My Blog

Posts for: June, 2018

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
June 28, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Most people have had at least one cavity by age 17, according to a 2000 report by the U.S. Surgeon General. Fortunately, dental fillings fillingscan help resolve damage done by cavities. Your dentist in Glastonbury, CT, Dr. Steven Hinchey, provides tooth-colored fillings to restore teeth.

More on Tooth Colored Fillings

Tooth-colored fillings are usually preferred by individuals who don't want visible fillings. They are also known as composite resin and made of plastic resin and a filler, finely ground glass-like particles. They fix issues such as chips and cracks, fractures, decays, discolored and stained teeth, and short teeth.

Fillings seal holes caused by cavities. A cavity results from bacterial plaque that produces acid and creates holes (cavities) in teeth. If not detected early on, serious issues may occur, like receding gums. Your Glastonbury doctor cleans and disinfects the cavity, then seals it with the filling to protect the integrity of the tooth.

Dental fillings require the same care as all your teeth:

  • Brush your teeth twice a day, after breakfast and before bed, for two minutes.
  • Floss at least once before bed to remove food debris between teeth.
  • Maintain a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Drink water to help wash away food debris.
  • Visit your doctor twice a year for regular checkups and professional cleanings.

There are many advantages of tooth-colored fillings, like after your doctor has finished the procedure, your teeth will look natural. Composite strengthens your teeth, and sealed cracks protect teeth from future bacteria.

If you have any questions about tooth-colored fillings, don't hesitate to call Dr. Steven Hinchey in Glastonbury, CT. Call (860) 633-6518.


ArtificialSweetenersCouldHelpYouReducetheRiskofDentalDisease

We’re all familiar with “naughty” and “nice” lists for food: “nice” items are beneficial or at least harmless; on the other hand, those on the “naughty” list are not and should be avoided. And processed sugar has had top billing on many people’s “naughty” list for some time now.

And for good reason: it’s linked to many physical ills including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. As a favorite food for oral bacteria that cause dental disease, sugar can also increase your risk for tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.

Most people agree that reducing sugar in their diet is a great idea health-wise. But there’s one small problem: a great many of us like sugar—a lot. No matter how hard we try, it’s just plain difficult to avoid. Thanks perhaps to our ancient ancestors, we’re hard-wired to crave it.

But necessity is the mother of invention, which is why we’ve seen the development over the past half century of artificial sweeteners, alternatives to sugar that promise to satisfy people’s “sweet tooth” without the harmful health effects. When it comes to dental health, these substitute sweeteners won’t contribute to bacterial growth and thus can lower disease risk.

But are they safe? Yes, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency has approved six types of artificial sweeteners for human consumption: acesulfame K, saccharin, aspartame, neotame, sucralose and rebaudioside A. According to the FDA any adverse effects caused by artificial sweeteners are limited to rare conditions like phenylketonuria, which prevents those with the disease from safely digesting aspartame.

So, unless you have such a condition, you can safely substitute whatever artificial sweetener you prefer for sugar. And if dental health is a particular concern, you might consider including xylitol. This alcohol-based sweetener may further deter tooth decay—bacteria can’t digest it, so their population numbers in the mouth may actually decrease. You’ll find xylitol used as a sweetener primarily in gums, candies and mints.

Reducing sugar consumption, couple with daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits, will certainly lower your risk of costly dental problems. Using a substitute sweetener might just help you do that.

If you would like more information on sweetener alternatives, 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 “Artificial Sweeteners.”


SteelyDanFoundersDeathHighlightsImportanceofEarlyCancerDetection

Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.

As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.

Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.

Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.

Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome. If you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”