Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS

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A Refresher on Gum Disease, Periodontitis, and What You Can do to Stop Them

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Gum disease is one of the most prevalent health issues in the United States. Fortunately, while many patients have gum disease – the scope of gum disease is very broad. And gum disease in its earliest stages is relatively easy to treat and reverse.

However, periodontal disease – when not properly treated – can easily lead to early tooth loss due to the gradual destruction of the tissue that surrounds and supports your teeth.

With this in mind, our dentists in Garden Grove would like to give dental patients far and wide a brief primer on what gum disease is, how bad it can get, and some common question that patients have about it.

But what’s the difference between Gum Disease and Gingivitis? 

Gingivitis happens when bacteria in your mouth and around your teeth creates a build-up of plaque – which is a sticky film of bacterial buildup that fuels tooth decay and gum disease. When you have gingivitis, it causes your gums to become inflamed-  which can lead to puffy, bleeding gums – especially when you floss.

Periodontitis – otherwise known as gum disease is an infection of your gums that gradually causes them to pull away from your teeth which exposes your teeth to more germs and bacteria. This leaves them particularly susceptible to the destruction of gum and bone tissue. This will eventually cause your teeth to become loose – making gingivitis the number one leading cause of early tooth loss in adults.

In most cases, gum disease starts with plaque. This is a primary reason why our dentists in the Anaheim area stress that patients need to come in for a visit to ensure that their teeth are free from plaque.

There are other sources of periodontitis. Some of them include:

  • Illnesses such as cancer, HIV, and diabetes
  • Genetics
  • Poor oral hygiene
  • Smoking
  • Pregnancy

So what can you do?

Preventing gum disease isn’t that hard. All it takes is establishing a good oral hygiene routine and visiting your dentist a couple times a year. That’s it! As long as you don’t have other risk factors like illness or smoking – it really comes down to controlling how much plaque and bacteria are living in your mouth. Floss. Brush. And you’ll be good!

 

What’s the Best Way to Get Nice, White Teeth?

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Just about everyone could use a confidence boost from time to time. But where do you start? You could get in better shape by hitting the gym or starting a diet – both very worthwhile goals. Or, you could hit the mall and find some great new clothes to make you feel great – but that could get a little expensive.

Naturally, our dentists in the Anaheim area have an even better suggestion. Why not start with your teeth? They’re always with you, it’s been proven that smiling more can make you happier, and it’s both a fast and affordable procedure that lasts for quite a while (especially with good oral hygiene).

But what’s the best way to get whiter teeth? That depends.

If you like how your teeth are shaped and positioned in your mouth – or if your dentist has never really identified any major problems with your teeth, in-office teeth whitening has become a safe and effective method used by patients around the world with great results.

You might wonder if at-home whitening is an option, and it is, but it does tend to take a little longer to achieve the same results as in-office dental whitening – which takes about an hour and can whiten your teeth by multiple shades.

If you have sensitive teeth, however, the whitening compound used for in-office whitening can sometimes be a bit too much for patients with sensitive teeth – resulting in increased dental sensitivity for a short time. Even though this doesn’t generally last, it can sometimes steer patients with sensitive teeth towards at-home whitening that uses a less-intense whitening gel inside of a special mouth-guard you wear.

What about over-the-counter whitening products?

The thing about OTC whitening products is that they aren’t very consistent. From whitening toothpastes to whitening strips and the horribly inconsistent whitening goop you “brush” on with an applicator  – it’s all a bit of a mixed bag. On top of this,  the concentrations of hydrogen peroxide aren’t as effective as the concentration your dentist can offer.

What if my teeth are also misshapen, too? 

If you’re unhappy with the color and shape of your teeth – that’s where something like dental veneers or crowns are an option. Solutions like crowns or veneers can help completely transform your smile by covering up imperfections and color matching the “artificial” tooth to match your other teeth (after they’ve been whitened).

But do remember, veneers and crowns don’t always whiten like your natural teeth. So if you do get a veneer or crown, you either need to be extra careful about avoiding food and drink that stains your teeth (covered in our blog post: Teeth Whitening 101: How and Why Your Teeth Get Stained)  or you need periodically get your teeth re-whitened to match.

Have questions about getting nicer teeth? Our dentists in the Anaheim area have answers. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help boost your confidence. 

A Guide to Easter Candy By Your Dentists in Garden Grove

easter-candy-guide-anaheim-dentists

Every year, the holidays fill families everywhere with joy (and sometimes dread) but they can also lead to plenty of questions from concerned parents about the kind of damage that certain festive treats can do to our teeth.

So today, with Easter just around the corner – our dentists in Garden Grove have put together a brief guide to Easter candy.

But if you don’t read one more word, the biggest takeaway is this: there’s a ton of junk out there. So just be careful with your teeth and carefully consider what you put in your mouth.

But don’t let this worry you – or reduce the amount of fun your family has on the holidays. There are still plenty of ways to moderate candy and make sure everyone in the family is as healthy as possible.

Easter Candies to Avoid

  • Candy that’s sticky:  When candy is sticky, it’s bad for your teeth. That’s pretty much all there is to it. When sticky candy sticks to your teeth, that means sugar ticks around. It also means bacteria and decay are just around the corner.
  • Gummies: Gummy candies tend to be the most acidic candies. Acid also contributes to decay.
  • Candy that’s in it for the long haul:  Ever had a jawbreaker? Consider them a dentist’s worst nightmare. A ton of sugar, popped in your mouth (many times against a few single teeth) for minutes or even hours at a time. Terrible. Just terrible. If you want to do your teeth a favor, avoid candies that are built to last.

Instead, choose dark chocolates, home-made goods (with safer sweeteners like monk fruit or stevia), and chocolates with nuts – due to the way nuts can help reduce how sticky the candy is.

Some tips so you can have your candy, and keep your teeth too!

Drink lots of water when you eat candy: When you drink water, it helps by neutralizing some of the acid that gets produced when bacteria feeds on sugar and debris. It also helps wash away some of the remaining sugary debris.

Whatever you do, try not to snack all day: When you eat a lot of candy  – it’s bad for your teeth. But it’s always better to gorge on candy for one day than to spread your candy consumption out over multiple days. Sounds weird, doesn’t it? But it’s really not. When it comes to exposing your teeth to danger, try to minimize the exposure time as much as possible.

Don’t brush right away: When you eat anything that produces acid – it stays on your teeth for a while. Brushing your teeth right away can rub that acid into your teeth – which won’t help. Just wait about 30 minutes before brushing and you’ll be fine. 

Our expert pediatric dentists in the Anaheim area help children of every age live happy, healthy lives with brighter, whiter teeth. Do you have questions about your child’s teeth? Our  dentists can help. 

 

Common Questions Patients Often Have About the Dentist

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For some patients, going to the dentist isn’t always a matter of getting in the car, buckling up, and hitting the road. Many patients can come up with plenty of valid reasons for putting off their visit to the dentist.

Some patients have dental anxiety – a very real concern for hundreds of thousands of individuals around the world. Sometimes, they have no idea why they feel the way they feel. Other times – factors like drills, needles, and even the smell of the dentist’s office can set them off. And then there’s a much larger group of patients – the ones that don’t have dental insurance, who put off visiting their dentist for a much different reason.

For every type of patient, there are options to make dental care easy. Whether you get nervous about the dentist’s office or simply about affording dental care there’s always a way to help. But the key?  Don’t skip the dentist. Preventative care is essential. And putting off care can only lead to trouble.

But being uncertain or even nervous about the dentist can lead to a lot of questions, so today our dentists in Garden Grove are addressing some of the most common questions and concerns that patients have.

Do I need to see the dentist even if nothing’s wrong?

Even if there’s nothing wrong with your teeth – dental visits are important because they can help identify problems as early as possible. This makes treating problems faster, easier, and less expensive. On top of this – as we discussed in a previous blog:  3 Health Problems Your Dentist Can Spot, your dentist can also help make sure the rest of you is healthy as well.

Are there any signs I need to see the dentist? 

  • You’re pregnant: being pregnant can influence your teeth in many subtle ways that can lead to cavity, decay, and gum disease. While life might seem really busy all of a sudden – do your best not to lose sight of your regular dental hygiene routine.
  • Your teeth are sensitiveThis can happen due to a number of reasons ranging from genetics and over-brushing to gingivitis.
  • You have dental restorations: If you have had work done like dental implants, dentures, crowns, or fillings – it’s important to see the dentist regularly since decay and bacteria can often cling to these “additions” to your teeth.
  • Your gums are bleeding when you brush: If you’re bleeding when you brush or floss (and it doesn’t go away after a few days), it could be a sign that your dentist needs to take a look at your gums.
  • Your breath is bad: Do you have bad breath? Or maybe a bad taste in your mouth? It could be as simple as the need to improve your oral hygiene. You could also have a dental abscess – which is more serious.
  • You have a medical condition: If you have a medical condition like diabetes, an eating disorder, or heart problems – your condition and your medications could influence your oral health. Fro

 

 Have a concern about your teeth? Let our dentists in Garden Grove answer it. 

A Quick Refresher on Rinsing: A Great Way to Freshen Your Breath

When it comes to taking care of your teeth – you want to cover all of your bases. As our dentists in the Anaheim area frequently remind patients – that includes brushing and flossing.

But if we’re talking about “covering your bases” we can’t just leave it at two, can we? That’s why rinsing your mouth makes a great third line of defense for safely and gently keeping your teeth as healthy as possible.

But you don’t even really need to go out and buy anything new if you don’t already have mouthwash at home. In fact, you don’t even really need mouthwash to rinse out your mouth.  All it takes is some salt and water (but mouthwash can’t hurt either)

Salt has actually been used to aid in healthcare for many many years – actually dating back to some of the earliest medical texts ever found. Just like ancient Egyptians were known to pioneer other realms of dentistry – like dental fillings – they also used salt to fight infection and bacteria.

But how much good can salt really do?  It might not feel as powerful as mouth-wash but it briefly increases the pH (and reduces the acidity) in your mouth. This helps create an environment where bacteria have a hard time surviving. By rinsing with saltwater every-so-often you can effectively reduce how inviting your mouth is for the bacteria that can gradually lead to decay and cavities.

But you shouldn’t make it an every day thing. While salt water is both a natural disinfectant and a healing aid that can reduce swelling and inflammation – long-term use could upset the pH balance in your mouth which could lead to dental problems down the road.

Have questions about your teeth? Our Anaheim area dentists can help! Contact our office today to learn about new patient specials and more. 

 

 

 

Ever Wondered Where Dental Crowns Came From?

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When it comes to fixing your teeth – you have technology on your side. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways to approach any problems that can arise with your teeth – and dental technology has come a seriously long way.

Consider dental crowns for instance – if you aren’t sure what a dental crown is, it’s a specific type of cosmetic dentistry restoration that your dentist uses to protect teeth for a number of reasons. Sometimes, they’ve had a root canal procedure. Other times, a dental crown might be used because you have a large dental filling – leaving your tooth vulnerable, and needing extra support. And in more traumatic cases – your tooth might sustain some damage that may make a dental crown the most appropriate option to protect it from further damage and decay. Bottom line: dental crowns are used to protect your teeth, make them last longer, and prevent the spread of damage in the future. Think of them as a suit of armor for your teeth (that look exactly like your original teeth).

Crowns are typically made of porcelain, gold, or a combination of metal and porcelain – which are often blended together to balance cost and aesthetics.

In olden times – dental crowns were much simpler, and it was a lot harder to match the shape and color of your existing teeth. This could make crowns look a little jarring. Today, dental patients are fortunate to have modern technology at their disposal, which makes dental crowns less expensive and much more effective (and attractive).  In most cases, it takes our dentists in the Anaheim area 2 appointments to fit your tooth (or teeth) with a crown.

But where did crowns come from?

If you thought dental crowns were a relatively recent invention – you’d be wrong. Etruscans were actually some of the first to use what we now call dental crowns. However, theirs were made of materials ranging from gold and ivory to bone and even human teeth.

The amazing thing is that these dental crowns continued to get used into the 19th century! That’s only 118 years ago.  The great thing, is that these gave way to porcelain dentures being invented – as well as porcelain crowns. And as technology got better and better – dentists around the world started experimenting with different materials to make them last longer and be stronger. Today – they rival the strength of natural teeth. Which is pretty amazing.

 

 

With a Dental Bridge – You Have History On Your Side

"Bridge from dental porcelain" by Original uploader was Wagonerj at en.wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Sevela.p using CommonsHelper.. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Bridge_from_dental_porcelain.jpg#/media/File:Bridge_from_dental_porcelain.jpg

A typical dental bridge.

Every year our dentists in the Anaheim area install countless dental bridges for patients from all walks of life. The thing about a dental bridge, is that it can function very much like your natural teeth, while offering enough strength to suit your day to day life (with a little bit of extra care thrown in – especially depending on where the tooth is located in your mouth), and they look almost exactly like a natural tooth.

Like dental crowns, dental bridges are a type of cosmetic restoration that can be prepared and fitted to your teeth to replace missing teeth. Unlike crowns, bridges aren’t used to cover existing teeth – but are used to completely replace teeth that have gone missing. With a dental bridge, teeth on either side of the gap created by missing teeth are used to support the bridge.

Dental bridges have become a popular and important piece of dental technology due to the fact that they’re relatively inexpensive and very effective – which is great, because it’s really important to make sure that if you do lose a tooth that it gets replaced. Otherwise, the other teeth can begin to crowd, move around, and otherwise fall out of place – which can lead to some pretty serious bite and alignment problems.

Sometimes, patients can be a little uncertain of dental bridges and whether or not they can trust them to last – while delivering comfort and the usefulness they came to expect from their natural teeth. For those patients – our dentists often remind them that dental bridges have come an incredibly long way since they were invented.

While dental bridges were used in early America and by such civilizations as the ancient Egyptians – historians often think that they came from as far back as the ancient Etruscans, who were settled around Tuscany in what is now present-day Italy over 2500 years ago.

The funny thing – however – is that the Etruscans didn’t really use bridges to replace missing teeth. Instead (like many hip hop artists today), they used bridges as a status symbol. many women would even wear gold bridges to show off how wealthy they were.   Even still, they pioneered the way dental bridges were made and installed – making way for dental bridges of the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries which were used to replace teeth.

This simply goes to show that dental bridges have come a very long way. From the way they are designed to the way they are colored and installed. There’s a reason bridges have remained a staple in cosmetic dentistry.

Are you missing teeth, or do you have a tooth that might need to be removed? Our dentists in Garden Grove are some of the best cosmetic dentists around. If you have questions about your options or you simply need some answers – we’re here to help.

 

3 Simple Strategies for Avoiding Cavities

A great many people live their lives nervous about going to the dentist because they’re nervous about getting cavities. What they need to remember is that you don’t get cavities at the dentist….it’s just where you find out about them. And if you’re only finding out about your cavities when you go to the dentist – you’re fighting a losing battle.

Ideally, you’re finding out about cavities or other potential problems early. Either by discovering them through your immaculate care or our Garden Grove dentists discovering them long before they become a serious problem.

3 Simple Strategies for Avoiding Cavities

First: Start at Home 

Avoiding cavities starts at home with proper care. That means daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing to prevent tooth decay. In doing so, you give your teeth a leg-up in their constant battle against the bacteria that creates acid and eats away at your dental enamel.

Then….In the Kitchen

But protecting your teeth doesn’t just happen at the bathroom vanity. It happens in the kitchen, the break-room, and on the road. With your diet. A healthy diet will help keep your teeth healthy. Period. That means minimizing things like sweets  and getting all of the vitamins and minerals your body (and your teeth) need.  Need help with your diet? Read our recent post about How Your Diet Could Be Affecting Your Teeth

Next, Take it to your Dentist’s Office

There are some things your dentist can see that nobody else can. More often than not, if you have a cavity brewing that you can’t even feel yet – your dentist will find it at your next exam. That’s why keeping your appointments with your dentist is incredibly important. Even if you don’t have dental insurance – prevention pays. 

Is Coffee Bad for My Teeth? Our Garden Grove Dentists Weigh In.

Coffee cup top view on wooden table background

Every year you probably see stories in the news and articles online about how this food or that drink is suddenly very bad for you.

Then, months or years later you see a similar story – except now the food and drink is suddenly responsible for protecting you from cancer, the common cold, flu, bad grades, indigestion, and truancy.

The general rule of thumb when it comes to staining your teeth is that if it can stain your clothes, it can stain your teeth. The ingredient in coffee that actually stains your teeth is called tannins – which are a type of substance that gradually break down in water.  But don’t forget – they’re not just found in coffee, they’re also found in drinks like tea, wine, and grape juice.  The thing about tannins are that they cause many color compounds to more easily bind to substrates – like your teeth. But when they do this, they won’t turn your teeth purple or brown. Instead, they leave behind a somewhat yellow hue.

Did you know that it only takes about a coffee or two a day to cause stained teeth?

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid it – and you don’t even really have to give up your precious morning cup.

You can start by trying to avoid cream and sugar. According to most research these substances can accelerate the rate that bacteria builds up on your teeth – which can provide more ammo for stains to stick around. It also helps if you drink your coffee in one sitting – rather than one long cup that lasts the entire day.  Finally – if you’re able to, brushing your teeth can also go a long way to prevent the stains. But if you can’t brush your teeth during the day  – even drinking a glass of water can help wash away some of the debris and residue that can contribute to staining.

Have a question about protecting your teeth? Our dentists in Garden Grove can help. For new patient specials and all the help you need for healthier teeth – contact us today.

 

 

 

 

 

Do I need to brush more than twice a day?

how to take care of dental bridges

Is it possible to brush your teeth too much? 

 

Is it possible to do anything too much? Of course.

Eat too much healthy food. Drink too much water. Excercise too much – and you’ll run into problems. If you believe it, the same can be said for brushing your teeth.

Every day, our dentists in the Anaheim area and dentists around the world see patients who have slowly but surely worn down their teeth.  They didn’t do it with candy or nailbiting though. Many of them did it with their toothbrushes, a little too much enthusiasm, and not quite enough instruction or care.

Word to the wise: just like working out or staying hydrated – there is certainly too much of a good thing when it comes to taking care of your teeth.

Fortunately, there’s another step in this manufacturing process that most (not all) quality toothbrushes undergo. After the bristles are cut to be the same height, they are treated in such a way that the sharp edges of the nylon bristles are rounded into hemispherical, soft domes – this, too, is visible underneath the microscope. This process makes the toothbrush bristles safe to use. After being rounded, they are far less abrasive than when they are freshly cut and safe to use because they don’t scrape away tooth structure.
The smoothness of your bristles also gets worn away back to its original jaggedness via brushing, which is why you may have heard that dentists recommend you replace your toothbrush often. The key is to throw away your toothbrush before the bristles splay, because by that point, it’s too late. Splayed bristles mean you’ve been using a worn toothbrush that is too abrasive and has been wearing away your tooth structure.

Any dental patient should understand that overbrushing can (and usually) will gradually wear away at your dental enamel. And there are a few different parts to minimizing the damage. First: you should understand how your toothbrush is made. Every toothbrush bristle is an amalgamation of nylon strands that are then softened down (and microscopically rounded) to prevent them from being jagged.

Over time, the smoothness of your toothbrush’s bristles gradually gets worn down – returning your toothbrush bristles to their original jaggedness. This is a primary reason why your dentist encourages you to change your toothbrush often, to make sure that you’re getting the best of it and not doing any unnecessary damage.  

So, do you need to brush 2 or maybe 3 times a day? Sure. Go for it! But 5 or 6 times a day could be overdoing it. For better results, don’t brush more – brush right. Check our latest post on brushing for some helpful tips: Are You Brushing Your Teeth Right?