Thinking About Tooth Whitening? Here Are A Few Things To Consider

Thinking About Tooth Whitening? Here Are A Few Things To Consider

Most of us at some point desire a whiter, brighter smile. What you may not realise is that not all teeth whitening products are created equal.  In fact, some over-the-counter teeth whitening products contain harsh bleaches and peroxides that can actually do more harm than good. These products can actually damage teeth enamel in the long term.

Having your teeth whitened by a dental professional is a great option for anyone who desires a whiter, brighter smile. If you are considering this procedure here’s what you should know before booking your consultation:

1. Why should I get my Teeth Whitened?

A professional tooth whitening procedure is an effective, quick and affordable way to help achieve a whiter smile. Natural-looking bright, white teeth can help improve the appearance of your smile, boost your confidence as well as enhance your self-esteem. Yellow teeth can contribute to signs of aging, therefore, a whiter smile can help to make you look younger. There are a number of reasons people consider teeth whitening. Some of these reasons may be to improve your appearance every day of the year or to enhance your smile for a special upcoming event such as a wedding, birthday or job interview.  Whatever the reason may be professional teeth whitening is a fantastic non-surgical, affordable, and relatively quick option to improve the appearance of your smile.

2. What are the causes of Tooth Discolouration

235017-140P60R60218.jpg

Tooth discolouration is a natural process – often associated with aging – but as with any physical feature some people’s teeth are just naturally whiter than others. Dentine naturally yellows with age, and as the enamel that covers teeth wears and gets thinner, the dentine beneath becomes more visible.

As well as the natural aging process, tooth discolouration and staining can be caused by a number of lifestyle and biological factors, including:

  • Smoking
  • Trauma to teeth
  • The use of some antibiotics in early childhood
  • Drinking coffee
  • Tea
  • Red wine
  • Fizzy drinks
  • Eating richly coloured foods like blueberries
  • The accumulation of tartar and plaque (which is another reason regular dental check ups are so important).

Fortunately, cosmetic dentistry has come a long way in recent years, ensuring tooth staining and discolouration can be reversed safely and effectively with professional teeth whitening at a dental clinic.

3. What about over the counter and DIY whitening kits?

Biological and lifestyle factors can contribute to tooth staining and yellowing. While over the counter and DIY bleaching kits are readily accessible and happen to be a cheaper option for those on a budget these kits can be very damaging to the teeth. Over the counter and DIY kits contain chemicals at a high percentage which over time produce the opposite result due to the fact that they cause further wear on tooth enamel, therefore, revealing the dentine underneath.

Supermarket bleaching products or products purchased online can be harmful to health and have the potential to cause gum burns, gum irritation and damage to the oesophagus or stomach. While there are many online “home bleaching” remedies such as lemon juice or baking soda these products are acidic and abrasive and can cause significant damage to your teeth.

Zoom-Teeth-Whitening-Melbourne-3-300x200.jpg

4. What are the benefits of getting my teeth professionally whitened at a Dental Clinic?

If you are after a whiter brighter smile, it’s important to leave your tooth whitening procedure to the hands of a dental professional. This ensures your procedure is carried out in a safe and effective manner helping you to achieve long lasting results.

5: What is the difference between in chair whitening and take home whitening?

We have many patients ask us whether there are differences between take-home teeth whitening kits and the Zoom in-chair laser treatment. The differences are quite significant, but there are no hard and fast rules for choosing either.

Which procedure you decide to choose all comes down to personal preference, how much you are willing to spend on tooth whitening as well as your pain tolerance.

The Zoom professional whitening option is slightly more costly compared to home-use solutions but provides a safer method to whitening as it is performed by a dental professional and happens to provide faster results. For those with more sensitive teeth who do not mind a longer process a professional take home whitening kit would be recommend. This procedure is also slightly less expensive.

An added bonus of the take home kit is that you are able to maintain your results for as long as you desire. Refill bleach tubes are able to be purchased through the practice. 

6: Why do some people prefer in chair bleaching compared to take home bleaching?

This comes down to a number of factors. The first is speed. People who are time poor prefer the Zoom whitening method as this takes a single appointment and gives immediate results compared to professional whitening kits which can take several weeks before results are seen. This is the preferred method for those who are not in a hurry and who suffer from tooth sensitivity.

Another reason is safety as explained above the in chair bleaching method means a specially trained dental professional is the one applying the bleaching agent. Your dentist will use safety measures such as protective goggles, gels and lip retractor in order to minimise exposure between your gums, soft tissue areas and the bleaching gel.

The last factor is Cost. The Zoom 3 in chair whitening treatment costs $715. By comparison, the home bleaching kits are more affordable, priced at $490.

7: Does the in chair procedure cause sensitivity?

This is a tricky question to answer. 50% of patients experience little to no sensitivity and are able to sit through the entire procedure. The other 50% of patients are unable to complete the full four rounds due to sensitivity.

There are a few things that you can do at home to tackle sensitivity. The first is to start using sensitive toothpaste for at least 1 month prior to the procedure. The 2nd is to source a product called GC Tooth Moose and again use this 1 month prior. These products can help decrease sensitivity.

8: Is there anything else I must be aware of before I bleach?

Yes, there is! You must have a check up and clean prior to the procedure. The reason for this is we do not want to be placing and bleaching agents on areas which may have decay. This will make the procedure painful and uncomfortable as areas which are decayed are porous.

before-and-after_3.jpg

A clean is required to ensure the teeth are free from debris, plaque and tartar buildup. This is recommended at least a few days to a week prior to the procedure. By ensuring the teeth are free from buildup we can ensure an even bleaching result. Teeth which are bleached without having a scale and clean prior can end in a result which is uneven and patchy.

If you have fillings, crowns or veneers on your front teeth these also will not whiten and may have to be replaced if you wish for your teeth to be one uniform colour.

In conclusion, it is important to be realistic with your results. Some patients expect their teeth to come out paper white and sometimes this is not the case. We do see results up to 6 shades whiter, however, the end result does depend on the condition and shade of your teeth, to begin with. Your teeth will also appear whiter straight after the procedure as they are dehydrated. As your teeth begin to build up hydration that is when you will start to see the end result. 

 

 

 

Symptoms Of A Dry Socket

Symptoms Of A Dry Socket

What is a dry socket?

Dry socket (alveolar osteitis) is a painful dental condition that can occur after you have a permanent adult tooth extracted. Dry socket is the most common complication following tooth extractions, such as the removal of impacted wisdom teeth. If you develop dry socket, the pain usually begins three to four days after your tooth is removed.

Normally, a blood clot forms at the site of a tooth extraction. This blood clot serves as a protective layer over the underlying bone and nerve endings in the empty tooth socket. The clot also provides the foundation for the growth of new bone and for the development of soft tissue over the clot.

Dry socket occurs when the blood clot at the site of the tooth extraction has been dislodged or has dissolved before the wound has healed. Exposure of the underlying bone and nerves results in intense pain, not only in the socket but also along the nerves radiating to the side of your face.

Over-the-counter medications alone won't be enough to treat dry socket pain. Your dentist or oral surgeon can provide treatments to relieve your pain and promote healing.

What are the symptoms of a dry socket? 

Signs and symptoms of dry socket may include:

  • Severe pain within a few days after a tooth extraction.
  • Partial or total loss of the blood clot at the tooth extraction site, which you may notice as an empty-looking (dry) socket.
  • Visible bone in the socket.
  • Pain that radiates from the socket to your ear, eye, temple or neck on the same side of your face as the extraction.
  • Bad breath or a foul odor coming from your mouth.
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth.
  • Swollen lymph nodes around your jaw or neck.
  • Slight fever.

When should I see my dentist?

A certain degree of pain and discomfort is normal after a tooth extraction. However, you should be able to manage normal pain with the pain reliever prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon, and the pain should lessen with time. If you develop new or worsening pain in the days after your tooth extraction, contact the practice immediately.

What causes a dry socket?

The precise cause of dry socket remains the subject of study. Researchers suspect that several issues may be at play, including:

  • Bacterial contamination of the socket.
  • Severe bone and tissue trauma at the surgical site due to a difficult extraction.
  • Very small fragments of roots or bone remaining in the wound after surgery.

What factors can contribute to a dry socket?

Factors that can increase your risk of developing dry socket include:

  • Smoking and tobacco use. Chemicals in cigarettes or other forms of tobacco may prevent or slow healing and contaminate the wound site. The act of sucking on a cigarette may physically dislodge the blood clot prematurely.
  • Oral contraceptives. High estrogen levels from oral contraceptives may disrupt normal healing processes and increase the risk of dry socket.
  • Improper at-home care. Proper at-home care after a tooth extraction helps promote healing and prevent damage to the wound. Failure to follow guidelines may increase the risk of dry socket.
  • Having dry socket in the past. If you've had dry socket in the past, you're more likely to develop it after another extraction.
  • Tooth or gum infection. Current or previous infections around the tooth to be extracted increase the risk of dry socket.
  • Use of corticosteroids. These types of medications, such as prednisone, may increase your risk of dry socket.

If you suspect you may have a dry socket call us on 9382 8266.

What Is Halitosis?

What Is Halitosis?

Bad breath, medically known as halitosis, can result for many reasons. The main reason being poor oral hygiene but it may also be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can be made worse by the types of food we eat or unhealthy lifestyle habits.   

Basically, all the food we eat is broken down in the mouth. As foods are digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, they are carried to your lungs and given off in your breath. If you eat foods with strong odors such as onions or garlic , brushing, flossing even mouthwash merely covers up the odor. The odor will not go away completely until the food has passed through the body. 

If you do not brush and floss your teeth daily, food particles can remain in your mouth, promoting bacterial growth between teeth, around gums and on the tongue. This is a main cause of bad breath. Antibacterial mouthwashes can help to reduce bacteria. In addition, odor causing bacteria and food particles can cause bad breath if dentures are not properly cleaned. 

Smoking or chewing tobacco based products can not only cause bad breath, stain teeth, irritate the gums and also reduce your ability to taste foods. Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth way be a warning sign of gum disease which is caused by the buildup of plaque on teeth. Bacteria cause the formation of toxins to form, which irritate the gums. If gum disease continues and is left untreated, it can cause damage to the gums and jawbone.

A medical condition known as dry mouth can also result in bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neautralise acids which produce plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums and cheeks. If not removed these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous bad breath through the mouth. 

Other causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental cavities. Many other diseases and illnesses can cause bad breath such as respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, liver or kidney problems.

Smoking & Your Dental Health - Is It Time To Quit?

Smoking & Your Dental Health - Is It Time To Quit?

One of the major issues of smoking is that it tends to disguise the damage taking place to the teeth and gums. Infected gums are usually red, puffy and bleed while being brushed. A smokers gums are not like this and will usually be thin, pale and do not bleed readily. 

The nicotine found in tobacco smoke is a vaso-constrictor meaning it acts on blood vessels to contract them and reduces the blood flow to the gum and bone. Due to the decreased blood supply, one of two things happen. The first being it masks gum disease and the second being it masks signs of disease and hinders the body's ability to fight off infection. 

In addition, when the chemicals in tobacco smoke integrate with plaque bacteria it creates a high risk situation. Dental x-rays from smokers from all ages have usually found that bone support has begun to shrink away from the tooth roots. Due to there being only a few warning signs this deterioration usually goes unnoticed. 

1-pick-a-date.jpg

Nicotine has a complex effect on saliva & promotes a thicker form of saliva compared to thin, watery saliva which helps to counteract the effects of acid attack after eating. This is why many heavy smokers find they are still prone to decay even if they are thoroughly brushing. 

It is a known fact that smokers are six times more likely to have or develop gum (periodontal) disease. Smoking causes the bone and gum to shrink away, therefore, the membrane holding the teeth in place becomes compromised. This may lead to loose teeth that overtime may eventually need to be extracted. 

It is very important to be aware that smoking can hinder the signs of gum disease for years and by the time any issue is noticed the gum disease may be advanced. While slight gum infections are commonly and easily treated a continuation to smoke will only cause the situation to progress and become a lot more serious. 

Deterioration may be reduced by brushing and flossing however it has been found that smokers have reduced sensation in their mouths. Due to this, it is difficult to detect and remove plaque from the gum margins. 

The only way to prevent and improve periodontal disease is to quit smoking, maintain good oral hygiene and visit your dentist on a 3-6 monthly basis depending on your dental condition. 

For more information on reasons to quit visit www.quit.org.au

Oral Health During Pregnancy

Oral Health During Pregnancy

Finding out you have a bundle of joy on the way is a very exciting time. But did you know pregnancy can lead to dental problems in some women? Some of these problems include gum disease and increased risk of tooth decay. An increase in hormones during pregnancy can affect your body's response to plaque (the layer of germs on your teeth).

There is an old wives' tale that warns a woman to expect a lost tooth for every baby which could not be further from the truth. Pregnancy does not automatically damage your teeth. During pregnancy, if the mother's intake of calcium is inadequate her bones – not her teeth – will provide her baby with the calcium it needs. This calcium loss is fast recovered once breastfeeding has stopped. In some women, Pregnancy can lead to particular dental problems. By ensuring you carry out proper dental hygiene at home and by seeking professional help from your dentist, your teeth should remain healthy throughout the duration of your pregnancy.

Dental disease can affect a developing baby

Extensive research has found a link between gum disease in pregnant women and premature birth with low birth weight. Babies who are born prematurely may risk a range of health conditions including cerebral palsy and problems with eyesight and hearing.  Estimates have found that up to 18 out of every 100 premature births may be triggered by periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is a chronic infection of the gums. Appropriate dental treatment for the expectant mother may reduce the risk of premature birth. 

Pre-pregnancy dental health

During pregnancy, you are less likely to develop dental problems if you already have good oral hygiene habits. Suggestions include:

  • Brushing your teeth twice daily with a toothpaste containing fluoride.
  • Floss between your teeth daily.
  •  Visit your dentist every 6 months.

If you are planning on getting pregnant, but you have plans to have elective dental procedures, it is much more convenient to have these procedures carried out before you conceive. If you are pregnant and require dental treatment non-urgent procedures are often performed after the first trimester. 

Tell your dentist if you are pregnant

In some cases, pregnancy may affect your dental care. An example of this may be, the dentist may put off taking x-rays until after the birth of your baby. If dental x-rays are unavoidable, the dentist is able to take precautions to ensure your baby's safety. If your dental condition happens to require general anaesthesia or medications, talk to your dentist, doctor or obstetrician for advice. 

Causes of dental health problems

Some common causes of dental health problems during pregnancy can include:

  • Gum problems
  • Vomiting
  • Cravings for sugary foods
  • Retching while brushing teeth.

Gum problems

Hormones that are associated with pregnancy can make some women susceptible to gum problems including:

  • Gingivitis (gum inflammation) – During the second trimester, this is more likely to occur. Symptoms include swelling of the gums and bleeding, particularly during brushing and when flossing between teeth.
  • Undiagnosed or untreated periodontal disease – During pregnancy, this may worsen. This chronic gum infection, which is caused by untreated gingivitis and can lead to tooth loss
  • Pregnancy epulis or pyogenic granuloma – This is a  localised enlargement of the gum, which may bleed easily. This may require additional professional cleaning, and rarely excision. 

During pregnancy, the gum problems that occur are not due to an increase in plaque, but a worse response to plaque due to an increase in hormone levels. 

If you are experiencing gum problems it is important to mention this to your dentist. It may help to switch to a softer toothbrush and brush your teeth regularly, at least twice every day. Use toothpaste that contains fluoride (if you're not already doing so) as this will help to strengthen your teeth against decay. 

If you suffered gum problems during pregnancy, it is also very important to get your gums checked by a dentist after the birth of your baby. While most types of gum problems caused by pregnancy hormones resolve after birth, a small number of women may have possibly developed a deeper level of gum disease that will require treatment and management.

Vomiting can damage teeth

The ring of muscles that keep food inside the stomach are softened due to pregnancy hormone. Gastric reflux (regurgitating food or drink) or the vomiting associated with morning sickness can coat your teeth with strong stomach acids. Repeated reflux and vomiting can damage tooth enamel and therefore increase the risk of decay. 

Suggestions include:

  • Avoid brushing your teeth immediately after vomiting. While the teeth are covered in stomach acids, the vigorous action of the toothbrush may scratch and damage tooth enamel. 
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly with plain tap water. 
  • Follow up with a fluoridated mouthwash. 
  • If you don't have a fluoridated mouthwash, put a dab of fluoridated toothpaste on your finger and smear it over your teeth. Rinse thoroughly with water. 
  • Brush your teeth at least an hour after vomiting.

Retching while brushing teeth

Some pregnant women find that brushing their teeth, particularly the molars, provokes retching. However, as hard as this may be you risk tooth decay if you don't brush regularly.

Suggestions include:

  • Using a brush with a small head, such as a brush made for toddlers.
  • Take your time. Slow down your brushing action.
  • It can help to close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing.
  • Try other distractions, such as listening to music.
  •  If the taste of the toothpaste seems to provoke your gag reflex, try switching to another brand. Alternatively, brush your teeth with water and then follow with a fluoride mouthwash. Go back to brushing with fluoride toothpaste as soon as you can.

 Food cravings while pregnant

During pregnancy, some women experience unusual food cravings (and food avoidance). Some women desire sugary snacks however this may increase your risk of tooth decay. It is recommended to try and snack on low-sugar foods instead.

If nothing but sweetness will satisfy your craving, try to sometimes choose healthier options such as fresh fruits. Rinse your mouth with water or milk, or brush your teeth after having sugary snacks.

Increase your calcium during pregnancy

It is important to increase your daily amount of calcium during pregnancy. Sufficient calcium helps to protect your bone mass and meet the nutritional needs of your developing baby.

Good sources of dietary calcium include products include:

  • Milk.
  • Cheese.
  • Yoghurt.
  • Calcium-fortified soymilk.

Increase your vitamin D during pregnancy

It is important to ensure you are getting sufficient vitamin D. This helps the body to utilise calcium. Good sources include:

  • Cheese.
  • Margarine.
  • Fatty fish, such as salmon.
  •  Eggs.

Things to remember

  • The demands of pregnancy can lead to particular dental problems in some women. 
  • You are less likely to have dental problems during pregnancy if you already have good oral hygiene habits. 
  • With proper dental hygiene at home and professional help from your dentist, your teeth should stay healthy during pregnancy.