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Posts for: March, 2017

“Why are my Gums Bleeding?” and Other Questions to Ask Us

As a general dentist to Scarsdale, Westchest, East Chester, and all the surrounding area, we get a lot of people coming through our office. Many patients come through with similar questions and we love educating people on their oral health. Here are some great questions we hear along with their answers.

Q: Why are my Gums Bleeding?
A: Bleeding gums is one of the early signs of gum disease. Nearly 60 % of people in the United States have experienced bleeding gums and 1 in 3 think it’s normal. This is a bad sign that you are headed on a path to Gingivitis. There are three things you can do to prevent or stop bleeding gums:

  1. Brush at least twice a day and make sure you are brushing your gums as part of the process.
  2. Floss every day. Make sure you do it properly.
  3. Come in twice a year for cleanings. Our hygienist will scrape off the plaque and tartar along your gum line to help limit bleeding and sensitive areas.

Q: What are sealants and who should get them?
A: Sealants are a thin coating made from plastic that we apply to the molars on children. This is an extra layer of protection on the teeth that are so prone to decay. During dental check-ups, we make sure they are still in place and not damaged. Adults can benefit from sealants too if they don’t have any fillings or decay in their molars.

Q: Is all sugar bad for my teeth?
A: Sugar is found in many of our favorite foods, including milk, fruit, and pasta sauce. When most people ask about eating sugary food though, they are referring to candy and sweets. Too much sugar weakens the enamel on your teeth, which is how it creates cavities. By brushing and flossing your teeth multiple times a day, you keep your teeth clean. It is still a good idea to limit the number of sugary snacks you eat and drink.

Q: Are electric toothbrushes better than manual?
A: Electric toothbrushes are great for getting teeth clean easier. If you are brushing and flossing your teeth properly and for a long enough amount of time, you are just fine to use your manual brush. Spin brushes are effective for people who don’t want to put a lot of effort into their routine.

Q: Why doesn’t my cavity hurt?
A: Most cavities don’t hurt until there is a large amount of decay. Waiting to come in for an exam or delaying a filling until it is painful is a bad idea. Not only is it less invasive to get a smaller cavity fixed, but it is also less expensive.

Q: What should I do in an emergency?
A: Dental emergencies happen all the time. Some of the most common injuries are

  • Getting a tooth knocked out
  • Experiencing a large amount of pain
  • Cracked or fractured teeth
  • Lost filling or crown
  • Swollen face or jaw

We offer emergency services to our patients. Call the office and explain the problem. We will get you in as soon as we can, even the same day if necessary. 

We value our patients and want them to feel comfortable in our care. It is important to us that you feel comfortable asking any question with hygiene, treatments, or anything else we can help with while you are under our care.


What to Expect From Your Child's First Dental Visit

Most children have all of their baby teeth by the age of three, which makes toddlerhood the time when you should be teaching your child good dental habits to help prevent unhealthy oral hygiene. Regular dental visits should be a big part of their routine, but taking your child to their first dentist appointment can seem like a challenging task. It doesn’t have to be that way though, with the right preparation.

Here are a few tips to help you and your child know what to expect from your first visit with us:

1 - Meet & Greet

Formally introducing your child will help them feel more comfortable with our dental staff. Let your child know that we will explain each step of the visit and show them that the tools we will be using really aren’t that scary.

2 - Teaching the Facts

Although teaching your kids about good oral hygiene starts at home, we will help teach them the facts about cavities and the harmful things that can cause them, such as sugar-packed snacks, sodas, and juices.

3 - Learning About the Equipment

For a toddler, the sucking sound from the spitting cup can be a little frightening, but we will show your child how to spit properly to assure them there is nothing to be afraid of. Next, we will count your child’s teeth, and we show him or her how we use a mirror to see them all. We might even use our own teeth,, or yous, beforehand to help put them at ease and show them that they don’t need to be afraid of the dental tools.

4 - Cleaning & Polishing

This, like the spitting cup, makes a sound that may be new and a bit scary to a small child. We’ll show them how the rotary toothbrush is used for cleaning and polishing before placing it in their mouth. 

5 - Final Touches

We will remove any extra toothpaste or saliva with a sucking straw. The last step to your child’s first visit is to apply a coat of topical fluoride to help prevent decay. These come in yummy flavors that kids love such as, bubblegum, grape, banana, and strawberry. We’ll then explain why they should not eat of drink for 30 minutes after the treatment.

6 - The Best Part - Prizes for a Job Well Done

Giving kid-friendly toothbrushes, stickers, crayons, and even mystery grab bags can be a common practice and can be a good opportunity for positive reinforcement after the appointment. This keeps it fun and helps make them excited to come back.

After your child comes to see us for their first visit it is important to keep up with good dental habits at home. Make sure they brush at least twice a day using a soft, kid-sized brush. Kids will mimic your habits, so it is always good for them to see you brushing your own teeth as part of your daily routine. With regular visits and great habits at home, your child will be on their way to a lifetime of excellent oral health.


What Should YOU Do in a Dental Emergency?

 Dental emergencies can be extremely painful and even worse, frightening. Often people are unsure whether or not it actually IS an emergency. Rule of thumb in this scenario is: if it hurts, it’s an emergency. Even small injuries can have devastating effects on the tissue inside the teeth. The faster you respond to dental problems, the better the odds are that the injured or damaged teeth can be saved. Any obvious damage, such as chips or fractures are among those that need immediate attention to avoid future problems.

 This rule applies to a lost filling or crown as well. Losing a crown or filling means that your tooth has lost its support and could easily break or crumble, which could lead to more extensive and expensive treatments.

 Here are some of the most common questions that patients ask regarding dental emergencies:

Tooth Injury: What Should I Do?

 Any time you experience trauma within the mouth you should contact us immediately. Through examination and x-rays we will be able to determine if treatment is required.

 If you are in pain, it may be wise to take an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain reliever, such as Ibuprofen or Tylenol. If you have broken your tooth it is best to keep the broken piece and bring it with you to your appointment. Avoid using the damaged tooth, don’t chew anything and stay away from extreme cold or hot beverages.

 Chipped, Cracked, or Broken Teeth

 Chipped teeth can be small enough that they don’t require repair. Unless there is pain involved it is up to you if you would like to have it cosmetically repaired. However, if the chipped tooth is part of an artificial tooth, it should be replaced. As mentioned above, cracked and broken teeth should be repaired right away to avoid further damage. 

Teeth Knocked Out 

In order to improve the changes of the tooth being saved, we suggest: 

●If the tooth is dirty, rinse it off with milk or contact lens solution. Handle to tooth carefully and avoid touching the root of the tooth

●The tooth needs to stay moist, so if possible keep the tooth in a glass of milk. If no milk is available, place the tooth between your cheek and gums, or last resort would be a glass of water

●Most importantly, get in to see us as soon as possible

 Severe Pain (Non Trauma Related)

 Often people experience dental pain and don’t know why, such as food or beverage that has come in contact with a decayed area of the tooth. Exposed nerves can cause shooting pain when food comes in contact with it. Brushing and flossing can help keep food from lodging between your teeth and causing discomfort and pain. If swelling inside or outside the mouth occurs, contact our office immediately.

 Lip or Gum Injuries

 This is a common injury. Often caused during sports, but can be prevented by the use of a mouth guard. The flesh of the lips is soft and in an exposed and vulnerable place, which can be easily damaged by being bumped or elbowed. Cuts inside the mouth usually tend to bleed quite a bit due to the rich supply of blood within that area.

 If you are experiencing a swollen or bruised lip, often a cold compress can help with the healing process, and no medical attention is needed. However, you should seek medical care if: 

●Uncontrollable bleeding occurs

●The trauma is a deep cut and may require stitches

●The cut crosses the border between the lip and facial skin

●The lip is punctured

●The cut has become infected

●Swelling within the mouth, neck, or cheeks

 Burn Within the Mouth

 This is usually caused by our favorite, yet secret mouth enemies, food and beverage. We love the cheese on our pizza to be delicious and super-melty, and our coffee, tea, and hot chocolate to be piping hot. But our mouths beg to differ. Burns caused from these foods is what is known as “pizza palate,” because they are most commonly caused by pizza.

 They are generally minor (although they ruin the taste of food for a few days) and heal quickly. Rinse with warm-salt water after meals to keep the area clean.

 Knowing whether your dental injury or trauma is an emergency is important. If you feel like the damage goes beyond dental, such as fractures of the jaw or dislocation, serious soft tissue injuries, or an abscesses with severe swelling, you should seek medical attention from a hospital. For all the things mentioned above, if you experience any of them, contact our office a call immediately. Don’t wait for the damage to become more extensive. Remember, if there is pain, it’s an emergency. 


The Science Behind Dental Implants

Dental implants have become the most desired replacement for lost teeth. While fake teeth and implants are not new, they are better and more effective than ever before. As science has improved, so have the options available to patients.

The Evolution of Implants
Back in the frontier days, people occasionally would try using a piece of wood to replace a missing tooth or fashioned dentures from this material. The most popular historical figure to have fake teeth is George Washington. While many believe his fake teeth were made of wood, they were made out of ivory to mimic natural human teeth.

In more modern attempts at tooth implants, vitreous carbon showed a lot of promise when it fused well to the jaw bone. Issues arose from its use though, including its tendency to become brittle and unable to withstand biting and chewing. Eventually titanium was tried because it is an affordable, predictable option, but pure titanium proved too soft for use too.

The most commonly used materials for modern dental implants are titanium alloys. Having a mixture of elements allows the implant to withstand the daily rigors of tooth functions. Titanium is also well known in the medical field for fusing to bone naturally, which makes it ideal in the mouth. It takes a few months, but after the healing process is complete, the titanium alloy completely fuses to the jaw bone and is just as strong as a natural tooth root.

Production Process
After the bone fuses to the screw, a crown, bridge, or denture is attached. These are made in a dental lab and from different materials, including

  • Metal alloys
  • Ceramic
  • Porcelain
  • Stainless steel
  • Porcelain fused to metal
  • Resin

To produce a crown, impressions are taken of the patient’s mouth in our office and then sent to the lab. The technician will create a mold based off the impression to fit in the empty spot. The impressions are taken of your surrounding teeth so that the technician can shape it to fit with the upper or lower tooth as well as fit nicely between remaining teeth. If multiple teeth are being replaced with a bridge or denture implant, the impressions are usually bigger and then used to create molds.

To make the crowns, molds are filled with the selected material. Metals are melted at high temperatures and poured into the mold while still liquid. Porcelain is already in a liquid-state, so it is poured into the mold without manipulating the temperature. The crowns are all kept in their ideal temperature ranges to cure and harden. Finishing coats are applied to make the coloring and shine appealing and then shipped back to the dental office.

Once we receive the crown in our office, we keep it stored until your implant screw has healed completely. The crown is attached screwed on or cemented in and the process is complete. Implants are permanently placed and crafted to look like a natural tooth, so no one knows it is fake but you.


How Veneers Can Change Your Smile

Too many people are hesitant to share their wonderful smile with others, for fear that their teeth are too discolored, too crooked, to gapped, or otherwise misaligned or aesthetically unappealing. These same people may be under the impression that fixing some of those perceived flaws would require major dental procedures that take a lot of time and money.

Dental veneers are a simple and effective way to address many of those cosmetic concerns and provide a restorative option that is quick and affordable.

You don’t have to hide away your smile. This treatment can very literally change your smile.

When Do We Suggest Veneers?

While veneers can’t solve every problem, they do offer new look that is very natural and very durable. We normally suggest veneers to correct problems such as:

  • Fractured, broken, or chipped teeth
  • Misaligned, uneven, or strangely shaped teeth
  • Teeth that have been worn down from grinding
  • Discolored teeth that haven’t responded to other whitening procedures
  • Gaps between teeth

What Are Veneers and How Does the Procedure Work?

Veneers are usually applied to your teeth in two separate visits. On your first visit, we need to get your teeth ready to accept the veneer. The second visit is when we will actually bond the veneer in place.

Preparing your tooth requires the removal of a little bit of the surface. Veneers are simply thin pieces of porcelain, and we need to make sure that they won’t feel out of place in your mouth. All in all, though, the amount we remove is usually less than 0.5mm.

The next step is to take an impression of the prepared tooth and the teeth around it. We will send this to a special dental lab where they will create the custom veneer that will fit perfectly.

As soon as your veneers are ready, we’ll have you come back into the office where so we can bond them in place. We use a special dental cement for this which is then hardened with a red curing light.

Restoring Your Smile

Whether your teeth have been damaged through decay or trauma, a simple veneer might be the solution you need. They are strong enough to function just like your normal teeth, and studies show that the average veneers will last between 5 and 12 years.

And now that you’ve taken the first steps to restoring your smile, it’s important to focus on proper dental maintenance. Just because you’ve got porcelain instead of enamel on your tooth, it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t require the same kind of attention and care.

Make sure that you continue to brush and floss as you should, though you may consider avoiding toothpaste that is particularly abrasive.

If you tend to grind your teeth at night, or if you bite your nails or regularly chew hard objects, you may be putting too much pressure on them.

Showing Off Your Smile

Your smile and your self-confidence are tied very closely together. If you don’t feel like you can show off your teeth, you tend to hold back on your smiles. Often, that can make it harder for others to approach you, which, in turn, makes you feel even more self-conscious.

Veneers can quickly repair or reinvigorate your smile so you don’t have to keep it hidden away. If you’re ready to make this change, be sure to give us a call.