Does Your Child Snore or have other sleep issues?

Does your child….. snore? wake up through the night? wet the bed? have difficulty concentrating at school? Functional Orthodontics has helped improve the quality of life for many children who have suffered with these symptoms that affect all areas of life. Call and speak to Kimberly Horning at Stellar Dental Care….. (716) 632-5555 Ext. 254 today to learn more!

<<click here>>  to learn more about Functional Orthodontics at Stellar Dental Care

Do you or your child suffer from sleep apnea?

We can help improve your sleep and your quality of life. Please read an insightful testimonial from one of our patients.

I brought my son, Mehki, 5 to Dr. Kagan as a recommendation from my chiropractor to help with his snoring/sleep apnea caused by his enlarged tonsils and adenoids. We had visited an ENT but after a quick visit they immediately said surgery which I was not going to do since he had no other issues with infections, sore throats or hearing problems. Dr. Kagan has been wonderful throughout this process! Keeping us informed and being accessible for questions and updates whenever we needed! His sleeping has gotten so much better since we started this process using Myobrace. She was also the first to detect his tongue tie and recommended a dentist who would do it. We had the procedure done and it has made a world of difference with my son. We are so grateful for the improved quality of life and rest that this connection with Dr. Kagan and her team has provided!

Nakia F.

Mehki… We are so grateful for the improved quality of life and rest.

Sleep Disordered Breathing? Stellar Dental Care can Help!

Does your child exhibit symptoms of Sleep Disordered Breathing such as mouth breathing, snoring, fatigue, congestion, ear infections, ADHD or bed wetting? You may be a candidate for an evaluation of facial growth! Call for a consult with Dr. Kagan at Stellar Dental Care today!

“My daughter suffered from severe snoring, chronic congestion, frequent ear infections and fatigue.  We worked closely with her pediatrician but were unable to identify an effective solution. During a routine visit with Dr. Kagan I shared some of the issues my daughter was having and Dr. Kagan felt that her Craniofacial Evaluation may lead to a solution. I immediately scheduled an Evaluation with her and was very pleased with the experience! We moved forward and participated in Dr. Kagan’s treatment plan which included my daughter wearing a dental appliance.  My husband and I are thrilled with the outcomes and feel the results have extended well beyond our expectations.  Within 2 months I noticed that my daughter no longer snored at night. She doesn’t wake complaining about a sore throat and the dark circles under her eyes are gone.   She received the appliance in October and went through her first winter without chronic congestion or having an ear infection! Even her teacher identified improvement in my daughters ability to focus while at school. In addition to my daughter feeling better, her teeth are no longer crowded. Dr. Kagan was amazing throughout the whole process and clearly has a passion and deep knowledge for this field. I cannot recommend her enough to any parents who have children experiencing similar struggles.”

Kim H 

Learn more… download our Functional Orthodontics Brochure

Learn more… download our TMJ Brochure

Learn more… download our Sleep Apnea Brochure

Stellar Dental is Open During the Covid-19 Pandemic

Stellar Dental Care is here to help during these trying times.

We are open for emergency treatment. If you are in pain or have a pressing dental concern, Stellar Dental Care is here for you.

Our McKinley Parkway – Hamburg, Sheridan Drive – Tonawanda, and Union Road – Cheektowaga offices are open. We are practicing the highest level of sanitization and sterilization procedures to keep our offices safe for our patients and staff.

Our office hours during this time are Monday – Thursday from 8:30am to 3:00pm.

We are here to take your call Monday – Thursday from 8:00am to 4:30pm and on Friday from 9:00am to 1:00pm.

You can also visit our website www.stellardentalcare.com for more information.

Stay safe and stay healthy.

Regards,

Your Stellar Dental Care Team

Smokeless Tobacco Still Means Trouble

Let’s Clear The Air: Smokeless Tobacco Still Means Trouble!

Chew it, dip it, suck it or “snuff” it–there’s no smoke involved with many forms of tobacco, but no matter how you use it, you’re still playing with fire! While cigarettes catch a lot of heat for causing lung cancer, many don’t realize that other types of nicotine use can be just as damaging to your general and oral health. Before reaching for the stuff, get a closer glimpse at what you’re really being sold and why it might be more harmful than you think.

Types of Smokeless Tobacco

Cigarettes have long dominated the market, but tobacco comes in countless shapes and sizes. Their novelty may tempt your curiosity, but just one try can put you on the path to addiction and some serious throat and mouth problems. Here are just a few examples of common smokeless tobacco products you’d be wise to avoid:

  • Chewing tobacco: loose leaves (often in pouch form) for placement inside the cheeks
  • Snuff or “Dip”: ground or shredded tobacco stored in tins for sniffing or chewing
  • Snus: a pasteurized form of snuff that doesn’t require spitting
  • Tobacco lozenges: powdery, tobacco-infused candies that dissolve in the mouth

Other variations include plugs, twists and bricks, but risks are the same regardless of their appearance. It’s also worth noting that regulations may differ by country, so the lack of clear warnings doesn’t mean that the product is any less toxic.

Oral Health Risks

Virtually every aspect of your oral health is affected by tobacco use, and it doesn’t take much for nicotine to do its damage. Telltale signs you may notice immediately include:

  • Stained teeth, from frequent contact with tobacco juice
  • Periodontitis, as prolonged exposure to tobacco can irritate the gums
  • Bad breath, when tobacco particles mix with your saliva and other food particles
  • New cavities, due to the sugar often used to sweeten tobacco products

Tooth sensitivity, enamel erosion and a decrease in your sense of taste and smell are other possible side effects. As costly as these dental complications may be, it pales in comparison to the lethal threat of cancer.

Symptoms Of Oral Cancer

Given that smokeless tobacco contains well over 20 carcinogenic chemicals, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that its use can result in cancer of the mouth, lip, tongue and throat (in addition to many other cancers of the body). Clear warning signs of oral cancer include white or red lesions inside the mouth (typically referred to by dentists as “leukoplakia”) that fail to heal over time, but not all symptoms are easily detected without the professional help of your dentist.

Tackling Your Tobacco Problem

Seeking professional help is your best bet both to kick your nicotine habit to the curb, as well as to prevent lasting and potentially irreversible damage to your health. Quitting tobacco use likely won’t happen overnight, but your dentist can most certainly offer guidance and point you to effective treatments and/or alternatives. Although it may be difficult to share your struggles, being open about the problem with your dentist and seeing him or her frequently is critical to minimizing the risk for oral cancer and other serious health problems.


Sources:

It may be smokeless, but it’s still tobacco. (2011 May). Retrieved July 22, 2015, from https://www.deltadentalins.com/oral_health/smokelesstobacco.html

Katz, Harold. (2011, March 5). Chewing Tobacco Can Cause Bad Breath, and Worse. Retrieved July 14, 2015,from http://www.therabreath.com/articles/news/oral-care-industry-news/chewing-tobacco-can-cause-bad-breath-and-worse-3329.asp

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2014, November 15). Chewing Tobacco: Not Safer than Cigarettes. Retrieved July 16, 2015,from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/quit-smoking/in-depth/chewing-tobacco/art-20047428?pg=1

Everyday Habits That Harm Your Smile

8 Everyday Habits That Harm Your Smile

Your teeth are supposed to last a lifetime. But some common habits could be reducing the durability of your teeth without you even realizing it.

By recognizing the habits that can compromise the structure and health of your smile, you can take steps to protect it.

1. Avoiding Regular Dental Care

Many individuals skip regular dental cleanings or avoid getting necessary procedures due to anxiety, a lack of time, or other personal reasons. However, doing so can cause tooth decay, gum disease, and other common oral health issues.

As such, you should be sure to visit the dentist every 6 months for a professional cleaning and also, as necessary, if you notice a change or issue with your teeth.

2. Brushing Too Hard

Brushing is an essential component of good oral health, but not when done incorrectly. Brushing too hard can wear down enamel, irritate your gums, increase your teeth’s sensitivity, and cause cavities.

By purchasing a soft bristled or an electronic toothbrush, you can avoid the damage while still cleaning your teeth and removing plaque.

3. Using the Wrong Materials to Clean Teeth

Have you ever had something stuck in your teeth and not had floss? If so, you might have reached for things like paper clips, toothpicks, or even pieces of paper that easily slide between your teeth. However, each of these items can cause gum and tooth damage.

You can easily resolve this problem by keeping a small container of floss or an interdental cleaner in your purse, backpack or car.

4. Grinding Your Teeth or Clenching Your Jaw

Many Americans grind their teeth or clench their jaw, which can cause fractures or other damage and may lead to headaches and jaw pain. If grinding or clenching happens while sleeping, a night guard that cushions your teeth and reduces impact on your jaw can help. If it happens during the day, chewing gum may help to prevent it.

5. Biting Your Nails, Pens, Ice, or Other Hard Objects

When you bite your nails, chew on pens, or crunch ice or even hard candy, you could be causing splinters and cracks in your teeth. But that’s not all!

In fact, biting any foreign object can also introduce bacteria into your mouth and cause infections. By eliminating these bad habits, you can keep your teeth protected and eliminate additional germs in your mouth.

6. Using Your Teeth Improperly

How often do you bite open a package or try to cut something with your teeth? You may do it without thinking twice and probably more frequently than you realize.

Biting even just a thread off of your shirt could cause micro cracks that, over time, can lead to more serious structural damage. It’s easy to avoid this by grabbing for a can opener, knife, or pair of scissors instead.

7. Drinking Soda, Sports Drinks, and Alcohol

While everything is acceptable in moderation, soda, sports drinks, and wine can cause significant damage when consumed in large amounts. Sports drinks and soda, which contain acid and sugar that feed bacteria and erode enamel, leave teeth susceptible to cavities.

Alcohol contains acid that produces similar effects. Additionally, because alcohol dries out the mouth, it reduces saliva production and allows bacteria and plaque to thrive.

By limiting your consumption of all of these drinks, you can do your part to keep your teeth protected.

8. Tobacco Use

If you smoke cigarettes or cigars or use chewing tobacco, you’re also at risk. Nicotine not only yellows teeth, it also can cause oral cancer. Chewing tobacco is even worse because carcinogens directly contact gum tissues and can remain there for a long time.

While quitting any tobacco use is difficult, it’s worth it when you consider the oral (and general) health risks of daily, or even infrequent, use.

Transform Your Everyday Habits From Harmful to Beneficial

While the habits described above are harmful, there are simple ways to correct them. Transforming destructive habits into protective measures can keep your teeth looking great for years to come.


Sources:

Everyday Habits That Can Harm Your Teeth. (2014, November 9). Retrieved June 3, 2015 from http://www.nusmiledentalfl.com/blog/2014/november/everyday-habits-that-can-harm-your-teeth.aspx

Everyday Habits That Damage Your Teeth. (2012, October 31). Retrieved June 3, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/features/your-teeth-bad-habits?

Not a fan of flossing? Try these alternatives

Not a Fan of Flossing? Try These Alternatives.

First there was the toothpick, then there was floss, and now there are a bevy of new dental tools making their way to the shelves of your local stores. Why the need to keep innovating? Simply put: plaque removal is just not fun…but these alternatives sure help!

For those fed up with flossing, or the many who fail to follow through with it altogether, gingivitis is not inevitable. Give these new solutions a try and say goodbye to knotted string, cramped fingers and excessive plaque build up for good.

1. Floss Picks

If you’re overwhelmed by all the new dental care products available, this could be a solid upgrade for you. Floss is strung tightly between two points to provide optimal tension no matter your angle of approach, with a handle for added comfort. Some varieties even come with a tongue scraper as an added bonus, and most are sold in convenient bags that make sharing more hygienic and easy.

2. Electronic Flossers

Now you can completely forget manual flossing and let an electronic device do the job. Similar in appearance to the floss pick but attached to an energy source, vibrations are emitted to remove plaque quickly and efficiently. Having the flossing motion done for you can make the process faster, but you should pay extra attention to the speed setting and pressure applied to your gums to avoid bleeding and other oral injuries.

3. Interdental Brushes/Flossers

It doesn’t get much simpler than this. Instead of using string, a small brush with fine bristles is inserted between the gaps of your teeth. One swift motion in and out is all it takes, quickly removing plaque and gently (but effectively) stimulating your gums in less time than floss. No sawing and string winding are necessary, and it can be done with one hand.

4. Water (or Oral) Irrigators

For comfortable, yet efficient plaque removal, oral irrigators are your best bet. Instead of floss, picks or brushes, strong pulses of water are directed between your teeth to dislodge bacteria and stuck food particles. Oral irrigators are also effective at removing tonsil stones, a common cause of halitosis (bad breath). Home devices can range in size with varying speed options, but portable options also exist for added convenience.

Which One is Right for You

Any of these solutions is better than not flossing at all, but a little research and even a few product trials can help you figure out the best floss alternative for your budget and lifestyle.

Consulting with your dentist can also help narrow down your options based on your oral health. He or she may recommend one option and advise against others due to individual factors such as gum sensitivity, past dental work and orthodontic hardware.

For added assurance on the safety and effectiveness of the product you choose, look for the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval on the packaging. Finally, always proceed with extra care, and stop immediately if you notice excessive bleeding, receding gum lines or other issues you think may be linked to a flossing/plaque removal product.


Sources:

Connelly, D. (n.d.). Flossing Alternatives. Retrieved June 4, 2015, from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/thomas-p-connelly-dds/flossing-alternatives_b_1119217.html

Dental Floss Picks – Alternative for Dental Flossing. (n.d.). Retrieved June 4, 2015, from http://www.oralb.com/topics/dental-floss-picks.aspx

Alejandra Fernandez, D.M.D., M.S. – Orthodontist

Dr. Alejandra Fernandez Zwerman, our Stellar orthodontist, is committed to providing quality care to her local community by creating aesthetically pleasing smiles. She is a firm believer in patient centered, evidenced based care, and she has enjoyed contributing her own research and volunteer services to the dental community.

Dr. Fernandez graduated with Honors from the University of Florida (UF), where she received a Bachelor of Science in Zoology. While performing her undergraduate studies, she was a Florida Academic Scholar, President’s Academic Scholar, and Disney Scholar, and she was inducted to the Golden Key National Honor Society for outstanding scholarship and leadership. At UF she held the position of Volunteer Service Director for the Pre-professional Service Organization, where she coordinated more than 300 members to serve the community by organizing a variety of health-related volunteer opportunities.  She also received the Student leadership Award for her NIH (National Institute of Health) research and community service activities.

Dr. Fernandez went on to complete her Doctor of Dental Medicine from Harvard School of Dental Medicine.  During her time there, she conducted investigative studies in collaboration with the Pain Research Center at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital on evaluating the safety of using new dental local anesthetics for long acting purposes.  Dr. Fernandez was also actively involved in ASDA (the American Student Dental Association) at Harvard, where she participated in multiple community outreach programs such as Operation Mouthguard and Oral Cancer Screenings. She also served as ASDA Treasurer and as a Student Council member for her Harvard class.

Dr. Fernandez later moved to Puerto Rico to complete her specialty training at the University of Puerto Rico (ADA accredited), completing her Masters in Dental Sciences and a Certificate in Orthodontics. While at University of Puerto Rico, Dr. Fernandez continued to conduct and develop her investigative research skills.  Her weekly treatment of patients in the Craniofacial Cleft Lip and Palate clinic led to her interest in complex craniofacial abnormalities.  Her studies looked at the different types of craniosynostosis surgically treated at the University Pediatric Hospital. She evaluated their association with various potential risk factors, with the goal of heightening the awareness of the occurrence of those risk factors within the healthcare community.

Highly devoted to continually investing in her own education in order to provide patients with proven, successful results, Dr. Fernandez frequently attends lectures and conferences held by the American Association of Orthodontists, the American Dental Association, and the Northeastern Society of Orthodontists.   She takes pride in providing customized orthodontic treatment care to each and every patient.

Visit Our Orthodontics Webpage

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Gum Removal – Right for You?

Gum Removal: Going to Great Lengths for Your Smile

/Unless you were blessed with a perfect smile, something’s usually got to give in order to improve it…even your gums! Dentists call it “crown lengthening”, but if you’re worried this means you’ll walk away with receded gums, it’s not what you think. In certain cases, less gums are actually a GOOD thing – and if your dentist has confirmed you are a candidate for such a procedure, here’s why.

Cosmetic vs. Restorative Crown Lengthening

From an aesthetic standpoint, some may find their smiles to look “too gummy”, and wish for a more balanced look. Treatment varies based on the severity of the problem, but a gum lift, even if it’s just to one or a few teeth suffering from excess gum lining or unevenness, can help the smile appear more symmetrical. In general, this type of procedure usually focuses on the upper front gums, since they are the most visible when you smile.

Beyond appearances alone, there may also be health reasons a dentist would recommend crown lengthening. If, for example, he or she discovers tooth decay below the visible surface of the tooth, gum removal or contouring may be the only way to ensure the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and filled. On a similar note, accidents or injuries that cause a tooth to fracture may require exposing more of the tooth’s surface in order for it to be fully restored.

Regardless of whether you undergo this treatment for cosmetic or restorative purposes, however, crown lengthening can benefit your oral health by exposing more of the tooth’s surface for thorough and easy cleaning.

What to Expect

While crown lengthening is considered a form of oral surgery, and may come at an additional cost above what your insurance covers, it is a relatively short, one-time procedure. Afterwards, there is no special maintenance required other than good at-home hygiene and regular dentist checkups.

During the surgery, little if any pain is felt thanks to anesthesia, but sedation is an option for those who may feel anxious about the work involved with gum removal. The dentist will make small incisions and gradually remove gum tissue, and if necessary, also remove some bone close to the root area of the tooth. Gums are then stitched up, and patients can expect a healing time of 1-2 weeks before stitches are removed. A total healing period of up to three months is normally required before any crowns or fillings are put in place.

Risks of Crown Lengthening

A special mouth rinse is typically prescribed for recovering patients, and a water irrigator may also be recommended to gently remove food particles, but it is still possible to encounter the following risks:

  • Infection, if bacteria from food gets stuck and inflames the raw gum area
  • Excessive bleeding due to medications or existing health conditions
  • Tooth sensitivity, especially if bone was removed close to the root of a tooth
  • Loose teeth, if too much gum or bone was removed

If you experience any of the above, contact your dentist and/or periodontist immediately.

Weighing Your Options

As rewarding to your smile as crown lengthening can be, the decision of whether or not to undergo the procedure should not be made lightly. Cost, time and other factors should be carefully considered, and being aware of all the pros and cons is critical. If you are curious about crown lengthening, or if your dentist has recommended it, schedule a consultation with him or her for further information specific to your dental needs and overall health situation.


Sources:

Crown Lengthening. (2013, March 4). Retrieved July 13, 2015, from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Checkups-and-Dental-Procedures/Periodontal-Disease/article/Crown-Lengthening.cvsp

Sheehan, Jan. (2009, August, 19). Crown Lengthening for a Prettier Smile. Retrieved July 26, 2015, from http://www.everydayhealth.com/dental-health/cosmetic-dentistry/crown-lengthening.aspx