Wonders of Whitening

There are so many different types of teeth whitening out on the market now-a-days, ever wonder if they all work? Which ones are the best for you? Do they last long? Are they good for your teeth and gums? Do they damage your tooth structure? Often, people whiten their teeth with different products without really knowing what it is, the effectiveness, and do they have that long-term effect that everyone wants. If you’re anything like me, you strive for whiter teeth every day. I have been obsessed with whitening my teeth ever since I got my braces off 6 years ago. I have tried every method under the sun and have found positives and negatives about each one.

The first method I started out with were the whitening strips. I found these to be most convenient and affordable at a young age. I purchased the 60 pack of Crest White Strips at Costco for around 100 dollars. I started using them as soon as I got home! I found they were a little odd at first. Teeth whitening strips are clear, flimsy plastic that you place on your teeth and hope that they don’t slide or fall off so you won’t have to taste the yucky bleach. They are coated on one side with a film of hydrogen peroxide bleaching agent. You open a bottom strip, and a top strip and place them on your teeth. I found them to be a bit awkward because I felt like I had to keep my mouth open, and smiling the whole time so I wouldn’t swallow the bleach, or get it on anything but my teeth. The strips definitely made a difference, it just took a while. If you’re an impatient person like I am, this is not the route to go.

Another option I tried was ordering trays online that you boil and then shape them to your teeth. Let me tell you one thing before I continue, DO NOT WASTE YOUR MONEY ON THIS. They do not work, and are the most frustrating things on the planet. Trying to boil something, and put it into your mouth right after, HURTS! They didn’t mold correctly, and they were uncomfortable. I had a hard time having them in my mouth for an hour each day. I just couldn’t do it anymore. After about 2 weeks of no difference in my teeth what-so-ever. Definitely recommend steering clear of an online order for bleach trays.

I am an aspiring Dental Hygienist. I have a passion for teeth, and have had that passion ever since I would beg my friends to allow me pull their teeth out when I was 5 years old. Teeth are a big deal in my life. I started working in a dental office about 7 months ago while I go to school for Dental Hygiene. While working there, I have been introduced to a whole new world of whitening. I have learned more about whitening then I have ever hoped. The first week of working, I purchased the custom trays. Let me just say this before I continue, this has been the best decision I have ever made (next to some other life altering choices). The trays are affordable and range depending on the office, mine were obviously at a discounted price being an employee of the practice. These trays are custom, like I said. Getting set up does take the most time by far, but the results are more than worth the time invested. First you come in for impressions, usually later that day we have the trays ready for you. The material we use comes in a prefilled syringe like tube which makes it easier to apply in the bleach trays. The syringes contain 16% hydrogen peroxide which is more than enough to remove those stubborn stains, or even effects of tetracycline use (see previous blog). I have a bonded tooth that can sometimes get a little discolored, and what I love most about this bleach is that it makes a huge difference even on my bonded tooth. The best thing about custom trays is that they are comfortable, and you only have to use a little bit of gel, so when you put the trays in, they aren’t over flowing with bleach making it awkward to close your mouth. I wore my trays consistently for one hour every night for 7 days and saw a huge difference. The trays are a good choice if you’re the type of person that wants results fast and loves convenience at a reasonable cost. The only downside to this method of whitening is that when you put too much bleach in your trays and it makes contact with your gums, it may cause a little bit of discomfort or a little bit of pain. But other than that, this is my go to whitening!

My office, as well as many other dentist offices offer in office whitening. It is a one day office visit, pain-free, short chair time procedure, with lasting results. This is by far the most popular procedure. It is popular because of the long-lasting effects. You have one visit, and your teeth are up to 7 shades lighter. A lot of people are very hesitant of in office whitening due to the fact that they are afraid their teeth may become sensitive. With the in office procedure, 4 separate tubes of whitening are applied to your teeth over an hour period in 15 minutes intervals there is little to no sensitivity.

All of this talk about whitening leads me to my most exciting discovery. In talking about my pursuit for excellence in whitening around the office, I discovered that my office participates in an annual Zoom Whitening campaign called Smiles for Life. Smiles for Life is a whitening campaign partnered with the Crown Council that whitens teeth on a donation basis. During March – June of every year my office joined with Philips Oral Health makers of ZOOM whiten teeth and all the proceeds go directly to charity, 50% of proceeds benefit national children’s charities, 50% benefit a charity of our choice – Hope Arising, visit http://www.smilesforlife.org for more details. Hope Arising is a sustainable organization that helps people of Ethiopia, we work very closely with Hope Arising , even traveling to Africa twice a year to aid in their stabilization efforts. While in Ethiopia we provide dental services to those in need as well as aid in other efforts to stabilize agriculture and water delivery systems to local villages, visit http://www.hopearising.org for more details or information on how you can help. In the 2012 Smiles for Life campaign we raised over $10,000 and donated approximately $5,000 to Hope Arising, were hoping for an even more successful 2013.

Different whitening methods apply to different people. You may love the strips, and hate the trays. You may love the in office whitening and hate everything else. These are just some of Cassie’s (me) tips to whiter teeth! And for a good cause, too  If you need any more information on whitening, please feel free to email me at appt@shalimarfamilydentistry.com or call me at (480)838-3355. I am very reachable by both.teeth-whiteningpress_release_distribution_0301198_57938

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Bad Breath? No Problem!

Do you suffer from bad breath? Does it linger with you throughout the day and you just can’t get rid of it? Don’t be embarrassed, you and the 40 million Americans are not alone.

Halitosis, also more commonly known as bad breath occurs when unpleasant odors are exhaled through the mouth. In most cases, bad breath originates from the mouth. One of the most common causes of bad breath is the build-up of plaque. When people don’t floss, or brush as much as they should, the plaque then begins to harbor bacteria resulting in bad breath, even if you just brushed your teeth! Some symptoms to be on the look out for bad breath are; smell, bad taste or taste changes in your mouth, dry mouth, and a coating on your tongue.

 Most causes of bad breath are due to inadequate oral hygiene. If good oral hygiene practices, or a dentist do no eliminate bad breath, you should consult your physician. Very few causes of bad breath may need medical attention from a physician. When to seek that type of medical attention is when you have a persistent dry mouth, sores in the mouth, pain with chewing or swallowing, white spots on the tonsils, fever,  or just started a new medication. New parents need to watch their babies or young children because bad breath may be a sign of infection or undiagnosed medical problem.

If your bad breath is a result of poor oral hygiene, here are a few tips to help your teeth stay healthy, and smelling clean!

  • brush twice a day with toothpaste containing fluoride
  • brush teeth after meals, especially meals that contain foods high in acid
  • replace your toothbrush every 2 months, this helps your overall health as well. This way you won’t keep putting the same bad bacteria in your mouth over and over again.
  • make sure you are seeing a dentist twice a year for your regular cleanings and check-ups to avoid any problems that might be brewing in your mouth
  • brush your tongue regularly, it really makes a huge difference
  • make sure you are flossing regularly so those food particles that get stuck in between your teeth don’t harbor bacteria
  • keep your mouth moist and wet by drinking lots of water! It’s not a bad idea to make it a habit to drink more water throughout the day because your overall health also benefits from it! Who doesn’t love a 2 for 1 special?

Don’t be embarrassed if you have bad breath, just remember you aren’t alone. Try the tips suggested above, and if they don’t work, come in and see a dentist. We want you to be comfortable, and our number one goal is to see you walk out the door with happy smiles!

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What Even Causes a Gag Reflex Anyways?

Do you have a sensitive gag reflex? Do you hate coming to the dentist because of the dreaded x-rays that make you gag? Don’t worry, you aren’t the only one!

When you go to the dentist, and they take x-rays, do you ever get that awful feeling of throwing up whenever they stick the x-ray into your mouth? That is called your gag reflex. This happens when something is in your mouth that goes far towards the back of your throat and touches the soft palate. This causes irritation to the pharynx, and evoke that feeling that you may or may not throw up!

This is extremely common in a dental office. Some patients have what is called hyperactive gag reflex, which is characterized by high sensitivity levels in the pharyngeal nerves and surround area of certain individuals which than evokes your gag reflex with the slightest instance. This is usually more common in children then adults. But if you are an adult and you suffer from this, it could be caused my sensitivity to certain foods, reactions to some sort of medication, indulging in activities that involve high intensity movements.

We know this process isn’t easy for those of you who have the hyperactive gag reflex. Which is why we have some tips for you!

  • Breathe through your nose. Try getting into the grove of breathing through your nose ahead of time.
  • lift one foot in the air, and concentrate on that during the x-ray process
  • Try telling yourself ahead of time that you aren’t going to gag. It has quite the effect!

Gagging is caused by a number of things, and we completely understand. Don’t ever be afraid to tell us that you have trouble with x-rays. We have many tips to keep your mind else where 🙂