How Exactly Does Teeth Whitening Work?

tooth whitening

There are plenty of options that you can choose from to whiten your teeth. Inexpensive whitening toothpastes, as well as other similar products that promise to help remove years’ worth of surface stains. And of course, dental treatments like in office chair side whitening techniques that are proven to have drastic results.

All whitening techniques work in either one of two ways:

1. Whitening procedures. These procedures change the natural color of your teeth, usually between three to seven shades whiter. Whether it’s done by your dentist or at home, all bleaching procedures rely on the active ingredients carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, in concentrations between 10-45%, that help remove surface and deeper stains.

There are, however, differences between each bleaching procedure, namely in terms of price:

  • Chairside whitening usually has instant results in an hour or less. In our office we use professional formula products designed specifically to keep your teeth their brightest. The whitening gel is chemically activated, so there is no need for the hot and uncomfortable light used in other whitening procedures. The activated gel enters the enamel and dentin, bleaching any colored substance while keeping the structure of the tooth unchanged. The best way to maintain your whiter teeth is to have custom whitening trays made in conjunction with in-office whitening.
  • If you prefer to whiten at home, we can take impressions of your teeth and make custom trays for you. We also send home whitening gel that you load into your custom trays. With as little as 30 minutes of wear per day, the whitening gel will remove stains in a very short period of time. When your teeth reach the desired brightness, only occasional treatment is needed to maintain your new smile. By following some simple post whitening care instructions, your teeth will always be lighter than they were before. We recommend flossing, brushing twice daily with a whitening toothpaste, and touch-ups with your custom trays.
  • You can also purchase over-the-counter products for whitening teeth. This usually includes whitening gels, whitening strips, brush-on gels and toothpastes. These products may cost less however, they take weeks or months to whiten your teeth just a few shades.

2. Non-bleaching procedures. These procedures often rely on physical or chemical action, or both, to remove surface stains. Your toothpaste, for example, relies on mild abrasion to minimize the buildup of surface stains in between your dental visits. The use of whitening toothpastes can help remove even more surface stains. Even professional cleaning sessions by your dentist require the use of abrasion, as well as polishing, to remove all the external staining caused by your day-to-day routines.

Each one of us responds differently to whitening procedures. In most cases, in-office whitening combined with custom trays will provide the best, long term results. Serious cases of discoloration such as tetracycline stains may require crowns or porcelain veneers to achieve the desired results.

We offer a complimentary whitening consultation to discuss all the options available and find the best solution for you to achieve your brightest, whitest smile. Call Smiles of Midtown today at 713-523-6848 or visit our website at


Dental Implants are an Excellent Choice for Natural Looking Teeth

Dental implants are a great choice for replacing missing teeth. The finished result is very natural and secure, and can feel a lot more comfortable than wearing a denture or having a bridge. Though the process of getting implants is not a quick one, patients tell us how much they love their newly restored tooth, or teeth, and how it feels in their mouth.

Before treatment can begin your dentist will have to assess your suitability for implants. They may wish to do a CAT scan and take x-rays so that they can check the bone density and mass of your jawbone. If their evaluation shows you to be a suitable candidate then they will begin planning the surgery.

Dental Implant Placement

The first part of the surgery involves the dental surgeon inserting an implant into your jaw. The implant is made from titanium as this is a very inert element that does not react with the body. Once the implant has been inserted it has to be left to heal for 3 to 6 months. This is to allow osseointegration to take place as the implant has to fuse naturally into the jawbone.

The surgery does not take very long to complete, but you should be prepared to rest up afterwards. Some people may have a little bit of discomfort afterwards which may be easily resolved by over-the-counter painkillers.

The second part of the process depends on the kind of implant that has been used. It may be a case of uncovering the implant, and a second surgical procedure might be necessary to attach a post.

The final part is where the crown will be made to fit over the post. The dentist will take an impression of your implant which will be sent to a dental laboratory. They will also measure the shade of your teeth to ensure that the crown blends in with the rest of your teeth.

It may take a week or two for your crown to be custom-made at the laboratory, after which it will be returned to your dentist for fitting. Once it has been fitted it should blend in with your natural teeth and should feel as comfortable. If looked after properly an implant should last for many years, and often, the rest of an adult patient’s life.

If you are interested in learning more about implant dentistry, or feel you have a need for a dental implant, please call us at 713-523-6848. We look forward to hearing from you.

Dr. Martinez Celebrates 30 Years Serving Patients in Midtown, Houston!

We wish to thank you for your continued patronage. In 2014, we are celebrating Dr. Martinez’ 30th year in dentistry.

For 30 years, Dr. Martinez has been serving the dental needs of patients in Midtown Houston. It has been wonderful serving all of you. We look forward to many more years!

Be sure to visit us on Facebook and ‘like’ our page. We will be posting all of our 30th anniversary specials there and don’t want you to miss out. Click HERE to visit the page.

Dental Implant Restorations

Dental Implants are becoming the popular choice when it comes to replacing a missing tooth or teeth, because of durability and predictability. Often, rather than perform root canals on questionable teeth, the treatment method of choice will be a dental implant.

Dental implants are strong and restore function where it once was lost. The example here shows a single tooth that has been replaced with an implant. The implant is placed and secured into the jaw and then the final restoration / crown is placed on the implant. The crown will be made to look and function like the other teeth. Many people forget that the dental implant has even been placed because dental implants not only look real, but they perform very well with daily routines of chewing and talking.

In this example, from left to right, you can see where the tooth was extracted, where the dental implant was placed, and then the final result with the crown. The dental crowns we are able to place atop dental implants are virtually undetectable. We are able to match the shade and luminosity of neighboring teeth, to help give the restoration a natural, cosmetic appeal. In many cases, the crown we place looks even better than the old tooth that was replaced, which helps to improve the smiles of our patients.

In cases where a patient has lost most, or all, of their teeth, we can have dental implants placed and implement an overdenture. Using dental implants and an overdenture removes the stress and worry of using glues to hold the dentures in place, and provides more of a fixed solution, rather than a removable one. Several patients have expressed how a burden was lifted once they received their implants and overdenture.

This last image is of a young woman who was born without her lateral incisors in her upper set of teeth. To make room for the dental implants, braces were used to create the space between the teeth that had drifted. Once the the teeth had enough solid space, dental implants were placed and the caps were placed to finish off the implants to look realistic and provide function that the girl had never experienced before. As you can see, it was a successful procedure and the result looks amazing.

If you have any questions about the dental treatment we provide at our Midtown, Houston (77004) dental office, feel free to call us at 713-523-6848. We look forward to serving your dental needs.

Teeth Whitening Options by Houston Dentist

Video Transcript
“Hi, I’m Brian Martinez. I’ve been practicing dentistry for the last 28 years. My practice name is Smiles of Midtown, and I’m in Midtown (Houston). Today I’m going to talk about the teeth whitening options we offer here at the office.

For the most dramatic results, we offer 1 ½ hour chair-side whitening. If you’ve never whitened before, we encourage you to try this option. This includes trays for you to take home to continue your whitening (teeth whitening maintenance).

For a touch up whitening, we offer two methods. The first method is a ½ hour chair-side whitening, which is quick and easy and doesn’t require you to have your own bleaching trays.

However, if you have your own trays, we offer Reception Room Whitening. You don’t need an appointment, just pop in the office and we will load your trays, and in 30 minutes you are on your way.

We offer specials throughout the year. For more information, you can check out our website at, our Facebook page (, or call the office at 713-523-6848. We would love to talk to you. Thank you.”

February is Gum (Periodontal) Disease Prevention Month

Periodontitus affects half of Americans over the age of 30, according to research performed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). That means that over 64 million people in the U.S.A. alone have periodontitus, which is actually a form of periodontal disease that has advanced into a more serious stage.

How do I know I have Periodontal Disease?

Gingivitis is the earliest stage of periodontal disease that affects the gums. As the bacteria in the stage irritate and infect the gums, they become swollen and inflamed, turning the gums into a red, and even dark red or purple, color. What’s happening is your body is responding to the presence of the bacteria and is unable to remove it, so the condition worsens and periodontitis occurs.

In the stage of Periodontal Disease called Periodontitis, the gums are eaten away and destroyed by the presence of the bacteria. The gums start pulling away from the teeth and erode and the teeth eventually loosen and may even fall right out. The bone in your jaw that surrounds and protects your teeth may also be affected, reduced and weakened due to the disease.

The most advanced stage of Periodontal Disease is called Chronic Periodontitis. This stage is the most troublesome because of how advanced the condition is, as well as its tendency to come back. Regardless of what stage a patient is in, all forms are serious conditions and should not be taken lightly.

How do I prevent Periodontal Disease?

The best way to prevent Periodontal Disease is by brushing and flossing consistently every day. Brush at lease twice per day and floss at least once before bedtime. Always floss before you brush so you can loosen the debris between your teeth and then brush it all away when you brush your teeth.

You can help your children from having unnecessary gum and health problems as an adult by helping them establish a solid routine as a child. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis which is a great reason to start teaching children good habits while they are young. Many cases of these problems could have been avoided by maintaining a consistent approach to good dental hygiene.

Also, be sure to visit the dentist on your regularly scheduled dental appointments. If you are not on a regular schedule, get on one. Many studies indicate that patients spend much less money on their dental health in their lifetime by visiting the dentist on a routine basis, rather than only when a problem arises. Often, problems with gum disease, teeth falling out, root canals, dental crowns, fillings, and other issues can be avoided by following a consistent routine of brushing and flossing and visiting the dentist on scheduled appointments.

Please call us at 713-523-6848 to schedule your dental appointment. We are looking forward to caring for your dental health.

Announcing: New Digital X-Ray Panoramic Machine

We are proud to announce the addition of our new digital panoramic x-ray machine to our office. The greatest benefits of having this new technology in our dental office is that it uses less radiation than our old film panoramic x-ray unit, the x-ray capture is immediate so we do not have to wait for film to develop, we are now able to see more detail in the x-rays, and we are also able to review the x-rays with our patients much easier than before on computer monitors in our rooms.

We have already received some compliments from our patients on how nice it is for them to be able to see their x-rays and review them with us. A couple have also been impressed by the speed at which we were able to pull up their x-rays and review them. Taking our dental x-rays in less time has allowed us to speed up the appointment process, which is extremely convenient for our patients.

Dr. Martinez is excited about the technology because of the improvement in diagnostic quality, as well as the software tools available that aid in diagnosing abnormalities and issues. Interproximal caries (tooth decay) are now more clear and distinguishable on digital x-rays. With the implementation of digital x-ray sensors (intraoral, or in the mouth) and the digital panoramic x-ray machine (extraoral, outside the mouth), it has helped us improve the quality and efficiency of our patients’ dental treatment. Stay tuned, we have introduced other technology that we are excited to tell you about.

Please call us at 713-523-6848 to schedule your next teeth cleaning, or other dental appointment. We look forward to meeting you!

Are you experiencing pain or discomfort in your tooth, teeth or jaw?

Anytime you feel severe pain in a tooth, you may know there’s a possibility you need root canal treatment; however, sometimes an infected root canal may not send such a strong signal that something is wrong.

Please review the list of potential indicators of root canal infection. If you are not currently seeing a dentist and are not experiencing these symptoms, it is still important to go in for regular checkups. Bacteria that starts in the mouth is easily carried into the rest of your body, causing problems with inflammation and illness in other areas of your body. Also, Gum Disease is the leading cause of death in America for both men and women and can go unnoticed for years.

  • Of course, we already mentioned severe pain in a tooth, which may be described as shooting, sharp, aching, extreme, etc… Occasionally, the pain might not seem so severe, but it can be a constant, dull, throbbing, uncomfortable feeling as well.
  • Sensitivity or pain may accompany changes in temperature to your tooth, usually when eating or drinking hot or cold food and beverages.
  • Discoloration of a tooth may indicate that the tooth isn’t getting proper nutrients and is infected. The tooth will get darker in color when this occurs.
  • Swelling and tenderness in gums that surround an infected tooth often occurs and may also indicate the presence of gum disease.
  • Occasionally, a patient will develop pimples on their gums that are recurring, or persist for an extended period of time.
  • Discomfort in the jaw bone, near the infected tooth may also occur.

Occasionally, we see cases where a patient ignored the symptoms, even when in extreme pain, thinking that the problem would eventually go away. When this occurs an abscess can form; which if left untreated can have serious and permanent effects to jaw bone and surrounding soft tissue, and can even be life threatening.

If you are experiencing a tooth ache, or any of the above symptoms, please call us now at 713-523-6848. We look forward to meeting you and helping improve your dental and overall health!

Welcome to Our New Website!

We are so excited to announce our new website. Our goal is to provide a dental resource for our patients, as well as those seeking a treatment. New patients have the ability to send us their health history online. Existing patients have the ability to login to their account online and make payments. You can also read more about the different dental procedures we provide, and what to expect from those procedures.

We want your experience with our dental office to be comfortable, efficient and fun. You’ll love our staff and the atmosphere is relaxing and enjoyable. In our office we provide the best technology available and will treat you with the highest quality in care because when you are here, you will be treated as the special person you are and we are grateful that you entrust us with your dental care.

We hope you are able to find helpful information on our website. Please feel free to call us at 713-523-6848 if you have any questions or comments. We are looking forward to hearing from you soon. Our office is located in Midtown Houston just north of 59 south on San Jacinto Street.

How Digital Radiography is Safer for Our Patients

Dental technology has brought about various changes in dentistry by introducing newer techniques, which allow patients to receive high quality dental treatment. Modern innovations are used to make X-rays safer, more convenient and less time consuming.

In digital radiography, the dentist will insert an electronic sensor in to your mouth. This sensor is connected to the computer, where it will project the captured images of your teeth.

One of the major benefits of digital radiography is patient safety. Although traditional dental X-rays radiate small amounts of rays, some patients are concerned about the safety of dental x-ray radiation. By using digital radiography, the patient is exposed to up to 80 percent less radiation as compared to conventional X-rays.

By reducing the long processing time of conventional radiography, digital X-rays increase our efficiency. It also improves our ability to respond to emergency dental situations, where quick response and action are extremely important.