by Dr. Theodora Skoura
In recent years bleaching has become a huge phenomenon. More and more people are opting for teeth whitening to improve their smile. After looking at near perfect teeth of Hollywood celebrities and models, men and women of all ages are now using different methods available for teeth whitening.
It is no mystery that whiter teeth give a more youthful appearance. It is important to get the right information before opting for any kind of teeth whitening.
There is a lot of confusion about which products to use, how to use, where to buy, consulting a dentist etc. There are also a lot of products on the market that are ineffective and costly. Many people are also unaware of the implications of teeth whitening.
The Insider magazine explores the innovative world of cosmetic dentistry at SkourasDent
Well-established dentist Dr. Theodora Skoura knows a thing or two about beautiful people.
After all, as one of the VIPs’ favourite dentists, she has contributed to some of those glamorous smiles which grace the silver screen and the high class receptions.
Situated next to the luxurious  Hilton hotel, her practice has been at the forefront of the cosmetic dentistry for many years.
A dental appointment here is an altogether pleasant experience. A strong emphasis is placed on personal attention: this practice treats people rather than mouths.
It is no mystery that whiter teeth give a more youthful appearance. It is important to get the right information before opting for any kind of teeth whitening.
There is a lot of confusion about which products to use, how to use, where to buy, consulting a dentist etc. There are The controversy: Some dentists believe that tooth bleeding is more effective with the use of lasers and other sources of light, while others are of the opinion that the effect of tooth bleaching remains the same, with or without the use of lasers or lights.
The light aids the bleaching process by quickly converting the peroxide into the reactive oxygen free radicals. The effect speeds up the bleaching process and also makes it more intense giving better whitening results.
With the lights, all the ‘teeth fluids’ could be moving out of the teeth. So, bleach will have to go against the flow to get into the teeth. This could make for a very inefficient technique as the bleach is always fighting against the current.
The final result of this may be that the teeth lose water or dehydrate and appear whiter for a temporary time, usually around 72 hours. After that they begin to recover and absorb water from the saliva, much like a sponge and they turn dark again.
There are a number of factors that determine the end results of any tooth whitening products. One of the most important factors is the present state of the teeth.
In general patients having a darker set of teeth show better results than lighter teeth. Also the degree of relapse of tooth whitening achieved will vary from patient to patient.
Some patients are able to sustain their results for longer time than others.
As a matter of fact, even the different teeth in a patient’s mouth show different results, despite using the same product.
Teeth whitening , like any other treatment or surgical operation, needs to be done under the supervision of an expert.
Your eyes may be the window to your soul but your mouth can often tell your dentist what’s going on with the rest of your body.
Dental experts conclude that there are many reported links in studies between oral and general health.
That’s especially true if you’re a growing baby boomer who may be susceptible to serious health problems such as heart disease and diabetes.
It is to be said that dentists have changed  the scope of their exams over the years partly to catch such diseases in early stages. A look in the mouth by a dentist can yield a lot more of valuable health information.
However, many people aren’t taking advantage of this knowledge, according to a recent questionaire survey of nearly 500 Greeks patients, aged  45 to 64, carried out by the Skourasdent practice.
The findings of the study make evident that as 78 percent of those subjects believe dental care is a vital part of preventive health care, 49 percent of the participants admitted they don’t visit the dentist every six months as recommended.
While 31 percent of the patients are in the “kicking and screaming” category meaning that either they go to the dentist if they have an emergency, such as a terrible toothache, or they never go.
These lapsed patients may be surprised to find out that the modern dental exam has changed quite a bit.
“The exam has changed mainly because of two things”, Dr Skoura says. One thing is the increased awareness of the possibility of present cancers in the mouth, which dentists now screen for.
Another factor is the current growing consensus that a good dentist can help you not only save your teeth but also keep your overall health in good shape, she says.
Many dentists now ask to be informed about patients’ saliva quality examination test, what medications these patients are on, the date of the last physical activity, and other questions that may not seem to have anything to do with people’s teeth.
Modern dentists can bring together conclusions about the patient’s general health relating the patient’s answers to their own observations and perhaps suggest that a physical exam to be ordered together with further special tests may also be necessary.
Dr. Skoura often hears from her boomer patients, for instance, that they suffer from a burning sensation or a sour taste in their mouth. She often finds evident excessive tooth wear in the mouth and therefore suspects a possible differential diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux disease,a pathological condition where stomach acid splashes back  all the way up to the mouth. Dr.Skoura refers these patients to a specialist doctor for further treatment. This underlying condition can be treated then with medication.
Another common symptom for people to notice themselves and seek dental assistance is what is called bad breath or bleeding gums. These conditions can be related to the preexistence of adult onset diabetes disease. Other pathologies relating to diabetes pre-existence are the dry mouth syndrome and receding gums signs.
Dentists can also diagnose stress related disorders only by examining the mouth, says Dr. Skoura.
One well known manifestation of stress maybe found in the condition called bruxism which is also known as the grinding or clenching of your teeth.
It is very important to educate the public of the existence of a link between general and dental health.
The tissues of the mouth need to be examined regularly and any changes should be reported at the early stages. Patients may have red spots on their tongue, which can point to immune-related disorders.
Oral inflammation that doesn’t subside is another red flag as Dr. Skoura stresses. It is possible that a patient may be  immunosuppressed or suffer from leukaemia or AIDS in which case they will have things in their mouth that don’t look right, such as ulcerative lesions or gum inflammation.
What about the famous gum disease and heart disease debate?
“There’s been a lot of controversy ” Dr. Skoura states. Some researchers found that the two are linked, while other studies recognise no association. “My feeling is, if someone is not taking good care of their mouth then he or she ,as the case maybe,  is not likely to take good care of the rest of their body, either,” she says.
A dental x ray can even alert a dentist to possible osteoporosis findings, Dr. Skoura says. “If I detect bone loss on the X-ray of a tooth, it could be there is bone loss as a result of osteoporosis. If so, I refer these patients to a pathologist for a bone density test to be preformed.”
Finally the incidents of cavities around the roots of teeth are reported to increase with age starting at the age of 50 correlating directly to the fact that saliva production decreases with years.

While it may still be easy for some to put off the routine trip to the dentist every six months,dentists urge their patients to think of it not just as a drill-and-fill appointment, but a not to be missed health check-up.