Dental sealants work by reducing the chances of decay on the chewing surface of the tooth. Dental sealants do not protect the flossing surfaces, nor do they protect the cheek and tongue surfaces. The sealant is not a guarantee against tooth decay, but it is the best possible protection. To avoid dental cavities, you must…
Should I Have Cavities Filled Before Teeth Whitening?
Teeth whitening treatments are one of the popular treatments used to improve the way a person's teeth look. A single whitening session can improve the color of a person's teeth by up to 10 shades. It is an effective way to get rid of most types of discoloration and stains that form on teeth surfaces, like those caused by aging and consuming color-rich foods or beverages.
Why cavities should be fixed before teeth whitening
Teeth whitening treatments performed by dentists use bleaching chemicals, like hydrogen peroxide and hydrogen carbamide, to lift stains and discoloration away from the inner and outer surfaces of teeth. These chemicals weaken teeth enamel and they can irritate teeth that have already been damaged by decay.
A tooth with a cavity can end up being severely irritated after teeth whitening, leading to pain, discomfort and increased sensitivity. In some cases, the whitening treatments can end up permanently damaging the tooth.
Things are even worse if the tooth is already decayed. Whitening treatments are not effective on stains and discoloration caused by tooth decay and it can end up damaging the tooth even more.
Having tooth decay does not automatically disqualify a patient from getting teeth whitening treatments. It simply means the dentist needs to address the cavities and decay before proceeding with whitening the patient's teeth.
Dealing with cavities and tooth decay
Composite resins are a great way to fill up cavities. The composite can be matched with the target shade of white planned for the patient's whitening procedure. The dentist will typically clean out the tooth before filling it up with a composite. Composite resin has a putty-like consistency and they are hardened using a curing light.
A tooth that has been severely damaged by tooth decay might need a root canal. This involves cleaning out the soft tissues in the tooth's pulp chamber and closing it up. The dentist might hold off covering the tooth with a crown until the patient's whitening treatments are completed.
What to expect during teeth whitening
Teeth whitening treatments are often done using customized mouth trays. The dentist takes an impression of the patient's mouth and sends it to a lab that makes the mouth trays. The tray is used to immerse the patient's teeth in the whitening product, and it prevents the chemicals in it from getting into the patient's jaw where it can irritate the gums.
The patient bites down on the mouth tray after it has been filled with the whitening product, and they keep it there for 60 to 90 minutes. The dentist removes the mouth tray and rinses the patient's teeth. A fluoride treatment might be performed to reduce teeth sensitivity. The patient should have noticeably whiter teeth after each whitening session. Most patients will need more than one treatment to reach the desired color.
Fix your cavities and whiten your teeth
Call or visit our Lincroft clinic to learn more about how we can whiten your teeth if you also have cavities.
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