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May 22, 2022
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Fillings and Core Build-ups are two procedures that look similar, but have different uses. Both involve fixing part of your tooth that is missing due to a cavity, tooth decay, breakage of your tooth, or access for a dental procedure such as a root canal. Both are designed to close off the space where bacteria could enter and cause more tooth decay.


A Filling is designed to restore your tooth back to normal function and shape (including the contacts between your teeth). In most cases, this is accomplished by putting filling material into the space created by the missing tooth structure. The most common materials used are amalgam (silver metal colored) or composite resin (tooth colored). If the area to be restored is large, you might need pins to give the filling material an additional surface to grip onto. These pins are an additional charge. (If you’ve had a root canal, a post in the canal space serves a similar purpose.


A Core Build-up is used to restore an excessively decayed, traumatized or otherwise damaged tooth. Its purpose is to shape (or build up) the part of the tooth that a crown will fit over. It may or may not restore normal function and usually does not accomplish the normal shape of the tooth. A core is the main body of the tooth that is not the root. A core build-up usually involves a large area of the tooth that needs to be repaired and any pins needed are included. Because the core build-up is designed to be under a crown where saliva is less likely to reach, either filling materials or materials designed for core build-ups can be used. Sometimes you will find that a core build-up material might hold better in certain teeth than the regular filling materials do.


Insurances view these two procedures differently. Many times, if you have a filling within a certain amount of time before a crown, your insurance will not give you payment for the full benefit of your crown (They deduct the amount they already paid for your filling from the payment they send, leaving you to pay the extra amount to your dentist.)


Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist in Lorain, OH. She is taking new patients. Please call 440-960-1940 or use the contact form at to reach Dr. Robb.

May 07, 2022
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You’re probably aware that many foods and medicines have expiration dates, but do you know that many of your dental care products do also?

But how important are those expiration dates? Do you have to throw out the item or can you continue to use it without fear? Let’s take a look at some of the common ones.

Toothpaste: Using an expired toothpaste isn’t likely to hurt you, but the older the toothpaste is, the more breakdown it will experience. You may find that the consistency is more cakey than it used to be or that it doesn’t foam as much as it did. It also may lose some of its fluoride content, which reduces its cavity fighting ability. Sometimes the flavoring agents may also break down, leaving your breath not quite as minty-fresh as you hope. Bottom line: it probably won’t harm your health to use it, but if you want other benefits like cavity protection, replace expired toothpaste as soon as you can.

Mouthwash: As with toothpaste, the older a mouthwash is, the more likely it is that the active ingredients will no longer work to provide the benefit that you want. In addition, most mouthwashes have a high water content which allows bacteria to grow, especially if it is a couple years old.  Bottom line, if your mouthwash is more than a year past the expiration date, don’t use it.

Tooth Whitening or Bleaching Products: Most tooth whitening or bleaching products have a shelf life of 6 months to a year. Keeping them in the refrigerator when not in use may extend the shelf life of your product. After the expiration date, the material becomes less and less effective. This means you may see less color change than you’d like or it may take more treatments to see the same effect. Eventually, the material won’t work to whiten or bleach your teeth at all. For most products purchased through a dental office or off the shelf at a reputable retailer, you can try using the product no matter its age. If it works, go ahead and use it. If it doesn’t work as well as you’d like, it’s time to buy newer material. (Note: If you’re not going to buy your whitening or bleaching product from a dental office, please stick to well-known brands or manufacturers. There are some products out there that claim to (and do) whiten your teeth, but do so by damaging your tooth enamel—even when they’re brand new. Your enamel is what protects your teeth, so you want to keep it intact.)

Toothbrushes: Toothbrushes (for the most part) don’t have a printed expiration date. As long as they’re unused, you can open them at any time. Once they are in use, you should replace them every 3-4 months to make sure that your teeth are being cleaned thoroughly.

Hopefully, this information will help you to know what you can safely use and what you need to toss. 

*NOTE: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.

Jennifer Robb, DMD is a general dentist located in Lorain, OH. Call 440-960-1940 to reach her office.

April 30, 2022
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Can taking care of your teeth and gums help you avoid pneumonia and other breathing problems? There is a good chance that the answer is yes.

Respiratory infections can be caused by bacteria or viruses. This article will be most concerned with the bacterial aspect.

There are several theories as to how bacteria reach your lungs. The most accepted is that you inhale fine droplets that contain throat and mouth germs. These germs breed and multiply within your lungs, causing infections or making existing breathing problems worse. Pre-existing breathing problems make it more difficult to eliminate bacteria from your lungs because your natural protective systems are compromised. Other theories suggest that your oral bacteria put out enzymes that cause changes in your mouth cells and make it easier for the bacteria to stick to those cells. If you have poor oral hygiene, more bacteria are present in your mouth, and the likelihood of infection increases.

If you have gum disease, you also have a higher concentration of bacteria in your mouth. Bacteria is present in plaque, tartar/calculus, and in the pockets between your teeth and gums. Even medical doctors are starting to recognize that gum disease increases the risk of respiratory problems, particularly pneumonia and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Pneumonia results from bacterial infections that cause inflammation of your lungs. Health professionals divide pneumonia into two major types: community acquired and hospital acquired. Community acquired pneumonia develops from exposure within your day to day activities. Sometimes your physician can treat it as an out patient and sometimes it requires hospitalization.

Hospital acquired pneumonia is a secondary infection that you pick up while in the hospital or another institution while under treatment for another condition. The environment of a nursing home, inpatient rehabilitation center, hospital or similar institutional setting means you have a higher chance of being exposed to disease causing agents. If your general health is poor, you may have a tougher time fighting off infection. Consider too that in these environments, your oral hygiene routine may change. You may not be able to brush and floss your own teeth and have to rely on someone else to do it for you. If you wear a removable dental appliance (such as a denture, partial, or retainer), you may have other people handling and cleaning the appliance for you.

So what can you do to protect yourself? First eliminate gum disease. Remember that gum disease is a silent disease. You will not have pain or discomfort until the problem is quite advanced and severe. It is important to recognize early signs of the disease process and take steps to treat it even though there is no pain. Some of these early signs are: gums that bleed when you brush or floss, gums that look puffy or swollen, gums that feel tender when you brush or floss, and persistent bad breath.

If you think you have gum disease, see your dentist. She or he will confirm the disease is present and may recommend a special type of professional cleaning, called a deep cleaning, to help remove plaque and tartar/calculus that contain bacteria. Continued vigilance both at home and with regular dental appointments should keep the number of oral bacteria as low as possible and decrease your risk of developing breathing problems.

If you know in advance that you will have a medical condition that will limit or prevent you from performing your own oral care, try to find a family member or friend who is willing to help you with it. Paid staff try their best, but are often overburdened in today’s healthcare environments. They may not be available to assist you with your oral care as often as you would like. (If you have a loved one who might be in this boat, consider offering your assistance to him or her.)

Studies have shown that treatments which reduce or inhibit dental plaque also reduce the risk of pneumonia. If you feel you have a high risk for getting pneumonia, consider talking to your dentist. She or he might decide that a prescription mouthrinse or topical antibiotics would help reduce your risk.

Working with your dentist and your toothbrush can help prevent more than just a cavity. It can also reduce the risk of serious disease.

*Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals. 




April 21, 2022
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This time of year brings many changes to our diets. Sometimes, in all the outdoor activities, we don’t take time to eat properly. Some party set-ups encourage grazing rather than a regular meal. Alcoholic beverages and other goodies may be more abundant. How are your teeth affected by these changes? Let’s look at some of the ways.


Sugary and starchy foods cause your oral bacteria to produce acids. These acids are what eat away at your tooth enamel to cause cavities (tooth decay).  Sticky plaque holds the bacteria and acids against your teeth and may increase your chances of tooth decay.


As a general rule, oral bacteria produce acid for about 20 minutes after each exposure to sugar or starch. The example we used in dental school was that if you ate a whole roll of lifesavers at once you would get 20 minutes of acid on your teeth. If you ate each one individually, you would get 20 minutes for each lifesaver! Similarly, if you eat a meal all at once your teeth will be exposed to less acid than if you graze on appetizers throughout the party.


Acidic foods and drinks erode your tooth enamel more quickly. The acid in them combines with the acids normally produced after eating so acid exposure lasts longer than the usual 20 minutes. Acidic drinks include wine, coffee, tea, soda and sports drinks. Examples of acidic foods are tomato based products and citrus fruits.


Remember too that items like cough drops, hard candies, and breath mints stay in your mouth for a longer period of time and may allow more time for acids to be in contact with your teeth. Sugar-free choices are better for your oral health.


Young children who fall asleep drinking a bottle or sippy cup that contains milk, juice, formula or other sweetened drinks are at risk for “baby bottle tooth decay.” The liquid pools around their front teeth as they sleep and the acids produced attack the baby teeth.  The result is large, unsightly cavities on all their front teeth. Many times these children are too young to sit for simple dental work let alone the extensive treatment that’s needed for baby bottle tooth decay, so the fillings, other restorative work or tooth removals need to be done under sedation at a pediatric dentist’s office, a surgery center, or a hospital.


If you must put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup, fill it with water only.  Remember that many bottled waters do not contain fluoride.


So what can you do to minimize your risk? First of all, try to limit snacking. The fewer times there’s something in your mouth, the less time acid is in contact with your teeth.


Brush your teeth at least twice a day, once in the morning after breakfast and once at night after you’re done eating for the day. Whenever possible, brush your teeth after eating. The toothpaste helps buffer the oral acids and return your mouth to its resting state more quickly, and the fluoride in your toothpaste can help remineralize early tooth erosion. The mechanical action of brushing removes some of the sticky plaque that traps bacteria and acids against your teeth. If you can’t brush, rinse with plain water (you can spit or swallow), chew sugar free gum, or eat cheese to help decrease the acids in your mouth.


Floss at least once a day to remove any material that has collected in between your teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach.  You may also want to use a home fluoride rinse or gel in addition to the fluoride found in your toothpaste. If you don't like traditional flossing, invest in a Waterpik or other device that has water flossing capabilities--it's not the same as traditional flossing, but it's better than not flossing at all!


Cavities and tooth decay do not have symptoms in their early stages. You won’t have discomfort, pain or swelling until the problem is quite far along. Often not until the point where you’ll have to make the decision on whether to put a lot of money into your tooth in order to keep it or lose your tooth and compromise your dental condition.


Scheduling regular dental visits will allow your dentist to check your teeth for early signs of these problems. If the decay is caught at an early stage, a filling is often all you’ll need. Wait until it hurts, and you’re likely looking at a root canal, core procedure, and a crown or cap for the tooth at ten times the cost!


If you have children or grandchildren who haven’t been to the dentist in a while, consider giving them the gift of good oral health by paying for a dental check up and cleaning appointment.


If you have any questions about your dental health, please call my office at 440-960-1940.  You can also ask questions via the contact form on my website at 

*Note: the information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.

April 08, 2022
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So often when I talk to people, I hear the words it’s “only” a dental appointment or that dental care is being “put off” because of too many medical appointments, as if the mouth doesn’t matter.


The reality is that your mouth is an important part of your body. For most of us, it’s the primary way we take in our nutrition as well as our means of communication (via speaking). You should think of your dentist as a doctor for your mouth.


What does the dentist do?


Well, the most obvious thing the dentist does is to check your teeth. Tooth decay or cavities are easily treated when small, but if they get too large, you may have to decide between a root canal and removing the tooth. Your dentist will also check how your teeth come together (your “bite”). Some habits, such as clenching or grinding your teeth, may wear away tooth structure or cause the tooth to loosen. Other habits, such as drinking lots of soda or eating lots of citrus fruit, can erode away tooth structure, just like waves erode the shoreline. But your teeth aren’t the only thing your dentist will check.


Your dentist also checks the bone and gums which support your teeth. Bone loss weakens this support and results in loose teeth that must be removed.


Your cheeks, tongue and other soft tissues are checked both visually and by touch. Your dentist is looking and feeling for abnormal lumps, bumps, or sores that might indicate a problem such as oral cancer. If her or she notices anything, the dentist will ask follow up questions to determine how long it’s been there and if there’s a known cause. You may also be asked to return in about two weeks time for a follow up. Most traumatic injuries (burning the roof of your mouth, biting your cheek while eating etc.) will heal within two weeks. If your area has not healed, further treatment will be recommended. This is important because Oral Cancer is occurring more frequently and in younger age groups with each passing year. When found in an early stage, there is an 80-90% survival rate. Yet most oral cancers are not diagnosed until late stage, and as a result someone dies from oral cancer every hour, every day.


Similarly, your dentist may also check your head and neck. Pain, sounds or stiffness in the jaw joint (or TMJ) may be an early indicator of arthritis or may signal another problem. Carotid artery blockages sometimes show up on dental panoramic x-rays. Thyroid nodules or swollen lymph nodes may be detected by this exam also.


And you know that lengthy health history your dentist asks you to fill out? It does have a purpose. Your dentist is trained to notice how various answers fit together to form a pattern that might indicate an undiagnosed medical or dental issue.


So hopefully you now see that your dentist does more than just check your teeth and fill cavities. If you take care of your mouth, it will take care of you, and your dentist is one of the most valuable resources you have available to you for maintaining your quality of life.


If you do not have a dentist, you are invited to join Dr. Robb’s practice. Please call 440-960-1940 or contact us through the website at We’ll be saving a seat for you.


**Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.

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