Lukin Family Dentistry Blog

Posts for: April, 2016


Cosmetic and restorative dentistry is filled with a varied array of procedures, materials and techniques that can address any shortcoming with your smile. Whatever your condition, there’s a means to correct or enhance your smile.

The real question, though, is whether we’re both, patient and dentist, on the same page as to what’s best to enhance your smile. Dentists have a different perspective on smile outcomes than the average layperson. We’re clued into aspects like tooth alignment with facial features or gum-to-lip distance influenced by our professional training and experience. You, though, may see your smile in terms of other features that define beauty like mouth expressions or lip shape.

Bridging these differing points of view requires open and honest communication. Here are three considerations to make that happen.

Build trust between you and your dentist. It’s natural for us to have differing views on what constitutes proper smile aesthetics based on the perspectives previously mentioned. Working through those perspectives to arrive at a unified plan requires trust that both of us desire the same outcome: a beautiful smile you’re happy to display to the world.

“Seeing” your future smile can help ease your misgivings. It’s one thing to try to imagine a certain treatment outcome — it’s quite another to actually see it beforehand. And you can, through computer simulation that takes a picture of your current face and smile and then augments them digitally so you can see how your smile will appear after proposed treatment. It’s also possible in some cases for you to wear temporary or “provisional” restorations so that not only can you see how they look, but also how they feel and function in the mouth.

Understand what “type” of restoration patient you are. Although everyone is different, we can usually characterize patients and their expectations in two ways. Some patients are “perfect-minded” — they want restorations that offer the maximum symmetry, regularity and tooth brightness. Others are more “natural-minded” in that the changes they seek don’t drastically alter their natural appearance, but are just enough to look different and create a sense of character. Knowing what you really want — a drastic change or a subtle enhancement — will help you communicate your desires more clearly and help us design the treatment options that best fit your expectations.

If you would like more information on fostering communication between dentists and patients, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Great Expectations.”


Tooth sensitivity can be quite uncomfortable. But the glancing pain you feel may be more than an irritation — it may also be telling you there’s a deeper problem that needs attention.

As with other types of oral pain, tooth sensitivity can be a symptom for a variety of problems. Some of them are relatively minor, while others require immediate attention. It’s important to pay attention to the details about your tooth sensitivity and what they might be indicating you should do about it.

For example, your teeth may be sensitive to hot or cold foods or beverages. If it’s just a momentary pain it generally doesn’t mean an emergency — it could be a small area of decay on a tooth, a loose filling or an exposed root due to gum recession or overaggressive brushing. Besides seeing us for treatment for any decay, you can adjust your brushing habits to more gentle pressure with a soft-bristled brush. Fluoride toothpaste has also been shown to reduce this kind of sensitivity.

If, however, the pain from hot or cold substances lingers, then decay or some form of trauma may have affected the pulp, the innermost layer of a tooth. The pulp is rich in nerve fibers and can become inflamed and irritated from the decay or injury. You should visit us as soon as possible: you may require a root canal treatment that will not only relieve the pain but also save the tooth.

If you notice a sharp pain when biting down on food, it’s possible you have a loose filling or even a cracked tooth. As with inner decay, a fracture requires immediate attention. A loose filling should be easy to repair, but if it’s a fracture you may need extensive treatment to save the tooth or, if beyond salvage, have the tooth removed to make way for dental implant or similar restoration.

The key point is not to delay seeking treatment, especially if the pain is persistent, severe or long-lasting. The sooner you visit us about your tooth sensitivity, the sooner you’ll have solutions to stop the discomfort.

If you would like more information on tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Pain? Don’t Wait!

If you are ashamed of your yellowed or stained teeth, you are not alone. One of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures is teeth teeth whiteningwhitening, and for good reason. It is one of the fastest and most effective cosmetic procedures available, with dramatic results in just minutes. But what makes professional teeth whitening different? Learn more about teeth whitening with help from your Sugarland, TX dentist.

The History of Teeth Whitening
Throughout history, oral health has always been important. Before the invention of toothpaste, people used soft chewing sticks cut off of trees to keep their teeth clean. While this may sound like a less-than-perfect method, the practice is still in use today in some places, proving its effectiveness. Teeth whitening itself began with the ancient Romans, whose doctors believed urine would lift the color of teeth. Modern teeth whitening began with barbers, who were responsible for tooth care as well as cutting hair. In the late 18th century, the discovery of fluoride opened the gates for a more modern approach to teeth whitening. Today, teeth whitening comes in many variations, including at-home kits and incredibly effective professional treatments.

At-Home Teeth Whitening vs. In-Office Teeth Whitening
At-home teeth whitening kits do whiten teeth, but their results are much different than an in-office session. At-home whitening kits take several weeks of continued use to show results while your Sugarland dentist’s whitening method only takes about an hour to lift the color of your teeth up to ten shades. This is due to the whitening agents used. In-office sessions are monitored by your dentist, meaning the chemicals used can be stronger than at-home whitening agents. Additionally, your dentist uses a special whitening light to speed up the process, leaving you with a Hollywood smile in just a single session.

How can I keep my teeth white? 
Keeping your teeth white is as easy as avoiding the things which stain them. Coffee, tea, tobacco use and darkly pigmented foods such as berries contribute to teeth staining and yellowing. Since avoiding these things is not always feasible for many people, there are ways to limit the time the stain-causing acids in these foods and drinks are in contact with your teeth. Swish with water after eating these foods, and try to eat them all at once instead of throughout the day. Most people who undergo professional teeth whitening treatments see their dentist for touch up sessions once or twice a year.

For more information on teeth whitening, please contact Dr. Stephen P. Lukin and Dr. Mark Lukin at Lukin Family Dentistry in Sugarland, TX. Call (281) 265-9000 to schedule your teeth whitening appointment today!