The Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention of Oral Herpes | Central Park West Dentist

Oral herpes, commonly known as cold sores or fever blisters, is a prevalent viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). While it may not be a comfortable topic to discuss, understanding oral herpes is crucial for promoting awareness, reducing stigma, and preventing its spread.


Oral herpes typically manifests as small, painful blisters or sores around the mouth, lips, or gums. These lesions can be accompanied by itching, burning, or tingling sensations. The initial outbreak is often more severe than subsequent ones and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as fever and swollen glands.


HSV-1, the primary cause of oral herpes, is highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person or their saliva. The virus can also spread through shared items like utensils or towels. While oral herpes is commonly associated with kissing, it can be transmitted through various forms of close personal contact.


Although there is no cure for oral herpes, antiviral medications can help manage symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks. Over-the-counter creams and ointments may provide relief, but prescription medications are often more effective in controlling the virus. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.


Preventing the transmission of oral herpes involves practicing good hygiene and being mindful of personal contact. Avoiding close contact with individuals experiencing an outbreak, refraining from sharing personal items, and using barrier methods during intimate activities can help reduce the risk of transmission. Furthermore, maintaining a strong immune system through a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, can contribute to preventing outbreaks.

Oral herpes is a common condition that, while incurable, can be effectively managed with proper care and treatment. Education and open communication are essential in reducing the stigma associated with the virus and promoting responsible behavior to prevent its spread. If you suspect you have oral herpes or are concerned about the risk of transmission, seek guidance from a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management strategies. Remember, awareness and understanding are key to minimizing the impact of oral herpes on individuals and communities alike.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, give us a call or make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at

Dr. Philip Schnall proudly serves Central Park West and all surrounding areas.

The Difference Between Commercial and Private Dental Practices | Central Park West Dentist

When it comes to oral health, the choice between a commercial dental practice and a private dental practice is a decision many individuals face. Each type of practice has its unique set of characteristics, catering to diverse preferences and needs.

Commercial dental practices, often part of larger corporate chains, are characterized by their accessibility and widespread availability. These practices are typically found in bustling commercial areas, making them convenient for individuals seeking dental care in the midst of their busy lives. With extended hours and walk-in appointments, commercial practices prioritize accessibility, aiming to accommodate a broad spectrum of patients.

On the other hand, private dental practices are smaller, independently owned clinics that often foster a more personalized atmosphere. These practices are commonly run by a single dentist or a small group of practitioners, emphasizing continuity of care and a deeper patient-dentist relationship. Private practices are known for their patient-centered approach, where individuals can expect more individualized attention and a familiar face during each visit.

One of the defining differences between commercial and private practices is the approach to treatment plans and procedures. Commercial practices may employ a more standardized approach, driven by corporate guidelines. In contrast, private practices often have the flexibility to tailor treatment plans to the specific needs and preferences of their patients. This personalized touch can create a more comfortable and reassuring experience for individuals seeking dental care.

Cost considerations also play a significant role in the decision-making process. Commercial practices may offer competitive pricing and package deals, appealing to those on a budget. Private practices, while potentially perceived as more expensive, often provide a transparent breakdown of costs and may work with patients to explore financing options. The emphasis on quality and personalized care in private practices can be a worthwhile investment for those who prioritize a comprehensive and individualized dental experience.

In conclusion, the choice between a commercial and private dental practice ultimately boils down to individual preferences, priorities, and the level of care one seeks. Whether it’s the convenience and accessibility of commercial practices or the personalized touch of private clinics, both options contribute to the diverse landscape of dental care, ensuring that individuals can find a provider that aligns with their unique needs and expectations.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, give us a call or make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at

Dr. Philip Schnall proudly serves Central Park West and all surrounding areas.

A Guide to Pediatric At-Home Oral Care | Central Park West Dentist

A child’s smile is a precious thing, and as parents, it’s our responsibility to ensure it sparkles with good oral health. Establishing proper dental care habits early in life sets the foundation for a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Here’s a comprehensive guide to pediatric at-home oral care to help you nurture those bright smiles.

1. Start Early:

The journey to good oral health begins even before your child’s first tooth appears. Wipe your baby’s gums with a soft, damp cloth after feedings to remove bacteria. As teeth emerge, switch to a small, soft-bristled toothbrush designed for infants.

2. Choose the Right Toothpaste:

When your child reaches the age of two, introduce a fluoride toothpaste in a pea-sized amount. Ensure they spit out excess toothpaste, as swallowing too much fluoride can lead to fluorosis. Make brushing a fun activity to encourage regularity.

3. Establish a Routine:

Consistency is key. Encourage a routine of brushing teeth twice a day, in the morning and before bedtime. This helps instill good habits early and makes oral care a natural part of their daily routine.

4. Make it Fun:

Turn brushing into an enjoyable activity by using colorful, child-friendly toothbrushes and toothpaste with appealing flavors. Play their favorite music or set a timer to make sure they brush for the recommended two minutes.

5. Lead by Example:

Children often imitate their parents, so let them see you prioritize oral health. Brush your teeth together, turning it into a bonding experience. This not only reinforces the importance of dental care but also creates positive associations.

6. Monitor Diet:

Limit sugary snacks and beverages, as they contribute to tooth decay. Encourage a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and dairy products that support healthy teeth and gums.

7. Regular Dental Check-ups:

Schedule regular visits to the pediatric dentist for check-ups and cleanings. Early detection of any dental issues can prevent more significant problems down the road.

In conclusion, pediatric at-home oral care is a vital component of a child’s overall health and well-being. By starting early, making it enjoyable, and setting a consistent routine, you can ensure your child grows up with a beautiful, healthy smile that lasts a lifetime.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, give us a call or make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at

Dr. Philip Schnall proudly serves Central Park West and all surrounding areas.

The Lighter Side of Medicine: What To Know About Laughing Gas | Central Park West Dentist

Laughter, they say, is the best medicine. But what if you could literally inhale laughter? Enter nitrous oxide, more commonly known as laughing gas, a fascinating and widely used anesthetic with a side effect that has everyone smiling – uncontrollable fits of laughter. Let’s take a closer look at this whimsical gas and its surprising role in the world of medicine.

The Science Behind the Laughter

Nitrous oxide, or N2O, is a colorless and virtually odorless gas that has been used in medical settings for over a century. It works by depressing the central nervous system, inducing a state of relaxation and mild euphoria. Its pain-relieving and anxiety-reducing properties make it a popular choice for dental procedures and certain medical surgeries.

The Unexpected Side Effect

What sets laughing gas apart is its delightful side effect: laughter. When administered in controlled amounts, nitrous oxide can trigger bouts of uncontrollable giggles and laughter in patients. This unexpected reaction has earned it the colloquial name “laughing gas.” Imagine a dental appointment turning into a lighthearted experience, with both patients and dental professionals sharing a moment of joy amidst the serious work.

Beyond the Dentist’s Chair

While commonly associated with dental procedures, laughing gas has found its way into other realms of medicine. It is often used during childbirth to ease the pain and anxiety of expectant mothers. In some cases, it has even been employed in the treatment of depression and anxiety disorders. The laughter-inducing quality of nitrous oxide has led researchers to explore its potential as a therapeutic tool for mental health.

Safety and Considerations

Despite its lighthearted reputation, laughing gas is a potent substance that should be administered by trained professionals in controlled environments. It’s important to note that misuse or overuse can have adverse effects. Like any medical intervention, it comes with its set of considerations, and individual reactions can vary.

Laughing gas, with its dual role as an effective anesthetic and a bringer of laughter, adds a touch of whimsy to the world of medicine. As science continues to unlock its secrets, we may find even more reasons to smile about this intriguing compound. So, the next time you find yourself in a dentist’s chair, don’t be surprised if a dose of laughing gas turns your appointment into an unexpected comedy show.

If you would like to learn more, give us a call or make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at

Dr. Philip Schnall proudly serves Central Park West and all surrounding areas.

Enhance Your Smile With These Care Accessories | Central Park West Dentist

A well-rounded oral care routine is the first step towards attaining the smile you want, but if your hygiene is quite good, and you still aren’t seeing the results you want, aesthetic additions may do the trick. Here are some oral care accessories that can enhance your smile at home.


At-Home Aligners: At-home aligners are an easy, effective means of straightening out your teeth for an enhanced aesthetic. While they aren’t meant for everyone, and you should speak with your dentist prior to incorporating at-home aligners into your oral care practices, they can gently move your teeth into their proper position and enhance your smile.

Whitening Trays: These work similarly to the teeth aligners mentioned above. Instead of working to straighten your teeth however, you simply mold the trey to your teeth, brush on the included whitening solution to the inside of the tray and allow it to rest on your teeth for the prescribed amount of time. Kits are easily accessible and when done properly can make your smile up to a few shades whiter.

UV Light: This is another means of enhancing the color and brightness of your teeth. Typically, when you employ a UV light, you first brush on the whitening solution and allow the light to rest on that set of teeth for a number of minutes. The solution and the light combination work to enhance your smile and can potentially do so up to a few shades whiter.


Electric Toothbrushes: Do you even complete your two-minute scrub and think “My teeth don’t feel very clean”? It may be because the traditional toothbrush just isn’t cutting it anymore. Electric toothbrushes have gained popularity because they are designed to provide brush strokes that work to give you a better clean in the same amount of time. It can go a long way to providing the basic care your teeth need.

Flossers: There are so many ways to floss available for your choosing. Traditional waxed or unwaxed threads are no longer the only option. Water flossers and plush threads are great alternatives (if not better alternatives) to the floss we commonly associate with.

Tongue Scraper: While there is no definitive rule that these need to be employed in your care routine, the benefit of incorporating one is the added removal of potentially harmful bacteria. Tongue scraping removes the same bacteria that feed on the sugars left between the teeth after a meal from the surface of the tongue, improving overall hygiene.

If you have questions or concerns about these care accessories, give us a call or make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at

Dr. Philip Schnall proudly serves Central Park West and all surrounding areas.

Care Practices To Avoid Staining Your Teeth | Central Park West Dentist

If you look at your teeth in the mirror and aren’t thrilled with what you see, your teeth may be stained as a result of the foods and beverages you consume. Common culprits of staining are red wine, dark sodas and coffee, three beverages casually consumed by the average person. There is nothing wrong with consuming dark foods and beverages, of course, but if you find your smile has become dull or yellow, it may be time to evaluate the habits that surround our consumption of them.

Thankfully, however, there are ways you can mitigate dental staining with some common and easily applied practices. Here are some tips to keep in mind the next time you go for that evening glass of wine or morning cup of coffee.

Brushing your teeth 30 minutes after consuming these beverages may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s better than brushing immediately after. Coffee, soda, and wine are acidic, meaning they weaken your enamel. When we brush immediately after, we are being abrasive against an already weakened barrier causing it to weaken further. Brushing some time after consumption helps retain your enamel and will help prevent staining.

Otherwise, all you can do is floss, employ whitening powders or pastes, and maintain regular dental visits to keep teeth stains at bay. If you are interested in incorporating health practices into your life that also help reduce the risk of staining, cutting back on your consumption of dark sodas, red wine, and coffee will go a long way to achieve that goal. You can also try at-home whitening strips, trays, or UV light whitening devices that may help you get up to two shades of whiter teeth.

If your teeth are already stained, and at-home methods aren’t working to mitigate the appearance of dull or yellow teeth, that’s where a cosmetic dentist can help. In-office whitening is more powerful than at-home treatments, and when professionally executed increases your chance of achieving the smile you want.

If you have questions or concerns about the appearance of your teeth, make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at

Dr. Philip Schnall proudly serves Central Park West and all surrounding areas.

Nail Biting Can Damage Your Smile | Central Park West Dentist

We only get one set of adult teeth. They should be one of the most important things you work to protect through proper oral care and intended use. Biting your nails may seem harmless, but it can cause serious damage to a beautiful smile. It increases the risk you may chip a tooth, increase the number of harmful bacteria in your mouth and begin to shift your teeth.

All too often, we use our teeth to perform tasks other than chewing. For some, the convenience of using our teeth to perform certain actions – such as biting our nails – outweighs the risk of chipping a tooth or otherwise damaging our teeth over time. Biting our nails tends to start as a childhood fascination that if left unchecked, can progress into adulthood.

Before you damage a tooth or otherwise damage your smile, here are some tips to help yourself keep from biting your nails:

  • Identify your triggers
  • Keep your nails trimmed
  • Get regular manicures
  • Apply a clear or bitter-tasting to your nails or the edge of your fingertips
  • Replace the nail-biting habit with a good habit
  • Try to gradually stop biting your nails, going nail by nail until the habit is kicked

Small steps may be the key to making a bigger change. The sooner you kick your nail-biting habit, the less time you spend unconsciously damaging your teeth.

If you have questions or concerns, make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at

Dr. Philip Schnall proudly serves Central Park West and all surrounding areas.

Understanding Tartar Buildup and Care | Central Park West Dentist

The buildup of plaque that hardens on your teeth is known as tartar. When plaque isn’t removed properly from your hygienic routine, that’s when plaque can turn into tarter which may require a more intense means of removal. While tartar buildup can happen, there are ways your can mitigate your risk. Tartar control toothpastes and rinses can help eliminate stubborn plaque to help prevent tarter all together. Regular visits with your dentist and flossing also go a long way in helping ensure a thorough oral care routine and minimize the risk of tartar buildup.

Tartar is a buildup of minerals that, if above the gum line, is fairly easy to spot. If you notice yellow or brown-colored stains on the teeth or gums, it may be tarter. The only real way to know however, is to consult your dentist, and they can remove it for you. Your dentist or hygienist may employ a method called scaling in which he or she uses special instruments to remove the tartar from around the gum line and bottom of the tooth pocket.

If you are employing a thorough routine of proper brushing and flossing, you should be able to avoid tartar buildup. Yet, it’s still important to understand the signs and symptoms of tartar buildup, so that if you do recognize it’s happening, you can consult your dentist sooner than later. If it gets really bad, you may experience bad breath, darker staining, loose teeth and red, swollen or bleeding gums. If this happens, its best to consult your dentist immediately before things get worse.

If you have questions or concerns about your tarter buildup, make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at

Dr. Philip Schnall proudly serves Central Park West and all surrounding areas.

Porcelain Veneers: Best Care Practices | Central Park West Dentist

So, you have decided to make the investment and embark on the journey to get porcelain veneers. Once the process is over, you feel more confident than ever to show off your pearly whites to the world. Yet, when you are home taking care of them, you’re worried about damaging, stinging or otherwise failing to properly care for them. Here are some best care practices to consider to maintain your porcelain veneers for years to come.

Stop Clenching and Grinding- This bad habit is a great way to chip or break your veneers over time. Bruxism, or the grinding of teeth at night, can be avoided by incorporating a night guard when you sleep. Reducing stress or finding alternative means to clenching your teeth will also go a long way in maintaining your new pearly whites.

Avoid Unnecessary Force- Nail biting, chewing ice, and forceful brushing can break or dislodge a veneer; they can also be the reason your dentist recommended veneers, to begin with. It’s important to make an effort to avoid these habits for the longevity of your veneers.

Good Oral Hygiene- Maintaining good oral hygiene such as regular brushing, flossing, and incorporating a mouthwash is great for your natural teeth and veneers. Veneers are placed along the gemlike to retain the appearance of being natural, so it’s important to keep your oral hygiene up to avoid a receding gemlike that may expose the veneer.

Limit Staining- Porcelain is a material that resists stains, but the dental cement used to keep them in place unfortunately is not. Coffee, tobacco, wine and any other food and beverage that may stain your teeth will stain the cement over time. Eventually, if not properly cared for along the way, the cement will become discolored and look odd against your veneers – or even start to make your veneers look discolored by association.

If you have questions or concerns about best care practices, make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at

Dr. Philip Schnall proudly serves Central Park West and all surrounding areas.

What To Know About Wisdom Tooth Surgery | Central Park West Dentist

Not everyone’s wisdom teeth grow in, but for those who do have wisdom teeth that break through the gum line, removal can be necessary to avoid overcrowding. Overcrowded teeth can cause a myriad of complications for your oral health. Whether you choose to be sedated for the surgery or go with nitrous oxide, the first 72 hours after surgery is imperative to your recovery and avoiding issues down the road.

Once the procedure is over, your surgeon will place gauze on the surgery site to absorb the blood. They will send you home with extra you can replace the gauze as needed at home, helping to keep the area clean and dry. Once the bleeding has stopped, you can place a moist tea bag on the site to help prevent clotting. You will also want to keep your head elevated, this will help keep the swelling and further bleeding down. Compresses also work well to help keep the swelling down. Apply a cold compress, then a warm one on rotation to the external surgery site every 20 minutes for the first 48 hours. It will help reduce pain and swelling.

After that, your focus should switch to keeping the surgery site as clean as possible as the soft tissue continues to heal. Rinse your mouth with warm or saltwater throughout the day and especially after meals. Your dentist may give you a syringe to squirt water directly onto the surgery site to clear it of any debris. Swish utilize the syringe carefully, you don’t want to disturb your stitches. If food is left stuck in the soft tissue cavity and stays there as the tissue heals, that debris is likely to become infected over time, requiring another surgery to remove it.

Your dentist will give you all kinds of tips and tricks to help you heal properly, but some of the most important ones to remember are not to use straws as the suction can induce bleeding. Don’t use tobacco because it will hinder the healing process, and don’t engage in strenuous activity as an increased heart rate will increase blood flow and the possibility your surgery site will bleed.

If you have questions or concerns about wisdom tooth surgery, make an appointment today with Dr. Schnall at 212-247-7059 or visit our website at