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Teeth Whitening and Teeth Bleaching: What’s the Difference?

Teeth Whitening and Teeth Bleaching: What’s the Difference?

Having a bright, beautiful, white smile is something we all desire. It signals health and prosperity and leaves the best possible first impression a person can make. There are a host of products at the drug store that label themselves “whitening.” Whitening toothpastes, whitening mouth rinses, whitening strips, gels and creams all line the shelves, promising a “new you!” Your dentist, however, offers something labeled as “bleaching.” So what’s the difference? Which should you choose?

Your natural tooth is made up of two specific layers: enamel and dentin. The enamel layer is on the outside of the tooth. It’s the white part we see when someone smiles. It’s hard and heavily mineralized and can appear like porcelain. The dentin is the inner layer. It’s yellow in color and supports the enamel on the outside. Over time, your enamel naturally wears away and the yellow dentin color can begin to show through.

The term “whitening” is applied to any product that helps restore teeth to a natural color by removing debris and stains from a natural tooth’s surface. Any substance that restores the surface of a tooth’s enamel is a whitening product. Many whitening products contain a mild abrasive that removes leftover discoloration and food particles, leaving the enamel of the tooth smooth and white. Teeth whitening products combat stains caused by ageing and the discoloration left by many foods, or by smoking.

The FDA permits the term “bleaching” only for products that can whiten a tooth beyond their initial, natural color. Bleaching products contain active ingredients such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide is activated so that it releases oxygen molecules that enter the tooth enamel and break down stains in a way that whitening products cannot. This activation can occur immediately, in the case of some in-office bleaching products, like laser whitening, or it can take several hours, as it can with custom take-home bleaching trays.

If you are considering brightening your smile, talk to Crystal City teeth whitening dentist Dr. Nikodem to see what product is best suited to your smile needs!

We look forward to seeing you in our Crystal City dental office

Learn about All Your Teeth Whitening Options

A beautifully white smile is often perceived as a sign of youth and vitality, but over time it can gradually fade. Eating certain foods or drinking dark-colored beverages, taking particular medications and simply aging can all take its toll on your teeth. It’s hardly surprising that tooth whitening has become one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures in recent years. Professional teeth whitening is safe and effective and can quickly rejuvenate your smile. If you’re thinking about whitening your teeth, there are several options to choose from which include:

In-Office Whitening
In-office teeth whitening is hugely popular, as you can literally book a lunch time appointment and leave with a dazzling white smile. Surface stains can quickly be eliminated, and teeth can be brightened by up to eight shades in just an hour. This option is the most expensive, and you don’t have much control over the final results. Your dentist in Crystal City will activate the bleaching gel with a special light so the final result should be a stunning white smile.

Custom-Made Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits
Not everyone wants to whiten their teeth so quickly, and custom-made whitening trays enable you to safely bleach teeth in a more controlled manner. Your Crystal City cosmetic dentist will take impressions of your teeth that are used to fabricate custom-made whitening trays. You’ll be shown how to use these trays, and should wear them for as long as directed. Most people will begin to notice real results within a few days, but they generally need to be used for two or three weeks to achieve optimum effects.

Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Kits
Over-the-counter whitening kits come in the form of trays and whitening strips and can cost between $20 and $50 so it’s tempting to think they will save you money. However the bleaching gels contained in these kits are not as strong as those available to your dentist. In addition, there’s the possibility these kits could irritate your gums as ill-fitting whitening trays can allow the gel to leak out.

We look forward to seeing you in our Crystal City dental office

Reasons Your Teeth May No Longer Be White

Reasons Your Teeth May No Longer Be White

It can be rather upsetting to see that your smile is no longer as bright and appealing as it used to. Most people’s teeth become stained and discolored and result of diet and poor oral hygiene habits. It can make the whole appearance look dull and unkempt, giving others the impression you don’t take good care of yourself. Let’s find out the causes and what you can do about it.

Causes
There are some reasons that teeth become stained or yellowed. The culprits for tooth discoloration are as follows:

  • Tobacco – Smoking or chewing on them stains teeth.
  • Foods and drinks – coffee, colas, wines, tea, berries, sauces, and other items that you consume can damage your tooth color.
  • Medications – certain medications are known to discolor teeth, sometimes causing severe stains that are difficult to remove.
  • Poor oral hygiene – improper brushing and flossing is key in removing plaque and stains.
  • Age – aging wears away tooth enamel and reveals the yellowish dentin underneath.
  • Disease – some diseases can harm tooth enamel and trigger discoloration. Certain medical treatments like radiation and chemotherapy can also discolor teeth.
  • Environment – excessive fluoride exposure can stain teeth; this is known as fluorosis.
  • Genetics – some people are more prone to tooth discoloration than others.
  • Trauma – a hit to the maxillofacial region can damage the tooth and cause discoloration due to pulp necrosis.

Prevention
Lifestyle changes can prevent tooth discoloration, such as avoiding foods and drinks known to stain teeth. Improving oral hygiene is another step in the right direction, including regular brushing and flossing and consistent professional teeth cleanings.

Treatment
The options vary depending on the severity of discoloration and goals of the patient. Whitening methods include over-the-counter whitening products, at-home whitening kits provided by the dentist, professional in-office whitening treatments, bonding, and dental veneers. These tools cater for various needs according to patient’s concern.

If you need a dentist in Crystal City contact us today

Teeth Whitening Trends

Teeth Whitening Trends

Nobody is happy with yellow or brown teeth. Ugly stains from smoking or consuming foods and drinks prone to discoloring your teeth can make you a good candidate for teeth whitening. There are many techniques available to restore your bright smile. The main two categories of teeth whitening are either at-home kits or professional treatment in a dental office. Let’s learn about these to see which you’d like to use to brighten your smile.

At-home teeth whitening
There are a variety of products you can try yourself to whiten your teeth. These treatments usually take a few weeks of use before your teeth are noticeably whiter. Also remember that most of these products cannot achieve as high of a level of whiteness as those performed professionally.

  • Kits – whitening kits contain a tooth mold and gel to place inside the mold. You wear the filled mold for about 30 minutes for 2-3 weeks.
  • Strips – thin whitening strips are coated with peroxide gel, and then you apply the strips directly to your teeth for 30 minutes for 14 days. Results become evident in a few days and last about four months.
  • Toothpaste – brushing with whitening toothpaste must be done consistently and you must be patient because reaching the desired outcome usually takes a couple of months.

Professional teeth whitening
Treatments done by a dentist are the fastest and most effective way to regain your pearly whites.

  • Laser whitening – the dentist coats your teeth with a hydrogen peroxide solution and then shines a laser light on them. This oxidizes the stains and gives them a whiter appearance.
  • Porcelain veneers – if your teeth are severely stained and other whitening techniques haven’t done the trick, your dentist may recommend porcelain veneers. These shells permanently cover your teeth and provide a beautiful smile.

Teeth Whitening dentist in Crystal City

Reasons to Consider Dentures

Reasons to Consider Dentures

Most of the time, the idea of dentures brings to mind elderly people who are missing a mouthful of teeth. The truth is that dentures are not just for old folks, but for people of all ages who have lost teeth for some reason. Gum disease, tooth decay, and trauma from an accident are all common reasons for tooth loss. There is no need to suffer through life with gaps in your smile, when you can opt for dentures to restore both appearance and function.

The main reasons that many people consider getting dentures include:

  • Eating – your teeth help you to chew and eat food. Dentures serve the same purpose, allowing you to eat a normal diet without having to stick only to soft foods or liquids.
  • Speaking – when the gaps in your smile have been filled, your ability to speak more clearly and easily is improved.
  • Smiling – replacing missing teeth gives you back your self-confidence to smile and laugh again. You will be proud of your new smile and be willing to display it more often. Also, your cheeks will have a fuller look and your appearance may look younger.

When you get dentures, expect that it may take some time to get used to them. They may feel strange at first, and you should be patient while you learn to talk and eat with them. Time will help you adjust to the dentures, but if discomfort lingers you should visit your dentist to make sure the fit is correct and no adjustments are necessary.

We look forward to seeing you in our Crystal City dental office

Getting Dentures: What to Expect

Getting Dentures: What to Expect

With an estimated 49 million adults in the United States wearing dentures, there are lots of lessons learned about wearing them. Virtually everyone will say that it took a little adjustment time before they were comfortable and confident with their new teeth. It can help to know what to expect with wearing dentures at first.

Your dentures may feel very strange the first day you get them. They can seem too big for your mouth, and as though your lips are out of place. These strange sensations will disappear with time. You may also notice more saliva than usual in your mouth. This is a natural response of your mouth as it grows accustomed to the appliance.

A liquid diet is recommended by many dentists for the first couple of days after getting dentures. Then you may begin eating soft foods, like cooked vegetables, eggs, and fish. Take small bites and chew slowly. Avoid biting into foods with your front teeth.

Mouth soreness from your dentures should go away after a few days. If it lasts longer than a week, call your dentist to ask if you should be seen. You may experience minor mouth sores for the first couple of weeks that you wear dentures. This is normal as you give your mouth time to adjust. If the sores are severe, call your dentist.

Dentists recommend that you remove your dentures for a minimum of eight hours each day to give your gums a rest. Most patients do this at night while sleeping. Your dentist will provide instructions about how to care for your dentures and where to store them when not wearing them. Be sure to follow the instructions for care to ensure that your dentures last as long as possible.

We look forward to seeing you in our Crystal City dental office

Problems with your Dentures

Problems with your Dentures

If you have chosen dentures to restore the function and appearance of your mouth, you certainly want them to do their job. Typically, if fitted correctly and you follow the instructions for use and care, dentures are a good solution. However, it’s possible for problems to arise so it’s important to recognize issues and how to handle them.

One key thing about dentures is that they must fit properly. If not, problems like gum irritation, difficulty eating and speaking, mouth infections, and denture movement may occur. Also, if you don’t keep your mouth clean and healthy, problems will likely appear.

If you experience any issues with your mouth after getting dentures, see your dentist right away. It’s possible that over time, your bones and gums can change and alter the fit of your dentures. When this happens, your dentist must determine if modification, adjustment, or replacement is needed. Never try to adjust your dentures yourself.

Here are some things you can do at home to keep your dentures in good condition:

  • Handle them carefully. When holding your dentures, place a towel on the counter or stand over a water-filled sink. This will protect them if you drop them.
  • Keep dentures out of reach of children and pets.
  • Do not sleep with your dentures in your mouth.
  • Clean them daily according to your dentist’s instructions. This includes soaking them overnight in a denture cleanser, cleaning them well each morning before wearing them, and cleaning your mouth carefully before inserting the dentures. Use a soft brush or one designed for dentures, plain soap or cleanser recommended by your dentist, and warm water. Never use bleach or household cleansers.
  • Store your dentures in warm water or denture cleaning solution. Do not use hot water, which can cause them to lose their shape.
  • Do not use toothpicks because they can damage dentures.

Wearing dentures may be tricky at first, and it may take some time to grow accustomed to them. However, if you care for them well and see your dentist for routine checkups, you can avoid most of the problems that denture-wearers sometimes encounter.

If you live in the Crystal City area contact us today

Options for Complete Dentures

Options for Complete Dentures

Denture technology has come a long way since the days of George Washington and his wooden teeth. Unfortunately, people still lose teeth for a variety of reasons including periodontal disease, trauma, and decay. Missing teeth make talking and eating difficult, and can ultimately cause sagging facial muscles. However, with today’s advances in technology it is more possible than ever to replace those lost teeth with natural and comfortable dentures.

Complete dentures cover both upper and lower jaws. The options for complete dentures range from immediate dentures to highly customized implant dentures. Immediate dentures are pre-made and available at your dentist’s office. They are not custom fitted and are set into gum sockets immediately upon removal of your teeth. While these offer the convenience of walking immediately out of the dental office with your new teeth in place, once gum tissue heals and swelling reduces they may shift and become loose. This issue requires follow-up visits for your dentist to make adjustments. People with immediate dentures may also have difficulty speaking, or experience a “clicking sound” when talking.

Conventional full dentures can be made 8 to 12 weeks after tooth loss or removal. Once the gums have healed, your dentist takes a series of impressions of your mouth to be sent away to a dental lab to create your dentures. This process may require multiple visits to your dentist to ensure a proper fit and correct bite. While this process takes longer and is more involved than immediate dentures, you will achieve a more secure and personalized fit. Both conventional and immediate dentures require the use of denture adhesives to keep them securely in place.

For an even more custom, natural looking and secure denture option, implant dentures are an excellent alternative. With implant dentures, small implants are placed in the jaw where they heal in place surrounded by the bone. The denture then snaps into the implant with attachments under the denture. These attachments keep the denture stable, providing more comfort and confidence. You do not have to worry your dentures will slip or fall out while you are eating, talking, or laughing. Implant dentures do not require the use of any denture adhesives.

Talk to your dental professional to determine the best use of denture technology to ensure many years of a confident and comfortable smile.

We look forward to seeing you in our Crystal City dental office

How Dental Implants Changed Dentures Forever

How Dental Implants Changed Dentures Forever

If you’ve been wearing dentures for a while, you may have some complaints. They might fit poorly and shift or click when you talk or eat. Poor fit can lead to discomfort and sores in the mouth that worsen over time, or they can collect food underneath them, leading to bad breath.

If this sounds familiar to you, there might be alternatives for you. One of the newest developments in dentures is the pairing of standard dentures with dental implants. The dental implants are placed directly into your jawbone, providing the kind of stability only previously offered by natural teeth. Dentures fixed in the mouth with dental implants become something new: hybrid dentures.

Dentures that utilize dental implants as their anchors are very stable. They enable denture wearers to enjoy foods previously denied them, such as crisp, healthy foods or chewy cuts of meat. Eliminating the food restrictions present for many denture wearers allows them to eat a wider variety of foods, helping to reduce the risk of poor nutrition and the poor health associated with it, including digestion difficulties.

Because of this increased stability, the denture itself can be made smaller. A standard denture covers the roof of the mouth completely, inhibiting the taste and texture of foods. A denture designed around dental implants, however, has an open roof and facilitates a greater enjoyment of foods of all kinds, as well as a more natural feel for your tongue.

Dental implants also stimulate bone by mimicking natural tooth roots. This stimulation allows the bone to continue to be strong and alive, whereas the bones of the face can begin to shrink once a tooth has been extracted. This bone shrinkage leads directly to poor denture fit. Dental implants used with dentures avoid this issue.

If you are a denture wearer and you’d like to see some changes in how your dentures fit, talk to your dentist to see how using dental implants can improve your denture experience.

If you live in the Crystal City area contact us today

Benefits of Hybrid Dentures

Benefits of Hybrid Dentures

Have you lost all or most of your teeth due to damage, disease or decay and don’t find traditional removable dentures an attractive option? Implant-supported hybrid dentures are an alternative to traditional dentures that provide a secure and stable prosthetic replacement for missing teeth by combining the benefits of a fixed replacement with the advantages of a removable denture. Hybrid dentures are an especially viable option for patients who have lost a large amount of jawbone due to missing teeth. Some of the benefits of hybrid dentures include:

  • Hybrid dentures save your natural roots and preserves bone while reducing bone resorption and deterioration.
  • Hybrid dentures help to control facial contour changes caused by missing teeth.
  • Hybrid dentures function more naturally, allowing you to chew food better and speak more clearly.
  • With hybrid dentures, there is no need for messy denture creams and adhesives, eliminating much of the embarrassment associated with loose dentures.
  • Hybrid dentures eliminate the slippage, clacking and loss of taste associated with traditional dentures.

If you would like fixed teeth to replace teeth that you have lost but are not ready or a candidate for multiple individual implants for each missing tooth, hybrid dentures could be your solution. Hybrid dentures require only a few dental implants to secure the new teeth in place, allowing for quicker recovery time and increased comfort.

If you are seeking an alternative to traditional dentures to replace your missing teeth, talk with your dental professional to determine if you are a good candidate for hybrid dentures. With hybrid dentures, you can successfully restore the look, feel, and function of your natural teeth.

We treat patients from Crystal City and the surrounding area

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