Are my teeth ruined from tooth whitening?

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I have been thinking about getting my teeth whitened for months. So, when I saw this cute little shop in the mall last week, I decided to go for it. I’ve always been a little skeptical about getting this done in a mall. But, after talking with the Teeth Whitening Specialist about how it works and what to expect, she seemed to know what she was talking about. She said she was specially trained in this service and went on to tell me about all the safety parameters they have to follow.

I should have known it was too good too be true! The appointment was terrible! My teeth and gums are so painful that I cannot eat or sleep. And worst of all, I have these ugly-looking dark spots where I’ve had fillings done. My teeth look splotchy too! When I called in to complain, they told me that the color would level out in a couple days and it will look better. They are wrong! It looks so bad. The worst part is I feel like I cheated on my dentist and am embarrassed. Did I ruin my teeth?

-Ben in Oregon


Oh no! It sounds like you learned your lesson the hard way. But, the good news is that your teeth aren’t ruined.

For starters, a “Teeth Whitening Specialist” is not a real thing. There is no certification or designation to perform tooth whitening services. The term must be used by the specific company from the mall. It is not endorsed by the American Dental Association in any way. Sadly, the training she might have received could have been as simple as a short online course or something the company does on their own. That’s neither here nor there, since it sounds like the service was not adequate.

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It’s not uncommon for some sensitivity to occur for a couple days after professional teeth whitening either. However, if the pain continues for longer than that, you may have been exposed to the powerful whitening solution for a longer period of time than recommended. Tooth sensitivity can be eased with salt water rinses, so give that a try if you haven’t already. You should also be able to manage the pain with ibuprofen. But if the pain is unmanageable, you need to see the dentist. That is also why most dentists do an exam prior to teeth whitening to make sure you don’t have any issues that need to be addressed before moving forward with whitening.

The splotches and discoloration where your fillings are is an issue. As you have experienced, the filling material does not whiten. So, they look discolored now since the tooth around them is whiter. As they mentioned, the color may continue to stabilize. However, the only way to have the fillings match your other white teeth at this point will be to have them replaced, since they are unaffected by the whitening agents.

A dentist would have discussed these issues with you before you moved forward with treatment. It sounds like you need to go in to your regular dentist once the sensitivity dies down. But, don’t feel bad. You’re not the first person to take advantage of those mall kiosks that look too good to be true. Your dentist will be able to give you a better idea of how the color will level out and if any other treatment is required at this time.

This post is sponsored by a cosmetic dentist in Lexington, Hamburg Expressions.