October 30, 2013

How Your Children Can Have Halloween Candy And You Control It, Too!

It’s that time of the year, again, Halloween.  It’s up there with Christmas as a favorite holiday for our children.  It’s also a time of concern for parents.  We are concerned for their safety when they go out trick-or-treating, we’re concerned about the safety of the treats our children receive, we're concerned about their dental health, and we are concerned that even if everything looks properly wrapped, now what on earth do we do with all this candy?!

There are some strategies that you can use to ensure that your children don’t overdo it with candy this Halloween.  For younger children the strategy of limiting the size of the container that holds their stash is easy for you to pull off.  Purchase a moderate size bag or plastic pumpkin with a handle and tell the children that when the bag/pumpkin is all filled up, trick-or-treat time is over.  This strategy just addresses limiting the amount of candy that comes into the house.

Another strategy for getting candy that limits what’s received is to have a Halloween party, instead of going out trick-or-treating.  The children are certainly safer this way, and having a goody bag with some candy is a treat, but not as overwhelming as a trick-or-treating booty.

Trick-or-treating at a mall can also limit the amount of candy that makes it back home.  It’s amazing how quickly retail stores run out of Halloween candy for the children.

If your children have accumulated a lot of candy there are strategies to deal with this situation.  We register Tavormina Dentistry with the Halloween Candy Buyback.  We buy back the children’s candy and reward them with a hygiene kit goody bag filled with a fun toy, too.  You can visit www.HalloweenCandyBuyback.com to find a participating dental office near you.  Different offices offer different buyback rewards to the children.  The candy is then sent to our troops overseas.  It’s a great way to help the dental health of our children while brightening the day and bringing a little bit of home to our American heroes.  We are buying back candy November 4th – November 6th from Noon – 4PM at Tavormina Dentistry 96 Millburn Avenue, Suite 100, Millburn, NJ 07041.

You can also check with your local police station and see if they are participating in a candy buyback program of any kind.

What do you do if you have a lot of candy left in the house?  Have the children choose thirty pieces of candy and tell them to donate anything over thirty.  They can have one piece of candy every day for a month.  The best time to have it is after dinner so that there is only one acid attack from the eating of sugar, instead of dinner and another time later to have candy.  Every time we eat something with sugar in it, there is an acid attack produced by the bacteria that eat the sugar and this attack lasts 20 minutes after eating the sugar.

Well, we’ve given you a lot to chew on to prepare for Halloween.  Have a safe and fun time!

For information about other dental topics please visit us at DrTav.com or call us at 973-761-5090.

October 23, 2013

Apicoectomy vs. Root Canal Therapy Redo

In this world nothing seems to work 100% of the time.  Unfortunately, although there is a 97% success rate for root canal therapy treated teeth, that does leave some issues to deal with in 3% of the cases.  Sometimes it can be years after the root canal therapy (also known as endodontic therapy) has been performed, and there will be symptoms of discomfort associated with the root canal therapy tooth, or an indication of infection is observed in an x-ray.  What should be done about this?
There are two directions your dentist can take.  One is to perform a surgical procedure called an apicoectomy.  What is an apicoectomy?  It is a surgical procedure that involves making a small incision in the gum tissue above the tooth in the area where the tip of the tooth root is.  Usually when this incision is made and the dentist takes a look under the gums where the incision was made, the dentist will see an area in the bone filled with soft tissue, instead of bone.  We don’t know why in some cases the anticipated healing and filling in of the bone at the tip of the tooth root does not take place after a root canal therapy (and in its place is soft tissue that has to be cleaned out).  However, when this happens, the soft tissue must be removed so that the bone can heal and fill in.  Sometimes the tip of the root is drilled away a little, and a dental filling may also be placed at the remaining root tip.  The success rate for healing the infection with an apicoectomy is approximately 90%.  There isn’t discomfort associated with having an apicoectomy, but there usually is a lot of swelling that occurs.  It’s an opportunity to get some sympathy because it looks like you need it, but you’re not in pain.
The other way to treat the infection is to repeat the root canal therapy procedure.  The success rate of redoing the root canal therapy is 75%.  In addition to having a lower success rate than the apicoectomy, it can be more difficult to redo a root canal therapy if there’s a dental crown on the tooth (which is common with teeth that have had root canal therapy).  If you opt for this approach, you need to be aware that the dental crown will need a filling to seal the opening needed to redo the root canal therapy.  If this would be a cosmetic concern, then a dental crown would need to be replaced as well.  For most people this isn’t a concern, because on back teeth, a tooth colored filling would not be particularly noticeable, and on front teeth, the filling wouldn’t be seen at all because the filling would be on the tongue side of the tooth.
Statistically, the apicoectomy is the preferred choice, but sometimes these decisions are more emotional than rational, and people opt for having a non-surgical approach.  We’re glad that there is another alternative for saving a tooth.

For information on other dental topics, please visit us at www.TavorminaDentistry.com, or call us at 973-761-5090.  

October 16, 2013

Senior Citizens' Dental Health Problems

Advancing age brings changes in your mouth as well as in the rest of your body.  Does that mean good dental health can't  be maintained or that a bright healthy smile must become something you used to have? Absolutely not!

If you are finding that your teeth seem darker and it's getting harder to keep them looking bright, it may be because aging causes changes in the dentin of your teeth.  The dentin is the bone-like tissue below the enamel of your teeth (the outside layer of the tooth).  The changes in the dentin and the thinning of the enamel give your teeth a darker appearance.  Also, plaque builds up faster and in greater quantities with age.  There are modern procedures proven to brighten your smile.  Bonding, bleaching (take-home and in-office whitening), veneers, all porcelain crowns, and special porcelain fused to yellow gold crowns are available that produce beautiful smile whitening results.

Does your mouth feel dry?  It's not uncommon for older adults to experience a reduced flow of saliva as a result of various disorders or medications.  You need saliva to lubricate your mouth and to wash away food particles and acids produced by that colorless layer of bacteria called plaque, or extensive cavities may develop.  There are products that can restore moisture to your mouth.

Many older adults experience tooth root decay because receding gumlines expose the root surfaces to plaque and decay-causing acid.  Decay around the edges of fillings, which causes decay to weaken fillings and teeth, is also common among senior adults.

For those people who are unable to function with or tolerate their denture or partials there are dental imlants and bone enhancement procedures which replace the missing tooth roots and serve as anchors for teeth. Dental implants are the closest to natural teeth possible.

With your daily effort, an awareness of the changes that occur, and regular professional care, you'll be able to be proud of your smile for many years to come.

For other dental information visit us at www.DrTav.com or call us at 973-761-5090.  We welcome caregiver consultations.

October 9, 2013

Non-Surgical Treatment Of Gum Disease Saves Lives!

Non-surgical treatment of gum disease therapy is based on the fact that gum disease is an infection.  Some of the bacteria that can be found under the gumline is not infectious and does not lead to bone loss around the teeth.  However, there are other bacteria which when under the gumline, are an infection, and if left untreated, will lead to bone loss, and ultimately tooth loss, if not controlled. 

The use of the phase contrast microscope to study a sample of the contents from beneath a patient’s gums can enable a proper diagnosis and a personalized treatment program based on the severity of any infection observed.  In some cases surgery may be indicated, if the doctor, hygienist, and/or patient cannot reach the infected areas beneath the gumline with the necessary antibacterial agent.  However, the surgery does not treat the infection; it only makes the infection accessible for the non-surgical therapy.  In most cases the patient and the dental team can stop the disease process and stop bone loss.

Non-surgical treatment of gum disease requires each of the four sections of the mouth to have a deep cleaning called scaling and root planning.  A section of the mouth is made numb with anesthesia, and dental instruments which clean the root surface and remove the diseased lining of the gums are used to disrupt the infection and to provide healthy root surfaces to help the gums heal.  An antibacterial liquid is placed below the gums with a water-pik like instrument called an irrigator.  In some cases antibiotic string is placed in the space between the gum and the tooth where the bone used to be.  Samples from under the gums can be taken to view with the phase contrast microscope to evaluate the reduction of infectious bacteria.

If you have gum disease, more can be at stake than your teeth.  As we have been discussing in detail over the past few blog posts, independent studies have shown that there is a correlation between the presence of gum disease and the risk of heart disease.  The latest research guidelines for both the prevention and treatment of gum disease shows the optimum interval between hygiene visits is three months.  Visiting the dentist every three months can help prevent heart disease, and could save your life!  When you consider that 75% of the population has gum disease, most likely this information is of importance to you or someone you love.

For information about gum disease and other dental topics visit www.TavorminaDentistry.com or call us at 973-761-5090.

October 2, 2013

What Are The Risk Factors Associated With Gum Disease?

The main cause of periodontal (gum) disease is plaque, but other factors affect your gum health.

Studies indicate that older people have the highest rates of gum disease.  Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates that over 70% of Americans 65 and older have periodontitis.

Tobacco use is linked with many serious illnesses such as cancer, lung disease, and heart disease, as well as numerous other health problems.  Tobacco users also are at increased risk for gum disease.  Studies have shown that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of gum disease.

Research has indicated that some people may be genetically susceptible to gum disease.  Despite aggressive oral care habits, these people may be more likely to develop gum disease.  Identifying these people with a genetic test before they even show signs of gum disease and getting them into early treatment may help them keep their teeth for a lifetime.

Stress is linked to many serious conditions such as high blood pressure, cancer, and numerous other health problems.  Stress also is a risk factor for gum disease.  Research shows that stress can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infection, including gum disease.

Some drugs, such as oral birth control, anti-depressants, and certain heart medicines, can affect your oral health.  Remember to always notify your dentist of the medicines you are taking and of any changes in your medications and/or general health.

Clenching or grinding your teeth can put excess force on the supporting tissues of your teeth and could speed up the speed at which the bone supporting your teeth can be destroyed.

Other systemic diseases that interfere with the body’s inflammatory system may worsen the condition of the gums.  These include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and rheumatoid arthritis.  Interestingly, conversely, having gum disease makes you more susceptible to having these diseases.

Poor nutrition and obesity have shown to be risk factors associated with gum disease.  A diet low in important nutrients can compromise the body’s immune system and make it harder for the body to fight off infection.  Because gum disease begins as an infection, poor nutrition can worsen the condition of the gums.  In addition, research has shown that obesity may increase the risk of gum disease. 

Visit us on www.TavorminaDentistry.com for other dental and health information.