How Do You Know if it’s TMJ Disorder? Ask Your Astoria Dentist

blond girl doesn't knowYou can do a lot to ensure that your teeth and gums remain healthy and disease-free; mainly, brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day to control the buildup of bacterial dental plaque. Yet, clean teeth and gums aren’t the only necessities of good dental health. For your teeth to serve their purpose, your jaw must move them, and for your jaw to move smoothly, its joints (called TMJs) must be perfectly aligned. When they’re not, then your bite’s entire balance can suffer, and TMJ disorder can make moving your mouth difficult and painful. The trouble with diagnosing TMJ disorder, however, is that its symptoms are diverse (i.e., chronic migraines, earaches, lockjaw, facial pain, etc.) and can indicate a number of different issues. If you suffer from chronic craniofacial pain, your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, can perform a thorough examination to determine if it’s caused by TMJ disorder and prescribe an appropriate course of treatment. In the meantime, our short checklist below can help you test your jaw’s alignment to decide if TMJ disorder is likely. (more…)

How to Prepare Your Teeth to Face an Emergency

strong tooth deadlifting weightsBy its very definition, a dental emergency is difficult to foresee; therefore, preparing for one may seem frivolous. Understanding the emergencies that your teeth face, however, can help you fortify your tooth’s defenses to lessen the impact that an emergency has on your total oral health. To help you preserve your smile and face a dental emergency with confidence, your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, explains how you can prepare your teeth to face the worst.

Prepare Against Dental Diseases

Loose or falling-out teeth can generate sudden, severe toothaches by exposing your tooth’s sensitive areas (mainly its roots). A common reason behind a loose and painful tooth is the destruction of the gum tissue that surrounds and protects it. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day can help control the bacteria that instigate this destruction (also known as gum disease), and regular dental checkups and cleanings can ensure that your gums and your teeth’s protective layer of enamel are healthy and intact to avoid dental diseases and emergency tooth issues. (more…)

The Advantages of ClearCorrect Invisible Braces in Astoria

straight smileDoes your smile suffer from crooked or misaligned teeth, but you’re a bit apprehensive about wearing traditional braces to correct them? Many older teens and adults wish they could have straighter smiles, but don’t want to risk the potential embarrassment of metal braces in their personal and professional lives. Dr. Leibowitz understands this concern, as well as the consequences of choosing not to straighten crooked teeth. To help appease your aesthetic sensibilities while still preserving your oral health, your Astoria dentist offers innovative ClearCorrect invisible braces—the adult alternative to traditional orthodontic treatment.

More than Mere Cosmetics

Many patients wish to straighten their teeth for cosmetic reasons, and may consider two or more years of metal brackets and wires a bit counterproductive to improving their confidence. Unfortunately, the orientation of your teeth is more than a cosmetic concern; your bite’s proper function relies on proper alignment. Healthy teeth are designed to evenly displace the pressure of your bite, minimizing the impact on each tooth and its supporting gums, bone, and ligaments. When teeth are out of alignment, this balance is disrupted, and certain teeth can end up taking the brunt of your bite’s force, becoming excessively worn. The tension can also damage your jaw’s joints and muscles, which have to work harder to keep your mouth somewhat straight when you bite, chew, and speak. (more…)

Are You Stressed Out? Your Astoria Dentist Can Tell

woman stressed at her computerStress and anxiety are a virtual constant in today’s hectic society. Demanding bosses, stressful home life, and many other daily-life factors can increasingly weigh you down, both physically and emotionally. The health risks associated with excessive stress are well-known and well-documented, but what about the effects stress can have on your smile’s health and integrity? Your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, explores how your mouth reacts to stress, and how these reactions can prove detrimental to the integrity of your teeth and gums.

What is Stress, Anyway?

Most people are familiar with the feeling of stress and can recognize it fairly easily. Fewer people, however, understand what stress is, or the physiological implications of prolonged stress. The heightened awareness, increased heartbeat, and greater amount of adrenaline that comes with stress (also known as the fight-or-flight response) was meant to be a survival mechanism to help you better defend yourself or escape from danger. (more…)

Your Astoria Dentist Asks: How Serious is Tooth Loss?

pretty serious young ladyUnless one of your teeth is causing you serious trouble, then chances are you wouldn’t be happy about losing it. Even losing a back tooth, which might not be noticeable to others, can lower your confidence in your smile, especially if you pride yourself on taking good care of it. Nevertheless, the consequences of tooth loss extend far beyond your personal sensibilities. Your teeth were meant to last for life, and Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, warns that if you lose one, replacing it should be your first priority. To help ensure that you understand the need to retain your teeth, or replace those that you can’t, take our short tooth loss quiz below. You might be surprised to learn how much your oral health depends on every single tooth.

The Tooth Loss Quiz

1.) Though tooth loss is common, it isn’t inevitable, and is typically caused by dental trauma or severe disease. What is the most common cause of adult tooth loss in America today? (more…)

Astoria Dentist on What Your Smile Says About You

many smilesAs a dedicated, professional smile caretaker, your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, knows well that a smile is more than just a showcase for your healthy teeth. Aside from its vital responsibilities of biting, chewing, and enunciating, your smile has a number of subtle but important social functions. For instance, as a dominant feature of your face, your smile is one of the most noticeable aspects of your first impression, and even when you don’t realize it, your smile can say more about you than you intended.

Are you faking it?

A smile is typically a universal sign of happiness, but in reality, people smile for myriad reasons, including anger, fear, confusion, and the intent to deceive someone else. How can you tell the difference? A genuine smile can be seen in the muscles around the eyes, which can’t be forced to mimic the manner in which they bunch up when you smile for real. (more…)

Astoria Dentist Explains the Capabilities of Dental Crowns

capable dental crownMost people are familiar with the concept of a dental crown these days, and many people have had one placed without anyone even realizing it. As the name suggests, a dental crown is essentially an exact replica of the top part of your tooth, also called a crown. The dental restoration can help protect and preserve your oral health in a variety of situations, from stubborn cosmetic tooth stains to serious structural damage, and in some cases can even completely replace your useless or missing tooth. Your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, has extensive experience restoring patients’ smiles through the use of dental crowns, and today we explore the usefulness of the time-honored dental restoration.

Like a Shield for Weakened Teeth

One the oldest and most common uses of a dental crown is to fortify a weak and vulnerable tooth. For example, if your tooth has been compromised by tooth decay, then treatment will often involve removing the decayed portion of your tooth, clearing away the infection and lingering bacteria, then replacing the excavated tooth structure with a manmade dental filling material like white composite resin. (more…)

Travelling Soon? Don’t Forget These Smile Essentials

biting a toothbrushAs summer draws near, families everywhere are preparing for their vacations in advance, wanting to leave little to chance so they can enjoy the time when it comes. While these preparations often include health checkups and stocking up on any necessary medications, Dr. Leibowitz advises you not to forget about your oral health. A vacation from work doesn’t mean a vacation from dental hygiene, and with these tips from your Astoria dentist, you can properly care for your smile while on the go.

Travel-Kit for Your Smile

Toothbrush & toothpaste

If you’re an adult, then you probably don’t need to be reminded to bring your toothbrush and toothpaste with you when you travel. However, unless you’ve just recently switched your toothbrush, Dr. Leibowitz advises buying a new one for your trip. (more…)

Astoria Dentist Advises—Give Your Smile Plenty of Sunlight

pretty sunsetWhile April showers are still a light nuisance, sunshine is just around the corner, and if you’ve missed the feeling of sunlight caressing your skin, you should know that your smile does, too. As you may know, your smile requires the right amount of minerals and nutrients to remain healthy, such as calcium and vitamin D. While calcium must be acquired through your diet, your body produces vitamin D when your skin absorbs sunlight (as well as through your diet). To highlight the importance of this process, your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, explains why the sunshine vitamin is vital to maintaining a strong and healthy smile.

The Sunshine Vitamin & Your Oral Health

Calcium plays more than one vital role in your good oral health. The mineral is perhaps best-known for its importance in healthy bone formation, and helps keep your jawbone strong enough to support and sustain your teeth. Along with phosphate, calcium is also one of the dominant minerals in the formation of tooth enamel—the strong protective layer that surrounds and protects your teeth. Your body doesn’t produce calcium, however, and to absorb and utilize the mineral, you need an adequate supply of vitamin D. (more…)

Astoria Dentist Explores the Link Between Sleep Apnea & Stroke

woman in bed having trouble sleepingRecently, we discussed the dangers of a common sleep disorder known as obstructive sleep apnea. Like any sleep disorder, OSA deprives your mind and body of adequate rest. Unlike most other sleep disorders, however, patients with OSA may not realize their condition, unless a sleeping partner complains about the loud snoring that marks OSA, or sleep deprivation symptoms force you to seek answers. While its often-unobserved presence makes obstructive sleep apnea a dangerous condition, so too do the effects that the disorder can have on your systemic wellbeing. Today, your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, explains one of the more harmful effects of obstructive sleep apnea—the increased risk of a stroke1.

Revisiting Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Obstructive sleep apnea describes a condition where your mouth and throat tissues become too relaxed when you sleep, blocking your airway and forcing you to stop breathing. The condition is marked by episodes of increasingly loud snoring as the tissues compress, then a moment of silence when your airway closes completely. (more…)