Astoria Dentist: Is it Smart to Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?

removing wisdom toothWisdom teeth are an interesting phenomenon in the world of permanent teeth. As the last teeth to erupt, they often don’t have the room they need to grow comfortably and must be extracted for the sake of your smile’s good health. Unlike your other teeth, however, wisdom teeth don’t need replacement if they must be extracted. Your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, explores why wisdom teeth follow a different set of rules than the rest of your permanent teeth, and whether or not you should have yours extracted.

What are Wisdom Teeth?

Officially, wisdom teeth are known as third molars and typically appear between the ages of 17 and 25. This period was once known as the age of wisdom, hence the nickname wisdom teeth. Although a typical, healthy human mouth can comfortably accommodate 28 permanent teeth, the addition of your wisdom teeth brings the total count to 32. Your existing teeth may impede the progress of these molars, but they won’t stop your wisdom teeth from continuing to grow.   (more…)

Astoria Dentist Explains Possible Causes for Your Toothache

woman toothacheA toothache can result from a number of different causes, none of which should be ignored. Before you can find relief from your discomfort, however, you must know what’s causing it. After a thorough examination to determine the source of your toothache, your Astoria dentist can prescribe an appropriate treatment plan to resolve the issue and ease your aching tooth. Today, we explain how some of the most common causes of toothaches, like tooth decay and gum disease, can compromise your teeth until they hurt, hopefully prompting you to seek immediate treatment.

Compromised Tooth Structure

A cracked, fractured, or cavity-afflicted tooth often hurts due to exposed sensitive tissue. The crowns (top, visible parts) of healthy teeth are comprised of layers—the protective outer shell of enamel; dentin, which forms the majority of your tooth’s structure underneath the enamel; and a chamber in the middle called the pulp, where your tooth’s nerves and blood vessels are housed. When enamel and dentin are compromised, the soft tissues at the center of your tooth can become exposed to hot and cold temperatures, food debris, bacteria, and other irritants. If not treated and sealed promptly, your tooth can become severely infected and require a root canal treatment or tooth extraction to prevent the spread of infection. (more…)

Oral Cancer and Your Astoria Dentist’s Role in Screening & Defeating It

checking inside mouthDr. Jeffrey Leibowitz has spoken extensively about the importance of your mouth’s wellbeing to the state of your overall systemic health (known as the oral-systemic connection). For instance, studies have shown a significant correlation between the mechanisms of severe gum disease and other health conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, respiratory infections, and dementia, among many others. However, your Astoria dentist warns that travelling mouth germs aren’t the only threat that can originate in your mouth and prove disastrous for your physical health. Today, we explore the silent but deadly phenomenon of oral cancer, and how regular screenings are the cornerstone of successfully defeating it.

Things You Should Know About Oral Cancer

One of the greatest tragedies of oral cancer is that it doesn’t garner as much attention as others, such as lung or breast cancer, leading many people to believe that oral cancer is rare. The truth, though, is that approximately 42,000 people in the U.S. alone are newly diagnosed a year, which equals more than 100 new patients a day. Oral cancer isn’t hard to detect, but mainly because of the lack of awareness, most cases of oral cancer are discovered as late-stage cancers. The survival rate five years after a late-stage diagnosis is less than 57%. When detected early, however, the survival rate jumps drastically to about 90%. (more…)

Protect Your Teeth AND Enjoy Your Favorite Summer Treats!

family enjoying ice cream in summerIce cream, iced tea, lemonade, fruit smoothies—all of these treats and more help make summer an enjoyable experience for most people. Unfortunately, they can also damage your teeth and undo all of the hard work you put into your dental hygiene routine when consumed carelessly. With a little advice from your dedicated Astoria dentist, you can enjoy all of your summer favorites while still protecting your smile from their destructive dental influences.

A Little Foresight

The first step to protecting your teeth is understanding the dangers they face. Iced tea, lemonade, most ice creams, sodas, and even fruit juices and smoothies contain excessive amounts of sugar and acid. While sugar isn’t directly dangerous to your teeth, it feeds certain oral bacteria that convert it into more acid, which erodes your tooth’s protective layer of enamel and saps your teeth of essential minerals. (more…)

Dr. Leibowitz Explains How to Treat Tooth Decay with a Dental Filling

closeup tooth checkTreating tooth decay is an intricate but common practice, and one that may be vital to your continued good oral health. Unlike the common cold, tooth decay doesn’t resolve itself with rest and relaxation; like most dental diseases, tooth decay is progressive, and time is its greatest ally in the destruction of your teeth. Luckily, your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, has the tools and expertise to effectively remove decay from your tooth and reinforce it with a dental filling against further decay and damage.

Choosing the Right Material

When it comes to your dental filling, you have options. Generally, Dr. Leibowitz will utilize white composite resin, which closely resembles your tooth’s natural color and can be bonded to your tooth’s structure for an enhanced protective seal. White fillings offer a discrete solution to treating tooth decay, though in some cases, Dr. Leibowitz may recommend an amalgam filling, which may be better suited for certain teeth that absorb the brunt of your biting pressure. (more…)

Your Astoria Dentist Explains Life After Tooth Extraction

confident businessman smileKnowing that one or more of your teeth must go for the good of your oral health probably doesn’t make the process any easier to accept. Your permanent teeth have been with you for most of your life, and you’ve probably looked forward to having all of them for much longer. Unfortunately, some extreme cases may require the extraction of a severely damaged or diseased tooth, or you risk compromising the remainder of your oral health. Luckily, tooth extraction doesn’t have to be the devastating event that you might fear it to be. Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, an experienced and dedicated dentist in Astoria, can help you regain your smile and quality of life after tooth extraction with your choice of innovative, lifelike tooth replacement options, depending on your specific needs.

When a Tooth Must Go

An accidentally knocked-out tooth is difficult to prevent, but not impossible. Apart from not engaging in whatever activity caused the accident, you can also be sure to wear a protective mouthguard during contact sports to reduce the risk of dental damage. Aside from sudden severe accidental trauma, invasive tooth decay and severe gum disease can also render your tooth inoperable, useless, and a liability to your remaining smile. If your tooth is consumed by disease, or if there is a risk of infection spreading from your tooth to surrounding tissues, then tooth extraction may be your best option. (more…)

Astoria Dentist’s Snoring & Sleep Apnea Quiz

couple snoring in bedDo you have trouble sleeping because your partner is an incessant snorer? Does your partner complain that your snoring keeps him/her up all night? Snoring can be more than a mere nuisance, and when it indicates obstructive sleep apnea, it can deprive the snorer of necessary rest as well as the snorer’s sleeping partner. Your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, has helped many patients achieve the restful sleep they need by treating their sleep apnea. Today, we help you better understand the disorder with a short snoring and sleep apnea quiz.

Trouble with Sleep Apnea?

1.) Though snoring often indicates obstructive sleep apnea, not everyone who snores suffers from OSA.

a.) True

b.) False (more…)

Astoria Dentist Discusses the Cosmetic Benefits of Dental Implants

older woman with a beautiful smileAs prosthetic tooth roots, dental implants offer many benefits for replacing lost teeth and restoring your smile’s function. However, did you realize that implants can also help ensure that your replacement teeth look and perform as lifelike as possible? Without dental implants, your partial or complete denture may require clasps and special adhesives to remain in place. As your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz explains, securing your replacement teeth on one or more dental implants can provide a sturdier foundation that more closely resembles your natural teeth and roots.

Understanding Facial Collapse

Healthy tooth roots are embedded in your jawbone and help maintain its integrity by facilitating a healthy nutrient supply. When you lose teeth, the root stimulation from biting and chewing is reduced, as is the supply of nutrients that your body allocates to your jaw for tooth support. The deficiency can lead to jawbone deterioration, which if left untreated becomes visible as facial collapse (the sunken-jaw appearance that often follows tooth loss). Luckily, you can replace this stimulation by replacing lost tooth roots with dental implants. (more…)

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…)