Dr. Ray Alavanja
Dr. Robert Pieters

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Myth or Fact: The True Benefits of Teeth Whitening

Written by Schererville Family Dentistry on . Posted in Uncategorized

You’ve considered whitening your teeth for some time. You haven’t loved your smile in weeks, months, or years. You know that you want a brighter, whiter smile-like the smiles on TV or like your office pals. But you’ve been a little hesitant to book an appointment with your dentist.

After all, you’ve heard negative stories from friends or websites about the side effects of teeth whitening. You’re not sure if you want to take any risks for a whiter smile. But whether you’re scared to whiten your teeth or you believe that teeth whitening is crucial for your success, you can find the truth below.

We’ll debunk the common myths about teeth whitening so you won’t feel afraid or worried. We’ll also tell you all the facts and benefits you need to know to make the best decision for you and your smile.

8 Common Myths About Teeth Whitening

  1. All whitening products give the same results. You can choose from a vast array of teeth whitening products. However, this does not mean that they all work just as effectively. Different products contain different levels and concentrations of cleaning agents. If you whiten at home, your smile won’t look as white as someone who went to the dentist.
  2. Anyone can whiten their teeth. Whitening is not appropriate for everyone. People who cannot whiten their teeth include:
  • Adolescents 16 and younger
  • Pregnant or lactating women
  • Individuals with highly sensitive teeth
  • Anyone with peroxide allergies
  • Persons with exposed roots, gum disease, untreated cavities, and worn enamel
  1. Whitening causes pain. Lots of Pain. Modern technology makes teeth whitening completely painless and safe. Your dentist uses a unique gel to protect your gums from the cleaning agents found in whitening gel. You may experience temporary sensitivity or discomfort after the procedure.
  2. Whitening damages tooth enamel. Whitening will not harm or damage your tooth enamel. In fact, the American Dental Association conducted a study and determined that teeth whitening does not damage the tooth enamel.
  3. Whitening gives you a “Hollywood smile.” If you want your smile to look as white as your favorite Hollywood star, you might feel disappointed after you whiten your teeth. Teeth are not naturally white. Teeth are usually a shade of brown, gray, or yellow. Normal whitening just removes any stains on your teeth and makes them look naturally healthy. It only brightens them past the natural shade if you want it to.
  4. Whitening gives you oral cancer. People affiliate chemicals with cancer. Since whitening agents contain chemicals, people mistakenly think that teeth whitening causes oral cancer. Dentists regularly study, analyze, and test whitening products. These tests prove that the chemicals in whitening agents do not cause oral cancer.
  5. Whitening is permanent. Teeth whitening is not permanent. Many foods and drink such as marinara sauce, coffee, and Coke stain your teeth over time. Visit your dentist regularly to keep your smile as white as possible.
  6. Whitening makes your teeth sensitive. Some people believe that their teeth will feel permanently sensitive once their teeth are whitened. However, your teeth will be sensitive one to two days after whitening, but they won’t remain sensitive forever. Your dentist will even prescribe you a gel to reduce sensitivity if needed.

Facts About Teeth Whitening

Professional Whitening

If you want immediate results, visit your dentist for a professional zoom whitening treatment. The entire process takes roughly an hour, so you don’t have to wait long for amazing results. In-office, your dentist applies a protective gel to your gums. Afterward, he or she spreads another specialized, light-activated gel on your teeth. He or she then uses a specially designed light to activate the whitening gel.

If you want a more cost-effective method, ask your dentist about tray whitening to enhance your smile. Your dentist will take a mold of your teeth to create a custom tray for you. Your dentist will then instruct you on proper use and tell you how long to use your whitening trays.

At-home treatments are also incredibly affordable, so you can whiten on a regular basis without spending a lot of money. On the other hand, in-office whitening is incredibly fast and safe for eligible patients. But that doesn’t mean in-office treatment costs a fortune. A professional whitening is also more affordable than you think.

Don’t rely on myths and rumors to make an informed decision. Remember the facts about and benefits of teeth whitening when you decide to brighten your smile.

Do You Grind Your Teeth? How to Find Out and What to Do About It

Written by Schererville Family Dentistry on . Posted in Uncategorized

When you wake up in the morning, do you have a sore jaw or pounding headache that a good night of sleep can’t explain? Perhaps your partner or roommate complains of strange noises coming from your side of the room. Maybe your teeth and gums feel oddly sensitive in the morning.

If you experience any of these symptoms and don’t know why, you could be grinding your teeth at night. Tooth grinding, or bruxism, affects many American children and adults, but it can be hard to diagnose in people who sleep on their own. Unless a partner or roommate points it out to you, you could go on grinding your teeth for years and never know-until it gets so loud that you wake yourself up, or a dentist notices telltale signs of wear on your teeth.

In our blog below, we’ll tell you more about what bruxism is, why it can hurt your teeth and damage your overall health, and how you can manage it.

Primary Causes

  • Tooth grinding can happen for one of several reasons, or from a combination of causes:
  • Misaligned teeth (malocclusions) or overbites
  • Stress, anxiety, or frustration
  • Sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea
  • Diseases like acid reflux, Parkinson’s, or Huntington’s
  • ADHD or hyperactivity, especially in children
  • Pain from earaches or headaches, especially in children

Some people suspect that drinking caffeine before bed increases tooth grinding at night, as does chewing on pencils, ice, and other non-food materials. Some medications, including antidepressants, can make you more prone to grind your teeth at night.

While bruxism is more common in children, it can often develop in adults, especially as life circumstances change and become more stressful.

Primary Symptoms and Detection Methods

Along with the symptoms mentioned above, people with bruxism might notice:

  • More frequent earaches and headaches
  • Flattened teeth and worn enamel
  • Facial pain and tension
  • Popping in the jaw

If you’re a parent and your child complains of one or more of these problems, peek into their room after they fall asleep. You can also place an old baby monitor in their room to listen. Over half of children with bruxism grow out of the habit, but that doesn’t mean it won’t cause damage in the meantime. Talk to your child’s dentist about age-appropriate treatment plans.

If you’re an adult who typically sleeps alone, you might have a hard time identifying your tooth grinding habits. If you notice bruxism symptoms, ask your dentist if he or she notices any wear on your teeth. You can also use an app like Sleepbot to record any noises you make at night, including sleep talking, snoring, and tooth grinding.

Bruxism-Related Problems

Why do you need to diagnose and control your bruxism? Apart from the painful symptoms mentioned above, tooth grinding can cause long-lasting problems in both kids and adults. In its most extreme form, bruxism can cause your teeth to loosen and fall out. However, this usually happens only if you have an extreme case of bruxism that goes undetected for years.

Milder bruxism-related dental problems include the wearing down of enamel, which can increase tooth sensitivity and cavities.

Over time, the increased pressure on your teeth might cause them to fracture or break, which means you need veneers and crowns. Bruxism can also cause temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders like TMD, which results in jaw pain, headaches, dizziness, and earaches.

Perhaps most importantly, stress-related bruxism indicates a lower quality of life. If you experience too much stress, anxiety, and frustration in your everyday life, you’ll get a less restful sleep along with the health and dental problems bruxism causes. Learning coping skills to deal with your anxiety will keep your teeth healthier, and it will make you happier as well.

Common Bruxism Treatments

  • The treatment your dentist or doctor recommends often depends on the underlying cause of your tooth grinding:
  • If you have acid reflux problems, your doctor might recommend antacids or dietary changes.
  • If you have misaligned teeth or an overbite, orthodontic treatments will eventually realign your teeth or jaw and solve the problem.
  • If you have undiagnosed ADHD, Parkinson’s, or Huntington’s, certain medications can treat the underlying problem.
  • If medication causes your problem, your doctor might change the dosage or the medication.
  • If you have stress-related bruxism, your doctor or dentist might recommend therapy, counseling, or biofeedback tactics to help you manage the stress in your life.

Regardless of the cause, your dentist will likely prescribe a custom night guard that protects your teeth. If you have a night guard, your teeth grind against plastic instead of against each other. Your partner or roommate might still complain of a strange noise, but the noise on the plastic should be quieter and less grating than the sound of teeth against teeth.

If you have further questions about bruxism, talk to your dentist. He or she can examine your teeth, talk to you about symptoms and underlying causes, and recommend the right treatment. With a little help, you’ll soon be enjoying a quieter night and a more peaceful sleep.

Schererville Family Dentistry

1050 Caroline Ave
Schererville, IN 46375
Call us: 219.322.3232