Dental Crowns vs. Fillings

WHEN MOST PEOPLE HEAR THE WORDS “COSMETIC DENTISTRY” they automatically associate it with smile design, tooth whitening and dental reconstruction. However, here at Dental Partners Of Boston we like to remind our patients and friends that cosmetic dentistry often does much more than affect your appearance—it can also improve your health and save your smile! Dental Crowns can not only fix the appearance of a tooth, but also restore it to its original shape—providing added strength and stability to your entire mouth.

You may have the general impression that creating and placing a cosmetic crown is a more involved process than simply filling a tooth, but both seem to have the same general effect, right? Well, not really. There are actually quite a few differences between the two. So, why is it that in some cases a dental crown may be a better option than a traditional filling?

  • Added strength: Cosmetic Crowns cup over and encase your entire tooth, making them much more durable and protective than fillings.
  • True to the natural shape of your teeth: Crowns are fabricated in a dental laboratory where skilled artisans/technicians can visualize and examine all aspects of your bite, creating a precise fit.
  • Some fillings can actually weaken a tooth: Dental fillings, especially large ones, can have a weakening effect on a tooth because they rely on a tooth’s remaining structure to hold and support them.
  • Crowns provide more protection for damaged teeth: Fillings are typically recommended for minor cavities and decay. If you are victim to cracks and chips in your teeth, dental crowns may be a much more reliable and realistic solution.

We hope that helps you better understand the differences between crowns and fillings. If you suspect that a dental crown may be helpful for you in restoring a problem tooth, set up a consultation with any of our doctors today. We would love to help you determine what the best solution is for you.

Oh, and one more important note…We appreciate the trust you place in our practice and in our recommendations. We deeply value that trust, and never make any treatment recommendation that isn’t in your very best interest. If there is ever anything about a recommendation that you don’t completely understand, don’t hesitate to say something. We love answering your questions.

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Thoughts About Wisdom Teeth

MOST PEOPLE’S WISDOM TEETH APPEAR between the ages of 17 to 27 years. They grow in the very back of the lower and upper jaw bones and are the last big molars to develop in the four corners of the mouth. You guessed it… They’re called “wisdom teeth” because people are supposed to be wise by then, right?

Sometimes, wisdom teeth can become a big problem for our patients. When that’s the case, our doctors will often suggest that they be removed.

Some wisdom teeth only partially erupt or don’t erupt at all. The term “impacted wisdom tooth” is used to describe this condition which can lead to a host of other problems in your mouth—including gum disease, bone-destroying cysts, crowding or damage to adjacent teeth, and unwanted decay (due to the difficulty in keeping the area clean). For some people, wisdom teeth grow in fine and don’t cause any problems at all.

The illustration below (created by Bupa UK) shows the relationships of all the teeth in your mouth, where your wisdom teeth are located, and how they might look if they grow in without any problems:

Our doctors have a great deal of experience in extracting wisdom teeth. Whether or not you have obvious problem symptoms, it’s important to evaluate existing or potential problems with your wisdom teeth. Sometimes, removal is the wisest decision for your well-being and oral health.

Have you had your wisdom teeth removed? Is there an interesting experience you’ve had related to either keeping them or having “let them go”? Share it with us below in the comments section! And if you have questions, let us know.

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The Links Between Obesity And Gum Disease

OBESITY-RELATED HEALTH PROBLEMS HAVE BEGUN REACHING EPIDEMIC PROPORTIONS over the last 20 years—and the trend doesn’t appear to be reversing itself. According to the Center for Disease Control, childhood obesity has more than tripled since 1980, and 67% of adults in the United States today are considered “overweight.” Here at Dental Partners Of Boston, we understand it’s no secret that obesity is associated with a variety of medical problems including diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis—but, did you know that obesity can dramatically affect your oral health as well?

It’s true. Our doctors point out that with the increasing number of overweight adults each year, many studies are being conducted to investigate the relationships between obesity and periodontal disease. The results may surprise you.

As you may already know, periodontal disease is an oral, chronic bacterial infection that affects gum tissue and can eventually affect the bones that hold your teeth in place. If you are a victim of gum disease or gingivitis you may be dealing with bleeding gums, inflammation, persistent bad breath, loose teeth, and changes in your bite. Talk to any one of our doctors today if any of these symptoms apply to you! Untreated gum disease can lead to much more serious issues, ranging from permanent tooth loss to heart disease.

In a recent Boston University study, results showed that overweight individuals are twice as likely to be diagnosed with gum disease, and those who are considered “obese” are three times as likely, making this a bigger problem than most people realize!

So, what’s the connection between being overweight and gum disease? Most theories suggest that fat cells produce many chemical signals and hormones that can increase inflammation in the body, decrease the effectiveness of your immune system, and increase your susceptibility to periodontal disease. Other theories point to the possible eating habits of overweight people and the connections to simple sugars that our mouths convert to plaque. As plaque accumulates on teeth and gums, gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth decay may become inevitable.

Don’t let gum disease become a problem for you. Stay healthy. Keep your weight in check. Maintain meticulous dental hygiene through flossing and brushing. Schedule regular cleanings and checkups to control plaque buildup and to avoid bigger problems. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask us! What your mom told you is true… An ounce of prevention IS worth more than a pound of cure. And if periodontal treatment is needed, our team can help.

We care about you, our valued patients. That isn’t just lip service. Our entire team wants to make sure you have best possible care available! Thanks for the trust you place in us.

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A Reminder Not To Brush TOO Hard

YES, OF COURSE… Brushing your teeth regularly and thoroughly is an important component of lifelong oral health! But, did you also know that there’s some important techniques to brushing your teeth? Our doctors would like to give you a few reminders. It’s not something often talked about… Not exactly common dinner conversation!

Here at Dental Partners Of Boston, as we treat you and your family, one of the things we often notice (although well intentioned) is that some of you just brush your teeth too hard.

Among other problems, brushing too hard can cause tooth sensitivity. According to the AGD (Academy of General Dentistry), sensitivity affects millions of people in this country. There are lots of other possible reasons for sensitivity as well, including drinking acidic beverages and eating acidic foodsbut your aggressive brushing techniques may be one of the causes.

Our doctors say, “If the protective layer of enamel over your teeth becomes eroded, and/or your gumline recedes from the habit of brushing too hard, the softer tissue (called the dentin) can become exposed. Dentin is connected to your tooth’s nerves which can cause sensitivity and pain.”

There are also some whitening products and mouthwashes that can contribute. And of course, if you have a problem such as a cracked tooth, this can be causing pain as well (word to the wise—keep your regularly scheduled checkup appointments with our awesome team! We can catch things before they become a problem).

So, what can you do?

  1. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  2. Hold that toothbrush in your fingertips—not like a construction worker might hold a hammer!
  3. Brush gently.
  4. Try a desensitizing toothpaste.
  5. Use your toothbrush at a forty-five degree angle.
  6. Brush in circular motions.

Helping you take good care of your teeth is important to every member of our team here at Dental Partners Of Boston. If you ever have any questions, be sure to contact us!

Speaking of fun… There are some creative folks at an ad agency called Richter 7 who made this fun little video clip. Wow…  And you were wondering if YOU’RE brushing too hard?!

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Some Root Canal Basics

IF YOU’RE LIKE SOME OF OUR PATIENTS HERE AT DENTAL PARTNERS OF BOSTON, you may have heard rumors that root canal therapy is painful and/or difficult. However, surveys continue to show that most people’s dental procedure fears are more about “perception” than they are about “reality”.

The sad thing is that inaccurate information about root canals (and other dental procedures) can cause people to make uninformed—and often unwise—decisions that can cause additional expense, hassle, and unneccesary damage to their teeth, their oral health, and possibly their overall health. So, before you believe any rumors or hype, we thought we’d help clear up the top five myths about root canal therapy.

MYTH #1: Root Canal Treatments Are Painful

Typically, it isn’t that the actual root canal treatment is painful—rather, the irreversible condition that is requiring the treatment is far from comfortable in the first place! Most people who have root canal therapy admit that the pain they experienced was prior to the procedure, not during it…  And, they felt so much better after.

MYTH #2: Root Canals Always Require Several Appointments

Typically, a root canal treatment can be completed in as few as one or two visits with any one of the Boston Endodontist Office dentists. Some cases require a tooth to be restored after the root canal is completed, but these appointments are not part of the actual root canal process.

If you are already scheduled for root canal therapy with one of our doctors, and if you’re experiencing discomfort, here are a few ideas from our friends at eHow:

MYTH #3: Root Canal Therapy Leads to Illnesses

This myth stems from some research that is 100 years old—and, has NEVER been duplicated or confirmed through modern research. That is, the bacteria that may be present from doing the root canal procedure can somehow make you sick after your root canal therapy. The fact is that all kinds of bacteria can be found in your mouth at any time, even if you don’t have decaying teeth, gum disease, or an upcoming root canal treatment. This myth truly is just that—a myth you don’t need to worry about.

MYTH #4: Root Canal Therapy Isn’t Necessary Until Your Tooth Hurts

Teeth in need of root canal therapy don’t always hurt. In fact, some dead teeth may just require a root canal to prevent infection. You may have a tooth in need of a root canal and not even know it.

MYTH #5: The Benefits of Root Canal Therapy Don’t Last Long

This fifth myth probably starts with people who have had a tooth crack at some point after having had a root canal treatment. While it’s true that when a nerve is removed from a tooth, the blood supply is eliminated and the tooth can become brittle—making it more fragile and susceptible to cracking. Technically, this means that although the complete restoration solution may need to be examined, it doesn’t mean that root canal therapy doesn’t “last”. Often, our doctors will recommend having a crown placed over your tooth to prevent this from being an issue.

Well, there you go…the top five myths about root canal therapy shattered right before your eyes! We hope that you now feel a little less fearful of root canals, and much more informed.

If you have any additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact one of our doctors or connect with us via our Facebook Page. Thank you for being our valued patients and friends!

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Become An Expert In 30 Seconds

ON THE LIGHTER SIDE… We all love teeth, right? You love them because they help you nourish yourself without using a blender, and they certainly make your smile less creepy than it would otherwise be.

At Dental Partners of Boston, here in Boston, we don’t just love teeth—we love YOUR teeth. Your teeth, your smile, and your complete oral health are interesting and important to each member of our team. Our doctors know that you will likely never share our level of enthusiasm for great oral health (nor would it be normal for you to do so). However, modern science continues to connect the dots between your oral health and your overall health. So it’s not only important to be concerned about how your teeth affect your appearance, but it’s also important to understand all of the things that go on inside your mouth.

In part, that’s why we’ve implemented (and integrated) a number of social media tools to help us stay connected with you, our valued patients. Any dental practice can make claims about how satisfied their patients are by launching a static website with a bunch of “filler” information. Boring. Here at Dental Partners of Boston, we’ve created a dynamic online environment where we can interact with you and learn how to serve you better—and have a little fun along the way.

Fun? A dental practice… fun? YES! What’s cool about connecting with us through social media is that it’s honest, transparent, and spontaneous. The best way to BE ASSURED you’re with the right dentist is by getting to know us in this untraditional, and “un-staged” way. The fact is, we all prefer associating with people we ENJOY being around. It’s just human nature. YOU’LL get to know our practice culture better, and WE’LL get to know YOU better too.

So, stay in touch with us. Ask us questions. We promise to be responsive.

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Thanks again, for being our valued patients and friends.

Can You Chew Gum And Help Your Teeth At The Same Time?

DO YOU LOVE CHEWING GUM? Do you like to chew gum because it helps keep your breath fresh? Do you chew gum to relieve stress? Is it just a long-standing habit? If you’re like many of us here at Dental Partners of Boston, gum is a “necessity” that some of us have a hard time going without! Our doctors say, “In fact, ever since Thomas Adams invented chewing gum back in 1870, it’s been one of the most common breath stabilizers around.”

So… How is all this gum chewing affecting our teeth?

Good news! Chewing gum can actually help fight cavities! In fact, Our doctors actually recommend it! The act of chewing gum stimulates the production of saliva, which is a natural buffering and cleaning agent that kills cavity producing acids. In addition, a recent study shows that for those who do not naturally produce a sufficient amount of salivary flow on their own, chewing a piece of gum for 10 minutes each waking hour for about two weeks can help remedy the problem.

Gum is also a great agent in fighting plaque.

Plaque is one of the main cavities and periodontal disease contributors. The University of the Pacific School of Dentistry conducted an 8-week study where volunteers chewed BreathAssure Dental gum for 20 minutes a day while a control group chewed a placebo gum for the same amount of time. All test subjects practiced proper brushing and flossing techniques. The results of the study showed that BreathAssure reduced the accumulation of dental plaque by 35%.

Some types of gum can also contain beneficial artificial sweeteners such as Xylitol, which has been found to inhibit bacterial growth and perhaps even reverse small lesions. However, in order to truly benefit from the Xylitol in gum you need to chew two pieces 3–5 times daily for at least five minutes at a time.

So what’s the catch?

Yes, you guessed it… There’s always a catch, right? Here it is. Brands of gum containing sugar can be harmful to your teeth if they’re chewed too often or taken out of your mouth too soon. If you prefer gum containing natural sugar rather than artificial sweeteners, chew it for at least 15–20 minutes so that your saliva can rinse away the sugar residue once you’ve chewed out all the sugar.

Of course, whether or not you decide to chew gum is your decision—however, if you DO chew it, our dentists strongly recommend choosing a sugarless gum.

If you’re susceptible to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder, or other face/jaw pain, the disadvantages of chewing gum may outweigh the benefits.

If you have any questions please feel free to contact us or connect with us on Facebook by clicking on the logo below:

We look forward to hearing from you soon! Happy chewing!

Enjoy The Confidence That Comes With A Remarkable Smile

LET’S FACE IT… We’re not all super excited about the way our genetics have made our smiles look. It’s understandable. Add to that the wear and tear that naturally takes place over the years and many of us end up with a smile that’s less-than-appreciated. That’s where cosmetic dentistry from our doctors here at Dental Partners of Boston in Boston can make a difference.

Cosmetic dentistry, also often called “smile design”, includes many different procedures used to improve the look (and functionality) of your smile. Teeth whitening, porcelain veneers and dental implants are just a few of the treatments our experienced, friendly team provides.

Smile design is both art and science. Our doctors utilize artistic skills, leading-edge techniques, and today’s modern materials—combined with an eye for aesthetic appeal to create smiles that our patients display with pride. Because we strive for perfection in every service we offer, our cosmetic dentistry options are no different. Your complete satisfaction with, and confidence in your new smile is our highest priority.

Studies show that one of the easiest, least invasive things you can do to improve your self confidence is invest in your smile. Do you remember ABC’s Extreme Makeover show several years ago? Many times when makeover recipients were asked, “What is the one thing you did that made the biggest difference in the way you feel about yourself?” they replied “My smile makeover.”

OK…  We know that few of us can look like the movie stars in this video, but think of the self confidence you could have if you loved your smile!

Custom-designed cosmetic dentistry procedures are tailored to your needs after an initial consultation with one of our doctors. Learn more about what we can do for you—and your drop-dead gorgeous smile that awaits!

Creating Beautiful Smiles With Cosmetic Veneers

ARE YOU UNHAPPY WITH YOUR UNEVEN AND/OR DISCOLORED SMILE? Have you noticed small chips or cracks in any of your teeth? Well, don’t worry—our doctors can help! Dental veneers are an affordable and reliable solution to imperfect smiles, and here at Dental Partners of Boston, we’re highly experienced in cosmetic veneer treatments.

Dental veneers are a form of cosmetic dentistry in which the surface of the tooth is covered with a layer of tooth-colored porcelain composite to protect the tooth from additional damage, and give you the beautiful smile you desire. In fact, veneers can solve most, if not all, of your cosmetic dental issues, including:

Uneven Tooth Alignment: Through the years your teeth can become uneven as a result of grinding, or wear and tear.

Wide Spacing: Veneers can (if needed) add an extra layer to widely spaced teeth, filling in those gaps, and giving you a more symmetrical smile.

Worn Enamel: Over time, the thin protective layer of enamel that covers your teeth may become dulled, discolored, and worn. Though this can sometimes be caused by genetics, it’s usually the result of smoking or drinking soft drinks, coffee, and/or tea.

Wear And Tear: As we age, our teeth naturally wear down and become less resilient. Aged teeth are also more susceptible to minor cracks and chips.

Here at Dental Partners of Boston we can help you change the color, shape, alignment, spacing, and length of your teeth using cosmetic veneers! Cosmetic veneers are considered a form of cosmetic dentistry because they create vibrant and beautifully aligned smiles—but, they also protect the surface of your teeth and can help eliminate future damage and additional treatment!

Here’s a short overview video about veneers from the American Dental Association:

Many times, in just two or three visits to our practice, you can walk away with a brand new, gorgeous smile. So what are you waiting for?! Set up an appointment with our doctors today to determine if veneers are right for you!

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We look forward to seeing you soon.

Thoughts About Sensitive Teeth

READY TO REVIEW A “SENSITIVE” SUBJECT? A sensitive “teeth” topic, that is…

Here at Dental Partners of Boston, we realize that this isn’t an ongoing problem for a lot of our patients. However, it is for some. And, it’s almost certainly a periodic problem for most people.

Our doctors remind us, “Tooth sensitivity can come from many things including sweet or sour foods and hot or cold temperatures. For some, simply biting down can hurt. The resulting pain can be mild to severe—and sometimes very sharp, shooting directly to tooth nerve endings.”

Regardless of the level of pain, tooth sensitivity is not pleasant. If the pain is long lasting or severe, you should probably make an appointment to visit with us. If the pain is minor and/or very occasional, here are a few basic things you can do to help prevent sensitivity:

Proper Brushing

Keeping up great oral hygiene prevents tarter buildup. This helps reduce the risk of exposing nerves. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush causes less abrasion and reduces potential gum recession. There are also several brands of toothpaste that, with regular use, help decrease sensitivity.

Fluoridated Mouthwashes

Daily use of a fluoridated mouthwash can decrease sensitivity.

Avoid Highly Acidic Foods And Drinks

Highly acidic foods and drinks can contribute to the dissolving of tooth enamel, which in turn can increase can sensitivity. Limit such items—including many sports drinks. It can also help to rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking acidic items.

Don’t Clinch Or Grind Your Teeth

Teeth grinding and clenching can also lead to enamel wear, which can cause sensitivity (and a host of other problems). Visit with one of our doctors if you suspect this is a problem you need help with.

As always… Our sincere thanks for the trust you place in our practice. Here at Dental Partners of Boston, we want to be your greatest information resource for preventing and solving tooth sensitivity issues.

Here’s a short video you’ll enjoy about this topic.

We look forward to seeing you during your next visit!

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