My teeth are very healthy. I’ve never even had a cavity. However, I have these ugly brown spots on several teeth, including my very front teeth. My dentist and I have been trying all the over the counter teeth whitening brands, but they all seem to make it look worse. My dentist is wondering if she should grind the brown spots off, but admitted she doesn’t know if it would work or how far she’d have to grind. That sort of makes me nervous. Would professional teeth whitening work any better?
I am very glad you wrote. It sounds like you have a dentist who cares about you, but she is in way over her head. Please don’t let her experiment on you any longer. She will end up doing inadvertent permanent damage to your teeth. Cosmetic dentistry isn’t taught in dental school. In order for dentists to learn these procedures, they have to take post-doctoral classes. To do it well they need a lot of time invested in the training. Your dentist hasn’t done that yet. That’s okay. Some dentists just prefer to be a general dentist and help people have healthy teeth. Obviously, together the two of you have accomplished that.
Teeth whitening, even professional strength, will not work on the type of stains you are dealing with. As you have discovered with the over-the-counter brands, it makes them look worse. This is because the whitening gel bleaches the teeth evenly. It doesn’t change the unevenness in the color.
Solution for Brown Spots
You have two good options available to you. The first is dental bonding. The second is porcelain veneers. If there are just a few brown spots and you are happy with every other aspect of your teeth, I’d recommend the dental bonding. It’s less expensive.
However, if the brown spots are extensive or if there are other things about your teeth you’d like to change then I’d recommend porcelain veneers. These are the go-to for total smile makeovers and can change the shape, size, and color of your teeth simultaneously. They are more expensive but do more and last years longer.
Finding a Qualified Cosmetic Dentist
Even though smile makeovers aren’t taught in dental school, there isn’t a recognized specialty for cosmetic dentistry either. That means it is up to the dentist how much, if any, cosmetic training they get before treating patients. This makes it tricky for patients to know who can create beautiful smiles and who can’t.
I always suggest patients pick their dentist from the mynewsmile.com website. This site is run by a retired cosmetic dentist. He prescreens any dentist who wants to be listed to ensure they have not only the right technical knowledge but the artistry required to create a beautiful smile as well. Any dentists he lists will be able to give you the stunning smile you’ve always wanted.
This blog is brought to you by Philadelphia Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Michael Weiss.