My Blog

Posts for: February, 2015

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
February 26, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Teeth Whitening  

If you are considering visiting a Pittsburgh dentist for teeth whitening, chances are that you want great results that will really last, not mediocre results that will fade right away. Thankfully, it is possible to get impressive, long-lasting results. You simply need to follow these four steps for effective teeth whitening.

1. Visit Gary W. Machiko, DMD for Professional Teeth Whitening

Don't be fooled by those cheap, over-the-counter teeth whitening treatments. Not only are most of them ineffective, but they can Teeth Whiteningactually damage your teeth, leaving them more prone to staining in the future. If you want effective teeth whitening that lasts, you'll want to visit Dr. Machiko in Pittsburgh.

2. Follow Any At-Home Instructions

If Dr. Machiko sends you home with a whitening treatment, be sure to follow the instructions carefully. Neglect to apply the treatment often enough or to leave it on long enough, and you'll compromise your results. Apply it too often or leave it on too long and you may damage your teeth. Simply follow the instructions for maximum results!

3. Avoid Staining Foods in the Future

Once you've achieved the brilliant white shine you've been wanting, keep your teeth looking fresh and new by avoiding stain-causing foods and substances in the future. This means no smoking, no coffee and limiting foods such as berries, soy sauce and soda. If you do still enjoy these foods on occasion, you'll want to make sure you thoroughly brush and rinse your teeth immediately afterwards.

4. Practice Excellent Oral Hygiene

Eating staining foods isn't the only way to get discolored teeth. Neglecting proper oral hygiene can cause your teeth to become discolored as well. This is why it is so important to brush twice a day, floss once a day and visit your dentist as often as recommended for a thorough clean.

Don't settle for a few shades whiter for a short amount of time. Get a brilliant white smile that will last and last. Your new smile is only a phone call away. Call Dr. Machiko in Pittsburgh and set up an appointment for teeth whitening today!

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
February 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   mouthrinse  

Many people use a mouthrinse as part of their daily oral hygiene. If you’d also like to include a mouthrinse in your regimen, the kind you choose will depend on what you want it to do for you.

If your main desire is fresh breath, then a cosmetic rinse that imparts a minty smell to the mouth should fit the bill. That, however, is all they do — cosmetic mouthrinses don’t contribute to oral health beyond your personal satisfaction that your breath is free of bad odors. But, if you want more — added protection against dental disease, for example — then you’ll need to consider a therapeutic mouthrinse.

Therapeutic mouthrinses are usually described as anti-cariogenic (prevents decay) or anti-bacterial, and include both over-the-counter (OTC) and prescription rinses. Their purpose is to either strengthen teeth or reduce the mouth’s bacterial levels. Of the OTC variety, most contain a small amount of sodium fluoride, which can strengthen tooth enamel. They’ve proven highly effective: a number of studies show using a sodium fluoride mouthrinse in conjunction with brushing and flossing reduces the chances of new cavities forming.

A number of OTC rinses also have an anti-bacterial effect, usually provided by active ingredients such as triclosan, zinc or essential oils like menthol. Even a slight reduction in bacteria can help lessen the chances of gingivitis (gum inflammation), an early form of periodontal (gum) disease. Reducing bacteria levels may also help alleviate bad breath.

Some individuals, though, have higher than normal levels of bacteria, or a systemic weakness in fighting certain bacterial strains. If this is your case, you might benefit from a prescribed mouthrinse intended to lower bacterial levels. Most prescription mouthrinses contain chlorhexidine, which has been amply demonstrated as an effective anti-bacterial control of tooth decay and gum disease. Chlorhexidine prevents bacteria from adhering to the teeth and so disrupts plaque buildup, the main cause of dental disease. Its prolonged use will result in the dark staining of teeth in some people, but this can be removed during dental cleanings and teeth polishing. Long-term use is generally not preferred compared to getting the proper attention from regular cleanings and examinations.

If you would like more advice on adding a mouthrinse to your daily hygiene regimen, especially to help reduce your risk of dental disease, please feel free to discuss this with us at your next checkup. Regardless of which type of mouthrinse you choose, they should always be used as a complement to daily brushing and flossing, along with regular dental cleanings and checkups.

For more information on mouthrinses, 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 “Mouthrinses.”


When asked about her dazzling white smile, Cat Cora, the first female iron chef on the hit television series Iron Chef America, freely admits to maintaining the brightness of her smile with professional whitening sessions.

“With what I do, whitening your teeth is like getting your hair done, your nails done and everything else you have to do to be on television,” Cat recently told Dear Doctor magazine. However, she does have her limits. “I want my teeth to be white and healthy looking — but not stark white or looking like they could glow in the dark,” she said with a laugh.

Cat's perceptions and experiences with tooth whitening may accurately describe Hollywood, but through the power of media, celebrities and their respective fan bases, having attractive white teeth has become a goal for most people. This is because white teeth are subconsciously associated with youth and virility.

Here in the dental office, we can use professional-strength “power bleaching” to whiten teeth several shades in a single visit. To prevent irritation to the area surrounding the teeth being treated, we isolate the gums and skin of the mouth with a protective gel or a rubber barrier known as a dental dam. After the whitening solution is placed on the teeth, the process may be supplemented by heat or a light source to activate or enhance peroxide release.

For bleaching teeth at home, our office can make custom-fitted bleaching trays that you fill with a gel form of carbamide peroxide. Sometimes this whitening gel can cause a temporary tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, but this normally lasts for no more than four days after you stop bleaching your teeth.

To learn more about tooth whitening, you can continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Whitening.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment so that we can conduct a thorough examination and discuss what treatment options will be best for you. And to read the entire interview with Cat Cora, please see the article “Cat Cora.”