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Monthly Archives: May 2013

Biotooth: The Alternative to Dental Implants

Current techniques for dental implant replacement fail to reproduce naturalized root structures, causing a loss of bone around the implant. A recent study led by Professor Paul Sharpe, an expert in craniofacial development and stem cell biology, reveals that scientists have discovered a technique called the “Biotooth”, replacing teeth using bioengineered material derived from a person’s own gum cells.

To produce these “bioteeth,” focus has been put on the generation of immature teeth (teeth primordia) that act like those found in the embryo. When their cells are transplanted into the jaw of an adult, the embryonic teeth can develop and produce a tooth, but this practice is not used in general therapy yet. According to Professor Sharpe, to make biotooth formation a viable alternative to dental implants, they must first identify enough human regulatory tissue and cells that are capable of developing into teeth.

At the Dental Institute, King’s College London, researchers took adult human gum tissue from patients and made additional tissue in the lab. They then combined it with the cells of mice teeth to produce hybrid human/mouse teeth containing dentine and enamel. These hybrid teeth are capable of responding to embryonic tooth cells in order to develop tooth crown and root formation, which gives rise to relevant differentiated cell types after laboratory testing. Since developing embryonic cells are the only way to make tooth-inducing cells, the next challenge is to identify a way to culture adult human cells to do the same.

For all of your cosmetic dentistry needs, please contact our Beverly Hills office at (310) 273-0111 today. Dr. Sands is dedicated to providing each of his patients with the best smile possible.

 

Surprising Causes of Bad Breath

 

Causes of Bad Breath

Sometimes the causes of bad breath need more than brushing!

Also known as halitosis, the causes of bad breath affect everyone at one time or another. Whether it is a side-effect of waking up in the morning or a consequence of eating a meal containing garlic and onions, there are various causes of bad breath. Neglecting regular brushing and flossing are common reasons why someone may have halitosis, but there are other ways individuals can develop bad breath that may come as a surprise.

Diet

High-protein, low-carb diets work in two ways to cause bad breath. Consuming food that is high in protein produces large quantities of amino acids, which feed on bacteria and smell unpleasant. Low-carb diets make your body burn more fat, leading to the development of ketones, which make the breath smell bad.

Medications

Over-the-counter drugs, such as aspirin, reduce the amount of saliva in the mouth. This leaves the mouth dry and creates a thriving environment for bacteria to multiply, which leads to bad breath.

Illness & Infection

Illnesses such as diabetes, kidney failure, and gastro esophageal reflux disease can cause an increase in the amount of bacteria in the breath, which causes foul smells to be released from the mouth. Tooth and gum infections can cause the tissues in the mouth to break down, making it more susceptible to become dry and contain more bacteria as well.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a diuretic, which means it dehydrates the body. In turn, it dries out the mouth by slowing saliva production and increasing bacteria to create bad breath. Drinking alcohol also interferes with the digestive system and esophagus, causing the smell of stomach acid to emerge from the mouth.

Treatment

As it stands, bad breath affects almost half of the American population. By implementing a few simple habits into your routine, you can drastically diminish your chances for developing bad breath and chronic halitosis.

  •  Brush and floss your teeth daily
  •  Drink more water
  •  Treat gum disease and cavities before they fully develop
  •  Regularly visit your dentist for professional cleanings

To learn more information about the in-office treatments we offer to reduce bad breath, please contact our Beverly Hills practice at (310) 273-0111 today. Dr. Sands looks forward to meeting you and addressing any and all of your dental concerns.

 

Natural Teeth Whitening

White Teeth Smile

Whiter teeth complete a beautiful smile and help renew confidence.

Dull or yellow teeth are caused by a variety of elements in our daily lives. As the enamel of your teeth wears down from consuming sugary, starchy, and acidic foods and drinks, the yellow dentin beneath it becomes more apparent. Consistently drinking liquids such as tea, wine, coffee, and soda, as well as using tobacco products, contribute to a negative color change in our teeth.

In today’s culture, a magnificent smile is not complete without a set of bright, white teeth. Although there are countless whitening kits available to make even the most yellow teeth noticeably whiter, many people use natural teeth whitening methods to improve and maintain the color of their teeth. In some cases, people have found natural remedies with even better results than whitening kits, at a fraction of the cost!

 

Hydrogen Peroxide & Baking Soda

This is one of the oldest methods for teeth whitening that is still used today. In fact, peroxide is the main ingredient in just about every professional whitening kit. After mixing these two products together to form a consistency similar to toothpaste, gently brush the mixture onto your teeth. Be careful to avoid your gums though, as the mixture could irritate them. Let the mixture sit on the teeth for about two minutes and then rinse. Follow this routine once a week for whiter teeth.

Strawberries

This one may seem a bit odd, but some people have seen an improvement in the whiteness of their teeth after a few weeks of simply rubbing strawberries on them. This is because strawberries contain malic acid, which is a natural whitening agent. However, it should be noted that rubbing fruits containing acids and sugars will eventually eat away at the enamel of your teeth, so it is very important to brush your teeth after whitening with strawberries.

Oil Pulling

This is another uncommon method, but according to many reviews it has a positive effect on oral health in general as well as the appearance of teeth. Swish one tablespoon of sesame oil or olive oil throughout your mouth for 10 to 15 minutes. The oil will turn white because it naturally pulls toxins from your teeth and mouth. After the time is up, spit the oil out and rinse your mouth with water.

Although natural whitening methods have shown results for some people, the most effective approach to teeth whitening is whitening dentistry, which involves a variety of options such as in-house bleaching or laser whitening. To brighten your teeth and enhance your smile, please feel free to call our Beverly Hills practice at (310) 273-0111 today. Dr. Sands looks forward to helping you attain the brilliant smile you desire.

 

Vitamin D is Linked to a 50 Percent Reduction in Tooth Decay

Sun and CloudsThe sun does quite a bit for us here on earth. Without the sun, we would have no plants, no animals, and no food — life as we know it would cease to exist. A key component of the sun’s life-giving power is vitamin D. This vitamin is crucial to the absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorous in living things, which help maintain healthy bones. Someone who is vitamin D deficient is prone to developing weak, brittle bones, which consequently includes your teeth.

The fact that vitamin D promotes bone density has not been questioned, but the necessity of vitamin D in preventing tooth decay has. Dr. Philippe Hujoel of the University of Washington conducted a review of a study that tested 3,000 children in several countries from the 1920s to the 1980s. He found that vitamin D levels in many populations decreased as dental caries (tooth decay) levels increased.

Coincidence or not, vitamin D is essential to health and does lead to stronger bones and teeth.
Data collected from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), USA, found that 61 percent, or 50.8 million people, were vitamin D insufficient.

You may be at risk for vitamin D insufficiency if you:

  • are a strict vegetarian
  • have severe milk allergies
  • avoid the sun
  • have a body mass index greater than 30

For strong and healthy teeth, be sure to spend some time outdoors each day. If you do have a vitamin D insufficiency, drinking milk or taking vitamin D supplements will help. Include foods in your diet that are rich in vitamin D, such as fish, fish liver oils, egg yolks, and fortified dairy and grain products. When you take care of your overall health, the benefits extend to your teeth as well!

If your teeth have been affected by a vitamin D deficiency and you wish to correct the damage it may have caused your teeth, contact Dr. Sands today. He can assess your situation and determine which procedure will best suit your needs to reveal a beautiful, healthy smile. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our contact form to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

If you wake up each morning with a headache or a sore jaw, it may be because you grind your teeth while you sleep. Teeth grinding, medically known as “bruxism,” is relatively common and only harmful when done on a regular basis. Since bruxism usually occurs during sleep, the symptoms are often not noticeable until the teeth have been significantly worn down. This can damage the teeth and cause other health complications. In some cases, bruxism can result in fractured teeth, loose teeth, or complete tooth loss, and it can also cause hearing loss and negatively affect your jaws.

Causes of Teeth Grinding

Bruxism can be caused by stress and anxiety but is more often the result of missing teeth, crooked teeth, or an abnormal bite pattern.

How to Prevent Teeth Grinding

If teeth grinding is a chronic problem, your dentist can fit you for a mouth guard to wear while you sleep. If your teeth grinding is stress-related, look for ways to reduce stress, such as starting an exercise program, seeking stress counseling, practicing yoga, or getting a prescription for muscle relaxants.

Cutting back on foods and beverages that contain caffeine can also help prevent bruxism. Do not chew on non-food items, such as gum, during the day. Gum causes you to develop the habit of clenching your teeth. You can help relax your jaw muscles by putting your tongue between your teeth during the day and by holding a warm washcloth along your jawline at night. Dehydration is also linked to bruxism, so be sure to drink plenty of water each day.

Fixing the Damage Caused by Teeth Grinding

Depending on the resulting damage, there are several procedures available to repair teeth after grinding. When bruxism results in missing teeth, the gaps can be filled by inserting dental implants, bridges, dentures, or partial dentures. If the tooth becomes fractured, loose, or chipped, the solution is often crowns or dental bonding.

If you are concerned that you grind your teeth at night, schedule a consultation with Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist, Dr. Sands. He can check for signs of bruxism, determine if the habit will cause damage in the future, and correct any damage it may have already caused. Please visit our contact page or call (310) 273-0111 today to schedule your complimentary consultation.

Tell Tale Teeth: Discover our Evolutionary Origins

Compagopiscis

Image by Esben Horn, 10tons; supervised by Martin Rücklin, John Long and Philippe Janvier

Scientists and dentists may not attend the same schools or encounter the same things every day, but we both have one complex skill in common: we can tell a lot simply from the condition of someone’s teeth. From how old you are to what kind of food you eat each day, your teeth tell a story that you may or may not want to be told.

It was once thought that teeth evolved much later than jaws in living vertebrates (animals with backbones), but new technology has revealed that teeth actually evolved along with or soon after the evolution of jaws. This stunning new research, published in the leading scientific journal Nature, refutes what scientists had believed for a long time.

By performing non-invasive 3D microsurgery with high energy X-rays on a primitive jawed fish called Compagopiscis, researchers were able to see every cell growth line within the jaws to discover how the teeth and jaws developed. By comparing these findings with results from living specimens, they determined that the earliest jawed vertebrates actually did have teeth along with their jaw bones.

Discoveries like this may only be attained with a high-powered X-ray machine, but here at our Beverly Hills office, I can find a lot of information about your health and lifestyle just by performing a simple dental inspection. Sensitive and bleeding gums can be a result of poor diet, stress, or too much spicy food. A permanently dry mouth can be a sign of diabetes. If you have eroded enamel and chipped or sensitive teeth, you may be consuming acidic drinks a bit too often. Be sure to keep up with your daily oral hygiene habits and keep your regular dental appointments because even if you don’t admit how attentive you are to your oral care, your teeth will!

If you are interested in a cosmetic dentistry procedure or simply want a checkup and cleaning for your teeth, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our contact form today to schedule an appointment!

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