Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Everything You Need to Know About Teeth Whitening

If you want to improve your smile, teeth whitening is one of the easiest ways to do so.  This is an affordable procedure that can produce dramatic results without causing any pain or discomfort.  Many of our patients are so pleased with how their smile looks that they don’t need any other cosmetic procedures when they are done.  For example, people considering veneers are often happy enough with the results of teeth whitening that they no longer need the additional procedure. 

Our professional system produces more dramatic results than anything you can buy over the counter.  Teeth can be whitened by up to eight shades where most over-the-counter systems only whiten teeth by two.  
Here is how the process works:
  • Whitening solution.  The majority of teeth whitening solutions contain peroxide.  Peroxide can penetrate the enamel and oxidize the compounds inside of the enamel that are responsible for creating color.  After being oxidized, the molecules become colorless and whiter teeth are created.  There are two main types of peroxide that are used – hydrogen and carbamide with the latter producing more controlled results. 
  • Sensitivity.  Many of our patients want to know if their teeth will be sensitive after using these products.  If using a professional solution (given by the dentist) there should be no sensitivity or very little sensitivity because the fit will be perfect, and the solution will be applied in the correct dosage.  However, there have been reports of sensitivity and discomfort from people that have purchased over-the-counter kits or gone to a non-dentist in order to have their teeth whitened.  By visiting a dentist, the procedure will be done by a licensed doctor, rather than someone who has had no medical training.  The more experienced a dentist has, the better the results. 
  • Types of whitening.  There are several types of teeth whitening procedures that are available for you to try.  Over-the-counter whitening strips and trays are common, but they can slide off, are not a custom fit, and produce limited results.  Professional solutions can be administered in-office or in a tray that you wear at home.  If you buy the trays, they can be used at any time and will be made to fit your mouth perfectly so that there is no leakage.  Both work well so the procedure you select should be based on your schedule and needs. 
  • How white will they get?  The solution that you use will greatly impact how white your teeth become.  One of the reasons people like the trays created by a dentist is that they can control the whitening process.  Teeth become whiter over time so once you have reached the desired shade; you can stop wearing the trays.  If your teeth start to look yellow, simply wear them again. The in-office procedure produces stunning results in one sitting, so there is less control over slowing down the process. 

If you are considering having your teeth whitened, get them cleaned first. Schedule an appointment with our office so that we can remove bacteria and plaque from your teeth.  This way they will be clean and prepared for your whitening procedure. 

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A Dentist Review of Boston University’s Coffee Study

We read a study recently and, as a local dentist, wanted to share the exciting news – coffee can help your gums to stay healthier.  Boston University conducted a study over the course of thirty years.  This is not a simple, quick study.  Instead, they spent three decades observing 1,000 men.  The men that drank one or more cups of coffee a day had less bone loss in their teeth, a common sign of gum disease.  Due to the duration of the study and number of participants, it is safe to say that drinking coffee can be good for you.

The Boston researchers also evaluated whether or not heavy coffee drinking had any negative health consequences for teeth or gums.  They couldn’t find any.  We of course, want to remind patients that drinking a lot of coffee can stain your teeth and make them appear yellow.  Fortunately, our teeth whitening services can brighten teeth that have become stained, so there is an easy solution for this.

The study was authored by Raul Garcia, D.M.D. and in his findings he believes that the reason coffee lowered the risk of gum disease and bone loss was because it is an anti-inflammatory agent.  Coffee can, therefore, reduce gum swelling.  This is important since swelling is bad for the gums and can become uncomfortable.  As a dentist, we see several types of patients that have an increased risk for gum swelling including diabetics and pregnant women.  Restricted blood flow is responsible for swollen gums in these scenarios, and drinking a cup of coffee may help to reduce the swelling.

Overall, the study is fantastic news for people that can’t resist their morning cup of java.  Caffeine does have its benefits after all.  The thing to remember is that after drinking coffee, you should brush your teeth.  Unless you take your coffee black, the cream and sugar can actually be bad for your teeth.  This is because sugar can turn into acid and attack your teeth, leading to cavities.  By simply brushing your teeth, afterwards you can get the anti-inflammatory benefits without the increased risk of cavities.

As with anything, balance is important.  As a local dentist, we remind patients that it is important to continue drinking water throughout the day because staying hydrated helps with saliva production, important for a healthy mouth.  People should also brush and floss throughout the day in order to prevent gum disease and cavities from forming.  Finally, having teeth cleaned at least twice a year will provide a final line of defense against oral health issues.  No matter how hard you try, bacteria and plaque will get trapped in between teeth, along the gums and in hard to reach places.  These regular teeth cleanings give us the opportunity to remove bacteria and plaque before they create oral health issues.  If any develop, we can identify them and provide treatment right away before they can cause oral pain.  In the meantime, consider adding a daily cup of coffee to your morning routine.