A recent article in USA Today describes how new protocols in dental offices make it extremely safe, practically as safe as anywhere else you can go. New barriers, infection control protocols, and techniques have changed for the better the safety of dentistry.
The Covid-19 pandemic has shaken our community and we have made adaptations to ensure dental care that is safer and better than ever. Since March here are some of the upgrades we have made to our office:
Researchers at MIT studied which businesses and industries are safe right now and which are not. Dentistry received the highest risk-benefit profile when weighing the benefit to the customer and risk to COVID-19. In other words, which businesses gave customers the most bang for the buck. Along with dental offices were banks and universities.
To all patients,
We hope everyone is staying safe and healthy during this pandemic. Our office is still open today, but please stay home if you are feeling ill or have traveled recently. We are definitely open for emergency care.
Pear Dental Care team
Fluoride helps the acid attack produced by bacteria in plaque on your teeth. Who can benefit from fluoride?
The amount of fluoride needs to be just right. Too little can increase the risk of cavities, but too much can cause fluorosis white spots on teeth. Here are some things you can do to make sure kids get the right amount of fluoride:
Most communities in CT add fluoride to the water to help prevent cavities. The ideal fluoride level is .7 milligrams of fluoride per liter of water (0.7 mg/L). About 75% of people in the US have fluoridated community water. If you have a well you can have it tested for fluoride or add fluoride supplements. Talk to your dentist about how much should be added.
Fluoride helps prevent cavities. Talk to us about the fluoride needs of your child.
New DIY orthodontic treatments have become a mainstay on the market today. Faculty at UConn School of Dental Medicine say "no." While patients (or as the DIY companies may refer to you as "customer") may loosely be observed by a licensed dentist somewhere, there is no in-person examination and little regard for medical and dental histories. There is no comprehensive diagnosis and treatment planning. We learn a lot about a patient's health and desires from a proper in-office exam and treatment planning session. The more information and thorough an exam can be the better the outcome. For more information see the link below from UConn School of Dental Medicine:
Hamden, CT - Jan 7, 2019-Dr Scott Pearl, of Pearl Dental Care, Hamden, CT, recently joined the Academy of Laser Dentistry (ALD). This demonstrates his dedication to improved patient care, his commitment to continuing education and to the advancement of the safe and effective uses of laser technology for the benefit of his patients.
Lasers have been used in dentistry since the 1990's. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has determined that lasers provide safe and effective treatment of a wide range of conditions. For example:
Dr. Pearl is proud to be an ALD member. The Academy is the unbiased proponent for laser safety and education and the leading advocate for increased adoption of laser technology in dentistry.
Dr. Pearl's laser equipment will enable him to perform bloodless surgical procedures and may destroy bacteria during tissue removal. Patients will commonly experience reduced postoperative pain, swelling, and the need for numerous postoperative appointments. There may also be a reduced need for antibiotic and opioid prescriptions.
Fore more information about how lasers can be used in your dental treatment, contact Dr. Pearl by phone at 203-281-7722, by email, email@example.com, or visit www.pearldentalcare.com.
There are certainly benefits for mother and baby to breastfeeding. Breastfeeding can aid the baby's immune system, reduce the risk of asthma and ear infections, and lower the mom's chances of breast and ovarian cancer. Here is some information related to the oral health of your baby while breastfeeding.
Benefits for your baby's bite
A study published in a 2017 Journal of the American Dental Association issue revealed that babies who were exclusively breastfed during the first 6 months were less likely to have bite and alignment issues including cross-bites, open bites, and overbites than babies breastfed for less than 6 months or not at all. Breastfeeding doesn't guarantee your child will not need braces because genetics, thumbsucking, and growth still affect the bite.
You don't have to wean when your baby gets teeth
Mothers do not have to stop breastfeeding when their baby gets teeth if they don't want to. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for the first year of life. Every child and mother is different so do what you think is best.
Breastfeeding reduces the risk of baby bottle tooth decay
Exclusive breastfeeding prevents exposure to the sugar containing bottle liquids- formula, juice, and milk. This type of decay is usually from the baby being put to bed with a bottle. The take home point is to never let the baby go to sleep with a bottle.
Breastfeeding babies can still get cavities
Cavities are caused by sugar and breastmilk does contain sugar. So, your baby's teeth must be cared for as soon as they erupt. Even better, the gums should be wiped with a washcloth even before there are teeth. As soon as the first teeth appear be sure to brush them twice per day. Use fluoride toothpaste with just a small smear or the amount of toothpaste equivalent to the size of a grain of rice.
Moms need to take care of themselves
With the craziness that comes with a new baby, mothers often brush less, floss less, and grind their teeth more. In addition, mom's oral bacteria are spread to the baby. Be sure not to forget about your own oral health and continue to see us for your normal check-ups.
Even Procter & Gamble, maker of Crest toothpaste, is launching a charcoal whitening toothpaste soon. Patients say the black charcoal toothpaste makes a mess and adds an extra step to the morning routine, and despite add dirtiness to teeth, some people think it makes their teeth whiter. Charcoal has been used on teeth for centuries, and while there is no evidence of any danger, there is also no evidence of any benefit. Dentists are concerned with the abrasiveness that wears away teeth. However, charcoal has been all over social media lately in terms of beauty products- from makeups and hair colors to masks. If nothing else than a great selfie, go ahead and try some charcoal toothpaste.
Enamel, the outer surface of teeth and the hardest substance in the body, can be damaged by acidic foods or liquids over time. The wear of enamel due to acid is called erosion.
Acid commonly comes from foods, drinks, acid reflux, or vomit. Eating acidic fruits multiple times per day and drinking soda or sports drinks daily contributes to acid erosion.
How can you notice acid erosion? Front teeth may appear short, yellow, and thin. Teeth can become sensitive so you may feel pain when your teeth are touched or you drink hot/ cold beverages. You may notice pits on the chewing surfaces of back teeth.
What can be done? Enamel cannot be restored but there are some steps to prevent or stop dental erosion. Drink water or milk while eating, avoid acidic foods, use a straw if you do drink something acidic. Make sure not to swish around soda or other acidic beverages and wait at least 30 minutes to brush your teeth after acidic intake.
Here are some other tips-
As bad as snoring can be for the person with sleep apnea, snoring can cause martial problems and lead to insomnia, headaches, and daytime fatigue for the partner. Snoring can lead to obstructive sleep apnea- the collapse of the upper airway that disrupts breathing and can lead to decreased blood oxygen. Sleep apnea is associated with depression, heart attacks, and diabetes. 90% of people with sleep apnea aren't even diagnosed. Many people may not realize they have sleep apnea, but eventually the symptoms will eventually become noticed. The definitive diagnosis requires a sleep study by a physician.
There are treatments- surgery, continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines, oral appliances, and even oral laser treatment. As dentists we can fabricate oral appliances and perform oral laser therapy. For patients who are reluctant to try CPAP, dental treatments are a worthy option.
Certain questions are asked by patients on a daily basis. We thought we would put together a list of some of these frequently asked patient questions.
1) What's the best way to whiten teeth?
There are many ways to whiten teeth from over the counter products such as whitening toothpastes, Crest Whitestrips, hydrogen peroxide rinses or coconut oil rinses. Professional dental whitening products include hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide gels applied either in the office or with the aid of custom trays worn at home. One thing to keep in mind is that whitening toothpastes whiten by polishing via an abrasive action. Our suggestion is to try over the counter/ home remedies and if you aren't satisfied we can come up with a home or in-office gel whitening plan.
2) What is the best type of toothbrush to use?
First and foremost patients need to have good brushing form (Modified Bass Technique), which consists of soft brushes held at a 45 degree angle to the teeth with tiny circular motions. Hold the brush vertically for the insides of the front teeth. It is recommended to brush twice a day and about 20 minutes after you eat (especially if the food was acidic). Studies show that electric toothbrushes may enhance plaque removal, clean better between teeth, and show improved patient compliance. If you are more likely to brush well with an electric toothbrush it may be worth the investment.
3) What are the benefits of flossing?
Flossing removes plaque (food and bacterial biofilm) between teeth and under the gums between teeth. Removing plaque decreases the amount of bacteria that cause cavities and gum disease. Interdental brushes, picks, and Waterpik accomplish the same goal.
4) What causes gum recession?
The most common causes of gum recession are
More common questions and answers to come!
Dr. Gary Pearl was recently in Miami, FL for the Neoss Symposium on "Advancing Implant Dentistry from Ordinary to Extraordinary." Dr. Pearl learned about new techniques and materials in the rapidly evolving field of implant dentistry. There have been huge advancements in making gums look better, implants last longer, and dentures more secure. Dr. Pearl can't wait to apply the new knowledge to his patients.
Pulpdent's ACTIVA BioACTIVE-Restorative improves the quality of Pearl Dental Care's crowns, onlays, bridges, and fillings. Drs. Gary and Scott Pearl are amazed by the improved quality of their restorations with the help of ACTIVA. What is ACTIVA and why does it matter?
Nearly everyone has or has seen old silver colored amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings have served patients well for decades, but the poor esthetics and requirement for excessive tooth removal for placement are severe disadvantages. The 1980's to mid 2000's saw the introduction and advancement of tooth colored composite fillings. Composite fillings have gotten stronger and more beautiful over the years, but they still have limitations in biocompatibility.
ACTIVA is a breakthrough product for patients. Unlike amalgam or composite, ACTIVA chemically bonds to teeth, releases calcium, phosphate, and fluoride, and is bioactive. ACTIVA is strong, shock absorbent, and mimics the properties of teeth. As patients brush their teeth the ACTIVA filling material gets recharged with fluoride. The long-term benefits for our patients are exactly what we look for when choosing our materials.
A recent article in the Wall Street Journal explains the deadly hospital-acquired infection, pneumonia, and how the best way to prevent it may be with a toothbrush. Contracting pneumonia is a significant risk for patients in a hospital, especially those undergoing surgery. Pneumonia is the number 1 hospital-acquired infection in America. The sad truth is that hospitals are not doing enough to prevent hospital-acquired pneumonia. Patients can catch pneumonia from bacteria in their breathing tubes and those bacteria may very well likely originate from the mouth.
Experts recommend patients are elevated in their beds, move and walk around so air moves through their lungs and don't settle in, and deep breathing exercises. "At NYU Langone Health in New York City, patients- whether having complex surgery or an outpatient procedure- brush their teeth and gargle before going under anesthesia and throughout their hospital stay." Patients go to the operating room within 20 minutes of brushing their teeth. At Sutter Medical Center in Sacramenton, researchers foundn that hospital-acquired pneumonia cases were down by 70% after toothbrushing policies were instituted. Investing in toothbrushes is certainly much more affordable for the health care system than managing pneumonia.
As dentists, we see patients with dental fears every single day. Here are some strange and wonderful medically verified dental phobias! Hopefully we can overcome these phobias!
Odontophobia- the fear of dentists
Odontarrupophobia- the fear of toothbrushes
Arachibutyrophobia- the fear of peanut butter sticking to the roof of your mouth
Queunliskanphobia- the fear of saliva (usually other people's)
Cibophobia- the fear of choking on food
Touloungeaphobia- the fear of tongues- commonly, the fear of swallowing your tongue
Dipsophobia- the fear of drinking alcohol
With 2017 nearing an end it's a great time to use up remaining dollars in your flexible spending account (FSA). FSA's allow you to pay for IRS-qualified health care expenses with pretax dollars you save in a special account all year. The discount can be more than 30% depending on your tax bracket. Eligible expenses include co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles, prescription drugs, and even dental care.
The IRS limit on FSA contributions for 2018 is $2,650, $50 more than the limit this year.
The problem with FSA's is that in most cases you must spend the money you put aside in an FSA account in the prescribed time period, often the calendar year. Don't waste any of your saved FSA dollars!
The ADA does not officially support the use of activated charcoal products in dentistry. A fad these days is the use of charcoal for whitening. Some people are even brushing their teeth with charcoal. Many brands claim that activated charcoal results in whiter teeth. Does it actually work? Is the water-charcoal slurry mixture worth it?
The Oral Health Foundation in the UK says there is no research or evidence to support the claims by activated charcoal products. In addition, many of the charcoal toothpastes contain less than the 1,250 to 1,500 parts per million of fluoride needed to actively protect teeth from tooth decay. Some of the products can be overly abrasive and can wear away the enamel on teeth. The roughened enamel can make it easier for bacteria to stick to the surface of teeth.
The bottom line is that there isn't any proof that charcoal is safe and effective for your teeth. Until we learn more, stick to the products your dentist recommends.
Dr. Gary Pearl proudly announces the joining of his son, Dr. Scott Pearl, to the Pearl Dental Care team in Hamden. Dr. Pearl attended dental school at UConn School of Dental Medicine and completed his residency training at Montefiore Medical Center in Bronx, NY. While patients may have seen Dr. Pearl around the office since he was a child performing such tasks as filing charts, gardening, or doing computer work, he will now be providing dental care to children and adults full-time. Congratulations to Dr. Pearl in this exciting time!
For more information about Dr. Pearl click here.
A recent study published in the Journal of Oral Microbiology examined the effect of the bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis on conception in women. According to the Global Burden of Disease Study, severe chronic periodontitis is the sixth most common medical condition. Periodontal disease has been associated with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and premature birth. The systemic effects may be related to bacterial lipolysaccharide (LPS) and a pro-inflammatory state. The gram-negative bacteria Porphyromonas gingivalis and Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans have been implicated in periodontal disease and systemic disease.
Infection and inflammation are related to fertility due to an affect on the ovary, uterus, embryo, and implantation. Another study has associated periodontal disease and endometriosis. Periodontal disease and infertility share common risk factors including age, obesity, and smoking, but the association needs further clarification.
An observational study was performed in a prospective setting with a cohort of young women trying to get pregnant. The mean age was 29.2 years with a range from 19-42 years from Finland. The main finding of the study was that detection of P. gingivalis in saliva and elevated salivary antibodies against this bacteria resulted in a significantly increased risk for unsuccessful conception. The results were independent of age, smoking status, socioeconomic status, and previous deliveries. P. gingivalis very well may delay conception or at least be a marker of this association.
A recent article was published in The New York Times which tells the story of the letters the founder of WM. Wrigley Jr. Co. wrote to young children to entice them to chew gum. William Wrigley Jr., the founder of the Wrigley Company, wrote direct letters to every child he could find turning 2.. "In the early 1900s, he actually shipped free sticks of gum to every address in the U.S. phone book, and that is thought to be the first national direct marketing campaign." Wrigley often mailed sticks of Juicy Fruit, Wrigley's oldest product, glued to his letters. Juicy Fruit was created in 1893 a few months before Spearmint.
Wrigley writes that chewing gum is good exercise for children's teeth. The irony is that Wrigley chewing gum contained sugar which promoted dental cavities. There is no evidence to support that chewing gum in the 1920's or 1930's had any beneficial effect on children's teeth due to any ingredient in the gum. But maybe people knew that the extra saliva produced from chewing gum and the gum rubbing across the teeth had beneficial cleansing effects. The American Academy of Pediatrics now considers gum a choking hazard for children younger than age 5.
Interestingly, the recipient of the above letter, Henry Trombley, grew up to be a dental technician, making dental crowns and bridges.
Does swallowed gum stay in your stomach for seven years?
No, while the digestive system is unable to break down the synthetic gum base, the gum moves through the intestines and passed into the stool normally.
Let's say you have a dental emergency. Do you go to the hospital or to Pearl Dental Care? Where you go for treatment will depend on the type of emergency and where the problem area is. Accidents such as jaw fractures, major lacerations to the face, trouble breathing or swallowing, or jaw dislocation require immediate attention at a hospital emergency department. For dental emergencies involving broken teeth, missing teeth, abscess, oral wounds, or other emergencies that are not considered life-threatening you should see your dentist for immediate care.
There are several situations the American Dental Association recommends patients become familiar with.
All-new technology at Pearl Dental Care is the CEREC SpeedFire oven. Why are we so excited about this machine? It allows for the fabrication of super strong Zirconia crowns in one office visit. Zirconia crowns are the strongest tooth colored all-ceramic crowns on the market. Previously, these types of crowns could only be made by an outside dental lab. After scanning your tooth with the 3D scanner, the crown is milled with our CAD/CAM machine. Zirconia needs a final sintering so the crown is then placed in the SpeedFire oven for 10-15 minutes. Here are some of the advantages of single visit Zirconia restorations-
Bicycling Magazine recently published an article listing 20 easy ways to help your heart. Some of the recommendations include eating calcium rich foods, filling up on antioxidants, and treating high blood pressure. Number 8 on the list is "Go to the dentist."
The tip references a Taiwanese research study which showed that people who had their teeth cleaned twice per year for the past 2 years had a 24% lower risk of heart attack and a 13% lower risk of stroke compared with people who did not have a cleaning. Professional cleanings reduce inflammation and bacteria in the mouth, which lowers inflammation in other areas of the body such as the blood vessels.
According to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, genetics may increase your chances of getting cavities and even inheriting a sweet tooth. Some patients with average to poor oral hygiene rarely if ever get cavities. Other patients with diligent home care who floss and brush regularly are often told by their dentist that they have cavities. Dr. Michael Glick, a professor at the School of Dental Medicine at the University at Buffalo and editor in chief of the Journal of the American Dental Association, explains how genetics may increase your chances of getting cavities in baby teeth by up to 64%. Genetics affect the way tooth enamel is formed. Different variants of enamel may be better or worse at resisting acid erosion.
Dr. Glick says "(i)t's hard to separate a high-sugar diet that will predispose one to develop cavities from a genetic predisposition." Community trends in cavities are usually a result of dietary habits but current research is nevertheless showing a genetic component.
Even if someone is genetically susceptible to cavities, the fact remains that you need sugar in your diet to get a cavity. You cannot get a cavity without sugar. Avoiding sugar products that cling to teeth is the best preventative measure you can take. If you think you are more susceptible to cavities make sure you follow hygiene recommendations- brush twice a day, floss regularly, rinse with mouth wash, and see a dentist at least twice a year. "Don’t sweat the genetics, he says. “See your dentist often, brush regularly and get your cavities filled quickly,” whether your parents had lots of cavities or not."