Problems of Sugarfree Gum

Chewing gum can help relieve ear popping on flights, quickly freshen your breath, and increase saliva production to help control oral bacteria. Many people chew sugarless gum because gum with sugar increases the risk of cavities. If you excessively chew gum, even if it’s sugarless, it may be more harmful than you may think.

Many types of sugarless candy contain sorbitol, a sweetener that has laxative properties and is difficult for the small intestine to absorb. Each stick of gum has around 1.25g of the ingredient. Consuming five to 20 grams of the sweetener can cause minor stomach problems like cramps and bloating. People who consume more than 20g of sorbitol each day are likely to have bowel trouble and diarrhea. Because of the bowel trouble, excessive sorbitol consumption can lead to severe weight loss. Studies show that some people who chew gum excessively have lost up to 20 percent of their normal body weight.

As an alternative gum with xylitol has been approved by the ADA. Xylitol is a sweetener that reduces the potential for tooth decay. However, there’s another problem to consider. Excessively chewing gum may also cause joint and muscle problems in the jaw. (more…)

Crossing the Bridge of Articulation

Your teeth play an important role in chewing, smiling, and your oral health, but they are also crucial to speaking. For many syllables, for example, the tongue pushes against the back of the teeth to form the sounds. The flow of air is controlled by these same movements and can make the difference between making a “th” or a “t” sound, for example.

If you need a “t” sound, the tongue halts the air flow by touching the back of your teeth. If there are any missing teeth, air can escape through the gap and sounds more like a “th” sound. This presents a problem when you ask your friend, “What’s your favorite sports team?” He may answer with his favorite sports theme. Trying to restate your question will only cause more frustration when you discover how impossible it is to stop the air flow without your teeth. If your tongue tries to correct the pronunciation by taking a detour to the roof of your mouth, the resulting noise sounds more like a “d.”

Unfortunately, over time your speech will only get worse because another effect of missing teeth is that the teeth you still have will begin to tilt or shift from the gap. Those teeth need side support, so holes in your smile will allow for movement of the existing teeth trying to compensate. Dr. Villani and Dr. Kondrat can construct a dental bridge to support your speech syllables and, most importantly, your natural teeth.

Dental bridges are non-removable tooth replacements fabricated from high-quality porcelain. To replace one or more missing teeth in a row, Dr. Villani and Dr. Kondrat set this fixed prosthetic between two dental crowns. The crowns are attached to healthy teeth and hold the bridge securely in place.

To find out if dental bridges will work for you, call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210. We provide cosmetic dentistry to residents of Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, and Newton.

Are you a summertime movie-goer? Don’t let movie snacks get the best of your smile!

Summertime means movie time for most of us, and this summer has plenty of blockbusters. Unfortunately, it’s also causing some tooth-busters. Movie food hovers near the top of our list of worst dental offenders.

You’ve probably had popcorn stuck in your teeth. If you were lucky, you got it out on your own; not everyone is so fortunate. Popcorn husks get stuck between gums and teeth, leading to infection and swelling; incautious munchers can break a tooth on an unpopped kernel. Can’t live without your popcorn? Chew cautiously – don’t bite down too hard and fast, and check carefully for whole kernels.

Most people wash down their popcorn with a large soda. Theaters usually offer combo deals to encourage this practice. Soda’s high sugar and acid content contributes to tooth decay, and moviegoers who chew on ice risk cracking or chipping teeth. Stick to water when you can – you’ll end up feeling more refreshed and miss less of the movie for bathroom breaks. If you must have soda, use a straw to reduce contact with your teeth. Chewing ice is never a good idea – satisfy the need to crunch with food, not ice..

Candy fans should watch out for caramel, toffee, taffy, and candies with a similar consistency. All too often, patients come in bringing dental work yanked out by these sticky treats. Frozen candy bars combine the worst elements of ice cubes and caramel, and can lead to a dental nightmare. It’s best to choose ice cream or a regular candy bar.

Got the summer blues from your movie snacks? Call Brighton Family Dental today at (617) 562-5210 to schedule an appointment.

Preventive Dentistry: Cheaper in the Long Run

If you consider dental health an “extra,” think again. Although Massachusetts citizens ranked as having some of the healthiest mouths in the United States, studies show a decrease across the country in trips to the dentist. Job loss and the threat of unemployment, in addition to high insurance costs, contribute to a list of reasons people don’t attend regular checkups. Neglecting professional dental care is a mistake, plain and simple. You may save now, but you’ll end up paying more later in life.

Many people don’t know, oral health directly and indirectly impacts bodily health. The ADA and Brighton Dental Group recommend checkups at least twice a year, every six months. During a checkup, our patients undergo an exam, plus a cleaning, if gum disease isn’t present. We will inspect each of your teeth for decay, cracks, chips, and faulty dental work. The dentist will also check for damage caused by bruxism (teeth clenching or grinding), test for oral cancer, and look for signs of gum disease. (more…)

Porcelain Veneers for a Picture Perfect Smile

Are your teeth slightly crooked, stained or discolored, poorly spaced, or crowded? Porcelain veneers can give you a bright, nicely shaped smile. Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat, cosmetic dentists, place veneers in their Brighton, MA, dental practice. Find out how veneers can improve your smile.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are cosmetic dental restorations that fit over front teeth to cover, reshape, or whiten them. We offer ultrathin veneers that are handcrafted of a fine ceramic that comes in a variety of color and opacity options to blend with, or improve, the color of your natural teeth. (more…)

Don’t Take a Vacation from Preventing Oral Cancer

It’s summertime, which means you and your family are probably hitting the beach, spending time in the pool, or enjoying other outdoor activities. But while you’re preparing your skin for your day in the sun, you could be forgetting one vital area: your mouth. When you apply sunscreen, it is imperative that you remember the lips, and today we will explain why.

How the Sun Can Damage Your Lips

You’ve probably experienced chapped, flaky lips from staying in the sun too long. But that’s not the only damage that the sun can wreak. The sun’s harmful UV rays can cause skin cancer of the mouth. While lip cancer only makes up about 10% of all skin cancers, and the Oral Cancer Foundation says its numbers are declining, lip cancer is three times as aggressive as other forms of skin cancer.

How You Can Protect Your Lips from Cancer

Regular lip balm can keep your lips soft and smooth, but it can’t protect you from cancer. In fact, shiny lip gloss magnifies the sun’s rays and increases the chances of skin cancer. Everyone should wear lip product with an SPF of 30 or higher with an official seal from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Symptoms of Lip Cancer

Knowing the symptoms of lip cancer is another important way of protecting yourself.
The condition can be easily confused with a cold sore, so educate yourself on the differences. The National Cancer Institute provides these specific signs of lip cancer:

  • Sore on the lip or in the mouth that doesn’t heal.
  • Lump on or thickening of the lips.
  • Pain, bleeding, or numbness on the lips or in the mouth.

Although those symptoms are not necessarily signs of lip cancer, you should report any abnormalities with your lips or mouth to your dentist or physician. Dr. Thomas Villani or Dr. Richard Kondrat can check your mouth for the signs of oral cancer during a routine dental checkup or any time you notice alarming changes.

At Brighton Family Dental, we are dedicated to keeping your family’s smiles healthy by preventing oral health issues. Please call our Brighton, MA, dental practice today at (617) 562.5210.

Choosing a Massachusetts Family and Cosmetic Dentist

As family, cosmetic, and restorative dentists, Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat know you have choices when it comes to your dental care.

Choosing a dental team to provide care for you and your loved ones can be a tough job. There are many things to consider when selecting a dental practice. First, be sure to ask a lot of questions. Whether on the phone or in the dental office, ask every question that pops into your mind, even if you’re afraid it might sound silly to the doctor or dental staff. Voice your concerns, tell the dentist exactly what you’re thinking and, overall, be honest and expect honesty in return. If you get the feeling that the dentist is holding back, only giving you partial information, or not addressing your questions and concerns at all, you need to look elsewhere for dental care.

Secondly, do your research. Check out the dental practice’s website and blog. Make sure the dentist has the ability to give you the care you need. For example, if you’re looking for a practice that can treat you and your kids, make sure the office and staff are kid-friendly, but can also help you maintain a healthy smile. If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry, find out what procedures the dentist offers and determine if treatment there can give you the smile you’ve been dreaming of.

Also, if a dentist has credible training and is a member of reputable organizations, such as the American Dental Association and individual state dental societies, they are likely to include it on their website and make it obvious to patients in various ways. Often, a dentist that invests time and money into dental organizations has the ability to provide a higher quality of care and services to patients.

It’s imperative that you trust your dentist 100 percent, so don’t just settle for someone who can get the job done. Dr. Villani, Dr. Kondrat, and the team at Brighton Family Dental make it their top priority to provide top-notch dental care to families in Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, and the surrounding areas of Massachusetts.

Take a look at the Brighton Family Dental testimonials and photo gallery to see and hear about the experiences of past patients who walked away from treatment happy and in love with their new smiles.

The History of Dental Implants: From Ancient Egypt to Brighton, MA

As the leading tooth replacement option of today, it seems like dental implants would be a recent technological advancement. The first dental implants, however, date back more than 1,300 years to the ancient Mayans and Egyptians.

Take a look at this timeline to see how dental implantology has evolved over time.

Ancient History: Ancient Mayans and Egyptians hammer teeth-shaped pieces of shell, ivory, and animal bone directly into their gums to replace teeth.

1700s: Lost teeth are replaced using the teeth of human donors, but the process is unsuccessful due to infection from the foreign materials used during the placement of the implant.

1800s: Gold, platinum, and other metal alloys are placed into sockets where teeth had been freshly extracted. Long-term success rates are poor.

1952: Per-Ingvar Branemark, a Swedish doctor, accidentally discovers that titanium can bond with living bone tissue when he places a titanium screw in an animal’s thighbone. He has the idea to use titanium posts to bond dental implants to patients’ jawbones.

1965: Modern dental implants make their world debut! The process of implanting titanium in bone for the purpose of rooting prosthetic teeth begins.

1981: Branemark publishes a paper reporting all the data he had collected about titanium implants.

1982: The Toronto Conference on Osseointegration in Clinical Dentistry creates the first guidelines for successful implant dentistry.

2002: An ADA survey shows that oral and oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, and general dentists near double the number of implants performed per dentist between 1995 and 2002.

Today: Dental implants are the number one tooth replacement procedure.

Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat will work together to consult with you and plan your implant procedure. Dr. Kondrat will complete and oversee the fabrication and placement of your implant prosthetic. After a short healing period, Dr. Villani will place the crown, bridge, or denture to complete your implant. For your convenience, the entire procedure can be performed at Brighton Dental Group, located in Brighton, Massachusetts, thus eliminating the need for you to go to multiple locations and doctors to get the smile you’ve been searching for.

Call Brighton Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to reserve your consultation appointment.

All About Baby Teeth!

Baby teeth begin to erupt when a child is 5 or 6 months old — or as late as 1 year. These little chompers will begin to multiply until your child has 20 primary (baby) teeth. Not only are baby teeth great  for chewing new textures of food, but they’re equally important for developing speech. Can you imagine trying to speak without your teeth? Also called milk teeth, primary teeth are a placeholder for permanent teeth that surface in later years. These baby teeth have a lot to live up to!

Dr. Villani and Dr. Kondrat recommend that your child visit the dentist by one year of age. At this “happy visit,” the dentist will talk to you about the oral health of your child and check for any signs of tooth decay or development issues. He can also demonstrate the proper way to clean your wiggle-worm’s teeth. Even though it may seem impossible, it’s not! Some children may like brushing their teeth if they see Mom or Dad doing it.

The earlier you introduce oral hygiene to your little one, the better. Children will know that brushing teeth is something they must do, like taking a bath to keep their bodies clean. Try buying a toothbrush that has a favorite character on it, like Winnie the Pooh or Buzz from Toy Story. Your child may prefer a toothbrush that plays music. Remember, children should not use adult toothpaste. Children under the age of 2 should use fluoride-free toothpaste. Kids tend to swallow toothpaste, and over time, fluoride can cause white, horizontal lines on teeth. These lines are known as fluorosis. So, make sure you purchase children’s toothpaste, as well as a child’s sized toothbrush, for your baby.

After the initial happy visit, Dr. Villani or Dr. Kondrat will want to see your children every 6 months to evaluate their oral health. Call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to schedule visits for the smiles closest to your heart.

Keep Your Smile from Showing Your Age, Part 2

Did you know that your age shows in your smile?

Just like with any other part of your body, aging affects your teeth and oral health. Follow these tips to keep your smile healthy and looking great.

Preventing Stains on Your Teeth

Certain foods-especially coffee, tea, and red wine-can stain teeth. Tobacco, both smoked and chewed, also discolors teeth. Avoid getting stains on your teeth by following these steps.

If you still aren’t satisfied with the color of your teeth, talk to the dentists at Brighton Family Dental Group about teeth whitening options.

What You Can Do:

  • Avoid foods that stain teeth.
  • Brush regularly to remove plaque buildup, which will help your teeth resist stains.
  • Have your teeth cleaned professionally every six months. Your dentist or dental hygienist can remove plaque and tartar that a toothbrush can’t reach.

Preventing Gum Problems

Gum disease is the biggest threat to destroying your smile. The risk of gum problems increases with age, especially as pockets form at the gum line where bacteria grow. If left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflammation that damages connective tissue and even bone, leading to tooth loss.

What You Can Do:

  • Brush and floss regularly to remove bacteria.
  • For added protection, use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Go to your dentist for a regular checkup every six months. This is very important for detecting gum disease early.
  • Since gum disease is an inflammatory process, eating foods that suppress inflammation may help. Growing evidence suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help dampen inflammation.

Preventing Dry Mouth as You Age

Called xerostomia, dry mouth can drastically increase the risk of decay and gum problems. A healthy flow of saliva helps clean teeth and neutralize acids that otherwise eat away at the tooth enamel.

What You Can Do:

  • A drop in saliva levels can very quickly cause problems. At the first sign of dry mouth, talk to your doctor.
  • A change in prescriptions may help alleviate the problem. If not, your doctor may recommend chewing sugar-free gum, as it increases saliva flow.
  • Saliva-like oral mouthwashes are available to supplement saliva.

Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat are family and cosmetic dentists serving patients in Brighton, Cambridge, Watertown, and the surrounding communities. Call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to reserve your appointment.