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Posts for: June, 2017

By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
June 21, 2017
Category: Oral Health
3DentalSignsofanEatingDisorder

Sometimes dental conditions point to health problems beyond the teeth and gums. An astute dentist may even be able to discern that a person’s oral problems actually arise from issues with their emotional well-being.  In fact, a visit to the dentist could uncover the presence of two of the most prominent eating disorders, bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.

Here are 3 signs dentists look for that may indicate an eating disorder.

Dental Erosion. Ninety percent of patients with bulimia and twenty percent with anorexia have some form of enamel erosion. This occurs because stomach acid — which can soften and erode enamel — enters the mouth during self-induced vomiting (purging), a prominent behavior with bulimics and somewhat with anorexics. This erosion looks different from other causes because the tongue rests against the back of the bottom teeth during vomiting, shielding them from much of the stomach acid. As a result, erosion is usually more severe on the upper front teeth, particularly on the tongue side and biting edges.

Enlarged Salivary Glands. A person induces vomiting during purging by using their fingers or other objects. This irritates soft tissues in the back of the throat like the salivary glands and causes them to swell. A dentist or hygienist may notice redness on the inside of the throat or puffiness on the outside of the face just below the ears.

Over-Aggressive Brushing. Bulimics are acutely aware of their appearance and often practice diligent hygiene habits. This includes brushing the teeth, especially after a purging episode. In doing so they may become too aggressive and, coupled with brushing right after purging when the minerals in enamel are softened, cause even greater erosion.

Uncovering a family member’s eating disorder can be stressful for all involved. In the long run, it’s best to seek out professional help and guidance — a good place to start is the National Eating Disorders Association (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org). While you’re seeking help, you can also minimize dental damage by encouraging the person to rinse with water (or a little baking soda) after purging to neutralize any acid in the mouth, as well as avoid brushing for an hour.

If you would like more information on the effect of eating disorders on oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bulimia, Anorexia & Oral Health.”


By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
June 16, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry   Veneers  

Porcelain veneers will give you that perfect smile you've always wanted. Veneers are ultra-thin, custom-made shells that fit over the teeth veneerschanging their length, shape, and size. Dr. John Sartorio in Pittsburgh, PA offers state-of-the-art veneers to his patients. Here are five extraordinary benefits of porcelain veneers.

#1- Fix Gapped Teeth

Have gaps in your smile? Your Pittsburgh dentist can fix the gaps in your smile through the use of porcelain veneers. They fit snugly over the surface of your teeth to create an evenly-spaced smile.

#2- Restore Chipped Teeth

If your tooth is chipped, a porcelain veneer can make it look healthy and whole again. A veneer covers the whole front of the tooth with a thicker section to replace the chipped part of the tooth.

#3- Cover Crooked Teeth

Crooked smile? You may not need braces to fix your crooked teeth. Dentists use porcelain veneers as a solution for crooked teeth. This approach is much quicker than orthodontic treatment—and allows you to improve tooth color and shape at the same time.

#4- Look Years Younger

It's no secret that your teeth play an important role in defining how old or young you look. If you want to look younger, getting porcelain veneers is a great place to start. Porcelain veneers will restore your smile and make you look younger instantly.

#5- Whiten Your Smile

You don't have to live with stained teeth. Porcelain veneers can give you a whiter, brighter smile. Dark beverages and foods do not stain veneers as they do natural teeth because unlike the enamel on your teeth, porcelain is not porous. Nothing is more rejuvenating than a beautiful, white smile. 

Millions of adults around the world have improved their smiles with porcelain veneers. Perhaps, it's time you joined them? Call Dr. Sartorio's dental office at (412) 831-8700 to schedule a dental consultation in Pittsburgh, PA. It's never too late for a beautiful smile.


By John Sartorio, D.M.D.
June 06, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
DontBreakItLikeBeckham

During his former career as a professional footballer (that's a soccer star to U.S. sports fans) David Beckham was known for his skill at “bending” a soccer ball. His ability to make the ball curve in mid-flight — to avoid a defender or score a goal — led scores of kids to try to “bend it like Beckham.” But just recently, while enjoying a vacation in Canada with his family, “Becks” tried snowboarding for the first time — and in the process, broke one of his front teeth.

Some fans worried that the missing tooth could be a “red card” for Beckham's current modeling career… but fortunately, he headed straight to the dental office as soon as he arrived back in England. Exactly what kind of treatment is needed for a broken tooth? It all depends where the break is and how badly the tooth is damaged.

For a minor crack or chip, cosmetic bonding may offer a quick and effective solution. In this procedure, a composite resin, in a color custom-made to match the tooth, is applied in liquid form and cured (hardened) with a special light. Several layers of bonding material can be applied to re-construct a larger area of missing tooth, and chips that have been saved can sometimes be reattached as well.

When more tooth structure is missing, dental veneers may be the preferred restorative option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They can not only correct small chips or cracks, but can also improve the color, spacing, and shape of your teeth.

But if the damage exposes the soft inner pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth. In this procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp tissue is removed and the tooth sealed against re-infection; if a root canal is not done when needed, the tooth will have an increased risk for extraction in the future. Following a root canal, a tooth is often restored with a crown (cap), which can look good and function well for many years.

Sometimes, a tooth may be knocked completely out of its socket; or, a severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted (removed). In either situation, the best option for restoration is a dental implant. Here, a tiny screw-like device made of titanium metal is inserted into the jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure. Over time, it fuses with the living bone to form a solid anchorage. A lifelike crown is attached, which provides aesthetic appeal and full function for the replacement tooth.

So how's Beckham holding up? According to sources, “David is a trooper and didn't make a fuss. He took it all in his stride." Maybe next time he hits the slopes, he'll heed the advice of dental experts and wear a custom-made mouthguard…

If you have questions about restoring damaged teeth, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Children's Dental Concerns and Injuries.”