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Dr. Ken Cirka & Dr. Jessica Meier
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Philly Dentistry

Category: General Dentistry

November 5, 2017
2 months ago

It is recommended by the American Dental Association to change your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months. Instead of discarding them immediately, we wanted to give you some ideas for
uses for the old toothbrushes that come very much in handy!
Not only will the old toothbrushes be useful in and around the house, they will help you
save some money on cleaning products too. Before reusing the toothbrush be sure to soak
it in a sink full of hot water and 1 cap of household bleach, or alternatively you can soak
it in a combination mix of ½ water and ½ vinegar for a few hours to disinfect the brush.
A good way to stay on track with replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months is to write
the date on the brush when you start using it and this will help you remember when it
needs replaced.

Here are 10 examples of good uses for your old toothbrushes:

1. D14keyboardusty keyboards- the toothbrush is great getting in all those nooks and crannies
2. Muddy shoes- use the toothbrush to get in the treds on sneakers
3. Exfoliating- the old toothbrush can be used to scrub off any rough or dead skin
4. Tiles- getting stains and dirt out of the grout with the toothbrush will help
bathroom tiles and kitchen tiles look much cleanertoothbrush2-1
5. Jewelry- slightly damp old toothbrushes are perfect for cleaning necklaces,
bracelets, and other jewelry
6. Blinds- an old toothbrush will work good for cleaning slatted blinds and curtain
rings and rods
7. Bike chains- cleaning these can be tricky and believe it or not the toothbrush will
work and make this a lot easier
8. Fish tanks- use your old toothbrush to clean the fish tank and any furniture in the
tank to help things statoothbrush-beauty-hacks-eyebrow-groomingy clean and bright
9. Make-up brushes- these brushes can be especially pricey. Using an old toothbrush
to brush your eyebrows and use as a grooming tool works well and saves you money
10. Nail brush- old toothbrushes make great nail brushes. This comes very much in
handy after gardening and cleaning

Of course, before using it in any of these ways, be sure to get good use out of your toothbrush by brushing 2-3 times a day.  This will help you maintain good oral health in conjunction with regularly flossing and visiting Dr. Cirka, Dr. Meier, and your Dental Hygienist.  Call us today at 215-568-6222.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

September 26, 2017
4 months ago

Composite Veneers vs. Porcelain Veneers: What Is the Difference?

Cosmetic dentistry offers many solutions to improving your smile. At Philadelphia Dentistry, Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier will sit with you and evaluate your smile and find the best option for you. In our office we help patients by giving them a beautiful smile that improves confidence and everyday life.

A great way to achieve a perfect, bright, white smile is with veneers. A veneer is a thin coating that is placed over top of your own teeth.

There are two different materials that Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier use to do veneers. The two materials are porcelain and composite. Porcelain is a ceramic material that is strong, beautiful, and translucent in a way that is very similar to the enamel of natural teeth. Composite is a plastic and glass mixture that is tooth colored and used to improve smiles by reshaping teeth and also for improving the color of the teeth.

There are differences to both of these materials that Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier will review with you at your cosmetic consultation in detail. Below are a few of the major pros and cons of these two materials to give you more information about them:

Composite Veneers

Composite veneers are applied in layers and directly bonded to natural tooth structure. The clinician will sculpt the material and be able to match the shade perfectly by blending the material with the teeth. Minor chips in front teeth can expertly be hidden with a composite veneer. Composite tends to stain as time goes on and may need to be changed. The composite resin is at risk to chip and your clinician will go over ways to prevent this from happening by reviewing motions to avoid, such as biting your nails. With the proper home-care and maintenance, composite veneers can provide a very natural and long-lasting result to improve your smile and confidence. From a financial perspective composite veneers are generally less expensive than porcelain. Since composite veneers are reversible and can be removed and replaced as needed, patients often opt to begin with composite veneers due the lower cost. Then once able they will have the composite changed to porcelain. Each case is different and it is important to have your personal consultation with Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier to determine the best course of action for you.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers are an ultra-thin layer of porcelain that is cemented onto your own teeth. With porcelain Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier are able to drastically improve the color, size, and shape of their patient’s teeth. Keep in mind with composite veneers we are limited with how white in color we can go since the material must blend into the tooth color. By using porcelain we are able to choose shades much lighter than natural composite veneersteeth and still achieve a natural smile without the veneers having a fake appearance. Another great benefit of using porcelain as a material is its high resistance to stains. This is an advantage over composite veneers which do pick up stain as time goes on. Porcelain is also much stronger and tends to last much longer than the composite veneers with the proper care.

How Do I Choose?

Both composite veneers and porcelain veneers offer a beautiful result. There are many factors that make a difference when choosing between materials and at your free cosmetic consultation with Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier they will review these factors with you. Sometimes a combination of materials work best for patients, it depends on your specific case and situation and what you are looking to achieve. The most important thing is for you to be informed and involved in each step of the process and we guarantee it will be well worth it!

Call us today to schedule your cosmetic consultation at 215-568-6222. We look forward to meeting you soon!

September 16, 2017
4 months ago

Recently at Philadelphia Dentistry we began using an iTero digital scanner that allows us to do impressions for our patients without impression material and trays. It has been great for our staff and also for our patients as there are many advantages to digital impressions over traditional impressions.

An important advantage to note is the efficiency of workflow. The production is streamlined from the laboratory back to us because the digital scan is sent immediately to the laboratory and they are able to review the case within 24-48 hours. What this translates to for patients is less time in their itero scanner1temporary acrylic crowns which is great for the patients.

An additional benefit dentistry gains from digital impressions is the fact that they can be repaired. This is not the case for traditional impressions. With a traditional impression if there is ever an air bubble or a distortion in it, the patient must go through another impression again. For a digital impression, the dentist and assistant are able to easily pinpoint the area that needs redone, scan that specific spot again, and the scanning software is able to stitch it together with the previously captured data.

When a digital scan is sent to the lab it also allows the dentist and the lab technician to communicate directly with each other about the case. If there are any issues then they can be handled immediately and patients do not have to wait.

Another great thing about digital impressions is the ability to show fine details that the naked eye can miss. This precise level of accuracy will aid in the dentist’s work and create a better product for the patient.

Finally, perhaps the BEST part about taking digital impressions, is how much easier it is for patients! No more gagging, strange tastes, or messy faces full of impression material.

Call us at 215.568.6222 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier. They can talk to you more about your dental health in addition to digital impressions. We look forward to meeting you soon!

September 5, 2017
4 months ago

Exercising has numerous positive impacts on your health. It helps with stress relief, muscle strength, combating health conditions, and loads more. What many patients do not know is how exercising can affect their dental health. Believe it or not, exercising can cause problems with your teeth that you may not be aware of.

During intense exercise people will often be breathing through their mouths. When people are mouth breathing, it will dry out the mouth and reduce the flow of saliva. A dry mouth is an environment where bacteria will increase and grow. People that suffer from dry mouth are very much at risk for cavities and so heavy exercise can put you more at risk for tooth decay if you are breathing through your mouth.

Additionally, when people are exercising heavily they often are drinking sports drinks. Many sports drinks can erode the teeth and cause major damage. If you are not careful, your mouth may need a makeover. They will erode the teeth not only if there is sugar in them but also because they are very acidic. Anytime the mouth is an acidic environment it creates a breeding ground for the bacteria that cause cavities.Woman-drinking-sports-drink

What’s more is that while working out, most people tend to take sips throughout the workout. This is constantly bathing the teeth in sugars and acids, which will make the teeth more vulnerable to decay. If you are going to enjoy a sports drink it is much better if you drink it and be done with it, do not continuously take small sips. After you finish the sports drink, be sure to drink some water to neutralize the acidity level in the saliva to protect your teeth from cavities and other damage.

While the above details negative impacts on your teeth that can happen while exercising, keep in mind there are significant health benefits to your teeth and your entire body from the action of exercising. A study in the Journal of Dentistry found that exercising regularly can actually lower the risk of gum disease for people. Also by having a healthy body mass index (BMI), the mouth is a lot healthier. This is because the higher the BMI, the more likely you are to have hypertension and diabetes which both are known to put you at risk for poor oral health.

While exercising, be downloadsure that you are drinking water in addition to any sports drinks. Another alternative to water and sports drinks is coconut water. Coconut water has anti-inflammatory properties and also helps to balance insulin and glucose in the blood stream. By being aware of how your dental health is affected by exercise, you can avoid risk factors and keep your mouth happy as well as your body.

By keeping up with a regular dental routine you will be able to stay on track with your oral health. This means brushing twice a day, flossing once a day, and seeing your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.

Call us today to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier at 215.568.6222. We look forward to meeting you soon!

August 26, 2017
5 months ago

Many patients when starting orthodontics wonder why they need to continue seeing their general dentist for check-ups and cleanings regularly since they are seeing the orthodontist every month. Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier stress to each and every patient that is seeing us or seeing the orthodontist for braces or for Invisalign that it is extremely important to continue with regular check-ups and cleanings.

The most important reason to see the dentist regularly is so that the hygienist can remove the plbracesaque and tartar that builds up. With orthodontic brackets and wires, there are loads more nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide. Not to mention there are areas harder to reach to clean too. The bacteria that stick underneath the gums as well as on the teeth themselves also physically stick to these brackets and wires. These bacteria can cause cavities, gingivitis, and even lead to patients developing infection that affects the jaw bone and overall health of your entire body.

Another important motivation to see the dentist regularly while you are in braces is to protect the teeth from forming white spots on the surfaces. These white spots are called “decalcification” and happen as a result of the teeth losing Calcium, an important mineral that keeps the teeth healthy. These white spots are not only unsightly but they are also weaker and can transform into cavities more easily than other areas of enamel.

By seeing the dentist regularly for cleanings it will also ensure that you stay cavity free. If cavities develop during orthodontic treatment they can significantly delay the treatment time and patients can end up in braces a lot longer than initially expected. When cavities arise during orthodontics, often the dentist must ask the orthodontist to take off all of the wires and metal bands so the dentist can properly access the teeth and clean the bacteria. At regular check-ups and cleanings your dentist and hygienists can provide fluoride treatments, dental sealants, and many preventative measures that help keep the teeth strong and cavity free.

Portrait of a happy patient with braces on the teeth, sitting in the dental chair, in the background a young doctor dentist

Keep in mind that for patients in clear aligner trays like Invisalign it is equally as important to see the dentist and have your check-ups and cleanings done regularly. Bacteria can build up around the attachments on the teeth as well as in addition to the areas where the orthodontist or dentist created space to help the teeth move.

See your dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings both during orthodontics and afterwards to keep your teeth looking and feeling their best.

Call us to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier at Philly Dentistry at 215-568-6222 today! Hope to see you soon!

July 27, 2017
6 months ago

Whenever patients hear the words “root canal” they all do the same thing: cringe. Every time I talk to patients about the procedure I first have to talk them off of a ledge. Each of them has heard a terrible story about someone, someplace, that had the worst experience with their root canal procedure and that they would not wish their worst enemy to need one.

Why is this the case? Well, in some circumstances root canals CAN cause painsunrise-family-dentistry-roseville-002-large. These are the stories that we hear about. If a patient has not been going into the dentist regularly for their checkups, cleanings, and x-rays, bacteria can start to grow and they would not be aware of it. In dentistry there are many things that can start to brew that do not cause pain. This is why your dentist and dental hygienist are tough on you so that if something starts brewing we can catch it before any pain starts and avoid it altogether when possible.

The pain associated with root canal treatment is due to bacteria that has grown so large it started an infection in the tooth, the gums, and the jaw bone that holds the teeth in place. If you have pain you should seek attention from your dentist immediately so that they can do any emergency treatment and prescribe an antibiotic if needed.

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

There are some indicators that a root canal is needed. Sometimes there is pain and sometimes there is not. Below I will list some signs that a root canal is needed:root-canal-abcessed-tooth

-Pain upon chewing

-Sensitivity to cold or hot temperature changes

-The color of the tooth begins to get darker and look grey

-The gums near a tooth begins to get puffy and swollen

-A pimple develops on the gum tissue near a tooth

-A tooth is cracked in your mouth

Although patients often associate root canal treatment with pain, most patients, when they have a root canal done correctly and are given antibiotics when needed, equate the pain with the same as after a regular dental filling. That is what a root canal essentially is, a filling. The difference between the root canal filling and a regular filling is that the root canal filling goes into the roots of the teeth, which are below the gum line. A traditional filling goes into the crown of the teeth, the part that we see above the gum line.

What Happens After a Root Canal?

What happens after a root canal is performed depends on which tooth had the work done. For front teeth, often only a regular filling is needed. For back teeth, since they bear the brunt of the forces while chewing, a dental crown is neeRoot_Canal_BAded in order to protect the teeth long term. After the permanent filling or crown is done, the tooth will start to eventually feel like one of your own and you will brush and floss it as you do all the others.

Who Performs My Root Canal?

This will also depend on which tooth needs the procedure and the level of training of your general dentist. General dentists can complete some or all root canals, depending on their level of confidence and training in the field of endodontics, which is the term for root canal specialty. There is a specialist, an endodontist, that studies root canals in addition to going to dental school. After a residency program in root canals, the endodontist only does root canals and is very highly trained in the practice.

If you think you need a root canal or want to come in and see us for a free consultation about other dental concerns, call us at 215.568.6222 to schedule one today. Dr. Meier or Dr. Cirka will do a comprehensive examination of your teeth and your gums as well as take cavity detection x-rays of your teeth. You will also receive a complimentary oral cancer screening in the examination. We look forward to meeting you soon!

July 17, 2017
6 months ago

There are many benefits to using floss and to using a WaterPik. Patients often ask me about which is better and if one replaces the other.

My answer to patients is always this: you should use what works best for you and what you feel most comfortable with. It really is a case by case basis depending on many factors that will be addressed below.

I do not believe that a WaterPik is a replacement for dental floss; however, for patients that admit to me that they hate flossing and won’t do it, I do tell them to invest in a WaterPik.41bC+NCHvrL

For patients that floss daily and are managing to keep their gum tissue healthy, I do not think a WaterPik is always needed. As long as the tissue remains healthy and I do not see changes, these patients can continue on with daily flossing.

There are things to consider when deciding whether to take up daily flossing or use of a WaterPik that I will review below:

Cost: Keep in mind that the WaterPik will be more expensive than floss. They range between $30-$100 and are easily purchased either in store or online. Ask your dental hygienist and doctor if they have a specific recommendation of which to use. It is important to note that the plug-in Waterpiks will have more power and better attachments to use than the battery-operated travel Waterpiks.

Ease and Dexterity: Though string floss is easy for some to use, it can take a long time to perform properly. There are also patients that have trouble positioning their fingers properly in order to reach each area of their mouths. For these patients I will often suggest trying a Waterpik to see if it is easier as an alternative solution.

Electric Outlet Availability: I think string floss is great because you do not need an electrical outlet. I keep my floss in my purse so that if I have a free moment I can easily grab it. It’s also great in case I’m out and have something stuck in between my teeth. For the WaterPik most require an electrical outlet to work. As mentioned above, there are travel ones available that are battery-operated; however, they are not as powerful and do not come with as many attachments.

46267108 - teeth with orthodontic brackets. dental health care.

Patients in Braces: For patients in braces a Waterpik is a great tool. Since it is difficult to floss while wearing braces, it is common for the gums to become inflamed as plaque and food debris stick to the wires, brackets, and can be tough to clean. The motion of the Waterpik dislodges much of the food debris and plaque around the gums and brackets which help keep patients in braces healthier throughout orthodontic treatment.

Flossing Quality: In order to get the full benefit of the string floss, it is important for patients to use it properly. Below I will go over some tips for flossing; however, make sure to ask your dentist or dental hygienist for flossing tips next time you are in for a check-up and cleaning.

Flossing Tips from a Pro:

While flossing I find it easiest to use satin floss called Glide which is made by Oral-B. This floss never shreds or tears and it is gentle so I am not damaging my gum tissue.

Be sure thousandoaksfamilydentistryto wrap each side of the tooth fully, making a “c-shape” with the floss. This will allow you to get the floss underneath the gum line which is where the plaque starts to build. By moving the floss string up with a rotating movement and steady pressure, the plaque can be dislodged and removed.

Keep in mind you do not want to move the floss directly down into the tissue. This can not only damage the tissue it can also shove food particles and plaque deeper under the gums, making it harder to reach and more of a problem.

Hopefully these tips help! If you have further questions come see myself and Dr. Cirka for a free consultation where we check the health of your teeth and your gums. Hope to see you soon!

-Dr. Jessica Meier, D.M.D.

July 7, 2017
6 months ago

Oil-pulling has become increasingly popular as homeopathic remedies are becoming more prevalent. While this trend is growing, it is certainly not a new exercise.

The practice of oil-pulling dates back over three thousand years ago to India with the practice of Ayurveda medicine. “Ayurveda” brings together the Sanskrit words ayur (life) and veda (knowledge or science). Practiced in India, Ayurvedic medicine is one of the oldest known systems of medicine in the world.

Theoil typical way one performs oil-pulling is by swishing around one tablespoon of coconut oil in their mouth for twenty minutes and then spitting it out. Other common oils that can be used for oil pulling are sunflower oil and sesame oil.

Oil-pulling is not just lore based on stories; there is actual science behind it. Most of the microorganisms that live in our mouths are single-celled bacteria. Each of the cells that make up the bacteria is surrounded by a fatty membrane called a lipid layer. Think of this layer as the skin of the microorganism.

When the fat in the coconut oil comes into contact with the fatty lipid layer of the cell, they are attracted to one another and will stick to each other. This way when you spit out the oil you are also spitting out the microorganisms.

4 Tips for Beginners

Oil: Choose coconut oil. Although sesame and sunflower oil may be used, coconut oil has an ingredient, lauric acid, which the others lack. Lauric acid is known for helping the body fight harmful bacteria. There is also some new studies that argue coconuimagest oil can help fight against cavities.

Swishing: Be sure that you are gently sucking and pushing and swishing. Do not work too aggressively and cause your jaw to ache. This is unnecessary work and can be harmful over time to your temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Spit it out: If it feels like you have to swallow the oil, you are using too much. You do not want to swallow the toxins that the oil pulled out. Also keep in mind that you should spit the oil into the garbage can. Too much of any oil down the drain can cause plumbing issues.

Daily Oral Hygiene: the practice of oil pulling is not meant to replace flossing and brushing and regular dental visits. While it can be an added adjunct therapy that helps improve your health, it is certainly not meant as a replacement. Continue to brush your teeth twice a day, floss once a day, and see your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings to stay healthy.

If you have questions about oil pulling or your oral health, call our office at 215.568.6222 to schedule a free consultation today. Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier look forward to meeting you!

June 27, 2017
7 months ago

Tired of avoiding foods and beverages you like simply because of the temperature?  Read on to learn about 6 of the reasons your teeth may be sensitive to hot or cold, which is the first step to remedy!

Cavities

If there are cavities growing inside of your teeth it can cause them to be sensitive. Often the temperature sensitivity is an indication that the bacteria have reached the nerve inside of the tooth which could mean that the tooth requires a root canal.shutterstock_215205235

Gum Infection

There is bacteria in everyone’s mouths that can lead to a gum infection in the mouth. This is why it is important to see your dentist and dental hygienist every 6 months so that the bacteria you cannot reach can be cleaned out which prevents the gum infection. Sometimes this bacteria will cause an abscess which might be sensitive to temperature.

Clenching and Grinding

Many patients clench and grind their teeth while they are asleep. This condition, bruxism, is not always something you are aware of. If you are clenching or grinding your teeth there will be indications in the mouth your dentist will be able to diagnose if it is happening. When you clench and grind your teeth it introduces stress fractures into the teeth that are sensitive to hot and to cold temperatures.

Erosion from Acidic Foods

When your diet consists of acidic drinks and acidic foods it can lead to the enamel eroding. The enamel layer of the teeth is built to protect from sensitivity therefore if it is eroded the teeth can become sensitive to hot and cold.

Cracked Tooth o67d2298ad1f995506d8918db5f6da942r Filling

If you have a tooth or filling that is cracked it can definitely cause sensitivity to hot and cold. Usually the sensitivity is most noticeable when the crack extends into the nerve of the tooth.

Gum Recession

If you have gum recession this means that the roots of your teeth are exposed. The roots do not have any enamel to protect from hot and cold sensitivity so temperature changes can affect them. Gum recession can happen from previous history of orthodontics or gum disease.

If you are concerned because of hot or cold sensitivity, call us so we can help you. Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier can do a free consultation to evaluate your teeth and gums and see why the sensitivity is happening. Call us today at 215-568-6222. We look forward to hearing from you!

June 13, 2017
7 months ago

Patients will often ask Dr. Meier and Dr. Cirka, “Is chocolate bad for my teeth?” This question pops up even more often around the holiday seasons. Patients are many times surprised by the positive effects that chocolate will have on our health in general and the fact that it actually is a much better option for a sweet than sticky candies or sugary drinks.

There are a lot of positives effects of chocolate on your health overall, especially whenhappy-woman-taking-bite-of-chocolate-bar_y4f5qu considering how eating chocolate releases endorphins. Endorphins are hormones specifically designed to help us feel good. Endorphins are released in times we are happy and doing things like exercising or eating things we enjoy.

Similar to the old adage, “everything in moderation,” chocolate is fine for the teeth and the body in general when eaten in moderation. A study released in May 2016, the Maine-Syracuse Longitudinal Study, found that eating chocolate on a daily basis is proven to improve brain cognition. The research showed that over a period of eighteen years with close to one thousand participants, the group that ate chocolate daily had higher test scores than participants who did not.

Which chocolate is the best for my teeth… milk, white, or dark?

When considering which type of chocolate is best for your teeth the answer is simple. Dark chocolate is by far the better option. When we look at the sugar content of the three main types of chocolate, on average white chocolate has 17 grams per ounce, milk chocolate has 15 grams little baby eat cakeper ounce, and dark chocolate has 14 grams per ounce. While these numbers may not seem very different, as time goes by it adds up and the more sugar you have the more at risk you are for cavities and dental problems.

 

When you look into what the ingredients are for different types of chocolate you will find that milk chocolate and white chocolate both have more sugar, powdered milk, and harmful ingredients than dark chocolate. What’s more is that dark chocolate comes in different ways and the more raw and organic it is, the better it will be for your teeth and your health.

Believe it or not, some studies show dark chocolate to be a fighter against cavities. There is a compound in dark chocolate called a polyphenol. This compound has been shown to fight bacteria in the mouth by preventing sugars from turning into acids. This stops the process of the enamel breaking down the teeth which leads to cavities.

Dark chocolate also contains another compound known as a flavonoid. These flavonoidsgetty-519516157-woman-eating-chocolate-jose-luis-pelaez-inc are proven to slow down the process of tooth decay.

Antioxidants are also built into each piece of dark chocolate. These antioxidants are great for overall health in addition to oral health. They have been proven to help fight gum disease, a condition than causes people to lose their teeth..

Keep in mind that tooth decay does not happen overnight. Problems with cavities build cumulatively and it is important to cut down on sugar intake overall, make sure to brush and floss daily, and see the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings.

Enjoy the dark chocolate and remember to keep moderation in mind. Call us at 215-568-6222 to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier.  We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Try us out at no risk by scheduling your FREE first visit! 215-568-6222

or contact us today for a free consultation with Dr. Cirka or Dr. Meier in our Center City, Philadelphia office.

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