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Choosing the right dentist or doctor is always a difficult thing to do. Some of us rely on friends and family for a referral, while many turn to internet reviews. There are over 150,000 dentists nationally, with new graduates added every year. Many of these dentists are not trained beyond general dental school knowledge to perform more complex dental procedures.

A recent survey revealed that this year about 10% of Americans (and the number grows every year) received at least one cosmetic dental procedure to transform their smiles. Receiving cosmetic dentistry from an experienced, skilled cosmetic dentist can transform your appearance, but poorly executed dentistry can prove to be a disaster.

A sobering statistic, well over 25%, (that is 1 out 4 procedures done) of all the money spent by Americans on cosmetic dentistry is spent re-doing and correcting poor dental work from previous visits.

Things That Can Go Wrong During Cosmetic Dentistry

-Restoration Failure – When any dentistry is done, there can never be decay from cavities left behind. Fillings must be properly shaped and hardened so that they do not cause new problems to arise. Improper technique will not only mean your new fillings,  porcelain veneers or dental crowns will eventually fail, it could also mean the possible need for root canal therapy or even potentially the loss of the tooth if left untreated.

-Pain and Discomfort – A skilled, experienced, dentist knows that  dentistry is about more than just appearances. If you do not plan to address bite issues, periodontal issues, and sensitivity problems, restorations will fail and cause pain and discomfort for the patient. If the bite is off, even slightly, the dental work and tooth will be prone to cracking, wearing, and pain. Root canals can be incomplete and cause reinfection, extractions of teeth can be improperly performed causing severe bone infection, fractures, and pain.

-Lost Time – Cosmetic dentistry is usually lengthy, necessitating multiple visits to the dentist. A typical cosmetic treatment takes at least 2-3 appointments, and can take 1 hour to more than 5-10 hours in the dentist’s chair. The work is an investment of your time and money. If this work is performed poorly and needs to be redone, patients will need to take off more time from work to have it repaired or redone elsewhere.

-Increased Cost – In addition to losing time, the original cost budgeted could explode to fix poor dental work. There is an old saying “You Get What You Pay For”. The same is true in cosmetic and traditional dentistry. It is smart to be cost conscious but many dentists who call themselves cosmetic dentists will offer inferior materials in order to cut costs and lower the price to the consumer. Using a poor dental lab or lower quality materials will cut into the longevity as well as the final appearance of any dental work. When dentistry goes bad, it usually needs to be redone from the beginning. This means losing what you initially invested and paying again for the re-do work.  It is not unusual to have a patient spend money initially only to have to spend a much higher amount to re-do all the work just a short time later.

Conclusion

Choosing a dentist is never an easy decision so do your best to get information from friends, family, and internet. Request a free consultation to tour the office and meet not only the doctor but the staff. Dentistry tends to be an intimate experience and you need to feel confident and comfortable in the dental chair. Choosing the right dentist will make all your dental work a breeze. Most importantly, good dentistry will keep you healthy and end up saving you money in the long run.

With Halloween fast approaching, most kids (and some parents!) do not consider the dental implications to the candy consumption that will go on on around Halloween. Those sweets don’t just

Halloween Marielaina Perrone DDS

Happy Halloween!

take a toll on your waistline, they can also damage your teeth. These treats can put your teeth at risk very quickly if proper dental hygiene is not maintained. This is not to say you and your children should not enjoy Halloween but there needs to be some thought to maintaining your teeth during Halloween time.

Top 5 Worst Halloween Candies for your Teeth

1. Gummy Bears, fruit gummies. Not only are gummy bears a candy that is sticky and tends to linger in the mouth it is pure sugar. A single serving of gummy bears contains about 30 grams of sugar. This equals to about 8 teaspoons of pure sugar sticking to your teeth and in between them. Worse are sour gummies wish also have a high amount of acid added for their sour flavor. Dental tip: Avoid gummies on Halloween and the rest of the year as well.

2. Starburst Chews. This taffy like candy has about 22 grams of sugar per serving (about 9 pieces). Starburst candy is another sticky candy that will stick to your teeth and linger unless removed. The sugar will be fed on by the bacteria in the mouth which in turn produce the acids that cause tooth decay.

Halloween candy Marielaina Perrone DDS

Halloween Candy Tootsie Rolls

3. Tootsie Rolls. Another candy with a high sugar count, tootsie rolls are so sticky that the candy can pull out dental work like a crown or filling when you bite into them. Tootsie rolls, like all sticky candies, get stuck in between teeth which prolongs the exposure to sugar in your mouth. This increases your risk of tooth decay.

4. Gobstoppers, jawbreakers. Gobstoppers claim to fame on this list is not from its sugar content. While still quite high at 14 grams of sugar per serving, gobstoppers are bad because they take so long to consume, and most people bite into them to crack them as they get smaller. This leaves your teeth exposed to the sugar content longer than the other candies on the list, and makes it easier to fracture a tooth.

5. Blow Pops. The effect these have on your teeth is very similar to the Gobstoppers. They are in your mouth for a very long time and then you get a sugary gum to chew on the inside, these are also bitten into, but usually with front teeth. Double whammy!

Tips to Avoid Tooth Decay

We all know Halloween candy will be consumed and it is a time to enjoy that freedom. But everything must come in moderation. If you choose to indulge in the candy for Halloween, please

Happy Family Marielaina Perrone DDS

Have a Safe, Happy Halloween!

follow these simple steps to avoid tooth decay:

1. Rinse with water immediately following eating Halloween candy

2. Brush and floss immediately after ingesting Halloween candy.

3. Consume your allowed portion of candy once per day, perhaps after dinner, and be sure to follow proper oral hygiene after. Eating candy a little bit at a time all day, is much worse because, it keeps sugar and acid levels high all day long, giving bacteria ample ability to break down teeth.

4. Don’t bite hard candy, allow it to soften in your mouth. Lollipops and hard candies don’t need to be finished, they can be re wrapped and saved for tomorrow.

Halloween can be fun for the whole family just follow the steps outlined above for a safe, fun holiday!

 

 



Xray showing swallowed Tongue Piercing

Radiograph Showing Swallowed Piercing

Tongue Piercing dangers. It is very hard to believe or understand how certain things ever become popular. But they do like, pet rocks, 8 track tapes, and the rubik’s cube. Fortunately over time, these fads fade away into oblivion. The latest craze over the last few years has been tongue piercing. Tongue Piercing has become very popular, especially among teenagers and young adults. Most people generally believe that tongue piercing is a safe and fun way for young people to express themselves, similar to piercing our ears. Unfortunately, tongue piercing can cause significant damage to our teeth as well as risks to our general health. According to one study, 16% of the females and 4% of the males at a prominent U.S. University had a tongue piercing. The tongue piercing fad may come and go, but for people with pierced tongues, the adverse effects could last a lifetime. Tongue piercing can result in chipped or broken teeth, infections, gum and nerve damage, excessive drooling, taste sensation loss, and tooth loss. Irritation from the jewelry can cause periodontal disease or even oral cancer. So for a teenager or young adult, it may seem cool but damaged and missing teeth, infection, and life threatening cancer are far from cool.

Approximately 45-50% of people who have worn tongue jewelry for four or more years have chipped or fractured their teeth. This damage can eventually send people to the dentist for fillings, crowns, root canal therapy, or even extractions. Because tongue jewelry from a tongue piercing can break or chip teeth, people wearing this jewelry may have to spend thousands of dollars on dental work to regain the smile they will want and desire later in life .

Infection

Tongue Piercing Infection

Infection from tongue piercing

The tongue is covered with bacteria, and when pierced, that bacteria can get in the blood stream and underlying tongue tissues. This can cause a serious infection. Unfortunately, tongue piercing jewelry wearers may not be aware of a problem since the symptoms of infection, such as swelling, redness, and pain, are quite similar to the after effects of the piercing itself. Dentists are learning very quickly that oral infections can also lead to infections in other parts of the body. If you have certain health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, joint replacements or congenital heart conditions, you will be even more susceptible to developing infection.

Dentists have reported a rise in cases of Ludwig’s angina, a very severe infection of the floor of the mouth and jaws, in patients who have a tongue piercing. In Ludwig’s angina, the tongue may swell to the point that it constricts the airway causing breathing to be difficult.

Another condition afflicting patients with a tongue piercing is endocarditis, a disease which occurs when bacteria enters the blood stream and infects the heart valves while weakening them. This can occur in certain patients with underlying ( often undiagnosed and without symptoms) heart problems.

Oral Cancer

Patients with a tongue piercing may develop ulcers in the oral cavity from constant irritation. These ulcers can possibly progress to oral cancer. Precancerous ulcers can be detected during an oral cancer screening by your dentist. For patients with a tongue piercing, it is doubly important to see your dentist regularly. Especially one using the Velscope oral cancer screening system.

velscope

Velscope Oral Cancer Screening

Broken or Chipped Teeth

Fractured Tooth

Damage from Tongue Piercing

It is not uncommon to see perfectly healthy teeth chipped or fractured from a tongue piercing. People chip teeth on tongue piercings while eating, sleeping, talking and chewing on the jewelry. The fracture can be confined to the enamel of the tooth and require just a simple filling or it may go deeper into the tooth, which may require a root canal, tooth extraction, or crown. This can often happen when a person carelessly biting on the tongue jewelry during chewing or sleeping.

Allergic Reactions

Developing an allergic reaction is not uncommon depending on the type of metal the piercing is made of. Some types of tongue piercings are not high quality surgical grade stainless steel and a person can experience an allergic reaction even if they do not typically have metal allergies. Please be aware of the type of tongue piercing being placed before going ahead with it.

Disease Transmission

Oral and tongue piercings are a potential risk factor for the transmission of hepatitis B and C and herpes simplex virus.

Nerve Damage and Prolonged Bleeding

Numbness or loss of sensation at the site of the tongue piercing or movement problems can occur if nerves have been damaged during the piercing. Blood vessels can be punctured leading to prolonged bleeding.

Periodontal Disease

Tongue piercing casuing gingival recession

Gingival Recession Caused by Tongue Piercing

People with a tongue piercing have a increased risk of periodontal disease than those without a tongue piercing. The jewelry can come into contact with gingival tissue causing injury which can cause recession of the gum tissue ( and possibly bone loss). This can lead to loose teeth and tooth loss.

Difficulties in Daily Oral Functions and Possible Aspiration of Jewelry

Tongue piercing can result in difficulty in speaking clearly and annunciating properly. Chewing and swallowing food can also be a challenge. This is because the tongue piercing jewelry stimulates excessive salivary production. Temporary or permanent drooling is another consequence of increased saliva production. Altered taste can also be present. Jewelry that becomes loose in the mouth can become a choking hazard and, if swallowed, can result in injury to the digestive track or lungs.

Another problem that is of concern is that few standards for body piercers exist. Dental offices must follow strict guidelines (developed by OSHA and the CDC) for sterilization and infection control. Contaminated tools used in tongue piercing can expose people to an increased risk for serious infections like hepatitis and HIV.

If a person does decide to have his or her tongue pierced, they should know that it will take 4-6 weeks to heal and it may be very uncomfortable during that time. The piercer

Radiograph showing bone loss from piercing

Radiograph Showing Bone Loss Due to Tongue Piercing

will place a larger, starter barbell jewelry in the tongue to give it enough room to heal when the tongue swells. After the  swelling goes down, he or she should get a smaller barbell, which will be less likely to get in the way of teeth and more difficult to chew on.

If there are no complications, the barbell can be removed for short periods of time without the hole closing. Some dentists  suggest that to protect teeth patients should remove the barbell every time they eat, sleep or participate in a strenuous activity. There are also plugs available to place in the hole, so the jewelry can be removed for as long as needed.

You will need to keep the tongue piercing clean and use an antiseptic mouthwash (example Listerine) after every meal and brush the jewelry the same as you would your own teeth to remove any unseen plaque. See your dentist or doctor at first sign of infection or change to the area surrounding the piercing.

Most importantly, people with pierced tongues should see a dentist regularly to make sure tongue, surrounding tissues, and teeth stay healthy.