My Blog

Posts for: October, 2017

By Paul David Epstein, D.M.D. & Associates, P.C.
October 28, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  

What you eat (and how often you eat it) is a major factor in the ongoing battle to prevent tooth decay. High levels of sugar or similar carbohydrates in your diet could encourage the growth of bacteria that cause tooth decay. Constantly sipping on acidic beverages like sodas or sports drinks can lead to enamel erosion.

You may be well aware of the kinds of foods that contribute to tooth decay. But did you know some foods can actually protect us from this damaging disease? Here are 4 kinds of foods believed to inhibit tooth decay.

Cheese. This food formed from milk is rich in calcium and has a stimulating effect on saliva. By eating a little cheese after a sugary snack, the increase in saliva can help neutralize the acid produced by the bacteria feeding on the sugar; the added calcium will also strengthen tooth enamel.

Fibrous plant foods. Beans, peanuts and leafy vegetables are rich in fiber and many require vigorous chewing. This in turn stimulates saliva flow, which as previously noted helps to neutralize high levels of acid.

Black and green teas. Beverages brewed from these plants are rich in polyphenols and flavonoids, providing an antioxidant effect on cells. Black tea also contains fluoride, which helps strengthen tooth enamel.

Chocolate. There’s some evidence that cocoa (from which chocolate is derived) may have some properties that inhibit tooth decay. But there is a catch — this evidence is based on unrefined cocoa, without the addition of any sugar. The high levels of sugar in processed chocolate negate this effect. Sorry chocolate lovers!

Of course, any of these and similar foods (like cow’s milk) should be considered complements to a comprehensive prevention approach that includes daily oral hygiene, limits on sugar and acidic food consumption and regular dental cleanings and checkups.

If you would like more information on preventing tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Nutrition & Oral Health.”

By Paul David Epstein, D.M.D. & Associates, P.C.
October 13, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj disorders  

Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), located where your lower jaw meets the skull, play an essential role in nearly every mouth function. It’s nearly impossible to eat or speak without them.

Likewise, jaw joint disorders (temporomandibular joint disorders or TMD) can make your life miserable. Not only can you experience extreme discomfort or pain, your ability to eat certain foods or speak clearly could be impaired.

But don’t assume you have TMD if you have these and other symptoms — there are other conditions with similar symptoms. You’ll need a definitive diagnosis of TMD from a qualified physician or dentist, particularly one who’s completed post-graduate programs in Oral Medicine or Orofacial Pain, before considering treatment.

If you are diagnosed with TMD, you may then face treatment choices that emanate from one of two models: one is an older dental model based on theories that the joint and muscle dysfunction is mainly caused by poor bites or other dental problems. This model encourages treatments like orthodontically moving teeth, crowning problem teeth or adjusting bites by grinding down tooth surfaces.

A newer treatment model, though, has supplanted this older one and is now practiced by the majority of dentists. This is a medical model that views TMJs like any other joint in the body, and thus subject to the same sort of orthopedic problems found elsewhere: sore muscles, inflamed joints, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk problems. Treatments tend to be less invasive or irreversible than those from the dental model.

The newer model encourages treatments like physical therapy, medication, occlusive guards or stress management. The American Association of Dental Research (AADR) in fact recommends that TMD patients begin their treatment from the medical model rather than the dental one, unless there are indications to the contrary. Many studies have concluded that a majority of patients gain significant relief with these types of therapies.

If a physician or dentist recommends more invasive treatment, particularly surgery, consider seeking a second opinion. Unlike the therapies mentioned above, surgical treatments have a spotty record when it comes to effectiveness — some patients even report their conditions worsening afterward. Try the less-invasive approach first — you may find improvement in your symptoms and quality of life.

If you would like more information on treating TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Seeking Relief from TMD.”

By Paul David Epstein, D.M.D. & Associates, P.C.
October 10, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

Discover the many ways cosmetic dentistry in Burlington can enhance your appearance.cosmetic dentistry

Whether your wedding is fast approaching or you are just getting back into the world of dating, there are many reasons why you may be interested in boosting your appearance. Cosmetic dentistry is one of the best ways to give your look that little enhancement it needs to really shine. A beautiful smile says a lot about you. Here’s how our Burlington, MA, cosmetic dentist, Dr. Paul Epstein, can help you.

Dental Bonding and Contouring

Not all cosmetic dentistry treatments have to be expensive, nor do they have to require multiple trips to our office. In fact, bonding and contouring are the most inexpensive and non-invasive cosmetic options you can get.

Contouring involves shaving off small bits of enamel to change the size or shape of a tooth, while bonding uses a tooth-colored resin to cover small imperfections like discolorations, chips and cracks. If you only have minor flaws in your smile, these complementary cosmetic treatments may be all you really need.

Teeth Whitening

While whitening toothpastes and at-home whitening kits might work for some people, if you have rather deep-set or severe stains then you may require a stronger whitening approach. This is where professional teeth whitening comes in. Our Burlington dentist has been trained to safely and effectively use this powerful whitening system to deliver brighter results in just one visit. Some people can achieve a smile that’s several shades whiter thanks to in-office whitening.

Dental Veneers

Sometimes there are discolorations that teeth whitening can’t treat and gaps between teeth that can’t be hidden with dental bonding; fortunately, these issues can easily be addressed with porcelain veneers. These very thin shells are custom made to cover your teeth. They are bonded to the front surface of your teeth to hide everything from gaps, minor overlapping and crowding to chips, cracks and misshapen teeth. In as little as two to three visits you could have that Hollywood smile, too.

Paul David Epstein, D.M.D. & Associates in Burlington, MA, is dedicated to giving you a smile you just can’t wait to show off. Isn’t it time you felt confident smiling? We certainly think it’s time. Give us a call today to schedule your cosmetic consultation with us.