Apple Valley Dental Discussion

Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Apple Valley Dental
June 06, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Regular Cleanings  

How your dentists serving Apple Valley, Lucerne Valley, and Helendale, CA, can help keep your smile healthy

Did you know that regular professional dental cleanings can protect more than just your smile? It’s true. In fact, according to the Mayo DentistClinic, an unhealthy mouth has been linked to an increased risk of stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and other serious medical conditions. Regular professional dental cleanings can help lower your risk of these diseases by keeping your smile healthy.

The dentists at Apple Valley Dental offer a full range of dental services including professional dental cleanings. From their location in Apple Valley, CA, they proudly serve residents of Apple Valley, Lucerne Valley, and Helendale, CA, and they can help your smile too.

If you are brushing after meals and before bed, and flossing at least once each day, you are taking vital steps to help keep your smile healthy; but you can’t do it alone. You need regular professional cleanings because your dental professional can:

  • Remove hard deposits (calculus or tartar) and soft deposits (plaque) from your teeth
  • Provide the education and tools necessary for you to perform excellent oral care at home
  • Monitor the health of your gums to help prevent gum and periodontal disease
  • Polish away stains and provide a smooth tooth surface which resists plaque accumulation

The health of your mouth all depends on the effective removal of plaque deposits because plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria which can lead to:

  • Inflamed, red, bleeding gums
  • Irritated, painful gums
  • Swollen, puffy gums

These are the signs of gum disease, which can be reversed with regular dental cleanings, careful monitoring, and excellent oral care at home. If you let gum disease go untreated, it can lead to periodontal disease and cause:

  • Loss of bone that supports your teeth
  • Loss of soft tissue attachment that supports your teeth
  • Teeth that are loose, resulting in lost teeth

Regular professional cleanings, along with excellent home care can help you keep your smile healthy. To find out more about the importance of regular dental cleanings and other preventive, restorative, and cosmetic dental services call the dentists at Apple Valley Dental, serving residents of Apple Valley, Lucerne Valley, and Helendale, CA. Call today and protect your smile!

By Apple Valley Dental
May 29, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
CrazyLittleThingCalledHyperdontia

The movie Bohemian Rhapsody celebrates the iconic rock band Queen and its legendary lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury. But when we see pictures of the flamboyant singer, many fans both old and new may wonder—what made Freddie’s toothy smile look the way it did? Here’s the answer: The singer was born with four extra teeth at the back of his mouth, which caused his front teeth to be pushed forward, giving him a noticeable overbite.

The presence of extra teeth—more than 20 primary (baby) teeth or 32 adult teeth—is a relatively rare condition called hyperdontia. Sometimes this condition causes no trouble, and an extra tooth (or two) isn’t even recognized until the person has an oral examination. In other situations, hyperdontia can create problems in the mouth such as crowding, malocclusion (bad bite) and periodontal disease. That’s when treatment may be recommended.

Exactly what kind of treatment is needed? There’s a different answer for each individual, but in many cases the problem can be successfully resolved with tooth extraction (removal) and orthodontic treatment (such as braces). Some people may be concerned about having teeth removed, whether it’s for this problem or another issue. But in skilled hands, this procedure is routine and relatively painless.

Teeth aren’t set rigidly in the jawbone like posts in cement—they are actually held in place dynamically by a fibrous membrane called the periodontal ligament. With careful manipulation of the tooth, these fibers can be dislodged and the tooth can be easily extracted. Of course, you won’t feel this happening because extraction is done under anesthesia (often via a numbing shot). In addition, you may be given a sedative or anti-anxiety medication to help you relax during the procedure.

After extraction, some bone grafting material may be placed in the tooth socket and gauze may be applied to control bleeding; sutures (stitches) are sometimes used as well. You’ll receive instructions on medication and post-extraction care before you go home. While you will probably feel discomfort in the area right after the procedure, in a week or so the healing process will be well underway.

Sometimes, dental problems like hyperdontia need immediate treatment because they can negatively affect your overall health; at other times, the issue may be mainly cosmetic. Freddie Mercury declined treatment because he was afraid dental work might interfere with his vocal range. But the decision to change the way your smile looks is up to you; after an examination, we can help you determine what treatment options are appropriate for your own situation.

If you have questions about tooth extraction or orthodontics, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Simple Tooth Extraction” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”

By Apple Valley Dental
April 09, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: insurance  
KnowtheBenefits-andLimitations-ofYourDentalInsurancePlan

With the major changes in healthcare over the last few years, much of what we understand about insurance has been turned on its head. The term “Insurance” now often means something much different than how it’s traditionally understood.

Dental insurance is a prime example. Rather than a means to protect the insured from unforeseen costs, most dental policies work more like discount coupons. The vast majority are paid by employers as a salary benefit to reduce but rarely eliminate an employee’s treatment costs.

In fact, paying dental insurance premiums yourself may not be cost-effective. The average person spends $200 a year on basic care, while a typical policy costs $500 or more annually. Even if the plan fully paid for basic items like cleanings and checkups, the total cost with insurance can still be greater than paying out of pocket. Most plans also have deductibles — the fee portion the patient is responsible to pay — and annual maximum benefit limits of typically $1,200 or $1,500. With rising dental costs, these deductibles and limits may not be adequate.

There are also different types of plans, such as direct reimbursement or managed care. Under the former your employer is actually paying the claims from company funds — the insurance company acts as an administrator. The latter type packages services with select providers: the out-of-pocket costs are lower but your choices of provider are usually limited to those in their network — which on a new plan may not be the family dentist you’ve seen for years.

If you have a private plan, you should look carefully at your total costs, including premiums and out-of-pocket expenses, and compare those with projected costs without it. If you’re on an employer-paid plan, then be sure you understand it fully, especially any limits or restrictions. Also, speak with your dentist’s business staff to see how you can get the most out of the plan — dental offices work every day with insurance companies and know how to maximize your benefits.

Remember too that regular office visits for cleanings and checkups — as well as your own daily hygiene practices — are the best way to reduce long-term dental costs. Taking care of your teeth with preventive care will help ensure you’re not dipping into your own wallet — with or without insurance — more than you should.

If you would like more information on managing dental costs, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Insurance 101.”

Dental CrownsIf a tooth is heavily damaged by decay or trauma, is the only solution extraction? At Apple Valley Dental in Helendale, CA, your dentist, Dr. Samuel Kim, offers a tried and true alternative to losing a tooth. It's called the dental crown. Made of lifelike and durable porcelain, a crown can remake your tooth's appearance, protect it and add years to its life. Learn more here.

What is a dental crown?

Dear Doctor compares a dental crown to the crown a king wears. It caps off his head--hence the crown is nicknamed, "cap"--and it protects and beautifies it.

Today's realistic dental crowns are custom-fashioned from long-lasting porcelain. A crown covers a damaged tooth from the gum line on up, normalizes its appearance and allows the wearer to bite, chew and smile with confidence.

With normal wear, crowns last about ten years. They require simple brushing and flossing to keep them plaque-free, along with six-month cleanings and check-ups with your dentist in Helendale, CA.

Placing a crown

This comfortable restorative treatment requires two visits to Apple Valley Dental:

  1. Examination and X-rays to determine if a crown is the proper treatment. If it is, Dr. Kim will numb the tooth, remove the cracked or decayed portions, shape it and cover it with a temporary crown. He also takes oral impressions to send to the dental lab where a skilled technician makes the restoration.
  2. Placement of the new crown. Dr. Kim will remove the temporary cap and cement the new one over the tooth. Any adjustments for bite and fit will be made at this time.

More uses for dental crowns

Besides rebuilding decayed, cracked or heavily restored teeth, crowns also restore dental implants, secure multi-tooth bridges and cover teeth spared from extraction by root canal treatments. Sometimes, your dentist employs crowns to rehape teeth which are oddly shaped. Examples are peg-shaped lateral incisors. Because these teeth are located right in the smile zone at the front of the mouth, porcelain crowns can boost smile aesthetics and strengthen the teeth as well.

Is a crown right for you?

You'll find out at a consultation with Dr. Samuel Kim at Apple Valley Dental. Call today for your appointment in Helendale, CA, at (760) 247-6007.

By Apple Valley Dental
February 08, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: local anesthesia  
LocalAnesthesiaTakesthePainOutofMostDentalWork

Long ago dental work could be painful and stressful—often for both patient and practitioner. Thankfully, that time is long past: today, most procedures are painless in large part due to local anesthesia.

Local anesthetics are numbing substances applied to specific areas of the body like the teeth and gums to temporarily block pain during a procedure. And because they only affect a localized area of the body, you remain conscious and alert throughout the procedure.

To achieve the level of numbing necessary for dental work, we often need to deaden the gums using a needle to deliver the anesthetic. But then this poses a secondary pain concern—the needle stick itself.

Again, topical anesthesia comes to the rescue in the form of a swab, patch or spray applying an anesthetic directly to the top layer of the gums at the injection site. This numbs the area and prevents you from feeling the needle stick. It's highly probable, therefore, that from start to finish you won't feel any discomfort during your dental work except perhaps for a little pressure.

Local anesthesia truly is a game changer for dental care—and not just for the patient. A dentist who's concerned about their patient's comfort level may work hurriedly to complete a procedure. But if their patient is relaxed, the dentist can work calmly and methodically. The result is better, more focused care.

For all its improvements in the patient experience, though, there has been one consistent complaint—the numbness that often lingers for a while after the procedure is over. But there have been advances in recent years that have helped reduce this irritation: new anesthetic agents (even some that can reverse the anesthetic effect) and fine-tuned dosages can help keep residual numbing to a minimum.

Not all procedures like routine teeth cleanings or enamel shaping require anesthesia. But when it's appropriate, local anesthesia can make your next dental visit much more pleasant.

If you would like more information on how anesthesia benefits your dental care, 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 “Local Anesthesia for Pain-Free Dentistry.”