Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

When your pearly whites are glistening and clean, people notice. They also notice if your teeth are dingy and yellow. Lifestyle choices and genetics can affect the color of our teeth, but teeth whitening products can make them look as white as fresh snow. But, is teeth whitening safe?

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

How Do Teeth Become Discolored?

Teeth become discolored because of genetics, health history, and lifestyle choices. You could brush and floss after every meal, loyally visit your dentist every six months, and live a healthy lifestyle, and your teeth might never be pearly white. Some people just have yellow teeth.

Some medications and illnesses can discolor teeth. Some people have discolored teeth due to aging or tooth trauma at a young age.

But there are ways to avoid your teeth from progressively becoming darker shades of yellow. The lifestyle choices you make can stain your teeth. For example, people who drink coffee, tea, red wine, or dark sodas run the risk of staining their teeth. If you smoke, you are likely to have yellow teeth as well.

Your dental hygiene can also affect the color of your teeth. When you visit the dentist every six months, the hygienists can clean away the plaque that discolors your teeth. Brushing and flossing twice a day, helps to maintain the work your hygienist does. The dentists at Christiansen Dental recommend routine dental cleanings to keep your teeth naturally white.

Types of Teeth Whitening

There are a few categories of teeth whitening products. Some you can buy over-the-counter and use at home, while others have to be administered by dental professionals. The latter usually contain an active ingredient called carbamide peroxide.

Over-the-counter products use ingredients like hydrogen peroxide to remove stains and whiten teeth. You usually have to use a whitening toothpaste or a gel you apply in a tray. Some people use whitening strips as an option. There are also whitening products that rely on lights and lasers to fight yellow stains.

Bart Christiansen, a dentist in Centennial CO, recommends only using teeth whitening products that have been approved by the ADA. You should make sure to carefully follow the instructions to receive the full effectiveness and to prevent any damage.

Side Effects & Other Considerations

Before you use teeth whitening products, you should know about the potential side effects. Whitening products include chemicals that you wouldn’t normally put on your teeth, which can result in your teeth becoming temporarily sensitive.

Another potential side effect is damage to the dentin layer in the tooth. Hydrogen peroxide, the common bleaching ingredient, is the culprit for this side effect. Researchers with the ADA are studying the long-term effects of damage to the hard tissue below the enamel layer. They have yet to discover if the damage is reversible, temporary, or life-long.

People who have had their teeth whitened seem to be more susceptible to cavities and tooth fractures when compared to people who haven’t used teeth whitening products with hydrogen peroxide. In the early stages of tooth whitening, some people report gum irritation, but it usually stops after a few treatments.

Is Chewing Ice Bad for Your Teeth?

Ice-chew“A habit is a shirt made up of iron”, it’s hard to take it off. A common bad habit is chewing on ice.   If you often find yourself chewing ice, you can rest easy that you are not alone.  Some people do it compulsively when enjoying a drink, while others may crave it.  In more extreme circumstances, it can be linked to iron deficiency anemia.

“If you are in the habit of chewing ice you should waste no time in speaking to a dentist as it may be due to iron deficiency anemia,” said Dr. Roach a dentist in Roanoke VA. Whatever the reason for the habit, most dentists agree that chewing on ice is dangerous and can lead to serious consequences. Chewing ice may be fun but it can be very risky and is not worth it. In this article we’ll discuss where ice chewing comes from, its risks, and potential solutions.

Why Do People Crave To Chew On Ice?

Iron deficiency often leads to inflammation in the muscles. People suffering from iron deficiency might have inflamed gums and chewing on ice may help with the inflammation.  Studies have also linked ice eating in people with anemia to increased brain function.  Whatever the reason, anemia is linked to excessive ice eating.

According to a study, the craving to chew on ice is the same as a cup of coffee for a caffeine addict. Both are hard to stop, and yet both can lead to catastrophic consequences.

How Is Chewing Ice Bad For Teeth?

Ice cubes are rigid and do not break easily. Applying too much pressure can cause your teeth to break or chip. The risk increases if you have a crown as they can chip even more easily.

Moreover, constant chewing on ice numbs the nerves in the mouth and you don’t feel the pain. Therefore, you may continue to chew on ice without feeling much pain, thus worsening the situation.

If you munch on ice for too long you may face the following consequences:

  • Tooth Enamel Damage:

    While our tooth enamel is one of the hardest tissues in the body, it is not invincible. A cold object such as ice can numb and weaken it. Since it acts as a protective coating for our teeth against cracks and fractures, once it is weakened, our teeth become more prone to damage.

  • Cracking/Chipping Of Tooth:

    A weakened enamel increases your risk for cavities, infections, and dental diseases. The risk of cracks and serious physical damage also goes up, including the risk of losing a tooth completely.

  • Previous Dental Treatments Are Wasted (Crowns and Fillings):

    Chewing ice can damage crowns and fillings as well.

  • Gum Injuries:

    Ice can be bad for the gums. The sharp edge of the cube might tear the gum and cause an injury. The same can happen with the tongue.

How To Get Rid Of an Ice Chewing Habit?

“You should visit a dentist if you are in the habit of chewing on ice,” suggests Dr. May Yeap of Signature Dental in Frisco, TX. “You should visit a dentist even if the habit hasn’t caused you any dental trouble,” she continues.

Not many patients understand this, but the problem can be solved with the right supplements.  Restoring the level of iron in your blood to a healthy state is a common problem with a simple solution. You can also use tricks such as turning to unsweetened popsicles to satisfy and reduce your chewing craving over time.

It may be a while before you completely get rid of the habit but being patient and persistent will give you good results.

Am I A Good Candidate for Invisalign Clear Braces?

Invisalign-braces-candidateInvisalign clear braces do the same exact thing as regular metal braces. They correct dental problems such as crooked teeth, overbites, and underbites. However, they do it with one very big difference – they’re nearly invisibile!

They work just like regular braces, but are much more comfortable and easy to wear, giving you a one-of-a-kind dental braces experience.

This is why most people who are considering braces prefer Invisalign over other options.

Tired of your crooked or misaligned teeth? Keep reading to see if you’re a good candidate for the treatment.

You Want to Regain Confidence by Correcting the Structure of Your Teeth

Misaligned teeth can bring down your confidence, preventing you being yourself around friends, family, or coworkers. It can also cause eating problems.

Many people shy away from smiling openly due to their misaligned teeth. With Invisalign, though, you can begin to regain your confidence as your teeth straighten without anyone noticing you’re even wearing braces.

Invisalign works the teeth that require straightening. Depending on the state of misalignment, it can take anywhere between 6- 8 months to complete your Invisalign treatment.

You Are Looking for Comfortable Braces

Unlike metal braces, Invisalign isn’t itchy or painful to wear. These invisible aligners can be removed and placed back in as you deem necessary. This makes it easier to brush and floss your teeth, as you can take the aligner out to ensure you clean all areas of your mouth. And then simply put the aligner back in place when you’re done.

You’ll also find comfort when eating, as food can’t get stuck in metal braces or caught in rubber bands when chewing. You can still eat the same foods you love without any hassle.

You Fear Pain

Many people don’t go to the dentist because they are afraid of possible dental pain. And the same goes for getting braces. Metal braces can be a lot of trouble. They are not only painful to install but can cause rashes and cuts inside the mouth making it difficult to eat and speak. This is a major reason why some people never get braces. However, this problem is solved with Invisalign.

The process of getting Invisalign is very easy and painless. It requires visiting a dentist and getting a dental impression of your teeth to determine a treatment plan.

The dentist then takes 3D pictures of your jaw to prepare a customized Invisalign aligner that fits your jaw perfectly.

In about 2 weeks or less, the clear aligners are prepared and can be worn without any trouble. They are so comfortable you won’t feel anything inside your mouth and might even forget you’re wearing them!

You Don’t Want to Attend the Dentist Very Often

Unlike metal braces, Invisalign does not require regular dental visits. You’ll only visit the dentist to get new aligners every 6 weeks or so.

You Don’t Want to Wear Braces in Public

The biggest advantage of Invisalign is that they are pretty much invisible and hard to notice if you don’t know they are there. Metal braces are clearly visible, which is one of the main reasons why adults and teens don’t want them.

When wearing these clear braces in public, friends, family, and coworkers won’t be able to see the aligners or tell that you’re wearing any form of braces.

So Am I The Right Fit?

If you identify with the points above, then you’re probably a good candidate for Invisalign clear braces. However, Dr. Jeff D. Baggett, a dentist providing Invisalign in Edmond, OK, says that you cannot be sure unless you visit a dentist.

He states, “While Invisalign is great, they may not be able to treat very complex dental issues. You must visit a dentist to see if you really are a fit or not, and if you are not then you can always turn to other options.”

5 Things to Know About Root Canal Treatments

root-canalA root canal is a common dental procedure, with about 15.1 million root canals performed every year. However, still, it is one of the most feared dental procedures out there.

If you or someone close to you requires a root canal, then you have landed on the right page. Below are five things you should know about root canal treatment:

1. A Root Canal Can Save a Tooth

According to experts, a root canal treatment is used to save a decaying or infected tooth, the only alternative to which is extraction. However, about 15% of dental patients in the US avoid getting a root canal due to the myths associated with it. In the end, the only option is to extract the tooth, which is as painful as a root canal, if not more.

The treatment has a high success rate with about 97% of all root canal treatments being a success. During the procedure, the pulp and nerve are removed and the tooth is carefully cleaned and sealed to prevent any damage.

2. Root Canals Can Last a Lifetime

Root canals can last a lifetime when proper care is taken. Your dentist will probably suggest you to get a dental crown or tooth filling as well to improve the chances of your root canal lasting a lifetime.

Proper dental hygiene is very important for a root canal to be a success. You must brush and floss regularly and stay away from unhealthy habits, such as chewing on hard items etc., to ensure longevity.

In addition to this, you will be required to visit your dentist on a regular basis for cleanings and dental exams.

3. Root Canals Are Not Very Expensive

A root canal is not the most affordable dental treatment out there, but it is not as expensive as some people think it is.

The cost depends on several factors including the number of root canals needed, the dentist you pick, and your location as well since the cost varies from state to state.

Nonetheless, the average cost for a front tooth is $700 and $900 for a molar tooth. Your dental insurance may cover all or a part of the charges associated with your root canal procedure so make sure to ask!

4. Root Canals Can Be Painless

A root canal is a painful procedure, but thanks to sedation dentistry you can get it done without feeling any pain. Your dentist will numb the area and perform the procedure without you ever feeling a thing!

While most dentists use mild sedation in a root canal treatment, if your pain tolerance is very low you must let your dentist know in advance so that he or she can choose the type of sedation accordingly.

Other than this, you must make sure to have someone by your side when you go to a dentist for a root canal treatment as you may not be in a condition to drive home after the procedure due to the side effects of sedatives.

Based on the amount and type of sedatives used, the effects can last for a good few hours.

5. The Aftercare Is Easy

You don’t have to worry too much about root canal aftercare as your dentist will provide you with guidance. The only tip is to be careful about what you eat and drink so that you do not end up damaging the tooth. Other than this, visit your dentist as required.

According to Dr. Patrick Healy from Lockport Dentistry in Lockport, IL, a root canal treatment might be your only option to save a decaying tooth. He pushes patients to consider a root canal treatment as early as possible as infections can spread to other teeth and cause severe damage.

5 Things You Should Know About Oil Pulling

Oil PullingOil pulling is a not a new concept. Reports indicate that oil pulling has existed for thousands of years; however, it has reached a mainstream audience only recently.

What is oil pulling? It’s a simple technique that involves swishing a specific type of oil for about fifteen to twenty minutes before spitting it out.

But what is this technique doing on a dental site? In addition to problems like eczema and arthritis, oil pulling is said to cure bad breath as well whitening your teeth.

Is oil pulling really that good and can it solve your dental problems? Let’s find out:

1. Oil Pulling Is Not a Substitute for Brushing or Flossing

Oil pulling does not mean you don’t have to brush or floss anymore. While oil pulling does have its benefits, it is not a substitute for brushing or flossing.

Plaque is a sticky film that accumulates on your teeth and needs to be removed manually. This can be done with the help of brushing and flossing. Oil pulling can also help remove plaque. Oil pulling reduces plaque’s ability to stick to teeth. Daily oil pulling can also help remove tooth stains.

Various studies have shown the effectiveness of using oil pulling to remove plaque. Although oil pulling can help reduce the presence of plague, it cannot completely remove it. Those who practice oil pulling will have to continue brushing and flossing regularly.

2. Oil Pulling Is Not for Everyone

Although oil pulling is a fairly easy technique, it’s not for everyone. Children should avoid oil pulling. There’s a risk of the oil entering the body and causing the child to become ill.

3. Choose Your Oil Carefully

Oil pulling requires the use of specific oils. This mainly includes sesame, sunflower or coconut oils as these oils have great benefits. Coconut oil is known for its anti-microbial agents. Also, coconut oil helps fight tooth decay. Dr. Ippisch of  Advanced Dentistry in Santa Cruz, CA says, “coconut oil contains Vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties that help kill bacteria making it work like mouthwash.” Using the wrong types of oil can be harmful.

4. More Is Not Always Better

The recommended time to swish is around five to ten minutes, doing it for longer a period of time will not give you better results. Oil pulling for longer periods may cause your jaw to hurt. You’ll want to start with five minutes and work up to ten minutes.

5. Do Not Swallow the Oil

You must spit out the oil once you are done swishing, and then you can swish with water to make sure your mouth is clean and doesn’t feel odd. Make sure not to drink or swallow the oil as it may have negative effects on your health.

Make oil pulling a part of your dental routine; however, do not use oil pulling as a replacement for your regular oral hygiene routine. If you have sensitive teeth and gums, you should contact your dentist before you try oil pulling.

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