Most people have heard of fluoride and associate the powerful mineral with a trip to the dentist’s office. However, many don’t understand what fluoride is, where it can be found, and how it benefits our teeth. Here is a quick overview of how a simple mineral with significant cavity-fighting powers can benefit our teeth as well as our overall health!
What is Fluoride?
The American Dental Association identifies fluoride as a natural mineral that helps to prevent cavities. While the mineral occurs naturally in several foods, it’s commonly used as a staple ingredient in toothpaste and mouthwash. Its ability to strengthen tooth enamel makes it an important part of oral health.
How Can Fluoride Benefit My Teeth?
Cavities are one of the most common dental problems, and consistently providing your teeth with an adequate amount of fluoride is one of the best ways to prevent cavities. Cavities occur because of weakened enamel. However, fluoride’s ability to strengthen enamel greatly improves overall oral health and fights the corrosion of teeth.
Fluoride’s cavity-fighting powers benefit both children and adults. The mineral’s systemic benefit sets teeth up for success before they break through the gums by strengthening the new teeth and making it easier for them to resist decay once they come through the gums, and fluoride’s topical benefit strengthens teeth that have begun to weaken over time.
What are Some Common Sources of Fluoride?
As a natural mineral, fluoride occurs in several of the foods we consume. Some foods and drinks rich in the mineral include:
- Most water sources also contain significant natural fluoride
Other sources include:
- Most types of toothpaste and mouthwash
- Professional fluoride treatments
- Fluoride supplements–generally recommended for children whose water sources do not provide adequate fluoride
At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we care about educating our patients on the most effective ways to care for their teeth. Contact us today to learn more or to schedule an appointment!
If you’re like most people, you try to eat nutritious foods to keep your body healthy. But, did you know that your food and drink choices can actually have a major impact on your teeth? In addition to staining and discoloration, the foods and drinks you consume can cause tooth decay and gum disease. Fortunately, with a few minor diet changes, you can help ensure healthy teeth and gums.
What Foods Are Good for My Teeth?
Apples, celery, and carrots are not only great for your body, but they also help promote good oral health. These high-fiber foods help stimulate the salivary glands, which help guard against cavities. Dairy products like cheese, milk, and plain yogurt contain calcium, vitamin D, and phosphates, which are also good for your teeth.
What Foods Should I Avoid?
Any foods that contain high amounts of sugar are not good for your teeth. Especially when it comes to sticky foods like candy, it can be difficult to ensure your teeth are completely free of sugar, even after brushing. Chips, bread, and pasta are all as equally harmful to your teeth as candy because, when broken down, these foods turn to sugar. These sugars invite harmful bacteria, which then leads to cavities.
What Drinks Are Good for My Teeth?
You probably already know the many health benefits associated with drinking plenty of water. However, to help keep your teeth strong and healthy, make sure your drinking water includes fluoride. Both green and black teas can also help guard against tooth decay and gum disease.
What Drinks Should I Avoid?
Carbonated soft drinks and fruit juices contain high amounts of sugar that contribute to the harmful growth of bacteria. Harsh chemicals found in carbonated beverages, like soda, can wear away the enamel on your teeth, thus leaving your teeth exposed and susceptible to decay.
Making the right food and drink choices can have a significant impact on the health of your teeth and gums. At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we have the knowledge and expertise to help keep your mouth healthy. Contact us to schedule your comprehensive exam today.
Are you constantly worried about how your breath smells to others? If so, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, there may be some very specific reasons for your bad breath that only a professional can determine. Whether you’ve been battling bad breath for years or just recently noticed a concerning change, scheduling an appointment with your dentist is the best way to get solutions. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do right now to help eliminate bad breath at home.
Hydration Is Key
One of the easiest ways to fight bad breath is to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. When your mouth gets too dry, the lack of saliva can cause the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Especially when you first wake up after sleeping, drinking water is a great way to kick start those salivary glands and help increase moisture in your mouth.
Good Oral Hygiene Makes a Difference
Practicing proper oral hygiene is another great way to help maintain fresh breath. Although brushing and flossing twice a day is recommended and helps to prevent cavities, it takes more than that to keep bad breath at bay. Since the majority of the bacteria that causes bad breath lives on your tongue, you need to clean your tongue with a tongue and cheek cleaner or with your toothbrush. Using an alcohol-free mouth rinse after brushing is also helpful and helps reduce the risk of bad breath.
Maintaining a Healthy Diet Helps Too
You likely already know that consuming foods with a strong taste or smell can contribute to bad breath. Acidic foods like vinegar or sugar create odor-causing bacteria in the mouth, which causes halitosis. For fresher breath, try sticking to proteins and grains. These foods can help increase saliva production and may help reduce your bad breath.
Whether you experience temporary bouts of bad breath from time-to-time or you’re suffering from constant bad breath no matter what you do, we’re here to help. At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we want to help you maintain healthy oral habits that promote good breath. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!
Teeth fillings are one of the most common dental procedures. If you have a cavity or think you may have a cavity, you probably have a lot of questions about what the dentist will do about it. In this blog post, we hope to shine some light on what you can expect, so you will be as comfortable as possible when your dental appointment comes up.
Why do I need dental fillings?
If you have a dental cavity, it is because your tooth has begun to decay. If the cavity is bad enough, you have probably already started to experience pain or sensitivity in the tooth. You may think that you can simply deal with the pain. Perhaps you are afraid of the dentist or are unsure whether it is worth the financial outlay to get your tooth fixed. It is very important that you understand that relieving pain is not the only reason to have a cavity filled.
Because a cavity is caused by tooth decay, the state of the tooth will continue to degrade absent intervention. If the cavity is allowed to get too large, a root canal may be necessary. It is possible, in extreme cases, that even a root canal will not be enough and the tooth will need to be removed. Filling the cavity cleans and disinfects the tooth. It removes any damage and seals the tooth from further bacteria and decay. This is part of the reason dental fillings are so crucial to a healthy mouth.
Protecting the cavity from bacteria is another good reason to have your cavity filled. Bacteria in the tooth can attack the living cells and cause pain. In severe cases, the tooth can be abscessed. An abscessed tooth will also require more severe dental intervention than a simple cavity.
Getting your cavities filled as soon as your or your dental professional notice them is important to minimize the amount of work you’ll need to be done later.
Pain management for teeth fillings
As you wait for your dental appointment, there are some steps you can take to minimize the pain from your cavity. Medications that you can use include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs and clove oil. Clove oil, also known as Eugenol, should be available in the dental section of your local pharmacy.
While you wait for your prescription, you should also make some lifestyle changes to help minimize the pain from the cavity. In many cases, extreme hot or cold will exacerbate tooth pain. Pay attention to your tooth pain as you eat foods that are very hot or very cold and avoid the ones that cause you pain.
Foods with extreme temperatures will let you know when they are hurting your tooth. There are other, more silent, dangers to your tooth that could worsen the pain. While your tooth is in a vulnerable state from the cavity, avoid eating foods that are very sugary or very acidic.
It is also extra important to keep your mouth clean as you await your appointment. Do not be afraid to brush your teeth, or to floss. These activities will not hurt the tooth and will help keep its conditioning from worsening and increasing your pain.
Preparation for tooth fillings
Before a tooth can be filled, all of the decay must be removed. This is done with a dental drill. To ensure that you do not feel any pain from the drilling, your tooth will be numbed. The tooth is numbed with an injection of anesthetic, though a gel anesthetic may be applied first to reduce the pain from the injection.
Once the decay has been removed, the dentist will finish the preparation for your dental fillings by thoroughly cleaning the area to ensure a good bond. The tooth will then be ready to receive the filling material.
Types of dental fillings
There are two mains types of filling material. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Those types are silver amalgam and composite resin.
Silver amalgam is a blend of mercury with silver, tin, and copper. This type of dental filling has been around since the late 1800s, and as such it has a long history of proven success. Amalgam fillings are affordable and long-lasting. The main drawback to silver amalgam fillings is that they are very noticeable. They do not blend in with the surrounding tooth at all.
The problem of highly visible and unattractive fillings was solved with composite resin. Resin composite is the same color as the tooth and is unnoticeable. This makes resin composite a particularly attractive option for the highly visible teeth near the front of the mouth. Resin also has the advantage of bonding really well to the tooth’s surface. Composite fillings have their downside as well. They do not last as long as amalgam fillings. So for teeth that are less visible, amalgam may be the better option.
Cost of dental fillings
There are many factors that go into determining the cost of a dental filling. As a rough estimate, amalgam fillings for one or two surfaces cost an average of $50-$150 compared to $90-250 for composite resin fillings. Keep in mind that what your dental insurance covers may vary. Most insurers consider composite resin to be a cosmetic upgrade and pay less for those. In addition to the filling appointment itself, you’ll need to add in the cost of the initial appointment and the x-rays.
Care after fillings
It will take a few hours for the anesthetic to wear off after your teeth have been filled. Be careful when chewing while your mouth is still numb. It is very easy to accidentally bite yourself and not realize it. If you chew while the anesthetic is still active, try to chew on a part of your mouth that was not worked on and is not numb.
Your teeth will also be sensitive to extreme temperature after the dental fillings. This sensitivity can last up to a few weeks. In some cases, it may last even longer. As long as their condition continues to improve, this is not something that you should worry about. The area around the injection site might also be tender for a few days.
Silver amalgam fillings take up to 24 hours to set, so you should avoid eating hard foods during that period. If possible, try to do most of your chewing on the opposite side of your mouth. Composite resins set much quicker, so this restriction will not apply with those.
At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we pride ourselves on our people skills and our commitment to your oral health. We are aware that many people are nervous about dental visits, and will do our best to put you at ease so that you are comfortable getting your cavities repaired promptly. Please contact us for an appointment if you are experiencing tooth pain or suspect you have a cavity.
Many people have heard of crowns and bridges, but do not know what they are. As a dentist in Greenbelt MD, we have worked with plenty of patients that need Crowns & Bridges. Others know what they are, but are unsure of what is involved in the process of getting them installed. In this post, we’ll go over what you need to know about these dental appliances.
What are crowns & bridges?
A dental crown is like a cover that goes over a tooth. Because the crown entirely covers the tooth, it can be used to restore a damaged tooth or it can be used for cosmetic purposes. Unlike dentures, a crown is a permanent dental appliance that is cemented onto the tooth that is repairing.
A bridge is used to fill a gap where a missing tooth was. A common way of attaching the bridge is to cement it between two crowns, which are then attached to the two good teeth on either side of the missing one.
Both a crown and a bridge are meant to look like your own natural teeth, so they will not be overly noticeable to an outside observer.
Why do I need to get a crown/bridge?
There are a variety of reasons that a dentist might recommend a crown. If you have a fractured tooth or a tooth in danger of fracturing, then a crown is a great way to restore the tooth’s structural integrity. Crowns may also be used to replace large fillings if there is not enough tooth left to put another filling in.
As mentioned in the previous section, crowns can also be cosmetic. It could be that you are unhappy with the shape of a tooth and would like to have it covered with a more pleasingly shaped crown.
Bridges serve the cosmetic function of replacing a missing tooth, but they also serve a very important dental function. The gap left by a missing tooth can cause your other teeth to shift, causing bite issues. Filling the gap of a missing tooth with a bridge will protect your other teeth from shifting. A crown is often used on either side of the bridge to attach it.
What can I expect during the procedure?
Dental crowns are installed over two appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the tooth and take an impression of it. The impression will be sent to a laboratory so that they can construct your crown. The second appointment will be made after the crown has been sent from the lab. It is during this appointment that the crown is installed.
During that first appointment, the dentist will numb your mouth. The anesthetic will be given to you in the form of an injection. A local get anesthetic may be applied to reduce the pain of the injection.
After the tooth is numb the dentist will begin work. The first step is to use a rotary tool to shave some thickness off of the tooth. This is because the crown must fit over the tooth. The dentist will also remove any decay and shape the tooth to make application of the crown both easier and more effective.
After the tooth is prepared, the dentist will take an impression of it. For this, either a tray of impression putty or a special type of 3d scanner is used. This is the impression that the dentist will send to the lab.
Finally, a temporary crown will be placed on the tooth and you will make an appointment for your return visit to have the permanent crown installed.
On the day of the second appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary crown. If needed, your tooth will be numbed first, although that is not always necessary for this part of the procedure. Once the temporary crown is removed the dentist will test fit the new crown and let you have a look at it. If everything is okay, the new crown will be cemented into place.
Since a bridge is basically just two crowns with a false tooth in between them, the procedure for a bridge is nearly identical to that for a crown. Of course, with a bridge, it will be two teeth being prepared and worked on instead of just one.
How much does the procedure cost?
As with many procedures, there are a number of factors that will change the cost of a crown or a bridge. A good estimate though is around $500-2500 per tooth for a crown and between $1400 to over $5000 for a bridge. A major factor in the cost of the bridge is the number of false teeth that it must contain.
If you have dental insurance, they will likely cover part of the procedure. Be sure to check with your specific policy though. Some may have restrictions that require you to have the policy for a certain amount of time before they’ll cover more expensive procedures like bridges. Insurance might also not cover a bridge if the tooth was missing before you acquired the insurance.
How do I care for my crown/bridge?
The temporary crown will require the most care. Since it is not meant to be permanent, it is not as durable as your final crown will be. While you await your second appointment, try to avoid eating hard or sticky foods. Take extra care to be gentle while brushing your teeth and use a soft bristled brush. If your temporary crown becomes loose or uncomfortable, contact your dentist.
You can return to normal eating once your permanent crown is on. You’ll want to continue to use the soft-bristled toothbrush and floss every day to make sure that the crown stays clean. You may also wish to avoid really hard foods, or chew them on the other side.
Care for a bridge is the same as care for a crown. A temporary bridge can come loose easily, so be extra careful brushing and chewing while the temporary one is in. As with crowns, avoid hard and sticky foods while you await your permanent bridge.
At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we care about the oral health of all of our patients and know the importance of a great smile. Whether your needs are functional or cosmetic, contact us today to set up an appointment or to get more information on how we can serve your needs. If you’re not local to Greenbelt MD, your best bet is to find a local dentist near you who can service you properly. If you’re in Syracuse, try doing a Google search of Syracuse, NY dentist and find a reputable practice with high Google star ratings.
Life is full of unexpected situations, and when something happens to your mouth or teeth, it can send your world spinning out of control. Whether it’s a broken tooth, injury, or more, dental emergencies should be cared for immediately. But how do you know what is a dental emergency and what isn’t? Read on to find out everything you need to know about dental emergencies, how to prevent them, and when to know it’s time to seek help. Cherrywood Dental has worked with plenty of Dental Emergencies in Greenbelt MD to help you.
Types of Dental Emergencies in Greenbelt MD and How to Care for Them
The mouth is used almost every second of the day and it’s a sensitive area that can be easily injured or damaged in a variety of ways. While damage can occur to your teeth and mouth over time because of diet, age, lifestyle behaviors, and more, much more immediate consequences occur in a dental emergency. There is a multitude of ways in which you can suddenly injury your mouth or teeth, which should be cared for by dental professionals.
When life happens, your mouth, gums, and teeth can get in the way. The next thing you know, you are in pain and wondering if it’s time to seek the help of your dentist. Here are just a few of the types of dental emergencies you can experience.
Sports or Recreational Injury
While you’re playing sports or having fun, the face is one of the most commonly injured parts of the body. When hit with the proper amount of force, you could suffer from injuries to the teeth, jaw, and more. Your dentist will often use x-ray images to check your mouth for misalignment, fractures, and soft tissue damage. Help should be sought for any injury to the face and mouth following an accident.
If you believe you’ve suffered from a sports injury to the mouth, save any pieces of teeth that may have broken, stop any bleeding with gauze, and seek medical attention.
Cracked, Chipped, or Broken Teeth
Whether it’s because you bit into something hard or knocked your tooth on something, cracking or breaking your tooth can cause a world of pain. Your teeth are filled with an entire network of nerves that will cause you pain when damaged. Teeth that are damaged in this way must be dealt with right away, to prevent infection and other serious complications like tooth decay and loss.
For cracked or chipped teeth, rinse your mouth out with warm water and use cold/hot compresses to alleviate swelling and pain. For broken teeth, save any pieces of the tooth you can and keep all areas of your mouth clean with warm water and gauze. This out of all occasions must be the most common of the Dental Emergencies in Greenbelt MD that we deal with.
Failed Dental Work
If you are experiencing difficulty with dental work you’ve had in the past, like bridges, crowns, implants, or fillings, it could be considered an emergency. When dental work fails, it can be painful, hard to chew or eat, and may even cause other problems with your oral health. Any injury or damage to dental work should be cared for right away.
Save any pieces of dental work you can, like pieces of your bridge, filling, or crown. Do not try to replace your bridge or crown if it is damaged or injured. You may also need to take special care if this emergency has left uneven, jagged pieces in your mouth.
Knocked Out or Loose Tooth
Losing a tooth all together can be painful, but also scary. With quick-thinking however, this emergency doesn’t have to be a disaster. If you lose your tooth completely, keep it moist at all times by placing it in a glass of salt water or milk. If one or more of your teeth are loose, it could be the result of soft tissue damage or injury along the roots or gum line. Adult, permanent teeth should never be loose and should be examined and cared for immediately.
Tissue or Jaw Injuries
Decay, injuries, and damage to the teeth are painful, uncomfortable and even unsightly. But possible injuries or damage to your gum line, cheeks, jaw, and even neck can be extremely dangerous when not cared for properly. Injury and/or pain in the jaw, cheeks, or neck should be looked at immediately, as well as lesions and lumps.
If you’ve suffered an injury to the jaw, move it as little as possible until you can seek help. For soft tissue injuries, apply gauze to the area, use salt water rinses to clean your mouth, and use cold/hot compresses to alleviate pain.
How to Prevent Dental Emergencies
While it is true that accidents happen and some things are simply unavoidable, there are some things you can do to prevent dental emergencies from occurring. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you avoid your next emergency visit to the dentist:
- Keep up with routine dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays to help your dental team determine and find any problems that may cause emergency situations in the future.
- Avoid using your teeth to open things or chomp down on hard materials. Be aware of possible situations that may harm your teeth or mouth. You may also consider addressing any issues you may have with grinding or clenching.
- Practice healthy lifestyle behaviors like eating a nutritious diet, avoiding tobacco use, and practicing good oral hygiene habits.
- Protect your teeth from possible injuries by using mouthguards.
When to Know It’s Time to Call the Office
It can be hard to determine the right time to call your dentist with an emergency or problem. Though some situations may not be considered dental emergencies, it is still best to seek the advice and knowledge of your dental team with any and all mouth-related concerns. Your dental team will want to hear from you immediately if you are experiencing/have experienced any of the following:
- A missing/knocked-out tooth, as well as misalignment and/or sudden changes in your teeth
- A cracked or broken tooth that is causing severe pain
- Unexplained, severe pain in teeth, gums, jaw, or neck that persists and does not go away (especially when accompanied by fever)
- Sports-related, accidental injury to the face, mouth, or teeth
- Dental work that has failed, is missing or is causing pain
Any severe, unmanageable pain, fevers, or obvious injury should be an indication to call the office and seek the help of your dentist right away!
At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we take pride in caring for each and every one of your dental needs. From start to finish, we’re here to help you get the most out of your oral health. Contact us today to see how we can help with your dental emergency and begin you on your path to a healthier, more beautiful smile. We have extensive experience with Dental Emergencies in Greenbelt MD
If you have a toothache that just won’t go away, you need to get it checked out, and rather quickly. More than simply addressing the pain, which we realize can be quite intense, not tending to the problem can lead to much larger issues down the road.
The pain can come from a buildup of pressure caused by swelling often due to an infection and/or abscess at the base of the tooth, or in the roots. The only way to alleviate the pain is to get to its source.
What is a Root Canal?
The singular term of the root can be misleading. Your back teeth have multiple roots, whereas a front tooth generally has one. None-the-less, when having a root canal, all roots of that particular tooth will need to be addressed. A root canal is a dental procedure in which all of the nerves and pulp are removed. The canals are then cleaned, filled and sealed.
The Need for Root Canal Therapy
In general, we recommend a root canal over the pulling of a tooth. Although extraction is less expensive, nothing can replace the function of your own teeth, or look as natural.
“Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:
- Efficient chewing
- Normal biting force and sensation
- Natural appearance
- Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain”
And replacement with an implant, or a bridge, can be more costly. Putting it off, or ignoring the issue, will only worsen it. The infection will heighten, can infect the bone, and can cause an overall infection throughout the body. “Leaving a tooth abscess untreated can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications,” according to the Mayo Clinic.
What is Involved in Having a Root Canal?
Having a root canal is actually fairly easy. It can be done with local anesthesia. However, it does take time, and therefore patience.
- Your dentist must access the roots by removing or drilling through any previous filling or crown, and the tooth, to reach each of the roots. He or she will then begin the process of carefully clean out each of the canals.
- Sometimes this takes more than one visit, depending upon the severity of the infection, the number of roots, and the area which needs to be cleaned out. In between visits, you will receive a temporary filling. You should avoid chewing in the area.
- On the subsequent visit, the canals will receive further cleaning. When cleaning is finished, the roots will be filled with a specific material designed for this purpose. You will again receive a temporary filling.
- You’ll then set up an appointment for a permanent crown to further preserve your tooth.
Is Having a Root Canal Expensive?
The short answer is, it can be. A root canal is a lengthy, precise procedure. The cost will vary depending upon which tooth needs the work done, and how many roots it has. A front tooth will cost less than a back molar. It may also vary on the depth of the infection.
The good news here is that most dental plans cover root canals. Dental or health cards can also help meet the immediate expense, allowing payments over time.
Dispelling Some Falsehoods About Root Canal Therapy
- Root canals are painful – Let’s face it, you are already in pain! We have had patients describe the experience or a root canal as relieving. Often the pain you had been under will go away immediately or within a day or so of your first procedure.
- The root canal won’t work – A root canal does work when done properly by a trained dentist with experience in the procedure. Experts rate the average of root canal success to be 85% to 95%. There is the rare occasion when the base of the root may become infected again, even years later. If this is the case, an additional treatment procedure may need to be done in order to save the tooth and prevent further infection.
- A root canal may make me sick – Generally, when you have the need for a root canal, you are already sick. You have an infection. The infection can travel. Without a root canal, you may become sicker.
- Having your tooth pulled is a better alternative – There are cases when a tooth must simply be pulled when the decay is just too bad. But, as we said earlier, it is better to keep your own teeth, whenever possible. While functional, an implant or bridge just won’t work quite as well as your own natural teeth.
That’s Done, Now What?
Following your root canal, you’ll have your permanent crown placed. Nothing else needs to be done other than proper, routine dental care. If you have been remiss in having checkups, now would be a good time to have complete x-rays and professional cleaning.
Of course, not every pain you may feel in your mouth is caused by the roots of a tooth requiring a root canal. It could be from gum disease, known as gingivitis. Or it could be an old filling which cracked and is sensitive to hot and cold. This should be attended to quickly before a new cavity may have time to fester. It may simply require removal of the old filling and replacement with new material, an inlay, or possibly a crown.
We are Here for All Your Dentistry Needs
As with all forms of medicine, dentistry is keeping up with modern studies and techniques for meeting the health of the mouth, along with esthetic properties. Gone are the days of silver fillings, which would someday need replacement. At Cherrywood Dental Associates we not only welcome modern procedures and techniques, but we also embrace them.
We are here to help you prevent problems, and if and when you have one, we want to help you catch it at early onset. The beginning of a cavity, or the beginning of a dental or gum infection, best be caught early to prevent further problems, which can be painful to you and your pocketbook.
At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we address all of your dental needs. From a routine checkup to a root canal, we have you covered. Dr. Bazgar and Dr. Pakpour, who happen to be husband and wife, have nearly 20-years-experience in dentistry. Dr. Bazgar was honored placement on the Excellent 2010 America’s Top Dentists for Cosmetic and General Dentistry, from the Consumers’ Research Council of America.
Whether you live in, or near, Greenbelt, MD or Woodbridge, VA, our local dental clinics are here to serve you. Give one of our offices a call and schedule your introductory consultation to let us help protect your teeth and meet your dental needs. Se Habla español. Our offices are handicap-accessible and we offer hearing-impaired communication assistance.
Everyone knows that bright, white teeth are a key factor in making your smile look its best! However, we also realize that lifestyle plays an important role in this. Our favorite beverages, such as coffee, tea, soda, and red wine are things that many of us can’t imagine living without, yet they leave unsightly stains on the teeth. Also, with age comes gradual yellowing of the teeth as well. So what do we do? Well, there is great news! With the help of a dentist, you can get a natural-looking, white smile with ease. The dentine underneath our tooth enamel is what ultimately determines the color of teeth, as the enamel itself is translucent. When we use whitening options, the bleach penetrates the enamel resulting in the bright smile that we all desire. The process is simple, and can be done either in the office or conveniently at home. Let’s take a look at the best teeth whitening options that are available.
What Causes the Teeth to Yellow or Turn Darker?
Before we begin, it is important to understand exactly what causes discoloration of the teeth. Aside from the above-mentioned factors, discoloration of the teeth can be caused by:
- Medication – the use of certain medications can cause discoloration of the teeth, such as certain antibiotics and antihistamines.
- Some fruits and vegetables, especially those that are acidic, can cause the teeth to yellow or stain.
While it is difficult to completely avoid every situation that may cause staining, there are simple changes that are easy to make to your daily routine in order to prevent yellowing.
Teeth Whitening Options
When you look in the mirror and realize that your teeth look slightly yellow, you will wonder what your options are. A dentist has several procedures that can be used to effectively remove stains and whiten the teeth. He or she will discuss what the best option is for the needs of each patient. The whitening is done with either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Options include:
- Bleaching that is done in-office – known as chairside bleaching, this process is easy and can be completed in one visit. It is painless and typically takes up to one hour. The result is teeth that are several shades whiter.
- At-home bleaching – your dentist will provide custom-made trays that you take home. Bleach is applied to the trays, and they are worn according to the dentist’s instructions.
While teeth bleaching is typically painless, it can cause some sensitivity, so it is best to speak to your dentist if you have any concerns.
Procedure and Cost
Before a specific type of procedure is chosen for whitening the teeth, your dentist will perform an evaluation to determine which type of bleaching is best for you. He or she will talk to you about your lifestyle, how you plan to maintain the results, as well as take note of any dental work that you have had done.
Two of the main concerns for anyone who is considering teeth whitening is what is involved in the procedure, as well as the overall cost. Chairside bleaching is one of the most popular forms of teeth whitening. Keep in mind that this procedure does not work on veneers, crowns, or bonding. Using a hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching gel, the dentist will use intense light on the teeth for approximately 45 minutes. The light and the gel work together to penetrate the enamel of the teeth, breaking up stains and leaving a clean, white finish. This process can cost about $500 or more and is extremely effective.
For patients that choose the option of at-home bleaching, keep in mind that at least 2 appointments are typically necessary. During the first appointment, the dentist will take molds of the patient’s teeth for the purpose of creating custom trays. The patient will then be provided with a bleaching gel, and shown how to apply it to the trays and wear in the mouth for 30 minutes or so each day for approximately two weeks. The gel penetrates the tooth enamel, breaking up stains. This procedure is effective at removing stains and can cost approximately $300 or more.
Teeth-whitening options that are supervised by a dentist are safe for just about anyone.
Maintaining White Teeth After Professional Treatment
It is important for anyone who receives a professional teeth whitening procedure to be well-informed of how to maintain white teeth after the treatment is completed. Now that you have that bright, white smile you have always wanted, you need to make sure you keep it that way for as long as possible. The best way to begin is to avoid food and drinks that can cause long-term stainings, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and soda. Make sure to consume plenty of water throughout the day, as this helps wash away particles that are left in the mouth after eating and drinking other foods and beverages. Be sure you are following the proper teeth brushing techniques as well. Two times per day, using a whitening toothpaste, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and gums. Brush for at least 2 minutes. Floss each tooth one time per day. Another great tip to remember is to try to enjoy all beverages through a straw. This helps the liquid from saturating the teeth and reduces the chance of staining. Also, it is important to know that teeth whitening, even professional bleaching, will not last forever! You must follow the above-mentioned tips in order to get the most from your procedure. By carefully maintaining the results, the teeth will remain white for several months to several years. However, you may have to visit your dentist for an occasional touch-up.
At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we understand just how important it is to put your best smile forward. That is why we offer several teeth-whitening options so that, together with your dentist, you can choose the one that is best for you. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.
Request An Appointment
Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist
Dr. Barzgar was very professional and gentle. When I first came to his office to see Dr. Barzgar I had a major trust issue between dentist and patient from my past experiences. Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist, whose priority is making sure his...