The Importance of the Canine Tooth

In some cultures, the impacted canine is perceived as a charming character in the smile. It draws attention, and is considered a beauty mark.


The clinical reality of the canines is that they are very important when properly positioned in the mouth.  Created with extremely long roots, the canine teeth provide support when the jaw grinds from side to side.  A properly aligned dentition is supported by the canines in the side way movements, so that none of the back teeth or teeth on the opposite sides should come into contact.  This important feature prevents wear facets and fractures to the back teeth.

With the advancement of clear aligner orthodontics, realigning the malpositioned canine can be achieved easily.  This patient spent fifteen months in clear aligner orthodontic to move her impacted canine back into proper position.  The treatment also straightened other misaligned teeth.

The end result is a pleasing smile with all functional guidance and stability established. 

 Note only the canines are in contact during grinding movements.

Note only the canines are in contact during grinding movements.

 Note only the canines are in contact during grinding movements.

Note only the canines are in contact during grinding movements.

Which over the counter teeth whitening product is good?

I received this question yesterday.  From what I have seen, the one over the counter product that seems to show some good results is Crest White Strips.  However,  patients who use the product tell us that in order to keep up with the whitening - the costs eventually add up.  Also, the strips cannot adhere to the teeth well if the surfaces of the teeth are not straight.


Professional whitening products are better because we fabricate custom fit trays that conform to the patient’s teeth.  Whitening gels then get injected into the trays to whiten the teeth over time.  Most patients do not use up all their gels, and the remaining gels can be stored and used for touch-up whitening occasionally as needed.

The upfront cost of professional whitening treatments beats the long term costs of over the counter product, and the concentration of the active whitening ingredients is much better. 


Alex Nguyen, DDS - Saratoga Dentist

Brown Stain on Teeth

This patient asked me why his teeth have these brown patches of stain.  He was afraid that perhaps he has a disease which would cause his teeth to turn brown.

The most common cause for stain on teeth is due to food and drink.  After a detailed discussion it was revealed that this patient sips on tea all day.  Tea is his beverage of choice, and the tannins in tea stain teeth aggressively and quickly.  Like tea, coffee and red wine can have the same effect.




Sometime the similarly looking stain can actually be caused by chromogenic bacteria in the mouth. If the stain is caused by these bacteria, the patient can have a professional cleaning done and the stain can reappear within hours after the cleaning was done.  Bacteria in the mouth can interact with iron in saliva to create stain.

In any event, stains form faster if the surfaces of the teeth are more porous and covered with plaque.  To prevent stain on your teeth, brush and floss after every meal to minimize plaque accumulation.  Long lasting stain can be removed with professional cleaning and teeth whitening products, but the best treatment of teeth stain is to prevent them from forming in the first place.


The Evolving World of Dentistry

This past week I spent my time in Chicago learning the latest updates in the world of cutting edge dentistry.  Just like everything else, Dentistry is quickly changing in response to advancements in Digital Technology, Science Research, and Patient Demographics.

By combining all available armamentaria in our field we are now able to provide our patients with more options than ever in restorative and preventive dentistry.  From conservative methods such as resin infiltration techniques where cavities can be controlled without drilling away tooth structure, to implant supported prosthesis for patients with missing teeth: available treatment options are exciting and promising.

The hours my colleagues and I spent at these conferences sometime can be long and demanding, yet we all share the same level of passion and desire to provide the best of care to our patients.