Electric toothbrushes vs. manual toothbrushes

Have you been considering making the switch from a manual toothbrush to an electric toothbrush? Electric toothbrushes are a great way to get your teeth clean, however it is still possible to get the same result with a manual brush. Manual brushes just require more time and effort. Manual toothbrushes are inexpensive (often free when you have a check up!) and easy to travel with, making them a reliable choice.

Electric toothbrushes are a great option for those with dexterity limitations (difficulty using their hands). This includes the elderly (especially those with arthritis) and disabled people. Elderly and disabled people may have trouble making the vigorous motions needed for a complete brush with a manual toothbrush. However, an electric toothbrush may provide the right amount of movement and vibration to remove plaque and food particles.

They are also great for children, especially those with braces who need a more intense clean. Children may be excited to use these brushes as they come in fun character designs and make noise. Children will need to be instructed to hold to toothbrush near their gum line to get a complete clean.

Many electric toothbrushes come with a built in timer, which is a great way to make sure you are brushing for the appropriate amount of time. This is a good feature for those who find themselves brushing too hard and fast, which can lead to gum recession. However, electric toothbrushes require charging, can be expensive, and can break if dropped.

All in all, everyone’s dental needs are unique and it is important to find which kind of toothbrush works for you. Whether you prefer a manual toothbrush or an electric toothbrush, it is important to remember to brush at least twice a day.

Here is my professional opinion. For electric brushes, the top brands include Oral-B and Sonicare. I prefer the Oral-B Floss action toothbrush head for my patients, because it has a rotating head. It also has yellow rubber wedges that will mechanically remove hard plaque debris that a regular toothbrush will not remove.



Do I need dental insurance?

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

Many people have dental benefits through their employer. But what about those who don’t? Is it worth it to pay for individual dental insurance? There are many different companies that provide dental insurance. Within each company there are different plans such as PPO, DMO, HMO and etc. Which one is the right one for you?

I am going to be brutally honest and tell you what it best from a dentist perspective. PPO insurance plans are among the best plans for both the patient and the dentist. One reason is that the plan pays the closest to the dental fees. It is marked down to 40% discount from the traditional dental office fees. Usually, the patient has to pay their deductible and a percentage of the procedure, usually 20%-50%.  Insurance will cover the rest. How does this benefit the dentist when they are getting less than what they normally would? The dentist accepts the insurance negotiated rate so their office can appear on the insurance directory, hence getting more patients.

DMO and HMO do not pay for treatment even close to the traditional dental fee rates. They are much lower payments for the dentist but the patient pays a lower copay, or none at all. As a result there are few dentists that accept these plans. Therefore, the wait to get an appointment and the amount of time you spend in waiting room is longer. The dentist is usually overloaded with patients because they will need to see a high volume of patients in order to make ends meet in their business. As a result there may be a lower quality of care provided due to time constraints. This is just a general statement and not all offices provide poor quality care.

In conclusion, it is best to fully research each company and plan to find what is right for you. You may also want to contact the dentist you plan on visiting to see which plans they accept.


How does my oral health affect my overall health?

Written by: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD

It is easy to think of your dental health and overall health as two different things. You visit the dentist for your teeth and oral health, and you visit your doctor for the rest of your body. However, it is important to keep in mind that your oral health impacts your overall health, and vice versa.

Your mouth has saliva which is your body’s first defense against bacteria and viruses. However, if your teeth aren’t cleaned regularly it is likely that you have a plaque build up. Bacteria clings to plaque, and plaque feeds the bacteria causing it to grow and multiply.

Periodontal disease (bone loss of teeth)  is caused by calculus building up around the teeth. Periodontal disease causes bone loss over time. Calculus harbors minerals, bacteria and food particles. The bacteria that is around your teeth have direct access to your blood stream via the capillaries in your gums. Medical research has shown that the same bacteria in the calculus in your teeth travels and build ups in the arteries in your heart.

Many systemic diseases show their first symptoms in the mouth. These include cancers, autoimmune diseases, and diabetes. Your dentist may notice these changes and refer you to a specialist for further evaluation.

Overall it is important to monitor your oral health, and overall health. Keep an eye out for any unusual changes and visit your dentist and doctor regularly.

My child broke their adult tooth, now what?

Written by: Dr. Srinivasa, DMD of Paramount Dental Care

You know how it goes. Its all fun and games until someone gets hurt. When it comes to your child getting hurt, it is important to first evaluate how serious the injury is. If your child was knocked unconscious or there is heavy bleeding, it is time for a trip to the emergency room. If you are just dealing with a broken tooth and some tears, here is how to proceed.

First things first, call your dentist and make an appointment. If the tooth was knocked out with the root, put it in a glass of cold, milk (preferably whole, not skim) or a Hank’s balanced solution. Do not wrap the tooth in a paper towel or anything dry! If the tooth dries out, this reduces the chances of it being able to be reinserted. Once your dentist has reinserted, the dentist will place a splint to keep the tooth in place so it can heal.

If the tooth was chipped or broken, check your child’s mouth and gums for all pieces of the tooth. Put any pieces you may have found into a cold glass of milk, or a Hank’s balanced salt solution from your local drug store. Have your child hold a clean piece of gauze to the area for 15 minutes to stop any bleeding. You may also administer an OTC pain reliever such as Tylenol for pain. Lastly, it is important to remain calm! Your child may feel stressed out after losing a tooth and it is important to help them feel safe.

For a minor chips, your dentist will most likely file down the tooth until it is unnoticeable.  If you are dealing with a larger break, your dentist may put the pieces back together with a filling material. If a filling material won’t work, a crown may be necessary.

What should I do if I am grinding my teeth?

Written by Dr. Srinivasa DMD, Paramount Dental Care (201) 864-4700

If you often find yourself with a sore jaw, don’t fret. Grinding your teeth, or bruxism is a common problem. When you grind your teeth, you are putting a lot of force on your TMJ joint, your facial muscles and neck muscles. This causes soreness (especially when you wake up in the morning), destruction of your teeth and in some cases can also cause headaches.

Bruxism can be caused by stress, anxiety, smoking, alcohol, caffeine, a bad bite or sleep disorders. It is also very common among people with anxiety and stress, especially those with a stressful work environment. Even children can develop bruxism.

To stop bruxism, oftentimes you must figure out the cause. Try to alleviate stress and anxiety. You should also visit your dentist to have your jaw and bite evaluated. Your dentist may fit you for a night guard, which will prevent you from grinding in your sleep. Your dentist may also refer you to a sleep specialist, who may preform a sleep study to rule out sleep disorders.

Why Do My Gums Bleed?

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

When you think of oral hygiene, your initial thoughts may be about your teeth. However, your gums play a huge part in your mouth’s health. In some cases, bleeding gums can be the first sign of gum disease. However, there are a few other reasons why your gums may bleed.

It may feel like you need to brush hard to get your teeth clean. However, you should brush gently in small, circular motions. If you are brushing hard, this may be a cause for bleeding gums.

Another reason is that food buildup in your mouth causes plaque (mixture of food debris, bacteria & minerals) and  which hardens and turns into tartar/ calculus. Calculus irritates your gums, causing swelling and bleeding. The best way to prevent plaque and tartar buildup is to brush and floss at least twice a day. It is also important to attend your biannual dental check up.

Your diet may also be to blame for your bleeding gums. Diets high in sugar or simple carbohydrates increase the likelihood for dental problems, as sugar creates a breeding ground for the bacteria that is one of the components of plaque.

Other bad habits, such as smoking, can increase your risk for gum disease. Smoking causes gum inflammation. Smoking also lowers your immune response, making it harder for your body to fight off infections and bacteria.

Bleeding gums can also occur during pregnancy, due to pregnancy gingivitis. Pregnancy gingivitis is partly caused by hormonal changes in the body which occur during pregnancy. After giving birth the gingivitis may dissipate.

Common Myths About Dental Hygiene

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Myth #1: White teeth equal healthy teeth. Even though your teeth may be white, you can still have cavities on different surfaces of your teeth. These surfaces aren’t seen when you are smiling. For example, cavities can form in-between your teeth or on the gum line. You dentist may only be able to see these by x-ray. These cavities may be caused by plaque (food particles, bacteria and minerals) getting stuck in-between your teeth, gum line or the grooves on the chewing surfaces of your tooth.

Myth #2: Gum disease isn’t common. Gum disease is extremely common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, half of adults age 30 and older suffer from some form of gum disease. Gum disease is called periodontal disease which in layman’s term means bone loss. You can have bone loss and not even know it. It can be diagnosed by dental xrays and a clinical exam by your dentist.

Myth #3: It is ok to drink soda as long as it doesn’t contain sugar. You may think that diet sodas without sugar are the way to go, however all sodas are extremely acidic. Acid weakens your enamel which puts you at risk for cavities. Here is a video of what happens if you leave a tooth in soda.

Myth #4: Brushing your teeth harder will clean them faster and better. Brushing your teeth hard will do more harm than good. Doing this can cause your gums to recede, and can also cause your teeth to be more sensitive. Brushing in a gentle circular motion is the ideal way to brush.

Myth #5: If your gums bleed, you should stop flossing. Bleeding gums can be a warning sign of gingivitis or  periodontal disease. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease.  If you notice your gums bleeding, you should see your dentist for an accurate diagnosis.

Pros and Cons of Veneer Treatment

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Veneers are one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures. Veneers are a great way to transform your smile, they work for people with crooked, stained or missing teeth. You can also fill a gap with veneers. Veneers are a great option to fix dental imperfections large and small.

One benefit of veneers is that they are bonded to your natural teeth. This means they require little to no maintenance and you can continue to brush and floss as you normally would.

Something to keep in mind is that veneers are an irreversible procedure. To place a veneer, the a top layer of the tooth is removed. This top layer is the enamel layer. The shape created by the dentist holds the veneer in place, and also gives a natural look to the veneer.

Veneers are also resistant to staining, meaning your teeth will remain white and shiny. This is a great option for anyone who has stained teeth from drinking coffee or tea and does not want to constantly whiten their teeth.

Although veneers are an attractive option, they might not be right for everyone. This includes people who grind their teeth and those with high decay rate, aka constantly getting cavities. Sometimes, the best option may be to get braces or Invisalign to correct the alignment of the teeth. Your dentist will decide which is the best option for you.


What Are The Benefits Of Invisalign Over Traditional Metal Braces?

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700

Paramount Dental Care is an Invisalign certified dental practice in Secaucus, NJ. Many of my patients ask me about the benefits of Invisalign when compared to traditional metal braces.

The most attractive advantage to Invisalign patients is that no one can tell you are wearing them. With metal braces, you may feel embarrassed to talk or smile. This is especially common for adults with braces.

One advantage of Invisalign is that you remove the aligners when you eat. While wearing metal braces you must cut out certain sticky or chewy foods that can get caught on the metal braces and damage them. You also run the risk of food getting stuck in the braces with out getting cleaned out, causing decay and bad breath. With Invisalign, you can eat what you wish, brush and floss as you normally would, and reapply your aligners.

Metal braces have brackets that may cause pain/sensitivity to those who wear them. Invisalign has a smooth surface that feels similar to your natural teeth.



What Happens If You Are Missing A Tooth?

By: Dr. Sharanya Srinivasa DMD, ParaDentalCare.info, (201) 864-4700
People often ask what happens to your mouth when you are missing a tooth for a long period of time.
The main problem with missing teeth is because you have a missing space, the neighboring teeth will shift into this space. The surrounding teeth basically tip over into the space the missing tooth left behind. Even the tooth above the space will start to move down until it can touch an opposing tooth. On this tooth the root surface will become exposed, and very sensitive to cold.
Another concern is that food starts to build up around the tipped tooth because now there is space on either side of the teeth. This will make the tooth susceptible to cavities and bone loss.
Lastly, now that the teeth have tipped into the missing space which can not only change your bite, but it can also cause changes in your TMJ joint.
Replacing a missing tooth with an implant or a bridge or partial denture is very important. Talk to your dentist today about your options.