Colony Square Dental Associates

National Dental Hygiene Month | A Preview of What Hygiene Means To Us

National Dental Hygiene Month
A Preview of What Hygiene Means To Us

October is National Dental Hygiene Month! Although brushing, flossing, and routinely visiting the dentist are all very important, dental hygiene is so much more than that. After consulting the best in the business, our very own dental hygienists, Angela, Karen, and Cheryl, we now have an even better idea of what dental hygiene means to them. From many advancements in dental technology, to seeing patients grow from young children into adults, they have had many experiences throughout their combined seventy-five years of treating patients.

From a young age, Karen (pictured left) dreamt of assisting people with achieving a healthy smile. After experiencing a family member in need of a more fitted denture, the thought of attending school for oral healthcare was always in the back of her mind and eventually she became a registered dental hygienist. For Karen, the technological advancements in dentistry is what excites and motivates her to continue treating patients. When she first began as a hygienist, scaling and polishing were the “go-to” treatments performed. However, now she is able to provide quality care that is also comfortable. Such as using diagnostic tools to help with detecting and treating periodontal gum disease, administering antibiotics to patients with deep pocketing, and taking x-rays that are digital, which decreases the wait time as no developing of film is required. She loves the reward of educating patients and ensuring they are cared for with the leading dental equipment the industry has to offer.

Cheryl (pictured right) began her career as a dental hygienist because she wanted to help people have a bright and confident smile. With decades of experience, she has sealed, polished, and treated more teeth than one could count. It is always her goal to explain with great detail, the treatment and services provided in her dental chair as oral health is directly related to the overall health of the entire body. Cheryl has served on many dental boards throughout the years including serving two terms as President of the Georgia Dental Hygienists’ Association. Participating in such wonderful organizations has impacted how she approaches dentistry, but the most important accomplishment is the relationships formed over the years with people in her dental chair.

Dental hygiene was an ideal career choice for Angela (pictured center), as it is linked to the three things she loves – meeting a lot of interesting people, helping others, and catering to her love of bones. She started her dental hygiene career after completing a degree in Anthropology, where her focus was on the physical side (forensics – bones/teeth.) Meeting new people on a daily basis is very intriguing to her as she has always been interested in diverse cultures and languages. Angela’s daily goal is to ease her patient’s fears and anxiety, listen to their concerns, while helping with their oral systemic health and gaining them as friend.

You see, dental hygiene can be a number of things. It’s keeping up with technological advancements, trying each method to ensure the services provided are the best care. It’s seeing patients grow up, having children and grandchildren. It’s succeeding and serving on dental hygiene boards to assist with improving the overall hygiene practices across the country. It’s learning about your patient and their culture. We appreciate our hygienists and each individual drive to aid with a lifetime of good oral health. Happy National Dental Hygiene Month!

 

Why do I need regular dental exams?

Why do I need regular dental exams?

 

I’m feeling good! My smile looks great! I brush, and even floss, regularly. So, why do I need a regular dental exam? And, why every six months? There’s a bit of history to the answer. The recommendation to visit your dentist twice a year for routine, preventative dental care, began in earnest decades ago. But the beginning was many years before at the onset of WW1. During routine physicals, prior to entry in the military, it was found that a very high number of those enlisting, presented with signs not only of rampant dental neglect, but also dental disease. The reason? At that time the prevailing philosophy regarding visiting the dentist was that if it didn’t hurt, leave it alone.

This general disregard of one’s dental health, and evidence of preventable tooth damage and loss, provided the impetus for various organizations, both dental and general medical, to seeif there was a better way to approach and maintain oral health. The answer was “Yes”. Though previously dentists were on hand to fix problems, until this time there weren’t efforts to educate the public on the benefits of routine care. While public health organizations did help raise awareness, many attribute both ‘brushing twice a day’ and ‘every six-months dental visits’ to a Pepsodent toothpaste marketing campaign. In their efforts to create a demand for their product, they are credited as spring boarding the America’s desire to have a bright, and healthy, smile. Whatever the origins, the results were apparent. By the beginning of WW2 there was a profound decrease in dental disease.

Of course, since that time not only are there advancements in techniques and technology, making dental visits comfortable, there is extensive research supporting the recommendation to visit your dentist on a regular basis. While each patient’s needs are unique, and frequency is recommended based on your oral health, the general six-month rule of thumb remains.

Why is this visit so critical to prevention of dental disease?

It’s what takes place during that bi-annual visit. The old phrase, ‘what you don’t see can’t hurt you’, certainly doesn’t hold true with your health. Many problems, be they concerns related to your general health or your dental health, don’t always have symptoms. Oftentimes the disease process becomes symptomatic only when the disease process has advanced, typically necessitating more extensive care, which is often more costly as well. During these important visits we will:

Provide a professional dental cleaning (prophylaxis)  

  • Even though you brush twice a day and floss as well, there are areas that are hard to reach. When plaque hardens on the tooth, it forms calculus (tartar). Our dental hygienists will remove the build-up on the tooth structure. Tartar, containing harmful bacteria, eats away at the tooth’s structure – a cause of cavity formation. These substances are equally detrimental to the gum tissue, leading to infection of the tissue, called gingivitis, or, if more advanced, periodontitis. Both open the door for potential harm to your teeth, and to the supporting bone as well, a major cause of tooth loss. The regular removal of this harmful substance is a major key to prevention of disease.

Complete an Oral Cancer Screening and Node Evaluation

  • Hochberg and Diora will complete an oral examination. This includes an oral cancer screening, a type of cancer that is a growing problem in our country. While you may not notice anything that appears out of the ordinary when looking in the mirror, your dentist will. He or she looks for areas that appear suspicious. And, if a problem exists, the sooner it’s caught, the better the opportunity for successful treatment. They also check for any swelling in the nodes located under the jawline. This quick exam is an opportunity to catch early warning signs; if problems are noted, your dentist will refer to your physician for further evaluation.

Dental X-rays will be taken periodically

  • As needed, x-rays will be taken. Many concerns are not evident to the eye, and, as mentioned, are not always symptomatic early on. Through a review of your x-rays, decay, especially between your teeth, can be visualized. Also, tumors and cysts, teeth that are impacted, your TMJ (temporomandibular joint) and the jaw structure, can all be evaluated. Dental x-rays provide a mechanism for us to diagnose problems, provide you with information about the status of your oral healthcare, and recommend treatment when needed. The earlier we can intervene and halt the disease process, the better the outcome.

Discuss concerns, habits that impact your oral health, and answer questions

  • You may have noticed that your teeth have begun to wear. Or, that your jaw pops or is painful. Perhaps your teeth are not as white as previously. You may have been told you snore. This is an opportunity to discuss any issues that could impact your oral health, and even your overall health.

 

So, whether it was Pepsodent’s advertising efforts we have to thank, or a combination of other factors, patients who use their fluoride toothpaste, floss, and visit us regularly, are better positioned to stay on the road of dental health. After all, a visit to Colony Square Dental Associates twice a year is worth it in order to  keep a healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

Drinks That Stain Your Teeth

Drinks That Stain Your Teeth
Preventing discoloration without compromising your favorite beverages

A large variety of liquid refreshments that many enjoy, including coffee, tea, wine, and juice, can cause staining of your teeth. While limiting your intake of these beverages is beneficial to your oral and overall health, Drs. Hochberg and Diora are available to help educate you. It is also important to be knowledgeable of the specific dangers these substances present and how to best avoid discoloration and enamel erosion.

The first step in understanding how and why teeth stain, is to understand the tooth’s structure. Your tooth’s natural color is determined by the color of your dentin, the second layer of your tooth. Your enamel, the outer layer and most visible part of your tooth, is the portion that can be be stained from the consumption of certain liquids. The following drinks are those you should try to avoid:

COFFEE
Coffee is a commonly consumed beverage. In fact, approximately 83% of adults in the United States, intake a minimum of one cup per day. Constantly sipping on coffee throughout the day washes the chromogens and acid onto your enamel. Chromogens are compounds found in coffee with very strong pigments that can easily adhere to the surface of your teeth. Although your enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, it is sometimes uneven and has a rough surface. The pigments from coffee can become lodged into the cracks, ridges, and microscopic pits. Without proper measures taken, this can eventually cause permanent stains on your teeth.

Also, as an interesting note, adding cream will not reduce the pigmentation found in coffee. Therefore, while it may seem that a lighter coffee would result in less staining, the same pigments and acids are still present as in black coffee. Increasing milk or cream would only be helpful if you consume significantly less coffee.

TEA
Tea is an even bigger culprit than coffee. Does this surprise you? Unknowingly, many people love to savor this beverage throughout the day, without a second thought as to the harm it is presenting. Tea is rich in tannins. Tannins are a yellowish or brownish organic substance found in tea (and many other foods) to enhance flavor and color quality. It is an excellent antioxidant, but can be destructive to your enamel. Black tea is most commonly used for brewing iced teas and has been known as the biggest culprit. If possible, try to use herbal, green, or white teas as a better alternative.

WINE
The chromogens found in coffee, as well as tannins found in tea, are both present in red wine. This combination is the perfect recipe for tooth discoloration. What about white wine? White wine does not have chromogens, which is a plus, but it is more acidic than red. Eventually this can cause the same or even more damage and discoloration to your teeth. The acid in white wine breaks down your enamel, opening a pathway for other foods and beverages to stain your teeth.

There are many other drinks that pose a risk such as juice, sports drinks, as well as soda. These drinks should also be carefully monitored. Darker juices, like grape, cranberry, and prune are especially accountable for muddying your pearly whites. Darker soda, like juices, are obvious tarnish liquids, but clear sodas can also contribute due to the citric acid in them.

How do I keep my teeth from staining?
Prevention is key to fight the blemishes and avoiding stains from developing on your teeth. The following tips are beneficial to keep your teeth looking their best:

  • Limit your intake of these beverages.
  • Do not brush your teeth immediately after drinking an acidic or sugary beverage.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to help stimulate saliva production.
  • Rather than abstaining or sipping throughout the day, designate specific break times to enjoy your drink.
  • Rinse your mouth with water after consuming your beverage.

What do I do if my teeth are stained?
If your teeth are stained or discolored from years of consuming these beverages, at Colony Square Dental Associates, both Drs. Hochberg & Diora are happy to provide the best advice on how to best proceed with restoring and whitening your teeth. There are many whitening options both in our office and in the comfort of your home. Brushing with a whitening toothpaste twice a day and flossing twice a day is your best defense against stain fighting. You should also visit your hygienist for a professional dental cleaning every six months and an examination with the dentist. Our hope is to provide you with the tools needed for a lifetime of healthy, stained-free teeth.

Fluoride | For All Ages

Fluoride | For All Ages

For children, as well as adults, fluoride, a mineral found in the earth’s crust, has been shown to be both nature’s fighter against tooth decay, as well as nature’s restorer. After a lengthy study some years ago, research scientists determined that this almost magical mineral could help in the formation of healthy teeth, before they’ve erupted, while also aiding in strengthening the enamel in erupted teeth.

Why is fluoride so important?

Though the enamel of our teeth is strong, allowing us to bite into foods and chew in comfort, it is not impervious to damage. And not all damage is a result of trauma. Enamel also covers the tooth’s inner structures, which are softer and more susceptible to disease. Two minerals – calcium and phosphorus – found in the enamel, are critical components of this structure to provide strength. One tool, in order to keep enamel healthy, twice-a-day brushing and flossing, is well known. However, even with a good dental hygiene routine, there are other forces that can work against the health of our enamel. One such negative force can be diet; if it’s high in sugary foods or there is continual consumption of sweetened drinks, problems arise. An increase in the amount of sticky plaque that adheres to the tooth’s surface and damaging acids can result in the leaching out of the these important minerals. The result? Weakening the tooth’s enamel. Fluoride can both neutralize acids while it also helps to replace these missing minerals.

Who benefits from fluoride?

Everyone! Even though it was originally thought that young children should not use products containing fluoride, so important are the benefits to teeth that this opinion has changed. While parents should monitor use of fluoride toothpastes, it has been added as an important component in a parent’s toolbox to care of their children’s teeth. And for parents of young children through teen years, and sometimes into adulthood, fluoride varnishes, in conjunction with sealants on posterior teeth, help place a barrier against plaque, greatly reducing the incidents of decay in our youth.

And, it is important to note that the benefits of fluoride continue throughout our lifetime. The need to protect enamel from the bacteria, ever present in the oral cavity, and the ‘plaque attacks’ from foods, doesn’t diminish over time. Saliva, naturally produced by the body, helps bathe the teeth, reducing the amount of plaque that adheres to the tooth’s surface. However, as we age, or as a side effect of some medications, saliva production can decrease, causing dry mouth. The addition of fluoride is often recommended to mitigate potential damage when an insufficient amount of saliva is present. Also, when one’s mouth is chronically dry, the gums can recede and expose the tooth’s sensitive roots and place them at risk. Fluoride not only strengthens the enamel, but it also helps protect these exposed surfaces by reducing and neutralizing the presence of acids in the mouth.

How do we protect our teeth with fluoride?

There are two ways that we expose our teeth to fluoride – either ingestion, mostly by drinking fluoridated water, or topically. For young children, especially under the age of six, topical fluoride should be used after consultation with Drs. Hochberg and Diora.   Ingestion of too much fluoride by our young ones can cause decalcification of the teeth.

However, for all populations, appropriate use of fluoride is essential to optimize oral health. While drinking fluoridated water is an inexpensive and excellent way to intake fluoride, with the popularity of bottled water, many do not consume sufficient amounts to be beneficial.

For this group there are products that contain fluoride. Toothpastes, approved by the American Dental Association that show fluoride as an ingredient are readily available. And, in some instances, our dentists will recommend a fluoride rinse to adults and older children, if needed. And, for children, when brushing and flossing has not yet been perfected, getting into those hard to reach back areas is challenging. When there are grooves in the posterior teeth, many times sealants are recommended. To enhance the protection of the chewing surfaces, a topical varnish with fluoride, typically twice a year, helps their new teeth stay healthier and decay free.

Fluoride is important for everyone!

Whether you are pregnant and on the road to having a child or a member of our adult patient population, at Colony Square Dental Associates, we are here to work with you in order to maintain excellent oral health for you and your family. Twice a day brushing and flossing, professional dental hygiene visits, and a healthy diet all help. And, by adding one more tool to your toolbox, fluoride, we will keep you smiling.

AN ALTERNATIVE TO TRADITIONAL DENTURES: NOBEL BIOCARE’S ALL-ON-4 ® TREATMENT CONCEPT

AN ALTERNATIVE TO TRADITIONAL DENTURES:

NOBEL BIOCARE’S ALL-ON-4 ® TREATMENT CONCEPT

The month of August had been designated “National Dental Implant Month” making this a perfect time to raise awareness of how dental implants can enhance the quality of patients’ lives. A treatment solution offered by Colony Square Dental Associates, dental implants serve to replace the root of one or more missing teeth. For over 30 years,

Dr. Hochberg has provided his patients, along with patients of colleagues, both the surgical and the restorative phases of dental implant care. And, we are pleased to announce that, in October 2017, Dr. Hochberg will become President of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID). Through continued education, after which he has been bestowed with advanced credentials, he keeps current on the advancements in dentistry in order to provide state-of-the-art dental implant treatment solutions to patients.

One such advancement offered is Nobel Biocare’s All-on-4 ® treatment concept.

This approach is an alternative to removable dentures for patients who need remaining teeth, in the upper, lower, or both arches, removed, and exhibit bone loss. Oftentimes, it’s also an option for those currently wearing traditional dentures when bone loss is evident. With Nobel Biocare’s, All-on-4 ®, 4 or 6 dental implants are placed in an edentulous (no teeth) arch. They serve as anchors to support non-removable implant supported teeth (a fixed hybrid-prosthesis). The reason this is viable, when there is less than ideal bone volume, is due to both the technique utilized to place the posterior implants as well as the material used to fabricate the implant. These implants are made out of titanium, and titanium naturally fuses to the bone. To expose more of the implant’s surface to the existing bone, providing a greater surface area to fuse implant to bone, the implants in the back of the mouth are placed at an angle – a 45-degree tilt. The result? Greater support for the implants.

 

 

What is the advantage of implant-supported dentures?

Patients have the security knowing that their new teeth will remain in place – eliminating slippage, looseness, and the need for adhesives. And as the roof of the mouth is not covered it’s easy to speak naturally. Patients chew in comfort and smile with confidence.

To learn more about this alternative to removable dentures, read more on our website, colonysquaredental.com, or better yet, give us a call at Colony Square Dental Associates and we would be happy to schedule a time for you to meet Dr. Hochberg and discuss whether dental implants are an option for you.

School is back in Session

 

School is back in Session | Fun Dental Facts to Intrigue Your Youngsters

 


School is starting next week for many counties in Georgia. Soon your children will be pouring over homework and spending their afternoons completing assignments. Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Diora have compiled a list of fun dental facts to assist with breaking up study time and providing some night-time fun. Please share these with the young ones in your life.

  • In the average Americans lifetime, one usually spends almost 39 total days brushing their teeth.
  • More than anything else we eat, chocolate has been proven to make us smile more.
  • Your teeth are the only part of the human body that isn’t able to heal itself.
  • Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and is the most highly mineralized.
  • 14 million gallons of toothpaste are purchased each year in the U.S.
  • A study was conducted and it was determined that approximately 48% of adolescents and millennials will or have untagged themselves from a photo on Facebook because they are unhappy with their smile.
  • In North America alone, over 3 million miles of dental floss is purchased annually. This is enough to wrap the earth from top to bottom over 120 times!
  • In the early 1800s, you could easily have a key made and get a haircut by the same person who just pulled your tooth! This was possible as most blacksmiths and barbers would also serve as the town dentist.
  • The strongest muscle in the human body is your tongue!
  • Believe it or not, there is more bacteria in a human mouth than there are people on the planet.
  • 50% of Americans do not receive recommended routine oral healthcare services.
  • Irene Newman was a dental assistant in the year 1905. The dentist she worked for trained her to clean teeth and she became the first ever dental hygienist.
  • Did you know a sneeze releases from your mouth at over 600 miles per hour?!
  • In colonial days, debtors were asked to agree to a contract of sorts to pay off their bill. In the place of a signature they would seal the agreement by leaving their dental imprint in wax.
  • Children worldwide lose more than 51 million hours of school due to dental related illnesses.

Remember it is always a good idea to promote good oral hygiene at a young age. These fun dental facts can also be useful for that purpose in your home. It is a nice way to begin a conversation for a lifetime of excellent oral health.

Why do I need a Root Canal?

Why do I need a Root Canal?
Knowing what to expect

Oh no! You’ve heard those dreaded words – You need a root canal. While Drs. Hochberg and Diora understand that everyone prefers to avoid dental treatment due to concerns that it will hurt, for many patients root canal therapy actually alleviates the pain caused by infection. So, why the apprehension when treatment is needed? In the ‘olden days’, root canals, and other dental procedures as well, were associated with discomfort. However, with today’s techniques, along with anesthetics and medications, a root canal is similar to having a filling. And the best news is that a root canal oftentimes allows us to save a tooth that otherwise would have been extracted.

When is a root canal needed?

A bit of understanding of tooth structure is important before we can answer this question. The center of a tooth is soft and contains the pulp, housing the tooth’s nerves, along with the associated connective tissue and the blood supply.  Problems arise when this inner sanctum is breached through dental disease or accidental damage. Once the pulp chamber is compromised, bacteria can enter the chamber causing extensive bacterial growth, which, in many instances, leads to infection. This infection can be present anywhere in the pulp chamber. When it occurs at the tip of the root and causes a pus-filled pocket to form, it’s called an abscess. The old cartoons showing a person with a swollen face and in discomfort are oftentimes those where there is an abscess or the infection has broken through into the bone or the face; hence the swelling.  Like all infections, left untreated, not only is the tooth subject to further damage, but also one’s overall health can be impacted.

Before the advent of modern dentistry and advance technology to treat these types of infections the only solution was to remove the tooth. And, while there are some instances where the tooth cannot be saved, many times it can. Dr. Hochberg or Dr. Diora will take an x-ray of the tooth. This provides an inside look showing the doctor the number of canals as well as the shape and direction of the canals. They’ll look to see if there is an abscess or if the infection has spread outside of the tooth structure and they will discuss their findings with you.

If a root canal is proposed – it’s okay. While there are some cases where our dentists may refer to an endodontist, a specialist in root canals, oftentimes they are able to provide the care needed should the tooth appear restorable.If you’ve had a filling before, this will be a similar procedure. You will receive numbing anesthesia, and should you request it, either nitrous oxide or medications are available to help you relax. Your dentist will access the tooth’s center in order to remove the diseased pulp tissue with special instrumentation called root canal files. The files serve to shape the canals to the very tip of the root, taking out the bacteria and the center soft tissue structure, leaving voided canals.Whether the next steps, filling the voids then sealing the tooth, are done in one visit or more, depends on the original nature of the problem. In some instances the tooth can be sealed at the time of treatment. A paste and gutta-percha (a compound from a rubber tree) fills empty pulp chamber, occupying the voids in the canals as well. To complete the procedure, a tooth-colored composite restoration, just like one that is provided if there is decay and the cavity is filled, is used to seal the area where the hole was drilled into the tooth. In other instances, the pulp chamber is filled with a temporary filling or, if need be, a medicated (sedative) filling, allowing the tooth time to recover from the infection and swelling to subside. During this time we suggest that you chew on the other side, reducing the risk of recontamination of the tooth, until you return in a few weeks to complete the procedure. In either instance, you may experience a bit of discomfort, and can take Advil during this time. Even though the tooth no longer has nerves, there is trauma that the infection caused to surrounding structures.

Once the tooth’s center is filled and the tooth is sealed, Drs. Hochberg and Diora will advise you as to whether the tooth is strong enough as is or if further care is needed. Inasmuch as the damage reached the tooth’s center, many times either the existing disease process or the accidental injury has already weakened the tooth’s structure. If this is the case, your dentist will recommend a final restoration – a crown, with or without a post & core, in order to provide the strength needed for the tooth to withstand the forces of biting and chewing.

Remember, our goal is to remove infection and prevent further damage, while working to keep the tooth in place. All our teeth are important. To maintain overall oral health and avoid shifting teeth, bone loss and a compromised smile, when a tooth is lost – we need to replace it. While not every patient is aware that a tooth is in jeopardy and it’s only determined during routine dental screening x-rays, there are some symptoms that should not be ignored. If you notice any of the following:

  • Pain when chewing or pressing on the tooth
  • A change in the color of a tooth
  • A pimple on the gum tissue
  • Swelling and tenderness
  • A noticeable sensitivity to hot or cold food and liquids

Give us a call at Colony Square Dental Associates and let us take a look. We’re available to help you maintain and restore your teeth … And if you need a root canal, don’t worry, we’ll do our utmost to keep you smiling!

New Baby & Dental Care

New Baby & Dental Care
A guide to kick start your baby’s first years of dental hygiene

Knowing how to approach oral healthcare for your new baby can be challenging. The first 3-12 months will be comprised of swollen/bulging gums, drooling, and irritability as your little one begins teething. As new mom herself, Dr. Mira Diora will soon be experiencing the same obstacles that many of our patients, as new parents, face. Our goal is to simplify the process and provide parents and caregivers with the basics to ensure their child’s smile remains both happy and healthy.

Beginning a healthy diet during pregnancy is vital. The food you consume can directly affect the growth in your unborn child. As teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, it is important you are ingesting enough nutrients. This includes calcium, protein, phosphorous, and vitamins A, C, and D. Regular dental visits for oral examinations and teeth cleanings are also very important during this time. Pregnancy hormones can make gum tissue increasingly sensitive to plaque and in many cases can develop into gingivitis. It is estimated that 30-80% of women will experience symptoms such as red, bleeding, or inflamed gums, sensitive teeth, or difficulty chewing. Given the prevalence of this condition, it is significantly important to pay close attention when brushing and flossing. This will become your best defense against bacteria.

Once your bundle of joy arrives, the work has just begun. Developing a habit of home dental care at an early age, promotes a lifetime of good dental hygiene. You may even start stimulating the gums prior to the first tooth appearing. This can be done with a clean wet washcloth after each feeding. Continuing this practice until the first tooth appears is preferable.

As soon as you detect a hard knot, or the first sightings of a tooth breaking through, it is time to begin brushing! Keep in mind your baby may have sore or tender gums during this time. It’s best to use a children’s soft-bristled toothbrush and a fluoride toothpaste. Begin brushing his or her teeth twice per day (morning and night). No more than a tiny smear of toothpaste is needed until the child turns three years old. It is important to be aware that your baby’s first dental visit may only entail reviewing their tooth and jaw development. We sometimes refer to it as their first ride in the dental chair. Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Diora will let you know when the first cleaning should be scheduled.

By three years of age, most children will have a full set of 20 baby teeth. Baby teeth hold a very important role in your child’s development. They assist with chewing, speaking, smiling, and holding space in the jaw for their permanent teeth to grow. Essentially, they serve as natural braces. At this age you may increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste from a smear to a pea-sized amount. Remember to always supervise brushing and ensure that no toothpaste is swallowed. By this time, your child will be visiting the dentist regularly for dental check-ups.

At Colony Square Dental Associates, we are here to help you answer any questions about your growing youngster. And we are sure Dr. Diora will soon be sharing stories of her personal experiences with her new baby boy, Shailen!

Diabetes and Dental Health
What is the connection?

Diabetes and Dental Health
Does Diabetes affect Dental Health?

According to the CDC’s study in 2014, it is estimated that almost 29 million people in the United States have some form of diabetes. Those who battle this disease know that it can impact many areas of the body – it’s commonly associated with diseases of the kidneys, eyes, nerves and cardiovascular system. Drs. Hochberg and Diora remind us that what is often overlooked is the effect that diabetes can have on one’s dental health. Whether type 1 or type 2, when diabetes becomes a chronic condition, research has confirmed a link between it and the oral cavity. And, this year, according to the American Dental Association, one in five people who experience total tooth loss has diabetes.

To best understand the connection between diabetes and oral health, let’s take a moment to review some basic dental facts, answering the question – What is periodontal disease? It’s an infection of the structures that support and surround our teeth. The first sign is gums that are swollen or bleed when brushing, called gingivitis. Left untreated the infection can progress into the bone that supports your teeth. Once the infection has spread to this point, periodontitis, the risk for tooth mobility and possible loss is increased. Periodontal disease is of great concern to patients otherwise in good health – everyone wants to keep their teeth for a lifetime! But, it’s even more challenging for those with diabetes. According to an article from the American Diabetes Association on Oct 10, 2014,

“…emerging research also suggests that the relationship between serious gum disease and diabetes is two-way. Not only are people with diabetes more susceptible to serious gum disease, but serious gum disease may have the   potential to affect blood glucose control and contribute to the progression of diabetes”.

It sounds like circular reasoning but it’s true. Those with poorly controlled diabetes are at a higher risk for periodontal disease. And those with diabetes who have periodontal disease find it more difficult to control their diabetes. How and why is there this correlation? Those with diabetes are shown to be at a higher risk of thickening of blood vessels, which carry nutrients and oxygen to tissues and carry away waste products. This includes the gum tissue as well, leaving it more exposed the to risk of infection – periodontal disease. And, on the other end of the ‘two-way street’, patients with periodontal disease have an infection, no different than any other bodily infection. And, like any infection, periodontal disease can cause an increase in blood sugar levels, making glucose levels more difficult to control.

Other concerns we note with our diabetic patients are …

  • Xerostomia (dry – mouth) many medications inhibit the body’s production of saliva, which keeps your mouth moist, and comfortable. But this also occurs when blood sugar levels are not controlled. The glucose level in one’s saliva increases while at the same time there is a reduction in the body’s production of this natural tooth protector. The result? Dry-mouth and teeth that are more susceptible to decay.
  • Thrush – either on your tongue, or on the inside of your mouth, red or white patches are symptoms of this oral fungal infection.
  • Children’s cavities – children with IDDM (insulin–dependent diabetes mellitus) are shown to have more cavities.
  • Longer healing times – when undergoing oral surgery, such as an extraction. If it’s not an emergency, we will consider your blood glucose levels before scheduling dental surgery.
  • Changes in the taste of foods – a frequent complaint. What is important is to find healthy substitutes to enhance taste, avoiding adding extra sugar.

It goes without saying that the goal for our patients with diabetes is to control their glycemic levels. At Colony Square Dental Associates our role is partner with you to keep your mouth healthy. Ensuring that you maintain excellent periodontal health not only keeps your smile intact, but also healthier gums translate to a healthier you. What can you do to help out?

  • Brush and floss twice a day
  • Exercise and eat healthy
  • If you are a denture wearer – be sure to keep it clean
  • Call when you note any changes that occur in your mouth
  • Visit us periodically for your regular dental visits

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Teeth Whitening

Teeth Whitening
Do Natural Products Work?

First impressions are extremely important and we at Colony Square Dental Associates understand when the need arises to enhance your smile. However, many individuals may try to brighten at home before visiting their oral healthcare provider. Drs. Hochberg and Diora are here to research the latest DIY crazes and offer their expertise on which products are safe for your enamel and effective to whiten your teeth.

Among the newest trends is an oxidized charcoal powder. It is advertised to be used as a paste. This involves brushing for approximately two minutes prior to rinsing. Although it has grabbed attention online by way of social media, the American Dental Association has currently not approved any charcoal teeth whitening products. In fact, many dentists are warning that using this method may lead to both enamel deterioration and tooth erosion, as it is comprised of a harsh abrasive material. As your enamel cannot replenish itself, once lost it must be covered with a restoration by your dentist.

Another trend that many people are trying is “coconut oil pulling.” This entails involves gently swishing 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth, and in-between your teeth, for approximately 10-20 minutes, and while making certain not to swallow any of the oil. However, not only is this process very time consuming, there is no reliable scientific proof that shows it is effective in brightening or whitening teeth. The best rule of thumb for oils is to save them for your dinner table.

If whitening is a priority for your ideal smile we have suggestions for keeping a bright and white smile at home.

            Brush your teeth twice daily for approximately two minutes
            Use a whitening toothpaste that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance
>             Clean interproximally at least once daily with a proxy brush or dental floss
>             Limit foods and drinks that may stain your teeth or drink them sparingly through a straw
            Visit your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings

Remember a white smile is attainable. Both Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Diora are happy to discuss the many tooth whitening treatment options and determine which method is best for you. From our in-office ZOOM! ® Whitening procedure, to bleaching a single tooth internally, there are many beneficial ways to approach a whiter smile.  Please give us a call and we’d be happy to schedule a consultation for you.