Posts for: January, 2016


As a cancer patient, you know how important radiation and chemotherapy are to overcoming the disease. But these treatments often come at a price to other aspects of your health, including your teeth and gums if the treatment target includes the head or neck regions.

Radiation and chemotherapy are effective because they target and destroy cancer cells. Unfortunately, they may also kill non-cancerous, healthy cells; in the mouth, for example, they can damage the cells in the salivary glands and disrupt their ability to produce adequate saliva flow, leading to xerostomia (dry mouth).

This could seriously affect your teeth’s protective enamel shell. As we eat or drink, our mouth’s pH level can become too acidic. Acid is your enamel’s primary enemy because it causes the minerals in the enamel to soften and dissolve (de-mineralization). Saliva neutralizes acid and replaces much of the enamel’s minerals.

Without adequate saliva flow, the enamel will tend to erode over time. You can further aggravate the situation if you routinely consume acidic foods and drinks, like sipping energy drinks or soda during the day. Once the enamel is gone it can’t be replaced naturally, and the teeth will be in serious danger of tooth decay and eventual loss of function and appearance.

To avoid these consequences you should take steps during cancer treatment to reduce your risk for xerostomia or other unhealthy mouth conditions: limit your consumption of acidic foods and beverages; use mouth rinses to counteract acidity and inhibit bacterial growth; and promote saliva flow through medication.

It may be, though, that enamel erosion and subsequent tooth damage is unavoidable. In this case, you may need to consider restorative options with artificial crowns or other cosmetic enhancements — not only to improve your appearance but also to protect your natural teeth from further damage.

Before considering the latter, you should undergo a complete dental examination to assess your condition and make sure you have adequate bone and gum support, and any dental disease under control. From here, we can go about restoring the attractive smile that may have faded during your battle with cancer.

If you would like more information on oral care during and after cancer treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By The Smile Shack
January 14, 2016
Category: Interesting Facts
Tags: Personal Goals  


It's time to pull out and dust off the annual resolution! ...wait for it! ...wait for it! ...

Exercise and eat heathier! Tah-dah!

Yes, while exercising and eating well are certainly great things to do, as resolutions go, they're pretty predictable and unoriginal. Plus, by February the gyms are empty and the ice cream picked over. So...

We, here at The Smile Shack, proudly present you with ten New Year's resolutions you can easily maintain that are guaranteed to improve the quality of your life.

1. Drink a tall glass of room temperature water when you wake up and before you go to bed. Water is the original "miracle food." No matter your cultural background, food preferences, physical condition, or anything else, your body craves water! And no, soda (regular or diet) does not count!

2. Take Walks. Walking has been known to help people solve problems, come up with new ideas, and have epiphanies that seem to come out of nowhere. But they don’t come out of nowhere. They were there all along. Taking a walk just changes the context from ‘inside’ to ‘nature,’ and nature is going to win almost every time. Plus, it’s healthy!

3. Have a moment of gratitude every day.Just stop what you are doing for two minutes and think about how fortunate you are. It’s great to do this in a beautiful place, but not necessary. And remember, if you live in a modern, developed country, you are indeed fortunate. If you’re not sure what to think of, try three things you are grateful for. Or say to yourself – “I could have been born in a Sudanese refugee camp, but here I am in Ohio.”

4. Think of your most distasteful task each day, and do it first. This is called “Eating The Frog First.” Your day will be so much more relaxing once the most dreaded task is taken care of.

5. Call or send a message to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while. Over the course of the year, you could reignite 365 friendships! And with “Eating The Frog” in mind, send the first message to a person you are having a difficult relationship or grudge match with. Actually, stop reading this and do that one now. It will change your life!

6. Give away or donate one item from your home every day. Don’t stop until you feel you are completely free of clutter. Then start again! By the same token, stop accumulating stuff you don’t need!

7. Compliment or thank someone every day. If you’re not sure where to start, you can send us a quick message to let us know you enjoyed this list! And try not to stop with one. Keep doing it all day long. It’s always fun to compliment someone who is not expecting it.

8. Improve your sleep quality. Sleep is extremely important, and most people don’t get enough restful zzzzzs. Start the relaxation period well ahead of bedtime. Avoid caffeine for six hours and alcohol for four hours before bedtime. Alcohol may zonk you out, but your sleep will be less restful. And, tell your brain what time you need to wake before going to bed to avoid the jarring shock of the alarm. 

9. Spend at least fifteen minutes every day reading something that will expand your mind. Generally speaking, this is not the news, celebrity gossip, business journals, or anything else that is promoted by mass media. Maybe start with something you've wondered about how it works, or how it happened, or how it can or could be.

10. FLOSS!! Well, we had to throw at least one dental resolution in the mix! Daily flossing helps keep your gums free of disease and inflammation. Gum disease is not just about tooth loss. It's also been connected with heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. It's a simple thing to do, just takes a minute, and you'll be a better person for having done it.

By The Smile Shack
January 07, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”

Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.

A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:

  • Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
  • Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
  • Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
  • Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.

If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

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The Smile Shack Family Dentistry

3839 James Court Zanesville, OH 43701