Dr. Lily Ling received her DMD from Tufts Dental School and completed an advanced education in general dentistry  (AEGD) residency at UConn Health Center.

Sherborn Family Dental P.C.
19 N. Main Street, Suite 1B
Sherborn, MA 01770
 Find us

Find helpful information in our digital library.



If you are considering whitening your teeth you have many options.  Dr. Lily Ling of Sherborn Family Dental is happy to meet with you to discuss how you can achieve your desired results.  This blog post covers whitening services provided in-office by your dentist.  We will discuss some custom and off-the-shelf take home options as well in later blog posts.

What is bleaching?

Bleaching is used to correct discoloration of the teeth by removing the brown and yellow staining.  People typically have their teeth whitened to improve their appearance.  When people have a brighter smile, they tend to smile more often and their confidence shines through.

What causes tooth discoloration?

Tooth discoloration can be caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. Some of the common causes of teeth discoloration are medications, coffee, tea, soda or smoking.

How long does teeth whitening last?

Though not a permanent solution, teeth whitening is very effective with results that can last for years.  Depending on your personal habits, touch-up kits can be used every 6 to 12 months to enhance and maintain whitening results.

What in-office whitening services do you offer?

We provide an in-office bleaching treatment consisting of a 38% hydrogen peroxide gel applied in two to four 15-minute sessions conducted during a single visit.  The whitening product contains potassium nitrate to help minimize sensitivity associated with the bleaching process.

Compared to other bleaching systems, sensitivity is not a concern for most patients with the bleaching product that we use.  Most patients are able to go through three to four rounds of treatment in a single visit.  Most patients achieve changes of at least 2 real Vita shades whiter. We recommend a home-tray follow-up after any in-office whitening for optimal results.

What else do I need to consider?

Remember that bleaching is a cosmetic procedure and is not a substitute to dental treatment for any underlying dental health issues.  Also, crowns, fillings, dentures, cavities, and bridges will not whiten or change color with bleaching.  Bleaching can whiten your natural teeth but will not whiten fillings or ceramic restorations.  Also be aware that all teeth do not whiten the same amount so there will be some variation in whiteness as exists with your natural teeth.

For additional information or to schedule an appointment contact Sherborn Family Dental at (508) 545-1050.  Check back again for future blog posts covering take-home whitening products. 

If you are considering whitening your teeth you have many options.  Dr. Lily Ling of Sherborn Family Dental is happy to meet with you to discuss how you can achieve your desired results.  Below are some common questions and answers regarding whitening options.

FAQ 1: How do people get their teeth so white?

Answer:  Often, veneers or crowns are how people get their teeth so white.  Bleaching products also help to whiten the appearance of teeth. For most patients over-the-counter products such as tooth pastes and rinses will not produce the desired results because the ingredients used to whiten the teeth are not held in contact with the tooth long enough to cause a noticeable change.  Custom bleaching trays made by your dental office that isolate the teeth and bleaching solution will keep the chemical in contact with the tooth producing superior results.  In-office bleaching treatments also isolate the teeth and whitening solution for the necessary time to whiten the teeth.

FAQ 2: Will bleaching my teeth damage them?

Answer:  Products purchased from your dental office are tested and safe for use according to the manufacturer's specific directions.  Products that are not sold through dental offices do not undergo the same scrutiny and are not backed by the American Dental Association.  In most cases whitening procedures performed by dental offices contain fluoride in the solution which strengthens the tooth and protects them from post-op sensitivity.

FAQ 3: Will my dental insurance cover bleaching services?

Answer:  No, in most cases whitening your teeth is considered cosmetic and not a covered benefit under your dental insurance. Occasionally flexible spending accounts may be used to pay for whitening treatments but you will need to check the terms of your employer's flexible spending account.

FAQ 4: Will whitening products lighten my existing dental work such as fillings and crowns?

Answer:  No, unfortunately fillings and ceramic restorations will not really lighten with any bleaching method.  If you are unhappy with the shade of previous dental work the only way to improve the esthetics is to replace the work or to use a veneer.

FAQ 5: If I bleach my teeth how long will they maintain the lighter shade?

Answer:  Tooth-lightening results can be effected by your diet and your daily habits (i.e., smoking, drinking staining beverages, etc). Effects can last somewhat indefinitely depending on your diet and habits. Occasional whitening touch-up procedures may be necessary to maintain your desired level of whitening.

For additional information or to schedule an appointment contact Sherborn Family Dental at (508) 545-1050.  Please check our Sherborn Family Dental blog again as we will be writing additional blog posts on specific whitening services that we offer.

1.         Develop Proper Oral Hygiene Habits for Your Child  
Gently clean your infant’s gums and newly erupting first teeth after each feeding with a water-soaked gauze pad to clean around the teeth and gums.  When your baby’s teeth begin to erupt, brush them gently with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste.  When your child turns 2, you can begin to teach your child proper brushing techniques with no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. You should follow up their efforts by gently brushing the teeth again. Modeling correct technique is important. When your child is about 6 years old, she should be developing the dexterity to do it alone.

2.         Avoid Baby Bottle Tooth Decay
Don’t let your child go to sleep with a pacifier or bottle filled with anything but water. When teeth are frequently exposed to sugar-containing fluids (including breast milk and formula) for long periods, the potential for decay increases dramatically.

3.         Avoid Sugar
Understand that if your child ingests sugars, it will take the saliva a minimum of 30 minutes to neutralize the acidity that is created by decay-producing bacteria. A sugary snack every hour can mean your child’s mouth is always acidic, increasing the chances for tooth decay.

4.         Make a Dental Appointment
Your child should see a dentist around the time of his/her first birthday and then regularly thereafter. Your dentist will teach you how to prevent dental disease, check for cavities in the primary teeth and watch for developmental problems, and set a positive precedent for future visits.  Ask your dentist about dental sealants and fluoride applications to protect your child’s teeth. Sealants can prevent food from getting stuck in the tiny grooves on the chewing surfaces and topical fluoride will strengthen the enamel against decay.

5.         Check Your Water
Determine if the water supply that serves your home is fluoridated. If it is not, discuss supplement options with your dentist. Keep in mind that toothpastes and various foods may also contain fluoride.  Also, if you live in a town with fluoridated water but you only drink bottled water or other bottled beverages you aren't getting the benefit of the water fluoride program. 

Here are some water fluoridation statistics for Sherborn, MA and certain neighboring communities:


Water Fluoridation Info

Sherborn, MA

No fluoridated public water supply

Ashland, MA

No fluoridated public water supply

Dover, MA

Most of town is well water at each home; a small section has fluoridated public water

Framingham, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Holliston, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Medway, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Millis, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Natick, MA

Fluoridated public water supply

Source:  Delta Dental of Massachusetts (www.deltadentalma.com/dental_plans/towns.asp)

If you have questions about your child's dental care, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Lily Ling at Sherborn Family Dental.

Acid reflux, also known as gastroesophageal reflux disease ("GERD"), can damage your teeth due to the presence of acid into your mouth.  Many people suffering from GERD experience significant tooth wear and enamel erosion.  People suffering from GERD may experience dry mouth.  When you have dry mouth, the lack of natural saliva to combat dental bacteria and plaque can lead to an increase in cavities and decay. Medications often taken by people dealing with GERD can also cause dry mouth. 

Acid reflux is quite common and causes chronic heartburn. The stomach contents, including acid, leak into the esophagus and can work their way back up into the mouth, causing a burning sensation.

Stomach acid is strong enough to dissolve tooth enamel or soften the tooth surface, slowly wearing it down layer by layer.  Once the outer coating of your teeth (known as enamel) is gone, it is gone forever.   Once the damage becomes severe the tooth may need a crown or veneer.

What helps prevent tooth damage in people with acid reflux?

Saliva is a good defense mechanism since it can neutralize acid.  Saliva contains small amounts of calcium and phosphate ions that can reduce the damage of the tooth.  To keep your saliva flowing throughout the day, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You also could stimulate saliva production by using artificial saliva substitutes such as Biotene.

However, there is a limit to what saliva can do. 

Here are some tips for dealing with acid reflux:

  • Don't brush immediately after an acid reflux episode. This can spread the acid over your teeth without neutralizing it.  
  • Use a fluoride rinse to neutralize the acid.   
  • Desensitizing toothpaste can make teeth damaged by acid erosion feel better.      
  • Try chewing gum that contains Xylitol, which reduces acid in the mouth and acts as a cariostatic (e.g., helps halt the development of cavities). Saliva containing Xylitol is less acidic than saliva bathed with other sugar products.  When the oral environment is more basic,  naturally occurring calcium and phosphate ions from saliva can be incorporated into the enamel.  In this way, saliva containing Xylitol can help remineralize enamel before dental caries (cavities) can form.

If you have questions on this topic, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Lily Ling at Sherborn Family Dental.

By contactus
July 29, 2012
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: Untagged

Most common cases of halitosis can be prevented with these easy tips.

Stay hydrated. If you can't brush your teeth after a meal, drinking water can speed the process of cleaning bacteria and debris from between your teeth.  To keep your saliva flowing throughout the day, stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. You also could stimulate saliva production by using artificial saliva substitutes such as Biotene.

Don't drink too much coffee. Coffee is a difficult smell to remove from your mouth.  You can freshen your breath by rinsing your mouth with water after drinking your morning coffee.  This will help rebalance your mouth's pH levels. Rinsing with water also works after meals.  Swishing the water around may help remove the food particles left in your mouth after a meal and prevent bad breath.

Avoid soda and other sugary beverages.  Consuming an acidic beverage, including soda, coffee, or alcohol, will release compounds into your bloodstream that will, in turn, release odors through your breath. Plus, acidic drinks lower the pH level in your mouth: a lower pH level allows caries causing bacteria to flourish and release volatile sulfur compounds.  Rinsing with water also helps with sugary beverages as well.    

Chew sugarless gum. Doing so within an hour after a meal can help with saliva flow. Remember to use sugar-free gum -- chewing gum with sugar increases caries and the sugar sits on your teeth and contributes to bad breath.  Your mouth can become dry during the day.  Dry mouth -- whether it's at midnight or noon -- can quickly cause bad breath. You need plenty of saliva because it helps clean your mouth; it's naturally antibacterial, and it washes away food particles.

Sugarless breath mints. Sugar-free mints won't help treat the cause of bad breath but help to temporarily mask the odor.  Avoid products that contain sugar to prevent the accumulation of plaque.

Prevent bad breath by brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day. Remember to brush your tongue to remove any trapped food and plaque caught on the surface of your tongue.  Then rinse thoroughly with water or mouthwash.

Don't smoke or use other tobacco products. These can foul your breath.

Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath reek for up to eight to ten hours after you finish drinking.

Prevent bad breath by visiting your dentist on a regular basis for a complete examination of your teeth and gums and a thorough cleaning.  Preventing bad breath is achievable when you have dental problems treated as they occur, such as tooth decay, gum abscesses, and abscessed teeth.  The American Dental Association recommends that children and adults have a professional cleaning regularly. For most, twice a year should suffice. For others who experience tartar buildup more quickly, four times a year may be necessary.

It's also possible that your bad breath is caused by a medical condition, not just the bacteria in your mouth. Although mouth odor is often associated with gum disease or tooth decay, it can occasionally signal health problems such as respiratory or sinus infections, bronchitis, diabetes, or malfunctions of the liver or kidney.  Bad breath is also linked to stress, stomach problems, low fluid intake, and other conditions, so if your bad breath persists, consult a physician to see if an underlying problem exists.

This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.

Questions or Comments?
We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest or concern about our services.

(508) 545-1050