Spring Refresher! Teeth Whitening 101

Spring Refresher! Teeth Whitening 101

With winter finally in the rearview mirror, it’s time to get outside and enjoy the warmer weather. Like typical Mainers, we can’t wait to get outside and create new spring memories with photos of fun, outdoor activities with our friends and family. Are you excited for spring, but you feel self-conscious about the brightness of your smile? Luckily, there are a variety of tooth whitening options that you can use at home or that can be applied in our office. If you are hoping to achieve a bright, new smile, Dr. Brunacini, Dr. Karagiorgos, and our team of compassionate dental professionals are here to help you decide which treatment is right for you!

Over-the-Counter Whitening Treatments

There are many teeth-whitening products available at your local grocery store or pharmacy that promise amazing results, but just how good are they?

    • Activated Charcoal      

Activated charcoal for tooth whitening is available as a powder or toothpaste. Use of these products may be effective in whitening the surface of your teeth, but do not remove the deeper stains. They are also messy and tend not to be formulated with fluoride. Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we recommend charcoal products for adults only and caution against daily use. We are happy to provide more information about whether charcoal products are a good choice for you – feel free to ask!

    • Whitening Toothpaste

There are many different toothpastes on the market that claim to whiten teeth and they can make a difference with minor surface stains over time. However, some whitening toothpastes contain ingredients that can cause tooth sensitivity. Watch out for brands that contain abrasive ingredients, such as activated charcoal, microbeads, or other natural exfoliants, as they can damage the enamel of your teeth. We are happy to provide a recommendation for a whitening toothpaste that is safe for you; just give us a call or inquire at your next appointment.

Our Treatments

Teeth whitening is one of our most popular cosmetic dentistry options as just a few treatments can make a world of difference to your appearance! At Falmouth Dental Arts, we offer several whitening options that can be done while you are in the office or can be taken home with you. Professional teeth whitening is a very safe way to achieve a brighter smile and Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos will be happy to consult with you to determine which option is best for you.

    • Laser Teeth Whitening

Laser teeth whitening is a quick and easy in-office procedure that can be completed in just over an hour in our office. The process for laser whitening is simple and the results can be seen immediately. After removing any plaque from your teeth and gums, a bleaching agent is applied with a laser. This laser allows the bleaching agent to penetrate the tooth enamel, removing even the deeper stains, leaving you with a whiter, brighter smile. If you are wondering if you are a good candidate for laser teeth whitening, give us a call or talk to us at your next appointment!

    • At-Home Whitening Strips

At-home whitening strips are an affordable option that can be applied at your convenience and in the comfort of your own home. It may take some time for the results to become noticeable, but whitening strips are still a good option for many people. They are most effective with surface discolorations, but if used correctly, they may be able to penetrate the tooth enamel to remove deeper stains as well. We will be happy to discuss whether whitening strips would be a good choice for you.

At Falmouth Dental Arts we are your partners in dental health. We’d love to talk with you about your goals for teeth whitening and about which treatment will give you the results you’ve always wanted. Give us a call at 207.781.5900 so we can go over your options and answer any questions you may have!

Best Foods for Post-Oral Procedures

Do you or a family member have an oral procedure scheduled in the near future? Whether it’s the application of braces on your high-schooler, a root canal for your spouse, or teeth whitening for yourself, many oral procedures require some sort of specialized diet in the hours or days afterwards. The team at Falmouth Dental Arts breaks down the dos and don’ts of post-oral procedure diets, so you can make your grocery list with ease. Let’s break down the best foods to eat after dental surgery. 

For surgeries: 

  • Do enjoy soft, easy-to-chew or no-chew foods! 
    • Smoothies and shakes (made with your favorite fruits and veggies!)
    • Soups (smooth varieties such as tomato, clear broth, or cream soups)
    • Oatmeal, mashed potatoes
    • Yogurt, ice cream, or pudding
    • Applesauce
    • Avocado
    • Bananas or other very soft fruit (mash it up!)
    • Hummus
    • Peanut butter
    • Soft scrambled eggs
    • Tofu
  • Don’t eat any spicy, chewy, crunchy, or crusty foods. The list above may look a bit bland, but sticking to it will help speed up your healing process and avoid any post-surgery complications!.
  • Keep in Mind: TEMPERATURE! Your mouth is especially sensitive after an oral procedure, so avoid foods or drinks that are too hot or too cold. Allow everything to come to a nice room-temperature before consumption. 

For teeth whitening: 

  • Do stick to the White Diet for 24 Hours! 
    • Chicken or white fish
    • Cauliflower
    • White pasta and rice
    • White cheeses
    • Bananas
    • White yogurts
    • Clear beverages
    • White toothpastes
    • Clear mouthwash
  • Don’t eat any dark foods or drinks such as red sauces, red meat, chocolate, tea, coffee, or any type of alcohol or fruit juice.


  • Keep in Mind: THE STAIN TEST! If a food would leave a mark or stain on a white t-shirt, it would leave a stain on your new pearly whites! Avoid it! 

For all procedures: 

  • Keep in Mind: BALANCED NUTRITION! No matter how limited these lists appear, each one has room for proteins, vegetables, and fruits, as well as healthy carbohydrates and fats. Make sure to build a healthy menu within your guidelines. Your body needs good nutrition to heal quickly and properly. You’ll be back to chewy, crunchy foods in no time!  
  • Keep in Mind: Consumption of alcohol. Many people wonder if it is safe to consume alcohol after dental surgery. You should wait at least 24 hours before drinking any sort of alcoholic beverage. 


Here at Falmouth Dental Arts, we care about your mouth pre-procedure, in-procedure, and post-procedure! If you have specific dietary restrictions, needs, questions, or concerns, just talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. They will be happy to give their food recommendations, specifically tailored to you and your particular procedure. If you have any questions, or to schedule your appointment, please call our office at 207.781.5900

Say Cheese! Cosmetic Dental Procedures that Can Help You Have the Perfect Smile

Here’s something to smile about: you can have the smile of your dreams in as little as two visits to our office!   We all want to feel confident when we look in the mirror, and having a smile that you are proud to show off is a big part of that. If you find yourself self-conscious about your teeth or hiding your smile in social settings, know that we can help!  Many dental issues can be corrected through cosmetic dentistry and that starts with a simple consultation with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. To learn more, we highlighted the cosmetic procedures we offer…perhaps there is one that is the right fit for you!

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is a very safe way to achieve the bright smile you’ve always wanted, and can be done in just a few treatments.  We offer both in-office whitening as well as at-home options for our patients. The first step is to have a conversation with Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos.  They will help determine the right option for you, as in-office bleaching can be uncomfortable if you have sensitive teeth and might not be the best option if you having previously restored teeth.  

Porcelain  Veneers

If you have chipped, worn, or stained teeth, porcelain veneers may be a good solution for you.  Porcelain veneers are ultra-thin porcelain shells that are shaped and fixed to your natural teeth. Veneers feel and look just like your other teeth, and they don’t require any special or additional care.   They can be custom fitted in just two short visits and dramatically improve the shape, color, and length of your teeth!

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is an affordable and painless procedure that can address many different cosmetic flaws or damages.  Small chips and discolorations in your teeth are often unnoticeable to others, but can be glaring when you look in the mirror everyday. We use dental bonding to sculpt individual teeth with a special tooth-like material that looks, acts, and feels like the real thing. Bonding can also be completed very quickly, as the composite resin adheres quickly to your teeth and can then be polished and shaped to match your other teeth.

Dental Implants

If you have missing teeth, there may be a better solution for you than wearing uncomfortable dentures. Many people believe that if they can still eat, tooth loss isn’t an issue; however, missing teeth can lead to a loss of support in the mouth, forcing other healthy teeth to drift.  Many people with a healthy jawbone and soft tissue are suited for implants–your general health is a better indicator than your age. Dental implants provide a great long-term option for replacing lost teeth in a safe and predictable way, as they are designed to last a lifetime. Talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos about your options!   

Metal Free Porcelain Restorations

There are many advantages to replacing your old metal crowns and bridges with porcelain. Porcelain restoration provides you with the translucency and shine of your natural teeth—you’d never be able to tell there was a need for a crown—and the texture of the polished porcelain is very similar to that of enamel.

You can rest assured that by improving the physical characteristics of your crowns, inlays, and bridges, you won’t also be wearing down your opposing teeth. When we fit a porcelain crown, we sculpt and shape the porcelain to fit perfectly with your existing bite, and the porcelain is hard enough to resist wear while soft enough to avoid damaging your natural teeth.


As you can see, there are lots of options for those of you who are looking to improve your smile.  Whether your reason is cosmetic, physical, or a bit of both, Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos are here to discuss all of your dental health goals with you.  Let us help you have a healthy smile that makes you proud! Please call us at 207.781.5900 with any questions or to schedule your consultation.


*Image courtesy of IEmoji.com

Oil Pulling: Health Craze or Healthy Practice?

In recent years, oil pulling has gained a lot of attention as a natural alternative to traditional oral hygiene.  Proponents claim that it will whiten teeth, reduce inflammation, and help cure gingivitis. As with our exploration of activated charcoal last month, we support natural and holistic approaches to oral hygiene, so we decided to give this practice a closer look.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a tablespoon of oil (usually coconut or sesame) in your mouth for 20 minutes every morning.  Afterwards, one spits out the oil as one would mouthwash.

Does it Work?

While there are few scientific studies on the efficacy of oil pulling, swishing with oil for twenty minutes a day will certainly do no harm.

“Oil pulling is a good adjunct to regular brushing and flossing to reduce staining on the teeth. We have had a number of patients that have benefitted from adding oil pulling to their home care routine,” says Dr. Brunacini.

Bottom Line

Oil pulling is a practice worth exploring if you are interested in trying something other than mouthwash.  However, it should not be a replacement for your regular oral hygiene practices.  The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that to maintain good dental health you should brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, floss between your teeth once a day, and abstain from using tobacco products.

If you find yourself exploring options for teeth whitening or have questions about your oral health care regimen, please give us a call at 207.781.5900 and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment!

The Charc(whole) Truth

Recently we’ve been hearing more questions about activated charcoal and its potential to whiten teeth. It’s an intriguing phenomenon in the whitening category and we wanted to share our findings and our verdict on whether it actually helps or harms oral health.

To begin, activated charcoal capsules & toothpaste are part of a larger movement toward natural healthcare. We support natural healthcare, and even recommend certain applications when in patients’ best interests, but our blanket philosophy that we’d like to share is to look at all trends – all-natural or not! – with a discerning eye.

Of course, our eye is drawn to the dental side of things! Here are a few things to keep in mind before jumping on the charcoal bandwagon.

  • It can be messy – Using an activated charcoal capsule instead of the toothpaste could be off-putting to sticklers for cleanliness because the method is messier, requiring you to break a capsule full of the powder open and put it on your toothbrush or straight into your mouth. If you choose charcoal toothpaste, you will find the process more like what you experience now.
  • It’s different from normal toothpaste – Charcoal toothpaste is probably not what you’re used to: in most cases it is black or grey in appearance and may have a gritty texture.
  • It could be abrasive – The ADA is concerned that activated charcoal is abrasive to tooth enamel, which is not good because when enamel is gone it is gone. In addition to that, once your enamel wears down dentin may appear below, and dentin has more of a yellow-white color, which would really put a dampener on whitening!
  • Less fluoride – Generally charcoal toothpastes tend to be formulated with less fluoride content than other toothpastes on the market, and a complete switch to charcoal toothpaste could impact your oral health situation.

With these things in mind, the most important point is that there is no scientific evidence that charcoal toothpaste whitens teeth. Could it? Perhaps, but findings have not been conclusive. Then the question is whether the payoff is worth it. FDA Hygienist Kelly summarizes our thoughts on charcoal well: “We recommend use of charcoal toothpaste for adults only and it is not recommended for daily use due to its abrasiveness.” While charcoal does have a naturally purifying quality, that alone doesn’t mean that we should use it daily, especially when it could roughen tooth surfaces and potentially offer more opportunity for bacteria to grow and cavities to form.

If you catch yourself weighing the options, remember there are many whitening methods on the market that are proven to work! We recommend our professional whitening service because the results are immediate and it’s done professionally, so you can be assured of the best result possible. Just give us a call at 207.781.5900 and we’ll be happy to arrange an appointment.