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Posts for: February, 2016

By Signature Smiles, LLC
February 24, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease   oral hygiene  

If you ever get out of the habit of daily brushing and flossing, you’re setting yourself up for dental disease. Neglecting oral hygiene allows bacterial plaque to build up on tooth surfaces, which can give rise to aggressive gum infections known collectively as periodontal (gum) disease.

Gum disease may first manifest itself as gingivitis, an inflammation of the outer gum tissues around teeth. Resuming hygiene habits could help reduce the infection if it’s detected early enough. If the infection has spread deeper below the gum line, though, brushing and flossing won’t be able to reach and remove the offending plaque — you’ll need our help with that.

The objective of any such treatment is the same as your daily brushing and flossing — remove plaque as well as hardened deposits (calculus) that cause disease. The most basic technique is called scaling in which we use specialized hand instruments (scalers) or ultrasonic equipment to loosen and remove the plaque and calculus from all tooth and gum surfaces.

For deeper plaque, we may need to use a technique called root planing. As its name implies, we use equipment similar to scalers to shave or “plane” plaque, calculus, bacteria or other toxins from the roots that have become ingrained in their surfaces.

These procedures are often carried out with local anesthesia to ensure patient comfort and allow us to be as meticulous as possible with plaque and calculus removal. It’s imperative that we remove as much plaque and calculus as possible, and which often involves more than one session. This is because as the gum tissues become less inflamed it allows us to access more plaque-infested areas during subsequent sessions.

Hopefully, these techniques will arrest the infection and restore good health to gum tissues. It’s then important for you to recommit and follow through on a renewed daily hygiene regimen to reduce the chances of re-infection that could lead to more serious problems and potential tooth loss.

If you would like more information on treating periodontal (gum) disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Planing.”

By Signature Smiles, LLC
February 09, 2016
Category: Oral Health

For anyone else, having a tooth accidentally knocked out while practicing a dance routine would be a very big deal. But not for Dancing With The Stars contestant Noah Galloway. Galloway, an Iraq War veteran and a double amputee, took a kick to the face from his partner during a recent practice session, which knocked out a front tooth. As his horrified partner looked on, Galloway picked the missing tooth up from the floor, rinsed out his mouth, and quickly assessed his injury. “No big deal,” he told a cameraman capturing the scene.

Of course, not everyone would have the training — or the presence of mind — to do what Galloway did in that situation. But if you’re facing a serious dental trauma, such as a knocked out tooth, minutes count. Would you know what to do under those circumstances? Here’s a basic guide.

If a permanent tooth is completely knocked out of its socket, you need to act quickly. Once the injured person is stable, recover the tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid grasping it by its roots! Next, if possible, place the tooth back in its socket in the jaw, making sure it is facing the correct way. Hold it in place with a damp cloth or gauze, and rush to the dental office, or to the emergency room if it’s after hours or if there appear to be other injuries.

If it isn’t possible to put the tooth back, you can place it between the cheek and gum, or in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva, or in the special tooth-preserving liquid found in some first-aid kits. Either way, the sooner medical attention is received, the better the chances that the tooth can be saved.

When a tooth is loosened or displaced but not knocked out, you should receive dental attention within six hours of the accident. In the meantime, you can rinse the mouth with water and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) to ease pain. A cold pack temporarily applied to the outside of the face can also help relieve discomfort.

When teeth are broken or chipped, you have up to 12 hours to get dental treatment. Follow the guidelines above for pain relief, but don’t forget to come in to the office even if the pain isn’t severe. Of course, if you experience bleeding that can’t be controlled after five minutes, dizziness, loss of consciousness or intense pain, seek emergency medical help right away.

And as for Noah Galloway:  In an interview a few days later, he showed off his new smile, with the temporary bridge his dentist provided… and he even continued to dance with the same partner!

If you would like more information about dental trauma, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”

By Signature Smiles, LLC
February 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Teeth Whitening  

Do you feel that your smile is lacking its luster? If you wish your teeth were whiter or your smile was brighter, you might benefit from teeth whitening. Teeth whitening is one of the fastest and easiest cosmetic dental procedures to rejuvenate and brighten your smile. With help from your Toms River, NJ dentist at Signature Smiles, Dr. Carmela LaFalce, you can lighten your teeth up to ten shades in a Teeth Whiteningsingle whitening session.

How does teeth whitening work? 
Your Toms River dentist applies whitening agents to the teeth, then directs a special light at them to activate the whitening process. Teeth whitening uses chemical reactions to break the bonds which hold together a stain’s molecules. With the bonds broken, the molecules disperse, leaving a whiter appearance. Most whitening sessions take under an hour, and results are seen immediately after the session.

What causes teeth staining? 
Stains form on either of two levels: the teeth’s outside, white enamel layer or the inside, yellow-colored dentin. Stains on the enamel come from outside elements--smoking tobacco, drinking coffee or tea, or eating dark-pigmented foods, such as berries. Stains on the inner dentin layer come from trauma to the teeth--taking certain medications or too much fluoride.

What about at-home whitening kits? 
Over-the-counter, at-home whitening kits are available from most drug stores. However, the whitening agents are not as strong as in in-office whitening sessions. Most stains on the outer layer of the teeth are lightened, though deeper, more stubborn staining remains untouched. In-office whitening allows your dentist to monitor your whitening procedure, meaning the chemicals can be stronger and more effective. Additionally, at-home kits require several weeks of continued use to see results. In-office results are visible immediately.

For more information on teeth whitening, please contact Dr. Carmela LaFalce, DMD at Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ. Call (732) 244-4114 to schedule your teeth whitening session today!

Carmela LaFalce, DMD
Dentist - Toms River
616 Washington St
Toms River, NJ 08753

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