How to Talk About Dental Fears

Dental fears are a lot more common than most people realize. Those that do have dental fears often feel alone. It is very important that you understand just how common dental fears really are. Some people get so afraid of going to the dentist that they skip going to the dentist altogether.

That is not the best option. Instead, what you need to do is communicate your dental fears to us. That way, we can adjust your treatment to avoid stressing you out more than necessary and still keep your oral health a top priority.

Talking About Dental Fears is Easy Once You Get Started

The hardest part about dental fears is starting the conversation. Saying you are afraid of something is not easy, no matter who you are. However, once the conversation is going, explaining what causes the fear naturally becomes easier. When you come in for a cleaning or exam, just let us know that you are not always comfortable when you come in.

That will be enough to open up the door to talking, and we can help guide the conversation from there. That way, all you had to do was get the process started, and we can help see what is going on from that point.

You do not necessarily need to tell us exactly what it is you are afraid of. In some cases, you may not even know exactly what it is you are afraid of. That is alright. Once we know that you are nervous, we can help make the process of seeing us a little bit easier.

Accommodations are not a problem, and we do them whenever the need arises. Call our office today and find out what options we offer for nervous patients. Finding out that we have things in place to help may be enough to help you start to relax.

After an Acidic Meal, You Need to Wait to Brush!

You have heard how important good oral health habits at home are. Brushing twice daily, flossing, and visiting our office regularly can keep your mouth healthy, but eating certain foods may come with a warning sign. After an acidic meal, you need to wait to brush your teeth.

Foods such as lemons, limes, oranges, grapefruit and tomatoes are great for a healthy body, but they can create come problems for your teeth if you are not careful.

Acid Can Damage Tooth Enamel

Exposing your teeth to acid meals on a regular basis can cause the enamel to weaken by losing important minerals that keep it strong. If you don’t take proper care, this exposure eventually destroys the enamel creating a cavity, which can be the beginning of other dental issues.

Wait to Brush Your Teeth After a Meal

Even though you need to brush your teeth after a meal, some studies concluded that it’s best to wait to brush, especially after eating an acidic meal. Brushing too hard can damage the enamel, which is already weakened after eating certain foods.

Mayo Clinic recommends you wait at least 30-minutes before brushing your teeth, in instances where you have eaten acidic foods, such as oranges, lemons or grapefruits. This will allow the enamel to recover from the acid.

Sugar Can Produce Acidity

You wouldn’t think of sugar as being acidic, but tooth decay is caused by bacteria from sugary foods and drinks that produce acids that when dissolved damage the teeth. Acid attacks cause tooth erosion that damage the outer surface of the tooth enamel.

The enamel on our teeth is as hard as steel, but it can get damaged so after an acidic meal, you need to wait to brush! It is also a good idea to rinse your mouth with water after eating acidic or sugary foods until you can brush to minimize the damage to the enamel.


Best Ways to Sanitize Your Toothbrush

Regularly cleaning your toothbrush is an important step to prevent the spread and growth of bacteria, viruses, and germs. In the right environment, these organisms can grow on your toothbrush after you use it.

Fortunately, there are a few things that you can do to sanitize your brush.

Focus on Everyday Cleaning

It is important to focus on everyday cleaning in order to maintain a healthy toothbrush. To do this, you have a few options. First, you could simply keep it in a dry area, as bacteria and other germs in the mouth cannot survive in a dry environment. If you feel you need something stronger, store your brush in a cup of hydrogen peroxide or Listerine. Before you brush, rinse it off. When you brush, make sure you change out the liquid.

Boil Your ToothBrush

Boiling your toothbrush is another way to ensure you kill all germs. Boil it in for about three minutes, and make sure you allow it to cool before use. Boiling is hard on your brush, but it will kill off most germs.

Put it in the Dishwasher

Another good way to ensure your brush is cleaned thoroughly is to run it in the dishwasher. Place it in the silverware compartment, and run it through a hot cycle. Don’t add soap. Remember that this type of cleaning may wear your toothbrush out faster than normal, so be prepared to swap your brush out for a new one more frequently.

Use a Toothbrush Sanitizer

While it certainly isn’t necessary to go out and buy a UV toothbrush sanitizer, if you are really concerned about germs, this gadget may put your mind at ease. Using dry heat and steam, this machine will sanitize your toothbrush appropriately.

Whether it has been awhile since your last trip to the dentist or you need your six month cleaning, we are here to help. Call us today to set up your evaluation.

Everyone’s Oral Health Can Increase When Families Brush Together

When your entire family brushes their teeth together, it can provide a lot of benefits to you and the other members of your family. All of you will be more likely to keep up with daily oral hygiene routines. Plus, you will all work together to make sure each other is doing the best job possible.

This sets up good oral care habits from a young age, and keeps them going as children grow into adults. It is a great way to set up positive oral health habits for life.

Your Kids Learn How to Brush From You

Children learn from adults. This can be both good and bad. When you set up a positive habit as a family, every member of the family who participates benefits. Brushing as a family gives each member of the family someone to hold them accountable. The parents have the kids, and the kids have the parents. People will be brushing twice daily like they are supposed to, and everyone will be brushing for the right amount of time. This helps everyone have good oral health now, and into the future.

Take the time to establish these positive oral habits with your kids starting at a young age. Have them come with you to get an exam with us if they want to see what happens so they know what to expect as they get older. You set the tone for how they care for themselves. The best thing that you can do is to be an active part in taking care of yourself the right way, including brushing, flossing, and coming in to see us.

If you want to make sure you are taking care of yourself properly, call us and let us do an exam. That way, you know your oral health is as good as it should be.

How Can You Get Your Veneers to Last for Years?

Do you have dental veneers? If so, you probably want them to last for as long as possible before they have to be replaced. There are a few important things to keep in mind when it comes to properly caring for your dental veneers.

When they are properly cared for, they typically last around ten years. Sometimes they can even last longer than that! Here are some important tips to help your veneers last for as many years as possible.

Always Take Care of Your Mouth with Dental Veneers

When you have dental veneers, you need to make sure you carefully take care of your mouth. You need to follow the normal daily oral hygiene routine we have recommended for decades. Brushing two times daily, plus flossing one time daily, plus rinsing with a really good mouthwash one time daily. This will help keep your teeth healthy, which will help your veneers stay strong.

You also need to come in and see us every six months. We keep track of how your veneers are holding up during your visits, and note any problems we see with them. That way, if anything does happen, we know how to correct it quickly. Plus, we can also see cracks or areas where your veneers may lift up early, so we can cement them back down.

It is really important that you treat your veneers with care. You need to be gentle when you chew and bite. Avoid any type of hit to the mouth whenever you can, and don’t try and use your teeth to open anything. For more tips on helping your veneers last as long as possible, reach out to us. We can help you do everything possible to get the most life out of each set of veneers you get.

Foods That Naturally Whiten Your Teeth as You Eat Them

Foods to Whiten your teethWe all realize that foods and drinks can stain our teeth and darken our smile. However, what we’re not as familiar with is how some food can whiten your teeth while we eat them.

Foods That Help Whiten Your Teeth

Surprisingly, one of the foods that will help whiten your teeth are strawberries, especially when mashed up and combined with baking soda. Although they can stain your shirt, they contain malic acid – an enzyme that will whiten your teeth.

While you’re in your grocery store’s produce aisle you should check out some other great foods. These include crunchy items like apples, celery, and carrots. They help increase your saliva production, which is your mouth’s self-cleaning agent.

Another pleasant surprise comes from two citrus foods: oranges and pineapples. They also help your mouth produce more saliva, which will naturally wash your teeth clean. However, you don’t want to use other citrus foods like lemons directly on your teeth as you could damage them.

An old-fashioned home tooth whitening remedy is baking soda. Studies have proven that toothpastes that contain baking soda do a better job of removing plaque than other toothpastes do. You can also occasionally brush your teeth with baking soda right from the box too.

One last food you should include in your diet to whiten your teeth is dairy. Yogurt, milk, and cheese are your best choices here. They contain lactic acid which helps protect your teeth against decay. This is especially true of yogurt because it contains proteins that bind to your teeth and protect them from being attacked by harmful, cavity causing acids. Hard cheese works best here because it also removes food particles.

A Professional Care Is Still The Best Solution

While there are numerous foods that can help you maintain a healthy, white smile, nothing is more effective than professional whitening treatments and cleanings. If you are worried about the color of your teeth or want to improve your smile for an upcoming event or other affair, contact us today! We’ll be glad to help!


How an Air Flosser Can Improve Your Oral Health Over Traditional Floss

Have you ever tried using an air flosser? It is a relatively new item that you can use in your battle to get the cleanest teeth and gums possible. Some people struggle with using traditional floss, which leaves their mouth to struggle with the consequences.

Instead of going without flossing, or not doing it well enough, you have options. One of them is the air flosser. This helps you to get more debris out of between your teeth, helping to improve your oral health.

Benefits of Using an Air Flosser

The main benefit most people talk about when they discuss air flossers is the fact that they are painless. Air flossers use microburst technology to push air between your teeth. They often use a small stream of water along with the air to help remove that debris more easily. You can also use mouthwash if you would prefer to use that over water.

Many people discuss how easy it is to use an air flosser over traditional floss, meaning they are more likely to use it. Plus, once you get used to how it works, you can floss your entire mouth very well in about one minute. This gives you back the time you would otherwise have spent struggling with traditional floss.

It does not hurt, and it works. This is what most people experience when they give an air flosser a try. If you want a way to incorporate better flossing into your oral hygiene routine, then you may want to consider the benefits of an air flosser. They are not expensive, but they are a great investment in your oral health and the future of your mouth. Find out more by asking us about them at your next appointment.

How You Can Makeover Your Smile

makeover your smile with porcelain veneers

Smile makeover with porcelain veneers by Dr. Shapiro

Your smile contributes so much to your personality. So much so that you can makeover your smile and it can be the best thing you can do for yourself.

While cosmetics have evolved dramatically over the years, a variety of treatment options have also been developed to enhance your smile and make it easy for you to achieve a beautifully pleasing and healthy smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry is the area of the field that helps increase your self-confidence by reversing dental imperfections. Undergoing procedures can also help you look your best in any situation you might be facing.

Undergoing Teeth Whitening Can Make Your Smile More Radiant

This is simply becoming the most popular cosmetic services for most people as your set of teeth is naturally susceptible to discoloration. Mostly a pain-free and a quick and easy procedure, undergoing tooth whitening not only make your teeth look whiter and healthier, but it can also slash your age in half giving you a youthful appearance.

Popular celebrities and TV personalities commonly undergo this procedure which is why it has become one of the most sought after dental services. Our office utilizes the Zoom whitening process. It involves a gel preparation and an intense cool blue light to activate the compound and give you a whiter set of teeth. The whole procedure takes about an hour.

Bonding to Cover Up Dental Concerns and Hide Other Problems

If your tooth has a small chip that does not require too much attention or if you have a gap between your front teeth, undergoing a bonding procedure using composite can do so much as to give you a naturally beautiful smile and hide imperfections. This can be a good way to cover up minor issues concerning the aesthetics of your teeth. Bonding preserves tooth structure.

Restorative materials like porcelain  veneers have been one of the most common ways to correct these problems. Not only does it create a naturally beautiful exterior over your smile, but can also help boost your self-confidence while removing little tooth structure.

A lot of cosmetic enhancements can be done to help you get a more radiant smile, simply contact us for more information.

Keep Smiling LI…

How Getting Biannual Oral Cancer Screenings Can Help Your Mouth Stay Healthy

Each year, as reported by the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 50,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the United States.

Research has shown that approximately 1 in 5 people will die every hour due to this diagnosis. The good news is that if detected and diagnosed early, oral cancer is preventable.

The best way to accomplish this is by visiting the dentist at least twice a year for thorough examinations, professional cleanings, and biannual oral cancer screenings.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancers

Although everyone is at risk of developing some sort of oral cancer, some people are at higher risk than others. Genetics and certain lifestyles may play a role in your risk factor. Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer; individuals age fifty-five and older have a greater risk factor of getting oral cancer; tobacco use, such as smoking, chewing, or vaping increases your risk for oral cancer; seven out of ten cancer patients drink heavily.

Also, oral cancer statistics have changed due to HPV. Individuals at a younger age are being diagnosed with some sort of oral cancer because of the greater exposure to the Human Papillomavirus.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

While some individuals will have an irritation or sore that does not go away, others may develop white or red patches, pain, numbness or tenderness in the lips and mouth.

Thickening or lumps in the tissues in the neck and head may sometimes develop with oral cancer. Some people may experience a feeling of something stuck in their throat; soreness or hoarseness of their throat; or change in their bite.

To ensure your mouth stays healthy, it is imperative to have biannual oral cancer screenings in addition to regular brushing and flossing. Contact us for more information on oral cancer and biannual oral cancer screenings.

Keep Smiling LI…

How Long Does A Crown Last?

Many people who were told they needed a crown to fix a tooth have wondered how long will that dental crown will last. The lifespan of a dental crown can range anywhere from  5-30 years, in some cases they have even lasted a lifetime. That is quite a range in the potential lifespan of a crown. My experience dictates that a crown should last at least 20 years. Should the crown fail, a new crown can replace it with the ultimate goal of keeping that tooth in your mouth until the end of your life. Keeping that tooth in your head is my definition of a successful restoration.

How do crowns fail?

How long does a crown last?

Ceramic Dental Crown

One way of a crown failing is when it breaks. Crowns are usually made out of ceramics which are essentially glass.  If stressed in just the right way they can fracture. Another failure is the breakdown of the tooth beyond the edge of the crown. This can be caused by decay or stress of the tooth. Crowns usually break down at the margin of the restoration. This is where there is a seam between the tooth and crown. Bacteria can make their way into this seam and cause breakdown. When decay starts it can sometimes be patched if it is in an accessible area. If you can keep food and plaque from sitting at the margin you can prevent decay from starting. Daily brushing, flossing and regular check ups at your dental office can help preserve the crown and catch any breakdown at an early stage.  By doing all of the should keep you out of trouble.

The keys to a long-lasting crown

It is the dentists responsibility to make sure you get a crown that can potentially last a lifetime. Having adequate tooth structure and having margins that are cleanable are two of the most important factors. The fit of the crown is extremely important. Margins that are well adapted to the tooth will help ensure a crown will be problem free for many years to come. The skill of the dentist and the quality of the laboratory used can combine to achieve a great result.

Alternatives to crowns

Ceramic Dental Onlay

Ceramic Dental Onlay

Today there are great alternatives to dental crowns. Bonded ceramic onlays can be used to restore teeth that in the past were crowned. These onlays can even be done on teeth that previously had root canal treatment. The benefit of an onlay is that good tooth structure is not sacrificed for the sake of the restoration. The sides of the tooth can be retained. The procedure is the same as a crown. Impressions are taken of the tooth and the laboratory makes the restoration which fits into your tooth like a puzzle piece. It is the design that is different. The cost is also the same as a crown.

There are even times that bonded composite filling can be used to restore broken down teeth. This is a less costly procedure, but there is an increased risk of failure as bonded fillings are not as strong as laboratory made restorations.

New materials and procedures in crown fabrication

Using newest technology crowns today are better than ever! Space age ceramics like Zirconia are stronger and more fracture resistant. They can and even bond to a tooth structure. Nowadays impressions can be taken using cameras with 3D technology.  This 3D technology creates super accurate representations of the teeth for the lab to make restorations. The benefit to you is no goopy impression material. Restorations are then designed on a computer screen and then sent to a milling machine to make your new restoration out of a block of ceramic. When these are delivered to you they are bonded to the tooth. The fit of these restorations is truly incredible.

So-How Long Does a Crown Last?

What is the answer to the question, “how long does a crown last?” The best answer is it that it lasts longer when effort is put into making it and maintaining it.  When done well that new crown you get today has the potential to last a lifetime. One of the biggest factors in how long your crown will last is related to seeing a skilled dentist who really cares about you. Realizing that a crown is not always the best option is important for both the dentist and the patient. I often believe that the least amount of dentistry is the best dentistry. Preserving tooth structure is always at the top of my list. Just because your insurance will cover the cost of a crown does not mean that it is the best choice. Recently I had a new patient report to me that her previous dentist encouraged her to replace a 5 year old crown because her insurance will cover it again. Wow! Not a reason to replace for my patients. My motto is “Don’t fix it if it’s not broke.”   Always learn your options and please have dentistry done for you, not to you.

For a related post on “How Long Should a Composite Fillings Last” Click Here

Keep Smiling LI…