Teeth Whitening and Pot Stains

Can you tell me if teeth whitening can get rid of pot stains? If so would someone use the tray teeth whitening or the Zoom? Asking for a friend….

Dan S.

Dear Dan,

an attractive white smile
After Teeth Whitening

Here’s what you can tell your friend…

You can imagine there haven’t been any clinical studies done on this to date. Not only is a brand unwilling to give patients marijuana, they’re not likely to align their brand with it either. Though, my guess would be this will change because more states are legalizing its use.

Even without the studies, I can tell you that teeth whitening can remove marijuana stains because of the nature of THC stains that have been observed in patients. That being said, there are some things you should know first.

Any teeth whitening needs be done on clean teeth. If you haven’t had your teeth recently cleaned, the whitening gel will not distribute evenly which will give you blotchy teeth. Not an attractive look.

As to whether to use take-home whitening or Zoom whitening depends on how quickly you need results. Zoom will completely whiten your teeth in one appointment. Take home does it gradually so the results can be as brilliant but will happen over a period of weeks instead of the same day.

Before You Whiten Your Teeth

Are you certain your friend’s stains are from marijuana? THC stains are usually very easy to remove so if your friend regularly brushes his teeth and gets check-ups there really shouldn’t be that much staining, at least not from that.

It could be that he’s assuming it’s from that but they’re actually stained from things like cigarettes or coffee/tea, etc. Those will need professional whitening as they are harder to remove and get into the pores of the teeth more readily.

Pot Smoking and Oral Health

Something else to be aware of. People who smoke marijuana have a much higher rate of gum disease and decay. Most of that has to do with the effects of THC on the gums. I would also venture to guess that when someone is high, they’re binging on lots of food because of the “munchies”. That’s more likely to be things like carbs, sugary snacks, and sodas than it is to be carrot sticks and other healthy snacks. Plus, it’s highly unlikely brushing and flossing after snacking like that is going to be high on their priority list if they happen at all.

Let your friend know how important it is he brush carefully afterward, and also see a dentist regularly. Otherwise, he will develop gum disease which leads to tooth loss. Then he’s looking at expensive tooth replacement options such as dental implants.

Some recreational users avoid the dentist out of fear of being turned in. That’s really not a legitimate fear. They won’t turn him in, with the possible exception of if he came to the office high and was trying to drive himself home. That would make him a public danger.

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

What Do I Look For in the Best Cosmetic Dentist?

I want to get drop dead gorgeous porcelain veneers. My aunt, who’s filthy rich, asked me what I dream about. I told her having a smile which doesn’t embarrass me. Then she handed me a blank check and said. “Go go it.” She was serious, too. I burst into tears. Now that I have this dream as a possibility, I want to do it right. How do I go about finding the best cosmetic dentist?

Thank you,
LeeAnne

Dear LeeAnne,

A single porcelain veneer being held by a dental tool

How exciting! You have a very generous aunt. You’re also wise to be doing research before investing in a permanent smile. I’m sorry you’ve spent your life feeling embarrassed about your smile. If it’s any consolation about half of all Americans feel the same way.

When it comes to finding the best cosmetic dentist, there are three skills that are of equal importance.

  • Technical Skill
  • An Artistic Eye
  • Empathy

The first one always makes sense to patients. Of course you want a dentist with the skill to do the procedure, but what do artistry and empathy have to do with it?

Creating a beautiful smile is like creating a work of art. Two artists can have the same subject and their painting will turn out completely different depending on their level of artistry. The same is true with porcelain veneers. The dentist has to understand how facial shape, smile width, subtleties of color, and shape of the teeth all work together to create a portrait of sorts.

Empathy is equally important. You sort of explained why during your question. You have lived with a smile that you’ve been ashamed of your whole life. You want one to be proud of. You need a cosmetic dentist who understands this is about how YOU feel about the results. Not how he feels. You don’t want a dentist who lets pride in his “creation” get in the way of giving you your dream smile.

How Do You Find the Best Cosmetic Dentist?

The easiest way to locate a skilled, artistic cosmetic dentist is through the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (aacd.com). They have an accreditation program to separate the sheep from the goats. With no offense intended to goats. They have to pass stringent oral and written exams as well as demonstrate artistry in a list of recent cases they’ve completed. Bear in mind that being a member and being an accredited member are different.

Not everyone has an accredited dentist near them and there are some fantastic dentists on their way toward accreditation that just haven’t finished yet. It’s a long process. In that case, check out the mynewsmile.com website. They recommend skilled artistic dentists by zip code and the distance you’re willing to travel.

But what about empathy? How do you measure that ahead of time? I’d suggest two things. First, check their reviews. What type of experience have other patients had with them. Second, make sure they have some sort of beautiful smile guarantee. By that I don’t mean a smile they think is beautiful, but one YOU love. Check out Dr. Cha’s guarantee to see what I mean.

I hope this helps!

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