Archive | September, 2009

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The Bright Sun Helps Make a Bright Smile

Posted on 30 September 2009 by admin

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I have spent many years as a cosmetic dentist in Manhattan, New York and every sunny day I see the effect a sunny day has on the city.  People from all five boroughs flood the parks to take in the rays, work on their tan, and enjoy the weather.  Little do these sun worshippers know, but they are also extending the life and health of their teeth!  That’s because vitamin D, sometime referred to as the “sunshine vitamin,” is made by the body through casual exposure to the sun.  Vitamin D is just as essential as calcium for forming and maintaining strong teeth and bones. 

     Vitamin D and Calcium are both equally necessary to counteract bone deficiencies and reduce the weakening of bone tissue.  If one does not obtain the proper amounts of vitamin D and calcium, they will most certainly encounter bone loss and inflammation of many of the tissues in the body.  Findings show that inflammation is a major symptom of gum diseases, which draws the conclusion that a deficiency of calcium and vitamin D may be a major risk factor for periodontal disease. 

    Many hours of research have been devoted to finding the best means of obtaining the required amount of vitamin D.  So far, basking in the sun is at the top of the list.  In fact, during winter months when the sun tends to hide away, researchers record huge drops in the levels of vitamin D in their patients. Ten to 15 minutes of sun exposure at least two times per week is usually sufficient to provide adequate vitamin D.  During those winter months, when the sun tends to hide away, it is advised to eat foods fortified with vitamin D such as milk, eggs, sardines and tuna fish.

     Now, it is not advised to forego sunblock or reduce the amount of times you brush your teeth if you are hitting the beach regularly.  In fact, the amount of sun you are currently soaking in is probably up to par with the recommended level.  Sunblocks will allow the proper amount of vitamin D to enter the body.  Exposure to the sun is not a cure to periodontal disease, it is simply is a valuable tool to combat a stubborn and rampant danger to our bodies. 

     If you feel that you are not receiving adequate levels of vitamin D and calcium, it is very important to talk to your dentist or physician about the possibility of taking supplements or providing other means to put you on the right track.

Daniell Mishaan, D.M.D. is a Cosmetic and Restorative dentist in the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. He serves patients from all over New York City and is open Sundays for all patients including emergencies.

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The Effects of Stress on Oral Health

Posted on 24 September 2009 by admin

New York City is a great place to live, work, and play.  As a leading dentist in one of the world’s busiest cities, I know all too well the stress that my patients undergo.  If stress is allowed to plague the body long enough it can cause severe damage to an individual’s physical and mental health.  As a society, the dangers that stress poses to the body are fairly well known.  Unfortunately, not many people are aware of the effects that chronic stress has on oral health.

     Chronic stress can have many significant effects on oral health.  For instance, emotional stress is believed to be related to the practice of tooth grinding, also known as bruxism, jaw and facial pain, and headaches.  Increased tension in the muscles of the face are a major side effect of stress.  This tension can cause an individual to inadvertently grind upper and lower teeth during their sleep or even while awake.  This can lead to sensitive teeth, cracked or chipped teeth, or a change in their bite.  Bruxism is usually treated with a mouthguard that is worn at night to stop grinding, however, when brought on as a result of stress, patients are encouraged to treat this symptom by focusing on reducing stressful triggers and relaxation.

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Stress is also known to significantly affect the immune system, leaving the victim more susceptible to infections.  Oral health suffers greatly, as the risk of periodontal disease almost doubles.  The gum tissue cannot fight off the ever-present bacteria lurking within the mouth and is also more vulnerable to mouth sores, dry mouth, burning mouth syndrome, and TMJ disorder. 

     Finally, its has been found that someone under a great deal of emotional stress is more likely to develop certain coping habits to help reduce anxiety, but in the end have negative effects on oral health.  Such habits include ignoring proper oral hygiene practices, engaging in desctructive behaviors such as smoking and alcohol abuse, and eating foods full of sugar. 

     If you are experiencing any of the following and lead a stressful lifestyle, you may be diagnosed with chronic stress:

  • Upset Stomach
  • Headaches
  • Backaches
  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Anger

     If you feel you have chronic stress, it is very important to speak with your dentist about ways you can avoid causing harm to your oral health.  Your dentist will likely advise a variety of methods to control chronic stress, including exercise, healthy eating habits, stress management and relaxation techniques, adequate rest, and relaxing hobbies. 

 Daniell Mishaan, D.M.D. is a Cosmetic and Restorative dentist in the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. He serves patients from all over New York City and is open Sundays for all patients including emergencies.

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After Orthodontics: How to Keep Your Teeth Straight

Posted on 14 September 2009 by admin

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“After Orthodontics: How to Keep Your Teeth Straight”

Although it is commonly believed that the teeth are fused or attached to the surrounding bone structures of the jaw, in reality, the roots are surrounded by a soft periodontal ligament. This is why when you press against a tooth or slightly “wiggle” it, you can feel slight movement. Orthodontics treatment is basically the same idea but on a full treatment scale. Orthodontic treatment involves moving or tilting and holding the teeth into a new position. The pressure supplied by orthodontic apparatuses allows the soft “housing” around the tooth to change shape and permit the gradual movement of the teeth.

When this pressure is applied to the teeth and the supporting structure for an extended period of time, the fibers of the periodontal ligament are stretched and contorted. Due to the fact that these fibers are very elastic, once braces or other orthodontic equipment is removed there is a high tendency for the ligament to restore the placement of the teeth into their original position. This happens most often in the short term.

The general layout of your bite and teeth is mostly dictated by genetics.However, there are other factors that contribute to the eventual look and feel of your smile. Tongue placement and movement, cheek size, and speech, swallowing, and breathing patterns can change the placement of your teeth.Therefore, these factors can also aid in poor retention of orthodontic results.

After many long months of braces, the last thing you want is for all your hard work to go undone. Therefore, it is necessary to prevent a relapse.Many patients will be given a retainer to wear after treatment has finished.Retainers are removable plates that fit around the teeth to prohibit movement. Retainers are generally worn while the patient sleeps.Eventually, the retainers can be worn less frequently as the periodontal ligament losses elasticity.

Many patients are not bothered by their retainers. In order to retain the perfect results caused by proper orthodontic procedures, a patient is advised to wear their retainer every night, indefinitely. For patients who find retainers cumbersome, but would still like to retain their perfect smile, many dentists will recommend a bonded retainer.

A bonded retainer is a small wire attached to the back of the front teeth.Since the bonded retainer rests behind the teeth, there are obviously no aesthetic drawbacks. The bonded retainer does not hinder dental hygiene. It is very easy to floss between the bonds and your dentist can check stability and gum health during each visit. As life gets busier and the hours in the day seem to shorten, not many patients have the time or the mind to gain good habits with their removable retainer. That is why the bonded retainer has become so popular with orthodontists and their patients in the last couple years. Maintaining that beautiful smile is easier than you think!

Daniell Mishaan, D.M.D. is a Cosmetic and Restorative dentist in the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. He serves patients from all over New York City and is open Sundays for all patients including emergencies.

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The Truth About Mouthwash

Posted on 02 September 2009 by admin

mouth-wash-and-bad-breathA new review of studies delves into how to beat bad breath  (halitosis) — and gives high marks to mouthwashes.

Researchers led by Zbys Fedorowicz from the Bahrain Ministry of Health reviewed results from five studies with participants who were randomly given mouthwashes or placebo; 293 people in Thailand, the U.S, the Netherlands, Spain, and Israel took part.

According to background information provided by the researchers, halitosis is widespread around the world: Up to half of people in the U.S. say they have bad breath, 50-60% of people in France complain of it, and 24% of Japanese say it’s a problem.

The participants in the data review were adults over 18 years old who did not have any serious chronic gum or mouth diseases or other conditions such as diabetes, which can bring on bad breath. What researchers found when they compared data is that the type of mouthwash can make a difference in either masking or eliminating bad breath.

“We found that antibacterial mouth rinses, as well as those containing chemicals that neutralize odors, are actually very good at controlling bad breath,” Fedorowicz says in a news release.

But researchers also found that mouthwashes that contain chlorhexidine can temporarily stain the teeth and tongue and reduce taste in one trial.

Researchers also found: Mouthwash containing antibacterial ingredients such as chlorhexidine (Elgydium Refreshing Mouthwash) and cetylpyridinium (Crest Pro-Health Mouthrinse, and BreathRx) did the job of getting rid of bad breath better than a placebo. This is likely due to decreasing the amount of bacteria in the mouth responsible for bad breath.  Mouthwash with chlorine dioxide (Profresh, and TheraBreath) and zinc (TheraBreath, and BreathRx) helped to wipe out bad smells by neutralizing them. Bad breath is caused by bacteria and traces of food that collect in the back of and creases of the tongue.

Researchers write that these particles and bacteria then “break down into volatile sulphur compounds,” which are responsible for the smell.  Dr. Mishaan believes that having good oral health requires proper brushing and flossing habits. Do not forget to brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breathe fresh! Please be aware that if you have chronic bad breath it is a potential sign of  infection and you should visit your dentist to have this issue resolved.

Daniell Mishaan, D.M.D. is a Cosmetic and Restorative dentist in the Garment District in midtown Manhattan. He serves patients from all over New York City and is open Sundays for all patients including emergencies.

Source:  Kelley Colihan for WebMD Health News

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