Astoria Dentist Weighs in on Dental Fillings

One of the oldest examples of ancient dentistry consists of a tooth whose cavity was filled with beeswax. In times past, our ancestors were quite inventive in their endeavors to treat dental issues. Materials that ancient humans used to fill teeth included stone chips, resin, cork, and eventually, metal. Today, the practice of removing and replacing infected tooth tissue continues strong. However, the materials of choice have advanced greatly. Your Astoria, NY, dentist Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz explores the pros and cons of the two most popular dental filling materials; composite resin and silver amalgam fillings.

Silver Amalgam Dental Fillings

For over 150 years, silver amalgam has been the dental filling of choice. At the time that it was introduced to the US, in the early 1800s, gold was the standard dental filling material, but only a few select people could afford to pour the precious metal into their teeth. Aside from affordability, silver amalgam fillings were also durable. Amalgam fillings are strong and durable, typically lasting at least 10 or 15 years. Amalgam is also strong enough to adequately withstand chewing forces, and it is usually less expensive than the alternatives. Unfortunately, since they are made of silver and other metals, amalgam fillings are not aesthetically pleasing. To make room for the large fillings, additional healthy tooth structure must be removed, which can compromise the integrity of the remaining tooth structure. (more…)

Easing TMJ Discomfort in Astoria

If you experience discomfort in your gums or teeth, your first inclination may be to visit the dentist. It may surprise you to learn that the same inclination may also help you alleviate aches and pains in your jaw, head, neck, and shoulders. A common cause for tension and discomfort in these areas is a condition known as TMJ disorder, which affects the temporomandibular joints (TMJs) that connect your lower jaw to your skull. Many people visit a doctor to try and resolve the issue. However, the condition is often misdiagnosed, or not diagnosed, due to the fact that the symptoms are similar to those of numerous other health maladies.  As a dentist in Astoria, NY, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz can help diagnose TMJ disorder, and offers treatments to relieve and sometimes eliminate its debilitating symptoms.

What Causes TMJ Disorder?

The temporomandibular joints are the two large joints located just in front of each ear. These joints and the muscles around them are responsible for the complex movement of your jaw. Unfortunately, there is no single root cause for the development of TMJ disorder. However, experts agree that the condition often results from over-taxation of the jaw joints and the muscles surrounding them. This undue pressure can be caused by a number of dental conditions, including malocclusion (a misalignment in the way your upper and lower teeth fit together) and bruxism (the habit of grinding and clenching your teeth). Other factors, including injury, stress, or a joint affliction such as arthritis, can also cause TMJ discomfort. (more…)

Astoria Dentist Explains Different Kinds of Tooth Stains

One of the most common tooth complaints that dental patients express is a discontent with the color of their teeth. This unhappiness is the reason why teeth-whitening is among the most popular cosmetic procedures today. However, stains on your teeth are not all the same, and in some cases, even professional-strength whitening procedures may not suffice to correct the blemish. Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, your Astoria, NY, dentist, explains the two major types of tooth stains and the best options for correcting them.

Extrinsic, or External, Tooth Staining

Extrinsic tooth staining occurs on the outside of the tooth. Common causes for extrinsic tooth stains include consumption of dark-colored foods and beverages, such as coffee, soda, wine, berries, and tea, among others. Poor oral hygiene is another common factor for tooth staining. Plaque attaches to your enamel (the protective outer layer of your tooth), and if allowed to remain for too long, it can turn your teeth yellow. (more…)

How Well Do You Know Chocolate?

For quite some time, the general consensus has been that chocolate tastes too good to be anything but bad for you. Chocolate is adored for its rich texture and sweet flavor, but also feared for the same reasons. Luckily, a plethora of chocolate research has shown that the wealth of antioxidants found in chocolate can actually benefit your overall health. A study from Osaka University in Japan also suggests that certain parts of the cocoa bean can help inhibit oral bacteria and tooth decay. For chocolate lovers everywhere, these revelations are ample reason to celebrate. To honor the traditional champion of sweets, Queens, NY, dentist Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz provides these fun facts you may not have known about your favorite indulgence.
Fun Chocolate Facts

  • As of this date, a Google search for the word “chocolate” returns 761,000,000 results in 0.23 seconds. By contrast, a Google search for “oral health” only returns 109,000,000 results.
  • The official, or scientific, name for the cocoa tree, which provides the cocoa beans to make chocolate, is Theobroma Cacao: Greek for “food of the gods.” (more…)

All about Teeth Whitening from Your Queens Cosmetic Dentist

Teeth whitening is one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures available. In fact, in a poll by the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, of those surveyed, the majority of participants chose “a whiter smile”, when asked what they would most like to change about their teeth. This quick and easy cosmetic dental treatment can have a significant impact on your smile and your confidence. Your Queens dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, offers professional teeth whitening to help brighten your image.

How Teeth Whitening Works

Your teeth incur stains from a variety of reasons, such as incomplete oral hygiene, certain habits, and aging. Stains can occur both on the surface of the tooth and beneath the tooth enamel, in what is called intrinsic stains. Teeth whitening procedures address these stains by oxidizing the tooth and allowing the active whitening agent to disperse discoloration. The result is a noticeably whiter smile.

Teeth Whitening in Queens

Your Astoria cosmetic dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, offers take-home teeth whitening for a convenient smile makeover. Dr. Leibowitz will begin by taking an impression of your teeth for custom-fit bleaching trays. The snug-fit trays make all of the difference by delivering the teeth whitening agent directly to your smile. This provides even, complete whitening even in harder to reach spaces where whitening strips would leave discoloration behind. In addition, take-home whitening gives you the option to apply the gel whenever teeth whitening is most convenient for you. For a smile that shines brighter for longer, you can continue to use your unique trays for touch up treatments from Dr. Leibowitz. (more…)

Dentures FAQs Answered by Your Astoria Dentist

What are partial dentures?

Partial dentures, like complete dentures, are made from an acrylic material shaped like your teeth on a plastic base made to look like your gum tissue. Unlike full dentures, partial dentures are recommended if you have some teeth. These dental prosthesis stay in place by attaching to one or more of your remaining teeth. Partial dentures fill in the gaps of missing teeth across a smile arch, even if the teeth are not adjacent to one another. Our Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, recommends partial dentures because they not only replace tooth function, but also prevent teeth from drifting out of place and causing issues with malocclusion.

What are the benefits of complete dentures?

While tooth replacement is the main goal of dentures, these dental restorations can also improve your smile. You will no longer have to hide your smile because of missing teeth, and you can benefit from the virtual face-lift dentures provide. When you are missing several teeth, your face will begin to look like your mouth is sagging, adding deep wrinkles to your lips and laugh lines. These dental restorations sit on top of your gum tissue, adding height from false teeth to your mouth. This vertical height keeps your face from appearing sunken-in or collapsed by lengthening the jaw.

How can I care for my dentures?

Maintaining your dentures properly is important for your oral health. After the first 24 hours following denture placement by our Astoria dentist, you should remove your dental restoration every night before bed. During this time, your gums can recover from holding up your dentures and your dental prosthesis can soak in cleaning solution. This will keep your mouth clean and ensure the longevity of your dentures. (more…)

An In-Depth Look at Cavities from Your Astoria Dentist

What is the Cause of Cavities?

What do you think causes cavities? If you answered “sugar,” don’t worry; you are in the majority of those polled by the ADA. In a study by the American Dental Association, 81% of participants incorrectly guessed that sugar causes cavities. This can be a tricky question since sugar contributes to tooth decay; although, in the end, it is spiral shaped, fast-moving pathogens that cause dental caries. These harmful bacteria are called streptococcus mutans, or S. mutans. Dr. Leibowitz, your Astoria family dentist, will explain the formation of cavities, and what you can do to protect yourself from tooth decay.

How Tooth Decay Forms

These bacteria found in your mouth feed off of the sugar you consume. The S. mutans metabolize the sugar into acid. Your tooth enamel’s worst enemy, acid, attacks your tooth’s defenses leaving them more vulnerable to bacteria. Acid can also harm your smile when you eat foods with citric acid, such as lemons. Acid reflux and bulimia can also harm your teeth because of stomach acid introduced into your mouth. Once your enamel is weakened by acid, S.mutans can form cavities on your tooth structure. They deteriorate the tooth’s enamel further into the soft layer of dentin beneath.

Professional Dental Care and Cavities

Since your teeth cannot reproduce tooth enamel, your body will not heal cavities on its own. Professional dental care is necessary to remove infection and restore your tooth. Your Astoria dentist offers minimally invasive fillings and preventive dentistry to help you fight back against dental caries. Additionally, since cavities do not often produce noticeable signs to the patient, dental checkups are important to detect tooth decay before it progresses to bigger issues. (more…)

Astoria Cosmetic Dentist Transforms Gummy Smiles

When your Astoria family dentist cares for your oral health, Dr. Leibowitz is not just concerned for your teeth; gum health is just as important as your dental health when it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth. So why should cosmetic dentistry be any different? At your Astoria dental office, we offer cosmetic dentistry services that focus on your teeth and gums to help you achieve the smile of your dreams. In this blog, your Astoria cosmetic dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz will explain how gum contouring can transform your smile.

Gummy Smiles

As the frame for your smile, your gums can have a large impact on your image. Sometimes gums can look overgrown or uneven because of different factors that affect the gum line. This can make even the straightest teeth look crooked or too small. Often called a gummy smile, excessive gingival display can result in juvenile-looking teeth by showing too much gum tissue when you smile. Other factors can also contribute to uneven gum tissue that makes some teeth look disproportionate.

Electrosurge Gum Contouring

Your Astoria cosmetic dentist, Dr. Leibowitz offers gum contouring for patients with uneven or gummy smiles. This process shapes your gingival tissue to properly frame your smile, so that your gum line is even with your lips when you smile. Using Electrosurge, an innovative and precise tool for gum reshaping, Dr. Leibowitz offers one of the fastest healing and most comfortable gum contouring options available.

Gum Reshaping and Cosmetic Dentistry Benefits

A complement to any cosmetic dentistry procedure such as porcelain veneers or dental bonding, gum contouring makes subtle differences that create gorgeous results. You may be surprised to find that such a small change in your gum shape can have such a large impact on your smile. (more…)

All about Dental Bonding from Your Astoria Dentist

What makes up cosmetic bonding?

Dental bonding, also called cosmetic bonding, is made of the same material used for white fillings. Composite resin is a moldable material that starts as a liquid. Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, your Astoria cosmetic dentist, can use this material for filling cavities, attaching porcelain veneers, or creating cosmetic enhancements with dental bonding. Once the composite resin is shaped to Dr. Leibowitz’s specifications,  he can use a curing light to harden the material.

Is dental bonding a good alternative to porcelain veneers?

Often called a cheaper alternative to veneers, dental bonding covers many of the same smile imperfections as the more expensive cosmetic procedure. Since dental bonding uses composite resin instead of porcelain, the materials are less expensive and require less preparation. Where porcelain veneers would have to be fabricated in a ceramics lab, dental bonding can be shaped directly on top of your tooth. As a result, dental bonding offers even faster smile makeovers than porcelain veneers.

How are veneers different from cosmetic bonding?

Unfortunately, dental bonding will not last as long or look as natural as porcelain veneers. Composite resin does not offer the same semi-translucency as porcelain, which allows veneers to reflect light more naturally. Additionally, bonding is more porous than porcelain veneers. This means dental bonding is more susceptible to tooth stains than veneers and will most likely pick up discoloration faster.

What can dental bonding do for my smile?

Like veneers, cosmetic bonding covers a variety of smile issues at once. Some of the smile imperfections bonding can correct include:

  • Tooth chips
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Jagged tooth edges
  • Wide gaps between teeth
  • Hairline cracks (craze lines)
  • Light discoloration
  • Crooked teeth (more…)

Dental Emergency in Queens? We Have You Covered

Facial injuries can be a traumatic experience. Along with the pain that comes with injuries to your mouth or smile, these emergencies can also leave you in shock. Preparation is always the most effective way to handle medical emergencies so that you can keep your cool and prevent further pain. Your Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, has these tips for dental emergencies so that you can be prepared to deal with a knocked-out tooth.

Sports Injuries and Tooth Trauma

Hockey players are not the only athletes in danger of losing teeth. When it comes to sports injuries, facial trauma accounts for 40 percent. Wearing a mouthguard and other facial protection is your best bet for safety. However, in the event of a dental emergency, take these steps for an optimal outcome.

How to Handle a Knocked-Out Tooth

When dealing with a knocked-out tooth, the most important safety measure is to confirm that the patient is not otherwise seriously injured. Have a medical professional look for signs of concussion if possible and dial 9-1-1 if the patient is unconscious. After ensuring the patient’s safety, recover the knocked-out tooth. In many cases, your Astoria dentist can place a knocked-out tooth back into the socket so that the tooth reattaches. For this to happen successfully, time is of the essence. The window for successful reattachment is typically 30 minutes, so try to follow these steps efficiently.

  1. Call our dental office in Astoria immediately at 718-728-8320.
  2. Recover the knocked-out tooth, holding it gently by the crown instead of the roots. The connective tissues of the avulsed, or knocked-out, tooth are fragile.
  3. Submerge the tooth in a glass of lukewarm milk or saline solution for transportation to the dental office. If neither of these liquids is available, gently rinse the avulsed tooth with warm water and place it between the patient’s cheek and gums. (more…)