Philadelphia Dentistry
Dr. Ken Cirka & Dr. Jessica Meier
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Philly Dentistry

July 17, 2017
1 week 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
3 weeks 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
4 weeks 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!


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
1 month 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!

May 30, 2017
2 months ago

Caffeine lovers that are avid coffee drinkers are well aware of how it contributes to stained teeth. Since the coffee is acidic it does not only stain, but it also is weakens the tooth enamel, making the teeth more prone to staining and cavities.

Here are a few tips that we have to help you reduce the staining from coffee as well as decrease the damage being done to the enamel on your teeth:

Drink Your Coffee, Don’t Sip it!blue-eyed-woman-drinking-coffee

It is proven that the longer you take to sip your coffee, the more likely you are to have staining. If you are drinking the coffee slowly then the teeth are constantly being exposed to its acidity. This damages the enamel more and allows the stains to penetrate more deeply and darken the teeth.

By drinking your coffee quickly you can protect your teeth from coffee stains significantly.

Use an Electric Tooth Brush

Using an electric toothbrush is better than a manual one for decreasing surface stains. A great example of an imgreselectric toothbrush that works well is the Sonicare toothbrush. Ask your dentist for help if you are unsure which to purchase and they will guide you and prevent stained teeth.

Toothpaste with Fluoride and Baking Soda

Dr. Meier recommends using Arm and Hammer Advanced Whitening toothpaste as the best toothpaste for removing surface stains from the teeth. The baking soda acts like an exfoliator on the teeth and the fluoride helps protect the enamel from harmful bacteria.

Do not Brush Your Teeth Right Away

If you do not want the coffee to stain your teeth then you should not brush right after your coffee. Since the coffee is acidic it will weaken the enamel. If you then go and brush the enamel this scrubbing action will help the staining coffee particles further infiltrate the teeth and cause stains. Wait at least thirty minutes after your coffee before you brush your teeth.

Drink Water After Coffee

Right after your cup of coffee make sure to drink some plain water. This will rinse the teeth off as well as help to buffer the acidity of the coffee in your saliva.images

Drink Coffee Through a Straw

By drinking the coffee through a straw you can completely bypass the teeth. Of course for hot coffee this is less appealing than iced coffee, but it really does help avoid stained teeth.

Use Whitening Trays from Your Dentist

If you want to have white teeth then regular teeth whitening at home really helps. Your dentist can make you custom whitening trays and review instructions on how to bleach your teeth without causing pain, sensitivity, or damage to your teeth. Once you have the custom trays it is a good idea to use them regularly after your dental cleaning to really keep the color bright.

These changes can help protect your teeth from coffee stains.

Ask your dentist and dental hygienist about custom whitening at your next appointment or call us today to schedule a free consultation to help you achieve a brighter, whiter smile.

We look forward to meeting you!

May 16, 2017
2 months ago

If you have visited the dentist in the past, chances are you have had dental x-rays taken. These x-rays give the dental professionals a lot of information about your teeth, gums, and jaw bone that they may not have seen with their eyes.

Dental x-rays are very useful and safe. Nowadays digital x-rays are replacing traditional fimagesilm x-rays and we know they emit about 80% less radiation than the traditional film X-rays. This amount of radiation emitted by digital x-rays is extremely low and harmless.

It is important for patients to know that the amount of radiation from a series of digital x-rays is less than the amount that they are exposed to by the Earth, appliances, and the sun in one day naturally. Our office also records patient X-rays and has them saved in the chart so we never will unnecessary expose patients to x-rays that can be avoided.

Since the x-rays are digital they come up immediately on the screen. This saves loads of time for dental professionals as well as for patients. For these reasons, at Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier’s office, we are only using digital x-rays.

There are two different forms of x-rays, intraoral and extraoral. In one case, intraoral x-rays, the dental professional is looking at the health of the teeth, gums, roots, and the jaw bone holding the teeth in place. For the extraoral x-ray, theDigital x-ray focus is more on larger elements of the face and jaw bones.
This includes the temporomandibular joint “TMJ,” the sinus, impacted wisdom teeth, growth and development, jaw fractures, and more.

Depending on your health and dental history, the frequency of when we are taking x-rays may change. X-rays are a vital, important diagnostic tool that confirm whether or not there are harmful bacteria hiding in the teeth, under the gums, or even on the roots of the teeth. The earlier that the dental professional can identify a problem, the easier it will be to fix it for both you as the patient and for the dentist. Without dental x-rays, problems will get increasingly worse and tougher to treat. In some cases these problems will also negatively affect your complete health and well-being.

Be sure to talk to your dentist about dental x-rays if you have questions at your next check-up and cleaning. If you are searching for a dentist in the greater Philadelphia area you can call to schedule your free consultation with Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier at 215-568-6222 so they can help you. We look forward to meeting you soon!

May 2, 2017
3 months ago

Dental implants are an incredibly strong, stable, and long-lasting solution to replace missing teeth.

The implants are “man-made” roots composed of primarily titanium, a biocompatible metal that fuses to your jaw bone.

The implants do not become loose like dentures can. Implants can be used to replace a single tooth or many missing teeth. Depending on your situation the implant specialist and the dentist will work together to find the best solution for you.Single-Dental-Implant-1

The health of the gums and bone are important considerations when determining if you are a candidate for dental implants.

If the bone is not strong enough to support the implant, the implant specialist will need to do a bone graft to make the bone stronger.

For the upper teeth the implant specialist will need to evaluate your sinus. A sinus lift may be required in order to create enough space for the implant in the bone.

Most dental implants are extremely successful with proper planning and teamwork.

An important factor in implant planning to consider is the general health of the patient. If a patient is a heavy smoker, has a history of osteoporosis or a health problem that compromises the immune system, then implants may not be a good solution. To find out if you are the right candidate for dental implants, talk with your general dentist. He or she will be able to steer you in the right direction.

If you are interested in dental implants or already have them it is very important to:

  • Exercise good oral hygiene– brushing your teeth two times a day and flossing one time each day is important. Other tools include using proxy brushes that slide in between the teeth can help to clean the hard to reach areas around your teeth and implants.
  • Stop smoking – this is a key factor in implant failure. When you smoke you are weakening the jaw bone and this can cause the implant to fail.
  • See your dentist regularly for checkups– it is important to see your dentist and dental hygienist for checkups ancheck-upd cleanings minimally every six months. This ensures you will keep your teeth, gums, and implants in good condition and they can give you tips to keep it this way.
  • Avoid bad oral habits – habits like nail biting and chewing on ice cubes are not good for your teeth or implants. These habits can break the implant crown and even your natural teeth.

If you are interested in learning more about if dental implants are the right solution for you give us a call at 215.568.6222 so we can schedule your free consultation with Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier today. We look forward to meeting you!

April 17, 2017
3 months ago

Our teeth and sinus cavity have a connection that can affect patients in many ways.

Pressure in the sinus can be awful and cause pain in your eyes, ears, head, and even in your teeth.

The sinRagazza con mal di dentius cavity is the area of the skull where air passes through before moving to the lungs. It is here that the air first gets warm and wet. Our body usually can fight bacteria in this air that passes through by producing mucous. Sometimes the bacteria are too strong and when this occurs the bacteria cause infections by growing aggressively.

There are several different sinuses in the body. Only one of them, the maxillary sinus, can cause issues with your teeth. The maxillary sinus is located above your teeth and under your eyes.

The maxillary sinuses sit on either side of your nose. The roots of the upper teeth are located very close to them and there is a lot of communication between these teeth and your sinus.


Often patients come into the office with a horrible toothache that, believe it or not, is caused by a sinus infection. When pressure builds up in the sinus it can cause the teeth to ache, be sore, hurt upon biting down, and be temperature sensitive, especially to the cold.

Keep in mind this does work both ways, as a tooth can be the cause of a bad headache or sinus pressure. Chronic sinus problems may be the result of a serious dental infection that needs treatment.

It is important to contact your primary care physician and dentist if you are experiencing pain. The doctor will be able to determine whether the pain is coming from the sinus or from a tooth and treat as needed.

Call our office at 215-568-6222 so that Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier can do a free examination and help you.

We look forward to meeting you soon!

April 3, 2017
4 months ago

Porcelain dental veneers are an incredible tool in cosmetic dentistry. These ultra-thin, ultra-strong pieces of porcelain are shaped to fit over the top of your own teeth permanently and create a beautiful, natural looking smile that will change your life.

Porcelain veneers work well when teeth are chipped, irregularly shaped, or dPorcelain-Veneersiscolored. Veneers can also work great with patients that have gaps in between their teeth.

One of the most incredible parts of having veneers done is that they only take two visits. On the first visit the dentist will roughen the surface of your tooth, removing approximately one millimeter of enamel from each tooth’s surface. After this the dentist will take an impression and a series of photographs that will be sent to a dental laboratory that will custom fabricate your porcelain veneers.

After the first visit you may leave with temporary veneers made out of acrylic. This will depend on your specific case. At your initial free consultation Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier will let you know if you require temporary veneers or not. They will also go over any questions or concerns that you have and explain the process in detail. We are here to help guide you on what would work best for your look and complexion and know you will love the result.

imagesApproximately two weeks after the first visit your porcelain veneers will be successfully made by the laboratory. You will come in for your second visit upon which we will first try-on the veneers and show you how they will look. Once we have your approval on the size, shape, and color of the porcelain veneers, we will permanently cement them on top of your teeth.

Once in place, the veneers can last 15-20 years with proper care and maintenance. Our team will make sure to go over proper brushing and flossing techniques for porcelain veneers as well as habits to avoid such as biting your fingernails. Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier will also check if you are clenching or grinding your teeth and make you a night-guard if needed so that your veneers will be protected from damage while you are asleep.

Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier have been leaders in cosmetic dentistry and you will be in excellent hands in their care.  Call us to schedule your free consultation today at 215-568-6222. We look forward to meeting you!

March 20, 2017
4 months ago

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. They are the last molars on the upper and lower teeth and usually erupt in late teen years or the early twenties.

Since the wisdom teeth come in last, sometimes there is not enough room in the mouth to accommodate them. When there is not enough room it causes the wisdom teeth to become partially or fully impacted.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause major problems for patients. These issues may not necessarily show signs that you can see but they can definitely cause pain.

Here are four indicators of problematic wisdom teeth that you should be aware of:

  • Pain in the Jaw: If you have jaw pain you may have a problem with your wisdom teeth. A commHow-to-decrease-pain-and-swelling-after-wisdom-tooth-removal-surgeryon sign is when the pain concentrates in the area around the gums.
  • Swelling: The area where the wisdom teeth are can become swollen and red. These swollen areas sometimes have heavy bleeding and can become very painful.
  • Bad Breath: Bad breath will often accompany infection in the wisdom teeth.
  • Headaches: Painful headaches are associated with problematic wisdom teeth. Especially if they arise at the same time as jaw pain and swelling, these headaches are also caused by the wisdom teeth.
  • Problems Chewing: If you feel that your bite has changed and the teeth are coming together differently while chewing, this can be caused by problematic wisdom teeth. Sometimes the mouth also will not open and close as much or as easily as it used to also.

If any of the symptoms are occurring you should let your dentist know right away. If there is infection present they will need to prescribe an antibiotic. Infections in the mouth affect your overall health and are important to address quickly.

If you or anyone you know would like their wisdom teeth evaluated, have them call 215-568-6222 to set up a free consultation with Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier. We look forward to meeting you soon!

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