All posts by AllSmiles

Teeth Whitening Gel or Baking Soda to Brighten Your Dull Veneers?

Are you thinking about using teeth whitening or baking soda to brighten your porcelain veneers? What you use to clean your veneers can maximize—or minimize—their lifespan.

The Properties of Porcelain Veneers

Well-made porcelain veneers replicate tooth enamel. Although porcelain beautifully mimics enamel, the properties of porcelain are different. The dental ceramics used to make veneers are harder than tooth enamel. And veneers are stain resistant. So how can you whiten them?

Teeth Whitening

Photo of upper and lower teeth whitening trays in a blue case; for information on teeth alignment from the office Plano dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Teeth-whitening treatments won’t brighten porcelain veneers

Professional bleaching gel is made of carbamide peroxide, which penetrates through tooth enamel into the dentin in teeth. The gel lightens the natural pigmentation in your teeth. But porcelain veneers are colorfast—teeth whitening won’t change their color.

Baking Soda or Teeth-Whitening Toothpaste?

Powdered baking soda is abrasive. If used for an extended period, it can scratch tooth enamel or the surface of porcelain veneers. Additionally, most types of toothpaste—including those with teeth whitening properties—are too abrasive to use for an extended period on cosmetic dental work. At the margin of your gumline and the veneers, abrasive pastes can wear away the composite bonding that secures the veneers to your teeth.

Many advanced cosmetic dentists recommend low-abrasion toothpaste for any cosmetic work, including porcelain veneers. Supersmile® toothpaste is gentle on teeth and cosmetic work.

Bottom line: Don’t use powdered baking soda or teeth-whitening gels or pastes on your porcelain veneers. Long-term use will create scratches that attract stains. Use a low-abrasion brand of toothpaste that is recommended by your cosmetic dentist.

If Your Porcelain Veneers Are Dull or Stained

If porcelain veneers are stain resistant, why do yours look dull? Several factors can cause veneers to look dark and detract from your smile, including:

  • Bacteria leaking behind the cosmetic work
  • Excess dental cement that your dentist didn’t thoroughly remove when bonding the veneers to your teeth
  • Damage that results when a hygienist uses dental instruments or chemicals that work well on tooth enamel but not on veneers

It’s best to determine the cause of your dull or stained veneers. Teeth whitening gels or pastes won’t help. You can schedule an appointment for an exam with an advanced cosmetic dentist. Your cosmetic dentist might be able to polish your veneers and enhance their gloss. He or she will explain your options.

Miranda Lacy, DDS, a female dentist in Plano, TX, sponsors this post.

Affordable vs. Cheap Dentures – 5 Clues to Knowing What You’ll Receive

Affordable dental care and cheap dental care yield different results for your oral health. If you’re looking for affordable dentures, there are ways to ensure you still get quality replacement teeth.

Ask Your Dentist about the Process

You can schedule a consultation to ask your dentist about his or her protocol for providing dentures that look and feel great. You can also ask about options to make dental treatment affordable for you. Make a checklist of the items below to keep track of your dentist’s process. If you’re hesitant after the discussion, you can schedule a consultation with another dentist.

1.      Consultation

Diagram of a lower snap-on denture for information on Plano TX affordable dentistry from Dr. Miranda Lacy.
An affordable dentist can provide snap-on dentures

During a consultation, you and your dentist will discuss your concerns. You’ll learn about your options for dentures, including implant overdentures. Your dentist will also listen as you describe how you want your new smile to look. He or she will discuss the costs and how treatment can be made affordable to you.

2.      Impressions of your mouth

Dentists who want to achieve the most accurate fit for dentures take two-step impressions. And some dentists use three steps. Although you can find cheap dentures, the attention to detail ensures you get value from affordable dental care.

  • Preliminary – Your dentist takes a preliminary model of your jaw to make custom trays for a final impression. This step produces an accurately fitting denture. Although many dentists use stock trays, they are less accurate than a custom mold of your mouth.
  • Border impression – Some dentists use a heaver impression material to record the portion of your mouth that the denture border will touch. The border of an upper denture regulates the suction that will keep your denture in place. An accurate border means a better-fitting denture.
  • Inner impression – The next step is to use a medium impression material to register the details of the soft tissue inside the border.

3.      Wax model

Your dentist will make a wax model of the denture for you to put in your mouth. It’s a guide to let you know how your replacement teeth will look and feel. It doesn’t represent an exact fit of your final denture. But if the denture teeth are too large or too small—this is your opportunity to request changes. Otherwise, affordable dental care becomes expensive when you’re not satisfied and need to repeat the process to get new dentures.

4.      Fit check

When your denture is ready, you’ll try it on. Your dentist will check your bite (the way your upper and lower teeth fit together) and ensure the denture is comfortable. Sometimes relining or adjustments are needed.

5.      Follow-Up Appointments

Your affordable dentures will be worthwhile if your dentist schedules follow-up appointments to ensure your gums are healthy and your dentures are functioning well. A poor-fitting oral appliance can lead oral health issues that cost you more money in the future.

It’s More Affordable to Get Dentures Right the First Time

Although a dentist with a multi-step process might have higher fees, in the long term, preventing costly mistakes will be more affordable for you. Precautions will save you time and money. Look for a few experienced dentists in your area. Schedule consultations and take notes of the steps each dentist completes to ensure your affordable dental care isn’t cheap in quality.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

3 Surprising Ways Your Toothbrush Can Affect the Brightness of Your Smile

Teeth whitening is an easy way to make you and your smile look younger. Although your teeth get stained and darken over time, regularly brushing them will help remove surface stains and prevent a buildup of discoloration. But does your toothbrush matter?

1. Lifespan of a Toothbrush

Photo of a yellow toothbrush with toothpaste being applied to it; for information on free teeth whitening in Plano, TX

The lifespan of a toothbrush is three to four months. If you haven’t switched your toothbrush in a year, your brushing might be in vain. And the brush won’t make your teeth any whiter. Scattered, worn bristles aren’t doing the job. Settle the issue by keeping a few toothbrushes on hand so you can switch to a new one when the current one is worn. Can’t remember to switch to a new brush? Make a note in your calendar—hardcopy, phone, tablet, or iPad.

2. Hard or Soft?

Is a hard toothbrush more effective at removing surface stains from your teeth? That might seem logical, but below are a few facts:

  • Hard and medium bristles can promote gum recession.
  • Exposed tooth roots from gums that recede will make your teeth more sensitive to heat and cold.
  • A soft-bristled brush with long, angled bristles can easily clean between each tooth. It will be effective without harming your gum tissue.

3. Manual or Electric?

The American Dental Association reports that manual and electric toothbrushes are equally effective. Does this mean that your loved one needs no longer needs to gift you with an electric brush? An electric toothbrush has several advantages.

  • If you have dexterity issues, lack the motivation to brush properly, or don’t brush long enough, an electric toothbrush can help. Many electric brushes have a two-minute timer.
  • Just hold the brush and move it along the front and back of each tooth.
  • Don’t brush aggressively. Let the toothbrush do the work.

It’s all about you

Often, the brightness of your smile is related to the effort you put into maintaining good oral health. Brush your teeth twice daily. If you want a bright smile—even if you received professional teeth whitening—there is no substitute for brushing your teeth. Floss between your teeth to remove food debris that can lead to a buildup of plaque and discoloration.

In some cases medication or medical issues can change tooth color. A cosmetic dentist can help improve your smile.

If you’re doing all you can keep your teeth clean, but some stains remain, ask your dentist if professional teeth whitening is right for you. It can break down stains beneath the enamel and will give your teeth the sparkle you want.

This post is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy of Plano, TX. She provides free teeth whitening to patients who keep their dental cleaning and exam appointments.

5 Reasons Not to Be Afraid of Sedation at the Dentist

Isn’t sedation dentistry supposed to relieve your fear of the dentist? It does. But many patients are still nervous about receiving sedation. Consider five facts that can give you the confidence to move forward.

1. Your Dentist Is Trained

State dental boards regulate the practice of sedation dentistry. If your dentist administers it, he or she has completed training to do so. Ask your dentist about his or her training or certification in administering sedation. You can also increase your comfort level by asking how many sedation patients your dentist has seen. Your dental team is CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) trained, and your dentist has received training in Advanced Cardiac Life Support.

2. Communication Helps

You won’t be given sedation without your consent. In advance of your dental procedure, your dentist will explain what to expect before, during, and after the appointment. You will still be conscious and able to respond, answer questions, and speak to the dental team.

3. You’ll Never Be Left Alone

During your dental procedure, a staff member will be with you. If you’re afraid of a medical emergency or some other event that might endanger your health, let it overwhelm you. The dental team will monitor your vital signs throughout your appointment, and you will not be left alone in the treatment room.

4. Your Health History Will Be Reviewed

Be certain to let your dentist know your medical and dental history, including prescription medications. Your dentist will ensure that the sedative you receive will not conflict with any of your current medications.

5. Other Benefits than Being Drowsy

Sedation dentistry has several benefits that result in a better dental visit.

  • You’ll feel relaxed and have a sense of well-being.
  • It decreases your sensitivity to pain.
  • It prevents you from recalling what happened during your dental appointment.
  • While you’re relaxed, your dentist will be able to complete more work than it is possible to complete without sedation.
  • You can ask for sedation for dental cleanings, root canal treatment, and cosmetic work. Regardless of how simple or quick your dental procedure is, sedation can help you relax and get the care you need.

No Pressure

You don’t need to commit to sedation right away. Schedule an appointment to speak with your dentist about it. The consultation can include:

  • Discussing the cause of your anxiety
  • Learning about the types of sedation your dentist offers, as well as which medication will be used
  • Asking questions that will help you understand the process and what you can expect

Plano, TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy sponsors this blog.

Looking for an Affordable Way to Improve the Look of a Partial Denture?

Are you bothered by the look and feel of a metal clasp around your tooth that keeps your partial denture in place? Is there an affordable way to conceal the clasp and enhance your smile? We’ll give you a realistic view of what can—and what can’t—be done to improve your smile.

What Can Be Done About the Metal Clasp?

A traditional partial denture is secured with a metal clasp around the tooth on either side of it. Some patients complain that when they smile, the clasp shines in the light and makes it evident that they are wearing a partial denture.

For a minimal charge, your dentist can sandblast the clasp and give it a matte finish to prevent it from reflecting in the light. A dental lab can also do it for you.

What Your Dentist Can’t Do

The metal clasp needs to remain flexible around your teeth. Your dentist is unable to bond anything to it that might conceal its color. The clasp can weaken or break in the process of trying to conceal it. And it the loss of flexibility will increase the discomfort around your tooth.

An Affordable Alternative for Your Partial Denture

Photo of a valplast partial denture - an affordable alternative to a metal-clasped partial.
An affordable alternative to a metal clasp on your partial denture

Modern removable partial dentures have plastic clear or gum-colored claps that blend with your gums. Although the clasps are less sturdy than metal ones, they are also less noticeable and won’t be obvious when you smile. It is an affordable alternative for people who are unable to invest in dental implants to replace missing teeth.

Which Appliance Should You Request?

Before you request a specific dental appliance, consult with a cosmetic dentist who will examine your current partial denture and discuss your options.

This post is sponsored by Plano, TX cosmetic dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

5 Cheap Ways to Whiten Your Teeth and What to Expect

There are plenty of advantages to whitening your teeth. When it’s done safely, you really can’t go wrong. Just some of the benefits include:

  • Making your smile look younger
  • Improving your social life
  • Creating a good first impression
  • Helping you feel more confident

Cheap Paths to a Brighter Smile

Of course, you can get your teeth whitened by your dentist, but are there less expensive ways that work? Let’s review five common ways people brighten their smile, and what you can expect.

1. Whitening toothpaste

There are many brands of whitening toothpaste. Some of them remove surface stains on your teeth. Many of them are abrasive and can scratch your tooth enamel. You’ll receive minimal results—if any—and if stains are trapped deep in your teeth, you probably won’t notice a difference with whitening toothpaste.

2. Whitening strips

Some strips will provide decent results depending on the strength of the peroxide in them. The higher the percentage of peroxide, the whiter your teeth will get. Remember not to overdo it. And keep the bleaching gel away from your gums.

3. Over-the-counter bleaching kit

The success of over-the-counter kits depends on the contents of the bleaching gel. Carbamide peroxide is the most effective bleaching agent. Bleaching trays need to fit well to keep the gel in contact with your teeth so it can penetrate them and break down stains. The gel in most kits is less than half the strength of what dentists offer, so it will take more whitening sessions to brighten your teeth.

4. Baking soda

Baking soda can help with minor stains, but it is also abrasive to your tooth enamel. You shouldn’t use it for an extended period. And if you have composite bonding on your teeth or other types of dental restorations, you shouldn’t use it at all.

5. Free teeth whitening

Teeth whitening makes your smile look younger

Yep – free teeth whitening. Did you know that some dentists offer it if you keep up with your regularly scheduled appointments for cleaning and exams? You will receive custom bleaching trays and professional-strength gel. The results? A dynamic smile.

This post is sponsored by Miranda Lacy DDS, a female dentist in Plano, TX who offers free teeth whitening.

Think You Can’t Afford to See a Dentist for TMJ? 3 Surprising Facts that Might Change Your Mind

Click. Pop. Ouch! If left untreated, TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder can be painful and uncomfortable. But what if you can’t afford treatment from a dentist?

Annoying TMJ Symptoms

You’re probably already experiencing the signs and symptoms of TMJ:

  • Jaw stiffness, clicking, locking, or popping
  • Ringing in your ears
  • Chronic head or neck pain

Treatment from a dentist can relieve the symptoms, but how will TMJ affect your life if you can’t afford a dentist?

How Will It Impact Your Life?

Photo of woman holding the right side of her face, who might need Plano affordable dentistry from female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Jaw pain can limit your ability to chew well—and that affects your digestion. If speaking or laughing become uncomfortable, it can affect your mood. Ringing in the ears and head or neck pain throughout the night will disturb your sleep. And lack of sleep can contribute to a variety of health issues, including high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and diabetes.

What If You Can’t Afford a Dentist?

Dental treatment might not be as expensive, invasive, or time-consuming as you think. A June 2019 study published in the journal Oral Surgery, Oral Medicine, Oral Pathology and Oral Radiology reveals some good news. The study included 162 patients who suffered from chronic TMJ disorder. Treatment of the symptoms included self-awareness therapy, jaw exercises, and the use of custom oral appliances. After 20 months of treatment, what were the results?

  • Pain – After treatment, the average pain score fell from 6.9 to 2.0.
  • Chewing – Most patients benefited from a large reduction in pain while chewing.
  • Quality of life – The overall quality of life for the patients improved.

Three Keys to Relief

The patients in the study received meaningful improvement and significant relief of their symptoms. What were the three keys to relief?

  1. Self-awareness of your oral habits
  2. Exercises
  3. A custom oral appliance

That might be all that’s needed to decrease your pain and discomfort and improve your quality of life.

So What’s the Cost?

If you have dental insurance, you’ll save money on the cost of care. The cost of relieving your symptoms is more affordable than you might think. Even out-of-pocket costs are more manageable if you find a dentist who offers payment plans.

Occlusal guard (mouth guard/oral appliance) – Depending on where you live in the country, the out-of-pocket cost for an oral appliance to relax your jaw is $600-$800. Some insurance plans pay half of the cost or more.

Exercises – Your dentist will show you exercises that you can do at home to loosen your jaw muscles and increase your comfort.

Self- Awareness – Oral health habits, including grinding your teeth, the position of your tongue and jaw when at rest, or holding your head or face with your hands, can affect your jaw health. As you learn what habits trigger pain, it will increase your awareness of your habits and help you control them and your discomfort.

Treatment Delays Are Costly

If you think you can’t afford dental care, the delays in getting treatment will make the condition worse. When the pain and discomfort become unbearable, that means the problems have progressed. And dental care will cost you even more money in the long term. We recommend that you schedule an appointment with a dentist who has training and experience in TMJ diagnosis and treatment.

Plano, TX dentist Miranda Lacy, DDS sponsors this blog. Dr. Lacy offers payment plans and financing to help make dental care affordable for you.

3 Ways Getting Sedated at the Dentist Can Help You Get Rid of a Chronic Sinus Problem

What does getting sedated at the dentist have to do with a chronic sinus problem? If your sinus issue is related to a tooth infection, a dentist can help you get the relief you need.

The Tooth and Sinus Connection

According to a January 2019 article published in the online journal, MDLinx, chronic sinus infections are often caused or intensified by chronic tooth infections. A tooth infection can spread into your sinus cavity. Although you might receive antibiotics for a sinus infection, after you’ve finished the medication, the untreated tooth infection can cause the sinus infection to recur.

Maxillary sinusitis of endodontic origin (MSEO) is the medical term for a sinus infection that results from a tooth infection. Usually, the problem occurs with infection in upper back teeth.

What’s the Solution?

Your dentist will examine and x-ray your teeth. If there is an infection in your tooth, your dentist will remove it with root canal treatment. If the issue with your tooth is complex, your dentist might refer you to an endodontist, or root canal specialist.

The procedure cleans out the infected pulp (living tissue, including nerves) in your tooth—completely through the roots. Your dentist or specialist will fill your hollow tooth with dental filler material and seal it. Your dentist will protect the tooth with a dental crown. About half of all patients with MSEO who receive a root canal treatment also experience sinus relief and require no further care. If the thought of dental procedures increases your anxiety, your dentist can give you a mild sedative to help you relax.

What’s the Connection with Sedation Dentistry?

Let’s admit it. If you have a lingering toothache, you’ve probably delayed seeing a dentist for it. Dental anxiety is one of the main reasons that people delay, reschedule, or cancel appointments. Sedation can make the difference you need. How does it help?

1. Relaxes You

Photo of a young woman lying in a hamock on a beach as an exmaple of how sedation dentistry relaxes you.

There are varying levels of sedation available to match your anxiety level and the complexity of the dental procedure you will receive. Nitrous oxide (laughing gas) might be all you need to unwind, but if it’s not enough, your dentist can provide you with a mild anti-anxiety pill to take before your appointment. You won’t become anxious at the sights and sounds of dental tools.

2. Decreases Your Sensitivity to Pain

Your relaxed state will decrease your sensitivity to pain. You won’t be “on alert” for a slight pinch or other sensations that you might otherwise anticipate.

3. Helps Your Dentist Accomplish More

Sedation—your relaxed state—allows your dentist to focus on your dental procedure. Interruptions from anxiety attacks or pauses in treatment won’t be an issue. You’ll have a productive visit. And you won’t have to reschedule the appointment due to anxiety.

Which comes first—the sinus infection or the toothache? It could be the toothache, and sedation can help you get rid of both.

Dr. Miranda Lacy, a female dentist in Plano, TX, sponsors this blog. She is also a sedation dentist who can relieve you of anxiety and help you have pleasant visits.

3 Ways to Make Dental Care More Affordable

I’m trying to find ways to make my dental visits more affordable. I have a new dentist whose recommendations are so different from my previous dentist. She asked me to schedule an appointment for a fluoride treatment and full-face x-rays. My check-up appointments now have out-of-pocket expenses that are over $150.

Can I refuse the services my dentist is recommending, or should I search for a dentist whose fees are lower? Thanks. Daphne

Photo of a woman in a dental chair with a dentist and hygienst on either side of her; for information on affordable dentistry from Plano TX female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.
Ask your dentist about affordable alternatives for care

Daphne – Your patient rights allow you to refuse any dental service, but before you do, there are several factors to consider.

  • Speak to your dentist. Ask her why it’s important for you to have fluoride treatment and full-face x-rays. Adults who are at risk for decay or who have sensitive teeth still benefit from fluoride. Most dentists will do a full face x-ray (panoramic x-ray) every three to five years. But if you’re in a high-risk category, have bone loss, or have been considering orthodontics or dental implants, your dentist will request new x-rays before recommending treatment.
  • Avoid referring to the additional services as unnecessary. Listen carefully to your dentist’s explanation about why you need each treatment that she recommends. It could be that her philosophy on preventive care, although different from your previous dentist, is better for your oral health. Although the cost of care might be more expensive at her practice, you might have better long-term results.
  • Get a second opinion. You may have to switch to a dentist who thoroughly explains your treatment options and what you can expect from them. But don’t base your decisions about dental care on cost alone.

This blog is sponsored by Dr. Miranda Lacy, a Plano affordable dentist.

5 Facts about Stubborn Canker Sores If You Can’t Afford a Dentist

Photo of woman holding the right side of her face, who might need Plano affordable dentistry from female dentist Dr. Miranda Lacy.

Canker sores (recurrent aphthous stomatitis) are small painful sores inside your mouth that occur frequently. They are not contagious. Although a sore will usually go away on its own, what if it doesn’t? And what can you do to treat it at home if you can’t afford a dentist?

What Causes a Canker Sore?

Although the exact cause of a canker sore is unknown, a variety of factors can trigger it, including:

  • Irritation in the mouth by things such as aggressive brushing or dental work
  • Oral injury
  • Sensitivities to food or sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Stress and hormonal changes
  • Certain diseases, including celiac disease and irritable bowel syndrome

What Are the Symptoms and Signs?

If a canker sore is developing, you will feel oral pain or burning. In a day or two, the sore will appear. The sore is a slight bump that is round or oval. The center is usually yellowish gray, and the border is red.

How Long Will It Last?

A sore usually lasts four to seven days. If your sore lingers, or if it gets worse, you might need to see a dentist.

What Can You Do About It?

What if you can’t afford a dentist? You can try over-the-counter pastes such as Anbesol that contain benzocaine, which will help speed the healing process and make the sore less painful.

What If Home Treatment Doesn’t Work?

If your efforts to treat the sore don’t help—or if it’s getting worse—schedule an appointment with a dentist for an examination. You may need a prescription for oral or topical medication or mouth rinse. It is possible that the sore is not a canker sore, but your dentist can make that determination. If your budget is limited and you don’t have dental insurance, ask the office representative what can be done to make treatment affordable for you. This post is sponsored by Plano, TX female dentist Miranda Lacy, DDS