Posts for category: Oral Health
Not sure if the issues you are facing are because of a cavity? Find out now.
Most people will deal with a cavity at some point in their lifetime, but often times they don’t even know that they have a problem until they come in to visit our Apple Valley, CA dentist Dr. Samuel Kim. If caught early enough a cavity can easily be treated. Learn more about what to look out for when it comes to a dental cavity.
Signs of a Cavity
If you have a cavity you may notice a dark spot on your tooth. This is often a very good indicator that you have dental caries. Of course, there are other symptoms to look out for including:
- Dental pain, particularly when chewing
- Sensitivity or pain when consuming hot or cold foods or drinks, as well as sensitivity to sugar
- Darkening of the tooth or dark spots
- White, chalky spots on teeth (this is a very early warning sign of mineral loss in tooth enamel)
If you are experiencing any of these problems then it’s time to call our Apple Valley general dentist to have your teeth examined. The sooner you can catch and treat a cavity the better.
It doesn’t have to be impossible to prevent cavities. Simple measures such as brushing and flossing every day, using toothpaste that contains fluoride and maintaining a healthy diet that is low in sugar can greatly help with cavity prevention.
Also, visiting us every six-months for routine cleanings and exams are crucial for identifying the early stages of cavities when treatment is much easier. Plus, we can also recommend other treatment options to prevent cavities for those at a high risk of developing cavities.
Apple Valley Dental is here to provide your family with the dental care everyone needs to maintain healthy smiles. Turn to Dr. Samuel Kim, your Apple Valley, CA family dentist you can trust.
Dental implants are widely considered the most durable tooth replacement option, thanks in part to how they attach to the jaw. But durable doesn't mean indestructible — you must take care of them.
Implants have a unique relationship to the jawbone compared to other restorations. We imbed a slender titanium post into the bone as a substitute for a natural tooth root. Because bone has a special affinity with the metal, it grows to and adheres to the implant to create a secure anchor. This unique attachment gives implants quite an advantage over other restorations.
It isn't superior, however, to the natural attachment of real teeth, especially in one respect: it can't match a natural attachment's infection-fighting ability. A connective tissue attachment made up of collagen fibers are attached to the tooth root protecting the underlying bone. An elastic gum tissue called the periodontal ligament lies between the tooth root and the bone and attaches to both with tiny collagen fibers. These attachments create a network of blood vessels that supply nutrients and infection-fighting agents to the bone and surrounding gum tissue.
Implants don't have this connective tissue or ligament attachment or its benefits. Of course, the implants are made of inorganic material that can't be damaged by bacterial infection. However, the gums and bone that surround them are: and because these natural tissues don't have these same biologic barriers to infection and perhaps access to the same degree of antibodies as those around natural teeth, an infection known as peri-implantitis specific to implants can develop and progress.
It's therefore just as important for you to continue brushing and flossing to remove bacterial plaque that causes infection to protect the gums and bone around your implants. You should also keep up regular office cleanings and checkups. In fact, we take special care with implants when cleaning them by using instruments that won't scratch their highly polished surfaces. Such a scratch, even a microscopic one, could attract and harbor bacteria.
There's no doubt dental implants are an excellent long-term solution for restoring your smile and mouth function. You can help extend that longevity by caring for them just as if they're your natural teeth.
If you would like more information on caring for 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 “Dental Implant Maintenance.”
When you’re among the top players in your field, you need every advantage to help you stay competitive: Not just the best equipment, but anything else that relieves pain and stress, and allows you to play better. For top-seeded Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic, that extra help came in a somewhat unexpected form: a custom made mouthguard that he wears on the court and off. “[It helps] to not grind my teeth while I play,” said the 25-year-old up-and-coming ace. “It just causes stress and headaches sometimes.”
Mouthguards are often worn by athletes engaged in sports that carry the risk of dental injury — such as basketball, football, hockey, and some two dozen others; wearing one is a great way to keep your teeth from being seriously injured. But Raonic’s mouthguard isn’t primarily for safety; it’s actually designed to help him solve the problem of teeth grinding, or bruxism. This habitual behavior causes him to unconsciously tense up his jaw, potentially leading to problems with muscles and teeth.
Bruxism is a common issue that’s often caused or aggravated by stress. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to suffer from this condition: Everyday anxieties can have the same effect. The behavior is often worsened when you consume stimulating substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and other drugs.
While bruxism affects thousands of people, some don’t even suspect they have it. That’s because it may occur at any time — even while you’re asleep! The powerful jaw muscles that clench and grind teeth together can wear down tooth enamel, and damage both natural teeth and dental work. They can even cause loose teeth! What’s more, a clenching and grinding habit can result in pain, headaches and muscle soreness… which can really put you off your game.
There are several ways to relieve the problem of bruxism. Stress reduction is one approach that works in some cases. When it’s not enough, a custom made occlusal guard (also called a night guard or mouthguard) provided by our office can make a big difference. “When I don’t sleep with it for a night,” Raonic said “I can feel my jaw muscles just tense up the next day. I don’t sense myself grinding but I can sort of feel that difference the next day.”
Â An occlusal guard is made from an exact model of your own mouth. It helps to keep your teeth in better alignment and prevent them from coming into contact, so they can’t damage each other. It also protects your jaw joints from being stressed by excessive force. Plus, it’s secure and comfortable to wear. “I wear it all the time other than when I’m eating, so I got used to it pretty quickly,” said Raonic.
Teeth grinding can be a big problem — whether you put on your game face on the court… or at home. If you would like more information about bruxism, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”
Exchanging passionate kisses with big-screen star Jennifer Lawrence might sound like a dream come true. But according to Liam Hemsworth, her Hunger Games co-star, it could also be a nightmare… because J.Law’s breath wasn’t always fresh. “Anytime I had to kiss Jennifer was pretty uncomfortable,” Hemsworth said on The Tonight Show.
Lawrence said the problem resulted from her inadvertently consuming tuna or garlic before the lip-locking scenes; fortunately, the two stars were able to share a laugh about it later. But for many people, bad breath is no joke. It can lead to embarrassment and social difficulties — and it occasionally signifies a more serious problem. So what causes bad breath, and what can you do about it?
In 9 out of 10 cases, bad breath originates in the mouth. (In rare situations, it results from a medical issue in another part of the body, such as liver disease or a lung infection.) The foul odors associated with bad breath can be temporarily masked with mouthwash or breath mints — but in order to really control it, we need to find out exactly what’s causing the problem, and address its source.
As Lawrence and Hemsworth found out, some foods and beverages can indeed cause a malodorous mouth. Onions, garlic, alcohol and coffee are deservedly blamed for this. Tobacco products are also big contributors to bad breath — which is one more reason to quit. But fasting isn’t the answer either: stop eating for long enough and another set of foul-smelling substances will be released. Your best bet is to stay well hydrated and snack on crisp, fresh foods like celery, apples or parsley.
And speaking of hydration (or the lack of it): Mouth dryness and reduced salivary flow during the nighttime hours is what causes “morning breath.” Certain health issues and some medications can also cause “dry mouth,” or xerostomia. Drinking plenty of water can encourage the production of healthy saliva — but if that’s not enough, tell us about it: We may recommend switching medications (if possible), chewing xylitol gum or using a saliva substitute.
Finally, maintaining excellent oral hygiene is a great way to avoid bad breath. The goal of oral hygiene is to control the harmful bacteria that live in your mouth. These microorganisms can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and bad breath — so keeping them in check is good for your overall oral health. Remember to brush twice and floss once daily, stay away from sugary foods and beverages, and visit the dental office regularly for checkups and professional cleanings.
So did J.Law apologize for the malodorous makeout session? Not exactly. “[For] Bradley Cooper, Christian Bale, yeah, I’ll brush my teeth,” she laughed.
Hemsworth jokingly agreed: “If I was kissing Christian Bale I probably would have brushed my teeth too. With you, it’s like, ‘Eh. Whatever.’”
If you would like more information about bad breath and oral hygiene, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bad Breath: More than Just Embarrassing.”
Did you know what you eat can help your oral health? Find out how!
Everyone wants a healthy smile. Besides maintaining good oral hygiene and visiting your Apple Valley dentist Dr. Samuel Kim every six months for routine exams, you may not be sure what else to do to improve the overall health and appearance of your smile. But have you taken a closer look at your diet? What you put in your body can also affect your smile. Find out what foods you may just want to incorporate into your diet (and which ones you should avoid) if you want your smile feeling and looking its best.
An apple a day may not keep the doctor away, but it can certainly help you get a clean bill of health when you visit our Apple Valley general dentist for your next cleaning. Apples, carrots, and celery are wonderful snacks because they help stimulate the flow of saliva, which can wash away acid caused by the bacteria responsible for cavities.
If you love cheese (and who doesn't) then you may be excited by this news: both cheese and milk are great for your teeth. As you may have already guessed, the calcium in dairy products can help strengthen teeth enamel and promote stronger bones. Plus, they also contain casein, a protein that is known to reduce the development of cavities.
This is another important part of a healthy diet because lean proteins can also help promote healthy teeth and re-mineralize tooth enamel damaged by acid attacks. These foods are rich in phosphorus and are perfect for promoting a healthy smile. Some lean proteins include:
- Egg whites
Another great way to add protein to your diet (especially if you consider yourself a vegetarian) is by eating nuts. Peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, and almonds can help give your teeth and gums the nutrients they need to stay strong.
Need to schedule your six-month cleaning? Concerned about the health of your smile? Then call Apple Valley Dental today to schedule your next appointment. Let us take care of all your general, restorative and preventive dental needs.