Posts for category: Dental Procedures
With professional teeth whitening, you don't have to be an A-list actor to get a critically-acclaimed smile!
The gleaming smiles of Hollywood's most famous have surely greeted you as you enter the checkout line at the supermarket. While their salaries can afford them some procedures and products that are out of the "average Joe's" price range, you too can have a beautifully brilliant smile thanks to in-office teeth whitening at Apple Valley Dental in Apple Valley, CA. Dr. Samuel Kim helps his patients in Southern California achieve million-dollar smiles for a much more budget-friendly price. Here's how:
How does teeth whitening work?
Your teeth look smooth, but they are actually covered with microscopic pits and grooves that give stain-causing particles a place to collect. Over time, your teeth can retain enough of these particles that they begin to take on a brown or yellowish color. The teeth whitening products used at Apple Valley Dental contain peroxide, which attacks the trapped stains with oxygen and causes them to break up into even smaller pieces so they can be cleared away. The result - a brightened smile that can be up to eight shades whiter!
Will store-bought teeth whitening products give me the same results?
The whitening gels, trays, toothpastes and strips you can purchase at any major retailer use the same ingredients as the professional products used by your Apple Valley dentist. However, the concentration of whitening agents - carbamide or hydrogen peroxide - is much weaker, which makes over-the-counter products less effective. Because you have to use them for much longer periods of time - several weeks or months - the enamel can become weak and cause tooth sensitivity. Having your teeth professionally whitened in Apple Valley only takes an hour or less, and the results are immediately evident.
Ready for a red-carpet-worthy smile? Contact Apple Valley Dental today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Kim!
Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!
If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.
If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?
As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.
And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!
If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?”
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…
Whether performed in a dental office or using a home kit, teeth whitening applications are quite effective for bleaching exterior (extrinsic) stains on enamel surfaces. But what if your discoloration comes from inside the tooth? In this case, extrinsic teeth whitening won’t work — you’ll need to undergo an “internal bleaching” method, which can only be performed in a dentist's office.
There are a number of causes for “intrinsic” staining, including too much fluoride exposure or tetracycline use during childhood. One of the more common causes, though, occurs from root canal treatments used to remove the remnants of the pulp tissue inside a tooth’s pulp chamber and root canals. Certain cements used during the procedure to help seal in the filling material and leftover blood pigments can cause the tooth to darken over time.
To alleviate this discoloration, we use a bleaching agent, usually sodium perborate mixed with a diluted solution of hydrogen peroxide to achieve a safe, accelerated color change. After determining that the root canal filling is still intact and the bone is healthy, we create a small cavity in the back of the tooth to access the pulp chamber. The chamber is cleaned of any debris or stained material and then thoroughly irrigated. The original root canal filling is then sealed off to prevent leakage from the bleaching agent.
We then place the bleaching agent in the cleaned-out space with a cotton pellet and seal it in with a temporary adhesive. This step is repeated for several days until we achieve the desired shade of white. Once that occurs we then seal the dentin with a more permanent filling and then restore the cavity we created with a composite resin bonded to the enamel and dentin.
If we’re successful in achieving the desired color, intrinsic whitening could help you avoid more costly options like veneers or crowns for an otherwise healthy and attractive tooth. The end result would be the same — a beautiful smile without those unsightly stains.
If you would like more information on treating internal tooth stains, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Whitening Traumatized Teeth.”
Tune in to any makeover show on TV, and chances are one of the first suggestions is a professional teeth whitening treatment. Even in cases where the contestant goes on to get more involved and drastic cosmetic surgery, a little cosmetic dentistry and smile enhancement can significantly improve a person's appearance in a short amount of time.
While there's no shortage of over the counter whitening products for consumers to choose from, a professional treatment from an Apple Valley, CA dentist at Apple Valley Dental in California consists of stronger, higher grade whitening agents that aren't available in the toothpaste aisle.
Smile Enhancement in Apple Valley
Dr. Samuel Kim offers both in office and take home customized tooth whitening for busy patients. While investing in the procedure can transform a stained, dull smile, Dr. Kim advises patients to remember that whitened teeth are still susceptible to the same elements that caused the staining in the first place, particularly food and cigarettes.
In order to keep the new smile looking beautiful and fresh for as long as possible, there are certain precautions to take and things to avoid:
Good oral hygiene - brushing and daily flossing will not only help to keep the teeth stain free, they are critical to preventing tooth decay and gum disease
Quit smoking - smoking stains the teeth, but it can also increase the risk of developing gum disease and other serious health problems. It's never too late or too early to quit!
Limit staining food and drinks like red wine, tea, and coffee
Professional Teeth Whitening in Apple Valley
For more information on how to keep your teeth stain free and vibrant, and to learn whether in office or at home teeth whitening treatments are right for you, contact Dr. Samuel Kim at Apple Valley Dental by calling (760) 247-6007 and schedule an appointment today.