Smart Moves with our very own Carolyn

Posted May 27th, 2014 by Amy & Robin and filed in Dental Tips

I had a couple “ahh-haa moments this past month when I turned the infamous “Double Nickels”. Number one was that it’s not soooooooooooo bad to order off the “senior meal menu” when I took my sweet 87 year-young momma out for breakfast to the local IHop. The food was just as tasty, portions were sizeable AND the price seemed, well……..very reasonable.
My second realization was that I wasn’t getting any younger; I work for an amazing dentist and… I have crooked lower anterior teeth. It’s not that they are horrifically messed up, but the esthetics of how they shifted over the years was just something that always bothered me. I figured it was just about time to ‘straighten out my act”. So, with that said, at my last hygiene visit, we discussed re-aligning my pearly whites with something called, Smart Moves orthodontic trays. Amy took the initial impressions & sent my poured up models off to the lab.

So, stay tuned, for more information, updates & my own personal perspective on this very ‘moving’ experience. ? ~Carolyn~

Myths and Facts About Decay


Sugar Is the Prime Cause of Cavities

Myth, but it’s almost a fact.
The truth is, acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is the cause of cavities, 6a00d83451b71f69e2013485a344e9970c-250wisays Kimberly A. Harms, DDS, an American Dental Association. However, these bacteria are triggered to make acid when you eat anything with carbohydrates — and sugar is a carb.

Here’s an important fact. It’s not the amount of carbs you eat that causes tooth decay, but the length of time your teeth are exposed. If you eat a lot of carbs for lunch, that’s one big exposure. But if you spend the day sipping sugary drinks, that’s continuous exposure — and much more unhealthy for your teeth.
Rice, potatoes, bread, fruits, and vegetables are also carbs.

Exposure to Acidic Foods, Like Lemons, Causes Tooth Decay
Fact. Acidic foods such as lemons, citrus juices, or soft drinks don’t cause cavities, but they may be putting your enamel in danger.
“Acids can tear down your enamel and weaken your tooth,” says Harms.

Kids Are a Lot More Likely to Get Cavities Than Adults
Myth. With the help of sealants, fluoridated water, and preventive care, “we’ve actually cut decay in school-aged children by half in the last 20 years,” says Harms.

Aspirin Placed Next to a Tooth Will Help a Toothache
Myth. Swallowing aspirin is what helps reduce toothache pain. Since aspirin is acidic, placing it beside the tooth can actually burn your gum tissue, causing an abscess.

All Fillings Eventually Need Replacing
Myth. An amalgam or composite filling needs to be replaced if it breaks down or a cavity forms around it, or if the tooth fractures, says Harms. If none of those problems occur, you can keep the same filling.

If You Have a Cavity, You’ll Know It
Myth. “That’s a big, big, bad myth,” Harms says. Mild tooth decay doesn’t cause symptoms. The pain we associate with cavities comes when tooth decay is more advanced and causes damage to the nerve.

Chips and Cracks in Teeth Lead to Decay
Fact. If cracks and chips create a hiding place for bacteria, a spot where your toothbrush can’t reach, those areas are more prone to tooth decay.

Sensitivity in Teeth Means You Have Decay
Myth. Tooth sensitivity could just mean you have hypersensitive teeth, or you have gum recession that’s exposed some root.

Decay is the Only Reason for Root Canals
Myth. You need a root canal if the nerve inside a tooth is damaged. Untreated cavities may eventually lead to nerve damage, but there other causes, too.

Clenching and Grinding May Lead to Decay
Fact. “Clenching and grinding is one of the most destructive things you can do to your teeth,” says Harms. With normal chewing, teeth touch for mere milliseconds, suffering very little stress. But clenching and grinding puts tremendous pressure on your teeth for extended periods.

You Don’t Need to Worry About Decay in Baby Teeth
Myth. Baby teeth hold the space for permanent teeth. “If cavities are left untreated in baby teeth, they can develop into serious pain and abscesses. Occasionally the infection can spread to other areas of the body, and in rare occasions can even result in death,” says Harms.

Brushing and Flossing Is the Best Way to Prevent Decay
Fact. “Absolutely! Prevention is the key,” says Harms. You need to remove bacteria from teeth. Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss. If bacteria are removed daily from every area of your tooth, “you won’t get cavities,” says Harms.

By Wendy C. Fries WebMD

Bruxism or Teeth Grinding…

Clenching and grinding can occur at any time, but sleep-related bruxism is more common. And because it happens while you’re unconscious, this type of bruxism is difficult to control. The condition can come and go throughout life and can be caused (or made worse) by stress, anxiety, diet, caffeine or certain medications. However, many people experience bruxism even without these risk factors.

Severe bruxism can lead to headaches, ear and jaw pain, cracked teeth, and even temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders. But even mild clenching and grinding can, over time, wear down the surface of teeth, making them unattractive and more vulnerable to decay and damage (see photos).

Though changes in lifestyle and certain anti-anxiety medications can curb symptoms, there is no cure for bruxism. Fortunately, we have a treatment that can prevent the pain and damage that bruxism can cause. We can create a custom nightguard; this is a simple-to-use appliance that fits over the biting surfaces (usually the upper teeth) and protects them from damage.

Though over-the-counter nightguards are available, they do not fit well, can be uncomfortable and may not provide very effective protection against bruxism. A custom nightguard is typically a one-time investment and can pay off enormously in preventing future pain and expense.

If you think you or someone else you know may have symptoms of bruxism, be sure to ask about a nightguard at your next dental appointment.

Smokers’ taste buds ‘do not allow them to taste bitterness of coffee

Though conventional pairing has cigarettes and coffee going together, researchers have found that the toxic chemicals in tobacco may hamper taste bud regeneration, resulting in smokers not being able to adequately taste the bitterness of their regular cup of joe.

The researchers, led by Nelly Jacob of the Pitié-Salpêtrière Hospital APHP in France, published results of their study in the journal Chemosensory Perception.

They note that tobacco’s chemicals are already known to cause a loss of taste in smokers, as well as structural changes to the fungiform papillae of the tongue – where taste buds are found.

What has been unknown is to what extent smokers’ taste range is affected, whether it returns to normal upon quitting smoking and if so, how long that takes.

Taste buds are largely responsible for conveying sweet, sour, bitter, salty and metallic sensations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the responsibilities of the taste system include:

  • Triggering digestive systems that change secretions of saliva, stomach acid and pancreatic juices
  • Enhancing feelings of pleasure and satiety when eating
  • Determining quality of foods and determining “good” tasting foods from “bad” ones, which could have potential toxins.

To further investigate the changes in taste buds caused by smoking, Jacob and colleagues tested the ability of 451 study participants to recognize and rate intensity of the four basic tastes – sweet, sour, bitter and salty.


Tobacco product accumulation could impede taste bud regeneration

Smoking and coffee
Smokers may not be able to fully taste the bitterness of coffee, researchers say.

Dividing the participants into three groups (smokers, non-smokers and former smokers), the team conducted the voluntary tests during three separate and consecutive “World No-Tobacco Days.”

A person’s ability to recognize salty, sweet or sour tastes was not influenced by smoking status, the researchers say. However, smoking status did affect their ability to taste the bitterness in caffeine.

While bitter receptors in the tongue are normally able to detect this sensation in even low concentrations, nearly 20% of smokers were not able to correctly identify the taste.

Of the former smokers, 26.5% were not able to identify the taste, while only 13.4% of the non-smokers were unable to correctly identify the bitter samples.

Speaking about their findings, Jacob says:

“We consider that the perception of bitter taste should be examined more closely, both as a tool for smoking cessation or for preventing smoking initiation. More generally, it should be worthwhile to consider the role of chemosensory perceptions in smoking behavior.”

The team believes the accumulation of some tobacco products in the body could impede taste buds regenerating, which could still affect a person’s ability to recognize certain tastes after they have quit smoking.

In the world of taste bud research, Medical News Today recently reported on a digital taste simulator that can produce the four main elements of taste. Researchers say it could one day be used to improve or regenerate sense of taste in cancer patients whose taste buds have been impaired by chemotherapy.

Written by  Marie ellis VIA

Fluoride’s Importance in Your Smile

Though many people may not know this, fluoride is a key mineral in keeping your teeth nice and strong. Especially important in children’s dentistry, fluoride treatments can begin a healthy foundation for your smile to thrive and take life’s knocks. Attracting minerals like calcium, fluoride is a wonderful way to build and maintain strong smiles! If you are unaware of some of the benefits fluoride can deliver, let us inform you!

One of the benefits to fluoride is the fact that it naturally makes your teeth more cavity resistant. The mineral acts as a shield, not allowing harmful bacteria to taint your smile. Fluoride also strengthens teeth, making them resilient to the end! Fluoride treatments are common practice in children’s dentistry, as studies show that children who receive them are 40% less likely to get cavities.

Another great way to receive you fluoride intake is through tap water; certain toothpastes and mouthwashes also contain fluoride. Fluoride is also beneficial to those who suffer from constant dry mouth, people with crowns and bridges, people with braces, gum disease, and those who have a history of having continual cavities. Everyone young and old and benefit from fluoride use, and we encourage you to find a source!


Article by

A Clever dental floss advertisment

Posted May 9th, 2014 by Amy & Robin and filed in Dental Tips

Colgate has created a very ingenious advertising campaign to promote their dental floss, but before I explain to you the main detail of these images, I will let you appreciate them quietly




























Alright, now that you had time to quietly observe the images ~

In the first one you will now notice that she has one finger too many in her hand.
In the second one a phantom arm is floating there.
In the third one the man has only one ear.
The campaign attained its purpose, because it proved that food remains on your teeth draw more attention than any physical defect.

5 Mistakes You Might Make While Flossing

Flossing is a crucial part of dental hygiene, and one that shouldn’t be taken lightly; after all, it’s a tried-and-true method for getting rid of stubborn food particles that settle in hard-to-reach places between teeth, as well as an effective way to disrupt cavity-causing bacteria and keep them getting too comfortable. Of course, you might be thinking: how hard is it to drag some string between your teeth? Harder than you might think. Countless people make casual errors every day when flossing, and while it might not seem like a big deal at the time, you could find yourself in need of fillings or other restorative dental work before you know it. Here are five common mistakes that are made during flossing that you should watch out for:

floss girl

When You Use the Same Section of Floss the Entire Time

As we said above, flossing removes harmful bacteria from between your teeth. Why would you want to move that bacteria around your mouth into new areas instead of getting rid of it altogether? It might seem wasteful, but when you use the exact same area of floss on multiple teeth, you can replace plaque that’s already been removed into a brand-new home.

When You Skip the Teeth in the Very Back

While some of your teeth may have an open space next to them, it’s still important to work the floss behind them and do some cleaning. By doing this, you can make sure to remove bacteria that sometimes finds its way between your tooth and gums.

When You Snap the Floss between Your Teeth

Some of your teeth have very tight adjoining spaces. When you notice an area like this, try not to force the floss so that it jumps down against your gums. Instead, work the floss back and forth until it slides through. Snapping the floss not only hurts your gums, but it can also cause them to recede. Gum disease might not be far behind, too.

When You Quit Because Your Gums Start Bleeding

We understand that the sight and taste of blood can be scary sometimes, but don’t worry! You’re not hurting your gums. You’re just suffering from gingivitis, a condition that happens when your body sends more blood to the gums so that they can fight off growing plaque. You can alleviate this condition by removing that plaque with flossing. After a few days of dedicated flossing, your gums should return to normal!

When You Floss Aimlessly Without Keeping Track Of Your Teeth

You have a fair amount of teeth, and when you’re flossing, it can be easy to become distracted and accidentally skip one or two. Creating a plan that you follow whenever you floss will guarantee that you leave no area untouched. As long as you stick to it, you shouldn’t have any problems!

Just be sure to watch out for these common mistakes, and keep flossing! Your teeth will thank you.



11 Reasons to Ditch Processed Foods

Hidden Kidney Killers

The Facts: Flavored noodle mixes, processed meats, packaged mac and cheese, soda, frozen dinners, other processed foods, and fast food are notorious for containing questionable levels of phosphate-laden ingredients that could promote kidney deterioration and weaker bones.

Healthy Tip: If you’re in a pinch and do reach for processed foods, avoid ones with ingredients like “sodium phosphate,” “calcium phosphate,” and “phosphoric acid,” or anything with “phos-” in the word.

Cereal Crimes?

The Facts: Breakfast bombshell: Residues of more than 70 pesticides have been found in individual boxes of cereal. Why? Many pesticides today, particularly the go-to chemical applied to genetically engineered crops, are systemic. That means the chemicals wind up inside of the food you’re eating.

Healthy Tip: Beware of “natural” cereals. Testing by the Cornucopia Institute found that “natural” cereals are often contaminated with crop pesticides, warehouse fumigation chemicals, and genetically modified ingredients (GMOs). Choose organic if you truly want to avoid toxic chemicals in your food.

Shorter Lifespan

The Facts: Letting your kitchen go dormant in favor of relying on processed foods could shave years off of your life. A 2012 study published in the journal Public Health Nutrition found that people who cooked at home at least five times a week were 47 more likely to be alive after 10 years than the people who relied more on processed foods.

Healthy Tip: To get your feet wet cooking fresh, seasonal ingredients, consider joining a vegetable community- supported agriculture program. Farmers often share recipes, cooking tips, and sometimes even hold cooking demonstrations to teach you the healthiest ways to prep the food they grow. Try a half share if you’re afraid you won’t have enough time to cook a larger share of the bounty.

Accelerated Aging

The Facts: Your face could start resembling crinkle-cut chips if you turn to munching processed foods on a regular basis. Research shows both the phosphates and the genetically engineered ingredients often added to processed foods promote aging.

Healthy Tip: Instead of processed foods, choose fare that actually promotes younger-looking skin, including alkaline-forming foods like kale, parsley, almonds, pears, and lemons. Foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as pastured eggs, wild-caught Alaskan salmon, and walnuts, also help hydrate your skin, reducing wrinkles. Tomatoes help fight damaging sunburns, reduce skin roughness, and boost collagen.

Your Wallet

The Facts: Processed foods may seem like a deal in terms of convenience, but when you break down the cost, it’s generally cheaper–and way healthier–to make those same foods from scratch. For instance, a popular brand’s microwave bowl of chili costs $3.39 and includes harmful bisphenol A, fake food dye, and industrial meat raised using antibiotics, as well as other questionable additives.

Healthy Tip: You can whip up a batch of gourmet, 100-percent-organic chili from scratch using fresh ingredients, including omega-3-rich, heart-healthy grass-fed beef, for about $2.86 per serving. Cheaper, tastier, organic, and healthier!

Relentless Hunger

The Facts: Added sugars, specifically fructose from table sugar and the high-fructose corn syrup found in most processed foods, block the hormonal signal that tells your brain it’s time to stop eating, according to obesity research by Robert Lustig, MD, a pediatric neuroendocrinologist at the University of California – San Francisco. The result? Never-ending hunger that leaves you fatter yet feeling unsatisfied.

Healthy Tip: According to the American Heart Association, we down about 22 teaspoons of sugar a day; that’s about 25 pounds more than people consumed annually just a few decades ago. Watch out for surprising hidden sources of added sugars, such as bread, crackers, bottled tea, frozen dinners, and sauces and marinades.

Low-Fat Fraud

The Facts: Since the low-fat fad began, Americans have become fatter and sicker. One reason? Low-fat dairy products are stripped of conjugated linoleic acid, a healthy fat shown to fight weight gain and cancer. Added sugar often takes the place of fat, making you feel hungry and unsatisfied.

Healthy Tip: Know your fats. Industrial fats like partially hydrogenated oils are dangerous, but fat from organic, grass-fed animal products like yogurt actually benefit your heart and brain.

Colorful Lies

The Facts: Processed foods–even pickles, cake mixes, and “healthy” juices–often contain food dyes that make food appear fresher than it really is, in essence, tricking you, the consumer. Some berry juices contain 0 percent fruit juice, relying solely on artificial coloring. The problem? Some food dyes are tied to serious health problems like ADHD, asthma, allergies, and cancer.

Healthy Tip: Stick with organic foods, since organic standards ban the use of artificial food dyes, so organics are colored with food sources like turmeric and beets. Better yet, try your hand at making your own homemade pickles and other kitchen staples to avoid harmful additives.

Junky Tendencies

The Facts: Added sugar is the not-so-sweet trick the makers of processed foods use to get you hooked. In 2005, Princeton researchers found that eating sugar triggers the release of opioids, neurotransmitters that light up your brain’s pleasure center. Addictive drugs like morphine and heroin stimulate those same pleasure pathways. Scary fact? After 21 days on a high-sugar diet, you could start showing signs of withdrawal–chattering teeth, anxiety, and depression–when sugar is taken away.

Healthy Tip: Don’t replace a healthy breakfast like low-sugar organic oatmeal with a sugary coffee drink.

Airway Assault

The Facts: Kids who eat fast food two to three times a week face a significantly higher risk of developing asthma, possibly due to the processed foods’ ability to create inflammation in the body. The trans fats and sugar common in fast-food menu items trigger inflammation, an unhealthy condition tied to asthma.

Healthy Tip: Skip the drive-thru and eat fruits and vegetables at least three times a week, a move that research found was associated with lower rates of asthma.

Lab Rats

The Facts: Eat processed foods? If so, you’re an unknowing participant in a huge experiment. To date, more than 80,000 chemicals have been approved for use in the U.S., many of them used in processed foods. Unfortunately, only about 15 percent have been tested for long-term impacts on human health.

Healthy Tip: Cook like your great-grandmother. If an ingredient looks like it belongs in a science lab, avoid the product. Make a vow to visit your local farmer’s market regularly to experiment with fresh ingredients. Form a neighborhood cooking club, and hold get-togethers at which members whip up a different bulk meal from whole ingredients. Break the results down into smaller servings, swap, and share for a fridge full of healthy options all week long–without investing tons of time in the kitchen!


Brought to you be Yahoo Health

article by Leah Zerbe,

I don’t feel any sensitivity- why do I need this treatment?

Most often people think  pain and a dental problem go hand and hand.   Pain is not the only indication of something going on. Patients frequently ask me ‘why am I having this filling/crown/etc done when I am not feeling anything?’ I can speak from experience!

Alongside this article I have posted a digital Xray of tooth number #32, #31, and #30- known as the lower right molars. The last tooth to the left of the image is My wisdom tooth (#32) which is positioned in such a way referred to as  ‘mesially impacted’, in other words there is limited space in the jaw for this tooth, it is not functional in my bite and because of its angle, and is a food trap! If you look closely at the Image you will notice the large dark area eating into the second molar- the tooth in front of the wisdom tooth.  With the angle of the wisdom tooth it can make it almost impossible to keep the area clean opposed to the other areas of the mouth.

I had my lower wisdom teeth extracted over the summer. Now,
you would think with this large area of decay (commonly stated as a cavity) that I would’ve had a tooth ache or at least some sensitivity to temperature or sweets?! Surprisingly- I did not! This area of decay had appeared on the Xray so large that during removal of the decay it was a strong possibility of exposing the nerve which would’ve led to- you guessed it, a root canal. Fortunately that wasn’t the case.  This just goes to show that decay can be extensive without any of the assumed symptoms.

We are here to educate you! The more you understand about your dental care the more we can be on the same page with keeping your mouth healthy and remember- just because you don’t ‘feel’ anything, doesn’t indicate there isn’t something going on. Next time your faced with the possibility of postponing treatment, you may want to think twice.


BY: Amy M- Clinicial Assistant

VELscope- Oral Cancer screening system

Every hour of every day in America someone dies of Oral Cancer. Oral Cancer is the sixth most common diagnosed form of cancer in the United States. Presently 30,000 patients are diagnosed annually with oral cancer. The 5-year survival rate is only 50%, accounting for 8,000 deaths each year. Oral Cancer risk factors include tobacco use, frequent and/or excessive alcohol consumption, a compromised immune system, past history of cancer, and the presence of the HPV virus. Recently however 25% of all newly diagnosed cases have been in patients under the age of forty with none of the known risk factors. Oral Cancer is one of the few cancers whose survival rate has not improved in the past 50 years. This is due primarily to the fact that during this time we have not changed the way we screen for this disease (a visual and manual examination of the oral cavity, head, and neck).

Oral Squamous Cell Carcinomas (OSCC) make up over 90% of all oral cancers, and because of its appearance it has been difficult to differentiate from the other relatively benign lesions of the oral cavity. Early OSCC and potentially malignant lesions can appear as a white patch (leukoplakia, or as a reddened area (erythroplakia), or as a red and white (erythroleukoplakia) mucosal change under standard white light examination. However, these cellular changes are often non-detectable to the human eye (even with magnification eyewear) under standard lighting conditions. Often, when the lesion becomes visible, it has advanced to invasive stages. The high mortality rate is directly related to the lack of early detection of potentially malignant lesions. When diagnosis and treatment are performed at or before a Stage 1 carcinoma level, the survival rate is more than 90%.

The cancers which have seen a major decline in the mortality rate have included colon, cervical, and prostate cancer and the primary reason is early detection and screening.

We can make a difference in the oral cancer mortality rate.

Early screening, diagnosis, and treatment planning saves lives.

How Does it work?

VELscope’s fluorescence technology aids in the early visualization of mucosal diseases and enhances effective oral mucosal screening

VELscope® is a revolutionary hand-held device that provides dentists and hygienists with an easy-to-use adjunctive mucosal examination system for the early detection of abnormal tissue. The patented VELscope technology platform was developed in collaboration with the British Columbia Cancer Agency and MD Anderson Cancer Center, with funding provided in part by the NIH. It is based on the direct visualization of tissue fluorescence and the changes in fluorescence that occur when abnormalities are present.

The VELscope Handpiece emits a safe blue light into the oral cavity, which excites the tissue from the surface of the epithelium through to the basement membrane (where premalignant changes typically start) and into the stroma beneath, causing it to fluoresce. The clinician is then able to immediately view the different fluorescence responses to help differentiate between normal and abnormal tissue. In fact, VELscope is the only non-invasive adjunctive device clinically proven to help discover occult oral disease.

Typically, healthy tissue appears as a bright apple-green glow while suspicious regions are identified by a loss of fluorescence, which thus appear dark.
VELscope provides a more effective oral cancer screening protocol with immediate benefits for the patient, clinician and practice

When used as an adjunctive aid in combination with traditional oral cancer examination procedures, VELscope facilitates the early discovery and visualization of mucosal abnormalities prior to surface exposure that may be, or may lead to oral cancer. In one or two minutes, with no rinses or stains required, a VELscope examination helps oral healthcare professionals assure their patients that the standard of care for oral mucosal screening has been utilized. Through the CDT code D0431, an increasing number of insurance companies are recognizing VELscope as an adjunctive screening device. VELscope combines minimal per-patient costs with more effective screening.