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



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Posts for: August, 2019

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
August 29, 2019
Category: Oral Health

Do you have periodontal disease? Almost half of Americans over the age of 30 do, says the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). At Gentle Dentistry in Haworth, your four specialist dentists and their team watch for signs of gum problems. If discovered, your gums can return to normal with help from Gentle Dentistry.

What is periodontal disease?

Gum inflammation and infection literally destroy soft oral tissues and the bone which supports your teeth. This prevalent oral health problem originates in accumulated plaque and tartar. A carbohydrate-laden diet, along with poor oral hygiene, usually creates the problem. Smoking, excessive alcohol, hereditary factors, and a weakened immune system compound gum disease.

It starts as mild gingivitis, but when undetected and unaddressed, this disease progresses to periodontitis. As such, your Haworth dentist urges you to watch your gums for signs of this potentially devastating condition. Preventive care at home and in the office keeps gum tissue clean, checks for symptoms and intervenes if problems do arise.

Signs of gum disease

Your Haworth dentist checks for gum disease with every teen and adult dental examination at Gentle Dentistry. Signs include:

  • Loose teeth
  • Bleeding when you eat, brush, or floss
  • Pus in pockets between your teeth and gums
  • Changes in dental bite
  • Loose dentures
  • Bad breath
  • Reddened, swollen gums
  • Sores and pimples on the gums
  • Dental sensitivity
  • Pain when you bite and chew

Additionally, your dentist measures periodontal pockets. These spaces between teeth and gums deepen when infected and inflamed. If yours measure deeper than three millimeters, you have periodontal disease and require treatment.

Treating gum disease

Mild gingivitis responds well to twice-daily brushing and once-daily flossing at home. Add a thorough in-office cleaning at Gentle Dentistry, and you likely have fully restored gum tissue.

However, more advanced cases require a deeper cleaning and something called root planing which smooths tooth surfaces below the gum line. Additionally, your Haworth dentist offers gum grafting to cover exposed tooth roots. Laser gum services use a handheld, light-intensive instrument to debride and seal infected gum tissue so it heals well.

Prevention is key

Here are tips to keep your gums healthy, pink, and doing their job: supporting and nourishing your smile. Your dentist recommends:

  • Daily brushing and flossing as the American Dental Association (ADA) advises
  • A low-sugar diet
  • Consuming several servings of fruits and vegetables every day
  • Getting semi-annual examinations and cleanings at Gentle Dentistry (or more often as your dentist recommends)
  • Quitting cigarettes and smokeless tobacco
  • Cutting down on alcohol

Come see us

At Gentle Dentistry in Haworth, NJ, your professional team wants you to know the signs of periodontal disease. When you come in for your exam and cleaning, ask for more information on this all-too-common oral health condition. Or, if you are concerned about your gums, call us right away for an appointment: (201) 384-1611.

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
August 26, 2019
Category: Oral Health

Basketball isn't a contact sport—right? Maybe once upon a time that was true… but today, not so much. Just ask New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. While scrambling for a loose ball in a recent game, Smith's mouth took a hit from an opposing player's elbow—and he came up missing a big part of his front tooth. It's a type of injury that has become common in this fast-paced game.

Research shows that when it comes to dental damage, basketball is a leader in the field. In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) found that intercollegiate athletes who play basketball suffered a rate of dental injuries several times higher than those who played baseball, volleyball or track—even football!

Part of the problem is the nature of the game: With ten fast-moving players competing for space on a small court, collisions are bound to occur. Yet football requires even closer and more aggressive contact. Why don't football players suffer as many orofacial (mouth and face) injuries?

The answer is protective gear. While football players are generally required to wear helmets and mouth guards, hoopsters are not. And, with a few notable exceptions (like Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry), most don't—which is an unfortunate choice.

Yes, modern dentistry offers many different options for a great-looking, long lasting tooth restoration or replacement. Based on each individual's situation, it's certainly possible to restore a damaged tooth via cosmetic bonding, veneers, bridgework, crowns, or dental implants. But depending on what's needed, these treatments may involve considerable time and expense. It's better to prevent dental injuries before they happen—and the best way to do that is with a custom-made mouthguard.

Here at the dental office we can provide a high-quality mouthguard that's fabricated from an exact model of your mouth, so it fits perfectly. Custom-made mouthguards offer effective protection against injury and are the most comfortable to wear; that's vital, because if you don't wear a mouthguard, it's not helping. Those "off-the-rack" or "boil-and-bite" mouthguards just can't offer the same level of comfort and protection as one that's designed and made just for you.

Do mouthguards really work? The same JADA study mentioned above found that when basketball players were required to wear mouthguards, the injury rate was cut by more than half! So if you (or your children) love to play basketball—or baseball—or any sport where there's a danger of orofacial injury—a custom-made mouthguard is a good investment in your smile's future.

If you would like more information about custom-made athletic mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Athletic Mouthguards” and “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry.”

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
August 16, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease   smoking  

Although periodontal (gum) disease starts with the gums, the teeth may ultimately suffer. An infection can damage the gum attachment and supporting bone to the point that an affected tooth could be lost.

The main cause for gum disease is dental plaque, a bacterial biofilm that accumulates on teeth due to ineffective oral hygiene. But there can be other contributing factors that make you more susceptible to an infection. Smoking tobacco is one of the most harmful as more than half of smokers develop gum disease at some point in their life. If you’re a heavy smoker, you have double the risk of gum disease than a non-smoker.

There are several reasons why smoking increases the risk of gum disease. For one, smoking reduces the body’s production of antibodies. This diminishes the body’s ability to fight oral infections and aid healing. As a smoker, your body can’t respond adequately enough to the rapid spread of a gum infection.

Another reason for the increased risk with smoking are the chemicals in tobacco that damage the connectivity of gum tissues to teeth that keep them anchored in place. The heavier the smoking habit, the worse this particular damage is to the gums. This can accelerate the disease and make it more likely you’ll lose affected teeth.

Smoking can also interfere with getting a prompt diagnosis of gum disease because the nicotine in tobacco reduces the blood supply to the gums. Usually a person with an infection may first notice their gums are reddened or swollen, and bleed easily. Smoking, however, can give a false impression of health because it prevents the infected gum tissues from becoming swollen and are less likely to bleed. As a result, you may learn you have the disease much later rather than sooner, allowing the infection to inflict more damage.

There are ways to reduce your disease risk if you smoke. The top way: Kick the smoking habit. With time, the effects of smoking on your mouth and body will diminish, and you’ll be better able to fight infection.

You should also practice daily brushing and flossing to keep plaque at bay, followed by regular dental cleanings to remove hard to reach plaque and calculus (tartar) deposits. You should also see your dentist at the first sign of trouble with your gums.

If you would like more information on the prevention and treatment of gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Smoking and Gum Disease.”

By Gentle Dentistry, P.A.
August 06, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  

True or false: there’s no cause for concern about tooth decay until your child’s permanent teeth erupt.

False—decayed primary teeth can lead to potentially serious consequences later in life.

Although “baby” teeth last only a few years, they’re essential to future dental health because they act as placeholders and guides for the incoming permanent teeth. If they’re lost prematurely due to decay, other teeth may drift into the empty space intended for the emerging permanent tooth. Because of this, inadequate space will crowd the out of proper alignment.

And because they have thinner enamel than permanent teeth, primary teeth are more susceptible to decay. Once decay sets in, it can spread rapidly in a matter of months.

Fortunately, we may be able to prevent this from happening to your child’s primary teeth with a few simple guidelines. It all begins with understanding the underlying causes of tooth decay.

Tooth decay begins with bacteria: As a result of their digestion, these microorganisms secrete acid that at high levels can erode tooth enamel. The higher the population of bacteria in the mouth, the higher the acidity and potential threat to the teeth.

The first objective then in preventing decay is to remove dental plaque, the thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces, through daily brushing and flossing. And because bacteria feed on sugar as a primary food source, you should reduce your child’s sugar consumption by restricting it to only meal times and not sending your child to bed with a bottle filled with a sugary liquid (including formula or breast milk).

To help boost your child’s protection, we can also apply sealants and fluoride to teeth to help protect and strengthen their enamel from acid attack. Because we’ll also monitor for signs of decay, it’s important to begin regular dental visits beginning around age one. If we do detect decay, we can then treat it and make every effort to preserve your child’s primary teeth until they’ve completed their normal life cycle.

By taking these steps, we can help make sure your child’s early teeth go the distance. Their current and future dental health will certainly benefit.

If you would like more information on prevention and treatment of tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Do Babies Get Tooth Decay?