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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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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Top 5 Questions You Should Ask When Coming to See Us

Every dental visit presents an opportunity to talk about your oral health and ways of learning how to effectively care for your set of whites.

Not only is it a great moment to learn more about your dental condition, but is also a good way to avert problems that you might possibly encounter in the long run. Here are some questions to ask your dentist when you come in for a visit:

What You Can Do to Improve Your Oral Health

There are many possible questions you can ask, but the most important question is to learn how to properly care for your teeth. Your dentist will advise you on effective ways of brushing the teeth after every meal and the importance of flossing. Asking questions like those below will help you fully understand dental hygiene, which is a precursor to having a healthy set of teeth.

  • How often do I need to brush or floss my teeth?
  • When do you need to increase or decrease your fluoride intake?
  • How often should I visit my dentist?

Tooth Maintenance and Dental Visit Schedules

Not everyone has the same health needs, so it is important for you to discuss your dental needs and how often you should visit your dentist. Depending on your oral health status, your family dentist will recommend the appropriate times you should visit and how often you should have a maintenance schedule. This allows you to have a customized plan, including your office visits and home care. Some questions you might possibly ask include:

  • What’s my overall dental health status?
  • How often should I come in for a dental care and maintenance checkup?

Asking your dentist of any dental concerns you might have will help you understand oral health better. If you want more information and how to approach your dentist regarding your concerns, simply give us a call and we’ll be happy to help.


Times Where You Need to Carefully Clean Your Tongue

The tongue is one of the most important parts of our mouths. The tongue is what gives you the sense of taste, and tasting delicious food is one of the most pleasurable sensations that are available for anybody. But other than giving us the feeling of taste, the tongue also plays an important part in every person’s dental health.

The tongue is actually the first body organ that kick-starts your digestive system. It gives off saliva that will slowly break down the food and make helps the mouth chew on it.

The food then travels down to our stomach where the saliva helps the process of converting those foods to useful cells and particles for our body to use.

The Importance of Cleaning Your Tongue Properly

Since the tongue, by nature of its location and use, is one of the first body parts that touches any food or beverage that comes into your mouth, it is normal to have a number of bacteria or even food specks to remain on the surface of your tongue. Since it is made up of muscles, the tongue can be easily irritated, and you will notice some white spots or even feel soreness.

When should you clean your tongue carefully? All the time! However, proper attention should be given when you have the colds or if you can feel halitosis, or bad breath. Also, if you notice that you are getting quite a lot of white spots, please brush your tongue, but this time longer but lesser force. You do not want to have a ruptured or irritated tongue, as it is painful.

If you are feeling discomfort with or having a swollen tongue, please visit us so that the problem will not be aggravated. Any complications to your tongue is a serious issue, and we want to help you take care of your dental needs. Schedule an appointment with us and let us help you.

Are Your Allergies Worse Because of Poor Oral Health?

Can your allergies get worse because you are not practicing proper dental hygiene? When allergy season is in full swing, they may, in fact, be worse because you haven’t been brushing or flossing or even going to the dentist as you should be.

Here are some things to look for when it comes to seasonal allergies and oral health.

Tooth Pain

Sinus pain can cause tooth pain and vice-versa. When not brushing and flossing, seeing a dentist regularly, or even using a good mouthwash, this can cause tooth pain, and they can cause your sinuses to act up. Your nose, ears, and throat are connected so if something happens to one; something is going to happen to the other as well.

The Connection Between Dry Mouth and Cavities

There is a link between dry mouth and cavities. One can cause the other and vice-versa. Once you have a dry mouth because of allergies, from breathing through your mouth, this can in turn cause cavities to form.

Sore Throat

If you have a sore throat because of allergies, this can then cause problems with your oral health. You will not feel like brushing your teeth or using mouthwash. You will not feel like flossing either. Because you do not feel like doing these things, they can cause problems with your oral health.

The Importance of Seeing a Dentist and a Family Doctor

It is important to see both types of doctors when you are sick. One can treat your illness while the other one can treat the problems caused by your oral health because of the disease. You may not feel like going to see either one, but you really should so you can start to feel better.

Contact us for more information on the link between poor oral health and allergies. We will be happy to give you the information you need on all of this.




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.