Dentist Dunwoody: What you probably don’t know about Cosmetic Dentists

It seems to be prevalent in that most dentists these days are calling themselves cosmetic dentists, but there is no cosmetic specialty in dentistry.   And quite frankly, all dentistry is cosmetic.   I don’t know anyone who took the ‘ugly’ teeth class in dental school, because it doesn’t exist.  Regardless, the fact remains that the majority of dentists are general dentists, but call themselves ‘cosmetic dentists’.   They all have undergraduate degrees with either a BA or BS and at least four years of dental school with either a DDS or a DMD as the result.  But not one of them has a ‘cosmetic specialty’ in dentistry.   Those dentists who choose to make the claim do so by virtue of deciding to focus on cosmetics in their general practices.   The American Dental Association (ADA) only has nine recognized post dental degree dental specialties and cosmetic dentistry is not one of them.  These specialties range in one to six years of advance training beyond dental school.  At the end of their post doctorate degree, these dentists receive additional certifications in their respective specialties, thus becoming what should be considered experts within their fields of dentistry.   Some are either board eligible or board certified.  These ADA specialties are:

Dental Public Heath, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Radiology and Surgery, Orthodontics, Endodontics, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and the least known, Prosthodontics.

Prosthodontics: (crown, bridge, and implants) A Prosthodontist has a dental specialty license pertaining to the diagnosis, treatment planning, rehabilitation and maintenance of the oral function, comfort, appearance and health of patients with clinical conditions associated with missing or deficient teeth and/or oral and maxillofacial tissues using biocompatible substitutes. Most dentists are not trained prosthodontic graduates of a dental school – rather they take short continuing education and utilize trial and error experience to be able to understand how size, shape, color and symmetry all work together to create what a prosthodontists is trained in their post graduate work.   On the other hand, the prosthodontist is trained at a university to create the smile that implements the use of veneers, crowns, bridges and the increasingly more common procedure of dental implants to ensure that the right smile is achieved, both functionally and aesthetically beautiful.  If anyone has a specialty in cosmetic dentistry, it would be the prosthodontist.  So when you are seriously looking for a cosmetic dentist, look for a prosthodontist.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


Dentist in Sandy Springs: Happy Fourth of July

Happy Birthday America
Image by JoshuaDavisPhotography via Flickr

The fourth of July is the birthday of our nation. On Monday, we celebrate and enjoy the freedom that comes with the event that made this day so special.

Thomas Jefferson, the author of the Declaration of Independence led a committee that crafted the declaration between June 11-28, 1776.  Jefferson and other discontented representatives from the thirteen colonies voted and approved it on July 4, 1776.  The document declared freedom for the 13 colonies from British rule.  While it currently resides in the Exhibition Hall of the National Archive in Washington, D.C., where it really resides in the hearts and minds of America’s people.

If you were really picky the Declaration of Independence was not signed by all representatives until August, 1776.  To make it official, John Hancock, President of the Continental Congress signed it which where the saying “put your John Hancock on it” came from! 

Today, we enjoy the benefits of the freedom which the framers signed and ultimately fought for. For us, it is a time for baseball, hot dogs and family picnics.  Summer is in full swing and life is good.  This is not a dress rehearsal.

The Fourth of July is not complete without parades and fireworks.  We hope you make time to enjoy this wonderful holiday.  I know we plan to.

Happy Birthday, America!!!!!

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS. and Family.

Finally, a Bold Move by the FDA to Deter Smoking

The rate of smoking in America has been cut roughly in half, to about 19 percent, from 42 percent in 1965.  Yet smoking remains the leading cause of preventable death, killing 443,000 Americans a year, according to the CDC located here in Atlanta, GA.  According to the government, an estimated 4,000 youths try their first cigarette every day, and 1,000 a day become regular smokers.

Most likely emboldened by a case the government won last year in a federal court in Kentucky on its overall ability to require larger warning labels with images, Federal health officials released on Tuesday their final selection of nine graphic warning labels to cover the top half of cigarette packages beginning next year, over the opposition of tobacco manufacturers.

The government won and the specific images released Tuesday are likely to stir further legal action.  The Kentucky case is before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, R.J. Reynolds, Lorillard and Commonwealth Brands, the second, third and fourth largest United States cigarette makers, said in a submission to the F.D.A., the “nonfactual and controversial images” were “intended to elicit loathing, disgust and repulsion” about a legal product.

Unfortunately what the tobacco industry fails to understand is this is a critical moment for the United States to move forward in attempting to utilize enhanced efforts in this area according to the F.D.A. commissioner, Dr. Margaret A. Hamburg. As much as seven years ago smoking leveled off at about the 20 percent level of adult and youth in this country and we need to step up our action to eliminate smoking all together.

According to the CDC, approximately 75% of all oral cavity and pharyngeal cancers—mouth, tongue, lips, throat,  nose, and larynx— can be attributed to the use of  tobacco related products.  Those who choose to use cigarettes, cigars, pipes, chewing tobacco, or snuff, place themselves at a much higher risk of developing oral cancer and other diseases, such as heart disease, emphysema and chronic bronchitis.

The U.S. Surgeon General agrees that oral health is a strong indicator of one’s overall health and well-being (CDC, 2006).  Often, diseases give their first warning signs in the form of a patient’s oral problems.  Without consistent care and monitoring, several oral health problems can result.  Immediate risks include gingivitis, cavities, tooth decay, and other gum diseases which can eventually result in various types oral cancer.  There is a “silent epidemic” (U.S. Surgeon General) that can be avoided by regular treatment at home and dental visits at least twice each year.  While practicing good oral hygiene at home is vital to your health, there is only so much that personal oral maintenance can do.  A normal person can easily overlook conditions that could greatly complicate or even end one’s life.  Thus, visiting your dentist for regular checkups is vital to a healthier smile.

“Routine dental exams uncover problems that can be easily treated in the early stages, when damage is minimal” (American Dental Association [ADA], 2008).  Now that it is known that gum disease can be a major risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and certain forms of cancer, regular visits to your dentist can help prevent and treat this disease.  By treating conditions early and learning from your dentist how to prevent oral diseases, you can achieve better health and ultimately better quality years of life.

Your dental care is an important aspect of your general health care.  So you need to make sure you find a dentist that is right for you and your family. This can be a difficult process.  Look for someone who’s competent and you feel comfortable with, one you can have a collaborative relationship with. This is important because there are conditions and problems that were not discussed in this article that the dentist will need to pay attention to during your regular checkups. Hopefully after reading this article, you will have a heightened understanding of the basic need for good oral health.  If you have additional questions or concerns feel free to contact us.

Dr. Scheinfeld is an Emory University School of Dentistry trained prosthodontist treating patients in the Sandy Springs, East Cobb, Dunwoody, Roswell, Johns Creek, Alpharetta, Vinings and Buckhead areas of Metro Atlanta.  Of the 170,000 dentists in the U.S., less than 2% are prosthodontist.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


Ultra-Low-Calorie/Low-Carb Diet may Reverse Type 2 Diabetes

The mechanism of glucose-dependent insulin rel...
Image via Wikipedia

Only 600 calories of non-starchy vegetables per day were consumed. But what an amazing sacrifice, to rid yourself of life threatening diabetes.  According to Newcastle University in a groundbreaking British study, patients who consumed only 600 calories a day for two months were able to reverse their Type 2 diabetes.  The research, involving only 11 patients, suggests a very low-calorie diet can remove fat that clogs the pancreas, allowing normal insulin secretion to be restored.  Seven of the 11 patients remained free of diabetes three months after the study.

Type 2 diabetes, also known as adult-onset diabetes, occurs when the pancreas is unable to produce sufficient insulin to regulate fat metabolism and sugars in the blood, or when the body is unable to react to the insulin.[1]  Insulin is needed to move blood sugar (glucose) into cells, where it is stored and later used for energy.  When sugar cannot enter cells, abnormally high levels of sugar build up in the blood. This is called hyperglycemia.[2]

The study that was announced Friday at an American Diabetes Association conference is being published in the journal Diabetologia.  Over eight weeks, researchers monitored the fat content in the liver and the insulin production from the pancreas, comparing the results to a control group of non-diabetics.  After only one week, the diabetics’ pre-breakfast blood sugar levels were normal.  According to NU researchers, MRI scans of the patients’ pancreases revealed that fat levels had dropped, which allowed the organ to produce more insulin.

While the trial sample is very small, the potential discovery is huge.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


[1] American Diabetes Association. Diagnosis and classification of diabetes mellitus. Diabetes Care. 2010;33 Suppl 1:S62-S69.

[2] Ari S. Eckman, MD, Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

Dentist Sandy Springs: Getting The Point About Oral Piercing

Tongue piercing
Image via Wikipedia

Body piercing has become a popular form of self-expression, especially for but not limited to young adults. Oral piercing is becoming trendier but is not without risks and complications. The tongue is the most common site with the lips, uvula (soft tissue hanging from the back of the palate), cheeks and a combination of these sites also being utilized. If you absolutely can’t live without participating in this trend, be sure the procedure is performed by qualified professionals who use disposable gloves, disposable or sterile instruments and sterilized jewelry. For several days after the piercing, you can expect swelling, pain, increased salivary flow and sometimes infection. There may be prolonged bleeding from punctured blood vessels.

The healing period is usually 3-6 weeks before the permanent device (hoops, studs, barbells) can be placed. During the healing stage, avoid spicy foods, alcohol and smoking. Use antiseptic or warm salt water mouth rinses; keep talking to a minimum for the first few days; and refrain from French kissing and oral sex for at least 2 weeks to minimize infection risk. Complications arising from oral piercing include chipped teeth, allergic reactions, change in the way your food tastes from interfering with taste buds and problems with speech, chewing and/or swallowing. After healing and to minimize complications, people should remove their jewelry once a day for cleaning and irrigate the hole with water. For those with tongue piercing, the tongue should be brushed every day. Proper care or removal should be taken during strenuous, contact sports.

The tongue piercing, which involves placing a “barbell”-type stud through the tongue puts people at risk for chipped teeth, recessed gums, and nerve damage, warns the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). However, most people don’t realize that getting an oral piercing also places them at risk for developing a fatal infection or, in some cases, a mini-tongue, according to a report in the January/February 2006 issue of General Dentistry, the AGD’s clinical, peer-reviewed journal.

Unclean piercing equipment can cause other infections, such as blood-born hepatitis. Also, if a patient is not instructed to avoid touching the piercing, they might spread infections with their own fingers.  Piercings in the mouth have some specific additional risks, according to the American Dental Association.

If you do experience continued discomfort or sense that you are not healing please contact your dentist or physician and get it checked out.  As always, if my office can be of assistance do not hesitate to contact us for an appointment.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


Dentist Sandy Springs: Some Perceptions Never Change

An image from 1300s (A.D.) England depicting a...
Image via Wikipedia

It seems like no matter how far we have come in the world of modern dentistry the perception of the dentist has not changed much since the days of the old west where the barber put his foot in your chest and yanked out your tooth.  Research by the British Dental Health Foundation suggests that visiting the dentist makes people more nervous than snakes or spiders.[1]The research echoes a March 2011, Adult Dental Health Survey which revealed half of adults – especially women – were classified as having moderate to extreme dental anxiety.[2]

In a survey of 1004 people, the Foundation found what made them most nervous from a list including heights, flying, injections, doctors, snakes, spiders, going to hospital or visiting the dentist was visiting the dentist.[3] Over one in five people ranked visiting their dentist as the thing that made them most nervous – more than any other category.

 Overall, statistically:

 1. Heights topped the poll of biggest fears

2. Closely followed by visiting the dentist

3. Going to the hospital

4. Snakes were rated fourth

5. Spiders came fifth.

In comparison to Physicians, Dentists also struggled. The Foundation discovered that nearly 10 times as many people (22 per cent) were made most nervous by their dentist, as compared to their physician (two per cent). The Adult Dental Health Survey points to two dental treatments in particular as the main cause of these nerves: three out of ten (30 per cent) adults said that having a tooth drilled would make them very or extremely anxious. A similar number (28 per cent) of people reported equivalent levels of anxiety about having a local anesthetic injection.

Dr Nigel Carter, Chief Executive of the British Dental Health Foundation, said: “Everyone in the profession knows that dental anxiety is a major barrier for many people to visit their dentist.”  What may prove concerning is just how poorly the dental profession rates in comparison to doctors. The comparison with snakes and spiders may appear frivolous, but it does suggest dentists still have a lot of work to do to build public confidence.  Unfortunately, in modern dentistry the gap between reality and perception is the Grand Canyon.

Dr. Novy Scheinfeld is a trained prosthodontist with her post-graduate degrees from Emory University School of Dentistry.  She was recently chosen as one of America’s Top Dentists for 2011

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328



 [2] Adult Dental Health Survey 2009, the Health and Social Care Information Centre.

Published March 2011.

 [3] British Dental Health Foundation. Sample Size: 1004.

Myth #1: Root Canal Therapy Is Painful

Root Canal Illustration Molar
Image via Wikipedia

There are few phrases that invoke as much fear and anxiety as these words from your dentist, “you need a root canal.”  Where does this anxiety come from?  In his state of the union address, President Obama said of the bail out, “I hated it.  You hated it.  It was as popular as a root canal.”   Clearly, root canals are not very popular.  The endodontist, a dentist who has two years of residency training in, among other things, performing root canal therapy, should be the least popular of all dentists.  Yet if you have an all-consuming, head splitting toothache, the endodontist is the first person you want to and should see.  An endodontist, with their advanced training, can relieve you of your toothache in one appointment.  In this way, it would be better to understand endodontists as specialists in treating and preventing toothaches.

            Inside of every tooth is tissue, called the dental pulp that helps the tooth grow and develop when the tooth is young.  If the pulp comes in contact with bacteria through deep decay, a restoration, or a fracture, it can become damaged.  In this way, toothaches are caused by inflammation or infection in the internal tooth, pulp, or surrounding bone.  Antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications will help control the symptoms but cannot resolve the problem.  Root canal therapy, so named because the treatment takes place within the tiny roots of the tooth, is a procedure for cleaning and disinfecting the internal tooth structure.  Think of it like having a very small filling deep in the tooth, so small that endodontists work with special instruments that are as small as a hair’s width in diameter and a microscope to help with vision.  Typical treatment time depends on the complexity of the case and the number of roots within the tooth.  Your visit can be anywhere from half-hour to two hours with longer treatments often divided into two separate visits for your comfort.  In many respects, the experience will be indiscernible from having a filling.

            Sometimes root canal therapy is indicated as a means to prevent an infection and toothache, which is why your dentist or endodontist may recommend root canal therapy on a tooth that has never caused any problems before.  He or she is only looking out for your best interest, saving you from future discomfort and infection.  Any time a tooth can be treated prior to infection, the procedure itself will be more predictable and easier on you, the patient.

            Root canal therapy is a comfortable procedure.  The treatment itself is performed under local anesthesia and there is no associated feeling.  When it is over, you can often return to work or to enjoying your day.  When people wince at the thought of a past root canal or describe a past experience, they are either referring to the toothache that caused them to need treatment, or were not under the care of a specialist who has advanced training, tools, and techniques.  Sedation is offered in some offices, but it is not needed in the vast majority of cases.  Patients, much to their own disbelief, very often fall asleep on their own during the procedure. 

            If you are referred to an endodontist for root canal therapy, there is nothing to fear.  Your endodontist should make every effort to answer your questions and make the process as relaxing and comfortable as possible for you.  If you have a toothache and are referred to an endodontist, know that you have already been through the worst part, you are heading to the right place, and treatment will have you feeling better quickly, often as soon as your endodontist numbs the area.

            If you need additional information or have questions, this article was contributed by Dr. Justin M. Parente of Alpharetta Endodontics, (770-772-3002).  Dr. Parente received his DMD and post graduate Endodontic specialty training at Medical College of Georgia and is a member of the American Association of Endodontists.


Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328