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

What to Do If Your Gums Are Bleeding

Our dental office in Downey, Ca frequently sees the same thing. It goes kind of like this: we’re going through our general questions at the start of any check-up and everything is going great until we get to the question about flossing, and then the patient pauses. His eyes, shift around looking for an answer – and he blurts out something like “a couple times a week. I promise!”

It’s okay to tell the truth, because our dental hygienists can and will get a great idea about how often you floss as your appointment coasts along. After-all – why hide vital information when it could mean better care for you in the long run?

For patients like this, another occurrence tends to happen: the dreaded bloody gums. If you’ve ever proudly sauntered up to the bathroom mirror thinking, “I can do this – I can be better about flossing!”, only to be met with a bloody mess seconds later – don’t worry too much. A countless number of patients ask us “why do my teeth bleed when I floss?” and it’s most commonly because you just don’t floss enough.

The gums are a very sensitive organ, which is why we encourage patients to really get them clean to help their fight against plaque, bacteria, and gum disease. But when you don’t floss and only rely on your toothbrush and maybe some mouthwash – your gums don’t get the workout they need to stay tough. Like a pair of soft hands after a hard day of manual-labor, the gums tend to revolt the only way they know how: by bleeding, and maybe even getting a little inflamed.

This is usually not an emergency. But if it continues for an extended period of time – you should contact your dentist, as you could be experiencing the early signs of gum disease (which is still very treatable).

 

How Bacteria Helps and Hurts Your Mouth

Have you ever been shopping int he grocery store, and then you get to the yogurt aisle and suddenly begin seeing product advertising things like “pro-biotics”and  lactobacillus. What you might not realize is that bacteria can be good for you just as much as it can be bad for you.

For example, the lactubacillus type of probiotic contains over 80 species – one of which is “acidophilus”, the most common good bacteria, which is responsible for hanging out in our intestines to help out when it comes to digesting food. This is the type of bacteria you find in your yogurt – and one of the primary reasons yogurt is recommended by your family doctor to help keep things regular in your digestive system.

Now we get to your mouth. Your mouth contains bacteria numbering in the billions. While we typically think that “clean” means germ-free, we are typically wrong. “Clean” means balanced – and the balance of bacteria in your mouth is like an ongoing war that you help the “good guys” win by regularly brushing, flossing, and rinsing.

When it comes to keeping your teeth healthy – you don’t want a clean and sterile mouth, you want a mouth that’s got all the right bacteria and as few “bad guys” as possible.

How Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing Help

Brushing and flossing help control the bacteria in your mouth by breaking up microbial “colonies” and helping the “Good guys” maintain a proper balance. The same can be said for flossing. Rinsing with mouthwash is a bit of a grey area. It – more or less – wipes the slate clean by killing (or partly killing) the bacteria in your mouth. This is more of a help when the patient is at risk for periodontal disease. In other situations, a different kind of rinse might be more beneficial (such as with herbal extracts or essential oils).

Do you think your mouth could be “out of balance?” our dentists in Downey, California have all the best solutions. Get in touch today to learn how we can help you get the oral health you’ve always wanted.

 

Easter Tips for Better Teeth This Spring

With Spring just around the corner, we’re all starting to see the season’s signature candies slowly showing up on grocery store shelves. As more creme filled eggs,  jelly beans, chocolate bunnies, and more find their way into grocery baskets across the country – our dentists in Downey, California want to remind our patients and everyone else to be careful.

Even if you don’t observe it, Easter is a great time to celebrate the renewal of spring. However, our Orange County area dentists  all agree that decay from too many sugary sweets is a bad way to celebrate new life, growth, and the vibrance of spring.

5 Easy Tips to Make the Easter Season Easy On Your Pearly Whites

Avoid Sticky Candies

Some of the most dangerous candies for your teeth come up around Eastertime. In general, if it’s sticky – you should try to avoid it, or at least limit how much you expose to your teeth. This includes candies like creme filled eggs, Peeps, and jelly beans.

Substitute Candy for Toys

Who said Easter baskets have to be filled with candy? Toys, stuffed animals, and the like are a much safer (and longer lasting) alternative to candy. While you don’t need to completely eliminate candy – why not minimize the damage by cutting back?

Make Candy a Reward, Not an Opportunity to Binge

Is candy often the centerpiece of your child’s easter basket? Tradition is hard to break, but not as hard to change. Try freezing candy, to be given out as rewards for kindness, good performance at school, and completion of chores (it will also last longer!)

Cut out The Bunny

More often than not, the BIG Chocolate bunny at the center of every chocolate basket is bad chocolate anyways, right? On top of that, it’s a TON of chocolate – and does every child have the willpower to ration it out for weeks? Maybe not. Switch things up for something different, and minimize damage from sugar and decay.

What to Do When You Can’t Brush

We’ve all been there. You’re at a friend or relative’s house for the night or the weekend, and you thought you were incredibly thorough with your packing. You remembered all of your clothes, a book for the trip, your pajamas – you even remembered your phone charger. But you forgot your toothbrush. So, what’s the best option? Our dental office in Downey, California has some tips that can get you through the night while keeping the impact on your teeth relatively minor.

So You’ve Forgotten your Toothbrush: Here are Your Options

Option 1: Just Skip Brushing

If you’ve forgotten your toothbrush and you’re away from home – many times the very first option seems to be to simply not brush. Sounds easy, right? Right! It’s very easy, it’s also very wrong. 

All day, every day – bacteria is growing and attempting to thrive in your mouth. When you brush your teeth, you stop it in its tracks – or at least halt its progress for a period of time. When you skip brushing, it gets a chance to make a home, feed, thrive, and contribute to decay and cavities. With that said, skipping a night of brushing should always be avoided if possible. In fact, even if you can’t find a toothbrush you should do anything you can to clean your teeth as much as possible. This leads us to our next option.

Option 2: Chew some gum.

This tip might seem like it doesn’t make any sense, because you’re supposed to not eat before bed (especially candy), right? That would normally be true, but as long as you’re chewing sugar-free gum you might be surprised to know that it is far better than the alternative of not brushing at all. In fact, in addition to freshening up your breath the greatest benefit of sugar free gum is that it can effectively collect a fair amount of the debris and bacteria clinging to your teeth – leaving you in much better shape than if you’d just skipped caring for your teeth altogether.

Option 3: Brush with your finger!

It might seem gross, and that’s because it kind of is (to some people). But in order to brush your teeth without a toothbrush you can at least make a dent by adding some toothpaste to your finger (or a washcloth) and gently scrubbing where you can. our dentists in Downey definitely don’t recommend this as a frequent solution, but in a pinch it can help ensure bacteria doesn’t gain such a damaging foothold on your teeth until you have a chance to find a toothbrush.

5 Things to Avoid to Prevent Bottle Decay and Early Childhood Dental Cavities

You might be wondering? Bottle decay, “what’s that?” To put it simply, bottle decay is one of the leading causes of dental problems in young children and toddlers – and one of the things our pediatric dentists in Downey, California frequently advise on for healthier teeth.

Fortunately, bottle decay was such a problem decades ago that most parents today have a fairly good understanding of the risks that come a lone with it. Baby bottle tooth decay, otherwise known at childhood “caries” (which are otherwise known as “cavities”) occur when baby’s teeth frequently come into contact with substances like fruit juice, formula, sweetened electrolyte water, and yes – milk.

Like with any food, sugar gets broken down by bacteria in the mouth which ultimately creates acid. While you can’t feel this acid, what it does is slowly attack the enamel of your teeth – which causes tooth decay and – eventually – cavities.

Fortunately, preventing cavities in your child or toddler’s teeth is pretty simple.  Just follow these tips:

Don’t dip pacifiers into sweet liquids or sugars before giving them to your baby. This is just asking to cake an extra layer of unnecessary, decay causing sugar onto your child’s teeth. Bad idea!

Never clean a dropped pacifier with your own mouth. Did you know dental cavities are contagious? That’s right. The complex cocktail of bacteria in your own mouth determines whether or not you get cavities. If you get cavities and you pass along bacteria that causes cavities  – you could be contributing to a future of cavities for your baby.

Even before teeth arrive, “brushing” (or rather,”scrubbing”) is important. Before your baby’s first tooth arrives, be sure to regularly wipe his or her gums using a moist wet cloth or square of gauze.

Between meals and snacktime – stick to water. It might be tempting to give your child juice whenever they get thirsty – but resist the temptation. While it might be easier (especially if your little one has developed a taste for the sweet liquid), just do yourself a favor and opt for water whenever possible. Or, add fresh fruit to water for a hint of taste without all the extra sugar.

Refrain from adding too much sugar to food and snacks. On the same token as the last tip, try not to add too much extra sugar to food or snacks. Sweeten only as needed, and opt for natural, sugar-free sweeteners when possible.

Have more questions about your children’s teeth? Or are you looking for a pediatric dentist nearby? Our dentists in Downey, California are here to help  – serving families of all sizes and backgrounds in our friendly, clean, and affordable dental clinic right here in Downey, CA. 

 

How a Dental Crown Protects Your Smile

These days, some patients don’t fully understand dental crowns. Sometimes, we even encounter patients who don’t like the idea of a dental crown – occasionally because they are often not fully covered by insurance (many times, 50% will be covered).

A dental crown – or cap, as some refer to it – is a covering for your tooth, made out of porcelain (or resin, ceramic, metal, or a combination of all three) and intended to be permanent. With all of the materials available, they have their advantages and drawbacks. Metal, for example, is the strongest – but isn’t the most natural looking. Porcelain fused onto metal, on the other hand, is a top pick because it offers good strength, with a thin veneer of porcelain to keep the cap looking natural. The drawback with this material, is that sometimes the metal can peak through (especially at the base).  Nearly every day, our dentists in Downey help patients pick the right crown material for their needs – while also accounting for budget.

But why might you get a dental crown in the first place? 

In general, dental crowns are used to strengthen, repair, and protect. In accomplishing those three tasks, dental crowns are used in a variety of contexts. For example, a crown is often used to support a dental bridge when you’re repairing your smile. For another patient, it could be used to protect and reinforce a tooth after getting a root canal.

“What influences the cost of my dental crown?”

Another frequent question we get has to do with the cost. Naturally, this is always an important factor. One of the major factors influencing the cost of your dental crown is whether it’s custom or machine-made. A custom crown, molded to fit your bite exactly will often cost much more than a standard crown – which, while cheaper – will also look noticeably different. Many times, this is acceptable for some patients – especially with teeth that can’t be seen.

 

 

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!

6 Interesting Tidbits About Baby Teeth

At our dental practice in Downey, Californiapediatric dentistry is one of our specialties and one of our favorite parts of being a dentist. But little do many parents know, baby teeth – despite falling out eventually – play a very important role in the development of strong, straight, and healthy teeth.

As a parent, you shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that you might not know all that much about your baby’s teeth. Like, for instance, that your baby was actually born with 20 primary teeth, already in their jaw. Interested in learning more about what’s going in in your baby’s mouth? Here are 8 interesting factoids about infant teeth.

  1. Infants aren’t actually toothless when they’re born. In fact, they already have 20 of their primary teeth. Following these 20 teeth will be the remaining teeth, which typically erupt (or “break through the gums”) by the time your baby is 3 years old.
  2. You should be brushing your baby’s teeth as soon as they come in. Some people mistakenly believe that baby teeth don’t need to be cared for as much, but when it comes to chewing, speaking, and properly holding the teeth in place to ensure correct alignment and spacing of adult teeth — the baby teeth are very important
  3. Grinding is OK (for now): if you hear your baby grinding their teeth, don’t worry too much! Roughly 20% of children grind their teeth when they’re under the age of 11. Most children grow out of this habit.
  4. Be wary of bottle feeding: Bottle feeding for too long increases the amount of bacteria and plaque in your baby’s mouth and can contribute to infant tooth decay.  However, on top of this it can also contribute to early onset of childhood obesity.
  5. A Lisp is Normal: You might be worried about your child having some sort of speech impediment when they still have their baby teeth. Know that this is fairly normal. There are a wide variety of reasons a child under the age of 8 will lisp, many time this simply has to do with their development.
  6. Drool is good!: Did you know that drool is actually a good thing!? While you might think that it’s sole purpose is to annoy mom and dad, it’s actual function is to help make sure the teething is going well by keeping the gums moist and keeping inflammation to a minimum.

Taking good care of your child’s teeth now can help make sure that they have a full set of healthy teeth to take care of on their own in the future, while also preventing them from needing the support of dental appliances like dental bridges and crowns. If you have questions about your child’s teeth and your family is in the Downey area, please don’t hesitate to reach out!

Which Denture is Right For Me?

While many patients are often nervous when it comes to dentures, if you count yourself among them – take a deep breath. You shouldn’t be nervous.

Think about a reality without teeth. If you already have missing or badly damaged teeth, think about how much pain and discomfort you’ve learned to live with and think about the self-consciousness that you’ve come to put up with. The good news is, you don’t have to. The bad news, well – there isn’t much. Sure, dentures take some getting used to and of course they’re not free – but consider the alternative – a life with no teeth, no smiles, and far less food to enjoy (that isn’t applesauce, pudding, or a smoothie).

But what kind of denture is right for you? Whether you’re missing just a few teeth or you need to replace all of them due to diet, genetics, or poor oral hygiene, the beauty of modern denture technology is the sheer fact that you have options on your side. While your first step should be to find a trusted denture specialist in your area, simply realizing how far denture technology has come can be reassuring. Learn more below about the various types of dentures available to you.

Immediate Dentures

An immediate denture consists of a full arch of teeth – which can include either the top, the bottom, or both sets of teeth. An immediate denture is placed in your mouth immediately after your teeth are extracted. While they aren’t perfectly customized to you, they give you the benefit of never having to be “without teeth”. Once the tissue on your gums has healed, a permanent set of dentures will be made. This usually takes from 6 to 8 weeks.

Overdentures

An over-denture is a relatively new technology that utilizes dental implants, which the dentures are fit on top of. While more expensive, overdentures offer a slightly more stable and secure fit. On top of this, the dental implants placed in your jaw engage the jaw bone and prevent atrophy – helping maintain a youthful appearance over time.

Conventional Dentures

Conventional dentures are what you imagine when you think about dentures. Most often they include a full arch of teeth on both the top and the bottom, however – some patients might only require the top or the bottom. A conventional denture will be placed after your mouth has fully healed, in order to ensure a proper fit that doesn’t change as your mouth continues to adjust to your tooth extraction.

 

A Partial Denture

A partial denture does just what it sounds like – it only replaces a partial number of teeth, instead of the entire arch of teeth. Partial dentures are removable, and typically attach either to remaining healthy teeth adjacent to damaged teeth or to a dental implant.

Do you need dentures? Our denture dentists have helped countless patients regain their confidence with modern, affordable dentures that last for years and look great. For more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation. We’re here to help! 

 

A Smoother Transition: The Role of Immediate Dentures

When it comes to replacing teeth, there are quite a few different combinations of treatment that can get you to the end result you’re ultimately looking for. However, one frequent question that comes up from patients who recently experienced a tooth extraction has to do with the use of a temporary denture.

Whether you’ve recently had teeth extracted and bone grafts placed for the purpose of future dental implants or you’ve had teeth extracted to make way for dentures – there’s a good chance you’re facing a period of healing as your mouth adjusts to recent changes. This is largely because bone heals slower than the skin  of your gums. In many  cases, however, an immediate denture can be placed to fill the space left while you wait for a more permanent solution.

Even for patients who have had teeth extracted in the back of their mouth, the absence of teeth can make it difficult to eat and speak. As an experienced denture dentist in Downey, CA – we have placed countless immediate dentures to help new denture wearers transition from extraction all the way to the final placement of their dentures.

The Benefits of Immediate Dentures

Immediate dentures offer a number of advantages for patients – the first being that you’ll never be seen without your teeth. On top of this, an immediate denture placed on the day of your tooth extraction can help act as a “filler” to protect the delicate tissues in your mouth and prevent excessive bleeding. You can even think of an immediate denture almost like a band-aid. On top of this, an immediate denture placed by our experienced denture dentists will help you adjust your speech and eating early, making the transition period much easier. This means no learning how to speak without teeth and no steep learning curve when it comes to eating.  Finally, placing an immediate denture during the healing process will also help prevent any facial distortion that can sometimes happen when the teeth are removed.

How Long Does It Take?

Around four visits to your denture specialist will provide enough time for necessary surgery and to prepare the denture. Many times, your back teeth will be removed up to 8 weeks before the immediate denture is fabricated to allow for those extraction sites to mend before the immediate denture is created. This ultimately contributes to a better fit. During the fabrication process, your dentist will take bite impressions of your back teeth, which will be used on the day of your immediate denture placement when the selected teeth are removed an the immediate denture is “immediately” inserted.

Do you have questions about dentures? Our denture specialists in Downey, CA have provided dentures to patients with virtually every need. From patients who experienced accidents that required removal of their teeth to patients simply looking for affordable dentures that look and feel great. My Downey Family Dentist can help.