Is Tooth Whitening Safe?

Over a decade of research has proven bleaching and other whitening methods to be both safe and effective. Several products in the market today have shown no adverse effects on teeth or gums in substantial clinical and laboratory testing. Be sure to look for clinically proven products, follow directions and consult with your cosmetic dentist Hollywood Florida.

In the past, the higher bleach concentrations used in-office treatment resulted in more sensitivity. Today, however, bleaching gels are well buffered, making sensitivity less of an issue. Sensitivity may occur in people after whitening procedures, particularly when they eat hot or cold foods, but usually disappears after 48 hours and stops completely when treatment is stopped.

If you do experience sensitivity, there are several ways you can help eliminate it:

If using a tray applicator, wear the tray for a shorter period
Brush with a toothpaste made for sensitive teeth that contains potassium nitrate to help soothe tooth nerve ending
Ask your dentist or pharmacist for a product with fluoride, which helps re-mineralize your teeth. Brush-on or wear in your trays four minutes prior to and after whitening your teeth
Stop whitening your teeth for several days to allow you teeth to adapt to the whitening process. Within 24 hours, the sensitivity will cease. The longer you whiten your teeth, the less sensitivity you will experience

In a few cases, your dentist may discourage dental bleaching:

If you have gum disease, teeth with worn enamel, cavities or particularly sensitive teeth
If you’re pregnant or breast-feeding
If you have tooth-colored crowns, caps or other dental work in your front teeth, which can’t be bleached

Source: Colgate-Palmolive

 

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Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening lightens teeth and helps to remove stains and discoloration. Whitening is among the most popular cosmetic dental procedures because it can greatly improve how your teeth look. Most dentists perform tooth whitening.

Whitening is not a one-time procedure. It will need to be repeated from time to time if you want to maintain the brighter color.

What It’s Used For

The outer layer of a tooth is called the enamel. The color of natural teeth is created by the reflection and scattering of light off the enamel, combined with the color of the dentin under it. Your genes affect the thickness and smoothness of the enamel. Thinner enamel allows more of the color of the dentin to show through. Having smoother or rougher enamel also affects the reflection of light and therefore the color.

Every day, a thin coating (pellicle) forms on the enamel and picks up stains. Tooth enamel also contains pores that can hold stains.

The most common reasons for teeth to get yellow or stained are:

Using tobacco
Drinking dark-colored liquids such as coffee, cola, tea and red wine
Not taking good care of your teeth

Aging also makes teeth less bright as the enamel gets thinner and the dentin becomes darker.

It is also possible to have stains inside the tooth. These are called intrinsic stains. For example, intrinsic stains can be caused by exposure to too much fluoride as a child while teeth are developing. Other causes include tetracycline antibiotics. They can stain a child’s teeth if taken by a mother during the second half of pregnancy or by a child who is 8 years old or younger. Teeth are still developing during these years. Trauma may also darken a tooth.

Tooth whitening is most effective on surface (extrinsic) stains.

Preparation

Other dental problems can affect the success of tooth whitening. For example, cavities need to be treated before teeth are whitened. That’s because the whitening solution can pass through decayed areas and reach the inner parts of the tooth. If your gums have receded, the exposed roots of your teeth may appear yellow or discolored. Whitening products will not make them whiter.

If you have tooth decay or receding gums, whitening may make your teeth sensitive. Whitening also does not work on ceramic or porcelain crowns or veneers.

Whitening can be done in the dental office or at home. For in-office whitening, your dentist probably will photograph your teeth first. This step will help him or her to monitor the progress of the treatment. Your dentist also will examine your teeth and ask you questions to find out what caused the staining.

Next, the dentist or a dental hygienist will clean your teeth. This will remove the film of bacteria, food and other substances that build up on your teeth and contribute to the staining. Once this is done, the whitening procedure begins.

For whitening at home, your dentist can make trays to hold the whitening gel that fit your teeth precisely. Home whitening gel usually needs to be applied daily for two to three weeks. Over-the-counter kits also are widely available for home use. They provide trays to hold the gel, or whitening strips that stick to your teeth. Talk to your dentist if you want to use these home products. Be sure to follow directions to avoid overuse and possible damage to your teeth and mouth.

How It’s Done

There are two main types of whitening procedures. Non-vital whitening is done on a tooth that has had root-canal treatment and no longer has a live nerve. Vital whitening is performed on teeth that have live nerves.

Non-Vital Whitening

Vital whitening may not improve the appearance of a tooth that has had root-canal treatment because the stain is coming from the inside of the tooth. If this is the case, your dentist will use a different procedure that whitens the tooth from the inside. He or she will place a whitening agent inside the tooth and put a temporary filling over it. The tooth will be left this way for several days. You may need this done only once, or it can be repeated until the tooth reaches the desired shade.

Vital Whitening

The most common type of vital tooth whitening uses a gel-like whitening solution that is applied directly to the tooth surface. This product contains some form of hydrogen peroxide.

Tooth whitening can be done in the dentist’s office or at home. In-office (chairside) whitening allows your dentist to use a more powerful whitening gel. A specialized light or laser activates the gel and allows bleaching to happen faster.

In-office whitening usually takes 30 to 90 minutes. You will need one to three appointments. The number will depend upon the method used, how severe your stains are and how white you want your teeth to be. Different types of stains respond differently to the treatment.

First, your dentist will apply a substance that covers and protects the gums around the teeth. Then, the whitening agent, usually hydrogen peroxide, will be placed on the teeth.

Some whitening agents are activated by a laser light, special lights or by the heat from these lights. After the whitening agent is applied, the dentist will shine the light on your teeth. If your teeth are badly discolored, your dentist may suggest that you continue the bleaching process at home for a few days or weeks.

For in-home whitening, your dentist will take impressions of your upper and lower teeth and will make custom mouthpieces to fit you. The mouthpiece needs to fit well. A close fit helps the whitening agent remain in contact with your teeth.

At home, you will fill each mouthpiece with a whitening gel your dentist provides. You will wear the mouthpiece for several hours every day. Many people achieve the amount of whitening they want within a week or two. However, you may need to wear the mouthpiece for four weeks or longer.

You also can buy whitening products over the counter. They contain a weaker whitening agent than the products you can get from your dentist. Therefore, whitening may take longer. The whitening agent is applied as a gel placed in a mouthpiece or as a strip that sticks to your teeth. Over-the-counter mouthpieces fit less securely than the kind you get from your dentist.

Whitening toothpastes are available as well. They contain abrasives that remove stains on the enamel. They do not actually change the overall color of your teeth.

Follow-Up

If you find that your gums are white or sore, follow up with your dentist.

Whitening is not a permanent solution. The stains will come back. If you smoke or consume a lot of staining foods or drinks, you may see the whiteness start to fade in as little as one month. If you avoid these sources of staining, you may not need another whitening treatment for 6 to 12 months.

Re-whitening can be done in the dentist’s office or at home. If you have a custom-made mouthpiece and whitening agent at home, you can whiten your teeth as frequently as you need to. Discuss your whitening schedule with your dentist. You can talk about what whitening products would work best for you.

Risks

Whitening is unlikely to cause serious side effects, although some people’s teeth may become more sensitive for a short while. You may get mild gum irritation as well. Women should not have their teeth whitened while pregnant. The effect of the whitening materials on the development of the fetus is not known. Since the procedure is cosmetic, it should be postponed until after delivery.

When To Call a Professional

If you feel your teeth would benefit from whitening, contact your dentist to discuss the procedure.

Source: Aetna

 

Your Dentist And The American Dental Association

Reasons Why To Choose A Dentist From ADA

When you’re choosing a dentist, there are a number of good reasons to choose someone who is a member of the American Dental Association (ADA).

Knowledge

  • The ADA provides its members with information on the latest research and developments in oral health care. The association also publishes a clinical journal, the Journal of the American Dental Association, with peer-reviewed studies of topics in oral care. So an ADA member dentist will be well-qualified to answer your questions about any aspects of your dental health and to work with other dental specialists if necessary. In addition, the ADA administers continuing education programs to dentists to help them keep their skills current.

Advocacy

  • Because the ADA acts as an advocate as well as an accreditation agency for the dental profession, ADA-member dentists have support from the organization when dealing with insurance issues or with government issues that affect dental patients.

Network

  • If you’re moving or if you’ve changed insurance companies, the ADA database can help you find certified ADA-member dentists anywhere in the United States.Network. If you’re moving or if you’ve changed insurance companies, the ADA database can help you find certified ADA-member dentists anywhere in the United States.

Ethics

  • Dentists who are members of the ADA have agreed to uphold high standards of conduct. The ADA Code includes these five principles of ethics: patient autonomy, justice, veracity, beneficence and nonmaleficence. If you choose an ADA-member dentist, you have the added security of knowing that your dentist is answerable to a reputable professional organization.

Source: Oral B

What To Expect When Getting A Filling

What To Expect When Getting A Filling

When your dentist tells you have a cavity, you really do need a filling to protect the tooth from further decay.

When To Opt For Dental Filling

In fact, if left unfilled, a cavity will only get worse and the decay might ultimately lead to bone loss. Fortunately, the tooth-filling procedure is nearly painless thanks to advances in dentistry. So there’s no reason to avoid getting a filling if your dentist recommends it.

What To Expect

One of the first things to expect when getting a filling is a conversation with your cosmetic dentist in gulfport MS about what type of material should be used. There are many more choices of filling material available today than in the past, and your choice may depend on a combination of appearance, cost and function.

Options For Filling Materials

Some options for filling materials include:

Gold

  • Gold. Gold fillings are sturdy and non-corrosive; they can last up to 15 years. Many people like the look of gold fillings, but they can cost more than other types.

Amalgam

  • Amalgam. Silver-colored amalgam fillings are a mixture of metals including silver, copper, tin and mercury. They’re the most researched dental material and are strong, durable, and inexpensive, but many people don’t like the look of the silver.

Composite

  • Composite. Fillings made of a tooth-colored mixtures of glass and resin, composite can match the color of your teeth, but they are not as durable as metal and may need to be replaced more frequently.

Ceramic

  • Ceramic. Ceramic fillings are often made of porcelain and they are popular for people who want a natural looking tooth. They are durable, but can be abrasive if they hit up against natural teeth. Your dentist will need to make sure that you are biting correctly and the ceramic crown is smooth in order to prevent tooth wear.

Glass Ionomers

  • Glass ionomers. These glass and acrylic fillings bond chemically to dental hard tissues and release fluoride slowly over time. They are indicated for low-stress areas and are usually placed on roots or front teeth. They are often used in children as a short-term solution for baby teeth.

Using Anesthesia

When it’s time to fill your cavity, your dentist will first numb the area using local anesthesia. If you’re very nervous about the procedure, talk to your dentist about options for managing your concerns to help you relax.

Using A Special Dentist Drill

Once the area surrounding the cavity is numb, your dentist will remove the decayed tissue using a special dental drill, an air abrasion instrument, or even a laser. The end result is the same-the removal of decayed tissue. The instrument used depends in part on where the tooth decay is and how severe it is. Air abrasion is a relatively new technique in dentistry that involves using a handheld device to spray a tiny stream of aluminum oxide particles onto the area of the tooth to be removed. The particles hit the tooth and blast away the desired amount of tissue without any heat or vibration. Most patients report that the procedure is essentially painless. But if you have a very deep cavity or it is in a tricky spot between the teeth, your dentist will likely use the dental drill.

Cleaning Out

Once the decayed material is removed, your dentist will clean out any debris and place the filling in the cavity. If the cavity is deep, your dentist may place a liner over the cavity before placing the filling to protect the tooth nerve.

Cleaning And Polishing

When the filling is in place, your dentist will clean and polish it and send you on your way. Your lips and gum area may be numb for the first few hours, so chew food carefully and avoid chewing on the part of your mouth where the filling is located. Some tooth sensitivity is normal during the first few weeks after a filling. You might also want to avoid triggers, such as extremely hot or cold foods. If the sensitivity persists after a few weeks, contact your dentist. And if you feel pain in the tooth when biting, see your dentist as soon as possible-you may need to have the filling reshaped.

Not To Worry

Don’t worry if you feel some pain or sensitivity in teeth that are next to the filled tooth. This “referred pain” is the nerves in the filled tooth sending pain signals to other teeth. It is normal and should subside within a week or two.

Take Good Care Of Your Filling

After you’ve received a filling, take good care of it. Follow a regular oral health routine of twice daily tooth brushing (preferably with a fluoride toothpaste) and daily flossing. And be sure to see your dentist for regular checkups-you may not notice when your filling starts to wear down, but your dentist will be able to notice this and also find any weak spots during a checkup. If your filling breaks or falls out, see your dentist immediately so it can be repaired or replaced.

Source: Oral B