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Posts for: October, 2017

DeterminingtheRightWhiteningApproachisKeytoBrighteningaDullSmile

Bright, naturally white teeth are a key component in a beautiful smile. But the opposite is also true: nothing diminishes an otherwise attractive smile more than stained or discolored teeth.

There is good news, however, about tooth staining: it can be greatly reduced with the right whitening technique. But before taking action we need to first uncover the cause for the staining — whether from the outside or inside of the tooth, or a combination of both.

If it’s an external cause — known as extrinsic staining — our diet is usually the source. Foods and beverages that contain tannins, like red wine, coffee or tea fall in this category, as do foods with pigments called carotenes as found in carrots and oranges. Besides limiting consumption of stain-causing foods and maintaining daily oral hygiene, you can also diminish extrinsic staining with a bleaching application.

There are two basic ways to approach this: with either a professional application at our office or with a home kit purchased at a pharmacy or retail store. Although both types use similar chemicals, the professional application is usually stronger and the whitening effect is obtained quicker and may last longer.

Discoloration can also occur within a tooth, known as intrinsic staining, and for various reasons. It can occur during tooth development, as with childhood overexposure to fluoride or from the antibiotic tetracycline. Poor development of enamel or dentin (the main sources of natural tooth color), tooth decay, root canal treatments or trauma are also common causes of intrinsic discoloration.

There are techniques to reduce the effects of intrinsic staining, such as placing a bleaching agent inside the tooth following a root canal treatment. In some cases, the best approach may be to restore the tooth with a crown or porcelain veneer. The latter choice is a thin layer of dental material that is permanently bonded to the outer, visible portion of the tooth: it’s life-like color and appearance covers the discoloration, effectively renewing the person’s smile.

If you’ve been embarrassed by stained teeth, visit us for a complete examination. We’ll recommend the right course of action to turn your dull smile into a bright, attractive one.

If you would like more information on treatments for teeth staining, 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 “Teeth Whitening.”


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 13, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
OralHealthConcernsforPreteens

As if the preteen years didn’t give kids and their parents enough to think about, new oral health concerns loom on the horizon. Along with major changes to the body, brain and emotions, additional risk factors for tooth decay and gum disease appear during adolescence — the period of development starting around age 10 and extending through the teen years that marks the transition from childhood to adulthood.

Even with declining rates of tooth decay across the nation, the cavity rate remains high during adolescence. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, 1 in every 5 adolescents has untreated tooth decay. What’s more, the onset of puberty — usually beginning around age 10-11 in girls and 11-12 in boys — brings changes in hormone levels that can affect gum health.

We all have millions of microorganisms in our mouth, representing hundreds of different species of mostly helpful, but some harmful, bacteria. Research has shown that total oral bacteria increases between ages 11 and 14, and new types of bacteria are introduced, including some that are not friendly to teeth and gums. Some unfamiliar microbes trigger an exaggerated inflammatory response to dental plaque, so gum bleeding and sensitivity are experienced by many children in this age group. In fact, “puberty gingivitis,” which peaks around age 11-13, is the most common type of gum disease found during childhood.

A combination of hormones, lifestyle changes and poor oral hygiene habits raises the risk of oral health problems among adolescents. A more independent social life may be accompanied by a change in eating habits and easier access to snacks and beverages that are sugary, acidic (like sports drinks and soda) or full of refined carbohydrates — none of which are tooth-healthy choices. And as children move toward greater independence, parents are less likely to micromanage their children’s personal care, including their oral hygiene routines. Good oral hygiene can keep dental plaque at bay, lowering the chance of having gingivitis and cavities. But let’s face it: Adolescents have a lot to think about, and keeping up with their oral health may not be top of mind.

To help your preteen stay on top of their oral health, keep healthy snacks at home for your children and their friends and make sure you are well stocked with supplies such as new toothbrushes, floss and toothpaste. In addition, most preteens (and teens) can benefit from gentle reminders about oral hygiene routines.

For optimal oral health through all stages of life, make sure your preteen keeps up with professional teeth cleanings and exams, and talk with us about whether fluoride treatments or sealants may be appropriate for your child.

For more on your child’s oral health, read “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health” and “Dentistry & Oral Health For Children” in Dear Doctor magazine.


By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 05, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Lumineers  

Hate to smile? With Lumineers, you won't be embarrassed to smile. Lumineers are remarkably thin porcelain veneers that provide a lumineersnatural looking smile. Lumineers can be placed on your teeth to change nearly anything about your smile. Dr. Gary Machiko in Pittsburgh, PA offers a complete range of dental services, including Lumineers. Here are five ways Lumineers can help you.

1. Fix Gapped Teeth

It's possible to fix gaps cosmetically through the use of Lumineers. Thry are made of thin porcelain shells which are bonded on the teeth with gaps and are highly translucent and ultra-thin, allowing them to replicate the natural appearance of tooth enamel. Lumineers can easily be applied to the teeth in two simple visits.

2. Whiten Your Smile

Tooth stains can cause embarrassment and keep people from smiling. Now there is a hassle-free solution to the problem. The Lumineers procedure will leave you with a bright, white smile, eliminating the traces of dental stains and discoloration. 

3. Cover Crooked Teeth

Crooked teeth are a common problem. If crooked teeth are your top cosmetic concern, they will be readily handled with Lumineers treatment as they can change the look of a tooth's shape, length and size.

4. Restore Chipped Teeth

Chipping a tooth is a common phenomenon. Chipped teeth are unattractive and can have a negative impact on your self-esteem and self-confidence. Lumineers can make your teeth look whole and healthy again. These porcelain shells not only dramatically change the appearance of teeth, they strengthen them as well.

5. Look Years Younger

Your teeth play an important role in defining how young or old you look. Lumineers will restore your smile and make you look and feel years younger. Who doesn't want to look better — or younger? Lumineers can make everyone's smile more beautiful. Consult with a dentist in Pittsburgh to find out if Lumineers are right for you.

You don't have to be born with a gorgeous smile to own one. Lumineers can give you the perfect smile you've always wanted. Call Dr. Machiko at 412-367-1319 today to schedule a dental consultation in Pittsburgh, PA.