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

The Dangers of Tooth Grinding (and Why Your Dentist Recommended a Mouth Guard)

Stress can do a lot of things to your body.  Unfortunately, stress is incredibly widespread. In 2015, the American Psychological Association released it’s survey on Stress in America to explore how stress impacts adults across the country. In essence, what that study has said over the years is that greater and greater percentages of adults have complained about experiencing high levels of stress.

But stress doesn’t just give us ulcers, lead to nailbiting, and cause us to lose sleep at night –  it is also one of the top causes of tooth grinding, otherwise known as “bruxism”.

Naturally, the most obvious problem with tooth grinding is damage to your teeth. Not only can you cause stress fractures on your teeth and damage your molars, but you can also wear away the protective covering on your teeth which can lead to receding gums – a problem that starts simple and can get much worse if you don’t get it taken care of.

 

 

 

On top of dental damage existing as a problem in and of itself, grinding will also cause your teeth to get shorter. The problem with this isn’t just the look of your teeth, but the fact that it can result in your upper and lower jaw impacting with greater impact when you chew – which leads to a greater risk for fractures while making the underlying damage even worse.  In extreme cases, our dentists in Downey, Ca have even seen grinding so bad that the molars were ground all the way to the gumline – requiring extraction and tooth replacement with either a dental bridge or a dental implant.

 

But keep in mind, even if you have to replace teeth that have been damaged as a result of grinding – it’s still important to treat the grinding itself either with changes to your lifestyle or by investing in a nightguard. Otherwise, the grinding will just damage the dental restoration.

Do you frequently wake up with headaches? If so, grinding might be your problem. Sleeping partners might also be hearing an unsettling, grinding sound that is also a telltale sign of teeth grinding. If this sounds like you and you’re a patient in the Orange County area, get in touch with us today. We can get you the relief you’ll appreciate!

5 Amazing Facts About Your Teeth

1. The hardest substance in your body is tooth enamel 

That’s right, the enamel protecting your teeth is the hardest part of your body. Which goes to show how truly powerful the forces working against your teeth are. Ever thought it was hard to break a bone? Well all it takes for acid and bacteria to undermine your teeth is to sit there.

2. Flossing is important, because otherwise you miss nearly half of the tooth’s surface

Flossing actively helps prevent cavities and decay – which can lead to potentially expensive restorative dental procedures (beyond cavity filling) like dental crowns or even dental bridges (and other replacement techniques). You know why? Because brushing alone only reaches about 60% of your tooth’s surface, leaving about 40% leftover to fend for themselves!

3. Tooth decay is the second most common ailment in the United States 

Outside of the common cold, tooth decay is literally the most common sickness affecting Americans. Why? Because, like we said before, the acid and bacteria working against your teeth are powerful indeed! If you don’t stay on top of your oral hygiene, it can quickly spiral out of control. Unfortunately, when that happens it’s easy for simple problems to become much more complex problems.

4. Dental fillings have been around for centuries

We have been creating teeth fillings for thousands of years. When you go to the dentist and find out that you need a filling, you might feel a little bit bad about yourself – like you were remiss in your duties to your teeth. But you might be forgetting that dental fillings date all the way back to the ancient Egyptians, meaning fillings are so common that even the ancients understood how important they are when it comes to protecting the teeth from future damage. Getting a filling when you have a cavity is a very simply and effective way to prevent the need for treatments like the root canal procedure or dental crowns.

What Your Teeth are Telling You

Like any system in your body, your teeth are integrated with a highly advanced system of nerves and blood vessels that keep your teeth strong, safe, and healthy. The nerves that keep your teeth from biting down in the wrong place at the wrong time also serve to keep you informed about what’s going on in your mouth.

Being able to read those signs and signals are what your dentist is for (and our dentists near Orange County are experts at spotting them!) but sometimes, you just want to understand what might be going on before visiting the dentist. Read on to learn what your teeth might be telling you.

Your teeth are sensitive to cold or hot

When your teeth are sensitive to temperature extremes, they’re trying to tell you a couple of different things. Sometimes the root cause is potentially problematic, other times it’s very simple. For many patients, sensitive teeth is very common and very treatable. It occurs when your tooth’s enamel wears down or your gums recede. While these eventualities are often hard to avoid for some patients, they aren’t entirely terrible either. That’s because they’re usually really treatable. The key here is to either prevent the damage from occurring in the first place – for instance, by not brushing so hard (which can cause recession) or by changing your lifestyle, such as the toothpaste you use or the foods you eat, like highly acidic pasta sauces, ketchup, and foods that will wear away your enamel

A Sharp Pain In Your Tooth

If you’re feeling a sharp or sudden pain in any number of teeth, especially when you bite down – there’s a good chance you’re suffering from either decay or a cavity. When these conditions are allowed to progress and get worse, they can lead to decay and infection that might require treatment like the root canal procedure. Remember, if the pain only happens once – and doesn’t come back, it’s probably fine. However, if the pain persists for a week (or more) it’s time you visit the nearest dentist.

You’ve noticed suddenly crooked or loose teeth
Teeth that are suddenly crooked or loose don’t require your family dentist to tell you that something’s wrong. Usually, the cause of this is gum disease that’s been allowed to progress for far too long.

The Root Canal Process – Step by Step

If you were to be told right now that you need a root canal, chances are you might start to feel just a little bit worried. Fortunately, those worries would be almost entirely unfounded – because modern root canal procedures, unlike their predecessors, aren’t a whole lot different than getting a cavity drilled and filled.

When you get a root canal, it’s important to remember that the goal is to save your tooth. The dental team in our Downey, CA dental clinic most commonly insist on a root canal because some sort of damage (decay, a cavity, or gum disease) has allowed infection or inflammation to reach all the way down to the root system. Inside your tooth, surrounded by blood vessels and tissue is the dental pulp. When this fleshy part of your tooth becomes infected, it can form a foothold that allows it to spread to other parts of your mouth, and even throughout your body. For this reason, dentists even offer emergency dental care for patients with high risk symptoms.

Many patients assume root canal treatment is particularly painful due to the procedure’s reputation. Fortunately, that’s not quite true. The rumors about pain, blood, and gore are more tied to the root canals our grandparents got – with rudimentary dental equipment and hardly any anesthesia.

If you’re preparing for a root canal, you might wonder what to expect.

The first step: We’ll isolate the tooth. This involves stretching a thin sheet of rubber over everything but the tooth we’re working with. This is done to eliminate the presence of contaminants from bacteria and debris in your saliva. It also makes the tooth easier to work with!

The second step: We will open up an “access cavity”. In order to remove the affected dental pulp, your dentist will use a precision drill to gain access to the pulp chamber. When it’s one of your back teeth, the hole is drilled through the chewing surface. For teeth in the front of your mouth, this is done on the back-side so it’s not obvious.

The third step: Your dentist will measure the depth of your tooth, so that only the required amount of space is treated – and treatment doesn’t go beyond the tooth’s nerve space.

The fourth step: Your dentist will shape the pulp chamber, to ensure not only that the tooth can be properly rid of bacteria and infection, but to also ensure that the tooth, once cleaned, can be completely cleansed (with medicine) and filled.

The fifth step:  Once the tooth has been prepared, it is thoroughly cleaned with specialized tools that carefully scrape away all of the nerve tissue and pulp – and the bacteria and infection along with it.

Many patients wonder, “but don’t I need that stuff?!” and the answer is “No”. Your tooth relies on your dental pulp early on when it’s growing – but after it’s fully grown, it can be sustained by nutrients from your gums and your surrounding tissues. The pulp is no longer needed.

The sixth step: Next, the tooth is sealed. For a majority of patients, your dentist will often place a temporary filling in the tooth right after it’s been cleaned and seals. Other times, it’s deemed best to wait a week to ensure all bacteria and infection has been removed.

The final step: By now, the “root canal procedure” has been complete. All that remains is the finishing touch, which includes a permanent restoration – usually a dental crown – to enclose the tooth, protect it, and ensure it stays healthy for years to come.

 

The Battle In Your Mouth: How Bacteria Creates Decay

Did you know that there’s a battle being waged in your mouth pretty much around the clock? That’s right.

Not even dentists (and other scientists) truly understand how many different kinds of bacteria there are in your mouth. Estimates from studies that have been done tell us that there are as many as 650 different species of bacteria in the average persons mouth – on their teeth, tongue, and the many different tissues that make up the mouth.

While a large amount of the bacteria in your mouth are completely harmless, there are a few different kinds that can do damage. These are the types of bacteria that your mouth (and your dentist) work to minimize. Fortunately, you can help by adopting the best possible oral hygiene habits.

All About Decay

One of the most damaging bacteria in your mouth is streptococcus mutans (otherwise known as S. mutans). S.mutans is the bacteria that is most directly linked to dental decay.
In order for decay to happen, S. mutans has to interact with sugar in your mouth. This encourages the bacteria to secrete acids that go on to wear away at the enamel on your teeth, which can result in decay. This is when our dentists in Downey would typically step in to clear away the bacteria and address the decay before it becomes a major problem.

Not Just On the Teeth…

When it comes to bacteria, we don’t need to say it twice: there’s more at play than just your teeth. There are two major types of bacteria that go beyond affecting your teeth by being associated with gum disease. These are anaerobic bacteria (bacteria that can thrive in your mouth without oxygen). This dynamic duo includes Porphyromonas gingivalis and Treponema denticola. Each of these bacteria’s can multiply to contribute greatly to periodontal disease.

The way these two bacteria work is relatively simple. They create toxins that dentists have started to call “the red complex”. These toxins disrupt the natural order of things in your mouth, offsetting “good bacteria” vs “bad bacteria”. When this happens, enough of the toxins hide beneath your gumline to work away at the bone and connective tissues encircling your teeth.

So what can we do?

Fortunately, despite the fact that your mouth is always being affected by bacteria – it can’t withstand proper brushing, flossing, and rinsing. That’s right – a good oral hygiene routine means if you’re a patient nearby, when you visit our dental practice in Downey, CA – you won’t have decay to worry about.

Why Your Teeth Tingle

If you’ve recently begun feeling an odd sensation in your teeth that you can only describe as a “tingling” feeling, it can sometimes come as a bit of a surprise.

Whether you’re feeling a numbness, tingling, or a strange twitching sensation – there’s a good chance it’s happening when your teeth come into contact with certain foods. More often than not, this tingling happens when your teeth are exposed to overly hot or cold foods and liquids. If this is the case, there’s a great chance you’re experiencing dental sensitivity that’s been caused either by grinding of your teeth (typically at night) or some other kind of damage that’s led to exposed dentin (which contributes to sensitivity).  In some other cases, there could be a more serious problem at hand that requires direct dental intervention by a dentist in our Downey family dental practice.

 Causes of Tingling In Your Teeth

  • Dental abscesses
  • An impacted tooth
  • Damge to your teeth or gums
  • Sensitivity from over-brushing or grinding
  • Pain from your jaw

Are there remedies for “tingly” teeth?

Fortunately, if you’re teeth are feeling a bit tingly or sensitive – you aren’t completely in the dark when it comes to a solution. In fact there are even a few different foods you can eat to discourage your teeth from becoming too sensitive.

  • Cheese: Did you know that cheese has a ton of compounds that help prevent the spread of bacteria and decay in your mouth? Just eating a few small pieces of cheese at the end of your meal can significantly help when it comes to protecting your teeth.
  • Sunflower seeds  (and sunflower oil): sunflower seeds contain compound that are also beneficial for your teeth. Eat a handful of unsalted seeds a day and you might start seeing a change.
  • Tea: If your teeth are uncomfortable, warm tea is sometimes the best solution!
  • Peanuts: You might not realize that peanuts are also another food that can help fight tooth decay. Try a handful of peanuts to stave off sensitivity!

Are your teeth  giving you trouble? 

If you live in the area – our local dentists can help. For years, our dentists in Downey, CA have offered exceptional care for patients of all ages. For more information, please get in touch with us today!

3 Dental Risk Factors to Stay On Top of

Taking care of your teeth really doesn’t have to be hard. All it takes is understanding what makes them tick, and you can drastically reduce the number of cavities you end up with. Over time, this leads to the prevention of bridgework, dental implants, and ultimately dentures.

Really, it all starts with just being aware. Being educated. It doesn’t take a lot! Just the sort of knowledge that helps drive good, healthy decisions – like knowing that sticky sugar tends to, well…stick, or that skipping brushing doesn’t just start the next day with a blank slate, but leaves ALL of yesterday’s gunk and bacteria to, hopefully, be taken care of by today’s morning routine.

Understanding the dangers there are for your teeth is one way to really stand a chance at lowering your dental bill and eliminating the need to worry about surprise treatments like crowns, bridgework, and other unexpected dental issues.

Risk #1: Sugar

It goes without saying that sugar is never good for your teeth. But do you know why? Sugar is bad for your teeth because the bacteria that causes decay feeds on the sugars that linger in your mouth and on your teeth. Saliva helps reduce this, but plenty of water and regular brushing after meals go a long way

RISK #2: Carelessness

Our emergency dentists in Downey, Ca have seen quite a few extensive procedures happen for one reason and one reason only: carelessness. From biting nails and chewing ice to using your teeth as an impromptu bottle opener, there’s a whole lot of careless ways to damage your permanent teeth . Just try to remember one thing, they are the only set you get, and they aren’t invincible. If they make a tool to accomplish the task (like a bottle opener ) there’s a good chance you really shouldn’t use your teeth.

Risk #3: Lifestyle

Typically, the dentists you will choose to be a part of your life and the dentists in our Downey, CA dental practice don’t really want to tell you what to do with your life. However, for some patients there are a couple simple changes that can lead to healthier and better looking teeth for years to come. The first is tobacco products; pretty much everyone knows that smoking and chewing tobacco can cause cancer, but they might not also realize that these habits can also quickly yellow your teeth – making it hard sometimes even for in-office whitening procedures to get them white again. Another factor that could be leading to more decay and discoloration is alcohol. Of course, it would look funny drink red wine through a straw, but you should really be careful with how much you drink and how long it stays exposed to your teeth. All alcohol is rather acidic, and has been shown to drastically contribute to discoloration (especially red wine). On top of this, some beverages also contain high amounts of sugar – which is always something to watch out for.

How to more effectively protect your teeth

When it comes to protecting your teeth, you’d be surprised to learn that your mouth does quite a good job at the task when left to its own devices. Of course, don’t take this to mean that you can just ignore all forms of oral hygiene, go “natural”, and let your mouth take care of things on its own.

No, no…you don’t want to do that. Down that path lies decay, and cavities, and dental bridgework, dental implants, and dentures. While the technology behind all of these wonderful tooth repair techniques has come a long way, you still would much rather keep your original teeth. At our dental practice in Downey, Ca – maintaining the health of your natural teeth is always our priority.

So, how can you boost your mouth’s ability to protect your teeth? Fortunately, there are a few things you can do, one of them is to simply remain aware of what your mouth needs in order to carry on its battle with plaque and decay. If your mouth relies on saliva to wash away bacteria and debris, dry mouth would be considered a red flag. It’s being aware of problems like this that help you drastically extend the life of your teeth.

Another way to accomplish this is to simply watch what you eat. While there are plenty of reasons to watch what you’re eating when it comes to your overall health – it’s a tad simpler for your teeth. While it’s possible for a sugar rich diet to negatively affect your teeth over time, the big deal is sugar exposure. You really need to watch your sugar exposure. Sugar hurts your teeth by fueling bacteria, plaque, and acid that wear away at the enamel and lead to accelerated damage and a future need for corrective treatment. This damage is linked more to exposure to sugar than consumption, meaning that drinking soda with a straw is often much better for your teeth than the alternative.

The Importance of a Bi-Lingual Dentist

Finding a dentist that speaks your language should be as easy as searching the web for: “Como encontrar un dentista que habla español“? But sometimes it isn’t easy, and that’s more than just an inconvenience. Which brings us to an important topic when it comes to serving our community with dental care – that is, finding a dentist that speaks your language. Of course, it goes without saying that we’re writing to you today in English. Rest assured – we practice what we preach! So, when we say its important to find a dentist that speaks your own language, it’s not just a saying. We’re being about as literal as possible.

Why? Because of one of the most important guidelines when it comes to getting incredible dental care: communication.

Without being able to effectively communicate with your dentist and without being able to confidently communicate with your dentist – do you think you can get across your hopes and concerns for your dental health?

Three Essential Questions to Ask Your Dentist (Assuming You can Communicate with Them)

“How are my teeth looking, in general”

You could have moderate gum disease and perfect looking teeth without even realizing it. With that in mind, our dentists in Downey, CA frequently see patients who have great teeth overall, but a few small issues to take care of. More often than not, the few small issues to take care of are preventative care, to avoid having to treat more serious issues further down the road. It’s important to be able to ask and understand what the implications of these treatments are. Another reason, dentists that speak Spanish are essential when it comes to treating a diverse community like the one we have in Garden Grove.

“What can I do to improve my teeth?”

The answer to this question is going to be different for everyone. Being able to ask your dentist this question and take the appropriate action, such as using a new toothpaste to control sensitivity or using a gentler brushing technique to reduce the damage to your teeth.

“Should I be telling my family doctor anything about my teeth?”

Many patients at our dental clinic in Garden Grove don’t realize how closely related your overall health is to your oral health. In some cases, your dentist might find a symptom that could tie-in to other systems in your body. When this happen, you can be sure that a bi-lingual dentist can get you the treatment you need.

Why Your Dentist Should Speak Spanish (Especially If You Speak Spanish!)

In today’s day and age, regardless of your background or your politics – there are quite a few people who speak a different language than you, no matter what language you speak. 

The last time this was studied by the government in 2011, the census bureau came up with the following statistics for language use in the United States (and this is just a few of them)…

  • English only – 231,947,071.
  • Spanish – 37,579,787.
  • Chinese – 2,882,497.
  • Tagalog – 1,594,413.
  • Vietnamese – 1,419,539.
  • French – 1,301,443.
  • Korean – 1,141,277.
  • German – 1,083,637

While that might make Spanish seem like a BIG runner up to english, the reality gets even more obvious when you consider the demographics in California. If we’re just considering the two runners up (no disrespect for the many other languages spoken in the county), California is made up of 54% English speakers and 35% Spanish speakers. In Orange County,  45% percent of families speak a language other than English at home.

With that said, it becomes fairly obvious that a dentist that can communicate to a diverse community is a good friend to have. As a spanish speaking dentist in Orange County, we’ve learned that an ability to  communicate to a broader range of patients underscores how important clear communication is for every doctor patient relationship.

Having both dentists and dental hygienists that speak spanish gives practices like ours a unique advantage when it comes to more efficiently and effectively providing the care you need.

Want to learn more about our dental practice in Downey? 

Please feel free to get in touch, we’re still accepting new patients!