Dental Tourism – A Brief Review

Dentist TouristI’ve been aware of the practice of ” dental tourism” for some time now. In fact, I had a patient many years ago, who while wintering in in Arizona, made the short trip to Mexico to have a crown made – and at a substantially lower fee than mine. Honestly, I thought it was adequate!
A year ago, the CBS show ” 60 Minutes” did a feature on the Mexican town of Los Algodones, also known as “Molar City”. With a population of 6,000 including 600 dentists, Molar City is one of the world’s top destinations for dental tourists. When asked about the “60 Minutes” episode an American Dental Association spokesperson was quoted as saying “There are good and bad dentists everywhere”. True, but that’s not the whole story!
So why would people travel from aroun d the world to Mexico, India, or Eastern Europe for theirdental work? Some of the reasons are:

  • Lower fees
  • Reduced waiting times
  • Excellent care (in some cases!)

There are, however, potentially significant risks with this practice:

  • Infection Control – Many foreign countries do not have organizations like OSHA to insure adequate infection controls. There have been cases of individuals acquiring Hepatitis B and C and even HIV by having procedures done in unclean clinics overseas.
  • Inadequate training – Many foreign countries do not have the rigorous and uniform training programs and licensure requirements that we maintain in the U.S. This can certainly lead to poor outcomes.
  • Unapproved materials – Some countries permit the use of materials that have not been approved in the United States. (I usually cite the fact that the FDA never approved Thalidomide for use in pregnant women in the U.S., unlike Canada, England, and Belgium, which suffered horrendous birth defects as a result of this practice.)
  • And finally, what if there is a problem? – It’s difficult to see your dentist to repair or treat an unexpected problem if he or she is 2,000 miles away!

In conclusion I guess the old adage “Buyer Beware” would certainly apply here! For more information on this interesting topic visit

As always, I invite you to call with any questions. Feel free to contact us at Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA or call us at 215-230-7667.

Tooth Brushing Mistakes You Make Every Day

  1. worn and new toothbrushesYou don’t clean at the right time of day
    If you were to only brush once a day when would be the best time? Night time of course! When you are sleeping is the longest period of the day when you are not eating, and therefore, feeding the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. As I speak to people every day, another mistake I encounter is that many people brush upon arising in the morning before breakfast. It’s OK to freshen your breath in the morning but remember to brush after you eat. After all, you wouldn’t take a shower before exercising at the gym and not after!
  2. You use the wrong brush
    Anything other than a soft brush has the potential to harm not only the teeth but the gums as well. Plaque is soft and can be removed easily. Remember, it’s not how hard you brush, it’s how thoroughly you brush. Always use a soft brush.
  3. You ignore the rest of your mouth
    Your tongue harbors food and bacteria in the tiny crevices between the “papillae” on the back of the tongue. Use a tongue scraper or your brush to get rid of these harmful bacteria. (It can improve your breath as well!)
  4. Not using proper technique
    Believe it or not, I was in dental practice for 2 years before I learned how to floss properly! Many people never really learned how to brush properly either and many dental professionals are guilty of paying “lip service” to proper oral hygiene without actually showing their patients how to do it properly. Always check with us if you have any doubts. Never “scrub” and don’t apply too much pressure.
  5. Not brushing long enough
    The American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for 2 minutes each time. Two minutes is a long time if you’re watching the clock! That’s one reason why I’m a fan of electric toothbrushes is that they operate on a timer for 2 minutes so you don’t have to think about it.
  6. You don’t replace your brush
    You should probably replace your brush every 3-4 months, more frequently if the bristles become worn. Worn bristles won’t effectively remove plaque and bacteria. And don’t forget to replace your brush immediately if you’ve been sick! Bacteria and viruses from an illness can reside in the bristles and potentially re-infect you.

Happy Brushing!  As always, my staff and I are always available to address any concerns you have about the proper way to brush. 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.

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 WhiteningI 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 OrthodonticsReports 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” OrthodonticsThere 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.

Root Canal Awareness Week

The Simple Truth About a Root Canal

Root CanalWhoops! I missed it too! Root Canal Awareness Week was March 27 to April 2 and indeed, this week celebrated its 10th anniversary according to the American Association of Endodontists. With all of the days and weeks devoted to the myriad of causes and issues that occupy our consciousness these days, I’m really not that surprised to see a week devoted to root canal treatment.

The reason I decided to write about it, however, comes from the fact that so many people fear it and associate it with pain. I am reminded of this fact constantly by patients and there were several recently that made comments to this effect.

The simple truth, however, reveals a much different story. Root canal treatment (or endodontic therapy as we dentists call it) is actually a painless procedure when done properly. I believe that people’s fear of it stem from the fact that toothache pain is one of the major symptoms necessitating root canal treatment. In other words, the close association of tooth pain and endodontic treatment confuse many people into believing that they are interchangeable, when in reality, root canal treatment is what is needed to eliminate the pain of an infected tooth!

If you have any questions regarding this tooth saving therapy don’t hesitate ask us the next time you visit or in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA.

CariVu – A new view at tooth decay

We are pleased to be introducing CariVu™ to our practice. CariVu is a new fiber optic trans-illumination technology from Dexis that will help us with better and earlier diagnosis of tooth decay (caries), between your teeth. Earlier detection of course, leads to more conservative and less expensive treatment options.

carivuThe CariVu technology is painless, and allows us to produce Images that are radiation free. The technology works by bathing the tooth in safe, near-infrared light which makes the tooth’s enamel appear transparent, while porous lesions trap and absorb the light. Images read like familiar X-ray images.

This new technology, in conjunction with your periodic exam, x-rays and hygiene visit will help to improve your overall dental health.

Please ask us about CariVu or any of oral health issue the next time you are in the office or in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA.

Onlay vs. Dental Crown: Which is Better for Your Teeth?

dental_crownsCrowns and onlays are laboratory fabricated restorations that are made to restore and protect teeth that can’t be fixed with fillings, either because there was too much decay or there is too much tooth structure missing. Simply put, fillings have limitations. They just “ fill in” that part of the tooth that Is missing, but they don’t necessarily strengthen or protect the teeth from the forces generated during chewing.

In cases where there has been extensive loss of tooth structure, we often recommend a crown or an onlay, the difference being that an onlay covers just the biting surface of the tooth while the margins of a crown extend all the way to the gum line. Obviously, the crown is a more extensive restoration and involves the removal of more tooth structure. Onlays are typically preferred where the damage to the tooth is more minimal and restoration doesn’t require the removal of as much tooth structure for retention.

Both crowns and onlays can be made of different materials including gold, porcelain fused to various metals and a whole host of tooth colored ceramic materials, depending on the competing needs for strength and esthetics. The goal, of course, is to restore the normal anatomy and esthetics of the tooth so that it can function properly in the mouth.

Either restoration can last for many years if cared for properly. That means practicing excellent oral hygiene and regular visits to the dental office to prevent problems such as tooth decay and gum disease, which can threaten the longevity of any dental restoration.

So, which is best? It just depends on your individual situation. We’ll help you make that decision if the necessity arises. It’s a little like going to the ice cream store- chocolate, vanilla, etc. It’s not that one’s right and the other wrong. You’re still getting your ice cream!

If you have questions, please ask us about any of these issues the next time you are in the office or in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA.

What Exactly is “Occlusal Disease”?

And what does it have to do with tricycles?


Dentistry has traditionally diagnosed and treated three basic conditions relating to our teeth and their support systems:

  1. Tooth Decay (dental caries),
  2. Periodontal disease (diseases affecting the supporting structures of the teeth – the gums and bone) and
  3. Occlusal disease – those conditions affecting how the teeth meet when biting.

Occlusal disease has been without a doubt, the least understood of the three.

Fundamentally, the human jaw works like a tricycle, with the jaw joints acting like the rear wheels and the front teeth, like the front wheel, serving to guide or steer the lower jaw. A person’s occlusion or “bite”, as it is commonly called, just refers to how the upper and lower teeth meet when you close. Our back teeth have many hills and valleys which we call cusps and fossae. These cusps and fossae are supposed to interdigitate with each other like teeth on gears wheels. When they don’t, bad things happen!

Common symptoms when teeth don’t meet evenly and work together may include: uneven tooth wear, teeth and fillings that chip and break, sore jaw muscles, jaw joint problems, grinding, increased sensitivity to cold, and more. Patients and dentists alike are often puzzled by symptoms they can’t readily connect to a problem with the bite. Even worse, patients are often skeptical of treating these conditions, especially when they don’t understand the benefits.

The most overlooked and underutilized of all dental treatments is the occlusal adjustment or occlusal equilibration. It is simply the mechanical adjustment or smoothing of the biting surfaces of the teeth to allow the teeth to meet harmoniously. It is painless and is often all that is needed to correct a bad bite. For additional information you can search the American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry’s websites, or simply ask us the next time we see you.

If you have any questions in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have about this or any other issue in the field of dentistry.

Are Dental X-Rays Safe

Dr.LarryStone_Dental Xrays

Most people are familiar with having dentals x-rays taken periodically at dental visits and recognize the benefits of a dental x-ray examination. Occasionally someone still asks me if these X-rays are “safe”. The short answer Is “yes”, but some explanation may be more helpful.

First, dental X-rays involve a fraction of the amount of radiation delivered versus a medical X-ray. Radiation delivered for a treatment purpose, such as targeting cancerous cells in the body (as opposed to X-rays taken for diagnostic purposes), deliver many times more radiation than is required in a dental exam. For example, the amount of radiation one receives for dental purposes is often compared to the amount a person would receive from the environment after spending a sunny day at the beach or after a plane flight at 39,000 feet.

Second, only a small part of the body is typically exposed to a dental X-ray, with the rest often protected by a lead lined shield.

Third, the American Dental Association has instituted a safety protocol referred to as ALARA (As Low As Reasonably Allowable),which offers guidance in minimizing the dosage of radiation needed in specific situations.

Fourth, Pennsylvania requires regular inspection and registration for all X-ray machines (including dental X-rays equipment) to guarantee the public’s safety.

And lastly, many scientific organizations have developed recommendations or regulations on the proper, safe and effective use of X-rays in dentistry, including the Center for Devices and Radiological Health of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the American Dental Association as I mentioned, the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, and the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements.

Therefore, as you can see, a lot of people are concerned with your safety with respect to the use of dental X-rays so that you can relax more and enjoy your visit!

See you soon at the office! If you have any questions in the meantime, you can contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to discuss any concerns you may have regarding dental x-rays.

Don’t Like Flossing? Some tips to make it easier.

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Well, the good news is you’re not alone. Most people have trouble with flossing, So I’d like to offer a few suggestions that  I’ve found over the years may help.

  1. If you don’t know how to floss properly, then yes, you can hurt yourself and traumatize your gums. Call and stop by or ask the hygienist next time you are in for your “check-up” to make sure your technique is solid!
  2. Try a different kind of floss. If you don’t like what you are using then try something else. There are many different kinds of floss including waxed, un-waxed, tape, glide, flavored, unflavored, etc. Remember, it doesn’t matter what kind you use. The important thing is to remember to do it.
  3. Let’s face it, not everyone has the dexterity of a dental hygienist. II flossing is something you just physically cannot master, then consider using any one of a number of other devices available for getting In between the teeth. Some examples: GUM® Eez-Thru flossers, GUM® Proxabrushes, DenTek Triple Clean Floss Picks, DenTek Floss Threaders, the GUM ® Flossmate Floss Handle and Oral-B Super Floss®. No matter what the issue is, rest assured that there’s something out there to help.
  4. It’s important to floss at least once a day, but if you only floss once, when would be the best time? Night time of course, right before you go to bed. Why you ask? Because night time is the longest period during which you are not feeding the bacteria in dental plaque…those same bugs that cause tooth decay and gum disease.
  5. And finally, don’t forget that flossing, as an integral part of your daily oral hygiene routine, has now been linked to achieving better overall health in many ways. By reducing infection and inflammation, meticulous home care can help reduce the consequences of diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, and possibly pre-term low birth weight babies.

So for all these reasons and more I hope you take your daily flossing seriously.

Please feel free to talk with me at your next visit about your flossing techniques. We will be happy to demonstrate effective flossing techniques. Be sure to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA to schedule your next visit

Photo demonstrates Dentek Triple Clean Floss Picks in action.

Whiter Teeth for Life

Happy New Year!


As we welcome the new year I want to make it something special…for you! Because many of our patients have expressed an interest in having a whiter, brighter smile, I am announcing a new program in our office that will keep your smile whiter for life. That’s right…FOR LIFE!  It is called “Whiter.Brighter. You. for life” and uses the POLA + whitening program.

This privilege, while absolutely free, does require some rules and regulations. You can see the complete details at the office on your next appointment or on our web site page on tooth whitening. You can also go to for more whitening information on the POLA + whitening program.

Basically, any of our dedicated patients who have had their teeth whitened here in our office and who maintain their regular hygiene re-care appointment schedule will receive a complimentary “Pola” touch up whitening syringe of gel for life.

Any questions on whitening techniques or any other oral health issue related, feel free to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA. Best wishes for a healthy new year!