Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Hot Doc

BeansTalk recently had the pleasure of meeting celebrity dentist, Dr. Catrise Austin. Dedicated to changing lives with a smile, Dr. Catrise Austin is a cosmetic and general dentist who is "Creating Hollywood Smiles in the Heart of Manhattan.”

In a field traditionally dominated by men, this young female dentist is breaking all gender and racial boundaries by establishing her own ground with innovative operations and a unique business strategy. The savvy entrepreneur is the architect of VIP Smiles, a modern dental practice that boasts an impressive loyal following, including some of the warmest smiles in the entertainment industry: America’s Next Top Model Eva Pigford, The Apprentice’s diva Omarosa, R & B singer Toni Braxton, South Park's "Chef" and music legend Isaac Hayes, Broadway's "Bridge and Tunnel" sensation play write Sara Jones, and Grammy Award winning rappers Missy Elliot and Common have all placed their teeth in her capable hands. In addition, "The Discovery Health Channel", “The Queen Latifah Show” and “The Ricki Lake Show” have all called on her services. She's been a guest expert on radio programs across the nation speaking about the importance of dental health, and frequently makes public speaking appearances to spread her message. In March 2007, Dr. Austin became a spokesperson for Aquafresh promoting their latest teeth whitening product-Aquafresh White Trays to help consumers learn how they can have a brighter smile. Throughout the entertainment industry as well as communities across the nation, Dr. Austin is truly cultivating a reputation as a designer of great smiles.

BeansTalk couldn't resist the opportunity to pass along some common cosmetic dentistry questions to the fine doc:

Many of us are trying to turn the clock back with whitening systems. Do you have any favorite home-use products?

I am a big fan of the new Aquafresh White Trays that hit the market this year! They are an improvement on some of the other popular over the counter teeth whitening systems that are on the market. It's a seven day whitening kit with 7 packs of trays that you use only once a day for 30-45 minutes. That's it! The shape of the trays are similar to the bleaching trays that dentists make for patients in their office. They are easy to use too. The gel is already loaded in the trays. The trays are soft and flexible such that when you insert them, you can just mold them to the shape of your teeth for a "custom fit." I usually recommend using them in the morning just before getting in the shower. By the time you are showered and dressed, you're done for the day! However, you can choose the best time a day to fit your lifestyle.

I also recommend the Sonicare brand of electric toothbrushes to reduce/eliminate enamel stains that accumulate from various habits such as coffee/tea drinking, smoking, and dark/staining foods. This tool is excellent for keeping your teeth free of plaque and tartar which also tend to make the teeth look yellow or brown.

Should coffee and soda drinkers resign themselves to stained teeth? What tips can you give our readers to help us enjoy our beverages and enjoy a bright smile?
Good news....I'm a believer that you can still have a little fun in life by drinking coffee, tea, and soda and still enjoy a bright smile! They key is to minimize how much of those beverages make direct contact with your teeth. For example, try drinking the iced versions of your favorite caffeinated drinks (iced coffee or iced tea) with a straw. Using a straw helps the beverage bypass the teeth and help keep them as bright as possible.

For those of you who do not enjoy the iced beverages, then I recommend keeping a travel sized toothbrush and toothpaste handy to brush your teeth as soon as possible after consuming those beverages to keep your teeth stain free and clean. A baking soda formula toothpaste such as Arm & Hammer or Mentadent is great to use as an abrasive to minimize stains.

Our readers have shared stories with us about tooth sensitivity after whitening treatments. What does this side effect indicate? Is it permanent?
Tooth sensitivity is the most common side effect from teeth whitening. The reason is because the active ingredient (peroxide) actually permeates through the pores of the outer enamel layer of the tooth which is naturally white to reach the inner layer of the tooth called dentin which is naturally yellow. So when you look in the mirror and see yellow teeth, what you are really seeing is the inner yellow color shining through the outer white enamel. Now the inner yellow layer (the dentin layer) is also where the nerve of the tooth is located. So when you are whitening your teeth, the pores are opened and the gel is working to lighten the portion of the tooth where the nerve is located. From my experience, the response to whitening is very unpredictable but in general I always prepare my patients by warning them that if their teeth are sensitive normally, then they can expect that they may experience a little sensitivity during the whitening process. If they do not have sensitive teeth generally, they should respond well to whitening.

A tip that I usually share with patients that are concerned with sensitivity is to try using a sensitive formula toothpaste such as Sensodyne or a fluoride mouthwash such ACT just about 2 weeks prior to starting their whitening treatment. What this does is start to condition the tooth for whitening by desensitizing the teeth in advanced so that they have a more comfortable whitening experience.

Teeth sensitivity is not a permanent sensation. It generally takes 24-48 hours for the pores to close after completing the teeth whitening procedure. Unless there are other dental problems present such as cavities or gum disease, all tooth sensitivity should resolve within that 24-48 hour time frame.

Have you ever encountered a client who was "addicted" to whitening?
I think that one of my famous clients who is a popular villain from "The Apprentice" has signs of being addicted to teeth whitening. Every few months, I get a call begging for teeth whitening! I only give in once every year however and recommend the use of take home/over the counter whitening treatments between in office treatments. Most whitening results will last an average of 6-18 months before needing a repeat. Next time a get an early request for teeth whitening I am going to turn that patient in to Whitening Anonymous!

Thanks, Dr. Austin! We'll catch you the next time we are in Manhattan.

Check out her website at:

or call: 866-377-3123