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April 19 2014

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15 posts tagged "Teeth"

Dr. Thomas Connelly Talks Teeth

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backstage-smileWe will be the first to admit that on our long list of health and grooming tasks, sometimes our teeth are an afterthought. Sad but true. But because we are determined to make dental maintenance a priority this year, it seemed like the ideal time to talk teeth with an expert. Enter Dr. Thomas Connelly, who, besides running a practice on Manhattan’s Upper East Side for nearly twenty years, has also delved into the world of oral healthcare products—he launched the 32 Effervescent Breath Treatment with IsoVoxy last year, and this May marks the release of 32 SNO, a new home whitening system. Here, Connelly answers a few of our pressing teeth-related questions.

Do we really need to spring for an electric toothbrush? Does it do that much better of a job than the old-school variety?

The truth is you do not have to if you are willing to spend two full minutes brushing adequately. Most of us live our lives in fast-forward and spend only about thirty seconds brushing, and thirty seconds with an electric toothbrush is far better than thirty seconds with a manual toothbrush. So the choice is yours.

Let’s talk halitosis (aka bad breath): No one wants it, but unfortunately, it’s a reality for many. What causes it and what can we do to prevent it?

Bad breath has been a documented concern since ancient Greek and Roman times. Oral malodor can be classified into two basic categories: intrinsic and extrinsic. Extrinsic oral malodor originates from the ingestion of substances (such as cheese, garlic, tobacco) that contain malodorous compounds. The duration of extrinsic malodor is proportional to the amount and frequency of ingestion of the offending substances and the amount of time required to “wash out” the malodorous substances. Intrinsic malodor has its origin within the individual, and is most commonly caused by substances produced by bacteria in the oral cavity. Anaerobic bacteria found in the rear folds of the tongue are believed to generate the VSCs (volatile sulfur compounds = bad breath). The main cause of oral malodor is the putrefaction of sulfur-containing protein substances, predominately by gram-negative bacteria. The human nose is highly sensitive to sulfur, so bad breath when present is very easy to detect. “Morning breath” has been attributed to the overnight putrefaction of food deposits, salivary deposits, and other types of oral accumulation and debris. This is why the best time to really clean your mouth, including serious flossing, is before bedtime. Your mouth becomes dry overnight. Saliva is not flowing as it does during waking hours and saliva does help clean the oral cavity. To prevent halitosis, adequate oral hygiene that includes brushing, flossing, and tongue cleaning is required.

Every year we resolve to floss more, and every year we fail miserably. Any guidance you can offer?

Take a realistic approach. Non-flossers do not realize how gross it really is to not floss. The key to becoming a flosser is to discover this grossness. People do notice the plaque between your teeth, and plaque buildup (the bacteria living in a sticky film they produce) smells bad, therefore affecting your breath. I would challenge a non-flosser to do a good flossing and take notice of the crud that comes out of your teeth.

A number of friends have started in recent years to complain about receding gums. Can you explain how that happens and if there is anything to curb the issue?

Gums can recede from brushing too aggressively with your toothbrush, so be gentle. But more frequently, gums recede from imbalances in the way our teeth bite together (called occlusion). Sometimes the recession is so extensive, the teeth may need to be lightly adjusted to correct the manner in which they occlude. Once the bite issue is corrected, the recession will halt. Sometime a “graft” of gum tissue from the roof of your mouth is needed to repair the gums in a certain area.

Mind The Gap

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The first copy of The Face I ever saw was the August 1996 issue. I can’t recall a single article or photo spread, but what I do remember about sitting cross-legged on the floor of my local Borders, where I picked up the expensive import, was staring at the cover model—Georgina something—and thinking how cool it would be to have her gap-toothed grin.

I was reminded of that day repeatedly during the shows, as Lindsey Wixson and newbie Ashley Smith graced the runway—and post-fashion weeks as well, as I steadily began to catch up on my backlog of fashion magazines. Lara Stone. Georgia May Jagger. Gap-toothed girls are all the rage—and for some reason, they all look quite a bit alike, and a lot like Georgina something. Blonde, willowy, gap-toothed. You could argue that they all follow in the footsteps of the original blonde, willowy, gap-toothed model, Lauren Hutton, and something about the American Gigolo star’s formula really, really works. The thing is, how do you replicate that, if, say, you’re a brunette, curvy, and distinctly un-gap-toothed? You can dye your hair, exercise more and change your diet—sure. But when it comes to that somewhat coveted space, either you’ve got it, or you don’t.

Or maybe not. “Very few patients ask for this procedure,” Dr. Irwin Smigel, the “Father of Aesthetic Dentistry,” told me when I asked him if there was any way to create this imperfect smile. “But the look is possible to achieve by using a very thin, special disk. The entire procedure takes less than an hour.” Achievable, yes; advisable…maybe.

Photo: Elaine Constantine for The Face, August 1996

Flossing With Style

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In one of the more enjoyable mailings we’ve received recently, these handy items arrived at our offices via UPS this morning. No, you’re not looking at a Style.com magnet or card holder; that, dear readers, is a personalized Flossbox. Yes, Flossbox—a new-to-market credit card-sized spool of dental floss that doubles as a handheld mirror and can be a pretty powerful branding tool to boot. You can upload your own photos or logos to www.flossbox.com, and they’ll print you out your very own model for a wee $3.49! Perhaps even more exciting, Flossbox offers a super-handy way to check and see if an impulsive corn-on-the-cob move went awry, while simultaneously providing a quick and easy way to remedy the situation if in fact it has (you know what we’re talking about). And how chic does our logo look in beauty utility-item form?

Spruce Up Your Smile—And Your Smile Lines

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Say cheese! If these words strike terror in your heart, it’s probably time to visit Dr. Irwin Smigel. The “Father of Cosmetic Dentistry,” Dr. Smigel begat an industry when he debuted his revolutionary bonding system on an episode of That’s Incredible! in 1980. Since then, the good doctor has made glamming up smiles his life’s work. He founded the American Society for Dental Aesthetics, launched the tooth-whitening franchise Supersmile, pioneered the use of veneers, and has tended to the grins of more celebrities than you can shake a Supersmile Ripple Edge Tongue Cleaner at. And he’s not done with your mouth, not by a long shot. With his latest innovation, the Dental Face Lift, Dr. Smigel is taking on the big boys, a.k.a. Botox, with an anti-injectable, line-reducing alternative. Here, he talks to Style.com about getting rid of wrinkles, not facial expression, and how to avoid “teeth so white they look silly.”

So what exactly is the Dental Face Lift?

Essentially, we’re using veneers to build out the lower half of the face. Not only does the smile look better, on its own, but the veneers raise the cheekbones and soften the nasolabial lines.

The nasolabial what?

You know, the line that runs from the nose to the lip. Everyone gets those lines as they age—it’s unavoidable. But when we build out the upper back teeth, the lines basically disappear.

Continue Reading “Spruce Up Your Smile—And Your Smile Lines” »

Some New Buzz About Clean Teeth

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Burt’s Bees is entering the oral care category with a 99.2 percent natural toothpaste. Available in Multicare and Whitening formulas with or without fluoride, as well as in two different options for kids, the pastes have been clinically proven to prevent cavities, reduce plaque, brighten smiles, promote healthy gums, and freshen breath. And they taste pretty good, too. Minty goodness is fortified with calcium and phosphorous as well as real cranberry extract, which is known to block bacteria from sticking to teeth and gums. The brushing experience is a minimally lathering one, but it comes equipped with an “it’s working!” tingle—as well as the knowledge that you’re not swallowing the sodium laurel sulfates, artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, and sweeteners found in so many big-brand alternatives.

Photo: Courtesy of Burt’s Bees