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The Ultimate Guide to How to Whiten Teeth

By | Blog, Teeth Whitening | No Comments

If we’ve learned anything in our years as Naperville’s general dentists, it’s that everyone wants a perfect pair of sparkling pearly whites. But between the foods we eat and the habits we create, getting shiny white teeth can be easier said than done. Whitening your teeth (and keeping them that way) requires good oral hygiene practices, including brushing, flossing, regular cleanings, and avoiding things that cause damage and discoloration, like smoking and poor diet.

If you’re suffering from teeth stains or yellowing teeth, don’t worry — you’re not alone. There are many ways to whiten your teeth, both at home and at the dentist, and things you can do to keep discoloration at bay. But while at-home practices can be effective, nothing will give you the same dramatic results as professional teeth whitening.

No matter which teeth whitening method you choose, the experts at Naperville Dental Specialists are here to help you restore your teeth to their former brilliancy. Let’s take a look at what causes tooth discoloration and how to put the “white” back in your pearly whites. 

What Causes Yellow Teeth

There are many factors that contribute to yellow teeth — from lifestyle and diet choices to genetic predispositions and aging. Some of these things are in our power to change; for example, we can choose to eat more fruits and veggies and avoid smoking. Other things are just a part of how we’re built.

When it comes to whitening your teeth, it’s important to understand that your teeth have two basic parts: the enamel (or outer layer) and dentin (or inner core). As we age, dentin naturally yellows which unfortunately is just a part of growing older. But there are ways to combat the aging process, and to whiten your enamel, to keep your teeth looking whiter for longer. Here’s how:

  • Eat healthy, nutritious foods: A diet that lacks proper vitamins and nutrients will lead to premature aging of the dentin, meaning your teeth will look yellow quicker. At the same time, your enamel can become discolored by highly pigmented foods and drinks, like red wine, coffee and tobacco. Fortunately, eating a diet rich in healthy, nutrient-packed foods will slow yellowing down and whitening treatments are extremely effective to clear up your enamel.
  • Protect your teeth from trauma: Grinding and trauma from accidents, falls or sporting injuries can all accelerate the aging of the dentin. As we’ve learned, that equals yellow teeth. When you grind your teeth or suffer damage from an accident, the force can cause the dentin to shrink and trigger the aging process, so be sure to take good care of your teeth.
  • Get a whitening treatment: From at-home solutions to in-office professional services, there are so many ways to get whiter teeth. Keep reading to find out more and then ask your dentist which method is best for you.

How to Get Whiter Teeth

Now that you know what’s dulling your teeth’s shine, let’s talk about the best way to get whiter teeth. The most effective solution is professional teeth whitening but it can be more of an investment than some patients are ready to make. For those who prefer to whiten their teeth on their own, there are plenty of DIY teeth whitening practices you can try. Just be aware that while at-home methods and regular cleanings at your dentist will help get rid of surface stains, they won’t be able to clear away deep, set-in discoloration. In most cases, professional teeth whitening is the best solution.

  • Teeth whitening strips: It seems that every major toothpaste brand has some sort of teeth whitening product that promises to give you the shiny, white teeth of your dreams. This type of method is super popular for good reason: it’s super affordable and you can do it in the comfort of your own home.

The truth is whitening strips are actually effective — but that doesn’t make them safe. These strips typically contain hydrogen peroxide, which definitely makes your teeth whiter by breaking down the molecules that cause discoloration in both your enamel and dentin. But hydrogen peroxide is considered toxic or harmful when used in the mouth, so the side effects may not be worth the pearly whites after all.

  • Activated charcoal: This one is for the DIY-ers out there. Activated charcoal has long been used to promote detoxification and treat poisoning, dating back nearly 200 years. The healing properties of activated charcoal have stood the test of time and are now used in all types of beauty and health products, including teeth whitening methods. Unlike hydrogen peroxide, activated charcoal cannot reach the dentin and can only whiten surface stains caused by environmental factors, food and drinks — but it is a 100% safe, natural way to whiten your teeth.
    To try it out, make a paste with activated charcoal, then smear it on your teeth and let it sit for 5-10 minutes. Then rinse and brush away anything remaining. Since charcoal is quite abrasive, it’s best to only use this homemade toothpaste a few times a week.
  • Professional teeth whitening: Like we’ve mentioned, this is the only guaranteed way to get whiter teeth that last. Professional teeth whitening can safely get rid of stains and yellowing on both your enamel and dentin, giving you the whitest smile possible.

At Naperville Dental Specialists, we offer Zoom Tooth Whitening. Using a specially designed, light-activated gel, this method breaks down stains. In less than an hour, you’ll have the brightest, whitest teeth you’ve had in years. All you have to do is follow our aftercare instructions and practice good oral hygiene. With our professional teeth whitening service, we’re confident we can put the sparkle back in your smile.

 

 

couple eating ice cream in the sun

The Causes of Sensitive Teeth and How Your Dentist Can Help

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Does eating ice cream send blinding pain through your teeth? Do you avoid drinking coffee and tea because hot beverages makes you want to scream? You’re not alone — you’re likely one of the 40 million Americans who suffer from tooth sensitivity. The good news is that tooth pain is totally curable, as long as you visit your dentist as soon as possible.

At Naperville Dental Specialists, we aim to treat the underlying cause of tooth pain — not just the symptoms. We’re experts in diagnosing, treating and managing tooth sensitivity safely and efficiently. Here are some common causes of sensitive teeth and how we, your general dentists in Naperville, can help you get back to living your best life.

Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Your sensitive teeth could be caused by a number of different things. The cause depends on the type of pain you’re experiencing. Some causes of tooth sensitivity are more serious than others — but if you’re having any kind of discomfort with your teeth, it’s important to see your dentist to find out what’s behind the pain.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Air?

If your teeth are sensitive air, it could mean you have an exposed root. This can happen simply because of aging, or there could be something more serious going on that’s wearing down your enamel. Gum disease, aggressive brushing, grinding and malocclusion (misaligned jaw) can all lead to root exposure, causing extreme sensitivity to air, as well as hot or cold foods. Since exposed roots lack the protective enamel that keeps infections and pain at bay, they can also contribute to further dental problems, such as root cavities or a root canal infection.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Pressure?

If pressure on your teeth is causing you pain, it’s likely due to one of two causes. Constant tooth sensitivity to pressure is a sign of an infection, while intermittent pain usually means you have a cracked tooth. Both need to be treated immediately by your dentist to reduce complications or further damage.

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive to Cold or Heat?

Are your teeth super sensitive to cold or heat? You may have an infection or it could be a sign of deep tooth decay. Sensitivity to heat is of particular concern — it means your tooth has likely been deteriorating for a while and you will probably need a root canal to remove the infection.

No matter what’s causing your sensitive teeth, your dentist can help. If tooth pain arises, be sure to visit your dentist immediately to avoid potential risks.

Treatment for Sensitive Teeth

Treatment for sensitive teeth typically involves a trip to the dentist. Depending on the underlying cause of your pain, you may be able to use a home remedy for sensitive teeth. More serious issues, like deep infections, will require intervention with antibiotics or surgery. Remember: your dentist always knows best. They’ll be able to recommend the best course of action to treat your tooth pain. Here are the most common ways to treat sensitive teeth.

Use Toothpaste for Sensitive Teeth

For mild tooth sensitivity, a desensitizing toothpaste could be all you need. These toothpastes contain special compounds that block pain-causing stimuli, helping you return to a pain-free life. It usually takes a few uses for desensitizing toothpaste to take effect, so be patient and make sure to use it every time you brush.

Get a Fluoride Treatment

For issues related to weakened enamel, your dentist may advise a fluoride treatment to reduce your tooth sensitivity. Fluoride treatments are typically done in-office by applying fluoride gel to your sore teeth to help strengthen the enamel. In some cases, your dentist may be able to prescribe an at-home fluoride treatment.

Cover Up Exposed Roots

Exposed roots are one of the most painful kinds of tooth sensitivity. Treatment usually involves the application of bonding agents to conceal and protect the root surface.

Get a Surgical Gum Graft

In the case that your tooth root has lost gum tissue, a surgical graft may be your best option. This in-office treatment takes gum tissue from elsewhere in the mouth and uses it to regenerate the affected tooth.

Get a Root Canal

If your pain is severe or your haven’t found relief with other treatments, you will likely need to have a root canal procedure. A root canal addresses the source of your pain by treating your tooth’s core. In this procedure, your dentist will remove the nerve and dental pulp, and clean and reseal your tooth. Root canals are the most effective treatment for tooth pain.

How to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

If you’ve ever suffered from tooth pain, you know that it can be extremely disruptive to your quality of life. It’s important to take care of your teeth at home to prevent sensitivity before it starts (and avoid excessive trips to the dentist!). Do these things every day to keep tooth pain away:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day using a soft-bristled brush
  • Use fluoridated toothpaste to help strengthen your enamel
  • Floss every day
  • Be gentle when you brush; vigorous brushing can cause abrasions
  • Use a mouthguard if you grind your teeth
  • Limit your consumption of acidic liquids (ie. carbonated drinks, citrus, wine)

No one should ever have to suffer from sensitive teeth. Fortunately, tooth pain is avoidable when you practice proper dental hygiene at home. In the case that infection or tooth pain does arise, call Naperville Dental Specialists for an appointment. We’ll examine your teeth, diagnose the cause of your pain and offer the best options for treatment. Our goal is to help our patients live their lives to the fullest — that to us, that starts with happy, healthy teeth.

happy man in dental chair

How to Overcome Your Fear of the Dentist

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Dental anxiety is extremely common with the majority of adults experiencing some level of apprehension about going to the dentist. However, for others, dental anxiety is serious enough that it impacts their ability to seek out care. According to Peter Milgrom, director of the Dental Fears Research Clinic at the University of Washington in Seattle, for about 20% of people, the anxiety is enough that they only get care when it’s absolutely necessary, meaning they skip important routine check-ups and cleanings. For between 5% and 8% of Americans, their severe fear qualifies as a true dental phobia and they avoid dentists altogether to the detriment of their oral and overall health. To avoid letting the anxiety take over, here are some ways to manage a fear of the dentist:

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Is Dental Floss Toxic?

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In light of a recent study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, our Naperville cosmetic dentists, general dentists and specialists have been asked by a number of patients, is dental floss toxic? Well, according to the American Dental Association, the concern is unwarranted and we have to agree. The study in question wasn’t actually a flossing study but one that involved a small sample of women and their self-reported use of a wide variety of consumer products and foods. The buzz is due to the fact that some of the women with higher levels of one type of PFAS in their blood stream (PFAS are a broad class of man-made chemicals found in everything from non-stick cookware to stain-resistant carpets) used a certain type of dental floss. The media coverage of the study has given the impression that dental floss is toxic when, in reality, even the study’s authors noted more research is needed and that Glide Floss and similar products aren’t necessarily the underlying cause. Read More

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What is a Dental Bridge and How Can it Restore Your Smile?

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Missing teeth can significantly impact your quality of life by interfering with chewing and speaking, as well as making you feel extremely self conscious. Not only that, when you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth tend to shift to fill in the gap, which creates issues with your occlusion, or bite, and can lead to things like gum disease. It’s important to replace a missing tooth, or teeth, and one of the ways our Naperville dentists do that is with a dental device known as a dental bridge. Read More

Woman smiling with healthy teeth

Are Dental Implants Safe?

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Dental implants are an increasingly popular way to replace missing teeth and for good reason. They’re permanent, stable and look and function just like your natural teeth. There isn’t a better way to restore your smile. But are dental implants safe? Well, as with any procedure, there are risks involved with dental implant surgery and these risks can lead to implant failure. That is why it’s essential to see an experienced doctor like our Naperville prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca. When you work with a skilled dental implant specialist, dental implants are safe and the benefits far outweigh the risks. Here’s what you need to know about dental implant safety and the steps we take at Naperville Dental Specialists to ensure the procedure is a success.
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Innovative Dental Partners Receives a Best of Naperville Award for the 10th Consecutive Year!

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Naperville Magazine, a sister publication of Chicago Magazine, announced that readers voted us the “Best Dentist” in Naperville for the 10th year in a row! The team here at Innovative Dental Partners, known as Naperville Dental Specialists, Innovative Pediatric Dentistry and Innovative Orthodontic Centers, is so honored to be recognized by the community!

The magazine recognizes the leaders from Naperville’s community in 40 different categories every year, ranging from “Best Sushi” to, our favorite, “Best Dentist.” Best of Naperville winners are chosen based on votes from readers. That makes it all the more special because it shows that we have the most awesome patients who were willing to cast their ballots for us! Read More

Can I Get Charged with Slander for Leaving Bad Clear Choice Reviews?

By | Clear Choice Chicago Reviews | No Comments

I had a truly horrific experience with dental implants and have been leaving bad Clear Choice reviews on a number of sites. I’d rather not get into the specifics of it here because my story is quite unique and this question might be traced back to me. That said, I received a phone call the other day and was told I needed to take down my posts- that they were illegal and I would get sued for slander if I left them up. I’m furious that they would low, but I’m also afraid that I could be in real trouble over this. It’s not so much that I think they have a case. They don’t. As far as I can tell, it’s within my rights to say whatever I want to say in my Clear Choice reviews, as long as I don’t misrepresent myself or lie. The problem is, they’re a huge company with deep pockets and I cannot afford to fight them if they come after me. However, the threats, on top of the experience I had in the office, have strengthened my resolve to spread the word. Am I in the right here or should I pull my posts to avoid a legal issue?

Thank you, Anonymous

 

Dear Anonymous,

If you have a legal question, it’s always best to talk to a lawyer. A legal professional will have the most current info and will gather the details necessary to provide you with an accurate assessment of your situation.

First, it’s odd that they would call you. Particularly with large companies, the first contact you would have is a formal letter from their lawyer. A small business might slip and give you a verbal warning, but a large company isn’t likely to do this. This is a red flag, which could mean that you might not have been speaking with someone who represents that company. If you have a record of the phone number from the call, cross reference it to make sure it’s really from Clear Choice. If it is someone from the practice, you can also check to see if it’s even someone in a place of authority to make a legal call. Likely, the person you spoke with either has no authority or was not affiliated with the company.

Secondly, this kind of lawsuit would be called a defamation of character suit or libel because it involves written words. If you had spoken the words, it would be a slander case. If you used that word, it isn’t an issue, but if the caller that word, it’s a sign they probably don’t understand the law.

Lastly, if you’re relaying the truth and giving your personal opinion, you’re typically not liable. However, you have to watch your word choice. There’s a chance a lawsuit might stick if you said, “These people are criminals,” and they haven’t been found guilty of any crime. However, if you can actually prove each person you reference has a criminal record, then you could write that. You probably couldn’t legally say, “They stole my money,” if you made a down payment and signed an agreement and their actions were part of the agreement you made, although there are some circumstances in which you could make that claim.

Again, you should definitely speak with an attorney if you’re concerned. You can also read the full Consumer Review Fairness Act for further details.

 

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca, a prosthodontist who provides general dentistry services for the whole family as well as expert dental implant care. Patients who are dissatisfied with Chicago Clear Choice reviews or who would like a second opinion on dental implants may call 630-848-2010 to schedule an appointment with Dr. LaVacca.

Should I Get a Clear Choice Second Opinion Before Signing the Contract?

By | Clear Choice Second Opinion | No Comments

I’m wondering if I should get a second opinion on a Clear Choice treatment plan I was given. I’m expecting a relatively large tax refund this year, which I plan to spend on dental care. I really struggle to save throughout the year and getting this lump sum makes it possible for me to get everything out of the way all at once. Unlike others who write about getting Clear Choice second opinions, I haven’t necessarily had a bad experience with them. They recommended I get the All-on-4 dental implant procedure done, which is what I wanted anyway, and I was already familiar with the costs, so it seems fairly straightforward.

I’m still apprehensive about officially signing up to have the work done. I don’t know if it has to do with the place or the amount of money I’m spending. I’m considering scheduling a consult with another dentist to at least verify what Clear Choice told me. At the same time, I’m wondering if that’s really fair to the second dentist, particularly if I’m already mostly sold on Clear Choice. I don’t want to offend anyone or waste their time, but I would like to go be confident about my decision. Is it ok for me to see another dentist although I probably won’t retain his services? How do I explain it to him in a way he won’t find offensive?

Thanks for your time. TM.

TM,

It’s wise to consult with a dentist who provides Clear Choice second opinions—not necessarily because Clear Choice isn’t trustworthy—but because you’re making a major investment and are having second thoughts. When people receive All-on-4, they’re usually looking at a treatment plan of $10,000 or more. You wouldn’t buy a new car without reviewing all your options and doing comparisons. You probably wouldn’t purchase a home appliance or furniture without doing some research, and none of those things are as personal or sensitive as medical or dental care.

A Clear Choice Second Opinion Will Help You Make an Informed Decision

You are not doubting what Clear Choice has recommended, nor are you questioning the treatment plan you were given. You just want to know if you’re making a good decision. Most dentists are glad to consult and confirm a recommendation because it means you trust them. Although they would prefer that you choose them for the treatment, they also understand a patient’s need to make educated and informed decisions. If you can take your x-rays and treatment plan in with you, it will be easier for the dentist to efficiently provide a second opinion on the Clear Choice recommendation.

 

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Anthony LaVacca, a Naperville, IL dentist. Dr. LaVacca offers reliable Chicago Clear Choice second opinions and comprehensive family dentistry services.

 

Clear Choice Second Opinions: How Much to Tell the Next Dentist?

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I’ve decided to get 2 Clear Choice second opinions. I’m considering having the all-on-4 procedure done and I want to be sure I’m doing the right thing without paying significantly more than I should. All-on-4 requires removing 2 healthy teeth, but the doctor says I’ll probably lose them in the next few years anyway. I don’t know if that’s true or not, nor whether they would be removed prematurely. My questions are: 1) When should I get the Clear Choice second opinions? 2) Is it okay to tell the other dentists I went to Clear Choice? 3) Will I need new x-rays, or can I take mine with me? But doesn’t that tell the other dentists I went to Clear Choice? Many thanks. Patrick

Patrick,

Your questions are good. Normally, when you’re getting a Clear Choice second opinion, the dentist can make an educated guess about what was previously recommended. Clear Choice tends to recommend certain treatment, including All-On-4. Based on your oral health and the number of your remaining health, any dentist who is familiar with the company will likely know what was recommended.

Things to Consider Before Your Clear Choice Second Opinion

Before your second-opinion appointments, consider the factors below to determine what you will say to each dentist and how much information you will provide.

  • Tooth extraction – If you’re questioning whether teeth need to be extracted or not, you may get unbiased feedback by not repeating what a dentist recommended. This is especially true in smaller towns, where one dentist may not want to conflict with another dentist’s recommendation.
  • Treatment plan – If you’re getting the Clear Choice second opinion to confirm whether or not the treatment plan you were given is reasonable, you probably want to bring a copy of the treatment plan with you.
  • Treatment options – If you would like to know your options, it will be beneficial to provide at least some limited information. You can let the dentist know you’ve had consultations, but want to hear his or her recommendations for dental implants. There are always numerous treatment options to explore. In addressing it this way, you’ll likely hear about other solutions in an unbiased way.
  • X-rays – Today’s x-rays are digital and your exposure is low. Some liken it to the equivalent of a day in the sun. It should be safe to retake x-rays. But easiest option is to get copies to take with you, especially if you don’t want the consulting dentists to know you have been to Clear Choice.

This post is sponsored by Naperville American board-certified prosthodontist Dr. Anthony LaVacca.