293 W Main St, Northborough, MA 01532 Dental Services for Northborough, Shrewsbury, Westborough, Marlborough, Southborough, Framingham, and Berlin
If you feel constantly worried about bad breath, you’re not alone. Bad breath (halitosis) is an all too common problem, not to mention embarrassing and distracting for you and others around you. Deducing what is most likely causing your bad breath will help determine what you can do to prevent it.
Greatly reduced saliva flow during sleep (the cause of morning breath), certain foods (such as garlic, onions, and peppers), poor oral hygiene, periodontal (gum) disease, dry mouth, tobacco, dieting, dehydration, and some medical conditions (including sinus infections and diabetes) can all cause bad breath. Brushing your teeth at least twice a day (in the morning and at night) is the first thing to start doing if you are not already. Brushing after every meal is even better, if you can. If not, chewing sugar-free gum after meals can get food particles out of your teeth. Additionally, clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners, and remember to brush your tongue. Brushing your tongue, especially the back areas, can make a big difference in how clean your mouth feels and smells. If you wear dentures, be sure to remove them at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them the next morning. Toothbrushes should be replaced every couple months.
Biannual dental cleanings and checkups at our office will not only keep your teeth and gums in good shape, but seeing you regularly will also allow us to better detect any problems, such as gum disease, dry mouth (Xerostomia), or other dental conditions (like decay), that may be the cause of persistent bad breath. If you have gum disease, more frequent visits to our office might be recommended for your oral and overall health.
Breaking a tobacco habit (smoking or chewing tobacco) can significantly improve your oral health and the way your breath smells. Ask us about our suggestions to help break your habit. Drinking plenty of water and eating healthy also keeps your mouth moist and more free of bad bacteria. Mouth rinses can help, too, but ask us which rinses actually kill the germs that cause bad breath, because some only mask odor as a temporary solution.
When bad breath is a symptom of a larger bacterial problem in your mouth, Dr. Moheban can help. If he finds that your mouth is healthy, we may refer you to your physician for further consultation and more comprehensive treatment.
Biannual teeth cleanings performed by a skilled dental hygienist are central to keeping teeth and gums looking, feeling, and functioning well. If you have gum disease, more frequent visits to the dentist will probably be recommended for your oral and overall health.
During cleanings, plaque and calculus (more commonly known as tartar) are removed from teeth. Plaque is a sticky deposit on teeth in which bacteria grow, and tartar is basically calcified or hardened plaque, so it is more difficult to remove. When tartar builds up under the gumline, causing gum disease, more extensive treatment than a standard cleaning is needed to remove it and help ensure healthier gums. Hygienists also polish teeth, floss (partly to test the condition of gums, to see if they bleed), and they document any bleeding along with stains they noted during the cleaning in a patient's file.
Dental exams with a dentist make it so problems can be diagnosed and treated before they grow to be big, often painful, and expensive. A typical exam includes a visual assessment of teeth and occlusion (bite), along with an appraisal of current restorations. When x-rays have been taken, Dr. Moheban will carefully review them to identify areas of decay and other possible areas of concern for cysts, tumors, and other disorders of the mouth. Panoramic x-rays are especially revealing and beneficial to this process. Dr. Moheban will perform a general screening for early detection of gum disease and oral cancer, as well.
In between cleanings and exams at our dental office, brushing teeth at least twice a day (in the morning and at night) is the most important thing you can do to take care of your teeth. Brushing after every meal is even better, if you can. If not, chewing sugar-free gum after meals can get food particles out of teeth. Additionally, clean between teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners, and remember to brush your tongue. Brushing your tongue, especially the back areas, can make a big difference in how clean your mouth feels and smells, and how clean it actually is. Restorations, such as bridges and partial dentures, should be cleaned thoroughly, too, just like natural teeth. Toothbrushes should be replaced every two to three months.
Silver (amalgam) has been something of the "gold standard" of dental fillings for years, but recently, composite fillings have become a popular method. Dentists and patients have plenty of reasons to prefer composite fillings, but before you surrender your silver, consider some facts about fillings.
Silver fillings are durable, lasting on average at least 10 to 20 years, and they are very strong, making them ideal for use in the large back molars. They also tend to be less expensive than composite fillings, but usually require more invasive preparations. The biggest drawback to silver fillings is aesthetic, as they can cast a gray hue over the surface of a tooth. Silver fillings have gotten a bad reputation because of their mercury content, but the FDA and the ADA agree that there's no proof that the compound has any adverse side effects. In fact, the mercury in amalgam fillings is only one component of a chemically stable alloy. Silver fillings have been used in dentistry for hundreds of years, and allergic reactions are rare.
Composite fillings, made out of a mixture of glass and quartz materials, provide a tooth-colored restoration that looks more like your natural tooth. Composite materials are also versatile and can be bonded (held adhesively) to teeth, which calls for less invasive preparation and leaves more healthy tooth structure beneath the filling. Compared to amalgam, composite fillings are slightly less durable and are better suited for teeth with light or moderate bite pressure, and they can take longer to place. Depending on your dentist and your insurance options, composite fillings can cost a bit more than amalgam.
Unless Dr. Moheban notices cracks or damages in your current fillings or expresses other concerns regarding your dental health, replacing silver fillings is a matter of personal preference.
Constant pressure from chewing, grinding and/or clenching can cause dental fillings to wear away, chip, and even crack. If the seal between the tooth enamel and the filling breaks down, food particles and decay-causing bacteria can work their way under the filling. You then run the risk of developing additional decay in that tooth. Untreated decay can progress to deeply infect the tooth and even cause an abscess and/or eventual loss of the tooth. Again, regular dental checkups enable us to monitor areas of concern and help keep you in optimal oral health.
When restorations are large, or if recurrent decay is extensive, there might not be enough remaining tooth structure to support a replacement filling. In these cases, we may need to replace the filling with a natural looking porcelain crown.
According to MedlinePlus, a service of the U.S. National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health, about 80 percent of U.S. adults currently have some form of gum disease, ranging from gingivitis to serious periodontal disease. The prevalence of gum disease increases with age, because as we age, our teeth wear down, our gums naturally recede, teeth can become more sensitive, and medications can affect some oral changes. If your gums feel tender or sore, or if they look red and swollen, you may be at risk for gum disease. Other signs include bleeding and/or receding gums, pain or sensitivity in your teeth (and even loose teeth, caused by weakening gum fibers and/or bone loss), and persistent bad breath. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to tooth loss as well as various other health problems. More and more life-threatening illnesses are being linked to the presence of dental diseases.
The first thing to do is get a thorough dental evaluation. If you have any degree of periodontal disease, Dr. Moheban can help. He strongly believes in, and focuses on, the importance of healthy gums for a healthy mouth and body. Gum disease used to require surgery more often than not. While surgery is still an option and sometimes needed, many cases are now treated with less invasive techniques first, such as deep cleanings, local antibiotics, and special rinses. Please come in and let Dr. Moheban help you achieve and maintain healthier gums for a healthier you.
Crowns, often called "caps," cover teeth to restore them to their appropriate shape and size after large fillings, fractures, and/or weakening forces such as intense grinding. In all of these cases, crowns not only cover teeth but provide added support as well. Crowns can also be used to attach bridges, cover dental implants, restore seriously discolored or misshapen teeth, and even as a preventive measure to protect a tooth in danger of breaking. Crowns can be made of all-porcelain (ceramic) material, porcelain fused to metal (for added strength), gold alloys (high noble), or base metal alloys (non-noble). Each of these restorative materials has its advantages and disadvantages. All-porcelain restorations closely mimic natural tooth appearance. Their strength depends on adequate porcelain thickness, thus this material requires more extensive preparation. Porcelain fused to metal alloy restorations are tooth-colored and stronger than all-porcelain crowns. Gold alloy crowns are very strong and wear resistant. They are well tolerated in terms of biocompatibility, but metal colors do not match natural teeth. Base metal alloy crowns are similar to gold for strength and durability. However, allergy to the non-noble base metals may be an issue with some patients.
Crowns can be placed by Dr. Moheban in just one visit with CEREC®. Crowns in general are very strong restorations, and they help to protect teeth. If a crown is placed before the tooth is so badly decayed or so weak that it fractures, the necessity of a root canal can often be preempted. This can also help prevent a broken tooth from becoming so bad that it needs to be removed, which would require a bridge or implant for restoration.
In light of their excellent restorative capabilities, crowns have few disadvantages. As they are more extensive restorations than fillings, their relative cost is higher. However, if Dr. Moheban recommends a crown it is because we want to help you keep your teeth healthy and looking good for years to come. The problems crowns help to prevent and repair offset the cost.
Also, while crowns are highly resistant, due to normal wear they will eventually need to be re-cemented or replaced. Six to nine percent of teeth that are damaged enough to need a crown may someday need a root canal.
Beneath the top layer of your tooth (the enamel) and the second layer (the dentin), there is a pulp, or nerve, which delivers sensations such as heat, cold, and pain to the brain. Whether from excessive decay or physical trauma, this nerve can become damaged, causing an abscess to form at the root of the tooth. Your dentist has recommended root canal therapy, a procedure in which the diseased pulp is removed from an infected tooth, to prevent further damage and tooth loss, and most importantly, to relieve your pain.
Symptoms of an infected root include severe toothaches, sensitivity, discoloration, and upraised lesions on your gums. X-rays and a thorough dental examination determines whether a root canal is your best option. Though root canal therapy has a reputation for being painful, the toothaches associated with an infected root are most likely causing you more pain than the treatment will.
The nerve is not vitally important for day-to-day function, so removing it will not affect your tooth—unless you count saving the tooth from total loss! In fact, allowing it to decay further can lead to more pain and bone loss. Usually, an over the counter pain medication takes care of immediate post-operative discomfort, and most patients return to normal activities the very next day. Root canal therapy is highly successful, and a tooth receiving the treatment can last you a lifetime. Especially when used in conjunction with a restoration (a crown or composite filling), no one will even notice a difference in your smile.
Smoking isn’t just bad for your teeth—it affects the health of your entire mouth, especially your gums. Lighting up stains your teeth, causes bad breath, and promotes the buildup of plaque and tartar. Cigarette smoking is also one of the leading causes of tooth loss. Worst of all, smoking has been linked to the development of periodontal disease and may lead to the loss of taste and smell. Smokers also tend to require more dental treatment, due to the damage done by smoking. Certain procedures, such as dental implants and oral surgeries, can be less successful in smokers due to damaged gum tissue. This results in a higher cost of dental healthcare and often more frequent (and complicated) treatment.
Pipes and cigars aren't any safer, causing similar rates of tooth and bone loss even if the smoke is not inhaled. Smokeless tobacco products like snuff and chewing tobacco also pose great health risks to your gums, increasing your risk for both oral cancer and cancers of the throat, esophagus, and lips. Additionally, they contain a significant amount of sugar, which when pressed against your teeth for long periods of time can lead to tooth decay.
In fact, there are! Foods such as milk, cheese, nuts, chicken and other meats contain calcium and phosphorous, which have been proven to strengthen bones and protect enamel. Calcium is essential for bone development, and while your teeth do not directly absorb it, a stronger jawbone leads to healthy gums, and healthy gums make healthy teeth. Fruits and vegetables are just as good for your teeth as they are for your body, especially firm, crunchy ones with a high water content (like apples and pears). Water is critical for your oral health, as it rinses away food particles and keeps your mouth and gums moist. Dehydration can cause dry mouth, which makes your mouth particularly prone to bacterial growth and bad breath.
As most people know, foods high in sugar tend to stick to teeth and can lead to decay. What many people don't know is that almost all foods contain some form of sugar - even milk products and fruit - so you can't cut it out completely, and you wouldn't want to. The most important part of the "dentist diet" is brushing your teeth after each meal. If you do snack between meals, especially on starchy or sweet foods, and cannot brush, drink plenty of water or chew gum to loosen any residue. For those of us out there with a sweet tooth, don't despair: not all sweet snacks are off-limits. Chewing sugar-free gum that contains xylitol can actually prevent cavities.
Accidents happen, and especially when it comes to our teeth and mouths, they can be pretty frightening. It's important to know when home care will suffice and when a trip to our office is necessary, so here are some guidelines to help you through common situations:
Rinse with warm water to remove any food or debris; if you notice anything lodged between teeth, floss to remove it. Take an over the counter pain medication (but never apply the medication directly to tooth or gums), and see Dr. Moheban if the pain persists.
Save the pieces, if you can, and rinse them thoroughly. Apply an ice pack or a cold compress to the swollen lip or gum tissue near the chipped tooth to prevent swelling. If the area is bleeding, apply gauze for ten minutes, or until the bleeding has stopped. See Dr. Moheban as soon as possible.
With recent advancements in restorative and cosmetic dentistry, you might not lose your tooth. If there’s enough remaining healthy tooth structure, a dentist can create a crown that will “grab onto” your natural tooth, eliminating the need for root removal. While the success of this process, known as “crown lengthening,” depends on the severity of the break, it’s worth asking about options other than complete removal.
Depending on the situation, find the tooth and, holding it by the crown only, rinse it briefly with warm water. If possible, gently reinsert the tooth into the socket and bite down on gauze or cloth to keep it in place. If you cannot reinsert it, place it in a container of milk or salt-water. See Dr. Moheban as soon as possible—if treated within 2 hours, the tooth may be salvaged.
The gums, cheeks, lips, and tongue tend to bleed heavily because the tissues contain a great deal of blood flow. To control the bleeding, first rinse with a warm, mild salt water solution, then apply pressure with gauze or a moistened towel for 15 to 20 minutes. To reduce swelling and help stop residual bleeding, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth. In the event of a serious soft tissue injury in which the bleeding is profuse or the damage is visibly traumatic, it's best to stay calm, keep applying pressure and go to the emergency room.
The toothpaste aisle can be pretty overwhelming. Over the past few years, companies have introduced so many options for toothpastes, brushes, flosses, and mouthwashes, that even the most discerning consumer wouldn't know where to begin. Here are a some hints for picking the right products for your particular needs:
The big question here is, electric or manual? When it comes down to it, it’s really all about your personal preference. Recently, electric toothbrushes have gained popularity, but not necessarily because they’re “better” than manual brushes. Both brushes are effective at removing plaque, but electric brushes can make the process easier for you. If you find manual brushes difficult to use, or just don't enjoy the process, an electric one might make brushing easier and allow you to do a better job. When choosing a manual brush, opt for soft bristles with the smallest head--they're easy on gum tissue and can fit around the back molars. Regardless of your hardware of choice, though, just keep brushing, and be sure to brush long enough! Although it takes a full 2-3 minutes to brush every tooth effectively, most people only brush for an average of 30 seconds!
First and foremost, always check for the ADA seal of approval. Despite the large variety of toothpastes available, most contain similar agents geared toward scrubbing, flavoring, or keeping your paste moist. It's a good idea to choose a paste that contains fluoride, which strengthens enamel and makes teeth less prone to decay. Tartar-control toothpastes usually contain fluoride, but they also contain chemicals to break down plaque and antibacterials to kill lingering germs. After checking those off, choose your paste based on your personal needs. Whitening varieties have added abrasive agents (not bleach), that polish the surfaces of your teeth without damaging enamel. If you have sensitive teeth, certain toothpastes provide chemical compounds that, when used on a routine basis, can reduce sensitivity over time.
While most people brush the recommended two times a day, flossing sometimes gets placed on the back burner. However, neglecting to floss at least once daily is doing your mouth a serious disservice, as up to 50% of plaque accumulation occurs between teeth. That’s why you should floss before you brush, to loosen up that plaque for easier removal with your toothbrush. If you find flossing too difficult or unpleasant, try using a flosser. They’re reusable, use disposable heads, and with handles just like toothbrushes, they make flossing as neat and easy as brushing your teeth. You can find them at most grocery and drug stores.
There are as many different types of mouthwashes available as there are flavors, and it’s important to choose the one that’s best for you. Cosmetic mouthwashes can rinse away debris, provide a pleasant taste, and mask bad breath temporarily. If you’re looking for a mouthwash with a purpose, look for an FDA-approved therapeutic rinse, with either antiplaque or anticavity ingredients. Mouthwashes are particularly useful for people with canker sores, braces, and dry mouth, but they shouldn’t replace brushing or flossing.
Combining all of these factors makes a complete and effective oral hygiene routine, but you don't need the fancy, expensive products to have your healthiest smile. Just do your part at home and stay up-to-date with professional check-ups, and you'll be all set!
X-rays, also known as radiographs, are commonly used in dental exams of patients of all ages. Panoramic x-rays, which are taken every five to seven years and show the entire mouth, are particularly useful diagnostic tools. Panoramic x-rays are taken with a machine that circles your head providing a complete overview of all the teeth as well as the roots, upper and lower jawbones, the sinuses, and other hard surfaces in the mouth. Many problems with teeth and the surrounding tissues cannot be seen when we visually examine your mouth.
Detecting and treating dental problems at an early stage can save you unnecessary discomfort, money, and time. In cases where x-rays help us detect oral cancer and periodontal disease early, radiographs can also help save your life!
The American Dental Association, founded in 1959, is the largest and oldest dental association in America. It's the leading authority on all things related to the dental field and oral health, performing and publishing studies on various subjects on a regular basis.
Dr. Moheban is a member of the ADA and keeps up with the organization's research findings, charitable endeavors, and releases about technological advancements. The ADA has weighed in on topics such as teeth whitening, amalgam (silver) fillings, dental insurance policies, and other dental-related issues. Visit ADA.org to find out how the ADA helps keep the dental field safe for you.
If your gums are not sore, it's safe to assume your bleeding gums are not the result of hard brushing or flossing. Bleeding gums that apparently have no cause are always a warning sign, often indicating such conditions as gingivitis or even gum disease. Gingivitis (inflamed, bleeding gums) is not a one-way ticket to gum disease; in fact, if it's caught early enough, gingivitis can be treated and even reversed. The first lines of treatment when it comes to gingivitis are lifestyle changes. Poor oral hygiene, smoking, uncontrolled diabetes, and high levels of stress can all contribute to gingivitis. Choosing a toothbrush with soft bristles can ease gum damage, too, and getting regular dental cleanings will control plaque and tooth decay. It's important to stop gingivitis before it progresses, as studies have shown more and more serious illnesses are associated with gum disease. Heart disease, strokes, diabetes, even osteoporosis, and inflammatory diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis have been linked to poor oral health.
Though not the first suspect in a simple case of bleeding gums, oral cancer is also a possibility. Oral cancer can be difficult to diagnose because many of its symptoms are associated with other medical conditions. They include sores, difficulty swallowing or moving the jaw, bleeding gums or cheeks, and a continuous pain in the mouth. If Dr. Moheban finds no other causes for your bleeding gums, he may recommend a visit to a specialist.
Regular check-ups are vital to cancer prevention, as are good oral hygiene, avoiding tobacco, and maintaining a balanced diet. Inform Dr. Moheban if you're experiencing any of the above symptoms. You'd go to the doctor if a cut on your hand were infected—do your gums the same service! They'll thank you later.
Northborough Family Dental is conveniently located at the junction of W. Main Street and Southwest Cutoff (Route 20). We are next to Romaine's Restaurant and a block away from the US Post Office and less than 2 miles from Wegman's. We are only 2 minutes from Northborough Center and 5 minutes from the center of Shrewsbury.