Best Time to Get Your Teeth Whitened Before an Event

There are some moments in life when having a bright, glittering smile is a top priority. Whether you are getting married, seeking a career boost, or simply looking to be more confident about your teeth, teeth whitening can help. However, the process of teeth whitening does not normally just happen overnight. So how far in advance should you plan? And what options are available? Let’s take a look.


Causes of Teeth Staining

In truth, there are a variety of factors that lead to discolored teeth. Aging, smoking, beverages such as coffee, tea and sodas, old fillings and excessive fluoride can all lead to a dimmed smile. Fortunately, there are a variety of options to help you look your best.


Teeth Whitening Timeline

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However, if an at-home procedure is what you prefer, we also offer convenient take-home whitening treatments. If you choose this option, we will make a custom mold for your teeth. At home, you will place the whitening solution into the tray and wear the tray typically for one hour a day, for one to two weeks.


In general, you’ll want to begin your teeth whitening procedure about two months before your big event. This gives plenty of time for the results to appear and for any negative side effects to subside. As long as you maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine, your smile should still be radiant for many months, or even years, to come.


In-Office vs. Take-Home Whitening


When it comes time to whiten your smile, we proudly offer a variety of teeth whitening options. With in-office whitening, we create bleaching trays that are molded to fit your teeth and can be used each year. Another option for in-office whitening is Zoom!® Whitening, which can offer up to eight shades of whitening.



Let Us Whiten Your Smile

At University Centre Dental Associates, we are happy to assist you in reaching your tooth whitening goals before your next big event. Located in Greenbelt, MD, we have helped patients from Washington, DC, Bowie, MD, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Anne Arundel County achieve the smiles they desire. If you are ready to take control of your mouth and have whiter teeth, do not hesitate to contact us.

Written by University Centre Dental Associates May 23, 2018

Benefits of Flossing Daily

If you’ve heard it once, you’ve heard it a million times… flossing your teeth daily is an important part of oral health. Unfortunately, many people find this the most challenging step in keeping their teeth and gums looking and feeling their best. What’s the big hype? What exactly are the benefits of flossing daily? Allow us to explain.


Removes Plaque

One of the main benefits of flossing is that it can remove plaque between the teeth. By removing plaque daily, you’ll prevent plaque buildup which can lead to tartar later on. Plaque removal also prevents tooth decay and reduces the risk of developing gum disease. Considering one out of every eight Americans has some form of gum disease, you may want to step up your flossing game to avoid this very real possibility.

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Cleans Hard to Reach Spaces

While brushing twice a day is a great practice, flossing ultimately provides a more comprehensive mouth cleaning. Floss can reach those food particles between the teeth that you may not be able to access with a toothbrush, leaving your teeth looking brighter and better than before. Removing food also prevents gingivitis–the first stage of gum disease.


Improves Gum Health

Many individuals fear that flossing will irritate their gums and cause them to bleed more. However, this is simply not true. In fact, flossing actually improves the health of the gums, so that they do not bleed as easily. Although your gums may bleed initially if you have not flossed in a while, this will quickly subside as your mouth acclimates to the flossing experience. Flossing also allows you to check for any swelling or redness in the gums, which can be signs of other health problems.


Assists in Maintaining a Healthy Weight

Although there is no specific study linking flossing to weight, anecdotal evidence shows that those who floss after a meal are less likely to snack. This decrease in snacking could lead to weight loss or weight maintenance.


The best news about flossing is that it is never too late to start. At University Centre Dental Associates, we encourage all of our patients to floss daily for maximum teeth and gum health. If you have questions about your dental hygiene and are seeking advice you can trust, we are here to help.


From our office in Greenbelt, MD, we have served clients from Washington, DC, Bowie, MD, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Anne Arundel County. Ready to step forward into a better dental routine? Contact us today.

Written by University Centre Dental Associates May 8, 2018

Things to Consider When Choosing an Orthodontist

These days, it can be challenging to know how to choose a good health care provider. After all, with so many options, where do you even begin? Can you trust a friend’s recommendation, or are you better off finding someone on your own? At University Centre Dental Associates, we believe that finding an experienced orthodontist is essential to the health and function of your teeth. Here are a few things to consider before embarking on your orthodontics journey:


Education and ExperienceThings to Consider When Choosing an Orthodontist, blog, university centre dental associates

One of the most important aspects of choosing an orthodontist is ensuring they have the appropriate education and experience. You will want to look for an orthodontist who is a Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S), Doctor of Dental Medicine (D.M.D.) or has a Master of Science in Orthodontics. Some people also prefer to see an orthodontist who has several years in the field. However, whether you choose an orthodontist who has been practicing for twenty years or two years is entirely up to you.


Office Environment

Given the long-term services orthodontists provide, you will want to make sure that you feel comfortable and supported in the office. Are the other treatment providers friendly? Do you feel your concerns are listened to and taken into consideration? Are the treatment areas sanitary? There are numerous aspects that you can and should consider before deciding on your orthodontist, so visiting the office to see it for yourself is important.


Explanation of Treatment

Typically, individuals who require orthodontia are not experts in the field. As a result, you will want to find a doctor who explains your health situation and the recommended process of treatment in a way that is easy to understand. By scheduling an initial consultation, you will be able to assess whether this orthodontist approaches patient interaction in a way that you find helpful.



Of course, a good indicator of the potential success of the practice is whether or not past clients felt satisfied with their results. Although the practice’s website may have a page of testimonials, you might want to explore online to see if there are reviews on unbiased sites that can confirm or deny the testimonials you saw on the practice’s own website. There’s a good chance that if most people were satisfied with their results, you will be too!


At University Centre Dental Associates, we offer only the highest quality dental care. Our Greenbelt, MD office is just a short drive from Washington, DC, Bowie, MD, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County. If you are seeking an orthodontist you can trust, do not hesitate to contact us.

Written by University Centre Dental Associates April 27, 2018

20 Foods that Strengthen Teeth

One of the main factors impacting dental health is our diet. Although you may not think of it, what you eat and drink can fortify or weaken your teeth. We recommend the following food for strong teeth.



Both apples and pears act as a natural toothbrush, increasing saliva flow, which prevents cavity buildup. Pears also have a neutralizing effect on tooth surfaces. Kiwis, on the other hand, contain large amounts of vitamin C, which strengthens gums and prevents gum infections.



Similar to apples and pears, celery also helps produce more saliva in the mouth. Leafy greens contain calcium, which helps produce an alkaline effect in the body and both strengthen and promote bone growth. Raw onions, although maybe not the most appetizing, will eliminate harmful mouth bacteria and prevent tooth decay.



Both milk and cheese products are excellent for your teeth. Milk contains calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for overall bone health, while cheese contains casein to strengthen the tooth’s surface.



Whole grains, which are largely praised for their health-promoting qualities, are also good for strengthening your teeth. Rich in magnesium, they help calcium absorb into bones so the bones can stay strong. Ragi, also known as finger millet and popular in Africa and Asia, also contains high levels of calcium.



If you are a fan of seafood, you’ll want to prioritize sardines, which is high in calcium and vitamin D, and salmon, which is also high in vitamin D and contains omega 3 fatty acids.


Vegetarian Protein

For those who may prefer vegetarian sources of protein, tofu and pulses are excellent for the teeth. Tofu contains calcium, protein, vitamin K and magnesium, while pulses are especially rich in calcium.



Chocolate lovers will be happy to know that cocoa is known to prevent erosion and tooth decay. Gum chewers can switch to sugar-free gum to prevent tooth decay and strengthen the jaw. And everyone could sprinkle a few more sesame seeds into their meals to dissolve plaque and build tooth enamel.



Of course, tooth strength is not just about what we eat, but what we drink as well! To round out your strong tooth goals, try water, orange juice and soy milk. Water helps clear toxins that could lead to tooth decay and produce saliva that deposits minerals on the teeth.  Orange juice contains vitamins, minerals and calcium, and is a great alternative to milk if lactose is a problem. Finally, soy milk also contains high levels of calcium in a form that can be easily absorbed by the bones.


At University Centre Dental Associates, we pride ourselves on helping our patients maintain the strong, healthy teeth they desire. Located in Greenbelt, MD, we are only a short drive from Washington, DC, Bowie, MD, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County and Anne Arundel County. If you are seeking high-quality dental advice you can trust, do not hesitate to contact us.

Written by University Centre Dental Associates April 23, 2018

When it Comes to Dentures Does Brand Matter?

Are you in the market for a set of dentures? Perhaps you have used them for years but are unhappy with your product and want to switch.

It can be intimidating to shop for something you know very little about, but have such an important effect on your life. Not only is a smile the first thing people notice about you, but more importantly, an ill-fitting or unsightly set of dentures can leave you feeling uncomfortable and anxious.

Types of Dentures and Materials

First of all, it is important to know what type of dentures are out there. Dentures may replace all or only some of the teeth. The dentures that replace all the teeth are known as complete dentures and they rest on the gums that cover the jawbones. The stability and retention of these dentures can be improved by attaching them to dental implants. Dentures that replace some but not all of the teeth are known as partial dentures. They attach to the teeth that are still present and also cover and rest on the gums and bone where the teeth are missing. Dental implants can also be used to restore and stabilize partial dentures as well.

Also, know the different materials in a variety of dentures:

  • Acrylic – not bendable plastic which is usually colored to resemble the oral gum tissues.
  • Metal – chromium cobalt or titanium alloy frame usually combined either with acrylic or flexible material.
  • Flexible – bendable resin, usually used on partial dentures or in combination with metal frames with flexible clasps. Clasps are a metal or flexible arm that extends from a removable partial denture. It helps to hold on to a partial tooth structure and thus provide anchorage for the denture.

It is also important to consider exactly what you are looking for. Like a snowflake, no two pairs of dentures will be the same for everybody!

Is Cost Different?

Dentures prices vary significantly across the board and there are many reasons why. The region you live in may have some affect. East coast living is generally more expensive than living in the mid-west, so denturists may need to charge more for their services to maintain higher office space fees.

There is also a price difference between the fees charged by prosthodontists when compared to fees charged by cosmetic denturists which may be as much as 30% lower.

And when it comes down to it, all denture insurance and denture discount plans were not created equally. Denture wearers should do some comparison shopping before they commit to any plan or company. It pays to do your homework!

Which brings us to the price of different types of dentures. To begin, partial dentures may sometimes actually wind up costing more than full dentures because of the precision measuring needed to make sure they fit between existing teeth. And some partial denture plates will be more expensive depending on their method of attachment.

Standard removable type dentures are less expensive than immediate type dentures which are set directly into the sockets once occupied by the natural teeth.

Denture implants are by far the most expensive type of denture, but they make up for it with one of the most secure fits available, and eliminate the discomfort created when dentures rub against the gum ridges.

If you are in the market for dentures, call me, Dr. Maurice Haynes. I am happy to answer your questions with honesty and confidence during a free consultation. If you live in the Washington D.C. area, as well as Greenbelt or Bowie, MD, Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, or Anne Arundel County, call 301-302-8395 today.

Written by University Centre Dental Associates September 1, 2017

About the Effects of Gum Disease Over Time

It probably does not come as a surprise that our mouths are full of bacteria. And, of course, any time there is a small area with a large amount of bacteria, it is susceptible to infection and diseases. The bacteria in our mouths, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing or flossing can help get rid of plaque, but plaque that is not removed can harden and form a substance called tartar that brushing doesn’t clean. If untreated, tartar can lead to gum diseases which can have lasting effects.

What Causes Gum Disease?

Our mouths are full of bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucus and other particles, constantly form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on teeth. Brushing and flossing help get rid of plaque. Plaque that is not removed can harden and form “tartar” that brushing doesn’t clean. Only a professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist can remove tartar.

When you suffer from gum disease, you will notice these symptoms:

  • Bad breath that won’t go away
  • Red or swollen gums
  • Tender or bleeding gums
  • Painful chewing
  • Loose teeth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Receding gums or longer appearing teeth

Any of these symptoms may be a sign of a serious problem, which should be checked by a dentist. At your dental visit the dentist or hygienist should consider gum disease treatment by:

  • Ask about your medical history to identify underlying conditions or risk factors (such as smoking) that may contribute to gum disease.
  • Examine your gums and note any signs of inflammation.
  • Use a tiny ruler called a “probe” to check for and measure any pockets. In a healthy mouth, the depth of these pockets is usually between 1 and 3 millimeters. This test for pocket depth is usually painless.

While gum disease can strike anyone, you are more prone to it by not practicing oral hygiene smoking, or taking certain medications. If it is found that you do have gum disease or are at a higher risk for gum complications, know that gum disease treatment does exist and can help improve your condition.

If you believe you have gum disease or want to learn more about prevention, schedule a conference with me, Dr. Maurice Haynes. University Centre Dental Associates serves Washington, D.C., Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, Anne Arundel County and Bowie and Greenbelt, MD. Call me and my team at 301-302-8395 today.

Written by University Centre Dental Associates August 15, 2017

How Long will the Pain Last After my Tooth Extraction?

So you had to get a tooth extracted… yikes! The procedure and aftermath of an oral surgery such as tooth extraction is no walk in the park. Following the removal of your tooth, you may feel uncomfortable or irritated while your mouth heals.

Although we would all rather just do without tooth extraction, there are several ways to cope with and manage the pain after a tooth extraction. Before you know it, you’ll be feeling normal and relieved you successfully completed your tooth extraction.

Having a tooth or several teeth extracted may result in various levels of discomfort ranging from minimal to painful and is dependent on several factors. Whether it’s a wisdom tooth 0.or other teeth, the recovery process of a tooth extraction can take some time.

According to Today’s Dentistry, three things will determine the amount of pain:

  1. The amount of damage to the tissues that was required to get the tooth out. Our practice’s approach has been to try and do our treatments slowly, gently and as least traumatically as possible. Research backs up the fact that if you do a procedure this way then patients will have less pain afterward.
  2. The amount of infection that was present. If you leave an infection to progress to point where all the tissues are swollen, there is pus everywhere and the bone is brittle and eaten away, then you’re going to have more pain and more difficulty with healing than you would if the tissues were healthier. This is regardless of antibiotics or the care taken by your surgeon.
  3. The patient: Some people’s tissues are just more sensitive than the next person, some people have a higher pain threshold than others that’s why some women can give birth without drugs and other people there’s just no chance on earth.

Pain Management Options After Tooth Extraction

Most people can get by with Tylenol, but ibuprofen-Tylenol combinations, has been shown to be more effective than when they are taken are separately. This pain management will usually only be required by patients for 24 hours, for others it might be for 72 hours. It really depends on the nature of the extraction and the patient themselves.

We always give our patients a good idea at that time of the extraction how long to expect pain and how to best manage that pain.

When is the Dental Pain Not Normal?

Pain after three days could indicate other problems. A dry socket is when the clot that is forming in the extraction socket is dislodged. If you’re going to have a dry socket, you’re will notice the pain around day three or four.

The cause of a dry socket might be from a number of things:

  • An increase in blood pressure: if you exercise such as going for a run, then the increased blood pressure can push the clot out and it can start bleeding again.
  • Smoking: this is the most common cause as smoking will cause the clot to disintegrate.
  • Rinsing and cleaning the clot: I have heard of people vigorously rinsing a wound like there’s no tomorrow or using a syringe to flush out the area. They may think that they are cleaning the wound and getting all the food out but they’re just flushing all the blood clot out.

University Centre Dental Associates serves the Washington D.C area as well as Bowie, MD and Prince George’s County, Montgomery County, and Anne Arundel County. If you are looking for a qualified dentist to perform your oral surgery, call 301-302-8395 to schedule your consultation me, Dr. Maurice Haynes.

Written by University Centre Dental Associates August 1, 2017


Sometimes I think the expression “pain is beauty” derived from someone talking about braces. It is no secret that braces can cause abundant soreness, irritation, and pain inside of your mouth. Luckily, there are a number of things you can do to combat the pain from braces and ensure that you are undergoing the braces process in the most comfortable way possible. Remember, you are not alone in dealing with the struggles that come with braces; and, you will be glad you invested in them once you see your new, perfect smile.

Use an oral anesthetic

Orajel and Anbesol are a few pain relievers that can be applied directly to your teeth and gums. Use a cotton swab or your finger to apply the numbing gel to the areas of discomfort. The gel may not taste fantastic, but it does help to desensitize the mouth and decrease the pain of shifting teeth.

Take over-the-counter pain relief medicine

Be proactive! If you take pain relief medication an hour before your appointment, it will help ease any potential discomfort during the tightening process. Any over-the-counter pain medication should do the trick, but just make sure to follow the usage directions provided on the container. It’s not recommended to take pain pills regularly, as overuse can be dangerous, but they can be beneficial when the pain can’t be subdued by other remedies.

Use an icepack

Just like with an injury, it’s important to apply cold pressure to the area of discomfort, as inflammation increases pain. An icepack, or a gel-icepack applied to the outside of your mouth will help decrease inflammation and ultimately help to ease the oral discomfort.

Drink cold water

Ice cold water is a great, inexpensive way to ease discomfort after you get your braces tightened. The cold temperature provides a numb sensation in the mouth and decreases inflammation in the sore gums.

Eat soft foods

Your teeth will very likely be sensitive as they shift after your braces are tightened. Avoid crunchy, hard, or difficult to eat foods and opt for more soft foods. Mashed potatoes, smoothies, pudding and soup are good options because they don’t require much chewing and involvement of the teeth.

Dr. Elizabeth Haynes is an experienced orthodontist in the Greenbelt, MD and Washington, DC area (or surrounding counties: Prince George’s, Montgomery, or Anne Arundel County) give her a call at 301-302-8395 to schedule your free consultation today.

Written by University Centre Dental Associates July 15, 2017

How Young is Too Young for Orthodontic Treatment?

When your child grins, does it reveal a mouth full of crooked teeth? Do their permanent teeth seem to be growing in adjacent to one another? Or perhaps your child has an underbite or overbite that causes them pain or insecurity.

Well, breathe a sigh of relief because all of the aforementioned issues — plus many more — are common and easily treatable with orthodontic treatment. While it is always wise to be on top of your child’s healthcare, it is important to note that there is such thing as your child being too young for orthodontic treatment.

Experts have done extensive research on the proper time to begin your child’s journey with orthodontics. While it always varies on a case-by-case basis, there are some general tips to know:

At What Age Should You Begin Your Child’s Treatment?

I suggest you bring your child in for an orthodontic screening by eight years old. I call this “Phase 1 treatment,” and it is used to screen for difficult orthodontic problems that can be corrected BEFORE braces and which can simplify future orthodontic treatment times, cost, and procedures (such as extractions of permanent teeth or even surgery in some limited cases).

While some parents may want to straighten teeth at a young age, the purpose of Phase 1 treatment is to address foundational concerns of jaw alignment and creating space for permanent teeth to come into the arch. After these foundational concerns are met the child should be ready for a fairly straight forward “Phase 2” or comprehensive orthodontic treatment (i.e braces).

Is there Such a Thing as “Too Young” When for Orthodontic Work?

Parents can have braces put in on Phase 1 for two reasons:

  1. To accomplish the above goals (jaw alignment, creating space for permanent teeth); or,
  2. To align teeth for reasons important to those children on parents who would like straight teeth early. A number of factors push some families to straighten teeth early (including but not limited to financial situations, self-consciousness, or just wanting to get treatment over with).

The American Dental Association states that children can begin orthodontic treatments at seven years old. If you believe your child should start earlier, allow me, Dr. Elizabeth Haynes, to evaluate the situation.

If you are ready to begin your child’s journey to a more beautiful smile, schedule your free consultation today at 301-302-8395. Our office serves the Greenbelt and Bowie, MD area as well as Washington, D.C., Anne Arundel County, and Montgomery County.

Written by University Centre Dental Associates July 11, 2017


Do you notice your child sucking their thumb often? Thumb sucking is a natural reflex for children. Sucking on thumbs, fingers, pacifiers, or other objects often make babies and young children feel secure and happy and may help them learn about their world. Also, children may use it as a mechanism to soothe themselves and fall asleep.

How does thumb sucking affect my child’s teeth?

Although it is common for children to suck their thumbs, it is not without detrimental effects. After permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and alignment of the teeth. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth.

Pacifiers can affect the teeth essentially the same ways as sucking fingers and thumbs, but it is often an easier habit to break.

The intensity of the sucking is a factor that determines whether or not dental problems may result. If children rest their thumbs passively in their mouths, they are less likely to have difficulty than those who vigorously suck their thumbs. Some aggressive thumb suckers may develop problems with their baby (primary) teeth.

When Do Children Stop Sucking Their Thumbs?

Children usually stop sucking between the ages of two and four years old, or by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt. If you notice changes in your child’s primary teeth, or are concerned about your child’s thumb sucking consult your dentist.

How Can I Help My Child Stop Thumb Sucking?

  • Praise your child for not sucking.
  • Children often suck their thumbs when feeling insecure or needing comfort. Focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety and provide comfort to your child.
  • For an older child, involve him or her in choosing the method of stopping.
  • Your dentist can offer encouragement to your child and explain what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.

If these tips don’t work, remind the child of their habit by bandaging the thumb or putting a sock on the hand at night. Your dentist or pediatrician may prescribe a bitter medication to coat the thumb or the use of a mouth appliance.

What to do next?

If the thumb sucking become persistent you can bring it up to Dr. Maurice Haynes during your next pediatric dental appointment. If you live in the Bowie, MD or Washington, DC area, or surrounding counties (Prince George’s, Montgomery, Anne Arundel) give him a call at 301-302-8395

Written by University Centre Dental Associates July 1, 2017