Make it a White Christmas

How many times have you struggled so long to come up with the perfect Christmas gift for your loved one, but never been able to come up with a gift that is truly special?  For the first time, we’re making Gift Certificates available for Tooth Whitening.

But this isn’t just any offer.  The ordinary fee for Whitening is around $300.  What if you could buy the gift for just $97?

Our “White Christmas Gift Certificates” are available now through December 23rd, and they never expire.  They can be used for our entire Home Whitening system, including impressions, custom trays, personalized instructions and follow-up visits.  Or the coupon can also be used for $300 off our in-office Deep Bleaching procedure, regularly priced at $695.

For more specific information on tooth whitening systems and what we use in our office, read the article, “The Truth About Tooth Whitening.”  If you have further questions about whitening, or about this special offer, just give us a call, or send us an email.  We’ll be happy to answer your questions.

Gift certificates can be purchased in our office at 303 South Main Cross in Flemingsburg, or charged to a credit card and mailed to you.  Be sure to mention this post to your friends and family so that they can enjoy this special offer and, who knows, give you a white Christmas!

Thanks for visiting,
Have a great day!

Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

The Link Between Your Smile and Your Self Esteem

One of the first pieces of advice professionals give when treating people with low self-esteem is: “Smile!” Smiling releases endorphins which make you feel better about everything, including yourself and your circumstances.

But what if you don’t like your smile? What if you have problems with your teeth and for whatever reason, have never had them corrected? What if you have a very good reason for not smiling? Is there no hope for your self-esteem?

Obviously, there is, or we wouldn’t be writing this article! Below are the most common complaints we hear from patients about their smile, and what you can do to fix them.

“I’m embarrassed by how crooked my teeth are.” Many people have grown into adulthood with crowded teeth and misaligned smiles. Unfortunately, this can lead to issues with the desire to display your pearly whites in public. While many are aware that orthodontics (braces) is an option, most don’t want to go through two to three years of treatment or be called “metal mouth.” But did you know that we now have options available that take much less time than traditional orthodontics, and some that would not be noticeable at all?

Invisalign® is a product that can be used in many adult cases to give the effects of traditional orthodontics. The difference is that the appliances are clear and virtually undetectable to others. Many famous actors, news casters, and other TV personalities have worn aligners on air and no one noticed!

The procedure for Invisalign is that plastic “aligners” are made for your teeth that will gently and gradually move them into proper alignment. Your teeth will become a little sore, just as with traditional orthodontics, but it’s not anything you can’t bear. In a few months, or some cases weeks, your teeth are straight!

Another option for correcting tooth alignment is veneers. Dr. Moorhead can remove a layer of your tooth structure and replace it in a way that straightens the alignment of your overall smile. Veneers are porcelain or composite (a mixture of about 75% glass dust and 25% acrylic) “shells” that are chemically bonded to the surface of a tooth to repair it or just change the tooth’s appearance, and are vastly considered the fastest way to straighten teeth.

“I often have bad breath. I don’t know what to do about it, so I just don’t risk it and avoid opening my mouth as much as possible.” While there are many causes of bad breath, the most common is a long hiatus from your dental hygienist! With that said, be sure to tell Dr. Moorhead if you’ve noticed breath problems so that he can help identify the cause professionally and refer you to the appropriate specialist if necessary.

When the problem is strictly dental related, there are lots of options, the first being to get regular cleanings. Most adults need regular dental cleanings every 3 to 6 months. Only a dentist or hygienist can determine the proper schedule for you, but they will be glad to do so.

Foods such as garlic, onions, and other strong substances contribute to objectionable breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is expelled when you talk. Brushing, flossing and using mouthwash will mask the odor temporarily, but odors will continue until the body eliminates the food. Dieters sometimes develop unpleasant breath due to infrequent eating. Drinking water to keep your mouth moist will help with this problem.

Brushing and flossing daily helps to eliminate particles of food that can remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, and causing bad breath. Food that collects between the teeth, on the tongue and around the gums can rot, leaving an unpleasant odor.

Since saliva cleanses the mouth and removes particles that may cause odor, bad breath can also be caused by a lack of saliva, or “dry mouth.” The clinical term for dry mouth is xerostomia, which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. This problem seems to develop most often in older adults. Dry mouth may be caused by various medications, salivary gland problems or continuously breathing through the mouth. If you suffer from dry mouth, Dr. Moorhead can prescribe artificial saliva. Other suggestions include using sugarless candy and increasing your fluid intake.

Tobacco products cause bad breath. We’ve noticed that after awhile, a smoker’s breath will have a “stale” smell to it. If you use tobacco, consider quitting and ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit. Dr. Moorhead has special training in this area and can offer everything from advice, to prescriptions as needed.

Mouthwashes are generally cosmetic and do not have a long-lasting effect on bad breath. If you find yourself constantly using a breath freshener to hide unpleasant mouth odor, see your dentist. He or she may recommend using a special antimicrobial mouth rinse.

Bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause of your bad breath. Learning the cause and that there is hope will do wonders for your self-esteem.

“I have these spots on my teeth that have been there since I was a child. I just assume that since they’ve always been there, there’s nothing I can do.” Oh, but there are plenty of things Dr. Moorhead can do! Sometimes these spots are a decalcification of the tooth enamel that can be treated with a simple fluoride solution, or a new material called MI Paste. Special trays are made for your mouth, and then the fluoride solution or MI paste is placed in them so that it can be held against your teeth for several minutes. The length and number of treatments just depends on the severity of the problem. There is also a process called micro-abrasion. Dr. Moorhead can use a special substance and appliance to gently, but effectively, remove the trouble spots to give your teeth a smoother, more consistent appearance.

“My teeth have an overall gray (or beige) appearance. I’ve tried whitening, but it doesn’t work. I just don’t think a white smile is ‘in the cards’ for me.” What you probably have is the result of tetracycline treatment, or excessive fluoride that you encountered as a young child while your teeth were forming. It’s true that even some professional whitening systems are not effective against this condition, but we do have other methods of treating this problem. Some dentists use a resin material to bond over stained teeth. This method is quick and easy, but the material does stain and chip over time.

The best method, and what we use most in our office, is porcelain veneers. Veneers are like shells for your teeth, and are much more durable than bonding. Porcelain is more translucent than resin, meaning that it is more like a natural, healthy-white tooth, giving you a more natural-looking, beautiful appearance.

“Too much of my gums show when I smile.” Believe it or not, there is an answer for this, too! Crown lengthening is a procedure where the gum line is altered in order to expose more of the tooth structure, and less of your gums.

This operation is sometimes necessary in order to properly restore a tooth, but it can be purely cosmetic also to give the result of a better smile line. Some general dentists are performing this procedure in their own offices, but some cases still require referral to a specialist. Either way, the investment is well worth it.

If you just don’t feel like smiling, do it anyway! Studies show that the act of smiling can actually boost confidence, and everyone knows that a confident person smiles. Try it; you’ll be glad you did!

Most importantly, whatever the reason for your not liking your smile, please discuss it with us. We’re professionals and take your trust in us very seriously. We never laugh, joke, or kid around when it comes to something as important as your smile, or your self-esteem.

Thanks for visiting,
Have a great day!

Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

The Truth about Tooth Whitening

The options for whitening or “bleaching” one’s teeth have become very common today and we have some wonderful techniques in our office for getting great results with our patients’ smiles.  However, we still get a lot of questions regarding “the truth” about all of those products you see at the grocery and drugstores, along with questions and doubts about their effectiveness compared to what might seem like “over-priced” professional options.  This article will dispel some common myths that we hear, answer some questions, and hopefully address some of the most common problems we see in our office daily with regard to teeth whitening.

How does whitening work? Basically, no matter which product you choose, the bleaching chemicals must get down into the tooth enamel and set off a chemical reaction known as oxidation.  To do this, most tooth whiteners use one of two chemical agents: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide (the same stuff that will bleach your hair). When used in the mouth, carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, with hydrogen peroxide being the active whitening ingredient.   The key to how effective any product is depends on two factors:  1) how strong the solution is, and 2) how long the agent remains against your teeth in order to allow the oxidation process to take place.  Typically, the longer you can hold it on there, the closer you can keep it, and the stronger the agent, the better the results.

How well do over-the-counter products work? For the most part, the products that you can purchase at your local supermarket do exactly what they claim.  The strips cover 6 to 8 teeth, and the effects will last anywhere from 3 to 6 months, with monthly touch-ups, depending upon your own personal habits, both oral hygiene, and the foods and drinks you consume.   They seem very affordable, given that your short-term investment is anywhere from $20 to $50, but the concentration is not always listed on the container, so if cost is an issue, try to compare apples to apples.

The problem with these systems is not so much in the products themselves, because as we said, they do exactly what they claim to do.  The problem we see in our office, is that patients have too high of expectations for these products.  Let us give you some examples.

Whether you’re using strips or decided to pay a little extra for the trays, the product is not custom designed for your mouth.  What does that mean?  It means that unless your teeth are perfectly straight, you’re going to get spotty results.  Some of the strips can be especially problematic in that they cover only 6-8 teeth per arch, leaving you with a two-tone mouth!

When you smile, most people show 10 to 14 teeth per arch.  This is especially true when you laugh.  Most patients want that younger-looking, beautifully-white, natural-looking smile, with no stain or discoloration showing at all when they’re at a party, wanting to relax and enjoy themselves, or especially at a networking event where impressions matter.  The more crowded your teeth are, the more you need the custom trays that only a dentist can provide.

Also, you are probably already aware that most over-the-counter medications are weaker, by law, than prescription meds.  The same is true for whitening agents.  What they are allowed to sell in the grocery store is not the same strength that your dentist can provide.  Why does that matter?  A stronger agent will give you longer-lasting results, which both makes you happier in the long run and saves you money in the long run.  With over-the-counter products, you’ll spend just as much, if not more, as you would with your dentist and you’ll have a lot more hassle with touch-ups as well.  The whitening systems used by dentists today can get very satisfying results that last up to 20 years.  And if you’re a smoker or heavy coffee drinker, touch-up kits are available in professional formulas as well.

What should I know before using an over-the-counter option? The biggest problem we see in our office is when a patient decides to use an over-the-counter method, and then comes in for a cleaning.  If you have tartar buildup on your teeth when you whiten, the agent cannot get through to the enamel, so when the tartar comes off, guess what – that’s right, those portions of your teeth are the same color as before you whitened.  Very disappointing!  So if you are going to use an over-the-counter product, at least get your teeth cleaned immediately before-hand so that you get the best results possible.

Another issue we commonly deal with is that even though the over-the-counter whitening solution is weaker than our professional brands, if you have cavities, you will likely experience some extreme sensitivity if you don’t get them taken care of prior to bleaching.  Likewise, if you have any issues with your gums, you’ll want to get that taken care of prior to whitening as well, as any amount of peroxide can be irritating to the delicate gum tissue.

What about “the light?” More and more patients these days are asking us about “the light.”  Some whitening systems have been developed that utilize a high-intensity light to expedite the oxidation process.  In our office, we use Deep Bleaching, which is now recognized all over the world as the most effective whitening technique ever invented.  The technique is so effective that it will even whiten tetracycline discolored teeth, (which were previously thought to be impossible to bleach), in a short period of time.  Just imagine getting your teeth MUCH whiter, and having it last for your ENTIRE life!  With very simple periodic maintenance at home, the results are entirely permanent.

Take-home whitening systems can be just as effective, but usually require wearing your custom trays with the bleaching solution for about 1 hour per day, for 14 days.  Newer professional products require only 3 minutes per day for 14 days.  There are many combinations of time frames and systems available, but Dr. Moorhead can help determine what is going to work best for you.

Are there any “down-sides” to professional whitening? None of these systems, professional or over-the-counter, work on white fillings, crowns, veneers, and certain spots.  Only in-office deep bleaching can whiten tetracycline stains.  In the case of spots and stains that will not respond to the oxidation process, Dr. Moorhead might recommend crowns or veneers; the course of treatment most suitable for you.  If you’re having white fillings or veneers placed soon, you’ll want to have your whitening completed before choosing the final shade for your cosmetic work.

Sensitivity can be a problem with any of these systems.  Dr. Moorhead will work with you to find a solution that is acceptable to you, and can provide fluoride to help strengthen your teeth and reduce sensitivity.

Is whitening my teeth safe from an oral health perspective? Most studies show that tooth whitening is both safe and effective. If tooth sensitivity or gum irritation occur, it is best to stop using the whitening product for a few days, and then start again, but less frequently — say, every other day instead of every day — and reduce the amount of time spent with the whitening agent against your teeth.

These are the most common questions and concerns raised by our patients, but we’d love to hear from you!  If you have a question or comment about specific whitening options for your teeth, please contact us using one of the methods below.

Thanks for visiting,
Have a great day!

Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

How to Get a Younger-Looking Smile

One of the most common requests from our patients at Flemingsburg Dental Care is a “younger-looking smile.”  Most people start to notice a change in their smile sometime in their late 30’s or early 40’s, so the effects of aging on the teeth are generally slow.  Fortunately, there are lots of things that Dr. Moorhead can do to reverse the effects that have been building up over time.

  1. Tooth reshaping. Believe it or not, one of the most common ways a dentist can guess your age is by how evenly worn your teeth are.  The more uneven the smile, the younger the person tends to be.  The longer you live, the more you chew and grind your teeth, making them more even over time.  To give you back a more youthful look, we can:
    • Perform some minor re-shaping of the enamel on your front teeth.  This is a very non-invasive procedure, and you don’t even need to be numbed.
    • If you need more than a minor re-shaping, cosmetic dentistry offers a plethora of solutions including crowns and veneers, which would replace a portion to nearly all of the tooth structure.
    • If wear is just starting to become noticeable, or once you have the reshaping or cosmetic dentistry performed, you’ll want to protect your work from future wear.  This can be done by equilibrating, or “equalizing,” your bite so that all your biting surfaces hit at the same time without excessive force that can damage teeth and new dental work.  For patients that are restless sleepers or show signs that the brain actually causes them to grind their teeth when they sleep, a plastic device called a bite guard will protect your teeth from future wear, and hold your teeth in place to prevent shifting.  Bite guards are also wonderful for eliminating headaches caused by nightly teeth-grinding, a growing problem among adults.
  2. Whiten your teeth. White, but not too white.  Most people by now are familiar with tooth-whitening procedures.  But have you ever wondered why people are so obsessed with white teeth?  You guessed it – whiter teeth make you look younger!  Our teeth are white when we’re young and become discolored over time as we drink, smoke, and get too busy to take proper care of them.  Getting back to white is easy to accomplish and Dr. Moorhead can help you choose a shade that’s right for you.  A couple of things to remember:
    • Don’t over-whiten.  If it’s too obvious, you’ve just traded one obvious fact for another.  A youthful smile is not obviously white, but healthfully white.  Your dentist or hygienist can help you choose the appropriate shade for your coloring.
    • Once you’ve whitened your teeth, avoid staining drinks such as grape juice, tea, and coffee, and definitely don’t smoke.
  3. Correct decay issues. Unfortunately, many people believe that if a cavity doesn’t show when you smile, it’s not noticeable.  This just isn’t true.  When you laugh, your entire mouth shows and cavities are obvious.  So aside from the health-related reasons for getting tooth decay taken care of as soon as possible, also do so for a more youthful smile.  Not sure if you have decay issues?  Ask for an exam at the time of your next scheduled cleaning.
  4. Replace silver fillings with tooth-colored fillings. There are a couple of reasons for this:  First, the amalgam material that was used several years ago to repair cavities in teeth expands and contracts, causing tiny cracks in your teeth that can become troublesome over time.  Replacing that material with new, solid, tooth-colored resin is just a good move health-wise.  Second, for the same reason that decay looks bad, those silver fillings cause you to “show your age” as well.  Replacing them is easy, just ask Dr. Moorhead.
  5. Freshen breath. Over time, if you smoke or drink coffee heavily, your breath will develop a “stale” smell to it.  Good oral hygiene habits are a must if you fall into either of these categories, but there are several products on the market that will move the process along a little faster.  Products of this type are only available at professional retailers, like Flemingsburg Dental Care, so ask us about them at your next appointment.  Once you have the problem under control, remember:
    • Don’t smoke.
    • Get regular cleanings.
    • Drink water as much as possible.
  6. Overcome “age” lines. Wrinkles around the mouth are a sure sign of aging, but there are several things you can do to avoid them, or get rid of them:
    • Quit smoking.
    • Smile – don’t frown.  Frowning requires more muscles than smiling and your face really will “freeze that way” – or at least appear to!
    • Use moisturizer around your lips, and wear a lipstick or gloss with an SPF of at least 15, preferably higher.
    • Cosmetic fillers can eliminate deep wrinkles and give you a temporary boost when necessary.
  7. Crown lengthening is a procedure where the gum line is altered in order to expose more of the tooth structure.  Sometimes the procedure is necessary in order to properly restore a tooth, but it can be purely cosmetic also to give the result of a better smile line.  If your smile shows a lot of your gums at the top, ask Dr. Moorhead about this procedure.  It might require a referral to a specialist, but it will be well worth it in the long run.
  8. Orthodontics (braces) is sometimes required to get the placement of the teeth just right and to correct bite problems that crop up in adulthood.  Whether you choose a traditional approach with standard wires and brackets, or qualify for a less-invasive method like Invisalign, Dr. Moorhead can help you in making your decision, as well as show you lots of “before” and “after” photos of patients with problems similar to yours.
  9. Replace missing teeth. Not only can a hole in your smile make you look older, but missing teeth cause a couple of problems that contribute to a less youthful smile as well.  When a tooth is extracted and not replaced, the remaining teeth will begin to shift in order to compensate for the gap.  The result is 1) bite-related wear due to the new positioning, 2) sensitivity, 3) bite-related headaches, as well as other problems.  Depending upon the exact location of the missing tooth or teeth, there can be an effect on your facial muscles as well.  When molars are not replaced after extraction, jaws sink in.  Lips will become thinner and have that sunken-in look, affecting your overall appearance.  The three most common methods we use to replace natural teeth are:
    • Removable partial dentures, also known as “partials.”  Dr. Moorhead can make an appliance that contains a very natural-looking tooth or teeth to replace what you’re missing.
    • Bridges. The missing tooth or teeth are replaced with a device (the bridge) by crowning the tooth on either side of the teeth to be replaced.  Since the crowns are placed with cement, it is a more permanent and stable option over removable partials.
    • Dental implants are probably the most effective and durable option for replacing missing teeth in that the materials that are used are extremely natural looking, and the procedure itself involves attaching the implant root to your natural bone.  Dental implants have a very high success rate and our patients love the results.

There you have it!  Everything you need to know about how to obtain a younger-looking smile.  If you have any questions or would like to discuss the possibilities for your treatment, please contact us using one of the methods below; we’d love to see you and help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted and deserve!

Local Phone (Fleming County, Kentucky): (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll-free from the 606, 859, and 937 area codes: 1-888-917-CARE (2273)