The Dangers of Do It Yourself Dentistry!

indian cornRecently there have been several reports in the news and posts on social media about how to perform “do it yourself” dental procedures. These are, at a minimum, problematic trends which can lead to serious consequences.

Among these are:

  1. Charcoal Teeth Whitening

    I don’t know where this came from, but using charcoal or anything other than ADA approved products to whiten teeth can permanently damage tooth structure. Even using readily available over-the-counter tooth whitening products, without the supervision of a dentist, can be problematic. It’s not hard to wind up with a smile that looks like a row of  “Indian Corn” if you don’t know what you’re doing!

  2. Do It Yourself Orthodontics

    Reports of people using rubber bands to straighten crooked teeth is especially troubling. Rubber bands can work themselves under the gum causing inflammation and bone loss. Not only is this ineffective but
    extremely dangerous. It’s not uncommon to lose teeth with this technique. You should never try to straighten teeth without professional supervision!

    This brings me to another new and marginally legal technique:

  3. Unsupervised “Mail Order” Orthodontics

    There are offices opening up in cities around the country that will either digitally “scan” your mouth or send you “One Size Fits All” impression trays so that you may take your own impressions at home, mail them in, and have the company send you aligners that will purportedly straighten your teeth. All this without ever being evaluated by an orthodontist let alone a general dentist. In my humble opinion, based on 43 years of knowledge, skill and experience, attempting to accomplish any of this without the supervision of a trained professional is sheer folly. Such an attempt would be in the same vein as “any attorney who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Anyone who attempts to do their own dentistry may as well do their own brain surgery as well!

As always, my staff and I are always available to address any concerns you have about dental procedures and how they can impact you and your family. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact us at 215-230-7667.

Some questions to ask your dentist about sedating your child

family with childrenOn the “Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly” show, which aired July 9, 2017, reporter Kate Snow addressed the risks involved with dentists giving children sedatives. Two families in California were profiled, and their stories were truly heartbreaking. Although most of the time it is perfectly safe, sedation can carry risk no matter what the age. The smaller size of children can make them more vulnerable so becoming more educated on the procedure and its potential impact is a way to help allay your fears.

Please note: We do NOT  use anesthesia or otherwise sedate children In this office!

The American Dental Association, through their consumer website, Mouth Healthy, has put together a list of questions they strongly recommend you review with your dentist and anesthesiologist before, during and after any sedation procedure performed on your child.

Prior to the procedure:

  • Who will provide the preoperative evaluation of my child including their past medical history such as allergies, current prescription medications and previous illnesses and hospitalizations?
  • What is the recommended time that my child should be without food or drink prior to the procedure (with the exception of necessary medications taken with a sip of water)?
  • Will any sedation medication be given to my child at home prior to their coming to the office and,if so, how should they be monitored?
  • What training and experience does the sedation/anesthesia provider have in providing the level of sedation or anesthesia that is planned for the procedure? Does this training and experience meet all of the standards of the ADA Guidelines for the Use of Sedation and General Anesthesia by Dentists?
  • Does the staff assisting in the procedure have current training in emergency resuscitation procedures, such as Basic Life Support for Healthcare Providers, and other advanced resuscitation courses as recommended by the ADA Guidelines? Is this training regularly renewed?
  • Does the state dental board require a special sedation/anesthesia permit or license that allows for the sedation/anesthesia provider to administer this specific level of sedation or anesthesia in the dental office?

During the procedure:

  • In addition to the use of local anesthesia (numbing), what level of sedation or general anesthesia will be given to my child? Is it minimal sedation (relaxed and awake), moderate sedation (sleepy but awake), deep sedation (barely awake) or general anesthesia (unconscious)?
  • How will my child be monitored before, during and after the procedure until the child is released to go home? Are the appropriate emergency medications and equipment immediately available if needed, and does the office have a written emergency response plan for managing medical emergencies?

After the procedure:

  • Will the sedation/anesthesia provider give me instructions and emergency contact information if there are any concerns or complications after returning home?

As always, my staff and I are always available to address any concerns you have about the practice of dentistry and how it impacts you and your family. Don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact us at 215-230-7667.

7 Ways to Prevent Bad Breath

tongue-scraper-photoIn my last blog I discussed some of the causes of bad breath. Here are a few bad breath prevention methods recommended by the American Dental Association that you can follow to avoid these annoying breath problems!

  1. Brush and Floss
    Meticulous home care is essential to controlling the bacteria often associated with bad breath. Proper brushing and flossing are the first line of defense in preventing bad breath.
  2. Keep Your Tongue Clean
    Using a tongue scraper or brush to remove bacterial laden film from the surface of the tongue may be an easy fix for a breath problem. Don’t neglect this important step when doing your oral hygiene.
  3. Mouthwash
    While I’m not a huge fan of mouthwashes for the purpose of masking bad breath (it’s a little like ” sweeping the dirt under the rug”), they can provide temporary relief. Just don’t rely too heavily on them, and never as a substitute for good home care!
  4. Clean Your Dentures
    If you are a denture wearer, always remove them at night and clean the inside of your mouth as well as the dentures themselves. I would also recommend taking them out after every meal to remove odor causing food debris.
  5. Monitor Your Saliva
    Saliva has antibacterial properties that help prevent tooth decay, gum disease and yes, bad breath. If you suffer from occasional dry mouth, try chewing some sugar free Xylitol gum. The very act of chewing stimulates salivary flow. If it is a recurrent problem – see me!!
  6. Quit Smoking
    Smoking (as well as chewing tobacco) is one of the worst breath offenders. Giving up tobacco will improve your breath and your health.
  7. See Your Dentist Regularly
    Having your teeth professionally cleaned and your mouth examined by a dentist is the best way to rule out more serious causes of bad breath. Identifying the exact cause of the problem is key in selecting the right solution!

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding how to prevent bad breath, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.

Photo courtesy of MouthHealthy.org

Six Causes of Bad Breath

There are many reasons for having bad breath and while most are innocuous, bad breath can be a sign of something more serious! According to the American Dental Association, 50% of adults have had bad breath. Here are six causes of bad breath of which you should be aware.

  1. Bacteria – There are hundreds of bacteria that are indigenous to the human oral cavity. These bacteria help to initiate the digestive process but also contribute to Dental Plaque formation. Without good oral hygiene these bacteria will contribute to bad breath.
  2. Dry Mouth – Dry mouth (the absence of saliva) can be caused by many medications, problems with the salivary glands or simply by breathing through the mouth. Saliva has many anti-bacterial properties and without sufficient saliva, bacteria can overtake the mouth and cause odors.
  3. Gum Disease – Simply put, bacterial plaque causes gum disease. Bad breath is one of the subtle warning signs for gum disease.
  4. Food – Aromatic compounds in foods like onions and garlic are eliminated through the lungs, not the digestive tract! No matter how good your home care, these foods will cause breath problems!
  5. Smoking – Smoking causes bad breath as well as a whole host of other potentially more serious problems like gum disease and cancer. It also affects your ability to smell and your sense of taste.
  6. Medical conditions – Bad breath can result from sinus problems, liver or kidney diseases, gastric reflux or any of a host of other causes. In the absence of other obvious causes, referral to a physician may be needed.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding how to prevent bad breath, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.  Next blog- 7 Solutions to Bad Breath!

7 Habits That Are Harmful to Your Teeth (and What to Do About Them)!

  1. Nail Biting
    Nail biting may be less common today but I still see it quite often. It can cause teeth and fillings to chip and wear.

    Solution: Be mSugary drinksindful. Paint your nails with a bitter tasting clear polish available at your local pharmacy.

  2. Brushing Too Hard
    Toothbrush abrasion is one of the leading causes of “notching” along the gum line and gingival (gum) recession.

    Solution: Always use a soft toothbrush and never “scrub”. It’s not how hard you brush but how thoroughly. Plaque is easily removed if you are meticulous with your home care. This is also another reason why I now prefer electric brushes. They are less likely to cause damage!

  3. Grinding and Clenching
    Bruxism (grinding) and clenching, especially at night while asleep, is a very destructive habit. It causes tooth wear, fracturing of dental restorations and can contribute to jaw joint dysfunction and muscle soreness.

    Solution: If it’s during the day you can catch yourself and stop. Remember the Rule: Lips together- teeth apart! While sleeping you don’t have that control and therefore would need a Night Guard to protect the teeth and jaw muscles.

  4. Chewing Ice Cubes
    It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that chewing ice cubes, “jaw breakers” or other rock hard objects has the potential to break things. I once broke a tooth trying to eat a frozen snickers bar!

    Solution: Don’t do it!

  5. Constant Snacking
    “Grazing” may not be so healthy for your teeth depending on what you eat. If you are frequently eating a lot of sugars or other refined carbohydrates, the bacteria in your mouth are constantly churning out acids which attack the enamel causing cavities.

    Solution: Snack on nuts and cheese if you’re feeling hungry. Better for you and your teeth.

  6. Using Your Teeth as Tools
    Teeth are for chewing food and nothing more! I see many emergencies from folks who thought they could use their teeth for something they weren’t intended for.

    Solution: Find the right tool for the job!

  7. Sugary and Acidic Drinks
    Sodas and energy drinks are the biggest culprits, especially if you sip on them throughout the day. The acids eat away at the enamel and promote an environment that decay causing bacteria love!

    Solution: Drink water. If you must have an occasional soda or energy drink, consume it at one sitting and rinse with water afterwards.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding how to protect your teeth, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.

Ten Tips To Treat Dry Mouth

Prescription drugsDry mouth  (Xerostomia) is a problem faced by many folks which can be difficult to diagnose and treat. The most common cause among adults is various prescription medications. Sometimes our well meaning physicians prescribe medications independently of each other, the result being a multitude of dry mouth causing medications that potentiate each other, making the problem that much worse.

There are over 400 medications that cause dry mouth! Please speak with us as soon as possible if you are experiencing any of these problems. In the meantime, here are some tips to deal with dry mouth!

  1. Frequent sips of water will keep the mouth moist.
  1. Sleeping with a humidifier nearby will help moisten nasal passages.
  1. Only use alcohol free mouth rinses. (Alcohol dries out the oral tissues.)
  1. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and carbonated beverages, all of which can cause dry mouth.
  1. Chew Xylitol sweetened gum to stimulate salivary flow.
  1. Use over the counter (OTC) products like Biotene (toothpaste, mouth rinse, gum spray and   mouth moisturizer.)
  1. Avoid tobacco in all forms. Tobacco encourages the growth of oral bacteria   and irritates the nose and sinuses making them more vulnerable to infection.
  1. Check to make sure any medications you are taking do not cause dry mouth.
  2. Ask your dentist, physician about prescription medications that can increase salivary flow.
  3. See your dentist regularly!!

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding dry mouth, don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit our office Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA , or feel free to contact me or the staff at my office any time at 215-230-7667.

Photo courtesy of cdc.gov

 

Do “Bad Teeth” Run in the Family?

Now that’s a great question! Patients often tell me that their siblings or parents had bad teeth or lost their teeth and they often feel that they’re doomed to a similar fate. Nothing could be further from the truth! Take me for example.My father lost all of his teeth and his father before him (Do bad teeth run in the familymy grandfather) lost all of his teeth. I have all of my teeth and as a dentist I’m going to make sure I keep them.

Yes, there are some complicated hereditary factors that can contribute to poor dental health, but the fact is that poor dental care habits are more likely to be “inherited” and contribute to the demise of one’s dentition. Unhealthy snacking and inadequate oral hygiene practices are much more likely to cause tooth decay and periodontal disease (the number one cause of tooth loss in adults).

Please feel free to to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667with any specific questions relating to this topic. Everyone’s circumstances differ a little, and we are more than happy to provide customized recommendations for you to help maintain a healthy oral environment.

6 Tips to Help With Tooth Sensitivity

tooth sensitivityTooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints I encounter in the office, especially at this time of year when the weather gets frigid outdoors. Sensitivity results from exposure of the nerve endings that connect to the pulp tissue inside the tooth, commonly referred to as “the nerve”. This typically occurs when the protective tooth structure insulating the pulp is eroded or abraded away. So here are some tips that may help if you are experiencing this problem.

  1. Use a toothpaste designed to reduce sensitivity.

There is only one FDA approved active ingredient to reduce sensitivity – 5% potassium nitrate! This is contained in Crest Sensitive, Sensodyne Pronamel and several other over the counter toothpastes. The effectiveness of these toothpastes depends on regular usage over an extended period of time. Always check the ingredient labels to make sure they contain 5% potassium nitrate!

  1. Use a soft tooth brush.

As mentioned, sensitivity occurs when the protective outer layers of the teeth are lost from abrasion or wear. Overzealous scrubbing with a hard tooth brush is one cause that is easily avoided by using a soft brush and gently moving it in a circular motion along the gum lines. You will remove the disease causing dental plaque without promoting sensitivity.

  1. Keep up your routine

Those of you who have been with me for a while know that I give “homework” to our patients. Do it! Slacking off, i.e. around the holidays or while away at school, allows the bacteria in dental plaque to produce acids that further erode tooth structure. This promotes tooth decay, gum disease and of course, sensitivity.

  1. Make sure you are not grinding your teeth

Many of us grind our teeth when stressed, especially at night. Grinding (bruxism) creates premature and excessive wear on the teeth. This results in increased sensitivity and often sore jaw muscles. Check with your sleeping partner to make sure you’re not doing this at night. It’s more common than you think and is a major contributor to sensitivity.

  1. Avoid whitening toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes contain carbamide peroxide and frequently very abrasive compounds that wear away tooth structure. Carbamide peroxide becomes hydrogen peroxide in the mouth and promotes sensitivity. It should be avoided or at least done with professional supervision.

  1. Avoid acidic foods

Energy drinks, sodas and other acidic foods and beverages chemically erode tooth structure just like the bacterial plaque that live on our teeth. This promotes sensitivity. Occasionally when I indulge, as many of us do, I will rinse with water or chew some gum sweetened with xylitol to neutralize the acids immediately and then wait 30 minutes before brushing. Brushing too soon after consuming acidic foods can increase the amount of tooth wear!

I hope these few tips will help if you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. As always, please check with us if you experiencing this issue as sensitivity can also be a symptom of other and more serious problems. If you’re not certain about your technique, please ask us the next time you are in the office Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667. We are only too happy to help. We look forward to seeing you soon!

7 Good Tooth Brushing Techniques for a Healthy 2017

Tips for Tooth BrushingStart the new year off right with these tips from the American Dental Association.

  1. Change your brush as soon as the bristles start fraying, about every 3 months, or sooner if needed. Also change your brush after recovering from an illness.
  2. Brush for 2 minutes at least twice a day. Most people only brush for about 45 seconds, which is why I like electric toothbrushes! Most of them have a timer and run for 2 minutes. That’s how much time it takes to do a thorough job of cleaning your teeth.
  3. Don’t brush too hard, another common mistake. It’s not how hard you brush that counts…it’s how thoroughly you brush. Disease causing plaque comes off easy enough with the right technique!
  4. Wait 30 minutes after eating before brushing, especially if you’ve been eating acidic foods like citrus or sodas. Rinse with water or chew xylitol sweetened gum if you must to prevent acid erosion from brushing too soon.
  5. Store your toothbrush upright and in the open air so that it can dry properly and not promote bacterial growth. Also, don’t store your brush adjacent to someone else’s, which could allow cross contamination.
  6. Don’t use a hard bristled brush, which can erode the outer surface of the teeth, especially along the gum line. Remember, it only takes soft bristles to remove the plaque.
  7. Always use proper technique when brushing. Brushing each surface of the tooth while holding the brush at a 45 degree angle toward the gum will ensure that you remove all of the plaque without causing damage to the teeth or gums.

If you’re not certain about your technique, please ask us the next time you are in the office Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667. We are only too happy to help.

Best wishes for a happy and dentally healthy New Year!

How to avoid dentai issues due to holiday stress

Holiday stress

The holiday season can be stressful and even difficult for some, me included. I also see a lot of folks at this time of year with dental manifestations of stress. So, here are some suggestions on how to hopefully stay on an even keel and perhaps enjoy this time of year a little more and better preserve your dental health:

  • Reduce stress by continuing to exercise and by trying to remain more tolerant. For me, this means sticking to my Pilates class schedule, walking as much as I can, and trying to avoid antagonizing my sister!
  • Stick to Healthy Habits. Exercise and watch your caloric intake and alcohol consumption. Trying to keep my weight gain to a minimum can be a challenge but at least I’m paying attention to it. A few lighter meals thrown in can make all the difference when you know you are facing elaborate dinner parties!
  • Stick to a budget. Financial woes can be among the most detrimental stressors affecting anyone. Don’t get overextended  trying to make things better for everyone around you. It just seems to come back to bite you in the end.
  • Relax your face and jaw muscles. I always see a lot of folks with stress-induced  jaw pain around this time of year. It’s usually related to spasms of the masticatory (chewing) muscles related to stress. Remember the rule: Lips together and teeth apart! A little facial massage can often help. Tell me if you are clenching or grinding. In addition to damaging the teeth, these habits can also cause scores of seemingly unrelated symptoms. I have some easy exercises and tips for reducing  clenching and  preventing the damage that can result from grinding.

I hope these tips help you to enjoy your best holidays ever!

In the meantime, I’d be more than happy to address any of your concerns regarding the health of your teeth. Don’t hesitate to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence H. Stone, DDS, any time at 215-230-7667.