More and more people today are heading to their dentist’s office to brighten their smiles through teeth whitening treatments. Although you can try to maintain white teeth by limiting foods and drinks that stain or stopping habits like smoking, the truth is that teeth are prone to discoloring over time. If you’re considering undergoing teeth whitening, get the facts before you go.
Is teeth whitening safe?:
Most people are able to have their teeth whitened successfully without any issues. However, not everyone has good enough oral health to safely undergo treatment. Healthy teeth and gums are necessary so that the procedure is comfortable and effective. Patients with extensive fillings or crowns may not be the best candidates. Teeth that have extremely dark stains or discolorations from certain things like medications may not attain desired results.
How do I know if I’m a good candidate?:
A complete oral examination by your licensed dentist is the best way to determine if teeth whitening is right for you. During the assessment, your dentist will look for decay, receding gum lines, fillings, enamel condition, tooth sensitivity and more to decide if treatment is advised. Sometimes dental work can be done to restore oral health and then whitening becomes an option.
What is the process?:
Most professional teeth whitening treatments performed in a dental office are done with a high concentration peroxide bleaching agent and enhanced with special lighting to activate the gel. The dentist usually coats your gums with a product to limit sensitivity, and then the bleaching gel is carefully placed onto your teeth. Light is directed to the area, typically in three 15-minutes sessions. The dentist monitors the entire process for your safety and comfort.
What results can I expect?:
It is important to discuss your specific case with your dentist prior to treatment so that you have realistic whitening goals in mind. The degree of whitening often depends on the level and cause of your tooth discoloration. Some patients achieve a couple of shades brighter, while others whiten up to ten shades.
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If you are about to undergo root canal treatment to save a compromised tooth, your oral surgeon or dentist will likely provide you with a list of aftercare instructions. It is vitally important that you follow these recommendations to avoid complications and ensure the success of your endodontic treatment.
There are a few tips you can follow to speed up your recovery time, promote healing, and prevent serious dental problems and infections following root canal treatment:
Do not chew on the treated side of your mouth until all of the numbness from the anesthetic has worn off completely.
To manage swelling, apply an ice pack or bag of frozen peas on the treated area for thirty minutes. Repeat once an hour for about fifteen minutes each time until swelling subsides.
For several nights after treatment, keep your head elevated while sleeping.
Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water regularly for the first few days after root canal treatment.
Refrain from smoking for a minimum of 24 hours and try to curb tobacco usage as much as possible during the healing period.
Avoid strenuous physical activity or exercise for 48 hours after your root canal procedure.
Contact your dentist immediately if you experience any excessive swelling or pain, the appearance of a rash or hives, or a return of original symptoms. By listening to the recommendations of your dentist, and following these extra tips, you can assure yourself the best chance of a rapid and complication-free recovery from root canal treatment.
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In the past, replacing lost teeth meant getting dentures or bridges. Even though these offered the best way at the time to restore your mouth’s appearance and function, technology has improved through the development of dental implants. The main drawbacks of bridges and dentures is that they do not feel or look just like real teeth, and it is difficult to chew tough foods. The advantage of implants is that they look and perform so well that you can’t even tell they are not your natural teeth.
Made from titanium, dental implants are screws that are surgically placed directly into your jawbone. They are light and malleable, but durable and strong. The titanium screws are implanted into your jawbone and given time to heal. Once healing is complete, one or multiple crowns are placed on top of the implant to recreate your missing teeth. One implant can hold more than one screw, so it is possible to attach as many crowns as needed to replace your missing teeth.
Dental implants look so much like real teeth that others won’t even be able to tell that you have any artificial teeth. You might even forget about it yourself, as they feel real as well. Since the implants are securely placed in your jaw, they are as strong as real teeth and you are able to chew and bite anything that you would normally eat. Another great thing about implants is that they don’t impact any of your adjacent healthy teeth. While bridges and dentures can sometimes damage neighboring teeth because those teeth are necessary for support, implants avoid this problem. You are left with a fully restored and comfortable smile.
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It’s a fact of life that teeth can become dingy and yellowed through the years. Your diet, age, personal habits and more affect the shade of your teeth. Even with the best care, it’s nearly inevitable that at some point you’ll want to brighten your smile. Once you pursue teeth whitening, you’ll want to be sure to make your new smile last as long as possible.
Over-the-counter products are readily available from your local drugstore and simple to use. However, they can take a long time to obtain full results and even then, you may not achieve the desired shade you’d like. Professional teeth whitening is the fastest and most dramatic way to brighten your smile.
If you spend the time and money to whiten your teeth professionally, making it last will be important to you. Results can last for a long time, but probably not forever. Here are some tips for making your white teeth last longer:
Watch your diet especially carefully for the first 48 hours following treatment. Your teeth are at the most risk for staining during this timeframe.
For the first few days, avoid eating known staining foods like blueberries, beets, dark soups, marinades, sauces, curry or tomato products.
At first, avoid broccoli, green beans, peas, sprouts, corn, or skinned potatoes. These have increased risk of particles getting stuck into the highly susceptible tooth pores after whitening treatment.
Watch out for citrus fruits that are high in acidity, which can also make your saliva more acidic. Your teeth are more prone to damage from acid when they already have increased sensitivity from the whitening chemicals.
Avoid drinking dark colas or coffee, since both can stain your teeth no matter when you drink them.
Get in the habit of drinking from a straw so that dark colored drinks don’t come into as much contact with your teeth.
Choosing the right foods and drinks after teeth whitening can make a big difference in the length of time your teeth stay white. Make the best decisions to enjoy your bright smile.
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When your appearance gets you down because you are embarrassed about flaws in your smile, dental veneers can turn your life around. The process is simple and in only a couple of visits to your dentist, you’ll have a brand new beautiful smile.
Getting dental veneers is painless. Your dentist just takes impressions of your natural teeth and then the mold is used to create veneers just for you in a dental lab. The thin shells, usually made of porcelain or composite resin, are bonded onto the fronts of your teeth to hide all kinds of imperfections.
There are many reasons that patients consider veneers to transform their smile. Here are some common ones:
Stains – severely discolored and stained teeth sometimes do not respond to teeth whitening treatment, or the results just aren’t dramatic enough to make you happy with your smile. The shade of dental veneers is chosen by you and your dentist, so you can achieve the exact color you’d like.
Chips – teeth that are chipped or cracked are easily hidden under veneers. The damaged portion of the tooth is supplemented so that it looks brand new, and the hard coating supplied by the veneers protects the weakened tooth from further damage.
Misalignment – if braces or other orthodontia didn’t work for you or if you want to avoid the sometimes lengthy and embarrassing process, veneers make your smile appear straight and perfect. Uneven or crooked teeth can cause low self-esteem, but veneers will make you proud to smile.
Gaps – extra spaces between your teeth can also be upsetting, especially large gaps that might even call for invasive procedures like dental implants. Your dentist may be able to cover awkward gaps with veneers to give you an even smile without any pain or prolonged recovery time.
Veneers aren’t for every dental problem, but many of them can be addressed with this easy and quick solution. Ask your dentist if they are right for you.
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Denture technology has come a long way since the days of George Washington and his wooden teeth. Unfortunately, people still lose teeth for a variety of reasons including periodontal disease, trauma, and decay. Missing teeth make talking and eating difficult, and can ultimately cause sagging facial muscles. However, with today’s advances in technology it is more possible than ever to replace those lost teeth with natural and comfortable dentures.
Complete dentures cover both upper and lower jaws. The options for complete dentures range from immediate dentures to highly customized implant dentures. Immediate dentures are pre-made and available at your dentist’s office. They are not custom fitted and are set into gum sockets immediately upon removal of your teeth. While these offer the convenience of walking immediately out of the dental office with your new teeth in place, once gum tissue heals and swelling reduces they may shift and become loose. This issue requires follow-up visits for your dentist to make adjustments. People with immediate dentures may also have difficulty speaking, or experience a “clicking sound” when talking.
Conventional full dentures can be made 8 to 12 weeks after tooth loss or removal. Once the gums have healed, your dentist takes a series of impressions of your mouth to be sent away to a dental lab to create your dentures. This process may require multiple visits to your dentist to ensure a proper fit and correct bite. While this process takes longer and is more involved than immediate dentures, you will achieve a more secure and personalized fit. Both conventional and immediate dentures require the use of denture adhesives to keep them securely in place.
For an even more custom, natural looking and secure denture option, implant dentures are an excellent alternative. With implant dentures, small implants are placed in the jaw where they heal in place surrounded by the bone. The denture then snaps into the implant with attachments under the denture. These attachments keep the denture stable, providing more comfort and confidence. You do not have to worry your dentures will slip or fall out while you are eating, talking, or laughing. Implant dentures do not require the use of any denture adhesives.
Talk to your dental professional to determine the best use of denture technology to ensure many years of a confident and comfortable smile.
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