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Gum Disease Linked to Rheumatoid Arthritis? Yep!

October 1st, 2013

floss girlResearch has shown a link between gum disease and a number of health problems, including diabetes and heart disease. Researchers have also long known about a link between gum disease and rheumatoid arthritis, but they haven’t known why the two were linked. New research is showing why these two inflammatory problems might be connected.

The research, carried out by University of Louisville School of Dentistry Oral Health and Systemic Diseases researcher Jan Potempa, PhD, DSc, shows that the bacteria that causes gum disease can worsen rheumatoid arthritis, leading to early onset and speeding up progression. This means increased damage to bone and cartilage. Gum disease can lead to chronic inflammation and destruction of the cartilage in the joints.

Studies have also shown that people with gum disease experience higher rates of rheumatoid arthritis.

This is just one more reason that you need to take extra care to prevent and fight against gum disease. The best way to protect yourself from the ill effects of gum disease is through a combination of regular visits twice a year to the dentist and daily brushing and flossing. Many people neglect to floss regularly. It is recommended that you floss once a day, which allows you to sweep away the bacteria that causes gum disease from below the gum line. Brushing alone cannot adequately protect you from gum disease. And gum disease isn’t just linked to rheumatoid arthritis. It’s the leading cause of tooth loss as well, and contributes to a variety of other systemic diseases.

So if it’s been a while since your last visit to the dentist, make sure to make an appointment soon to find out about your gum disease status and any other oral health problems that might be threatening your overall health and wellbeing!

Eight Tips for Keeping Plaque in Check

September 19th, 2013

general dentistryHave you ever noticed that your teeth feel a little…well, fuzzy at the end of the day? What you’re feeling isn’t fuzz, of course, but plaque. You may have heard your dentist talk about plaque before, but do you know what it is?

Plaque is a sticky biofilm made up of hundreds and hundreds of naturally-occurring bacteria. These bacteria feed on the food we put in our mouths, and they especially love foods high in sugar or other carbohydrates. As these bacteria feed on these particles, they create an acidic byproduct that damages tooth enamel, resulting in cavities.

So, given how destructive plaque, bacteria, and this acidic byproduct can be, you may be wondering what you can do to keep it in check. Below are eight tips for managing and getting rid of plaque.

Tip #1

Brush at least twice a day, but if possible, after every meal.

Tip #2

Floss at least once a day. Flossing will help you remove pieces of food or particle of plaque from beyond teeth, where they can contribute to decay.

Tip #3

Consider adding an antibacterial mouthwash to your at-home oral health regimen.  Reducing the amount of bacteria from your mouth will reduce your vulnerability to decay. A fluoride mouthwash can also help you strength your tooth enamel.

Tip #4

Chew sugarless gum after and in between meals. Gum helps remove particles of food from between teeth and stimulates the production of saliva, which neutralizes acid.

Tip #5

Reduce the amount of sweet or starchy foods you consume. Even a natural snack like raisins can be problematic.

Tip #6

Avoid smoking or any kind of tobacco use. Besides being bad for your health, smokers routinely have higher amounts of hardened plaque.

Tip #7

Make regular checkups and cleanings with your local dentist a priority. A cleaning by a professional hygienist will help you get rid of plaque in places that are hard to reach with normal brushing and flossing.

Tip #8

Dental sealants protect the chewing surfaces of teeth from bacteria and plaque with a thin layer of plastic. This effective option works especially well for back teeth and may help children who are more vulnerable to decay.

Do you have questions about plaque or how to prevent it? Has it been more than six months since your last checkup or cleaning? Call your local dentist today for an appointment.

Five Myths about Porcelain Veneers and the Real Truth Behind Them

August 30th, 2013

30332440Ever since Hollywood celebrities started relying on them for transforming their smiles into stunners, porcelain veneers have picked up steam as a truly transformative cosmetic dentistry method that can cover up stains, chips, cracks, and even gaps. These beautiful restorations are handcrafted in dental labs and customized for each unique tooth, ensuring a completely seamless, natural appearance.  However, there are also several rumors that dentists have encountered concerning this procedure that may be scaring off potential patients who’re striving for the smile of their dreams. Today, we’d like to clear up five of these misconceptions!

People Will Easily Be Able to Tell That It’s Not Your Real Smile

While this may have once been true concerning older versions of veneers, which were very thick and opaque, the right clinician can truly make all the difference. Porcelain veneers are so beautiful and natural looking that they blend in seamlessly with the rest of your smile!

You Have to Cut Down Your Whole Tooth/Teeth to Have It Placed

This is an exaggeration. It is necessary for your teeth to undergo some reshaping; after all, you don’t want your new porcelain veneers to look too bulky simply for the sake of preserving tooth structure. But the amount often mentioned is excessive. If you still feel uncomfortable with the process, “prep-less” veneers are often available as an alternative, which are only 2mm, or the width of a single contact lens.

They Are Painful and Cause Sensitivity

The only instance in which you may experience some pain or sensitivity is when you’re wearing your temporary veneers in the interim before your permanent ones are finished. Once your new porcelain veneers have been placed, this sensation will be completely eliminated.

Their Bright White Color Looks Unnatural

While some patients may prefer a blazing white shade, your dentist will be happy to ensure that your porcelain veneers are whatever color you want them to be! It’s always up to the patient.

They’re Too Expensive

While this may sadly be true for some patients, many dental practices can offer payment plans or alternative financial options that may reduce your monetary obligations down to a couple hundred dollars a month!

Be sure to talk to your local dentist about porcelain veneers! Who knows – your dream smile may not be as far out of your reach as you think.

Before-school Children’s Dentistry Visits!

August 15th, 2013

kid flossingYou may be ready to send your kids back to school, but don’t forget to schedule their dental appointments! It’s easier to bring your children to the dentist when they don’t have to miss class, and it will be less of a hassle for you. Although kids undoubtedly would like to get out of school for their dental visit, protect their wellbeing and education with an earlier trip to the dentist!
Regular children’s dentistry appointments are a vital part of their dental health. It’s recommended by the American Dental Association that kids should see a dentist at least twice a year for routine checkups. If your child has never seen the dentist, then don’t wait! Examinations are an opportunity for your dentist to check for any decay or growth problems, and to stop them before complications arise.
A children’s dentistry exam is also great for reminding your child of the importance of proper dental hygiene. The gentle team at your dental office will explain different, easy-to-remember techniques for daily care. They can also offer handy tips about flossing, a practice that most children won’t perfect until well into adulthood. It’s never too late early to begin instructing excellent dental care! Dentists want to help your child improve their oral health any way that they can.
Remember, the more regularly your child sees the dentist, the less likely they will be to develop serious dental problems later in life. Great dental hygiene will save your child time in the dental chair receiving restorative treatment, which they will be happy about. Just give your dentist a call today to schedule a children’s dentistry appointment.

Bad Breath? It Could be a Sign of a Serious Problem

August 1st, 2013

No one wants to have bad breath. If you suffer with bad breath, you might try brushing your teeth more often, mouthwash, and mints to get rid of it. But there may be deeper issues causing your bad breath, which is why you should visit your 837375_98129162Smdentist if you’re experiencing chronic halitosis (the technical name for bad breath).

What can cause bad breath? The list includes:

  • Foods with strong odors, like onions or garlic.
  • Excessive dieting.
  • Poor oral hygiene.
  • Gum disease.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Various health conditions.

The first thing you can do to try to get rid of your bad breath is to make sure you’re brushing at least twice a day and flossing once a day. Brushing and flossing removes food particles that may have been left in the nooks and crannies of your teeth and gums. These food particles, if not cleaned away, will actually begin to deteriorate in the mouth, giving off a bad odor — not to mention contributing to decay and gum disease. Make sure you’re thorough about your oral hygiene.

If you have a lack of saliva because of a medical condition or some other cause, make sure to regularly swish with some water. Saliva helps clean the mouth, and this will help clean away odor-causing debris. Also, make sure you’re not eating any especially stinky foods!

If you’re experiencing bad breath and have tried using better oral hygiene habits and avoiding smelly foods but haven’t found relief, it could be a symptom of a serious problem. Health conditions related to bad breath include liver or kidney problems, lung infections, diabetes, and bronchitis. It is also a common sign of gum disease, which can break down the supporting structures in your mouth and eventually cause tooth loss or other problems if left untreated. Bad breath may seem like a superficial concern, but it can be much more than that. That’s why we recommend you visit the dentist if you’ve been noticing a chronic bad taste in your mouth or bad breath.

Crown & Bridge, Crowns, Inlays, or Onlays

  • You will wear temporary restorations until your permanent restoration is made.
  • If your temporary falls off or breaks, save the pieces and call our office. Do not bite your lips, cheeks, or scrape your gums. Children should be watched carefully to make sure they don’t do this. It will damage soft tissues and result in pain.
  • Sensitivity to cold and heat, as well as any soreness, should go away in a few days.
  • Brush gently and floss carefully for the first few days.

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Deep Teeth Cleaning

  • Sensitivity to cold and heat will subside.
  • Do not chew or eat until numbness subsides.
  • Brush and floss as usual. Your gums may bleed a bit for a few days.

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Denture Delivery

  • It is normal to experience some discomfort and speech problems while getting used to your new dentures. New dentures need several adjustments to fit comfortably. To help with speech, read aloud for a few minutes every day. Your mouth will adjust, and your speech will improve.
  • Remove your dentures every night to allow your gums to rest. Keep the denture in container of water or denture cleaner.
  • Thoroughly brush your dentures with water before wearing them.

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  • For an hour after surgery, you should place pressure on the gauze pad covering the extraction site. If bleeding continues, apply new gauze should and pressure for and additional 45 minutes.
  • After surgery, place a cold compress on your face near the extraction site for 10 minutes. Remove for 5 minutes. Repeat.
  • Do not eat or drink hot foods and beverages after surgery.
  • Do not rinse your mouth.
  • Do not use a straw.
  • Do not spit.
  • Do not drink carbonated beverages.
  • Do not brush your teeth on the day of the surgery. Then resume normal home care, gently brushing and flossing.
  • Bruising, swelling, and pain are normal – particularly if you have had a wisdom tooth extraction. Take your prescribed medication and use a cold compress on your face.
  • Plan to eat soft foods, such as soups, milk shakes, fruit juice, and yogurt, for 2-3 days.
  • Do not bite your lips, cheeks, or scrape your gums. Children should be watched carefully to make sure they don’t do this. It will damage soft tissues and result in pain.

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  • For an hour following your visit, do not chew. Wait until numbness subsides before eating. If you had amalgam fillings placed, do not chew for 24 hours.
  • Do not bite your lips, cheeks, or scrape your gums. Children should be watched carefully to make sure they don’t do this. It will damage soft tissues and result in pain.
  • Sensitivity to cold and heat, as well as any soreness, should go away in a few days.

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Gum Surgery

  • Pain, swelling, and bleeding is normal following gum surgery. A cold compress should be placed on your face near the surgical site for 10 minutes at a time, with 5 minutes off, the day of your surgery. This will reduce pain, swelling, and bleeding.
  • Take your prescribed medications as instructed.
  • You should keep your appointment for follow-up with your dentist.
  • Do not raise your lips and probe the area with your fingers.
  • Do not brush your teeth near the sutures. However, you should brush and floss the rest of your teeth as you normally would.
  • You may experience loss of sensation at the surgical site, and nearby teeth may feel loose for a while.
  • Do not spit or use a straw the day of your procedure. Avoid smoking for a few days.

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Implant Surgery

  • Pain, swelling, and bleeding is normal following oral surgery. A cold compress should be placed on your face near the surgical site for 10 minutes at a time, with 5 minutes off, the day of your surgery. This will reduce pain, swelling, and bleeding.
  • Take your prescribed medications as instructed.
  • You should keep your appointment for follow-up with your dentist.
  • Do not raise your lips and probe the area with your fingers.
  • Do not brush your teeth near the sutures. However, you should brush and floss the rest of your teeth as you normally would.
  • Do not spit or use a straw the day of your procedure. Avoid smoking for a few days.

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Root Canal Treatment

  • Sensitivity should subside after a few days.
  • Take your prescribed medication as directed.
  • Because a temporary filling is on the tooth, do not bite hard for one hour after your appointment. Once the permanent filling is in place, chew carefully on the opposite side of your mouth.
  • Do not bite your lips, cheeks, or scrape your gums. Children should be watched carefully to make sure they don’t do this. It will damage soft tissues and result in pain.
  • Sensitivity to cold and heat, as well as any soreness, should go away in a few days.
  • Brush and floss gently.

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Invisalign Dental Education Video Braces are one of the most popular dental treatments available today. Why? Because in addition to creating a more attractive smile, braces can prevent other problems like misaligned bites, TMJ disorder, tooth decay, and gum disease. While traditional braces are a great option for many people, we also offer metal-free alternatives. The Serenity Dental Team is certified to provide our Rocklin-area patients with Invisalign, the trusted name in invisible aligner technology.

The Invisalign clear alignerYou’ve probably seen ads for Invisalign on television or in magazines. Clear braces have grown in popularity over the years as the technology improves. Now, The Serenity Dental  Team can correct a wide range of issues using this discreet method of orthodontia. Patients with crooked teeth, wide gaps, and bite problems can benefit from treatment with Invisalign.

This method uses clear, removable aligners to gently reposition the teeth. You use an aligner for about two weeks, and then you throw it away and move on to the next in your series. No more wires, no more brackets, and no more uncomfortable “tightening” appointments. With Invisalign, you have the freedom to remove your braces when you eat and brush, too, so oral hygiene remains stellar, and staining during treatment is less likely to occur.

You can learn more about Invisalign by calling The Serenity Dental Team for a consultation. While clear braces aren’t for everyone, they can provide many adults with a solution to crooked teeth that doesn’t jeopardize their mature image. The Serenity Dental Team will help you decide whether Invisalign is right for you at your personal consultation.

Braces have quickly become a standard treatment for children, adults, and teens in America. Everyone deserves the benefits of a straight, attractive smile. Not only that, braces can help curb future issues like TMJ disorder and tooth decay, allowing you or your child to enjoy your smiles long-term. As a general dentist, The Serenity Dental Team  is qualified to provide orthodontic treatment at his Rocklin dental office.

Girl with bracesDr. Azouz and the team at Serenity Dental provide comprehensive orthodontic treatment, so your family can confidently receive all aspects of care from our Rocklin, CA office. This means you or your child can receive braces, cleanings, and follow-up treatments from one convenient location and a team they can trust. Find answers to common questions about braces, as well as some tips for living with braces below.

How can I find out if I need braces?

Contact with Dr. Azouz and his staff at Serenity Dental and ask for an evaluation. They will determine the most effective treatment based on each individual patient’s needs. Click here to fill out contact information online.

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Why would an adult wear braces?

Oftentimes, adults didn't have the chance to receive orthodontic treatment when they were children. They may suffer from overbites, under bites, crooked/crowded teeth, misalign jaw, or jaw joint disorders. If problems like these are left untreated, adults can be faced with biting or chewing issues, tooth decay, headaches, earaches, gum disease, and difficulty speaking clearly. Lastly, a beautifully aligned smile will boost one's self-confidence. Click here to make an appointment with Dr. Azouz to find out how to get braces today.

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What types of braces are available?

Serenity Dental offers a variety of orthodontic options, including:

  • Invisalign and ClearCorrect – The most current technology in braces includes Invisalign and ClearCorrect, which are a series of inconspicuous, clear, and removable aligners that are custom made for each person's teeth. Invisalign and ClearCorrect braces don't have wires or brackets and are extremely convenient, since they can be removed while eating, during important events, and for cleaning. Also, they won't trap food or plaque between teeth. Invisible braces are well-suited for patients with minor orthodontic issues.
  • Ceramic Braces – These braces offer the same quality of treatment as metal braces; however, ceramic braces blend in with the color of the teeth and are much less noticeable. Although ceramic braces may be aesthetically pleasing they tend to break more easily.

Schedule a consultation with The Serenity Dental Team to learn which orthodontic option is right for you.

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How much do braces cost?

How much braces will cost depends on which type you choose. The average price is between $5,000 and $6,000, but keep in mind that out-of-pocket costs will likely be more if you decide to go with non-metal braces. To find out if your dental plan will cover braces for adults, take a look at your Evidence of Coverage, Summary Plan Description, or Group Dental Service Contract. Also, make sure you ask our Serenity Dental team to submit a pre-treatment estimate, known as a predetermination, to your dental plan. This will tell you what your out-of-pocket costs will be before your treatment even starts. Serenity Dental offers convenient monthly payment plans through CareCredit® as well. Visit for more information.

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Is orthodontic treatment different for adults?

Orthodontic treatment for an adult may be different than for a child or teenager in that it can take longer to achieve the same results. While the benefits for an adult and a child are the same, the average time frame for adult orthodontic treatment is 18 months to three years. Like children, after braces are removed an adult may need to wear a retainer

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Caring for Braces

Taking excellent care of braces throughout the orthodontic treatment will support a hassle-free experience. Thoroughly brush teeth, gums, and between the wires, and floss at least once a day. Following a regular brushing and flossing routine will help reduce your risk of cavities. Good oral hygiene may also prevent de-calcification (white spots) on teeth and tooth decay.

Adults should also pay close attention to what they eat. Avoid very hard and sticky foods like gum, taffy, and caramel (as well as anything that can get stuck in the braces), toffee, nuts, crusty bread, and hard/crunchy granola. Consume and enjoy food carefully and you will be able to have an incident-free treatment.

Questions about how your diet will effect your orthodontic treatment? Contact Dr. Darryl Azouz and the Serenity Dental team at (916) 630-1084.

Tips for Living with Braces

  • Carry a dental kit with a toothbrush, toothpaste, dental wax, floss, a small pack of tissues, and breath drops or spray with you at all times. (There is special floss with hard ends made specifically for patients with braces, and The Serenity Dental Team can recommend a specific types of floss.)

  • Don't be worried about brushing teeth in a public restroom. Many people have braces, and more than likely people would rather see a person brushing teeth in a restroom than braces packed with leftover food.

  • Every four to six weeks adjustments will be made to braces (the treatment is different for Invisalign). Adjustment appointments take about 20 minutes. Patients may feel mild to moderate discomfort after adjustments. Treat pain with over-the-counter pain relievers like Tylenol or ibuprofen. Canker sores may form on the inside of cheeks from metal hooks on the braces. Applying a dental anesthetic product like Anbesol to the sore will alleviate pain.

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If your smile has been damaged by disease, tooth decay, or injury, Serenity Dental can help.  Our Plano dental office welcome patients with broken-down smiles. Using crowns, fillings, dental implants, or dentures, Dr. Azouz can create a smile that will fill you with confidence.

When you come to our Rocklin, CA office, The Serenity Dental Team will start your appointment by thoroughly examine your teeth and gums, as well as your bite (occlusion). Next, we’ll take X-rays, photographs, and possibly a Panorex image of your smile, all of which will give us the extra information we need to plan your full-mouth reconstruction. The Serenity Dental Team will also talk with you about your questions and how you envision your finished dental work, in addition to explaining all your treatment options. Once your full-mouth reconstruction has been completed, you can look forward to enjoying the healthy, beautiful smile you’ve been dreaming of.

At our Rocklin, CA office, we offer a wide range of cosmetic services, including orthodontics, to help you restore your dental health. In some cases, we may need to work with a specialist from a particular discipline to complete your full-mouth reconstruction. But regardless, our primary goal is delivering exactly the smile you want, and then helping you maintain it.



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Lumineers Dental Education Video Porcelain veneers are one way a dentist can help you enhance a cracked, chipped, stained, misaligned, or unevenly spaced smile, but they aren’t your only option. With custom-made Lumineers from Cerinate,  Serenity Team can give your smile the boost you’ve been dreaming of, and with almost none of the preparation required by traditional veneers.

What makes this possible is the unique way Lumineers are designed and applied. They’re thinner than traditional veneers and can be put in place in as little as one visit. Moreover, because Lumineers don’t require the same level of preparation, you aren’t committing yourself to a permanent change. Even though the dazzling results can last for up to 20 years, you can go back to your natural smile any time you like.  That makes them an excellent option for patients who, like us, favor a holistic approach to dentistry.

If you think Lumineers might be what you’re looking for, schedule a consultation visit with The Serenity Dental Team and our Rocklin office today. Through talking with us, we can help you answer any questions you might have and help you fully explore all your options.



Porcelain Veneers

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Veneers Dental Education Video Porcelain veneers lead the list of aesthetic treatments The Serenity Dental Team is using to transform lives. If you’re considering porcelain veneers for a new smile, here’s what you can expect…

The First Appointment

During your first appointment, The Serenity Dental Team will assess your oral health and discuss what you have in mind for your smile. It can even help if you bring a photo in with you as a visual reference.

When designing your veneers, The Serenity Dental Team considers this discussion and your visual reference, in addition to the shade of your teeth, your features, your skin tone, and your facial symmetry. If you have any questions about porcelain veneers, he will be happy to provide comprehensive answers.

Tooth Preparation

Your first appointment will also give The Serenity Dental Team a chance to prep your new veneers by gently buffing your teeth to remove 1 to 2mm of enamel. Tooth reduction allows your veneers, when they’re ready, to lie flat, in line with your surrounding teeth. We may also need to reshape your teeth to create the look you want.

The Serenity Dental Team will then take an impression of your mouth, which he’ll send to the lab, before applying your temporary veneers. Your teeth may feel sensitive until your permanent veneers are in place.

Porcelain Veneers Closeup

Behind the Scenes

Once you’re done with your first appointment, The Serenity Dental Team will order your veneers from a dental lab, where they will be handcrafted from durable materials by a talented ceramist. The information we provide the lab will ensure that you receive veneers that will enhance your smile and complement your appearance.

Veneer Placement

Local anesthetic may be administered during your placement appointment to ensure your complete comfort during the procedure. The Serenity Dental Team will remove your temporary veneers and double check the fit of your permanent veneers. You can also examine their shape, color, and fit prior to placement. If alterations need to be made, tell The Serenity Dental Team right away. Veneers cannot be changed once in place.

If everything’s as it should be, we’ll begin placing your veneers. First, Serenity Dental Team will clean the surface of your teeth with a mild acidic solution, then he will bond them in place, allowing for adequate flossing space. A small light will cure the bonding material.

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional veneers, Serenity Dental also offers Lumineers, a brand of low-prep veneers that can be placed with minimal preparation to the teeth. The Serenity Dental Team will examine your teeth and talk with you to determine what’s most right for your smile.


Teeth Whitening

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How you look can have a tremendous effect on you at a social, emotional, and professional level. For instance, patients with a confident smile are viewed by others as warmer and more attractive. But suppose your teeth are stained. How can you turn your discolored smile around have that bright, confident look you’ve been dreaming of. The answer is simple—with teeth whitening.

How Do Teeth Become Stained

Whitened Teeth

Tooth stains are caused by the foods you eat, the beverages you drink, and other factors like tobacco use, aging, genetics, and even certain medications. Sometimes, brushing and flossing can help combat certain kinds of stains, but often these activities aren’t enough to really keep your smile looking white. But you don’t have to settle for discolored teeth. At our Rocklin, CA office, we offer in-office and at-home teeth whitening to help you transform your smile.

Whitening Options

In-Office Whitening

In-office teeth whitening is a safe, quick way of safely whitening your smile. During your whitening treatment, we’ll make sure your gums are protected before applying a professional whitening gel to your teeth.  At Serenity Dental, we offer Zoom!® Whitening and Boost Whitening. The Serenity Dental Team will help you choose which is right for you based on your type of stains. In-office teeth whitening can brighten your smile in slightly less than one hour.

At-Home Whitening

If you’d rather whiten your teeth in the comfort of your home, we can make clear, custom-made bleaching trays for you to take home, along with a professional whitening solution typically includes 10 percent carbamide peroxide. Just line your custom-made trays with the solution and wear them as directed. You’ll see results almost as soon as you start, but it will take one to two weeks for best results to appear.

Over-the-Counter Whitening

For patients who want to use store-bought whitening products, ask us which would work best for you. There are many to choose from, including toothpastes, but most aren’t as effective as in-office and at-home whitening. We can help you find which ones are right for your particular situation.

After Whitening

No matter which whitening system you’ve used, avoid using tobacco and eating foods that stain, since recently-whitened teeth are more prone to absorbing stains. Teeth whitening can also lead to increased sensitivity. These side effects will eventually pass. If they continue, or you have other problems, contact our Rocklin, CA office immediately.

Whitening Alternatives

If you’ve tried bleaching or whitening but weren’t happy with the results, porcelain veneers or cosmetic bonding may be a great solution. These cosmetic procedures don’t stain and can last for years. Besides whitening your smile, veneers and bonding can also hide chips, cracks, and even misaligned teeth.