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Posts for: July, 2012

By Jean Lafayette, D.D.S.
July 25, 2012
Category: Oral Health
WhatCanYouDoTodayAboutYourBadBreath

In today's fast-paced society, nearly everyone is looking for reliable solutions to resolve problems almost instantly. Unfortunately, in many situations, bad breath cannot be cured that quickly. This is why we want to provide you with the following rules of thumb for treating your bad breath.

  • Use a soft-bristled brush and a proper technique to clean your teeth at least twice a day, in the morning when you wake and before you go to bed.
  • Floss your teeth at least once daily to remove the bacterial plaque and food particles between your teeth, as these are two known causes of bad breath and tooth decay.
  • Clean your tongue, as it can often be the main culprit with too many odor-producing bacteria living on its surface. To clean your tongue, use a tongue scraper obtainable from a local drug or discount store, or brush your tongue with your toothbrush. Remember, a healthy tongue should be pink in color and not have a yellowish or brownish coating.
  • Chew a sugar-free gum that contains xylitol, a natural, sugar-free sweetener that actually has been shown to help prevent caries (cavities) while improving your breath.
  • Change your eating and drinking habits. Drinking plenty of tap water will not only keep your mouth hydrated (a dry mouth is another cause of bad breath), but it also can help prevent caries if you live in an area with fluoridated water. And by adding plenty of crunchy fruits and veggies such as carrots, celery and apples, you stimulate the production of saliva; thus keeping your mouth moist and rinsed out.

And last but not least, you can contact us today to schedule a consultation for an examination, cleaning and treatment plan. Or, you can learn more when you read the Dear Doctor article, “Bad Breath — More Than Just Embarrassing.”


By Jean Lafayette, D.D.S.
July 17, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   root canal  
CanARootCanalSaveMyTooth

One of the most common treatments we are asked about is a root canal and the unfortunate bad reputation associated with it. The truth is that the procedure actually relieves the pain associated with the problem and not visa versa. And here's why.

A root canal or endodontic treatment (“endo” – inside; “dont” – tooth) is a necessary procedure in which diseased pulp tissue — and the nerve, which responds by causing the pain — is removed. This is followed by cleaning and sealing the root canals. This usually results from pulp inflammation and infection as a result of a severe decay or in a heavily filled tooth. Root canal treatment is typically performed by general dentists who have taken specialized training or by endodontists, dentists who specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of root canal problems. We perform them here in our practice to save a tooth, literally, from further damage and/or loss.

Here is a quick overview of the procedure. We will begin by making a small opening in the chewing surface of your tooth so that we can access the tooth's root canal. We use small instruments to remove the dead and dying tissues of the pulp. The root canals are cleaned and disinfected. The canals are then sealed with a biocompatible filling material. Lastly, we will seal the access hole with a filling material. You will then need to get a permanent restoration or crown to protect the tooth fully.

If you feel that you have the symptoms of a root canal problem and may need a root canal treatment, contact us to schedule an appointment. And to learn more about the signs, symptoms, and what to expect after root canal treatment, read the article “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment.”


By Jean Lafayette, D.D.S.
July 09, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
TheTopTenReasonsToConsiderPorcelainVeneers

A veneer is a thin layer of dental ceramic tooth-colored restorative material, usually made of porcelain, which replaces some of the tooth's enamel and is physically bonded to it.

You might want to consider porcelain veneers:

  1. If your teeth are severely discolored. (For best results we may recommend that your teeth be whitened before veneering them.)
  2. If your teeth cannot be evenly whitened or matched by other means.
  3. If your teeth are misshapen or worn, you can change their size or shape for optimum aesthetic appeal.
  4. If you don't want to have your teeth prepared (drilled), prepless veneers may be an option to change your smile.
  5. If you want as little natural tooth structure prepared as possible to improve your smile.
  6. If you would like something temporary first to “test-drive” your new smile, then:
  7. “Provisional veneers” allow you to try out your new smile and give us feedback before the final permanent veneers are placed.
  8. If you want to improve your smile for just one tooth or even multiple teeth.
  9. If you want long-lasting restorations — veneers can last from seven to twenty years or more.

And the top reason is:

  1. Porcelain laminate veneers are among the most aesthetic ways to create a more beautiful, yet normal, looking smile.

Tell us what you want to change about your current smile, and we can tell you whether veneers are right for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry. You can learn more by reading about porcelain veneers in Dear Doctor magazine.


By Jean Lafayette, D.D.S.
July 01, 2012
Category: Oral Health
ThreeWaystoPreventToothDecay

Tooth decay is not trivial. It's a worldwide epidemic, one of the most common of all diseases — second only to the common cold. It affects more than one fourth of U.S. children of ages 2 to 5 and half of those 12 to 15. Among adults, tooth decay affects more than ninety percent of those over age 40.

Prevention of cavities starts with a healthy diet and effective brushing and flossing, but it is much more complex than that. Three strategies for reducing dental caries (tooth decay) include:

Protect with Fluoride and Sealants
This works best when fluoride is applied to the crystalline coating of your child's teeth just after they push through the gums (erupt). The fluoride becomes incorporated into the tooth's surface and acts as a barrier to decay. Studies have shown that low doses of fluoride are safe and effective.

Dental sealants are used as a companion to fluoride because they seal tiny pits and fissures in the tooth's structure, creating an even stronger barrier.

Modify Oral Bacteria
Every mouth contains bacteria, no matter how well you clean your teeth. Not all bacteria cause tooth decay. The problem bacteria are those that produce acid as a byproduct of their life processes. We can identify acid-producing bacteria in your mouth, you can reduce their concentrations using antibacterial mouthrinses such as chlorhexidine, and pH neutralizing agents (substances that reduce the amount of acid).

Reduce Sugars in Your Diet
Bacteria in your mouth ferment sugars and other carbohydrates, producing acids that eat into the mineralized outside structure of your teeth, the enamel. So eating fewer sugars — particularly added sugars such as those in juices, sodas, candy and other sweets — will help prevent decay. Your total sugar intake should be less than fifty grams, or about ten teaspoons, per day. If you begin to read labels showing sugar content of common foods, you may be surprised at the amount you consume without knowing it.

If you must snack between meals, non-sugary snacks like raw vegetables and fresh fruits create a better environment for your teeth.

Xylitol, an “alcohol sugar” used in some chewing gums and dental products, has been shown to reduce decay-producing bacteria.

Try these easy strategies to keep your teeth healthy and functional throughout your lifetime.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about tooth decay. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Decay.”




Questions or Comments?
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