Adding Calcium to Whitening Gels May Lower Sensitivity

Teeth WhiteningWe’ve discussed here a bit how using whitening toothpastes can cause or worsen tooth sensitivity. To sum up, whitening toothpastes, by their nature, are abrasive to your teeth enamel, which can make your teeth more porous, thereby increasing the risk for nerve exposure. Increased nerve exposure causes painful tooth sensitivity.

A new study has found that whitening gels that contain calcium could reduce the risk the sensitivity significantly. In fact, half of the research participants treated with calcium-fortified whitening gel reported tooth sensitivity.

The study took 40 patients aged 18 and older and treated them in a dental office with teeth whitening gel, some containing calcium and some calcium-free. Both groups exhibited significant and equal tooth color enhancement after the procedures. However, 80 percent of those who had the calcium-free gel claimed to experience tooth sensitivity, while only 40 percent of those who had the calciumified gel reported sensitivity.

This study was limited to in-office whitening, obviously, but the implications are incredible. Since adding calcium to the gel did not affect the whitening effects, it’s possible that calcium could similarly be added to whitening toothpastes to minimize the abrasive effects. It would be great news for both dentists and patients if dentists could recommend teeth whitening toothpastes to their patients without worrying about potential sensitivity problems.

Will My Whitened Teeth Stay White?

Teeth WhiteningTeeth whitening is undoubtedly one of the most popular cosmetic dental services. It takes little time, and most patients are extremely pleased with the results. However, it is important to understand that no matter how you whiten your teeth, whether it’s from over-the-counter treatments or a professional whitening with your dentist, your teeth will not stay permanently white.

Your teeth are naturally porous, so they will always have the ability to absorb stains from the foods you eat and what you drink. As a result, if you want to keep your bright, white color, you will have to whiten your teeth again and again. (Please note, before you consider repeatedly whitening your teeth, always talk to your dentist about it first to make sure you do not inadvertently harm your teeth.)[..Read More]

The Dangers of Teeth Whitening Toothpaste

Many foods and beverages we all enjoy can stain our teeth, such as coffee, red wine, and spaghetti sauce. As a result, most of us want to be able to whiten our teeth and gain a whiter, brighter smile. One of the easiest whitening methods is to use a teeth whitening toothpaste. It seems simple enough, right? Just replace your regular toothpaste with a teeth whitening one, and brush the stains away. However, before you get too excited about whitening your teeth with this method, there are some things everyone needs to know about whitening toothpastes.

All whitening toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients to help scrub away the stains, and over time, these can cause your teeth to lose their natural gloss and shine. In addition, these ingredients will make your teeth more and more sensitive as more enamel is brushed away. If you already have sensitive teeth, your sensitivity will worsen greatly. Some patients have even reported that merely sucking in their breath inflicts sensitivity pain. If you’ve ever experienced such pain, you know how quickly it can bring you to your knees.

Since it takes at least six months for the toothpaste to show any results, you have to use it over an extended period of time. Therefore, by using it just until your teeth are as white as you want still puts your teeth at risk.

There are some things you can do to minimize your risk with whitening toothpaste. First, always use a soft-bristled brush when using the whitening toothpaste. Do not use the whitener every day; instead, switch it out every other day with a non-whitening toothpaste. When using the whitener, brush your teeth and gums with tap water only. Floss, and then brush a second time with the whitening toothpaste. When done, rinse your mouth thoroughly with water.

If you already have sensitive teeth, avoid using whitening toothpastes completely, even if the paste claims it’s for sensitive teeth. It’s just as damaging as the others, and it actually cancels out the desensitizing affects it is supposed to offer.

The best method is to avoid whitening your teeth yourself completely. Brush regularly with a non-whitening paste, avoid smoking, and cut down on the amount of coffee and red wine consumption. As always, be sure to talk to your dentist about the best home whitening plan and dental health plan for you before using any whitening treatment.

Cosmetic Dentistry and Frequently Asked Questions

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Technically, cosmetic dentistry refers to the procedures patients elect to undergo to improve their smile and overall appearance. For some patients, it’s strictly about beauty, and for others, they look to cosmetic procedures to repair their teeth and gums that may have been damaged from accidents or other problems. No matter what the reason is, though, those who have undergone cosmetic dentistry procedures end up with a better looking smile.

Who are candidates for cosmetic dentistry?

Basically, anyone who wants to improve the appearance of their smile is a candidate for cosmetic dentistry, but the most common patients are those who want to repair damaged teeth. However, people with overcrowded teeth, damage from cavities, or discolored teeth can also benefit from these procedures.

How much do cosmetic dentistry procedures cost?

Like anything to enhance appearance, it costs money. Some procedures are expensive, but depending on the extent of the procedure (individual tooth vs. entire smile) the costs can be relatively inexpensive. However, the results are often so rewarding that they make the price worth it.

What kinds of cosmetic dentistry procedures are available?

There are several different cosmetic dental procedures. You can find a list of almost everything we offer on our Services page, but the most popular procedures are:

  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Teeth Whitening
  • Dental Crowns
  • Teeth Reconstruction and
  • Gum Alterations

If you would like to improve your teeth, do not hesitate to contact our office and find out how we can give you the best possible smile.

Your Diet and Cosmetic Dentistry

You’ve heard that you are what you eat, but did you know that what you eat can affect the health of your teeth? The most common form of dental damage is the development of cavities, which are caused by sugar build-ups in your mouth. If not properly attended to, sugar build-up can erode enamel, promote gum disease and tooth decay, and cause other dental health problems. If you want to keep your smile at its best for as long as possible without paying for expensive cosmetic dentistry procedures, here are some dietary tips that will help.

Almost all of our food contains sugar, but there are several types that contain more than others. You should avoid consuming the following food and drink as much as possible to help keep your teeth pearly white:

  • Sticky foods, such as honey, caramel, syrup and jellybeans;
  • Sugary desserts, including pastries, cookies, candies, cakes, pies, etc.; and
  • Carbonated drinks, which includes all diet sodas as well as regular.

As stated in our post about home teeth whitening tips, be sure to eat plenty of apples, carrots, celery and pears. These fruits and vegetables stimulate extra saliva in your mouth as you chew, which in turn helps wash away sugar build-up as well as removes stains.

And of course, in addition to your diet, regular brushing, flossing and dental cleaning appointments will also help you avoid costly cosmetic dental procedures. If you haven’t had your teeth cleaned in awhile or want some one-on-one advice for cosmetic dentistry prevention, contact our office today.