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Questions about whitening

I am getting a dental crown and opted to whiten my teeth first. I am going to use the gel my dentist is giving me, but I had some questions. First, I’ve had my teeth whitened before so this is just like a touch up of sorts. How long does it take for a touch up?  I’m trying to figure out when to schedule my crown appointment. Second, how long each day should I whiten? Lastly, Do I need to leave a gap between my touch up and my crown appointment?

Jessica B. – Wisconsin


You ask good questions, and it is wise that you know to do your whitening before you get your crown, because your crown will not respond to teeth whitening. Therefore, you’ll want your teeth the color that you’ll want them to be permanently.

I am a little concerned about your dentist doing your crown if he or she is unable to answer these questions for you.  You’ll have to understand there are two basic kinds of general dentists. The first kind got into dentistry with a mechanical mindset. They like fixing things, but aren’t as concerned about the aesthetics.  The other type of dentist does like fixing teeth, but they also have a passion for the aesthetics of a smile. If your dentist doesn’t know the answers to the questions you asked, then he is the first, utilitarian type of dentist. You’ll get a functional crown, but not necessarily a beautiful one.  That may only matter if it is a crown for your front teeth. A back tooth won’t necessarily need to be beautiful.  OK, enough of the soapbox. How about I answer your questions?

1. How long it takes to complete your teeth whitening touch up will depend on what kind of condition your teeth are in and how white you actually want them. Without seeing your teeth, it would be hard for me to venture a guess.

2. My answer for how long to leave in the gel would be for as long as you can tolerate it, without experiencing any sensitivity. A minimum amount to time would be twenty minutes.  Ideally, you’d want to leave it in overnight. Only, you’ll be able to gauge your comfort level.

3. Now, this last answer doesn’t have any “it depends” attached to it.  If you are getting a crown on one of your front eight teeth, I would wait a full two weeks between completion of your touch up and your crown appointment.  If the crown will be on the bottom or futher back, waiting just one week will be sufficient.

If you’re concerned about the qualifications of your dentist to give you a gorgeous smile, then write again and I’ll help you locate a great cosmetic dentist in your area of Wisconsin.

This blog is brought to you by Naperville Cosmetic Dentist Dr. David Newkirk.