Friday, June 21, 2013

Supportive Spouses & Case Success!

Sitting at the front desk in our office, our Office Coordinator heard him say it loud and clear, "that thing is going to make you look so silly. Really? I mean it's just so sexy." The husband of a long time patient was speaking to his wife about her new night guard. It was just a common ribbing from one spouse to the other, simple teasing, joking really; no harm, no foul, right?

A major reason people treated by dentists are not successful with night guards and occlusal guard care is because they don't wear them, either enough or at all in some cases. Your guard may need checked and adjusted, bring it in! Many men and women we've spoken to admit they don't wear them because of their spouse.

An occlusal guard can help patients with a variety of dental
concerns including TMJ, bruxism, mobility and more. (Photo
from Total Care Dentistry)
Our immediate reaction might be considered rather harsh. We wonder if the unsupportive spouse would prefer to have a mate without natural teeth. In some cases, that could be the end result of untreated grinding (bruxism), TMJ, and other serious dental conditions.

According to Dr. Mary Dooley, there are different kinds of guards made for specific reasons individual to each patient. Custom made occlusal orthotics are very hard guards that help with the treatment of TMJ. Night guards help with patients who grind their teeth causing wear beyond what is typical, cracks in the teeth in some cases. Guards are also made for many patients to protect smile reconstruction. Guards are not only an investment in the restored comfort of patients, but also an insurance policy for the investment made in valuable treatment already performed.

We know the husband in our example wasn't trying to do permanent damage to his wife's psyche or teeth. Still, take a moment to consider your spouse. It's the smile that stares at you that you'll be enjoying (or not) later.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

The 411 on Dental Emergencies

Accidents happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth. Traumatic cases may need emergency room attention, but  here are some tips for common dental emergencies:

· For a knocked-out permanent or adult tooth, try placing the tooth back in the socket without touching the root. If that’s not possible, place it in between your cheek and gums, in milk, or use a tooth preservation product that has the ADA Seal of Acceptance. Then, call us right away.

· For a cracked tooth, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean the area. Put cold compresses on the face to keep any swelling down. See your dentist ASAP.

· If you bite your tongue or lip, clean the area gently with water and apply a moist cold compress.

· For toothaches, rinse the mouth with warm water to clean it out. Gently use dental floss to remove any food caught between the teeth. Do NOT put aspirin on the aching tooth or gum tissues. It may cause a burn on your cheek or gums. You can swallow an aspirin as you would for any other pain.

· For objects stuck in the mouth, try to gently remove with floss but do not try to remove it with sharp or pointed instruments.

There are a number of simple precautions you can take to avoid accident and injury to the teeth:

· Wear a mouthguard when participating in sports or recreational activities. A custom made guard will protect your teeth far better than one bought over the counter.

· Avoid chewing ice, popcorn kernels and hard candy, all of which can crack a tooth.

· Use scissors, NEVER your teeth, to cut things.

     “It is important for patients to  follow with a dental visit. X-rays are imperative, you can’t always feel a problem inside your mouth. Many silent problems are discovered with x-rays and can be treated early and with less discomfort,” says Dr. Mary Dooley.

     At Total Care Dentistry, our patient promise means we will see your emergency the same day. We never want you to be in pain, and will even see new patients on a moments notice. Give us a call at 757-486-4880. (Source: ADA)


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Candy doesn't cause cavities! (ok, keep reading...)

      We've all heard the phrase "sweet tooth," and many of us have one! It might be that secret desire to go gorge yourself on a giant ice cream sundae with all the sprinkles, nuts and fixing's  possible at the local self-serve ice cream bar, or maybe its that gotta-have-it chocolate bar you grab at the
convenience store when no one's looking. Sometimes you've just got to give in to that need for a sweet fix! We know you do it, we do too!

      No one knows for sure where the phrase originated, some believe it was derived from the toothache you may feel when eating sugar, others say it's just the food-mouth connection. While opinions are split, people have referred to the "sweet tooth" since the 1400's as the desire to eat sweet foods. You can imagine our surprise when we staffers at Total Care Dentistry heard Dr. Dooley say it's OK to have sweets, "go ahead, it's that time of year," she said recently. What????? "Sweets don't give you cavities, that's only part of the story," she continued.

      We had to hear more! Did we just get a free pass to eat sweets? Really? They won't hurt our teeth? Turns out Dr. Dooley's main point was that eating sugary treats isn't bad, as long as you don't let the residue sit inside your mouth afterwards. Candies and treats that are heavily chewed are concerning when you don't brush the leftovers out of the crevices of your teeth. Removing the gummy remnants and even flossing it out of tight spaces makes a major difference!  Don't take this the wrong way, sugar isn't good for you. But simply eating a piece of candy won't hurt your teeth as long as you are diligent about your oral hygiene. Otherwise, the sugar you ate, can eat your teeth. Here's the scientific explanation for all you detail types:

"When sugar is consumed, particularly sucrose, naturally occurring bacteria inside the mouth interact with the sugar and produce acids that demineralize enamel on teeth. This demineralization process creates dental caries (lesions on teeth), which produce pain and, if left untreated, will erode and destroy teeth."  (National Institutes of Health)

That said, if you experience pain or sensitivity when eating sweets, that could signal a problem. Please schedule an appointment to have the tooth examined and treated.

Willy Wonka's dad was a dentist after all, he had to know something about the whole thing, right?


So the next time a major candy holiday comes around, you can tell you Trick or Treater or Easter basket binger to go ahead... they may get a sugar high and bounce off the walls for a bit... but as long as they brush after they chow down, they should be just fine! Oh, and you should be too!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sterilization practices key to patient safety

            The case of an Oklahoma Oral Surgeon in trouble  because of allegations of wrong-doing are unsettling to many dental patients. The Tulsa area doctor is accused of using unsanitary and unsterilized surgical tools and equipment on patients in an office he admits has a “higher than normal proportion” of patients of HIV and hepatitis. The surgeon has surrendered his license, still nearly 500 patients have had to be tested for the diseases at the local health department.
            The news is scary, and sad because it is preventable.  Federal and state guidelines are in place to protect against the spread of blood-borne pathogens. We want to assure patients of Total Care Dentistry that we us the most up-to-date methods of sterilization to ensure the health and safety of our patients and staff.  Our staff undergoes routine training at regular intervals to make sure all OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) and CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommendations and continuing education in the area are completed.  We were excited to welcome an infection control expert into our suite for an extensive review earlier this spring!    
       According to the National Institutes of health Hepatitis is more common than most people think. About 4.4 million Americans have the recurring liver infection and most of them don’t even know it.
     This article was republished from the April edition of the Patient Connection, a monthly newsletter produced by Total Care Dentistry, and Dr. Mary T. Dooley, DDS.



Your FAQ's: When do I replace my toothbrush?

The Your FAQ's titled posts are truly inspired by our patients and prospective patients. Please take the time to read these thorough explanations of the most common questions we hear in our practice.

Q: "When do I replace my toothbrush?"

A: This is a question we hear quite often. Dr. Dooley's
answer is always the same, even though your toothbrush
usage and kind you use my be different than that of another patient!

You can use the same toothbrush for as long as it maintains it original shape. Ignore those color-changing, or fading bristles, the shape is what matters. Most toothbrushes can keep their shape for about three to six months. If your brush is wearing out sooner, you could be brushing too hard. (Yes, that's a big problem! We'll tell you more about that another time.)

Still don't know if your toothbrush is good enough to keep getting the job done? You can also bring your toothbrush with you to your next visit. We'll take a glance and tell you if it's time to get a new one. Schedule your next appointment online on our website or Facebook page or call us at 757-486-4880.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Beach Dentist Shares Clean Dentistry Record

Press Release
February 18, 2013

Beach Dentist Shares Clean Dentistry Record
Every patient has the right to know their healthcare provider is the upstanding, quality individual they purport themselves to be. We understand the unfortunate news of one local practice may have you feeling nervous about the qualifications of the dental health professionals that care for your family. That’s why we at Total Care Dentistry are willing to publicly release a current copy of Dr. Mary T. Dooley’s Department of Health Professions Board of Dentistry license.

With zero complaints or other filings, Dr. Dooley says she is proud of her outstanding record as a Lieutenant Commander in the United States Naval Dental Corps and exemplary record in private practice since opening her doors in 2002. Dr. Dooley has held a Virginia Dentistry license for nearly 30 years.

Dr. Pat Baker, President of the Tidewater Dental Association, spoke with Total Care Dentistry today. He says measures to maintain accessibility to information are in place. "Although we are not a policing agency, we do have a patient relations committee for members of the Tidewater Dental Association." Dr. Baker explained the committee facilitates communications between doctors and concerned patients. We want to help alleviate your concerns and answer any questions about your case and our history you may have.

The Total Care Dentistry office is located at 114 S. Witchduck Road in Virginia Beach. Feel free to call us at 757-486-4880 or schedule a time to speak one on one with our knowledgeable staff about how we can help you.

For questions about Total Care Dentistry or Dr. Mary T. Dooley and her Virginia Beach dental services, please contact office coordinator Stephanie Beeler at 757-486-4880.


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Thursday, February 14, 2013

First Impressions Are Everything!

Cupid's arrow could be deflected by a crooked tooth! It  may seem shocking, but a recent study by Kelton Reseach says we're all being judged at love, in life, and at work, by our teeth! There appears to be a perception that the nicer looking a person's teeth are, the better off the individual in many categories. People are perceived as being nicer, happier, wealthier and more successful.

A more beautiful smile can be achieved in a variety of ways. Here at Total Care Dentistry, we provide smile makeovers with complete restorative services including crowns, dentures and implants.

  • Making a Lasting impression: It's important to have attractive teeth as part of a smile because pearly whites make a lasting first impression. Nearly one-third (29%) of Americans say the first aspect of someone's face they typically notice is his or her teeth, and 24% say this is also the facial aspect that they remember the most after meeting someone.
  • Straight Teeth = Success: These thoughts also extend to perceptions regarding an individual's potential for professional and financial success. When looking at images, Americans perceive those with straight teeth to be 45% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a job when competing with someone who has a similar skill set and experience. They are also seen as 58% more likely to be successful, as well as 58% more likely to be wealthy.
  • Love at First Sight: Not if you have crooked teeth. When it comes to attracting a possible mate on a dating site, those with straight teeth are seen as 57% more likely than those with crooked teeth to get a date based on their picture alone.
  • Crooked Teeth = Dull Social Life: Nearly two in five (38%) Americans would consider not going on a second date with someone who has misaligned teeth. Far fewer would ditch someone who lives with his or her parents (23%).
  • Straight Teeth = Good Personality: People connect more positive descriptions with men and women who have straight teeth than those who have crooked teeth. Those with straight teeth are 21% more likely to be seen as happy, 47% more likely to be viewed as being healthy and 38% more likely to be perceived as smart.
  • A Nice Smile Goes a Long Way : Nearly three in four (73%) Americans would be more likely to trust someone with a nice smile than someone with a good job, outfit, or car.
  • The Want List: Having an attractive smile is something important to many Americans. Close to three in five (57%) Americans would rather have a nice smile than clear skin. What's more, 87% would forego something for a year in order to have a nice smile for the rest of their life; more than one-third of these folks would give up dessert (39%) or vacations (37%).

Monday, February 11, 2013

Your FAQ's: Toothpaste 101

(Blog note: The following article is edited from a post of the same title on the website Everyday Health. Follow the link to read the full text.)

Toothpaste is not always paste. It can be a gel, powder, or paste that you brush onto your teeth and gums to help get rid of accumulating plaque and improve your oral health. According to the American Dental Association (ADA), toothpaste is important to oral health because it helps to remove plaque and its bacterial buildup on teeth and fights off periodontal (gum) disease. Most toothpaste also contains fluoride, which bolsters tooth enamel and fights tooth decay.

What's in Toothpaste?
The exact composition of different toothpastes may vary slightly depending on the benefits being touted by the particular brand (such as whitening teeth or reducing gum inflammation). In general, toothpastes include the following ingredients:
  • Gentle abrasives, such as magnesium carbonate, dehydrated silica gels, calcium carbonate, hydrated aluminum oxides, and phosphate salts.
  • Glycerol, sorbitol, or other so-called “humectants,” substances that keep the toothpaste from drying out.
  • Thickeners like seaweed or mineral colloids, synthetic cellulose, or natural gum to give the toothpaste a homogeneous appearance and texture.
  • Fluoride to help make tooth enamel stronger and more resistant to decay.
  • Flavoring agents that do not cause tooth decay, such as saccharin.
  • Detergents, such as sodium lauryl sarcosinate, to make the toothpaste foamy.
How to Pick the Right Toothpaste for Your Teeth
      With the dizzying array of toothpaste choices in a typical drugstore aisle, it can be daunting to try and find one that's right for you. “One almost needs a PhD degree to weather the dental 'aisle of confusion',” says Richard H. Price, DMD, spokesperson for the ADA, and a former clinical instructor at Boston University Henry M. Goldman School of Dental Medicine.
     When choosing a toothpaste, the first order of business is to make sure that the product is safe and will do what it claims. Toothpastes containing fluoride are regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) since they make disease-fighting claims. These products will display a standard “drug facts” panel on the packaging listing active ingredients, warnings, and other relevant information. Toothpastes without fluoride are considered cosmetics and, therefore, do not fall under FDA supervision. However, these products should still provide a list of ingredients. To avoid counterfeit and unregulated products, steer away from any toothpaste that doesn’t clearly state ingredient information or is not properly labeled.
     Confused toothpaste shoppers can find additional guidance by looking for the ADA seal of approval. This symbol indicates that the manufacturer has participated in a voluntary testing program conducted by the ADA to gauge a product’s safety and effectiveness. Any toothpaste containing sugar, for example, will not get the ADA seal of approval.
“With the ADA seal on it, you know that it will do what it says,” notes Dr. Price, who is retired from a 35-year private group dental practice in Newton, Mass.
     Hundreds of oral care products bear the ADA seal. To see a complete list of ADA-approved toothpastes, check out the ADA Web site.

The Benefits of Fluoride in Toothpaste
     A key ingredient in toothpaste is fluoride. Fluoride has broad benefits for people, both young and old. “Fluoride toothpaste is not just for kids — it is beneficial for us our whole lives,” says Price. “The fluoride in the toothpaste heals and remineralizes microscopic cavities as they form, it hardens the tooth surface, making it more resistant to the acid attack of bacteria, and slows down the action of these acid-producing bacteria.”

Fluoride Safety
     Although the FDA requires fluoride toothpaste to carry a warning label urging parents to contact a poison control center if their child accidentally consumes a large quantity of toothpaste, the ADA’s Council on Scientific Affairs takes the position that the FDA warning overstates the risks of ingested fluoride to children. According to the ADA statement, children cannot swallow enough fluoride from toothpaste during normal brushing to cause any serious problems. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, Price recommends limiting children under age 5 to a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and supervising their brushing since most young children haven’t learned to rinse rather than swallow at the end of brushing.

Toothpaste for Particular Tooth and Gum Conditions
     No matter what your personal oral health needs are, there’s likely a toothpaste for you.
If you have sensitive teeth, look for products with ingredients such as potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. To fight gingivitis or tartar buildup, choose a toothpaste that contains pyrophosphates, triclosan, and zinc citrate. In addition, you can find products designed to combat bad breath or formulated with special abrasives to help whiten stained teeth.
“If you have special needs, such as teeth that are sensitive to cold or heat, or problems with tartar buildup, look for toothpastes that address these issues that carry the ADA seal, or speak with your dentist for a recommendation,” Price advises.

Medically reviewed by Cynthia Haines, MD

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Wednesday humor

Happy Wednesday! We hope these will humor you through the rest of the week!

What makes you smile?