Posts for: October, 2016

By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
October 27, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Did you know that hormonal fluctuations could actually affect your oral health?

Ladies: listen up! You may not realize this, but your hormones don’t just play a role in how you feel or what foods you are suddenly oral healthcraving. Hormones can actually play a role in the health of your teeth and gums, as well. From the office of our Hasbrouck Heights, NJ dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Mason, find out more about how hormone levels impact your oral health.

Unfortunately, women may be at a greater risk for developing certain health issues because of fluctuations in their hormones. Why? Because hormones have the ability to affect how much blood flow gets to the gums, as well as how your body responds to things like the buildup of plaque. Because of this, there are certain times in a woman’s life where she may be prone to gum disease or other issues.

What Puts a Woman at Risk for Dental Issues?

Our Hasbrouck Heights general dentist has pinpointed five specific events in a woman’s life in which hormones may negatively impact your oral health: puberty, menstruation, when taking birth control pill, pregnancy and menopause.

Puberty

With the sudden burst of estrogen and progesterone in the body this can actually boost blood flow to the gums and cause the gums to become more sensitive to plaque. As a result you may notice that gums are a little more swollen or red. You may even notice some bleeding while flossing.

Menstruation

With the increase in hormones, most specifically progesterone, you may notice swollen or bleeding gums, canker sores or even swollen salivary glands. Known as menstruation gingivitis, this issue often happens a couple days before your period but will go away after your period begins.

Birth Control Pills

Since many birth control pills contain progesterone, you may be more likely to deal with red, inflamed gum tissue that may be particularly sensitive to plaque buildup. Be sure to let us know if you are taking oral contraception.

Pregnancy

A lot changes during pregnancy, particularly your hormone levels. Women who are pregnant are at a greater risk of developing gum disease, particularly within the second to eighth-month range. This is known as pregnancy gingivitis, and as a result we may recommend that you come in more often for routine cleanings and exams to reduce your chances of developing gum disease.

Menopause

The hormone fluctuations that happen during menopause, the oral changes that occur as you get older and any medications you may be taking for chronic health conditions can all affect your oral health. You may be more sensitive to hot or cold foods, you may be susceptible to dry mouth (which can increase decay and gum disease). You may also suffer from bone loss or receding gums, as a result of a decrease in estrogen. This is why it’s so important that you always keep up with your routine dental visits.

As you may be able to see, it’s important that you keep up with those six-month dental cleanings to make sure that you are getting the dental care you need when you need it most. If it’s time for your next cleaning, call our Hasbrouck Heights, NJ dental office today.


By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
October 24, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
DrTravisStorkIfOnlyIdWornAMouthguard

If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”

What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.

You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.

Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.

Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.

“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…

If you would like more information about mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Athletic Mouthguards.”


By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
October 16, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Implants  
WhattoExpectBeforeDuringandAfterImplantSurgery

People are choosing dental implants at an increasing rate to replace missing teeth, either as an individual tooth or as a support for other restorations. But unlike other replacement options, we must surgically install the titanium post at the heart of the system directly into the jawbone.

While the term “surgery” might make you nervous, there's nothing at all to worry about. Here's what you need to know about before, during and after this relatively minor procedure.

Before. While the actual procedure is no more complicated than a tooth extraction, it ultimately depends on careful planning beforehand. Using x-ray diagnostics, we prepare a precise surgical guide to help us locate the best position to place them for a successful outcome. We'll also need to check bone volume to make sure there's an adequate amount to securely anchor the implant. If the bone is insufficient you may need bone grafting to build up the site or another replacement option.

During. The actual procedure begins, of course, with local anesthesia to numb the site — you should feel no pain and very minimal discomfort. We access the bone through the gums; often using a surgical guide for alignment, we create a small channel or hole with a sequence of drills that gradually increase the size until it can accommodate the implant. We remove the implants from their sterile packaging and install them immediately into the channel. After confirming their proper positioning with x-rays, we can close the gum tissues over it for protection during healing or attach a healing abutment that extends through the gum tissue thereby avoiding a second surgical procedure.

After. Because we disrupt relatively little of the soft tissue and bone, there's only minimal discomfort afterward easily managed with aspirin, ibuprofen or similar anti-inflammatory medication. We may also prescribe antibiotics to guard against infection while the gums heal. During the next several weeks, the titanium post, which has an affinity to bone, will become more secure as bone cells grow and adhere to it. It's also during this time that a dental lab creates your permanent crown or other restoration that matches the color and tooth shape so it will blend with your other teeth.

This process is complete when we install the final restoration onto the implant. You'll have a new smile and better function.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implant Surgery.”


By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
October 01, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
SpiceUpYourTeeth

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.”