What Are the Best Teeth Whitening Methods?

two blond women hug and smile after professional teeth whitening treatments

When you see your smile in pictures, do you wish your teeth were whiter? What are the best teeth whitening methods? DIY methods like baking soda and lemon juice are too abrasive and risky. Here are the safest, most effective ways to lighten your tooth color:

Whitening Toothpaste

Whitening toothpaste has ingredients that polish your teeth and break down surface stains. Over time, your teeth can appear lighter. You want a brand with a seal from the ADA. While easy and affordable, whitening toothpaste doesn’t change your teeth’s natural color. If the stain is too deep, the toothpaste can’t remove it.

Whitening Strips & Trays

Whitening strips work by using peroxide to bleach your teeth. Always read the instructions beforehand. You’ll learn how many daily applications you should perform and how long the strips stay on. They’ll also let you know when you can expect to see results.

Many strips recommend that you don’t brush your teeth beforehand, so the strips stick better. If you don’t want to mess with strips, there are also over-the-counter trays that mold to your teeth. While each whitening session with trays is longer than with strips, you don’t need as many sessions.

Custom Take-Home Trays

At Henson Family Dental, we offer you the option of professional teeth whitening at home. We’ll make custom take-home trays that are like trays at the store, but more effective. Be sure to always wear the trays for the intended length of time per day for 7-10 days to see results.

In-Office Professional Whitening

For fast and more effective results, in-office professional whitening is one of the best teeth whitening methods. We use Zoom®, so the whitening session lasts only 90 minutes. Professional methods typically work better than store-bought treatments. This is because we use gels with higher concentrations and consider your specific needs.

Want Whiter Teeth?

If you’re not 100 percent happy with your smile right now, contact us to set up a consultation at our Temple Terrace office. Our team can recommend the best whitening option for you based on your goals and budget!

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Do Root Canals Hurt?

patient in the dentist's chair undergoing root canal therapy

There are a whole slew of pesky myths surrounding root canals–chief among them that root canals hurt. Not only is this untrue, but root canal is actually a completely routine and straightforward procedure, and one of the most common!

The Myth of Root Canal Pain

So if they don’t hurt, why do people so often claim that they do? Root canals and other dental procedures are often associated with pain and unpleasantness because there was a time when dentistry was just that–painful and unpleasant. In the past few decades, modern dentistry has seen groundbreaking advancements in technology that has served to eliminate pain, streamline procedures, and so much more. Today’s root canal procedures are performed with novocaine or, if needed, sedation, and, from the patients perspective, won’t differ greatly from having a cavity filled.

A Closer Look

Now that you know that your root canal won’t be painful, here’s what else you can expect from the procedure. During a root canal, the dentist will drill into the tooth to the root canal, which exists between the layers of enamel and dentin above. Infected material–tissue, blood vessels, and nerves–are removed, and the tooth is filled or capped with a crown to finish off the procedure.

The End Result

Root canals are performed to address a variety of different issues, and always to save the natural tooth from having to be extracted and replaced. Common reasons for needing a root canal include severe decay; a chip, break, or other damage; and repeated previous dental work to a tooth.

Restorative Dentistry & More at Henson Family Dental

If you’ve been putting off a root canal–or any other procedure for that matter–there’s no need! At our practice, our skilled staff are pros at keeping patients relaxed and comfortable during any procedure. Visit our website to learn how to schedule an appointment today.

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How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Repair Your Smile

woman pointing to her white teeth with both forefingers after cosmetic dentistry

Everyone wants a beautiful smile, but very few people have naturally perfect teeth. If you aren’t happy with your smile, cosmetic dentistry can help. Damaged, chipped, and discolored teeth can be repaired with certain treatments such as whitening, porcelain crowns, porcelain veneers, and fixed bridges.

Teeth Whitening

If you want a brighter, whiter smile, getting a custom take-home kit from Henson Family Dental is one of the most simple ways to get there. Our kits are much more effective than what you’ll find in a store and much safer than risky DIY treatments.

Porcelain Veneers

For teeth that are chipped, have gaps, or are too discolored for whitening treatments, porcelain veneers can be used. Porcelain is a great material because it looks very natural. Veneers are thin casings bonded to the front side of your teeth for a brighter, whiter look. Teeth with porcelain veneers should be cared for just like your natural teeth.

Porcelain Crowns

If your tooth is damaged or worn, a porcelain crown can fix it. We shape the cap and adhere it in the right spot, so your tooth’s shape, strength, size, and appearance are restored. The crown takes the place of your natural enamel, protecting your tooth. In addition to restoring a broken or worn tooth, crowns can support teeth with large fillings, hold a dental bridge in place, cover a dental implant, and modify a misshapen tooth.

A Fixed Bridge

If you’re missing a tooth or multiple teeth, a fixed bridge can restore your smile. When replacing a missing tooth with an artificial one, a fixed bridge is needed to hold it in place. The bridge consists of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of your new fake tooth.

Want to Repair Your Smile? Visit Us at Henson Family Dental!

If you’re interested in any of the cosmetic dentistry treatments we offer, please let us know! Dr. Henson and the team can give you all the information and recommendations you need to get the smile of your dreams.

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What Are Healthy Halloween Treat Options?

group of kids dressed up for halloween trick or treat

Halloween is just around the corner, and that means trick-or-treating and Halloween candy. But be careful with that candy! Instead of chomping on sticky, gummy, and hard candies, why not try these healthy Halloween treat options.

Chocolate

This is a treat that you may be able to find in your kid’s trick-or-treating bag. Chocolate is probably the best kind of candy out there for your teeth. This is because it is soft and unlike those hard candies, it melts in your mouth so that you aren’t putting your teeth at risk for a chip or break. Additionally, chocolate actually washes away after you’ve eaten a lot better than other candies so food particles won’t stick in between your teeth. Instead of getting stuck in the crevices of your teeth, chocolate can easily get washed away with a glass of water.

Pumpkin Treats

Yes, pumpkin may be something you more easily associate with Thanksgiving, but pumpkin is also classically associated with Halloween so why not indulge in pumpkin treats this Halloween. Pumpkin is very high in fiber and vitamin A and therefore helps to strengthen your teeth’s enamel and to keep your gums healthy. There are many pumpkin treat recipes out there that ditch the sugar to make the treats much healthier. The lower the sugar, the better the treat will be for your teeth.

Dark Chocolate-Covered Apples

When you think of apple treats during the fall you probably think of caramel or candy-coated apples. Dark chocolate-covered apples is a healthy take on this classic Halloween treat, but makes it much much healthier for your teeth. As mentioned above, chocolate is a much better alternative to caramel or candy which are both very high in sugar. Dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and its soft texture allows the chocolate to be easily washed away after you’ve eaten the treat. Meanwhile, apples are considered nature’s toothbrushes because the fibrous texture of the fruit will stimulate your gums and stimulate saliva production, which helps to remineralize your tooth enamel.

Spider Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwiches

This Halloween take on a classic sandwich that is super fun for kids. Using whole wheat bread, take round cookie cutters to cut the whole wheat bread into an even number of rounds. Then, spread natural peanut butter and low sugar jelly on each round. Next, take eight pretzel sticks and place four on each side of half of the rounds so that they look like spider legs. Then, put the other half of the rounds on top of those with the pretzel sticks on them so that they look like the bodies of spiders. Finally, put a tiny bit of peanut butter on raisins and stick two on each of the spider bodies so that you give the spiders eyes. What’s great about these is that they are super fun for kids to make and may even make them forget they’re not eating candy!

Happy Halloween From Henson Family Dental!

We hope you have a fun and safe Halloween holiday. If you have any other questions about healthy Halloween treat options, give us a call! We look forward to hearing from you.

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Best Foods for Your Dental Health

There are other ways to take care of your dental health apart from just consistent, twice daily brushing and flossing. One of those ways is by maintaining a healthy diet. Although there are some obvious foods that you should avoid in order to maintain good oral health, here are some foods that support bright, healthy smiles!

kale growing under a blue sky with fluffy white clouds

Dark, Leafy Greens

Spinach, kale, and other dark leafy greens are excellent for your teeth because they are full of the necessary vitamins and minerals that you need to keep your teeth strong (like vitamins A, B, and folic acid).

Nuts

Nuts are full of fiber and protein, which means that they can actually wick away plaque from the surface of your teeth as you eat them!

Apples

Apples are also full of fiber, so they keep your teeth clean as you crunch down on them! Serve them up with a little peanut butter for a delicious, protein-packed snack that’s good for your smile.

Dairy

Cheese, yogurt, and milk are all great for your teeth because they’re packed with calcium which supports healthy bone density.

Crunchy Veggies

Carrots, celery, and other crunchy vegetables support your dental health. Not to mention that they are also portable, filling, and go great with hummus and yogurt dips, which are also great for your teeth!

Ginger

Looking for an easy way to spice up your diet without harming your teeth? Ginger contains a ton of antimicrobial properties that can help fend off plaque and other bacteria from the surface of your teeth.

Foods to Avoid

The main foods that you should avoid if you are trying to maintain or improve your dental health are anything that contain a high amount of sugar or acid, like soda, candy, pastries, or citrus. All of them promote bacteria growth and increase your chances of developing cavities and tooth decay if you do not consistently brush and floss your teeth.

Visit Us at Henson Family Dental

Along with diet and regular brushing and flossing, visiting your dentist twice a year is the best way to ensure that you are taking care of your dental health. Visit us at Henson Family Dental for your twice annual cleaning and examination! Contact us to schedule an appointment today!

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Oral Care During Pregnancy

pregnant woman laying in the grass holding her belly

If you’re pregnant, you’re on your way to an exciting new chapter in your life. During those nine months, you’re probably busy trying to eat right and doing everything else you can to make sure your body is healthy, and so your baby is healthy, too. It may not be your first thought, but while you’re looking after your wellness, it’s important not to let your dental health slip. Pregnancy comes with certain oral health risks, and being a little proactive with your dental care can help you avoid those. Here are some tips for how to take care of your teeth while you’re pregnant:

Keep Up with Your Dental Visits

We know you probably don’t want to add another trip to the doctor’s office amid all the other ones you need to go to leading up to the birth, but it’s a good idea to still maintain those routine dentist visits. Due to all the hormonal changes that happen during pregnancy, you can be more at risk for gum disease. When you visit the dentist, we can take a look at your gum health and make sure everything looks fine, and if not, provide the necessary treatment. The earlier you catch gum disease the better so the symptoms and damage don’t get worse.

Use Alternatives If You Have Morning Sickness

Pregnant women suffering from morning sickness may have trouble following through with their normal at-home dental care routine. If that happens to you, consider swapping your toothpaste for one that has more of a bland flavor. Any time after you’ve vomited, rinse your mouth out with water so you can clean away any stomach acid left on your teeth. Otherwise, it could lead to decay.

Brush & Floss Daily

This last tip is an easy one! Everyone should brush their teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day, and pregnant women are no exception. Follow through with that throughout your pregnancy so you can ensure that you’re doing your part to keep your teeth and gums healthy. If you’re having problems with plaque, you might even want to throw a mouthwash into the mix, too.

We Care About Your Oral Health

At Henson Family Dental, we want to help all of our patients enjoy healthy smiles throughout all stages of their life. To book your next appointment with us, call or email our dental practice today. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Do Cavities Always Hurt?

man wth a beard wearing a denim jacket holding his jaw with tooth pain

If you’ve been to the dentist and found out you have one or more cavities, you may have thought, “Surely I would’ve known or felt something if that were true.” The fact is, you won’t always feel a cavity when you have one. It all depends on how far along your tooth decay is. Let’s take a dive into how cavities feel as well as what other things might cause toothaches besides cavities!

How Cavities Feel

When you have an early-stage cavity, the decay has only gone so far as your tooth enamel, or the outside layer of your teeth. Chances are you won’t feel anything with a cavity like this. But, when the decay gets worse and burrows down into the inner portions of your tooth where there are soft tissues and nerves, that’s when you can start to feel something. This might just be a little sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, it could be a mild ache, or it could be severe pain.

Other Causes of Tooth Pain

Yes, while serious cavities are a common cause of tooth pain, they’re not the only cause. There are a number of other dental conditions that might result in a not-so-pleasant ache in your mouth. For example, if you have a condition called bruxism where you grind your teeth, that pressure could cause sore gums and jaw pain. A cracked tooth and tooth sensitivity from receding gums can also result in tooth pain.

Since cavities may not always hurt, it’s a good idea to keep up with your regular visits to the dentist so they can keep an eye on developing issues. After all, you want to catch any problems BEFORE they start causing you pain so you don’t have to deal with something more serious.

To schedule your next dental appointment, contact Henson Family Dental today. We’d love to look after your smile, and we’re happy to answer any additional questions you might have about cavities and cavity prevention!

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Summer Treats That Are Good for Teeth

Group of friends smile while hanging out on the beach in the summer

We’re excited to say that summer is in full swing! It’s hard to beat enjoying a cold sweet treat during this hot weather, but just because it feels like vacation time doesn’t mean you should take a break from looking after your teeth. We’re not telling you to give up all of your favorite snacks, but we do want to offer you some tooth-friendly alternatives you and your family can enjoy as summer treats.

Yogurt

In general, dairy is great for the health of your teeth because of the calcium and phosphorus. Yogurt is also full of vitamins and is a healthier alternative to ice cream. Of course, it’s best if you go with yogurt that’s sugar-free, or at least one that’s low in sugar, to make sure that you’re doing the best you can for your smile. Greek yogurt is especially good because of the additional protein that will help you feel fuller for longer.

Fresh Fruit

While popsicles and ice cream are often loaded with sugar, you can enjoy some sweet refreshment that won’t increase your chances of getting cavities with fruit. If you’re looking for an icy treat to cool you down in the summer heat, try freezing grapes, watermelon, or berries for a frozen snack that’s still healthy. As a fun new way to enjoy fruit, pop some pieces onto the grill during your summer barbecue. Peaches, pineapples, and strawberries are particularly tasty when grilled.

Veggie Tray

It’s easy to grab a bag of potato chips and munch away until the bag is empty, but they also happen to be full of starch, which breaks down into sugar—and sugar is just what plaque-causing bacteria love to feed on. For a crunchy snack that’s on the healthier side, dig into a big, colorful tray of veggies like carrots, celery, cucumbers, bell pepper, jicama, cauliflower, and broccoli. The fiber of raw vegetables can help scrub away bacteria that’s built up on your teeth and keep them clean.

Reach Out to Our Friendly Team!

Looking for some more dental tips? Or maybe you want to book your kid’s dental appointment before they head back to school? Our Henson Family Dental team is here for you! We’d love to help with all of your oral healthcare needs, so we invite you to reach out to us today.

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Does Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?

pregnant woman standing outside in a field
It’s no secret that the side effects of pregnancy range far beyond just creating another human life. However, you may be surprised to learn that there is a strong correlation between pregnancy and oral health. Pregnant women are at a higher risk for developing gum disease and cavities, and the oral health of a pregnant woman can have an impact on the health outcomes of both mother and baby. Today, we want to talk about the oral health risks faced by pregnant mothers as well as the steps they can take to keep their teeth healthy and strong.

Pregnancy & Gum Disease

During pregnancy, hormonal changes cause blood flow to the gums to increase. This can cause gum tissue to become sensitive, swollen, and tender. Not only is this change uncomfortable, it can also hamper your body’s normal response to bacteria and increase your risk for infection.

While there’s nothing you can do to avoid these hormonal changes, you can take steps to mitigate your risk for gum disease by following a good at-home oral hygiene routine as well as regularly visiting our office. In some cases, Dr. Henson may prescribe a special mouthwash to treat your gum disease.

Not only is fighting back against gum disease important for your own oral health, it is also important for the health of your baby. Gum disease is associated with preterm births, low birth weight, and other adverse outcomes.

Pregnancy & Cavities

As if gum disease wasn’t enough to worry about, pregnancy can also increase your risk for cavities. This heightened risk is due both to hormonal changes that affect your body’s response to bacteria as well as changes in diet while pregnant. There is a strong correlation showing that children of pregnant mothers with cavities are much more likely to develop cavities of their own.

Good oral health starts at home: you should brush your teeth twice daily and floss each day to keep teeth healthy and strong. Regular visits to our office help our team treat your oral health and are especially important while pregnant.

Contact us to ask our team any questions about oral health or to schedule a consultation!

The Effects of Grinding Your Teeth at Night

If you dismiss your own or a loved one’s tooth grinding at night as merely a noisy inconvenience, you may want to think twice. Also known as bruxism, tooth grinding can not only have some serious consequences, it may also be a sign of a serious underlying health condition like sleep apnea. Today, we want to explore some of the common effects of grinding your teeth at night, and share some strategies for eliminating grinding.

man in pain grimacing holding his head and jaw with both hands

Headaches & Jaw Pain

Tooth grinding can cause headaches in the morning, due to the constant pressure on your jaw and skull throughout the night. Other patients who grind their teeth complain about constant jaw pain as muscles are straining throughout the night while you grind teeth.

Tooth Sensitivity

Over the years, tooth grinding can lead to tooth sensitivity. When you grind your teeth, tooth enamel slowly wears away as teeth rub together. Not only does enamel protect your teeth from cavities and decay, it also protects the delicate inner dentin, pulp, and nerve endings. Once enamel is damaged and nerve endings are exposed, you will likely experience more sensitive teeth.

Cracked or Shortened Teeth

As your teeth grind back and forth, this wears away on the surface of your teeth. Over time, this can result in teeth becoming shorter. This can also lead to damage in the form of cracks, chips, or even broken teeth.

How Can I Treat Tooth Grinding?

While Dr. Henson may be able to create a customized mouthpiece that protects your teeth while you sleep, the best way to treat tooth grinding is to address its source. For some patients, tooth grinding indicates the presence of a sleep breathing disorder such as sleep apnea. For others, tooth grinding is indicative of stress or anxiety.

Contact us to ask our team questions about tooth grinding or to schedule a consultation!