marilyn_monroe__kids_by_mustafasoydan-d2yfbd6If you haven’t been to the dentist lately, you really should go check one out. With all of the new technology that is now available and all of the advancements that are being done in dentistry, going to the dentist is almost like going to a spa.

Have you ever had a mouth that just didn’t feel right, no matter how many times you brushed or flossed? Like a body that is just a little bit out of whack sometimes – a day when you focus on your body is exactly the kind of day your mouth occasionally needs.

Of course you will not be able to take a mud bath at the dentist or have hot stones placed on you back. But, you can have lovely people taking care of your mouth, toys and activities for your kids, and most dentists now have Wi-Fi and music available not to mention healthy snacks and beverages.

This isn’t to say that if you need a root canal that you will not feel it. However, with Sedation Dentistry and other medications available, it will be more pleasant than not.

What’s more is when you take your children for their dental care, a pediatric dentist who specializes in children will do their best to make sure that your child and you are in the happiest place on earth that is not Disneyland and where oral health is focal point.

If you are unsure of which dentist to go to, look online; most dentists have pretty nice websites that introduce them, their team and their office.  Seriously, compare the dentist websites to the website of your local spa, I think you’ll notice several similarities.

So treat yourself and your family to a mouth day; visit your local dental office, even if you don’t have a dentist yet, and just check out the office. You’ll find that the bygone era of pain dentistry is all but gone. Most dentists go out of their way to insure that the entire family will be comfortable and have fun while they are at the dental office.


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Though in History of the World Part I, Mel Brooks was not referring to the importance of crowns – this article is. A dental crown is typically used to cap or encircle a tooth. Especially if a cavity or a number of cavities it is covering is too large for a filling to handle by itself. Wikipedia notes that:

While inarguably beneficial to dental health, the procedure and materials can be relatively expensive.

Just remember there many dental payment plans that can be worked out with your dentist, so the main reason for getting a crown is your dental health.

Most often crowns are used to strengthen a tooth, improve bite function, or help eliminate symptoms caused from discomfort (THINK: TMJ), or to improve the appearance of teeth.

Crowns are also used to finish off dental implants. Implants can be used in place of a full or a partial denture (of course consult your dentist for a more complete description). In short, once you have an implant (think of it as an artificial tooth root) attached to your jawbone a crown is attached to resemble a naturally occurring tooth.

Aside from implants, crowns can also be used to “reinforce” a tooth after a root canal. After a root canal the tooth can become brittle and weaker than neighboring teeth. In general an average person can exert up to 200 lbs of muscular force on their back teeth (posterior).  That amount of force is greater than what is put on the front teeth (anterior).  In short, if you get a root canal on a molar you will most likely have it crowned in order to strengthen it.

If you think you might need a crown or have been debating asking your dentist about one, consult your neighborhood dentist. Remember they are the experts on oral health care and always willing and able to help you towards your goal of better overall health through the proper care and maintenance of your teeth.


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Tooth Decay To Be A Thing Of The Past Enzyme Responsible For Dental Plaque Sticking To Teeth DecipheredThe definition of plaque is really very interesting as described by Wikipedia:

Dental plaque is a biofilm, usually a pale yellow that develops naturally on the teeth. Like any biofilm, dental plaque is formed by colonizing bacteria . . . It has been speculated that plaque forms part of the defense systems of the host by helping to prevent colonization of microorganisms that may be pathogenic.

It is not a huge leap to compare plaque to the Great Wall of China. The building of plaque never ceases and the Great Wall took centuries to build and it’s still not complete. The Great Wall was built to keep attackers out while at the same time keeping people in. The Great Wall of China can be seen from space; if you have a lot of plaque build-up, it can be seen pretty easily, too.

If we heed only Wikipedia’s definition above, one might wonder what is so bad about plaque.  The above definition is only a partial one and there are many more resources available online or at your local dental office that will point out the drawbacks of plaque. While building up its defenses the same material that protects erodes the enamel of the teeth.  Of course the erosion does not take place over night. And, neither will the “take down.”

Like the Great Wall, plaque is very formidable. Both will never be totally deconstructed however, the Great Wall is maintained and cleaned for its millions of visitors. Plaque helps protect against billions of visitors, too  (microorganisms). However, if you do not keep the plaque at bay (it occurs naturally, and can not be cleaned 100% away) it will destroy your teeth.

So, get into see your dentist, help them help you control plaque. Ask your dentist if the recommended twice-yearly cleaning is all you need, or, if there are other issues to deal with like periodontal disease or gingivitis.  Remember your dentist is the expert and they love helping people get the oral care they should have; it’s what they do!


Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Tooth Decay To Be A Thing Of The Past? Enzyme Responsible For Dental Plaque Sticking To Teeth Deciphered


634px-Dental_floss_(whole)The Cleaning of the Teeth (Part I)

She told me to open my mouth, she started the exam, and, she was in there for about 30 seconds,. Suddenly, she started crying (this is a dental story there might be some exaggeration for point). My dental hygienist said that my teeth were not very happy; in fact they were down right sad. I hadn’t been to the dentist for my recommended twice-yearly cleaning and I’m not the best flosser – in that I don’t really floss. The good news is that I don’t have periodontal disease, the bad news is if I don’t take care of my teeth now, I will.

I brush my teeth every day and use mouthwash with fluoride and, I don’t eat sweet stuff, so why can’t I just come in every five years and clean my teeth?  After all, that’s what I have done for the past forty years. She looked at me and said, “Listen, I have a really full schedule, I’m booked out for months, and I can’t force you to take care of your teeth. Other people get it, you don’t yet, call me when you do.”

And that was the last time I saw my dental hygienist. Not because I haven’t “gotten it” yet. I understood almost immediately, cleaning your teeth doesn’t just make them whiter; it actually keeps your gums healthy and free from gingivitis and periodontal disease. I haven’t seen my hygienist since then because she really was booked for months and I just couldn’t get in.


The Cleaning of the Teeth (Part II)

I finally made it in to see my hygienist and my gums are so much happier now. Of course it takes a bit of work on my part, learning to floss after 40 years of not flossing is like learning a new language.  I’d rather go to the dentist once a month for a monthly cleaning but personal responsibility is important. For now I will continue to keep my gums happy and therefore healthy by flossing and brushing every day. And, I will resign myself to the recommended twice-a-year cleaning. I hope my little story has impressed upon you the importance of regular cleanings. If I can do it after forty years of not doing it, then anyone can.*

*Two visits annually for a cleaning is normal. If you have periodontal disease, it will likely be recommended you visit your dentist and hygienist 3 to 4 times per year until the condition of your gums improve.


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Now is the time to plan for the completion of your dental treatment before the end of the year.  All insurance plans have a yearly maximum.  If you do not use this maximum amount, the benefits are lost forever.

If you have treatment to be completed or to be started, take advantage of your benefits this year.  We can use the maximum allowed for this year to begin or complete any treatment that needs to be done.  If we do not complete all of the treatment, then we can start with a new maximum next year.


Good planning will allow you to take advantage of the full benefits of your policy.  Please do not wait until the last few days of the year when our congested schedule will make it difficult to appoint a convenient time for you.

Our goal is to provide you with quality dental service.  If we can help you maximize your dental insurance coverage in the process, we know you will be very pleased.  In addition, we have a financial partner who can help you with any portion of your treatment that insurance does not cover.

Call (314) 858-5366 today for an appointment!

We appreciate your continued support,

Dr. Elliot Leon and the Soft Touch Dental Team


*Take an additional 15% off when you call to schedule.

(Good until December 31, 2014)


2330751784_2981cf3f62_oIf you struggle with this age old question, hopefully these few words will help you finally decide if you should have your teeth whitened or not.


First off, if cost is your first concern, it should be your last; there are a myriad ways to either work out payment plans or get dental insurance (topics for another article). Your first concern should be your health; there are a few studies pondering if teeth whitening is safe (MailOnline, for example, points to a new law being look at in the UK). For the most part, the many studies that have been done on teeth whitening indicate most all kinds of whitening treatments are safe and pose no risk to your teeth (even the home whitening kinds). Of course you should be careful with how much whitening you do (sensitivity could become an issue) and which type.


There are some different whitening strategies: Discovery Fit and Health gives some home remedies that help whiten your teeth.  My favorite one? Chewing on some celery.  This goes right along with munching on fruits and vegetables. And of course you could do the ol’ rub baking soda to buff stains away. Keep in mind however, that if you want your smile to be as bright as Mother Nature intended, you will need to see your dentist.


There are a lot of over-the-counter choices available as well. Results from whitening strips can last for up to 4 months (according to WebMD). But, remember these contain a peroxide-based gel, which can be dangerous if a baby or child were to swallow them. There are also (thanks to WebMD again) tray-based tooth whiteners. These involve a tray that is worn for a period of time, depending on the desired results.


In conclusion, if you are a do-it-yourself type of person, whitening your teeth is more than likely something you can do. If, on the other hand you’re like me and prefer to have the experts take care of what they have become experts at, go ahead and make that dental appointment; it will be the quickest, most effective, safest, and done-the-best-way, to get your teeth whitened.


Whatever you decide to do, before embarking on any whitening treatments, be sure to seek the advice of your neighborhood dentist. They are the professionals, and, fully understand the various treatments available for this very visible and affordable cosmetic change to your smile.


Image Used under Creative Commons license. Photo Credit: Extreme Teeth Whitening by tsuacctnt

100_1373Teeth wear down; they get abused by hard candies, sticky sugary snacks, and other items that can cause decay or cracks.

Many people are under the false assumption that only children get cavities. Unfortunately like all machines, when our body and mouth get on in age, they naturally will be in need of repairs. If you are one of those folks who think cavities are only something candy-eating children get, maybe it’s time for a dental check-up. If you do go in for a check-up and find you have cavities that need fillings, below are some helpful tips to consider.

There are two basic types of fillings: silver amalgam and tooth-colored composite resin. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Silver fillings are durable and can last up to 15 years. Some people however, don’t like the look of the dark silver fillings, while they may be more economical.

There are a few disadvantage of silver amalgam fillings: greater healthy parts of the tooth often have to be removed, the amalgam may create discoloration to the tooth, the amalgam material may lend itself to more frequent cracks and fractures, and silver amalgam fillings contain mercury, an element known to be unsafe to humans in certain concentrations. Some may also be allergic to the amount of mercury used in silver amalgam fillings.

Tooth-colored composites are the best choice for filling material from an esthetic view, as they most closely match the color of a tooth. These composites also chemically bond to the tooth and they are versatile. Often there is less of the existing tooth structure that needs to be removed in comparison to an amalgam filling. However, these composites are less durable than an amalgam filling. Also, the tooth-colored composites can more easily chip and are slightly less economical.

There are also ceramic and glass ionomer fillings available.  If you would like to learn more about cavities and fillings, contact your neighborhood dentist. They will be more than happy to give you the complete run down on fillings, if you need them and which would be best for you.


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