Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Most people would love a bright, white smile. A smile is one of the first things people notice when they meet or greet us. Did you know there are ways you can achieve this at home during your regular schedule as well as with some help from your dentist?

A smile that is dull and lifeless tends to make us feel less confident about ourselves and in turn makes us look older than we really are to people we meet. Whereas a bright shiny sparkle, gives people a self confidence boost as well as change how people look at them. Studies have shown people with whiter, brighter smiles are almost always percieved by others to be younger than they really are.

Luckily, there are some ways to maintain a white bright smile both on our own as well as with help from your dentist.

Top Tips for a Whiter, Brighter Smile

-Focus on Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene. It is amazing how little time it takes in our day to keep our teeth brushed, flossed, and rinsed and still many of us do not find the time to do it right. Brushing at least twice a day is recommended (but brushing after every meal is even better!), flossing at least once a day and rinsing with an antibacterial or fluoride rinse. Flossing reaches areas even the best brushers and rinsing cannot ever dare to reach. If a build up of plaque is allowed to go unchecked it will make it easier for stains from foods, red wines, or tobacco to accumulate. A great product to try is Periogen, it removes stains, tartar, and plaque between dental cleanings.

-Keep Away From the Enemy. Avoid or minimize the intake of sugary drinks and foods, especially sticky candies (like gummy bears or fruit roll-ups). Acidic foods (like citrus juices) may appear healthy but are not very good for maintaining a neutral balance in your mouth or for your teeth. High intake of sugar and acids, and repetitive intake of them, can weaken tooth enamel and create an environment for cavity causing bacteria to grow and thrive. This can eventually result in enamel wear, tooth decay and discoloration on the teeth.

There are many foods and drinks that are known to stain teeth. These include red wine, coffee, tea, and sodas. A big no-no if you want to keep your teeth white and bright, is tobacco use. Smoking will yellow your teeth and age you very quickly.

-Change your Diet. Maintaining a healthy mouth is directly connected with keeping your smile as bright and white as possible. You need to start with a balanced diet with certain nutrients to help keep away oral health problems that can take away from a beautiful smile. These problems include, tooth cavities, tooth erosion, and periodontal disease. Some of the best foods for teeth and mouth are foods high in calcium and low in fat. These include milk, cheeses, cruciferous vegetables (these are mainly green leafy vegetables like broccoli), or soy products.

Vitamin C is another very important nutrient that helps maintain strong teeth by working as an antioxidant to repair tissue and prevent disease-causing bacteria from penetrating the gums. The cruciferous veggies (particularly broccoli) will do a double job, since they are rich in both calcium and vitamin C.

Any crunchy fruits and veggies, like apples and carrots, are also good for your teeth. This is because chewing them will increase salivary production which can help protect the teeth from plaque-causing bacteria by breaking down food caught between teeth and rinsing the mouth by neutralizing bad acids.

Drinking lots of water also helps rid your mouth of such bacteria (especially after meals) while also helping to prevent stains and protect your teeth from the harmful effects of acidic foods and beverages. Chewing sugarless gum is another easy way to increase salivary production. The saliva is a natural way to fight acid and keep your teeth looking bright and white.

-Use Makeup to your Advantage. This is mainly for the women but choosing the right shades of makeup can make a big difference to how your teeth look to others.

1) Choose a Color that Contrasts with natural tones.  A punch of red or pink tone on your cheeks and lips stands out from your dazzling smile while beige or orangey shades blend into discolored teeth. Bright orange and yellow toned reds, actually emphasize the yellow tones that can be in your teeth.

2) Choose lipsticks with blue undertone shades (bright pinks and reds). They pick up the reflective edging on your teeth making your smile appear whiter.

3) Experiment with bronzing. Darker complexions can offset white teeth. Sweep bronzer over the high points of your face. These areas include the hairline, bridge of your nose, cheek bones and tip of your chin. Your teeth will receive an instant benefit and appear whiter.

4) Sparkle it up!. Dab an opalescent illuminator on the Cupid’s bow of your mouth. This allows the white luminescence to pick up reflection off your teeth.

5) Save the gold tones for your eyelids and avoid gold tones near your lips or teeth. The shine from gold too closely resembles yellow. This will accentuate stains and make teeth appear darker yellow.

-Teeth Whitening for a Whiter, Brighter Smile. Teeth whitening can be done a few ways. These can include Do It Yourself (DIY) teeth whitening or in office professional teeth whitening.

1) DIY Teeth Whitening. This is a more inexpensive method but can be very effective depending on the individual. This can include, teeth whitening toothpastes and teeth whitening strips. Using the teeth whitening strips and whitening toothpaste in combination can be very effective as the whitening toothpaste removes the out stains and the teeth whitening strips are able to penetrate deeper into the tooth to remove deeper stains.

2) Professional Teeth Whitening. This type of teeth whitening is definitely more expensive but the teeth whitening results are usually much more effective and achieved in a much faster amount of time. The concentration of the teeth whitening agent is much higher when used by a dentist and therefore will get better results in a shorter period of time.

So there you have it, some very effective tips to keep your smile whiter and brighter. A whiter smile will make you feel better about yourself and change the way people look at you. It can open a whole new world for you.

Tooth enamel erosion is a wearing and breakdown of the thin outer layer covering the teeth. This strong outer layer (enamel) is the hardest tissue in the human body. The main part of your tooth is the layer under the tooth enamel and that is called dentin.

Tooth enamel helps protect your teeth from daily use. This includes things such as chewing, biting, crunching, and tooth grinding. Even though tooth enamel is super strong it can chip and crack over time with use. Tooth enamel also acts as an insulator from potentially painful temperature changes or even harsh chemicals (acids).

Tooth enamel is not able to repair itself like a broken bone can. Once a tooth fractures or chips the damage is forever. The reason for this is that the tooth enamel has no living cells, unlike the second layer (dentin), which does. So the body is unable to repair enamel like it might a  broken bone.

erosion of tooth enamel

Tooth Enamel Erosion

Tooth Enamel Erosion

Tooth enamel erosion occurs when acids  wear away the tooth enamel. Tooth enamel erosion is just one of the many causes of tooth discomfort or pain. Tooth enamel erosion occurs when excess acid in the mouth wears away the tooth enamel. Usually the calcium present in saliva will help to neutralize the acids in the foods or liquids we ingest. But if you eat or drink a lot of highly acidic foods,

(alcohol, soda, citrus, (lemons, limes), cheeses are a few examples), the calcium in your saliva will not be able to keep up its job. This will shift the balance from one of a neutral environment to one that is more acidic. Pure fruit juices and Carbonated drinks are highly acidic. If you drink large amounts of these drinks you are increasing your chances for tooth enamel erosion.

Other causes of Tooth Enamel Erosion

-Dry mouth or Xerostomia. This is lowered salivary flow that can be due to many factors. These factors include systemic disease or even medications.

-Acid reflux disease (GERD=gastroesophageal reflux disease)

-Gastrointestinal problems

-Medications. Such as aspirin or antihistamines or even penicillin.

-Genetics. This plays a role in how acidic your mouth may be. Your mouth may lean towards acidic anyway and your lifestyle will just exacerbate the issue of tooth enamel erosion.

tooth enamel erosion acid reflux

Tooth Enamel Erosion from Acid Reflux Disease

-Environmental factors. Teeth grinding and stress will increase the amount of tooth enamel erosion by causing physical damage to the teeth. This will thin out the tooth enamel giving the acids in your diet an even easier time of causing tooth enamel erosion.

-Bulimia. This disease has been shown to cause tooth enamel erosion. Bulimia is associated with binge eating and vomiting. The release of stomach acids into the mouth will cause tooth enamel erosion over time.

Signs and Symptoms of Tooth Enamel Erosion

Tooth Pain. When tooth enamel erosion occurs, you may experience tooth pain from hot and cold food. Remember, the tooth enamel serves as a protective insulating layer. As it thins out you are more susceptible to these changes.

Discoloration. You may begin to notice a yellowing of teeth during tooth enamel erosion. This is because the dentin ( which, is naturally yellow in color ) is becoming exposed as the enamel wears thin and translucent and allows the dentin color to show through.

Transparency. As the tooth enamel erodes and this layer becomes thinner light may be able to shine thru and give the appearance that the tooth is transparent.

Cracks and Cups. Cracks and small indentations may develop from tooth enamel erosion.

Severe and Painful Sensitivity. Certain foods (sweets) and temperatures of foods (hot or cold) may cause a twinge of pain and discomfort in the early stage of tooth enamel erosion.

man smiling-Smooth, shiny surfaces on the teeth. Tooth enamel erosion causes mineral loss on these areas  which gives the teeth a glazed look to them.

When tooth enamel erosion occurs, the tooth is more prone to cavities or tooth decay. When the tooth decay enters the hard enamel, it has an easier entry to the inner parts of the tooth.

Prevention

-Maintain proper dental hygiene. This includes visiting your dentist regularly for dental examinations and cleanings. As well as brushing after every meal and flossing at least once a day.

Eliminate highly acidic foods and drinks. These include carbonated sodas, lemons, and other citrus fruits and juices. An important tip is to rinse your mouth immediately with water after ingesting these liquids. This will wash the acids from your mouth as well as bring your mouth back to a neutral pH state. If you do decide to continue to drink citrus or fruit juices choose ones that are low acidic in content. Wait for a minimum of 1 hour to brush teeth after it has been exposed to acids in food or drinks. Acid leaves the enamel softened and more prone to tooth enamel erosion during brushing.

-Use a straw. When drinking acidic drinks use a straw. This pushes the acidic liquid to the back of your mouth bypassing the teeth.

-Keep track of snacks. Snacking during the day with out brushing increases the risk for tooth decay. Following snacking the mouth will be acidic for a few hours until you are able to brush and rinse your mouth. Try to avoid snacking unless you are able to rinse your mouth and brush your teeth afterwards.

-Chew sugar free gum. Chewing gum stimulates salivary flow. Studies have shown it can increase up to 10X normal when chewing gum. Try to choose xylitol gum as it has been shown to reduce the acids in the mouth.

-Drink more water throughout your day if you have low saliva volume or dry mouth.

-Use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens teeth so use a commercially available fluoride toothpaste.

-Talk to your dentist about daily fluoride mouthwash, like ACT anti cavity rinse, if you have a history of cavities.

Restoration

There  are a few ways to restore the damages to tooth enamel caused by erosion. Your dentist will be able to evaluate the best course of treatment for your situation. In some cases, dental bonding can be used to protect the tooth as well as increase the aesthetics. If the tooth enamel erosion is more significant, a crown may be necessary to restore and protect the tooth from any more damage that might occur.

Tooth enamel erosion can be a very serious problem for patients as it worsens. Regular dental examinations will reveal the problem before it becomes too big. If you have any concerns about tooth enamel erosion ask your dentist at your next visit.

Is the sipping of hot coffee or the eating of cold ice cream sometimes a painful experience for you? If your answer is YES, you may have a common problem called sensitive teeth.

Tooth sensitivity is tooth or teeth discomfort that is provoked by hot, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, or breathing in cold air. The pain can be sudden, sharp, and shoot deep into the nerve endings of your teeth.

There are two very different types of sensitivity:

Dentinal Sensitivity. This occurs when the middle layer (dentin) of a tooth is exposed to the outside. Dentin is usually covered by enamel above the gum line and by cementum (bone like connective tissue covering the root of a tooth) below the gum line. There are tiny openings called tubules in the dentin. Inside each tubule there is a nerve branch that comes from the tooth’s pulp (the nerve center of the tooth). When the dentin is exposed, these nerve branches can be affected by hot, cold, or certain foods. This causes tooth sensitivity.

When the outer protective layers of enamel or cementum wear away the dentin becomes exposed to the outside. This can affect one tooth or multiple teeth. Dentin exposure can be be caused in a variety of ways. These can include:

1. Aggressive brushing. The enamel layer can be worn away from brushing too hard.

2. Plaque build up. The presence of plaque on the root surfaces can cause sensitivity.

3. Tooth wear that occurs over time from chewing and brushing.

4. Untreated dental cavities.

5. Gingival recession. When the gums recede they expose the tooth’s roots. Receding gums often are caused by periodontal diseases or by aggressive brushing. Receded gums are very common and up to four fifths of people have gum recession by the time they are 65.

6. Periodontal surgery (gum surgery) that exposes the tooth’s roots.

7.  Tooth whitening.

8. Frequently eating acidic foods or liquids.

Pulpal sensitivity. This is a reaction of the tooth’s pulp. The pulp consists of a mass of blood vessels and nerves in the center of each tooth. Sensitivity of the pulpal tissue tends to affect only one tooth. Causes of this type of sensitivity can include:

1. Dental cavities or infection.

2. Placement of a recent filling.

3. Excessive pressure from grinding or clenching your teeth.

4. A cracked or broken tooth.

If you feel a sharp pain upon biting, you may have a broken or cracked filling. Pain when you release your bite is a sign of a cracked tooth.

sensitive teeth

toothpaste for sensitive teeth

You dentist will be able to diagnose the type of sensitivity you have. You want to rule out pulpal sensitivity as that requires more extensive treatment. If it is decided you have dentinal sensitivity then we will suggest a few options for you. The most conservative way is by use of a sensitivity toothpaste. I recommend Colgate Sensitive Pro-Relief which I believe to be the best on the market today. I have found it to be the most effective in eliminating or limiting the symptoms of tooth sensitivity. Other options include use of a fluoride varnish or a bonded desensitizing agent that we would apply in office. As well as use of an at home fluoride rinse.

In severe cases of hypersensitivity that is persistent and cannot be treated by other ways, your dentist may recommend endodontic (root canal therapy) treatment to eliminate the sensitive teeth issue.

If you or a loved one is experiencing either type of sensitivity, the best approach would be to schedule a dental appointment for further evaluation.