Teeth Whitening 101

Teeth whitening is a very popular type of cosmetic dentistry where there are several types of treatments to whiten teeth in a way best for your dental needs. You’ve likely seen many at-home teeth whitening products, but in this article, we’ll focus more on the types of in-office teeth whitening that your dentist can perform for you. 


Why Whiten?

Before we discuss your whitening options, why would your teeth need to be whitened in the first place? Each tooth has a protective layer called enamel and it’s designed to stop the harmful effects of acid, sugar, chewing, and gnashing, but it’s worn down with time. As it wears down, it becomes more transparent which allows the natural core material of the tooth to show, and that color is yellow. Beyond the tooth’s core color showing, cracks in the enamel allow for stains and debris to set in which robs your teeth of their bright white. 

Generally, there are two categories of tooth staining that create tooth discoloration:

Intrinsic teeth stains: These tooth stains are on the inside of the teeth, caused by aging, trauma to the tooth, minerals like tetracycline, or excessive fluoride. 

Extrinsic teeth stains: These are the stains that are on the surface of the tooth and come from dark-color beverages, foods, smoking, and the everyday wear and tear. Usually, these types of teeth stains can be removed with brushing and dental cleaning as they are more superficial.

Specific causes of tooth discoloration and the need for dental whitening include:

  • Age, teeth darken as a result of wear and tear, as well as stain accumulation
  • Translucency and thinness, a genetic trait that causes the teeth to have less pigment. 
  • Smoking and eating, many foods can cause staining over the years like red wine, coffee, soda, carrots, oranges, and acidic foods can cause enamel erosion. If a smoker, nicotine leaves brownish deposits that slowly soak into the tooth and cause intrinsic discoloration. 
  • Grinding, can cause micro-cracks and the edges of a tooth to darken
  • Tooth trauma, injuries to the tooth can create large cracks where stains and debris can collect in them.


Tooth Whitening vs. Teeth Bleaching

When people consider having teeth whitening done, they are surprised to learn that there is a difference between bleaching teeth and whitening them. Bleaching means that the teeth are whitened beyond their natural color and applies only to products that contain bleach in the whitening treatment, such as hydrogen or carbamide peroxide. The two chemicals work in different timetables, for example, hydrogen peroxide is often used in a dental office because it’s fast-acting and powerful. You’ll likely find carbamide peroxide with at-home teeth whitening products or a teeth whitening kit because it’s slower-acting. 

Whitening refers to any treatment that restores the tooth’s surface color by removing the dirt and debris from the tooth. By that definition, run-of-the-mill toothpaste could be considered teeth whiteners. While it’s true that both bleaching and whitening are used interchangeably, it’s good information to know when discussing options with your dentist to ensure you’re getting what you want. 


Teeth Whitening Treatment Options

While there are three major options for teeth whitening, we’ll forgo discussing the over-the-counter teeth whiteners and discuss the two options you have at a dental office:

In-office Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening provided by your dentist at their office is the fastest way to whiten your teeth. The dentist will first place a rubber dam that is painted on the gums to protect them and then use a high-concentration peroxide gel that is applied to the teeth. The gel sits on the teeth in 15 to 20-minute intervals that altogether add up to an hour. While this usually takes care of all the stains affecting your smile, sometimes a follow-up treatment will be given if there is a stubborn stain or two.

Professional Home Teeth Whitening

There are professional teeth whitening products only available through your dentist that you’re able to take home. The home whitening kit uses a lower concentration peroxide gel that can be left to sit for an hour or longer, including overnight using custom-made bleaching trays, like a mouth guard. 

No matter which type of teeth whitening you and your dentist agree is best, whitening your teeth can boost your self-esteem and recapture that bright smile. 

If you’re interested in having your teeth whitened, we have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 780-705-9866 or contact us here.

How Long Does a Teeth Cleaning Take?

Planning a teeth cleaning can add an extra hurdle to your day, especially if you’re unsure how long the teeth cleaning process will take. While dental cleanings can be a bit annoying to fit into your schedule, it’s extremely important to your health to prioritize regular teeth cleanings every six months. 

For those with anxiety around any dental treatment or dentist visits, the six-month teeth cleanings can be a stressful thing to hear. To help ease any discomfort about regularly having this important treatment, we’ll discuss what the average teeth cleaning time is, why, and what is involved.


The Average Dental Cleaning Time

There are a few things to consider when figuring out how long a teeth cleaning will take, mostly around the state of your oral health and dental routine at home. If you have a solid brushing and flossing routine twice a day, the teeth cleaning time should be 30 to 40 minutes or an hour to 90 minutes, depending on the condition of your teeth during that visit and the hygienists’ cleaning speed. 

Other factors that could increase your average teeth cleaning time are:

  • The condition of your teeth: Having teeth cleanings involves clearing away plaque, stains, and tartar from your teeth. The amount of buildup depends on how often you brush and floss – the more you do it, the less there will be. Of course, you don’t want to overdo it as over-brushing and over-flossing can cause problems too. 
  • Gum disease: This can greatly impact the time your teeth cleaning can take as the deep periodontal pockets need to be thoroughly cleaned out to cure the gum disease. The process involves scaling and root planing, which is a deeper cleaning than your average dental cleaning appointment. If it’s more severe, your dentist may recommend seeing a periodontist to fix the problem.
  • Fear of dentistry: Patients with anxiety around dental appointments tend to have longer teeth cleaning visits as your provider will work at a slower pace and prioritize your comfort. They’ll outline the process of what they’re doing, be patient while keeping you calm, or offer sedation to better help you through the treatment.

As you can see, there is some wiggle room in how long a teeth cleaning will take. The good news is that you have an idea of what to budget for time-wise in your schedule. 

If you’re in need of a preventative dentistry appointment, like a teeth cleaning, we encourage you to explore here: Preventative Dentistry With Ellerslie 66 Dental


What Does a Professional Teeth Cleaning Involve?

While many of us have had numerous teeth cleaning appointments, it’s always good to have a little refresher, especially if you have some anxiety around dental appointments. Here is what you can expect during your teeth cleaning:

  • Examining your teeth and gums with a concave mirror to check for signs of oral health problems.
  • Using a small hooked tool called a peridontal scaler to remove plaque and tartar from the surface of a tooth, in between your teeth, and near the gum line.
  • Polishing and flossing to remove any stains, usually used with a handheld electric tool with a rubber cup attached. The hygienist will also use a gritty toothpaste during this process before finishing with flossing.
  • Fluoride is very often used during teeth cleaning appointments and usually near the end. You usually get to choose the flavor of gel you like and for a minute you sit and wear it in a mouthpiece.

And that’s the teeth cleaning appointment in a nutshell! As mentioned earlier, for patients with a lot of anxiety around the dentist, you can request sedation. 


Edmonton Dental Cleaning

Having regular teeth cleaning is extremely important to the health of your teeth, not only to keep your teeth healthy but also to catch any problems before they become serious. If you’re in need of an appointment, we have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 587-801-1939 or contact us here.

What Is A Root Canal?

Sometimes a little extra care is needed to rid the tooth of a blossoming infection and save the tooth itself. One of the treatments that are often recommended in a situation like this is the root canal. While many associate this dental treatment with cringes and avoidance, learning about why it can be necessary and how root canals are performed can ease any anxiety so that the health of your teeth is restored. 

Read below to learn what is a root canal and the procedure that can save a tooth.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a type of dental procedure where tooth pain is relieved by removing the inflamed pulp from the infected or abscessed tooth. The treatment is performed by a type of dentist called an Endodontist, which is a root canal specialist with an additional two years of education and training that focuses on the inner parts of the tooth and treatment of the pulp in teeth. They work in conjunction with your dentist to restore your natural teeth and improve oral health. 


When Would a Root Canal Be Recommended?

A root canal procedure is usually recommended when bacteria invade the pulp in your teeth, which often occurs when a cavity is untreated for an extended amount of time or a tooth has become damaged due to an injury to it. There are several symptoms that can indicate your dentist may recommend you for an endodontic treatment, like a root canal:

  • Pain in a tooth or your teeth that don’t go away
  • Discomfort radiating to your jaw, face, or other teeth
  • Swollen gums
  • Swollen jaw
  • Tooth discoloration from poor blood supply to it
  • Pain from pressure applied to a tooth, like when eating
  • A loose tooth caused by infected pulp
  • Pimple or boil on the gums resulting from the pus that is draining from an infected tooth.
  • Unpleasant taste or smell 
  • Sensitivity to heat and cold in your teeth

If you have a combination of these symptoms then a root canal treatment will likely be recommended to save your tooth. Of course, you would need to be examined by your dentist to ensure that root canal therapy is the solution for what is causing these dental health issues.


What is the Root Canal Procedure?

A root canal procedure can take between 30 to 60 minutes and can require two dental office visits, though the treatment can reach an hour and a half if the root canal is being performed on a larger tooth with several roots. No matter the time it takes, a root canal treatment follows these steps:

  • Prior to the treatment, your dentist will take dental x-rays to assess the extent of the damage and ensure a root canal is a right solution.
  • Anesthesia is given to numb the infected tooth and surrounding gums.
  • A dental dam is placed to isolate the tooth and keep it dry during the root canal treatment
  • An opening is made in the crown of the tooth so the dentist can reach the pulp inside
  • The pulp is removed along with the nerves, blood vessels, and tissues inside the tooth
  • The pulp chamber inside the tooth and root canals is cleaned, disinfected, and shaped for new filling
  • The canals are filled with gutta-percha, a flexible and rubbery dental material.
  • A temporary dental filling is placed to seal the tooth and prevent bacteria from re-entering it.
  • A dental crown will likely be needed to protect the tooth and restore your natural bite. To learn more about crowns, we recommend reading here: How Does a Dental Crown Work?

After the root canal is finished you’ll likely experience heightened sensitivity for a few days before they subside after two weeks. Many patients also report immediate relief from the tooth pain they suffered prior to the treatment.

Make a Root Canal Appointment Here!

If a root canal seems like the appropriate solution for you or has been recommended, we encourage you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Li. She’ll examine your health history and current dental health before outlining a treatment plan that is personalized to your teeth’ needs.

Dr. Li and the care team at Ellerslie 66 Dental Clinic strive to make dental care affordable and accessible to all of our patients. We will work with you to find a treatment plan for your dental bridge that works for your financial situation.

If you have questions about root canals, our team of compassionate professionals can help you understand all of your options. Contact us now or give us a call at (780) 705-9866.

Is Cosmetic Dentistry Worth it?

A healthy smile is more than having good oral health, it’s tied to self-confidence and overall wellness, which is what cosmetic dentistry helps with. A smile is one of the first things people will notice about you, and it makes sense that people want to invest in having the kind of smile they’re proud to show off. 

If you’re curious whether or not cosmetic dentistry is worth it, read below to see what it entails, the different types of cosmetic dentistry, and the benefits of having it done. 


What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is any dental procedure whereby a dentist’s goal is to improve the appearance of a smile, including the teeth’ position, size, shape and color, gums, and jaw bite. If you’ve ever sought out a dentist for:

  • Misaligned teeth
  • Chipped or broken tooth
  • Teeth whitening
  • Closing gaps

Then you’ve been looking for cosmetic dentistry. A common example of cosmetic dentistry is braces, though it’s a bit of a gray area as to why a patient would need braces determines if it’s medical or cosmetic. The most simple way to explain what cosmetic dentistry is is by describing it as any dental procedure that isn’t essential to the health of your teeth, gums, or mouth. That, of course, doesn’t mean there aren’t other benefits to other areas of your wellness. 


Different Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

To better understand if cosmetic dentistry is worth it, you first need to know the many different types of procedures that fall under that category. Many cosmetic dental procedures are near painless and have almost no recovery time, so if you’re worried about having to reorder your week, you likely won’t have to beyond the appointment. While this list doesn’t include every procedure that falls under the cosmetic umbrella, it will give you a look at some of the options available to you:

  •  Dental Veneers: Veneers are usually made from a medical-grade ceramic and specifically for the patient getting them. Dental veneers resemble natural teeth and are applied to the front of each tooth using an adhesive. The goal is to cover cracked or damaged enamel, noticeable gaps, and crooked teeth.
  • Crowns and Bridges: Dental bridges are used to fill the space between missing teeth and are one of those procedures that can also be considered medically necessary rather than just cosmetic. They’re often used as a less invasive and more affordable option instead of dental implants, though they share the same goal as other types of dental restorations.
  • Orthodontics: From braces to invisible teeth straightening, each is made specifically for the patient and is used to straighten teeth. This is another procedure that can be both cosmetic and medical, as crooked teeth may cause severe issues in your mouth or, if minor misalignment, can give more confidence in your smile.
  • Teeth Whitening: So many of our favorite foods and drinks can dull the whiteness of our teeth, so it’s no wonder why many people become interested in cosmetic dentistry at one point or another. Having teeth whitening performed is one of the fastest and most popular cosmetic dental procedures that yield great results while restoring confidence in your smile. 


The Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

It’s unfortunate that cosmetic dentistry is sometimes considered just vanity when there is a range of benefits to overall wellness and self-esteem. Below you’ll find a list of some of the positive side-effects of that make cosmetic dentistry worth it:

  • Long-lasting results: many cosmetic dentistry procedures have results that can last more than 10-years, minimizing the money spent on reclaiming the smile you’re wanting.
  • Headache relief: crooked or misaligned teeth are known to cause headaches. Having them straightened through cosmetic dentistry helps to reduce or even eliminate them.
  • Improved dental hygiene: People who have a cosmetic dentistry procedure performed tend to become more invested in their oral health following the work done. Inspired by their new smile, patients report picking up better dental hygiene routines and regular dental appointments to maintain their smiles. 
  • Improved self-esteem: When people dislike their teeth they tend to hide their smiles and fear how others perceive their mouth. By being confident and proud in your oral health and smile, your day-to-day interactions with people become more comfortable as are you to fully express yourself in the face. 

Don’t let anyone convince you that cosmetic dentistry is just a vanity project, your self-confidence and liking the way you look is important. Beyond your self-esteem, you can see that cosmetic dentistry is worth it for the other positive side effects as well. 

If you’re interested in having cosmetic dentistry , we have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 587-801-1939 or contact us here.


How Does a Dental Crown Work?

We put our teeth through a lot over our lifetime, and they can become damaged from decay, injury, or even losing their shape. Dental crowns help give our teeth some extra strength to continue chewing and help prevent further damage. People tend to wonder how a dental crown works – it’s not like a filling, and no one would want to cover up a cavity when it needs to be fixed. What are they even for? 

Let’s go over how a dental crown works, what to expect when getting one placed on your tooth, and some tips once the crown has been added. 


What is a Dental Crown?

Essentially, a dental crown is a cap that is placed over a damaged tooth. It helps to protect and cover, as well as restore the shape of the tooth if a filling doesn’t solve the issue. They’re typically made out of metal, resin, porcelain, or ceramic and strengthen the tooth as well as help it regain its appearance. Think of it as a form-fitting hat for your teeth!


Why Would I Need a Dental Crown?

There are several reasons why someone would need to have a dental crown, and even children may require one if they have a tooth that cannot support a filling. Some reasons why an adult would need one include:

  • Protecting a tooth from decay, breaking, or cracking
  • Restoring a tooth that is broken or severely worn down
  • Covering a dental implant
  • Covering a tooth post-root canal
  • Holding a dental bridge in place
  • Helping to support a tooth with a large filling, especially if much of the natural tooth has worn or cracked away
  • Covering a tooth that is severely discolored or misshapen

As you can see, a dental crown can be used for medically necessary reasons or for cosmetic reasons, and for all age groups. 


How is a Dental Crown Placed?

If you have anxiety around the dentist’s office, it can help to know the procedure involved when getting a dental crown placed. First, there are two visits involved when in need of a dental crown. Here’s what you can expect when in need of a dental crown treatment:

In your first dental crown appointment:

  1. A dentist will examine the tooth in need of a crown.
  2. X-rays are taken of the tooth and the surrounding bone.
  3. After the exam, if any decay, injury to the pulp, or risk of infection is found, a root canal may be needed. You can read more about root canals here.
  4. The tooth will be filed down on the top and on both sides to make space for the crown. The amount of tooth filed depends on the type of crown you’ll be getting. For example, an all-metal crown won’t require much of the tooth to be filed away since it’s made of thinner material.
  5. A putty is used to make an impression of the tooth and the teeth around it after reshaping is finished. This ensures the crown fits and does not affect your natural bite. 
  6. The impression is sent to a dental lab where a crown will be made. While you wait for your crown, your dentist will give you a temporary one to protect the tooth. 

Your second dental crown appointment involves:

  1. The temporary crown given on your first visit is removed.
  2. The fit and color of the permanent dental crown is checked before being applied.
  3. A local anesthetic is applied to numb the tooth and the new crown is cemented on top in place. 

You’re all done! 

Dental Crown Aftercare

Now that you know how a dental crown works, what about after it has been placed? You’ll be happy to know that there isn’t any special care involved outside of routine brushing and flossing. This is important as the dental crown doesn’t stop decay or gum disease from getting to the tooth it’s protecting. It’s also important to note that dental crowns don’t last forever – they usually range between 5-15 years.

If you need a dental crown or are worried about the strength of your teeth, we have numerous payment options available and if you have dental benefits, we will submit your claims on your behalf. We also welcome cash, Visa, MasterCard, and e-Transfer payment methods to help make the dentist visit as pain-free as possible.

If you have any questions or concerns about our dental services or would like to schedule an appointment, you can call us at 587-801-1939 or contact us here.