How Salt Can Help Your Smile | Central Park West Dentist

After a long holiday season, it may be possible for us to develop a toothache. After all, there are so many events filled with tasty eats, overindulging can sometimes have an effect on your smile. Thankfully, there is a quick solution to help ease the pain.

Sure, it tastes like you are drinking a glass of ocean water, but a warm saltwater rinse can be highly beneficial to your oral health. It is more than just a disinfectant; it also helps in removing swelling of oral tissues. Here are just a few ways swishing some saltwater can help:

Halitosis. While poor oral hygiene is a cause for halitosis, or bad breath, rinsing your mouth with salt water can prevent bacterial growth and infection, which often causes halitosis.

Gingivitis. Gingivitis is a typical condition characterized by swelling, inflammation and bleeding gums. Bacteria proliferation forms a sticky and whitish film, called plaque. Rinsing the mouth with salt water solution daily can help in soothing inflamed gums and wipes out bacteria.

Toothache. Toothache can happen to anyone; it is a common complication caused by several reasons. While bacteria are the main cause, weak roots or open nerve endings can also lead to sensitivity and throbbing in teeth. Gargling regularly with salt water can offer some relief.

Sore throat. Sore throat can cause you to cough, only adding to the pain your throat feels. Saltwater gargle can help in relieving soreness.

Salt water has been used by multiple cultures over countless generations to clean wounds and rinse out mouths, but it should not be swallowed in quantity. Talk to your dentist about the benefits of washing your mouth with salt water. To make a saltwater solution, mix 1 tsp of salt to 1 cup of warm water.

If you have questions or concerns about salt water rinse, 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.

Alternatives to Toothpaste | Central Park West Dentist

We all know that there are a few tools we need in order to maintain a healthy smile – a toothbrush, some toothpaste, floss and mouthwash. With these tools, we can achieve not only a healthy mouth but a bright smile that you’ll love to show off.

But what if you don’t have toothpaste handy, or you’ve just run out and don’t have time to run to the shop? There are some ways you can make your own toothpaste using very regular household items. Check it out!

Baking soda. There are lots of toothpastes that contain baking soda, so this shouldn’t sound so foreign to anyone. This ingredient helps whiten teeth and remove plaque. Simply place some on your finger, paper towel, or washcloth before brushing your teeth.

Saltwater. Salt has natural antibacterial qualities that can help eliminate some of the plaque-causing germs in your mouth when you don’t have any toothpaste. Simply combine 1–2 teaspoons of salt to 8 ounces of lukewarm water and allow the salt to dissolve in the water. Then dip your finger, paper towel, or washcloth in the saltwater before brushing your teeth, or use the elixir as a rinse afterwards. Just be aware that salt can corrode metal fillings so if you have some, don’t use this method too frequently.

Strawberries. This may sound crazy to you, but strawberries have malic acid, which can help whiten teeth, vitamin C, to maintain gum health, and an astringent that helps remove plaque. So, crush up some strawberries & apply to your teeth, even when mixed in some baking soda. When you finish, rinse well with water as strawberries still have sugar and fructose, both of which can cause tooth decay.

If you have questions or concerns about toothpaste alternatives, 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.

Halloween Habits to Maintain Your Tiny Human’s Smile | Central Park West Dentist

When Halloween comes around, as parents it is important to teach our children to take care of their teeth to instill good dental habits through life. After all, there are lots of sugary sweets available to damage a tiny human smile, so staying on top of your child’s smile is important on this haunted night. Now, there’s no reason to deny children the enjoyment of Halloween candy, but it’s important to supervise them to ensure that their Halloween is enjoyed in a way that keeps their teeth safe.

Use Halloween as a way to teach children about moderation – by teaching children to eat a moderate number of treats, you’ll encourage them to practice moderation in their daily lives, including other sugary foods they’ll encounter year-round such as sweet juices and starch heavy breads. Allow your children to choose the candy they want to eat, but set a limit on the number of pieces, and remove the extras – they can be saved for a future day, frozen for later, thrown away, or donated.

While sugar does promote decay, the effect of sugar is not instant. If children eat candy for a short time period, and then brush their teeth a short time later, the impact of the sugar is fairly minimal. For that reason, allow children to eat candy during a fixed time – rather than an all-day feast, they’ll have a fixed window for candy. This allows them to prioritize their candy enjoyment, minimizes the chances that they’ll consume far too much, and by following treats with brushing, helps prevent cavities.

Focus on fun, but effective, tooth brushing. Children often need stimulation beyond simple health to brush regularly and sufficiently, so swap toothbrushes every few months, and give your children the opportunity to choose.

If you have questions or concerns about the effects of Halloween candy on 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.

How Eating Breakfast Can Improve Your Smile | Central Park West Dentist

We have all heard it before – breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Not only does it get your day started right, but it also gives your body the boost it needs to make it through with little issue. The problem is that many people do not choose the best breakfast options. They think easy and quick, which will typically end up being not the best choices they could be.

Thankfully, there are options that can be quick and easy, but also really healthy for to not only get your day started on the right foot, but can give you all the nutrients your body, and your smile, need to be the best they can be. It’s true – your breakfast can improve your smile! Let’s celebrate the first meal of the day by taking a look at some of our favorite breakfast options guaranteed to not only nourish you, but your smile…

Fruit. It’s always nice to start the day with a bit of fruit, whether it be via juice or by the piece. We all know that vitamin C, and lots of fruit have it. From strawberries to pineapple, the sweet vitamin C will also help scour away plaque and whiten teeth. But don’t overdo it – too much acidic food will begin to wear down your tooth enamel.

Dairy. Between milk, cheese and yogurt, the dairy section will give your smile the calcium & phosphorus boosts it needs to be its strongest. They will focus on re-mineralizing your teeth and protecting your tooth enamel from damage.

If you have questions or concerns about the effects of breakfast food on 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.

Dental Sealants Will Seal Your Dental Health | Central Park West Dentist

When it comes to dental hygiene, we do our best to make sure our teeth are healthy and strong by brushing, flossing, eating well and visiting the dentist regularly. So, when you find out that you have developed a cavity, we tend to question why it happened. Unfortunately, there are ways you can develop cavities that have nothing to do with how well you brush your teeth. But worry not, there is a way to prevent cavities from happening – dental sealants.

Dental sealant is a thin coating that is painted onto the crevices of your premolars and molars in order to prevent cavities from forming in the areas it is difficult for toothbrushes to reach. While it is available to everyone, dental sealants are a great way to prevent cavities while your tiny human is learning to properly brush.

The process is quick, painless and economical, as sealants are less expensive than a filling. The tooth is cleaned and dried, then a low-acidic solution is applied so the sealant can adhere to the tooth. The sealant is painted onto the respective tooth and dried with a curing light. Start to finish, the process takes less than a minute.

Once the sealants have been applied, the upkeep is simple – look after your teeth like you would normally. Brush your teeth twice a day for at least two minutes, floss at least once, and swish some mouthwash around. Your next dental visit will go off without a hitch.

If you have questions or concerns about dental sealants, 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.

Reasons You Really Ought to Quit Smoking | Central Park West Dentist

It may have been the cool thing to do in the past, but if they knew then what we know now, it would likely not have been so popular. Lung cancer, heart disease, premature wrinkles are just a few of the perks of smoking. But how bad it is for your mouth? In the beginning, the effects are fairly minor. But bad breath & yellowing teeth are just the tip of the iceberg. Soon you will have a build-up of plaque and tartar on your teeth, which can lead to gum disease and even tooth loss. Healing from tooth loss will take longer to heal. The dental implant used to replace the tooth have a lower success rate due to bone loss in the jaw. We haven’t even gotten to the gum disease.

When you smoke, the smoke you inhale interferes with the normal function of your gum tissue. When infected, you are more susceptible to periodontal disease. The more your blood flow is impaired, the longer it takes to heal. As you lose more alveolar bone, or the bones that anchor your teeth in your mouth, the easier it is for them to fall out.

Quitting will benefit your health tremendously, no matter how long you’ve been smoking. A study in the Journal of the American Dental Association revealed that mouth lesion leukoplakia completely healed in 97.5% of patients just after 6 weeks of quitting. The American Cancer Society states smokers are 6 times more likely to contract cancer of the mouth, lips, tongue, and throat than those who do not. So, grab yourself some nicotine gum, join a support group, or try acupuncture or hypnosis to ensure you stay healthy for a long time to come.

If you have questions or concerns about quitting smoking, 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.

Is It Time to Change Your Toothbrush? | Central Park West Dentist

In order to have a positive dental checkup, you need to maintain a health mouth in between visits. And one tool that makes that possible is a toothbrush. A toothbrush is intricate in order to maintain our oral health. Not only does it keep our smiles bright and shiny, but it also helps scrub away all of the nasty cavity-causing bacteria invading your mouth. The best way to limit the bacteria left on your toothbrush is to replace it on a regular basis. But how often is a regular basis?

According to The American Dental Association, or ADA, recommends throwing out your toothbrush every three to four months. If the bristles become frayed, you’re sick, or you have a weak immune system, you definitely need to throw it out even more often. If you use an electric toothbrush, throw out the head as often as you’d discard a disposable toothbrush.

Each time we use our mouth to eat, speak or breathe, we are allowing bacteria and debris into our mouths to attack our healthy mouths. This is why keeping, and sticking to, a daily dental routine is so important. All that daily care is keeping your smile shiny and cavity-free. So, every time you’re tempted to skip brushing and flossing your teeth, remember how many bacteria lurk in your mouth – and what they can do.

Bacteria causes gum disease, and decay, and bad breath. Make sure you’re brushing and flossing as often as possible to eliminate some of those bacteria. Rinsing your mouth with an antibacterial mouthwash before or after brushing can also help reduce plaque-causing bacteria that can lead to gingivitis, an early, mild form of gum disease.

If you have questions or concerns about toothbrushes, 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 Is a Dental Bone Graft? | Central Park West Dentist

When you have jaw issues and there needs to be a reconstruction done in order to return your smile back to beautiful, a dental bone graft may be necessary. Once complete, it will allow your jaw to regenerate bone tissue, making your jaw stronger. Yes, it does sound quite overwhelming, but it is actually quite common. Here are the four variations of bone grafts, based on the condition of your smile:

Socket preservation. Sometimes called ridge preservation, this type of graft is placed in the socket immediately after a tooth extraction to fill the void and prevent the socket from caving here.

Ridge augmentation. Ridge augmentation increases the width and volume of the jawbone so it can provide a stable foundation for implants or other restorative options.

Sinus lift. If the upper back teeth are missing, the sinuses can drop down and invade the space once occupied by the teeth roots. To address this problem, your oral surgeon or periodontist can perform a sinus lift, raising the sinus back to its proper position. A dental bone graft is then placed underneath the sinus, creating a solid foundation for dental implants later on.

Periodontal bone graft. Infection from gum disease can erode the bone that supports the teeth. This can cause the teeth to become loose. A periodontal bone graft is placed around an existing tooth to reduce mobility and provide additional support.

In most cases, bone grafts for dental implants must heal completely before the actual implant is placed. Because each person is unique, recovery times vary. In rare instances, your dentist may be able to place a bone graft and a dental implant at the same time. But this is decided on a case-by-case basis.

If you have questions or concerns about dental bone grafts, 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.

It’s Time to Get a Dental Crown: What to Expect | Central Park West Dentist

Let’s face it – accidents happen. They can’t be helped. But when those accidents damage your teeth, it is important to let your dentist examine them for any problems that may arise in the future. But you need not worry – chances are, a dental crown will be the suggested fix. Crowns are placed on top of damaged teeth or implants to restore the tooth’s shape, function and structure. It may sound fancy, but it’s a common procedure. Here is a quick breakdown of what to expect from a dental crown procedure:

The procedure for fitting or installing a dental crown typically takes two separate dental visits, with usually a week or two of interval in between each appointment. During the first appointment, you dentist prepares the tooth by filing it down, but it there is significant damage, the tooth may need to be filled in so a crown can be applied. After preparing the tooth to the proper shape, your dentist will take an impression of it and the surrounding teeth, then send it away to a dental lab. It is there at the lab that a dental technician will create the permanent crown. But in the meantime, your dentist will have to place a temporary crown to protect the damaged tooth during your first visit until the final crown is ready.

Once ready, you will return for a second visit where your temporary crown is removed and replaced by the new crown using a special adhesive to bond it to the tooth. Once the procedure is done, the dentist will then explain everything you should expect after (such as the adjustment period) and how to take better care of your crown.

If you have questions or concerns about dental crowns, 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.

How Is Gum Disease Diagnosed? | Central Park West Dentist

When it’s time for a dental checkup, your dentist will look for various issues that may be developing inside your mouth. Oral cancer, tooth decay and gum disease are some of the major issues that can arise due to poor dental hygiene, poor diet, etc. By catching these issues early, it is possible to treat the issue before it develops into a more serious issue.

Believe it or not, 47% of adults over 30 will have gum disease at one point in their lives. Because it is such a common occurrence, it is important to treat the issue as soon as possible because your gums keep your teeth in place. Having them weakened by gum disease will only lead to more dental issues in the future.

But how exactly does a dentist diagnose gum disease? During a dental exam, your gums will be probed with a small ruler to check for inflammation and any pockets around your teeth. Your dentist may also order x-rays to check for bone loss.

If you are diagnosed with gum disease, there are a few things that your lifestyle will need to change a bit in order to treat the issue.

You must practice good oral hygiene to treat gum disease. You should also cut back on any smoking if you smoke and manage your diabetes if you live with this condition. Quitting smoking may be difficult, but a doctor can help build a cessation plan that works for you.

Other treatments include:

  • Deep cleaning your teeth with techniques like scaling, root planning and lasers.
  • Antibiotic medications, microspheres and antiseptic mouthwashes can help treat the issue.
  • Surgery (flap surgery, bone and tissue grafts, and dental crown lengthening) would be the options if your gum disease is severe.

If your gingivitis is severe, especially if it’s caused any gum or bone tissue loss, you may need surgery. Types of gum surgery, which is performed by a periodontist, include:

Flap surgery. Flap surgery is a procedure where the gums are lifted back while plaque and tartar is removed from deeper pockets. The gums are then sutured in place to fit snugly around the tooth.

Bone and tissue grafts. Grafting can be used when your teeth and jaw are too damaged to heal.

Gum graft surgery uses tissue from the roof of your mouth to cover the exposed tooth root. This helps prevent additional gum and bone loss.

For a bone graft, your doctor will start with a procedure similar to flap surgery, but they’ll put in a bone graft to encourage your body to regenerate any lost jawbone.

Dental crown lengthening. Some people with gingivitis may have excess gum tissue. If this is the case, a periodontist can reshape your gum and bone tissue to expose more of your teeth. This may also be necessary before certain cosmetic or restorative procedures on your teeth.

If you have questions or concerns about gum disease, 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.