Dental News

07.21.17

Not Brushing Correctly: A Worldwide Phenomenon

The world is filled with close to seven billion people and countless smiles filled with teeth. Each country has their own set of rules and laws to be observed but despite these differences there is one phenomenon that connects all humans, the failure to brush teeth correctly.

Throughout human history dental health has been a hot topic of conversation. In ancient Greece, scholars like Aristotle and Hippocrates discussed malocclusion and how gentle force could be applied to gradually shift teeth. In contemporary times dentists and other medical experts are figuring ways to improve dental health without the aid of a dental drill. Despite all the great advancements regarding dentistry, practicing oral hygiene is still the best way to lower levels of dental plaque for oral health, but sadly most people are not doing the job well.

Many Use Wrong Brushing Technique

Sweden is known for being the homeland for pop-group Abba, furniture line Ikea and for its citizens having the longest average life expectancy (80.51 years in 2006) of any other European country. In regards to the latter, the Swedish could even potentially live longer if only they brushed their teeth properly, but research has indicated that nine out of ten of them are not doing the job correctly.

Two studies conducted by the Sahlgrenska Academy, University of Gothenburg have shown the truth regarding the nasty side of Sweden's oral hygiene behaviors. Researchers analyzed the brushing behaviors of 2013 Swedes representing a variety of demographics (aged 15-16, 31-35, 60-65 and 76-80). The clinicians focused on topics including daily brushing occurrences, time spent on the task, if fluoride toothpaste was used, how much toothpaste per session and how much water was used during and after the task (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/245477.php).

The Right Way to Brush

The right way to brush teeth includes:

- Brushing sessions should last a total of 2 minutes, 30 seconds for each quadrant.

- Take another 5 seconds to brush your tongue to reduce the chances of developing bad breath.

- Electric toothbrushes can help individuals brush more effectively.

- Soft bristled toothbrushes are best.

- Brush in a gentle, circular motion.

- Use a 45-degree angle to make sure you are scrubbing the area around your gum line.

- All toothpaste used should have some time of cavity protection ingredient; fluoride is the number one recommendation but individuals concerned about that compound may prefer using a toothpaste with xynitol.

- Toothpaste amount used should be no bigger than the size of a dime.

- Flossing once a day (preferably after brushing teeth at end of day) will put more muscle behind any tooth brushing efforts.

 

07.14.17

Conquering Dental Anxiety

Ten percent of all adults are categorized having some type of dental phobia and of all the options out there, dental anxiety is considered to be one of the most common fears. The stress caused by the sights, sounds and smells of a dental office may be too much for some patients to handle. In response, dentists are proactively making the efforts to make the experience more relaxing for patients in order to implement dental care.

According to a survey conducted by the American Dental Association, nearly 25 percent of all Americans avoid the dentist because of dental fear. While some of them may choose to try their own methods of minimizing dental anxiety, a professional dental dentist skilled in the art of reducing dental anxiety is the best line of defense.

Dental Schools Teaching Importance of Communication

Within the medical industry, doctors who tested poorly on patient-physician communication skills were far more likely to generate patient complaints to the authorities in charge (ScienceDaily.com). Those findings are not shocking as it is common knowledge that the right type of communication can bring positive results, while poor connection skills can cause misunderstandings, stress and anxiety. That is why dental schools are taking the time to educate dental professionals on the importance of bedside (in this case chair-side) manner.

At the New York University College of Dentistry, actors are being used to coach third year students on the best ways to interview patients (Wall Street Journal). The process involves actors receiving character information regarding a variety of dental problems and fears. The actors realistically portray patients suffering from dental woes such as dry mouth, fear of needles and other common scenarios. The students must then rely on a combination of their interviewing skills and dental know-how to develop the best course of action to deal with the dental scene being portrayed.

Seinfeld, introduced the concept of medical actors to a majority of America as 'Cosmo Kramer' was a medical actor in an episode entitled, "The Burning." While the concept may seem based out of fiction, it is a real way to train students in both the medical and dental industries. Ultimately, the education will prepare students for dealing in real life scenarios calmly, professionally and kindly.

Pain Reduction

No two dental anxiety sufferers are identical and while the sight of a dentist office can trigger panic attacks in some, others may have a dental fear based on pain. In order to coax patients into their offices, some dentists are using the latest technology to make dental treatments of any nature virtually pain free.

Faster and more efficient drills are replacing older compressed air models. Some dentists have gotten rid of their drills altogether and now use air abrasion (where tiny particles of aluminum oxide or silica are blasted on affected areas) to for remove tooth decay and prep a tooth in preparation for treating dental caries. Topical anesthetics are readily applied from the get go to minimize any discomfort, even that of a simple dental exam and cleaning. Pain pathways can be blocked courtesy of technology that emits low-dose electrical pulses in lieu of traditional anesthetics.

Creating a Soothing Atmosphere

Some patients may experience dental anxiety from the moment they step into a cold and sterile dentist office. In order to minimize that particular dental phobia, dentists are now taking the time to make their reception area inviting and soothing. Aromatherapy candles, soft music, plush couches and decor are some of the touches professional dentists are focusing on in order to minimize anxiety before a patient sits in the chair.

 

07.07.17

Neglect Costs More Than Money

According to a 2009 Harris Interactive/HealthDay Poll, 50 percent of uninsured and 30 percent of insured Americans skipped seeking annual dental care to save money. That decision can actually end up costing more than just money in the long run as individuals who choose to skip the dentist are making a big mistake as paying to repair dental neglect is far more expensive than paying for preventative dentistry in the first place.

Estimates suggest that for every one dollar invested into preventative dentistry (including the process of practicing daily oral hygiene, getting annual check-ups, tooth cleanings and other dental treatments) can result in a savings ranging from eight to fifty dollar per dollar investment. Although money is certainly an issue, dental neglect can contribute to other issues ranging from small paychecks to knocking on heaven's door.

Death

Dental neglect will not only contribute to conditions such as bad breath and tooth decay as the reality is that behavior can kill. The family of seventh grader Deamonte Driver sadly learned that lesson the hard way.

Deamonte Driver was an average twelve year old living in Washington DC. Factors linked to coming from a low income family (including but not limited to lack of access to regular dental care and not getting proper nutrition) helped contribute to the pre-teen developing a painful dental abscess.

Deamonte's complaints resulted in his mother looking to find a dentist who was part of the Medicaid program. She had no luck. When Deamonte's condition worsened, a trip to the local ER resulted in a him receiving medicine to treat his symptoms (headaches, sinusitis and a dental abscess) and was then sent home. That proved not to be enough as the excess of oral bacteria that caused his dental problems spread to his brain and despite medical efforts (two surgeries, specialized care and additional therapy) Deamonte died on February 25, 2007. After the fact it was concluded that a tooth extraction (ranging in cost from $75 to $300) would have remedied the condition and spared his life.

Diminished Mental Health

PBS suggests that approximately 15 million American adults (around 8 percent) of the U.S. population eighteen years and older suffer from depression annually. Of that group, 80 percent of them do not receive any type of treatment. Those who suffering with the conditions may experience dental neglect (and subsequent) dental problems as a result as that low-down feeling may prevent a person from seeking professional dental care (courtesy of dental anxiety) practicing oral hygiene and eating a healthy diet and instead fuel their passion for self medicating via tooth destroying vices (such as smoking, drinking, binge eating).

The relationship also works the other-way around as dental neglect can contribute to depression. While some individuals have a genetic disposition for depression, there are a variety of causes that can also drag people down. Some cause-and-effect examples include a death of a loved one, divorce and job loss; diminished dental health can also may a person beyond blue.

Dental neglect (caused by lack of time or knowledge) will allow levels of oral bacteria to explode and create mounds of dental plaque and tartar as a result. As those levels skyrocket and are left unchecked, dental health will be negatively impacted and individuals can experience an assortment of dental problems (IE bad breath, cavities, tooth decay and tooth loss). Ultimately, that can destroy a smile and make a person less attractive to the world at large and to themselves. That low self esteem can make a person feel worthless and influence poor decision making choices; that can contribute to a vicious cycle and more dental problems down the line.

Lame Love Life

Most people find that life is better with love and invest effort into finding their better half. However, individuals suffering from dental neglect may be laden with low self-esteem that prevents them from being attractive to others as well has having sexual dysfunction linked specifically to their oral health.

Gum disease is an infection of the tissue that supports the teeth and high oral bacteria levels caused by dental neglect can contribute to the issue. Not only can the infection cause gingivitis, periodontal disease, missing teeth, strokes, depleted red blood cell counts and diabetes, research has shown that the oral condition can be linked to erectile dysfunction. One study showed that  as complications surrounding erectile dysfunction increased, so did gum disease levels (Pradeep, A R., Sharma Anuj., and Arjun Raju P. (2011). Association Between Chronic Periodontitis and Vasculogenic Erectile Dysfunction, Journal of Periodontology, 0:0, 1-7).

Regardless of gender, dental neglect is also a big romantic turn off. Research conducted by Kelton Research, indicated oral hygiene incredibly important to setting the mood. Their findings indicated that 59 percent of Americans would be turned-off if their partner skipped the basic dental care behaviors of brushing or flossing his or her teeth for a week.

 

 

06.30.17

Behaviors that Influence Gum Disease

Rumor has it that approximately 75 percent of all American adults have some degree of gum disease, yet a majority of them do not know they have it. 1-800-DENTIST defines gum disease as being "...an infection of the tissues that support your teeth, or what we commonly call gums (periodontal literally means 'around the tooth')". In its earliest stages it is called gingivitis, when in a more advanced state it is known as periodontal disease, however regardless of the stage, it is a serious dental problem that requires the attention of a dentistand behavior modification to keep in check.

Some people are naturally predisposed to developing gum disease thanks to the genetic condition markers passed down by previous generations. It is estimated that nearly 30 percent of the entire population have a genetic proclivity that may lead to gum disease as those individuals are six times more than like to develop the dental problem. Currently altering genetics is the fodder for science fiction, so instead everyone is encouraged to modify their behaviors to lower their odds of developing the dental problem and the problems associated with it.

Stop Smoking

Everyone has a vice or two, but when it comes to impact, smoking packs the most crippling punch of them all. Smoking, the act of lighting, inhaling and exhaling tobacco is a habit that has been around for hundreds of years. The behavior is no longer considered chic as the average cigarette is packed filled with toxins and chemicals, none of which have health benefits. Smoking is highly addictive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that around 45 million Americans smoke and that practice causes 438,000 deaths annually. The habit is known for causing slews of health issues such has heart disease and cancer, and it is also the leading culprit in triggering gum disease.

Tobacco is a controlled substance that has been scientifically proven to interfere with the normal function of gum tissue cells. Consistent use of tobacco products can cause damage that separates gums from bones, leaving the entire oral cavity more prone to infection. As a result, smokers are several times more likely to get advanced periodontal disease than their non-smoking counterparts. In addition to smoking causing gum disease, the continued behavior will limit the chance of success for any dental treatment implemented to correct the issue.

Relax

For many Americans stress seems to go hand-in-hand with life as studies have found that around one third of all Americans suffer from some level of anxiety (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/86705.php). There are numerous reasons that can trigger bouts with stress including work, finances, family, health and mental well being. Regardless of why that anxiety is lingering about, individuals should focus their efforts to relaxing as the fact is, stress can also contribute to gum disease.

Researchers have found a correlation between stress and gum disease and have speculated that the relationship is triggered by cortisol, a hormone naturally released when a body is deciding between the basic instincts of fight vs. flight (Journal of Periodontology, August 2007). The scientists hypothesized that higher levels of cortisol can contribute to the destruction of the gums and bone due to periodontal diseases. The results are not really considered surprising as studies have shown that long-term stress weakens the human immune systems, and increases susceptibility to infections including gum disease.

Poor Nutrition

The word diet is carelessly tossed around in regards to weight loss, but skinny or fat everyone follows some type of diet (AKA nutrition) in order to feed their body. Individuals who consume foods devoid of vitamins and minerals can experience a decline in their immune system functions, naturally upping the odds of gum disease developing. Plus, nutrition plans that are high in processed carbohydrates (such as white grains, pasta and bread) will have high levels of sugar on their teeth. That sugar will attract oral bacteria that will break down the deposits and release tooth-eroding acids as a byproduct, and those acids will compound dental problems such as gum disease, tooth decay and cavities.

In order to reduce the risk of gum disease from developing, individuals should make sure that each bite of food consumed counts and has a place on the Government's Nutrition Plate. By following the government supported eating plan, individuals will eat a diet rich with foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grainsand lean protein; all of which are foods known for boosting dental health.

While these three behaviors can strongly influence the odds of developing gum disease, they are not the only factors that can influence the outcome. Dentists are the best source of information on the topic and patients can feel free to discuss the topic further with their professional dental care provider.

 

06.09.17

Criminal Dental Care Product Uses

Maintaining oral health is essential to ensure a person avoids developing dental problems or health issues such as heart disease, strokes or diabetes down the line. As a result, manufactures have released countless dental care products such as toothpastes, dental flosses, electric toothbrushes and more. Those gadgets can be incredibly helpful for implementing good at home dental care, enticing consumers and generating billion dollars in sales annually. While most people use the items for the intended dental health purposes, others use the seemingly innocent devices to hand craft weapons, escape from jail and deliver body modifications.

Toothbrushes, A Top Prison Weapon

Most people are familiar with toothbrushes. The device was invented as an improvement on primitive teeth cleaning systems of the past (such as wiping teeth with cloth and ashes). Since the very first toothbrush was mass produced and put up for sale, billions have been sold and tooth brushing has been categorized as a daily must! While dentists will attest that regular tooth brushing can help save lives by lowering the levels of dental plaque, the devices can also be used to kill!

Within the nations' entire prison system, toothbrushes are popular and readily available as those who are incarcerated are encouraged to practice decent oral hygiene. However some inmates don't view the devices as a way to protect teeth, but instead break the brush head off, whittle down the handle and construct shivs out of the seemingly innocent device. Once the makeshift weapon is complete it is utilized either for self-defense or to lead an attack (http://gizmodo.com/5853104/the-many-insane-flavors-of-improvised-prison-...). Across the nation, hundreds of makeshift toothbrush shivs and other improvised weapons are confiscated on a weekly basis.

Maintaining oral health is essential to ensure a person avoids developing dental problems or health issues such as heart disease, strokes or diabetes down the line. As a result, manufactures have released countless dental care products such as toothpastes, dental flosses, electric toothbrushes and more. Those gadgets can be incredibly helpful for implementing good at home dental care, enticing consumers and generating billion dollars in sales annually. While most people use the items for the intended dental health purposes, others use the seemingly innocent devices to hand craft weapons, escape from jail and deliver body modifications.

Toothbrushes, A Top Prison Weapon

Most people are familiar with toothbrushes. The device was invented as an improvement on primitive teeth cleaning systems of the past (such as wiping teeth with cloth and ashes). Since the very first toothbrush was mass produced and put up for sale, billions have been sold and tooth brushing has been categorized as a daily must! While dentists will attest that regular tooth brushing can help save lives by lowering the levels of dental plaque, the devices can also be used to kill!

Within the nations' entire prison system, toothbrushes are popular and readily available as those who are incarcerated are encouraged to practice decent oral hygiene. However some inmates don't view the devices as a way to protect teeth, but instead break the brush head off, whittle down the handle and construct shivs out of the seemingly innocent device. Once the makeshift weapon is complete it is utilized either for self-defense or to lead an attack (http://gizmodo.com/5853104/the-many-insane-flavors-of-improvised-prison-...). Across the nation, hundreds of makeshift toothbrush shivs and other improvised weapons are confiscated on a weekly basis.

 

06.02.17

Tooth Worms

Before anyone understood the reasons behind tooth decay, tooth worms were considered to be the cause. In ancient times, there was no scientific explanation for tooth ailments or the unsightly appearance that tooth decay left in its wake. Nor were there dental offices, dental schools or the standard oral hygiene practices that we have today. So without any way to rationalize how these "holes" were created in teeth, the legend of the tooth worm was born!

Many believed that the tooth worm bore a hole through your tooth, stubbornly hiding beneath the surface. It caused a toothache by wriggling around, and the pain subsided once the worm rested. Although no one could tell you exactly what the creature looked like, it had taken on many forms over the years. British folklore had the tooth worm resembling an eel. Germans believed the maggot-like worm was red, blue and gray in color. But much like the modern legends of the Loch Ness Monster and Bigfoot, there is no real proof that tooth worms ever existed. 

Baiting the Tooth Worm

Dental treatment for the tooth worm varied depending on the culture and era it resided in. In ancient times, doctors believed the tooth's nerve was the tooth worm! Once the dental crown was removed, the worm-like nerve was pulled out. Surprisingly, it may have relieved some of the patients' pain, considering a toothache will usually come into play when the nerve is affected by tooth decay.

Throughout the centuries, different toothache remedies were used to cure those plagued by the tooth worm. Other ancient practices included rituals and chanting spells to expel the tooth worm. In some cultures, a heated probe was used to kill tooth worms. Medieval through modern times also saw the use of magic and sorcery: Poisonous henbane seeds were burned in order to fumigate the demon-like tooth worm from the body. Those not prone to witchcraft used honey to lure the worm to the surface of the tooth, hoping to see it and pull it out. When all else failed, a tooth extraction was necessary.

Regardless of where or when the tooth worm struck, herbal remedies were often used to treat the pain. Now we can't tell you whether any of these treatments worked, but you can imagine that very few of these procedures were actually pleasant!

We’ve Come a Long Way

Luckily, we live in an age where science has given us reasonable explanations for our ailments. We now know it is dental plaque bacteria, not worms, that eat away at our tooth enamel and cause tooth decay. And dental treatments have improved, too! Thanks to modern dentistry, dental cavities and other dental problems can be easily diagnosed and treated with little or no discomfort.

No one wants to experience a toothache! If you don't want a visit from the tooth worm, practice excellent oral hygiene, and make sure to have regular dental visits.
 

 

05.19.17

Dental Care to Boost Brain Power

Despite the medical industry breaking down dental care and general care into two distinct types of medicine, there is no denying the mouth/body connection. There have been dozens of studies indicating that poor dental health is an indicator that will contribute to health issues such as obesity, diabetes and heart disease. Poor oral care can also inhibit brain functionality as well as deplete perception abilities delivered by the senses.

The human brain is a marvelous piece of organic design as the organ controls the he center of the nervous system in all vertebrates, including humans. The hub of what helps distinguish man from the rest of the animal kingdom processes about 70,000 thoughts a day and in order to keep the synaptic connections sharp, daily brushing and flossing are necessary.

Boost Brain Power

According to study conducted by a team of British psychiatrists and dentists, "...gingivitis and periodontal disease were associated with worse cognitive function throughout adult life—not just in later years," (http://www.prevention.com/7waystoboostyourbrain/list/3.shtml). The information was unearthed after the team analyzed thousands of subjects aged 20 to 59 and helped the team to develop the hypothesis that following the dentist recommendation of brushing teeth daily twice a day for two minutes a session plus flossing every day to remove dental plaque will keep people sharp, regardless of their age.

Brain Exercise

Newton's First Law of Motion states that a body at rest will remain at rest unless an outside force acts on it and the theory can be applied to brain power as well. The individuals who are the most feeble-minded can actually implement some exercises to reverse the trend as science has proven that the human brain is highly adaptable courtesy of neuroplasticity. That ability to rewire a brain can be easily triggered with the right type of stimulation as the process can create new neural pathways to boost learning, comprehension and memory. Mixing up how tooth brushing is performed is a brain exercise that can help with the task.

Regardless of if a person is a righty or a lefty, tooth brushing typically occurs with the dominant hand. However, opting to use the non-dominant appendage to conduct the oral hygiene behavior will provide a brain boost. Using the non-dominant hand to brush teeth will encourage communication between the brains' two hemispheres. That process will assist to improve mental capacity and physical balance (http://health.yahoo.net/experts/drmao/easy-exercises-keep-your-brain-shape).

Heighten Senses

Humans have the basic receptors of sight, sound, feeling, smell and taste in order to perceive the world around them. Overtime, these senses will dull and can negatively impact one's quality of life. Glasses can correct vision, hearing aids can make it easier to detect sounds and brushing and flossing can help keep the ability to smell and taste sharp.

Aging is a fact of life and the individual signs of the condition will vary based on a myriad of factors including genetics, environment and life style choices (such as diet and exercise). A weakened sense of smell and a diminished sense of taste are extremely common signs of aging. Statistics have shown that half the population over the age of 65 has a decreased sense of smell and that demographic also endure a diminished sense of taste, specifically of sour and bitter flavors (http://www.prevention.com/health/health/brain-fitness/5-ways-to-sharpen-...).

The retraction of both senses can be attributed to those odor detecting receptors decline with age compounded with environmental influences such as smoking and various chemical scents. Smell and taste share the same brain pathways, intertwining them for better for worse. Sniffing strong scents like cinnamon and peppermint (both toothpaste flavors) can help heighten the sense of smell and tweak the ability to taste. Daily oral hygiene is also essential to ensure that a tongue stays clean and healthy in order to absorb all the flavors possible.

 

05.12.17

Mouthwash

Mouthwash is marketed as a way to battle bad breath head on, but how well does it really work? The answer lies in its battle strategy. Most people who use mouthwash report a cleaner, fresher mouth -- at least until the next match. Mouthwash can tag team with brushing and flossing -- but mouthwash alone will not win the fight against bad breath.

Check Out the Competition

Bad breath comes from the mouth bacteria that cause dental plaque and release volatile sulfur compounds, which create a foul-smelling odor. Most mouthwashes are developed to either reduce the amount of bacteria or neutralize the compounds themselves, temporarily covering the odor until they build back up again.

Since we all have bacteria in our mouths, we're all susceptible to a little musty breath at times -- and mouthwash offers a quick fix for the problem. But for those who suffer from chronic bad breath, or halitosis, mouthwash probably won't help. Halitosis is often the result of another problem like tooth decay, gum disease, dry mouth, sinus or stomach conditions, as well as medical or dental problems that affect the mouth.

If you think you might have halitosis, you're not alone: An estimated 25 percent of Americans have chronic bad breath. What many people don't realize is that they have a cure right under their noses -- a dentist can diagnose and treat bad breath and help you keep it from returning in the future. 

Your mouthwash should contain directions for usage. Follow the directions and use only the proper amount indicated on the label to reduce the possibility of side effects. Most mouthwashes should be swished around the oral cavity for 30 seconds and spit out. Avoid swallowing mouthwash, as the ingredients can upset your stomach. After rinsing, you should not eat or drink anything for at least 30 minutes, as to not diminish its effectiveness. For lasting results, don't smoke -- smoking not only causes bad breath but also ruins the effectiveness of mouthwash.

 

05.05.17

Clean Your Tongue, Protect Your Health

The oral cavity is an interesting organ composed of major players like the teeth, gums, and the tongue. While individuals may view the components as separate entities, the fact is when oral health is intact, they work together in perfect harmony. Concurrently, when something is amiss with one of those elements, dental health may decline as a result. While everyone knows how important brushing and flossing teeth is to dental health, individuals should know that the tongue is worthy of special attention all on its own.

The human tongue is an intricate muscle covered in countless papillae and taste buds. Not only is the device essential for enjoying the five basic flavors of salty, sour, bitter, sweet and savory of nutritious foods, but it is incredibly important for communication. Combined with saliva, the tongue also serves as natures tooth cleaner. That is why individuals concerned about oral health and dental problems such as halitosis, tooth decay and gum disease need to ensure that a tongue is kept as clean as the other parts of the human mouth.

The Human Tongue as a Trap

Estimates suggest that there are 2,000 to 8,000 taste buds on the human tongue. While from a distance, the fractions appear to make up one solid muscle, the reality is that each bud is independently attached to a tongue and in between there are countless nooks and crannies that can trap oral bacteria. Individuals concerned about oral health must ensure that tongue brushing or scrapping is part of their daily oral hygiene regime, or risk the dental problems associated with having too many oral bacteria.

Oral bacteria are naturally occurring organisms in the human body. Their main function is to work with natures other teeth cleaners like the tongue and saliva to remove food waste and keep teeth healthy. Oral bacteria tend to get active after a person consumes food and trace elements are deposited in the mouth. Oral bacteria will band together to help remove the food and once in a group, they comprise dental plaque. As the bacteria/plaque digests the sugars present, acid will be produced as a byproduct. The acid byproduct is the culprit for causing issues such as tooth-erosion and decay, and individuals must forcibly remove the substance or risk developing dental problems.

Clean Tongue, Fresh Breath

Once the oral bacterium is trapped in the net of taste buds and tissue, they will happily reside. While they are having the time of their lives, the community will not only put dental health at risk, but can also cause the unsavory side effect of halitosis. Fortunately that condition can be combated with dental care and oral hygiene.

Eventually those bacteria will die and once they do they will decay. That process will reduce a volatile sulfur, the culprit that generates the pungent smell associated with halitosis. Scientific studies have shown that in 80 to 95 percent of all cases of bad breath, oral bacteria trapped in the tongue is the main cause ("Scientists find bug responsible for bad breath". Reuters. 2008-04-07.).

Individuals are encouraged to take the time to remove excess build up on a daily basis. A tongue scraper is a tool that has been specifically designed to aid in oral hygiene by making it easier to remove excess plaque build up from the tongue. While brushing a tongue with a toothbrush (designed for hard teeth) may help a bit, the soft bristles are not strong enough to thoroughly clean a soft tongue.

Clean Tongue, Healthy Body

Within the human mouth there are hundreds of different types of oral bacteria, all of which can survive and thrive on the human tongue. The tissue provides a perfect place for the bacteria to band together and form a community of plaque. Once the critters are organized, the excess plaque levels can contribute to a number of dental health issues including gum disease, gum recession and tooth loss. Additionally, high levels of plaque have been linked to a number of general health issues including heart disease, diabetes, osteoporosis and so much more. Once again, keeping the tongue clean will act as a type of preventative dentistry and smart overall health move.

 

04.28.17

Bad Breath Remedies: Simple Ways to Freshen Up

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, may be caused by a number of factors. We all know that pungent foods such as onions or garlic can cause less-than-fresh breath, but dry mouth, periodontal disease and tobacco use can also contribute.

Bad breath can also be caused by bacteria that feed off of food particles and other debris that sticks to teeth, dental braces or dentures. Thorough brushing and flossing at least twice a day or after eating should take care of the offending odors. Paying specific attention to your tongue while brushing can also help eliminate odors since bacteria can cling to the tongue's surface.

If you are concerned about having bad breath after eating, but do not have time to brush afterwards, chewing gum or sucking sugar-free candy can help stimulate saliva flow which helps wash away bacteria and debris.

What to Do Next

Drinking plenty of water and snacking on crunchy fruits and vegetables such as apples, celery and carrots can also prevent halitosis-causing bacteria from forming. If you smoke, bad breath is one of many health concerns that may affect your decision to quit. Since smoking can cause vitamin C deficiency, which could be contributing to your bad breath, taking a vitamin C supplement may help.

It is also important to understand that infamous bad breath causers - such as onions and garlic - often live up their reputations. Once you begin to digest them, their odor-causing chemicals are absorbed into your blood stream. As they travel through your circulatory system, they may be transferred to your lungs and become detectable in your breath. When this happens, you may be stuck with an unfortunate odor for two days no matter how often you use your toothbrush!

Products like breath sprays, mints and mouth wash are also great ways to mask bad breath on the run but will not treat its root cause and may wear off quickly. If you notice that you are developing chronic bad breath, it is a good idea to speak with Dr. Lavi.

If your halitosis is caused by periodontal disease, Dr. Lavi can offer a gum disease treatment to relieve symptoms or may refer you to a periodontist to address the underlying cause of your bad breath. If you are prone to heavy dental plaque build up, Dr. Lavi may recommend that you use a special antimicrobial mouthwash. Tooth decay can also cause bad breath, so consult Dr. Lavi if you don't smell an improvement after a few days.

 

03.21.17

Preventative Dentistry

Did you know that tooth decay is the second most common disease, following the common cold? The sad fact is that most of us will experience at least one dental cavity during our lives, and a significant amount of the population will develop gum disease. So why are we, as a nation, so at risk for dental problems? There are a number of factors, but the way we treat our teeth has a lot to do with the outcome.

Preventive dentistry is the ongoing care used to prevent the occurrence of tooth decay and other dental diseases. Public health advocates are also battling the tooth decay epidemic through preventive dentistry methods.

We have so many resources to keep our dental health in check -- here's how you can best utilize them.

At Home

The main responsibility of preventive care falls on you! In order to reduce your chances of getting a dental disease, you have to take care of yourself. Consider the following points when it comes to your preventive dentistry program:

Oral Hygiene -- Brushing and flossing removes dental plaque, a film-like substance that is constantly forming on your teeth. If not removed, dental plaque can build up over time and produce dental tartar, a hardened, sticky substance which harbors the acid-producing bacteria that generate tooth decay. Eventually, dental tartar will creep under the gum line, leading to gum disease as well.

Diet -- A good diet is incredibly important to your dental health. Not only do foods that contain sugars and carbohydrates feed the bacteria that produce dental plaque, but studies also show a diet low in calcium can increase your chances of ending up with periodontal disease and jaw deterioration.

Smoking and Drinking -- Smoking, chewing tobacco and consuming alcohol can wreak havoc on your mouth! If the dry mouth, tooth discoloration and buildup of dental plaque aren't enough for you to want to quit smoking, consider this: Smoking causes gum disease, tooth loss and oral cancer.

At the Dental Office

General dentistry is preventive dentistry, and dental exams are a necessary part of any preventive dentistry program. Because most dental problems are painless, if you're not visiting the dentist on a regular basis, you may not be aware of your condition until it causes significant damage. And if you're concerned about the cost, consider this: Preventive dentistry is less expensive than restorative dental treatment, which you're bound to need if you don't take care of your teeth!

Checkup and Dental Cleaning -- A prophylaxis, also known as a dental cleaning, appointment is recommended every six months to check for signs of tooth decay and remove dental plaque that you've missed. Dr. Lavi and dental hygienist have special tools to reduce the dental tartar and stains that you're unable to remove on your own.

X-rays -- X-rays allow Dr. Lavi to look for dental conditions not visible to the naked eye, such as cavities between teeth and dental problems below the gum line.

Oral Cancer Screening -- Dr. Lavi will check for signs of malignancy during a dental exam. If needed, they'll conduct an oral cancer exam.

Patient Education -- Patients who understand the outcome of poor dental health are more likely to see the dentist for preventive dentistry treatments.

For Children

Preventive dentistry is especially important for children. Instilling excellent oral hygiene practices and a good diet at an early age will better prepare children for a lifetime of dental health. But considering that children's permanent teeth are still forming, dentists take extra measures to ensure a healthy smile.

Fluoride -- Fluoride strengthens teeth and prevents tooth decay. Fluoride treatments are provided in-office, and dentists recommend using fluoride toothpaste when brushing. The addition of fluoride to our public water supply has helped reduce dental caries by up to 40% over the last 60 years.

Dental Sealants - Dental sealants are a clear or white plastic coating placed over the back teeth to prevent dental plaque from forming on the surface.

Orthodontics -- A malocclusion can make it difficult to eat or speak, and crooked teeth are hard to keep clean. Correcting a child's bite with dental braces limits the possibility of dental problems as an adult.

Mouthguards -- See Dr. Lavi for a dental mouthguard to wear during sports activities. A custom-made mouthguard provides better fit and protection against a broken tooth. Mouthguards are also used as a treatment for bruxism, which is teeth grinding.

At-Home Care -- Children probably won't understand the long-term effects of bad oral habits. Parents should assist their children with brushing and flossing until they are able to do it on their own, and avoid putting their baby to bed with a bottle to prevent baby bottle tooth decay.

When practiced thoroughly, preventive dentistry can prevent pain, save you money and enable you to keep your teeth for a lifetime. And considering that oral health is linked to overall health, preventive dentistry can keep dental diseases from affecting your well-being. So if you don't already have an established preventive dentistry program, get started today -- it's never too late to improve your dental health! 

 

03.17.17

Budget Friendly Dental Care

Affordable dental care is one of the biggest challenges facing American families today as prior to the recession, over 100 million Americans lacked dental insurance and the problem has grown worse over the past few years. Studies have indicated that dental insurance coverage is one of the leading factors that contribute to a person's commitment to visiting the dentist regularly. Unfortunately, dental insurance coverage seems to be a dying niche. More employers are cutting that type of coverage from their benefit plans, industry insurers have not raised the maximum reimbursement amount to patients and the cost for dental treatments such as root canals and crowns have skyrocketed, fewer and fewer people are opting for dental insurance coverage and skipping professional dental care until an emergency develops as a result.

In addition to weak dental insurance coverage, their is a shortage of dentists (based on location) in the nation that makes it even more difficult for individuals to get the dental care they need. The federal government has suggest that more than 31 million people live in areas designated as "dental shortage areas." 

Due Diligence=Budget Friendly Dental Care

The cash strapped can breath a sigh of relief as the fact is, 98 of all dental disease is preventable as long as the proper oral hygiene steps are implemented. The most common and affordable of the strategies include brushing teeth twice a day and flossing at least once daily to remove excess dental plaque and lower the odds of a community of oral bacteria causing tooth erosion.

1-800-DENTIST defines dental plaque as that "sticky film" that accumulates on teeth. While it just may look like white goo, the compound is actually a group of oral bacteria that have bonded together in order to breakdown any stray food particles and sugars left behind on teeth after eating or drinking beverages. The bacteria are a necessary part of the human digestion process, however as they feast on their meals, they produce an acidic by-product that if not removed by brushing and flossing, will erode teeth and cause dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

A small budget of around ten dollars will help consumers stock up on the toothbrushes, fluoride toothpaste and dental floss, the tools essential to dental due diligence. Committing to the daily oral hygiene behaviors backed by smart moves such as eating nutritious foods, eliminating soda drinking and exercising regularly can boost dental health and provide budget friendly dental care for the whole family.

Splurge for Preventative Dentistry

Estimates suggest that adult preventative dentistry in the form of check-ups, exams and cleanings will cost around $300 to $400 annually. While statistics on how much that investment can generate in return overtime, there is no arguing that that money can potentially result in thousands of dollars of savings as the cost of repairing dental neglect is substantially more. Estimates suggest the average filling costs $75 to $160 per tooth, crowns can range from cost $500-$3,000 a tooth, root canals can range from $350 to over $1,000 for each and some treatments like dental implants and dentures can cost thousands of dollars.

Those who acknowledge the importance of preventative dentistry need to get creative to fit the expenses into their budget. The process can be as simple as kicking the soda habit and banking the spare change generally reserved for the expense. Estimates suggest that the average American drinks about 56 gallons of soda per year. With a cost of approximately $2 per serving for a fountain soda, the potential to save $1,000 annually is real and choosing water as the drink of choice is a smart move economically and for dental health.

If money is still tight, creative minds can still manage to fit dental care into budget courtesy of negotiating a payment plan with directly with Dr. Lavi or by opting into a financing plan offered by companies such as CareCredit.

 

03.10.17

Dental Nerve Blocks

"Dental nerve blocks" is the technical term for dental anesthesia. The most commonly used anesthesia in dentistry is novocaine.

Dental nerve blocks are an exact science. General dentists and dental specialists go through years of study to become licensed, and there are few professionals more thoroughly trained in administering the dental nerve block or numbing the face.

The most common dental nerve block is the inferior alveolar nerve block. This type of block numbs the lower jaw during dental treatment and enables patients to lose sensation temporarily in their teeth.

There are many specific blocks dentists use, depending on the area to be treated. Each block, or shot, numbs a target area. For example, the lower lip and chin is numbed by the mental nerve block; the tongue is numbed by the lingual nerve block.

Dr. Lavi is proficient in administering dental nerve blocks. He or she is highly trained and most people have no problems getting numb. But in certain instances, problems arise when delivering dental nerve blocks.

When Blocks Get Blocked

Anatomical -- A bodily problem that limits your dentist's access to the nerve needing to be numbed.
Pathological -- Infection, inflammation or other medical reason can make nerve blocking a challenge to your dentist.
Pharmacological -- If the patient is a chronic alcoholic or drug abuser, getting numb can prove to be impossible.
Psychological -- Fear, dental anxiety or extreme dental phobia can hamper the body's ability to become numb for dental procedures.
Poor Technique -- A dentist can sometimes misaim; since dentists are extensively trained, this is a very rare occurrence. 

When administering anesthesia in preparation for dental work, dentists usually wait 3 to 5 minutes for the block to take effect. This gives the patient a chance to get really numb before work begins and gives the clinician the opportunity to ensure adequate numbness of the area. If, for any reason, the patient is not numb after the initial series of injections, a dentist will typically repeat the block.

Dental nerve blocks are essential so that you can be as comfortable as possible during dental treatments, such as a tooth filling or a root canal. If you have questions about the type of nerve block you'll be receiving at your next dental appointment, have a frank discussion with Dr. Lavi.

 

02.17.17

Oral Bacteria Can Resist Fluoride

A health human mouth can have up to 1,000 species of oral bacteria, the organisms are an essential part of the body's self-regulating system. When the levels of oral bacteria are in check, the critters will help aid in the digestion and mastication process by working to eliminated trace elements of food and sugars deposited on teeth after dining. However, when there is too much activity, oral bacteria will bond together to form dental plaque the sticky film primarily responsible for causing dental problems such as bad breath and missing teeth courtesy of the tooth-eroding acid that is naturally released as a byproduct. For decades, fluoride was the primary weapon used to combat the imbalance, but new research has shown that the chemical may no longer be as effective as the oral bacteria are starting to fight back.

Fluoride Activates Riboswitches

Researchers at Connecticut based Yale University have made the discovery that oral bacteria have the ability to fight back and resist fluoride. Each living cell contains Ribonucleic acid (RNA), an acid that is responsible for delivering instructions provided by Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). Scientists have found that portions of the RNA messages (called riboswitches) that control gene communication can detect fluoride build-up and can stimulate oral bacteria as a result and negate the health benefits associated with fluoride.

The findings from Yale’s research team have showed how microbes can overcome fluoride toxicity, however the study does not address how humans process excess fluoride as a whole.

Fluoride, Too Much is No Good

Although fluoride has been scientifically proven to boostoral hygiene, there are risks involved in addition to the recent Yale discovers. Ingesting too much fluoride may result in the odds of children developing dental fluorosis. Studies have indicated that currently 2 out of 5 adolescents have tooth streaking, spottiness and in some cases, pitted teeth courtesy of excess fluoride consumption (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/01/fluoride-drinking-wat...).

Plus, the Environmental Protection Agency (the organization in charge of establishing a water fluoridation standard that is both legal and can be administered) has noted that too much fluoride may result in "...risk of brittle bones, fractures and crippling bone abnormalities," (http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/01/fluoride-drinking-wat...).

Individuals interested in fluoride and all the news surrounding the compound can get the best information on the subject by speaking directly with Dr. Lavi. Patients should compose a list of their fluoride sources by investigating if their community follows a plan of water fluoridation and by providing a list of potential sources of the stuff including tap water (used in beverages like coffee, tea, and dental care products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, etc) and diet. Dr. Lavi will be able to help properly determine potential levels of fluoride consumed and will adjust their dental treatments accordingly.

 

02.10.17

The Death of the Dental Drill

A bulk of dental problems is caused by dental neglect. Individuals who do not dedicate the proper levels of effort, including brushing, flossing and dental visits, can end up with excess levels of dental plaque or stubborn tartar. Plaque and tartar are actually communities of oral bacteria that are essential to the digestion process. The microscopic critters will feast on simple sugars left behind by teeth and will produce acid as a byproduct. When left unchecked, it is that acid that contributes to dental problems such as tooth decay and cavities.

Traditionally, to treat those conditions a professional dental care provider would use a dental drill to remove the diseased tooth area and fill the void using a dental filling. Thanks to preliminary success with peptide fluids, that anxiety inducing experience may become a thing of the past.

Peptide Fluid Can Kill the Drill

Scientists at the University of Leeds have discovered that an application of peptide fluid can provide a pain-free approach to treating dental decay. The new dental treatment will reverse the damage caused by the tooth decaying acids as eill as help teeth re-build and heal.

Wikipedia defines peptides as "short polymers of amino acids linked by peptide bonds," and it is that structure that has laid the groundwork for huge forward movement in the dental industry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peptide). Scientists at the University have successfully created a peptide-based fluid created on the knowledge surrounding tooth formation. The liquid that can be directly applied to a tooth surface and can stimulate tooth regeneration to repair the damage done (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/233254.php).

The fluid was created at the University of Leeds by the chemistry division. Dr. Amalia Aggeli led the team in the formula development. The fluid contains a peptide called P 11-4 and under specific conditions, the liquid will bond together to make fibers. Once applied, the fluid will seep into the tooth damage and convert into a gel. This gel naturally attracts calcium and can regenerate the tooth's mineral from the inside out.

 

02.03.17

Natural Ways to Reduce Dental Anxiety

Although dentists have a myriad of tools such as sedation dentistry and spa dentistry to help make the prospect of visiting a dental clinic more enticing, some frightened patients may not want to rely on chemicals or bells and whistles to overcome their issues. Fortunately, there are a number of natural ways to reduce dental anxiety that do not involve drugs or manicures.

Acupuncture

For thousands of years acupuncture, the Easter medicinal practice of treating issues via the insertion and manipulation of needles on various pressure points, has been practiced by a myriad of cultures. The popular alternative medicine has been successfully used to treat pain and nausea and has been accredited with a number of miracles including conception and for being able to replace anesthesia in the operating room. Newer research has also found that the medicinal practice is successful in naturally lowering dental anxiety in nervous patients.

The findings were unearthed by European practitioners of the craft and published in Acupuncture in Medicine in 2010. The research, conducted in both England and Denmark, involved a total of 20 patients (16 women and four men) who had reported having moderate or extreme levels of dental anxiety via a Beck Anxiety Inventory (BAI) questionnaire. Patients ranked their anxiety levels prior to the needle application and after the devices were professionally placed in two strategic points on the top of their heads, they rated their tension again. After the needle placement the average BAI score dropped by more than half from 26.5 to around 11.5.

Although Western Medicine often questions the validity of historical practices, there are some qualified dentists specifically trained in the use of acupuncture. Individuals wanting to rely on this type of natural cure to lower dental anxiety can call1-800-DENTIST to get the contact information for a professionally trained and licensed dentist who also has a background in Eastern practices.

Listen to Music

Timothy Leary infamously encouraged individuals "Turn on, tune in, drop out" in 1967. While the American psychologist and writer and LSD fan choose those words to influence the counterculture movement, the practice of tuning into music and dropping out of the reality of a dental office can help timid patients relax and be able to receive the dental treatments they need.

One study conducted at King's College London, London, UK, found that both adolescents and adults patients that listed to music during invasive dental procedures were able to naturally reduce their levels of dental anxiety. The study used two groups of patients undergoing root canal; a control group of non-music listening patients and music listeners. All group participants had their anxiety levels measured before and after treatment and had their heart rate, blood pressure and finger temperature measured every 10 minutes until the dental work was complete. The findings showed that individuals who had tuned out had both higher finger temperatures and a lowered anxiety scores.

Breathe in the Air

Labored breathing is just one potential side effect of dental anxiety. That shallow, crazy-fast breathing can cause an imbalance in a bodies' carbon dioxide and oxygen and can cause a vicious cycle of more panicked breathing and even hyperventilation. Some research has indicated that the process can lower CO2 which has been found to be a trigger of panic attacks.

Fortunately, individuals can train themselves to focus on controlling this element and concentrate on taking deep, slow and regulated breathing to lower stress levels. The right type of breathing "...shifts the body's balance of carbon dioxide to oxygen in favor of energizing oxygen," and help return the body to a more balanced state of being.

(http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/09/08/tips-for-better-skin_n_952751.h...)

 

01.23.17

Fear of Needles

Did you know that about 20 million Americans are terrified of needles? So you're not alone if you suffer from this common "needles" worry.

This dental phobia is called belonephobia, which means "fear of needles" in Greek. In plain English, it is known as needle phobia, with many other names related to it such as aichmophobia, fear of pointed objects; algophobia, fear of pain; and trypanophobia, fear of injections.

As trivial as needle phobia may seem, this is nothing to take lightly. Aside from causing major stress and dental anxiety, fear of needles may prevent patients from seeking the medical and dental care they need -- they may try to avoid any dental treatment or procedure involving needles, even one as minor as taking a tiny drop for a blood sample.

This may also be one of the reasons people have dental anxiety. That's why learning more about needle phobia, its causes and treatment can be a good first step to finally getting much-needed professional oral care.

The Point

We all fear needles to some extent -- who wants to be poked with sharp pointy things? But feeling a little anxiety from just the mere thought of a needle is different from what a needle phobic actually feels. Here are some symptoms that indicate needle phobia:

- Fainting, nausea, dizziness and sweating
- Rapid heart rate
- Increased blood pressure followed by a sudden drop
- Difficulty sleeping
- Violent resistance
- Feelings of panic

Studies show that most phobics do not really understand their fear of needles. This leads some experts to believe that needle phobia may be caused by other underlying issues from past experiences such as the following:

- Traumatic or painful experience with a needle
- Being physically or emotionally restrained and forced to go through painful procedures which involved needles
- Loss of control, due to some form of restraint or force
- Influence by the pain of a parent or sibling

Sharp Advice

Knowing the true cause of your fear will make it easier for you to address your phobia and get the dental care you need, though it does take a lot of time, patience and courage to treat any phobia. But don't fret -- here are some ways to still get the care required for good oral health despite your needle phobia:

- Find a dentist who understands fearful patients
- Consider laser dentistry. This new advancement in dental technology allows for treatments without needles in most cases.
- Ask about sedation dentistry. This involves sedatives that put you to sleep (general anesthesia) or in a sleep-like state (conscious sedation) to make you less apprehensive with needles.
- Speak with your doctor about anti-anxiety medication.
- For children, take along his or her favorite toy or use distraction techniques like reading or singing songs, which can help the child relax during the dental visit.

By surrounding yourself with supportive family, friends and most especially an understanding doctor and dentist, getting the medical and dental care you need won't be as scary anymore. 

 

01.13.17

Heavy Drinking Linked to Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer in men worldwide and almost two-thirds of cases are in advanced stages by the time they are detected. A number of risk factors have long been associated with oral cancer including smoking, human papilloma virus (HPV), gender and age. Recently, heavy drinking has also been linked to oral cancers, especially when occurring in conjunction with other risk factors.

The term "oral cancer" refers to cancers of the lip, tongue, floor of mouth, tonsils and soft palate. If you notice any sores, swelling or discolorations that do not heal on their own after two weeks it is important that you consult your dentist. Early detection can greatly increase your chances of a full and speedy recovery.

The vast majority of oral cancer cases are linked to tobacco use, and the greater frequency and duration of use of tobacco products is directly proportional to increase in risk of oral cancer. Heavy drinking can also increase your risk of oral cancer, but it is the combination of tobacco use and heavy drinking which really causes your risk to skyrocket. It has been estimated that this combination can cause up to a 100-fold increase in your risk of oral cancer.

Men are about twice as likely as women to develop oral cancer and the average age at the time of diagnosis is 62 years. It has been estimated that HPV -- which is usually associated with cervical cancer - is responsible for 20 to 30 percent of oral cancers.

If you develop oral cancer, you dentist may suggest a number of dental treatment options, including surgically removing the affected cells, radiation or chemotherapy. 

 

01.06.17

Lemon Juice May Squeeze Away Important Tooth Enamel

A healthy lifestyle not only means eating well, but also exercising regularly and replacing your soft drinks with water or tea -- and perhaps a wedge of lemon for taste. But unfortunately, lemons can create a sour experience for your teeth.

Drinking lemon juice can put you at risk for tooth erosion, a condition where the thin, protective layer of enamel slowly wears away from your teeth. Lemon juice contains acid, which irritates gums and softens tooth enamel.

Frequent consumption of products that contain acid will eventually destroy the enamel and expose underlying dentin, leaving your teeth vulnerable to sensitivity and tooth decay. In fact, enamel erosion is one of the most common causes of cavities and tooth loss.

The Bad Seed

With a high acid content, lemon juice is one of the most erosive materials you can consume. But lemons aren't the only bad apples! Any acidic food or drink can contribute to enamel dental erosion, and you should be aware of how much acid you're consuming on a daily basis. Some of the foods and beverages that cause enamel erosion include:

- Other fruit juices: orange, apple and grapefruit juice
- Fruits and vegetables: citrus, tomatoes and pickles
- White wine
- Soda
- Sports drinks
- Tea
- Coffee

Those who suffer from bulimia or acid reflux disease also have a high potential of developing dental erosion. The stomach acid used to digest food is strong enough to dissolve the enamel on your teeth. Frequent vomiting puts your teeth in regular contact with stomach acid, and puts you at risk for dental erosion. Heartburn, belching or a sour taste in your mouth are also signs that stomach acid may be escaping into your oral cavity. If you suffer from bulimia, get help. Stomach acid is powerful enough to destroy your teeth, and your condition can lead to a plethora of other physical problems. 

Lemon-Aid Your Habit

If you can't go without your daily coffee or other acidic items, there are some ways to ward off impending dental erosion. Drinking acidic beverages through a straw will limit the liquid's contact with teeth. Drinking water frequently throughout the day will help wash away acid and prevent dry mouth, as saliva is needed to neutralize acid.

Once you're done eating, don't brush your teeth immediately afterwards. It sounds odd, but the abrasive materials in toothpaste can further damage tooth enamel weakened by acid. Instead, try washing your mouth out with water, eating cheese or drinking milk to neutralize the acid. Consuming dairy products after acidic foods or drinks also can reduce the possibility of dental erosion. In the meantime, wait at least an hour to brush, and use a fluoride toothpaste to protect your teeth and reduce sensitivity.

The Balancing Act

Of course, you may need the nutrients and vitamins found in some acidic foods and drinks. When creating a meal plan, don't rule out foods that are good for you, but do take your dental health into consideration. Eat a well-balanced diet and visit your dentist regularly to check for signs of dental erosion. Once enamel is lost, it never grows back, so take the steps necessary to preserve your enamel for a lifetime of healthy, strong teeth.

When life gives you lemons, be sure to protect your dental health!

 

12.26.16

Happy Holidays!

At this very special time of the year we wish to express our gratitude for the gift of your friendship, confidence and trust you have shown us.

We also would like to thank those of you who have referred friends and family to our practice during the year. We pride ourselves in the individualized quality service we provide and always welcome the opportunity to serve new patients who value our commitment.

Serving you has been a privilege and we look forward to a continuing relationship in the years to come. May you and your family be blessed with good health and may your home be filled with happiness and joy this Holiday Season and throughout the coming year.

 

12.16.16

Easy Ways to Protect Your Teeth

Teeth are not only essential for making a smile beautiful, the devices are necessity for ensuring that proper nutrition is in reach and that communication will be clear. Since adults only get one set of permanent teeth, protecting them is a must. Fortunately the process is relatively easy and affordable.

When it comes to dental health, prevention is worth its weight in gold. It has been suggested that that for every $1 spent on professional preventative dentistry, a savings of $8 to $50 on restorative care will be generated. Experts advise spending money on visiting the dentist for dental care at least twice a year is one of the simplest ways to protect teeth. However, that effort will be in vain without individuals taking the easy and affordable ways to protect their teeth on their own.

Oral Hygiene

Oral hygiene is the process of cleaning teeth and while many people may think they are clean thanks to their frequent showering and constant clothes washing, dental neglect is all too common. Various studies have indicated that even though most people know that brushing and flossing is important, the tasks are done incorrectly or are skipped altogether.

For countless years man has struggled with the task of oral hygiene and have utilized tools such as quills, branches and herbal mouth rinses for dental care. While primitive may not have known why cleaning teeth was so important, eventually it was found that dental neglect contributed to a build up of dental plaque; communities of oral bacteria that band together to digest simple sugars and starches left behind on teeth. That plaque will do their duty with gusto and produce a tooth eroding acid as a byproduct of its work. It is that acid that is known for causing dental problems including cavities, gum disease and tooth decay. Oral hygiene is the best way to combat that scenario and protect teeth.

Individuals are encouraged to brush their teeth twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste in order to get the additional cavity-fighting benefits of the ingredient. The process should take a full two minutes or a total of thirty seconds for the front and backs of the top and bottom of teeth. Flossing at least once a day is the way to ensure the deliver of the best plaque removal strategy. It has been said that brushing without flossing is the equivalent to leaving about 30 percent of one's body unwashed in the shower. Instead, a smarter move is to brush teeth prior to bedtime, floss afterwards to remove any stray plaque or food that got wedged between teeth and to finish the process by rinsing with clean, fresh water.

Mouth Guards

No amount of effort can keep a tooth intact from a swift kick or punch to the face. Yet if you actively participate in team sports, that risk is a real one. Instead of just keeping your fingers crossed in hopes that you pearly whites won't get damaged next time you are on the field, opting to wear a mouth guard is a much smarter move.

Mouth guards developed out of the necessity to protect teeth in high risk situations: the first one was invented by London dentist named Woolf Krauze. In 1890 he produced the very first mouth guard to protect boxers against lip cuts, lip gashes and injury. Since that time, there have been a multitude of design improvements and now individuals can either buy a stock version or splurge on a custom fitted device and the devices are now used to prevent harm from accidents as well as self induced tooth inflictions caused by conditions including TMJ.

Tobacco Cessation

A person that commits their efforts to practicing oral hygiene and protecting teeth with a mouth guard can undo all their good deeds if they continue to smoke or opt to chew their vice. Of all the vices out there, smoking is thought to be the worst; cigarettes contain hundreds of chemicals and toxins with no health benefits, the habit causes cancer and it is extremely expensive. While quitting tobacco is certainly more challenging than brushing, flossing or wearing a mouth guard, it is the most rewarding way individuals can instantly protect teeth.

Smoking tobacco is the most popular way of ingesting the plant and getting the stimulant effects associated with the process.  However, once that smoke is inhaled it is known for feeding a body with carcinogens, causing plaque build up, bad breath and for promoting gum inflammation. Chewing tobacco is another way to get a fix and erroneously believed to be a safer option. All tobacco consumption has been linked to above conditions as well as cavities, gum disease and contributing to heart disease.

While protecting teeth may require some effort, the process is generally easy and affordable. Toothpaste and dental floss only costs a couple of bucks and while mouth guards do require a cash outlay, smokers who kick their habit can simply funnel the saved money towards the protective gear. Implementing these efforts and backing them up with professional dental care are the best ways to protect teeth. 

 

12.05.16

Teeth Whitening 101: Who, What, When, Where, Why?

Have you noticed that your pearly whites are not quite as pearly or white as they used to be? Over time many factors can play a role in tooth discoloration. Though some steps can be taken to minimize further staining, you may want to get a little extra help from your dentist or use an over-the-counter teeth whitening product.

Most tooth discoloration and staining happens as we age and the enamel surface of our teeth weakens. Years of chewing and general use can cause your tooth enamel to become thin and crack, allowing staining agents to stick to your teeth.

The types of food and beverages you consume, smoking, bruxism and trauma can all contribute to tooth discoloration. By modifying some of these habits you may be able to limit future staining, but the only way to actually get rid of stains and brighten teeth is to speak with your dentist about using teeth whitening dental products.

Options, Options, Options!

Thanks to recent scientific advancements, you now have more options than ever when it comes to teeth whitening procedures, products and treatments. Most can be sorted into one of two categories: in-office treatments performed at your dentist's office or an office specializing in tooth whitening by trained professionals, or over-the-counter treatments that you administer yourself.

Remember that no matter what option you choose it is always important to consult with your dentist before attempting to whiten teeth because some of the chemicals used can be harmful if used improperly. Tooth sensitivity and gum irritation are frequent side effects of tooth whitening products and although they generally pose no long term threat, you don't want to take chances with the only set of teeth you have! 

If you have questions about teeth whitening -- or want to find out if which type is right for you -- talk to Dr. Lavi today.

 

11.28.16

Options to Remove Dental Plaque

Without proper dental care, individuals increase their risk of developing a myriad of dental problems and health issues such as obesity, heart disease and diabetes. Dental plaque, a community of oral bacteria, is the leading culprit for the oral health issues and practicing daily oral hygiene is the only solution for lowering the levels of compound. Thanks to technological advances, there are several options individuals can rely on to get the task done.

Once upon a time, it was believed that tooth decay, cavities and gum disease were caused by tooth worms. Thankfully, the Age of Enlightenment allowed for scientific theory to replace superstition and eventually that led to the proof that bacterium microorganisms, not worms, were the cause of a majority of dental problems. Thanks to medical research and advancements in the field, dentists and patients now know the truth regarding the relationship between Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus (the two types of bacteria known for causing oral health issues) and how oral hygiene can help keep things in check.

Brushing and Flossing

Archeologists have found proof that for thousands of years, primitive humans tried to implement dentistry using prehistoric cleaning devices such as twigs, mouthwashes, ashes and cloth. While our forefathers may not have known exactly what they were trying to remove with their primitive tooth cleaning, the fact is they tried and those early attempts helped pave the way for the most effective oral hygiene behaviors of brushing and flossing. To this very day, combined, those practices are still considered the best way to remove excess dental plaque. Brushing teeth (dentist recommended using a fluoride toothpaste, soft toothbrush and conducting the action for a full two minutes) is the process of gently scrubbing away food particles, debris and dental plaque deposited ON tooth surfaces. It is important to note, that the process can be a bit misleading as while the teeth may appear to be scrubbed and the breath may taste minty fresh, brushing alone may actually force stray dental plaque in between teeth.

Some dental care practitioners have suggested that brushing without flossing is equivalent to only cleaning around 70 percent of the human body during a shower. That is why after brushing, flossing is a must to remove the plaque and build up lodged IN BETWEEN teeth. Research has indicated that "...tongue and tooth brushing in combination with dental flossing significantly decreased gingival bleeding by 38 percent after a two-week oral hygiene program," (http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/08/060801131724.htm).

Air Floss

Although dental floss has been a common drugstore item for decades, statistics indicate that the behavior is not so popular. Statistics from Kelton Research flossing is considered to be an act of desperation to remove stuck food or freshen bad breath. The theory is supported by the fact that while dental care professionals say that an average of 2190 yards of dental floss should be used annually, Americans only purchase around 122 yards of the stuff per year. Air floss may help those who cannot stomach the string.

In 2011, dental care product manufacture Phillips introduced a new dental care tool to the consumer marketplace called "Sonicare AirFloss." According to their website "When combined with brushing, Sonicare AirFloss removes up to 99% more plaque" than only brushing with a manual toothbrush (http://www.usa.philips.com/c/airfloss/287417/cat/en/). The tool relies on bursts of air mixed with a bit of water or mouthwash to force out the debris (including dental plaque) from between teeth. This process only takes about a minute and participants in a study produced by the manufacture have indicated that 86 percent of users found the device easier to use than dental floss.

Oral Irrigation

The first oral irrigation device first made it onto the scene in the early 60s. Since then a myriad of studies have been conducted to test how well the devices work. According to research conducted at the University of Southern California, oral irrigation delivered by a three second treatment of pulsating water (1,200 per minute) at medium pressure (70 psi) successfully removed 99.9 percent of plaque biofilm from treated areas (Gorur, A; Lyle, DM; Schaudinn, C; Costerton, JW (2009). "Biofilm removal with a dental water jet". Compendium of continuing education in dentistry 30 Spec No 1: 1–6. PMID 19385349.)

Oral irrigation systems have been developed to be powerful enough unsettle plaque and bacteria three to four millimeters beneath the visible gum line, courtesy of a pressurized water stream and good aim. The devices are easy to use around dental work, can help dislodge bacteria snuggled between taste buds and research has shown that using a water flosser was "...93 percent more effective at improving gum health than tooth brushing and string flossing," (http://www.prevention.com/health/health-concerns/dental-health-tools-flo...).

There are pros and cons to each product dedicated to removing dental plaque. Regardless of the preferred option, individuals must choose one or another in order to remove dental plaque, or risk it hardening into dental tartar. Once that has occurred, the compound is extremely difficult to remove and typically will only budge under the hands of a professional dental care provider.

 

11.18.16

Restorative Dentistry Puts Dental Health On Track

Daily dental care is as important to general well being as eating a nutritious diet and exercising. Despite the importance of oral hygiene, slews of Americans or ignoring the practices of brushing, flossing and visiting in the dentist. Because of behaviors like that, estimates suggest that 75 percent of the nation's population is suffering from some level of gum disease (ranging from gingivitis to periodontal disease) and are at an increased risk of dental problems such as tooth loss. Those individuals with the time and money to spare for restorative treatments should be aware that dentistry to correct the issues can help put dental health back on track.

Within the dental care profession restorative dentistry can be implemented using a variety of dental treatments including (but not limited to) cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, gum grafting and dental braces. Once gaps have been filled, teeth have been straightened and all signs of gum disease and tooth decay have eradicated, individuals can benefit from improved health and a reduced risk of developing health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

Losing baby teeth is a rite of passage for all during their youth, but when it happens to the permanent teeth in adults there is no chance that another tooth will magically grow in to fill the void left behind. Instead, the cosmetic dentistry procedure surrounding a dental implant is the only way to put a new tooth in place and doing so can improve the dental health of patients.

Missing teeth can cause a number of issues for those suffering from the condition. Individuals with lackluster smiles may have lower self-esteem and confidence, may have more difficulty dating (as an attractive smile is a valuable asset) and may not be able to advance professionally as very few people would want to put their trust into someone with visibly bad oral health.

 

11.11.16

Rebuild Your Smile With a Full Mouth Reconstruction

If you've spent a long time living with mouth pain or feeling insecure about some missing teeth, isn't it time to make a change? Full mouth reconstruction will not only help you feel better about how you look, it'll also improve your dental health. That's because full mouth reconstruction doesn't just replace missing or broken teeth. It also restores the function of your jaw and gums, the supporting structure of your mouth. The end result is a mouth that looks and works the way you need it to!

What Is Full Mouth Reconstruction?

Full mouth reconstruction combines multiple restorative, neuromuscular and cosmetic procedures. The goal is to restore not only the look of your teeth but also the structure and function. Why? Each of these things affects the other. For example, a broken tooth can cause a problem with your bite. This can lead to difficulty chewing, which creates wear on your teeth. This wear can then lead to jaw and neck soreness, headaches, even migraines. 

There are several reasons why your teeth might be in bad shape, including neglect, injury and preventive dental care that has worn down and requires replacement. Full mouth restoration may be recommended if you:

• Have several worn down, chipped or broken teeth
• Have missing teeth
• Experience chronic jaw pain, clicking or popping of the jaw
• Have frequent headaches, back pain and muscle tenderness

If Dr. Lavi thinks you might be a candidate for mouth reconstruction, you will begin with an evaluation to figure out specifically what procedures you'll need. 

 

11.04.16

4 Easy Steps to Brighter, Whiter Teeth

At Dr. Sam Lavi's office, we believe that being good to yourself includes being good to your teeth. After all, your oral health is directly connected to your overall health. Making even the smallest change to your dental health regimen can have a big impact on the way your smile looks and feels!

Brush and floss your teeth every day. Although it's tempting to put off brushing every now and then, keep in mind that dental plaque starts releasing harmful acids that erode tooth enamel right after you eat.

Make use of your dental insurance. Put your dental insurance to work for you -- basic coverage typically covers most, if not all, your preventive dental care (X-rays, exams, dental cleanings), and some dental plans also cover restorative care (tooth filling, dental crown, dental bridge).

Visit your dentist every six months for a dental exam and cleaning. Regular dental visits keep your dental health in check and may even save you money in the long run.

Eat and drink smart. Instead of reaching for sugary snacks for that mid-day or after-dinner snack, try eating smart snacks like carrots, celery and broccoli or nuts instead.
 

 

10.28.16

Health Watch: How Bottled Water Affects Your Teeth

Millions of Americans are embracing a healthy lifestyle and turning to bottled water as part of their diet. Bottled water is often marketed as being better for you, but it may be doing your teeth a disservice. Your bottled water could be missing some elements that promote oral health.

For over 60 years, the United States has been involved in a public health program called community water fluoridation. Many communities throughout the nation added fluoride to their water supply, and the result was a significant decrease in childhood cavities. In fact, community water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure for tooth decay prevention to date. 

The Water Works

Fluoride battles dental cavities by strengthening tooth enamel and remineralizing teeth damaged by acid. Unfortunately, the majority of bottled waters contain little or no fluoride. In fact, fluoride may even be removed from water during the filtration process. Bottling companies and home filtration systems use reverse osmosis or distillation units to remove sediments and impurities from the water. Reverse osmosis is a water purification system that filters out minerals and some chemicals, while distillation uses heat to literally steam water away from impurities. The steam is then cooled and turned back into water. 

The next time you buy a bottle of water or use a filtration system, think about your teeth, too. Fluoride helps prevent cavities, and since dental health is linked to overall health, you'll want to take the right steps to keep your mouth in great shape. Talk to your dentist about the benefits of fluoride, and include dental care in your plans for a healthy lifestyle. After all, you've worked hard for that body -- why not have a great set of teeth to go with it? 

 

10.21.16

Diabetes and Dental Health Go Hand in Hand

More than 23 million people in the United States have diabetes. If you're one of them, it's easy to understand why you'd want to know how diabetes affects your oral health. You might be surprised to learn that if your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, you are more likely to develop serious gum disease (periodontitis) and lose more teeth than people who don't have diabetes. In turn, periodontitis may cause your blood sugar to rise, making your diabetes harder to control.

What puts people with diabetes at higher risk for gum disease? The less controlled your blood sugar level, the more impaired your white blood cells become. These guys are the main defense against bacterial infections that occur in your mouth. With less of them fighting infections, there's more chance serious dental problems will occur. The good news is a dentist can keep an eye on your oral health and help keep gum disease at bay. 

Dental Care for Diabetes

The No. 1 most important thing people with diabetes can do for their oral health is to keep their blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible. Gums stay healthy when the teeth around them are free of dental plaque and dental tartar. To keep your teeth and gums clean, brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily. If you wear dentures, remove and clean them every day.

Regular dental visits are your best weapon in the fight against gum disease. Only a professional dental cleaning can remove dental plaque and dental tartar. That's why having your teeth and gums checked and cleaned by your dentist twice a year is so important. (Your dentist may recommend more frequent visits depending on the status of your diabetes.) At each dental visit, discuss your diabetes status (how well controlled your blood sugar is) and the medications you take.

It's important for everyone to practice good oral hygiene, but even more so for people with diabetes. And keep an eye out for any changes in your oral health. If you notice anything, call your dentist right away. 

 

10.17.16

Avoid the ER with Preventative Dental Care

2009 statistics suggest that Minnesota hospitals had to deal with 20,000 emergency room visits solely related to dental pain. Throughout the nation, ignoring dental care until the boiling point of no return has been associated with an increase in ER visits. Dental neglect compounded by the fact that approximately one third Americans do not have dental insurance is the leading contributor to the trend (CBSNews).

Contributing Factors to ER Dental Visits

St. John's Hospital in Missouri and the Health Commission of Springfield and Green County recently reported an increase of ER visits related to dental emergencies. According to data released by the local Health Commission, 20 to 39 years old were primarily responsible for the increase in activity. Individuals in that age bracket accounted for over seven percent of all of the counties ER visits and for 37 percent of all uninsured visits. This is not the only report of hospitals being inundated with patients suffering from dental problems.

It is estimated that a total of 94 to 100 millions of Americans lack dental insurance as a cost-cutting measure are at the helm of the imbalance. While Health Care Reform is going to make dental care more accessible to children in need, it is doing very little to assist adults with their dental care for an dental infection between $450-$500 per case while other issues such as emergency treatment for an abscess can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Once an individual does make it to the ER they are generally treated with antibiotics and pain killers, but the dental issue causing the problem is not addressed. Aside from costs, lack of dental care has also been cited with putting lives at risk.

Preventative Dentistry Key to Reducing ER Visits

While some consumers may opt to skip visiting their dentist to save money, the move can have devastating effects over time. That is why individuals who insist on cutting corners must be especially dedicated to their oral hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing are the best ways to remove an access of oral bacteria and destructive plaque from a human mouth. Individuals are responsible for maintaining their oral health, if not, they increase their odds of developing issues including tooth erosion, cavities and gum disease.

Aside from those behaviors, individuals are encouraged to visit their dentist regularly (as determined by the dental care practitioner). Dentists are the first line of defense for catching dental problems early and implementing the right dental treatment as a solution. A dentists' proactive reaction to an oral condition can prevent the problem from evolving into an emergency situation and an unexpected trip to the ER.

How To Handle Dental Emergencies

Until appointment time, individuals can follow some other basic tips for minimizing the discomfort caused by dental emergencies and potentially make it easier for a dentist to fix the problem. Some common dental emergencies and what individuals can do to help include:

  • Broken or Chipped Tooth: Reduce swelling and decrease the chances of infection by rinsing your mouth with warm water and applying cold compresses to the affected area. If the tooth chip is found, pack it up and bring it to the appointment.
  • Stuff Stuck Between Teeth: Gentle flossing is recommended.
  • Tooth Pain: Individuals should avoid poking around inside their mouths looking for the source of the discomfort as that may make matters worse. Instead, warm water rinses and cold compress can help until a face-to-face dental appointment.

 

10.07.16

Snap on Your Smile

A smile is an important feature, unfortunately not everyone has been naturally blessed with gorgeous looking white teeth. As a result, cosmetic dentistry is one of the largest growing sectors within the dental care industry and estimates have suggested that optional dental treatments such as teeth whitening, dental veneers and dental bonding can generate half a million dollars in revenue per dental practice. Snap on smiles are the latest trend contributing to the cosmetic dentistry income mix.

As with any type of beauty, the attractiveness of a smile is in the eye of a beholder. While some individuals are following trends in cosmetic dentistry such as paying money to tweak their smiles to feature diastema, elongated cuspid teeth or less-than-perfect teeth, others invest their resources at the dentist to get a gorgeous looking smile devoid of such imperfections. Snap on smiles are the latest cosmetic dentistry technique for those who favor the latter.

About Snap On Smiles

Snap on smiles are nothing new, however until the recent trend, the fake gnashers were primary reserved for being used as fake teeth on Halloween, within the entertainment industry or on the child pageant circuit (where the devices are called flippers). Now dentists are handcrafting the items for patients in need.

Snap on smiles are growing in popularity for numerous reasons. The devices are easy and painless to create, a dentist simply takes an impression of the teeth to be covered and off of that mold (and the feedback of a patient) fake teeth are constructed that will easily lock into place over an existing smile. While with other types of restorative dentistry dental health is a high priority in order for the treatments to take, a snap on smile can instantly improve the looks while a patient and dentist can target dental health behind the scenes. Plus the devices are far less expensive than traditional cosmetic dentist work, ranging from around $1,000 to $2,000 for a complete set while other options like dental veneers can cost many times more.

Dental Health First

The smoke and mirror effect provided by the snap on smiles can nearly make an individual forget that they have any dental problems in the first place. However, no matter how a person choose to mask or improve the appearance of teeth, their main goal should be to implement exceptional oral hygiene (brushing, flossing and regular dental visits) in order to ensure dental health on the up and up. 

 

09.30.16

Dental Fear and Dental Phobia: What's the Difference?

For many people, the mere thought of going to the dentist triggers feelings of anxiety and fear. The Anxiety Disorders Association of America estimates that around 15 percent of Americans - over 45 million people - suffer from dental anxiety or dental phobia and it is probable that many more not included in this figure would identify themselves as experiencing dental fear or anxiety.    

The causes of dental anxiety and phobia can range from a fear of pain, fear of needles or doctors to past experiences of stress and discomfort. An individual's predisposition to anxiety can also play a key role.

Dental Fear, Dental Phobia or Dental Anxiety?

Though the phrases dental anxiety, dental fear and dental phobia are often used interchangeably to describe a range of symptoms and reactions to dental practices in general, important distinctions can be drawn between them, which can be useful in finding effective dental treatment options.

Anxiety refers to the sense of unease associated with the unknown. If you suffer from dental anxiety, you may find that working with a dentist who is sensitive to your needs and communicates with you to create a comfortable atmosphere can greatly improve your experience and help you to overcome your anxiety.

A phobia is an intense and possibly irrational reaction to a specific situation or object that is perceived as threatening. If you suffer from dental phobia you may react to the sound of a drill, the expectation of pain or another aspect of dentistry for which you have a strong dislike or fear.

Overcoming dental phobias, especially if they are particularly intense, can be more complicated than dealing with anxieties and may require professional assistance. Dental fear is the term often used for a more mild form of dental phobia. 

Across the country, newly created dental spas are offering services such as massages and reflexology treatments as well as refreshments and other amenities to patients before, during and after dental treatments to create a sense of relaxation and pampering. The various offerings work to put you at ease and make going to the dentist a pleasant and even highly anticipated activity.

If you still find it difficult to relax, sedation dentistry and sleep dentistry aim to dull the stress of regular dental visits using sedatives and pain relievers. Conscious sedation puts you in an extremely relaxed state while still allowing you to speak with your dentist and respond to physical stimuli. For the most extreme cases, general anesthesia may be used to ensure that patients are completely unaware of their surroundings during dental work. 

 

09.19.16

What Makes Composite Resin Restorations White Hot?

Choosing something that looks good over something that's durable is a dilemma that consumers face every day: Should you buy the practical sedan with a high resale value or the flashy sports car that attracts the opposite sex?

In matters of dental care, the quandary may not seem as significant, but patients face similar decisions -- like whether to choose amalgam or composite resin restorations.

When it comes to tooth filling material, most people know that amalgam, or silver, is a dentist's ol' faithful; in fact, dentists have used amalgam to fill cavities for over 150 years. And for good reason; dental amalgam is one of the most durable and long-lasting restorative materials used in dentistry.

But what amalgam offers in affordability and endurance, it lacks in aesthetics. Composite resin, on the other hand, is like the Cinderella of dental materials: younger and prettier than amalgam, and a viable threat to its favor.

Stronger Than Ever

Made of a tooth-colored plastic mixture filled with silicon dioxide (glass), composite resin was first introduced to dentistry in the 1960s. In their nascent stage, dental composites weren't strong enough to withstand the chewing pressure produced by back teeth, so were used only to restore front teeth.

Today's composites still look natural, but are tougher, more versatile and can be used to:

  • Restore small- to mid-sized dental cavities
  • Reshape chipped teeth and broken teeth
  • Replace previously placed amalgam dental fillings

Direct Fillings: AKA “White” or “Porcelain” Fillings

Direct dental fillings are the most common type of restoration and are typically less expensive than indirect dental fillings (dental inlays and dental onlays). In addition to amalgam and temporary materials, composite resin is one of the leading materials used for direct dental fillings.

Primarily known to patients as "white dental fillings" or "porcelain dental fillings," composite fillings are perfect for anyone who prefers the tooth colored dental fillings. But don't be fooled -- composite resin fillings are more than just pretty!

Composite dental fillings can also:

  • Make teeth less sensitive to hot and cold
  • Require less removal of tooth structure than amalgam
  • Bond to teeth and help prevent breakage
  • Be easy to fix if damaged

However, although composite resin may be popular with patients, some dentists are still more comfortable using amalgam or other dental materials for larger restorations and on back teeth.

Composite Resin Bonding

If you have minor tooth imperfections such as a chipped tooth, broken tooth or a diastema, you may want to consider composite resin dental bonding. Unlike the veneers used on smile makeover television shows, composite dental bonding is an easy and cost-effective solution for restoring your smile.

A composite dental bonding procedure generally involves four steps: prepping the tooth, applying a bonding agent, applying the composite resin, and then using a special light to cure, or harden, the composite. The entire procedure is typically completed in just one visit. 

 

09.09.16

Options For Replacing Missing Teeth in Adults

Losing baby teeth is a rite of passage for the young, but when tooth loss occurs in adults, the dental problem will need to be treated by a professional dentist. When kids loose teeth starting at age six, the process is completely normal and everyone can relax knowing that permanent tooth growth is not far behind. However, in the case of adult tooth-loss, the options for filling the void are dentures, dental bridges or dental implants and knowing the differences amongst the three will allow individuals in need to make an educated choice regarding the dental care selection.

Dentures

For thousands of years, dentures have been a popular way to recreate a missing tooth. In 2006, Archaeologists have unearthed a male skeleton sporting dentures in Mexico and further research has indicated that the find was around 4500 years old. While those false teeth are the oldest ever to be discovered, they are not the most famous fake choppers. That notoriety must go to the nation's first President, George Washington. His fake teeth were constructed of a mix of gold, human and animal teeth and bone.

Contemporary man can now choose to have their custom-fitted dentures constructed out of plastic or porcelain and will either get partial or complete dentures based on a dentist recommendation. The process involves multiple dental office visits that could include tooth extractions, gum surgery and other restorative dental care based on the initial cause of tooth loss. Only after oral health has been restored, will a dentist make tooth molds and fit the appliances. Denture prices will vary based on the experience of the dentist and it is not unusually for a complete set of the teeth to cost as much as a family sedan.

Dental Bridge

Dental bridges are another option for filling the space where a tooth once was. The devices can also go by the moniker of partial dentures and can either be removable or permanent. The three basic types of dental bridges are traditional, cantilever and a Maryland bonded bridge.

The removable option will consist of replacement teeth connected to a gum-colored plastic base with a metal framework to anchor the fake teeth. Permanent dental bridges are called fixed and are used replace one or more missing teeth by placing dental crowns on each tooth surrounding the vacant space and affixing the replacement directly into the crown. Ultimately the fixed bridge is cemented into position.

Dental Implants

Many dentists encourage patients to get dental implants as they are considered to be the next best thing to one's own natural teeth. Once affixed, dental implants are permanent additions to a mouth as they will be anchored directly to the jawbone of a patient. The process can involve multiple stages including restorative dental work to improve dental health, the affixing of a tiny but sturdy titanium stud directly into the jawbone to replicate tooth root structure and then the final attachment of a the permanent dental implant.

The process can take months of oral surgery and healing. Patients with healthy teeth and gums and limited missing teeth are the best candidates for the dentistry.

 

09.01.16

About Dental Floss

Visitors from another planet may view the human behavior of manipulating a thin thread through the spaces in between their teeth as a bizarre ritual. However, those who were raised on Earth know that daily flossing is an essential part of oral hygiene that will improve well being.

More often than not, the scientific community releases stories showing the connection between dental problems and lowered fertility rates for women, heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, obesity and other topics. Regular flossing is the most affordable way to remove dental plaque, the known culprit for many of the problems. The process will not only lower the odds of patients developing issues such as tooth decay and gum disease, but can help improve overall health.

Are you looking for a way to improve your dental care regime while staying on a budget? Adding flossing to your daily oral care routine is the best way to get the most bang for the buck. Flossing is still considered to be the best practice for oral care, as the simple but tedious act will safely remove dental plaque and food particles. Removing that debris will reduce the odds of an individual developing tooth decay, gum disease and improving their general well being.

How to Floss

Flossing is a tedious task, but is a must-have process to lower the risks associated with poor oral hygiene. Individuals can improve their flossing techniques and dental health by:

• Flossing once a day.
• Flossing after brushing to remove any dental plaque and debris that may not have been removed by the process.
• Flossing at night, prior to bed to ensure a mouth is a fresh as possible prior to slumber.

The step is important as during sleep, saliva production slows down and will not be readily available to wash away unsavory remnants lingering about.

Consumers need to use approximately 18 inches of dental floss per session. That amount is long enough to reach behind and between all teeth, including wisdom teeth in the back of the mouth.
Individuals need to floss each tooth surface. The process should begin from the back teeth to the front and return to the back on the opposite side of the starting point and should be done for both top and bottom teeth. The floss should be gently around each index finger to provide better control, and the piece in between needs to be run up and down the side of each tooth until reaching the gum line.

During the flossing, the dental floss should be moved so that each tooth surface is cleaned with a fresh piece of floss. Follow up the act by rinsing with clean fresh water will help remove any additional stray particles left behind.

 

08.29.16

8 Dental Care Tips for Moms (and Moms-To-Be)

Moms deserve to be celebrated every day, so if you are a mom, we think it's time to give yourself a gift that lasts a lifetime - the gift of dental health.

We understand that busy moms don't always believe they have the time to take great care of their teeth. But it shouldn't be that way. By giving your teeth the attention they need - just like you do for your family - you can help preserve your smile for decades.

Here are 8 dental care tips just for moms (and moms-to-be):

1. Brush twice a day for 2 minutes - You need all of that time to thoroughly remove plaque!

2. Brush properly  - Brush too hard and you might hurt your gums. For teeth brushing tips, check out our article on how to brush.

3. Floss every day - This is the best way to remove plaque and prevent cavities from forming between teeth.

4. Load up on fruits & veggies - Sweets promote tooth decay and gum disease. But fresh fruits and veggies are great for your overall health and your teeth!

5. Bust a move - Diet and exercise may help prevent periodontal disease, according to the Journal of Periodontology. Who knew?

6. Take time to de-stress - Stress can lead to teeth grinding, cause TMJ and trigger canker sore and cold sore outbreaks. Try yoga, meditation or other relaxation techniques to take the edge off.

7. Visit your dentist - You wouldn't let your kids miss a dentist appointment, so why should you? If you're pregnant, it's important to continue with regular dental exams.

8. Be model mom - Your kids look up to you. Dentists know that mothers who make dental health a priority in their own lives set a good example for their kids. 

 

08.19.16

Lavender Scents Ease Dental Anxiety

Dental anxiety is the leading reason people avoid going to the dentist. The good news is dentists have several tools at their disposal to help make the anxiety of regular dental visits a thing of the past. After all, stress in the dentist's chair isn't just bad for you -- it's tough for the people trying to treat you, too. That's because a tense environment translates into longer procedures and more room for error.

If you suffer from dental anxiety, or if you just dread the thought of your next dental appointment, it's easy to understand why you'd want to know how to improve your experience. From offering pillows and a warm blanket and having you listen to music during your visit to sedation dentistry methods that include oral sedation, H-wave, electronic anesthesia and nitrous oxide, dentists use a variety of techniques to ease dental anxiety. But would you believe that the scent of lavender could also calm your dental anxiety while you wait to see the dentist?

The Lavender Connection

Lavender is an herb which has long been known to act as a calming agent. Lavender is used to treat anxiety, alopecia (hair loss), restlessness, insomnia and depression. Lavender is also used to soothe a headache or an upset stomach.

You've probably seen plenty of lavender-scented items available for purchase on store shelves -- from scented lotions and soaps to candles and sachets. While these products may smell nice, lavender is most often used as a calming agent when it is prepared for use in aromatherapy.

Aromatherapy involves inhaling certain scents to relieve stress and anxiety. Lavender is deemed the most helpful because of its sedative effects. Essential oil is extracted from the fresh flowers of the lavender plant and this oil is then inhaled to produce the desired results. Essential oils are highly concentrated so it doesn't take much to produce a calming effect -- just two to four drops added to a few cups of boiling water does the trick. 

A Calmer Trip to the Dentist

When you think of aromatherapy, you probably don't picture a candle warmer in your dentist's office. But a study conducted in 2008 by King's College London researchers explored that very possibility. Half of the 340 people studied were exposed to the scent given off by a candle warmer activating five drops of lavender oil in water while waiting for a dental appointment. The other half were not exposed to the lavender aromatherapy. The results? The anxiety level of those not exposed to lavender was significantly higher than those who smelled the scent. The results applied no matter what type of dental treatment people were awaiting -- whether it was for a routine dental cleaning or a visit involving something more anxiety-provoking such as a tooth filling.

Exposure to lavender had no effect on people's anxiety about future dental appointments. These findings suggest that lavender acts as an effective "on-the-spot" remedy to reduce anxiety while you wait for your dentist appointment, but it might not be enough to ward off the fear of future visits. 

 

08.05.16

20 Smart Snacks for Healthy Teeth

Getting your kids to eat fruit, veggies and yogurt instead of candy, chips and ice cream might feel like pulling teeth. But it's important to encourage them to eat "smart" snacks to help keep their smiles healthy and beautiful.

Using the "20 Smart Snacks" list below as a guideline, you can help your children have healthier teeth by loading your refrigerator and cupboards with nutritious foods. Then follow these tips whether you're transitioning your older kids to a healthier, balanced diet or just getting started with a little one.

Be a role model for your kids. Your kids mimic what you do, so it's crucial that you set the tone. Send the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables instead of sugary snacks that can cause cavities. And be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids; if you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow suit.

Get creative with snacks. Show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, too! Prepare tasty combinations that look and taste great, such as apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, meat and cheese rollups, and yogurt sprinkled with granola and bananas.

Involve your kids. When making your grocery list, ask your kids to brainstorm about what kinds of food they'd like to eat. This is a good opportunity to help them understand what's good for their teeth and what's not. Then go grocery shopping together and teach your kids how to read the Nutrition Facts label so that they can check the sugar content.

Prepare nutritious meals. Snacking smart is great for your teeth, but so is eating well-balanced lunches and dinners. Make sure to add fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Remember, your kids don't have to swear off sweets forever! They can still have healthy teeth even if they eat an ice-cream sundae or chocolate bar now and then -- just make sure that the bulk of the foods they eat are nutritious. Also remember to encourage your kids to brush and floss regularly, and be sure to make regular dental visits a fun and positive experience for them. 

20 Smart Snacks List

Fresh Fruit

- Melons

- Pears

- Oranges

- Berries

- Pineapple

Raw Veggies

- Carrots

- Celery

- Cucumbers

- Broccoli

Grains

- Whole-grain bread

- Pretzels (unsalted or low-salt)

- Cereals (unsweetened)

- Plain bagels

Nuts & Seeds

- Pumpkin seeds (unsalted or low-salt)

- Sunflower seeds (unsalted or low-salt)

- Nuts (unsalted or low-salt) 

Meats & Protein

- Baked chicken or turkey

- Peanut butter (unsalted or low-salt)

Dairy

- Cottage cheese (low or non-fat)

- Yogurt (low or non-fat)

Don't Forget! If you eat sweets, eat them for dessert instead of munching on them throughout the day. And remember to brush and floss your teeth after every snack or meal!

 

07.28.16

The Aging Mouth: What’s Normal, What’s Not?

If you're like most seniors, you know that some changes to your body are a normal part of the aging process and others aren't. The same applies to your dental health. That's right, the health of your teeth matters as you age, too! So it's easy to understand why you might be wondering what changes are normal and what might signal something more serious.

What to Expect

The natural process of aging takes its toll on your teeth and mouth just as it does your body. Here are some common oral health changes seniors can anticipate:

Tooth Wear -- Chewing, cleaning and the normal processes of aging mean your teeth wear down over time. The wear is more advanced in seniors who suffer from bruxism.

Darker Tooth Color -- Aging dentin (the tooth's middle layer) holds stains easier than younger dentin, making your teeth appear slightly darker. Dental plaque, the sticky invisible film that accumulates on your teeth and traps stains, also builds up faster in seniors.

Gum Changes -- Aging gums naturally recede over time. As gum tissue moves up and away from teeth, the roots are exposed. This makes your teeth more vulnerable to tooth decay and more sensitive to hot and cold.

Cavities -- Cavities around the root of the tooth are more common among seniors. Any tooth filling material you already have is also aging and can weaken or crack. Your tooth may also decay around the edges of the fillings, allowing bacteria to seep into your tooth and create new decay. 

Cause for Concern

Some changes to your teeth and gums aren't normal and shouldn't be overlooked. These symptoms could signal something more serious and are reason to talk to Dr. Lavi right away:

Tooth Loss -- Dental cavities and gum disease are the leading culprits of tooth loss in seniors, but neither is a normal part of aging. If your teeth and gums are healthy, there's no reason why your teeth should fall out. With good oral hygiene and regular professional care, your teeth are meant to last a lifetime.

Dry Mouth -- Many seniors experience a reduced flow of saliva, sometimes as a side effect of medical conditions, medications or medical treatment. The problem is that saliva is needed to lubricate the mouth, wash foods away and neutralize the acids produced by plaque. Left untreated, dry mouth can lead to tooth decay.

Bleeding Gums -- Experiencing bleeding gums when you brush is a sign of periodontal (gum) disease, a leading cause of tooth loss in seniors. But gum disease is not an inevitable result of aging; it's caused by the build up of plaque. Left untreated, gum disease is linked to other health concerns like arthritis and heart disease. If you think you have gingivitis or gum disease, see Dr, Lavi for gum disease treatment.

Mouth Pain -- Any lesion found on the tongue or anywhere in the mouth should be examined by a dentist. Such sores can signal gum disease or oral cancer. Seniors are at higher risk for oral cancer, especially smokers, heavy drinkers and those who've had a lot of exposure to ultraviolet light.

Regular dental visits can help detect and treat dental problems in the early stages and are just as important for seniors as for younger people. Simple self-help tips such as brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing daily are also important in combating the effects of aging. Talk to Dr. Lavi to find out how often you should come in for routine dental care.

 

07.15.16

Benefits of Smiling

Smiling is a form of communication recognized world wide, regardless of any language or cultural barriers that may be in place. The process of smiling can require anywhere from five to 53 different facial muscles and the expression can be formed at birth. Regardless of if a grin is real or being forced for a camera, 99.7 percent of all adults think a grin is an important personal asset and other studies have found the behavior to indicate lifespan, improve happiness levels, relieve stress and aid in career advancement.

The act of making a gleeful expression courtesy of facial muscle contraction happens daily to both men and women and for good reason. The act is easier to do than frowning and will force the release of the feel-good hormones called endorphins. Unfortunately, dental problems such as tooth discoloration, missing teeth and poor dental health can prevent a person from partaking in the act and limit all the health benefits associated with the action.
 

Smile for Beauty

The fact is, attractive people have social advantages over their less-pretty counterparts. Science has proven that good-looking folks have an easier time finding work, getting paid more and generally invoking more positive responses from society at large. Individuals looking for an affordable way to improve their looks can start by making healthier food choices, moving more and smiling.

Several studies have shown that a smile filled with healthy looking teeth can make an individual instantly more attractive. Once such research has come from Scotland’s University of Aberdeen. Research participants were asked to pick out images of attractive individuals and those who were photographed smiling ruled the roost.

Individuals who have experienced a decline in dental health that prohibit them from smiling can count on a dentist to help reverse the trend. The process will first involve dentistry to restore oral health and once that condition has been stabilized, cosmetic dentistry can be utilized to create a grin worthy of being displayed.

 

07.08.16

Even Seniors Get Cavities

You may think that as an adult you don't have to worry about cavities anymore -- but dental cavities aren't just child's play!

As we entered the new millennium, it was discovered that seniors were actually getting more dental cavities than children. Today, children and seniors are still the two highest at-risk groups for tooth decay.
Aging puts us at greater risk for dental problems -- the wearing away of tooth enamel, eceding gums and loss of jawbone are signs that our mouths are aging along with our bodies.

Your grandparents could probably tell you that, in their youth, most senior citizens had missing teeth. Many lost their teeth to dental disease, and a tooth extraction was a common treatment for dental problems.
With current dental technology, we're relying less on old-fashioned dentistry and more on modern dental procedures to restore our smiles. That's great news to seniors, who are keeping their teeth longer. Now for the bad news -- anyone with natural teeth can get dental cavities. And the longer we have our teeth, the more we expose them to the elements that can cause tooth decay.

The Risk Factors

Unfortunately, geriatric teeth are less able to handle the normal wear and tear of those in younger generations. There are several reasons why seniors may be prone to more dental cavities:

Lack of Fluoride -- Most of our nation's seniors didn't have the benefits of community water fluoridation while growing up. And with the popularity of bottled water today, seniors may still not be getting the fluoride they need. Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps prevent tooth decay.

Arthritis -- Those who suffer from arthritis, or other medical conditions, may have a hard time gripping a toothbrush or floss, making it difficult to practice daily oral hygiene.

Gum Disease -- Over 95% of seniors have receding gums, exposing the roots of teeth and making them vulnerable to the same dental diseases that affect the tooth's crown. Root decay is becoming much more common among seniors.

Dry Mouth -- Dry mouth is often a side effect of medications or health problems often associated with seniors. Saliva is needed to wash away food particles and neutralize the acid that promotes tooth decay. When our mouths are dry, our teeth become more susceptible to cavities.

Diet -- Aging may cause our diet to change. Seniors often lean towards softer foods, which don't always have the nutrients you need for healthy teeth. A diet heavy in carbohydrates and sugar also contributes to dental cavities.

Assisted Living -- Although assisted living centers are designed to help our loved ones get the care they need, oral hygiene may fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, a lack of individual attention may keep seniors from maintaining their smiles.

Finances -- When on a fixed income, oral health care may not be a priority. Some seniors can't afford to pay for dental products or professional dental care.

Look Grandma -- No Dental Cavities!

There are several ways seniors can improve their chances of staying dental cavity-free. A diet low in sugar and high in calcium promotes tooth health. If you aren't getting enough fluoride, try using fluoride toothpastes, mouth rinses or tablets. Drinking water, sucking on sugar-free candy or chewing sugarless gum promotes saliva production and reduces dry mouth.

For seniors with dexterity problems, wrap tape or an elastic bandage around the toothbrush. If a wider grip is needed, you can even try taping a tennis ball, sponge or rubber bicycle grip to the handle. An electric toothbrush may also be helpful for those who cannot maneuver a manual toothbrush easily. And daily flossing should not be forgotten, either -- floss holders and waxed floss may make it easier for seniors to continue their oral hygiene routine.

Because of the special dental needs of seniors, regular dental visits are necessary to maintain their oral health. Dentists use this time to check for the dental problems that affect older patients, including gum disease, root decay and oral cancer. If a senior you know is living in a nursing home, arrange for them to receive oral care and continue with their dental appointments. If transporting them to the dental office is impossible, try finding a dentist who can arrange in-house care at their facility.

Now that you have the chance to keep your teeth for a lifetime, you should take advantage of it. Taking the right steps to maintain your smile will help you remain cavity-free, so you can truly experience what your golden years have to offer!

 

06.17.16

Bridging the Gap

When a tooth is missing, it creates more than just an aesthetic problem. Missing teeth put pressure on the remaining teeth to work harder, which can increase the possibility of tooth decay, gum disease and crooked teeth. The part of the jaw where the tooth is missing may recede, resulting in further tooth loss and premature aging. Dentists highly recommend replacing a missing tooth to avoid the dental problems caused by tooth loss.

A dental bridge is an excellent solution for one or more missing teeth. Consisting of a series of dental crowns fused together, the dental bridge uses a false tooth, or pontic, to replace the missing tooth. As each dental crown is cemented to the adjacent teeth, the pontic rests comfortably in the space where the missing tooth used to be. Stable and permanent, dental bridges literally "bridge the gap" and look just like your real teeth!

It Fits In

A traditional bridge, which is the most common of the dental bridges, has the pontic in the center of the bridge with a crown on either side. It's designed to fit over the two adjacent teeth, which are called abutment teeth. But in some cases, abutment teeth aren't available on both sides of the gap, which means there isn't enough support for the bridge. In this situation, the dentist may opt to use what's known as a cantilever bridge.

Unlike a traditional bridge, a cantilever bridge supports the fake tooth from one end. Cantilever bridges are most often used when abutment teeth are located on only one side of the missing tooth or in areas of mouth that are under less stress. A cantilever dental bridge often uses the same number of dental crowns, but the layout is different. The abutment crowns are placed next to each other, with the pontic placed on the end. In some cases only one dental crown is used, depending on how much support the cantilever bridge needs.

A Secure Choice

There are several reasons to choose a cantilever bridge. Not only are they ideal for situations where a traditional dental bridge or dental implants aren't available, but cantilever bridges work for front teeth as well. Unlike resin bonded bridges, no metal clasps are used to secure the bridge to teeth, resulting in a more aesthetically pleasing appearance.
And although it may seem like you're walking the plank rather than crossing the bridge, cantilever bridges are no less stable than traditional bridges. Like other bridges, the cantilever dental bridge can last up to 10 years with proper dental care. This, of course, includes the same oral hygiene rules you follow on a regular basis for your natural teeth.
If you have a missing tooth, talk to your dentist about your replacement options. And the sooner you see a dentist, the better! Even just one missing tooth can cause extreme damage to the rest of your mouth, resulting in the need for a tooth filling, gum disease treatment or dental braces.

 

06.10.16

Sports and Energy Drinks Known Tooth Killers

When it comes to quenching thirst individuals can choose between a myriad of options including water, beer, wine, soda, milk and sports/energy drinks. However, people who grab the latter may end up causing irreversible damage to their teeth.

Since the term "soda water" was first coined in 1798, the soft drink industry has expanded to include a variety of options. Sports drinks (designed to replenish nutrients and boost performance for athletes) and energy drinks (laden with ingredients such as caffeine) are currently some of the most popular beverage options currently available. Combined, the two types of drinks account for an estimated $10 billion in sales annually and the more money spent on the drinks, the worse off the dental health of consumers.

Sports Drinks Kill Teeth

Nutrition is important for dental health and concurrently there are certain treats linked to causing dental problems. Sports and energy drinks may indeed provide those in need with a short boost of something, but the high acid levels in the beverages have been found to be found to cause irreversible damage to tooth enamel. (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/245027.php).

Research published in the May/June 2012 issue of General Dentistry (the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry) has shown how the beverages are causing dental health issues. A total of 13 different sports drinks and nine different energy drinks were analyzed by researchers; tooth enamel samples were submerged in each drink variety for 15 minutes and then submerged in an artificial saliva for two hours. The process was repeated to mimic the process of a person consuming four of these specific types of drinks a day while other times the tooth samples were allowed to sit in the artificial saliva (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/244872.php). Researchers noted that damage mimicking tooth erosion occurred in as little as five days during the test. Energy drinks earned the dubious honor of causing twice as much damage of more balanced sports drinks. 

History of Sports and Energy Drinks

There was a time when water was the premiere beverage of choice and that milk was known as an important dairy food known for promoting dental health. However, ever since having a Coke and a smile became part of the English vernacular, manufacturers have launched a war for consumer dollars in the form of the soft drink industry.

Sports drinks first became a competitor in the field in 1965. Researchers at the University of Florida designed the drink in direct response from the Gators football assistant coach Ray Graves. He wanted to help athletes replace fluids lost during practice in hot weather. Since the initial tests and subsequent success, the sports drink Gatorade was born and is distributed in over 80 countries courtesy of parent company, Pepsi Co.

Depending on the source, the first energy drink was either created at the turn of the century or sometime in the 1960s. While those origins are unclear one thing is sure, the very first options for a quick perk up were typically shots in simple bottles sans the flash and dash of today's marketing styles.

Energy drinks started to evolve as time went on and as they did, the started to resemble the today's versions. In the 1980s, Jolt Soda marketed itself as an energy drink with the motto of "All the sugar and twice the caffeine" of regular sodas. After that other products came and went, but once energy drink Red Bull (introduced to America by Austrian entrepreneur Dietrich Mateschitz) a new soft drink sector was born and things have never been the same. 

Soft Drinks=Declining Health

Since the earliest soft drink incarnations the industry has grown to dominate the American marketplace. According to information from the National Center for Health Statistics, half of every American over age 2 drink sugary drinks every day. That habit is negatively impacting the health of the nation and upping the occurrences of dental problems and health problems linked to obesity.

Many health experts note that soda is a contributor to health issues including tooth decay, cavities and gum disease. An evaluation of Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by a team at the University of Michigan "confirm that adults who drink three or more sodas a day have up to 62% more decayed, missing, and filled teeth than those who drink less," (http://www.prevention.com/health/health/diabetes/drinking-soda-4-reasons...). The acid levels in the beverages, trace elements of sugars and carbohydrates deposited on teeth after consumption and teeth grinding promoted by caffeine are contributors to the woes.

As a result, soft drink industries are trying to diversify their offerings by promoting sports and energy drinks instead, as the research shows the beverages are no better for teeth than their predecessors. As a result, everyone is advised to take the industry marketing messages with a grain of salt in order to better manage the dental health of themselves and their charges.

The connection between consuming sports drinks, energy drinks and declining health cannot be denied. Individuals are advised to skip sipping processed beverages to save their teeth and well being and opt for choosing water instead. 

 

06.03.16

5 Ways to Stop Bleeding Gums

Keep seeing pink in the sink after you brush? Don’t fall for the popular belief that it’s normal and happens to everyone. Bleeding gums may be a sign of something that’s easily correctable – by brushing less vigorously or flossing every day. But it can also be a warning of something more serious, like periodontal disease or even diabetes. With stakes that high, the smart thing to do is to improve your oral hygiene routine. If your symptoms don’t improve after a couple of weeks, be sure to make an appointment with Dr. Lavi.

1.    Brush twice a day. Brushing with fluoride toothpaste is an essential way to stop bleeding gums. Make sure you choose a brush head with soft nylon bristles and brush using gentle, circular motions that massage and clean the teeth and gums – back-and-forth motions can actually aggravate gum bleeding. 

2.    Floss every day. Flossing may be the most important thing you can do at home to prevent the plaque buildup that leads to gum bleeding. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist for tips on proper flossing. 

3.    Use a good mouthwash. Ask your dentist to recommend a good fluoride mouthwash, which can help fight bleeding gums. Avoid mouthwashes with alcohol – they can dry out your mouth and actually lead to bleeding gums. 

4.    Keep your tongue clean. A "coated" tongue provides the perfect environment for the bacteria that promotes bleeding gums. Brush your tongue with a tongue cleaner or soft-bristled toothbrush using a front-to-back motion. 

5.    Eat a well-balanced diet. A diet filled with vitamin C, folic acid, calcium, and B vitamins will help you maintain healthy gums. Limit your snacking between meals, especially carbohydrates and sugars; these feed the dental plaque that causes bleeding gums. 

Keep in mind, no matter how scrupulous you are about oral hygiene, a professional dental cleaning is the single most effective way to remove the plaque that causes bleeding gums – so be sure to see Dr. Lavi at least twice a year. 

  

05.27.16

Keep Waking Up with Headaches?

If the first thing you feel in the morning is a headache or pain behind your eyes or pain in your neck and shoulders, come in for a visit. What you’re experiencing could be the result of problems in your mouth. These are common symptoms of a condition known as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), which basically means that your jaws don’t align properly. This misalignment stresses the jaw joints, putting pressure on nerves and muscles – which can result in morning headaches, migraines or facial and neck pain.

Not everyone with TMJ disorder shows symptoms. And not everyone has headaches or pain; TMJ disorder can also lead to broken teeth or fillings, loose teeth and toothaches. What is certain is that if you do display any of these symptoms, they won’t get better without professional help.

Many people find that resting the jaw helps ease the pain. You can do this by eating soft foods, avoiding chewing gum and hard candies. We can also show you jaw exercises to stretch the jaw joints and relieve stress. For most people, the most effective treatment is a custom dental splint that fits over your upper and lower teeth. This reduces the damage done from repeated clenching of the jaw or teeth grinding.

If these conservative methods don’t work, you still have other options. The temporomandibular joints can be flushed out, or an injection of cortisone can help relieve inflammation and pain. Worse-case scenario, you might need surgery. Come in for a visit and we’ll help you find the right solution. 

 

05.12.16

Chipped Teeth Choices

If you have a chipped tooth, you're not alone! In fact, chipped teeth are the most common dental injury today. But don’t let that little-known fact fool you into ignoring a chipped tooth; any type of dental trauma deserves immediate attention. A small chip may not cause you pain, but there could be damage underneath the surface of the tooth. Our dentist can rule out cracks or internal tooth problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. And in many cases, your chipped tooth can be repaired in just one visit.

Options, Options

Chipped tooth treatments vary according to the amount of damage. Depending on your situation, any one of these chipped tooth treatments may be an option for you:

Dental Bonding
Most chips can be corrected with dental bonding. Dental bonding is an efficient, durable and cost-effective way to correct minor chips.

Enamel Shaping
Often used in conjunction with dental bonding, enamel shaping can also correct small chips or surface flaws. During enamel shaping, a small portion of the tooth's surface is removed or recontoured to smooth out imperfections.

Dental Veneers
If the chip is significant and dental bonding or enamel shaping can't be used, you may need a veneer. These thin, porcelain wafers completely cover the surface of the tooth and are often used for front teeth.

Root Canal
Pain in the location of the chip can be a sign that the nerve is exposed. If that's the case, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.

Dental Crown
A dental crown is used to completely cover larger teeth or to cap a tooth after a root canal.

Tooth Extraction
If the tooth can't be saved, a tooth extraction may be necessary. The good news is a dental bridge or dental implants can replace missing teeth.

Smart Snacks for Healthy Teeth

Getting your kids to eat fruit, veggies and yogurt instead of candy, chips and ice cream might feel like pulling teeth. But it's important to encourage them to eat "smart" snacks to keep their teeth – and body – healthy.

Whether you’re transitioning your older kids to a healthier, balanced diet or just getting started with a little ones, here are some tips for healthy snacking:

Set the tone. Your kids mimic what you do, so it’s important that you eat smart snacks too. And be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids; if you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will too.

Get creative with snacks. Show your kids that healthy snacks can be fun! Prepare tasty combinations, such as apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, meat and cheese rollups, or yogurt sprinkled with granola and bananas.

Keep your kids involved. When you make your grocery list, ask your kids to brainstorm about what kinds of food they'd like to eat. This is a good opportunity to help them understand what's good for their teeth and what's not. Then go grocery shopping together and teach your kids how to read the Nutrition Facts label so that they can check the sugar content.

Prepare nutritious meals. Snacking smart is great for your teeth, but so is eating well-balanced lunches and dinners. Make sure to add fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

We can help you come up with even more ideas for healthy snacks – come in for a visit, and we’ll work on a plan together.

 

05.05.16

Be Careful with Toothpicks

Toothpicks should be used sparingly as a method of teeth cleaning and should never be considered a substitute for brushing teeth and flossing, says a Chicago dentist.

"Toothpicks should be used only when a toothbrush or floss is not available, for example, when you are in a restaurant and have food trapped between teeth," explains April Grandinetti, D.D.S., a general dentist. "Toothpicks that are used overzealously can damage tooth enamel, lacerate gums, and even cause a broken tooth in severe cases. People who have bonding or veneers can chip or break them if they aren't careful. Overly aggressive use of toothpicks can severely wear the roots of teeth, especially in cases where gums have pulled away from the teeth and leave teeth with root surfaces exposed, notably in the elderly."

The toothpick, or its equivalent, is used in many countries as the main tool in the battle against tooth decay. Many people use the twigs of trees to clean between their teeth.

"Toothpicks have a long history as civilization's primary tooth-cleaning instrument," says Dr. Grandinetti. "The West began to abandon them in the 1700s as the newly created toothbrush gradually became the standard of care for cleaning teeth."

Toothpicks date back to 3,500 BC when the earliest known oral hygiene kit featuring a toothbrush was found at the Ningal Temple in Ur. In China, a curved pendant, made of cast bronze was worn around the neck and used as a toothpick. In 536 BC, the Chinese mandated a law that required the use of the toothpick because their armies suffered frombad breath. In the Old Testament, it is written that "one may take a splinter from the wood lying near him to clean his teeth."

Toothpicks probably had their heyday in the Middle Ages when keeping a toothpick in the mouth all day long was a common habit. In the 17th century, toothpicks were commonly used by the educated classes throughout Europe. In France, for example, toothpicks were served with desserts, usually poked into fruit to be handy following a meal. After they were used, they could be placed behind the ear for future use.

Toothpicks have been made of numerous materials through history, including wood, porcupine quill, chicken bone, ivory, gold, silver and steel. Many woods used were aromatic, some containing tannic acid which was thought to help prevent cavities and gum disease. 

Today, most toothpicks in the United States come from "toothpick trees" in Maine. The tree is a white birch which has its trunk cut into thin sheets that are cut again to the thickness and length of toothpicks.

"I can tell when I have a habitual toothpick user in my dental chair," says Dr. Grandinetti. "There are the tell-tale signs of toothpick marks. So use them if you have too, but don't make it a habit. Brush and floss instead."  

 

04.25.16

The Dental Implant Procedure

The dental implant procedure is usually a three-step process. During the first step of dental treatment, Dr. Lavi will drill a hole into the jawbone and a titanium implant is screwed into place. This portion of your dental implant treatment might sound painful, but most patients are comfortable with just local anesthesia. (If necessary, sedation dentistry can be used for anxious patients.) At the end of the procedure, the gum is secured over the dental implant, which will remain covered long enough for it to undergo the process of osseointegration, when the implant actually fuses to the bone. Osseointegration usually takes three to six months.

The dental implant is uncovered during the second phase of treatment and a post is added. This serves as an extension and together with the dental implant serves as the foundation for your new tooth. Once the gum tissue around the post has had a chance to heal, Dr. Lavi places a dental crown on top. Since it is fixed to a post, your new tooth is extremely secure and will function just like any other tooth.

Just like any surgery, the dental implant procedure will be more successful if you are healthy. That means practicing excellent oral hygiene, eating well and not smoking. Patients must also maintain a significant amount of jaw bone to support dental implants. Discuss your pre-existing medical conditions with Dr. Lavi.

Dental implants are cost effective, permanent, natural looking and often stronger than your natural teeth. Our staff has advanced training in implant placement, plus, we offer many sedation options that make your procedure a relaxing one and help increase healing time.

It’s time to change the way you think about replacing teeth. It’s time to change the way you think about your smile. It’s time to change your life. Please give our office a call today to discuss dental implants.

 

04.15.16

What to do During a Dental Emergency

A dental emergency is always a stressful situation, but it can become absolutely nerve-racking when your dentist is out of the office. Whether it's late Saturday night and your dentist won't be back in until Monday, or if your dentist is out of the country on 2-week vacation, a dental emergency can be difficult to manage on your own. There are some basic things that you can do to prevent or cope with dental emergencies when they occur.

The best way to handle a potential dental emergency is to avoid it in the first place. The most common dental emergency is pain or swelling from an infected tooth. In most cases, this does not happen suddenly, overnight. Typically, a person has some degree of pain or discomfort for several days or even longer before they are in severe pain and in need of emergency dental care. The best advice is to visit the dentist at the first sign of any discomfort in the teeth or gums.

If a dental emergency does occur when your dentist is unavailable, there are several things that you can do. Pain in the teeth or gums can often be effectively handled with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil®), naproxen (Aleve®), or acetaminophen (Tylenol®), to be taken as directed. Rinsing with warm salt water (a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of water) can help temporarily relieve puffy or swollen cheeks and gums. Some-store bought products like Orajel® can also be effective in relieving minor soreness of the gums. If you have a broken tooth, a piece of wax or even some soft chewing gum can cover a sharp edge until you can get to the dentist.

Your dentist should also be available for advice if a dental emergency occurs. Thanks to cell phones and answering services, patients can often reach their dentist after office hours. This gives the dentist the ability to contact the pharmacy for antibiotics and pain medication should they feel that patients need them. If your dentist is going to be out of the office for more than a few days, he or she should have another dentist available to treat any dental emergencies that may occur.

 

04.08.16

Tired of Silver in Your Smile?

Do you feel stuck with your silver fillings? Do you hate to smile brightly because of the amalgam in your mouth? Well, you’ll be happy to know that we have more natural-looking options to treat tooth decay.

Our practice features composite (tooth-colored) fillings. Dr. Sam Lavi offers inlays and onlays, which are common restoration alternatives to silver (amalgam) fillings. Composite fillings are used for smaller cavities, while inlays and onlays are used for teeth that won’t sustain a filling but have enough natural tooth left that a crown is not necessary.
These treatments are durable and can last a very long time with the proper care. We even offer a variety of materials, such as tooth-colored resin or porcelain.

If you want to feel more confident during those laugh-out-loud moments, or if you’re simply ready for a change, give us a call and we’ll give you something you can smile about!

 

04.04.16

To Floss or Not to Floss - That is the Question!

The primary cause of tooth decay [cavities], periodontal [gum] disease and halitosis [bad breath] is failure to remove plaque [sticky mixture of bacteria, food and debris] from the tooth surface. The surest way is mechanical removal of plaque with proper tooth brushing and flossing. While a toothbrush is effective in cleaning the biting, front and back surfaces of a tooth, the bristles cannot adequately clean between the teeth.

Dental floss is the best choice to remove plaque from these difficult areas. Floss, which is like a fine string, is available in a variety of forms – unwaxed or waxed, flavored or unflavored and regular or wide. These specifications give the floss different characteristics. For example, waxed floss may be easier to slide through tight teeth or restoration contacts, while unwaxed floss will spread out it fibers during use for greater tooth contact. Dental floss should be used at least once a day for 2-3 minutes. It’s important to be consistent, starting in the same place and working your way around the dental arch so as not to miss any spots.

For individuals who have fixed restorations in their mouth, floss threaders may be utilized to get the floss under the contacts of the bridge. Pre-threaded floss holders are available for people who lack dexterity or for those caregivers who are flossing someone else’s teeth. While there are many types of interdental cleaners, dental floss remains the best choice for relatively healthy mouths. If you need some help with your flossing technique, ask our hygienist at your next visit. Depending on the condition of your mouth, we may suggest some other home care ideas as well. 

 

03.29.16

Cracked Teeth

You won't be able to see it, but you'll know it's there. Minuscule cracks can form on your teeth, threatening your dental health. Although small in stature, these cracks can do big damage. But don't panic -- with the right tools, you can stop cracked teeth in their tracks and possibly prevent them altogether.

Cracked tooth syndrome becomes more of a threat as we age. Our teeth tend to weaken as we get older, making them susceptible to tiny hairline fractures that aren't visible to the naked eye. We increase our chances of developing cracked teeth by exposing them to trauma, such as bruxism and chewing on hard objects. Cracked tooth syndrome is also common in teeth that contain a large tooth filling, which can weaken any remaining healthy tooth structure over time.

There are several types of cracked teeth to be aware of, each requiring a different dental treatment plan:
Fractured Cusp -- This happens when the cusp (the raised section of the biting surface of your tooth) becomes fractured. If a fractured cusp doesn't break off on its own, it will need to be removed by a dentist and replaced by a dental crown.

Cracked Tooth -- These cracks usually run vertically, originating from the top part of the crown and working their way down. Treatment typically entails a root canal followed by a dental crown. If the crack has extended below the gum line, the tooth may require a tooth extraction.

Split Tooth -- When a cracked tooth is not treated, the crack can extend beyond the root, causing the tooth to split. Although these teeth are difficult to save, they can sometimes be treated with a root canal.

Vertical Root Fracture -- Sometimes the crack starts at the bottom of the root and works its way up. If caught early, endodontic dental surgery may correct the situation.

Cracked teeth are different from crazing, where visible surface cracks appear on the tooth enamel. Crazing becomes more common as we age. Although crazing doesn't look pretty, it is harmless.

As you've seen, the treatment for cracked teeth depends on the type of crack and the amount of damage that's done. The earlier you catch a cracked tooth, the easier it is to save. In fact, cracks that have recently developed on the surface of the tooth may only require a dental crown. But if your fractured tooth needs a root canal, don't feel discouraged. Not only can a root canal save your tooth from extraction, but it may preserve your tooth for the rest of your life!

You do have the ability to prevent cracked teeth. Practicing excellent oral hygiene, maintaining a healthy diet and visiting your dentist regularly will strengthen your teeth against fractures. Should you experience any symptoms of cracked tooth syndrome, see Dr. Lavi as soon as you can. Dr. Sam Lavi has been treating cracked teeth in the Studio City and Los Angeles areas for many years.

 

03.18.16

Is it Snoring or Sleep Apnea?

About 80 million people in North America snore, and approximately 12 million Americans have sleep apnea. So what’s the difference, and why does it matter?

Snoring is caused by the vibration of the soft palate and uvula, occurring when the airway becomes obstructed during sleep. Several things can obstruct the airway and cause you to snore, including allergies drinking before bed, being overweight and having large tonsils or a deviated septum.

If you snore now and then, you probably have nothing to worry about. But chronic snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea, a more serious sleep disorder. People with sleep apnea stop breathing in their sleep – sometimes up to 100 hundred times an hour – for one minute or longer. Left untreated, sleep apnea can increase your chances of serious health conditions like high blood pressure and heart disease. At a minimum, you may feel groggy in the morning or unable to concentrate during the day.

The good news is sleep apnea is treatable. The two most common ways to treat sleep apnea are continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy, which is administered by a physician, and oral appliance therapy, which can be administered by Dr. Lavi. CPAP therapy can be very effective for people with sleep apnea, but some find it difficult to sleep with a mask.

More people are increasingly turning to the oral appliances administered by dentists. Oral appliances are small, flexible devices that look like mouthguards. They increase the airway space and reduce air velocity and soft tissue vibration (snoring) by moving the lower jaw into a forward position. Patients who have tried both say that oral appliances are more comfortable to wear, easier to care for and very cost-effective.

Call our Los Angeles or Studio City location today for more information and to schedule a consultation with Dr. Lavi.

 

03.07.16

Why Would I Need a Root Canal?

Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment?

Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.

How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?

Dr. Lavi removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the canal, a channel inside the root, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, you will return to Dr. Lavi, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure. For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications. Follow Dr. Lavi’s instructions carefully. Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call us immediately.

 

02.22.16

Diet & Exercise May Prevent Gum Disease

Can working out improve your dental health? Yes, according to one study. Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine have discovered that people of a normal weight who exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet are less likely to have gum disease. The study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, suggests that a healthy lifestyle may help prevent periodontal disease.

Researchers took the same factors that lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease into account when analyzing data from 12,110 participants. They found that those who exercised regularly, had healthy eating habits and maintained their weight were 40 percent less likely to develop periodontal disease than their counterparts. Those who met two of the criteria lowered their risk by 29 percent, while participants with just one healthy virtue had a 16 percent less chance of developing gum disease.

Overall, only 7 percent of those who met all three of the criteria had some form of gum disease. The participants who had a poor diet, limited physical activity and were considered overweight totaled 18 percent, suggesting that obesity can more than double your chances of developing periodontal disease.

Scientists aren't exactly sure why these factors may decrease your chances of developing gum disease. It's already known that healthy eating can help build up your immune system. Scientists now theorize that eating healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, may also help remove dental plaque from teeth. It's also believed that obesity promotes gum inflammation, while physical activity may decrease it.

While a healthy lifestyle may help improve your dental health, it's not a substitute for maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist twice a year are essential.

 

02.05.16

Dental Abrasion Treatment: What You Should (and Shouldn't) Do

While there are multiple ways to treat dental abrasion, it's always better to prevent dental issues before they start. You can start your dental treatment by following a few simple guidelines:

- Always use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
- Ask Dr. Sam Lavi for tips on how to brush properly, and avoid brushing too hard.
- Refrain from chewing on toothpicks and pencils or biting your nails.
- Make sure removable dental appliances fit properly and have them checked on a regular basis.
- Don't forget to schedule regular dental visits to give Dr. Sam Lavi a chance to detect any problems early on.

If any portion of your tooth surface has begun to wear away, Dr.Lavi may be able to correct the problem with flouride treatment or dental bonding. Call our Studio City or Los Angeles dental office locations for a consultation today.

 

01.29.16

Dental Advice for an Expecting Mother

If you're expecting, you're probably taking all the right steps to ensure a healthy pregnancy. With a proper diet, exercise plan and prenatal care from your doctor, you're helping your body adapt to the many changes you're experiencing. And now you're taking it one step further by focusing on your dental health.

Just as dental health is connected to your overall health, dental care is important to the health of your fetus. It's extremely important to take care of your teeth during pregnancy, as some dental problems can increase the risk of complications. Your changing body also contributes to the state of your dental health, sometimes leading to dental conditions you may not normally be prone to. Becoming aware of how dental health affects your pregnancy -- and vice versa -- can make this time in your life a little easier.

Unfortunately, the changes pregnant women go through may put them at higher risk for dental problems. Variations in hormone levels cause an increase in blood flow, bringing more blood to the gums. This feeds the dental plaque bacteria that promote tooth decay and gum disease.

Pregnancy Gingivitis -- A common dental problem during pregnancy, gingivitis causes red and swollen gums, and women may experience tenderness and bleeding. Pregnancy gingivitis affects about 50% of pregnant women, but by stepping up your oral hygiene routine, you'll reduce the chances of becoming a statistic.
Schedule a preventative appointment with Dr. Lavi to discuss the proper course of care.

 

01.15.16

The Gingivectomy Procedure

Prior to the gingivectomy procedure, scaling and root planing is often used to remove bacteria and tartar from below the gum line. The gingivectomy procedure itself typically requires just local anesthesia to numb your gums. Traditionally, a scalpel is used to remove gum tissue, but today, many dentists use laser gingivectomy for less invasive treatment, minimized bleeding and faster healing time. (It's important to note that the gingivectomy cost may range according to the type of gingivectomy procedure performed.) Depending on how much tissue needs to be removed, the gingivectomy procedure can take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.

Following your gingivectomy procedure, a periodontal dressing will be placed over your gums to protect them while they heal, which stays on for an average of seven to 10 days. During this time, it's important that you follow your dentist's post-surgery guidelines so as to not accidentally remove the dressing or damage your gums. You will most likely only be able to eat soft foods and drink liquids while the dressing is in place. While you can continue practicing your oral hygiene regimen, you should avoid brushing near the surgical area until your dentist tells you it's safe to do so. It may take several weeks for your gums to appear normal again and up to three months for your gums to heal completely.

 

01.11.16

Night Guards

Want to know one excellent way to combat the bothersome habit of nighttime bruxism, or teeth grinding? Use of a night guard -- every time you sleep. If you think the trouble or expense of a dental night guard isn't worth it, or you aren't even entirely sure it's tooth-grinding behind what seem to be increasingly shorter teeth, headaches, jaw pain and a perturbed sleep partner, it's probably time to visit your dentist. Based on the amount of damage you may have already done and the symptoms you describe, your dentist can determine whether a night mouth guard is right for you.

 

12.29.15

Healthy Holiday Teeth

December 25 marks the time of year where visions of sugarplums fill heads while pies, cookies and other delicious foods fill bellies. Thanks to candy canes, fruit cakes, alcohol and parties brimming with edible delights, many struggle to balance caloric intake to avoid weight gain and it is advised to take extra precautions to ensure that dental problems do not become an unwanted stocking stuffer.

Celebrating with friends and family is always fun, but during that revelry it is possible for an individual to let down their guard in response to the comfort they feel (and fueled by any alcohol that may have been consumed). Once in relaxation mode, it is extremely easy to eat and drink and even partake in negative vices like smoking, all of which can negatively impact dental health. That is why celebrants need to pay special attention to the oral hygiene behaviors implemented during the "most wonderful time of year."

Water Yourself

Water is a life-supporting liquid, consuming a healthy amount of the beverage is essential to well being and oral health. The compound is the main component of the human body and proper hydration levels are essential for aiding in metabolism and transporting nutrients and oxygen throughout all cells. Ensuring that enough of the natural beverage is consumed during holiday celebrations can help keep teeth clean and healthy.
Whether you are working on being the perfect host, or are simply trying to be a good guest, drinking a glass of water every hour will go along way to boosting dental health and minimizing the development of dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease. The liquid will help prevent dry mouth, eliminate bad breath, may provide a boost of fluoride and will help wash away harmful bacteria, all of which are reasons for celebration!

 

12.18.15

Embarrassed It's Been So Long

So you are starting to think that it might be a good idea to go to the dentist for a routine exam. Nice work! But if you don't have a dentist that you've visited regularly for a while -- or maybe ever -- you may be a little worried about what they might find. You really don't want to be lectured about your oral health, either. Well, don't sweat it!

Many people forget to have dental exams as regularly as suggested. The important thing is that you've decided to go now. It is usually recommended that you see a dentist once or twice a year, though different people may need treatment more frequently.

There are a number of compelling reasons why it is important for you to see a dentist regularly. A dentist may be the first to spot serious health problems like oral cancer and other systemic conditions. Your dentist will also help you maintain good oral health, and can diagnose and treat problems like tooth decay and gum disease -- before they become serious and require more invasive and costly dental treatment and gum disease treatment.

Stop putting it off!

If you are nervous about having to sit through a lecture on the importance of dental health, you don't have to worry. Most dentists have moved away from this anxiety-inducing strategy of placing the blame on patients. Dentists understand that your dental health is affected by of both environmental and hereditary factors, and they want to help you achieve an optimal smile.

Your dentist also knows that the more positive your experience is, the more likely you are to return! They will work with you to make sure that no matter when you decide to climb into their chair, you feel at ease and ready to address whatever problems are at hand.

If you are embarrassed about what your dentist might think about the state of your teeth, remind yourself that they have seen worse. Over the course of their education and careers, dentists are exposed to teeth with about every problem you can imagine. Remember, they are trained to evaluate dental problems and whatever you throw their way is not new to them.

One of the most important steps you can take to ensure that your dental visit is a positive experience is to be up front with your dentist about your dental anxiety and concerns. Let your dentist know if there is anything in particular that has kept you from visiting the dentist in the past, and ask them to try to avoid negative criticisms. Most dentists will be understanding, and you can leave their office knowing that you took a positive step for your dental and overall health.

 

12.14.15

Good News for Chocolate Lovers

Know that guilty feeling that creeps in every time you bite into a piece of chocolate? Turns out it’s all for naught. (Well, mostly.) Recent studies show that chocolate is actually good for your teeth – and your overall health.  It turns out that chocolate contains powerful antioxidants called polyphenols and flavanols. Polyphenols prevent bacteria from turning the sugar and starches contained in chocolate into acids that cause decay. They can help reduce the chances of hypertension and stroke and may even help protect the heart.

Dark chocolate is particularly high in flavanols – and has more antioxidant power than green tea.  The cocoa butter contained in chocolate also packs a healthy punch. When you eat a piece of chocolate, the cocoa butter in it coats your teeth, preventing plaque from sticking to your teeth. And what about the “butter” part of cocoa butter – should you worry about fat? Nope. This kind does not raise cholesterol. 

Now for the Bad News...

Chocolate is high in calories; one 1-ounce piece of dark chocolate can contain 150 calories or more. So if you’re watching your waistline, you’ll have to control yourself. Plus, to benefit from chocolate’s goodness, all you have to do is eat three 1-ounce pieces of it a week.

 

12.04.15

Soda Drinkers More Prone to Cavities

Dentists can usually spot a soda drinker. These patients are often prone to dental cavities and white spots on their teeth known as decalcifications, which are actually the start of new cavities.

A cavity is an infection caused by a combination of carbohydrate-containing foods or beverages and bacteria that live in our mouths. Sweetened soda contains a high amount of sugar, a carbohydrate that can promote cavities. Soda may be even more damaging to the teeth than other sugar containing beverages because it is acidic as well.

Before we drink a sugar-sweetened soda, the pH in our mouth is about 7.0, which is slightly more acidic than water. When the bacteria in our mouths are exposed to sugar, they metabolize it and produce acid. The acid causes the pH on the tooth surface to drop. At a pH of 5.2 or below, the acid begins to dissolve the hard enamel that forms the outer coating of our teeth. Over time this leads to erosion that causes cavities and painful toothaches!

A study examined the effect of several types of sweetened soda and mineral water on the teeth. Teeth exposed to cola, orange and lime soda had significantly more decalcification than those exposed to mineral water. Of all of the sodas tested, cola caused the most decalcification. Sweetened soda seems to damage teeth in two ways. The soda has a low PH and makes the mouth acidic, and the sugar content promotes tooth decay when it comes into contact with bacteria in the mouth.

The easiest way to prevent cavities is by brushing your teeth at least three times a day, especially after eating or drinking and before bed. Reducing the amount and frequency of eating sugary foods and beverages can decrease the risk of forming cavities.

If you have to have sweetened soda, it is better to drink it at one sitting than sip it throughout the day. Better yet, drink it through a straw in one sitting, to bypass the teeth altogether.

 

11.23.15

Happy Holidays!

At this very special time of the year we wish to express our gratitude for the gift of your friendship, confidence and trust you have shown us.

We also would like to thank those of you who have referred friends and family to our practice during the year. We pride ourselves in the individualized quality service we provide and always welcome the opportunity to serve new patients who value our commitment.

Serving you has been a privilege and we look forward to a continuing relationship in the years to come. May you and your family be blessed with good health and may your home be filled with happiness and joy this Holiday Season and throughout the coming year

 

11.16.15

Mini Dental Implants

Even if your dentures are fit to perfection, they may still wander or "float" now and then -- especially your lower dentures. A floating lower denture can make it difficult to eat and embarrassing to talk. Fortunately, there is a denture stabilization system that can fix the problem: mini dental implants (aka MDI dental implants).

Dentists started using MDI dental implants as a dental stabilization system in the 1970s, but they weren't considered "permanent" implant devices by the FDA until 1999. Since then, mini dental implants have become a favorite solution of patients and dentists for stabililzing a floating lower denture.

Like traditional dental implants, MDI dental implants are rooted into your jaw bone through oral surgery and act as a retaining fixture. But there are several differences: Mini dental implants are used for the lower jaw bone exclusively, usually to secure a lower denture but sometimes to support a dental crown. MDI dental implants are also smaller than traditional dental implants and, in most cases, can be placed in just one visit. Best of all, MDI implants can be 60-70 percent less expensive than traditional dental implants!

 

11.09.15

Are You Thumbing Your Mouth at Me?

Infants have a natural instinct to suck as a way of nourishing and soothing themselves. Often, this leads to the child sucking on their fingers, a blanket, a stuffed animal or their thumb. Usually, this habit is given up by age 4. If it continues, it can be extremely detrimental to the development of their teeth and jaws causing crooked teeth, an incorrect bite, speech problems and/or open-mouth breathing. This habit may result in psychological trauma if it continues into school age when the other children tease them.

What should a parent do? If possible, try to switch them to a properly designed pacifier that fits the shape of the mouth. Pacifiers are less likely to create the same developmental problems [by distributing forces over greater area], are usually discarded by the child at an earlier age and are easier to hide than a thumb. If the thumb sucking is during the day, discuss the problem with them to discourage the habit. Placing a band-aid on their thumb as a reminder may help. Be positive and praise them when they remember. And reward them for their success.

If your child is still sucking on their thumb or anything else by the time their permanent teeth erupt [around age 6], please call it to the attention of our office.

 

10.30.15

Scaling and Root Planing

Nobody plans on getting gum disease, but it happens -- to most of the population, in fact! Like cavities, gum disease is caused by a buildup of dental plaque bacteria, resulting in dental calculus, or dental tartar. Over time, dental plaque and its cohorts will creep beneath the gum line, forming "pockets" between the teeth and gums. The larger these pockets grow, the worse gum disease gets.
Dental calculus forming below the gum line is of great concern. Think about it: If you dropped change into the pockets of your jeans every day and couldn't remove it, soon it would weigh you down so much that you wouldn't be able to walk! As dental calculus fills the pockets of your gums, it starts to destroy the bone, greatly impairing your teeth as well.

Empty Your Pockets

Although you can eventually unload the pockets of your pants yourself, only a dentist or dental hygienist can remove the dental calculus that has accumulated in the pockets of your gums. A non-surgical approach known as scaling is the first in a series of periodontal procedures used for gum disease treatment. During tooth scaling, an instrument called a scaler is used to remove dental plaque and dental calculus from beneath the gums. While it's a common practice to manually scrape away deposits, many dental offices are now equipped with ultrasonic dental cleaners, which use ultrasound vibrations to break up dental calculus.

Once the dental plaque and dental calculus have been removed, the area that has been scraped leaves a jagged appearance. Planing is the procedure used to smooth the tooth's root. Why is this necessary? Root planing helps gums heal: It's easier for gums to reattach themselves to a smoother root than one still suffering from the results of gum disease. The smooth surface also helps keep dental plaque from attacking the tooth's root, making it easier to maintain the gums following dental treatment. While scaling and root planing helps prevent gum disease from spreading, it may be able to reverse the signs of gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease.

Keeping It Clean

Once scaling is complete, preventative care is necessary to keep gums healthy. Although gum disease can never be cured, proper oral hygiene can curb the problems that started it in the first place. Brushing and flossing daily will help fight the dental plaque that is constantly forming around teeth. Regular dental visits are also required to remove the dental calculus you've missed.

A simple procedure like scaling can reduce the disease's effects and restore gums to a healthy state. Without proper treatment, gum disease can progress -- literally to the point of no return! Remember: Once gum tissue is lost, it doesn't grow back. The earlier you treat gum disease, the better chance you have of recovery. So make an appointment to see Dr. Lavi in his Los Angeles or Studio City dental office today.

 

10.16.15

The Diabetes-Gum Disease Conntection

Gum disease is an infection of the gums -- the tissues that support your teeth. The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, and warning signs include red, tender gums and seriously bad breath (halitosis). As the disease progresses into periodontitis, it becomes much more severe, with receding gums, pus and tooth loss.
The catch is that gum disease is often painless. You may not know you have it until you have some serious damage.

Be on the lookout for these warning signs:

• Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
• Red, swollen or tender gums
• Receding gums
• Pus between the teeth and gums
• Persistent bad breath
• Loose permanent teeth
• Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
• Changes in the fit of partial dentures or a dental bridge

 

10.02.15

Wishing for the Perfect Smile?

Have you ever longed for the smile you can be truly confident about? Allow us to grant your wish!
Our practice offers veneers, thin porcelain shells that can solve most cosmetic teeth problems like:

• Misaligned, crowded or crooked teeth
• Misshapen teeth, or teeth that are too small or too big
• Chipped or broken teeth
• Dull, stained or discolored teeth

Veneers are one of the most versatile cosmetic treatments available today. They can often be completed in very few visits. They are stain-resistant and very durable, lasting up to 15 years with the proper care.
If you wish to learn more about the wonders of veneers, give us a call and make an appointment – we’d be glad to help you achieve the perfect smile you’ve always dreamed of!
 

 

09.25.15

Gingivitis

There are 36 million people living with gum disease in the United States. Gingivitis is the mildest form of this condition, but left untreated, it can lead to conditions that can wreak havoc on your body. Your mouth and body are intrinsically connected -- one affects the other and vice versa.

What Is Gingivitis, Anyway?

Even after being told they have it, many people still wonder, "what is gingivitis?" This form of gum disease is generally caused by lack of proper oral hygiene, which creates dental plaque buildup. If it remains, plaque hardens into dental tartar. Tartar is nearly impossible to remove with just a toothbrush. The result is a hotbed of bacteria.

Plaque irritates your gums and causes an infection. Your body then catapults into an immune response to attack the infection. The result? Inflamed gums. What's worse is periodontal bacteria can enter your blood stream and make its way to your major organs, causing even more trouble. Research indicates that without gingivitis treatment, this condition can:

- Lead to heart disease
- Increase your risk for stroke
- Increase the odds that pregnant women will have preterm, low birth weight babies
- Aggravate existing health conditions
- Contribute to new medical problems including, diabetes, respiratory disease and osteoporosis

One form of gingivitis, called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, develops quickly and causes moderate to severe pain. Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (often referred to as trench mouth) destroys tissue and should be treated as soon as possible. Without treatment, acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis can spread.

Gingivitis Symptoms

Gingivitis symptoms can be tough to detect. In the early stages of periodontal disease, there may not be any signs to tell you something is wrong. Gingivitis symptoms are more likely to include:

- Soft, swollen, red gums
- Bleeding gums
- Color change of the gums from pink to dark red
- A pink toothbrush (and not from the toothpaste)

If you've experienced one or more of these gingivitis symptoms, it's time to see Dr. Lavi. Gingivitis treatment can stop the disease in its tracks.

 

09.18.15

A Simple Snoring Solution

Dentists not only take care of your teeth and gums, we're also here to help you get a good night's sleep!
If you snore, or cohabitate with someone who does, you should know that snoring can be triggered by a number of different factors, from enlarged tonsils or adenoids to your diet, health, lifestyle, age, weight, environment and other seemingly unrelated causes.

While it's the subject of many jokes, it can also be a serious problem. Snoring cannot only interrupt your bed partner's sleep - no laughing matter to him or her - it is also associated with sleep apnea and cardiovascular problems such as high blood pressure, which can lead to a stroke.

Snoring is produced when the muscles and soft tissues in the throat and mouth relax, making your airway smaller. The decrease in airway space increases the velocity of air flowing through the airway during breathing, which causes vibrations in the soft tissues of the mouth and throat, producing the "snoring" sound.

If you're a snorer or sleep with someone who is, you may be interested in talking to us about a dental appliance that can help keep the noise down. It's a simple mouthpiece that prevents the lower jaw from falling back and/or your tongue from dropping back towards the back of your throat while you're sleeping, therefore helping to keep your airway open.

You owe it to yourself, and to your partner too, to ask us about a custom-made snoring appliance that can provide a peaceful solution to your noisy nights.

 

09.11.15

Dental Implants

Are you looking for a permanent solution to missing teeth? If so, we want to share some good news with you: We offer dental implants. The time has come to say goodbye to poorly fitting dentures and high-maintenance bridges — and the many appointments that both of these options can take to complete and maintain.

A missing tooth doesn't just leave a hole in your smile -- it may also affect how you speak and chew. And if a missing tooth isn't replaced, the teeth around it begin to move. Shifting teeth create new crevices for dental plaque to hide in, which can lead to tooth decay and the need for a tooth filling or gum disease treatment down the road.

Dental Implants may also be the answer to your denture problems. Eat, speak and smile with confidence! Your denture feels secure and is being held firmly in place thanks to Dental Implants.

 

08.28.15

Dental Exams & Dental Checkups

There's a common misperception that dental care is a luxury, and it's time to set the record straight. Regular dental exams (aka "dental checkups") are just like regular medical exams and physicals - both are preventive measures to help you stay healthy in the long run. What's more, your oral health and overall health are inextricably intertwined: Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, pregnancy has been linked to tooth loss and stress may cause TMJ, dry mouth syndrome and other dental problems.

The best way, if not the only way, to protect yourself against dental health disasters is to stay on top of your dental exams/dental checkups. The ADA recommends a checkup at least once every six months.

Tuning Up Your Teeth

We tune up our cars because we're told that maintenance can improve performance and even increase longevity. This is a great analogy for dental exams/dental checkups; just like our cars, our teeth need tuneups, too. Regular exams/checkups allow your dentist to monitor the health of your teeth, treat problems and even catch problems before they start or get worse. In the long run, these "tuneups" can result in your teeth lasting a lifetime!

A standard dental exam for adults typically involves checking for dental problems that can range from cavities, gum disease and tooth root decay to broken teeth, enamel erosion and bite problems like TMD.

Skipping Exams Is Tempting, but Costly

It's understandable that you might be tempted to skip regular dental exams/dental checkups when the economy is bad or if you're experiencing a financial crunch. But brushing and flossing aren't enough to keep your dental health in tip-top shape. And the fact is putting professional dental care on hold can result in serious dental problems later - and treatments that are much more costly.

 

08.21.15

Lumineers®

We all know that movie stars have beautiful teeth. What you may not know is that many celebrities get a little help from their dentist.

If you’re looking for a picture-perfect smile, Lumineers® can help transform your teeth.

Made of ultra-thin Cerinate® porcelain, Lumineers are translucent and give your smile a very natural appearance. And, unlike traditional veneers that can take several visits to complete, Lumineers dramatically transform your smile in just two easy office visits.

Interested in learning more? Give Dr. Sam Lavi a call or come in for a consultation — we can’t wait to help you get that beautiful, natural-looking smile.

 

08.07.15

Good News about Root Canals

Worried about getting a root canal? Don’t be. Once synonymous with serious pain, Dr. Sam Lavi's root canal procedures are virtually pain-free.

Root canals are needed when a dental infection, or tooth decay, reaches the pulp chamber of the tooth. The infection destroys the nerves located within the root of the tooth, eventually causing the tooth to die. Years ago, the only option for this type of dental problem was a tooth extraction. Now, thanks to dental technology, your root canal dentist can save your tooth even if there's a major infection.

If you're in need of root canal therapy, you may be having trouble eating or sleeping. A toothache or sensitivity to hot or cold is common for those with infected pulp, and you may even have swelling or tenderness in the gums.

Of course, if you do have any kind of tooth discomfort, it's important not to self-diagnose. Only a dentist can properly diagnose the pain and provide the appropriate treatment.

If you have symptoms of an infection in your root canals, don't ignore them! The goal is to save your tooth rather than extract it, and with good reason. Missing teeth can cause bite problems, shifting teeth and jawbone loss. On the other hand, the vast majority of root canal procedures are effective, and a successful procedure can help you keep that tooth for a lifetime and prevent other dental problems.

 

07.31.15

The Advantages of Using Lasers in Dentistry 

Like everything under the sun (or moon or stars or clouds), laser dentistry has its own pros and cons. One major pro is that patients may now avoid hearing the dreadful sound of the drill in some cases, as lasers in dentistry can now perform the traditional drill's responsibilities.

Besides that, laser dentistry scores points with patients and laser dentists in other ways, too.

1. Use of lasers in dentistry reduces the need for local anesthesia and sedation dentistry. This is because using a laser in dentistry may cause less pain in some instances, so that anesthesia is no longer a requirement.

2. With laser dentistry, minimized bleeding and controlled swelling during gum disease treatment are a possibility. This is good news, but because it gives people less excuse to be absent for school or work, it may be bad for some.

3. The tooth's ability to heal where deep cavities have existed is enhanced by using lasers in dentistry treatments. Though you won't heal as quickly as a mutant or a superhero, your tooth may heal a bit faster than the average healing time -- at least for humans. - Cosmetic laser dentistry is an excellent solution for patients who want to refresh their smiles quickly and economically. With cosmetic laser dentistry, your dentist can whiten your teeth up to eight shades brighter in just about an hour! Cosmetic laser dentistry is also ideal for patients in need of dental bonding, which is used to repair minor chips, cracks or even breaks in teeth.

4. Post-operative discomfort is also minimized by using a laser in dentistry procedures.

5. Waiting time to finish a tooth filling is reduced as lasers are used as curing for the dental filling.

Today, we don't have "to boldly go where no man has gone before" to simplify our dental procedures. Using lasers in dentistry improves healing, reduces infection and generally minimizes your time in the chair! Ask Dr. Lavi about laser dentistry before you begin your next dental care treatment plan.

 

07.17.15

Dental Exams & Dental Checkups

There's a common misperception that dental care is a luxury, and it's time to set the record straight. Regular dental exams (aka "dental checkups") are just like regular medical exams and physicals - both are preventive measures to help you stay healthy in the long run. What's more, your oral health and overall health are inextricably intertwined: Gum disease has been linked to diabetes, pregnancy has been linked to tooth loss and stress may cause TMJ, dry mouth syndrome and other dental problems.

The best way, if not the only way, to protect yourself against dental health disasters is to stay on top of your dental exams/dental checkups. The ADA recommends a checkup at least once every six months.

 

07.03.15

Tuning Up Your Teeth

We tune up our cars because we're told that maintenance can improve performance and even increase longevity. This is a great analogy for dental exams/dental checkups; just like our cars, our teeth need tune-ups, too. Regular exams/checkups allow your dentist to monitor the health of your teeth, treat problems and even catch problems before they start or get worse. In the long run, these "tuneups" can result in your teeth lasting a lifetime!

A standard dental exam for adults typically involves checking for dental problems that can range from cavities, gum disease and tooth root decay to broken teeth, enamel erosion and bite problems like TMD.

 

06.26.15

Skipping Exams is Tempting, but Costly

It's understandable that you might be tempted to skip regular dental exams/dental checkups when the economy is bad or if you're experiencing a financial crunch. But brushing and flossing aren't enough to keep your dental health in tip-top shape. And the fact is putting professional dental care on hold can result in serious dental problems later - and treatments that are much more costly.

 

06.19.15

The Impact of an Impacted Tooth

A tooth is considered impacted when it only partially grows through the gums. This can happen because another tooth blocks it, or it grows in crookedly. The third molar typically erupts from age 17 to 21 and is the last tooth to appear, which is why it’s the most likely tooth to become impacted – there’s usually no room left for it.

Although an impacted tooth does not always lead to pain or discomfort, the impaction can cause other problems. A partially erupted tooth can create an opening in the gum where food and other particles can accumulate, leading to gum infection. Impacted teeth can also develop tooth decay, and they can also push on adjacent teeth, causing all your teeth to shift.

For these reasons, it’s usually recommended to have wisdom teeth extracted before the age of 21. The younger you are the better (and faster) the surrounding tissue and bone will heal. That doesn’t mean you should ignore the symptoms if you’re over 21, though.

No matter what age you are, if an impacted tooth is causing you pain, soreness, sensitivity or inflammation, come in for a visit. Better to get treatment than unnecessarily endure pain and discomfort!

Persistent pain or an infection usually means the tooth will need to be removed. Sometimes this can be done right in the office. Otherwise, we can give you a referral to a recommended oral surgeon.

 

06.12.15

Gingivitis

There are 36 million people living with gum disease in the United States. Gingivitis is the mildest form of this condition, but left untreated, it can lead to conditions that can wreak havoc on your body. Your mouth and body are intrinsically connected -- one affects the other and vice versa.

What Is Gingivitis, Anyway?

Even after being told they have it, many people still wonder, "what is gingivitis?" This form of gum disease is generally caused by lack of proper oral hygiene, which creates dental plaque buildup. If it remains, plaque hardens into dental tartar. Tartar is nearly impossible to remove with just a toothbrush. The result is a hotbed of bacteria.

Plaque irritates your gums and causes an infection. Your body then catapults into an immune response to attack the infection. The result? Inflamed gums. What's worse is periodontal bacteria can enter your blood stream and make its way to your major organs, causing even more trouble. Research indicates that without gingivitis treatment, this condition can:

- Lead to heart disease
- Increase your risk for stroke
- Increase the odds that pregnant women will have preterm, low birth weight babies
- Aggravate existing health conditions
- Contribute to new medical problems including, diabetes, respiratory disease and osteoporosis

One form of gingivitis, called acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, develops quickly and causes moderate to severe pain. Acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (often referred to as trench mouth) destroys tissue and should be treated as soon as possible. Without treatment, acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis can spread.

Gingivitis Symptoms

Gingivitis symptoms can be tough to detect. In the early stages of periodontal disease, there may not be any signs to tell you something is wrong. Gingivitis symptoms are more likely to include:

- Soft, swollen, red gums
- Bleeding gums
- Color change of the gums from pink to dark red
- A pink toothbrush (and not from the toothpaste)

If you've experienced one or more of these gingivitis symptoms, it's time to see Dr. Lavi. Gingivitis treatment can stop the disease in its tracks. 

 

05.29.15

Replacing Old Metal Fillings

For the past 150 years, silver dental fillings have been the "gold standard" in dental offices. And until recently, there were no alternatives to having a mouthful of metal. Although amalgam works well as a tooth filling material, it tends to make people look as though they can pick up a satellite signal at any moment. And the larger the silver dental filling, the more noticeable it is.

Luckily, advancements in modern dentistry have given us new options for dental restorations. Tooth-colored dental fillings, a substitute for silver fillings, offer a natural-looking alternative to amalgam. And unlike silver dental fillings, white fillings can actually be structured to resemble real teeth! Our office currently offers tooth-colored fillings as a dental restoration.

The New Standard

There are several types of tooth-colored fillings available:

Composite Fillings -- Also known as composite resin fillings, these are the most common of the tooth-colored dental fillings. Composite fillings mix resin with a glass or quartz filler to maintain their white color. Although relatively sturdy, composite resin doesn't quite match the strength of amalgam dental fillings and are used more frequently for small to medium cavities. Composite resin is also used when dental bonding the front teeth.

Porcelain Fillings -- Porcelain may be used as an alternative to composite dental fillings and is often used to create dental inlays, dental onlays and dental crowns.

 
 05.22.15

Cosmetic Crown Lengthening

Irregular gum levels detract from an attractive smile. Even with new crowns, laminates or bonding, the results will never be satisfactory unless the gum has a natural contour. Dr. Lavi can significantly improve your smile by developing proper proportion and symmetry. This may be as simple as treating a single tooth, or may involve all of the upper front teeth to even your gum line. During this procedure, excess gum and bone tissue are reshaped to expose more of the natural tooth, and create a beautiful smile.

Contact us today to learn more about correcting irregular gum levels with cosmetic crown lengthening.

 

05.15.15

Get it Straight! 

Your smile is the first thing people see. And as we all know, first impressions are crucial. So if you’ve ever wished for a straighter smile — braces might be for you.

But braces don’t just improve the look of your teeth; they also keep your teeth healthy. When your teeth are straight, they are easier to keep clean. Flossing, brushing and mouthwash are much more effective when your teeth aren’t overly crowded.

At our office, we have different options to fit each patient — come in for a consultation and together we’ll decide what’s right for you.

It’s never too late to straighten your smile. Adults and teenagers alike can get the smile they’ve always wanted. Call us today and improve your face value!!!

 

05.08.15

The Advantages of Using Lasers in Dentistry

Like everything under the sun (or moon or stars or clouds), laser dentistry has its own pros and cons. One major pro is that patients may now avoid hearing the dreadful sound of the drill in some cases, as lasers in dentistry can now perform the traditional drill's responsibilities.

Besides that, laser dentistry scores points with patients and laser dentists in other ways, too.

• Use of lasers in dentistry reduces the need for local anesthesia and sedation dentistry. This is because using a laser in dentistry may cause less pain in some instances, so that anesthesia is no longer a requirement.

• With laser dentistry, minimized bleeding and controlled swelling during gum disease treatment are a possibility. This is good news, but because it gives people less excuse to be absent for school or work, it may be bad for some.

• The tooth's ability to heal where deep cavities have existed is enhanced by using lasers in dentistry treatments. Though you won't heal as quickly as a mutant or a superhero, your tooth may heal a bit faster than the average healing time -- at least for humans. - Cosmetic laser dentistry is an excellent solution for patients who want to refresh their smiles quickly and economically. With cosmetic laser dentistry, your dentist can whiten your teeth up to eight shades brighter in just about an hour! Cosmetic laser dentistry is also ideal for patients in need of dental bonding, which is used to repair minor chips, cracks or even breaks in teeth.

• Post-operative discomfort is also minimized by using a laser in dentistry procedures.

• Waiting time to finish a tooth filling is reduced as lasers are used as curing for the dental filling.

Today, we don't have "to boldly go where no man has gone before" to simplify our dental procedures. Using lasers in dentistry improves healing, reduces infection and generally minimizes your time in the chair! Ask Dr. Lavi about laser dentistry before you begin your next dental care treatment plan.

 

05.01.15

Oral Cancer Symptoms

In America, 30,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer or pharyngeal cancer this year. This results in 8,000 deaths, roughly breaking down to one death every hour of every day.

The earlier oral cancer signs are diagnosed the better. In fact, it can mean the difference between life and death. The scary reality is that the average person has conditions inside the mouth that mimic the appearance of early stage symptoms of oral cancer. Biting the inside of your mouth or a loose fitting dental bridge or dentures can all leave small lesions or agitated spots on the inside of your mouth that might look like oral cancer symptoms to the naked eye.

Here is your clue to see your dentist if you see any of these symptoms of oral cancer in your mouth:

Any sore, discoloration, induration, prominent tissue, irritation, hoarseness, which does not resolve within a two week period on its own, with or without treatment, should be considered suspect and worthy of an exam.

About 90 percent of oral cancers are squamous cell carcinomas. This cancer can be located in the oral cavity (tongue, cheeks, soft palate, etc.), the lips, the tonsils and more. When the cancer starts it mutates the genes which control cell behavior. These mutated genes grow and spread and multiply at an uncontrolled rate.

Properly diagnosing oral cancer symptoms in their earliest stages is crucial to fighting this disease.

Contact Dr. Lavi today for an appointment if you have experienced any of the above.

 

04.24.15

The Mouth-Body Connection 

Everyone knows that dentists can help you keep your teeth healthy and free of decay. However, what’s not as widely known is how much your oral health can affect your overall health. Your body is a system, and while each component has its own unique role to play, it’s all interconnected.

This is something we keep in mind during your examinations because your mouth’s role in the system is significant. Many common oral health conditions can be indicators of other illnesses, some of them serious. For example, if you’re diabetic, your high blood sugar levels provide the bacteria in your mouth with the perfect food source, allowing them to thrive. The bacteria then attack the protective enamel that coats your teeth, causing cavities as well as periodontal disease. It’s not surprising that diabetic patients are often first tipped off to their condition by their dentist.

But the connection doesn’t stop there. Osteoporosis, a disease that causes bones to become less dense and more fragile over time, is usually noticed by dentists before doctors because the afflicted patients start losing teeth. Osteoporosis is fairly common in women, so early detection is important, especially for your teeth!

Perhaps the most startling connection, and one that’s only recently been brought to light, is between the mouth and the heart. Recent evidence suggests that poor oral health can increase your chances of developing heart disease — even more than high cholesterol and triglyceride levels! The reason for this isn’t fully understood, but a dominant theory is that if bacteria from infected gums enter the bloodstream, they can attach to blood vessels and help form clots. These clots can aggravate high blood pressure and lead to heart attacks. If you’re suffering from or at risk of developing heart disease, regular dental checkups can be just as essential a part of your treatment as visits with your cardiologist.

Even if your heart is healthy, the risk of bacteria from gum disease entering your bloodstream can create other problems. Surgery patients will often find their surgeries postponed if they haven’t been to the dentist recently, since the same bacteria could potentially create complications with their surgery.

In short, there are many proven connections between the health of your mouth and body, and more are being discovered each year. Be aware of these and schedule regular visits with Dr. Lavi. It’s an essential part of staying fit and keeping your entire body running smoothly and efficiently.

 

04.17.15

Non-Surgical Gum Treatment

If you notice you have any of the signs of gum disease, including red, puffy or bleeding gums, receding gums or bad breath, talk to Dr. Lavi about the best gum disease treatment for you. Bleeding gums treatment or receding gums treatment starts with a deep cleaning. This type of gum treatment involves a process called scaling and root planing, where dental plaque and dental tartar deposits on tooth and root surfaces are removed. This gum disease treatment helps gum tissues to heal and gum pockets to shrink.

 

04.10.15

Canker Sores

Canker sores are a common nuisance that will affect most people at some point in their lives. Also known as aphthous ulcers or "mouth ulcers," canker sores appear as oral lesions on your tongue, palate or the inside of your cheeks. As they only affect the interior of your mouth, your friends won't be able to see them -- but you'll know they're there. Shallow and circular in appearance, these small, painful sores appear white or gray at the center with a surrounding red border, and they are extremely sensitive to the touch. Women are more likely than men to experience canker sores, but the first symptoms don't usually occur until after the age of 10.

For most of us, mouth ulcers only occur occasionally, experiencing simple canker sores several times a year. These lesions are usually less than 1 cm in diameter, and will usually heal within 2 weeks. But others may find themselves a victim of complex canker sores, which are often larger in appearance, occur more frequently and take longer to heal.

Treatment and Prevention

There's no real cure for canker sores, and they often heal on their own. Your best bet for battling canker sores is to avoid the possible causes, including limiting acidic foods and practicing excellent oral hygiene, which helps prevent irritation.

If you experience extreme pain, large mouth ulcers or several canker sores at once, you may want to get your condition checked out. Oral lesions that continuously reoccur or last more than three weeks should also warrant a professional opinion. Dr. Lavi can prescribe medications to control the pain and help you determine the possible causes. In extreme cases, Dr. Lavi may also test the area to rule out other diseases, such as oral cancer.
 

 

04.03.15

Wishing for the Perfect Smile?

Have you ever longed for the smile you can be truly confident about? Allow us to grant your wish!

Our practice offers veneers, thin porcelain shells that can solve most cosmetic teeth problems like:

• Misaligned, crowded or crooked teeth
• Misshapen teeth, or teeth that are too small or too big
• Chipped or broken teeth
• Dull, stained or discolored teeth

Veneers are one of the most versatile cosmetic treatments available today. They can often be completed in very few visits. They are stain-resistant and very durable, lasting up to 15 years with the proper care.

If you wish to learn more about the wonders of veneers, give us a call and make an appointment – we’d be glad to help you achieve the perfect smile you’ve always dreamed of!

 

03.27.15

Bad Breath: Pew! 

Bad breath [halitosis] is overwhelmingly the result of problems that develop in the mouth; it can be embarrassing and create psychological barriers to personal relationships. Other reasons for bad breath include kidney failure [fishy odor], infection in the lungs or sinuses, diabetes mellitus [acetone odor] and gastrointestinal disorders. Fasting may result in halitosis from metabolic waste products when, in the absence of food intake, the body breaks down fat and protein to provide energy. Some women have objectionable breath associated with the onset of menstruation. Most people are unaware of their own mouth odor, and it’s difficult to test you own breath. Exhaling into your hand is unreliable. Since 90% of halitosis originates in the mouth, you must understand its causes and eliminate or modify the risk factors. The most common cause of mouth odor is the decomposition of food particles or other debris by bacteria. Some of the smelly end-products of this putrefying process are sulfur compounds. Toxins given off by bacteria in oral infections also are odor producing.      

A dry mouth due to decreased salivary flow is a contributory factor to oral odor. Saliva naturally cleanses, removing food and particles that may cause halitosis. Some people awaken in the morning with a bad taste and/or odor due to diminished salivary flow while sleeping. Individuals taking medications such as anti-histamines, tranquilizers and various blood pressure medicines may have decreased salivary flow as a side effect. Stress contributes to a decreased flow of saliva. Mouth breathers and smokers tend to dry out their mouths, and of course, tobacco has its own distinctive odor. People experiencing dry mouth can stimulate salivary flow with sugarless gum or candy and should increase their liquid uptake to 6-8 glasses of water a day. Some foods such as onions, garlic, eggs and others give off their own pungent smells. Mouthwash and toothpaste only temporarily mask these odors, and they will continue until eliminated by the body.

Good oral hygiene will remove sticky plaque that entraps food particles and provides a home for bacteria. Daily brushing and flossing will go a long way in eliminating halitosis. Tongue scraping or brushing is also important. Full or partial dentures are harbingers of plaque and food particles and should be cleaned thoroughly. Since they also absorb odors, they should be bathed in appropriated solutions. See your pharmacist or call this office for recommendations. If you are still concerned about bad breath, please visit Dr. Lavi for a check-up. We can find and eliminate any periodontal infections or tooth decay and make specific suggestions. Don’t risk having offensive halitosis. Take the proper steps.   

 

03.20.15

Dental Health Tied to Good Nutrition

Nutrition can have a big impact on the health of your teeth, especially when it comes to the development of tooth decay. Basically, this means what you eat can lead to cavities. There are several aspects of nutrition and dental health to consider:

• Foods that are starchy or high in sugar increases the risk of cavities
• Sticky foods (including raisins and other dried fruits) can increase cavity risk because they adhere to teeth.
• Dairy products like cheese help neutralize acid in the mouth, acting as a buffer between teeth and tooth decay.
• Eating sweets during meals may help reduce the risk of cavities because increased saliva production helps neutralize and wash away destructive acids.
• Another good nutrition dental habit is eating legumes, nuts and grains, which contain antioxidants that increase blood flow, improve immunity and strengthen blood vessels.

Nutrition and dental health go hand in hand, especially when it comes to certain vitamins. Vitamins A, C and D are vital to healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin A is linked to the healthy formation of teeth and skin and contains antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals which cause disease. Many foods are rich in Vitamin A, including liver, spinach and carrots. Vitamin D forms after being exposed to sunshine and promotes calcium absorption, which is essential for strong teeth (and bones). Vitamin C offers a variety of dental and nutrition benefits: It promotes healthy teeth and gums, boosts the immune system and is also an antioxidant. Natural sources of Vitamin C include papayas, strawberries, brussels sprouts and broccoli.

One common nutrition-dental myth concerns the health value of bottled water. While it's probably better to drink bottled water rather than sports drinks, sodas, juices and even "fortified" bottled waters, which all contain cavity-causing sugars, most bottled waters aren't fluoridated. When it comes to drinking water, your teeth are more likely to benefit from filtered tap water because most community tap water systems are fluoridated.

The fact is when you pay attention to good nutrition, good dental health is one of the payoffs.

 

03.13.15

Diabetes and Gum Disease

More than 23 million people in the United States have diabetes. If you're one of them, it's easy to understand why you'd want to know how diabetes affects your oral health. You might be surprised to learn that if your blood glucose levels are poorly controlled, you are more likely to develop serious gum disease (periodontitis) and lose more teeth than people who don't have diabetes. In turn, periodontitis may cause your blood sugar to rise, making your diabetes harder to control.

What puts people with diabetes at higher risk for gum disease? The less controlled your blood sugar level, the more impaired your white blood cells become. These guys are the main defense against bacterial infections that occur in your mouth. With less of them fighting infections, there's more chance serious dental problems will occur. The good news is Dr. Lavi can keep an eye on your oral health and help keep gum disease at bay.

The Diabetes-Gum Disease Connection

Gum disease is an infection of the gums -- the tissues that support your teeth. The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, and warning signs include red, tender gums and seriously bad breath (halitosis). As the disease progresses into periodontitis, it becomes much more severe, with receding gums, pus and tooth loss.

The catch is that gum disease is often painless. You may not know you have it until you have some serious damage. Be on the lookout for these warning signs:

• Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
• Red, swollen or tender gums
• Receding gums
• Puss between the teeth and gums
• Persistent bad breath
• Loose permanent teeth
• Changes in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
• Changes in the fit of partial dentures or a dental bridge

 

03.06.15

Dental Implants

Smiling is one of the simplest pleasures around. It's free, and it has a positive effect on you and others. But when you're missing teeth or even a single tooth, it's hard to feel good about opening your mouth, much less smiling. And worse, missing teeth can make eating and talking more difficult than they have to be. Implant dentistry -- and a great implant dentist -- can help solve all that.

Implant dentistry involves the replacement of missing teeth with dental implants. Dental implants are comprised metal posts, which are surgically inserted into the jaw and act as anchors for artificial teeth. They look and feel just like natural teeth and can last a lifetime! While implant dentists have been using this innovative solution for years, recent advances in implant dentistry are making it easier than ever for patients to restore their smiles faster, with less post-op recovery time. And implant dentistry is one of the most successful dental procedures around, with about a 100 percent success rate!
 

Advantages of Contemporary Implant Dentistry

When you think about missing teeth you may automatically think of partial dentures, full dentures and dental bridges. But implant dentistry offers an alternative to traditional restorative dental work, and it's quickly becoming more and more popular. What makes dental implants so unique are their strength and durability; by practicing good dental care habits (brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly), dental implants can last your whole life! Even with proper care and periodic denture relines, partial dentures and full dentures usually have to be replaced as changes in your mouth's structure occur over time. A dental bridge, while popular and effective, may need replacing after about 10 years, even with good care. That makes dental implants the only permanent solution for replacing missing teeth!

Implant dentistry is also very flexible and can be used in conjunction with dentures and dental bridges. A single dental implant can be used to support the dental crown in a dental bridge. And if you need to replace all your teeth, implant-supported dentures are a great substitute for removable dentures, creating a more secure, more comfortable fit.
Advances in implant dentistry have also helped make dentures more effective. Implant dentists can now correct problems with a floating lower denture by using mini dental implants for stabilization. Unlike traditional dental implants, mini dental implants are just 1.6mm wide - about the size of a toothpick! Both patients and implant dentists love mini dental implants for several reasons. First, they're minimally invasive, sometimes requiring no incision at all for insertion. In most cases, there's little dental anesthesia required. Second, your implant dentist just has to use a single injection of anesthesia where the implant will be placed. Best of all, you can use your mini dental implants with little to no discomfort just as soon as you leave your implant dental office!

And here's some news that's bound to make you smile: Recent progress in contemporary implant dentistry has cut down the time needed for surgery. How? The Nobel Teeth in an Hour™ system is the perfect example. It uses a computer during the planning stages to precisely measure bone length and width and determine the implant's position. This technology is unmatched in implant dentistry, and implant dentists and patients reap the rewards! Since your dental implant dentist does most of the work beforehand, dental surgery only takes about an hour. That means less time in the dental chair for you and an easier procedure for your implant dentist. Plus, it also reduces post-op healing time. So getting a new smile is easier now than ever.

What Causes Tooth Loss?

When you're a kid, tooth loss is a natural part of your development. Losing your teeth as an adult is part of the same process - aging. But being too lax about with your oral hygiene habits and skipping regular dental visits can leave your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay and gum disease. And without gum disease treatment, periodontal disease can cause tooth loss. Poor eating habits or malnutrition can also accelerate tooth loss. Accidents and injuries are other sources; so if you're active or athletic, it's always important to protect your teeth by wearing a mouthguard. In many cases, your dentist can create a custom-made mouthguard that perfectly fits your mouth and effectively protects your teeth.
 

Find a Dental Implant Dentist

If having a toothless smile has been weighing heavy on your mind, an implant dentist can help. In fact, there has never been a better time to see an implant dentist! Advances in implant dentistry are even speeding up the osseointegration phase - the stage during which a dental implant molds into the jawbone - which can take anywhere from 3-6 months. By using new implant dentistry techniques, your implant dentist can reduce the osseointegration phase by months!

The first step to a new smile - and a new you - is to schedule an evaluation with an implant dentist. But choosing the right implant dentist should be done with care. You'll need an implant dentist who not only has the skills but also the patience and caring to help you achieve your ideal smile.

 

02.27.15

Pregnancy and Oral Health

There are two major dental concerns for pregnant woman - avoiding dental emergencies and treatment in the last trimester and preventing periodontal [gum] disease. If you are trying to become pregnant or have recently learned that you are, try to schedule a dental check-up and a prophylaxis [cleaning] within the first trimester. It is better to have dental work completed within the 4th to 6th month of your pregnancy than having to deal with potential complications from anesthesia, medication or extensive procedures during your last trimester. If you have a dental emergency in the 3rd trimester, consult your obstetrician and call us. Definitely postpone all elective procedures until after you give birth. It is common for pregnant women to develop pregnancy gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of your gums and surrounding tissues that is characterized by redness, swelling, tenderness and bleeding. The primary cause is an increased level of hormones - especially estrogen and progesterone, which correlates with an increase in dental plaque [sticky mixture of bacteria, food & debris]. This condition starts to become evident in the 2nd trimester. If you had pre-existing gingivitis prior to your pregnancy, it will probably worsen. Left untreated, it could lead to bone loss around the teeth. Pregnant women also risk developing Pregnancy tumors, that are benign growths that arise out of swollen gums. Normally, the treatment is to leave them alone until they break on their own. However, if they interfere with eating or oral hygiene, we may have to surgically remove them.

Prevention

To prevent or minimize pregnancy gingivitis, take extra care and time with good brushing and flossing techniques to remove the plaque. It is advisable to have a professional prophylaxis [cleaning] in the 1st and 2nd trimester. Have good balanced diet, getting plenty of vitamin C and B12. Smokers should refrain from smoking for the entire pregnancy.

 

02.20.15

Tooth Stains Your Dentist Can Remove

Coffee – Drinking coffee in moderation has benefits. It gets you going in the morning, plus it’s filled with antioxidants. But over time, your teeth will pay the price in stains. A laser teeth whitening treatment can get rid of those stains in about an hour.

Tea – In addition to helping you relax, drinking tea has many health benefits, from fending off free radicals to strengthening your bones and warding off cancer. Unfortunately, tea also stains your teeth. Get a laser teeth whitening treatment and enjoy a great smile and good health!

Red wine – Like coffee, drinking red wine in moderation gets a thumbs up from physicians. And like coffee, red wine leaves tooth stains behind. Both are surface tooth stains, so they’re easily removed with a professional tooth whitening treatment.

White wine – Most people don’t realize that white wine can make your teeth look dingy; but it can. White wine contains acids that erode tooth enamel. When this happens, the enamel becomes a magnet for stains from dark-colored drink or food. Fortunately, white wine stains respond very well to all types of professional teeth whitening treatments.

Berry – Berries (especially blueberries, blackberries, cranberries and cherries) are another good-for-you food that causes tooth stains. But don’t be too quick to scale back on berries; they’re rich in antioxidants and nutrients. Try a chairside whitening treatment or take-home kit instead.

Sauce – Tomato sauce, soy sauce, curry and balsamic vinegar and other dark-colored sauces stick to your teeth and cause stains. These types of stains are usually minimal and can be removed by your dentist.

Tobacco – We don’t need to tell you about the health risks associated with tobacco use. But we can offer you a solution for the tooth stains tobacco use leaves behind: professional teeth whitening. While laser teeth whitening has the strongest whitening power, some professional-grade home whitening kits can also erase tough tobacco stains.

 

02.06.15

Halitosis 

Since the dawning of time, humans have been very aware of the smelly condition of bad breath, or halitosis. Mentions of it have been found in the Jewish Talmud and discussed by Ancient Greek and Roman writers.

It is even said that the prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, had a congregant expelled from the mosque for having the smell of garlic on his breath.

People from every walk of life have been searching for the cure-all for bad personal odors. In Brazil, it is common to chew cinnamon. In Italy, they chew parsley. In Thailand, guava peel leaves a refreshing taste and eliminates foul smells. In Iraq, cloves are used; in Eastern Asia, aniseed.

What Causes Halitosis?

Halitosis is created by the release of volatile sulfur into the atmosphere when you exhale. These compounds contain sulfur and include hydrogen sulfide and methyl marcaptan.

Truth be told, most mints and gums do nothing more than mask the offensive odor. These provide only temporary solutions. In order to get rid of bad breath, its true cause must be established. The most common cause of bad breath is food that remains in the mouth between brushings. This food gets caught in between teeth and begins to rot, releasing offending odor when exhaled. This is why proper oral hygiene is so important, including daily flossing and brushing.

Only your dentist can determine whether halitosis is the result of bad oral habits or something more serious. Causes of bad breath include a wide array of conditions, medically and from personal habits. Typically, the types of foods consumed: garlic, onions, cheese and dairy will leave an unpleasant odor. During the digestion process these foods release offensive gases. These gases can be released for up to 24 hours after initial consumption.

 

01.30.13

What to Eat After Teeth Whitening

Paying for cosmetic dental treatments for white teeth is a favorite American pastime that generates $1.4 billion in sales annually. It is estimated that over the past few years, the tooth whitening niche has grown by over 300 percent.

Thanks to the proliferation of mall kiosks and home tooth bleaching, it may appear that getting whiter teeth is as simple and risk free as getting hair bleached at the salon. Nothing is further from the truth as the process involves professional grade chemicals that if used incorrectly can cause dental problems (including toothaches and tooth enamel erosion). That is why experts advise individuals to get cosmetic dentistry treatments such as teeth bleaching in a professional dental office staffed with a dentist and to watch what is eaten after the treatment to minimize discomfort and the potential for tooth staining.

Room Temperature Foods are Best

Tooth sensitivity sometimes comes in conjunction with sparkling white teeth. The pain is typically caused by the absorption of the chemicals via open dentinal tubules and it is not unusual for the discomfort to last up to 72 hours after the final stage of the dental treatment has been implemented. Those dealing with the pain can minimize the feeling by eating room temperature foods afterwards.

Go For a Natural Crunch

Food is not just tasty, the process of eating and digestion is essential to delivering body nutrients for health and well-being. People have dozens of ways of getting their crunch-on, including options such as chips and cookies, but individuals who want to maintain the pearly whites from their professional tooth bleaching session are advised to eat crunchy foods that are also natural tooth cleaners. Apples, celery, carrot sticks, cauliflower and even fresh air-popped popcorn are all healthy foods that can help remove excess dental plaque, cleanse in between teeth and will increase saliva production.

Smile and Say Cheese

A wise person once suggested that "cheese is the fat man's candy" because it is delicious and packed with calories. The food is also packs a powerful punch when it comes to boosting dental health. Dairy foods are dental health boosters as the products are rich in calcium (essential for bone health) and science has shown that low-fat dairy products are essential to boosting oral health and minimizing conditions such as tooth decay and periodontal disease. Plus the naturally light color associated with the food will eliminate the fear of stains negatively impacting freshly bleached teeth.

 

01.23.15

Is Chewing Gum Harmful to Your Teeth? 

It has been estimated that the average American chews 300 pieces of gum each year. All that chewing has led many of us -- and some researchers -- to wonder whether gum is harmful or beneficial to our oral health.

Chewing gum has been popular since the time of the ancient Greeks, who chewed a tree sap called mastiche. Ancient Mayans chewed a different sap called tsiclte. European settlers that came to New England got in the habit of chewing spruce sap after it was introduced to them by Native Americans.

Though we have come a long way from the days of chewing tree sap, the basic idea remains the same. Modern gum is made from a synthetic base to which sweetener, softener, flavoring and coloring is added.

The most significant threat that gum can pose to your teeth is the heightened risk of tooth decay due to sugar. Chewing gum that is made with sugar creates an ideal situation for tooth decay to occur as the acids that break down your tooth enamel thrive on the sugar released from the gum. Lucky for us, the most significant advancement in the realm of modern gum chewing and our oral health has been the development of sugar-free gum.

You will be relieved to know that with the sugar issue out of the way, chewing sugar-free gum can actually promote good oral health! Chewing gum causes your mouth to produce more saliva. The increased saliva flow helps to clean teeth by washing away debris and can actually strengthen enamel because it is rich in minerals that can be absorbed by your teeth.

According to the American Dental Association, chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes following a meal is the best way to take advantage of these oral health benefits. If you want to make sure that your gum is going the extra mile, look for the ADA Seal on the packaging, which indicates that the gum company has presented scientific evidence linking the chewing of their gum to better oral health.

Remember, your dentist is your best advisor when it comes to maintaining good oral health so you should speak Dr. Lavi about your oral hygiene routine to make sure your teeth stay healthy and beautiful! 

 

01.09.15

Combat Your Dental Anxiety 

Statistics show that about 15 percent of Americans suffer from dental anxiety. Dental anxiety, or dental phobia, is more serious than just getting sweaty palms at the thought of going to the dentist -- it's a paralyzing fear of dentists or dental treatment. 

If this sounds like you, keep in mind that you don't have to avoid getting the dental care you need. There are many dentists who have the tools, techniques and caring manner to help make regular dental visits more comfortable and relaxing for you.

What Causes Dental Anxiety?

It's easy to blame mom and dad for all our shortcomings -- anxieties included. The truth is your parents' behavior towards the dentist and a dental visit can affect your experience. The way your siblings respond also plays a role.

A study at North Carolina University has shown that your own overall anxiety level is actually a better indicator of how you will react to the dentist and dental visits.

Dental fear may also stem from:

• Prior painful or negative experiences

• Feeling helpless or out of control in a dental office situation

• Feeling embarrassed about neglecting your teeth

• Fear of being ridiculed about neglecting your teeth

How Dental Anxiety Affects Your Overall Health

The movie "As Good As It Gets" showed how an anxiety disorder could affect your interpersonal relationships. Dental anxiety has a similar effect: Skipping regular dental visits leave your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay; and when cavities form, bad breath follows. As a result, your self-confidence is compromised, which can limit your social interactions.

It's one thing when anxiety affects your relationships but something else altogether when it begins to impact your physical well-being. The health consequences of dental anxiety are very real and can be quite serious. In fact, if you put off dental visits, your teeth and gums can become chronically infected. This can:

• Affect your ability to chew and digest properly

• Affect your speech patterns

• Lead to heart disease

Ways to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Many patients find that these methods help combat dental anxiety:

• Sedation dentistry, including oral sedation, IV sedation and nitrous oxide

• Yoga techniques for breathing and relaxation

• Listening to your iPod® during a visit

• Therapy/hypnotherapy sessions

Remember, dental anxiety is not insurmountable, but communicating with your dentist is important. 

 

01.02.15

New Year's Resolutions for Dental Health

Once calendars officially flip to reveal January 1, millions of Americans will be in the position of honoring the "New Year's Resolutions" made the night before. According to the US Government, some popular goals include increasing physical fitness, volunteering to help others, working on reducing stress and building a savings account. (http://www.usa.gov/Citizen/Topics/New_Years_Resolutions.shtml). Individuals who long to save money and improve dental health as part of their goal have a couple of strategies they can implement.

Improving dental health can do wonders for a person. Good-looking people tend to earn more money and have better job prospects than their less attractive counterparts and a smile filled with healthy teeth is just one attribute associated with beauty. While some individuals may have the resources to simply purchase cosmetic dentistry to get a pretty smile, others may lack the money needed and instead should focus their efforts to committing to New Year's Resolutions that can improve dental health, improve a smile and save money.

Stop Smoking

Of all the habits and vices a person can have, smoking is the worst. The behavior may start off innocently enough, but tobacco is a highly addictive substance and individuals can find themselves quickly hooked. The average smoker spends over $2,100 annually for their habit (West Virginia Division of Tobacco Prevention and the state Health Statistics Center, http://wvgazette.com/News/201104211006). All they get for that investment is a product filled with toxins, carcinogens, bad breath, tooth-staining and an increased risk of developing debilitating (or life threatening) conditions such as oral cancer, heart disease and dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease.

There are a myriad of ways to break the tobacco habit, however for some 'cold turkey' is the only way to go. Those who choose this particular method can see immediate improvements in their health and be sticking to the plan, the benefits will only increase over time. Within 20 minutes of smoking cessation blood pressure, pulse rate, and the hand and feet temperature will all return to normal and after a scant 48 hours a body will test 100% nicotine-free. Individuals primarily concerned with the smoking/dental health connection should know that blood circulation to teeth and gums should be recovered to the level of a non-user within ten days to two weeks.

Regardless of the methodology used to quit smoking, individuals can devise a reward system that can help. Independent research has indicated that the average pack of cigarettes can cost a West Virginia smoker $4.74 a pop, while New York addicts can pay close to $11.90 a pack to get their fix (http://www.theawl.com/2011/06/what-a-pack-of-cigarettes-costs-state-by-s...). No matter what the price point, the money that would have been spent on cigarettes should be stowed away for savings. That newly freed revenue stream will surely come handy in the long run.

Stop Sipping Soda

While soda, sports drinks and energy drinks are popular ways hydrate and refresh, sipping plain water is the best choice for individuals who want to improve their dental health and save money in the process. Statistics indicate that the average American (either children or adults) drink 56 gallons of soda each year and in doing so, end up ingesting more than 150 pounds of sugar. Sugar is known for contributing to obesity and for causing dental problems including excessive dental plaque, tooth decay and gum disease. 

Research conducted by the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey by a team at the University of Michigan "confirm that adults who drink three or more sodas a day have up to 62% more decayed, missing, and filled teeth than those who drink less," (http://www.prevention.com/health/health/diabetes/drinking-soda-4-reasons...). Kicking the soda habit will immediately decrease the odds of developing excess dental plaque or dental tartar buildup as oral bacteria feast on the simple sugars left behind on the teeth of soda sippers.

Plus, by skipping soda and only drinking water, individuals can also contribute to that infamous New Year's resolution of saving more money. Depending on the type of soda consumed and how it is packaged (IE fountain drinks vs. bottles) soda can cost approximately $4 to $8 a gallon for an approximate annual savings amount ranging from $800 to $1,200. Once again, this money can be put aside and dedicated to a better use. 

Get Preventative Dentistry

Preventative dentistry is the science of getting dental care prior to any dental problem arising. A dentist office can deliver professional cleaning to remove harmful dental plaque, treat gingivitis before it develops into full-blown periodontal disease and fill dental cavities before the condition spreads in one's mouth or is passed to another.

Any person who has set the goal of improving their dental health should kick off their commitment by getting to a dentist fast. Not only can preventative dentistry block issues from arising, it can also contribute to one's nest egg. Some speculate that for every $1 spend on preventative dental care, the result can be a savings ranging from $8 to $50 for restorative care.

Individuals looking to find a dentist who can help keep dental health on tract in order to ensure that keeping this New Year's Resolution is easy simply need to call Dr. Lavi.