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Posts for: July, 2019

By Signature Smiles, LLC
July 25, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   floss  
FlossFirstorLastHereareReasonsforEitherApproach

A certain news story a few years ago notwithstanding, dentists still recommend flossing along with brushing to adequately remove disease-causing plaque. If there is any controversy at all about flossing, it's whether you should perform it before brushing or after. Each perspective has good reasons.

"Brush First" proponents say their way encourages the formation of a daily hygiene habit, a must for preventing disease. That's because brushing can remove most of the plaque built up on the teeth, while flossing can then remove what's left. If you floss first, though, you'll have to plow through the sticky film with the floss, which can be an unpleasant experience. Facing that every day could make a person less enthusiastic about developing a hygiene habit.

But it's not just about the sensation: depending on the person, the plaque buildup could be so much that the floss becomes clogged with it. You're then moving the plaque rather than removing it. Brushing a lot of the plaque out of the way first will increase the cleaning power of your floss.

The "Floss First" team, though, is undaunted with their own take on the matter. Flossing can loosen up any stuck debris between teeth, making it easier for brushing to clear it away. It can also expose plaque-covered areas between teeth to allow better contact with the fluoride in your toothpaste. And, the amount of plaque you're pulling out in certain areas during flossing could tip you off to beef up your brushing efforts on those areas of heavier plaque accumulation.

One of the prime reasons for flossing first, though, goes back to the comfort factor and human nature. To be honest, for most people flossing isn't as much "fun" as brushing. If you put it off until after brushing, you're more likely not to do it if you find it unpleasant. Doing it first gets the less likeable task out of the way, so you can then do the more likeable one, brushing.

Which approach is best for you? It's really a personal decision, one you can discuss with your dentist. Try both ways, and see which one seems better. But whether you floss first or last, do floss to really reduce your risk for dental disease.

If you would like more information on best oral hygiene practices, 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 “Brushing and Flossing: Which Should be Done First?


By Signature Smiles, LLC
July 15, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   pregnancy  
HowtoKeepYourTeethandGumsHealthyDuringPregnancy

While pregnancy is an exciting time for expectant mothers, it can pose extra health challenges. This is especially true regarding dental health.

Because of hormonal changes that naturally occur during pregnancy, your teeth and gums are at higher risk for dental disease. These changes can increase cravings for carbohydrates, particularly sugar. Increased sugar consumption feeds bacteria found in dental plaque, which is most responsible for tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.

Hormonal changes can also make your gums more susceptible to infection. Conditions may be favorable for a form of gum disease called pregnancy gingivitis, which can begin as an infection in the surface layers of the gums. But like other forms of gum disease, pregnancy gingivitis can advance below the gum line and lead to serious health consequences.

Because of this "pregnancy effect" on your teeth and gums, there are some things to which you should pay heed while you're expecting. First and foremost, keep up a daily regimen of brushing and flossing to remove accumulated dental plaque. You should also control your sugar intake to minimize bacterial growth that can cause disease.

It's also important for you to continue regular dental visits during your pregnancy. Your dentist will monitor your dental health and initiate treatment if you begin to show signs of disease. Besides professional cleanings, your dentist may also prescribe antibacterial mouthrinses to combat bacteria.

As far as dental procedures, essential treatments like fillings, root canals or extractions are usually considered safe to perform during pregnancy. But elective treatments of a cosmetic nature are best postponed until after your baby's delivery.

One last tip: because of the higher risk of tooth decay or gum disease, be on the lookout for any abnormal signs in your mouth. This includes spots on the teeth, tooth pain or swollen, reddened or bleeding gums. If you see any of these signs, see your dentist as soon as possible.

Your teeth and gums are indeed at risk for disease during pregnancy. But daily hygiene, regular dental care and attention to signs of disease can help keep that danger at bay.

If you would like more information on prenatal 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 “Dental Care During Pregnancy.”


By Signature Smiles, LLC
July 10, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Your best smile depends on your oral health. Any smile gap compromises your speech, biting, chewing and gum and bone structure. At dental implantsSignature Smiles in Toms River, your dentist, Dr. Carmela LaFalce, can determine if you need dental implants and refer you to a periodontist to place the dental implant. Afterward, Dr. LeFalce can restore the implant with a dental crown to complete your restoration. They're today's most popular and effective tooth replacements.

What is a dental implant?

A dental implant replaces a tooth lost to injury, decay, infection, or congenital abnormality and weakness such as peg-shaped incisor or small-sized second molar. Different from conventional bridges or dentures, this prosthetic stands in for the entire natural tooth--in other words, from root to crown.

To anchor the custom-fabricated crown of the single-tooth dental implant, the periodontist surgically inserts a titanium screw into the patient's jaw bone. This screw eventually functions as the implant's root and receives an extension post and tooth-shaped crown.

Amazingly, when the periodontist inserts the implant, the jaw bone starts bonding to it almost immediately. This bonding process is known as osseointegration. It takes months to accomplish but guarantees a secure, strong foundation for new tooth.

Can you receive a dental implant?

Millions of Americans have dental implants right now. The American College of Prosthodontists says that number increases by 500,000 new devices each year.

To determine if you and a dental implant are a match, Dr. LaFalce will consult with you about your smile goals, your dentition, and your overall health. 

This alveolar ridge, in which tooth roots lie, must be dense, wide, and high. If bone is lacking, she may recommend grafting treatments to build it up before proceeding with the dental implant process.

Finally, even if you have extensive tooth loss, you may be able to receive implants. They are also used to support bridgework and dentures for beautiful, well-functioning smiles which feel wonderfully natural.

Will you be able to take care of your new smile?

Dental implants have a high success and retention rate--upwards of 95 percent, reports the Institute for Dental Implant Awareness. Also, they develop far fewer complications than do conventional fixed bridges.

However, you must brush and floss carefully each and every day. Also, see Dr. LaFalce and her team at Signature Smiles for six-month hygienic cleanings and examinations to keep ahead of plaque and ensure that implant site is viable and healthy.

Additionally, avoid clenching and grinding your teeth. Of course, stop all tobacco usage. Cigarette smoke actually burns the tender tissues surrounding your implant and your natural teeth, too, leading to destructive gum disease.

Ready to learn more?

Then, call Dr. LaFalce at Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ, to get all the details on innovative dental implants. Phone your dentist for an appointment at (732) 244-4114.


By Signature Smiles, LLC
July 05, 2019
Category: Oral Health
GiancarloStantonGetsMajor-LeagueMouthProtection

For major-league slugger Giancarlo Stanton, 2014 was a record-breaking year. After the baseball season ended, he signed a 13-year, $325 million contract with the Miami Marlins — the biggest deal in sports history. But earlier that same year, Stanton suffered one of the worst accidents in baseball: He was hit in the face by an 88-mph fastball, sustaining multiple fractures, lacerations, and extensive dental damage.

After the accident, Stanton didn’t play for the remainder of the season. But now he’s back in Spring Training… and he’s got a not-so-secret weapon to help protect him against another injury: A custom-made face guard designed to absorb impacts and keep him from suffering further trauma.

As sports fans, we’re glad that Stanton was able to overcome his injury and get back in the game. As dentists, we’d like to remind you that you don’t have to be a major-league player to feel the harmful effects of a sports injury — and you don’t have to look far to find a way to protect yourself. In fact, you can get a custom-made mouthguard right here at the dental office.

Mouthguards have a long tradition in sports like football, boxing, and hockey. But did you know that far more Americans are injured every year playing “non-collision” sports like basketball, baseball — and even bicycling? And it doesn’t take a major-league fastball to cause a dental injury: The highest incidence of sports-related dental injuries occurs in 15-to-18-year-old males. In fact, about one-third of all dental injuries among children stem from various types of sports activities. These injuries may result in countless hours being lost from school and work, and cost significant sums for treatment and restoration.

Mouthguards have a proven track record in reducing dental and facial injuries: They are capable of absorbing the energy of a blow to the mouth, and dissipating it in a way that prevents damage to facial structures and teeth. But not all mouthguards are created equal: Custom-fabricated mouthguards, which are produced from an exact model of your mouth made right here in the dental office, offer by far the best protection. They fit better and safeguard the teeth more fully than any off-the-shelf or “boil-and-bite” type can. Plus, they’re more comfortable to wear. And let’s face it: No mouth guard can protect your teeth if you don’t wear it.

What’s more, some recent studies indicate that custom-made mouthguards may offer significant protection against concussion. An increasing awareness of the dangers that concussion may pose to athletes is one more reason why we recommend custom-made mouthguards to active people and their families.

To get his face guard, Giancarlo Stanton reportedly went to a specialist sporting-goods manufacturer in Illinois, and paid around $1,000. But you can get a custom-made mouthguard for yourself or your loved ones right at our office for a fraction of that price. And the peace of mind it can give you is… priceless.

If you have questions about custom-made mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry” and “Athletic Mouthguards.”




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

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