By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
April 01, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: nutrition   tooth decay  
EnergyDrinksCouldPoseaThreattoYourTeeth

In the last few years, energy drinks have begun to offer strong competition to traditional "pick-me-up" drinks like tea or coffee. But while the proponents of energy drinks say they're not harmful, the jury's still out on their long-term health effects.

With that said, however, we may be closer to a definitive answer regarding oral health—and it's not good. The evidence from some recent studies doesn't favor a good relationship between energy drinks and your teeth.

For one, many energy drinks contain added sugar, which is a primary food source for the bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. Increased bacteria also increase your chances of dental disease.

Most energy drinks also contain high levels of acid, which can damage the enamel and open the door to advanced tooth decay. The danger is especially high when the mouth's overall pH falls below 5.5. Energy drinks and their close cousins, sports drinks, typically have a pH of 3.05 and 2.91, respectively, which is well within the danger zone for enamel.

A research group recently put the acidity of both types of beverages to the test. The researchers submerged samples of enamel into different brands of beverages four times a day for five days, to simulate a person consuming four drinks a day. Afterward, they examined the samples and found that those subjected to energy drinks lost an average 3.1 % of their volume, with sports drinks faring only a little better at 1.5%.

Although more research needs to be done, these preliminary results support a more restrained use of energy drinks. If you do consume these beverages, observing the following guidelines could help limit any damage to your teeth.

  • Limit drinking to mealtimes—eating food stimulates saliva production, which helps neutralize acid;
  • After drinking, rinse out your mouth with water—because of its neutral pH, water can help dilute concentrated acid in the mouth;
  • Wait an hour to brush to give saliva a chance to remineralize enamel—brushing before then could cause microscopic bits of softened enamel to slough off.

There's one other alternative—abstain from energy drinks altogether. In the long run, that may turn out to be the best choice for protecting your oral health.

If you would like more information on the effects of sports or energy drinks on teeth, 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 “Think Before You Drink.”

Same-DayImplantsOfferanAttractiveSmileThroughouttheProcess

With traditional implant methods, it could take months before you can enjoy your new replacement tooth. That's usually not a big deal for a back tooth that's mostly out of sight. It's a different story, however, for a highly visible front tooth—the extended time without a tooth can be embarrassingly uncomfortable for some.

There is, however, another option, one you may already have seen advertised: same-day tooth replacement. In effect, you receive the implant and a life-like temporary crown in a single dental visit.

During the conventional process, the dentist surgically installs the titanium implant post into a prepared channel in the jawbone. Once it's properly positioned, the dentist then sutures the gum tissue over the implant. This protects the implant while bone cells grow and attach themselves to the post to give it a strong and durable hold within the bone.

But now dentists have developed another method to help address the appearance problem posed by teeth that are more visible. With this method, the dentist affixes a temporary crown onto the implant post immediately after installing it. The patient thus walks out the same day without a missing tooth gap and a full smile.

This is a welcome alternative for people desiring to maintain an attractive smile throughout the implant process. But it does have one major qualification—the patient's underlying jawbone must be relatively healthy and supportive of the implant. If not, the implant may require a longer period of bone growth before and after surgery to fully secure it. In those cases, it may be better to use the conventional method.

As we've already noted, a "same-day" crown isn't the permanent one, especially with single tooth implants. That's because the implant still requires bone integration over several weeks to achieve full durability. For that reason, this initial crown is made slightly shorter than the surrounding teeth to limit its encounter with biting forces generated by daily chewing, from which those forces would likely damage the implant at this stage.

After completion of the bone integration stage, the patient returns to swap out the temporary crown for the fully functional permanent crown. The "same-day" crown has served its purpose—providing the patient a seamless full smile throughout the implant process.

If you would like more information on "same-day" implant restorations, 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 “Same-Day Tooth Replacement With Dental Implants.”

By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
March 12, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  
4ThingsYouCanDoTohaveAHealthierMouthandBody

Ninety percent of all adults have had at least one cavity during their lifetime. Over half of people over thirty have had some form of gum disease. And, over one quarter of adults over 65 have only 8 teeth or fewer—with one in six senior adults having lost all their teeth.

These statistics are disturbing—and not just for the impact they show dental disease could have on your mouth. Unhealthy teeth and gums can affect your whole body with infection, malnutrition and the worsening of diseases like diabetes and heart disease.

Good oral health truly supports overall health and well-being—and it's why we set aside every March 20th as World Oral Health Day. In recognition of this global emphasis on maintaining a healthy mouth, here are 4 things you can do to prevent dental disease and keep your teeth and gums in prime condition.

Practice oral hygiene. Less than five minutes a day—that's all it takes to perform the most important tasks you can undertake to promote oral health. Brushing and flossing daily removes dental plaque—the thin bacterial film on tooth surfaces most responsible for tooth decay and gum disease—so you can significantly lower your risk for dental disease.

Eat dental-friendly foods. A diet that's beneficial for your entire body is typically great for your mouth. It's not complicated, either. Major on "good" foods—dairy, whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables—while minoring on or cutting out the "not so good"—processed foods and refined sugar. The latter, found in 77% of the more than 600,000 processed foods sold in grocery stores, is super food for harmful oral bacteria.

Quit tobacco. Smokers are twice as likely as non-smokers to develop gum disease, and three times as likely to lose all their teeth. Tobacco also increases your risk for other mouth-related diseases, including oral cancer. Kicking the habit isn't just good for your heart and lungs—it's just as beneficial for your oral health.

See your dentist regularly. A professional dental cleaning rids your teeth of residual plaque missed during personal hygiene, particularly hardened plaque called tartar that's impossible to remove with brushing and flossing. And, it's more likely your dentist's trained eye and diagnostic tools will be able to identify and treat early dental disease, before it can cause extensive, permanent damage.

A healthy lifestyle is key to long-term well-being. Make sure part of what you do to stay healthy includes your mouth.

If you would like more information about taking care of your oral health, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene.”

ARoutineDentalProcedureSavesThisMLBStandoutsBrokenTooth

During this year's baseball spring training, Minnesota Twins center fielder Byron Buxton got into a row with a steak dinner—and the beefsteak got the better of it. During his meal, the Gold Glove winner cracked a tooth.

Fortunately, he didn't lose it. Buxton's dentist rescued the tooth with a dental procedure that's been around for over a century—a root canal treatment. The dependable root canal is responsible for saving millions of teeth each year.

Dentists turn to root canal treatments for a number of reasons: a permanent tooth's roots are dissolving (a condition called resorption); chronic inflammation of the innermost tooth pulp due to repeated fillings; or a fractured or cracked tooth, like Buxton's, in which the pulp becomes exposed to bacteria.

One of the biggest reasons, though, is advanced tooth decay. Triggered by acid, a by-product of bacteria, a tooth's enamel softens and erodes, allowing decay into the underlying dentin. In its initial stages, we can often treat decay with a filling. But if the decay continues to advance, it can infect the pulp and root canals and eventually reach the bone.

Decay of this magnitude seriously jeopardizes a tooth's survival. But we can still stop it before that point with a root canal. The basic procedure is fairly straightforward. We begin first by drilling a small hole into the tooth to access the inner pulp and root canals. Using special instruments, we then remove all of the infected tissue within the tooth.

After disinfecting the now empty spaces and reshaping the root canals, we fill the tooth with a rubber-like substance called gutta percha. This, along with filling the access hole, seals the tooth's interior from future infection. In most cases, we'll return sometime later and bond a life-like crown to the tooth (as Buxton's dentist did for him) for added protection and support.

You would think such a procedure would get its own ticker tape parade. Unfortunately, there's a cultural apprehension that root canals are painful. But here's the truth—because your tooth and surrounding gums are numbed by local anesthesia, a root canal procedure doesn't hurt. Actually, if your tooth has been throbbing from tooth decay's attack on its nerves, a root canal treatment will alleviate that pain.

After some time on the disabled list, Buxton was back in the lineup in time to hit his longest homer to date at 456 feet on the Twins' Opening Day. You may not have that kind of moment after a root canal, but repairing a bothersome tooth with this important procedure will certainly get you back on your feet again.

If you would like more information about root canal therapy, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Step-By-Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment.”

By Jeffrey Mason, DMD
February 23, 2022
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: teeth whitening  

Which whitening is right for you?

Many of our patients at Mason Dental Associates in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, have been asking Dr. Jeffrey Mason about brightening their teeth lately, and today we thought we would discuss the options available to you to put the sparkle back in your smile!

Over-the-counter products – You’ve probably seen over-the-counter whiteners such as whitening strips on store shelves. While whitening strips may work for some, they do have certain restrictions. For example, they are not nearly as effective when crowns or fillings are involved. Teeth that are stained gray instead of brown or yellow typically don’t respond as well to these types of whiteners. Whitening strips typically save you money but take longer to work and also require discipline on your part to keep them in place for the right amount of time each day.

Whitening at our office – This type of whitening can be done right at our practice. A whitening agent is applied directly to teeth and a special light helps accelerate the whitening process. This may be accomplished in one session or take several appointments. You should expect to spend anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes at each session. If you have a mix of natural teeth and fillings or crowns, your dentist may recommend bonding or veneers on your natural teeth instead of regular bleaching. Teeth whitening at our office can be used to correct many tooth discolorations which may have been caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. Using the latest in whitening technology, we can offer a safe method for creating the beautiful smile you've always wanted.

At-home whitening – If you choose this option, the dentist will take a mold of your teeth and create a custom-fit whitening tray. The gel whitening solution is poured into the tray, and the tray is worn for a predetermined amount of time, generally from a couple of hours a day to every day during the night, until you’re back in our office for an evaluation.

Give us a call at our Mason Dental Associates in Hasbrouck Heights, NJ, to schedule an appointment! Whiter teeth are just one visit away with Dr. Jeffrey Mason, just call (201) 288-4447.





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