Overcoming Dental Fears While Achieving A Confident Smile

It’s not unusual to sit down in our Consultation Room with a prospective patient who has a mouthful of problems that have resulted from their dental fears. They may have a denture or partial they detest, but a deep-seated fear has prevented them from seeking an alternative.

During our conversation, I like the individual to share their smile goals. To achieve this, I explain the type of treatment that will be required. I then discuss the comfort options that will enable them to have the necessary care that will create the healthy, confident smile they desire.

However, a conversation isn’t always sufficient reassurance for everyone that their treatment will be pain-free and totally comfortable throughout. Just climbing into the dental chair is difficult for some people with high dental anxiety. For these, we can begin with a small procedure, such as a cleaning combined with oral sedation, if needed.

Others need time to think about our recommendations, while some are ready to begin without delay. Regardless, each person and the pace they are comfortable with is dictated by the patient – not us. We respect a patient’s wishes to move slowly, or forge ahead in treatment with sedation involved.

Dental fear causes a vicious cycle, especially for those with such high fear that they have avoided dental visits for years. Regardless of how diligent they are with oral hygiene at home, problems eventually arise without professional cleanings on a regular basis. Once plaque forms, a cavity begins or gum disease is present, no amount of home care can ‘fix’ the problem.

Rather than focus on your dental fears, come in and let’s discuss that ideal smile you want so much! Then, I’ll explain all the ways we can help you achieve that smile while you are comfortable, relaxed and pain-free. From there, we can stage your care at a pace you’re comfortable with and put things into motion when you’re ready.

Let’s talk! Call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles to arrange a private, no-cost Consultation!


Education, Training Requirements For Dentists Keep Your Smile GREAT!

I am occasionally asked what the ‘D.D.S.’ following my name stands for, or if I’m a ‘real doctor’ (to which the answer is, “Yes, definitely!”).

Dentists are doctors who have chosen to specialize in oral health. This includes diagnosing oral diseases, the safe administration of anesthetics, performing oral surgical procedures and managing oral trauma.

A dentist with a D.D.S. degree holds a Doctorate of Dental Science, whereas a D.M.D. degree is a Doctor of Dental Medicine. Both degrees have essentially the same educational and training requirements.

Dentists trained in the U.S. graduate from a dental school with accreditation by the American Dental Association Commission on Dental Accreditation. After earning their undergraduate degree (typically 4 years to achieve a B.S. degree in Biology, for example), they continue their education to earn their dental degree (another 4 years at most dental schools). Afterwards, some dentists continue to achieve certification in a dental specialty, such as Orthodontics.

Before any dentist or specialist can earn a license to practice, they must first pass national examinations and meet state requirements. Additionally, dentists must continue their education throughout their years in practice. State dental boards have varying requirements for dentists who practice in their state, comprised of a quota of hours of accredited educational courses. Dentists may also take advanced courses to stay current with new technologies or techniques in order to provide  patients with cutting-edge dental options. These courses and associated expenses to attend them are taken at the expense of the dentist.

With so many advancements in technology and developments as a result of research and modernized techniques, dentistry is an exciting profession. However, a good dentist must also have a fondness and compassion for working with people. It’s the ‘people’ part of dentistry that makes every day special in our office! Caring for each individual’s oral health and appearance means we are helping to enhance their life!

Snoring? Your Weight May Show It!

If you snore, you probably know it. You may have been told by your mate or have even woken yourself up with a snort! Snoring is disruptive to peaceful, restful sleep. It contributes to daytime fatigue, and is now being linked to Metabolic Syndrome.

It is estimated that one in four adults in the U.S. has Metabolic Syndrome. This increases your risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Additional symptoms of Metabolic Syndrome symptoms are having bulging belly fat, high blood pressure and high blood sugar.

If you are a heavy snorer or have difficulty falling asleep, you have twice the risk for developing Metabolic Syndrome. However, sleeping soundly and without snoring can be achieved easily and comfortably through our custom-made oral appliances. These are small and designed to fit your mouth so they do not interfere with sleep and are easy to insert and remove.

Protect your health and get a good night’s sleep! Call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles to arrange a free consultation to discuss an oral appliance for you.

Making Oral Health A Family Affair

Most of our patients are adolescents, teens and adults. However, habits of daily oral hygiene are formed much earlier through the guidance of parents. Helping children get into twice-daily routines of brushing is the first step in avoiding (or greatly minimizing) dental repairs in the future. As a member of your team in this regard, we can help tremendously in this effort.

• During your child’s six-month oral exams and cleanings, our hygienist will point out particular areas where your child may have difficulty reaching. She can make suggestions for more effective brushing angles.

• Flossing at a young age can be a challenge. However, the sooner your child is in the habit of daily flossing, the more dedicated they become to it. We can provide instructions and help your child with his or her technique.

• Sealants are an added cost to hygiene visits, but far less expensive than the price of a filling to repair a cavity. Sealants cover the deep pits and grooves of teeth where bacteria typically congregate, multiply and begin damage.

Our goal is to help you avoid problems and enjoy good oral health, for yourself and your entire family. Always feel comfortable asking for instruction during your visits for yourself or a family member. Healthy smiles for every age is what we’re all about!


Invisalign Or Veneers?

A beautiful smile has many benefits. It enhances your facial appearance, makes you look (and often, feel) more outgoing and confident, and typically causes people to smile more, which projects a positive, upbeat personality.

If your teeth are crowded or crooked, the natural way to a beautiful smile is by straightening teeth. We offer Invisalign (for both teens and adults) as an alternative to braces that moves teeth at a pace faster than the traditional ‘brackets-&-wires’ version. Also, Invisalign is clear, so you won’t feel awkward about your appearance during treatment and the molds are removable for eating and brushing.

For a more attractive smile, however, some people opt for porcelain veneers. Not only can veneers create a flattering smile in just one or two visits, they allow you to enhance the appearance of your smile to a greater degree. While Invisalign will move the natural teeth you have, veneers or crowns make improvements to the shape and shade of teeth.

For example, if your natural teeth are short and you want a bright smile that ‘opens your whole face up,’ Invisalign cannot change the length of teeth, nor the shade. While we carefully incorporate proper bite alignment in all procedures, porcelain veneers and crowns can also make a dramatic difference in appearance.

Before you make your decision as to your treatment preference, we’ll discuss your overall goals so your treatment outcome provides you with the smile you truly desire.

Limit Fish Oil Supplements Prior To Dental Treatment

Fish oil has become a popular supplement for American adults, for good reasons! The label of the Omega 3 Fish Oil soft gels I take touts “Supports healthy heart, joints, brain and skin.” I’ve had patients who credit them for helping everything from dry eyes to their jogging distance.

Like anything, however, too much of a good thing can become not such a good thing. Many physicians recommend taking 3,000 milligrams of fish oil a day. That’s typically a capsule of 1,000 milligrams taken with each meal. If you take more than that, please alert us.

Fish oil has a similar effect to that of aspirin, which can cause prolonged bleeding. When you exceed the recommended 3,000 milligrams, excessive bleeding during some dental procedures can result. For those who already take anticoagulants (such as Coumadin), combining fish oil increases the risk for excessive bleeding even more.

Like any medication or over-the-counter supplement (including herbal types), please update us on those you take at every visit. It is our goal to support your overall health so your oral health enhances your well-being and treatment is always a pleasant experience!

Why Dental Implants Are So Dependable Is ‘Unseen!’

When people consult with us about Dental Implants, some are very knowledgeable about how they work. In most conversations, however, we discover that many people are not quite sure how the process works. Here is a basic breakdown of the process:

The implanted portion is made from a biologically-compatible material called Titanium. This means that the body does not reject it once it is placed in the bone. It is also designed to last your lifetime.

In the placement procedure, a small incision is made in the gum tissue that covers the jaw bone where the implant will be placed. Then, a slot is drilled into the bone and the implant is positioned to a precise depth and angle. Once in place, the gum tissue is closed back over the area. During this procedure, you are appropriately sedated and numbing medications are applied to ensure your comfort throughout.

For several months, a process called ‘osseo-integration’ occurs, which means the bone is growing around the implant to secure it in place. During this period, you can wear your denture or partial comfortably. Osseo-integration gives the implant the same foundation of the jaw bone as your natural teeth once had. This is why an implant is often described as a ‘tooth root replacement.’

In the restoration process, a small amount of gum tissue is opened to expose the implant. Into its center, a post is secured. This is the part that will hold your replacement teeth. A replacement tooth (or bridge of several teeth) is then attached to the post. In many cases, several implants that are strategically placed can hold a full arch of teeth.

Implants give replacement teeth the sturdy foundation of the jaw bone, restoring biting and chewing stability. Because dentures typically rely on adhesives and pastes to ‘stick’ them to the gum ridge, they can move when biting or chewing many foods that are healthy and fibrous.

It’s not surprising that denture wearers have more gastrointestinal problems and take more medications than those who have their natural teeth. Dental Implants restore the function of natural teeth and allow you to make healthy choices, not just those that your denture can tolerate.

When it comes to what occurs beneath the gums, what you CANNOT see is the most important part! Our commitment to proper placement and a comfortable experience sets the stage for a successful outcome. If you’re ready to eat foods you love without discomfort from slips or rubbing, arrange a private, no-cost consultation by calling 1-855-9-Smiles.


Enjoy A Smile-Friendly Diet!

The next time you’re hungry, go for choices that will do your teeth and gums a favor at the same time! The following foods are recommended for a healthier, brighter smile:

• Munching on apples, carrots or celery can help remove stain from tooth surfaces. To deter stains in the first place, add broccoli, spinach and lettuce to meals. These green veggies actually form a film on teeth that prevents stains.

• If you enjoy dates and raisins, add those to cereals and salads or just eat as a smile-healthy snack. Raisins have phyto-chemicals, which inhibit bacterial growth in the mouth. Raisins also contain a compound that prevents bacteria from sticking to teeth. And, those delicious dates contain fluorine, which is like nature’s fluoride. This compound has been found to actually help reverse tooth decay in early stages.

Yogurt contains a beneficial bacteria that can help to prevent harmful bacteria from building up. Eating plain yogurt twice a day decreases hydrogen sulfide in the mouth, which helps with fresh breath.

Green tea seems to prevent cavity-causing plaque through compounds they contain and can help reduce gum inflammation as well. A study has shown that those who drink green tea on a regular basis have better gum health and their gums tend to bleed less in treatment.

• Another tooth-friendly drink is cranberry juice, which has compounds that keep bacteria off tooth surfaces. Be sure to select a red variety with no added sugar.

We want your oral health to stay in good shape between regular check-ups and cleanings. Being conscious of foods that are beneficial to your oral health may help you avoid problems rather than need to repair them.

Play Safe This Summer With Comfortable Mouthguards

School will be out for summer soon, but that doesn’t mean a slow-down for many adolescents and young adults who are active in sports. As a matter of fact, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claims that over half of the sports-related injuries that occur annually happen to those between 5 and 24 years old.

There are good reasons to use a mouthguard, especially when contact sports are involved.

Because mouthguards separate soft tissues in the mouth from the teeth, they prevent cuts and bruising of the lips and cheeks. They also help to prevent the trauma and costly repair to broken or knocked out teeth. Plus, mouthguards can reduce the severity and incidence of concussions.

However, many people are unaware that, in some sport mishaps, the lower jaw can be jammed into the upper jaw, leading to jaw fractures, cerebral hemorrhage and neck injuries. Mouthguards help to prevent or greatly decrease the severity of these dangers.

We create custom-made mouthguards that provide the greatest protection, fit and comfort. Unlike drug store ‘boil-&-bite’ types, a custom fit doesn’t move around. Typically, the more comfortable the fit, the more willing an individual is to wear it.

Enjoy your summer and play til your heart’s content! With a custom-made mouthguard, you can play with more confidence and comfort. For more about the process for a custom-fitted mouthguard and cost, call us at (586) 739-2155.