Our Blog

What happens during my hygiene appointment?

August 25th, 2016

Regular visits to the dentist are important for people of all ages. Seeing Dr. Robert Wortzel as recommended provides preventive care for oral diseases. If a disease is already present, early detection can prevent hefty dental bills and further damage to the teeth and gums. Once you have made the decision to visit Wortzel Integrative Dental Care, you may ask yourself, “What happens during my hygiene appointment?”


Arrive at your appointment a few minutes early and bring along any insurance cards or medical information. While it may seem irrelevant, a full medical history can be important, since certain conditions include symptoms that occur inside the mouth.

Initial appointment

In some offices, the first appointment is a screening appointment, during which a dental hygienist will go over your medical and dental history with you, assess the condition of your teeth and gums, then schedule a future appointment to complete the cleaning and any other treatments you may need. In other offices, the screening and cleaning will be done over the same appointment. The dental hygienist may:

  • Count your teeth
  • Clean your teeth by using a small tool to scrape them in order to remove plaque
  • Brush and floss your teeth
  • Apply a fluoride treatment using foam that sits on your teeth within a tooth mold, or a gel that can be “painted” on with a small brush
  • Inspect your teeth for cavities or signs of decay
  • Administer oral X-rays. You will be covered with a special blanket to protect your body and then given a small piece of plastic on which to bite.

Seeing the dentist

After the dental hygienist completes his or her portion of the appointment, the dentist will usually come in and inspect your teeth. After an initial inspection, the dentist may:

  • Perform a quick tooth count as well as a more thorough inspection, looking for signs of decay in and around the teeth
  • Use a small tool called a “probe” in order to check for signs of gum disease around the base of your teeth
  • Visually inspect the skin around your mouth, called the “mucosa”

If you need any further dental work completed, you will usually be required to make an additional appointment. To learn more about hygiene visits, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Robert Wortzel, please give us a call at our convenient Mountainside, NJ office!

I have fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water; do I need a fluoride treatment?

August 18th, 2016

Fluoride is a naturally found ion with a history of greatly reducing the incidence of tooth decay in children. However, over the past decade, people have increasingly consumed bottled water, most of which does not contain fluoride, and children are no longer getting the recommended dosage of fluoride. In addition, many areas do not add the optimum amount of fluoride to the town drinking water.

Everyone’s dental needs are different. The amount of fluoride a person needs is determined by age (children), tooth sensitivity, risk for cavities, and medical conditions. When a patient needs additional fluoride it can be applied in a foam or varnish.

Children receive additional topical fluoride because teeth in the early development stages have a higher mineral uptake. The future strength of the enamel depends on this. When a tooth absorbs the fluoride ion, it creates hydroxyapatite, a harder mineral compound than enamel alone.

Those who have a dry mouth from medication also need extra fluoride. A daily fluoride rinse and a semi-annual fluoride varnish treatment are standard. If you are on medicine for high blood pressure, anxiety, diabetes, depression, or cholesterol, you may fit in this category.

Cancer treatments can also greatly impact your oral health. Fluoride varnish treatments prior to, during, and after radiation and chemotherapy can be beneficial. There are other mouth conditions which coincide with cancer treatments which make it difficult to brush and floss daily, and can contribute to an increased risk for decay. An infection during cancer treatment can be especially harmful, which is why preventive measures are important.

Fluoride treatments, administered topically, are highly beneficial in preventing decay. Feel free to call Wortzel Integrative Dental Care to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions.

How do I know if I’m at risk for oral cancer?

August 11th, 2016

Every year, over 50,000 North Americans are diagnosed with oral or throat cancer, which has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body, most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.

Because oral cancer is typically painless in its early stages and often goes undetected until it spreads, many patients aren’t diagnosed until they are already suffering from chronic pain or loss of function. However, if detected early, Dr. Robert Wortzel and our team at Wortzel Integrative Dental Care want you to know that early detection of oral cancer improves the survival rate to 80 percent or more.

If you visit our Mountainside, NJ office regularly, you have probably received an oral cancer screening and didn’t even realize it. That’s because the exam is quick and painless; Dr. Robert Wortzel and our team check your neck and mouth for signs of oral cancer such as discolorations, lumps, or any changes to your tissue. Oral cancer is typically found on the tongue, lips, gums, the floor of the mouth, or tissues in back of the tongue.

Factors that may influence your risk for developing oral cancer include:

  • Use of tobacco products. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, a pipe, or chewing tobacco all elevate risk for developing oral cancer. Tobacco use especially is a serious risk factor because it contains substances called carcinogens, which are harmful to cells in your mouth.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Those who drink alcohol regularly have an elevated risk of getting oral cancer. Alcohol abuse (more than 21 drinks in one week) is the second largest risk factor for the development of oral cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
  • Excessive sun exposure. Those who spend lots of time outdoors and do not use proper amounts of sunscreen or lip balm have a greater risk for developing lip cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight may also cause melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
  • Your age. Oral cancer is typically a disease that affects older people, usually because of their longer exposure to other risk factors. Most patients diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40.
  • Your gender. Oral cancer strikes men twice as often as it does women.
  • A history with viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables.

In between your visits to our office, it is critical for you to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and give us a call if these symptoms don’t go away after two weeks.

  • A sore or irritation that doesn’t disappear
  • Red or white patches
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness in mouth or lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

During your next visit, Dr. Robert Wortzel will examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. If you have been putting off a visit to our Mountainside, NJ office for your regular checkup, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits can be the first line of defense against oral cancer because we can identify early warning signs of the disease. Give us a call today!

Why Floss?

August 11th, 2016

Like many of you who on August 2, 2016 read the New York Times Article “Feeling Guilty About Flossing? Maybe There’s No Need,” we were in shock at the claim that flossing was not necessary for dental health. Our team at Wortzel Integrative Dental Care examined the article closely, and we are excited to share our thoughts on it, as well as explain how our computerized Dental Fitness Program has demonstrated the amazing results of effective flossing.

The New York Times Article suggested that the benefits of flossing are insignificant only when done incorrectly. The article implies that most people floss by moving the floss straight up and down between teeth without going below the gums.  Anyone who has experienced our Dental Fitness Program and learned from our team, knows that not only does the floss need to reach below the gum tissue, but needs to “hug” the teeth on either side in a C-shape to effectively scrape away plaque from the tooth surface.

The purpose of flossing is to remove plaque, a sticky bacterial film that sits above and below the gums. If the irritating plaque is not removed, it first leads to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and eventually irreversible bone damage in periodontal disease (gum disease). According to the American Dental Association (ADA), 75% of US adults over 35 years old have it and may not know it because it is a silent disease. Medical research proves that the bacteria associated with periodontal disease can travel into the bloodstream and increase the risk and severity of:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart Disease
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory Infections
  • Pre-term and Low Weight Births

Our Dental Fitness Program is an incredible, objective tool to assess, monitor, and improve the health of your gums. It provides not only an easy to understand visual graph showing the health of your gums at each visit, but also identifies problem areas that need more attention.  If you are one of the patients who started in the “red” disease zone on your Dental Fitness Graph, you have seen the amazing results that effective flossing and brushing can produce and have probably found yourself in the “white” zone of optimal dental health.

Your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body, so a healthy mouth is the start to a healthy body and a healthy life. If you have seen the results of how our Dental Fitness Program proves the benefits of flossing, please share with your friends and family who may be touting this NYTs article as a reason not to floss. Wortzel Integrative Dental Care is opening our doors to your loved ones to have a complimentary Dental Fitness Evaluation and home care education.  We want to get the message out that not only is flossing important, but it can be the key to keeping your teeth and body healthy for a lifetime!

Healthfully Yours,

The Team at Wortzel Integrative Dental Care