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Tooth Brush, Floss, Tooth Paste, Picks, and Other Dental Instruments

Whiten Your Teeth: A How-To

Whether you want to whiten your teeth naturally at home, with OTC products, or in our office, you have many different options!

Having a bright, white smile is a huge confidence booster that anyone would love to have. While the absolute best way to have the whitest smile possible is having an in-office procedure, here a couple different options:

Natural, at-home remedies

You may want to opt for some home remedies for whitening your pearly whites. These options are inexpensive and you may have many of the ingredients for a bright smile already in your home! While we cannot attest to the full effectiveness of these home remedies (everything works differently for different people!), these are easy for anyone to try.

baking-soda-768950_640Baking soda: Baking soda, or sodium bicarbonate, acts as a natural toothpaste when scrubbed onto your teeth.

Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda: Mixing these two ingredients together to make toothpaste will help whiten your teeth. Make sure that your ratio of baking soda is less than the hydrogen peroxide and that your paste is not gritty (we like about 2 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and 1 tablespoon of baking soda).

strawberry-361597_640Strawberries (used alone or mashed into a paste with salt): strawberries are nature’s natural whitener! Unlike other berries (raspberries or blackberries), strawberries do not stain teeth. Rather, they contain malic acid, which can help remove the surface stains on your teeth. Adding salt to a strawberry paste can act as the coarse part of the paste.


Over-the-counter (OTC) products

Whether you want whitening strips, toothpaste, or a mouthwash, there are a few different OTC items that you can find in any drugstore. We like:

Knowing what causes yellow, stained teeth is the best way to combat the stains in the first place. Anything from food, beverages, genetics, to lifestyle will contribute to stained teeth. A quick look at some causes of stained teeth:

  • Coffee coffee-660394_640
  • Tea
  • Medications
  • Cigarettes/smoking
  • Berries
  • Deep pigmented foods
  • Age

If you want to get your teeth whitened in our office, read more on whitening here, and contact us for an appointment!



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Raspberries and Blueberries

Stained Teeth: Common Culprits

Stained Teeth: The Culprits

Did you know that many of your favorite foods and drinks can stain your teeth? It is always good to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth after consuming these items, but did you know that drinking milk, eating vegetables, or even eating hard cheeses can help you combat stains? We compiled a list of things that you may or may have not known can discolor your teeth.

SpaghettiTomato-based pasta sauces: your go-to dinner of spaghetti and meatballs can be staining your pearly whites! The acidity in the tomatoes, in addition to their bright red coloring, are both culprits for tooth discoloration.

What are acids? Acids make the enamel of your teeth softer and more rough, so it is easier for stains to stick.

Berries: while berries are great for your overall health (tons of antioxidants) they can also stain your teeth. The

Berriesdeep pigmentation in cranberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries will stain. Whether they are consumed as a juice, jellies, jams, or eaten whole, they can definitely stain your teeth.

Tea causes more stains than coffee: most people may think that coffee is the biggest beverage culprit for staining, but it is actually tea that is the biggest offender! It is more likely that coffee will stain your teeth due to the high tannin content that is in tea.

What are tannins? Tannins Teaare plant-based compounds that make stains adhere to teeth easier

Tea also is full of acid, which also causes teeth to stain easier. Even white tea can stain teeth! Of course, it would be better to choose white, green, or herbal teas versus black tea. Still, all teas stain: black teas stain teeth yellow, and green teas stain them grey.

Sodas stain teeth: your favorite (non-alcoholic) bubbly is harmful to your teeth. When you are downing a cold soda, your teeth will also contract, and makes them easier to stain. Both very hot and very cold Sodadrinks will do this! How else soda is a pretty terrible beverage option: the acids in soda chip away at the protective layer of your tooth, the enamel. Also, all the sweeteners (artificial or real sugars) make a great breeding ground for tooth decay. Dark colored sodas contain chromogens, which stain teeth very easily!

What are chromogens? Chromogens are compounds that have very dark, strong pigments and stick to the enamel of your teeth easily.


Other common foods and beverages that stain:

  • Curry powders
  • Sports drinks
  • Red and white wine (Did you know white wine is more acidic than red wine?)
  • Fruit juices
  • Hard candies, colored candies
    • This is because artificial colorings are from food coloring, which is very dark and aggressive colors!
  • Condiments, dressings, etc.
    • Ketchup, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegrettes are very common culprits of staining
  • Beets

If you are reading this list in dismay, don’t worry! There are actually foods that help combat stains! They are:

  • Strawberries: they contain malic acid, which help remove plaque.
  • Baking soda: try scrubbing your teeth with this once a week.
  • High fiber fruits: think apples and pears. The high fiber content help “scrub” your teeth when you eat them!
  • Cheese: creates a higher pH level in the mouth, which lowers cavity risk.
  • Water: just rinsing your mouth with this after eating helps clear the acids and plenty of water keeps gums and teeth healthy.

Stained teeth aren’t forever!

Now, if your teeth are stained, there are solutions to fixing them and making them pearly white. There are many over-the-counter (OTC) treatments for you to whiten your teeth (check out this or this). For the best results possible, an in-office whitening treatment is the best option. Ask us about Zoom! Whitening today – it is a quick, in-office procedure that give you a bright, white smile.

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Model Teeth

What Is Malocclusion?

Braces and Invisalign are both orthodontic appliances used by an orthodontist to fix malocclusion. Some fast facts about malocclusion: it is both diagnosed and treated by a medical professional, and is incredibly common (just in the United States alone, there are about 200,000 cases per year). This term started with Edward Angle, better known as the “father of modern orthodontics.”

What is malocclusion, exactly?

Malocclusion is misalignment of the upper and lower teeth when your jaw is closed. This is also known as the “incorrect” or “imperfect” relation of the dental arches as well. There are different types, or classes of malocclusion:

  • Class I: crowding/spacing/over eruption/under eruption or neutrocclusion
  • Class II: overjet/overbite or distocclusion/retrognathism
  • Class III: underbite or mesiocclusion/prognathism

More generally speaking, any kind of bite problem, crowding, or spacing is considered a kind of malocclusion.

Why should malocclusion be treated?

When your teeth are crooked, or misaligned, it can subsequently lead to much more serious oral health problems – like tooth decay or gum disease! You may also have some more “minor” problems that are associated with misaligned teeth. These problems can include: mild discomfort when eating, speech problems, such as a lisp, breathing through your mouth instead of your nose, and even the alteration of your face!

How does it happen?

Believe it or not, you can actually inherit crooked teeth (thanks mom and dad!). The traits that you can inherit can be jaw size and tooth size. An example would be small teeth in a large jaw. You may also inherit traits like missing or transposed teeth. A more rare condition would be a severely underdeveloped upper or lower jaw, or a cleft palate. More minor causes range from thumb-sucking to tooth loss to impacted teeth. even having a filling or crown that does not fit correctly can cause teeth misalignment!

What are treatments for misaligned teeth?

If you have been recommended by a dental professional or believe you would benefit from orthodontic treatment, come in to see us for a complimentary consultation! Orthodontic care from Dr. Hickory will treat any kind of crooked teeth you may have. In addition to treating any kind of health issue associated with malocclusion, having a straight smile has been proven to boost confidence.

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Young Person with Traditional Braces

History of Orthodontics

You may think orthodontics is a modern branch of the dental field, but really, did you know the idea of straight and perfect smile has been around for centuries (thousands of years, even!)? The history of orthodontics goes back 50,000 years! While exactly how people throughout the years have tried to straighten their smile varies, the concept has remained the same: a perfect smile is something everyone wants!

History Lesson: Ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans

Orthodontists today use braces and Invisalign to straighten teeth, and while Invisalign is a bit too advanced for the Ancient Egyptians, they did try braces! Archaeologists have found a type of wiring system on Egyptian mummies. Want to know what archaeologists think Egyptians used to put pressure on the teeth? Catgut (coincidentally, this is made of dried “guts” and intestines of horses or sheep, not cats!).

A gold wiring band has been known to be used on Etruscan women after their death to keep the positioning of their teeth. This looked similar to a mouthguard, and was found uniquely only in Etruscan women! This signified the need to have straight teeth as a vain or cosmetic procedure. In Ancient Rome, a writer named Aulus Cornelius Celsus, told people to “push” on new teeth regularly to bring them to a proper position. Census spent his whole life researching and finding out new medical procedures.

The 1800s

While orthodontics seem to have hit the pause button after Ancient times, there was a huge push for orthodontic development and research in the 1800s. The Father of Dentistry, Pierre Fauchard, created a dental appliance called a bandeau. This was a U-shaped piece of metal that had holes to fit around teeth to move them! Fauchard wrote a book in 1728 called “The Surgeon Dentist.”

United States and Orthodontics

There was significant increase in orthodontics in the United States – J.S. Gunnels made something called the occipital anchorage (a kind of early, crude headgear) in 1822, Chapin A. Harris wrote the first book on dentistry “The Dental Art” in 1840, and E.G. Tucker (an American Dentist) used rubber in orthodontics in 1846.

The Father of Modern Orthodontics

Edward Hartley Angle is credited with identifying what really classifies misalignment of teeth (malocclusion) and identified orthodontic appliances that would truly straighten teeth in 1880.

Braces As We Know Them Today

Orthodontists used to wrap wire around each tooth to secure the bracket to the tooth, but in the 1970s orthodontists discovered they could use adhesives to place the bracket directly onto the tooth. Also during this time, orthodontists stopped using gold and silver for wiring and instead started using stainless steel! This caused the pricing of braces and orthodontic work to be much lower (go figure, right?).

Lingual braces were also invented during this time because people were interested in discreet treatment. They would have to wait 20+ years for…

Invisible braces!

In the 1990s a man named Zia Chishti saw that when he didn’t wear his plastic retainer for a few days, his teeth would shift back. Chishti went to Kelsey Wirth and the two of them created a way to use 3D computer technology to make plastic retainers. Chishti and Wirth went on to cofound Align Technology, the company known to make Invisalign. In 2000 their process was available to the public, and the rest?

Is history!

If you are interested in getting either braces or Invisalign, contact us!

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Adults at AAO Meeting

Adults Seek Orthodontic Treatment

Image source

As most of our patients (roughly 90%!) are adults, we at Embassy Row Orthodontics already knew that more adults seeking orthodontic treatment was higher than ever! While we get a wide range in ages of patients (patients range from as young as age 7, to over age 65!), we are seeing more older, non-teenager patients than ever before.

The Dental Tribune reports that from 2012 to 2014, “adults seeking treatment from orthodontists in the United States and Canada increased 16 percent, resulting in a record high of 1,441,000 patients ages 18 and older, according to the American Association of Orthodontists’ “Economics of Orthodontics” survey of 2014.”

That’s a huge amount! Why are so many adults opting for orthodontic treatment now?

  • A healthy and straight smile is directly related to higher social and professional success
  • Treatment is much more affordable now. Ten or so years ago, many patients could not afford orthodontics and it was seen as a more cosmetic, rather than necessary, treatment. (Contact us for a complimentary consultation!)
  • There are options for subtle, hidden treatment
  • A straight, aligned smile leads to better oral health

Some fascinating facts… Did you know?

  • An estimated 27% of orthodontic patients in North America are over the age of 18
  • 92% of adults that have gone orthodontic treatment would recommend to others
  • 75% of adults say that success in personal and career life is related to orthodontic treatment

Teeth can really be moved at any age, even with the common misconception that orthodontics is limited to teenagers. Whether you are interested in braces or Invisalign, or just want to know more about orthodontics and our services, we are here to help. As leading experts in the orthodontic field (Dr. Hickory was one of the original Invisalign pioneers), we know what we are doing.

Read the full article from Dental Tribune here.

(Source: Dental Tribune and American Association of Orthodontics)

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