901 Mountain Avenue, Suite SC-13, Springfield, NJ 07081

Hours: M, T, W, R, S
      (973) 506-0159

Braces: They’re not Just for Kids

Braces: They’re not Just for Kids

If you didn’t have braces when you were a kid, or you weren’t diligent about wearing your retainers, you might be considering getting braces as an adult. And you’re not alone – more and more adults are seeking out orthodontic treatment.  However, there are still many myths out there about braces that make many adults hesitant to consult an orthodontist.  Read on to dispel five common myths about adults and braces.

Myth # 1: Adults Are Too Old for Braces

There is no age limit on having a healthy and straight smile. Whether you’re 10 or 50, braces work in the same way to move your teeth. And while there are advantages to having braces when your jaw is still developing, correcting orthodontic issues is definitely possible in older patients. Orthodontic treatment can address a wide array of problems such as crowded teeth, crooked teeth, gaps, irregular spacing, overbites, under bites and teeth that have moved after previous orthodontic treatment.

Another important thing to remember is that a huge part of the success of orthodontic treatment is compliance. Adults tend to be responsible and invested in their treatment. This helps to improve their outcomes and may even decrease the time of treatment.

Myth #2:  Metal Braces Are the Only Option

Unlike in years past, metal braces are definitely not the only option when it comes to orthodontic treatment. Two of the most popular alternatives to metal braces are clear braces and aligners.  Clear braces work in the same way as traditional braces except that they are made from a composite material that blends in with your teeth, making them less noticeable.  With today’s technology, the material used for clear braces is more stain resistant and more durable than clear braces of the past.

Aligners are clear, removable trays that are switched out about every two weeks to accommodate the movement of teeth. The most common brand of aligners is Invisalign. While aligners are less noticeable than metal or clear braces, they are not completely invisible.  If you opt for Invisalign, the trays must remain in your mouth for 20 to 22 hours each day and can only be removed for eating and brushing and flossing your teeth. 

And remember, if you do decide to go the traditional route, today’s metal braces are much smaller than they used to be.  Years ago, having braces meant having a metal band around nearly every tooth. Now, metal braces hold wires with just a single bracket cemented on the front of your tooth.  A few bands in the back of your mouth anchor the wires.

Myth #3: Orthodontic Treatment is Painful and Takes Forever

Orthodontics has come a long way in the last several decades. Technology, techniques and best practices are constantly evolving to straighten teeth more quickly and efficiently than ever before. Braces, both clear and metal, as well as aligners, now apply a small amount of force over time instead of a strong force in a short period of time. This has actually been shown to move teeth into place faster and with far less discomfort.

In addition, innovations such as digital x-rays give orthodontists more visual information than they’ve ever had before. This allows them to plan your treatment with much more precision, meaning that your treatment will be as efficient and pain-free as possible. 

Myth #4: Orthodontic Treatment is Time-Consuming and Inconvenient

This myth goes hand-in-hand with Myth #3. As technology, diagnostic equipment and treatment options have improved, so has the ability for orthodontists to straighten your teeth in fewer and shorter appointments.  Orthodontists and their staff also recognize the unique scheduling challenges that adult patients face and are more than willing to work with you to provide appointments that fit into your schedule.

Myth #5:  Having Straight Teeth is Purely Cosmetic

While it is true that having straight teeth will definitely improve your smile, as well as your self-esteem, there are many other reasons to get braces. Straight teeth are easier to clean and this improves your overall oral hygiene and reduces your risk of tooth decay and gum disease.  And since gum disease is tied to conditions like diabetes, heart disease and stroke, straight teeth can help improve your overall health.

In addition, orthodontic treatment can help you breathe, speak and chew properly, as well as reduce the abnormal wear of teeth and balance your bite to alleviate headaches and jaw pain.

If you are thinking of getting braces or trying Invisalign as an adult, don’t hesitate to schedule a consultation with an orthodontist. Most consultations are free and easy to schedule. The sooner you get a consultation, the sooner you can be on your way to a healthy and straight smile!

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What Exactly Are Dental Sealants for Kids?

What Exactly Are Dental Sealants for Kids?

While establishing good brushing and flossing habits is a well-known way to prevent cavities and maintain good oral hygiene in children, parents may not know about another valuable tool in fighting cavities – dental sealants. So what exactly are dental sealants, and how do they help keep your kiddo cavity free? Here are the top 5 things you need to know about dental sealants and kids.

1.  Where Do Dental Sealants Go?

Dental sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces, also called grooves or crevices, of the back teeth (premolars and molars).  The grooves and crevices are where most cavities in children develop – it’s really hard to clean these rough and uneven areas! And to make matters worse, these surfaces are highly susceptible to germs and cavity-causing bacteria when food particles (especially sugars) are trapped inside of them.  Even the most dedicated and thorough brushers can have trouble keeping premolars and molars clean. Dental sealants act as a barrier to food, plaque and bacteria, and protect the grooves and crevices of the back teeth.

2. What Are Dental Sealants Made of?

Dental sealants are made of a medical grade resin, and are similar to composite, or white filling material, used when patients have cavities filled.  However, dental sealants are runnier than filling material. (Think white finger nail polish, but made for teeth). When sealants are applied, they will easily flow into even the tiniest grooves and crevices in your kiddo’s premolars and molars.

3. Are Dental Sealants Safe?

Yes, dental sealants are absolutely safe for your kiddo! Most modern sealant materials are BPA-free, and because sealants are bonded to the outside of the tooth, nothing goes inside the tooth.  And the procedure to apply dental sealants poses minimal risk to your child and is a great non-invasive way to protect their back teeth from decay and potential cavities. In fact, applying dental sealants does not require the use of numbing agents or anesthesia because it isn’t painful or even uncomfortable. There is also no drilling required, which is definitely a good thing!

4. How Are Dental Sealants Applied?

Sealants are placed during a routine office visit by a either a dental hygienist or a dentist.  There are three simple steps:

1. Teeth should be properly cleaned and examined to make sure that there are no existing cavities in the teeth to be sealed.

2. The teeth are dried and an acidic gel is placed on them. This gel “roughs up” the tooth surface so that a strong bond can be formed between the tooth and the sealant.  The gel is rinsed off and the teeth are dried once again.

3. The sealant material is applied to the biting surface (grooves) of the teeth to be sealed with a small brush. A special, blue LED light is then placed above the tooth to harden the sealant and bond it to the tooth. The dried sealant leaves a hard layer of protection over the tooth.

5. Do Dental Sealants Really Work?

Yes! According to the American Dental Association (ADA), dental sealants reduce your child’s risk of cavities by 80%. This is because dental sealants are designed to keep germs, food, and plaque from settling in those hard-to-clean back teeth.  Another study compared school-aged children with and without sealants. This study showed that kids without sealants were three times more likely to have cavities than those who had sealants. In the same report, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) also noted that dental sealants have the potential to save $300 million in dental costs around the country.

Most pediatric dentists recommend that kids get dental sealants on their teeth as soon as their permanent molars erupt. This helps to prevent cavities from the very beginning of the arrival of those premolars and molars.

However, it is important to note that dental sealants are typically designed to protect your kiddo’s teeth for up to 10 years. So, during their regular check-ups, your pediatric dentist will check the sealants and let you know if they are damaged and need to be repaired.  And don’t worry if they do need a bit of repair work – it’s an easy and quick task for your kiddo’s pediatric dentist.

Applying dental sealants has become the standard of care among most pediatric dentists.  Combined with a good brushing and flossing routine, a healthy diet and regular dental check-ups, the application of dental sealants is an easy and pain-free way to help keep your kiddo cavity-free.

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Dental Health and the Holiday Season

Dental Health and the Holiday Season

As the holidays approach, it’s easy to get caught up in eating delicious treats like cookies, pies, candy and cakes.  However, those sweet treats can do a number on your oral health, especially if you overindulge. So what’s a holiday-loving, dental health conscious person to do? Here are the top 10 tips for enjoying the season AND keeping your dental health from falling by the wayside.

1. Include treats as a part of the main meal instead of snacking on sweets throughout the day (or throughout the duration of holiday parties). This will keep the acids produced by bacteria in your mouth from lingering on your teeth throughout the rest of the day or night.

2. Stay hydrated. Drinking lots of water is a great way to keep your mouth healthy. Water is an especially important beverage if you can’t brush your teeth for quite a while after you indulge in holiday sweets. Rinsing out your mouth with water (preferably water containing fluoride) will help to wash away food particles and bacteria.

3. Cheese is a healthy after meal snack that tastes great and helps neutralize acids that attack and soften tooth enamel. The calcium in cheese is great for your teeth too!

4. Satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit instead of cookies, cake and candy. If you’re still craving sweets, but have already indulged, reach for the fruit tray instead.

5. Don’t forget to eat your vegetables. Veggies like carrots and broccoli are loaded with Vitamin A which strengthens the enamel on your teeth.

6. Chew sugar-free gum after eating sweets or any acidic food or beverage.  Chewing sugar-free gum increases the flow of saliva, which washes away food and other debris. It also neutralizes acids produced by bacteria in the mouth. Chewing gum will also keep your mouth busy – keeping you from reaching for yet another cookie or slice of pie.

7.  Avoid eating hard candy. Hard candy can crack or chip a tooth if you bite down too hard. This is not only painful, but it can be expensive to repair. Sticky candy isn’t much better, since caramels and chewy candies are notorious for pulling out a filling or damaging braces. 

8. It is a good idea to avoid sodas, energy or sports drinks. Many people believe that regular soda is bad for your teeth because of its high sugar content, but to be honest, diet sodas can also damage enamel because of the acidity. 

9. Keep up with your dental hygiene routine by brushing at least twice a day for two minutes and flossing at least once a day.  Make sure to use a toothpaste containing fluoride that has earned the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance.

10. Don’t skip your scheduled dental visit. The holidays are definitely a busy time, but it’s so important to make time for your oral health. If you are due for a teeth cleaning or need to visit the dentist during the holiday months, keep that appointment!

During the holidays, it’s nearly impossible to stay away from sweets and that’s ok! Enjoying the holiday season doesn’t have to mean abandoning all the good oral health habits you’ve created throughout the year. Following the 10 tips listed above will give you even more reason to smile during the holidays!

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Top 10 Worst Foods and Beverages for Your Teeth

Top 10 Worst Foods and Beverages for Your Teeth

We all know that your diet directly impacts your health, but have you ever thought about how what you eat and drink affects your teeth and gums? Here’s a look at the 10 top worst foods for your oral health and a few tips on how to combat the damage they can do to your mouth.

1. Sweets, Candy and Other Sugary Foods

If you have a sweet tooth, you need to be aware that candy, cookies, pies and other delicious treats can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums. Sugary treats can lead to the build-up of bacteria, which in turn can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Certain sweets such as caramels, lollipops, hard candies and jelly beans are even worse than other treats as they stay in your mouth for quite a while, making it harder for your saliva to wash away the sugar.  If you can’t resist eating sweets, try to eat them after a meal rather than in between meals. Also, remember to drink lots of water after eating a dessert, and if possible, brush your teeth after indulging.

2.  Soft Drinks

You might think you’re in the clear if you are drinking diet/sugar-free soda, but that is not the case. Soft drinks contain acid which harms the enamel on your teeth. It is best to avoid soft drinks altogether if possible.  However, if you do drink a soda, make sure to wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth since the acid will make your enamel more vulnerable to abrasion.

3.  Coffee and Tea

Caffeine is certainly addictive, and most people will admit to having at least one cup of coffee or tea to start their day. That in and of itself isn’t too bad for your oral health, but if you add sugar to your coffee or tea, you may be doing damage to your teeth and gums. In addition, if you drink several cups of coffee or tea per day, you may be staining your teeth and drying out your mouth. If you do consume coffee or tea on a regular basis, make sure to drink plenty of water and avoid sugary add-ins as much as possible.

4.  Wine

Both red and white wine contain erosive acid which softens your enamel and leaves your teeth vulnerable to decay. Red wine also contains tannins which can dry out your mouth and stain your teeth. Drink plenty of water along with wine, and consider brushing your teeth before you indulge. This will help reduce the amount of plaque on your teeth and give the tannins less to cling onto. Also, remember to wait at least 30 minutes after having a glass of wine before brushing your teeth.

5.  Sports Drinks

After a workout, you may be tempted to down a sports drink to quench your thirst. However, these drinks are acidic and tend to be thick, allowing the liquid to stick on your teeth for quite a while.  Water is a much better choice for refueling after working out.

6.  Citrus Fruits and Juices

Citrus fruits and juices are definitely part of a healthy diet. However, you need to keep in mind that when you eat or drink a lot of citrus, the acid can wear away at the enamel on your teeth, making them vulnerable to bacteria and cavities. When drinking juices, using straw will help some of the acid bypass your teeth. And as has been mentioned before, wait at least a half an hour before brushing your teeth after eating or drinking anything acidic.

7.  Crackers

Crackers seem pretty harmless and are the snack choice for many of us – young and older.  In moderation, crackers are a fine snack food. However, crackers are refined carbohydrates, and many studies have linked high refined carbohydrate consumption to inflammation. Inflammation is the culprit in many chronic diseases, including periodontitis and gingivitis. So just remember not to overdo it with cracker consumption!

8. Pasta Sauce

Tomatoes are good for you, but you need to be aware that they are very acidic. And when you put a tomato-based pasta sauce on your pasta, you are hitting your mouth with a double whammy. The acidic tomato sauce breaks down the enamel on your teeth and the pasta’s carbohydrates help to feed the bacteria that cause cavities. Something to keep in mind the next time you sit down to a delicious spaghetti dinner.

9. Dried Fruit

Many of us reach for dried fruit as a healthy and convenient snack, but it is good to know that dried fruit is not very friendly to your teeth.  Dried fruit contains highly concentrated sugar and has a gummy-like consistency. Both of these factors can lead to tooth decay.  You don’t have to remove dried fruit out from your pantry, but make sure to eat it in moderation, drink lots of water and brush your teeth about half an hour after eating any type of dried fruit.

10. Ice

Ice may just be frozen water, but it can do some major damage to your teeth and gums. Chewing on hard substances such as ice can damage your enamel and can lead to a dental emergency if you accidentally chip or break your tooth.  As a piece of good advice, it’s better to enjoy water in its liquid form only.

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Are Teeth Whitening Strips Worth It?

Are Teeth Whitening Strips Worth It?

Teeth whitening is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there are many over-the-counter options available. However, it’s hard to determine which treatment is right for you or if they are even worth it at all. While you may be looking for a DIY method to whiten dull or yellowed teeth, you first need to consider several factors. Read on for more information about teeth whitening strips and whether or not they are a good option for your particular situation.

Budget Considerations

One of the biggest reasons why you might peruse the drug store for whitening strips is that they are relatively inexpensive. Typically, whitening strips cost anywhere from $30-50 for a box that has about 20 or so treatments.  This is significantly less than the several hundred dollars that professional teeth whitening treatments cost at a dental office. However, it is important to note that, as with most things in life, you get what you pay for. That’s not to say that whitening strips don’t work; it simply means that the results vary and are certainly not guaranteed.

Mixed Results

When it comes to teeth whitening strips, there are only three products that have earned the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. This seal means that the over-the-counter products that meet ADA standards for safety and effectiveness.  It may not surprise you to learn that these three products are at the top of the price range for DIY teeth whitening treatments.

Many less expensive products are FDA approved and safe to use. The manufacturers of these products claim that they do a great job and will give you the brightest, whitest smile. However, there is no way to know if they will give you the results that you want. The only way to know is by quite a bit of trial and error.

What’s Your Starting Point?

Another thing you need to consider before trying over-the-counter whitening products is how discolored your teeth are currently. The effectiveness of any whitening treatment, in large part, depends on the starting point of your teeth.

Discolored teeth can be the result of intrinsic factors such as heredity, aging or medical conditions. They can also be the result of smoking and diet. Teeth whitening strips that you can buy at the drug store tend to work better on teeth affected by external factors (smoking or frequently drinking coffee, tea, soda and wine). Intrinsic tooth discoloration is typically more difficult to change and may require professional treatments.

Desired Results

If you do find an over-the-counter product that works, it may not get your teeth as white as you would like. Professional teeth whitening usually has much more dramatic results since dentists are able to use solutions that are much stronger than hydrogen peroxide, the main bleaching agent in over-the-counter products. Typically, professional whitening can make teeth several shades whiter in a shorter amount of time than whitening strips.

In addition, you also need to consider how much of the tooth surface can be covered with the whitening strip. The strips are made of flexible plastic, with one side coated with a bleaching agent.  The strips are placed on both the top and bottom teeth and molded to try to cover the entire surface of the tooth. It isn’t easy to ensure that all visible surfaces come in contact with the whitening strip, especially along your gum line and between your teeth. This can result in uneven whitening.

How Long Until Results Can Be Seen?

Over-the-counter whitening strips can take some time and more than a little patience.  Some whitening strips are recommended to be worn for five minutes per treatment and others are recommended for up to 30 minutes.  Some treatments are to be worn once a day, and others suggest twice a day. Regardless, whitening strips gradually lighten teeth shade by shade and can take up to several months to achieve the desired results.

In most cases, professional treatments can produce whiter teeth after just one dental office visit. Teeth whitening strips need to be used consistently and must become a part of your daily routine in order to achieve dramatic results. For some, it may be more desirable to visit the dentist a two to three times for professional treatments rather than wait months for a dramatic change.

How Long Does Teeth Whitening Last?

To be fair, neither whitening strips nor professional whitening treatments are meant to be permanent. Both methods need to be repeated for the same white shade to be maintained. On average, the white shade achieved with whitening strips lasts for about six months. Professional treatments typically last for about two years.

What About Safety? 

While teeth whitening strips are safe, they aren’t necessarily foolproof.  In some cases, they might be left on too long, causing tooth sensitivity or even damage to tooth enamel.  And even though they use a milder solution than professional whitening treatments, the strips do contain pretty harsh chemicals. Some people may have adverse reactions to these chemicals, including irritated and swollen gums.

If you decide to go with professional teeth whitening treatments, your dentist will take precautions to protect your teeth and gums. The treatments will take place in a controlled environment and be performed by trained professionals.

The bottom line when it comes to safety is that even if you choose to use over-the-counter teeth whitening strips, you should first consult with your dentist. Your dentist can evaluate your overall oral health and may also recommend the best products for your teeth and give advice on how to avoid any problems when using the whitening strips.

The Verdict

The answer to the question of whether teeth whitening strips are worth it is… it depends. There are many factors to consider and it really comes down to your individual situation. Regardless, it is best to have a discussion with your dentist to determine whether over-the-counter teeth whitening strips will give you the results you want or if professional treatments will be a better solution.

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Dental Benefits 2021

Your dental benefits have been replenished!

Your benefits have reset for 2021! You have insurance company funds to spend on your dental care. Many patients get
up to $2,000 in benefits towards treatment and 2 FREE cleanings!

No insurance, No problem, we offer an adult cleaning for $99 and a child cleaning for $77.

Have you been putting off necessary dental treatment because your insurance was depleted? Now is the time to take
action before your problems become painful and more expensive. To help fit things into your budget we offer interest
free financing for up to 12 months for approved patients.

Are you due for your 6 month cleaning? We are open 6 days a week as early as 7am and as late as 8pm to fit your busy

To make an appointment click here 24 hours a day or give us a call at  (609) 454-0766.
Cheers to a happy and dental healthy new year!

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Dental Benefits Expire Soon!

It’s hard to believe 2020 is almost over.  But then again we know a lot of us are looking forward to starting fresh in 2021.   

Remember as the ball drops on December 31st your insurance benefits, which include of up to $2,000 towards dental treatment and two free cleanings per calendar year, expire too.  Unfortunately they don’t roll over like cell phone minutes.  

No insurance, No problem, we offer a $99 cleaning for patients without insurance, so everyone can have a clean and healthy smile for the holidays!

We know the next few months are extremely busy so we are here for you Monday – Saturday with hours ranging from 7am – 8pm.  To request an appointment on line 24 hours a day click here or give us a call at (609) 454-0766

We look forward to seeing you soon,

Your Dental Care Princeton

P.S. According to Dr. Michele Neuburger, Dental officer for the CDC’s COVID-19 Response Team in an interview with NPR, “There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmitted in a dental office so far. And that includes follow-up by the CDC of false news reports suggesting such infections occurred.”

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COVID & Dentistry

For decades dental offices have practiced what is known in the healthcare profession as Universal Precautions.  OSHA defines this as “An approach to infection control to treat all human blood and fluids as if they were known to be infectious for HIV, Hepatitis and other pathogens.”   This approach has not only kept patients and team members safe in the past, but has also been extremely effective during COVID.

During an interview with National Public Radio (NPR) on July 6, 2020 Dr. Michele Neuburger, Dental Officer for the CDC’s & COVID-19 Response Team, stated “There have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 transmitted in a dental office so far. And that includes follow-up by the CDC of false news reports suggesting such infections.”

At Dental Care Princeton, to ensure our patients and team’s safety, we continue to apply Universal Precautions as well as several additional new COVID protocols:

Before Treatment:
● Daily temperature checks & COVID-19 screenings for all staff
● Patient temperature checks & COVID-19 screenings before office entry
● Hand sanitation upon entry
● Thoughtfully reduced & widely spaced patient visits
● Skip the waiting room & go directly to an isolated treatment room

During dental treatment:  
● Anti-bacterial & virus mouth rinse before treatment to neutralize aerosols
● New in-mouth suction system from DrySheild
● N95 masks & full coverage face shields
● 3-step surface disinfection: spray, wipe, spray
● Regular use of Biological Indicator Test Kits

Other important safety changes:
● HEPA air filtration systems
● Plexiglas barriers for separation
● Misting of rooms with HOCL  disinfectant between patients reduces 99.99% of bacteria and viruses

As always, it is still easy to fit dental treatment into your life at Dental Care Princeton because we are open 6 days a week from 7am to 8pm, in network with most dental insurance plans and if you don’t have dental insurance a cleaning is only $99.  For your convenience you can schedule an appointment 24 hours a day on line:  CLICK HERE

Stay well and we look forward to seeing you soon,

Your Friends at Dental Care Princeton

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