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Posts for: December, 2017

By Signature Smiles, LLC
December 19, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: antibiotics  

If you’ve had a total joint replacement or similar procedure, you will want your surgeon to decide if you need to take an antibiotic before you undergo dental work. This is a precaution to prevent a serious infection known as bacteremia.

Bacteremia occurs when bacteria become too prevalent in the bloodstream and cause infection in other parts of the body, especially in joints and bone with prosthetic (replacement) substances. It’s believed that during invasive dental procedures bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream through incisions and other soft tissue disruptions.

Joint infections are a serious matter and can require extensive therapy to bring it under control. Out of this concern, the use of antibiotics as a prophylactic (preventive measure) against bacteremia once included a wide range of patients for a variety of conditions and procedures. But after an in-depth study in 2007, the American Dental Association concluded that the risks for many of these patient groups for infection triggered by a dental procedure was extremely low and didn’t warrant the use of antibiotic premedication therapy.

As a result, recommendations for antibiotic therapy changed in 2009, eliminating many groups previously recommended for premedication. But because of the seriousness of joint infection, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons still recommends the therapy for joint replacement patients about to undergo any invasive procedure, including dental work. It’s especially needed for patients who also have some form of inflammatory arthritis, a weakened immune system, insulin-dependent diabetes, hemophilia, malnourishment or a previous infection in an artificial joint.

The guidelines for antibiotic premedication can be complex. It’s best, then, to speak with both your orthopedic surgeon and us about whether you should undergo antibiotic therapy before you undergo a dental procedure. The ultimate goal is to reduce the risks of any disease and to keep both your mouth and your body safe from infection.

If you would like more information on the use of antibiotics in dental care, 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 “Premedication for Dental Treatment.”

By Signature Smiles, LLC
December 06, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Are you ready to put your oral hygiene habits to the test?oral hygiene

While getting a clean bill of health from our Toms River, NJ, dentist Dr. Carmela LaFalce is a great achievement, if you aren’t entirely sure how to keep gum disease or cavities from happening to you then you may be feeling a bit confused about what goes into maintaining good oral hygiene. Here are just some things you should be doing for your smile day in and day out:

Brush and Floss Daily

This is probably one of the most obvious habits you need to perform every day in order to maintain strong, healthy teeth and gums. Brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent cavities and gum disease and it’s actually pretty simple. Brush at least twice a day (or ideally after every meal) and floss once daily to maintain good oral health. Here are some other tips to ensure that you are getting the most from your at-home care:

  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush. Whether you choose a manual or electric toothbrush is completely up to you. If you have the proper brushing technique the type of toothbrush you use won’t matter.
  • Use ADA-approved fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is the best substance for remineralizing enamel and keeping teeth strong.
  • Replace your toothbrush once the bristles begin to fray and look worn.
  • Brush for at least two minutes and focus on brushing the back, front and chewing surfaces of each of your teeth.
  • Don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove the bacteria responsible for bad breath.
  • Flossing before you brush can help toothpaste clean in between teeth more effectively.

Eat a Healthy, Balanced Diet

Avoid a diet that is high in sugar and other refined carbs and focus on healthier alternatives. Make sure that your diet is rich in healthy fats (e.g. olive oil; avocados), whole grains, lean protein and vegetables. Diets high in sugar and refined carbs increase your chances of decay.

Avoid (or Quit) Smoking

If you are a smoker or someone who uses tobacco products, quitting this habit is a surefire way to reduce your risk of a variety of dental problems, from cavities and gum disease to oral cancer. If you aren’t sure how to quit smoking we would be happy to sit down and talk to you about your options for ditching the habit for life.

Get Routine Dental Cleanings

Even with all these good dental habits in place, you’ll still need to come in twice a year to visit your Toms River, NJ, general dentist for care. These visits will not only help us catch problems before they happen (which can save you a lot time, money and heartache) but we will be able to remove plaque and tartar buildup from your teeth and get your smile looking its best.

Do you need to schedule your routine cleaning? Do you have questions about the dental services we offer? Then it’s the perfect time to call our dentist at Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ.


A lot happens in your child’s mouth from infancy to early adulthood. Not surprisingly, it’s the most active period for development of teeth, gums and jaw structure. Our primary goal as care providers is to keep that development on track.

One of our main concerns, therefore, is to protect their teeth as much as possible from tooth decay. This includes their primary (“baby”) teeth: although your child will eventually lose them, a premature loss of a primary tooth to decay could cause the incoming permanent tooth to erupt out of proper position. And we of course want to protect permanent teeth from decay during these developmental years as well.

That’s why we may recommend applying topical fluoride to your child’s teeth. A naturally occurring chemical, fluoride helps strengthen the mineral content of enamel. While fluoride can help prevent tooth decay all through life, it’s especially important to enamel during this growth period.

Although your child may be receiving fluoride through toothpaste or drinking water, in that form it first passes through the digestive system into the bloodstream and then to the teeth. A topical application is more direct and allows greater absorption into the enamel.

We’ll typically apply fluoride in a gel, foam or varnish form right after a professional cleaning. The fluoride is a much higher dose than what your child may encounter in toothpaste and although not dangerous it can cause temporary vomiting, headache or stomach pain if accidentally swallowed. That’s why we take extra precautions such as a mouth tray (similar to a mouth guard) to catch excess solution.

The benefits, though, outweigh this risk of unpleasant side effects, especially for children six years or older. Several studies over the years with thousands of young patients have shown an average 28% reduction in decayed, missing or filled teeth in children who received a fluoride application.

Topical fluoride, along with a comprehensive dental care program, can make a big difference in your child’s dental care. Not only is it possible for them to enjoy healthier teeth and gums now, but it could also help ensure their future dental health.

If you would like more information on topical fluoride and other dental disease prevention measures, 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 “Fluoride Gels Reduce Decay.”

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

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