Earl Hydrick, DDS - Dental Bytes Blog

 Getting Teeth Their Whitest

New KoR Whitening has both patients AND dentists raving

Practically every tube of toothpaste promises to make your teeth whiter. There are dozens of over the counter products that say they can turn your dull, dark smile into one that will light up a room. Even packs of chewing gum now promise whiter teeth! And sadly, most of us have found these claims to be untrue.

But the very newest buzz in the dental world is all about KöR Whitening, a new teeth whitening system unchallenged as the most effective system.

“Like every other dentist, I was very excited about whitening teeth,We got very good results sometimes, but it just wasn’t predictable. Many patients’ teeth just would not whiten. Many patients complained about sensitivity. Some patients’ teeth were almost impossible to whiten because of tetracycline stains or other factors. It was definitely a treatment with many limitations.”

These limitations set  on a journey to solve the sensitivity issues and make teeth whitening totally safe and predictable, much more effective and long lasting.  His research led her to discover KöR Whitening, unchallenged as the most effective whitening system. Not only is it very effective, but it has also been shown to have very low, and most frequently no sensitivity for the majority of patients.

“Every dentist knows that it’s impossible to whiten tetracycline stained teeth -  just can’t be done,. “I figured that if I could find a whitening system that could solve that problem, and also the sensitivity issues, then I would have found the ‘Holy Grail’ of teeth whitening. I’m excited to say that KöR Whitening miraculously improves even the most difficult cases. So you can image what it does for ‘normally’ stained teeth!”

The Deep Bleaching technique requires dentists to adhere to a very strict procedure. "You can't deviate from the protocol one little bit or you won't see the WOW results,".

The procedure begins with meticulously constructed bleaching trays. After a visit in the dentist's office to condition the teeth, the patient fills these trays with specially formulated low sensitivity bleaching gel. The Deep Bleaching Trays™ seal the bleaching gel in, preventing it from leaking out of the trays. Patients wear the trays for 14 nights. This allows the teeth to more thoroughly absorb the oxygen from the bleaching gel, resulting in whitening of the teeth.

The final step is a one-hour whitening visit in the dental office, which kicks the whiteness up even more. Within two weeks even the most profoundly stained teeth are beautifully white. And with easy at-home maintenance, the result is absolutely permanent and you can still eat and drink that red wine, coffee and tea.


 Before After

From Gum Disease …To Healthy Gums

I sometimes feel that I’m harping about gum disease at the office and here in my blog, but I really do see it as the number-one dental problem for adults. While most of us will experience it to some degree at some time during our life, credible estimates of the number of stricken adults run from 75-90%. That’s a lot of potential suffering. Having said that, gum disease is preventable, treatable, and if caught early enough, reversible. It’s what happens when it isn’t caught in a timely fashion that’s the problem.

To appreciate why time is so crucial, it’s important to understand that gum disease is progressive and is caused when unhealthy oral bacteria overwhelm the healthy ones, inhibiting your body’s ability to fight them off naturally. The earlier this cycle is interrupted the greater your chances of restoring your oral health.

Here’s a brief primer that I share with my patients to explain the two broad categories of the disease. (Incidentally, you can experience different stages in different parts of your mouth at the same time.)

Gingivitis: This is the early stage so only affects the gum tissue, not the underlying support structure and bones. The gums may look normal, which is why it’s called a silent disease, but over time you might begin to notice symptoms of infection such as redness or puffiness, a bad odor, and bleeding during brushing.

Periodontitis: It’s a more advanced gum disease where these symptoms become amplified. The infection spreads from the gum into the underlying bone, and if left untreated, teeth may become loose, eventually leading to tooth loss. Periodontal disease will cause the gums to shrink away from the crowns of the teeth and expose some of the roots, making the teeth look longer as well as more susceptible to root cavities.

There are certain conditions and times of life that can predispose you to gum disease, especially if you’re over age 40…

·       a poor diet that is lacking in vitamins, minerals, calcium, and antioxidants which can help you to fight disease and build healthy teeth and gums

·       lack of effective home-care routines and dental visits to monitor your oral health

·       systemic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer

·       stress, smoking, and alcohol consumption

·       medications that can cause dry mouth or otherwise affect your gums

·       times of hormonal fluctuations including pregnancy, menopause, and male andropause

·       outdated or ill-fitting restorations like dentures that rub your gums, or fillings, crowns, or bridges that interfere with your ability to keep your teeth clean, especially near the gumline.


As I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, gum disease is preventable, treatable, and sometimes though not always, reversible. Those unhealthy bacteria that alter your mouth’s chemistry build up in plaque – the sticky film that you can feel on your teeth. This is a never-ending process, so unless you want this film to calcify, damage your gums, and spread infection, your oral hygiene campaign has to be equally relentless – no slacking off.

I understand that sticking with routines in today’s busy world can be a challenge, so here’s a simple 4-step program that I think you can manage.

1) Brush your teeth at least twice a day for 2-3 minutes. (Yes, minutes!) Brush gently and pay extra attention to the areas where your teeth and gums meet.

2) Floss! Get to the spaces your brush can’t reach between and under the gumline. If you don’t floss, it means more than one third of your teeth aren’t getting cleaned.

3) Get checkups regularly. I can spot gum disease in the early stages before you notice anything. A good professional cleaning will also remove built-up and calcified bacteria (tartar) before it has a chance to promote gum disease.

4) Call immediately for a dental appointment if you notice shiny, red, puffy, or sore gums, or a change in gum color, gums that bleed every time you brush, a metallic taste in your mouth, or redness around the base of your teeth.

The truth is that for most people, gum disease worsens slowly, and there’s no way to determine its severity without coming in for a detailed examination. Remember ... it’s usually the parts of your mouth that get the least attention that are most at risk.

© Patient News





Get Into The Groove

Women can fit in fitness!


A significant focus of patient education at my practice is ensuring that patients understand the strong links between their overall health and oral health. Of course, this is not an age-specific or gender-specific issue, but today I’d like to take a moment to consider women in particular. Staying fit can go a long way to avoiding obesity, diabetes, osteoporosis, and other health issues that can contribute to or complicate oral health.


We’re all inundated with reports about the dangers of obesity, and women are particularly vulnerable to social pressures about their weight. According to one study, over one-third of adult weight-loss-pill users were not obese and another third of those surveyed used non-prescription diet products. This is cause for concern because diet pills can create the discomfort of decreased salivary flow, or dry mouth, especially in mature patients, increasing the risk for cavities, gum disease, and oral candidiasis.


A balanced diet and working out make more sense, but statistics on women’s fitness patterns are disheartening. According to experts, more than 60% of North American women do not get enough exercise and according to research from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill fewer than 1 in 4 pregnant women do.


Lack of time is cited as the biggest barrier so maybe the heart of the matter is fighting the trend by creating a routine that you can live with. Here are some simple ways I’ve read about that work your workout into your workday without too much effort: Jump rope in your office for five minutes. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Ride your bicycle for short distances instead of driving your car. If you do drive, park your car at least a quarter mile from your destination and walk. Or, walk over to a colleague’s desk to talk about work, rather than sending an email.


Even better yet – 30 minutes of gardening, pushing a stroller 1.5 miles in thirty minutes, and raking leaves for thirty minutes. If you like to watch TV, forgo a half-hour show and get outside for a walk. Or if it’s a show you love, watch while you’re exercising.


I understand completely that it’s hard to fit in time to get fit when your schedule is already packed between the morning alarm and crawling back into bed at night. Especially after a day that keeps you on the run mentally ... but not physically.


Still, I hope you can see that you don’t always have to join a gym. There is room to be creative and include a little physical workout without making any big changes to your schedule. And, of course, keeping time in your schedule to maintain your oral health will contribute to keeping you healthy.

© Patient News



January 22, 2013

How much is enough?

 There’s a recurring news story about calcium supplements that a number of my patients have found worrisome and confusing. It’s worth touching on and it reminded me that really, it’s an opportunity to talk to you about calcium’s importance to oral and overall health.

 First the worrisome story. In August 2010 The British Medical Journal published a review of studies about women at risk for fractures and loss of bone density. Surprisingly, they discovered that women taking calcium supplements had a modest increased risk of heart attacks and no benefit from the supplements. Their recommendation seems reasonable: a reassessment of the role of calcium supplements in osteoporosis management.

 Yet if you are over 60, your physician may recommend a calcium intake of 1,000-1,200 mg per day. If you have any concerns about the relative benefits of starting or continuing with supplements, I encourage you to discuss them with your physician. Their value to you depends on your individual health status as well as your diet.

 Any balanced diet isn’t complete without calcium, the main nutritional mineral needed for building strong teeth and bones, which contain 99% of the body’s supply. However, the remaining 1% circulates in the blood to aid heart function, blood clotting, the conduction of nerve impulses, and muscle contraction.

 If the level of calcium does not remain constant and adequate, your body can pull calcium from your bones which, over time, will lead to osteoporosis which can result in broken bones. Inadequate calcium intake has also been linked to health issues such as hypertension and toxemia in pregnancy, which is characterized by high blood pressure.

 In general, experts believe that North Americans, particularly adults, do not consume enough calcium each day. But how much calcium do you need for a lifetime of healthy teeth and bones?

The most effective amount for adults is from 800-1,200 mg of calcium a day combined with a good exercise program. Remember vitamin D3 for helping your body absorb calcium.

Toothbrushes - Power or Manual?

So does it all “boil down” to just what your preference might be or is one type of toothbrush actually “better” than the other?

First let’s explore what is available.

Manual toothbrushes

As with many “everyday” products we use, toothbrushes go through annual model changes.  Toothbrush manufacturers stay busy developing the “latest” model that just might have the right feel in your hands, the right look and feel in your mouth.  One of the latest models from Oral B has a cantilevered head that is designed to absorb the extra pressure some “hard brushes” use, thus mitigating some of the damage to tooth structure caused by too much brushing pressure.  A pretty neat idea. 

There are three key elements involved in using a manual toothbrush that determine effectiveness.  By “effectiveness” I mean how much of the total plaque accumulation is removed from the surfaces of the teeth without tooth damage once you are finished brushing.

Key element #1 is time devoted to the process.  The “gold standard” is 2 minutes (if you have a full set of teeth).  So it should not be a “fast and furious” process where the idea is to just get done, but rather a slower deliberate process focused on doing a thorough job, in much the same way as I observe my wife applying make - up!

Key element number two is technique.  A circular or elliptical pattern of brushing has been shown conclusively to do a better job of removing plaque while at the same time avoiding tooth damage observed when the “back and forth sawing” type pattern is used.

Number three is the use of a “soft” bristled brush and for those “Type A” personalities even “extra soft”.

For the most part, the style or shape of the brush head turns out to be personal preference since observing the key elements above will assure effective plaque removal.

Power Toothbrushes

There are basically two types:

(a)    Battery Powered- These brushes typically have limited features and have a circular rotating head.  They use AA batteries and are quite inexpensive.  A battery powered brush can be very effective at removing plaque and is a good place to start if you are contemplating moving away from your manual brush.

(b)   Rechargeable Electric- These are the “gold standard” when it comes to current toothbrush technology.  They are available in different price ranges with different features.  The better ones use an oscillating-rotating kind of action such that all one needs to do is simply guide the brush head along the tooth surfaces for effective plaque removal.  Other interesting features include:

·         Numerous brushing modes specialized for sensitive teeth, whitening benefits or gum-massaging action

·         Pressure sensors to signal when you’re brushing too hard

·         Timers to help you keep track of how long you’re brushing each quadrant of your mouth

·         Digital reminders to replace your brush head

·         Oscillating-rotating or sonic technology

·         Multiple brush head compatibility so you can choose which kind of bristle design you prefer.


So, back to the question which is best- power or manual?

Well, independent studies have shown that rechargeable electric brushes remove plaque better than manual brushes.  However, a manual toothbrush, properly used and when the three key elements, referred to earlier, are observed will do an adequate job.

Well, Doc (you might ask). Which do you use?  A fair question.

I use both!  Not at the same time of course!  Right now I use an Oral B with the cantilevered head manual brush and Oral B Triumph 5000.

Ask us about toothbrushes anytime and we will kindly offer our advice.


Facial Esthetics- Botox and Juvederm - What’s it all about?

Facial Esthetics is a broad term that generally is understood to refer to products and procedures designed and/or developed to give one a more pleasing and “youthful” appearance.  Many over-the-counter (and some prescription) products were developed to tighten and smooth facial skin to help lessen the effect of natural collagen loss as we age and are exposed to environmental pollutants and ultraviolet rays.
“Face Lifts” and related surgical procedures also come under the broad definition of “Facial Esthetics” but our purpose here is to address basic non-surgical approaches to facial esthetics.

So, as the facial skin ages the natural collagen and hyaluronic acid in the skin diminishes resulting in volume loss and weakened structure leading to unwelcome lines and wrinkles like the “parentheses” lines around the nose and mouth.  Further, as the skin becomes less elastic, the repeated contraction of the facial muscles of expression leads to the deep furrows on the forehead and the deep wrinkles between the eyebrows which often look like the number “11”.

Botox has the effect of temporarily “relaxing” or “inactivating” the facial muscles that causes the overlying skin to “wrinkle”.  Hence the skin becomes smoother and causes one to appear more youthful which is why many people choose to use Botox instead of daily expensive “lotions and potions” which were developed to have a similar effect as Botox.

As a rule-of-thumb Botox is effective for treating “dynamic” wrinkles.  That is, wrinkles/creases that are caused by facial muscle contraction.  So, if you can cause a furrow or wrinkle by making a facial expression, then Botox can be used to prevent those furrows or wrinkles from occurring.  Jevederm (and other dermal fillers), on the other hand is effective at treating “static” wrinkles/creases such as the “parentheses” that are seen from the base of the nose to the corner of the upper lip.  Juvederm is used to “fill” in and bulk up those type wrinkles/creases that do not depend on muscle contraction, they form naturally over time as we lose elasticity and volume in our face.

So let’s recap how Botox & Juvederm may benefit you.  Botox is a quick, safe and FDA approved treatment to:

1. Reduce frown lines that develop on the forehead

2. Reduce frown lines at the bridge of the nose that sometimes form the number “11”

3. Reduce the “crow’s feet” at the outside corners of the eyes

4. Reduce the “smoker’s lines” often seen along the upper lid

Botox usually lasts from 4 to 6 months.  Juvederm is an FDA approved form of hyaluronic acid which is found naturally in the connective tissue just below the skin.  Juvederm is useful to “fill in” wrinkles/creases like the “parentheses” found typically going from the base of the nose to the corner of the upper lip.  This treatment usually lasts up to about 9 months.
Check out current rates/specials on our web site:


How’s your Headache?

November 15, 2011

America’s 29 million migraine headache sufferers spend dizzying sums of money purchasing medication to treat their pain. Most are unaware that there is a new alternative to prescription drugs. Dentists all over the country are recommending a treatment for migraine (and other types) headaches using a dental mouthpiece referred to as “NTItss”. “NTI-tss” is an acronym for Nociceptive Triqeminal Inhibition- Tension Suppression System. The “NTI-tss Plus” is an FDA approved dentist provided mouthpiece for the treatment of migraine type” headaches. In clinical trials reviewed by the FDA, 82% of medically diagnosed migraine su¬ffers using the NTI-tss had a 77% average reduction of migraine attacks within the first eight weeks of use.

The NTI-tss works by reducing jaw clenching during sleep. It fits over the central teeth on the bottom arch of the mouth and keeps the molars and canines from touching. Many patients unconsciously clench and grind their teeth, mostly at night. For some, clenching serves as a catalyst for migraine inducing strain on the muscles in the head, face, and neck. To demonstrate how the NTI-tss works, touch the muscles of the temples while biting down on a pencil with the back teeth. The temporal muscles will bulge and intensely contract. Now bite down on a pencil with only the front teeth. Those same temporal muscles remain relaxed. This diminished clenching intensity prevents a hyperactive nerve response, and thus, prevents migraines and other clenching stress type headaches.

Often an appliance (“Night Guard”) that covers all of the upper (or sometimes lower) teeth is prescribed for clinchers and grinders. This type appliance usually works well if bruxing (grinding) is occurring in the absence of clenching. However, if clenching is occurring with or without bruxing, then headache symptoms along with tired muscles usually occur. This is because a “full coverage” appliance provides a good surface to clench against. By separating the black teeth the NTI-tss prevents the hyperactive muscle activity which leads to headaches and tired jaw muscles.

We have been using the NTI appliance at The Smile Design Center for several years and have seen it help patients who prior to using it relied heavily on both over the counter and prescription drugs to help get through the day.

The NTI appliance was developed by a dentist, Dr. James Boyd, to treat him for chronic daily headaches and frequent migraines he had su¬ffered for 12 years. If chronic headaches have been plaguing you, you might be a candidate for an NTI appliance.

Visit www.Nti-tss.com for more detailed information than we have been able to provide in this article.


"Dental Bytes" Dental Health Tips Blog

October 14, 2011  -  Bad breath… Uggh!


Well how many times have you finished a great burger (with onions of course) or had a slice or two of awesome tasting garlic bread, and been told by your mate, girlfriend, boyfriend etc. that your breath, well… was a bit offensive.


Known scientifically as “halitosis” or oral malodor, bad breath is one of the most elusive conditions for which there seems to be few easy solutions, but nonetheless hope.


The primary constituents of bad breath are chemicals called volatile sulfur compounds (VSC), primarily hydrogen sulfide and methyl merceaptan. VSC’s are the byproducts of both human and bacterial cellular breakdown occurring in the “furrows” of the tongue, areas in the back of the throat, in the sinus cavities, and underneath the gum tissue in the presence of gum disease


The Level of Volatile Sulfur compounds that may be present and Thurs constitute how bad “bad” breath will likely be is a function of all of some combination of the following:



  • Diet – garlic, onions, curry, strong cheese, etc.
  • Infections – sinus, throat, (tonsils), gum disease
  • Lack of good oral hygiene – brushing, flossing
  • Lack of saliva production – saliva production slows significantly at night during sleep and is caused by various medications
  • Various medical conditions like diabetes, some lung and liver disorders.


So what does one do?

Well, the obvious answer is to decide which of the above might be the culprit(s). Begin “checking off” all that might apply to you.

We will, of course, provide you with all the help, needed regarding dentally related factors.

It is worth monitoring, that there are occasions when one believes they have bad breath and it is apparent only to that person. Naturally, this presents a whole new set of issues for which we do not have the space to cover at this time.

In closing to eliminate/control any dental factors that may be involved, it is very important to…

  • Get timely check-ups
  • Develop a thorough home care routine that would include, (a) brushing the tongue as far back as you can tolerate and perhaps experimenting with a tongue scrapper, and flossing between all teeth at bedtime – (flossing tip) Since all floss is not “created equal” sometimes it has a tendency to slide through the tooth-to-tooth contact and while it may be removing plaque it may not actually pick up small particles of food debris hiding around the fum. So I tie a knot and gently dray the floss through after I do the “up and down” movement to remove plaque and volia? Our comes more stuff that if left would definitely pose a “bad breath” problem.

August 16, 2011 -  Gum Recession

Gum Recession occurs when the gum tissue that is "attached" to the tooth moves further away from the tooth, exposing more tooth causing the tooth to appear larger.

One can have a perfectly healthy mouth and still experience gum recession.

Some Causes of Gum Recession:

  • Genetics - a person simply may be genetically predisposed to have thin, and therefore more fragile gum tissue.
  • Aggressive tooth brushing technique
  • Periodontal (gum) disease.
  • Use of abrasive (whitening) toothpastes
  • Orthodontics
All of these either alone or in some combination can lead to gun recession.

So what's so bad about gum recession? To list a few:

  • More likely to develop tooth sensitivity.
  • More likely to develop decay in the area where recession occurs.
  • Bone loss from around the tooth - hence more likely to lose teeth.
  • Affects appearance.

Treatment Options:

Several treatment techniques are used to treat gum recession. One involves the removal of tissue from the roof of the patient's mouth and using that to cover the area of recession. This technique extends healing time since it involves two separate surgical sites.

The technique most preferred in our office is to use only one surgical site by releasing the tissue that is still attached around the tooth - place a special kind of "artificial" gum tissue underneath the patient's tissue, then pull the loosened tissue down around the tooth and suture it down to cover the tooth.


Most dental insurance policies offer coverage for treating gum recession.

If you have noticed that you have developed gun recession, we will be happy to discuss the best approach to treating your particular


Refer a Friend or Family Member:

We appreciate so very much all of you who refer your family, co-workers, and friends to us for their dental care. This is the single best compliment we could ever receive from our great patients!

August 9, 2011 - Infection

Infection - Most infections we see in the office are either the result of tooth decay or gum disease and sometimes a combination of both. An interesting observation is that (unlike most infections we experience) antibiotics are usually ineffective as far as curing the dental infections.

The reason for this is that infections in the gums and teeth are generally chronic; that is there is a continuous "supply" of (bad) bacteria coming from inside the tooth or from plaque and tartar around the gums.

The solution for these infections must involve removing the plaque and tartar and/or removing the supply of bacteria inside the tooth (e.g. root canal, treatment) or removing the tooth. Additionally, numerous studies have shown that gum and tooth infections cause already existing heart problems as well as diabetes to become worse.

So the moral of this story is to avoid those unhealthy infections that lead to pain and tooth loss. And, of course, one avoids such calamities by getting those regular check-ups at your friendly Smile Design Center!

If you haven't had your "on time" check up please give us a call today. Also please refer a friend/family member. We appreciate so very much all of you who refer your family, co-workers, and friends to us for their dental care. This is the single best compliment we could ever receive from our great patients!

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