Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS

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Holiday Food Warnings from Garden Grove Dental Arts

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The holidays are here, and that means plenty of food, drink, and fun for families with traditions from around the world. What it also means is plenty of opportunities to land your teeth in a sticky situation (sometimes literally).

Every year, patients come into our dental practice in Garden Grove with more cavities, more decay, and more problems in general. To avoid that, take some advice – keep the following foods, vices, and sweet treats to a minimum to avoid undue dental damage.

Candy Canes

Have you ever been eating a candy can, slowly and patiently melting it into a sharp point – only to get impatient, crunch down on the cane and grind its sweet, minty shards into a sugary cap for your tooth before peeling it off with your tongue and going in for the next section. While they might be a Christmas staple, candy canes and hard candy like them are a chipped tooth waiting to happen, and superfood for dental decay.

Bourbon and other hard, dark spirits

While many families love to add a little Bourbon to the eggnog, it’s unfortunately been shown to be a dangerous drink for your teeth. Bourbon will dry your mouth out, which reduces saliva and puts your mouth at risk for decay and gum disease.

Jujubees and other popular 

Jujubees and other, similar candies frequently used to decorate gingerbread houses almost always require chewing, chewing, and more chewing to get their sugary goodness down. That means the sugar stays on your teeth longer, just like candy canes and provides valuable food for decay and cavities.

Hot Chocolate and Eggnogg

Combine dairy, sugar, and sometimes alcohol and you have the perfect environment for bad breath, a dry mouth, and accelerated decay.

It’s important to be careful, that’s all

The big deal with keeping your teeth safe during the holidays is simply being aware of the risks that are out there. Avoiding the need for treatments like dental crowns or dental restoration really only takes proper prevention – and preventing those prolonged period of damage (like during the holidays) is a great opportunity to get a jump start on perfecting your dental health.

What a Discolored Tooth Means

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It can sometimes be jarring to discover that one or more of your teeth is suddenly becoming discolored.

When it comes to your teeth, discoloration can happen for a variety of reasons. For the most part, if you’re noticing discoloration on one or more teeth – it’s happening either due to internal or external influences.   

Fortunately, when it comes to getting rid of discoloration – extrinsic staining is often the easiest to solve because it’s being caused by either what you’re eating or a lifestyle choice – like smoking or chewing tobacco. Generally, coffee and wine can also cause staining on your teeth.

Intrinsic staining is just a little bit different. Intrinsic staining occurs when something inside the tooth is giving the tooth a darker tinge. Unlike external staining, this can happen for many more reasons than just what you eat, smoke, or chew.

Intrinsic Causes of Tooth Discoloration

Too much fluoride: For some patients, too much fluoride exposure during childhood can lead to discoloration later in life.

The tooth has been somehow damaged: if you fell or sharply impacted a tooth when you were a child, it could potentially affect the development of that tooth – contributing to discoloration. In the same way, trauma in a permanent tooth can also cause internal bleeding that can additionally darken the tooth from its natural color.

Certain antibiotics are causing discoloration: If your mother was a patient who was prescribed tetracycline antibotics, or if you used them at a young age – it could potentially contribute to accelerated discoloration.

It’s genetic: For some rare patients, an uncommon condition known as dentinogenesis imperfecta causes your teeth to take on pronounced discoloration.

There IS a Solution

Fortunately for patients with discolored teeth, our dentists in Orange County have helped countless patients get the white teeth they’ve always wanted. Whether it takes repairing a tooth with procedures ranging from root canal treatment to dental implants – or a simple in-office whitening session, our dentists in Garden Grove are experts when it comes to white teeth.

The Thing About Flossing

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Flossing is important. Let’s just cut to the chase, you gotta do it – but chances, you’re probably not doing it as often as you should.

But remember this one interesting tidbit. When you only brush, you’re only taking care of about 60% of your teeth. Flossing helps take care of the remaining 40% while ensuring your teeth can continue to fight the constant battle against plaque, tartar, bacteria, and decay that work against your mouth.

By more thoroughly cleaning your teeth with floss, you prevent the spread of decay and the eventual need for potentially expensive procedures, ranging from simple cavity fillings to dental crowns – which are essentially designed to cover and protect your entire tooth.  For some patients, poor oral care can even lead to the need for more serious and expensive procedures – such as those involved with actually extracting and replacing the damaged tooth with either dental implants or dental crowns.

Unfortunately, this is something we see far too often in our Orange County dental practice. The good news is that it’s easy to prevent. Remembering that remaining “40%”  of tooth area that your floss takes care of is a great way to bring a sense of true completion to your daily oral hygiene routine.

So next time you’re brushing your teeth – just ask yourself, “Are my teeth 100% clean?”

 

 

Can getting something stuck in your tooth require a trip to the dentist? Maybe!

Typically, when you get something stuck in your teeth there’s absolutely nothing wrong. Sometimes, all it takes is a bit of gentle prodding with a finger nail. Other times, it might take some rinsing and a bit of dental floss.

But what happens if you can’t get the stuck food out of your teeth? Well, that’s when it gets just a little more complicated. However, don’t worry! Even the most stubborn stuck piece of food is only a simple dental visit away from relief – or some skillful flossing.

At first, you might wonder why food gets stuck between your teeth in the first place. Sometimes, this problem can stem from a failing filling or dental crown that opens a space. This will often require adjustment from your dentist, who can ensure the filling or crown is properly shaped for your mouth and more comfortable in the future. A cracked tooth or growing cavity can also cause a small space to form between your teeth.

However, when it all comes down to it – many times the most often cause of food stuck between your teeth is pure bad luck.  Sometimes, if you don’t get the offending piece of food out it can work its way deeper – increasing the irritation and making the piece harder to dislodge. This can lead to further problems, such as an increased risk for bacteria, infection, and inflammation – all precursors to gum disease and issues like cavities.

 What to Watch Our For 

Whether its a piece of steak or a popcorn kernel,  when it comes to getting a piece of stuck food out of your teeth and preventing problems in the future, floss is key! And that doesn’t mean toothpicks. It might seem like a good idea at first when you can’t find any handy dental floss, but toothpicks can actually do more harm than good.

If the piece of food is particularly stubborn, you can also try to brush with some antiseptic mouth rash in the area. Get it in there really good. This can sometimes help.

When all else fails, just get in touch with your dentist! Ultimately, it’s the easiest way to handle a tricky situation while also ensuring you prevent that situation from becoming more expensive to treat.   You may be surprised to know that our dentists in Garden Grove have run into this quite a bit. Fortunately, we’ve found that the solution is generally pretty simple.

How an Apple a Day Helps Keep the Dentist Away

When it comes to your teeth, you are what you consume. But, it’s not just about eating certain vitamins and minerals. No, fruits and vegetables themselves (in their raw form) have been proven to actively help ensure a long and healthy life for your teeth. Among those fruits and vegetables is the venerable apple – the proud subject of a great legend, the one that some think makes a rather bold claims about keeping the dentist away.

Have you ever bitten into an apple only to wonder, “So does an apple a day really keep the dentist away?” Well, let’s take a look.

One study in Nature journal recently published evidence that suggested huge health benefits from fruits and veggies. Except, the catch was that the good stuff that delivered those benefits can’t be easily contained in a supplement.

For example, one group of researchers from Cornell found that the antioxidants present in one fresh apple were the same as 1500 milligrams of vitamin C – making the apple, straight-from-nature is the more effective and efficient solution.

However, these fruits don’t just help your teeth by being good for you. For parents, it’s also important to remember how fruits like apples help create good habits that go the extra mine when it comes to keeping the dentist away. Because apple (and other fruits) are both naturally sweet and pretty healthy, it can help to use them as a reward instead – so that children are more inclined to look at an apple or a pear as a sweet treatinstead of immediately turning to a candy bar or bag of sweets.

The problem to avoid here is refined sugars. It’s been shown that white carbohydrates and refined sugars tend to have a much more damaging effect on your teeth. That means avoiding chocolates, candies, caramels, and even cough drops that contain refined sugar. By sticking with natural foods and natural sugars, you cut the risk your teeth see in half.

Our dentists in Garden Grove have helped countless patients bounce back from dental damage of all kinds – from simple cleanings to dental bridges, crowns, and more – when patients in Orange County need answers on their teeth, we’re always happy to help!

 

 

 

 

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About a Root Canal

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When it comes to dental health and the dental procedures experienced by patients around the country, one of the most feared procedures has always been the root canal.

Why a root canal is a good thing. 

Here’s the thing, your teeth are intended to last you a lifetime. The goal of a root canal is to make that possible, even when your teeth are damaged and need repairs.

Typically, this happens when conditions like decay, cavities, and gum disease

 What happens if the dental pulp is injured?

The pulp is soft tissue inside the tooth that contains blood vessels and nerves. When the pulp becomes inflamed or infected, treatment is needed. The most common causes of pulp inflammation or infection are a cracked or chipped tooth, a deep cavity or filling, or other serious injury to the tooth. All of these can allow bacteria to enter the pulp.

When this happens, the pulp needs to be removed in order to ensure that the tissues around the tooth and its root don’t also become infected, which can lead to infection spreading from your mouth, to your jaw, and even into your bloodstream. What many might not realize is that a root canal that’s left untreated can actually progress into a very dangerous and even life threatening situation.

By performing the root canal, you save the natural tooth – potentially for life! On top of this, preserving your natural tooth is also much less expensive than replacing the tooth.

  How is it Done?

With root canal treatment, the goal is to clean out the infected dental pulp, fill the cavity with medication to ensure all of the infection and inflammation is taken care of, and – eventually – cover the affected tooth with a dental crown for added support.

Just in case you missed it, take a look at yesterday’s post to get a better idea of what to expect from your root canal.

 

How Bacteria Invades Your Mouth and Leads to Trouble

If you were to visit your dentist and get the news that your teeth aren’t looking so great, when asked the question “Do you know what happened to your teeth?”  You might be tempted to respond with one of a couple potential answers.

If you choose to be defensive, you might respond with something like, “I didn’t do anything wrong! I always brush and floss!” (Even if that isn’t quite the truth). If you’re being a little more candid, you might be inclined to say that you   weren’t the best when it came to faithfully flossing and brushing your teeth. While that might be true, what you can really say with almost absolute certainty  is that the bacteria in your mouth created a suitable environment for acid and decay.Thats right, it’s probably that simple.

But how?

There are many different types of bacteria in your mouth. Some estimates put the number in the hundreds. Fortunately, not all of them are out to do you harm and raise your dental bill….but one of them is a particularly prolific offender.

Tooth decay and even gum disease are often spurred on by one specific bacteria that’s found in the mouth  – streptococcus mutans, otherwise known as S. Mutans. When this bacteria is allowed to spread too much, it puts your mouth at risk for accelerated decay and cavities. Of course, if these aren’t treated it could lead to a need for restorative work like dental crowns or even the full replacement of teeth with dental bridges or implants.

When you eat sugary foods, sticky substances called glycoproteins adhere themselves to you teeth. Unfortunately, this provides S. Mutants with a perfect surface to hang onto so that it can fuel its lifecycle by digesting the sugar to create energy, which creates acid as a biproduct. It’s this acid that sits on your teeth and works away at them. This is why your teeth are especially at risk when the bacteria has been allowed to thrive.  If more of the bacteria exists to excrete acids – it multiplies the damage, and makes it happen faster and on a greater scale. When this occurs, the acid attacks calcium phosphate – a critical component of dental enamel. The result? Cavities.

TAre you experiencing dental pain or sensitivity? Our dentists in Garden Grove can help. Chances are it’s just some bacteria getting out of hand!

 

How Root Canal Treatment Works

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If you’ve been reading, by now you hopefully understand that a root canal isn’t necessarily something you should be afraid. Of course, if you think you might have the symptoms that lead to the need for root canal treatment (severe tooth pain when you apply pressure or chew, swelling in your gums near the pain, darkened teeth, and intense sensitivity) – it is important to quickly get treatment.

In fact, if you’ve been dealing with a toothache and all of the above symptoms for a long time there might even be a need for a visit to the emergency dentist.

What’s involved with root canal treatment? 

Typically, root canal treatment takes more than one visit to the dentists office. While the bulk of the procedure can generally be completed in one visit, there is often a need for a dental crown – which is typically added to the tooth after the tooth has had an opportunity to heal. This also gives your dentist the chance to ensure that all of the bacteria has been taken care of before sealing it with a crown.

  1. Your Tooth is Numbed: This is the part that ensures the whole procedure doesn’t hurt. First, a thin piece of rubber is stretched over the tooth to keep it clear of saliva. Then, your dentist will apply a numbing agent that takes effect almost instantly.
  2. Your dentist removes the pulp, all of it: Your dentist will use specialized tools to remove the nerve of the tooth and usually all of the pulp. Then, the root canal is totally cleaned out and shaped so that it can be fully and effectively filled – preventing the chance for infection in the future.
  3. Bring on the medicine: After the tooth is cleaned and prepared – your dentist will often inject medicine into the now empty chamber to make double sure that infection doesn’t remain.
  4. A temporary filling is added: With the tooth cleaned, disinfected, and filled – your dentist will finally add a temporary filling. Once complete, depending on how deep the infection went you might also be given an antibiotic.
  5. In the final stage of root canal treatment, the temporary filling will be removed, before the tooth is fully enclosed and restored with a dental crown.

Are you experiencing intense dental pain and sensitivity? You might need a root canal. If you’re a patient looking for a dentist in Orange County that does root canals, know this: our dentists have provided hundreds (and probably thousands) of successful root canal treatments. Have a question? Give us a call!

 

The Different Kinds of Dental Cracks and Fractures

Breaking a tooth is never a happy prospect. For many, while cracking or chipping a tooth generally doesn’t hurt too bad – the real shock is the jarring moment after impact – and the period of shock and wonder when you’re too afraid to assess the damage.

It might be fairly easy to see that there’s much more than just one type of injury for your teeth. Learn more below about the types of dental damage our dentists in Orange County see every day

  • Fractured Cusp:  Sometimes, patients will call about a piece of the actual chewing surface chipping or even crumbling. This doesn’t always hurt, and is usually treated with a dental crown or dental bonding.
  • Cracks: Typically, a crack will extend from the chewing surface, downward – towards the root. When it comes to cracks, you want to get them treated as soon as possible – or the damage will continue to spread, get worse, and lead to infection (which could require a root canal, followed by a crown).
  • Split Teeth: A split tooth is what you get if you don’t treat a cracked tooth for a prolonged period of time. Unfortunately,  unlike a cracked tooth – a split tooth cannot usually be saved.
  • Vertical root fracture: a vertical root fracture is different from a regular crack because it extends from the root, upwards – to the tooth’s chewing surface. Many times, these injuries go a long time without being noticed, until pain and the obvious signs of infection begin to manifest as the most noticeable symptoms.
  • Craze lines: Craze lines are hazy cracks that are only found in the outer enamel of your teeth.  While they can sometimes look like a spiderweb of cracks on the surface of your teeth, they are nothing to be worried about and are only cosmetic. They tend to happen more as adults age.

If you live in Orange County or the Garden Grove area and you’ve recently suffered a dental injury, you might be curious about what can be done to restore your tooth to its original health. We’re happy to help! Our dentists in Garden Grove help patients every day with problems just like yours. Contact us today for a consultation to get started.

Why your teeth break and What we can do about it

Your teeth are actually petty amazing little things, but you might not even realize it. It goes without saying that each tooth is an essential tool, doing its part. That is, helping you eat and speak properly. But that’s not all. On top of the millions of tiny nerve endings in each tooth, you have dentin and enamel; they are the two hardest substances in your body. In addition to the protection of dentin and enamel, your teeth have also developed an amazing set of abilities to protect themselves in other ways.

A great example of the way your teeth have adapted to protect themselves also sheds light on why teeth often break unexpectedly. This is because, the tiny nerve endings in your teeth (and mouth) tie into your central nervous system directly. Using your brains complex system of memory and recognition, your teeth are capable of understanding different textures and types of food, which allows them to tell the brain – at the blink of an eye – which chewing technique will be best.

More often than you’d think, the feedback received by your brain is to stop chewing immediately. Your teeth absolutely rely on this impulse in order to safely eat all sorts of food. This fast reaction is second only to the protection system used by your eyes.

Throughout your life, your teeth rely on these impulses to smash hundreds (if not thousands) of pounds of food. So it’s important for them to stay sharp. But when they do falter, which can happen from time to time under certain circumstances, accidents can happen – like chipped or broken teeth.

Repairing a number of different kinds of dental cracks and fractures requires a variety of repair techniques.

Dental bonding

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Composite bonding is a technique used to repair cracked, decayed, chipped, and otherwise misshapen teeth. The nice thing is, bonding will last about 10 years. On top of this, anesthesia generally isn’t required and the procedure is relatively quick.

First, the tooth is roughed up a little bit to make a suitable surface for bonding. Then, a putty is applied, molded to the proper shape, and then smoothed out. Next, a UV light is applied to harden the material before finishing it off with a nice, natural looking polish.

Veneers

A veneer is a covering for the tooth that covers up and irregularity and protects it from future damage. The veneer is carefully bonded to to the tooth so that it can last up to 30 years, if taken care of properly.

Veneers can be a great way to perfect your smile, but if you tend to grind your teeth you might not be the best candidate. Or, sometimes our dentists in Orange County recommend simply treating that symptom first, such as with a mouth guard.

Dental Crowns

Sometimes, a severe chip or crack while eating or drinking might require a more robust solution, such as dental crown. Dental crowns are one of the most widely used dental restorations for their comprehensive ability to fully protect and restore the tooth.