Dr. Lily Ling received her DMD from Tufts Dental School and completed an advanced education in general dentistry  (AEGD) residency at UConn Health Center.

Sherborn Family Dental P.C.
19 N. Main Street, Suite 1B
Sherborn, MA 01770
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By contactus
May 02, 2012
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At Sherborn Family Dental, Dr. Lily Ling uses a variety of techniques and technologies to reduce patient stress when giving dental injections.  We discussed one of these technologies - the single tooth anesthesia (STA) dental injection system - in our March 16, 2012 blog post.  This blog post is about the DentalVibe, another technology that Dr. Ling uses for pain free injections. 

How does DentalVibe Provide Pain Free Injections?

Research shows that when vibration is applied as a counter-stimulation to an anesthetic injection, it reaches the brain before the pain sensation does, blocking the patient's brain from feeling the injection.

DentalVibe uses pulse technology to close the pain gate to the brain and block the discomfort of dental injections.

The micro-sonic oscillations of DentalVibe's comfort tips are pulsed in a controlled synchronized wave pattern sending a soothing percussive stimulation deep into the oral mucosa, gently exciting the submucosal sensory nerve endings.  This pulsed re-stimulation maintains a closure of the pain gate, blocking the pain of an injection.

There is a neurological "gate" located within the dorsal horn of the spinal cord that can either block pain signals or permit them to travel up the spinothalamic tract to the brain.  The sensation of touch or vibration travel very quickly along thick, myelinated, A beta nerve fibers at 75 meters/second.  In contrast, the sensation of pain travels slowly along thin, unmyelinated, C nerve fibers at 2 meters/second.

When occurring at the same time, the vibrational sensation reaches the sensory area of the brain first, causing a release of inhibitory interneurons, preventing the activation of projection neurons, resulting in a closure of the gate to the sensation of pain.

Benefits to the Patient

Dr. Ling uses these new technologies to improve patient comfort and reduce the stress of receiving dental injections.  Depending on the type of procedure, she might use either the DentalVibe or the STA dental injection system.  Either way the result for the patient is enhanced comfort during the procedure. 

By contactus
April 08, 2012
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Increased risks to your dental health during pregnancy

It is crucial to take proper care of your dental health during pregnancy.  Increases in hormone levels during pregnancy can cause your gums to soften and bleed, leaving you more susceptible to gum disease, sensitivity, and other oral health problems.  Routine exams and cleanings during your pregnancy are perfectly safe and recommended by the American Dental Association.

Some oral health symptoms that you should watch for during pregnancy:

  • tender, red, and swollen gums;
  • bleeding gums; and
  • bad breath.  

Do not ignore dental problems since they can take a toll on your health and your baby’s health.

When to visit the dentist during pregnancy

The best times to complete dental work are: prior to conception; during the second trimester; and early in the third trimester.  When you decide to have a baby make an appointment with your dentist to complete all necessary dental work pre-conception.  If you are already pregnant, try to schedule your regular dental cleaning and any necessary treatment  during the second trimester.  Routine x-rays can usually be postponed until after the birth.

Let your dentist know you are pregnant.  Routine treatments (fillings and crowns) and sometimes emergency work (root canal or tooth extraction) should be completed to reduce the chance of infection.  If dental work is performed during pregnancy, the second trimester is ideal. Fetal organ development occurs during the first trimester and it is best to avoid all potential risks at this time.  Once you reach the third trimester, it may be difficult to lay on your back for an extended period of time. 

Elective treatments such as teeth whitening and cosmetic procedures should be postponed until after the birth. While the risks are minimal, the safest course of action is to defer cosmetic procedures.

Oral health tips during pregnancy

  • Brush and floss.  Due to enhanced risk of gum disease from hormone changes, it is more important than ever to brush and floss your teeth during your pregnancy. Brush regularly after meals, at least twice daily.  Floss at least once per day.
  • Rinse after being sick.  Morning sickness is common and the acid can be very damaging to the surface of your teeth.  Avoid brushing immediately after being sick.  The acid from your stomach can cause tooth erosion which will worsen with brushing.  Drink some water and rinse with mouthwash to thoroughly flush out the acid before brushing your teeth.
  • Regular Exams and Cleanings.  Continue to have your regular exams and cleanings during your pregnancy.  Try to schedule these during the second trimester.


By contactus
April 01, 2012
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Oral cancer is cancer of the mouth, tongue, or oropharynx (the middle of the throat, from the tonsils to the tip of the voice box).

Oral cancer is not rare

Close to 37,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer in the United States this year.  It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly one person per hour, 24 hours per day.  

Approximately half of people with oral cancer will live more than five years after they are diagnosed and treated.  If the cancer is found early (before it has spread to other tissues), the cure rate is close to 80-90%.  However, more than half of oral cancers have already spread by the time that the cancer is detected.  In most cases it has spread to the throat or neck. 

Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because it may not be noticed by the patient in its early stages as it can frequently spread without resulting in pain or symptoms that people might easily recognize.  Screening for oral cancer is important and is part of a regular dental examination. 

Signs and symptoms of oral cancer

See your doctor about any skin lesion, lump, or ulcer that does not resolve itself within 14 days and appears on the tongue, lip, or other mouth areas.

Oral cancer often exhibits the following characteristics:

  • small sores in the mouth;
  • tongue problems;
  • difficulty swallowing or speaking;
  • swollen lymph nodes in the neck;
  • usually painless in the early stages;
  • a burning sensation or pain in the later stages.

Younger, non-smokers are the fasting growing population for oral cancer

For decades, oral cancer had most often occurred in older people who had a history of using tobacco products.  Today that is no longer the case.  A virus called Human Papilloma Virus version 16 (HPV16) has replaced tobacco as the number one cause of oral cancer.  This is one of the same viruses that are responsible for the majority of cervical cancer in women.  HPV16 is now the leading cause of oral cancer and is found in approximately 60% of newly diagnosed patients.

This has also impacted the demographics of who is getting the disease.  It is no longer the domain of those over age 50 who have smoked a decade or more of their lives.  The fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population are people in the 25-50 age range who have never been smokers.  Evidence suggests that the HPV16 virus can be sexually transmitted between partners and accounts for the increase in young victims of oral cancer who do not have a history of using tobacco.

While HPV16 has become the most common cause of oral cancer, additional risk factors continue to include smoking, using chewing tobacco or dip, and heavy drinking of alcohol.    

Additional information

For more information about oral cancer visit www.oralcancerfoundation.org or speak with your doctor.


Sherborn Family Dental offers treatment for a range of minor to moderate orthodontic issues through the use of clear aligners by ClearCorrect.  Clear aligners can treat a range of issues without the disadvantages of traditional braces.      

Like traditional metal braces, clear aligners can straighten your teeth to correct a range of conditions including crowding, spacing, crossbite, overbite, and underbite.  For minor to moderate conditions, the cost of treatment using clear aligners is generally equivalent or less expensive than traditional braces.  However, clear aligners enjoy several advantages over traditional braces: 

  • the aligners are nearly invisible while being worn;
  • treatment uses comfortable plastic aligners rather than metal braces, reducing irritation to your gums and cheek;
  • you can eat all the foods that you currently enjoy;
  • you can remove the clear plastic aligners when you want;
  • you can brush and floss your teeth normally; and
  • lost or broken aligners can be easily and quickly replaced at little to no additional cost.

How the process works

You and your dentist evaluate your teeth and discuss the goals you have for your smile.  Once you establish if clear aligners are the right treatment option for you, your dentist will take dental impressions, photos, and x-rays of your teeth . 

Your dentist sends those impressions, photos, and x-rays to ClearCorrect with a prescription for your custom aligners.  ClearCorrect then uses your records to create 3D models of your teeth.  Working together, your dentist and ClearCorrect map out a complete treatment plan of gradual adjustment that takes your teeth from where they are currently to where you want them to be.  Once the modeling has been completed, you will be able to preview the projected results of your treatment in a computer representation of your teeth before and after treatment.

Once you are satisfied with the projected results shown in your treatment plan, ClearCorrect fabricates your custom aligners and sends them to your dentist for delivery to you.

Wearing the Clear Aligners

You should wear your aligners all the time (22 hours per day), except while eating and drinking or during daily tooth care, such as brushing and flossing.  The aligners are so clear they are barely noticeable so they won't have an impact on your daily life.  Aligner by aligner, you will be able to see the difference as your teeth slowly adjust and align to your target smile.  You'll visit your dentist periodically for checkups to see how you are progressing.

Unlike the main invisible braces manufacturer on the market, if your teeth aren't aligning as laid out in your treatment plan, you and your dentist can make a midcourse correction to get the process back on track without any additional cost to you.  Sometimes teeth move faster or slower than planned, or the upper and lower teeth don't progress at the same rate.  This is normal and treatment can be adjusted accordingly.  In some cases your dentist will take new impressions of your teeth to adjust the treatment going forward.

You need to wear the aligners 22 hours a day, 7 days a week, for best results.  If you don't wear the aligners as prescribed, the treatment will take longer than scheduled.  The length of treatment depends on the severity of your specific case but average treatment length is about a year to a year and a half.

Similar to braces, if you move through the aligners too quickly between steps, they can cause unnecessary discomfort.  The treatment has been designed to balance patient comfort and overall treatment time.  Generally, no individual tooth will be moved more than 0.3 mm per step, and ClearCorrect recommends that each aligner be worn for three weeks until the next aligner is provided. 

Information about the Clear Aligners

The aligners are made from medical-grade polyurethane without BPA or phthalates, and have been approved by the FDA.  The aligner material has been formulated to achieve exceptional clarity and stain-resistance.  From a normal viewing distance, people will rarely notice that you are wearing clear aligners.  The aligners have a smooth surface, making them less visible and easy to clean.

Information about ClearCorrect, the Manufacturer of the Clear Aligners

ClearCorrect fabricates your custom aligners at its facility in Houston, Texas.  ClearCorrect was founded by dentists in 2006 to serve the dental and orthodontic industry by providing a superior and more affordable clear aligner system.

Next Steps

To speak with Dr. Lily Ling at Sherborn Family Dental about treatment using clear aligners, call us at (508) 545-1050 to schedule a free consultation.

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