I went to the dentist for the first time in two years. I wasn’t having a problem, but the dentist said I had a cavity on my front tooth. They suggested I get my teeth whitened before getting it filled because the color can’t be changed after they make it. I scheduled the appointment for both procedures. But, now I’m confused because when I got home my husband said you shouldn’t get your teeth whitened when you have cavities. I looked it up and it turns out he was right. Why would my dentist tell me to do something I shouldn’t? Is he just trying to get money out of me?
I don’t think it is that your dentist is trying to get money out of you with complete disregard to your health and safety. This is one of those catch-22 situations in the dental industry. First, your dentist was right about the fact that your filling color can’t be changed once it’s done. You basically have three choices.
Teeth Whitening Choice Number One
Get your white fillings done first, trying to guess the approximate color you’ll end up with after you do whiten your teeth.
Pro: You won’t have any of the cons the next two options have.
Cons: The likelihood of you actually matching the true color of your teeth will be slim to none. Because these are front teeth, you may not be happy with those results.
Teeth Whitening Choice Number Two
Get your fillings done first, then whiten your teeth. Once you’ve settled on the level of whiteness you want your teeth and reach that, re-do the fillings.
Pros: You won’t have to deal with the possibility of the other two options, and everything will match perfectly.
Cons: You’re spending money on the same filling twice, which seems like an unnecessary expense to me.
Teeth Whitening Choice Number Three
Get your teeth whitened, then fill the cavity.
Pros: Perfectly matched teeth without spending extra money.
Cons: You risk tooth sensitivity during the teeth whitening process.
The reason for that is the chemicals used in professional teeth whitening are strong. With a cavity, the chemicals will be closer to the nerves of your teeth. People with sensitive teeth will find that a little uncomfortable.
One way to help with this is to take some ibuprofen before your whitening appointment. It will ease the sensitivity issue. Most people find Zoom Whitening causes more sensitivity than the take-home whitening your dentist can provide. So, that might be another way to go. However, Zoom gets the whitening done in one appointment and take-home can last a few weeks.
Ultimately, none of these are “wrong” choice; neither are they dangerous. It’s just a matter of preference.
This blog is brought to you by Kalamazoo cosmetic dentist Dr. Susan Dennis.