First Signs of Wisdom Tooth Decay to Pay Attention To

Wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 to 25 and unless something is wrong with them, people barely notice that they are coming out. Unfortunately, problems with wisdom teeth are very common considering its location and limited gum space.

One of the most common wisdom tooth complications is tooth decay because it is usually difficult to reach wisdom teeth while brushing, which means dental plaque remains on the teeth for a long time.

If you experience pain at the back part of your gums or notice that your breath is bad, it is best that you see us immediately for a dental examination.

How to Address Wisdom Tooth Decay

Wisdom tooth decay can be addressed in two ways depending on the situation. For one it can be repaired like ordinary teeth by using dental fillings, provided that the wisdom tooth is readily accessible, fully exposed, and the cavities or level of decay is relatively small. If that is not the case, the only option would be extraction.

In the majority of cases, wisdom tooth extraction is the better option rather than tooth restoration or repair. If you have trouble reaching the wisdom tooth when you brush your teeth, then it is most likely difficult to access with dental instruments as well.

It is important to note also that even though the wisdom tooth can be repaired using dental filling, it would still be difficult to keep it plaque-free considering its location. Hence, the chance of recurrent decay is very high. Considering all these things, extraction appears to be a more practical and sensible option.

Call us to set an appointment today so we can carefully examine the condition of your wisdom teeth and discuss with you the available options on how to prevent wisdom teeth problems and other oral health issues as well.

After Acidic Foods and Drinks, How Long Should You Wait to Brush?

Brushing teeth after eating is good and for all reasons you may think of such as cleaning bacteria and doing away with food particles that may contribute to the growth of bacteria and formation of plaque. There is nothing wrong with brushing your teeth after eating, but it will depend on what you have eaten.

Things are a little different if you are taking acid foods. You may want to know when to brush if you are taking such acidic foods or drinks.

What Happens When You Eat Acidic Foods?

If you take sugary or acidic foods and drinks, they tend to soften the enamel. If you brush right after you have taken these foods and drinks, it may not be good for you. Brushing after taking sugary or acidic snacks or drinks abrades your tooth structure. A soft enamel due to acids will wear out easily when brushing.

The American Dental Association points out that if your teeth are repeatedly exposed to phosphoric acid that’s present in soft drinks, it can contribute to erosion of the hard tissue or the enamel. This can result in permanent damage to the teeth.

How Long Should You Wait?

When you have eaten foods containing acidic substance or sugars, you may want to allow the acids to be dissolved. It is advisable you wait for about 30 minutes or so to brush your teeth. During this time, the acids will be diluted and washed away by the saliva or the water you take after a meal. That’s why it is important to drink a glass of water, soon you finish eating so that it can help wash away the acids.

That said, there are alternatives to waiting to brush the teeth once you have taken sugary or acidic drinks and foods. You can try eating foods low in sugar and carbohydrates after you have taken something acidic. When you do this, it helps reduce the damaging acids, which are created by such foods.

Contact our office to discuss about your oral care and health. We can help you keep a healthy smile by ensuring the right oral care and treatment.




Educating Yourself Can Ease Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety or fear of going to the dentist is a very common phenomenon among people of various age group, race, or background.

In the United States alone, it is estimated that 15% of Americans suffer from this condition. While the causes for fearing the dentist are quite varied, most of them actually stems from fear of the unknown.

Assuming the worst without any valid basis can trigger anxiety, which is why you should try to learn more about the dental procedure you need to undergo to beat nervousness since knowledge gives you power. Educating yourself helps you to be mentally and physically prepared, thereby easing the unreasonable fear.

Other Ways to Cope with Dental Anxiety

There are several ways on how to cope with dental anxiety apart from arming yourself with loads of information, so you know what to expect. For one, you can come visit us first and see how we deal with our patients.

Have a look around, chat with our receptionist, and ask us questions. Feel free to share your thoughts and what you are most anxious about when you think about dental examinations or checkups. This way we can rationally and objectively address what you are anxious about.

Secondly, you can also come to your appointment with your friend, so you have someone you trust to support and be with you during the whole time. You can also bring your earphone and listen to music while we check your teeth to keep your focus off your fear towards something that you perceive to be more enjoyable.

You can also suggest for us to take breaks if you feel overwhelmed or to come up with hand signals, so you can still communicate what you want even when you are unable to talk during a dental procedure.

Whatever it is, we are here to help you not only with your oral health needs, but for you to appreciate the benefits of paying us a regular visit as well.

Dental Myths No 2

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 second 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.

6-White tooth colored fillings don’t last as long as silver. Properly placed tooth colored composite fillings can outlast silver fillings. Composite fillings can truly be restorations that will strengthen teeth through bonding and don’t expand like silver amalgams which often crack teeth. In addition bonded composite restorations don’t contain mercury like dental amalgams. Mercury is toxic to the body so avoid it if you can.

7- Denture wearers have no need to see a dentist. People with dentures benefit from seeing a dentist to evaluate the fit of their dentures. There is a 2 billion dollar a year market for dental adhesives in the US for a reason- lots of ill fitting dentures.   Patients with dentures often have yeast infections and soft tissue lesions. See a dentist even you don’t have teeth. They will also check your mouth for oral cancer during this exam.

8-Root Canals don’t work, teeth are lost anyway. A properly done root canal combined with a proper restoration can and will often last a lifetime. The success of root canals done by a competent dentist should be in the high 90% range. If most of your root canals fail then I suggest you change dentists.

9-Bad teeth run in my family. Bad teeth may run in families but not for the reason you think. People blame genetics for bad teeth, The reality is that most bad teeth are the result of poor habits. A lack of brushing , flossing and a lack of regular visits to the dentist. It is even possible that everyone was just seeing the same old time dentist. Tooth decay and gum disease are the result of food and bacteria (plaque) sitting on teeth. Remove the plaque and you lessen the chance of decay. Fix problems when they are small and you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

10-Tooth whitening destroys enamel- Teeth are strong, whitening is safe as long as it is monitored by a professional. I’ve had patients who tried this on their own with over the counter products and have seen some nasty burns. Crest white strips are safe and work for some but see your dentist for a more effective solution.

Hope you enjoyed these. There are more to follow. If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Keep Smiling LI…




Are You Forgetting to Brush the Roof of Your Mouth?

woman getting ready to brush her mouthThis is a typical dental hygiene routine for most people. They brush their teeth what they believe to be long enough, sometimes brush their tongue, and rinse their toothbrush. When they have time, they make sure to floss and then rinse with mouthwash.

Then, the person goes on about their day believing they did enough to keep their mouth healthy and clean. There are actually a few things wrong with this scenario.

How to Properly Care for Your Mouth

First, you need to make sure you are brushing for the full two minutes. Shorting your brushing time is not good, just like brushing too long can be a problem, too. Second, you should always brush your tongue each time you brush your teeth.

This simple move can cut down on how many bacteria you have floating around your mouth at any given moment. Finally, you need to make sure that you also brush all of the surfaces of your mouth before you go to rinsing your toothbrush.

This should include the insides of your cheeks, the outside of your jaws, and the roof of your mouth. The more of these surfaces that you miss, the more bacteria get left in your mouth to cause trouble.

You should also make sure to floss your mouth at least once every single day, and always use mouthwash after flossing to ensure you get anti-microbial agents where you just removed debris from flossing.Brushing before bedtime is best.  Call our office today to find out more about if you are brushing properly or not.

We will examine your entire mouth and look for any signs that you may be missing areas of your mouth with your toothbrush. If you are missing places, we will help you correct any damage there may be, and restore your oral health.

Acid Damage to Your Teeth Can Leave Your Teeth Suffering

Woman suffering from acid damage to Eric teethAcids can damage your teeth and not only make them look bad, but hurt you too. This is why you need to know as much as you can about acid damage, or erosion, and how to avoid it. We can help you as well if you need a dentist.

If your teeth are suffering from acid damage, here are some things you can do to help with this problem. You can also call us for the help you need with this.

What Causes Acid Damage to Your Teeth?

Your diet can cause acid damage to your teeth and cause them to suffer, in return, causing you to suffer as well. Acid decalcifies your teeth and can be painful. Because of this, you need to change your diet.

The foods to avoid include anything with citrus in it and foods that are acidity. Another culprit for acid damage is soda. They contain phosphoric acid. If you already have acid damage to your teeth, call us for an appointment right away so we can help you.

Health Conditions Can Cause Problems with Acid Damage

If you have certain health conditions, believe it or not, they can cause you to suffer from acid damage to your teeth. Those who suffer from gastroesophageal acid reflux disease, or GERD, can have problems with enamel erosion. This is because this is a health condition that causes you to belch up acid from your stomach.

Things You Can do To Prevent Enamel Erosion

You will want to cut back on soda and citrus. Anything with citrus in it can cause acid to form on your teeth, eroding the enamel and causing tooth sensitivity. Drinking more water, and less of everything else you usually drink can help you too. Seeing us for help with your acid damage, or enamel erosion problems can help you too.

Learning everything you can about acid damage or enamel erosion can help your tooth sensitivity and reduce your pain. Call us and make an appointment right away as well so we can help you too.



Brides Guide to a Great Wedding Day Smile

Bride with a great smile

Congratulations! Your wedding day is coming up. This is a special day sure to be marked by many photos of your smiling face. How do you get that wedding day smile as beautiful as possible? Read on to find out.

Perfection is a Goal Not a Reality

A healthy, great looking smile means that when you smile nothing distracts or detracts from you overall appearance. A great smile enhances your overall appearance. It is possible that you might just have a great smile already, but you don’t smile because you are self-conscious of something. Others do not look at us as we do. Teeth don’t have to be perfect for you to have a great smile. Acceptance of what you have is often the easiest way to improve your smile.

As crazy as it may sound, no matter how your smile looks, you should practice smiling. A natural relaxed smile is not that easy for most of us to produce on demand. That is what you will be doing for the photographer. Begin your practicing by looking into a mirror. Once you start to get good at it you should practice anytime during your day. An added benefit of this is that smiling can reduce stress-induced hormones and can actually make you feel better.

Whiter Teeth

One of the easiest ways to improve both your smile and self-esteem is by whitening your teeth. This can be accomplished in a number of ways. I have found that some patients have effectively used Crest White Strips to whiten their teeth at home. Dentist provided home whitening can be significantly more effective than anything available over the counter. Zoom whitening done in the dental office consistently gets the wow in about an hour. Home whitening trays custom-made by the dentist deliver whitening solution to your teeth at home, for the do-it-yourselfers among us. For most brides and grooms tooth whitening is the easiest way to get a better wedding day smile.

Closing Gaps and Reshaping Smiles

For those brides who have spaces or irregular teeth, dental bonding may be right for you. Dental bonding is the application of tooth colored filling material to repair and reshape teeth. Dental bonding material can be virtually indistinguishable from your existing tooth. Today bonding can quickly and cost effectively close spaces and reshape worn or funky teeth in just one visit. The beauty of the procedure is that is possible to see the final results before you even commit to the work. This can be done through a mockup of the final result by the dentist. Bonding is often combined with an initial whitening to get your teeth their whitest and then match the composite bonding material to the new whiter shade.

If your teeth are truly looking bad then you might be a candidate for porcelain veneers. This is when porcelain is bonded to the front of your teeth to give you a brand new amazing smile. Veneers often require reshaping of the teeth prior to their placement . This makes porcelain veneers a non-reversible procedure. A well done and well maintained set of veneers can last over 20 years!

Crooked teeth-No Problem

Today it has become quite easy to move teeth to their ideal position with clear aligner therapy. The most common brand being Invisalign. The best part of having that new great smile is that your teeth will actually last longer effectively needing less dentistry through the years. Teeth that slide as opposed to collide tend to wear better, gums stay healthier and people age better having a great functional smile.

Using accelerated orthodontics tooth movements that took years now can take as few as a few months. For dental offices that have the iTero digital scanner for impression taking,  you can visualize the anticipated new position of your teeth with the Invisalign outcome simulator. The best part of the iTero is that there is no more goopy impression taking. Dentistry has truly come a long way.

Combining Cosmetic Dental Options

Depending on your individual situation you and your dentist can come up with the ideal plan for you prior to your wedding day. Tooth whitening is usually a no brainer for prospective brides. Combined with bonding  or tooth movement this may be just what you need to put that smile on your face on your special day. My recommendation is that whatever you do just do it several days if not months before the wedding. I’ve seen some over the counter whitening agents cause some injuries  to gums. The last thing you want on your wedding day is a self-inflicted wound.

One Last Thought

The most important thing to remember, whatever you decide, is that on your special day smile like no one is watching. Let your smile out no matter how your teeth look, as a smile is really more than teeth. Change the things you can, but accept what is, for at the end of the day your smile is all yours. Enjoy your special day!

Dr. Shapiro offers free consultations to brides, grooms and family members to see how he can help them get the wedding day smile that they always dreamed of. . Call Us Today so you can get that smile in time for that special day

Keep Smiling LI…



How Mouth Guards Can Benefit Your Oral Health

Oral hygiene is so important. We only get two sets of teeth, and we don’t have the first set for very long. Our adult teeth can literally last a lifetime if taken care of. Some people cringe at the thought of dentures or other dental procedures required to replace teeth.

They good news is there is a way that we can protect our teeth. You can get yourself a mouth guard. Let’s go over the reasons to consider one.

Why Should You Get a Mouth Guard?

Anyone can have a mouth guard. It should be placed in your mouth after taking out any removable pieces like a retainer or bridges. A mouth guard is used to protect your teeth. People that play sports usually use a mouth guard. Mouth guards are designed, when fitted properly, to absorb impact away from your teeth and jaw.

They do have guards you can buy at sporting goods stores and pharmacies, but the are most likely going to be big and bulky and could even fall out. I have seen the boil and bite mouth guards shift teeth and create spaces between teeth.  It’s best to have us fit one for you. This one will be the safest for you to use and will protect the best from fracturing or losing teeth.

They can also be used to protect your teeth at night while you sleep. Many people are guilty of grinding their teeth at night. Grinding teeth can wear them down over time and cause problems for you. It can lead to sensitivity or dental procedures. If you have had procedures like braces or bridge work, we are able to fit you with a mouth guard.

We will take a mold of your mouth using our 3D iTero scanner so it’s the right fit just for you. You will want to bring your mouth guard with you to follow up visits so we can examine it. We will make sure it still fits correctly and check it over for wear.

Keeping your teeth in good shape is definitely a benefit to your oral health. When teeth chip, break, or fall out, that can lead to numerous problems. Reach out to us if you have any oral problems. We can help!

Please contact us if you have any questions.

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.