Category: Cosmetic Dentistry

Can your teeth be TOO white?

teeth-whitening
Most of us want a brighter smile. But how much whitening is too much?

Would you like a whiter smile? If you said “Yes,” you’re in good company.  Surveys show that up to 80% of Americans want whiter teeth. And our actions make it obvious – teeth-whitening is statistically the most common cosmetic procedure in the U.S., according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. In fact, we spend an estimated $1.4 billion annually on over-the-counter whitening products. But how much is too much?

Bleachorexia?

As reported by ABC News, some dentists are using the phrase “bleachorexia” – a condition in which people have done serious damage to their teeth by over-whitening, all in pursuit of an ever-brighter smile. The symptoms of this new phenomenon include;

  •   Hypersensitivity to temperature
  •   Receding gums
  •   Weakened teeth
  •   Higher likelihood of decay
  •   Erosion of the protective enamel

Ironically, this last symptom has the exact opposite of the desired effect.

over-whitening hurts teeth
Over-whitening can damage enamel and expose the darker tooth material beneath.

Our tooth enamel is typically several shades lighter than the slightly yellow-ish dentine (tooth material) that it conceals. So the less enamel you have, the darker your teeth will appear. And – as we’ve discussed– keeping your enamel healthy and intact is key to a healthy mouth and smile.

Smart Teeth-Whitening Options

So how can you safely go about making your smile as bright as it can be? Keep in mind that many home-whitening offerings are perfectly safe to use if you remember one simple rule: FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS!

These bleaching options usually have Carbamide peroxide as the primary ingredient, and underwent decades of rigorous testing before going to market. They are a perfectly safe and healthy choice, when used as directed.

If you’re still uncertain, talk to us at your next appointment. We can let you know which over-the-counter products we recommend, and can offer advice on how to achieve the best, brightest smile possible. We also offer in-office, professional-grade whitening procedures that are safe, effective, and last up to five years.

In some cases of long-term or severe teeth stains, the best path to a vibrant smile is through porcelain/composite veneers. These thin covers are bonded to visible tooth surfaces and are a great alternative to bleaching when tooth discoloration is uneven, or is combined with chipped, cracked or teeth that have been worn down.

As always, count on Drs. Meyer & Johns to offer you sound advice on achieving your highest level of dental health and aesthetic confidence.

Metal Mouth? Not necessarily.

braces care
From new colors and thinner wires to transparent aligners – braces are better than ever!

Teeth-straightening was first considered by ancient philosophers Hippocrates and Aristotle as early as 400 B.C. But it wasn’t until the 1700s that French dentist Pierre Fauchard used a horseshoe-shaped piece of iron that he called a “bandeau” (a form of the old French language meaning “tiny band”) that the modern concept of braces was put into practice.

However, their widespread use didn’t occur until the mid-late 20th century, and has been most prolific in North America. In fact, the number of people with braces doubled in the U.S. between 1982 and 2008. While the majority of these patients are 11-17 years old, the numbers of treated adults during those same decades increased by 25%. American Dental Association has reported that 70% of treatments are done on females, and largely for aesthetic reasons, as opposed to medical/dental conditions.

 

Today’s Braces

Modern advances have allowed braces to become less obvious, with the prevalence of clear aligners such as Invisalign® and other transparent options. Treatment usually lasts from 18 to 36 months, depending on the severity of problems and treatment goals. It requires a commitment from both the patient and parent.

According to the American Association of Orthodontists, the biggest treatment challenge after fitting the device is to protect both braces and teeth from damage. The good news is that these goals can usually be achieved through diet adjustments and proper cleaning.

 

Limit Harmful Foods

The bad news is that because of the tween-to-teenage range for braces, many of the restricted foods are favorites. This includes anything with high levels of sugar, which can collect around the brackets and accelerate decay. Here are the standard recommendations:

Skip the Soda— Soft drinks deliver a deadly combination of acid plus sugar that can become concentrated on tooth surfaces around brackets.

Avoid Extreme Textures— Hard, sticky, chewy or crunchy foods can damage or dislodge the thin metal components.

No gum!— This rule is not only to avoid residue on braces, but to prevent bending or loosening of the wires

Don’t Chew Ice— While this is never good for your teeth , it’s an especially risky habit with braces.

Clean Thoroughly

brushing with braces
Cleaning with braces is more important than ever.

Obviously, it is harder to clean an intricate metal framework than it is flat, smooth surfaces of your natural teeth. Your orthodontist will give you specific direction on how to brush, floss, and clean. Dr. Meyer and Dr. Johns also have tips and tools to help — just ask us at your next visit.

 

 

 

 

No smoke? You’re still playing with fire.

vaping and teeth
Vaping may be better for lungs, but what about your teeth?

Despite the host of other damaging effects, evidence of smoking is usually most obvious on a person’s teeth. But what about “ Vaping ” — the recent trend of smokeless electronic devices? They deliver a vapor-based dose of nicotine, tobacco’s addictive stimulant, while eliminating the harmful and annoying by-products of smoke.

The Evils of Tobacco

And there are a lot of those. Tobacco smoke produces tar (burned plant residue) and hundreds of other harmful chemicals. Many of these cause cancer and other health issues for smokers and those around them. Public awareness of the dangers has cut the nationwide number of smokers by 20% in the past decade, and by nearly 70% since 1965.

Since vaping was introduced in the U.S. in 2005, it has steadily gained popularity. In fact, as early as 2014, it had surpassed of all other tobacco products (including conventional cigarettes!) in total number of current users. More disturbingly, its use among young people has increased exponentially, with the number of current users among high school students tripling in recent years, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vaping Risks

While vaping won’t blacken your teeth like cigarette smoking, nicotine can negatively affect your oral health. The chemical itself is a vasoconstrictor, which limits blood flow to the topical areas of the mouth by causing the blood vessels to contract. This prolonged lack of blood supply can lead to receding gums. Nicotine has also been shown to contribute to dry mouth and cause an increase in bacteria, which can play a part in everything from tooth decay to periodontal disease.

If you are one of the millions of Americans using a vapor device to quit conventional smoking, CONGRATULATIONS! Be sure to talk to us at your next appointment about getting rid of those last remnants of tobacco stains from your teeth. We have a variety of whitening options for bringing your smile back to its natural, tobacco-free color.

 

 

How to take the Perfect “Selfie”

selfie smile
The key to a perfect Selfie? Your smile!

You’ve seen kids taking them on the street, in movies theaters, by themselves and in groups. Maybe you’ve even taken a few of your own. We’re talking about a Selfie — a self-taken picture where the subject and photographer are the same person. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and other social media platforms are full of them. In fact, sociology experts predict that Millennials and Generation Z (those people born after 2000) will take an average of 25,000 Selfies during their lifetime.

And many of them will be awful pictures. From heavy shadows to unfocused faces, blurry movement or heads out-of-frame, there are 101 ways to take a bad Selfie. However, Meyer & Johns Dental wants to share few tricks to make sure you put your best face forward while taking a photo of it.

Tips for Selfie-takers

  •  Keep the camera slightly higher than your line of vision
  •  Look either directly at the camera lens or deliberately away from it
  •  Dip your chin slightly and look up— don’t raise your eyebrows to avoid forehead lines
  •  Natural light is best— aim for the “golden hours” of sunrise or sunset
  •  Choose an interesting background— stay away from blank walls, and mirrors or
    windows can cause unwanted reflections.
  •  Face your light source— Avoid direct side lighting, which can cast harsh shadows
    on your face
  •  Tap the image of your face on the phone screen before taking— most phones will use
    that point to automatically adjust focus, depth and exposure.
  •  SMILE!

Of course, everyone knows how to do this last one. But if you feel like your smile isn’t ready for a close-up, Meyer & Johns Dental can help. From teeth whitening, to same-day crowns, to porcelain veneers, we have the right choice to make sure your smile looks great– both in-person and at arms-length!

To discuss cosmetic options for your teeth, contact us or talk to Drs. Meyer or Johns at your next regular appointment or contact us to explore the options.