Primary Dental Care Blog

Questions about Dentistry

How One Small Change to Your Teeth Brushing Habit Could Improve Your Dental Visits

how to take care of dental bridges

Learn how to take care of dental bridges.

At our dental practice in Garden Grove, there are a few bits of advice we tend to give all of our patients. Sometimes, patients don’t need this advice. Other times, they don’t necessarily want it. But everyone needs to hear it – because our teeth are far more important than some people think (Which is something we covered our last post “3 Health Problems Your Dentist Can Spot“).

One piece of advice you’ll often hear from your dentist is to brush your teeth consciously and carefully (and for the correct amount of time).

So, how often do you brush your teeth?

If you’re one of those patients that has to frequently get cavities filled, the simple fact might just be that you need to mix up your brushing routine. If you’re not sure how decay and cavities work – think about it for a second.

When you eat and you go throughout your day, substances called glycoproteins adhere to your teeth. This provides bacteria with a perfect surface to cling to with the ultimate purpose of fueling its own lifecycle. This creates acid as a biproduct, which gradually works away at your teeth – moving deeper and deeper to continually provide sustenance for the bacteria. This leads to damage. But brushing your teeth helps clear your mouth of this bacteria – slowing down its proliferation and ultimately preventing cavities.

If you get cavities frequently, the bacteria in your mouth might be getting too many opportunities to get cozy. This just means you need to clear it out more frequently. Our tip: Bring a toothbrush and toothpaste to work. By minimizing the amount of time your teeth are exposed to this bacteria and acid, you reduce your risk of cavities.

Bonus Tip: Whatch when you eat. When you eat, the bacteria in your mouth is essentially restored, and the acid production begins again in earnest. If you find yourself snacking throughout the day – try to stop! Or at the very least, double down on your brushing habits. On top of this, watch what you drink. It’s still okay to drink acidic drinks like soda and coffee – but realize they’re acidic and try to drink them around mealtimes when you’re already filling your mouth full of decay and cavity fuel. Between meals, try to opt for water.

 

 

 

3 Health Problems Your Dentist Can Spot

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Every day, our dentists in Garden Grove see patients of all ages. What many of these patients assume is that they’re just in the dentist’s chair for their teeth. What they might not realize is that we’re not just concerned with root canals, dental crowns, and the other “standard” dental procedures. We’re concerned with the health of the whole body.

What some patients are often surprised to learn is that your teeth can truly be a window to your overall health as well. Read on to learn about 3 surprising conditions your dentist might be able to spot before your doctor.

Diabetes

Do you know what the most common dental symptom of diabetics is? Gum disease. Loose teeth, bleeding gums, and gum disease are all prevalent warning signs of diabetes. On top of this, the condition of your gums can make diabetes symptoms worse. And due to the fact that diabetes patients tend to heal slower, it’s extra important to stay on top of your oral health if you’re a diabetic.

 

Heart Issues

When you go to the dentist for your bi-annual checkup, you probably don’t sit down in the chair anticipating getting any information about your heart-health, but it’s 100% possible. What many patients might not realize is that better oral health care can also contribute to better heart-health. The simple fact is: your gums are attached to the rest of your body, and they have a direct line to your bloodstream. If bacteria develops in your gums and makes its way into your bloodstream – it could eventually make its way to your heart, which can contribute to coronary artery disease. Bacteria can also contribute to the creation of clots – or the gradual depositing of plaque in your arteries, which can affect blood pressure.

Dementia

Dementia is the medical term for when a patient gradually loses their cognitive function, which can come show in the form of confusion, memory loss, and uncharacteristic disorganization. However, it can also come with a dirty mouth. Studies have shown that one of the early signs of dementia is frequently poor oral hygiene

Do you have questions about your dental health? Our dentists near fountain valley can help! 

 

 

Are Cavities a Big Deal?

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It might seem like a bit of a strange question at first – but it’s one that patients ask from time to time: “Are cavities a big deal?”

It might seem like a bit of a silly question at first, but it’s a very good one – why? Because cavities are common. For example, in a study completed in 2012 by the National Center for Health Statistics reported that more than 90% of Adults in America had cavities – with an additional 27% experiencing untreated dental decay.  So if practically everyone has cavities – they can’t be that bad right?

Well, not really. Our dentists in Garden Grove frequently see patients with cavities and if there’s one thing we tell all of them it’s that they really need to get cavities taken care of as soon as possible. Some of these patients wonder – on average – how many cavities the typical adult has. A CDC study shows that number generally falls between 9 and 14 (which includes decayed teeth, filled teeth, or missing teeth). To our dentists, this number is far too high.

 

 

The truth of the matter is that cavities are a big deal, because while some patients consider dental care expensive – neglect is truly the expensive option. While a filling can cost around 150 to 300 dollars, the treatment for saving, repairing, or replacing your tooth with a crown or dental implant will be much more.

So if you ever hear someone say cavities aren’t a “big deal” think again, and get them treated ASAP!

Are you experiencing dental pain near Garden Grove?Don’t wait to get it treated! Save hassle and pain by getting cavities treated promptly.

 

 

 

What to do About Sensitivity to Pressure

Teeth can become sensitive for a number of reasons, and for dental patients of all ages – that sensitivity can become problematic. More often than not, you’ll find you notice dental sensitivity when eating particularly hot or cold food and drink. This can happen for a number of reasons.

Many times, sensitivity occurs when your gums recede away from your teeth enough to expose their nerve endings and trigger sensitivity. Other times, sensitivity can arise from enamel that’s worn away from your teeth – or fillings that are either gone, cracked, or completely broken.

Our dentists in Garden Grove frequently help patients deal with dental sensitivity problems to help our patients get the healthy and comfortable teeth they’re used to. When teeth are sensitive to pressure, there can be a few additional underlying causes.

When pressure is present, your dentist might look for a few additional symptoms – such as highly acidic foods or tooth-grinding (or clenching) while you sleep. But what if your dental sensitivity has developed suddenly. In this case, it could point towards the presence of a tooth that’s become cracked or broken – or an underlying dental abscess.

For some patients, a trigger for this kind of pressure sensitivity can come about from the acidity in alcohol. To help curtail this, you can always try some fluoridated toothpaste. Fluoride helps re-mineralize the surface layer of the teeth to help protect your teeth from this and other kinds of sensitivity.

Are you experiencing dental sensitivity? Our dentists near fountain valley and Garden Grove are experts at diagnosing and doing everything  in our power to make sure your teeth are healthy and happy. That includes sensitivity. To learn more – contact our friendly and professional dental team today.

 

 

“I’m too nervous to go under anesthesia for my wisdom teeth, what can I do?”

Getting your wisdom teeth removed can seem like a right of passage for people of all ages across the country (and around the world). And it’s not just teenagers and young adults – plenty of “grown ups” have to deal with their wisdom teeth at some point (later) in their life as well.

No matter how old you are, though – it’s not uncommon to be a bit worried about “going under”. So, what do you do if the prospect of sedation is one you’re not too excited about?

Fortunately, there are options. While some patients might suffer from conditions like sleep apnea – which can make them nervous, others simply get creeped out by the feeling of being essential, unconscious. Fortunately, for every patient there are very few patients who medically can’t benefit from anesthesia.

For other patients, you might not even need to go “under” for your treatment by relying on local anesthesia instead. On top of that, especially if you think it will help you relax (tip: it definitely will), you can also opt to include nitrous oxide – otherwise known as “laughing gas”(but it doesn’t really make you “laugh”). So if you’re concerned, this is definitely one option.

If you’re only getting 1 or 2 wisdom teeth removed – or if your dentist has indicated that your wisdom tooth removal should be simple and routine – local anesthesia and gas might be a great option. But if your teeth are impacted or you’re getting more than a couple removed – IV sedation is usually recommended. The simple fact is, wisdom tooth extraction with IV sedation is generally smoother and simpler than extractions with just local anesthesia.

Have questions about your wisdom tooth extraction? If you’re a patient looking for smooth and comfortable wisdom tooth extraction in Garden Grove – our dentists are here to help.

 

 

Have Teeth That Are Otherwise Healthy? Then This is Your Path to *Perfect* Teeth

So, if you’re like a lot of our patients – your teeth are in pretty good shape.  You’re not coming to our Garden Grove dental office and learning about lingering cavities on every single check-up. You have a good oral hygiene routine. We never have to lecture you about taking better care of your teeth, or not to use your teeth as bottle openers.

Bottom line: you’re good to your teeth, and they’ve treated you well in return. They are healthy and this is the most important thing to remember. Healthy teeth are perfect teeth. But the simple fact of life is that perfectly healthy doesn’t always mean perfect for every patient. Slight imperfections, like discoloration, gaps, and even some crookedness can easily change the level of confidence a patient has in their smile – even if they’re teeth are perfectly healthy. We say – confidence is key, and for this reason, cosmetic dentistry exists. But for you, the solution you might be after could be dental veneers.

“So, what do dental veneers do?”

Technically, dental veneers are a shell that’s custom designed to completely cover the front surface of your teeth. On top of that, they’re thin, tough, and custom colored to blend right in with your natural teeth.

The great thing about veneers is that they can cover up a wide variety of minor imperfections to perfect your teeth. From tooth decay and stains, and even gaps, or teeth that are slightly misaligned or crooked.

It is important to remember, however, that dental veneers are aren’t something you can change your mind about. When veneers are installed, a small bit of enamel is removed to allow them to adhere to the surface of your teeth. Without the veneers, your teeth would be susceptible to decay and damage (but with them they are perfectly protected and perfect all-around).

Are you hoping for more perfect teeth? Our dentists in Garden Grove can help! Dental veneers might even be the option for you. Have questions? Talk to our friendly teem today.

 

So, Do You Really Need Braces?

Whether you’re someone who didn’t get braces when you were younger or you’re a parent considering braces for a child – the thought’s probably crossed your mind: “Are they even necessary?”

Our dentists in Garden Grove aim to be the trusted resource all of our patients need when they have questions about their dental health. With that in mind, whether you’re a dental patient near Garden Grove or you live thousands of miles away – the first and most important step is to find a family dentist that you trust. Because the best judge of whether you or your children need braces is always your family dentist.

If you haven’t seen the dentist yet or are simply doing some research before going (especially for your children) – here are a few signs to be aware of that indicate it might be time to start considering braces, or at the very least – an appointment with our orthodontist here in Garden Grove (if you’re local).

  • Baby teeth that fall out early or irregularly
  • Trouble breathing through their mouth
  • A history or finger or thumb-sucking
  • Crowded or misplaced teeth
  • A shifting jaw that clicks or makes sounds
  • Teeth that meet incorrectly or not at all

Medically Necessary or Cosmetically Necessary?

The thing about your teeth is this – just because you or your child may have a small amount of misalignment or malocclusion doesn’t mean your teeth are unhealthy, or that braces are medically required. However, in these cases some patients might want braces for cosmetic reasons (or their parents will know they’ll want them in the future).

Do braces “work” for adults?

Sometimes, patients in our Garden Grove dental practice wonder if braces work as well on adults. What they’re often surprised to learn is that almost 1/5th of the braces patients in North America are adults. The fact is: if your teeth are healthy, it’s actually never too late to consider getting braces.

Have questions about braces? We have answers! If you’re less than happy with your smile or you think your children might need braces and you live in the Garden Grove area – we can help. 

 

 

What to Expect After Your Dental Implant Surgery

Yesterday, we covered what you can expect in terms of pain whether you’re researching, considering, or expecting a dental implant to replace a lost, dead, or severely damaged tooth.

But while many patients tend to focus on the pain they might face during the actual procedure, many times they forget to consider what they might need to expect from the recovery period. So today, we’ll discuss what you can expect after  you’ve gotten a dental implant – apart from being able to expect a brand new tooth that looks (and feels) great.

If you don’t remember from our last post on the topic, the actual process of “installing” your dental implants should be nearly painless due to the use of advanced, modern anesthesia.  So, what happens after?

 

In the first moments after getting your dental implant, there’s a good chance our dentists (if you’re in Garden Grove) will encourage you to gently bite down on gauze packs in the areas the surgery’s affected. After an hour or two – these will be removed. But if there’s still some blood, replace just enough gauze to add a bit of pressure for another half hour or so.

Pro tip: Wet the gauze a bit before you use it, this will make it easier to position comfortably

For the first day, really try hard not to disturb the affected area. Don’t touch it, don’t poke it, and don’t rinse too hard. You can still brush your teeth, but do it gently and avoid the area where you just had surgery. If you’re a smoker, it will take longer for your teeth to heal – which can make it more uncomfortable than for a nonsmoker. If possible, do everything you can not to smoke during the recovery process.

After you get home, and as you recover – you should keep activities relatively low. Anything like bending too much or over-exerting yourself can result in increased pain, bleeding and swelling. If you’re an avid gym-rat, do try to wait 3-4 days or even a week until after your surgery to return to the gym.

While it’s not totally uncommon to “ooze” a little blood for a couple days after the procedure, this shouldn’t persist – and what’s really coming out is primarily your saliva.

Over the course of the next few days you might experience a little bit of pain. This should be helped greatly by over-the-counter painkillers. When it comes to your diet, avoid extremes (hot foods, overly cold foods, chewy foods) and try to keep your diet soft.

As you continue to heal you’ll want to rinse your mouth with a solution of 1/3 tsp salt in 8 ounces of warm water. Rinse with this, and carefully continue your regular oral hygiene routine. It might not be possible to brush as thoroughly as you did before surgery, but even still – it’s very important to ensure that your teeth stay clean, especially close to the surgery site.

Your Question Answered: “Does Dental Implant Surgery Hurt? (And What About After the Procedure?)”

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If there’s one thing that encourages patients to ask our dentists in Garden Grove questions about a procedure or treatment – it’s pain. Of course, it’s only natural for patients to anticipate what something is about to feel like. And on that topic, we say this: Not only has dental technology and anesthesia come a very long way, but sedation dentistry has become increasingly popular. In this day and age, pain and dentistry are two things that simply don’t need to co-exist anymore.

Which brings us to a specific question that gets asked for time to time – and that is: “Does dental implant surgery hurt?”.

But before we get to our answer, we’ll clear up just what dental implants are. When you’re missing a tooth, you have a few options available to close the gap. Sometimes, a dental bridge can work well and last for many years. But lately, an even stronger alternative has emerged in the form of dental implants. These little wonders rely on titanium posts that are biocompatible. This means they eventually fuse with your jawbone, replacing your original tooth’s root and setting the foundation for a replacement tooth that’s just as strong as a natural tooth and 100% realistic. Unlike a dental bridge, the dental implant looks, feels, and functions just like a normal tooth. So many patients (and dentists) have developed a preference for them over the years.

But the answer to your question might surprise you…

Because they sure do hurt. They say beauty comes at a high cost, and they’re right.  Many have even said that the dental implant procedure is comparable to passing a kidney stone, or giving birth!

…….Said no dentist ever. 

The truth about pain and dental implants is simple. Like we mentioned before, modern dental technology – from the tools we use to the anesthesia we employ make even the most serious procedures virtually painless. There can be a small amount of discomfort involved in the recovery process – but this doesn’t generally last very long.

After the procedure, you might experience some discomfort in areas around your face, chin, and jaw. You might also feel some pressure underneath your eyes. The good thing, however – is that all of this discomfort is very manageable with over-the-counter painkillers, an ice pack to reduce swelling, and a freezer full of delicious ice-cream.

The pay off is simple: a replacement tooth that works perfectly, looks great, and lasts long enough to pass down to your grandchildren.

 

 

 

Some of Your Best Options for Cosmetic Dentistry

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When it comes to our bodies, it’s not uncommon for even the slightest “imperfection” to command our attention and steal our self-confidence. From interestingly placed freckles to curiously canted just a little too much – sometimes we wish we could just fix those little imperfections.

Fortunately, in many cases our cosmetic dentists in Garden Grove have the opportunity to do just that. If you’ve ever felt self-conscious about your smile, you might wonder if there’s anything you can do. So today, we’ll discuss some of the options available when you’re considering cosmetic dentistry.

Inlays/Onlays: Inlays are also often referred to as indirect fillings and are generally made from a durable composite material or from porcelain. While many dentists still use amalgam fillings (and they can still provide a cost efficient option), inlays present a great solution for giving you an incredible smile even if you do have cavities. With an inlay, every filling will look just like the rest of your teeth for a nearly invisible dental restoration.

Dental veneersdental veneers are a special bit of dental technology that our dentists in Garden Grove love for their ability to completely restore smiles ailing from a wide variety of problems. Dental veneers are porcelain or composite “covers” for the front of your teeth to repair cracks, chips, and even gaps.

Whitening: Dental whitening is great because it’s simple, fast, and effective.  That’s what makes it one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures available for dental patients around the world. If you regularly smoke or drink (that includes coffee, red wine, and tea), or you just don’t take very good care of your teeth – teeth whitening might be a great option. Even for patients with sensitive teeth, whitening can improve their appearance by multiple shades.  So if your teeth are healthy but you feel like your smile could use a boost – whitening can be a great help!