Cosmetic Dentistry

What method do you use to whiten teeth?

Everyone is different. We work with you to customize an individualized whitening program based on your initial level of whiteness, your sensitivity, and your lifestyle. We prefer to use custom-molded bleaching trays that you will use at home, instead of using the in-office, light-activated bleaching/whitening systems (commonly referred to as “laser whitening”).

Research shows that laser whitening does not improve whitening results over traditional trays. The whitening gel used in laser whitening is highly concentrated (15% to 37% carbamide peroxide), and it can increase gum sensitivity for two to three weeks after application. Laser whitening procedures are generally very costly. In addition, following laser whitening, the patient may still require whitening trays to achieve optimum results, which may be an additional cost.

We prefer to offer our patients custom-molded whitening trays, which are more cost effective for the patient. We have had excellent success with this method. We take impressions of your teeth to make models of your mouth. We then use those custom models to fabricate trays to hold the whitening gel, which we taper to limit gum exposure to the gel. We start with a low concentration gel (around 10% carbamide peroxide) and ask the patient to return so that we can evaluate progress. If the patient is whitening well with no side effects, we will increase the gel concentration. In addition, while most whitening kits includes only four tubes of gel, Dr. Ken typically uses 12-14 tubes per patient.

We also consider your personal lifestyle preferences. While keeping trays in longer (for example, overnight) and avoiding staining foods (such as coffee, red wine, or tomato sauce) during treatment will accelerate whitening, we have had patients achieve excellent results without sleeping with their trays in and without giving up favorite foods…it may just take longer.


What can I expect if I need braces?

During your regular checkups, we will evaluate the alignment of your teeth and, if we believe you would benefit from orthodontic treatment, we will refer you to a reputable orthodontist.

An orthodontist specializes in the treatment of malocclusions (improper bite) caused from discrepancies in the jaw relationships (the way the jaws fit together) or jaw growth, irregularities with the teeth and their position, or a combination of both. We feel you must have a proper orthodontic diagnosis and treatment plan done by a specialist. The orthodontist will take x-rays of your skull and jaws and do an evaluation to determine where your teeth should naturally be. It is very important to determine where your individual neutral zone is, where the pressure from your tongue balances the pressure exerted on your teeth from your lips. Teeth not aligned to fall within your neutral zone will move back out of alignment within five to ten years.

We will routinely monitor your progress once the orthodontist has placed your orthodontic appliances (for example, braces or expander). If we have any questions or concerns during your treatment, we will consult with your orthodontist. Excellent dental hygiene is necessary during orthodontic treatment and routine cleanings are essential. Keeping your braces clean can be difficult, so we will evaluate your hygiene and help you find ways to make cleaning around the braces easier.

Our goal is to help you achieve a brilliant smile.


Among the techniques we use are:

  • Tooth-colored/white fillings (composite)

  • Tooth whitening or bleaching, using custom-molded trays

  • Dental bonding to fill in chips and reshape teeth

  • Onlays and bonded veneers

  • Crowns

© 2018 - Richard C. Flores, DDS, LLC

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