Dental Myths One

Dental Myths One

Thinking about Dental mythsThrough the many years of practicing dentistry I have heard many patients repeat the following dental myths and quotes. Some of these I hear almost on a daily basis from well-meaning patients who struggle to make sense of all the information that is presented to them. This is the first of a five-part series on common dental myths. Read them and hopefully you will learn from them.  They will help you make better decisions in the future.

Cavities Hurt

1-Cavities hurt. MAYBE. How can I have a cavity if I don’t have any pain? Cavities hurt only they get deep enough to affect the nerve within the tooth. This point is well past the point when the cavity should be repaired. Small cavities mean quick, easy, lest costly and more predictable fixes. If you wait till you have tooth pain you will ultimately wind up with either a root canal or extraction. Don’t wail till your teeth hurt. Regular visits to the dentist will help you avoid painful teeth. When cavities are caught early they can often be treated without any anesthetics and be still restored pain-free!

Bleeding Gums are OK

2-Bleeding gums are ok. NOT! When I graduated from  dental school I worked for a dentist who told his patients to brush their teeth until their gums bled. Unfortunately for his patients most of them wound up in full dentures. If you cleaned any other part of your body and it bled you would be concerned. Gums shouldn’t bleed if they do you have gum disease! Gums bleed as a result of inflammation. Inflammation has been linked to systemic illness. Through this process gum disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and even cancer. Gum disease also cause tooth loss. More teeth are lost to gum disease then decay. So…bleeding gums are not OK!

You Lose Your Teeth as You Age

3- As you get older you lose teeth. NOT. You can and should keep all of your teeth until the end. In the early 1960s even some dentists believed this-now we know this is definitely not the case. Fix your small dental problems and you wont have big ones. This is important as longevity has been linked to tooth loss. Lose your teeth and the quality and quantity of your life will be affected. If you are interested, here is a link to an article on the subject.

Pregnancy Causes Tooth Loss

4-Pregnancy will cause tooth loss. NOT. Pregnant women can keep their teeth and gums healthy by keeping up with their regular dental visits. They can even get any needed dentistry done in the second trimester. Dental cleaning during a pregnancy will help prevent pregnancy gingivitis (swollen, bleeding  gums during pregnancy). Gum disease has been linked to low birth weight babies, so get your teeth cleaned!

You Need to See Your Dentist Twice a Year

5-You need to see your dentist twice a year. MAYBE. This idea started with a Pepsodent toothpaste commercial years ago. For some people twice a year works, but many patients need to see their dentist/hygienist up to four times a year.

Keep an eye out for our next post of more dental myths. You can subscribe to our blog as well. If you have any questions or would like to make an appointment please call us today. Keeping your teeth looking great and lasting a lifetime shouldn’t be a problem for you or your dentist.

Keep Smiling LI…

How Long Should a Composite Filling Last?

Composite fillings are what most dental offices around the country use at this point. They are strong, plus they are also visually much more appealing than older forms of fillings. They are so visually appealing that at the Center for Cosmetic Dentistry we call these fillings restorations. A restoration is making something like new again and a well done composite filling will do just that. It will make your tooth look like it’s brand new!  When properly taken care of a composite fillings can last for many years.

However, there is no way to determine exactly how long one filling will last. There are several factors that can determine its longevity. Here are a few of them.

Composite Fillings are Bonding

Patients are often confused by dental terminology. Composite fillings are bonded (fused) to tooth structure using a bonding liquid and a curing light. They set instantly under this light to give durable restoration that can actually improve the strength of the remaining tooth structure. Composite fillings are essentially the bonding everybody talks about.

What Determines How Long Composite Fillings Can Last?

Silver Fillings Before Removal

Failing silver fillings

One of the biggest factors in how long a composite filling will last is the skill of the dentist who places it. Good techniques combined with quality materials can assure a long lasting restoration. a well placed composite should be virtually indistinguishable from the rest of the tooth.

The second biggest factor in how long a composite filling should last is your overall oral care. If you take really good care of your teeth, brush twice daily, floss once, and see us every six months, your filling should last a lot longer than those who do not.

Another important factor is the tooth that the filling was put in. A tooth that has greater stress

New Composite Fillings

After restoration with composite fillings

will result in a composite filling that break down more quickly.  Where on that tooth, how much that tooth is used with a lot of pressure, and how large the filling was in comparison to that tooth, all determine how much pressure is put on that tooth each time you bite or chew. The lower the pressure, the longer your filling should last

If you want to learn more about cosmetic fillings, come in and see us. We can explain to you how they are different, give you tips on helping them last as long as possible, and why we choose to use them as opposed to other types of fillings. Call us today and schedule a time to talk with us.

How Your Dentist Can Help You Manage Tooth Sensitivity

Woman with tooth sensitivityHaving sensitive teeth stinks. Plain and simple. It hurts to eat, drink, and sometimes, even venture outside in the wrong kind of weather. Thankfully, there are some things that you can do to help protect your teeth from extreme sensitivity. First, you need to speak with your dentist. He or she can help you figure out the best treatment to help decrease your tooth sensitivity. Second, you need to follow their advice. The only way their advice is going to do you any good is if you take it, right?

Your Dentist Can Reduce Tooth Sensitivity

When you come in and see your dentist with sensitive teeth, they are going to want to examine your teeth. There are quite a few things that can lead to sensitive teeth. Typically, the culprit is erosion of your enamel or gum recession.  If this is what your dentist finds, they can figure out how to treat the problem with you. Often areas of exposed root can be treated with desensitizing medications. This can often offer immediate relief. If you have deep groves on the root of the tooth  bonding can be an answer to eliminate pain. However, if your dentist sees a cavity causing the sensitivity, then the fix is obvious – you will get the cavity filled and that should help greatly.

It is very possible that a bad bite can contribute to tooth sensitivity. Traumatic bites can cause stress in the teeth as the teeth tend to collide instead of gliding during chewing and grinding. This can lead to bone and gum recession as well as the grooves on the neck of the teeth which is incorrectly attributed to brushing. Clear aligner therapy such as Invisalign can improve bad bites and keep your teeth healthy for many years to come.

When your teeth are incredibly sensitive, you will likely be switched over to a sensitive formula toothpaste and possibly a mouthwash too. You may also be advised to get sealants on your teeth, as this can help keep some of the sensitivity down, depending on what you are most sensitive to. You may only be sensitive to one thing, such as hot or cold, or you may be sensitive to a wide variety of things, including bitters and sweets, too.

Talk to your dentist if you notice that you have sensitive teeth. They can help you figure out what is causing the problem. Then, they can work with you to figure out what the best treatment options are.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us today.

Reversing Tooth Decay

Right now, there is no sure-fire way to reverse tooth decay. There are a few things that have shown promise in some, but they aren’t a guarantee nor do they work for everyone. However, with each passing day, we get closer to a day where tooth decay may be something fixable.

If you do what you can to take care of your teeth now, should the day come in our generation where tooth decay can be reversed, you will have teeth healthy enough to only need minor restorations, if any at all.

Stopping Decay is Possible

It should be noted that we have the ability to stop decay today but there is a major downside to this. Children and adults who have rampant decay can be treated with a rinse of silver diamine fluoride. This chemical halts the decay process but it also turns the decay jet black. As undesirable as this sounds it is a fast and easy way to help a patient with a quickly deteriorating mouth.

How to Best Care for Your Teeth

So today it’s easier to prevent decay then fix it. There are four things you have to do to really care for your teeth. Each of them take a bit of time, but not a ton. They do, however, take forethought. First, you need to brush two times each day. This should be first thing in the morning, and right before bed at night. This keeps your teeth clean. Second, you need to floss at least one of those times as well, I prefer before bed. This keeps the areas between your teeth healthy, too.

Third,  you need to eat a healthy diet. Your entire body needs this, not just your teeth. Finally, forth, you need to see your dentist every six months or sooner for an examination. How soon depends on your decay rate. Fix the small stuff and you will never have big stuff. This needs to happen to keep your teeth their healthiest.

If the day does come where tooth decay can be reversed for everyone, hopefully your teeth will be so healthy they won’t need it. However, even if they aren’t, you should only need minor work done to correct the problem. Speak to your dentist about anything else they’d like you to do to keep your mouth healthy.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, please call us today.

Are Dental Implants or Dentures More Beneficial?

woman replacing teeth with unnoticeable dental implant After tooth loss, your missing teeth need to be replaced. Two options for achieving this goal are dental implants and dentures. But which one provides more benefits?

Dental Implants

Dental implants consist of titanium rods that are surgically placed in your jawbone. The rods fuse with your jawbone, and act as an anchor to hold your false teeth firmly in place. Implants are the newest option for replacing lost teeth, and provide a number of benefits. Their biggest benefit is that they help to maintain the strength and structure of your jawbone, preventing the bone loss that accompanies tooth loss. Other benefits include:

  • Low maintenance. They can be cared for just like natural teeth.
  • They are permanent, are not removed except for maintenance by your dentist.
  • Feel and function just like natural teeth.
  • Your teeth won’t slip out of place, or rub against your gums, making them more comfortable.
  • Improved speech.
  • Better digestion.

Despite all of these wonderful benefits, implants do have a few drawbacks:

  • They require surgery, though it is usually pain free.
  • They’re more costly then dentures.
  • Treatment time is longer
Before getting Implant crown

Missing front tooth

Gum tissue around implant

Healthy gums around an Implant

completed Implant Restoration

Missng front tooth replaced by an implant supported crown

Dentures

Dentures are the traditional option for replacing missing teeth. Teeth sit in an acrylic gum colored base, that is supported by your gums. Improvements have been made on dentures over the years to improve their likeness to natural teeth and make them more comfortable. Benefits of dentures include:

  • Lower Cost
  • Do not require surgery.
  • Restored eating and speech.
  • Restored, beautiful smile.

Dentures do have a few drawbacks that often make implants the more appealing option:

  • Require significant maintenance.
  • They can slip around in the mouth, interfering with speech and eating, or causing embarrassing moments.
  • They can rub against your gums, causing painful sores.
  • Your jawbone still continues to resorb with dentures, which means you may need to be refitted for a new pair every few years.

Implant Supported Dentures

One great option for replacing teeth is combining these two treatment options into an implant supported denture. As few as two implants placed in the lower jaw can help stabilize a lower denture. This results in greater comfort and stability. An important benefit to having this extra support is that it helps to preserve the jawbone. This improve the potential to be able to wear the dentures comfortably for a lifetime.

Implants are fast becoming the popular option for replacing missing teeth as they offer a permanent solution for replacing teeth. This may or may not be the best option for you.

If you have suffered tooth loss, schedule an appointment with your dentist to learn which choice is best for you.

Please contact us at 631 265-2700 with any questions regarding replacing your missing teeth.

Keep Smiling LI…

Bad Oral Habits that Are Dangerous

Some people think that a bad oral habit is not really going to do much other than maybe hurt a tooth. However, there are some really bad oral habits that people need to stop doing, as they can have much larger consequences. If you do any of these bad habits, you need to stop doing them right away. It could be the best way to protect yourself from long-term harm.

Bad Habits to Stop Doing Immediately

Chewing on a toothpick is one of the worst habits that you can have. It may not seem like a big deal, but it can actually be not only dangerous, but also deadly. More than 9,000 people each year get injured from chewing on toothpicks, and some of those people have even died.

Chewing on ice is another bad habit that people need to stop doing. Not only can it fracture your teeth to chew on ice, but it can also splinter into sharp shards that cut into your cheeks or other oral tissues. Chewing on ice is also known to cause increased dental sensitivity and make your mouth more prone to cavities. Ice chewing can be a sign of low iron levels in the body. See your physician if you have this urge.

Using your teeth as a tool to open something, such as to open a bottle, can significantly damage your teeth. It often causes teeth to crack or break, which can lead to pain, infection, or even choking on the tooth.

If you consistently do any of these things, then you need to make sure to stop doing them. Plus, you also need to make sure that you talk to your dentist. They need to make sure that your mouth is in good health, and that your teeth are also strong. Doing any of these things could leave your teeth with hairline fractures that could become painful down the line, or even cause your teeth to break off.

Please contact our office for more information on breaking bad oral habits.

Can Wet Weather Induce Bad Breath?

Have you ever noticed that when you get a lot of rain and are forced to stay indoors more than normal, your breath tends to get worse? It’s not just in your mind.

When there is a lot of rain, people tend to struggle more with bad breath than during any other type of weather (not including emergency situations, obviously). If you get a lot of rain, or are worried about bad breath, you may want to know what you can do to combat it.

How Wet Weather Influences Your Breath

When the weather is wet, it tends to increase the amount of mold spores floating around the air, even the air in your house. When breathed in, people tend to get stuffed up from these spores. The stuffy nose leads to breathing through the mouth, which then leads to dry mouth.

Unfortunately, dry mouth is one of the leading causes of bad breath because it increases how many bacteria are alive and well in your mouth. This means that you are more prone to cavities, and you are likely to struggle with bad breath.

If you are worried about your breath, then you want to make sure that you are taking care of your teeth. Despite the weather, you need to make sure you brush twice daily, floss one of those times, and drink lots of water.

This can help you receive less damage during those times where the weather is making you more susceptible to damage. You also need to make sure to regularly see your dentist, as that can make a huge difference in your overall oral health.

If you have trouble with dry mouth or weather-induced bad breath, make sure to contact our office. We know the best things you can do to keep bad breath at bay!

Can Insomnia Harm Your Oral Health?

Do you struggle to sleep at night? If so, it could be doing a number on your teeth. The inability to sleep can do a lot of damage to your teeth. Your mouth does its best healing at night. When you don’t sleep, your mouth struggles to heal.

This means your mouth may go from being relatively healthy to struggling to maintain its health all because you couldn’t sleep.

If you can’t sleep, you may want to get help, if nothing else, then for the sake of your teeth.

What Lack of Sleep Can Do to Your Teeth

During your sleep, your mouth heals. That’s when it is able to work best. The saliva you produce in your sleep helps to lower the pH from acids you ate all day long, and it coats your teeth in calcium. This lets your teeth get strong, and avoid damage caused by acid.

If you aren’t sleeping, this healing process doesn’t happen as much, sometimes not at all. This can leave your teeth exposed to a wide range of problems, including gum disease, tooth decay, and even tooth loss.

If you are struggling with the inability to sleep, you need to call both your doctor and your dentist. Your doctor needs to know what is going on so that changes can be made that may help you sleep.

Your dentist needs to be informed so that he or she is able to monitor the health of your teeth. They may want to see you more often so they can watch your teeth until you start sleeping regularly again.

Contact our office today and find out from them what you can do to protect your teeth from insomnia. They may have a few tips that can keep your teeth from suffering the brunt of this ailment.

The Dental Bonding Experience

Before dental bondingI consider myself very fortunate as I have a profession that comes easily to me. I often ask my new patients why they trust me to take care of their dental issues and find that often their response is the same. They go back to a statement that I made either during the exam or consultation appointment where I stated “I can fix that.”. They often talk of the confidence they felt that goes along with the statement. I take that trust they place in me seriously. The following patient is one of those new patients who came to me with doubts about how his front teeth could be fixed.

Before dental bondingTim is a new patient of mine who had an accident and broke his front teeth seven years ago. At that time, he went to several dentists to repair the damage and was told he needed crowns to restore his broken teeth . He wasn’t happy about the solution they presented as he would have to sacrifice good tooth structure for the crowns and the repair would be costly. He was told that bonding his teeth was not an option since the dental bonding wouldn’t be strong enough or esthetic enough.

One look told me that Tim was actually a great candidate for dental bonding. In a worst case scenario, if we did the bonding and it did not hold up, all of the other options were still available since bonding is an additive process. None of his good tooth structure had to be removed for the bonding process. I never tell my patients that they need to be careful with anything they eat because bonding is durable. Corn on the cob, crispy Italian bread are all still on the table as I believe that my patients should not have to baby their teeth. If what I do for them can’t hold up to their lifestyle then it is the wrong restoration. There are too many other things in our lives to worry about.  My patients should not have to worry about their teeth.

The Dental Bonding Process

I transformed Tim’s smile in one visit. First, he spent a few days at home with tooth whitening trays to whiten his smile before we began the restorations.

Here is a picture of the process halfway through:

During dental bonding

I just bonded the two front teeth on the left side of the photo. Dental bonding is the process where a tooth colored filling material, called composite, is fused to the existing tooth structure. The correct color is achieved by layering different colors and translucency of composite material. Sizing is critical when creating new front teeth. The position of the unrestored teeth, as well as the width of the teeth, help me to establish how long I want his two front teeth. Longer is better as it is easier to shorten teeth then have to make them longer.

The Final Result

The whole process took me about 90 minutes to complete. Here are the after photos:

Smile after dental bondingTeeth after dental bondingTim was thrilled with his new smile. The best part about it was he felt like he had back the old smile he remembered that he hadn’t seen in years. I was happy for him. It is truly a privilege for me to be able to help make my patients feel the way they do. I changed this man’s life. The reality is that putting that smile on his face changes my life too.

Is bonding something that can help you? Contact us for a free consult. You will be glad you did!

Keep Smiling LI…

 

 

Ways to Remain Calm When a Dental Emergency Arises

Dental emergencyWhen you find yourself facing a dental emergency, it is important that you remain calm. When you are calm, you think more clearly and you are able to function better. When facing a dental emergency, if you panic, you could hurt the person more who was already in pain, and make things worse.

Making yourself remain calm is not always easy, but if you know what to do before the moment hits, it can make things easier on you. Here are a few things that you can do to help remain calm if you ever find yourself facing any type of dental emergency.

Helping Yourself Remain Calm to Function During a Dental Emergency

The first thing that you can do to avoid the freak out that comes with a dental emergency is by having a regular dentist that you can trust. If you don’t have a dentist to turn to when a dental emergency pops up, it can cause you to panic even more, trying to figure out what to do.

Next, make sure that you remember that an untreated emergency is only going to get worse. Many times, people know that worrying is going to slow things down. If you can focus on getting help as soon as possible, this can help alleviate some of the fear and allow you to stay calm and get help.

Finally, remember that the more you worry, the higher your blood pressure goes. This can increase bleeding, swelling, and pain. Make yourself stay relaxed until you are in a dentist’s chair, then you can let the dentist worry for you.

Contact our office today. We want to have a good relationship with you and build up that rapport. Let us show you that we will be there, no matter what, by turning to us when you really need it.