I’ll be the first one to admit that it’s been way to long since I went to the dentist for an oral hygiene appointment. But I’ve always had good teeth. So, I was shocked when I heard I had a few cavities at my last appointment. Then, the dentist explained that fillings can’t be changed later, so now was the time to get teeth whitening. Are they just trying to sell me on whitening? When I looked online, it says you’re not supposed to get your teeth whitened when you have cavities. I’m confused.
-Paul in New Mexico
That’s interesting that they recommended teeth whitening. Did you pose the question, or how did it come up?
Generally speaking, the dental office is correct. Once composite fillings have been placed, the color cannot e changed. Replacing them at a later date would be the only way to lighten the color of the filling material.
Teeth whitening ingredients are very powerful. Sensitivity is common with teeth whitening treatments. So, if you have cavities, it is possible the sensitivity may be heightened because more the nerves are exposed when there is decay.
Getting the cavities filled should be your first priority. You can get the whitening done at anytime. It would be difficult to anticipate the exact shading of your whitened teeth. But, how much of the filling will show? Many people have cavities filled and they are not visible 99 percent of the time.
It can also be assumed that the dentist wouldn’t have even suggested teeth whitening, if you weren’t a good candidate. Therefore, it is quite possible that your cavities are small and probably shouldn’t be an issue. So, there is probably nothing wrong in getting the whitening done first, unless the doctor recommends against it. You just need to be cautious and aware of the possibility of experiencing sensitivity.
You can use a fluoride rinse prior to whitening to dull the sensitivity. The dentist may have some recommendations on a specific brand, or you may be able to find one at the drug store. If you are still concerned, the dentist may be able to provide fluoride treatment in the office to help protect the certain areas where the cavities will be filled.
Most people don’t have any sensitivity when whitening teeth. But, it’s good to know how to take the best precautions.
This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.