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Posts for: December, 2014

By Gilbert Dental Care
December 30, 2014
Category: Oral Health

Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.

“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.

Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.

Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.

Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.

If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.

When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.

Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.

The holidays are a time to see friends and family. And while we consider our patients living in the 19101 zip code our friends and family, the benefits of making a trip to Gilbert Dental Care go beyond making a social call.

If it has been longer than six months since your last dental check-up, there is no time like the present to take a small amount of time to make a trip to our office. The holiday season can greatly affect your teeth -- from the high-sugar and acidic foods you indulge in at holiday parties to neglecting some of your typical dental care habits due to a busy schedule, the holidays are traditionally a time that can impact your dental health.

By making an appointment at our 19102 dentist’s office, you can have a check-up to ensure your teeth are in healthy condition. From a professional cleaning that removes stuck-on plaque and tartar buildup to an examination from Dr. Carlos Velez or Dr. Steven Gilbert to identify any concerns with your teeth and gums, a dentist’s visit can go a long way to ensure your smile stays healthy.

Sticky plaque and tartar can build up on your teeth over the course of six months. Only our professional tools can remove these cavity-causing materials. By coming in for regular visits, you can work to reduce the pain and discomfort associated with having a cavity.

We hope you will consider taking a short break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season to do something good for your health. We look forward to welcoming you at our office.

Don’t delay -- make an appointment at our 19102 dentist’s office today to fit in your dental check-up before the end of the year. Call our caring staff at (215) 972-0406 to schedule your appointment.

By Gilbert Dental Care
December 19, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: clear aligners   invisalign  

It used to be that the only option for straightening a teenager's teeth involved lots of shiny hardware. Besides the esthetic downside, traditional orthodontic devices (braces) can interfere with the enjoyment of certain favorite foods, irritate the inside of the mouth, trap food particles (potentially another esthetic embarrassment and sustenance for cavity-causing bacteria), and complicate dental hygiene routines.

These aren't causes for concern with clear orthodontic aligners, however, which consist of a series of transparent plastic, removable trays that fit over the teeth and gradually move them into better positioning. About every two weeks, the teen proceeds to the next aligner in the progression (or set of aligners if treatment involves both the upper and lower teeth) until the improved alignment goal is reached. The trays are meant to be worn 22 hours a day, but they can be removed for eating, brushing and flossing, and, on a limited basis, special occasions.

Thanks to relatively recent developments in the design of clear aligner systems, teens who previously were not considered good candidates for this modality may now have this option available to them. This includes:

  • Teens whose second molars (the last to come in except for wisdom teeth) haven't fully emerged. Aligners now come with “eruption tabs” that serve as place-holders for teeth that are still growing into position.
  • Teens with severely rotated teeth requiring complicated movement. Tooth-colored attachments called “buttons” can be temporarily bonded onto teeth to provide additional leverage, and elastics (rubber bands) can also be used to promote movement.

Compliance is always a concern with any orthodontic treatment — whether it be gum chewing with traditional braces or wearing clear aligners for the requisite period of time each day. Aligners now come with built-in colored “compliance indicators” that fade with use over time. This makes it possible for orthodontists, dentists, parents and teens alike to monitor both compliance and treatment progress.

If you would like more information about clear orthodontic aligners 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 “Clear Aligners for Teens.”

By Gilbert Dental Care
December 05, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  
Teeth Whitening ImageEveryone wants to have a brighter, whiter smile that they can flaunt. When we are dealing with stains it can make anyone just a little self-conscious. If you’ve been thinking about removing those stains to get a more radiant smile, then you’ve come to the right place. Teeth whitening has become a popular cosmetic treatment over the last few years. If you’re contemplating getting this procedure, here are some things you need to ask your Philadelphia dentist before you fully jump in.

Q. Will my stains be improved with teeth whitening?

Stains of certain colors respond differently to whitening treatments. Yellow stains respond the best, while brown, gray and purple stains respond less effectively to treatment. Stains caused by long-term antibiotic use may also be more challenging to whiten and remove. This may require several treatments before seeing the results you want. We would be happy to determine whether your stains could be removed through teeth whitening.

Q. Will I need to keep getting teeth whitening to maintain my results?

While we all wish the results would last forever, whitening is not a permanent solution. If you continue to enjoy foods and drinks that are stain producing, you may find that your whitened smile will fade rather quickly. Good oral hygiene is paramount to maintaining your pearly whites; however, you may want to consider touch-up treatments every few months to keep the look you want.

Q. Are there foods I will need to steer clear of to avoid stains?

If you don’t want stains to return, there are certain foods and beverages you’ll want to avoid. Dark sauces, berries, sodas, tea, coffee, and wine will cause stains. Also, smoking is a major stain-producing culprit. Avoid these items to keep your whiter smile.

Q. Are there any side effects to teeth whitening?

Some patients experience some gum irritation and tooth sensitivity during the procedure and for a couple days after. This is generally minor and goes away on its own. The bleaching agents used have been given the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance, so you know that it’s safe on your smile. If you do experience any of these symptoms talk to your dentist in 19102 about fluoride treatments and other ways to lessen these side effects.

Q. Will teeth whitening whiten dental work?

Unfortunately, teeth whitening only whitens natural tooth structures. That means that this cosmetic treatment will not brighten dental work like crowns, veneers, etc.

Q. Will my insurance cover this cosmetic procedure?

Since this is strictly cosmetic, your insurance company may not cover the procedure. This is something you’ll want to discuss with your insurance company and your cosmetic dentist before opting for teeth whitening.
Ditch those at-home whitening products once and for all and choose professional teeth whitening to get a brighter smile. Whether you want to get teeth whitening before your wedding or you just want a little spruce to your appearance, be sure to set up an appointment so we can discuss how teeth whitening works and if you could benefit. Call us today!

By Gilbert Dental Care
December 04, 2014
Category: Oral Health

When Giuliana Rancic, long-time host of E! News, first saw her new son, she said it was “the best single moment of my life.” Recently, on the eve of Duke's first birthday, the TV personality and reality star spoke to Dear Doctor magazine about her growing family, her battle with cancer — and the importance of starting her child off with good oral health.

“Duke will have his first visit with the dentist very soon, and since he is still a baby, we will make his visit as comfortable as possible,” Giuliana said. That's a good thought — as is the timing of her son's office visit. Her husband Bill (co-star of the couple's Style Network show) agrees. “I think the earlier you can start the checkups, the better,” he said.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry concurs. In order to prevent dental problems, the AAPD states, your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his or her first birthday. But since a child will lose the primary (baby) teeth anyway, is this visit really so important?

“Baby” Teeth Have a Vital Role
An age one dental visit is very important because primary teeth have several important roles: Kids rely on them for proper nutrition and speech, and don't usually begin losing them until around age 6. And since they aren't completely gone until around age 12, kids will depend on those “baby teeth” through much of childhood. Plus, they serve as guides for the proper position of the permanent teeth, and are vital to their health. That's why it's so important to care for them properly.

One major goal for the age one dental visit is to identify potential dental issues and prevent them from becoming serious problems. For example, your child will be examined for early signs of dental diseases, including baby bottle tooth decay which is a major cause of early childhood caries. Controlling these problems early can help youngsters start on the road to a lifetime of good oral health.

Besides screening your child for a number of other dental conditions or developmental problems, and assessing his or her risk for cavities, the age one visit also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about dental health in these early years. Plus, you can learn the best techniques for effectively cleaning baby's mouth and maintaining peak oral hygiene.

Breezing Through the Age-One Visit
To ease your child's way through his or her first dental visit, it helps if you're calm yourself. Try to relax, allow plenty of time, and bring along lots of activities — some favorite toys, games or stuffed animals will add to everyone's comfort level. A healthy snack, drink, and spare diapers (of course) won't go unappreciated.

“We'll probably bring some toys and snacks as reinforcements,” said Giuliana of her son's upcoming visit. So take a tip from the Rancics: The age one dental visit is a great way to start your child off right.

If you would like more information on pediatric dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”