By Peter Brusco DMD
October 16, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  
FollowTheseTipsforCleanerandHealthierTeethandGums

It gradually dawned on our ancient ancestors that a healthy mouth was usually a clean one. To achieve that blessed oral state, they chewed on tree bark or employed primitive toothbrushes like bamboo sticks with hog hair bristles attached to their ends.

Today, we have better tools and methods for achieving a cleaner and healthier mouth. But these advancements do little good if a) we don't use them on a daily basis, and b) we're not proficient with them.

October is National Dental Hygiene Month, highlighting once again the importance of these two points for keeping teeth and gums as clean as possible. First and foremost, oral hygiene should never take a holiday—even a day or two of accumulated plaque, the bacterial biofilm that builds up on teeth surfaces, can trigger the occurrence of gum disease or tooth decay.

But while "showing up" every day to brush and floss goes a long way toward a healthy mouth, you also need to perform these tasks well. An inadequate job can leave residual plaque that could still cause disease.

Here are a few handy tips to improve your oral hygiene routine.

Do a thorough job. Plaque can be stubborn, clinging to the nooks and crannies of teeth and around the gum lines—and it can easily be missed while brushing. Be sure, then, to thoroughly work your toothbrush's bristles into all dental surfaces. Your efforts should take about 2 minutes to complete.

Don't be too aggressive. You may need "elbow grease" to clean your floors, but not your teeth. Too much pressure applied while brushing can damage enamel and gums. Instead, go easy when you brush and let the toothpaste's mild abrasives do the heavy lifting.

Use flossing tools. Many people avoid flossing because they find it too hard or cumbersome with traditional flossing thread. If this is a problem for you, consider using a flossing tool—a floss threader or pick, or even a water flosser appliance that uses pressurized water to break up and remove plaque.

Take the "tongue test." Wondering how well you're doing with your hygiene efforts? One quick way to find out is the "tongue test": Simply swipe your tongue across your teeth just after brushing and flossing. If they feel gritty rather than smooth, you may have left some plaque behind.

Besides your personal hygiene efforts, be sure you also have your teeth cleaned regularly by a dental hygienist to rid your mouth of any residual plaque and tartar (hardened plaque)—these can also cause dental disease. Professional care coupled with proficient daily hygiene will help ensure you have cleaner mouth and better dental health.

If you would like more information on the best ways to incorporate oral hygiene into your life, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene.”

By Peter Brusco DMD
October 06, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
5SignsYourChildMayBeDevelopingaPoorBite

A Malocclusion—better known as a poor bite—can have far-ranging consequences that could follow a child into adulthood. Bite abnormalities make it more difficult to chew and digest food. And, misaligned teeth are also harder to keep clean, increasing the risk of dental disease.

But the good news is that we can often curb these long-term effects by discovering and treating a malocclusion early. A poor bite generally develops slowly with signs emerging as early as age 6. If you can pick up on such a sign, interventional treatment might even prevent a malocclusion altogether.

Here are 5 possible signs that might indicate your child is developing a poor bite.

Excessive spacing or crowding. A poor bite may be developing if the gaps between teeth seem unusually wide or, at the opposite spectrum, the teeth appear crooked or "bunched up" from crowding.

Underbite. In a normal bite the teeth on the upper jaw arch slightly cover the lower. If the opposite is true—the lower teeth are in front of the upper—then an underbite could be forming.

Open bite. Normally, when the jaws are shut, there is no open space between them. But if you notice a space still present between the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are shut, it may indicate an open bite.

Crossbite. This abnormal bite occurs when some of the lower teeth bite in front of the upper, while the remaining lower teeth are properly aligned behind the upper. Crossbites can occur with either the front or the back teeth.

Front teeth abnormalities. Front teeth especially can indicate a number of problems. In a deep bite, the upper front teeth extend too far over the lower teeth. Protrusion occurs when the upper teeth jut too far forward; in retrusion, the lower teeth seem to be farther back than normal.

See your dentist if you notice these signs or anything else unusual with your child's bite. Better yet, schedule a bite evaluation with an orthodontist when your child reaches age 6. Getting a head start on treating an emerging malocclusion can save them bigger problems down the road.

If you would like more information on malocclusions and their impact on your child's oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Problems to Watch For in Children Ages 6 to 8.”

PorcelainVeneersTransformRealHousewivesStarsSmileSpoiledbyTeethGrinding

Dorit Kemsley isn't shy. Best known to fans as an outspoken and sometimes outrageous cast member of the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kemsley is never reticent about “mixing it up” with fellow castmates or their significant others. Recently, though, she confessed to something that left her less than confident: her smile.

Kemsley has been self-conscious about her smile because her teeth looked noticeably short, worn down from an unconscious habit of grinding her teeth. Although teeth grinding is more common among children (who normally grow out of it by adolescence), it can persist into adulthood, usually from difficulties managing high stress (a likely component in the fashion designer/reality show star's busy life).

Stress-induced teeth grinding can occur during waking hours or, more likely, during deep sleep. The accumulating, long-term effects from the habit can lead not only to worn teeth but to weakened gum support, a high risk of tooth fracture or jaw pain and dysfunction.

So, how do you know if you grind your teeth, especially if it's only happening at night? Typical signs include sore jaws after awaking from sleep, increased tooth pain or sensitivity or, like Kemsley, a noticeable difference in your tooth length. Your family or sleeping partner may also complain about the “skin-crawling” noise you make during the night.

There are ways to lessen the effects of teeth grinding. The first step is to have us verify the underlying cause for the habit. If it's tension from stress, then you might reduce the habit's occurrences by learning better stress management or relaxation techniques through individual counseling, group support or biofeedback therapy. We can also fit you with a mouth guard to wear at night or through the day that reduces the force generated during teeth grinding.

And if you've already experienced accelerated tooth wear like Kemsley with a resultant “small teeth” smile, you might pursue the same solution as the RHOBH star: dental veneers. These thin, life-like wafers of porcelain are custom-made to mask imperfections like chips, staining, slight tooth gaps and, yes, worn teeth.

Veneers are often less expensive and invasive than other cosmetic techniques, yet they can have a transformative effect, as Kemsley's Instagram followers have seen. In conjunction with other dental treatments needed to repair any underlying damage caused by a grinding habit, veneers are an effective fix for the smile you present to the world.

If you suspect you may have a grinding habit, see us for a complete examination. From there, we'll help you protect your teeth and your smile.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding habits and their effects, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Grinding.”

By Peter Brusco DMD
September 23, 2021
Category: Oral Health

Parents raising a young baby may feel like they wouldn't have to worry about cavities or dental decay. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Baby bottle tooth decay is a real problem that Dr. Peter Brusco sees very often. Understanding this problem and how your family dentist Kinnelon, NJ, can help is critical for parents trying to avoid this common oral health issue.

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

Baby bottle tooth decay is a type of severe dental decay common among young infants and children. It can cause painful cavities throughout their baby teeth and even infections. If it spreads, it may even cause gingivitis and cause a young child to lose teeth before they are ready.

Understanding the direct causes of this problem can help parents better prevent it. And working with an experienced pediatric dentist can help you avoid severe repercussions to your child's overall health and well-being.

How Does Baby Bottle Tooth Decay Develop?

This type of persistent decay is usually the result of parents not correctly understanding how to feed their children. Your family dentist in Kinnelon, NJ, see this decay frequently caused by problems like:

  • Heavily sugared drinks that a baby bottle keeps on the surface of a child's teeth
  • Frequent use of a bottle as a pacifier to calm an upset child
  • Spreading bacteria from the mother's mouth to the child's through shared utensils 
  • Poor dental care on the child's young teeth by an unprepared parent

Thankfully, all of these issues are easy to prevent if you just change a few behaviors. You can provide your young ones with the care they need and minimize problematic oral health issues.

Can You Prevent Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

A few ways that you can avoid baby bottle tooth decay include:

  • Minimize sugary drinks for your baby
  • Don't use a bottle as a pacifier
  • Rarely share food utensils or a toothbrush with your child
  • Clean your baby's teeth daily with a baby toothbrush or damp washcloth and a tiny amount of child-friendly toothpaste

Help is Available For Your Child

To care for your baby's teeth, you need to work with your family dentist in Kinnelon, NJ. Call Dr. Brusco at (973) 838-5862 to learn more about how we can help.

By Peter Brusco DMD
September 17, 2021
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry

Crown lengthening is a cosmetic dentistry procedure done to improve the appearance of your smile, specifically by creating a less gummy smile. If you are unhappy with the way your smile looks due to the excessive appearance of gums or small teeth, it may be time to consider cosmetic dentistry in Kinnelon, NJ, with Dr. Peter Brusco. While there may be a few different reasons for why your smile appears gummy, there are solutions to improve the appearance of your smile with help from a cosmetic dentistry professional today!

What Is A Gummy Smile?

A gummy smile also referred to as excessive gingival display, is a condition in which a significant amount of gum tissue shows when you smile. This can create the effect of smaller, misshapen teeth because the gum tissue is covering up a majority of the contours of your teeth. Following an evaluation, your dentist will be able to help to determine the cause of your gummy smile and the right treatment option for you. Typically, treatment for a gummy smile involves a crown lengthening procedure, which is a form of cosmetic dentistry in Kinnelon, NJ.

What Is Crown Lengthening?

Crown lengthening, also called esthetic crown lengthening, is done to give people immediate improvement in the look of their smile. The crown of your tooth refers to the exposed part of your tooth sitting above the gumline. Through the removal of gum or bone tissue, crown lengthening reduces the amount of visible gum tissue when you smile and transforms the appearance of small teeth into regular-sized, naturally contoured teeth. For a less gummy smile, your dentist may recommend crown lengthening for you.

Get Help Today!

If you are tired of your gummy smile affecting the way you look and feel each day, then it may be time to consider cosmetic dentistry in Kinnelon, NJ. For additional questions or to make an appointment for crown lengthening today, please call Dr. Brusco at (973) 838-5862.





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Kinnelon, NJ Dentist
Peter Brusco DMD
170 Kinnelon Rd # 29A
Kinnelon, NJ 07405
(973) 838-5862
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