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Dr. Ken Cirka, Dr. Jessica Meier & Dr. Mimi Jeon
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Philly Dentistry

Category: Preventative Care

June 25, 2018
2 months ago

Myth #1: Brushing harder will make your teeth cleaner.

Actually, brushing harder will not clean your teeth better, it will essentially wear down your enamel that protects your tooth from harmful decay and cavities. The correct way to brush your teeth is to place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle then gently move the brush back and forth in a circular motion, finally brush the outer surfaces, inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of your teeth for around 2 minutes, twice a day and don’t forget to floss!

Myth #2: Chewing sugar-free gum is the same as brushing your teeth.

Chewing sugar-free gum with xylitol can help with protecting your teeth. Gum also produces saliva which can help wash away any food or drinks that are harming your teeth. But in fact, chewing sugar-free gum does not replace actually brushing your teeth. Chewing gum doesn’t get rid of the harmful plaque that can be stuck in between your teeth. It is very important to brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day to get rid of any plaque build- up and to maintain great dental hygiene.

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Myth #3: If your gums bleed when flossing, don’t floss anymore.

Over time bacteria and plaque that cannot be reached from your toothbrush get caught in between your teeth and eventually get into your gums causing them to become inflamed, which makes your gums bleed when you floss. The best bet to stop your gums from bleeding is to make flossing part of your daily routine and over time the bleeding will stop because your gums will be healthier.

Myth #4: Sugar is the main reason for cavities.

When thinking about cavities you often think the main causes are sugary candies and sweets. While that may be true, people tend to forget about chips, pretzels, and crackers that can be worse for your teeth. These hard snacks get stuck in between your teeth and are more difficult to get out, which will cause plaque and then lead to more serious dental problems.

Myth #5: If nothing is bothering you then you don’t need a dental checkup.

When it comes to dental problems you often don’t feel or notice anything right away. If you wait until the problem worsens instead of going to your routine checkups the outcome will only cause you more pain and cost more money. If you wait until a cavity starts to hurt, you put yourself at risk of getting a root canal. This could have been prevented if you went to your routine dental checkups. So, don’t let these myths fool you, keep up with your dental hygiene to maintain healthy teeth and gums for life with Philadelphia Dentistry! Give us a call today to schedule your routine check-up 215-568-6222.

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March 5, 2018
5 months ago

If your teeth are weak, chipped, cracked, fractured, decayed, aged, discolored or misshaped then you are a perfect candidate for dental crowns. What exactly is a dental crown? Dental crowns are strong natural looking dental solutions that are used to seal a tooth after a root canal procedure. When your teeth are badly damaged you develop more of a risk for bacteria to travel through your mouth because chipped and cracked teeth create easy paths for plaque and harmful bacteria to move around. Do not wait if you are experiencing any oral health problems because the longer you wait the worse it will become and will result in either a root canal or even a tooth extraction.

The benefits of dental crowns are great, especially at Philadelphia Dentistry where our doctors use the latest advanced dental technology to create and bond dental crowns. The number one benefit of dental crowns and most importantly is to relieve any discomfort you may be experiencing from your damaged teeth by placing a crown on the tooth to protect it against any future damage and prevent any sensitivity.linda b. before and after

Many times, people assume getting dental crowns is a complex procedure that takes an immense amount of time. In fact, it is actually straightforward. Once the enamel of your teeth is clean and healthy one of our accomplished doctors will shape your tooth. This shaping of your tooth allows it to firmly hold the crown. After our doctors take an impression of the tooth it is then sent over to our trusted lab where expert technicians will create your custom crown. Once the crown is ready Dr. Cirka, Dr. Meier, or Dr. Jeon will place it over your tooth with the best bonding cement money can buy.

Dental crowns are custom made specifically for your smile. You’ll feel confident when your crown is made to the shape, color, fit, and size that matches your smile for an all-natural look. Another benefit is that dental crowns can enhance the appearance of your teeth. Since the crown actually goes over the tooth it can instantly fix problems such as, discoloration, misshapen teeth, chips, fractures, crookedness, and much more. These problems can be fixed promptly and look 100% natural which is why some people tend to get crowns just for the appearance much like porcelain veneers.

With the proper care such as, brushing, flossing, and routine checkups and cleanings your dental crowns can last for decades, typically 10-20 years sometimes 30 years. The porcelain material that the crown is made of is extremely strong and durable and will protect your tooth from any future re-treatments.
If you are experiencing any type of discomfort in your oral health and think that a dental crown or crowns could be the right fit for you, give us a call today at 215-568-6222 and if you’re a new patient you’ll receive a free consultation that includes an exam and cavity detection X-Rays.

February 19, 2018
6 months ago

You should be visiting the dentist on a regular basis every 6 months for checkups and cleanings, but if you haven’t been to the dentist in some time, here are 5 signs that you need to visit a dentist as soon as possible.

1. If your teeth are in any pain at all you should never ignore it. Whether it’s a toothache or tooth sensitivity this could be the first signs of a cavity. It is important to get this taken care of right away because it can result in a larger cavity causing more problems to your oral health and costing you more money in the long run.

2. Gums that are red, swollen, or bleeding should not be a normal occurrence in your oral hygiene and should be checked out by a dentist right away. This could be signs of periodontal disease. We know sometimes gum bleeding could be caused by aggressive brushing and if you think this may be the case you should still see a dentist just to make sure it’s not gum disease. If you notice a “pimple” like absence on your gums it is a dying nerve which could cause you extreme pain. Other times, it could be completely symptom free. So, if you see anything that looks like a “pimple” on your gums you need to see a dentist immediately.

3. If you notice hard, crusty deposits on the surface of your teeth that means you have tartar build up from not brushing or flossing as often as you should. By not visiting the dentist on a regular basis can cause tartar build up as well. The bacteria in your mouth builds up creating tartar which then is calcified to your teeth and could lead to future tooth loss. So, if you notice any tartar build up on your teeth, schedule a cleaning to get it taken care of right away.
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4. Do you notice you have bad breath even if you brush, floss, and use mouth wash? Well this could be a sign of something more serious, such as advance gum disease or even tooth infections. If that embarrassing odor or bad taste doesn’t go away you should schedule an appointment with us as soon as you can to get it checked out

5. When you wake up in the morning does your jaw hurt? This might be a sign that it’s time to come to Philadelphia Dentistry for an evaluation. The reason your jaw is hurting could be from teeth grinding during the night, temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ, an abscessed tooth, or even a misaligned bite. If you are experiencing any of these signs please feel free to reach out to our dentistry to schedule an appointment. If you are a new patient your exam and cavity detection x-rays are on the house. So don’t hesitate if you are experiencing any of these 5 signs give us a call at 215-568-6222 and we’ll get you scheduled as soon as possible.

January 30, 2018
7 months ago

Reason 1: When brushing your teeth people often forget it’s also just as important to brush your tongue. When you eat and drink, little particles of bacteria stay on your tongue just like your teeth. So your tongue needs the same care to maintain great dental hygiene. By not brushing your tongue is almost like not brushing your teeth at all, so you can see how crucial your tongue is to your oral health. A layer of bacteria forms in your mouth after you eat or drink anything causing you to have bad breath. You may think just using mouthwash instead of brushing your tongue will have the same results, it doesn’t. If you wake up with “morning breath” or have a thin white layer on your tongue, but you brush, floss, and use mouthwash on a daily basis you should see your dentist as soon as possible because you may have something more serious like periodontal disease or tooth decay rather than just bad breath.

Reason 2: When you have a layer of bacteria on your tongue it blocks your taste bud receptors causing you to not taste as well as you should. So yes, by cleaning your tongue your food will taste so much better!

Reason 3: Brushing helps your immune system. The bacteria left on your tongue from not brushing can go directly to your stomach causing you to get sick. Think about when you wake up in the morning, sometimes you have a “weird” taste in your mouth. Now, think about after eating your breakfast sometimes you may feel a little sick. Well, this could be from the bacteria from your tongue going down to your stomach with the food you’re eating. This could also lead to an upset stomach or even a stomach ulcer. This is just another reason why it is very important to keep your tongue clean from harmful bacterial.

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Now you’re probably thinking what is the proper way to brush your tongue? It’s pretty simple; brush side to side, back and forth, and then finish with rinsing with water. Tip: Make sure you don’t over brush or brush too hard on your tongue because it could break the skin. Another important tip is to buy a toothbrush with a tongue cleaner on the back of the toothbrush. Dentist’s recommend this because the brush is specifically used for your teeth, not the tongue, but if you don’t have a tongue cleaner on your brush you could use your toothbrush until you get a tongue cleaner. Just be sure to clean your toothbrush thoroughly to get the bacteria off. If you are not a fan of the toothbrush with a tongue cleaner you could find inexpensive tongue scrapers at most drug stores.

If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 215-568-6222 and schedule an appointment with our great doctors who can answer all your questions and get you back to being happy and healthy.

January 12, 2018
7 months ago

Everyone knows that they have to keep their teeth healthy, but many people don’t know that the health of their gums is just as vital. To maintain healthy gums here are some signs of healthy vs. nonhealthy gums. Healthy gums should be firm and pink (differs with complexion) and fit tightly around your teeth. They should also hold teeth securely in place with no wiggling of permanent teeth. Healthy gums should not be swollen, tender, and do not easily bleed.

Unhealthy gums are bright red, swollen, and can feel painful or tender to touch. When brushing, flossing, or even eating your gums should not bleed and if they do that is a sign of unhealthy gums. Another sign of unhealthy gums is if your gums look pale, thin, and are receding.

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Here are some tips you could do on a daily basis to prevent gum disease and maintain healthy gums.

  1. Brush 2 times a day. Preferably, you should brush after every meal, but twice a day is the minimum requirement. When you brush you should use a soft brush and use gentle, circular motions when brushing for about 2-3 minutes. Don’t brush too hard because that could aggravate your gums even more. It is also important to replace your brush every three to four months.
  2. Floss once a day. It is important to floss the right way to remove hard-to-reach plaque missed by brushing. The goal is to scrape plaque off the sides of your teeth while not digging into your gums causing them to bleed. Using a gentle sawing motion work the floss up the side of one tooth and then down the side of the other tooth to make sure any food or plaque was not missed.
  3. Rinse every day. Rinsing with mouth wash kills bacteria that can stick to your teeth and gums, and it flushes out any leftover food or plaque that brushing and flossing might have missed. Tip: If your gums look swollen or red, try rinsing with salt water a couple times a week to help a natural and affordable healing process.
  4. See your dentist on a regular basis. You should be making trips to your dentist every 6 months for regular check-ups and cleanings.
  5. Stop smoking. People who smoke or use smokeless tobacco have twice the risk of developing gum disease. When using tobacco, it causes your mouth to dry which leaves sticky deposits on your teeth making the perfect environment for plaque build-up and bacteria.

If you are noticing any signs of unhealthy gums, contact your dentist as soon as possible. Your dentist will help determine if you have gum disease or periodontists and develop a treatment plan to get you back to being healthy. The quicker you pursue treatment, the better. In the initial stages, gum disease is still reversible, but once it becomes worse, it’s more painful, difficult, and expensive to treat.

January 8, 2018
7 months ago

woman in painIn the winter time many people suffer from sensitive teeth. There are many reasons why this may happen for different people. Often when very cold air comes in through the mouth the teeth will contract and then expand again once back to regular body temperatures. Sometimes these contractions and expansions can even put teeny cracks in the teeth and while these cracks are not visible, they can cause sensitivity.

If the sensitivity does not go away and it is lingering around, definitely go and see your dentist to make sure that everything is OK.

Below are 10 reasons why your teeth may be sensitive to cold weather in the wintertime:

  1. Fillings are chipped and the inside of the tooth is exposed – Sometimes these fillings need to be repaired. See your dentist to evaluate the fillings and treat as needed
  2. A crown or bridge is failing and has an open gap where food and acids damaged the tooth underneath – Your dentist may need to remove this work and redo it so the teeth are protected
  3. A cracked tooth – Sometimes cracked teeth need fixed and sometimes they may be OK. See your dentist for an evaluation to determine if something needs done
  4. Gum recession – If your gums have receded, the root of the tooth may be exposed. Root surfaces do not have enamel that protects from sensitivity. There are treatments for root sensitivity- be sure to ask your dentist if you suffer from this at your next check-up
  5. A Bad Bite – If the teeth are not lined up properly and you are biting harder in certain areas than others, the nerves inside those teeth may be inflamed. This can lead to sensitivity in cold weather
  6. Grinding and clenching your teeth – Patients that clench and grind their teeth are much more likely to experience sensitivity to the cold weather
  7. Infection – If there is any infection in the gums or in the teeth patients may suffer from extreme sensitivity to the cold. Make sure to see a dentist ASAP if you believe you have an infection
  8. Cavities – When bacteria that cause cavities have invaded the teeth it makes them more sensitive, especially to temperature
  9. Gum Disease (Periodontal Disease – Patients that suffer from gum disease often have a lot of sensitivity
  10. Large metal fillings – Sometimes patients that have large metal fillings experience more sensitivity to temperature when it is cold outside. Ask your dentist if these fillings need replaced

If you are experiencing sensitivity to the cold it is best to visit your dentist. They may only suggest you begin using prescription sensitivity toothpaste; however, they may find infection or tooth decay.
If you would like to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier call our office at 215.568.6222 so that we can help you. We look forward to meeting you soon!

September 26, 2017
11 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
11 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
12 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!

July 17, 2017
1 year 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.

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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.

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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