Welcome to My Downey Family Dentist
8653 Florence Ave, downey ca,90240

What Tartar Does to Your Teeth

Tartar, also known as dental calculus, is caused by the gradual interaction between your saliva and gum fluid and plaque on your teeth. This process is often referred to as calcification. In essence, it ultimately means that soft tissues become hard tissues. While it can happen all around your body, one of the places it’s constantly happening is your teeth.

Typically, you brush your teeth to remove bits of food and plaque from your teeth. Then again, it’s hard to get all of it. When this happens, plaque begins to take root as tartar. Once this happens, it becomes much more difficult to effectively clean your teeth with a toothbrush and floss alone.  On top of this, the acids that are released by the bacteria in your mouth become more effective when it comes to slowly breaking down the enamel of your teeth, opening up weak spots for cavities and tooth decay.

If you’ve ever experienced a toothache from a cavity – there’s a great chance that this was the cause. Plaque entered your mouth, found an easy place to hide, turned into tartar, worked away at your enamel, and broke on through to the other side (as the Doors would sing). This is why you often experience cavities in hard to reach places in your mouth. If untreated, these cavities can lead to further decay, dental abscesses, and even the need for restorative treatment like a dental crown or a dental bridge. Our dentists in Orange County have placed numerous crowns for patients who either failed to treat a cavity, or didn’t even know they had one!

Tartar doesn’t just hurt your teeth though….

It can also affect your gums. Tartar that establishes a foothold near your gumline is particularly troublesome for the way it damages your gums, causes inflammation, and contributes to gum disease.

Fortunately though, gum disease doesn’t just happen all-of-a-sudden. It’s progressive. Once plaque and tartar take hold near your gumline, you’ll often develop the mildest form of gum-disease, gingivitis (which is very common, and very treatable). Again, if left untreated – it can get much worse, and much more dangerous. This leads to more serious problems, like periodontitis – which causes your gums to gradually separate from your teeth – forming pockets where debris, plaque, tartar, and bacteria can hide-out and do their damage, safely tucked away from your brush and floss. This is when a dentist’s intervention is incredibly important.

 

Experiencing dental pain or irritation? Get it checked out before it becomes a problem! If you’re a patient in Downey, CA our dental team is here to help with quality affordable care that keeps your smile white, bright, and long-lasting. 

 

 

How to Reverse Gum Disease

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, because it’s always worth repeating: your gums are the foundation for your teeth. Taking care of your teeth requires taking care of your gums. Can you imagine what happens if you don’t take care of your gums? That’s right – there’s a good chance you can wave goodbye to some of your teeth.

But even if you’ve been slacking when it comes to taking care of your gums, that’s not the end of the story. Just like other tissues in your body – your gums are surprisingly resilient. While this isn’t a reason to put them to the test, if you’re experiencing the the symptoms of gum disease – proper care, hygiene, and (sometimes) treatment can help reverse it to help prevent the need for tooth extraction, dental bridges, dentures, and other forms of tooth replacement.

Symptoms of periodontal disease

Periodontal disease can manifest in a number of ways, many of the most common are listed below.

  • Swollen, tender, or red gums
  • Your teeth are loose, or separating (a signal that your gums can’t adequately support them)
  • Your gums appear to be pulling away from your teeth, making more tooth appear and making your teeth look longer
  • Bleeding while flossing, brushing, or eating harder, tougher foods
  • Sores in your mouth
  • A change in your bite
  • A bad taste in your mouth, or bad breath that doesn’t seem to go away

How to Fix Periodontal Disease

Start Flossing!

The first and most important part of improving the health of your gums and preventing any long-term damage to your teeth, mouth, or smile is to pick up that floss, get better about brushing after every meal, and become more aware of what you’re eating. More often than not, damage to your gums tends to start with poor oral  hygiene. Improving it is a sure-fire way to see results for most patients.

See Your Dentist ASAP

If you start experiencing any of the symptoms of gum disease and you haven’t seen your dentist in a while, give them a call as soon as possible. Our team of dentists in Downey, CA have had the opportunity to intervene with some serious cases of periodontal disease and in virtually every case they were capable of treating the source of the problem and repairing the damage through a wide variety of tactics ranging from simply cleaning the teeth and gums thoroughly and encouraging better  home-care, to root-scaling, pocket reduction, and deep cleaning.

If you think you might be suffering from gum disease and you’re a patient in the Downey, CA area (or anywhere for that matter!) don’t wait for it to get worse! Contact your nearest dentist today.

“Will my Gums Grow Back?”: A Guide to Repairing Your Gums

Your gums are an incredibly important foundation for your teeth. In fact, they are just as important as your teeth themselves. Like a home without a foundation, teeth wouldn’t have long to last with gums that aren’t healthy or taken care of. When this happens, your dentist will often try to save your gums with surgery in order to prevent the teeth from falling out. In other cases, if gums aren’t properly taken care of – it can eventually lead to a need for dental bridgework or even dentures.

If your gums are beginning to show signs of irritation or if you’re already experiencing sensitivity due to “gingival recession” – you may be wondering, is it possible for gums to “grow back?”

When it comes to actually repairing your gums, there is good news. If you’re experiencing minor gum recession, good oral care and home treatment can often be all it takes to reverse the damage and improve your gums. In many cases, patients have even reported their sensitivity going away. On the other hand, more serious recession of your gums will require a more serious form of treatment.

The first step, however, is to understand why recession is happening so you can begin to stop the cause. These can include:

  • Periodontal disease caused by lack of care
  • Changing hormones (such as in pregnancy, puberty, or menopause)
  • Genetics
  • Dependence on tobacco products
  • Brushing too hard

But the short answer: YES. Your gums can indeed grow back, but that’s only if they haven’t passed the “point of no return”. Then again, even if they have – you’re not without options.

Have questions about your gums? Looking for a family dentist in Downey, CA that can help? We’ve helped countless patients stop the spread of gum recession for healthier and more comfortable smiles. Schedule a consultation today to learn how.

 

Teeth Whitening at Home vs. In the Dentist’s Office

When it comes to getting a better smile that you’re more confident about, there’s actually quite a lot you can do.  On the more “exhaustive side” we have options like getting a dental bridge to replace a damaged or missing tooth or getting implants to get new teeth that fit, look, and feel just like natural teeth. But that’s not all. There’s a lot more you can do to get a confidence boost with your teeth, and that can range from simple DIY teeth whitening at home to in-office teeth whitening, and much more! But today, we’re going to talk a bit about the difference between teeth whitening at home and teeth whitening at your dentist’s office.

The First Option: Laser Bleaching

Laser bleaching is a relatively new technology where your dentist first places a barrier around your gum tissues to protect them from a strong, specially formulated bleach on the surface of your teeth. Next, a special laser light is applied to the bleach in order to activate the bleach and whiten your teeth.

The benefit of this laser bleaching is that your gums are protected, the bleach is stronger than what you could use at home, and you’re under constant supervision by your dentist – so the results are effective, comprehensive, consistent, and reliable.

Laser whitening typically happens in one visit, and only takes about 20 or 30 minutes. As a cosmetic dentistry procedure, methods like this are one of the fastest ways to get an instant aesthetic boost for your teeth.

 

Professional Teeth Whitening Trays

Teeth whitening trays are one of the most popular in-office teeth whitening options. Slightly less precise than laser whitening, teeth whitening trays use an impression of your teeth to create a custom fit that perfectly suits your teeth. Once these are created your dentist will instruct you to use a special solution every day, for from one to two weeks.  Sometimes, especially for cases where a patient has been a long time smoker or coffee drinker, bleaching trays can be used in-concert with laser whitening to get better results, faster.

At Home Teeth Whitening Kits

In addition to the leading options available at your dentist’s office, there are also a number of over-the-counter whitening kits available ranging from whitening trays and swaps to strips, brushes, and paints. Our family dental practice in Downey, California – we’ve consistently recommended in-office whitening as a faster and more effective solution. However, that doesn’t mean over-the-counter kits don’t work! If you don’t have the time to visit the dentist or you’re hoping to save some money, you can surely get results from at-home whitening kits. Our recommendation? Whitening strips. Many times, if you’re using DIY whitening, it’s easier to control where the bleach goes with strips when compared to another product like trays. On top of this, strips also ensure you’ll swallow less of the whitening agent.

Have questions about teeth whitening in Orange County? We’re here to help. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn how you can get whiter teeth in (literally) minutes. 

 

How Your Gums Support Your Teeth, and how YOU can Support Your Gums

A foundation for your house or building gradually shifts to accommodate the slow shifting of the building. All the while, the foundation continues to strongly support the house – all thanks to proper construction, care, and preservation.

In the very same way, your gums are a strong foundation for your teeth – so long as they are properly preserved and cared for. With proper care, you preserve your gums, your teeth, and prevent the need for more expensive corrective or cosmetic treatments like root scaling, extraction, dental bridgework, and more.

In order to prevent the onset of gum disease  prevent plaque and tartar buildup  by carefully cleaning your teeth and gums.  Unfortunately – more often than not – gum disease is almost always painless (until it’s too late). For this reason, it’s important to baby your gums to prevent gum disease from ever happening.

What are the warning signs of Gingivitis? 

  • Your gums are tender, red, or swollen
  • Your gums bleed easily
  • Gums have pulled away from the teeth, leaving a noticeable pocket
  • Your dentures have started to fit differently
  • You’ve started noticing a bad taste in your mouth
  • You’ve started noticing a change to your bite
  • You’re beginning to feel permanent teeth that are loose
  • You’ve noticed your breath is consistently bad

How to Take Care of Your Gums

Taking care of your gums isn’t all that hard. Simply be certain to brush your teeth two to three times a day, with fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure you still floss regularly. Despite recent news disputing the effectiveness of flossing in the prevention of full-blown gum disease, flossing can still effectively help treat irritation, inflammation, and the other earliest signs of gingivitis. On top of this, make sure to visit your dentist twice a year. And remember: if you don’t smoke, don’t start.

It Doesn’t Stop at Gum Disease

Studies have shown that patients with gum disease are far more likely to develop heart disease and problems with high blood sugar. But that’s not all! Gum disease has also shown as a potential cause of low birth weight and premature birth.  But at the end of it all, what do most patients care about? Their Teeth. And just like a house without a foundation would hardly be a sturdy house at all, going without our gums would be to go without our teeth as well.

Do you have questions about your oral healthcare routine? Maybe we can help. Our team of dentists in Orange County are equipped with the knowledge and expertise it takes to provide the best dental care for patients of all ages and backgrounds. 

Should You get a Veneer?

A porcelain veneer is a thin piece of strong composite material your dentist uses to cover the surface of your teeth and re-fresh their original look. But like any veneer, it’s important to remember that a dental veneer is really only a thin layer. Despite this, however, it certainly helps provide a level of strength and protection almost close to what your natural tooth would deliver.

However, sometimes a dental veneer isn’t the best answer! You see, a dental veneer generally works much better (and more predictably) when their edges “finish” on enamel. This is because bonding to enamel is much more effective than bonding to dentin (which is more porous). With this in mind, if you’re an older patient looking toward dental veneers for a cosmetic boost – veneers might not be an ideal solution. Why? Because over the years your enamel  will gradually wear away over time, exposing your dentin.

But it’s not just older patients who aren’t the best candidates for veneers,. Over time, you can also experience recession of the gums. While many times this can be relatively harmless (alongside proper oral hygiene), when the gums recede they also expose the dentin. Not only does this lead to sensitivity, it also (again) fails to provide an ideal bonding surface.

In both of these cases, a dental crown can sometimes be a more effective solution. With less than ideal bonding conditions, a crown instead covers the tooth on all sides to protect and preserve it to a degree that a veneer can’t. For a single tooth or a few different teeth, this can be an even better and longer lasting solution. For more than a few teeth, it can be a bit more expensive, which might make a veneer a more effective solution in that case.

Over the years, our team of family dentists in Orange County has placed hundreds (if not thousands) of dental crowns and veneers. With both solutions, natural and effective results are possible.

Which one’s right for you? It just takes a bit of inspection at the hands of your dentist.

Could a Dental Bridge Be the Best Way to Replace Your Missing Tooth? Maybe!

If you’re missing a tooth (or more) there’s a good chance you might feel just a little self-conscious about it. Whether it happens when you feel the impulse to smile or laugh, or if you simply can’t stand the feeling of eating without one of your teeth – there’s a very natural impulse to get a missing tooth replaced as quickly as humanly possible. As a family dentist that has provided thousands of dental bridges in the past – don’t worry, we get it! 

A dental bridge is a very common tooth restoration option used for its relatively long life, high durability, and low cost. Dental bridges, however, rely on remaining healthy teeth to support them.

With a dental bridge, the healthy teeth on either end act as the supports while a prosthetic tooth is placed in the center. Ultimately, the end result for you is a cohesive looking smile that hardly anyone will know is getting some help from some of the dental world’s latest prosthetic technology.

Caring for a Dental Bridge

Properly caring for a dental bridge is one of the most important aspects of actually having a dental bridge. If you don’t properly maintain your dental bridge, it will fail much faster than otherwise, and your investment will be nearly wasted. In order to take proper care of your dental bridge, you must be able to brush and floss consistently. But that’s not all. This can be especially tough for patients who lost teeth in the first place due to a lack of proper oral care. Your dental bridge must also be flossed very comprehensively. That means brushing on either side and the top and bottom of your bridge with specialized flossing tools.

If that all sounds like too much, your other alternative remains dental implants. While more expensive and invasive, dental implants are a more permanent solution that relies on titanium implants that are secured into your jaw. These titanium implants are bio-compatible, meaning they will eventually become “one” with your skeletal structure.  Many patients choose a dental bridge because it is less invasive and less expensive. But if you consider that a dental bridge will need to be replaced between 5 and 10 years from now, and a dental implant will likely never need replacing – it might influence your decision!

Have questions about the cost of dental bridges or implant dentistry? Our dental team is here to help!

 

Comparing the Cost of a Fixed Bridge to Dental Implants

When you loose just one tooth, two of the most commonly recommended solutions are a fixed dental bridge and an implant supported crown.

According to the American Dental Association, the average dental bridge tends to last about 10 years, but remember – there are many patients who have taken great care of dental bridges and seen them last for much, much longer.  With that said, clinical studies have shown that dental implants tend to be more successful in the long term – lasting 20 years or longer.

So, if you think about it – even if you’re dental care is only partially covered – the cost of a fixed bridge will generally end up being more expensive in the long haul. On top of this, an implant supported crown doesn’t require your dentist to file down or alter the adjacent teeth – making it the most cost effective, long lasting, and least invasive procedure of the two.

While a dental implant will seem more expensive at first, many dentists recommend an implant for patients that are good candidates for them – if not for the fact that they’re simpler, and less invasive – because they can last virtually as long as a natural tooth.

So, if you’re sitting at a crossroads and need to make the decision on either a fixed dental bridge or a dental implant – consider both the immediate and the long-term costs.

For a shorter process and less expensive initial investment, a fixed dental bridge can work perfectly for plenty of patients for years and years to come. While they’re a little harder to take care of and a little less long-lasting, many find them to be far more than enough for their needs for the given tooth, in the given location.  For a slightly more involved process (a few visits to the dentist’s chair) and a higher initial investment, however dental implants offer greater longevity and functionality and feel that rivals that of a natural tooth.

When a Dental Emergency Isn’t a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies can happen for many, many reasons.  However, because we often associate dental emergencies with major problems, patients end up finding themselves in the emergency room when an emergency dental care service would be more appropriate (and more cost effective).

Visits to the hospital emergency room are very common, but many times a patient would be better off visiting an emergency dentist, which can often also be open 24 hours a day.

 

Why the ER isn’t always the best solution

More often than not, if you rush to the emergency room after bashing your tooth or bumping your face – there’s a high likelihood that they’re just going to give you a small pain prescription and instruct you to give your dentist a call in the morning. Ultimately, you’re going to go home with the knowledge that you “need to see your dentist” and you’re going to pick up your phone to call your dentist and wonder why you hadn’t thought of it yourself in the first place!  Even if you get a temporary filling or crown at the emergency room, you’re still going to need to see a dentist.

Until you get to your dentists, there are a number of DIY remedies that can help sooth the pain from a tooth or gum injury.

Vanilla, Peppermint, and Lemon Extract

If you soak a cotton ball or the end of a Q-tip in vanilla, lemon, or peppermint extract – they’ve been known to help with aching and pain in the mouth.

Oils

A variety of oils have shown to exhibit powerful pain relieving qualities. For most applications, a mixture of water and oil (gargled) or application directly with a cotton ball should work well! These oils include: oregano oil, tea tree oil, sunflower oil, sesame oil, nutmeg oil, and clove oil.

Roots and Leaves

Leaves and roots can also provide a great deal of much needed relief. Leaves of peppermint and plantain can help sooth pain and calm inflammation. While ginger root and even garlic can help do the same. On top of this, all of the above also boast antibacterial properties among their benefits – making them perfect for relief and healing before you get to the dentist.

 

 Hot Water and Salt
When you experience a dental emergency, more often than not you also don’t have tea-tree oil or rosemary oil in your cupboard. But you probably have salt, and you have a way to heat up some water. This is one of the easiest, simplest, and most effective methods to get pain and inflammation relief.  Gargling with warm salt water helps draw the fluids out of inflamed gums while helping to reduce the aching and pain.
Have you experienced a dental emergency? Our experienced emergency dentists have served Orange County and nearby areas for years, and we’re happy to help.

Do You Need a Root Canal Doctor?

There might come a time where your sitting in the dentist’s chair and he or she informs you that it might be time for one of your teeth to receive root canal treatment.

If this should happen, first – remember one thing: don’t panic, root canal treatment these days is comparable (in terms of pain and discomfort) to a simple cavity filling. However, while you can be certain that a root canal won’t be too painful or uncomfortable – you might wonder, “who actually performs the procedure?”  and that’s where you have a choice.

Endodontics has been established as a dental specialty for many years, with dentists requiring over 3 years of post-graduate work to develop the necessary knowledge and skills to provide endodontic treatment. While all dentists receive some training in endodontics and can provide endodontic treatment, only a specialized endodontist can help with some of the more complex cases.

Who Should Provide Your Root Canal Treatment?

When it comes to root canal treatment, more often than not it’s true that a specialist will do a better job. Some dentists will even refer patients to a dedicated endodontist no-matter-what, due to the fact that an endodontist can more consistently offer the best result. The reasoning is pretty simple: they just have more practice!

(Just so you know: at our dental practice in Downey, CA – our team  features root canal doctors, general dentists, cosmetic dentists, orthodontists, and more. So you always know you’re going to get the best available treatment there is for you

Then again, there are plenty of general dentists who have had plenty of experience providing root canal treatment, which means it doesn’t just come down to schooling. You should also consider your dentist’s experience, their confidence with the procedure at hand, and your comfort with them on the whole.

Could You Need a Root Canal? Common symptoms of an infected tooth include:

  • Constant pain or pressure
  • You experience sensitivity to hot or cold liquids that persists even after you’ve stopped drinking or eating
  • Swelling of your gums
  • Pain when you bite down or apply pressure to a tooth
  • Gums that are overly sensitive

Do you have questions about your teeth? If you’re a patient near Downey, California – we can help! Get in touch with our dental team today to schedule a consultation or to learn more about our practice.