Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS

714-537-5700

What are these vertical lines on my teeth?

Here’s the scenario. You’re brushing your teeth or flossing – and you look closely at your teeth to notice a few small, but definitely noticeable lines. More specifically, you notice some vertical lines on your teeth and wonder, “are those cracks. Or are they stains?”

Fortunately for you, you will be relieved to learn that these lines generally aren’t serious. What they probably are, are craze lines. The thing about craze lines that you should be relieved by is the fact that they only really affect your teeth’s enamel. This means that – by and large – they are a cosmetic problem. Fortunately, as a specialist in cosmetic dentistry in Garden Grove, our dentists have a wealth of experience helping patients hide their craze lines and love their smiles again.

But you might be wondering, “what causes craze lines?”

Typically, some of the leading causes of craze lines tends to be rough wear and tear on your teeth – like clenching, biting your fingernails, and grinding. However, craze lines can also occur on patients who have braces.

If you’re noticing craze lines, the important thing to remember is that a) they are treatable and b) they can get more pronounced if you don’t take care of them. As more time passes and more stains are allowed to get trapped inside the microscopic depressions in your enamel – craze lines can get darker. The nice thing is this: the polishing and cleaning your teeth receive at your bi-annual check-up should significantly reduce the appearance of craze lines.

If after your cleaning, you find that the appearance of craze lines still bothers you, an in-office dental whitening treatment can also be applied to take care of them even more. Finally, if you have very stubborn stains that just won’t seem to go away a more long-term (and involved) option is the installation of porcelain veneers — which will cover your teeth with a thin sheet of custom formed porcelain, giving you a smile full of bright, white teeth that are completely free of stains.

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!

 

Simple Tips To Keep Your Teeth Through the Holidays

In the months following every Holiday, it’s not uncommon for dentists far beyond Orange County to see signs of rampant decay and enamel damage caused by too many sweets and not enough oral hygiene.

Of course, most patients don’t need to worry too much – but it’s easy to let the busy nature of the holidays put your diligent oral hygiene routine in the back seat.

On today’s blog, we’ll talk about a few different tips we tell our dental patients in Garden Grove to help them avoid dental damage from all of the sweets and treats they’ll encounter in the holiday season. Here’s the deal – you can enjoy some sweets without ruining your teeth right way. You just have to be careful. That’s because tooth decay stems from a few different factors.

When bacteria is left to hang out on your teeth, it slowly breaks down the foods you eat, which forms weak acid. When this happens, the acids weaken the surface of the tooth and kickstart the process of decay. Eating sweets fuels this process wonderfully for those acids, striving to eat away at your enamel.

Your job, is to stop them.

One good thing to remember is this: with sugar, it’s more about your teeth being exposed to it, than the actual sugar itself. But don’t let it go to your head, sugar will still go to your waistline perfectly fine after it’s washed beyond your teeth.

What to Do

  1. Limit Sugar Exposure: Pouring a cup of sugar over your teeth for a few seconds and slathering sugary icing over your teeth so it sticks for hours are two very different scenarios. Limiting sugar exposure is critical, so be sure to brush your teeth and try to keep sweets designated to dessert time.
  2. Use a Straw: If the sugar in a sweet drink bypasses your teeth completely, it does a lot less damage in the long run.
  3. Satisfy a sweet tooth with dark chocolate: Studies have shown that dark chocolate may in fact be good for your teeth due to the presence of specific compounds in the cocoa bean that help fight bacteria and prevent decay.
  4. Drink plenty of water: Drinking plenty of water ensures that extra bacteria and sugar gets washed away, limiting it’s ability to help fuel damage.

What to Avoid

  1. Skipping brushing: Drinking anything but water after brushing for the night: never skip brushing. Skipping brushing means that dangerous acids and bacteria are allowed to fester on your teeth – contributing to damage.
  2. Eating sugar by itself : Other foods, like vegetables and even proteins help take sugar along with them. This means that, as long as you’re sticking to foods that aren’t all sugar, more of a balance gets you your “sweet” fix without doing too much damage.
  3. Gooey, sticky candies: Sticky sweets do exactly that, stick! In doing so, they hang around on your teeth for much longer and multiply the damage to enamel.

Have questions about dental care? Our dentists in Orange County have pretty much seen it all. Looking for more helpful tips and better care? We can help!

Can Athletes Get a Dental Implant?

When it comes to contact sports, there’s always the chance for a bump, scrape – or combination of the two, to lead to a tooth becoming dislodged. In fact, it wouldn’t be a surprise for a high percentage of young athletes to experience some sort of dental injury at some point in their lives – we could expect this to be true, despite the prevalent use of mouth guards.

But what’s the most effective treatment when it comes to replacing teeth after an athletic injury?

If a tooth’s been knocked out during an athletic performance, the first priority should be saving the tooth by preserving it in milk – or even saliva. If the tooth isn’t salvageable, and can’t be placed back into its socket, the solutions available range from dentures and dental bridges to dental implants.

While dentures and dental bridges have been used for many years and have gotten much better, more functional, and more comfortable – they aren’t the best solution for an athlete. Those with an active lifestyle tend to want a solution that will stay secure and stable while they’re running or moving about. For many, while a dental bridge will often work – a dental implant represents the most secure solution.

This is mostly because of the way a dental implant actually replaces the root of your tooth with a titanium post that fuses into your jaw – becoming virtually permanent.

While this doesn’t happen over-night, in months time the bone and metal will fuse together, creating a root system that copies your tooth’s original root system. When complete, this system ensures that your tooth can be used (and even, abused) without fear of it dislodging and falling out.

Questions about Dental Implants in Orange County? Look no further!

 

 

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When’s the Best Time to Get Braces?

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Caring parents around the world often hear from their dentists something to the effect of “Your child may need braces.” and begin to panic.

While many kids look forward to getting braces and can’t wait to get their own little piece of bling on their teeth, our dentists in Garden Grove understand and empathize with the parents who don’t mind waiting. More often than not, those parents wonder how long they have to wait before the braces go on, and they do so for good reason — because braces aren’t exactly cheap.

It’s important for kids to get braces for a couple of reasons, and it’s not just to “straighten teeth”. In fact, outside of correcting crooked or misaligned teeth, some of the most important reasons for getting braces include fixing overlap, uncrowding teeth, and resolving a bad-bit or “malocclusion” – which means that either jaw (upper or lower) has a difference in size, leading to overbite or underbite.

There’s no real guideline on when a child should first see the orthodontist about getting braces. In our dental practice in Orange County, we strive to notice any problems early and recommend the best course of action.  Some children see the orthodontist when they’re 8 or 10, which can be helpful to identify any problems that can be solved before braces are needed to help reduce the cost and complexity of treatment.

So, How Early is TOO Early?

The ADA typically recommends that treatment with braces can begin around age 7 or 8 – and it’s very rare that treatment would start any earlier. More often than not, most children don’t need perfectly straight teeth – because it’s perfectly normal for their baby teeth to present a few gaps that go away with the eruption of their adult teeth. However, if there are serious bite or overcrowding problems – it may be time to find a good local dentist and orthodontist.

 

 

How to Bounce Back From Dry Mouth

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You might not realize, but saliva is in our mouths for a very specific reason – and it’s not so you can spit on things! Saliva’s primary role in your mouth is actually to keep everything moist and to cleanse your mouth of debris, while also assisting with digestion. But that’s not all! On top of all this, saliva also helps control the levels of bacteria and fungi in your mouth – ultimately helping to prevent nasty dental problems like dental abscesses, which require root canal treatment to fix.

That’s right, while we generally think about saliva as gross, disgusting spit when it exits your mouth — when it’s inside your mouth it actually serves a very noble purpose.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth can stem from a number of causes ranging from sickness and plain old lifestyle decisions to side effects from medications you might be taking.

Medication Side Effects

Many medications can cause dry mouth. However, it’s not just the medications for conditions like anxiety, depression, incontinence, and epilepsy. It can also happen as a side effect from every-day over the counter medications for conditions as simple as the common cold, congestion, and acne. If you’ve recently begun taking a new medication and have been experiencing dry-mouth – try having a chat with your doctor! It could all come down to the medicine you’re taking.

Your Lifestyle Choices

Certain lifestyle decisions like chewing tobacco and smoking cigarettes can also contribute to the amount of saliva produced by your mouth. Also, if you frequently breathe with your mouth open – it could also contribute to the dryness in your mouth.

Diseases and Infections

Certain diseases and medications can also cause chronic dry mouth. Some of the most common causes of dry mouth include Sjögren’s syndrome, AIDS, cystic fibrosis, arthritis, Parkinson’s, mumps, and many others. On top of this, treatments for cancer and radiation can also contribute to dry mouth.

So what can you do when dry mouth is a problem? 

When your mouth doesn’t produce enough saliva, it can become dry, uncomfortable, and – unfortunately – even dangerous. Without sufficient saliva to cleanse your mouth and control bacteria – you’re much more susceptible to decay, cavities, and infection.

Fortunately however, there are a number of treatments that can help.

Your doctor can often prescribe treatments to restore saliva production in your mouth in the form of both rinses and medications. Aside from this, you can also try sucking on sugar-free candy, drinking more water, or trying a vaporizer to help increase the level of moisture in your bedroom when you sleep.

If dry mouth continues to be a problem for you – our dentists in Garden Grove have helped countless patients get the relief that makes a difference.

 

 

 

Why Your Teeth Get Yellow

There’s a simple reason why there are so many dental products on the market designed to help make your teeth whiter, and it all comes down to confidence. But while most patients at our Garden Grove dental office typically ask about teeth whitening because they like how it looks, white teeth are also a good sign that your teeth are also healthy.

While we don’t recommend covering up underlying dental problems by simply hiding them with teeth whitening, understanding why your teeth get yellow and how to stop it can save you money in the long-run, or prolong the time between in-office teeth whitening visits.

Age

You can’t stop time – and one of the purest indicators of that can be your teeth. The aging process isn’t kind to any of us, but when it comes to your teeth it can be especially obvious. Over time, the white protective coating of your teeth (enamel) begins to wear away. This is completely natural, but can make your teeth susceptible to a variety of problems you might be unfamiliar with.

Smoking

Smoking is a sure-fire way to accelerate the yellowing of your teeth, and ex-smokers are one of the largest groups of patients that visit us for in-office teeth whitening in Orange County.  If you’re a smoker, your teeth will darken over time. ADA approved whitening products and in-office teeth whitening can help.

You Have Poor Oral Hygiene

If you’ve been slacking on your oral hygiene, cavities, decay, and yellowing are much more likely to occur. This is because brushing and flossing helps minimize plaque and tartar build-up, which contributes to the darkening of your teeth.

It’s Your Medication

Some medications, like antibiotics (such as tetracycline and doxycycline) as well as anti-histamines, blood pressure medications, and anti-psychotics carry the unfortunate side-effect of yellowing your teeth. If these medications are unavoidable for you, you might want to try supplementing with a whitening agent, or talking to your dentist about the best teeth whitening method for your teeth and your body.

It’s Your Genes

It’s also not impossible for you to simple inherit a yellower enamel. Ever known someone with brilliantly white teeth, without doing anything special to acquire them? Chances are they just hit the genetic dental lottery. If you notice that your teeth are darker than your friends, colleagues, or peers – but you follow an impeccable oral hygiene routine and don’t smoke or drink coffee, you might just have naturally yellow teeth. If that bothers you, whitening could be the easiest solution!

Bonus: Do Coffee and Wine Darken Teeth?

Yes, the chemical compounds in coffee and wine can darken your teeth over time. If you’re a regular drinker of either, keep an eye on your teeth and be sure to brush regularly with an ADA approved toothpaste.

 

 

The Lowdown on Fluoride and Your Teeth: Is it Safe? What’s it For? and How Much is Too Much?

What is Fluoride?

Flouride is a “chemical” compound (remember: chemical isn’t exactly a bad word. everything is a chemical compound of some sort!). that contains the natural element flourine. Flouride in small amounts can help strengthen the enamel of your teeth and prevent tooth decay.

 

What does Fluoride Do?

When there aren’t sufficient amounts of fluoride occuring naturally, many communities choose to add fluoride to their water supplies. Research by the ADA has shown that these fluoridation efforts have reduced cavities in children by up to 50%. On top of this, fluoride is also added to many dental products like toothpaste, mouthwash, rinses, and more.

Fluoride protects your family’s teeth by working against the loss of minerals in your tooth enamel. Your tooth enamel relies on mineralization to stay tough and strong. However, acids and general wear-and-tear are constantly working against your enamel. Fluoride helps strengthen these weakened areas, while also discouraging bacteria and acid that work away at your teeth around the clock. This protection can help prevent cavities and the need for more extensive treatments like dental crowns, dental bridgework, or full replacement treatments further down the road -like dentures.

Our dental office in Garden Grove, California frequently recommends supplemental fluoride to patients who are prone to cavity, or those who have weak enamel.

So what’s with all the controversy about fluoride? Is it safe?

The story of fluoride is a long, complicated, and contentious one. Legitimate science has been muddied by government conspiracy theories, questionable science, and strong opinions.

Over time, there have been many studies on the effectiveness and safety of fluoride. However, according to Cancer.org – much of the controversy begins with a 1990 study on lab animals, as part of the US National Toxicology Program.  That study found inconclusive evidence of fluoride’s cancer causing potential in male rats. This was based on a higher-than expected occurrence of a certain type of bone-cancer.  However, there was no evidence of the same problem in female rats – or in male or female mice.

On top of this, the National Research Council updated a 1993 report in 2006, re-iterating their conclusion that “On the basis of the committee’s collective consideration of data from humans, genotoxicity assays, and studies of mechanisms of actions in cell systems, the evidence on the potential of fluoride to initiate or promote cancers, particularly of the bone, is tentative and mixed.”

For our patients in California, it can also be helpful to know that in 2011 – our state’s Carcinogen Identification Committee also reviewed the available evidence and concluded that fluoride has not been shown to cause cancer.

Have more questions? We have answers! Your family’s teeth are important to us. To learn more about how to prepare your teeth for the future — drop us a line!