Friday, March 30, 2012

Bright White Teeth

Home Remedies vs. Over the Counter vs. In-Office Whitening
Trying to get bright white teeth over the summer? With the tons of advertisements out there bombarding you with zillions of different ways to achieve a beautiful white smile it's hard to know what the best is for you. Here are descriptions of the most common teeth whitening options:

In-Office Whitening
If you're really serious about white teeth or if you have seriously stained teeth then you should probably choose in-office power whitening. Zoom is a common power whitening system. These professionally applied bleach whiteners are extremely strong and contain hydrogen peroxide in concentrations ranging from 15 percent to 35 percent and are sometimes used together with a light or laser. Your gums will be sealed with a protective gel or isolated with a dental dam while you sit in the chair for about an hour with the bleach on your teeth. This stuff is strong and you can feel it working. You will only require one procedure which will definitely run you a couple hundred dollars. 

If you're looking for a cheaper option you can purchase Dentist Dispensed/At Home gel whitening from your dentist. Your dentist will take impressions of your teeth then make plastic trays. You will also receive a strong whitening gel to put in the trays. The trays with the gel are to be worn for a few hours during the day or over night every other day over a two to four week period. The only bleach whitening that holds the ADA Seal of Acceptance is Opalescence Whitening Gel 10%

Over The Counter
OTC whitening products work by bleaching your teeth with carbamide peroxide. Usually these are gels that you can paint on to your teeth. This is a relatively safe and effective way to whiten as the most common side-effects are gum and tooth sensitivity and they usually subside shortly after treatment. 

Whitening toothpastes are different because they contain polishing or chemical agents to remove surface stains rather than bleaches to actually change the color of your teeth. These are gentler on your teeth and a good place to start whitening since it's so cheap and easy to use a simple whitening toothpaste. You should always choose a whitening toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Acceptance like Crest Pro-Health Whitening or Colgate Total Whitening. 

Home Remedies
If you only want to whiten your teeth slightly then there are plenty of natural foods that you can eat that promote whiter teeth. Strawberries, apples, and raisins are all good for your teeth and work as natural teeth whiteners. Recently Dr. Oz suggested a mix of baking soda and lemon juice as a natural home remedy for whitening teeth. This is only a good idea if you leave the mixture on your teeth for less than a minute and don't brush. The lemon juice is acidic and will erode the enamel of your teeth and baking soda is very abrasive- any damage done to the enamel of your teeth is permanent and will cause tooth decay, cavities, and sensitivity. It's safer to use Arm & Hammer toothpaste if you want the whitening power of baking soda on your side since Arm & Hammer uses a controlled amount of baking soda that will definitely not harm the enamel of your teeth.

Keep in mind that if you have any dental work like tooth-colored fillings, crowns, bonding, dental veneers, or bridges that any whitening product will not whiten these. Take caution whitening your teeth under those conditions as the whitener is only capable of whitening your natural teeth. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St. 
Norristown, PA 19403

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Denture "Bait and Switch"

I’m going to make you a really really cheap denture that doesn’t fit, doesn’t look good, and will probably break a lot. You know you want one. No? How about a sorta cheap denture that sorta fits, looks okay in passing, and will probably break in a few months. No? Okay, okay…how about a custom fit denture, hand set customized teeth that will fit like a fine glove, looks like natural teeth even up close, and is guaranteed against breakage. Yes! That’s the one!

Basic dentures, these are advertised
as the "economy" cheapest dentures.
Ever see an add for a really cheap denture? We all have.  Free consultation too. The idea is to get you in the door, then convince you that you would never want anything but the best, and most expensive option. I call it bait and switch. They call it upgrading. The old good, better, best scenario. Dentists are advertising various tiers of dentures as "good" or "economy", "better", and "best" or "premium" quality. I've even seen Neuromuscular/FaceLift Dentures that claim that they can make the wearer look "20 years younger". These are also the most expensive type of dentures available. I'm skeptical of these FaceLift Dentures, and especially skeptical of the different available tiers of dentures that some dentists provide. 

Premium or "best" dentures. These
 are advertised as the more expensive
but better quality dentures.
There is no reason for any patient to ever buy the economy level of dentures. These are allegedly lower quality, look less natural, and fit less comfortably. However, I strongly suspect that these different tiers don't even exist and are only advertised to further glorify the "premium" dentures. My practice has never lowered itself to such tactics and never will. All dentures should be seen as a beautiful custom set that shows off my work. In fact, if we have done our job properly no one should appreciate our work. It should go unnoticed. I only provide custom-made dentures in my office of the highest quality, which tend to be a lot less than the premium denture up sell. Everything is guaranteed and there are no limitations on adjustments or breakage. I believe that I have to stand by my work and so I only make the best dentures possible and never offer a lower quality denture. My practice also offers financing for patients who cannot immediately fit the cost of dentures into their budget.

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen 

2030 West Main St. Norristown, PA 19403 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Toothbrush Etiquette

You should brush your teeth at least twice a day, and ideally after every meal. This is the easiest way to keep up with your oral health. But what about keeping up with your toothbrush? Colgate claims "Got a cold? Change your toothbrush", and we've all heard that flushing the toilet with the lid open can spray various kinds of bacteria, such as E. Coli, all over your toothbrush. So, can you really get sick from your toothbrush? And how often should you replace it?

The bristles in your toothbrush can house germs and bacteria. Keeping a toothbrush protector over your toothbrush, or storing it in a cabinet, can actually increase bacterial growth. You should always keep your toothbrush out in the open to allow it to dry completely after every use. There are plenty of cleaners available to use to keep your brush clean, these are a good idea but not always necessary. The ADA recommends that you wash your toothbrush occasionally in the top rack of the dishwasher. You can also dip your toothbrush in a small cup of alcohol-containing mouthwash (like Listerine) for about 30 seconds to kill off any germs or bacteria that could make you sick. Toothbrush cups or holders that hold many people's brushes are a terrible idea- this is how germs get spread from one toothbrush to another and ultimately from one person to another. A dirty toothbrush can infect someone with bacterial diseases, such as strep throat, or even blood-borne diseases, such as Hepatitis B or C. So yes, you can get sick from a toothbrush so keep your toothbrush away from others and never share! You should also throw away your toothbrush after a bacterial illness, such a strep throat, but not necessarily from the common cold since colds are viral and you can't re-catch a cold from your toothbrush.

Storing your toothbrush close enough to the toilet so that the spray from the flush will hit it isn't as dangerous as you may think. While this is definitely a disgusting thought, the presence of some fecal coliforms won't necessarily make you sick since the bacteria that comes out of you is often what is already living in your mouth. However, the spray from toilet water can spread noroviruses which cause gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships. To be on the safe side, it's still a good idea to close the toilet lid prior to flushing to avoid the transfer of any kind of bacteria.

The ADA also recommends that you should dispose of your toothbrush (or toothbrush head if you use an electric one) and get a new one every 3-4 months. This is because the bristles wear out over time and lose their effectiveness, if you notice the bristles bending then get a new one. For the environmentally conscious, Preserve is a company that will send you a toothbrush made out of recycled material and a mail-back pack so you can return the toothbrush back to the company to be recycled when you're finished with it. They also offer a toothbrush subscription- they send you a new toothbrush every 3 months and take back your old one.

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St. 
Norristown, PA 19403

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Importance of AED Machines

I was at the shore, enjoying a beautiful week with my family. All of a sudden I didn’t feel well. I thought it might have been the fried seafood. I was nauseous, had heartburn, and had the chills all the time. My wife saw that I wasn’t my usual cheerful self. I wasn’t eating or drinking like I was on vacation. Over the counter medications didn’t seem to be helping. My wife sent me home early to see the doctor.

My doctor took one look at me and knew something was wrong. I didn’t protest to having blood drawn, although I usually can’t stand to have needles. I just wanted to feel better. Then he took my pulse and looked up at me with a quizzical look. He had his nurse come in and repeat the test. She looked worried too. Then he wheeled in an EKG and hooked me up for over ten minutes. I sat watching the paper spew out over the floor, and with each foot of paper I became more and more worried. He asked if I felt a fluttering in my chest. I always felt that, palpitations are a Rosen fact. We all have them. He said that my heart wasn’t just palpitating it was in a pretty serious arrhythmia and was even stopping and restarting every few minutes. Now I was worried because he had freaked me out. I thought I was dying for sure. He didn’t think so, but sent me to the hospital for more tests. He let me drive myself, a good sign. He got me in for testing in an hour, a really bad sign.

The hospital confirmed that my heart wasn’t behaving. I was diagnosed as having an electrical problem in my heart that causes it to try and reset itself over and over. We would try medications first and if that didn’t work I may have to have a pacemaker put it. I was only 40 and already dealing with my family’s bad gene pool; which includes diabetes, heart arrhythmias, asthma, and high blood pressure. I thought I had been able to avoid our family curses by watching what I ate and exercising. I thought wrong.

The big fear was that, during the brief period required to regulate my new heart medicines, my heart might not restart itself. It could stop and I could die. Dying is bad. So I ran to my office and grabbed the AED. My practice is in a suburb with a large elder population. I bought the AED a few months earlier to make sure that my patients were covered in the case of a cardiac event. It was the best $2000 I have spent in my practice without ever having the intent of needing to use it. To me it was a better piece of equipment than our fancy-schmancy $75,000 digital radiograph.

I think that all medical and dental offices as well as public facilities should be required to have AED machines and staff trained in how to use them. Most states, like Illinois, have passed laws that require most public and medical facilities to have AED machines. Where laws like this don’t yet exist, like Pennsylvania, many dentists don’t have the proper life-saving devices in their office and I think this is a big mistake. Dentistry is a medical profession and anything could happen regardless of what is being practiced in the office. Ask your doctor and dentist if they have AED machines readily available. 

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main St. 
Norristown, PA 19403