How often should I visit the dentist?
Patients should visit our office at least twice a year for professional dental cleanings and thorough examinations. To address certain conditions, our staff may recommend that you visit more frequently. If you experience oral pain, cause for concern, or a dental emergency, call our office immediately for assistance.
Why are dental cleanings important?
Dental cleanings involve removing the waste product of oral bacteria, called plaque, from teeth. While a daily oral hygiene routine is vital to good dental and periodontal health, brushing and flossing properly are not sufficient for removing plaque and hardened plaque, called tartar or calculus. Over time, plaque calcifies into tartar, an insoluble substance that contributes to bad breath and gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, gum disease increases the risk for heart attack, stroke, diabetes, and other serious health conditions.
At your dental cleaning, our experienced hygienist will also demonstrate techniques for brushing and flossing correctly, and she can give you tips for children’s oral care or offer advice for whitening your teeth. Your hygienist will always be happy to answer questions.
How do I know if I have gum disease?
Caused by bacteria and plaque buildup, gum disease is the inflammation and infection of the gum tissue. For many patients with early or mild forms of the disease, there are often no noticeable symptoms. In these cases, gum disease may only be detected by a dentist. During a routine dental checkup, your gum tissue will be examined, and we will determine whether you have gum disease or are at risk for developing it. Eighty percent of Americans have gum disease, so it is important to know the signs.
As gum disease progresses, symptoms may include:
Gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing
Gums that are painful to the touch
Deep red or purple appearance
Gum recession that appears as spaces between the tops of teeth
Pus around the gum line or on the gum tissue
What can cosmetic dentistry do to help my appearance?
The chief goal of cosmetic dentistry is to improve the appearance of a smile. Beauty is synonymous with the word esthetic, so we often call cosmetic dentistry esthetic dentistry. Rising popularity and recent procedural advancements, like the Procera crowns offered by Dr. Gross, have helped make cosmetic dentistry more durable and less invasive. Cosmetic dentistry can address a wide range of problems. Patients who are missing teeth or have gaps, chips, and discoloration are often great candidates for cosmetic dentistry. Ultimately, cosmetic dental procedures create a more attractive smile that inspires confidence, which translates into better self-esteem in personal, professional, and romantic endeavors.
Holistic Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
Professional Teeth Whitening – dentist-administered or prescribed whitening agents that are more potent and safer than over-the-counter whitening products
Bonding – the use of a composite resin to correct spacing (gaps) and repair chips
Contouring – smoothing teeth edges to create a softer, more pleasing smile
Veneers –minimally invasive wafer-thin porcelain restorations that bond to the front teeth and conceal imperfections in shape and color
Dental Implants – permanent replacement teeth that look and feel like natural teeth
If you are interested in cosmetic dentistry and want to learn what it can do for your smile, schedule a consultation with a cosmetic dentist at our Tribeca dentist office. We are committed to a patient’s entire wellbeing; cosmetic dentistry does not just improve appearance but promotes confidence and overall attitudes of our patients. Some of our procedures, such as dental implants, improve function as well. We will provide you with a thorough assessment, as well as options for treatment. The right cosmetic procedures can address imperfections and give you the smile you’ve always wanted.
Why is it important to use dental floss?
Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that cause cavities and irritate and inflame the gums. Also, when plaque is not removed above and below the gumline, it hardens and turns into calculus (tartar). This will further irritate and inflame the gums and also slowly destroy the bone. This is the beginning of periodontal disease.
How to floss properly:
Take 12-16 inches (30-40cm) of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches (5cm) of floss between the hands.
Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss.
Daily flossing will help you keep a healthy, beautiful smile for life!
How can I tell if I have gingivitis or periodontitis (gum disease)?
Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike tooth decay, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if periodontal problems exist.
Periodontal disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins (acids) that inflame the gums and slowly destroy the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly and properly will ensure that plaque is not left behind to do its damage.
Other than poor oral hygiene, there are several other factors that may increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are more likely than nonusers to form plaque and tartar on their teeth.
Certain tooth or appliance conditions – Bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that may trap plaque and bacteria.
Many medications – Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, oral contraceptives. Some medications have side affects that reduce saliva, making the mouth dry and plaque easier to adhere to the teeth and gums.
Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty – Can cause changes in hormone levels, causing gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria toxins.
Systemic diseases – Diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV / AIDS, etc.
Genetics may play role – Some patients may be predisposed to a more aggressive type of periodontitis. Patients with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gums.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease.
How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?
If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile.
Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due to the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health. This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Depending on your particular needs, cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over. Ask your dentist how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile with cosmetic dentistry.
Teeth Whitening: Bleaching lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, food, drink, and smoking. Teeth darkened as a result of injury or taking certain medications can also be bleached, but the effectiveness depends on the degree of staining present.
Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings: Also known as “bonding”, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings to repair teeth with cavities, and also to replace old defective fillings. Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession.
Porcelain Veneers: Veneers are thin custom-made, tooth-colored shells that are bonded onto the fronts of teeth to create a beautiful individual smile. They can help restore or camouflage damaged, discolored, poorly shaped, or misaligned teeth. Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth.
Porcelain Crowns (caps): A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations. They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.
Dental Implants: Dental implants are artificial roots that are surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be made specifically to fit and attach to implants, giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable solution to removable dental appliances.
Orthodontics: Less visible and more effective brackets and wires are making straightening teeth with orthodontics much more appealing to adult patients. Also, in some cases, teeth may be straightened with custom-made, clear, removable aligners that require no braces.
Thanks to the advances in modern dentistry, cosmetic treatments can make a difference in making your smile shine!
What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?
Porcelain veneers are very thin shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are individually crafted to cover the fronts of teeth. They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile.
Veneers may be used to restore or correct the following dental conditions:
Severely discolored or stained teeth
Unwanted or uneven spaces
Worn or chipped teeth
Slight tooth crowding
Teeth that are too small or large
Getting veneers usually requires two visits. Veneers are created from an impression (mold) of your teeth that is then sent to a professional dental laboratory where each veneer is custom-made (for shape and color) for your individual smile.
With little or no anesthesia, teeth are prepared by lightly buffing and shaping the front surface of the teeth to allow for the small thickness of veneers. The veneers are carefully fitted and bonded onto the tooth surface with special bonding cements and occasionally a specialized light may be used to harden and set the bond.
Veneers are an excellent dental treatment that can dramatically improve your teeth and give you a natural, beautiful smile.
What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?
Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile.
Professional teeth whitening (or bleaching) is a simple, non-invasive dental treatment used to change the color of natural tooth enamel, and is an ideal way to enhance the beauty of your smile. Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and may not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA).
As we age, the outer layer of tooth enamel wears away, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which may become darker over time. Smoking, drinking coffee, tea, and wine may also contribute to tooth discoloration, making our teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications as a child, such as tetracycline. Excessive fluoridation (fluorosis) during tooth development can also cause teeth to become discolored.
It’s important to have your teeth evaluated by your dentist to determine if you’re a good candidate for bleaching. Occasionally, tetracycline and fluorosis stains are difficult to bleach and your dentist may offer other options, such as veneers or crowns to cover up such stains. Since teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is also important to evaluate replacement of any old fillings, crowns, etc. before bleaching begins. Once the bleaching is done, your dentist can match the new restorations to the shade of the newly whitened teeth.
Since teeth whitening is not permanent, a touch-up may be needed every several years to keep your smile looking bright.
The most widely used professional teeth whitening systems:
Home teeth whitening systems: At-home products usually come in a gel form that is placed in a custom-fitted mouthguard (tray), created from a mold of your teeth. The trays are worn either twice a day for approximately 30 minutes, or overnight while you sleep. It usually takes several weeks to achieve the desired results depending on the degree of staining and the desired level of whitening.
In office teeth whitening: This treatment is done in the dental office and you will see results immediately. It may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. While your gums are protected, a bleaching solution is applied to the teeth. A special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent while the teeth are whitened.
Some patients may experience tooth sensitivity after having their teeth whitened. This sensation is temporary and subsides shortly after you complete the bleaching process, usually within a few days to one week.
Teeth whitening can be very effective and can give you a brighter, whiter, more confident smile!