Gentle Dentistry 173 Terrace Street, Haworth, NJ 07641 (201) 384-1611



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Posts for: October, 2015


One of the most frequent concerns parents express to us is their child’s thumb or finger sucking habit. The good news, though, is that thumb sucking is a completely normal activity for babies and young children, and if they stop by age 4 it should have no adverse effects on their future bite.

In fact, there are positive aspects to thumb sucking: it provides babies with a sense of security, as well as a way to learn about the world. As a child grows and becomes more confident with their surroundings, the thumb sucking habit will fade and eventually stop: for most children this occurs between the ages of two and four.

If, however, the habit continues later in childhood, there is a chance the upper front teeth may be influenced to tip toward the lip during eruption and come into an improper position that could also adversely affect jaw development. The same concern exists for pacifier use — we recommend weaning a child off a pacifier by the time they’re eighteen months of age.

If your child still has a thumb or finger sucking habit as they prepare to enter school, it’s quite appropriate to work on getting them to stop. Punishment, shaming or similar negative approaches, however, aren’t the best ways to accomplish this: it’s much more effective to try to modify their behavior through reward, praise or some creative activity.

Another factor that may help is to begin regular dental visits around their first birthday. Regular checkups give us a chance to monitor the development of their bite, especially if thumb sucking continues longer than normal. We can also assist you with strategies to encourage them to stop thumb sucking or pacifier use.

Thumb sucking that continues later than normal isn’t a cause for panic, but it does require attention and action. Helping your child “grow” past this stage in their life will improve their chances of developing a normal and healthy bite.

If you would like more information on thumb sucking, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Thumb Sucking in Children.”

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
October 06, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Perio Protect  

How Can Perio Protect Help Treat My Gum Disease?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as many as one in two Americans over the age of 30 suffers from Gum Diseasesome form of periodontal (gum) disease. A build up of plaque-causing bacteria can lead to inflammation of the gums, which if left untreated can progress to the bone in the jaw, and result in infection and tooth loss in severe cases. In some cases, the inflammation caused by gum disease has also been linked with other serious health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes.

Gum disease is progressive and typically occurs in three stages:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced Periodontitis

Treating Gum Disease in Bergen County With Perio Protect

The problem with treating gum disease in the past has been that once the accumulated bacteria progressed and began to pool in a pocket under the gum line, there was little that could be done to reverse the resulting damage to gum tissue and bone once it advanced to the periodontitis stage. With Perio Protect, the Bergen County dentists at Gentle Smile can now target plaque and bacteria under the gum line, with a minimally invasive procedure that uses custom fit trays to deliver medication that can kill the plaque and bacteria, before it can spread to the bone, and lead to infection and possible tooth loss.

If your Bergen County dentist determines that brushing and flossing alone are not enough to prevent or treat an existing case of gingivitis, Perio Protect is a convenient and easy to use method that can be incorporated into your daily oral health and hygiene routine, with better results than cleaning alone, according to research. The removable trays are adjustable to administer the necessary amount of medication to each patient, and to the gum tissue surrounding each individual tooth. The appropriate medication is simply added to the trays, which can be worn at home, and adjusted according to the progress made between follow-up dental cleanings and appointments.

To learn more about Perio Protect and determine if you are a candidate with a dentist in Bergen County, contact Gentle Dentistry today at 201-384-1611 to schedule an appointment.

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
October 05, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.

What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.

For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.

Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.

Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.

So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”