Why Are You Taking My Picture?


Arianna Marsden, RDH

Why Are You Taking My Picture In a Dental Office?

When you come into one of our offices for your first visit, we’ll likely complete a comprehensive exam for you.  As part of the comprehensive exam, our team assesses your teeth, gums, risks for oral cancer, dietary health, and makes recommendations for how to relieve pain, treat active tooth decay and gum diseases, and to improve your general and oral health.  The assessments we complete normally include a full-mouth series of radiographs, or x-rays, a thorough assessment of the health of your soft tissues, including pocket depths, bone loss, inflammation, and recession by your dental hygienist, and a thorough examination of the hard tissues by your dentist.  One important part of our comprehensive assessment, which you may not expect, is a series of photographs.

Normally, we take a series of photos as a record of how your teeth look, and how the lips drape over the teeth when you smile and at rest.  These photos allow us to show you your teeth in a way you’ve never seen them before; they are the most powerful tool we can offer you in making educated, informed decisions about your own dental health.  With these photos, you will be able to see every surface of every tooth, the condition of the gums, any teeth that are wearing or shifting, producing chipped or broken teeth, or unhealthy spacing or crowding of your teeth.  Zoomed-in intraoral photos can also help you to really see conditions that the clinical team identifies in your mouth, such as a filling that is leaking or has created fracture lines in your tooth.

As clinicians, we are concerned about your overall health, and we know that a big contributor to that is the health of your mouth.  We keep meticulous records of the conditions of your mouth, and treatments that have been recommended to achieve and maintain a healthy mouth.  Our records often include detailed written chart notes, but as the old adage states, a picture is worth a thousand words!  With these images, your clinical team can recall and understand what treatment was recommended and why, without digging through chart notes.   These photos also allow us to evaluate the quality of our work, often through before and after photos of a tooth that is being restored, or following a cleaning.   

Providing digital photography is just one of many techniques we utilize to comprehensively assess the health of your mouth, and to involve you in the process of making informed decisions about your dental health!

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If You’re Not Whitening, You’re Yellowing!


Ann Clark, RDH


If You’re Not Whitening, You’re Yellowing!
Every year our offices participate in a whitening opportunity that benefits not only our patients but also children and people in less fortunate areas of Africa.  Smiles of Hope is a non-profit organization where volunteers pay their way over to Africa to selflessly provide their services to benefit the less fortunate with eye and teeth assistance, while experiencing a life-changing adventure.  The whitening opportunity consists of products donated to our offices and we  happily donate our time.   100% of the money goes to the charity for product and supplies.  We offer 3 ways to whiten through trays and take home product,  In-office, Dentist supervised  applications to your teeth and the third option is through In-office Dentist supervised  applications with the trays and take home product as a package.  The prices are always at our lowest financial opportunity for you, the patient, during the months of March-June.
What is whitening and how does it work?
Tooth color is the result of genetics, drugs and meds during pregnancy,  the child during the tooth development stage, or an environmental factor such as increased fluoride uptake or maternal infections such as tetracycline stains, postnatal infection, measles, chicken pox, strep infections and scarlet fever.  Your tooth is made up of an outer hard enamel layer over the softer dentin. The enamel is porous and  will absorb stain from anything with color you put in your mouth…coffee, cigarette, foods.  Another layer basically forms on top of the enamel which we call a pellicle film.  We can clean this film with scaling and polishing, you can try to clean it with abrasive whitening toothpastes but this is like a scouring pad cleaning a dish.  As the film sits on your teeth, after years, is absorbs through the tooth’s pores.  Although these deeper stains are harmless they are unattractive.  This is when you need the “good stuff”.  Whiteners use bleaching chemicals to get down into the enamel and set off an oxidation chemical reaction that breaks apart the staining compounds.  Whiteners use either a carbide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide agent.  When used in the mouth, carbide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, with hydrogen peroxide being the effective agent.
Is whitening safe?
Most studies confirm that whitening is with effective and safe.  Whitening products with less than 10% carbide peroxide (3.6 hydrogen peroxide), have not been shown to cause any concerns to tooth enamel.  Higher concentrations can cause some weakening to the enamel but these also contain fluoride which counter-acts this potential side-effect.  If tooth sensitivity or gum irritation occurs it is best to reduce product frequency and time spent whitening.  Prescription  fluoride is used to treat sensitivity sometimes associated with whitening.  Gum irritation can result from any of the whitening options but is reversible and usually mild.  Over the counter oracle can also treat these symptoms.
Before any whitening service it is always recommended to have had a dental examination and any cavities filled or other dental work accomplished.



Wendy Parker, RDH


Do you feel like you’re ready for a little change in your smile without spending a lot of money?  Well, look no further!  I know it sounds a little bit like a gimmick, but it’s true!  Whitening your smile, the professional way, can change your smile for just a small cost!  I know many of us have tried over the counter products and have come away frustrated or not seeing the difference, but in the next few months, you can use the best products out on the market to help you get results and help someone else in the meantime!

The best two ways you can whiten your smile with the greatest results are with either an at home kit or an in-office procedure.  Both are safe and effective.

With the at-home procedure, we take an impression of your teeth and make custom fitting whitening trays.  Once the trays are made, you take them home and once a day you can apply whitening gel into the trays and wear them for about an hour.  You would brush and floss before whitening to make sure all the food and plaque has been removed, then place the gel in the trays and wear them for about an hour.  After the time has passed, remove the trays and brush and floss again, rinsing your mouth and trays thoroughly from any remaining gel. Do this as many days as you would like, for up to 2 weeks, or till you’ve reached your desired whiteness. Then keep the trays for any future touch up use.

The in-office procedure is slightly different, in which case, we do all the work and you just sit back and enjoy the ride.  You will spend about 2 hours with us in the office, doing a series of 3 whitening treatments in one sitting.  While protecting the tissues, we are able to apply whitening gel and achieve greatest results in such a short time. So, if you don’t have the patience to do the at home treatment, this procedure is right for you!
If you’ve been with our practice for a while, you know that this time every year we participate in a fundraising opportunity that starts in March and runs through the end of June, called Smiles for Hope.  During these few short months, our office donates all the proceeds that we earn from any whitening product and procedure to a charity called Hope Arising.  We join teams in an effort to raise money to help those in Dara, Ethiopia.  Twice a year our doctors, and several others, take supplies and their abilities, to travel to Ethiopia and spend a week giving service to help fulfill dental and medical needs in their town.

So, if you’re looking to get your sweetheart or loved one a treat for their birthday, anniversary, Valentine’s Day, or any other occasion, here is a great opportunity to help them AND help someone else.  Oh, and did I mention, it’s 100% tax deductible?  That’s right!  It’s considered a charitable contribution since 100% of the proceeds go to charity!  Don’t hesitate to ask any of our friendly team questions about how you can participate in Smiles for Hope this year!

Both at home and in-office whitening $250
In-office Whitening $200
At home Whitening $150

Why Do We Need to Brush and Floss?


Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

Why Do We Need to Brush and Floss?

Many of you know two questions that your Dental Hygienist will inevitably asked you when you go in for your regular check-up visit:  “Are you brushing two times a day?” and “How is your flossing going?”

As an Hygienist, we do not asked these questions to get after you.  We promise we do not love nagging you to floss.  We do it because we genuinely care for your health and helping our patients understand how brushing and flossing can keep you healthy is one of our professional goals.

Most of you know the guidelines. For optimum dental health, you should brushing two times a day for two minutes, and floss one time a day.  We know that is what we are supposed to do.  But do we know why?

Plaque (that soft, filmy, white stuff that grows on our teeth) accumulates constantly.  24/7.  It never stops growing.  Even if you do not eat food, it grows (common misconception that plaque only grows when you eat).  Inside plaque lives bacteria.  This is the bacteria that causes cavities and gum disease.  It is recommended that we brush two times a day to remove the plaque and disrupt the bacteria’s harm on our mouth.  If we do not remove the plaque, then we are allowing the bacteria to start creating cavities and cause inflammation and infection in our gums.

If the plaque is left in an area for a while then it will harden and calcify.  This is what we can tartar build-up, or you may even hear us refer to it as calculus.  While plaque is soft and can be removed with a toothbrush and floss, tartar is like a rock cemented onto your tooth.  You can brush and floss all day long, once it’s turned into calculus, it’s not going any where.  The biggest down side of that is that it still has the bacteria inside of it.  Now it’s stuck on your tooth, not going anywhere, with all this bacteria.  Even better for gum infections and things to occur.

Don’t worry, your awesome Hygienist will save you.  We have the tools and know-how to remove that calculus and get your mouth back to health!  But, so do you!  You can brush and floss every day, remove that plaque, and prevent that calculus from even forming!

Now many of you do brush your teeth.  Which is fantastic!  We love when you do that!  However, not as many of you floss.  I’m not sure why.  It’s just as important, and doesn’t really take that long.  Here’s something to remember when you want to skip flossing tonight… You can be THE most amazing brusher in the whole world, but you will never be able to clean between your teeth with just a toothbrush.  It’s a fact.  The best technique will not maneuver those toothbrush bristle to places they cannot physically reach.  Floss is the only way to clean the remaining 35% of your tooth that the brush did not get.  Floss is a toothbrush’s best friend.  They go hand in hand.  One just as important as the other.

I hope this helped you understand a bit more why we always ask these two simple questions.  If you have any other questions, we are here for you!  Just ask!

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