smiling

Posted by & filed under Cosmetic Dentistry.

There are so many reasons to smile — a funny joke, a cute kitten, a new baby, and many, many others. But at my Erdenheim dental office, we want to give you a few more reasons to smile big and wide.

Health Benefits of Smiling

There’s a little bit more involved with smiling than just the simple motion we’re used to. When we smile, our brains produce and release more of the “happy” hormones known as endorphins. Serotonin levels also rise, making us feel relaxed. Smiling can even help keep us healthy since it increases antibodies and white blood cells, both of which help boost the immune system and fight off germs.

Pass it On

You can actually share all those health benefits of smiling by sharing a grin with those around you. Smiles have an unexplainable effect on people. When we see someone flash their pearly whites, whether a friend or complete stranger, we naturally and unconsciously return the favor. That’s right. Smiles are, in fact, contagious.

There’s another neat thing about smiles. They’re universal and there’s no room for misinterpretation due to language or cultural barriers. What’s this mean? It means smiling is quite powerful. Smiling at people you encounter initiates that natural response to smile back, allowing not only yourself to access the health benefits of smiling, but offering everyone else the same.

“What if I Hate to Smile Because I’m Embarrassed of My Teeth?”

There are a number of things that can make us uncomfortable with the way our smile looks. Whether it’s because teeth are a little crooked, there’s a gap between them, or they’re not quite white enough for you, there are ways to help. Cosmetic dentistry from your dentist in Erdenheim can transform any smile through a variety of treatments including:

If the way your teeth look is holding you back from experiencing all the health benefits smiling provides, call my dental office in Erdenheim. We will talk about your smile goals and the best ways to achieve them.
Welcoming new patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill and beyond. 

kids gum disease

Posted by & filed under Gum Disease.

Gum disease is a serious oral health concern that affects nearly half of all Americans. While it’s typically more common in older adults (as high as 70% in those over 65), at my Erdeneheim dental office, we want all of our patients to know that gum disease can also occur in children.

What is Gum Disease?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and the bones around the teeth. It’s a serious problem that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss. There’s also research that links gum disease to other whole-body problems such as heart disease.

Signs & Symptoms

There are common signs that should alert you to the possibility that gum disease is lurking in your child’s mouth. They include:

  • Bleeding gums, especially during brushing or flossing. It’s never normal to bleed while cleaning your teeth.
  • Bright red, swollen gums
  • Receding gums
  • Chronic bad breath

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your dentist in Erdenheim as soon as possible to schedule a thorough exam.

What You Can Do

Diagnosing gum disease early is key to a successful treatment and limits the risk for even more damage. That’s why it’s important to make sure your child visits their pediatric dentist at least every six months. But these dental cleanings and checkups are only half of a strong prevention plan. Starting good oral health habits early and ensuring they happen on a daily basis can also help keep gums healthy. Make sure your child brushes twice a day and flosses at least once a day.

If you suspect your child may have gum disease, give my Erdenheim dental office a call. We’ll schedule an appointment as soon as possible, perform a comprehensive exam, and discuss any findings with you to determine the best treatment available.  
Welcoming new patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill.

piercings

Posted by & filed under Home Care.

Oral piercings, whether it’s the tongue, the lip, or the cheeks, may help you express yourself, but despite how cool they look, they also come packed with concerns. All of us at our Erdenheim dental office want you to be able to do what you’d like with your body, but we also want to let you know some of the oral health problems that may happen as a result of an oral piercing.

The Risks

Oral piercings can affect the way you speak, how well you can chew, and may also lead to some serious dental and whole-body concerns. Nerve damage in the tongue is a common effect of an oral piercing. It’s not unusual to have some numbing after getting a piercing, but it’s possible that this numbing won’t ever go away, which can affect the way you taste foods. Besides that, infection is always a concern, as it is with any piercing. Infections can be minor, but if left untreated, can be extremely serious.

Infections in the mouth are especially dangerous since it provides the perfect breeding ground for bacteria to multiply. It’s damp, it’s dirty, and bacteria love it. If the infection become severe, your tongue may become swollen and can even block your airway, making it incredibly difficult to breathe.

Taking Care of an Oral Piercing

Now that you know the risks, if you still decide to get an oral piercing, it’s crucial to take care of it properly to reduce the risk of a problem.

  • Clean it, clean it, clean it. Your mouth, no matter how often you brush and floss, contains millions of bacteria. These bacteria can creep into the piercing site and cause an infection. To avoid this, make sure to keep the piercing and the jewelry clean at all times. After eating, rinse with water to help keep food particles from coagulating and getting stuck around the metal.
  • Don’t play with it. Try really hard to avoid clicking your jewelry against your teeth. Trust us. Constant clanging against teeth can weaken them and may lead to cracks or chips.
  • Get it tight. Ensure your piercing is secure often. This can reduce the risk of a piece falling off which can lead to choking or damaged teeth.
  • Seek medical attention at the first sign of infection. If your piercing becomes infected, you’ll know it. Keep an eye out for swelling, redness, and a fever or chills.

If you do already have an oral piercing and notice any of the symptoms of a potential problem, call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule an appointment as soon as possible.

Before going to a trusted professional to have any part of your mouth pierced, we encourage you to talk to your Erdenheim dentist to discuss any concerns either of you may have so you can make the best, educated decision for you.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill and beyond.

Ped Importance

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

Dentistry is important for everyone, especially kids. But why? Besides keeping smiles and mouths healthy with protective sealants, fluoride treatments and cleanings, those regular dental visits with your child’s dentist in Erdenheim can set her on a path towards a lifetime of good oral and overall health.

Baby Teeth Are Important

One of the common misconceptions about baby teeth is that since they’re going to fall out anyway, who cares when it actually happens. This is a particular concern for everyone at our Erdenheim dental office. Even though these precious, tiny teeth will fall out sooner or later, it’s important to keep them healthy so they don’t fall out too soon.

Save Us a Spot!

Baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, are placeholders for permanent, adult teeth. By keeping them healthy and in place, they’re reserving just the right amount of space for the adult teeth that are developing under the gums. If baby teeth fall out too soon due to decay or other reasons, the gaps left behind allow the remaining healthy teeth to shift, throwing off the natural positioning for both baby teeth and future adult teeth.

Look Who’s Talking!

Primary teeth also help children develop proper speech and pronunciation as they learn how to talk. As they pop through the gums, teeth are in position to help transform ‘baby talk’ into words others can start to clearly understand. If these important teeth are lost too soon, speech may be affected.

Let’s Eat!

One of the main purposes of all teeth is to help us chew so we can swallow and digest food easily. As children transition from soft foods to ones that require chewing, teeth become important to overall nutrition. Those children whose teeth may fall out sooner than they should often have nutritional deficiencies, can be underweight, or even malnourished.

At our dental office in Erdenheim, we stress the importance of visiting us at least every six months because we know how crucial early prevention can be. Many dental problems can be treated easily and successfully with early diagnosis, so seeing us regularly is crucial for even the tiniest grins.

If it’s time for your child to start seeing the dentist (usually within 6 months of the first tooth’s exposure), we encourage you to give us a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll make sure to explain everything in detail and work to keep her teeth in the best, healthiest state possible.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill.

migraine

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

June is Migraine & Headache Awareness Month, and as anyone who has ever suffered a migraine can tell you, they aren’t fun. While it may seem weird to get a message about migraines from my Erdenheim dental office, trust us, you’ve come to the right place.

What is a Migraine?

Similar to a headache in that there is throbbing head pain, migraines are usually more intense, more painful, and could be debilitating. Unlike most headaches, migraines usually affect only one side of the head and have additional symptoms including:

  • Nausea
  • Light or sound sensitivity
  • Pain behind an eye or ear
  • Temple pain

Sometimes people can sense a migraine coming on because they experience sensations anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes prior to actually feeling a migraine. This is known as ‘migraine with aura’ and some signs include:

  • Trouble focusing
  • Tingling/numbness in the hands or face
  • Seeing lights/flashing lights or obscure lines

How are Migraines and Dentistry Related?

When looking at the cause of migraines, much of the focus is on the head since that’s where the symptoms tend to show. However, some migraines may have an underlying dental cause.

Research suggests a possible correlation between a bad bite (malocclusion) and migraines. A bad bite results when the top teeth and the bottom teeth don’t line up in way that allows the jaw to completely relax. When the teeth don’t align, excessive pressure is put on the TMJ (temporomandibular joint), which is where your lower jaw attaches to your upper jaw, resulting in pain. The muscles that contribute to the anatomy of your jaw are also linked to your head, so when they’re stressed and painful, your head may also be stressed and painful, leading to a migraine.

You shouldn’t have to live with the pain of recurring migraines. If you’ve been suffering from persistent headaches or migraines and haven’t been able to find relief with other treatment, give my Erdenheim dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We can evaluate your bite and overall oral health and recommend the best solution for you.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill.

dairy

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

We know dairy is a necessary part everyone’s diet, and we know it can even help ward off osteoporosis in older adults. But what about in kids? Dairy, and especially its calcium content, helps children build strong bones and yes, strong teeth. At our Erdenheim dental office,  we’d like to share a bit of information about how important dairy is for your kid’s smile.

What Exactly Does Calcium Do?

Teeth and bones store up to 99% of the body’s calcium, so getting enough of it is pretty important for the entire body. Calcium can also fight off tooth decay…and dairy products are the best way to get it. Milk and cheese, for example, contain calcium, phosphorous, and proteins called caseins. When combined together, these ingredients actually create a protective layer that keeps acid and bacteria off the enamel, decreasing the likelihood of cavities. However, calcium is only half of what’s necessary for strong bones and teeth. In order for the calcium to be absorbed and used properly, you also need vitamin D.  

How Much Calcium Does Your Child Need?

There are some basic calcium intake recommendations from the National Academy of Sciences, and they are definitely dependent on age. Follow the guidelines below to determine how much calcium your child, and you, should have everyday.

  • 1-3 Years: 500 milligrams
  • 4-8 Years: 800 milligrams
  • 9-18 Years: 1,300 milligrams
  • 19-50 Years: 1,000 milligrams
  • 51+ Years: 1,200 milligrams

Allergies

Some people have an allergy or sensitivity to dairy. If this is the case, it’s important to receive adequate amounts of calcium from other sources. Leafy, green vegetables like broccoli are high in calcium. There are also several types of fish, such as sardines and salmon, that can help provide the calcium needed for healthy teeth and bones. Can’t get your child to eat fish? That’s ok, use a calcium fortified cereal instead.

Brushing is Still #1

Even if your child is getting the recommended amount of calcium, it’s still incredibly necessary to maintain good oral hygiene habits. We recommend brushing twice a day and flossing once a day, everyday. It’s also crucial for your child to visit a pediatric dentist in Erdenheim regularly. Appointments at least every six months allow your child’s teeth to be even more protected against decay and cavities through the use of fluoride, sealants, and professional cleanings.

If it’s time for your little one to see a dentist, give our Erdenheim dental office a call to schedule an appointment today.

Accepting new patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.

old photo

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

Old photographs are packed with memories, but they’re also lacking quite a few elements that are common in pictures today. Color, for one. But perhaps the most noticeable difference between old time pictures and modern snapshots is the lack of smiles. At my Erdenheim dental office, we want all of our patients to smile big and wide in photos, and we were curious to why this wasn’t always the norm.

Technological Limitations

Back when the very first photo was taken in 1826, it took over eight hours to expose. That’s about an entire work day to take a picture — which also meant the subject could not move or the photo would be ruined. Luckily, this first picture wasn’t of a person. Thirteen years later, the exposure time was shortened to just fifteen minutes. While a huge time saver, fifteen minutes was still a long time for someone to sit as still as a statue, let alone hold a smile. Try it yourself. Set a timer, put a smile on, and don’t move until the timer buzzes. Impossible, right?

Bad Oral Health

Let’s say our ancestors had the technology available to take quick, instantaneous pictures. Would that have changed things? Would great-great-great-grandmother Ethel be grinning wide in those old photos? Probably not. Unfortunately, dental care wasn’t very advanced, and oral hygiene suffered. Even it was possible to get a picture quickly, many people would have been too embarrassed by their teeth to actually show them off.

From Stoic to Smiling

As time went on, things changed. Technology got better, and photos can now be taken in an instant. Advancements in dentistry makes it easier to get a smile you’re proud to show off. Now, people aren’t as afraid to show off their many expressions in photographs, including big, wide smiles.

However, there are still some who may be shying away from showing their pearly whites in pictures because they’re embarrassed by their smiles. Perhaps teeth may be a bit crooked. Maybe they have unsightly stains. Possibly silver fillings are making the smile appear dark and dingy.

If this sounds like you, there are ways we can help. Cosmetic dentistry, along with high-tech equipment, makes getting the smile you’ve always wanted easier than ever before. If you want to stop hiding your smile in pictures, give my Erdenheim dental office a call today to set up a consultation. We’ll discuss your smile goals and the best solutions to get you the smile of your dreams.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill.

kids flossing

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

Flossing may seem like a tedious, boring, and difficult task, especially for kids. But if they don’t floss, about 35% of each tooth is left uncleaned, leaving them more susceptible to decay and cavities. At our Erdenheim dental office, we know getting your child to follow good oral health habits can be a challenge, but don’t worry, we’re here to help.

Why is Flossing so Important?

Besides hitting the tough-to-reach areas that a toothbrush alone can’t clean, flossing can polish tooth surfaces by removing buildup and debris. It also eliminates plaque and bacteria that get wedged in between teeth which helps fight off bad breath. Overall, flossing should always be paired with brushing for a healthy mouth.

When Should Kids Start to Floss?

Good oral health habits start early, and flossing is no exception. Usually kids should start flossing between ages two and three. However, they may need help from a parent until about eight or ten to ensure they’re doing it correctly and for long enough to be beneficial.

What’s the Best Way to Floss?

There’s not one way to floss that’s better than another. What’s important is that you find the one that your child is comfortable with so they’re more likely to floss properly and regularly. Some flossing methods include:

  • The Finger Wrap. This method takes a string of floss about 18-20 inches long and two fingers. Take the ends of the floss and wrap it around each middle finger a couple times and pull it to make it taut. Take the floss that’s between the fingers and wiggle it between each tooth in an up and down motion, getting under the gums and curved around the tooth.
  • The Loop Method. Start again with about 18 inches of floss, but this time, tie the ends together to form a circle. Place all fingers except the thumbs inside the circle and use the pointer fingers to work the floss in between the lower teeth, and the thumbs for the upper. Again, get under the gum line and curve around each tooth.
  • A Floss Pick. Some people find a floss pick or similar tool easier to use. This can be especially true for young kids or older adults who have limited dexterity. Use the same up and down, below the gums movement as the other methods.

Looking for more flossing tips? Call our Erdenheim dental office to schedule an appointment. We can help you and your child find the method that works best for an optimal clean and lifetime of healthy smiles.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill

oral cancer

Posted by & filed under General, General Dental Articles.

Oral cancer is one of the most common cancers in the United States with about 35,000 cases diagnosed every year. Of those, about 8,000 will lose their lives to this life-threatening condition. At my Erdenheim dental office, we want all of our patients to understand the deadly disease so they can work to avoid it or recognize when there is a problem.

Risk Factors

Knowing the risk factors and who is more likely to develop oral cancer is the first step in understanding whether you may be at increased risk.

  • Gender: Men are more likely to develop oral cancer than women. In fact, their risk is about double that of their female counterparts.
  • Age: On average, most people are diagnosed at 62, and the majority of oral cancer patients are over 55.
  • Sun Exposure: Instances of oral cancer is increased in those who spend a lot of time in the sun without sunscreen.
  • Tobacco Use: Nearly 80% of those diagnosed with oral cancer are smokers or use smokeless tobacco. Smoking often leads to throat or mouth cancer, and smokeless tobacco usually results in gum, cheek, or lip cancer.
  • Alcohol: Heavy drinking is associated with an increased risk of oral cancer. In fact, nearly 70% of all those diagnosed use alcohol often. And if you’re a drinker and smoker, your risk may be as high as 100%.

Even if you don’t fall into these risk categories, you can still develop oral cancer.

Signs & Symptoms

Being able to recognize a potential problem and getting it checked out quickly can increase survival rate. Early detection is key to beating the cancer, so if you notice any of the following symptoms, see your dentist in Erdenheim as soon as possible.

  • A chronic sore that doesn’t go away
  • Bad breath
  • Difficulty swallowing or chewing
  • A lump on the cheek or tongue
  • Voice changes

Prevention

While we can’t change our gender or age, we can take steps to limit our exposure to the lifestyle risk factors. Besides that, maintaining regular checkups with your dentist is key to catching any problems early. If it’s been awhile since you’ve seen a dentist, give my Erdenheim dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. It could save your life.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, Chestnut Hill

Protecting enamel

Posted by & filed under General Dental Articles.

Protecting children’s teeth from cavities is important for overall oral health. Baby teeth and permanent teeth can get cavities, and preventing the decay in the first place is important for both. While baby teeth are only around for a short period of time, they do serve as a placeholder for permanent, adult teeth. This makes keeping them healthy really important. At our Erdenheim dental office, we want you give you some steps to protect the first line of defense against cavities — the enamel.

Enamel is pretty thin, yet incredibly strong. In fact, it’s the hardest part of the human body. But that doesn’t mean it can’t sustain chips or cracks, leaving the tooth exposed to bacteria and increased risk for decay. So while we all know it’s important to brush and floss regularly to prevent cavities, there are additional steps you can take to keep the protective enamel in tip-top shape.

  • Fluoride. If your child is three or older, you should be using a toothpaste with fluoride. Fluoride helps strengthen tooth enamel both in the baby teeth and the unerupted adult teeth. Your pediatric dentist may also recommend an in-office fluoride treatment to further protect teeth from decay.
  • Sealants. This protective measure is applied by a dentist at routine appointments. Sealants are a thin coating applied to the teeth to keep bacteria out. Using them is a successful way to keep enamel strong and teeth cavity-free.
  • Diet. Sugary and starchy foods are dangerous to enamel and are some of the biggest culprits of cavities. Avoid too many sugar-filled treats, and be cautious even with some healthy sugary foods like fruit. Try to also limit the amount of starch-packed snacks such as chips.
  • Water. Water is pretty powerful not only for oral health, but for overall health too. Water is naturally sugar-free and helps rinse away food particles and bacteria in the mouth. Encourage your child to drink more of it, especially after eating.
  • Regular Visits. One of the most important things you can do to help protect your child against enamel erosion and cavities is to visit their Erdenheim pediatric dentist regularly. Checkups at least every six months are a great way to get the preventive treatments of fluoride and sealants, and to diagnose and treat any problems early.

Little smiles are precious, and we want to do everything we can to keep them healthy. If your child is in need of a dentist, give our Erdenheim dental office a call to schedule his appointment today.

Accepting patients from Erdenheim, Flourtown, and Chestnut Hill.