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Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Purpose of Teeth

What is the Purpose of Each Type of Tooth?

There are many components that make up the mouth, such as the gums, tongue, and salivary glands. However, it is the teeth that seem to get the most attention when people want to achieve or maintain a healthy mouth. Even though all 32 teeth are made out of the same material (a combination of enamel, dentin, blood vessels, nerves, and bone), they are divided into four separate categories with specific purposes for each type.

Adult Tooth Chart

Incisors – The mouth contains 8 incisors, which are located in the very front of the mouth. They are the sharpest type of teeth and are excellent for cutting up food while moving it toward the back of the mouth.

Canines – There are 4 canine teeth, located at the corners of the mouth. The pointy tips of these teeth help them tear and break apart food.

Bicuspids – The 8 bicuspids are situated just behind the canine teeth. They are crown-shaped with two points, which enables them to easily grind and crush food.

Molars – Located in the very back of the mouth, the molars are the largest, strongest teeth and have many ridges. These 8 teeth are used to completely grind and shred food before it is swallowed.

Wisdom Teeth –  The wisdom teeth are located in the very back of the mouth and grow in when a person is around 17 to 21 years old. They have no real purpose and typically have to be removed because they may cause discomfort due to overcrowding the rest of the teeth. Although there are usually 4 wisdom teeth, the exact number varies from person to person. In rare cases, some individuals are lucky enough to be born without any wisdom teeth and do not have to worry about undergoing surgery to remove them.

If you are in the Beverly Hills area and interested in improving the look of your teeth, please call (310) 273-0111 today. Dr. Sands is a board certified cosmetic dentist and can help you with whatever dental problems you may have. His expertise in the field of cosmetic dentistry regularly brings some of Hollywood’s most popular stars to his practice.

 

Toothpaste Research

With so many toothpaste brands on the market, it can be overwhelming to decide which one is best for you. With so many varieties to choose from, it’s no wonder we need a little help: you’ve got traditional paste, advanced gels, and special varieties for sensitive teeth, whitening, or enamel protection, among others. Pretty much all of them state loudly on the box that the toothpaste will protect against tooth decay or relieve tooth sensitivity, but it’s hard to know which brands live up to their claims and will truly be best for your teeth. Fortunately for us, toothpaste research methods exist that evaluate the abrasive effects of different toothpastes on human teeth!

Abrasive particles make up roughly half of the formula in a typical toothpaste and are necessary for removing plaque from the teeth, but formulas that are too abrasive may cause damage to the tooth enamel. The corrosion of the enamel is permanent because this protective outer cover of the teeth does not regenerate itself. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM in Halle have taken a new approach in order to determine the abrasion levels of different pastes by testing them on human teeth.

Toothbrush

FUN FACT: To simulate an environment similar to a real mouth, they dilute the paste with water and saliva. They apply this mixture to a single bristle which is moved over the tooth in straight and circular motions many times using specialized instruments. Highly sensitive devices are then used to analyze the resulting effects on the surface of the teeth. The abrasiveness of a variety of toothpastes has been evaluated on a microscopic level, and, for the first time, elements such as friction have also been assessed.

This new research shows that the level of abrasiveness assigned by the previous method for analyzing wear on enamel is generally a good evaluation, although these assigned values tend to vary from lab to lab. The new method also revealed that the structure of the bristles on toothbrushes can affect the friction levels and abrasive tendencies when brushing. Using this new information, manufacturers will be able to develop more safe and effective toothpastes and toothbrushes. Consumers will be able to feel more comfortable purchasing high quality toothpastes and toothbrushes to maintain optimum oral health.

If you are interested in cosmetic dentistry to correct damages resulting from enamel loss or want to learn about any other cosmetic dentistry procedures, please call the Beverly Hills office of Dr. Sands. To schedule a consultation, feel free to fill out our contact form or call (310) 273-0111 today.

 

How to Avoid Bad Breath

Don’t Get Caught with Bad Breath!

Face it: having bad breath stinks, both literally and figuratively. Someone with offensive-smelling breath (halitosis) may feel uncomfortable when talking to others, but what’s worse is when they don’t realize there is a displeasing smell coming from their mouth. This often occurs because the nose adjusts to filter out the smell coming from the back of the mouth, so the odor becomes natural to the person’s senses. To make sure you don’t have embarrassing bad breath that might be bothersome to others, here are some tips on how to test yourself for halitosis:

  • Ask Someone’s Opinion: The most obvious way to determine if you have bad breath is to ask someone else to smell it for you. If you have someone you are comfortable with, such as a friend or relative, ask for their honest opinion and breathe on them.

  • Examine Your Tongue: Stick out your tongue as far as you can and look at the back of it in a mirror. If you see that your tongue is a whitish or grayish color, this may be bacteria that causes a foul mouth odor.

  • Lick Your Hand: This may sound strange, but it is effective. Lick the back of your hand and, once it has dried, smell the spot where you licked. If it smells bad, this may be an indicator that you have bad breath.

  • Cotton Swab Your Tongue: Dentists often use this trick. Using a cotton pad or swab, wipe the surface of your tongue. If the cotton turns a yellowish color, it may be a sign that the compounds associated with foul odors are present in your mouth. You can also smell the cotton to see if you may have bad breath.

  • Floss and Smell: Floss the back of your teeth and then smell the floss. If it smells unpleasant, you most likely have bad breath. If it does smell, you can also test how strong your breath is by slowly moving the floss further from your nose as you smell it to determine how far of a distance your halitosis reaches.

To keep your breath fresh and clean, it is important to visit your dentist regularly and brush and floss daily, and brushing your tongue will also help eliminate bad breath. For all of your dentistry needs, please contact the office of Dr. Sands at (310) 273-0111 or fill out our contact form. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

 

Fluoride and Tooth Decay

Study Shows Fluoride in Drinking Water Helps Prevent Tooth Decay

Recently, researchers at the University of North Carolina and the University of Adelaide, Australia found strong evidence suggesting that many more people than previously thought can benefit from fluoridated water.

Published in March, the study is the first population-level study of its kind. It indicates that fluoridated water can reduce the risk of developing tooth decay in adults, no matter their age or previous consumption of fluoridated water during childhood.

The data gathered consisted of a survey of 3,779 adults (ages 15 and older) from Australia between 2004 and 2006. Researchers examined levels of decay as well as took into account the fluoride from community water supplies that participants had lived off since 1964. The researchers were then able to determine the percentage of public fluoridated water that each participant had been exposed to during their lifetime.

The results showed that participants who spent 75 percent of their lifetime living in communities with fluoridated water had considerably less tooth decay than adults who lived less than 25 percent of their lives in such communities.

In the past it was thought that only kids could benefit from consuming fluoridated water. However, this study adds a new dimension to the dental health benefits of fluoridation for adults.

Dr. Kevin Sands regularly performs cosmetic dentistry for some of Hollywood’s most famous smiles and looks forward to meeting you during your initial consultation. To schedule an appointment at his Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry practice, please call (310) 273-0111 today.

 

The Connection Between Oral and Physical Health

One of the largest health epidemics in the United States today is obesity. Obesity is associated with a large number of other serious conditions and diseases, including diabetes, heart disease, and even some forms of cancer. Obesity is a major health concern for a large percentage of Americans, and new research suggests that obesity is causing a decline in oral and physical health, with an increased number of obese patients with gum disease.

According to a recent article printed in General Dentistry, the peer-reviewed clinical journal of the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), studies have shown that there is a correlation between obesity and gum disease. Lead author of the article Charlene Krejci, DDS, MSD, stated that the researchers may have discovered this link by noticing that highly overweight bodies continuously produce the protein cytokines. This protein has inflammatory properties and may directly reduce blood flow and damage gum tissues, which can lead to gum disease and other inflammatory diseases. Individuals who already have gum disease are also at an increased risk for other inflammatory diseases because gum disease itself produces more inflammatory cytokines in the body.

 

To reduce the risk of developing these diseases, it is important to maintain a healthy weight. To further prevent the development of gum disease, it is crucial to maintain proper oral hygiene by regularly brushing, flossing, and visiting your dentist for cleanings at least twice a year. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your oral health or if you are interested in cosmetic dentistry, please schedule an appointment with Beverly Hills dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands. Feel free to call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our contact form today. We look forward to hearing from you!

 

Why You Should Wear Your Retainer

Retainer

Don’t forget to wear your retainers, folks!

During the 55th Annual Grammy Awards, which aired back in February, there was quite a buzz surrounding what country music artist Faith Hill was wearing. However, it wasn’t her dress or shoes that were getting all the attention, but rather her braces. When previously asked by a radio station why she was wearing the orthodontic gear, her response was, “I had braces as a kid. I forgot to wear my retainer.”

This is a perfect example of why you should wear your retainers, but oftentimes people either forget or choose not to wear them. Although there are some individuals who are lucky enough to maintain straight teeth without ever wearing their retainers, this does not hold true for the majority of people. For many, wearing retainers is the only way to maintain the best smile possible and ensure that their teeth do not shift.

A very common question that arises in the field of dentistry is why someone should wear their retainers after they have their braces removed. Retainers stabilize teeth and hold them in the ideal position until the bones in the gums become accustomed to their new location.

Every Person is Different

Every person’s smile is different, which means there is no exact timetable for how long someone has to wear their retainer. Although some people may be able to maintain straight teeth without ever wearing their retainers, in general, retainers should be worn as long as an individual wants to put their best smile forward.

It is Never too Late for Braces

No one is ever too old to get braces. With the dramatic improvements that have been made to braces, there is no need worry about getting braces. However, some adults tend to postpone getting them because they feel self-conscious about the unattractive appearance that braces have on their teeth. Luckily, braces are not the only choice that exists for adults who want to obtain a fantastic smile.

Invisalign®

Like braces, Invisalign® straightens teeth, but does it in a more subtle and comfortable way. Using a series of clear aligners that are made from molds of the patient’s own mouth, Invisalign® gradually moves teeth into a more desirable position. Since Invisalign® is nearly invisible and can be removed at any time, straight teeth can be obtained without others ever knowing that you wore Invisalign®.

To improve the appearance of your smile, please contact the Beverly Hills office of Dr. Kevin Sands by calling (310) 273-0111 today. Dr. Sands is dedicated to providing you with treatment to give you the best possible smile.

Tax on Sugary Drinks To Improve Children’s Health

Although my practice is located in Beverly Hills, California, I like to stay informed about worldwide issues concerning oral health. I’m particularly interested when something in the news could improve oral health, especially that of children. New developments in other nations that promote healthy teeth and gums could eventually be implemented here in the United States to boost our oral health.

The UK is making vital moves for its children’s oral and physical health by pushing for a tax on sugary drinks. Numerous organizations, including the British Dental Health Foundation, have jumped on the bandwagon and agree that the tax would greatly improve the health of children and help prevent tooth decay. One in three children has visible dental decay, and the Foundation attributes this to the increase in consumption of sugary drinks compared to previous generations. Sustain, a company dedicated to improving environmental conditions, put together a report that recommends three components for the 2013 budget plan that would benefit the health of children in multiple ways.

The first recommendation by the report is that a duty be applied to sugary drinks, which could theoretically raise over $1 billion per year. This would also combat diet-related illnesses and reduce dental decay by decreasing the consumption of these drinks. The second recommendation is that the majority of the money from the tax be put toward a Children’s Future Fund to improve children’s health by providing healthy snacks and free meals at schools to students in need. The last recommendation is that an independent organization be responsible for overseeing the implementation of the tax and how its revenue is spent. If these recommendations were put into effect, it would greatly improve the general and oral health of children now and in the future, and hopefully the United States would follow in these footsteps toward healthier youth.

If you are concerned about your or your child’s oral health, please feel free to contact Dr. Sands’ Beverly Hills office for all of your dentistry needs. If you would like to schedule a consultation, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our contact form today.

 

Root Canals Explained

Common Misconceptions about Root Canals

You’re relaxing at home when you notice that the slight sensitivity you’ve been feeling in your teeth for a few months seems to be worsening. You’ve been putting off seeing a dentist for a while, but now you notice that the pain in your teeth is becoming unbearable. At first you think it’s just a cavity, but when you visit the dentist you hear those two dreaded words. It’s a root canal, and having it treated is going to be excruciatingly painful – or is it?

Although root canals are serious problems that result from not maintaining good oral hygiene, there are many common mistaken beliefs about them that could not be further from the truth.

Misconception 1: Root Canals are Painful

This is perhaps the biggest myth surrounding root canals. In the past they may have been unpleasant, just like many other dental procedures during previous times. However, with modern medicine and effective anesthesia, patients can undergo a procedure and feel minimal, if any, pain.

Misconception 2: Root Canals Require Several Appointments

Although the number of dentist visits depends on the state of the tooth and the severity of the infection in the canals, treatment can often be done in just a single session.

Misconception 3: Root Canals are Unnecessarily Expensive

Usually root canals are costly, but treatment not only saves a person’s tooth, it also helps them maintain regular chewing function. It should also be kept in mind that a root canal still costs less than permanently removing the tooth and replacing it with a bridge or implant.

Misconception 4: Root Canals Don’t Work

This is definitely not true. When a root canal is performed correctly by an experienced dentist, it can last a lifetime with no future provisions.

For more information about the advanced dental options that we offer for root canal treatment, please call our Beverly Hills practice at (310) 273-0111 today. Dr. Sands and the rest of his team look forward to meeting you in person and helping you achieve the highest possible dental health.

 

Myths and Facts about Cavities

Cavities True or False

Cavities: True or False?

It’s a well-known fact that brushing your teeth at least two times a day, combined with flossing and visiting a dentist regularly, can greatly reduce the chances of cavities forming. The following information debunks common myths about cavities so you can distinguish between fact and fiction.

Myth #1: If you have a cavity, you will feel pain in your tooth.

Oftentimes a cavity can exist in a tooth without any pain being felt at all. It is only after the cavity reaches the nerves deep down beneath your tooth that the actual pain begins. By this time, an expensive procedure, such as a root canal, may be needed in order to alleviate the problem. This puts even more emphasis on seeing your dentist at least two times a year.

Myth #2: Sensitivity in a tooth means that you have a cavity.

Although a cavity can cause sensitivity in a tooth, there are many other reasons why this sensation can occur. Foods that contain citric acid, phosphoric acid, and maleic acid can cause sensitivity in teeth even though no cavities are present. Common goods that contain these acids include: sodas, sport drinks, and candy. Cutting back on the consumption of these products can greatly decrease the possibility of developing sensitive teeth.

Myth #3: Sugar causes cavities.

Eating sugar contributes to the development of cavities, but the truth is that all types of carbohydrates can cause tooth decay. The real culprit is the acid that forms from the bacteria inside of the mouth after foods high in carbohydrates have been eaten.

Fact #1: Cavities are more likely to develop between teeth.

Spaces and gaps in teeth can be hard to clean with regular brushing and flossing. Rinsing with a mouthwash that contains fluoride and seeing your dentist regularly can help eliminate cavity-causing bacteria throughout the mouth.

Fact #2: Clenching and grinding teeth can lead to cavities.

Clenching and grinding applies pressure to your teeth, which can cause cracks and chips to develop. Over time, this can lead to cavities forming inside the fractures in the teeth.

Fact #3: Tooth decay stops after the tooth is treated.

Once a cavity is treated properly by a certified physician, the decaying in that area will stop. However, if you neglect taking care of the area or stop seeing your dentist regularly, a cavity can form in that area again.

Having great teeth and a bright smile are features that do not go unnoticed. For all of your cosmetic dentistry needs, please feel free to contact the Beverly Hills practice of Dr. Kevin Sands by calling (310) 273-0111 today. He looks forward to meeting you and helping you achieve a smile you can feel great about.

 

The Importance of Your Smile

Have you ever really wondered what the importance of your smile really is? Smiles have long been known as the universal sign of peace and happiness, no matter where a person lives or what language they speak. This simple gesture has a dramatic effect on others and not only makes a person look more friendly and confident, but it also provides other beneficial results.

Smiling can help relieve stress.

People who are stressed out tend to have anxiety, high blood pressure, and poor digestion. When you smile, your brain gets tricked into thinking that you’re happy, which slows your breathing and lowers your heart rate to reduce stress.

Smiling can help you get a job.

Dressing for success is not the only thing that matters when going in for that crucial job interview; smiling can also increase the likelihood that you get the job. Studies show that individuals who smiled throughout their interviews were more likely to get the job because they appeared more enthusiastic and friendly.

Smiling improves your immune system.

When you smile your body becomes relaxed and releases endorphins and serotonin, which are the “feel good” hormones of the body. In other words, the more you smile the better you will feel, both physically and mentally.

Importance of Smiling

Grin and bear it: Your smile’s important!

Smiling makes you look younger and live longer.

The more often that you smile, the more that the muscles on the face become elevated, creating a youthful look that you can feel great about. Numerous studies have shown that frequent smiling can increase your longevity as well.

A study released by USA Weekend that analyzed over 6,000 adults found that those who smile often as opposed to having a neutral expression have a significantly lower risk of getting a stroke from heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the United States. That’s even more of a reason to smile!

Whether it’s straightening or whitening your teeth, Dr. Sands can help you achieve the smile that you desire. To schedule a consultation with our Hollywood cosmetic dentist, please call (310) 273-0111 today.

 

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