Child smiling with text: Whiten a smile and help a child

Smiles for Life 2017

Whiten Your Smile and Help a Child.

Mortenson Family Dental is proud to partner again this year with Smiles for Life – a charitable organization that raises money for seriously ill, disabled, and underprivileged children in their local communities and around the world. How it works is simple: You get your teeth whitened, and we donate your treatment costs to the Smiles for Life Foundation, plus Eagle University and WaterStep too! So if you’d like to whiten your smile and donate to children who need your help, click to schedule an appointment now. For more information, check out the video below.

 

Our Charities

WaterStep is a nonprofit organization that provides safe water to communities in developing countries through empowerment, equal access and transformative hope. They train people in developing countries how to use safe water solutions like water purification, health education, and well repair, empowering communities to take care of their own water needs for years.

Eagle University is a weeklong, immersive program that teaches students to build self-confidence, motivation and direction. At Eagle U, participants learn life lessons at the hands of those who have actually proven, by their performance, the success of the principles that they teach and set goals for future success.

Schedule Your Teeth Whitening Appointment!

If you’re an existing patient, call your preferred office to set up a teeth whitening appointment anytime between now and June. If you are not an existing patient, feel free to contact us by:

Perfect woman smile before and after whitening. Dental care and periodic exam concept

Thinking about Whitening Your Teeth? This FAQ is For You.

We get a lot of questions from people who are interested in whitening their teeth. After all, your smile is often the first thing someone notices about you. But many things, including coffee, tea, red wine and tobacco, can stain them and cause them to darken. Here are answers to some of the questions we hear most often from people who want a brighter, whiter smile.

How does tooth whitening work?

Whitening products contain a peroxide-based bleach that breaks up both deep and surface stains in tooth enamel. The degree of whiteness that can be achieved will vary based on the condition of your teeth, how much staining you have, and the type of bleaching system you use.

Does whitening work on all teeth?

No. It’s important to talk with your dentist before deciding to whiten your teeth because whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. Yellow teeth usually bleach well, brown teeth may not respond as well, and teeth with gray tones may not bleach at all. In addition, whitening will not work on caps, veneers, crowns or fillings. And it won’t be effective on tooth discoloration caused by medications or injury to the tooth. (American Dental Association)

What types of professional whitening systems are available?

  • Tray-based, at-home whitening. With this method, the dentist creates a mouthguard-type tray from an impression of your upper and lower teeth. A tray made by a dentist is customized to fit your teeth exactly. It allows for maximum contact between the whitening gel and the teeth, and also minimizes the gel’s contact with gum tissue. When it’s time to use the tray, you fill it with a prescription whitening gel and wear it for a specified period of time. That may range from a couple of hours a day to overnight for up to four weeks or longer, depending on how much discoloration you have and your desired level of whitening.
  • In-office whitening. This is the fastest way to whiten teeth. With this type of bleaching, the whitening product is applied directly to the teeth. It may be used in combination with heat, a special light, or a laser. Results can be seen in just one 30- to 60-minute treatment. For the most dramatic results, more than one appointment may be needed.

Can a person with very sensitive teeth have their teeth whitened?

In almost all cases, yes. A number of steps can be taken to address the issue of sensitivity:

  • The strength of the bleaching solution as well as the length of time teeth are exposed to it can be adjusted.
  • The length of time between treatments can be extended.
  • A high fluoride, remineralization gel or over-the-counter product such as Crest® Sensi-Stop™ Strips can be used to help stop sensitivity after treatment.

Be sure to discuss your sensitivity problem with your dentist.

There are also things you can do to lessen sensitivity. Take ibuprofen before your treatment and while teeth are sensitive. Avoid foods that are very hot or very cold. Use a prescribed gel or toothpaste made for sensitive teeth along with a soft-bristle toothbrush. And try to avoid foods citrus fruits and foods that are highly acidic.

How long does whitening last?

Teeth whitening isn’t permanent. If you expose your teeth to foods and beverages that cause staining, whitening may start to fade in a little as a month. However, if you avoid those things that stain, you may be able to wait as long as a year before another treatment or touch-up is necessary. (WebMD)

If you have any other questions as you consider whitening your teeth, be sure to call a Mortenson Family Dental office near you.

 

Child afraid of the dentist

Kids Dental Health is Getting Worse in Kentucky

Despite having more families with dental insurance than 15 years ago, kids dental health is getting worse in Kentucky. The 2016 study of 2,109 Kentucky families determined that Kentucky meets only half of eight benchmarks addressing children’s dental health needs. This is a huge problem because tooth decay or dental pain can lead to trouble with concentration in school and cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory disease and cancer later in life.

Although Kentucky ranks first in the country in the percentage of people served by fluoridated water systems, the Bluegrass state is struggling to improve the dental health of its youngest inhabitants. Here are the key findings.

The percentage of students who need dental care is increasing.

The percentage of 3rd & 6th graders in Kentucky in need of early or urgent dental care was 32% in 2001. That number has now ballooned to 49%, meaning almost half of students in Kentucky are living with toothaches, tooth decay, infections or cavities. Eastern Kentucky is seeing the least improvement of any region.

Two out of five students have untreated cavities.

Tooth decay remains the most prevalent chronic disease in children, and impacts too many Kentucky children. And when students have poor dental health, it can affect their schoolwork. “We know in a very pragmatic way that a person with a toothache is probably not paying attention to their multiplication tables at school, so oral health is a significant issue for children in Kentucky,” Executive Director of Kentucky Youth Advocates Dr. Terry Brooks said.

Over half of students do not have sealants.

There was a 14% increase in the number of children observed with dental sealants on at least one permanent molar. However, even with that gain, more than half of the children did not have any sealants, which are clear plastic coatings that protect the chewing surface of a tooth. Sealants are usually one-third the cost of filling a cavity.

Socioeconomic status is a significant factor in students’ oral health. 

What’s most troubling is that 88% of these students have dental insurance that pays for some or all of their dental care, parents report, but only 5% reported there was a time when their child needed dental care but couldn’t access it. So if access is not preventing parents from seeing a dentist for their children, is it education? According to the Kentucky Department of Education, more than 70% of public school students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. And unsurprisingly students on free or reduced lunch are more likely to have recently experienced a toothache, have visited a dentist more than a year ago, have untreated decay or be in need of urgent dental care.

“What leaps out in the report are two big issues,” said Dr. Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates. “One is the paradox that more kids have coverage and yet outcomes are worse and the second is that we have factors that kids can’t control — where they live, the color of their skin, how much money their parents make — and those are real determinants on the state of kids mouths. None of those are easily solved, but they are challenges that we have to tackle.”

In 2001, only 871 of 2,169 licensed dentists in Kentucky reported seeing Medicaid patients – and low imbursement rates, which have not changed in years, were among reasons cited.

We proudly accept Medicaid patients of all ages. 

Many of our offices accept Medicaid and Medicaid type plans. If you would like to find a pediatric dentist near you that accepts your plan or talk about general kids dental health with a professional, please give any of our Kentucky locations a call. We’ll be happy to guide you in the right direction and ensure your children have access to the dental care they need.


Digital Map of Kentucky with Percentages for regions shown - meaning percentage of 3rd and 6th grades with untreated tooth decay

Show your support. Share this image on Instagram for Children’s Dental Health Month and help raise awareness for kids dental health in Kentucky.

Young woman with red lipstick smiles as she reveals a heart sticker on her shirt

3 Reasons to Love Your Smile

Unfortunately a lot of people are self-conscious about their smiles. From tutorials on how to smile better and what seems like every celebrity opting for veneers nowadays, there seems to be a lot of pressure on us to have perfect teeth! But just because your teeth aren’t perfectly straight or perfectly white does not mean they aren’t perfectly healthy and beautiful. Don’t believe us? Here are 3 reasons you should love your smile.

1. It’s uniquely yours.

Just like a fingerprint, no two people in the world have the same set of teeth. So if you feel self-conscious over crooked or discolored teeth – Don’t be! Each tooth has a particular size, a particular placement, and a certain distance from its neighbor, which makes the whole set unique. Even identical twins do not have exactly the same set of teeth, because a set of teeth is not only determined by genes, but also by clenching, grinding or thumb sucking.

Michael Strahan laughs and reveals his famous gap

Retired NFL Star & talk show host Michael Strahan—who has one of the most unique smiles we can think of—once considered closing his famous gap at one point. “I made the conscious effort to say, ‘This is who I am,'” he explains of why he didn’t and won’t close up his teeth. “I’m not perfect. I don’t want to try to be perfect.” We think you’re perfect exactly as you are, Michael, and we love your unique smile!

2. Less-than-perfect teeth are beautiful!

“Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” says a well-known proverb, and we don’t disagree. Crooked teeth aren’t necessarily unhealthy or bad for any reason—despite some people’s obsession with straight teeth—so if you have a few crooked or discolored teeth, don’t stop loving your smile! Believe it or not, in Japan, crooked teeth are ideal. And they even have a specific word “yaeba” for their cute obsession with lengthier canines and less-than-straight smiles.

kate moss is smiling

Anna Paquin, Kate Moss and Kirsten Dunst are three stars who didn’t “fix” their teeth, but we think their smiles make them even more beautiful because they’re natural. If everyone had identical straight teeth, the world would be a boring place. Celebrate your uniqueness today and see your teeth in a new light.

3. It makes other people happy!

Ever seen a smile from a toddler or a happy puppy and had your day made? It turns out there is some science behind the happy feeling we get when we smile and see others smiling. Not only do our brains want to smile when we see someone else smile, research suggests that smiling leads to decrease in the stress-induced hormones that negatively affect your physical and mental health. One study even found that people who smile more lead happier and healthier lives than those who smile less.

So what’s the biggest takeaway here? Smile more! You’ll be happier. The people around you will be happier. And even if you’re self-conscious about your smile, who knows? Someone watching might think it is the most absolutely perfect smile they’ve ever seen. Gaps, snaggleteeth, yaeba, braces, whatever – smile a little more today and see what happens.

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