Teeth whitening can help brighten up a dingy smile. There are many possible choices, from professional whitening in a dentist's office to do-it-yourself kits. Whatever you choose, it's important to get the facts ahead of time. Not everything you hear about teeth whitening is true. Check out these debunked myths. Myth #1: It's too expensive. The truth is teeth whitening doesn't have to cost a fortune. At-home tooth whitening is usually more affordable than the professional whitening your dentist does. But that doesn't mean all professional whitening will be out of your budget. Teeth-whitening kits run about $100. In-office professional whitening costs an average of $650. Costs vary widely, though. Some versions can cost as much as $3,500. Your dentist can set you up with at-home whitening trays for about $350. Myth #2: It will make my teeth too sensitive. Teeth-whitening solutions in teeth-whitening kits sometimes do make teeth more sensitive, but it’s not a permanent side effect. The bleaching solution may cause mild irritation to your gums as well. That's also temporary. And, there are ways to deal with this so you can still whiten your teeth. Wear the teeth-whitening trays or strips for a shorter amount of time. If you're supposed to apply the solution for an hour, do it in two 30-minute sessions. Take a break for a few days after you first start whitening your teeth. Also, use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Myth #3: It can work for anyone. Teeth-whitening solutions cannot always get teeth bright white—even if you opt for the pricey in-office whitening treatments. Whitening treatments don't work on dentures, veneers, caps, crowns or fillings. Teeth stained gray or blue, often from medications or trauma, might not whiten. Teeth stained brown might not whiten completely. But, teeth that are yellowish in color usually whiten the best. Talk to your dentist about whether your teeth are likely to respond well to whitening. Myth #4: I just need to do it once. Most teeth-whitening treatments need touch-ups. Professional treatments done in a dentist's office may last up to three years. Even then, you may need additional treatments after six months to a year. At-home whitening kits may need more frequent applications. It all depends on your teeth, the whitening solution you use, and your habits. Smoking and drinking coffee can make teeth discolor more quickly, for instance. Myth #5: You must have the treatment in a dentist's office to get good results. Not necessarily. Dentists use a concentrated bleaching gel and a light to help whiten teeth. They make sure the amount used is safe and apply something to protect your gums. And, even if you need to repeat the procedure, just one visit can provide results. The American Dental Association has not approved at-home bleaching strips, gel kits, and whitening toothpastes. They may be effective, but it's important to consult your dentist before trying any of them. Ask if a specific teeth-whitening kit would be safe for you. Get some tips to make sure you'll use it correctly. Learn more about Downtown Dental's cosmetic whitening options.
Our patients are asking us how we feel about the latest craze in the path to whiter teeth, and it's covered in a pitch-black paste. Bloggers and vloggers claim that brushing with activated charcoal is an all-natural way to remove surface stains caused by coffee, tea and wine without bleach or abrasives. To prove it, they’re flaunting soot-covered teeth straight out of a horror movie. The result? Fluorescent white teeth after as few as one use, proponents say. While you may have used charcoal in your skincare and juice routine (see the pros and cons of ingesting it here), should you replace your toothpaste with the powdery black substance? Activated Charcoal: The Whitening Promise There are some things that practically scream, Don't put me in your mouth. Charcoal is one of them. But ever since activated charcoal—coconut shells, wood, or peat processed to become super porous—made its way into beauty products, cleanses, and even ice cream, it seems everything is fair game. The general thought with activated charcoal is that because it can bind to toxic substances in the body, it is a detoxifier in and of itself. (Spoiler alert: It's not.) With toothpaste, the claim is that activated charcoal binds to roughness on the enamel of the teeth, absorbing any stains or dirt—and whitening teeth as a result. Activated charcoal has been used for many things. It’s a purifying agent that absorbs impurities. While you’ll find activated charcoal in air filters, traditionally, hospitals and poison control centers use it to treat accidental poisoning or a drug overdose. Unlike the bricks you use for your backyard barbecue, activated charcoal’s enormous surface area is dotted with the numerous nooks and crannies that draw in and trap toxic substances in your gut like a sponge. The bad stuff is then carried out with your next bowel movement. However, there's no evidence at all that charcoal does any good for your teeth. There could even be potential damage to your teeth and gums: like any abrasive, we’re worried about the effects on the gums and enamel on the teeth. We just don’t yet know about the safety and effectiveness of charcoal toothpaste in order to endorse it. Better Ways to Whiten There are other (safer, more effective, and less messy) DIY ways to whiten: try brushing with a baking soda and hydrogen peroxide mixture once or twice a week. Combine about 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide with 1 tablespoon of baking soda. The mildly abrasive nature of baking soda (emphasis on mild) can remove stains, naturally whitening the teeth, she notes. Just remember: this isn't a replacement for your go-to paste—just an add-on to your routine if you're looking for a natural whitener. The main thing to avoid in a regular whitening toothpaste is anything that's highly abrasive, particularly if you have thin enamel or receding gums, as a rough paste could cause more damage than good. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you want a gleaming white smile, let's discuss traditional whitening toothpaste for surface stains or over the counter treatments (like white strips) for deeper stains. If that doesn't work, we can help you evaluate your options for whitening treatments in our office.  If you do go the DIY charcoal-route, we suggest using it sparingly and discontinuing if your teeth become sensitive.
Cosmetic dentistry isn’t about vanity: in fact, we regularly see a change in a patient’s entire health status when they begin to work from the inside out. Practicing self-care to get healthy and overcome insecurities absolutely results in better overall wellness: when patients focus on their own health and happiness, the result is beauty. Many cosmetic dentistry patients wish they could just cover up their old, stained cracked or uneven teeth. Fortunately, dental veneers do exactly that. A veneer is really an architectural term: it just means a covering over something else. In the same way, a dental veneer is a thin piece of handcrafted porcelain, which is a glass, made to go over and bond/fuse to a natural tooth. The traditional approach to veneers included an extremely thin, semi-translucent porcelain cap permanently bonded to the front of your tooth. Because these veneers are permanent, the tooth would require some preparation (grinding down) to ensure a seamless fit. However, some patients don’t want any preparation of their teeth in order to place a cosmetic veneer. This is why PREPLESS VENEERS are a beautiful thing: the end product is a thin layer of porcelain that can be bonded to the person’s tooth without drilling the tooth down in size. A minimally invasive "facelift" for your mouth Prepless dental veneers provide the same aesthetic and functional benefits that porcelain veneers do. They are a good option for patients who want veneers but are hesitant to file down healthy tooth enamel. CONSIDERATIONS The most important element of a dental veneer is the skill and talent of your dentist. Not every dental office offers prepless veneers: some cosmetic dentists only offer veneers that require a lot of tooth grinding. Your dentist must be a HIGHLY trained and skilled provider to offer the best in conservative cosmetic dentistry. We believe that that non-invasive, no grinding type of porcelain veneers can be made to not only look natural but actually make the teeth much less sensitive. Prepless veneers appeal to many patients because the procedure can be reversed. If you choose in the future to have your prepless veneers removed, your natural teeth will look like they used to before dental veneers. As with any dental restoration, they will last longer if you maintain good dental hygiene, and not all veneer cases will lend themselves to no-prep or minimal preparation procedures. Have more questions? Call our office at 615-254-1393 to learn more and to schedule your consult with Dr. Clark.
implant infographic
[caption id="attachment_1324" align="aligncenter" width="400"]via deathsplaining.wordpress.com image via deathsplaining.wordpress.com[/caption] How Does Coffee Stain Teeth? Although the enamel of your teeth is the hardest substance in the human body, it is not flat and smooth. On the contrary, your tooth enamel contains microscopic pits and ridges that can hold particles of food and drink. Pigments from dark-colored drinks such as coffee, tea, and soda can become embedded in those cracks and ridges and, if the proper steps are not taken, can cause permanent, yellowing stains on your teeth. Does Coffee Stain Teeth Less If You Add Cream? While it may seem that lighter-colored coffee would stain less, the same pigments and acids are present in coffee with cream as black coffee; thus, adding any sort of whitener to your coffee will not prevent your teeth from becoming stained, unless you put significantly less coffee in your cup to make room for the cream. How Can One Prevent "Coffee Smile"? Giving up coffee, tea, or other tooth-staining beverages is the best way to prevent the staining caused by those drinks, but for most people, this is not an acceptable solution. Rather than abstaining, try to consume your coffee at specific break times, rather than sipping constantly throughout the day. After finishing your coffee, you can then rinse your mouth out with water or brush your teeth to remove the potentially yellowing pigments from your teeth. Using a whitening toothpaste and brushing regularly is a good way to maintain whiter teeth at home. In addition, visiting your dentist's office for regular cleanings can remove many of the surface stains on your teeth, giving you a whiter smile, no matter how many cups of coffee you need to make it through the day. resource: Colgate
Implant Dentistry at Downtown Dental Nashville: Frequently Asked QuestionsWhether you are missing one, many, or all of your teeth, Downtown Dental's implant dentistry uses latest advanced materials and tissue management techniques to replace those missing teeth and help you regain the self-confidence, quality of life and smile you may have lost when you lost them.  Here are a few basic questions we often hear from patients interested in implant procedures: What are Dental Implants? Dental implants are single replacements for missing teeth.  They are usually made of titanium or other biocompatible materials so that bone will grow in and around them to lock them into place. Why is it important to replace a missing or extracted tooth with an implant? Your teeth work as a group to do many things like chew food, form phonetics for proper speech, and fill out your cheeks to maintain a youthful appearance.  Posterior teeth serve to support the force of your bite, while anterior teeth allow for proper chewing and beautiful aesthetics.  Losing a tooth means that the remaining teeth have to absorb more force than what they were designed for.  Because the number and distribution of teeth changes, but the force with which your muscles contract does not. We often see that when people have been missing a tooth or teeth for a few years, the remaining teeth break down much more quickly than they should.  Therefore, it is important to replace missing or extracted teeth, and implants are the very best way to do that. How do implants work? Implants are threaded, and shaped like the root of a tooth.  They are placed in the bone where a tooth is missing or was extracted.  After a period of healing (usually a few months)  in which your bone grows around the implant to make it strong, an anchor is placed inside the implant and a crown is made to fit your bite and match the shape and color of the rest of your teeth. How successful are implants? As a restorative procedure, implants are one of the most successful treatments in dentistry.  Although each one is different, generally accepted success rates are around 98% over the long term.  This makes the actual effective value of an implant far outpace the cost to the patient.  There are many factors that can decrease the chances of success, such as smoking, poor oral hygiene, and related health issues like diabetes or bruxism (tooth grinding) so it is important to discuss these factors with your doctor when considering implants as an option for teeth replacement. Does it hurt to have an implant placed? Rarely.  Most patients report little to no discomfort after an implant is placed.  Typically patients may use OTC pain medicine such as Advil or Tylenol with great success after surgery. How Do I Clean My Dental Implants at Home? 1. Use a soft or extra soft toothbrush and a low abrasive toothpaste (avoid pastes with gritty particles) and brush the entire mouth twice daily and especially thorough at night before bed. 2. Proxy brushes (non metal miniature pipe cleaners) can be used to brush the in-betweens of the teeth.  A prescription antimicrobial mouth rinse may be prescribed if your dentist feels it appropriate based on your level of inflammation. 3. Wrap floss around the implant at the base of crown of the tooth in a figure eight formation and pull back and forth.  It is completely safe to clean your implant at or below the gum line.  In fact, it is most important to remove the biofilm from the junction of the crown and gum line.  Do this every night after you have eaten your last meal. 4. A water pik is a wonderful adjunct to a home care regimen and is highly recommended for patients with implants.  Strong water pressure forces the food particles and bacteria from the trough of gum surrounded the implant.  This can be used morning and night. How Will I Care for My Dental Implants After Surgery? Pain and swelling are not expected following normal post surgical soreness, however rest will be important over the next 12 hours to help the body form a good blood clot at surgical site.  The clot formation aids in reducing pain, bleeding, and the risk of infection so limit exercise, talking, chewing, and avoid smoking. Smoking slows healing and increases the risk of surgical complications and failures. Abstain from food and drink for one hour and use a warm salt water rinse every 4-6 hours. Food intake should be limited to liquids for the first 12 hours and then very soft foods for the next couple of weeks.  Avoid seeds and nuts. Apply with chlorehexidine twice daily. Do not pull on sutures.  There should not be any bleeding after 24 hours. Bone particles are not unusual at the graft site. If you're interested in learning more about dental implants and replacing missing teeth, we would be happy to tell you more. Please call our office at 615-254-1393 for more information or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Clark.
Downtown Dental is donating 10% of all cosmetic dentistry procedures, and you get to choose the recipient! Giving back is an important part of our business. We also believe that when you focus on helping others, your body reaps health benefits. Since spring is the time most of us begin to think about improving our smiles for that big event (Mother’s Day, weddings, graduations, etc), we want to give you a reason to smile even brighter. When you schedule any cosmetic dentistry procedure in 2015, Downtown Dental will donate 10% to the non-profit/charity of your choice. Procedures include: •    Cosmetic Bonding •    Veneers •    Implants •    Tooth Whitening Downtown Dental cares about your oral health as well as the things closest to your heart. We’re excited to learn more about the organizations you care most about supporting as we join you in paying it forward. To learn more, call our office at (615) 254-1393 or email us at frontdesk@downtowndental.com. Want to pick a local charity? Learn more here by visiting the Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee website: http://www.cfmt.org/give/
Ready to get a brighter, whiter smile for summer? There are numerous options if you are looking to whiten your teeth, but which ones should you choose, and which should you stay away from? For best results, here are a few steps that we recommend you take before whitening your teeth:
  1. DENTAL CHECK-UP: Don’t rush to the store to purchase a teeth whitening kit, visit your dentist first! It’s important to start your whitening process with a dental check-up. Your dentist will evaluate your oral health by diagnosing and treating any issues, which is extremely important. During your check-up, your dentist will also determine whether or not you are a good candidate for a teeth whitening.
  2. THINK TWICE ABOUT OVER THE COUNTER KITS: There are now several options for teeth whitening online, in stores, on TV and even on the radio. The American Dental Association (ADA) has noted concern surrounding the safety of chemicals and procedures being performed without the care or supervision of a licensed dentist. The ADA recommends consulting a dentist as some chemicals could damage the hard and soft tissues in the mouth if not applied properly.
  3. SKIP THE KIOSK: Teeth Whitening Kiosks are popping up in malls and salons all over the country at a rapid pace, but beware. Just because the staff is wearing white lab coats or scrubs, does not mean they are licensed healthcare professionals. In most cases, they have no healthcare experience at all and are dispensing chemicals that could damage a person’s teeth and gums. Some states have gone so far as to ban such kiosks due to health concerns.
  4. WEIGH YOUR OPTIONS: Talk to your dentist about the pros and cons of the treatment options available for you. Your dentist will take into consideration what is right for you. They could determine you are a candidate for an in-office treatment, or even give you a product to take home and apply.
If you haven’t heard, the theme our staff has adopted for 2013 is staying healthy from head to toe and we’ve worked hard to keep that pledge going throughout the year. What’s been so inspiring is that many of you have joined us in making that commitment in your own lives from keeping your heart healthy through regular dental visits to running a half marathon. As we reach the halfway point in the year, we started to brainstorm some ways to keep our commitment level up while celebrating all of the incredible ways you’ve joined us thus far…. What better way to celebrate and encourage others than with a party? A BE WELL Party, in fact. As a way to encourage the entire downtown Nashville community to join our commitment to stay healthy from head to toe, we’re bringing in a host of local vendors for a night of food, entertainment, and healthy living education. On Thursday, August 1st from 5:30 pm -7:30 pm, we’ll host an evening for you stop by our office and enjoy food, drinks and music…
  • Nashville Running Company will be there to help runners find the right type of shoe for their style and discounts to get your run off on the right foot.
  • Massage Therapist Jules Saunders will be there to help relieve all the stress you’ve been building up with free massages.
  • Third and Church Healthcare will be there to provide you with resources to stay healthy throughout the upcoming months including free B-12 shots for our first 75 guests.
  • Nashville B-Cycle will be there to showcase how you can stay healthy and have fun all at the same time along with membership discounts.
  • We’ll be showcasing our new Waterlase iPlus Laser if you haven’t had a chance to see it in action.
There will also be a drawing for a new iPad mini for those that RSVP and attend the event. The more co-workers and friends that you bring, the better chance you have of winning! Complimentary food will be provided from Wrapper’s Delight, brews from Jackalope Brewery, and wine from Midtown Wine & Spirits. Finally, Josh Roberts will be be there to provide live entertainment. What should you do next?
  1.  The first thing you should do is RSVP.
  2. Immediately after you do that, don’t forget to mark it down on your calendar. You can walk, bike, or jog to our offices after work (and get extra points for staying healthy) or public parking is available underneath the Justice A.A. Birch Building.
We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate staying healthy from head to toe with a night of food, drinks, and inspiration with your friends and co-workers For more details or RSVP information, you can contact us here.

During the month of November, help Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee feed a family in need and we will brighten your smile FOR FREE. Giving never looked so good....