Top 3 Reasons To Whiten Your Teeth

March 26, 2018  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Top 3 Reasons To Whiten Your Teeth

Thousands of Birmingham Alabama residents get their teeth whitened every year. At Sampson Dentistry, here are the top 3 reasons to whiten your teeth. Teeth whitening from Sampson Dentistry can provide you with a gorgeous smile that’s up to 10 shades whiter.

Top 3 Reasons To Whiten Your Teeth

Top 3 Reasons To Whiten Your Teeth

Prepare for that special event.  

Do you have a special event like an anniversary, wedding, or presentation coming up? Consider all the people you’ll see or meet, and the pictures that will be taken. You’ll want your best smile to be the focus so you can look back on the memories fondly. Get your teeth whitened, and you’re sure to be more confident during your next special event.

Make a good first impression.

First impressions are everything. And a bright smile can help you make the right one. Whether you’re dating, interviewing for a new job, or meeting important clients at work.

Feel confident about your smile!

Your smile says so much about who you are. But if you have stained or yellowed teeth, you may feel too self-conscious to express yourself to the world.

Does Cold Temperatures Make My Teeth Hurt?

March 19, 2018  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Does Cold Temperatures Make My Teeth Hurt?

Does Cold Temperatures Make My Teeth Hurt? Yes, cold temperatures can make your teeth hurt. In response to extreme heat and cold, your teeth expand and contract. Over time, this can lead to cracks in your teeth, exposing the vulnerable microscopic tubes beneath your enamel. This is the same tooth pain you feel because of cavities, gum disease, and other bad oral habits. Therefore, any problems with your enamel or gums, such as periodontal disease, could leave you vulnerable to cold temperature pain.

Weather sensitivity can occur regardless of how well you care for your teeth, but you’re at greater risk if you don’t practice good oral hygiene and live in an area that has extreme temperature swings.

To minimize sensitivity, you should learn about the common causes for sensitive teeth and what you should do when you notice pain because of the cold temperature.

Does Cold Temperatures Make My Teeth Hurt?

Individuals often wear down their enamel or suffer from receding gums and tooth sensitivity because of one of the following reasons:

  • Periodontal disease: Diseases of the gums can expose the dentin and cause sensitivity. Gingivitis is one of the earliest stages of periodontal disease.
  • Brushing too hard: You may think that you need to bear down hard to remove surface stains, but brushing with too much force can start to wear down your enamel.
  • Grinding: Some individuals may clench or grind their teeth in their sleep. This can wear down tooth enamel and lead to sensitivity.
  • Tooth decay: Sensitivity to cold is an early sign of an undetected tooth decay problem. If you start to experience tooth pain, go see a dentist.
  • Tooth whitening applications: Have you started using a new tooth-whitening agent? The ingredients that make your teeth whiter may strip past surface stains and start wearing down your enamel. If the agent starts hurting your teeth, stop the treatment and consult with your dentist.
  • Acidic drinks: Sodas, coffee, tea, and other drinks with a high concentration of acid, such as juices, can erode your teeth and expose the dentin layer.
  • bad lifestyle habits: Other bad oral health habits, such as using tobacco products or not brushing or flossing properly, can cause your gums to recede. When this happens, the dentin at the base of the gums is exposed and can lead to temperature-sensitive teeth.

Possible Solutions for Sensitive Teeth

  • A fluoride application: Fluoride strengthens the enamel and thus prevents sensitivity because of exposed dentin.
  • Covering root surfaces: A dentist can apply a sealant to fix problems with receding gums.
  • Mouth guards: If you grind your teeth, a dentist can make a mouth guard to prevent you from damaging your teeth in your sleep.
  • Root canal procedure: This is recommended to fix issues with deep decay or a cracked or chipped tooth.

Today’s Porcelain Veneers In Birmingham AL

December 20, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Today’s Porcelain Veneers In Birmingham AL

Today’s Porcelain Veneers In Birmingham AL

In recent years, Birmingham Alabama residents have had two options to choose from in regards to today’s porcelain veneers through Birmingham dentist.  Birmingham residents can choose from traditional veneers and no-preparation veneers.

traditional veneers

With traditional veneers, your dentist will remove a very small amount of enamel from the tooth or teeth that will be receiving the veneer. Then, your Hoover Alabama dentist takes an impression of your slightly shaved tooth, so a veneer can be crafted for it. It’ll take between two and four weeks to receive the veneer. In the meantime, you can get temporary veneers during the interim.

Today’s Porcelain Veneers In Birmingham AL

No-preparation veneers

Take in consideration that with no-preparation veneers, there is no removal or shaving your natural teeth required.  Veneers fit over your existing natural teeth.

Before placing veneers permanently, your dentist checks the final veneer’s fit and appearance in your mouth. If the veneer doesn’t fit perfectly, the dentist can trim it down. After cleaning, polishing, and etching your tooth, your dentist will bond the veneer to your tooth.

Your local Hoover dentist can make a bite and fit adjustment after the veneer has been placed and cemented. Today’s veneers last for between 10 and 30 years, which is a huge improvement over the old style that barely stayed in place.

Porcelain veneers have been around since the late 1920s, and it should be no surprise that they began in Hollywood. A California dentist came up with a way to enhance the smiles of his Hollywood star patients. The stars would wear the caps during movie scenes, then remove them. Though this is a long way from the porcelain permanent veneers we think of today, it’s the beginning of using veneers to perfect someone’s smile.

Headaches and Teeth

December 13, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  Blog
Headaches and Teeth | Birmigham Alabama Dentist

Headaches and Teeth! Did you know that many headaches are actually linked to your teeth? Bruxism is a term to describe the clenching and grinding of teeth. When a person clenches or grinds their teeth together, muscles that control the movement of the jaws work overtime.

The muscles (in particular the temporalis and masseter muscles) become very sore and cause painful tension-type headaches. Facial pain is also frequent symptom with bruxism.

In addition, bruxism is sparked by a number of scenarios.  These variables include: stress, anxiety, and bite abnormalities.

Headaches and Teeth

Treatment can significantly reduce the frequency or severity of the headaches and/or facial pain. The most common form of treatment is a dental appliance that can control your bite and jaw position. This will help protect the teeth, distribute the forces of bruxism, ease tension off of the muscles, and in some cases stop the bruxism habit all together.

Although dental devices can really help the symptoms, sometimes stress management and/or therapy can be very beneficial to get to the source of the problem. In addition, if the source is a bite abnormality, it is worth investigating if and how that can be corrected.

Make dental visits a part of your lifestyle. Maintaining dental visits early on in life is recommended. Continuing dental visits throughout the early part of your life is a great way to start a good oral hygiene.

Energy, Health, Smiles, & White Peach Tea

December 6, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  Blog
General Dentistry In Birmingham, AL

Energy, Health, Smiles, & White Peach Tea.  Sodas, energy drinks, and coffee are being consumed in record-breaking numbers. Our society absolutely craves energy boosts to get us through our “lives on the go”. Let’s face it…most of us are addicted to caffeine and will consume it in one way or another at some point every day!

So here’s the question: Is there a way to obtain your caffeine fix that’s actually good for you?

Actually….Yes. Ever thought about a good cup ah’ tea?

Energy, Health, Smiles, & White Peach Tea

Tea typically contains more caffeine than a coke, but less than a brew of coffee. It is also sugar-free, unless you choose to add some. Tea has long been known to have many systemic health benefits including: decreasing your risk of heart disease, stroke, cancer, and boosting your immune system. More recently though, tea has been linked to GREATER ORAL HEALTH.

White tea is the least processed form of tea. Basically, the leaves are picked, dried, and that’s it. Because of this, it is the most antioxidant-rich tea there is, even more antioxidants than green tea. Recent research has found that consuming white tea can help prevent cavities and periodontal disease by suppressing the growth of cavity causing microbes and interfering with the bacteria’s ability to stick to teeth. People who drank a cup of tea or two between meals were found to have lower bacterial counts and less plaque than those who did not. A caffeine fix that promotes oral health….a dentist’s dream! The other great news is that white tea is not going to cause erosion of the teeth and unlike coffee and darker teas, white tea will cause minimal to no staining of those pearly whites.

There are many options for obtaining that small boost throughout your day. Consider replacing some of your other options with a nice cup of white tea. Not only will it give you a dose of caffeine, it will promote overall systemic and oral health.

Why are dental x-rays important?

December 3, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Why are dental x-rays important

X-rays are a crucial part of diagnosis and treatment in oral health.  Why are dental x-rays important? They allow a dentist to view structures that are not visible to the naked eye because they are between teeth, under soft tissue, or within the bone.  Having  x-rays taking, some conditions can be detected or diagnosed.

X-rays help check for:

What about the radiation?

However, with advancements in technology, especially digital systems, x-rays require very low dose radiation.Radiation dosage can be measured in units called millirems (mrem). A typical dental x-raytaken digitally exposes a patient to less than 0.5 mrem.

Finally, to put things in perspective, an average resident of the U.S. receives over 360 mrem every year from background sources. This comes from all over the place: outer space, radioactive materials in the earth, small amounts of radioactive material in foods and products that we use, even over people. Variances in lifestyle likewise cause variances in each individual’s total exposure. For example: an individual who flies often is exposed to more background radiation than someone who does not.

Why are dental x-rays important

While steps should be taken to limit x-ray radiation exposure, dental x-rays are very low dose and are crucial for proper diagnosis. By being proactive, x-rays can detect much of the oral cavity in your mouth.

Helping Kids Enjoy Healthy Dental Habits

November 30, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  Blog
Helping Kids Enjoy Healthy Dental Habits

One of the most common phrases we hear our dental patients say is “I wish I would have taken better care of my teeth.” Helping kids enjoy healthier dental habits early on, will increase their chances of having a healthier smile.

Many instances we tell kids “brush and floss and don’t eat candy or you’re going to get cavities.”  Sometimes, it’s hard to help children, who understandably see the world with a “here and now” vision.

As an effort to motivate children to take care of their teeth, you have to show through your own actions.  If you realize the importance of preventative care today, the long term positive effects will be evident later on.

So while it is very important to teach our children about prevention and the consequences of not doing so, it can be equally as important to supplement that with positive reinforcement to help them learn to enjoy the preventative dental measures themselves.

If we can teach our children to actually enjoy healthy habits at a young age, instead of just using scare tactics to avoid unhealthy habits, they will certainly have a more solid foundation for a lifetime of choosing a healthy path.

Helping Kids Enjoy Healthy Dental Habit tips:

  • Have an assortment of healthy and natural “treats” (carrot sticks, fruit pieces, etc) available.
  • Allow the child to be part of the decision making process.
  • Be a good role model in what your choices and habits are.
  • Use fun dental hygiene products! Tooth Tunes toothbrushes are an excellent example. It plays music when the brush touches the teeth. Having fun while brushing positively reinforces the habit, whether they understand the concept of prevention or not.

Flossing in the Shower

November 25, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  News
Flossing in the Shower

One of the biggest struggles I face as a dentist is the daily battle to convince people that they need to floss. I tell patients that if they are not flossing, then about 40% of their teeth surfaces are not getting cleaned.  Flossing in the shower can be an easy remedy.

I tell them that bacteria are just continually sitting there breeding, eating, and growing. I tell them about the cavities, periodontal disease, bad breath, and systemic complications that not flossing leads to. Rarely does this pleading make a difference.

People know they need to floss more and they know the reasons why; they just aren’t doing it. Why? It’s mostly because they haven’t taken the time to make it a habit. Will power alone will only get people to floss regularly for a very short period of time. They have to form a habit, so it becomes a natural part of their daily routine.

So what do I suggest? Well, here’s one idea:

Flossing In The Shower.

Here are a few reasons why:

  1. Showering is most likely a natural part of your daily routine. By flossing in the shower you can “piggyback” onto this already natural habit in order to develop a new one.
  1. By sitting a floss package in your shower it will stay visible and remind you that it needs to be done.
  1. People often feel that they do not have time to floss. I can relate to this. However, people rarely feel rushed in the shower. If you don’t feel rushed, you are more likely to do the things you need to do.

I know it sounds kind of goofy, but give it a try. The result could literally be life-changing.

Do Cavities Hurt

November 20, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  Blog
General Dentistry In Birmingham, AL

Do Cavities Hurt? Yes, no, sometimes, always, never…it just depends. They are different for everyone. In my experiences (both as a dentist and as a patient) a majority of cavities do not present with any symptoms until they are quite large.

In fact, I have seen many teeth with cavities so large that they were abscessed and yet there was never any pain or sensitivity present. Of course there are those on the complete other side of the spectrum as well.

My wife is a great example. She told me she had a cavity about a year before I could detect anything (and we use magnified vision and the most modern equipment to detect cavities). Some people are just like that though. One of the biggest complaints I have as a dentist is when I get the response, “it doesn’t hurt.”

I can detect a cavity and even show pictures, x-rays, etc to the patient, so they can see the cavity for themselves and then the response I get is: “it doesn’t hurt.” And this is used in the context of, “it doesn’t hurt, therefore it doesn’t exist.” This is very poor reasoning.

Do Cavities Hurt

I believe it doesn’t hurt…it may never hurt, but there is a problem that needs addressed while it still can. There are so many factors involved that determine whether or not there will be pain associated with a cavity. So the presence (or absence) of pain should never be the deciding factor.

Are Diet Drinks Bad for Your Teeth?

November 17, 2017  |  by James Sampson  |  Blog, News
Are Diet Drinks Bad for Your Teeth?

First, let’s answer this question: What causes cavities? The answer in the simplest terms is acids. The longer explanation is this. Bacteria adhere to your teeth (plaque). The bacteria then use the sugar you consume and create acids. Are Diet Drinks Bad for Your Teeth?  The acids eat away at your teeth and form holes. The cycle continues as the bacteria bore their way deeper and deeper into the teeth.

What is the main thing the bacteria need to thrive? Sugar.

Are diet drinks also bad for teeth?

Most diet drinks do not contain sugar. They use some form or another of artificial sweetener. The good news is that cavity-causing bacteria cannot metabolize these sweeteners to form acids. The bad news is, just like their “regular” counterparts, diet drinks are extremely acidic in themselves. Again, what causes cavities? Acids! And so, even though the typical path of cavity formation (bacteria eats sugar, releases acids, forms holes in teeth) is not followed as much, these drinks can just bypass the bacteria step and eat away at your teeth on their own. Pathologically speaking, it is a different type of cavity with different attributes than that of a bacteria caused one. However, in the big picture, it doesn’t really matter. In both situations, tooth structure is eaten away and once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Drink more water. There is nothing better!
Limit soft drinks, including diet soft drinks, to meal times.
At the very least, swish around with some water after consuming to remove some of it off your teeth.