Posted on: November 28th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Even though tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body, it can demineralize over time. Demineralization weakens the enamel and can lead to cavities, chips in the teeth, and tooth sensitivity. To strengthen your teeth, simply follow these seven steps:
1. Mind your diet
The bacteria that cause cavities feed off of the sugar and starch we eat and produce enamel-eroding acid. The acid present in soda (both diet and regular), citrus fruits, pickles, and tomatoes also weakens the enamel.
Try to limit your sugar intake to no more than 13 grams per day. According to an article published in BMC Public Health, limiting your sugar intake to this amount will significantly reduce your risk of oral health concerns. Remember that refined carbohydrates like bread, pasta, chips, and crackers convert to sugar in your mouth, so it is best to limit or avoid them.
2. Snack less often
When your teeth are exposed to sugar and acid consistently, bacteria have a better opportunity to fester. If you cannot significantly limit your sugar and refined carbohydrate intake (which is certainly difficult to do), limit how often you snack.
3. Use a straw for acidic drinks
Soda, lemonade, orange juice, and coffee are all highly acidic. Drink these beverages through a straw to limit your enamel’s exposure to the acid. You should also avoid sipping an acidic drink slowly throughout the day. Instead, drink your beverage with your meal and rinse your mouth with water once you are finished.
4. End your meals with cheese
According to research, the casein and whey protein in many cheeses help to reduce enamel demineralization. Chewing on cheese will also stimulate saliva flow, which helps to wash away acid and bacteria. If you’ve packed some string cheese in your lunch today, be sure to eat that last.
5. Use the right toothbrush and toothpaste
A rough toothbrush can damage your enamel. Be sure to get a soft-bristled toothbrush and be mindful about how much pressure you are applying while brushing. Check your toothpaste for the ingredient Glycerin, which can interfere with strengthening your teeth. It can cause a film over the teeth that blocks the minerals in your saliva from strengthening your enamel.
6. Use remineralizing treatments
Calcium phosphate and fluoride, the ingredients in remineralizing gels, have been scientifically proven to strengthen tooth enamel. Remineralizing gels often come in a pen or in teeth-whitening trays that you can apply to your teeth at home.
7. Chew sugar-free gum
Chewing sugar-free gum can help to stimulate saliva, which washes away bacteria and the acid it creates. However, gum that contains sugar will completely cancel out this effect. Look for sugar-free gum with xylitol, a natural sweetener, listed as the first ingredient.
If you have any concerns about your oral health or are interested in a cosmetic dental procedure, please schedule a consultation with celebrity cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.
Posted on: November 21st, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
“Have you been flossing?”
This is a question you’ve probably been asked many times at your regular dental visits, and for good reasons. Flossing is very important to maintaining oral health because it removes plaque and bacteria that a toothbrush cannot reach. This is common knowledge, yet so few people floss on a regular basis. Common excuses for not flossing are, “It hurts when I floss,” “My teeth are too close together,” and “I never get food stuck in my teeth.” The reality is, if you are flossing correctly and using the right kind of floss, these excuses will no longer apply!
If your excuse for not flossing is, “I never get food stuck in my teeth,” you might not understand the main objective of flossing. While flossing does remove noticeably annoying food particles that get caught between your teeth, the main purpose of flossing is to scrape away the thin film of bacteria that collects on the teeth during the day. Between the teeth and the gums is a small pocket that easily traps bacteria and is difficult to reach with a toothbrush. As you scrape the floss down the side of each tooth and gently down into the gum pocket, you remove a film of bacteria that would otherwise linger and eventually cause plaque buildup.
How to Floss
If it hurts to floss, you may have gingivitis, or you may simply not be flossing correctly. Here is how to floss the right way:
- Insert the floss between two teeth.
- Slowly place the floss beneath the gum line at the base of one tooth.
- Curve the floss around the tooth, and scrape it along the edge of the tooth.
- Repeat step 3 in the same space between those teeth, but scrape the floss against the neighboring tooth, making sure to go all the way to the base of the tooth beneath the gum line.
- Repeat steps 1 through 4 between each two teeth using a clean section of floss each time. This prevents transferring bacteria to neighboring teeth.
The Right Floss
If your teeth are very close together or if you have braces, flossing might be a little more challenging. Try waxed floss, glide floss, or use a threader that is made to get around the brackets of braces. If your floss shreds, you might have a problem with your dental work, or you could have a cavity. A visit to your dentist can help to identify the problem.
If you are interested in general or cosmetic dental services offered by Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please schedule your appointment today. Call 310-273-0111 or fill out our online contact form for more information.
Posted on: November 5th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
The term “low carb” means different things to different dieting communities. Some choose the Paleo way to low carb, focusing on a diet rich in meat and void of any grains, dairy, or sugar. Atkins followers who are in the “induction” phase choose to limit their carbs to just 20 grams per day – also without sugar – that triggers ketosis in the body. Still others choose to limit their carb intake moderately by simply eliminating grains, flour, and bread. All of these low carb approaches to weight loss have been proven successful in that department, but what kind of effect do they have on our oral health?
Good for your teeth and gums
We all know that sugar promotes disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. Carbohydrates provide the bacteria with the fuel they need to produce acid in the mouth, which causes demineralization and leads to decay and caries. By limiting consumption of both sugar and carbohydrates, the essential factors for creating acid erosion on the teeth are limited. This means that most low carb diets will lead to a much healthier mouth overall by preventing tartar build-up, cavities, and frequent visits to the dentist.
Bad for your breath
The Atkins diet promotes a two-week induction phase in which followers limit their carbs to only 20 grams per day. This begins the process of ketosis, which tells your body to burn fat for fuel instead of what it naturally chooses to burn first — carbohydrates. Some people can achieve a state of ketosis with more than 20 grams of carbs per day. While ketosis provides the benefit of rapid weight loss, it also leads to halitosis (chronic bad breath). The reason for this is because one of the ketones produced during this state cannot be used by the body, so it is excreted in the urine and exhaled by the lungs as waste. While the resulting chronic bad breath causes no harm to your oral health, it can be especially annoying when you’re in close quarters with others. Drinking plenty of water will help to dilute the concentration of ketones to help weaken the stench. You can also help disguise it by chewing sugarless gum or sucking on mints that contain xylitol. Increasing your carbohydrate intake and exiting the state of ketosis may be the best option for you if your halitosis is too difficult to manage.
If you have any concerns about your oral health or are interested cosmetic dentistry with Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please schedule an appointment by calling (310) 273-0111 or by filling out our online contact form today.
Posted on: October 27th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
With Halloween right around the corner, you’ve probably been reminded of Jimmy Fallon’s Youtube challenge, “I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy.” Maybe you’ve also heard about the “candy tax” where parents keep a certain percentage of their child’s Halloween candy for themselves. It’s become obvious that many adults feel entitled to a piece of the sweet candy goodness of the holiday, and some of them will pull any trick in order to get it. The problem is, most candy collected by the typical trick-or-treater is FILLED with sugar, and too much sugar can wreak havoc on a beautiful, healthy smile. Sugar provides the energy needed for bacteria to multiply, fester, and eventually cause gum disease and tooth decay. Sound spooky? We thought so! To help, we’re sharing a few tricks that will keep your teeth healthy – and your kids happy – this Halloween.
The Little Treat
According to the National Confectioners Association, 72 percent of all candy purchased for Halloween last year consisted of milk chocolate. The typical milk chocolate bar contains 30 percent cacao, 20 percent milk solids, and 49 percent sugar. That’s right; HALF of the typical milk chocolate bar is pure sugar! Fortunately, the majority of chocolate Halloween candy comes in “fun size,” which is about one-fourth the size of a regular chocolate bar. The sugar content in these little devilishly delicious bites is obviously much lower overall than that of a full chocolate bar, but just a few of them can add up quickly. Limit yourself to just one or two fun-size treats per day to avoid sugar overload.
The Treat and Cheat
Another way to steer clear of too much sugar is to enjoy your fill and immediately wash the sugar away. If you brush your teeth thoroughly after enjoying your (or your child’s) Halloween candy, there is less of a chance for bacteria to multiply. If you don’t have time to brush, rinsing your mouth with water will help to get rid of some of the lingering sugar. Flossing will also help to remove sugar that can stick to the teeth below the gum line.
The Substitute Treat
Although milk chocolate contains a percentage of the healthy ingredient cacao, which is high in antioxidants, the high sugar content in milk chocolate cancels out any of its health benefits. Dark chocolate that is 70 percent cacao may taste more bitter, but it has a lot less sugar to harm the teeth and can serve as a great candy alternative. If the bitter taste of dark chocolate is too difficult to get used to, you can substitute sugar-laden candy for sugar-free, or choose a candy alternative like trail mix.
Whether you need a general assessment or a total smile makeover, treat your teeth this Halloween to the services provided by celebrity cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today to schedule an appointment.
Posted on: September 29th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Happy National Coffee Day!
What better way to celebrate National Coffee Day than with some great news about coffee? Recent research has shown that caffeinated coffee offers many benefits for oral health, including less plaque and bacteria in the mouth as well as the potential to stave off serious health risks like oral cancer.
Coffee May Help Prevent Bacteria
A study by the Federal University in Rio de Janeiro found that the robusta coffee bean grown in Vietnam and Brazil helped to eliminate bacteria on the teeth as well as prevent the formation of plaque. Using bacteria from saliva, researchers cultivated plaque on donated fragments of primary teeth. Once the teeth were exposed to an extract of the robusta bean, the bacteria cells appeared to have burst, thereby lowering the risk of excessive plaque accumulation. Less plaque translates to a lower risk for tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health concerns. While this is great news for us avid coffee drinkers, unfortunately, regular coffee consumption can still stain the teeth. (Could this be why teeth whitening is so popular?)
Coffee May Protect against Oral Cancer
A study conducted by the American Cancer Society in 2012 found that polyphenols in coffee may also help protect against the development or progression of oral cancer. This study associated the consumption of more than four cups of caffeinated coffee per day with a 49 percent lower risk of oral/pharyngeal cancer death. While it is less common in the United States, oral/pharyngeal cancer ranks among the top ten cancers in the world. Since coffee is one of the most consumed beverages worldwide, it may give us all one more good reason to enjoy our daily cup of joe.
The Bad News:
Before we all start celebrating, there is just one more caveat to regular coffee consumption besides teeth staining: coffee sweetened with milk or sugar can potentially counter the benefits. Milk contains both sugar and carbohydrates, which erode the enamel and increase bacterial production.
The Good News:
If you can’t get accustomed to the bitterness of black coffee, you can still enjoy the benefits by swapping milk for heavy whipping cream (which contains no carbs and a very low amount of sugar) and by swapping sugar for a sugar-free sweetener like stevia or Truvia®. Any staining that occurs over time can be easily and immediately corrected at Dr. Sands’ office with Zoom!® in-office laser teeth whitening.
If you would like to correct yellow or stained teeth, celebrate National Coffee Day by scheduling an appointment with Dr. Kevin B. Sands. As a cosmetic dentist to the stars, Dr. Sands is a top choice for creating the most beautiful and healthy smiles in Beverly Hills. Please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.
Posted on: September 25th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Since metal braces are distinctly more popular among teenagers, many adults view Invisalign® as the clear choice for correcting their crooked or crowded teeth. Invisalign® patients can go about their regular activities as they speak, smile, and laugh without anyone noticing they are straightening their teeth at the same time.
How does Invisalign work?
Gradually, over several months, a series of clear trays customized to fit your teeth will gently shift them into the proper alignment. You must wear the trays 22 hours per day, removing them only to clean them or to eat. The length of treatment with Invisalign® varies among patients, but most adults will see final results after one year, and teenagers see results within one to two years. Throughout the process, Invisalign® patients will not have to deal with the extra maintenance, diet restrictions, or uncomfortable mouthful of metal associated with braces.
The cost of Invisalign® is usually comparable to the cost of metal braces unless significant correction is needed. Significant correction could include improving a severe overbite, rotating a tooth, or moving the teeth vertically. In some cases, metal braces are a better option. After assessing your teeth, Dr. Sands will determine the treatment that will best meet your needs and inform you of the estimated cost.
The thin Invisalign® trays fit smoothly and comfortably over the teeth. There is no risk of gum irritation or mouth sores that can often result from metal wires or brackets.
Since Invisalign® is completely removable and not worn while you eat, there are no diet restrictions. With braces, you should be prepared to avoid eating popcorn, chips, apples, corn on the cob, chewy candy, and many other favorite foods and snacks.
If you are interested in Invisalign®, please schedule a consultation to see if this treatment is right for you. Please call Dr. Kevin Sands’ Beverly Hills practice at (310) 27-0111 or fill out our online contact form to learn more.
Posted on: September 16th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
The muscles we use for chewing and speaking are some of the strongest muscles in our body. Four muscles in particular make it possible to speak, close our mouth, chew, and move our mandible (lower jaw) from side to side. When our mouth isn’t practicing any of these normal functions, the upper and lower teeth should rest comfortably together for the majority of the time.
Sometimes, anxiety, anger, or sheer determination might cause us to clench our jaw or grit our teeth. While this is fine on occasion, habitual teeth clenching can lead to problems with the teeth, jaw, or overall health in the future.
What happens when I grit my teeth?
Most people who clench their teeth also grind their teeth. The term “bruxism” refers to both actions. While consistently clenching the jaw can cause some stress to the teeth, grinding the teeth together can lead to worse problems like cracks, chips, and loose teeth.
It is very common for people to experience bruxism while they are asleep, having no idea that they are damaging their smile. Dr. Sands can easily tell if bruxism has been occurring when he examines your mouth at a routine dental visit. If any damage has occurred, he may recommend dental bonding or a much stronger alternative like porcelain veneers to keep up with the consistent damage. He can also customize a mouthguard to be worn at night to help protect your teeth.
What other damage can teeth clenching cause?
Since one of the muscles responsible for bruxism, the temporal fossa, extends all the way into the skull, its overuse can be a cause of recurrent headaches and earaches. “Lockjaw” is also a side effect of bruxism because of the muscle spasms and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) inflammation it can cause.
How do I cure bruxism?
Reducing stress and avoiding food that can be hard to chew, such as toffee, caramel, or steak, will help to relax the overworked jaw muscles. You should also avoid chewing gum and opening your mouth very wide on a consistent basis. Dr. Sands can provide further recommendations for treatment for bruxism during your consultation.
If you are experiencing bruxism or its side effects, Dr. Kevin B. Sands can assess your mouth and provide his recommendation for treatment. To schedule an appointment, please call us today at (310) 27-0111 or fill out our online contact form.
Posted on: September 2nd, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
We all know that too much stress in our lives can wreak havoc on our health, disrupting nearly every system in our body. Stress can lead to high blood pressure, an increased risk for heart attack and stroke, and even accelerated aging. To remedy this, many people turn to yoga, meditation, stress counseling, or frequent vacations, but one study has shown that the simple act of smiling – even if the smile isn’t genuine – can be very effective to reduce your stress and enhance your mood overall.
The study, conducted by researchers from the University of Kansas and published in the journal Psychological Science, determined the stress levels of 169 participants when they were put into stressful situations by monitoring their heart rate. All were instructed to perform several multitasking activities as they struggled to hold chopsticks in their mouths, which were used to stimulate neutral as well as genuine smiles. One group was instructed to also smile during the activity. The results of the study showed that those with the forced smiles held only by the chopsticks had lower stress levels and heart rates than those with neutral expressions, and those who had genuine smiles were the most relaxed of all the participants.
So, the next time you have too much on your to-do list and stress is getting the best of you, just smile. “Fake it ‘til you make it” might prove to be a quality piece of advice to follow.
As a highly experienced cosmetic dentist to the stars, Dr. Sands knows the beauty of a genuine smile. He can help to restore lost teeth, straighten crooked teeth, whiten your teeth, and help you correct any other aesthetic or oral health concerns you may have. In case you need one more reason to smile, please schedule an appointment by calling (310) 273-0111 today. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.
Posted on: August 6th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, built to withstand literal wear and tear on a daily basis as we bite, speak, clench, and chew. Each year, your enamel will wear down an average of eight micrometers from normal factors, but there are several factors that can accelerate its decline.
Acid will erode enamel over time. Acid occurs in your mouth naturally after you eat food that contains sugar and carbohydrates. Soda and fruit juices are among some of the most harmful to consume, especially when you sip on them throughout the day. The longer the sugar remains on your teeth, the longer the bacteria in your mouth have to feast on it and create the corrosive acid.
Acid can also occur in your mouth if you have a condition that causes frequent vomiting or if you have acid reflux disease. Since your saliva neutralizes these acids, dry mouth will cause these acids to linger even longer, causing even more damage.
As we mentioned in a previous post, you can avoid excessive acid in your mouth by avoiding certain foods and beverages.
Using Teeth as Tools
Tooth enamel damage is also caused when you use your teeth as tools. You should never open bottles, packages, or other containers with your teeth. Doing so can permanently chip or crack your enamel. Chewing fingernails, non-food items, or ice can have the same result.
Many people grind their teeth and are not even aware that they do it. This will definitely accelerate enamel erosion and can even fracture the enamel. Your dentist will be able to tell if you have excessive wear on your enamel and may recommend wearing a mouthguard at night, when teeth-grinding is most likely to occur.
If you have chips, cracks, or any degree of enamel erosion, Dr. Sands can give you a treatment plan that will set you on the road to repair. To schedule a consultation, please call (310) 27-0111 today. You may also fill out our online contact form for more information.
Posted on: July 21st, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
You may have heard that chewing gum is bad for your teeth, but the act itself is not harmful. In fact, chewing gum can actually be good for your teeth, depending on the ingredients it contains. It is important to monitor the ingredients in your gum and the length of time your teeth are exposed to certain harmful ingredients. Namely, sugar.
When you chew gum that contains sugar, the sugar is dissolved in the saliva and is absorbed by bacteria in plaque. Once a bacterial cell absorbs the sugar, the bacterial cell is supplied with the energy it needs to multiply. If the bacteria isn’t removed with brushing, bacteria will fester, which can result in gum disease and tooth decay.
On the flip side, chewing gum that contains xylitol has the exact opposite effect. Xylitol is a sweetener that is found naturally in fruits and vegetables. It has 40 percent fewer calories than sucrose (another name for sugar) and can be consumed safely by diabetics. Xylitol is also easily absorbed by a cell of bacteria, but once it is absorbed, the cell will try to expel it. Because its energy is used to expel the xylitol and not to reproduce, a bacterial cell that has come in contact with xylitol is less able to stick to the teeth, and it eventually dies.
What about other sugarless sweeteners?
Xylitol has a completely different chemistry than other sugarless alternatives, such as aspartame (NutraSweet®), sucralose (Splenda®), and saccharin. Sugarless sweeteners like these are too large to penetrate the bacterial cell. While they do not increase bacteria like sugar does, they don’t kill bacteria like xylitol does. What’s more, these artificial sweeteners can have negative effects on the health. They can falsely stimulate the appetite, thereby increasing fat storage and leading to weight gain. Aspartame has been linked to various diseases, including diabetes, depression, auto-immune disorders, and several types of cancer.
Xylitol gum creates a healthy environment in the mouth. After 5 weeks of chewing xylitol gum, plaque bacteria can no longer be found on teeth, and after about 6 months, bacteria is not detectable in saliva, on the tongue, or on the teeth. One of the best brands of xylitol gum is Spry™, which contains no sugars, artificial flavors, artificial colorings, or artificial preservatives. XyloBurst® is another brand of sugar-free gum that is sweetened exclusively with 100% all-natural xylitol.
If you are interested in the general and cosmetic dental services offered by Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please contact our Beverly Hills office by calling (310) 273-0111 today. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.
Posted on: July 10th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
There are many different dental procedures to whiten, straighten, and otherwise improve a person’s smile, but there is only one procedure that will treat almost all aesthetic problems: porcelain veneers. Whether your teeth are discolored, stained, chipped, broken, gapped, or crooked, porcelain veneers will correct your concern.
Discolored and Stained Teeth
Although porcelain veneers are not often solely used for superficial concerns, such as discoloration and stains, they can whiten the smile if desired. Patients usually have a more prominent issue to correct and choose to have the veneers customized for teeth whitening in addition to closing their gaps or camouflaging a broken tooth. Since veneers are often placed on the front six or eight “smiling” teeth, they can make the smile look naturally whiter without the need to whiten the surrounding teeth. If the patient is only getting a few veneers placed and they would also like a brighter smile overall, Dr. Sands will recommend teeth whitening prior to placing the veneers.
Chipped and Broken Teeth
Since veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that fit over the front of the tooth, they can disguise virtually any imperfection. A single veneer is a great option to disguise a chip or crack in the tooth. Dental bonding is an alternative to fixing chipped teeth, but bonding can stain over time and will likely need to be replaced after several years. Porcelain veneers are very strong, durable, and resistant to staining. They can last up to two decades without the need for repair or replacement.
Crooked and Gapped Teeth
Invisalign and braces may straighten crooked teeth, but they cannot change the shape or length of the teeth like porcelain veneers can. Patients with “gummy” smiles can have their teeth instantly lengthened to provide a more balanced appearance to the smile. Teeth that are sharp and pointed are also instantly corrected for an even more beautiful result. The shape of each veneer is customized so that they can fit the natural tooth, closing any gaps and camouflaging any other imperfections.
Porcelain veneers are truly an all-encompassing solution for those who desire a complete smile makeover or for those who have more than one concern about the appearance of their smile. If you are interested in this procedure, please schedule a consultation with Dr. Kevin B. Sands by calling (310) 273-0111. You may also conveniently fill out our online contact form for more information.
Posted on: June 30th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
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.
While 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:
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.
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 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.
Posted on: June 17th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
It 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.
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.
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, Dr. 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.
Posted on: June 3rd, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Over-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.
Posted on: May 15th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
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.
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
- 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.
- Raw pears
Acidic foods can erode the enamel on the teeth and lead to tooth decay, and dark-colored foods (and drinks) of this type can usually stain the teeth as well.
- Citrus fruits
- Red wine
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!
Posted on: April 22nd, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Did you know having straight teeth can improve your speech? Many people have speech impediments that are caused by a hearing impairment or by other circumstances that are not easily treatable.
More often than not, a speech disorder is caused by malocclusion (crooked or misaligned teeth), and can be easily treated with straightening dental procedures such as porcelain veneers, braces, or Invisalign®.
When malocclusion affects a person’s speech, it is usually because of how the tip of the tongue is placed on the teeth when forming the “t,” “d,” and “n” sounds. Sometimes, in an effort to counteract their impediment, the person can overcompensate and instead develop a mild to moderate stutter. A speech impediment like a lisp can be distracting, but stuttering or mispronouncing words can have a devastating effect on a person’s confidence, which is one of the many reasons one should seek treatment.
If the appearance of braces is a concern, Invisalign® is the ideal option because it straightens the teeth undetectably. A series of custom fit trays are given to the patient in two-week increments to progressively straighten teeth over a period of one to two years. This treatment can correct most cases of malocclusion, such as gaps, overbite, underbite, and crowded teeth. While braces require some diet restrictions, Invisalign® does not require patients to restrict their diet in any way, as the trays are to be removed while eating.
Porcelain veneers are another option to restore a straight smile and improve speech. Veneers are the best choice for those who want a straight smile within a little amount of time, as final results are seen in only two visits to the dental office. As thin pieces of porcelain that cover the front of the teeth, veneers have the added advantage of disguising many other aesthetic issues a patient may be concerned about, such as cracks, chips, discolorations, or misshapen teeth. Diet restrictions and special precautions are also unnecessary with veneers; however, patients should always practice regular oral hygiene to maintain their healthy, beautiful smile.
Since malocclusion can worsen over time or lead to other problems, such as chips in the teeth, jaw pain, and chronic headaches, it is important to seek correction as soon as possible.
Whatever your concern, Dr. Kevin B. Sands can help determine if malocclusion is the cause. To schedule an appointment and to find out more about these dental procedures, please schedule an appointment by calling (310) 273-0111. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.
Posted on: April 15th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Many people, for one reason or another, are apprehensive about going to the dentist. They may have had a traumatic experience in their past, or they may simply be afraid of needles, drills, or pain. At the hands of a skilled cosmetic dentist like Dr. Sands, patients have nothing to worry about. However, since Dr. Sands knows that fear of the dentist is still an issue for many people, he provides sedation dentistry at his Beverly Hills practice.
Sedation dentistry, also known as “sleep” dentistry or laughing gas, is the use of nitrous oxide to put patients at ease while they undergo the dental procedures they need or want. It is administered through a demand-valve inhaler that is placed over your nose and mouth, which begins to work just minutes after you inhale. This option is perfect for those who need an extensive amount of work done, as the patient may be able to tolerate a longer procedure while they are asleep. This can also prevent the need for multiple visits to the dental office.
Once the valve is removed, the effects of the nitrous oxide will immediately begin to wear off. Many patients are happy that they can go home after treatment without remembering a single thing about the procedure. The same effects can be achieved with oral sedation and intravenous (IV) sedation. Dr. Sands can help you choose the option that will best meet your needs before your procedure takes place.
As a celebrity cosmetic dentist, Dr. Sands offers many other complimentary accommodations at his practice that relax and pamper his valued patients. His office is equipped with flat screen TVs and DVDs for your enjoyment, as well as the latest, most advanced technology to shorten the time you spend in the dreaded dentist’s chair.
It is a primary goal at our practice to ensure our patients are comfortable, pain free, and stress free at every visit. If you are interested in cosmetic dental procedures or have questions about sedation dentistry, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin B. Sands by calling (310) 273-0111. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.
Posted on: March 5th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
You’ve probably heard about the wonderful effects of coconut oil. You can cook, clean, wash your face, condition your hair, and even prevent tooth decay with this versatile, natural product that can be found in almost any grocery store. A recent study by the Athlone Institute of Technology in Ireland has shown that coconut oil toothpaste alternative can serve yet another purpose as ‘an effective alternative to chemical additives’ in most dental hygiene products.
Many who are on board with the holistic, all-natural way of living, which has increased in popularity in recent years, are beaming about this discovery. They can avoid sulfate chemicals and added fluoride by using coconut oil as a toothpaste alternative. While this is a significant discovery, it is important to note that products containing coconut oil have yet to be endorsed by the American Dental Association because this process can take several years.
Here is a recipe you can make at home to make using coconut oil as a toothpaste alternative a more sudsy, toothpaste-like experience, courtesy of The Paleo Hygienist:
Coconut Oil Toothpaste Recipe
3 Tbsp. softened coconut oil (look for a USDA certified organic or 100% organic label that says “unrefined” or “cold-pressed”)
3 Tbsp. baking soda
15 to 25 drops of peppermint essential oil (or flavor of your choice)
1 packet of stevia or xylitol to taste (optional, depending on your desired sweetness)
2 tsp. vegetable glycerin (optional, to help consistency)
1 tsp. castile soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s brand (optional; provides more of a “sudsy” effect like regular toothpaste)
Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container.
Many who have a sensitivity to fluoride or other chemical additives may benefit from using coconut oil as a mouth rinse (also called “oil pulling”) or or using coconut oil as a toothpaste alternative during their daily cleaning regimen.
If you are interested in cosmetic dental procedures in Beverly Hills, CA, please schedule a consultation with celebrity cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands. Call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today for more information.
Posted on: February 20th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
The majority of people wake up in the morning with bad breath. This is because the saliva production that washes away odor-causing bacteria slows during sleep. Simply brush your teeth when you awake, or follow these simple tips to avoid bad breath, and your fresh breath will be instantly restored.
But what if you have “morning breath” all the time – even after you brush your teeth? You may be one of the 80 million Americans who suffer from chronic bad breath, also called chronic halitosis. Cosmetic dentist Dr. Kevin B. Sands can treat chronic bad breath at his Beverly Hills practice, depending on what has caused the condition.
What causes chronic bad breath?
There are many causes of chronic halitosis. Since a lack of saliva leads to oral odor, it makes sense that conditions such as acid reflux or postnasal drip, which cause chronic dry mouth (xerostomia), would lead to chronic bad breath. If your mouth is constantly dry and you do not have a treatable condition or disease, follow these tips for how to treat dry mouth.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Those who don’t regularly brush and floss their teeth often develop excess bacterial growth in their mouth. Dentures that are not properly cleaned can also become a breeding ground for bacteria. Gum disease, also called gingivitis, can develop from these poor habits and can lead to dreaded “dragon breath,” as well as bleeding gums.
Gingivitis often occurs when plaque, which can only be removed with dental tools, builds up on the teeth. Visiting your dentist for cleanings twice a year will definitely help to prevent gum disease and other odor-causing problems like cavities (also called “dental caries”). Knowing how to properly brush your teeth is also crucial to avoiding bad breath.
Internal Medical Conditions
Continuous mouth odor can also be caused by internal medical conditions, such as liver disease, diabetes, chronic bronchitis, and respiratory tract infections. If you suspect that one of these diseases is the cause of your offensive breath, consult your primary care physician.
If your dental filling becomes cracked, it can collect food particles that are difficult to reach with a toothbrush. These food particles can breed bacteria and cause infection and, consequently, poor breath. After Dr. Sands replaces the cracked filling and cleans the patient’s teeth, the problem of chronic bad breath will usually resolve.
There are so many causes of chronic halitosis, yet these are just a few. Be sure to read our previous post for more surprising causes of bad breath.
Dr. Sands can help prevent as well as treat chronic bad breath for patients in Hollywood, Beverly Hills, Santa Monica, and the surrounding areas of Southern California. If you would like treatment for chronic bad breath, or if you are interested in cosmetic dental services provided by Dr. Kevin B. Sands, please schedule an appointment by calling (310) 273-0111 today. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.
Posted on: February 13th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Whether you’ve been on just a few dates or you’ve been married to your sweetheart for years, Valentine’s Day has granted us all the moral obligation to step up our romantic game. Come February 14th, men everywhere are frantically buying flowers, chocolates, jewelry, or booking last-minute dinner reservations – all to impress that special lady in their life.
Unfortunately, even with all the elaborate plans and gifts, a lot of people forget the most important part of the night: the kiss. Even if everything goes right on a Valentine’s date, a poorly planned kiss can put quite a damper on the romantic mood. To ensure the most memorable evening possible, we’ve gathered some of the top things to do to make your kiss count this Valentine’s Day.
1. Warm up
A great way to prepare your lips for a good kiss is to warm them up by smiling often. Smiling throughout the date will not only help alleviate any nervous tension for you, but it will put your significant other at ease as well. Plus, studies have shown that those who smile often are more successful in many areas of life compared to those who don’t. Why not put the odds in your favor?
2. Practice makes perfect
If you’ve ever heard of the 90/10 rule, you know that at the end of the date, in order to get that perfect kiss, the man should lean in 90 percent, and his date should meet his lips with the remaining 10. This tactic is not overtly forward, yet forward enough to let the lady know exactly what he’s after. It works like a charm. That is… unless he has terrible breath.
A mint will surely help disguise that garlic broccoli dish you just enjoyed, but taking care of your oral hygiene on a regular basis will set you up for success in the long-term. Be sure to brush your teeth twice daily (and once more before the date for good measure). Floss regularly, and visit your dentist every six months to lower your chances for chronic bad breath, tooth decay, gum disease, and causing your damsel to faint when she’s in close proximity to your mouth.
3. Don’t be shy
If you’re embarrassed about the way your smile looks, you shouldn’t cover it up with a napkin or clench your lips together. Kiss or no kiss – if you begin a relationship with something to hide, it’s a recipe for disaster. There are so many procedures available that can give you the most confident, charming smile that no doubt will lead to the perfect kiss – as well as many subsequent perfect kisses! Here are a few of the most popular treatments at my practice:
Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening is one of the most cost-effective ways to improve the appearance of your smile overall. Zoom!™ is offered in-office for same-day results that can make your teeth appear up to eight shades whiter. We also offer customized bleaching trays for patients to take home. Results can be seen within a couple of weeks of continued use.
Bonding: Dental bonding can repair any cracks or chips in the teeth. The procedure is quick and painless, and many patients are surprised at how much their smile and overall confidence improve when even a small area is corrected.
Porcelain Veneers: Porcelain veneers can do what teeth whitening and bonding can, plus much more. Thin sheets of porcelain are applied over the teeth to mask discoloration, chips, cracks, gaps, and crooked teeth. They are usually applied to the front upper teeth that show when you smile. When it comes to impressing your one-and-only, these are the teeth that count the most!
If you are interested in one or more of the many dental services offered at our Beverly Hills practice, please schedule an appointment with Dr. Kevin B. Sands. Call (310) 273-0111 today, or fill out our online contact form for more information.
Posted on: February 6th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
While permanent dental treatments can definitely be a positive thing, many people are intimidated by the idea that their procedure cannot be reversed if they are unhappy with the result. Especially when the treatment is for cosmetic purposes only, the patient should do their homework and understand what they can expect with the procedure. Choosing a dentist that has plenty of successful experience can also put your mind at ease.
Here are a couple of procedures that can be reversed:
As we mentioned in a previous post, if you lose a tooth or get one extracted, there is a window of time that your tooth can be reinserted into the gums to function as if it had never been missing. However odds are, if you visit the dentist to have a tooth removed, there was a good reason to do so. A crown with a dental implant can replace the missing tooth to function and look just like its natural predecessor.
Bonding is used to repair chips in the teeth. Since dental bonding can slightly become discolored over time, many wish to get it replaced or removed. This can easily be done with a drill. A very small amount of surrounding enamel may be removed as a result, but high magnification of the area helps to avoid this. Any enamel that is removed can be easily replaced with the new bonding.
Many dental procedures cannot be reversed because they are meant to have long-lasting or permanent results. However, these treatments may be improved or modified if anything goes wrong or if regular wear and tear has compromised the prior results.
Because a significant amount of the tooth must be removed in order to place a crown or “cap” over its basic structure, crowns should not be removed without being replaced. If the patient gets a chip in their crown, many times the dentist can “smooth out” the chipped area rather than replacing the entire crown. Crowns are long-lasting, but sometimes, usually after a period of many years, the cement that holds the crown in place can deteriorate from constant exposure to saliva. This will weaken the bond and may require a replacement if the prior crown cannot be used for any reason.
Dental implants are titanium rods that are inserted into the gums and are capped with a crown. The implants literally fuse with the jaw bone, creating a bond that can be even stronger than a natural tooth root. The need to remove an implant is very rare, but possible if necessary. Most often if a problem occurs with an implant, the problem really exists with the crown that is secured on top of it, which can be easily corrected. Implants, on the other hand, are more difficult to remove. Older techniques involve cutting the jawbone, and therefore removing a small amount (about 1 mm) of surrounding bone. Implants can also be removed with the use of a special implant removing device. The implant itself should last a lifetime and is a more sturdy alternative to a crown restoration secured to the natural tooth root.
Since the application of porcelain veneers involves smoothing down the tooth’s surface about 1.5 mm, veneers are considered an irreversible procedure. Patients can get their veneers removed without being replaced, but the teeth will not look aesthetically pleasing, and they will not likely function as well as natural teeth. If a chip or crack occurs in a veneer, the entire veneer must be replaced.
With years of experience as a celebrity cosmetic dentist, Dr. Kevin Sands holds a strong reputation as one of best dentists in Beverly Hills. If you are considering a cosmetic dental procedure but are a little apprehensive, a consultation with Dr. Sands will help alleviate your concerns. Please call (310) 273-0111 today, or fill out our online contact form to schedule an appointment.
Posted on: January 23rd, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
What does it take to have a celebrity smile? Dr. Sands has worked with many celebrities, including Britney Spears, Kanye West, Kim Kardashian, and many more. All of these stars have teeth that are beautifully white, straight, and symmetrical. In a previous post, we discussed the various treatments these celebrities have done to achieve their perfect pearly whites. Today we will discuss the one treatment that will meet virtually any concern you may have. It’s called the Sand’s 10 and 10.
The Sand’s 10 and 10 uses porcelain veneers to improve the 10 top and 10 bottom front teeth that show when you smile. This specialized treatment will whiten, straighten, fill gaps, correct asymmetry, and fix cracks and chips in the teeth. While some dental treatments will only meet one need, the Sand’s 10 and 10 will meet them all.
Some people opt for a treatment like teeth whitening, only to discover that even though their smile is white, it still doesn’t look as perfect as a celebrity’s. Patients are often surprised after braces or Invisalign® as well. They complete their one to two years of straightening treatment and realize their final result is not as great as they expected it would be. Perhaps their teeth are too short or their gums show significantly when they smile. There may be another aesthetic detail that may be missing. By replacing the front 20 teeth with porcelain veneers, all the aesthetic concerns will be met.
As an aesthetic dentist for many celebrities, Dr. Sands knows how to create the perfect smile. He can improve the shape of the teeth, the gum line, color and brightness of the teeth, alignment of the teeth, and any other imperfections with this treatment. During a consultation at his Beverly Hills practice, he can assess your smile and suggest the treatment that will provide the “perfect 10” look.
If you are interested in the Sand’s 10 and 10 or another cosmetic dental procedure, please contact Dr. Kevin B. Sands by calling (310) 273-0111 today. For your convenience, you may also fill out our online contact form.
Posted on: January 13th, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Tooth loss can occur as a result of decay, gum disease, cancer, injury, or wear. Missing teeth can detract from the aesthetics of the face, cause bone loss in the jaw, and affect speech and chewing abilities. You may be surprised by the following facts about missing teeth and the importance of replacing them.
According to the American College of Prosthodontists, over 35 million people in the United States do not have any teeth, and 178 million Americans are missing at least one tooth.
How to Correct Them
Missing teeth can be replaced with a dental bridge, dentures, or dental implants, depending on how much of the tooth is missing or how many teeth are missing.
Implants Get to the Root of the Problem
When an entire tooth is missing, the jawbone that once supported the tooth and its roots will begin to deteriorate from disuse. Dental implants replace the root of a missing tooth to prevent atrophy of the jawbone. For more information on this, check out my blog about how dental implants prevent bone loss.
If you would like to correct missing teeth or are interested in any other cosmetic dentistry procedure, Kevin B. Sands, DDS is here to help. He offers a wide range of dental treatments to help each and every one of his patients achieve the smile they desire. We encourage you to contact our practice by calling (310) 273-0111 or by filling out our online contact form today.
Posted on: January 2nd, 2014
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
It 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.
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.
Posted on: December 24th, 2013
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Cosmetic 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.
Posted on: December 12th, 2013
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Most 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
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.
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
Food: apples, figs, apricots, nectarines, mangos, oranges, peaches, pears, tomatoes, green olives, pesto, raisins, honey
Drinks: Buttermilk, orange juice, red and white wine
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.
Posted on: November 26th, 2013
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
According to new research from the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD), consumers are more likely to spend money on a younger looking smile than on weight loss help.
These findings make perfect sense for a few reasons:
1. Since the smile is one of the first things people notice about another person, making a small improvement, such as teeth whitening or bonding a chipped tooth, can significantly make someone appear more youthful. Friends may notice that something about you has improved, but they may not be able to determine just what it is.
2. Replacing missing teeth with dental implants literally makes the face appear more youthful. When missing teeth are not replaced, the patient is very likely to experience facial bone loss as time progresses. This can alter the shape of the face, making the jaw appear smaller. Not only do they fill in missing teeth, but dental implants actually prevent bone loss because of the way they are installed.
3. Although we would not discourage healthy weight loss, losing weight can actually make one appear older. When volume is lost, those who have poor skin elasticity will develop more wrinkles, especially on the face. A recent study comparing twins of different weights showed that the thinner twin almost always appeared older than the heavier twin. Spending money on weight loss tools or programs may help you become physically healthier, but they should not be your first choice if looking younger is your goal.
At Dr. Sands’ practice, we agree that maintaining a healthy and beautiful smile is a worthwhile investment. Invisalign® is a particularly great treatment to correct crooked teeth since the straightening trays are virtually undetectable. Porcelain veneers can also correct crooked teeth, as well as broken, cracked, or chipped teeth.
Dr. Sands offers many cosmetic dental procedures that can improve the overall appearance of your smile. If you would like more information about how to take years off your appearance with cosmetic dentistry, please call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a consultation.
Posted on: November 21st, 2013
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Although porcelain veneers and caps (also called crowns) are somewhat similar dental treatments, they serve different purposes. The best choice between the two will depend on the needs and desires of the patient.
Veneers and crowns both require part of the natural tooth to be altered in order to be bonded to it. Because of this, both are considered permanent treatment options.
Typically, veneers are used for aesthetic reasons only on the front, “smiling” teeth. When a patient would like to correct the shape or color of their teeth, veneers make an excellent choice. Usually made of porcelain, veneers are formed into the thickness of a contact lens and are bonded to the natural tooth to disguise teeth that are crooked, cracked, broken, or discolored. The porcelain material looks, feels, and functions just like a natural tooth. For veneers, about 0.1 to 0.5 millimeter of the tooth’s enamel is etched away. Although this is a small amount, it will permanently alter the appearance of the tooth, and it will not look the same without the veneer attached to it.
Crowns are most often used in cases where much of the tooth structure is missing, which can be caused by tooth decay, root canal therapy, or accidental breakage. Since crowns are usually applied to posterior teeth, they are available in both natural-looking porcelain as well as less expensive materials that do not match surrounding teeth, such as gold, nickel, or chromium. Unlike veneers, crowns cover the tooth on all sides and require more of the natural tooth to be etched away. Although crowns can achieve all the aesthetic purposes that veneers can, they should only be used if absolutely necessary.
If you are considering porcelain veneers or caps in the Beverly Hills area, celebrity cosmetic dentist Dr. Sands can help determine which treatment is right for you. Please schedule a consultation today by calling (310) 273-0111 or filling out our online contact form.
Posted on: November 1st, 2013
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Complete oral health means more than just keeping your teeth clean. A common misconception that many people have is that if their teeth appear white, then their mouth is healthy.
A healthy smile consists of more than just a bright white set of teeth. In order to attain complete oral health, individuals need to make sure their gums are also in excellent condition. Unfortunately, about half of the U.S. population aged 30 years and older have periodontal (gum) disease according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). A common precursor to periodontal disease is bleeding gums, which can be caused by various factors.
Poor Oral Hygiene
Brushing your teeth twice a day may seem sufficient to some, but there are other things that must be done regularly to ensure a healthy mouth that is free of bleeding gums. Flossing at least once a day should also be done along with brushing, and teeth cleanings are strongly recommended throughout the year by a dental professional.
Gingivitis is a condition that occurs when the gums become inflamed due to plaque and tartar build-up on the teeth. Regular brushing can reduce the amount of plaque on the teeth, while tartar removal typically requires a visit to a dental professional.
For some women, the gums are more sensitive when they are pregnant. Known as “pregnancy gingivitis,” a woman’s gums tend to bleed during the months of pregnancy because of drastic hormonal fluctuations, which affect the blood flow throughout the body.
Diseases such as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura (ITP) prevent blood from clotting, which often causes excessive bleeding and bruising. The gums are one of the first areas that are noticeably affected by ITP because it is easily visible.
The health of your gums is necessary not just to your smile, but also to your overall health. If you wish to reverse the effects of bleeding gums and improve the health of your mouth, please contact our Beverly Hills practice today. Our cosmetic dentist, Dr. Kevin Sands, is a member of The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, the Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, and the American Dental Association. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Sands, call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today. We look forward to meeting you!
Posted on: October 29th, 2013
By: Dr. Kevin Sands
Trick or Treat? How the Most Popular Halloween Candies Can Harm Your Teeth
Like many American holidays, Halloween involves plenty of sweets that contain added sugars. Even many “fun size” candies contain half the recommended amount of sugar per day. Below are the top six most popular Halloween candies that are given out at Halloween, along with the amount of sugar in each.
While there is no exact recommendation from the American Dental Association for how many grams of sugar one should eat to avoid tooth decay, the American Heart Association recommends a maximum amount for optimal health:
– Men: 150 calories per day (37.5 grams or 9 teaspoons).
– Women: 100 calories per day (25 grams or 6 teaspoons).
This means that when you “help” your kids eat the Halloween treats they’ve received, mom can have just two Reese’s® Peanut Butter Cups®, while dad (lucky him), can have three.
How does sugar harm the teeth?
Plaque is a naturally occurring substance in the mouth that results from bacteria. Each and every time sugar or starch comes in contact with bacteria in the mouth, acid is produced. This acid can eat away at the teeth for up to 20 minutes after the sugary food or beverage is consumed. This can eventually lead to cavities or worse problems for your oral health.
How to Control your Sugar Intake
Aside from simply avoiding sugar all together, here are a few simple tips to keeping your sugar intake under control this Halloween season:
1. Plan ahead
Explain to your family why monitoring the amount of sugar you eat is so important for oral and overall health. Make sure they know ahead of time that they will just be consuming about two treats per day — not the whole bag of candy at once.
2. Hand out candy alternatives
Set an example for your family by handing out healthier alternatives, such as bags of trail mix or granola bars. You can also hand out stickers or small toys.
3. Rinse your mouth
After consuming sugary food, candy, or drinks, simply rinsing your mouth with water can help remove some of the acid from the teeth. Brushing the teeth is always best, but rinsing with water is better than letting the acid fester on the teeth until you have the time to brush.
If you suspect you have a cavity or any other oral health concern, Dr. Sands would be happy to see you at his Beverly Hills office. To schedule an appointment, call (310) 273-0111 or fill out our online contact form today.