Chewing on Ice Can Damage All Parts of Your Mouth

Chewing on Ice Can Damage All Parts of Your MouthA lot of people like to chew ice. For some of us, it takes us back to childhood, when we used to crunch ice from our slushies. While crunching ice may bring us memories of a happy childhood, in reality, crunching ice is not good for you. Crunching ice is really not good for our dental health.

In fact, crunching ice can cause significant damage to your entire mouth, not just your teeth. Not sure how that works? Keep reading. We can give you some information on why ice chewing is bad for your oral health.

Why Chewing Ice Cubes is Bad for Your Mouth

First, chewing ice puts a lot of pressure on your teeth. This is bad for your teeth, because while the spongy inside of your teeth is flexible, the enamel that covers your teeth is not. Chewing ice may not hurt your teeth the first time you do it, but over time, it can wear out the enamel just as if you’ve been grinding your teeth for months. Also, one wrong chomp on a piece of ice could result in a chip or a fracture in your tooth enamel.

Second, if you chew ice on a regular basis, you can cause wearing of your teeth as well, no matter how small the pieces are. This is because chewing ice causes a repetition of hot and cold cycles in your mouth. These hot and cold cycles mean that your tooth enamel is expanding and contracting between cycles. If your mouth has fillings, they expand and contract at a different rate than the enamel. These can lead to microcracks. Chewing ice can also reduce the life of your fillings.

Reasons You May Chew Ice

It has been found that low iron levels can create a desire to chew ice. Emotional stress and other nutritional issues may also play a role. If you can’t break the habit a trip to your physician may be in order.

Ice Can Harm Other Dental Components As Well

If you are one of the many adults who wear braces, or have partials, you need to know that chewing ice can damage these as well. Brackets can break, and wires can move when you chew ice. Pieces of metal or partial plates can break off and damage your teeth cheeks and tongue.

Also, because pieces of ice can be sharp, the shards can cut your gums, tongue, soft palate or cheek. If you have questions about chewing ice, why not give us a call? We would love to talk to you about your ice chewing habit.

How a Numb Tooth is Treated

A happy patient after she overcame her dental anxiety.If your teeth have gone numb, you may be feeling despair and defeat, wondering what your next step is and if any options are available. There are several treatment options, ranging from simple procedures to more severe, permanent alterations.

Preventative Care

The easiest way to avoid needing treatment is to avoid injuring or harming the tooth in the first place. When engaging in sports that may injure your mouth be sure to wear the proper safety gear. You should also make sure to practice dental hygiene, brushing twice a day and flossing daily to ensure that bacteria don’t build up to the point that more invasive methods are needed.

Drilling to the Root of the Problem

Most commonly, the solution to a numbed or deadened tooth is not necessarily to treat that tooth, but to ensure that the problem cannot go on to other teeth, by a process called a root canal. During a root canal, we remove the pulp and surrounding infected matter of your dead tooth, then fill the inside with gutta-percha (a natural latex polymer) and seal it to ensure that the infection does not spread to other teeth.

This is not always a viable solution, however. Sometimes, the dead tooth will have to removed entirely, via a tooth extraction. If this happens, we typically replace the lost tooth with an implant or bridge. For particularly severe cases, a partial or full denture may be required to prevent your good teeth from shifting around or loosening, or bone and gingiva loss which can lead to more problems in the future.

If your tooth is numb, you should contact us immediately before the problem has a chance to escalate further, to see what treatment we recommend to save your mouth from permanent, potentially disfiguring damage.

Wisdom Tooth Pain

Woman suffering from wisdom tooth painIf you are reading this you are probably suffering from wisdom tooth pain. I’d bet you are between the ages of 17 to 25, as that is when they usually try to erupt. Wisdom teeth, also known as third molars, are a common source of pain as they try to come through the gum tissue. There is usually not enough room for them in the average mouth. The ultimate solution to solving the problem is their removal. This is usually done by an oral surgeon. What follows are some tips to help ease the pain until they can be


The cause of the pain

If you are in pain it is usually caused by inflammation of the gum tissue around the tooth. This can be caused by food getting caught around the tooth. The gum then swells and often bleeds easily. Sometimes the gum can swell so much that you can wind up biting on it which will cause additional swelling and pain.

What you can do

Pain from inflamed gum tissue can possibly be reduced by aggressively cleaning the area with a tooth brush. The goal of this is to remove the dental plaque and the bacteria it contains. Brushing with a toothpaste designed to improve gum health, such as Parodontax, can potentially help. A rinse you can use that might be helpful is to mix up 1/4 teaspoon of bleach in 8 ounces of water. This amount should be good for about one week. Mix it in a covered mason jar. Rinse with a small amount of this solution for 1 minute then rinse with tap water. Do not swallow this solution. The solution is designed to reduce bacteria which can be one source of the pain and inflammation.

When to see a dentist

If your pain continues more than a couple of days or if you have any swelling of your face you need to see a dentist. Pain in your neck on the side of the wisdom tooth can be swollen lymph nodes which also indicate the need to seek dental care. If you have an infection that the body is responding to it is beyond anything you can treat at home.

What your dentist will do

Your dentist will evaluate the area to see if you can keep your teeth or if they need to be extracted. At times the problem is localized to the flap of skin over the tooth. This tissue can often be removed if there is enough room for your wisdom teeth to come in. At times the dentist will clean out the area around the tooth to provide some temporary relief. They may prescribe antibiotics. Often it is best to remove the tooth as soon as possible.

Wisdom tooth pain can be avoided

I have seen so many patients have problems with their wisdom teeth that I routinely recommend removal of all four teeth when space for them is limited. This is often done before the roots have completed their development so the surgery is easier for both the surgeon and patient.

Please remember that pain and swelling is a signal that something is wrong. Always seek medical assistance when small problems continue to worsen. I recommend that even if you are able to eliminate your wisdom tooth pain yourself that you see a dentist to evaluate your teeth as soon as possible. You will never regret taking better care of that smile.

Keep Smiling LI…



Last of the Dental Myths

[Read more…]

How a Mouth Guard Can Improve Your Quality of Sleep

How a Mouth Guard Can Improve Your Quality of SleepThere are many causes of interrupted or disjointed sleep that can be traced back to your mouth. Fortunately, mouth guards aren’t just for professional athletes anymore, and many options exist that can be tailored to your particular needs.

Catching Z’s Without Sawing Wood

Most people who snore are unaware of it (although their partners may be reading this article instead, in that case!), but for some people, the act of snoring is jarring enough to wake them up from a restful slumber. A mouth guard will hold your mouth in a shape that encourages free air flow, preventing the wheezing and snorting that can accompany nocturnal inhalations and exhalations, while remaining comfortable enough to not disturb your sleep.

Sleep Apnea Terror

For many people with sleep apnea, the fear of spontaneously stopping their breathing in their sleep can lead to horrified insomnia. There are devices, however, that can help with that, and give you your night back. The MAD (mandibular advancement device) snaps over the dental arches and easily open and close, preventing obstructions and other preventions of their breathing.

Put Through the Grinder

Even if you think you are sleeping well, many adults grind their teeth in their sleep, and the pain of this can be enough to briefly interrupt your sleep schedule. (To say nothing of the pain that follows the next morning.) A mouth guard can help keep your teeth safely removed from each other, so that you harmlessly gnaw on rubber instead of eroding your own teeth further.

There are other preventable issues that might be interrupting your sleep, for which a mouth guard may be a convenient and affordable fix. Speak with one of our qualified professionals today and discuss what is keeping you up, so we help you reclaim a full night’s sleep.

If Not Now…When???

If Not Now…When???Today protests around the world are being held by students that are claiming their future. The world we are living in is changing and they are asking the people of the world to unite to preserve their future.

The debate over whether man has impacted this planet is over. The world is changing at an increasingly accelerated rate. Climate is changing throughout the globe with an increasing number of record-breaking events. Species are declining. There are reports of decreasing insect populations, most notably bees and butterfly’s. See for yourself by the number of insects drawn to your outside light or are on your car’s windshield. Coral reefs are being impacted with changes in their resident fish population. The list is long but you get the idea. In reality half of all plant and animal species are threatened by climate change. I believe that the bigger picture is that it is the human species that will most be affected by climate change and we will know in our hearts that we did this to ourselves. Yeah it hurts to know that the disease was self-inflicted. It will really be no wonder, as when we look around we find that many diseases are self-inflicted by the lifestyle we lead and the choices we make. Just look at increasing levels of obesity.

Change is inevitable

In the world we live in nothing stays the same. If you really want to see where your going, look back 10 years and then look at where you are now. Draw the line between the to points and extend that line 10 more years. Things better or worse? The things you put energy into get better. The things you neglect get worse. Ignore your teeth you lose them (I had to get something dental into this). Neglect your car it stops running (no gas). Neglect your spouse you split (or live a miserable existence). We need to take care of the things that are important to us (by putting positive energy in) for them to be there for us. Why is this planet any different?

The lack of respect for the planet

We haven’t been kind to this world over the last 200 years. We can look at the pollution of our environment, an example being mercury levels in fish. Or how about the increasing use of herbicides and pesticides. Do you really think that these poisons getting into our food supply can be a good thing? You might want to check out this report –Weed-Killing Chemical Linked to Cancer Found in some Children’s Breakfast Foods. 

Deforestation is another attack on this planet. We lose 50 thousand acres of forest each year. How can cutting down all those trees not have an effect on us? They clean the air and provide habit for wildlife. Then there is always the ever debatable increasing levels of CO2 in our air. Greener plants??? I don’t think so. Increased temperature??? I’d put money on that one. The list is long, but I think you get the idea. We haven’t been so kind to Mother Earth. If we keep doing what we have been doing, where are we headed? We need to put some positive energy into this planet now or future generations will look back at this time period and say “WTF were they thinking?” I truly believe that those in power who choose to ignore the problem are committing crimes against humanity. Only time will tell.

The power to choose

In the end we have the power to choose. We can choose to take better care of ourselves and our planet. Yes, it takes energy to choose, especially when the choice is different then what you have done before. It’s  always easier to keep doing what you have been doing. The first step is acknowledging the problem exists and then choosing to do something about it. We need to realize that it is worth the effort to save the planet as much as it’s worth the effort to lose weight. We can’t go wrong by taking better care of ourselves and our environment. When it comes to the environment anybody that disagrees with that is probably more concerned about money, because for them it always comes down to money. Kill the planet to make a buck.

So the real question is “If Not Now…When?”. If not now, I want you to look these kids in the eye and tell them they are not worth making the change now.

Your Gum Health is Directly Linked to Your Heart Health

Your Gum Health is Directly Linked to Your Heart HealthMore research than ever has connected a healthy mouth to a healthy heart. This supports the need for good oral health in order to prevent a host of other medical issues.

By better understanding the connection between oral and overall health, you-ll know why dental hygiene needs to be a priority in your life.

Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Several research studies have found a connection between gum disease and heart disease. The exact cause-and-effect hasn’t been proven, but the studies have shown that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease. Scientists believe this may be due to inflammation caused by gum disease.

In addition to increasing heart disease risk, gum disease could exacerbate existing heart conditions. This is because bacteria in the mouth could make their way into the blood stream and travel to the heart and other organs. For example, patients at a heightened risk for infective endocarditis might require antibiotics before they undergo dental procedures.

Gum Disease and Stroke

Other studies have pointed to a connection between gum disease and stroke. One particular study looked at the relationship between oral infections and stroke risk factors. Researchers found that people diagnosed with stroke were more likely to have oral infections compared to people in the control group.

Protecting Your Gums and Heart

Good dental hygiene and regular dental exams are the best way to protect your mouth against gum disease. Be sure to brush your teeth at least twice per day and floss daily. A plaque or tartar controlled mouthwash with fluoride can also help to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

In addition to caring for your teeth, regular dental appointments are crucial in order to maintain healthy gums. If it has been a while since your last appointment, give us a call today to set up your next dental cleaning.

You Need to Tell the Truth about Your Flossing When You Come to See Us

You Need to Tell the Truth about Your Flossing When You Come to See UsThe American Dental Association recommends flossing at least once a day, but we know that for many people, this is a challenge. That’s why some of our patients come in for their cleanings and are not completely honest about their flossing habits.

We want you to be truthful about how much you floss so that we know how to best help you.

Flossing is Critical for Good Oral Health

Flossing plays an important role in the prevention of gum disease and tooth decay. Plaque builds up around the gum line and between the teeth where your toothbrush won’t reach. Failure to floss will allow bacterial buildup that can wreak havoc on your mouth.

We Can Tell if You Don’t Floss

For the most part, lying about your flossing habits is unnecessary, because we can tell whether or not you floss by the condition of your teeth. When plaque isn’t removed immediately, it turns into a substance called tartar, and this hard material cannot be removed by any type of at-home oral hygiene. We’ll need to use specialized tools to remove it.

We Can Help

Flossing is relatively easy, and we can show you how to do it so that it is painless and comfortable. If you have dexterity issues, we can recommend a pre-threaded flosser or other tools to make the process easier. Otherwise, you- simply need to wrap about 18 inches of floss around your middle fingers. Work the floss gently between the teeth in a back and forth motion and be sure to move on to a new section of floss for each space.

The next time you come in to see us for a dental cleaning, please know that you can be honest with us about your oral hygiene. We want to help you maintain a healthy mouth and beautiful smile, and to do that, we need an accurate picture of how you care for your teeth.

Would Veneers Improve Your Smile?

Would Veneers Improve Your Smile?Absolutely! You can use dental veneers to mask the imperfections in your teeth and achieve a much-improved smile. A smile is a big part of your life. As much as you might want to wear that smile as often as possible, dental imperfections may come in the way. Your smile should be an element of pride, but tooth imperfections may be making you embarrassed to show your teeth out. It is in this light that cosmetic dentistry came up with veneers.

Veneers allow you to get a dental transformation, enabling you to have beautiful and well-aligned teeth that match your natural features.

Veneers are made out of thin shell-like porcelain. These are crafted and customized to your perfect fit. A cosmetic dentist determines the size, shape, and color of your teeth to make the veneers appear more natural. Once prepared, the dentist carefully sticks them to the surface of your teeth, and you achieve an instant makeover.

Advantages of Veneers

Before dental veneers

Before dental veneers

After porcelain dental veneers

Dr. Shapiro created a new smile with 10 porcelain veneers

They are long lasting. If you properly maintain and care for them, your veneers can last up to 20 years or more. These dental enhancements have a non-porous surface that is resistant to chipping and scratches to ensure extended durability.

They give a natural appearance. Veneers blend so well with your natural appearance that other people cannot tell that you are wearing them. Also they are stain-resistant because of the nature of their structure. This feature allows them to retain their original color over time.

A wide range of dental imperfections can be masked using veneers. Veneers can be crafted for one tooth, multiple teeth or the entire smile. They can be used to cover up discoloration, a crack, a gap or a chip of the tooth.

As incredible as they sound, dental enhancements should only be applied to healthy teeth that are free of infections and gum disease. Your dental health should always come first. Book an appointment with us and find out if a dental enhancement is the right fit for you.

Why Your Teeth Need Vitamin D

Why Your Teeth Need Vitamin DVitamin D is one of the most important vitamins, and your body needs a good amount of it in order to function. One of the things that Vitamin D does is promote strong teeth and protect your gums and mouth against bacteria. If you have a deficiency in Vitamin D, it’s likely that you will develop cavities, gum disease, and other issues.

Unfortunately, many people don’t realize exactly how vital this vitamin is to the body or what it does for your teeth.

Vitamin D and Calcium

In order to absorb enough calcium for the body to create strong bones and teeth, you have to have a good amount of Vitamin D in the body. This vitamin makes it easier for the body to absorb calcium from food and drink. If you’re deficient in Vitamin D, you’re going to only get around 10 to 15% of the calcium from your food. This can lead to increasing your risk of infection, developing osteoporosis, and other health issues in addition to having weaker teeth and having a higher risk of gum disease.

What Vitamin D Does

Unlike many different vitamins, the body doesn’t absorb Vitamin D from food. Instead, it creates Vitamin D itself. This process is activated when your skin is exposed to sunlight. Of course, you can also get Vitamin D from supplements, but the Vitamin D created by your body is more potent and easier to use.

Once created, your body transforms Vitamin D into calcitriol, its active form. Calcitriol is then circulated throughout the body and functions similar to hormones, promoting cell growth, helping to battle infection, and reducing inflammation. It helps the teeth by fighting off infection that can lead to gum disease.

Short on Vitamin D?

If you know you have a Vitamin D deficiency, your doctor likely has you on supplements. It’s also important that you make sure you make your six-month checkups and call us when you believe you have the beginnings of gum disease so we can keep your mouth as healthy as possible.