Dr. Sinkin's Blog: The Dental And The Incidental


May 12th, 2016 by | 5 Comments »

dental phobia, afraid to go to dentist, michael sinkin DDS

In the words of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”  But he was merely talking about the Japanese invasion of Pearl Harbor and not the crippling fear that many people experience when faced with the going to the dentist.

Dental Phobia is an actual clinical term that means THE FEAR OF DENTISTS. If you are one of the millions of people who suffer from this common phobia, you are likely shaking your head “YES” right now.

There’s a paradox about Dental Phobia that is fascinating. Studies show that dentists are consistently ranked as among the most trusted professionals. Yet, fear of actually visiting the dentist is so much a reality for so many people, that it can’t be ignored. 

To avoid feeling the fear, thousands of people (even when in pain) can’t pick up the phone to schedule that long overdue dental appointment. Dental Phobia can be so overwhelming that it can lead to years of procrastination. Procrastination is often why a small problem, such as a tiny cavity, can becomes a very BIG and COSTLY problem (which only helps to reinforce one’s anxiety-a real dental “Catch-22”).

Thanks to the entertainment media, fear of the dentist is deeply woven into our collective consciousness. Just think of films such as Marathon Man, Little Shop of Horrors, The Dentist, etc. and you know what I’m referring to. Modern folklore, too, can reinforce some common myths that are associated with dental treatment. For some, just the phrase root canal is enough to bring on images of pain and suffering. 

(Check out Painless Root Canal: An Oxymoron? In this post I demystify the procedure. Find the link the end of this this article] 


Here’s some good news: Dental Phobia is so commonplace that most dentists address it as one of the most essential parts of their daily practice.

I’ve been a dentist for over 30 years. I have discovered that my most anxious and fearful patients are singularly scared of one specific thing: THE NEEDLE. 

Whether it is a carry-over from childhood or the impact of an unpleasant adult experience, fear of getting a shot, especially in the mouth, is an almost universally shared emotion. But here’s what is crucially important for you to understand: nearly every needle-phobic patient who has ever sat in my chair has been able to overcome their fearful angst simply by receiving calming and reassuring words of encouragement, having a the comforting hand of an empathetic assistant to hold, and the application of lots and lots of topical (on the gum) anesthetic before the deed is done.

For dental phobic patients the next hurdle happens at the point when the feeling of numbness has spread and treatment commences. Many people experience unease that the injection has fully deadened the area to be treated. This feeling of angst is palpable and can be described as a disquieting ANTICIPATION OF PAIN that could rear its head at any moment. Add to that the THE SHRILL OF THE DRILL, THE STEADY SPRAY OF WATER (images of waterboarding), and THE SMELL of burning tooth.

(FYI, that telltale smell is not because a tooth is incinerated. The odor is actually from pulverized tooth (and sometimes old filling material) that is being dispersed by in a combination of air and water from the dental hand piece.)

If you have ever experienced an unexpected jolt of pain during a dental procedure, the memory is both long lasting and visceral. The fearful patient will wait with apprehension for that jolt to come. Even if it happened only once and it was years and years in the past, the feelings of dread can readily surface. Again, reassuring words, a compassionate hand to hold, plenty of anesthetic and allowing enough time for complete numbness to set in has proven to be the magic combination that gets patients to calm down a bit. A set of headphones with music is also a pleasant distraction.

Dentistry has come a long way in the past few decades. Great advances have been made in the delivery of care, especially in management of anxiety, fear and pain control. Comfortable and nearly painless care is not just a reality today. It is an essential reality. My staff and I are proud to have built a practice known to deliver care in a trusting and caring environment.

dental phobia, michael sinkin, root canal


Is this you? If you’ve avoided making a dental appointment because the thought of the treatment paralyzes you, may I make this suggestion: call and ask for a CONSULTATION VISIT ONLY. Go and meet the dentist with the knowledge that NOTHING will be done to you on that day. Then decide for yourself if this dentist, this office staff, and you, are a comfortable fit.

If you approach the consultation is if you were conducting a job interview…to hire someone…you will feel more in control. You’re in the driver’s seat. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Don’t be afraid to say you’re afraid. And make sure all your concerns are addressed before you leave. If one practice isn’t a good fit, try another.

A consultation is the first step in overcoming your fears.

Do you suffer from Dental Phobia? Have you found ways to overcome it? I’d love to hear your feedback.

Read: Painless Root Canal: An Oxymoron?

(Michael Sinkin is a dentist in New York City. He loves being a dentist and is known throughout the city for taking wonderful care of his patients and for his wicked sense of humor. To contact Dr. Sinkin, link here.)

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comment or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

Get New Teeth In A Day? No Joke!

April 10th, 2016 by | No Comments »


teeth in a day, michael sinkin, dentist nyc, dental implants


Wouldn’t it be truly remarkable if you could go to a special kind of dentist and in a ONE SINGLE DAY regain lost self-esteem and improve the quality of your life? Wouldn’t it be incredible if, at the conclusion of this transformative day, you would be sporting a truly bodacious, spontaneous smile (accompanied by a few tears of joy)?

Can you really get new teeth in a day?

That’s a pretty dramatic description for a truly dramatic and often life-altering TRANSFORMATION experienced by many people who had lost all, some or even just one of their teeth. You see, tooth loss doesn’t simply affect a person’s smile, it can affect the ability to eat comfortably and to speak clearly. Because without the support of your natural teeth, even your facial features can collapse. This leaves many people without self-confidence and with plenty of self-consciousness.

Unbelievably, more than 30 million Americans are missing all of their upper teeth and another 20 million are missing all of their lower teeth (not counting wisdom teeth.) Furthermore, among people over 60 years of age, most have lost an average of 10 teeth during their lifetimes. The lucky adult who still has a complete dentition (none lost) has 28 teeth. That means that the average 60+ year-old is missing 35% of his or her natural teeth!

If we set aside the obvious physical impact that complete or partial edentulism (lost teeth) can cause, we also see psychological impacts of tooth loss. When you have missing teeth you can experience anxiety and concern about romantic situations (especially if you’re in a new relationship), fear of ending up as an oral invalid (especially if you don’t tolerate dentures well), difficulty speaking clearly, and unhappiness with your appearance. This can all can lead to social avoidance and low self-esteem. In fact, Americans spend more than 200 million dollars each year just on adhesives to keep dentures in place.

Take Heart…You Can Get Your Confidence Back

Because of amazing advances in implant dentistry, including improved surgical techniques, computer imaging, and other innovations, we can now offer many thousands of people hope that they never had before. Even a temporary state of toothless-ness can now be avoided.

This treatment approach has been popularized by a very catchy moniker: Teeth In A Day.

Simply put, Teeth In A Day is a treatment approach in which you can have dental implants surgically placed and then capped (restored) with attractive, comfortable and functional replacement teeth…all in just one visit!

This type of treatment requires careful and thorough planning. While the actual implant surgery and prosthetics (the actual crowns or bridges) can be done in one visit, you must visit you dentist for preliminary and preparatory appointments. This is because teeth are not one-size-fits-all. The design, appearance and function must be individually planned and fabricated prior to the day of delivery (that was not a reference to childbirth!).

Some Clarification About Teeth In A Day:

The Teeth In A Day process is actually a temporary (provisional) restoration.

Modern dental implants are most frequently made of commercially pure titanium or titanium alloy whose unique properties allow the implants to fuse to bone in a process called osseointegration. Certain biologic principles are accepted as scientific facts – implants require 4 to 6 months of healing before osseointegration occurs. This means that with the rare exception, the final crowns and bridges that will be supported by implants cannot be made before this time frame.

Thankfully, temporary “teeth” can be quite exquisite in appearance and comfort. But, they are a merely a means to an end. Once the implants have integrated to the bone, permanent restorations can be fabricated which in beauty, form, function, and natural luminescence, can be extraordinary and dazzling.

Losing your teeth can be a devastating and even haunting personal crisis. Dental implants make possible what was once inconceivable. They offer the means and the opportunity to bridge the gap between being toothless and whole.

Teeth In A Day is an innovative approach, which when executed thoughtfully and using proper technique, elicits spontaneous and very genuine smiles


Dr. Michael Sinkin has been practicing dentistry for over two decades. He truly cares about the experience his patients have and takes great pride in making them feel relaxed and comfortable during every visit. Come in for an appointment and experience a different kind of dental practice. To find out more about Dr. Sinkin, please click here. Thanks for reading!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comments or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

All On 4 Dental Implants: Are They Right For You?

February 5th, 2016 by | No Comments »

all on 4 dental implants, michael sinkin, dental implants


A technique that’s being heavily advertised on TV, radio, print and on the web is All On 4 dental implants. Promoted as a fast and economical way to escape the discomfort and embarrassment of wearing dentures, All On 4 refers to a very specific dental implant treatment plan that can replace all or most of a patient’s missing teeth in the upper or lower dental arch.

The appeal of All On 4 is that is involves only 4 strategically placed implants, as opposed to 5 or even 6. In essence, the patient gets a nearly full complement of teeth, but needs only four implants. ALL the missing teeth are replaced by restorations that are supported by only 4 implants: All. On. 4.

It’s pretty obvious why All On 4 dental implants could be popular. The treatment plan:

  • Involves Less Surgery: Only four implants need to be placed and bone grafting procedures such as sinus lifts are often not needed.
  • Is More Economical: Only four implants are placed, thus reducing the cost of the surgery as well as that of the final restoration.
  • Takes Less Time: Because advanced surgical procedures are often avoided and the time and number of visits required to fabricate the final restoration is reduced, the entire procedure requires fewer hours in the chair.

When a patient fulfills most of the clinical requisites for a successful outcome and with careful planning on the part of the dentist All On Four can be a very viable and economical choice for patients who are either wearing (or facing the prospect) of full dentures.

In fact, success with this technique can be a real game-changer in the quality of life of the person who pursues such care. To be able to smile, to eat, and to live in comfort without being concerned that one’s teeth may fall out, is something that was unheard of for denture wearers just a few years ago.

All On 4 Dental Implants Are Not For Everyone

Before embarking on the All On 4 treatment course many considerations (clinical, anatomical, and above all bio-mechanical) must be taken into account. Failure to do so will most assuredly, in my personal and professional opinion, lead to dramatic disappointment for both the patient and his or her dentist.

While it is the dentist’s (or team of dentists’) responsibility to determine whether All On 4 is a viable treatment option, it is the patient’s prerogative to ask a lot of questions about the pros and cons of such treatment. And the most important question of all is this:

What Happens if One of the Implants Fails?

With thorough and thoughtful diagnosis, carefully planned and proper surgical techniques, well fabricated restorations, and the appropriate follow-up care, the majority of implants are highly successful. In fact, some literature indicates a greater than 95% success rate.

But the reality is this: some of the implants will fail. Aside from surgical failure, the most common reason for an implant to fail is overload. In other words, after an implant is restored with a crown or as part of a bridge, it is then put into what we call function. This implant works hard: it bites, chews, and it grinds.

When an implant is part of a bridge, one of its jobs is to help support and carry the load that normally would have been carried by natural teeth. When the load becomes excessive, it’s common for the patient to lose some of his or her supporting bone. That is what leads to implant failure.

Management of these forces is one of the most crucial aspects of long-term implant success. Here are two of the many considerations that must be taken into account when deciding if All On Four is a good choice:

  • The more missing teeth that are replaced, the greater stress and strain is placed on the implants and the supporting bone around them.
  • If the opposite dentition is overly strong, the implants will be subjected to incredible forces. Imagine a large man with powerful jaw muscles and the force his implants will endure. The greater the force, the more support (number of implants) will be needed to help share or distribute the load.

Getting back to All On 4. Remember, there are just four implants to support the functional load of an entire dental arch. If the force factors are relatively low and there is an abundance of bone to support properly sized and angled implants, the All On 4 treatment can offer years of service to a very satisfied patient. But should just one implant fail, there will be trouble. First, the entire restoration must be removed. Next, additional implants must be placed. Finally, a new restoration must be made. This is costly in time and money.

If you lose one implant on All On 4 you are left with None On 3

As a highly trained implant dentist, it is my goal to properly address the clinical and bio-mechanical demands that will be placed on my patients’ teeth and implants in the future. It’s not my goal to over-engineer a planned dental implant restoration, but it’s prudent to provide some built-in fail safes.

Okay, so maybe I do lean towards being a bit conservative. But when I design All On 5 or All On 6 restorations, my patients are confident that one single implant failure will not necessarily doom the entire restoration. Most often, a simple chair side modification is made and the patient endures not even one full day without teeth.

Thanks to both dental ingenuity and a lot of publicity, All On 4 has become a very popular and sought-after treatment option. It can be a valuable service to the edentulous (a nice way to say “toothless”) person seeking better function, esthetics and comfort, less time in the dental chair, and a lower overall investment. But it is only a good In the appropriate circumstances.

Therefore, All On 4 is not for everyone and I fear it is being overused. In the long run, the cheapest route is not necessarily the most economical one.

Stay tuned (and subscribe) for more of my thoughts on the All On Four dental implants procedure and something else that concerns me: Teeth In A Day.



If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comments or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

Timely Reflections: Looking Back On 2015 & Looking Forward To 2016

December 31st, 2015 by | No Comments »

michael sinkin

It’s that time of year again. After the festivities of the holidays just past, and before the celebration of the New Year to begin, that I indulge in my now thoroughly ingrained ritual of taking personal stock.

2015 was HISTORIC. It was unlike any year I have experienced since 1995 when I left Forest Hills after a long partnership and opened my practice in Manhattan. 2015 was simultaneously stimulating, thrilling, challenging, mind expanding, gratifying and…exhausting!

It also marked the beginning of a crescendo that has been building over these past two plus years during which time I went back to school in the NYU College of Dentistry’s Implant Program. I graduated from the two-year program in June (with great fanfare thanks to my wonderful staff) and in September I enrolled in the more advanced Third Year of study in Implant Dentistry and Advanced Bone Grafting techniques (SO COOL!!!)

Every Wednesday, I marched into school with an action packed schedule: lecture at 7:30am; clinic 8:30-11:30; lecture 12-1:30, lab session 1:30-4:00. Did I mention reading assignments and homework?

nyu dental school implant program graduate, michael sinkin

It’s been nothing short of EXHILARATING! So much so that when I’m in school I’m anything but inconspicuous. I know most of the answers to the lecturer’s questions and I don’t hide the fact. (Brown-noser? Show off? A little of both?) But hey, I’m 25 years older than most of my classmates!

Michael Sinkin, Dentist, Blog
All the while I have been in the office four FULL days each week doing what I’ve always loved: practicing dentistry. And somehow I appreciate it more than ever while simultaneously developing an implant practice (as in surgical placement – I’ve been restoring implants for over 25 years.)

2015 also heralded many innovative changes in my office IN ADDITION TO my continuing professional education and development.

My office manager, Sandra Rolon (who has been with us since mid-2014), spearheaded implementation of a new office computer system (despite my kicking and screaming) that has brought new technology into the treatment room and facilitated our record-keeping and insurance claim processes.

We have also instituted regular patient blood pressure screening and have even encouraged some of our unsuspecting, but otherwise healthy, patients to get their long overdue physicals.

And because I now need the additional treatment room, my longtime tenant Dr. Alter has relocated to another office in the building.

On top of it all, the entire staff has been working with a professional dental consultant to help us do what we do, but even better. We are all learning how to harness our individual and collective skills to better serve our growing “clientele” and maintain a low-stress environment.

In March I was invited to deliver a TED-style talk at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dental Practice Administration, of which I have been a member since 1990. “How I Rediscovered The Bounce in My Step” is the story of how I rediscovered my passion for clinical practice by going back to school at age 57. It was amazingly well received.

And with all of this activity going on, I have still tried to maintain my stream of postings on The Dental & Incidental Blog. Some years ago, when I first started dispensing helpful dental pearls of wisdom along with my incidental observations, my friend Jeff asked me if it was hubris to think that anyone would deem my writing exercise worthy of the time it took to read. Well, Jeff, as it turns out many people have visited my website and found the information useful. In fact, my blog posts on average attract between 6,000 and 9,000 new visitors to my website every month.

This past July, Google used my blog post “7 Ways To Stop Brain Freeze” as part of their TV ad campaign. That post alone received 75,000 visits in three weeks and the You Tube video of the ad was watched nearly three million times.

My dental “newsletter” has evolved into a platform for readers to ask specific questions about common dental problems. It’s a kind of Ask Dr. Sinkin advice column.

Yes, I have been very busy and engaged this past year but I just never stopped to think about how busy and engaged I’ve been until I noticed how much I was looking forward to the school vacation and some time off for the holidays. This operating in overdrive has been fueled by excitement.

michael sinkin

Now that 2015 is coming to a close, I am taking my foot off the gas pedal and coasting across the finish line. I look forward to 2016 with great anticipation, but for the next week or so I’m just going to chill out in California and a long overdue visit with my mom.

A happy and healthy new year to all and a most heartfelt THANK YOU to all of you who allowed me into your lives: Dentally or Incidentally.


PS: The one New Year’s resolution that I don’t have to make (as I’ve had to for the past 20 years) is to lose weight. I joined Weight Watchers last January in 2015 I lost 40lbs.!

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comments or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

This Letter From A Patient Made Me Cry

November 13th, 2015 by | 1 Comment »

It’s hard for me to believe, but as of today I’ve been blogging for six years! Back in 2009 when Betsy Kent (who is my marketing consultant) made the suggestion that I start blogging, I really thought she had lost her mind! I couldn’t imagine what I’d write blogs about or that anyone would want to read them.

But over the years my blog has proven to be a wonderfully satisfying way for me to connect with patients when they’re not sitting in my dental chair. And it’s become a great way to introduce the practice to new patients, as well.

While reading some of my older blog posts I came upon this one. It’s really special to me, so I decided to re-post it. I hope you enjoy….

from April 2014…

I received this letter from a patient the other day. I was so touched that I just had to share it with you. This is why I love being a dentist:

“Dear Dr. Sinkin,

I have been your patient for many years. Your office is so friendly and your staff so attentive and wonderful. I have expressed my gratitude over and over for how you helped me overcome my dental phobia. As a matter of fact, when I needed a filling last month, I didn’t even have one bit of nervousness!

But this time I want to thank you for the incredible transformation that my husband has had because of you.

As you know, my husband has had dental problems his entire life. He has been to many dentists and prosthodontists, but in spite of that, his suffering just got worse. It has broken my heart to observe the pain he has had to deal with, not to mention his inability to eat normally and his embarrassment about the change in his appearance. We felt that there was no hope, and that he would have to live this way for the rest of his life.

But when I met him the other night after his appointment with you, his smile was the first thing I saw. Then I noticed that the pained expression he always has on his face was gone. His mouth was back to its beautiful former shape. And his self-confidence was apparent just by the way he was walking down the street. He was truly a sight for sore eyes. We celebrated by going out for a steak dinner and he actually was able to eat the steak (for the first time in years)!

Words cannot describe how grateful we are that you didn’t give up and kept trying until you found the right solution. You are truly a miracle worker. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”

Have a great day,

Dr. Sinkin

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comment or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

Don’t Flush Your Dentures Down The Toilet

October 16th, 2015 by | No Comments »

Gert #1


Especially Before A Holiday!
Dental emergencies are as varied as the people who have the misfortune to experience them. From the sudden toothache to the lost crown, from the acute abscess to the broken tooth, dental “urgencies” come in a variety of manifestations and when they do present themselves, it often happens at a most inopportune and inconvenient time (weekends, holidays, vacations…)

I have written a number of self-help blogs that have been “googled” by the dental misfortunate seeking first aid tips for the unexpected crisis. And as a way of underscoring the commonplace nature of the dental emergency, two blogs in particular (5 Home Remedies For A Toothache and What To Do If You Break A Tooth Or Lose A Crown) have had over 200,000 visits.

Suffice it to say that dental mishaps are a fact of life and dealing with dental emergencies are very much a part of a dentist’s day-to-day duties.
As I alluded to, dental emergencies come in all shapes and sizes and by their very nature are indifferent to the time of day or day of the week. So it should not come as surprise when I recount the circumstances of a recent (and rather unique) dental crisis upon which I was called to act.

  • Time Of Distress Call: Sunday of Labor Day weekend
  • Location: On the beach at Fire Island, New York
  • Nature Of Crisis: My dear friend Lenny’s 92-year old mother, Gertrude, had just flushed her lower denture down the toilet!

So what’s a mother to do? Call her son! What’s the son to do? Turn to his friend who was sunning himself right next to him – that be me!) and say, “Michael, can you help?” I said “Of course!”

  • Complicating Factor: The Jewish New Year and a family gathering to celebrate was less than a week away. The prospect of not having teeth (to smile, to speak let alone to be able to enjoy the traditional holiday meal) was mortifying. The dental lab requires three days to manufacture a denture and we had only three days to deliver the finished product (including the several intermediate steps that needed to be performed in my office.

[Important sidebar]: Comfortable complete lower dentures are perhaps the single most challenging and disappointing dental prosthesis in clinical dentistry for both dentist and patient. (Thank goodness for dental implants, amen!)

  • The Story: I saw Gert in my office three times during the already shortened week between Labor Day and the Jewish holiday. On her final visit, which was a Friday, I delivered her the finished denture. I did warn that she still would need a few adjustments and the brisket might be a challenge. Also that she would most likely experience the predictable development of denture sores. (Warm saltwater rinses and analgesic denture cream would be her friends during this time).
  • The Coincidence: We were both headed to Fire Island for the holiday; Gert with her son Lenny and me with my wife, Ann. Our homes are four houses away from each other.

gert #2

On Saturday, I made a house call. I examined Gert’s mouth on the backyard deck under bright sunlight. I adjusted and relieved any areas of irritation and polished the denture. All documented by the photojournalist-on-hand: her son, Lenny. She got a real kick out of a dentist making a house call, let alone a beach house call.

I received a hug and a kiss from a most appreciative and humored patient. And a wonderful festive meal was enjoyed by all.

Oh, I forgot to mention, that our families were welcoming the New Year together with what could only be described as a festive feast. We spent a joyous evening together thankful for all that we have. And Gertrude looked MARRVELLLOUS! The belle of the ball!
With a kiss farewell, I told her loved breaking bread with special emphasis of the soft center of the challah.

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comments or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

Do Wisdom Teeth HAVE To Be Extracted? New Research:

September 22nd, 2015 by | No Comments »

do wisdom teeth have to be extracted, college

“To treat or not to treat?” That is the question.

As another August came to an end, thousands of recent high school graduates were making ready to begin the next phase of their formal education: college. And while students and proud parents alike were preparing for this milestone with shopping sprees to department stores, electronics stores (for the requisite laptop, printer and other accoutrements), Bed, Bath and Beyond (don’t forget bedsheets, towels, laundry bag and shower caddy); another errand that is part of this coming of age ritual is a trip to the dentist and an evaluation of the soon-to-be-freshman’s wisdom teeth.

Wisdom teeth generally begin to erupt around the age of seventeen, but the process of eruption can be very gradual over several years. In fact, for many people the wisdom teeth don’t develop at all. They happen to be the most frequently missing teeth in the human dentition.

The college years, ages 18-22, are primetime for wisdom teeth problems and hence, the pre-baccalaureate conversation about Dick or Jane’s wisdom teeth (and no, there isn’t dog named Spot in this tale or if you prefer: tail).

Recent trends in both clinical practice and research over the past decade suggest that wisdom teeth need not be, and perhaps should not be, extracted merely because they are impacted or poorly aligned. This is a dramatic departure from routine removal for some 20-30 years when malposed or partially erupted wisdom teeth were viewed almost as if they were “white tumors” and they had to come out. In fact, a recent study in the British Dental Journal as well as the UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence question the heretofore-unquestioned practice of extracting asymptomatic wisdom teeth.

Certainly, there are potential problems associated with aberrant wisdom teeth such as infection, cysts, damage to the adjacent teeth, pain, and even the rare neoplasm or tumor. But, third molar surgery is not without the risks associated with any surgical intervention (pain, swelling and infection to name a few). Plus, in rare occasions nerve damage is possible (lower wisdom teeth) or sinus damage (upper wisdom teeth).

As a general dentist I am usually the first go-to person with regards to wisdom teeth evaluation. More frequently than not I am able to make my treatment recommendation based upon clinical examination and evaluation of diagnostic x-rays. When appropriate, I will make a referral to my oral surgeon colleagues for their input and expertise as often two heads are better than one when making a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. Sometimes more advanced diagnostic imaging such as a CT-scan is warranted. This helps to me to visualize the tooth, its position in three dimensions and its proximity to vital structures such as the mandibular nerve.

Each patient must be carefully evaluated on an individual basis. While younger people tolerate wisdom tooth extractions more easily, this fact alone does not warrant automatic removal.

Sometimes, however, it makes sense to remove the tooth before the roots are fully formed which makes for both a simpler surgical procedure while also avoiding nearby vital structures like nerves and sinuses.

Coronoectomy or the removal of just the crown portion of the tooth while leaving the deeply impacted roots alone is a somewhat novel surgical approach that involves thinking “out of the box” treatment planning. It eliminates the “problem” of a malposed wisdom tooth and its threat to the adjacent second molar while minimizing the potential morbidity of more complicated and invasive surgery. My close working relationships with talented specialists is an essential resource for optimal patient care; even when the extent of that care may be the decision not to care at all.

Proper evaluation of wisdom teeth is essential to maintaining and safeguarding optimal oral health. Diagnostic imaging, be it x-rays or cone beam scans (dental cat scans) are a crucial part of thorough work-up.

I will never forget my patient Tim. When I first met Tim he was a healthy 40-year old with a full complement of completely erupted and properly-aligned wisdom teeth. One day he arrived at the office with swelling in his jaw. Conventional dental x-rays could not “reach” far enough back in his jaw to see the source of his problem. (By the way, this is a common problem when taking X-rays of wisdom teeth in a small mouth because the X-ray sensor can cause a gag reflex and even dig into the delicate tissues of the mouth.)

I referred Tim to an oral surgeon, who upon taking a panoramic x-ray and a C-T Scan, discovered an impacted wisdom tooth with what turned out to be an associated dental tumor (Odotontogenic Keratocyst, if you must know). Not only did the wisdom tooth, extra tooth and tumor need to be removed, the procedure needed to be done in a hospital (in this case, Sloan-Kettering in NYC).

Tim is fine now, but i shudder to think what might have been if his condition was not discovered. The tumor was literally eating his jaw bone. While his situation is indeed rare, it underscores the importance of a thorough evaluation of your wisdom teeth, even if they are not bothering you.

Remember, an ounce of prevention…

To all of you college students: Good Luck! Remember to brush your teeth and don’t let your books get in the way of your education. For those of you not pursuing a college education, remember that college may not be the be all and end all to a successful happy life, and it won’t spare you from those potentially pesky wisdom teeth.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comments or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

Adding Milk To Tea Prevents Teeth Staining – Here’s Why:

September 1st, 2015 by | 2 Comments »

girl drinking tea


Tea is the cause of more teeth staining than any other beverage, including coffee. And black tea, the most widely consumed type in the world, is the worst offender of all!

It’s no sin to need that cuppa first thing in the morning, but the downside is the residual dark staining that it can leave behind. Tea (and coffee) contains chromagens. Chromagens are intensely pigmented molecules and are the reason that these seemingly indispensable beverages have their beautiful dark color. Because chromagens have a particular affinity for tooth enamel it makes them prime smile-tainters and teeth-stainers.

Why Adding Milk To Tea Prevents Teeth Staining – The Facts:

A recent study reported in the International Journal of Dental Hygiene found that that by adding milk to tea you can reduce its staining impact. That’s great news for tea lovers. But why is tea such a culprit?

If you thought chromagens were bad, meet tannins!

Tea, unlike coffee, also contains tannins. Tannins are a kind of chromagen and are largely responsible for tea’s distinct flavor and lovely color. However, tannins make teeth enamel much more susceptible to staining. In effect, tea presents a double-whammy to your pearly whites!

But don’t freak out. You can still enjoy your cups of soothing tea without ruining your smile. Here are my recommendations:
The Tea Drinker’s Guide To Teeth-Friendly Tea Consumption:

    1. Add Some Milk to your Tea. Milk contains a protein called casein, which binds with tannins and decreases dental discoloration. (I guess the Brits knew what they were doing all along!)
    2. Be mindful of the Tannin Levels. Most teas contain some tannin including green tea, white tea and herbal tea (decaffeinated, too!). But it is black tea that has the highest levels.
    3. Swish With Plain Water: When you finish sipping your tea it’s a good idea to swish your mouth with plain water. This washes away much of the residual tannins lingering on your tooth enamel.
    4. Be Scientific: When steeping your tea, keep this piece of scientific trivia in mind:During the first two minutes of immersion in boiling water tea leaves release the majority of their caffeine. Between 2 and 5 minutes the tannins are drawn out of the leaves.So, if you are looking for a pick-me-up, drink your tea after two minutes for maximum stimulation and minimum tannins. If you are looking to relax, empty your cup after two minutes, and then re-steep your tea bag. But beware of the tannins (see helpful hints 2. and 3.)
    5. Beware of Herbal Teas: Many herbal teas are derived from fruit. Most popular are lemons, raspberries, and black currants, which are delicious but tend to be very acidic. These teas can actually dissolve tooth enamel and weaken your teeth them, too. Rinsing with water after consuming can help neutralize this “acid attack”.Note: Don’t brush your teeth for at least 30 minutes after drinking an acidic beverage, lest you abrade away the softened tooth structure. (Also, when you add a slice of lemon to any tea you are also increasing its acidity.)
    6. Don’t Swish Your Tea! Avoid swishing tea in your mouth. Try to minimize the tannin-to-tooth contact as much as possible. When drinking iced tea, use a straw.
    7.  Switch: If you are an avid tea drinker here’s one last caveat to keep in mind: the trifecta of rich color, high tannin content, and high acidity maximizes tea’s staining potential. Alternatives, such as chamomile, are a tooth-friendly choice.

As you can see, while tea is one of the most widely consumed beverages in the world, it’s not the most conducive to a white, bright smile. If you drink tea all day, try to cut down or replace a few cups with an alternative.

And as the study indicates, when you do sit down to enjoy that cozy cup of tea, splash in a little milk to protect your smile. And if your teeth are already stained, think about an in-office teeth whitening treatment. We do tons of these every week and our patients are in love with the results: The Best Teeth Whitening In New York City.

Here are some other articles about this new information about tea with milk and your teeth: http://greatideas.people.com/2015/08/20/milk-tea-teeth-whitener-study/

If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comment or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

How Blogging Transformed Me Into A TV Star in the UK

August 25th, 2015 by | No Comments »

Michael Sinkin, Dentist, Blog

It’s difficult to remember a time when the internet wasn’t part of the everyday fabric of our collective lives. The Yellow Pages, let alone the regular white pages phone directory and countless other hard copy publications are a thing of the past.  Social media, Twitter, Facebook, Yelp, and LinkedIn are now as ubiquitous as the personal computers, macs, smartphones, tablets etc. that are used to access such outlets of connectivity and instant information.

It was about seven years ago that I first collaborated with Betsy Kent, now a dear friend, but then a professional marketing strategist and early social media expert whose help I needed to create a website and establish an internet presence. It was during this process that she first suggested that I write a blog.

“A blog?” I said incredulously. “What could I possibly write about?”

Betsy suggested that I just be myself and find my voice. So after some thought and a lot of procrastination, I began to muse about The Dental and the Incidental which became, in fact, the name of my blog. On my blog I dispense useful information about a broad range of topics in dentistry, especially first aid advice for common dental mishaps. I share entertaining vignettes about life both in and out of the office, and sometimes share personal insights gained from the many inspiring people I have come to know in my over 30 years of practice.

Over the years, I have posted 125 blog posts (actually, I write them and Betsy’s team posts them along with the accompanying artwork and photographs). Betsy is quite the marketing guru and has literally put me on the internet map. It blows my mind that literally hundreds of thousands of people from all over the world have read my postings and that my website is visited by thousands (no exaggeration) of new visitors each month.

What follows is Betsy’s account of what recently happened to me as a result of her guidance and expertise. All I can say is,

How cool is this?”

Sometimes a content marketing strategy gets some pretty unexpected results. But when a blog post gets a New York City dentist into a Google commercial on TV in the U.K., well, it’s something pretty rare.

About five years ago I took on a new client, Dr. Michael Sinkin. Dr. Sinkin is a dentist in New York City…and he had a problem. His patient base was getting older and older and he had to find a cost-effective way to attract younger people to his practice.

When I recommended to Dr. Sinkin that a good strategy might be to start a blog, he looked at me with astonishment. He couldn’t begin to guess what he would blog about, why anyone would read his blogs, or imagine how blogging would have an impact on his practice.

Since starting his blog, Dr. Sinkin’s website has experienced an increase of 500% in visits. But the important thing is this is: 30% of the new patients walking in the door found him directly through his blogs.

OK, so that’s all great, but how did Dr. Sinkin get into a Google ad in the UK?

A few months ago, out of the blue, I was contacted by an advertising agency in Amsterdam in regard to Dr. Sinkin’s blog. The agency had been hired by Google to create a campaign for the mobile app, Ask Google and they wanted permission to use one of his blog posts in an ad.

Dr. Sinkin has a great sense of humor. In between penning blogs such as 7 Home Remedies for Toothache and What To Do If Your Tooth Cracks Or You Lose A Crown (which by the way have been read together over 150,000 times) he often drops in something a little lighter. An example of this is 7 Ways To Stop Brain Freeze, published in 2012, which is what the ad agency was interested in.

It went like this: the agency in Amsterdam searched for an article about brain freeze. Dr. Sinkin’s blog post came up on Google at the top of the list. (If you’ve ever wondered if blogs improve a company’s visibility, wonder no more!). They decided that it was perfect for the ad. And we said yes.

So, beginning a few weeks ago and for the next 6 months, Dr. Sinkin’s blog will be on the TV screens of millions of people across the UK. And strangely enough, his office has received quite a number of appointment requests from Brits who will be visiting New York City in the near future.

OK, maybe Dr. Sinkin isn’t really a star, but…this is still pretty cool, right?

To Dr. Sinkin from Betsy: it’s been a pleasure to be your guru, Dr. Sinkin. First New York, next THE WORLD!


Betsy Kent is the president of Be Visible. She can be reached here: betsy@bevisibleassoc.com.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comments or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

“It was twenty years ago today….

August 4th, 2015 by | 4 Comments »


…. Sgt. Pepper taught his band to play.”

And since that story has already been told (far more than twenty years ago and told so much more brilliantly than I could ever) I have another tale to tell.

It was August 1, 1995, exactly two decades ago to the day, that I embarked on a life-altering professional mid-life course correction that took me from an 11-year partnership in a dental practice in Forest Hills, Queens, to a fresh start in a new (and my current) dental home at 30 East 40th Street. It was what I would describe as a professional do-over (reminiscent of playing sports with your friends when an errant call or controversial play led to a call for a do-over and the point was replayed and the game continued with little fanfare.

Well my do-over was a bit more complicated. I couldn’t just replay the point. I was 38 years old, had two small children (one that was just diagnosed with a learning disability requiring costly private school intervention). Add that to the fact that I had a mortgage payment and it seemed to be crazy to make such a dramatic change fraught with uncertainty and financial risk. And not to mention some marital strain associated with taking a leap of faith with no safety net or guarantee of a soft landing. In truth, my wife Ann was incredibly supportive, yet, at the same time, scared.

But I was desperate to make a change (unhappiness is a heavy burden to carry around your neck day-in and day-out). I was determined to realign my personal and professional priorities for the sake of my own well being of as well as that of my family.

And I was scared.

practice I left was at one time my dental Shangri-La. I joined the group during my clinical infancy (1984, to be precise) and it was an to be mentored in state of the art techniques by some very talented dentists, who seemed the perfect fit for this highly motivated mentee (that be me!). And for a long while, all was beautiful. It was wonderful experience and many lifelong friendships were born during my time there. But alas, things changed over the years that made my remaining a partner untenable. I had to make a move in face of certain upheaval.

After months of intense introspection, deliberation and groundwork, change, I did! In retrospect, it was truly a seminal moment in my life. Clarity of purpose, persistence, perseverance, hard work and good fortune transformed my do-over into a dream come true.

So here I am on this Saturday morning, August 1, 2015 (a mere eye-blink away from the same day 20 years ago), with my laptop and a cup of Joe, on Fire Island It’s a beautiful summer day and I’ve taken a consciously cognizant moment to pause, reflect and smell the roses. How lucky am I?

michael sinkin, ny dentist

Happy 20th Anniversary, Me.

Thank you all: my family, my office family, and my wonderful patients new and “old” for coming to the virtual anniversary celebration/party that I’m having in my mind. You have made the past twenty years a wonderful journey in my life.




You may also enjoy: I GRADUATED!

Michael Sinkin is a dentist in New York City. He loves being a dentist and is known for taking wonderful care of his patients and for a wicked sense of humor. The practice caters to New Yorkers and visitors to the city alike. To schedule an appointment, please click here.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider sharing it:

If you enjoyed this post, please make a comment or log-in to my Facebook page to share it with your friends. Thank you!

© 2008 Dr. Michael Sinkin, D.D.S.