Garden Grove Dental Arts : Marianna Ibrahim DDS


What makes a pediatric dentist different?: By Primary Dental Care of Garden Grove












Every parent understands how easy it is to put your children in front of your health. Fortunately, when it comes to dental care – you don’t have to. Because getting your kids to take better care of their teeth starts with making sure you take incredible care of your own. That’s where a lifetime of healthy teeth begins – at home, with family.

But outside of the home, you can always count on your pediatric dentist to help ensure your children have healthy teeth for life. But if you haven’t found a pediatric dentist – you might wonder, “what makes a pediatric dentist different?” So today, our pediatric dentist in Garden Grove have weighed in on what it means to focus on little teeth.

Like any other dentist, a pediatric dentist focuses on teeth – but they specialize in treating children. While adult teeth and “baby teeth” aren’t that much different, the patient is very different. Adults  generally don’t need the amount of reassurance or instruction that a child does. Special training ensures a quality of care that results in years of healthy dental checkups.

The dentist’s office can be a very strange and overwhelming place when you’re experiencing it for the first time. Especially when you don’t really understand what’s going on at all. A pediatric dentist will take your child’s very first X-rays, clean their teeth for the very first time, and act as much a teacher as a doctor when it comes to establishing the groundwork for a healthy mouth for years to come.

Because of this, a pediatric dentist develops a knack for speaking to kids on their level, and creating a relationship where your child is actually excited to go to the dentist. Considering the problems that dental anxiety can solve (check out our post: Get Better Teeth and a Happier Smile by Saying Goodbye to Your Dental Anxiety), an excitement for clean teeth at a young age can prevent a world of trouble in the future.

While not every dentist is a certified pediatric specialist, all dentists can care for children. Many general dentists have years of experience working with children (in addition to being parents themselves) but to be a Certified Pediatric Dentist it does require extra certification.



3 Ways You Can Help Your Infant’s Teeth

For every new parent, a feeling of being overwhelmed is far from uncommon. It’s also not uncommon for new parents to look for help and tips online to make their new task of parenting even easier.

Sometimes, that’s lead to parents and at Garden Grove dental Arts to ask for advice on how to care for an infant’s teeth – even if they haven’t come in yet.

To learn more, take a look at our 3 key tips for healthier baby teeth

Start Early

When it comes to really helping ensure your baby’s teeth are healthy and well-supported for years to come, it can definitely help to start caring for them early.  Start “brushing” your baby’s gums with a damp washcloth or piece of gauze well before you can actually see the teeth coming in. You should also be able to find thin, rubbery devices (that look kind of like a thimble) that are designed for this exact purpose. This cleaning is important because it establishes a routine early and prevents bacteria, decay, and extra food from collecting on the gums – and potentially on the surface of teeth you might not see emerging yet.

Follow Meals with Water

Typically, your baby’s food will easily wash off after meals with a little water. However, our Anaheim area dentists always recommend following this up with a very soft toothbrush to make sure you’ve gotten everything. This is almost more for getting your child used to brushing than it is for actually brushing.

In most cases, you won’t need to be actually brushing your child’s teeth until they have more of them – this generally happens around 16-18 months.

Start Brushing With Toothpaste After 2 Years

In most cases, your baby’s teeth should have all grown in by the time they are about two years old. This is when it’s time to start brushing for real – with a very small dab of fluoridated toothpaste that’s about the same size as a piece of rice.

Is Thumbsucking Bad? YES! Here’s How to Get Your Toddler to Stop

Do you have a thumbsucker on your hands?

For some, it might seem like it’s not a big deal. Kids will be kids, right? For others – thumbsucking is a sign for alarm and immediate intervention, or else they will be stuck with crooked, misaligned teeth forever. Right?

Not necessarily. Our pediatric dentists in Garden Grove frequently help families deal with the problem of thumbsucking. The right answer is somewhere more in the middle.  Of course, if you have a child who has been thumbsucking for years and they already have a full mouth of teeth then yes, it is something you should be concerned with (more on the “why”  in a moment). On the other hand, if your infant or toddler is sucking their thumb (or a pacifier) and they haven’t yet had many teeth come in yet – you still have time to break the habit before any damage is done. Read on to learn the “why” and the “how” behind getting your kids to give up the habit of thumb or pacifier sucking.

Why You Should Discourage Thumbsucking

The answer for why you should discourage your children from thumbsucking is pretty simple. If this bad habit continues until the age of 5 or even 6, the pressure from sucking and the obstruction in your child’s mouth will almost act in the exact opposite way braces do – except it will push teeth out of alignment as they grow in. When permanent teeth come in, they will be influenced by this misalignment – which can lead to serious problems in the future that can impact speaking and eating.

When You Should Discourage Thumbsucking

Generally, if your child is still sucking their thumb beyond age 3 – it’s time to start making serious efforts to break the habit. If possible, you should begin a program of positive reinforcement to break the habit as soon as teeth begin coming-in for your toddler.

How You Should Discourage Thumbsucking

Discouraging thumbsucking doesn’t have to be hard. In the beginning, offer a pacifier instead – to eliminate the reliance on a thumb and for the fact that a pacifier is much easier to take away (we don’t recommend taking away your child’s thumb!)

Later, you can use positive reinforcement to reward your child for not sucking their thumb for certain periods of time. You can even try keeping a chart to track your little one’s progress towards quitting.

Having trouble? If your child is increasingly stubborn about quitting this bad habit, it could be time to see a pediatric dentist near you, who can show your child pictures and explain in their own way why they should leave this habit behind.


When’s the Best Time to Get Braces?


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.



What to Watch out for With Baby Teeth


At Primary Dental Care we believe a lifetime of healthy smile starts at its most logical beginning. The beginning of your life.

But we’re not just talking about baby teeth. We’re talking about the literal infancy of your oral health. Starting strong with focused and disciplined oral hygiene can mean years upon years of healthy teeth that don’t cause any problems.  While it might be too late for parents, don’t you want to start strong with your child? Good habits now mean fewer cavities, fewer fillings, and ultimately – less of a need for more advanced tooth replacement treatments later on (like dental crowns, dental bridges, and – ultimately – dentures).

Many parents often wonder about what they need to look out for to ensure a trouble-free dental future for their children. Fortunately, the answers are pretty simple. Typically, it comes down to three things.


A dental injury with baby teeth doesn’t necessarily mean an adult tooth will replace it perfectly. If left untreated, disturbance to a baby tooth could very well mean that an adult tooth doesn’t have the guidance or support it needs to become a straight and properly aligned adult tooth. Not only do baby teeth help your child eat, they also serve as a valuable guide for teeth that are on their way. So, discourage your child from risky dental behaviors  that can lead to chipping, cracking, or even knocking teeth out. These risks can range from biting into hard candies and getting into trouble with gravity, to running with objects dangling out of their mouths. Needless to say, while it’s impossible to prevent some accidents – early treatment (if possible) is the best solution to ensure a better long-term outcome.


Around the world, the most common dental problem in children is almost always decay (and the cavities that come with it). In most cases, pain signals the presence of a cavity and the problem is relatively easy to patch up for good. However, when a cavity is left untreated – it can easily lead to infection, chewing issues, pain and discomfort, speech problems, malnutrition, and more.

This is where a good oral hygiene foundation is important, and it should always include brushing (twice a day), flossing daily, rinsing, and yearly visits to your dentist’s office. At our dental office in Orange County – we recommend twice a year.


There are a wide variety of common, treatable, and manageable congenital dental conditions. These can often range from weaker enamel to a long list of abnormalities pertaining to tooth position, shape, and size. In some cases, some teeth can also be missing. Conditions like these aren’t altogether uncommon, and are one thing a good local dentist will discuss with new parents at their baby’s first dentist appointment (learn more about your baby’s first dental exam here).

Dental Pain During Pregnancy: Why it Happens and What You Can Do

Sore and irritated teeth and gums are a common side effect of pregnancy. Learn what to do to make your pregnancy easier.

Sore and irritated teeth and gums are a common side effect of pregnancy. Learn what to do to make your pregnancy easier.

Generally, pregnancy tends to send you searching for a few different things. From the baby books and clothing to the “mom-to-be” focused nutrition and exercise classes.

Apart from doing all of this to ensure a better, healthier life for your baby, it also comes down to one simple all-important factor: comfort.

When it comes to being pregnant, discomfort is – unfortunately – a fact of life. Nobody ever said it was easy, and there are hundreds (if not thousands) of products out there to make it just a little easier. But one of the areas of discomfort that pregnant patients frequently fail to account for is their teeth.

But don’t let sensitive teeth during pregnancy scare you into frantically working to find a dentist nearby. The condition is entirely normal, and not uncommon.

Why does pregnancy cause sensitive teeth?

Your Hormones

As anyone who’s taken a high-school science class could tell you, pregnancy causes a spike in hormones. Because of this, the hormones in your body can actually alter how your body reacts to bacteria in your body – including the bacteria inside your mouth. This can often lead to sore gums, sore teeth, and periodontal infection.

Increased Blood flow to your body’s systems

When you’re pregnant, your body goes into overdrive to support not one living-body, but two. The end result of this is an increase in blood flow throughout your entire body.  Sometimes, a result of this can be swollen and sensitive gums that will often also be tender when you touch them (or when a piece of sharp food pokes them). If you’ve never experienced this sort of sensitivity, it can be jarring at first, and will often be triggered by hot or cold foods.

Gum Disease

Many pregnant women might not realize that pregnancy makes you much more likely to fall victim to gum disease.

What You Can Do About It

Although pregnancy can limit some of the medicinal intervention often used to treat sore teeth and gums, with some extra care and attention, you can keep your smile healthy during your prenatal nine months. Maintaining all the great hygiene habits you’ve used up to this point will keep you healthy and pain-free, so don’t forget to give your mouth a little TLC, too. Here are four things you can do for your sensitive teeth during pregnancy:

Tell your dentist you’re pregnant

If you’re pregnant, don’t let it be an excuse to forego your regular dentist appointment. In fact, you should probably make a point to tell your dentist that you’re pregnant so he or she can take the precautions necessary to prevent any issues moving forward and ensure you’re as comfortable as possible.

Use a softer toothbrush

Increased sensitivity means that you need to be extra sure to baby your gums. If you’ve never experienced sensitivity before, using a soft bristled toothbrush can help.


Curb the craving for sweets

Increased sensitivity to bacteria means that the pregnancy cravings that introduce more and more sugar into your body could be doing more harm than good.  While you may be craving sweets, remember that sugar actively feeds bacteria. This contributes to sore and sensitive teeth, as well as cavities. However, we understand that it’s incredibly hard to ignore those cravings sometimes. So, if you must – be sure to brush afterwards.

Curious about what to do after your baby is born? Primary Dental Care of Garden Grove offers caring and comprehensive pediatric dental care. If you’re searching for a dentist in Garden Grove, CA experienced with infant and pediatric care, contact us today to learn more, or read some of our other blog posts about infant dental care:

7 Essential Tips for Healthy Baby Teeth

Why Your Baby Needs to See the Dentist

The Importance of Pediatric Dentistry





Answering the Question of “When” You Should See the Dentist


Prevent the need for restorative care with better preventative care. Learn when to see the dentist below.

Not everyone particularly enjoys to go to the dentists. We get it. Your mouth is stuck open, it can sometimes strain the muscles of your jaw ever-so-slightly, and it costs money. But…and this is a big but, it will always be worth it.

Whether you’re visiting the dentist to get a regular cleaning, or you’re visiting because you need more serious work done, spending the time early on to find a dentist you trust is a great idea. Why? Because when the time comes for something to go wrong with one or more teeth, you won’t be wondering “Who’s a dentist near me?” No, fortunately you’ll already either 1) have spoken with your dentist 2) called your dentist’s emergency line or 3) You’re getting ready to do that right now!

But many patients wonder when it’s time to see the dentist, which could really mean a few different things.

How Often

If we’re talking about the big picture – as in how often you should see the dentist, the general recommendation is usually every 6 months. But if you haven’t been in that long and your teeth aren’t posing any problems – don’t feel too bad.  While it should only be recommended by  your dentist, some patients with exceptional teeth can afford to go longer (kind of like some cars can go longer without an oil change). Don’t just assume you’re one of these people!

“When is it bad enough to see the dentist?”

If, on the other hand, you’re wondering if you should see a dentist for a particular issue. The answer is YES.

The answer isn’t a fast “YES” just because, though. It’s  a fast “YES” because if there’s something going on with your tooth that’s noticeable enough that it’s bothering you, chances are it’s not normal. Even more, it’s also likely that it won’t get better by itself. For this reason, finding your closest dentist might be prudent – especially if you’re experiencing pain or discomfort. Even if it’s not painful, you should bring up new developments with your dentist as early as possible. In most cases, your regular cleaning will be enough notice. This allows your dentist to treat minor problems ahead of time, before they become major problems.

When Should Newborns See the Dentist

Another popular question of “When” regarding the dentist generally gets asked by new mothers. That is, they wonder when their baby’s should go to the dentist. Fortunately for the new mothers, the answer to this question is an easy one – and it’s generally somewhere between 6 months and a year. But don’t get too worried! All you need to do is keep an eye on your baby’s mouth (chances are this will be no problem) and get in touch with your family dentist when you see the first tooth. This way, you can schedule your baby’s first dental visit.

Dental Dangers: 3 Fast Ways to Ruin Your Teeth

As a dentist in Garden Grove California, we see quite a few patients every day and they call come from very different walks of life. From children with perfect teeth to the occasional patient that hasn’t really done a great job of sticking to their oral healthcare routine, we’ve truly seen it all.

However, beyond factors like “not flossing” or “not using a fluoride rinse” serious damage to teeth is often caused directly by us, the humans in charge.

Many times, patients have a problem with their teeth for one simple reason: carelessness.

In fact, many of the leading ways to damage, hurt, or outright ruin your teeth begin with carelessness, which leads into our first “method” of absolutely ruining your teeth

Dental Risk #1: Using your Teeth as a Tool (for something other than chewing)

Have you ever opened a bottle, can, or bag of chips with your teeth? Take this as your warning: never do it again. While they might seem like a perfectly effective tool for opening all kinds of packages and products, your teeth are meant for chewing food. Resist the temptation to use them for anything else. Otherwise, you can risk cracking and chipping your teeth — which often occurs with the most visible teeth, and can surely land you in your dentist’s chair for repair work.  Not only can using your teeth as a tool cause visible damage, it can also open your teeth up to invisible damage by causing fractures that provide an invisible pipeline for bacteria and decay — which can lead to cavities, infection, and more.

Dental Risk #2: Playing Sports without a Mouth Guard

Of course, mouth guards were invented for a reason — and they tend to do their job quite well. If the sport you’re participating in poses any opportunity for your face to be recipient of any significant impact, you should be wearing a mouthguard. As a pediatric dentist in the fountain valley area, you can imagine that we also see plenty of children with sports related dental problems. Do yourself a favor. Spend the small amount of money on a “boil and bite” mouth guard instead of the more expensive option of repeated dental work.

Dental Risk #3: Chewing on Ice Cubes

You might not think that chewing on ice cubes can be bad for your teeth, but that’s where you’d be wrong. While it shouldn’t hurt your teeth to suck on an ice-cube to relieve a sore throat or simply cool off, try to limit the amount of time you spend actually cruuuuuuunching on ice cubes. Not only can this wear away at the enamel of your teeth, it can also cause cracking or chipping.

There’s a lot out there that can have an impact on your teeth, and it’s our job to make you aware of it. Come back later for the next installment of “Dental Risks” to learn about some more of the every-day habits, foods, and activities you might participate in that can have a very real impact on your teeth.

In the meantime, if you have questions about your teeth and live in the Garden Grove or Fountain Valley area, please don’t hesitate to contact us today.

Tips and Tricks for Getting a Toddler to Brush


When you only have one set of teeth for life, it’s important that you hold on to them. This is what you should keep in mind when it comes to convincing your toddler to have good oral hygiene habits.

Apart from the obvious benefits to health and confidence, good dental habits in your children also help you save money in the long run — which can mean saving hundreds or even thousands of dollars in dental care along the way.

For that reason, it’s important to remember that good oral habits in childhood, translate into good oral hygiene habits in adulthood. Which leads you to wonder, “how on earth do I get my toddler to brush properly?” Here are some helpful toddler training tips.

  • Keep your expectations low. If your child can hardly color in the lines, there’s a good chance she can’t completely brush hr gum lines, or the small crevices in her teeth. This is okay. Even if the technique is lacking, simply encouraging a good habit is the straightest road to whiter, brighter teeth.
  • Put the Ball in the Toddler’s Court. Their tools, their rules? Right? Is that a saying? Either way, if you take your toddler to the store so that she or he can pick their own toothbrush, you can be certain that they’ll be more exciting about putting their new “tool” to use.  While you’re at it, let your toddler choose the toothpaste too and they’ll be more excited to try the flavor.
  • Brush at the same time. Seeing is doing! Brush with your toddler and the added sense of teamwork can help ensure that your toddler is more careful and more diligent when it comes to brushing. Get in on the action, and join your toddler while he brushes his teeth. Having a little camaraderie might encourage him to take a little longer and give his teeth a more-thorough cleaning. You can also try making it a competition to see who can be more thorough.
  • Get some horsepower. Does your child seem bored by their oral hygiene routine? Or is it hard to get them to brush with any conviction? When it comes to pediatric dentistry in Garden Grove, one of the best solutions we have for stubborn toddlers is to give the child a bit of novelty. A spinning toothbrush can do just that, while also often including a song that plays until “brushing time” is over.
  • Imitation is the Highest form of Flattery. If there’s a concern that your child isn’t brushing properly, one of the most effective methods for teaching proper technique is to do it yourself! Let your toddler brush on their own in the morning, and make a point to do it yourself at night. Seeing how it’s done by an expert can encourage them to emulate it for themselves.

Stop Drinking Your Teeth Rotten!: A Simple Tip from Your Garden Grove Dental Practice

Now more than ever, sports drinks, energy drinks, and soda are marketed to us virtually everywhere you look. On the subway, on highway billboards, in our magazines, and on TV. There could even be an advertisement for something sugary and sweet flashing across your computer screen in the next couple of minutes. As a dental office for children of all ages, take a word of warning from us: Resist.

More often than not, it’s what you drink and not what you eat that’s doing the most damage to your teeth (that is, unless you eat too much candy and don’t brush and floss as often as you should). On top of this, it’s not just the sugar that does damage to your teeth. Many people often forget that acidity also plays a major role in the health of your teeth. Unfortunately, the level of acidity in these drinks tends to be very high.

Do you Know How Much Sugar You’re Drinking?

Now, of course we can’t be expected to cut sugar out of our diets 100%. While some have the discipline to do it for health and dietary reasons, many simply need to limit their intake. Being mindful of the sugar content in your beverages is the first step to a healthier lifestyle — and healthier teeth! So instead of paying to repair your teeth further down the road, pay for a bottle of water instead.

Need some encouragement? Take a look at the sugar content in some of the drinks below. You might be surprised. In fact, some drinks you thought were “healthy” actually have just as much sugar as a can of soda.

  • A 12 oz can of Coca Cola contains  40.5 grams of sugar
  • A 16 oz bottle of Apple Juice contains 52 grams of sugar
  • Capri Sun, Pacific Cooler contains 18 grams of sugar
  • A 16oz can of Rockstar energy drink contains 62 grams of sugar
  • A 20 oz bottle of “Vitamin Water” contains around 33 grams of sugar
  • A 16 oz bottle of Snapple Ice Tea contains 46 grams of sugar
  • (For the adults) Mike’s Hard Lemonade contains 30 grams of sugar


The Affect Sugar Has on Teeth

As a dentist for children in Garden Grove, we see a lot of kids who have one or two too many sugary drinks a day. Sometimes their parents don’t even know the drinks are that sugary. However, it’s important to remember the affect that sugar has on teeth. When the bacteria that eventually becomes plaque comes together, it uses sugar to multiply and grow — making the plaque harder, thicker, and more widespread. The sugar essentially acts as a cement, helping the plaque stick to your teeth and making it harder to wash the bacteria away with your saliva (and your toothbrush).