Posts for: April, 2015

By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
April 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: nutrition   tooth decay   sugar  

Even after decades emphasizing oral hygiene and supplemental fluoride to fight dental disease, we’re now seeing an increase in tooth decay, especially among children. What’s causing this alarming trend?

Many in both the dental and medical professions link this and other health problems to a rise in the amount and consumption of sugar added to food products. A number of years ago our annual average consumption of added sugar was about 4 pounds per person; today, it’s closer to 90 pounds.

The increase in sugar consumption can be traced to the 1970s when the food industry began adding more sugar to make processed foods stripped of oils and fats taste better. Today, 77% of the approximately 600,000 food items sold in the United States contain some form of sugar (under a variety of names).

This additional sugar, however, has produced an unintended consequence: sugar triggers the release of a brain chemical called dopamine that regulates our sense of reward when we engage in a desirable behavior. The excess dopamine creates a weak addiction to sugar, which then leads to overconsumption, contributing to our current obesity epidemic and the rise in health problems like heart disease or Type 2 diabetes. This is especially alarming among children: thirty years ago Type 2 diabetes was unheard of among children — today there are over 55,000 diagnosed pediatric cases.

For both you and your family’s general and dental health, you should consider ways to reduce your sugar intake: purchase and eat most of your food from the “outer edges” of your supermarket — meats, dairy, and fresh vegetables and fruits (which do contain the sugar fructose, but are mostly fiber that slows the liver’s processing of the sugar); limit processed foods with added sugar, and learn to recognize its inclusion in products by reading ingredients labels. You should also be wary of sweetened beverages such as sodas, sports drinks, teas or juices, and try to drink more water.

The recommended daily sugar consumption is less than six teaspoons a day (about two-thirds the amount in one can of soda). By restricting this consumption, you’ll improve your general health and reduce your risk for dental disease.

If you would like more information on the general and dental health effects of sugar, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Jeffrey Mason, D.M.D.
April 15, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

Cosmetic DentistryMany people suffer needlessly with crooked teeth, gaps, cracked teeth, or missing teeth. If you are unhappy with your smile, cosmetic dentistry may be able to help. Cosmetic dentistry can treat many aesthetic problems such as overlapping teeth, discoloration, or even misshapen teeth. Find out what help is available in Hasbrouck Heights.

Types of Cosmetic Dentistry

  • Cosmetic Bonding

This can repair small chips or cracks in the teeth using a composite resin material that is painted over your teeth by a dentist.

  • Porcelain Veneers

Dental veneers can completely change the look of your smile by lengthening your teeth, filling gaps, and even changing the shape of the tooth. Veneers use wafer-thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded on your teeth to create a completely natural look that can last a lifetime.

  • Dental Crowns and Bridges

If you’ve suffered tooth decay or tooth loss, a dental crown or bridge can replace the surface area of your tooth to restore its appearance and functionality. Crowns and bridges are usually made of porcelain for a durable and natural-looking tooth replacement.

  • Dental Implants

If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants can help to replace those teeth and restore your smile and your bite. A dental implant is a titanium post that is fixed into the jaw to create a new root on top of which a crown or bridge can be placed. Dental implants are a good solution for anyone missing one, multiple, or even all of your teeth.

  • Teeth Whitening

If your teeth are stained or discolored, tooth whitening by your dentist can help to lighten and brighten your teeth by up to ten shades in just about an hour. The process is safer and more effective than home whitening systems in just a fraction of the time.

If you are unhappy with your smile, talk to your dentist about cosmetic dentistry. It can not only improve the look of your teeth, but it can also improve your confidence and self-esteem. Dr. Jeffrey Mason your Hasbrouck Heights cosmetic dentist offers a full array of cosmetic services to meet your needs. Schedule an appointment today to find out how cosmetic dentistry can overhaul your smile in Hasbrouck Heights.

By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
April 08, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”