Whittier Dentist Blog - Page 2 of 3 - 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

Why You Need a Root Canal

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If You Need a Root Canal…

Has your dentist or endodontist told you that you need root canal treatment? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of teeth are treated and saved each year with root canal, or endodontic, treatment. Learn how root canal treatment can relieve your tooth pain and save your smile, and find an endodontist in your area.

To understand a root canal procedure, it helps to know about the anatomy of the tooth. Inside the tooth, under the white enamel and a hard layer called the dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue, and helps to grow the root of your tooth during development. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it.

Endodontic treatment treats the inside of the tooth. Endodontic treatment is necessary when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?

During root canal treatment, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown or filling for protection. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

Contrary to jokes about the matter, modern root canal treatment is very similar to having a routine filling and usually can be completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth and your personal circumstances. You can expect a comfortable experience during and after your appointment.

Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

  • Efficient chewing
  • Normal biting force and sensation
  • Natural appearance
  • Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain


Endodontic treatment helps you maintain your natural smile, continue eating the foods you love and limits the need for ongoing dental work. With proper care, most teeth that have had root canal treatment can last as long as other natural teeth and often for a lifetime.

Whittier Dentures Frequently Asked Questions

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Below are a list of Frequently Asked Questions about Dentures and Denture Care.

If you have any question which is not covered on this page we invite you to contact us directly and we will be happy to help! Our phone number in Whittier is (562) 309-4433, and our email is info@stmarydental.com.

Will Dentures affect my appearance?

We normally place denture teeth in the position of their natural predecessors providing support to the facial muscles. If you are replacing old or worn dentures then you will look and feel different. If you are wearing dentures for the first time and you are replacing lost or damaged teeth you will also look different. However this should look and feel normal within a short period of time.

Will Dentures affect my speech?

Depending on the amount of work carried out help improve your dentures they can affect your speech temporarily. This can be due but not limited to the repositioning of the teeth and the shape of the denture base. There are some simple tricks to help with speech which will be given at the time of denture delivery.

Will Dentures affect the way I eat?

Like anything new, you need time to adapt to your new denture. Chewing is one of the skills that needs to be adapted when you receive either replacement dentures or you are first dentures. You can help yourself accommodate by taking smaller portions and chewing slowly and avoiding sticky or tough foods for a little while. You should soon see an improvement due to the new dentures being more efficient as the chewing surfaces have less wear.

When can I wear my Dentures?

This is personal preference; however we recommend that you wear your dentures as much as possible. It is widely agreed upon that you should sleep without your dentures, however if you choose to sleep with them it is important to keep your denture extremely clean. Remove them at least once a day and brush the tissues underlying the dentures with a soft tooth brush. This removes any plaque build up along with any food debris; it also stimulates the blood vessels which is an essential part of healthy tissue.

Will Dentures make my gums sore?

Every effort will be made to make your new dentures to fit and be as comfortable as possible. However it is not uncommon to develop pressure points and sore spots. These if left untreated can make the dentures feel very uncomfortable. If you find you have a sore area and it last for more than 48 hours you should seek professional help. A minor adjustment can bring added comfort in a matter of minutes.

How should I store my Dentures?

Dentures are designed to function in a moist environment it is therefore not advised to let the dry out completely. If your dentures are left out of your mouth for any long period of time they should be kept in water.

Will my Dentures break easily?

Dentures are made from very resilient materials but it is recommended to clean them over a basin of water or a towel. This will cushion the fall if they are dropped. Care should also be taken with partials with clasps as they can sometimes be bent out of shape during heavy brushing. If a partial does not feel comfortable when you place it into your mouth you should get a professional opinion on its fit. Do not try to adjust it yourself.

Why do I need to clean my Dentures on a daily basis?

A healthy mouth can contain many millions of bacteria. Some of these bacteria can cause inflammation and infection of the oral tissues. It is therefore essential to clean dentures at least once a day.

How should I clean my Dentures?

It is advisable to rinse your dentures and your mouth after every meal however at least once a day the dentures should be brushed to remove any plaque accumulation and food debris, and then use a denture soak. It is also advisable to brush your gums to remove any debris including any residual dental adhesive.

What Denture Cleaner should I use?

There are many brands of denture cleaners on the market and what brand to use is usually down to personal preference. However it should be noted that household bleach and everyday toothpaste can harm the denture. If you notice a lot a tartar or plaque build up you may also use white vinegar to soak your dentures and then brush off any residual build up. Remember that you can have your denture professionally cleaned by a Denturist in a matter of minutes.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are titanium replacements for natural roots. Titanium has biocompatible properties which enables natural bone to fuse to it, or integrate. Once an implant has integrated it can be used to carry special attachments to help secure partials or denture. It is now also widely believed that it also stimulate bone tissue to help maintain a healthy jaw and mouth.

How will Dental Implants stabilize my Dentures?

Dental implants stabilize your dentures by attaching to the denture using snap receptors or bars which are attached to the implant fixture and the denture. This can remove any movement during normal chewing function. Dentures can also be screwed directly onto the implant which offers and non removable option.

How to Brush Your Teeth

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What Is the Right Way to Brush from a Dentist in Whittier?

Proper brushing takes at least two minutes — that’s right, 120 seconds! Most adults do not come close to brushing that long. To get a feel for the time involved, try using a stopwatch. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gumline, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. Concentrate on thoroughly cleaning each section as follows:

  • Clean the outer surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the inner surfaces of your upper teeth, then your lower teeth
  • Clean the chewing surfaces
  • For fresher breath, be sure to brush your tongue, too
  • Tilt the brush at a 45° angle against the gumline and sweep or roll the brush away from the gumline.
  • Gently brush the outside, inside and chewing surface of each tooth using short back-and-forth strokes.
  • Gently brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen breath.

What Type of Toothbrush Should I Use in Whittier?

Most dental professionals agree that a soft-bristled brush is best for removing plaque and debris from your teeth. Small-headed brushes are also preferable, since they can better reach all areas of the mouth, including hard-to-reach back teeth. For many, a powered toothbrush is a good alternative. It can do a better job of cleaning teeth, particularly for those who have difficulty brushing or who have limited manual dexterity. To find the right Colgate toothbrush for you, click here.

How Important is the Toothpaste I Use?

It is important that you use a toothpaste that’s right for you. Today there is a wide variety of toothpaste designed for many conditions, including cavities, gingivitis, tartar, stained teeth and sensitivity. Ask your dentist or dental hygienist which toothpaste is right for you. To find the right

How Often Should I Replace My Toothbrush?

You should replace your toothbrush when it begins to show wear, or every three months, whichever comes first. It is also very important to change toothbrushes after you’ve had a cold, since the bristles can collect germs that can lead to reinfection.

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.”

Inlays, Onlays, and Crowns

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Inlays, Onlays & Crowns

When more than half of the tooth is missing or the decay is large enough to undermine tooth integrity, a filling is no longer the best treatment choice. In these situations, we through proper training and experience, determine if the tooth needs an inlay, an only, or full crown.

What are inlays and onlays?

Inlays and onlays can be made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin. These pieces are bonded to the damged area of the tooth. An inlay, which is similar to a filling, is used inside the cusp tips of the tooth. An onlay is a more substantial reconstruction, similar to the inlay, but extending out over on or more of the cusps of the tooth. In some cases, where the damage of the tooth is not extensive enough to merit an entire crown, onlays can provide an extremely good alternative.

Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice of inlays and onlays. In recent years, however, porcelain has become increasingly popular due to its strength and color, which can potentially match the natural color of your teeth.

How are they applied?

Inlays and onlays require two appointments to complete the procedure. During the first visit, the filling being replaced or the damaged or decaying are of the tooth is removed, and the tooth is prepared for the inlay or onlay. To ensure proper fit and bite, an impression of the tooth is mad by Dr. Reachi or Dr. Yarbrough, and sent to the lab for fabrication. We will then apply a temporary restoration on the tooth and schedule on my site the next appointment.

At the second appointment, the temporary restoration is removed. St. Mary Dental in Whittier will then make sure that the inlay or onlay fits correctly. If the fit is satisfactory, the inlay or onlay will be bonded to the tooth and polished to a smooth finish.


Many people have unexplained pain from filled back teeth, which is usually due to hairline cracks in the chewing part of the tooth. Placing crowns on these teeth relieves the pain 96% of the time and allows a return of full dental function for these teeth. In front teeth, older fillings can both weaken the teeth and cause “appearance” problems due to staining or chipping. Porcelain crowns and bridges are suitable in cases where porcelain veneers are not. In teeth with root canal fillings, crowns can prevent breakage.

Most dentistry looks like dentistry. Our goal is to provide dentistry that is undetectable. Where damage to a person’s teeth is extreme, and apparently beyond repair, we can use all porcelain or porcelain “baked on gold” crowns to make the smile appear “as new”. This is an extremely reliable technique for repairing the most severe of dental problems. We are renowned for the quality of our work and the fantastic changes we make for people using this technology.

Teeth were designed to complement each other and plan an important role in speaking, chewing, and in maintaining proper alignment of other teeth. Unusual stresses are placed on the gums and other oral tissues when teeth are missing, causing a number of potentially harmful disorders. Increased risk of gum disease has proven to be one of the worst side effects of missing teeth and can be minimized with a bridge. A bridge also helps support your lips and cheeks, preventing your mouth from sinking in and face from looking older.

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.

Dental Implants in Whittier CA

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Despite improvements in dental care, millions of Americans suffer tooth loss – mostly due to tooth decay, gingivitis (gum disease), or injury. For many years, the only treatment options available for people with missing teeth were bridges and dentures. But, today, dental implants are available.

What Are Whittier Dental Implants?

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.

What Are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

There are many advantages to dental implants, including:

Improved appearance. Dental implants look and feel like your own teeth. And because they are designed to fuse with bone, they become permanent.

Improved speech. With poor-fitting dentures, the teeth can slip within the mouth causing you to mumble or slur your words. Dental implants allow you to speak without the worry that your teeth might slip.

Improved comfort. Because they become part of you, implants eliminate the discomfort of removable dentures.

Easier eating. Sliding dentures can make chewing difficult. Dental implants function like your own teeth, allowing you to eat your favorite foods with confidence and without pain.

Improved self-esteem. Dental implants can give you back your smile, and help you feel better about yourself.

Improved oral health. Dental implants don’t require reducing other teeth, as a tooth-supported bridge does. Because nearby teeth are not altered to support the implant, more of your own teeth are left intact, improving your long-term oral health. Individual implants also allow easier access between teeth, improving oral hygiene.

Durability. Implants are very durable and will last many years. With good care, many implants last a lifetime.

Convenience. Removable dentures are just that; removable. Dental implants eliminate the embarrassing inconvenience of removing your dentures, as well as the need for messy adhesives to keep your dentures in place.

How Successful Are Dental Implants?

Success rates vary, depending on where in the jaw the implants are placed but, in general, dental implants have a success rate of up to 98%. With proper care (see below), implants can last a lifetime.

Can Anyone Get Dental Implants?

In most cases, anyone healthy enough to undergo a routine dental extraction or oral surgery can be considered for an implant procedure. Patients should have healthy gums and enough bone to hold the implant. They also must be committed to good oral hygiene and regular dental visits. Heavy smokers, people suffering from uncontrolled chronic disorders – such as diabetes or heart disease – or patients who have had radiation therapy to the head/neck area need to be evaluated on an individual basis. If you are considering implants, talk to your dentist to see if they are right for you.

Does Insurance Cover the Cost of Dental Implants?

In general, implants are not covered by dental insurance at this time. Coverage under your medical plan may be possible, depending on the insurance plan and/or cause of tooth loss. Detailed questions about your individual needs and how they relate to insurance should be discussed with your dentist and your insurance provider.

What Is Involved in Getting a Dental Implant?

The first step in the process is the development of an individualized treatment plan. The plan addresses your specific needs and is prepared by a team of professionals who are specially trained and experienced in oral surgery and restorative dentistry. This team approach provides coordinated care based on the implant option that is best for you.

Next, the tooth root implant, which is a small post made of titanium, is placed into the bone socket of the missing tooth. As the jawbone heals, it grows around the implanted metal post, anchoring it securely in the jaw. The healing process can take from 6 to 12 weeks.

Once the implant has bonded to the jawbone, a small connector post – called an abutment – is attached to the post to securely hold the new tooth. To make your new tooth or teeth, your dentist makes impressions of your teeth, and creates a model of your bite (which captures all of your teeth, their type, and arrangement). Your new tooth or teeth are based on this model. A replacement tooth, called a crown, is then attached to the abutment.

Instead of one or more individual crowns, some patients may have attachments placed on the implant that retain and support a removable denture.

Your dentist also will match the color of your new teeth to your natural teeth. Because the implant is secured within the jawbone, the replacement teeth look, feel, and function just like your own natural teeth.

How Painful Are Dental Implants?

Most people who have received dental implants say that there is very little discomfort involved in the procedure. Local anesthesia can be used during the procedure, and most patients report that implants involve less pain than a tooth extraction.

After the dental implant, mild soreness can be treated with over-the-counter pain medications, such as Tylenol or Motrin.

How Do I Care for My Implant?

Dental implants require the same care as real teeth, including brushing, flossing, and regular dental check-ups.

  • Toothaches
  • Extractions
  • Pain & Swelling
  • Root Canals
  • Teeth & Mouth Injuries
  • Complete Denture Service
  • Implant Dentistry
  • TMJ
  • Lost, Chipped or Broken Teeth
  • Dental Hygiene
  • Weekend Cleanings
  • Wisdom Teeth
  • Zoom One-Hour Whitening
  • Low-Radiation Dentistry
  • Invisilign
  • Veneers

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.

Your Whitening Options

StMary Cosmetic Dentistry, Teeth Whitening Comments Off on Your Whitening Options

Everybody loves a bright white smile, and there are a variety of products and procedures available to help you improve the look of yours. Many people are satisfied with the sparkle they get from daily oral hygiene and regular cleanings at your dentist’s office, but if you decide you would like to go beyond this to make your smile look brighter, you should investigate all of your whitening options.

Start by speaking with your dentist. He or she can tell you whether whitening procedures would be effective for you. Whiteners may not correct all types of discoloration. For example, yellow-ish hued teeth will probably bleach well, brownish-colored teeth may bleach less well, and grayish-hued teeth may not bleach well at all. If you have had bonding or tooth-colored fillings placed in your front teeth the whitener will not affect the color of these materials, and they will stand out in your newly whitened smile. You may want to investigate other options, like porcelain veneers or dental bonding.

If you are a candidate for whitening there are several ways to whiten your smile:

  • In-office bleaching. This procedure is called chairside bleaching and usually requires only one office visit. The dentist will apply either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the oral soft tissues. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used. Lasers have been used during tooth whitening procedures to enhance the action of the whitening agent.
  • At-home bleaching. Peroxide-containing whiteners actually bleach the tooth enamel. They typically come in a gel and are placed in a mouthguard. Usage regimens vary. There are potential side effects, such as increased sensitivity or gum irritation. Speak with your dentist if you have any concerns.
  • Whitening toothpastes. All toothpastes help remove surface stain through the action of mild abrasives. “Whitening” toothpastes in the ADA Seal of Acceptance program have special chemical or polishing agents that provide additional stain removal effectiveness. Unlike bleaches, these ADA Accepted products do not change the color of teeth because they can only remove stains on the surface.

All About Full & Partial Dentures

StMary Prosthodontics, Whittier Dentures Comments Off on All About Full & Partial Dentures

Full Dentures, Partial Dentures – Caring For Your Dentures

Dentures are replacements for missing teeth that can be taken out and put back into your mouth. While dentures take some getting used to, and will never feel exactly the same as one’s natural teeth, today’s dentures are natural looking and more comfortable than ever.

There are two main types of dentures: full and partial. Your dentist will help you choose the type of denture that’s best for you based on whether some or all of your teeth are going to be replaced and the cost involved.

How do Dentures Work?

With full dentures, a flesh-colored acrylic base fits over your gums. The base of the upper denture covers the palate (the roof of your mouth), while that of the lower denture is shaped like a horseshoe to accommodate your tongue.

Dentures are custom-made in a dental laboratory from impressions taken of your mouth. Your dentist will determine which of the three types of dentures described below is best for you.

Conventional Full Denture

A conventional full denture is placed in your mouth after any remaining teeth are removed and tissues have healed. Healing may take several months, during which time you are without teeth.

Immediate Full Denture

An immediate full denture is inserted immediately after the remaining teeth are removed. (Your dentist takes measurements and makes models of your jaw during a prior visit.) While immediate dentures offer the benefit of never having to be without your teeth, they must be relined several months after being inserted. The reason is that the bone supporting the teeth reshapes as it heals, causing the denture to become loose.

Partial Denture

A partial denture rests on a metal framework that attaches to your natural teeth. Sometimes crowns are placed on some of your natural teeth and serve as anchors for the denture. Partial dentures offer a removable alternative to bridges.

How Long Before I Get Used to My Dentures?

New dentures may feel awkward or uncomfortable for the first few weeks or even months. Eating and speaking with dentures might take a little practice. A bulky or loose feeling is not uncommon, while the muscles of your cheeks and tongue learn to hold your dentures in place. Excessive saliva flow, a feeling that the tongue does not have adequate room, and minor irritation or soreness are also not unusual. If you experience irritation, see your dentist.

How Long do Dentures Last?

Over a period of time, your denture will need to be relined, remade, or rebased due to normal wear. Rebasing means making a new base while keeping the existing denture teeth. Also, as you age, your mouth naturally changes. These changes cause your dentures to loosen, making chewing difficult and irritating your gums. At a minimum, you should see your dentist annually for a checkup.

Here are tips for caring for your dentures:

  • When handling your dentures, stand over a folded towel or basin of water. Dentures are delicate and may break if dropped.
  • Don’t let your dentures dry out. Place them in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in plain water when you’re not wearing them. Never use hot water, which can cause them to warp.
  • Brushing your dentures daily will remove food deposits and plaque, and help prevent them from becoming stained. An ultrasonic cleaner may be used to care for your dentures, but it does not replace a thorough daily brushing.
  • Brush your gums, tongue and palate every morning with a soft-bristled brush before you insert your dentures. This stimulates circulation in your tissues and helps remove plaque.
  • See your dentist if your dentures break, chip, crack or become loose. Don’t be tempted to adjust them yourself — this can damage them beyond repair.