Apple Valley Dental Discussion

Posts for category: Oral Health

ActressEmmaStoneRevealsHowThumbSuckingAffectedHerTeeth

It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.

“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”

While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)

When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.

Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.

But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.

Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”

By Apple Valley Dental
April 17, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
CreateaStrategytoDealwithDentalProblemstoAvoidFutureExpenses

If you have limited financial resources, learning what it will cost to restore your teeth and gums to good health could be a shock. Dental care can be expensive, especially for treating advanced dental disease.

Properly managing your ongoing dental care can greatly reduce the chances for higher expenses in the future. Here are 3 tips for staying ahead of problems that might cost you dearly tomorrow.

Practice prevention now. Dental disease doesn’t come out of nowhere — it’s the product of a bacteria-rich environment and neglect. You can help eliminate that environment by removing plaque — a thin film of bacteria and food particles built up on tooth surfaces — with daily brushing and flossing. Twice-a-year dental cleanings remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) you can’t reach with daily brushing. Reducing sugar (which bacteria feed on) in your diet and treating low saliva flow (which can increase decay-causing acid in the mouth) will round out your prevention practices.

Take care of emerging problems as soon as possible. Dental disease typically doesn’t go away by itself: more likely, it will get worse — and more costly — with time. Don’t wait to see us if you encounter tooth pain or bleeding, tender or swollen gums. In some cases, we can take temporary measures like resin-based fillings in decayed areas that can buy a little time while you prepare for the expense of a more permanent restoration.

Adopt a long-term care strategy. Our goal is for you to have as healthy a mouth as possible.  To that end, we’ll work with you on strategy and payment plans that address your individual needs. A good strategy puts a priority on treating emergencies or advanced disease first, followed by treating less affected teeth as you’re able to afford it. We may also be able to address your tooth and gum problems with fewer but longer sessions that can help ease pressure on your costs.

Adopting solid hygiene and dietary habits now, visiting us at least twice a year and following a plan to treat problems as they emerge is your best approach for keeping dental care from making a huge impact on your wallet.

If you would like more information on managing your dental health, 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 “Cost-Saving Treatment Alternatives.”

By Apple Valley Dental
March 08, 2017
Category: Oral Health

These are such simple habits but yet important ones for keeping your teeth and gums problem-free.oral hygiene

You’ve been brushing and flossing and caring for your smile for as long as you can remember. It seems pretty simple, right? Well, yes and no. Brushing and flossing doesn’t have to be rocket science but it’s important that you are doing everything you can to keep cavities and gum disease away. Our Apple Valley, CA, dentist, Dr. Samuel Kim, also serving patients in Lucerne Valley, is here to offer up some helpful tips for keeping your oral health in tip-top shape.

Maintain Clean Smiles

Here’s what you should know about keeping your teeth and gums clean:

  • You should be brushing at least twice a day (better yet; brush after every meal)
  • Floss your teeth daily (ideally, at the end of the evening before you brush)
  • Make sure to replace your toothbrush head every three to four months, or once the bristles start to splay out. You should also replace your toothbrush head after an illness.
  • When you do brush make sure you are doing it for at least two minutes. If you don’t have an electronic toothbrush with an automatic timer, set a timer yourself.

Don’t Forget About Your Dentist

No matter how busy you are you always need to find time to visit your dentist. If your smile is healthy you should only need to come in every six months. This is a great chance to not only remove plaque and tartar buildup but we can also pick up on subtle changes that could potentially lead to issues down the road if you aren’t careful. Visiting us regularly could mean the difference between a healthy smile and some serious dental problems.

Quit or Avoid Tobacco

If you don’t smoke then this is great news for your oral health, but if you are a smoker it’s time to ditch the habit as soon as possible. Smokers and tobacco users are more likely to develop gum disease, infections, implant failure, oral cancer and a host of other long-term issues. If you are having trouble quitting, talk to our Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley general dentist who can recommend programs and support groups to help.

Maintain a Healthy Diet

As you probably already know, foods that are sugary or starchy aren’t good for your teeth. While we won’t say never to have sugar again (everything is moderation, right?), just be aware of the foods you are eating on a regular basis. Make sure your teeth and gums are getting the nutrients they need and you are maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.

Whether you have questions about your at-home oral routine or you need to book your next professional dental cleaning, the friendly dental folks at Apple Valley Dental in Apple Valley, CA, also serving the Lucerne Valley area, are ready to help in any way they can. Call us today!

By Apple Valley Dental
January 19, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dental Emergency  

Prompt dental care is essential if you have a dental emergency, but it's not always easy to decide if a problem is truly an emergency. Dr. dental emergencySamuel Kim, your Apple Valley, CA, dentist, describes a few situations that require emergency dental treatment.

Your tooth was knocked out

Any hard blow to your mouth can knock out teeth. Luckily, your tooth may not be lost forever if you receive emergency dental treatment. If you see your dentist within an hour, it may be possible to reimplant your tooth.

Keeping the tooth hydrated while you travel to your emergency appointment is very important. Rinse the tooth in water to remove dirt and gently place it back in the socket. If you can't easily put the tooth in your socket, don't worry. Place it in your mouth between your teeth and your cheek, or wrap it in gauze and put in a container with milk or your saliva.

Your tooth is loose

Blows can also loosen teeth or knock them out of position. Both of these situations require emergency dental treatment. If your tooth has moved out of position, gently push it back into place if you can. Avoid putting any pressure on the tooth.

You have lacerations

Lacerations to your mouth, jaw and face are also dental emergencies. Hold a clean cloth against the laceration to stop the bleeding and take over-the-counter medications to ease the pain.

Your tooth broke

Broken teeth can be painful, particularly if the break exposes the nerve-laden pulp at the center of your teeth. Decrease the pain by applying a little dental cement to the tooth and take a pain reliever to keep discomfort under control until it's time for your emergency appointment.

You have an abscess

Dental abscesses occur when tooth pulp becomes infected. Abscesses are often very painful and can cause facial or jaw swelling, fever and swollen lymph nodes. You may also notice a little bump that looks like a pimple on your gum. Abscesses require emergency treatment because the infection can spread throughout your body if you don't receive antibiotic treatment. Your Apple Valley dentist can also prescribe pain medication that will reduce your discomfort.

If you experience any of these dental emergencies, get in touch with Dr. Kim, your Apple Valley, CA, dentist, immediately. Call him at (760) 247-6007 to arrange emergency dental treatment.

By Apple Valley Dental
January 09, 2017
Category: Oral Health
AnyTimeAnyPlaceCamNewtonsGuidetoFlossing

When is the best time to floss your teeth: Morning? Bedtime? How about: whenever and wherever the moment feels right?

For Cam Newton, award-winning NFL quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, the answer is clearly the latter. During the third quarter of the 2016 season-opener between his team and the Denver Broncos, TV cameras focused on Newton as he sat on the bench. The 2015 MVP was clearly seen stretching a string of dental floss between his index fingers and taking care of some dental hygiene business… and thereby creating a minor storm on the internet.

Inappropriate? We don't think so. As dentists, we're always happy when someone comes along to remind people how important it is to floss. And when that person has a million-dollar smile like Cam Newton's — so much the better.

Of course, there has been a lot of discussion lately about flossing. News outlets have gleefully reported that there's a lack of hard evidence at present to show that flossing is effective. But we would like to point out that, as the saying goes, “Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.” There are a number of reasons why health care organizations like the American Dental Association (ADA) still firmly recommend daily flossing. Here are a few:

  • It's well established that when plaque is allowed to build up on teeth, tooth decay and gum disease are bound to follow.
  • A tooth brush does a good job of cleaning most tooth surfaces, but it can't reach into spaces between teeth.
  • Cleaning between teeth (interdental cleaning) has been shown to remove plaque and food debris from these hard-to-reach spaces.
  • Dental floss isn't the only method for interdental cleaning… but it is recognized by dentists as the best way, and is an excellent method for doing this at home — or anywhere else!

Whether you use dental floss or another type of interdental cleaner is up to you. But the ADA stands by its recommendations for maintaining good oral health: Brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste; visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and checkups; and clean between teeth once a day with an interdental cleaner like floss. It doesn't matter if you do it in your own home, or on the sidelines of an NFL game… as long as you do it!

If you would like more information about flossing and oral hygiene, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.