5 Foods That Can Whiten Your Teeth

pineappleEveryone knows that things like coffee, tea, and red wine can take your pearly whites and make them appear dull, stained, or discolored. But your dentist in Sacramento wants you to know that there are also foods that can do the opposite and actually make your teeth whiter. 

  • Dairy

Foods that fall within the dairy food group, such as cheese, milk, and yogurt, contain something called lactic acid. This ingredient can help fight off tooth decay, and this can be directly related to the appearance of your smile. Healthier teeth are free of decay and, therefore, often whiter. More specifically, hard cheeses can help gently scrub the teeth and remove any surface stains. If you can tolerate dairy in your diet it’s a great way to protect your teeth.  

  • Crunchy Fruits & Veggies 

Similarly to hard cheeses, raw, crunchy vegetables and fruits, including celery, apples, and carrots, can effectively remove surface stains as we chew them. Besides helping whiten smiles, veggies and fruit can also increase saliva production which easily rinses away dangerous bacteria that could contribute to decay. 

  • Strawberries

While strawberries are bright red and tend to stain clothes or cutting boards, they do quite the opposite for our teeth. Thanks to the enzyme malic acid, strawberries have been known to help wear away surface stains and can help brighten your smile. 

  • Pineapple

Another fruit that can help remove slight tooth staining is pineapple. Pineapple contains bromelain, which has both a natural anti-inflammatory and a cleansing agent. In fact, a study conducted by the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that bromelain can safely and effectively remove stains. 

  • Water

Water should be a staple in everyone’s diet – it not only helps our bodies function properly but also helps keep mouths healthy. Drinking enough water throughout the day can easily rinse away harmful bacteria before it has a chance to settle in and cause decay and, in turn, discolored teeth. 

At our dental office in Sacramento, we understand the desire to have a brighter, whiter smile, and eating some of the foods listed above can help improve your smile’s appearance. However, most of these foods will only work on small surface stains and won’t dramatically whiten your teeth. For stains that are deeper in the teeth or were caused by smoking may require a professional smile whitening treatment or cosmetic dentistry such as veneers. 

If you’re looking to get a brighter, whiter smile, talk to your dentist in Sacramento about the best way to whiten your teeth. 

Why Crooked Teeth Are Worrisome

smiling girl with crooked teethMany people, both children, and adults alike, have crooked teeth. Occasionally, crooked teeth can contribute to poor self-esteem and loss of confidence. But even if crooked teeth don’t bother someone mentally, your dentist in Sacramento may still be worried. The truth is, crooked teeth can lead to some oral health (and overall health) complications, some of which can be serious.

Health Problems Caused by Crooked Teeth

Gum Disease – Straight teeth are often healthier teeth because they’re easier to take care of. When teeth aren’t straight or overlap, they can be very difficult to clean thoroughly and properly. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria, which can cause a whole host of oral health problems such as cavities and gum disease. If not treated, gum disease can progress into periodontitis, which can lead to tooth loss and damaged bone. 

Jaw Pain & Chipped Teeth – Those with crooked teeth may also be at greater risk for damaging their teeth because crooked teeth often cause too much wear and tear on teeth. What’s more, is that this increased wear and tear can also put unnecessary stress on the jaw joint, which can lead to jaw pain or even TMJ/TMD.  

Sleep Apnea – Crooked teeth don’t only contribute to problems with oral health, but overall health, too. One of the lesser-known side effects of crooked or overlapping teeth is sleep apnea. Oftentimes patients with a small jaw also have overcrowded teeth, and this combination can make it hard to breathe. When the jaw is too narrow we tend to push our tongues into our teeth or rest the tongue in an unnatural place, which can put unnecessary pressure on teeth and cause them to shift. This lack of tongue space can also cause the tongue to fall back and cover the throat while sleeping, thus causing sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that can cause people to stop breathing several times a night and increases the risk of high blood pressure, stroke, and heart attack.

The Problem with a Bad Bite

Many times, the solution to overcoming a crooked smile is some sort of orthodontic treatment. But there are times when a visually straight smile can also benefit from orthodontics. You see, if someone’s teeth appear straight, they can still have an underlying problem of a bad bite, also known as malocclusion. If not treated, a bad bite could be painful and contribute to long-term complications. Such as: 

  • Increased risk for chipped teeth
  • Speech impairment in kids
  • Severe headaches
  • Damage to tooth enamel

Your dentist in Sacramento can help determine if you have a bad bite even if you have straight teeth and recommend the best treatment. 

Causes of Crooked Teeth

There’s no one, concrete thing that causes crooked teeth. In fact, there are many causes of crooked teeth, some of which may be unavoidable. Crooked teeth can be caused by: 

  • Poor habits as a child such as thumb sucking
  • Early tooth loss before an adult tooth is ready to erupt
  • A small jaw
  • Facial injury
  • Genetics
  • Mouth breathing
  • Incorrect tongue posture 

If you’re curious about whether your teeth could benefit from some form of orthodontia, we encourage you to call your Sacramento dentist to schedule a consultation to talk about your concerns and options.

Think You Can Straighten Your Smile Through the Mail? Think Again!

woman with clear dental alignerEvery time you turn on the TV these days or read something online, there seems to be an ad for do-it-yourself or DIY teeth aligners. They promise a straighter smile without a trip to see a trained professional. Your dentist in Sacramento will tell you to be cautious about mail-order aligners for a few reasons. After all, this is your smile we’re talking about. If it doesn’t work correctly, you run the risk of a bad bite, poor alignment, and adverse effects on your overall health. 

The Biggest Risks to Your Bite

No matter what kind of treatment or procedure you want for your smile, it’s always best to work with a professional. Other than keeping up with your at-home brushing and flossing like a champ, there’s not too much else you should be doing to your smile yourself. These mail-order, or direct-to-consumer orthodontic options are often not monitored by a dental health professional. So, who’s there to check in on your progress? 

The American Association of Orthodontists suggests that every type of straightening treatment plan be monitored by a dental health professional like your Sacramento dentist. This regular interaction allows you to communicate any concerns you may have. It also gives the doctor an idea of how well your treatment is progressing. Orthodontic treatment without supervision could lead to issues that are painful and irreversible down the road. 

Avoiding Temptations is Hard

When the commercial comes across the screen featuring beautiful people and their straight smiles, it’s easy to be sucked in. Couple that with clever marketing and the guarantee of a straighter smile and it becomes even harder to ignore. What it comes down to is cost. 

When you’re promised a straighter smile at half the price, you’re instantly attracted and may be ready to buy. But how do you know what you’re getting? Normally with the DIY products, you make an at-home dental impression… and you had better cross your fingers that everything was done right. Then a series of clear aligners are created and mailed to you. You wear them without ever seeing a doctor to make sure you’re not damaging your bite or smile. 

Know What’s Right

What the ads don’t tell you is that not everyone or every smile is fit for clear aligner orthodontic treatment. Sometimes these aligners aren’t enough to get your teeth to move into a more desirable, healthy position. Chances are, to get the results you want, you’re going to need some serious tooth movement. If your case is complicated, wasting your money on mail-order, DIY aligners will NOT give you the straight, confident smile you desire. 

The moral of the story? Be careful about choosing convenience over expertise. 

Are you or someone in your family ready for a straighter, healthier smile? Then forget about the TV ads and call our Sacramento dental office today for a consultation. We have the cutting-edge technology to be able to assess your smile and your bite to find out what orthodontic treatment is right for you. Better yet, if we find something that’s going to work for you, we’ll be there with you every step of the way. We can answer questions, make sure your treatment is progressing normally, and help you with aftercare needs, like a custom retainer.

What You Need to Know About DIY Dental Veneers

dental veneersYou may have seen recent ads for do-it-yourself dental veneers pop up on your social media news feed, or stumbled across veneers that you can purchase online through various retailers. While DIY dental veneers may sound like a quick and cheap fix, there are several concerns your dentist in Sacramento wants you to know about.

What Are DIY Veneers?

DIY dental veneers are inexpensive alternatives to a professional and custom-made solution from your dentist in Sacramento. They typically come in two varieties — one that uses molds of your teeth and one that does not. Unlike their professional counterparts, DIY veneers are temporary, removable, and are held in place only using dental adhesive. 

Concerns About DIY Veneers

Those looking to enhance the appearance of their smile may be first attracted to the low cost of DIY veneers. But these temporary fixtures do not come without concerns. 

  • Temporary – DIY veneers are designed to only be worn occasionally and for short periods of time. This really only allows someone to have a brighter, straighter, more attractive smile for a few hours. Professional cosmetic dentistry and veneers from our dental office in Sacramento give you a permanent smile every day of your life.  
  • Longevity – The materials used to create these cheap alternatives to custom veneers are typically low quality. This means you may need to replace temporary DIY veneers several times. 
  • Not Custom – Even the DIY veneers that require you to take molds of your teeth and send them off to the manufacturer aren’t incredibly custom. The final result can be uncomfortable and may look unrealistic. 
  • Bite Problems – One of the larger concerns of DIY veneers is that the manufacturer is not taking your bite into consideration when making the fixture. This means you may accidentally shift your bite or put unnecessary pressure on your teeth and jaw. This can create pain, discomfort, and, if not treated, more problems down the road. 
  • Decay – When a dental appliance does not fit well (and DIY veneers often don’t), there’s often a space between the appliance and the teeth or gums. This space gives food and bacteria a great place to hide which can easily lead to decay, cavities, and again, more problems such as the need for a root canal or crown. 

Every patient’s mouth is unique, as are their goals and concerns. The only way to make sure you’re investing your money into something that you will be happy with long-term is to talk with your dentist in Sacramento. There are many cosmetic dentistry treatments available, including veneers, that can improve your smile safely and permanently. Ensure that your results are truly custom and truly what you’re looking for. Schedule an appointment today.

Your Guide to Understanding Cosmetic Dentistry

beautiful smiling womanAny dentist, along with everyone at our Sacramento dental office, will tell you that one of the most gratifying, tear-jerking moments we have doing what we do is when someone’s smile and life is improved, and they become more confident. One of the areas of dental care that allow us the tools and treatments to complete this kind of transformation is cosmetic dentistry. There are so many special ways it can be used to fix or enhance your teeth. Let’s learn a little more about cosmetic dentistry and all it has to offer you.

Can Any Dentist Do Cosmetic Dentistry?

The answer to this question is generally, yes. However, some dentists are more qualified and trained to handle cosmetic cases compared to their dental peers. If you’re considering any cosmetic change to your smile, it’s always a good idea to check out your options if you don’t have a dentist in Sacramento.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says you’ll want to check out these three things while you’re researching a dentist or an office that’s the right fit for you:

1) Before & After Shots – Any dentist who’s proud of their cosmetic cases should have some good before and after photos for you to see so that you can compare results. They’re usually available on most dental office websites and will tell you what kind of work a patient has had done so you can decide if you’d like to learn more about a specific procedure.

2) Continuing Education – You can always find out if a dentist or dental team you’re considering is up-to-date with the latest treatment techniques and technology. There are so many innovations and changes that occur within cosmetic dentistry as the years’ progress, so it’s important to know what’s available and how to put it to good use.

3) References – Checking patient testimonials or reading online reviews can be helpful if you’re looking to find a cosmetic dentist that provides the services you need with office hours that work for you.

Common Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures

Some cosmetic dentists offer a wider variety of services than others, so it’s best to know what you’re considering having done. These are just a few of the most popular cosmetic dental treatments available today, across the country:

  • Veneers – Most people know of or have at least heard about dental veneers. They can take your teeth from drab to Hollywood-worthy in just a short amount of time. Veneers are usually made of porcelain or plastic and are very thin. Your dentist places them over the front of your teeth for an immediate upgrade to the shape and color of your smile. Veneers can help you say goodbye to unevenly spaced, chipped, broken, or discolored teeth.
  • Crowns – You also might know these cosmetic dentistry solutions by another name called caps. We can use crowns to help fix deteriorating teeth by covering your tooth for better appearance and function. They tend to have the longest life expectancy compared to other popular cosmetic restorations.
  • Bonding – This tooth-colored material is expertly placed on teeth to help them be more uniform and free from gaps or discolorations. Slightly decayed or chipped teeth can often be fixed with bonding because it can cover the entire surface of your tooth for a change in shape and color.
  • WhiteningTeeth whitening is probably the most widely recognized cosmetic dental treatment because it’s something we can do in the dentist’s office or the comfort of our own home. This can help lighten and brighten your smile for any big occasion.

We hope you’ve learned a little something about cosmetic dentistry today. If you’re considering making a change to your smile, please don’t hesitate to talk to your Sacramento dentist to find out what treatments would work for you. Maybe it’s time to boost your smile and your confidence?

How to Deal with Losing a Filling

woman embarrassedDental fillings are an incredibly common type of dental restoration used to treat cavities and decay. In fact, nearly 91% of Americans between 20 and 64 have at least one dental filling. While dental fillings are strong and can last for many, many years, there are still some things that can cause a dental filling to become loose or fall out. Here’s what to do if that happens.

Don’t Wait, Call

Before you do anything else you should call your dentist in Sacramento. Many times our dental office will be able to see you the same day or the next day. At the appointment, you can expect to have a thorough exam of the area so your dental team can assess the damage. This allows us the opportunity to determine the best way to fix it.

What to Expect

Sometimes your dentist may recommend replacing the filling with another one. This is typically what happens if the filling was small and the damage didn’t really affect the tooth. Other times a filling just won’t get the job done and a dental crown may be recommended. Dental crowns cap the entire tooth and provide greater protection.  

Do Your Part

If you lose a filling there are important steps you should take in order to protect your tooth and ease any discomfort.

  • Clean the area. When a filling falls out, your tooth is left with a small hole that food and bacteria can get wedged into. If left there, it could lead to more damage. Rinse with salt water or gently brush the area after eating.
  • Reduce the pain. Using pain reliever can help minimize any sensitivity and increase comfort. There are also temporary fillers available at many pharmacies. Look for one that contains zinc oxide and place it in the gap, but only temporarily.

Avoid the Problem in the First Place

While very common, there are ways you can avoid losing a filling… including choosing your snacks wisely. Many lost or loose fillings are the result of sticky foods or hidden popcorn kernels, so be sure to eat these in moderation and use caution. Tooth grinding or clenching is also a common cause of lost fillings. Make sure to use a nightguard if you grind your teeth in your sleep to protect both your dental restorations as well as your jaw health. Lastly, seeing your Sacramento dentist every six months can help catch any loose fillings before they have a chance to fall out when you least expect it.

We’re always welcoming new patients at our dental office in Sacramento and are here to help with any dental concern. If you’ve lost a filling or suspect you may need one, we welcome you to give us a call to schedule an appointment today.

The Truth You Need to Know About Whitening Toothpaste

woman holds toothpasteEveryone dreams of having a brilliant white smile. But the truth is, not all of us are blessed with a dazzlingly bright, superstar smile. In an attempt to transform our grins, we often turn to whitening toothpastes. In fact, nearly $100 million was spent on just two brands of whitening toothpastes in 2017 alone. But there’s something the team at our Sacramento dental office thinks you should know about whitening toothpastes.

Whitening Toothpastes Work…

With all the whitening toothpastes available, the good news is many have been proven to be effective at actually whitening teeth. However, whitening toothpaste typically only works to remove surface stains,  and only if used regularly twice a day for several weeks. Additionally, whitening toothpastes do have some risks associated with them. The same abrasive ingredients that makes whitening toothpaste effective at scrubbing away stains can also cause teeth to appear darker. How can that be? If whitening toothpaste is used too often or the brushing technique is too rough, the abrasive consistency can actually wear away tooth enamel and make the inner tooth (dentin) more visible. This dentin is usually dark in color and the more visible it is, the darker the tooth looks. So make sure to use whitening toothpaste as instructed and choose one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

…But Not All The Time

Whitening toothpastes are usually only effective at removing surface stains. This means that if your staining is deeper, your whitening toothpaste may not be doing much for you. But don’t worry, you don’t need to live with a smile you don’t like. There are plenty of cosmetic dentistry solutions that can transform your look, such as dental veneers or professional smile whitening. Veneers are thin pieces of custom-crafted and custom-colored ceramic that are fused to the front of teeth, effectively covering up any imperfections you don’t like. Professional smile whitening is a stronger whitening solution applied by your dentist and tends to be more effective (and faster!) than a whitening toothpaste or even whitening strips.

Other Ways to Whiten Your Teeth

Besides a professional smile whitening or other cosmetic dentistry treatment from your dentist in Sacramento, there are other ways you can work on getting a whiter smile including:  

  • Rinsing with water after drinking your morning coffee or tea
  • Quitting smoking or using chewing tobacco  
  • Eat apples, celery, or cheese. These foods help to keep stains away by gently scrubbing teeth.

If you’ve tried every whitening toothpaste available to you and you’re still not quite happy with the results, call our dental office in Sacramento to schedule an appointment. We’ll work with you to determine the best way to whiten your smile safely and effectively.

Top 7 Ways to Show Your Smile Some Love

love smileAt our dental office in Sacramento, we love helping our patients get a smile they’re proud of. But visits to our office twice a year are only part of what you can do to make sure you’re showing your smile the love it needs to stay healthy. If you want to get and maintain a smile you’re happy with, check out the top 7 ways to care for your smile.

 

  • Brush, brush, brush. This may seem like a no-brainer, but we have to say it. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush is one of the most important things you can do to keep your mouth free of decay causing bacteria.  

 

  • Floss everyday. We get asked often if flossing is really that important. The short answer: Yes! If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35% of each tooth. Food particles and bacteria love to hide in between teeth, and you don’t floss, it’s left there and can lead to cavities.  

 

  • Kick the tobacco habit. About 80% of those with oral cancer use tobacco. Whether it’s chewing tobacco or smoking cigarettes, if you want to keep your mouth healthy, you should try to quit.

 

  • Ease up on dark-colored drinks. We’re talking about drinks like coffee, tea, and red wine. These colorful beverages can stain teeth. Usually a professional whitening can reverse that, but other times, the staining seeps into the enamel requiring a more advanced cosmetic dentistry treatment to mask it.

 

  • Drink more water. If we could have our patients drink only one thing, it’d be water. Not only is it free of sugars and coloring, it helps neutralize acid that contributes to cavities.

 

  • Resolve dental problems early and quickly. If you suspect a dental problem, don’t let it go, especially if you’re in pain. Early resolution of many dental concerns can reduce the likelihood that you’ll need more advanced treatment or that a more serious issue will arise.

 

  • See your dentist in Sacramento twice a year. Ok we already covered the importance of this one, but it’s worth repeating. Getting a dental cleaning and checkup every six months is the best way to ensure no serious problems are creeping up and to remove plaque build up.

 

If you’re looking for a dentist, have a dental concern, or you’d like to talk about other ways to get a smile you love, schedule an appointment at our Sacramento dental office today.

3 Things You Should Know About Whitening Your Teeth with Baking Soda

baking sodaBaking soda is a common item found in many households and has a variety of uses besides its obvious purpose — baking food. People use it to keep smells in the fridge at bay, to minimize pet odor, and even to clean carpets and clothes. For many years, baking soda has also been used to whiten teeth. But does it actually work, is it safe, and should you do it? Our dental office in Sacramento has the answers.

Does it Work?

Let’s start with the question everyone wants to know the answer to: does baking soda actually whiten teeth? Good news, it does! Baking soda has a natural, mild abrasive texture that can scrub away surface stains and allow teeth to become a purer white. Mix equal parts baking soda with water, apply to a toothbrush, brush normally and voila!, you have a brighter, whiter smile.

Does it Always Work?

While baking soda can help remove minor discoloration and staining, it’s not incredibly effective at erasing deeper stains. Some people who try to get a whiter smile through the use of baking soda are unhappy with the results. If this happens, there are several alternatives available. In-office professional whitening treatments can whiten your smile by several shades, and at-home kits provide a convenient option. If neither one of those options work, veneers or other forms of cosmetic dentistry may be the answer. Talk with your dentist in Sacramento to determine which solution is best for you.

There Are Disadvantages

Baking soda may be an attractive tooth whitening treatment to many — it’s cheap, it’s natural, and it’s easy. But there are some precautions you should take into consideration before jumping into a baking soda tooth whitening routine. First and foremost, brushing with baking soda can cause damage to the tooth enamel if you brush too hard. This could result in increased sensitivity and a greater risk for decay. Additionally, if used with braces or on teeth that have dental restorations, there is a chance the baking soda can weaken the adhesive. Due to its abrasive nature, baking soda users often complain of gum discomfort as well.

If you’re looking to get a whiter smile and want to explore your options, give our Sacramento dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. We’ll review the type of staining you have, what shade of white you’d like to achieve, the best way to get you a bright, white smile that you’ll be proud to show off.

Your Smile May Be Aging You

agingWhen we hit a certain age, we tend to place more focus on our appearance and take preventive measures to keep up a youthful look. We exercise, eat right, protect our skin with sunscreen, and visit the salon to dye our hair or undergo cosmetic procedures. But what about your smile?

At our dental office in Sacramento, we want all of our patients to be confident with their appearance at every age. And we’re dedicated to doing everything we can to help with that. While we can’t help with hair or exercise, we help with one really important feature — your smile.

When it comes to your smile, there are some things that can make you look older than you really are (and who wants that?). But thankfully there are several options available to combat any trouble you may be having. Here are some common concerns we hear, and their solutions.

Discoloration of Teeth

Whether you enjoy a cup of coffee every morning, or a glass of red wine each night, everyday foods and drinks, or even dated dental work, can cause your teeth to become less than your ideal shade of white. This can make others subconsciously tack years onto your age. Consider professional tooth whitening for an extra boost of brightness, or replace old, metal fillings and crowns with tooth-colored restorations.

Gum Recession

When gums recede, more of the tooth becomes visible, making it look longer. Unfortunately, longer teeth are also associated with a higher age, hence the phrase ‘long in the tooth.’ Gum recession is usually caused by rough brushing, grinding, gum disease, or even genetics. But don’t worry, there are several ways to fix it. If caught early, a simple change in your brushing technique may be enough. If it’s more progressed, a deeper cleaning known as scaling and root planing, or gum grafting may be appropriate. Your dentist in Sacramento will discuss the best option for you.

Facial Collapse

When teeth are missing, they may be replaced with a denture or partial. Both are great options to get your smile functioning again. But sometimes, an ill-fitting denture or a long time spent without one, can cause your facial muscles to droop or sag. When your jaw bone isn’t stimulated through forces like chewing, it can actually begin to deteriorate, causing facial muscles like the chin to sink and your face to appear older. Make sure your denture is giving your bone enough stimulation or consider permanent dental implants as a replacement.

If you’re concerned about your smile’s appearance, our Sacramento dental office can help. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment. We’ll discuss your smile goals and determine the best way to reach them.