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Special Characters in SEO

I am trying to derive the best method of using (or not using) special characters in code such as {TITLE} or {META} tags, as well as the relevancy in link text.

{title}Orthodontists Christopher Cosse & amp; Jeff Silmon serving Bossier City & amp; Shreveport, LA (Louisiana){/title}

{a href="http://www.sesamewebdesign.com/"}Website by Sesame & #8482; {/a}

Question #1 is: Which is more beneficial? "&" "& amp;" or "and"

Question #2 is: Does this affect anything in a positive or negitive way? Character limits for the title tag as an example? Just purely asthetics?

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