General & Cosmetic Dentistry

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  Contact : (503) 233-3622

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Teeth Whitening Basics

A healthy, white smile is easier and less expensive to achieve than you might expect with the help of the dentists at Laurelhurst Dentistry. Good daily oral hygiene habits combined with the teeth whitening method of your choice can keep your smile looking strong and bright. Consistent and effective dental habits go a long way toward maintaining whiter teeth.

Teeth may become discolored for many reasons. Food and drinks that can stain a white colored t-shirt, can stain our tooth enamel. Snacks and meals high in sugar and carbohydrates encourage bacteria that produce acid that harm our teeth reducing luster and brightness. Excessive wear on the enamel of our teeth and recession of our gum tissue also cause teeth to appear more yellow or brown. Fortunately, the knowledgeable staff at Laurelhurst Dentistry can help you find a practical, successful way to recreate your bright smile!

Teeth Whitening at Home

Teeth whitening is done by applying a bleaching agent to the surfaces of your teeth. The best equation for whiter teeth is consistent use over a long period of time to produce the results you want. If you want to spend less than $100, there are many teeth whitening agents available in retail stores. These options range from strips that adhere to your teeth as well as non-customized mouth trays filled with a low concentration bleaching agent. These teeth whiteners are safe to use at home and don’t require a dentist’s supervision. They also require more consistent use and a longer duration of time to be effective.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening that’s done by Laurelhurst Dentistry is the fastest, easiest and most convenient way to whiten your teeth. Using professional equipment, your dentist can help whiten your teeth up to ten shades in about an hour. While more expensive, this is the most effective, fast, and convenient way to whiten your teeth. A less expensive option involves customized mouth trays and a dentist’s supervision. In a little over a week, your teeth could be up to ten shades whiter using these materials provided by your dentist at Laurelhurst Dentistry.

No matter which option you choose, the reward will be a smile that’s white and bright!

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How Dental Cavities Form and How to Fight Them

Dental cavities can be prevented with good basic oral hygiene performed on a consistent basis as well as regular visits to Laurelhurst Dentistry. Although this routine sounds simple, our mouths are a lot more complicated than we might think.

How Cavities are Created

Our teeth are constantly being covered with a sticky film of bacteria, a biofilm called plaque. As a matter of fact, these unrelenting and organized bacteria reattach immediately after brushing and flossing. When we eat or drink anything that contains sugar or starch, there is a pH change within our mouth. The bacteria utilize the sugars and starches in our diet as their food, and in turn release an acidic by-product that can soften or demineralize tooth surfaces. For some, this pH change and acid attack can result in tooth decay. There is a higher risk of tooth decay with repeated, prolonged pH changes and high levels of bacteria in our mouths.

Detecting Cavities Early

A white spot might appear on the tooth indicating an area weakened by decay. This preliminary stage of tooth decay may also be seen in a digital x-ray or a visual examination. Without proper treatment, this weakening can proceed through the hard outer enamel and into the softer inner layer of tooth structure that is called dentin. A cavity can proceed through this layer more quickly and aim toward the nerve of the tooth.

It is the goal of Laurelhurst Dentistry to identify and treat early forming cavities in order to minimize the loss of tooth structure, the chances for root canal therapy, or loss of teeth.

How to Fight Cavities

The good news is that there are very effective methods to reduce your risk of tooth decay. Good daily oral hygiene habits aid to decrease the chances of forming cavities. These habits include brushing your teeth with a fluoride containing toothpaste for two minutes, two times per day. Flossing is advised every 24 hours, reaching the areas in between the teeth where the most aggressive bacteria reside. These habits encourage healthy teeth and gums by reducing bacteria and food debris, and increasing circulation to the gum tissues.Minimizing frequent snacking and consumption of sugary drinks can also reduce your risk of getting a cavity.

Laurelhurst Dentistry can also prescribe prescription toothpastes containing higher levels of fluoride, calcium and phosphate and apply a topical fluoride varnish treatment with your hygiene therapy appointment to strengthen and remineralize tooth surfaces. Eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining good oral hygiene habits, and being consistent with your dental care at Laurelhurst Dentistry are great ways to aid in the prevention of cavities.

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