Are you a summertime movie-goer? Don’t let movie snacks get the best of your smile!

Summertime means movie time for most of us, and this summer has plenty of blockbusters. Unfortunately, it’s also causing some tooth-busters. Movie food hovers near the top of our list of worst dental offenders.

You’ve probably had popcorn stuck in your teeth. If you were lucky, you got it out on your own; not everyone is so fortunate. Popcorn husks get stuck between gums and teeth, leading to infection and swelling; incautious munchers can break a tooth on an unpopped kernel. Can’t live without your popcorn? Chew cautiously – don’t bite down too hard and fast, and check carefully for whole kernels.

Most people wash down their popcorn with a large soda. Theaters usually offer combo deals to encourage this practice. Soda’s high sugar and acid content contributes to tooth decay, and moviegoers who chew on ice risk cracking or chipping teeth. Stick to water when you can – you’ll end up feeling more refreshed and miss less of the movie for bathroom breaks. If you must have soda, use a straw to reduce contact with your teeth. Chewing ice is never a good idea – satisfy the need to crunch with food, not ice..

Candy fans should watch out for caramel, toffee, taffy, and candies with a similar consistency. All too often, patients come in bringing dental work yanked out by these sticky treats. Frozen candy bars combine the worst elements of ice cubes and caramel, and can lead to a dental nightmare. It’s best to choose ice cream or a regular candy bar.

Got the summer blues from your movie snacks? Call Brighton Family Dental today at (617) 562-5210 to schedule an appointment.

Preventive Dentistry: Cheaper in the Long Run

If you consider dental health an “extra,” think again. Although Massachusetts citizens ranked as having some of the healthiest mouths in the United States, studies show a decrease across the country in trips to the dentist. Job loss and the threat of unemployment, in addition to high insurance costs, contribute to a list of reasons people don’t attend regular checkups. Neglecting professional dental care is a mistake, plain and simple. You may save now, but you’ll end up paying more later in life.

Many people don’t know, oral health directly and indirectly impacts bodily health. The ADA and Brighton Dental Group recommend checkups at least twice a year, every six months. During a checkup, our patients undergo an exam, plus a cleaning, if gum disease isn’t present. We will inspect each of your teeth for decay, cracks, chips, and faulty dental work. The dentist will also check for damage caused by bruxism (teeth clenching or grinding), test for oral cancer, and look for signs of gum disease. (more…)

Porcelain Veneers for a Picture Perfect Smile

Are your teeth slightly crooked, stained or discolored, poorly spaced, or crowded? Porcelain veneers can give you a bright, nicely shaped smile. Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat, cosmetic dentists, place veneers in their Brighton, MA, dental practice. Find out how veneers can improve your smile.

What Are Porcelain Veneers?

Porcelain veneers are cosmetic dental restorations that fit over front teeth to cover, reshape, or whiten them. We offer ultrathin veneers that are handcrafted of a fine ceramic that comes in a variety of color and opacity options to blend with, or improve, the color of your natural teeth. (more…)

Don’t Take a Vacation from Preventing Oral Cancer

It’s summertime, which means you and your family are probably hitting the beach, spending time in the pool, or enjoying other outdoor activities. But while you’re preparing your skin for your day in the sun, you could be forgetting one vital area: your mouth. When you apply sunscreen, it is imperative that you remember the lips, and today we will explain why.

How the Sun Can Damage Your Lips

You’ve probably experienced chapped, flaky lips from staying in the sun too long. But that’s not the only damage that the sun can wreak. The sun’s harmful UV rays can cause skin cancer of the mouth. While lip cancer only makes up about 10% of all skin cancers, and the Oral Cancer Foundation says its numbers are declining, lip cancer is three times as aggressive as other forms of skin cancer.

How You Can Protect Your Lips from Cancer

Regular lip balm can keep your lips soft and smooth, but it can’t protect you from cancer. In fact, shiny lip gloss magnifies the sun’s rays and increases the chances of skin cancer. Everyone should wear lip product with an SPF of 30 or higher with an official seal from the Skin Cancer Foundation.

Symptoms of Lip Cancer

Knowing the symptoms of lip cancer is another important way of protecting yourself.
The condition can be easily confused with a cold sore, so educate yourself on the differences. The National Cancer Institute provides these specific signs of lip cancer:

  • Sore on the lip or in the mouth that doesn’t heal.
  • Lump on or thickening of the lips.
  • Pain, bleeding, or numbness on the lips or in the mouth.

Although those symptoms are not necessarily signs of lip cancer, you should report any abnormalities with your lips or mouth to your dentist or physician. Dr. Thomas Villani or Dr. Richard Kondrat can check your mouth for the signs of oral cancer during a routine dental checkup or any time you notice alarming changes.

At Brighton Family Dental, we are dedicated to keeping your family’s smiles healthy by preventing oral health issues. Please call our Brighton, MA, dental practice today at (617) 562.5210.

Choosing a Massachusetts Family and Cosmetic Dentist

As family, cosmetic, and restorative dentists, Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat know you have choices when it comes to your dental care.

Choosing a dental team to provide care for you and your loved ones can be a tough job. There are many things to consider when selecting a dental practice. First, be sure to ask a lot of questions. Whether on the phone or in the dental office, ask every question that pops into your mind, even if you’re afraid it might sound silly to the doctor or dental staff. Voice your concerns, tell the dentist exactly what you’re thinking and, overall, be honest and expect honesty in return. If you get the feeling that the dentist is holding back, only giving you partial information, or not addressing your questions and concerns at all, you need to look elsewhere for dental care.

Secondly, do your research. Check out the dental practice’s website and blog. Make sure the dentist has the ability to give you the care you need. For example, if you’re looking for a practice that can treat you and your kids, make sure the office and staff are kid-friendly, but can also help you maintain a healthy smile. If you’re considering cosmetic dentistry, find out what procedures the dentist offers and determine if treatment there can give you the smile you’ve been dreaming of.

Also, if a dentist has credible training and is a member of reputable organizations, such as the American Dental Association and individual state dental societies, they are likely to include it on their website and make it obvious to patients in various ways. Often, a dentist that invests time and money into dental organizations has the ability to provide a higher quality of care and services to patients.

It’s imperative that you trust your dentist 100 percent, so don’t just settle for someone who can get the job done. Dr. Villani, Dr. Kondrat, and the team at Brighton Family Dental make it their top priority to provide top-notch dental care to families in Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, Newton, and the surrounding areas of Massachusetts.

Take a look at the Brighton Family Dental testimonials and photo gallery to see and hear about the experiences of past patients who walked away from treatment happy and in love with their new smiles.

The History of Dental Implants: From Ancient Egypt to Brighton, MA

As the leading tooth replacement option of today, it seems like dental implants would be a recent technological advancement. The first dental implants, however, date back more than 1,300 years to the ancient Mayans and Egyptians.

Take a look at this timeline to see how dental implantology has evolved over time.

Ancient History: Ancient Mayans and Egyptians hammer teeth-shaped pieces of shell, ivory, and animal bone directly into their gums to replace teeth.

1700s: Lost teeth are replaced using the teeth of human donors, but the process is unsuccessful due to infection from the foreign materials used during the placement of the implant.

1800s: Gold, platinum, and other metal alloys are placed into sockets where teeth had been freshly extracted. Long-term success rates are poor.

1952: Per-Ingvar Branemark, a Swedish doctor, accidentally discovers that titanium can bond with living bone tissue when he places a titanium screw in an animal’s thighbone. He has the idea to use titanium posts to bond dental implants to patients’ jawbones.

1965: Modern dental implants make their world debut! The process of implanting titanium in bone for the purpose of rooting prosthetic teeth begins.

1981: Branemark publishes a paper reporting all the data he had collected about titanium implants.

1982: The Toronto Conference on Osseointegration in Clinical Dentistry creates the first guidelines for successful implant dentistry.

2002: An ADA survey shows that oral and oral and maxillofacial surgeons, periodontists, and general dentists near double the number of implants performed per dentist between 1995 and 2002.

Today: Dental implants are the number one tooth replacement procedure.

Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat will work together to consult with you and plan your implant procedure. Dr. Kondrat will complete and oversee the fabrication and placement of your implant prosthetic. After a short healing period, Dr. Villani will place the crown, bridge, or denture to complete your implant. For your convenience, the entire procedure can be performed at Brighton Dental Group, located in Brighton, Massachusetts, thus eliminating the need for you to go to multiple locations and doctors to get the smile you’ve been searching for.

Call Brighton Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to reserve your consultation appointment.

All About Baby Teeth!

Baby teeth begin to erupt when a child is 5 or 6 months old — or as late as 1 year. These little chompers will begin to multiply until your child has 20 primary (baby) teeth. Not only are baby teeth great  for chewing new textures of food, but they’re equally important for developing speech. Can you imagine trying to speak without your teeth? Also called milk teeth, primary teeth are a placeholder for permanent teeth that surface in later years. These baby teeth have a lot to live up to!

Dr. Villani and Dr. Kondrat recommend that your child visit the dentist by one year of age. At this “happy visit,” the dentist will talk to you about the oral health of your child and check for any signs of tooth decay or development issues. He can also demonstrate the proper way to clean your wiggle-worm’s teeth. Even though it may seem impossible, it’s not! Some children may like brushing their teeth if they see Mom or Dad doing it.

The earlier you introduce oral hygiene to your little one, the better. Children will know that brushing teeth is something they must do, like taking a bath to keep their bodies clean. Try buying a toothbrush that has a favorite character on it, like Winnie the Pooh or Buzz from Toy Story. Your child may prefer a toothbrush that plays music. Remember, children should not use adult toothpaste. Children under the age of 2 should use fluoride-free toothpaste. Kids tend to swallow toothpaste, and over time, fluoride can cause white, horizontal lines on teeth. These lines are known as fluorosis. So, make sure you purchase children’s toothpaste, as well as a child’s sized toothbrush, for your baby.

After the initial happy visit, Dr. Villani or Dr. Kondrat will want to see your children every 6 months to evaluate their oral health. Call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to schedule visits for the smiles closest to your heart.

Keep Your Smile from Showing Your Age, Part 2

Did you know that your age shows in your smile?

Just like with any other part of your body, aging affects your teeth and oral health. Follow these tips to keep your smile healthy and looking great.

Preventing Stains on Your Teeth

Certain foods-especially coffee, tea, and red wine-can stain teeth. Tobacco, both smoked and chewed, also discolors teeth. Avoid getting stains on your teeth by following these steps.

If you still aren’t satisfied with the color of your teeth, talk to the dentists at Brighton Family Dental Group about teeth whitening options.

What You Can Do:

  • Avoid foods that stain teeth.
  • Brush regularly to remove plaque buildup, which will help your teeth resist stains.
  • Have your teeth cleaned professionally every six months. Your dentist or dental hygienist can remove plaque and tartar that a toothbrush can’t reach.

Preventing Gum Problems

Gum disease is the biggest threat to destroying your smile. The risk of gum problems increases with age, especially as pockets form at the gum line where bacteria grow. If left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflammation that damages connective tissue and even bone, leading to tooth loss.

What You Can Do:

  • Brush and floss regularly to remove bacteria.
  • For added protection, use an antibacterial mouthwash.
  • Go to your dentist for a regular checkup every six months. This is very important for detecting gum disease early.
  • Since gum disease is an inflammatory process, eating foods that suppress inflammation may help. Growing evidence suggests that a diet rich in omega-3 fatty acids can help dampen inflammation.

Preventing Dry Mouth as You Age

Called xerostomia, dry mouth can drastically increase the risk of decay and gum problems. A healthy flow of saliva helps clean teeth and neutralize acids that otherwise eat away at the tooth enamel.

What You Can Do:

  • A drop in saliva levels can very quickly cause problems. At the first sign of dry mouth, talk to your doctor.
  • A change in prescriptions may help alleviate the problem. If not, your doctor may recommend chewing sugar-free gum, as it increases saliva flow.
  • Saliva-like oral mouthwashes are available to supplement saliva.

Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat are family and cosmetic dentists serving patients in Brighton, Cambridge, Watertown, and the surrounding communities. Call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210 to reserve your appointment.

Keep Your Smile from Showing Your Age, Part 1

Our teeth are incredibly strong. They constantly endure extreme temperature and pressure from chewing, crunching, and biting. Still, everyday wear and tear and the natural aging process take a toll on our teeth.

Follow this advice to prevent your age from showing in your smile.

Preventing Acid Erosion

The biggest threat to your teeth are sugary and starchy foods. These carbohydrates ferment and cause the bacteria in your mouth to produce acids, which quickly eat away at your tooth enamel. As a result, your teeth become much more susceptible to tooth decay.

What You Can Do:

  • Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks as much as possible.
  • Avoid frequent snacking, which causes acid levels in the mouth to remain high over an extended amount of time.
  • Chew sugarless gum when you get a craving for something sweet. Chewing increases saliva production, which helps cleanse the mouth and neutralize acidity.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes and floss daily.
  • Have regular dental checkups and cleanings every six months.

Preventing Mechanical Wear and Tear on Your Teeth

The main function of your teeth is to bite and chew to break up your food for digestion.

While teeth do not become more brittle with age, continuously using a chipped or cracked tooth to bite can cause serious damage. Teeth that have fillings or have had root canals are particularly vulnerable because they are missing components of their natural structure.

Grinding and clenching your teeth, also called bruxism, is a negative habit that is frequently caused by stress or anxiety. Bruxism can wear down the biting surfaces of your teeth over time.

What You Can Do:

  • Avoid chewing on ice and other very hard foods.
  • Check to make sure that pitted foods have no pits before you bite down on them.
  • Come in for appointments regularly. I can spot cracked or broken fillings that may weaken your teeth. We will also check for signs of bruxism and suggest methods of treatment if necessary.

Dr. Thomas Villani and Dr. Richard Kondrat are family and cosmetic dentists in Brighton, Massachusetts. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Brighton Family Dental Group at (617) 562-5210.

6 Healthy Habits for Optimal Oral and Overall Health

Tooth decay is among the leading causes of tooth loss for Americans, and it can open the door to developing serious overall health problems.

Just as healthy habits can help to ensure your overall well being, healthy dental habits can safeguard against tooth decay and avert other dental problems, as well.

To minimize your chances of developing tooth decay, stick to these 6 healthy dental habits.

1.     Brush thoroughly and frequently. Brushing your teeth is the best thing you can do to protect yourself between dental appointments. Brushing every morning and every night is the minimum to maintain quality oral health.

2.     Floss daily. Brushing your teeth is not enough. Flossing can get in between your teeth and close to your gum line in a way that your toothbrush can’t. Flossing twice a day is ideal, but be sure to floss before you go to bed if you can only do it once daily.

3.     Have regular dental checkups. Having regular dental exams and checkups every 6 months is a crucial part of your oral health. In addition to cleaning your teeth, you will be screened for early signs of serious oral conditions, such as oral cancer and gum disease.

4.     Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks. Sweets stick to your teeth and can lead to tooth decay when bacteria feed on them and form acids. If you eat something sugary, be sure to brush your teeth and/or swish your mouth with water immediately to rid your teeth of bacteria.

5.     Drink tap water. Though bottled water may seem more convenient and healthier, it’s lacking something very important for your teeth: fluoride. Many areas of the U.S. have fluoridated water, so simply drinking it will help to protect your teeth.

6.     Get sealants. Sealants are used to coat and cover the back teeth to build a barrier that bacteria cannot penetrate. Dental sealants are recommended for children to promote lifelong dental health.

The team at Brighton Family Dental Group wants to do everything they can to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle. If you live in Brighton, Watertown, Cambridge, Brookline, or Newton, call today at (617) 562-5210 to reserve your appointment time.