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Posts for: April, 2016

By Signature Smiles, LLC
April 24, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  
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There are two basic facts about tooth decay: 1) next to the common cold, it’s the world’s most prevalent infectious disease; and 2) with modern dentistry, it’s preventable.

Getting from Fact 1 to Fact 2 requires the daily hygiene habits of brushing and flossing. You probably learned these tasks when you could barely peer over the bathroom sink; but the real question is: are you getting the most benefit from your efforts? It’s not merely doing them, but doing them the right way.

For example, bearing down on your teeth and brushing vigorously isn’t just unhelpful, it’s damaging. Instead, you should hold your brush with perhaps just two fingers at a 45-degree angle relative to your gum line and “gently” scrub with short circular or “wiggly” strokes. Continue this action around each arch brushing all tooth surfaces, which should take about two minutes.

Your toothbrush itself is also important: most people (unless otherwise directed by their dentist) should use a multi-tufted brush with soft bristles. If you brush with the proper pressure it should last 4 to 6 months before replacing it. You should also replace it if the bristles become worn or splayed.

Flossing once a day is important for removing the plaque between teeth your toothbrush bristles can’t reach. The best technique is to form a “C” with the floss that wraps around each tooth and move it up and down gently three or four times until you hear a squeaky clean sound on both sides of the tooth.

The ultimate test of your efforts comes during your regular dental checkups. You can get a check now, though, on how you’re doing by using your tongue to feel your teeth at the gum line. If they feel smooth and slick, you’re probably doing a good job of plaque removal; but if they feel a bit rough and gritty, you’re missing some of the plaque and need to be more thorough when brushing. You can also use floss by running it up and down the tooth surface — if it squeaks, they’re clean!

Your particular dental condition may require specific treatment or the use of other dental products like antibacterial mouthrinses. But learning and practicing proper brushing and flossing is key to keeping teeth and gums healthy and disease-free.

If you would like more information on proper oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


By Signature Smiles, LLC
April 09, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
NeilPatrickHarrisWhattheOscarsHostTreasuresMost

A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”


By Signature Smiles, LLC
April 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

You've probably heard of dental veneers - they're extremely popular among Hollywood stars and musical artists who need to showcase veneersbeautiful smiles. However, did you know that patients of Dr. Carmela LaFalce in Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ have also benefited from the same cosmetic restoration? Porcelain veneers, which are fitted over the front of the teeth to produce a new and beautiful smile, aren't limited to the rich and famous. Learn more about how they can improve your smile.

Veneers can fix a variety of problems.

Veneers from your Toms River dentist are perhaps the most versatile cosmetic dentistry product available today. They fill in small gaps, chips and cracks on the surface of the teeth and smooth out crooked smiles. With their luminescent appearance and custom colorization, they also whiten and brighten teeth when traditional whitening methods fail to deliver results. Veneers can also lengthen naturally short or uneven teeth. Once Dr. LaFalce has placed your veneers, you'll have a gorgeous, natural-looking smile you can be proud of showing off.

Veneers are suitable for many patients.

Most patients who consult with Dr. Carmela LaFalce, Toms River's premier cosmetic dentist, about veneers make excellent candidates. However, there are a few conditions in which veneers may not be immediately suitable. For example, extremely crowded teeth may not provide the support needed for placement. Patients who have a history of bruxism, or grinding their teeth, may need to have that problem addressed prior to placement of veneers; the constant pressure can loosen the veneers prematurely. Any decay issues will also need to be treated by your Toms River dentist before veneers can be comfortably and confidently placed.

If you'd like more information about veneers, we'd be happy to schedule you for a consultation appointment with Dr. LaFalce. Just call Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ to get started!




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

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