The Reality of Dental Radiation

Dental x-rays are a common diagnostic procedure that is considered extremely safe. Digital dental x-rays have very low doses of radiation, producing just a fraction of what you are exposed to in one day of natural background radiation. When these x-rays are performed properly, there’s very little cause for concern. A routine examination with four bitewing x-rays exposes you to roughly the same amount of radiation you will experience during a short one to two hour airplane flight.

Who Needs Dental X-Rays​

Dental x-rays are used diagnostically to help dentists detect damage and disease not visible during a regular dental exam. Adults receive dental x-rays so dentists can better identify and treat various issues. Using these x-rays, your dentist can see:

  • Areas of decay, including those in between teeth or under a filling
  • Bone loss associated with gum disease
  • Abscesses, which are infections at the root of the tooth or between the tooth and gum
  • Tumors
  • Changes in the root canal

Without an x-ray, many of these problems could go undiagnosed. With an x-ray as a reference, dentists are also better equipped to prepare tooth implants, dentures and other similar treatments.

Children and Dental X-Rays

Many parents are concerned about the impact of dental x-rays on children as they are more sensitive to radiation. However, the amount of radiation in a dental x-ray is still considered safe for a child. Younger patients may require X-rays more often than adults because their teeth and jaws are still developing, and their teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay than those of adults. These x-rays help dentists to:

  • Ensure the mouth is large enough to accommodate incoming teeth
  • Monitor the development of wisdom teeth
  • Determine whether primary teeth are loosening properly to accommodate new permanent teeth
  • Identify decay and gum disease early

It’s important for children to visit the dentist regularly, and to get x-rays as recommended by the dentist. The exact schedule for these x-rays will vary depending on the child’s individual needs.

Pregnancy and Dental X-Rays

Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid dental x-rays. Though the radiation is minimal, it’s best to avoid all exposure when possible for the health of the developing fetus. For this reason, it’s important to tell your dentist if you are or may be pregnant.

However, there are some instances where pregnant women should still have dental x-rays performed. If you have a dental emergency or are in the middle of a dental treatment plan, you may still need x-rays during your pregnancy. Discuss the issue with your dentist to determine the best way to proceed. It’s crucial that you balance both your dental and prenatal health. Women with periodontal disease are at a higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, so you shouldn’t neglect your teeth during pregnancy.

If your dentist deems an x-ray is necessary, there are certain precautions they follow to keep you and your baby safe. Keeping your dentist informed at all times is the best way to proceed.

Determining Whether X-Rays are Necessary

It’s up to the dentist to make an informed decision as to whether the patient needs x-rays based on:

  • Age
  • Stage of dental development
  • History of oral health
  • Risk factors for various conditions
  • Presenting symptoms

To further minimize your need for x-rays, if you have x-rays from a previous dentist, make sure to transfer these to any new provider to eliminate the need for repeat procedures.

Dental x-rays are considered extremely safe. Don’t hesitate to discuss the need for dental x-rays with your dentist to better understand how he or she can help protect and improve your oral health.

Green Your Dental Routine

Green Your Dental Routine

Earth Day began in 1970 as an event to raise awareness of our environment. What began as a single day in April is now recognized worldwide to encourage people to “think green” and promote the importance of being environmentally friendly.


In celebration of Earth Day, Star City Dental would like to share a few simple eco-friendly tips that will help keep your teeth clean and healthy, all while helping to save the environment – and your finances!

Turn Off the Faucet

It may be hard to believe, but water is not an unlimited resource. Only 1% of the Earth’s water can be safely used. Therefore, it’s important to use water efficiently. By turning off the faucet while you are brushing your teeth, you can save up to 8 gallons of water per day. That’s over 200 gallons a month! Turning the water off while you brush will greatly reduce wasted water.

Recycle/Reuse Toothbrush

It’s estimated that 50 million pounds of toothbrushes are thrown into U.S. landfills each year. Since toothbrushes and flossing sticks are made primarily of plastic, many are considered recyclable. Using a toothbrush with a replaceable head or one that is biodegradable or made of recycled materials also reduces the amount of waste when it needs to be replaced. Once your toothbrush has reached its life expectancy (3-4 months), reuse it for cleaning around the house, jewelry–even your shoes.

Do Not Flush Floss

Non-biodegradable nylon floss cannot dissolve in water and will not break down like other disposable products. When floss is flushed down the toilet, it works its way through the water system, polluting the water and potentially killing birds, animals and fish through accidental indigestion. This is avoidable by simply throwing the floss into the garbage.

Conserve Energy

We spend a lot of time in the bathroom getting ready. So, switch out old bulbs for LED ones or, if you can, just use natural light. Turn off the bathroom fan as soon as the moisture from the shower has dissipated. Since bathroom fans suck air outside, they suck out air you’ve paid to heat or cool. Unplug your electric toothbrush charger. It isn’t necessary to charge your electric toothbrush every day, all day – or to leave the charger plugged in. Even though it’s turned off, it is still very likely consuming electricity.

Brush Your Teeth Together

Not only will this tip cut down on water waste, it will also help make sure everyone in your family is staying on top of their oral health. Instead of having the entire family brush their teeth separately, make it a family event. This works great with young children as well, because it helps promote the importance of oral care as they age.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

One of the easiest ways to participate in Earth Day is by simply reducing the amount of refuse that ends up in landfills. Many communities have recycling programs for paper, plastic and metal refuse. Doing so reduces the need for new disposal space, the amount of energy needed to burn refuse and helps conserve the resources used to make new products. Additionally, many products can be repurposed to create a new item. Old furniture can be remade into a new piece. Old clothing can be used for craft items. If you can’t find ways to reuse your old items, donate them to a charity.

Using these eco-friendly toothbrushing tips every time you brush your teeth can help dramatically decrease your environmental footprint. If you’d like to learn more about how to maintain a healthy smile, contact Star City Dental to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced dentists.

6 Easy Ways to Start Giving Back

The month of April is a great time to get involved and help make a difference in your community. Here are 6 easy steps to get you started giving back.

  • Pick A Cause

First, choose a cause or charity that you’re passionate about and start advocating for it in your daily life through social media, conversations with friends and family, adjustments to your habits, etc.

  • Donate – Time or Money

We offer the cheapest international and domestic ticket prices, which you can book online or after arriving.

  • Help a Neighbor

A great way to give back is by helping a neighbor in need. Cook a meal or mow the lawn for someone in your community who could use some help.

  • Gather Your Friends

The more people you’ve got behind you, the bigger impact you can make! Get a group together and tackle a cause one Saturday each month.

  • Spread the Word

When you’ve found a group that does good in your community, don’t keep it to yourself. Spread the word to colleagues, family and neighbors and encourage them to participate.

  • Make It A Habit

Giving back really does feel good. And once you start, you may never want to stop. So, do your best to volunteer or donate on a regular basis – it’ll become a habit in no time.

Bubble Challenge

Many Oral Cancer patients have had their mouths reconstructed, teeth removed, palates removed, pieces of their tongue removed and simply cannot ever chew gum again…or blow a bubble.

The Bubble Challenge Campaign was launched to help create awareness about oral cancer and to help many oral cancer survivors. Let’s Blow A Bubble for Those Who Can’t!


We encourage you to take a photo blowing a bubble while in the clinic and post it to your social media tagging Star City Dental and including the hashtag #bubblechallenge.

You can also donate to help oral cancer patients thru Oral Cancer Cause. You can make your donation HERE. OCC’s purpose is to improve the quality of life for oral cancer patients through financial support so that they may face the world with peace and dignity during and after medical treatment.

For more information visit

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Oral cancer is divided into two categories – those occurring in the oral cavity (your lips, the inside of your lips and cheeks, teeth, gums, the front two-thirds of your tongue and the floor and roof of your mouth) and those occurring in the oropharynx (middle region of the throat, including the tonsils and base of the tongue).

Early detection may result in better treatment outcomes and may help keep you or someone you love from becoming one of the 10,030 people whose lives may be claimed this year by the disease. The 5-year survival rate of those diagnosed is approximately 60 percent.

Where Can Oral Cancer Appear?

The oral cavity includes your lips, cheek lining, gums, front part of your tongue, floor of the mouth beneath the tongue and the hard palate that makes up the roof of your mouth. The throat (pharynx) starts at the soft part of the roof of your mouth and continues back into your throat. It includes the back section of your tongue, as well as the base where the tongue attaches to the floor of your mouth.

What Are the Symptoms of Oral Cancer?

It’s important to be aware of the following signs and symptoms and to see your dentist if they do not disappear after two weeks. 

  • A sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • Red or white patches
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
  • A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

Some people complain of a sore throat, feeling like something is caught in their throat, numbness, hoarseness or a change in voice. If you have any of these symptoms, let your dentist know, especially if you’ve had them for two weeks or more.

What Are the Risk Factors for Oral Cancer?

Research has identified a number of factors that increase the risk of developing oral cancers. Men are twice more likely to get oral cancer than women. Smokers and excessive alcohol drinkers older than 50 are the most at-risk. 

The human papilloma virus (HPV), which is sexually transmitted, has also been associated with throat cancers at the back of the mouth. HPV-positive head and neck cancers are related to the rise in throat cancers in non-smoking adults. HPV-positive head and neck cancers typically develop in the throat at the base of the tongue and in the folds of the tonsils making them difficult to detect. Although people with HPV-positive cancers have a lower risk of dying or having recurrence than those with HPV-negative cancers, early diagnosis is associated with the best outcomes. Regular dental check-ups that include an examination of the entire head and neck can be vital in detecting cancer early.  

How Can My Dentist Help Detect Oral Cancer Early?

During your regular exam, your dentist will ask you about changes in your medical history and whether you’ve been having any new or unusual symptoms.

Then, your dentist will check your oral cavity. This includes your lips, cheek lining, gums, the front part of your tongue, the floor of your mouth and the roof of your mouth. Your dentist will also examine your throat (pharynx) at the soft part at the roof of your mouth, including your tonsils, the back section of your tongue and where your tongue attaches to the bottom of your mouth. The dentist will then feel your jaw and neck for any lumps or abnormalities.

What Happens If My Dentist Finds Something Suspicious?

Stay calm. Your dentist won’t be able to tell right away if what he or she is looking at is cancerous, so he or she may refer you for testing. Your dentist might also reexamine you a week or two later to see if questionable spots are healing on their own before recommending additional follow-up. Together, you and your dentist can create the best strategy for diagnosis, treatment and prevention.

What Can I Do to Prevent Oral Cancer?

The most important thing is to be aware of your risk factors. Men are twice more likely to get oral cancer as they get older. If you smoke, drink excessive amounts of alcohol or have a poor diet, changing these habits can decrease the chances of developing oral cancer.

Certain strains of HPV can also put you at risk. The CDC recommends that 11 to 12 year old boys and girls get two doses of HPV vaccine to prevent cervical and other less common genital cancers. It is possible that the HPV vaccine might also prevent head and neck cancers – since the vaccine prevents an initial infection with HPV types that can cause head and neck cancers – but the studies currently underway do not yet have sufficient data to say whether the HPV vaccine will prevent these cancers.

If you have had oral cancer before, you may be more likely to develop it again so keep up those regular visits.

Important Benefits of Dental Cleanings


Important Benefits of Dental Cleanings

We’ve all been advised to brush at least twice a day and floss before bed. But how often do you have your teeth cleaned? The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), recommends that a dentist or hygienist perform a dental cleaning every six months, however many people do not. 

Here are six reasons why professional cleanings are so important:

Bad Breath

Halitosis is often attributed to a dental problem rather than an issue with food or general health. Persistent bad breath can cause social anxiety and other issues, but it doesn’t have to. A thorough dental cleaning will remove plaque and tartar from hard-to-reach places. This also gives you an opportunity to discuss ways to improve home care with your dentist or hygienist to support fresh breath all day long.


Dental cleanings are not intended to whiten severely stained teeth. This routine care does, however, polish the surface of enamel to create a brighter, shinier exterior. Many of the stains that sit on the outermost layer of enamel can be lifted slightly during a routine cleaning. That means your investment into professional teeth whitening will go farther!

Gum Disease

There are several levels of teeth cleaning that may be performed to address gum disease. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease. This early condition can be successfully treated, and damage reversed, with an appropriate cleaning. It’s important to note that more advanced stages of gum disease require more frequent care, and deeper cleanings that target bacteria beneath the gum line. Additionally, if gum disease is left untreated, patients will experience tooth loss.

Oral Cancer

In America alone, one person dies from oral cancer every hour. Many of these cancers are curable if detected at an early stage during a routine cleaning.

Inflammatory Conditions

Due to their chronic nature, dental conditions like gum disease, have been associated with a number of health conditions including cardiovascular disease and stroke. The inflammation that persists inside the mouth causes C-reactive protein in the blood to rise. This elevation is a marker for inflammatory conditions throughout the body, and for cardiac events.

Detect Potential Issues

Professional cleanings not only reinforce the home-care oral health regimen but gives your dentist an opportunity to locate areas in the mouth that may need special attention. Early signs of problems such as broken fillings and fractures can easily be identified and corrected.

Overall, taking the time to have your teeth cleaned can prevent general discomfort and even tooth loss. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, now is the time to schedule an exam so that you can prevent many common oral health issues that can negatively impact your quality of life. Contact your local Neighborhood Dental clinic today!

The Art of Dentistry

The "Art" of Dentistry

Dentistry is often referred to as an art. However, the art we’re referring to here cannot be acquired at your dentist’s office. Here are 15 dental-inspired pieces for your home we think you’ll like!

By Star City Dental 



Looking for a fun art piece for your kid’s room? Well, this limited-edition illustration by Oliver Lake is printed on 11.6” x 16.5” archival matte canvas. The print is part of a limited edition of 150 and comes numbered, signed and hand titled by the artist.

Get one from Etsy for $20.00.

SPI - SpiderBrush

This numbered edition Giclée Art Print, designed by Grégoire GUILLEMIN, comes with a numbered and signed certificate of authenticity. Printed on 100% cotton, acid-free, heavyweight paper using HDR UltraChrome Archival Ink. Available in various sizes from 8”x11” to 40”x56”.

Get one from Etsy for $89.00+.

Saint Apollonia

This handmade original illustration by Micaela Riva features the Patroness of Dentistry and those suffering from toothaches or dental problems. It was inspired by old traditional Italian prayer cards call “Santini.”

Get one from Etsy for $9.36+.


Layered Abstract Molars

This bright, modern abstract would brighten up any room. This print by Renee Leigh Stephenson is available as either a 12”x16” or 24”x24”.

Get one from Etsy for $24.25+.

Colorful Symbolic Teeth

This abstract piece by Katie Vernon has been printed on archival bamboo fine art paper with archival pigment ink. Each print is signed and is available as either an 8”x11” or 11”x14”.

Get one from Etsy for $18.00+.

Molar Blue

This stretched canvas print by Kaitlin Walsh was inspired by how the terrain and negative space in a tooth cross section are reminiscent of nature. In Kaitlin’s words, “In a simple cross section, I see bottomless lakes, harsh valleys, regal mountains. That the majesty of nature can be echoed in this tiny, plain, functional thing is exhilarating.”

Get one from Etsy for $89.00+.


Flowers In Vase

This piece is downloadable and can be used in a multitude of ways, i.e. printed and framed, printed and placed on a clipboard, made into a canvas or used as a screensaver or background. It’s entirely up to you!

Get one from Etsy for $6.20+.

Somewhere I Can't Breathe

This surrealistic etching by Jean-Philippe Paumier is inspired by a Chinese landscape. Both the original etching and 14” x 21” prints on canvas are available for sale.

Get one from Etsy for $135.00+.

Surreal Tooth Island

Very creative if we don’t say so ourselves! This print by Heather Galler is available in multiple sizes and is currently on sale!

Get one from Etsy for $19.15+.

Mixed Media / Collage

Dental Hygiene Skull

Andy Warhol-inspired, this mixed-media print is on an authentic antique page from an 1881 German illustrated magazine – Gazebo. It is handmade and signed by Jaroslav Seibert. And in case you missed it, the skull is flossing!

Get one from Etsy for $12.00+.

Speak No Evil

This 8”x8” archival print on Kodak Endura paper was created by Michael and Amy Monko. The collage was made by using antique medical book drawings that they took photos of, layered with photos of film and other backgrounds.

Get one from Etsy for $30.00+.

The Tooth Brusher

This mixed media piece by Erin McGill was handmade using acrylic, cut paper, glue, ink and colored pencil on canvas. Plus, it’s coated with matte varnish so it’s safe for the kid’s bathroom!

Get one from Etsy for $24.00+.


Vintage WPA Poster – Keep Your Teeth Clean

This made-to-order piece is digitally reproduced on canvas with archival UltraChrome Ink and sprayed with protective UV coating and hand-stretched around a 1.25” thick wood frame.

Get one from Etsy for $76.95+.

Gold Nivea Dental Soap Poster

Reproduction of a vintage poster. This ready-to-frame wall art is printed to order on heavyweight semi-gloss photo paper. Available in various sizes from 8”x10” to 11”x14”.

Get one from Etsy for $19.99+.

Antique Dental Advertisement

An antique advertisement for The Ideal Felt Tooth Polisher. Printed over an upcycled book art page by Neece. You can upgrade to a variety of other book pages or request a custom order.

Get one from Etsy for $13.00+.

What Do Dental Assistants Do?

Do you ever look around at your dental office and wonder, “Who is that person assisting the dentist?” Well, we are Dental Assistants.

Dental Assistant

Dental Assistants are those who help the doctors take care of their patients’ treatment. They make sure that you are comfortable while being treated and aid the doctor with whatever he/she needs while your treatment is being completed. They play a big role in the smooth running of the dental office, checking on others to help and making sure the dentist has what they require in order to attend to your dental needs. Here are some of the tasks that dental assistants do on a regular basis:

Prepare instruments for upcoming procedures

Greet patients and show them to the exam room

Assist the dentist with procedures by handing them needed instruments (chairside assisting)

Handle lab procedures such as cleaning dentures, taking impressions, and processing orders

Provide patients with home care instructions

Update dental records and other administrative tasks​

The exact duties of a dental assistant will vary depending on the job. Some dental assistants spend more time in the lab, while others may have administrative duties such as scheduling appointments and organizing paperwork.

With dental assisting, no two days are ever the same! Many dental assistants like the variety of tasks they get to handle. While a hygienist spends the majority of the day providing teeth cleanings, a dental assistant tends to have a wider variety of tasks throughout the day.

So, the next time you are at the dental office, you will know who is assisting the doctor and be sure to know that we are all here to make your dental experience as pleasant as it can be. Your dental health is our main priority and we want you to leave our office smiling!

National Children’s Dental Health Month

Happy National Children’s Dental Health Month!

NCDHM began as a 1-day event in 1941, which then became a week-long celebration in 1955 and has now become a full holiday. Most states and dental clinics participate in NCDHM with activities and free screenings for kids.

Each year the American Dental Association promotes a different campaign targeting a new dental health goal. This year’s campaign gives us the perfect opportunity to highlight the importance of maintaining a health smile.

Part of a child’s development and overall health includes the health of their teeth and gums. The mouth harbors a lot of bacteria throughout the day and night, which eventually leads to tooth decay if your child’s smile isn’t regularly brushed and flossed. Without proper dental care, children will fall victim to cavities and gum disease, which can cause pain, discomfort, lack of nutrition intake and missed school.

However, there are several things you can do to help set your children up for good oral and overall health for life!

Brush for 2 Minutes, 2 Times a Day

Brushing for 2 minutes twice a day is recommended—especially after breakfast and before bedtime. Try making up or finding a 2-minute song about brushing to make it more fun.

Drink Fluoridated Water

Skip the fruit juice. Fruit juices and sodas are packed with sugar. When paired with proper brushing and flossing, fluoridated water is your child’s best bet for a cavity-free smile!

Use Fluoridated Toothpaste

Toothpaste with fluoride is proven to be more effective for cavity protection. Many brands have fluoridated toothpaste for kids with fun flavors!

Eat A Balanced Diet

We all love the occasional sweet treat! With that said, you want to make sure your child’s diet mostly contains a healthy mix of fruits, veggies and proteins. When they do indulge in sweets, be sure they have a glass of fluoridated water to rinse with until it’s time to brush!

Floss Before Bed

Flossing is essential to your child’s dental health. You can begin flossing your child’s teeth when they touch together. Your dentist can show you how to floss your child’s teeth until they have the manual dexterity to do so themselves.

Visit the Dentist

Visit a dental professional every 6 months to maintain healthy teeth and a bright smile!

Education is one of our most important practice values, and we love getting parents and kids excited about dental care! Contact us to set up an appointment today!

Looking for other fun dental-related activities for your kids? Download the following American Dental Association (ADA) activity sheets!

Don’t Forget the Mouthguard

Don't Forget the Mouthguard

Every sport your child plays seems to include a giant list of equipment required in order to protect them. Everything from helmets, shin guards, elbow pads, knee pads, shoulder pads, etc. Except for a few sports like football and hockey, one important piece of protective equipment that often gets overlooked is a mouthguard. Mouthguards not only protect your teeth, but also help cushion against any form of impact to the head or face, possibly protecting against jaw injuries, lip or mouth lacerations-even concussions.

All Mouthguards Are Not Created Equal

You can buy mouthguards in most sporting goods stores and even the sport sections of many big box stores. These types of mouthguards are usually inexpensive and are “one size fits all.” Now a generic mouthguard is better than nothing and can work quite well for some kids. However, the biggest issue is getting them to fit properly. As someone who has tried to fit many of these through the years, I know it can get quite frustrating for parents–and scary for kids. Raise your hand if you like putting boiling hot silicone in your mouth! A better choice might be a custom fit mouthguard from the dentist. Your dentist will take an actual mold of your teeth so the mouthguard will fit perfectly, be more comfortable and more likely to be worn without complaint. They might cost a little more but are far less expensive than a costly tooth repair. Plus, no scalding hot water is needed!

All Mouthguards Are Not Created Equal

When it comes to your kids’ teeth, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Here is a list of suggested sports for mouthguard use:

– Football

– Soccer

– Ice/Roller Hockey

– Basketball

– Boxing

– Lacrosse

– Baseball/Softball

– Volleyball

– Wrestling

– Skiing/Snowboarding

– Racquetball

Not taking the proper precautions with your kid’s teeth can become painful and costly. The best way to avoid this potential pain and expense is with a properly fitted mouthguard. You can try one from a sports store and see if it works for you. However, a custom fit mouthguard will provide great protection and might even keep your child from complaining about having to wear it. A parent can dream, can’t they?