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Replace Missing Teeth with Your Implant Dentist in Merrimack

January 18, 2016

man with a great smile thanks to the implant dentist in merrimackPatients who are missing one or more teeth sometimes choose to forego tooth replacement due to expense, discomfort, or anxiety associated with smile restoration. Whatever reasons patients have to avoid tooth replacement, the Dental Designs of New England team encourages them to reconsider. By replacing missing teeth, a patient ensures they are able to maintain the optimal level of oral health. We offer a variety of options, but the only solution that restores the entire smile from the roots up is dental implant supported tooth replacement.

Sometimes, the things you find on the internet are helpful

April 29, 2013

Filed under: Dental Health — Tags: , , — dr_shetty @ 10:00 am

I am not one to take to the internet willy- nilly to get health advice.  Other than a few key websites like WebMD, I usually stay away from sites that give their ‘opinions’ on health topics.

But on Yahoo today I found  a great dental screencast by Katie Couric.   She interviewed Dr. Jonathan Levine, and I want to share the quick video.  I think you will find it interesting and helpful as well.

If you have any questions about topics they discussed, please feel free to contact us at 603.429.2199 or email at and we will be happy to talk.

Katie on Oral Health

A Stitch in Time Saves Nine

February 19, 2012

My last blog touched on the fact the ‘dental insurance’ is not really insurance after all.  It is more like a ‘dental gift card’ or ‘dental dollars at a reduced cost’. Dental insurance doesn’t really ‘buy peace of mind’ for a disaster, like home or car insurance does.  Imagine if you car insurance paid for ‘3 oil changes and 2 tire rotations’ every 10,000 miles and only gave you $8000 towards a new car if it was totaled!  I know I would be outraged.  Why call it insurance at all?  It’s more like a ‘dental maintenance plan’.  Imagine if medical insurance let you treat only 1 disease?  “Gee, should I be seen for my high blood pressure or my high cholesterol this year because my insurance won’t pay for both.”……Outrageous we would all say!  Yet, dental insurance companies have demoted the gateway to a healthy body, your mouth, into this role.

A stitch in time saves nine…….

Many patients that have dental insurance haven’t even used it this year, or even for a few years.  Maybe they feel by procrastinating their check ups, they can buy themselves some time and ‘save up’ to fix their teeth.  But even missing 1 yearly check up can lead to undiagnosed cavities and gum disease that will only get worse.  Many times these early stage cavities don’t hurt so patients feel like they have time to take care of it.  Unfortunately, any savings that people may think they get in putting off their visits are wiped out when that one tooth ends up causing lots of pain, and takes a lot of work to fix not to mention using up those ‘dental insurance’ benefits.  Gum disease is a ‘silent’ disease so symptoms may not crop up until lots of damage is already done.  By keeping up with more frequent cleanings, bone and gum problems can be kept in check.

Many patients get on the proverbial hamster wheel of putting off needed treatment because ‘insurance ran out’. Their problems get bigger, they wait longer to fix it, and the solutions get more complex and expensive.

What happens if  you have a true dental emergency?  Imagine if you tripped on the sidewalk this year and broke your 3 or 4 front teeth.  Guess what?  You may have only $1000, or $ 2000 at best, to use towards fixing those teeth, and maybe less if you already used some ‘benefits’ for your visit.  That doesn’t sound like insurance to me.  But this is a ‘worst case scenario that I see quite often.  Accidents do happen, and the teeth can be fixed, but ‘dental insurance’ just doesn’t pass the test.  Luckily, with all the options that we offer, like crowns and implants, we can make you smile again.  So far, ‘dental insurance’ doesn’t sound like anything the definition of ‘insurance’.

So, that old adage is true.  A stitch in time does save nine.  That is, getting in to see the dentist often and taking care of problems early will save you both time and money.  In the end, dental ‘insurance’ at best is a ‘helping hand’ for times when almost everything is doing well, or only 1 or 2 problems crop up.  At worst, dental insurance is a hinderance because people feel that they cannot undergo the treatment they deserve because they don’t ‘have enough insurance’.  Rather, free your mind from those definitions and ask us how we can help get back to health.

New Year, New Insurance?

January 15, 2012

Filed under: Dental Insurance,Services — Tags: , , , — dr_shetty @ 7:23 pm

Every year, we get so many patients asking us for help in decoding their dental insurance.  I feel angry that the insurance companies make it so hard for patients to figure out their benefits, what it means, and how it best suits each patient.  Most HR departments are just as confused when it comes to these plans.  In reality, Dental Insurance companies would rather that people pay premiums and never use their plans!

Dental insurance is actually a misnomer.  Normally, we buy insurance to protect us from damages (car insurance, home insurance, life insurance, health insurance), and hope we don’t have to use it for some calamity.  Dental insurance should be renamed ‘dental benefits’, because you are ‘buying at a discount’  a set amount of dollars per year to help offset the cost of dental care.    Most dental care is maintenance and check ups, routine services.  Occasionally there is a need for dental care when something unexpected happens, but most of the time patients can plan for their dental care.  And the majority of dental insurance is use it or loose it.  Remember, insurance companies are in the business of making a profit, not health care!

So, what does it all mean?  Well, dental insurance is an important part of getting dental care, and it does help pay for necessary and routine care, and does help offset the cost of ‘check ups’.  But, the devil is in the details.  My colleague has written a great post over at his website. In deference of not wanting to plagerize, I invite you to click on the link below, its a great read.


What are ‘soft teeth’?

November 30, 2011

Filed under: Dental Health — Tags: , , , , — dr_shetty @ 1:30 pm

“Doc, I’m doomed.  My whole family has soft teeth and I always have cavities.  I think my kids are going to have the same problem.”

My heart breaks every time I hear this. Why?  One simple reason.  The outer layer of teeth is called Enamel, and it is the hardest substance in the whole body.  Yes, Enamel is harder than BONE!

So, why the myth of soft teeth?

Dental enamel is the hardest and most mineralized substance in the body.  When those minerals come out, the teeth loose their strength.  How do teeth lose their minerals?  ACID is the culprit here; it just sucks the minerals right out.  Sodas, sports drinks, stomach acid from acid reflux/heartburn are the biggest culprits.  Acid is the reason that teeth ‘get soft’.  Now, add sugar to teeth that are stripped of their natural defenses, and cavities start easily and move fast.

Fiction: Only Sugar in sweets causes Cavities. Fact: Sugar comes in many forms, not just the stuff we put in coffee or tea.  Highly processed grains like white bread and pastries have huge amounts of sugars, and the white flour of processed foods breaks down to sugars and acids in the mouth.

Fiction: Too much sugar is the only way to get a cavity. Actually, the ph level, which relates to the amount of acid in your mouth, is another danger in tooth decay.    The higher the acid level, the weaker the enamel gets making it more prone to cavities.

Fiction: Healthy foods can’t cause cavities. Actually many healthy foods have lots of natural sugars.  Things like dried fruits and fruit juices could cause cavities if you are not careful.

Fact: The higher the acid level in your mouth, the easier it is for cavities to start.  So if diet, habits, or disease is releasing acid into your mouth you have just increased your potential for getting cavities.  Beverages like coffee, tea, Gatorade and energy drinks will lead to higher acid concentrations, and combined with the sugar in those beverages the risks for cavities are enormous.

Even though you may have a sugar free diet, other foods could be causing the acid levels in your mouth to rise, putting you at risk.   And it’s not just how much of the foods you are eating, but the time period in stays in your mouth during the day.  Water has so many health benefits and by sipping water after snacks and meals, you can lower the acid levels as well as wash away foods that tend to stick to teeth.

There are some foods that are great at raising the ph levels as well, and are healthy snacks.  Things like cheese, peanuts, nuts, and sugar free gums are great ways to protect your pearly whites.  Of course, brushing and flossing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste ensures that the enamel will be strengthened as well.

So, since you now know why teeth get soft, ask us how we can help make them strong and beautiful.


July 7, 2011

You know the value of having a confident smile. When you are confident, you don’t have to say anything; people can sense it and see it. Whether interacting at work or going out with friends, your confidence to smile speaks volumes.

In my last blog, I explored Six Month Smiles braces for adults.  This blog is all about Invisalign.  Many of my patients choose Invisalign to straighten their teeth because they like the ‘invisible’ factor.

What is Invisalign? Invisalign is a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you simply wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into position.

How is it different from other treatments? Traditional braces use metal brackets and wires to move teeth, they are not removable, and brushing and flossing require attention and effort.  Invisalign are custom trays that can be removed to eat, and for brushing and flossing.  And if you are really self-conscious for a big event, you can remove the aligner for a short period of time and pop them back in when you get home.

Can my teenager have Invisalign instead of traditional braces? Most pre-teens and teens that have significant bite problems are better served by seeing an orthodontist for a complete, or comprehensive, orthodontic treatment. But many older teens with minor spacing or crowding issues are ideal candidates in our office.

What are the health benefits of straight teeth? The benefits of straight teeth it not just for looks.  Properly aligned teeth leads to a healthy mouth. Swollen, red gums can often be the result of having teeth that are crowded or too widely spaced. Unfortunately, these are also signs of periodontal disease. When teeth are properly aligned, it helps the gums fit more securely around the teeth, allowing for the strongest and healthiest defense against potential periodontal problems.  Your teeth and gums – and how they look to others when you smile—say a lot about your overall health. If you’re taking good care of both, you’re probably taking good care of the rest of you.

How do I find out more? Call us now at 603.429.2199.  Every Invisalign, Six Month Smile, and cosmetic dentistry consultation is COMPLIMENTARY at our office. And when you do any orthodontic treatment at our office, you get  free teeth whitening!

Visit our website to see real results from our office.  These are people just like you who took the step towards a healthier, happier, confident smile.

Next Up: “My teeth look great except for that one tooth (or two teeth) that is out of line.  What can I do?”

What’s in Your Mouth?

April 11, 2011

Filed under: Dental Health — Tags: , , — dr_shetty @ 9:10 am

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month.  Oral cancer is not a rare disease. Approximately 37,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer every year in the US. It kills one person every hour of every day, and over 100 new individuals will be diagnosed with it each day. The good news is that it can often be found early in its development, through a simple, painless, and quick screening.  Visual screenings should be done at every check up, and enhanced screenings are offered to every patient at our dental office.

Who should get screened?

Every adult. Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as a pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects are from treatment are at their lowest. Like other screenings you engage in such as cervical, skin, prostate, colon and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages. Make them part of your annual health check-ups.

What are the risk factors?

There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol, a long term historic problem and cause, and the other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), a newly identified etiology, and the same one, which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. The quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population are young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to this virus.

Early Indicators:

Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth.

Any sore which does not heal within 14 days.

Hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time.

Advanced Indicators:

A sensation that something is stuck in you throat.

Numbness in the oral region.

Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue.

Difficulty in swallowing.

Ear pain which occurs on one side only.

A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal.

A lump or thickening which develops in the mouth or on the neck.

Is Early Detection Screening Mandatory?

Currently there are no population based screening programs for oral cancer in the  US, although early detection of oral cancer can increase survival rate to 80-90%.  The American Cancer Society (ACS) and the American Dental Association (ADA) recommend opportunistic screening for oral cancer.  The National Cancer Institute estimates that only 20% of the US population receives an annual oral examination. The ADA estimates that 60% of the US population visits a dentist every year, however less than 15% of those who visit the dentist regularly report having received an oral cancer screening.

An oral cancer screening should be conducted every year, so take advantage of the offer and get screened today.

For more information about oral cancer, please log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website at

Happy New Year !

December 31, 2010

Filed under: Dental Health,Fun Facts,Uncategorized — Tags: , , — dr_shetty @ 9:00 am

This blog is  ‘light and easy’ after the rich holiday season.  We have lots of teachers in our practice, and one of them asked our hygienist Rena about the history of the toothbrush.  Rena put in a lot of research for her answer; so all credit goes to her for this great blog.

(By the way, January 1st is a great time to break open a new toothbrush).

The first identified toothbrush dates back to the year 3000BC.  A twig was frayed between the teeth to create a splayed “brush”.  This ‘chewstick’ was then used between the teeth and chewed on. The use of twigs and sticks continued for many hundreds of years.

In the early 1700’s the use of rubbing rags with soot and salt on the teeth was a common tooth brushing method.  For many years, the use of hair from a variety of animals including horse, boar, and bird feathers was common.  Unfortunately, many people poked their gums with these hairs and developed infections, which led to tooth loss!  Not really an effective method for overall oral health!

William Addis of England thought of the idea of taking a small animal bone and drilling holes into it.  He then tied bristles together to form tufts, and put the tufts into the holes, and glued them in. By 1840 mass production of toothbrushes was common in England, Germany, and Japan.  Pig bristle was common material for the cheaper versions, while badger hair was considered high-end material for the wealthy.

It was not until 1885 that the toothbrush was mass-produced in the U.S.  It was actually not common practice to brush one’s teeth until WWII, when American soldiers were required to brush their teeth to avoid undo medical concerns in the field.

By 1938 DuPont developed the nylon bristle that is commonly used today.  The first electric toothbrush was invented in 1954 in Switzerland.  And ever since, companies have been making variations of the manual and electric brushes that are now common.

Whether manual or electric, remember to keep the bristles soft and use the right technique.  It’s in the way you use it that makes all the difference in the world.

Now, Eat, Drink , Be Merry, and celebrate the New Year (just remember to brush)!

This Time Dr. Oz Got It Wrong

December 13, 2010

Filed under: Dental Health,Whitening — Tags: , , — dr_shetty @ 11:43 pm

I usually like watching like Dr. Oz and Oprah. I can always gleam some good advice or learn something new when they do shows on health and beauty. And in September, Dr. Oz had a really good article on dental health. But, I have to take issue with Dr. Oz’s recent blog on December 2, 2010. He wrote about natural dental remedies, and natural ways to whiten teeth. Unfortunately, most of this blog was not accurate.

We all know that fruits are good for you. But can raisins, apples and strawberries clean your teeth and make them white? NO, of course not. Dr. Oz suggested that since raisins can stimulate saliva flow (true) it ‘naturally’ washes away dental plaque. This is false; worse yet raisins are full of sticky sugars. Many fruits like raisins have this natural sticky sugar, and when combined with plaque, it sticks to teeth and causes cavities (the same way candy causes cavities). The blog goes on to say that chewing crunchy apples removes the excess food and bacteria in your mouth, and the malic acid in apples is like a whitening agent. Well, the truth is the best way to clean plaque, and sugars, is by mechanical means, like good old-fashioned brushing and flossing. And the malic acid?  In the small quantities found in a single apple, it won’t ‘whiten’ your teeth at all.

And strawberries? Well, the article suggested that the Vitamin C found in the berries would clear away plaque which would help whiten teeth. He also suggests that the astringent in strawberries effectively aids in the removal of surface stains. Again FALSE. Just eating the strawberry won’t do either. It simply is not true that ‘foods’ can clear plaque or remove surface stains. Remember, there is no magic paste, mouth rinse, fruit, or food that can remove plaque and stains.

Lastly, and most disturbing, is that Dr. Oz suggested using a slurry mix of baking soda and lemon juice on your teeth to whiten them. What? That is just crazy. The pH scales runs 0 to 14, with 0 being most acidic. Lemon juice is very acidic at pH2, the same as Coca-Cola! And baking soda? Yes, is it on the opposite end of the acid scale, being mildly basic and able to neutralize the lemon juice. (That is why it bubbles when both are mixed together.) But baking soda is very abrasive. So combine an acid with an abrasive material, and you get the perfect material to destroy enamel. Imagine doing this over and over again over time and the enamel will erode, 100% sure of that.

Sorry Dr. Oz, the very idea that a celebrity like you would suggest a DESTRUCTIVE method to “whiten” your teeth in an effort to save a few hundred dollars ( the cost of professional, effective, and SAFE whitening) is mind-blowing to me. Proven methods of whitening teeth, when done as instructed, will not hurt enamel.

I know there are many people who want natural remedies for everyday ailments, and many of those work fine. But this is one area that there is no alternative. To find out more just click the link “Teeth Whitening”, or ask a dentist near you.

Have Questions? Get Answers.