Let’s be honest: there are few things in your life you can count on. Relationships come and go, job security is rare, and even your best of friends occasionally let you down. But, amid all the uncertainty life dishes up, there is one thing that never fails you: coffee.

Back in high school, when you pulled an all-nighter studying for that Trigonometry test that meant the difference between passing or failing the entire class — coffee was there for you.

In college, when you couldn’t sleep for weeks after your first true love dumped you — coffee kept you going.

And after you had your first child and learned what sleep deprivation was really about (and that it would now be regular part of rest of your life) coffee warmly greeted you every morning — and sometimes in the afternoon— and has been there for your ever since.

In fact, coffee is so reliable you could say you carry it with you everywhere you go, and are reminded of it every time your smile. Yes, that light yellowish-brown tint to your teeth is proof that coffee is your ever faithful companion, and while you appreciate all that it has done for you, you find yourself wincing at your smiling image in every photo and have started covering your mouth when you laugh.

Don’t despair; you don’t have to abandon your bestie to get your beautiful smile back. There are a multitude of teeth whitening options that will give you back your smile and allow you to keep your cup of Joe — for good.

Teeth Whitening

There are several teeth bleaching options that can whiten your smile by eight to 14 shades in a short amount of time. The three main approaches are:

Over-the-counter teeth bleaching kits: Some surface stains can be removed with whitening toothpastes and over-the-counter teeth-whitening kits. Kits come in a variety of options including whitening strips and mouthguards filled with gel. They are done at home under no supervision.
Dentist-provided at-home teeth bleaching: Your dentist provides you with a teeth-bleaching gel and a customized mouthguard to put it in. You are then assigned a teeth-bleaching regimen to follow. Results are achieved in 10 to 14 days — a little longer than the in-office option— but the process takes place within the comfort and convenience of your own home.
In-office teeth bleaching: During your office visit, your dentist applies a teeth-bleaching agent to your teeth and then uses a whitening lamp to accelerate the bleaching process. Standard visits last 90 minutes.
There are pros and cons to both over-the-counter and professional whitening options. The over-the-counter options are less expensive and can be done in the comfort of your home without the hassle of scheduling office visits. While convenient, these approaches are limited and can be painful or cause tooth and gum sensitivities. Professional-grade products are needed to remove deeper stains and to treat individuals with sensitive teeth and gums.

Whitening treatments that are done at a dentist’s office can be more expensive and require scheduling visits, however they can achieve a brighter shade of white in far less time. There are also whitening options for patients with sensitive teeth and gums. Some of the professional teeth bleaching systems dentists offer today are:

KöR® Deep Bleaching: This treatment will give you your brightest smile. Using custom-fit, specially fabricated whitening trays that seal in the bleaching agent, your treatment is completed in just two visits. The trays are designed to protect your gum area so that there is no irritation.

ZOOM! Whitening: This is a one-visit whitening procedure that takes less than an hour and provides results that are equal to that of the 10- to 14-day systems. Your dentist applies the ZOOM! teeth-bleaching gel to your teeth and uses the ZOOM! light to help the gel penetrate deep stains. The gel stays on your teeth for approximately 15 minutes.

BriteSmile®: This system is known for being gentle on sensitive teeth and gums. It’s perfect for patients who have a hard time tolerating stronger treatments. It is a one- hour, laser-based whitening procedure, plus take-home teeth-whitening products. It can brighten teeth up to 14 shades with lasting results. During the procedure, Your dentist uses a special peroxide gel that is pH-balanced, compatible with tooth enamel, and formulated to respond to the blue wavelength of a special activation lamp. The treatments are completed in three separate 20-minute visits, with the goal of getting your teeth as white as possible.

If your teeth aren’t their brightest call (210) 468-1440 today and find out more about how you get your youthful, white smile back while continuing to enjoying the foods and drinks you love the most.

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The influence our oral health has on our quality of life often goes unnoticed until something goes wrong. From essential activities like eating and speaking to those magical moments where we find ourselves lost in a romantic kiss, our mouths play a key role in how we feel and interact with others on a daily basis. An unexpected disturbance by a canker sore can cause mouth pain and general discomfort.

Canker sores begin to appear as early as age 10, and can occur at any point in a person’s life. They only appear inside of the mouth, and about one in five people get them on a regular basis.

Canker or Cold Sores

It’s common for canker sores to be confused with cold sores. If you are wondering whether you have a canker sore or a cold sore, look at the location. Canker sores are always found inside the mouth. Cold sores can appear outside the mouth, around the lips, chin, and nostrils. Also, while canker sores appear as small open sores that are yellow or white, cold sores appear as red, fluid-filled blisters that typically occur in groups. Unfortunately, contrary to canker sores, cold sores are contagious.

Signs of a Canker Sore

The following are signs you may have a canker sore:

A tingling sensation
Small red bumps
Red bumps turn into an open lesion that is white or yellowish
Lesion can be up to half an inch long
Lesion is not accompanied by swollen lymphs or fever
Risk Factors for Canker Sores

Certain conditions increase your risk for, and lead to the development of, canker sores. While in most cases it’s difficult to identify what led to a canker sore, the most common causes are:

Viral infection
Hormonal fluctuations due to menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause
Food allergies
Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
Compromised immune system
Mouth injury
The Good News!

There is some good news about canker sores: They aren’t contagious! While there is some indication that canker sores run in families, you can’t pass them to another person by sharing food or kissing.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Canker sores can be diagnosed with a visual exam. If you suffer from a severe break-out, or if your doctor thinks you may have a hormonal imbalance or immune-system disorder, they may choose to take a biopsy or run some blood tests.

Once a mouth sore has been diagnosed as a canker sore, treatment typically involves letting them heal on their own while taking steps to alleviate the discomfort. Over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen and acetaminophen alleviate the discomfort associated with canker sores. While the sores are present, you will want to avoid hot or spicy foods and food that can scratch the inside of your mouth. For sores that take longer to heal, there are topical medications that help relieve and protect them.

Laser Therapy for Cold and Canker Sores

Another method is laser treatment for cold sores and canker sores. A photonic laser energy is used to destroy the active virus responsible for the oral lesions. It is accomplished quickly and comfortably without the need for anesthetic. Often those who seek treatment at the first signs of the virus (tingling and light burning sensations) don’t develop sores at all. However, if sores have already erupted, the progression is stopped with laser therapy, and the appearance and discomfort are greatly decreased. You will feel immediate relief, and if the sore has already broken out, the lip will return to normal in a matter of days — not the usual two weeks or more without treatment.

Have a canker or cold sore? Find relief by calling Berchelmann Family Dental at (210) 468-1440. Based on what you describe, we’ll help determine what home remedy is best for you.

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Berchelmann Family Dental

608 Fair Ave,

San Antonio, TX 78223

Phone. 210-336-8478