PearlInBrite is a proprietary teeth whitening
system pioneered by Dr. Jan Linhart to speed up the process so
that patients experience results immediately. In as little as one session (two
hours), patients can expect a 9-10 shade change in the color of their teeth, depending
on the degree of previous staining.
PearlInBrite is a laser whitening system, which, like all
whitening procedures, use peroxide to bleach the teeth. With ordinary laser
teeth whitening, the molecules in the peroxide are “excited” by laser energy to
break down the stains and whiten teeth. Dr. Linhart’s procedure, however, uses two different lasers instead of one, and
three laser-specific gels to achieve an optimum white.
PearlInBrite Laser Tooth Whitening is far more effective than
any other tooth whitening system. However, for results to last, patients must
maintain proper dental hygiene and continue to brush and care for their teeth
on a regular basis. How can you make the most of your PearlInBrite experience
after the procedure? Here are 5 aftercare tips to make your teeth whitening
treatment last longer.
1.) Brush, Floss, and Care for Your Teeth
This is important to the overall state
of your oral health–not just maintaining the whiteness of your teeth. However,
proper dental hygiene does remove plaque and debris that can stain your enamel,
thus preserving your bright new smile. Brushing your teeth after every meal is
ideal, although twice a day is more than efficient. You should also be flossing
once a day, and consider adding mouthwash to your daily regimen. Consult with
your dentist if you have any questions about specific whitening toothpastes or
similar at-home products.
2.) Consider Using PearlInBrite
What better way is there to maintain
the results of your PearlInBrite Whitening Enhancer at home than by using a
product designed by PearlInBrite’s creator himself, Dr. Jan Linhart? This
enhancer gel acts as a supplement to your everyday toothpaste and eliminates
the need to wear whitening strips. It uses hydrogen peroxide to enhance your
toothpaste, and you don’t even have to brush separately! Simply apply the gel on top of your toothpaste before
3.) Minimize Exposure to Substances that Stain
Coffee. Red Wine. Certain foods with
rich sauces. All the good stuff. While you don’t need to eliminate these from
your diet completely, minimizing your consumption of them can help prolong the
effects of your whitening treatment. After all, these are the foods and
beverages that can leave lasting stains. Smoking is another substance that
causes discoloration and yellowing of the enamel. If you do consume any of
these, we recommend brushing or using mouthwash soon after to minimize the
chance of lasting stains.
4.) Maintain Regular Dental Cleaning Visits
Regularly scheduled visits with your
dentist are necessary anyway to preserve the health of your teeth. But
receiving your cleaning at least twice annually from your dental hygienist can
help minimize any new stains accumulated since your last PearlInBrite
5.) Consider Subsequent PearlInBrite Treatments
The results of PearlInBrite can last
for a long time, and can be prolonged even longer in patients who follow the
aforementioned tips. But the truth is that no whitening treatment is permanent.
The daily wear-and-tear we put our teeth through eventually catches up to us,
and we’ll eventually need to have our teeth whitened again. Fortunately, with
PearlInBrite’s exemplary whitening effects, this doesn’t have to happen often.
But if you’re noticing that your smile is losing a bit of the luster it had
after your first PearlInBrite treatment, consider contacting our office to
schedule another one. There’s nothing wrong with a little touch up.
As with your teeth’s overall strength and health, the whiteness
of your teeth can last for a long time if you take care of them properly. Daily
brushing, the use of dentist-recommended whitening products, and regular visits
to your dentist can make your PearlInBrite smile brighter for longer. Visit www.peralinbrite.com
to learn more about the system, and schedule your appointment today!
Porcelain veneers are an effective, long-term
solution for transforming discolored or misshapen teeth into a beautifully
white and perfectly aligned smile that will last for decades. The procedure
involves thin pieces of porcelain (veneers, or laminates) that are hand-crafted
by a lab technician into the shape of perfect teeth. The laminates are then
bonded to your natural teeth to correct the their imperfections and create an
authentic, uniform smile.
Orthodontic treatments such as Invisalign
or braces can straighten misaligned teeth, and
are important for improving your bite, jaw structure, or strength of your
teeth. However, they cannot correct chips, permanently stained, or misshapen
whitening procedures can brighten your smile to an extent, but some
tooth discoloration cannot be corrected by these treatments, and the effects
are always temporary. Porcelain veneers are quick, easily applied by a restorative
dentist, and, when properly cared for, will last for years.
As with any dental procedure, cosmetic or otherwise, it is
important to discuss with your dentist whether or not the course of treatment
is right for you. Are you considering porcelain veneers? These seven
requirements might indicate that you’re an ideal candidate.
1.) Discolored teeth
If you have teeth with deep, tough
stains, traditional whitening procedures may not be enough to remove them.
Mottled teeth with lines or bands that leave the enamel rough collect plaque
and other debris that make stains more prominent. Laminates bond to the enamel
and cover over the unsmooth surface.
2.) Misshapen teeth
Some people have naturally misshapen
teeth, like incisors that curve at an odd angle or front teeth with ridges on
the ends. Porcelain veneers are smooth and uniform, creating the appearance of
aligned teeth that are all properly shaped.
3.) Fractured teeth
Fractured teeth are misshapen, not by
the natural development of your teeth, but by accidents or other factors that
actually break or crack your tooth. While it is important to seek the proper treatment for fractured teeth to prevent more
serious issues, you may still be left with a tooth that is noticeably
different. If this has happened to more than one of your teeth, you might
consider porcelain veneers to cover up traces of other dental work.
4.) A properly aligned bite
Crooked teeth are certainly a reason
that some people elect to receive porcelain veneers. However, porcelain veneers
are only an option for mildly misaligned teeth. People with crooked teeth that
result from issues with the formation of their jaw, or those who have a
seriously misaligned bite, require orthodontic treatment such as braces or
5.) Healthy gums
Gum disease is a serious issue that
can cause various complications, and can even sometimes require surgery to
correct. If you have a history of gum disease, or believe you may be exhibiting
symptoms, consult with a periodontist to determine the proper course of
treatment. Gum disease can weaken your teeth and the surrounding bone, and
porcelain veneers would not be a solution.
6.) Healthy tooth enamel
Porcelain veneers are bonded to the
enamel of your teeth, and therefore require a strong enamel to support them. If
you have weakened enamel, your dentist will need to determine if your teeth are
strong enough for porcelain veneers.
7.) You don’t grind your teeth
Habitually grinding your teeth not
only weakens your enamel, which can preclude you from porcelain veneers, but it
also means that once you have veneers,
you may cause damage to them. If you use a mouthguard at night or are otherwise
seeking ways to avoid grinding your teeth, your dentist might still decide that
porcelain veneers are the answer, but if it is a chronic habit that causes
other issues for you, then you might not be a candidate.
Porcelain veneers are a lasting, affordable,
and quick cosmetic fix for imperfections in your teeth that prevent you from
having the winning smile you’ve always wanted. Speak with your dentist today to
see if your teeth require other forms of restorative treatment, or if porcelain
veneers are right for you.
Teeth grinding, or bruxism, is a fairly common occurrence that results when people clench their teeth and gnash them together in a grinding motion. Many people do this during the day, either subconsciously or as a habit. Sleep bruxism, however, occurs when people grind their teeth at night. It is just as common, though it has the potential to become more problematic.
While grinding your teeth on occasion is not a cause for concern, the repeated or habitual grinding of your teeth can lead to a variety of complications. When people grind their teeth at night, they do so in their sleep, and are not aware of it. Prolonged, unconscious teeth grinding is where issues often arise.
Symptoms and Effects of Teeth Grinding
How do you know if grinding your teeth is an issue if you do it during your sleep? You may be unaware that you’re doing it, but if it happens on a regular basis, you’ll start to notice certain symptoms. Some of these symptoms include:
● A dull, constant headache originating in the temples
● Teeth that are suddenly more sensitive to heat, cold, or sweetness.
● Soreness on your tongue or the inside of your cheeks, as people who grind their teeth often bite themselves.
● Tired or tight jaw muscles.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, consult with your dentist to determine whether or not you grind your teeth. Please keep in mind that many of these symptoms might be indicative of other conditions, which is why it’s important to confirm or rule out teeth grinding as the cause. During your regular dental checkups, your dentist will typically check for signs that you grind your teeth.
Grinding your teeth weakens your enamel. It can flatten or wear down your teeth, which causes issues with your bite, and if left untreated, you can potentially loosen or fracture a tooth. Lockjaw and other temporomandibular joint dysfunctions (TMD, or disorders of your jaw muscles) can result from chronic, repeated teeth grinding.
What Causes Teeth Grinding?
Doctors don’t have a full understanding of all the causes for grinding your teeth. Stress, anxiety, or even pure force of habit are some common causes. Teeth grinding is very common in childhood, and it can also be caused by sleeping disorders, such as sleep apnea. If your dentist believes your teeth grinding is caused by a sleeping disorder, or another psychological condition, he or she may refer you to a sleep specialist to determine the underlying causes that must be addressed before the teeth grinding can be alleviated. People with overbites or an abnormal alignment of their upper and lower teeth may also experience bruxism.
How to Prevent Teeth Grinding
There are different methods to keep yourself from grinding your teeth at night, and you and your dentist will determine the technique that is right for you. Here are five ways you can stop grinding your teeth.
1. Wear a mouthguard
Mouthguards are the easiest and most typical measures taken against teeth grinding. Your dentist will fit you with a custom plastic mouthguard that you wear every night to sleep. While you’ll probably still move your mouth during the night, the guard acts as a buffer by preventing your teeth from grinding against each other. The soft plastic keeps your teeth safe and prevents further weakening of the enamel.
2. Dental correction
In cases where your teeth grinding is caused by a dental problem, the proper procedure to correct the issue might be the right course of action. If you grind your teeth because of a dental misalignment, braces or Invisalign might gradually help you stop by improving the issue. If you have damages to your teeth that cause irregularities in the chewing surfaces, crowns could alleviate your teeth grinding.
3. Stress management
For many people, teeth grinding is an instinctual response to stress or anxiety. Oftentimes, if somebody is stressed at work, the subconscious anticipation of the next day’s probable stress can cause them to grind their teeth during their sleep the night before. While your dentist cannot recommend the method of stress management best suited for you, if your teeth grinding is determined to be a result of stress, seek out healthy forms of relieving stress that might help you sleep easier and grind your teeth less.
4. Avoid stimulating substances
Certain substances such as caffeinated beverages, or even alcohol, when consumed before bed can increase the frequency of teeth grinding.
5. Consult with a sleep specialist
If it is determined that you grind your teeth as a symptom of a sleeping disorder, you may need to consult with a sleep specialist to determine the proper treatment for the disorder. By addressing your sleeping issue at its source, the symptoms of the disorder, including your teeth grinding, should gradually be minimized.
Do you think you grind your teeth at night? If you experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, and have not been able to determine another probable cause, it’s possible that you do. Ask your dentist to examine you for signs that you grind your teeth before your symptoms get worth, and explore which preventative measures are right for you.
When it comes to orthodontic
treatment, the field of dentistry has come a long way. In the past, traditional
braces using metal brackets anchored to the teeth to correct misalignment or
crookedness was a patient’s only options. Metal braces are still a widely used
and highly effective method, but nowadays, patients can choose from a wide
array of alternatives depending on their individual needs, aesthetic
preferences, and budget.
Orthodontics has evolved to take discretion and appearance into
consideration, creating effective alignment solutions that patients can wear
without having to be self conscious. Porcelain
veneers, for example, are an excellent cosmetic solution for
patients with minor misalignment. For a substantial overbite or more serious
orthodontic issue, however, patients can consider iBraces,
which are smaller than traditional braces, and are anchored to the back of your teeth to be virtually
One orthodontic treatment has become one of the leading
alternatives to braces. Invisalign, for adults or teens,
is a series of clear plastic trays that are molded specifically to your teeth
and fit over your teeth to align
them. They function in much the same way as traditional braces, with the
obvious benefit of being, well, invisible. Aside from the visual difference,
though, there are some functional differences between braces and Invisalign.
Let’s explore some of the major ones.
How Do Invisalign and
Braces Straighten Teeth?
If you have had braces in the past, or know somebody who has
braces, you’re familiar with the check ins every few weeks with your
orthodontist to tighten the braces. The wire that’s anchored to your teeth is
gradually tightened over the course of treatment, literally squeezing the teeth
together to straighten them. This must happen in the office, which is
beneficial in that it allows your orthodontist to closely monitor the progress
of your treatment.
Invisalign also works by applying incremental pressure to your
teeth to tighten them, however, it uses a series of plastic trays, or aligners,
to do this. While Invisalign aligners are molded to the shape of your teeth,
each is a slightly different size, following the natural progression of your
straightening process. Every subsequent tray is just a bit straighter, until
ultimately, your final tray is the shape of your perfectly straight smile.
Instead of tightening a wire like with regular braces, you simply change your
tray roughly every two weeks.
You must still meet with your orthodontist on a regular braces,
but changing trays can be done easily and conveniently at home. Typically, your
orthodontist will give you a few trays at a time to last you between visits.
Trays are numbered, and you wear them in numerical order.
How Do Invisalign and
Braces Affect Your Day-to-Day?
One of the clearest advantages of Invisalign over braces is
that Invisalign is removable. This means that daily activities like eating,
drinking, and brushing your teeth aren’t affected at all. In fact, you have to remove your Invisalign tray when
eating or drinking. But you can still eat whatever you want because there is
nothing obstructing your teeth. Optimal wear for your Invisalign tray is 22
hours per day, but this still allows you plenty of time to keep the tray out
With braces, however, food can get caught in between the
brackets. You have to take extra care to brush after every meal to avoid a
buildup of plaque and bacteria from food particles that accumulate around the
the braces. Foods that are too hard or sticky can be difficult to brush away
from your braces, and can even potentially damage them. Because of this,
patients often avoid foods they once loved to avoid the hassle they cause for
Speaking of brushing, your daily oral hygiene routine is
completely unaffected by Invisalign. While you should ideally be brushing more
(after each meal to properly clean your teeth before putting your tray back
in), the fact that you remove your tray for brushing means that you can brush
normally. When you wear braces, you have to take extra care to avoid damaging
the wire when you brush, and there are certain areas of your teeth that you’ll
miss altogether. This makes it difficult to be as thorough with your brushing
as you typically would without braces.
There are many factors to consider when choosing between
Invisalign and braces. Because Invisalign straightens teeth through the use of
trays and not the tightening of wires, your orthodontist has less direct
control over the movement of your teeth. Treatment may take longer, and there
are some orthodontic issues, such as overlapping teeth, that Invisalign alone
may not be able to correct. But with any course of treatment, consulting with
your orthodontist and learning as much as you can about your options will help
you make the decision that’s right for you.
It is well known that fluoride, an element found in most water
sources, has numerous dental benefits. It is essential to proper oral care.
Fluoride can strengthen teeth and prevent tooth decay by keeping the acid
produced by the bacteria in plaque from dissolving the enamel of our teeth. It
cannot restore teeth with cavities, but it can
prevent cavities, and it also reverses the early stages of tooth decay by
allowing tooth enamel to repair, or remineralize, itself. Fluoridated water,
toothpaste, mouthwash, and supplement pills are all sources of fluoride.
Proper fluoride intake is an important part of a well-rounded
dental health regimen. Infants and young children don’t require as much,
however, when carefully monitored, a child’s intake of fluoride is still a
beneficial and necessary part of their oral care.
Fluoride Intake for
Infants require the least amount of fluoride of any age group.
Fluoride supplements, which are usually prescribed when children live in an
area without fluoridated water, are not necessary for infants. For children
under six months of age, the water used to prepare a baby’s formula provides
sufficient fluoride. Baby formula generally contains fluoride already, with milk-based
formulas containing less fluoride than soy-based formulas. Because of this,
parents have the option of supplementing the level of fluoride contained in
baby formula by preparing their child’s formula with tap water or fluoridated
bottled water. If they want to limit their child’s fluoride intake, they can
use non-fluoridated bottled water.
Some parents also choose to breastfeed as a way to limit
fluoride intake. It should be noted, however, that breast milk contains only
very small trace amounts of fluoride, and a breast milk fed baby receives
virtually no fluoride exposure. Parents are advised to consult with a dentist
to determine how to ensure their infants receive the right amount of fluoride.
When baby teeth begin appearing, parents can brush their
child’s teeth with an infant toothbrush using water and a tiny smear of
toothpaste. Children’s teeth should be brushed this way until around age two.
Fluoride Intake for
After the age of two, children begin brushing their own teeth,
thus regularly ingesting fluoride in their toothpaste. Past this age, most of
their fluoride intake comes from water, so children should only use a small
amount of toothpaste when they brush. A pea-sized amount is more than
sufficient, and children should always use a toothpaste that carries the ADA’s seal
Under the age of six, children should not use mouth wash that
contains fluoride. Younger children have a tendency to swallow too much
toothpaste while brushing, and if they use mouthwash, there is a high
likelihood of them swallowing that as well. Parents should supervise young
children when they are brushing their teeth to ensure they are not swallowing
their toothpaste. It is around this age when, if a child lives in an area
without a fluoridated water supply, a dentist might prescribe fluoride
supplements to build their fluoride intake beyond toothpaste.
Fluoride is a pivotal part of maintaining proper dental health.
While fluoride intake needs to be carefully monitored in infants and young
children to avoid overexposure, parents should not be deterred from recognizing
the benefits. Speaking with a dentist or pediatric dentist is an excellent way
to learn more about caring for children’s teeth, and obtaining more information
about fluoride needs.
Cosmetic, or restorative, dentistry is the area of dental
practice that focuses specifically on improving your quality of life by giving
you the smile you’ve always dreamed of. Cosmetic dentists, like Doctors Jan
Linhart and Zachary Linhart, specialize in procedures that
correct discoloration, misalignment, and other imperfections that prevent you
from having your perfect smile. At Linhart Dentistry, the team of restorative
dentists work alongside a team of other dental specialists to provide patients
with a full range of dental services.
A happy smile is a healthy smile, and for many patients,
cosmetic dentistry plays an important role in the overall betterment of their
self esteem, oral health, and well being. How can cosmetic dentistry give you a
new smile? Check out these five procedures to get an idea of what a cosmetic
dentist can do for you!
1.) Tooth Whitening
Tooth whitening is one of the most
common cosmetic dental procedures. There are a wide array of different ways to
whiten your teeth, and many of these methods can be done at home. However, for
best results, getting your teeth whitened by a cosmetic dentist can help your
teeth stay whiter longer, and can ensure that the materials used are safe on
Bleaching and laser tooth whitening are two widely practiced procedures. Laser tooth whitening involves the use of
lasers to stimulate a hydrogen-peroxide based gel on your teeth to remove
stains. Laser tooth whitening usually entails multiple visits, although Dr.
Linhart’s revolutionary PearlInBrite Laser Tooth Whitening system
speeds up the process, giving patients a 9-10 shade whiter smile in just one
Porcelain veneers can be a
life-changing cosmetic solution for people who have misshapen, mildly
misaligned, or discolored teeth. The procedure involves the placement of
porcelain “laminates” over your natural teeth to create a perfectly straight,
uniform smile. The laminates are crafted by a lab technician to be shaped like
natural teeth, and the porcelain is then bonded to your enamel. While this may
not be an option for people with serious orthodontic or periodontal issues, it
can be an ideal fix if you have permanently stained or slightly misaligned
3.) Dental Bonding
Dental bonding is an alternative to
porcelain veneers, and involves your dentist coating your teeth in a
naturally-colored resin material. The resin fills in any gaps or chips in your
teeth, and your dentist will shape the material to give it a natural look.
Teeth with jagged edges appear smooth, and any mottling or bumps on your enamel
is also smoothed over. A special light is then used to permanently harden the
resin, which is just as strong as porcelain veneers or your natural teeth.
Since braces are worn to correct
moderate to severe misalignment of your teeth, they fall more into the realm of
orthodontics than cosmetic dentistry. However, there are a number of
alternatives to traditional metal braces that are aesthetically discreet and
help you maintain a beautiful smile during
this corrective treatment.
You may have heard of Invisalign,
which uses a series of clear trays that fit over your teeth to align them as
opposed to metal brackets. iBraces are another cosmetic alternative.
iBraces work like traditional braces, but they are not visible on the front
side of your teeth. The brackets used to straighten the teeth are custom-made
for each tooth, and are contoured to hug the backside of your teeth for
increased comfort and minimal visibility.
5.) Dental Crowns
Dental crowns are important to the
treatment of broken or fractured teeth, but are also used in cosmetic
dentistry to improve the appearance of misshapen or otherwise imperfect teeth.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over the tooth to
strengthen it or prevent further damage. A damaged tooth can impede the health
and radiance of your smile, so a natural looking dental crown is a solution for
not only saving the tooth, but preserving your smile as well.
If there is any reason whatsoever that you feel your smile can
be improved upon, you should talk to your dentist about what cosmetic
opportunities are available to you. Cosmetic
dentistry is an important part of the full range of dental services
that go into maintaining your oral health and overall well being.
Your smile is one of your most distinguishing characteristics,
and it is oftentimes one of the first things people notice about you. That is
why a healthy smile is so important; it can potentially contribute to a greater
sense of overall well being and a higher self esteem. Having clean, white teeth
is key to a healthy smile. But the measures taken to maintain the whiteness of
your teeth are not merely just cosmetic dentistry. Teeth whitening
contributes to the removal of plaque and stains that can weaken enamel and
leave your teeth vulnerable to further damage.
Fortunately, there are a wide array of options available for
whitening your teeth. From at-home techniques such as hydrogen peroxide, whitening trays, and whitening strips, to in-office procedures, you’ll surely be able to
find a tooth whitening method that works for you.
One of the most popular, and arguably more effective, ways to
whiten your teeth is with laser teeth whitening. Typically, laser teeth
whitening involves a hydrogen peroxide-based gel that is applied to the teeth
by your dental professional. The dentist then exposes the teeth to laser
energy. The laser “excites” the hydrogen peroxide, or speeds up its molecules,
which is essentially what removes the stains. So, what makes laser teeth
whitening a more popular option than other whitening methods? Let’s explore
some of the benefits.
1. Laser Teeth Whitening is Effective
Whitening strips and special
toothpastes can only remove surface stains. Laser teeth whitening, however,
penetrates deep to remove stains at their core, even if they go deeper than the
enamel. This is due primarily to its laser itself, and how it triggers the
hydrogen peroxide in such a way that it attacks the stain on a molecular level.
2. Laser Teeth Whitening is Fast
Laser whitening can dramatically
whiten your teeth in just one session. While several sessions may be needed to
experience the full effect, patients often report seeing a difference of seven
to eight shades in just the first session. That means your smile is
significantly whiter after just one 30
to 60 minute session. At-home whitening solutions and other products often need
to be applied daily for several hours or overnight, for a duration of two to
four weeks, before patients start seeing results.
3. Laser Teeth Whitening is Less Damaging
Laser teeth whitening is non-invasive.
There are no appliances or additional equipment used that can cause irritation
or bleeding of the gums, and no after-effects of laser whitening. Furthermore,
a lot of the bleaching products used in over the counter at-home procedures can
be too abrasive and damage the enamel. In fact, few, if any, at-home teeth
bleaching products carry the ADA seal of approval. Laser teeth whitening is
safer, gentler, and done with expert supervision.
4. Laser Teeth Whitening Can Last Longer
With any whitening procedure, the
longevity of the whitening effects depends primarily on your daily oral care
routine. Brushing your teeth at least twice daily, using mouthwash, and
following any other steps your dentist has recommended prevent the buildup of
plaque and can keep stains from settling. While this is key to a white smile
that lasts longer, laser teeth whitening can
last for years, because it removes old stains as well as stains you’ve
accumulated since your last cleaning.
Linhart Dentistry uses Dr. Linhart’s patented laser whitening
system: PearlInBrite Laser Tooth Whitening, a unique system that
whitens teeth using specially formulated gels that are activated by two lasers. Patients can expect a 9-10
shade change in just one visit. The procedure takes approximately two hours,
and speeds up the whitening process so that results are achieved immediately.
Dr. Linhart can even whiten one or two teeth adjacent to where other cosmetic
dentistry has been performed.
PearlInBrite uses proprietary technology, where the two lasers
activate three different gels applied to the teeth. These whitening gels
contain Energy Transfer Crystals (ETC), which absorb the laser energy and
transfer it to the hydrogen peroxide, creating a heightened, more efficient
“excited” state whereby the hydrogen peroxide molecules remove stains from the
teeth. Following treatment, patients can maintain their smile by using any of
Dr. Linhart’s PearlInBrite dentistry products at home. The
PearlInBrite system has been attributed almost 100% to tooth whitening success
in most of Dr. Linhart’s patients. Learn more about this unique and
revolutionary system at www.pearlinbrite.com.
While there are
various costs to consider, the efficiency and benefits of laser teeth whitening
make it a worthwhile investment that can drastically improve the health of your
teeth and lead to a brighter, more fulfilling smile. Consult with your dentist
to determine which of the many tooth whitening solutions out there is right for
you. Remember: a happy smile is a healthy smile.
When most people hear the words “root canal”, they typically
think of a major dental procedure that is both scary and painful. In actuality,
a root canal is an extremely routine and common procedure that can be performed
with ease by a skilled endodontist. While the idea of a root canal
may be daunting, the procedure itself can be virtually pain-free, and each
year, millions of smiles are saved by this simple procedure that can stop or
prevent the advancement of tooth decay.
If you have never had a root canal, there’s a chance you may
not have a clear idea of what the procedure entails or what to expect after a
root canal. Let’s explore exactly how a root canal can save a damaged tooth,
preserve your smile, and promote overall oral health.
Contrary to common beliefs, the pain that is associated with a
root canal actually precedes the procedure entirely. If your dentist has
recommended a root canal, it is because the inner layer of your tooth has
become inflamed, damaged, or infected. If left untreated, such damage can
potentially lead to tooth decay. Pain can be a common symptom of a more
advanced stage of damage to the tooth, but the tooth may begin to hurt right
away. In some cases, there may not even be any pain at all, which is why
routine dental examinations are necessary for preventing and assessing
Beneath your tooth’s enamel is a soft inner layer known as the
dental pulp. This spongy tissue contains the nerves, blood vessels, and
connective tissues that nourish the tooth during development. The term to
describe the procedure, “root canal”, is actually derived from the canals
within your tooth that travel from the root into the “pulp chamber”, so that
the blood vessels can nourish the tooth. Your tooth’s nerve is purely
sensory–it is not vital to the health of the tooth–but in alerting you when something
is too hot or too cold, the pain experienced in the nerve can also alert you to
When the pulp is damaged, the nerve breaks down and bacteria
accumulates. This,coupled with debris from the broken down nerve (as well as
external particles if your tooth is cracked), can cause an infection or an
abscessed tooth. Infections can cause:
Swelling in the gum that may spread to other parts of
Bone loss around the end of the root
Drainage problems with infected fluid building up in
There are many different ways the pulp of your tooth can become
damaged, and it is important to be cognizant of any duress or trauma your face
and mouth might be under. If you have experienced one of the following, consult
with your dentist right away.
Repeated dental procedures on the same tooth that can
weaken the enamel
An ill-fitting crown or filling that cracks the tooth
or exposes spaces in the tooth
A fractured tooth
Trauma to the face that loosens or breaks the tooth
Untreated cavities that spread into the pulp of the
Root canal therapy cannot reverse the damage to your tooth, but
if performed early enough, it can easily and effectively save your tooth by
alleviating the symptoms and preventing further damage.
Endodontists are the dental professionals that
specialize in the treatment and repair of the tooth’s inner layer–the dental
pulp. Once a dentist has determined you need a root canal, they may perform the
procedure themselves or refer you to a specialist. Some dental practices even
have an endodontist on staff. You and your dentist will discuss
your options and decide whether or not your root canal should be performed by
your general dentist or an endodontist, depending on the level of damage to the
X-rays are taken prior to the procedure to examine the inside
of the tooth and determine the extent of the damage, particularly to see if
there’s any sign of infection in the surrounding bone. Your dentist or
endodontist will then anesthetize the surrounding area for your
comfort. A root canal may take multiple appointments to complete.
The point of the root canal procedure is to remove the dental
pulp, clean the inside of the tooth, then fill and seal the area. A rubber-like
material called gutta-percha is used to seal the tooth, which is then restored
with a crown or filling for added protection. In order to remove the dental
pulp, the endodontist must drill a hole into the crown of the tooth for access.
Delicate instruments called root canal files are then used to remove the dental
pulp and scrape the walls of the pulp chamber to clean and shape the space for
filling. Throughout the procedure, the endodontist will flush the tooth with
water or a gentle sodium solution to clear away debris.
Once the pulp is removed, the root canals are sealed with
gutta-percha. If there are signs of infection, medication may be applied to the
inside of the tooth and your endodontist may wait until the second session to
fill the root canals in order to ensure the infection has healed. In this case,
a temporary filling will be used to protect the area until your next
After the root canals are sealed with gutta-percha, the final
appointment entails having a crown or other restoration
placed on the tooth to restore it to its full functionality. In some cases, if
damage to the tooth has been too extensive, or the hollowed-out tooth lacks the
proper structure to function on its own, the endodontist may place a post
inside the tooth to reinforce it before crowning it. In almost all cases, a
tooth that has undergone endodontic treatment can function just as well as it
did prior to the damage.
You may be surprised to learn that after a root canal
procedure, most people report feeling a great sense of relief. The pain associated
with root canal therapy comes from the inflammation and discomfort of the
infected tissue, so once that is removed, most pain should be alleviated. As
with any dental procedure, there will be some tenderness immediately following
the root canal, and this may persist for another day or two. Your tooth may
also be a bit sensitive to extreme temperatures (though less so than when the
tooth was damaged). This is especially true between sessions, when your tooth
is capped by a temporary crown and not fully sealed.
In cases where the damage to the tooth was severe and the
patient experienced extreme pain, the area will be a bit more sensitive for a
few days longer following the procedure. This, however, can be treated with
over-the-counter pain medications. If necessary, your dentist may prescribe a
painkiller, but pain on that level following a root canal is rare.
The severe toothache, swelling, and prolonged sensitivity to
extreme temperatures goes away once the procedure is performed. Most people can
return to normal activities after the first day. It is important, however, to
remember to take extra care between sessions. While the temporary filling is in
place after the first appointment, you should avoid chewing on the tooth, and
be careful not to expose it to too much duress. This is important to avoid
contaminating the tooth or damaging the area while it is still under repair.
Once the tooth is fully restored, you can brush and floss as
you regularly would. Overall, the procedure is highly effective, minimally
painful, and is an important step to ensuring the health and longevity of your
smile. There are many who would say its as easy as having a tooth filled!
Flossing is an essential part of your daily regimen for proper dental care and hygiene. While there is ongoing debate as to whether or not flossing is necessary to prevent cavities, there is no denying that it is crucial to your periodontal health. Periodontics concerns the health of your gums and the bone surrounding your teeth, and any periodontist will tell you that flossing is integral to maintaining healthy gums.
People who do not floss may be more prone to infections of the gum. Gingivitis is the beginning stages of a periodontal infection, and presents as bleeding, inflamed, or red gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can develop into periodontal disease, a severe infection that can lead to bone loss and even the loss of teeth.
Infections of the gums and inflammation can be caused by plaque and particles of food that get caught in the spaces between the teeth, or even between the gum and the tooth itself. These particles may be too small for your toothbrush to clean, and too tightly-packed for mouthwash to clear away. Over time, bacteria accumulates and your gums may redden or become inflamed, thus leading to infection.
Flossing every day is one of the most effective ways to prevent gingivitis before it even begins. It is one of the best ways to ensure you’re cleaning between your teeth to avoid a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Unfortunately, not everybody flosses as often as they should. Flossing takes more time and requires more careful attention to each tooth, and many people mistakenly assume that if they brush thoroughly, they can catch all those hard to reach places. Furthermore, not everybody knows the proper way to floss. Welcome to Flossing 101: an examination of different ways to improve your flossing techniques and products that can help you stay thorough and consistent.
When it comes to flossing, consistency is key: the American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day. Because flossing requires a couple of extra minutes, it is a good idea to floss when you have the time, or the patience, and stick to that time each day. Some people prefer to floss right before bed, others first thing in the morning. While once a day is sufficient, there are people who floss after every meal. As long as you have the time and attention to devote to flossing every day, it doesn’t matter when you do it.
To floss thoroughly, you need to make sure you’re reaching the spaces between each tooth on both sides–including the back side of your last tooth. It is important not to be too rough on your gums; don’t snap the floss into your gums, and be careful to ease the other flossing instruments you use into the spaces between. Bleeding of the gums usually occurs when they are inflamed, so if bleeding persists beyond the first week or two, you may be flossing too hard. Consult with your dentist just to be sure.
The following technique is for flossing using traditional floss. Keep reading onto the next section for more on flossing with various other products.
● Snip off an 18-inch piece of floss, and wind the floss around the middle finger of each hand, leaving a one or two-inch length of floss in between.
● Decide which direction feels most comfortable to you: beginning with your upper teeth or your lower teeth, from left to right or from right to left. It is best to floss your teeth in order and to finish one row before continuing on to the second.
● For your upper row, use your thumbs to guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion.
● The floss should hug your tooth: wrap it around each tooth gently working your way down to the gum and below the gumline, then working your way back up with up-and-down motions.
● Repeat for each one of your upper teeth.
● For your lower row, use your index finger to guide the floss between your teeth, and repeat the aforementioned technique.
● Use clean segments of floss as you go along.
Traditional floss is highly effective in cleaning between teeth and preventing gum disease and gingivitis. However, some people choose to use other products to get the job done. There is no right or wrong product for flossing–it’s essentially a matter of preference. Whichever product you’re the most comfortable with and feel will give you the most out of your dental routine.
Floss is the traditional product for cleaning between teeth. There are several different types of floss, each designed for your own comfort and ease of use. Most flosses are available in different flavors, as well.
● Nylon floss, or multifilament floss, is composed of multiple strands of thread and is available waxed or unwaxed. Wax provides for a more silky feel and can be easier to glide across your teeth. because it is made of multiple strands, there may be some shredding or tearing when flossing in tight spaces.
● PTFE, or single filament, floss is more expensive, but it’s shred resistant as it is composed of a single fiber.
● Ribbon or tape floss is a wider floss that covers more surface between teeth and is optimal for wide spaces, though fine floss can be just as effective.
● Floss Picks
Floss picks are delicate two-pronged instruments with approximately an inch of taut floss between each prong. They are single-use instruments that function in much the same way as floss. Simply hold the pick in your hand and use your index finger or thumb (depending on which row of your tooth) and gently guide the floss between your teeth, flossing the way you would with traditional floss. Floss picks usually have a point at the tip of their handle that can be used like a toothpick. Some people find using a floss pick to be easier because it only requires one hand, and you do not have to wrap the floss around your fingers.
● Interdental Brushes
Interdental brushes are short, very thin brushes that fit between your teeth to clean both sides of the space simultaneously. The brush portion has 360 degrees of bristles that function much like a toothbrush to sweep away plaque and debris between teeth. They are particularly useful for cleaning around crowns, bridges, permanent retainers, and other dental work.
While interdental brushes are also very effective, they are more difficult to use for people whose teeth are spaced closely together. If you have difficulty guiding the brush between some of your teeth, do not force it. Instead, use floss or a floss pick for those teeth, and use your interdental brush for more widely spaced teeth.
● Oral Irrigator
An oral irrigator is an electronic or battery powered device that uses a stream of pulsating water to remove plaque and debris from between teeth. Perhaps the most widely known brand of oral irrigator is the Waterpik. The base of the oral irrigator is filled with water, which is connected to the instrument via a thin hose.
The instrument itself has a long, thin neck with a pointed head that controls the stream of water. Many oral irrigators come with different tips you can switch out depending on how pressured or focused you want the water. While oral irrigators are generally sufficient for flossing, keep in mind that water may not clean as thoroughly as an instrument that can actually get between your teeth.
Proper flossing is something your dentist or dental hygienist can teach you fairly quickly before or after your dental examination. They can go over your options with you to find the right tools and techniques that work for you. Remember: flossing daily is essential, and if the idea of devoting an extra two minutes to your dental regimen each day seems daunting, it is important that you work with your dentist to find a way with which you are comfortable and can remain consistent.
Making the decision to become a dentist represents an important commitment to helping others. As a dentist, you play an important role, not only in helping your patients preserve their smiles, but also in maintaining their overall oral health. Maintaining good oral hygiene is important to one’s physical health, but it also has implications for mental health as well. A healthy smile can contribute to good self esteem, making cosmetic dentistry just as vital to a patient’s dental care. Essentially, oral health is an integral part of a person’s general well being.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), proper dental care is the most unmet health need in many communities and populations in America. By becoming a dentist, you’re joining a growing task force of professionals making a significant difference in people’s lives.
Why Become a Dentist?
Everyone becomes a dentist for their own reasons. For many, it is a passion for dentistry and a desire to help people that drives them. Patients are often incredibly loyal to their dentists, making it a personally rewarding field to work in, and the dental profession is highly respected. There are also a number of other benefits, including the flexibility that comes with owning your own practice. Dentists with their own practice are able to set their own hours, and while many do work full time, they are often able to have evenings and weekends off.
Dentistry is a growing field, with the Bureau of Labor Statistics projecting that the job outlook for dentists will grow by 16% percent by 2022. In 2012, the average annual salary for dentists was $149,310, making it a highly lucrative field as well.
Another enticing aspect of the profession is the numerous career options available. Aside from general dentistry, you can become a specialist or a cosmetic dentist. Dentists can also work in academia and research, contributing to the education of their peers and continued advancements in the profession. There are public health dentists who work directly with underserved communities to educate people about oral health, develop health policies, and prevent disease. The field of dentistry is so diverse that, regardless of your reason for pursuing a career, you can find a path that is right for you.
4 Steps to Becoming a Dentist
The path to becoming a dentist is nuanced, with the specific requirements for practicing varying on a state-by-state basis. However, there are some general steps all dentists must take in order to become qualified, licensed professionals.
1. Determine your area of professional interest
Most dental professionals are general dentists, caring for the overall oral health of their patients. However, an approximate 20% are specialists, practicing one of the nine specialties recognized by the ADA.
● Dental public healthworkers promote dental health and disease prevention in underserved communities.
● Endodontists perform root-canal therapy and restore or remove damaged or infected teeth.
● Oral and maxillofacial pathologists practice oral pathology, diagnosing oral diseases, such as cancer, that might have serious implications for the maxillofacial (face, jaw, and neck) region.
● Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgery on the mouth, jaw, head, and neck to treat and repair injuries or defects.
● Oral and maxillofacial radiologists are specialists who use radiologic imaging to identify and diagnose conditions in the oral and maxillofacial region.
● Pediatric dentists focus on dentistry for children and special-needs patients.
● Periodontists treat the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
2. Apply to an accredited school of dentistry
All dentists must receive their education from an accredited school of dentistry. While specific requirements vary by school, most dental students need at least a bachelor’s degree with a certain number of credits in biology, chemistry, and other related sciences. Most schools require the ADA’s Dental Admission Test as part of the application process.
Students typically take classes in anatomy, periodontology, radiology, and anesthesiology, among other subjects. Dental school takes four years to complete, but pursuing a career in one of the nine specialties requires advanced education that may take an additional two or more years.
3. Complete your residency or additional training
A dental education includes practical training in a clinical setting under the supervision of a licensed dentist. Beyond this, general dentists usually do not require additional training. However, those pursuing a dental specialty must complete a one or two year residency program in that field.
4. Apply for licensure in your state
All states require dentists to obtain a license to practice, though specific requirements vary by state. In addition to a degree in dentistry, most states require dentists to pass a written and practical exam. Specialists must obtain licensure in their specialty.
While the road to becoming a licensed, practicing dentist is clear, the process requires dedication, hard work, and above all, passion. Please keep in mind that you must be licensed in the state where you wish to practice, and while education, a written examination, and a practical examination are universal to all states, specific requirements do vary. The state’s Board of Dentistry is the necessary entity to contact for information regarding your dental license. The ADA maintains a list of each state’s dental board.