December 26, 2012

Chew Gum To Prevent Heart Disease

People with gum disease are two to three times more likely to have a heart attack than those without it.  Here’s why – plaque, the sticky bacteria laden film that accumulates on teeth can damage gums and create bone loss.  The lost bone under the gums creates small pockets -spaces between the gum and the tooth where the bone used to be.  These pockets harbor bacteria and the deeper the pocket, the more the bacteria breed and destroy.  This bacteria then enters the bloodstream and causes chronic inflammation that increases the risk for clots and other heart attack risk factors.

When you chew sugarless gum that contains xylitol, a natural sweetener that suppresses mouth bacteria, you are helping to lessen this dangerous chronic inflammation.  Also, be sure to floss every day.  A study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that people who take care of their gums with regular flossing and brushing and regular visits to their dentists have improved function of the arteries.  Their arteries expand and contract more normally.

So when you feel like having something sweet, reach for your xylitol sweetened gum and protect your teeth and your heart at the same time!

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December 18, 2012

Options For Denture Sufferers

Sometimes when you are having a difficult time functioning with your dentures, the simplest thing to do is to make a new set of dentures.  If you have a palate that gives you good suction for the upper denture, in most cases a new denture will be a welcome improvement. 

In fewer cases, with lower dentures, we find that making a new lower denture gives you any improvement. If you are already having a hard time chewing and speaking because your denture always moves around, usually, making a new denture under these circumstances just gives you a new denture that moves around.

So what do you do when you’re faced with dentures that you can’t function with, that look and/or feel horrible, and that cause you embarrassment eating out and in other social settings?  There are several approaches using dental implants.  Dental implants are manmade replacements for missing tooth roots and they serve as anchors for attaching dental crowns, dental bridges, and dentures. 

If you prefer having teeth that don’t come out and function most like your natural teeth, you will want to place enough implants to support fixed dental bridges made with crowns.  If you are used to having something removable for replacing your missing teeth, you can put in fewer dental implants to serve as anchors for removable dentures.  These dentures will be totally secure and serve as a stable platform to chew with ease, comfort, and efficiency.  Replacing missing teeth with implants and dental crowns is more of an investment than placing fewer dental implants and functioning with a removable denture that snaps onto the implants.

Depending on your bone structure and the strength of your bite, you may be a candidate for mini dental implants.  The advantage to mini dental implants, if you should be a candidate for them, is that the time of treatment from beginning to end result is much faster than regular dental implants, and the investment is less than for other options available.  For long term success, dental mini implants are not for everyone.  They were originally designed to serve as temporaries for patients having dental implant procedures who wanted teeth that didn’t move while they were waiting for their dental implants to become part of the jaw.  More about dental implants in the future.

December 6, 2012

Are You Struggling With Your Dentures?

If you’re struggling with your dentures you are not alone.  Many people can adapt and function well with dentures when they have enough bone remaining under the gums.  However, after teeth are lost, the natural process in the body is to resorb, or dissolve, bone.

After teeth are extracted nature reacts like this.  The tooth roots in the bone are no longer there and when they are gone, the body sees no reason to keep that dental bone there, and so, it resorbs it.

When enough bone is resorbed (this happens over time), this means struggles for the denture wearer.  Usually, the longer you have been missing teeth, the less bone there is to support your dentures.

If you wear a maxillary, or upper denture, you probably have managed to function fairly well with your dentures because of suction.  Upper dentures can have very good suction.  It’s like taking two panes of glass and putting water between them- it’s difficult to separate the two pieces.  If enough dental bone is lost the palate flattens, and the flatter the arch of the palate, the less suction there is.  Even with suction, you can struggle and suffer embarrassmemt because if you cough or sneeze or even laugh too hard, the suction seal is broken and your dentures can fall down or out of your mouth.  If you’re lucky, you can catch them with your tongue and push them back up, hopefully before anyone notices!

If you wear a mandibular, or lower denture, you are the exception if you function well with it.  Think about it.  When the teeth are missing there are only muscles surrounding the dental arch.  The lips and cheeks are moving your denture on one side and the tongue is moving your denture on the other side.  There is no stable surface with which you can chew and no advantage of suction- that’s not physically possible.

Let’s explore your options in the next blog. 

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November 27, 2012

Protect Teeth From Cavities

If you want to protect your teeth from getting cavities, be careful how you eat any sweets.  Don’t eat one piece of candy or sweets now, and then another piece an hour later and so on.  Why do we say this?

After eating just one piece of candy, your mouth becomes acidic and it can take up to an hour for the mouth’s pH balance to return to normal.  The longer the teeth are exposed to acid, the greater the chance of cavities.  As a matter of fact, the acidity can be caused by any food having sugar in it.  There are foods we consider to be healthy that have sugar in them, like bread, salad dressing, even some vegetables, and any sugar in your mouth starts this acid response.

If you choose to eat sweets, limit your treats to one after-meal serving – the increased production of saliva during and after a meal helps to wash away acidity.  Also, try to brush your teeth or at least rinse your mouth with water after eating sweets.  We teach our patients a technique called “swish and swallow.”  Just swish water in your mouth to dislodge food particles and to reduce acid levels and then swallow.

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November 20, 2012

Sealants Versus Fluoride

Sealants and fluoride are materials designed to preserve and prolong the life of your teeth by preventing dental decay.  Sealants are applied topically to certain areas of individual teeth and are a visible sign that the tooth is being protected.  Fluoride, on the other hand, may be used effectively from the prenatal stages through the adolescent period, when children are most prone to cavities.  Once absorbed  and retained in tooth enamel, fluoride stays on the teeth permanently, though invisibly.  Unlike sealants, fluoride is supplied in a variety of forms, including commercially prepared mouth rinses, foams, gels, drinking water and many toothpastes.

Applying sealants and fluoride can be important steps in preventing tooth decay.  Here are some other steps you should take to protect your teeth:

  1. Brush and floss, regularly.
  2. Follow a balanced diet.
  3. Visit us at least twice a year for routine checkups.
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November 14, 2012

More About Dental Sealants

Sealants can help preserve a child’s smile for a lifetime.  Though dental sealants are not a cure-all in preventing tooth decay, they are cost-effective and helpful to patients – particularly children – in controlling decay in the back teeth with grooves.

Sealants are valuable in preventing decay because they seal the tooth grooves which are virtually impossible to clean effectively.  Even a single toothbrush bristle cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food particles, bacteria and plaque. 

In this painless procedure, a solution is applied to the chewing surface of the tooth to condition the enamel and help it bond more effectively to the sealant material.  The tooth is thoroughly washed and dried.  Then the sealant material is applied and allowed to harden, sometimes using ultraviolet light.  The procedure takes only a few minutes.

Depending on your chewing pattern, the sealant effect can last many years.  Even though sealant material is durable, at subsequent dental appointments we make sure the sealant material is intact.  Occasionally, we might need to replace or add a new layer of sealant material to keep the protective barrier strong and effective.

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November 6, 2012

What You Need To Know About Dental Sealants

Thanks for reading our blog! Here in NJ, we are still recovering from Hurricane Sandy, so we didn't have a post last week. We're back though, with everything you need to know about dental sealants:

A dental sealant is an acrylic-like material that helps shield out decay-causing bacteria from the chewing surfaces of back teeth.  We base our diagnosis and recommendation for dental sealants on the patient’s susceptibility to tooth decay and how the teeth were shaped when they originally formed below the gum.  Though there is no specific age at which sealants are indicated, often we will recommend that the best time to apply them is when the six-year molars (the first permanent teeth) appear.

Sealant material forms a protective barrier by bonding to tooth surfaces and covering natural grooves called pits and fissures in the teeth.  More than 75 percent of dental decay begins in the pit and fissure areas of the back teeth.  Combined with proper home care and regular dental visits, sealants are extremely effective in preventing tooth decay.

Sealants are applied only to pit and fissure areas of specific teeth.  Unfortunately, they cannot be applied to the surfaces in between teeth, where daily flossing is needed to prevent decay.

Though sealants are most often applied to children’s teeth, many adults are now seeking the preventive benefits of pit and fissure sealants as well.

To learn more about dental sealants visit our blog and

October 23, 2012

What Are Lumineers?

Lumineers are veneers made of a porcelain patented by Cerinate.  Cerinate has developed contact-lens-thin porcelain technology that provides beauty and strength, while preserving your natural tooth structure.  That means you can correct a wide variety of unsightly dental distortions or conditions and remove little or no tooth structure.  When little or no tooth structure has to be removed, the Lumineers can be custom fabricated for you without the use of needles or drilling.

Lumineers can be used to correct tooth discoloration, noticeable gaps, permanent stains, broken or misshapen teeth, and Lumineers can even bond to existing crowns and bridgework without having to replace them.  You can fix uneven spacing, lengthen short teeth, and reshape awkward teeth.

Lumineers are thin porcelain shields that are bonded to the front of your teeth to create dramatic changes in your smile.

Lumineers aren’t appropriate for every person wanting to transform their smile with veneers.  In some instances we have to remove tooth structure from some or all of the teeth that are being veneered in order to create a harmonious result.  In such a case, Lumineers are not the best option for you, necessarily.  Other dental porcelains may be better suited to get to your beautiful smile.

Typically Lumineers require two dental visits just as other veneers do.  Placement of the Lumineers usually is one hour.

Long-term clinical research with Lumineers by Cerinate (over 20 years) shows 100% retention with no discoloration.

Call us to find out how Lumineers and cosmetic dentistry can transform your smile and your life.  For information about other dental topics visit

October 16, 2012

What Advantantages Do Veneers Offer?

There are many benefits and advantages to having porcelain veneers applied to your front teeth.  These may include any or all of the following considerations:

  1. Only a small amount of natural tooth structure (if any) is removed during the procedure.
  2. A healthy, natural look is achieved with little or no discomfort.
  3. Veneers are strong, durable and color-stable.
Veneers differ from fillings and crowns.  Tooth-colored fillings are usually used when a small amount of tooth structure needs replacing and repair.  A full crown is indicated when a tooth has had root canal therapy or when a substantial amount of the entire tooth structure has been lost.  A porcelain veneer is indicated when a portion of the front surface of a tooth needs a “face lift.”

Similar to a resin bonding procedure, veneers are attached directly to the existing tooth structure.  We take an impression of your tooth to make an exact replica.  During your appointment, we treat your tooth with a mild conditioning solution.  Before the veneer is placed, we apply a tooth-colored liquid bonding material, which helps the veneer adhere to your natural tooth.

Veneers can last for years, depending on how well you take care of them.  Because veneers are stronger than simple bonding, they are also more resistant to stains and chipping.  However, it is important to maintain regular oral hygiene, to avoid bad habits such as biting nails or chewing ice and to visit us regularly for routine cleanings and exams.  These precautions will help ensure that your veneers will last a long time and keep looking as good as new.

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October 9, 2012

The Facts About Dental Veneers

Veneers are usually made of porcelain and are eggshell thin porcelain that is bonded to the enamel surface of teeth to make cosmetic changes.  They are therefore usually placed on the front teeth to make changes that enhance a smile or make corrections in form and color.  Even a subtle change in your smile can make a dramatic difference in the way you look and feel and on your social outlook and veneers are a wonderful cosmetic dentistry option to make those subtle changes that can make all the difference in the world to you and open the door for you to smile with freedom and confidence.

  •  Closing diastemas (spaces between the teeth)
  •  Restoring broken or chipped teeth
  •  Covering unsightly, stained or washed-out fillings
  •  Whitening permanently stained or discolored teeth
  •  Correcting uneven or crooked teeth
When your smile is disfigured by decay, wear, chipping, breakage or imperfect development, our goal is to restore its natural beauty, so you can smile with confidence.  At one time, resin fillings or crowns were the only available treatment for the above types of conditions.  Today, a third alternative is available with veneers!

For more information about dental veneers follow our blog and visit

October 3, 2012

Cosmetic Dental Treatment Choices

We think everyone ought to have the look of confidence that shows through when you  have a healthy smile.  Modern dental techniques make it easier than ever to have the kind of smile you’ve dreamed of in less time than you may have thought possible.

What “tricks” does dentistry have up its sleeve to beautify your smile?

  1. Cosmetic Bonding – This process involves applying a synthetic, tooth-colored material to your teeth to rebuild or cosmetically sculpt them into a new, desired shape.
  2. Crowns – This procedure involves reshaping the tooth so a permanent custom-designed replacement tooth can be placed over it to protect weak tooth structure or improve tooth appearance.  The crown, sometimes called a cap, is cemented or bonded to the tooth surface and is often made of porcelain to look as natural as possible.
  3. Fixed Bridges – These dental appliances are nonremovable and serve to replace missing teeth.
  4. Full or Partial Dentures – These removable appliances serve to replace missing teeth.
  5. Orthodontics – This process straightens or realigns crooked or poorly positioned teeth.
  6. Porcelain Veneers – These tooth-colored laminates are custom fitted to cover the front surfaces of your natural teeth to provide a better color, texture, or shape.
  7. Tooth Whitening – This process involves applying a whitening solution or gel to lighten the teeth.  It is a safe, effective procedure for some types of tooth discoloration.  There are in-office and take-home varieties.
  8. Snap-On Smile – This is a plastic appliance that goes over existing teeth to change the shape, fill in gaps, and replace missing teeth.  It does not cover the biting surfaces of the teeth and comes in and out for daily cleaning.
If you're in the northern New Jersey areal, please call us at 973-761-5090 to arrange for a consultation to discuss which option might be best for you to achieve a beautiful, healthy, new smile.

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September 25, 2012

Assessing Your Smile

There’s nothing quite like the good feeling of knowing you have a healthy-looking smile. An attractive, confident smile can be one of your most valuable assets. It is often the first thing people notice about you.

How do you feel about your smile? Are you pleased with it, or do you wish it looked better? At one time there were limited means for enhancing the appearance of your teeth. Today there are a number of cosmetic treatments that can be performed in the dental office in just a few appointments.

There are many common dental problems that can be easily corrected through cosmetic procedures. These problems include discolored teeth, missing teeth, overlapping front teeth, poorly shaped teeth, chipped teeth and gaps between teeth.

To assess your smile, take a moment to answer the following questions.  Take your time and answer each question as clearly and accurately as you can.  Your answers will help us to determine the type of treatment most suited to your needs.

  1. Are you pleased with the general appearance of your teeth and smile?  If not, why?
  2. Are your teeth straight?
  3. Are there spaces between your front teeth that you dislike?
  4. Are you satisfied with the color of your teeth?
  5. Are you satisfied with the shape of your teeth?  
  6. Are any of your teeth chipped?  Hidden? Protruding?
  7. Are you satisfied with the way your teeth come together (how they bite)?
  8. Are your gums puffy, red or swollen looking?  Do they bleed easily?
  9. Do you have old fillings or dental work that makes you less confident about your smile &/or appearance?
  10.  What would you most like to change about the appearance of your teeth?
  11.  How would you like your teeth to look?
If you like, we can review your responses with you and discuss alternatives to achieve a more pleasing smile.

For more information about our cosmetic treatments and procedures and other dental topics please visit our website 

September 18, 2012

More About Avulsed Teeth

When a patient presents with an avulsed tooth, now the task for dentists is much more complicated because there are eight different clinical categories in which an avulsed tooth may present to a dentist.  Each of these requires a separate treatment regimen.  Dentists are not taught this in school, and they have to learn a new technique.

It is clear that there are four equally important aspects that dentists need to institute in order to maximize the success rate of reimplanted avulsed teeth.

  1. Educate the general population that avulsed teeth can be saved.
  2. Recommend to patients and the general population that they should be prepared for this type of accident by having suitable optimal storage devices like Save-A-Tooth and emt TOOTHSAVER readily available where accidents can occur.
  3. Dentists should diagnose the condition of each avulsed tooth and use the most compatible technique for treating avulsed teeth in their offices.
  4. The reimplanting professional must recommend that root canal therapy be instituted at the appropriate time after reimplantation.
Dentistry has to advise the general population, schools, athletic teams, and dentists to be prepared for this type of accident.

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September 11, 2012

What Do I Do If My Tooth Gets Knocked Out?

Research and clinical studies have shown that a tooth that has gotten knocked out (an avulsed tooth) can be successfully put back in the socket (reimplanted) with excellent long-term results.  However, this success can only be realized if new treatment regimens are applied. 

There are eight categories of avulsed teeth and treatment guidelines for each one of them.  The first four categories involve mature teeth that have fully developed roots and fully formed root tips.  The next four categories are for teeth that are immature and are not fully developed and have root tips that are incompletely formed. 

Thirty years ago, the recommendations to patients for the management of avulsed teeth was a simple, “one-size-fits-all approach: retrieve the teeth, wash them off, and push them back into their sockets.  If that is not possible, the patient should drop them in a cup of milk and get to the dentist as quickly as possible.

For dentists, too, 30 years ago it was just as much a one-size-fits-all approach: remove teeth from the transportation device, do the root canal therapy in their hand, reimplant the teeth and splint them into place, prepare the patient’s parents for eventual failure and hope that the subsequent root resorption would leave the crown of the tooth in place until the patient was 18.

For patients, the only liquid that has clearly shown beneficial effects preserving the root cells is a pH-balanced solution.  There are two products available on the market for parents and sports teams to have on hand in case of an accident: Save-A-Tooth and emt TOOTHSAVER.  Significant success rates of reimplanted avulsed teeth can be achieved if they are placed within 60 minutes of the accident and stored in either of these products before visiting the dentist.

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September 5, 2012

Who Needs A Beautiful Smile?

Perhaps a beautiful smile isn’t important to everyone, but you would be surprised at the difference a beautiful smile can make in someone’s life. 

When people are aware that they have a less than attractive smile, it affects their entire personality – how they speak with people, how much they smile, how they laugh, how they socialize.  Being unhappy with your smile makes your confidence level low and it really inhibits smiling and laughing.  When you smile and laugh your body actually produces feel good chemicals.  When you are self-conscious about your smile and either hold it back or cover your mouth when you smile or laugh, you don’t have the benefit of the feel good response that smiling and laughing produce.

So even for people whose work doesn’t involve business contacts &/or public speaking, low self-confidence affects their mood and performance.  For people whose work involves a lot of  people contact or public speaking, it is vital that they put their best foot forward and the best foot forward approach starts with a beautiful, open, confident smile.

A beautiful smile is a primary factor that helps people feel young and attractive.  As we age it is natural for teeth to get darker in color and get worn down.  When an older smile gets a makeover, it’s better than most any plastic surgery procedure to make someone look years younger and give renewed confidence in smiling, laughing, and living again!

For information about other dental topics and ways to beautify your smile visit our website: 

August 29, 2012

Save A Smile With A Custom Mouthguard

This time of year is the time to enjoy the outdoors and participating in sports is a common activity during the warmer months.  We are absolutely committed to the prevention of one of the most common injuries among sports participants.  Dental injuries can be painful, expensive, and damaging to appearance and self-esteem, yet most are preventable with a custom-fitted mouthguard.  If you’ve ever had a mouth injury, you’ll know how important this is.

Think about it: people of all ages don helmets, knee pads, shin pads, and elbow pads because they know the risks if they don’t.  But despite the mouth injury statistics that make us wince, many don’t use mouthguards.  We don’t understand why, and that’s why we want to spread the word.

A custom mouthguard is easy to get and easy to use and can save thousands of dollars and a lot of time by preventing damage to your teeth.  An impression is taken of your teeth so that the laboratory can fabricate an appliance that fits exactly to your teeth.  The mouthguard totally covers and cushions your teeth to prevent fractured teeth, chipped teeth, or the worst dental sports injury of all, dislodged teeth.  It’s definitely worth the time to invest in the protection custom mouthguards offer.  A custom mouthguard can really give you something to smile about!

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August 21, 2012

Fitness Is As Fitness Does!

Numerous reports, including the Surgeon General’s Report, recommend thirty minutes of moderate physical activity a day for better physical and cardiovascular health.  Did you know that can be accumulated activity, such as three bouts of ten minutes each?  So maybe you can rescue those fitness resolutions you made earlier this year.  The Surgeon General says you can benefit your cardiovascular health in another way – by taking care of your oral health.

Heart disease and strokes have been linked to gum disease.  For some reason, people find that difficult to believe.  But if you think of your mouth as the gateway to your body, you might find it easier to visualize how oral bacteria can have the potential to affect the rest of you.  Your gums form a natural barrier against bacteria migrating into your bloodstream.  If your gums are wounded due to injury or gum disease, your natural protection will be compromised.

Science is still investigating the precise dynamics between oral disease and overall health, but the Surgeon General went so far as to say that “you cannot be healthy without oral health.”

Thirty minutes of daily physical activity can help to protect you against cardiovascular diseases.  So can the few minutes a day it takes to brush, floss, and rinse.

So get going and pay attention to your smile!  It’s really one of the easiest fitness routines out there!

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August 14, 2012

What Are The Pros & Cons Of Removable Partial Dentures?

You can derive many benefits from replacing missing teeth with removable partials. Replacement teeth help fill out your smile by giving support to the cheeks and lips. Replacement teeth create a more youthful, vibrant appearance by holding up facial muscles and aiding in speaking, chewing, swallowing, and smiling.

An important benefit that removable partial dentures provide is that of maintaining teeth in position. When you have a full complement of teeth, each tooth serves to keep the others in position. The teeth touching each other prevents teeth from moving from side to side.  The teeth touching each other by opposing each other keeps them from extruding (basically keeps them from growing more into the mouth). 

When a tooth is extracted, the teeth on either side of the space start collapsing into the space.  When this happens the teeth tilt at an angle and this angle makes those teeth more susceptible to bone loss from gum disease.  The tooth opposite the extracted tooth site moves up or down into the space created by the missing tooth.  This can be so extreme that the tooth opposing the extraction site can touch the opposite gums, thus interfering with chewing.

A con to replacing missing teeth with removable partial dentures is that the partial denture is usually kept in place by metal hooks that go around the remaining teeth on either side of the extraction site.  These hooks act like forceps and slowly weaken the teeth holding the partial and many times lead to the slow extraction of the supporting teeth. The clasps also make the supporting teeth more susceptible to decay. Removable partials generally move in function, which means they are uncomfortable to chew with.

It’s best to rely on removable partials as a temporary solution to tooth loss if finances are insufficient to do the more stable replacement of missing teeth with dental implants.

For more information about dental implants visit our blog or our website:

August 7, 2012

What's The Best Kind Of Dental Floss To Use?

The hardest thing to accomplish regarding daily use of dental floss is establishing the daily habit of flossing.  Flossing only needs to be done once a day carefully, making sure that the dental floss goes below the gumline and that the sides of the teeth are scraped clean with the floss, removing all disease causing plaque.  The best time to do this is at night before you go to sleep.

There are several types of dental floss you can use.  There is waxed and unwaxed floss, weave dental floss, and there’s expanding dental floss.  Some dental flosses are fine.  The qualities of each floss will help you determine what type of floss best handles your dental condition.

Traditionally waxed floss has been preferred for people whose teeth touch very tightly and for whom it is difficult to get the floss to go between the teeth.  There is now expanding floss which glides easily between even the tightest contacts.  It expands during use to clean more tooth surface and has multiple filaments and texturized fibers for exceptional cleaning.  It’s gentle on gums and is ideal for patients with tooth and/or gum sensitivity and gum recession.

Weave floss has a unique woven design that effectively removes plaque between teeth and under the gumline.  The interlacing process produces strong, smooth, and shred-resistant floss.

Fine floss is sometimes needed to clean between tightly spaced teeth.

The best approach is to experiment with the different types of floss until you find the one that most easily glides between the teeth and seems to remove the plaque best.

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July 31, 2012

Healthy Gums Can Lead To A Healthier Body

Inflammation is a major risk factor for heart disease, and periodontal (gum) disease increases the inflammation level throughout the body.  Since several studies show that people with gum or teeth problems also have an increased risk for heart disease, more cardiologists and dentists are joining forces for the improved health of their patients.  Dentists can serve as your first line of defense against future heart disease.

One study, looking at women with periodontal bacteria in their mouths, reported that they were more likely to have jawbone loss resulting in tooth loss. 

Scientists have found that bacteria growing in the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs to cause serious respiratory illness such as pneumonia, especially in people with periodontal disease. 

This discovery has led to the belief that such a mouth-body link can cause infections like chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD).  The question now is, “To what extend does oral hygiene play a part of reducing the frequency of COPD?”

Bacteria in the mouth through the exchange of saliva can also be shared amongst couples, children, and families, spreading the risk of periodontal disease more quickly.

Premature and underweight babies are seven times more likely from women with periodontal disease than from those without.  For a long time risk factors such as smoking, alcohol, and drug use were known to contribute to risky pregnancies.  Now periodontal disease can be added to the list.

The increase in blood sugar that often accompanies periodontal disease contributes to the higher risk for diabetic complications.  Therefore, patients with both diseases should be treated to eliminate the infections of the gums.  In addition, it’s been found that poorly controlled Type 2 diabetic patients are more likely to develop periodontal disease than are well-controlled diabetics.

The connection between oral disease and systemic disease is backed by scientific findings, and it makes common sense.  After all, the mouth is a part of the body – it’s the gateway to the entire body.

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July 24, 2012

Should I Extract My Impacted Wisdom Teeth?

You’ve gone to your dentist for your routine checkup.  You have no pain, no discomfort in your mouth.  It’s time for you to have some x-rays.  After the dentist evaluates the x-rays, he tells you that you have impacted wisdom teeth and you need to go to an oral surgeon to have them extracted.  What do you do?

You have a lot to consider.  This kind of recommendation is especially made to younger people (usually the recommendation comes before it’s time to go off to college).  It is easier to have wisdom teeth that are impacted extracted when people are younger, because the wisdom teeth roots aren’t fully developed and the dental bone is not as dense as it is in older patients.  If the teeth are easier to remove, then the recovery is easier as well.

An impacted wisdom tooth is stuck under the gum, usually embedded in the jawbone.  Even though you have no symptoms, there are reasons to justify extracting them.  When a wisdom tooth is partially embedded in the gums and part of the crown is exposed in the mouth, there is a pocket between the gums and the tooth and this area can easily get infected.  When this happens, it usually keeps getting infected (this is called a pericoronitis), and this is very painful.  It makes sense to extract a tooth such as this when there isn’t room for the tooth to fully erupt into the mouth.

Other reasons for extracting a wisdom tooth are irreparable tooth decay, an abscess, cysts, tumors, or damage to the nearby teeth or bone.

It usually is advisable to have all four wisdom teeth extracted at the same time if you are going forward with the surgery, because it is usually painful after the procedure, so if you do only one or two extractions and you need others, you may not want to go back, fearing a repeat performance of pain and swelling.  The extractions can be several thousands of dollars at an oral surgeon’s office, and you have to consider, there always is some risk involved in any surgical procedure.  You have to consider how proactive and preventive you want to be to avoid possible problems in the future.

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July 18, 2012

Why Are Regular Dental Checkups Important?

In most cases when there is a problem with our health we feel a symptom in our body. When we get a symptom, such as pain for example, it’s a signal for us to do something about it. Most of us go to the physician to find out what’s going on.  We want to find out what’s causing the pain/problem.

I don’t know why it is this way, but we have seen advanced dental disease in people who never had pain. There were signs and symptoms, but no pain in many instances. This isn’t unusual with dental disease. The signs were bleeding gums, loose teeth, gaps forming between teeth, bad taste or odor in the mouth, discoloration of teeth.  However, without any pain, it is often easy for some people to ignore or be unaware of the signs before it’s too late.

We have seen people with teeth so loose, the teeth come out by themselves – but the person didn’t have pain during the entire time the dental bone holding their teeth in their mouth was being destroyed by infectious bacteria.  We have also seen people with the entire crown of the tooth destroyed by decay, and there never was any pain.

Regular dental checkups are important so that we have an opportunity as dental professionals to find any problems that may be present at the earliest time during the disease process. We want to diagnose gum disease early, before there is any bone loss around the teeth and subsequent tooth loss. We want to discover any decay that might be present before it goes deeper into the tooth, destroys more tooth structure, and continues to enter the nerve of the tooth causing the need for root canal therapy in order to save the tooth. Finding any dental disease early takes less time and money and helps people to maintain their teeth for a lifetime. Dentures are not an inevitable result of aging. They can totally be avoided with regular dental checkups and necessary care when problems are minor.

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July 10, 2012

The Stages of Periodontal Disease

We want you to be aware of how gums can go from healthy to severely infected with periodontal (gum) disease.  Be on the alert for the signs and symptoms and if you suspect you may have gum disease, don’t wait to see a dentist.  Remember that gum disease is related to systemic disease, so keeping your gums healthy also helps prevent heart disease, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other illness.

Healthy gums have a healthy, pink color.  The gumline hugs the teeth tightly and there is no bleeding.

The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis.  When you have gingivitis your gums bleed easily when you brush or when your gums are probed gently during a dental examination.  Gums with gingivitis are inflamed and can be sensitive to the touch.  Sometimes with gingivitis there is possible bad breath and a bad taste in the mouth.  The gums between your teeth may look blush-red in color.

The next stage is early periodontitis.  At this stage the gums may begin to pull away from the teeth.  The bleeding is more pronounced and gum puffiness and inflammation is more pronounced as well.  There is bad breath and bad taste with early periodontitis.  On the dental x-rays the dentist can see slight horizontal bone loss.  Pockets of 3-4mm between the teeth and the gums are in one or more areas of the mouth.

The disease progresses to moderate periodontitis in which gum boils or abscesses may develop.  The teeth look longer as gums begin to recede from the normal position against the teeth.  Your front teeth may begin to drift and show spaces between the teeth.  There’s bad breath and bad taste.  There is both horizontal and irregular bone loss on the x-ray.  You would have pockets between teeth and gums that range from 4-6mm deep.

With advanced periodontis your teeth may become mobile or loose.  Bad breath and bad taste are constant.  The roots of your teeth may be exposed and are sensitive to hot and cold.  There’s severe horizontal bone loss and varying heights of bone on x-rays.  The pockets between the teeth and the gums are now in excess of 6mm deep.

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July 3, 2012

Paint Yourself A Whiter Smile

Sometimes people are looking for a professional teeth whitening result, but want a more economical alternative than take home whitening trays.  We recommend the Liquid Smile Professional Whitening Pen for our patients who want to enhance whitening that they did a while ago, or for those patients who want to spend even less time and money to whiten their smile yet want a result they can count on.

Liquid Smile is a paint-on gel.  It’s unique gel formula contains 12% hydrogen peroxide, the most powerful paint-on formulation on the market.  You just have to paint a thin layer of the viscous gel on your teeth right after brushing and flossing.  It takes only about a minute and creates whitening without strips or trays to wear. 

Results are typically noticed after the second or third application.  You only apply once at bedtime for two weeks for maximum results.  Liquid Smile is three times stronger and four times faster than store bought whiteners.

Your teeth can get up to five shades lighter, depending on your present tooth color.  Teeth with dark gray or dark brown hues of color will take longer to see results than teeth with yellow or orange hues.

Liquid Smile ensures an enjoyable pain free whitening experience.  While you’re sleeping, your teeth rest from extreme hot and cold temperature changes and the saliva flow decreases so the gel will stay on your teeth longer.  This allows the gel to work at full strength and work faster.

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June 27, 2012

One Hour vs. Take Home Whitening - Which Do We Prefer?

We do make One Hour Whitening available to our patients. It's a popular choice because of the fast results and we realize that most people these days live very hectic lives and sometimes a special occasion comes up before there's a chance to do take home whitening, and have white teeth in time for that special event.

We use Rembrandt's Sapphire Light when we do One Hour Whitening because it is the safest whitening light on the market since it does not use UV rays. Without the UV rays there is also less of a problem with tooth sensitivity, however, the sensitivity problem is much greater with One Hour Whitening than Take Home Whitening because a higher perentage of active whitening agent is present with in-office One Hour Whitening, in order to produce the fast results.

We also observe that it's really difficult for most people to stay perfectly still for one hour, and staying still is very important to keep the bleach from burning the gum tissue.

Research shows us that the best teeth whitening happens over time. Therefore, the best whitening is over time at home. Not only are the take home whitening results superior, they last longer. So unless you have your wedding or some other important event the next day, we advise our patients who want whiter teeth to do Take Home Whitening- it works better, lasts longer, has less problems with sensitivity (by the way, we have a pre-whitening protocol that virtually eliminates sensitivity of any kind in most cases), and it costs less than One Hour Whitening.

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June 19, 2012

Dental Insurance Isn't Insurance

We hear many people say that they didn't visit the dentist for a long time because they didn't have insurance. We would like to discuss this point and shed some much needed light on the subject.

It's a sorry fact, but approximately 50% of the population doesn't visit a dentist regularly. Many of these people ascribe to the belief that they need dental insurance in order to afford dentistry. Well, the first point is that dental "insurance" actually is not insurance, but a benefit. Most plans are extremely limited and the benefit is around $1,000 per year. Even with a better plan that gives a higher benefit, if you have major dental problems, the dental benefit makes a small dent. So, if you had major dental problems, then you would have to cover most of the cost of dental services even with the help of a dental benefit.

Once you've established a baseline of health, it's questionable whether or not having the dental benefit is worth the premiums paid for it. We know what preventive and health maintenance services our patients need each year and we can calculate the fees for the year so our patients can budget for their checkups, cleanings, and necessary x-rays. When the calculations are complete, the services cost the same or less than most premiums for dental plans.

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June 13, 2012

Healthy Gums Don't Bleed

In our last blog post I mentioned that healthy gums don’t bleed.  I want to discuss this fact more thoroughly to really drive this point home. Why? Because most people just don’t realize this is a fact. It doesn’t make sense to most people that healthy gums don’t bleed because people think that “everybody’s gums bleed, so this must be normal.” 

Well, it is true that most people’s gums do bleed, but it’s not because it’s healthy. It is an indication of how prevalent some form of gum disease is in the general population. Statistically, depending upon which study you read, anywhere from 70% to 95% of the population has some form of gum disease.  That’s why most people’s gums bleed; they have some degree of gum disease. Just because something is prevalent doesn’t mean it’s normal. For example, obesity has become quite prevalent in the U.S., but we all consider it unhealthy and something to be corrected.

Ponder this please – if you took a brush to the skin on your arm or leg or anywhere on your body, and when you brushed your skin it started to bleed, you’d be alarmed. So why is it then that when you brush or floss your teeth and they bleed, you think nothing of it? It’s the belief that bleeding gums are normal that keeps you from being alarmed and taking action. 

If bacterial plaque stays undisturbed beneath the gumline, inflammation and early stages of gum disease set in.  Left unchecked, the inflammation is an infection and as it progresses, the gums detach from the teeth, and the bone that holds your teeth in your jaw is destroyed (and you might not feel a thing)!

The solution is simple. Have a partnership with your dentist to keep this from happening or to keep things under control. Your home care techniques must have the bacteria that causes gum disease be removed not only from tooth surfaces, but from underneath the gums.

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June 5, 2012

Proper Flossing

Flossing daily removes plaque and food particles from between the teeth and below the gumline. A toothbrush only cleans approximately 20% of the tooth and gum surfaces. The remaining 80% of tooth and gum surfaces is between the teeth. That’s why flossing daily is so important to protect you from tooth decay and gum disease. Once a day flossing at night before you go to sleep is the best time to floss.

It’s best to use unwaxed dental floss so that when the floss is pressed against the tooth surface the fibers of the floss spread out. This fanning out of the floss produces a greater surface area of floss to do the job of removing the plaque. Sometimes when people have teeth that are very close to each other, it is difficult to get the floss between the teeth. If this sounds like you, you will need to use waxed dental floss. The wax helps the floss slide between the teeth.

Wrap an 18-inch strand of floss around your middle fingers and hold a one-inch section tightly. After you wrap the floss around your middle fingers, take your thumb and pointer finger and hold them as if you were pointing two guns away from you. Then take the fingers that are pretending to be the guns and put them down on the floss so that one inch is between your thumbs and pointer fingers. Holding the floss this way lets you be able to control the floss and be able to reach all the way to floss your back teeth.

Ease the floss between two teeth. Clean up and down several times while curving the floss around the teeth and going under the gumline. Don’t scrub. Just wrap the floss around the tooth and go up and down. Unwind the floss to put clean floss between your fingers that are holding the floss. A special tool called a floss threader is needed to floss between the teeth of a fixed bridge and under the fake teeth.

You may experience sore or bleeding gums for the first several days you floss, but the bleeding will stop because you are flossing. Remember that healthy gums don’t bleed.

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May 30, 2012

Correct Your Brushing Technique

Brushing your teeth at least twice daily helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease, the major causes of tooth loss. If you only brush your teeth once a day, then the best time to do so is at night, ideally before you go to sleep. When you are sleeping there is less movement of saliva and less clearance than when you are awake and swallowing more often.

Use a soft-bristle tooth brush. It is the kindest to your teeth and surrounding gum tissue. It is common to hear the recommendation of using an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste, and these toothpastes can be helpful in preventing decay, however, toothpaste is best used after you have removed plaque and food particles. Think about it, toothpaste is abrasive. The abrasive quality of toothpaste is somewhat helpful with keeping stain on the teeth under control, but abrasives can also wear away tooth structure and contribute to the possibility of gum recession.

Therefore, it is best to use a toothbrush without toothpaste. This way the bristles are in direct contact with the tooth and gum without the interface of abrasive toothpaste. The proper movement of the soft toothbrush bristles removes the plaque from under the gums. After plaque and food particles have been removed, the teeth are ready for a fluoride toothpaste.

On the outer and inner surfaces of the teeth brush at a 45-degree angle in a short jiggling motion to remove the plaque from beneath the gumline. Keep moving the toothbrush to the next group of teeth until all of the gumline has been cleaned of plaque. After this work at the gums, the cheek and tongue sides of the teeth can be brushed in an up and down motion. On the chewing surfaces hold the brush flat and brush back and forth. The tongue side of front teeth can also be brushed by holding the brush vertically and using a gentle up and down stroke with the toe of the brush.

Remember to brush your tongue in a back-to-front sweeping motion to remove plaque and freshen your breath.

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May 22, 2012

Plaque And Tartar Control

Patients often confuse plaque and tartar and how they relate to each other. Plaque is a sticky, colorless deposit of bacteria that is constantly forming on teeth. Saliva, food and fluids combine to produce these deposits that collect on teeth and where teeth and gums meet.

Plaque buildup is the primary factor in gum (periodontal) disease.  Fighting plaque is a life-long component of oral care. Plaque begins forming on teeth 4 to 12 hours after brushing, which is why it is so important to brush at least twice a day and floss daily.

Plaque which is not removed by regular brushing and flossing can harden into tartar (also called calculus).  This crusty deposit creates a cohesive bond that can only be removed by a dentist or hygienist. Tartar formation may also make it more difficult for you to remove new plaque and bacteria. 

You can help reduce the formation of calculus by brushing with the correct technique so that the toothbrush bristles go beneath the gums and by flossing on a daily basis. Having the appropriate interval between professional cleanings is also important. Not everyone forms calculus at the same rate, so some people need more professional help than others.

If there is any sign of gum disease, the research has shown that the ideal interval between professional cleanings is 3 months. Plaque is a collection of different bacteria and as it matures it colonizes and reaches the stage of being destructive to gums and dental bone at 3 months. When you have a professional cleaning at 3 month intervals you are disrupting the bacterial colonies and are basically making them start all over again, thereby stopping or at least slowing down the harm plaque bacteria can cause.

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May 15, 2012

Understanding Tooth Decay

Tooth decay occurs when the enamel of the teeth is attacked by acid produced by decay-causing bacteria.  Every time you eat something with sugar in it, the bacteria are fed and they produce acid when they eat. The acid attack on your teeth lasts for 20 minutes after introducing the sugar into your mouth. That’s why it’s important to be aware of snacking and what’s in your snacks and in between meal drinks. Every time you eat or drink something with sugar in it, whether it’s a lot or a little bit of sugar, there will be an acid attack for 20 minutes after eating or drinking the sugar.

Think about your eating and drinking habits. Are you making your teeth suffer acid attacks for hours each day? It helps to swish and swallow some water after eating if you can’t brush your teeth.

Tooth enamel is the outside of the tooth and it is hard and porous. It consists of many closely-packed rods made of minerals. The acid I mentioned that forms after eating seeps into the enamel’s pores. This causes mineral to be lost from the enamel (a process called demineralization). When mineral is lost from the enamel, the enamel softens and this demineralized spot is a weak spot in the tooth’s surface. If the enamel doesn’t have a chance to remineralize, that is what the decay is – softened, demineralized enamel with bacteria in it. The decay progresses and forms a cavity in the tooth.

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May 8, 2012

Tooth Decay and Fluoride

When we detect a weak spot on one of our patient’s teeth we recommend at–home fluoride treatments to reverse the decay process. If the weak spot is left unchecked, a cavity may form, necessitating a filling. If decay is allowed to spread it may penetrate deeper into the tooth until it enters the nerve chamber of the tooth. Once this happens the nerve of the tooth is infected and the bacteria that caused the decay keep traveling through the chamber, to the roots, through the root canals and eventually can cause an abscess at the tip of the root. This can also result in the destruction of dental bone at the tip of the tooth root. Decay going through these stages results in the need for root canal therapy in order to save the tooth and stop the infection. If the root canal therapy isn’t done, the tooth needs to be extracted to prevent the spread of infection.

Tooth decay often begins on biting surfaces, between the teeth, and on exposed roots. Cavities left untreated become larger. The decay spreads beneath the enamel, which is the outer part of the crown of the tooth, and can destroy the tooth structure.

Fluoride helps prevent tooth decay by slowing the breakdown of enamel and speeding up the natural remineralization process. Common sources of fluoride are fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste and mouth rinse. Most NJ water is not fluoridated, so it’s important to understand the best way to protect your teeth and your family’s teeth from decay with the help of fluoride. We discuss which sources of fluoride are best for our patients.

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May 1, 2012

More About Keeping Your Baby's Teeth Healthy

Baby teeth
Your baby has his first pearly whites - but is it really necessary to visit the dentist this early?
According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry and many other dental authorities across the world, the answer is yes. It’s recommended you take him for a dental check-up at some point during his first year, or certainly by the time all his baby teeth are in his mouth (which is at about 21/2 years).

When you bring your young child in for their first dental visit at an early age it gives us an opportunity to spot potential problems at an early stage and also to decide upon a good prevention program. Plus, it helps get your baby accustomed to the sights and sounds of the dentist's office and can prevent him becoming anxious about dental visits in the future.
There are several cautions we mention to the parents of our youngest patients to help protect them.  We recommend that you do not dip your child’s pacifier into any sweet substance.  Don’t add sugar to your child’s food.  You don’t want your baby to learn a preference for sweet food.

Remember that bedtime is the most important time to clean your baby’s teeth.  There’s less saliva during the night, which means that there’s less rinsing action while your baby’s sleeping.  This results in harmful bacteria in your baby’s mouth settling more easily on the baby teeth.

Also, if you need to give your baby oral medication, you should do it before you brush his teeth, rather than afterwards. Did you know that most oral medications for infants contain sucrose (a type of sugar)?!
Last, but not least important, giving your baby water is always the healthiest option when he needs extra fluids.
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