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Sixth Grade~Bleaching, Veneers, Oral Cancer, Wisdom Teeth, TMJ, Smokeless Tobacco, Implants & Crowns
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Tooth bleaching safely lightens the color of the teeth, lasting for up to five years. The most effective and safest method of tooth bleaching is dentist-supervised. Consider tooth bleaching if your teeth are darkened from age, coffee, tea or smoking. Teeth darkened with the color of yellow, brown or orange respond better to lightening. Other types of gray stains caused by fluorosis, smoking or tetracycline are lightened, but results are not as dramatic. If you have very sensitive teeth, periodontal disease, or teeth with worn enamel, your dentist may discourage bleaching.

During the first appointment (after having decided on the appropriate system to use), they take impressions of your teeth to fabricate bleaching trays for you. The mouthguard is custom made for your mouth and is lightweight so that it can be worn comfortably while you are awake or sleeping. The mouthguard is so thin that you should even be able to talk and work while wearing your mouthguard. Along with the mouthguard, you'll receive the bleaching materials. You'll be given instructions on how to wear the mouthguard.

Some bleaching systems recommend bleaching your teeth from two to four hours a day. Generally this type of system requires three to six weeks to complete, and works best on patients with sensitive teeth. Other systems recommend bleaching at night while you sleep. This type of system usually requires only 10-14 days to complete.

The success rate depends upon the type of stain involved and your compliance. Bleaching can only provide a shift in color from gray to a lighter shade of gray, for example. Bleaching does not lighten artificial materials such as resins, silicants, or porcelains.


Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramic material, which are bonded to the front of teeth. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia, and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth. Porcelain veneers are placed to mask discolorations, to brighten teeth, and to improve a smile. Highly resistant to permanent staining from coffee, tea, or even cigarette smoking, the wafer-thin porcelain veneers can achieve a tenacious bond to the tooth, resulting in an esthetically pleasing naturalness that is unsurpassed by other restorative options.

Porcelain veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth's color, size, or shape. Porcelain veneers can mask undesirable defects, such as teeth stained by tetracycline, by an injury, or as a result of a root-canal procedure, and are ideal for masking discolored fillings in front teeth. Patients with gaps between their front teeth or teeth that are chipped or worn may consider porcelain veneers.They will last for many years, and the technique has shown remarkable longevity when properly performed.

Porcelain veneers are reasonable facsimiles of natural teeth, not perfect replacements. It's not uncommon to see slight variations in the color of porcelain veneers upon close inspection, as this occurs even in natural teeth. Nevertheless, this procedure can greatly enhance your smile, and can heighten inner satisfaction and self-esteem

Fixed Bridges

A bridge is a dental appliance that replaces one or more natural missing teeth, thereby "bridging" the space between two teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented into place next to the "abutment" teeth--the surrounding teeth on either side of the space, or "span." Unlike removable partial dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of the mouth by the patient. A fixed bridge is a device that typically consists of three units--a pontic (a false tooth) fused between two crowns that are cemented onto the abutment teeth. It replaces one or more natural missing teeth, thereby "bridging" the space between two teeth. Fixed bridges are cemented into place next to the "abutment" teeth--the surrounding teeth on either side of the space, or "span." Unlike removable partial dentures, fixed bridges cannot be taken out of the mouth by the patient.

If you are missing any teeth and are committed to maintaining good oral hygiene practices, you may be a good candidate for a bridge. A bridge is the most natural choice to fill the space in your mouth left by missing teeth. If left unfilled, this space can cause the surrounding teeth to drift out of position and can cause teeth and gums to become more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease that can cause further tooth loss. Fixed bridges not only correct an altered bite, improve your chewing ability and speech, but they also safeguard your appearance by preventing the collapse of your facial features that can cause premature wrinkles and age lines.


A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position. A denture improves chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer, the sixth most common cancer, accounts for about 3.6 percent of all cancers diagnosed, with roughly 40,000 new cases of oral cancer reported annually in the United States. The most frequent oral cancer sites are the tongue, the floor of the mouth, and soft palate tissue areas in back of the tongue, lips, and gums. If not diagnosed and treated in its early stages, oral cancer can spread, leading to chronic pain, loss of function, irreparable facial and oral disfigurement following surgery, and even death.

The carcinogens in tobacco products, alcohol and certain foods, as well as excessive exposure to the sun have been found to increase the risk of developing oral cancer. Risk factors for oral cancer may also be genetically inherited.

Oral cancer--represented by red, white or discolored lesions, patches or lumps in or around the mouth--is typically painless in its early stages. As the malignant cancer spreads and destroys healthy oral tissue, the lesions or lumps become more painful.Thus, see your dentist immediately if you observe: any sore that persists longer than two weeks; a swelling, growth or lump anywhere in or about the mouth or neck; white or red patches in the mouth or on the lips; repeated bleeding from the mouth or throat; difficulty swallowing or persistent hoarseness.

Wisdom teeth extractions

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, do not always erupt properly when they decide to make an appearance. It's wise to get an early opinion from your dentist on getting wisdom teeth pulled before they become impacted, causing pain, swelling, infection, cavities or gum disease.The shape of the modern human mouth is often too small to accommodate wisdom teeth which make their first appearance in young adults between the ages of 15 to 25. Over the course of time, humans learned to harness fire for cooking foods and developed blade tools to better process food before consumption, and reduced the need for strong jaws to chew food.

Partially erupted wisdom teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria and germs that may cause infection, and cysts and tumors may grow on a trapped wisdom tooth. Jaw pain and gum disease may occur. Not all wisdom teeth cause problems, however.

It isn't wise to wait until wisdom teeth bother you. Early removal, as advised by your dentist, is generally recommended to avoid problems, such as an impacted tooth that destroys the second molar. People younger than 16 heal easier too. At an early age, people should be evaluated by their dentist who can track third molar development with the help of X-rays. Second molars should be visible to lessen the chance of damaging them during surgery. This occurs at age 11 or 12, so wisdom teeth should be removed when the decision has been made that they cannot erupt into an acceptable position.


It is estimated that over 60 million Americans complain about this problem. Some of the signs and symptoms are locked jaw, clicking or grating sounds coming from the jaw joint when eating, soreness or pain in the jaw muscles or the face, tension headaches, earaches, ringing or hissing sounds, wet-itchy feeling in the ears, stiff neck, constant sinus like pressure and frequent headaches.

The longer the pain continues,the more complicated the treatment might be. Treatment for the dysfunction can vary from simple exercise, to bite guards, to surgery. The good news is that usually it can and has been treated successfully, and the results are excellent.

Spit Tobacco

Spit tobacco affects your dental health as well as the rest of your body. If you use smokeless tobacco and have thought about quitting, your dentist can help. In the meantime, here are a few facts that may help you decide to join the 200 million Americans who are tobacco-free.

Spit tobacco includes snuff, a finely ground version of processed tobacco, and chewing tobacco in the form of shredded or pressed bricks and cakes, called plugs, or rope-like strands called twists. Users "pinch" or "dip" tobacco and place a wad in their cheek or between their lower lip and gums. In the United Kingdom, users often snort snuff.

Some wrongly believe that spit tobacco is safer than smoking cigarettes. But spit tobacco is more addictive because it contains higher levels of addictive nicotine than cigarettes and can be harder to quit than cigarettes. One can of snuff delivers as much nicotine as 60 cigarettes.

About 8,000 people die every year from tobacco use. About 70 percent of those deaths are from oral cancer. Other cancers caused by tobacco include cancer of the pancreas, nasal cavity, urinary tract, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, intestines and the stomach. Kids who use spit tobacco products are 4 to 6 times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-users and tobacco juice-related cancers can form within five year of regular use. Among high school seniors who have ever used spit tobacco, almost three- fourths began by the ninth grade.

How does snuff and chewing tobacco harm my dental health?

It causes bad breath, discolors teeth and promotes tooth decay that leads to tooth loss. Spit tobacco users have a decreased sense of smell and taste, and they are at greater risk of developing cavities. The grit in snuff eats away at gums, exposing tooth roots which are sensitive to hot and cold temperatures and can be painful. Sugar in spit tobacco causes decay. Spit tobacco users also have a hard time getting their teeth clean.

What about mouth sores?

The most common sign of possible cancer in smokeless tobacco users is leukoplakia, (loo-ko-play-key-ah) a white scaly patch or lesion inside the mouth or lips, common among many spit tobacco users. Red sores are also a warning sign of cancer. Often, signs of precancerous lesions are undetectable. Dentists can diagnose and treat such cases before the condition develops into oral cancer. If a white or red sore appears and doesn't heal, see your dentist immediately for a test to see if it's precancerous. Spit tobacco users also should see their dentist every three months, to make sure a problem doesn't develop. Studies have found that 60 to 78 percent of spit tobacco users have oral lesions.

What are double dippers?

Double dippers, who mix snuff and chewing tobacco, are more likely to develop precancerous lesions than those who use only one type of spit tobacco. Long-term snuff users have a 50 percent greater risk of developing oral cancer than non-users, and spit tobacco users are more likely to become cigarette smokers.

How do you kick the habit?

Your dentist can help you kick your spit tobacco habit. In addition to cleaning teeth and treating bad breath and puffy, swollen gums associated with tobacco use, your dentist may prescribe a variety of nicotine replacement therapies, such as the transdermal nicotine patch or chewing gum that helps to wean addicted snuff dippers or tobacco chewers.

Make goals

Make the following goals to quit and never resume chewing or dipping:

  • Pick a date and taper use as the date nears. Instead of using spit tobacco, carry substitutes like gum, hard candy and sunflower seeds.

  • Cut back on when and where you dip and chew. Let friends and family know that you're quitting and solicit their support. If they dip and chew, ask them not to do it around you.

  • Make a list of three situations you're most likely to dip and chew, and make every effort to avoid using tobacco at those times.


One of the most exciting advances in dentistry today are implants. Unlike bridges or partial dentures which fill gaps for missing teeth, implants actually become a part of you. When your natural tooth is lost, the tooth and root are replaced with an implant. A small hole is made in the bone where your original tooth was removed, and a tiny metal implant is inserted. It is often rough with grooves or small holes so the bone can grow in, through, or around it. You quite literally grow into it. With the bottom part (implant) secure, the top part is placed inside the implant. Now your implant is ready for a crown, bridge, or securing a denture. Because this device is implanted into your jaw, restorations will feel and function like your natural teeth. Implants are truly a modern dental miracle and the treatment choice for many patients.


Crowns are done to save teeth that are cracked, severely decayed, or chipped badly. There are several types of crowns:

  1. stainless steel crowns, used on primary (baby) teeth
  2. gold crowns, mainly on back teeth
  3. porcelain with metal, used everywhere
  4. all porcelain teeth, excellent esthetics, undetectable in the mouth

Crowns are custom made in the dental laboratory by skilled dental technicians. This process is different for every crown and has several very specific steps. In order to do a crown on a permanent tooth, a certain procedure must be followed.

  1. tooth is prepared for the crown
  2. impression of the prepared tooth is made
  3. temporary crown is made and placed
  4. the laboratory custom makes the new crown for you
  5. the temporary is removed, and the new crown is placed for you

Crowns result in better function, increase your ability to chew, and you get to keep your own teeth.

Soda Drinking

Do you drink too much soda? You could be rotting your teeth. Drinking carbonated soft drinks all the time can erode the top layer called the enamel that is protecting your teeth. Soda contains sticky sugars that break down into acid which sticks very easily to your teeth. These acids soften the surface and promote plaque production which leads to cavities. If the cavity breaks through the enamel and gets inside the tooth to the dentin, you will be in a lot of pain and have a very sensitive tooth. That could lead to a nerve infection which could end up in a root canal surgery! The worst time to drink soda is when you are very thirsty because the saliva levels in your mouth are very low. The saliva helps to destroy some of the acid from the foods we eat and drink naturally. Also the more you drink, the more acid you allow to hurt your teeth. In fact,you actually hurt your teeth more by slowly taking sips of soda over a long time than drinking an entire can at once. Every time the soda touches your teeth, the acids get to work at destroying them. Try only drinking soda pop with a full meal, and brush and floss as soon as you are done. If you're thirsty and want a healthy smile, skip the soft drinks and head for the water.

Did you know that drinking water can improve your smile? Well, actually it helps fight the acids that come into your mouth when you eat. It can reduce the acid by 30 percent according to the Academy of General Dentistry. Brushing is always best but not always possible. So drink to your health (water that is)!


Academy of Dentistry International
100 Park Avenue, 16th Floor
New York, New York 10017 USA
Tel: +1 212 984 0672 (voicemail for Interim Executive Director)