Monday 7:00am - 5:00
Tuesday 7:00am - 5:00
Wednesday 7:00am - 5:00
Thursday 7:00am - 5:00
Friday 7:00am - 11:00
  • Ph. 850-477-5252
  • 151 West Airport Blvd.
  • Pensacola, FL 32505

DOES “BLEACHING” YOUR TEETH HURT OR DAMAGE THEM?

Most whitening products contain varying percentages of carbamide peroxide as their active ingredient. This chemical has been repeatedly proven safe and effective in clinical studies. Often times people using whitening products experience sensitivity but these symptoms usually subside after a few days. I do not recommend over-the-counter whitening products containing peroxide agents. These chemicals are very caustic and can cause burns to your gum tissues if left on them for long periods of time. To prevent this, your dentist will provide you with custom fitted trays that allows for removal of excess whitening solution.

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WHAT DO THE DENTISTS ON THE “EXTREME MAKEOVER” DO TO MAKE TEETH SO BEAUTIFUL?

The simplest and least invasive way to improve your smile is to whiten your teeth. I have found that the best results are obtained with custom fitted at-home whitening systems available at your dentist’s office. Optimal results are usually obtained in 2 or 3 weeks and it usually costs several hundred dollars to whiten both arches. Though this can greatly improve the color of your teeth it doesn't address their shape or position. Other cosmetic dental procedures range in price from a few hundred to tens of thousands of dollars and may involve removal of tooth structure, gum augmentation, braces, or even surgery. We will discuss some of these options next week.

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“EXTREME MAKEOVER” CONTINUED

Bonding and veneer procedures give your dentist the latitude to change the color and shape of your teeth. In many cases we can close spaces and make crooked teeth appear straight. Bonding is simply white plastic resin that is bonded to the surfaces of your teeth whereas porcelain veneers are made of glass and are bonded to your teeth with cement. We can achieve similar results with bonding or porcelain veneers however veneers have a much longer life expectancy and tend to look better throughout their life. The price difference is significant as bonding is usually a few hundred dollars per tooth while veneers are 3 or 4 times more.

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“EXTREME MAKEOVER” CONCLUSION

When your dentist evaluates your smile, many factors are taken into account. Sometimes it is necessary to move teeth or even surgically reposition your jaws in order to obtain the best results. Surgery is only necessary in rare cases where a patient’s skull bones are malformed or not in proportion. Orthodontics, however, can address a multitude of problems that may be affecting your smile. Orthodontic treatment can take from a few months for simple problems to several years for complex cases. Prices vary greatly depending on which procedures you may need. On average, a full case takes around 1½ to 2 years and costs several thousand dollars.

WHAT ARE SEALANTS AND HOW DO THEY WORK?

Sealants are hard plastic resin fillings that we place in the deep pits and grooves on the surfaces of your teeth. Because the pits and grooves of your teeth are very difficult if not impossible to clean, these areas are prone to decay. By filling these areas with plastic resin, we can eliminate these hard to clean areas thus lowering the chances of you getting cavities. Sealants however, don’t protect all of the tooth’s surfaces from decay; only the pits and grooves. It is still important to brush and floss after each meal, limit your sugar intake, and visit you dentist regularly.

WHAT IS AN IMPLANT AND WHAT IS INVOLVED IN THE PROCEDURE?

An implant is a threaded titanium post that serves as an “artificial tooth root” on which your dentist will place a crown. There are several stages of treatment-involved beginning with the planning phase. During this phase, your dentist simply makes molds of your mouth. A surgeon then places the implant and allows it to heal below your gums for several months. The surgeon later uncovers the implant so your dentist can begin the restoration phase. During this phase, your dentist will make more molds of your mouth that will be sent to a dental lab. The lab then makes the final crown that your dentist will permanently cement onto the implant.

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MY JAWS HAVE BEEN SORE LATELY. COULD THIS BE MIGRAINES OR TMJ?

Your symptoms sound like you may be clenching your teeth. When you clench your teeth, you are over-activating the muscles that close your jaw causing these muscles to become sore. This activity commonly causes headaches in the temporal region (your temples are the sides of your head between your ears and eyes). The ONLY time your top teeth should ever touch your bottom teeth is during chewing and swallowing! If you find yourself clenching your teeth during the day, relax your jaw and let your teeth separate. Your dentist can make you a custom mouthguard that will keep your teeth apart and jaw relaxed at night while you sleep (some wear it during the day also).

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WHAT IS TMJ?

TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint. This joint is the hinge where your lower jaw meets your upper jaw and is located just in front of your ear. If someone is having pain due to a problem with this joint we call his or her condition TMD (temporomandibular joint dysfunction). Many people have discomfort their jaws but thankfully “true TMJ pain” is not common. TMJ pain is usually localized to the joint itself and can often be on only 1 side. It may also be associated with popping, cracking and grinding sounds in the joint. If you are experiencing jaw pain it is important to be evaluated by your dentist to rule out serious problems that may require further treatment.

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ONE OF MY TEETH IS DARKER THAN THE OTHERS. DO I NEED A ROOT CANAL?

At some point your tooth was injured and its blood supply was interrupted. Bleeding inside your tooth has caused this discoloration therefore bleaching the outside of your tooth will not help. In your situation, as is usually the case when a single tooth is discolored, your tooth is “dead” or non-vital. Though your tooth doesn't hurt now, it probably will sometime in the future so you need to get a root canal. After the root canal is done, your dentist can bleach the inside of your tooth to lighten the shade. In some cases, bleaching is not the best option and a veneer or crown must be done to get the best result.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN DEEP CLEANING AND NORMAL CLEANING?

A normal cleaning involves removal of plaque, stain, and tartar from the surfaces of your teeth above the gumline. Your dentist has diagnosed you with “gum disease” or periodontal disease meaning that there is a destructive, bacteria induced process occurring below your gumline that can cause you to lose the bone that supports your teeth. A “deep cleaning” or scaling and root planing involves the removal of tartar, bacteria and bacterial toxins from the surfaces of your teeth below your gumline. This is a therapeutic procedure carefully and skillfully performed by a qualified dentist or dental hygienist that often takes 2 or more visits. Nothing can cure periodontal disease but this procedure will start you on the path to controlling it.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHITENING AND REGULAR TOOTHPASTES?

“Whitening” toothpastes generally contain small amounts of peroxide and/or abrasive particles. Due to the fact that these toothpastes have very low concentrations of the active ingredient and are only in contact with your teeth for a short period of time, little stain removal and whitening can be expected. Significant staining and yellowing is better treated with dentist supervised bleaching systems. These treatments use much stronger products and are far more effective than any toothpaste.

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SHOULD I REPLACE MY SILVER FILLINGS?

It is perfectly legitimate to replace functioning silver fillings if you are not happy with the way they look. When we talk, smile and laugh, our back teeth are visible to others. Metal fillings, even in these back teeth, can be very unattractive. Replacing these fillings with tooth colored restorations is a cosmetic procedure that dentists routinely perform much like bonding or veneers.

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WHAT IS INVOLVED WITH BONDING AND VENEER PROCEDURES?

When we do bonding procedures, we prefer to finish in one appointment and depending on how many teeth we bond, it usually takes an hour or two. Porcelain veneers however, take at least two visits to complete. Your initial one to two hour visits involves reshaping your teeth to make room for the porcelain. We then make temporary veneers that you wear for two weeks while a dental lab fabricates your porcelain veneers. The veneers are cemented on to your teeth at the second visit, which usually take about 45 minutes.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PORCELAIN VENEER AND A PORCELAIN CROWN?

If you have a significant amount of decay or have had large fillings or other dentistry done on the teeth in question, crowns are usually a better choice to restore your smile. Crowns cover your entire tooth to protect and restore previously damaged tooth structure and look as good or better than veneers in most cases. The advantage of veneers is that if the teeth are healthy, we don’t have to remove as much tooth structure since veneers only cover the front surface of your tooth.

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WHAT ARE MY OPTIONS FOR BLEACHING WITH A CROWN?

Your enamel will become noticeably whiter when you bleach, however it will not affect the shade of porcelain or bonding. Therefore, if you want to whiten your teeth and you have bonding, crowns, or veneers on teeth you want to be lighter, you will probably have to redo the dentistry on that tooth after you bleach. Though this will add to the price of your treatment, it is still the most cost effective way to brighten your smile.

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WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A REGULAR AND ELECTRIC TOOTHBRUSH?

Manual and electric toothbrushes are equally capable at removing plaque from your teeth. The advantage that electric brushes have over manual brushes is that electric brushes can reduce bad brushing techniques and can increase compliance. Nicer models have timers that tell you how long to brush and they stall if you try to brush too vigorously. When used properly, electric toothbrushes can make brushing a more consistent routine often times greatly improving your oral hygiene.

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WHY ARE MY TEETH SENSITIVE?

The most common cause of minor tooth sensitivity is a sugary or acidic diet.  Acid in your mouth can come from a few different sources.  When sugar is left on your teeth, the bacteria in your mouth turn it into acid.  Acid is also found in soft drinks, fruits and fruit juices.  Your mouth can also be exposed to acid if you have acid reflux.  All of these sources can have the same effect on your teeth.  Make sure you limit the amount of time that sugar and acid stay on your teeth.  After a sugary or acidic drink or snack, rinse with water, or chew sugarless gum - and NEVER sip on sugary or acidic drinks for long periods of time!  Another common condition that can contribute to sensitivity is gum recession. This causes the root surfaces of your teeth become exposed allowing the teeth’s nerves to be easily stimulated by things like cold air or cold drinks. Toothpastes for sensitivity work in several ways. Strontium chloride seals teeth to prevent pain and potassium nitrate desensitizes the nerve endings in your teeth. Fluoride also works to desensitize your teeth. These toothpastes often work in 4 to 6 weeks and usually require continuous use to remain effective. If you don’t notice any difference in this time frame, be sure to consult your dentist since other reasons for sensitivity include things like cavities, tooth clinching, or even tooth fracture.

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WHY CAN’T I GET RID OF MY BAD BREATH?

Most people at some time in their life have halitosis (bad breath). The most common cause is particles of food remaining in the mouth after meals. The bacteria in your mouth interact with these particles causing a bad odor. Certain foods (onions, garlic, etc.) produce sulfur-containing gases when digested. These unpleasant smelling gases are absorbed and exhaled from the lungs. Bad breath may also be a result of xerostomia or “dry mouth” sometimes caused by certain medications and medical conditions or it could be a result of periodontal (gum) disease. Regular checkups will help detect and treat these conditions early.

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HOW DO I AVOID BAD BREATH?

Always brush and floss after meals. This removes the food particles and decreases the amount of odor causing bacteria in your mouth. Tongue scrapers (purchased at any drug store) can be used to remove even more bacteria and debris. The bacteria not removed from brushing, flossing, and tongue scraping will be decreased further by rinsing with Listerine for 30 seconds. Between meals, keep your mouth moist by drinking plenty of water and keep your saliva flowing by chewing sugarless gum. Avoid odor-causing foods and if you smoke, stop! Remember, bad breath can be caused by more serious problems so if these tips don’t help, consult your dentist about treatment options.

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MY CHILD SUCKS HER THUMB CONSTANTLY. IS THIS GOING TO CAUSE PROBLEMS LATER?

If a child stops a finger sucking habit by about age 4, any damage from a finger sucking habit, such as an open bite, is usually temporary. Peer pressure in school often motivates children to stop by age four or five. Kids that haven’t stopped by age 5 may need your help. Use positive reinforcement; it is very important that you not pressure your child to stop (this may just reinforce the habit). If the habit persists beyond age 6, active intervention will be necessary and your dentist or orthodontist may need to place an appliance to stop the habit.

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WHY FILL BABY TEETH WHEN THEY WILL FALL OUT ANYWAY?

Primary or “baby” teeth are very important for the development of your child. Children need their baby teeth to chew properly, speak clearly, and smile with self-confidence. Another very important function of baby teeth is space maintenance. Baby teeth come out in a very specific sequence that allows the permanent teeth to erupt in the proper position. If a baby tooth is removed too early, the teeth will shift and this sequence will be interrupted. This often results in bite problems and a crooked smile that must be treated with orthodontic appliances or braces.

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WHAT IS AVAILABLE TO MAKE MY APPOINTMENTS MORE BEARABLE?

Modern dental offices are much more in tune with the comfort of patients than in years past. Our office for instance has TVs and stereo headphones in all treatment rooms to keep you distracted from the procedure. We also offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to relax even the most nervous patients. For those who can’t use the nitrous gas, the option of an oral sedative is available (we give you a prescription and you take a pill one hour before your procedure). Perhaps the best way to overcome your fear of the dentist is to find an office that you feel comfortable with and visit regularly so that small problems can be caught before they become big ones.

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