Cosmetic Teeth Whitening Basics

The field of cosmetic dentistry is growing at an unprecedented rate.  When home whitening strips came out, the effectiveness grew into a viral explosion of people becoming obsessed with the color of their teeth. There are two major types of teeth whitening and we will take a look at each.  As all both of them vary in their effectiveness.

In-Office Cosmetic Whitening:
This is the most effective and quickest way to whiten your teeth.  The procedure uses a highly concentrated amount of peroxide gel.  This procedure cannot be done at home because certain precautions need to be taken to protect the gums.  The dentist will put a protected with the help of a rubber dam to prevent the peroxide from hurting the gums.

The cost for this type of treatment can be pricey.  The peroxide is normally left on your teeth from 15 to 20 minutes.  In some cases they will leave it on for an hour, if there are stubborn stains.  Normally this procedure will cost around $650, and normally dental insurance will not cover it.  However you can normally get the procedure discounted from 20-60% by using a company like True Dental Discounts.

Professional Take-Home Cosmetic Whitening Sets:
Take home strips are recognized by many dentists as a legitimate product to whiten your teeth over time.  Take home strips and gels contain lower concentration of peroxide gel.  These OTC strips normally cost around $100 to $400 and need to be left on your teeth overnight.

Teeth Whitening Options:
OTC teeth whitening strips and gels are the cheapest and most convenient way to whiten your teeth.  Normally you can find teeth whitening strips or gels, in any major department store. The gel can be applied in a few different ways, the most popular being whitening strips, whitening trays, or whitening gels. Sometimes these whitening kits are not designed to whiten all your teeth, but only whiten the front teeth.  The kits normally range between $20 to $100. The home whitening kits generally work well for most people with mild staining, however many people with severe stains end up disappointed by the results.  If you do have more severe staining it is best to go to a dentist to have your teeth professionally cleaned.

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Fluoride And Your Teeth

Enamel the outer layer of the crown of a tooth is made of closely packed mineral crystals.

Enamel is a very important part of the tooth, it is a protective layer made up of very dense mineral crystals.  Everyday some enamel is lost due to a process called demineralization, this happens when plaque releases a acidic byproduct that harms the teeth.  Luckily your body naturally tries to fight back against demineralization and attempts to try to restore this destructive process.  This is done through minerals in the saliva, such as fluoride, calcium and phosphate, are deposited back into the enamel.

The reality is that your body probably will not be able to fully combat the effects of demineralization without some help.  Too much loss of minerals without enough replacement leads to tooth decay.  Fluoride helps in two ways.  When children drink fluoride in small doses, it enters the bloodstream and helps to build strong permanent teeth; also fluoride can strengthen teeth from the outside, when it comes into contact with the teeth.  When teeth are strengthened with fluoride, it makes it harder for the acids to erode the enamel of the teeth.

Treatments
Fluoride is all around us, it is in foods and used as a supplement in some drinking water.  This helps benefit the tooth development in people younger than 16.  Topical fluorides are also available in many dental tooth pastes or rinses.  While you are only using the fluoride for a short time, the elevated levels of fluoride levels last for hours after. When you go to the dentist professional fluoride treatments are given.  They are applied as a varnish, foam, or gel.  When the dentist applies fluoride to your teeth, it is in a much higher concentration than over-the-counter treatments. In certain cases special fluoride concentrations are prescribed to children who live in areas where fluoride is not added to the drinking water.  Normally these supplements will be given to children between the age of 6 months to 16 years old.

Supplements
Fluoride supplements should be given if your drinking water is not fluorinated.   They are available in liquids and tablets.  Your dentist or your pediatrician will need to prescribe them to you.

Is it Harmful
Fluoride is safe if it is used in safe dosages, but in heavy dosages it can be harmful, so it is important to monitor the fluoride levels if you are using it in your home.  City water is constantly monitored to maintain save fluoride levels.

Ouch! What to do if your child gets a tooth knocked out

Summertime can be one of the most fun and active seasons for your child, but it can also be one of the most dangerous seasons when it comes to dental injuries. It is not uncommon for children to fall off a bike or get injured during a sport and realize they have lost a tooth. If this happens, don’t panic. Teeth can be saved in most cases when an adult can quickly jump into action. First, though, check two things: make sure your child does not have any other serious injuries that may require an ambulance, and determine if the tooth that was knocked out was a baby tooth or an adult tooth.

If the tooth was a baby tooth, don’t worry about finding the tooth or getting it placed back into the mouth. It is still a good idea to see the dentist to make sure no other damage was done, but it is not vital to save the tooth when an adult tooth will soon be erupting anyway. If, however, it was an adult tooth, there are several things you can do to preserve the tooth and increase the chances of it being successfully replanted into the mouth. Just remember that the faster you locate the tooth and get your child to the dentist, the more likely it is that the tooth can be saved. If a tooth is knocked out:

  • Do not let the tooth dry out, and do not soak it in water. If the tooth is dirty, put it in milk immediately.
  • Do not scrape or touch the root surface.
  • After making sure the tooth is clean, put it back into the socket and hold it in place on the way to the dentist. If it cannot be put back into the socket, keep it in a glass of milk to prevent it from drying out.
  • Go straight to your True Dental Disocunts dentist or a hospital immediately. During treatment, a dentist will give your child a “splint” to keep the tooth in place while it heals.

It is important to remember that knocked-out teeth can often be prevented by reminding your child to wear a mouth guard during recreational and sporting activities. Teeth are surprisingly easy to damage, so it’s always better to be overly cautious and protect your child’s beautiful smile.

Effects of cancer treatments on oral health

Most cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy are aware of the risks and side effects associated with the treatment, but not all are familiar with its effects on oral health. According to the American Dental Association, approximately one-third of Americans diagnosed with cancer suffer from painful oral complications after receiving radiation therapy. Radiation in the head and neck regions of the body can cause patients to develop dry mouth, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay, and lesions. They may also experience difficulty swallowing. Although most of these effects are caused by radiation, chemotherapy may also result in damage to the oral cavity. To prevent these effects, the American Dental Association suggests that a patient’s oncologist and dentist work together before and during treatments.

Patients undergoing cancer treatments should typically brush their teeth gently twice a day and may need to use a special saliva-replacement product to combat dry mouth. An increase in the frequency of fluoride treatments may also be recommended. The most important thing for patients to remember is to maintain constant and proactive communication with their dentists and oncologists. Both health professionals care about their patients’ well-being and can benefit from coordinating their treatments. If you are anticipating cancer treatments in the near future, talk to your True Dental Discounts -plan dentist for individualized advice and recommendations. He or she will perform a full oral examination and work with you to maintain your healthy smile.

Choosing a dentist that is right for you

Whether you have recently moved or are simply looking for a dentist that fits your family, there are many factors to take into consideration before selecting a new dental provider. Oral health is extremely important –both for your teeth and for your overall well-being – which means it is critical to find a professional that will meet your needs. Some questions to ask include:

  • Is the office staff friendly, professional and helpful?
  • Does the dentist make time to answer my questions? Do I feel comfortable expressing concerns?
  • Do the dentist and hygienists explain all procedures and discuss techniques that promote oral health?
  • Is the office clean and neat? Are proper hygiene practices used, including wearing gloves and throwing out contaminated items?
  • Is the office in a convenient location in relation to my home or work?
  • Does the office make special arrangements for people with dental emergencies?
  • Is information regarding payment plans and appointment schedules easy to understand?
  • Was the dentist highly recommended by my friends, colleagues, or acquaintances? Does he or she have a reputation for being accurate, skilled and knowledgeable?
  • Finally, is the dentist a True Dental Discounts participating dental provider, allowing me to receive discounts at all my appointments?

As a member of the Aetna Dental Access program, you are eligible to receive 15 to 50 percent on most dental services. Why wait?