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Terry S. Shapiro, D.M.D.
Terry S. Shapiro, D.M.D.'s posts

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Are you among the one-third or the two-thirds?
More than a third of the American public did not visit the dentist once during the past year, says a new Gallup poll.  Two-thirds of Americans said they visited the dentist in 2013 at least once in the past 12 month. This is is the same percentage as visited the dentist in 2008. Women are more likely than men to report that they visit the dentist on an annual basis. The report was released on April 28. It gives details of findings based on interviewing over 178,000 American adults in 2013. The report is part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index.  Further findings: 55% of African-Americans and Hispanics report visiting the dentist in 2013. Whites and Asians report at 70%.  Adults of ages 18-29 are the least likely to have visited the dentist. Adults who earn $120,000 or more per year are twice as likely to say they visited the dentist in the past year as those whose income was less than $12,000.  This is 82% visiting the dentist as opposed to 43% visiting.
“Dental visit rates have held steady since 2008 for top earners,” the Gallup report indicates, “while they have declined for all other groups, particularly for low- and middle-income households with incomes between $24,000 and $60,000 per year.” Dental visits are lowest in the South at 60% and highest in the East at 69%.  Married people are more likely to visit the dentist than single adults.
The ADA website lists 15 signs to prompt people to visit the dentist:  So join the two-thirds and pay us a visit today!

Suffolk County Family Dentist
The family doctor may be a thing of the past, but the family dentist has not gone the way of the dial phone. So what is a family dentist? A family dentist is typically a solo practitioner whom you and your entire family can see for your dental needs. A family dentist does not work for a large practice where the dentist you saw at your last visit is no longer working or where you see a different dentist for each appointment, and where there is a large and chaotic staff that only knows you as a number. A family dentist is part of the community and supports community activities. He/she is a fixture in the community and can be relied upon year after year to take good care of you and your family through good times and bad.
I’ve had the good fortune to have practiced at the same location in our beautiful Three Village area (East Setauket, Setauket, Stony Brook) for over 25 years. I have seen my young patients grow up, marry, and become parents themselves, as other patients have aged and become grandparents. I have shared holidays, celebrations and some difficult moments with my dental family. My patients know they can always reach me, and my door is always open to take care of any dental emergency. My staff is equally committed to excellent patient care. We have all worked together as a team for seven years.
I also act as an advocate for my patients. I may refer them to a specialist for particular procedures, such as periodontal or oral surgery, and I communicate directly with the referral doctor to be sure that my patients are well taken care of. I discuss recommended treatment with the patient and help them to make a decision that’s right for them. I call my patients after each visit to my office to see if they have any concerns. I am always available to speak to them on the phone or on email. I am responsible for the quality of the work that comes out of my office, and for the quality of the supplies and the cleanliness of the office. My office is a reflection of me. That’s why one goes to a family dentist!

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The Dry Toothbrush
Have you ever tried brushing your teeth without toothpaste? Studies show that this is a very effective technique. Most people apply a long swirl of toothpaste to their toothbrush instead of just a pea size drop. The excess toothpaste creates so many bubbles that people tend to lean over the sink and drool and daydream while they brush. What seems like two minutes or more is really closer to thirty seconds which is not enough time to effectively remove dental plaque from all parts of the teeth.  The wetting and flavoring agents in toothpaste actually numb the tongue so people think their teeth are clean although the plaque is not removed.
So try brushing without toothpaste.  This will result in a longer brushing time and more effective removal of plaque.  Begin on the inside of the bottom teeth first and brush until your teeth feel and taste clean before you add toothpaste. One study showed that this technique has resulted in a 63 percent reduction in calculus in the lower front teeth and a 55 percent reduction in bleeding. Toothpaste ingredients may have many benefits but toothpaste can also get in the way of effective plaque removal.

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Toothsavers Gaming App Now Available
A new mobile gaming app called “Toothsavers” has been launched by the Ad Council of the American Dental Association and the Partnership for Healthy Mouths.  This mobile device game asks children to rescue fairy tale characters from an evil, cavity-creating sorceress who casts a wicked, teeth rotting spell on the fairy tale kingdom.  The game was created in conjunction with the Kids’ Healthy Mouths campaign.  A spokesperson for the Ad Council of the ADA said that “Mobile technology plays a major role in influencing young people’s behavior and is a great fit for this campaign.”
The game is part of the ongoing effort to use technology to promote health and well-being.  The mobile game has three key features to teach parents and children about the importance of dental health.  One, in a timed, finger-swipe brushing game, players can save characters from the cavity-creating sorceress.  Two, in the two-player version of the game, kids can “brush” the teeth of their opponents when the mobile device is held up to their mouths.   Three, the app offers a toothbrushing companion so children and their parents can keep track of the child’s brushing progress.  It  is also a morning and nighttime tooth brushing reminder.  So the app is both a teaching tool and a way to monitor a child’s toothbrushing routine.  The app is geared toward children of ages three to six.  It is available free in the App Store and Google Play for Android and iOS devices.  It can also be found on the internet at  
Yes – I downloaded the app and clicked around.  Cute graphics. I like the slogan “2min2x” which means brush your teeth for two minutes, two times a day.  I’ll play it for kids in the office and see how they like it and how effective it is.

Dentistry and dental hygiene both were among the top ten occupations of 2014 according to the U.S. News and World Report's "100 Best Jobs of 2014", published on January 23, 2014. Dentists are ranked number 3, the highest ranking health care related career.  Dental hygienists rank tenth.  The two top occupations on the list are software developer and computer systems analyst.  Other professions that make the top ten are: nurse practitioner, pharmacist, registered nurse, physical therapist, physician and web developer. Certainly computing and health care are growing industries.

The U.S. News and World Report ranks occupations based on a score combining growth volume, growth percentage, salary, job prospects, employment rate, stress level and work-life balance.
Despite fluoridation and better prevention, the need for dental professionals is increasing.  According to the article, "A comfortable salary, low unemployment rate and agreeable work-life balance boost dentist to the No. 3 position on our list of Best Jobs of 2014."  

I am proud that dentistry, so dear to my heart, ranks as one of the "Best jobs," even though I wouldn't call dentistry a "job." It is so much more than a "job," but a life choice that places a person's health in our hands and sends us on a lifetime of learning. I am also struck that the "score" doesn't include points for career satisfaction in devoting oneself to providing a public service. Public service, helping people achieve optimum dental health, thus improving their overall health care, is why dentistry is so satisfying a profession. 

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It always strikes me that people never seem to be as concerned about losing a back tooth as they are about losing a front tooth. But back teeth also count!!  You need your back teeth so you can chew properly. Back teeth also protect the front teeth, and they help to maintain your facial structure. If even one back tooth is missing, the adjacent teeth will drift to close the space; they may loosen and a pocket of infection may form. The opposing teeth may erupt into the open space. Your bite will start to collapse. The front teeth will begin to splay forward.
The following patient was missing all of her back teeth. She was putting a lot of stress on her front teeth because she didn’t have back teeth for chewing. The front teeth were beginning to splay forward. She elected to have implants placed. We placed four implants on the top and two on the bottom and gave her new front crowns – a great result and a very happy patient:
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The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that insurers cover dental care for children. Children’s dental care is one of the ten essential health benefits that set the bar for health insurance.   But children’s dental care is separate from other essential benefits on the exchanges. Dental plans are sold separately from medical insurance and children’s dental coverage is optional.  People shopping on the federal and state exchanges are not required to purchase dental insurance, and they won’t receive financial support for it.  Experts are now warning that this flaw in the program may leave children without dental coverage.
Tooth decay is the most common disease of childhood.  Of children ages 6 – 19, fourteen percent have cavities that have not been treated. This can cause pain and might lead to severe infections.  The percentage of uninsured children who visited the dentist at least once per year was 25% in 2011 – down from 31% in 2003.  If children’s dental insurance were mandatory on the insurance exchanges, 3 million children would have coverage by 2018.  Data for this blog post was supplied from an article in the New York Times on December 17, 2013.
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