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.

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.

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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.

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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

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More Dental Myths

confused by dental myths

Confused???

This is the fourth of a five-part series on common dental myths. Through the many years of practicing dentistry I have heard many patients have repeatedly expressed the following dental myths and quotes. I hear some of these almost on a daily basis from well-meaning patients who struggle to make sense of all the information that is presented to them.  Read them and hopefully you will learn from them.  Understanding  the truth will help you make better decisions in the future.

16- Straight teeth will only give you a better smile. Straight teeth can give you that great smile but the benefits go way beyond that. Having straight teeth will give you a better bite which will lead to less wear of your teeth. A good bite where teeth glide instead of collide. This will lead to healthier gums and less enamel loss. They are also easier to keep clean.

17-A hard toothbrush is best-A soft toothbrush will get the job done as long as it is used daily. Plaque is easily removed by the soft bristles and they wont do any damage to you teeth or gums. Left on your teeth it turns to calculus (tarter) which is more difficult to remove.

18-I am brushing my gums away and wearing grooves in my teeth. Unlikely-receding gums and grooves in the neck of the tooth are often caused by a bad bite which is stressing out your teeth. Teeth are designed to take force in an up and down direction, if they are stressed sideways the bone and gums then break down. The teeth now flex under the stress and you get abfractions (a fancy way of saying grooves).

19. Replacing a missing tooth with an implant is more costly the  replacing the missing tooth with a bridge. In the short run this might be true, but when you consider that an implant supported tooth has a great probability of lasting a lifetime this is not true. Bridges are more difficult to maintain and if you have a problem with one tooth of a bridge you have a problem with the whole bridge. Replace any bridge twice and you have exceeded the cost of the implant tooth.

20-Denture adhesive is the best way to keep my dentures in my mouth. It is one way but definitely not the best. Today we can place two implants to help stabilize a denture and keep it from bouncing around and causing more bone loss. Often you can retrofit your original dentures to accept the implants.  It is a quality of life issue for today and especially for the future.

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Where Sugar Sensitivity Comes From

Having good oral hygiene is important for a number of reasons. Your overall oral health is the starting point of feeling well and being healthy physically.

It may seem like we are nagging you when you come in for your visit by constantly reminding you to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day, but our job is to make sure we do everything we can to keep you smiling. Here are some things that may cause sugar sensitivity in your teeth.

What Causes Sugar Sensitivity

Any kind of sensitivity in your teeth may come from erosion of enamel on your teeth. This can be a result of brushing too hard, wear on your teeth, or eating or drinking things with a higher acid content. Sugary foods are the main cause of cavities in your teeth. Without proper oral hygiene practices everyday buildup of bacteria and plaque will increase your risk of cavities, and increase pain and discomfort.

This may also lead to hot and cold sensitivity, or other future problems if left unattended. Sensitivity to anything is the first warning sign that something is wrong. There are a couple ways we can help you get rid of the discomfort. Filling a cavity or getting a crown is designed to help you save your tooth/teeth. Most likely no one will even notice you had work done, but you will definitely notice the pain is gone.

We are here to help you take care of the things that are going to happen. With so many things to tempt us, and busy lifestyles, things get in the way sometimes. Our job is to make sure you are happy, healthy, and keep a beautiful smile. No one wants to hide their smile or be in pain.

We can help you with diet change decisions, figure out why you may not be sleeping well at night, or feeling well overall.  Whatever questions you may have, we can help you find a solution. Please don’t hesitate to give us a call and schedule an appointment to come in. If you have pain or discomfort that lasts for more than a couple of days, please make sure you get in right away.

You Can Help Fight Off Cavities with Dark Chocolate

So many think that candy and chocolate of any kind are bad for your teeth, but a new study that has been conducted states otherwise. When it comes to dark chocolate, that strong bodied flavorful sweet – it is actually great for the mouth and brings many other health benefits with it, as well.

Dark chocolate does not hold all of the sugary extras that come with milk or white chocolate, which makes it an ideal choice to go with for the integrity of your teeth.

Dark Chocolate is Shown as a Great Choice for Your Teeth

If you are going to go for a sweet to enjoy, many dentists are recommending that people choose dark chocolate over the other alternatives. This not only comes with the antioxidants that are great for the body, but also can provide the user with a way to fight decay, plaque buildup and other problems that usually happen. You don’t want to worry about your teeth, breaking down because of the sugary sweets you are putting in your mouth and now you don’t have to worry about that.

Eating a small amount of dark chocolate, a day can give your teeth those vitamins, minerals and tooth saving properties that are needed for a healthier smile overall. This is a smile that you want to have and one that does not have the cavities in it that hold you back.

If you are wanting to know more about your overall oral health, then give us a call today to learn more. We can provide you with a cleaning and exam to give you an idea of how your oral health is and what needs to be done to make sure it is in the best shape possible. You can ensure that you have a healthier, brighter smile overall.

Unbelievable Dental Myths

Thinking about Dental mythsThis is the third of a five-part series on common dental myths.Through the many years of practicing dentistry I have heard many patients have repeatedly expressed the following dental myths and quotes. I hear some of these almost on a daily basis from well-meaning patients who struggle to make sense of all the information that is presented to them.  Read them and hopefully you will learn from them.  Your understanding will help you make better decisions in the future.

 

11-Teeth wear as we age-Some wear is inevitable but excessive wear can be prevented and controlled by having a good bite and controlling grinding. Seeing a dentist to cover exposed dentin by bonding can dramatically slow down the rate of wear and improve your smile in the process.

12-Wisdom teeth cause crowding of teeth. Third molars don’t cause crowding of your front teeth. They are too far back and don’t push your teeth forward. Take them out anyway as most people don’t have enough room for them.

13-Gum chewing is bad for you. Another fallacy, though if you are prone to decay chew sugarless gum. Chewing gum stimulates salivary flow so it is a good substitute for brushing after a meal. It can even help alleviate TMJ pain by exercising the joint. If you do chew gum just make sure it is sugarless.

14-I have no pain from my mouth so I’m OK and don’t need to see a dentist. I had a patient who used to brag about never having a cavity in his entire life. Sounds great till you realize he didn’t get his teeth cleaned either and I was making him a set of upper and lower full dentures. His teeth were literally falling out of his head. Cavities can cause pain but gum disease is a silent destroyer of smiles.

15-All teeth that have root canal treatment need crowns. Can be the case but some root canaled teeth can be restored with bonded composite fillings or more conservative bonded onlays. Often most of your good tooth structure can be saved.

I hope you might have just learned something. Subscribe to our blog to keep up to date on our posts.

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