I have been wanting teeth whitening done for a while and a little shop opened up in a local mall a couple of months ago. I popped in and talked to the lady a few times to verify costs and expectations. Everything seemed like it was on the up and up. She said she was a certified teeth whitening specialist and had gone through training before being allowed to work, plus the place that she worked for had all kinds of protocols in place for the sake of safety. So, I finally went in and had it done two days ago. It was a horrible procedure. My teeth and gums are in agony. I can’t eat and I can’t sleep. Worst of all, I have dark spots in all the places I had fillings done before, so it looks really blotchy. I called their office and they told me I’d feel better in a few days and that the color would stabilize and look better, but it’s not getting better. I’m too embarrassed to go see my dentist about this. I’m afraid I really screwed up. Did they ruin my teeth? — Heather
No, your teeth aren’t “ruined,” but this place certainly missed the mark in a lot of areas. First of all, there’s no such thing as a “certified teeth whitening specialist” in the dental industry. This may be some kind of internal term the company uses, but it’s not a term accepted, endorsed, or regulated by the ADA. In other words, whatever training she had cannot be determined. Maybe she took a 30-minute online course or maybe the company did some kind of program. There’s really no way to tell. In any case, it wasn’t effective training because she made several novice mistakes.
First of all, your gums would only hurt if they came in contact with the solution for an extended period of time. It’s like a sunburn and will heal, but a professional would have taken steps to prevent contact. Going forward, you can try doing saltwater rinses to speed up the healing process. Tooth sensitivity afterward may not be avoided entirely, as some people simply respond to treatment differently. This, too, will pass, but you can take an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofen to help combat it for a few days.
The discoloration, however, is going to be your biggest challenge. Fillings don’t change in color with whitening treatments. Yes, the color will stabilize over the next few days and there’s a chance it won’t be so pronounced, but the filings will never quite match. They should have discussed this with you before getting started, as the only way to fix it is to have your fillings redone. Once the sensitivity fades, you’ll want to book an appointment with your regular dentist to discuss how to go about replacing your fillings, so you can have the nice, evenly-white smile you deserve.
This blog post is brought to you by Des Moines cosmetic dentist, Dr. Phelan Thomas. For more information on the services he provides, please visit his Des Moines cosmetic dentist website.