Teeth Whitening: How it Works and What it Costs

 

By: Consumer Guide to Dentistry

🤐Tooth discoloration is a common problem which also affects our smile. Find the best teeth whitening option for you to bring back your confidence! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Teeth whitening offers a quick, non-invasive way to enhance your smile.  Universally valued by men and women alike, whitening (or bleaching) treatments are available to satisfy every budget, time frame and temperament. Whether in the form of professionally administered one-hour whitening sessions at your dentist’s office, or home-use bleaching kits purchased at your local drugstore, solutions abound.

Virtually everyone who opts for a teeth whitening solution sees moderate to substantial improvement in the brightness and whiteness of their smile. That said, it’s not a permanent solution to discoloration and requires maintenance or “touch-ups” for a prolonged effect.

In this article we break down everything related to teeth whitening, including the process of tooth discoloration, what causes staining, the various treatment options available, and their risks and costs.

Bleaching vs. Whitening: What’s the Difference?

According to the FDA, the term “bleaching” is permitted to be used only when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color. This applies strictly to products that contain bleach — typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

The term “whitening” on the other hand, refers to restoring a tooth’s surface color by removing dirt and debris. So technically speaking, any product that is used to clean the teeth (like a toothpaste) is considered a whitener. Of course, the term whitening sounds better than bleaching, so it is more frequently used — even when describing products that contain bleach.

The bleach preference for in-office whitening, where time is limited, is powerful and fast-acting hydrogen peroxide. When used in bleaching teeth, hydrogen peroxide concentrations range from approximately nine percent to 40 percent.

By contrast, the bleach of preference for at-home teeth whitening is slower acting carbamide peroxide, which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide. Carbamide peroxide has about a third of the strength of hydrogen peroxide. This means that a 15 percent solution of carbamide peroxide is the rough equivalent of a five percent solution of hydrogen peroxide.

An Examination of Enamel

Most of us start out with sparkling white teeth, thanks to their porcelain-like enamel surface. Composed of microscopic crystalline rods, tooth enamel is designed to protect the teeth from the effects of chewing, gnashing, trauma and acid attacks caused by sugar. But over the years enamel is worn down, becoming more transparent and permitting the yellow color of dentin — the tooth’s core material — to show through.

During routine chewing, dentin remains intact while millions of micro-cracks occur in the enamel. It is these cracks, as well as the spaces between the crystalline enamel rods, that gradually fill up with stains and debris. As a result, the teeth eventually develop a dull, lackluster appearance.

Teeth whitening removes the stains and debris, leaving the enamel cracks open and exposed. Some of the cracks are quickly re-mineralized by saliva, while others are filled up again with organic debris.

Tooth Discoloration: The Two Types of Tooth Stains

There are two categories of staining as it relates to the teeth: extrinsic staining and intrinsic staining.

Extrinsic stains are those that appear on the surface of the teeth as a result of exposure to dark-colored beverages, foods and tobacco, and routine wear and tear. Superficial extrinsic stains are minor and can be removed with brushing and prophylactic dental cleaning. Stubborn extrinsic stains can be removed with more involved efforts, like teeth whitening. Persistent extrinsic stains can penetrate into the dentin and become ingrained if they are not dealt with early.

Intrinsic stains are those that form on the interior of teeth. Intrinsic stains result from trauma, aging, exposure to minerals (like tetracycline) during tooth formation and/or excessive ingestion of fluoride. In the past, it was thought that intrinsic stains were too resistant to be corrected by bleaching. Today, cosmetic dentistry experts believe that even deep-set intrinsic stains can be removed with supervised take-home teeth whitening that is maintained over a matter of months or even a year. If all else fails, there are alternative cosmetic solutions to treat intrinsic staining, such as dental veneers.


What Causes Tooth Staining?

Age: There is a direct correlation between tooth color and age. Over the years, teeth darken as a result of wear and tear and stain accumulation. Teenagers will likely experience immediate, dramatic results from whitening. In the twenties, as the teeth begin to show a yellow cast, whitening may require a little more effort. By the forties, the yellow gives way to brown and more maintenance may be called for. By the fifties, the teeth have absorbed a host of stubborn stains which can prove difficult (but not impossible) to remove.

Starting color: We are all equipped with an inborn tooth color that ranges from yellow-brownish to greenish-grey and intensifies over time. Yellow-brown is generally more responsive to bleaching than green-grey.

Translucency and thinness: These are also genetic traits that become more pronounced with age. While all teeth show some translucency, those that are opaque and thick have an advantage: they appear lighter in color, show more sparkle and are responsive to bleaching. Teeth that are thinner and more transparent – most notably the front teeth – have less of the pigment that is necessary for bleaching. According to cosmetic dentists, transparency is the only condition that cannot be corrected by any form of teeth whitening.

Eating habits: The habitual consumption of red wine, coffee, tea, cola, carrots, oranges and other deeply-colored beverages and foods causes considerable staining over the years. In addition, acidic foods such as citrus fruits and vinegar contribute to enamel erosion. As a result, the surface becomes more transparent and more of the yellow-colored dentin shows through.

Smoking habits: Nicotine leaves brownish deposits which slowly soak into the tooth structure and cause intrinsic discoloration.

Drugs/chemicals: Tetracycline usage during tooth formation produces dark grey or brown ribbon stains which are very difficult to remove. Excessive consumption of fluoride causes fluorosis and associated areas of white mottling.

Grinding: Most frequently caused by stress, teeth grinding (gnashing, bruxing, etc.) can add to micro-cracking in the teeth and can cause the biting edges to darken.

Trauma: Falls and other injuries can produce sizable cracks in the teeth, which collect large amounts of stains and debris.

What are Your Whitening Options?

Three major teeth whitening options are available today. All three rely on varying concentrations of peroxide and varying application times.

In-Office Whitening

Significant color change in a short period of time is the major benefit of in-office whitening. This protocol involves the carefully controlled use of a relatively high-concentration peroxide gel, applied to the teeth by the dentist or trained technician after the gums have been protected with a paint-on rubber dam. Generally, the peroxide remains on the teeth for several 15 to 20-minute intervals that add up to an hour (at most). Those with particularly stubborn staining may be advised to return for one or more additional bleaching sessions or may be asked to continue with a home-use system.

Cost: $650 per visit (on average) nationwide.

(Read more about in-office whitening)

Professionally Dispensed Take-Home Kits

Many dentists are of the opinion that professionally dispensed take-home whitening kits can produce the best results over the long haul. Take-home kits incorporate an easy-to-use lower-concentration peroxide gel that remains on the teeth for an hour or longer (sometimes overnight). The lower the peroxide percentage, the longer it may safely remain on the teeth. The gel is applied to the teeth using custom-made bleaching trays that resemble mouth guards.

Cost: $100 to $400.

(Read more about take-home whitening)

Over-the-Counter Products

The cheapest and most convenient of the teeth whitening options, over-the-counter bleaching involves the use of a store-bought whitening kit, featuring a bleaching gel with a concentration lower than that of the professionally dispensed take-home whiteners. The gel is applied to the teeth via one-size-fits-all trays, strips or paint-on applicators. In many cases, this may only whiten a few of the front teeth, unlike custom trays that can whiten the entire smile.

Cost: $20 to $100.

How White Can You Go? A Matter of Esthetics

Results are subjective, varying considerably from person to person. Many are immediately delighted with their outcome, while others may be disappointed. Before you embark on any whitening treatment, ask your dentist for a realistic idea of the results you are likely to achieve and how long it should take to achieve them.

Shade Guides

In the dental office, before-and-after tooth color is typically measured with shade guides. These are hand-held displays of wide ranges of tooth colors. (Dentists also use them in choosing crown and other restoration shades.)

The standard-setter among them has long been the Vitapan Classic Shade Guide. This shade guide standard incorporates 16 shades, systematically arranged from light to dark into four color groups, and provides a universal tooth-color terminology.

While whitening can occasionally lighten tooth color by nine or more shades, most of those who bleach their teeth are likely to see a change of two to seven shades.

Risks

Teeth whitening treatments are considered to be safe when procedures are followed as directed. However, there are certain risks associated with bleaching that you should be aware of:

  • Sensitivity: Bleaching can cause a temporary increase in sensitivity to temperature, pressure, and touch. This is likeliest to occur during in-office whitening, where higher-concentration bleach is used. Some individuals experience spontaneous shooting pains (“zingers”) down the middle of their front teeth. Individuals at greatest risk for whitening sensitivity are those with gum recession, significant cracks in their teeth or leakage resulting from faulty restorations. It has also been reported that redheads, including those with no other risk factors, are at particular risk for tooth sensitivity and zingers. Whitening sensitivity lasts no longer than a day or two, but in some cases may persist up to a month. Some dentists recommend a toothpaste containing potassium nitrate for sensitive teeth.
  • Gum irritation: Over half of those who use peroxide whiteners experience some degree of gum irritation resulting from the bleach concentration or from contact with the trays. Such irritation typically lasts up to several days, dissipating after bleaching has stopped or the peroxide concentration lowered.
  • Technicolor teeth: Restorations such as bondingdental crowns or veneers are not affected by bleach and therefore maintain their default color while the surrounding teeth are whitened. This results in what is frequently called “technicolor teeth.”

Maintaining Your Results

To extend the longevity of newly whitened teeth, dentists are likely to recommend:

  • At-home follow-up or maintenance whitening – implemented immediately or performed as infrequently as once a year.
  • Avoiding dark-colored foods and beverages for at least a week after whitening.
  • Whenever possible, sipping dark-colored beverages with a straw.
  • Practicing excellent oral hygiene – brushing and flossing after meals and at bedtime.

Caveats

In addition to the aforementioned risk factors, a number of caveats should be considered before undergoing teeth whitening:

  • No amount of bleaching will yield “unnaturally” white teeth.
  • Whitening results are not fully seen until approximately two weeks after bleaching. This is an important consideration if you are about to have ceramic restorations and want to be sure the color matches that of your newly bleached teeth.
  • If cosmetic bonding, porcelain veneers or other restorations are part of your treatment plan, they should not be placed until a minimum of two weeks following bleaching to ensure proper adhesive bonding, function and shade matching.
  • To avoid the technicolor effect, tooth-colored restorations will likely need replacement after bleaching.
  • Recessed gums often reveal their yellowish root surfaces at the gum line. That yellow color has proven difficult to bleach.
  • Pregnant or nursing women are advised to avoid teeth whitening. The potential impact of swallowed bleach on the fetus or baby is not yet known.

How Much Does Teeth Whitening Cost?

The cost of teeth whitening can vary quite significantly from product to product, procedure to procedure.

Professional, in-office teeth whitening is the most expensive option with a national average of $650 per visit. However, it does have the benefit of being performed by an experienced dental professional, helping to ensure that you get the sort of results you’re looking for.

At the other end of the cost spectrum are over-the-counter strips and trays that you can buy at your local pharmacy or grocery store. These products can range from $20 to $100, making them an attractive option for those looking for a bit of smile enhancement without the higher cost of professionally administered whitening. However, it’s important to keep in mind that results can vary drastically when using these cheaper, low-concentration peroxide whiteners.

If you’re looking for a middle-ground between professional whitening and over-the-counter products, you might be a good candidate for professionally dispensed take-home kits. Prescribed by a dentist, these kits range in cost from $100 to $400, and can potentially deliver results similar to those you’d get in-office at the hands of a dentist.

Keep in mind that whitening results are not permanent, meaning that if you want to maintain your whitened smile, you’ll need to continue getting treatments as the effects wane.

 

Source: https://www.yourdentistryguide.com/teeth-whitening/?

What Is Oral Surgery and How Is It Used?

 

By: Shawn Watson, Verywell Health

 

💉From tooth extraction to the treatment of diseases, oral surgery is a common procedure used to correct different mouth conditions. Find out how it can help you! The Oral Surgery DC Team

When you hear the words “oral surgery,” you may think of a hospital setting, general anesthesia, and one or more days in recovery from this type of dental procedure. Because of that, you might be surprised to learn what is actually considered oral surgery in dentistry.

Many dental procedures performed in a general dental office are considered oral surgery and patients who require such procedures are booked for it without the inconvenience of being put on a waiting list in a different office for treatment.

Here are some examples of oral surgery procedures.

Tooth Extractions

The most recognized form of oral surgery is tooth extraction. Reasons for tooth extraction can include:

  • impacted or partially erupted wisdom teeth
  • teeth beyond repair either from tooth decay, root fracture, or trauma
  • primary teeth that have failed to fall out, preventing the eruption of permanent teeth
  • orthodontic treatment plans, which may require the removal of some teeth to reduce crowding and achieve the optimum result

Corrective Jaw Surgery

Orthognathic surgery, known as jaw surgery to most, is performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Common reasons for jaw surgery include:

  • TMJ (short for temporomandibular joint pain) and dysfunction caused by trauma or deformation
  • major or minor trauma to the jaw
  • malocclusion or incorrect bite
  • clenching, or grinding of the teeth, which causes excessive tooth wear
  • difficulty chewing, eating, opening and closing the mouth, or talking
  • incorrect jaw position, which can lead to an out-of-proportion facial appearance

Your dentist will refer you to see an oral surgeon if he or she feels your situation will benefit from a surgical treatment option.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are becoming a common procedure to replace missing teeth or to provide stability to a new or existing denture.

Performed by a dentist or oral surgeon, the procedure for placing a dental implant may vary depending on the technique used by the dentist or surgeon, and by the type of implant used. Most people who have had a dental implant report the recovery was similar to that of a tooth extraction, and they were able to return to normal eating within a week of the procedure.

Detection and Treatment of Diseases

This year alone, more than 34,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer, resulting in 8,000 deaths.

Dentists are trained to detect oral cancer, as the signs of this devastating disease typically go unnoticed and are not easily detected.

If your dentist discovers something suspicious in an area of your mouth, face, neck, or jaw that may have an underlying problem, a biopsy may be performed to further diagnose a possible condition. A biopsy is usually a surgical procedure that is used to remove a piece of tissue in an area of the body that is suspected as being diseased.

You may be referred to an oral surgeon for the biopsy, but in some cases, this procedure may be performed by your general dentist. Oral surgery is commonly used to treat oral cancer and may be used as a combination treatment with radiation therapy.

 

Source: https://www.verywell.com/what-is-oral-surgery-1059375?

What Is Oral Surgery And Why Would I Need It?

 

By: The Happy Tooth

 

🤔You might need an oral surgery in certain cases. Distinguish its difference from the maxillofacial surgery and when might you need them. The Oral Surgery DC Team

If your dentist refers you to an oral surgeon, your internal alarm may go off, causing anxiety or fear. But fear not. Instead, take in this little dose of information that answers, “What is oral surgery and why do I need it?”

Distinguishing Dental Duties: What is Oral Surgery?

First, let’s clarify that asking “what is oral surgery” and what is oral and maxillofacial surgery” are one in the same. Oral refers to your mouth, while maxillofacial refers to your jaws and face.

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon may diagnose, treat or perform surgery to resolve injuries or issues in the head, neck, face, jaws and hard and soft oral tissues. Oral and maxillofacial surgery is recognized internationally as a surgical specialty.

In fact, to become an oral surgeon, one must earn a four-year graduate degree in dentistry and complete a hospital oral and maxillofacial surgery residency program for a minimum of 4 years. This program includes specialized training in anesthesia and pain control.

If your dentist refers you to an oral surgeon, it does not necessarily mean you have a challenging case to treat! It simply means there is a specialized surgeon who can better treat your case.

When Might You Need an Oral Surgeon?

You might need oral surgery for something as common as dental implants, or for the treatment of a tumor or cyst in the jaw, for example. So oral surgery can solve cosmetic or reconstructive needs. Your dentist might also refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for:

  • Facial pain or TMJ/TMD
  • Wisdom teeth issues
  • Misaligned jaw
  • Reconstructive surgery following an injury
  • Cleft lip and palate surgery
  • Cancer in the face, jaw or neck area
  • Obstructive sleep apnea

 

Source: https://happytoothnc.com/what-is-oral-surgery/?

Caring for My Teeth

 

 

By: Oral Health Foundation

😬 Proper care of our teeth is essential to prevent different gum diseases. Follow these tips to keep your mouth healthy! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Why are my teeth so important?

Your teeth vary in shape and size depending on where they are in your mouth. These differences allow the teeth to do many different jobs. Teeth help us to chew and digest food. They help us to talk, and to pronounce different sounds clearly. Finally, teeth help to give our face its shape. A healthy smile can be a great asset; and because this is so important, it makes sense to give your teeth the best care possible.

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What can go wrong?

Tooth decay can be painful and lead to fillings, crowns or inlays. If tooth decay is not treated, the nerve of the tooth can become infected and die, causing an abscess. This may then need root canal treatment or even for the tooth to be removed. It is very important that you keep up a good routine at home to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Gum disease is common and, if left untreated, may lead to bone loss around the teeth. In some cases it may lead to loose teeth and teeth being lost. Gum disease is preventable. It can be treated and kept under control with regular cleaning sessions and check-ups, preventing further problems. If teeth are lost, it may be necessary to fill the gaps with bridges, dentures or implants.

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How do I keep my teeth and gums healthy?

It is easy to get your mouth clean and healthy, and keep it that way. A simple routine can help prevent most dental problems:

  • brushing your teeth last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, with a fluoride toothpaste
  • cleaning between the teeth with ‘interdental’ brushes or floss at least once a day
  • good eating habits – having sugary foods and drinks less often, and
  • regular dental check-ups.

Although most people brush regularly, many don’t clean between their teeth and some people don’t have regular dental check-ups. A few small changes in your daily routine can make a big difference in the long term. Your dental team can remove any build-up on your teeth and treat any gum disease that has already appeared. But daily dental care is up to you, and the main weapons are the toothbrush, toothpaste and interdental cleaning (cleaning between your teeth).

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What is plaque?

Plaque is a thin, sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth.

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How can plaque cause decay?

When you eat foods containing sugars and starches, the bacteria in plaque produce acids, which attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth. After constant acid attack, the tooth enamel breaks down forming a hole or cavity.

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How can plaque cause gum disease?

If plaque is not removed by brushing, it can harden into something called ‘calculus’ – another name for it is ‘tartar’. As calculus forms near the gumline, the plaque underneath releases harmful poisons causing the gums to become irritated and inflamed. The gums start to pull away from the teeth and the gaps become infected. If gum disease is not treated promptly, the bone supporting the teeth is destroyed, and healthy teeth can become loose and fall out. Severe gum disease can lead to teeth falling out and needing to be replaced.

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How can I prevent gum disease?

It is important to remove plaque and bits of food from around your teeth as this will stop your gums from becoming inflamed and swollen, and becoming infected. If you leave plaque on your teeth it can harden into tartar, which can only be removed by the dental team. It is important to keep up your regular appointments so that your teeth can have a thorough cleaning if they need it.

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Which type of toothbrush should I use?

Different types of toothbrushesYour dental team will be able to recommend a toothbrush suitable for you. However, adults should choose a small- to medium-sized brush head. This should have soft to medium, multi-tufted, round-ended nylon bristles or ‘filaments’. The head should be small enough to reach into all parts of the mouth: especially the back of the mouth where it can be difficult to reach. Children need to use smaller brushes but with the same type of filaments.

You can now buy more specialised toothbrushes. For instance, people with sensitive teeth can now use softer-bristled brushes. There are also smaller-headed toothbrushes for people with crooked or irregular teeth.

Some people find it difficult to hold a toothbrush, for example because they have Parkinson’s disease or a physical disability. There are now toothbrushes which have large handles and angled heads to make them easier to use.

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How do I know if I have gum disease?

Gum disease is generally painless, even though it damages the bone supporting the teeth. Gum disease (gingivitis) will usually show itself as red, swollen gums that bleed when you brush or clean between your teeth. Many people are worried when they notice their gums are bleeding and then brush more gently, or stop altogether. In fact, it is important that you continue to clean regularly and thoroughly if you are to fight the gum disease. If the bleeding does not go away within a few days see your dental team to ask for their advice.

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How do electric toothbrushes work?

A power brush has an oscillating rotating or vibrating head, which provides a large amount of cleaning action with very little movement needed from the user, although you do need to position the brush correctly.

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Why is brushing important?

Daily brushing and cleaning between your teeth is important because it removes plaque. If the plaque isn’t removed, it continues to build up, feeding on the bits of food left behind and causing tooth decay and gum disease.

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Do electric toothbrushes clean better?

Tests have shown that power toothbrushes are more effective at removing plaque. Those with heads that rotate in both directions (‘oscillating’ heads) are the most effective. Everyone can use a power brush. They are particularly useful for people with limited movement of the arm or hand, such as disabled or elderly people, who often find that using a normal toothbrush does not allow them to clean thoroughly. Power brushes can also be better for children as they may be more likely to brush regularly because of the novelty of using a power brush. Discuss the idea with your dental team to find out if you would benefit from using a power brush.

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How should I brush?

How should I brush my teethBrushing removes plaque and bits of food from the inner, outer and biting surfaces of your teeth.

Here is one way to remove plaque – discuss with your dental team which is the best for you:

  1. Place the head of your toothbrush against your teeth, then tilt the bristle tips to a 45-degree angle against your gumline. Move the brush in small circular movements, several times, on all the surfaces of every tooth.
  2. Brush the outer surface of each tooth, upper and lower, keeping the bristles angled against your gumline.
  3. Do this again, but on the inside surfaces of all your teeth. To clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several small, circular strokes with the front part of the brush.
  4. Brush the biting surfaces of your teeth.
  5. Brush your tongue to help freshen your breath and clean your mouth by removing bacteria.

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How often should I brush my teeth?

Be sure to brush thoroughly with a fluoride toothpaste last thing at night and at least one other time during the day. If you regularly keep getting discomfort or bleeding after brushing you should see your dentist.

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How do I know if I have removed all the plaque?

You can stain the plaque with special dye, which you can paint onto your teeth with a cotton bud, or you can use special disclosing tablets. You can get these from your dental practice or pharmacy. The stain is harmless and will show any areas of your mouth which need better brushing. Look particularly at where your teeth and gums meet. Further brushing will remove the stained plaque.

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How often should I change my toothbrush?

Worn-out toothbrushes cannot clean your teeth properly and may damage your gums. It is important to change your toothbrush every two to three months, or sooner if the filaments become worn. When bristles become splayed, they do not clean properly.

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Should I use a fluoride toothpaste?

Yes. Fluoride helps to strengthen and protect teeth, which can reduce tooth decay in adults and children.

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What sort of toothpaste should I use?

As well as regular family toothpastes, there are many specialised toothpastes. These include tartar control for people who get tartar build-up, and a choice of toothpastes for people with sensitive teeth. ‘Total care’ toothpastes include ingredients to help fight gum disease, freshen breath and reduce plaque build-up. ‘Whitening’ toothpastes are good at removing staining to help restore the natural colour of your teeth, but are not strong enough to change the natural shade of the teeth.

Some children’s toothpastes only have about half the fluoride that adult toothpastes have. They only give limited protection for the teeth. If your children are under 7 you should supervise them when they brush their teeth. Encourage them not to swallow the toothpaste and to just spit, not rinse, after brushing.

To have a clean and healthy mouth you need to use the correct dental-care products. Ask your dental team to tell you what choices there are and to give their recommendations.

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How much toothpaste should I use?

You do not need to cover the head of your brush in toothpaste. A pea-sized amount is enough. Children should use a pea-sized smear of toothpaste.

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Should my gums bleed when I clean in between my teeth?

ask your dentist or hygienist how to floss properlyYour gums may bleed or be sore for the first few days that you clean between your teeth. This should stop once the plaque is broken up and the health of your mouth has improved. If the bleeding does not stop, tell your dental team. It may be that you are not cleaning correctly, or that your teeth and gums need a more thorough clean by your dental team.

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How should I clean between my teeth?

You can clean between your teeth with an ‘interdental’ brush or dental floss. Cleaning in between your teeth removes plaque and bits of food from between your teeth and under your gumline – areas a toothbrush can’t reach. When flossing or using interdental brushes, keep to a regular pattern and remember not to miss any teeth. It helps to look in the mirror. Don’t forget the backs of your last teeth. It is also very important to clean around the edges of any crowns, bridges or implants. You should clean between your teeth at least once a day. Your dental team can show you how to clean between your teeth properly.

Interdental brushing

Interdental brushes come in various sizes. It may be helpful to ask your dentist or hygienist to show you the correct sizes for your mouth.
Hold the interdental brush between your thumb and forefinger. Gently place the brush through the gap between your teeth. Do not force the brush head through the gap. If the brush splays or bends then it is too big – you will need a smaller brush head for this space.

Flossing

  1. Break off about 45 centimetres (18 inches) of floss, and wind some around one finger of each hand.
  2. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers, with about an inch of floss between them, leaving no slack. Use a gentle ‘rocking’ motion to guide the floss between your teeth. Do not jerk the floss or snap the floss into the gums.
  3. When the floss reaches your gumline, curve it into a C-shape against one tooth until you feel resistance.
  4. Hold the floss against the tooth. Gently scrape the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum. Repeat on the other side of the gap, along the side of the next tooth.
  5. Don’t forget the back of your last tooth. When flossing, keep to a regular pattern. Start at the top and work from left to right, then move to the bottom and again work from the left to right. This way you’re less likely to miss any teeth.

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Are ‘oral irrigators’ useful?

Oral irrigators use a stream or jet of water to remove plaque and bits of food from around your teeth. They can be particularly helpful if you wear an orthodontic appliance (‘brace’) or a fixed bridge that is difficult to clean, or if you find it difficult to use interdental brushes or floss.

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Should I use a mouthwash?

A fluoride mouthwash can help prevent tooth decay. Your dental team may recommend an antibacterial mouthwash to help control plaque and reduce gum disease. If you find that you are regularly using a mouthwash just to freshen your breath see your dental team, because bad breath can be a sign of unhealthy teeth and gums or of poor general health.

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Can my diet help?

Many people think that it is a high level of sugar in your diet that causes decay, but this is not true. It is how often you have sugar in your diet, not the amount, that causes problems. It takes up to an hour for your mouth to cancel out the acid caused by eating and drinking sugar. During this time your teeth are under attack from this acid. It is therefore important to limit the number of attacks by having sugary foods and drinks just at mealtimes. Chewing sugar-free gum and drinking water after meals or snacks can also help to cancel out the acid more quickly.

As well as causing decay, sugary fizzy drinks, fruit juices, sports drinks, and wine can be acidic – which can also cause ‘dental erosion’. This is when the acid in foods and drinks gradually wears away the hard enamel coating of the tooth. This may lead to the tooth being sensitive.

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How should I clean my dentures?

It is just as important to clean dentures as it is to clean your natural teeth. Food can become caught around the edges of dentures and clasps, and the food can rot if you do not clean them thoroughly.

You should keep a separate toothbrush for cleaning your dentures. The general rule is: brush, soak and brush again. Clean your dentures over a bowl of water in case you drop them. Brush your dentures before soaking them, to help remove any bits of food. Soak the dentures in a specialist cleaner for a short time and then brush the dentures again. Brush them like you would your natural teeth. Make sure you clean all the surfaces of the dentures, including the surface which fits against your gums. If you notice a build-up of stains or scale, have your dentures cleaned by your dental team. Most dentists still recommend a small- to medium-headed toothbrush.

 

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I have implants, do I have to do anything special?

Your dental team or oral surgeon will tell you how to care for your implants after surgery. It is very important to make sure you clean them regularly and thoroughly to prevent gum disease and possible infection. Follow the instructions your dental team or oral surgeon gives you.

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Why should I visit the dental team regularly?

It is always better to prevent problems rather than have to cure them when they happen. If you visit your dental team regularly you will need less treatment and they will spot any problems earlier, making any treatment easier.

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Final words

Good dental health begins with you. By following these simple tips you can keep your mouth clean and healthy:

  1. Brush your teeth for two minutes, last thing at night and at least one other time during the day, using fluoride toothpaste.
  2. Use a toothbrush with a small- to medium-sized head.
  3. Use a toothbrush with soft to medium, multi-tufted, round-ended nylon bristles.
  4. Consider using a power toothbrush.
  5. Use small, circular movements to clean your teeth.
  6. Change your toothbrush regularly, and at least every 3 months.
  7. Clean between your teeth every day using interdental brushes or dental floss.
  8. Have sugary drinks and foods less often.
  9. Visit your dental team regularly, as often as they recommend.

 

Source: https://www.dentalhealth.org/tell-me-about/topic/caring-for-teeth/caring-for-my-teeth

 

The 30 Best Foods for Healthy Teeth and Gums

By nano-b
🍴 No matter how strict your oral hygiene routine, if you don’t watch your diet you are still putting your oral health at risk. Check out the best foods for healthy teeth and gums! The Oral Surgery DC Team
The Surprise Path to Perfect Teeth

Teeth are important! No wonder most of us take a really good care of them. Brushing, flossing, scraping our tongue, using mouthwash, we do a lot. Our mouth might very well be the part of our body we take the most care of and yet tooth decay and gum disease are still some of the most prevalent diseases in the world. How come? The answer might hide in the fridge!

Surprising or not, the difference between a healthy smile and frequent visits to the dentist might be your diet. Even if you have a perfect oral hygiene routine, it might be hard to keep your teeth healthy, if you don’t watch what you eat.

Too often, we see food as being only the villain when it comes to oral health. After all, it’s sugars and acids from food and drinks that do most of the damage to our teeth. However, there are many types of food that not only don’t harm your teeth as much but can even give a big boost to your oral health.

From preventing cavities and periodontal disease to even freshening your breath and whitening your teeth, the foods on this list can match the claims of the fanciest toothpaste and mouthwashes on the market. Most of them are actually pretty tasty as well, so take out your shopping list and get ready to add some teeth-friendly goodies.

How some foods help your teeth and gums stay healthy 

Your teeth and gums are a part of your body, and as every other part, need good nutrition to function properly. Specific nutrients are most beneficial for different parts of your body, so let’s see which are the most crucial elements for healthy teeth and gums.  (You can read which are the worst nutrients for your teeth and gums here )

Foods rich in calcium and phosphorous

Tooth enamel is, well, minerals. Different acidic foods and drinks may cause erosion of the enamel, so to make your teeth strong again you need to put some minerals back and try to restore what is lost. The main heroes here are calcium and phosphorous. These elements are the building blocks of enamel and consuming foods rich in them is a necessity if you want to keep your teeth strong and healthy.

* Best sources (calcium) – yogurt, cheese (hard, aged), seafood, milk (low-fat), tofu, almonds

* Best sources (phosphorous) – pumpkin seeds, fish, Brazil nuts, red meat, eggs, tofu, broth

Firm, crunchy foods high in water

Hard, crunchy foods that contain lots of water are great for your teeth more than one way. First, chewing produces more saliva, which is the best natural neutralizer of the bacteria that causes cavities. Second, the texture of these foods also makes them naturally abrasive, so they gently scrub and clean teeth surfaces, removing plaque and food particles. It has to be raw fruits and vegetable though, so this is not an excuse to munch on chips and crackers.

* Best options: celery, apples, cucumbers, carrots

Foods rich in vitamin D

Vitamin D is crucial for your overall health, but it’s really important if you want healthy teeth as well.The main reason is it helps your body to absorb calcium better.

* Best sources: sunlight (You can’t eat sunlight, but it still is the best natural source of Vitamin D), fish, egg yolks, cod liver oil

Foods rich in vitamin C

Vitamin C is powerful! It can strengthen blood vessels and reduce inflammation, which may help your gums stay healthier. Vitamin C is also required for the production of collagen, a key protein that helps you fight periodontal disease. Without Vitamin C, your gums become sensitive and more susceptible to the bacteria causing periodontal disease.

* Best sources: bell peppers, oranges, kiwi, strawberries, broccoli, kale

Foods rich in antioxidants

When it comes to their health benefits, antioxidants have almost celebrity status. How do they help your mouth stay healthy? Antioxidants fight the bacteria that cause inflammation and periodontal disease. They help protect gums and other tissues from cell damage and bacterial infection.

* Best sources: apples, berries, grapes, raisins, nuts, beans

Foods containing probiotics

When it comes to bacteria in your body, there are tons of both good and bad bacteria. Probiotics are some of the best ones. More research is needed here, but there is already some evidence that probiotics may help decrease plaque and promote healthy gums.

Best sources: yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, miso, and other fermented foods

Foods rich in anthocyanins, arginine, and polyphenols

There are many other elements that might be beneficial for oral health. More research is needed, but some of the most promising candidates are anthocyanins  (which may prevent the attachment of plaque on the teeth and fight oral cancer), arginine  (an important amino acid which may disrupt the formation of plaque and reduce chances of cavities) and polyphenols  (which may slow the growth of bacteria leading to plaque, preventing gum disease, cavities and bad breath).

* Best sources (anthocyanins) – berries, grapes, cherries, plums, eggplant

* Best sources (arginine) – meat, soy, nuts

* Best sources (polyphenols) – tea (black and green), berries, flaxseed, cocoa

30 of the best foods for healthy teeth and gums

So far we’ve gone over why your diet is important for your teeth and over some of the basic science behind the connection between oral health and what you eat. What is left is to give you the complete list of some of the best foods for your mouth. So, here it is! (Or you can click here to see The 25 Worst Foods and Drinks for Your Teeth and Gums. )

1) Cheese

Do you like cheddar? It’s rich in calcium. In addition, cheese lowers the acid level in your mouth, which plague hates it for. What’s more, chewing on hard cheeses increases saliva production, which washes off some of the bacteria in the mouth. Want to munch on some not-so-goo-for-your-teeth snacks like crackers – add some cheddar and you’ll mitigate the damage. Just remember, hard, aged cheeses are the best options.

2) Milk

Together with water, milk is the best drink when it comes to your teeth. It’s rich in calcium and other important elements. Milk also lowers the acid levels in the mouth, which helps fighting tooth decay.

3) Water

Your teeth’s superhero! Water helps wash away food particles and keeps your saliva levels high. Saliva is actually your mouth’s best defense against tooth decay because it contains proteins and minerals that naturally fight plaque and if you stay hydrated, you have an unlimited supply of it.

4) Leafy greens (spinach, broccoli, kale)

Super healthy, leafy greens are rich in calcium, folic acid and lots of important vitamins and minerals that your teeth and gums love.

5) Fish (fatty fishes, wild salmon, tuna)

Rich in minerals and important vitamins like Vitamin D, fish are a crucial part of any teeth-friendly diet.

6) Meat

Most meats are great for your oral health. They are packed with some of the most important nutrients mentioned above. Red meat and even organ meats are especially beneficial.

7) Black and Green Tea

Think polyphenols! Polyphenols have been known to reduce bacteria and toxic products of bacteria in the mouth. Tea also tends to be rich in fluoride, which is a well-known necessity for healthy teeth. It’s best if you drink it unsweetened as sugar and even honey could ruin the party.

8) Nuts

Nuts are full of health benefits for your teeth. They are packed with tons of important elements like calcium and phosphorus. Especially beneficial are almonds, Brazil nuts, and cashews, which help to fight bacteria that lead to tooth decay.

9) Gum

This one is a no-brainer. Chewing gum boosts saliva production, washing away bacteria and food particles.

10) Cranberries (fresh)

Rich in polyphenols (just like tea), which keeps plaque at bay, thus lowering the risk of cavities. Fresh cranberries are especially effective at disrupting the process of plaque formation.

11) Oranges

Most citrus fruits are really acidic, which is not good for your teeth, but oranges are least acidic of all and have all the health benefits that you can expect from fruits.

12) Strawberries

If you want perfect teeth, you better love strawberries! They are packed with Vitamin C, antioxidants and also malic acid, which could even naturally whiten your teeth.

13) Yogurt

Yogurt definitely ticks more than one good box for your oral health. It’s packed with calcium and probiotics that protect you against cavities, gum disease, and even bad breath.

14) Carrots

Carrots are so tasty and full of tons of the most important minerals and vitamins in your mouth that they deserve a special mention. No wonder Bugs Bunny has perfect teeth.

15) Apples

Will an apple a day keep the dentist away? Probably not, but it will certainly help. It’s packed with key nutrients and vitamins.

16) Garlic

The allicin that is contained in garlic has strong antimicrobial properties. So, it helps you fight tooth decay and especially periodontal disease.

17) Ginger

Ginger is amazing in many ways. When it comes to oral health it might freshen your breath and inhibit bacteria growth.

18) Whole grains

Consumption of whole grains (oatmeal, brown rice) lowers the risk of gum disease.

19) Pears

Unlike many acidic fruits, raw pears are good at neutralizing acids, which makes them a perfect snack at any time.

20) Kiwis

Kiwis have one of the highest concentrations of vitamin C.

21) Onions

When eaten raw, onions have powerful antibacterial properties especially against some of the bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease.

22) Shiitake mushrooms

These tasty Asian goodies are plague’s nightmare. They contain lentinan, a natural sugar that disrupts the formation of plaque on your teeth.

23) Celery

Celery is so good for your teeth it’s worth a special mention. It’s in many ways the perfect snack for good oral health and is the closest we have to nature’s floss.

24) Soy

A diet that includes soy may help promote healthy gums.

25) Wasabi

Sushi just got better for your teeth! There is some evidence wasabi stops bacteria from sticking to your teeth.

26) Sesame seeds

High in calcium and very efficient at scrubbing plaque off your teeth while you chew them.

27) Sweet potatoes

A healthy dose of vitamin A will do lots of good things for your enamel and gums.

28) Raisins

This is a surprise entry, as raisins even appear as the bad guys in some places when it comes to their effect on teeth. However, they are a source of phytochemicals like oleanolic, which may kill cavity-causing bacteria. They are also rich in antioxidants.

29) Black coffee

An even more surprise entry! However, a series of recent studies have shown that black coffee could protect your teeth from tooth decay and actually help fight plaque. There of course is a small catch, the coffee needs to be black and unsweetened.

30) Red wine

Wait a second! Haven’t we been told hundreds of times to avoid red wine in order to protect our teeth? Well, yes…and no! According to a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a glass of red wine can have a strong antimicrobial effect against cavities causing bacteria. Cheers to these brave scientists!

Always remember the basics

It feels great to munch on tasty foods, which you know are great for your oral health. However, don’t forget what your dentist has taught you. Even after the healthiest entries of this list, it’s always a good idea to clean your teeth in some way from the remaining food particles, sugars, and acids. Brushing, of course, should be your top choice, but if it’s not an option at the moment, you can get a gum or at least drink some water.

 

Source: https://nano-b.com/blogs/news/the-30-best-food-for-healthy-teeth-and-gums?

 

Gum Disease: Causes, Prevention, and Treatment of Gum Disease

By Colgate
Discover the causes, symptoms, diagnosis, and ways to prevent the gum disease from damaging your oral health. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Definition

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum line that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. The three stages of gum disease — from least to most severe — are gingivitis, periodontitis and advanced periodontitis.

Signs & Symptoms

Gum disease can be painless, so it is important to be aware of any of the following symptoms:

  • Gums that easily bleed when brushing or flossing
  • Swollen, red or tender gums
  • Gums that recede or move away from the tooth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Loose teeth
  • A change in the way your teeth come together
  • A change in the fit of partial dentures
  • Visible pus surrounding the teeth and gums
  • Sharp or dull pains when chewing foods
  • Teeth that are overly sensitive to cold or hot temperatures

Cause

Bacteria in plaque, a sticky, colorless film that constantly forms on your teeth, cause gum disease. If plaque is not removed it can harden and turn into tartar (calculus). Additionally, dental plaque will continue to form on the tartar. Brushing or flossing cannot remove tartar; a dental professional will need to conduct a dental cleaning to remove it.

Diagnosis

If not removed through daily brushing and flossing, plaque turns into tartar, which becomes a rough and retentive surface encouraging further build up plaque. The plaque bacteria can infect your gums and teeth, and eventually, the gum tissue and bone that support the teeth will be impacted. There are three stages of gum disease:

  • Gingivitis – This is the earliest stage of gum disease. It is the inflammation of the gums, caused by dental plaque buildup at the gum line. You may notice some redness or swelling of the gums, or some bleeding during brushing and flossing. At this early stage gum disease can be reversed since the bone and connective tissue that hold the teeth in place are not yet affected.
  • Periodontitis – At this stage, the supporting bone and fibers that hold the teeth in place are irreversibly damaged. The gums begin to form a pocket below the gum line, which encourages penetration and growth of plaque below the gum line. Professional periodontal therapy and improved personal oral hygiene can usually help prevent further damage to the gum tissue and supporting tissue and bone.
  • Advanced Periodontitis – In this more advanced stage of gum disease, the fibers and bone of your teeth are being destroyed, which can cause your teeth to shift or loosen. This can affect your bite and how you eat and communicate. If aggressive periodontal therapy can’t save them, teeth may need to be removed by a dental specialist. Your dentist will provide restorative options if teeth are removed due to periodontal disease.

Prevention

Proper brushing and flossing go a long way toward keeping gum disease at bay. Using an antibacterial toothpaste or mouth rinse can kill bacteria and lessen the amount of plaque in your mouth. Removing dental plaque is the key to preventing gum disease and improved mouth health.

Treatment

A professional cleaning by your dentist or dental hygienist is the only way to remove plaque that has built up and hardened into tartar. By scheduling regular checkups — twice a year — early stage gum disease can be treated before it leads to a much more serious condition.

If gum disease is more advanced, scaling and root planning can be performed to treat diseased periodontal pockets and gum infection. A dental hygienist uses an ultrasonic scaling device to remove plaque, tartar and food debris above and below the gum line, and hand scales the tooth and root surfaces to make them smooth and disease free. Laser treatments are also sometimes used to remove tartar deposits. If periodontal pockets are more than 5 millimeters deep, that is, if you have moderate to severe periodontitis, gingival flap surgery may be performed by a periodontist to reduce periodontal pockets, as well as bone grafting to restore lost bone.

Related Conditions

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), researchers have discovered potential associations between gum disease and other serious health conditions. If you have diabetes, for example, you are at higher risk of developing infections, such as periodontal disease. The CDC reports that gum disease may be connected to damage elsewhere in the body. Recent published research studies suggest an association between oral infections and conditions such as diabetes, as mentioned above, heart disease, and stroke. Further research is being conducted to examine these connections.4

Other Info About Gum Disease

The simple way to help prevent gum disease

Gum disease is caused when bacteria (plaque) are not removed by daily brushing and flossing, luckily it’s preventable. Try one of our toothpastes designed to reduce plaque regrowth and help prevent the occurrence of gum disease.

Source: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/gum-disease?

 

 

 

Recovery After Oral Surgery

By Shawn Watson, Verywell

💊 Always follow the post-operative instructions of your dentist for your optimum recovery. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Recovery should be your number one concern after oral surgery. Always follow the post-operative instructions provided by your surgeon or dentist to prevent any risk of infection or trauma to the surgical site. Follow these general guidelines after ​oral surgery for rapid recovery and optimum healing.

Bleeding After a Tooth Extraction

Bleeding after a tooth extraction is normal and slight bleeding may be noticed for up to 24 hours after surgery. Use the gauze that was provided to you, and bite down with firm pressure for one hour. You should remove the gauze gently. It may be necessary to take a sip of water to moisten the gauze if it feels stuck to the tissue. Doing this will prevent the bleeding from reoccurring. If you continue to have bleeding in the surgical area, contact your dentist or surgeon. They may instruct you to bite on a moist black tea bag. The tannic acid in the tea has been shown to reduce bleeding and assist with clotting.

Swelling

Swelling is a normal response to various types of surgery. Keep your head elevated with pillows as mentioned above. You may use an ice pack on the outside of your face for the first 24 hours after oral surgery. Swelling is usually completely gone within 7 to 10 days after oral surgery. Stiffness in the muscles of the face is also normal and may be noticed for up to 10 days after oral surgery. You may see slight bruising, typically if the surgery involved your lower wisdom teeth. If you have any concerns about swelling, or swelling has not reduced after 7 to 10 days, contact your doctor.

Pain After Oral Surgery and Medications

Pain after oral surgery varies depending on the extent of the procedure. Your dentist or surgeon will prescribe any necessary pain management medication. Follow the instructions for your medication carefully and always consult with your dentist or surgeon before taking any ​over-the-counter medications with your prescriptions. If you have been prescribed an antibiotic, always take all of the medication prescribed to you to prevent infection.

Rest and Recovery

Rest for at least two days after oral surgery. Physical activity is not recommended for 2 to 3 days after your surgery. Typically, you should be able to resume normal daily activities within 48 hours after surgery.

Oral Hygiene After Oral Surgery

Vigorous rinsing and spitting should be avoided for 24 hours. Brush gently and flossif able to open wide enough. Lightly rinse your mouth with water, avoiding mouthwash. Let the water fall out of your mouth on its own. After 24 hours, consider rinsing with a saline or salt water solution. This will naturally help keep the surgical site clean, aiding in the healing process. Prepare your saline solution by placing one tablespoon of salt in one cup of warm water. Do not swallow the saline solution. Repeat this as necessary throughout the day. If you have had an extraction, do not attempt to remove anything from the tooth socket (hole). Rinsing lightly will dislodge any food particles from the site.

Tobacco Use

Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after oral surgery. Smoking delays healing and may cause a very painful infection called a dry socket. This condition is a painful infection that will need to be treated by your dentist. Avoid the use of smokeless or chewing tobacco until complete healing has occurred. If you have had an extraction, the pieces from the tobacco may enter the extraction site, causing pain and discomfort in the socket.

 

Source: https://www.verywell.com/recovery-after-oral-surgery-1059383?

Dentists use computers to make dental implants

By WNDU

 Technology has even invaded the dental industry. One of its advantages is the creation of dental implants. Read to learn more! The Oral Surgery DC

When traditional dentistry and reconstruction failed, some people went high-tech.

It’s the stuff of science fiction, now showing up in dental offices.

Dentists and prosthodontists are using computers to make teeth, implants, and dentures.

It’s a process called Computer-Aided Design and Computer-Aided Manufacturing, or CAD CAM.

Irene Hasal has been through the wringer with her teeth. She had many procedures to fix problems and finally got implants. Within a month though, her teeth were breaking.

Then, Dr. Mamaly Reshad, a prosthodontist at Anacapa Dental Art Institute, told her about CAD CAM. A computer scans the patient’s mouth to make a custom image of what’s needed.

“We put it inside the computer like a cartoon, an avatar, and from
there, we create a tooth, a virtual tooth,” Dr. Reshad said. “The virtual tooth becomes a real tooth through a manufacturing process.”

A computer-aided milling machine makes teeth out of a
block of ceramic or composite resin.

Dr. Reshad used CAD CAM for Irene’s whole procedure.

It helped him find the best placement for her implants, and to make the prosthesis.

The CAD CAM process takes much less time than a conventional procedure, which can take weeks. Irene’s case was complicated and took almost a year, but CAD CAM can do one to two teeth in a morning.

“Now because it’s going through this avatar, the computer, it can be
done almost instantaneously,” Dr. Reshad said. “The same day. At least within 2 hours.”

It brought a perfect smile to Irene’s face.

“I can do anything I want now,” Irene said. “They fit great, they’re beautiful and my face is the proper shape. So I couldn’t be happier.”

Dr. Reshad says on average, the procedure costs about 30% less than the conventional method, although it is not typically covered by insurance.

To read the research summary for today’s story, click here.

 

Source: http://www.wndu.com/content/news/Dentists-use-computers-to-make-dental-implants-376456121.html?

The 25 Worst Foods and Drinks for Your Teeth and Gums

 

By nano-b

☕️🍰Some of the foods and drinks we consume can also affect the health of our teeth. Time to learn about their negative effects. The Oral Surgery DC Team

The Importance of Your Diet for Your Teeth’s Health

Since you are here, you probably know how important your oral health is for your overall wellbeing. You are probably also aware of the importance of your diet for your dental health. It really seems the saying “You are what you eat” rings truer and truer and when it comes to dental health it’s even more important than usual.

We’ve already discussed at great length what the best foods for healthy teeth and gums are in another post. Now, it’s time to see what parts of your diet could put your oral health at danger. Of course, most of us will never be able to eat 100% clean and eliminate all the “dangerous” foods and drinks from our diet, but it is important to know what to pay attention to and how to minimize the potential dangers.

Beware teeth, sugars and acid are here!

We all know the name of the villain when it comes to your teeth – plaque. We also know who plaque’s evil minions are – sugar and acids. These are the main culprits as far as our mouth is concerned as they are personally responsible for enamel erosion, tooth decay and pretty much all dental problems. So, let’s try to find out what categories of foods and drinks are most dangerous to our mouths and hopefully this will be a step forward a better oral health for all.

Highly Acidic Foods

When it comes to your teeth, acidic foods (foods with low Ph rating) could be extremely dangerous. Why? Whether contained in foods or converted from sugars by your mouth’s bacteria, acids can erode your teeth’s enamel, causing cavities and tooth decay. A weaken enamel can also lead to a variety of problems ranging from sensitivity issues to discolored teeth.

Examples of high acidic foods: lemons, pickles, tomatoes, alcohol, coffee.

Examples of low acidic foods: bananas, avocados, broccoli, lean meat, whole grains, eggs, cheese, nuts, vegetables.

Foods High in Sugar

We all know sugar is bad for our teeth, but it’s important to know why exactly. The bad bacteria in your mouth feed on sugars to create acids and cavities are an infection caused by acids. The point here is that sugars in your mouth are often the first step in the process of cavities formation.

It’s virtually impossible to eliminate all sugars from your diet, but it’s important to try to minimize sugar intake (especially refined sugar) as much as possible. It’s also crucial to not let sugar lingers in your mouth for a long time. So, brushing your teeth after meals or at least drinking lots of water is vital.

Examples of foods high in sugar: sugar (duh), soft drinks, candies, dried fruit, desserts, jams, cereal.

Sticky/Chewy Foods

An all-star villain when it comes to your teeth and gums’ health are foods that tend to stick and stay attached to and between your teeth for a very long time. The problem is such food debris turn into a plentiful energy supply for bacteria and their prolonged presence in your mouth allows bacteria to produce much more acid than normal. It’s vital to try to clean your teeth (flossing is best) as fast as possible and not leave sticky foods to linger in your mouth for hours.

Starchy foods and Refined Carbohydrates

Refined carbohydrates are rightfully frowned upon for the many health dangers they pose. When consumed, they turn into sugars immediately in your mouth to kick-start the acid production by bad bacteria.

Many starchy foods, including white bread, potato chips, and pasta, can easily become lodged between teeth and in crevices. While you might not consider them as dangerous as sugar, it’s important to note the starches begin converting to sugar almost immediately by the pre-digestive process that begins in the mouth through the enzymes in saliva.

Foods that Dry Out Your Mouth

Your best defense against oral health issues is saliva. Nature’s most powerful way to take care of your teeth is at hand to help your mouth stay healthy by washing away plaque and bringing back key minerals to your teeth. Saliva prevents food from sticking to your teeth and may even help repair early signs of tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral infections. Unfortunately, when your mouth is dry, the saliva level in your mouth gets low and it can’t do its job properly.

Examples of foods and drinks that dry out your mouth excessively: alcohol, some medicine, coffee, energy drinks.

Very Hard Foods That You Chew On

Enamel is very hard. In fact, it’s the hardest part of your body! However, even it can’t endure you chewing often on very hard foods. It’s important to remember that if something is too hard, it’s not supposed to be chewed.

Many people have the bad habit of chewing on things like ice, hard candy, and unpopped popcorn. Most of the time your teeth handle the hard task, but you can damage your enamel and there is always a danger of chipping off a piece of your teeth. So, make your teeth a favor and avoid chewing on hard substances.

The 25 Worst Foods and Drinks for Your Teeth and Gums

Now we know the basics let’s dive in and see what some of the worst foods and drinks for your oral health actually are.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind that some of the foods and drinks listed below might have some overall health benefits as well. However, in this post, we are mostly concerned with the effect they have on your dental health. We don’t advocate eliminating all of these foods and drinks from your diet altogether. However, it’s important to be aware of the potential negative effect they have on your mouth’s health and know how to minimize the danger when you happen to consume them.

 

The Worst Drinks for Your Teeth and Gums

1) Soda

Nothing deserves the first spot in this list as much as soda. We all know how bad soda is for pretty much all aspects of our health and oral health is not an exception. A vast number of studies have shown the link between soda consumption and cavities.

The danger is two-fold. First, sodas are highly acidic, and the acids found in them can harm your teeth even more than sugar by striping minerals from your enamel. Hence, even sugar-free (diet) sodas are still pretty bad for your teeth as they contain citric and phosphoric acid. Of course, regular, sugar-containing sodas are even worse, as they have the added danger of providing rich sugar feast for the bad bacteria in your mouth.

2) Sports drinks

Even though sports drinks sound healthy, they are packed with sugar and acids and the potential for cavities and erosion is very significant. A study of the erosive effect of acidic beverages on the teeth found sports drinks to be the most erosive drinks of the bunch. And that was competing with sodas and energy drinks which are among the most acidic drinks available.

3) Energy drinks

The same study from above found energy drinks to be the most acidic beverages, compared to sports drinks, sodas, and 100% juice and the second most erosive (second to only sports drinks). So be warned that in additions to wings, energy drinks might very well give you cavities as well.

4) Alcohol

We know Happy Hour is the biggest reason many of us go to work on Fridays but keep in mind that all alcoholic beverages pose a serious threat to your oral health. Alcohol causes dehydration and dry mouth. This reduces saliva flow which can cause serious problems over time such as tooth decay and gum disease. Sipping on sugary cocktails has the added danger of bathing your teeth in sugar for a long time.

5) Wine

Wine deserves special mention as we know it colors your teeth pretty bad and there are other dangers as well. Being an alcohol, wine dries your mouth and can also make teeth sticky, promoting stain formation. In addition, both red and white wines are very acidic which we already know is pretty bad for your teeth. Keep in mind that while red wine can stain your teeth more, white wines are more acidic, so they might be even more dangerous to your enamel.

6) Coffee

It’s common knowledge how bad coffee stains your teeth, and coffee stains are among the worst for your teeth as they are very resistant. In addition, just like with wine, coffee makes teeth sticky and also dries out your mouth. It gets even worse if you add sugar to sweeten your coffee as there are few things worse for your teeth than sugar.

If that’s not enough, coffee is also acidic, which we know wears down enamel. Of course, we don’t expect you to stop drinking your favorite beverage, but to minimize the damage please drink plenty of water afterward and try to avoid additives like sugar.

7) Fruit juices

Even though not as bad as the drinks listed above, it’s good to know most fruit juices are highly acidic and have been linked to an increased risk of cavities. Of course, 100% fruit juices have some health benefits as well, so just be aware of their acidic nature and at least rinse your mouth with water after drinking them.

The Worst Foods for Your Teeth

8) Sticky/Chewy Candy

The chances of seeing a dentist munch on toffees or other chewy candy are pretty much equal to the chances of seeing a dinosaur. The reason, of course, is dentists know how bad sticky candy is for their teeth. Their high sugar content combined with their sticky nature makes them a nightmare for your teeth and oral bacteria’s favorite snack.

9) Hard candy

The only thing worse than having candy debris stuck at your teeth for a long time is chipping off a piece of your tooth. If you chew hard candies there is always a risk of damaging your enamel and in extreme cases, chipping a piece of your tooth off. So be extremely careful when chewing hard substances in general.

If you don’t chew hard candies but let them melt in your mouth it might be even worse. The problem is hard candies dissolve slowly and saturate your mouth with sugar for a long time, giving bad bacteria plenty of time to produce harmful acid. What’s even worse, many varieties of hard candy are flavored with citric acid which adds, even more, acid to your mouth.

10) Sour candy

Sour candy is so bad for your teeth it also deserves its own mention. Sour candy contains more and different kinds of acids than other varieties. What makes matters worse is you can’t solve the problem by brushing immediately after you eat them, because brushing too soon after consuming highly acidic foods or drinks could damage your enamel even further.

11) Dried fruits

Many people consider this to be a healthy snack choice and there is definitely some merit to that. However, when it comes to dental health, dried fruits spell trouble. The main problem is most dried fruits are very sticky and extremely high in sugar content. They are brimming with a big dose of natural sugars and non-soluble cellulose fiber which makes them as bad for your teeth as chewy candy. Your best alternative is to munch on fresh fruits instead.

12) Citrus Fruits

Yes, they are super-rich in Vitamin C and are loaded with a whole array of health benefits, but they are also loaded with acid which can erode and decay your tooth enamel. Lemon and grapefruit are most acidic, while orange is the least acidic of the group.

So if you enjoy squeezing lemons in your water and sipping on it throughout the day you might need to reconsider as a prolonged acid exposure is really bad for your teeth. It’s better to drink or eat your lemons in one sitting and then drink plenty of water to wash out the acid.

13) Canned fruit

Most fruits have a good amount of natural sugars in them, but canned varieties are infused with lots of added sugar as well which turns them into something you teeth wished you’d avoid. Canned citrus fruit is the worst, as they combine the very high sugar content with naturally contained acids.

14) Crackers

While most crackers don’t contain sugars or acids and don’t stain your teeth they are still pretty dangerous to your teeth. The reason is the refined carbohydrates that quickly break down into sugar! Most crackers also get gooey when you chew them, so they stick between your teeth letting bacteria flourish.

15) Potato chips

Starchy foods like to get stuck between your teeth. As tasty as potato chips are, unfortunately, the starch in it and its mushy texture means it will stay trapped between your teeth for a long time. If possible, rinse with water and floss to remove the trapped debris.

16) White bread

It’s refined carbohydrates to blame again. When you chew on bread the enzymes in your saliva break down the starch into sugar. Now transformed into a gummy substance, the breadsticks between your teeth. To minimize the danger opt-in for whole wheat options instead.

17) Popcorn

We all love snacking on popcorn at the cinema but beware they pose some danger to your teeth as well. First, they can get trapped between your teeth, promoting bacteria growth. Unpopped ones are nasty as well as they are too hard and you can damage your enamel or chip off a tooth.

18) Peanut butter & jelly

Normally, we wouldn’t dare say a bad word against most people’s favorite breakfast, but the high sugar content and the stickiness of the ingredients make it a terrible choice for your teeth and a great one for the bacteria in your mouth.

19) Ice

It’s made out of pure water, so how bad can it be? Well, not at all, unless you decide to chew it. It’s a bad habit many people have, but for the sake of your teeth, please just let ice cool off your drinks and don’t chew on it.

20) Vinegar

We use vinegar mostly in salad dressings, sauces, pickles and some potato chips and it’s important to know it can trigger tooth decay. Studies have shown an increased risk of enamel erosion for people who frequently consume vinegar-containing foods. It’s a crucial ingredient for a tasty salad, but you need to remember to rinse your mouth with water afterward to minimize the potential danger.

21) Pickles

The problem once again is acid. Vinegar is most often the culprit here. It’s what gives pickles their taste and also what makes them dangerous for your enamel. We agree pickles are super tasty on your sandwich, just keep in mind they are a real teeth’s nightmare and make sure to drink some water afterward to minimize the acid.

22) Tomatoes

A surprise entry for sure, the problem your teeth have with tomatoes is they are acidic. Of course, if you eat them as a part of a meal, the danger is minimized. So just keep in mind that acidic foods, in general, are not very welcome by your teeth and drink water afterward to clean your mouth.

23) Breath mints / Cough Drops

Fresh breath is important, but breath mints are probably not the best option. Since they stay in your mouth for a very long time, you are in effect soaking your teeth in sugar. If possible try to find sugar-free options to minimize the danger.

They might soothe your cough, but most cough drops are loaded with sugar as well. In addition, they stay in your mouth for a long time so the potential for dental damage can be serious. Again, sugar-free options are better.

24) Tannic acid

Tannic acid is found in drinks like red wine, coffee, and black tea. These drinks will stain your teeth and make your teeth sticky. Tannins also tend to dry out your mouth, which means your saliva levels will be lowered.

25) Highly pigmented foods

Highly pigmented foods like berries, beets, and curry can easily stain your teeth. Yes, some of them are super-healthy, so please keep eating them, but you need to remember to rinse your mouth to reduce the stains.

Food is Meant to Make You Healthy and Happy

Other than providing you with energy, food is meant to make you healthy and happy, so don’t stress too much on what you eat as long as you follow a few basic principles which will help your teeth and gums stay healthy.

It’s better to avoid substances that have an extremely negative effect on your overall health (like soda), but even if you can’t eat 100% clean, the following principles will help your teeth and gums stay healthier:

 

  • Your mouth needs a rest, so don’t munch on snacks all the time. Leave sufficient time for your mouth to recover and for saliva to naturally replenish minerals to your teeth. Keep your food intake to 3-5 times a day and let your mouth rest between meals.
  • To minimize the danger of some of the foods and drinks on this list (and remember some of them have health benefits as well) try to consume them as a part of a meal, rather than on their own.
  • Brushing after a meal is of course, always a great option. Just remember to wait 20 minutes if you’ve consumed highly acidic foods that have weakened your enamel.
  • If possible, always rinse your mouth with water after a meal and drinks lots of water throughout the day as well.
  • Use a straw when drinking highly acidic beverages to minimize their contact with your teeth.

 

Source: https://nano-b.com/blogs/news/the-25-worst-food-and-drinks-for-your-teeth-and-gums?

Everything You Need to Know about Sensitive Teeth

By nano-b

😖Feeling a sharp pain in your tooth every time you eat your favorite food? Don’t let a sensitive tooth ruin the moment. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Just being alive can cause sensitive teeth

We all know that moment when we are about to sip from our favorite tea and instead of enjoying the moment we get a sharp pain in our teeth out of nowhere, we freak out a little and then someone around us says: “It’s nothing, your teeth are just sensitive.”
But the truth is sensitive teeth are a serious condition and you shouldn’t just wait for it to go away, instead try fixing the problem and enjoy everything good in the world – like coffee and ice cream, as well as all of the other hot and cold goodies out there.
We live in the 21st century when our modern habits affect our health on a massive scale. Turns out – around 50% of the world population develop hypersensitivity in their teeth. Chances are if you are a woman, you are more likely to get it, too. (Like everything else isn’t enough already). But we truly care about how you feel and we want you to enjoy life to the fullest

 

Here are 7 easy tips that can help your sensitive teeth today

  1. The wrong kind of toothbrush can wear off your tooth enamel, especially if you press too hard. Your teeth get sensitive and get deeply hurt when  you buy them bad quality products. Many toothbrushes are doomed to be inefficient from manufacturing when their bristles are cut in a straight line, which leaves them with sharp edges that damage your teeth and gums. We recommend you look for toothbrushes with rounded tips.
  2. You either overdo or underdo your mouthwash. Like everything else in life, a balanced approach to mouth care works best. So, if you are using a strong mouthwash containing high % of alcohol and other chemicals you can damage your teeth and make them more sensitive. Of course, not paying enough attention to cleaning plaque can lead to pain, too. We recommend using organic products that don’t contain the chemicals that can lead to some serious damage.
  1. Although there are many kinds of toothpaste that can help sensitive teeth, there are also those that can cause them. Usually, the whitening ones contain chemicals that are actually more harmful, than helpful. Natural products come into play again, since they are safer and more gentle to your mouth.
  2. Hypersensitivity can be caused by subconscious grinding of your teeth. Good news is there are preventative mouthguards that you can wear while you sleep. The dentists recommend getting customized ones, that fit your bite.
  3. A highly acidic diet may also be the root of your teeth problems. Acidic foods wear off your enamel and even could cause discoloring. That leads to demineralization and makes your teeth prone to sensitivity. And although it’s good to brush your teeth after every meal, you should try to avoid doing so right after consuming acidic foods and wait for at least 20 minutes. You can find a list of the most common acidic foods here.
  1. Sensitive teeth could actually be an indication of a more serious problem, that needs a dentist’s attention. Even if you are not sure if you have one of the following, it is best to consult with a professional:
  • Cavities
  • Fractured teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Exposed tooth root
  1. If sensitivity appeared after a recent visit to the dentist, your teeth might be reacting negatively to the treatment. So, hypothetically,  going to the dentist can cause you some temporary discomfort. But that’s both normal and temporary. Of course, if the pain doesn’t disappear in a few days you should make another follow-up appointment with your dentist.

    Don’t make sensitive teeth part of your life

    The things that are supposed to keep your teeth in check can actually damage them. But things aren’t so bad. Although danger lurks from every corner waiting to destroy your smile, we still think if you take good care of your teeth, everything should be ok. “Good care” means regular checks with your dentists twice a year, drinking plenty of water and having the right oral care tools:  A toothbrush that is designed to be good for your health; a non-toxic toothpaste and mouthwash that contains natural ingredients. If you develop a regular habit using them you can prevent sensitive teeth and never have to be interrupted when you are enjoying the little things in life.

Source: https://nano-b.com/blogs/news/how-to-handle-sensitive-teeth?