Serenity Smile Designs

COVID-19 Update

In recognition of ongoing news reports and the continued spread of the COVID-19 virus, we realize our patients have questions. As dedicated health care professionals, we want you to know that we remain as diligent as ever in protecting the health and safety of our patients and team. 

BASED ON RECOMMENDATIONS from the ADA and the CDC, we’re temporarily changing the way our practice operates. We recommend that all of our patients check the CDC’s website for information on the coronavirus and what we can do to slow the spread. 

In a COVID-19 Advisory dated March 21, 2020 the New Jersey State Board of Dentistry strongly urged that “Dentists should cancel or postpone any elective procedure or ‘routine’ service until at least April 20, 2020, to limit exposure to and transmission of the virus and help preserve and extend the supply of personal protective equipment.” Thereafter, on April 9, 2020, Governor Philip D. Murphy issued Executive Order 109, https://nj.gov/infobank/eo/056murphy/pdf/EO-109.pdf which expressly directed: “All elective surgeries or invasive procedures, whether medical or dental, already scheduled for after 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 27, 2020, are to be cancelled or postponed indefinitely.” Since the “indefinite cancellation or postponement” mandated in the Executive Order has not been relaxed and based upon a continuing need to limit containment of the virus, pending further direction from the Governor, dental offices should not “re-open” on April 20 but should continue to remain available to render emergency care. 

Temporary Changes to Our Schedule 

Our office is temporarily closed for all elective dental treatment. If you have an appointment during this time, we will reach out to you to reschedule once we have a date for reopen set. A member of our team will be available by phone Monday through Friday from 9:00am-12:00pm. For our current patients, Apple FaceTime video visits are now available from the safety of your home. We can now connect with you to: 

  • manage symptoms 
  • recommend a treatment plan 
  • determine if an in-person visit is necessary 

*Most dental insurance companies are covering Teledentistry visits. 

Emergency Treatment 

Some examples of true dental emergencies include trauma to the mouth or jaw, an infection such as an abscess or swelling, a toothache or jaw pain that cannot be managed with over-the -counter medications, or bleeding that won’t stop. If you are experiencing one of these circumstances, then please call our office and we will further assess the situation. 

We Are Strong When We Work Together 

Right now, one of the best ways that we as healthcare professionals can help to slow the spread of coronavirus is to follow the guidance of these health organizations, and we encourage our patients to do the same. We will be sure to update you about additional changes at our practice. We will be sending periodic tips and newsletters to stay connected during these unprecedented times. We thank you in advance and extend our gratitude for your understanding and cooperation. Together, we can help keep everyone as safe and healthy as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact our office, and one of our staff members will be more than happy to assist you. 

We hope to see your healthy, happy faces soon!

 

 

5 Reasons Why Everyone Needs A Tongue Scraper

What is Tongue Scraping? Jihwa Prakshalana, or the Ayurvedic self-care ritual known as tongue scraping, is an an oral hygiene practice that removes bacteria, food debris, fungi, toxins, and dead cells from the surface of the tongue.

When we sleep, our digestive system remains awake, removing toxins from our body by depositing them onto the surface of our tongue. If we don’t scrape away these toxins, they get reabsorbed by the body and can lead to respiratory difficulties, digestive problems, and a compromised immune system.

Dental research has concluded that a tongue scraper is effective in removing toxins and bacteria from the tongue . Although brushing and flossing will loosen and move debris around, they do not actually remove the bacteria. Almost half of our oral bacteria live on and in the deep crevices of our tongue; the scraping action of a tongue scraper collects these toxic tongue coatings (which can range in color from clear, white, yellow, or green) and removes them from the body.

5 reasons YOU should scrape your tongue

1. Halitosis is horrible.

Bad breath can have a negative impact on a person’s life, relationships, and self-esteem. Given that most bad breath comes from the bacteria at the back of the tongue (an area that’s difficult to reach with a toothbrush), clinical studies have shown that tongue scraping significantly reduces and removes oral bacteria from the crevices of all areas the tongue.

2. You want to experience the flavors of your food.

Proper digestion begins with taste and salivation. If you don’t take steps to remove toxic mucus on the tongue, your taste buds can become blocked. This may lead to false cravings or an inability to recognize the taste of food. Removing build-up from the surface of your tongue will open up its pores and better expose your taste buds, allow for greater enjoyment of food flavors, and help your body digest and assimilate food.

3. You want to boost your immunity.

The tongue is part of the first line of defense in your immune system. Scraping your tongue prevents toxins from being reabsorbed into your body and boosts overall immune function.

4. You’re down with dental health.

This oral hygiene practice promotes general tooth and gum health and removes bacteria and toxins responsible for periodontal problems, plaque build-up, tooth decay, loss of teeth, gum infections, and gum recession.

5. You’d like to improve your digestive health.

In Ayurveda, proper digestion is considered to be the foundation of health. Given that digestion begins with taste, it’s important to remove any toxins that may obstruct optimal functioning. Scraping also activates saliva production and promotes agni (the body’s digestive fire) to help with digestion throughout the day.

How to scrape your tongue

This Ayurvedic daily routine for maintaining oral health should be done on a regular basis, in the morning upon rising, and on an empty stomach. A tongue scraper is a long, thin, flat piece of metal that is bent in a “U” shape.

Standing in front of a mirror, you scrape your tongue by simply holding the two ends of the scraper in both hands, sticking out your tongue, and placing the scraper as far back on you tongue as possible. With firm but gentle pressure, scrape the surface of your tongue in one long stroke. Rinse the scraper and repeat until your tongue feels clean and is free of coating (usually 5 to 10 times).

Where to buy a tongue scraper?

Tongue scrapers are inexpensive, and can be found at most health food stores as well as online. Chose a stainless steel scraper because they are easier to clean and are ideal for balancing for all Ayurvedic constitutions and imbalances. In a pinch, the side of a metal spoon can be effective.

Never Ignore the Pain of an Abscessed Tooth

 

 

Never Ignore the Pain of an Abscessed Tooth

Every person reacts to pain differently. Some people are able to tolerate pain more than others. While it is great that some people can ignore the pain they feel from a toothache, it does not dismiss the need to address it. There is a reason for the pain and your body wants you to acknowledge it.

Understanding the Tooth Pain

An abscessed tooth is extremely painful. The problem some people have is that there are ways to manage the pain. They can turn to rinsing with warm salt water, over the counter pain relievers and over the counter anesthetics. For some people these methods can reduce the swelling associated with an abscessed tooth and can cause the pain to go away temporarily. It is often the case that people assume if they do not feel the pain, they do not have to worry about the underlying issue.

Managing or neglecting the pain from an abscess does not mean it is okay to ignore it. Instead, when you ignore the pain and do not get treatment for the abscess, you are putting yourself at risk for more serious issues.

What Can Happen
Complications from an untreated abscess can range from minor issues to severe health issues that can put a person in the hospital and possibly become life threatening. The problems of ignoring the pain of an abscess can lead to:

• More Pain – The infection from the abscess can spread to other parts of the mouth and to other parts of the body. The result is more pain than from the original abscess. The pain is not limited to the mouth.
• Gum Disease – The infection can lead to gum disease and can cause you to lose teeth and to struggle with other oral health issues.
• Sepsis – This condition is when an infection spreads throughout the body. It can impact and cause your organs to fail and is a life-threatening condition that requires hospitalization.

In rare cases, ignoring the pain can lead to abscesses in other parts of the body, airway issues, and infection of the blood. The best way to avoid any of these problems is to call our office when you have pain.

Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment.

Periodontal Disease

 

What Is Periodontal Disease?

If your hands began to bleed when you washed them, would you be concerned? Most likely the answer to this question is yes, absolutely. Yet, many people think it is normal for their gums bleed during brushing or flossing. In a 1999 study, researchers at the U.S. National Institutes of Health discovered that half of Americans over the age of 30 gums bleed.

Bleeding and swollen gums are early signs that your gums are infected with bacteria. If the signs are ignored, the infection can spread. The infection can deteriorate the tissue and structures that support your teeth in the jawbone. Eventually, your teeth can become so loose that they have to be extracted or can even fall out.

“Peri” means around, and “odontal” refers to teeth. Periodontal diseases is an infections of the tissue and the surrounding structures of the teeth. These include the gums, the cementum that covers the root, the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone. In the earliest stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis, the infection affects only the gums. In more severe forms of the disease, all of the supporting tissues are involved.

For many years scientists have been trying to figure out what causes periodontal disease. It is now well accepted that bacteria in dental plaque are the major culprits. Researchers also are learning more about how an infection in your gums can affect your overall health.

In recent years, gum disease has been linked to other health problems. This is a new and exciting area of research. Many questions remain. Studies have produced varying answers about how much of a connection exists between gum disease and other medical problems. More research is needed.

Researchers are studying possible connections between gum disease and:

  • Atherosclerosis and heart disease— Gum disease may increase the risk of clogged arteries and heart disease. It also is believed to worsen existing heart disease.
  • Stroke— Gum disease may increase the risk of the type of stroke that is caused by blocked arteries.
  • Premature births— A woman who has gum disease during pregnancy may be more likely to deliver her baby too early. The infant may be more likely to be of low birth weight.
  • Diabetes— Diabetic patients with periodontal disease may have more trouble controlling their blood sugar than diabetic patients with healthy gums.
  • Respiratory disease— Bacteria involved in gum disease may cause lung infections or worsen existing lung conditions. This is particularly important for elderly adults in institutions such as nursing homes. In this group, bacteria from the mouth may reach the lungs and may cause severe pneumonia.

What Causes Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria in dental plaque. Plaque is the sticky substance that forms on your teeth soon after you have brushed. In an effort to get rid of the bacteria, the cells of your immune system release substances that inflame and damage the gums, periodontal ligament or alveolar bone. This leads to swollen, bleeding gums, a sign of gingivitis (the earliest stage of periodontal disease). Damage from periodontal disease also can cause teeth to become loose. This is a sign of severe periodontists (the advanced stage of disease).

You can prevent periodontal disease by practicing good oral hygiene and visiting your dentist regularly. Most people should see the dentist about once every six months. But if you already have gum disease you may need to visit more often.c cc

Daily brushing and flossing, when done correctly, can help to remove most of the plaque from your teeth. Professional cleanings by your dentist or dental hygienist will keep plaque under control in places that are harder for a toothbrush or floss to reach.

If oral hygiene slips or you skip dental visits, plaque builds up on the teeth. Eventually, it spreads below the gum line. The bacteria are protected there because your toothbrush can’t reach them. If plaque is not removed, the bacteria will continue to multiply. Your gum inflammation may get worse.

The buildup of plaque below the gum line causes the gums to become inflamed. As the gums swell, they detach from the tooth. This process forms a space, or “pocket,” between the tooth and gum. Bacteria can grow rapidly in the pockets. This encourages further plaque buildup.

If left untreated, periodontal disease may destroy the periodontal ligament and the alveolar bone, the structures that support your teeth.

Bottom of Form

Another reason to remove plaque promptly is that over time it becomes hardened or calcified and turns into calculus. This is commonly called tartar. Even more plaque attaches to calculus because it’s a rougher surface than tooth enamel. It is also rougher than cementum, a layer that covers the tooth root. Calculus and plaque buildup in layers.

Using a tartar-control toothpaste may help slow the build-up of calculus around your teeth. It can’t affect the tartar that already has formed below the gum line, however.

Risks and Prevention

The bacteria in plaque are the main cause of periodontal disease. But several other factors also can contribute. They include other diseases, medicines and oral habits. These factors can increase your risk of gum disease or make it worse once the infection has set in.

  • Genes— Some people are more likely than others to get periodontal disease because of their genes. But your genes do not make gum disease inevitable. Even people who are highly prone to periodontal disease can prevent or control the disease with good oral care.
  • Smoking and tobacco use— Smoking increases the risk of periodontal disease. The longer you smoke, and the more you smoke, the higher the risk. If you have periodontal disease, smoking makes it more severe. Smoking is a major reason that some cases of periodontal disease are resistant to treatment. Smokers tend to collect more tartar on their teeth. They often develop deeper periodontal pockets once they have gum disease. They also are likely to lose more bone as the disease gets worse. Unlike many other factors that affect the health of your gums, the decision to smoke or not is under your control. Quitting smoking can play a major role in bringing periodontal disease under control.
  • Misaligned or crowded teeth, braces or bridgework— Anything that makes it more difficult to brush or floss your teeth is likely to enhance plaque and tartar formation. The more plaque and tartar you have, the greater your chance of developing gum disease. Dentists and periodontists can show you the best ways to clean your teeth, even if they are hard to clean. For example, you can use special tools and ways of threading floss to clean around bridgework or slide under braces. If overcrowded or crooked teeth are a problem, your dentist might recommend orthodontics. This could straighten out your smile and give you a better chance of preventing disease.
  • Grinding, gritting or clenching of teeth— These habits won’t cause periodontal disease. However, they can lead to more severe disease if your gums are already inflamed. These habits exert excess force on the teeth. This pressure appears to speed up the breakdown of the periodontal ligament and bone. In many cases, people can learn to stop this habit simply by recognizing when it is happening and then relaxing. If these efforts don’t work, your dentist or periodontist can create a custom guard appliance to help reduce the pressure of clenching or grinding on the teeth. This device is sometimes called an occlusal guard, night guard, mouth guard or bite guard.
  • Stress— Stress can make periodontal disease worse and harder to treat. Stress weakens your body’s immune system. This makes it harder for your body to fight off infection, including periodontal disease.
  • Fluctuating hormones — Whenever hormone levels go up and down in the body, changes can occur in the mouth. Puberty and pregnancy can temporarily increase the risk and severity of gum disease. So can menopause.
  • Medicines — Several types of medicines can cause dry mouth, or xerostomia. Examples include certain drugs for depression and high blood pressure. If you don’t have enough saliva, plaque is more likely to form. This may lead to tooth decay (cavities). Other medicines may cause the gums to enlarge. This makes them more likely to trap plaque. These medicines include:
    • Phenytoin (Dilantin and other brand names), used to control seizures
    • Cyclosporine (Neoral, Sandimmune), used to suppress the immune system in people who have had organ transplants
    • Nifedipine (Adalat, Cardizem and others) and other calcium channel blockers, used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain (angina) or heart arrhythmias.
  • Diseases— People with certain diseases have a higher risk of developing periodontal disease. For example, people with diabetes are more likely to get periodontitis than people without diabetes. Their gum disease is also likely to be more severe. Other diseases that increase periodontal disease risk include inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis and HIV infection. Having one of these diseases can make the control of your periodontal disease more difficult. But a good periodontist or dentist who is aware of these problems can give you guidance on how to maintain your periodontal health.
  • Poor nutrition— Nutrition is important for overall good health, including a working immune system and healthy gums and mouth. Severe vitamin C deficiency (scurvy) can cause bleeding gums.

Obstructive Sleep Disorder

What is Obstructive  Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition in which breathing stops involuntarily for brief periods of time during sleep. Normally, air flows smoothly from the mouth and nose into the lungs at all times. Periods when breathing stops are called apnea or apneic episodes. When this occurs the normal flow of air is repeatedly stopped throughout the night. The flow of air stops because airway space in the area of the throat is too narrow. Snoring is characteristic of obstructive sleep apnea. Snoring is caused by airflow squeezing through the narrowed airway space. Untreated sleep apnea can cause serious health problems such as:

  • heart disease
  • hypertension
  • stroke
  • diabetes

 

Proper diagnosis and treatment are essential to preventing complications.

 

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea causes episodes of decreased oxygen supply to the brain and other parts of the body. Sleep quality is poor, which causes daytime drowsiness and lack of clarity in the morning. People with sleep apnea may also experience the following symptoms:

  • headaches
  • moody
  • drowsy
  • forgetful
  • hyperactivity in children
  • depression
  • poor job performance
  • low libido

Daytime drowsiness puts people with sleep apnea at risk for motor vehicle crashes and industrial accidents. Treatment can help to completely relieve daytime drowsiness caused by sleep apnea.

 

Who is at Risk for Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

 

Risk for OSA increases if you have conditions or features that narrow the upper airway. Risk factors of OSA include:

  • children with large tonsils and adenoids
  • men with a collar size of 17 inches or more
  • women with a collar size of 16 inches or more
  • large tongue, which can block the airway
  • retrognathia, which is when your lower jaw is shorter than your upper jaw
  • a narrow palate or airway that collapses more easily

Heart disease is more common in obese people, and obesity is a risk factor of heart disease, high blood pressure, and sleep apnea.

How is Obstructive Sleep Apnea Diagnosed?

A diagnosis of sleep apnea begins with a complete history and physical examination. A history of daytime drowsiness and snoring are important clues. Your doctor will examine your head and neck to identify any physical factors that are associated with sleep apnea. Your doctor may ask you to fill out a questionnaire about daytime drowsiness, sleep habits, and quality of sleep.

You should always talk to your doctor if you’re experiencing daytime drowsiness or consistently having problems sleeping. OSA has many different treatment options that can make symptoms manageable.

Screen Yourself:  https://www.serenitysmiledesigns.com/treatments/sleep-apnea/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Request An Appointment(2)

Please contact Serenity Smile Designs in Egg Harbor Township, NJ by completing the appointment request form below. (Or, contact our office by phone (609) 646-1989) Our scheduling coordinator will contact you to confirm your appointment. If you are an existing patient, this contact form should not be utilized for communicating private health information.
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