The Increase in Use of Night Guards caused by Covid Related Stress

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It’s no secret that the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak is causing people a lot of stress – but that stress is showing in some surprising ways.  One of the most unexpected side effects is a rise in bruxism, or teeth-grinding, when people sleep. 

Staying calm during the outbreak is a good idea in general, but it could help you protect your teeth too!

What is Bruxism?

Bruxism is a general term for people clenching their jaws when they sleep, causing their teeth to grind together throughout the night.  Since this means several hours of force on the teeth, every night, this can quickly do a lot of damage to the teeth!

There are a lot of possible causes of bruxism, and not all of them have been fully researched.  Stress was long believed to be a major factor causing teeth-grinding, but that seems to have been demonstrated in the last year.  Here at our practice, and at other New Jersey dentists we’ve talked to, there have been far more people showing signs of bruxism than in the past.

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It certainly seems to be linked to stress over COVID-19, and other stresses in the world today.

How Can Bruxism Be Prevented?

Generally speaking, the best cure is to de-stress.  As any holistic dentist knows, too much stress is terrible for the body in so many ways.  It raises blood pressure and puts people at more risk of heart disease or strokes.  It takes a mental toil as well, making people more irritable or prone to make bad judgement calls.

Plus, as discussed, it can damage your teeth as well.

If a patient can’t find ways to de-stress, dental specialists do have ways of reducing the harm caused by bruxism.  The most common solution is using mouth guards.  These are small pieces of plastic, custom molded to a person’s teeth, which they wear at night.  The guard adds a protective barrier that prevents the teeth from directly coming into contact with each other.

In more severe cases, medical intervention may be necessary.  For example, some patients may receive shots of botox into the muscles surrounding their jaw, to loosen those muscles and prevent clenching at night.

If you’ve been waking up in the morning feeling like your teeth hurt or finding tiny bits of tooth material in your mouth, you may be suffering from bruxism.  Contact your local New Jersey dentist for an appointment for further evaluation.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month


pink 4542043 1920October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and that’s a topic everyone should be aware of. As a holistic dental practice, we’re concerned about our patients’ whole-body health, not just oral health. Breast cancer is a major threat to women – and men – around the world, and we want to do our part to raise awareness of the problem.
In many ways, this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month is more important than most. Due to all the disruption from COVID-19 and various lockdowns around the world, a lot of people weren’t getting proper checkups and examinations in the past year. It’s likely some of them have already missed early warning signs of breast cancer, which would have been caught if they’d been able to go to their regular wellness appointments.

Why Is Breast Cancer Awareness So Important?
Breast cancer is by far the most common type of cancer. Estimates are that as many as 1 in 8 (12.5%) of women will be diagnosed with breast cancer at some point in their lives. It’s expected that over 280,000 new cases will be diagnosed in America in 2021. By comparison, the next most-common type of cancer – colon cancer – will have less than half as many diagnoses.

Also, unlike some types of cancer which are caused by harmful behaviors, such as how smoking can cause lung cancer, breast cancer can strike almost anyone. Certain factors, such as family history, seem to play into a person’s susceptibility, but by and large, if a person develops breast cancer it’s through no fault of their own.

Breast cancer can also be fatal. Overall, it’s the second most fatal type of cancer among women, with approximately 1 in 39 women dying from it each year. However, survivability is closely tied to how early the cancer is detected. Most people who die of breast cancer actually die because the cancer spread from their breasts into their lymph nodes, or to other parts of their body. If breast cancer is detected early and has not spread, the odds of surviving are over 99% in the first five years.

This is why women should regularly receive check-ups and perform self-tests looking for lumps. The earlier breast cancer is detected, the more likely it is to be treatable. So, if you’ve been staying home and avoiding regular wellness checks, please visit your doctor. It truly could save your life.

Dental Implants are a Popular Alternative for Replacing Teeth

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Are you missing one or more teeth?  Don’t feel bad – tooth loss is incredibly common!  In fact, statistically,  some people will have lost a dozen teeth by the time they’re fifty.  Even adults in their 30s and 40s have about a 2/3 chance of having lost at least one tooth.

However, you should not let tooth loss continue.  There are numerous options for restoring lost teeth and – all things being equal – getting dental implants is usually the best option.  Here are just a few reasons you should look into dental implants, if you need to replace some teeth.

Five Benefits To Dental Implants Over Other Options

1 – Implants are easy to care for

Implants look, act, and feel exactly like your natural teeth.  They’re permanently set in your jaw, and can last for decades.  This also means they require no special care beyond standard brushing and flossing.  You don’t have to clean them separately like dentures, for example.

Plus, they’ll never get cavities!

2 – You don’t have to make dietary changes

One of the biggest problems with dentures and other removable false teeth is that they can require significant changes to what you eat, and how you eat.  Not so with implants!  You’ll be able to enjoy all the same foods you currently do, with no lifestyle changes needed.

3 – Implants are indistinguishable from natural teeth

If you have implants placed by a qualified dentist, no one will even know they’re false.  They can be molded and colored to match your other teeth.  It’s just like having your original teeth back.

4 – Talk normally 

Having missing teeth, as well as dentures, can impact how you speak.  People who get dentures often have to “re-learn” how to talk with them.  Getting implants skips over this hassle, and the embarrassment that might come with it.

5 – Prevent bone deterioration

This is maybe the best reason of all to get implants.  Your body “expects” to have teeth set in your jawbone, and if teeth are missing, that can cause the bones themselves to deteriorate.  This can make it easier to have other dental-related problems, such as teeth shifting out of alignment.  In severe cases, this bone deterioration can even change the shape of your face!

Dentures won’t prevent this deterioration, but implants will.  They’re the best way to prevent any unwanted changes to your skull, jaw, or face.

So if you’re missing teeth, don’t delay – contact Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics & Implants, 609-924-1414.

Can Gum Disease Be Cured?


Almost half of adults aged 30 or older have experienced some form of gum disease according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The risk increases with age with just over 70% of adults aged 65 and older facing this condition. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease or periodontitis, can progress from minor discomfort to full-blown tooth loss.

Gum disease haunts every dental patient because of its common occurrence and subtle presentation. Thankfully, dentists have many tools in their arsenal to identify and combat it in its various stages.

To start, there are different types of gum disease ranging from early onset, known as gingivitis, to late-stage infections such as necrotizing periodontal disease. The treatment provided depends on the stage of disease progression as well as the level of damage that has occurred to the teeth and gumline.

The first line of defense once gum disease has been diagnosed is a nonsurgical procedure known as scaling and root planing (SRP). In effect, the dentist or dental hygienist removes plaque and bacteria from below the gumline, where a toothbrush cannot reach. Sometimes a local anesthetic is administered to ensure the patient’s comfort during the process. Once SRP is completed, the dentist will determine whether further treatment is necessary.

 If the gum disease has progressed to severe periodontitis, other treatments may be used to aid in the healing process of the gums and preserve the teeth. For example, a periodontal pocket reduction or flap surgery may need to occur after SRP to make sure that bacteria is prevented from inhabiting the deep pocket area of the gums.  The gum tissue is retracted, bacteria is removed, and the gum tissue can successfully reattach to the bone. Gum grafts can also be applied to help remedy exposed roots that result from prolonged disease.

So, can gum disease be cured? Cured is a loaded term that implies an end to the threat of disease. In the case of gum disease, it is helpful to think of it as an ongoing battle. The interventions discussed above can assuage or even eliminate gum disease from a patient, but these treatments offer no guarantee of permanent prevention. Recurrence is always a possibility. When caught early, however, gum disease is manageable.

No discussion of gum disease would be complete without a word on prevention. Like many preventable health issues, gum disease can be avoided by using the same tried and true methods touted by healthcare professionals for ages. Brush and floss. Avoid sugary foods. And, see your dentist regularly. Thriving dental health results from a series of good habits, smart choices, and a watchful eye.

Call Princeton Dental for Aesthetics & Implants to schedule an appointment to evaluate whether gum disease should be treated, 609-924-1414.

Hello, PCDA&I Community!

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I am delighted to have joined the exceptional team here at PCDA&I! I bring 30 years of experience as a general dentist, having graduated from The University of Michigan School of Dentistry in 1991. (Go Blue!) As a native New Yorker, I did my undergrad at SUNY Stony Brook studying Biology & Music.

When the pandemic hit last year I decided to make some changes. I sought to work in the safest, most wellness-oriented family practice I could find, which led me here. Dr. Huckel, Dr K, and I share a dedication to quality, whole health, & a relationship-based approach to patient care. It is important to me to always be sensitive to each patient’s unique needs & to give you the best & most comfortable experience you have ever had at each & every visit. I have taken a special interest in developing a program to address dental/medical fear & anxiety, in hopes of making care more accessible & health more sustainable for everyone. Working together, we can navigate the obstacles that might have been holding you back from receiving the treatment you need or creating the smile you always hoped for.

I live in Marlton, NJ with my husband, Fred, & at least 1 of our 5 kids at any given time. Other fun facts about me – I have a lot of energy & many interests: I teach Indoor Cycling & group fitness classes, I love baking & cooking (especially eating, I’m a real “foodie”!), I play the viola, & am currently taking WSET courses in wine. My greatest loves are my family & music.

Most of all, every day, I try to bring humor & lightness to work with me & you will often hear a lot of laughter coming from my room! My favorite part of my job is getting to meet & know people. I sincerely look forward to meeting all of you!

In health and wellness,
Shanni Reine-Mutch, DDS

Taking Safety Above and Beyond for our Patients

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It is always important to consider the safety practices your dentist takes to ensure you are getting the best care possible. COVID-19 has heightened this feeling and emphasized the necessity of hygienic practices in all spaces.

Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics & Implants has gone above and beyond to create the safest environment for our patients, but now more than ever we want to highlight our safety measures and protocols.

Setting the standard for safety and best practices, Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics & Implants has implemented the following tools.

Installation of Air Purifiers

            We have installed air purifiers in the office to re-circulate the air inside. Portable air cleaners and HVAC filters have been shown to reduce airborne pollutants, including viruses. While these alone are not enough to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, used in conjunction with our other safety practices, they will likely help lessen the risk of the COVID-19 virus. Additionally, air purifiers strive to remove minor impurities in the air we breathe. They can remove particles from pollen, dust, mold, etc. and they are a great way to ensure the air in our office is pure.

Purchase of High-Tech ADS Extraoral Dental Suction Systems

            Our office recently purchased an ADS Extraoral Dental Suction device. During a typical dental procedure, millions of droplets and aerosols are spewed from the patient’s mouth. This high-tech device removes a high volume of particles from the air to prevent them from sticking to the dentist’s body. The device sits above the patient’s mouth and removes droplets, aerosols, viruses, blood, or any other particle that may be ejected from the patient’s mouth. There is a patient comfort guarantee and because the device creates minimal noise and does not touch the patient, there is virtually no reason for the patient to even notice the device is being used.
            The device itself uses a medical grade filtration system. There is a HEPA filter in the system that kills viruses and germs with 99.995% efficiency. In addition, there is a UV light disinfection system that aids in killing the viruses and germs in the filter.
These systems, in addition to more common safety protocols, reflect our promise to provide the highest quality of care to our patients. Call Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics & Implants today at 609-924-1414 to schedule an appointment!

How to Prevent Tooth Discoloration and Whiten Your Teeth

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Why do your teeth turn yellow over time?

Are you afraid to smile in pictures because of the color of your teeth? Have you ever considered whitening your teeth but you’re not sure where to start? There are countless products available to help you achieve a whiter smile, some are even available at your local drugstore or pharmacy. Before understanding how to lighten your smile, it is important to comprehend the reasons your teeth begin to get darker over time.

There are many factors and habits that can lead to darkening of your teeth. Your diet can affect the color of your teeth. Drinking sodas, coffee, and wine will lead to staining by damaging the enamel of your teeth. This is one of the most common causes of discoloration. Another extremely common issue is smoking. These stains can be extremely stubborn and difficult to correct. Certain medications or genetic predispositions can lead to discoloration of the teeth as well.

There are two layers of your teeth: the enamel is the transparent outer layer and the dentin is the internal part that contains the color. With time, the enamel begins to thin out from acid erosion or simply from using your teeth and this causes the dentin to be more prevalent. This is why people say your teeth get darker with age.

Natural Teeth Whitening Methods

Activated Charcoal: Brushing your teeth with black charcoal can alleviate some of the stains on your teeth over time because the charcoal absorbs the stains.

Oil Pulling: Put one to two tablespoons of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for about 15 minutes. This helps “pull” bacteria and stains out of your teeth.

Hydrogen Peroxide or Baking Soda: Both of these substances help oxidize and alkalize, but they need to sit on the teeth for some time to work.

Professional Teeth Whitening

There are various in-office procedures for teeth whitening and Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics and Implants offers the leading selection of these methods. Typically, these procedures include a high concentration of peroxide gel that is applied to the teeth. These sessions can take as little as 20 minutes and are ideal for maximum results. Custom trays can be made to continue the process at home and ensure that the results last.

If you are interested in having a brighter smile, call Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics and Implants at 609-924-1414 to schedule an appointment.


The Best and Worst Halloween Candies

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            The day the temperature seems to drop 20 degrees, we immediately begin thinking about Halloween. As kids, this holiday was among the most exciting times of the year. If we were lucky, we received seemingly infinite amounts of candy that would take almost the entire year to consume. Eating tons of candy is all fun and games until you visit the dentist and learn you have countless cavities. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in your mouth produces a weak acid. This acid eats away at the minerals in your tooth’s surface, making your tooth weaker and increasing the chance of a cavity forming

Here at the Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics and Implants, we want to make sure you and your family maintain pristine oral health while also enjoying the fun holiday. Here is a list of the safest and worst candy to indulge in from an oral health perspective.

chocolate candy


 Chocolate is among the best candies for the health of your teeth, which is good because they are a candy commonly passed out on Halloween. Chocolate washes off your teeth easier and faster than other candies, giving bacteria less chance to create a cavity. Additionally, dark chocolate contains less sugar than milk chocolate.

Sugar-Free Candy

            Since sugar is the enemy of your oral health, these candies are not bad for your teeth. These candies also stimulate saliva production, which is positive for your teeth. Excess saliva eliminates some of the bacteria and plaque that cause cavities and other tooth problems.

Gummy Candy

            Gummy bears, gummy worms, etc. are among the worst candies for your oral health! These candies stick to your teeth and are hard to remove. This gives the cavity-causing bacteria more time to eat away at your teeth.

Hard Candy

            These candies are also notably damaging to your teeth. If you are not careful, it is possible that these candies can break your teeth. Additionally, you tend to keep these candies in your mouth for an extended period of time, which causes the sugar to stay in your saliva and coat your teeth.

Sour Candy

            Sour candies have a lot of acid in them which can be dangerous for your teeth. Acid can weaken the hard outer shell of your teeth, which can make your teeth more cavity prone.


            Indulge in some candy on Halloween, but be sure to brush your teeth twice a day and floss daily to prevent cavities and other oral health issues. If you have a toothache or simply want to take preventative measures, call the Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics and Implants at 609-924-1414 to schedule an appointment!



The Oral Cavity is a Window to the Rest of Your Body

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Many studies have proven that the oral cavity may be seen as the window into the rest of the body. Your mouth can show signs of malnutrition and other general infections. Many systemic diseases, which are diseases that affect the entire body, can first appear through lesions in the mouth or other oral issues. Your mouth is filled with tons of bacteria, some of which are linked to periodontal disease and tooth decay. The mouth also acts as an entry point to your digestive system and respiratory system, and some of the bacteria present in your mouth can cause problems throughout your body. Periodontitis, an advanced form of periodontal disease, has been proven to be linked to other health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, and bacterial pneumonia. Additionally, pregnant women with periodontitis may be at an increased risk of delivering their child prematurely and delivering low-birth-weight babies.

Many studies have linked periodontal disease to cardiovascular diseases. Oral bacteria may be linked to heart disease, arterial blockages, and stroke. Similarly, certain diseases, such as diabetes, blood cell disorders, HIV and Aids can lower the body’s resistance to infection, therefore making periodontal diseases more severe. Furthermore, people with diabetes often have periodontal diseases.

Given these linkages between periodontal disease and overall health, it is important to take preventative measures to maintain your health and wellbeing. Below are some steps you can take to prevent periodontal disease:

  • Brush your teeth thoroughly twice daily. Floss your teeth at least once a day.
  • Choose oral hygiene products recommended by your dentist.
  • Eat a balanced diet.
  • Visit your dentist at least twice a year. Professional cleanings are the only way to remove tartar, which traps plaque bacteria along the gum line.
  • Provide your dentist with information about recent illnesses or chronic diseases you may have.

            At the Princeton Center for Dental Aesthetics and Implants, we take a holistic approach to dentistry. This means we focus on how your oral health can affect the rest of your body. It is important to take preventative measures not only to ensure your oral health is intact, but also to confirm that the rest of your body is functioning properly. To learn more about our holistic approach, visit our website:  call us at 609-924-1414 to schedule an appointment.






Breast Cancer Awareness Month: Risk Factors to Watch For

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October means the beginning of fall, Halloween, and most importantly, breast cancer awareness month. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in women after skin cancer. In 2017, 250,520 cases of breast cancer were reported in women in the United States. In Mercer County from 2013-2017, there were 1,582 new cases of female breast cancer. While it is more common for women over the age of 50 to be diagnosed with breast cancer, it is still possible for younger women to be diagnosed with this type of cancer.

Breast cancer is a cancer that forms in the cells of the breasts. These cells grow at a rapid rate and typically form a tumor that can be seen on an X-ray or felt as a lump. There are some risk factors to be aware of that have been linked to women who have breast cancer. Some of these risk factors cannot be changed, and some of them are related to your lifestyle.

Unchangeable Risk Factors:

About 5-10% of breast cancers are thought to be hereditary; they are caused by gene mutations passed on by your parents. The most common of hereditary breast cancer is an inherited mutation in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes. Normally, these genes help make proteins that rebuild DNA. The mutation of these genes can lead toabnormal cell growth that causes cancer.

Another factor that can lead to breast cancer is having a family history of breast cancer. If a first-degree relative of yours has had breast cancer, your chance of getting it almost doubles.


Lifestyle Factors:

            Alcohol intake is directly linked to an increased risk of breast cancer in women. The risk increases with the amount of alcohol consumed. Women who consume 1 drink a day have a 7% increased risk of breast cancer, while women who indulge in 2 or more drinks a day have about a 20% increased risk.

            Another factor that contributes to an increased risk of breast cancer is being overweight after going through menopause. This is because before menopause, your ovaries make most of your estrogen and fat tissue makes a small amount. After menopause, most of a woman’s estrogen comes from the fat tissue. Having more fat tissue will raise the amount of estrogen your body makes and increase your risk of breast cancer.


            Be sure to periodically check for signs of breast cancer and always visit your physician annually to get a professional opinion. If possible, consider donating to the National Breast Cancer Foundation to help women in need.