Practice Blog

How to Stop Grinding Your Teeth

Why do people grind their teeth? 

There are different opinions as to why people grind their teeth.  Some think it is a stress habit.  Some think it is a discrepancy in the bite. Others think children grind their teeth because of an airway problem   Many medications cause grinding and clenching as a side effect.

How would someone know they grind their teeth at nighttime? 

Signs of wear will be seen by a dentist.  People who grind at night often wake up with sore tired jaws.  Many people grind or clench their teeth (same thing) during the day.

What are the health effects of grinding? 

Grinding can wear away the tooth enamel leaving them sensitive to temperature   It can cause loss of structure of the teeth at the gum line which can be sensitive and unaesthetic. It can also cause loosening of the teeth.  Bruxism can cause jaw problems or TMD, which results in facial pain, chronic headaches, clicking in the jaw and lead to osteoarthritis of the jaw.

What is the effect on your teeth from grinding? 

Teeth grinding or bruxism is very detrimental to the teeth, the supporting structures of the teeth (bone and gums), and the muscles and joint which makes up the jaw mechanism. Untreated bruxism can break teeth requiring their getting crowns or extraction and grind teeth down to the point that it involves the nerves of the teeth.  Teeth grinding can cause damage to the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) resulting in osteoarthritis of the joint with pain, grinding noises and clicking while chewing.  This parafunction can also cause chronic headaches due to the overworking of the muscles of the head and face.

What products do you recommend to help? 

Evaluation by a dentist is essential.  An oral appliance can protect the teeth and jaws from night time grinding but it won’t stop the problem   Determining the cause and correcting it can be very effective. Over the counter oral appliances are available, but we don’t recommend them because of lack of proper bite and functional design.  In addition, OTC appliances are soft and people tend to chew them making the problem worse.

Why is it important to be aware of teeth grinding?

If you are grinding your teeth during the day it is important to become aware of it so you can catch yourself and stop the parafunction.  The rule is “lips together, teeth apart” unless you are chewing or swallowing.

 

Should you Floss?

Over the past year, there have been conflicting reports on the validity of flossing. We want to set the record straight and let all of our patients know that flossing is in fact a very important part of your overall oral hygiene regimen.  As a practicing dentist for 40 years, I have seen the benefits of flossing.  It is instrumental in preventing tooth decay.  Flossing is extremely effective and we continue to recommend it to promote oral health.

Should you floss? 

Yes! Should you do a lot more than floss for proper oral health- absolutely! Dental decay is caused by germs eating sugar and producing acid, which demineralizes tooth enamel and results in caries (decay).  Every dentist knows that flossing as part of a prevention program helps remove the bacterial plaque and therefore will help reduce decay.

How has flossing traditionally been viewed in terms of dental health?

Flossing has always been viewed as an important part of dental hygiene.  It is used to disrupt and loosen the bacterial plaque in areas that cannot be reached by tooth brush bristles.  It is PART of a complete oral hygiene regimen.

How does flossing aid people in achieving proper dental health? What ailments can flossing help prevent?

To understand the role of flossing, you have to understand the bacterial nature of dental disease.  In dental caries (decay), the disease is caused by strep mutans which resides in a sticky bacterial plaque on the teeth.  These bacteria do not eat the teeth, they eat sugar and excrete acid.  It is the acid which “eats” (decalcifies) the teeth.  A prevention program such as the one we employ at Advanced Dentistry of Westchester attacks the problem by treating decay as the chronic, incurable, contagious (to babies) disease it is.  Like any other disease, the first line of defense is cleanliness.  Reduce the bacterial population, such as hand-washing to reduce the chance of getting the flu.   In dentistry, it is brush, AND floss, and rinse.

How can people properly floss and what other ways can people help prevent oral decay?

Flossing means not simply getting the food out from between the teeth, but wrapping the teeth and polishing both adjacent surfaces while working the floss out towards the biting surface.

What are the top 7 things you can do to prevent decay?

  1. Understand the bacterial cause of dental disease, which is essential to complying with any prevention program.
  1. Remove as much bacteria as possible…Brush and FLOSS!
  1. Reduce the FREQUENCY of refined sugar, which is what the bacteria feed on to produce the acid that results in decay.
  1. Fluoride in the drinking water of children.  This has been shown to dramatically reduce decay.
  1. Prescription level fluoride applied topically by brushing and not eating, drinking, or rinsing afterward every night.
  1. Seeing a dentist regularly.  That means every 3-6 months as determined by the dentist based upon dental history.  A dentist that uses an effective prevention program (like ours) is very important.
  1. If a patient has a high decay rate, using compounds like L-arginine can be very effective in preventing decay.

Do you have any other recommendations in regard to flossing or proper dental health?

Once you’ve removed as much bacteria as possible, the next step is to stop feeding the germs.  When you eat sugary foods the bacteria produce acid for 20 minutes.  The more frequently you eat sugary foods, the more this happens.  It’s not the quantity of sugar it is the frequency.  And NEVER eat sticky sugary foods like raisins or dried fruits or candy.  You might as well glue the sugar to your teeth.

For patients that have a high decay rate, the next step is to make the teeth resistant to acid.  That means a prescription level fluoride applied topically.  You need the strength of prescription level fluoride to work.  At night before bed, brush, floss, and rinse to reduce the bacterial population.  Then brush with a prescription fluoride gel or paste.  Use your saliva with the fluoride to swish and thoroughly push between the teeth and then spit out.  No eating, drinking or rinsing after that.  We combine this with fluoride varnish applied to the teeth every three months.

If patients still get some decay after these steps there are other things we can add to arrest the decay.  You have to remember that if you get cavities that it is a chronic, incurable, contagious, disease.  We can arrest it but we can’t cure it.

About Dr. Kenneth Magid

Dr. Magid has practiced dentistry for over 40 years.  He is currently the Director of Pre-Doctoral Laser Dentistry and Associate Clinical Professor at NYU College of Dentistry and is the Assistant Director of Honors Esthetics.  He has appeared on nationwide television and radio programs to discuss high tech and cosmetic dentistry including ABC and The New York Times. Dr. Magid lectures throughout the U.S. and Canada and is a contributor to many journals on topics including “Minimally Invasive” Dentistry, Laser Dentistry, Digital Radiography, Air-Abrasion dentistry, “21st Century Dentistry” and Cosmetic Dentistry. Dr. Magid received his dental degree from New York University College of Dentistry.

Top 4 Things to Look for When Choosing a Westchester Cosmetic Dentist

When many of us think about a makeover we automatically envision a new hair style, a new wardrobe and makeup. But what if there was something else that could transform your look?
What is a smile makeover and how do I know if it would help me?
A smile makeover uses techniques such as bleaching, bonding, cosmetic contouring, and porcelain veneers to provide a beautiful and natural-looking smile. A smile makeover can correct unsightly spaces or broken-down teeth, and change the color of teeth darkened with age. Studies have shown that a beautiful smile can make you look over 15 years younger. To know if a smile makeover would benefit you, we can take a photograph and alter it to let you see what you would look like with a new smile.

How do I know I will like my smile after a “makeover”? 

With our process, you will know what the final outcome will be before anything is done, and you have input and control over the final result. With just a photo sent to our lab, you can see your new smile and make any changes you would like. Once you decide you love the look of the new you, we create the makeover first on models and then in the temporary veneers you will wear during the process. You get to “try out” the new look in your own smile and get the opinion of your significant others. Once you love the look of these trial veneers, the porcelain veneers are created, and you leave with the smile you’ve always wanted. The only surprises are happy ones.

Can I eat anything I want with veneers?

Absolutely. Ribs, corn on the cob, apples, anything reasonable can be eaten with veneers. The one restriction is teeth are not tools! No opening bottles, tearing cloth, biting pens, and NO nail biting.

How long do porcelain veneers last?  

We’ve got smile makeovers done with veneers that have been there for over 30 years, and they still look great. You can generally expect to get many years and often even a lifetime from this service. Porcelain veneers don’t stain or darken with age, and functionally they can restore and strengthen damaged teeth.

What should I look for when choosing a cosmetic dentist:

Here are the top 4 things to look for when choosing a cosmetic dentist. The first thing I always ask a new patient interested in cosmetic dentistry is, “What are you unhappy about with your smile?” It is important to know what someone wants to change before presenting new smile options. Through advanced technology and computerized cosmetic makeovers, we can completely alter your smile in as little as 2 visits. If you are thinking about choosing a cosmetic dentist to enhance your smile, it is important to know what to look for, and the right questions to ask.

  1. Check Credentials: What are the dentists credentials in aesthetics? Thoroughly research their credentials before choosing a cosmetic dentist. As a baseline, they should be published on aesthetics and should frequently lecture on aesthetics. They should also be teaching aesthetics at a university level.
  2. Know Their Process: Have a thorough understanding of the cosmetic dentists process for smile makeovers. For example, does the patient have control of the process, or does the doctor? Does the patient know in advance what they will look like? With our digital cosmetic makeovers, patients can see what their smile will look like and get input from friends and family. This is critical to ensuring your level of success with a smile makeover. You should know in advance you will be happy with the result. Our motto is, no unpleasant surprises!
  3. Ceramist: Be sure to thoroughly research who the ceramist is. For example, are you working with a high-level ceramist or a commercial lab? You won’t get the same results with aesthetic ceramics, and they will look opaque.
  4. Ask to see a Veneer: Veneers should not be monochromatic. Be sure to ask to see what an actual veneer will look like. Just like fine china is translucent at the edge, so are veneers. The color comes from within.

Photo Credit: WestchesterNYMoms

How to Protect Your Children’s Teeth while Playing Sports

When it comes to playing sports, safety is the number one priority. Unfortunately, dental injuries are not uncommon when it comes to sports-related incidents. Here are our top tips to protect your children’s teeth during the back to school sports season.

Wear a mouth guard

The best way to prevent a dental injury is to wear a mouth guard. You don’t want your child’s teeth to be knocked out, broken or chipped. Before purchasing a mouth guard, talk with your dentist. Your dentist knows your child’s mouth the best. They know the appropriate suggestions for which mouth guard should be purchased. It is extremely important the mouth guard fits your child’s mouth properly. You do not want it to fall out while your child is on the field playing sports.

Maintain a healthy diet to build strong teeth and gums

By staying away from sugary snacks, you are building strong roots in your gums. When it comes to your child’s diet, limit soft drinks and sugary foods that promote tooth decay. Replace the candies, soda, and potato chips with fruits and vegetables. If your child does consume a sugary snack, the best thing they could do is drink water and brush their teeth. The water helps rinse away bacteria and brushing your teeth gives your child a good cleaning. The stronger your child’s teeth, the better protected they will be when playing a sport.

Take your child to the dentist twice a year

Taking your child to the dentist more than once a year might seem like a lot, but it is the easiest way to prevent any dental problems from forming. The dentist wants to keep your child’s teeth in tip-top shape. If any problems do occur, your dentist can fix it before it gets worse.

Encourage good hygiene at home

From a young age, you want to encourage good dental hygiene in your children. Keeping good hygiene at home includes: brushing your teeth twice a day or after every meal, flossing at least once a day, and changing your toothbrush every three months. Good hygiene will help make your children’s teeth strong and prevent any injuries from occurring.

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Healthy Halloween Treat Alternatives for Kids

Every Halloween, kids take joy in trick-or-treating and revel in the many great treats they collected. You’re not going to be able to stop them from getting the candy, but when trick-or-treaters come to your door this year, you can provide healthy alternatives that can also be a big hit.

Dr. Kenneth Magid of Advanced Dentistry of Westchester Offers Advice on Healthy Treat Alternatives to Give to Kids on Halloween

Joy in Toys. Small toys available in online catalogues are great options and don’t have to break the bank. Kids love playing with toys as much as they love eating candy and they last longer too.

Healthy Snacks Also Taste Good. This year, we are giving out spry mints and gum which help to prevent tooth decay. This treat should not be given out in large quantities and should not be given to very young children. Other healthy alternatives include little packs of carrots and pretzels. Parents will appreciate that you went the extra step to provide a healthy treat.

Choose Candy Wisely. If you have to give out candy, dark chocolate is a much healthier option and is better for your teeth then other candies. Avoid sticky and sour candy, which helps to dissolve teeth. Avoid fruit by the foot, it’s like gluing sugar to your teeth!

Remember, let your kids eat as much candy as you want on Halloween night but the next day make sure it’s out of the house. Stay safe and never eat unwrapped or unsealed candy. Although horseplay is part of Halloween, a little common sense avoids traumatic injury.

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Dental Treatment During Pregnancy Tips

Pregnancy is a wonderfully exciting time that necessitates a unique set of precautions and medical practices. Often, expectant mothers do not consider how their dental health can impact their overall well being during pregnancy.

Dental treatment during pregnancy is a function of evaluating the risk and reward in any given situation. With a few considerations, dental care during pregnancy can be easy and beneficial— for both mother and baby!

Keep Gums Healthy

Healthy gums are an important part of a healthy pregnancy. Periodontal or gum disease can be related to low birth weight and premature babies, as well as a serious pregnancy complication called preeclampsia. It is important to have your teeth cleaned during pregnancy, preferably during the second trimester, to help avoid these problems and combat the inflammation that typically occurs during pregnancy.  Be sure to keep up with regular flossing and brushing at home, and remember to be thorough but gentle.

Get Your Teeth Checked Early

It is also important to have your teeth checked for major problems that could cause pain and infection. The best time to have this or any necessary treatment is the second trimester, so try to schedule your checkup and cleaning for the beginning of the second trimester to give you optimal time for any treatment that will be needed. Local dental anesthesia is generally safe, and worth using to prevent pain or infection.

Know the Technology

In our office, we have technology including lasers and air abrasion that are comfortable without anesthesia and are completely safe. As far as x-rays go, if there is an imminent concern, your dentist may decide an x-ray is necessary, and you will be covered with a protective shield. Keep in mind that digital x-rays have a particularly low level of radiation (far less than a cross-country flight). That said, if there are no particular concerns and you have a low rate of decay and dental problems, regular check-up x-rays may often be postponed.  Communication is key, so speak to your dentist about any concerns you might have. Oral health is an important part of a healthy pregnancy!

Post-Baby Cavities: What You Need to Know 

Some women unfortunately find that they have more cavities than they’re used to at their post-baby cleaning. Why? For starters, common pregnancy symptoms such as heartburn and vomiting. When people talk about cavities, they usually mention sweets and bacteria. But what actually happens is that the bacteria eat the sweets (or any carbohydrate) and produce acid. It’s the acid that actually rots teeth. All of that acid that comes with reflux and vomiting creates cavities. Another reason for the higher cavity rate is a change in habits during pregnancy. If you have morning sickness, you may only be able to eat high-carbohydrate foods.  You will also likely be eating or snacking more frequently, especially as you get further along in pregnancy. Your mouth takes about twenty minutes to recover from the acid in your diet and being produced by the bacteria that are being fed. More frequent snacking means more time that your teeth are being bathed in acid. That goes for sipping on anything other than plain water, too.

Cavity Prevention Techniques

What can you do?  Between meals opt for plain water or try adding cucumber or mint instead of lemon (sour and citric drinks and foods are acidic). Try to limit time for snacking or sipping on anything else. Additional small meals if necessary are better than having a nibble every few minutes. Avoid dried fruit, it’s like gluing sugar to your teeth for the bacteria to feed on for longer periods of time. If you have something acidic or acid coming up from your stomach, rinse with water or rub on some toothpaste with your finger or q-tip. Vigorous brushing right after may remove some of the tooth structure you’ve just softened with the acid.  Lastly, be diligent about your hygiene regimen of brushing and flossing, especially before bed, and don’t forget your mid-pregnancy checkup!

dr. sabrina magid katz dental treatment tips during pregnancy

What You Need to Know About Toothpaste

The toothpaste aisle of your local drug store can be very confusing. There are so many brands and variations to choose from! Dr. Magid breaks down what you need to know to choose the right type of toothpaste in our latest blog post.

Does it matter what kind of toothpaste I buy?

“Natural” brands are okay, but look for one with fluoride in it. Not using fluoride can have damaging, painful and costly consequences. Fluoride is completely safe when used topically, and in controlled concentrations when ingested such as tap water and supplements. What this means is that all adults and children who are old enough to reliably spit the excess toothpaste out, should be using fluoride toothpaste. For patients with a high cavity rate, we often recommend a prescription level fluoride toothpaste to help prevent further decay. Again, as long as you don’t eat the toothpaste for breakfast it only sits on your teeth, helping to make your teeth stronger and remineralize them safely.

What are the upsides and downsides of different types of toothpaste?

Most whitening toothpastes have abrasives that remove surface stains rather than actually bleach your teeth.

Sensitive toothpaste can be helpful for non-lingering cold and sweet sensitivity. It may take a few weeks of continual use for them to be effective. However, if the problem persists or there are other symptoms, it is important to see your dentist to rule out other sources of the discomfort.

The ADA seal on some toothpaste means that statements and claims made on that version of paste have been approved by the organization. Some people have a sensitivity to an ingredient which can be found in many toothpastes. The ingredient is called SLS, sodium lauryl sulfate, and can cause mouth sores in those who are allergic to this ingredient.  Read the list of inactive ingredients to look for it, even in seemingly “natural” product lines.  However, if a sore does not go away after two weeks or they keep recurring despite switching toothpaste, see your dentist for evaluation.

What is the primary ingredient that makes toothpaste effective?

Triclosan is an ingredient in some toothpaste, such as Colgate Total. It targets the bacteria that cause gum disease and can be effective in combatting gum disease. As in all adult toothpastes, excess should be spit out so that large amounts are not ingested.

Where does toothpaste choice rank in level of importance when brushing your teeth?

As long as the toothpaste meets your requirements for ingredients, the rest comes down to personal preference, feel and flavor, whatever will make you more likely to brush morning and night.  No matter how good your toothpaste is, care should be taken to brush the debris from all surfaces of your teeth. Be sure to gently brush by the gum line, both tongue-side and cheek-side, and on the chewing surfaces. It should take about two minutes to thoroughly brush all surfaces of your teeth. Keep in mind that it is not necessary to brush hard, what matters is that you reach all areas. Floss daily to get the build-up between the teeth and stimulate the gums. And don’t forget to have your teeth checked (screened for cavities, infection, and oral cancer) and professionally cleaned (there are areas that you may not be able to reach and hard build-up that we can take care of for you) at least every six months!

Toothpaste Aisle Graphic

How To Fight Bad Breath

bad-breathBad breath can be very embarrassing, but it is more common then you may think! More then 80 million people suffer from chronic halitosis (bad breath). Here are a few tips that will help you fight it!

Brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily

Brush your teeth twice a day for two or three minutes. Brushing your teeth can help remove plaque and any food debris that were left behind. Many people do not think flossing is important, but what they do not realize is brushing your teeth does not remove all food debris. Flossing reaches the areas where your toothbrush cannot. Sometimes the remaining food debris is actually the cause of bad breath. Most over the counter mouthwash dries out the tissue and after a short time promotes bad breath. Use them sparingly and never use mouthwash containing alcohol on a regular basis it has been linked to oral cancer. We only recommend all natural mouthwash.

Brush your tongue

You want to make sure you brush your teeth really well. When people brush their teeth, they often forget about their tongue and the roof or their mouth. This is a prominent space for bacteria to form. To get rid of all of it, all you need is a good scrub with either your toothbrush or a tongue scraper.

Quit smoking

People who smoke tend to have bad breath. The tobacco dry’s out your mouth and leaves an unpleasant scent. The easiest solution to this problem is to quit smoking. 

Visit your dentist

You should be visiting your dentist once or twice a year to make sure you have good dental health. If you are suffering from chronic bad breath, visit your dentist to find out if there is a larger health issue. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment.

Summer Cavity Culprits Revealed

happy summer

Summer is a time for pool parties and BBQ’s, but it is important to keep those pearly whites

healthy too! Chips, sodas and sugary drinks are favorites of many people, but are also dental

health dangers. Dr. Sabrina Magid-Katz of Advanced Dentistry of Westchester shares the top

cavity culprits to look out for this summer as well as her favorite healthy substitutes.

Lemonade

When people think of summer, they often think of lemonade. What they may not think about is

how sipping on this refreshing drink is affecting their teeth. Not only does the sugar in lemonade

feed the bacteria in your mouth, but even the sugar-free lemonades have acid. It’s the acid that

actually causes tooth wear and decay. “When people talk about sugar causing cavities, what really

happens is that the bacteria eat the sugar and produce acid which erodes the teeth. It takes

approximately 20 minutes for your mouth to recover from the acid, so how often you sip or snack

is actually more important to your teeth than how much,” says Dr. Magid-Katz. For a healthy

substitute, try cucumber-infused water instead. It’s just as refreshing on a hot summer day and

good for you too!

Dried Fruit

Summer is a great time for fruit! Make sure to opt for fresh fruit instead of dried. Not only are

many types of fruit in season now, but eating them fresh is a much healthier alternative. The dried

fruit is sticky and holds on to your teeth for extended periods of time, constantly feeding the

bacteria in your mouth and causing cavities. When eating any kind of fruit (or any food at all for

that matter) beware of hidden pits that can break teeth and seeds that can hide under your gums

and in the grooves of your teeth. Be sure to brush and floss thoroughly to keep the seeds out!

Gummy Candy

While gummy candy can be tempting this summer, it is one of the top cavity culprits! Be sure to

avoid sticky candies and sour candies. “Sour candies get their sour taste from acid, which

dissolves teeth,” says Dr. Magid-Katz. The sticky part of the candy sits on teeth and feeds

bacteria. Go for the dark chocolate instead of the sour patch kids. Also avoid fruit by the foot.

Fruit by the foot is many things, but fruit isn’t one of them. It is like gluing sugar to your teeth.

“Healthy” sticky snacks

Granola and raisins are considered “healthy” snacks that are actually dental dangers. These

snacks are prone to sticking to teeth and contain substances that help keep bacteria in the mouth.

As a healthy alternative this summer, opt for a less sticky “healthy” snack such as celery. Celery

has lots of fiber and water, which is good for your whole body. Try some nut butter on it for an

extra boost.

How to Get a Sparkling Smile in Wedding Photos

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From dress, to venue, to menu— There is a lot to consider when planning a wedding. But what is most often overlooked and forgotten about- is achieving a sparkling smile! We offer many dental and cosmetic treatments that can get your smile in sparkling condition, just in time for wedding season! Here are our top treatments we recommend getting before your wedding to achieve a sparkling smile:

Pre-wedding Cleaning

Whether it’s your big day or you’re a guest, a pre-wedding cleaning is recommended for anyone who wants to look their best in wedding pictures. Be sure to book your cleaning sometime within the month leading up to the wedding, so your teeth will still be sparkling and fresh!

Whitening

If you’re a bride, a white smile is necessary to match your pristine white dress! Whitening treatments take as little as two hours and will make a huge difference in your smile and overall appearance.

Veneers

If you’re looking to really “wow” the wedding crowd, consider veneers. Veneers would be ideal for wedding guests who want to look their best and make an entrance! Veneers are carefully applied in translucent thin layers so that each tooth can be shaped exactly as you’d like. It can be matched in color with your other teeth, or used to restore your smile to the whiter color of your youth. Think of veneers as whitening and reshaping all-in-one!

Invisalign

Invisalign is the perfect alternative to braces for any bridal party member. Invisalign is a series of virtually invisible plastic aligners that will straighten your teeth and perfect your smile. For adults, a treatment will usually take about one year, so be sure to book a consultation early in your wedding planning!

Fillers

A great smile isn’t all about your teeth— for those who want to appear youthful and radiant, fillers are a great option. Fillers will diminish fine lines and wrinkles, making your face appear more voluminous and full. Another bonus, since there is little downtime for filler recovery, you can squeeze an appointment in as a last minute boost before the big day!

If youre interested in any pre-wedding treatments, make an appointment with us today and well work together to make a pre-wedding sparkling smile game plan!


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  • Advanced Dentistry of Westchester
  • Kenneth S. Magid, DDS, FICD
  • Sabrina Magid-Katz, DMD

  • 163 Halstead Ave. • Harrison, NY 10528
  • (914) 835-0542
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