91 Main St. Port Washington, NY 11050

Opening Hours : M-Th: 10:00 am-7:00 pm, Sat: 9:00 am-2:00 pm
  Contact : 516-944-7000 Se Habla Español

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What’s Different About Women’s Oral Health?

HEALTH CONCERNS CAN BE a lot different for women than for men, and that even includes dental health! Women face a different set of challenges than men do in caring for their teeth and gums, as well as having different advantages.

Which Oral Health Conditions Are More Common for Women?

Did you know that 90% of people diagnosed with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) are women? TMD is chronic pain or soreness in the joints of the jaw. It’s typically caused by bruxism (teeth grinding), but joint structure, stress, arthritis, vitamin deficiency, or hormones could also be responsible.

Another condition women are more likely to be affected by than men is Sjörgen’s syndrome, an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system mistakenly attacks parts of the body, particularly salivary glands and tear ducts, causing both dry mouth and dry eye. In addition to making chewing and swallowing difficult and uncomfortable and interfering with the sense of taste, dry mouth is dangerous to oral health.

Hormonal Changes Can Affect Teeth

Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause all come with major hormonal changes that can impact oral health. Gingivitis and gum inflammation are more common during puberty and pregnancy, which makes good daily dental health habits like brushing and flossing even more important under these conditions.

Menopause is associated with a higher incidence of dry mouth and bone loss in the jaw. This bone loss can compromise the gum tissue and the roots of teeth, which is why it’s important to discuss it with the dentist (preferably before any symptoms have even begun).

Eating Disorders Are a Serious Oral Health Problem

Women aren’t the only ones who struggle with eating disorders, but they are certainly twice as common among teenage girls as teenage boys. Eating disorders are incredibly dangerous and damage every system in the body, including teeth and gums. It’s a two-pronged attack on oral health: malnutrition weakens the oral tissues and the immune system while acid erosion (in the case of bulimia) destroys tooth enamel.

We encourage anyone struggling with an eating disorder to seek psychiatric help so that they can begin the mental recovery process. The dental health recovery process will likely require help in the form of a rigorous dental hygiene routine and professional attention from the dentist.

The Dentist Is the Expert on Women’s Oral Health

With all these risk factors women face in keeping their teeth and gums healthy, are there really any up-sides? Yes, actually, and it’s a big one. Women tend to be better than men at taking care of their teeth! Women are more likely to maintain good oral health habits, and they’re also better at keeping up with their regular dental exams and getting the dentist’s help when they experience tooth pain (as opposed to trying to tough it out), so even if they are more susceptible to certain problems, the impact is reduced!

We love working with our female patients!

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Don’t Let a Toothache Ruin Your Day

WHAT CAUSES TOOTHACHES? There are a few different causes, and we want our patients to be familiar with them as well as what they can do about them if a toothache strikes at a time when it’s not so easy to make a quick visit to the dentist.

Toothache Causes: The Usual Suspects

Tooth decay is the most common cause of toothaches, but it’s not the only one. Others include gum disease, pulp inflammation, and dental abscess. An injury to the face can also result in a toothache even if the tooth and surrounding gum tissue were perfectly healthy beforehand! Teeth impacted in the jaw can be painful too. There’s also tooth sensitivity, and sometimes simple congestion or a sinus infection can feel a lot like a toothache.

Can’t Get an Appointment Immediately? Here’s What to Do.

We encourage anyone with a toothache to schedule an emergency dental appointment, but sometimes toothaches aren’t polite enough to pop up during the dentist’s normal hours. What then? Fortunately, there are a few things patients can do to manage their pain level until the dentist can see them:

  • Take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicine
  • Apply topical pain relievers
  • Apply a cold compress to the sore area
  • Rinse and spit warm salt water to reduce the inflammation (don’t swallow it!)

Tips for Preventing Future Toothaches

Toothaches aren’t 100% preventable, particularly when sinus infections or injuries are the cause, but keeping up with dental health habits will certainly help your teeth stay in good shape. Most important among these are daily brushing and flossing. Make sure to brush twice a day for two full minutes, using a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste.

We can also make toothaches less likely by cutting down on sugary foods and drinks (which are what harmful oral bacteria love to eat), and by drinking water afterwards when we do have something sugary.

Regular Dentist Appointments Help Prevent Toothaches

Another important way to prevent toothaches before they happen is by keeping up with a regular dental exam schedule. For most patients, this means coming in twice a year. These appointments matter because even the most diligent brushing and flossing won’t always get all the plaque and tartar. It’s also better to catch a problem before it gets bad enough that you actually feel symptoms like a toothache, because then it’s easier (and cheaper!) to treat.

Let’s Keep That Smile Toothache-Free!

Never forget that pain is the body’s natural alarm system to let us know when something’s wrong. That’s why we should never ignore a toothache. It won’t go away on its own, and whatever’s causing it will likely get worse, so if you have a toothache, make sure to schedule an appointment. The dentist will get to the bottom of it and recommend the right steps to take next.

It’s never too soon for preventative dentistry!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Oral Health in Cold and Flu Season

WHAT DOES A TOOTHBRUSH have to do with cold and flu season? More than you’d think! It’s never fun to battle a cold or a bout of flu, but that’s no reason to slack off on taking care of our teeth and gums.

Feel Better Through Dental Hygiene

It can feel like a lot of work to keep up with brushing and flossing when we’re not feeling well, but it’s worth it. Maintaining these simple daily habits is still important. They help us feel more normal, refreshed, and rejuvenated, and when we feel unwell, they can give us a small sense of accomplishment that does a lot for our overall sense of wellbeing. And getting rid of more oral bacteria can only help by giving your immune system less work to do!

Stuffy Noses Can Lead to Cavities?

Indirectly, not being able to breathe through our noses does make us more vulnerable to tooth decay. When we’re forced to breathe through our mouths, it dries up our saliva. This can be a major problem because saliva is the first line of defense against harmful oral bacteria. It washes away leftover food particles and keeps our oral pH neutral so that our enamel can stay strong.

Sometimes it’s the medicine we take that dries out our mouths (antihistamines, pain relievers, and decongestants are all big offenders), so make sure to drink plenty of water and breathe through your nose whenever possible.

Why Does Our Breath Smell When We’re Sick?

Have you ever gotten that snotty taste in your mouth when you have a cold? If you can taste it, then it’s probably what your breath smells like, and it comes from post-nasal drip (the excess mucus that leaks down the back of the throat during a runny nose). Bacteria can easily multiply in this situation, resulting in unpleasant smells. There’s one more reason to keep up with brushing and flossing while we’re sick!

Starve Bacteria by Cutting Back on Sugar

Harmful bacteria likes to live in our mouths because it can get plenty of access to its favorite food there: sugar. When we eat sugary cough drops, it might help with the cough, but it’s as bad for our teeth as hard candy. In addition to generally cutting back on sugary foods and drinks, we recommend choosing a sugar-free cough drop for combating a cough.

Likewise, use water or other sugar-free drinks to rehydrate when an illness is using up all your body’s fluids. When we do consume sugar, we should rinse with water after to wash away the leftovers. Drinking plenty of water is particularly important when we have a stomach bug, because it helps protect our teeth from the damage stomach acid can do to them if we’re vomiting frequently.

Bring Us Your Oral Health Questions

If we haven’t answered all your questions about how common illnesses and oral health interact with each other, just let us know! We want to make sure all our patients have the information they need to keep their teeth and gums in good shape, even when they’re not feeling well!

Take care this flu season!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Dental Bridge or Implant? Which is Right for You?

Dental work can be confusing. Sometimes, it’s hard to know which choice is the best one for you. Of course, your dentist is the best source of information for this, but sometimes it comes down to a decision that only you can make. This article will discuss dental bridges and dental implants in detail and serve as a basic guide to help you better understand each one.

Implanted Tooth or Dental Bridge: What’s the Difference?

A bridge is an appliance that covers the space left by a missing tooth or teeth. It bridges the gap, hence the name. It’s composed of laboratory-made teeth, constructed from an impression, that attach to the two healthy teeth on either side of the gap. They are not removable. A bridge can be completed in two or three visits, at most.

In contrast, implants are false teeth that are attached to a post surgically placed into the jawbone and can be a great option as a form of restoration.

This post is often made of titanium, a strong, inert metal unlikely to cause an allergic reaction. Over a time period of at least several months, the titanium post becomes integrated into the bone tissue of the jaw. It acts very much like a natural tooth root would. Once the post is securely meshed with the bone, a permanent tooth will be attached to the post. It looks and functions very much like real one.

All on 4 Dental Implants

This is a newer procedure in which a whole upper or lower arch of missing teeth can be replaced with just four to six implants. The dentist inserts a titanium post into the jawbone, usually at an angle designed to provide the most support, in four to six places. After these posts become part of the jawbone, an arch of teeth is placed over them. This eliminates the need for individual implanted posts and is typically far less time-consuming and expensive.

Teeth in a Day is a similar procedure. This allows selected patients the ability to have their implanted post procedure and teeth in one day. Not everyone will be a candidate, but for those who are, a temporary set of teeth will be placed over the implanted posts the same day. While the implanted posts are integrating with the jawbone, the patient must follow a soft diet to avoid disrupting them. After the healing period, new impressions are taken, and the permanent teeth are attached to the posts. Implants provide both excellent cosmetic and functional results.

The guideline qualifications for implants include:

  • Healthy gums
  • Enough bone tissue for either implantation or bone grafts
  • You are a nonsmoker

The jawbone must have reached full growth. This typically occurs sometime in the late teens to the early twenties. You will also be questioned about certain chronic diseases that may interfere with healing. For example, diabetes, especially if it’s poorly controlled, may exclude you from getting implants due to concerns about proper healing. If the bone doesn’t heal correctly, the implant will likely fail.

Some thing to be aware of…

While there are no real cons of this procedure, there are possible complications:

  • Infection
  • Nerve damage
  • Implant failure
  • Pain
  • Problems with the sinus cavity

Although rare, allergic reactions are always possible. The pros of this procedure include a natural look and feel, greater self-confidence and possibly better nutrition, because the implanted teeth function and chew much like natural ones. Other major pros: With proper care, they can last a lifetime, and an implanted tooth cannot decay. Your text to link….

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are an older solution to the problem of missing teeth. This is much more than just cosmetic. Missing teeth can cause the following problems:

  • Shifting of adjacent teeth
  • Increased risk of infections
  • Difficulty chewing food
  • Problems with occlusion
  • Headaches and jaw pain
  • Uneven wearing of tooth surfaces
  • Loss of adjacent and nearby teeth

Teeth are kind of like herd animals. They like to be together. They each serve as supports for the others. When one or teeth are missing, the other teeth no longer have their support and begin to shift out of place. Some may even loosen in the jawbone. The occlusion, or bite, may become abnormal. The exposed gum area is more prone to irritation and infection.

Bridges help to avoid these problems by replacing the missing teeth. However, not everyone is a candidate for this procedure. For one thing, there must be healthy teeth on either side of the gap. For example, if one is already a crown, a bridge is not an option. Another one of the major cons of bridgework is that the healthy teeth that serve as attachment points must be shaped and prepared. This preparation weakens the healthy teeth and may contribute to problems in the future. The anchoring teeth on either side of the gap are called abutting teeth. These abutting teeth will be more prone to decay. They can also fracture or crack, threatening the whole bridge. Cracked teeth typically can only be repaired with a crown. Obviously, a bridge cannot be used if one of the missing teeth is a back molar at the end of the arch.

The Maryland Bridge

This is a type of dental bridge that doesn’t involve shaping and preparation of abutting teeth. Instead, it uses a metal connector attached to abutting teeth with dental cement. It can last a decade or more with proper care, but the Maryland bridge is limited to the frontal teeth. Biting forces in the molar area are too strong for this kind of appliance to withstand.

Pros of Dental Bridges

  • They cost less
  • The don’t involve bone grafts
  • The overall process is faster
  • They are still much better than dentures

If you have questions or concerns about either of the dental procedures discussed in this article, consult with your dentist. He or she is the best judge of what is best for you.

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oral health toddlers dentist port washington ny

When to Take Your Toddler to the Dentist?

Determining when to take your child to the dentist can be confusing. You may have heard that you should wait until all of their teeth have come in, or that you should take them only if they have a problem. If you wait until either of these happen, then you’ll be taking your child in too late.

So, when do you take your toddler to the dentist? It is recommended that you take them in as soon as their first tooth has erupted, or at least within six months of the tooth coming in. The sooner you get them in, the better.

Why Take Toddlers to the Dentist After Getting Their First Tooth?

It may seem like taking your toddler to a pediatric dentist after their first tooth erupts will be a waste of time. After all, it’s only one tooth. However, a lot of information can be learned at this point in time, and the dentist will be able to determine if the rest of your child’s teeth will come in the way they are supposed to.

The dentist can also give you important information on how to take care of that one tooth and all of the other teeth that will soon be growing in. This information will more than likely pertain to the following:

  • Developing proper mouth cleaning habits
  • Tooth decay and bottles
  • Best feeding practices for your growing child
  • The impacts of pacifiers
  • The impacts of sucking on fingers
  • What to expect during the teething process

Having all of this information beforehand can help reduce the chances of problems occurring in your child’s mouth. It will also make it easier to create and implement dental care routines to keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy.

Getting Your Child Ready for Their First Appointment

Some people get stressed when they know they have to go to the dentist. A lot of adults don’t like to make appointments, so imagine how scary it might be for your child. However, starting them early and before a problem arises will show them that dental visits aren’t always bad. In fact, going when they don’t have any issues can make them more comfortable and willing to go in the future.

To ensure that the first visit goes as smoothly as possible, you might consider scheduling the appointment in the morning. Your child should be alert and awake, which could reduce the chances of a meltdown.

Let your child know what to expect, and tell them how important it is to go to the dentist for healthy teeth. They will probably have a lot of questions, so do your best to answer them. If you don’t know the answer, tell your child that’s something they can ask the dentist.

If you happen to have fears about the dentist, do your best not to project those onto your child. Your role should be to support and comfort them, not make them fearful. Do what you can to make the first visit exciting and fun.

What You Should Do at the Dentist

In addition to preparing your child for their first dental visit, there are some things you’ll need to do as well. This includes putting together a list of questions or concerns you’ll want to discuss with the dentist. You’ll also need to have your child’s complete health history so that you can share that with the dentist. You’ll also need to bring your dental insurance card.

It’s also important that you share information about your child’s behavior with the dentist and the dental hygienist. Let them know if your child is shy or outgoing, or if they can be stubborn or defiant. Keep in mind that the professionals in dental offices have worked with many different types of kids, so they probably have some tricks up their sleeves to ensure that everyone stays calm during the visit. However, giving them a head’s up can be beneficial.

What to Expect During the First Visit

Typically, the first visit to the dentist is to help your child feel comfortable. That’s why it’s important to schedule this appointment as soon as possible after their first tooth has erupted before there is an issue.

Depending on the age of your child, the dentist may conduct a full exam that will look at the teeth, gums, bite and oral tissues. They may even check to see how your child is growing and developing. The dentist may do a gentle cleaning, just to give your child an idea of what the normal process looks like.

Your dentist may or may not recommend having X-rays done. If there is any concern about decay or issues with how your child’s teeth are coming in, X-rays may be part of the process. The dentist should let you know if they think X-rays will be beneficial on the first visit or not. If you have any concerns, this is when you need to bring them up.

Scheduling a Second Appointment

Just like adults, it is recommended that children visit the dentist every six months. This ensures that their teeth are coming in properly and allows them to discover if there are any developmental issues within their mouth. Catching these as early as possible can prevent major problems from occurring in the future.

Taking Care of Your Child’s Teeth at Home

The first step in ensuring that your child has the best dental checkup possible is to take care of their teeth at home. Starting them as early as possible with a brushing schedule will keep their teeth clean and healthy. Here are some other ways to achieve that goal:

  • Before your child’s teeth have come in, you need to clean their gums with a damp cloth
  • After the first tooth has erupted, use a soft-bristled brush and a tiny amount of toothpaste to keep it clean
  • Stay away from toothpaste with fluoride until your child turns 3
  • At naptime or bedtime, don’t give your child a bottle that has juice, milk or other sweetened drinks
  • Limit the time your child has a bottle to five or six minutes

Want a fun way to keep your children actively brushing their teeth? Check out our free printable teeth brushing schedule!

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Are Oral Piercings Worth the Risks?

WHY WOULD DENTAL health professionals want to weigh in on oral piercings? There aren’t many fashion choices that impact oral health, but this one does. The unfortunate reality is that lip and tongue piercings pose serious hazards to the teeth and oral tissues. Anyone considering getting one should be aware of the risks.

The Biggest Risks With Lip and Tongue Piercings

All piercings — even the extremely common earlobe piercing — come with certain risks. They can become infected or you might discover a previously unknown allergy to the metal. These risks apply to oral piercings too, but they aren’t the only ones.

Fidgeting Can Do Permanent Damage

It’s hard enough not to fidget with a stuck piece of food between your teeth when you can’t get a toothpick or some floss, but at least poking at those with our tongues won’t result in chipped or cracked teeth, damage our fillings, or risk soft tissue injuries in the tongue, gums, or lips. Fidgeting with a piercing can easily lead to any of those outcomes, which should be a serious consideration for anyone thinking about getting a lip or tongue ring.

Risk of Nerve Damage and Gum Recession

If not properly placed, a tongue piercing can cause nerve temporary or permanent nerve damage, which could include symptoms like numbness, difficulty with speech and chewing, and can even impact the sense of taste. The gum tissue, meanwhile, can be worn away by the constant friction with a piercing, leaving the roots exposed and vulnerable to decay.

More on Piercing Infections

When you combine the normal risk of infection any piercing has with the amount and variety of bacteria that lives in the human mouth, oral piercings are much harder to keep healthy than a simple ear piercing. Symptoms of an infected piercing include pain, swelling, and inflammation, as well as chills, fever, or shaking. Good oral hygiene habits are absolutely essential for minimizing infection risk.

At Least Wait Until After Braces

The risks with piercings are serious enough that we wouldn’t recommend getting them at all, but they are an especially bad idea with braces. It’s all too easy for a piercing to get tangled in orthodontic hardware, or disrupt the Invisalign process, and a serious injury around the piercing site or damage to the orthodontic appliance can happen before you know it. Orthodontic patients should definitely wait until Braces Off Day to get a piercing (though we still advise against it even then).

Piercing Care and Maintenance

It isn’t our job to forbid patients from getting oral piercings. All we can do is give you all the information you need to make an educated decision. For those who feel the risks don’t outweigh the benefits, proper piercing care is key.

  • Clean the piercing site after meals and snacks.
  • Remove all piercings during sports and other physical activities.
  • Check that the piercing is secure so it can’t become a choking hazard.
  • Go to the dentist at the first sign of infection.
  • Don’t clack the piercing against your teeth.
  • Brush twice a day and floss daily!

Our Top Priority Is Your Oral Health

We’re your partners in lifelong dental health, which is why we aren’t huge fans of oral piercings. We’re definitely huge fans of our patients, and if you need more information about how oral piercings can impact oral health, feel free to give us a call or stop by the practice to discuss it with us.

We love seeing you and your beautiful smiles!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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Smoking Versus Teeth

THE FIRST NEGATIVE health effect we usually think of in connection to smoking is lung cancer, but it actually harms every system in the body, and oral health is no exception. Smoking (or any kind of tobacco consumption, including chewing tobacco and vaping) is a serious risk factor for a lot of oral health problems.

Smokers Are More at Risk of Oral Cancer

Despite lung cancer being the high-profile risk associated with smoking, 80% of oral cancer diagnoses are connected to a smoking or chewing tobacco habit. Oral cancer can involve early symptoms like the sensation of having something stuck in the throat, difficulty chewing or swallowing, numbness, swelling, unusual white patches in the oral soft tissues, or persistent mouth sores or pain. Regular dental exams are critical for catching oral cancer early.

A Strange Oral Health Complication: Smoker’s Keratosis

Another less well-known effect smoking can have on oral health is smoker’s keratosis, or white patches on the roof of the mouth. This condition is still a mystery to medical science, but it could be the result of inflamed mucous glands. The white patches usually aren’t painful, but they may be precancerous.

Gum Disease Is More Likely With a Smoking Habit

According to the CDC, around 47% of adults over 30 have some form of gum disease. Smoking doubles the risk of developing it and also makes it more difficult to treat. As it progresses, gum disease can cause serious damage to the gum tissue and even result in bone loss in the jaw and tooth loss. If the bacteria in the mouth gets into the bloodstream through the inflamed gums, it can even jeopardize overall health.

Is Vaping a Safe Alternative?

While vaping may not be as harmful to oral tissues as traditional smoking, it still isn’t safe. Nicotine in any form reduces blood flow, which starves the gum tissue of oxygen and nutrients and slows down the healing process, making tissue death and gum recession more likely. It also dries out the mouth, which can lead to another set of problems from tooth decay to bad breath.

Smoking Doesn’t Only Harm the Smoker

Many smokers decide that the health risks of their habit are acceptable, thinking they will only affect them, but secondhand smoke has serious effects too. Studies suggest a link between regular exposure to secondhand smoke and the development of cavities. Beyond oral health risks, there are also broader health risks — particularly for small children and infants, from asthma attacks all the way up to SIDS.

It’s Never Too Late to Quit

Risk factors can’t always be controlled. We can’t help what our genetics are or that we grow old, but smoking is a major risk factor for so many health problems, and unlike aging and genes, we can avoid smoking or stop if we’ve started. It’s definitely better never to start in the first place, but even a longtime smoker can significantly improve their health outlook by quitting!

You Don’t Have to Do It Alone

Quitting something as addictive as a smoking habit is difficult, but there are so many allies and resources available to help, including friends, family, counselors, and a wealth of useful information online. Another great resource is the dentist, who can check for early symptoms of oral health problems and help you work to keep your mouth healthy!

We love to see our patients!

Top image used under CC0 Public Domain license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

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It’s Now Safe to Visit Long Island Dental Offices According to the CDC

In March, many Long Island dental clinics closed their doors to patients. Now, those offices are reopening with new safety procedures in place. As consumers weigh the risks of visiting local businesses, many are left wondering if it’s safe to return to the dentist’s office.

Both the American Dental Association and the Centers for Disease Control recommended that dentists stop preforming all non-essential procedures when COVID-19 cases began to rise in March 2020. This decision was partially motivated by a desire to prevent the spread of coronavirus between patients and providers, but the lack of widespread Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) also played a large role in the recommendation to temporarily close. During routine visits, each patient may require the use of two to three surgical masks and disposable gloves as both hygienists and dentists evaluate the patient. Those resources were desperately needed by hospitals struggling to treat COVID-19 patients. Now that supply chains have caught up with the demand for PPE, dentists and their staff are able to protect themselves without keeping needed supplies from doctors.

Be sure to check out our Commitment to Safety and how we’re doing our best to stop the spread of germs.

Is Visiting Your Dentist Essential?

Delaying routine dental care can lead to serious long-term complications for patients and their wallets. For example, small cavity can be repaired with a simple filling, but if left untreated, the decay may spread into the root of the tooth and require a root canal or full extraction. Dentists and their staff are highly trained medical experts who take patient safety seriously; currently, zero cases of coronavirus infection have been linked to dental offices.

While a routine dental check-up and cleaning is not as essential as visiting the emergency room or receiving life-saving surgery, regular dental check-ups are an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Dentists screen patients for cancers, medication issues and gum problems that could lead to negative outcomes. A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science determined that banks, colleges and dentists constitute a minor risk but impart a major benefit, especially compared to non-essential businesses like gyms, sit-down restaurants and recreational shopping. Dental offices made the list due to the strong safety checks that dentists are following as well as the possible consequences of continuing to delay preventative treatment.

Recommended Safety Procedures for Port Washington and Long Island Dental Clinics

The Centers for Disease Control has issued a number of safety procedures for dentists to follow. Patients can expect a number of screening steps, such as a phone call to check for symptoms before any appointment can be made, a second phone call the day of the appointment and a temperature check upon arrival at the clinic. Additionally, patients should prepare to wear a cloth facial covering for as much of the visit as possible, to clean their mouths by washing with hydrogen peroxide or another disinfectant before any examination and to use hand sanitizer throughout the visit.

Dentists are also taking safety steps that patients might not immediately recognize. For example, the CDC recommends using rubber dental dams over patients’ mouths and minimizing the use of certain high-powered tools unless absolutely necessary. These precautions may lead to slightly longer visits but are necessary to keep patients and dental staff healthy. Additionally, most dental offices have updated their filtration systems to raise sanitation levels even higher.

Are Orthodontists Safe?

While 3V Dental associates are not considered orthodontists, we provide Invisalign as an alternative to traditional braces. However, as with other forms of dental care, it’s important for patients to keep up with visits to the orthodontist, especially for multi-year interventions like braces that require regular adjustments for maximum effectiveness. The CDC recommends the same safety guidelines for dental specialists like orthodontists. Parents and patients with concerns can contact their local dental office for information about specific safety procedures.

Are More Dental Clinic Closures Possible?

Because routine dentistry check-ups and basic are not essential services, it’s possible that offices will be forced to close again if COVID-19 cases continue to rise. Because dentists are focused on keeping staff and patients safe, local dentists could decide to close temporarily even without orders to do so. Patients with complex issues that require multiple visits, such as having a root canal procedure and receiving a permanent crown several weeks later, may wish to wait until later if possible or discuss a potential back-up plan in case of office closure.

What Can Dental Patients Do?

To keep the community safe, patients should practice self-screening and cancel or reschedule appointments if coronavirus symptoms or possible exposures occur. Patients are also encouraged to contact 3V Dental Associates, or your local Long Island dentist, to catch up on any missed preventative care. Like us, most dental offices are still operating at less-than-regular capacity and limiting the number of patients inside the building at any given time, so patients can attend appointments without worrying.

Be sure to check out our Commitment to Safety and how we’re doing our best to stop the spread of germs.

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Fighting Back Against Dental Anxiety

DENTAL PHOBIA AND anxiety are pretty common, affecting more than one in every ten Americans. That means that close to 40 million people avoid getting crucial preventative dental care, which in turn means that small, easy-to-fix dental problems can become big, painful, expensive ones before they’ll see a dentist. We hope we can help all of our patients overcome any dental anxiety they may struggle with.

Where Does Dental Anxiety Come From?

Even though we’re dental professionals ourselves, we can understand why the idea of regular dental appointments (let alone more intense treatments) can be unpleasant for a lot of people. It’s not very fun to lie flat on your back while strangers poke around at your teeth and gums, and maybe it’s easier to hope there are no cavities instead of letting a dentist check and risk getting bad news. A lot of people feel this way, but for the sake of having healthy smiles, it’s important not to succumb to it.

Other people might have a specific bad memory that they associate the dentist with. Maybe they had a negative experience that gave them a terrible impression of dentists in general, or maybe older family members told them about their bad experiences and passed on their dental anxiety that way. At our practice, patient comfort is one of our highest priorities, and we would love to help any patients overcome anxiety based on previous experiences.

Strategies for Fighting Dental Anxiety

Here are a few things we recommend trying to help with feelings of dental anxiety:

  • Don’t wait until a scheduled appointment to visit the dental office. Come in ahead of time to meet the team and get familiar with the space. Maybe even bring a friend or family member along so you can feel as in control as possible.
  • Learn about what goes into a typical dental appointment. Ask questions and get an idea of how the process will go so that you won’t have to worry about any surprises.
  • Discuss your anxiety and what you think the cause might be with the dentist. When dentists are aware of a patient’s dental anxiety struggles, they are much better able to help.
  • Bring a relaxing distraction like your favorite music or podcast to listen to during the appointment.
  • Remember that modern dentistry is full of conveniences and comforts that didn’t exist for our parents and grandparents! We get a pretty great deal in the 21st century.

Dental Professionals Are on Your Team

We hope every patient we interact with can leave our practice feeling confident that their healthy smiles are in good hands. If you struggle with dental anxiety or have a family member who does, we want to help, so schedule a time to visit the practice, get used to our facilities, and meet our team. We can’t wait to answer your questions and help you feel at home.

We love our patients!

Top image by Flickr user Nenad Stojkovic used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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3vdental - port washington dental clinic

Why We’re Thankful for the Dentist

IT’S THAT TIME of the year when we take stock of what we’re thankful for. Even in a turbulent year, there’s plenty that goes on that list, from our families and friends to new skills we’ve developed, and we hope that hard-working dental professionals are included for a lot of people!

Healthy Smiles Come Easier With Modern Dentistry

Before you scoff at the idea of putting dentists on a list of things to be grateful for, hear us out. It’s not just about the treatment we receive at our dental exams; it’s more than that. Dentists have led the charge for good dental habits and awareness of the harm sugar can do to our teeth and gums. Let’s go over just a few of the things that are widely understood these days thanks to dentists.

The Importance of a Daily Dental Health Routine

All our lives, we’ve heard dentists tell us to brush twice a day for two full minutes and to floss daily. This is because neglecting to brush and floss or not doing a thorough job allows plaque to build up, calcify into tartar, and increase the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. However, it’s also important to be gentle with the floss and not to brush too hard, because overbrushing can be a problem as well. That’s why dentists recommend soft-bristled brushes!

How We Keep Our Smiles Bright and Breath Fresh

Dentists also help us out with great tips for how to keep our breath fresh, like making sure to include scraping our tongues in our daily hygiene routines. Lots of bacteria can get trapped in the rough surface of the tongue, so we should be cleaning it off regularly using tongue scrapers! (Simply using a toothbrush for that won’t be very effective.)

Another important way to keep our breath fresh is to cut back on our sugar consumption, because that’s smelly oral bacteria’s favorite food! We should also be breathing through our noses whenever possible, because mouth-breathing dries out our mouths, leaving us with less saliva to wash away unpleasant smells.

Regular Dental Check-Ups Matter!

The old saying that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure is absolutely true when it comes to dental health. Regular dental exams (meaning every six months) are the best way to catch little problems before they can become big (and expensive). Good to know!

It Goes Both Ways: We’re Thankful for Our Patients!

We’re so grateful that we get to play a role in keeping our patients’ smiles healthy! We hope the remainder of the year is wonderful for all of you and that you have many opportunities to show off your gorgeous smiles.

We look forward to seeing you!

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