Over the Counter Whitening Strips

By Carol | May 21, 2009

Dear Doctor Carol, 

I am only in my forty’s, but my teeth look so old compared to many of my friends who are the same age.  I bought some over the counter whitening strips, but it didn’t seem to help.  What can I do?  


 Doctor Carol’s response,

 Dear Jeannie,

     Although I have not met you or have examined your teeth, I have some general recommendations. After reading my response, you are welcome to schedule a no charge consultation with me to discuss your specific concerns.

     This is a common problem for many people who discover that their teeth have aged and they don’t know why, and they don’t know what to do about it.

     Let discuss the color of your teeth first.  Since the teeth whitening procedure didn’t work, there is a good chance that the laser teeth whitening that I offer at my office won’t work either. Reasons why the teeth won’t respond are:

  • Large white fillings that have gotten dark over the years cannot be whitened, they need to be replaced.
  • Teeth that have had more wear on the teeth than normal, such as grinding the teeth or a bad bite will respond by getting dark and discolored because the outside covering of the tooth becomes permanently damaged. Many times veneers are needed to recreate the original color and shine to your teeth.

     Another problem may be the shape of your teeth.  The shape of your teeth may be altered if you grind your teeth at night or have teeth that don’t fit together correctly. Your teeth may become prematurely shorter or uneven looking…. creating an older look.

     And finally, the position of your teeth may have changed.  Even if you have had braces as a child, your teeth can shift positions creating an unevenness which looks unattractive.

     Since you have noticed that your teeth look old, it also may be that they are getting weaker increasing the risk of severely chipping a tooth or loosing a tooth.  I  would recommend you come in for a consultation appointment to discuss setting up a comprehensive exam to evaluate the esthetics, function, and health of your teeth.

Dr. Carol