Everything You Want to Know About Teeth Whitening

Are you considering teeth whitening before a big event? Do you want to have a smile that is the star of your wedding? Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic procedure and can boost confidence, eliminate stubborn stains, and give you a look that really shines. However, like any dental procedure it’s important to understand why your teeth are stained in the first place, what teeth whitening is like, and finally, how to prolong the results of professional teeth whitening. Book a consultation with Walker-Barr DMD today!

Common Causes of Teeth Staining

A column in TuftsNow by clinical professor Ronald Perry outlines some common causes of extrinsic staining, or staining of the enamel:

  • Black tea
  • Coffee
  • Wines, red and white
  • Dark-colored food (beets, chocolate)
  • Berries
  • Popsicles
  • Candy
  • Pickles
  • Soy sauce
  • Curry
  • Smoking 

The good news about extrinsic stains is we can treat them with teeth whitening and proper brushing and flossing. There are also ways Dr. Perry suggests you mitigate staining agents. He advises drinking dark liquids through a straw to avoid contact with the teeth, brush and floss after consuming food and drink, chewing sugarless gum, and finally eating a diet high in fiber. However, if your efforts to mitigate staining have started too late, he suggests teeth bleaching as a good option to eliminate extrinsic stains. 

What are My Options for Teeth Whitening?

We’re all familiar with the over-the-counter teeth whitening strips. While convenient, there is the danger of falling into the ‘more is better’ trap, explained by Dr.  Adam S. Harwood, DMD in Dentistry Today. The idea that adding more peroxide, charcoal, or other trendy solution to your at home regimen will cause whiter teeth, isn’t necessarily the case. Too much of anything can be damaging.  Professional teeth whitening is a safer and more predictable option. There are several brands of professional whitening, but most fall into two categories: In office and at home solutions.

In office whitening

If you choose an in-office approach, you will choose the level of whiteness you wish your teeth to reach with your dental provider. They will then prep your teeth and gums for safe application of the specially formulated whitening gel. Some offices will then shine a special activation light on the gel to speed up whitening, others don’t. When your whitening session is complete, the gel is cleaned off and a topical anti-sensitivity product applied. We send you on your way with instructions for avoiding certain food and drinks to maintain your new bright smile. 

 At home professional teeth whitening

If you prefer to whiten in the comfort of your own home, your dentist will fit you for professional plastic whitening trays. Then they will provide prescription-strength gel to fill the trays and wear at home. Depending on the solution, you may wear the trays several days in a row, or for a few days a month until you reach your desired shade. At-home whitening can be a great way to whiten your teeth on your schedule. 

What Your Dentist Wants You to Know

Teeth whitening under the supervision of your dentist is ideal. You can get a bright white smile that is also healthy. You will also get professional recommendations on how to maintain your results, and most dentists will also provide at-home touch up options to keep your smile bright between visits. If it interests you to whiten your teeth or you have questions, please reach out! Contact us Walker-Barr DMD!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Is Sedation Dentistry Right for You?

About 30-40 million people a year avoid the dentist due to feelings of anxiety and fear. Fear of going to the dentist is common and thankfully being talked about more and more in the dental world. Many dentists go to great lengths to help patients feel comfortable. They will offer spa-like amenities like warm towels, headphones, soothing music and aromatherapy. However, the comforts don’t always do the trick. Some patients need a little more help to feel comfortable. Enter sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry can be an excellent tool to help patients that have anxiety or fear when going to the dentist. 

3 Types of Sedation Dentistry

There are three main levels of sedation used in dentistry each with their own delivery method. Inhalation, oral and intravenous. Sedation dentistry is where the patient will feel a level of relaxation but still be awake for the procedure. It is not going under general anesthesia. Most patients like that they stay awake, but feel calm and often, barely remember the appointment. You should take certain precautions if you will be sedated during your dental appointment. Arrange for a friend or family member to help drive you home.

Inhalation Sedation: Nitrous Oxide 

Nitrous oxide, commonly known as laughing gas, is an easily administered type of sedative. Many people who are nervous about going to the dentist can ask for nitrous and have an easier experience during their cleaning or procedure. We administer nitrous oxide through a mask and the nitrous gas is mixed with oxygen. The patient takes a few deep breaths and then feels giggly and relaxed. The patient will stay awake during the dental procedure but will feel a sense of relaxation. The Nitrous is eliminated from the body quickly and so the patient is usually fine to drive themselves home after treatment. Nitrous is common during pediatric appointments. 

Oral sedation

Oral sedation is where the patient takes a pill, orally an hour before their appointment. Typically, the dentist will prescribe a sedative in the Benzodiazepine family. Medication like Triazolam are common for dental procedures. When under oral sedation, the patient is still awake, and can follow common commands, but may not remember much about the procedure. If you are under oral sedation, you will want to plan for someone to drive you home. 

Intravenous sedation 

IV sedation is where you receive the sedative through a vein instead of orally. This allows the sedative to work quickly, and the dentist can adjust the level of sedation during the procedure. You may feel more deeply sedated than with oral sedation, but you will not ‘go under’ like general anesthesia. Not all dentists are trained in IV sedation, so if you are looking for that option, be sure to ask. 

Sedation can help any nervous or anxious dental patient experience less stress during their dental appointment. If you fall anywhere on the spectrum from nervous to phobic, your dentist can help you determine which sedation option is best for you. If you have further questions or want to read more about sedation dentistry, look at the resources here: The Academy of Medical and Dental Sedation or call us and schedule a consultation.


The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Guilt Free Advice for Great Pediatric Oral Health

Parenting is no joke. It is equal parts rewarding and exhausting. Moms and dads know how much effort it takes to keep kids healthy and happy. And, everyone from mommy-blogs to mothers in law have an opinion on where parents are falling short. Are they eating a balanced diet? Is their homework done? Do they get enough sleep? Do they limit screen time? Do you spend enough time as a family – but also enough time alone to encourage their independence? Are you a helicopter or free-range parent? Are they making friends? Not just friends, but the RIGHT friends? You get it. Of course, you need to also add brushing and flossing regularly to the list. After a long day of work, school, sports and homework it’s a miracle if they make it to bed in their pajamas. All that to say, this isn’t supposed to be a guilt trip. This information is meant to help already busy parents have burning questions answered quickly in order to efficiently take care of their child’s oral health

Question: When should my child go to the dentist for the first time?

Answer: The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends a child’s first dental appointment happen before age one. But, if your child is already two or three and they haven’t been yet, don’t worry. Just make the appointment. If you missed the official window the best thing you can do it take them in now.

Question: Should I find a pediatric dentist, or can I take my child to my regular dental provider?

Answer: There is no absolute right answer here. If you have a great relationship with your dentist and they see children your child’s age, you can try it out. However, there are benefits to seeing specialized pediatric dentists, such as:

  • Pediatric dentists have extended education in caring for children’s oral health, including the psychological and developmental health of children.
  • Pediatric dentists use child-sized equipment (x-rays and drills) specifically made for children’s teeth. 
  • Pediatric dentists chose to work with kids, so you can be confident they want to work with little ones.
  • Pediatric offices are typically more child friendly. Often, they provide age appropriate activities, fun rewards for good behavior and other amenities specifically for children. 
  • Pediatric teams are trained on how to communicate with children and parents. For example, instead of saying plaque or bacteria, they may say ‘tooth bugs’ so children better understand what is going on. 

Question: I can’t get my kids to brush and floss like they are supposed to…and I’m at the end of my rope, what can I do?

Answer: Take a deep breath mom and dad. Resisting brushing and flossing is a normal part of being a kid. These days there are some fun and engaging ways to encourage good oral hygiene. Try a few and see what sticks. 

  • Shop for a fun toothbrush and new toothpaste. 
  • Gamify tooth brushing and flossing. Let them earn points or stars that lead to a reward. Or, find a free dental app to help gamify the experience. 
  • Pair the activities with something they already do. Have them brush and floss in the shower or while they watch TV.
  • Reward brushing and flossing with the home WiFi password.
  • Set a reminder or an alarm on their phone.

Question: My child has a cavity in a baby tooth – can’t we just pull it? It’s going to fall out anyway.

Answer: Baby teeth, or primary teeth are more important to the long-term growth and development of your child than you may realize. Baby teeth assist in chewing healthy foods, speech development and proper growth and shaping of the jaw. If baby teeth are extracted unnecessarily you may risk normal development of these things. The best course of action is what Dr. Walker or Dr. Barr suggest. 

Keeping kids teeth healthy isn’t easy. Kids can be stubborn and strong-willed and it’s hard not to feel like a failure if they aren’t cooperating. However, there are resources available to you to help. First, ask your dentist for advice. If you don’t know how to handle something or notice your child having issues – make the call. Think of your dentist and dental team as both your cheerleaders and experts when it comes to your child’s oral health. If you have burning questions or concerns, contact Walker-Barr DMD for an appointment today! 

“The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.”

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Why Have a Dental Implant?

Dental implants replace an entire tooth—including the root—with a permanent replacement. Dr. David Walker and Dr. Sarah Barr can tell you it is the #1 most popular tooth replacement method in all of dentistry, but there are many reasons dental implant surgery may be recommended.

Dental implants may work for you if you have one or more teeth missing, your jawbone has reached full adult growth, and you’re willing to commit several months to the implant process. Other times when dental implants might be a good dental solution include:

  • When gum tissue is healthy
  • When bone density is adequate to support an implant
  • When a patient wants to speak more clearly 
  • When a patient wants to eat and chew easily
  • When a patient does not want to wear dentures
  • When the patient does not use tobacco

Walker and Barr DMD wants you to have a full, functional smile that you are proud to show off. Though implants are more of a marathon than a sprint, they do provide a permanent, beautiful solution for missing teeth. If you have questions or concerns about dental implants, get in touch with your Brandon dentist today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Pregnancy & Your Smile

Before we begin talking about the changes pregnancy can cause in your mouth, we want you to know your smile is entirely unique and will remain so during your pregnancy, and your Brandon dental team does not want you to be alarmed. We’re here to answer questions and address concerns as you need, and wish you a smooth, happy pregnancy! 

Pregnancy and becoming a parent changes everything, so it’s not surprising you might experience oral health changes while you carry a bun in the oven. Speaking of buns in ovens, you’re probably more sensitive to smells and tastes, right? Your gums and teeth are more sensitive due to hormonal fluctuations, too.

Along with sensitivity, you may experience swelling during pregnancy; the swelling might be localized to your ankles, which is common, or it could include your gums. Swelling of the gums may indicate pregnancy gingivitis (gum disease), so if you notice this symptom, you should definitely schedule a visit with Dr. Sarrah Barr & Dr. David Walker for their care recommendations. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight, so it’s very important not to shrug off symptoms. 

If you happen to experience morning sickness frequently, you’re also at a higher risk of developing cavities. Although you may want to brush directly after a bout of vomiting, that can actually increase the demineralization of your enamel—we recommend swishing and spitting water and waiting about 20 minutes.

For more advice and support during this special time, please schedule an appointment with Walker and Barr DMD and get the gentle care you deserve.

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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What Can Your Teeth Tell Scientists?

There are a lot of things teeth can tell you about yourself, even more that dentists can determine during examinations, and even more that can be discovered by scientists. For example, you can often feel when you have something stuck between your teeth, or when plaque is starting to build up and you could use some quality time with your toothbrush. Dr. David Walker & Dr. Sarah Barr can examine this, too, and with the assistance of our technology, we can also see cavities forming, enamel wear, the density of your jawbone, and more! 

These details are key when it comes to helping you maintain a healthy smile for life, but if we wanted to compare the difference in size between your jaw and the jaws of our ancestors from 4 million years ago, we’d need to consult scientists. 

Why would we be interested in obtaining this information? Partially because we find it fascinating, but also because it explains things like why our third molars (wisdom teeth) frequently cause issues when erupting or attempting to erupt.

The Jawbone’s Connected to the…

Did you sing “Dem Bones” or “The Skeleton Dance” in elementary school? If so, you might remember that your jawbone is connected to your skull. Fossilized skulls and teeth can tell us things like what kind of food our ancestors ate through what some scientists call a “foodprint”. Scientists can even use teeth to determine if someone moved to and from places with dramatically different foods or soils.

As your Brandon dental team, we’re dedicated to learning all we can about teeth, past and present, so we can keep yours healthy and beautiful for a lifetime. To talk teeth and science with us, or just schedule a routine checkup and cleaning, contact Walker and Barr DMD today!

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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The Discovery of X-Rays

Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr can diagnose and screen for a host of maladies thanks to sophisticated imaging technology. X-rays are now so frequently used and so effective that most of us take their capabilities for granted—but it was not so long ago a tumor or damaged bone couldn’t be found without the patient actually being cut open!

The discovery of x-rays was a happy accident. A physics professor named Wilhelm Roentgen was testing whether cathode rays could pass through glass and observed a mysterious light that would pass through human tissue and to reveal details of the bones and tissue underneath. Because Roentgen didn’t know what the rays were, he called them “x”, meaning “unknown”.

The medical community and the public alike were very excited about x-rays, and as their use became commonplace, the potential side effects of radiation exposure were ignored at first. Scientists like Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla sounded the alarm about the dangers of radiation, but x-rays were still used for entertainment purposes (such as carnivals) during the 1930s and 1940s.

Over the years, scientists have developed a better understanding of risks tied to x-ray radiation and developed procedures and protocols to minimize unnecessary exposure. The discovery and development of x-rays over time allowed for advancements like 3D, cone beam, and other types of imaging essential to world-class dentistry today.

If you have questions or concerns about dental technology or just want to come take a look at all our cool machines, get in touch with Walker and Barr DMD today!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Move Over, Mono: Another Kissing Disease?

If you’ve heard about (or experienced) mononucleosis, often shortened to “mono” or “the kissing disease”, you might think it can’t be compared to gum disease in any way. However, there is one trait these infections have in common.

According to pathologists, mono is caused primarily by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and it’s definitely something you’ll want to guard yourself against, both because its symptoms “can feel like the worst cold or flu you’ve ever had”, and because in some people, EBV can lead to the development of other disorders later in life.

But did you know gum disease, which is the leading cause of adult tooth loss and linked to 52 other systemic illnesses, is communicable the same way mono is?

Kissing & Telling

You read that right: gum disease is not only contagious, but can be spread through kissing. Along with smooching, common activities like sharing food or eating and drinking utensils can expose you (or your loved ones) to the bacteria that cause the traveling inflammation.

Your Brandon dental team at Walker and Barr DMD doesn’t want you to panic over this information, but we do encourage you to remain conscious and diligent about your prevention methods (*cough* oral hygiene *cough*). 

If you’ve got any questions or concerns, or you’d like to ensure you’ve been keeping the bad bugs at bay, contact us today to schedule an appointment with Walker and Barr DMD!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Do You Smooch Your Pooch?

Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD discusses bad bacteria that can be passed on by dog kisses. Don’t smooch your pooch!We’ve all heard the expression that a dog is a (hu)man’s best friend, and dog lovers wouldn’t disagree. There’s also a common misconception that “a dog’s mouth is cleaner than a human’s mouth”. As it turns out, that’s not true at all, and there are many reasons you should never let your dog kiss you on the lips or even the face.

Where Could a Dog’s Nose Have Been?

  • Garbage can
  • Toilet
  • “Greeting” another dog’s nether regions
  • Litter box

What a dog sniffs, he eats, and what he eats, he licks—so that rules out letting your dog give you kisses. Unfortunately, kissing a dog’s nose or top of his head isn’t really sanitary, either. If a dog has an ear or mouth infection, germs can end up all over his body or end up on his coat when he slobbers. 

Can You & Your Dog Actually Make Each Other Sick?

Human and dog mouths both have copious amounts and varieties of bacteria. Fortunately, most of those bacteria don’t make us sick, but some can, and no amount of oral hygiene can fight them off. The diseases, pathogens and parasites dogs can pass to humans include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Hookworm
  • Roundworm
  • Giardia
  • Salmonella

Viruses (such as the flu) tend to stick to one species, but if your immune system is compromised at all, you should definitely fend off Fido. People recovering from organ transplants, fighting cancer, or living with HIV should avoid kissing pets.

Your Brandon dental team loves dogs as much as anyone, but we want our patients to have healthy mouths, too. If you have any questions or concerns about dog kisses or oral hygiene, get in touch with Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD today.

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Crowning Glory: Esthetic Dental Crowns

Brandon dentists, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD talk about the different options you might choose between if you need a dental crown.The first known dental crowns were made as far back as 200 A.D. when Etruscans used gold to create crowns and bridges. Can you imagine what the process must have been like without the technology we have now? If you’d rather not, we can’t blame you!

Thanks to digital x-rays and impressions, dentists today can create crowns that blend in so well with the rest of the mouth, you’ll forget you weren’t born with them. The updated materials appear very natural, especially ceramic and porcelain.

But I Love Gold!

Gold is still an option for crowns today, and it’s not a bad option in terms of durability—they’re extremely fracture-resistant and seal well to prevent recurrent tooth decay. However, gold is usually the most expensive material for the creation of crowns, and most people want their dental restorations to be a secret only they know—especially if the tooth in need of crowning is an incisor or canine.

For those anterior (front) teeth, porcelain and ceramic are excellent crown options; they’re the most economical solution and can be color-matched to blend in with your smile perfectly. 

Dental crowns are prosthetics primarily placed to restore damaged teeth, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be beautiful, too! If you’re wondering how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile, contact your Brandon dentist, Dr. Walker & Dr. Barr at Walker and Barr DMD today! We’d love to make your smile the crowning glory of your face!

 

The content of this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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