I’m frequently asked by patients who are new parents how they can introduce good oral care habits to their children. Some of the questions I come across include 1) When is a good age to start brushing? 2)How can I get them to be consistent and care about their teeth? I always stress that a child’s dental health is set in motion from a very young age. Tooth decay can develop any time after the first tooth comes in, starting around 6 months old, and good habits should begin even earlier. With that being said, its never too late to start.
Only 28 percent of American parents would give their kids an “A” grade for oral health, according to a new survey of American children’s dental health by Delta Dental. In fact, nearly nine of 10 parents (86 percent) say their children’s oral health isn’t as good as it could be. A majority of parents (51 percent) understand that oral care habits – rather than genetics or what their kids eat – are most responsible for their children’s oral health. Yet, almost one-third of children don’t brush twice daily, and 61 percent of children don’t floss daily. The Delta Dental survey indicates that these poor habits start early, and American parents may be contributing to their children’s tooth decay long before they can brush or floss on their own.
During summer months when school is out is a great time to start. Make a game out of it. Put on your child’s favorite song and have them brush until the song is over. This will ensure they are getting at least 2 minutes worth of brushing which is the recommended time. Also have them brush with you. Kids like to imitate their parents and play along so by seeing and including them in your daily regimen, they will create lifelong oral health habits that can prevent all sorts of problems down the road including gum disease, gingivitis, tooth decay, etc.
Orthodontics used to be kids’ stuff. Whether you’ve had braces or not, just about everyone associates the awkwardness of adolescence with a mouth full of metal. And while months or years of brackets and bands may have seemed bad enough as a kid or teenager, the possibility of that situation as an adult was probably unthinkable. Remember when Miranda from Sex and the City tried braces? Yeah, it didn’t go over so well.
Thankfully, there’s now another way. You may have heard of Invisalign, but have written it off as just another tool for fixing school-age smiles. Not so. At iSmile, we believe a beautiful, healthy bite is a must at any age, and it’s never too late to get the smile you deserve.
The importance of an attractive smile doesn’t diminish as you age. In fact, in many ways, it becomes even more necessary. As you move through life, climbing the professional ladder and encountering different social situations, a healthy, attractive smile matters. It can boost your confidence and send important signals to those around you; in fact, research has shown that people with straight teeth are perceived as smarter, more successful, and more attractive!
But getting that perfect smile no longer requires the time and, let’s face it – embarrassment – it used to. Patients are typically done with Invisalign in just 12 months, and the custom-made aligners are comfortable, convenient, and above all, virtually invisible. No metal brackets, no wires, no tightening.
Living with Invisalign is so easy, you might forget you’re in the process of improving your smile and your life on a daily basis. There are no food restrictions to worry about, and you’ll only need to come in for an appointment twice a month – that means you won’t have to miss meetings, school pickups, or rearrange your busy schedule.
If you’ve always wanted to improve your smile, but the pain of traditional braces has prevented you from taking action, it’s time to get to know Invisalign. Ready for a consultation? Call our office today to get started.
If going to the dentist conjures up memories of old-school silver fillings, then you might be pleasantly surprised to know there are now some much better, less aluminum-looking options.
Maybe you haven’t had a sugar-induced cavity since middle school, but your teeth are still in need of some structural support. Whether that’s because they’re chipped, broken, infected, or badly damaged because of accidents or aging, you can now reclaim the health and beauty of a smile that looks perfectly natural. And did we mention this process doesn’t have to include extensive or expensive procedures? It’s time to learn about inlays and onlays.
How Inlays and Onlays are Different From Fillings
Back in the day, dentists had only one option for restoring the integrity of damaged teeth: drill into the cavity, inject a less-than-attractive material, and allow it to harden. This worked, but as you know, it left patients with a mouth full of silver that did little to actually improve the health of the tooth.
Thanks to advances in the field, we now have the option of improving smiles with inlays and onlays. Made of porcelain, not outdated silver amalgam, these “indirect fillings” are created in an outside lab to perfectly match the contours of your teeth and actually strengthen them. They’re the ideal solution if your dental situation doesn’t quite call for a crown, but could use some reinforcement. And unlike traditional fillings, inlays and onlines are actually bonded to the surface of your tooth and are made to last – even up to 30 years!
Inlays vs. Onlays
Inlays are designed to repair the surface of your tooth that’s used for chewing. They’re less expensive than a crown, and can be a great solution if you just need some reinforcement up top. The material lies just within the bumps on your tooth’s surface.
Onlays are a little more extensive, and are sometimes called “partial crowns.” That’s because they cover more of your biting surface.
Because it takes time to perfect the materials so they absolutely match your teeth, inlays and onlays require at least two office visits. Once we remove any decay or old fillings at your first appointment, we take an impression of your tooth to record the size and shape. Then we send this to the lab and send you home with a temporary filling until the material is ready. On your second visit, we’ll take out the temp and permanently cement your brand new, beautiful inlay or onlay into place.
Ready to bring your teeth into the 21st century? Call us today to book an appointment!
You probably see it all the time: buff guys and girls in the gym, lifting impossibly heavy weights, sweating, grunting, and periodically flexing their muscles in the mirror. Or the fit, flexible, fierce cardio junkies shuffling from Zumba to kickboxing to Pilates, all in the pursuit of a leaner, tighter, and let’s face it – hotter – body. But occasionally, one of these dedicated gym-goers will flash a smile, and something doesn’t quite add up: their teeth are stained, crooked, and generally incongruent with their otherwise picture-perfect physiques.
It doesn’t make sense: if you’re busting your butt (and legs and arms and abs, etc.) trying to achieve an attractive appearance, why are you letting your teeth fall by the wayside? After all, an unattractive smile sabotages all your efforts to look sexy.
Science even proves this: a study conducted by Oral-B found that white teeth can make you appear five years younger and boost your attractiveness by 20 percent, and a survey by Match.com found that 60% of men and 71% of women prioritize nice teeth when looking for a potential date.
So what makes for a gorgeous grin? According to one study, white evenly spaced teeth are the ultimate turn-on because – from an evolutionary standpoint – that kind of smile is perceived as a sign of good health and quality genes. And while you may not be ready to be perceived as a high-quality mate, or you’re already in a committed relationship, beautiful, strong teeth are important, and they arguably matter just as much, if not more, than your six-pack abs.
If you’re ready to take your smile to the next level, it’s time to look into some restorative and cosmetic services. Whether you need fillings, bridges, crowns, Invisalign, or ZOOM! Whitening, iSmile Dental has got you covered. Come in today for a comprehensive dental exam, and we’ll help get your smile in top shape.
We all know headlines can be misleading, but sometimes they can be flat-out wrong. Take for example, this one from last year that reads, “Flossing is a Complete Waste of Time.” Wait, what?
You’ve probably spent your life listening to parents, teachers, and, of course, dentists, lecture about the benefits of flossing. So to come across a headline that debunks all of that in one fell swoop may seem suspicious; it should!
According to the article, which recaps an Associated Press investigation into the documented benefits of flossing, there’s little “proof” that it actually works. The AP says that according to 25 studies, the evidence for flossing is weak and fails to demonstrate a big benefit.
But leading professional groups like the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) aren’t buying it, and neither are we. Research doesn’t always tell the full picture, and in the case of flossing, current studies aren’t sufficient to demonstrate the real, tangible benefits patients and dentists see from the healthy hygiene habit.
“Flossing allows for the removal of plaque bacteria and debris from areas in the mouth that brushing alone cannot reach,” the AAP said in a statement. “Because the development of periodontal disease is slow in nature and because a variety of factors can impact its progression, studies that examine the efficacy of daily flossing are best conducted over a number of years and among a large population. Much of the current evidence does not utilize a large sample size or examine gum health over a significant amount of time. Additionally, many of the existing studies do not measure true markers of periodontal health such as inflammation or clinical attachment loss.”
Other expert groups, like the American Dental Hygienists’ Association, are acknowledging that floss may not be right for everyone, but finding the right tool – whether that’s floss or another “interdental” cleaning device like an oral irrigator – can undeniably help remove food debris, bacteria, and other substances that a toothbrush just can’t access.
The truth is, even in the absence of hard evidence documenting the benefits of flossing, it’s a practice that you shouldn’t dismiss lightly. As Dr. Tim Iafolla, a dentist and public health analyst at the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research told Live Science, flossing is a “low-risk and low-cost procedure, and because clinical studies show that it’s effective when it’s done well, we just don’t have much hesitation to say go ahead and do it. It’s not going to hurt.”
So in our opinion, flossing – whether that’s with an irrigator, small brush, dental stick, or good old fashioned string floss – is still a must. The ADA continues to recommend brushing twice a day with a fluorinated toothpaste and using some sort of interdental device once a day. And of course, make sure to see your dentist regularly.
If you tuned into the Golden Globes on January 8, you were probably stunned by the glitz, glitter, and mind blowing fashions (Emma Stone! Lily Collins! Viola Davis! And Brad Pitt didn’t look too shabby either).
And while red carpet commentators are more than willing to ask the all-important question made famous by Joan Rivers (“who are you wearing?”), no one ever asks another hard-hitting aesthetics question: “who did your teeth?”
Sure, it may not be as glamorous of an inquiry as the one about designer tuxes and couture gowns, but a picture-perfect smile is non-negotiable in Hollywood, and it’s especially crucial during awards season. With paparazzi snapping high-resolution pics and HD televisions beaming close-up shots into millions of homes, anything less than an ideal set of pearly whites just won’t do.
But stars aren’t the only ones who need sparkling smiles. Studies have shown that gorgeous teeth go a long way in determining attractiveness. And according to the Los Angeles Times, Americans are taking heed of the science-backed argument for a stunning smile, spending $16 billion in cosmetic dentistry last year. That may sound crazy, but it’s an incredibly worthy investment; after all, good teeth can mean better overall health. And you don’t have to be a movie star to deserve an A-list grin.
So what exactly are these celebs getting done in the dentist’s chair? At the very minimum, everyone needs a whitening treatment before a big show. At iSmile, we’re proud to offer Zoom! Whitening, a safe, painless way to achieve your most radiant shade of white. Our in-office treatment is far superior to any strips or gels you’ll find at the drugstore, and it’s even favored by dentists to the stars.
But for stars who need a bit more of a dramatic dental improvement, a whitening treatment is just the tip of the iceberg. Veneers, crowns, and bridges are responsible for the majority of the dazzling smiles you see onscreen and in magazines, and – surprise! – tons of celebs are sporting Invisalign clear aligners off camera. It’s true – everyone from Zac Efron to Justin Bieber has sported the improved alternative to traditional braces, and some say even the almighty Oprah has jumped on the Invisalign bandwagon.
Bottom line: a lot goes into achieving those gorgeous award season smiles. But you certainly don’t need to be Hollywood royalty to getting an award-worthy Tinseltown teeth. Treat yourself today and book an appointment to get started!
Once upon a time, when smoking was chic and selfies weren’t yet a thing, sparkling smiles weren’t a major priority. Fast forward to the current millennium, and not only are white teeth as coveted as Ryan Gosling’s abs or Beyonce’s, well, everything; they’re pretty much a must.
But with all the strips and trays and gels flooding the pharmacy aisles, you may be tempted to go the do-it-yourself route and whiten at home. While these options can certainly help eliminate some of the evidence of your daily caffeine fix or nightly red wine indulgence, they won’t get you the radiant Julia Roberts smile you’ve been fantasizing about since seventh grade. For that, you need to call in the pros.
Here’s why in-office teeth whitening is the way to go:
- The treatment is stronger, but your mouth stays safe. If you’ve ever tried over-the-counter whiteners, you’ve probably felt the wrath of their nerve-jolting solutions. While the agents used in office whitening treatments are much stronger than anything you can buy at the store, your gums and the rest of your mouth will stay protected.
- It’s customized to make your unique smile shine. White strips are manufactured to be one-size-fits-all, but as you’re probably well aware, mouths just aren’t made that way. In-office treatments are highly tailored to your specific situation, so the results will be just right for you.
- It takes minutes, not months. That’s right: while you may need to stick with over-the-counter whiteners for weeks or months before you see any changes, in-office whitening treatments can take your teeth up to eight shades — eight shades! — whiter in 45 minutes. That’s less time than it takes to watch an episode of Game of Thrones (and way less time than it takes to discuss it the next day).
Sounds good, right? But now you may be wondering which in-office treatment is right for you. At iSmile Dental, we’re big fans of Zoom! Whitening, a safe, painless method for getting your teeth to the ideal brilliant shade.
Zoom! uses an innovative bleaching process to lighten discoloration of enamel and dentin, and it uses hydrogen peroxide to clean the stains while leaving the structure of the tooth perfectly intact. After a short preparation to protect your lips and gums, we apply the Zoom! gel, and allow a special light to penetrate the teeth and break up stains and discoloration. You can sit back and relax while the gel is working its magic, and after 45 minutes, you’ll walk out with a remarkably whiter, brighter, healthier-looking smile
Ready to lighten up? Book an appointment today!
Maybe you had braces as a kid but you ditched your retainer as soon as you hit high school. Or maybe you had a flawless smile all the way through adolescence (lucky you), but things have…shifted. Whatever the case may be, now you’re a full-fledged adult and your teeth are nothing to smile about.
Take heart: dentistry and orthodontia have come a long way since your teen years, and while old school braces are still an option (hey, Gwen Stefani and Tom Cruise did it!), you can also opt for a much more subtle option — Invisalign.
You may have heard of Invisalign from a satisfied friend or been transfixed by the impressive “after” results in ads, but it can be hard to know whether the treatment is right for you. The biggest benefit for most patients is the fact that the removable aligners are virtually invisible and there are no wires or brackets, so you can let go of those memories of sore cheeks. But it’s important to know what you’re getting into before diving into treatment.
Here are some things to consider before discussing Invisalign with your dentist:
1. Is it the right fix for your situation? Invisalign can tackle a lot of problems — crooked teeth, minor under/overbites, and gaps to name a few — but if you have a highly complex problem, your dentist may recommend an alternative treatment. Before bringing it up at your next appointment, take Invisalign’s Smile Assessment and see if you’re a good candidate.
2. Can you commit the time? The great thing about Invisalign is that, unlike braces, you can actually be in control of when you wear them. That means no more awkward spinach-stuck-in-wire situations. However, just because you have more freedom doesn’t mean you can get carried away and still see results: the aligners actually have to be worn for 22 hours a day to be effective, so while you can take a break during meals, you should be ready to pop them back in for the rest of the day.
3. Are you patient? Invisalign can be incredibly effective, but results take time. On average, treatment takes about a year, but your individual treatment time may vary, and you may need to wear aligners at the end to add finishing touches. Your dentist will be able to discuss a tentative timeline with you.
4. Can you give up mindless snacking? For some patients, this one is a bonus: because you’ll need to avoid drinking and eating while the aligners are in your mouth, it’ll be a whole lot harder to justify that handful of M&Ms from the company kitchen and you’ll have to be really committed to having an impromptu espresso shot. In addition to removing the trays, you’ll have to diligently brush before putting them back in to avoid staining, so make sure you’re ready to give up your 3 pm (and 5 pm…and 10 pm…) snacks.
All that said, there are a ton of reasons why Invisalign is an incredible option for many patients. Here are just a few reasons why:
1. Forget the pain of braces. Most survivors of childhood braces are haunted by memories of their appointments. Why? One word: tightening. With Invisalign, you won’t need anything pulled or cranked; you’ll just swap out your aligners as necessary.
2. Removable trays means easy cleaning. You won’t need special tools and gadgets to clean between your teeth — you can just pop out the trays and brush and floss as you regularly would, so your hygienist will be extra impressed at your next cleaning.
3. You can see the results before you experience them. Thanks to advanced 3D technology, you’ll be able to see a simulation of your final smile before you get started. If that’s not real motivation, what is?
4. Did we mention it’s invisible?
Think you’re ready to give Invisalign a shot? Book an appointment today!
Why Your Oral Health is About So Much More Than Your Smile
Maybe you’re not the most consistent flosser. Or, let’s be honest: you’re not a flosser, period; it’s a hassle that’s fallen entirely off your daily to-do list. And maybe you could be a bit better about brushing those back teeth. But who has the time, right? And sure, you skipped your last checkup, but aren’t cavities a kid problem?
The reality is, your oral health matters more than you might realize. Proper dental hygiene and care isn’t just about maintaining a sparkling smile—though that’s certainly an important bonus. The state of your oral health can reveal a lot about your overall wellness. That means that even if you’re sipping kale juice and hitting the gym, your health could be in jeopardy if you’re ignoring your mouth.
Blame the Bacteria
You probably don’t fancy yourself a bacterial stomping ground, but the truth is, most areas of your body are teeming with tons of tiny microscopic critters. And most of these germs are harmless and kept in check thanks to your natural defenses and proper hygiene. But if you start slacking on brushing and flossing, you give those germs the opportunity to grow out of control. This can cause all kinds of not-so-fun complications like tooth decay and gum disease.
Beyond these oral health snafus, studies also suggest that the inflammation associated with periodontitis (a severe form of gum disease) could up your odds of developing certain diseases involving your heart. Endocarditis, for example, is an infection of the heart’s inner lining, and it can happen when germs from another part of your body (yes, including your mouth) spread through your bloodstream.
And if you have a chronic condition like diabetes, osteoporosis, or HIV/AIDs, your body’s natural defenses may already be off, setting you up for even more intense oral health problems. The Mayo Clinic also reports that oral health might be linked to other serious conditions—including everything from eating disorders to head and neck cancers.
Finally, if you’re pregnant, oral hygiene isn’t just important for you—it’s essential for your baby too. Periodontitis has been linked to premature birth and low birth weight, so staying on top of your dental health is crucial.
How to Stay on Top of Your Oral and Overall Health
You may just want to hit the hay at the end of a long day, but before you hop into bed, make brushing and flossing non-negotiable rituals. Sure, it’s tempting to dose off immediately following a Netflix binge, but investing just a few minutes in your oral hygiene can go a long way in protecting your overall health. A few other tips to keep you in tip-top shape:
• Swap out your toothbrush for a new one every three months or as soon as the bristles start to fray—whichever comes first.
• If you’re a smoker, stop. Now.
• Incorporate healthy foods into your diet and keep the sugary snacks to a minimum.
Most importantly, set yourself up with a great dentist who can keep a close eye on your oral health and work with you to maintain your wellbeing—and your great smile.
Dr. Rimma Portman, DDS
As a dentist, it’s easy to preach about maintaining great oral hygiene. Every dentist does it. I have multiple conversations daily with my patients about brushing twice a day, flossing regularly and maintaining a diet that is ideal of your oral health and overall health. As a 30 something year old woman who is a wife, business owner and mother, I can understand how “life” gets in the way. When your less than ideal oral hygiene takes a turn for the worse and you begin experiencing discomfort, its important to recognize the do’s and don’ts about your toothache and take action.
- When should you be concerned about a toothache?
- If the toothache has lasted more than 1-2 days.
- Experiencing fever or chills.
- Having a hard time biting down, chewing or swallowing.
- Experiencing an earache or pain when you open your mouth.
- Symptoms and causes of a toothache
Aside from the typical discomfort and pain associated with a toothache, other symptoms and causes can include
- Jaw pain
- Bleeding gums
- Trouble chewing and swallowing
- Facial rash
- Swelling in the gums, cheek, or around the tooth
There can be so many direct and indirect reasons for a toothache. Cavity or tooth decay, gum disease, a cracked tooth, recent trauma, infection, sinus issues are just some of the causes. Many of my patients, while very nice, smart and educated have a tendency to self-diagnose. While access to WebMD and Google is great, seeking out the help of your dentist is likely the best choice.
Tooth Decay and Cavity
Cavities or tooth decay, if left untreated will likely turn into a root canal. In most cases, getting a cavity filled by your dentist can nip the problem in the butt in one visit. Tooth colored fillings, otherwise known as composite fillings can also save you from a root canal and crown, which is significantly more invasive, not to mention a heck of a lot more expensive.
If you’re an active person who plays sports or just clumsy like me, you’ve likely hit your face, bumped into something or someone at one point in your life. Trauma to your mouth or teeth can certainly cause pain. Having an x-ray taken of the area is likely the best option.
Bleeding Gums/Gum Disease
At the risk of sounding like a typical dentist, slacking on your oral hygiene (i.e. brushing twice a day and flossing) will certain come back to haunt you. Inflamed gums, bleeding gums, and pain or sensitivity around your tooth can be a sign of gingivitis. Being strict with your oral hygiene and visiting your dentist every 6 months can go a long way. Most dental insurances cover preventative visits twice a year at no cost to the patient. Those visits can certainly save you a lot of pain in your mouth and wallet.
If you suspect that you might have a problem with a wisdom tooth, it would likely be wise of you to make an appointment with your dentist. There are several treatment options available including an extraction, which is very common and can be done under general anesthesia or sedation.
A cracked tooth can occur from bad oral hygiene, trauma, and gum disease. Sometimes it can be fixed with a simple filling. Other times when the crack is really bad, or below the gum line, your dentist might suggest a root canal. Severity can only be determined at an office once your dentist takes an x-ray of the tooth. It can also be very painful so seeing a professional immediately is likely your best option.
Sinus or Allergy Issue
A toothache from your Sinus? Can that really be a thing? YEP! Oddly enough, when you’re sick or have an infection, your mucus lining can swell. The blockage in your nasal passage can clog your sinus. With this blockage, bacteria can get trapped which can lead to pain in your upper molars. Trust me, its not pretty!
- What to do When You Have a Toothache?
- Call your dentist. It’s always best to have a professional take a look.
- Apply a cold compress.
- Take a painkiller
- Apply a numbing gel
- Keep the area clean
- Rinse with warm salt water
We’ve all experienced toothaches or know someone who has. As a doctor, I want all of my patients to be prepared in case they experience any discomfort at home, in the middle of the night, or while traveling. While regular check ups and cleanings at iSmile Dental can certainly prevent many issues from arising, our Williamsburg, Brooklyn office at 144 North 8th street as well as our Park Slope, Brooklyn location at 857 Union Street are always prepared and ready for any dental emergency. Myself and the other doctors at iSmile Dental are always available for any of our New York City patients. You can always call our office in Williamsburg, Brooklyn at (718) 384-8880 or our Park Slope office in Brooklyn at (929) 337-8628. You can also book directly through our website at www.iSmile-DDS.com.