I am having a crown replaced and before making a final decision on the color of the crown I want to touch up my teeth. I had them whitened back when I first received my crown about four years ago. Of course, my teeth have picked up stains since then. How long should I use the whitening gel each day to get them back to the color I want?
I am going to answer your question about teeth whitening touch-ups, but before I do I wanted to address something about your dental crown. You said your crown is only 4 years old and already needs to be replaced. In general, a crown should last a minimum of 5 years. Well made crowns, coupled with good care from the patient, can last upwards of 15 years. I’m concerned about the skill level of your dentist if yours only lasted four.
Sometimes patients will go to the dentist with the cheapest fees thinking they will save money. Often, though, that backfires. Let’s say your dentist only charges $500 for a crown, but another more skilled dentist charges $1,000. You may think you are saving money by going to the cheaper dentist, but if his crown only lasts four years and the more expensive crown lasts closer to fifteen or sixteen years, you’ll be paying $500 four different times. You actually ended up paying double the amount than if you’d have gone to the skilled dentist to begin with. That’s not including the hassle and lost time having to go back and forth for each new crown.
Now, let’s talk about that teeth whitening. The basic principle with teeth whitening is the longer you can tolerate wearing the whitening gel, the faster your teeth will whiten. To get whiten the fastest, my suggestion is either to have Zoom Whitening done. This is an in-office procedure that whitens your teeth in one appointment. The main advantage to this is speed. There are two disadvantages, though. It is more expensive than bleaching with trays and you have little to no control over how white they get.
Your second option is to have bleaching trays made by your dentist. You can use your old ones if you still have them. Then, try wearing the gel overnight. Not only is this a longer stretch of time than most people can do during the day, but the gel is more effective at night. This is because your saliva level goes down at night so there is more potency available with the gel. If that is difficult for you and causes sensitivity, then you just wear them for as long as you can during the day. How many days that is necessary depends on how white your goal result is.
The one hard and fast rule is to give it a week or two between the time you complete your teeth whitening and the time you have the crown made. This gives the color of your teeth time to settle.
This blog is brought to you by Marietta Dentist Dr. Cristi Cheek.