My Blog

Posts for: April, 2018


In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.

By Sunshine Dentistry
April 10, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dentures  

Since as many as 26 percent of older U.S. adults have lost all their teeth, there are a large number Americans who wear full removable dentures, also known as false teeth. You may be one of them.

How much do you know about dentures? See if you can answer the following questions connected with lost teeth and dentures.

  1. Which word refers to the loss of all permanent teeth?
    1. Atrophy
    2. Prosthetic
    3. Edentulism
    4. Periodontal
  2. What is the name given to the bone that surrounds, supports, and connects to your teeth?
    1. Periodontal
    2. Metacarpal
    3. Tibia
    4. Alveolar
  3. What tissue attaches the teeth to the bone that supports your teeth?
    1. Periodontal Ligament
    2. Periodontal Muscle
    3. Parietal Ligament
    4. Achilles Tendon
  4. When a person loses teeth, the stimulus that keeps the underlying bone healthy is also lost, and the bone resorbs or melts away. Pressure transmitted by dentures through the gums to the bone can accentuate this process, which is called
    1. Dystrophy
    2. Atrophy
    3. Hypertrophy
    4. None of the above
  5. A device that replaces a missing body part such as an arm or leg, eye, tooth or teeth is referred to as
    1. Robotic
    2. Imaginary
    3. Exotic
    4. Prosthetic
  6. When teeth have to be extracted, bone loss can be minimized by bone grafting. Bone grafting materials are usually a sterile powdered form of
    1. Allograft (human tissue)
    2. Xenograft (animal tissue)
    3. Both
    4. Neither
  7. Wearers of full dentures must re-learn to manipulate the jaw joints, ligaments, nerves, and muscles to work differently in order to speak, bite, and chew. The name for this system of interconnected body mechanisms, originating with the root words for “mouth” and “jaw,” is
    1. Boca biting
    2. Stomatognathic
    3. Periodontal
    4. None of the above
  8. A type of plastic that is artistically formed and colored to make prosthetic teeth and gums look natural is called
    1. methyl methacrylate
    2. beta barbital
    3. rayon
    4. polystyrene
  9. Success in denture wearing depends on
    1. The skill of the dentist
    2. The talent of the laboratory technician
    3. The willing collaboration of the patient
    4. All of the above

Answers: 1c, 2d, 3a, 4b, 5d, 6c, 7b, 8a, 9d. How well did you do? If you have additional questions about full removable dentures, don’t hesitate to ask us.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about dentures. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor article, “Removable Full Dentures.”

April 02, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

When does your smile look its best? Well, of course, when it's healthy and bright, it looks outstanding. If you want your teeth to project a teeth whiteningyouthful, attractive you, explore in-office and at-home teeth whitening from Sunshine Dentistry of Tampa, FL. Teeth whitening is a specialty of Dr. Daira Avila. Amazingly, this popular cosmetic service bleaches out stubborn food and tobacco stains in just about an hour or more gradually in the privacy of your own home.

Those annoying stains

Years ago, people complimented you on your white smile. Now, you cover your mouth when you laugh or smile broadly because your teeth are yellow and dull. What happened? Well, dental staining is very common, and it darkens tooth enamel. Many factors contribute to this problem, including:

  • Food and beverage choices such as coffee, cola, sports drinks, tea, soy sauce, curry, and tomato-based dishes
  • Tobacco--both cigarettes and the smokeless kind
  • Poor oral hygiene (neglected brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings)
  • Simple wear and tear on tooth enamel
  • Some prescription medications, including antihistamines and antihypertensives
  • The aging process

While some drugstore whitening products produce limited results, professional teeth whitening at Sunshine Dentistry of Tampa creates the best smiles without any lingering sensitivity. Plus, when Dr. Avila examines your mouth and says your teeth and gums are healthy enough for whitening, you can trust all will go well.

How teeth whitening works

As a whitening patient, you'll sit comfortably in the dental chair during the entire process. Your dentist will place a retractor in your mouth to lift your lips off your teeth. Then, she will swab on the whitening gel. Allowed to penetrate for about 15 minutes and then rinsed off, this powerful hydrogen peroxide gel safely lifts organic matter right out of the enamel. The application and removal process is repeated for optimal results.

Alternatively, if you select in-home whitening, you'll use custom-made acrylic trays to apply the gel right where it's needed. Over the course of a week or so, your tooth color will improve gradually but dramatically by the end of the prescribed treatment time.

Maintaining a white smile

Keep those pearly whites bright by:

  • Limiting the dietary choices which stain them
  • Brush and floss regularly according to American Dental Association guidelines (twice a day)
  • Stop smoking
  • Get semi-annual check-ups and cleanings at Sunshine Dentistry
  • Receive whitening touch-ups as needed

In fact, Dr. Avila offers a wonderful Whitening for Life program which helps your white smile stay that way for years to come. Just ask about this innovative program when you come in for your cosmetic dentistry consultation.

Brighten your smile

And, brighten your outlook. You can with professional teeth whitening from Sunshine Dentistry in Tampa, FL. For more information, contact the office at (813) 269-9360.