Providing Montclair with the Most Advanced Dental Services for More than 70 Years

Providing Montclair with the Most Advanced Dental Services for More than 70 Years

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Help and Options for Dental Anxiety Treatment

It is not unusual for people to feel hesitant and nervous when visiting a dental office. For some people, this can lead to fear and anxiety that can cause people to avoid dental treatment and risk their general oral health. We feel strongly that all patients in our office should have the best experience possible and there are a number of ways in which we strive to make all appointments stress-free and comfortable.

1. Communication:
We find that the more information people have about conditions or treatment, the less anxious and more in control they feel. Often, a simple conversation can ease fears and reduce anxiety. Our doctors are available for consultation and are always happy to discuss your concerns and treatment. Patients can expect full explanations of planned dental treatment and will also be provided with information concerning appropriate pain relief medication and strategies.

2. Oral anti-anxiety medications:
For some patients, information is not sufficient to ease their fears. For more profound relaxation, oral medications to reduce anxiety can be given to patients prior to your appointment.

3. Nitrous oxide:
Sometimes known as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a gas that is administered with oxygen through a small nose piece and requires you to breathe normally through your nose. The advantages of nitrous oxide are that it works rapidly and produces a feeling of relaxation and can diminish pain sensation. The effects are instantaneous, unlike oral sedatives (pills), the gas can be switched off and its effects are removed. There are no lasting side effects and you can resume all normal activities, including driving, after the procedure is completed. For patients with procedures involving the gums (scaling and root planning, deep cleanings) that feel uncomfortable, nitrous oxide can make the treatment more tolerable with or without the need for local anesthesia.

4. IV sedation:
Dr. Ferguson has successfully partnered with Dr. Glen Atlas, a board certified anesthesiology physician, to provide safe in office sedation for the last 10 years. This option is offered to patients who require extensive procedures or exhibit extreme dental phobia. In these situations, Dr. Ferguson treats patients while in-office sedation is safely administered and monitored by Dr. Atlas. Dr. Atlas is a full Anesthesiology Professor at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School and more information is available through Dr. Atlas’ website. Dr. Ferguson is also available to answer any dental anxiety or sedation questions you may have by calling the office at 973-744-3181.

Dental X-rays…/you-probably-dont-need-dental-x-ra…

This is a good article that highlights many of the issues relevant to dental x-rays. A few thoughts:

1. X-rays provide valuable diagnostic information. X-rays have always allowed dentists to identify issues such as cavities, gum disease and developmental dental problems at a point where they can be successfully treated with minimal and conservative dental treatment.

2. Radiation should be avoided in all forms, and dental x-rays must always be used only after evaluating the cost vs. benefit to the patient. All professionals should follow ALARA guidelines or As Low As Reasonably Achievable. But, it is important to have perspective when evaluating the radiation associated with dental x-rays to the typical background radiation experienced by all of us on a daily basis. A day at the beach or a flight from New York to LA will expose a person to significantly more radiation than patients will experience in a dental office.

3. Beyond this, Ferguson Dental is committed to providing patients with the safest, most advanced technology available. Digital dental x-rays expose patients to a 1/5th of the radiation experienced from film x-rays, and we have provided digital dental x-rays for our patients for over 20 years. Additionally, our new extra-oral x-ray machine provides us with the option of ultralow dose panoramic x-rays and ct scans. This technology provides, again, significantly lower radiation dose x-rays compared to film panoramic x-rays or medical CT scans. Using our advanced technology, we are able to see more with less radiation than conventional full mouth radiographic imaging.

4. Most importantly, we work with every patient and parent to assess individual disease risk before determining the proper interval of dental x-rays. We are committed to minimizing radiation dose while also maintaining dental health.

5. Choosing dental care based upon what dental insurance will cover is not advisable and that approach is not found at Ferguson Dental. We recommend and implement dental protocols on an individual basis given the specific needs of every patient. We are absolutely committed to your dental and overall health. Please always feel free to ask us more about any issue that concerns you!

Common Dental Dangers for Teens


Common Dental Dangers for Teens
Guest Blog Post by
Mira Linaugh, Student Intern

Oral care is not just for young children and adults. Dental dangers that are most often targeted at teens can cause big problems in the future, but can be avoided through proper care!

Prominent concerns:

  • Coffee, sugary candy, and junk food-  For teens in particular, poor nutrition can cause permanent oral health issues.  High sugar consumption over an extended period of time causes plaque bacteria to produce acids that decay the enamel of your teeth. To avoid damage and decay, avoid high-sugar and sticky foods and always floss and brush thoroughly.
  • Braces- Many teens get braces for a few years to correct the alignment of their teeth or an improper bite. Braces can make it more difficult to clean your teeth and allow for food to get stuck in hard-to-reach places.  It’s recommended that you try to floss or brush every time after eating to avoid decay and white spots on the teeth, and see your dentist for cleanings more frequently.
  • Wisdom teeth- These usually come into the mouth around the ages of 17 to 21. They can cause problems such as crowding, pain, decay, infection, and pericoronitis.  Regular visits to the dentist are important in order to identify any problems with wisdom teeth through x-rays before they become severe. Removing wisdom teeth is a common dental procedure for teens.
  • Contact sports- For anyone who plays contact sports, the use of mouthguards is necessary during all practices and games.  Studies have shown that athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer harm to their teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. Discuss with your dentist the right mouthguard for you. If a mouth injury does occur during physical activity, contact your dentist for specific advice or emergency care.
  • Eating disorders- Improper nutrition negatively affects all areas of the body, especially the mouth.  For people with bulimia, stomach acid erodes the enamel of the teeth and can cause yellowing and shortening. If you suffer from an eating disorder, it is important to seek counseling and talk to your health care provider. A dentist can often identify early signs of a negative impact of poor diet on your dental health. It is important to be honest and communicate with your dentist to avoid permanent dental problems.
  • Smoking, e-cigarettes, hookahs, and smokeless tobacco- Beyond the well-known risks of smoking, these behaviors can be specifically detrimental to a teen’s dental health. Cigarettes, along with the new “healthier” alternatives to cigarettes, expose people to dangers like nicotine addiction, tooth decay, tooth loss, gum disease, and various oral cancers.  Studies at the NYU College of Dentistry have shown that the newly popular e-cigarettes can cause periodontal bacteria to become more pathogenic, which causes periodontal disease.  Alternatives to conventional cigarettes have not been researched for extended time periods because they are so new, but initial findings have suggested similar risks and should be avoided in the same manner as cigarettes.
Along with consistent brushing and flossing, the key to optimal oral health is making smart decisions and visiting the dentist on a regular basis.  As Dr. Ferguson notes, “I know from my own family that dental care isn’t always a teens’ first priority. It’s important to help young adults understand the long lasting impact that neglect and bad habits can have going forward. Our staff works collaboratively with our teenage patients to instill good habits, address dental concerns, and help teens facilitate their unique cosmetic and dental health goals.” Teens are given a lot of freedom, so it’s up to you to decide how healthy and beautiful you want your smile to be!

February is Children's National Dental Health Month!

Ferguson Dental is celebrating National Children’s Dental Health by visiting local classrooms and helping to educate our youngest patients on the benefits of taking care of their smiles. Ferguson Dental has been visiting local PreK through 6th grade classrooms for over 14 years. Are we scheduled to visit your child’s classroom? If not, please contact our front desk to schedule a visit today!


Pacifiers and Oral Health

There’s an interesting debate occurring on the possible benefits and/or harm of cleaning a pacifier in your own mouth after it drops on the floor.

In a recent New York Time’s article Anahad O’Connor discussed the possible benefits of “Sucking Your Child’s Pacifier Clean.” The article states,
“For years, health officials have told parents not to share utensils with their babies or clean their pacifiers by putting them in their mouths, arguing that the practice spreads harmful germs between parent and child. But new research may turn that thinking on its head. In a study published Monday in the journal Pediatrics, scientists report that infants whose parents sucked on their pacifiers to clean them developed fewer allergies than children whose parents typically rinsed or boiled them. They also had lower rates of eczema, fewer signs of asthma and smaller amounts of a type of white blood cell that rises in response to allergies and other disorders.”

The ADA quickly responded,
“The ADA wants parents to be aware that licking a pacifier can transfer the cavity-causing bacteria from parents to children—increasing the possibility of tooth decay as they grow....Sharing eating utensils with a baby, or the parent sucking on a pacifier to clean it, can also increase the likelihood of transmitting decay-causing bacteria.”

Dr. Ferguson’s take on the issue? He has three children that used pacifiers when they were young, and the pacifiers honestly weren’t boiled every time they dropped on the floor. But, it is important to note that the environment of every mouth is not the same. If a parent has good dental hygiene sharing utensils is less potentially harmful than if a parent has significant decay and disease. Germs and bacteria are easily spread to our children through all normal family activities. Keeping your child free of cavities and other oral infections is easier when you’re keeping your mouth healthy as well.

Healthy Teeth are Important for a Healthy Heart!

Good dental hygiene Isn’t just about a pretty smile, it is important to your heart’s health! Ferguson Dental recommends routine dental visits for adults and children at least every six months.

The Heart of the Matter
Q. Are oral plaque, coronary vessel plaque and eye plaque the same substance?
A. Coronary plaque and eye plaque are directly related, while oral plaque is a different entity, said Dr. Holly S. Andersen, director of education and outreach for the Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center.
The kind of plaque that causes atherosclerosis is “a soft, yellow, greasy gruel that is made up of a combination of cholesterol, fat and inflammatory cells that circulate in your bloodstream,” Dr. Andersen said. It can rupture and cause a heart attack or stroke.
Eye plaque is a cholesterol-filled embolus, or bubble, that breaks off from an atherosclerotic plaque elsewhere and lodges in a small blood vessel in the retina. “It shows that you have significant plaque buildup and have already had a partial plaque rupture,” Dr. Andersen said.
Oral or dental plaque, also yellow, is a film made up of colonies of bacteria, proteins, sugars and salts, she said. Excessive buildup allows for acid production, which can lead to tooth decay, gum inflammation, and tooth loss.
Studies link poor dental hygiene to higher risks of heart disease, Dr. Andersen said. The explanation probably has to do with inflammation produced by the plaque, which is known to contribute to atherosclerosis, and possibly with direct damage from the bacteria and toxins released into the blood.

Chewing Gum IS Recommended!

From the New York Times 10/20/2012

OCTOBER 20, 2012
Your Assignment for Today: Chew Gum