In-Office vs. At-Home Teeth Whitening | Dentist in 12866

Your teeth may feel strong and healthy, but if they are not their whitest, you could be perceived as looking older than your years. A survey by the Oral B dental hygiene company showed that people with white teeth are thought of as 20 percent more attractive and 13 years younger.

Dentist-supervised teeth whitening may be a great option to brighten your smile if you have dull, stained, or discolored enamel. Our dentist can help you achieve whiter teeth with procedures in our office or at home. Let’s take a closer look at causes of tooth discoloration and your options.

What Causes Stained Teeth?

Chief causes of dark or dull enamel medications, genetics, diet, and tobacco use. Teeth tend to darken with age, as well. Our experienced dental team can create a whiter smile.

For some patients with internal staining that does not respond to teeth bleaching, porcelain veneers can create a brighter and more even smile. Our dentist will discuss your whitening goals with you to determine which options would be most effective.

Why In-Office Teeth Whitening Works

In-office teeth whitening is the quickest way to achieve a brighter smile. The typical process involves a strong yet safe bleaching gel that must be applied by an experienced dental professional. Results are rapid and teeth can be lightened to a higher degree than is possible with at-home kits.

During a professional whitening treatment, we first clean the teeth and then apply a whitening agent, carefully avoiding the gums and soft tissue. We may then add a laser light treatment to expedite the process. We can repeat the process for more dramatic results. 

Does At-Home Teeth Whitening Work?

If a visit to our office for professional teeth whitening isn’t an option for you, an at-home treatment can also provide a significant whitening effect. While over-the-counter teeth whitening products can be helpful to some, a customized gel and tray kit from our dentist will yield a safer and more predictable outcome.

At-home teeth whitening results are less dramatic compared to those achieved at the dentist’s office, and may not be the best solution if your teeth and gums are sensitive.

If you want to look younger by brightening your smile, contact our dental office in Saratoga Springs, NY to schedule a consultation. We can help you reach your teeth whitening goals quickly and safely.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

The Best Type of Floss for Your Smile | 12866 Dentist

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What is the best type of dental floss? The answer depends on your teeth. Whether you use traditional string floss, a water flosser, an interdental brush, or other appliance, it’s important that you clean between your teeth correctly every day.

What Flossing Does for Your Oral Health

Flossing is necessary for a healthy mouth. It removes not only food particles themselves but the plaque they can form. A sticky biofilm can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. This condition starts with a bacterial infection in the gum tissue and, if left untreated, can destroy gingival tissue and the underlying bone.

Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with heart disease, hypertension (high blood pressure), type II diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.

Dental Floss Studies

Many studies of floss show that all types work well if they are used as directed. A Journal of Periodontology study looked at four types of dental floss: shred-resistant, unwaxed, woven, and an electric “power flosser.” All four removed plaque significantly better than a toothbrush alone. Another study published in the Journal of Clinical Dentistry showed that both electric and traditional floss removed plaque equally well when used for 30 days. 

  • Electric or water flossers can be helpful for older adults and those who don’t have a steady hand at floss threading
  • If you have significant gaps between your teeth, wide dental tape might be effective for you
  • Disposable floss picks or premeasured strands are convenient during travel or at work
  • People with tight space between teeth might benefit from waxed floss, which slides more easily in tight spaces
  • For those with traditional orthodontic braces, irrigators and floss threaders can reach between teeth above and below bands.

There is no best type of dental floss, only the one that works best for you.  Finding a type that is effective for your smile is a matter of trial and error, as well as preference.

If you would like advice on dental floss types and techniques, let our Saratoga Springs, NY team know at your next appointment.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Your Questions Answered About Oral Cancer Screenings | Saratoga Springs Dentist

Oral cancer screenings are designed to identify a common condition and treat it early, when it is most curable. Screening is a fast and painless process built into a regular dental examination. Here are common questions and answers about oral cancers.

How Common Is Oral Cancer?

According to the Mayo Clinic, the lifetime risk of developing cancer of the oral cavity and the upper throat (oropharynx) is about 1 in 60 for men and 1 in 140 for women. The American Cancer Society estimates that one person dies every hour worldwide from this condition, yet it is preventable and treatable.

What Are the Symptoms?

The most common red flags include a mouth sore that won’t heal; red or white patches in your mouth tissue; lumps or swelling in or around your mouth; pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking, or moving your tongue; dramatic weight loss; ear pain; and unexplained mouth bleeding.

What are the Risk Factors for Oral Cancer?

  • Tobacco users are at greater risk of oral cancer, whether that is from smoking or products like chewing tobacco, snuff, and dip
  • Heavy alcohol use, especially with tobacco use, significantly increases risk
  • Excess weight and acid reflux diseases can increase risk, while a diet rich in fruit and vegetables appears to lower it
  • The human papillomavirus (HPV) is a risk factor that is on the rise among young people. One strain, HPV16, is responsible for 2 out of 3 oropharyngeal cancers
  • Apart from HPV-related cancers, most oral cancers take years to develop. Most patients are older than 55 when first diagnosed
  • Genetics can also factor into oral cancer risk. Two types of blood abnormalities, dyskeratosis congenita and Fanconi anemia, elevate risk

What Does a Dentist Look for in an Oral Cancer Screening?

Dentists examine all oral cavity surfaces, including under the tongue, for suspicious discolorations or sores. Using gloved hands, they feel inside the mouth for lumps or irregularities, and may also feel the neck. Sometimes a dye or light is used to emphasize contrast between healthy and unhealthy tissue. If anything looks suspicious, our dentist will recommend further testing.

How Often Should Screenings be Performed?

The American Cancer Society recommends dental screenings every three years from age 20 to 40, and annual screenings after that.

While screenings can’t prevent every case of oral cancer, they are a valuable first line of defense.  If you would like more information about oral cancer and screenings, contact our dental office today.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

What You Can Do About Periodontal Disease | Dentist in Saratoga Springs

Nearly half of adults have some form of periodontal (gum) disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It ranges from mild inflammation to a type that causes bone damage and even tooth loss.

Symptoms of periodontal disease include chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, red or swollen gums, bleeding gums, and painful chewing.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

A major cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene habits. Your best defense is daily brushing and flossing plus regular professional exams and cleanings. Without vigilant prevention, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gumline. If this biofilm is not regularly removed, it can harden into a substance called calculus (tartar), which only a dental professional can remove.

When tartar continues to build, the risk of periodontal disease increases. Gums can become inflamed and begin to bleed from brushing, flossing, and eating certain foods. At this point, advanced treatment is the only way to prevent tooth loss.

Other factors that may contribute to periodontal disease include diabetes, smoking, and pregnancy. A healthy lifestyle and a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can help ward off periodontal disease when combined with good oral hygiene.

Some prescriptions can aggravate gum inflammation. They include anti-seizure, immunosuppressant, and blood pressure medicines called calcium channel blockers. Our doctor can provide preventive measures to alleviate medication side-effects.

Stages of Periodontal Disease

There are four levels of periodontal disease, ranging from gingivitis to periodontitis. In the most severe stage, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating pockets along the gumline. These spaces are difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health. Without prompt, expert treatment, periodontitis can destroy the jawbone, gums, and soft tissues.

Treat Gum Disease Early

Periodontal disease leads to more than tooth loss and jawbone thinning; research has linked it to several health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, arthritis, and even some forms of cancer.

Overall, the worse periodontal disease gets, the more intense the treatment. If you have symptoms of gum disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation. Our dentist can provide excellent care and refer you to a specialist if needed.

For more information on gum disease or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

Why Flossing is Essential to Good Oral Hygiene | Saratoga Springs, NY Dentist

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While we all know toothbrushing is critical to a healthy mouth, it is equally important to understand the benefits of daily flossing. According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination survey, only 30 percent of Americans floss daily, and 33 percent say they never do. This thinking needs to change. 

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Dentist

No matter how well you brush, the bristles can’t get between teeth. If you have ever brushed until every surface feels marble smooth and then notice flecks of food when you floss, you can see why removing debris between the teeth is so important. 

Why Flossing Works

Cleaning between teeth removes plaque that can lead to tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. These conditions usually begin with a bacterial infection in the gingival tissue. If left untreated, it eventually destroys both the tissue and the underlying bone.  

Bacterial infection in gingival tissue causes the body to create an inflammatory response that contributes to gum disease. It can deepen the pockets between teeth and gums and eventually cause the gums and jawbone to recede. Without adequate support, teeth could eventually loosen and fall out. 

It is also important to remove plaque because it can harden into calculus (tartar), a substance that can only be removed by a dentist. Daily flossing is a simple way to ward off tartar and keep your teeth healthy.

Flossing Helps Overall Health

By maintaining proper oral health, you can help prevent other health problems. The American Dental Association and American Heart Association both acknowledge a link between cardiovascular problems and periodontal disease. Recent research published by the National Institutes of Health show people with gum disease have a 20 percent higher chance of developing heart disease. The most prominent theory is that gum disease causes inflammation elsewhere in the body and narrowing of the arteries.

Other studies suggest links between periodontal disease and Alzheimer’s disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, and some forms of cancer. Research also shows that people with diabetes, who are already at greater risk of infection and inflammation, develop gum disease at higher rates than non-diabetics. Those who manage their blood sugar successfully, however, lower their risk of gum problems.

Whether you use waxed, unwaxed, or tape types of dental floss, the most important point is that you use it at least once a day to prevent periodontal disease and tooth decay. Contact our dental office to schedule your next appointment with our 12866 dentist and stay on top of your oral health at home. 

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

The Link Between Gum Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis | 12866 Dentist

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Dentist

Recent studies have linked periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease, and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Both are inflammatory conditions that prompt the immune system to attack the body. Our team can teach you more about this connection and how you can protect your oral health if you have been diagnosed with RA. 

Saratoga Springs, NY Dentist

Rheumatoid arthritis is a painful swelling of joints. Periodontal disease can cause swollen gums, infection and tooth loss. Both are the result of inflammation, which is the body’s natural means of destroying harmful bacteria and viruses. 

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissue that holds your teeth in their place. It is typically caused by poor oral health habits that permit a sticky film called plaque to build up and harden on teeth (known as calculus, or tartar). If this is not removed, infection sets in, ultimately resulting in loose and missing teeth. In this case, the body’s inflammatory response is warranted.

In RA, the body mistakenly activates the immune system against the body’s own joints. This is known as an autoimmune response. The link between arthritis and gum disease suggests that poor oral health may actually prompt the immune system to attack the joints. The scientific journal PLoS Pathogens reports that porphyromonas gingivalis, a bacterium that causes periodontal disease, can cause RA and make it more severe. 

While scientists continue to study the links between autoimmune conditions and periodontal disease, they also report positive findings: When RA patients successfully treat gum disease, joint swelling and pain diminish. 

If you are among the 1.3 million Americans diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, it is important to keep up with your at-home oral care. This includes twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. The conundrum you may face is that arthritis can make accurate brushing and flossing difficult, and this compounds the problem. 

  • Talk to our dentist or an occupational therapist about using a toothbrush with a special handle 
  • Experiment with different kinds of floss until you find one that is easy to use 
  • Toothpaste that comes in a pump instead of a tube can be easier for arthritic hands to manage

If you have concerns about your gums and rheumatoid arthritis, our team is happy to help you better manage your oral health. Schedule your next appointment today with our Saratoga Springs, NY dentist.  

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

What’s Behind Natural Teeth Whitening Fads? | Dentist Near Me

Saratoga Springs, NY Dentist

It seems like there is a new headline nearly every week featuring someone who swears their teeth are whiter and brighter due to their natural home remedy for stain removal. These articles and blog posts claim that whitening can be cheap, easy, natural and, in some cases, unpleasant. 

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It can be tempting to consider trying for brighter, whiter teeth without advice from a dentist; however, before you pin your hopes on one of these “natural whitening” methods, look at the truth behind some of the most recent teeth whitening fads.

Fad 1: Activated charcoal

Activated charcoal in toothpaste may help remove surface stains on your teeth, but it is more abrasive than regular toothpaste and offers no tooth decay protection. A British Dental Journal study shows long-term use can abrade the enamel on your teeth and cause creator sensitivity.  

Fad 2: Fruits

Some celebrities have jumped on the fruit-paste bandwagon, prompting people to rub strawberries on their teeth to make them whiter. Others use pineapple, citrus peels and even swish with apple cider vinegar. 

However, science does not back up these claims. One recent study found that brushing with a mixture of baking soda (a known whitener) and strawberries did not whiten teeth. Even worse, the citric acids found in all these fruits and vinegars can actually be harmful to the enamel on your teeth.

Fad 2: Hydrogen Peroxide

Many types of in-office and home teeth whitening contain hydrogen peroxide, it is a special formulation made just for teeth whitening. Simply swishing from a bottle of hydrogen peroxide will not whiten your teeth, but it may irritate your gums and mouth. It can also be dangerous if it is accidentally swallowed.

 Fad 3: Oil Pulling

Oil pulling rose to fame during the coconut oil craze in the mid-2000s, but it is an ancient folk remedy. It involves swishing a tablespoon of edible oil, such as coconut, sunflower, or olive, in the mouth and drawing it between teeth for up to 20 minutes a day. The thought is that oil molecules will stick to the oil in membranes of mouth bacteria.  Evidence that this works is purely anecdotal. There is no scientific proof that oil pulling whitens teeth, but experts do not see harm in the practice. 

If you want safe, sure methods of achieving whiter, brighter teeth, our doctor can offer you recommendations best suited for your needs. For more information about teeth whitening, contact our dental office in 12866 office.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

How Do You Know When You Have Gum Disease? | Dentist in 12866

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Dentist

You may have periodontal disease, commonly known as gum disease, and not know it until it has progressed to its advanced stage. Prompt treatment is essential because the condition can only be reversed in its early stages. Still, because it shows few, if any, symptoms until it has progressed, many people wait too long to seek treatment. 

Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Dentist

Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. It develops when the bacteria found in plaque buildup between the teeth and gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When periodontal disease is not treated promptly, it gets worse, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss. 

The Stages of Periodontal Disease

Gum disease is broken down into four stages: gingivitis, slight periodontal disease, moderate periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease. The longer it progresses, the more difficult it is to treat. 

Gum disease also impacts overall health. Research has found links between periodontal disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory conditions. Researchers are not sure whether gum disease contributes to other health problems or vice versa, but many studies have shown conclusive evidence that oral and bodily inflammation are related. 

How to Prevent Gum Disease

 To help prevent periodontal infection, it is essential to practice excellent oral hygiene. This includes brushing twice a day for two minutes each, flossing, swishing with mouthwash, and scheduling regular dental examinations. 

 While periodontal disease is common, it is tied to certain risk factors: age, genetics, stress, tobacco use, medications, obesity, teeth grinding (bruxism), and certain inflammatory diseases.

While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include:

 ●    Red, swollen, or tender gums

●    Bleeding gums from brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods

●    Loose or separating teeth

●    Pus between gums or teeth

●    Mouth pain or sores

●    Chronic bad breath

●    Gums receding or pulling away from teeth

●    Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures

Periodontal disease may start silently, but it can lead to great damage if it is left untreated. Once it has progressed, it can be treated but not fully cured. The best way to guard against it and protect your health is to visit your dentist for a periodontal screening. For more information about gum disease and to schedule your screening, contact our  12866 dental office today.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

The History of Dentistry and What’s Ahead | 12866 Dentist

Detail of an old Dentist’s Chair

What did ancient civilizations think about oral health? How did they treat dental problems? Read on and see how very far dentistry has come in terms of knowledge, safety and comfort. You will be glad you live in the present day. 

Dentistry in Ancient Times

Dentistry in its crudest form predates written language. Archaeologists have seen evidence of teeth being cleaned, scraped and even drilled and filled as far as 9,000 years ago. Tooth decay was somewhat rare before agricultural societies introduced sugar and grains (carbohydrates) into the diet. 

The ancient Sumerians, who lived 5,000 B.C.E. in what is now southern Iraq, blamed tooth decay on “tooth worms.” They thought some type of worm bore holes in teeth. The Chinese used acupuncture to treat pain associated with tooth decay as early as 2700 B.C.E., while Egyptians had actual doctors for teeth and practiced a type of orthodontics using animal intestine tension wires. 

In 500 B.C.E., Greek philosophers Hippocrates and Aristotle wrote of treating teeth and oral diseases by using sterilization procedures and red-hot wires. They also spoke of using these red-hot wires to stabilize jaw fractures and bind loose teeth. 

Treating Teeth in the 1600s-1700s

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, the 1600s and 1700s were a time of great dental innovation. In 1695, Charles Allen published the first English language dental textbook entitled The Operator of Teeth. In the book, he advises using a homemade toothpaste from powdered coal, rose-water, and “dragon’s blood” to keep teeth clean and white. Allen also suggests using dog teeth for transplants. He also references wisdom teeth.

In the 1700s, Frenchman Pierre Fauchard became a subject matter expert with his book, The Surgeon Dentist. For the first time, it described dentistry as a separate, modern profession. Some notable highlights in the book include sugar being a cause of tooth decay, orthodontics used to straighten teeth, and the concept of a dentist’s chair light. 

1800s – the Progressive Age of Dentistry

The 19th century saw many inventions and discovered that advanced dental science closer to the modern era. In 1816, Auguste Taveau of France developed the first amalgam dental fillings made from silver coins and mercury. In 1840s America, Horace Wells showed how nitrous oxide could sedate patients while William T.G. Morton developed the use of ether as an anesthesia.

Horace Hayden and Chapin Harris boosted modern dentistry by opening the first dental school, inventing the modern doctor of dental surgery degree and starting the first dental society. By the end of the 1800’s, porcelain inlays, the first mechanized dental drill, and the toothpaste tube had all been invented. 

Dental Advancements of the 20th Century

The scientific development of the 1900s gave rise to some amazing advancements in the dental industry. The invention of electricity led to electric drills. In 1907, precision case fillings made by a “lost wax” casting machine was invented to fill caries, and the anesthetic Novocaine was introduced into US dental offices.

In 1955, Michael Buonocore described a method of tooth bonding to repair cracked tooth enamel. Years later, the first fully reclining dental chair was introduced to put patients and dentists at ease. In 1997, “invisible” braces were introduced, along with the first at-home tooth bleaching system. 

What Will the Future of Dentistry Hold?

Gene therapy, including a technology called CRISPR, may one day make it possible to switch off the function of bacteria that are responsible for tooth decay. Researchers at Harvard are studying stem cell-laden fillings that could regrow tooth dentin. Only time will tell what the future of dentistry will bring, but our office is dedicated to seeking the most effective modern technologies as they arise. 

Schedule your visit to our Saratoga Springs, NY dentist office and experience what modern dentistry can do for you.

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866

5 Things People Don’t Understand About Dental Health | Saratoga Springs Dentist

5 Things People Don't Understand About Dental Health

Do you have misconceptions about oral health? Many people do. Knowing the facts can help improve your dental hygiene for life, leading to a healthier and more beautiful smile. Here are five things people don’t understand about dental health. See if your eyes are opened. 

Misconception #1 – Whiter teeth are healthier teeth

Healthy teeth come in a wide range of natural shades. Whiter teeth cannot show if there is an infection or decay between the teeth.  Although pure white teeth do not equate to healthier teeth, they should still be naturally on the whiter side. Proper brushing, more regular cleanings, and cosmetic dentistry (such as tooth whitening and veneers) are possible solutions you can explore with our dentist. 

Misconception #2 – Children are more prone to tooth decay

Tooth decay (cavities, or caries, in dental parlance) can develop at any age. People assume children are more prone to decay because of poor brushing and flossing habits. While that may be true, caries form in all people the same way: when bacteria cause a loss or weakening in tooth enamel and eventually decay forms a hole in the tooth. 

Misconception #3 – My teeth are fine if they don’t hurt

Tooth decay typically doesn’t cause pain until it becomes very severe. Once it gets to a critical stage, the amount of decay could lead to more invasive and costly treatments. Some of the most dangerous mouth disorders, such as oral cancer and gum disease, typically don’t cause pain at all. That is why it is important to keep up with scheduled dental appointments. Our dentist can diagnose problems even at the earliest stages when there is no discomfort.

Misconception #4 – Tooth decay is only caused by sweets

Do you love sugary food and drinks? So do the bacteria that live in your mouth! They consume it and produce acid. This acid works to dissolve tooth enamel, which can result in decay. However, it’s important to know that this is not only true of sugar; it applies to anything containing starch or carbohydrates. Food such as crackers, bread, potato chips, fruit, peanut butter and pasta have the same effect on your teeth. The solution: Brush and floss after meals and snacks, or rinse well with water if you can’t brush.

Misconception #5 – If my gums bleed, I should stop flossing

Bleeding gums are often the first sign of gum disease. This happens when bacterial infections inflame your gums due to inefficient cleaning. With regular brushing and flossing, gums will be much healthier and should rarely bleed. However, gum inflammation can occur despite best oral hygiene habits. In such cases, you should see improvement if you rinse with warm salt water and continue to brush and floss.

Excellent oral health promotes overall good health and is definitely not a misconception.  It is important to practice good oral hygiene habits.  If you have any questions regarding your dental health, please contact our dentist in Saratoga Springs office and make an appointment

Smiles for Life Dental Care
Phone: 518-886-8610
Url:
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170 South Broadway Suite 2
Saratoga Springs, NY 12866