Dental Blog

Teeth Whitening: Whiter Teeth for a Healthier Looking Smile


Over a period of time, your teeth can get discolored and stained unless it is good oral hygiene is practiced. There are many factors that cause discoloration of the teeth, and among the most common factors are:

  • Eating or drinking dark-colored dishes and beverages like coffee and soda
  • Habitual chewing or smoking tobacco that leads to an accumulation of tarry plaque, thus,  ultimately leaving yellowish stains  on the enamel of your teeth
  • Infrequent brushing of teeth or poor oral hygiene that negatively affects maintenance of immunity against staining and gum-causing diseases—eventually leading to bad breath and decaying teeth
  • Genetic composition, where some people have naturally brighter teeth while some are born with darker ones

Exposure of the tooth’s dentin and the wearing off of enamel due to aging There are a lot of teeth whitening approaches available, ranging from commercial “do it yourself” products to the more technical ways done by dentists and orthodontists.  The simplest and most commonly used are toothpastes, mouthwashes, whitening gels. However, the effect of most over-the-counter  teeth whitening products take two to four weeks or even more depending on its quality and efficiency.

On the other hand, dental procedures can promise more sustainable effects through the use of chemical processes and specialized whitening techniques.  Specifically, our dental health experts at Union Hills Family Dentistry will determine the appropriate method that will suit your teeth’s unique condition. For instance, we will make a custom mouthpiece tray that guarantees the exact quantity of whitening solution to your teeth. The bleaching process usually takes only 1 to 2 hours every visit. If needed, we can make the procedure more continuous through suggesting a system that you can do at home.

Ultimately, people should always remember that teeth can get stained over and over again especially if they are constantly submerged into the same discoloring substances. So, always remember that good oral hygiene practices like habitual brushing twice a day and flossing daily is very important in protecting your pearly whites.  Moreover, regular visits to the dentist every six months or more frequently will ensure healthier teeth and gums, as well as a solid prevention against plaque formation, stains and other, potential threats to your oral health.

How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Give You an Enchanting Smile


Almost everyone wants to achieve that dazzling, perfect smile, but not everyone is born with it.  This is where cosmetic dentistry comes in.  In Cosmetic Dentistry, dental procedures are combined with aesthetic techniques developed by professionals to  improve the quality of oral hygiene.  Aesthetics is a specific field in dentistry that specializes in the cosmetic restoration of  a beautiful and healthy set of teeth.

The most common dental problems that require cosmetic dentistry are the following:

  • Cracked teeth
  • Chipped and broken tooth
  • Unevenly separated teeth
  • Stained or tooth discolored
  • Fractured teeth
  • Exposed tooth
  • Worn tooth Enamel and fillings
  • Gum diseases

At first, gum and tooth improvement or restoration procedures were fashioned for models, celebrities, movie stars, and rich individuals who felt that they require professional intervention in the beautification of their smile.  But with the advancement of new procedures, materials and techniques available today in the field of dentistry and orthodontics, doctors can now cater to a broader spectrum of patients that seek specialized help.

At Union Hills Family Dentistry, reaching that most desired celebrity smile is now attainable thanks to our modern innovations in the field of cosmetic dental surgeries.

The most popular procedures we provide include:

  • Bleaching— It is the most commonly used technique which uses a chemical process to whiten teeth.
  • Bonding—This is a tooth-colored material that fills up the gaps or changes the color of the teeth.
  • CrownsCovers the tooth to restore it to its normal frame and appearance.
  • Dental implantsThis is a surgical procedure to replace a missing tooth.
  • Inlays/Onlays— Restorations made to repair mild to moderate decay, cracked, or fractured teeth
  • Invisible FillingsFillings that are closely match to the color of your teeth.
  • Reshaping and contouring: This procedure is used for irregularly shaped tooth, overlapping teeth, and crooked or chipped teeth.
  • VeneersThese are thin porcelain or plastic pieces that are placed on top of the teeth to change its color or shape.

Through the aid of Cosmetic Dentistry, people suffering from low self-confidence due to damaged teeth are now able to experience the joy of having picture-perfect teeth. More importantly, it helps maintain good dental hygiene for a guaranteed beautiful and healthy smile.

How to make Brushing Fun for Your Kids


Old or young, brushing can be one boring task—it is certainly not the most exciting thing to do when a whole list of activities is ahead of you. However, brushing is very important, especially for children who are still learning how to take care of their teeth. So to make it more engaging, Union Hills Family Dentistry has prepared a bag of tricks for parents to try.

Get the Kids Involved

When it’s time to teach your child on how to brush his own teeth, let him experience every step of the process. Bring your child with you to the store so he can choose his own toothbrush and toothpaste right down to the characters on the packaging. This will reinforce the rule that brushing is here to stay while also giving your child a chance to make a few choices.

Set a Timer 

When you are teaching your child to brush his teeth, set a timer for 20 seconds and challenge him to brush constantly until the timer goes off. Gradually increase the time they are brushing until your child can successfully brush for two whole minutes—the amount of brushing time recommended.

Brush to the Beat 

If two minutes sounds like a long time, try letting your child choose a favorite song to listen to in the bathroom. He could choose something different each day or week and try to brush along with the music. Children will love to hear the rhythm of the toothbrush as they bop along to the music.

Follow the Leader 

Get your own habits in check by brushing right alongside your little one. You can set the tone by brushing and your child can look to you for cues and practical tips. Then you can play follow the leader by taking turns leading the other in the brushing process, whether you brush the top first, the bottom first or the sides.

Use Incentives

Forming good habits isn’t always about doing the right thing. Sometimes the biggest barrier is simply remembering to do something on a daily basis. This is where incentives come in handy. As your child learns to brush his teeth, you can create rewards to help him along the way.

Starting the New Year with a Straight Smile


This New Year, it is likely that you have begun thinking of new goals and resolutions to achieve. Whether you want to exercise more frequently, quit drinking or go on a diet, your focus would certainly be on self-improvement. That is why Union Hills Family Dentistry has also listed some resolutions regarding your dental health, which not only enhances your appearance, but also improves your overall health.

  1. Stop Smoking. Of all the habits and vices a person can have, smoking is the worst. The behavior may start off innocently enough, but tobacco is a highly addictive substance and individuals can find themselves quickly hooked.  Filled with toxins and carcinogens, one stick can be a source of serious dental problems such as oral cancer, tooth decay and gum diseases. There are a myriad of ways to break the tobacco habit, however for some ‘cold turkey’ is the only way to go.
  2. Stop Drinking Soda. While soda is a popular way to hydrate and refresh, sipping plain water is still the best choice for individuals who want to improve their dental health. Kicking the soda habit will immediately decrease the odds of developing excess dental plaque or tartar buildup as oral bacteria feast on the simple sugars left behind on the teeth of soda sippers.
  3. Eat Plenty of Fruits and Vegetables. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums. In addition, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help freshen up your breath and clean plaque from teeth.
  4. Brush at Least Twice a Day and Floss at Least Once a Day. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health. Regular brushing and flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gum line, where decay and gum disease often begins.
  5. Get Preventative Dental Care. Any person who has set the goal of improving their dental health should kick off their commitment by getting to a dentist fast. Not only can preventative dentistry block issues from arising, it can also help you avoid spending on costly dental procedures later on.

For this New Year, resolve to treat your mouth right. Observing your diet, kicking bad habits and improving your oral hygiene routines will help you make 2015 a better, healthier year!

Fun Facts about Your Teeth


Is it true that dental health is related to your overall well-being? Do identical twins have the same dental fingerprints? And is teeth regrowth for adults still possible? Read the trivia facts that follow to find out!

  • Teeth are the hardest substance in the human body; therefore they are the part most often fossilized.
  • According to research studies, regular dental cleanings can help prevent heart attacks. On the other hand, people with moderate or advanced gum disease are more likely to have heart disease.
  • Teeth in a growing fetus begin to develop only six weeks after conception.
  • Next to the common cold, tooth decay remains the most prevalent disease in the US, even though a third of all youngsters between the ages of 5 and 17 are cavity-free.
  • Most tooth loss in people over age 35 is due to periodontal disease.
  • If you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35% of your tooth surfaces.
  • A tooth that has been knocked out starts to die within 15 minutes, but if you put it in milk or hold it in your mouth it will survive longer.
  • Tooth decay is actually classified as an infectious disease because it is caused by a particular strain of bacteria passed between multiple people.
  • Every person has a set of teeth as unique as his or her fingerprints. Even the dental fingerprints of identical twins are different. That is why Forensic Dentistry is also an integral part of most CSI departments.
  • The earliest record of tooth decay was described by the Sumerians as “tooth worms.”
  • Around 2700 BC, Chinese acupuncture was used to treat tooth pain.
  • In the British Isles, dentures were common wedding gifts because many people expected to eventually lose all of their teeth and expedited the process by having them extracted at an early age.
  • Unlike bones or other parts of the body, teeth are incapable of self-repair. This is why receiving fillings and other dental work is necessary to protect teeth from further damage. However, teeth also contain stem cells. Some researchers are using these dental stem cells to regrow human teeth. If successful, this technology would mean we can biologically replace lost adult teeth for the first time in history.

To know more about your teeth and how you can better take care of them, visit Union Hills Family Dentistry at Glendale, AZ today. Equipped with a state-of-the-art facility and years of experience, we offer comprehensive dental services for you and your family at affordable prices.

Picture-Perfect Set of Teeth: Its Perks during Interactions


Our appearance is the first thing that people notice when they first see us. It shapes other people’s first impression of us. A good first impression invites a positive start, especially on our professional and social space. Therefore, we must strive to keep our appearance presentable, clean, and attractive. With a well-shaped appearance, we can gain other people’s respect and affinity. Thus, we create a better image— something that must last.

First Impressions
Oftentimes, our teeth are the first thing that people notice when we smile or whenever we are happy. A good set of teeth gives us the confidence to meet new people. Moreover, with the rise of social media, showing your face and smile online is a great experience if you have a perfectly shaped and whitened set of teeth. A picture-perfect set of teeth may indicate cleanliness, hygiene, and good grooming. It also entails confidence and self-esteem.
Perception of Inner Self
A picture-perfect set of teeth will give you an unparalleled self-confidence, which is necessary for your day-to-day interaction online or in the real world. With a picture-perfect set of teeth, you can always confidently smile at anyone, which in turn, can attract positive reactions and feedback. For instance, even in the social media, people who post smiling photos of themselves attract more followers. Truly, there are several perks that a person with a beautiful set of teeth gets!
However, one cannot instantaneously have a beautiful set of teeth. It requires proper diet and oral care. Aside from regular brushing of at least two times a day, you need to visit the dentist at least every six months in order to ensure optimum oral care and condition.
Moreover, you must ensure that you are visiting the right dentist—a dentist that knows exactly how to transform your teeth cosmetically. At Glendale, Arizona’s Union Hills Family Dentistry, we specialize in helping you attain a picture-perfect set of teeth. We have the right procedures and the best experts to address your cosmetic and general dentistry needs. We ensure that you will get an optimum oral health once you leave our office.

Prevention Tips for Children


Infants

Infants should be seen by our office after the first six months of age, and at least by the child’s first birthday. By this time, the baby’s first teeth, or primary teeth, are beginning to erupt and it is a critical time to spot any problems before they become big concerns.

Conditions like gum irritation and thumb-sucking could create problems later on. Babies who suck their thumbs may be setting the stage for malformed teeth and bite relationships.

Another problem that can be spotted early is a condition called “baby bottle tooth decay,” which is caused by sugary substances in breast milk and some juices, which combine with saliva to form pools inside the baby’s mouth.

If left untreated, this can lead to premature decay of your baby’s future primary teeth, which can later hamper the proper formation of permanent teeth.

One of the best ways to avoid baby bottle tooth decay is to not allow your baby to nurse on a bottle while going to sleep. Avoid dipping pacifiers in sweet substances such as honey, because this only encourages early decay in the baby’s mouth. Encouraging your young child to drink from a cup as early as possible will also help stave off the problems associated with baby bottle tooth decay.

Teething, Pacifiers and Thumb-Sucking

Teething is a sign that your child’s gums are sore. This is perfectly normal. You can help relieve this by allowing the baby to suck on a teething ring, or gently rubbing your baby’s gums with the back of a small spoon, a piece of wet gauze, or even your finger.

For babies under the age of 4, teething rings and pacifiers can be safely used to facilitate the child’s oral needs for relieving gum pain and for suckling. After the age of 4, pacifiers are generally discouraged because they may interfere with the development of your child’s teeth.

Moreover, thumb-sucking should be strongly discouraged because it can lead to malformed teeth that become crooked and crowded.

Primary and Permanent Teeth

Every child grows 20 primary teeth, usually by the age of 3. These teeth are gradually replaced by the age of 12 or so with a full set of 28 permanent teeth, and later on, four molars called “wisdom teeth.”

It is essential that a child’s primary teeth are healthy, because their development sets the stage for permanent teeth. If primary teeth become diseased or do not grow in properly, chances are greater that their permanent replacements will suffer the same fate. For example, poorly formed primary teeth that don’t erupt properly could crowd out spaces reserved for other teeth. Space maintainers can sometimes be used to correct this condition, if it is spotted early enough.

Brushing

Babies’ gums and teeth can be gently cleaned with special infant toothbrushes that fit over your finger. Water is suitable in lieu of toothpaste (because the baby may swallow the toothpaste). Parents are advised to avoid fluoride toothpastes on children under the age of 2.

Primary teeth can be cleansed with child-sized, soft-bristled toothbrushes. Remember to use small portions of toothpaste (a pea-sized portion is suitable), and teach your child to spit out, not swallow, the toothpaste when finished.

Fluoride

Fluoride is generally present in most public drinking water systems. If you are unsure about your community’s water and its fluoride content, or learn that it has an unacceptable level of fluoride in it, there are fluoride supplements your dentist can prescribe. Your child may not be getting enough fluoride just by using fluoride toothpaste.

Toothaches

Toothaches can be common in young children. Sometimes, toothaches are caused by erupting teeth, but they also could indicate a serious problem.

You can safely relieve a small child’s toothache without the aid of medication by rinsing the mouth with a solution of warm water and table salt. If the pain doesn’t subside, acetaminophen may be used. If such medications don’t help, contact your dentist immediately.

Injuries

You can help your child prevent oral injuries by closely supervising him during play and not allowing the child to put foreign objects in the mouth.

For younger children involved in physical activities and sports, mouth guards are strongly encouraged, and can prevent a whole host of injuries to the teeth, gums, lips and other oral structures.

Mouth guards are generally small plastic appliances that safely fit around your child’s teeth. Many mouth guards are soft and pliable when opened, and mold to the child’s teeth when first inserted.

If the tooth has been knocked out, try to place the tooth back in its socket while waiting to see our office.  Remember to hold the dislocated tooth by the crown—not the root. If you cannot relocate the tooth, place it in a container of cold milk, saline or the victim’s own saliva. Place the tooth in the solution.

First, rinse the mouth of any blood or other debris and place a cold cloth or compress on the cheek near the injury. This will keep down swelling.

For a fractured tooth, it is best to rinse with warm water and again, apply a cold pack or compress. Ibuprofen may be used to help keep down swelling.

If the tooth fracture is minor, the tooth can be sanded or if necessary, restored by the dentist if the pulp is not severely damaged.

If a child’s primary tooth has been loosened by an injury or an emerging permanent tooth, try getting the child to gently bite down on an apple or piece of caramel; in some cases, the tooth will easily separate from the gum.

Irritation caused by retainers or braces can sometimes be relieved by placing a tiny piece of cotton or gauze on the tip of the wire or other protruding object. If an injury occurs from a piece of the retainer or braces lodging into a soft tissue, contact our office immediately and avoid dislodging it yourself.

Sealants

Sealants fill in the little ridges on the chewing part of your teeth to protect and seal the tooth from food and plaque. The application is easy to apply and typically last for several years.

 

Cosmetic Contouring


Teeth can become crooked, chipped, cracked, and even overlap as a result of many factors, including traumatic injury, bruxism (grinding) or even heredity.Cosmetic contouring and reshaping procedures can remedy, and in many cases, greatly improve these conditions.

For example, an uneven or crooked tooth can be gently reshaped by removing a small amount of enamel, to correct the alignment.

 

Replacement of Lost Gum Tissue


Replacing lost gum tissue can restore the natural contour of your smile.

Gum tissue can change or even shrink. There are many reasons for this, including receding gums (from gingivitis or periodontal disease), and loss of one or more teeth (which causes tooth-less gum tissue to shrink).

Gum tissue can be augmented or replaced by a variety of means, including soft tissue grafts, which are small pieces of tissue taken from other areas such as the palate and surgically implanted in the affected area. Gum augmentation procedures can also be used to cover painful, exposed tooth roots.

Fluoride Facts


For decades, fluoride has been held in high regard by the dental community as an important mineral that is absorbed into and strengthens tooth enamel, thereby helping to prevent decay of tooth structures.

In nearly every U.S. community, public drinking supplies are supplemented with sodium fluoride because the practice is acknowledged as safe and effective in fighting cavities.

Some private wells may contain naturally fluoridated water.

What Is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a compound of the element fluorine, which can found throughout nature in water, soil, air and food.  By adding fluoride into our drinking water, it can be absorbed easily into tooth enamel, especially in children’s growing teeth, which helps to reduce tooth decay.

Why Is Fluoride Important To Teeth?

Fluoride is absorbed into structures, such as bones and teeth, making them stronger and more resistant to fractures and decay. A process in your body called “remineralization” uses fluoride to repair damage caused by decay.

How Do I Get Fluoride?

Just drinking public water will provide a certain measure of fluoride protection. But for years, health professionals have endorsed the practice of supplementing our intake with certain dietary products, and topical fluorides in many toothpastes and some kinds of rinses. Certain beverages such as tea and soda may also contain fluoride. Certain kinds of dental varnishes and gels may also be applied directly to teeth to boost fluoride intake.

Fluoride Safety

It is generally NOT safe to swallow toothpastes, rinses, or other products containing topical fluoride. In rare cases, some people may be overexposed to high concentrations of fluoride, resulting in a relatively harmless condition called fluorosis, which leaves dark enamel stains on teeth.