Eating Ice Cream Shouldn’t Hurt – Treating Tooth Sensitivity

Ah, Summer. The season of iced coffee, ice cream and iced- anything that will cool you off from this heat! But, for those of us who suffer from tooth sensitivity, these methods to beat the heat can also be the culprit for some oral discomfort.

What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?

To understand tooth sensitivity, we must first understand a little bit about tooth anatomy. Each tooth has three layers- the hard, white outer layer is called the enamel. The yellow-ish, softer layer below that is called the dentin. And in the center of each tooth is the pulp, which contains nerves and blood vessels. Over time, if the enamel is worn away it can expose the dentin to the oral environment. The dentin has tiny channels which connect to the pulp of the tooth. So, if you take a sip of cold water and it washes over the exposed dentin, it can send that wave of energy to the pulp and cause a zing of pain.

How does the enamel wear away? Most often it’s from overzealous tooth brushing which can cause recession of the gums, leading to dentin exposure on the roots of the teeth. Dentin can also become exposed by tooth grinding, cavities, broken down restorations, some treatments for periodontal disease or erosion from acidic foods or drinks.

Treating Sensitive Teeth

And Now that we understand HOW it happens, what are some ways we can treat these issues? The first and most conservative step is to try a desensitizing toothpaste, such as Sensodyne, which contains potassium nitrate or calcium phosphate. The way these dentifrices work is by blocking the channels in the dentin that connect to the pulp. Pro tip: if you have sensitivity localized to one specific area, brush the toothpaste onto that particular area but DON’T rinse it off. The longer it sits, the more effective it is. Plus, it has an additive effect over time. If the desensitizing toothpaste isn’t doing the trick, let your dentist know. Often, we can do a small, non-invasive filling that helps to cover the exposed area. Plus, we can rule out any issues such as cavities and treat them as needed.

If sensitive teeth is an issue for you, let us know so you can get back to enjoying your cool summer time treats! And as always, we’re happy to answer any questions you might have. Leave a comment below or give the office a call at (212) 246-8700.

 

Dr. Sam’s Graduation👩‍🎓

Graduation tends to evoke a time for reflection and a chance to take a step back and look at the big picture. The day-in and day-out routine of a long schooling process can sometimes diminish the excitement that was so alive at the start—graduation gives you a chance to reignite that spark as you’re able to look back on your accomplishments and take your newly minted knowledge with you onto the next big thing.

Today, I get the opportunity to reflect as I graduate from my fellowship in implantology. Implantology is not a recognized specialty by the American Dental Association and this fellowship was an additional two years of part time schooling after 4 years of dental school and 3 years of a full-time residency in prosthodontics. (Yup, you heard that right. I had 9 years of school AFTER college.) So, as you can imagine, I have answered A LOT of questions about why I bothered “wasting” my time and money on a program teaching me information which someone else could learn on the fly. The bottom line is this: it was all done for my patients.

Towards the end of my prosthodontic residency, I came to realize that the more you know, the more you realize how much you don’t know. What I DID know was that I wanted to be able to provide implant surgery as an option to my patients and that I didn’t feel confident in the training I already had. Nor did I think that a weekend course on implant placement was going to satisfy my need to really be well trained and live up to the exceedingly high expectations of my midtown Manhattan patient base.

So, I enrolled in the Implantology Fellowship Program at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine where I learned from the best surgeons, clinicians and academicians in the game. Of course, there were points going through it where I was frustrated. But, now with the opportunity to reflect on my time in my fellowship, I can honestly say that I’m SO glad I did it. Not only did I gain the clinical skills and the confidence to perform these procedures in my practice, but I now understand the fundamentals of why I’m doing these procedures, the scientific rationale behind them and the biology that supports my decisions of one treatment or another.

How does this benefit my patients?  Probably in more ways than you realize. Not only do I have more formal training than almost any other dentist out there, but in a lot of cases I’m able to treat my patients from the beginning to the end of their treatment in the same office. (Of course, there are exceptions!) But my combination of prosthodontic and surgical training gives me the advantage of being able to see the big picture to better plan treatments, execute the treatment for patients in a convenient and efficient manner and achieve better outcomes for them overall.

Whew, that was kinda tough. I don’t like bragging, but in the spirit of reflection and moving forward, it’s important to recognize and be proud of what I’ve accomplished and why I went through it in the first place. With my graduation, my spark is reignited and I’m so looking forward to being able to move onto my next big thing: providing superior service to all of our patients at Gallery57Dental. Cheers!

Listen Up Ladies- It’s National Women’s Health Week  

It’s National Women’s Health Week! And since our oral health is an important part of maintaining our overall health, we thought we’d point out a few reasons why it’s especially important for the fairer sex to take care of those pearly whites. So come on ladies, let’s get our toothbrushes in formation…

Hormonal Changes

Whether you’re not a girl/not yet a woman, got a bun in the oven or are going through “the change,” fluctuating hormones can actually cause lots of issues in the mouth. Changing hormone levels most often manifest as bleeding or swollen gums. If these issues aren’t treated, the gum inflammation can progress into periodontal disease, or irreversible bone loss around the teeth.

Heart Disease

People with gum disease have an increased risk for heart disease and almost double the risk of having a fatal heart attack. Since heart disease is the number one killer in American women, that statistic alone should be enough to have all the women [who independent] brushing every day.

Osteoporosis

There are several studies that suggest that there is a link between osteoporosis and low bone density in the jaw. This is important because the teeth are anchored in the jaw bone and if there is gum disease, osteoporosis may lead to these teeth losing bone faster.

These are just a few of the reasons it’s extra important for women to take great care of their oral health. The best way to do that is by brushing and flossing at home and regular visits to your dentist. And we’ve gotta stay in the best shape we can, because who run the world? GIRLS!

9 Often Ignored Symptoms Of Oral Cancer

April showers bring May flowers AND oral cancer awareness!

That’s right, April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. Why should you care? Because 50,000 Americans are diagnosed every year with oral cancer.  Even though survival rates are pretty high, the key to successful treatment is early diagnosis. Luckily, you’re already scheduled to see the only health care provider who is looking in your mouth every 6 months, right?! Your dentist is usually the first to detect any changes in the oral cavity. Every time you come in for a cleaning and exam, we’re looking for any irregularities or abnormalities that could potentially be or become cancerous. But, in between those visits, it’s a good idea to look out for the following symptoms… and just a disclaimer, most of the symptoms listed below are VERY common and usually NOT cancerous. But, if it persists for more than two weeks, you should have it checked out.

1. Mouth sores

These lesions can be red or white, are typically painless and can pop up out of nowhere. These types of sores can also bleed spontaneously. Most often, the lesion is a cold sore or traumatic ulcer, which tend to resolve on their own after 7-10 days.

2. Lumps, bumps or rough patches

These you’ll typically notice with your tongue. (it’s got loads of nerve endings to make even the tiniest things feel huge!) Roughening on the inside of your cheeks does occur frequently, especially if you’re a cheek biter. But, if it continues to spread or a bump increases in size, that’s an indication it should be looked at.

3. Loose teeth

If you’ve had healthy teeth all your life and suddenly one to a few teeth in an area become loose, this could be an indication that there’s a growth that may be pushing the teeth out of the way.

4. Difficult or painful swallowing or a sore throat

Again, this is a common symptom but if swallowing becomes increasingly difficult or painful, or if you’re having trouble keeping food down, that’s an red flag to see a doctor. A persistent sore throat can also be an indication that something is amiss.

5.Ear pain on one side

I know, this one is bizarre. But, there’s a nerve in the lower jaw that can sometimes refer pain to the ear.  It will typically only appear on one side. So, if you have persistent pain and the teeth in the area have been ruled out as a source, there could be something else going on.

6. Altered Sensation

If a lesion gets big enough, it can interfere with nerve signals that can lead to numbness in certain areas of the mouth. You can also have your sense of taste altered or lost completely. Typically, this symptom doesn’t just come out of nowhere—there’s usually a progression of symptoms or pain leading up to this point. Numbness in certain areas of the mouth may not be readily apparent, but secondary symptoms such as drooling or trouble chewing may be noticeable.

7. Ill-fitting dentures or appliances

If you have a denture or other removable dental appliance that no longer fits, chances are that it’s just time for a new one. But, if you recently had a new one made or over time the fit has gotten significantly worse, there may be a growth that’s causing things to shift.

8. Trouble moving your jaw or speaking

Jaw pain alone is very common and usually can be attributed to mild temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder. However, when it’s accompanied by swelling, ill fitting prostheses or your bite feeling way off, that may be an indication to have it checked by a doctor.

9. Pain

Persistent pain of any kind is your body’s way of telling you that there’s something going on. So, if you’re having pain that does not resolve in your mouth, teeth, tongue, cheeks, throat or lips, let your dentist know. Even if it’s something that can be easily resolved, it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Now, before you start searching all of these symptoms on WedMD and convincing yourself you only have 24 hours to live, let me be the first to say that everything is likely fine. But to be safe, make an appointment with your dentist and have them take a look. Here at Gallery57Dental, we’ve got tools like a Velscope and 3D imaging to help us take a closer look if anything seems suspicious. Any questions? Leave us a comment below!

What ACTUALLY Are The Ingredients In Toothpaste?

In the spirit of spring cleaning, we thought we’d take a closer look at the workhorse of dental cleaning products—your toothpaste! We know that it keeps your teeth and gums healthy, but did you ever wonder what it’s ACTUALLY doing for your teeth? Keep reading to find out…

Fluoride

I know this topic tends to be controversial and many “natural” or “organic” toothpastes out there promote that they’re fluoride free, but fluoride is SO important when it comes to helping fight cavities! In fact, the fluoride included in toothpaste is attributed to drastically lowering the rate of tooth decay in the country. Here’s how it works—enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, made up of 96% of mineralized material. That material is mostly a crystal called hydroxyapatite. When exposed to acids due to bacterial break down of sugars and carbohydrates in your diet, the hydroxyapatite can dissolve and lead to the formation of a cavity. This is where the fluoride comes in! The fluoride ions in toothpaste have a higher affinity for the enamel matrix, so it actually converts the hydroxyapatite into fluoroapatite, making the enamel even stronger and harder to breakdown. Fluoride also can help remineralize, or strengthen, areas which are just starting to form cavities.

Still not convinced you want it in your toothpaste? Most big brands only include 0.25% fluoride. (The percentage can go up to 1.1% for high fluoride content toothpastes, but those are usually by prescription only.) That tiny amount is enough to make a difference in fighting cavities.

The Minty Flavor

Truth: this does nothing. Menthol was added to toothpaste back in the early 1900’s, convincing users that the minty, tingling sensation was a signal that the toothpaste was working. But, the addition of the flavor created a drastic increase in use of toothpaste and it’s been included ever since.

Potassium Nitrate

This ingredient is typically only included in toothpaste marketed for sensitivity. The potassium nitrate works to block the channels that communicate with the pulp of the tooth, where the nerves and blood vessels reside. Pro tip: if your teeth are sensitive, after brushing your teeth and rinsing take a little bit of this toothpaste, scrub it on the sensitive areas, but don’t rinse it off! The potassium nitrate has an additive effect over time and the desensitizing action takes a little bit of time to start working.

Silica

This is the true abrasive in your toothpaste. The tiny, amorphous particles do the scrubbing on your teeth to remove plaque, stains, and make teeth look whiter!

Titanium Dioxide

This is what gives toothpaste its white, clean color.

Sodium Lauryl Sulfate

Ever wonder how you get the foaming action from your toothpaste? It’s the sodium lauryl sulfate that creates the bubbles.

Sorbitol

This gives the toothpaste its sweetness, so it tastes good while you brush!

Any questions about what your toothpaste is doing for you? Post a comment below or connect with us on social media @Gallery57Dental!

 

Are All Sugar-Free Gums Created Equal?

Which sugar-free gum is the healthiest?

As part of our healthy lifestyle, we try to eat responsibly ie organic, non GMO, natural… and of course we only chew sugar- free gum.

We dentists recommend chewing gum because it increases the salivary flow in the mouth. Especially if chewed after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on teeth. But are all sugar free gums created equal? Not really.

Aspartame

Most conventional sugar-free gum uses an artificial sweetener called Aspartame, which does make food taste awesome, no doubt. Though counter intuitively, studies are linking these chemicals to weight gain!

Xylitol

Here’s the deal. The healthier options taste great, but that taste doesn’t last long. This is because they use alternative sweeteners like xylitol, which can have healthy benefits such as decreasing your cavities. But unfortunately it tends to lose flavor after a short time.

The consistency also tends to fall apart after a short while … the reason for that is that the brands we’re more familiar with use plastic! Most gum brands you’re familiar with contain synthetic rubbers, emulsifiers, the controversial preservative BHT and plastic called polyvinyl acetate.

There is no great substitute for the proprietary ‘gum base’ and that is why the healthiest brands simply don’t taste good for very long.

Be a savvy label reader

Also, if you’re going clean, beware! Many gum brands market themselves as “healthy” and use xylitol instead of Aspartame or sugar, but use fool coloring and other chemicals you may not want to chew on.

Becoming a savvy label reader, able to weed through confusing ingredient lists is always a great tool! The real answer boils down to your comfort level and tolerance to sacrifice taste and flavor for a clear conscience health-wise.

I hope this answered your questions! Please feel free to reach out with more!

 

 

 

 

 

Dental Trends To Leave Behind In 2018

New year, new you… right? No? Whew, me neither.

Even though we may not have become entirely new people over the course of the last few weeks, wellness is still at the forefront of everyone’s minds. And since dental health is an integral part of our overall health, there are a few key trends you can leave behind to help keep your teeth in their best shape for the year ahead!

Oil Pulling

This is an Ayurvedic technique that involves swishing sesame or coconut oil in the mouth for 20 minutes before spitting it out. In theory, the oil has antibacterial and antiviral properties that can whiten teeth and treat periodontal disease. However, there is no scientific evidence that supports these claims. Oil pulling won’t cause any harm but won’t solve any of your problems either.

Charcoal Toothpaste

Charcoal is a known detoxifying agent in medicine. Due to its porous composition, the idea is that it will absorb any stains on the teeth and make them appear whiter. But, no charcoal-containing toothpaste has been proven to do this. The abrasive particles will help scrub teeth clean but can also do some serious damage by wearing away the outer white enamel layer of the teeth and can actually cause the teeth to look darker!

Apple Cider Vinegar

The benefits of drinking apple cider vinegar seem to be a never ending list—weight loss, helps with digestion, bad breath, even cavities! The dental claims are totally unfounded, plus drinking ACV can cause erosion of the teeth due to it’s acidic pH. (ACV is 3.075 and tooth enamel starts to dissolve at 5.5!)

The keys to keeping your oral health in shape all year round? Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and regular visits to your dentist—no fancy tricks required. If you have questions about any wellness trends, please let us know!

Raising The Barre For New Year’s 2018

Every New Year we all resolve to start a new fitness regimen. In fact last year, despite being the most popular resolution, only 8 percent of people actually followed through. It’s extremely hard to keep it going regularly and once we’ve fallen off the wagon it gets harder and harder to get back into fitness mode. Let’s raise the bar, not only for your oral health but also your overall health for 2018.

Making fitness part of our regular routine is no easy feat. One way to get the momentum going is remembering what’s at stake. The health benefits of working out  go way beyond looking good, they also include cholesterol control, improved muscle and bone health (osteoporosis prevention), heart health as well as improved sleep and weight control.

For best results, how often do you really need to exercise?

For most healthy adults, the Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines: Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. For city dwellers this can be easier to incorporate by choosing to walk or bike to work. For commuters in the suburbs this can be tough.

Here are some tips I personally use and find helpful:

  • Take the steps no matter what! This is great way to sneak in cardio.
  • Split your dessert in half and save some for the next day (or share with a friend).
  • I get on an exercise machine for half hour 4 days a week (minimum) and stream my favorite show to pass the time.
  • Wear a heart rate monitor when working out, it really motivates to push yourself further.
  • Reward yourself! I always indulge myself to a great post-workout treat. My favorite is bananas, SunButter and Justin’s Hazelnut Spread.
  • Find a workout that will keep you motivated. Me and Dr. Sam Rawdin love doing a barre class at Physique 57. It’s a fun cardio workout that tones and shapes your body!

We care about your dental health and overall health. That’s why we’re giving away 2 barre classes to help jumpstart your workouts. Join our Instagram contest and raise the barre for 2018!

G57D_PhysiqueContest2018_R2

Dr. Sam’s Holiday Gift Guide 2017

Still scrambling to find a holiday gift for your family/friend/co-worker/work wife/work husband/dog walker/hair stylist/manicurist/doorman? Luckily, there’s one thing that they ALL have in common… they’ve all got teeth that need some TLC.  Who wouldn’t want a gift that can give them a sparkling smile AND improves their overall health and wellness? Check out our fun picks below, suited to fit any budget or style.

And don’t worry, we fully encourage the “treat-yo-self” mantra when it comes to and ordering any of these just for you!

Electric Toothbrushes

At Gallery57Dental, we’re always recommending electric toothbrushes to our patients. It’s a better clean with less work! Plus, most of them have a 2-minute timer so you know exactly how long you should be brushing.

quipIf you guys follow me on Instagram (if you don’t, you should! My handle is @style.your.smile) you may have seen my story about Quip toothbrushes. Coming in at under $50, this is an awesome gift for anyone who likes a chic, minimalist look. I see you, rose gold handle! Plus, there’s a subscription service to get a new brush head every 3 months so you’re never stuck with old, yucky bristles. $45 for the brush, $5 billed every 3 months for replacement brush heads https://www.getquip.com/

sonicare    The brand I recommend most often is the Philips Sonicare. Any of their brushes are going to give you 7x better plaque removal than a manual toothbrush, but this HealthyWhite+ line focuses on removing surface stains to give you whiter teeth in just one week. It has 2 modes and 3 levels of intensity for maximum comfort and cleaning. 119.99 for the brush, travel case and charger https://www.usa.philips.com 

apa toothbrushIf you’re really trying to impress your gift recipient, go for the Apa Beauty Clean White Sonic Toothbrush. This brush is as much a décor item for your vanity as it a functional product. Carried by high end retailers such as NET-A-PORTER and Violet Grey, this brush delivers 40,000 sonic vibrations per minute to clean, whiten and massage the teeth. $250 for the brush, charger and travel protector  https://www.net-a-porter.com/

Whitening Products

When it comes to whitening, there are a bunch of different ways to achieve that luminous smile. One of these products is a sure way to tell your gift-getter that they brighten up your holidays!

optic whiteThe simplest (and least expensive) way is with a whitening toothpaste, such as Colgate’s Optic White High Impact. This toothpaste (which is under $10!) not only cleans teeth and fights cavities, but also contains the same active ingredient that is found in professional whitening products. $5.99 on Amazon  https://www.amazon.com/Colgate-Optic-Impact-Whitening-Toothpaste

crest - Copy (2)  For a more noticeable whitening result, head to your nearest drug store and pick up Crest White Strips. I happen to be a fan of the FlexFit series, as they tend to stay in place a little better. This particular line is meant to be worn only for an hour at a time, so it’s a great gift for those constantly on the go! $75.99 for a 3-week supply https://crest.com/

kor - Copy  If you’re really looking to splurge, contact our office to give the gift of in-office whitening. It’s still the most effective way to whiten teeth in one session, plus it comes with custom fit whitening trays for at home touch-ups. Call us to find out more!  $475 and up(212) 246-8700  https://gallery57dental.com/

Stocking Stuffers!

 

A few more of my favorite items that are perfect for helping keep the teeth in tip-top shape through the New Year.

cocofloss  One of my new product finds is Cocofloss. It’s a multi-filament dental floss that actually scrubs between the teeth to better remove plaque than any other floss I’ve tried. It contains coconut oil to help soothe the gums AND comes in peppermint flavor just for the holidays! $22 for a pack of 3 https://cocofloss.com/

marvisFor the jet-setter, a set of fancy travel-sized toothpastes would make the perfect gift! The cinnamon flavor is especially festive this time of year, but the retailer also makes other contemporary flavors such as ginger, jasmine and licorice. $15 for set of 3 https://shop.nordstrom.com

Koffie strawIf your giftee is a coffee-lover, these reusable straws will help keep their teeth white and shiny long after the holidays are done. Koffie Straws are bent at the top to direct coffee, tea or other stain-inducing liquids behind your front teeth and they’re made from silicone so they can be safely used in hot beverages. Plus, they come in different fun colors! $12.99 for 2 straws and cleaning brush https://koffiestraw.com/

Can Stress Really Cause Tooth Loss

Dr. Samantha Rawdin discusses the link between stress and tooth loss.

This past week, The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon hosted actress Demi Moore. As an avid Tonight Show watcher, I (not-so-shamefully) pride myself on having deciphered the interview sequence they take with their guests:

Guest sits down. Jimmy welcomes guest. Jimmy brings up interesting, obscure detail about guest. Guest tells funny story having to do with interesting, obscure detail.

But this time, the story particularly caught my attention since they started talking about how said guest lost her two front teeth! Due to stress!

If you happened to watch the interview, and saw the part where Jimmy and Demi start praising modern dentistry, I know what you’re thinking. I should be thanking Jimmy for calling me a genius.THANKS JIMMY! Really appreciate the shout out. (Yea, yea. I know. He called all dentists geniuses. But a girl can dream, no?)

So yes. Modern dentistry is awesome. We can do really amazing things to replace teeth and make them look natural and beautiful. (Hence why I love my job.) BUT they didn’t really get to the core issue here. Demi Moore’s teeth fell out due to STRESS. As New Yorkers, it seems we’re always stressed. Should you be worried that one day you’ll just be walking down the street, all of a sudden you feel something fall out of your mouth, and when you look down you’re surprised to see it’s your tooth? In short, no. That’s really not how it happens.

Stress can manifest itself in the oral cavity in a few ways. The most common is bruxing, clenching or grinding your teeth. (Collectively, we call these parafunctions.) This habit can happen either at night while you sleep or during the day– especially while working out or dealing with an aggravating situation. If you continue with this habit for long enough, it will start to wear down your teeth. This does kind of sound like what Demi was saying in that she “sheared off” her teeth… but if you’re guilty of any of these habits, you typically see wear distributed on most, of not all of your teeth.

Interesting that the rest of Demi’s smile appears to be intact, no? Well I have another theory. My guess is that Demi suffers from a super common condition called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria that is not removed by regular dental cleanings travels down the root surface of the tooth, causing the gums and bone to be resorbed and thus reducing the stability of the teeth. Periodontal health is intimately linked to overall health. Stress, and all of the other systemic conditions that it is associated with, such as cardiovascular issues, nervous system issues and GI problems, can all exacerbate periodontal disease. This loss of support of the teeth in combination with stress and parafunctional habits can, in fact, cause your teeth to literally fall out of your head.

But, this isn’t something to freak out about. These changes occur over a long period of time. Bottom line? Make sure you see your dentist for regular check ups. Tracking these changes over time is the best way to diagnose early and treat any issues you might have before you start dropping teeth like coconuts falling from a tree.

I give Demi a ton of credit. In an industry where you’re supposed to be flawless all of the time, it must not be easy to plaster a photo of yourself all over the internet, sans one front tooth. It would be a very vulnerable state for anyone, let alone a movie star. Kudos to Demi for bringing the dental consequences of stress to the forefront of pop culture at her own expense.

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