Today's Dental of Boxborough

Clear Braces or Dental Veneers for Crooked Teeth – Acton, Boxborough, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Today's Dental of BoxboroughAs an adult, you may need braces, but you certainly don’t want metal brackets on your teeth. You have another option, clear braces. But, even so, at Today’s Dental of Boxborough we often get questioned about the choice between dental veneers or clear aligners.

Veneers or Clear Braces for Crooked Teeth

Dental veneers are an option when you are considering improving your smile. When you have crooked teeth, you most certainly want to improve the appearance of your teeth. Veneers can do that. But, there is more going on than just crooked teeth. Veneers only cover up dental imperfections, they don’t correct them. This means that you are only covering up and not fixing periodontal problems. Additionally, veneers are applied to the front side of the teeth only, this requires the removal of the surface tooth enamel which is an irreversible procedure.

Veneers are more of a temporary fix rather than a long-term fix. They usually need to be replaced every 5 to 10 years. While braces can be expensive, the cost of replacing veneers can be very expensive in the long run. Food, drink and lifestyle habits can damage and stain veneers.

If left untreated, many orthodontic problems can often lead to more serious dental and health issues. For straighter teeth and a proper bite, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

Teeth Whitening for the Best Results – Acton, Boxborough, MA

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, February 16, 2017

Today's Dental of Boxborough, MALike a shiny new watch or a sparkling personality, white teeth are an ornamentation. Both men and women are attracted to a bright white smile. Additional research has shown job applicants with white teeth are more likely to be hired than yellow-toothed applicants.

From whitening toothpastes and over-the-counter strips to dental office teeth whitening procedures, all tooth-whitening measures employ hydrogen peroxide to clean away stains. The only differences are the concentrations of hydrogen peroxide employed and how they’re held against your teeth.

Of course, cost is also a factor. Starting with the least-potent (but least-expensive) whitener, toothpastes contain 1% to 1.5% concentrations of hydrogen peroxide. That’s adequate to clean surface stains but it won’t penetrate your tooth enamel. The enamel tends to hold the deepest, hardest-to-remove blemishes—that patina of black coffee or red wine that gradually accumulates on your smile like vehicle pollution on the sides of old brick buildings.

So if your teeth are seriously stained, a whitening toothpaste alone won’t get the job done—no matter how hard you brush. In fact, brushing forcefully can damage your gums and is never advisable.

Over-the-counter gels or strips are the next level up on the hydrogen-peroxide/price spectrum. They’re usually in the 6% to 10% range. At these concentrations, the hydrogen peroxide can penetrate microscopic holes and fissures in your enamel to bubble away stains.

While over-the-counter options can be very effective, the key is to apply them evenly and keep them on as long as directed. Strips are often better than gels because they stay in place. If the strips or gel are applied incorrectly, your teeth could look unevenly white. Gum irritation is also possible.

But remember this important caveat: whitening agents do not work on caps, crowns or fillings. If you’ve had some dental work done, you should speak with your dentist before you whiten your teeth to be sure the results will look uniform.

Another step up in both cost and potency is dentist supplied “tray-and-gel systems,” which contain hydrogen peroxide in the 10% to 15% range and can cost several hundred dollars. After custom fitting your mouth with a mold, your dentist supplies a take home tray and whitening gel for you to use at home. The custom tray ensures the gel is evenly applied, and it can produce some pretty impressive results.

The final and most effective option is settling into your dentist’s chair for a series of 10- to 15-minute whitening treatments. With hydrogen peroxide concentrations as high as 35%, these treatments can make your smile a dozen shades brighter.

Some dental experts caution against trying some of the more intensive whitening procedures at home. The American Dental Association (ADA) says that while published research suggests most bleaching procedures are relatively safe, there can be some damage to the tissues in a person's mouth. The group advises people to consult with their dentist before trying a new whitening procedure. Additionally, a patient’s tooth discoloration may be caused by a specific problem that either will not be affected by whitening agents and/or may be a sign of a disease or condition that requires dental therapy.

So how white should you go? That’s really a personal preference thing. While some people want their teeth as white as possible, people with “natural” looking teeth scored just as highly in terms of attractiveness when compared to people with ultra-bright white smiles.

It’s also possible to over-whiten your teeth. If you whiten excessively, the tooth enamel can actually become translucent, which can make the teeth look blue or gray. That’s not harmful in the long-term, but blue teeth isn’t a hot look.

While über-white teeth may not be any healthier than stained teeth, there are dental health benefits associated with a whiter smile. People who’ve had their teeth whitened are better at brushing and flossing,” he says. When you’re proud of something, you take better care it.

For more information on in-office teeth whitening, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.


Crooked Teeth Can Lead to Bullying in Kids - Boston, Acton, Boxborough, MA

Joseph Coupal - Friday, February 10, 2017

Today's Dental of Boxborough, Acton, BoxboroughUnattractive teeth in 11-12 year olds may be linked to bullying, according to a study in the American Journal of Orthodontics and Dento-facial Orthopedics.

The study, which was conducted among sixth grade students, reveals a significant percentage of children experiencing bullying as a result of dental and/or facial appearance.

Teeth were the number one targeted physical feature to increase a child’s chance of being bullied, followed by the child’s strength and weight.

The panel of orthodontists report that they have treated many young patients who were teased and even bullied because of their teeth.

According to the study, the four most commonly reported dental facial features targeted by bullies were spacing between the teeth, missing teeth, the shape or color of the teeth and prominent upper anterior (front) teeth.

Teeth were identified as the number one problem by students’ surveyed, and 50% of the victims also recognized teeth as a cause of bullying.

Orthodontists have long been aware of the relationship between serious dental problems and self-esteem – no matter the age of the patient. A person's smile is very important in communication and interpersonal relations.

Teeth are very noticeable, so when they are unsightly or poorly aligned, this can be an easy target for teasing or bullying.

Members of the AAO panel found that orthodontic treatment on a child being bullied can have a major beneficial psychological effect. Probably one of the most overlooked areas of research in orthodontics today is trauma and the psychosocial effects on a child with severe crowding and overbites. Treatment is one of the most beneficial things for a young kid’s self-esteem.

It is common to see a patient's self-esteem and self-confidence improve during orthodontic treatment, and even more when their braces are removed after treatment is completed.

For more information on children’s dentistry, braces and clear aligners, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.


Caring for your Teeth after Braces - Acton, Boxborough, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Today's Dental of BoxboroughIf you just finished wearing braces or clear teeth aligners, no matter how long you spent wearing them, there's still plenty of upkeep once you get them off. Teeth maintenance after braces is permanent if you want to keep that  new, great looking smile.  Here are tips to on how to care for your teeth once you're done with braces.

Care for your gums

If you had wire braces, your gums are in need of a little care. It is difficult keeping gums as healthy as they should be due because of the difficulty flossing with braces.  If your gums are slightly puffy, rinse with hot salt water three times a day until they are firm again.

Schedule a dentist appointment

There is a good chance your teeth were slightly neglected while you wore braces so once you're finished, schedule a dental check up, cleaning and dental x-rays with your dentist, especially if you wore metal braces, to check for tooth decay.

Whiten your teeth

After your braces come off, let them shine again with a teeth whitening. In-office whitening is the best for teens and for those who want to whiten without sensitivity.

Don'tstop wearing retainers

Far too many people choose not to wear their retainers after clear braces or braces. But you don’t wear your retainer regularly, your teeth will move back to their original position before treatment. Believe it or not, you should wear your retainers every night for the rest of your life if you want your teeth to stay straight.

For dental care before, during or after braces, contact Today's Dental of Boxborough.

New Beauty Magazine

Consider Child’s Age Before Teeth Whitening - Acton, Boxborough, MA

Joseph Coupal - Monday, January 23, 2017
Today's Dental of Boxborough, Acton, Boxborough, MANow that your child has a few more adult teeth, you might notice that your child’s pearly smile doesn’t seem as white now. This is because the top layer (enamel) of baby teeth is thinner and whiter than the enamel of adult teeth.

Over-the-counter tooth whitening products such as whitening strips, trays and gels have exploded in popularity in recent years. But should children use them?

Pediatric dentists usually do not suggest bleaching until all baby teeth have fallen out. If using at-home bleaching products, parents should read the product label for recommended ages and instructions.

Dark teeth can be caused by colas, dark juices, popsicles, coffee and other foods. A single dark tooth could be the result of an injury to the tooth, tooth decay or cavities.

Children should visit a dentist for a routine checkup and cleaning every six months. There, they can talk about whitening treatments.

Parents should hold off decisions about bleaching until after age 14, because all the baby teeth are gone by then and the adult teeth are fully erupted.

Start with an at-home kit with a low amount of bleach. It is important to pay attention to the side effects and stop bleaching if the teeth start to be sensitive or the gums become irritated.

A dentist should examine an injured tooth that has turned dark or teeth with white spots and decide if in-office bleaching would work better than at-home products.

Before your child uses whitening products to improve how their teeth look, remember that the tooth color difference won’t be as noticeable when all the adult teeth come in.

Once all the baby teeth are out, then the contrast with white color is gone and the permanent teeth do not look so yellow. Accept natural beauty over bleaching.

For more information on teeth whitening, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

Sedation Dentistry for Kids –Acton, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Today's Dental of Boxborough, Boxborough, MAQ. My 10-year-old has multiple cavities that need treating, and he’s really anxious despite the best efforts of our dentist. What can be done to make the necessary treatment as easy as possible for him?

A. Advances in sedation drug therapy have enabled many pediatric healthcare providers to treat children and teenagers who would otherwise be too anxious and fearful. Many pediatric dentists who treat kids are now performing more invasive procedures, such as filling cavities or extracting teeth, in conjunction with conscious sedation. This is a type of sedation in which the child feels completely calm and relaxed but can still breathe normally on his or her own and respond to certain stimuli. General anesthesia by contrast is the total loss of consciousness, and is therefore not considered conscious sedation.

Conscious sedation can achieve a minimal, moderate, or even deep suppression of consciousness — after which the child will remember nothing about the procedure. Minimal conscious sedation is the most commonly used for the treatment of fear and anxiety with invasive dental procedures. It allows the child to retain the ability to breathe independently and respond appropriately and normally to physical tactile stimulation and verbal commands. Minimal (which can progress to moderate) conscious sedation is commonly achieved with medication taken by mouth (orally). Deep conscious sedation usually relies on the use of sedative medication delivered through a vein (intravenously). All of the above can be administered in an office setting by a dentist who is specially trained and qualified in dental sedation.

Because reducing fear and anxiety is not the same as preventing pain, minimal or moderate oral conscious sedation is often accompanied by a nitrous oxide/oxygen combination, which when inhaled produces some pain relief; this is used with a local anesthetic delivered by injection. If your child is to be sedated at the dental office, you will typically be instructed to feed him a low-fat dinner the night before and then have him refrain from all food or liquid from that point until after treatment.

A sedated child must be continually monitored during dental treatment for vital signs: heart rate, respiration rate, blood pressure, temperature, and blood oxygen level — by a designated auxiliary staff member. Ventilation (air entering and leaving the lungs) may also be monitored by measuring exhaled carbon dioxide.

The American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and the American Dental Association have jointly established criteria for the use of oral conscious sedation in pediatric dentistry.

Just as in medicine, the dentist performing oral conscious sedation must have the training necessary to provide this service safely and effectively.

Pediatric oral conscious sedation in both medicine and dentistry is becoming more widespread as newer, safer drugs are being used; as practitioners are gaining advanced training and experience in their use; and as better monitoring and emergency preparedness equipment is made available at lower costs. It’s a choice being made by many parents like you who want their children to receive necessary dental care without lingering, unpleasant memories that may last into adulthood.

For more information on pediatric dentistry under general anesthesia, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

Dentistry Under General Anesthesia for Kids– Acton, Boxborough, MA

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Todays Dental of Boxborough, Boxborough, MA Safety is of greatest concern for children receiving dental sedation. Dentists may recommend sedation for long, complex procedures and for patients who are especially young or nervous. Sedating a patient is a safe procedure, and parents can help reduce the risks and stress level for their child before, during and after the treatment.

Types of Sedation

Oral sedation, nitrous oxide and intravenous sedation are the major types of sedation dentists provide. Oral sedation is taken by mouth or through the nose as soon as the patient arrives at the appointment, as the medicine usually takes up to 20 minutes to work. Oral sedation doesn't put patients to sleep, but it helps them stay calm and relaxed.

Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, also helps children remain calm. A mask delivers a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen, and within five minutes, the patient relaxes and experiences euphoric feelings. At the end of the procedure, pure oxygen is given to the patient to clear out any remaining nitrous oxide.

Intravenous sedation is delivered through a needle inserted into the patient's vein. Nitrous oxide is used to send the child to sleep before intravenous sedation is administered.

Safety Checks

For dentists, ensuring the safety for pediatric dentistry under general anesthesia is paramount. While sedated, the patient's blood oxygen level, blood pressure, temperature and heart rate are closely monitored. A patient who requires general anesthesia may be referred to the dental hospital.

Dental sedation is a safe and fuss-free procedure with the right preparation and proper care after it's over. By communicating clearly with your child's dentist, you'll provide the best possible experience for your child.

For more information on pediatric dentistry under general anesthesia, contact Today's Dental of Boxborough.


Happy New Year 2017 from Today's Dental of Boxborough!

Joseph Coupal - Thursday, January 05, 2017

Today's Dental of BoxboroughA fresh new year has arrived once again. It’s the time to be thankful for everything we have and for everything we have achieved in the past year. But it is also time to start new, start strong, and accomplish everything we want to do this year.

It is also time for us to say “Thank You” for our success last year. If you are an existing associate, we have enjoyed working with you. If we are just embarking on a new relationship with you in 2017, we look forward to the opportunity. We are excited for what we all can achieve in 2017.

The New Year stands before us, like a chapter in a book, waiting to be written. We can help write that story by setting goals. – Melody Beattie

Happy New Year from Today's Dental of Boxborough!

Myths About Baby Teeth – Acton, Boston, MA

Joseph Coupal - Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Today's Dental of Boxborough, Boxborough, MAWith so many years of dealing with your own teeth, you’d think that caring for your baby’s teeth would be no big deal. Yet there’s still a lot of confusion about what to do when teeth start coming in at around 6 months. Here we will answer some questions and dispel some common misconceptions.

MYTH: Baby teeth aren’t that important.

FACT: Yes, your baby’s primary teeth are temporary and will eventually fall out. However, they have many functions beyond looking adorable. Baby teeth are essential for eating and getting proper nutrition, for the structure of the face, and for holding space for the adult teeth to come in properly. If a tooth is lost too early because of decay, the other teeth could shift so there’s not enough space for the adult tooth to grow in, she says. Another reason those tiny teeth are critical: your baby’s speech development. They need those teeth to be able to eventually produce sounds like l, th, and sh.

MYTH: Teething can make your baby sick.

FACT: Although you may have heard that teething causes diarrhea, fever, and a whole host of other problems, recent research shows that any symptoms are actually quite mild. Gum irritation, drooling, and irritability are the most common symptoms associated with teething; some babies may also experience a slight rise in temperature. However, a true fever (100.4°F or higher) isn’t related to teething. If your baby has significant signs of sickness, contact your pediatrician.

MYTH: You should brush your baby’s teeth once daily.

FACT: Twice a day is better. It takes approximately 24 hours for the film of bacteria that causes cavities, commonly referred to as plaque, to build up enough strength to damage the tooth structure. It’s unlikely any person—child or adult—will get all of the plaque removed on once-a-day brushing. Therefore, we recommend brushing twice a day, to improve the likelihood of more thorough plaque removal. Before your baby has any teeth, clean her mouth and gums with a damp washcloth. Once the first tooth sprouts, switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush, and use fluoridated toothpaste sparingly. A small amount, the size of a grain of rice, is all you need. Use the same brushing technique you use: Put the toothbrush on your baby’s gum line and brush in small circles, making sure to get the front and back of every tooth. And don’t worry about dental floss yet: You can wait until there are two teeth that touch each other before you floss.

MYTH: Kids shouldn’t have fluoride toothpaste until they’re 2 years old.

FACT: This was once the thought, but experts now advise using a fluoride toothpaste right from the start. Fluoride significantly decreases the chances of decay. The reason fluoride was once delayed is because too much can affect the appearance of a child’s teeth, causing white spots or rough, pitted surfaces, and very young children swallow toothpaste instead of spitting it out. That’s why you should use only a small smear. Parents also often wonder whether they should use a toothpaste with a “baby” label. If the baby-labeled toothpaste does not have any fluoride, then it does not provide any cavity-prevention benefits. Technically, any fluoride toothpaste will have the same concentration of fluoride, but the flavor of kids’ toothpaste may be more pleasant. You certainly want to avoid adult toothpastes that have additional ingredients for things like whitening or tartar control.

MYTH: Babies can’t get cavities.

FACT: If you have a tooth, it can get a cavity. And even though your baby’s teeth will fall out eventually, that doesn’t mean decay is a small or temporary problem. If left untreated, a cavity in a baby tooth may cause the tooth to become infected or abscessed, which can cause pain and swelling. In addition, the permanent tooth is forming right at the ends of the root of the baby tooth, so any infection in the baby tooth can damage the permanent tooth, he says. In fact, one study found that children who had cavities in their baby teeth were three times more likely to develop cavities in their adult teeth. In addition to brushing, the most important way to reduce your baby’s likelihood of developing cavities is to avoid putting them to bed with a bottle of formula or juice, or breastfeeding him on and off throughout the night; the bacteria that cause cavities love sugar and carbohydrates. Also avoid sharing utensils with him or cleaning his pacifier with your mouth, which can pass on your adult cavity-causing germs to your baby. Contact a pediatric dentist if your baby shows signs of a cavity, which may include a white, dark brownish, or black spot that doesn’t brush or wipe off or a tooth that looks chipped or cracked (when no previous trauma has occurred).

MYTH: You should schedule the first dental checkup by age 3.

FACT: The American Academy of Pediatrics and the AAPD now both recommend that a baby see a dentist after they gets their first tooth or by their first birthday. About 60 percent of children in the U.S. have tooth decay by the time they’re 5 years old and it’s not uncommon for babies to show signs of early decay. At the first visit, the dentist will do an exam to evaluate your baby’s current cavity risk and talk with you about what you can do to keep her mouth healthy. After the first visit, your baby should have a dental checkup every six months or as recommended by your dentist.

For more information on caring for baby teeth, contact Today’s Dental of Boxborough.

Happy Holidays from Today's Dental of Boxborough

Joseph Coupal - Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Today's Dental of Boxborough, Boxborough, MAIt is once again "end-of-year" blog post reflection time.  If you are reading this blog post, you care enough about us and our business to invest a minute or two reading here.  That means a lot to us.  The primary reason for this blog is to educate and inform our readers; as an ongoing act of giving thanks for the privilege of earning your continued trust and continued professional partnerships. So we're glad you're here.

We reflect today on the blessings that so many of you bring to both our personal and professional lives. Over the course of 2016, we hope that we have made a difference in many personal and professional lives. This is the true essence and a key measure of professional reward and business success.

It is our sincere wish that all of you bask in the joy of reflection and within the warm confines of family and friends throughout this Holiday season and throughout 2017. Cheers!

Happy Holidays!

-from all of us here a Today's Dental of Boxborough.