Portland Dental Health Care & Implant Center

Myths About Whitening

Myths-about-Whitening

Everyone wants to have a whiter smile but making the decision to pursue whitening treatment can be tough. Myths and stereotypes can lead to negative connotations, inhibiting you from moving forward with treatment. Below are three misconceptions about teeth whitening:

1. Teeth whitening treatments at my doctor’s office are no more effective than those purchased at drugstores.
On the contrary, the maximum strength bleach that our dentists provide delivers the best and fastest teeth whitening results. Another factor that makes dentist-provided whitening kits most effective is the fact that the trays are customized to fit each individual patient perfectly which keeps the gel in closer, more precise contact with your teeth. Don’t waste your time at the drugstore when you can get a brighter, whiter smile from us in record time!

2. Tooth whitening harms enamel.
Despite this negative misconception, teeth whitening does not actually harm the enamel of a tooth. Bleaching works by opening the pores of a tooth. This allows for the peroxide to enter the inner structure of the tooth and remove stains. The pores will close again over time, leaving the enamel unharmed.

3. You can never drink coffee or wine again after whitening.
While patients are told to stay away from heavy staining and acidic foods, such as red wine and coffee, it’s not forever! Dentists recommend this just for the first few days after treatment because the pores in your teeth remain open and the chemical reaction takes place over the course of a few days.

Whitening treatments can be intimidating, especially if you are not properly informed. It’s important to know the facts when making decisions about your teeth! We want you to have a smile that will make you feel confident. If you have any questions about teeth whitening, contact our office today. We are always here to help!

Oral Health: All About Gums

Oral-Health-All-About-Gums

Why should teeth get all the fame? Since the beginning of time, teeth have taken center stage in the oral health arena, while their close cousins, the gums, have occupied more of a back-seat role. So, we have decided to dedicate this article to gums! What makes them healthy, what makes them sick, and why they are so important for whole-body health?

Gingiva, or “gums”, are the mucosal tissue that cover the jaw and hold the teeth in place. When they are healthy and properly intact, they offer a protective barrier for the jaw and tooth roots against food and bacteria.

Healthy Gums:
Healthy gums typically are coral pink in color, and not recessed far above the tooth. They show a scalloped appearance over each tooth, are firm and resist movement. They take brushing and flossing well, usually with no reaction whatsoever.

Unhealthy Gums:
By contrast, unhealthy gums may exhibit red, white and even blue hues, have a puffy or orange peel texture and may bleed when brushed or flossed. Untreated periodontal disease can affect the whole body, as it is related to health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Also, it can result in lost teeth and poor nutrition down the road.

Prevention is Key:
The good news is that most cases of periodontal disease are preventable. While we don’t know exactly what role genetics play in terms of periodontal health, we do know that practicing good oral health is the first step to preventing periodontal disease. Habits such as brushing twice and flossing once per day and regular exams and cleanings can help many people prevent or slow the progression of gum disease.

We hope you have learned something new about your gums!

If you have any questions about your gums, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Root Canal Alternatives: Know Your Options

Root-canal-alternatives

Surely you know what a root canal is. But have you ever heard of an “apicoectomy”? As endodontists, we are always trying to get to the root of the problem, but the methods vary sometimes from case to case. So move over, root canal, while we give these other endodontic treatments a moment in the spotlight:

Apicoectomy:
A type of endodontic surgery, apicoectomy (pronounced “ape-icko-ectomy”) focuses on the “apex” (the tip) of the tooth root. The procedure is used when root canal treatment alone isn’t enough to adequately fix a diseased tooth. By accessing the tip of the root area through the gums, we can detect any hidden fractures or canals that are still causing tooth pain. We then remove the root apex and seal it to complete the procedure.

Endodontic Retreatment:
Endodontic retreatment refers to a second root canal treatment, when the first wasn’t adequate in fully removing the infection. It is not common to have to undergo retreatment, but it does happen. If pain persists in a tooth months or years after root canal treatment, it often means that there were hidden canals that need further treatment to fully resolve the infection and save the tooth.

Cracked Teeth:
Because a cracked tooth often means infection in the roots, endodontists are often the first to treat and assess a broken or cracked tooth. There are many different types of fractures in a tooth, from a full split down the middle to a cracked crown. Each requires quick professional action in order to save the tooth, which must be sealed (and in some cases the root pulp must be removed).

Pulpotomy:
Referred to as a “baby root canal” because it is often the treatment of choice in children with severe decay, a pulpotomy typically removes just the diseased pulp (as opposed to all of it) in hopes of leaving the healthy pulp sterilized and intact for further use within the natural tooth.

Internal Bleaching:
Infected or dead teeth can often appear darker than healthy teeth. Because this type of discoloration is internal, it requires a different type of teeth whitening than what most patients are used to. With internal bleaching, we perform a root canal to remove infected pulp and then place a whitening material inside the tooth to dissolve the stained material.

Have you always wondered what endodontists do? Please browse our website or call us at 207-797-5000 for more information.

Teeth Discoloration

Teeth-Discoloration

What color are your teeth? Of course, there is no “right” answer. Teeth come in endless shades and ranges. When we talk about tooth color in our office, we try to break it down into no fewer than 40 shades (light to dark) and ranges (color). Everyone’s teeth are unique, and the possibilities are endless.

You may be wondering, what makes a tooth the color it is now or will be in the future? We all know about coffee and tobacco as being major culprits of stained teeth, but what else goes into the making of a tooth color?

Things We Can’t Control:
• Genetics – Inheriting your tooth color is a high possibility for your current color as well. You can also inherit your tooth’s propensity for staining.
• Aging – As we age, our teeth inevitably turn more yellow.
• Medicine Use – some medicines, such as certain antibiotics, can cause your tooth color to change.
• Injury – Traumatic tooth injuries can cause intrinsic discoloration of the inner part of the tooth, the “dentin”, which is difficult to remedy. Have you ever seen a tooth that looks “dead”? That gray tone has most likely been brought on by a traumatic tooth injury.

Things We Can Control:
• Food and Drinks – Certain foods and drinks, such as berries, sauces, coffee, dark soda, black tea and red wine, cause staining over time. Limit these foods and practice good oral hygiene habits!
• Over-fluoridation – Too much fluoride in children, while teeth are still developing, can cause tooth discoloration. Be sure to follow guidelines for safe fluoride use. Don’t abandon the use of fluoride altogether though. Fluoride offers numerous benefits such as: preventing tooth decay by making teeth more resistant to acid attacks and reversing early tooth decay. But we’ve all heard that too much of a good thing can be a bad thing!
• Tobacco Use – It is well known that cigarettes and other tobacco products turn teeth yellow and eventually brown. Don’t smoke or chew.

What can you do about stained teeth? We’re glad you asked! We offer professional teeth whitening options for the best and safest results. No matter what tooth shade you’ve inherited (or created), we can help make it whiter. Give us a call today to find out more!

Flossing: Absolutely Necessary!

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Yes, You Still Have to Floss. No, the dance move “flossing” does not count. The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health. Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed. The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.

As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).

Of course, the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. Gum disease is preventable by maintain great oral health habits for a long period of time. Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study?

The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to. Using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.

That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.

Oral hygiene is a long-term process and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the meantime, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well-being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today

How to Take Care of Your Dental Implant

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Cleaning and taking care of your implant is just as important as cleaning your natural teeth. Here are some things you should know about caring for your implant.

Your implant and your natural teeth are similar because they both rely on healthy tissue for support! Just like with real teeth, plaque buildup can be harmful. It’s important to remove that plaque because it can develop into an infection. If the infection isn’t properly treated, it can result in a loss of bone around the implant which could progress to the loss of the implant itself.

It’s important to get your teeth cleaned on a regular basis so your dental hygienist can get biofilm off your teeth and keep your teeth infection-free. As always, you should be brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day.

Dental implants are the closest thing you can get to real and natural teeth. They don’t require any special products or treatment, just a simple brush and floss will do the job! If they are properly cared for, they can last a lifetime, avoiding any further dental work down the road.

With a dental implant, you can still enjoy all your favorite foods. It will not loosen or fall out if you are chewing something hard.

Overall, dental implants are meant to make life better and easier! You don’t have to go out of your way to take care of them – a simple brush and floss will ensure that they improve your overall quality of life for many years to come.

If you think a dental implant may be right for you, call Portland Dental Health Care & Implant Center at 207-797-5000 to schedule a consultation!

Why You Should Whiten Your Teeth

whyyoushouldwhiten

Just like we all have different hair and skin color, people also have different teeth color. Some teeth are naturally more yellow than others, while some yellow with aging. Your natural tooth color can also be affected by many factors like:

Using tobacco (smoked or chewed)
Drinking coffee, tea, or red wine
Eating pigmented foods such as cherries and blueberries
Accumulation of plaque and tartar deposits
The natural aging process

Because of this people often choose to whiten their teeth. Whitening your teeth can help boost your confidence and self-esteem but can also help if you want to cosmetically achieve a more youthful appearance, brighten your smile for s special event, or just simply reverse years of staining and yellowing.

Teeth whitening works very simply! The teeth whitening products contain one of two tooth bleaches (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide). These bleaches break stains into smaller pieces, which makes the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter.

A patient interested in whitening has a few different options including stain removal toothpastes, in-office bleaching, at-home custom bleaching, or over-the counter bleaching products. Talk to your dentist before starting and see what the best way is to put the shine back in your smile!

Once you’ve completed a whitening treatment, there are a few steps you can take to maintain your whiter smile:
Avoid stain-causing foods and beverages like coffee, tea, and wine
Use a straw when drinking beverages to keep stain-causing dyes away from your teeth
Eliminating tobacco because tobacco can cause teeth to become discolored

Before beginning any whitening procedure, be sure to consult with your dentist. Only he or she can evaluate whether you’re a suitable candidate for a particular treatment! These are just a few of the options you should consider when getting a whitening treatment. For more information on how we can brighten your smile with a teeth whitening procedure, contact our practice today at Portland Dental Health Care & Implant Center Phone Number 207-797-5000 !

What the fluoride?

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Fluoride is often called nature’s cavity fighter, and for good reason! Fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral, helps prevent cavities by making your enamel more resistant to the acid that causes tooth decay.

Before teeth are fully grown, the fluoride taken in from foods and beverages help make tooth enamel stronger. This provides what is called a “systemic” benefit. After teeth are grown, fluoride helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth. This provides what is called a “topical” benefit.

In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth with tiny amounts of fluoride that help rebuild weakened tooth enamel.

How Do You Get Fluoride?

#1 Drink Water with Fluoride
Fluoride is naturally found in most water sources. For the past 70 years, fluoride has been added to public water supplies to bring fluoride levels up to the amount necessary to help prevent tooth decay. Studies show that water fluoridation continues to help prevent tooth decay by at least 25% in children and adults, even with fluoride available from other sources, such as toothpaste.

#2 Use Toothpaste and Mouthwash with Fluoride
Toothpaste with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960. Make sure to look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance to make sure it contains fluoride! Be sure to brush twice a day (morning and night) or as directed by your dentist and physician.
Mouthwash with fluoride can help make your teeth more resistant to decay, by bathing your teeth and creating a topical benefit.

#3 Visit Your Dentist for a Professional Application
If you have a good chance of getting cavities, your dentist can apply fluoride directly to your teeth during your dental visit with a gel, foam or rinse.

These three steps in getting fluoride can help significantly fight against cavities and help keep your teeth strong and long lasting! If you have any more questions about the benefits of fluoride, give us a call today at Portland Dental Health Care & Implant Center Phone Number 207-797-5000 !

3 Tips to Keep Your Gums Healthy and Happy

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Keeping your gums healthy is vital to ensuring that your mouth stays clean and your teeth stay intact and in pristine condition. Incorporating a few simple steps into your daily oral hygiene routine will keep your teeth and gums healthy, happy and your smile shining bright for years to come.

Floss Like a Boss
Flossing is one of the easiest and most effective steps you can take to fight against gum disease and keep your gums healthy. Flossing once to twice a day helps to clean the hard to reach areas in-between your teeth that your toothbrush cannot reach.

Keep ‘em Clean
Brushing twice a day is the most commonly preached method of keeping your mouth clean and cavities at bay. Be sure to brush with a fluoride based toothpaste to help to give you the best results when brushing. Next time you are shopping for toothpaste, look for the ADA seal of acceptance in order to ensure your toothpaste is backed by experts!

It is also beneficial to rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash twice a day in order to protect your gums. Rinsing with mouthwash is a great way to finish off thoroughly cleaning your mouth, because it reaches areas that your toothbrush and floss can’t reach.

Stay Regular
Visiting your dentist twice a year is extremely important in preventing oral diseases and guaranteeing that your teeth stay in tip top shape.
Your dentist will perform a thorough cleaning and will show you the proper way to brush and floss if you need a bit of help!

These three steps can help you significantly improve the health of your gums and reduce your risk of developing gum disease. If you have any questions about how to keep your gums healthy and happy, give our office a call, today!

The Dos and Don’ts of Good Dental Hygiene

Dos and Don’ts of Good Dental Hygiene

Dental Hygiene is important. Those who practice good oral habits reap the benefits, while the latter… not so much. Most of us have a great deal of control over whether or not we keep our teeth as we age. Those who don’t follow a proper routine, end up losing their teeth, thus requiring the need of tooth replacement (such as dentures, dental implants, etc.). If you want to achieve an optimal level of oral hygiene, all you have to do is follow these do’s and don’ts!

Do…
• Brush your teeth twice a day! Use a soft-bristled brush with a fluoride tooth paste and be sure to brush all surfaces of the teeth, even the hard to reach places.

• Floss your teeth every day! Floss removes food trapped between your teeth and the film of bacteria that forms before it turns into plaque.

• Visit your dentist every 6 months! Regular visits allow your dentist to discover early signs of cavities and gum disease.

• Eat a mouth healthy diet! Indulge yourself in foods such as whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean meats and of course, water!

Don’t…

• Forget to replace your toothbrush! Tooth brushes should be replaced every 3 month—or after you recover from being sick. If you have an electric toothbrush, replace the head rather than purchasing a whole new one.

• Brush too soon after eating! Brushing immediately after eating acidic food can cause tiny particles of enamel to be brushed away. To be safe, wait at least 1 hour.

• Go overboard with bleaching! Over-bleaching your teeth can make them very sensitive to hot and cold foods, thus causing a variety of other problems.

• Ignore pain or abnormalities! Toothaches can be a sign of a more serious dental issue. See your dentist as soon as you discover changes in your dental health.

• Consume lots of soft drinks and sugary foods! These foods are highly acidic, which wears away your enamel overtime. Frequent consumption of sugary substances allow plaque to grow more rapidly—thus the likelihood of cavities will increase substantially.

When it comes to your dental hygiene—you have the option between keeping your teeth or not. By starting to practice these dental do’s and don’ts, you will be on the right track to a long-lasting smile. Give us a call today Portland Dental Health Care & Implant Center Phone Number 207-797-5000!