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Posts for: October, 2016

By Signature Smiles, LLC
October 22, 2016
Category: Oral Health
DrTravisStorkDontIgnoreBleedingGums

Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all  Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.

What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.

Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.”  If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.


By Signature Smiles, LLC
October 13, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers   cosmetic dentistry  

Dental veneers are a quick way to a million-dollar smile. Located in Toms River, NJ, Signature Smiles is the go-to dental office for veneersindividuals seeking the latest in state-of-the-art dentistry. Our world-class dentist Dr. Carmela LaFalce provides a variety of dental services including dental veneers. Here's a list of best practices for taking care of your veneers.

1. Flossing and Brushing: The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry suggests flossing and brushing your veneers just as you would your regular teeth. Proper oral hygiene will help them last as long as possible.

2. Avoid Hard Foods: Hard foods that would crack normal teeth can also crack dental veneers. Hard candy, ice, raw carrots and popcorn kernels should be avoided or consumed with care. Although veneers are very strong, they are not bulletproof and they can chip or crack under enough pressure.

3. Avoid Grinding Your Teeth: Most individuals grind their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding doesn't usually cause harm, but if it occurs on a regular basis, your porcelain or ceramic veneers can be damaged.

4. Check-Ups are Important: You should schedule regular checkups with your Toms River, NJ dentist so that she can detect any issues as soon as possible. Most people may need dental check-ups as often as every six months.

5. Avoid Stain-Causing Foods: Due to their glass-like nature, dental veneers will resist staining well. But the cement that is used to bond them in place is plastic and it may discolor. You should minimize your exposure to staining agents such as sodas, red wine, coffee and tobacco products.

If you are interested in dental veneers, call Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ at 732-244-4114 to schedule your appointment right now. If not now... when? Dental veneers will give you the million-dollar smile you've always dreamed of.


AnInfectedorInjuredPrimaryToothCanBeSaved-butitsComplicated

Primary (baby) teeth don't last long. But despite their short life span, they do a number of important things, like enabling a child to eat solid food. But perhaps their most important long-term function is “paving” the way for their permanent replacements.

If one is lost prematurely, though, the permanent tooth might not come in properly aligned. That's why if a primary tooth is in danger of loss due to decay or injury, we'll do our best to save it.

But that could get a little tricky if the infected or damaged part of the tooth is the innermost pulp. If it were an adult tooth, the best course might be a root canal treatment: access the pulp, clear out the diseased tissue, and then fill the space with a special filling. But with a primary tooth (or a young permanent tooth for that matter) that may not be advisable.

That's because the pulp plays a more important role in a child's tooth than an adult's. Its nerves and other tissues stimulate dentin growth; a full root canal could disrupt that growth and weaken the tooth in the long run.

With a child's tooth, we proceed carefully depending on how infected or damaged the pulp might be. If it's only slightly exposed or not at all, we try then to remove as much decayed tooth material outside the pulp as necessary, then apply antibacterial agents or dentin growth stimulators.

If we do have pulp exposure, we'll try to remove only as much of the affected pulp as necessary through a procedure called a pulpotomy. This technique will only be used if the remaining pulp looks healthy or restorable to health.

If not, we may need to perform a pulpectomy to remove the entire pulp. Most like a typical root canal, it's a last resort: without the pulp, dentin growth could be stunted and the tooth won't develop as healthy as it should.

Of course, the best approach is to prevent teeth from developing such problems in the first place. So, be sure to practice effective daily hygiene with your child and keep up regular dental visits beginning at age one.

If you would like more information on treating decayed primary teeth, 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 Canal Treatment for Children's Teeth.”




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

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