We all have our vices. Things like a couple of glasses of red wine with dinner, that cup of joe (or three) to start your day, and smoking all take a toll on the color of your teeth. Whether you are getting ready for your wedding day, aren’t ready to give up on the things you enjoy partaking in, or would just like boost in your smile, there are many reasons to have your teeth whitened. With so many options available today, how do you know which is best for you? The types of product you need will depend on your budget and how much whitening you are looking to do. Read on to see how you can get your pearly whites back to being pearly… and white.
Basic Teeth Whitening Products
There are many dental products out there that claim to be able to whiten teeth. These include gum, toothpaste, and mouthwash. While these products promote themselves as whitening teeth, they’re typically not very effective.
The American Dental Association states that there two kinds of stains whitening products target. For surface, or extrinsic, stains, these products may be able to help. For deeper, or intrinsic, stains, these products don’t have enough whitening agent, and your teeth aren’t exposed to the agents long enough, to remove deeper stains. These products may not be able to whiten your teeth to where you want them, but they can be useful in maintaining a bright smile after using something a little stronger.
Whitening strips are an over-the-counter product that works better at whitening your teeth. They typically come with two strips in a container, one each for your top and bottom teeth. With these strips, you’ll normally leave them on for 20-30 minutes per session, allowing the whitening agent more time to do its work. Whitening strips can be used multiple days in a row, but also can cause tooth sensitivity. While this sensitivity isn’t a long-term problem, you should take a few days off of using the strips if your teeth become too sensitive.
Take Home Kits
Take-home whitening kits are a treatment you need to see your dentist for. Your dentist will make an impression of your teeth to create a tray to put the bleaching agent into. Once you have the trays (usually within one to two weeks of having impressions taken), your dentist will give you instructions on how to use your kit.
This treatment is by far the most effective way to get your teeth whiter. Compared to the other teeth whitening products, chairside bleaching has the most potent bleaching agent, usually requiring a one-time dental visit for one to two hours. Your dentist will make sure you are a candidate for in-office bleaching and will take the proper precautions to ensure that the bleaching agent will avoid your gums, as it can irritate the tissue.
Typically, the more effective a whitening product is, the more expensive its price. Depending on your situation, one treatment may be ideal for you, even if it’s not ideal for another patient. Often, in-office whitening treatment may be initially expensive, but in the long run, you get the color you were aiming for, and potentially save money by not trying several cheaper products that don’t deliver results.
If you are unsure what option is best for you, give us a call at (661) 952-7865 for more insight.
When you think about myths, chances are your first reaction is to think about the classics—Greek myths with monsters and gods, classic American myths like Paul Bunyan or Rip Van Winkle, or maybe even urban legends. Historically, myths helped our ancestors make sense of the world and explain why they thought and acted the way they did.
But not all myths are ancient. We still create myths today, and they serve the same purpose that ancient myths did. We use them to understand complex topics and to justify our choices—at times for good, and at times not so good reasons.
There are myths about almost any topic if you bother to look—and that includes dentistry. Let’s look at five dental myths, unpack where they come from, and determine if we’d be better off telling these stories to our children or doing away with them altogether.
George Washington had wooden teeth
Right there along with leading the Revolutionary Army, being first president of the USA, and the cherry tree (false!), elementary school students learn about George Washington and his wooden dentures.
It’s true that dental problems plagued Washington. He had his first tooth extracted when he was 24, and by the time he became president in 1789, he only had one tooth left. He wore many dental prostheses during his life—but they were the most advanced dental technology of his time, and were made of ivory, gold, metal, and even human teeth. The “wooden” myth may have arisen because ivory dentures become stained over time.
Verdict: False… but truth can be more disturbing than fiction.
Brush your teeth right after every meal
Let’s look at some basic assumptions about oral hygiene that are true. First, food particles on your teeth can lead to cavities. Second, brushing your teeth removes food particles. The logical conclusion, of course, is that getting the food off your teeth faster must be better.
Well, Mr. Spock, you may be logical—but you’re wrong! Your mouth is already working to protect your teeth—with tooth enamel (the hardest substance in your body) and saliva. The acids in saliva work to break down food—but they also temporarily soften your tooth enamel. Brushing too soon after meals can actually damage your tooth enamel. Give yourself a little break, and wait 30 minutes after meals before you brush.
Verdict: False… but with the best motivation.
Whitening your teeth weakens them
Hmm… bathing your teeth in chemicals, even relatively benign ones, doesn’t sound like a good idea. I mean everyone’s heard the one about the tooth dissolving in a cup of Coca-Cola, right? (Don’t worry, we’re getting to that one next.) Therefore whitening—with trays or even strips—must weaken them, right?
Technically, no. Whitening strips or trays use hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide to remove stains on the teeth through the process of oxidization.
When overused, they can remove 1-2 nanometers of enamel from your teeth, which isn’t great—but then again, a hair is about 80 to 100 thousand nanometers thick, so we’re splitting hairs. Into about 40,000 parts.
Verdict: False… because we think it’s ok to round 0.000025% down to zero.
Leave a tooth in Coke and it’ll dissolve overnight
We can’t do a better job in 100 words than the myth-debunkers extraordinaire at Snopes.com can do in 700, but let’s give it a try. Coke is acidic—but not acidic enough to dissolve a tooth overnight. The acids in coke could eventually dissolve a tooth, but so could the acids in a glass of orange juice. The implication—that we shouldn’t drink Coke because it’s bad for our teeth—is based on a false premise. We drink Coke, not hold it in our mouth for several days at a time. You could argue that most people can do without the hundred plus calories in a serving of soda, but that’s not a myth. It’s a fact.
Verdict: False… but that doesn’t mean it’s not bad for you.
The Tooth Fairy
The idea that a fairy wants to collect children’s teeth so badly it’s willing to pay for them is, on the surface, ridiculous. With more than 7 billion people on the planet… how many teeth can a single fairy—or even a society of tooth fairies—want? But then again, who would believe that a single fat man could traverse the globe in one night, in a sleigh powered by reindeer, delivering gifts to children by climbing down their chimneys? Science can explain most things, perhaps even the lengths people go to please their children, but do we really want to?
Verdict: True… for the children.
Motherhood is both wonderful and challenging. Most women agree that the only way to truly understand what being a mom is like is to become one. Once you have had children, they become your main focus, the purpose behind everything you do…and don’t do.
It’s not uncommon for women to neglect themselves after having a baby. From missing the daily shower to going an extra month or two without a haircut, it’s natural for mothers to reroute all of their resources to their child or children, whether that be time, money, or energy. But could that self-neglect be having a negative affect that extends beyond Mom?
Healthy Mom Equals Healthy Child
According to a study published in the Journal of Dental Research (Jan. 19, 2011)1, moms’ oral health predicts their children’s oral health. This 27-year-long study found that if mothers had poor oral-hygiene practices while their children were young, the children had a higher rate of dental caries and poor overall oral health as adults. The study was conducted in New Zealand and consisted of 835 mothers who participated in a self-rated survey and 1,000 children who were examined at age 5 and then again at 32 (more than 900 examined at this time).
The results were overwhelming. Almost half of the children with mothers who had poor dental health suffered from tooth decay and eventual tooth loss as adults.
Bad News or Good?
Initially, these results may sound like bad news, but they support the belief that when moms take time to care for themselves, they are also taking care of their children — a little relief from guilt for mom.
Oral hygiene and dental care should not be seen as optional for mothers; they are crucial to Mom’s self-esteem and overall health, as well as for the children’s health and well-being.
So what does putting the right amount of time and energy into dental care mean for Mom?
- Making sure to brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
- Flossing every day
- Minimizing the amount of sugary foods that are consumed
- Scheduling and attending regular checkups and cleanings
Some common oral health conditions can be staved off with good oral-hygiene practices and regular checkups:
Periodontal disease: The best way to avoid gum disease is by sticking to your at-home oral-hygiene routine. Flossing is particularly important. When plaque and tartar remain on teeth, a mild form of periodontal disease can occur, called gingivitis, in which the gums bleed and become red and swollen. Gingivitis is reversible, and it can be treated. However, when left untreated, the gum disease worsens, leading to an advanced form called periodontitis that can cause severe damage to the soft tissue that supports the teeth, resulting in infection and eventual tooth loss.
Oral cancer: According to the American Dental Association, 41,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral and throat cancers this year. Oral or mouth cancer reveals itself as a growth or sore in the mouth or throat that doesn’t go away with time. When you come into our office for your regular checkup, we provide a potentially life-saving oral cancer screening. Our oral cancer screenings consists of a verbal, visual, and physical examination, and they significantly increase your chance of a full recovery should cancer be found. We are your first line of defense for early detection.
Having a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile are key to Mom feeling good about herself. Whether the special mother in your life is yours, someone you know, or you yourself, consider treating her to a teeth-whitening treatment. Sometimes having brighter teeth can give Mom that boost she needs. Feeling good about yourself is important, especially when life gets hard. As your family dentist, we understand that while dark and stained teeth can be healthy, they can also make you look tired, worn down, and older than you really are. Mom deserves better.
Modern-day whitening treatments are fast, effective, and affordable, and they can whiten teeth up to 14 shades brighter. There is no quicker way to make Mom feel as amazing as she is. And remember, when Mom is happy, everyone is happier!
Call today to find out more about how you can help Mom and the whole family stay healthier and happier.
Have you ever wondered why dentists and other dental and oral health professionals spend so much time talking about your smile? Shouldn’t they focus more on your teeth?
As dental health professionals, we know that your oral health affects a whole lot more than just your teeth. You may think your smile is just another way to communicate your happiness, but we know it does so much more than that. Smiling regularly can improve your mood and even your health. But when you hide your smile because you are embarrassed of crooked, chipped, or cracked teeth, you not only miss out on all of the benefits of smiling, but your self-esteem and confidence plummet as well.
Benefits of Smiling
Smiling — even when you may not feel like it — provides some surprising benefits. The following are just a few.
Healthier Heart. According to a study published in Psychological Science, smiling helps you recover from stress and upset. Researchers found that participants who smiled during a stressful situation had a lower heart rate when recovering. Smiling is also credited for lowering blood pressure. The more you smile, the less likely you are to develop heart disease.
Makes You Happy. The act of smiling releases endorphins. If you’ve ever gone running or worked out, then you’ve probably experienced the elation brought on by endorphins (also known as a runner’s high). When your body releases endorphins, your mood is naturally elevated.
Reduces Stress. Those endorphins that make you feel happy also reduce stress. Between the endorphins and the lower heart rate, you could feel downright calm and cool, even when life’s intensity starts to heat up.
Improves Relationships. Study after study has shown that people are more likely to trust someone with a genuine smile. Feeling connected to others is key to enjoying an enriched life. The more you smile, the more likely you are to form close, lasting relationships with others.
Minimizes Pain. Those endorphins that smiling and laughing release have been shown to reduce pain significantly, in some cases up to 40%.
Smiling Is Contagious. When you smile, approximately 50% of the time people smile back. There is an area in your brain that is responsible for your facial expressions, and as it turns out, the act of mimicking someone else’s smile is an unconscious automatic response. In fact, one Swedish study found it takes effort to frown when you see someone else smiling. So when you smile, you are spreading all of the benefits that come along with smiling to everyone who smiles back. Way to pay it forward!
How We Can Help You Smile
As your oral health provider, your overall health and happiness is our primary concern. We understand that if you aren’t smiling, then you aren’t receiving all of the benefits from our services that are available to you. If your teeth are keeping you from smiling, we have a suite of services that can fix a wide variety of conditions.
Dental Implants. Implants offer a permanent solution for missing teeth. Not only do they look and feel like natural teeth, they also maintain your facial structure and integrity.
Crowns. Porcelain crowns are the perfect restoration for cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. These natural-looking covers make imperfections in teeth entirely unnoticeable.
Teeth Whitening. We offer both at-home and in-office treatment options using the most effective teeth-whitening systems available today. All treatment options are simple and noninvasive.
Porcelain Veneers. These ultrathin, tooth-colored coverings are custom made and are fit to the front surface of your teeth, changing the appearance to the size and shape you desire. Veneers are perfect for fixing discolored and chipped teeth.
Straightening. Straightening your smile no longer requires years of wearing metal wires on your teeth. There are a variety of “invisible” straightening options, such as Six Month Smiles® and Invisalign®, which allow you to have a straighter, more aesthetically pleasing smile in a matter of months.
We are also here to help you with your routine oral hygiene so that your mouth feels as good as it looks.
If you find yourself holding back from smiling and laughing because of how you feel about your teeth, call us today to find out more about how we can help you feel better, live healthier, and smile more.
1. Kraft TL, Pressman SD. Grin and bear it: the influence of manipulated facial expression on the stress response. Psychological Science 2012;23:1372–1378.
2. Sonnby–Borgström, M. Automatic mimicry reactions as related to differences in emotional empathy. Scandinavian Journal of Psychology 2002;43:433–443.
The 88th Academy Awards will be held on February 28. Viewers everywhere will tune in to see if their favorite actors, actresses, directors, and other cinematic professionals will win their Oscars. But when it comes to watching the Academy Awards, finding out who gets the big wins is only part of the fun. Watching who comes with who and seeing who wears what is a large part of what makes the Oscars worth throwing a party or friendly gathering for.
Year after year, viewers and reviewers spend weeks after the awards recalling which dresses were worn, commenting on the hairstyles that are sure to start trends, and wondering how the stars managed to get those Hollywood smiles. While most of us will never be able to afford that one-of-a-kind Versace gown, the good news is that a beautiful, white Hollywood smile is just a call away.
Smile Design offers you the opportunity to achieve a smile that is as bright and beautiful as the stars’ on Oscar night. Smile Design offers a suite of services to choose from that, when added to a strategically crafted dental plan, result in a confidence-boosting aesthetic.
Smile Design services include:
Dental implants: Implants offer a permanent, long-term solution for missing teeth. Not only do they look and feel like natural teeth, they also maintain your facial structure and integrity. A dental implant consists of a small, screw-shaped, titanium post that replaces the root of a missing tooth and is covered by a porcelain tooth-like crown that will give you back your natural smile. Depending on the number of missing teeth, there are options for single-tooth and multitooth replacement.
Crowns: Over time teeth can become weak or severely worn down, leading to decay, cracking, and breaking. Porcelain crowns are the perfect restoration for cracked, chipped, or broken teeth. These natural-looking covers make imperfections in teeth entirely unnoticeable. When crafted carefully and with your individual needs in mind, a permanent crown can restore your confidence, comfort, and overall quality of life.
Teeth whitening: As you age, your teeth are exposed to foods and drinks that stain them. Though your teeth may be perfectly healthy, they can appear damaged and make you look older. Fortunately, if you have deep stains or want to achieve a brighter smile quickly, there are teeth-whitening options that can help you acquire a beautiful, youthful-looking, bright smile. Both at-home and in-office treatment options are available and use the most effective teeth-whitening systems available today. All treatment options are simple and noninvasive.
Porcelain veneers: Sometimes teeth are damaged or discolored in a way that can’t be corrected with crowns or whiting treatments. When this happens, veneers offer a beautiful solution. These ultra-thin, tooth-colored coverings are custom made and are fit to the front surface of your teeth, changing the appearance to the size and shape you desire. Veneers are perfect for fixing discolored and chipped teeth.
Straightening: Straightening your smile no longer requires years of wearing metal wires on your teeth. There are a variety of “invisible” straightening options, such as Six Month Smiles® and Invisalign®, which allow you to have a straighter, more aesthetically pleasing smile in just a matter of months.
If you find yourself feeling uncomfortable with or embarrassed about your smile, or if you simply wish it was just a bit brighter or whiter, Douglas B. Weber, DDS, can help you with our cosmetic and Smile Design services. Call us at (661) 952-7865 to set up your personal consultation — and look forward to feeling red-carpet ready in no time at all.