Tag Archives: teeth

How Long Will You Need Your Teeth?

As we age, we start to notice a difference in our skin, our hair, our joints, etc. but many of us don’t pay too much attention to our teeth. We use our teeth for so much…from the obvious such as chewing and talking to the not so obvious like kissing and non verbal communication. So the question is, “How long will you need your teeth?” And I am willing to bet that the simple answer is “For the rest of my life.” Well, how long do you plan on being alive? The average life expectancy for men in the U.S. is 75.6 years. For women, it’s 80.8. Almost all people get their adult teeth from the ages of about 6-13 years. That is a long time that you need your teeth to last. As we live longer it becomes more important to take great care of your smile and keep it in working order. As we age, digestion becomes less efficient and having multiple missing teeth and/or a denture decreases that efficiency even more.

If you have a problem tooth, please get it fixed. It might cost more than you had expected, but this is your health and well-being at stake. If you think losing one tooth won’t matter, you could be right. But what we normally see is that your teeth are a team working together. If one player leaves, the rest have to pick up the slack and they in turn tire more quickly and break down. It could turn into a situation like dominoes and you could be fighting an uphill battle with breakdown and problem teeth. With proper care and maintenance you can enjoy your later years eating, talking and kissing the grandkids with less time in the dental chair or soaking your dentures on the nightstand 🙂

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.

Is Your New Year’s Resolution Still Going Strong?

How is your New Year’s resolution coming along?  If you are like most people you are feeling the dragging, cold winter keeping you down.  Guess what?  Spring is right around the corner and the weather will change.  When it does, get out of the office and get that heart rate up.  Walk around downtown Columbus and see what’s going on.  The State House is celebrating its 150th anniversary and Columbus’ 199th anniversary this year, the Columbus Commons project is open at the former City Center Mall site, and there are new small businesses and restaurants opening around the square.  Capstone Dental might not be your idea of a must see destination downtown, but if you haven’t been to the dentist for a while, you’ll be surprised at all of the technologies and educational tools we provide.  So walk around, see what the city has to offer.  You can keep up on your resolution and maybe add another for great oral health in 2011.

You Don’t Have to Have Bad Teeth

Did you know that don’t have to have bad teeth? This seems like a dumb question, but I run into people all the time who say, “My teeth are awful. My whole family has bad teeth. It’s genetics.” Of course there is a link between oral health and the genes you have inherited, but that isn’t the whole story. We inherit a lot from our parents, but we can still overcome genes to a certain extent. Just because you carry a gene for obesity, doesn’t mean you’ll be overweight. Just because your dad has high blood pressure and cholesterol doesn’t mean you will. It takes a little more effort to keep off those extra pounds and keep that BP in check, but it can be done. Just like you can have good teeth and gums even though you have relatives who have bad teeth. Put in the effort and you don’t have to have bad teeth.

You Don't Have to Have Bad Teeth

Did you know that don’t have to have bad teeth? This seems like a dumb question, but I run into people all the time who say, “My teeth are awful. My whole family has bad teeth. It’s genetics.” Of course there is a link between oral health and the genes you have inherited, but that isn’t the whole story. We inherit a lot from our parents, but we can still overcome genes to a certain extent. Just because you carry a gene for obesity, doesn’t mean you’ll be overweight. Just because your dad has high blood pressure and cholesterol doesn’t mean you will. It takes a little more effort to keep off those extra pounds and keep that BP in check, but it can be done. Just like you can have good teeth and gums even though you have relatives who have bad teeth. Put in the effort and you don’t have to have bad teeth.