My Blog

Posts for: June, 2019

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
June 25, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Every year U.S. dentists perform around 25 million root canal treatments and save countless teeth from the ravages of decay. But if you search "root canal" on the Internet, you might encounter an unsettling charge against this tooth-saving treatment—that it causes cancer.

Root canal treatments are routinely used when tooth decay has infected the pulp, the innermost layer of a tooth. During the procedure, we access the pulp and remove all the infected tissue. We then fill the empty pulp and root canals, seal the access hole and later crown the tooth to prevent further infection. Without this intervention, the decay can continue to advance toward the roots and supporting bone, putting the tooth in imminent danger of loss.

So, is there any credibility to this claim that root canal treatments cause cancer? In a word, no: there's no evidence of any connection between root canal treatments and cancer—or any other disease for that matter. On the contrary: root canals stop disease.

As with other types of urban legends and internet hype, the root canal-cancer connection may have arisen from another discredited idea from the early 20th Century. A dentist named Weston Price promoted the notion that leaving a "dead" organ in the body led to health problems. From his perspective, a root canaled tooth with its removed pulp tissue fit this criterion.

In the mid-1950s, dentistry thoroughly examined Dr. Weston's theory pertaining to treatments like root canals. The Journal of the American Dental Association devoted an entire issue to it and found after rigorous scientific inquiry that the theory had no validity in this regard. Another study in 2013 confirmed those findings. In fact, the later study instead found that patients who underwent a root canal treatment had a 45 percent reduction in oral cancer risk.

Given the freewheeling nature of the Internet, it's best to speak with a dental professional about your oral health before trusting a post or article you've found online. Not only are they more informed than an unverified online source, they would certainly not knowingly subject you to a procedure to save a tooth at the expense of your health.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 “Root Canal Safety.”

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
June 21, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  

GumsGum disease can sneak up on you. You may only notice a small amount of bleeding when you brush and floss. The bad news is, if gum disease goes untreated, there is a good chance it will turn into periodontal disease, and you could lose your teeth and your smile. Dr. Steven F. Hinchey at Glastonbury Center for Dental Medicine in South Glastonbury, CT, can help you reverse your gum disease, before it can do more damage.

So, how do you know if you have gum disease? There are some signs and symptoms in your gums you will notice, including:

  • Swelling and puffiness
  • Irritation and pain
  • Redness and bleeding
  • Gum pain when you eat
  • Frequent bad breath

Gum disease, also known as gingivitis or gum inflammation, is caused by bacteria contained in the plaque which clings to your teeth. The good news is, you can reverse gum disease and bring your gums back to good health. You must begin practicing excellent oral hygiene, which should include:

  • Brushing after eating and before bed
  • Flossing at least once each day
  • Visiting Dr. Hinchey for an exam and x-rays at least once each year
  • Visiting your dentist for regular professional cleanings at least every six months

If gum disease goes untreated, bacteria begins to infect and damage more than just soft tissue. The infection can spread to the bone, ligaments, and fibers that hold your teeth in place. When you start losing soft and hard tissue attachment, your teeth can become loose. They may even fall out or need to be removed, resulting in expensive replacements like dental appliances and dental implants.

The key is to reverse gum disease before it can cause more damage. Start a program of excellent oral care at home, along with seeking help from your dentist and dental hygienist. For more information about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of gum and periodontal disease, call Dr. Steven F. Hinchey at Glastonbury Center for Dental Medicine in South Glastonbury, CT. Call now and protect your smile!

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
June 15, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

Dairy foods have played a role in human diets for thousands of years. More than one kid—whether millennia ago on the Mesopotamian plains or today in an American suburb—has been told to drink their milk to grow strong. This is because milk and other dairy products contain vitamins and minerals that are essential for a healthy body, including healthy teeth and gums. In honor of National Dairy Month in June, here are four ways dairy boosts your oral health:

Dental-friendly vitamins, minerals and proteins. Dairy products are an excellent source of many vitamins and minerals that are important for good dental health. They are packed with calcium and phosphorus, two minerals that work together to strengthen tooth enamel. In addition to the vitamins they contain naturally, milk and yogurt are fortified with vitamin D, which aids in calcium and phosphorus absorption; cheese contains a small amount of vitamin D naturally. What's more, dairy proteins have been shown to prevent or reduce the erosion of tooth enamel and strengthen the connective tissues that hold teeth in place.

Lactose: a more tooth-friendly sugar. Sugars like sucrose or high fructose corn syrup, which are routinely added to processed foods, are a primary trigger for tooth decay. This is because certain oral bacteria consume sugar, producing acid as a by-product. The acid weakens tooth enamel, eventually resulting in cavities. Dairy products—at least those without added sugar—are naturally low in sugar, and the sugar they contain, lactose, results in less acid production than other common sugars.

The decay-busting power of cheese. We know that high acidity in the mouth is a major factor in decay development. But cheese is low in acidity, and a quick bite of it right after eating a sugary snack could help raise the mouth's pH out of the danger zone. Cheeses are also rich in calcium, which could help preserve that important mineral's balance in tooth enamel.

Dairy for gum health. A study published in the Journal of Periodontology found that people who regularly consumed dairy products had a lower incidence of gum disease than those who did not. And since gum health is related to the overall health, it's important to do all we can to prevent and manage gum disease.

For those who cannot or choose not to consume dairy products, there are other foods that supply calcium naturally, such as beans, nuts and leafy greens—and many other foods are fortified with calcium, vitamin D and other nutrients. It may be wise to take a multivitamin or calcium with vitamin D as a supplement as well.

If you would like more information about nutrition and oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Nutrition & Oral Health” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
June 05, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.

By Steven F. Hinchey, DMD
June 04, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Same-Day Crowns  

How Same Day Crowns from your dentist in South Glastonbury, CT, can improve your smile

Dental crowns are an excellent solution to protect damaged, worn-down teeth, but did you know it’s possible to have a new crown in one dental-crownsday? It’s true! There is a revolutionary new technology brought to you by Planmeca, which enables you to have a new, beautiful crown in a single day! Dr. Steven Hinchey at Glastonbury Center For Dental Medicine in Glastonbury, CT, offers Same Day crowns using Planmeca technology to give you a beautiful, strong smile.

Planmeca technology makes crowns use a unique technology known as CAD/CAM (computer-assisted design/computer-assisted manufacture) to create Same Day Crowns. This advanced system uses a digital camera to capture images of your teeth, negating the need for those messy traditional impressions. Capturing these images is much faster and can provide our Glastonbury, CT, general dentist with the exact measurements of your tooth to then create a restoration with the precise fit.

Just consider these important benefits you will enjoy when you choose Same Day crowns at your Glastonbury, CT, dentist:

  • Your crown will look completely natural because it has been precisely matched to the color of your adjacent teeth.
  • You will receive your crown the same day your tooth is prepared, so there is no more waiting for your crown to come back from a dental laboratory.
  • Your crown will fit comfortable from day one.
  • You won’t have to wear an unsightly, uncomfortable temporary crown, because you will leave the office with your new dental crown in place.

The high-grade dental ceramic doesn’t pick up stains the way natural tooth enamel does. That means your crown will give you years of beautiful use, even if you drink coffee or smoke.

To find out more detailed information about Planmeca technology, please visit the Same Day Crowns, Veneers, and Onlays section of the Glastonbury Center For Dental Medicine website at

If you need to get a dental crown then find out how Planmeca technology can design, fabricate and place your new restoration right here in Glastonbury, CT, in just one appointment.! To get started on your new smile, call (860) 633-6518 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hinchey at Glastonbury Center For Dental Medicine in Glastonbury, CT, today!