Category Archives: Cosmetic Dentistry

Teeth Whitening Solutions: Over-the-Counter Whitening Products

Teeth whitening dilemma: Going to your dentist vs. Doing it yourself

If you’ve been wanting to whiten your teeth by yourself, then you’re probably familiar with various over-the-counter whitening products available out there. The most effective ones use either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide whitening gel to help remove deep tooth stains. This eliminates the yellowness within teeth and gradually turns them white and bright. Here is a list of some more common and most effective options available to you:

  • Whitening strips directly apply bleaching gel against your teeth. They work very well because they allow the gel to sit against teeth surfaces for long periods of time. Be sure to apply the strips evenly onto your teeth surfaces, otherwise you could end up with yellow spots.
  • Pain-on brushes allow you to directly apply whitening gel wherever need. However you must pay attention to keep the area dry so that saliva doesn’t contaminate it.
  • Bleaching mouthwashes typically contain baking soda and peroxide solution. They are quite effective when used over time. Make sure to allow the mouthwash to sit on your teeth for a while and don’t rinse it off too quickly.
  • Whitening toothpastes work by removing teeth surface stains.

Pros of using over-the-counter teeth whitening products

Lets look at the advantages that using over-the-counter teeth whitening products offer as compared to dentist treatments:

Whiter teeth for a fraction of what dentists charge

Dentist whitening options are typically expensive and usually set you back a few hundred bucks. On the other hand, over-the-counter whitening products are much more affordable. On top of that, going to the dentist means you’ll probably need a dental cleaning and possibly other unexpected dental treatment. Keep in mind that dentists won’t whiten your teeth until you’ve addressed your dental cleaning and cavities first. This can really run up your costs, especially if you don;t have dental insurance to cover your checkup and dental cleaning.

Results can easily be duplicated with over-the-counter whitening products

No matter how white your teeth become after bleaching them, they slowly turn yellower over time. Many food items that we consume cause our teeth to turn yellow:

  • Cigarette and tobacco products
  • Coffee and tea
  • Red wine
  • Sodas and colas
  • Many spices and food flavors

You must modify your diet to best maintain whitening results over time. But regardless, you will require a touch-up every several months or so. However, teeth whitening touch-ups can be quite costly, especially if you plan on your dentist doing it for you every single time. Discovering an effective combination of over-the-counter whitening products can be a much more affordable long-term solution for maintaining whiter teeth.

There are less issues with post-operative tooth sensitivity when using over-the-counter whitening products

Most whitening products that your dentist uses are very strong. This can result in temporary teeth sensitivity or damage to your gum tissue. Professional bleaching gels used by dentists are typically 2 to 3 times stronger than over-the-counter ones. Sometimes this highly concentrated gel accidentally oozes onto your gum tissues during whitening treatment. This can burn your gums and irritate them for several days or even weeks. Additionally, you might develop teeth sensitivity which could last a few days, weeks or even longer.

On the other hand, there is minimal pain and sensitivity associated with using over-the-counter whitening products. The whitening gel is much weaker and can’t damage your gums or cause serious teeth sensitivity. These treatments are much simpler to use and you can’t really damage your teeth or gums unless you really wanted to.

NEXT >> Deciding on going to the dentist for teeth whitening

Pros of in-office dentist whitening

How to Decide Between Veneers or Crowns

10 Questions to help you decide between placing veneers or crowns:

Now that you’ve read the advantages and disadvantages of veneers and crowns, it’s time to decide between the two. Here is a list of questions to help you decide between placing veneers or crowns on your front teeth. Please answer each question with either a “yes” or “no“:

  1. Are your concerns primarily cosmetic based?
  2. Do you want to improve the color of your teeth?
  3. Do you want to make your front teeth look more beautiful and perfect-looking?
  4. Is your plan to close small gaps in between front teeth or straighten slightly crooked teeth?
  5. You don’t have lots of large fillings, root canals or crowns on your front teeth?
  6. You’re not a heavy tooth grinder?
  7. You don’t have a poor bite?
  8. There aren’t already plenty of crowns on most of your teeth?
  9. Are you between 18 to 50 years of age?
  10. You plan on maintaining superior oral hygiene and routine dental cleanings after your work has been completed?

Good candidate for placing veneers

If you answered “yes” to most of the above questions then you probably should go with veneers.

Questions 1 through 4: Good candidate for veneers

If your goal is to improve looks of your teeth, then veneers are typically the better route to go. Veneers can improve the shape, color and form of your teeth and overall smile. You can also close minor gaps and straighten your teeth by placing veneers on a group of your front teeth.

Veneers are a better option if you have want to repair slightly chipped or cracked front teeth. If your teeth have lost their shine and luster due to aging, then veneers are a better option for you. Should you have slightly crooked teeth or gaps between your teeth that you want to close, then veneers are also the best overall treatment option.

Questions 5 through 8: Contraindications to receiving veneers

If you want to improve the looks of your front teeth, veneers should be your default option. Unless of course there are reasons where veneers won’t work as well. Veneers are thin and fragile and can break or fall off the teeth. There are certain occasions where crowns give you better results than veneers would.

One example where crowns are preferred is when you have lots of existing dental work. If you have root canals, crowns and large fillings on your front teeth, veneers won’t be strong enough to protect your teeth. Also, if you grind your teeth heavily, then crowns last longer and are the better option. If you have bite issues, such as your front teeth hitting too much on each other, then placing crowns is probably the better route to go as well.

Question 9: Age

When you’re younger, veneers give you much better results in most cases. Sine veneers are more conservative, they don’t damage your teeth as much which is important in your youth. However, as you age crowns gradually end up becoming a better option for most people. Crowns provide a better seal, more strength and more durability. They protect your teeth better in old age. Plus, if you already have lots of existing dental work then veneers are no longer an option anyways.

Question 10: Caring for veneers

We already mentioned that veneers don’t cover the inside portions of your teeth. This means that you need to brush and clean them well and ideally, receive a dental cleaning every few months. If you see yourself disappearing from your dentist office for a long time, then chances of having to redo your veneers is quite high. As such, you are probably better off receiving crowns over veneers if you have questionable oral hygiene. Of course keep in mind that if you really can’t care for your teeth then you probably shouldn’t be getting any cosmetic dental treatment whatsoever.

Good candidate for placing crowns

If you answered “no” to most of the above questions then you probably are better off with crowns instead of veneers.

Final thought on choosing between veneers or crowns

Dentists typically prefer veneers over crowns because porcelain veneers spare more of your own tooth structure. Note that dentists charge nearly the same for porcelain veneers as they do for top of the line crowns. So this is not a question of what’s more affordable, but rather what’s best for your teeth.

Both veneers or crowns can fix your teeth and result in an equally impressive smile. However veneers usually edge out simply because they are the more conservative treatment. If your teeth are not a good candidate for veneers then you should consider crowns instead.

Who should I go to for receiving porcelain veneers?

If you’re planning on receiving multiple veneers then make sure you are working with an experienced and established cosmetic dentist or prosthodontist. Ideally you want a dentist who has had lots of experience performing veneers and cosmetic dental treatment. There are many factors that come into play when choosing size, color, shape and angels of your new veneers. Only an experienced and skillful dentist can visualize and address you problems to give you excellent results.

What are the advantages of veneers?

What are the advantages of crowns?

Benefits of Crowns over Veneers

Does placing crowns over veneers ever make sense?

If you’ve been contemplating a smile makeover then you may have considered placing crowns or veneers on your front teeth. Veneers are smaller, more conservative crowns which leave more tooth structure in tact. Porcelain veneers are the treatment of choice for cosmetic dentistry and improving the shape and color of your front teeth. While porcelain crowns are typically the better cosmetic option, there are cases where placing crowns over veneers makes more sense.

If you want to improve the looks of your teeth then veneers are typically the better route to go. If your teeth are yellow, worn down, chipped or slightly damaged, then porcelain veneers are your best option. Veneers are more conservative and give you excellent results without causing substantial damage to your teeth.

However, if most of your front teeth already have a root canal or crown, then veneers are not strong enough to support them. In these cases receiving crowns is probably the better route to go. Traditional crowns are sturdier and support bite pressure better in the long-run. As such, if you have a poor bite, grind your teeth heavily or have plenty of existing dental work then you should probably go for crowns over veneers. Talk to your dentist to see which treatment best suits your needs.

What are the advantages of crowns over veneers?

Crowns circle the entire tooth to provide a perfect seal and support the entire tooth. As a result crowns are sturdier and more durable than veneers. If your teeth are already damaged or if you have tons of existing dental work then crowns are probably a better option for you. Here are some advantages of crowns over veneers which you should be aware of:

Crown covers your whole tooth and provide a perfect seal

Traditional dental crowns encompass your whole tooth. This means that the circle the entire portion of your tooth above the gum lines to create a seal against bacteria. Veneers don’t cover the inside portion of your teeth and leave this area exposed to bacteria. As a result, teeth with veneers are more likely to develop a cavity in this exposed region. If your oral hygiene is questionable then you may end up having to redo your veneers sooner than expected.

Crowns are less likely to fall off teeth

Because a crown hugs the whole tooth it’s very unlikely to fall off your tooth. Crowns cover your entire tooth. This provides a lot of surface area for better retention. This also means that there is more surface area for dental cement to hold your crown against the tooth. As a result crowns rarely ever simply fall off teeth.

On the other hand, veneers falling off teeth and having to be glued back in is a very common issue. A veneer only attaches to the outer surface and tip of the tooth. This means there is less physical grip as well as less surface area for the cement to hold veneers in place. As a result, veneers often times weaken and fall off teeth surfaces over time. Since most people who receive veneers have to get 6 or 8 veneers, the odds of having to deal with one that keeps coming loose and falling off is always there.

Crown treatment is a easier and less technically demanding

It is harder for your dentist and lab technician to make veneers instead of crowns. Veneers require a more complicated tooth preparation process and are much more technically demanding. Making and fitting veneers is also more detailed and there are more do overs and problems when dealing with veneers instead of crowns. As a result, less experienced dentists tend to shy away from placing veneers and favor crowns even in cases where veneers are clearly the superior choice.

NEXT >> 10 Questions to help you decide between placing veneers or crowns

What are the advantages of veneers over crowns?