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If you’ve ever looked in the mirror and noticed that a stained or dull smile is staring back at you, then you are certainly not alone. Many of us develop some degree of dental staining as we get older. The good news is that our Saint Louis cosmetic dentists can help you refresh your smile with effective dental whitening treatments. In this short article, our team is going to review a number of treatments that we use to combat dental discoloration. Let’s get started!

Professional dental whitening is a quick, effective, and affordable way to actually lighten existing stains. The whitening formulations that we use are much stronger and more effective than those formulations that are available over-the-counter. Once the whitening gel is applied to your dental enamel, it goes to work lifting entrenched discoloration. This type of whitening treatment is especially effective on environmental stains, which develop due to color deposits from food, drink, and tobacco products.

While professional whitening treatments work to lessen stains within the tooth structure, dental bonding and veneers cover problematic enamel with fresh, natural-looking materials.

Dental bonding covers dental enamel with composite resin. Once the resin is cured it hardens and bonds to the natural tooth. Because composite resin can be shaded to suit the individual patient’s needs, the results are always natural looking. The entire bonding process can be completed in just one appointment, which is another advantage for busy patients.

You may also choose to cover dark enamel with individually crafted porcelain restorations. Once the veneers are complete, our team attaches them to the patient’s teeth in order to completely resurface and transform the appearance of the patient’s smile. Many people choose veneers to lighten their smiles when they want to simultaneously improve other aesthetic issues, such as closing gaps between teeth.

If you aren’t sure what type of treatment is right for your smile, our Saint Louis cosmetic dentists are here to help you!

When many people think about dental damage, they think about sudden, traumatic damage that occurs due to vehicular or sport-related accidents. Undoubtedly, this type of dental damage is very serious and needs to be quickly addressed. However, many of the most common dental problems with which patients deal are actually the result of day to day wear and tear, rather than a sudden trauma. Today our Saint Louis dentists are going to be talking more about one seemingly banal threat to your oral health, acid erosion. 

Foods and drinks that contain a lot of acid coat your dental enamel and go to work weakening your enamel. A number of popular foods and beverages, like citrus fruits, fruit juices, soft drinks, and wine, contain appreciable amounts of acid.

Immediately after enamel is exposed to an acidic substance, the enamel is temporarily softened. During this period of time, your dental enamel is more susceptible to wearing away, as well as developing cracks and chips. Saliva helps your enamel to toughen up again once you’re done eating or drinking.

There are a number of simple steps that you can take in order to protect your smile day to day:

  • Try to consume acidic substances in short, defined periods of time. When you snack or sip on these things all day, your enamel is soft for long periods of time.
  • Get into the habit of rinsing your smile with water after eating or drinking. This not only rinses away acidic debris, but it also prompt saliva production.
  • Refrain from brushing your teeth or using toothpicks for about 20 to 30 minutes after you finish eating or drinking. In this timeframe, your enamel is most vulnerable.

Proper at-home and professional oral hygiene care will also help you avoid acid-related damage over time. As always, our Saint Louis dentists are here to answer any questions that you may have, and to help you build a personalized dental health plan.

As the weather turns colder, our Saint Louis dentists often hear from patients that their teeth are feeling more sensitive. We know that dental sensitivity can really put a damper on your day to day life. Keep reading to get more information about the root causes of dental sensitivity, as well as some strategies for minimizing discomfort.

Dental sensitivity all comes down to the state of your dental enamel. Enamel, as the outermost covering of your teeth, is charged with protecting the more vulnerable, inner layer of the tooth from damage. Generally, enamel starts out quite strong, resilient, and thick. However, a number of substances and habits can weaken and thin enamel over time.

  • Acidic substances soften enamel and leave it susceptible to erosion
  • The pressure put on your enamel from bruxism—chronic dental grinding—will cause your enamel to thin over time. Bruxism can also create small cracks and chips in your teeth.
  • Dental caries serve as small conduits from the outer tooth to the sensitive inner dental layers
  • Accidents and dental traumas create severe cracks and chips

Basically, any time that there is a weak spot in your dental enamel, irritating agents, like foods and drinks, can bypass the enamel and infiltrate the sensitive dentin or dental pulp. Patients are especially prone to experiencing sensitivity when their teeth are exposed to quick changes in temperature. This is why drinking a hot/cold beverage, or stepping out into frigid weather, can trigger discomfort.

The best way to deal with sensitivity is to fortify your enamel, or to cover sensitivity enamel with a protective layer of resin or a restoration. Additionally, there are a number of toothpastes and mouth rinses on the market that help to desensitize dental nerves.

Our STL dentists are here to help you smile confidently and comfortably. So, if you notice tooth sensitivity in your own life, please don’t hesitate to reach out to our team—we look forward to speaking with you!

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