Dr. Meena's Blog
September 04, 2013
Category: Media
Tags: MDS   Board  

I have been selected to be on the Massachusetts Dental Society Guest Board. The MDS created the Guest Board member program in 2006 to broaden the composition of the board. Naturally, I am very excited, since it provides me an opportunity to meet colleagues who are involved with organized dentistry on the national, state and local boards as well as discover how MDS works and what it is doing for the profession.

My selection news was covered in the Worcester Telegram.

I receive a lot of questions about ZOOM Teeth whitening from my patients, so I thought I should compile a list of the most frequently asked questions together with my responses in one place. So, here they are -

(1) Is ZOOM the best teeth whitening technique?

ZOOM is the most popular in-office professional whitening procedure done today. The advantages of ZOOM are the ease of having it done and the shortened time frame to get your teeth whiter. Typically, you can get a whiter color in less than one hour, as opposed to taking several days bleaching with home trays. The disadvantahes are that it costs a little more than other procedures and there is a higher chance of sensitivity for a day or two afterwards. As with all whitening approaches, it fades with time and requires touch-ups and maintenance with trays at home. 

(2) Are there any painful side effects after a ZOOM Teeth Whitening session?

Sensitivity is the #1 risk when getting your teeth whitened. Whether you choose to whiten at home using Crest White Strips or have your dentist do it professionally in her/his office, there is always the possibility that you will experience some discomfort. The problem is that you never know ahead of time how a given patient will respond. I decided that if I was going to offer ZOOM whitening to my patients, I was going to take every precaution available to keep their sensitivity to a minimum such as :

  • 600mg Advil 1 hour before whitening
  • 1 hour wearing bleaching trays filled with desensitizing gel before whitening
  • Complete isolation of gums, lips and spaces between the teeth during whitening
  • 1 hour wearing bleaching trays filled with desensitizing gel after whitening
  • 200 mg Advil as needed during the next 24 hours after procedure

Having taken these precautions, none of my patients have ever had a serious case of sensitivity the next day. 

(3) What should I drink or eat after a ZOOM Teeth Whitening session? 

Your teeth are prone to absorbing stains immediately after ZOOM whitening. The general rule of thumb is that "anything that will stain a white shirt will stain your teeth." The foods and drinks that we tell our patients to avoid are: coffee, smoking, pasta sauces, soy sauce, ketchup, berries, juices, soda etc. The first 48 hours are crucial. However, if you do happen to eat something that will stain your teeth, be sure to brush your teeth as soon as possible. 

(4) Will brown stains start to appear again after I get ZOOM Teeth Whitening done?

Teeth have pores and you are in a constant battle with stains everyday. Whitening your teeth is like dyeing your hair - there is always upkeep. ZOOM is a great way to get your teeth white but you need to follow a process to keep them white. I advise patients to use custom made take-home trays to maintain their desired tooth shade. In addition, make sure that you see your dentist for regular cleanings. Always drink dark liquids through a straw. Do not drink coffee or soda regularly for they will stain your teeth. Smoking also stains your teeth. Finally, brushing your teeth more frequently will result in less staining. 

(5) Do I need to have my teeth cleaned prior to ZOOM teeth whitening?

The simple answer is 'yes'. The plaque, tartar and/or debris will cause a build-up on your teeth that may not allow the teeth to whiten in certain areas, resulting in uneven coloring on your teeth. However, you do not want your teeth cleaned and whitened on the same day as they will be very sensitive. For best possible results with ZOOM whitening, have it done within a week of your cleaning. 

Finally some good news! The Massachusetts Senate restored coverage for dental fillings for MassHealth members. The issue is before the conference committee. Hopefully, it will pass this final hurdle as well. The Senate allocated $13 million to the MassHealth line item to restore coverage for dental fillings for MassHealth members. Senator Harriette Chandler led a group of senators to push for the increase. Limits in current coverage often force patients to choose between enduring months (or years) of dental pain due to untreated cavities, or undergoing the only covered treatment: tooth extraction.  Now the issue is before the conference committee, where both the House and the Senate have strong provisions to restore coverage for fillings. I support full funding of the benefit through the appropriations process for MassHealth dental care. Let's hope the good Senators get it done.


The Pew Center recently released a report on dental sealants across the country, grading each state (and D.C.) on its performance in providing sealants. The grades failed to impress: only 5 states (Alaska, Maine, New Hampshire, North Dakota, and Wisconsin) received the top grade of an “A,” and 20 states received either a “D” or an “F.”

The center awarded its highest grades to states which provided dental sealants in over 75% of high-risk schools with minimal restrictions. Forty states, as well as Washington, D.C., were unable to confirm that 50% of children had received sealants – a minimum standard set by the federally sponsored Healthy People program. 

Massachusetts received a “B” under the metric. Although over 50% of high-risk schools in the state now have sealant programs, the state has not yet reached the 75% standard, and some unnecessary restrictions still remain in place.

This is an important reminder that we have a way to go before we can declare victory on dental disease. We have solutions to prevent this disease; yet more than one in four MA children enters school with a history of dental decay. By approaching this issue with community and state-wide solutions – providing access to screenings, fluoride, and of course sealants (which can reduce tooth decay more than 70 percent (PDF))– we can eliminate dental disease and give our children the healthy childhood that they deserve.

By Dr. Meena
December 02, 2012
Category: Media


The local media has covered my acceptance into the Massachusetts Dental Society Leadership Institute quite extensively. 

  • The local Hopkinton newspaper has an article titled, "Local Worcester Dentist Accepted into Training Program". It goes on to report that the two-year program provides Dr. Meena Yegneswaran the tools and training to become civic leaders on local, state or national levels. When the training is complete, participants take part in a year long ad hoc committee focused on issues affecting dentistry.  

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