having so much trouble with spots on your teeth. It sounds like decalcification might be the problem. The dental office should have let you know the results you could expect before your free teeth whitening treatment started, but all is not lost. Let’s discuss what’s happening.

A Balanced Mouth Is a Healthy Mouth

Ideally, natural teeth are in a pH-balanced environment, bathing in mineral-laden saliva. In everyday life, intake acid food and drink that disturb the pH balance. Health conditions like acid reflux or bulimia introduce even more acid, and certain medications reduce the amount of saliva in our mouths. We get plaque buildup and feed bacteria in our mouths with sugary foods, which also upsets the pH balance.

Decalcification Occurs When Minerals Leave Your Teeth

The enamel on your teeth is incredibly tough when it’s healthy, but when your mouth isn’t balanced, the minerals start to leak. They’re in a constant state of flux; losing minerals and then gaining minerals from your saliva and diet. If you’re really good about brushing and flossing and don’t have health concerns, yet eat a lot of sugar or consume a lot of acidic things, your teeth will naturally remineralize on their own. But when your teeth have significant mineral loss, white spots, also known as decalcification, will develop.

Decalcification Is Often Called Pre-Cavity

The white spots on a tooth are not as strong as the rest of the tooth structure. Many dentists refer to them as pre-cavities, though precarious lesion is the more clinical term for it. Some people do believe you can heal those spots by correcting the imbalance and making sure you’re getting the minerals you need. There are specialty products on the market that claim to remineralize teeth. Unfortunately, there’s little evidence to support this. Those spots typically become cavities. If you’re really diligent and follow a good care regimen (your dentist may have specific suggestions to help you), then you may be able to delay decay for an extended period of time- perhaps even years.

Your Dentist Will Need to Repair the Spots

Often, dentists will want to repair the spots before they become cavities.

  • Depending on the severity of yours, there may be minimally-invasive options, such as abrasion. Teeth are usually repaired just like cavities.
  • Sometimes, people receive dental veneers to cover up white spots and protect the teeth.

You’ll need an evaluation from your dentist to find out which options are best. As for the free teeth whitening you received, it was probably legit, but it won’t get rid of the white spots or even tooth color. However, dentists usually recommend that you have whitening done before any restorative work, because bleaching gel won’t brighten filling materials or veneers. If you did want a brighter smile overall, the whitening helped, but you need alternate treatment to correct the white spots.

 

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy. Dr. Lacy’s Plano free teeth whitening for life program includes free whitening gel for patients of the practice who keep their regular cleaning and exam appointments.

Have I done too many free teeth whitening treatments?

I got free teeth whitening from my dentist. I have been using it every night for 4 months. My dentist wanted me to give it a break but I can’t stop. Today and lunch, I felt this horrible electric shock through my bottom teeth. I thought immediately that it must be from the whitening. I am scared that I overdid it. Now every 15 minutes or so the shock comes back. It won’t stop. Could this really have come from the bleaching gel? I just took an Advil. Is this going to go away? I’m too embarrassed to call my dentist because she told me to stop whitening a long time ago. Thanks. Shellie

Shellie – It is likely that the sensation you are feeling in your teeth is from the free teeth-whitening gel. Hopefully, the Advil will give you some relief. We recommend that you stop using the bleaching gel. Give your teeth a break.

If the pain becomes more frequent, or if it increases over the next day or two, call your dentist to have your teeth examined. If you have time today, you can try using toothpaste for sensitive teeth, such as Sensodyne, to see if you get some relief.

Risks of Using Too Much Free Teeth-Whitening Gel

Many people over-bleach their teeth. It’s important to follow your dentist’s direction on the frequency for doing touch-ups.

  • Teeth can weaken
  • Nerve irritation that results in hypersensitivity
  • Teeth can darken

It’s good that you started your whitening process with your dentist. Some people choose to use professional-strength bleaching gel without the supervision of a dentist, and problems can result from it. Based on the characteristics of your teeth and your sensitivity, your dentist can recommend a bleaching gel of the appropriate strength for your case.

Don’t wait too long to contact your dentist if you don’t feel any relief, or if the situation gets worse.

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

My kitty swallowed my free teeth whitening gel. Will she get sick?

I received a box of free teeth whitening pens at a mall kiosk. I was only able to use 3 of the pens. 2 weeks ago I got a new kitten that is really active. When I’m away at work, I keep her in the laundry room so she doesn’t get into anything harmful. Today when I came home, the cat was out of the laundry room. She had one of my teeth whitening pens between her paws. Only 2 pens were left in the box. Her whiskers looked sticky, so I’m sure she liked it. I threw the pen away, but I’m wondering if there is anything in the gel that might make her sick. Thanks. Jen

Jen,

We hope your kitty will be okay. We have some tips for her and for you and anyone who is considering getting their teeth whitened.

Is Swallowing Teeth Whitening Gel Harmful?

Below are four things to keep in mind if you or your pet swallows bleaching gel.

Humans

  • Teeth whitening gel is not for internal use, and it should be kept away from children.
  • If it’s swallowed in large amounts, it can cause stomach pain, inflammation, vomiting, or diarrhea.
  • Anyone who swallows large amounts should call a doctor or go to an urgent care facility.
  • Take the product with you to the visit for the staff to see the ingredients and provide the right treatment.

Pets

  • But we don’t know what effect, if any, it will have on your pet. It will likely depend on how much of the gel your pet swallowed.
  • Give your veterinarian a call.
  • If you don’t have a vet, you can take your pet to the vet office at a local pet store.
  • Take the teeth-whitening pens box with you so they can see the ingredients in the gel. The vet will take care of your pet and let you know what you can expect over the next few days.

Caution for DIY Teeth Bleaching

We advise all of our writers to be careful with do-it-yourself or free teeth-whitening gel. Be certain that your teeth and gums are disease and cavity free. The gel can irritate your teeth and gums if they are not healthy.

Your dentist should be able to you if bleaching your teeth is safe, or if another method should be used to whiten them. In some cases, bleaching gel can make the stains on your teeth look worse.

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

How long should I use free teeth whitening before I get dental crowns?

Hi, I am getting 4 new crowns in April. I received some free teeth whitening. I want to get my as white as I can before I get the crowns. Will you please tell me how many weeks I should do the touch up and how long I should keep the gel on each time? Keva

Keva – It concerns us that you didn’t receive details from your dentist on how to effectively whiten your teeth before you receive your crowns. This is something a dentist usually discusses with patients in detail as part of your treatment plan.

Before You Use Free Teeth Whitening

Our first concern is the source of your free teeth-whitening gel. If it wasn’t received from a dentist or a reputable company, your teeth may not get white, or the gel could actually damage your teeth.

Assuming that you’ve receive professional bleaching gel, there are several factors to consider.Head-and-shoulders photo of dark blonde woman smiling, for free teeth whitening from Plano femal dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

  • How white do you what your teeth to be? That will affect the number of weeks you use your free teeth whitening. Your teeth will become increasingly whiter the longer you do the touch-up. The pace of the whitening will get slower as time goes on, but your teeth will continue to brighten.
  • How sensitive are your teeth? The sensitivity of your teeth to the bleaching gel is also a factor. Your teeth and gums can be irritated from the bleaching gel. Usually for daytime whitening, you would leave the gel on at least 20 to 30 minutes. If you sleep with the whitening trays on your teeth, the gel is less inhibited by saliva slow while you sleep, and the whitening will be more effective. Be careful with high-strength bleaching gel. If it’s used overnight, it might irritate your gums and teeth.
  • Your teeth will continue to whiten for a while after you stop treatments. Oxygen bubbles from the bleaching gel continue to whiten your teeth for approximately two weeks after your touch-up treatment is complete. Complete the touch-up at least a full two weeks before receiving your porcelain crowns.
  • You’ll need to do touch-ups. Touch-ups are needed to keep your smile bright. Certain food and drinks like coffee, tea, and berries can stain your teeth, so the touch-ups will remove the stains.

A dentist with strong cosmetic dentistry experience will ensure that your touch-ups are correctly done before you receive your crowns. He or she will also ensure that your crowns perfectly match your natural teeth.

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

 

Need a good brand of free teeth whitening to remove spots from braces

I’m wondering if you can recommend a good brand of free teeth whitening for me. Over the past 4 years I’ve spent so much money on dental appointments and braces. My braces were removed in September but my teeth still have spots and stains on them. My whitening toothpaste isn’t doing anything for them. My dentist offers whitening but it’s over $400. With all of the money I spent in the office I can’t believe that she won’t give me a discount. I even asked, but she isn’t discounting the whitening for me. So I’m looking at my options for free whitening and I’ll do it myself. Is there are brand you can recommend? Thx. Kip

Kip – When you wear braces, diligent care must be taken to avoid the buildup calcification under brackets and wires. Your teeth have to be regularly and thoroughly cleaned and brushed. Otherwise, teeth will be stained when the braces are removed. But exercise caution with trying to remedy the situation with free teeth whitening, unless the whitening treatments are provided by a dentist.

Removing Teeth Stains after Braces Are Removed

Surface stains can be polished off by a dentist. Any discoloration that’s left can be improved, too. But the way it is done depends on the type and extent of stains on your teeth.

  • Cement residue – Can be improved with dental cleaning and polishing.
  • Surface stains – Are improved when your teeth are cleaned and polished. Teeth whitening can be used to remove embedded stains.
  • Decay or erosion – Chairside dental bonding can improve the appearance of your teeth. Dental bonding is mixed to match the color and translucence of your natural teeth.

It’s best to visit an experienced cosmetic dentist to determine which treatment—or which combination of treatment—is best to remove the spots and stains from your teeth. You might not be able to receive free teeth whitening from a dentist, but if whitening is needed, the dentist will ensure treatments are completed before you receive dental bonding.

Some dentists offer free teeth whitening for their own patients who keep regularly scheduled appointment for dental cleanings and exams. We suggest that you schedule a consultation with at least two cosmetic dentists to discuss your options.

Be assured that spots from braces can be concealed, but you need an experienced cosmetic dentist to determine the best way to remove them. Don’t try do-it-yourself, free teeth whitening. It can make your teeth look worse.

 

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

Are free teeth whitening samples any good?

I have a question about free teeth whitening samples. There are so many at home whitening kits on the market, it’s hard to choose. A lot of the products I’m interested in have free whitening samples, which sounds like a great way to try out a product. My teeth are just yellow and have a few brown stains on them. I really want them to be a lot brighter. Can free whitening done at home be just as effective and safe as what you can get professionally from a dentist? Thanks Liana

Liana – The ability to whiten your teeth for free sounds good.  But when whitening products are not being monitored by a professional, there are several risks.

Even home whitening kits that are bought over the counter can be harmful if they are used incorrectly. Some of the risks with at home, DIY teeth whitening include:

  • Gum sensitivity – This is the most common. With a strong concentration of bleaching gel, if it is not applied properly, the process can cause burns to your soft tissue, or even cause irreversible gum recession.
  • Inadequate bleaching trays – Many teeth whitening kits require the use of bleaching trays, which helps contain the gel and prevent spillage. Unfortunately, if a dental professional is not supervising the procedure, it’s possible the trays won’t fit properly. Some of the gel may leak out onto your gums, mouth, or skin, and cause burns.
  • Low-quality bleaching gel – Depending on the chemicals used in the product, instant whitening kits can cause irreparable damage to tooth enamel.

Free whitening is best when offered and supervised by a dentist. There are several reasons:

  • Dentists are able to predict if the stains in your teeth can be dissolved by bleaching gel, or if the gel will make your stains noticeable.
  • A dentist can also provide the correct strength of bleaching gel, based on the sensitivity of your teeth.
  • Bleaching gel from a dentist doesn’t contain cheap products that will harm your teeth.
  • You’ll receive customized bleaching trays that fit well and keep the bleaching gel in contact with your teeth, but away from your gums and lips.

Speak with your dentist to find out what types of teeth whitening are offered and how it can be made affordable for you. Some dentists offer free teeth whitening to their patients.

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