Colony Square Dental Associates

Oral Cancer | You’re not in the clear!

Vaping and It’s Potential Risks

What is Vaping?
Vaping is the common term of using a handheld electronic device that vaporizes a flavored liquid for inhalation. This new fad, especially in our youth population, is increasing in popularity. What many people may not know is, most vaping liquids on the market contain nicotine derived from the tobacco plant. Pens, hookah pens, and electronic cigarettes are all types of electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS) and are available to purchase by the American public. These devices are comprised of three basic parts – a battery, a cartridge containing the vaping liquid, and a heating element.


It is easy to see why electronic cigarettes would appear as a healthier alternative to traditional cigarettes as it does not appear to contribute to tooth discoloration, plaque build-up, or bad breath. In fact, many people use them as a replacement when trying to quit smoking. However, e-cigarettes have not yet been fully studied and, therefore, consumers are unable to accurately determine the potential risks. The amount of nicotine and other prospectively harmful chemicals that are being inhaled during use is uncertain at this time. It is also unknown if this is a viable way to ‘cut down’ on traditional cigarette use or the beginnings of a new health risk.

Effects Vaporized Nicotine has on Oral Health:
• Whether nicotine is delivered via traditional cigarette, or otherwise, it harms the mouth, gums, and tongue. It can also contribute to the development of both gingivitis and periodontitis. And, there is the potential for gum disease which causes inflammation to develop throughout the body.
• It is imperative to include your intake of all nicotine products on your medical history form. Nicotine is a vasoconstrictor, meaning it constricts blood vessels, resulting in reduced blood flow. And as oxygen and nutrients are both vital for gums to stay healthy, nicotine consumption oftentimes makes it more difficult for Dr. Hochberg and Dr. Diora to diagnose gum disease. When bleeding gums aren’t present it may deceive the patient into believing they are in great periodontal health. However, if the progression of gum disease can’t be properly recognized, observed, and diagnosed, oral health can worsen without the proper treatment. Since nicotine masks the more obvious symptoms, your dental hygienist will also take a “pocket reading.” Pockets are essentially the space (or pocket) around each of your teeth. Deeper pockets may indicate that there is a breakdown of the gums to the teeth and can also be a tell-tale sign that gum disease is present.
• Nicotine also inhibits your body’s natural ability to produce saliva. Bacteria buildup, dry mouth, and tooth decay are all potential risks of inefficient lubrication.

 

More research will need to be done to fully understand the impact vaping can have on one’s overall oral health. However, we do know use of a nicotine product isn’t a good habit to begin. The safest recommendation to keep a beautiful and healthy smile is abstinence.

CSDA Springs Forward at Hinman 2018

Each spring, the Thomas P. Hinman Dental meeting is held right here in Atlanta, GA. With a noteworthy reputation, Hinman consistently aids dentists, hygienists, assistants, and front office team members with continuing their education and informing them of the latest advancements in dentistry today.

This year was no exception! The speakers were all informative and provided us with tools and knowledge to bring back to our office. From the interactive lectures, to the exhibition halls lined with new products and equipment, each team member had the opportunity for a personalized educational experience. Which is great, as we are always looking for ways to enhance our standard of care and shared what we have learned with our patients.

Meanwhile as our team wrapped up classes at the Georgia World Congress Center, Dr. Hochberg was boarding a flight headed back to Atlanta from Ontario, California. This was the first Hinman dental meeting he has missed in over thirty years, but for good reason. As current president of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID), he was out-of-town congratulating the graduates of the International Chinese Implant Program at Loma Linda University. This a sponsored program located in Shanghai with the AAID. He was greatly missed, but quickly caught up to speed by Dr. Mira Diora and the rest of our team.

 

We look forward to applying what was learned to our day-to-day office practices, and attending Hinman once more in the year 2019!

HOW DO I PICK THE BEST TOOTHPASTE FOR ME?

Toothpaste Truths

 

One of our most frequently asked questions is ‘what toothpaste should I use?’ And the easy answer is one that you will use twice a day. But, that doesn’t quite narrow down your options with the numerous choices that are now on the market, especially when we are bombarded with daily radio and TV advertising touting the benefits of specific products, all seemingly ‘the best’.

 

The first part of our answer is to select one with the American Dental Association’s (ADA) seal of approval on the packaging. Still – there are countless products that meet these criteria. So, to best answer your question, speak with your dental hygienist and your dentist to see what product is best suited for your specific needs. After all, everyone’s oral health status and expectations are different. The standard clean and fresh is important, but you may also be interested in whiter teeth; you may have some bleeding when you brush; you may experience some sensitivity. And, so on.

With the caveat that we know all our patients are unique, when we asked our three experienced hygienists to give us some tips regarding products they recommend to our Colony Square Dental Associates patients, we received a multi-options answer. Given that all ADA accepted options contain fluoride, which helps fight decay, the remaining categories of toothpastes that they select from are those that:

 

  • Help decrease tooth sensitivity: Sensodyne® has been on the market for years and with their over dozen options, offers helpful solutions to reduce and manage sensitivity for many. Their active ingredients, sodium fluoride along with potassium nitrate, work together to reduce the sensations of discomfort. Sensodyne® has also developed toothpastes to address the other categories below, while increasing comfort. However, it should be noted that there are potential causes of tooth sensitivity such as overzealous brushing, infections, gum recession that exposes the tooth’s root, all of which may require active intervention by your dentist. So, if these over-the-counter toothpastes are not effective in meeting your needs be sure to schedule a visit.
  • Help reduce the buildup of plaque and calculus: Plaque, full of bacteria that when combined with acids from foods can damage the tooth’s enamel and is potentially cavity causing. And, when left on the surface of the tooth, it will harden and form calculus. Once this occurs, try as you might, it takes a professional to remove it. Left on the tooth, it can result in periodontal disease. So, brushing with toothpastes that inhibit the plaque from accumulating and if there, reduces the opportunity for plaque to harden, will help those who find they are ‘cavity prone’. Colgate Total® is one toothpaste option that we recommend for this. When bleeding gums are noted, another to consider is Paradontax™, which contains a very mild abrasive, helping to remove plaque that is irritating the gum tissue.
  • Help whiten and brighten teeth: It’s important to note that everyone is born with a certain tooth color. Some have whiter teeth than others; and as we age teeth most find that their teeth tend to yellow. And certain foods, drinks (such as coffee, tea, and red wine), and cigarettes oftentimes result in surface staining, causing teeth to appear discolored as they are stained. Many toothpastes that are on the market claim to whiten and brighten using one of two types of ingredients. They will contain either a mild abrasive (such as Crest 3D ®) to remove the surface stains or a chemical – hydrogen peroxide (found in Colgate® Optic White®) to lighten natural teeth. Of course, it’s important to remember that if the tooth’s internal structure(s) are discolored, neither toothpaste will prohibit the internal discoloration from limiting the toothpaste’s ability to enhance the appearance of your smile.

 

So, the good news is that today there are options to meet your and your dental health provider’s goals.

Don’t be intimidated by the dental health aisle in your pharmacy. It’s exciting to have opportunities to pick a product that is geared to specifically address ways to keep your smile healthy and bright. At your next visit take a moment to ask Drs. Hochberg and Diora, and your hygienist, what they recommend for you!

How is HEART health and DENTAL health related? | Falling in LOVE with your smile

HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY

 

February 14th is Valentine’s Day. Flowers, candy, and red hearts abound. As all of us at Colony Square Dental Associates wish everyone a happy day we don’t think that it’s a coincidence that February is also National Heart Health Month. Though you may wonder why we’re talking about heart health in a dental health blog, we believe that excellent dental health is a part of overall wellbeing.

 

Research efforts continue in order to determine how these two areas of our bodies interrelate. The analyses focus on the possible cause / effect relationship between oral health and cardiovascular disease – heart health. While there has not been a definitive causal relationship established there are many scientific studies that are bringing us closer to an answer. The scientific community is leaning strongly to believing that one’s dental health can impact one’s heart health. After all – it makes sense; we know that eating healthier foods, exercising more, and reducing stress all serve to improve our heart’s health. Our teeth, gums, and supporting bone structures are not separate from the rest of our bodies. For all to work together properly, along with being careful about diet, increasing daily activity, and setting aside time for relaxation and adequate sleep, it’s important to incorporate a dental program to maintain oral health.

 

When we think of teeth our first thought is usually about the appearance of our smile. We respond positivity to a white and bright smile. How to achieve those dazzling teeth is a question that Drs. Hochberg & Diora are routinely asked. But before esthetics, it’s essential to ensure that an attractive smile is supported by excellent periodontal health.  After all, this is where the possible link between our gums and our heart comes into play. When plaque, containing harmful bacteria, hardens below the gum line and is not professionally removed, there is potential for the onset of Periodontal Disease. The gums are irritated by the plaque, and can become inflamed, red or swollen, and can bleed. Termed, Gingivitis, this is often the first sign that a problem has begun. Fortunately, early intervention by a professional dental hygienist, your dentist, and attention to a good home healthcare regime are usually successfully in avoiding a progression of the disease process.

 

However, left untreated the disease process can progress into Periodontitis. When the infection and inflammation is not resolved, the toxins present cause the gum tissue to break down and it begins to pull away from the tooth. In combination with weakening bone structure there is the risk of tooth loss. This is the stage at which scientists and healthcare professionals are focusing studies on the correlation between heart health and oral health. There is the possibility that the toxins in the bacteria, which enter the bloodstream and hence the heart, could be damaging. And, for those with diabetes, it has been found that one condition can exacerbate the other. So, even if studies are not complete, common sense tells us that we need to take good care of our entire self. A little diligence in brushing and flossing, along with periodic dental visits, will go a long way to keeping your teeth, and your heart, healthy – not only this for special day, but also for all your days!

 

Have a Happy Valentine’s Day! Just remember – to care about your heart, care about your teeth!

What is National Children’s Dental Health Month?

National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) began as a single day event in Cleveland, Ohio in 1941. After four decades of success, the American Dental Association (ADA) extended the program to a month-long observance in February. Many dental practices, educators, and healthcare providers participate in raising awareness about the importance of dental health for children, and our office is no exception. Our goal is to inform, educate, and encourage your little ones to develop good habits at an early age for a lifetime of oral health.

Each year, we visit our local elementary schools to provide an interactive presentation. It is our pleasure to deliver plenty of posters, coloring sheets, and the online tools needed to assist our educators with the fight against decay long after our presentation has ended. Dr. Mira Diora and her dental assistant, Karren, might even show up in costume! We hope to provide a fun learning experience that will be easily understood and remembered.

This year’s NCDHM campaign slogan is “Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile.” (Yes, children need to floss too!) Dr. Diora will demonstrate the “correct” way you should brush and floss. Then each child will be provided with their very own toothbrush and flossers to practice and utilize at home with the supervision of their parents.

This year we are happy to announce Primrose School of Midtown will be our school of choice. However, if you are a parent or teacher of a school you’d like our office to visit or be a part of, please give us a call and we’d be happy to reach out and schedule a visit for the upcoming year!

What are Dental Benefits?

Many of our Colony Square Dental Associates patients are covered by a dental benefit plan – a contract between the insurance company and their employer, union, or association. As the New Year begins, the majority of these plans start the clock anew on their 12-month calendar maximums, while a few renew mid-year, on July 1st. As we begin each year, we are often asked how dental benefits work and how plan renewals impact out-of-pocket expenditures.

 

What is the difference between a dental plan and medical insurance?

It’s important to understand the difference between dental benefit plans and medical insurance coverage. Dental plans are benefit plans. Typically, they are an add-on benefit, similar to a vision plan, with a limited amount of dollars that will be paid out towards care in a 12-month time span. Unlike medical insurance, which may have limitations and coinsurance, but does not have a yearly limit, dental benefit plans place a yearly benefit limit – usually around $750 to $2500 per year. Most dental benefit plans have not changed these maximums in the past three decades.

 

Why do some dental plans pay more than others?

The contract, and associated premium payments, is determined by negotiations between an employer and the insurance carrier. The result – a unique benefit plan that will contain details such as the maximum allowable maximum per year, your deductible and what services are not considered until the deductible is met, what treatment is considered as a ‘covered expense’ or ‘eligible service’, and the amount or percentage per dental procedure code. What is common amongst the plans? They do not cover procedures that are considered cosmetic in nature; care that is not due to dental disease or trauma. And many plans also stipulate that it will only pay benefits for the least expensive alternative treatment for a condition, or deny coverage for conditions that existed before you enrolled in the plan. In addition to excluding elective dentistry or care of pre-existing problems, the majority of plans do not cover all dental procedures. While the carrier is not advising you that the care is not indicated or needed, it means that your employer has purchased a plan that does not cover the cost of providing care for these services. This serves to limit the insurance carrier’s liability. If you wish to determine your financial responsibility for care that you and your dentist deem necessary to preserve or restore your dental health, a predetermination of benefits can be sent to your insurance carrier for consideration.

 

Are there different types of dental plans?

Yes. Most plans are either a DMO (Dental Maintenance Organization) or PPO (Preferred Provider Organization). Patients under the umbrella of a DMO will select a primary care dentist for their dental care. If a specialist is necessary, the primary care dentist will make the referral. DMOs are often the least costly plans due to these constraints. A PPO typically offers more flexibility in selecting one’s dentist. The patient is able to select a dentist from the ‘preferred providers’ list, but does not have to limit himself or herself to exclusively receiving care at that office. These dentists have agreed to contract with the insurance carrier to accept a pre-negotiated fees for care provided.  However, the majority of PPO plans allow you to go outside of the network to see a dentist of your choosing. Benefits may differ when seeing an in-network vs. an out-of-network dentist.

 

To learn more about your dental benefits and the plan that your employer participates in, contact your HR departments at work, call your insurance carrier, or ask us. We’d be happy to work with you to understand your plan and maximize your dental benefits.

What makes you SMILE? | Bringing smiles to those who need it most

For over 35 years we’ve had the pleasure of providing dental healthcare services in Midtown, Atlanta. Our entire Colony Square Dental Associates (CSDA) team, strives to maintain and enhance healthy smiles. As we begin a new year, we are thankful for those who have placed their trust in us over all these years.

But, we are also mindful that not all of our friends and neighbors are financially able to visit a dentist regularly or receive needed restorative care. To help fill that void, the Ben Massell Dental Clinic (BMDC) began in 1929 as an additional service offered in conjunction with a medical services clinic. Over the years the dental clinic grew, moved, expanded, and currently offers state-of-the-art technology, through the kindness of large and small donors, at its location on 14th street. According to BMDC, it is one of the only charitable organizations to provide comprehensive dental services to those who are financially disadvantaged.

This year, due to Dr. Hochberg’s time commitments as president of the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, he is unable to volunteer dental services at the BMDC. However, in memory of a dear friend, colleague, and long-time supporter and volunteer of the clinic, Dr. Richard Sugarman, Drs. Hochberg, Diora, and the Colony Square Dental Associates team will make a financial commitment to BMDC. The goal – to turn donated funds into smiles.

We are happy to announce that, this year, CSDA will host a 12-month Facebook Challenge. Each month a team member will take a few moments to share a thought about how they contribute to our patients’ smiles. And, they’ll also let us in on something they enjoy in their spare time that elicits smiles. Whenever you ‘smile’ back at us (“Like or  Share“, on Facebook) we will put $3.00 into our 2018 Ben Massell Dental Clinic Fund.

Please join us as we challenge ourselves to share smiles. The funds we pledge to BMDC will help this worthy organization continue their mission to create healthier smiles, which also enhances overall health and wellbeing. Smiles come from the heart and light up faces. They are contagious! ‘Like or Share’ our post and we’ll all smile.

Ring in the New Year with a SMILE

Every day, the Colony Square Dental Associates team, strives to provide patients with the best in today’s dentistry. Our goal is to keep teeth, gums, and the supporting bone, all of which combine to form an attractive smile, healthy. As dental health care professionals, we speak a great deal about smiling with confidence and chewing foods in comfort. But, most often we don’t discuss the reasons that sharing your pearly whites is important to your overall wellbeing, and even the wellbeing of others.

 

Our faces tell our story. Smiling is the primary tool that enables us to share feelings of happiness with family, friends, colleagues, and those we encounter in our daily lives. It’s even said that you can even hear a smile over the phone. Since we were little we’ve been told to smile. When it’s time to blow out birthday candles on a cake the photographer says, “look up and smile!” A group of friends gather around; before a photo is taken someone invariably shouts out, “everyone smile”. You are at a restaurant, on a trip, at an event, and are ready to take a selfie; what do you do? You SMILE and click. And, should you become a parent (or, of course, a grandparent) you can’t wait to see baby’s first smile. A smile and happiness go together. When we are greeted with a smile, we tend to smile back. Eyes sparkle, the facial muscles work together and the corners of the mouth rise. It’s both an unconscious and a conscious activity – one that not only brightens your day and conveys a positive message, but also makes the moment a happier one for others around you.

 

Does smiling improve our health?

Yes, it’s true! The simple act of smiling causes the brain to become a happy place. It’s been reported in countless scientific journals and articles in magazines such as Psychology Today. Our brains transmit neural messages – whether they are negative messages, such as anxiety, or positive messages of happiness or excitement, starting with the release of neuropeptides. An involved process, the result of smiling is positive messaging to the body. With the release of dopamine, serotonin, and endorphins, all of which transmit signals to the body that all is good, stress is lowered, blood pressure goes down, the sensation of pain is reduced, and our mood is elevated. Just from smiling.

 

How does our smile impact others?

And what’s equally as fascinating is that smiling is contagious. The saying that he or she has an ‘infectious smile’ isn’t new. Unlike a cold that no one wants shared, smiles are welcomed and typically result in a returned smile. So, not only do you feel better, you’ve also elevated someone else’s mood. And, no surprise, now that you’ve smiled, been rewarded by receiving one in return, your smile grows. Everyone is happier!

 

And a genuine smile improves others’ perceptions of you. Interestingly enough, if we look at a photo of people with smiling faces, compared to those not smiling, the actual photo, and those in it, look better to us. The subjects appear more attractive and we tend to have positive reactions. So, if that’s true in a picture, it’s true in person. The more we smile, the better others think of us.

Be healthy and smile more!

While we don’t have control over everything in life, we are in charge of our smiles. If there is some tweaking needed to increase your eagerness to share a big smile, Drs. Hochberg & Diora are here to work with you. We hope you wear your smile proudly and often this, and every, year. You’ll make your New Year, and everyone who is the recipient of this invaluable gift, have a happier, healthier 2018!

Dental Do’s and Don’ts | Dental Health Care Resolutions for the New Year

As 2017 is almost at an end, many reflect on what has transpired over the last 12 months. And resolutions for the New Year are made. We plan to exercise more, eat a bit less, choose healthier foods, and take time to enjoy family and friends. All worthwhile intentions. But, how many commit to taking better care of their oral health? Though everyone wants to be able to chew their favorite foods, speak clearly and have a white, bright, and welcoming smile, the resolutions that help us stay in excellent dental health are not always on our ‘to do’ list.

 

What are some 2018 resolutions that will enhance our dental health?

 

  • Drink water. Not only does it wash away bits of food, helping to remove harmful bacteria, it also helps to neutralize acids. And, if it’s tap with water with fluoride; that’s a plus. But, remember, while it’s a form of water, avoid chewing ice. It’s one of the main causes of both chipped teeth and tooth fractures.
  • Choose other drinks with care. Sodas, diet sodas, sport drinks, fruit juices, wines, and coffee can all be enjoyed, in moderation. And with an awareness of the potential harm these liquids can pose to the tooth’s enamel. While we know that the sugar in soda, sport drinks, and fruit juices can cause cavities, these drinks are also full of acids that attack the surface of the tooth. So too are wines, even white wine. Follow these sugary and acidic drinks with a glass of water.
  • Stop smoking. Not only is there a direct link between smoking and lung cancer, as well as COPD, it also significantly impacts oral health. According to the American Cancer Society, both inhaled tobacco and smokeless tobacco contain cancer-causing agents. As the oral cavity is the first contact, the chemicals present in tobacco products can cause cancers – of the gums, tongue, mouth and esophagus. And, what may be a surprise to many, smokeless tobacco contains sugars, linked to an increase in cavities. It’s also an irritant to the gums, potentially leading to recession of the gum tissue that exposes the root of the tooth. The tooth is left unprotected and tooth loss can result.
  • When playing sports – protect those pearly whites. From youngsters to seniors, sports that involve contact, by a person or an object, expose our teeth to potential damage. A guard, either custom fabricated by your dentist, or one purchased at the drugstore, can save those upper teeth from accidental damage or loss.
  • Buy a new toothbrush every 3 months. And choose with care. There may be a sale, but not all toothbrushes are equal. They come in sizes; select one with a head that is appropriate for you – it’s important to be able to manipulate the brush; if your mouth is small, purchase one with a small head. And, check the bristles. Intuitively, it may seem that the harder the bristles, the better they clean. But, that is not the case. A softer bristle is more flexible and cleans better under the gum. A handle that is comfortable and facilitates cleaning the hard to reach areas is important. And, brushing up and down, rather than across, will help maximize the 2 minutes needed to do a thorough job.
  • Read food labels. More salvia, which helps to clean the teeth, is produced when eating a full meal. So, if a sweet or starchy treat is a must, enjoy it with lunch or dinner. When you want a mid-morning or mid-afternoon snack, select healthy ones. Candy, especially sticky ones like gummie bears, pose the greatest risk and are best avoided.

 

We can strive to be healthier tomorrow than we are today! And that includes dental health. Make a list. Determine what is realistic and doable. Prioritize. Set goals. Check the list periodically and ask, “How am I doing?” Tweak the list. Ask Drs. Hochberg & Diora for tips and techniques to enhance your oral healthcare regimen.

And, from all of us at Colony Square Dental Associates,

Have a Happy, Healthy, Holiday Season & 2018!

End of the Year Catch-Up | Recapping Office Events

As the holidays approach, the end of year appears to fly by. The last several weeks have been nothing short of busy here at Colony Square Dental Associates. However, in the midst of all the chaos we wanted to share with you some exciting things our team has had the pleasure of being a part of recently. To kick-off the busy season, our staff teamed with the filmmakers at YouTube. We have been eager to film an in-office commercial that shows real team members at work, patients, and the many services and luxuries our office has to offer. We are thrilled to let you know the editing will be completed soon and it will be posted to our website and our new business page on YouTube. Please follow our office to find out the minute our video goes live. Filming was such a process and we are happy with the overall outcome and are delighted to share it with all of you.

      

After the video wrapped, our staff grabbed suit cases and headed to The Ritz Carlton Atlanta. We had the pleasure of staying there as we attended the annual American Dental Association (ADA) meeting. This year, it was right here in our backyard at none other than the Georgia World Congress Center! It is always inspiring to listen to motivational speakers, learn how to better manage patient care, and review the newest advances in dental equipment and technology. Although we juggled many continuing education classes, we managed to break away for team building activities and a few dinners to fellowship on a social level as well. ADA 2017 was a success!

To conclude our time spent together, Dr. Hochberg treated the staff to an unforgettable experience at The Decatur Glassblowing Company. Each team member had the pleasure of working alongside professional glassmiths who assisted with step by step direction to create one of a kind pumpkins, an ideal fall décor item. You can only imagine our delight once the glass cured and we were able to pick up the finished product. Each pumpkin was unique in color, shape, and size. (Dr. Hochberg swore his looked more like a tomato than a pumpkin.) It was a memorable experience for all and we are grateful for the quality time we were able to share as a team!

We are now attempting to wind down things for the holidays. Thank you for joining us on the 2017 recap. We want to wish you and your family a wonder-filled holiday season.