By Mark Levy | March 29, 2013
On the Dr. Oz television show the other day the episode was all about the dangers of silver fillings. Silver fillings is really a misnomer because these types of fillings are actually called dental amalgam and are about 50% mercury.
The danger of this mercury content is what Dr. Oz and his experts were discussing. Mercury is a neurotoxin, it attacks your nervous system and can cause symptoms ranging from tremors to mood swings. Memory loss and fatigue are common signs of mercury toxicity.
The debate over mercury amalgam fillings has raged in the dental community for years. In the US about half of dentists use mercury amalgam fillings and the other half do not. Some European countries, including Sweden, have banned the use of mercury amalgam fillings for health reasons and because of environmental concerns. The mercury waste from these fillings can find its way into the water supply and mercury waste is considered extremely hazardous.
The American Dental Association feels that amalgam is a safe and cost effective restoration material. I will agree that it is cheap and easy to use – but as Dr. Oz’s guest explained, there are so many better filling materials available today. Why use a material that was invented 150 years ago? Newer material actually bond to the teeth to strengthen it even though it has a filling. Amalgam fillings, in contract, weaken the tooth structure and tend to expand and shrink when exposed to hot or cold, further weakening the tooth. A tooth colored restoration not only looks better, it is better for your tooth structure and your health – isn’t that worth a small extra price?
Should you have all your old amalgam fillings removed? One audience member had removed her fillings and many of her symptoms resolved or lessened. Because mercury fillings break down over time you may have to get them replaced as the years go by. When there is decay below the filling, when the filling has cracked or deteriorated it should be replaced.
Mercury vapors can be released by chewing or grinding your teeth. If you grind your teeth you may want to watch this demonstration of the release of mercury vapors simply caused by brushing your teeth. This may be one of the few reasons to go ahead and replace your old fillings immediately. Another reason may be unresolved health issues that no one seems to be able to diagnose – you may simply be more sensitive to mercury than others.
Find out more about your options for mercury free dental care by contacting Columbus cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule an appointment.
By Mark Levy | February 15, 2013
Lots of research has been done over the years that has shown that attractive people have an easier path to success and now Spanish researchers have uncovered consistencies in the smiles of influential people.
Time magazine publishes an annual list of the 100 most influential people. Researchers from the University of Seville College of Dentistry compared faces from the lists made from 2006 to 2010. Their study found remarkable consistencies in their facial features and the data will be published in the Journal of Oral Rehabilitation.
“The smiles of the world’s most influential people revealed common standards, regardless of occupation or gender,” wrote the researchers. These common elements “may play a decisive role in the expressions of influential faces.” The scientists also examined previous research that sought to discover exactly which aspects of a smile amount in the greatest appeal to others. These findings will aid patients and cosmetic dentists in the search for the perfect smile.
“The most important aesthetic objective should be to achieve a balanced smile,” they wrote, “bearing in mind not just the patient’s dental aesthetics, such as tooth form, position, or color, but also the soft tissues and the overall harmony of the face.”
This is the type of cosmetic training received at LVI (where I did an in depth study of cosmetic dentistry). Smile design is a key element in cosmetic dentistry that not all dentists have the training to achieve. The perfect smile for one person may not be the perfect smile for someone else – we are all individuals but, as this study shows, the perfect smile does have some common elements.
Seeking a cosmetic dental makeover for career purposes is not unusual. I have had patients complain of being passed over for promotion – and they just knew it was because of their unattractive teeth. A beautiful, healthy smile gives others the impression of health, vitality, youth and vigor which are all traits employers are subconsciously seeking. It is easier than you think to have the smile of your dreams using dental veneers, tooth bleaching or dental crowns.
Please contact Columbus cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation. We can show you just how easy and fast a smile makeover can be!
By Mark Levy | February 8, 2013
The dating website Match.com completed a three year survey of singles over the age of 21 and made some interesting findings. Smiles ranked as the number one criteria that both sexes used when judging a potential mate.
Such feelings don’t surprise biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, a research professor at Rutgers University and a Match.com adviser who helped develop the survey. “From a Darwinian perspective, good teeth are a real indication of your health — how much you drink, smoke, what you’re eating,” she says. One single who works in public relations agreed during an interview that “teeth are very important” in a potential date. “Taking care of your teeth is a good indicator of hygiene.”
Interesting considering I just read a statistic that said Americans spend $100 billion on hair care products each year but only $2 billion on dental care products! By the way, good hair ranked 3rd for men and 4th for women in the survey.
So just how many people judge you based on your smile – according to the Match.com survey 75% of women and 58% of the men placed smiles as most important.
If your smile isn’t as dazzling as you would like it to be you may be surprised at how easy it is to change. If your complain is yellow, dingy or stained teeth then a simple tooth whitening procedure may be all you need to reclaim that youthful grin. For people who have slightly crowded teeth or teeth that are shaped incorrectly then dental veneers are a perfect choice. Dental veneers are very thin porcelain restorations that look just like natural teeth but allow your cosmetic dentist to create the perfectly shaped smile for your face.
Find out more about cosmetic dentistry and your choices for a beautiful smile by contacting Columbus cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696.
By the way, curious about what men and women both ranked as the number 2 item they use to judge potential dates – grammar! It seems like English majors with great smiles ought to be really popular.
By Mark Levy | January 19, 2013
Do you suffer from heartburn on a regular basis? You might suffer from GERD and this stomach problem can also affect your oral health.
GERD is short-hand for gastroesophageal reflux disorder and the discomfort felt by GERD sufferers is caused by the stomach acid rising into the esophagus or mouth. This acid erodes the lining of the esophagus and also erodes tooth enamel.
Common dental signs of GERD are tooth erosion, tooth sensitivity, bad breath or a sour taste in the mouth. Tooth enamel begins dissolving when the pH value in our mouth drops below 5.2. The pH value of stomach acid is around 2.0 – so you can see why this condition is so damaging to teeth. About 25% of adult GERD patients experience serious dental erosion.
Not surprisingly, many cases of GERD are first spotted by dentists! Many patients ignore or mask their symptoms using over the counter medications – eroded dental enamel is one sign that your dentist won’t ignore.
GERD is becoming more common, especially as our population becomes heavier. This is a potentially serious (due to tissue damage in the esophagus) condition that can be treated and controlled. The dental manifestations of acid reflex should not be ignored because the weakened tooth structure can lead to decay and breakage. Repairing the tooth erosion caused by stomach acid will probably include dental crowns, veneers and other types of restorations that will restore tooth function and appearance.
It is important that patients with GERD visit their dentist regularly. Please contact Columbus, OH cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy at 614-476-6696 today to schedule your next visit.
By Mark Levy | August 3, 2012
What is dental erosion and why should you worry about it? Dental erosion occurs when tooth enamel is worn away by acids in our mouth. Erosion causes teeth to become very sensitive, turns teeth yellow (something that bleaching can’t fix) and leaves them vulnerable to decay. Today the rates of dental erosion are increasing dramatically and these rates are rising especially fast for young people.
Why are rates increasing? Lots of things in our lives have changed including growing taste preferences for sour tastes, more acidic beverages and foods becoming available and overall lifestyle changes. Children today start drinking soft drinks at a very young age and studies have shown that starting the soda habit early leads to a higher consumption of soda at later ages compared to kids who start drinking soda when older. Sour candies like War Heads are popular with kids and are highly acidic. Sports drinks and energy drinks are popular among teens and young adults and are extremely damaging to teeth.
How and when we consume these items has changed as well. Years ago soda was a treat that you didn’t have every day. Today many households with young children have soda available all day long to go along with constant snacking. The combination of acidic, sugary drinks with high carb snacks makes the mouth a perfect environment for decay.
What can you do to protect against dental erosion? First, avoid frequent consumption of soda, energy drinks and sports drinks. Secondly, if you do have these drinks then rinse your mouth with water when you are done – wait about 30 minutes to brush your teeth. Third, help your child avoid types of candy that are highly acidic. Offer your child a piece of chocolate (dark chocolate is actually good for your teeth) or sugarless gum instead. Constant snacking on carbohydrate rich foods should also be avoided – your smile and your waistline will thank you. These tips will help ensure healthy tooth enamel and better overall health as well.
If you are experiencing sensitive or painful teeth please contact cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy in Gahanna, OH at 614-476-6696 to schedule your appointment. We can offer solutions to tooth sensitivity and help keep your smile beautiful.
By Mark Levy | August 2, 2012
When you are feeling stressed the last thing you usually want to do is smile – but it turns out that smiling can actually reduce your stress level.
A study completed at the University of Kansas gave students anxiety-inducing tasks. The students were tested three ways including not smiling, being told to smile and while holding chopsticks in their teeth to force a smile. It turns out that any kind of smile, genuine or faked with chopsticks helped reduce stress for the students. The stress levels dipped even lower when the students used a “real” smile.
“Age-old adages such as ‘grin and bear it’, have suggested smiling to be not only an important non-verbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promotes smiling as a panacea for life’s stressful events said researcher Tara Kraft. Co-author Sarah Pressman added “the next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress, you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment. Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well.”
At StoneRidge Dental Care we’ve always known how powerful a smile can be. Unfortunately, some folks hate their smiles so much that they avoid smiling and laughing or cover their mouth when in public. This is not a healthy or happy way to live life. If nature didn’t provide you with the smile you’ve always wanted then it is time to make a change. Cosmetic dentistry using porcelain veneers can dramatically alter your smile – we can even provide “Instant Orthodontics” that make a crooked smile look like you’ve worn braces for years!
Please contact Gahanna, OH cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your cosmetic dentistry consultation. We are also happy to give second opinions regarding planned cosmetic dental procedures.
By Mark Levy | July 20, 2012
Planning a wedding? There are lots of things on your to-do list but both brides and grooms need to remember to add dental visits to their to-do lists.
Most brides and grooms want a whiter smile for their wedding photos but planning to stop by for a quick in-office whitening at the last minute is not be the best idea. Plan your visit well in advance and make sure you have scheduled a dental hygiene visit right before you want to whiten your teeth. Teeth that are covered in plaque won’t whiten evenly.
At your hygiene appointment you should talk about your goals for a whiter smile. Unfortunately, some types of tooth discoloration cannot be bleached away but there are other options available.
If a tooth whitening treatment won’t give you the smile you want then you may want to consider dental veneers. Veneers are very thin porcelain restorations that are can be used to create your dream smile. Teeth that are misshapen, discolored or even crooked can be beautiful in only a couple of visits. Dental veneers are created especially for your smile in a dental lab. During your first visit your teeth will be prepared and temporary veneers placed on your teeth. The veneers are received from the laboratory in 10-14 days and you will leave your final visit with a beautiful smile — ready for the wedding photographer.
For more information about tooth bleaching or dental veneers please contact Dr. Mark Levy at StoneRidge Dental Care in Columbus, OH today at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | July 12, 2012
Imagine no more cavities. The end of tooth decay may be in sight. Scientists from Yale University and the University of Chile have discovered a molecule that kills the bacteria that cause dental cavities. The bacteria called Streptococcus Mutans is common in everyone’s mouth and it turns sugar into an acid that damages tooth enamel.
Jose Cordova of Yale and Erich Astudillo from Chile named the newly discovered molecule Keep 32 in reference to the 32 teeth in the adult mouth. They hope the molecule can be incorporated into mouthwash or lozenge form which would kill the bacteria in about a minute.
About 73% of all people worldwide have cavities and dental caries is the most common childhood health problem. This research is aimed at reducing that number. Previously researchers at UCLA’s College of Dentistry had developed a mouthwash that eliminated almost all the decay causing bacteria over a 4 day period. No products based on this research have come to market yet.
Until we can effectively eliminate Streptococcus Mutans (without killing off the good bacteria in our mouths) we will have to rely on old-school prevention measures like brushing, flossing and getting regular cleanings.
Tooth decay used to mean an ugly mercury amalgam filling. StoneRidge Dental Care only uses tooth colored fillings. We are proud to be a mercury-free office. Remember that regular checkups enable us to catch tooth decay early!
To schedule your appointment or to learn more about cavity prevention please contact Dr. Mark Levy in Columbus, OH at 614-476-6696 today.
By Mark Levy | April 11, 2012
Cosmetic dentistry is not a board certified “specialty” and any dentist can call themselves a “cosmetic dentist”. So how do you choose a cosmetic dentist and how do you make sure you have chosen someone with the training and experience needed to create your dream smile?
You’ve got to ask a lot of questions.
Where did the dentist receive his or her training in cosmetics? If the answer is “dental school” then it is time to walk away. Advanced cosmetic procedures are not covered in depth during dental school.
How many cosmetic dentistry continuing education courses has the dentist taken? Do the dentist and their staff members attend ongoing continuing education in this field?
What dental organizations does the dentist belong to? Membership in the American Dental Association is wonderful but doesn’t mean anything when we are talking about cosmetic dentistry.
Probably the most important part of choosing a cosmetic dentist is finding someone that you trust. You should feel comfortable talking to the dentist about your wants and needs. You cannot expect to take complete control of your smile makeover however – your cosmetic dentist has extensive training in creating beautiful, natural looking, healthy smiles. Unless you have the same training, you need to leave the details to your dentist!
Cosmetic dentistry ranges from simple whitening procedures or porcelain veneers to full-mouth makeovers. Most people can achieve a beautiful smile without resorting to extremes so you may be surprised by how affordable having your dream smile can be.
Find out today! Contact Dr. Mark Levy at StoneRidge Dental Care in Columbus, OH at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation for cosmetic dentistry.
By Mark Levy | February 10, 2012
We hear lots of advice every day about what to eat and drink in order to be more healthy. It turns out that some of the choices we make that we think are good for us could be causing damage to our teeth. Here are a few that you might not be aware of:
- Sports drinks have become extremely popular but they are terrible for your teeth. The drinks are typically full of sugars which act as food for oral bacteria. On top of that, the pH levels in many of these drinks can cause your tooth enamel to wear away. The combination leaves you with teeth that are open to decay and a well-fed army of bacteria ready to go to work on them!
- Even though we have been told that a glass of wine each day is good for your heart, it isn’t so good for your pearly whites. This goes beyond the issues of stains from red wine. It seems that the acidity in wine, both white and red, can also erode your tooth enamel. To avoid this don’t swish the wine around in your mouth — take small sips and rinse your mouth with water after drinking.
- Losing a few pounds is good for your health, but going on a very restrictive diet might deprive you of vitamins and minerals you need for your healthy smile. Poor nutrition can also affect your immune system leaving you susceptible to infections such as periodontal disease. Proper nutrition and exercise are the keys to losing weight, crash diets are never the answer.
- Bottled water typically does not contain fluoride like many municipal water systems do. Fluoride is controversial for some but it has been safely added to water supplies for many years and has drastically cut the rate of cavities in children and adults in this country. This substance helps remineralize the teeth making them stronger and resistant to decay.
- Many trendy diet books suggest adding a squeeze of lemon juice to your water to promote weight loss. It really just makes the water taste a little better so you’ll drink more of it. While drinking lots of water is fine, the added acids from the citrus juice are bathing your teeth and weakening your dental enamel all day long. Keep drinking water, just make it plain tap water or if you really want lemon flavor use a straw.
If your healthy habits have left you with a smile that is not as bright as it once was, you have many options for restoring your smile. Cosmetic dentistry using dental veneers can reshape, rebuild and restore your naturally beautiful smile.
Please contact cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy at StoneRidge Dental Care in Columbus, OH today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation for a smile makeover.