Tooth Anatomy and Functions

Understanding the anatomy of the tooth and its functions is essential for maintaining a healthy smile and preventing dental issues like cavities and gum disease. By exploring the structure and purpose of the tooth, we can gain a deeper appreciation for this remarkable part of our bodies.


The hardest substance in the body, on the outside of the tooth. It contains no living cells; tooth enamel cannot repair damage from decay or from wear. Only a dentist can correct these conditions.


Softer than enamel, the second layer of the tooth. It contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering (enamel), the tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth, causing sensitivity.


The visible portion of the tooth that protrudes from the gum, covered by enamel.


The part of the tooth that is embedded in the jawbone.


The deepest layer inside the tooth, consisting of nerves and blood vessels. If any bacteria gets past the enamel and dentin, the pulp becomes inflamed in an attempt to protect the tooth. Inflammation can cause pulpitis which can be very painful.


Hard connective tissue covering the tooth root, giving attachment to the periodontal ligament.

Periodontal Ligament

Is a group of specialized connective tissue fibers that attach the tooth to the alveolar bone. The PDL inserts into root cementum on one side and onto alveolar bone on the other.

Nerve & Blood Supply

The root contains blood vessels and nerves, which supply blood and feeling to the whole tooth.


To learn more about your tooth anatomy and function, call us at (941) 957-3311

Jaw Pain Relief for TMJ Pain

Teeth grinding, tight clenching and constant contact between your upper and lower teeth all put stress on the temporomandibular joint, also referred to as the TMJ. These two joints connect your lower jaw to your skull. Jaw discomfort, tightness, facial pain, headaches, earaches and neck stiffness are all possible symptoms leading to TMJ.

Joint anatomy: The TMJ is a very busy, constantly used joint. You have two joints located on both sides of your head, at the front of your ears. The TMJ acts as both a hinge and sliding joint and includes a small disk that acts as a shock absorber.

Masseter: Most powerful jaw muscle in mastication (chewing). This muscle lifts your jaw and closes your mouth.

Pterygoid Muscles: Lateral and medial pterygoid muscles are involved in jaw lifting, mouth closing and sliding your jaw forward or side to side.

Temporalis Muscle: The temporalis muscle which runs from the temporal bone (each side of the head to the bony part of the lower jaw) is the muscle involved in crushing and grinding food.

When the TMJ disk erodes or the joint cartilage is damaged by arthritis or trauma, pain can arise in that spot. Dental problems like an incorrect bite can play into TMJ issues as well. Because the TMJ muscle, nerves and bone are all connected through the face and body, TMJ problems may have a wide range of cause and effects.

TMJ related symptoms:

  • Pain while chewing – tight jaw muscles
  • Tell-tale signs – clicking and/or popping sounds
  • Ear pain – because the joint sits in front of the ear, it causes pain in and around the ear and possibly down the neck if severe enough.
  • Headaches – morning headaches can result from clenching or grinding at night. Tension headaches occur in people with TMJ disorders.

Early reminders for TMJ problems

Early detection of TMJ issues is essential in recognizing the problem and being able to aid in the pain before it becomes worse or does permanent damage. Warm compresses over the joint will help relieve the pain or discomfort in the area. Compresses should be left on for no more than twenty minutes at a time. Targeted exercises and physical therapy can also help with tension relief. Gentle jaw opening and closing exercises help stretch the muscles. Sliding the jaw back and forth also helps with stretching the muscle as well. Pain management with such over the counter medications such as Tylenol and Ibuprofen can also help. Your doctor might want to consider making you a customized occlusal guard. Occlusal guards are a removable appliance you wear while sleeping. An occlusal guard provides a cushion between your upper and lower teeth to prevent grinding. Occlusal guards also encourage the jaw muscle to relax giving you a more restful night of sleep.

If you find that you are waking up to aches and pains, it might be a sure sign that you are grinding or clenching your teeth at night. At Smile Sarasota, Dr. Still is able to make you a custom mouth guard that fits your mouth along with a variety of different techniques to help alleviate the pain and stress of tooth-on-tooth damage.

Why Do Hygienists Use String Dental Floss?

We asked our dental hygienist Sharon, why she uses string dental floss with her patients.

String dental floss, inter proximal soft picks and water flosses are all beneficial tools in adding in plaque removal and helping to keep our mouths clean. However, they each have different functions.

I use floss at the end of the hygiene appointment for several reasons:

  1. To remove any remaining plaque or food particles that are directly in the contact areas of the teeth – this area is only accessible with floss.
  2. I also use floss as a way of checking and feeling between the teeth for any remaining calculus. You want the tooth surface to feel smooth after a cleaning.
  3. Flossing also helps to remove any remaining tooth polish that may be still present.

There is not a need to use a water flosser or soft picks at the end of a cleaning because the teeth have already been cleaned with the ultrasonic scaler which flushes out between teeth and gums with water and hand instruments that remove soft and hard deposits on the teeth and under the gum tissue. Water flossers and soft picks are great to use at home for daily cleaning of teeth and gums along with daily thorough brushing and flossing with string dental floss.

Aesthetic Veneers after Ortho

Case Presentation

Patient Info: The patient is a male in his mid-20’s. He is a non-smoker with a history of orthodontic treatment and no history of dental disease.

Chief Complaint: The patient wanted to fix his peg lateral incisors (a condition in which the second tooth on either side of the two front teeth does not develop correctly often resulting in small, pointed and cone shaped teeth.)

Expectation of dental treatment: The patient would like to have fuller and wider teeth and improve his smile with veneer cosmetic dentistry.

Clinical Examination: The patient came to the office for a consultation after completing Invisalign orthodontic treatment. The patient wanted to have veneers placed from canine to canine on the upper arch of his teeth. The patient also wanted to whiten his teeth prior to the veneers being permanently cemented.

Prep-op Pics:

Impressions of both the upper and lower arch were taken. A wax up was made of what the teeth are expected to look like with veneers. A wax up is a dental diagnostic procedure in which planned restorations are developed in wax, on a cast, to determine the optimal clinical and laboratory procedures necessary and capable to achieve the desired aesthetics and function. The patient would like to aesthetically fix upper anterior/front teeth.

Treatment plan with options: The patient came to the office for a consult following the impressions being taken for the wax up. The patient is overall very pleased with the aesthetic look of the veneer wax up. Whitening trays were also delivered at the follow up consult appointment. At home whitening instructions were explained to the patient. Veneer preparation was completed a couple weeks after the patient whitened to allow for the most optimal whitening of the teeth.

Post-op Pictures of completed case:

The patient was incredibly happy with the way the veneers filled out and gave fullness to his upper front teeth. The peg lateral teeth have been fixed to now match the length of all his other teeth. The patient was advised to be careful with the veneers and to follow up with whitening treatments as to have other surrounding teeth match the color of his veneers.

Tooth Sensitivity. Why is it happening?

Have you ever felt pain after a bite of cold ice cream or a spoonful of hot soup? If so, you’re not alone. While pain caused by hot or cold temperatures could be a sign of a cavity, it is also common in people who have sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity, or “Dentin Hypersensitivity” is pain or discomfort in the teeth or tooth as a response to certain stimuli, such as hot and cold temperatures.

Symptoms of sensitive teeth:

  • Hot OR cold foods or beverages
  • Cold air
  • Sweet foods or beverages
  • Acidic foods or beverages
  • Alcohol-based mouth rinse
  • Dental related issues such as decay (cavities), fractured teeth, worn fillings, gum disease, worn tooth enamel and exposed tooth roots.

In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns (tooth matter above gums) that are visibly seen. Under the gum line, there is a layer called the Cementum that protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel (upper) and cementum (lower) is the tooth dentin. Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains dentin tubules. Dentin tubules are located in the dentin of the tooth and allow the tooth to feel sensations. When dentin loses its protective covering, these tubes allow heat and cold or acidic foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth.

Factors that contribute to sensitivity:

  • Brushing too hard or using a hard bristle toothbrush can wear down enamel causing dentin to be exposed.
  • Gum recession – often happens with gum disease. Recession exposes the dentin.
  • Cracked teeth – cracks can become filled with bacteria and cause inflammation in the pulp which could possibly lead to abscess and infection.
  • Teeth grinding or clenching.
  • Plaque build-up.
  • Long term use of mouthwash – some over the counter mouthwash brands contain acids which can worsen tooth sensitivity.
  • Acidic foods – can break down tooth enamel.

Sensitivity in teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the tooth sensitivity. Dr. Still will recommend one of the varieties of treatments best suited for the issue.

  • Desensitizing toothpaste – contains compounds that help block transmissions of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve.
  • Crown, Onlay/Inlay or Bonding – these options can be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity.
  • Surgical Gum Graft – If gum tissue has been lost or withdrawn from the root, a gum graft will help to protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
  • Root Canal – If the sensitivity is severe enough and cannot be treated by other means, Dr. Still may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.

Why We Do Dental Probing

Have you ever wondered why your dentist or hygienist is poking around at your gums? What he or she is doing is checking the depth of gum tissue pockets that are surrounding your teeth. Probing is a proactive way to identify your risk for gum disease and to possibly catch it early. Probing and charting is one of the hygienists’ most important tools for determining the condition of your gums and the type of cleaning you need for best oral health.

What do you use to measure these pockets?

Dental probing is done by using a tool called a dental probe to measure the depth of a tooth’s socket. The dental probe acts as a ruler with markings along its side in millimeters (mm). To measure the depth of your tooth’s pocket, the dentist or hygienist will gently place the probe into the pocket (loose gums between the tooth and gums) and take note of the measurements. Six measurements are taken per tooth, three along the outside by your cheek and three along the inside by your tongue.

What are healthy readings for pockets?

A depth of 3mm or under without any bleeding is generally accepted as a healthy pocket.

What happens if I have deep probing pockets?

Above the 3mm pockets, your dentist or hygienist may suggest a more thorough cleaning which goes deeper under the gums to remove bacteria trapped that a general cleaning might not get. These deep cleanings are called periodontal scalings. These particular cleanings are broken up into 4 quadrants of the mouth so the hygienist can focus on one area at a time for the cleaning outcome. If the probing numbers reach above 5mm to 10mm, your dentist will most likely refer you to a periodontist for gum treatment.

Can deep pockets be reversed?

Yes! If caught early. Between your dental visits at the office and most importantly your home health care, pockets can be managed and treated with positive outcomes. Flossing is always a MUST to keep the small spaces between your teeth and gums clean.

Periodontal probing has gotten a bad rap for being tedious and time-consuming but provides valuable information the hygienist can use to help motivate better home care and overall oral health. The periodontal probe allows evaluation for gum disease severity, progress in healing and the best results for a great therapeutic effort.

What is a Root Canal?

Just the phrase “root canal” creates anxiety and stress for some patients. However, there is no need to be worried if your dentist or endodontist prescribes a root canal procedure to treat your damaged or diseased tooth. Millions of teeth are treated and most importantly saved this way each year, relieving pain and making teeth healthy and functional again.

Inside your tooth, below the top layer called enamel, and the second layer called dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. This particular tissue contains blood vessels and nerves. If a cavity or crack is left untreated, bacteria enters the tooth through the access points and gets into the nerve causing irritation, inflammation and infection. During a root canal procedure, the nerve and pulp of the tooth are removed and the inside is cleaned and sealed. The function of the nerve is to allow for sensory – to allow the sensation of hot or cold to be felt. The absence of a nerve won’t affect how your tooth works.

Once, the treatment of the root canal is finished, it is incredibly essential that a crown is placed on the tooth shortly after endodontic treatment. Having a crown placed will help the tooth stability and offer strength back to the tooth to protect against further cracks, breaks and decay as long as proper hygiene is accounted for. Having your tooth prepared for a crown is not much different from a regular crown procedure aside from filling the access hole where the endodontist cleaned the canals out. Dr. Still will prepare around the tooth and on top, fill the access hole and prepare the tooth for the new crown. Shortly after, you will return to have your crown permanently cemented and your tooth will be back to working order.


If you feel that your tooth may be compromised by decay or cracks leading to pain and discomfort, give our office, Smile Sarasota a call and make an appointment to have an evaluation.

Electric Vs. Manual Toothbrush

manual vs electric toothbrushesBrushing your teeth is the foundation for good oral care and prevention. Dental professionals agree that brushing your teeth for two minutes, twice a day is the most effective step you can take to get rid of bacteria that causes plaque. Plaque is a sticky film that adheres to your teeth. When plaque builds up and becomes hard, it turns into tartar which causes tooth decay as well as gum disease. However, with the invention of the electric powered toothbrush, many are having a hard time deciding what is best for the overall health of their teeth.

The Benefits of Electric Toothbrush

  • Rechargeable electric power toothbrushes (or “power” toothbrush) provide superior plaque removal as opposed to regular manual toothbrushes. Because electric powered toothbrushes provide the brushing action for you, many people find using power toothbrushes easier than using regular manual brushes. Additionally, with so many different types and features available in electric toothbrushes, it’s easy to find one that suits your specific oral health needs.
  • Aside from the major benefit of electric toothbrushes doing the manual work for you, they can be a huge benefit for people with arthritis or other conditions with limits to dexterity. The range of variable speeds can also be helpful for people with sensitive teeth and gums. Some of the higher-range power driven toothbrushes even provide a warning light to alert the person when they are applying too much pressure to their teeth. Too much pressure will jump start gum recession which can make the person susceptible to sensitivity and decay.
  • Electric toothbrushes can be great for kids too. Kids can often times be reluctant to brush their teeth, so electric toothbrushes can seem more fun for them to use. Most electric toothbrushes also include a built-in timer to make sure you are brushing your teeth for at least two minutes. Some toothbrushes even come with downloadable apps to better guide children or even adults with informal techniques for brushing, schedules, and timers.

The Takeaway

Both electric and manual toothbrushes are effective at cleaning your teeth if you use proper technique and brush often enough. Overall, the electric toothbrush is going to make your overall brushing experience better, resulting in plaque removal. If you have any questions about which toothbrush might be best for you, give us a call at Smile Sarasota!

Deck the Halls with Great Dental Care!

Guess who loves eating holiday treats and goodies as much and you do? Friends? Yep. Family? Of course. Kids? Duh! But they aren’t the only ones. The bacteria in your mouth is loving it! Thankfully, you can take a few steps during the holiday meals, get-togethers and parties to maximize the protection and health of your teeth.

  • Eat sweets WITH your meal rather than after. The excess saliva will help wash down the sugars so that it doesn’t linger on your teeth.
  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking water cleans the mouth and produces saliva that helps deposit essential minerals for tooth enamel. Water helps wash away food particles from the teeth.
  • Keep to a clean diet during the holiday season as much as possible, given that you’ll most likely be surrounded by delicious tempting treats. Vegetables such as carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and cucumbers can help clean your teeth and gums by removing food particles that can build up into plaque. Fruits such as apples, strawberries and kiwis scrub your teeth when you eat them. Natural fibers of the fruits combined with your saliva can help wash away food particles and stain-causing bacteria.

Eating sweets during the holidays is almost inevitable. They are everywhere!! And sometimes too good to pass up. Here’s a list of particularly naughty treats to be careful with:

  • Candy canes (more like candy crush!)
  • Peppermint bark (if your teeth are fragile, dipping small pieces in milk should help soften them up)
  • Caramels, taffy and peanut brittle (the sticker the treat, the more damage that can happen)
  • Wine (can cause discoloration)
  • Popcorn (sneaky kernels will find their way into hard to reach areas of your mouth)

Following these small tips can keep you and your mouth in great shape through the holiday season. A helpful tip to remember is, if it’s good for your body, it’s good for your mouth!

Happy Holidays from your dental team and Smile Sarasota!

Give Thanks to a Great Smile

Holidays are the time of the year to bring family and friends together to celebrate, but what we all secretly look forward to is all the delicious food piled high on the dining room table. Here’s some enjoyable Thanksgiving foods to be grateful for:


The good: The main course. Packed with protein!
The bad: It can sometimes get stuck in those small spaces between your teeth. No worries, floss can fix that!
For the mouth: It’s the dinner centerpiece. Gobble it up!

Cranberry Sauce

The good: The timeless classic
The bad: Sugar substances are typically added to the already tart dressing. Cranberry sauces can be sticky, acidic and possibly stain your teeth.
For the mouth: Those little berries can get stuck between your teeth, and with the possible high acidic and sugar content, make sure to brush after to avoid staining.


The good: Packed with Vitamin A and C, which is great for the gums!
The bad: Usually backed with marshmallows, sticky foods can cause damage as they are the toughest to get off your teeth.
For the mouth: Enjoy in moderation and drink plenty of water to wash away the leftovers.

Green Bean Casserole

The good: Found in the veggie group, always a healthy choice! Packed in these little pods are Vitamins A, C and B-6, Iron and Magnesium.
The bad: Watch out! All those delicious little beans can get stuck between your teeth.
For the mouth: Have a floss pick handy!

Macaroni and Cheese

The good: Say cheese! High in calcium, this helps strengthen the teeth.
The bad: White pastas are full of starch and can leave behind plaque on the teeth.
For the mouth: The “feel good food” for Thanksgiving, eat a sensible portion and break out the brush and floss later.

Mashed Potatoes and Gravy

The good: Potatoes are full of Vitamin C, B-6 and Potassium.
The bad: Potatoes are definitely starchy which have the cavity-causing bacteria.
For the mouth: When smothered in gravy, the health benefits of the overall dish are diminished to an extent, but hey! Its once a year. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Pie

The good: Saved the best for last! Pumpkin naturally has Vitamin A which helps to keep gums healthy and make the enamel strong.
The bad: Between the pie and the whipped toppings, the sugar content in high.
For the mouth: This once a year dessert is nothing to pass up on. Eating sweets after meals helps to keep the saliva flowing, which in turn helps wash away the leftovers trapped behind.

Have a Wonderful Thanksgiving packed with friends, family, food and a great smile!

Accidents Happen! – What to do in the case of a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can bring even the most reluctant person to the dentist. Dental emergencies like an injury to the teeth or gums could be potentially serious and should never be ignored. Ignoring dental problems can lead to an increased risk of permanent damage with the possibility of more expensive and extensive treatment later on. There are many types of emergencies ranging from bacterial, fungal and viral infections to a fractured tooth or dental restoration, each emergency requiring an individual response and treatment that is unique to the patient and situation.

Some Common Dental Emergencies:

  • Gum Abscesses
  • Pulpal Abscesses
  • Swelling/Bleeding
  • Broken Teeth
  • Pain on Biting
  • Inflammation
  • Trauma to the Tooth from an Accident

What to do in the case of a Dental Emergency:

  1. Contact us at Smile Sarasota and make an appointment to be seen as soon as possible. We have same day availability!
  2. The tooth or problem will be assed accordingly by the doctor followed by recommended treatment to get you out of pain and put your mind at ease.

Have a Seat!

One of the more popular Smile Sarasota Blogs was about the dental ‘Spit Bowl’. In case you don’t know what a spit bowl is, check out that blog! Along those lines, we thought it might be interesting to know about the evolution the dental chair. We have come a long way! This sophisticated equipment of today such as we have at Smile Sarasota has evolved from something very uncomfortable into an extremely comfortable tech-looking chair with lots of room for attachments. As to what was used way back when, if you envisioned a bare wood chair with no headrest, you would be absolutely correct! How uninviting.

By 1790, the first adjustable dental chair was invented. Before this, it was common practice for dental patients to sit or lay on the floor while an assistant held the patient’s head in place as the Dentist performed extractions or minor surgery…yikes! This newer chair featured an adjustable headrest and an attached arm extension for access to dental equipment and usually some type of footrest – like a barber’s chair – because it basically was a barber’s chair. The first people to practice dentistry or dental care were phlebotomy (blood-letting) barbers…yikes again! Next in the evolution of the dental chair came the first pump-style chair that raised and lowered the patient. In 1867, a British dentist constructed a chair that could not only raise the patient up to three feet and allow the patient to fully recline, but was also capable of tilting side to side. The first truly ergonomic dental chairs had been invented and paved the way for the advancements yet to come.

The design remained virtually unchanged until 1958 when what would be recognizable today as a modern dentist chair with an adjustable back that would allow the patient to be placed into a prone position was invented. Today’s dental chairs are designed with an emphasis on patient comfort, and to interface with devices which provide power, suction, water, etc. These days, vintage or antique dentist chairs can be seen in some museums around Europe and North America. While looking at these old chairs, one can probably imagine the patients who perhaps dreaded the dental procedure and then had a haircut! The dental chair continues to evolve as demand for convenience grows, technology advances and changes in dental practices make modifications in dental equipment necessary. Smile Sarasota has always been on the leading edge in every way, so expect to be pampered in our office…and comfortably seated!


Sources and Credits:,

Surprising Facts and Myths about Toothbrushing

There are a lot of myths, misconceptions and wrong ‘facts’ about tooth brushing out there so Smile Sarasota thought we should put the facts out there for you. The purpose of brushing is to remove decay and disease causing bacterial plaque.

  • Toothpaste, while helpful in delivering fluoride and other helpful ingredients to your teeth, is not necessary to remove plaque! Really!
  • It’s not how “hard” you brush, but how “thoroughly ” you brush. Plaque is a soft sticky film and you should only use a soft toothbrush to avoid damaging teeth and gums. So should you use a hard bristle brush and the harder you brush, the cleaner your teeth become? No. This is another common misconception. Teeth are living biological tissue and unlike any soft tissue in the body, teeth cannot re-grow or repair themselves once they wear out. Wear facets near the gum line in turn increase sensitivity. Too many people believe in applying a lot of pressure while brushing and that can damage the tooth surfaces and cause gum recession. There are a number of techniques so talk to Dr. Still or one of our Hygienists about the one that suits your oral health best.
  • If you brush only once a day (we recommend at least two times a day) you should brush before bedtime at night. The longest period of the day when you are not feeding the bacteria is while you are sleeping. It’s also the time when the flow of saliva is at it’s lowest – saliva is  anti-bacterial.
  • And did you know that brushing does remove plaque from between the teeth?  This is why you MUST floss everyday as well. Brushing does very little to clean the areas where most of the problems occur. Brushing cleans the front, back, and tops of the teeth, but almost completely misses the surfaces in between your teeth (where most problems occur). That’s where dental floss, Soft Picks and proxy brushes come in. A lack of cleaning in between the teeth is what causes most people to end up in trouble with their teeth.
  • If you brush and floss every day, you don’t need to come in to see Smile Sarasota for cleanings and checkup. WRONG. It’s good that you brush and floss every day, but unfortunately,  you can still develop decay and gum disease. There are many other health factors that influence oral health and visiting us regularly will ensure early detection of problems and make them easier to manage.
  • And guess what else? You actually don’t have to rinse after brushing! It washes away the fluoride from the toothpaste that should stay on your teeth. You only have to spit out the foam from your mouth, not gargle or rinse everything off.

This is a great topic to discuss with our Smile Sarasota Hygienists so feel free to ask as many questions as you like. They will know and be glad to help you as well as give you samples of the products we recommend and go over how to use these tools.


Sources and Credits: WebMD,,

Peace on Earth

As you prepare to enjoy the holidays…no matter which one you celebrate, Smile Sarasota thought we would re-run this fun “politically correct” version of The Night Before Christmas! Enjoy!

Twas the night before Christmas and Santa’s a wreck…
How to live in a world that’s politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to “Elves”,
“Vertically Challenged” they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the North Pole,
were alleged by the union, to stifle the soul.

Four reindeer had vanished without much propriety,
released to the wilds, by the Humane Society.
And equal employment had made it quite clear,
that Santa had better not use just reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
were replaced with 4 pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his beautiful sleigh,
because the ruts were deemed dangerous by the EPA,
And millions of people were calling the Cops,
when they heard sled noises upon their roof tops.
Second-hand smoke from his pipe, had his workers quite frightened,
and his fur trimmed red suit was called “unenlightened”.

To show you the strangeness of today’s ebbs and flows,
Rudolf was suing over unauthorized use of his nose.
He went to Geraldo, in front of the Nation,
demanding millions in over-due workers compensation.

So…half of the reindeer were gone, and his wife
who suddenly said she’d had enough of this life,
joined a self help group, packed and left in a whiz,
demanding from now on that her title was Ms.

And as for gifts…why, he’d never had the notion
that making a choice could cause such commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur…
Which meant nothing for him or nothing for her.
Nothing to aim, Nothing to shoot,
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls and nothing for just boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific,
Nothing that’s warlike or non-pacifistic.

No candy or sweets…they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish upon the truth.
And fairy tales…while not yet forbidden,
were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden,
for they raised the hackles of those psychological,
who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.

No baseball, no football…someone might get hurt,
besides – playing sports exposed kids to dirt.
Dolls were said to be sexist and should be passe.
and Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.

So Santa just stood there, disheveled and perplexed,
he just couldn’t figure out what to do next?
He tried to be merry he tried to be gay,
but you must have to admit he was having a very bad day.
His sack was quite empty, it was flat on the ground,
nothing fully acceptable was anywhere to be found.

Something special was needed, a gift that he might,
give to us all, without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy – with no indecision,
each group of people in every religion.
Every race, every hue,
everyone, everywhere…even you!
So here is that gift, it’s price beyond worth…



Happy Thanksgiving 2018 from Smile Sarasota!

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. It is a time that brings families together, gives us an opportunity to appreciate and be thankful for all that has happened throughout the year. As Thanksgiving week approaches, we are reminded of how much we, in the dental profession, have to be thankful for.

With Thanksgiving almost here, it’s only natural to reflect on what we’re thankful for in our lives. For those of us who chose dentistry as a career, it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves why we got into the dental profession in the first place. We are to be able to go to work every day doing something that is so fulfilling. We get to build beautiful smiles that are on display everywhere our patients go. We build friendships while we are getting to know our patients needs and desires. Then we cement those relationships by giving our new-found friends a beautiful smile, and comfort that is beyond their expectations. Here are a few more reasons!

The Opportunity to Help People: To help others is one of the most rewarding accomplishments we have. Dentistry has the capacity to really improve someone’s quality of life, whether it’s by improving their smile or by resolving any pain/infection so their teeth are functional
When Patients Appreciate Our Work: At times, being a dentist can be a thankless job. Sometimes you have to deliver not so welcome news or make recommendations to patients that they don’t want to hear. But there are just as many moments in a dentist’s career when people genuinely appreciate the effort you’ve made to help them improve their lives. We are thankful for the patients that appreciate the work we do.

Making a Difference: It’s easy to take for granted the fact that we are making a difference on a daily basis. We make decisions that can change lives, and the patients we help can go on to make their own difference in the world. We get such a charge when a patient goes from not ever wanting to smile because of their teeth, to seeing them beaming all the time with self-confidence!
The list goes on with reasons we are thankful to be in the dental profession. Even on our most trying days, we have to remember the incredible opportunity we have to make a positive impact on others. That’s something we can always be thankful for.

However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, Smile Sarasota wishes you and your family a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.

Independence Day Smiles in Sarasota

The Smile Sarasota Team is ready for some fireworks! The 4th of July is here, and it’s time to celebrate! Bring out that grill and get ready for a great independence day cookout! And get ready to go watch a dazzling spectacle of lights at the Sarasota Bayfront! But with all the fun and festivities, be sure to take some time to remember why we celebrate this momentous day. Here are some facts about Independence Day:

  • Independence Day of the United States, also referred to as the Fourth of July or July Fourth in the U.S., is a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 242 years ago in 1776 on July 4 by the Continental Congress.
  • Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on a “laptop,” which was a writing desk that could fit on one’s lap.

    independence day smile sarasota

    Thomas Jefferson’s ‘Laptop’

  • John Adams and Thomas Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826. James Monroe is the third president to share this fate.
  • An estimated 150 million hot dogs will be consumed on July 4th.
  • We set off fireworks on the Fourth of July because John Adams wanted us to. Before the Declaration of Independence was even signed, he envisioned fireworks as a part of the festivities. … The first commemorative Independence Day fireworks were set off on July 4, 1777.
  • In 2012, fireworks sales by wholesalers totaled $482.6 million and sales by retailers totaled $368.6.
  • In 2016, the United States imported $5.4 million in American flags.
  • According to the Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association, the Fourth of July is the most popular day for grilling.

Over the years, the political importance of the holiday had declined, but Independence Day remains an important national holiday and a symbol of patriotism. Smile Sarasota wishes you a fun holiday…stay safe!


Sources and Credits:,,

Sleeping with a Motorcycle

Mature Woman Covering Her Ears With Headphone While Man Snoring In Bed

Many of our patients at our Smile Sarasota dental practice mention to Dr. Still that they may have a snoring problem and ask if he can help. Do you snore? If so, you’re in good company. The National Sleep Foundation estimates that 30 to 50 percent of the U.S. population snores at some point. To get relief, many patients talk to their primary care physician. But did you know that you can also talk to Dr. Still? You may not know that your dentist is often the earliest professionals to diagnose sleep disorders.

Snoring occurs when there is an obstruction in your airway during sleep. The American Dental Association explains that this obstruction can be caused by the tongue or soft tissues in the mouth. When tissues in the top of the airway hit each other, the vibration that results creates a loud noise. The loud noise may occur with short pauses in between. This could be an indicator of sleep apnea. When a patient has obstructive sleep apnea, breathing actually stops for brief moments, and this process can result in damaging effects on the body, such as atherosclerosis and other serious cardiovascular problems. Sleep apnea and the tendency to snore at night can also be the cause of daytime sleepiness and daily fatigue. We will discuss this in a future Smile Sarasota Blog.

So how can Dr. Still help me? If you or your partner notices an on-going problem at night, tell Dr. Still. There are several tests that he can arrange to diagnose the issue. One of these tests is called a “sleep study”. He will refer to to a sleep specialist and during the evaluation, your sleeping patterns will be analyzed and your vital signs are monitored over the course of a night.

But there are other remedies Dr. Still may suggest first. The National Institutes of Health and the National Institute on Aging recommend these strategies to reduce snoring at night:

  • Lose weight. Too much weight can cause changes to the structures around your airway.
  • Consume little or no alcohol at night. Alcohol can change the quality of your sleep.
  • Reduce or eliminate the use of sedatives. Talk to your doctor about alternatives.
  • Don’t sleep on your back. Try side sleeping with a supportive pillow.

With the support of Dr. Still at Smile Sarasota, you should be able to get to the root of your snoring issue and sleep more soundly at night. Even if a dental issue isn’t the cause of snoring, snoring can result in dry mouth. As snore sufferers are trying to breathe, the mouth is also struggling to produce enough saliva. Dry mouth can accelerate tooth decay, mouth sores, bad breath, and gum disease. Contact Smile Sarasota if you are concerned about snoring – we can help!


Sources and Credits:, The National Sleep Foundation, The American Dental Association, WebMD, The National Institutes of Health, The National Institute on Aging

Pickin’ and Grinnin’

Smile Sarasota constantly reminds you to make sure you clean between your teeth and there are plenty of people who would much rather use a toothpick than dental floss! And guess what? The toothpick has been around longer than mankind. The skulls of Neanderthals, as well as Homo sapiens, have shown clear signs of having teeth that were picked with a tool, according to anthropologists. Since ancient times, men of note have used toothpicks. For centuries, the upper classes used elegant toothpicks often made of gold, silver or ivory and inlaid with precious stones. The tool became so popular that a body of etiquette grew up around its use. The permanent crafted toothpick also became a notable dowry item.

And did you know that toothpicks predate the toothbrush? The Roman Emperor Nero was known to appear at banquets with a silver toothpick between his lips and he evidently believed in oral hygiene. In Europe, toothbrushes made from boar- or horse-hair had been introduced from China, but toothpicks remained the tool of choice until brushing became more common in the 19th century. Ordinary people used sharpened sticks or goose quills, whilst the more well-to-do used luxury toothpicks stylized in precious metals or set with gems. In Shakespeare’s play Much Ado About Nothing, the main character, Benedick, offers to find Don Pedro “a tooth-picker from the furthest inch of Asia.”

In those early periods of our history, various types of soft and hard wood were used as a tool for oral hygiene, soft grass to floss and chewing of sticks until one end of it became soft and perfect for brushing teeth. These kind of chewed sticks were found many times in the areas where our prehistoric ancestors lived. As for the toothpicks, they were created from any number of available materials – wood, bone, ivory, shells, bird claws, walrus whiskers and many others. The arrival of metal age brought a revolution in toothpick use and creation. Even the earliest age of bronze metalwork in Northern Italy and East Alps produced small and slim bronze toothpicks. This tradition of metal toothpicks continued through the ages, and high profile citizens of Roman Empire liked to use pieces made from silver and bronze. Famous Roman Emperor Nero was famous for his public use of silver toothpicks on some festive occasions. After the fall of Roman Empire, other nations continued to refine and create toothpicks from many materials that they found around them. Norse Vikings used wooden toothpicks, others used frontal teeth of lizard attached to small sticks, and some countries like Japan produced very strict rules and rituals regarding the use of toothpicks.

Fashion of 17th century Europe nobility brought the rise of very extravagant gem encrusted metal toothpicks, accompanied with simpler and more easily manufactured porcupine quills and simple wooden sticks. The largest toothpick manufactory in the United States was founded by Charles Forster of Boston, who created a market for disposable toothpicks by having Harvard students eat at local restaurants, then loudly demand a toothpick after finishing their meals. The factory he founded, Forsters, Inc., manufactured toothpicks in Strong, Maine, where Forster found the kind of wood he deemed best for toothpick making. There, it took about ten people and a lot of computer-driven machinery to put out an average of 20 million toothpicks daily. The factory closed in 2003.

People have found far more elaborate uses for toothpicks than picking the teeth, however. A man named Joe King used 110,000 toothpicks to build a 23-foot-high likeness of the Eiffel Tower. Wayne Kusy of Evanston, Illinois, used 193,000 toothpicks to create a 16-foot-long replica of the British luxury liner Lusitania. Every year hundreds of billion toothpicks are used by the people around the world, most notably around 200 billion annually just in China, where use of toothpicks represent important after-meal ritual.

While Dr. Still prefers dental floss to toothpicks, history has shown us that toothpicks have been a part of human culture far longer and used more diligently!


Sources and Credits:, The Smithsonian Museum, Pit Rivers Museum, Arizona State University, Bennion, E 1986 Antique Dental Instruments, London: Sotheby’s Publ.; Foley, GPH 1972 Foley’s Footnotes: A Treasury of Dentistry, Wallingford, PA: Washington Square East Publ; Petroski, H 2007 The Toothpick: Technology and Culture, New York, NY: Random House.

Does your smile say it all?

George Washington was born on February 22nd and of all the United States presidents, he was known to have the most discussion about his teeth. They were so awful teeth, he did not smile. Does your smile say it all? Most people think so. In a recent survey, 92.4% of North Americans agreed that an attractive smile is an important social asset, and 74% thought that an unattractive smile hurts a person’s chances of career success. But only half of us were satisfied with our smile! Without a doubt, your smile is one of your most powerful possessions.

Before humans learned to talk, our smiles could literally mean the difference between life and death. Researchers believe that our smiles developed as a means of avoiding aggression. For instance, if your lips were pulled back to reveal all your front teeth, this would mean you were ready for a fight. But we learned to stretch our lips sideways, and thereby partially cover our teeth to indicate a peaceful, non-aggressive greeting … and guess what? The smile was born! Keeping a beautiful smile is another thing…historically and today.

Throughout most of George Washington’s life he had problems of continuing deterioration of his teeth.  This caused him a lot of pain, and none of the dentists he went to knew what to do besides take them out. Slowly but surely all of Washington’s teeth were extracted. Finally, George had to have false teeth made. They were made out of hippopotamus ivory and cow’s tooth, carved by hand, and held in his mouth with metal springs. These false teeth were a little large for his mouth, creating a peculiar expression, which is exhibited in many of his portraits

Those were innocent, if dangerous, times. Today, for police officers (and poker players) there are few things worse than a cool liar with a fake smile. Today’s cosmetic dentistry allows us to give you a beautiful, natural smile. A thorough evaluation at our Smile Sarasota office can help you decide which type of aesthetic treatment is best for you. Whatever course of cosmetic treatment you choose, the results will give you something to smile about every time you look in the mirror!

At our office, we’re cosmetic smile experts, and we can certainly help to make your smile the best it can possibly be – for you and your self-esteem. Or even for your next poker game! Give us a call today and set up a consultation with Dr. Still!

The Nose Knows!

Smile Sarasota has discussed the sense of taste, but closely linked is the sense of smell! Although the human sense of smell is feeble compared to that of many animals, it is still very acute. Often overlooked in favor of cooler, sexier senses such as sight or touch, smell and taste are more complicated than many people might think and have a surprisingly sweeping impact on behavior, perception and overall health We can recognize thousands of different smells, and we are able to detect odors even in infinitesimal quantities. Your schnoz is one powerful protrusion. Whether it’s a big honker or a little button nose, if it is working correctly you can sense a skunk from only 0.000,000,000,000,071 of an ounce of offensive spray. Animals can trace even tinier trails. Male luna moths, for example, track females from 5 miles away.

So how does the sense of smell work? Take a deep breath. Air is sucked up into your nostrils over bony ridges, which add more surface area to your sniffer. The air travels over millions of olfactory receptor neurons that sit on a stamp-size sheet, the olfactory epithelium, on the roof of the nasal cavity.  Odor molecules in the air stimulate and inhibit the receptors. Each aroma sets off a signal made by the receptors that travels along the olfactory nerve to the olfactory bulb. The olfactory bulb sits underneath the front of your brain. Signals from the bulb tell your brain what reeks.

Humans can recognize 10,000 different odors. However, no two people sense anything the same. Such nosiness is important for the survival of almost all creatures: to find food, avoid being eaten, and pick proper mates. It warns us about rotten milk, a burning house, or an unhappy skunk, and can turn our attention to attractive potential dates.

At the same time, experts say taste and smell do work together, in ways you might not realize, to produce some of the basic sensations of everyday life. The sensation of flavor is actually a combination of taste and smell,” said Tom Finger, a professor at the University of Colorado-Denver Medical School and chairman of the 2008 International Symposium on Olfaction and Taste, held last month in San Francisco. “If you hold your nose and start chewing a jelly bean taste is limited, but open your nose midway through chewing and then you suddenly recognize apple or watermelon.” That’s because as you chew, you’re forcing air through your nasal passages, carrying the smell of the food along with it. Without that interplay of taste and smell, you wouldn’t be able to grasp complex flavors, Finger said. Instead you’d be limited to the basic taste sensations picked up chemically by the tongue: salty, sour, sweet, bitter and umami — a savory sensation frequently associated with the additive MSG.

Because of this connection, losing your sense of smell can end up being devastating. Food no longer tastes as good, and these eaters miss many scent-related emotional connections as well. For instance, studies have shown that people, particularly women, can identify the specific smell of their romantic partners, Finger said. And, because scents are often more novel than, for instance, shapes or other things you might see, scent often gets intertwined with our memories of places and events. Such as…that ‘dental office smell’! Just so you know, Smile Sarasota make sure our office doesn’t smell that way! Stop by anytime and…sniff!




Sources and Credits: University of Colorado-Denver Medical School, Live Science,,

Good work isn’t cheap, Cheap work isn’t good

good work isn't cheapIt’s no secret that dental care can be expensive and this results in many patients avoiding dental visits altogether. There is, however, a trend where individuals choose to leave their home country to travel abroad to have work done on their teeth for a cheaper cost. Certainly, no country has a monopoly on good medical care however, it’s important to realize that there are pros and cons to this kind of traveling. So what are the concerns?

  • Dentist credentials and experience
    There is the worry that dentists abroad don’t have the same level of experience and training as they do in the United States, causing a higher risk of complications. People who seek cheap dental care in some foreign countries are falling victims to unsafe dental practices and under-qualified practitioners. In order to practice dentistry in the United States, a dentist has to have at least eight years of college and pass many rigorous tests to be licensed as well as continuing education thereafter. While the training and experience of the dentist is paramount, so is the environment in which he or she practices.
  • Sterilization
    One big concern is that patients travelling abroad for dental treatment will not be met with the same infection control, patient care and health and safety guidelines found here, where strategies are in place to protect the patient in the event of complications. For example, in many second and third world countries, root canal files are simply autoclaved and reused. Yet, even after being autoclaved, these used files can still contain infectious microorganisms and should be discarded. Dental instruments in the US are disposed or sterilized after use. Injection needles are never reused and surgery instruments are cleaned with heat-sterilization. In the United States, it is a requirement for dental practices to maintain a strict evident-based infection control to prevent the spread of infection and diseases. At Smile Sarasota, our autoclaves are tested and regulated and a strict record is kept. Overseas, these rules are often more relaxed, and sometimes a high standard of infection control is not practical because of the cost needed to maintain such standard, making it enviable for business due to the low standard of living. A foreign country may not have the same dental regulations as dentists do in the U.S. The Organization for the Safety and Asepsis Procedures (OSAP) says that “Countries differ in their standards for infection control and safety. The use of fresh gloves, sterile instruments and safe water is not standard practice in all countries.” Some areas of the world do not have clean drinking water readily accessible. That alone is scary, not to mention that fact that dentists and staff may not wear face masks and gloves, wash their hands or clean the work surfaces!
  • Quality of margins
    “I had a friend who had work done in Mexico and it looked really good! Just because it looks good doesn’t mean it IS good! There is the potentially serious problem if the veneer or crown is not fitted properly it may look good but could trap plaque and cause gum inflammation. And if the tooth is not drilled correctly there is a real risk of damaging the nerve. And often, the treatments recommended abroad are not appropriate, for example if the patient has a gum problem. Dr. Still would not advise veneers or crowns until that was treated. Otherwise the patient would end up with more problems and could even lose all their teeth. So some of the work might look good in the short term, patients were likely to have trouble in the future. It can be six months, 12 months after the treatment has been done, long after the patient has left the facilities and then things flare up.
  • Materials used
    In many countries, there are no governing bodies such as the American Dental Association to maintain the high quality of dental care provided by the practitioners. In order to provide cheap dentistry, many overseas dentists use low quality material to make their business viable. Good quality dental products are often not cheap; sometimes the cost of a single component can be more than the average monthly wage in those countries. Many of these materials have not undergone rigorous testing and research, and do not have proper long-term studies in their safety and effectiveness. Also, remember many dental treatments are hand-made and/or involve laboratory items that are hand-made too, whose materials and specifications have to meet very strict rules and regulations. At least if you buy cheap jewelry and it turns out to contain base metals instead like Nickel, Iron or Beryllium etc, you can easily remove it and throw it away if it irritates your skin or you get allergic to it, but when it is glued into your mouth, you will be exposed to its effects for years and it’s NOT so easily removed, is it? In some countries abroad they often use “cheaper” laboratory work which isn’t always subject to the US’s strict controls and high health standards. Some foreign-sourced crowns even contain not just cheap substitutes for gold and other precious metals, but even waste products or lead! So you before succumbing to foreign dentistry, ask yourself these questions: What kind of gold alloy is going to be used in that crown about to be cemented in your mouth? Will it cause metal poisoning down the road? Is it high in nickel content? Is it a high noble, noble, or base metal? Please be assured that ALL of Dr. Still’s laboratory work at Smile Sarasota, is made in the US under the strictest health guidelines and follow Dr. Still’s very demanding standards for quality, content and aesthetics
  • Lost in Translation
    Another challenge for the ‘dental tourist’ is difficulty in communication. Language barriers can make it harder to know exactly what to expect during and after a procedure, or whether any questions you ask are understood. This can lead to misunderstandings about treatment, or problems with your care. It may be difficult for foreign health care providers to access and comprehend a patient’s complete medical history; likewise, complete documentation of the treatment provided abroad is often lacking — which can create problems when you get back home. Patient confidentiality and privacy may also be compromised and this issue is handled differently from country to country.

So…don’t prioritize money over health! Traveling abroad to get cheaper treatment could mean that you’re prioritizing your budget over your health, and this could result in spending even more money repairing damage from treatment that has gone wrong. However, having a dentist like Dr. Still who has your interest in heart, who cares enough to make a difference in the longevity of his work, and having such a dentist to guide you in achieving your goal of a lifelong optimal health, is what good dentistry is all about.



Sources and Credits:,,,,

Short Days Ahead!

sarasota daylight savings time endingWinter is just around the corner…even in Sarasota, Florida – the Sunshine State! Time to break out the sweaters, (maybe!) and set the clocks back for Daylight Saving Time ending on Sunday, November 5th. While the days get shorter, let’s prepare for the unwanted side effects to our health. Luckily, we found great ways to combat them:

Shorter days mean less sunlight and vitamin D. Vitamin D, or the “sunshine” vitamin, is essential for healthy, strong bones—and teeth. Since you get less sunshine in the winter and your body makes less vitamin D on its own, try taking a multi-vitamin containing vitamin D. Many dairy products and juices are also fortified with vitamin D.

Waking up when it’s still dark. When your alarm clock goes off and it feels like the middle of the night, there’s a good chance you’ll be groggier in the morning. An easy fix is switching on a bright light to simulate sunlight. Yoga, exercise, and a high-protein breakfast can also jump-start your energy.

Combat the winter blues. Many people may feel gloomy in the winter, possible because reduced sunlight disrupts daily body rhythms. Here are a few tricks to keep spirits high:

  • Catch rays. Take advantage of any sunny days in the forecast and in Sarasota, there are LOTS of sunny days!
  • Get exercise. Swimsuits may seem a lifetime away, but don’t skip your normal routine.
  • Eat healthy. Skip refined, processed foods (the usual suspects: sugar, rice, white bread), which cause mood swings and zap energy.
  • And and always…take care of your teeth…schedule that teeth cleaning and check up here at Smile Sarasota!

Eventually, your body will adjust, and maybe you’ll even love waking up to watch the sunrise!

All About Teeth Part 2 -Your Teeth & The Rest Of Your Body

Smile Sarasota is all about keeping your teeth and mouth healthy…as well as the rest of your body. It’s all connected unless you have been beheaded! Maintaining good oral health is crucial, because the health of your mouth has a strong connection with the health of your entire body. While harmless bacteria naturally forms in your from daily actions like eating, this bacteria needs to be managed with a proper oral hygiene routine.  Without daily brushing and flossing, these bacteria can grow and become harmful, potentially causing tooth decay or gum disease.

Your oral health may affect, be affected by or contribute to various diseases and conditions, including:

  • Endocarditis – For those with a weak immune system or a damaged heart valve, maintaining good oral health can help prevent the development of harmful bacteria that escape into your bloodstream and cause an infection somewhere else in your body, including the lining of your heart.
  • Cardiovascular disease – Periodontitis is an advanced form of gum disease and can involve severe, chronic inflammation.  While stemming from oral health, periodontitis has shown links to increases in the risk of heart disease, clogged arteries, and stroke.
  • Pregnancy and birth – Suffering from gum disease while pregnant could possibly affect the health of the baby, since the harmful bacteria in your mouth could spread through the body.  Some cases of premature birth and low birth weight have been linked to bacteria related to gum disease.
  • Diabetes – Those with diabetes need to take special care when it comes to their oral health.  Diabetes reduces your body’s resistance to infection, meaning that oral infections will be more common if consistent oral hygiene efforts.
  • HIV/AIDS. Those who have HIV/AIDS commonly experience oral problems such as painful mucosal legions.
  • Osteoporosis – Those with osteoporosis are at an increased risk of experiencing periodontal bone loss and tooth loss. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Still to see determine what the best course of action would be for you to maintain good oral health.
  • Alzheimer’s disease – Good oral health has been connected to improved memory function, but the opposite is also true. Oral disease can actually be a contributing factor to early on setting Alzheimer’s.
  • Other conditions – Other conditions that may be linked to oral health include Sjogren’s syndrome — an immune system disorder — and eating disorders.

Be sure to tell Dr. Still if you’re taking any medications or have had any changes in your overall health — especially if you’ve had any recent illnesses or you have a chronic condition. We will ask you to fill out a Health History Update form yearly so we can be certain we are up-to-date on any health issue that may affect your dental care.

Common Dental Problems:

  • Tooth Decay – Caries, or tooth decay, is a preventable disease. While caries might not endanger your life, they may negatively impact your quality of life. When your teeth and gums are consistently exposed to large amounts of starches and sugars, acids may form that begin to eat away at tooth enamel. Carbohydrate-rich foods such as candy, cookies, soft drinks and even fruit juices leave deposits on your teeth. Those deposits bond with the bacteria that normally survive in your mouth and form plaque. The combination of deposits and plaque forms acids that can damage the mineral structure of teeth, with tooth decay resulting.
  • Sensitive Teeth- Your teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation to people with sensitive teeth. Over time, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth.
  • Gum Disease- Gum, or periodontal, disease can cause inflammation, tooth loss and bone damage. Gum disease begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease, or gingivitis, can bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may fall out or need to be removed by a dentist. Gum disease is highly preventable and can usually be avoided by daily brushing and flossing. One indicator of gum disease is consistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth.
  • Canker Sores- Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border.
  • Orthodontic Problems – A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types may be acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusion.

If you have any concerns whatsoever about the health of your mouth or your healty, don’t hesitate to call Smile Sarasota – Dr. Still is happy to answer your questions!


Here is a great video that underscores the ‘Mouth-Body Connection’:



Sources and Credits: American Academy of Periodontology, Henry Schein, American Heart Association

All About Teeth – Part 1 – How Teeth Grow

In order to properly care for your teeth, it’s essential to understand how your teeth grow, what problems they can develop, and what role they play as a key part of your body.  This is Part 1 of a 3 part series…all about teeth!

Throughout your life, you will have two sets of teeth: primary (baby) teeth and secondary (permanent) teeth. After about 6-8 months, the primary teeth begin to appear, and are completely developed by around age 3.  It is recommended that a child’s first visit to the dentist is when they get their first tooth, or before they turn 1 year old.  Dr. Still will recommend a children’s dentist (a pedodontist) in Sarasota to check for any oral health issues with the teeth, gums, and jaw so they can be fixed if necessary. Smile Sarasota will begin to see your children around the age six and older.

Permanent teeth will begin to grow around age 6 and are usually completely developed sometime between ages 12 and 14, not including Wisdom teeth. It’s not until about age 17 and on that Wisdom teeth typically start coming in. Once the Wisdom teeth are completely developed, the total number of permanent teeth is brought to 32.  Unfortunately, few people have room for all 32 teeth, which is why wisdom teeth are usually removed and Dr. Still will refer you to an oral surgeon for this procedure.

Your permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime, so it is critical that they are brushed and flossed routinely and stopping by Smile Sarasota to meet with our friendly and experienced dental team to make sure that you are in good oral health. Stay tuned for Part 2 about how your teeth and your overall health are related! Check out the video below about tooth eruption and also, Click here to learn more about the crazy world of teeth!


This is great video that details the tooth eruption process:




Smiles – No Translation Needed!

smile types smile sarasotaThere are hundreds of languages in the  world, but a SMILE speaks them all!

A smile is the most universally recognized and understood gesture every culture understands and 99.9 percent of the population enjoys giving and receiving. We can identify a smile more easily than any other expression, even from a distance of up to 300 feet. We smile when we when we feel good, when we see someone we love, when we reach a long-awaited goal, when we’re embarrassed, and when we need to mask anger we can’t appropriately express at the moment. We even smile on cue when anyone with a camera calls out, “Say cheese.”

Different Types of Smiles

University of California San Francisco researcher Paul Ekman and his colleagues identified 19 different types of smiles. Categorized into two basic categories, polite “social” smiles engage only mouth muscles, and genuine, happy “felt” smiles activate muscles on both sides of the mouth and around the eyes. Felt smiles light up the left frontal cortex of the brain where pleasure is registered. University of California at Berkeley psychologists Dacher Keltner and Lee Ann Harker identified six basic types of smiles to express feelings. The last three turn on the enthusiasm switch. They are:

  • POLITE Smile: We turn up both corners of our lips, but there’s no engagement with our eyes. We give this type of smile to strangers. The polite smile is often used by politicians or others with a personal agenda.
  • ASYMMETRICAL Smile: We raise one side of our lips higher than the other. This is also referred to as a fake smile.
  • EMBARRASSED Smile: We bend our heads forward a little, look away or down, and press our lips together when we smile. It’s used when we have made a mistake, overstepped our limits, or been caught doing something against the norm.
  • GENUINE Smile: Our lips rise up and part, our teeth may even show. Our eyes light up and crow’s feet (tiny wrinkles that do have a grander purpose!) appear on our skin around the edges of our eyes. A muscle under our eyes also lifts up. (For some people, it’s the best and only exercise they get all day!) It’s also known as the “Duchenne Smile,” named after an 18th century French neurologist who first reported on smiles of the will and smiles of the heart.
  • LOVING Smile: We tilt our heads toward others while we’re doing the GENUINE smile.
  • SYNCHRONIZED Smile: We do the GENUINE, LOVING smile and add a forward-leaning body movement toward the recipient, showing that we’re on the same wavelength.

Physiologically and emotionally, a smile tells our brains that we are safe, that we fit in (or want to fit in), and that we can relax. When we smile at others, it sends a message of trust and good will. Consequently, we’re seen as open and approachable.

If you are into statistics, this is interesting! How often do people smile?

Number of smiles per day at home – all adults:

  •  Five to 20 times: 46 percent
  •  More than 20 times: 36 percent
  •  Less than five times: 14 percent

Number of smiles-per-day at work – all adults:

  • Five to 20 times: 30 percent
  • More than 20 times: 28 percent
  • Less than five times: 13 percent

Chances are you’ve rarely given thought to the impact of your smile on your energy level, health, success, or relationships. You may have been aware of your “grin factor” if you were a shy, serious child prodded by your parents to smile for the neighbors. Or, as a teen, if you had a crush on someone and practiced your smile in the mirror while having an imaginary conversation. Or, more seriously, if you are self-conscious about your teeth or you feel depressed and just can’t seem to find your smile at all.

Smiles are a sign of good health and happiness, so make sure yours is healthy! Give Smile Sarasota a call and let us help you have healthy teeth and gums for life and keep those smiles coming!


Sources and Credits: Opinion Research Corp. International, University of California

Labor Day Holiday – What, When and Why!

smile sarasota labor dayThe first Monday in September is celebrated nationally as Labor Day. So how did we get the holiday and why is no one quite sure who created it?

The Labor Day holiday grew out of the late 19th century organized labor movement, and it quickly became a national holiday as the labor movement assumed a prominent role in American society. Here’s how it all started, with the facts, as we know them, supplied by the Labor Department, the Library Of Congress and other sources.

  1. The idea first became public in 1882. In September 1882, the unions of New York City decided to have a parade to celebrate their members being in unions, and to show support for all unions. At least 20,000 people were at the parade, and the workers had to give up a day’s pay to attend. There was also a lot of beer involved in the event.
  2. The New York parade inspired other unions. Other regions started having their own parades, and by 1887, Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey and Colorado made Labor Day a state holiday.
  3. How did the Haymarket Affair influence Labor Day? On May 4, 1886, a bomb exploded at a union rally in Chicago’s Haymarket Square, which led to violence that killed seven police officers and four others. The incident also led to May 1 being celebrated in most nations as Workers Day. The U.S. government chose Labor Day instead to avoid a celebration on May 1 and New York’s unions had already picked the first Monday in September for their holiday.
  4. Two people with similar names are credited with that first New York City event. Matthew Maguire, a machinist, and Peter McGuire, a carpenter, have been linked to the 1882 parade. The men were from rival unions; in 2011, Linda Stinson, a former U.S. Department of Labor’s historian, said she didn’t know which man should be credited – partially because people over the years confused them because of their similar-sounding names.
  5. Grover Cleveland helped make Labor Day a national holiday. After violence related to the Pullman railroad strike, President Cleveland and lawmakers in Washington wanted a federal holiday to celebrate labor – and not a holiday celebrated on May 1! Cleveland signed an act in 1894 establishing the federal holiday; most states had already passed laws establishing a Labor Day holiday by that point. Sen. James Henderson Kyle of South Dakota introduced S. 730 to make Labor Day a federal legal holiday on the first Monday of September. It was approved on June 28, 1894.
  6. The holiday has evolved over the years. In the late 19th century, celebrations focused on huge parades in urban areas. Now the holiday is a wider celebration that honors organized labor with fewer parades, and more activities. It also marks the perceived end of the summer season.
  7. Can you wear white after Labor Day? This old tradition goes back to the late Victorian era, where it was a fashion faus pax to wear any white clothing after the summer officially ended on Labor Day. The tradition isn’t really followed anymore. explains the logic behind the fashion trend – white indicated you were still in vacation mode at your summer cottage.
  8. But Labor Day is the unofficial end of Hot Dog season. The National Hot Dog and Sausage Council says that between Memorial Day and Labor Day, Americans will eat 7 billion hot dogs.
  9. How many people are union members today? According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 14.6 million union members in the work force in 2014. There were 17.7 million in 1983.
  10. What is the biggest union today? The National Education Association has about 3 million members who are members, including inactive and lifetime members.

Smile Sarasota hopes you have a wonderful, long weekend!


From The Constitution Center 

Hanging by a Thread

dental flossYour Health is Hanging by a Thread – The Story of Dental Floss

When you think about New Orleans, you probably do not think of dental floss. New Orleans is the birthplace of a wonderful marvel of modern dentistry – dental floss! The exact date of the first use of dental floss is unknown but researchers found evidence that floss existed in prehistoric times. Grooves from floss and toothpicks have been found in the mouths of prehistoric humans. It is suggested that horse hair was used as floss and twigs were used as toothpicks to dislodge anything from the teeth. (More about toothpicks in another post!) Here is the evolution of dental floss, beginning in 1815:

  • 1815: American dentist, Dr. Levi Spear Parmly introduces the idea of using waxed silken thread as floss. Later in his career, he published a book, A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth, which emphasized the importance of brushing and flossing daily.
  • 1882: Unwaxed silk floss is mass-produced by the Codman and Shurleft Company.
  • 1898: The first dental floss patent is granted to Johnson & Johnson.
  • 1940s: Due to rising costs of silk during World War II and its tendency to shred, nylon replaces silk as the main material in floss. This development is credited to Dr. Charles Bass, who is also known for making floss and essential part of daily oral hygiene.
  • 1980s: The first interdental brush is invented as an alternative to flossing.
  • Today: Floss has evolved a lot over time. Today we are seeing the use of Gore-Tex in some varieties, and the addition of spongy floss and soft floss for sensitive gums. Floss picks have also become quite popular and simplify the process of flossing posterior teeth and flossing around braces.
The early innovators had no idea how important flossing on a regular basis really is not only to tooth health but also to your overall health. You hear over and over again from Dr. Still and our hygienists that flossing is just as important as brushing, but studies suggest that a very large number of people may brush their teeth but still forgo flossing. Bad, bad, bad!

The reason flossing is so important to tooth health is that while brushing may clean the surfaces of teeth, a tooth brush cannot reach the tight spaces between the teeth where bits of food and bacteria build up. This bacteria and its by-products turn into a sticky substance called plaque in as soon as 26 hours, which then hardens into tartar, a dental calculus, which is mineralized onto the teeth and very difficult to remove.

After your teeth have tartar, it only gets worse from there. Not flossing will lead you through a downward spiral of the breakdown of your tooth enamel; horrible breath due to tooth decay and cavities…and gingivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and depicts red and swollen gums. As the tarter and bacteria increase between the teeth and under the gums, periodontitis or severe gum disease then occurs. It causes bone and tooth loss and is also characterized by extreme gum inflammation.

Not flossing your teeth can break your heart…literally. Through the mouth, harmful bacteria that flourish there have a direct path to your circulatory system. This bacteria causes heart disease, respiratory illnesses and even diabetes. Since the leading cause of death in America is heart disease, and more and more Americans are getting diabetes as each year goes by, making sure to floss is not only great dental advice, it is also great advice for living well. It only takes a few minutes each day and can help achieve better overall health to live a higher quality of life. Call Smile Sarasota if you have any questions! If you have any questions about flossing, our fabulous Smile Sarasota hygienists will be happy to answer them!

Learn more here about HOW to properly floss!


Sources and credits:

Take Care of Your Toothbrush!

smile sarasota toothbrush careAs you reach for your toothbrush each morning, you may not realize what’s hanging out on its bristles. Viruses and bacteria from an infected person’s mouth can live for weeks on a toothbrush surface, and continue to cause illness. So when is the last time you gave your toothbrush any serious thought? Sure, you use it every day (hopefully more than once), and you know that with a dollop of toothpaste it waxes up your pearly whites nicely, not to mention preventing bacteria, plaque, and inflammation.

But what are the things you should never do with your toothbrush? Here’s a brush-up on five toothbrush no-nos, from Smile Sarasota.

  1. Gross Alert! If you have your toothbrush too close to the toilet, you’re brushing your teeth with what’s in your toilet. Flushing spreads all kinds of stuff into the air. In other words, keep your toothbrush stored as far from the toilet as possible.
  2. The average toothbrush harbors ten million microbes. Many families keep their toothbrushes jammed together in a cup holder on the bathroom sink, but this can lead to cross-contamination. Family members’ toothbrushes should be kept an inch apart. Don’t worry; they won’t take it personally.
  3. Don’t delay replacing your toothbrush. It’s best to purchase a new one every three to four months, but by all means get one sooner if the bristles are broken down because of your frequent and vigorous brushing. If you have a cold or the flu, replace your toothbrush after you recover. Treat electric or power ultrasonic models the same way you handle an old-fashioned one.
  4. Store it properly. After use, don’t pop that wet toothbrush back into your medicine cabinet, drawer, or bathroom cup and forget about it. Store it upright, in a rack or cup, where it can dry out. Look for a cover that lets air circulate and prevents mold, but isn’t completely sealed. The lack of air can foster bacteria. Store your toothbrush out of the reach of toddlers. The last thing you want is for your toothbrush to be chewed like a pacifier, dipped in toilet water, or used to probe the tile grout.
  5. Sharing – um…NO! Your parents probably taught you the importance of sharing back when you were, well, dipping their improperly stored toothbrushes in toilet water. But here’s the thing: As important as sharing is, there are some things you just don’t share, and your toothbrush is one of them.

If you have any questions about toothbrush care, give Smile Sarasota a call and any one of our fabulous team members can help!




Sources and Credits: American Dental Association, Colgate, WebMD, University of Florida School of Dentistry


smile sarasota sneezing

“Autosomal Dominant Compelling Helio-Ophthalmic Outburst” Huh?? Try: ACHOO! Cold and flu season will come and go and hopefully you got a flu shot. But sneezing is here to stay. We all do it, though some of us are more disruptively loud than others. It’s a reflex we simply can’t control. But other than the most obvious causes — fresh ground pepper, anyone? — how much do we really know about what our sneezes mean? Here are a few fun facts you probably didn’t know about sneezing.

  • Your sneezes travel up to 100 miles per hour. At least, according to some. The brave “MythBusters” guys actually timed theirs, clocking those sneezes between 30 and 35 miles per hour.
  • Their germ-ridden spray can land pretty far away. Some guess you’ll spread in a five-foot radius, others have wagered mucus lands as far as 30 feet away. At that rate, there’s practically no escaping those germs!
  • We sneeze to give our noses a reboot. In 2012, researchers figured out why, precisely, we sneeze, and what’s supposed to happen when we do. ScienceDaily reported: Much like a temperamental computer, our noses require a “reboot” when overwhelmed, and this biological reboot is triggered by the pressure force of a sneeze. When a sneeze works properly, it resets the environment within nasal passages so “bad” particles breathed in through the nose can be trapped. The sneeze is accomplished by biochemical signals that regulate the beating of cilia (microscopic hairs) on the cells that line our nasal cavities.
  • Sunlight causes many people to sneeze. Feather, pepper, colds, flus and pesky allergies aren’t the only reasons we let a sneeze rip. Theories abound to other causes, but one in particular has been scientifically studied: bright light. About one in four people sneeze in sunlight, a reaction called a photic sneeze reflex, LiveScience reported. Scientists don’t entirely understand why this happens, but expect that the message the brain receives to shrink the pupils in the presence of bright light may cross paths with the message the brain receives to sneeze.
  • It’s quite normal to sneeze in twos or threes. Those “bad” particles trapped in the nasal passages and expelled by sneezes aren’t exactly sprinting to the exit. It often takes more than one attempt to kick those irritants out, which can lead to multiple sneezes in a row, Everyday Health reported.
  • Your eyes close involuntarily. Despite the panic it instills if you happen to be driving when you feel a sneeze coming on, there’s not much you can do to keep your peepers open.Part of the message the brain receives in the lead-up to a sneeze is to close those eyes. It’s an involuntary reflex similar to the way your knee reacts when your doctor taps on it with that teeny-tiny hammer, NBC News reported. A sneeze can’t, however, pop your eye out, like some tall tales would have you believe.
  • Despite the persistent urban legend, your heart does not skip a beat when you sneeze. What may happen, according to the New York Times, is that the heart rate naturally slows — just a tad. This is due to both the deep breath most people take before sneezing and the stimulation of the vagus nerve that occurs during a sneeze. Most people don’t even notice any change, and “the effect is minimal,” the Times reported.
  • A sneeze is better out than in. First, an important distinction: There’s the type of stifling that occurs when you feel like you might need to sneeze, and then there’s the type of stifling where the sneeze is already halfway out of your face. In the latter case, stop trying to stuff that sneeze back in. While rare, it can lead to injuries, including broken blood vessels in the eyes, weakened blood vessels in the brain, ruptured ear drums or problems with the diaphragm.

Here in our Smile Sarasota dental office, we have escaped the flu​ thanks to our flu shots, but we have had patient cancellations due to illness. When you are not feeling well, we totally understand that you may want to cancel your dental appointment. But…if you are beyond the first few days of feeling puny and are up to it, we are glad to see you. Our team members are protected by all the barriers we wear – mask, gloves and disposable jackets, not to mention washing our hands constantly!



Sources:  Huffington Post, Myth Busters, Science Daily, Live Science, NBC News

A New Year – A New Smile

happy new year smile sarasotaAs we celebrate the beginning of a new year, many of us will use this opportunity to make resolutions to lose weight, stop smoking and spend more time with family. Some people even resolve to take care of the smile they’ve been hiding! At Smile Sarasota, we can help you fulfill your resolution to get the smile of your dreams so you can stop hiding…and start smiling!

Time and life itself can take a toll on our smiles. And that’s nothing to be embarrassed about. In fact, sometimes genetics, accidents, or simply aging can result in a less than ideal smile. Don’t worry. A lot of the teeth trouble we see can be easily fixed.

At Smile Sarasota, we offer a variety of cosmetic dentistry options to take your smile from hidden to vivid. Whether you need a professional whitening treatment to brighten your smile, veneers to enhance the aesthetics of your teeth, or a complete smile makeover, we’re here to help!

It means a lot to us that you have chosen Dr. Adam Still as your dentist and Smile Sarasota as your dental home. We are grateful to be able to look forward to another special year with you and your family. Your oral health is our first priority and we are committed to providing a comfortable, friendly environment so that you, our patients, enjoy a relaxed, positive experience.

With the New Year upon us, there’s never been a better time to start fresh with a new smile. If you’re ready to reveal your smile in 2017, give Smile Sarasota  a call today. We’ll discuss your smile goals and work together to determine the best cosmetic dentistry options for you. Don’t wait. A new smile – and a new you – are closer than you think!

Wishing you and your family good health for 2017, and a year full of smiles!

Happy Holidays from Smile Sarasota!

happy holidays smile sarasota!At this crazy time of year, in the midst of the hustle and business of running from store to another line in another store and as you check off things on your list, perhaps a dental blog about whitening your teeth, or not eating too many sweets over the holidays might be expected. But, at Smile Sarasota, we prefer wishing “Happy Holidays” to our family of patients and team members, complete with smiles, and hugs. Over the last few weeks, and we have been drawn to sending a message of hope, happiness and gratitude.

We want to express a huge THANK YOU to each and every one of YOU, our patients and friends. 2016 brought a lot of new patients to Smile Sarasota, many of them the result of kind referrals from all of you! That is truly the biggest compliment in our eyes – we want to thank you for trusting us to give the same great patient care to your friends and loves ones!

And we are so grateful to have such an incredible group of team members, colleagues, and network professionals that we have the great pleasure of working with on a consistent basis. We cannot help it but to express how very thankful we are for all of you who help us provide outstanding care for our patients.

We look forward to 2017 and the challenges that growth can bring to a practice. We are excited for the journey as we continue to strive to remain the premier dental office in downtown Sarasota, Florida, Siesta Key and Longboat Key. We are humbled that so many of you have entrusted us with your dental care needs. We hope that your holidays are filled with joy, love, and fond memories of 2016. Thank you for choosing Dr. Still and the Smile Sarasota Team for your dental care needs and we look forward seeing you again in 2017!

Dr. Adam Still, Jaime Still, Claire, Ann, Sandra, Wendy, Lori, Heather & Liz

We Are Thankful!

happy thanksgiving smile sarasotaThanksgiving is a wonderful time of year. It is a time that brings families together, gives us an opportunity to appreciate and be thankful for all that has happened throughout the year. As Thanksgiving week approaches, we are reminded of how much we, in the dental profession, have to be thankful for.

With Thanksgiving almost here, it’s only natural to reflect on what we’re thankful for in our lives. For those of us who chose dentistry as a career, it’s an opportunity to remind ourselves why we got into the dental profession in the first place. We are to be able to go to work every day doing something that is so fulfilling. We get to build beautiful smiles that are on display everywhere our patients go. We build friendships while we are getting to know our patients needs and desires. Then we cement those relationships by giving our new-found friends a beautiful smile, and comfort that is beyond their expectations. Here are a few more reasons!

  • The Opportunity to Help People: To help others is one of the most rewarding accomplishments we have. Dentistry has the capacity to really improve someone’s quality of life, whether it’s by improving their smile or by resolving any pain/infection so their teeth are functional
  • When Patients Appreciate Our Work: At times, being a dentist can be a thankless job. Sometimes you have to deliver not so welcome news or make recommendations to patients that they don’t want to hear. But there are just as many moments in a dentist’s career when people genuinely appreciate the effort you’ve made to help them improve their lives. We are thankful for the patients that appreciate the work we do.
  • Making a Difference: It’s easy to take for granted the fact that we are making a difference on a daily basis. We make decisions that can change lives, and the patients we help can go on to make their own difference in the world. We get such a charge when a patient goes from not ever wanting to smile because of their teeth, to seeing them beaming all the time with self-confidence!

The list goes on with reasons we are thankful to be in the dental profession. Even on our most trying days, we have to remember the incredible opportunity we have to make a positive impact on others. That’s something we can always be thankful for.

However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, Smile Sarasota wishes you and your family a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.

Trick or Treat Your Teeth!

Every Fall, kids of ALL ages anxiously wait for Halloween. A big question asked by concerned patients is how to reduce the “sugary” effects of eating all that Halloween candy…and for that matter, any sweets.

Sweets and candies are great treats when taken in moderation; however, in excess they aren’t good for your oral health or your overall health. Sugar consumption without proper dental hygiene can lead to tooth decay and cavities, especially in older adults. Here are some tips for Halloween and by following these tips, you can help prevent tooth decay.

  • Be selective. Not all Halloween treats are bad. Dr. Still recommends that you eat candies that melt fast and can be eaten quickly. It’s always a good idea to avoid gooey and sticky sweets like caramels that can linger and stick to teeth for long time.
  • Brushing. Be sure that you brush your teeth soon after eating any sugary candies. Brushing will lessen the amount of time the sugar stays in contact with the teeth and will help prevent tooth decay.
  • Remove the excess candies. It is always a good idea to not leave Halloween candies around the house after the Halloween is over to limit consumption.
  • Limit consumption. Limit the number of candies you and consume in a day. A better idea is to hold back candies and eat one or two pieces as after meal treat. Then immediately brush your teeth to neutralize the sugar.
  • Chew gum!  Xylitol, a fluoride like substance in sugarless Trident White gum may help remineralize any initial acidic breakdown of enamel.
  • Eat a balanced meal. Be sure that you eat well balanced meal prior to candy consumption and maybe you won’t fill up on sweets.
  • Routine dental exam. Be sure to visit Smile Sarasota every three to six months to prevent dental problems and catch any problems as early as possible.

If you don’t maintain your teeth properly, you may be opening yourself up to tooth decay, gum disease, and possibly tooth loss over time. Properly caring for your teeth, visiting your dentist regularly, and following the tips above can help you and your family keep healthy smiles and enjoy the Halloween festivities. Candy is not necessarily the enemy; the enemy is not maintaining diligent dental hygiene protocols. So ‘Treat” your teeth! Visit Dr. Still and our team at Smile Sarasota regularly for your dental check up and teeth cleaning!

Use it or Lose it!

year end dental insurance benefitsAt Smile Sarasota we take enormous pride in delivering expert dental care which includes keeping patients apprised of their pending dental services.

Dental insurance typically provides annualized coverage up to a certain dollar value. Some patients do not realize they have unused benefits for the current year and that they could schedule needed treatment that is covered by their insurance. Unfortunately, dental insurance is not carried over to the next year. In other words, “Use it or lose it”!

Please call our office to review your pending treatment plan at which time we can review what benefits are available under your current insurance.

Mention this post when you call to schedule and we will give you an additional 5% discount off your treatment if started by the end of the year, excluding transactions processed by Care Credit.

Call Smile Sarasota today at 941-957-3311!

Just the Facts, Dr. Still!

Smile Sarasota takes dentistry very seriously. But believe it or not, teeth can be fun! Here are some wild and crazy dental facts that will make you smile and improve your health as well.

  • Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body.
  • The average human produces 25,000 quarts of saliva in a lifetime. That is enough spit to fill 2 swimming pools!
  • People who drink 3 or more glasses of soda each day have 62% more tooth decay, fillings and tooth loss than others. Put down the pop and sports drinks and pick up some nice fresh water instead.
  • In 1994, a prison inmate in West Virginia braided dental floss into a rope, scaled the wall and escaped. We suggest that you stay out of prison and just use floss to floss!
  • You should replace your toothbrush at least every three months, and always after you have an episode of flu, cold or other viral infections. Notorious bacteria can implant themselves on the toothbrush bristles leading to re-infection.
  • Everyone has their own unique tooth print – just like fingerprints. Dental records are used for forensic identification.
  • According to a recent survey done by Time Magazine, 59% of Americans would rather have a dental appointment than be sitting next to someone talking on a cell phone. Maybe some of us should take a hint!
  • Over three out of four people in the United States suffer from some form of gum disease. It is the leading cause of tooth loss in people over age 35. The good news is, in most cases gum disease can be prevented or controlled! Do you have your next appointment with our hygienists scheduled?
  • The average woman smiles 62 times a day, while the average man – only 8. Come on guys, pick up the pace!

At Smile Sarasota, the office of Dr. Adam Still, we are here for you, and want to help you achieve the best smile and the best dental health possible. If you have any questions about your dental health or need to schedule an appointment, please give us a call today at 941-957-3311.

You’ve Got a Friend

Most of here at Smile Sarasota have pets and those for who don’t, it’s only temporary until a new ‘furbaby’ is part of the family. We are starting a little contest today – we are posting photos of our staff’s furbabies on Facebook and asking our social media friends to guess who belongs to whom! We do love our pets! In a Harris poll, 90 percent of pet owners think of their dogs and cats as members of the family. We enjoy their company and we do everything we can to ensure their happiness and well-being.

So why do we love them so much? Wouldn’t anyone want a partner who worshiped them, always welcomed them home enthusiastically, ate gratefully at every meal, was content with cheap outings and presents and gave lifelong loyalty? They have no ulterior motives. They’re all heart and gut. They do what they feel, and they can tell if you’re sad. When they love you, it’s clear. If they aren’t that into you, it’s also clear. There are no guessing games with animals, no human-scale subtleties, nuances or shades of grey. Sure, there can be some mixed signals when you first meet them — when they’re not sure about you, when you’re first starting to build a bond. But once they’ve learned to trust you, they tend to become wholeheartedly obsessed with you — and they have zero interest in “playing it cool,” feigning indifference, or not calling you back. Another thought: If an alien saw a human walking his dog in the park, and observed the human “clearing up” after the dog, who do you think the alien would assume was in charge? Maybe pets keep humans!

All animals are special and they teach us about caring and love. And whether your pet is a dog, a cat, a parrot or a turtle, when you look into their eyes you know you’ve got a friend!

The Crazy World of Teeth

At Smile Sarasota, we of course talk a lot about teeth…usually HUMAN teeth. But there’s a whole world of other teeth out there!

Human children have 20 baby teeth that fall out. Human adults have 32 teeth. Puppies have 28 teeth and adult dogs have 42. 42 teeth sounds like a lot, but it’s nothing compared to some other animals. A white shark has about 24 exposed teeth on their top and lower jaws respectively, but behind these 48, a white shark can have five more rows of developing teeth. When the shark loses one of the main teeth, a developing tooth rotates in and replaces it. Alligators have a similar system. An alligator has an average of 80 teeth in the mouth at any one time, and when one falls out another takes its place. Dolphins also have a surprising amount of teeth. An Atlantic bottlenose dolphin has between 80 and 100 teeth. The short-beaked common dolphin has around 240.

All animals have teeth that are adapted to eating certain types of food. For instance, herbivores, because they are plant eaters, have strong and flat molars that are made for grinding leaves and small or non-existent canine teeth. Carnivores, the meat eaters of the animal world, have very defined canine teeth for tearing at meat, combined with a sometimes limited number of molars. Omnivores, because they eat both meat and plants, have a combination of sharp front teeth and molars for grinding.

Herbivores have teeth that are highly specialized for eating plants. Because plant matter is often difficult to break down, the molars of herbivores are wider and flatter, designed to grind food, and aid in digestion. Herbivore incisors are sharp for tearing plants, but they may not be present on both the upper and lower jaw. White tail deer are a perfect example of an herbivore that has only lower incisors and a rigid upper jaw that assists in the tearing of plants. Many animals, such as horses and cows, have jaws that are capable of moving sideways. Elephants are herbivores, and their incisors are unlike those found in other animals. Odd as it may sound, a tusk is actually a tooth, an incisor, that has evolved into a different type of tool, often used for defense.

If you thought humans had complex teeth problems, think again! Animals have some pretty strange dental quirks and they can’t go to the dentist for help.

Here are some other fun facts about non-human teeth:

  • Sharks lose teeth weekly, which are then replaced with new teeth
  • The longest teeth in the world are actually elephant tusks – sometimes weighing over 400 pounds
  • Crocodiles can have 2-3,000 teeth in their lifetime because when any of the 60 in their mouth fall out, another tooth grows in
  • You can tell a Dolphin’s age by counting the rings on their teeth
  • The Egyptian Plover, aka the Crocodile Bird, actually cleans crocodile teeth by hopping into their open mouths and eating the scraps in and around the teeth
  • Mammals are the only species to get two sets of teeth
  • Hippopotamus teeth can get up to 20 inches long
  • Giraffes have the same number of teeth as humans, 32
  • Baby lion cubs usually get their baby teeth around three weeks old
  • Pets like dogs, cats and ferrets are all vulnerable to oral disease and bad breath due to tartar and plaque buildup

Why Are Teeth Cleanings Necessary?

We need teeth cleanings for two very simple but important reasons:teeth cleaning sarasota

  • To prevent diseases in the rest of the body like heart disease, dementia, and complications of diabetes (You may be surprised about that!)
  • To prevent tooth loss

The mouth is an area that’s completely different from the entire body, and it takes quite a beating. Because it’s such a unique environment, it requires special care. Teeth cleanings remove the buildup of plaque and tartar. This buildup is for the most part natural…kind of like how a boat picks up barnacles just by being in the ocean. But too much buildup leads to gum disease. The reason tartar needs to be removed is because your body sees it as a foreign invader. As with any other foreign invader, like a flu bug or an infection, your body “sends in the troops” using the immune system to fight off the infection. There is a battle in your mouth at all times, and the war is never over. Teeth cleanings level the playing field by keeping things in check.

Gum disease is when your body’s immune system is responding to this tartar buildup with inflamed and bleeding gums. The immune system response is successful at killing off invaders like infection and flu bugs, but at a cost: like a war, there are innocent bystanders that get slaughtered. As gum disease progresses, so does the destruction to your bone and tissues in your mouth. Your immune system is meant only to fight off infection for a short period of time — chronic activation of the immune system means it can get worn out and it won’t be as strong to fight off an illness. Chronic activation of the immune system can lead to diseases in the rest of your body. That’s why preventing gum disease reduces risk of stroke, heart disease, and dementia. At a certain stage, this damage is irreversible, so prevention is the best way to maintain overall health and keep beautiful teeth for a lifetime — and teeth cleanings are a critical piece of this prevention.

So what Is a teeth cleaning? A professional teeth cleaning is done by one of our hygienists – both Claire and Ann practice in the same fashion. They use tools to include an ultrasonic Cavitron, to remove tartar from your teeth — both above and below where the gum meets the tooth. They will explain what work is being done, why it’s being done, and why your teeth may be sensitive or why your gums are bleeding. Imagine when you’ve cut your hand — it swells up. The same thing happens to gums that are inflamed by the buildup of tartar, even more so than swelling in other parts of the body because gums have an incredibly rich blood supply.

Discuss this with Dr. Still and make sure to talk about your own status when it comes to gum disease. Part of the gum disease diagnosis involves the depth of the spaces (or pockets) around your teeth. Dr. Still takes initial measurements during your new patient Comprehensive Exam and Claire and Ann will measure this yearly thereafter. If you would like  copy of your pocket readings, ask Claire or Ann to print it out for you so you can easily see your problem areas and where you need to improve on your home-care.  Just as you want to know what your blood pressure is, you want to know what your pocket reading is and be aware of how it’s changing.

For more about your pocket readings and what the measurements mean, click below:


As part of your teeth cleaning appointment, Claire and Ann will give you instructions on proper brushing and flossing techniques. Follow-through after a teeth cleaning is everything, so use this opportunity to get a full demonstration of what you should be doing at home to keep your mouth disease-free and healthy. Along with proper home care, they will tell you that it is extremely important to have your teeth cleaned and checked at least 2-4 time per year.

Memorial Day – Did You Know?

memorial day smile sarasotaFor nearly 150 years, Americans have gathered in late spring to honor the sacrifice of those who have given their lives in service to their country. What began with dozens of informal commemorations of those killed in the Civil War has grown to become one of the nation’s most solemn and hallowed holidays. From its earliest incarnation as “Decoration Day” to its modern-day observances, check out some surprising facts about the history of Memorial Day.

  1. Memorial Day and its traditions may have ancient roots.While the first commemorative events weren’t held in the United States until the 19th century, the practice of honoring those who have fallen in battle dates back thousands of years. The ancient Greeks and Romans held annual days of remembrance for loved ones (including soldiers) each year, festooning their graves with flowers and holding public festivals and feasts in their honor. In Athens, public funerals for fallen soldiers were held after each battle, with the remains of the dead on display for public mourning before a funeral procession took them to their internment in the Kerameikos, one of the city’s most prestigious cemeteries. One of the first known public tributes to war dead was in 431 B.C., when the Athenian general and statesman Pericles delivered a funeral oration praising the sacrifice and valor of those killed in the Peloponnesian War—a speech that some have compared in tone to Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address.
  2. One of the earliest commemorations was organized by recently freed slaves.
    As the Civil War neared its end, thousands of Union soldiers, held as prisoners of war, were herded into a series of hastily assembled camps in Charleston, South Carolina. Conditions at one camp, a former racetrack near the city’s Citadel, were so bad that more than 250 prisoners died from disease or exposure, and were buried in a mass grave behind the track’s grandstand. Three weeks after the Confederate surrender, an unusual procession entered the former camp: On May 1, 1865, more than 1,000 recently freed slaves, accompanied by regiments of the U.S. Colored Troops (including the Massachusetts 54th Infantry) and a handful of white Charlestonians, gathered in the camp to consecrate a new, proper burial site for the Union dead. The group sang hymns, gave readings and distributed flowers around the cemetery, which they dedicated to the “Martyrs of the Race Course.”
  3. The holiday’s “founder” had a long and distinguished career. In May 1868, General John A. Logan, the commander-in-chief of the Union veterans’ group known as the Grand Army of the Republic, issued a decree that May 30 should become a nationwide day of commemoration for the more than 620,000 soldiers killed in the recently ended Civil War. On Decoration Day, as Logan dubbed it, Americans should lay flowers and decorate the graves of the war dead “whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.” According to legend, Logan chose May 30 because it was a rare day that didn’t fall on the anniversary of a Civil War battle, though some historians believe the date was selected to ensure that flowers across the country would be in full bloom. After the war Logan, who had served as a U.S. congressman before resigning to rejoin the army, returned to his political career, eventually serving in both the House and Senate and was the unsuccessful Republican candidate for vice president in 1884. When he died two years later, Logan’s body laid in state in the rotunda of the United States Capitol, making him one of just 33 people to have received the honor. Today, Washington, D.C.’s Logan Circle and several townships across the country are named in honor of this champion of veterans and those killed in battle.
  4. Logan probably adapted the idea from earlier events in the South. Even before the war ended, women’s groups across much of the South were gathering informally to decorate the graves of Confederate dead. In April 1886, the Ladies Memorial Association of Columbus, Georgia resolved to commemorate the fallen once a year—a decision that seems to have influenced John Logan to follow suit, according to his own wife. However, southern commemorations were rarely held on one standard day, with observations differing by state and spread out across much of the spring and early summer. It’s a tradition that continues today: Nine southern states officially recognize a Confederate Memorial Day, with events held on Confederate President Jefferson Davis’ birthday, the day on which General Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson was killed, or to commemorate other symbolic events.
  5. It didn’t become a federal holiday until 1971.American’s embraced the notion of “Decoration Day” immediately. That first year, more than 27 states held some sort of ceremony, with more than 5,000 people in attendance at a ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery. By 1890, every former state of the Union had adopted it as an official holiday. But for more than 50 years, the holiday was used to commemorate those killed just in the Civil War, not in any other American conflict. It wasn’t until America’s entry into World War I that the tradition was expanded to include those killed in all wars, and Memorial Day was not officially recognized nationwide until the 1970s, with America deeply embroiled in the Vietnam War.
  6. It was a long road from Decoration Day to an official Memorial Day.Although the term Memorial Day was used beginning in the 1880s, the holiday was officially known as Decoration Day for more than a century, when it was changed by federal law. Four years later, the Uniform Monday Holiday Act of 1968 finally went into effect, moving Memorial Day from its traditional observance on May 30 (regardless of the day of the week), to a set day—the last Monday in May. The move has not been without controversy, though. Veterans groups, concerned that more Americans associate the holiday with first long weekend of the summer and not its intended purpose to honor the nation’s war dead, continue to lobby for a return to the May 30 observances. For more than 20 years, their cause was championed by Hawaiian Senator—and decorated World War II veteran—Daniel Inouye, who until his 2012 death reintroduced legislation in support of the change at the start of every Congressional term.
  7. More than 20 towns claim to be the holiday’s “birthplace”—but only one has federal recognition. For almost as long as there’s been a holiday, there’s been a rivalry about who celebrated it first. Boalsburg, Pennsylvania, bases its claim on an 1864 gathering of women to mourn those recently killed at Gettysburg. In Carbondale, Illinois, they’re certain that they were first, thanks to an 1866 parade led, in part, by John Logan who two years later would lead the charge for an official holiday. There are even two dueling Columbus challengers (one in Mississippi, the other in Georgia) who have battled it out for Memorial Day supremacy for decades. Only one town, however, has received the official seal of approval from the U.S. government. In 1966, 100 years after the town of Waterloo, New York, shuttered its businesses and took to the streets for the first of many continuous, community-wide celebrations, President Lyndon Johnson signed legislation, recently passed by the U.S. Congress, declaring the tiny upstate village the “official” birthplace of Memorial Day.
  8. Memorial Day traditions have evolved over the years.Despite the increasing celebration of the holiday as a summer rite of passage, there are some formal rituals still on the books: The American flag should be hung at half-staff until noon on Memorial Day, then raised to the top of the staff. And since 2000, when the U.S. Congress passed legislation, all Americans are encouraged to pause for a National Moment of Remembrance at 3 p.m. local time. The federal government has also used the holiday to honor non-veterans—the Lincoln Memorial was dedicated on Memorial Day 1922.


Article by Barbara Maranzani – posted on

Are We Boring You?

smile sarasota yawningSnakes and fish do it. Cats and dogs do it. Even human babies do it inside the womb. And maybe after seeing the picture of these adorable puppies, you’re doing it now: YAWNING.

Yawning appears to be ubiquitous within the animal kingdom. But despite being such a widespread feature, scientists still can’t explain why yawning happens, or why for social mammals, like humans and their closest relatives, it’s contagious. While fatigue, drowsiness or boredom easily bring on yawns, scientists are discovering there’s more to yawning than most people think. Not much is known about why we yawn or if it serves any useful function, and very little research has been done on the subject. However, there are several theories about why we yawn. Here are the four most common:

  • The physiological theory: Our bodies induce yawning to draw in more oxygen or remove a buildup of carbon dioxide. This theory helps explain why we yawn in groups. Larger groups produce more carbon dioxide, which means our bodies would act to draw in more oxygen and get rid of the excess carbon dioxide. However, if our bodies make us yawn to draw in needed oxygen, wouldn’t we yawn during exercise? Robert Provine, a developmental neuroscientist at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and a leading expert on yawning, has tested this theory: Giving people additional oxygen didn’t decrease yawning, and decreasing the amount of carbon dioxide in a subject’s environment also didn’t prevent yawning.
  • The evolution theory: Some think that yawning began with our ancestors, who used yawning to show their teeth and intimidate others. An offshoot of this theory is the idea that yawning developed from early man as a signal for us to change activities.
  • The boredom theory: Although we do tend to yawn when bored or tired, this theory doesn’t explain why Olympic athletes yawn right before they compete in their event or why dogs tend to yawn just before they attack. It’s doubtful either is bored.
  • The brain-cooling theory: A more recent theory proposed by researchers is that since people yawn more in situations where their brains are likely to be warmer — tested by having some subjects breathe through their noses or press hot or cold packs to their foreheads — it’s a way to cool down their brains. What does it matter if our brains are cold or hot? Cool brains can think more clearly; hence, yawning might have developed to keep us alert.

So even though we still don’t know for sure why we yawn, we do know lots of interesting things about yawning. More than half of you will yawn if you see someone else yawn; and reading about yawning makes you yawn!


Check out this video for more!

Who Do You Inspire?

You have probably already made your New Year’s resolution and by now, have perhaps slid off the path of good intentions. But it’s not too late! For this week’s Smile Sarasota Blog, we chose to share someone else’s blog – Fred Joyal’s, because it was so good and…so INSPIRING! Read more here…

We all have someone who inspires us.  If you’re lucky, you have several. And hopefully, some of them are people you actually interact with on a regular basis, and aren’t just famous people or historical figures. But it can also be little things, brief encounters, that inspire us.  I recently was picking up a rental car, and the Hertz clerk had such a genuinely cheerful attitude that he inspired me to brighten my own outlook. If we’re paying attention, inspiration can come from many places.

But what this blog is about is who you inspire. We all have this ability. We all interact with family, co-workers, customers (patients) and various strangers throughout our day. Inspiration is a gift we can give to others.  And it doesn’t have to be something life-changing. You’re not going to barrel through your day handing out epiphanies left and right.  But you can spark something. You can uplift someone. You can set a good example, or do the unexpected.

And what really inspires people? Our actions. Sometimes it’s our words, or maybe a FaceBook post.  But mostly, it’s our actions.

An act of kindness. A moment of patience or forbearance. Or generosity. You can inspire someone when you make someone laugh when they’re down, and show them the positives that are all around them.  You can demonstrate a better attitude (like my friend at Hertz).

A simple act of courtesy can inspire people, often without you even knowing them or realizing the impact you’ve had.

The opportunities to inspire are all around us. Grab a few.

I do this deliberately. I try to inspire my employees.  My friends. The people I lecture to.  This is not some ego trip I’m on. I don’t see myself as hugely inspiring, but I do acknowledge my ability to have some impact on people.  And so I make the effort.  Not to force-feed my viewpoint, but to show someone a different path.  It’s still up to them to take it. Inspiration is not about making anyone do anything. It’s an invitation.

And I don’t just see this as a nice thing to do. I see it as important to do, for you as well as others. For your own quality of life, your deeper happiness and satisfaction.

So I’m going to invite you to do something unusual.  Since it’s the time of year for resolutions, I’m going to suggest a different approach, which is this: take a few minutes, sit down and write your own eulogy.

Yes, actually write your eulogy. I know that sounds a bit morbid. But I’m pretty sure you’re going to die someday, so relax and go with it.  This is a chance for you to dive a little deeper into this concept of inspiring others.  The method to writing this is quite simple. All you have to do is envision what you will be remembered for.

This is not for anyone else to read. This is for you, written as if you were reading it at your own funeral service. (Ideally, many, many years from now!)

This is your chance to be honest, even brutally so, with yourself. What do you think your life will have meant to people? What would they say?  How do you think people would describe you?  Critique you?  What would they miss about you?  Would they miss you?

Will it be that you always had a fancy car and a big house, or was it that you were generous to a fault?

Were you adventurous or timid? Were you fair-minded or close-minded?

Did you choose love when it was difficult to do so, or did you fall into bias, prejudice, judgment and superiority?

Were you kind to animals but mean to people?

Exceptionally well-known, or an exceptional parent, or an exceptional complainer?

Did you have more friends than you could count, or more money than you could count?

Did you win, or help others to win? Did you crush the competition, or toast together with your competitors for a game well-played, whether you won or lost?

Did you inspire people to be better, to love more, to share more, to be honest and trustworthy?

Did you win arguments, or affection?  (Side note: there is no such thing as winning an argument. I’ve tried. It’s a delusion.)

Did you avenge every wrong, resent every slight, hold grudges endlessly, or opt for forgiveness?

Did your words of encouragement outweigh your criticisms?

Did you laugh enough? Did you pray enough?

Did you make a fortune? Or make a difference? (Not that you couldn’t do both.)

As you get toward the end of your eulogy, write what you would most want to be remembered for. Remember, this is for you. Not to show other people.  Don’t worry about the grammar. You are the only audience.

Once it’s done, seal it and read it next January 1st. See what’s changed. Maybe you inspired yourself.


Posted on January 6, 2016 by Fred Joyal

Is it a Lemon?

There are five basic tastes that can be perceived by the human tongue. These are bitterness, sourness, saltiness, sweetness and savoriness. Bitter is the most sensitive among these tastes and is detected by the taste buds at the back of tongue and in the throat. Sour on the other hand is indicative of acidity and helps in its perception. The taste buds along the side of the tongue perceive sourness. Saltiness is also recognized by these buds. Check out the video linked below…apparently, this dog’s entire tongue is wary of the sourness of lemons!



Laugh it Up…It’s Good for You!

laughing smile sarasota5 Reasons to have a Really Good Belly Laugh!

  1. Laughter boosts your immune system. According to studies, laughter helps to boost your immune system and may even increase the number of cancer-killing cells in your body. Doing something that feels good and is good for you? I’m in!
  1. Laughter release endorphins. Speaking of feeling good – when you laugh, you trigger a release of endorphins {those yummy feel-good chemicals}. These chemicals triggered by the brain, are the reason you feel so happy when you laugh – isn’t that the BEST feeling! The more you laugh, the better you’ll feel, so do it as often as you can!
  1. Laughter connects us with others. Think about how you feel when you’re laughing with someone. You feel connected, right? Even if you don’t know the person well, you feel bonded with him or her. – Forming connections has a positive impact on our lives — and laughter is a great way to connect.
  1. Laughter protects your heart. Apparently laughing has some healthy heart benefits. Laughing can lead to improved blood flow and cut down on high blood pressure. Heart troubles are unfortunately pretty common — which is why we should all start laughing more often to ward them off. Fact: One pioneer in laughter research, William Fry, claimed it took ten minutes on a rowing machine for his heart rate to reach the level it would after just one minute of hearty laughter. I’m sure it’s more fun too.
  1. Laughter keeps us present. When you’re laughing, you’re focused on whatever is funny in that moment. You’re not worried about the past or the future. You’re in the now. Though you might not realize it, laughter really is one of the best ways to stay present.

These are just a few of the benefits of having a good laugh. Ultimately laughter offers us a break from the hard parts of life – a chance to escape, but for a few moments. No matter how badly you feel, how broken your heart is, how tough things seem, laughter has the ability to pick you up and bring you a respite from unhappiness – and it’s free. It really is the best medicine. So…show those pearly whites and laugh it up!

Happy Thanksgiving from Smile Sarasota!

This coming week, just about everyone in the United States will celebrate the best holiday of the year: Thanksgiving. At its best, this is a holiday about gratitude, about family and about possibility. It brings people together to not only celebrate the end of the harvest, but to look one in another in the eye and share something magical.

In a digital age, one where humanity has been corrupted by commerce at every turn, there are very few Thanksgiving piñatas stuffed with coins, no huge market in Thanksgiving wrapping paper, no rush to the stores. We mostly save that for the next day, when the retail-industrial establishment kicks into high gear. After all the travel and the cooking and the hassle, for a few minutes, perhaps we can all breathe the same air and think hard about what we’re thankful for. Wherever you are, celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday. Or any day. Not the Thanksgiving of a bountiful Massachusetts harvest before the long winter, the holiday of pilgrims and pie. Let’s imagine something else…A modern Thanksgiving would celebrate two things:

  • The people in our lives who give us the support and love we need to make a difference, and…
  • The opportunity to build something bigger than ourselves, something worth contributing to. The ability to make connections, to lend a hand, to invent and create.

From Smile Sarasota, Dr. Adam and Jaime Still and our staff…we are thankful for you, our patients and friends. Thank you for everything you do, and for the difference you make to your family and the people who care about you.

Your Smile…A Lasting Impression

One of the first thing people notice about you – one of the first things on which they base their lasting first impression, is your smile… your teeth. It has been speculated that your smile has more impact on the success of your personal and business relationships than any other part of your appearance … ANY other part of your appearance. That speculation was confirmed by a number of surveys. In one survey in which people were asked what it is they remember most about new people they meet, over 85% said they remember people with beautiful smiles. Over one-third said they were not likely to kiss someone, or set up a blind date for a friend, with a person who had bad looking teeth.

This means the more attractive your smile, the more likely it is that you’ll be noticed, sought out, liked, and remembered. It means that the more beautiful your smile, the more likely it is your spouse or significant other will be attracted to you. It also means the more compelling your smile, the more likely it is that you’ll get noticed and remembered on the job … potentially leading to more promotions. It means the more attractive your smile, the more confident you are likely to be and the better your self-image will be… which translates into a better life.

First and foremost, Dr. Still is a general dentist, taking great care of all those things that keep your smile healthy, But more and more, our Smile Sarasota patients are asking Dr. Still for a ‘cosmetic smile makeover’ and getting amazing results. Take a look at our Before and After Gallery and then give us a call for a consultation!

Fun ‘Teeth’ Facts

Time for some fun! Did you know a mosquito has 47 teeth? Here are the TOP 10 MOSQUITO FUN FACTS…we’re sure you’ve been hankering for this information!

  1. An adult mosquito can live as long as 5 months. It may take several months for a larva to develop to the adult stage in cold water. Eggs of floodwater mosquitoes may remain dormant for several years, and hatch when they are covered with water.
  2. An adult female mosquito weighs only about 1/15,000 ounce (about 2.0 milligrams).
  3. An adult female mosquito consumes about 5-millionths of a liter in a single blood meal.
  4. A mosquito wing beats from 300 to 600 times per second.
  5. Male mosquitoes find female mosquitoes by listening to the sound of their wings beating. The males can actually identify the correct species by the pitch of the female’s wings.
  6. Mosquitoes can fly about 1 to 1.5 miles per hour.
  7. Most mosquitoes do not fly very far from their larval habitat, but the salt marsh mosquito migrates 75 to 100 miles over the course of its life.
  8. A mosquito can smell the carbon dioxide you exhale from about 60 to 75 feet away.
  9. Some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others. It is not clear why, but probably has something to do with the 300 or so odd chemicals produced by the skin.
  10. In the interest of science, Arctic researchers uncovered their chests, arms, and legs and reported as many as 9000 mosquito bites per person, per minute. At this rate, and unprotected human would lose one half of his blood supply in approximately 2 hours.

Life Can Be a Struggle – But Keep Trying!

“Whatever the struggle, continue the climb. It may be only one step to the summit.” Diane Westlake

Sometimes, struggles are exactly what we need in our life. If we were to go through our life without any obstacles, we would be crippled. We would not be as strong as what we could have been. Give every opportunity a chance, leave no room for regrets.

This cute English Bulldog in the video below believes in the struggle!


Continue the Climb!

The Real Tech Decade

Smile Sarasota is a very high-tech dental practice and most of us think all this stuff was just recently developed. Not true. We just wanted to share this because it’s so interesting to read about incredible advances that were made decades ago. We would not be where we are were it not for the brilliant minds who came before us.

Article by By Vaclav Smil
Photos, Clockwise from Top Left: United States Patent and Trademark Office; Chicago Architectural Photographing Company/Wikipedia; LennyWikidata/Wikipedia; Wikipedia; Project Gutenberg/Wikipedia; Infographic: Erik Vrielink 

The Miraculous 1880’s! The real tech decade happened rather earlier! 

According to the worshipers of the e-world, the late 20th century brought us an unprecedented number of profound inventions. But that is a categorical misunderstanding, as most recent advances have been variations on the microprocessor theme and on the parsing of the electromagnetic spectrum. Perhaps the most inventive time was the 1880s. Have any two sets of primary inventions and epochal discoveries shaped the modern world more than electricity and internal combustion engines? Electricity alone, without microchips, is enough to make a sophisticated and affluent world (we had one in the 1960s). Yet a microchip-governed e-world is utterly dependent on an electricity supply whose fundamental design remains beholden to thermal- and hydro-powered-generation systems, both reaching the commercial market in 1882, which still provide more than 80 percent of the world’s electricity. And we aspire to make it available at least 99.9999 percent of the time, so that it can serve as the cornerstone of everything electronic.

And we think we’re so smart!

Memorial Day Quotes

memorial day quotes sarasota

MEMORIAL DAY:  A day to remember the soldiers who live and die for their country – so it’s our duty to pay the tribute to them!  Here is a collection of great Memorial Day quotes:

“Who kept the faith and fought the fight; The glory theirs, the duty ours.”
– Wallace Bruce

 “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.”
– Joseph Campbell

“As I approach the gates of heaven;
St. Peter I will tell;
One more soldier reporting sir;
I’ve served my time in hell.”
– Mark Anthony Gresswell

“Memorial Day isn’t just about honoring veterans, its honoring those who lost their lives. Veterans had the fortune of coming home. For us, that’s a reminder of when we come home we still have a responsibility to serve. It’s a continuation of service that honors our country and those who fell defending it.”
– Pete Hegseth

“With the tears a Land hath shed.

Their graves should ever be green.”
 – Thomas Bailey Aldrich

” Heroism is latent in every human soul. However humble or unknown, they (the veterans) have renounced what are accounted pleasures and cheerfully undertaken all self-denials; privations, toils, dangers, sufferings, sicknesses, mutilations, life-long hurts and losses, death itself ? For some great good, dimly seen but dearly held.”
Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

“On thy grave the rain shall fall from the eyes of a mighty nation!”
– Thomas William Parsons

“My fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”
-John F. Kennedy

“137 years later, Memorial Day remains one of America’s most cherished patriotic observances. The spirit of this day has not changed – it remains a day to honor those who died defending our freedom and democracy.”
– Doc Hastings

“Memorial Day this year is especially important as we are reminded almost daily of the great sacrifices that the men and women of the Armed Services make to defend our way of life.”
-Robin Hayes

“Thank You for the deed you did, thank you for serving the nation in the difficult time, thank you for keeping us safe from all the troubles. Its because of all the soldiers we are living a peaceful life. Thank you for everything.” 
– Anonymous

“Soldiers are real super heroes we have in our lives. It’s beneath them all the super heroes like batman, superman, flash and everyone live. Hats off to every soldier on this earth. ”
– Anonymous

“Soldiers have to fight two battles continuously in their  life. One on the field ( in the fights ) and the second off the field ( family life) and have to win both continuously. A grand Salute to them. Thank You “
– Anonymous

Are Wisdom Teeth Wiser

wisdom teeth sarasotaSo…how did wisdom teeth become known as such? It goes back to the 17thCentury and at that time, they were called “teeth of wisdom. Usually these four molars are the last teeth to develop and erupt much later that your other teeth, normally between age 17 and 25. Since they appear so late this was referred to as the ‘age of wisdom’. The correct terminology wisdom teeth is ‘third molars’. You may not know that they serve little purpose now.

Why? Our wisdom teeth are a throw-back to our earliest ancestors. Our diet once consisted of very dense, course food such as root, nuts and meat. The jaw had to work harder in order to chew which caused the jawbone to develop into a larger, longer bone. As mankind evolved, so did our eating habits.

We now eat a lot of cut, processed foods that are much easier to chew and we simply don’t need the help from those extra molars. Plus, our jaw has become much smaller and this make is difficult to accommodate the wisdom teeth. They become impacted (trapped behind the second molars) and this is why most of us have had our third molars removed.

Dental Implants Are Not New!

We tend to think of dental implants as a modern marvel, and in their current form, they are. But what many people don’t realize is that the idea behind dental implants has been around for centuries. In fact, the very first dental implant is attributed to the Mayans and dates back to 600 AD. It only took us 1,400 years to develop a tooth replacement of a similar kind!

dental implant restoration sarasotaThe most notable implant discovery came in 1931, when an archeologist in Honduras found the mandible of a Mayan woman thought to be in her twenties. The mandible contained three tooth-shaped seashells inserted into the sockets that once held teeth. At first, scientists believed the shells were inserted post-mortem, but in 1970, a curious dental academic discovered that bone had grown around the seashells, meaning they served as tooth replacements while the woman was alive.

Dental implants were not exclusive to South and Central America, though. Ancient Egyptian mummies have been unearthed with gold wires implanted in their jawbones. In the Middle East, skeletons have been found with ivory implants. Most recently, anthropologists discovered an iron implant in the jawbone of a Roman soldier.

The father of the modern dental implant, Swedish orthopedic surgeon Per-Ingvar Brånemark, made his implant discovery in the mid 1960’s. While researching bone healing, he discovered that bone tissue would fuse to the metal titanium. Over the next several years, he performed experiments and published studies, eventually commercializing implants in 1978. Today, millions of implants have been placed under his name, and even more implant companies have used his patent.

It’s hard to believe that implants in their modern form have only been around for just over 40 years. But with thousands of years in the making, it’s no wonder they have maintained a 95-98% success rate, making them popular with dentists and patients alike. If you have missing teeth, call us today for a consultation to learn more!

Adam N. Still, D.M.D., P.L – What do all those ‘letters’ after his name mean?

dmd and ddsLots of people have asked us why some dentists have a “DDS”, after their name and some may be listed as “DMD”. Dr. Still is a DMD. The DDS (Doctor of Dental Surgery) and DMD (Doctor of Medicine in Dentistry or Doctor of Dental Medicine) are the same degrees. Dentists who have a DMD or DDS have the same education. It’s up to the universities to determine what degree is awarded. Both degrees use the same curriculum requirements set by the American Dental Association.

Did you know that the level of education and clinical training required to earn a dental degree is on par with those of medical schools? Generally, three or more years of undergraduate education (Dr. Still graduated from the University of Washington) plus four years of dental school is required to graduate and become a general dentist. (Dr. Still graduated from Boston University Dental School). Upon completion of their training, dentists must pass both a rigorous national written exam and a state or regional clinical licensing exam in order to practice. In order to keep their licenses, they must meet continuing education requirements for the remainder of their careers so that they may stay up to date on the latest scientific and clinical developments.

And what about that ‘P.L.’?  P.L. is short  for a Professional Limited Liability Company, also known as PLLC, or P.L.L.C.  A professional limited liability company is a business entity designed for licensed professionals, such as lawyers, doctors, dentists, architects, engineers, accountants, and chiropractors. It is simply a form of incorporation.

History of Flossing

We know all of you floss every day…right? Flossing & cleaning between the teeth has been going on a long time. Researchers have found dental floss and toothpick grooves in the teeth of prehistoric humans. Take a look at the timeline below to learn when floss was invented and how it became a popular oral hygiene tool.

Early 1800s
Dr. Levi Spear Parmly, an American dentist from New Orleans, is credited with its invention (or reinvention) of dental floss. At the time, a lot of people were not brushing their teeth because toothbrushes were too expensive. Concerned by the condition of his patients’ teeth, Dr. Parmly wrote about the importance of brushing with toothpaste and flossing (with waxed silken thread) in his book, A Practical Guide to the Management of Teeth.

The Codman and Shurtleft Company began to mass-produce unwaxed silk floss.
Johnson and Johnson was the first company to receive a patent for dental floss.
It was during World War II that Dr. Charles Bass introduced nylon floss as a substitute for silk floss. Dr. Bass also is known for making flossing an important part of oral hygiene.
There are many types of dental floss, including waxed or unwaxed and flavored varieties.

If you have any questions about flossing, our fabulous Hygienists here at Smile Sarasota can help!

From the Pennsylvania Dental Association 

Lessons from Geese


This holiday season, Smile Sarasota is grateful for the gift of work colleagues, friends and family that makes a difference in the world within such a rich network of people. As strange as it may sound, let’s compare this with geese! Think about a family of geese, and their strategies to ensure the survival and ultimate success of their entire flock. This is akin to friends, colleagues, and loved ones who circle back around, taking the lead when we tire, encouraging us forward, never once considering leaving us behind… knowing there will come a day when I will take my turn in the lead.

Nature ultimately makes no mistakes so enjoy the inherent lessons for all of us embedded in Mother Nature’s classroom. If you Google this phenomenon with geese you will find the following facts.  Perhaps you have seen this before, and if so, it’s worth the revisit.

Fact One:  As each goose flaps its wings, it creates an “uplift” for the other birds to follow.  By flying in a “V” formation, the whole flock adds 71% greater flying range than if each bird flew alone.

Fact Two:  When a goose falls out of formation, it suddenly feels the drag and resistance of flying alone.  It quickly moves back into formation to take advantage of the lifting power of the bird immediately in front of it.

Fact Three:  When the lead goose tires, it rotates back into the formation and another goose flies to the front position.

Fact Four: The geese flying in formation honk to encourage those up front to keep up their speed.

Fact Five:  When a goose is sick, wounded, or shot down, two geese drop out of formation and follow it down to help and protect it.  They stay with it until it dies or is able to fly again.  They then launch out to catch up with the flock or rejoin another formation.


Focus on our Team-Part 1

smile sarasota team


At Smile Sarasota, for our team to be successful, each member must function with a level of interdependence and share in accountability, and demonstrate a devotion to success. To ensure the team functions synergistically with a strong sense of mutual commitment, each team member must possess a full set of complementary skills.

We will be posting information from time to time so you can get to know OUR team, starting with our Dental Assistants:

In today’s modern dental practices, dental assistants are doing more than just comforting patients, suctioning mouths, and setting-up/tearing down treatment areas. Dental assistants with advanced training are now charged with performing many of the complex tasks that could otherwise prevent our doctors from seeing other patients. For oral health care of the 21st century, not just any dental assistant will do! Dentists like Dr. Still are demanding the skills of highly specialized assistants and prefer to employ team members who come to the practice with formal training and all required state credentials. There is no doubt that in the 21st century, dentistry remains a team-based profession. Quality oral health care continues to require the services of many highly skilled and knowledgeable individuals, because a lone practitioner cannot single-handedly be everything to everyone.

Our Dental Assistants are an integral part of the dental team, sharing in the responsibility for the delivery of quality oral health-care to all. We thought you may be interested in the three wonderful dental assistants at Smile Sarasota, so here is a little background bio on each of them:

Sandra was born in Bogotá, Columbia, where she trained as a licensed DDS. She is passionate about dentistry and has been working in the field for over 30 years. Sandra particularly enjoys the innovations and new technology that provides a real challenge for dentists. “The future of dentistry is unlimited and I take pride in staying current with the technology in order to provide the best services for our patients.” Sandra is happily married and has two children and two step-children and one grandchild.

Wendy graduated from Weymouth North High School and continued her education at Aquinas Junior College, where she earned her Associate in Science Degree in Business. She also attended Northeastern University in cooperation with Tufts University School of Dentistry. She moved to Florida in 1989 and earned her Dental Auxiliary Expanded Duties at the University of Florida in Gainesville. She has worked in the field for over 20 years. Wendy is happily married and has two children. She enjoys gardening, travelling and country music.

A Bulldog Went Trick-or-Treating…

Halloween is upon us again!  Smile Sarasota started wondering how in the world we ever started going door to door asking for candy or why we dress up history of halloween from smile sarasotafor this holiday.

After doing a little bit of research, Smile Sarasota discovered some interesting facts about Halloween.

  • Halloween is thought to have originated around 4000 B.C., which means Halloween has been around for over 6,000 years.
  • Trick-or-treating evolved from the ancient Celtic tradition of putting out treats and food to placate spirits who roamed the streets at Samhain, a sacred festival that marked the end of the Celtic calendar year.
  • Dressing up as ghouls and other spooks originated from the ancient Celtic tradition of townspeople disguising themselves as demons and spirits. The Celts believed that disguising themselves this way would allow them to escape the notice of the real spirits wandering the streets during Samhain.
  • According to the National Retail Federation, 40.1% of those surveyed plan to wear a Halloween costume in 2010. In 2009, it was 33.4%. Thirty-three percent will throw or attend a party.
  • In 2010, 72.2% of those surveyed by the National Retail Federation will hand out candy, 46.3% will carve a pumpkin, 20.8% will visit a haunted house, and 11.5% will dress up their pets.
  • The first known mention of trick-or-treating in print in North America occurred in 1927 in Blackie, Alberta, Canada.
  • Samhainophobia is the fear of Halloween.
  • Souling” is a medieval Christian precursor to modern-day trick-or-treating. On Hallowmas (November 1), the poor would go door-to-door offering prayers for the dead in exchange for soul cakes.
  • Halloween is the second highest grossing commercial holiday after Christmas.
  • Black and orange are typically associated with Halloween. Orange is a symbol of strength and endurance and, along with brown and gold, stands for the harvest and autumn. Black is typically a symbol of death and darkness and acts as a reminder that Halloween once was a festival that marked the boundaries between life and death.
  • Both Salem, Massachusetts, and Anoka, Minnesota, are the self-proclaimed Halloween capitals of the world.

Well, no matter how you celebrate this ancient and fun holiday, remember, if you’re going to dig into the kids’ or grandkids’ candy, make sure to brush and floss after!