Monthly Archives: March 2011

Teeth Whitening 101

Have you been wanting to brighten those not-so-pearly whites but don’t know which whitening method to choose?  Discussed below are different methods of teeth whitening and drawbacks and benefits of each type. The three main types of whitening are:

1.       In-office whitening such as ZOOM or Pola Office

2.       Custom fitted bleaching trays with prescription strength gel

3.       White Strips or other over the counter systems

1. With in-office whitening, the idea is to jumpstart your natural shade to a brighter white in a short period of time.  Usually 1-2 hrs in the dental chair.  The gums and soft tissue are protected with a barrier and the dental hygienist or assistant will apply the gel 3-4 times during your visit.  This in-office whitening process can be accompanied by a bright light that is placed close to your mouth. Some systems, such as ZOOM claim the light further activates its gel, but most systems do not use a light. Usually coupled with this treatment are custom take home trays and gel to finish the whitening process over the next couple of weeks to get you to your brightest shade.  Patients pay a premium to get this accelerated whitening.  Office prices for in-office and custom take home whitening can range from $400-$800 or more.  Remember that you are paying to get a brighter smile as fast as possible, under the supervision of the dentist’s office.

2. Custom fitted white trays can be coupled with the in-office whitening procedure, or be a method all in their own.  Impressions of your upper and lower teeth are taken and then soft custom trays are made from the molds.  The take home prescription strength gel is applied to the inside of the trays and they are worn for 40mins-1hr daily for about two weeks.  During that time, you may experience some sensitivity.  Anti-sensitivity toothpastes are recommended and if sensitivity becomes too severe discontinue usage until your symptoms subside.  After 2-4 weeks you are going to be as bright as your teeth can be.  Depending upon diet, smoking, etc. everyone is different with how long your new brighter smile will last.  Some people’s newly whitened smiles can last 6-12 months without a touch-up. Keep your trays and if you ever need a whitening touch-up, new gel can be purchased at your dentist’s office.  Custom trays made at your dental office and your initial supply of gel can range in cost from $250-$500.  Additional gel for touch-ups is around $50.

3. The last method of whitening is white strips and other systems you can find at your local pharmacy.  Crest is the most well-known brand, and they have several levels of whitening from professional strength available only in a dental office to lower strengths available over the counter.  This is the most cost friendly form of teeth whitening available to patients.  Ranging in price from $25-$60 it’s easy to see why these systems are enticing.  The problems with these over the counter systems include sensitivity, like other systems, and chemical burns to the gums.  Because these strips are not custom fitted, the gel can seep onto the gums and traumatize the gums.  The gums will turn a white shade where affected and can slough with pain after use.  I don’t discourage patients from using white strips because for most, they are very cost effective.  They can get you to your whitest natural shade over time, so they do work, but it can take more than one treatment (purchase) to get you there.

So whatever method you may choose, just realize what you are getting.  In-office is brighter in 2hrs.  Custom trays are brighter in 2 weeks, and over the counter strips are brighter in about 1-2 months.  Also, you go from complete supervision in a dentist’s care, to do-it-yourself with no supervision from a dentist.  Money and time frame are the deciding factors for most patients, but now that you are informed get those yellowed chompers back to bright.

Getting the Word Out about Capstone Dental

Capstone Dental has been open for 4 months!  It has gone by very quickly and we are growing fast.  We are in the most visible building downtown located on the corner of Broad and High, we have great signage, and we have a great consultant pounding the pavement touting our new office. (Thanks, Fred Miller II-Bright Light Consulting LLC).

Those individual aspects are all doing their part to drive in patients, but the most rewarding marketing endeavor for Capstone Dental has been internet and social media sites.  We ran a Groupon 2 weeks ago that gave our practice exposure throughout Columbus, OH which would have cost thousands in marketing budget dollars if we advertised on the internet.

Another site that I realized was a great marketing idea was www.ColumbusUnderground.com .  It’s a messageboard site where individuals can post, comment and network all free of cost to its users.  Capstone Dental gave away 2 new patient visits at no cost to messageboard users.  The only “payment” was to review Capstone Dental on GOOGLE, YELP!, and re-post on the messageboard their experience in our dentist office in Columbus.  My hygienist was not going to be busy this morning, so for the additional cost disposables, I received great exposure on the internet.  We are a technologically driven office, so of course we are going to use the latest technology when we try to get the word out about our great dental office downtown.

HPV Linked To Oral Cancer

Last night on CBS News there was a feature about Human Papilloma Virus and its links with tongue and other oral cancers.  Normally thought to be only problematic for women, new studies show that men are not only carriers of the virus, they are exposed to a much higher risk of Oral Cancer.  As part of every new patient exam and six month check-up, Capstone Dental completes a thorough intra-oral cancer screening.  Make sure you are getting checked as often as possible, because if not found early, oral cancer can be painful, disfiguring and even fatal.

Check out the video link below:

HPV Linked to Oral Cancer