Dental pain can be extremely uncomfortable, and it's normal to want it diagnosed and treated as soon as possible. However, many dental dilemmas happen suddenly and often after regular business hours, and then you're left wondering how to manage your problem. What you may not know is there is a hierarchy associated with dental problems, meaning that there are certain injuries and other problems that can wait until the next day to be treated by your dentist in Helendale, CA, Dr. Samuel Kim at Apple Valley Dental.
What isn't a dental emergency?
First, let's discuss what doesn't usually qualify as a dental emergency. These mishaps are typically not associated with lasting damage or life-threatening complications and can be managed at home until your Helendale dentist is available.
- A chipped tooth. As long as the chip doesn't cause unrelenting pain, it's probably shallow enough to wait. If there is a sharp edge, it can be covered with a small piece of dental wax.
- A lost filling or crown. Again, as long as you do not have severe pain associated with this common dental problem, it's usually worth it to wait until your Helendale dentist's office opens up. In the meantime, there are materials that you can purchase at any drug store that will cover the affected tooth until you can be treated.
- Tooth sensitivity. This uncomfortable sensation is often due to an untreated cavity. Avoid chewing on the affected side and try to stay away from hot or cold beverages and foods to keep the sensitivity to a minimum.
When should I seek emergency dental treatment?
If you're experiencing one or or more of the following circumstances, and your Helendale dentist's office is not open, you should go to your local medical emergency room at once:
- Bleeding that doesn't stop within a few minutes
- Pain that does not respond to over-the-counter analgesics and interferes with normal activity
- Swelling around your jaw, especially if accompanied by a fever
- A tooth that has been pushed out of place or completely knocked out.
In the case of an avulsed, or knocked-out, tooth, it should be replaced gently into the empty socket if possible. If it doesn't go back into place easily, don't force it. There are tooth preservation kits available at drugstores that contains a solution with minerals and other ingredients to maintain the tooth's viability for several hours after avulsion. It's best to have one or more of these kits available at home for immediate use. In a pinch, a cup of milk can be used.
To schedule an appointment with your Helendale dentist, Dr. Samuel Kim, contact Apple Valley Dental in Helendale, CA, at (760) 247-6007 today.
Are you considering whether you should turn to professional teeth whitening in order to get a more radiant smile? While there are countless over-the-counter options that promise to do just this, they often deliver disappointing, short-lasting results. That's where our Helendale, CA, cosmetic dentist, Dr. Samuel Kim, comes in! Read on to learn all about how his professional teeth whitening treatments here at Apple Valley Dental can improve your look.
How does professional whitening work?
The whitening gel that our Helendale dentist applies onto the front of your teeth contains a high percentage of peroxide, a material that brightens teeth by breaking up the stain molecules that form within the outer layers of the tooth (i.e. the enamel and dentin layers). When you come into our office for treatment, we will first clean your teeth to remove any plaque and tartar buildup before applying the whitening gel. The gel will stay on your teeth for around 15 minutes before being removed and reapplied. Multiple whitening applications are performed during a single in-office whitening session to help you achieve results quickly.
Does professional whitening work on all types of stains?
Whitening treatment has certainly come a long way over the years, and they can now address more stubborn stains than ever before. With that said, there are certain stains that will respond better to professional whitening treatment. While yellow stains are the most responsive, brownish stains may also respond well (although they often require more than one session).
Teeth with darker stains, however, may be better suited to other cosmetic treatment options such as dental veneers to get a whiter smile. This is something we can discuss during your consultation.
How can I make sure that my results last?
With the proper maintenance and care, some people maintain their results for up to two years before needing to touch-up their smile. To prevent stains, it’s important that you,
- Brush twice a day with a whitening toothpaste
- Floss daily
- Avoid dark, stain-producing drinks and foods
- Visit your dentist twice a year for cleanings and checkups
Interested? Give us a call
If you want to feel more confident in your smile, then getting professional teeth whitening treatment from our Helendale, CA, office can help! Call Apple Valley Dental today at (760) 247-6007 to schedule a consultation with us.
Every February, the American Dental Association sponsors a campaign called National Children’s Dental Health Month. The purpose of this operation is to raise awareness about how important it is to get an early start on developing good dental hygiene habits — and how this can lead to a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. So we thought this might be a good time to answer some of the most frequently asked questions about how to do exactly that:
When is it time to start cleaning my baby’s teeth?
As soon as you see one! The earlier your child gets used to a daily dental hygiene routine, the better. Baby teeth that have not fully emerged from beneath the gums can be wiped with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings. A tooth that has grown in completely should be brushed twice daily (once in the morning and once in the evening) with a soft, child-sized tooth brush and a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride is an important weapon against tooth decay, but you don’t want your child to swallow too much.
Can babies get cavities?
Absolutely — especially if they are allowed to fall asleep routinely with a bottle filled with anything but water. Milk, formula — even breast milk — all contain sugars that should not be left to pool around your baby’s teeth during sleep, facilitating decay. Juice is an even bigger no-no because it is not only sugary but also acidic.
Can’t I give my child sweets once in a while?
We realize total avoidance of sweets may not be realistic, as beneficial as this would be for your child’s teeth. If you are going to allow your child to have sweets once in a while, better that the treat be given immediately following a meal, and not as a between-meal snack. Soda should really be avoided completely — it’s that bad.
When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time?
The experts say: Get it done in year one. That’s right — even though your child won’t have many teeth by age 1, there’s a lot we can do at that first visit to ensure good oral health now and well into the future. We will do everything possible to make sure your little one has a positive first experience in the dental chair; this helps set the tone for the many important preventive visits yet to come. It’s also a great opportunity for you to ask any specific questions you may have, and receive hands-on instruction on how to care for your child’s teeth and gums.
If you would like more information about children’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Age One Dental Visit.”
We’re all familiar with “naughty” and “nice” lists for food: “nice” items are beneficial or at least harmless; on the other hand, those on the “naughty” list are not and should be avoided. And processed sugar has had top billing on many people’s “naughty” list for some time now.
And for good reason: it’s linked to many physical ills including obesity, diabetes and heart disease. As a favorite food for oral bacteria that cause dental disease, sugar can also increase your risk for tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
Most people agree that reducing sugar in their diet is a great idea health-wise. But there’s one small problem: a great many of us like sugar—a lot. No matter how hard we try, it’s just plain difficult to avoid. Thanks perhaps to our ancient ancestors, we’re hard-wired to crave it.
But necessity is the mother of invention, which is why we’ve seen the development over the past half century of artificial sweeteners, alternatives to sugar that promise to satisfy people’s “sweet tooth” without the harmful health effects. When it comes to dental health, these substitute sweeteners won’t contribute to bacterial growth and thus can lower disease risk.
But are they safe? Yes, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The agency has approved six types of artificial sweeteners for human consumption: acesulfame K, saccharin, aspartame, neotame, sucralose and rebaudioside A. According to the FDA any adverse effects caused by artificial sweeteners are limited to rare conditions like phenylketonuria, which prevents those with the disease from safely digesting aspartame.
So, unless you have such a condition, you can safely substitute whatever artificial sweetener you prefer for sugar. And if dental health is a particular concern, you might consider including xylitol. This alcohol-based sweetener may further deter tooth decay—bacteria can’t digest it, so their population numbers in the mouth may actually decrease. You’ll find xylitol used as a sweetener primarily in gums, candies and mints.
Reducing sugar consumption, couple with daily oral hygiene and regular dental visits, will certainly lower your risk of costly dental problems. Using a substitute sweetener might just help you do that.
If you would like more information on sweetener alternatives, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artificial Sweeteners.”
If there's anything that makes Alfonso Ribeiro happier than his long-running gig as host of America's Funniest Home Videos, it's the time he gets to spend with his family: his wife Angela, their two young sons, and Alfonso's teenaged daughter. As the proud dad told Dear Doctor–Dentistry & Oral Health magazine, "The best part of being a father is the smiles and the warmth you get from your children."
Because Alfonso and Angela want to make sure those little smiles stay healthy, they are careful to keep on top of their kids' oral health at home—and with regular checkups at the dental office. If you, too, want to help your children get on the road to good oral health, here are five tips:
- Start off Right—Even before teeth emerge, gently wipe baby's gums with a clean, moist washcloth. When the first teeth appear, brush them with a tiny dab of fluoride on a soft-bristled toothbrush. Schedule an age-one dental visit for a complete evaluation, and to help your child get accustomed to the dental office.
- Teach Them Well—When they're first learning how to take care of their teeth, most kids need a lot of help. Be patient as you demonstrate the proper way to brush and floss…over and over again. When they're ready, let them try it themselves—but keep an eye on their progress, and offer help when it's needed.
- Watch What They Eat & Drink—Consuming foods high in sugar or starch may give kids momentary satisfaction…but these substances also feed the harmful bacteria that cause tooth decay. The same goes for sodas, juices and acidic drinks—the major sources of sugar in many children's diets. If you allow sugary snacks, limit them to around mealtimes—that gives the mouth a chance to recover its natural balance.
- Keep Up the Good Work—That means brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day, every single day. If motivation is an issue, encourage your kids by letting them pick out a special brush, toothpaste or floss. You can also give stickers, or use a chart to show progress and provide a reward after a certain period of time. And don't forget to give them a good example to follow!
- Get Regular Dental Checkups—This applies to both kids and adults, but it's especially important during the years when they are rapidly growing! Timely treatment with sealants, topical fluoride applications or fillings can often help keep a small problem from turning into a major headache.
Bringing your kids to the dental office early—and regularly—is the best way to set them up for a lifetime of good checkups…even if they're a little nervous at first. Speaking of his youngest child, Alfonso Ribeiro said "I think the first time he was really frightened, but then the dentist made him feel better—and so since then, going back, it's actually a nice experience." Our goal is to provide this experience for every patient.
If you have questions about your child's dental hygiene routine, call the office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”
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