Dentist Dunwoody: Women and Your Oral Health

As a woman, you know that your health needs are unique and this includes your oral health needs. And because your needs are unique, you need to take extra care of yourself.  While women tend to take better care of their oral health than men do, women’s oral health is not significantly better than men’s.  This is because hormonal fluctuations throughout a woman’s life can affect many tissues, including gum tissue.  These fluctuations occur when you mature and change, as you do during puberty or menopause, or other times when you have special health needs, such as menstruation and particularly during pregnancy.

According to the Journal of Periodontology[1] at least 23 percent of women between the ages 30 to 54 have periodontitis.[2]  And, 44 percent of women ages 55 to 90  who still have their teeth have periodontitis.  Yet many women do not realize they have it until it reaches an advanced state, which is why regular hygiene check-ups are so important.

Stages of your life – steps to protect your oral health.

Puberty – an increased level of sex hormones, such as progesterone and possibly estrogen, causes increased blood circulation to the gums. This may cause an increase in the gum’s sensitivity and lead to a greater reaction to any irritation, including food particles and plaque. Signs to look for in your teenage daughter are swollen, red and/or tender gums.[3]

It is particularly important during this time in your daughter’s life to make sure she follows a good at-home oral hygiene regimen, including regular brushing and flossing, and regular dental care. In some cases, a dental professional may recommend periodontal therapy to help prevent damage to the tissues and bone surrounding the teeth.[4]

Menstruation – can result in menstruation gingivitis.  Women with this condition may experience bleeding gums, bright red and swollen gums and sores on the inside of the cheek. Menstruation gingivitis typically occurs right before a woman’s period and clears up once her period has started.  Sometimes it occurs concurrent with stressful situations and menstruation.

Pregnancy – increase gingivitis or pregnancy gingivitis beginning in the second or third month of pregnancy that increases in severity throughout the eighth month. During this time, some women may notice swelling, bleeding, redness or tenderness in the gum tissue.[5] As a result of varying hormone levels, between 50%-70% of women will develop gingivitis sometime during their pregnancy – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.[6] In some cases, gums swollen by pregnancy gingivitis can react strongly to irritants and form large lumps. These growths, called pregnancy tumors, are not cancerous and generally painless.

Studies have shown a possible relationship between periodontal disease and pre-term, low-birth-weight babies. Any infection, including periodontal infection, is cause for concern during pregnancy. In fact, pregnant women who have periodontal disease may be more likely to have a baby that is born too early and too small!

To prevent pregnancy gingivitis it’s especially important to practice good oral hygiene habits, which include brushing at least twice a day, flossing once a day, and using an antimicrobial mouth rinse. If you are due for a professional cleaning, don’t skip it simply because you are pregnant.  Now more than ever, professional dental cleanings are particularly important.

Oral contraceptives – while women are taking drugs to help treat periodontal disease, such as antibiotics, may lessen the effect of an oral contraceptive.  So be sure and consult your dentist about all the medications you are taking.

Menopause and Post-Menopause – not surprising given all the changes happening within your body, but you may experience changes in your mouth as well.  You may notice discomfort such as dry mouth, pain and burning sensations in the gum tissue and altered taste, particularly to salt and pepper.

In addition, menopausal gingivostomatitis affects a small percentage of women. Gums that look dry or shiny or bleed easily and range from abnormally pale to deep red may indicate this condition. Most women find that estrogen supplements help to relieve these symptoms.[7]

Bone loss is potentially associated with both periodontal disease and osteoporosis. Women considering Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) to help fight osteoporosis should note that this may help protect their teeth  and your jawbone as well as other parts of the body.

What Should You Do?

See a dental professional for cleaning at least twice a year – you need to monitor your oral health.

If referred, see a periodontist in your area. Problems may include: Bleeding gums during brushing, red, swollen or tender gums.   Other issues such as persistent bad breath or pus between the teeth and gums.  If you’re a denture wearer a change in the fit of your dentures may occur.

Keep your dentist informed about any medications you are taking and any changes in your health history.

Brush and floss properly every day.  Review your techniques with a dental professional.

If there any questions that you might have, please call us to discuss them.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


January 1999 issue of the Journal of Periodontology

Periodontitis is an advanced state of periodontal disease in which there is
active destruction of the periodontal supporting tissues.



[6] WebMd.
Pregnancy Gingivitis and Pregnancy Turmors.

Women and Gums: American Academy of Periodontology Journal.



Dentist Dunwoody: How much do dental fillings cost? and Why?

The cost of a filling can vary greatly, depending on who you go to, the type of filling and degree of restoration required.   An amalgam (“silver/mercury filling”) is cheaper than a composite (white/resin filling), but will last significantly longer if you are unconcerned about aesthetics and the back and forth debate over whether or not amalgams may be linked to other health issues.  The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the American Dental Association (ADA) found there is no danger from an amalgam filling, but some specialists and consumers remain unconvinced by the findings.

One of the ways to find out the actual range of cost is to just call a local dentist from the internet and ask them.  You are going to find some hesitancy to quote
over the phone because each person presents a different set of restorative circumstances, but you should be able to get a range of costs or a free consultation.

While costs vary from one area to the next and from one office to the next, the cost of typical amalgam filling ranges from approximately $75 to $175 per filling, whereas a composite resin filling ranges from $125 to $300 for a single surface restoration.  You should expect about 3 to five years (possibly 7 years) of use from the composite and as many as 20 years or longer from an amalgam restoration.  Actually a well-cared-for amalgam filling can last a lifetime, so the expensiveness of the filling really becomes a minor consideration.

Restorative circumstances are going to vary from tooth to tooth and decay may be found in one small spot or throughout a tooth. The restorative fees are based on the number of surfaces needing filling in a single tooth.  A silver amalgam filling on one or two surfaces averages $75 to $175, while for three or more surfaces it could go as high as $120 to $300 or more.  The same type of logic follows with respect to composite restorations.  Since composite resin
fillings are more time consuming and require greater skills to completion they are more expensive than amalgam fillings and weigh in on the more expensive
side of caries restorations.

Typically dental insurance covers most or all of the costs of a silver amalgam filling, but only 50 to 80 percent of the cost of a composite filling because the higher charge for the tooth-colored material is considered a cosmetic option. One exception is when an old amalgam filling is cracked or broken and is replaced with a composite filling.

Your dentist should be advising you of the type of filling based on the size of the cavity and the location of the tooth in your mouth.
Amalgams are more likely to be placed in the back of your mouth while composites are more likely to be used on more-visible front teeth. gives an overview of typical filling procedures and lists pros and cons of different types of fillings.

Amalgam Advantages

  • Amalgam fillings are strong and can withstand the forces of chewing.
  • They are relatively inexpensive and last a long time, compared with alternatives.
  • An amalgam filling is completed in one dental visit.

Amalgam Disadvantages

  • Amalgam doesn’t match the color of your teeth.
  • Healthy parts of your tooth often must be removed to make a space large enough to hold an amalgam filling.
  • Amalgam fillings can corrode or tarnish over time, causing discoloration where the filling meets the tooth.
  • A traditional amalgam filling does not bond (stick) to your tooth, so the cavity preparation developed by your dentist requires undercuts or ledges to
    provide retention of the filling.  Your dentist may have to remove additional tooth structure to establish good retention for the filling.
  • Some people may be allergic to mercury or be concerned about its effects, although research shows the amount of mercury exposure from fillings is
    similar to what people get from other sources in the environment.

Composite Advantages

  • Your fillings will match the color of your teeth and therefore undetectable.
  • A filling should be completed in one dental visit.
  • Composite fillings can bond directly to the tooth, making the tooth stronger than it would be with an amalgam filling.
  • Less drilling is involved than with amalgam fillings because your dentist does not have to shape the space as much to hold the filling securely.  The bonding process holds the composite resin in the tooth.
  • Indirect composite fillings are heat and light cured increasing their strength.
  • Composite resin can be used in combination with other materials, such as glass ionomer, to provide the benefits of both materials.

Composite Disadvantages

  • Although composite resins have become stronger and more resistant to wear, they generally don’t last as long as amalgam fillings under the pressure of chewing.
  • The composite may shrink when placed; this can lead to more cavities in the future in areas where the filling is not making good contact with your
  • This restoration takes more time and skill to place because they are usually placed in layers. The increased time and labor involved also contribute to
    the higher cost (compared with amalgam fillings).
  • Indirect fillings and inlays take at least two visits to complete. Your dentist takes impressions at the first visit and places the filling or inlay at
    the second visit.
  • In large restorations, composites may not last as long as amalgam fillings.

The trick is to find a qualified, well trained dentist, and that requires you to educate yourself about the dentist you choose and a basic knowledge about dentistry.  If we can be of service or answer any questions or concerns please feel free to contact us.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


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Dr. Scheinfeld is an Emory University trained prosthodontist treating 4 generations of patients from Vinings, Marietta, East Cobb, Smyrna, Roswell, Alpharetta, Johns Creek, Dunwoody, Sandy Springs, Norcross, Buckhead and Midtown. Her associate, Dr. Sidney Tourial, the current President-Elect of the Georgia Dental Association has been in the practice for almost 19 years.
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Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC
290 Carpenter Drive, 200A
Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328

Dentist Sandy Springs: Georgia’s free dental clinics?

The need for free and charitable dental clinics is not going to disappear as a result of Obama health care reform.   Mostly because Obamacare will likely fail.  But that’s an opinion and one better argued in
another discussion.  If you accept the premise, then there is some information that you or someone you know may find valuable information I would like to pass along.

According to the Georgia Free Clinic Network located in Atlanta (678-553-4939) there are 104 free/charity clinics serving Georgia patients.  The network offers health care to the uninsured at no costs to the taxpayers of this State.  GFCN provides a safety net that fills the gaps in our taxpayer-funded system of health care, including oral health care.  One of the local Atlanta clinics, and I have
no idea whether or not it is associated with GFCN, is the Ben Massell Dental Clinic which has local dentists from around metro Atlanta staff and treat indigent patients.

The GFCN is a statewide association of free and charitable medical and dental clinics which vary in size and scope of services are each uniquely dedicated to serving many of Georgia’s more than 1.7 million uninsured population.   Like the Massell Clinic, these facilities are staffed in part by volunteers, operated by non-profit organizations that reach out to their communities with an unwavering commitment to our local population’s underserved needs.

The GFCN’s focus is fourfold:  1) Unifying clinics serving Georgia’s uninsured through advocacy, technical assistance and collective purchasing; 2) Development, implementation and replication of data gathering resources regarding the uninsured; 3) Strengthening the infrastructure to serve GFCN membership; and 4) Assisting in the development of services in areas of highest unmet need.[i] In 2009, GFCN clinics served 200,000 patients,  pproximately 11% of Georgia’s uninsured. According to the Georgia  State Auditor, these clinics provide $200 to $400 million of care. To their, credit, for every $1 invested in a free clinic, $9 worth of services can be provided.  Less I digress for a moment, show me a government program that provides that kind of bang for the buck.  As a phenomenal result of so many volunteers, the uninsured in 90 of Georgia’s 159 counties have access to a charity/free clinic.  Fifty-seven percent of the patients seen in Georgia clinics are female.  Most patients are employed, sometimes holding more than one job. And at an average clinic, the percentage of patients who are: White-40%; African-American-41%; Latino-16%.[ii]

At the public sector level, there is the Georgia Department of Community Health (Atlanta, 404-657-6639), of which its Oral Health Unit was created to prevent oral disease among Georgia’s children through education, prevention and early treatment. According to the Oral Health Unit they play a vital role in improving the quality of life for all the children of Georgia, and in eliminating health disparities. Oral Health Unit programs focus on preventing, controlling and reducing oral diseases and conditions in all of Georgia’s underserved populations.

So there really is no reason why you shouldn’t see a dentist if you are uninsured, under insured or unemployed.   Please take the time to lead someone in need in the right direction.  And as always if we can be of help please feel free to contact our office for oral health needs. Dr. Scheinfeld’s Center is dedicated to exceptional dentistry that’s right for you.

Serving Sandy Springs, Roswell, Buckhead, East Cobb, Dunwoody, Alpharetta, Johns Creek.


Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


[i] Georgia Free Clinic Network

[ii] Georgia Free Clinic Network

Dentist Sandy Springs: Mouthwash and Oral Cancer

Michael Douglas '63, Oscar-winning actor, play...
Image via Wikipedia

There appears to be controversy with respect to whether or not mouthwash containing alcohol may be related to oral cancer.  This controversy arises out the studies that show a link between oral cancer and those that drink alcohol.  Michael Douglas is the most recent case in point.  He has been reported to be a
heavy smoker and imbibe alcohol on what is rumored to be on frequent occasions.  The obvious link in theory is that most mouthwash formulas contain alcohol, so the conclusion is that a link to mouthwash must exist here also.  The problem is there are no conclusive studies and at this time there appears to be insufficient evidence to alter the ADA’s approval of mouthwash containing  alcohol as an effective method for the prevention and reduction of gingivitis
and plaque above the gumline when used as directed.  The ADA Council on Scientific Affairs awarded  the ADA Seal of Acceptance to these products after a thorough review of data on  their safety and effectiveness.

Of all the studies published on this topic, beginning in 1979,  four studies reported some positive results while five found no association. (citations omitted)  What we know is that  none of the criteria for causality have been fulfilled by the studies that have  been published so far.  The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an extension of the World Health Organization, now identifies the consumption of ethanol in alcoholic beverages as a carcinogenic risk.[1]  Alcohol abuse is associated with cancers of the mouth, pharynx, larynx and  esophagus. Ibid.  However, the reason for this association is  not fully understood – it may be due to a direct effect of alcohol on these  tissue.[2]  Because of the conflicting studies and  endorsements I could advise you  to keep using alcohol formulated mouth rinses.  But if you are concerned and wish to stay on the safe side of the  debate, there are non-alcohol based mouth rinses available that appear to be  effective in the prevention of gingivitis and plaque.

Our job is to try and educate you on the contemporary issues we face in addressing your oral  health and if there are any questions you would like to pose, please feel free to contact us for a free consultation.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328



[1] International
Agency for Research on Cancer. IARC monographs on the evaluation of
carcinogenic risks to humans. Volume 96. Alcoholic beverage consumption and
ethyl carbamate (urethane). Lyon, France: 6-13 February 2007.

[2] Lachenmeier
DW. Safety evaluation of topical applications of ethanol on the skin and inside
the oral cavity. J Occup Med Toxicol 2008;3:26.

Dentist Dunwoody: Top 4 Reasons Not to play hooky from Your Dental Cleanings

Dental hygienist flossing a patient's teeth du...
Image via Wikipedia

Sure, regular cleanings with our office promotes good oral hygiene, but did you know these visits also screen for a multitude of diseases? Getting your teeth cleaned and having your doctor’s exam may not rank up there with an afternoon on the course or ditching work to enjoy a matinee, but it may be well worth it for your overall health. Here are 4 really great reasons to see your dentist for your regularly scheduled cleanings.

  1. It’s an opportunity to check for Oral Cancer. You may or may not realize that you’re screened for oral cancer during your regular dental cleaning but you are. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, an American dies of oral cancer every hour of every day. It’s a sad proposition, especially when you consider that it is highly curable with early diagnosis.
  2. Your gums are being checked for Gum Disease. Gum disease, or an infection in the gum tissues and bone that keep your teeth in place, is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss. It can be treated and reversed if diagnosed early. Unfortunately, not receiving treatment will lead to a more serious and advanced state of gum disease. Regular cleanings and check-ups along with daily brushing and flossing are key defenses against gum disease.
  3.  Your overall health. Studies have linked heart attacks, diabetes detection and strokes to gum disease associated with poor oral hygiene.  A trip to your dentist at least every 6 months and in some cases more often, could reduce your risk of other serious health issues.
  4. Early detection of Dental Problems. We’ve already touched upon early detection of gum disease and oral cancer, but don’t overlook more basic dental problems. Cavities and broken fillings are easy to treat. Without regular check-ups, undetected problems can lead to more serious issues like root canals, gum surgery and tooth extraction.   An ounce of prevention verses a pound of cure.

So you haven’t been keeping up with what current research has to say about caring for your teeth.  That’s why check-ups allow your dentist to examine your mouth and keep you on the right path.  If it’s been more than 6 months since your last check up and cleaning, call your dentist to schedule an appointment today.  If we can be of any help or answer any questions please feel free to drop us a line.

Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs), GA 30328


Dentist Sandy Springs: 8 Windows your overall health sees through dentistry.

I  read this article the other day by the Mayo Clinic staff and it appears very much worth republishing.  Please read this and adjust your life accordingly.  Its really not that difficult to lead a healthy life style and live longer lives.

Oral health: A window to your overall health

Your oral health is more important than you may realize. Get the facts about how the health of your mouth, teeth and gums may affect your general health.

By Mayo
Clinic staff

Did you know that your oral health can offer clues about your overall health? Or that problems in your mouth can affect the rest of your body? Understand the intimate connection between oral health and overall health and what you can do
to protect yourself.

What’s the connection between oral health and overall health?

Your mouth is teeming with bacteria — most of them harmless. Normally the body’s natural defenses and good oral health care, such as daily brushing and flossing, can keep these bacteria under control. However, harmful bacteria can sometimes grow out of control and cause oral infections, such as tooth decay
and gum disease. In addition, dental procedures, medications, or treatments that reduce saliva flow, disrupt the normal balance of bacteria in your mouth
or breach the mouth’s normal protective barriers may make it easier for bacteria to enter your bloodstream.

What conditions may be linked to oral health?

Your oral health may affect, be affected by or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

  • Endocarditis. Gum disease and dental procedures that cut your gums may allow
    bacteria to enter your bloodstream. If you have a weak immune system or a
    damaged heart valve, this can cause infection in other parts of the body — such
    as an infection of the inner lining of the heart (endocarditis).
  • Cardiovascular disease. Some research suggests that heart disease, clogged arteries and
    stroke may be linked to oral bacteria, possibly due to chronic inflammation
    from periodontitis — a severe form of gum disease.
  • Pregnancy and birth. Gum disease has been linked to premature birth and low birth
  • Diabetes. Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infection — putting
    the gums at risk. In addition, people who have inadequate blood sugar control
    may develop more-frequent and severe infections of the gums and the bone that
    holds teeth in place, and they may lose more teeth than do people who have good
    blood sugar control.
  • HIV/AIDS. Oral problems, such as painful mucosal lesions, are common in
    people who have HIV/AIDS.
  • Osteoporosis. Osteoporosis — which causes bones to become weak and brittle —
    may be associated with periodontal bone loss and tooth loss.
  • Alzheimer’s disease. Tooth loss before age 35 may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s
  • Other conditions. Other conditions that may be linked to oral health include
    Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder — and eating disorders.

Be sure to tell your dentist if you’re taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health — especially if you’ve had any recent illnesses
or you have a chronic condition.

How can I protect my oral health?

To protect your oral health, resolve to practice good oral hygiene every day. For example:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
  • Floss daily.
  • Eat a healthy diet and limit between-meal snacks.
  • Schedule regular dental checkups.

Also, watch for signs and symptoms of oral disease and contact your dentist as soon as a problem arises. Remember, taking care of your oral health is an investment in your overall health.

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Novy Scheinfeld, DDS, PC

290 Carpenter Drive, 200A

Atlanta (Sandy Springs) GA 30328