Category Archives: Dental News

Alternatives for Improving My Smile?

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Not everyone is a candidate for whitening. Bleaching is not recommended if you have tooth-colored fillings, crowns, caps or bonding in your front teeth — the bleach will not change the color of these materials, making them stand out in your newly whitened smile. In these cases, you may want to investigate other options, like veneers or bonding.

Veeners

Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic glued to the front of your teeth. For teeth that are severely discolored, chipped or misshapen, they create a durable and pleasing smile. Veneers are difficult to stain, making them popular for people seeking a perfect smile.

There are two types of veneers:

  • Porcelain (indirect) veneers, which must first be created to fit your teeth in a dental laboratory and require two visits to the dentist. Porcelain veneers cost between $900-$2,500 per tooth and last from 10 to 15 years or more
  • Composite (direct) veneers, in which enamel is bonded to your tooth in a single visit. Composite veneers cost significantly less, around $250 per tooth, but only last five to seven years

Chipped ToothChipped tooth.

Tooth after bonding to repair the chip.Tooth after bonding to repair the chip.

Bonding uses composite resin to restore chipped or broken teeth, fill in gaps and reshape or recolor your smile. After applying a very mild etching solution that slightly roughs the surface of your teeth and permits the bonding material to adhere, your dentist applies the resin and sculpts, colors and shapes it to provide a pleasing result. A high-intensity light hardens the material, which is then finely polished.

  • Many people choose bonding over silver fillings because it looks more natural — the material can be matched to your natural tooth color
  • The disadvantages of bonding versus silver fillings are that they cost more (from $300-$600 per tooth), and because it is porous, smokers will find that it yellows

Your dentist can tell you if you are a good candidate for veneers or bonding.

How Safe is Tooth Whitening?

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Over a decade of research has proven bleaching and other whitening methods to be both safe and effective. Several products in the market today have shown no adverse effects on teeth or gums in substantial clinical and laboratory testing. Be sure to look for clinically proven products, follow directions and consult with your dental professional.

In the past, the higher bleach concentrations used in-office treatment resulted in more sensitivity. Today, however, bleaching gels are well buffered, making sensitivity less of an issue. Sensitivity may occur in people after whitening procedures, particularly when they eat hot or cold foods, but usually disappears after 48 hours and stops completely when treatment is stopped.

If you do experience sensitivity, there are several ways you can help eliminate it:

  • If using a tray applicator, wear the tray for a shorter period
  • Brush with a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth that contains potassium nitrate to help soothe tooth nerve ending
  • Ask your dentist or pharmacist for a product with fluoride, which helps re-mineralize your teeth. Brush-on or wear in your trays four minutes prior to and after whitening your teeth
  • Stop whitening your teeth for several days to allow you teeth to adapt to the whitening process. Within 24 hours, the sensitivity will cease. The longer you whiten your teeth, the less sensitivity you will experience

In a few cases, your dentist may discourage dental bleaching:

  • If you have gum disease, teeth with worn enamel, cavities or particularly sensitive teeth
  • If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding
  • If you have tooth-colored crowns, caps or other dental work in your front teeth, which can’t be bleached

Top 10 Common Dental Problems

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Dental problems are never any fun, but the good news is that most of them can be easily prevented. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating properly and regular dental check ups are essential in preventing dental problems. Educating yourself about common dental problems and their causes can also go a long way in prevention.

1.  Bad Breath

If you suffer from bad breath, you are not alone. Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be downright embarrassing. According to dental studies, about 85% of people with persistent bad breath have a dental condition that is to blame. Gum disease, cavities, oral cancer, dry mouth and bacteria on the tongue are some of the dental problems that can cause bad breath. Using mouthwash to cover up bad breath when a dental problem is present will only mask the odor and not cure it. If you suffer from chronic bad breath, visit your dentist to rule out any of these problems.

2.  Tooth Decay

Did you know tooth decay, also known as cavities, is the second most prevalent disease in the United States (the common cold is first). Tooth decay occurs when plague, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and / or starches of the food we eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel. The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day, flossing daily and going to your regular dental check ups. Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay.

3.  Gum (Periodontal) Disease

Studies have shown that periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, is linked to heart attacks and strokes. Gum disease is an infection in the gums surrounding the teeth. Gum disease is also one of the main causes of tooth loss among adults. There are two major stages of gum disease: gingivitis and periodontitis. Regular dental check ups along with brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily play an important role in preventing gum disease.

4.  Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a serious and deadly disease that affects millions of people. In fact, the Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that someone in the United States dies every hour of every day from oral cancer. Over 300,000 new cases of oral cancer are diagnosed every year, worldwide. This serious dental disease, which pertains to the mouth, lips or throat, is often highly curable if diagnosed and treated in the early stages.

5.  Mouth Sores

There are several different types of mouth sores and they can be pesky and bothersome. Unless a mouth sore lasts more than two weeks, it is usually nothing to worry about and will disappear on its own. Common mouth sores are canker sores, fever blisters, cold sores, ulcers and thrush.

6.  Tooth Erosion

Tooth erosion is the loss of tooth structure and is caused by acid attacking the enamel. Tooth erosion signs and symptoms can range from sensitivity to more severe problems such as cracking. Tooth erosion is more common than people might think, but it can also be easily prevented.

7.  Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects millions of people. Basically, tooth sensitivity means experiencing pain or discomfort to your teeth from sweets, cold air, hot drinks, cold drinks or ice cream. Some people with sensitive teeth even experience discomfort from brushing and flossing. The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated.

8.  Toothaches and Dental Emergencies

I can’t think of much worse than suffering from a toothache. While many toothaches and dental emergencies can be easily avoided just by regular visits to the dentist, we all know that accidents can and do happen. Having a dental emergency can be very painful and scary. Fortunately, you can do several things until you are able to see your dentist.

9.  Unattractive Smile

While an unattractive smile is not technically a “dental problem,” it is considered a dental problem by people who are unhappy with their smile and it’s also a major reason that many patients seek dental treatment. An unattractive smile can really lower a person’s self-esteem. Luckily, with today’s technologies and developments, anyone can have a beautiful smile. Whether it’s teeth whitening, dental implants, orthodontics or other cosmetic dental work, chances are that your dentist can give you the smile of your dreams.