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.”
Keeping your smile strong and healthy requires good oral hygiene and regular visits to your dentist. Dr. David Wadas, your Portage, MI dentist, shares a few tips that will help you avoid cavities.
Make cleanliness a priority
Brushing your teeth helps remove surface stains and food debris from your teeth, but also rids your teeth of plaque. The colorless sticky film contains bacteria that interacts with sugars in foods to create dangerous acids. Those acids destroy tooth enamel, causing tooth decay.
Brushing your teeth faithfully every morning and evening interrupts the cycle and reduces your cavity risk. When you brush, be sure to remove plaque from your tongue too by gently brushing it away.
Don't forget about flossing
Flossing is an excellent way to rid your mouth of plaque between teeth. In fact, it's the only way, since toothbrush bristles can't fit into the small spaces. Floss once every day to keep plaque from causing cavities between your teeth.
Choose an antibacterial mouthwash
Rinsing with an antibacterial mouthwash after you brush reduces bacteria in your mouth. Make sure the mouthwash you choose also contains fluoride to strengthen your enamel.
Visit the dentist every six months
Regular dental visits to your Portage dentist are important for several reasons, including:
- Teeth Cleaning: The dental hygienist at your dentist's office has special tools that can remove tartar, a hard deposit that forms if you don't remove plaque promptly. Tartar is dangerous because it can raise your risk of gum disease. Every check up includes a thorough cleaning to remove both plaque and tartar from your teeth.
- Cavity Detection: X-rays and exams help your dentist spot tooth decay and other issues. When you visit every six months, chances are that cavities won't have had time to grow very large yet and can be easily treated.
- Identification of Oral and General Health Issues: During your exam, your dentist will look for unusual signs that can indicate a health problem, such as sores, white patches or tumors. Did you know that the symptoms of some diseases appear first in the mouth? For example, if you have diabetes, your gums may bleed easily and canker sores may heal slowly.
Is it itime for your next dental exam? Call Dr. Wadas, your Portage, MI dentist, at (269) 323-1802 to schedule your appointment.
You have a problem with your teeth. Functionally, there's nothing wrong with them — but it's another story when you look in the mirror: discoloration, wearing or maybe a slight gap between them.
Fortunately, you don't have to settle for a smile you're not happy with. Less costly than crowns or bridgework, porcelain veneers can nonetheless correct many mild to moderate cosmetic problems with teeth and transform them into an attractive smile.
Like the name implies, a veneer is made of thin layers of dental material custom-designed and bonded to the outside of a tooth. Veneers can correct problems with color, tooth shape and size, and mild misalignments or spacing. It's akin to installing new siding on a house.
To begin your journey with veneers, we must first examine your teeth to fully assess your dental needs and ensure you have no issues that could prevent applying them. Then, we prepare your teeth: although not to the extent as for a crown or bridge, we must remove a small amount of tooth material so the veneer will appear natural and not bulky.
We then make an impression mold of your prepared teeth that a dental technician will use to create your veneers. During this process they build up layer after layer of liquid porcelain until they achieve the right thickness, shape and color to match your teeth.
In the meantime, we can fit you with a temporary set of veneers made of acrylic plastic so you can chew, speak and smile normally. These provisional veneers also give you and your friends and family a chance to see what your new smile will look like.
When your veneers are ready, we'll create micro-etches in your teeth that will help keep the veneer secure after we've bonded them. Once bonded, the veneer will feel like an inseparable part of the tooth and look it too. No one except you and us need know you're wearing veneers.
If you take care of them — keeping up daily hygiene habits, not biting into hard surfaces, and visiting us regularly for checkups — your veneers can last for many years. And so will that beautiful, new smile.
If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, 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 “Porcelain Veneers.”