Waterford, MI Dentist
Lloyd H. Alpert, D.D.S.
4025 Highland Road
Waterford, MI 48328
(248) 682-6010

Posts for: August, 2012

 

While there is no question that regular chewing gum promotes tooth decay, there is clinical evidence that demonstrates just the opposite for sugar-free gum. Studies have shown that using sugar-free chewing gum after meals and snacks, especially when toothbrushing at those times is impractical, helps reduce the acid level and its potential detrimental effect on the enamel. Its mechanism of action is the stimulation of 10 times the normal rate of salivary flow due to both the act of chewing and the flavor of the artificial sweeteners [sorbitol or xylitol]. The saliva washes away food particles and acid produced by bacteria in the plaque and neutralizes the acid because of increased concentration of bicarbonates. Chewing sugar-free gum is not intended to replace toothbrushing and flossing. Sugar-free gum is also recommended for people with xerostomia [dry mouth] to stimulate increased salivary flow, along with drinking greater amounts of water [6-8 glasses a day]. However, those experiencing TMJ [temporomadibular syndrome] symptoms should refrain from chewing any gum.  

 


Dentists often hear, "Don't take this personally, but I don't want to be here." Or, "I'd rather give birth than go to the dentist." Dental visits are anxiety producing for some individuals and result in uncomfortable stressful situations. The good news is that we have the "cure." It's been used safely for over 100 years and goes by many names such as Nitrous Oxide, Tranquilizing Air and Laughing Gas. The bottom line is that this sweet smelling blend of nitrous oxide and oxygen reduces anxiety, minimizes an overactive gag reflex, raises your pain threshold and helps make your dental visit pleasant and comfortable with its calming effect.

Nitrous Oxide is non-addictive, predictable, and reliable and is, perhaps, the safest sedative in dentistry. During the treatment, you remain fully conscious and have all your natural reflexes. Both adults and children can use it. In fact, 85% off all pediatric dentists use "laughing gas" with their patients. You quickly recover in about 5 minutes after the nitrous oxide is turned off, and you are switched to pure oxygen to breathe. It is safe to drive and return to your normal activities after the visit.

The nitrous oxide is administered through a "mask" or nosepiece that fits snugly over your nose. The amount you receive can be individually adjusted to satisfy your personal needs. A euphoric effect is produced that may be accompanied by a tingling in the hands and feet. Some report feeling giddy - thus the name laughing gas. The most common response we hear is "I'm aware of what is happening, but it doesn't bother me."

Contraindications to the use of nitrous oxide are pregnancy, if you are uncomfortable with something around your nose or if your have a respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult. It is recommended to refrain from eating for about 2 hours before treatment. Nitrous oxide is excellent for patients with a history of heart problems because it reduces tension and provides 2-3 times more oxygen than breathing normal air.

Nitrous oxide does not numb teeth, so most patients use it in combination with a local dental anesthetic. However, after being placed on nitrous oxide for several minutes, many patients report, " I hardly felt the injection."

Call our office to find out how nitrous oxide can dramatically help you. 


August 16, 2012
Category: Dental News
Tags: Bonding  

It's not unusual to feel shy about smiling if your teeth aren't everything you would like them to be. Stained teeth might inhibit you from smiling as often or as big as you normally would. Chipped teeth and gapped teeth can have a similar effect. But with a little dental bonding, you can start smiling again with confidence.

Dental bonding is one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to make cosmetic improvements to your teeth.

During a bonding procedure, a tooth-colored resin, or plastic, is bonded to your tooth with an ultraviolet "curing" light. Unlike veneers and crowns, which are sometimes used to make similar improvements, a bonding procedure usually takes just 30-60 minutes per tooth and is often complete in just one dental visit. Another advantage of dental bonding: It requires less prep work than veneers or crowns, so more of your tooth enamel remains intact.

Bonding can even be used to replace existing amalgam (silver) fillings with natural-looking composites. It’s also ideal for treating cavities in the front teeth, where aesthetics are especially important.

Keep in mind that dental bonding isn’t the cure-all for every tooth defect. Bonding doesn’t work well on back teeth or larger cavities. But for the smaller changes, bonding can have a huge impact on the way you feel about your smile.

  


Canker sores [apthous ulcers] are often confused with fever blisters [cold sores]. They are quite different, however. Canker sores are only found inside the mouth on the gums, cheeks, tongue or floor of the mouth. They cannot be transmitted from one individual to another.

Cold sores are found outside the mouth, usually on the lips but may appear on the chin, outside of the cheek or the nostrils. They begin as a red blister, burst and crust over. The cycle takes 7-14 days to heal. Cold sores, caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus, are contagious, being transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. The virus is dormant most of the time and is carried by almost everyone. Fever blisters occur most often in young adults and adolescents and decline in people over 35 years of age. Certain factors activate its outbreak, particularly stress, colds, fevers and/or sunburn.

To reduce occurrences, avoid kissing when the blisters are visible; don't squeeze or scrape the blister; wash your hands thoroughly before touching someone else; and use UV sunscreen on your lips before spending time in the sun.

Treatment of cold sores includes avoiding spicy and hot foods that will irritate them, application of phenol-containing over-the-counter ointments and administration of some anti-viral antibiotics that will shorten their duration but not prevent their outbreak.

Canker sores begin as small red circular swellings that usually ulcerate [rupture] within a day, after which they become white, surrounded by reddish inflammation. They last 8-10 days. As open sores, they can be very painful to the touch. Canker sores afflict about 20% of the population. Their cause has yet to be discovered, although they appear to breakout more in stressful situations, from getting a small "nick" in the skin [mucous membrane] or from foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes. While they can occur in very young children, they are usually first seen between the ages of 10-20. It's not uncommon for them to erupt 3-4 times a year, but they occur less frequently or stop all together in adults.

When experiencing canker sores, avoid rough textured or spicy foods that will irritate them. Try not to touch them with eating utensils or your toothbrush. Apply ointment that contains a topical anesthetic or some other active ingredient that will relieve the irritation. Call our office for some recommendations. 


By contactus
August 01, 2012
Category: Dental News
Tags: Dental Myths  
Myth: I can’t see any problems with my teeth, so I don't need to go to the dentist.
 
Fact: There are dental problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye – gum disease, hairline fractures and root canal disease are just a few. Dentists use sophisticated technologies – like digital X-rays – to detect problems both on and beneath the surface of your teeth. Plus, it’s a mistake to think of dental visits as emergency care; they’re just as much about preventive care.
 
Myth: I don’t need to worry about my teeth because my parents never had problems.
 
Fact: Though genetics may play a small role in predicting your oral health, how well you take care of your teeth will be the single most important determinant in how healthy they are.
 
Myth: Chewing sugar-free gum after a meal is just as effective as brushing.
 
Fact: It’s true that chewing sugar-free gum after meals can help clean your teeth, stimulate saliva flow and freshen your breath after meals. But it’s no replacement for a thorough brushing and flossing, which actually removes dental plaque and food debris.
 
Myth: I shouldn't brush my teeth if my gums are bleeding.
 
Fact: Bleeding gums can be a sign that you’re brushing too vigorously or gum disease. Keep brushing, but make some adjustments. Use a toothbrush with medium-soft bristles and brush in a circular motion. If the bleeding continues after a few days, see your dentist.
 
Myth: If I have a toothache, placing an aspirin tablet next to the tooth will relieve pain.
 
Fact: Putting an aspirin tablet in direct contact with the soft tissues of your mouth will not help relieve a toothache. In fact, this can lead to painful chemical burns. Don't do it! See your dentist for relief.
 
Myth: All dental procedures must be avoided during pregnancy.
 
Fact: Although certain procedures, such as X-rays or dental surgery, should be  



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