Hickory Hills Dental Care

Myths About Teeth Whitening

myths about teeth whitening

Everyone wants to have a whiter smile, but making the decision to pursue whitening treatment can be tough. Myths and stereotypes can lead to negative connotations, inhibiting you from moving forward with treatment. Below are three misconceptions about teeth whitening:

Teeth whitening treatments at my doctor’s office are no more effective than those purchased at drugstores.
On the contrary, the maximum strength bleach that our dentists provide delivers the best and fastest teeth whitening results. Another factor that makes dentist-provided whitening kits most effective is the fact that the trays are customized to fit each individual patient perfectly which keeps the gel in closer, more precise contact with your teeth. Don’t waste your time at the drugstore when you can get a brighter, whiter smile from us in record time!

Tooth whitening harms enamel.
Despite this negative misconception, teeth whitening does not actually harm the enamel of a tooth. Bleaching works by opening the pores of a tooth. This allows for the peroxide to enter the inner structure of the tooth and remove stains. The pores will close again over time, leaving the enamel unharmed.

You can never drink coffee or wine again after whitening.
While patients are told to stay away from heavy staining and acidic foods, such as red wine and coffee, it’s not forever! Dentists recommend this just for the first few days after treatment because the pores in your teeth remain open and the chemical reaction takes place over the course of a few days.

Whitening treatments can be intimidating, especially if you are not properly informed. It’s important to know the facts when making decisions about your teeth. If you have any questions about teeth whitening, contact our office today at Florence Office Phone Number 256-766-8800

Tips to Maintain Your Bright White Smile

brighten and whiten

If you have recently whitened your teeth and are looking for ways to keep your teeth bright and white, there are a few easy steps you can take to keep stains at bay.

Avoid Staining Food and Drinks

One of the most important things you can do to prevent tooth discoloration is to avoid eating and drinking foods that can stain your teeth. Foods such as pasta sauce, dark berries such as blueberries and drinks such as coffee, tea and red wine all have the ability to stain your teeth.

Use a Straw

Using a straw when you drink will keep liquids away from your teeth. If you cannot stop drinking your morning coffee, try drinking with a straw to limit its contact with your teeth. If you are unable to use a straw, drink water after drinking staining beverages to wash away any potential stains.

Quit Smoking

Not only is it good for your health but also for your teeth! Teeth are naturally porous, and the nicotine and tar present in cigarettes build up in the pores, causing significant tooth discoloration over time.

Good Oral Hygiene

Brushing and flossing your teeth is also important in maintaining your pearly whites. Brushing your teeth after eating and drinking staining foods will help deter stain-causing plaque from sitting on your teeth too long and causing damage.

Keep Up with Whitening

While doing the above steps will help prevent your teeth from staining, you will need to continue to do whitening treatments to keep your teeth vibrant and white. A whitening tooth paste and mouthwash will help to keep your teeth white between whitening treatments in our office.

If you want a bright, beautiful, confidence-enhancing smile, contact our office at 256-766-8800 to learn more about teeth whitening!

How You Can Prepare Your Child for the Dentist

happy visit, happy kid

Trips to the dentist can sometimes be an intimidating task for a child. However, as soon as you start seeing little teeth erupt in your child’s mouth (or by his or her first birthday at the latest), you should plan a trip to see us! Regular dental visits ensure that your child’s teeth will be well maintained and healthy. Caring for baby teeth is just as important as caring for adult teeth.

Follow our tips below to best prepare your child for a trip to the dentist!

Be a Good Role Model

If you present a good attitude about the dentist, your child will pick up on that and they will feel calmer when it’s their turn to go to the dentist. By contrast, if your child senses that you have anxiety or fears about the dentist, they will pick up on that and may feel similarly.

Know When to Bring Your Child In

The first trip to the dentist should be when their first tooth comes in, or on their first birthday – whichever comes first. Even if your child is older and you still haven’t set up a visit, it’s never too late! Regular trips to the dentist will help your child’s teeth stay healthy for life.

Make Caring for Your Teeth Fun

Taking care of teeth can be an enjoyable experience. Make brushing teeth a game with your child, or brush to a song and have a dance party! If your child associates positive experiences with teeth brushing, they will be more likely to participate in brushing and taking care of their teeth throughout their life.

You can definitely take steps to ensure that your child has a comfortable dental experience. Just follow these tips, and your child will have a great dental experience, as well as get a jumpstart on their oral health! Give us a call, and we can get your child all set up at our office.

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Wait For Your Dental Implant

the sooner the better

You need a dental implant, but you are reluctant to get started. We understand that there is some hesitation and life gets in the way. However, here are a list of reasons as to why you shouldn’t wait.

  1. Stop your remaining teeth from moving. Your teeth help keep everything in place. When you are missing a tooth, and have a gap, your teeth will start to shift to fill in that gap. That could cause not only uneven teeth, but teeth that are harder to clean and, in the end, that cost you more to fix.
  2. Save Your Jawbone. When you are missing a tooth, your jawbone slowly starts to deteriorate and shrink away. The roots of your teeth keep the jawbone stimulated to maintain the bone mass. The longer you are missing the tooth, the more the bone will disintegrate, making the implant process more difficult.
  3. The appearance of your face. Living without a tooth can eventually change how you look, especially if you suffer from bone deterioration. The longer you go, your skin could begin to make your cheeks sag, which will make you look older than you are.
  4. The way you speak. When you are missing a tooth, it could make it hard to annunciate words, making you sound like you have a lisp.
  5. Your overall self-esteem. Getting a dental implant will allow you to feel like your normal self. You won’t have to worry about how you look or how you sound. The implant looks and feels like a normal tooth. No one will know that you have an implant unless you tell them.

These are just a few reasons as to why you shouldn’t wait to get your dental implant. If you are experiencing any hesitations or have further questions, contact our office. We are happy to ease your mind and get you on track to a beautiful smile. 256-766-8800

5 Tips for a Healthier Smile

Sometimes we skip a tooth brushing every now and then, which may seem like no big deal. While, in the grand scheme of things, it may seem like missing a tooth brushing here in there isn’t the end of the world, it may lead to unhealthy dental habits, which eventually could result in serious dental damage! By adopting healthy, regular dental habits, you can lower your chance of tooth decay and cavities. Here are some helpful tips towards a healthy, happier smile!woman playing with fruits

Brush and Floss Regularly:

You should brush your teeth twice daily with fluoride toothpaste and floss once. If you want to have impeccable oral hygiene, you may also brush your teeth after each meal or snack. If brushing isn’t a post-meal option for you, thoroughly rinsing your mouth with water will help as well.

Use Mouthwash:

Using mouthwash twice a day after brushing is a great way wash away leftover bacteria and give your mouth that super clean feel.

Eat Tooth-healthy Foods:

Believe it or not, there are certain foods that are good for your teeth and will help to strengthen them and fight against bacteria and plaque build-up. Some foods that will benefit your dental health include but are not limited to: fresh fruits and vegetables, cheese, unsweetened coffee, tea, and sugar-free gum.

Make Routine Dental Visits:

Professional teeth cleanings and dental check-ups should be scheduled for every six months. If you have a history of dental issues, or if you know you need special attention, visiting your dentist more often than every six months may be best for you.

Consider Dental Sealants:

During your next dental visit, ask about dental sealants. Dental sealants will seal up small grooves and nooks in your teeth, preventing bacteria build-up in those hard to reach places. They can also help prevent tooth decay and can last up to ten years with proper dental care!

If you have any questions about your oral health, please give us a call at 256-766-8800

What You Should Know About Dental Implants

If you are looking for an alternative to dentures and would like to replace your missing teeth, dental implants may be for you. Dental implants are a popular long-term method for restoring your smile. Many people decide to get dental implants after they have experienced loss of teeth due to variety of reasons. Dental implants give you back your freedom from missing teeth.woman with dental implants

Who gets dental implants?

Those who are in overall good health and are looking for a long-term solution for their missing teeth are candidates for dental implants. This includes those who are tired of dentures and are looking for a more comfortable and convenient alternative.

What are the advantages of dental implants?

There are many advantages of getting dental implants, including:

  • Convenience: dental implants are a long-term option for replacing missing teeth. They have the added benefit of being a permanent fixture in your mouth unlike dentures that can be abrasive to the gums and can cause difficulty speaking.
  • Easier eating: you may have found that eating has become more difficult with missing teeth. A dental implant allows for more efficient chewing and will allow you to enjoy your favorite foods once again.
  • Improved appearance: Dental implants look and feel like real teeth. They can be designed with the same color and shape as your surrounding teeth, making them natural looking
  • Confidence: Dental implants can give you a youthful appearance and increased self-esteem. You may find yourself smiling more than ever with your new implants.

How do I care for my dental implant?

The great thing about dental implants is that they require the same care as real teeth. This means regular brushing, flossing and routine dental checkups. If taken care of properly, your new implant can last you a lifetime!

If you are interested in dental implants, contact Hickory Hills Dental Care at 256-766-8800 to set up a dental implant consultation.

Straight Talk: All You Need to Know About Invisalign

Are you ready to start your journey to straighter teeth? Do you dislike the look of regular metal braces? If so, Invisalign may be for you.woman with a clear aligner

Clear Aligners

Invisalign is a different take on traditional braces. This treatment is used to straighten crooked or crowded teeth with the use of clear plastic trays. Invisalign is designed to be invisible on the teeth, allowing for discreet treatment. Invisalign uses modern computer imaging to map out the future progression of your tooth movement for your aligner trays. This allows for completely customized aligner trays for your teeth.

How is Invisalign different from ordinary braces?

Invisalign allows the wearer to remove the trays whenever they would like to. This gives you the ability to eat and drink whatever you want during your treatment time. With its removable trays, Invisalign also allows the wearer to have improved oral hygiene over those who wear traditional braces.

The Process

Once you have had a consultation with your doctor to determine if Invisalign is right for you, your custom made Invisalign trays will be made. You will need to wear your trays up to 22 hours a day to maximize your treatment. Be sure to take your trays out for eating, drinking and of course to brush and floss. You will have new trays every two weeks and over the duration of your treatment you will begin to see your teeth shift into place. You can expect to have routine visits with your doctor every four to six weeks to check on your progress.

Aftercare

Once your treatment is over, you will have beautiful straight teeth. However, even though your treatment is done, you still need to wear a retainer at night. This is done to prevent your teeth from shifting.

If you are interested in starting Invisalign treatment, give us a call at 256-766-8800 to schedule a consultation.

Oral Health- A Mouth-Body Connection

woman smiling pointing at her mouthYou may have heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul, but did you know that the mouth is the window to overall health? When you think about health goals you may picture the gym and kale smoothies, but oral hygiene is just as important.

By taking a look inside your mouth, your dentist can tell many things about your overall health. An unhealthy mouth can be a sign of an unhealthy body, and many oral conditions can be a sign of serious underlying health problems.

Protecting your oral health is a positive step towards a healthy body. A few simple steps can be taken to preserve your oral health.

– Brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes. Brushing and flossing your teeth keep them and your gums clean and healthy. Regular brushing and flossing reduces plaque build-up that can lead to gum disease and other periodontal diseases.
– Scheduling check-ups and cleanings with your dentist. Visiting your dentist every six months is vital to your oral health and can prevent oral related problems such as gum disease and tooth decay from developing. Your dentist will perform an examination of your mouth and can give you recommendations on how to improve your oral health.
– A healthy diet and exercise. Regular light exercise can help reduce the risk of periodontal disease. Coupled with a balanced diet, your body will be able to get the nutrients needed for a healthy body.

This year, be sure to add oral health goals to your list of resolutions – your teeth and your body will thank you!

Estrogen’s Benefits for the Gums

woman smilingA recent study from a university in Brazil has found that women who take estrogen for osteoporosis are 44% less likely to have severe periodontitis. While it is well known that hormone levels occurring throughout a woman’s lifetime will affect her gums, this study is one of the first to find that estrogen, specifically, may prevent gum disease.

Women and Gum Health

Women go through numerous changes in hormone levels throughout their lives. Some of the most obvious and well known of these changes are puberty, the menstruation cycle, pregnancy and menopause. For example, girls going through puberty often experience irritated gums, as do pregnant women.

About Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the weakening of bones. The disease is often attributed to hormonal changes in postmenopausal women, or to a vitamin D or calcium deficiency.

The Study

The study was conducted at the University of Bahia in Brazil, and published in Menopause: The Journal of the North American Menopause Society (July 2017 issue, Vol. 24). Examining the cases of 500 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, 113 of whom chose estrogen therapy for treatment, researchers followed the women for a year. Among other findings, which included the importance of income and dental visit frequency on periodontitis, was the finding that those who received estrogen therapy were much less likely to have severe gum disease.

What does this mean?

The results offer great information for those of us in oral (and other) health fields. They help us to better understand and possibly predict gum issues, and may even lead someday to updated recommendations for periodontal care in women.

Should I be on estrogen?

Not necessarily. While the link appears to be a good one, periodontal disease alone is not enough to warrant hormone replacement therapy in women. Regular check-ins with your physician are the only way to know if you need estrogen replacement therapy.

We are happy to bring you the latest in periodontal news! Please call our office at Florence Office Phone Number 256-766-8800 with any questions you may have about your care.

Healthy Snacks for Healthy Smiles

healthy snacksAs a parent, juggling life can be a little hectic sometimes. With work, kids, back to school nights, sleepovers, and much more, finding time to pack healthy snacks is difficult. It can be tempting to throw a packaged snack in your little one’s lunch box to save some time in the morning, but more often than not, those pre-packaged snacks contain high amounts of sugar. Here are a few healthy snack suggestions that your child will love and that also promote a healthy smile.

Nuts

Nuts are nutritional powerhouses, which help to build a strong body. Chewing nuts promotes the production of saliva, which naturally washes away leftover debris on and in between your teeth, as well as acid buildup, which can lead to cavities. Nuts can be a great alternative to salty snacks, such as potato chips, that your kids crave!

Cheese

As we know, cheese is rich in calcium, which promotes strong teeth. What you might not know, is that cheese is also rich in a protein called casein, which strengthens tooth enamel and ultimately prevents cavities. Try adding a string cheese to your child’s lunch, which will provide them with calcium and casein, and are also simply fun to eat!

Apples

Apples are one of the best snacks to give your children. They are a very high fiber food, which also naturally clean your teeth as you chew them! The skin of the apple especially helps to scrub your teeth, gums, and tongue as you eat them. This helps to fight plaque buildup, and also helps remove surface stains. Since apples help scrub away plaque and residue from the back of the tongue, they also help to eliminate bad breath. If your children are craving something sweet in their lunches, try apple slices. We suggest leaving the skin on so that they may reap all of the benefits.

For more information on tooth-healthy foods for kids, please call us at Florence Office Phone Number 256-766-8800.