A few years ago, I had my teeth whitened, but they have since picked up more stains. I’m a heavy coffee drinker and knew that would be an issue. Now I need a dental crown on one of my teeth and my dentist wants to schedule me for next week. It’s visible when I smile so I did some research. It seems like it is better to whiten them again before I get the crown placed, but I can’t tell how long I need to get them the right color again. Can you advise me?
While I am going to give you some advice on teeth whitening, I am a little concerned about a couple of things I’m inferring from what you wrote. First, you are having to do this research on your own to figure out what to do. This is unfair to you. Your dentist is supposed to have this training already. He should have advised you that if you wanted to touch up your teeth whitening to do it before getting the dental crown made. One thing we can be grateful for is you figured it out. That’s fantastic! Too many patients don’t and end up having to pay for their crown to be re-done to match the teeth they whiten after the procedure.
A second concern I have is your dentist can’t advise you on the best way to touch up. These two things combined lead me to conclude that he doesn’t have the cosmetic training and skills to do a porcelain crown on your front teeth. These take a lot of skill to not only get to look beautiful, but to blend in with the remainder of your teeth. You may want to ask to see some before and after pictures of cases he’s done similar to yours to see what type of results he gets. If he doesn’t have a smile gallery with photos of his work, then he doesn’t do much cosmetic work and you should see someone else for this procedure.
How Long to Whiten Your Teeth
The basic principle is the longer you can wear your bleaching trays (with the gel in them, of course), the faster your teeth will whiten. The minimum you should leave them in is 15 minutes. The maximum is overnight. While you sleep, your saliva flow goes down which allows the gel to stay in the trays longer, giving you maximum whitening. Some dentists will tell you that you need a special gel made for nighttime whitening, but that isn’t the case. They all contain peroxide. You can wear them during the day as long as you want as well, as long as you are not developing sensitivity.
Once you’ve reached the level of whitening you want, give your teeth a week or two to settle before having the crown made. Oxygen bubbles will still release in your teeth for this amount of time after you stop whitening.
This blog is brought to you by Duluth, GA Dentist Dr. David Marion.