Home Whitening Versus Dentist WhiteningAt-home whitening kits usually contain carbamide peroxide. At Dr. Fernandez Family Dentistry, we use concentrated, prescription-only hydrogen peroxide. While over-the-counter teeth whitening kits usually only lighten teeth 1 to 2 shades, prescribed versions can whiten teeth 3 to 4 shades or more, depending on the teeth’s initial discoloration. Because of the concentration, we can use less product and get better results.

One issue we hear a lot about with home whitening kits is discomfort and gum irritation. We make custom trays that fit to your teeth so they’re comfortable, and we make sure the whitening product stays off your gums to avoid irritation.

What about whitening toothpaste?

Whitening toothpaste works in a totally different way. The toothpaste has an abrasive that scrubs away at surface stains, but it doesn’t go any deeper. With teeth whitening, the effect reaches all the way to the dentin, which is beneath the surface of the teeth.

Does whitening change the color of my veneers or crowns?

No. Those materials won’t whiten, but your natural tooth structure will. Is teeth whitening right for me? There are certain cases where teeth whitening will not work. Gray teeth, for example, are difficult. Sometimes trauma can cause a tooth to change colors. Consequently, these types of teeth don’t whiten well. There are also cases of speckled teeth (ex: fluorosis, “scars from braces,” or Tetracyclin staining) which don’t whiten very well either. In that case, you would want to look into veneers or crowns. Which option works best depends on the situation of your tooth or teeth.

How long does teeth whitening last?

Teeth whitening from a dentist can last up to 3 years, depending on how many stains you’re reintroducing to your teeth. It all comes down to your own unique habits.

If you want to know more about whitening, we’re happy to help. Call us today to book an appointment and we can get you on the way to a brighter, healthier smile.

Diabetes and Your Oral Health

Estimates suggest nearly 30 million people living in the United States have diabetes—over 8 million of whom don’t even know they have it. If you or someone you know is living with diabetes, their oral health may be taking a hit.

Nearly 22% of people diagnosed with periodontal disease are living with diabetes. Poor blood sugar control increases the risk for this disease. In fact, infections of the gums can cause a rise in blood sugar, making diabetes harder to control and your mouth more susceptible to invading bacteria.

Additional issues may include:

  • Inflamed gums that bleed often
  • Decreased saliva production resulting in dry mouth (which can cause other issues as well)
  • Issues tasting food
  • Higher susceptibility to infections
  • Thrush, which can lead to a burning mouth and/or tongue

If you also smoke, these issues can be compounded. Some studies suggest you’re upwards of 20 times more likely to develop thrush and periodontal disease if you smoke. Combine that with the potential complications that can arise with diabetes and you’re putting your health in serious risk.

Give your oral health a fighting chance by being rigorous with your blood sugar levels, avoiding smoking, cleaning your dentures every day (if you have them), brushing and flossing twice daily, and being consistent with check-ups.

Regular visits to your dentist are important to keep issues at bay. If you suffer from diabetes and are ready to improve your oral health, make an appointment with us today.

E-cigarettes are touted as the safer version of tobacco cigarettes. Though long-term effects of vaping are still unknown, studies have shown vaping isn’t as safe for you—or your teeth—as you may think.

Dry Mouth

More than simply a side effect of being thirsty, dry mouth associated with vaping can cause big troubles for your teeth. Vaping-based liquids like propylene glycol can cause dry mouth, which can lead to excess bacteria. That bacteria is the start of bad breath, mouth sores, and even tooth decay.

Gum Inflammation and Irritation

When you vape, the chemicals you inhale pass over your gums and can cause an inflammatory response. This is your body’s natural defense system at work. Over time, continued gum inflammation can lead to painful irritation, not to mention different forms of periodontal diseases.

DNA Damage

You read that right. Inhaling vaping aerosols can break down cells’ abilities to divide and grow. The result? Cells age more quickly and can even be killed. A list of potential damages and diseases include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Bone loss
  • Tooth loss
  • Bad breath
  • Periodontal diseases

Vaping Can Cause You to Grind Your Teeth

Nicotine may make you feel relaxed but may prompt the opposite effect as well. Being a stimulant that fires up your muscles, nicotine can cause teeth grinders to worsen their behavior and even turn non-grinders to grinders.

Do you vape? Are you concerned your teeth are taking the brunt of vaping’s negative side effects? Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will help get you on your way to a healthier, happier smile.

Can Acid Reflux Impact Your Teeth?

GERD, more commonly known as acid reflux, causes acid to back up in the stomach and sometimes into the mouth. If not kept under control, such acids can cause major problems for your oral health.

Trigger foods such as tomatoes, citrus, spicy foods, coffee, chocolate, onions, and a host of others can cause acid reflux to flare up. For certain cases, changing your diet can be enough to keep acid reflux under control. But for many, prescription medication is needed to avoid symptoms such as heartburn, coughs, difficulty swallowing, sinus infections, bad breath, and more. Acid reflux is especially harmful when you’re sleeping because you swallow less often and your mouth produces less saliva. Dry mouth can also be a side effect of acid reflux medications. Either way, a dry mouth can be harmful; it’s a breeding ground for bacteria and infections.

Acid reflux isn’t just uncomfortable, it can be dangerous. Untreated cases of acid reflux can lead to serious damage to the esophagus and can lead to esophageal cancer. The acids can also erode your teeth and cause periodontal problems.

Do you think you might be experiencing symptoms of acid reflux, but aren’t certain? Oftentimes, the first indication of acid reflux is the wearing away of enamel on your molars—a symptom you likely wouldn’t notice. But a trained dentist would.

Make an appointment with us today. We’ll check for symptoms of acid reflux and offer a plan to keep your oral health in tip-top shape.

If you’ve ever been at 30,000 feet and gotten a sharp pain in your tooth, you know that flying can give you a toothache. But why does it happen? And how can you help prevent it? Let’s take a mile-high view of airplane-related toothaches.

Why Can Flying Give you a Toothache?

It all comes down to changes in pressure. Elevation increases pain—the higher you go, the more you feel the pain due to an increase in pressure. You may also feel this pressure in your ears, eyes, sinuses, and even your joints.

Toothaches while flying is a condition known as aerodontalgia or barodontalgia. Such pain shouldn’t occur in healthy teeth, so if you get a toothache while flying, that’s the sign of a problematic tooth. The pain can cause old issues to flair and new issues to arise. However, keep this in mind: Though the pain may increase while flying, issues with gingivitis, loose fillings, and cavities won’t be made worse.

How to Manage a Toothache While Flying

If you experience tooth pain prior to a flight—even in the slightest—you should book an appointment with your dentist. If you don’t have pain but have a history of dental issues, you could save yourself some issues by letting your dentist take a look before you take off. They may be able to offer you pain medications to help curb issues while in the air.

Should You See a Dentist?

Are you concerned a toothache is going to ruin your flight? Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will help get you on your way to a healthier, happier smile.

Tooth Fairy Ideas for Parents

Tooth Fairy Ideas for Parents

When it comes to creating an unforgettable tooth fairy experience, the internet is abuzz with incredible ideas. Here are our top three tooth fairy ideas for parents who want to go the extra mile.

Tooth Fairy Door

tooth fairy door

A cute addition to any tooth fairy story, a tooth fairy door gives a private entrance for your child’s magical friend. It’s easy to install and comes in a variety of exciting colors.

Send a Tiny Letter

tiny tooth fairy letters

Have your child tell the story of how they lost their tooth in their own words with a tiny letter. The perfect size for a fairy, these tiny letters are fully customizable. Your kids (and you!) will love them. Bonus: You can send a tiny package with a letter and an item of your choice.

Make Your Own Tooth Fairy Plushie

tooth fairy plushie

This one is fun for the whole family. Build your own tooth fairy, complete with a backpack for storing the tooth…and for the tooth fairy to slip in surprises in exchange for the lost tooth. The soft stuffing and slim profile make this toy comfortable enough to keep under your child’s pillow while they sleep.

Want Your Best Smile?

Do you want your child to have a smile they’ll love sharing with the world? Our conveniently located office offers a welcoming atmosphere and televisions for the kids to watch while they’re getting their teeth cleaned. Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will help get you and your family on their way to healthier, happier smiles.

Creating positive brushing habits in your young ones now is crucial not only for them to have a bright smile, but to be overall healthier. As many parents know, this isn’t always an easy job. In fact, sometimes it can feel downright impossible.

Don’t fret—we have a few techniques that will have your kids brushing with joy in no time.

Make Brushing a Game

Brushing may be serious business, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. Turn brushing into a game with a scoring chart. Help form the habit by creating a calendar that tracks points over time. Once your kids reach a certain score, offer prizes for their hard work.

Let them Choose Their Brush

Remember when you were a kid how much more fun it was to brush your teeth when you got to pick out your own toothbrush? Whether your child wants to brush with their favorite cartoon character or they want a bit of purple sparkles, let the kids make the choice. Ownership of this decision can translate into ownership of brushing.

Show Them the Way

You’re asking your kids to brush and floss twice a day, but are you doing the same? Make it a point to keep up with your brushing and flossing. Bonus points: brush and floss with your kids whenever you can.

Positive brushing and flossing habits are the cornerstone of a happy and healthy child. And so is a regular trip to the dentist. Schedule an appointment today at our family-friendly dentist office, complete with televisions for the kids to watch their favorite shows.

There’s a reason why smiling is contagious—when we smile, we set off a positive chemical reaction in our brain. In fact, the science of smiling may just make you, well, smile.

First Impressions

A first impression sets the stage for the next steps of a relationship. Be it a friend, business acquaintance, or long-lost relative, offering a smile upon an introduction lowers the other person’s anxiety because they perceive you as a non-threat (humans are wired to recognize threats, and are especially susceptible to judgment on a first encounter). A smile can also trigger a smile in return from the other person. This act is both a mirroring gesture and a non-verbal form of communication that says, “Hey, we’re on the same page. It’s truly nice to meet you.”

Stress Reduction and Health

Studies have shown that not only does smiling reduce stress, it can also have a long-term impact on our health. Whereas negative emotions can cause health issues, positive ones can keep us living longer, happier lives.

Smiling as We Age: Kids vs. Adults

Smiling can generate more positive internal emotions. In fact, this emotion can be felt just by witnessing another person smile. This is why we often feel happier around kids (they smile about 400 times a day, while happy adults smile 40-50 times).

Want Your Best Smile?

Do you want a smile that you love sharing with the world? Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will help get you on your way to a healthier, happier smile.

Everything is planned out perfectly—from the mouth-watering restaurants to the selfie-worthy landscapes, this is set to be your best vacation ever.

But then the unthinkable happens: you get a toothache. The pain distracts you from enjoying your time.

What do you do?

Don’t worry, we have some solutions for you!

Pre-Trip: Know Your Destination

You might search for hospitals nearby prior to your trip just to be safe, but also check your destination for local dental offices. Knowing where to go just in case can be the difference between a vacation saved and a vacation ruined.

Bring Dental Care Necessities

In addition to bringing your own toothbrush and toothpaste, throw in a pain-relief agent like Orajel. If you have kiddos, also pack a kids’ strength version. As they say, better safe than sorry.

If All Else Fails…

Let’s say there’s no accessible dentist and you didn’t pack any numbing meds. The first thing you should try is to rinse your mouth with warm water. Then grab your floss and make sure there aren’t any food particles stuck between your teeth or your gums (you’d be surprised how often this is the cause). Take an over-the-counter pain medication like Motrin or Advil, which are also anti-inflammatory.

Peppermint tea can also prove helpful. Swish it around your mouth and then swallow. A warm, wet ginseng tea bag can also provide temporary relief.

Prepare for Your Vacation with an Exam

Do you have a history of toothaches while traveling? Do you feel a slight pain that you worry will get worse on a flight? Or do you simply want to take the preventative route? Be sure to schedule an appointment with Dr. Fernandez today. He’ll be happy to get your teeth vacation-ready!

As a parent, you may be concerned about your child’s thumb sucking and pacifier use. 

Why Do Babies Suck Their Thumbs?

It’s completely natural for a child to want to suck their thumb or a pacifier. It’s an innate inclination for both feeding and exploration. After 6 months of age, sucking tends to decrease. However, some children may continue well into their toddler years, spurred on by hunger, fear, or even as a soothing mechanism when they’re tired.

What are the Effects of Thumb Sucking and Pacifiers?

Extended thumb sucking and pacifier use can lead to a host of longer-term issues, including:

  • Nudging teeth out of place, potentially causing an underbite or overbite
  • Exposure to germs
  • Altering the sensitivity of the roof of the mouth
  • Jaw bone misalignment, causing a lisp

When Should a Child Stop Using a Pacifier and Sucking Their Thumb?

Studies suggest as much as 30% of preschoolers still suck their thumbs. The general rule to put an end to this is between ages 2 and 4. However, be careful to avoid excessive pressure to stop your child from breaking their habit. Doing so can result in more harm than good. Consider using positive reinforcement, such as a rewards system. Curbing this habit at a young age can help your child’s future oral health by stopping teeth misalignment and potential speech problems. 

Should You See a Dentist?

Are you concerned about your child’s thumb sucking or pacifier use? Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will help get you and your child find a fun, long-term solution.

Do you have a smile that needs a little correction? Invisalign® may be the perfect solution for you. But how does Invisalign work?

How Invisalign Works

Using custom-fitted aligners, Invisalign corrects crooked teeth. Unlike metal braces which are cumbersome and can cause the wearer to be self-conscious, Invisalign is nearly invisible to the eyes and consists of smooth, removable aligners.

Using our CEREC Ortho Software, Dr. Fernandez takes a 3D digital impression of your teeth. This impression is used to map out a precise plan for moving your teeth into the perfect smile. During this time, Dr. Fernandez will provide an estimate for how long your treatment will take and he can even show you a preview of your new smile!

How Often Do You Wear Invisalign?

Snapping a selfie? Brushing your teeth? Feel free to pop out your Invisalign. The retainers are meant to be worn 20-22 hours per day.

Unlike braces, you don’t have to avoid certain foods with Invisalign. So feel free to eat what you like! Just be sure to brush and then slide your Invisalign back on and you’re all set.

After Treatment is Complete, What’s Next?

To keep teeth from shifting, Dr. Fernandez will likely recommend a retainer. This will keep your new smile intact for you to show off to the world every day for years to come.

Interested in learning more about Invisalign? Schedule an appointment today and Dr. Fernandez will be happy to visit with you about getting your smile back on track.