Why We Take Care Of Our Teeth

WHY IS PREVENTIVE DENTAL CARE AND MAINTENANCE on your teeth and gums so important? There are several reasons. Devoting small amounts of attention to your teeth and gums will help you keep your smile for your entire life. We want you to be proud of the teeth you flash to the world each time you smile! But it isn’t just about the way you look—it’s also about your health and the way you feel.

Don’t worry—here at our practice we understand that some things just can’t be helped. If you bite into a bagel and loose part of your filling our doctors will be right here to help. But aside from the unforeseen, the biggest factor in your oral health is simple maintenance. Daily maintenance through proper brushing (for at least 2 minutes) AND flossing techniques not only improve your smile, they dramatically reduce your risk of gum disease.

We know we urge you to come in for regular checkups and cleanings A LOT, but did you know there’s a lot more in it for you than just a free toothbrush?

Studies continue to link your oral health to your overall health, making a visit to our doctors just as important as visiting your family doctor!

Diseases associated with our mouths like oral cancer and gum disease are probably familiar terms to most people, but few people realize that other health issues can manifest themselves initially in the mouth as well. Visiting our practice can help catch potentially larger problems before they get out of hand—problems you may not even realize exist.

Here at Dental Partners of Boston, mouths are a huge part of our lives. Not only do we stare into them every day, we even read about them while we’re on vacation…(kidding). All jokes aside, please be sure to keep those regularly scheduled visits with us. We want to help keep you healthy!

Whoopi’s right. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, can kill you. In case you missed Whoopi on The View, you can see her talk about her experience with gum disease and tooth loss below:

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A Balanced pH Level Can Help Protect Your Smile

VISITING OUR PRACTICE REGULARLY HAS PROBABLY TURNED YOU INTO a cavity prevention expert, right? Well, there’s always more than meets the eye—especially when it comes to the little things we can do to keep our mouths healthy. Even those of us who are diligent brushers and flossers sometimes find ourselves with some tooth decay. Here’s one more little snippet of information that may help you.

While it is true that things like flossing, brushing for at least 2 minutes twice a day, coming in to Dental Partners of Boston for regular checkups, using mouthwash, and avoiding sugary foods DO help prevent cavities, there are other things we can do. New discoveries show that the pH levels in our mouths actually have A LOT more to do with tooth decay than we may realize, and maintaining normal pH levels can be helpful in fighting off cavities and gum disease.

Exactly What Is pH?

To put it simply, pH is a measure of acidity… The lower the pH, the higher the acidity, and the higher the pH, the higher the alkaline levels. The pH scale runs from 1 to 14, and in the middle of the scale is the neutral number 7, being most like water.

This is where we want our mouths to be. While we know that sugar feeds the bacteria that produces acids and turns into cavities, it is actually prolonged acidic oral pH that can cause tooth decay and a demineralization of your enamel.

Confused? Let us break this down…

Heading off the domino effect means intercepting those pH levels before they get out of hand. Ever heard of a pH test strips? They’re like the sticks you dip into your swimming pool, except they’re for your mouth. You can buy them at your local pharmacy and then try these remedies at home!

  • Fresh Lemon and/or Lime Juice: Lemons and limes are acidic until they react with the sodium bicarbonate released by the pancreas. Upon entering the intestinal tract lemon and lime juice have alkaline properties. However, since both lemons and limes can erode tooth enamel, if you spice up your water with these delicious flavor accents, make sure you drink with a straw placed at the back of your mouth!
  • Take your multivitamins: Take a high quality multivitamin that contains both the essential vitamins and minerals.
  • Eat those leafy greens: Dark green vegetables and “green drinks” contain a high abundance of chlorophyll—a strong detoxifier and immunity–building agent.
  • Avoid refined carbohydrates and sugar: Eliminate all processed foods, and when you opt for grains, make sure they’re “whole.”

If you have any additional questions about how to keep your mouth healthy, set up an appointment to talk to any one of our doctors. Let’s do all we can to prevent tooth decay!

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Positive Views About Dentistry Will Benefit Your Child’s Health

IF YOU’RE A PARENT, YOU INTUITIVELY UNDERSTAND that your children look to you as they form their own early opinions about life and all of its complexities. This principle applies to the things that you believe and the priorities you value. Kids ride piggyback on many of our opinions until they grow old enough to adapt, interpret, and challenge those beliefs on their own.

So, how does this notion relate to dentistry? Here at our practice we believe that the best way to help your children not only understand the importance of oral health, but also make it a priority in their lives, is to get them in the habit of seeing us when they’re young.

Kids whose parents start taking them to the dentist at an early age have much better oral health in the long run.

As parents it’s our obligation to make sure our children are getting the best oral health care possible to help ensure they keep healthy smiles for life. Here at Dental Partners of Boston, our doctors know that preventative care is much less costly than restorative care. Sometimes, people don’t look at regular preventive care this way, yet it’s an important principle to teach our children. Indeed, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

You can also help your children understand the benefits of a healthy smile, and having a mouth free of pain and hassle. If children hear a parent disparaging dental care they may start putting up a fight when it’s time for the next cleaning appointment.

Here’s a short video from CNN on the importance of early childhood dental care:

Early visits to our practice help prevent future problems with tooth decay and gum disease—and perhaps most importantly, help your children become accustomed to visiting the dentist regularly so they won’t be hesitant in the future. These visits also show your kids that sound oral health is important to YOU, and that it’s a high priority.

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Ever Considered A Career In Dentistry?

THE OTHER DAY I WAS IN A REFLECTIVE MOOD, THINKING ABOUT my career in dentistry, and the reasons why I became a dentist with a practice here in BostonI love what I do each day. I know there are lots of people in the world who can’t honestly say that about their job—so, I feel really lucky to be able to say that.


 

Then, I thought about all of YOU, my valued patients, and how much I appreciate the trust you place in me and in our team.

Finally, I starting thinking about our team. I’m honored to work each day with such talented, great friends.

I know that some of you are in the early stages of choosing your own career paths—OR, you may have children or grandchildren who are making career decisions right now.

If I can ever be of help to you—or to somebody you care about—in answering questions about the varied careers in the dental profession, please let us know.

Some of the things I love most about being a dentist is the mix between science, management, engineering, and artistry. Each day is different, and I love the challenges.

Another thing I really enjoy is the continuing education component of what I do. Technological advances in the dental profession happen every day as techniques, materials used, and procedures become increasingly advanced. The opportunities to learn and improve are endless.

But most of all, the thing I probably like best, is the opportunity to help people and to make a difference in their lives. It may not seem like much, but the personal fulfillment that comes from being a dentist and helping people feel better about their smile and/or oral health is fantastic. Sometimes “feeling better” means “physically” better (if someone is uncomfortable or in pain). Sometimes “feeling better” means “emotionally” better (such as helping someone have the self confidence to smile again).

Thanks again for being friends of our dental practice. And, once again, I extend the invitation to you or someone you care about to visit with me about careers in the dental profession.

In case you’re interested, I’ve attached BOTH a brochure AND a short video below that will help you learn more about careers in dentistry.

(You can click directly on the brochure to read it or download it.)

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Oral Piercings And Oral Health

ALTHOUGH ORAL PIERCINGS’ ORIGINS TECHNICALLY GO BACK TO ANCIENT MAYAN AND AZTEC tradition and religion, this unique form of accessorizing didn’t really become a means of self-expression until just a few decades ago.
As with traditional earrings, oral piercings come in a variety of styles including rings, barbells, and studs. However, piercing your tongue, cheek, or lips involves a lot more risk than piercing your earlobes. Before considering having any sort of oral piercing, get some advice from our doctors and take a few minutes to learn about the risks…

  • Infection: Our mouths are filled with zillions of bacteria, putting you at significant risk of infection after an oral piercing.
  • Prolonged Bleeding: Sometimes blood vessels are punctured by the needle during piercing which can result in serious blood loss.
  • Pain and Swelling: Both pain and swelling are typical side effects of oral piercings. In some extreme cases, the tongue can swell up so much that it can block your airway.
  • Chipped or Cracked Teeth: When a tooth makes contact with oral jewelry it can often lead to tooth damage.
  • Injury To Your Gums: Metal jewelry can injure your gum tissue and cause your gums to recede, putting you at greater risks of decay and gum disease, and leaving your mouth much less attractive.
  • Interference With Normal Oral Function: The presence of jewelry in your mouth can cause excessive saliva flow, make it more difficult to chew or swallow, and impede your ability to speak correctly.
  • Blood-borne Diseases: The National Institutes of Health have identified oral piercings as possible factors in transmitting hepatitis B, C, D, and G.
  • Endocarditis: The wound that is created from an oral piercing gives the bacteria in your mouth the opportunity to enter your bloodstream where they can travel to the heart, putting you at risk of endocarditis, an inflammation of the heart valves and tissues.

Because there are so many risks surrounding oral jewelry, even after the initial wound has healed, the safest decision you can make is to avoid oral piercings altogether. However, if you or a loved one has an oral piercing, make sure you come in and see us at the first sign of pain or trouble so that any potential ‘bigger’ problems can be avoided.

Are you a parent with a child who may be considering oral piercing? Yes, we understand… Sometimes kids won’t listen to a parent, but they may listen to a healthcare professional. Don’t hesitate to contact our practice and ask for our help if you feel like it would be appropriate. We’re here to help.

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How Do Dental Implants Work?

FROM COMMON THINGS LIKE WEAR AND TEAR, TO TRAUMA OR DISEASE, some adults have experienced permanent tooth loss. Regardless of the level of loss, oral discomfort and/or a lack of confidence are the common results.

Of course, permanent tooth loss is something our doctors do their best to prevent. However, it isn’t always possible. The good news is, there are some beautiful and highly functional solutions available at Dental Partners Of Boston.

Implant dentistry is not new, although from its original origins in the 50’s it has come a long way. Initial discoveries came when scientists learned how to fuse bones with titanium, making natural bone support possible. Today, our doctors use this original discovery to copy the root and tooth system that your mouth naturally has.

Implants are first placed within the gum line. Then, they are given 3–6 months healing time to ensure complete and proper fusion. After the implants have healed, the custom crown, bridge, or dentures can be placed. After this placement (unlike traditional dentures or bridges) the solution is much stronger and long lasting, giving you the confident smile you desire.

As with most dental procedures, dental implants begin with a consultation with one of our doctors to help with any questions you may have and give us a chance to create a custom-tailored plan that best meets your needs.

Here is a simple illustration of how dental implants work:

To learn more about how implant dentistry corrects and enhances smiles, schedule an appointment to visit with us.

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Dental Emergency Tips

AT OUR PRACTICE, WE CARE ABOUT EVERY aspect of your oral health. Unfortunately, emergencies are sometimes unavoidable no matter how careful we are, or how hard we try to avoid them…that’s just life. So, our doctors wanted to touch on dental emergencies for a minute…

Although it may seem like a minor thing to you, a dental injury to your teeth or gums should not be ignored as it can be potentially serious—with risks of more permanent damage, OR more extensive (and expensive) repair down the road.

Here are some of our team’s thoughts about common emergencies:

Toothache?
Rinse with warm water and be sure nothing is lodged. Apply an ice pack if needed to reduce the swelling, and call us as soon as possible. We probably need to take a look.

Chipped & Broken Tooth?
Although it may sound sort of gross, save the pieces of the tooth if you can. Apply gauze pressure if you’re bleeding. See us as soon as you can.

A Knocked Out Tooth?
“Time is of the essence” in trying to save a tooth. (watch the video below)

Hey, be careful out there! And wear a mouth guard to help prevent an injury! We want to help you keep ALL of your teeth—FOR LIFE!

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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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