Drs. Tom Ryan DDS, John Athos DDS, Bohdanna Czerniak DMD and the team at North Creek Dental Care are pleased to provide professional and caring dental services to their patients from Tinley Park IL and the surrounding communities. Our dental services include: adult, children's, cosmetic, family, general, implant, laser, preventive, restorative and sedation dentistry.
How your smile looks plays a big role in how you feel about yourself and how you think others perceive you. As the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) notes, about 74 percent of people believe that an unattractive smile can get in the way of career success and nearly 100 percent of people believe a smile is an important social asset.
You may not like showing off your smile if you think your teeth are too yellow, crooked or chipped. Fortunately, you have a number of affordable dentistry options that can help improve your smile and boost your confidence. At your next visit, talk to your dentist about ways to correct any issues with your teeth and how much you can expect each option to cost.
1. Get Your Teeth Whitened
People's teeth yellow or become darker for a variety of reasons. It could be due to a diet of foods that stain, such as coffee, chocolate and berries. It could be due to the enamel becoming thinner as you age and the yellower dentin showing through. Some people are born with teeth that are naturally yellow or slightly gray. If you decide you do want to whiten your teeth, you have multiple options, ranging from at-home treatments to treatments performed at your dentist's office.
The cost of teeth whitening varies based on location and the type of product used. As the Consumer Guide to Dentistry points out, an in-office treatment costs an average of $650.
At-home treatments tend to be the more affordable dentistry option, but the results you get from an in-office treatment are often much more dramatic and last longer. For example, the AACD points out that an in-office whitening treatment can lighten your teeth up to 10 shades in one hour, and the results can last for a year or longer, provided you take good care of your teeth. After a tooth whitening procedure, it's a good time to switch to a whitening toothpaste, such as Colgate® Optic White® to maintain your dazzling teeth.
2. Fix Chips and Cracks with Bonding
If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, or a tooth that needs a filling, dental bonding is often an affordable way to fix it. Dental bonding is typically made of either a composite resin or porcelain. The material can be dyed to match the natural color of your teeth, so you end up with a tooth that looks good as new and no one will be able to tell that you've had work done.
Bonding is one of the least expensive dental restoration options, too. While porcelain veneers can cost up to $1,500 per tooth, the average cost of dental bonding is $300 to $600 per tooth. The drawback of bonding is that it might not last as long as veneers, which are used to correct severely discolored or chipped teeth. If you are looking for a budget-friendly way to correct a damaged tooth, bonding may be the way to go.
3. Use a Retainer to Straighten Teeth
Not everyone with crooked or misaligned teeth needs braces. Typically, people wear retainers after they have braces removed to keep their teeth from moving out of position. But, if you have a small space between two teeth or your bite is slightly misaligned, you might be able to wear a retainer without getting braces.
An aligner, a clear plastic tray that fits over the teeth and helps push them into place or straighten them, can be another alternative to braces. Aligners are more expensive than retainers (for example, Invisalign® can cost between $3,000 and $8,000 while a retainer on its own typically costs between $500 and $1,000, as the Consumer Dentistry Guide notes). But, aligners do a lot more than retainers when it comes to correcting crooked teeth, which can make the higher cost worth it.
If you're not happy with your smile, you don't have to live with it! Schedule an appointment with your dentist today and learn more about what you can do to fix your smile.
Brushing and flossing are everyday ways to keep your teeth bright, white and healthy. Still, if you might feel like your smile is lacking some sparkle or is more yellow than it used to be, you’re not alone. When the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry asked people what they’d most like to improve about their smile, the most common response was whiter teeth. The American Association of Orthodontists also found that nearly 90% of patients requested tooth whitening.
Thinking about teeth whitening? Get the facts first. Here are five of the most commonly asked questions about the process.
Why Did My Teeth Change Color?
Over time, your teeth can go from white to not-so-bright for a number of reasons:
Food and Drink
Coffee, tea and red wine are some major staining culprits. What do they have in common? Intense color pigments called chromogens that attach to the white, outer part of your tooth (enamel).
Two chemicals found in tobacco create stubborn stains: Tar and nicotine. Tar is naturally dark. Nicotine is colorless until it’s mixed with oxygen. Then, it turns into a yellowish, surface-staining substance.
Below the hard, white outer shell of your teeth (enamel) is a softer area called dentin. Over time, the outer enamel layer gets thinner with brushing and more of the yellowish dentin shows through.
If you’ve been hit in the mouth, your tooth may change color because it reacts to an injury by laying down more dentin, which is a darker layer under the enamel.
Tooth darkening can be a side effect of certain antihistamines, antipsychotics and high blood pressure medications. Young children who are exposed to antibiotics like tetracycline and doxycycline when their teeth are forming (either in the womb or as a baby) may have discoloration of their adult teeth later in life. Chemotherapy and head and neck radiation can also darken teeth.
How Does Teeth Whitening Work?
Teeth whitening is a simple process. Whitening products contain one of two tooth bleaches (hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide). These bleaches break stains into smaller pieces, which makes the color less concentrated and your teeth brighter.
Does Whitening Work on All Teeth?
No, which is why it’s important to talk to your dentist before deciding to whiten your teeth, as whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow teeth will probably bleach well, brown teeth may not respond as well and teeth with gray tones may not bleach at all. Whitening will not work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings. It also won’t be effective if your tooth discoloration is caused by medications or a tooth injury.
What Are My Whitening Options?
Talk to your dentist before starting. If you are a candidate, there are four ways to put the shine back in your smile:
Stain Removal Toothpastes
All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives that scrub the teeth. Look for whitening toothpastes that have earned the ADA Seal of Acceptance for stain removal (it will tell you on the package). These toothpastes have additional polishing agents that are safe for your teeth and provide stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these types of ADA-Accepted products do not change the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface.
This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect your gums. Bleach is then applied to the teeth.
At-Home Bleaching from Your Dentist
Your dentist can provide you with a custom-made tray for at-home whitening. In this case, the dentist will give you instructions on how to place the bleaching solution in the tray and for what length of time. This may be a preferred option if you feel more comfortable whitening in your own home at a slower pace, but still with the guidance of a dentist. Out-of-office bleaching can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks.
Over-the-Counter Bleaching Products
You may see different options online or in your local grocery store, such as toothpastes or strips that whiten by bleaching your teeth. The concentration of the bleaching agent in these products is lower than what your dentist would use in the office. If you are thinking about using an over-the-counter bleaching kit, discuss options with your dentist and look for one with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. That means it has been tested to be safe and effective for teeth whitening. Get a list of all ADA-Accepted at-home bleaching products.
Are There Any Side Effects from Teeth Whitening?
Some people who use teeth whiteners may experience tooth sensitivity. That happens when the peroxide in the whitener gets through the enamel to the soft layer of dentin and irritates the nerve of your tooth. In most cases the sensitivity is temporary. You can delay treatment, then try again.
Overuse of whiteners can also damage the tooth enamel or gums, so be sure to follow directions and talk to your dentist.
Thumb sucking is a common and natural behavior for infants. The pressure and sucking motion can make children feel more secure, calm them, and help them fall asleep. Children normally turn to thumb sucking when bored, tired, or upset. If your child is five years old or younger, it is not necessary to force them to quit. Most children will eventually give up this habit in their own time. One in five children will be sucking their thumb or finger past their fifth birthday.
How Can Thumb Sucking Affect My Child’s Teeth?
If your child’s thumb sucking persists past the age of five, it can have a lasting effect on your child’s teeth. Thumb sucking can cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth, alignment of the teeth, or changes in the roof of the mouth. The intensity of the sucking is a factor that will determine whether or not dental problems may result. For example, some children simply rest their thumbs passively in their mouths as opposed to sucking. This type of behavior is less likely to result in dental problems in contrasts to vigorous sucking. Thumb sucking may also cause your child to develop speech problems. Your child’s dentist may recommend inserting a fixed or removable device such as a “palatal bar” or “crib” in your child’s mouth to prevent sucking. However, there are other methods parents can try at home to rid their child’s habit.
How to Stop Thumb Sucking
Breaking a longstanding habit is challenging and can take six weeks or more. Before attempting to stop your child from thumb sucking, it is important to observe their behavior to fully understand why and when your child sucks their thumb. Be aware of activities that might promote thumb sucking such as TV or car rides. If you can identify the times when your child is most likely to suck their thumb, provide alternative activities to divert their attention. Reprimanding your child for thumb sucking will not help and could prolong the problem.
Parents can use a simple behavioral approach that engages their child in the process.
First, create a progress chart with the help of your child. It's a good idea to let your child help make it fun by helping to pick a color or the kinds of stickers used to track their progress.
Have a discussion with your child to determine how many slip-ups should allowed each week.
Provide a reward at the end of each week of no thumb or finger sucking. Make a larger reward for getting to the end of a month of no thumb or finger sucking.
If the above behavioral approach doesn't work, another method parents can try is placing a bitter-tasting liquid on the nail, but not directly on the finger. This should only be done at night to discourage thumb sucking while sleeping. Parents can also use mittens, gloves, or a finger-splint to be worn at night to discourage thumb and finger sucking.
Please remember with enough persistence and positive reinforcement, most children are able drop the thumb-sucking habit. It may take a while, but if you keep at it, you'll see the results you want over time.