When Is OTC Not Enough For Your Dental Care?

A trip to the grocery store or pharmacy is usually all you need to replenish your favorite brand of toothpaste, mouthwash and floss. But what if re-stocking that old familiar brand isn’t really helping you as much as you need?blog post image_april 2017_from RevWell

As we grow older and our teeth and gums age along with us, sometimes those old familiar products are worth switching out – often with a prescription from your dentist. But how do you know when you should opt for something new? Let’s take a look.

Do you Have Sensitive Teeth or Gum Disease? If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity due to a receding gum line, you might benefit from prescription fluoride toothpaste. Such toothpastes have higher levels of fluoride and can help lessen sensitivity and protect exposed tooth structure no longer protected by enamel or gum tissue. Typically your dentist would recommend prescription toothpaste for you if you have significant recession, or if you have recently been in for scaling and root planing.

Do You Get a Lot of Cavities, or Drink from An Unfluoridated Water Supply? If you get your drinking water from a well, or any other unfluoridated source, prescription toothpastes can be helpful. In fact, research shows the popularity of bottled water may be affecting children’s tooth decay.

Specialized toothpastes are also worth considering simply if you’re prone to decay. Excessive cavities can be a drain on your wallet, and the overall health of your mouth. Ask if there are ways (other than frequent visits to the office for repair) you can proactively fight your battle with cavity-prone teeth.

Do You Suffer from Dry Mouth? Most over the counter (OTC) remedies for dry mouth are effective for the majority of people. However, if you’ve been using an OTC solution for some time, and are experiencing limited relief, you might want to ask your dentist if there are other options. You should also ask your family doctor help you get to the root of the problem – which could be indicative of any number of benign or more serious concerns.

Are Frequent Mouth Sores a Problem? Elderly patients and those undergoing treatment for some diseases, such as cancer, can develop mouth sores. It’s not necessary to endure this pain for days and weeks on end, so ask your dentist or physician for a prescription mouth gel. Such gels work by forming a barrier that protects the nerve endings and shields them from overstimulation that can result in pain.

Do You Suffer From Persistent Halitosis? Many people don’t know this, but there are prescription mouthwashes that can be used to help combat persistent halitosis. As with dry mouth, however, it’s important to understand why you have bad breath. If you do not have gum disease and feel otherwise healthy, there could be more serious reasons for your halitosis. If bad breath is a concern for you, just let us know at your next visit, and we’ll let you know how we can help.

For the overwhelming majority of us, over-the-counter toothpastes, mouth washes and other dental hygiene products will do the trick just fine. Just know that your options don’t stop there and speak with our team if you have any concerns.

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Meet Dr. Gart!

Meet Dr. Adam Gart! He is a standout dentist and one of the newest members of the Future of Dentistry team.

Dr. Adam Gart
Dr. Adam Gart

“As a doctor, I believe that personalized care is essential to oral health,” he said. “I knew I wanted to practice at Future of Dentistry when I saw that the team is always dedicated to putting the patient first.”

Dr. Gart earned his DMD from Midwestern University. He completed his undergraduate studies at Sacred Heart University with a degree in chemistry. He found his calling during college, when he spent a month shadowing a family member who is a dentist in France.

At Midwestern, Dr. Gart was ranked in the top 10 of his class academically. He earned the School Award for Implantology, the School Award for Oral Surgery, and a Section Award for Excellence in Patient Care.

That combination — outstanding technical skills and compassionate care — are exactly what we focus on at Future of Dentistry. It makes Dr. Gart a great fit for our practice!

We invite all our patients to give feedback after their visits. We’ve heard wonderful things about Dr. Gart since he joined us! Here are two examples from patients:

“I wish every dentist was like Dr. Gart, I would of started going years ago! He made me feel so comfortable and is very gentle and soft-spoken. You can tell he really cares about his patients and his work. Looking forward to my next appointment.”

“It was my first experience meeting Dr Gart. I had an abscess and he highly advised taking the tooth out ASAP. It took a little less than an hour. He was wonderful. Efficient and caring. He followed up with me himself the next day. Very impressed.”

We wanted to share these examples because they illustrate what we value about Dr. Gart.  Since he joined us, he’s become a trusted team member. He also has a great sense of humor! Outside of dentistry, Dr. Gart is an “outdoors type” whose hobbies include tennis, skiing and hiking. He is a longtime Massachusetts resident.

“I’ve enjoyed getting to know many of Future of Dentistry’s patients, and I look forward to meeting more of you in the future,” said Dr. Gart.

Since he speaks French fluently, we asked him to translate for us: “J’ai eu beaucoup de plaisir a faire la connaissance de nombreux patients de FOD et j’ai hate d’en rencontrer un plus grand nombre encore!”

Myth-Busting: The Truth About Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is one of the most misunderstood forms of cancer. Too often, patients believe that only tobacco use can lead to oral cancer. This is simply not true. You may be surprised to learn that this disease affects a wide range of people.

In fact, non-smokers aged 25 to 50 — who are otherwise healthy — are the fastest-growing segment of the oral/oropharyngeal cancer population.

Human papillomavirus (HPV) has changed the way the medical community looks at this disease. Several forms of HPV are linked to oral cancer. Research suggests that more young people suffer from oral cancer because of the virus.

Unfortunately, public awareness hasn’t quite caught up with science. The topics of oral cancer and HPV are often taboo, embarrassing or simply overlooked.

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Feeling lucky? Enter our contest in honor of Oral Cancer Awareness Month!

That’s why Oral Cancer Awareness Month is so important. Recognized nationally in April, it’s a chance to break down the barriers and spread the word about prevention and detection.

It’s also the reason we’re raffling off the gift basket you see in this blog. It’s chockfull of fun items, including a Visa “cash card” and gift cards to a local ice cream shop and pizza place. Most of these items have nothing to do with dentistry. It’s just a fun contest with a simple goal — raising awareness.

Here’s how to win the basket:

  • Pledge to be checked annually
  • Like/Share the oral cancer post on our Facebook page before the end of April 2017. (If you don’t use Facebook, you can call 781-245-2299 or email info@futureofdentistry.com to enter)

Anyone can win, whether or not they’re a patient at Future of Dentistry. The goal is awareness, for everyone. We’ll announce the winner during the first week of March.

The Basics

  • The same strains of HPV that infect genital areas can infect the mouth and throat, known as “oral HPV.”
  • Some forms of oral HPV are shown to cause cancer in the mouth, head and neck areas. Other types can cause warts in the mouth or throat.
  • Cancer caused by HPV often takes years to develop after the initial HPV infection.
  • HPV may go away on its own without causing any health problems. The key is to stay vigilant — routine checks for an abnormal symptoms.

Myths and Truths

Myth: You have to be a smoker to get oral cancer.

Truth: In the U.S. alone, about 9,000 people are diagnosed with oral/oropharyngeal cancers that may be caused by HPV.

Myth: Only older people get oral cancer.

Truth: More than a quarter of diagnoses are in patients under 55, and researchers believe that figure is growing.

Myth: Oral cancer isn’t as “bad” as other cancers.

Truth: Oral cancer is responsible for an estimated 9,700 deaths per year in the U.S.

Myth: Men carry HPV, but they can’t contract a disease from it.

Truth: Head and neck cancers are actually more common in men than women. Men are not exempt from HPV-related cancer.

Prevention And Detection

Early detection is a critical factor in oral cancer diagnoses. It’s essential to be checked regularly by a trained, well-equipped professional.

  • Stick to your schedule of preventative dental visits. As part of your annual cleanings and checkups, we test for oral cancer using visual and VELscope exams.
  • If you’re concerned about your risk factors, ask Future of Dentistry about saliva testing for HPV. It’s a screening tool we use to check for different types of oral HPV. It’s discreet, non-invasive and simple.
  • Ask your physician about the HPV vaccine for children, teens, and young adults. The CDC now recommends the vaccine for 11- to 12-year-olds, both boys and girls, to protect against cancers caused by HPV infections.
  • Oral cancer is more common among those with periodontal disease (gum disease). The best way to prevent and treat periodontal disease is to visit the dentist regularly and be diligent about your home care.
  • Don’t use tobacco products. This is a given for your overall and oral health. It’s also possible that tobacco use may interact with HPV, making it more likely to develop cancer — research is ongoing to understand all the causes.

Breathe Easier: The Last Of Cough And Cold Season

Although Spring is technically here, cough and cold season isn’t over — especially here in New England, where we could see snow as easily as sunshine during April. Here are a few tips to help you stay healthy until “true Spring” arrives.flu-1006045_1920

  • New research suggests that regular dental visits may protect against pneumonia by reducing the amount of harmful bacteria in your mouth. It’s another great reason to stick to your schedule of visits to Future of Dentistry, as well as your home care routine.
  • Many people develop cold sores at this time of year. Cold sores are viral, but two factors encourage them to surface: a weakened immune system and exposure to rapidly changing weather. We can’t control the latter, so take care of your health! Consistency is key: eat right, stay hydrated and get plenty of sleep.
  • Sinus infections can cause pain in the upper teeth. If you’re uncertain about the cause of your pain, don’t wait — call our office at 781-245-2299.

If you do become sick:

  • Use sugar-free cough drops. The type with sugar will only encourage unhealthy bacteria to thrive in your mouth.
  • Stay hydrated. Illness often causes dry mouth, and so can OTC and prescription medications. Drinking lots of water is good for your recovery and it keeps the saliva flowing, which reduces your risk of cavities.
  • Toss your toothbrush, or if you use an electric brush, your toothbrush head. Some scientists say you can’t re-infect yourself with the same cold, but it’s not worth the risk.

Marching Toward Spring: Events, Treats And More!

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Thanks to our patient Joni for the fabulous cookies!

The month of March has been wonderful at Future of Dentistry! We welcomed many new patients to the “FOD family.” One of them baked us the one-of-a-kind cookies you see here. They’re as tasty as they are adorable!

Around the office, we kept things fun by dressing in green on St. Patrick’s Day and having a friendly competition for March Madness. We also recognized the efforts of our team members during Dental Assistant Recognition Week.

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March Madness at FOD!

We were excited to hear that the Wakefield Basketball Association held their annual banquet recently. We sponsored two WBA teams again and were proud to see the Future of Dentistry name on their shirts. Our team is happy to support their team!

Future of Dentistry is revving up for the Gator Gallop, which will be held this year on April 1. Come by Lake Quannapowitt from 8:15 a.m. to noon for lots of family fun! This annual event supports our neighborhood school, the Greenwood, as well as the Wakefield Education Foundation.

We’re also looking forward to two other events, the Miss Pink Pageant and the game between the Wakefield Police All Stars and the All Pro Patriots Celebrity Basketball Team. Both are in April. These events are very different, but they have something in common – they’re both great causes and great fun!

Another March milestone: Our latest offer is ending soon. If you’d like to save $100 on laser whitening, be sure to contact our office as soon as possible. If your friends or family were interested in our new patient offer, please let them know – first visit $97 for cleaning, exam and x-rays. You don’t have to be seen the next week, but you do have to call during the next week. (We can be reached at 781-245-2299.)

On a more serious note, National Brain Injury Awareness Month is coming to a close. Before the month ends, we wanted to highlight this important issue. Did you know that concussions are brain injuries? Custom-fit mouth guards can help protect athletes. As many of you know, we introduced a special program to help student athletes obtain this important equipment. Call our office at 781-245-2299 or email info@futureofdentistry.com to learn more.

Do Teeth-Whitening Lip Glosses Really Work?

Whitening is one of the most popular options for cosmetic dentistry. Recently, makeup companies started offering lip glosses that supposedly make your teeth look whiter in photos.

Do they really work?! We gave it a shot.

The Experiment

Future of Dentistry tried two products. We had our “model” try out Estee Edit by Estee Lauder and News Anchor Blue Vitality Lip Flush Butter Gloss by Ulta.whiteninglipglosses_final_resized

Both glosses go on clear, but contain blue components designed to make your teeth look whiter. Blues and yellows are opposites on the color wheel, so the blue tones in the gloss will supposedly counteract any dental yellowness.

Makeup experts will tell you to avoid orange-y colors if you’re worried about your teeth looking yellow in photos. There are even stories about makeup artists mixing a tiny bit of blue eyeshadow into lip gloss to achieve a whiter look.

The Results

Both glosses made teeth slightly whiter in photos. Neither one made a difference in in-person whiteness, at least none that was noticeable.The Estee product was a little more effective than the Ulta one.

Pros:

  • It did make teeth look a little whiter in the photos.
  • No bad aftertaste (especially the Estee one)
  • The gloss itself was good in terms of shine, lip softness, etc.

Cons:

  • The “whitening effect” was only noticeable in the photo.
  • It’s a gloss, so a matte lipstick look isn’t possible once you apply it.
  • The prices aren’t outrageous (about $20). But if you usually buy lip gloss at CVS or Riteaid, these are probably more expensive than you’re used to.

What’s Next

If you’re trying whitening gloss, we suggest the Estee Edit by Estee Lauder. We’re curious to see if the whitening effect is better or worse in different conditions – outdoors vs. indoors, high and low lights, etc.

There’s no substitute for a professional whitening procedure, but the lip gloss options are fun way to improve your look in photos.

Looking for more dramatic whitening results? Ask about Future of Dentistry’s special offer on laser whitening.

When you call before the end of March 2017, you can save $100 on this highly effective procedure. It’s painless and long-lasting. Call 781-245-2299 to learn more.

Smile, It’s Story Time!

Stories and smiles went hand-in-hand this week when Future of Dentistry visited “P.J. Story Time” at the Beebe Library in Wakefield.

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Racquel reads a classic, ‘The Berenstain Bears Visit The Dentist,’ to the families at Beebe Library.

P.J. Story Time gives local families a chance to enjoy stories, songs and games together in the evening. The group gave us a warm welcome, and we were so pleased to be there!

With events like this, Future of Dentistry’s goal is helping kids establish good dental health habits and a positive outlook on visiting the dentist. This is especially true during February, which is celebrated nationally as Children’s Dental Health Month.

There are many great children’s books that emphasize pediatric dental care while making it fun for them. Your kids might enjoy hearing about the Berenstain Bears’ and Curious George’s dentist visits, and about “Bear’s Loose Tooth.” Racquel, from the Future of Dentistry team, read several great books at the library and joined in the singing and rhymes. In addition to working at our front desk, Racquel has a clinical background as a Certified Dental Assistant.

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Racquel and a Story Time participant sing together about brushing teeth.

Since Story Time is for age 7 and under, the topic of loose teeth was very popular! Many of the children wanted to share their experiences with loose teeth and visits from the Tooth Fairy. It was a great chance to explain how “big kid teeth” need to be cared for, so they will last your whole life. Racquel discussed the importance of brushing twice a day for two minutes. The children also enjoyed a dental-themed craft.

Racquel brought Future of Dentistry’s interactive “tooth game,” which shows kids how some foods are a problem for teeth. The game board is a magnetic tooth, so kids can see which foods stick to the “tooth.” For example, the candy piece was magnetized, so it clung to the tooth, much like sugar does in reality. The carrot piece wasn’t magnetized, so it slid off the tooth board, just as vegetables don’t stick to teeth in real life.

future of dentistry beebe library wakefield
Kids love Future of Dentistry’s tooth game, but it’s also educational. It illustrates the effects of healthy and unhealthy foods on teeth.

We always like to bring goodie bags when we give a presentation, so the kids take home a reminder to care for their oral health. Each Story Time participant received a Future of Dentistry tote bag with fun and educational items, as well as dental hygiene products like toothpaste and flossers in kid-friendly flavors.

We had a wonderful evening at Story Time! Dr. Gerry Casazza, the founder of Future of Dentistry, would like to thank the families for attending and making dental care a focus for their children. Special thanks to Youth Services Librarian Dorrie Karlin, whose energy and creativity makes P.J. Story Time a fantastic program.

Future of Dentistry’s community presentations are provided as a volunteer service to raise awareness about dental care and overall health. If you’d like to have Future of Dentistry visit your school or organization, call 781-245-2299 or send us a message here.