Dentist in Syracuse, NY
Dr. Karen Lawitts and Dr. Nancy Yeates

100 Intrepid Lane
Syracuse, NY 13205

(315) 492-8138
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(315) 492-8138

100 Intrepid Lane
Syracuse, NY 13205

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Posts for: October, 2013

By Drs Lawitts and Yeates
October 29, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
HealthRisksofOralPiercings

If you have to ask why anybody would voluntarily endure the pain of receiving a tongue piercing — then maybe you're just too old to understand. But seriously: no matter where you stand on the aesthetics of the issue, you shouldn't ignore the real health risks that go along with the installation of oral piercings.

According to the Journal of the American Dental Association, the most common sites for intraoral piercing are the tongue and the lip. In the case of the so-called “tongue bolt,” several significant short-term and long-term risks have been identified; most also apply to other types of oral piercings as well.

The tongue is primarily composed of muscle tissue, along with a rich supply of associated blood vessels and nerves. This explains why accidentally biting your tongue can be so painful — and bloody. Installing a tongue bolt involves piercing a small hole through the tongue, and attaching the ornament through the hole.

In rare instances — such as the case of a teenager who experienced severe pain and the sensation of electrical shocks — nerve irritation and damage may occur soon after a tongue bolt is installed. (Fortunately, her symptoms cleared up shortly after the bolt was removed.) More often, the symptoms are less severe, but the health issues are chronic.

Tongue bolts are known to cause problems with the teeth, including increased sensitivity and pain. Teeth are also prone to chipping due to contact with the ornament. These are among the reasons why you are likely to need more frequent dental checkups if you have an oral piercing.

Additionally, periodontal (gum) problems can develop in individuals with oral piercings. These frequently appear as gum recession, inflammation and infection. Eventually, bone loss may occur as well.

The good news: removing an oral piercing is generally easy, and the area is quick to heal. If it doesn't seal up by itself, the hole left behind can be closed with only minor surgery. And removing the piercing immediately reduces your health risk — thus instantly improving your overall oral health.

Thinking of getting — or removing — an oral piercing? Talk to us. No matter what you decide to do, you owe it to your health to become informed about the issues surrounding these body ornaments.

If you would like more information about oral piercings, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “How Oral Piercings Affect Your Oral Health,” and “Body Piercings and Teeth.”


By Drs Lawitts and Yeates
October 21, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   oral cancer  
CancerTreatmentandOralHealthWhatYouShouldKnow

Statistically speaking, Americans can expect to enjoy a longer life today than at any time in the past. A recent U.S. government interagency study indicated that our oldest citizens are also generally getting healthier and doing better economically. Yet, along with an increased lifespan comes the possibility that at some future time, you or a loved one may undergo treatment for cancer.

There's good news here too: According to the National Cancer Institute, a branch of the National Institutes of Health, both the rate of cancer incidence and the death rate from the disease have been steadily declining. It's true that cancer treatments may cause a variety of oral health problems. But did you know that there are some measures you can take to minimize the discomfort and possible complications from these lifesaving therapies?

Chemotherapy and radiation, two common treatments, work by attacking cancerous cells. However, they can affect normal cells too — including the cells lining the mouth, and the salivary glands. This sometimes results in mouth sores, a dry mouth, and an increased risk of developing dental diseases like tooth decay.

What should you do if you or someone you love needs cancer treatments? The best outcomes can be obtained by a dose of prevention when possible, and by taking a team approach to the treatment.

Oral side effects may be worse if the mouth isn't healthy prior to cancer treatment. So, if there's time, have necessary dental procedures done before treatment begins. During and after cancer therapy, dental surgery should be limited if possible. The first step is to get a complete dental examination, and to develop a treatment plan. It's vitally important to coordinate any dental treatments with an oncologist (cancer specialist).

There are also things a patient can do to help control unpleasant oral side effects. Removing the bacteria that cause tooth decay is more essential now than ever. In addition to thorough brushing, an antibacterial rinse or fluoride gel may be prescribed. To combat the symptoms of dry mouth, it's important to drink plenty of fluids. Chewing gum with Xylitol, or using a mouth rinse or a prescription medication may also be recommended.

It's essential for those having cancer treatment to understand and follow the recommendations of their dentist and doctor. These include taking steps to reduce the chance of complications, and recognizing the warning signs that may indicate a problem.

If you would like more information about cancer treatment and oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Health During Cancer Treatment.”


TreatingThumbSuckingNowCouldReduceOrthodonticTreatmentLater

One of the most common parental concerns is the habit of many children, even late into childhood, to suck their thumbs or fingers. Many parents have asked us, “Could this affect their teeth?”

The answer, unfortunately, is yes — thumb sucking can contribute to a malocclusion (bad bite) that could eventually require orthodontic treatment. Before making any assumptions, however, we need to understand the bigger picture.

To begin with, infants have a different swallowing mechanism than adults and older children. When you as an adult swallow, you'll notice the tip of your tongue positions itself just above the back of the top front teeth. An infant, however, will thrust their tongue between their upper and lower jaw as they swallow (also known as an infantile swallowing pattern or primary tongue thrust). The infant normally begins changing to an adult swallowing pattern when their primary (baby) teeth begin to erupt.

However, if a child's swallowing transition is slower than normal and the tongue rests between the jaws for a longer duration, it can inhibit the full eruption of teeth, believed to be the main cause of an open bite (a gap between the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are shut). The thumb during sucking resting between the teeth can have the same effect.

Thumb sucking may not necessarily lead to a malocclusion — for example, an abnormally developing jawbone could be the culprit. If prolonged thumb sucking does become a concern, however, there are steps we can take to reduce the impact of the habit. We can install a thin metal “tongue crib” behind the upper and lower incisors that will not only discourage thumb sucking, but also help retrain the tongue not to rest between the upper and lower teeth. There are also exercise routines known as orofacial myofunctional therapy (OMT) that can retrain specific muscles in the mouth to encourage more normal chewing and swallowing patterns.

These steps may not prevent future orthodontic treatment, but they could reduce its extent. The key is regular dental checkups and consultation to ensure your child's teeth and bite are developing normally.

If you would like more information on the effects of chronic thumb sucking on the mouth, 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 “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”


By Drs Lawitts and Yeates
October 17, 2013
Category: Veneers
Tags: Syracuse   Dental Veneers  
When your teeth become dull or stained, dental veneers may be just what you need to bring life Veneers Syracuse NYback into your smile. Dental veneers in Syracuse, NY are a very popular cosmetic treatment, used to repair damaged, chipped or broken teeth while improving appearance.
 

Dental Veneers in Syracuse

Dental veneers are a cosmetic dentistry procedure in which a shell or layer of tooth colored porcelain or composite is placed over the facial surfaces of your teeth to correct worn enamel, uneven tooth alignment or spacing, discoloration and chips or cracks.  Veneers allow you to gain an improvement in the appearance of your smile, and often require little to no removal of tooth structure compared to invasive dental crowns.  For patients in Syracuse seeking veneers, Dr. Karen Lawitts and Dr. Nancy Yeates offer an inside look into the uses, materials and benefits of this procedure. 
 

Cosmetic Veneers: Uses and Materials

Regardless of what causes your damaged, flawed teeth, dental veneers may solve most, if not all, of your cosmetic dental issues.  This may include discolored teeth, as over time, the thin, hard, translucent substance covering your teeth may become worn and dull.  This can be a natural progression or a result of genetic predisposition.  Consuming soft drinks, tea or coffee, smoking, using certain medications and others are the main culprits to a discolored smile.  
 

Veneers can also solve the following conditions:

  • Wear and tear
  • Genetics
  • Uneven teeth
  • Accidental damage
Two of the most common materials used to create dental veneers are composite resin and porcelain.  A dental technician in a dental laboratory makes porcelain veneers and composite veneers while other composite veneers (direct) are made by your dentist in Syracuse during your appointment in the office. Porcelain veneers are more appropriate solutions for severe cases involving dullness, wear, discoloration, extensive chipping, cracking, spacing or uneven teeth.  
 

Advantages and Purposes of Veneers in Syracuse 

Not only do veneers make your teeth “look good,” but they can also serve a functional purpose.  They can provide a protective cover for damaged teeth, which is similar to the way that dental crowns can protect damaged teeth.  The advantage of using veneers over crowns is that very little tooth structure needs to be removed or drilled away.  Veneers can even help with tooth sensitivity where the enamel has worn away.  
 
Since veneers require a removal of natural tooth structure, it is important to weigh all of your options first.  The removal of any natural tooth structure is permanent; therefore your cosmetic dentist will explore minimally invasive options first.  If you have severely discolored or dull teeth, your treatment options may include porcelain dental veneers or composite veneers.  They have the added benefits of longevity and a proven ability to enhance the appearance of your smile and other facial features that are better supported by properly shaped and aligned teeth.
 

Call and Ask About Veneers 

If you are unhappy with how your smile has faded over the years, veneers might be right for you. Visit Dr. Karen Lawitts and Dr. Nancy Yeates, your dentists in Syracuse, NY, today for further assessment and treatment of your smile.   Restoring your smile is easy with dental veneers in Syracuse.
 
Are your teeth damaged or badly stained?  Have whitening treatments been ineffective for enhancing your smile?  Share your experience here.

By Drs Lawitts and Yeates
October 11, 2013
Category: Oral Health
LooseTeeth-ASignofTroubleThatRequiresQuickAction

Loose teeth are an exciting rite of passage in childhood; in adulthood, they're anything but. In fact, a permanent tooth that feels loose is a sign that you need to make an appointment with our office right away. The quicker we act, the better chance we will have of saving the tooth.

What causes loose teeth? In the absence of a traumatic dental injury, the culprit is usually periodontal (gum) disease. This is a bacterial infection of the gum and/or bone tissues that surround and support your teeth. The infection is caused by bacterial plaque that sits on your teeth in the absence of effective oral hygiene. Over time, periodontal disease will cause gum tissue and eventually bone to detach from the teeth. As more of this supporting tissue is lost, the teeth will gradually become loose and (if the disease remains untreated) eventually fall out.

Loose teeth can also be caused by a clenching or grinding habit that generates too much biting force. This force can stretch the periodontal ligaments that join the teeth to the supporting bone, making your teeth looser.

Whether the cause of your tooth looseness is biological (gum disease) or mechanical (too much force), treatments are available here at the dental office. The first step in treating gum disease is a thorough cleaning to remove plaque and harder deposits on the teeth (tartar or calculus); this includes the tooth-root surfaces beneath the gum line. You will also be instructed on effective oral hygiene techniques and products to use at home. This type of therapy will promote healing of the gums that will cause some tightening of the teeth. Additional treatments will probably be necessary to gain the maximum healing response to allow the teeth to be most stable. For example, we may also want to temporarily or permanently splint the loose tooth or teeth to other teeth so that biting forces do not loosen them further.

There are other mechanical approaches we can employ to prevent a loose tooth from receiving too much force. For example, we can reshape the tooth by removing tiny amounts of its surface enamel in order to change the way upper and lower teeth contact each other. We also may suggest a custom-made nightguard to protect your teeth if you have a nighttime grinding habit.

The most important thing to know about loose teeth is that it's crucial to intervene quickly. So if you are experiencing tooth looseness, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Loose Teeth” and “Treatment for Loose Teeth.”




Dr. Karen Lawitts

Dr. Karen Lawitts

Dr. Nancy Yeates

Dr. Nancy Yeates

Dr. Lawitts was born and raised in Syracuse, NY. She received her Bachelor of Science and D.D.S degree from Northwestern University in Chicago. Dr. Nancy Yeates graduated from Canisius College with a B.A. in Biology. She then attended Georgetown University School of Dentistry.
       
Read more about Dr. Karen Lawitts and Dr. Nancy Yeates

 

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