The 10 Best Smiles in Pittsburgh

Plus - we poll dentists included in our 2016 list of topDentists for their opinions and tips gleaned from years of experience in their profession.

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Keep Smiling

Please note that not all topDentists responded to our questions. Those who participated did not necessarily respond to each question, and some provided more than one answer per query. Some answers have been condensed.

Electric or manual? Which toothbrush is better?

  • They’re all effective. It’s how you use it. Brain and hand are most important. 
  • Manual with soft bristles.  
  • Softest manual toothbrush available.
  • Electric. Most people don’t brush for two minutes, and the electric [version] makes them realize that.
  • Oral B. 
  • It depends on the individual. I’m a manual user, but I do recommend electric to some patients. 
  • We definitely endorse Philips Sonicare because it removes much more plaque than a manual. 
  • Oral B. I tell people to get a kid’s brush — the adult brush is so big that people can’t get it past their back molars. 
  • I personally use an electric toothbrush, but it’s more important to actually brush correctly. 
  • I’m a fan of manual with the right technique. People get comfortable with the power toothbrushes, and they think the toothbrush will do the work for you, but you still need to brush properly. 
  • We do a combination of manual and battery-operated. 
  • Oral B.

How do you put your patients at ease?

  • Putting them in control and educating them.
  • Make them feel at home. 
  • Use the best local anesthetic and create an open atmosphere in the office [in which] they aren’t enclosed. 
  • Good chair-side manners, explain everything and put them in charge. 
  • Office location is a house rather than an office building. 
  • Open operatory — there’s not much with this in orthodontics. 
  • I had a little girl once who needed [to have] a tooth extracted, and we did a lot of yoga breathing. It worked; it distracted her enough to get the tooth out. 
  • Sedation, [and] talk to them.
  • Treat them like they’re a guest rather than a patient and talk to them like we’re two people having a conversation, and after a few minutes they relax a little bit.
  • Mainly a personal-touch approach and getting to know the patient before we know their teeth.
  • A reassuring word or reassurance that we’re going to be as gentle as we can. Ultimately they’re in charge, and they just have to raise their hand and we’ll stop and take a break if they need. That usually puts them at ease. 
  • Always joking gets people [to forget] where they’re at. Some pretty funny jokes and some I can’t even repeat. Some people have a different sense of humor than I do. I was humming and singing while I was doing a crown, and the patient said to me, “Doctor, I pay you to do dentistry, not to sing.” 
  • I try to be as welcoming and friendly as possible when people walk in the door and thoroughly explain everything I’m going to do. 
  • I reassure patients a couple of different ways. One is by explaining everything very well. The other way is to make them laugh and keep them relaxed by telling jokes. 
  • Make them laugh and feel as though they are family.
  • Being honest.

What’s IN and OUT in the world of dental care?

  • Implants are exciting, as is the bigger focus on and awareness about the connection between traditional medicine and dentistry. 
  • CAD/CAM [computer-aided design and manufacturing] technology. 
  • Intraoral scanning; it’s still a bit costly, but it provides convenience. Fewer impressions are needed. 
  • Old silver fillings are out, resin fillings in. Removable partials out, implants in. 
  • Implants versus bridges are definitely becoming the standard of care. 
  • In the past, white fillings were not comparable to the strength of silver, so they didn’t last as long, but even within the past five years they’ve become so wear-resistant and comparable to the strength of the silver filling that in most cases I recommend them. Also, implants are the new standard of care. 
  • Impression materials, temporalization materials, cement materials — they’re all changing. Implants are the best thing that has happened to dentistry during my career. 
  • The biggest thing is Invisalign [clear braces]. It’s here to stay … it’s really a wonderful product, and it’s gaining more and more popularity.
  • Laser dentistry is a new trend. You can do fillings without getting people numb. It’s not for everyone and every filling, but you can do a lot of things for little kids without getting them numb.
  • Nothing. Dentistry is very complicated, and there are so many options. 
  • Definitely implants would be high on the list.

Top foods that are BAD for your teeth (including some Pittsburgh favorites)

  • Energy sports drinks 
  • Sweets/junk food  
  • Anything acidic and junk food, such as Clark Bars
  • Krispy Kreme doughnuts 
  • There is a big problem right now with an overabundance of soft drinks and sports drinks, coupled with bottled water that doesn’t have fluoride with it.  
  • Anything super-acidic. Those iced teas that everybody drinks — those little cartons of iced tea. How people just sip on those all day is awful. 
  • I just see so many people drinking [containers of] iced tea in general. People love that tea, and their teeth are just bathing in sugar. Any sugary or sweet liquid is going to feed that bacteria that causes tooth decay, and it’s going to just wreak havoc. 
  • Lozenges and sugary things  
  • Eat anything you enjoy, and make sure your teeth are clean. 
  • Anything very high in sugar and very acidic. A lot of juices and coffees, especially if you put creamers in. They’re OK to have in moderation. It’s important that you don’t slowly sip on them all day because that’s just continuing to put your teeth in an acid bath. 
  • It’s festival and fair time. Funnel cakes. In the summertime, beware of the funnel cakes. 
  • Clark Bars — but nothing is bad if you have a good dentist. 
  • Anything that’s consistent. A can of Coke on your desk — that kind of thing. Something [in which] you’re consistently bathing your teeth.


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