McKinney Dentist Blog

Posts for: March, 2017

By Stonebridge Ranch Smiles
March 17, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral hygiene   braces   orthodontics  

There are a few things you need to do — and not do — while wearing braces: avoid hard or sticky foods, for example, or wear protection during sports to avoid injury. There's one important thing, though, that should be at the top of your list — extra attention to daily brushing and flossing.

The fact is your risk for developing tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease increases during orthodontic treatment. This is because the braces make it more difficult to reach a number of locations around teeth with a toothbrush or floss. Bacterial plaque, the source for these dental diseases, can subsequently build up in these areas.

Teen-aged orthodontic patients are even more susceptible to dental disease than adults. Because their permanent teeth are relatively young they have less resistance to decay than adults with more mature teeth. Hormonal changes during puberty also contribute to greater gum disease vulnerability.

There are some things you can do while wearing braces to avoid these problems. Be sure you're eating a nutritious diet and avoid sugary snacks or acidic foods and beverages (especially sports or energy drinks).  This will deprive bacteria of one of their favorite food sources, and the minerals in healthy food will contribute to strong enamel.

More importantly, take your time and thoroughly brush and floss all tooth surfaces (above and below the braces wire). To help you do this more efficiently, consider using a specialized toothbrush designed to maneuver around the braces. You might also try a floss threader or a water irrigator to remove plaque between teeth. The latter device uses a pressurized water spray rather than floss to loosen and wash away plaque between teeth.

Even with these efforts, there's still a chance of infection. So, if you notice swollen, red or bleeding gums, or any other problems with your teeth, visit us as soon as possible for an examination. The sooner we detect and treat dental disease while you're wearing braces, the less the impact on your future smile.

If you would like more information on taking care of teeth while wearing braces, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”

By Stonebridge Ranch Smiles
March 08, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Don’t let coffee and wine stains keep you from having the smile you want.teeth whitening

From coffee-filled mornings to your evening glass of wine, there are many treats we enjoy that seem so wonderful and yet can lead to some pretty unpleasant stains. If yellowing teeth have you feeling a bit down about your smile, isn’t it time you lifted those spirits? Our McKinney, TX, family dentist, Dr. Kenneth Sharp, has just the answer you’ve been looking for: teeth whitening.

How Whitening Works

When whitening, gel is placed over the teeth the bleach immediately goes to work to break up stain molecules within enamel (outer layer of the tooth) and dentin (the layer directly under the enamel). By leaving the gel on the teeth for anywhere from 30 minutes to one hour we can eliminate these stains and also get smiles several shades whiter.

Of course, not all whitening products are created equal. The whitening kits and gels you may get over-the-counter at your local drugstore won’t be nearly as strong as the products you will get from our McKinney cosmetic dentist. Why? Because Dr. Sharp has received the proper training to successfully and safely work with whitening gels that contain a higher concentration of bleaching agents so you can get results fast.

Your Whitening Options

As you probably already figured, you do have options when it comes to how you whiten your smile:

Commercial Whitening Products

This includes those popular whitening kits and toothpastes that you see in the oral care aisles. While a whitening toothpaste is never a bad idea to use regularly—as it can prevent new stains from forming— it certainly won’t be enough to tackle severe external stains. Some people find good results with commercial whitening kits, but it does take several weeks of continual use to see changes.

In-Office Whitening

Coming into our office for whitening treatment is probably the best option for someone looking to tackle darker and more severe stains, as well as those who want to see results quickly. If you have a big event coming up and you want to have a white, stain-free smile then our whitening system will be the ideal treatment. In just one hour we can get smiles several shades whiter.

At-Home Whitening

In-office whitening promises great results but it can be pricey. If you still want to brighten your smile but don’t want to take the financial hit then our at-home whitening can also give you more visible results than over-the-counter products. Use the products as directed and you could see results in a couple weeks.

Teeth whitening can be an amazingly effective way to brighten your smile before the big day or just to give your self-esteem a little boost. Let Stonebridge Ranch Smiles in McKinney, TX, give you that vibrant smile you know is under there.

By Stonebridge Ranch Smiles
March 02, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.