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Monthly Archives: May 2012

A Guide to Common Dental Problems

There are various dental and oral problems that can be easily prevented and even treated before they cause more serious damage – and require extensive procedures from your dentist. The following is some helpful information that can provide further insight to some of the most common issues.

Tooth Decay: Also known as cavities, tooth decay occurs when plaque forms due to the consumption of sugars or starches. This can worsen when the plaque lingers on teeth for a long time. Typically, children and older men/women are more susceptible to getting a cavity. However, increased water fluoridation can help decrease the chances of cavities, but the decrease in protective gum tissue in older adults still leaves them with a great risk of decay. The best way to prevent cavities is to brush at least twice a day and floss daily. Children may also protect their adult molars by having sealants applied. If decay is left untreated, patients may experience tooth infection, which may need to be treated with a root canal procedure.

Gum disease: The early stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis, while the more advanced stage is called periodontitis. From children to the elderly, gum disease can cause pain and possibly require invasive dental treatments. Those who are at a greater risk of gum disease are those with poor oral hygiene, a systemic disease (diabetes), and smokers. In addition, women tend to develop gingivitis during pregnancy. Stress, which weakens the immune system and a person’s genes, can also lead to gum disease. Patients who have early signs of gingivitis may repair damage by following a regular brushing/flossing routine. Furthermore, it is important to visit your dentist to learn if you are experiencing more advanced stages of gum disease.

Enamel Erosion: When the teeth are exposed to acid (sodas and citrus beverages) the surface of the teeth can become worn, rounded, and discolored. Additionally, those who brush aggressively may be wearing away at the enamel. It is often found that sipping on soft drinks is the main cause of erosion, which may mean that you should switch to water instead. However, if you just can’t stop drinking sodas, sip through a straw or make sure that you’re eating something in order to help the build-up from sticking to the teeth. Also, be sure to brush, chew on sugarless gum, or at least rinse with water after drinking sodas. You may also want to switch your toothbrush to a softer one or look into an electric toothbrush. Be sure to ask your dentist about the proper way to brush (gentle brushing can save your smile).

Dry mouth: When there is a low production of saliva in the mouth, the chances of tooth decay increase as the bacteria is not being washed away. It is noted that women in their 50s and 60s are more prone to experience dry mouth, as are those who are on various medications, such as antidepressants and diuretics. Women who have Sjögren’s syndrome may also be experiencing dry mouth. In order to help produce saliva, chew sugarless gum and drink plenty of water. It is also highly recommended that you avoid caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco. If you feel that you are suffering from dry mouth, see your dentist as soon as possible.

TMJ: Temporomandibular joint disorder is often seen when individuals clench or grind their teeth, usually during their sleep. Women suffer from TMJ more often during childbearing years, and those with a great deal of stress often complain of symptoms. Chronic sufferers may have worn-down, sensitive teeth, sore saw, headaches, neck aches, and ear aches. Your dentist may recommend some exercises, cold compresses, pain relievers, and eating softer food. If you are clenching or grinding at night, a mouth guard may be necessary.

Oral cancers: Your dentist can screen for oral cancers during an examination. These typically start out as small, pale, red, painless lumps. Approximately 75 percent of diagnosed oral cancers are linked to tobacco use and/or heavy alcohol intake. These are usually found in individuals over the age of 40. It is extremely important for patients to be screened as early as possible, especially those who smoke or use other tobacco products. This could be the difference between receiving proper treatment and reducing the patient’s survival rate. Therefore, it is crucial to quit smoking and maintain regular dental visits to prevent further damage to the teeth, gums, and overall oral health.

Bad Teeth is "The Biggest Turn-off"

Are you single and looking for that special someone? If you answered “yes,” then you may want to pay extra attention to this: A beautiful smile can help you land a date with the person you’ve been eyeing for weeks or months! In a recent survey, “The Biggest Turn-off,” it was revealed that people first look at person’s smile and teeth when determining if they want to pursue a relationship. It ranked higher than body type, eyes, hair color/style, and even body odor. Sounds like you may want to take care of your chompers a little better than you might currently be doing.

Some of the features that turn off potential soul mates include bad breath (number one culprit), yellowing or stained teeth, crooked teeth, and missing teeth. To put it in perspective, think about how you feel about your own set of teeth – Are they white enough? Is your bit aligned? Are your teeth straight? If you find that your own smile may be lacking in the “pretty perfect” department, what might someone else think? While we don’t want to promote complete superficiality, it is commonly known that a good first impression is highly desired. So why not take the right measures to ensure you get that date?

If you wish to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing smile, then be sure to check out my website. You can find information regarding a variety of cosmetic dentistry procedures, such as porcelain veneers, Invisalign ®, and teeth whitening. Once you’re ready to take the next step for a beautiful smile, feel free to schedule an appointment at my Beverly Hills practice. I look forward to helping you reach y our goal and providing you with a dazzling, new smile.

Infant Diet Affects Oral Health

Over the years, the increase in childhood obesity, diabetes, and other health issues has increased drastically. In addition, dental health and oral hygiene problems are on the rise, and tooth decay can often signal a more serious health issue. While not all tooth-related troubles are linked to medical problems, it is important to look at the underlying factors that contribute to decay and other health risks.

While most babies can start eating solid foods at about four and a half months, it’s not likely that they will be fed sugar-filled snacks. However, it’s not uncommon to reward a child with a candy or sugary juice box. These small treats can then lead to early decay in the child’s teeth, which in turn can produce even more problems as the teeth develop. Through various studies, including one conducted by U.S. and Australian researchers, dentists are able to provide more useful information and documentation to parents of infants and young children. These studies can help us better-determine which technique will yield the best results.

The joint study reported that some children’s oral hygiene was so poor that they were having teeth removed at a very young age. It was also advised that children be breastfed “exclusively to the age of six months and then introduce solid foods while continuing to breastfeed or to start formula. Cow’s milk could be given from the age of one.” Doing so may help reduce the instances of tooth decay starting from such a young age.

If you are concerned about the well-being of your child’s teeth and overall health, please feel free to schedule an appointment at my practice. As a caring dentist and orthodontist, I am dedicated to your child’s dental health.

Oral Hygiene Basics

If you’re looking to save a few dollars, but still want to make sure that your oral hygiene doesn’t take a hit from it, the following tips may be quite useful. Along with maintaining routine visits with your dental provider, these steps can help prevent the need for aggressive dental treatments:

  • Brush at least twice a day and floss daily
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks between meals (especially sugar-filled treats)
  • Rinse after consuming sugary foods/drinks to remove residual cavity-causing particles
  • Use dental products that contain fluoride (i.e., toothpaste and mouth rinse)
  • Make sure that kids ages 12 and under drink plenty of fluoridated water or take a fluoride supplement if you are in a non-fluoridated area

Although following these steps does not replace a dentist, they can certainly help you prevent serious dental issues. In addition, during a consultation, we can discuss the proper way to brush and floss teeth in order to achieve optimal results. Should the need for a more invasive treatment arise, we can go over your options and determine the most appropriate dental procedures to meet your needs and goals.

I encourage you to browse my site, learn of the various dental treatments available, and schedule an appointment at my Beverly Hills practice. As a dentist dedicated to the patient’s well-being, I look forward to meeting with you and helping you achieve a healthier, brighter smile.

414 N. CAMDEN DRIVE, SUITE 940
BEVERLY HILLS, CA 90210
Tel: (310) 273-0111

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Request an appointment for a complimentary consultation with cosmetic dentist Dr. Sands, or feel free to call our Los Angeles (north of Orange County) office at (310) 273-0111 for more information.