Using laundry bleach to whiten teeth

If teeth whitening is just bleaching your teeth, why can’t I use the laundry bleach I have at home?

Stan W.- Little Rock, AR

Stan,

You wouldn’t believe how often I get that question.  The whitening ingredient in professional tooth whitening is not bleach, but peroxide. I know it sounds logical to think that bleach will whiten your teeth, but in fact you will damage your teeth and are very likely to lethally harm yourself.

Bleach like Clorox is a corrosive. This means it will eat away at the soft tissue in your mouth. It will also destroy your teeth.  Bleach removes the moisture, which will make them weak and brittle.

If that isn’t enough of a deterant, you should also be aware that the sodium hypochorite in the bleach is a toxic chemical. Even small amounts of this can cause vomiting and stomach irritation. Larger amounts can result in death.

Now, just because I said that teeth whitening uses peroxide, don’t get any crazy ideas about self-treating with that either. While it is useful for reducing bacteria as a rinse, in order to be effective in whitening it must be on your teeth for quite some time to make a difference. It is tricky to do that without damaging your gums.

It may sound self-serving, but it is much better to whiten your teeth through your local dentist. They have powerful whitening agents–much stronger than anything you could get over-the-counter.

This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.

Do I have to have my teeth ground down for a smile makeover?

I wanted a smile makeover. My dentist said I need to get porcelain crowns. Do I really have to have all my teeth ground down to get a makeover? I thought crowns were for infections in your teeth. I don’t even have any cavities.

Olivia P. from Kansas City

Olivia,

NO, NO, NO, don’t get porcelain crowns if you don’t have a large cavity, especially for a smile makeover. Your dentist is insane.  My guess is he doesn’t know how to do porcelain veneers and he isn’t man (or woman) enough  to admit it.

There are cases when you have to mix porcelain veneers and porcelain crowns, but that is when you have teeth with large cavities. Otherwise, in general porcelain veneers are a better option. Either way you want an expert cosmetic dentist. The obvious ignorance of your dentist means you need to find another one.  You can stick with him for your basic dental care, but go to someone with more expertise for your cosmetic work.

Look for someone who is AACD accredited (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry). They are among the top 1-3% of dentists in the world. It is worth a bit of a drive to get a gorgeous smile.  Be aware there is a difference between being a member of the AACD and being accredited by the organization.

This blog is brought to you by Tulsa Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Jerome Cha.