Dentist in Syracuse, NY
Dr. Karen Lawitts

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: November, 2013

By Drs Lawitts
November 26, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crown  
WhatsYourCrownMadeOf

Like the ones worn by kings and queens of old, dental crowns were traditionally made of that most “royal” of metals: solid gold. This style of crown is still going strong after over a hundred years, but recent advances may have stolen some of its luster. Want to learn more about the different materials from which crowns can be made? Read on!

Gold crowns have stood the test of time, and many still consider them the best. Gold is one of the earliest materials to be successfully used for making crowns, and when properly done, it also lasts the longest: over 50 years in some cases. For these and other reasons, many dentists prefer to get gold restorations for their own teeth.

But in recent years, the use of gold crowns has been in decline — especially when the crown is for one of the front teeth. Why? In one word: aesthetics! With the advent of porcelain and porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns, many people have opted to go with these more natural-colored tooth restorations.

PFM restorations have been in use for some four decades. They combine the strength of precious metals (gold or platinum) with the appeal of a finish that appears more like a natural tooth. With proper care, a PFM restoration may have a functional life of around 20 years.

With their pearly luster and semi-translucent sheen, all-porcelain crowns have an incredibly lifelike appearance. Porcelain itself is a glass-like material, which is specially modified to add strength when it's used in dentistry. In the past, there were some problems with brittleness in all-porcelain restorations. Today, newer formulations have been designed to avoid these issues.

High-tech materials that have recently become available to dentistry include a polycrystalline ceramic substance called zirconium dioxide or “Zirconia.” It shows great promise in terms of aesthetics and strength, and is the subject of much ongoing research. One day, it may replace other materials and become the new “gold standard” of crowns.

Depending on the particular situation, one or more of these materials may be considered for your crown.

If you would like more information about crowns, 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 “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Gold or Porcelain Crowns?”


KeepanEyeonYourOralHealthWhileTakingBloodPressureMedications

One of the top concerns in healthcare is the interactions and side effects of medications. Drugs taken for separate conditions can interact with each other or have an effect on some other aspect of health. It's important then that all your health providers know the various medications you are taking, along with other lifestyle habits. That includes your dental team.

Calcium channel blockers (CCBs) are one type of medication that can have an effect on your oral health. CCBs are used primarily to control hypertension (high blood pressure), and to treat other cardiovascular conditions like angina or abnormal heart rhythm. They work by dilating blood vessels, which makes it easier for the heart to pump.

CCBs are now recognized as a contributing factor in the development of a condition known as gingival hyperplasia in which the gum tissues “overgrow,” extending in some cases abnormally over the teeth. This abnormal growth can be painful and uncomfortable, and can make oral hygiene more difficult to perform. The overgrowth of tissue can also be socially embarrassing.

There's also a secondary factor that can increase the risk for tissue overgrowth in patients taking a CCB — poor oral hygiene. In the absence of a good hygiene routine, a layer of bacterial plaque known as biofilm can build up on tooth surfaces and lead to various forms of gum disease, including hyperplasia. The overgrown tissue contributes in turn to this disease process by inhibiting effective oral hygiene.

If you've already developed gingival hyperplasia or some other form of gum disease, it's important for you to receive periodontal treatment for the disease as soon as possible. Once we have the condition under control, it's then a matter of regular dental checkups and cleanings to reduce the risk of disease, including gingival hyperplasia. We can also help you develop effective hygiene practices that inhibit this condition while you are taking a CCB.

If you would like more information on the effects of medication on 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 “Blood Pressure Medications.”


By Drs Lawitts
November 15, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: fluoride  
BeAwareofYourFamilysFluorideIntaketoAvoidStaining

It’s indisputable that fluoride has revolutionized dental care. Decades of research have overwhelming shown this natural, enamel-strengthening chemical has decreased tooth decay.

Too much fluoride, though, can cause enamel fluorosis, a permanent staining of tooth enamel. In its mildest form, the teeth develop faint whitish streaks; in more severe cases, the staining is noticeably darker and the teeth appear pitted. The teeth themselves aren’t damaged, but the unsightly staining could require cosmetic treatment. Children under age 9 (when permanent teeth enamel matures) are especially at risk of fluorosis due to over-fluoridation.

Because of fluoride’s prevalence in hygiene products and many drinking water supplies, it’s not always easy to know if your child is receiving too much. There are two areas, though, that bear watching.

First, you should limit the serving quantity of fluoride hygiene products, particularly toothpaste. Children tend to swallow rather than spit out toothpaste after brushing, so they ingest more fluoride. We recommend a small “smear” of toothpaste on the brush for children under two, and a pea-sized amount for children two to four.

The other concern is your drinking water. Three-quarters of America’s water systems add fluoride, usually to a recommended level of 0.70 PPM (parts per million). To know if your water supply adds fluoride and at what levels, you can contact your local water utility or health department, or check the Center for Disease Control’s website for their “My Water’s Fluoride” program (http://apps.nccd.cdc.gov/MWF/Index.asp). This site will have information if your water system participates in the program.

If your area exceeds recommended levels or is at high risk for fluorosis, we recommend reducing the use of tap water in infant formula. Besides breast-feeding (human breast milk is low in fluoride), you can use either ready-to-feed formula, or mix powdered formula with water specifically labeled “de-ionized,” “purified,” “de-mineralized,” or “distilled.”

One thing you should not do is eliminate your use of products containing fluoride — this may increase your child’s risk of tooth decay. The consequences of decay can be serious and have a life-long effect — and far outweigh the risks of fluorosis staining.

If you would like more information on fluoride and your infant, 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 “Tooth Development and Infant Formula.”


By Drs Lawitts
November 06, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crown  
ACrowningAchievementNatural-LookingTeeth

You've taken good care of your teeth all your life, with brushing, flossing and regular visits to the dentist. But chances are that someday (or maybe even now) you may be told that you need a restoration on one or more of your teeth. Oftentimes, that means a crown.

But what exactly is a crown, and why is it used? We're glad you asked!

In the course of time, natural teeth may need to be restored for a variety of reasons. As we age, our teeth may eventually become chipped or discolored. They can become weak and prone to cracking, or actually break due to tooth decay or trauma. Treating tooth decay may require a filling so large that there isn't much tooth surface left. Or, getting a dental implant (which replaces the roots of the tooth) means that you will need a replacement for the visible part of the tooth as well.

A crown (sometimes called a cap) is a common type of dental restoration. It's a way of replacing the tooth structure, in part or in full. A crown can cover the whole visible portion of the tooth, right down to the gum line. Since it's custom-made just for you, it is designed to fit in and function just like the rest of your teeth. And because it's composed of an extremely hard substance (gold, porcelain, ceramic, or some combination of these materials) it's made to last for a long time.

If a dental examination shows that you need a crown, here's how the process works: First, any decay is removed from the affected tooth, and it is prepared for restoration. Then, a 3-D replica of the tooth (and adjacent teeth) is made. This model is used to create a crown that matches your natural teeth. If you're getting a tooth-colored crown, the exact shade of the adjacent teeth will be duplicated as closely as possible.

After the crown has been fabricated, the tooth is made ready to receive the restoration. The crown is adjusted to mesh perfectly with the prepared tooth, and to function with the whole bite. Then, it is cemented or bonded into place. When it's all done, it can be hard to tell that you had any dental work done at all.

If you're thinking that it's a challenge to make an “artificial” tooth fit in with your natural teeth, you're right — but we do it all the time! Creating a superb-looking restoration is a blend of science and art. It takes a careful eye to match tooth colors and to adjust biting surfaces and spacing for a perfect fit. But when experienced dental professionals and patients work together, the results can make us both proud of the achievement.

If you would like more information about crowns, 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 “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Gold or Porcelain Crowns.”




Dr. Karen Lawitts

Dr. Karen Lawitts

 

 

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.  
       
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