Teeth Whitening Solutions for the Holidays

Over-The-Counter Whitening

The whitening kits that you find at big box stores and grocery stores can whiten teeth but may not be potent enough to make a dramatic difference in the color of your teeth. Professional whitening solutions are safe and reliable and can whiten teeth 8-10 shades in some cases. As the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure, teeth whitening can make a person appear younger and more attractive. Drs. Wager and Evans offer in-office and take-home whitening options in Reno.

What Causes Teeth to Yellow?

Tooth enamel is porous, so it can soak up stains. Various agents and factors contribute to the external discoloration of teeth, called extrensic stains. Using tobacco and consuming of pigmented foods and drinks, like tea, cola, coffee, and red wine, are prominent causes of yellowing. Age, too, causes teeth to discolor. From inside teeth, tetracycline medications (some antibiotics) can cause a brown or blue staining, and swallowing fluoride as a child can cause horizontal white lines called fluorosis. These are called intrinsic stains. (more…)

Gum Disease Beyond Your Mouth

Weight Loss Connected to Periodontitis

A pilot study conducted in November 2011 looked at how excess weight affects the body’s natural ability to fight gum disease. Researchers compared two groups of obese people with periodontal disease to assess and compare their body’s ability to fight back using natural, non-surgical methods of periodontal treatment. One group shed significant amounts of weight during the treatment and the other group maintained their initial weight. The group that lost weight fought periodontal disease with natural, non-surgical methods much better than the group that maintained their weight. Drs. Wager and Evans and our team are equipped to identify any gum disease during regular cleanings and checkups. (more…)

Holiday Nutrition for Reno Smiles

Holidays are cause for celebration, spending time with friends and family, and decadent feasts. Many people have concerns regarding the traditional dishes served during the holidays. Here, we’ve addressed some common questions about a few favorites.

Q: What are the nutritional benefits of pumpkin?

A: Pumpkins are low in calories and fat, and loaded with healthy antioxidants and vitamin-A (or beta-carotene), vitamin-C, and vitamin-E. Pumpkin seeds are also a good source of dietary fiber, protein, and good fats that benefit heart health. These tasty seeds are also great source of iron, niacin, selenium, and zinc. (more…)

What Holiday Comes After Thanksgiving?

Yes, this is a trick question. The day after Thanksgiving is National Flossing Day, and Drs. Wager and Evans encourage you to participate. It’s perfect planning, actually. What better day to schedule a national flossing event than Black Friday? Here are five prime reasons you need to floss on National Flossing Day.

  1. You eat and eat and eat… and eat and eat and eat… then watch football… then eat and eat and eat on Thanksgiving. You’re going to have some food stuck between your teeth.
  2. Whether you shop or hang out with the family, people are going to smell your breath the day after Thanksgiving.
  3. With everything else you have scheduled between now and the end of the year, you probably don’t have time for a dental cleaning.
  4. Santa is watching.
  5. It’s cool to floss.

 

Is It Really Cool to Floss?

  • Only if you want to be a trendsetter. Studies show, 10-40% of Americans report flossing every day – and remember, people lie. The real percentage is probably closer to 10%. Another report states, 73% of Americans prefer going to the grocery store over flossing their teeth.
  • Only if you want to live longer. One study claims, daily flossing can increase your lifespan by 6.4 years. The CDC says, people with gum disease have a mortality rate that’s 23-46 higher than those who don’t.
  • Only if you want to avoid gum disease and increased risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, problem pregnancies, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, osteoporosis, and potentially, certain cancers. Studies link all of these conditions to gum disease, and gum disease usually stems from improper oral health.
  • Only if you want to keep your teeth (don’t want to wear dentures). Gum disease is also the primary cause of adult tooth loss in our nation. (more…)

Amalgam vs Composite Resin Fillings

Fillings are used to restore teeth that have been damaged by tooth decay.

In the past, fillings were made primarily out of amalgam. This alloy, contains mercury, silver, tin, copper, and traces of other metals. Amalgam fillings have been used for 150 years. However, disadvantages of amalgam have prompted the use of composite resin, a tooth-colored, plastic alternative.

Disadvantages to Amalgam Fillings

  • They don’t blend with your surrounding teeth because they are dark metallic
  • They can corrode and leak over time
  • They expand and contract due to variations in temperature, and this causes potential fracturing of your tooth
  • They expose your body to the heavy metal mercury, which can lead to health issues depending on the amount of exposure and your level of sensitivity

Appreciating the disadvantages to metal fillings, Dr. Wager and Dr. Evans prefer using the metal-free alternative, composite resin fillings.

Composite resin fillings are made from glass or quartz filler that is added to a resin medium, making the end product natural-looking. A composite resin filling is custom tinted to match the color of the tooth in which it will reside, and it’s permanently bonded in place.

Advantages to Composite Resin Fillings

  • They look completely natural
  • They are metal-free and mercury-free
  • They are durable and can last for years

If you are interested in learning more about composite resin or amalgam fillings, or you want to schedule your dental appointment, call Dr. Wager and Dr. Evans in Reno, Nevada today by calling  775-829-7700, or visit our website at www.wagerevans.com.

Getting To Know Your Tooth Enamel

Tooth enamel is one of the four major tissues that make up teeth. Enamel is the hard outer surface that protects the underlying layers. It is also the hardest and most mineralized substance in your body.

Ninety-six percent of tooth enamel is composed of minerals, while the remaining percentage consists of water and organic material. The main mineral in enamel is hydroxylapatite which is also known as crystalline calcium phosphate.

The Role of Tooth Enamel

The main role of tooth enamel is to protect the soft layer of dentin. Enamel also serves as a hard surface for chewing, grinding, and crushing food.

Enamel is semi-translucent and porous. Eating dark foods and drinking dark beverages, such as red wines, coffee, or soda, can cause the enamel to discolor and stain. Smoking, age, and certain medications also cause tooth stains. A beautiful smile is a white smile, so if your teeth are stained, consider professional, safe teeth whitening prescribed by Dr. Wager and Dr. Evans.

Enamel Erosion

Even though enamel is the hardest substance in your body, it is susceptible to damage. The food you eat contains sugars and starches, and when these components mix with saliva, they form acid. The acid extracts minerals from tooth enamel, weakening it. Then bacteria invade and cause decay, or cavities. Acidic foods, like citrus fruits, tomatoes, and carbonated beverages, also erode tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel doesn’t remain soft forever. Saliva will remineralize and re-harden the enamel within 30 minutes to an hour after you stop eating and drinking. (more…)

Don’t Play Tricks on Your Teeth this Halloween

Halloween is all about spooks and scares, candy and crazy costumes, and ghosts and giggles. It can be a fun, festive, fright night for the whole family, but your dentist may not feel the same way. Halloween has earned its spot on your dentist’s worst nightmare list.

This Halloween, the American Dental Association and the team at Wager Evans Dental want to remind you to take care of your teeth and yourself (and your kiddos) while you celebrate.

Sweets and Treats

Candy is one of the best parts of Halloween, but it’s also the number one reason why your dentist may not be celebrating with you. Sugar is the archenemy of your teeth, and too much of it can cause cavities and tooth decay, which is the most widespread childhood disease. To protect your teeth on this spooky holiday (and every other day of the year), consider the following:

  • Eat sweets with meals rather than as snacks. Saliva production increases during a meal, which helps to rinse food particles from the mouth and neutralize plaque acid.
  • Avoid sticky candies for a few reasons. First, they adhere to your teeth, keeping them in your mouth for longer. The longer your teeth are exposed to sugar, the more time the bacteria has to create acid that weakens tooth enamel, encouraging the growth of cavities. Secondly, sticky candies, such as caramels, taffy, and gummies, have the potential to damage dental work, including fillings, dental crowns, and bridges.
  • Neutralize sugar by eating foods like cheese, peanuts, and fruit. Also, chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after meals has been shown to reduce tooth decay because it increases saliva flow. (more…)

The Truth About Dental X-Rays

Of the following, which activities or objects expose you to radiation?

  • Living in a brick house
  • Flying in an airplane
  • Eating
  • Cooking with natural gas
  • Having an x-ray
  • Reading a book for 3 hours a day
  • Living on planet Earth
  • Sleeping next to another person
  • Smoke detectors (more…)

The Inside Scoop About Enamel Erosion

Tooth sensitivity may not seem like a big deal…that is, until you have it. The shooting pain that comes when you bite into an ice cream cone or take a sip of hot coffee is just unbearable. If you have severe tooth sensitivity, even an icy cold wind can leave your teeth in pain.

What causes tooth sensitivity? Enamel erosion might be to blame, and the same goes for tooth decay.

To understand what enamel erosion is, you first need to understand what tooth enamel is. Enamel is the hard, white coating that covers your teeth. This coating is your teeth’s natural defense system, and nature knew what it was doing when it designed the human body because tooth enamel is the second hardest naturally occurring substance in the universe, second only to diamonds! This means that it can protect your teeth from the extreme pressures, temperatures, and elements your teeth come in contact with on a daily basis.

Still, however, your enamel isn’t indestructible. While it’s unlikely that your dental enamel can chip off, it’s very likely that it can wear away, and this can happen for several reasons. In most cases of enamel erosion, acid is to blame. Every time we eat or drink, acids form in our mouths and, if not removed by proper brushing, flossing, and rinsing, can begin to eat away at our tooth enamel. Enamel erosion is often present in people with acid reflux disease and GERD because of the high levels of acid that come up from the stomach to the mouth. Frequent vomiting and consuming foods and drinks that are high in sugar and carbohydrates expose your teeth to even more acidity. (more…)

Your Teeth Are Not Tools

Everyone knows that you need to brush, floss, and go to the dentist regularly to maintain a healthy smile. Avoiding staining foods and drinks and limiting your sugar intake also contribute to a healthy and attractive smile.

What you may not know, however, is that how you use your teeth greatly impacts the health and appearance of your smile.

Do you crunch on ice? Cool it!

Anytime you crunch on a hard, solid object (whether it is food or something else), you run the risk of cracking, chipping, or otherwise damaging a tooth or several teeth, your tooth enamel, or existing dental work. Ice cubes, due partially to their cold temperature, increase this risk.

Also, because of its temperature, ice can potentially shock a nerve in your tooth, causing the need for root canal therapy.

Your Teeth Are Not Tools

Do you use your teeth to rip tags off of clothing, open wrappers, open bottles, and hold things when your hands are full? If so, you’re putting yourself at risk for severe dental damage and infection. Our teeth are meant to bite, chew, help us speak properly, and help us smile- that’s it. They’re not pliers, scissors, or spare hands.

They’re also not nail clippers. Biting your nails is one on the worst things you can do for your teeth. The pressure from pulling your fingers away from your teeth can cause misalignment, cracking, chipping, and damage to existing dental work. Also, your sharp nails (which are covered in bacteria, by the way) can scratch and cut your gums, causing an open sore in your mouth for bacteria to infect. (more…)