6/29/2016 12:57:19 PM |
On July 3rd, 1806, two years into their journey to chart the uncharted west of America, pioneer explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark reached a challenge of epic proportion – the Rocky Mountains. What next, they wondered? Without a map, they were forced to do what explorers do – explore, and hope for the best. So, that got us thinking. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a handy map you could use to chart your own dental health? With that in mind, and in honor of our “Dog Days of Summer” explorers, we wanted to share with you a few mile markers you can use to stay on top of your child’s health today, next year, and for years to come!
6 to 24 months
When you’re a new parent, life is a whirlwind, and the dental care of your newborn may not be top of mind when you look in their mouths and see no teeth! Here are some things to keep in mind:
Schedule a visit: As soon as that first tooth comes in, you’ll want to give us a call to schedule a visit and set up a periodic exam schedule. Also, be aware the ADA recommends fluoridated toothpaste now for all children under the age of three. Don’t wait!
Ask us about:
- Home hygiene basics: Things like, tips and tricks on brushing and other care. There’s nothing better than having our hygienists give brushing tutorials – they’re experts!
- Preventative dentistry: The possible need for fluoride supplements
- Dietary strategies: Achieving a balanced diet early in life for good oral health later
- Feeding practice awareness: Bottle, breastfeeding, and no-spill training cups
- Non-nutritive oral habits: Thumb sucking, pacifiers
2 to 12 years old
Ah, the little ones are growing up. Teeth are coming in at all sorts of crazy angles, and you’re going crazy from the rise in obligations. Here’s a quick list of what to consider during this time frame:
- Preventative dentistry: Pit and fissure sealants can do wonders for keeping your child’s dental bills down, and their teeth in their head until they’re ready to fall out naturally. Ask us about them. They’re affordable AND useful. And, super-fast, you’ll be in and out in no time.
- Orthodontic Consultation: Visiting an orthodontist for an early consultation is best done around your child’s seventh birthday. With today’s technology, early intervention can reduce the cost and duration of braces when your child gets older.
The Teen Years
The years “everything” happens! As children start to come into their own, new habits and desires begin to unfold as well. You’ll have to address every imaginable concern during these years, from piercings, to calls for whitening, braces, and the need to refer yourself away from your pediatric dentist and to a general dentist for continuing oral care. So, speak with us about:
- Cosmetic Dentistry: What solutions are advisable now, and what things should be avoided.
- Teen social pressures: Smoking, alcohol, intraoral/perioral piercings and the like. Believe it or not, we can help a lot with this. Does your teen have a favorite [insert your practice name here] hygienist? We might be able to arrange for that person to help when your teen comes in so they can address these concerns with an intermediary they trust. Give us a call at [insert your practice phone number here] to see how we can help!
- Orthodontics: Options for minimizing appearance and health problems later in life.
- Home hygiene tips: Brushing, flossing, choosing the right mouthwash.
- Craniofacial injury prevention: With your children’s possible participation in sports, you’ll want to get them a mouthguard. Hands down it’ll be one of your best investments in a healthy mouth. And we make great ones!
Staying on top of your child’s oral health isn’t as hard as you think, and if you keep this schedule handy, you’ll be ahead of most of your neighbor’s kids when it comes to a healthy mouth and body. Come to think of it … why not share it with them as well? They’ll thank you for the help.
4/4/2016 1:34:50 PM |
Did you know that acidic foods and drinks can damage tooth enamel and promote tooth decay? In recent years, the public has become more concerned with the sugar content of soda and other beverages. Several studies suggest that artificial sweeteners pose health risks also. As people move away from sugar and artificial sweeteners they are left looking for something to drink besides “just plain water”. Enter the soft-drink industry’s new flavor sensation: sour drinks. They come in bottles and cans, or as envelopes or droplets to add to your bottled water. Some contain less sugar than soda, some are made palatable by artificial sweeteners, but all contain acid. The acid gives them that appealing tart flavor.
Another alternative to sweet drinks is seltzer, which is made enjoyable by those little bubbles and the trace of flavor added. Carbonation does create a problem, though: it makes the seltzer acidic. So, how much acid is too much? Well, the acidity of a solution (your beverage) is measured in terms of pH. The pH scale measures acidity, with a pH of 7 being neutral (no acidity) and acidity increasing as the pH number gets smaller. Tooth enamel becomes damaged at a pH of 5.5 or lower. To put this in real- world terms, we tested several popular drinks to find their pH and thus their potential to damage your teeth by acid attack. Please note the results do not reflect on the potential for damage to teeth caused by sugar content.
Sugar damages our teeth by feeding plaque bacteria, which in turn produce acid that breaks down tooth enamel. Our saliva neutralizes this acid, but it takes 20 minutes to do so. Each sip of a sugared drink results in a 20 minute acid bath for our teeth! We were unable to find any information on how long it takes to return the mouth to a neutral pH after introducing an acidic beverage. This merits some study, as these drinks are contributing to tooth decay for many people. The worst offender in our test was Snapple Classic Lemonade, at a pH of 2.49 which is strongly acidic. The least acidic of the bunch was Polar Cranberry-Lime Seltzer with a pH of 4.58, which is still strong enough to damage tooth enamel. That sour or fizzy drink may appeal to your tastes, but is it worth the damage to your teeth?
Consider drinking plain water. It takes some getting used to, but once you are accustomed you will feel refreshed and revived by the original thirst quencher. Your teeth will thank you for making the change!
-Rod Jensen, RDH
1/20/2016 8:30:00 AM |
A pearly-white smile is beautiful to look at and can greatly improve self-confidence. Many people are choosing the Zoom!® Whitening System for fast, safe and effective teeth whitening. Zoom!® combines the newest developments in dental whitening technology with advanced chemical formulas. This ensures that the bleaching experience is painless, and the results are more than satisfying.
There are many reasons why teeth become stained or discolored, including tobacco use, and drinking dark liquids such as red wine, coffee, tea and cola. However, the natural aging process and prescription medication use can also cause yellowing and graying. Teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile.
Because having whiter teeth has now become the number one aesthetic concern of most patients, there are literally hundreds of whitening treatments available in the marketplace, including take-home strips, bleaching toothpastes and take-home whitening gels. Many take-home gels are ineffective, can cause severe sensitivity, short-term results and may not elicit the desired results.
Zoom!® has many advantages over these other treatments, including:
- All teeth treated simultaneously.
- Faster treatment times.
- Longer lasting results.
- Reduced sensitivity.
- Removal of stains on crowns, veneers and other restorations.
- Safe procedure and treatment.
- Treatments are performed by an experienced professional.
Zoom!® treatment is effective for approximately 12-18 months, leaving you with a bright, white smile that will last. Give us a call today to set up your Zoom!® whitening appointment!
1/5/2016 3:46:28 PM |
Here at Leicester and Boylston Dental, we take your health very seriously and we strive to provide you with the best care possible. In order to do that, education about prominent issues in the Dental world is needed, and Oral Cancer is an issue that affects people daily.
It is as common as leukemia and kills more Americans each year than either skin or cervical cancer. Patients with oral cancer have a poor prognosis, and the 5-year survival rate of approximately 52% has remained unchanged for the past 50 years. Perhaps the single most important reason for this is the fact that oral cancers continue to be diagnosed in advanced stages. Research studies have repeatedly demonstrated that the survival rate for oral cancer patients increases dramatically when the diagnosis is established in early stages.
How to Prevent Oral Cancer from Advancing:
A regular checkup at a hygiene appointment is a good time for your dentist and hygienist to check your entire mouth for signs of oral cancer. Regular appointments can detect the early stages of oral cancer or conditions that may lead to oral cancer. By detecting oral cancer in an early stage, survival rate increases 80%-90%, but unfortunately only about 35% of oral cancer is detected in early stages. To early detect oral cancer, continue on a routine dental visitation schedule.
How to Spot a Spot:
The Massachusetts Dental Society has come out with the “How to Spot a Spot” self oral examination instruction guide. Although your dentist is specially trained to diagnose oral cancer at its earliest stages, you should preform self exams often. Using a mirror, check your lips, cheek lining, throat, roof of the mouth and tongue for:
-Any white or red spots or sores that bleed easily or do not heal
-A color change of the oral tissue
-A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
-Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or lips
Other symptoms of oral cancer include: loose teeth; difficulty or pain when swallowing or chewing; difficulty wearing dentures; bad breath; sensory loss of the face; difficulty opening the jaw; a lump in the neck or an earache. These symptoms may be caused by other, less serious problems, but they also indicate the possible presence of oral cancer. You are at a higher risk for oral cancer if you use tobacco, drink excessive amounts of alcohol, are exposed to the sun at a higher than normal amount, and have a history of head or neck cancer.
The extent of treatment for oral cancer depends on a number of factors. Among them are the location, size, type and extent of the tumor and stage of the disease. Your doctor also considers your age and general health. Treatment may involve surgery, radiation therapy or a combination. You also may receive chemotherapy, or treatment with anticancer drugs. But the course of action to remove the cancer is ideally a multidisciplinary approach involved the efforts of many different specialists and doctors.
Talk to your Doctor:
Do not hesitate to contact our office if any of the above information sounds all too familiar. Let us know about your concern and we will schedule an appointment for you as soon as possible.
We hope that you have gained a bit of knowledge by reading through this letter. It is extremely important that you prevent this from happening to you, so please call our office at 508-892-4882 (Leicester) or 508-869-6388 (Boylston) to make an appointment with the hygiene department and have your Oral Cancer Screening completed.
11/23/2015 1:12:39 PM |
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child’s first dental visit is by his/her first birthday. Though this may sound early, we can teach you proper pediatric oral hygiene techniques, ways to check for cavities, and how watch for developmental problems.
Your child’s first visit with our office is essentially an introduction to acquaint your child with their new dentist and our practice. Usually this first interaction includes the introduction of the child to Dr. Michelle Wilkerson (our pediatric dentist), her dental assistant and the instruments used to clean your child’s teeth. They will “take a ride” in our “elevator chair” while Dr. Wilkerson does a gentle, thorough examination, preforms a teeth cleaning, oral cancer screening, takes x-rays (if necessary) and concludes with a fluoride treatment. During this time, Dr. Wilkerson will also go over the proper brushing techniques and home care.
Patience and calm on the part of the parent and reassuring communication with your child are very important during the first visits to the dentist. Short, successive visits are meant to build the child’s trust in the dentist and the dental office, and can prove invaluable if your child needs to be treated later for any dental problem. Most of all, we want to make sure your child has positive experiences at our office and will be a regular visitor for years to come.
Your child won’t keep his or her first set of teeth forever, but that doesn’t mean those tiny pearly whites don’t need conscientious care. Maintaining your child’s dental health now will provide health benefits well into adulthood, as primary (baby) teeth serve some extremely important functions.
For one thing, primary teeth serve as guides for the eruption of permanent (adult) teeth, holding the space into which these new teeth will erupt. The crowns (tops) of the permanent teeth actually push against the roots of the baby teeth, causing them to resorb, or melt away. In this way, the adult teeth can take their proper place.
What’s more, your child’s primary teeth will be there for most of childhood, helping your child to bite, chew and speak. For the first six or so years, he or she will be relying on primary teeth exclusively to perform these important functions. Until around age 12, your child will have a mix of primary and permanent teeth. You will want to make sure those teeth stay healthy and are lost naturally — when it’s time.
Please give the office a call today to schedule your child’s first dental visit. We look forward to meeting you and your family!
11/9/2015 7:32:39 PM |
Dental professionals today are increasingly using digital dental radiographs (digital X-rays) to better detect, diagnose, treat, and monitor oral conditions and diseases. Digital radiographs are viewed instantly on a selected computer screen, manipulated to enhance contrast and detail, and transmitted electronically to specialists (if needed) without quality loss.
One of the biggest advantages of digital x-rays is early detection of dental concerns. Digital radiographs reveal small hidden areas of decay between teeth or below existing restorations (fillings), bone infections, gum (periodontal) disease, abscesses or cysts, developmental abnormalities and tumors that cannot be detected with only a visual dental examination. All of these findings can be detected and treated promptly with use of x-rays, in turn saving the patient time, money and discomfort.
There has been controversy and misunderstanding about the level of radiation that patients are exposed to in order to make these images. Cone beam digital images may be made in various sizes with the larger size images requiring more radiation than the smaller images. Digital dental radiographs require very minimal radiation.
As an example, observe the following data from Journal of the American Medical Association; Lancet; and the American College of Radiology (Quoted in TIME June 25, 2012)
One chest x-ray equals the following:
- 1,400 dental radiographs (These are the small dental radiographs with which you are familiar. Cone beam requires several times more radiation, but it is still very small).
- 240 five hour flights
- 70,000 back scatter airport scans
- 19 years of smoking a pack of cigarettes per day
Dental x-rays, in fact, are one of the lowest radiation dose studies performed. At your dental hygiene appointment, once a year the hygienist updates 4 bite wing x-rays, showing in between the teeth. These 4 radiographs are about 0.005 mSv (radiation released), which is less than one day of natural background radiation. It is also about the same amount of radiation exposure from a short airplane flight (1-2 hours).
Try not to worry so much about the radiation.
Trust your dental practitioner to weigh the advantages and disadvantages of providing a radiograph for you.
10/15/2015 9:00:00 AM |
One of the first things people will notice about you is your smile. We are here to help you achieve the best first impression you can give to others. Healthy teeth affect nearly every aspect of our lives, even our professional image. However, many people are neglecting to take care of their smile during the workday.
The people you work with every day are very likely to notice your smile as one of the first impressions they have of you, and having bad breath can be bad for business! Did you know that most office workers are eating twice or more a day at the workplace, while just a few are brushing or flossing every day at work?
All of the extra meals, snacks and sugary beverages on the job can cause an increase bacteria and plaque. This can increase the likelihood of tooth decay and gum disease. Plaque and food build up needs to be removed periodically throughout the day, especially at times when we are consuming more food and beverages, like when we are at work. If plaque is not removed efficiently or periodically enough then it can build up and harden into tartar leading to gum irritation, gum disease, tooth detachment and ultimately, tooth loss.
Regular dental hygiene visits can help keep you on track. Visiting your hygienist every 3, 4 or 6 months as needed keeps your smile and teeth strong and healthy, catching things early. Another way to stay ahead of the plaque and bacteria build up on your teeth at work is by keeping an extra toothbrush, mouthwash and floss at the office. Keeping them in a handy easy to get to location will help make it easier to remember to brush and floss during the work day. And just think you may inspire one of your coworkers to do the same!
-Teresa & Eileen
Members of the Leicester Dental Hygiene team
10/1/2015 4:00:00 AM |
Did you know that this month is National Dental Hygiene Month? As hygienists, we encourage you to pursue your best possible oral health. Promoting good oral health and maintenance is what we’re all about. Poor oral health can lead to pain, difficulty eating, and loss of self-esteem. An unhealthy mouth can contribute to many systemic diseases. As former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop said in 1993, “You are not healthy without good oral health”.
Here’s some great news: it’s not rocket science! The most common oral diseases, decay and gum disease, are driven by bacterial plaque. Regular, thorough plaque removal minimizes your risk of oral disease. There are four important things you should be doing on a daily basis to avoid decay, gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (gum disease).
- Brush your teeth twice a day, each time for two minutes. Thirty seconds is not enough to remove plaque build-up.
- Floss every day! Your toothbrush bristles are too large to reach plaque and food debris in between your teeth.
- Rinse with an ADA approved antibacterial mouthwash.
- Chew sugarless gum after meals. Why? The chewing actions helps increase the flow of saliva which reduces plaque acid, thus strengthening the teeth and reducing tooth decay. DON’T chew gum if you suffer from TMJ or any type of jaw pain!!
We love this quote and wanted to share it with you: “ A well-made turtleneck sweater will keep you warm and cozy and protected from the cold. Your gums do the same thing for your teeth”. Think you don’t have time? Think again! With practice, flossing takes about one minute. Rinsing takes 30 seconds. The cost is minimal. The savings of both time and money can be substantial! If you have any questions about self-care routines, ask us at your next hygiene visit. We are happy to provide answers and instruction. We love talking to you about this stuff!
-Andrea & Rod
Boylston Dental Hygiene Team
9/29/2015 2:45:40 PM |
It has come to our attention that some insurance companies are not paying for tooth colored composite restorations. Instead, they have been paying for the less expensive silver amalgam restorations and balance billing you the difference. Generally, this has resulted in a 15-20% increase in the cost of the procedure to you our patients. For the following reasons we have not offered silver amalgam restorations for the last 20+ years within our dental practices.
Silver amalgam restorations require us to create mechanical retention in a tooth in order to make them stay in place. After the decay is removed from a cavity we then remove sound tooth structure to create undercuts in the tooth allowing for the retention of the material once it has hardened. With composite filling materials, we need only to remove the decayed tooth structure and then use bonding agents to hold the filling in place. With our current bonding agents, we can restore a tooth to nearly its’ original strength and minimize the removal of healthy tooth structure.
Silver amalgam is a cold condensed metal and neurotoxin. All cold condensed metals expand over time. Expansion of the filling can lead to fracturing of an otherwise healthy tooth structure. At certain levels, this neurotoxin can also cause neurological issues, autoimmune disease, chronic illnesses and mental disorders. Composite restorations exhibit no expansion over time and thus cause no increased risk of tooth fracturing.
Third and most concerning to me is the presence of mercury in silver fillings. Currently there is a bill before Congress, which would require the phasing out of the material over the next five years due to the mercury in the fillings. According to the Center for Disease Control, there is no health risk associated with the silver mercury fillings. According to the EPA, removal of silver fillings from patient’s mouths causes a release of the mercury in the fillings and has made dental offices the third largest producers of mercury waste in our water supply.
It doesn’t seem logical to me that the mouth is a safe area to store this material. A licensed hazardous waste carrier must take any leftover silver amalgam material from a dental procedure away from the office. All silver being removed from the mouth must also be recaptured by special filters and hauled by the hazardous waste carrier.
Finally, the silver amalgam restorations turn black and unsightly in a short amount of time. The composite tooth materials can be made to match your teeth and create a healthy smile for many years.
When silver amalgam fillings were invented in 1866, they represented a great advance in dentistry. We now have many safer alternatives to offer our patients. In fact, Scandinavian countries took action back in 2008 and banned the use of amalgam fillings for environmental and health reasons. It is unfortunate that insurance companies do not have your best interest in mind when they decide what they will pay for. As is typical of corporate America, the bottom line drives decisions. If we can answer any questions regarding this issue, please feel free to ask any of our staff members.
9/1/2015 3:32:59 PM |
We at Leicester and Boylston Dental Associates are always thinking baout your smile, but we’ve realized that most people aren’t thinking about their oral health unless they’re experiencing pain or have a dentist appointment coming up!
We started this blog to give you information on how every day activities can have an impact on your teeth, and how you can make small changes to ensure a happy healthy smile at your next cleaning. So please read on and we hope you enjoy!