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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

How to Decide if Braces are Right for You

Are braces worth the investment of time and money? What does the process of getting braces look like, and will it be the right choice for you or your children?

These are all common questions that are worth exploring before making this big investment. Below are answers to some of the top concerns people have about braces, and the factors you should consider before taking the plunge. (Remember, it’s not too late to work on your smile at any age! Close to half of orthodontic patients are adults looking to improve their smiles.)

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Benefits of Braces - The benefits of braces are extensive. Braces can help fix crowded, crooked teeth and a misaligned jaw. Fixing teeth and bite alignment helps prevent other long-term oral health problems as well, including tooth decay, gum disease, and joint pain.

Money - The cost of braces varies due to extent and length of treatment.  Use Brighter’s Price Checker tool to view the typical cost of braces in your area and select the provider who fits your budget. If your dental insurance doesn’t cover braces, Brighter can help there too. We save you an average of 50% on this procedure, versus what you’d pay walking off the street paying in cash.

Time - Braces are typically a large time commitment - usually averaging between one to three years. Are you ready to put in the time needed to improve your oral health and appearance? Most people who have completed their time wearing braces say that the time investment was well worth it. Consider braces an investment in your future well-being and confidence.

Appearance - You may be worried about how braces will affect how you look while you wear them. Luckily, there are many different types of braces that you can discuss with your doctor.

  • Metal Braces: Metal braces are traditional braces and are the most commonly used type of braces. Metal brackets are glued to the teeth and are the most visible in the mouth, but they are very effective at fixing teeth properly.

  • Ceramic Braces: Ceramic braces are less visible than metal braces and may be a good option for people looking for a more discrete look.

  • Lingual Braces: Lingual braces are attached to the back of your teeth, so they are minimally visible and may be the right choice for certain types of adjustments.

  • Invisible Braces: Invisible braces most commonly come in the form of a clear plastic tray, and are popular because they are less painful than traditional metal braces and don’t interfere as much with eating habits, as they can be removed before eating. They also don’t impact the appearance of the mouth as significantly.

Remember to consult your doctor as you consider investing in braces. They have the experience and insight to help you make the right decision for your health and budget!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dentistry and Sleep Habits – The Surprising Connection

It’s hard to imagine, but sleep and dental health are closely related! Read on to see what options are available to you to improve your sleep and oral health.

Snoring a problem in your household? Keeping your partner up at night? Dentists can fit you for an anti-snoring device. Anti-snoring devices help keep your tongue from blocking your airway, reducing noise. These devices also help adapt the position of the jaw to open the throat and prevent snoring. Snoring can prevent one or both parties from having an effective night’s rest, impacting other areas of their life including overall health, immune system, and job performance.
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Chronic snoring can also be a symptom of sleep apnea, a more serious condition that can be treated by a sleep apnea dentist. Sleep apnea causes breathing to become shallow or infrequent during sleep, and can be dangerous. There are many types of oral appliances available to improve sleep apnea, and are worth seeking out from a dentist if you suffer from this condition.

The act of sleeping itself is also essential to good oral health. During sleep, harmful bacteria are cleaned from the mouth and bloodstream, helping you maintain your overall health. A study revealed that among the most important factors impacting oral health, sleep was ranked second highest among factors affecting periodontal disease (after tobacco use). Those patients who reported 6 or fewer hours of sleep per night had more advanced disease.

While the connection between sleep and dental health isn’t obvious, it’s important! Make sure to visit a dentist if you have any concerns about your sleep patterns.

Friday, March 14, 2014

For Dental Providers: Five ways to delight your patients and grow yourpractice

Let’s face it: a patient’s satisfaction will have a huge impact on the overall health of your practice. Happy patients will stay loyal and will refer their friends and family. Read on to see how you can create the best experience for your patients and have them coming back for years to come!

  1. Warm welcome! Greet patients warmly when they arrive in your waiting room, and offer them water or other refreshments. Patients want to feel comfortable. Perhaps you can invest in some team name tags to encourage friendly interaction and familiarity, and consider improving the comfort level of your waiting room by providing reading material, playing soft music, and comfortable, clean furniture.

  2. We’re all busy. Acknowledge the value of patients’ time and explain any delays honestly and promptly. A 2009 study revealed that the fewer minutes a patient waits, the higher overall satisfaction they report – with patients waiting 0-5 minutes reporting a 93% satisfaction rate. Most patients wait an average of 24 minutes to see their healthcare provider, creating an uphill battle in the patient satisfaction game. Where do you stand on this significant driver of patient satisfaction, and what can you do to reduce patient wait time?

  3. Happy staff means happy patients. Regularly check in with staff regarding their own concerns, and set aside time to discuss patient feedback and the best ways to deal with unhappy patients. Patients who feel heard by their dentist’s office, even when they have a complaint, will respond more positively and are more likely to return.

  4. How are you feeling? Follow up with patients after their appointment to check in on how their experience was, how they are feeling, and to address any questions they may have about their treatment plan or medication. Thank them for visiting your office. A simple acknowledgement of their loyalty can go a long way!

  5. Living in a wired world. Stay competitive by adopting current technology to improve patients’ experience including convenient online scheduling, email communications, and text message reminders. 74% of patients cite immediate appointment availability as an important factor in their choice of a new dentist, and you can keep up to speed with these demands by offering same-day or next-day appointments online.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

3 Ways to Reduce Teeth Grinding

Do you grind your teeth? Have your children complained of mouth pain? Bruxism, or teeth grinding as it’s commonly known, is prevalent (especially in young children) and can result in teeth sensitivity. Teeth grinding wears down the protective enamel of the tooth and exposes dentin, which causes pain. Bruxism can also cause headaches and jaw & neck injuries, so it’s best to address the grinding before severe issues arise.
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Teeth grinding can be helped, however – and here are three tips you can use to break the cycle!

1)   See the dentist – your upper and lower jaws may be misaligned, causing the teeth to rub together in unnatural ways. The dentist can work with you to find a solution to adjust your alignment or protect your teeth from further grinding damage. They may suggest a nighttime mouth guard or other tools to reduce grinding.

2)   Address stress – stress can be a major factor in teeth grinding. You may unconsciously manifest stress and anxiety by teeth grinding. From taking time to exercise or relax, to seeing a professional, addressing the stress in your life may help reduce teeth grinding.

3)   Avoid stimulating substances – substances such as coffee, alcohol, and cigarettes can increase teeth grinding, especially if you consume them before bed. Stick with decaffeinated drinks to reduce your risk.

If you have more questions about teeth grinding, visit Brighter.com today to schedule your dental check-up!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Stand Firm Against Teeth Sensitivity

Do you suffer from sensitive teeth? If so, you know how uncomfortable it can be. Something as simple as taking a sip of water or biting into an apple can become extremely painful!

Sensitive teeth are a common condition that can arise due to a number of different health conditions or medications. Many people will suffer from this condition at some point in their lives. In fact, a study released in 2013 claims that 1 in 8 people experience sensitive teeth.[1]

The most common reason people suffer from sensitive teeth is when enamel is worn away, and dentin is exposed. Dentin is the tissue inside the tooth which contains nerve fibers. Dentin may become exposed due to trauma, decay, or recessed gums. And when your dentin is exposed, every change in temperature and every movement in your mouth can affect the nerve endings and send shooting pain through your mouth!
73232521 Visiting your dentist for regular dental checkups is vital to keeping tooth decay, periodontal disease and other oral problems at bay, and so that may be detected and treated in the early stages.

Below are some tips to help you deal with your sensitive teeth and ease your discomfort. Of course, if symptoms persist or worsen, make sure to pay a visit to the dentist.

  1. Blush and Floss: Cleaning teeth properly and regularly is the first defense against sensitive teeth – preventing the growth of plaque that wears down the enamel in the first place is an important step.

  2. Try desensitizing toothpaste: Some over-the-counter solutions contain compounds that help block sensation from travelling to the tooth surface, which may help soothe teeth.

  3. Use a fluoride rinse or gel: Fluoride rinses—found with or without a prescription—can help decrease sensitivity, especially in people with a greater amount of decay. If the pain persists, your dentist may suggest an in-office treatment such as fluoride gel, which may be applied to the sensitive areas of the teeth to reduce the pain.

  4. Update your toothbrush & brush gently: Dentists also recommend using soft-bristled toothbrushes to limit abrasion and keep your teeth feeling healthy. Be sure to avoid vigorous or harsh scrubbing as well as excessive brushing/flossing, as this will increase the symptoms.

  5. Quit the dip and limit the drinks: There is no safe tobacco. Chewing it or using it as “dip” or “snuff” is known to cause mouth cancer and increase teeth sensitivity. Also, carbonated drinks, citrus fruits, wine and yogurt all can wear away at tooth enamel. Try cutting back on these substances to help decrease your sensitive teeth.

  6. Cover exposed root surfaces: If receding gums are the cause of your sensitive teeth, your dentist might apply a sealant to cover the exposed tooth roots. But if the sensitivity continues or worsens, your dentist may recommend you have a root canal.

Remember, you are not alone when it comes to sensitive teeth! Don’t let sensitive teeth wear you down – your dentist will be able to work with you to ease your pain.









[1] Storrs, Carina. "1 in 8 Adults May Have Sensitive Teeth." Consumer HealthDay. HealthDay, 1 Mar. 2013. Web. 29 Jan. 2014. <http://consumer.healthday.com/dental-and-oral-information-9/misc-dental-problem-news-174/1-in-8-adults-may-have-sensitive-teeth-673981.html>.


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Are you Afraid of the Dentist? Options for Dental Chickens

Have you heard of the phrase “dental chickens?” Turns out that many more people are afraid of the dentist than you may think and “chicken” away from seeking proper dental care due to their anxiety. Dental anxiety is very common and can be caused by a wide range of factors, such as fear of pain, embarrassment of the appearance of one’s teeth, fear of costs, or a bad childhood experience. Some patients postpone necessary treatment indefinitely due to their crippling fear of the dentist, putting themselves at risk for much more serious dental complications in the future.

If you face dental anxiety, know that you are not alone. Dentists see patients every day who feel some form of nervousness, and they are there to work with you and make you feel at ease during your treatment. Be sure to tell your dentist and their staff about your dental anxiety before your visit so that they know to take extra gentle care of you. You may even want to arrange a meeting with the dentist before your procedure so that you can become comfortable with them before you are even in the chair.

Many dentists’ offices now feature various activities and distractions to help you relax during your visit. In recent years, practices have begun to recognize the need to address and ease their patients’ fears. For example, they may offer soothing music or the option to watch television while you are being examined. Some patients even report being encouraged to play on their cell phones while in the dentist’s chair to distract themselves from a procedure. Who knew that texting or games could help ease your fears?
77894260 The most important thing to remember is that going to the dentist on a regular basis is the only way to ensure good oral health for years to come. Regular cleanings will help prevent serious dental problems that require more lengthy and painful procedures. There are so many options for patients who face dental anxiety today, from simple distractions to sedation dentistry, that you will be able to face your fears in stride.

Call Brighter today to find the right dentist for you to help calm your dental fears.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New Year, New You, New Toothbrush!

Happy New Year from all of us here at Brighter! ‘Tis the season for making (and hopefully keeping) New Year's resolutions, which often revolve around improving health and appearance. If you haven’t already made your resolutions, consider taking the necessary steps to improving your dental care routine. A healthy mouth will not only improve the look of your teeth, but it will also help improve your overall health as well. Your toothbrush is the first (and easiest) step to keeping your oral health in tip-top shape. So why not start the year on the right foot with a new one? Below is a simple shopping guide to help you choose your new toothbrush with confidence.

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  1. Consider the bristle: For most people, soft bristles are the safest and best choice for your teeth? Medium to hard bristles, when used incorrectly, can actually damage your gums and wear away enamel.

  2. Heed the experts’ advice: Look for brushes marked with the ADA (American Dental Association) Seal of Approval. You can be rest-assured that an ADA-approved brush has undergone rigorous testing and is safe and effective for cleaning your teeth.

  3. Consider switching to electric: Have you tried an electric toothbrush? Some people find it easier to brush effectively with a powered brush. While it’s certainly not necessary to purchase an electric brush, if you find it more comfortable to use one, then it may be the right choice for you, as it will encourage you to brush more often and for longer.

Below are some of Brighter’s top-rated toothbrushes.

Power Toothbrushes:

  • The Waterpik WP-900 Water Flosser and Sonic Toothbrush Complete Care is one of the highest rated power toothbrushes. Not only does this kit include multiple brush heads, it also includes a “water flosser” that shoots water between teeth and at the gumline to clean your teeth from all angles. The water flosser is especially useful for people with braces. For those who are serious about dental health, the Waterpik kit is your answer!


  • One of the most popular power toothbrushes is the Philips Sonicare EasyClean Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush. This toothbrush is slightly more affordable than the Waterpik system and is very highly recommended by users and dentists alike. It features two timers to help you brush for the recommended two minutes and cover all four quadrants of your mouth.


  • A more affordable power toothbrush  (coming in around $25) is the Oral-B Vitality ProWhite Rechargeable Electric Toothbrush. This brush recharges easily overnight and gives you the benefits of a powered brush without the higher costs of the brushes mentioned above. Perfect for the first-time user.

Manual Toothbrushes:

  • If you have sensitive teeth or gums and are in the market for a very soft brush, the Nimbus Microfine Toothbrush is well-loved by its users. The Nimbus brush features extremely soft, fine bristles that get between your teeth without irritating them.


  • Another popular toothbrush is the Radius Scuba Toothbrush, which features an oversized head to thoroughly clean and stimulate your gums. They manufacture the brushes in both right-handed and left-handed versions for ergonomic comfort and ease in brushing, and are made with all-natural materials.


  • A more traditional toothbrush option is the Oral-B Pro-Health Clinical Pro-Flex Toothbrush, which features flexible sides to reach every side of your teeth and varied bristle height. Dentists note that varied bristle height is essential in reaching obscure corners of your mouth and underneath the gumline, and this toothbrush is a great, affordable option.

What’s your favorite brush to use?  Remember to schedule your next dental exam at Brighter.com! Happy New Year!

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Grooves of Dental Sealants

Tooth decay, which causes dental caries (or cavities), is a common yet chronic disease that causes pain and disability in more than 6 billion people worldwide—adults and children alike. Decay occurs when the bacteria (often caused by the build-up of plaque) produce acid that eats away at the tooth. If left untreated, decay can lead to pain, infection, tooth loss, or require tooth extraction.

Luckily, there are effective options that help reduce the occurrence of tooth decay and halt any further growth in teeth that may have already been infected. Dental sealants are the most notable preventive measures, that—when first introduced in the 1960s—helped transform the way we treat dental decay today. Dental sealants are thin, plastic coatings that keep food and plaque from getting trapped in the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
Sealant Pic Applying sealants is a simple and painless procedure that takes only a few minutes to complete. Sealants are a gel-like, plastic substance painted directly onto the tooth enamel (after being thoroughly cleaned and prepped) where it bonds to the tooth and hardens. They can protect teeth for up to 10 years; however, they need to be checked for chipping or wearing during bi-annual exams.

Many dentists recommend that children get sealants on their permanent molars as soon as their teeth come in—between ages 5-7 for their “6-year molars” and between ages 11-14 for their “12-year molars.” Dentists may suggest sealants for other teeth with deep pits or grooves as well because they are more susceptible to plaque and food build-up. Sealants may also be suggested for teenagers and young adults who are prone to decay.

Adults who are already experiencing the beginning stages of tooth decay or plaque build-up can still receive sealants to halt any further erosion. Studies have shown that decay does not continue to spread once sealants are in place[1]. However, a healthy tooth is the best type of tooth, so protecting it before decay begins is optimal.

Many dental insurance programs will cover sealants. However, if your insurance or state Medicaid program does not cover this procedure, book your appointment with a Brighter.com dentist and save up to 50% on yours or your child’s care, whether it be for sealants or otherwise.

Talk to your dentist about whether sealants may be an option for you and/or your child. Brushing and flossing twice a day or between meals is imperative to maintaining a healthy mouth; however, taking further preventive measures, such as with sealants, will keep decay at bay for the long term.







[1] "ADA Report on Importance of Dental Sealant Use." Newswise. American Dental Association, 4 Feb. 1997. Web. 09 Dec. 2013.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Whiter Teeth, Brighter Smile

Want whiter, healthier teeth? You’re in luck – there are many at-home and in-office remedies that you can try to enhance your smile!

One way to naturally whiten your teeth is with a banana peel![1] Rub the inside of the banana peel on your top teeth for one minute and then on your bottom teeth for one minute. Set a timer for 10 minutes, and leave banana paste on your teeth. After 10 minutes, brush banana paste with a dry toothbrush, and then brush with a wet toothbrush. We’ve heard that if you do repeat this routine every day for one week, your teeth will be whiter!

178811585 You can also do-it-yourself and make your own whitening paste at home, but make sure you consult your dentist before you do so in order to do it safely. All you need is baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and a mouthguard. Mix two parts baking soda with one part hydrogen peroxide, fill the guard with the paste, and wear for 10 minutes.[2] Surprisingly, strawberries also make for a good whitening agent. Crush fresh strawberries and mix them with baking soda, and spread the mixture on your teeth for 5 minutes. The malic acid in strawberries is a natural whitener.[3]

There are also several options for whitening at the dentist’s office as well, if you would like a longer-lasting whitening option. You may have heard of the brands that dentists use, such as BriteSmile, Venus, and Zoom whitening systems. During these procedures, a hydrogen peroxide whitening gel is applied to your teeth over the course of an hour. Several of these procedures also include shining a strong light on your teeth to accelerate the whitening process. These whitening procedures usually whiten your teeth by several shades.

Do you have your own methods of keeping your teeth white and your mouth healthy? Tell us in the comments, and make sure to schedule your next dental check-up through Brighter.com! A dentist can help you choose the best methods to keep your smile bright and white.








[1] Missy. "Will a Banana Peel Whiten Your Teeth?" Babble. Babble.com, 11 Nov. 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://www.babble.com/beauty/will-a-banana-peel-whiten-your-teeth-plus-7-at-home-teeth-whitening-products/the-results/>.




[2] "Printable DIY Teeth Whitener." My Honeys Place. My Honeys Place, n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://myhoneysplace.com/printable-diy-teeth-whitener/>.




[3] Gardner, Amanda. "Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth." ABC News. ABC News Network, 02 May 2013. Web. 18 Nov. 2013. <http://abcnews.go.com/Health/Wellness/best-worst-foods-teeth/story?id=19085884>.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

Score Big with Dental Safety and Sports

The fall sports season is in full swing – are your children’s teeth protected? Kids and teens love soccer, football, hockey, basketball, and baseball, but their teeth are at risk when they play these high impact sports. What are the best ways to keep their winning smiles intact while enjoying these popular hobbies?

The most common way to protect teeth and the mouth during athletics is the use of mouthguards. Mouthguards can help protect any athlete and are extremely important to wear when participating in sports. Over 13% of all oral injuries are attributed to sports, according to the Journal of the American Dental Association, but only four high school sports have mandated mouthguard requirements: football, lacrosse, and ice & field hockey.[1]
165052863 There are three popular types of mouthguards – stock, boil & bite, and custom-made. Custom-made mouthguards are the most effective at protecting your teeth because they fit best into your mouth – they are created just for your teeth. A dentist takes an impression of your mouth and creates a brand new mold for you. Stock and boil & bite guards are purchased over the counter and feature little to no customization. They are less expensive than custom guards, however, and certainly are worth purchasing if you cannot afford a custom mouthguard. Mouthguards also protect against broader facial injuries, as they can lessen an impact to the face or jaw. Lastly, mouthguards are important for athletes with braces who are at an even higher risk for injury due to the metal fixtures in their mouths.

Always check your mouthguard to ensure that it is not broken or torn, and that it fits properly. Broken mouthguards will not protect your teeth as well, and ill-fitting guards may fall out or irritate teeth and gums during play. Mouthguards also require proper cleaning – brush with toothpaste and water after each use to stave off infection.

Another tip for busy athletes is to drink water and avoid sugary sports drinks, which encourage bacterial growth between teeth. If you do consume sports drinks, try to rinse with water directly after in order to remove the sugar from your tooth enamel.

Most importantly, regular dental checkups are important for all athletes, and your dentist can provide the best advice for protecting your smile during sports. Brighter can help you find a dentist who provides mouthguards at our pre-negotiated Brighter savings rate. Check out Brighter.com to find the best dentist for you in your area, and start protecting your teeth today!







[1] Kracher, Connie M., and Wendy Schmeling Smith. "Sports-Related Dental Injuries and Sports Dentistry." DentalCare. DentalCare.com, 4 Mar. 2011. Web. 21 Oct. 2013. <http://www.dentalcare.com/en-US/dental-education/continuing-education/ce127/ce127.aspx?ModuleName=coursecontent>.