Dental Blog

Posts for: March, 2016

Elkhart periodontal treatmentOur gums often go overlooked. They don't play as prominent a role in our smiles as our pearly whites, and are usually hidden behind our lips. But when you take a second to consider all that your gums accomplish, their true importance becomes clear. The fact of the matter is, without healthy gums, there's no chance of healthy teeth. Periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, and avoiding it is the surest way to build a long-lasting smile.

Current research is showing a surprising trend, building the case for a mouth-body connection that scientists have suspected for years. Studies show that periodontal health may actually be linked to systemic health. What does this mean for us as dental patients? It's more important than ever to keep an eye on our gums, and take fast action if we notice inflammation. Pick up a few tips so that you can stay informed and know when to visit our Elkhart dentist for help.

Signs of Gingivitis

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, and refers to the inflammation of the gums. When the soft tissues in your mouth become inflamed, they're at a heightened risk of infection and damage. Gingivitis takes hold when your oral hygiene isn't removing plaque the way it should. Bacteria then builds up at the gum line, irritating your surrounding teeth and gums.

You may be approaching gum disease if you notice the following symptoms:

  • Reddened gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Tender gums or teeth
  • Receding gum line
  • Puffiness at the gum line
  • Bad breath that won't go away
  • Gums that bleed when touched or during oral hygiene

If you notice that your gums are changing, it's always a good idea to schedule a dental exam. But before you visit our office, get started on your own gum disease crusade by kicking your brushing and flossin gup a notch. Not usually a flosser? Now is the time to start - it will help reduce inflammation andn lower your chances of developing full-blown gum disease.

Get in touch if you'd like to schedule an exam, or get answers to any of your gum-related questions!

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Elkhart teeth whiteningWill your whitening be this pronounced? Get the facts behind bleaching to get a better idea of your results

As the most popular cosmetic dental treatment around, teeth whitening is a much-discussed option. But with popularity comes some misconceptions. While whitening can offer some a dazzling grin, it might not have an effect on some stains. How do you know whether it's right for your smile?

We want your cosmetic dentistry to be fulfilling, and that means making sure you have the right expectations. We'll always talk through the treatment process before you get started, but it never hurts to do some research of your own. Get a whitening primer below so that you're informed before your cosmetic consultation. Once you visit our office, Dr. Lee will take a look at your teeth and tell you more about what's possible with whitening.

Types of Tooth Stains

Not all stains are alike. There are a few different reasons your smile might have a yellowish tinge, and we'll need to get to the root of the problem before recommending whitening.

  • Intrinsic - Some stains are formed during tooth development. This can happen from the administration of certain antibiotics, or from excessive exposure to fluoride. These stains are internal, and won't be affected by whitening because that doesn't delve deeper than the enamel.
  • Extrinsic - The most common type of tooth stain, extrinsic stains are caused by dark compounds becoming lodged in the enamel. Since enamel is porous, there's ample space for stains to take hold. They're usually caused by habits like smoking, drinking red wine, cola, or coffee, or other environmental factors. These stains are the ideal candidate for conventional whitening.
  • Erosion - Your teeth are covered by enamel, which lends them their white shade. If the enamel chips away or erodes significantly, the layer beneath will show throw. This layer is called dentin, and is a deeper yellow. Worn teeth are typically yellow because of the lack of enamel, and no amount of whitening will change this - the teeth need to be rebuilt.

When Whitening is Right

As we mentioned, stained enamel is the right target for whitening. The whitening agent penetrates enamels pores and reacts with oxygen, breaking up stains and whitening the teeth. In-office whitening will yield a brighter smile within just one appointment, while home whitening offers gradual results with repeat treatments. We'll recommend the option that fits your preferences, whitening goals, and budget.

Alternative Whitening Options

If you're hoping to whiten other types of stains, it will be necessary to cover the stains and build up the teeth. This is possible with dental bonding, porcelain veneers, porcelain crowns, and more - just set up a consultation to get some guidance.

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