Preventative Dentistry Archives - Page 2 of 2 - St. Mary Family Dental in Whittier

Flossing 101


Flossing 101 Only 5% – 10% of Americans are regular flossers? According to studies done at Emory University by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, common gum problems such as gingivitis and periodontitis (an inflammation and/or infection of the Read more

Preventative Dental Care: Beyond the Basics


https://vimeo.com/118348802 You know to brush and floss daily and visit the dentist regularly. Learn what else you can do to keep your teeth and gums looking their best. Come in to St. Mary Dental in Whittier CA to learn Read more

Diet and Your Dental Health


https://vimeo.com/118348441 There are good foods and bad foods but timing can make all the difference in maintaining your dental health. Come and see us at St. Mary Dental in Whittier for a checkup and dental Read more

When Deep Cleanings are Needed

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Dentists agree that dental deep cleanings are the best way to treat patients with chronic gum disease. But some patients and dentists say doctors are recommending the costly dental cleanings when they aren’t necessary. The treatment, also called scaling and root planing, removes plaque and bacteria below the gums to prevent bone loss that can loosen teeth and complicate medical conditions, such as diabetes and heart disease.

Ninety-three percent of dentists reviewed by Angie’s List members are highly rated. However, 16 percent of the 715 member reviews submitted in 2013 that mention deep cleanings were negative. Members who complained about deep cleanings say dental office staff members showed them videos about gum disease, pressured them to spend as much as $2,100 on the deep teeth cleaning, billed more than expected after insurers denied their claims, or declined to perform a standard prophylactic cleaning without a peridontal deep cleaning.

More than a dental cleaning and routine exam

Angie’s List member Alan Winkler says he felt confident his gums were in good shape when he went to the San Antonio dental office of Dr. Sandra Cortez for a regular exam last March after moving to the city. Winkler says his previous dentist didn’t note any concerns during his visit six months before. “I literally just wanted a checkup and teeth cleaning,” he says.

But Winkler says Cortez told him he had periodontal disease and urged him to get a deep cleaning after looking at X-rays and notes from a hygienist who recommended the treatment. Winkler says Cortez didn’t examine his teeth. “She literally never got closer than 4 feet to me,” Winkler says. “They tried to make me feel like my teeth were going to fall out.” The American Dental Association recommends dentists do their own exams before recommending treatment.

Federal privacy laws forbid doctors from discussing patient’s medical information without written permission, but Cortez says her new patient exams include full-mouth X-rays and 3-D images. “Most dental offices do not have any of the technology that I have incorporated,” says Cortez, who received a sanction in January 2013 from the Texas State Board of Dental Examiners on claims she didn’t keep adequate records or get informed written consent for some services, including a deep cleaning. The board ordered Cortez to pay nearly $3,500 in restitution, a $1,000 fine and complete 14 additional hours of continuing education. “Almost all patients are amazed by all of the technology I use in order to improve their dental knowledge and overall dental care,” Cortez says.

But Winkler says he refused the deep cleaning and got another opinion from a dentist who did normal bitewing X-rays and an exam. “He saw no evidence of the disease. He cleaned my teeth and I was on my way,” Winkler says.

When a dental deep cleaning is needed in Whittier California

The American Academy of Periodontology recommends dentists offer deep cleanings when X-rays show bone loss and a full-mouth exam reveals one or more gum pockets greater than 4 millimeters deep. Dr. Stuart J. Froum, a periodontologist and president of American Academy of Periodontology, says treatments should be limited to the affected teeth or mouth quadrant. “Treat only areas that are sick,” he says. To prevent gum disease, Froum recommends flossing and brushing daily, particularly after eating sugary foods, and avoiding smoking.

With regular cleanings and proper teeth care, you can prevent gum disease and the need for a dental deep cleaning. (Photo by Gilbert Boucher)
Highly rated Dr. Stephen Lim, who practices in mid-town Manhattan, says some deep cleanings are necessary to treat gum disease, but adds that some medical consulting firms advise dentists to offer deep cleanings to improve their bottom line. He says hygienists also perform deep cleanings, freeing the dentist to do more complex, and expensive, procedures. But Lim says practices that pay hygienists on commission, or offer bonuses for services they recommend, encourage unnecessary treatment. “Monetary incentives influence [hygienists] to overtreat,” Lim says.

How much is a dental cleaning near Whittier?

A standard dental cleaning typically costs less than $100 and insurers pay for the preventive treatments, according to Fair Health, a national nonprofit corporation dedicated to bringing transparency to healthcare costs and health insurance information. Fair Health estimates a deep cleaning can cost three times more per quadrant than a standard cleaning, which removes tartar and plaque above the gum line and polishes tooth enamel.

The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention’s most recent survey shows 47 percent of adults over 30 have some form of gum disease, so many may benefit from deep cleanings. It’s possible on any given day to have mild inflammation of the gums that will resolve itself within a few weeks without a dentist, but severe periodontal disease takes time to develop. AAP president Froum says with regular cleanings and proper dental hygiene at home, gum disease can be prevented.

Some dentists recommend deep cleanings because they reason it won’t harm your health, and may help. Unnecessary deep cleanings can break the gum’s attachment to the tooth. “Many times you can cause more damage than if you didn’t do anything.”


Whittier Restorative Dentist

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Having a broken tooth, a chipped tooth, missing tooth or dental cavity isn’t ideal for anyone.
While there are certain things you can do to avoid tooth decay and tooth loss – like brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly – you can’t always dodge the kind of accidents that might cause physical damage to your teeth.

Fortunately, restorative dentistry, which involves repairing and restoring damaged, decayed or dislodged teeth, is available to anyone who needs it.

Restorative Dentistry Basics

Two of the most common treatments in restorative dentistry are dental crowns and dental bridges. With new dental technologies like CEREC®, dental crowns can be placed in just one dental visit. On the other hand, dental bridges typically require at least two trips to the dentist. Let’s take a look at some common dental problems and the corresponding restorative dentistry solutions.

Problem: A Broken Tooth

Restorative Dentistry Solution: Dental Crown

A dental crown is exceptionally versatile and may be used for a number of purposes ranging from covering stained teeth and protecting teeth from tooth decay to restoring a broken tooth and holding a dental bridge in place. Made from a variety of restorative dentistry materials, dental crowns can either blend right in with your natural teeth or add a little “bling” to your smile. Patients who prefer the natural look typically choose porcelain, ceramic or composite dental crowns; those who want some extra shine can choose from gold, nickel or chromium dental crowns.

Problem: Missing Teeth

Restorative Dentistry Solutions: Dental Bridges, Dentures & Dental Implants

A dental bridge is a dental appliance that’s used to fill the gap created by a missing tooth. Made of a pontic (artificial tooth) and dental crowns, a dental bridge is permanently fixed to abutment teeth (the teeth that are on one or both sides of the gap). There are three types of dental bridges: a traditional bridge, which is made of porcelain or porcelain fused to metal; a cantilever bridge, which is used when only one abutment tooth surrounds the gap; and a Maryland bonded bridge, which is primarily used for front teeth.

Dentures are another popular solution for replacing missing teeth. Partial dentures are available in removable or fixed form and are used to replace one or several missing teeth; full dentures are removable and replace all missing teeth, either on the upper or lower mandible or both. Compared to dental implants, dentures are the more affordable option but can take some time getting used to. Periodic denture relines are also necessary to ensure that your dentures fit properly and last for years to come.

Dental implants are the crème de la crème of missing teeth solutions. They can be used to replace one, several or all of your teeth. Because they’re surgically implanted into the jawbone, patients often rave that dental implants look and feel just like natural teeth. The downside is that dental implants can be costly and typically take several months to complete, unless you go with a same-day solution like Nobel Teeth in an Hour™.

Cosmetic Restorative Dentistry

For some patients, having a healthy smile is enough, but for others, aesthetics are just as important. This growing demand for picture-perfect smiles has changed both the techniques and the materials used in restorative dentistry. Now, many restorative dentistry treatments have cosmetic benefits built in, making it easy to have both optimal dental health and a beautiful, natural-looking smile!

Problem: Cracked or Chipped Teeth

Restorative Dentistry Solutions: Cosmetic Dental Bonding, Porcelain Dental Veneers

Cosmetic dental bonding is an easy fix for minor cracks or chips in teeth, protecting them from further trauma and even brightening up a tooth at the same time. Like dental crowns, cosmetic dental bonding is versatile and can be used to close diastemas (gaps in between teeth) and alter the shape of teeth.

Another plus is that cosmetic dental bonding is less expensive and less time-consuming than dental crowns.

Porcelain dental veneers are relatively new on the cosmetic restorative dentistry scene. Made popular on smile makeover TV shows, veneers are wafer-thin porcelain or ceramic shells that are placed over your natural teeth. On the plus side, porcelain dental veneers can completely transform the color, shape and alignment of your teeth in one fell swoop. In general, porcelain dental veneers only take one visit, too. On the minus side, they can be costly.

Problem: Dental Cavities

Restorative Dentistry Solution: Composite Dental Fillings

It’s estimated that about 90 percent of people in the U.S. have cavities. In fact, dental cavities are on the rise particularly among children, possibly due to the increased consumption of sugar-laden sports drinks, energy drinks and flavored waters. The good news is if you have a dental cavity today, you don’t have to wind up with a mouth filled with silver tomorrow. Today, a tooth filling can be made from natural-looking restorative dentistry materials such as composite resin. Composite resin fillings – also called white fillings – match your natural tooth color, virtually masking any signs of cavities!

Problem: Large Dental Cavities

Restorative Dentistry Solutions: Porcelain Inlays and Onlays

When left untreated for too long, cavities can get rather large. At this stage, a regular dental filling won’t suffice; you’ll likely need a porcelain inlay or onlay. Porcelain dental inlays fill cavities located in between a tooth’s cusps and porcelain dental onlays fill cavities on the cusps. (The easiest way to remember the difference is to focus on the prefixes – in- and on-.) The porcelain used for inlays and onlays match the color of your natural teeth, creating a flawless appearance.


10 Steps to Floss Correctly

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How to Floss in Whittier, CA

Learning how to floss your teeth correctly in Whittier, California, is critical to good oral hygiene. Flossing prevents periodontal disease by removing plaque, helping to preserve the life of your teeth and gums. If plaque is not removed, the bacteria attacks the enamel in your teeth, causing halitosis (bad breath), decay, cavities and even tooth loss.[1]Flossing is an easy way to effectively remove plaque and its bacteria from between the teeth and ideally, it should be done at least once a day. If you want to know how to floss correctly, see Step 1 to get started.

Steps to Floss Correctly

1. Use the most effective dental floss

There are several varieties available and you can choose the one that best matches your personal preference, including waxed, unwaxed, flavored and unflavored. Here’s what you need to know to make a decision about which type of floss is best for you.

Waxed dental floss tends to slide between teeth more easily.

If you have wider gaps between your teeth, then tape floss may work best.

Floss can come in two main forms: Nylon (or multifilament) and PTFE (or monofilament). Single-filament floss is slightly more expensive, but it will be able to slide between teeth more easily and will be less likely to shred. Each container of floss lasts a long time, so using non-nylon floss is a worthwhile investment.

2. Wrap floss around your fingers

Take approximately 18 inches (45 cm) of dental floss and wrap most of the floss around your two index fingers. You should wrap it around your fingers nice and tightly. If you do this correctly, you should be able to floss all of your teeth in one go, instead of having to go back for more floss. You can wrap it around your middle fingers instead, but wrapping the floss around your index fingers will give you the most control when you’re flossing your teeth.

Most people like to floss after brushing. This will allow the toothbrush to start removing the stray particles of food from your teeth before you even begin to floss. Brushing your teeth after flossing can also make it more likely for fluoride to get stuck in your gums, and you want to avoid that.

3. Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and index fingers

You should leave about 3-4 inches (7.5-9 cm) of the floss exposed. This is the area you’ll be using to floss your teeth. Once you wrap the floss around your index fingers, you can grab it with your index fingers and thumbs. Your thumbs can be more helpful in flossing your upper teeth and your index fingers can be more helpful in flossing your bottom teeth.

4. Gently slide the floss between your teeth

It doesn’t matter which tooth you start with as long as you cover every tooth before you finish. However, most people like to start in the middle between the two top teeth or the two bottom teeth. Once you’ve picked an area, slide the floss gently between your tooth and the gum line. You should do this carefully instead of being too aggressive, or you’ll increase the chances of bleeding or hurting your gums.

Do not snap the floss down into the gums. Think of it as gently rubbing the floss between the gum line and the teeth, not vigorously yanking it around.

5. Move the floss gently in a “C” motion

Use the C motion when it makes contact with the gums and use a gentle up and down motion to clean the area. After you slide the floss between your teeth, you should curve it around the bone and let it dip below the gum line (ideally, it should dip about 2-3 millimeters down). Once the floss is in place, move it up and down to agitate the area carefully. This will help reach the contours of each tooth.

Additionally, floss in a back and forth motion to help scrape additional plaque and debris. When you’re done, gently move the floss back out the way it came.

6. Repeat the process between each tooth

Make sure to floss your teeth one at a time — don’t wrap your floss around the gum of one tooth as well as the gum of another. This will make the process less precise, and you’ll be more likely to hurt your gums. Clean floss can be acquired by unraveling the extra floss that is wrapped around the index finger. Make sure you use a new piece of floss for each tooth. If you’re really getting in there and run out of clean floss, pull out some new floss to finish the process.
You may experience some bleeding in your gums. This is a sign that your gums actually need to be flossed more often. Bleeding gums often discourage people from flossing because they don’t want to deal with the pain, but you should know that your gum bleeding and swelling should go down once you make a true habit of flossing.

7. Don’t forget the backs of your rear molars

Gum disease and tooth decay frequently occur on the back teeth. It can be a little bit harder to get in there, but you shouldn’t neglect this crucial part of flossing. Gently slide the floss between your rear molars and your gums, and carefully pull both sides of the floss toward you as you agitate the area.

8. Rinse your mouth out with mouthwash or water when you’re done flossing

After you floss, rinsing out your mouth can help you remove any stray particles that were nearly dislodged from your gums, or which you were able to remove but which were left in your mouth. This will also help give your mouth a fresh, clean feeling.

9. Floss your teeth at least once every day

The American Dental Association (ADA) suggests flossing for 2 to 3 minutes, but even 60 seconds of flossing daily can significantly improve your gum health. Most people floss before bed. If you know you’ve had a meal that led you to have more food stuck in your teeth than usual (such as having corn on the cob for lunch), then you can floss earlier, too, to get out the stray particles of food. However, you don’t want to overdo the flossing, either, or you may damage your gums. Just once a day should be the perfect amount.

Stop making excuses! Everyone can carve out 2-3 minutes a day for flossing.

When you floss your teeth, try to create a pattern. If you tend to floss your teeth in the same order — such as starting in the middle of the top teeth, then going all the way from the top middle to the top right side of your teeth, and then all the way from the top middle to the top left before moving down to the bottom teeth — then you’ll be less likely to neglect certain teeth. Once you get your routine down, you’ll find that flossing isn’t as painful as you thought it was — it can even be fun!

If you have dental work that makes it a little more challenging to floss, you can use floss threaders, which can help hold the floss in place as you clean your gums.

10. Consider flossing using a water flosser in addition to flossing

A water flosser, also known as a water pick or an oral irrigator, is a device that aims a stream of water at your teeth. It can help remove particles of food from your teeth and can also help reduce gum disease as well as bleeding. It can also make the process a bit more fun. However, don’t listen to the studies that say a water flosser can serve as a substitute for flossing; it can work in addition to flossing, but should not be used as a substitute.[4]

Flossing Tips – Whittier 90602

  • Eating a healthy diet and visiting the dentist regularly will also help prevent gum disease.
  • Proper dental hygiene may reduce your risk of heart disease, according to an article published by the Journal of Periodontology, .
  • The fluoride in toothpaste has a better chance of reaching between teeth if you floss before brushing.
  • Dental floss is the most widely used tool for flossing, but there are many other interdental items available (i.e. floss holders or picks) that will achieve the same results.

Flossing Warnings

Do not use a strand of dental floss more than once. The floss will become frayed, bacteria will accumulate, and the floss will lose its effectiveness.


What is a Dental Cleaning?

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Be sure to add a dental visit to this year’s spring cleaning list. A professional dental cleaning at least twice a year can improve your oral health, reports the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), an organization of general dentists dedicated to continuing dental education.

The AGD strongly recommends that a dentist or hygienist perform a dental cleaning every six months. This professional dental cleaning reinforces the home-care oral health regimen of brushing and flossing and gives the dentist an opportunity to locate areas in the mouth that may need special attention.

People who regularly practice good oral hygiene at home with proper brushing and flossing techniques typically do not experience discomfort during a cleaning. However, those who have neglected their oral hygiene habits may experience some discomfort or sensitivity during a dental cleaning. The dentist can use a topical anesthetic before the cleaning to alleviate any discomfort.

During a dental cleaning, you’ll receive diagnostic and preventive services from your dentist as well as any needed educational information.

Diagnostic services may include:

  • Reviewing and updating medical history, including information about heart problems, pregnancy, diabetes and medications, which may have an impact on your oral health
  • Oral cancer examination and screening
  • Evaluation of gum tissue
  • Checking biting, chewing and swallowing patterns
  • X-rays or examination of teeth to detect decay
  • Referral to specialists for specific treatment

Preventive services may include:

  • Removal of plaque and tartar
  • Stain removal
  • Fluoride application
  • Sealants (for children)
  • Polishing teeth, including fillings and crowns
  • Cleaning and adjustment of dentures and partial dentures

Educational services may include:

  • Tooth brushing and flossing instructions
  • Nutritional counseling
  • Recommendations for future treatment: when to return for follow-up hygiene treatment, periodontal (gum) concerns or restorative options
  • Evaluation of self-care effectiveness
  • Tobacco-cessation counseling

Source: Spring Clean Your Teeth Academy of General Dentistry