Posts for: December, 2016
Academy Award-winning actress Kathy Bates knows how important it is to present your best face to the world — and one of the most important features of that face is a beaming smile. But there came a point when she noticed something was a little off. “I've always had good teeth, but it seemed to me as I was getting older that they weren't looking as good,” Kathy explained in a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine.
That's when she decided it was time to take action. Kathy had orthodontic treatment when she was in her fifties, and she keeps her smile bright with tooth whitening treatments. She uses a kit provided by her dentist with a safe, effective whitening solution.
Of course, a bright, healthy smile looks great anywhere — whether you're on the red carpet or “off the grid.” And you don't have to be a Hollywood star to have professional whitening treatments. In fact, teeth whitening is one of the most popular and affordable cosmetic treatments modern dentistry offers.
The basic options for professional teeth whitening include in-office bleaching or take-home kits. Both types of dentist-supervised treatments offer a safe and effective means of getting a brighter smile; the main difference is how long they take to produce results. A single one-hour treatment in the office can make your teeth up to ten shades lighter — a big difference! To get that same lightening with at-home trays, it would take several days. On the plus side, the take-home kit is less expensive, and can achieve the same results in a bit more time.
It's important to note that not all teeth can be whitened with these treatments. Some teeth have intrinsic (internal) stains that aren't affected by external agents like bleaches. Also, teeth that have been restored (with bonding or veneers, for example) generally won't change color. And you can't necessarily whiten your teeth to any degree: Every tooth has a maximum whiteness, and adding more bleach won't lighten it beyond that level. Most people, however, find that teeth whitening treatments produce noticeable and pleasing results.
What about those off-the-shelf kits or in-the-mall kiosks? They might work… or they might not. But one thing's for sure: Without a dentist's supervision, you're on your own. That's the main reason why you should go with a pro if you're considering teeth whitening. We not only ensure that your treatment is safe — we can also give you a realistic idea of what results to expect, and we will make sure that other dental problems aren't keeping you from having a great-looking smile.
How often does Kathy Bates see her dentist for a checkup and cleaning? “I go about every four months,” she noted. “I'm pretty careful about it.” And if you've seen her smile, you can tell that it pays off. If you would like more information about teeth whitening, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered” and “Teeth Whitening.”
With the advent of home whitening kits, you no longer have to go to the dentist to have your teeth whitened. DIY kits are relatively safe and effective, if you follow the directions carefully.
So, you might be thinking: why have a dentist whiten my teeth? Actually, there are good reasons why you might. Here are 4 of them.
We'll make sure your teeth are healthy first. Your teeth may need some attention first, such as treatment for dental disease, before we undertake whitening. We'll also determine why your teeth are stained, which could impact how they're whitened (more about that in a moment).
Our application could take less time and last longer. Bleaching agents in home kits make up less than 10% of volume, much weaker than the applications we use. While it often takes several applications at home to achieve the desired brightness, you may only need one or two sessions with us. Our stronger solution may also extend the “fade time” — when the whitening begins to diminish — than what you may encounter with home whitening.
We can be more precise achieving the right shade. There are different shades of teeth whiteness — what looks good for someone else might not look good for you. We have the training and expertise to achieve a color that's right for you. What's more, we also have techniques and equipment like UV lighting that enables us to color match more precisely than you can with a home kit.
Your DIY kit can't alter some forms of staining. Home kits bleach only the outermost layers of tooth enamel. That won't help, though, if your discoloration originates inside the tooth. This intrinsic staining requires procedures only a dentist can perform to bleach the tooth from the inside out.
Even if you'd still like to use a home kit we'll be happy to advise you on purchasing and application. It's also a good idea to have us check the staining first to see if a home kit will work at all. In the end, we share the same desire as you do: that your teeth are as healthy as they can be and bright as you want them to be.
If you would like more information on tooth whitening options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Whitening Safety Tips.”
Do you think you might need a root canal? Dr. Gregory Hysong and Dr. Lynda LePore, your Silver Spring, MD, dentists at Colesville Dentistry, share some signs you may need a root canal and explain how the treatment can help you.
Signs and symptoms
You may need a root canal if you experience any of these signs and symptoms:
- Severe pain in a tooth
- Pain that increases when you chew or put pressure on a tooth
- Sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures that continues even after you stop eating or drinking
- Darkening of a tooth
- Swelling gums
If your problem is caused by a dental abscess, you may also notice:
- A pimple on the gum near the tooth
- Swollen lymph nodes
Abscesses are particularly dangerous because the bacteria in the pulp can find its way into your bloodstream. If it reaches your brain or heart, it could trigger a stroke or heart attack.
What causes the problem?
Root canals are used to relieve infections and inflammation in tooth pulp. The pulp is located in the center of a tooth and contains connective tissue, nerves and blood vessels. It can become inflamed due to:
- Tooth trauma caused by an accident or blow to your face
- Severe decay
- A crack that provides a convenient pathway for bacteria to enter your tooth
- Repeated dental procedures on the tooth
What happens during a root canal?
Removing the infected or inflamed pulp not only relieves your symptoms but also saves your tooth. Your Silver Spring dentist drills into your tooth to expose the pulp, then removes it from the center of the tooth and the root canals that extend from the top of your tooth into the roots. After the pulp is removed, your dentist cleans and shapes the canals using tiny files.
They may also add small posts that will support the crown that will be added to the tooth at the completion of the procedure. At the conclusion of your first visit, you'll receive a temporary filling. When you return in about a week, the tooth will be permanently filled and sealed with a durable, rubber-like material.
Are you concerned about a painful tooth? Call Dr. Hysong and Dr. LePore, your Silver Spring, MD, dentists at Colesville Dentistry, at (301) 384-6000 to schedule an appointment.