Ortho Bands or Porcelain Veneers?

I’ve got this gap in my teeth and they need some whitening. My dentist tells me porcelain veneers will take care of both those things.  The price tag is a tad out of reach for me. I could do it, but am wondering if I should spend that much money just because my smile bothers me. Ortho bands are a lot cheaper. They would take care of the gap. What do you think? I’d feel better with a professionals opinion.

Gracie – Ohio

Gracie,

The ortho bands are a bad idea. In fact, I’m surprised they haven’t been sued out of business. What they do to close the gap is tip the teeth together. That puts you at risk of losing your teeth because the roots of your teeth aren’t properly adjusted. They don’t have bone support. They become loose. They’re no better than putting rubber bands on your teeth.

I don’t necessarily think porcelain veneers are your solution either. You have a couple of more affordable options that will give you the results you’re interested in.

First, get teeth whitening done. Once that is completed, you can do one of two things.

  • Invisalign:  These will straighten your teeth without anyone knowing. They’re truly invisible, even at a conversational distance. Some dentists will even whiten your teeth using the Invisalign trays saving you money.
  • Dental Bonding: This uses composite bonding to close the gap.  You’ll want to do the whitening first, because you want the bonding to match your new color.

I’d only invest in porcelain veneers if you’re wanting a full smile makeover. Veneers can change everything about your smile. Size, shape, color–anything you want. But, to get it done right, you’ll need an expert cosmetic dentist, preferably someone who is AACD accredited.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.

Did the Whitening Center Ruin My Teeth?

I’m terrified I made a decision that has ruined my teeth. I’ve always wanted teeth whitening. A teeth whitening center opened up in my local mall. I wandered in, curious, but unsure it was legitimate. The lady I spoke with told me she was a certified teeth whitening specialist who’s been professionally trained. I agreed and got the procedure done. I’m regretting it now. My gums feel like they’re on fire and everywhere I have a filling, looks dark and blotchy.  Can this be fixed or are my teeth ruined?

Maura – Kentucky

Maura,

Your teeth aren’t ruined, but this mall shop made a lot of mistakes. First, you should know there is no such thing as an official “certified teeth whitening specialist”. That sounds like a title her company made up. Whatever their training process is, it’s definitely ineffective or incomplete.

If a dentist did your teeth whitening, they would have taken steps to protect your gums during the procedure. The reason they feel on fire is because the center didn’t do that, which exposed your teeth to the whitening chemicals. Some over the counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, will help. Eventually, the burning will calm down.

The fillings are a completely different matter. Fillings don’t whiten along with your teeth. That’s why they look so splotchy. The center should have warned you about this.  Your fillings will have to be re-done to match the new color of your teeth. Get with your dentist and you can arrange the best schedule for doing this. I’d wait until the pain to your gums has subsided, though.

This blog is brought to you by Dr. Jerome Cha.