David M. Barney, DMD
July 9th, 2019
As adults, we often wish our teeth could be as white as they were when we were small children. Baby teeth have thinner and whiter enamel than adult teeth, and those brilliant smiles are a result! But occasionally, you may be surprised to discover some staining or discoloration on those lovely first teeth. You might be tempted to apply a whitening product to your child’s teeth, but, please—read on!
Causes of Staining
- Improper Brushing—Often, a loss of tooth whiteness means that plaque has built up on the tooth surface. Careful brushing is needed to remove bacteria and plaque, and if your child isn’t brushing at least twice a day for two minutes, discoloration can be the result.
- Medications—When given in liquid form, or when added to formula or food, iron supplements can cause dark grey staining on the teeth. Medications taken by a mother while pregnant or breast feeding, such as tetracycline, can also lead to discoloration.
- Injury—If a tooth suffers a serious injury, the tooth can darken because of changes inside the enamel.
- Health conditions—Certain health problems can cause tooth discoloration, or sometimes children are born with weaker enamel that is more likely to stain.
If you have noticed any staining on your child’s primary teeth, call our Beaverton, OR office. Simple stains can often be removed with better brushing techniques, and we can clean other surface stains in the office. Staining caused by an injury or a health condition is something we can discuss in detail with you. We can even use some professional whitening methods if those are indicated.
Why not just buy a home whitening kit for your child? There are several important reasons to leave these products on the shelf while your child is young.
- Whitening kits are designed for adults. They have been tested for adult teeth in adult trials. Check the box for age appropriate use. Most products are not recommended for pre-teen children.
- Remember that thinner enamel we mentioned earlier? Add to that the delicate skin of young children, and it’s sensible to be cautious about using a bleaching agent that can cause mouth and tooth sensitivity even in adults.
- There is no body of evidence available as to the short and long term effects of using these products on children.
If you are concerned about the brightness of your child’s smile, please talk to Dr. David Barney. We can recommend better ways to brush at home, clean your child’s teeth in the office, or suggest professional methods of whitening if there are physical or psychological reasons that it would be valuable. But while your child is young, those off-the-shelf whitening products can wait a few more years.
July 2nd, 2019
Like many other parts of the human body, teeth age. You may look at old photos and realize your smile was significantly brighter in the past than it is now. Many adults experience tooth discoloration and find it embarrassing.
The good news is there are treatment options! The first step to recovering your bright smile and finding appropriate treatment is to determine what’s causing the discoloration.
There are multiple reasons for tooth discoloration. Some are under your control, but unfortunately, others may not be. Glance at the list below and see if you can pinpoint the cause of your tooth discoloration.
- Poor Dental Hygiene: This one is obvious. There’s a reason your parents (and dentist) always told you to brush and floss three times a day.
- Genetics: A big part of your dental health is determined by genetics; in other words, what runs in your family. Sometimes people inherit naturally discolored teeth.
- Diet: Do you eat sugary foods often? Drink lots of soda? Gulp more than two cups of coffee a day? Are you an energy drink fan? We’re not pointing any fingers … but you should do the math.
- Tobacco: Because cigarettes contain nicotine, they can readily stain your teeth. So hardcore smokers often develop prominent brown stains.
- Medications: Medicines such as doxycycline, tetracycline, antihistamines, blood-pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs can all create tooth discoloration as a side effect. (If you suspect this could be the case for you, don’t ever discontinue your medication without consulting your doctor first!)
Did you find the culprit? Perhaps the easiest way to avoid tooth discoloration in your case might be to make some simple adjustments to your diet and other habits.
Also, when you consume drinks or foods that are high in acid or sugar content, take a moment to rinse your mouth with water afterward. If you’re an avid tobacco user, you may want to reconsider that; especially because it can have deadly effects that go way beyond your smile.
Dr. David Barney can also suggest other treatment options. While over-the-counter agents do help, in-office whitening treatments tend to be more effective. If whitening agents don’t alleviate the problem, you may want to consider bondings or veneers.
If you’re worried about discoloration of your teeth, or have any questions about how to treat it, please feel free to reach out to our Beaverton, OR office! We can help you identify what may be causing the problem and work with you to give you a smile you’ll be proud of.
June 25th, 2019
If you are waking up with jaw pain, tension headaches, or facial pain, you may be suffering from a condition known as bruxism. This means you could be grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep. Some people aren’t even aware they are grinding or clenching their teeth at night, until a visit to us reveals significant tooth enamel loss. Fortunately, there is a non-invasive and effective solution for teeth grinding, and the tooth enamel damage it can cause, in custom-fabricated nightguards.
Causes of teeth grinding
Tension, stress, and anxiety experienced during the daytime can carry over to an individual’s sleep, and lead the person to grind his or her teeth together or clench the teeth unknowingly. Sleep apnea is another condition that can result in bruxism. Regardless of the cause, however, frequent clenching and teeth grinding wears down the chewing surfaces of the teeth, reduces tooth enamel, and can result in a cracked or chipped tooth, crown, or filling.
Nightguards for teeth grinding
Custom nightguards are fabricated to fit like a glove and protect your teeth from the adverse effects of bruxism. Nightguards are created through a non-invasive process that simply takes an impression of the bottom and top rows of teeth. The result is a nightguard that is flexible, comfortable, and personalized to your mouth.
Benefits of nightguards
Nightguards are helpful to reduce or eliminate the symptoms of dental damage incurred as a result of teeth grinding. They can reduce the discomfort associated with a sore jaw, headaches, tooth sensitivity, ear pain, and facial pain that many patients experience as a result of clenching or grinding of their teeth. In severe cases of bruxism, patients can develop loss of hearing, jawbone misalignment, and TMJ. Therefore, customized nightguards can help prevent the progression of teeth grinding into these more serious conditions.
At-home tips to reduce or prevent teeth grinding
Although it’s important to wear your nightguard faithfully if you grind your teeth at night, you can follow a few self-care tips to help to prevent your teeth grinding from worsening.
- Reduce tension and stress. Whether you take a warm bath before bed, listen to soothing music, or exercise, practice stress-relieving activities to wash away the tensions of the day.
- Avoid alcohol. In some patients, alcohol increases teeth grinding tendencies.
- Avoid caffeine. In some individuals, caffeine increases the likelihood of teeth grinding.
- Focus on relaxing jaw muscles. Make a conscious effort to keep your jaw relaxed. A warm washcloth against your cheek, sticking your tongue between your teeth, and avoiding chewing pencils, pens, and gum are all ways to train the muscles of your jaw to stay relaxed.
If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth at night, visit Dr. David Barney and our team at Barney Family Dental for an evaluation at our convenient Beaverton, OR office.
June 18th, 2019
Everyday life can take a toll on the whiteness of our teeth: Foods we love as well as soft drinks and coffee can stain them over time. Poor brushing and flossing can also leave behind tooth stains. Even injuries to teeth or gums can cause some yellowing, and in certain cases, medicines can contribute to discoloration.
So don’t get discouraged if you notice your smile has dimmed. You can definitely take action to restore the natural beauty of your teeth. Here are some of the best ways to whiten them:
- Drink through a straw or cut back on coffee and soft drinks to reduce risk of stains.
- Brush and floss every day.
- Try a whitening toothpaste or mouthwash.
- Visit our Beaverton, OR office every six months for regular cleanings.
We also offer in-office professional whitening at our Beaverton, OR office. These whitening products are much more effective than whiteners you can buy at the store and are completely safe. Since they’re stronger, application by a member of our team is essential to achieve the best results.
Still, some teeth can resist bleaching. If that’s the case, we can try several other techniques, such as deep bleaching that applies whitening agents over several visits, veneers and bonds that cover existing stains with a whiter, brighter surface, or laser whitening.
If a whitening session is something you’d like to pursue, be careful about whom you trust to perform the procedure. Avoid using “bleaching stations” in shopping malls or at fairs. These so-called whitening techniques can irritate your teeth and gums, and leave them highly sensitive to pain.
Also, operators of these whitening stands will make customers apply the bleach themselves, to avoid charges of practicing without a license. That should serve as a red flag and a caution to seek trained professionals like Dr. David Barney, instead.