Call us directly: (843) 852-3401

1164 Northbridge Drive Suite A Charleston, SC 29407 Contact Us

Facts and Questions

I have sensitive teeth. What causes this?

Is eating ice cream or drinking hot cocoa sometimes a painful experience for you?  Or does brushing or flossing occasionally hurt?  You may have sensitive teeth, and the causes can be several things: cavities, fractured teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, worn enamel, and/or exposed tooth root. In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin. Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.

Is an electric toothbrush better than my manual one?

You can brush your teeth effectively with a manual toothbrush — but an electric toothbrush can be a great alternative to a manual toothbrush, especially if you have arthritis or another condition that makes it difficult to brush well. The bristle motion of an electric toothbrush might even help you remove more plaque and improve your gum health.

Once you decide to buy an electric toothbrush, make sure the toothbrush is comfortable to hold and easy to use. Other features such as adjustable power levels, timers and rechargeable batteries are up to you.

What’s most important is daily brushing and flossing, however you decide to accomplish it. No matter what type of brush you choose, replace your toothbrush when the bristles splay out of line. And remember, on any toothbrush, softer bristles are better.

0033-Northbridge-Dental-8-2016-Carmen-Ash

Is there a time that’s best to brush your teeth? Once you’ve eaten foods?

The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day; one time should be before sleep. But if you snack and drink throughout the day, it may be helpful to brush your teeth more often.

Brushing your teeth helps remove plaque — a sticky film that forms on your teeth because of bacteria in your mouth. The bacterium in plaque causes the two major tooth-related diseases, cavities (dental caries) and gum disease (periodontitis).

One caveat to brushing after you eat is if you’ve eaten an acidic food or drink.   For example, orange juice, you should avoid brushing your teeth for at least 30 minutes after acidic foods and beverages. These acids weaken tooth enamel, and brushing too soon can cause damage to the enamel.

Can whitening toothpaste actually whiten my teeth?

Whitening toothpaste can whiten teeth slightly by removing surface stains, such as those caused by drinking coffee or smoking. Whitening toothpaste can also be used after a bleaching treatment to help maintain results.

To remove surface stains, whitening toothpaste typically includes abrasives that polish the teeth, and chemicals that help break down stains.

Some whitening toothpastes contain the chemical blue covarine, which adheres to the surface of the teeth and creates an optical illusion that can make teeth appear less yellow.

When used twice a day, whitening toothpaste can take from two to six weeks to make teeth appear whiter. Whitening toothpaste that contains blue covarine can have an immediate effect.

Although whitening toothpaste is generally safe for daily use, be careful to follow manufacturer recommendations. Excessive use of whitening toothpaste can damage your tooth enamel over time.

Keep in mind that whitening toothpaste can’t change the natural color of your teeth or lighten a stain that goes deeper than a tooth’s surface.
If you’re considering using whitening toothpaste, look for a brand that has a seal of approval from a reputable dental organization — such as the American Dental Association Seal of

Acceptance. This seal indicates that the toothpaste is effective at removing surface stains.

If you’re not satisfied with the effect of whitening toothpaste, ask your dentist or dental hygienist about other tooth whitening options — such as over-the-counter or professional bleaching products.