Hermey Finally Gets His Due! One of Santa’s Elves Wanted to Be a Dentist!


Just a few years ago I was enjoying a nostalgic trip back in time watching the classic animated story of Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer. I had forgotten and was amazed that Hermey, one of Santa’s elves, expressed a burning desire to become a dentist!

The show is now celebrating its 50th year and believe it or not, Hermey still wants to be a dentist! The story of Hermey has not gone unnoticed by the American Dental Association, which has officially recognized this brave little elf as a DDG (Dental Do Gooder). To celebrate Hermey, there are some free downloadable coloring pages, a trivia quiz, and an opportunity to enter a sweepstakes for a Hermey Prize package for those young children on your Christmas list at the ADA’s MouthHealthy.org website.

Be sure to check out Hermey’s “Have You Been Naughty or Nice to Your Teeth” checklist for keeping mouths healthy for your children.

Any questions on how to assist your children with good oral hygiene or any other oral health issue, feel free to contact me or the staff at my office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA with any questions or concerns or to schedule your next visit so we can talk more about this. Happy Holidays to everyone!

6 Reasons to Laugh


Need a good laugh? We all do from time to time, especially as we age.

I was reminded of this by the unfortunate passing of Robin Williams last month. The problem is that talking or writing about the health benefits of laughter is rarely funny in and of itself!

Laughter is so important that many years ago I made a habit of attending the International Conference on Humor and Creativity held in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. Many of the ideas I gleaned from those conferences I tried to incorporate into my dental practice. I even had the opportunity to meet Steve Allen and his son, a practicing physician in Horseheads, N.Y. Then there is also the very interesting book by Norman Cousins, “The Anatomy of an Illness,” where he stated that “laughter is inner jogging.”

So, here it is, the six reasons why you need to laugh:

  1. Laughter increases blood flow, a positive thing for those of us that value life!
  2. Humor may raise the level of infection fighting antibodies in the body and boost the level of immune cells.
  3. Laughter can help mediate blood sugar levels in the body.
  4. People who laugh are able to relax and sleep better.
  5. Laughter can increase your personal satisfaction and help you connect with others.
  6. Laughter can lessen your depression and anxiety and will improve your mood.

Got any good jokes? Send them to me!

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!





Three Ways That Modern Dentistry Can Help Improve Your Love Life!


Three Ways That Modern Dentistry Can Help Improve Your Love Life!

Don’t believe it? Well, it’s true. There may even be more! I can think of at least three ways that modern dentistry could change your love life. I’ve seen it happen time and again. Here are the three ways that come immediately to mind:

1.Cosmetic Dentistry

Repeated studies have shown that people with attractive smiles have an advantage – at work and at life in general. They are more likely to get that job, a date, or a new spouse because a beautiful smile naturally attracts more positive  attention. Whether it’s tooth whitening, porcelain laminate veneers or cosmetic bonding, dentistry today can help you get that winning smile!

2. Fresh Breath

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a real “buzz kill”. No one wants to kiss someone with bad breath. Most bad breath comes from inadequate home care. Just brushing and flossing properly can solve most of these problems.

Other causes can, however, occasionally be the culprit. These include: smoking, sinus infections, periodontal disease, eating foods that contain aromatic compounds  such as garlic and raw onions that are eliminated through the lungs, and Xerostomia or dry mouth. Whatever the cause, the dental office is the place to start. By asking a few questions we can usually determine the cause and solving the problem can sometimes be surprisingly easy.

3. Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a serious and sometimes life threatening medical condition that is often treated with CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) machines but can in many cases be alleviated with oral appliances. Patients with OSA show more sexual dysfunction relating to erectile dysfunction and sexual dissatisfaction when compared to normal subjects. Treating patients with OSA with oral appliances when possible has been shown in controlled studies to improve erectile dysfunction as discussed by Aarnoud Hoekema in his book: Oral-appliance Therapy in Obstructive Sleep Apnea-hypopnea Syndrome.

And there you have it, three ways in which modern dentistry can improve your love life! I’d be interested to hear from any of you who have your own stories to share.

Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!

Obstructive Sleep Apnea – Can You Pass This Simple Test?

STOP-BANG Quetionnaire

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is one of the most under-diagnosed and potentially most serious of all medical conditions. If untreated, it can lead to high blood pressure, stroke, and premature death.

By taking this simple test below (the “STOP-BANG” questionnaire) you can determine if you are at risk for OSA. If so, speak with your physician or call us for a referral to a medical sleep specialist. Any questions? Don’t hesitate to contact me or the office, Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA, today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!

STOP-BANG Questionnaire
To Assess Risk for an Obstructed Sleep Airway (OSA)

  1. Do you Snore loudly (louder than talking or loud enough to be heard through closed doors ?   O Yes O No
  2. Do you often feel Tired, fatigued, or sleepy during daytime?  O Yes O No
  3. Has anyone Observed you stop breathing during your sleep? O Yes O No
  4. Do you have or are you being treated for high blood pressure? O Yes O No
  5. Body Mass Index (BMI) more than 35 (use the formula to calculate your BMI)?
    O Yes O No
  6. Age over 50 yr old?  O Yes O No
  7. Neck circumference greater than 40 cm?  O Yes O No
  8. Gender male?  O Yes O No

Scoring: Answering “yes” to three or more of the 8 questions indicates that you are at High Risk for OSA. Answering “yes” to less than three questions indicates that you are at Low Risk for OSA. If you scored in the High Risk for OSA category, a sleep study or an evaluation by a sleep specialist may be warranted.


Mouth Guards Part 2 – It’s Not Just About Dental Injuries!

Custom laminated mouth guard for student athletes

Recently I wrote a blog on mouth guards as they relate to preventing dental injuries in young athletes, and cheerleaders in particular. But there is another and possibly more compelling reason to make sure that any athlete is wearing a properly fitted mouth guard.

A study on the role of mouth guards in reducing the incidence of mild traumatic brain injury/concussion injuries (MTBI) in high school football players appeared recently in the Journal of the Academy of General Dentistry. The study involved six high school football teams totaling 412 players over a single season. The players were divided into 2 groups: those that wore over-the-counter (OTC) mouth guards and those that wore custom fabricated pressure laminated (LM) mouth guards. There were 24 mild traumatic brain injuries (concussions) recorded during the season. The conclusion: Wearing a properly fitted custom-made laminated mouth guard was statistically significant in reducing the incidence of MTBI/concussion injuries when compared to OTC mouth guards.

If anyone in your family is involved in contact sports please have them call our office for a custom-made mouth guard. It’s not just about dental injuries! We are so committed to protecting our student athletes that we are offering a program for any high school or college student who participates in organized sports and is a patient with Dr. Larry Stone, having annual cleanings, x-rays and exams, is eligible for a FREE protective mouth guard to protect his or her teeth.

Be sure to ask us at your next visit about this important program for your children. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or suggestions you may have or contact Dr. Laurence Stone in Doylestown, PA today to schedule your next appointment and we can talk more about this. See you soon!

Donated dental services – Lending a helping hand

Recently I received a letter from Donated Dental Services (DDS), the parent organization for the Dental Lifeline Network in Pennsylvania. The purpose of the letter was to congratulate all of the volunteers who have worked with this organization since its inception in 1986. To date, DDS has provided more than $250 million in services to 120,000 people with disabilities or who are elderly or medically eligible in all 50 states.

There are many organizations that offer the opportunity to provide donated care to those in need. Some of those I have worked with over the years include:

  • Rotaplast International – a Rotary International affiliated organization providing cleft lip and palate surgeries to disadvantaged children worldwide.
  • The Ann Silverman Community Health Clinic – a Doylestown Hospital based program providing routine dental care to needy adults in the central Bucks area.
  • Give Back a Smile – a program affiliated with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry which restores the smiles of women victimized by domestic abuse.
  • Mission of Mercy (MOM) in PA – Providing dental care to focused areas of need within Pennsylvania.


(Shown above: Dr. Stone poses with fellow volunteer at the MOM n PA clinic held at Temple University)

Some of the most rewarding experiences I have had as a dentist have been working with volunteer organizations. The need is enormous and the patients I have treated have been among the most appreciative I have met. There are many dental organizations that largely go unappreciated or are unknown to the general public. You can find an extensive list of them on the American Dental Association’s website.

Regardless of the type of work you do, there is always a need in today’s world for volunteer efforts. I would urge anyone to consider volunteering your time or talents in a way that suits you. You may just find that you too will experience how rewarding volunteering can be!


Sleep apnea – Do you suffer from the “silent killer”?


The first time I recall hearing anything about obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) was shortly after the death of former Philadelphia Eagle and NFL great Reggie White, the famed “Minister of Defense”. Coming just a few weeks after his 43rd birthday, Reggie’s passing really affected my psyche and brought national attention to the issue. After all, he was such a physical specimen as to actually intimidate opposing players. So what happened?

It turns out that sleep apnea happens when one’s airway becomes blocked while sleeping. In many cases it is because a person is overweight and excess tissue thickens the wall of the windpipe making it more difficult to breathe. Sometimes it is because the throat muscles relax more than normal. It’s estimated that about 30 million Americans have sleep apnea with about half of those being undiagnosed. One study estimates the prevalence of OSA in the population visiting the dental office as approaching 34%.

The signs and symptoms of OSA can range from mild snoring to a feeling of general tiredness, cognitive impairment, an increase in blood pressure, pulmonary hypertension, obesity and an increase in one’s Body Mass Index (BMI). Left untreated OSA can result in heart attack, stroke and in the case of some, like Reggie White, premature death. Additionally, people with OSA are two-three times more likely to be involved in a car crash than those who do not suffer from it, and five times more likely to be involved in a serious car crash!

Obstructive Sleep Apnea can only be diagnosed by a qualified physician with the aid of a polysomnogram (sleep study).Initial treatment may involve abstaining from alcohol and sleep medications, weight loss and a change in sleep position.Beyond that, the gold standard for treatment of OSA is the CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine. Surgery may help some and the use of a removable dental appliance to open the airway may also help.

If you think you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea don’t hesitate to discuss this with your physician or call us for a referral.We will be looking for signs of this silent killer each and every time you visit us in the office as well!


Taste Disturbances – When “It’s All a Matter of Taste!”


It doesn’t happen often, but occasionally I have a patient who complains of a change or loss of their ability to taste food. I may see cases like this a few times a year and it can be very disconcerting if it happens to you!

Tasteis a very complicated issue and there is not much research explaining the complexity of the taste system,and few definitive treatments exist. Patients often confuse taste changes with flavor changes. There are 5 basic tastes:

  • Salty
  • Sweet
  • Sour
  • Bitter, and
  • Umami (often described as a savory or meaty flavor)

Flavor is a combination of taste, aroma and the sensation of food in one’s mouth. Loss of taste results in a person’s lack of response to one of these five tastes, while loss of the perception of flavor is a result of damage to specific nerves or disturbances in our ability to smell!

Taste disturbances can often be associated with malnutrition, decreased salivary flow (dry mouth), radiation and chemotherapy, the use of certain medications (specifically diuretics and ACE inhibitors used to treat high blood pressure), chronic inflammation, autoimmune disorders and damage to the nerves innervating the taste and olfactory pathways. Taste disturbances are rarely associated with external sources such as leaky fillings or infection, but rather usually emanate from problems within the taste system itself.

Got all that? As my mother used to say: “Clear as mud!” Please let me know if you think you may be experiencing a problem affecting your ability to taste, as there is often an easy fix to the problem. See you soon!


Candy and tooth decay – It’s raining candy; what’s a parent to do?


With Halloween upon us I would be remiss without making a few hopefully helpful suggestions on how best to weather the “ candy storm”! With almost $ 7 billion in sales, Halloween has somehow become the second most popular holiday in America, only outdone by the Christmas season. The Huffington Post reports about $2 billion of that in the sale of candy alone!

No, this doesn’t translate to an immediate need for my services starting the day after, but it does give pause for thought on the consequences of our behavior. The consumption of treats sweetened with high fructose corn syrup not only adds to the problems of obesity and diabetes, but promotes tooth decay as well. Every parent is tasked with the responsibility of how to handle this challenge, so here are a few suggestions to minimize the destruction. I hope this helps.

  1. Take control of the candy supply and dole out sweets periodically throughout the holidays.
  2. Make sure your kids swish with water after indulging to dilute the acids created by  decay causing bacteria. (Don’t brush immediately after eating candy as this could contribute to erosion of enamel!.)
  3. Avoid hard or sticky candies that stay in the mouth a long time and feed those nasty bacteria.
  4. Substitute healthier snacks when possible.
  5. Don’t allow late night snacking before the kids (you too!) go to bed.
  6. Make sure you brush and floss before bedtime.
  7. Insist on fluoride treatments for the kids when at the dental office. (The CDC has called fluoridation of public water supplies one of the top 10 public health advances of the last century!)

I hope you enjoy the holiday and don’t wind up paying the unanticipated costs of overindulgence.


Best wishes,
Larry Stone, DDS

Dental Insurance vs. Direct Reimbursement. Why you need to understand the difference.

Even before the specter of the Affordable Care Act we’ve often been asked questions about dental insurance and why we don’t participate or why a plan doesn’t pay for this or that. It’s really not that complicated. Dental insurance is a rigged game and I refuse to play. No insurance company has ever lost a dime on a dental insurance policy. Insurance is for catastrophic events: i.e. hurricane Katrina, a $100,000 triple by-pass, your home burns down, etc. There simply is no catastrophic downside in dentistry! Therefore…no need for insurance. Same for eye glass coverage.

What people should want, where possible, is a dental benefit program. The answer for this is Direct Reimbursement.

Never heard of it? That’s because there’s no money to be made from it. No money for insurance companies, brokers, or sales people!

How does it work? Simple. You or your employer set aside a certain amount of money each year depending on a predetermined limit of coverage and the patient can:

  1. See any dentist of their choosing (there are no participating/non-participating dentists)
  2. Have any procedures done that are needed (there are no covered/non-covered services)
  3. Pay the dentist his or her regular fee.
  4. Present your paid receipt to your employer who will write you a check, up to the predetermined limit for the year.

The benefits to the employer are great too:

  1. The employer gets the same tax write off that they would for an insurance program
  2. You get the same benefit for less or a better benefit for the same amount of money set aside. (Typically the average benefit with a dental insurance plan is 65 cents for each premium dollar paid. The rest is the insurance company’s costs and profits!)
  3. If there’s money left at the end of the year…the employer keeps it! It’s their money! (When’s the last time you heard about an insurance premium being refunded?)

Need more information? Just call or e-mail my office or the American Dental Association. We would be happy to help you or your accountant set up a Direct Reimbursement Program for your place of employment!