Dental Tips Blog


Teeth Whitening Obsession

Posted in Teeth Whitening

“Put your best smile forward.” “Make a good first impression.” “Show off those pearly whites.”

We have heard these sayings, may have even said them ourselves, but what happens when these clichés turn into an obsession? Attaining a whiter smile has never been easier with over-the-counter teeth whitening products available to everyone. While ease of at-home use and attaining whiter teeth quickly can be a positive thing, many people do no know when to stop. Excessive teeth whitening can lead to permanent tooth and gum damage, and people who obsess over whitening their teeth have been given the name “bleachorexics.”

While used in moderation and according to package directions, people can achieve a brighter smile and boost their confidence. The teeth whitening products themselves have been given the American Dental Association seal of approval for safety. The danger comes into play when users abuse the products.

Abuse of teeth whitening products can lead to extreme tooth sensitivity and damage to the roots of the teeth. Misuse can damage your tooth enamel. Excessive whitening can cause teeth to become brittle and even transparent with a bluish tint. In severe cases, people who have excessively whitened their teeth have had to have caps placed on their teeth due to damaged enamel.

Before you whiten your teeth, consult your dentist. Your dentist can give you the best recommendations for teeth whitening products and the results you can expect. Your dentist is also likely to recommend a break period of at least six months between whitening treatments. Your teeth need a rest from whitening to remain healthy and, ultimately, look their best.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Omar Damji, Executive Park Dentistry



Does Soda or Coffee Stain Your Teeth More?

Posted in Teeth Whitening

Two of the most notorious teeth-staining culprits are soda and coffee.

This is due in part to the fact the few people brush their teeth after enjoying these and many other beverages. Without brushing after consumption of soda, coffee, tea, wine, and other dark colored drinks, you allow your teeth to stain at an accelerated rate.

Discoloration and Tooth Decay

Both soda and coffee are perhaps at least partially responsible for the decay and discoloration of teeth. Soda is loaded with sugar, phosphoric acid, food-coloring, and other nasty ingredients. Coffee is highly acidic and has a naturally dark color.

The ingredients and natural properties of these types of beverages gradually degrade your teeth’s layer of enamel. And with the degradation of teeth enamel, your tooth’s very vulnerable and sensitive dentin layer (underneath the enamel) becomes exposed. What most people don’t know is that dentin has natural yellow color. Thus, simply by allowing your teeth’s enamel to experience decay, you also allow the yellowing of your teeth.

The phosphoric acid found in soda is known to gradually dissolve calcium in your enamel that is necessary for the protection of your teeth. Your teeth’s enamel becomes soft without calcium, and your teeth become vulnerable to bacteria that cause tooth decay. Furthermore, soda’s naturally high concentration of sugar further accelerates the decay of your teeth. Lastly, soda contains coloring (often caramel coloring) that can easily darken and dull teeth unless you immediately brush and floss your teeth afterwards.

To reduce the effects of staining caused by soda and coffee, you should drink them in moderation. And as these beverages can result in severely stained teeth, it’s important to brush and floss afterwards.

If you already have teeth that have been stained by soda, coffee, or other causes, then contact your local dentist for professional teeth whitening treatments to get rid of the discoloration of your teeth.

Posted of the behalf of Justin Scott



Drinks and Foods That Stain Your Teeth

Posted in Teeth Whitening

The regular consumption of teeth-staining foods and drinks can cause premature discoloration of your teeth. If you’re looking to reverse the discoloration of your teeth, then you might consider a teeth whitening treatment.

The usual teeth-staining suspects (foods and drinks) responsible for teeth discoloration include:

–         Soft drinks, sports drinks, and cola: These beverages are bad for your teeth because they are high in sugars, acids, and chromogens. (pigmented molecules)

–         Dark-colored fruits and berries: While being quite beneficial to your health, these types of fruits and food make a noticeable contribution to the discoloration of your teeth over time.

–         Coffee: Despite being great for a little boost of energy, coffee is rich in chromogens that attach to your teeth’s enamel.

–         Wine:  Both red and white wines are known to promote teeth discoloration.

–         Tea: Similar to wine, tea also has stain-promoting tannins.

–         Sauces: Highly acidic or dark-colored sauces can also play a certain role in staining your teeth. This includes tomato sauce as well as curry.

–         Juices:  Surface staining of your teeth can often result from the colorations (food colors), acids, and sugars found in juices.

–         Sweets and candies: Similar to soft drinks, candy and sweets usually contain many of the worst things for white, attractive teeth.

Keep in mind that the above list of foods and drinks are capable of discoloring your teeth after having had a teeth-whitening treatment.  Such foods often accelerate the necessity for a follow-up whitening treatment.

It’s almost impossible to remove all of these foods and drinks from your life. However, there are certain steps that you can take to keep your teeth vibrant and white. Contact your dentist to discuss the necessary guidelines for properly caring for your teeth after a whitening treatment.

Posted on behalf of Dr. Paul Gilreath IV, Gilreath Dental Associates



Easy Fixes for Minor Tooth Discrepancies

Posted in Teeth Whitening

Do you have a small chip, discoloration or other blemish on a tooth that just drives you crazy? If so, it may actually be easier to correct than you thought. Sometimes these blemishes are so small and natural, that your dentist doesn’t even bring it up unless you mention it first. For example, maybe you have a small white demineralized spot on one of your front teeth, or a very tiny chip in another one that is almost completely unnoticeable. While they don’t pose a threat to the health or function of your teeth, the way you feel about them isn’t something to be ignored.

Getting results is easy when you take the first step. Whether it’s selecting to have a tooth smoothed, bonded with composite material, or using a take home teeth whitening kit, the decision to change the appearance of your teeth is up to you. Simply taking the first step is all that is standing between you and having your dentist adjust the area you’re concerned with. All you have to do is ask! Everyone’s goals, opinions and styles are different. What bothers one person about their smile may simply be a non-issue for the next. Women are typically notice small dental variances than men, but it’s not uncommon for men to also seek out small cosmetic procedures to help them look more professional in a career setting.

Most of the time these minor discrepancies are very straightforward and simple to fix. If it’s something that you’ve noticed, there’s a chance other people may have as well. If you want to have a beautiful, white, healthy smile, just ask!

Posted of the behalf of Justin Scott



Smile Makeovers

Smile Makeovers are gaining increasing awareness through shows like those that feature surprise makeovers. A smile makeover isn’t something just for a movie star, but it’s a service that any dental patient can ask for and receive from their dentists.

What makes a smile makeover unique is that the treatment usually combines several different types of dental therapies to achieve the look that the dental patient wants or needs. In order to tailor the treatment, you’ll need to let your dentist know what you want to gain out of a smile makeover. What do you currently like or dislike about your own smile? What do you want to change? What do you want the end results to be like?

Smile makeovers can use dental treatments ranging from teeth whitening, bonding, replacing old silver fillings, porcelain veneers to porcelain crowns. A combination of treatments are used to reshape, recolor, or re-treat teeth in order to change their appearance. There is no one set answer for a smile makeover, such as all veneers or all crowns. Each case is completely unique in regard to the treatment as well as the end cost.

For extensive treatment, your dentist will most likely make a wax-up model to show you the proposed end result. This gives you an idea of how the teeth will actually look in your mouth before you pay to have the treatment actually done. In some cases you can even take the trial smile home to show your spouse or friends.

Ask your dentist about a smile makeover today! They will work closely with you to provide a tailored treatment plan that fits your budget and your lifestyle.


Four Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Posted in Teeth Whitening

The growing popularity of teeth whitening products and innovations suggests that tooth discoloration is a major dental concern. Over time, teeth naturally lose some of their pearly white luster as the enamel thins and changes in the dentin layer of the teeth occur. However, tooth discoloration is not always just a matter of natural tooth aging. Several factors can give rise to yellow, brown, spotty or otherwise stained teeth. Here are some of the most common culprits.


Researchers have discovered that genetic factors present at birth determine the natural baseline color of a person’s teeth. Just as skin color is an inherited trait, a person’s baseline tooth color is typically similar to that of their parents. Genetic disorders like dentinogenesis imperfecta and amelogenesis can affect the color of teeth. Genetics also determines the porosity of a person’s teeth and highly porous teeth are more likely to stain.

Poor oral hygiene

Not surprisingly, tooth discoloration can be caused by poor oral habits. Failure to brush teeth regularly and properly invites plaque build-up on the surface of the teeth. When plaque is colonized by anaerobic and chromogenic bacteria, a chemical reaction occurs on the surface of teeth resulting in unsightly white, green, dark brown, orange, or black deposits which appear as spots or stains.


Certain medications can affect the color of a person’s teeth. The antibiotic drug tetracycline has been implicated in tooth discoloration in young children whose teeth are still developing. Compounds in the drug become integrated into the enamel and dentin layer of the teeth resulting in yellow-brown or blue-gray teeth. The antibiotic drugs minocycline and doxycycline have also been linked to tooth discoloration in adults, as well as certain antihistamines, and antihypertensive and antipsychotic drugs.

Dental fluorosis

Dental fluorosis occurs when teeth are exposed to too much fluoride either systemically through water sources or fluoride-containing foods, or through the overuse of fluoride products (mouth rinses, toothpastes etc.) Fluorosis is characterized by the appearance of chalky-white or brown spots or stripes on the surface of teeth.


Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity can make everyday things like tooth brushing or drinking iced tea nearly unbearable. Different types of tooth sensitivity tell you and your dentist different things. While some sensitivity is normal, others may be a red flag for underlying dental problems.

Cold Sensitivity – This symptom is often caused by gum recession, toothbrush abrasion from aggressive brushing, tooth grinding, or teeth whitening.

Sweet – Sensitivity to sweet is typically a classic symptom of tooth decay. If the sensation happens several times, please see your dentist in order to treat the cavity while it is still small. 

Hot – When a tooth is sensitive to heat, there is a likely chance that the tooth has had nerve damage or infection requiring root canal therapy.

Pressure – Swelling around the root of the tooth due to trauma, fractures or abscess can cause pain when chewing or pressure is applied to the tooth.

Other factors that contribute to tooth sensitivity include conditions such as an acidic diet, uncontrolled GERD, and fractured teeth. When sensitivity persists, it is important to seek dental care to address the condition as early as possible. Dental treatment often becomes more invasive and costly the longer it is delayed.

When sensitivity is suspect due to products such as whitening toothpastes or whitening gels, most dentists recommend using desensitizing toothpaste such as Sensodyne. Over about two weeks of daily use, these toothpastes help block the pores on the tooth surface that are sensitive to cool food or mechanical action like tooth brushing. Discontinuing the use of desensitizing toothpaste will allow for the symptoms to return. Over the counter fluoride rinses are also helpful.



Online Reviews of Dentists

Posted in Teeth Whitening

If you are looking for a great dentist for teeth whitening, cosmetic dentistry, family dentistry, you can find many different websites that offer reviews of dentists in your area.  These online reviews can be a great tool, but be sure to read any reviews with a critical eye.  Keep in mind that on many of the websites that allow reviews of dentists, anyone can post a review.  Also, the anonymous nature of the internet sometimes encourages people to say things that they might not say in a face to face encounter.

When evaluating internet reviews, what you are looking for is a consensus among the reviewers.  Wildly enthusiastic and very negative reviews are often suspect.  The writer could be someone who’s goal  is to boost or damage that dentist’s ratings rather than give an honest review.

Also, there are businesses who will write positive reviews for a fee.  If there seem to be a lot of lengthy, well written, positive reviews that all posted at about the same time, it is possible that they were written by professional writers rather than actual customers.

A good way to use online reviews is to read the reviews going back two to three years and ignoring the most positive and most negative reviews.  The reviews that are left will provide you with a pretty good picture of how well most patients are treated by that dental practice.  You should also have an idea whether the quality of care and customer service is improving or declining.

If the consensus is good, then you have probably found a high quality dentist that will provide you and your family with excellent care.  If the consensus is poor or it seems like there is an increase in negative reviews indicating a decline in care or customer service, you may want to keep looking.



Is Teeth Whitening For You?

Posted in Teeth Whitening

The allure of a whiter, brighter smile in just  a few hours has made teeth whitening (also called teeth bleaching) a very popular cosmetic dentistry procedure.  By some estimates, about 15% of the population has had a teeth whitening procedure done either in a dentist’s office or using a home teeth whitening kit.  Before you jump on the teeth whitening bandwagon, be sure you understand how the procedure works, what your options are, and any possible side effects.

Teeth whitening procedures use a gel with some type of peroxide to remove stains and bleach teeth to a whiter color.  The gel is applied directly to the teeth or by using a plastic “tray” that holds the gel up against the patients teeth.  The longer the gel is in contact with the patient’s teeth, the more effective the whitening process will be.  However, the concentration of the peroxide in the gel varies and the higher the concentration of peroxide, the less time the gel can safely remain on your teeth.

Teeth whitening can be done in dentist’s office, using a kit dispensed by your dentist, or by using a kit that can be purchased over the counter.  Treatment in a dental office is the most expensive option, but also the fastest acting and most effective.

A kit dispensed by your dentists is also a very effective teeth whitening alternative.  These kits have custom made plastic trays to hold the whitening agent against the teeth.  They have a lower concentration of peroxide, but can remain on the teeth for  longer period of time.

Over the counter kits are the least expensive option, and also the least effective. The trays are “one-size-fits-all” so there may be an uneven application of whitening agent.  Also, these kits have the lowest level of peroxide so more and longer applications may be needed to achieve the desired results.

Possible side effects of teeth whitening include increased tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, irritation of the gums, and uneven whitening.  If you have tooth colored restorations such as caps, crowns, bonding, and fillings, the bleaching agent will not affect these and they may look yellow compared to your natural tooth enamel.

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