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Monthly Archives: December 2013

What Is Laser Gum Contouring?

shutterstock_117021118Cosmetic dentistry does not just involve a straight and white appearance to the teeth. In fact, the length of the teeth is often what makes or breaks a beautiful “Hollywood” smile. The teeth can appear too short due to genetics, a particular health problem, taking certain prescription drugs, or bruxism, and is typically corrected with either porcelain veneers or laser gum contouring.

You may know that porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-like shells that cover the front of the natural tooth. They can make the teeth appear straighter, whiter, longer, and more symmetrical with the rest of the smile. Some patients do not need to straighten or even whiten their teeth; their main concern is a “gummy” appearance. Laser gum contouring, also called gum reshaping or tissue sculpting, is a simple procedure that can lengthen the teeth to provide a fuller, brighter, and more aesthetically balanced smile. Dr. Sands performs this procedure at his Beverly Hills practice.

Laser gum contouring is typically considered a cosmetic procedure and is not covered by insurance. However, some undergo this procedure as part of other necessary procedures, such as pocket reduction, crown lengthening, or other regenerative procedures.

Dr. Sands will often begin treatment by marking the area of the gums that will be altered and by applying local anesthesia to numb the area. He then removes the excess gum tissue by carefully applying the laser to the marked areas. The gums are sealed instantly with heat from the laser, so no bleeding is involved and no sutures are necessary. The laser also kills bacteria in the process, resulting in healthy, natural looking gums and an overall more balanced smile.

To achieve the best long-term results, sometimes bone at the front of the tooth’s root will need to be removed. The gums will heal within several days to a couple of weeks. Dr. Sands will provide specific recovery instructions to ensure the best results with this procedure.

If you are unhappy with the appearance of an uneven gum line, consult with Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin Sands. During your consultation, he can assess your smile and determine whether laser gum contouring is the right procedure for you. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Sands, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

How Damaging Is Acidic Food to Enamel?

Young woman with nice teeth biting into a lemonMost of us know that soda is bad for our teeth, but did you know some fruit can be just as damaging? Strawberries, blackberries, grapes, pomegranates, and fruit jellies and jams all have a high level of acidity. Acidic foods do not cause significant harm to the teeth, but they can temporarily weaken or soften the enamel if they are too consistent in your diet.

Signs of acid erosion

Acid erosion can become a problem as time passes, which is why it is important to visit your dentist regularly. When tooth enamel is softened, there is an increased risk for it to be brushed or worn away over time. Here are some of the most common signs of acid erosion:

  • A change in the shape, texture, or appearance of the teeth

  • Loss of brightness

  • Transparency

  • Tooth sensitivity

  • Discoloration

  • Dents on the chewing surface

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, be sure to visit your dentist for treatment. The earlier acid erosion is detected, the better.

How to avoid acid erosion

Since your enamel will be softest right after consuming acidic foods and drinks, you should wait at least an hour before brushing your teeth, or consider brushing before you eat. You should also avoid swishing acidic drinks, like soda and lemonade, in your mouth. Since the way you drink has more of an effect on the teeth than the amount you drink, consider drinking these beverages through a straw. The goal is to have as little acidic contact with the teeth as possible.

Which foods are highly acidic?

When it comes to acidic foods, moderation is key. Pay attention to the way your teeth look and feel after eating or drinking something acidic. If sensitivity develops, take a break from highly acidic foods. Refer to the following list to learn which foods and drinks are more acidic than others.

Highly Acidic

Food: blackberries, blueberries, cherries, grapes, cranberries, grapefruit, limes, lemons, pineapples, raspberries, strawberries, pomegranates, lemon juice, pickles, salad dressings, vinegar

Drinks: apple cider, apple juice, cranberry juice, grapefruit juice

Medium Acidity

Food: apples, figs, apricots, nectarines, mangos, oranges, peaches, pears, tomatoes, green olives, pesto, raisins, honey

Drinks: Buttermilk, orange juice, red and white wine

No/Low Acidity

Food: rye, wheat, and white bread; cheddar and parmesan cheese; barley; beans; artichokes; asparagus; avocado; broccoli; cabbage; cauliflower; carrots; celery; corn; cucumber; eggplant; yams; zucchini; black olives; peanut butter

Drinks: milk, mineral water

If you are concerned about acid erosion on your teeth, please schedule a consultation with Beverly Hills dentist Dr. Kevin Sands. He can help determine a plan of action to restore your teeth to their best possible form and function. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

Tel: (310) 273-0111

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Contact Dr. Sands

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.