Archive | Dental Post

Dental Inlays and Onlays

dental Inlays and OnlaysYou’ve heard of a dental filling and probably want to run for the hills (Sound of Music style) at the thought of having to get one. But have you ever heard of dental inlays and onlays? To help you understand this dental procedure, we have created a fast and easy guide to help you out. Read on to learn more.

What Are Dental Inlays and Onlays?

Dental inlays and onlays are similar to traditional dental fillings, but they are typically made up of a more durable type of material. Made up of porcelain, gold, or composite resin, dental inlays and onlays can be matched to your existing teeth.

Inlays: As more of a partial type of filling, an inlay adheres to the inside cusp tips of the tooth.

Onlays: A dental onlay is used for the entire reconstruction of the tooth and typically covers the whole thing.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Inlays and Onlays?

There are several benefits to both dental inlays and onlays but the number one benefit is the fact that they are extremely durable— which means that if you take care of your teeth, you shouldn’t have to have any additional work done on them. Specifically, the benefit of dental inlays is the fact that if you have decay below the gum line, it can be fitted to help seal off that part of the tooth. With a dental onlay, the entire tooth can be covered for protection.

What Is the Procedure Like?

The procedure is typically a two-day ordeal consisting of getting fitted for the molds during the first appointment and then restoring your tooth with the dental inlays and onlays during your second appointment.

If you have recently found out that your teeth are starting to decay, you may want to consider getting a dental inlay and onlay from Dr. Janice Scott. To learn more about whether or not you are a good candidate for this type of procedure, contact our office today!

 

Jingle All the Way: How to Get a Christmas Card Worthy Smile In No Time

Cosmetic Dentistry | Stockton CAWith Christmas just around the corner, if you haven’t already taken your Christmas card photo, you may want to hop on that right away. However, if you haven’t taken your Christmas card photo because you are self-conscious about the appearance of your teeth in the picture, consider coming into see Dr. Janice Scott for a complete smile makeover. What is a smile makeover exactly? Read on to learn more.

What is a Smile Makeover?
Do you have chipped, cracked, missing, or yellowed teeth? If so, then you may be in need of a complete smile makeover. By using the individual assistance of or the combination of things such as dental veneers, dental implants, dental bridges, dentures, and teeth whitening, Dr. Janice Scott can help you to create a new smile that is worth showing off in your Christmas card this year.

How Long Does It Take?
To completely answer this question, you will have to schedule a consultation. During your consultation, Dr. Janice Scott will conduct an oral examination to see what options are more suitable for you and your needs. Once you and Dr. Scott have decided what route is the best to go, you will get a definitive answer regarding time. If it is just teeth whitening and bonding that is needed, then the process will be relatively quick. If you need dental implants, however, the process for those typically takes a few months to complete from start to finish.

What Are the Results Like?
Let’s just say that the results from your smile makeover will leave not only you confident about your Christmas card photo but it will leave your friends and family in shock at your transformation.

If you would like to learn more about a smile makeover or if you would like to schedule your consultation appointment, contact Dr. Janice Scott today!

Deer Park Dental is Taking a Sweet Approach to Fighting Cavities

cavity prevention stockton caNobody likes getting cavities. And the truth is that even with brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings, cavities can still occur. It has been found that eating candies or mints containing xylitol can reduce the likelihood of getting cavities.  Xylitol is a naturally occurring sweetener that is found in fruits and some vegetables. Cavity-causing bacteria in our mouths cannot metabolize xylitol (like it does with sugar) so it can’t turn it into acid. Also, xylitol has an anti-adhesive effect on cavity-causing bacteria making it harder for the bacteria to stick to our teeth.

Can I get xylitol products over the counter?

Most of the products sold in stores only have small amounts of xylitol in them. We recommend a company called XLEAR which carry SPRY products with 100% xylitol. Their website is xlear.com

What about xylitol gum?

Spry xylitol gum is a good choice but you would need to chew about 10 pieces of gum a day to get the recommended dose. Mints or candy are a little bit easier to get the right amount per day. But for people who like to chew gum, the spry gum could be good to use along with the mints or candies.

What is the recommended dose?

The recommended dose is between 5 and 6 grams (each piece of gum, mint or candy is between .5 and .7 gram).  It is recommended that you first start with just 1 or 2 pieces after each meal. Some people have a sensitivity to xylitol and if they take too much it can have a laxative effect. So if xylitol does not affect you in this way, feel free to use more.

Besides adding xylitol to one’s diet, there are many other things individuals can do to make a serious impact against cavities. Please contact our office at (209)478-3036 if you are interested in having one of our dental professionals put together a personal optimal anti-cavity strategy for you or a loved one

Get Rid of That Dental Anxiety: Preparing for Dental Implants

dental anxiety stockton ca One of the best ways to cope with any form of anxiety, is by bracing yourself for what is to come. For instance, if you’re scared of getting a flu shot, it will help you to know that the prick only lasts a second and then the pain is over. And when it comes to things like dental implant procedures, it can be difficult to know exactly what you’re preparing for and what to expect. Ease your dental anxiety by understanding the following things about dental implants.

What’s the Procedure Like?

The dental implant procedure is a fairly lengthy one— spanning across three to four months. During your initial visit, your dentist will likely pull a tooth that has been infected and looks like it’s hard to save. Once your mouth has healed for a few weeks after the tooth has been pulled, you will go into the office for the actual implant procedure. During this procedure, a metal rod or post will be inserted into your gums, acting as a sort of dental root. This will need to heal for a good two-three months until your next visit. ONce it has healed properly, your dentist will then insert a dental crown on top of the post— the dental crown is what actually looks like a tooth and will act as your tooth.

Is it Painful?

Due to the complexity of the dental implant procedure, parts of it can be painful but you will be given a local anesthetic so that you won’t feel the pain. However, after your tooth is pulled and after the implant has been placed, your mouth will be sore for at least a few days following. If you’re really concerned about the pain, ask your dentist to prescribe you a pain killer that will help you feel more comfortable.

As you can see, the dental implant process is quite complex and will take a few months to complete. However, by understanding exactly what you’re getting yourself into, you can help to ease any of your anxiety associated with the procedure.

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, contact our office today!

Emax Restorations: All You Need to Know

The field of restorative dentistry is continually on the hunt for new products that improve the functionality and appearance of tooth replacement products. Durable, versatile, and with a high aesthetic value, IPS e.max is a dental industry standard for ceramic tooth restoration. One of the advantages of e.max is that it’s been designed as a full system of products for tooth restoration, and it can be used to treat and solve a wide range of cosmetic and restorative dentistry problems—from creating or restoring dental implants, to placing veneers.

Advantages of the Emax Restoration System

Using Emax for tooth restoration has advantages for both dentists and their patients.

  • Emax products are bio-compatible, and won’t harm teeth and gums.
  • The products are easy to use and apply, which often means that more work can be done in a single session, or that work can be carried out more quickly to make sessions shorter.
  • Emax products are free from metal, including mercury, so they’re ideal for people who have concerns about amalgam fillings.
  • Restorations made with Emax products are natural-looking and can be made to perfectly match the colour of your own teeth.
  • Emax products are made using a special heat-pressed process that is highly fracture-resistant, meaning less chance of chipping and breaking.
  • The versatility of Emax products makes them good for complicated dental restoration jobs where multiple types of restorative work are needed.

What Restorations are Emax used for?

Emax products can be used for virtually any type of restorative dentistry, including cosmetic restorations where the appearance of the final product is of paramount importance. The strength of e.max ceramics, combined with the ability to manufacture the products in natural-looking shades that match your own tooth color, makes them ideal for veneers, crowns, and bridges, as well as inlays and onlays for treating tooth decay.

In addition to new restorations, Emax products can also be used to replace existing restorations—such as amalgam fillings—once they are removed.

Do You Grind Your Teeth? Your Dentist Can Help

Teeth-grinding—or bruxism—is an unconscious action that mbruxism stockton caany people do when they feel stress, it often occurs at night while sleeping. Although mild bruxism doesn’t always create symptoms, for some people, it can lead to physical symptoms like headaches and jaw pain, and can even cause permanent damage to the teeth. If you grind your teeth, or suspect that you do, talk to your dentist about preventing tooth damage and other oral health problems that can develop due to bruxism. It is better to prevent wear than to try to replace the tooth that has been lost long down the road.

Signs and Symptoms of Bruxism

Since bruxism can happen while you’re asleep, leaving you completely unaware of it, it’s important to know what the signs are, so you can get treatment to prevent further damage.

  • Teeth are chipped, fractured, flattened, or loose
  • Tooth enamel is worn, and teeth are more sensitive
  • Jaw muscles feel tired, tight, or painful
  • Headaches that affect the temples
  • Pain in the ears

If you experience any of these symptoms, and in particular if your partner or spouse notices that you are audibly grinding your teeth when asleep, talk to your dentist at your next appointment. Without treatment, bruxism can lead to tooth loss, and the need to replace teeth with crowns, dentures, or bridges.

How can Your Dentist Help?

If you’re grinding your teeth when awake, you can try to train yourself to be aware of it, and attempt to break the habit, but that’s not necessarily something that will help you stop doing it while you’re sleeping.

One of the most effective methods of preventing sleep bruxism is something that your dentist can provide—an occlusal mouth guard. These are acrylic devices that are shaped to fit your mouth, over your upper or lower teeth. They have a smooth, soft, and non-abrasive surface, so if you start to grind your teeth while asleep, they are protected. An occlusal mouth guard can also be shaped to limit the amount of movement your mouth has while wearing it, so the grinding action is minimized. Mouth guards are easy to take care of, and only need daily brushing with cold water and your toothbrush. If you build up heavy calcium deposits on your bite guard, as well as your teeth, you may want to soak your bite guard in white vinegar.  It is helpful to dissolve the calcium deposits for pennies on the dollar!
If grinding has already caused significant tooth damage you might need to undergo restorative dental procedures to repair the damage, but wearing an occlusal guard while you’re asleep will prevent further dental problems. It can also reduce or eliminate the pain in the jaw, head, and ear that results from bruxism, and the noise that it causes.

Bruxism is a common treatable disorder. Maintain routinedental visits so problems can be caught early or prevented altogether. Callyour dentist today!

Dental Splints and Occlusal Guards for TMJ Pain

 The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your skull and jawbone via a hinge-like structure that gives your jaw a considerable amount of flexibility for talking, chewing, and swallowing. In some people, this joint becomes dysfunctional, and causes severe pain not only in the joint itself, but also in the muscles and ligaments that control its movement.

TMJ pain generally has one of the following causes:

  • Injury or dislocation
  • An underlying health condition such as osteoarthritis
  • Stress-related habits like grinding the teeth or jaw-clenching
  • Incorrect jaw alignment
  • General stress in ones life

When TMJ pain is caused by stress or improper jaw alignment, the use of a simple dental device can help reduce the pain, and even eliminate it altogether.

Occlusal Guards

Many people who clench their jaw or grind their teeth in response to stress are unaware that they’re doing it, simply because it most often happens while they are asleep. Often they only become aware when it starts to cause TMJ pain or other problems that are apparent when they’re awake. If you have this problem, you may benefit from using an occlusal guard, an acrylic device shaped to fit over the upper or lower teeth, and prevent damage caused by grinding and clenching.

Wearing an occlusal guard can not only help to reduce TMJ pain—if you grind your teeth, wearing a guard can also prevent costly dental problems in the future, caused by the wearing down of tooth enamel. The device is easy to take care of, as it only requires daily cleaning with cold water. Would you rather invest in an occlusal guard/ bite guard/ splint or would you rather wait 10-20 years down the road and place 28 caps or crown on your teeth due to the excessive wear on your teeth from grinding.  I have seen teeth split that never had a cavity on it, from grinding.  I have seen the enamel “wiped away” on the top of the tooth from grinding.

A properly fitted occlusal guard will create the ideal bite in plastic.  What would you rather wear away, the enamel that God gave you or a piece of plastic?  It may be expensive and “your insurance does not cover it!”.  Many dental benefit companies do not cover occlusal guards.  Does that mean you should not have one?  Absolutely not!  Your dental health is between you and your dentist, not your dental benefits provider who is primarily concerned with profits.  A prevention now can save you costly repairs in the future.

Custom-made Splints

Improper jaw alignment can cause TMJ pain because when the upper and lower jaw don’t line up properly, the muscles that control the jaw are forced to work harder to bite and chew. This problem can be solved with the use of custom-made splints that support the jaw in a more efficient and less painful alignment.

The splints are made by taking an impression of the patient’s mouth, and using it as a mold to create a special kind of occlusal guard that is worn when you are asleep.  These bite guards should NOT be worn 24 hours a day as you may get so comfortable with your new bite, you are not able to return to your old bite without the splint without having discomfort.  If you have some stressful periods in your life, then it is OK to wear it during that time, but not full-time.  The splint is designed and shaped specifically to correct improper jaw alignment. Over time it works to realign the patient’s biting surface, which helps relieve TMJ pain because it reduces the amount of work the jaw muscles have to do.

When we are asleep, one can do much for forceful damage to our teeth and joint.  If you are grinding, an occlusal guard may be the perfect solution for you.

If you believe you may have TMJ or have other oral health concerns, please contact Deer Park Dental for more information or to schedule an appointment.

The Top 10 Questions People Have About Dental Care

1.  How often should I go to the dentist?

The American Dental Association, as well as the vast majority of dentists, recommends seeing your dentist twice a year for routine check-ups as, well as cleanings. But, if you have problems with recession, bleeding and tarter build-up, you may be one that needs to see your dentist more often.  Research shows that patients with periodontal gum infections are maintained better on a 3-4 month cleaning program.  The key is not what your insurance pays for but what is right for you!

2.  How safe are X-rays?

Radiation sounds scary, and in large can be dangerous. However, the amount of radiation you are exposed to for dental X-rays is very small. Over the years, there have been several developments that have reduced the level of radiation emitted by X-rays. These improvements include higher-speed films that require shorter exposure, the use of film holders, and digital machines that focus the radiation beam just to the X-rayed area. In addition, full-body aprons lined with lead protect against stray radiation from older equipment. Also, all X-ray machines are federally mandated to be checked for accuracy and safety every two years. In other words, X-rays are quite safe.
Another issues is CT Scan vs a 3-D image in your mouth to decide if a root canal can be treated successfully or if an implant has enough bone for success.  The amount of radiation in a medical CT scan is DRASTICALLY different than the amount of radiation in a 3-D image for a specific dental problem.  We, at Deer Park Dental are very concious on what is right for you.  Even check-up x-rays vary in the amount of time between films depending on YOUR cavity rate and many other factors. It is not cookie cutter but what is right for you and your dental health.

3.  How can I get my teeth whiter?

There are numerous over-the-counter products that you can use to possibly whiten your teeth, including pastes, strips, and bleaching trays. They all have varying degrees of success. The best way to get your teeth gleaming is through a procedure at a dental office. Only a trained dentist can ensure a quality, effective treatment. There are techniques that get your teeth white in “a day” but they can have other consequences. Long-term, studies show, that the best long lasting treatment is custom made trays with a low concentration of carbamide peroxide and you can make a change in your smile.  Typically these trays that your dentist makes are worn for two hours each day for two to four weeks.  This depends on each individual and some patients with deeper intrinsic stains may take longer.  The key is each patient is unique and will lighten just a little differently.

4.  Which toothpaste should I use?

It’s advisable to talk with your dentist about your toothpaste, but ideally you should choose one with fluoride, which has been proven to help in the fight against cavities. It’s also important to pick a toothpaste that is approved by the American Dental Association. If you see the ADA’s seal it means that the toothpaste has been evaluated for safety as well as effectiveness. Toothpastes with tarter control can sometimes make teeth more sensitive, others remove stain better without increasing sensitivity, talk to your dentist about what he or she recommends.

5.  When should I take my child for their first check-up?

It’s best to get children started early with dental care. You should bring your child for their first check-up no later than six months after their first tooth comes in.  The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends your child’s first check-up by age “1”.  Even if your child does not have many teeth erupted, your dentist can guide you to help prevent cavities in your child by educating you on the right choices for diet, what your child drinks and how, and ways to prevent transferring cavity causing bacteria to your child.  See your family dentist to discuss these options.  Studies show that the earlier a child visits a dentist, the lower their cavity rate.

6.  What is a root canal and what does it involve?

When the root of a tooth dies or there are signs of infection, it needs to be treated. Root canal therapy involves removing the infected pulp or dead root from the tooth, cleaning the area, and putting in strengthening filler. The tooth is often permanently capped for long-lasting protection, but some front teeth may not need a cap or crown as these teeth do not have the same pressures on them when biting or chewing. Your dentist will evaluate what is right for YOU!
The key is treating the tooth early and not too late.  When an infected tooth goes a long time without treatment, it is more likely to have complications of swelling, pain and infection.  So, just because it doesn’t hurt you now, does not mean that you should wait longer to take care of the problem.  The earlier you seek a solution, the better chance you have of a good result.

7.  What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt, usually when someone is between the ages of 17 and 25. Sometimes they erupt later than that, and sometimes not at all. There are many people who only have room for 28 teeth; when the wisdom teeth come in there’s no room for them and will then have to be removed to protect the integrity of the surrounding teeth. The key that your dentist is looking at is, “is there room in your jaw for the wisdom teeth, or third molars, to come in?”  If there is not room, what complications might you have if they are left there?  In my oldest son, his 3rd molars were extracted at 13 1/2 age.  My youngest son had his 3rd molars removed at 17 1/2?  Why the difference?  Because each person has a different growth pattern.  It is not the age, but it is the room available for the teeth to come in, the amount of development of the tooth and the probability of complications later if the wisdom tooth is not removed.

So, do we recommend everyone to remove 3rd molars?  No, of course not!  But how much room is there for the tooth to erupt?  What potential damage can that tooth do if it is not removed?  I had a great explanation done by an oral surgeon who has practiced for over 50 years.  He stated, “in the day” people did not go to the dentist that often.  They often got cavities in their first molars, or their “6 year molars” and had to have that tooth extracted.  The 2nd molars or “12 year molars” came in and then the wisdom teeth or “3rd molars” erupted and they drifted forward and few people had their wisdom teeth or 3rd molars removed.
Today, with better dental care, less first molars are removes and fewer people have room for their 3rd molars and so many more are removed.  The key is what damage they can do if left there?  They can push the other teeth and cause crowding.  They can push on the second molar and cause resorption.  They can cause periodontal (gum infection) by the inability to clean around them, thus affecting the tooth in front.  The key is, each person is an individual and needs care appropriate to them.  Ask your dentist what is right for YOU!

8.  What are veneers?

Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are permanently bonded to teeth that are visible when smiling. They are used to correct issues such as crooked, chipped, or stained teeth in order to create a better-looking smile. How long do they last?  If they are additive and the porcelain shell is bonded to the outer surface of your tooth, the enamel, the veneer can last much longer.  If your dentist has to prepare the tooth into the next layer of the tooth, the dentin, then the average life span is 7-10 years.  So… don’t rush into veneers when you are 18 years old as you have a life-time to make your teeth last.  Be conservative!           Sometimes bonding with resin can give a beautiful smile and may not be invasive.  This allows you to do more over the long haul and preserve your teeth for a life-time.

9.  Can I straighten my teeth without braces?

Traditional metal braces are effective at straightening teeth, but they don’t look or feel so good. However, there are other options. Invisalign® is a more comfortable cosmetic approach to typical alignment problems. Compliance IS an issue.  There are many situations that you can do more with this technique as you don’t have the thickness of the band to deal with but the patient has to be on board.  A removable appliance is only as good as one that is willing and compliant to wear it.  Otherwise, fixed brackets bonded to the teeth may be the better choice. Decide where you or your child is with compliance and then you will be able to make a good choice for what is best.

Veneers (see above) can improve the look of teeth with minimal problems whereas Invisalign® is a more comfortable cosmetic approach to typical alignment problems. Veneers in a “crooked smile” may mean much more grinding on the teeth to get the esthetic result.  Again, a comprehensive exam is critical to good success.

10.  Last but not least: How can I prevent cavities?

The best way to prevent cavities is to do what you’ve been told, probably since you were very little: brush and floss regularly. You should spend at least two minutes brushing twice a day and floss once a day. In addition, watch what you eat. Be careful of foods and beverages with high quantities of sugar, as well as sticky foods like raisins. Also, don’t neglect your bi-yearly dentist appointments. Call today and schedule an appointment. We at Deer Park Dental truly care about your dental health and will work hard to educate you to “need us less” so you can spend your time and dollars on more exciting ventures.  Feel free to call us at 209-478-3036 for a consultation to see what is best for you!

By ProSites, Edited by Dr. Janice G. Scott DDS

Are “Teeth in a Day” Really Possible?

“I have had an implant before and it took months to complete.  How can they claim on TV to do implants with teeth in a day?”

I have heard this question dozens of times.  As a dentist, I was initially skeptical when I saw the infomercial of people getting their teeth over implants in one day.  Most people, patients and dentists alike, are familiar with the concept that implants take months to heal (or “oseointigrate”) before a crown or bridge can be connected.

Not only is the concept of  “teeth in a day” possible, but we are one of the few dental offices in the area who provide the service.

“Teeth in a day” otherwise known as “all-on-4” is a procedure which the public has been exposed to through the advertising efforts of companies like “Clear Choice”.  “Teeth in a day” means that a patients’s teeth are extracted, implants are placed and teeth which do not come out are delivered all in one day.  “All-on-4” refers to fact that the new teeth are all supported by four (and sometimes as many as 6) implants.  Prior to the surgery, a 3-D cone beam image  is completed which allows the dentist and the surgeon to plan where exactly the implants are to be placed. Various records are taken by the dentist prior to the surgery to assure proper aesthetics and function of the new teeth.

The all-on-4 procedure is designed for two groups of people.  One group is individuals who need to transition from teeth to dentures but do not want something that comes in and out of his or her mouth.  The second is people who have dentures already and either cannot tolerate them or would prefer something that does not come in and out of their mouth.

One important piece of information that is not explained well in the infomercial is that the teeth that are delivered on the day of the surgery are not the “final teeth”.  This first set is aesthetic, and does not come out of the mouth.  After four months of healing, a milled titanium bar is made to connect the implants and then teeth are built to go over it.  Another option is that a very strong, tooth-colored set of teeth made out of a material called zirconium is made and connected to the implants.

When we perform the all-on-4 procedure, the surgeon we work with is Nicholas S. Veaco, M.D., D.D.S.  Dr. Veaco’s office is right next door to our office which is very convenient for our patients.

A huge benefit to individuals who choose to have the all-on-4 procedure done in a dental office versus a corporate surgical center is maintenance.  We see our all-on-4 patients at least once a year to remove their appliance and a provide a thorough exam and cleaning.

All-on-4 is just one of several implant-supported options available to to replace an individuals’ natural teeth.  If you or someone that you know is curious to find out if  “teeth in a day” is a good option or would like to know more about implant supported dentistry in general, please call our office at (209) 478-3036 for a consultation.

MY TOOTH IS WORN, SHOULD I HAVE IT FIXED?

Have you noticed your front teeth getting shorter and darker in the middle?  There is no cavity so should I get it fixed?

As a dentist, these are questions I get asked from patients.  When I first started in practice the mantra: “if it isn’t a cavity, if it isn’t broken” all made sense, so I didn’t restore these teeth. What I found is that these teeth often get shorter and shorter and when I finally restored them, I was amazed at how much I was “putting  back that had worn off”.  Not only does this make the teeth look better but it keeps them from wearing and chipping away. The middle of the tooth is much softer and more vulnerable to erosion from the acids in our mouth.
dentist in stockton, CA blog erosion #2
Another issues with worn teeth is that it can allow for the teeth opposing to move to touch the worn tooth. This can cause shifting of the bite and interferences when one chews.

How do we restore these teeth?

Sometimes bonding with a composite resin can build up the tooth.  Other times a veneer or crown will be needed.  The first step is to look at the bite, evaluate where everything touches and evaluate if there is room to restore what was lost or just to restore enough to prevent future wear.  Your dentist might even take impressions of your teeth and a registration of the position of your teeth to mount on an articulator (an instrument that is used to simulate the mouth movements) so your bite can be evaluated outside of your mouth.

How long do these restorations last?

A lot depends on your habits:  clenching, bruxing, biting on hard objects (pins, nails, etc), good bonding technique and how well you care for your mouth. I would guess few of us would not appreciate a more beautiful smile.  Restoring the tooth before too much damage is done may save you money over the long haul.
Visit your dentist and see what he or she can do to make your SMILE more BEAUTIFUL!

What is Cracked tooth syndrome? How is it treated and diagnosed?

Have you ever had something cold to eat or drink and a tooth just screamed “ouch” but it went away immediately after the cold was gone?  The KEY to the problem is that the pain went away.  How do you determine if it is cracked tooth syndrome versus a nerve dying on a tooth?  The first significant sign is how long it lingers.  It your tooth hurts a LOT to hot or cold but it goes away quickly – there is a good chance it is cracked tooth syndrome.  If the pain was to linger for a long time to hot, you may have a tooth that the nerve is dying and a root canal might be in order. Also biting on a stick over each corner of the  tooth can tell the dentist if that is the offending tooth, based on your response.

So, what causes cracked tooth syndrome?  It can be biting on something very hard and causing crack lines in the tooth.  Often it is from old fillings (silver fillings) which last a long time but expand and contract over time and cause crack lines in the tooth.  The nerve endings in the tooth are affected by this movement and can cause pain.  Grinding, or bruxing – especially at night time, can cause stress in the tooth also.

The good news is that often the discomfort is short and one might “live” with the discomfort.  The bad news is that often the cracks deepen and the sharpness of the pain becomes more severe.  It is not a cavity that will get larger but it can become so uncomfortable that it is time to do something to the tooth.  You just don’t want to wait too long that the crack line deepens so far into the tooth that the tooth splits and now it has to be removed – it cannot be repaired.

blog cracked tooth

So, how do we take care of cracked tooth syndrome?  A quick fix is to put a band around the tooth (like an orthodontic band).  The negative of this is that it is hard to clean around and is only a temporary fix.  The long-term “fix” is often a crown or cap over the tooth.  This allows the tooth to be held together and protected and lessen the discomfort on the tooth.

How do we prevent cracked tooth syndrome? Watch what you eat! No old maids: those kernels of popcorn that never popped and ouch, they can hurt to bite on.  Avoid hard candies and biting on ice cubes. If you grind your teeth a lot, talk to your dentist about making you a bite guard.

Remember, take care of and protect your adult teeth.  It can be a lot cheaper to take care of them than to replace a tooth!  Our goal at Deer Park Dental is to educate our patients in prevention and help them achieve a healthy mouth and beautiful smile.

I don’t like my dentures, what can I do? Implants, All-on-4, “teeth in a day” and other options

Have you ever been faced with dentures or have them and hate them?  What are my options?
     If you have had dentures for a long time, they might not fit well because when the bone does not have “teeth” to hold onto, it tends to slowly resorb or “melt away”.  The denture, fitting to where your bone and tissue used to be, now has a smaller area to rest on and may move around more.  This can cause the bite to feel off.  It can cause sore spots on your gums and ridges.  It can also cause more resorption due to uneven pressures.
     First we can start by seeing if relining the dentures with bring them back to a comfortable fit.  The lower dentures are the hardest to fit because they often do not get the fit and suction of an upper denture.  If the bite has changed drastically a new set of dentures is an option.  This will cause the denture to fit to your mouth better and can open the bite to where you used to be, resulting in a nicer smile and comfort.
     If the only discomfort is a lower denture, than a reasonably lower cost option would be to put in two implants in the bone in the lower arch to allow the denture to snap into the implants and hold them in place. There is a ring that fits between the denture and the implant that can wear out and will need to be replaced every 1-2 years on average.
     If you have really good ridges and bone, full mouth implants with bridges can be an option but this is very costly. If you wish more stability but the cost of full mouth implants is not an option, ALL-ON 4 may be the choice for you.
all-on-4 stockton ca
     What is ALL-ON-4?  This is where 4 implants are placed on the maxillary (upper) ridge and 4 implants are placed on the mandibular (lower) ridge and a denture is attached to these implants.  This can be an immediate option after having extractions of all your teeth and still being able to go home with teeth right away.  A full upper and lower denture is made before the extractions.  The surgeon uses this as a guide to level the bone to have enough room for the implants, the bar connecting the implants and the denture.  After the implants are placed and the surgery is done, the temporary denture is attached to the implants with an implant screw.  The implants are then left for at least 4 months to heal and to allow the bone to connect to the implants.
     After the healing is complete, there are several types of teeth that can go on top of the implants.  The first option is a new, very aesthetic denture which is started with teeth set in wax.  Once the patient approves the aesthetics then a gold bar is made over the implants and embedded into the final denture for stability and the denture is then completed (processed).  Another option is a zirconium (very hard porcelain) U-shaped bridge that is made to attach to the implants.  This is can be very beautiful and natural looking and durable but will be more costly than the denture with plastic teeth.
     So, what are the advantages of ALL-ON-4? Taste is a big one.  With a complete denture, many of the taste buds that are on the roof of your mouth will be covered by a full denture.  If one is a gagger, this takes all of the plastic of the denture off the roof of your mouth and allows the denture to feel more like natural teeth.  It is fixed in place so it doesn’t move around and unseat if you bite on something hard.  Your chewing will be better.  Conventional dentures have about 1/10th of the chewing power of natural teeth.
     Dentures are not a replacement for teeth, they are a replacement for NO teeth.  Today we have many more options to give you a natural and beautiful smile. If you have dentures that just are not working for you or if you are in a place where dentures is one of the options you are having to look at, ALL-ON-4 may be an option for you. Contact us today to learn more.

Tooth Whitening 101: Why Slow and Steady Wins the Race

What types of teeth whitening are available?  What works the fastest?  Is teeth whitening bad for my teeth? What is the best teeth whitening procedure for me?  I answer questions like this all the time.  Over the years, ideas have changed regarding teeth whitening and it is worth while to delve into the subject.

Teeth whitening, or “bleaching” has been around for decades and remains the most requested cosmetic dental procedure performed by dentists across the country.  Teeth whitening usually involves the topical use of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide (which breaks down into hydrogen peroxide) on the teeth. The enamel has microscopic pores which build up stain over the years from pigmented foods and beverages. (ie: spaghetti sauce, berries, coffee, tea, red wine, etc)  The hydrogen peroxide enters the pores of the tooth and bubbles out the stain with the end products being oxygen and water.  This process can cause short-term sensitivity in some individuals which may determine how long he or she elects to whiten per session.  Other whitening techniques involve the mechanical removal of surface stains but if harsh abrasives are used, the enamel could be damaged.  For the sake of this article I will refer to three categories of teeth whitening: home remedies, over-the-counter solutions, and services provided by dental professionals.

Home Remedies:  I am not going to comment on the safety/effectiveness of the various home remedies. They usually range from harmless and ineffective to downright destructive.  Most of these techniques have not been adequately tested and could cause damage to ones teeth and gums.  I would exercise extreme caution in considering any “experimental” or  “home” teeth whitening techniques.

Over-the-Counter Solutions:  There are several products that can be purchased over-the-counter that claim to give their users “whiter, brighter smiles”.  Some are quite effective and some can be damaging.

Tooth whitening toothpastes are very common but by themselves are minimally effective at whitening teeth. They are good at removing surface stains and can lighten teeth slightly.  They either use a mild abrasive or hydrogen peroxide or both.  Use caution as some of these toothpastes are too harsh and can remove or damage enamel.  If one is serious about whitening his or her teeth, a gentle whitening toothpaste is a nice maintenance adjunct after achieving your goal shade with a more effective technique.

“Whitening pens” and other paint on whitening products have become increasingly popular.  They seem to vary in effectiveness so I would read reviews online prior to making a purchase.  Most of them use a concentrated amount of hydrogen peroxide to achieve their effect.  They are nice because they are portable and good if one is interested in “whitening on the go”.  Caution should be taken when products claim that they can “whiten veneers and crowns”. Surface stains can be removed from porcelain but the color of the porcelain itself cannot be lightened.
“Whitening strips” are still the most popular over-the-counter technique.  Strips have been around for more than ten years and were made popular by the Crest company.  The strips have a gentler solution of carbmide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide embedded into the plastic strip that the user molds over his/her teeth and leaves in for 30 minutes to an hour.  Some advantages to the strips is the fact that they are reasonably inexpensive (approx $25-$55 per box) and they are effective.  Some disadvantages are that it can take several boxes to attain one’s goal shade and also the strips are a fixed size so individuals with larger teeth will not whiten evenly because the back teeth are not covered. I have heard patients complain about their fingers turning white with the product and not liking how the strips can slide around on their teeth.

Spas, medi spas, kiosks at the mall, and so many other “over-the-counter” sources exist which sell bleaching solution that goes into some type of tray and is placed over the teeth.  Some of these trays are to be boiled in water by the consumer and then formed to his or her own teeth. This system produces an ill fitting tray which allows the whitening solution to ooze onto and irritate the gum tissue.  Some vendors actually take impressions of customers teeth in order to make better fitting, custom whitening trays.  This system is the most similar to what a dentist may do, however there is no dental professional to assess if the customer is in fact a good candidate for bleaching.  (Are cavities present?  Is there gum recession or erosion of the roots at the gumline?  Are older fillings present that may be breaking down, allowing for bleaching solution to reach the deeper areas of the the teeth?)  Also there is no dental professional available for follow up or to help personalize the treatment for the individual.

Dental Office Provided Whitening Services:

Years ago, there were many “Extreme Makeover” types of television shows where every participant received either some sort of “Turbo Bleaching” or a mouth full of “Davinci Veneers”.  Fast bleaching became popular, whether it was called “laser bleaching”, “power bleaching” or went by one of the brand names.  The procedure would happen in the dental office and a dental professional would place a more concentrated solution of either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide and expose the teeth to a very bright light or laser to “activate” the whitening material.  The patient’s smile would be considerably whiter after only one or two sessions.  Now if the procedure was completed with no whitening solution, the result would be virtually identical because a great majority of the whitening effect from this technique is from the light dehydrating the teeth.  If no further whitening techniques are utilized, the teeth will return to the original color once they rehydrate.  Studies have shown that the light has zero effect on the whitening of the teeth and because the light does warm the teeth, it could damage the nerves of the teeth.

This brings us to what many consider to be the gold standard in teeth whitening which is well fitting, professionally made bleaching trays and a carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide solution that is tailored to the needs/whitening goals of the patient. The patient takes them home and uses them at his or her convenience.  Some people will elect to wear their trays more often or for longer periods, if comfortable, in order to achieve their whitening goals.  Some people will need to take breaks of one or more days between the days they bleach if they experience sensitivity.  During the active phase of teeth whitening, the patient comes in for regular “bleaching checks” at the dental office.  These “check” appointments are critical, allowing the dental team to monitor the patient’s progress and if necessary, modify the patient’s at-home instructions as to help him or her receive maximum benefits.

Most individuals would like his or her smiles to feel great and appear healthy, clean and bright.  In addition to good oral hygiene, professional dental cleanings, and the care of one’s dentist, many patients can benefit from teeth whitening.  As discussed, whitening options abound, but the safest, most effective, longest lasting technique is a lower concentration solution used over a greater amount of time under the supervision of a dentist.  So as far as teeth whitening goes, slow and steady does win the race!

Keep Smiling!
Chris von Tersch, D.D.S.

Do you grind your teeth? Do you have Jaw pain? Dental Treatment for TMJ

Janice G. Scott DDS

     Sometimes the first time we realize that we grind our teeth is when a family member comments on how LOUD we grind.  You may have noticed that your child or sibling grinds a lot. Your dentist might comment that you are showing some wear on your teeth.  Sometimes it can be seen in the back molars and sometimes on the front teeth, especially the cuspids (some people call these teeth the “eye teeth”).
     Children often grind their teeth and can wear them down a lot.  Some kids will wear their teeth close to the gum-line.  The good news is that your child’s grinding is not an indication that it will be a problem in his or her adult teeth.
     Many people find that they first start grinding when they are under a lot of stress!  It could be a new job, a death in the family, a college student going through final exams or just the everyday things that keep our lives so busy each day. Sometimes stress can change the jaw relationship (how your teeth touch each other in your mouth as you open, close, chew, swallow and grind)  from a tolerable one to one your body cannot handle.
     So how do we make things better? First, try engaging in more exercise, meditation, and other stress-relieving activities!  It is good to avoid sugar and caffeine, drink lots of water, make sure that you get enough sleep and exercise, and try to de-stress your life! (This is not always easy!)
     If that doesn’t work, sometimes an appliance, called a “bite guard,” can help.  There are many types of bite guards. Some bite guards are soft, like a sports mouth guard.  This can be helpful on some patients by just changing how your teeth touch each other.  In more severe joint disorders, this simple solution may not be good long-term. A hard or soft bite guard can also help prevent wearing away the enamel or causing sensitivity and fractures in your teeth.  It can be a lot less expensive to replace a plastic bite guard that you might wear out than to replace a tooth that is damaged from grinding.  You must also be careful as some types of bite guards, which do not touch all the teeth, can allow the teeth to drift and then your bite can change dramatically making chewing more difficult.
     Other patients with more severe wear or joint disorders and pain may need a more complex appliance.  A bite guard in this case is more like an orthopaedic appliance that will help to center the jaw joint in the socket so that is is more comfortable at night.  We call this an SRA or Superior Repositioning Appliance. It attempts to create a more ideal bite by aligning your teeth around the hard acrylic and guiding the jaw joint closer to the center of the socket. Not only can these appliances protect your teeth and joint but they can also help to relieve pain in your jaw joint by relieving pressure and swelling in the tissues around the joint.
So…. diet, nutrition, exercise and a positive atmosphere can help.
If still not better, see your dentist to see if a bite guard can help you.

Preventing Cavities and Tarter Build-Up

Helpful hints on preventing cavities and buildup of tarter / calculus on your teeth:

Author:  Janice G. Scott DDS

What you eat not only affects your health of your body but it also affects the health of your teeth and gums.  Do you have a sugared coffee drink in the morning?  Do you eat oatmeal or process cereals?  Do you get your “fruit” in juice form or eat the whole fruit?  All these things have a BIG effect on your teeth!

The more processed a food is, the more quickly that the bacteria (cavity bugs) can break down the food and create an acid environment in your mouth and create more plaque.  More plaque means more calculus or tarter on your teeth which can lead to more scraping at your cleaning.  You also can have more bleeding gums as calculus is porous and the live bacteria sit on the surface irritating the gums causing bleeding gums and possibly bone loss. Also some foods are more acidic than others. Teeth, enamel and the root surfaces, break down much faster in an acid environment causing cavities.

So, make SMART CHOICES each time you choose your food.  It will help your teeth and gums stay healthy and keep your body healthier also.  After having any food that is acidic, drink water or rinse well with water. Spend time on your home care, (brushing and flossing), for a healthier mouth and be sure to have regular dental check-ups! And for KIDS remember to brush 2 Minutes 2X A DAY!

preventing cavities and tarter

Welcome to our Deer Park Dental blog!

Stockton General & Cosmetic Dentist in Stockton CAWe’re excited to update our Deer Park Dental blog.

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Here’s to your best oral health ever!