Soda, Sports Drinks and Teeth

Every time you step into a mini-mart, you’re faced with a host of options to squelch your thirst. A rainbow of colors in plastic bottles compete for your attention, and creative marketing often transforms sugared water into a fountain of youth. When it comes to your teeth, does it matter what you choose? How does a bottle of cola or a sports drink affect your teeth and general health?

Everybody knows most of these drinks include a lot of sugar, but it’s easy to overlook how much they carry. A little quick math can help you visualize the carbohydrate burst that occurs with the first sip. The nutritional label reports the number of grams of sugar in a serving, and there are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. If a bottle shows 20 grams in a single serving, picture it as 5 teaspoons.

While a 12-ounce soda used to be the norm, 20-ounce bottles are now considered standard. But many of the labels show the grams of sugar for an 8-ounce serving, and they frequently report 2.5 servings in a bottle! Calculating the numbers on a typical label indicates you’ll consume over 19 teaspoons of sugar in this soft drink. Take a look at this one:

The bacteria that cause cavities use sugar for energy and produce acidic waste that erodes tooth enamel. Syrupy drinks provide an ideal power source to keep this population thriving while instigating an insulin spike in the bloodstream. The colossal sugar load also drives the liver to convert sugar into fat. Chronically elevated insulin creates insulin resistance, a condition that contributes to a range of diseases. From cavities to cancer, sugared drinks help fuel many of the health problems afflicting people today.

An Acid Problem

Sugar forms a vital part of the formula that produces tooth decay, but it’s the acid that ultimately causes enamel to dissolve. The normal pH of your mouth rests around 7, but tooth structure begins to erode when the acidity drops to 5.5. Soda can send the pH of the mouth into a nosedive, making the mouth 1000 times more acidic than needed to start damaging teeth. A review of many ingredient labels shows citric, phosphoric, and carbonic acids in the mix. It may take 15 minutes for the mouth’s pH to return to normal after the last sip, and that means a steady diet of sugary drinks can alter the mouth for hours each day.

Diet sodas often hover around a pH of 3.2, far into the range that damages teeth. It’s a good thing that sugar is missing, but a steady exposure to high acidity can still lead to a weakening of tooth enamel. Artificial sweeteners may have long-term general health effects that we’re yet to understand fully.

Limit The Damage

The best strategy for the sake of your teeth and overall health is to enjoy fresh water on a regular basis. If you’re going to drink soda, consider the following tips:

  • Drink soda or sports drinks through a straw to minimize your teeth’s exposure.
  • Rinse with water right after drinking one of these beverages.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after drinking the beverage. This practice allows your mouth to return to normal pH before the teeth undergo the light abrasion of brushing.
  • Avoid drinks that list acids on the ingredient label. 

If you consume a sports drink during strenuous exercise or enjoy an occasional soda with a meal, there’s not a lot of reason to worry. Commit to keep sugar exposure to a minimum and drink more fresh water: Your teeth and your body will thank you!.

7 Signs Your Smile Needs Help

In 1952, a university research project examined baseball cards of Major League players. The researchers found that a player’s smile suggested how long he’d live. Players who didn’t smile in their photos lived an average of nearly 73 years, while smiling players lived an average of almost 80 years!

A healthy mouth adds value to our years, enhances our relationships, and bolsters our confidence. Keep an eye out for anything that detracts from your smile and compromises optimal dental health. The following signs could suggest that something isn’t quite right: 

1. Short, thin front teeth. After age 30, teeth wear about 1 millimeter per decade. This change may progress at a slower rate and tends to go unnoticed. If your teeth seem thinner or shorter than they should be, it’s time to find out why. Night or day teeth-grinding abrades precious enamel, and some acidic foods and drinks can erode the mineralized surface. One thing’s certain: When enamel disappears, it doesn’t grow back. If the damage is already done, we can help you explore ways to restore your smile.

2. Dull, yellow teeth. Enamel soaks up dark pigments found in coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, and more. Professional whitening removes these embedded color compounds without damaging your teeth. Our quality gel lifts years from your smile’s appearance and provides a quick confidence boost. We only choose formulas designed for maximum effectiveness and safety.

3. Dark shadows between teeth. If you notice dark shadows between your front teeth, it’s time for a professional to take a look. Dark shadows often suggest a growing cavity, and they don’t usually hurt until they reach the deepest part of the tooth. Cavities develop as acid attacks enamel and break it down. Tooth-colored restorative products can repair your teeth, enhance their beauty, and preserve their function.

4. Red, swollen gums. Healthy gums look pink with a light orange-peel texture, and they don’t bleed. When harmful bacteria aren’t properly cleaned away, they provoke an inflammatory reaction from the immune system. The swelling and bleeding could indicate that you’re starting to lose the bone around your teeth. Our hygiene team has a personalized strategy to help you control gum disease.

5. Crooked or spaced teeth. Straight teeth look pleasant to the eye and help your bite function the way it’s supposed to. Even small gaps become food traps, and crowded teeth are difficult to keep clean. Fortunately, invisible or wireless straightening options make orthodontics easier than ever.

6. One gray tooth. If you look at your smile and see one dark tooth, it needs an exam. A tooth that experienced trauma years ago may feel fine. But if it’s darker than the surrounding neighbors, it usually means that the nerve is dead with a low-grade infection in your jaw. We can evaluate the tooth, eliminate the bacteria, and correct the color.

7. Bad breath. This problem isn’t a visual one, but it does reflect something about the health of your smile. Gases produced by oral bacteria are responsible for most cases of bad breath, although other possible causes should be explored with your dentist or physician. Sometimes the odor comes from a mouth infection, such as gum disease or an abscessed tooth. If everything checks out, our hygienist can help you eliminate the odor with a few simple modifications to your daily routine.

Dental health is all about feeling well and looking terrific. While most problems in our mouths develop slowly, they often reach a critical stage over time. If you see any of these clues or have other concerns, a visit with the team at Kirkland Dentistry can help you protect your smile!h

The Ice Chewing Dilemma

Enjoying a cold drink usually involves a little ice. Sometimes larger pieces are hard to resist as teeth crunch them into smaller fragments. The sound of ice crystals shattering reverberates across a room unlike any other chewing activity; up to 250 pounds of force may be needed to break ice cubes with your teeth! Some people who chew ice may suffer from an iron deficiency and inflammation of the tongue. But ice-chewing often becomes a habit that simply needs to be broken.

This unique chewing habit carries a higher risk of damage to your teeth than chewing many other types of hard foods. Your teeth are made of mineralized layers that protect the soft inner nerve and blood supply found at the center of each one. Enamel, the hardest substance in your body, provides a unique armor as the outer layer. Intricate crystal rods comprise this remarkable covering, although it’s relatively brittle without the support of the layer underneath it.  

If you compress firmly on an ice cube, an extreme temperature change occurs in the crystallized enamel. As the temperature suddenly drops, the crystal expands slightly. The temporary tension releases as the temperature rises again, a process amplified by the jaw force crushing the ice. Microfractures often form in teeth after thousands of normal chewing cycles. Ice accelerates the process.

Heed The Warning

Sometimes a cracked tooth gives you warning signs. But in other cases, the first clue is when a large chunk of tooth breaks off. Many of these teeth have large silver fillings in them and may appear dark from the amalgam staining that occurs over time. A broken tooth may be sensitive to cold and hot or have sharp edges that annoy the tongue, although they rarely ache. Don’t be fooled: a broken tooth needs attention to prevent further problems from developing down the road.

In other cases, a tooth sends you warning signals that it’s cracked and in danger of getting worse. If your tooth twinges with a cold drink but feels fine to chew on, it’s probably not damaged. If you’ve tried a sensitivity toothpaste for a couple of weeks without any change, you still might want to find out the cause. But if you bite down on certain foods and experience a sharp, sudden pain in the same area, you’d better schedule to see us. Usually, this means the crack is expanding slightly under pressure and will likely worsen over time.

What Do I Do?

A cracked tooth can usually be saved even when a piece breaks off. But if you’re experiencing bite pain and wait too long, the tooth may split and need to be removed. Teeth that ache for an extended period of time after chewing or hurt out-of-the-blue may have deeper cracks. Many of them can still be salvaged. 

Your teeth handle a lot of use and abuse. But chewing ice leads to extra stress and possible problems that you just don’t need. Crunching on ice or hard candies may also damage porcelain restorations or other types of fillings. Many of these materials mimic tooth structure and can break if they’re misused. 

If you’re experiencing any of the alarm bells mentioned above, we’ll help you sort out the reasons and the most conservative options for care. A couple of simple tests by Dr. Dave Richardson helps confirm a crack and the best ways to limit the damage. So next time you’re tempted to break an ice cube in half with your teeth, let it melt…your teeth will thank you for it!f

Cancer Care and Oral Health

Cancer afflicts more than 1.6 million people every year, along with loved ones who share the journey.  Fortunately, successful treatment modalities continue to emerge and more people than ever are winning the battle.  But often the powerful medications used to target cancer cells also deliver challenging side effects.  And while radiation techniques have become more precise in recent years, patients sometimes find themselves dealing with residual damage from their treatment.

Chemotherapy medications destroy cancer cells, but the fragile tissues of the mouth may also suffer from the exposure. Even though a particular cancer may be far from the head and neck region, a patient may find their treatment affecting the mouth.  Chemotherapy agents can result in ulcers developing in the mucosal lining of the oral cavity and throat.  If you’ve ever had a mouth or cold sore, you know just how miserable these raw areas become.

If you or someone you know experiences mouth pain during chemotherapy, options for comfort care exist.  While a product like Oragel can be applied to mouth sores, it’s often ineffective if multiple areas break down.  We may be able to prescribe a mouth rinse formulated to soothe and coat painful lesions.  Designed as a swish and spit formula, a simple prescription could help make life a little easier during treatment.

Comfort and Protection

Radiation therapy doesn’t typically alter the mouth.  But if it’s targeted around the head and neck region, the negative effects can be dramatic.  The saliva glands constantly pump out fluid that coats the mouth, protects the teeth, and aids in digestion.  Radiation that includes these vital glands can leave permanent scarring that reduces or eliminates saliva output for years to come. While there’s no easy solution to radiation-induced salivary output, cancer patients deserve every option to improve their quality of life. 

Dry mouth, known as xerostomia, leaves the mouth parched and uncomfortable. In addition, saliva plays a protective role against tooth decay. We help patients struggling with xerostomia find ways to increase their comfort while decreasing their risk of major dental problems.  Specialty rinses, toothpastes, Xyli-melt lozenges, and other strategies can make a significant difference for cancer patients affected by xerostomia.

Some chemotherapy drugs create a small but serious risk of jawbone damage, known as osteonecrosis (ONJ).  This condition is most likely to develop if a tooth requires removal, a dental infection develops, or gum disease is present.  The best way to guard against this potential side effect is to have a dental evaluation prior to starting any chemotherapy treatment. Discussing oral health with an oncologist and dentist prior to treatment can help eliminate unnecessary complications.

Standing With You

Facing cancer involves many challenges, but our team is here to help you manage your oral health before, during, and after your therapy.  Healthy teeth will add to the richness of the years beyond your treatment, so together we can develop short and long-term strategies for optimal wellness. Please feel free to discuss any concerns or questions you may have, and encourage your loved ones to maintain their oral health through their cancer care.

Your Tongue: A Window To Your Health

The human tongue is often referred to as the most powerful muscle in the body.  But your tongue is actually comprised of eight muscles working together as a multi-use tool.  Washington Irving once said, “The tongue is the only instrument that gets sharper with use.”  Both wars and romances have begun with words rolling off the tongue, and a healthy one helps us taste food, swallow, and talk.

Changes sometimes occur on the surface of the tongue that may leave you wondering what’s going on.  While discomfort characterizes some tongue conditions, many changes could go unnoticed without a quick inspection. When you visit Kirkland Dentistry for care, we monitor the surfaces of your mouth for any alterations, including on and around your tongue. We can help you determine which ones reflect concerns requiring further evaluation or monitoring.

A healthy tongue is pink and covered with papillae:  small nodules with taste buds on top. The average person has about 10,000 of these projections, and they’re replaced every two weeks.  Many changes alter the papillae, although few are serious.  Let’s explore a few color shifts that you might notice on your tongue:

White Tongue

  • Leukoplakia:  Cells of the tongue sometimes overgrow and produce a white film or patch, especially in areas of irritation. Tobacco is a well-known irritant along with ill-fitting dentures. Leukoplakia isn’t dangerous, but it can lead to cancer in some cases. This should be evaluated.
  • Thrush:  Oral thrush, or candidiasis, is a yeast infection that can lead to excessive, thick white patches.  Babies and elderly patients sometimes get thrush, a condition that may thrive under dentures also. Diabetics, immune-compromised patients, or people using antibiotics may develop candidiasis. We can help if you’re dealing with thrush.
  • Lichen Planus: This condition has an unclear cause, but it’s marked by raised white lines interlaced on your tongue. Sometimes eliminating certain foods or improving your oral home care will bring things back to normal.

Red Tongue

  • Vitamin Deficiencies: The tongue may take on a generalized reddish appearance if you lack B-12 or folic acid.
  • Scarlet Fever:  If you come down with a high fever and a red tongue, you need to see your doctor right away.  If you have Scarlet Fever, antibiotics are required.
  • Geographic Tongue: If you notice red dots with meandering borders resembling a map, you may have this condition.  While it’s benign, certain ointments can be prescribed if it results in any discomfort.

Black Hairy Tongue

  • Remember the papillae mentioned earlier?  Sometimes they overgrow and become a haven for bacteria and stain.  Chemotherapy, diabetic, or antibiotic patients may also deal with black hairy tongue. While it doesn’t look pleasant and can contribute to bad breath, it rarely indicates a serious problem.  Usually better oral hygiene and tongue cleaning will take care of it, and our team can help you find a personalized strategy to deal with it.

Your tongue often reflects messages about your general health and deserves a regular inspection.  While cancerous changes are rare, it’s important that discolored or irregular areas are checked.  If you notice any of these changes, be sure to schedule an exam with us. By seeing us for your regular preventive visits, we’ll help monitor your teeth, gums, tongue, and mouth lining for optimal health!

Headaches: What You Don’t Know Will Hurt You

Even if you don’t suffer from headaches, you’ve probably experienced “brain freeze” after a scoop of your favorite ice cream.  While experts don’t really know why it happens, it’s believed that the cold against your warm palate causes blood vessels to constrict and relax suddenly. This vessel spasm results in a burst of pain, leaving you empathetic to the 28 million Americans that suffer from migraines. Add another 20 million who deal with chronic headaches of other origins and you understand why doctors hear about this ailment often. In fact, physicians report headaches as the number one medical complaint and frequently order a variety of tests in search of a cause.

Headaches rarely indicate the presence of a serious disease. But if you’re dealing with frequent or severe headaches, you should consult with your physician.  While a definite diagnosis may be identified, some patients find themselves frustrated with an unclear answer. And treatment should target more than symptoms: The steady use of pain medication creates side effects that may include kidney damage or dependency.

The Missing Link

Your dentist may be able to shed a little light on chronic head pain. Millions of Americans struggle with temporomandibular joint (TMJ) headaches without realizing it.  This complex joint allows the lower jaw to fit and function against the skull in front of the ears, and one or both joints may become inflamed.  Unfortunately, TMJ headaches are frequently overlooked by physicians because symptoms often mimic other types of headaches.  The pain may feel like it’s in the sinuses, over the top of the head, or up through the temples.  But pain doesn’t always show up at the source.  It often radiates to nearby sites and confuses the search for an origin.

A recent study at the University of Buffalo examined nearly 600 patients with TMJ pain symptoms. Researchers demonstrated that in 82% of subjects, physical pressure over the TMJ area produced pain that presented as a classic muscle tension headache. Although TMJ symptoms were present in all participants, 152 were diagnosed with tension headaches only. 

That means 25% of the patients hadn’t received a complete diagnosis.

The lead researcher noted that “TMJ is very treatable, but if a jaw disorder is ignored, then treatment for a headache may not address all of the factors contributing to the headache.”  Many providers evaluating headache patients don’t understand the relationship of these joints to chronic pain conditions.  It’s simply vital that every headache sufferer receives an evaluation of this region.

While migraine headaches are linked to a vascular cause, TMJ disorders can aggravate the Trigeminal nerve and trigger their onset. This major nerve links many structures in the head and neck. While not a guarantee, migraine headaches may be reduced with proper management of these associated problems.

Consider This

Review the following questions to see if your headaches may be linked to a TMJ disorder.  Keep your answers to discuss with Dr. Richardson:

  • Do you wake up with headaches?
  • Does your jaw ever feel stiff, locked, or sore in the morning?
  • Do you have more than two headaches each week?
  • Do you have pain in your jaw when you eat?
  • Do you take painkillers four or more times each week for headaches?
  • Does your jaw pop, click, or lock when you open?
  • Have you noticed any changes in the way your teeth bite together?
  • Have you noticed wear or chipping on any of your teeth?
  • Do you catch yourself clenching your teeth during the day?
  • Do you feel tenderness when you push on the sides of your face?
  • Do you feel pain in front of your ears when you chew or open wide?

If you answered YES to three or more of these questions, there’s a significant chance that you’re suffering from TMJ headaches. But management of this affliction frequently involves conservative measures offering dramatic relief from pain. Our team can point you in the right direction to get the help you need. We’re here to support your discovery of optimal health and pain-free living!

The Mouth Sore Affliction

You feel it coming on: A spot in your mouth starts to burn or tingle, and you know what’s about to happen. By tomorrow you’ll have a nagging sore cratered into the lining of your cheek. Aphthous ulcers afflict 20% of the population, recurring intermittently and often without a distinct pattern. After a week or two, the pain disappears and your mouth feels whole again.

Aphthous ulcers are sometimes confused with cold sores, but they’re only related by their discomfort and proximity to each other. Cold sores occur on the lips and surrounding skin as a result of the Herpes Simplex Virus. Aphthous ulcers don’t have such a clear cause. These lesions show up on movable tissue surfaces inside the mouth and may be difficult to pin to a single instigator. We understand that the body’s immune system sends inflammatory cells into an area and destroys its own tissue, but what triggers the assault?

Where Do They Come From?

Mouth sores may show up one at a time or in groups spread across multiple areas. Many patients feel frustrated by their inability to control these painful ulcers, but understanding possible causes may help you take steps to eliminate or reduce outbreaks. Here are a few triggers to consider:

  • Stress. If we started a list of all the maladies stress creates in our bodies, we’d need to buy a ream of paper to finish it. Aphthous ulcers often erupt when we’re experiencing a high level of stress.
    Hormone Changes. Some women experience outbreaks before their period, while others are ulcer-free until after menopause.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies. Low levels of iron, vitamin B12, calcium, selenium, or folic acid are just a few nutrients linked to aphthous ulcers.
  • Genetics. A lot of health conditions run in the genes, and mouth ulcers seem to be one to add to the list.
    Toothpaste. Most toothpastes contain a foaming agent called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). This ingredient is linked to mouth ulcers in some patients. Sensitivity to mint flavoring may also lead to a similar problem.
  • Systemic Diseases. Crohn’s Disease, Coeliac Disease, Reactive Arthritis, and Behcet’s Disease are a few conditions that might also include mouth sores.
  • Medications. Some people find that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, lead to mouth sores. Beta-blockers, used to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions, along with chemotherapy agents, are also culprits.
  • Foods. When a sore shows up, consider certain foods in your diet in the previous 24 hours. Chocolate, coffee, spicy foods, peanuts, almonds, strawberries, cheese, and wheat flour are known initiators.

Most episodes of aphthous ulcers clear up and move on within a couple of weeks. If you have a sore that doesn’t resolve within a month, it’s time to see the team at Kirkland Dentistry. In these cases, a closer analysis of the area should be done.

While identifying a cause may lead to a lifestyle adjustment that eliminates sores, many patients end up enduring the discomfort until they heal. Here are a few tips to minimize the disruption:

  • Be Gentle. Stay away from spicy or acidic foods during an outbreak. Use a soft toothbrush and consider an SLS-free toothpaste for awhile.
  • Numb It. Grab a tube of a numbing or coating agent like Oragel, Kanka, or zilactin-B. Carry it in your pocket and apply as needed to cut the pain.
  • Rinse. You might try mixing ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup water, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt to create a rinse that disinfects and neutralizes sore spots. This mix is particularly useful if you’re suffering from multiple ulcers. Rincinol PRN is a commercial rinse available at many retailers that draws strong reviews from users.
  • Try Tea. Some patients get relief by applying a damp tea bag to a mouth sore for a few minutes at a time. You may also find that sipping licorice tea helps.
  • Bump B-12. A well-designed research project showed that patients taking 1000 mg of sublingual B-12 experienced a significant reduction in mouth ulcers and pain levels. Regardless of initial B12 blood levels, 74% of patients were ulcer-free after six months compared to 32% in the control group. Definitely worth considering!
  • Chat With Us. If you’re dealing with mouth ulcers, talk to us the next time you’re in our office. We may be able to personalize our recommendations and offer other management suggestions.

At Kirkland Dentistry, we want to help you find answers to every question you have about your dental health. Aphthous ulcers frustrate many people, but sometimes just one tip contributes to reducing your pain. We look forward to discussing all your concerns at your next visit!

Growing Teeth: A New Dental Frontier

 
Kids reach many milestones as they grow, including frequent visits from the tooth fairy. A series of developmental steps cause baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to replace them. But sometimes adults lose permanent teeth from disease or trauma. Modern dentistry presents options for every unfortunate scenario, restoring full function and appearance. We enjoy techniques and materials today for tooth replacement not available in previous generations. Yet dental scientists continue their reach for new horizons and innovative possibilities.

Tufts School of Dental Medicine researchers are harvesting stem cells that grow new teeth and jaw bone. These “universal cells,” taken from inside healthy adult teeth, differentiate into tooth buds. But this intricate process of cellular differentiation only takes place under conditions that replicate an embryonic jaw. Growth hormones and nutrients must stimulate development at exactly the right times. As a result, new teeth won’t grow in a petri dish. They need a precise framework, one which the Tufts researchers continue to design.

Progress Continues

The Tuft’s team recently constructed a cellular matrix that allows successful implantation of a tooth bud into a pig’s jaw. Under their design, early adult-stage teeth develop within five months. But the transfer from pigs to humans requires significant advancements yet to come. Researchers project that humans won’t profit from these developments for another ten years. The exciting progress hints at options once believed to be impossible.

In the meantime, dental implants offer the closest alternative to growing new teeth. Titanium pieces placed into the jawbone mimic tooth roots that support life-like porcelain crowns. And research has brought major benefits to implant technology as well. Specialized coatings and modified designs help produce outstanding integration success, while 3D imaging technology allows precise planning of every case.

A Cavity Disappearing Act

Another intriguing frontier in dental research involves dental fillings that stimulate teeth to repair their own damage. Decayed parts of teeth usually are drilled out and restored with various materials. But researchers at Nottingham and Harvard University recently earned recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry for their innovative approach.

These teams created a filling material that stimulates stem cells to grow dentin, the firm inner layer of every tooth. They’ve also demonstrated the ability to regenerate the internal nerve and blood vessel center of teeth, the pulp. This part of the tooth usually undergoes root canal treatment when it’s infected. Widespread regenerative procedures are a few years off. But these materials could revolutionize the treatment of some common dental problems.

We are excited about the promise of therapeutic biomaterials for bringing regenerative medicine to restorative dentistry.
– Kyle Vining. Fellow, Harvard University
 

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Stay Tuned

Research keeps moving dentistry into fascinating new frontiers with solutions once considered impossible. Dental stem cells open doors to future procedures that will someday be commonplace. But you don’t have to wait for life-changing dentistry: Implants and bio-compatible restorative materials now offer modern options for full function and beauty. The Kirkland Dentistry team constantly monitors our profession for developments that enhance your experience.

 


We look forward to discussing the fascinating world of biomedical research in dentistry with you at future visits!

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Teeth Whitening: A Quick Smile Fix

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In 1992, author John Gray wrote a book declaring Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Selling 50 million copies, the publication spent 121 weeks on the bestseller list and became a key theme in American pop culture. Researchers have since shown that the catchy metaphor applies to smiles, too. When women see a nice smile, they’re inclined to believe it indicates a warm personality. Men look at the same smile and perceive success.

woman-smiling-in-parkRegardless of the measure or those measuring it, your smile matters.  A gorgeous smile connects with those around us and facilitates social and career success in our lives. But sometimes a pleasant smile starts to lose its shine.  Teeth begin to dull, yellowing slowly from exposure to intense food pigments called chromogens.  Commonly found in coffee, tea, and wine, chromogens attach to the white outer enamel of your teeth.
Tar and nicotine are two of the many chemicals found in tobacco that discolor teeth.  While tar is dark, colorless nicotine changes to a yellow stain once it mixes with oxygen.  A potent discoloring mix forms with other food and beverage compounds and embeds into the enamel.  Along with natural aging that thins out enamel or a history of exposure to certain medications, a smile may lose its influence for many reasons.

A Bright Return

But returning brilliance to a smile is simple, fast, and safe. Professional whitening methods may remove years of unpleasant color and release the many benefits of a terrific smile. In-office and take-home tray systems offer the most efficient ways to break down color compounds.  But choosing the right approach and proper formulation for your teeth should be determined with the teeth whitening experts at Kirkland Dentistry.  Guidance through a whitening program makes the all the difference in the outcome.

Various factors need a little consideration before starting a whitening program.  And you may be surprised to find some teeth respond to whitening and others prove more resistant. For example, porcelain teeth won’t respond to traditional whitening and should be evaluated to consider their role in your smile. That doesn’t mean we can’t find a solution that works for your teeth.  We specialize in bringing everyone’s smile to another level!

The Professional Advantage

woman-on-park-benchAlthough teeth whitening gels are based on one of two general formulas, you’ll find significant differences in quality and strength.  We only use professional gels from reputable manufacturers, designed to be safe and non-toxic.  In addition, all gels are extremely sensitive to temperature and must be transported and stored correctly. If mishandled, even the best products will deteriorate rapidly and lose their ability to whiten your teeth. If they do, you end up wasting time and money.  We only use products from established companies with proven quality control measures in place.

Teeth whitening lifts years of unpleasant stain from your teeth and brings out the best of your natural beauty.  Or maybe you’ll find an underlying brilliance that you never knew existed!  We’d love to chat with you about your options for bringing your smile to life. Give us a call at Kirkland Dentistry to discover the magic of professional teeth whitening.

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