The Dangers Of DIY Teeth Whitening

teeth whitening park ridge, il

A GOOD-LOOKING SMILE with white, even teeth is a major confidence booster and really helps make a good first impression, whether you’re going on a date or sitting down for a job interview. The widespread desire for whiter teeth in today’s society, combined with internet culture, has given rise to a number of popular do-it-yourself teeth whitening methods. While these might seem like great life-hacks to try, many of them can actually do serious damage to our teeth.

Common DIY Whitening Trends

Over the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard about some of these trendy teeth whitening approaches, such as activated charcoal, lemon juice, and oil pulling. Oil pulling is an ancient folk remedy, but there is no scientific evidence to back up the claims about its health benefits. Lemon juice is absolutely a bad idea, because you’re essentially applying a strong acid directly to your teeth. Tooth enamel is highly vulnerable to acid, and enamel loss is permanent.

Activated charcoal might be able to absorb stains and toxins, but those benefits are debatable when it comes to teeth, because charcoal is also abrasive, so it could be scraping away enamel even as it removes stains. Hold off on buying that tube of charcoal toothpaste until you see the ADA Seal of Acceptance, and definitely don’t mix up your own.

What About Peroxide And Baking Soda?

Another recent DIY whitening trend is using the baking soda in the pantry and the hydrogen peroxide in the medicine cabinet to bleach teeth. The reasoning behind this idea is that hydrogen peroxide is used in professional whitening and baking soda is present in many ADA approved whitening toothpastes, and both proven to be effective at removing stains.

While it is true that peroxide and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) are used in professional and approved whitening products, that doesn’t mean these are safe chemicals to apply to our teeth however we want. There is a delicate balance between using too little, which won’t produce much of a whitening effect, and using too much, which can damage the enamel and the soft tissues of the mouth. Only dental professionals have the knowledge, training, and materials needed to strike that balance.


Come To The Right Place For Whitening

Your teeth will thank you if you put your trust in dental professionals for your whitening needs rather than trying something risky at home, so bring your teeth whitening questions with you to your next appointment. Together, we can make a plan for how best to whiten your smile. In the meantime, the best things you can do to keep your smile healthy and bright are to keep up with your daily brushing and flossing habits, avoid foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, and don’t smoke.

We’re here to help you get the smile of your dreams!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Top image by Flickr user Rupert Taylor-Price used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Managing Tooth Sensitivity

Dentist in Park Ridge, IL

IF THERE’S ONE THING we can all agree on, it’s that nobody likes sensitive teeth! Tooth sensitivity can cause discomfort during daily tasks such as brushing, flossing, eating, drinking, and even breathing in a cold gush of air!

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, there are measures you can take to relieve pain and treat discomfort.

Start By Visiting Your Dentist

If you are concerned about sensitive teeth, seek a dental professional’s help first. Tooth sensitivity, while common, can also be a sign of something more serious. Your dentist can help identify what the underlying cause of your sensitivity is and prescribe the best treatment option for you and your smile! After an evaluation, your dentist might recommend:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste: This type of toothpaste is specially formulated to soothe the nerve endings in the tooth and reduce pain. A few good types are: Sensodyne Toothpaste or Proenamel Toothpaste.
  • Bonding agent: This is the material used to stick tooth colored restorations to teeth. It can also be used to seal the dentin surface and protect sensitive areas from outside stimuli.
  • Gluma: This is a desensitizing agent that can be rubbed onto the tooth to minimize tooth sensitivity in a very noninvasive way.
  • Fluoride: Your dentist may apply fluoride to sensitive areas. This strengthens tooth enamel and treats pain.
  • Limiting acidic foods and drinks: Carbonated beverages, citrus fruits, wine, yogurt, etc. are acidic and, when consumed frequently, can remove small amounts of tooth enamel over time. Drink acidic liquids with straws to avoid contact with teeth.

A Good Oral Hygiene Routine Can Help You Avoid Sensitivity

Proper brushing and flossing can prevent conditions such as gum disease which is known to cause gum recession. When gums recede, part of the tooth root is exposed, leading to sensitivity. Over-brushing or brushing too aggressively can also lead to receding gums and even enamel erosion—both of which cause sensitivity.

A good way to tell if you are pressing too hard when you brush is by checking your toothbrush. The bristles of your brush should not fray, even if you have been using it for several months. At Davis & Engert Dentistry, we recommend you use your toothbrush for about 3 months before switching to a new one.

When Whitening Your Teeth, Consult With Your Dentist

Tooth sensitivity is a common side effect of teeth whitening. To avoid or diminish sensitivity after whitening, consider using a lower concentration of whitening product and reduce the amount of time the bleach is in contact with the teeth.

Always consult with your dentist before whitening as he or she can help determine the best treatment options for you. If you or someone you know has particularly sensitive teeth, there are additional steps we can take to help avoid and relieve the sensitivity caused by whitening.

At Davis & Engert Dentistry, we recommend that you come and see us at least a week before you start whitening your teeth. At this visit, we will make Fluoride carrier trays that are custom to your teeth. Then, we advice you to wear your new trays with a small amount fluoride inside them at least 5 times before whitening your teeth. The goal of this step is to reduce chances of sensitivity from whitening. A bonus is that these custom trays can be used to hold whitening material after your teeth have been strengthened.

Cosmetic Dentist

Custom Fluoride Carrier Tray. Photo Credit: Colgate.com.

We Can Help With Tooth Sensitivity

Although sensitivity is common, there are things we can do to help relieve and reduce the discomfort that it causes. No one should have to live with tooth pain. Call us or come in today so we can help you achieve a pain-free smile!

To our wonderful patients, we appreciate you!

Image by Flickr user Dave Herholz used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Foods That Naturally Whiten Teeth

REGULAR BRUSHING AND FLOSSING, plus 3-6 month check-up visits with the dentist, remain your best protection against tooth decay and gum disease. However, there are some tooth-friendly foods out there that will help you maintain a bright, healthy smile and even naturally whiten your teeth!

Here are some foods, Davis & Engert Dentistry can recommend, that could help whiten your teeth.

Fruits And Veggies

Fruits such as apples and strawberries contain malic acid which removes surface stains from your teeth and whitens enamel. Strawberries are also beneficial in that they contain ellagitannins—antioxidants that are known to reduce stain-attracting bacteria and inflammation in your mouth.

Furthermore, apples—along with celery, carrots and pears—have a high water content. This increases production of saliva, which washes away bacteria in the mouth. Pears are also great for neutralizing odor-causing bacteria on teeth that lead to bad breath.

Pineapple is the only food that naturally contains bromelain. Guess where else we can find bromelain? In stain-removing toothpaste! Bromelain is a compound that has anti-inflammatory and cleansing properties and is effective in removing surface stains from your teeth, resulting in a brighter smile.

Natural Scrubbers

Other foods act as a natural brush due to their abrasive texture. Broccoli, seeds and nuts, and, yet again, apples, scrub your teeth and naturally remove bacteria and plaque. Eat these foods in the afternoons to clean and polish your teeth, giving them a brief midday brush. What’s more, broccoli is high in fiber and iron, resulting in a lower risk of inflammation in your mouth and greater protection against enamel-degrading acids produced by bacteria.

Dairy

Cheese and milk are full of calcium, which we all know is very good for teeth and bones. Calcium, as well as other minerals and proteins found in dairy products, protect tooth enamel from erosion and decay. They also don’t stain your teeth like coffee, wine, or beets would.

More Than Just Brushing

Achieving and maintaining a healthy, bright smile is more than just eating foods that can damage your teeth (mainly sugary drinks and candy, as well as refined, starchy foods) and then brushing the consequences away. To keep your mouth clean and smile white, avoid foods that can damage or stain your teeth, and opt for some of the healthier options mentioned above. Your teeth will thank you for it!

Thank you for being our valued patient and friend. 

Image by Flickr user Artotem used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Get Your Dream Smile With Zoom Whitening

teeth whitening park ridgeYOUR SMILE IS ONE OF THE FIRST things people notice about you. Make your smile something to feel good about with Philips Zoom Whitening, the number one patient-requested professional whitening brand in the United States!

You Are Our Priority

Every smile is different and while there are many ways to whiten your teeth, be sure to consult with us so we can determine the best method for you.

How Does Zoom Whitening Work?

Our Zoom Whitening system helps your teeth get up to eight shades whiter in as little as 45 minutes!

Zoom in-office tooth whitening is a procedure designed to lighten the color of teeth using a combination of hydrogen peroxide gel and a specifically designed LED light. The Zoom treatment involves using a the gel and the LED lamp in conjunction with each other to produce maximum whitening results in the shortest possible time. During the procedure, the whitening gel will be applied to a patient’s teeth and exposed to the LED light for 3 or 4, 15 minutes sessions. The optional fourth session is for those with dark stains. During the entire treatment a plastic retractor will be placed in the mouth to help keep the patient open and the soft tissue in his or her mouth (i.e., lips, gums, cheeks, tongue) will be covered to ensure it is not exposed to either the gel or the light. The patient will also wear LED light filtered glasses during the appointment for eye protection. After the treatment is completed, the retractor and all gel and tissue covering will be removed from the patient’s mouth. Before and after treatment, the shade of upper-front teeth will be assessed and recorded.

Your Smile, Your Way

With increasing demands on your time, we know that it’s important to have whitening options that fit your schedule, budget and lifestyle. Philips Zoom Whitening provides fast results.
Intensity settings allow us to make adjustments for patients who may experience sensitivity during whitening. The Zoom system also includes desensitizers to minimize sensitivity and protect tooth enamel, giving you a safe, personalized whitening experience.

Zoom Whitening Success Stories

teeth whitening park ridge dentist in park ridgeThese are Zoom before and after photos taken at Davis & Engert Dentistry; they showcase the great success we have had with in-office Zoom whitening. Many of our patients leave with more confidence in their smiles! One patient said, “I never thought my teeth could actually be this white, I don’t have to be embarrassed anymore.”

The Safest And Most Effective Way To Brighten Your Smile

You are our priority here at Davis & Engert Dentistry. Our team is dedicated to making your smile the best it can be! Philips Zoom Whitening is the safest and most effective way to get that whiter smile you’ve been dreaming of. And guess what? It only takes one hour. Call or come in today to ask us about Zoom!

For information an additional whitening option, watch this video or give us a call!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Teeth Whitening: An Effective Way to Improve Your Smile

Teeth whitening may be a great option if you who have stained, dull or discolored teeth. The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well.

Our dental team is devoted to helping you achieve and maintain a beautiful and healthy smile. If you are considering teeth whitening, contact Davis & Engert Dentistry for a consultation.

Arlene Engert DDS