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By Sitnik Dental
February 24, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Teeth Cleanings  

How a professional teeth cleaning from your dentist in Salem, OR, can keep your smile healthy

If you want to enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles, professional teeth cleanings can help you do just that. Here at Sitnik Dental in Salem, OR, your dentist, Dr. Igor Sitnik, offers a wide range of restorative, cosmetic, and preventive services, including professional teeth cleaning services, to give you the best oral health possible—read on to learn more.

What professional teeth cleanings can do for you

Professional teeth cleaning eliminates the soft deposits (plaque) and hard deposits (calculus or tartar) that cling to your teeth. Plaque contains millions of microscopic bacteria that produce toxins. These toxins are strong enough to eat through tooth enamel causing a cavity, and infect your gums and supporting bone.

Brushing after meals and before bed, and flossing at least once each day are the cornerstones of a good oral health program, but they are not enough. You also need regular professional teeth cleaning services to clear away what’s left on your teeth, usually the hard deposits, which cannot be brushed away.

During a professional tooth cleaning appointment, your highly-skilled dental care provider will:

  • Use hand and ultrasonic instruments to clean away plaque and calculus, which reduces bacteria levels
  • Polish your teeth to remove stains and create a smooth tooth surface, helping to limit bacteria clinging to the tooth surface
  • Examine your gums for bleeding and potential signs of infection to determine which areas may need additional treatment
  • Take measurements of the pocket areas around your teeth to determine whether you have periodontal disease
  • Provide the latest information, education, and tools to help you clean your mouth as effectively as possible when you are at home

You should receive professional teeth cleaning every 6 months if you have a healthy mouth, and possibly more frequently if you are experiencing dental problems.

To learn more about the importance of professional teeth cleaning, talk with your dentist. Just pick up the phone and call Dr. Igor Sitnik at Sitnik Dental in Salem, OR, today by dialing (503) 363-5962.


This year's Carol Burnett Award, presented at the Golden Globes, goes to Ellen DeGeneres for her “outstanding contributions to the television medium on or off the screen.” This is the latest in a long list of honors for the comedienne, talk show host and activist that includes Emmys, Grammys and Teen Choice Awards. And one not quite as well-known: a 2004 “Flossy” award.

DeGeneres received this honor from the National Flossing Council in recognition of her passionate promotion of oral hygiene, particularly flossing. She wrote about its virtues in her 2003 book, The Funny Thing Is…., saying, among other things, “Don't even think for a second that you can get away with not flossing.”

DeGeneres's motivational cheerleading for flossing is helpful and necessary because, well, many of us just don't like doing it. It requires more manual dexterity than its more popular sibling, brushing. And the tendency for the floss to gunk up with plaque residue for some is simply unpleasant.

Mainly, though, many folks think brushing is enough. Not so fast, according to dental professionals. While brushing removes disease-causing bacterial plaque from broad tooth surfaces, it can't effectively get into the spaces between teeth. It takes flossing to clear plaque from these more difficult areas.

But don't fret: There are ways to make flossing an easier—and more pleasant—task.

Ask us for help. As we said before, flossing does take some hand dexterity and coordination to perform. You may also wonder if you're doing it effectively. We can provide training and tips on how to be a more effective flosser at your next visit.

Practice, practice, practice. You probably think nothing of riding a bicycle, and yet it probably took you weeks or months as a kid to become proficient. Similarly, your first attempts at flossing might feel awkward, but you'll improve with practice, so don't give up.

Brush before you floss. Most people floss before brushing, but if you tend to encounter a lot of soft plaque debris that makes flossing “icky” for you, then try brushing first to clear a good portion of it out of the way before you floss. Just be aware, most professionals believe that flossing first is better because it loosens up debris between teeth so the bubbles from the toothpaste can carry it away. But any flossing is better than no flossing!

Try flossing tools. For some people, floss picks, small pre-threaded tools you can use with one hand, seem easier to maneuver than regular floss thread. If you have issues with manual dexterity, an oral irrigator can make the task easier: This handheld device uses a stream of pressurized water to loosen and flush away plaque between teeth.

So, follow Ellen DeGeneres's advice she gave Tulane University graduates during a commencement speech: “Remember to exfoliate, moisturize, exercise…and floss.” The latter, along with brushing, will certainly help keep your teeth and gums healthy.

If you would like more information about best oral hygiene practices, please contact us or schedule an appointment. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene.”

By Sitnik Dental
February 19, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns  

If you have failing or missing teeth, dental crowns from Sitnik Dental in Salem, OR, could be your solution. Custom-made from high-quality ceramic, crowns and crown-supported bridgework address a variety of smile problems. Read on to learn more!

Dental Crowns

Crowns are tooth-shaped caps that fit over teeth to address problems such as:

  • Large cracks and chips
  • Odd shape and poor size (even deep stains may indicate the need for a crown, according to the American Dental Association)
  • Severe tooth decay
  • Dental abscess or infection

Made according to oral impressions, X-ray screenings, and other information, dental crowns from our Salem office are a great alternative to losing teeth. Furthermore, given Dr. Sitnik's extensive experience in dental restorations, you can rest assured that your crowns will provide the smile aesthetics and durability you require.

Other Uses for Dental Crowns

If you are missing one or more teeth, your dentist may recommend traditional fixed bridgework. Bridges are made up of pontic teeth attached to an abutment, or natural, teeth, effectively spanning a smile gap. Porcelain crowns anchor the pontic teeth, creating tooth replacements that are strong, durable, and realistic.

Crowns are also used to top dental implants, today's most effective tooth replacement method, as well as to finalize root canal treatment.

Crown Preparation

To place a single-tooth crown, Dr. Sitnik will remove all the damaged tooth enamel and any old filling material. He takes oral impressions and reduces the tooth in size and shape so that it accommodates the crown. Depending on the location of your tooth, you may need to wear a temporary restoration.

During your next visit, your dentist will remove the temporary cap and permanently bond the new one in place. Modern crowns fit and bite very well. Plus, they blend seamlessly with your other teeth.

Caring for Dental Crowns

If you routinely brush, floss, and receive semi-annual cleanings and check-ups at Sitnik Dental, your new crown will last a minimum of ten years. Never bite your nails or chomp down on ice cubes with your crown or bridge, and wear a bite guard if you have the habit of grinding your teeth.

Fix Those Dental Problems

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Igor Sitnik, call our office in Salem, OR, today at (503) 363-5962.

By Sitnik Dental
February 14, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dry socket  

Surgical tooth extraction is a fairly routine procedure with few complications. But one rare complication called dry socket does affect a small number of patients. Dry socket, which derives its name from its appearance, can be quite painful. Fortunately, though, it doesn't pose a danger to oral health.

Normally after a surgical extraction, a blood clot forms in the empty socket. This is nature's way of protecting the underlying bone and nerves from various stimuli in the mouth as well as protecting the area. Sometimes, though, the clot fails to form or only forms partially (almost exclusively in lower wisdom teeth), exposing the sensitive tissues beneath the socket.

Patients begin to notice the painful effects from a dry socket about three or four days after surgery, which then can persist for one to three more days. Besides dull or throbbing pain, people may also experience a foul odor or taste in their mouth.

People who smoke, women taking oral contraceptives or those performing any activity that puts pressure on the surgical site are more likely to develop dry socket. Of the latter, one of the most common ways to develop dry socket is vigorous brushing of the site too soon after surgery, which can damage a forming blood clot.

Surgeons do take steps to reduce the likelihood of a dry socket by minimizing trauma to the site during surgery, avoiding bacterial contamination and suturing the area. You can also decrease your chances of developing a dry socket by avoiding the following for the first day or so after surgery:

  • brushing the surgical area (if advised by your surgeon);
  • rinsing too aggressively;
  • drinking through a straw or consuming hot liquid;
  • smoking.

If a dry socket does develop, see your dentist as soon as possible. Dentists can treat the site with a medicated dressing and relieve the pain substantially. The dressing will need to be changed every few days until the pain has decreased significantly, and then left in place to facilitate faster healing.

While dry sockets do heal and won't permanently damage the area, it can be quite uncomfortable while it lasts. Taking precautions can prevent it—and seeing a dentist promptly if it occurs can greatly reduce your discomfort.

If you would like more information on oral surgery, 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 “Dry Socket: A Painful but Not Dangerous Complication of Oral Surgery.”

By Sitnik Dental
February 04, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

The Internet is truly amazing: It takes only a few seconds to tap into a vast store of knowledge to find information that once took people hours or days. But amidst all that helpful data, there's also some not so helpful information—in fact, some can be downright harmful, including to your dental health.

One particular Internet trend is brushing teeth with black, gooey substances containing activated charcoal. Scores of online videos featuring people doing this are getting viral views, perhaps more for the “gross” factor than the claimed health benefits.

So, why do it? Advocates of using activated charcoal for oral hygiene claim the ingredient kills harmful microorganisms in your mouth. The charcoal is also supposed to whiten your teeth.

But clinical studies of the practice, including one recently published in the Journal of the American Dental Association have been unable to substantiate these claims. There's simply no evidence that activated charcoal does what its advocates say it can do.

Unfortunately, there is evidence the practice can actually harm your teeth. This is because activated charcoal is an abrasive substance that over time could damage your teeth's enamel. Eroded enamel doesn't regrow, so eventually the more vulnerable dentin, the tooth layer just beneath the protective enamel, becomes exposed. It's not only darker and less attractive than enamel, its more susceptible to tooth decay and cavities.

The best way to care for your teeth, brushing and flossing daily, may seem boring compared to videos of brushing with charcoal, but it is effective—and safe. You should also see your dentist for more thorough cleanings at least every six months to round out your dental care.

And if you want a brighter smile, your dentist can perform a tooth whitening procedure that can give you months or even years of satisfaction. Professional tooth whitening (or even home whitening kits applied properly) also won't harm your enamel.

If you would like more information on the best ways to clean and care for your teeth and gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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