• Safety Tips for Bleaching Your Teeth

    Everyone seems to want a brighter smile, and teeth whitening is a great option for boosting your confidence. If food and drinks have stained your pearly whites, you may be tempted to rush to the drug store and pick up the first over-the-counter whitening product you find. However, while side effects from whitening products are rare, you should follow these tips before bleaching your teeth to ensure your safety.

    See Your Dentist First

    If your teeth appear stained, don’t assume you need to bleach them. It’s possible a good teeth cleaning will restore the sparkle to your smile. During an oral exam, your dentist will also check for cavities and gum issues, which should be treated before bleaching your teeth.

    Know What to Look for in Over-the-Counter Teeth Bleaching Products

    At-home whiteners most often use carbamide peroxide in concentrations ranging from 10 to 20 percent. Carbamide peroxide is hydrogen peroxide with urea added. This product remains active for up to 10 hours at a low enough acidity level that enamel etching is not a concern.

    Start with a product containing 10 percent carbamide peroxide. If the whitener doesn’t bother your mouth, but you don’t see the results you want, try another over-the-counter product with a higher concentration.

    Follow the Directions

    When you choose an at-home teeth bleaching kit, it’s your responsibility to follow the instructions on the package. Don’t leave the gel or strips on your teeth longer than advised or you could experience tooth sensitivity and sore gums. Also, avoid drinking soda, sports drinks or other sugary/acidic beverages for several hours after whitening to prevent etching your teeth.

    Consider Professional In-Office Teeth Bleaching

    At-home whitening kits are inexpensive and widely available, but that doesn’t make them the best choice. Professional in-office teeth bleaching can lighten your smile up to eight shades in a single 45-minute visit. Combined with professional-grade take-home treatments, patients see an average improvement of 11 shades. In comparison, over-the-counter whitening requires daily 30-minute applications for more than two weeks to achieve a six-shade improvement.

    In-office whitening uses LED light-activated technology to maximize results in the shortest amount of time without causing tooth sensitivity. It’s effective both for people who simply want to lighten their smile and for patients with severely discolored teeth.

    Know When Not to Bleach Your Teeth

    Whitening isn’t right for everyone. Keep these factors in mind:

    • Pregnant women and nursing mothers should postpone teeth bleaching.
    • Whitening doesn’t affect composite, ceramic and porcelain materials. This means if you decide to brighten your natural teeth, you may be left with darker-colored fillings, crowns and
    • Translucent teeth don’t respond well to whitening. A tooth-colored composite placed on the lingual side of a see-through tooth is a more effective way to improve its appearance.

    Zen Dental Center in Seattle offers Philips Zoom in-office teeth bleaching for safe, professional results. To learn more about this treatment, or to schedule an appointment, please contact us at 206-324-1100 today.

  • How to Find a Dentist Near Me in Four Steps

    Did you recently move to Seattle? Perhaps you changed insurance providers, or maybe you’re fed up with your current dentist and want to find a new one. Use this guide on finding a dentist near me to help you choose an office you feel comfortable and happy with.

    Answer Some Basic Questions

    The first step is to consider how your new dentist can meet your lifestyle and dental care needs. Ask yourself these questions as you begin your search for dentists near me:

    • Is the location convenient? Most patients want a dental provider that’s close to their home, work or the kids’ school.
    • Are the office hours convenient? Make sure you have the option to set appointments before or after work/school or during your lunch break.
    • Does the dentist offer the services you need? For instance, can the dentist care for everyone in your family? And if you have a dental emergency, will you be seen promptly?
    • Do you prefer a specific spoken language? Zen Dental Center has staff members who speak English, Spanish and Japanese.

    Start Searching In-Network

    It’s important to choose a dentist in your specific network. This means finding one that accepts your insurance, which might include Premera Blue Cross, Delta Dental or other carriers.

    Take advantage of the tools on your insurance provider’s website to help you search for in-network dentists. For example, Delta Dental’s Find a Dentist and Premera Blue Cross’s Dental Care Tool make it easy to browse for dentists near me in Seattle.

    Ask for Recommendations

    With a few in-network dentists in mind – ones with conveniently located offices and all the right dental services for your family – ask around to see if any friends and neighbors have recommendations. Find out who they visit for dental care and whether they’re satisfied with the services they receive. Experiences of people you know can help you make a good decision for your family.

    Call or Visit Dentists in Seattle

    The American Dental Association suggests calling the dentists on your list to conduct a short interview. Better yet, you can schedule a visit to the office to see the facility in person and meet with the dentist and staff before making your final decision. Bring a list of questions along with your dental records if you have any specific questions about the services you’ll require going forward. Some questions you might want to ask include:

    • Will you explain ways to help my family avoid dental problems?
    • How does your staff handle dental emergencies outside of regular business hours?
    • Are fees presented up front? Do you offer payment plans?
    • What is your policy for missed/canceled appointments?

    Above all else, you want to partner with a dentist who can improve your overall oral health and wellness at an affordable price. To learn more about how Zen Dental Center can take care of you, please contact us at 206-324-1100. We accept Premera Blue Cross, Delta Dental and many other insurance plans.