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Posts for: December, 2019

By Signature Smiles, LLC
December 30, 2019
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

At Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ, your dentist, Dr. Carmela LaFalce, and her team renew smiles with the latest and finest in cosmetic dentistry. From porcelain veneers to Opalescence teeth whitening and everything in between, cosmetic dentistry gives patients the WOW factor they want in their smiles.

What's your best look?

You know how you'd like your smile to change. Maybe you wish to eliminate stubborn stains, close some unattractive gaps or repair chips and cracks. Whatever you envision, Dr. LaFalce can help you achieve your goals, complement your facial appearance, boost your morale and keep your smile bright and strong.

What cosmetic services do you need?

At a cosmetic dentistry consultation at Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ, our dentist will help you explore your smile goals. She'll perform a comprehensive oral examination and suggest ways to improve your teeth and gums. Together, you'll decide on a plan suited to your goals and budget.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD) states that people notice a beautiful smile before admiring any other physical feature. Additionally, the AACD says that even simple smile improvements improve self-esteem tremendously. So, with Dr. LaFalce's help, you'll look great and feel better, too.

Offered cosmetic services

Dr. Carmela LaFalce offers the latest in cosmetic techniques and quality materials as well. Your treatment plan could include:

  • Opalescence professional teeth whitening (both in-office and at-home versions), to brighten teeth marred by years of stains from tobacco, food, beverages and more
  • CEREC same-day porcelain crowns, crafted chair-side with optical/digital impressions and innovative design software
  • Porcelain veneers, shells of fine ceramic bonded to the front of teeth which have larger defects such as cracks, craze lines, gaps, crowding, uneven length, odd shape and more (in some cases may be manufactured and placed the same day via CEREC technology)
  • Composite resin bonding, an additive service utilizing a durable and lifelike blend of glass particles and acrylic

With a care plan in place, you'll be amazed at how your smile can be transformed!

Find out more

Make your renewed smile a reality. Contact Dr. Carmela LaFalce and her dedicated team at Signature Smiles in Toms River, NJ, for a consultation: (732) 244-4114.


By Signature Smiles, LLC
December 22, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay   gerd  
ManageYourGERDSymptomstoPreventEnamelErosion

Most dental problems arise from tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. But they aren't the only source of danger to your teeth—gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) could be just as damaging to your tooth enamel as dental disease.

GERD usually occurs when a ring of muscles at the top of the stomach weaken, allowing stomach acid to enter the esophagus. This resulting acid reflux can make life unpleasant and pose potential health dangers—over time it can damage the lining of the esophagus and cause ulcers and pre-cancerous cells. It can also erode tooth enamel if acid enters the mouth and raises its level of acidity.

This can be a problem because acid can soften and dissolve the mineral content of tooth enamel. This is the primary cause of tooth decay as acid produced by oral bacteria attack enamel. The more bacteria present, often thriving in dental plaque, the higher the potential levels of acid that can damage enamel. Stomach acid, which is strong enough to break down food, can cause similar harm to enamel if it causes higher than normal acidity in the mouth.

There are some things you can do to protect your teeth if you have GERD, namely manage your GERD symptoms with lifestyle changes and medication. You may need to avoid alcohol, caffeine or heavily acidic or spicy foods, all known to aggravate GERD symptoms. Quitting smoking and avoiding late night meals might also ease indigestion. And your doctor may recommend over-the-counter or prescription drugs to help control your acid reflux.

You can also boost your teeth's enamel health by practicing daily brushing and flossing—but not right after a reflux episode. The enamel could be softened, so brushing can potentially remove tiny particles of mineral content. Instead, rinse with water mixed with or without a little baking soda to help neutralize acid and wait about an hour—this will give saliva, the mouth's natural acid neutralizer, time to restore the mouth's normal pH level.

And be sure you're using a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride strengthens enamel—in fact, your dentist may recommend topical fluoride applications to boost the effect.

These and other tips can help minimize the effects of GERD on your dental health. With an ounce of prevention, you can keep it from permanently damaging your teeth.

If you would like more information on managing your dental health with GERD, 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 “GERD and Oral Health.”


By Signature Smiles, LLC
December 12, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   veneers  
HowVeneersRestoredHowieMandelsWinningSmile

You probably wouldn't be surprised to hear that someone playing hockey, racing motocross or duking it out in an ultimate fighter match had a tooth knocked out. But acting in a movie? That's exactly what happened to Howie Mandel, well-known comedian and host of TV's America's Got Talent and Deal or No Deal. And not just any tooth, but one of his upper front teeth—with the other one heavily damaged in the process.

The accident occurred during the 1987 filming of Walk Like a Man in which Mandel played a young man raised by wolves. In one scene, a co-star was supposed to yank a bone from Howie's mouth. The actor, however, pulled the bone a second too early while Howie still had it clamped between his teeth. Mandel says you can see the tooth fly out of his mouth in the movie.

But trooper that he is, Mandel immediately had two crowns placed to restore the damaged teeth and went back to filming. The restoration was a good one, and all was well with his smile for the next few decades.

Until, that is, he began to notice a peculiar discoloration pattern. Years of coffee drinking had stained his other natural teeth, but not the two prosthetic (“false”) crowns in the middle of his smile. The two crowns, bright as ever, stuck out prominently from the rest of his teeth, giving him a distinctive look: “I looked like Bugs Bunny,” Mandel told Dear Doctor—Dentistry & Oral Health magazine.

His dentist, though, had a solution: dental veneers. These thin wafers of porcelain are bonded to the front of teeth to mask slight imperfections like chipping, gaps or discoloration. Veneers are popular way to get an updated and more attractive smile. Each veneer is custom-shaped and color-matched to the individual tooth so that it blends seamlessly with the rest of the teeth.

One caveat, though: most veneers can look bulky if placed directly on the teeth. To accommodate this, traditional veneers require that some of the enamel be removed from your tooth so that the veneer does not add bulk when it is placed over the front-facing side of your tooth. This permanently alters the tooth and requires it have a restoration from then on.

In many instances, however, a “minimal prep” or “no-prep” veneer may be possible, where, as the names suggest, very little or even none of the tooth's surface needs to be reduced before the veneer is placed. The type of veneer that is recommended for you will depend on the condition of your enamel and the particular flaw you wish to correct.

Many dental patients opt for veneers because they can be used in a variety of cosmetic situations, including upgrades to previous dental work as Howie Mandel experienced. So if slight imperfections are putting a damper on your smile, veneers could be the answer.

If you would like more information about veneers and other cosmetic dental enhancements, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “Porcelain Dental Crowns.”


By Signature Smiles, LLC
December 03, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Veneer  

Porcelain veneers make smiling easy. Tooth-shaped laminates custom-crafted while you wait, veneers erase dental defects and strengthen Veneerstooth structure, too. At Signature Smiles in Toms River, Dr. Carmela LaFalce offers veneers to patients in good oral health. A great smile can be just one appointment away!

FAQS about porcelain veneers in Toms River

What can porcelain veneers do for my smile? These shells of high-grade ceramic can do a lot for your smile. They can cover chips, disguise stains, span small gaps, lengthen short teeth and more. If your teeth are basically healthy, laminates will beautify them and make them more resilient, too.

Is the treatment complex? At Signature Smiles, Dr. LaFalce offers single-visit porcelain veneers created by sophisticated CEREC technology. From consultation, examination and enamel resurfacing to digital impressions, veneer creation and placement, your entire cosmetic treatment takes a single visit.

Do porcelain veneers hurt? You may need a bit of local anesthetic as Dr. LaFalce removes some enamel from your teeth. This reduction allows for proper veneer fit and for your teeth to bite precisely and comfortably after she installs the laminates. Afterwards, your teeth and gums may be a little sensitive, but this will not last.

How long will my new smile last? Veneers should last 10 years or more. The bonding adhesive is exceptionally strong. However, it is important to avoid the extreme stresses of bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) and hard foods such as taffy. Veneers are stain resistant, but natural teeth are not. So, watch how many darkly pigmented foods and beverages you consume so your teeth don't darken in comparison to your veneers.

How do I care for my porcelain veneers? Brush two times a day, and floss daily, says the American Dental Association (ADA). Veneers cannot decay, but plaque and bacteria can build-up at the gum line and around veneer margins. Also, get your usual cleanings and check-ups at Signature Smiles.

Do you have additional questions?

Get them answered fully at a cosmetic dentistry consultation at Signature Smiles. Dr. LaFalce loves explaining all her dental services so her patients understand the processes and how to keep their smiles bright and healthy for life. Book your appointment by calling the office in Toms River, NJ, at (732) 244-4114.


By Signature Smiles, LLC
December 02, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
ARootCanalTreatmentWillImproveYourHealthNotHarmIt

If you’ve ever read online that root canal therapy causes cancer, don’t be alarmed—it doesn’t. What it does do is save a deeply decayed tooth that might otherwise be lost.

Tooth decay is caused by acid produced by bacteria, which dissolves enamel to create a hole or cavity. But it doesn’t stop there: decay can move on to infect the tooth’s innermost layer, the pulp filled with nerves and blood vessels. Unchecked, the resulting infection can travel through the root canals to eventually infect the bone.

A root canal treatment stops the infection before it goes this far. After administering a local anesthetic, we drill a small hole into the tooth to access the pulp chamber and root canals. We then remove all the diseased tissue, disinfect the space and then place a filling within the empty chamber and root canals to prevent further infection. We then seal the access hole and later crown the tooth to further protect and stabilize it.

It’s no exaggeration, then, to say that root canal treatments have saved millions of teeth. So, for all its beneficial effect, why is it considered by some to pose a health danger?

The germ for this notion comes from the early 20th Century when a dentist named Weston Price theorized that leaving a “dead” organ in place would harm the body. Since a root-canaled tooth with the pulp’s living tissue removed is technically no longer viable, it fit the category of “dead” tissue. Thus, according to this theory, maladies like cancer could arise because of the “dead” tooth.

Unfortunately, this theory has found a somewhat new life recently on the internet, even though it was thoroughly investigated and debunked in the 1950s. And as late as 2013, a study published in a journal of the American Medical Association found no increased cancer risk after root canal treatment, and even some evidence for a reduced risk.

So, if your dentist recommends root canal treatment, rest assured it’s needed to save your tooth. Rather than harm your health, it will improve it.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 Safety.”




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

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