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How Often Should I Visit My Dentist?

shutterstock_133538873Another year, another dental checkup. The average person is sitting in the dentist’s chair annually. However, what some people may not know is that a yearly cleaning and dental checkup may not be enough. The frequency of dentist visits necessary will differ based upon a person’s habits and health history.

Oral Health and Overall Health

The mouth is an entry way into the body; oral problems can lead to other serious issues or diseases involving the heart, brain, bones, and blood pressure. This is why it is important to have healthy hygiene habits such as brushing and flossing daily and seeing the dentist at least every six months.

Anyone who is prone to certain risks and diseases should be getting routine dental checkups every three to four months.

Some High-Risk Patients May Include:

  • Smokers
  • Pregnant women
  • Diabetics
  • Gum disease patients
  • Patients who have a weak immune response to bacterial infections
  • Patients who get cavities or plaque build-up often

These patients are at high risk for future problems such as gingivitis (inflammation of the gums, a form of gum disease), which can lead to:

  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Osteoporosis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Premature birth
  • Diabetes

All it takes are regular checkups at the dental office and healthy hygiene habits to prevent some serious health issues.

When Should I Call My Dentist?

The frequency of dental visits needed to keep you and your mouth healthy will change throughout your lifetime depending on your habits, age, stress, and illnesses. Your dentist can recommend the ideal frequency of dental visits for you.

Any noticeable changes in the mouth should be checked out by a dental professional. In a dental emergency, it is important for a patient to seek immediate attention. Patients should make an appointment if they have a toothache, teeth that have fallen out, mouth pain, or a chipped tooth.

A bright, beautiful smile could improve a person’s look cosmetically and also be the gateway to better health overall.

If you are due for a checkup, Dr. Sands can help improve your oral hygiene. Contact his office to schedule a consultation by calling (310) 273-0111 or by filling out our online contact form.

What to Eat (and Avoid) for Healthy Teeth

Our bodies need food to provide nourishment and energy, making food an essential part of everyday life. Although many people know that what they eat has a major impact on the health of their bodies, many do not realize that it also has a major impact on the health of their teeth. In addition to brushing and flossing, including the following healthy foods in your diet and limiting your consumption of the tooth-damaging foods listed here can help maintain healthy teeth.

EatA glass pitcher of milk, an egg, and cheese on a white background

Foods rich in essential vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin D, calcium, and phosphorus, protect enamel and promote remineralization (replacement of minerals) in teeth.

  • Low-fat milk and cheese
  • Mushrooms
  • Dark, leafy veggies
  • Fish and tofu

Crunchy foods with a high water content put your chompers to work and stimulate the production of saliva while gently removing plaque from the surfaces.

  • Apples
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Raw pears

Avoid/Limit

Acidic foods can erode the enamel on the teethA red 'X' going through soda cans, donuts, and ice cream cones on a white background and lead to tooth decay, and dark-colored foods (and drinks) of this type can usually stain the teeth as well.

  • Citrus fruits
  • Pickles
  • Tomatoes
  • Coffee
  • Red wine
  • Soda

Foods high in sugar can get stuck in the nooks and crannies of your teeth and easily cause cavities.

  • Candy (especially hard candies)
  • Dried fruit

If you’re concerned about the health and/or appearance of your teeth, Dr. Kevin Sands offers a wide variety of procedures to improve virtually any oral condition. To schedule your consultation with Dr. Sands, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today. We look forward to helping you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile!

A Clean Mouth for Overall Health

A smiling woman pointing to her perfect teeth on a white backgroundIt is generally known that keeping our mouths clean is important for our oral health, but many do not know that oral health is directly related to overall health. Many health issues originate in the mouth and then spread or contribute to problems in other areas of the body. So, while you’re practicing good habits and avoiding the bad to keep your mouth healthy, you are actually keeping the rest of your body healthy as well.

Prevent Health Problems From Disease

Good oral hygiene will help prevent diseases of the mouth, which will eliminate the risk of these diseases causing other health problems. One study conducted at the University of Texas found that poor oral health was a risk factor for oral human papillomavirus (HPV) infection. HPV has been shown to cause between 40 to 80 percent of oropharyngeal cancers. Gum disease is known to increase your risk for many ailments; 40 percent of the bacteria found in the arteries of stroke patients originated in the mouth, and bacteria from the mouth can combine with platelets in the blood and lead to blood clots, heart disease, and heart attack. Individuals with gum disease also have an increased risk of high blood sugar and chronic lung disease. Maintaining a good oral care regimen will keep your mouth clean and help prevent bacteria in the mouth from causing issues in the rest of your body. Surprisingly, taking care of your mouth may also help you achieve your weight-loss goal.

Healthy Weight

The desire for a healthy mouth can help you attain and sustain a healthy weight by motivating you to make good food choices for the sake of your teeth and by preventing mindless snacking. People often try to avoid sugary foods, such as soda and candy, when they are trying to lose weight, but this can be difficult. Preventing the sugar from damaging your teeth can give you additional encouragement to stay away from these harmful foods and choose hearty, fresh foods instead. Check out my previous blog for more information on how sugar harms the teeth. Small lifestyle changes like brushing your teeth more frequently can also help you lose weight. If you brush your teeth after every meal, the minty taste of the toothpaste left in your mouth doesn’t mix well with most foods, which will prevent you from going back for another helping. That fresh, clean feeling in your mouth after brushing (don’t forget the importance of flossing!) can also help stop you from polluting your mouth with an unnecessary snack.

If you have any oral health concerns, Dr. Kevin B. Sands is available at his Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry office. To schedule your consultation, call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

Are You Brushing Your Teeth Correctly?

It’s pretty common knowledge that one of the most important ways to maintain good oral hygiene is to brush your teeth twice a day. However, many people brush their teeth incorrectly without even realizing it. This can not only allow plaque and bacteria to build up and lead to cavities, but incorrect brushing can also potentially cause damage to tooth enamel. Here are some helpful suggestions to make sure you get the most out of your brushing time.

Use a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

Many people mistakenly think that stiffer bristles will get teeth cleaner, but the reality is that tough bristles can actually damage the tooth enamel and irritate the gums. Brushing with bristles that are sturdy enough to remove plaque but soft enough so they don’t damage the teeth is the best start to a healthy mouth.

Do Not Brush Too Hard

Pressing the bristles against your teeth too hard or brushing too vigorously can erode tooth enamel. You can get your teeth just as clean without damaging them by safely using gentle brush strokes with the right technique.

Angle Your Toothbrush Toward the Gum Line

For brushing the inner and outer surfaces of your teeth, position your toothbrush so that the bristles are at a 45-degree angle and pointed toward the gum line. This will help remove stubborn plaque from along the gum line.

Young woman brushing teeth

Use Vertical or Circular Strokes

Avoid brushing with horizontal strokes across the teeth. Vertical or circular strokes will work better to remove plaque by getting into the crevices of the teeth. Don’t forget to brush every surface of your teeth – the inside, outside, and chewing surfaces – as well as the gums.

Brush for 2 Minutes

Brushing your teeth for an entire 2 minutes with the proper technique is a great way to guarantee that your teeth get thoroughly cleaned. Dividing the mouth into quadrants and brushing each for 30 seconds will ensure that you spend an equal amount of time on each section of your mouth.

Floss Daily

While brushing your teeth correctly is very important to your oral health, brushing alone is insufficient for reaching areas between the teeth. Flossing at least once a day is essential for preventing gum disease and tooth loss because it is the only effective way to remove plaque from between the teeth.

If you have any questions or concerns about your dental health, please contact Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS, at his Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry office. Please feel free to call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sands.

Origins of the Tooth Fairy

Cute blonde fairy holding a large toothMost people can recall the excitement of losing a tooth in their childhood because it meant that they would be visited by the Tooth Fairy, a mythical being who would replace the lost tooth under their pillow with a small payment. Although this being is contemporarily depicted in the United States as a cute female fairy who flies about collecting teeth during the night, the Tooth Fairy has taken many forms throughout history and may have originated from some interesting traditions.

What to Do with Lost Teeth: Early Superstitions

What a child does with his or her baby teeth that fall out has long been a subject of interest to people all over the world. An old English tradition required a child to take a tooth that fell out and drop it into a fire so they would not have to go in search of it after their death. Others believed that teeth, along with nail and hair clippings, should be burned so that witches and other evil beings couldn’t use these items to control or harm the person they belonged to. A ritual from Japan had children throw their lost upper teeth straight down to the ground and their lost lower teeth straight up into the air in hopes that their teeth would grow in straight. Some people believed that if children fed their baby teeth to mice or rats their adult teeth would grow to be strong like those of rodents. The proper disposal of teeth was a big deal, and it has been speculated that the Tooth Fairy and similar folktales were brought to life as an answer to what children should do with their lost teeth.

The Evolution of Traditions

The concept of replacing lost baby teeth with a gift or money may have been established as a way to make up for the loss of the tooth and make it less scary for the child. This reward for starting to grow up, a sort of rite of passage, lessens the daunting experience of losing teeth by turning it into something for children to be excited about. Traditions of children being paid for losing their teeth have been recorded in documents as early as the Eddas of the thirteenth century.

Nineteenth century folktales from multiple countries around the world involve a mouse replacing baby teeth under the child’s pillow with a gift, and this custom is still passed down through the generations in many of these countries today. This tradition may have evolved from the superstition that the mouse eating their teeth would give them strong adult teeth similar to the characteristically strong teeth of rodents.

The story of the Tooth Fairy that is now commonly taught to children in North America and Australia may have developed from the tradition of the tooth mouse and evolved from this rodent into a fairy during the twentieth century. Perhaps these cultures chose a fairy as the being that sneaks into their children’s rooms at night because they believed that a fairy would be more comforting to a child. Mice are often associated with disease, and fear of mice is one of the most common specific phobias. A fairy as the fantasy figure rather than a mouse also makes the tradition more magical. The belief in magic is often associated with childhood innocence, which many parents try to preserve as the child is beginning to grow up.

After this professional tooth-collecting fairy made her debut, she grew in popularity in America and became a widespread custom by the 1950s. She helped bring attention to the importance of children’s dental hygiene and has appeared in several plays, books, cartoons, and even on pillows, blankets, and other merchandise. Since then parents have been cheerfully introducing the Tooth Fairy into their family life. Whether you picture the Tooth Fairy as a pixie, a child with wings, a flying ballerina, or a dental hygienist, this mythical being often ameliorates the distress and anxiety that can accompany a child’s loss of baby teeth while creating an American tradition that will likely carry on for generations.

If you have any questions or concerns about your or your child’s dental health, please contact Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS, at his Beverly Hills cosmetic dentistry office. Feel free to call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.

The Origin of Braces

The desire for straight teeth is nothing new. Although cosmetic and plastic surgery is relatively modern, “braces” date back as far as the ancient man.

When did people begin putting “braces” on their teeth?

Years ago, archaeologists discovered ancient mummies with metal bands wrapped around their teeth, indicating primal dentistry. This finding was reinforced when yet another researcher found a number of teeth bound with a gold wire inside of a Roman tomb in Egypt. This discovery insinuates that this was the first documented ligature wire, which is now used in orthodontics to affix the archwire to the bracket. In later years, between 400-500 BC, research suggests that Hippocrates and Aristotle both meditated about ways to straighten teeth and fix various dental conditions.

However, despite all of the evidence of ancient experimentation, no significant events in orthodontics really occurred until the 1700s. In 1728, Pierre Fauchard wrote a book titled The Surgeon Dentist, and devoted an entire chapter to methods of straightening teeth. Many consider Dr. Fauchard as the “Father of Orthodontia,” and some of his suggestions for dentistry are still familiar today.

What did braces look like years ago?

Years ago, traditional ‘metal’ braces were wrapped entirely around each tooth with bands and wires made of precious metals, such as gold, platinum, and silver. Steel was not commonly used for braces until the 1950s. In the 1970s, direct bonding of brackets to the teeth became popular and by the mid-70s, lingual braces were invented, which used bonded brackets placed on the inside of the teeth, making them ‘invisible.’

Advances in braces technology in recent years

As technology continues to advance the science of orthodontics, procedures now focus on being as comfortable, quick, and as invisible as possible. Dental treatment is nearly undetectable and digital computer imaging is often utilized to make treatment plans for each patient more precise.

One of the biggest breakthroughs for orthodontics in the 20th century was the discovery, developed by NASA, of heat-activated nickel-titanium alloy wires. These wires are able to use a gentler force for a longer duration than stainless steel wires and are still used today.

Invisalign brought the latest breakthrough for the 21st century – straightening teeth without the use of metal bands or wires. Instead, a series of clear plastic aligners that are completely wireless are used to achieve straighter teeth. As technology continues to emerge, future patients will be provided with even more convenience and options for achieving an attractive smile.

 

A beautiful smile has immeasurable value! If you are seeking to improve the looks of your smile, please contact Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS by calling (310) 273-0111 or filling out our contact form. Together, you and Dr. Sands can discuss the top procedures and treatments available to create your desired smile, which will be nothing less than dazzling!

Veneers: What are they, and are they right for me?

Everyone loves an attractive smile, but not all are fortunate enough to be born with one. Thankfully, there are options available to achieve that “award-winning smile” with just a simple procedure.

What are Veneers?

Veneers are a custom-made, thin shield of ceramic (porcelain) or a composite resin material that is placed and bonded over the front surface of a tooth to improve the aesthetics or protect against damage to the tooth’s surface. It may be placed on one or more teeth.

Who is a candidate for veneers?

Although veneers are not appropriate for every patient, the vast majority of people will be candidates for dental veneers. Veneers are an option for correcting many aesthetic issues such as stained, chipped, fractured, decayed or crooked teeth. It is important to seek a professional oral health assessment from a dentist to determine if veneers are an option for you.

How is the procedure performed?

A dental technician typically makes veneers in a dental lab, working from a model provided by a dentist. The entire procedure may take place in as little as two appointments. Before the veneers are designed, the front surface of the teeth will need to be reshaped by shaving off a very thin layer using a burr (a dental drill or file). The amount that is removed is minimal and equivalent to the thickness of the veneer. Next, an impression of the teeth is taken and usually sent off to the dental laboratory to cast an accurate model of the teeth, which is used to fabricate the veneers. Although this process may take up to three weeks for the final fitting, patients may be fitted with temporary veneers to protect the prepared teeth. Once the veneers are designed, they will be fitted to the prepared teeth and cemented into place. A curing light is used to activate the dental cement so that it permanently bonds the veneers to the teeth.

How long do Veneers last?

Veneers are usually an irreversible process because it is necessary to remove a small amount of enamel from the teeth to accommodate the shell. They are designed to last between 10 to 15 years, at which time they will need to be replaced. Regular cleanings from a dental hygienist are still recommended, as are regular dental checkups. To lengthen the longevity of veneers, it is recommended to avoid some foods and beverages that may stain or discolor the veneers, such as coffee, tea, or red wine. Sometimes a veneer might chip or fracture and will need to be replaced.

How much do Veneers cost?

The cost of dental veneers will vary for many reasons, including the:

  • Dentist you choose

  • Number of teeth involved (number of veneers to be placed)

  • Material used (porcelain or composite resin)

  • Cost of any procedure(s) that may need to be done beforehand

If your goal is to achieve a beautiful smile and you are considering dental veneers, please call the office of Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS at (310) 273-0111 or fill out our contact form. Together, you and Dr. Sands can decide if dental veneers are right for you.

George Washington’s Teeth

Most of us have heard the story of George Washington’s teeth. For those who do not know, there is a long-standing theory that in his later years he had dentures made of wood. Although this is a popular rumor, George Washington’s teeth were not in fact constructed from wood.

What Were They Made of?

Our first president’s fake teeth were made of several materials, but none of them were wood. His dentures were actually constructed from the following substances:

  • Ivory
  • Gold
  • Lead

There are many stories about how President Washington came to have wooden teeth. One of the most far-fetched ideas is that he carved them out of wood himself. Although the precise origin of the wooden teeth myth is not exactly clear, most historians speculate that it came about because of the staining that naturally occurred over time on his ivory teeth.

Even though his teeth were not made out of wood, his dentures caused him some degree of pain. According to a www.mountvernon.org, Washington complained that his fake teeth “are both uneasy in the mouth and bulge my lips out” and “have, by degrees worked loose.”

Fortunately, modern dentistry has made leaps and bounds since the days of our first president. From state-of-the-art lasers to the most technologically advanced dental procedures, cosmetic dentistry can vastly improve just about anyone’s oral health and the appearance of their teeth.

At his Beverly Hills practice, Dr. Kevin Sands offers a wide array of cosmetic dental treatments to help each and every one of his patients achieve the smile they desire. If you are interested in improving the appearance of your teeth, we encourage you to contact our practice by calling (310) 273-0111 or by filling out our online contact form today.

Famous Teeth

A person’s smile isn’t just a facial expression; it’s a statement about who they are. With more than fifty types of smiles, it is the most scientifically studied human facial expression. This simple feature can do more than just attract admiring looks; it can amazingly define who you are.

Many celebrities are well known for their smiles and their stunning choppers. When the cameras come out, so do these famous teeth. According to the Huffington Post, the following celebrities fall nothing short of legendary in embracing their smiles.

 

 

 

Having long had a small gap between her front teeth, Madonna has become an admired singer around the world. Her slightly whitened smile beams when she is center-stage or meandering in public crowds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Moss, a distinguished supermodel, flashes her pearly whites across the nation. Her smile defines her and she is always so perfectly imperfect with her “off-duty chic” fashion sense.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actor Woody Harrelson smiling

Actor Woody Harrelson

 

 

 

 

With a slight gap between his front teeth, Woody Harrelson has established his acting career in Hollywood. Disregarding the pressures put on men in the industry, he has obtained an admirable self-image.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Singer Jewel smiling wearing purple top

Singer Jewel

 

 

 

 

One of the most definitive smiles belongs to, singer and actress, Jewel. She believes she got her big-break in her career due to her characteristic teeth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kirsten Dunst is yet another celebrity whose teeth attributes to her popularity. The natural imperfections in her smile give her flawless beauty.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Actress Jessica Pare who portrays Megan on the hit AMC television show, Mad Men

Photo Credit: s_bukley / Shutterstock.com

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, at the mention of Jessica Pare, there is a common association with her smile. Her role as Megan on the sitcom Mad Men have people buzzing about her most famous feature, her teeth.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If your desire is to upgrade your smile, please contact Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS by calling (310) 273-0111 or filling out our contact form. Together, you and Dr. Sands can discuss the top procedures in cosmetic dentistry and decide the best way to get your smile to define you.

The 13 Oddest Dental Facts

Peculiar Dental Facts

Crazy information floats around about your mouth and teeth and you may wonder whether it is true or false. It’s hard to believe, but evidence supports that some of these crazy details are, in fact, true. So, the next time you brush your teeth, eat a snack, or flash a friendly grin, ponder on these outrageous details about your mouth.

  1. Did you know that the average person spends approximately 38.5 days brushing their teeth over their lifetime? That’s over an entire month of straight brushing!
  2. Want to fill a couple of swimming pools…with spit? The average human produces enough saliva in his/her lifetime (about 25,000 quarts) to do just that.
  3. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body.
  4. If you’re happy and you know it, SMILE! Children smile about 400 times a day.
  5. Ever wonder if women are happier than men? Based on the average number of smiles a day, the answer would be YES. Women smile about 62 times a day compared to men who smile 8 times a day.
  6. No two sets of teeth are exactly the same. Each person’s set of teeth is unique much like their fingerprints.
  7. Does the hand you write with affect your teeth? It can. Right-handed people tend to chew food on their right side of their mouth, while left-handed people tend to chew on their left side.
  8. Every year, close to half a million dollars is spent on chewing gum by kids in North America.
  9. More people use blue toothbrushes than red ones. What’s your preference?
  10. The ancient Greeks used pliers for teeth extractions. Ouch!
  11. Have a toothache? It was a common Middle Age custom in Germany to kiss a donkey to relieve the pain.
  12. The first toothbrush bristles were made from hogs, horses, and badgers.
  13. Keep your toothbrush near a toilet? Airborne particles from a toilet flush can travel up to 6 feet! Think about that the next time you want to place your toothbrush on the bathroom counter.

If you have any questions or concerns about your dental health, please contact Dr. Kevin B. Sands, DDS by calling (310) 273-0111 or filling out our contact form. We look forward to meeting you!

How To Camouflage Yellow Teeth

Less Than Pearly White? Camouflage!

Having white teeth has become an important aspect of looking our best. Even though various methods of whitening, such as hydrogen peroxide gels, bleaching kits, and professional laser treatments, can dramatically whiten teeth, not everyone is best suited for them. Many people either cannot afford whitening treatments or products, have teeth that are too sensitive, or have caps on their teeth, which are unable to be whitened. Fortunately, there are ways to camouflage yellow teeth and make them appear whiter with a few simple tricks.

Skin Tone

Skin tone has a direct effect on the overall appearance of a person’s teeth. The popularity of having tan skin has encouraged many people to routinely visit tanning salons or use sunless tanner to obtain a deeper, darker skin tone. They may not realize it, but they are making their teeth look whiter next to their tan skin. The contrast of darker skin next to lighter teeth makes the teeth appear more vibrant, whereas more pale skin can draw attention to a yellow hue. Simply applying a bronzer to your face can help create a brighter smile.

Choosing the Correct Lipstick

Applying the correct lipstick or lip gloss can greatly enhance the overall appearance of the teeth. Try opting for lipsticks that have a slight blue hue to them. The faint appearance of blue can actually make the teeth appear whiter than they really are. Red colored lipstick is a very popular style and it also contains a blue tint, which will make your teeth look more attractive. Avoid pale shades, as they may make your teeth look yellow and dull.

Other Tips

Having tan skin and wearing the right lipstick are not the only ways to enhance the whiteness of your teeth. Common habits like brushing at least twice a day and eating plenty of fruits and vegetables can also help whiten teeth.

For more information about how Dr. Sands can help you obtain whiter teeth, please call (310) 273-0111 today. Our Beverly Hills cosmetic dentist looks forward to meeting with you to discuss the ways that you can get a whiter smile.

Crazy Cosmetic Dental Procedures

Up until the last few years, the only time that someone could be seen with pointy teeth was around Halloween. However, popular trends, ancient traditions, and mere shock value have encouraged some people to visit the dentist for more than just your common teeth cleaning.

A procedure called “yaeba,” which means “double tooth” in Japanese, has been a growing fad in Japan over the last two years and is sparking a trend in other countries of the world as well. In Western society, an attractive smile generally starts with straight teeth, but in Japan, crooked, pointy teeth are desired because they show that a woman is not perfect, making her more approachable. To achieve a pointy, vampire-like smile for patients, a dentist can either permanently shave down the canine teeth into pointed teeth, or plastic fangs can be applied temporarily with an adhesive. Other cultures and traditions have also influenced people to make drastic alterations to their teeth.

Open wide!

Open wide!

Dennis Avner, also known as “Cat Man,” held the world record for the most body modifications and had his teeth filed and capped in order to achieve a feline appearance. Following an ancient Huron tradition, Avner altered himself to resemble his Native American name: Stalking Cat. He identified with his feline totem animals and had teeth made specifically for him in order to adopt their physical form. Other people have also modified their teeth in order to achieve an animal-like appearance.

Erik Sprague, a performance artist, underwent a dental procedure to further his transformation as “The Lizardman.” In addition to subdermal implants, a full-body tattoo of green scales and green lips, and a split tongue, Sprague had his teeth sharpened into points. He makes his living as a freak show and sideshow performer and uses his body modifications to make money from the shock value of his striking and unusual appearance.

Even with the craze of individuals undergoing bizarre dentistry procedures to get an uncommon look, having straight, white teeth is a sign of oral health that the majority of people long for. To learn more about how Dr. Sands can give you’re the smile you’re looking for, please call (310) 273-0111 today.

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.

 

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.

 

Dental Implants: A Cost-Effective Option?

Being left with an open gap in your mouth after you’ve lost a tooth can hurt your self-esteem, be bothersome when chewing, and just be an all-around nuisance. Fortunately, at my Beverly Hillsdental practice, dental implants that look and feel like your natural teeth can fill that space. 

Because every patient and situation is different, the cost of a single dental implant ranges from patient to patient, as well as orthodontist to orthodontist.  Some patients have more complicated cases than others, and those factors play a role in determining the exact price. It is understandable that you may need to watch your spending, so it could be helpful to find out which orthodontists accept your insurance and which cost-effective treatments will fit your budget.

In addition to cost, there are other factors to consider when choosing an orthodontist for dental implants, such as his or her qualifications and experience. The atmosphere of the office is also very important; dental procedures can be nerve-wracking for the patient, so it is important that you feel as comfortable as possible. A friendly, calm office staff makes a big difference in your whole experience. Lastly, it is vital to do your own research. By looking over the orthodontist’s profile online, looking at before and after pictures of the doctor’s dental implant patients, and reading patient reviews, you can get a clearer idea of the oral care professional and their capabilities for your specific dental implant needs.

You may learn more regarding the cosmetic treatments available at my Beverly Hills practice, including dental implants, by visiting my website. I encourage you to schedule an appointment to further discuss your options and receive a personalized treatment plan.

 

Invisalign vs Metal: Which Braces Are Right For You?

Even if their teeth are uneven or crooked, some people would opt out of straightening them with metal braces just to avoid the discomfort and embarrassment of metal on their teeth. Many adults are also hesitant to wear metal braces in fear of appearing like they are going through the awkward years of puberty again. Luckily, I offer Invisalign®. These clear, orthodontic trays are worn in two-week increments until the teeth are straightened. Invisalign is a great option because not only will they straighten your teeth and correct your bite, but they will help prevent serious dental and oral issues without the look and feel of metal on your teeth.

As a highly experienced “Smile Sculptor” in Beverly Hills, I am here to help you get the smile you have always wanted. But what are the main differences between Invisalign and traditional metal braces? In terms of appearance, metal braces have visible metal brackets and wires glued to your teeth. Also, with metal braces, you are more limited on the kinds of foods you can eat. Invisalign is virtually invisible, with clear trays that can easily be taken out whenever you need. Since you may remove the Invisalign tray from your mouth at any time, your world opens up a little more in terms of having greater ability to eat, floss, and brush. You will not have to deal with painful tightening of wires, and metal scratching the inside of your mouth.

There are some people, however, who would benefit more from traditional metal braces than from Invisalign. Those who need minor adjustments, including overcrowded teeth, minor gaps, or a slight overbite, underbite, or crossbite are good candidates for Invisalign. For those who have more serious issues, such as large gaps and off-bites, are better off with metal braces. The length of treatment depends on the severity of your case, which can be discussed and determined during a consultation with me.

As aBeverly Hills cosmetic dentist, I am committed to helping you achieve a healthy smile. I encourage you to visit my website to learn more regarding your options with cosmetic dentistry and schedule an appointment. We can further discuss your options and create a personalized treatment plan to meet your goals.

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.

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

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