Dr. Meena's Blog

You may be tempted to buy over-the-counter teeth whitening kits, given their proliferation expecially on the Internet. Not only are they not made to fit your mouth exactly, it may be that bleaching isn't suitable for you, especially if you have gum disease or crowns. If your teeth are healthy and somewhat white, you may get a boost from such over-the-counter products, but again, they will not last long. The only home bleaching kits you should be using are the ones recommended by your dentist. The most important thing to look for in over-the-counter kits is that they fit the size and shape of your teeth. For example, whitening strips are straight across, while your teeth are curved. In addition, make sure that the at-home bleaching kits cover your whole tooth - otherwise you will have two toned teeth or irritated gums.

Professional tooth whitening from a dentist is always recommended. Your dentist will check for gum diseases, as well as loose fillings. She will be able to fit you for trays as well. In addition, she can monitor your teeth's response to the product - especially the reaction to your gums. A combination of in-office and at-home dentist prescribed whitening treatment will give you faster and longer-lasting results.  It can provide maximum whitening with minimal effort and time while ensuring safety and effectiveness.

By Dr. Meena
June 18, 2011
Category: Periodontal

Some of my patients are surprised (or should I say, upset) when I suggest that they come in for a cleaning more frequently than six months. Their reply in most cases is "But my insurance company will pay only for a cleaning visit every six months" - which is a fair response. I would blame the insurance companies for this situation. The insurance companies like the steadiness of the six month recall concept. However, it is not in the best interests of the patient that is not yet inflicted with the disease but exhibits patterns that need more aggressive attention to prevent the disease. The dentist, in most cases, is seeing something completely different. She is seeing a huge group of patients (more than 80%) that need more than just six month recalls. It is extremely important to remember that gum disease is 100% preventable, but once seen in the mouth, it is not 100% curable, and in most cases, it is less than 100% arrestable. So the dentist needs to have the flexibility to be able to see the patients more frequently than six months. Our practice philosophy is that preventing gum disease is the better model both from a medical and economic perspective.

Periodic Dental Cleaning

My sincere suggestion to patients is to seek out a more individualized perio treatment from your dentist based on your own unique periodontal issues. Disregard what your insurance is willing to pay. You may spend more or less initially, but in the long run you will save more money.

To summarize, if you take one message home after reading this, please remember one thing: Gum disease is like cancer. In the earliest form (Gingivitis) it is curable. After that, it’s only possible to achieve remission. Let your dentist help you to prevent gingivitis - so the next time your dentist asks you to come for a cleaning appointment that may be sooner than six months, don't give her grief!

By Dr. Meena
June 13, 2011
Category: Invisalign
Tags: Cosmetic Dentistry  

These 'Before and After' pictures show that Invisalign treatment has helped to correct the crowded and protruded appearance of the front teeth. The patient now has a perfectly aligned set of teeth leading to a beautiful smile conforming to the shape of the face.

This also has helped the patient to floss more easily. This naturally leads to more improved periodontal condition due to less accumulation of tartar and less likelihood of recession of gums.

Invisalign Pictures - Before and After

By Dr. Meena
February 03, 2011
Category: Whitening

Most of the teeth whitening toothpastes work through the action of mild abrasives. All toothpastes contain a little abrasive material to improve their cleaning action. Whitening toothpastes contain additional polishing agents or abrasives with higher granularity. In both cases, the whitening toothpastes have higher abrasivity than normal toothpaste. The most common abrasive ingredients used in whitening toothpastes are silica, chalk and baking soda. Some of the more modern whitening toothpastes contain special chemical agents such as hydrogen peroxide similar to what is used for professional whitening, but in much smaller concentration. Care should be taken to ensure that the more powerful and abrasive whitening toothpastes are used infrequently.

The higher abrasivity of tooth whitening toothpastes is the main cause of side effects that arise from their use. Normal toothpastes recommended for everyday use have an Enamel Abrasion Value of 40-90, while the whitening toothpastes have a value higher than 100 and in some extreme cases over 250. Their abrasive action can reduce staining and yellowing of teeth but it can also damage the tooth enamel and cause tooth sensitivity. The Consumer Affairs website has several complaints from people using such whitening toothpastes:

I recently purchased Creast Pro-Health toothpaste about a month ago. Shortly after my mouth became dry at night, gums bleeding and receding, teeth very sore, blisters in mouth, and skin peeling off the inside of my cheeks. I finally thought to see if there were any complaints with this toothpaste.

If you would like to use these whitening toothpastes, pay attention to the way you brush your teeth. Brushing incorrectly or too vigorously can lead to irreversible loss of tooth enamel. The damage can be much worse if you use a very abrasive whitening toothpaste. Finally, do not use a whitening toothpaste more often than it is recommended by the manufacturer, under the impression that quicker results could be achieved. The enamel loss caused by over-brushing could lead to severe tooth sensitivity or even tooth decay and tooth loss. Be especially careful if you already have a problem of sensitive teeth.

Before you start using any whitening product you should have a thorough examination by your dentist. Your dentist will need to make sure that your teeth and gums are healthy before you start.

By Dr.Meena
January 24, 2011
Category: Patient
Tags: bridge   accident  

The following is a personal note from Raj, a patient of mine that illustrates the potential issues when you receive treatment at a location which is not your place of residence. As described in the note, Raj had to get a new bridge when he was traveling in India. For various reasons, he was not satisfied with the treatment - the bridge was coming out when he came in to see me. This is not an attempt to insinuate medical professionals abroad - the fact of the matter is that such treatments require multiple visits and constant monitoring which is better done by a medical professional close to home.

I am glad to know Dr. Meena and would like to share my case. I know Dr. Meena since early 2009 when I first went to her clinic in Worcester for a check-up. The reason for my visit was to take her opinion after being a victim of an improperly fitted bridge for my upper right premolar and canines.I had no problem with my teeth until I ...met with a car accident in 1997 when my right mandible was fractured. Also, I lost my upper two incisors. My mandible was immobilized for 4 weeks (during which I survived on liquid diet) and the fracture was healed. Later, my broken incisors were root canal treated and replaced with a new bridge. During all these years, I got a couple of replacement bridges after the previous ones were worn out.

Meanwhile, my sinusitis problem was complicated, probably by these treatments and ended up in a tooth abscess of one of the neighboring canine tooth. This was diagnosed when I went to India (Hyderabad, my home town) for a visit. Although, they diagnosed the tooth abscess, the dentist I saw in Hyderabad did a sloppy job while taking the measurements for my new bridge, which I needed after extracting the abscessed tooth. As a result the bridge loosened day after day and came out completely by the time I returned back to Worcester. I was so fortunate that I could see Dr. Meena who identified and fixed the problem. Till today, I had no hint of any issues with the bridge. I am very thankful to Dr. Meena and her skillful approach to address my case. My sincere recommendation and reference to all is to go visit Dr. Meena, my favorite dentist, if have any dental problem.

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