Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS


Do You Need a Retainer?


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


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


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



Do you have bad breath? Here’s how to improve it! (and where it comes from)


Have you ever been in the embarrassing situation where someone told you that you had bad breath? Or maybe you happened to be one of the lucky ones that noticed it on your own – and have since relied on mints and gum to help take care of the problem yourself?

Bad breath can be a big problem both personally and professionally, and nobody wants to deal with it. The worst part is, many people suffer from it and don’t even realize they have it.

So today, our dentists in Garden Grove are here to talk about how you can prevent and get rid of bad breath.

How to tell if you have bad breath

An easy way to see if you have breath is incredibly simple: lick the inside of your wrist or the back of your hand, and take a wiff. If that smells bad, there’s a good chance that your breath does too.

Next, take a glance at your tongue. Is it yellow? white? If that’s the case – there’s also a good chance that you have bad breath.

What causes bad breath?

In most cases, bad breath is generally caused by oral hygiene habits that aren’t as good as they could be. If you’re not brushing or flossing twice a day, it could very well be the source of your bad breath.

That said, consider yourself lucky that bad breath is the only oral hygiene problem you’re having. But the good news is that by clearing that up, you also put your teeth in a better position to handle decay and fight cavities as well.

Many people are surprised that they have breath, and say “But I brush every day, sometimes even three times a day!” But if you’re not also flossing – it means you’re missing a large portion of the bacteria in your mouth that can cause bad-breath. In addition to that, you can also try rinsing and tongue scraping.

But don’t worry, tongue scraping might sound unpleasant – but it isn’t. A tongue scraper simply “brushes” your tongue to help remove bacteria and gunk that goes on to contribute to bad breath.

If you have severely bad breath, this might take some work. You might even see a little blood – but stick with it. After continues tongue scraping for a prolonged period, you’ll eventually stop seeing gunk and debris come off the scraper. Just give it some time.

Is your bad breath not improving?

If you live in the Anaheim area, see our Garden Grove dentists today! We’ve helped countless patients solve relatively simple problems ranging from bad breath and yellow teeth to serious dental decay.




“My tooth aches sometimes, what does that mean?”


Having a toothache is never a fun prospect, especially if you don’t have dental insurance. But know this, toothaches are very common – and many patients around the world often wonder what a specific type of pain means. Recently, we received this question:

“My tooth aches every once in a while. It’s not a terrible pain, but it comes back pretty consistently in the same place. Is this something I should worry about?”

The answer may not be surprising.

While you shouldn’t worry too much about an achy tooth, you should be concerned – and you should follow up with your dentist. A dull toothache that sort-of comes and goes is one of the most common types of toothaches. They are usually pretty mild, and can come and go – especially if you take over the counter painkillers. However, it’s important that you don’t substitute this sort of approach for real treatment.  A toothache like this could often be a small cavity from dental decay, nerve damage, or the result of tooth-grinding.

 “…But do I need to go to the dentist right now?” 

What you might be wondering is, is this a dental emergency?  And it’s probably not, especially if the pain is dull and not everpresent. That said, it is important that you get a dental exam as soon as you can. Why? Because your tooth won’t get better on its own. It can only get worse, and the sooner you take care of it the easier and less expensive it will be.

On the other hand, if you have more intense persistent dental pain – you really do need to see a dentist as soon as you can.

 How to figure out what kind of dental pain you have

It’s possible to identify the kind of pain that accompanies different kind of dental problems. Ask yourself: is the pain always the same? Or does it change as the day goes on? Dental pain from tooth decay is often worse in the morning and at night. On top of that, it’s also more likely to get worse when you eat tough foods.  This might not be the same when it comes to dental problems from things like nerve damage or tooth grinding.

Are you experiencing dental pain in the Anaheim area? Our Garden Grove dentists are always ready to help. Contact us today to learn more!

When was the last time you flossed?

There’s a reason our dentists in the Anaheim area are insistent that you floss daily, and floss well!

You might think “Well, I don’t floss ever and my teeth seem perfectly fine!” But in order to curtail that thinking – you need to remember how bacteria in your teeth works.

While you can’t see, feel, or even taste them – you might not realize that your entire mouth is the perfect home to virtually countless clusters of micro-organisms and bacteria. But before you feel grossed out or violated, remember: many of them are perfectly harmless, and some of them are even beneficial for you. But some of them are at the root of disease and dental decay. It’s those bacteria that need to be controlled by good oral care, a healthy diet, and you guessed it, flossing. 

The thing is, while some of the bacteria in your mouth is actually responsible for protecting your teeth – even that bacteria has to be eradicated daily along with the bad bacteria in order to prevent damage. I guess you could call it collateral damage. But don’t feel bad for “good guy bacteria” in your mouth. It will all come back – the bad and the good. That’s why it’s so important to have a daily oral hygiene routine.

How to Floss Correctly

By flossing properly you remove both plaque and food debris that fuel bacteria and decay. More importantly, you get the stuff that’s hiding between your teeth and beneath your gum-line. Taking care of these elements is one of the most effective ways for you to keep your teeth clean and free from harm.

To floss properly, do the following:

  • Start with about 18 inches of floss, wrap a good portion of it around your middle fingers and leave an inch or two in-between.
  • Gently slide the floss up and down, between and around your teeth
  • When you reach the base of each tooth, curve it gently around the tooth and just beneath the gumline. Never force it.
  • Gently adjust the floss so you’re using clean sections as you move between teeth

Have questions about your teeth, flossing, or dental health in general? If you live in the Anaheim area – we can help. Contact our dentists in Garden Grove today to learn more.