Primary Dental Care Blog

Questions about Dentistry

What are the Lines on my Teeth and How Do I Get Rid of Them?

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Do you have lines on your front teeth that seemed to come out of nowhere?

If this sounds like you, there’s a great chance you have what our dentists in the Anaheim area (and dentists everywhere) call craze lines. They aren’t problematic cracks. They aren’t irreversible damage. They aren’t even that big of a problem.

So go ahead and breathe a sigh of relief (There you go, isn’t that nice?).

Craze lines are simply tiny hairline cracks in the enamel of your teeth. While they might not be what you hope for from your teeth cosmetically, the good thing is that they aren’t dangerous.

What Causes Craze Lines?

Craze lines can come from a number of sources. The first and most common is everyday wear and tear. The biting, gnawing and chomping that you do on everything from your dinner to your fingernails (stop that!) can definitely contribute to craze lines. On top of this, even some dental procedures that are used to protect your teeth can contribute to craze lines by weakening the enamel.  But this isn’t a reason to not get treatment for a more serious dental issue – because craze lines are harmless, and problems like cavities and decay are most definitely not harmless.

So, what should I do?

Interestingly, you might notice that fancy glazed pottery often has these vertical “lines” as well. Guess what? In pottery – those lines are called “craze lines” too. Keep this in mind. It’s to remind you that while these lines are present in the enamel, they do not impact that structural integrity of the pottery (or your teeth).

So just like these lines technically can’t be removed from the pottery – they can be hidden by repainting it. This is where our dentists often recommend teeth whitening services for our patients in the Anaheim area. These lines become visible because stains settle into the microscopic cracks. By bleaching the stains that settle into the tiny microscopic cracks – the lines will almost be completely invisible.

Have dental questions? We have dental answers?

Whether you have craze lines, stained teeth, or a problem that calls for an emergency dentist in the Anaheim area – our team can help. Having contended with just about every dental issue for patients ranging from newborns to the elderly, our team has seen it all. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to act. We’re here to help! While you’re at it – check out our new patient specials. They may make getting timely treatment easier if you don’t have dental insurance.

Soothing Baby’s Teething Pain Without Benzocaine

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When a newborn enters your life – and for the 9 months until that very fateful day – it always seems like every single person you meet has a piece of advice.

Whether your baby has a skin condition, a bad mood, a curly hair, or his first tooth – there’s always a wives tale or sage bit of advice that you absolutely need to hear.

Unfortunately, you’re always going to end up hearing it. But when it comes to the wives tales about teething – our dentists in Garden Grove really recommend taking any advice with a grain of salt. The best advice we can offer? Just ask your dentist.

The Problem With Benzocaine

Teething can be a miserable experience for babies, and it’s no surprise – pushing teeth through delicate soft-tissue doesn’t feel good! With this in mind, it’s understandable that some parents might turn to products like benzocaine, which can dull the pain from teething. Unfortunately, it’s not the best for your baby.

The problem with benzocaine – according to the Harvard Medical School is the fact that – in addition to numbing pain, it also effectively changes hemoglobin into methemoglobin – which can potentially cause a dangerous condition known as methemoglobinemia. 

What hemoglobin does is gather oxygen from the lungs so that it can help distribute oxygen to tissue throughout the body. However, when the iron in hemoglobin interacts with some chemicals (including benzocaine) it changes its structure so that it holds the oxygen instead of letting it go. Ultimately, this can prevent tissue from getting the oxygen it needs. And because babies are much smaller than adults and have less blood volume, it takes less benzocaine.

Symptoms of this problem often include pale skin, a blue-ish tint to skin, headaches, dizziness, seizures, coma, and – potentially – death. With this in mind, the FDA has been warning parents about the potential problem for years – and are finally beginning to enforce the rule that companies must stop making products that contain benzocaine for children under the age of 2.  

Alternatives to Benzocaine

Fortunately, there are remedies that work just as well as benzocaine (while often lasting longer). And they’re simple. These include small (pediatrician approved) doses of acetaminophen and ibuprofen and a cool teething ring.

Candy, Sweets, and Your Kids’ Teeth, What YOU Can Do To Minimize Dental Damage from Halloween

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It’s that Time of Year Again! All the ghouls and goblins are out in force, invading the neighborhoods in search of their yearly bounty of sweet, sugary (decay fueling) treats.

As a good parent, you might be tempted to severely limit your child’s intake of candy this year because – after all, it really does no favors for your teeth. The sugars quickly break-down into fuel for plaque and decay that slowly eat away at mini Tony Stark’s bright, shiny superhero teeth.

But where’s the fun in that? 

With a little moderation and care, your entire family can enjoy Halloween to its fullest without putting your teeth in grave danger.

This year, our dentists in Garden Grove recommend you steer clear of some candies while gravitating to others.

Chocolate: Fortunately for many trick or treaters, chocolate – one of the most popular candies this season – is also one of the better candies for your teeth. Sure, it has sugar – and you’ll want to be sure you rinse and brush well. But chocolate washes away from your teeth much easier. For an even healthier (but not totally healthy) option, opt for dark chocolate.

Hard Candy: Hard candy is the popular candy that our dentists warn Anaheim and Garden Grove families about every year. First of all. They’re HARD. They can even break your teeth in some circumstances. But on top of that, they’re designed to last longer. Which means their sticky, sugary sweetness stays in your mouth for longer too – which can contribute to decay and cavities.

Sour Candy: Not only is sour candy often hard candy too, but it also tends to be coated in sugar with a rather high amount of acid. Unfortunately, that means the acid can give decay a jump-start by weakening the outer shell of your teeth.

Gummy Candies: There’s a saying when it comes to candy – “If it’s sticky, be picky” because gummy candy can often be some of the worst for your teeth. This is due to the way it can stick into the nooks and crannies of your teeth – giving it more time to weasel its way on to cavity-town.

 

While it’s clear that most candies aren’t good for your teeth. Remember – with good oral hygiene habits and common sense, your family’s teeth will survive a candy feast here and there. But to help, here’s a couple bonus tips:

Don’t buy a big bag of your favorite candy: You’re only asking for trouble

Brush and floss together: Brushing your teeth and working your way through an oral hygiene routine with your children is the best way to encourage positive brushing habits for life.

Do You Need a Retainer?

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In the past, we’ve talked about topics like braces, bridges, crowns, and Invisalign (feel free to catch up with some links to past blog posts)

…but what about retainers?

What a Retainer Does

Put simply, a retainer is a relatively simple piece of plastic and metal that’s been custom-made for the patient (child or adult!) that needs it. No two are alike – and they fit the top teeth and hard palate.

Typically, most people that wear braces and have recently gotten them off have to wear a retainer to ensure that the teeth stay in their new position. This is because teeth continue to shift as the mouth grows. In these cases, for example, a child might only need to wear a retainer for 3 months or so. In other cases, a child might only need to wear the retainer at night (but perhaps for a year instead). A retainer might also be used in a similar way to help close a specific gap in the teeth.

In other cases, a retainer might be needed to help with a specific medical problem. Tongue thrust, a condition where your tongue pokes through your teeth when you talk, is often one of them. This trains your tongue to go towards the roof of your mouth instead – and is usually only needed for children.

Yet another reason for retainers is to help correct TMD – temporomandibular disorder. Typically this results from a bite problem or jaw disorder. In this case – a retainer might help prevent your teeth from lining up in a way that allows them to grind at night, which helps prevent other issues like cracks, erosion, sensitivity, and more.

It takes some time and effort

Fitting you for a retainer is easy. Getting used to it and caring for your retainer take a little bit of time, but they are both also very easy.

Most of all, you really don’t want to lose your retainer. Why? Remember when we talked about them being custom-made? That’s right. They’re not cheap.

Also, do make sure you follow your dentist’s recommendations for cleaning your retainer. You don’t want to be putting more bacteria in your mouth when you use a dental device designed to help your teeth instead.

Have a question? 

If you’re a patient in the Anaheim area – our dentists in Garden Grove are here to help you. All it takes is a call!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“Is my Tooth Cracked?”

smile5You might not realize how easy it is to crack your tooth.

Whether you’re absentmindedly chewing ice on a hot day, eating a handful of nuts, or chomping your way through some hard candy – it’s easier than you think.

But cracks and other varieties of damage can also come from less expected sources – the ones you might not be aware of at the time – like grinding your teeth at night, clenching your teeth, or even uneven teeth that lead to too much pressure on one tooth. All of these factors can result in a cracked tooth.

This can also be influenced by other factors – like how healthy your teeth already are, or whether or not you have existing fillings or restorations that might have made your teeth a little weaker.

Unfortunately – the result can be painful. Worse – it can lead to even more serious problems if you don’t take care of it.

If you have a cracked tooth, you might be wondering why it’s painful and what you can do about it. 

 

How to actually know your tooth is cracked

  • You experience pain when you drink or eat
  • The pain comes and goes, especially with pressure – but doesn’t hurt all the time
  • You experience sharp, shooting pain when you bite down. Usually, it quickly dissipates.
  • Other times, you may have no pain at all

Cracked teeth are painful typically because the pressure of biting down forces the tooth to open, which causes the pulp inside to become irritated. This is usually what makes it sensitive to heat, cold, and sugary foods. Unfortunately, if the pulp gets infected by being exposed to too much – a root canal could be required to save the tooth.

Treatment typically depends on the size and location of the crack in your tooth. 

  • Your dentist might repair your tooth with filling material (if the pulp is unaffecteD)
  • You might need root canal treatment if the pulp has become infected
  • Your dentist might place a crown over the tooth to protect and shield it from further damage (learn more about crowns)
  • If the tooth is seriously cracked and can’t be saved – it might need to be extracted and replaced with a bridge or implant.

Are you experiencing pain on one of your teeth? Could it be related to an accident or suspect “crack” while eating something hard? If you live in the Anaheim area it might be time to visit one of our dentists in Garden Grove. Learn more about our new patient specials, and get your tooth checked out soon. The longer you wait, the more expensive and painful it will be.

 

 

When to See Your Dentist about Bleeding Gums

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Our dentists in the Anaheim Area  have seen it and heard it time and time again – either a patients gums begin bleeding during a routine cleaning, or the patient complains about their gums bleeding on the rare occasion that they floss their teeth.

For any patient, the sight of blood in the sink can be a stressful one. But if you just saw blood in your sink and immediately went to the internet to ask “how bad is it if my gums are bleeding” or “what to do when my gums bleed” – take a breather. There’s a great chance everything will be okay.

In many cases – our dental patients have been able to cure their bleeding gums without even having to make a trip to our Garden Grove dentist’s office. But which cases are those? Let’s take a look.

Why your gums bleed

Your gums could bleed for a number of reasons. In most cases, it’s important to remember that all of them are easy to remedy.

 

You’re pregnant: Your body goes through a lot of changes when you’re pregnant. This causes quite a few changes with your hormones – which can certainly impact your gums and lead to pregnancy gingivitis. During this time, your gums can often swell and become sensitive – which will sometimes lead to bleeding when you floss or brush.

You have gingivitis: This can often happen if you don’t have a very good oral hygiene routine, and plaque has had the opportunity to accumulate on your teeth. As this happens, bacteria will feed on the plaque and continue to multiply. This irritates your gums and eventually leads to gum disease – otherwise known as gingivitis. The most common symptom of gingivitis is what? You guess it! Bleeding gums. If you catch it early – you can often reverse gingivitis without even going to the dentist’s office, but many times you’ll need a dentist’s intervention if it gets too bad.

You’ve recently doubled down on your oral hygiene: Do you have a dentist appointment coming up? Or maybe after reading a blog post, you’ve endeavored to improve your oral hygiene routine. If that’s the case – your gums may bleed as your gums get used to the newfound attention they ‘re getting from your toothbrush and floss. As you continue your routine – your gums will eventually toughen up and stop bleeding.

You’ve started a new medication: If you’ve recently started a new medication – especially blood thinners (like aspirin) and some heart medications – there’s a good chance that your gums might start to bleed with more frequency. This is important to keep track of!

 

 

What Re-mineralization is and Why It’s Important

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In the past couple days, our Garden Grove dentists have talked a lot about strategies to keep your teeth healthy – as well as a variety of factors that can play into the health and wellness of your teeth.

At the center of that is the process of demineralization and remineralization, an ongoing battle in your mouth between bacteria, plaque, your teeth, and their enamel.

Without getting too scientific, this battle to keep your teeth strong is incredibly dependent on the ratio between remineralization and demineralization. Demineralization happens when there’s a low pH in your mouth, which allows organic acids produced by plaque and sufficient nutrients (carbohydrates from food) to slowly eat away at enamel.

On the other hand, remineralization enables calcium, fluoride, and phosphate ions to be synthesized into fluorapatite crystals – which ultimately make the chemical compound of your dental enamel much more resistant to acids.

 

How to help the remineralization process

The best way to protect your teeth from demineralization is to protect your saliva. This is why it’s important to avoid drying out your mouth (for example, with mouthwashes that contain alcohol). Your saliva contains valuable minerals that actively help your enamel get stronger while reducing the acidity that can contribute to enamel erosion. The important thing to remember is that your saliva helps keep your mouth neutral, rather than acidic – and the ideal pH for your mouth to promote remineralization is between 7.5 and 8.5.

When the pH level of your mouth is lower than 5.5 or 6 – you’re in the danger zone for the loss of minerals from your teeth.  With this in mind – it’s important to remember that dry mouth is to be avoided. If you experience dry mouth at any time (perhaps because of a medication), it’s important to counteract it with something as simple as sugar-free chewing gum.

What else can you do?

Outside of promoting healthy saliva – the next best thing you can do to prevent your teeth from losing minerals (and consequently, enamel) is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine and diet.

If your diet is high in carbs, sugar, and acidic drinks (like soda) – you could be putting your enamel at risk…and growing cavities without even realizing it. Always remember to brush twice a day for at least two minutes, floss at least once a day, and always make sure you use a fluoridated toothpaste – which includes important minerals that your enamel needs to stay healthy.

Are you getting too many cavities? Perhaps our insight would help. If you’re a patient in the Anaheim area, our dentists in Garden Grove can help your teeth stay healthy for life. Learn more about our new patient specials today. 

 

 

 

 

What Causes Canker Sores, and How Can I Prevent Them?

So many people know the feeling. You take a drink of orange juice, or bite into something acidic and ZING – the pain shoots right into your face and lingers there for a few short painful moments.

You’ve got another canker sore.

Unfortunately for a lot of people, frequent canker sores can happen for a number of reasons. In many cases they often happen when patients are over-tired, over-stressed, or when they’ve been eating an unbalanced diet.

On top of this, canker sores can also happen as a result of sun-exposure or exposure to other substances and compounds, like sodium lauryl sulfate – the material used in many toothpastes to help make it foam.

But with all of that said, there’s still one other common source of canker sores – and many times it’s of a completely mechanical nature. Whether it’s braces, a night guard, an invisalign retainer, or even a chipped tooth – rough spots or imperfections can easily irritate the sensitive skin in your mouth, causing a sore to form.  This can be especially noticeable if the canker sore begins to appear in the same spot over and over again.

Some possible fixes for your canker sore problem

  • Make sure you’re getting enough rest, try for 8 hours a night
  • Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet, and getting plenty of fresh greens
  • Try to manage your stress better – some solutions can be yoga, therapy, diet, and excercise
  • Avoid oral care products that include sodium lauryl sulfate
  • Take vitamins, including B12 – which has been shown to help reduce the occurrence of canker sores
  • Moderate your alcohol intake

Have a question about your oral health? Don’t live in discomfort! Our Anaheim area dentists can help. 

 

 

 

 

Healthier Alternatives to Traditional Mouthwash

In the last blog post by our Dentists in Garden Grove, Can Mouthwash Be Bad for You? we talked about how the ingredients in mouthwash might not be helping your mouth or your teeth as much as you think.

Today, we’d like to talk about the ingredients in mouthwash to avoid – and some safer alternatives that could be better for your mouth and your teeth.

The ingredients you should try to avoid

Just like we said in our last blog post, some of the ingredients in traditional mouthwash can have a negative effect on your mouth and teeth, even while temporarily killing bacteria and potentially improving your breath.  The following ingredients can stand in the way of re-mineralization, good bacteria, and the proper production of saliva in your mouth.

Alcohol: This is the big one you want to avoid – which is why we put it at the top of our list. Many conventional mouthwashes are alcohol based – containing upwards of 30% alcohol. Just like with the type of alcohol you drink can make your mouth dry – so can the alcohol in mouthwash. This can actually contribute to bad breath, while impeding the remineralization of your teeth.

Chlorhexidine: While it acts as the main ingredient that kills bacteria in mouthwash, it can also be a major allergen for some people. While the reaction isn’t usually bad – for some people, it can be (on rare occasions).

Parabens: Parabens are often used to help fight bacteria and plaque, but they can also act as an endocrine disruptor and may also help contribute to allergic reactions.

Cocamidopropyl betain: Some mouthwashes contain this material to make them foam more, which can often give them the illusion of “working”. Don’t be fooled! Just because something isn’t foamy and sudsy doesn’t mean it’s not working.  Like chlorhexidine, Cocamidopropyl betain can also cause some mild allergic reactions.

Healthy Alternatives

While the healthiest alternative to mouthwash is no mouthwash, some people really enjoy how clean it can make their mouths. Please understand – not all mouthwash is bad, and not all mouthwash contains the above ingredients. On top of that, it can be beneficial. If you must use mouthwash, at the very least try to make sure it doesn’t have alcohol. Just use it sparingly and you should be fine.

Have questions about your oral care? Our dentists in Garden Grove can help. If you need a dentist in the Anaheim area – contact us today to learn more about new patient specials and how we can help you. 

 

Can Mouthwash Be Bad for You?

Plenty of dental patients use mouthwash as part of a daily dental hygiene routine for its ability to kill bacteria, help with bad breath, and act as an incredibly powerful tool in the fight against decay and bacteria.

However, you might be surprised to learn that there are actually some risks associated with the traditional mouthwash you’re probably used to. But don’t worry! There are plenty of safer options to traditional mouthwash that are just as effective as what you’ve been using.

Mouthwash commercials claim some outrageous things – like the ability to prevent cavities, make your teeth whiter, and improve your breath. These aren’t entirely untrue – but you should also take them with a grain of salt.

Why? Because certain mouthwashes can also have a negative long-term impact on your mouth and teeth. Here’s a few helpful tidbits from our Garden Grove area dentists.

Traditional Mouthwash Is like a nuclear bomb for your mouth’s micro-biome

One way that happens is by seriously impacting the biome inside your mouth. Think of mouthwash as a nuclear bomb in your mouth – completely wiping out all of the bacteria and organisms inside. Mouthwash does this without discriminating versus good or bad. By using mouthwash every day, you not only wipe out all the bad bacteria – but you also wipe out all the good bacteria every day too.  When this happens, you prevent good bacteria from doing its job to protect you from things like bad breath, gingivitis, or cavities. When that happens, mouthwash becomes your only real line of defense.

It can also dry your mouth out

The other thing about mouthwash is that if it contains alcohol, it could very likely be drying your mouth out. If you’ve read our Garden Grove dentists blog with any regularity, you understand how important saliva is for thew ay it can help rinse your mouth out and support every tooth’s process of gradual re-mineralization, which can actually help reverse cavities natural or even prevent them in the first place.

It can also undermine your toothpaste…

Traditional mouthwash can also be a problem for another reason – that’s because it contains compounds that are cationic whereas your toothpaste contains anionic compounds. The anionic compounds in your toothpaste are meant to help eliminate bacteria that remains after you brush your teeth. But the cationic compounds in mouthwash can cancel this process out. This can also serve to dry out your mouth.

So what can you use instead?

We recommend you check out the next blog on mouthwash by our dentists in the Anaheim area: Healthier mouthwash alternatives