Tips and Advice

The Harmful Effects of At-Home Aligners

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completed invisalign Nothing quite boosts our confidence like a big, beautiful, straight smile. What used to be an expensive or age-defined treatment is now readily available to people of all ages and can be very affordable. In fact, working professionals are excited because they can straighten their teeth discreetly with nearly invisible aligners – like Invisalign. Unfortunately, not all clear aligners are created equal, and some may cause more problems than they solve.

Third-Party Dangers

Many businesses have now seen how they can make a buck by promoting ‘at-home aligners’. These companies – like Smile Direct Club or Candid Co. – have numerous patients who have reported needing to keep coming back for realignment at the cost of the patient. Many people have complained about the high failure rates as well. In addition, you may need to get impressions redone multiple times at your own cost and pay for the retainers after your alignment series is complete. Sites like the Better Business Bureau have listed the complaints from these companies and you can read firsthand about the consequences that come from using these ‘at-home aligners’.

With these companies, there are no dentists that are checking your progress and making sure your teeth are moving. In fact, many people complain that after wearing these for months – their teeth haven’t moved or changed. We have had two recent patients that have come into our office after using Smile Direct: not only were there no results or noticeable alignment but one patient may end up losing a tooth because of it, and both patients are fighting for refunds.

Safety, Convenience, and Discretion

If you are truly seeking a way to straighten your teeth successfully and discreetly, our team at Alrez Family Dentistry can talk with you about our Invisalign options. We typically only need to get one set of impressions to make your custom aligners, and our reviews speak for themselves. After your initial appointments, you can straighten your teeth with your aligners from the comfort of your home: just continue to check in with Dr.Alrez so we can monitor your progress directly! Straightening your teeth under the guidance of a licensed and educated dentist is always the safer move.

refer aligners

In addition, we offer payment plans and financing to help with the cost, but you may find that we are actually more affordable than the third-party ‘at-home’ alignment companies and we care about your results. If you know a family member or friend that is thinking about using an at-home alignment system, please send them our way first! They’ll get better treatment with better results and you’ll get $100 cash if they begin Invisalign in our office. If you have any questions about straightening your teeth or the options we offer, please contact us or schedule an appointment today. 


Why Does Your Mask Give You Bad Breath?

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guy with bad breath Bad breath is usually a major hit to your self-confidence, whether someone else pointed it out to you or you caught a random whiff when the wind blew just right, bad breath is never something you want coming out of your mouth. There are a lot of ways to avoid bad breath. For instance, practicing good dental habits and avoiding smelly food – but, then the pandemic threw a wrench into the situation. While they assist us in staying healthy, masks also make our breath terrible. Is there a reason for this? Yes, and unfortunately, it may not be something we can avoid – completely.

The Downside to the Mask

More people than ever before have been wearing masks, leading many to ask why their breath seems to be getting worse. Fortunately, with a mask – most people aren’t going to notice your breath can clear a room. It is true, however, that your mask may be causing an increase in the bacteria that causes odor in your mouth. As we wear a mask, we are more likely to breathe through our mouths. If we wear a mask for the majority of our day – breathing through our mouths – we become susceptible to a condition called dry mouth. As our saliva decreases in our mouth, we lose the neutralizing agent that protects against bacteria and tooth decay. The end result is bad breath. By the time you remove your mask at the end of the day, your mask may be ready for the trash bin just because of the stench it puts off.

Solving the Puzzle

Wearing a mask is an important element for staying healthy, but that doesn’t mean you have to suffer from bad breath every time you put on a mask. Since dry mouth causes bad breath, and masks inhibit dry mouth, the solution to solving the puzzle is preventing dry mouth. Here are some ways to do this:

  • Good Dental Hygiene. The first step to good breath and a healthy level of saliva is making sure to have a good dental hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing twice per day and seeing your dentist twice a year will help keep your mouth healthy.
  • Stay Hydrated. A smart choice to stay in good health, drinking enough water throughout the day will keep your saliva levels up and your body hydrated.
  • Take a Break. Give yourself breaks during the day, in safe spaces, that allow you to remove your mask to breathe freely. Ideally, go outside and take a walk. This is great for your mental and physical health and will help keep bad breath at bay.

 

In Good Hands

For the time being, masks are going to be a part of all of our lives. As we adjust to this new normal, we encourage you to do your best to stay healthy. A great way to stay in good overall health is to stay on top of your dental check-ups. At Alrez Family Dentistry, we are committed to giving you a healthy, beautiful smile. We also have resources available to help you stay on the right track throughout the year. Schedule an appointment today – we look forward to taking care of your teeth!


Reasons to Choose Invisalign Over Metal Braces

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Girl with Invisalign
If you have been to the dentist recently, you may have discussed braces with your provider. If you are an adult, you may be concerned that getting braces at this point in your life will make you look less professional. You also may have been prevented from getting braces as a child due to financial constraints or access to dental care. You are not alone. About 25% of adults require dental correction involving braces for one reason or another. Thanks to Invisalign, more and more adults can get the smile they have always dreamed about without anyone even noticing! While metal braces are still an excellent option for dental corrections, Invisalign might be the right choice for you. Here are some reasons to choose Invisalign over traditional metal braces.

They’re Invisible

Okay, you probably already figured that one out. Invisalign is appealing because you can straighten your teeth without having to compromise your smile with metal braces. Invisible braces are especially appealing to adults in a professional or career setting. Unfortunately, many people want to improve their smile but shy away from braces because they fear what people think if they have metal braces in adulthood. First of all, no one should be swayed by the opinion of others; there is nothing wrong with getting braces when you are over the age of 18. That aside, Invisalign is an excellent choice if you want to avoid those situations and opinions altogether.

Better Technology, Better Results, Better Comfort

In the last decade or so since the perfecting of Invisalign, custom fittings have produced better results. With metal braces, there is not much room for customization. While metal braces are sized for your teeth, there is not much room for comfort adjustments. Even the bands that need to be changed regularly can cause discomfort for most people with metal braces. Because of Invisalign’s new technology, dentists can give patients a custom aligner through the use of 3-D molding or with the latest technology, the iTero Scanner – which we can use here in our office at Alrez Family Dentistry! Moldings and 3-D scans will create aligners that fit your entire mouth. As your teeth begin to move and shift, a dental provider can make a new molding as often as needed until the desired correction is reached.

One aspect that makes Invisalign exceptionally comfortable is the fact that you can remove the aligner! While you need to work with your provider to decide how many hours you will need to wear the aligner, most people can take these out after some time each day. Much like a retainer, it gives you more control and comfort over your dental corrections, unlike metal braces that force you to hide your teeth for a few years to see results.

A Beautiful Smile Starts Here

Whatever you choose, metal braces or Invisalign, our team at Alrez Family Dentistry would be happy to talk with you about the pros and cons of each option. We also recommend scheduling an appointment with us twice each year to ensure you are on the best track for optimal dental health. Your beautiful smile starts here!


Could Wearing a Mask Give You Cavities?

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5 Tips for Preventing Cavities

You may have noticed some changes now that you are often wearing a mask. Not only may your breath smell different, but we have recently seen an increase in cavities in patients who wear masks for much of the day. Although we stress the importance of wearing a mask at this time, we have put together a few tips to help prevent cavities when you wear a mask.

How To Avoid Mask Mouth

  1. Woman smiling at dentistMake a conscious effort to seal your lips and breathe through your nose. Mouth breathing causes a decrease in the production and secretion of saliva, which provides a very important protective mechanism.
  2. Chew gum to promote saliva. Saliva coats and protects your teeth and all the tissue inside your mouth. Without sufficient mineral-rich saliva, we see rampant decay and gum disease!
  3. Remember to drink plenty of water. Wearing a mask has resulted in an obvious increase in dehydration and dry mouth. This is bad for your overall health, including oral health.
  4. Before you put on a mask and after you eat, try flossing and brushing your teeth. This will help eliminate any extra bacteria that may have been able to grow while your mask was on otherwise.
  5. Lastly, it is more important now than ever to visit your dentist for your routine cleanings. Your dentist will be able to properly clean your teeth and remove plaque build-up.

Visit Your Dentist

Here at Alrez Family Dentistry we have a modern and comfortable office and want to help patients with any concerns they may have. We can suggest additional and personalized tips for any changes you’ve noticed in your oral health. We are currently accepting new patients and we are following all COVID-19 guidelines to protect our staff and patients. Contact us today to make an appointment.


How To Get Over Dental Fear

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Every year, many people avoid the dentist until they feel pain or experience a dental emergency. This can be due to dental anxiety. According to a Harvard study, 24% of people suffer from dental anxiety.

To help those struggling with dental anxiety, we created a list of tips and tricks for patients to utilize when they start feeling dental anxiety.

6 Ways To Help Cope With Your Dental Anxiety

  1. Man covering his mouth from dentistCommunicate with your dentist. Voice your fears and explain your feelings to your dentist. If you are afraid of pain or needles they may need to be able to assess the situation and help you in the best way possible. Also, here at Alrez Family Dentistry, we can use laughing gas for patients that are feeling extra nervous. For more information, check out our laughing gas page.
  2. Think of a communication system with your dentist. When you’re not able to talk and you feel confined to a chair, this can trigger some anxiety without even realizing it. If you feel like you relate to this, you and your dentist can come up with a system that when you raise your hand it means it’s time for a small break. That will help you feel more in control of the situation.
  3. Feeling embarrassed Is a common emotion during a dental visit. Many feel embarrassed about the state of their dental health, but try and remind yourself that your dentist has seen it all. If you’re feeling embarrassed, remember that this is normally due to overthinking.
  4. Distracting yourself is a great way to get some anxiety relief. This is easier said than done, but you can bring a book for the waiting room or headphones to drown out the sound of a drill while you listen to your favorite music or podcast. You can try using a stress ball or a fidget spinner to occupy your hands.
  5. Address any past negative experiences you may have with your dentist. Dental anxiety sometimes stems from past negative experiences. This can be due to a careless dental staff or some pain you felt during treatment. If you’re experiencing these symptoms, try and pinpoint what experience upset you and how to work through that. Once you know, you can talk with your dentist so they can understand how to best help you and how to care for your dental anxiety.
  6. If you’re still feeling anxious after trying all of these tips, try returning to the basics. Start by taking a few deep breaths while counting them. Count for how long you inhale and exhale for the same amount of time. Try and relax all your muscles one at a time. Start with your head and relax way down to your toes.

Comfortable and Clean Office Made For You

Alrez Family Dentistry wants to help ease any anxiety you might feel. We have a modern and comfortable office along with the supplies needed to give all patients a successful visit. Our staff and doctors are here for you and are happy to listen to any concerns. We are currently accepting new patients and we are following COVID-19 guidelines to protect our staff and patients, contact us today to make an appointment.


How Does Resin Infiltration Work?

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Before and after icon resin infiltrationDo you have white spots on your teeth? These white spot lesions happen when the enamel starts to break down, becoming a honeycombed, porous surface. Those pores are filled with air that reflects light differently from the surrounding healthy enamel, leading you to see those unwanted white spots. Unfortunately, teeth whitening products won’t help.

More and more dentists are using the resin infiltration technique that stops breakdown in its tracks while cleaning up existing lesions.

What is Resin Infiltration?

Resin infiltration was initially used to treat tooth decay on the tooth surface. Resin closes up pores in the affected area to stop deteriorating acids and minerals from entering any further. Dentists found that resin infiltration also helped cover white spots too so they started exploring how this technique could improve aesthetics.

What is Icon Resin Infiltration?

Icon Resin Infiltration uses micro-invasive technology to fill in demineralized enamel in one procedure. It’s a minimally invasive treatment that doesn’t use drilling or anesthesia to improve the look of white spots while preventing further deterioration.

Is the Icon Treatment Permanent?

While the Icon treatment isn’t permanent, it’s considered a long-term treatment option. Results last at least 2 years, though many patients see over 6 years of lasting results.

How Does Resin Infiltration Work?

The procedure involves 3 steps that take 45 minutes to an hour:

  1. 15% of hydrochloric acid is applied to the areas of demineralization, like white spots.
  2. These spots are then treated with an ethanol solution to dry out the lesion and pores
  3. High penetration resin infiltrant is applied to the teeth to fill in their pore system.

The resin infiltration technique reinforces tooth enamel by entering and filling the pores without drilling or shots. This helps minimize the look of discoloration by refracting light just like normal teeth. It also stops deterioration by strengthening and hardening the enamel. The end result is a restored tooth that blends perfectly with surrounding teeth.

Resin infiltration is an effective treatment for tooth discoloration and deterioration without the invasiveness or cost of fillings and veneers. Your dentist can have you in and out in an hour with a beautiful white smile.

If you’re interested in finally removing white spots on teeth, contact us today to learn more about your options.


Should I Drink Bottled or Tap Water?

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Tap Water & Bottled signThe water bottle sales in America have drastically increased over the years. According to Statista, bottled water sales have increased by 3.6% since 2007, selling over 14.4 billion gallons. This is the highest volume of water ever sold in the United States.

Benefits of Water

Water has countless amounts of benefits for the human body. Here are just a few:

  • Maintain the balance of fluids in your body
  • Help your kidneys filter your blood
  • Energize your muscles by delivering electrolytes
  • Regulate body temperature
  • Cushion the brain, spinal cord, and other sensitive tissues.

Water is needed for your overall health, including your dental health. But if you are stuck on the everlasting debate on which water is better – bottle or tap, we cover all the bases.

Tap Water Provides the Best Source of Fluoride

During the day we are constantly losing and taking in minerals. Phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and fluoride are all known to be health minerals that keep your teeth strong and protect them from decay.

When it comes to keeping your teeth strong and healthy, fluoride is the most important mineral. Dental professionals recommend taking fluoride through both external and internal means. This is most commonly found in:

  • Tap water
  • Rinse
  • Toothpaste
  • Supplements

Most towns add fluoride to the local tap water. This allows the population to get their dietary fluoride needs from their tap water.

Many bottled water companies remove minerals and substances including fluoride from their water. The purpose of removing these minerals is to prevent the minerals from affecting the taste. Tap water isn’t just the best choice for your oral health, but there are multiple reasons why you should say goodbye to bottled water.

4 Reasons to Stop Drinking Bottled Water

  1. Bottled water has a terrible value. According to Food & Water Watch, tap water costs $0.005 per gallon while a bottle of water can cost upwards to $9.47. This is almost 2,000 times the price of tap water.
  2. Bottled water is not environmentally friendly. Plastic bottles can take years to decompose in a landfill. If they are not brought to a landfill, they are incinerated and release toxic gases into the atmosphere.
  3. Lots of bottled water brands are selling you tap water. The quality of bottled water will vary depending on the brand of water you buy. According to Natural Living, more chemicals and other unwanted compounds may go inside bottled water. Bottled water samples can contain phthalates, mold, microbes, benzene, trihalomethanes, and arsenic.
  4. Bottled water is inconvenient. Tap water is everywhere, restaurants, public drinking fountains, and spigots. Bottled water you have to go to a store to buy.

If you aren’t sure how the tap water is treated in your area, take a look at your local water fluoride report from the CDC.


Why Does Orange Juice Taste Bad After Brushing Your Teeth?

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Orange and orange juice isolated on whiteIt’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. We did the right thing, brushing our teeth first thing in the morning to start the day off with clean teeth and fresh breath. Now, we want to sip on some refreshing, vitamin C-rich orange juice. However, most of us know this story all too well–the orange juice tastes horrible!

So, what’s the deal? Why does orange juice taste bad after you brush, and is there anything you can do to stop it?

The Ingredient to Blame: Sodium Laureth Sulfate

It’s all thanks to sodium laureth sulfate (SLS). This type of ingredient is referred to as a surfactant, it’s used to spread ingredients around in your mouth, which makes the toothpaste suds up and create bubbles and foam. SLS is also found in other ingredients, like body washes and shampoos.

While SLS helps the toothpaste to spread around the mouth, it has some other side effects. Namely, that it suppresses your ability to detect certain tastes, particularly sweet tastes. It also affects the phospholipids on your tongue, which are fatty acids that control the taste of bitter flavors.

This creates an unpleasant mix of heightened bitter tastes and suppressed sweet tastes, thus, the nasty tasting juice.

You Can Avoid SLS if You Want

If the taste of OJ after brushing really bothers you, there are ways to avoid it. The best way is to find a toothpaste that doesn’t contain SLS. The one downside is that SLS-free toothpaste won’t spread as easily.

To get the best of both worlds, you can try drinking a glass of water or chewing sugar-free gum between your brushing and OJ. Doing so will increase your saliva flow, rinsing the SLS away.

Why Not Brush Your Teeth After Breakfast?

Sound logic, but this isn’t a good idea. Orange juice is an acidic substance, so after you drink it, your enamel is temporarily weakened. Brushing your teeth while your enamel is in this stressed state can result in lasting damage. Pain, sensitivity, and cosmetic issues are some of the possibilities.

If you have 30 minutes to wait after eating your breakfast, that’s enough time for your pH to return to normal so that you can brush safely.

Have Clean Teeth Without Ruining Your Breakfast

We hope this clears away some of the mystery surrounding the bad taste of orange juice during your breakfast. Now, you have some strategies up your sleeves to help you enjoy your orange juice and keep your teeth clean.


4 Holiday Foods to Avoid

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Holiday foodsEveryone loves to eat their favorite foods, and certain foods are extra special because we only have them around the holidays! While we would never suggest that you skip out on your favorite holiday treats, we think it’s in everyone’s best interest to stay aware of which foods are the worst offenders.

We put together this list of our 4 least-favorite holiday foods. If you see one of your favorites on the list, be sure to enjoy it with plenty of water, so you can rinse your teeth. It’s also a good idea to brush your teeth 30 minutes after consuming them, once the pH in your mouth has had time to return to normal.

The 4 Worst Holiday Foods for Your Teeth

1.Egg Nog Eggnog and Other Alcoholic Beverages: Alcohol is not great for your health in many ways, and one of them is that it dehydrates you. When you’re hydrated, your saliva helps to rinse your teeth, washing away lingering food particles and bacteria. Eggnog is particularly harmful because it’s so thick, this results in it sticking on your teeth for longer periods of time.

2. Candy Canes: Candy canes are essentially pure sugar, so it isn’t hard to see why they’re not the best for our smiles. However, something that makes them worse than most sugary things is that they take a long time to eat. For the entire time that you’re sucking on your candy cane, a sugary film starts to coat your teeth (the same one that coats your chin and fingers). This increases the amount of time your teeth are exposed to the sugar, making the bacteria that live in your mouth very happy.

2. Caramel: Like candy canes, caramel is high in sugar. It’s also sticky, which makes it so that it gets embedded in all the nooks and crannies in your teeth. Once it sticks to all those crevices, it tends to hang around for a long time.

 4. Carbonated Beverages: We know that the sugar content in champagne and soda is problematic for our oral health, but there’s an additional culprit: carbonation. Carbonation is produced with carbon dioxide, which converts to carbonic acid once ingested. This acid can be corrosive to your teeth.

4 Foods to Enjoy Guilt-Free

1. farm fresh vegetables on tableVeggies: We know! Shocking. Veggies are healthy! One of the reasons why is they take a while to chew, and all that chewing stimulates your salivary glands. Like we said earlier, this increase in saliva production is good for rinsing off your teeth.

2. Turkey: Turkey is rich in phosphorus, which is great for your pearly whites. This is good news for many Americans who anchor their holiday meals with turkey.

3. Nuts: Nuts are little mini toothbrushes that gently scrape your teeth after each bite. They also contain calcium, which is an essential mineral for your chompers.

4. Cheese: Cheese has antibacterial qualities and a low pH balance, Both are great for your mouth!

No matter what you eat this holiday season, we hope you enjoy the season with your loved ones!


The Origins of Toothpaste

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How Did Toothpaste Come to Be?

toothpaste going onto brush

These days, we have so many choices for toothpaste, it’s almost annoying. It’s hard to imagine a time when toothpaste as we know it didn’t even exist. 

But there was such a time! Before we hit the mark with the perfect blend of humectants, detergents, flavorings, and gentle abrasives, people had some interesting takes on the best concoction for cleaning their mouths. 

We figured we’d kick off back to school season with a history lesson about how toothpaste began. 

The Ancient Egyptian Formula

The oldest toothpaste historians have found was from 5,000 B.C. Historians believe the ancient Egyptians used an interesting mix to scrub their smiles. 

The earliest toothpaste formula contained:

  • Crushed rock salt
  • Pepper
  • Mint
  • Iris flowers

Experts have called this the most effective ancient dental regimen. In fact, it wouldn’t be topped until the early 18th century. But before you run to your garage and start crushing up rock salt, this kind of paste is far from good for you. Over time, using this formula will result in damage to your enamel and gum bleeding.

The Evolution of Toothpaste

The Egyptians had their very abrasive solution, but around the same time, people in other parts of the world had their own idea for cleaning their teeth.

The Greeks and Romans used a special blend of crushed oyster shells and bones, and in China, they used a similar solution to the Egyptians, but added ginseng and skipped the iris and pepper. Other cultures brushed up with brick dust, pumice, ox hooves, burnt eggshells, ashes, chalk, and pulverized charcoal. Yum!

The rest of toothpaste evolution looked something like this:

  • 1780: Burnt breadcrumbs were used as toothpaste.
  • 1842: Dentist Dr. Peabody mixed soap in with the breadcrumbs. This later was replaced with sodium lauryl sulfate, which is still an ingredient in today’s toothpaste! This ingredient helps spread the paste around evenly. 
  • 1850’s: Chalk is added to the mix. It will stay as an ingredient for the next few decades.
  • 1873: Colgate comes out with the first ever toothpaste that is of a familiar consistency and scent. At this time, it’s sold in glass jars. 
  • 1892: Dr. Washington Sheffield invents the collapsable toothpaste tube.
  • 1914: The benefits of fluoride are discovered, and it’s added to toothpastes.
  • 1987: Edible toothpaste makes its debut. It’s invented by NASA for astronauts to brush in space, but it comes with an added benefit: so that children can safely learn to brush. 
  • 1989: Rembrandt releases the first whitening toothpaste.

At Alrez Family Dentistry, we’re glad to be born in these modern times when toothpaste is safe and effective!