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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Why You Need to Pay Attention to Your Gums

If you’re like most people, you trudge through the motions of your morning routine while your mind is busy reeling about the day’s agenda. Out of habit, you quickly brush your teeth, floss (maybe), and look forward to moving on to your next task. You many not even notice if you have puffy or bleeding gums, which are tell-tale signs of a trouble-causing disease: gingivitis.

man looking in mirror at gumsWhile gingivitis (also called gum disease) is extremely common, affecting over 64.7 million Americans annually, its repercussions should not be taken lightly. Aside from leading to decay or total tooth loss, several studies have linked gum disease to more serious health concerns, such as heart disease, diabetes, anemia, and osteoporosis. In fact, when these diseases are already present in the body, gingivitis can make them worse.

Between routine visits to the dentist, it is important to pay attention to certain changes in your gums that can indicate a serious infection like gingivitis. Here are a few signs to watch for as you brush your teeth each day:

Receding Gums

Gum disease, when it has progressed to its more serious state of periodontitis, can lead to receding gums. If your gums pull away from your teeth and make them appear longer than they once did, you likely have this condition. Pain or discomfort from receding gums may not be noticeable, but with daily attentiveness, you should be able to tell if your gums are receding or separating from your teeth.

Bleeding Gums

If your gums bleed while you brush, floss, or eat hard food, you could have gingivitis. Your gums may also appear puffy and red and feel soft to the touch. If you experience these symptoms, be sure to see your dentist right away. Your dentist may advise you to visit more often than the recommended twice a year for a cleaning if your teeth are particularly susceptible to infection.

Dark Gums

Dark or discolored gums can occur from smoking, drugs, inflammation, or hyperpigmentation, but they can also result from gum disease. Hardened plaque (called calculus or tartar) can collect beneath the gums and cause a blackened appearance. Laser gum disease treatment can effectively remove the build-up and, therefore, the unsightly dark color. When infection is not the cause of darkened gums, laser depigmentation is the best treatment to restore the gums to a more natural-looking color.

If you have symptoms of gingivitis, or if you would like to schedule a consultation for a cosmetic procedure by Dr. Kevin Sands, please call our dental office in Beverly Hills today at (310) 273-0111. You may also conveniently fill out our online contact form for more information.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Portrait of a man putting his hand to his cheek from pain from frozen popsicle in his hand, isolated white backgroundIt is important to protect the outer layers of your teeth and the surrounding tissue in order to prevent tooth sensitivity. Sensitive teeth are easily irritated and can be very painful when exposed to certain elements, such as heat and cold, that easily send nerve signals to the center of your teeth. The following conditions and materials that wear away the protective coverings of your teeth can cause sensitivity by exposing the dentin and roots.

Receding Gums

Gum tissue protects the roots of the teeth, but certain conditions, such as periodontal disease, can cause the gums to move away from the teeth. This leaves the roots susceptible to irritation, which can cause tooth pain and sensitivity.

Acidic Foods and Drinks

Highly acidic foods and drinks (citrus fruits, lentils, olives, tomatoes, fruit juice, soda) can eat away at the enamel on the teeth and lead to sensitivity by exposing the dentin beneath it. There are microscopic holes in the dentin that allow the tooth nerves to be stimulated and cause pain. After consuming an acidic food or drink, neutralizing the acids by eating or drinking neutral substances like cheese or milk will help prevent the teeth from being affected by the acid.

Whitening Products

Some whiteners with peroxide-based bleaching solutions can contribute to tooth sensitivity. If you are interested in whitening your teeth, it is recommended that you speak with your dentist about the best product for you. Dr. Sands offers a variety of teeth whitening treatments and can help determine the ideal whitening procedure for you.

Too Frequent Use of Mouthwash

The acids found in most mouthwashes can make teeth sensitive or irritate teeth that are already sensitive. Although it may be nice to have minty fresh breath after each meal, stick to using mouthwash only once or twice per day to avoid tooth sensitivity.

If you are experiencing sensitive teeth or any dental pain, Illustration of a blue arrow going around a toothDr. Kevin B. Sands is available to diagnose and treat your condition. To schedule your consultation or find out more information about the dental procedures we offer, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form.

 

Safe and Simple Ways to Get a Whiter Smile

man and woman smiling with white smiles wearing sunglassesOver-the-counter treatments and toothpastes will no doubt lead to a whiter, more beautiful smile, but at what cost? Here are a few ways to get the white teeth you’ve been hoping for in the safest and simplest ways.

1. Watch for certain ingredients when choosing a whitening toothpaste.

Many whitening toothpastes can be harmful to the teeth if they are excessively abrasive. Over time, they can wear down the enamel and weaken the teeth. In order to get the best and safest result, look for a whitening toothpaste that is more gentle, containing baking soda rather than silica. Some whitening toothpastes are also not as effective as the whitening methods you can receive from your dentist because they lack a separate bleaching agent booster (such as peroxide) that whitens teeth deep down.

2. Get the best tools for oral hygiene.

Investing in the right teeth cleaning tools will also help to get and maintain a beautifully white and healthy smile. Toothbrushes like the Philips Sonicare DiamondClean Toothbrush cost around $220 and will remove more plaque than a manual toothbrush. Compared to the money you might save from damaging results plaque and tartar buildup may cause, a toothbrush like this is a worthwhile investment.

3. If you have sensitive teeth, go to an expert.

If you have sensitive teeth, it is better to choose in-office teeth whitening because the process is monitored by your dentist. Dr. Sands also minimizes sensitivity by applying desensitizing topical products or dental dam gel to protect the gums from irritation.

4. Get a custom fit.

At-home whitening treatments that are prescribed by your dentist will always be stronger and more effective than over-the-counter whiteners. Unlike over-the-counter products, the bleaching trays you will receive from Dr. Sands are customized to fit your teeth perfectly, allowing for the most successful results.

5. Check for cavities before you whiten.

Before you choose any teeth whitening method, have your dentist check for cavities. If the bleaching agent gets inside the tooth because of decay, it can cause damage, and a root canal may be necessary.

For the quickest way to a white smile, Dr. Sands offers Zoom!® teeth whitening, which will brighten your teeth up to eight shades whiter in just one in-office treatment session. Dr. Sands also offers an at-home bleaching system that is made to fit your teeth perfectly to provide a beautifully whiter smile within a few weeks. Both methods of teeth whitening are completely safe and effective, especially when monitored by an expert.

If you are interested in teeth whitening in the Beverly Hills area, please schedule a consultation with cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands today. Call (310) 273-0111, or fill out our contact form for more information.

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.