All posts by Dr. Charles R. Kimes

Teeth Whitening FAQ: Is it the Fountain of Youth?

In 1513, noted Spanish conquistador and explorer, Ponce de Leon, set out in search of a mystical spring known as the “Fountain of Youth” and while he was successful in discovering what we now know as the state of Florida, the quest in discovering a way to reverse one’s age, still continues to this day. Unlike Ponce de Leon however, the dental industry has discovered a way to reverse the appearance of aging in teeth, and for years has been restoring the smiles of patients of all ages with this method!  Known as Teeth Whitening, the process is considered one of the primary components of modern cosmetic dentistry and remains a highly sought-after treatment amongst our patients at Overland Park Dentistry.

Teeth Whitening In A Nutshell

A tooth whitening is a strictly cosmetic-based procedure and, in a nutshell, could be summed up as more of a bleaching process rather than a recoloration. As a person ages, their teeth will inevitably accumulate a certain number of nicks and blemishes, due to the amount wear and tear that they sustain over the years. To remedy this, a professional whitening treatment is administered, in which your dentist applies a bleaching agent to the surface of your teeth. This process typically lasts approximately thirty minutes and for best results, may require a follow up appointment.

However, due to the growing demand for a pearly white picturesque smile, there are always many questions surrounding the whitening procedure that Dr. Kimes and his team address on a regular basis. In this article, we have compiled some of the most frequently asked questions and concerns surrounding this treatment as we address these questions and provide a little more insight into the process.  

Teeth Whitening FAQ: Commonly Asked Questions

Q: Is whitening your teeth safe?

A: If preformed by or under the guidance of a professional dentist, then yes, a whitening is a safe and relatively painless procedure that will produce a whiter and more attractive smile. However, over the counter (OTC) whitening products are generally not recommended by dental practitioners and have been known to cause problems amongst users in the past.

Related Article: Teeth Whitening Options: Over the Counter vs. Professional

Q: How long does a teeth whiting last?

A: The longevity of a whitening treatment may potentially last for a couple of years, however this varies depending on your lifestyle. If you are a daily smoker or do not practice proper oral hygiene habits, your newly whitened teeth can begin to fade in as little as a month. If you are a healthy nonsmoker who maintains their dental hygiene, you will probably not require another whitening treatment for a few years.

Q: Are there other ways to whiten my teeth besides a professional whitening?

A: Yes. However as mentioned earlier, the alternative to a professional tooth whitening comes in the form of name brand whitening or strips, that are not recommended by dental practitioners and have resulted in users suffering blistering or bleeding gums. Additionally, OTC whitening products are not nearly as effective as professional grade ingredients, which are required to have received the ADA Seal of Acceptance prior to being used in a professional capacity.

Check out what happens when technology and tooth whitening join forces with an at-home whitening kit that is “Dr. Kimes Approved”: No More Whitening Trays with Glo Pro Teeth Whitening

Q: Will insurance cover the cost of my teeth whitening?

A: Unfortunately, they do not. While certainly many insurance providers offer a number of great dental benefits, because a professional whitening is a cosmetic based procedure, they do not provide coverage for dental whitening treatments.

Q: Do professional whitening products damage tooth enamel?

A: Absolutely not! Professional whiting products have no harmful effects on tooth enamel, nor should they have any adverse effects on a tooth’s nerves or hinder any pre-existing dental restorations.

Q: Is there anything I can do to maintain my newly whitened smile?

A: Yes! To maintain or elongate the affects there are a number of things that you can do. Practicing proper oral hygiene habits, as well as brushing after every meal (especially after consuming sugary or acidic foods) can play a major role to help prolong the whitening affects. Additionally, avoiding acidic beverages or using a straw while consuming them will help keep the hazardous products from staining your teeth, and certainly it’s recommended to avoid tobacco use.

Restore Your Smile!

At Overland Park Dentistry, our team takes great pride in their ability to put smiles on the faces of our patients, and they can certainly do the same for you! If your beautiful smile has suffered from the affects of aging or stains, come see us at Overland Park Dentistry and let’s restore your smile together!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Missing Tooth: What are my options for tooth replacement?

As you probably realize, your teeth play a vital role in your daily life both in a practical and aesthetic sense. While a person’s natural teeth are certainly strong and durable, in time teeth will age and may slowly begin to deteriorate if they’re not cared for properly. 

While this may seem far-fetched, falling into poor dental hygiene habits can be very easy to do and a very difficult habit to break; unfortunately, when this happens, it’s a slippery slope from there. Although the prospect of losing one tooth might not seem like that big of a deal remember, if one tooth is lost then others are likely to follow, as well as a barrage of additional oral health problems, such as Periodontal disease. Read why oral hygiene is such a big deal HERE.

Don’t forget that your lack of oral hygiene can also lead to other disease in your body. Check out one of our previous blogs about The Consequences of Poor Oral Health.

Therefore, if you have one missing tooth or several, we strongly recommend that you seek treatment and consider tooth replacement options before things get any worse!

Three Options for Tooth Replacement to Consider

There are three primary options for replacing missing or damaged teeth. While each option can certainly provide a great solution in the correct circumstances, your dentist will certainly have the expertise to determine which of these options is best for you. Keep in mind, while all three of these options are considered separate procedures, it is not uncommon for two or more these procedures to be utilized and combined, depending on a patient’s specific needs.  

Options for Tooth Replacement: Full Denture

It’s certainly no secret that dentures are stereo typically associated with the elderly, but are one of the first options for tooth replacement that come to mind. While the word “denture” doesn’t necessarily elicit the most positive reaction, trust us when we say that dentures are not exactly what they are perceived to be.  Unlike the cumbersome, ill-fitting dentures of yesteryear, the modern full or complete denture is generally comprised of acrylic material and is customized to be fitted firmly and seamlessly to your upper and or lower jaws. As one could expect, the full denture is designed for individuals who have lost the majority of their natural teeth, thereby requiring extensive replacements.

Options for Tooth Replacement: Removable Partial Denture

Contrasting with the afore mentioned full set of dentures, a removable partial denture (RPD) or half denture is a plate-like device that is designed to replace a single missing tooth or multiple missing teeth. Economically friendly and easy to maintain, the RPD is fitted to attach to your natural tooth or dental implant (see below) and can be easily adjusted to maximize its effectiveness. While the RPD remains the most widespread partial denture used, a fixed partial denture or fixed bridge may also be employed if the patient desires. Similar to the fixed bridge, the fixed partial denture cannot be removed, thus better resembling the look and feel of natural teeth making it one of the go-to options for tooth replacement.

Related Article: Dentures and Partials: A Tooth Replacement Option to Consider

Options for Tooth Replacement: Dental Implants

As perhaps the most popular and sought-after of all options for tooth replacement on this list, modern dental implants have recently caught fire among the general public and continue to receive critical acclaim among the dental community. Acting as an artificial tooth root, a dental implant is fitted within your jawbone, thus creating a base for the crown to be held in place. These screw-like devices are attached to the crown via a connector and can be designed to support the crown, ultimately resulting in a sturdy replacement that looks and functions like a natural tooth! In addition to replacing a single tooth, dental implants can work in conjunction with the fixed partial dentures mentioned previously, if there isn’t a natural tooth present to support the device.

Related Article: Are You a Candidate for Dental Implants?

Options for Tooth Replacement: Don’t Delay!

Although it might not seem like THAT big of a deal, missing teeth and related oral health problems are not something to sleep on! Much like falling dominoes, if you lose one tooth others are much more likely to follow, so please consider these tooth replacement options, and come see Dr. Kimes and his team at Overland Park Dentistry before its too late!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Smile Pretty & Be Merry with Cosmetic Dentistry Choices

The Holidays are here at last, and while the weather outside may be cold, with the warm embrace of loved ones all around you, and that warm wave of nostalgia washing over you, it’s hard not to smile during the holiday season! However, if you are self-conscious of your smile or even consider it a source of embarrassment, then the prospect of such a scenario may cause a certain degree of anxiety this time of year.

Fortunately, at Overland Park Dentistry, Dr. Kimes and his team of experts are more than happy to help you in this predicament, by providing you with all the state-of-the-art cosmetic dentistry choices for treatments and technology needed to keep you smiling brightly this holiday season!

Cosmetic Dentistry Choices: ‘Tis The Season for Four Fabulous Options

Since the dawn of the 21st Century, cosmetic dentistry has undergone a radical transformation, thus becoming one of the most sought-after types of treatment within the realm of professional dentistry. This recent surge in popularity is the result of numerous advancements in dental technology, ultimately making the various tried and true cosmetic choices more effective than ever before!

Teeth Whitening:

Teeth whitening treatments are simple, yet effective cosmetic dentistry choices that for many years, has been providing patients from all walks of life, with the picturesque smile of their dreams! Generally lasting little more than 30 minutes, the whitening affect is achieved by applying a bleaching agent directly to the surface of your teeth. This serves to effectively reverse the signs of aging, for a cleaner, sleeker-looking smile than previously seen.

Read more about how you can Get the Smile of Your Dreams with Teeth Whitening.

Veneers:

For the past thirty years, porcelain veneers have been utilized for realigning teeth that are crooked and repairing teeth that have sustained damage. Acting as something similar to a rain jacket, the translucent material encases your teeth, thereby protecting them from outside elements, while simultaneously concealing any gaps or abrasions.

Read more about the difference between Porcelain Veneers and the new technology of Lumineers that are offered at Overland Park Dentistry HERE. Or six reasons you may need to get Porcelain Veneers.

Dental Bonding:

Despite the recent improvements to the ever-popular porcelain veneers, in some scenarios a dental bonding procedure (or filling) is the best solution to restore a tooth. Dental bonding, is a simple procedure in which a composite resin is applied to the damaged area, essentially filling in the area that was broken away. Bonding is used primarily for minor/cosmetic corrections and is generally not recommended for repairing major damage.

Invisalign Invisible Braces:

While traditional metal braces continue to enhance the smiles of teens everywhere, a newer and much more convenient alternative has emerged under the umbrella of cosmetic dentistry choices, known as Invisalign. Invisalign aligners are transparent, thermoplastic aligners that are designed to straighten teeth and correct any jaw alignment issues or irregularities. Supremely popular amongst middle-aged to young adults, the Invisalign aligners are easily removable, require patients to make relatively few (if any) lifestyle changes, and are virtually unnoticeable.

Invisalign isn’t just for adults… Brace Yourself with Invisalign TEEN! Read more about how you can Smile Bright with Invisalign Invisible Braces HERE.

Time Is of The Essence!

As we descend further into the final weeks of 2019, it’s important to remember that any unused benefits that you may have from your insurance provider, will not carry over from one year to the next. Don’t forget that booking a dental appointment prior to the New Year becomes increasingly more and more difficult. Therefore, if your holiday wish is to smile brightly this season then don’t wait, December appointments are going fast so make yours now, and greet the holidays with a smile!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Maximize Your Dental Insurance Benefits: Use It OR Lose it!!

2020 Is on The Horizon

As the days grow shorter and the weather grows colder, we enter the final months of 2019, and while the end of the year may be drawing near, things are as busy as ever! With the forecast of a potentially harsh winter, and the holiday season still ahead, a dental appointment is probably the last thing on your mind. While this certainly an understandable oversight, it can in fact be a costly one as dental insurance benefits do not carry over from one year to the next and any unused benefits are lost. Unfortunately, this is an all too common occurrence and at Overland Park Dentistry, it’s important to us that you are able to maximize dental insurance benefits. By utilizing your remaining insurance benefits before the end of the year, you will have the opportunity to give your smile some much needed attention, without spending more than necessary.

Routine Procedures

As we’ve discussed in previous blogs, the key to sustaining one’s oral health is prevention, and at Overland Park Dentistry we generally encourage patients to adhere to what we call “the six-month rule.” The six-month rule refers to the six-month time period one appointment to the next, ultimately resulting in two annual appointments per year. This sentiment is echoed by the coverage plans of many major insurance providers including; Aetna, Cigna, Delta, Guardian, Humana, MetLife and United Healthcare, all of which are accepted at Overland Park Dentistry along with the necessary forms and paperwork, which can be made available upon your request.

Advanced Services  

Unfortunately, insurance benefits of dental insurance plans do not last forever, and if your teeth have sustained damage or decay, you will require a specialized type of treatment to correct the problem. While certainly the type of treatment varies depending on the degree of damage sustained, advanced procedures such as implants, bonding, or crowns, often require multiple appointments to complete. At Overland Park Dentistry, we are more than happy to assist you in finding a solution that best allows you to maximize dental insurance benefits while receiving the treatment needed; however, the window of opportunity for 2019 is closing fast! 

Insurance Benefits: A Terrible Thing to Waste!

2020 is just around the corner, and the time to act is now! Therefore, if you have yet to use all of your provider’s benefits and are suffering from any sort of oral health issues, we highly recommend that you schedule an appointment as soon as possible!

Remember, while those lingering unused insurance benefits might not seem like a big deal to you, they are a big deal to your teeth! And although it still seems far away, once the ball drops on December 31st, those unused benefits are gone forever! So, if you have remining benefits on your insurance plan, please use them, trust us… your teeth will thank you for it!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Are You a Dental Implant Candidate?

Dental Implants: An Ancient Solution for The Modern World!

As a child, losing a tooth often coincides with a visit from the Tooth Fairy, along with the exciting prospect of finding a shiny coin (or crisp bill) under your pillow the next morning. Unfortunately, much like Santa and the Easter Bunny, once you reach adulthood, visits from the Tooth Fairy seem to no longer apply, thus losing a tooth just means a whole lot of trouble! Fortunately, your friends at Overland Park Dentistry are here to help you in such a situation. And while we may not be the Tooth Fairy, we do have something special that that is certain to get you smiling again; something known as dental implants!

While dental implants have recently come into vogue amongst the general public, dental implants have actually been around for much much longer than that. Recently, archaeologists have actually unearthed evidence of ancient dental implants used by the Mayan civilization around approximately 600 AD! That’s right, the practice of replacing missing teeth has been employed for much longer than most people realize, and while today’s dentists might not use seashells to replace missing teeth, (as the ancient Mayans did) we trust that you will find your custom-fitted replacements more than satisfactory!

Dental Implants: What Are They?

Beneath your gumline you have what are called roots. Your roots act as a tooth’s life source by connecting the pulp and blood vessels to your jaw, while simultaneously keeping the tooth anchored securely within its socket. However, if a tooth is destroyed, then it is necessary to not only replace the tooth itself, (which is known as a crown) but also to find a means of anchoring the tooth in place. Therefore, acting as artificial tooth roots, a dental implant is fitted within your jawbone, creating a base for the crown to be held in place. These screw-like devices are attached to the crown via a connector and can be designed to support multiple crowns, ultimately resulting in a sturdy replacement that looks and functions like natural teeth. Dental implants are unquestionably the most effective method of tooth replacement available, and if you meet the candidacy requirements, dental implants are generally your most viable option. But, are you a dental implant candidate?

Dental Implants: Candidacy Requirements

Although dental implants are often an ideal solution, it’s important to realize that implants are not for everyone and there is a certain criterion that you must meet to be a dental implant candidate.

Listed below are some of the following requirements for candidacy:

  • First and foremost, to be a dental implant candidate, it is important to be in good oral health. While you may have sustained a broken tooth, (hence the need for a replacement) if the surrounding gum tissue has remained healthy enough to sustain the minor surgery needed to insert the implant then you’re in the clear! While gingivitis is a relatively common condition that causes the gums to become slightly irritated or inflamed, if left untreated it can eventually lead to periodontitis or gum disease. Periodontitis is an infection of the gum tissue, and like any infection is prone to spread and worsen over time. If you have developed periodontitis, you should seek treatment prior to receiving implants or any cosmetic procedures as this condition can be very serious.
  • Another requirement to be a dental implant candidate is that the patient has to have a healthy, fully developed jawbone. If you have suffered from previous mandible ailments such periodontitis or oral cancer, there is a possibility that you may have sustained bone loss and therefore may require a bone graft prior to receiving dental implants. Additionally, if the patient is a juvenile and has not stopped growing, implants should not be employed until the jaw fully develops.
  • While it may sound silly or trivial at first, a final but equally as important candidacy qualification, is the understanding that the implanted teeth must receive exceptional care from you the patient. Although tough and very durable, dental implants DO have limits and CAN fail if neglected or improperly managed. While routine visits to your dentist are certainly important in ensuring the success of your implants, it is imperative that you practice daily oral hygiene; including brushing 2 to 3 times a day and flossing regularly. Additionally, if you are a smoker or struggle with substance abuse, it is highly advised that you discontinue use and resolve such addictions before receiving dental implant treatment.

Dental Implants: Tooth Replacement Done Right!

From the rudimentary replacement methods first employed by the ancient Mayans, to the state-of-the-art technology used by Dr. Kimes and his staff today, replacing missing teeth has always been important. Therefore, if you have a broken or missing tooth, there’s no need to suffer when there’s a fantastic solution that has helped people for many years and can certainly help you. Don’t wait; contact our offices at Overland Park Dentistry and let’s see if you are a dental implant candidate if that is an effective course of treatment for you!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Avoid Tooth Decay: Halloween Candy is a Spooky Subject for Your Teeth

Trick or Treat

With Halloween right around the corner, it’s the time of year in which little ghosts, vampires, and gholuls from all over, take part in the door-to-door quest for sweets. While this is always an exciting and of course spooky time of year for kids, for parents it can be a bit spooky for a totally different reason!

As surely, we’ve all heard by now, sugar is bad for your teeth. Although this is a commonly known fact that has been drilled into the collective conscious of our society for many years now, many people still struggle to grasp the seriousness of tooth decay as well as the overall importance of oral hygiene. Therefore, in a season in which the treats are a plenty, we will shed some light on the effects of tooth decay, as well as identifying which treats are the worst for causing tooth decay, and providing some insight on how to avoid tooth decay from frightening you this Halloween!

Avoid Tooth Decay: A Truly Scary Thing!

Tooth decay is a problem that can affect children and adults alike and is perhaps one of the most commonly encountered issues within the realm of professional dentistry. Tooth decay is progressive destruction of a tooth’s enamel, in which the protective out lining of the tooth is slowly broken down, thus rendering the tooth vulnerable. In this state, the tooth is essentially at the mercy of whatever substances it may encounter, particularly substances with high acidity levels or containing excessive amounts of sugar. Therefore, if binge snacking on such treats continues, it’s inevitable that the teeth will begin to decay, ultimately resulting in a cavity or additional damage to occur.

Related Article: Tooth Decay Dangers: Can it kill you?

Avoid Tooth Decay: Candy Types and Affects

Obviously sugary candy isn’t the best the for your teeth, it’s important to realize that some types of candy are much worse than others. For instance, classic chocolate treats (such as Hershey’s bars, Hershey’s kisses, Chocolate or Peanut M&M’s) remain arguably the most popular type of candy in the world today, however because the chocolate residue from these products can be easily removed from teeth by a proper brushing, these basic chocolate treats are actually a much better choice regarding your child’s oral heath than the majority of candy types out there. Conversely, chocolate bars containing a chewy filling can be much more harmful due to their contents sticking to teeth.

Related Article: The Consequences of Poor Oral Health

In the section below are a list of different types of candy and how they can be bad for teeth if consumed in excessive amounts.

  • Hard Candy: While hard candy such as Lollipops, Lifesavers, Jawbreakers, and Jolly Ranchers are certainly in high demand around Halloween, unfortunately treats such as these can be tough on teeth due to both their highly sugary contents, and hard structure. If a tooth has already been weakened by any previous damage or decay, chomping on some hard candies are certain to not make things any better!
  • High Citrus Sweets: Regardless of whether it’s a high citrus beverage or a citrusy snack, excess citrus can absolutely wreak havoc on a tooth’s enamel, causing the enamel to erode at a very quick rate. Some popular candy products containing particularly high amounts citric acid include: Sour Patch Kids, Lemonheads, Sour Skittles, and various other sour-based candies.
  • Chewy Candy: Gummy or chewy candies are perhaps among the worst types of candy when it comes to causing or progressing tooth decay. When chewy treats are consumed, the sticky remnants may to cling to teeth or even get caught in gaps or small crevasses in one’s smile and continue to expose the teeth to their sugary contents. Many different types of candy fall into this category including: Skittles, Starbursts, Gummy Bears, Laffy Taffy, and the classic Halloween staple known as Candy Corn.
  • Caramel Chocolate: As mentioned previously, unlike their more basic counterparts, caramel-filled chocolate products such as Snickers, Milk Duds, Twix, or Milky Way bars are not as easy to wash away with a simple brushing. Rather, these products tend to act much in the same vein as the aforementioned chewy candies, often getting stuck to teeth and finding their way into those hard to reach regions of the mouth. If the substance is not removed, it will likely remain lodged in place and will eventually decay, thus highlighting the importance of flossing after eating.
  • Cold Chocolate: Just a word to the wise; please do not put chocolate in the refrigerator! Biting down on an ice-cold chocolate bar can break a tooth quicker than you can say dental crown!

Related Article: Your Halloween Candy Survival Guide

A Decay-Free Halloween!

Okay, let’s make ourselves perfectly clear, it IS okay to enjoy a few treats here and there, and we certainly DON’T want to spoil you or your kiddo’s festivities this Halloween. Our goal here is simply to make both kids and parents a little more aware of how some of those beloved treats can potentially affect their smile and encourage everyone to practice a little moderation when enjoying those tasty treats to avoid tooth decay.

Remember, Halloween just isn’t Halloween without being a little scary, but tooth decay certainly isn’t the kind of scare that anyone wants!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Tooth Decay Dangers: Can it Kill You??

Tooth Decay Dangers: The Ugly Truth

As one of the most fundamental oral health issues that you can face, Tooth decay remains a serious but often overlooked aspect of one’s overall health.

While once considered as little more than a minor nuisance, in more recent years, various long-term health issues have been discovered to be linked to (or directly caused by) tooth decay.  While such recent discoveries have forced the health industry to reevaluate their stance on tooth decay and take the issue much more seriously, according to The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, approximal 85% of American adults between the ages of 20-64 have some form of tooth decay in a statistic that unfortunately continues to remain stagnant. But as sobering as this statistic might be, tooth decay isn’t really THAT dangerous is it?

Well to answer that, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what exactly tooth decay is and how it’s able to manifest. The information provided below will hopefully present you with not only a basic understanding of tooth decay, but also what sort of hazards the illness may bring.

Tooth Decay Dangers: How It Happens

As its name implies, tooth decay is a condition in which the build-up of acidic material in a person’s mouth causes the outer layers of their teeth to slowly begin to erode and dissolve. When a tooth has lost its protective outer coating, it is left vulnerable to the elements causing the tooth to wither and begin to break down, thereby beginning the process of tooth decay. Being a progressive illness, tooth decay is not something that will display significant signs immediately, but rather will develop over an extended period, and gradually worsen over time. Certainly, the idea of damaged or rotten teeth may sound unpleasant, what truly makes this an urgent issue are the infectious complications that can occur as a result of tooth decay. If allowed to spread, the complications can be serious or even life-threatening if left improperly treated.

Read More: Tooth Decay: A Sickly, Sweet Dilemma

Tooth Decay Dangers: Signs & Symptoms

As mentioned previously, the early symptoms of tooth decay are relatively minor and easy to dismiss. Unfortunately, the tendency to ignore such conditions can be a very costly error as it allows the illness to progress and become increasingly difficult to treat. While not all of the symptoms listed here are definitive signs of tooth decay, if you are experiencing any such symptoms, we recommend you contact your dental practitioner to receive a formal checkup. 

  • Unexplained toothaches or spontaneous tooth sensitivity
  • Moderate to severe pain while consuming hot/cold foods or drinks
  • Visible holes, stains, or crevices on a tooth’s surface
  • Chronic foul breath
  • Alterations in bite or difficulty while chewing
  • Discoloration of tooth and surrounding gumline

Read more here about how to stop bad breath.

Tooth Decay Dangers: The Domino Effect

As nasty as tooth decay can be, failing to recognize the symptoms and assess the condition can have terrifying ramifications! The crux of this concern is the propensity for bacteria to spread, thus setting off a chain reaction within the body. When teeth have decayed due to bacteria, the excess buildup of bacteria is certain to spread to the surrounding gumline thereby causing an infection in the gums, or what’s known as Periodontitis.

Related Article: Do you sip and snack all day? Read more about how sugar can harm your teeth and cause decay.

When a serious oral infection occurs, there is always the potential for the excess bacteria to spread to the bloodstream and possibly reach other regions of the body.

This is particularly dangerous for two reasons:

  1.  The bacteria’s uncanny ability to interact with and exacerbate certain pre-existing health conditions, (such as Diabetes).
  2. Perhaps an even greater concern is the affect the bacteria can have on the cardiovascular health of the individual.

As something of an umbrella term, cardiovascular or heart disease pertains to any such conditions that may block the heart’s valves or restrict its blood flow in anyway.

In severe cases of tooth decay, when the excess bacteria enter the body’s blood vessels, it will begin to travel throughout the body. If the bacteria can reach the heart, it will inflame its vessels thereby causing blood clots to develop and damage to occur. This damage will slowly began restricting the flow of blood, effectively choking the heart and forcing it to pump faster while producing less and less.

Given this, skeptics in both the dental and medical fields are quick to point out that despite the previous information, tooth decay does not guarantee an eventual heart attack. While this is certainly true, according to a recent study conducted by Harvard University, individuals afflicted with significant tooth decay have at least a two to three times higher probability of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other sort of cardiovascular-based issue; sadly, proving the correlation to be self-evident.

Tooth Decay Dangers: Prevention Is the Answer!

So, to answer the question posed earlier, unfortunately the answer is: “YES”. If left untreated for too long and allowed to progress to advanced stages, tooth decay can be THAT dangerous and YES it CAN actually KILL You.

However, keep in mind that tooth decay requires time to reach this critical point, and much like a runaway train, severe tooth decay is only hard to stop or slowdown once it gets going, so the key is prevention! By preventing tooth decay before it starts or stopping it while it’s still in the early stages, are your best bet to preventing tooth decay.

Your friends at Overland Park Dentistry are here to help you keep tooth decay dangers at bay! By scheduling your routine six-month checkups with Dr. Kimes and his staff, you will help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Teeth Whitening Options: Over the Counter vs. Professional

White Teeth: A Universal Desire!

If you could describe your teeth in one word what would it be? While it might seem silly at first, contemplating over such a question might yield some interesting or perhaps even undesirable answers. Unfortunately, this is often the case for many people as according to several recent polls, approximately 65.9% of people across the globe reported being dissatisfied with the color/appearance of their teeth. While it’s important to consider that the dental care in some of the countries in question may lack the resources available to those within in the United States, clearly one’s teeth can have a significant impact on one’s sense of self-esteem!

Certainly, a beautiful white smile is a universal desire shared by folks from all walks of life; however, the question of how to obtain a picturesque smile of your own may vary depending on how you choose to do so. There are in fact, two different ways you can have your teeth whitened, and both of which may present aspects that can be both positive and negative depending on your given circumstances.

Teeth Whitening: Two Different Options

Now before we get into the two different teeth whitening options, lets first refresh your memory on what exactly a tooth whitening is and how it’s done. As a strictly cosmetic procedure, whitening your teeth is the practice of removing any stains or discoloration your teeth may have. As we age, our teeth sustain a significant amount of wear and tear over the years, thus accumulating various nicks and blemishes on the surface of your teeth. Therefore, the purpose of the whitening process is to effectively reverse the effects of aging and restore your smile to its former glory.

This is achieved by first applying a protective coating to the surrounding gums, then a bleaching agent directly to the surface of your teeth. This process can take  upwards of 30 minutes and can be administered a couple of different ways. Naturally, this is where the process may differ depending on your chosen option, as a professionally administered whitening can be performed by your dentist upon your request, or you may elect to undertake the procedure yourself via over the counter whitening products. Obviously, this decision entirely yours to make, however its important to realize the implications prior to making your selection as the results may vary accordingly.

Over the Counter Whitening: Pros and Cons

Pros: Generic name brand whitening materials have been sold at local pharmacies and convenience stores for years and are readily available upon visiting one. Due to the fact that Over the counter (OTC) whitening products are economically friendly and can be obtained relatively easily, these products have been somewhat popular amongst the general public in the past. While the popularity of these products has waned somewhat in recent years, OTC whitening products continue to remain a staple of pharmacies nationwide.

Cons: Whether you select whitening trays or strips, unfortunately there are a number of issues that have been reported by users of OTC products, which has perhaps led to their recent decline in consumer interest. One such issue reported in users of both OTC trays and strips is gum irritation due to exposure the bleaching solution, resulting in bleeding or painful blistering of the gums or throat. Additionally, the bleaching solution employed by OTC products has caused some users to complain of significant tooth sensitivity to particularly hot or cold temperatures, thus causing some to immediately cease use. Another counterproductive drawback is the occasional propensity of OTC whitening trays to stain or discolor teeth, due to the trays fitting incorrectly as unlike customized professional whitening trays, OTC whitening trays are a “one size fits all design” and might not meet your exact specifications.

Professional Whitening Options: Pros and Cons

Pros: A Professional dental whitening is unquestionably the safest and most efficient way to ensure your teeth look better than ever! A professional whitening treatment requires a visit to the dental office, where the dentist will assess the amount of whitening solution needed, (based on the degree of tooth discoloration as well as the preferences of the patient) and proceed to take impressions of the upper and lower rows of teeth, thus providing you with custom-fitted whitening trays. Once the whitening solution has been administered, you will receive your custom trays, as well as a take home touch-up kit. This kit will include a set of detailed instructions on how to the trays are to be correctly worn and how to properly load the amount of bleaching gel into each tray in order to prevent any issues or mishaps. By opting for a professional whitening, you will see instant results as well as receiving high quality materials to ensure the desired results.

Cons: While a professional whiting is clearly superior to all OTC systems, as far as the actual whitening procedure goes, obviously a professional whitening does require you to take the time to come in for an actual dental appointment. Although the treatment is relatively short, (rarely exceeding an hour) this can present an issue for some those with inflexible schedules. Perhaps the only other issue presented by a professional whitening, is the fact that the procedure does cost more than OTC products, and while the price may vary depending on a number of factors, this is something to consider when making your selection.

Related Article: Professional Teeth Whitening: Get the Smile of Your Dreams

The Choice is Yours!

While a beautiful smile is something that everyone wants, the way to achieve the smile of your dreams is up to you. At Overland Park Dentistry we certainly encourage patients to consider a professional whitening for the most effective results, however only you can decide which whitening method is the correct solution for you! Read more here about other Cosmetic Dentistry Options to achieve the smile of your dreams.

If you are unhappy with your smile, considering teeth whitening options, or simply have questions about getting your teeth whitened, please call us at Overland Park Dentistry, and let us help you get the smile that you desire!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

You Asked: What are the most common dental problems?

Your Teeth: A Thing Of Beauty!

Your teeth are truly an amazing part of your body, and as beautiful as those pearly whites of yours can be, they are extremely important as well. Being responsible for breaking down food for consumption, obviously your teeth play a vital role in daily life. However, with such an important purpose, the hazards your teeth face on a regular basis are countless.

Indeed, your teeth are very tough, the constant wear and tear they endure is bound to take its toll.  Additionally, if your teeth are improperly cared for or neglected, this could spell disaster for your teeth in a variety of different ways!

Common Dental Problems

Although some of the most common dental problems are not exactly terms that are unfamiliar, the resulting ramifications of such issues can have devastating effects on not just your oral health, but your general health as well.

Listed below are some of the most common dental problems and health issues affecting patients today.

Tooth Decay:

As one of the most widespread diseases in the United States (second only to the common cold) tooth decay is the condition in which excessive buildup of bacteria in the mouth breaks down the tooth’s enamel, thus causing the tooth to decay. Tooth decay can affect people of all ages, and although slow to progress, if left untreated tooth decay can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums. Wanna know more about tooth decay, click here.

Periodontal Disease:

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is a progressive infection of the gum tissue, and much like tooth decay, can present a major problem if allowed to progress. If periodontal disease progresses to its later stages, it is likely to interact with and exacerbate other illnesses such as diabetes, or heart disease.

Foul Breath:

The condition known as halitosis or bad breath can certainly be the cause of social anxiety or embarrassment, however if this remains a persistent problem, there is likely an additional oral issue to blame. Chronic foul breath can be indicative of numerous issues such as cavities, dry mouth, gum disease, buildup on tongue, or even oral cancer.  Read more about how to stop bad breath.

Toothaches:

Like foul breath, toothaches or tooth sensitivity can be a tell-tale sigh that there may be additional dental problems that perhaps have not been addressed. Tooth sensitivity may indicate undetected damage (such as cracks, chips or abscesses) or even the early symptoms of tooth decay. Regardless, if chronic toothaches are ignored, they are only likely to worsen over time.

Oral Cancer:

Oral cancer is an extremely aggressive type of cancer that is responsible for approximately 9,750 annual deaths in the U.S. alone, and remains a major health issue nationwide. While treatable in its early stages, if allowed to spread oral cancer may not be able to be stopped, thereby having potentially fatal consequences. Read more about oral cancer screenings and how they can save your life, here.

You may not know that these common dental problems can lead to additional health problems. Read more about additional consequences of poor oral health here.

Risk Factors And Prevention

The before mentioned issues obviously can pose some serious problems, however by recognizing the various triggers or risk factors of some of these common dental problems, you may allow yourself to take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent such issues before they occur.

  • Improper Daily Hygiene: While this may seem like a given, unfortunately it can be very easy to fall into poor oral hygiene habits, and while this many not seem like a big deal, obviously it dose put you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other related complications.
  • Dietary Habits: It’s certainly okay to enjoy the occasional treat, however if sugary drinks and snacks are a part of your daily diet, then you might consider cutting back on the sweets. Excess sugar can cause a number of alarming concerns and oral problems are certainly no exception. If reeling in your sweet tooth is an issue, then it is essential that you practice proper oral hygiene.
  • Smoking/Tobacco Use: As you probably realize, excess tobacco use can be catastrophic on one’s oral health, and cigarette smoke is often the culprit of this. Tooth decay, gum disease, and of course oral cancer can all be caused by smoking, thus the likelihood of tobacco users developing any of these issues is exponentially higher than that of nonusers. If you are a regular tobacco user, we strongly encourage you to seek professional counseling and to consider quitting. There’s also a new trend on the rise, vaping. Read more about the dangers of vaping.
  • Infrequent Checkups: As a rule of thumb, most dentists agree that a dental appointment approximately every six months is the best course of action, effectively resulting in two appointments per year. Unfortunately, this rule is not always adhered to and while making at least one dental appointment per year might suffice in some cases, there are some people who won’t even do that. It’s important to remember that your dentist is trained to not only take care of your teeth, but also to recognize the signs of any additional health issues (both oral and otherwise). By not giving your dentist the time to give you a proper examination, you are preventing your dentist from detecting any health issues, thereby allowing the issues to progress and worsen. 

A Smile Is A Terrible Thing to Waste!

Your smile is something you should love and take care of. But if you take it for granted, your beautiful smile not only won’t stay beautiful, but could also end up making you very sick! While all these common dental problems can potentially become a severe health crisis, keep in mind that almost all of these conditions can be prevented or successfully treated by taking the time to see Dr. Kimes and his wonderful staff at Overland Park Dentistry. 

Remember a Smile is a terrible thing to waste, Don’t waste yours!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

A New Trend: The Dangers of Vaping

The new fad of vaping has swept the nation, and although this craze has certainly generated its share of controversy and mixed emotions, for the time being it appears that vaping is here to stay.

Initially arriving on the public scene several years back, vaping was introduced as a healthier option as opposed to tobacco use. By allowing users to receive a nicotine kick through ingesting smokeless vapor instead of smoking or chewing tobacco. While these various types of vapor generating electronic cigarettes (sometimes known as e-cigs or vape pens) have quickly become a hit amongst the general populous. Ongoing debates between both critics and supporters continue to revolve around what health benefits, issues and dangers of vaping that may associated with this new trend.

While tobacco in all its forms has obviously remained an enemy to the dental profession for a very long time, the recent arrival of vaping certainly indicates a change in this dynamic (and of course, change can be good or bad). Therefore, in response to this we have compiled a list of some of the pros, cons  and dangers of vaping as opposed to smoking. As you will see in the following two columns, we break down vaping from an oral health standpoint, to better compare it with smoking and tobacco use. Remember although vaping might present less of a hazard to your gums and teeth than smoking, it does NOT mean it presents no hazard at all!

Vaping: The Pros

It’s no secret that prolonged tobacco use can absolutely devastate the oral health of the user, and when compared to vaping is significantly more dangerous.  While vaping is certainly not harmless, it is in fact the safer option of the two.

  • Won’t stain teeth: Despite much discussion and debate on this aspect, contrary to popular belief vaping will not actually discolor or stain your teeth, unlike cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other tobacco containing products.  
  • More hygienic:  Let’s face it, tobacco is gross and very messy; certainly with vapor products, any problems with basic oral hygiene will be considerably less prevalent. 
  • Won’t cause oral cancer: As one of its primary selling points, it should be reiterated that vaping will not cause oral cancer, nor lead to any other type of cancer that we know of. That being said, remember that vaping is still a relatively new type of technology, thereby certain long-term health concerns may not yet be known. 

Dangers of Vaping: The Cons

As mentioned previously, while promoting itself as a safer alternative as opposed to smoking, vaping is still not good for your teeth and if not regularly checked, can result in multitude of oral health problems.

  • Gingivitis & Periodontitis: Due to the significant amount of nicotine present in vapor-emitting products, users of such products are at an increased risk of developing gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Such gum infections if not diagnosed and correctly treated can become significantly worse overtime. 
  • Gum recession:  In addition to causing gum disease, the nicotine within electronic cigarettes may also cause the gum line to recede. Due to nicotine’s tendency to slow and reduce the flow of blood as it passes throughout the body, it ultimately cuts off the gums from receiving the necessary amount of nutrients and oxygen for survival, thus slowly killing the gum tissue.  
  • Hide symptoms/Prevent detection: To complete the trifecta of gum problems caused by vaping, by reducing the blood flow and killing off the gum tissue, vaping also hinders the dentist’s ability to detect the infection. Generally increased bleeding is a telltale sign that dentists look for in identifying gum disease; however, by suppressing the flow of blood, diagnosing the disease becomes increasingly difficult.  
  • Cause clenching and grinding: While this might not apply to everyone, if you do tend to clench or grind your teeth, then vaping might not be a good idea as nicotine is a muscle stimulant and may likely increase this tendency. 

To Vape or Not to Vape?

After all that is the question, right?

Well the correct answer may differ from a tobacco user to a nonuser, so we’ll put it to you like this; If you are a smoker/tobacco user who is trying to quit or looking for a safer alternative, then yes vaping can provide that. However, if you are a nonsmoker and are simply curious about the new vaping trend, then please don’t try it! Although not nearly as dangerous as tobacco, vaping offers little to no health benefits, and can damage your gums and teeth.

While of course you are ultimately the deciding factor, and if you chose to partake in this new trend, certainly the choice is yours. However, while vaping might be the latest fad, a beautiful smile is something that never goes out of style, so choose wisely! 

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.