Posts for: December, 2013

By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
December 16, 2013
Category: Oral Health

Lots of people collect Beatles memorabilia, but one Canadian dentist took this hobby to new heights recently when he paid $31,200 for John Lennon's molar at auction. According to published reports, Lennon had given the extracted tooth to his housekeeper as a souvenir in the 1960s after coming home from the dentist's office. The molar was discolored and had a cavity, according to the dentist who purchased it after the housekeeper's family put it up for bids. “For the cavity to be this large he probably wasn't seeing a dentist that regularly,” the dentist said. His brushing and flossing routine may not have been that conscientious either!

For healthy teeth, it's important to have a good daily oral hygiene routine at home and regular professional cleanings here at the office. Our hygienist will scale your teeth to remove hard deposits (tartar), and polish them to remove stains for a wonderful, extra-clean feeling.

Dental hygienists are trained to do lots of other things to promote your oral health besides cleaning your teeth. They can check the skin in and around your mouth looking for any suspicious bumps, sores, etc., that may need further evaluation. They will also evaluate your periodontal health (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth), checking for signs of gum inflammation and bleeding (gingivitis). And they monitor teeth for signs of decay, which is actually the world's most widespread disease.

Cavities, or dental caries as it is also known, are the most notable consequences of tooth decay. Left untreated, caries can lead to pain and tooth loss. John Lennon's dentist must have believed there was nothing more to be done for the badly decayed molar that later went on to fetch such a high price.

Unless you're a rock star, your teeth are worth a lot more in a healthy and functioning state — inside your mouth! So if it's been a while since your last appointment, please come in and see us. Remember: Good dental health is priceless.

If you would like more information on tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article, “Tooth Decay.” Dear Doctor also has more on the “Dental Hygiene Visit.”


Metal amalgam fillings for dental caries have been used since the mid 19th Century. Although newer, “natural color” filling materials have become available, amalgam remains a standard choice among dentists.

Dental amalgam is a metal alloy created by carefully combining exact proportions of mercury, silver, tin and copper. Though quite pliable when first mixed, the alloy eventually sets into a very hard substance that stands up well against the forces produced by the mouth’s natural chewing function. The presence of mercury, however, has raised concerns for some that the metal’s toxic properties pose a risk to the patient’s health.

But after decades of research, the American Dental Association and other health organizations have concluded that dental amalgam “is a safe, reliable and effective restorative material.” Studies have determined that any free molecules of mercury that could potentially enter the bloodstream are trapped in the set amalgam. And although the amalgam can release mercury vapor during chewing, the amounts are well below the levels considered harmful.

Dental amalgam has proven to be versatile, effective and economical. It doesn’t create an allergic reaction, is quite durable, and doesn’t interfere with normal chewing function. It does, however, have its drawbacks. Its use can require more tooth material to be removed to keep the fillings in place, and they can increase temperature sensitivity during the initial four to six weeks. And, of course, their metallic appearance, especially when used in more visible front teeth, reduces their aesthetic appeal.

Other, more cosmetically appealing types of filling material have been developed over the years. These include composite resin fillings, a mixture of glass or quartz in a resin medium; glass ionomers, made of acrylic acids and fine glass powders and best used in areas not subject to heavy chewing; and resin ionomers, similar to glass ionomers but with the addition of acrylic resin. Each of these has their advantages and disadvantages (as well as cost considerations), but they’re main advantage over amalgam is their mimicry of natural tooth color.

The choice of either dental amalgam filling or one of the tooth-color alternatives depends on what you may need and can afford. Rest assured, though, that if the choice is dental amalgam, this restoration workhorse can provide you years of safe and effective service.

If you would like more information on your options for tooth fillings, 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 “Silver Fillings.”

By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
December 02, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Grills   Hasbrouck Heights  
Hasbrouck Heights NJ Cosmetic DentistryLady Gaga, Katy Perry, Madonna and Beyoncé—what do these four women have in common? You can probably name a few: vocalists, top stars and trend setters. All true, but we were thinking of something else—grill wearers. Grills are the “it” thing in Hollywood, hopefully not for long. Not many people, besides celebrities, are wearing grills, but it’s important to be cautious of this dental trend.
Dr. Jeffrey Mason, dentist in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, identifies two problems with “grillz”—oral hygiene and worn enamel. Grills are typically made of silver or gold, and they can be decorated with flashy jewels. Right now, there are no studies that reveal grills to be harmful to the mouth, but a grill can affect oral health.

Dental Grill and Bacteria

If a grill wearer doesn’t maintain proper oral health, bacteria and food particles can accumulate on the inside of a grill, which rests on the surface of the teeth. Growing bacteria and acid can break down the enamel, causing early signs of tooth decay.

Dental Grill and Worn Enamel

Besides the possibility of bacteria and acid causing worn enamel, a grill might not be properly fitted; thus, it can cause friction between the inside of the grill and the enamel. It’s important to preserve enamel for the sake of healthy teeth and gums.
Grills aren’t glamorous. A white, straight smile will always win the award for best smile—it’s a trend that won’t go out of style. At Dr. Mason’s practice, cosmetic dentistry in Hasbrouck Heights includes crowns, porcelain veneers and teeth whitening. Schedule an appointment today for a whiter, more confident smile. What do you think about dental grills? Do you give them five stars or no stars? Let us know in the comments!