Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS


How Smoking and Alcohol Can Impact Your Teeth

The modern world, with all of its stresses and temptations presents us with so many things to put in our mouth to make us feel better. Whether it’s alcohol, tobacco, or even Medical Marijuana prescribed by your doctor.

While alcohol boasts few health benefits (such as the occasional glass of red wine, which has been proven to reduce heart disease), tobacco has zero, and marijuana has been proven to help a number of conditions, such as anxiety and glaucoma, it’s important to remember that these substances still pose a very real risk to your oral health.

Here at our dental practice in Garden Grove California, we realize that all of these drugs are perfectly legal (given the right set of circumstances, ranging from simple age to a doctor’s note), however, enjoying these substances in moderation can help prevent a number of conditions ranging from tooth loss to gum disease.

The Effect of Smoking  and Alcohol on Your Teeth

Tooth loss and gum disease

Tobacco is often seen as a leading cause of both tooth loss and gum disease. What many smokers don’t know is that tobacco and nicotine constrict the capillaries of your gums. By reducing bloodflow to your gums, this impacts how the bone attaches to your teeth and their soft-tissue, which can contribute to gum disease.

Tooth Decay

For many patients who regularly consume alcohol, tooth decay is a very real threat. This is because most alcoholic drinks contain a fair amount of sugar and acid, both which are substances that actively eat away at the enamel of your teeth — which is the first step of tooth decay.

Nocturnal Grinding and Clenching

Bruxism, also known as “Tooth Grinding” can lead to the extreme wear and abrasion that can impact your bite, lead to broken teeth, contribute to cracks, and impact your overall oral health.  While many substances like Marijuana and Alcohol can cause grinding, the dry mouth often associated with marijuana also tends to exacerbate the damage of bruxism.

Staining and bad breath

Smoking of every kind can contribute to stale, bad breath and the buildup of tartar.   Tartar is the building block of plaque and tooth decay — which ultimately can lead to cavities, tooth loss, and a wide variety of dental problems.

Oral Cancer from Smoking and Alcohol

It is well known that tobacco contains a number of carcinogens and is one of the leading causes of mouth, throat, and lung cancer. By excessively consuming alcohol and smoking tobacco and marijuana, you put yourself at a much greater risk for oral cancer. For this reason, it’s important to remain aware of the non-smokable forms of these substances, but remember — chewing tobacco (“dip”) is no healthier for your mouth than smokable tobacco.

Are you worried about how a substance abuse problem or smoking habit may be impacting your oral health? Our family dentists in Garden Grove are discrete, compassionate, and dedicated to helping you keep your teeth white, healthy, and long-lasting.

6 Surprising Tips for Whiter Teeth without Even Visiting the Dentist

Whether you’re looking for a way to gradually get the whiter teeth you’ve always wanted without spending a minute in the dentist’s chair, or you’ve already read our last post about whiter teeth, “3 Things to Avoid for Whiter Teeth” — you should know, getting whiter teeth doesn’t have to be hard.

While in-office teeth whitening is one of the most popular options for cosmetic dentistry in our Garden Grove dental clinic, sometimes — with time — you can gradually get whiter teeth on your own. While the most common at-home remedies, like whitening strips and whitening toothpaste are fairly well-known, there are still a few tips that continue to fly under the radar.

3 Tips for Whiter Teeth that Might Surprise You

Change Your Toothbrush

Sometimes, getting a whiter smile can be as easy  as swapping out your old toothbrush. By replacing your toothbrush every two to three months — or as soon as you see the bristles bending under the weight of your impeccable oral hygiene and looking like they need a nap.  An old toothbrush is a toothbrush that doesn’t work as it should. If your toothbrush looks worn down, it means it’s not doing its job to effectively clean your teeth.

Try Rinsing with Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is can be an all natural and organic teeth whitening tool. While it isn’t as powerful as what our Garden Grove teeth whitening experts might offer for at-home or in-office teeth whitening, it is another safe tool you can add to your toolbox when it comes to getting whiter teeth. 2 parts water and one part apple cider vinegar, swished around your mouth for just one minute a day could get you on the road towards a whiter, brighter smile.

Whiten with Gel Trays instead of Whitening Strips

When our patients in Garden Grove ask for in-office teeth whitening, we typically recommend gel trays instead of whitening strips. This is because whitening strips often fail to evenly distribute the whitening agent, especially near the gum line where your teeth usually become the most stained. On the contrary, gel trays do a much better job at fully immersing your teeth, giving you the even whitening results you’re looking for.

Always Brush Your Tongue

You might think that brushing your teeth is just about your breath. That’s where you’d be surprised. Actively brushing your tongue can also help prevent stains on your teeth as well. Because of the way your tongue collects bacteria, it can actually contribute to staining on your teeth as well. Just as you would do to prevent bad breath, use your toothbrush to make long, easy strokes from front to back. Be sure to rinse your brush after every stroke with the toothbrush. This removes bacteria permanently, without adding it back to your tongue in the process.

Snack on Raw Fruits and Vegetables

Snacking on raw vegetables and fruit with a good crunch isn’t just good for your health, your body, and you waistline. Foods like apples and raw carrots also help keep your teeth clean by contributing to the removal of surface stain and plaque.

Eat Citrus, but Rinse with Water Afterwards

Eating citrus fruits, like oranges, is and always will be good for you. However, the citric acid in oranges, mangos, and lemons can actively contribute to the erosion of your tooth’s enamel. Fortunately, the fix is simple. All you have to do is remember to wash your citrus snacks down with a glass of water.


3 Things to Avoid for Whiter Teeth

A whiter smile is one thing that many dental patients across the country desire. But there’s more to a white smile than just feeling confident. In fact, in a recent study by, reported on by ABC News, 51% of men judge a potential partner by their teeth  while 71% of women report the appearance of a potential partner’s teeth as being incredibly important.

[Update: 10/17/15] Already know what to avoid? Check out our latest post: “6 Tips for Whiter Teeth Without Going to the Dentist]” (Of course, we’re happy to help for more immediate results)

Keep these 3 tips in mind to avoid staining your teeth

Keep these 3 tips in mind to avoid staining your teeth


However, dating isn’t everything. Reports also suggest that healthy teeth and a white smile can also impact your job search.  We suppose this shouldn’t be surprising. After all, if teeth can impact your chances with the opposite sex, it’s not a stretch to believe they can impact your success in the job search. So, take it from us, we’ve provided cosmetic dentistry, in-office teeth whitening and in-home teeth whitening in Garden Grove  for many years.

To get whiter teeth that help give you the confidence and success you’ve been hoping for, there are a few simple tips you can follow before you even spend a dime in the dentist’s chair. However, sometimes these take time. For fast and noticeable results, sometimes in-office whitening is the best available option.

3 “Don’ts” for whiter teeth:

Don’t use baking soda

Ah, baking soda! The great all-purpose cleaner. Baking soda is used to clean a wide variety of things, but when it comes to your teeth — use some caution. While many toothpastes contain small amounts of baking soda, unadulterated baking soda is such a good cleaner that it can wear away tooth enamel and contribute to the darkening of your teeth.

Try to avoid dark foods

Dark foods can actively contribute to stains on your teeth. Some of these foods to avoid include marinara sauce, blueberries, and soy sauce. While there are still very valid reasons to keep blueberries in your diet  (hint: they’re very good for you!) simply remaining aware of what you’re eating, remembering to drink plenty of water (to rinse your teeth off),  brushing your teeth often can help.

Avoid Dark Drinks

The usual suspects for this tip are hardly a secret, that is, coffee, red wine, and tea. However, it’s also important to avoid sweet and often sugary energy drinks. Even the sugar-free variants of energy drinks will have the same erosion effect on your teeth. When possible, drink through a straw — or be sure to drink plenty of water in order to rinse your teeth.

What is TMJ Pain and How Do I Manage It?

Do you experience pain or discomfort on either side of your face that lasts for either the short or the long term? Pain or tenderness in the jaw-join area, around your neck and shoulders, and near your ear when you speak, open your mouth wide, or chew can be an indication of TMD. While Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) are frequently mislabeled as “TMJ”, regardless of what we call them, the pain can be very real.

Your temporomandibular joint is the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones in front of your ears. Put simply: the TMJ joint allows your jaw to move in all the directions you need it to: up, down, left and right — all movements that allow your mouth to do the many things that you need it to do, like talking and chewing.


Where to TMD Problems Come From?

Unfortunately, the underlying cause of TMJ problems is largely unknown. What our dentists in Garden Grove  do know is that the problems stem from underlying issues with joint itself and the muscles in your jaw. In many cases, it’s thought that these problems often stem from injuries to the joint itself, as well as injuries to the muscles in your neck — like whiplash.

However, the more pervasive causes are much simpler. In fact, many dentists believe that a leading cause of TMJ pain can be stress. As stressful jobs and more stressful lives create more stress, dental patients around the world tighten their facial muscles and clench their teeth more than they ever have before. This clenching and grinding are often thought to put a great deal of stress on the TMJ, which can lead to the chronic pain now being labelled as TMD.

The Most Common Symptoms of TMD 

  • Pain in the joint-area of your face, your neck, and your shoulders
  • Problems when you open your mouth wide, like jaws that get “stuck” in an open or closed position
  • Swelling on one side of your face
  • Clicking or popping sounds when you chew, or open and close your mouth
  • An uncomfortable bite
  • A general feeling of tiredness in your face

While the symptoms of TMD are often replicated by other problems, such as tooth decay or infection, it is still a condition that your dentist can diagnose. If there are no other obvious problems that could be causing these symptoms, a TMJ issue could likely be the culprit.  Not only will your dentist check your jaw for obvious problems, but she can also take xrays to potentially locate their underlying cause.

“But what can I do?”

While it’s true that it’s not exactly clear what causes TMJ problems, there are a few ways to help mitigate the symptoms. A few of these potential solutions include:

  • Over the counter pain relievers and NSAIDS to relieve swelling and muscle pain
  • Avoid foods that encourage extreme jaw movements, like chewing gum and ice. Also avoid anything that forces you to open your mouth incredibly wide, like yawning or singing.
  • Try not to rest your chin on your hand, or hold your mobile phone between your ear and your shoulder. On top of this, practicing proper posture can also help reduce your symptoms
  • Cold or heat packs to reduce pain and swelling, for about 10 minutes at a time, apply moist heat or a cold icepack while doing simple, light jaw exercises to help reduce symptoms.
  • Try softer foods, or cutting your food into smaller bite sized pieces (to reduce chewing)
  • Actively work to stop clenching your teeth! Clenching your teeth actively puts stress on the TMJ joint, which can lead to the pain and discomfort that you’re experiencing.
  • RELAX. Stress could be one of the largest contributing factors of TMJ pain. Try yoga, physical therapy, and virtually any other (healthy) tactic that helps you effectively unwind and relax.

As Dentists in Garden Grove and the Fountain Valley area, we frequently speak to patients who experience pain and discomfort in their jaw area, but have no other underlying dental problems. If this sounds like you, you might be suffering from a TMJ issue. But don’t worry! The symptoms are manageable, they don’t have to disrupt your life, and our dentists are more than happy to suggest the exercises and solutions that will make your day-to-day life far more comfortable.


How to Know You Need an Emergency Root Canal

Here At Primary Dental Care, root canal treatments and dental emergencies in Garden Grove are some of the most common procedures we encounter. In fact, emergency root canals also happen to be a common occurrence.

While many patients tremble at the thought of “getting” a root canal, the truth is that they already have them! In fact, every single tooth has a root canal.  The root canal is another name for the space at the center of every tooth that contains soft tissues including the nerve, connective tissues, and blood vessels integral to the health of your teeth.

Root canal treatment is needed when the pulp or nerve of your teeth become damaged. Typically, there are two major events that lead to a root canal. The first, is a crown fracture or major traumatic injury that exposes the pulp of your tooth. The other, infection, can be much harder to spot.

Chances are, if you’ve suffered direct trauma that’s broken one of your teeth — you’ll already be headed to the dentist for emergency dental treatment. However, if your tooth has become infected over time, that almost bearable toothache you’ve been trying to ignore could be a potentially serious problem.

If your tooth hurts, it could mean that infection has moved into the pulp of your teeth — making root canal treatment necessary to prevent the infection from fully destroying your tooth. You might be thinking, “But don’t teeth that need root canal treatment hurt a lot?” and the answer is, “Not always.” Teeth that require root canal treatment sometimes don’t cause any pain. But if your tooth does hurt, there are a few important symptoms to look out for.

  • Does your level of pain range from minor to extreme?
  • Does your tooth seem to throb, as if it has its own heartbeat?
  • Does the pain of your toothache seem to get worse when you bend over, stand up, or change position?
  • Does your toothache intensify spontaneously? Such as when you eat or drink hot or cold liquids?
  • Does your toothache wake you up from deep sleep?

If these symptoms sound familiar, the toothache you’re experiencing could signal the need for an emergency root canal. When an infection enters the pulp of your teeth, the damage caused by the infection can quickly spread to adjacent teeth.

Other symptoms to look out for include:

  • A blister or “pimple” on your gums that might be draining pus known as an abscess — a telltale sign of infection
  • Swelling
  • A large cavity or loose filling
  • Slight fever

Think you might need an emergency root canal in the Garden Grove area? We are here to help!

As a caring and experienced family dental clinic, our goal is to provide convenient, caring, and competitively priced emergency dental care in the Garden Grove area. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us today. When it comes to dental emergencies, time is of the essence.


Are all Dental Crowns Silver or Gold?

Dental crowns and bridges are both fixed prosthetic devices used to restore your smile to its former glory.  Crowns are used to fit over your tooth to restore its original shape and size, and bridges are used to “bridge” the gap between missing teeth and healthy teeth.

At Primary Dental Care, we provide quite a few Dental crowns and bridges for Garden Grove, so naturally we hear a lot of questions. While there are a number of reasons a typical patient receives a crown or a bridge, one of the most common questions asked about dental crowns in particular is about their color. More often than not, the question goes “Are all dental crowns silver?”

When it comes to dentistry, one of the greatest motivating factors for a patient remains vanity. This isn’t a bad thing! It’s completely understandable for a patient to be worried about their appearance.

While metal crowns used to be the norm, giving patients the noticeable glint of silver or gold in their mouths — porcelain has become the crown of choice for customers around the world.

Why many patients choose porcelain dental crowns over metal

Naturally, the leading reason patients choose porcelain crowns is because, well, they look naturalWhile metal dental restorations can be quite noticeable, dental porcelain is made to look just like your natural teeth. In fact, for every patient, the dental porcelain is customized to accurately match the teeth around it, making it the same size, shape, and color to result in a “prosthetic” that looks like it isn’t a prosthetic at all.


The Health Benefits of Porcelain Dental Crowns

In addition to being nearly unnoticeable, dental crowns also happen to have tangible health benefits over their metal counterparts. First, they provide naturally functional strength similar to your original teeth, with perfect aesthetics.

Questions about dental crowns in Garden Grove? Primary Dental Care is here

Repairing a tooth doesn’t have to be hard, painful, or noticeable. In fact, with a dental crown it can be done without anyone even noticing it at all.  Dental crowns actively restore your tooth, while ensuring bacteria and infection stay out, preventing rot and decay. If you have questions about dental crowns, don’t hesitate to contact Primary Dental Care today. The fast, easy, and virtually invisible fix you need is only a visit away.






“When Do I Need Dental Bridge Repair?”

Dental bridges are designed to last as long as a lifetime. However, how long is a lifetime for your dental bridge? In your case, we hope that it is somewhere north of 20, or even 30 years. However, as is the case with using “lifetime” as a measure of time — it’s always relative, and unfortunately it can be as short as just a couple of years.

The longevity of your dental bridge counts on a number of factors. With extensive experience installing hundreds if not thousands of dental bridges,  getting your dental bridges in Garden Grove with Primary Dental Care eliminates one of the major causes of damaged dental bridges —  flawed installation. However, a number of other factors can create the need for dental bridge repair in the future.

“Why do dental bridges fail?”

The reasons for a failing dental bridge are many, while we’ve already mentioned the potential for technical errors, other problems range from improper fabrication and trauma, to unbalanced edge characteristics and simple food preferences. On top of all of this, your oral health will also have a major impact on the overall longevity of your dental bridges as well. If your bridgework has only lasted for 15 years or less, factors like oral care are likely the cause. However, if your bridgework lasts for significantly less (think weeks, months, or even years) then something else could be the underlying cause.

How to Know Your Dental Bridges Need Repair

Many times, if you have a dental bridge and feel significant sensitivity around the teeth abutting your bridge — it could be a sign that these teeth are decayed. Since abutting teeth are covered, it can sometimes be difficult to know when there’s a problem. Another common symptom is a crack or chip in the porcelain of your dental bridge. Finally, if you feel any sensitivity or pain when you’re chewing on your dental bridge or brushing it — you need to see your dentist right away.

As is the case when teeth or veneers are repaired, dental bridges are often repaired the same way — with a composite reason used to seal any surface imperfections. More serious damage, however, could require the bridge to be completely removed and replaced.

Do you have questions? We have answers. To learn more about dental bridge repair in the Anaheim area, please don’t hesitate to contact the friendly team as Primary Dental Care in Garden Grove.


Your Guide to Finding the Right Toothpaste


When it comes to selecting a toothpaste for you or your family, there are a few important factors to consider to make sure the product you buy is safe, effective, and approved by the american dental association. The first and most basic thing you can do is ensure that your toothpaste bears the seal of the ADA. This is a surefire way to know that your toothpaste has been objectively tested to be effective and safe by an actual team of dentists. At our Garden Grove family dental practice, making sure our patients find the right toothpaste for their teeth is one of the first and most important steps in ensuring effective home care that takes into consideration your specific oral health concerns and challenges.

Why do I need an ADA Approved Toothpaste if the FDA Tests Toothpaste too?

While it’s true that the FDA tests every toothpaste on the market for safety and to make sure their ingredients meet certain requirements, the FDA does not test for safety and effectiveness like the ADA does. The ADA puts every toothpaste through rigorous testing to assess the fluoride content, it’s delivery system, and it’s effectiveness in protecting your tooth enamel. This is why an FDA approved toothpaste isn’t as good as an FDA approved and ADA recommended toothpaste.

What’s all this about flouride?

When you’re looking for a toothpaste, it’s important to find one that contains fluoride. Fluoride is the simplest anion of fluorine, and is used to remove plaque from your teeth. In fact, removing plaque is one of the most important functions of your toothpaste, a job that fluoride helps with a great deal. Plaque forms on your teeth every day, constantly attempting to infiltrate your teeth with bacteria that causes infection, gum disease, and tooth decay. Fluoride is one of the most effective tools for preventing this, while simultaneously strengthening the enamel of your teeth.

I have sensitive teeth. Do I need prescription toothpaste?

If your teeth or gums get sensitive when you breathe cold air, or when eating cold or hot foods — it should be fairly obvious that you have sensitive teeth. When you have sensitive teeth, you have a few options when it comes to finding the toothpaste that’s right for you. For most patients, the easiest option is over-the-counter. Fortunately, in most cases — this is a sufficient solution for minimizing tooth and gum sensitivity. While OTC sensitivity toothpastes are known to work incredibly well, if intense sensitivity persists — it might be time to talk to your dentist about curing the underlying cause or potentially getting a prescription solution.

What about whitening toothpaste. Does it really work?

Yes! Whitening toothpaste does work, and is one of many options available when it comes to whitening your teeth. In fact, if you’re looking for a Dentist in Fountain Valley (or Garden Grove)that offers teeth whitening — you’ve come to the right place. Our friendly team would be happy to answer any of your questions.

…And one final tip: Don’t rinse! (If you can stand it)

Many patients grow up thinking that its imperative that they rinse after they brush their teeth. Many times, this is because of the fact that so many of us are encouraged not to swallow our toothpaste while growing up (which is still very important advice). However, toothpaste does a better job at doing its job if you let its ingredients to fully absorb. In fact, refraining from eating or drinking for at least 30 minutes after brushing can ensure that your toothpaste is performing to the best of its ability. While this can sometimes be difficult (because some toothpaste, especially the sensitive kind, doesn’t taste great) it makes brushing before bed even more important — because its the most foolproof way to give your toothpaste time to really soak in.

What are Invisalign Attachments, and Why Would I Need Them?

Invisalign is a revolutionary teeth straightening system that has helped patients with varying degrees of misalignment get the straight teeth they’ve always wanted without having to resort to traditional braces. As a leading provider of Invisalign in Garden Grove, our patients frequently ask us about the range of  “problems” Invisalign can correct, and more often than not — the answer is a hopeful one.

What Invisalign can accomplish while hardly being seen is truly remarkable.  However, it’s important to remember that no two smiles are alike — and sometimes, Invisalign retainers require a little bit of help. This help comes in the form of buttons, attachments, and elastics.

It should come as no surprise that potential Invisalign patients have a lot of questions about these attachments, mainly because they worry they’ll make their Invisalign retainers more noticeable. If these concerns echo your own, remember: Invisalign is designed to make “stealthy” teeth straightening a reality. The same can be said for Invisalign attachments. While they might make your secret weapon just a bit more noticeable, these attachments allow the Invisalign system to correct much more than the plastic retainers would be capable of on their own. So, how do they work?


Invisalign Attachments

Invisalign attachments are just that, small naturally colored attachments that your dentist might add to your teeth to act as anchors so that your retainers will fit properly. This ensures that they provide the correct level of adjustment.

Invisalign Buttons and Elastics

Invisalign “buttons” are often added to the teeth to provide a small “post” for elastics. While not every patient requires buttons or elastics, they enable the treatment to accomplish far more than just the retainers alone. In fact, one of our most common inquiries relates to whether or not Invisalign can correct an improper bite. Fortunately, with buttons and elastics the answer is YES.


Have you decided if Invisalign is right for you?  Here at Primary Dental Care, providing unsurpassed Invisalign treatment for the Anaheim and Fountain Valley Area has become one of our specialties. If you have questions about the treatment and how it might help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted — please don’t hesitate to contact us.