Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday Sweets Can Be Tough on Teeth

The winter holidays are known for sweet treats and tempting goodies, but that doesn't mean that you have to end up at the dentist with cavities in January.

How do sweet foods and drinks cause cavities?

When you eat sugary foods or drinks, naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and create acids as a by-product. These acids then wear down the tooth enamel, making it weaker and more susceptible to tooth decay as well as a host of other problems, including gingivitis.
Snacking on sweets throughout the day or during an extended period of time (such as at a holiday party) is especially harmful, since damaging acids form in the mouth every time you eat a sugary snack and continue to affect the teeth for at least 20 minutes afterwards.
Snacking on sweets and sugary beverages throughout the day can increase the chance of tooth decay and gum disease. Brushing and flossing after snacks definitely reduces bacteria.

Simple steps for holiday oral care

The best way to avoid cavities while still enjoying your holiday indulgences is to practice good oral hygiene. Here are some tips to help:
  • Eating sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods as part of a balanced meal is better than eating them alone. The body produces more saliva to help digest larger meals, which washes away more food and helps neutralize harmful acids before they can attack teeth.
  • Foods that take a long time to chew can damage teeth. That's because sticky foods, including nutritious choices like raisins, dates and dried fruit, hold acid against teeth longer than do other foods. Try to limit your consumption of these foods.
  • After consuming high-acid food (fruits) or drinks (wine), rinse with water before brushing your teeth to prevent tooth erosion from the acids.
  • Keep a toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste handy (for example, in your pocket or purse or store these in the glove compartment of your car) so that you can brush right after eating at holiday parties. An added benefit is that you are less likely to eat after you brush your teeth, so you may end up eating less at parties.
  • If you're unable to brush your teeth after eating, rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water or chewing sugar-free gum will help to wash away food particles, produce more saliva and neutralize acids in your mouth.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why You Need a Prosthodontist

Whether you are a new patient of have been with us for a while, you may not completely understand what a Prosthodontist is. I hope this explanation will help you see the value of your specialized treatment!

Prosthodontists are experts in the restoration and replacement of teeth- they make smiles look beautiful and function the way they should. After completing four ears of dental school, Prosthodontists like myself receive and extra three years of specialized training in an American Dental Association (ADA) accredited graduate program. Prosthodontics is one of the nine dental specialties recognized by the ADA.

Many people like to thing of Prosthodontists as the "quarterback" of a dental treatment plan. They regularly lead teams of general dentists, specialists and other health professionals to develop solutions to your dental needs. Prosthodontists provide the highest level of dental care, creating generations of beautiful, healthy smiles.

The Benefits of Going to a "Pro"
Did you know that some dentists perform reconstructive dental work after just a weekend course on a procedure? That may be okay, but you should know that a Prosthodontists specialized education means you're getting a professional, rather than a satisfactory, level of care.

If you are seeking cosmetic or reconstructive dental work, you should do your research before making a decision in order to ensure proper care. As ADA recognized specialists, Prosthodontists are qualified to offer service in state-of-the-art procedures and techniques, such as:
Rigorous training and experience provide Prosthodontists with a special understanding of the dynamics of a smile, the preservation of a healthy mouth and the creation of tooth replacement.

Call our office at 757-486-4880 today to schedule your consultation!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Stress is a fact of life and unfortunately our faces take the impact. Did you know that holding tension in your face is quite common? Many people who hold stress and tension in their facial muscles grind their teeth? One tool for stress relief I recommend to my patients is described below. This is excerpted from "Hormone Hell to Hormone Well," by Dr CW Randolf (pp153-154).  Try it!

"The Relaxation Response is a technique developed by Herbert Benson, MD at Harvard Medical School. It has been tested extensively and is explained in detail in The Relaxation Response by Dr. Benson. The technique works! Set aside ten or twenty minutes today and try it. Sit quietly in a comfortable position, then:

1.       Close your eyes.

2.       Deeply relax all of your muscles, beginning at your feet and progressing up to your face. Keep them relaxed.

3.       Breathe through your nose. Become aware of your breathing. As you breathe out, say the word “one” silently to yourself. For example, breathe in…out-one; in…out-one, and so on. Breathe easily and naturally.

4.       Continue for ten to twenty minutes. You may open your eyes to check the time, but do not use an alarm. When you finish, sit quietly for several minutes, first with your eyes closed and later with your eyes opened. Do not stand up for a few minutes.

5.       Do not worry about whether you are successful in achieving a deep level of relaxation. Maintain a passive attitude and permit relaxation to occur at its own pace. When distracting thoughts occur, try to ignore them by not dwelling upon them and returning to repeating one. With practice, the response should come with little effort.

Practice the technique once or twice daily, but not within two hours after any meal, since the digestive process seems to interfere with the body’s ability to fully relax."

Friday, December 2, 2011

Understanding Your Benefits and Insurance

Open enrollment is ending at most major employers, and whether you're experiencing a change in plans this year or not, chances are you still have questions.

The most common misconception about employer sponsored plans is the assumption that all offerings are for (health/dental/vision/life) insurance. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Many coverage plans are not insurance, but benefit and in some cases, discount plans. This means that should the need arise for care, you are not necessarily insured, but can utilize a benefit amount (consider it an allowance for care that is exhaustible) or are eligible for a discount on services from many providers.

Traditional insurance contains detailed descriptions of what is covered and exactly how it is covered. While there is often a benefit to seeing an "in network" provider, often times large insurance companies still offer exceptional benefits to employees who choose to be patients of providers who are not  "in network." This is important because while HMO's of days past dictated who patients could see for care, modern benefits for "out of network" providers mean you may never need to change your doctor. While you may incur minimal out of pocket costs, not having to change your provider means you can develop a good relationship and receive even better care. Below is information you need to know about traditional insurance.

What you should know:

1.       Insurance coverage is a contractual agreement between a patient and the insurance company, not with Dr. Dooley or any other care provider.

2.       Dr. Dooley is happy to file claims on your behalf, the patient. However, it is your responsibility to monitor the details of the coverage and claim status with the insurance company.

3.       It is customary for insurance companies to pay out dental benefits on a monthly or quarterly basis. This means that should your insurance end or change for any reason, before treatment has ended, the remaining insurance balance is your responsibility.

4.       Any Information obtained from your insurance company by an employee o Dr. Dooley is not a guarantee of payment. If for any reason an insurance company pays less than the estimated benefit, you will be held responsible for the balance.

5.       It is the patient’s responsibility to provide Dr. Dooley with any changes in insurance coverage within 10 days of the change.

If you are unaware of your Dental Insurance benefits, please call the number on the back of your insurance are or the personnel department for your employer and ask the following questions.

1.       Has our policy taken effect?

2.       What are our benefits? Can you explain dental co-pays to me?

3.       Is there a waiting period for any specific treatment?

4.       What is the mailing address for claims?

If you have any other questions about insurance coverage, or would like us to investigate your personal plan, don't hesitate to ask. We are always willing to help you better understand your health care options!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

MORE than you pay for!

Do you think of a trip to the dentist as a quick set of x-rays, a “rinse and spit” with a hygienist and a “once over” by the doctor? We know you do. But that’s just the beginning of what you’ll receive as a patient of mine, Mary Dooley, DDS.

Your office visit actually consists of a professional scaling and polishing, full mouth exam, a soft tissue exam, a hard tissue exam, head and neck exam, bite evaluation, and special custom preparations for your visit.

Free Health and Blood Pressure Screenings
Free Oral Cancer Screenings
Free Cosmetic Evaluation
Free Home Care Tools
Call today!