Posts for: March, 2018


That bit of gum bleeding after you brush, along with redness and swelling, are strong signs you have gingivitis, a form of periodontal (gum) disease. Without treatment, though, your gingivitis could turn into something much more painful and unsightly — a condition commonly known as “trench mouth.”

Properly known as Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (ANUG), the more colorful name arose from its frequent occurrence among soldiers during World War I. Although not contagious, many soldiers contracted it due to a lack of means to properly clean their teeth and gums and the anxiety associated with war. Inadequate hygiene and high stress still contribute to its occurrence today, along with smoking, medications that dry the mouth and reduced disease resistance — all of which create a perfect environment for bacterial growth.

ANUG can arise suddenly and be very painful. The cells in the gum tissue begin to die (“necrotizing”) and become swollen (“ulcerative”), especially the small triangle of gum tissue between the teeth called the papillae, which can appear yellowish. Patients also encounter a characteristic foul breath and taste. Untreated, ANUG can damage tissue and contribute to future tooth loss.

Fortunately, antibiotics and other treatments are quite effective in eradicating bacteria that cause the disease, so if caught early it’s completely reversible. We start with a complete examination to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other possible causes. We then attempt to relieve the pain and inflammation with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen and begin antibiotic treatment, most notably Metronidazole or amoxicillin. We may also prescribe a mouthrinse containing chlorhexidine and mild salt water rinses to further reduce the symptoms.

We must also treat any underlying gingivitis that gave rise to the more acute disease. Our goal here is remove any bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that have built up on tooth surfaces, particularly below the gums. Only then can we fully bring the disease under control.

It’s also important you become more consistent and effective with daily brushing and flossing, quit smoking, reduce undue stress, and get better rest and nutrition. Establishing these new habits and lifestyle changes will help ensure you’ll never have to experience trench mouth again.

If you would like more information on ANUG and other periodontal gum conditions, 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 “Painful Gums in Teens & Adults.”


Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Peter Brusco DMD
March 06, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Find out more about dental fillings and how they work.fillings

We know that dealing with a cavity can be frustrating, but it isn’t the end of the world. In fact, most people will face a cavity at some point during their lifetime. It’s just important that you have our Kinnelon, NJ, dentist, Dr. Peter Brusco, by your side to provide you with the care you need to get your oral health back on track.

If tooth decay is left ignored or doesn’t get treated it will continue to get worse, damaging the tooth and leading to a cavity. Decay can attack the outermost layer, known as the enamel, as well as the dentin layer (which is the layer underneath).

There are many reasons why decay occurs. In most cases, the foods and drinks we consume can be to blame. If you are someone who regularly enjoys sugary drinks and snacks or white starches then you may be about to get some bad news: these foods are increasing your chances of developing a cavity.

While some people may experience a toothache or notice a dark spot on their tooth not everyone will experience symptoms of a cavity. Because of this, it is important that you visit your Kinnelon family dentist every six months for routine cleanings and exams. It’s during these exams that we can detect cavities and put a stop to them before they cause serious havoc.

In order to stop the spread of decay, we will need to remove it as soon as possible. To do that, we will drill away the decay from the tooth and then fill it. Before we begin drilling we will numb the area first with a local anesthetic. Once your mouth is numb we will carefully remove the decay. Once removed, the next and final step is to place the dental filling.

A dental filling is made from a tooth-colored material (also known as composite resin). This material is first matched to the color of your tooth so that it blends in. From there, this moldable resin is applied in thin layers over the holes of the tooth. We will shape and contour the material until it completely covers these holes. Each layer is then hardened permanently into place using a dental laser. Getting a dental filling is the best way to restore a tooth’s strength and durability after decay.

Do you have questions about dental fillings? Need to schedule your six-month cleaning? Then it’s time you called our Kinnelon, NJ, dental office to schedule an appointment with us. You’ll be glad you did.

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