Apple Valley Dental Discussion

Posts for category: Dental Procedures

GoodBoneHealthEssentialforObtainingTeethinOneDayImplants

You've seen ads for “Teeth in One Day” that promise immediate implant placement at the same time you have the problem tooth removed. But this presumes the gums and underlying bone are healthy and able to support and protect the implant. If that's not the case, it may be ill-advised to place an implant on the same day.

Even with immediate placement, there will be a small degree of bone and gum opening or space around the implant after it's placed into the socket. This can often be remedied by placing a bone graft and sometimes a gum graft when we install the implant. It's also possible for natural healing to gradually fill in the space, but we'll need to monitor the site carefully for several weeks.

On the other hand, if we detect significant bone loss (or strongly suspect it will occur), immediate placement may not be an option — there's not enough bone or it's too weak to support an implant. In this case, it's necessary to wait on placement and focus on improving the bone health and quantity, beginning when we remove the old tooth and place a bone graft.

After completing the extraction, we typically place a bone graft in the empty socket. The graft will become a “scaffold” for new bone cells to grow upon. We may then allow about two to four months for new bone to partially replenish the area and then place the implant. The bone will continue to regenerate as it grows and attaches to the titanium implant to create a solid attachment.

If the site, however, still appears fragile even after partial bone growth, we may opt to wait another two to four months before attempting placement. From a long-term perspective, this is the best scenario for ensuring a durable foundation for the implant. It also allows for a socket severely compromised by disease to heal more thoroughly.

To determine which of these placement scenarios is best for you, we'll first need to conduct a thorough dental examination. From there we'll be in a better position to discuss the right implant timeline for your situation. Our main goal is to ensure we can securely place your implant in just the right position to achieve the most successful and attractive result.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Implant Timelines for Replacing Missing Teeth.”

By Apple Valley Dental
November 10, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
BobbyBonesDancesHisWaytoDentalDamage

The long-running hit show Dancing with the Stars has had its share of memorable moments, including a wedding proposal, a wardrobe malfunction, and lots of sharp dance moves. But just recently, one DWTS contestant had the bad luck of taking an elbow to the mouth on two separate occasions—one of which resulted in some serious dental damage.

Nationally syndicated radio personality Bobby Bones received the accidental blows while practicing with his partner, professional dancer Sharna Burgess. “I got hit really hard,” he said. “There was blood and a tooth. [My partner] was doing what she was supposed to do, and my face was not doing what it was supposed to do.”

Accidents like this can happen at any time—especially when people take part in activities where there’s a risk of dental trauma. Fortunately, dentists have many ways to treat oral injuries and restore damaged teeth. How do we do it?

It all depends on how much of the tooth is missing, whether the damage extends to the soft tissue in the tooth’s pulp, and whether the tooth’s roots are intact. If the roots are broken or seriously damaged, the tooth may need to be extracted (removed). It can then generally be replaced with a dental bridge or a state-of-the-art dental implant.

If the roots are healthy but the pulp is exposed, the tooth may become infected—a painful and potentially serious condition. A root canal is needed. In this procedure, the infected pulp tissue is removed and the “canals” (hollow spaces deep inside the tooth) are disinfected and sealed up. The tooth is then restored: A crown (cap) is generally used to replace the visible part above the gum line. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise be lost.

For moderate cracks and chips, dental veneers may be an option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells made of translucent material that go over the front surfaces of teeth. Custom-made from a model of your smile, veneers are securely cemented on to give you a restoration that looks natural and lasts for a long time.

It’s often possible to fix minor chips with dental bonding—and this type of restoration can frequently be done in just one office visit. In this procedure, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to fill in the parts of the tooth that are missing, and then hardened by a special light. While it may not be as long-lasting as some other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can produce good results.

If you would like more information about emergency dental treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor articles “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries” and “Knocked Out Tooth.”

By Apple Valley Dental
November 09, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Teeth Whitening ResultsA smile is one of the first things we notice about other people. Unfortunately, if your teeth are discolored or stained, you may not feel like smiling much these days. Teeth whitening services offered by your Apple Valley, CA, dentist Dr. Samuel Kim can get rid of stains and help you feel much more self-confident.

How teeth whitening works

Your teeth may look dull or yellow due to:

  • Aging: Teeth naturally become duller throughout the years.
  • Stains: Foods and beverages that contain dark pigments, such as berries, popsicles, cola, tea, coffee, and wine, can stain your teeth.
  • Smoking: Tobacco and nicotine cause unattractive yellow stains on your teeth.

Teeth whitening doesn't just cover up stains and discolorations but actually attacks the source of the stains. Every time you smoke or drink a cup of coffee, stain-causing pigments become trapped in tiny openings in your tooth enamel. As the pigments accumulate, your teeth begin to take on a dull, discolored appearance.

Hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in the teeth whitening gel your Apple Valley dentist uses, breaks apart the pigments, eliminating the stains. Although over-the-counter whitening kits also contain hydrogen peroxide, professional whiteners offer stronger formulations for quick whitening. In most cases, your teeth will be much whiter after an hour-long whitening session at the dentist's office. Whitening is very effective for natural tooth enamel but won't change the color of bridges, crowns or other dental work.

Safety is paramount during whitening

Hydrogen peroxide removes stains in your tooth enamel safely and effectively, but it can irritate your sensitive gums and roots if it comes in contact with them. Before your whitening session starts, your dentist will apply a gel to your roots and gums that will protect them from the hydrogen peroxide. He'll also use plastic retractors to gently pull your lips and cheeks away from your teeth during whitening.

At the conclusion of your session, both the hydrogen peroxide and the protective gel will be removed to reveal a whiter smile. You can keep your smile white and bright for two or three years or longer by brushing and flossing regularly, visiting your dentist for regular checkups, and avoiding smoking and darkly pigmented foods.

Are you ready to improve your smile with teeth whitening? Call Apple Valley, CA, dentist Dr. Samuel Kim at (760) 247-6007 to schedule an appointment.

By Apple Valley Dental
September 21, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: x-rays  
BitewingX-RaysProvideEarlyDetectionofToothDecayinBackTeeth

One of the most widely used forms of dental imaging is the bitewing x-ray. So called because of the shape of the device that holds the exposable film a patient clenches between their back teeth, the bitewing x-ray is an effective means for detecting the earliest stages of tooth decay.

These early signs are small lesions on a tooth surface caused by mineral loss in the enamel. While we can identify them on front teeth through visual examination or bright lighting, they’re nearly impossible to see on the biting surfaces of back teeth. The bitewing x-ray solves this problem.

During the procedure, a narrow beam of x-rays is directed at the back teeth area. Since X-rays can transmit through solid matter, they pass through the teeth and gums to expose the film attached to the bitewing assembly.

X-rays pass through matter at different rates depending on the density of the tissue — a slower rate for harder tissues like teeth and bone and a faster rate for soft tissues like the gums. As a result, x-rays through teeth expose less of the film and appear as a lighter image than the gums. This difference is so precise even a tooth’s softer dentin appears slighter darker than its harder outer enamel.

This precision helps us identify decay lesions. Because the lesions on the enamel are less dense than the normal enamel, they’ll appear as dark spots. By detecting them at this stage we have a better chance for reversing the effects of decay or at least minimizing damage that’s already occurred.

Because x-rays emit radiation, there’s a natural concern about over-exposure and we go to great lengths to reduce it. Children may undergo a bitewing x-ray twice a year for developing teeth, while adults with healthy teeth are typically x-rayed just once a year. Advances in digital film and other technology have also helped lower the exposure rate.

Today’s standard 4-film bitewing x-ray produces about four days worth of what we receive on average from normal background radiation, so the health risk is quite negligible. The benefit, on the other hand, is much greater — the early detection of tooth decay could ultimately save a tooth.

If you would like more information on the use of bitewing x-rays in dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Apple Valley Dental
September 11, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Emergency Dental PainThe pain and pressure build. You have an awful toothache. For emergency dental treatment, call Apple Valley Dental in Apple Valley, CA, and serving Helendale. Dr. Samuel Kim and his team offer accurate, quick and compassionate care for pressing oral health concerns such as your toothache. Learn here what constitutes a dental emergency and how to provide first aid for some of the most common.

What is a dental emergency?

It's any oral health condition which comes on suddenly and causes intense pain or loss of structure and function in the mouth. Examples include:

  • A knocked out, cracked or displaced tooth
  • An abscessed tooth
  • Bleeding of the lips, tongue, gums or other soft oral tissues
  • A lost restoration such as a crown or filling
  • Cracked denture or other tooth replacement
  • Intense swelling of the jaw or gums
  • Jaw dislocation or fracture (this requires an immediate trip to a hospital emergency room)
  • A foreign object stuck between teeth

Fortunately, your dentist and his team are available for phone consultation and same-day emergency dental treatment as needed. So, if you experience one of the above situations, call Apple Valley Dental right away for first aid advice.

What to do in the meantime

Save a tooth, stop bleeding or quell pain with the following interventions:

  • Grasp an avulsed tooth by the crown, rinse it in clear water and place it back in the socket--roots downward. Hold it in place until you see Dr. Kim. If you cannot replant it, place it in a sealed container with milk, water or even your own saliva. Knocked out teeth may survive if replanted by your dentist within an hour of injury.
  • Try to dislodge foreign material between teeth with dental floss.
  • Save the pieces of a broken tooth or restoration in a sealed bag, and bring them to the office for possible bonding.
  • Ice a swollen jaw (10 minutes on, 10 minutes off) to reduce the pain and swelling associated with a dental abscess.
  • Take over the counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen for pain (no aspirin).
  • Place direct pressure on a laceration with sterile gauze or a clean washcloth. If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes, call the dental office.

Preparation and prevention

Consumer Guide to Dentistry recommends keeping an emergency dental kit handy particularly if you go on a family vacation or are involved in team sports. The kit should contain:

  • Vinyl exam gloves
  • Gauze 4x4s
  • Clean washcloth or handkerchief
  • A bottle of water
  • Dental floss
  • Orthodontic wax to cover jagged tooth edges
  • A sealable container or plastic bag

Additionally, prevention is always the best medicine or intervention. Take care of your teeth and gums with routine at-home hygiene and six-months check-ups and cleanings at Apple Valley Dental. If you notice any problems developing, call the office right away. Finally, if you or a family member play sports, use a mouth guard.

Your best emergency dentist

It's Dr. Samuel Kim at Apple Valley Dental in Apple Valley, CA, and serving Helendale. Don't hesitate to call when a problem arises. Phone (760) 247-6007.