Getting your teeth whitened professionally can be a life-changing experience. Whiter teeth are associated with youth, health, vitality and even your level of professionalism in the workplace. Your dentist have the ability to improve the appearance of your teeth by up to eight shades in one short visit. Explore the following FAQs about teeth whitening so that you can decide if this cosmetic treatment is right for you.
Why is Professional Teeth Whitening the Best Option?
Over the counter whitening products are convenient but problematic for a number of reasons. For one, they take a long time to show results (sometimes weeks or months), if they ever do. Whitening kits that come with trays are ill-fitting and uncomfortable to wear for extended periods of time. When you have your teeth whitened professionally, the treatment is finished within one day, in one appointment. There’s no need to disrupt your schedule by wearing a tray every day and little to no concerns about irritation of the gums since the procedure will be handled by a skilled dentist.
Who Is a Candidate?
Any patient with generally good dental health may be a candidate for professional teeth whitening. Keep in mind that some patients aren’t eligible for this treatment because they have stains that can’t be cleared with whitening gels. This is the case when the stain is “intrinsic,” which means the discoloration is at the inner layer of the tooth. You dentist can tell you if your teeth can be successfully whitened at your initial consultation.
What Will Happen at the Whitening Appointment?
Set aside at least an hour of your time for your teeth whitening appointment. You’ll sit back in your chair as the dentist inserts a device to keep your lips separate from your teeth then applies the gel. You’ll wait for anywhere between 60-90 minutes until the whitening effect has set in. Many patients choose to have this treatment performed on a lunch hour.
How Long Will the Teeth Stay White?
You can expect to enjoy your new whiter smile for about one to two years or longer. The length of time your smile will last depends on you and your dental habits. If you go back to eating the same foods and drinking the same beverages that stained your teeth in the past, the problem is likely to return more quickly. Use a straw, brush regularly and see your dentist for cleanings twice per year.
Contact Your Dentist
You will be happy with the way that your smile looks after going to your dentist for a teeth whitening treatment. If you have more questions, call for an appointment today.
While flossing just takes just a couple of minutes per day, you may be wondering if you're spending your time wisely. In Columbia, SC, your dentist, Dr. Kris O'Neill, assures you that flossing is well-worth it. After all, flossing battles the plaque and bacteria that can damage your smile.
Food particles and bacteria
While unpleasant to think about, bacteria can lead to big problems like dental decay, gum disease, and even tooth loss. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) states that a full 50 percent of American adults over the age of 30 have gum disease. This is especially concerning given that gum disease also impacts your overall health, as it's been linked to diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, dementia, and more.
Brush and floss
The American Dental Association (ADA) maintains that daily brushing and flossing are the best weapons against gum disease and decay. They remove bacteria-laden plaque when applied every day.
Brush two times a day for two minutes, carefully cleaning all tooth surfaces. For in between your teeth and at the gum line, where plaque can hide, floss once a day. Most people who floss have few to no signs of gum disease (i.e. gingival bleeding, puffiness, tenderness, and loose teeth).
Your Columbia, SC, dentist and her team highly recommend flossing daily. Your hygienist will show you ways to improve your flossing routine at home. Common recommendations include:
- Using a floss product that you can easily manipulate. Strand floss may not be the right choice for an adult with dexterity issues. A water flosser or interproximal brushes are simpler to handle and both are just as effective as regular floss.
- Flossing gently. Do not snap strand floss against your gums. Instead, insert it carefully between your teeth, carefully sweeping it up and down. Flossing should never cause pain.
- Remembering to floss your back teeth. Molars are cavity-prone because of their chewing surfaces and so need extra care.
Finally, see Dr. O'Neill every six months for a cleaning and check-up. No matter how well you floss and brush—or how good your diet is—you still need in-office preventive care. O'Neill Family Dentistry provides treatment plans suited to your unique oral health needs.
Have your best oral health
You can enjoy a fabulous, healthy smile when you include flossing in your daily oral care routine. To improve your flossing technique, talk to your friendly hygienist or dentist, Dr. Kris O'Neill of O'Neill Family Dentistry in Columbia, SC. Call today for an appointment: (803) 988-1070.
Are you a smoker? Over the age of 40? Diagnosed with HPV? If so, you may be at increased risk for oral cancer.
While oral cancer is also more common among men, heavy drinkers, and unhealthy eaters, it can still develop in almost anyone. That means even the healthiest among us should keep up with regular oral cancer screenings.
Here at O'Neill Family Dentistry in Columbia, SC, your dentist, Dr. Kris O'Neill, offers oral cancer screenings that are quick, painless, and accurate, allowing you to feel at ease during the screening and confident in your results.
What are the signs of oral cancer?
Oral cancer can develop in both the throat and mouth, and can develop symptoms such as bleeding patches, lumps, red/white spots, and numbness or pain when eating. Additional signs include loosening teeth, a hoarse voice, jaw swelling, mouth ulcers, sores, and/or a swollen jaw.
Why is an oral cancer screening so important?
Oral cancer patients who are diagnosed early have a far greater survival rate than those whose cancer is discovered in later stages. If a screening at our Columbia, SC, office comes back with positive results, our dentist can develop an appropriate treatment plan to address your specific case.
What happens during an oral cancer screening?
Your dentist will use a small apparatus with an angled examination mirror to check all areas of your mouth, including the palate, tongue, and pharynx. We will also look for discolorations, sores, protrusions, or other abnormalities. If an issue is found, we will send a tissue sample to a lab for further diagnosis. Your dentist may also feel your neck for any unusual lumps.
Your screening should be fairly quick, and can generally be performed during your regular checkup and dental exam.
Concerned? Give us a call
If you haven't undergone an oral cancer screening before, or are due for one of these life-saving examinations, make an appointment here at O'Neill Family Dentistry in Columbia, SC, by dialing (803) 988-1070.
When die-hard music fans hear that their favorite performer is canceling a gig, it’s a big disappointment—especially if the excuse seems less than earth-shaking. Recently, British pop sensation Dua Lipa needed to drop two dates from her world tour with Bruno Mars. However, she had a very good reason.
“I’ve been performing with an awful pain due to my wisdom teeth,” the singer tweeted, “and as advised by my dentist and oral surgeon I have had to have them imminently removed.”
The dental problem Lipa had to deal with, impacted wisdom teeth, is not uncommon in young adults. Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums), generally making their appearance between the ages of 18-24. But their debut can cause trouble: Many times, these teeth develop in a way that makes it impossible for them to erupt without negatively affecting the healthy teeth nearby. In this situation, the teeth are called “impacted.”
A number of issues can cause impacted wisdom teeth, including a tooth in an abnormal position, a lack of sufficient space in the jaw, or an obstruction that prevents proper emergence. The most common treatment for impaction is to extract (remove) one or more of the wisdom teeth. This is a routine in-office procedure that may be performed by general dentists or dental specialists.
It’s thought that perhaps 7 out of 10 people ages 20-30 have at least one impacted wisdom tooth. Some cause pain and need to be removed right away; however, this is not always the case. If a wisdom tooth is found to be impacted and is likely to result in future problems, it may be best to have it extracted before symptoms appear. Unfortunately, even with x-rays and other diagnostic tests, it isn’t always possible to predict exactly when—or if—the tooth will actually begin causing trouble. In some situations, the best option may be to carefully monitor the tooth at regular intervals and wait for a clearer sign of whether extraction is necessary.
So if you’re around the age when wisdom teeth are beginning to appear, make sure not to skip your routine dental appointments. That way, you might avoid emergency surgery when you’ve got other plans—like maybe your own world tour!
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
While the prevention and treatment of tooth decay has improved dramatically over the last half century, it continues to be a major health issue, especially for children. One in four children 5 and younger will develop some form of the disease.
Although tooth decay in children stems from the same causes as in adults — the presence of decay-causing bacteria in plaque, unprotected teeth and the right mix of carbohydrates like sugar left in the mouth — the means by which it occurs may be different. We even define tooth decay differently in children as Early Childhood Caries (ECC), “caries” the dental profession’s term for tooth decay.
ECC highlights a number of cause factors specific to young children, such as: continuous use of a bottle or “sippy cup” filled with juice or other sweetened beverages; at-will breast-feeding throughout the night; use of a sweetened pacifier; or regular use of sugar-based oral medicine to treat chronic illness.
If you noticed sugar as a common denominator in these factors, you’re right. As a primary food source for bacteria, refined sugar is a major trigger for the disease especially if it constantly resides in the mouth from constant snacking or sipping. In fact, it’s the primary driver for a particular pattern of decay known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD). This pattern is specifically linked to sleep-time bottles filled with juice, milk, formula or other sweetened beverages, given to an infant or toddler to help soothe them through the night or during naps.
All these factors cause a cycle of decay. To interrupt that cycle, there are some things you as a parent should do: perform daily hygiene with your child to reduce decay-causing bacteria; reduce the amount and frequency of carbohydrates in the diet, particularly sugar; and protect the teeth by having us apply fluoride or sealants directly to the teeth.
Early tooth decay could affect your child's oral health for years to come. With a little care and vigilance, you improve your chances of avoiding that encounter.
If you would like more information on preventing tooth decay in children, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
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