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Q: I just finished reading your column on what can be done to make a denture not look like a denture. I have a similar question, but I have all of my teeth.
I am 55 years old and I want to be able to smile and not be conscious about my looks. My teeth are darker than I want them to be.
In addition, just in between my teeth there are even darker spots, and right at the gums I think I have decay. It has been a while since I have been to the dentist.
My reason for staying away is not the usual; it is that I am afraid to hear what needs to be done to make be beautiful again. I hope you can help, and am glad I can get some info without going to the dentist.
A: This is another great question. I am also thrilled I can help you understand what is going on without you actually going to the dentist.
I think I know exactly what needs to be done — I will explain it to you; however, just realize that when you actually see a dentist, some things might change.
Your dark teeth can easily be whitened with professional tooth whiteners. Over-the-counter products can work, but they have their limitations. Your dentist can discuss these with you.
In your case, professional whitening will get you the results you are looking for. This professional whitening can be done in one of three ways.
+ You can have custom trays made at the dental office, which you will take home and fill with the whitening solution and place in your mouth overnight. These trays fit snuggly over your teeth so that there is no leakage of solution into your mouth.
+ You can have an in-office whitening procedure where the gums are protected from irritation while a solution is applied to the face of your teeth — this takes about an hour and a half.
+ You can have a combination of the above two.
Whichever way you choose to go, please know that professional whitening is very predictable and safe.
As for the dark spots between your teeth, those are probably old, white fillings that have stained over the years. Once you whiten your teeth, your dentist can replace the old fillings with ones that match the color of your teeth.
As for the decay at the gum line, this is easy, as well. Your dentist can clean out the decay and place fillings to mach the new color of your teeth.
Once this is done, your teeth will be whitened, the dark stains will be gone and the decay will be removed and replaced with tooth color fillings. The end result will be one that, as you said in your question, will make you beautiful again.
I hope this has helped put you at ease. It is important to know that all of what I explained is routine, predictable dentistry. Go ahead and make that call.
Dr. Frank Vascimini is a dentist practicing in Homosassa. Send your questions to 4805 S. Suncoast Blvd., Homosassa, FL 34446 or email them to him at info@MasterpieceDentalStudio.com.