Social Media and Whitening

I recently had a patient who confessed that, at his wife’s urging, he bought a Social Media Promotion (such as Groupon or Living Social) for teeth whitening.  He went to another office and had a whitening procedure and was disappointed at the results.

Today, you can get your teeth whitened while on a cruise, while waiting for your car to be repaired and at hair salons.  It seems everyone wants white teeth and there are plenty of people ready to take their money.

I love white teeth and appreciate their value.  Do you go to a discount or even unlicensed place to get it?

Good idea?

I think not.

Like so many other things, the 80/20 rule applies.   80% of the time there will be few or no issues at all (it just might not work).   It’s the 20% that I’m worried about and there’s no way for a layperson to know if they’re going to be in the 80% or 20%.   Why take a 1 in 5 chance that something’s going to go wrong?

While whitening seems innocuous, it is not and has to be done carefully and after a thorough evaluation.  Plus, there’s an ideal time to do it, most often, a week or 2 after your dental cleaning.  That’s right…not immediately afterwards as you might think.

Here is a list of potential issues that can arise from improperly done whitening.

  1. Burnt gum tissues.  Your gums can actually be burned if the solutions are not properly controlled.
  2. Unevenly colored teeth.  Teeth that have certain discolorations may whiten at different rates, resulting in a less than esthetic result.  I’ve seen some spots even stand out and become more un-esthetic with improper whitening.
  3. Failure to whiten.   Not all teeth whiten the same way and there are many different techniques that can be used.  There’s no ‘one size fits all’ solution.
  4. Fillings or caps that now stand out.  Fillings and caps do not respond to whitening.   If the adjacent, natural teeth are whitened, they may stand out and the caps/crowns may then need to be replaced to achieve a cosmetic result.  That’s $$$’s!

So, be safe and have your regular dentist evaluate your mouth and discuss the options for whitening or smile-enhancement.  Don’t mess around with your smile; it’s too important an asset.


To your health and wellness,



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