In the past we have discussed how to teach your children and yourself child brushing teethto be a great patient, and how to maintain a healthy oral environment. We’ve shared our insights from prenatal to postnatal as well. However, one very important group that seldom is addressed is the Adolescent group. Dentally, this is one of the most important age groups. These budding individuals are past the age where their parents can help them brush, but not mature enough to keep their mouths as clean as they should. A lot of damage can be done in those teen years that can set your child up for a lifetime of dental aggravation. Today’s post is about how to keep your teen’s mouth healthy.

  • Keep the fluoride coming, getting your teen to brush well and brush often is a hard job in itself, asking them to floss and rinse afterwards is even harder. I recommend buying a toothpaste that includes fluoride to help keep their enamel strong and healthy, and if you can try and have them rinse with a fluoride rinse like ACT before bed, even better. You can check out some ACT products here.
  • Try and make sure that your child is brushing at least twice a day. As much as they’ll be annoyed by your hounding them, they’ll be even more annoyed when they have to sit through a filling or two.
  • With the surge in popularity of energy and sports drinks kids are really drawn to these types of beverages.  Limit your teen’s consumption as much as you can. Always stick to sugar free, and be aware of what your teen is consuming. Some sports drinks, although sugar free, are very acidic and are unhealthy for dental enamel.
  • During the teenage years we often see many kids with braces. It is incredibly important to keep your teens mouth clean during this time. There are plenty of tools made to help keep brackets and orthodontic appliances clean. Ask your dentist or orthodontist which tools are best for your teens mouth and have them show your child (and you) how to use them.
  • Candy and carbohydrate laden snack foods are definite cavity causers. If you can’t avoid your child eating these types of foods then at least limit the amount of times during the day that they do. One sitting of eating candy and snacks followed by tooth brushing and flossing can reduce the risk of cavities as opposed to short periods of snacking throughout the day.
  • Teens can be very insecure, with all sorts of new social situations some kids are more concerned than ever about their appearances. Help boost your kids confidence by giving them the tools to keep their smile healthy and beautiful. If they are looking for inspiration, remind them that by not taking care of their mouths there are other risks besides cavities, such as bad breath, broken and discolored teeth.
Overall, to keep your teens mouth healthy make sure your teen is continuing with their regular dental appointments. By instilling in them the value of oral hygiene and good health habits you give your teen the building blocks for a lifetime of great oral and overall health. And finally, the best way to lead is by example!]]>

This time of the year is tough, the holidays are over, flu season is in full effect and tax season is Woman with toothachelooming. This means stress, and one thing that I’ve found in dentistry is that along with stress we often get TMJ and facial pain. How do we discern between run of the mill stressed induced muscle and jaw pain as opposed to sinus pain or even worse tooth or nerve pain? Dental pain can come from a variety of sources and the solution can vary from simple to complex depending on the issue. Whether the pain is from a cavity, exposed root surface, damage to the nerve, sinus pressure, tender jaw muscles or the ligaments surrounding the tooth, can best be diagnosed by a dentist. If you are experiencing any of these kinds of symptoms for more than 2-3 days please call your dental practitioner for advice. Each of these types of dental pain may be confused with each other. But, in a scenario where the pain is not from a cavity or an insult to the dental nerve, why do we feel pain at all?

  • TMJ and facial pain that come from chronic clenching and grinding can be elicited in various ways. It may be pain and tenderness of the muscles that cause our jaw to open and close. The strain of clenching and grinding, whether consciously or subconsciously done, can cause inflammation and irritation of those muscles and may result in pain during day to day functions like eating and talking.
  • Another possibility is tenderness elicited from inflammation of the small ligaments holding the teeth into the bone. With overuse or over-stimulation these small ligaments become inflamed and sore which can cause pain with use or pressure on the tooth.
  • Often times chronic clenching and grinding may be followed by mild recession of the gum tissue exposing a portion of the tooth’s root surface. This surface, which is normally covered by a layer of bone and gum tissue, once exposed is very sensitive to hot, cold, as well as touch. Over time this surface can desensitize however, this process may take up to 2 months.
If you have pain related to clenching and grinding see your dentist for possible treatment solutions. It may be as simple as wearing an oral appliance such as a night guard or using a toothpaste for sensitive teeth. It’s best to have a professional evaluate your situation and diagnose the cause of your pain as well as recommend the best solution to relieve it.]]>

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 One thing I’m sure you’ve noticed there are apps for literally everything these days. working with smartphoneWhere to eat, where to shop, what sights to see and how to avoid traffic on your daily commute. In addition to all these helpful things there are also a growing number of dental apps that may be able to help you learn more about oral health, find a great practitioner and even how to address a budding dental emergency. Let me share with you some of our finds for best free dental apps.

If you have a question or are looking for a little more information about your latest diagnosis try one of these apps:

Dental Expert by Dr. Marc Lazare

Available for: iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Droid phones This app presents common dental topics in a FAQ style. The downside is it is a bit clunky, a little buggy and well, full of  typo’s. However, as a plus it is chock full of dental information with a wide variety of topics explained in detail and, moderately easy to navigate. This app may not be exactly one of the best free dental apps but its definitely worth the look.

All Things Dentistry by 

Available for: Droid This app is an interface that will link you to YouTube videos about various procedures. The procedures are very technical and may not be for your average person seeking dental information. However, still a very good resource for detailed information about dentistry.

If you are looking to make an appointment or look up reviews:


Available for: Ipad, Iphone and Droid phones This is an app that is linked to the ZocDoc service which allows you to find doctors and dentist alike using various search parameters such as location, date, specialty and insurance company. Once you have found a particular practitioner and available appointment you can also book your appointment right from the app as well. And Apps geared towards children learning to brush:

Brush DJ by Benjamin Underwood

Available for: Ipad, Iphone and Droid phones This app is a toothbrush timer that plays music from your music library as well as being able to choose a specific playlist. A fun tooth timer and great app. However, some droid phones may have difficulty running this app on their operating systems.

Clean your teeth by Marco Bertazzoni:

Available for: Droid phones, ipad, iphone and ipod touch This app is geared for a younger audience, but its cute nonetheless. This app has options to play a quick game where the goal is to clean all the teeth. And, also has a tab to show you (in cartoon form) how to brush and floss each area of your mouth. There is a description of the daily home care tools as well as a very informative disclaimer. Overall a pretty cute and helpful app for kids although I would like to see them add a toothbrush timer to the app as well. Currently, there isn’t a huge selection of dental apps however the number is growing every day. If you have a personal list of your own Best Free Dental Apps that weren’t mentioned today please feel free to share them with us! ]]>

I get a lot of questions about how much dental work should cost and Young man holding piggybankif its appropriate to use a dental coupon, Groupon or discount.  Dental discounts are indeed a touchy subject and seldom addressed. Amongst the dental world there is a lot of controversy about dental advertising and discounts, some consider dentistry a business and advertise as if they were selling a product and some believe that advertising discounts diminishes the professionalism and integrity of the dental field. Also, as a consumer, it is a tough decision as to which kind of discounts are acceptable and which you should be wary of?

  • The $100 implant: There is nothing wrong with getting a great deal or a discount at your dentist however some deals really are too good to be true and should be looked at with a more discerning eye. In general the fee for your procedure should encompass the cost of supplies, lab fees as well as the salary for hours worked by the dentist, surgeon and/or assistant. If the quoted fee seems too low to cover those fee’s I’d begin to wonder if this deal is too good to be true. Although some insurance plans can cover portions of the procedure you should be sure to ask about the possibility of additional fees and make sure that the fee includes the final restoration and all the hardware included with it.
  • Free Whitening or Free Cleanings: Usually you will find a dentist will offer a free service for a new patient with a new patient check up. This is seen regularly in the dental field as a way to introduce new patients to a practice. If you plan on using a dentist who offers these services it pays to do a little research into the office prior to your appointment. Word of mouth from a trusted resource is a great way to check out a new place before you try them.
  • Dental Groupon’s or other social coupon sites: Social Coupon sites and dentistry at this point really is an ethical dilemma in the dental world. As per the ADA ” Many states have regulations that prohibit or restrict the awarding of gifts as a means of soliciting patients or prohibit fee splitting between dentists and a third party” So in other words by using a social coupon site a portion of the fee’s collected by the dentist are paid to the coupon site and can be considered as fee splitting. Besides the ethical and legal issue as I stated in the previous statement try and find a credible review before you buy a voucher.
  • Professional Courtesy: It is common practice in dental offices to offer a discount to an existing patient or a courtesy for some patients depending on what service you are completing or if you are having complex treatment completed. If you do not have insurance sometimes it doesn’t hurt to ask your dentist to extend a discount if you expect to have a decent amount of work done.
  • Unbelievably Low Prices: When having work completed that involves a lab; such as a crown, bridge, implant or denture, there are overhead costs included in the fees which include lab-work, materials used and the practitioners time. If the fee’s they are presenting don’t seem to leave any room for the overhead then I’d begin to wonder how they are covering those costs?
In general, when it comes to dental discounts I would adhere to the ‘Is this too good to be true?’ rule. Because often times it may be.  Keep in mind, having dental work completed is not like buying a car or a handbag, getting the lowest price may not always be best. Although you can haggle with some things or get other things for free, when it comes to having complex comprehensive dental work completed be wary of a great bargain. And as always, it is best to be an educated and informed patient!]]>

Over the years there has been a lot of discussion over Amalgam vs. Resin fillings dental treatment and what is the best type of filling to place in a cavity. There have also been discussions regarding health concerns associated with the type of filling material used. What exactly is the real difference between amalgam or silver fillings and resin or white colored fillings? And, Is there one that is a healthier option for me to use?

  • Aesthetically Resin is generally a more attractive restorative material. The composition of resin has been adjusted throughout the years to create a more durable and functional filling material that ha a bond to tooth structure. Allowing dentists to place smaller, more conservative fillings. However, over time some resin fillings can discolor from drinking dark, staining liquids such as coffee and tea as well as staining from smoking.
  • Amalgam is a very strong and durable material. The material does not have the ability to bond to the tooth, however it forms a layer between itself and the tooth wall that aids is sealing the tooth from bacterial insult.
  • Both amalgams and resins degrade over time. Amalgams tend to shrink away from the borders or margins of the tooth and there may be small fissures or cracks in the enamel surrounding where the filling once was. Resins, over time, may wear away or wear down on the biting surface. Both restorations may need to be replaced between 5-10 years depending on the person.
  • Some Patients may experience temporary temperature sensitivity after placement of resin fillings. Although this can occur with silver fillings as well, there is a higher incidence of post-operative sensitivity with resin fillings.
  • Public controversy has been raised about mercury in silver fillings and BPA’s in resin fillings. The ADA has deemed these claims unfounded and each filling material to be within the standard of care of dentistry.
So, when asked about amalgam vs. resin fillings: in general both amalgams and composite fillings are deemed as acceptable dental restorations and both fall within the range of the standard of care by the American Dental Association. Many Dentists have an opinion as to which material is their material of choice for each individual procedure and are open to explaining their treatment rationale with you before beginning treatment.]]>


The holiday’s are over and New Year Resolutions have begun. A great time to change old habits and create some new ones. On that note, today’s post is all about the gross things we do and just exactly how gross they are…. The dirtiest things we put in our mouths. Yuck!

  1. Fingernails: Our hands can come in contact with a lot of nasty things throughout the day. Frequent hand washing is a must especially during cold and flu season. However, biting your nails can allow bacteria that may have been overlooked to be introduced into the oral cavity. Yuck! Best thing is to kick the habit if you can, if you can’t when you wash your hands try and do a quick clean up under the nails if possible.
  2. Cigarettes & tobacco products: There have been countless studies about the effect of cigarettes and smokeless tobacco on our overall health as well as mouth. It’s definitely on the top of our list of the worst things to put in your mouth!
  3. Lipstick from the makeup counter: It’s very tempting to use those samples at the makeup counter to see which shade of red looks best with your complexion. However, some samples can be a virtual petri dish of bacteria and you are putting it directly on to your lips! Resist the urge and try it on the back of your hand or forearm.
  4. Someone else’s lips: It’s a little known fact but the bacteria that cause cavities is in fact contagious. Although by adulthood most people have a varying degree of this bacteria we literally picked it up along the way from living with others who carry it. There really is no word of advice for this one, most of us will have been exposed to many types of bacteria by the time we are in our toddler ages. But, that being said it doesn’t hurt to steer clear of someone with a nagging cough or a runny nose.
  5. Bar snacks: Picture this, about thirty minutes before you sat on your bar stool there was a group of guys sitting there drinking, watching the game and chowing down on those peanuts. Innocent enough right? Well, how many times during the game did those guys use the restroom… and how many times did they wash their hands? Unless you’ve seen the bartender or waitress put out a freshly prepared bowl i’d probably steer clear.
  6. Double dipping: Studies have shown that during instances of double dipping oral bacteria is introduced. This can increase chances of food borne illness as well as transmission of other types of bacteria. It was said best in a Seinfeld episode “when you take a chip, just take one dip and end it.”
  7. Pens & Pencils: You hold it, twirl it, chew it, drop it, stick it in your pocket and pass it to a friend. But, when do you clean it? Pen’s and pencils can be nasty little germ carriers. A word of advice, keep your pen or pencil to your self and from time to time wipe it down with an antibacterial wipe.
To stay happy and healthy this year be sure to practice good oral hygiene and good hand hygiene!  Looking forward to another great year!
Effect of a chronic nail-biting habit on the oral carriage of Enterobacteriaceae; B. Baydaş1, H. Uslu2, İ. Yavuz1, İ. Ceylan1, İ.M. Dağsuyu1 Microbial survey of shared-use cosmetic test kits available to the public Tony T. Tran and Anthony D. Hitchins Division of Microbiological Studies, US Food and Drug Administration, Washington, DC 20204, USA (Received 10 February t994; accepted 13 June 1994) EFFECT OF BITING BEFORE DIPPING (DOUBLE-DIPPING) CHIPS ON THE BACTERIAL POPULATION OF THE DIPPING SOLUTION JUDITH TREVINO1, BRAD BALLIEU1, RACHEL YOST1 SAMANTHA DANNA1, GENEVIEVE HARRIS1, JACKLYN DEJONCKHEERE1, DANIELLE DIMITROFF1, MARK PHILIPS1, INYEE HAN1, CHLOE MOORE2, PAUL DAWSON1,*
Bacterial colonization of respiratory therapists’ pens in the intensive care unit. Wolfe DF, Sinnett S, Vossler JL, Przepiora J, Engbretson BG.