Why Do Amalgam Fillings Need to be Removed?

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Modern patients are increasingly having their amalgam fillings removed and replaced with composite fillings because of concerns about mercury. Mercury is a toxic heavy metal, and the risks that mercury amalgam fillings pose are worth considering for all patients. Here is a look at why patients should consider having their amalgam fillings replaced by our Agoura Hills dentist.

How Toxic Is Mercury Amalgam?

Amalgam fillings consist of an alloy containing mercury and a variety of other metals, such as silver, tin and copper. While the amount of mercury involved is small, even a tiny amount of the metal is extremely toxic. In fact, some patients with mercury fillings have reported neurological symptoms, such as fatigue and strange sensations, including burning and tingling.

Is Mercury Leached from Amalgam Fillings?

There is no doubt that amalgam fillings do give off some mercury, but there is controversy over whether it is enough to cause problems. While a number of studies have shown that no significant risk exists with non-damaged amalgam fillings, some experts say that the safety of these restorations is doubtful.

When Is Amalgam Filling Removal Beneficial?

Some patients with amalgam fillings may seek removal after experiencing odd neurological symptoms. In other cases, patients have their older amalgam fillings replaced as a preventive measure against such problems. Mercury fillings that are damaged or concealing decay should be replaced for preservation of oral health if not for avoidance of mercury toxicity. Of course, replacement with tooth-colored fillings also offers benefits beyond elimination of mercury. These benefits include lower risks of tooth breakage, prevention of tooth discoloration and better-looking teeth.

Removal of mercury fillings is beneficial for several reasons, but it should only be performed by a dentist who is experienced at containing the mercury released during the procedure. To learn more about the benefits of safe amalgam removal, patients can schedule a consultation with our dentist.

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Effects of Periodontal Disease on Dental Health

0065.jpgPeriodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in older adults. A chronic infection that strikes the gums, periodontal disease often begins slowly and with few obvious symptoms. However, without treatment, the infection can destroy the supporting tissues of the teeth, erode bone tissue and spread bacteria into the bloodstream. In fact, periodontal disease has been linked with serious health problems ranging from type 2 diabetes and heart disease to dementia and stillbirth. If you have periodontal disease, our Los Angeles periodontics expert can help.

Recognizing the symptoms early can be your best defense against periodontal disease. Common symptoms include gums that look red or shiny. They may be puffy or swollen, or they may be pulling away from the roots of the teeth. Many patients have foul breath that is not alleviated by brushing and flossing, and their gums bleed when teeth are brushed or flossed. If you have these symptoms, you need to schedule a periodontal evaluation.

The goal of periodontal treatment is to eliminate or control the infection and protect the long-term health of your smile. The best way to reduce the risk of periodontal disease is through meticulous daily brushing and flossing, regular professional cleanings and reducing controllable risk factors, such as poor diet or tobacco use. Call us today to learn more or to schedule your appointment with our team.

Benefits of Non Surgical Periodontal Treatments

When it comes to maintaining proper oral health, it is important to first exhaust all non-surgical options before deciding on surgery. Especially during the early stages of gum disease, a non-surgical approach may be all that is necessary in order to return a patient to a state of good oral health.

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease. It is characterized by swollen, red gums that tend to bleed easily during brushing. At this stage, gum disease can be reversed. Scaling and root planing is an effective procedure for dealing with gingivitis. Scaling is when the dentist scrapes away all the plaque and tartar from above and below the gumline. Root planing is when our Los Angeles periodontics expert removes the hard bacterial deposits that can form at the root of the tooth. By eliminating the plaque and tartar from the teeth and making the root as smooth as possible, it encourages the gums to heal more snugly around the teeth and prevent further decay. Scaling and root planing must be followed by regular brushing and flossing in order to be completely effective. Tray delivery systems can also be used as a non-surgical periodontal treatment to deliver necessary medications to the gum and teeth. These trays are custom-designed to fit the mouth of the patient.

If you think that you might benefit from one of these procedures, contact our expert in non surgical periodontal treatments in Los Angeles to schedule a consultation.

Cost of Having Endodontic Treatment

0202.jpgIf you have suffered decay or injury to the point that it has affected the pulp of your tooth, you will likely require endodontic treatment in order to save it. Endodontic treatment involves the removal of the pulp from the inside of the affected tooth. The cost of having an endodontic treatment done will depend on several factors.

The first thing that will affect the cost of the endodontic treatment is whether or not the tooth in question is located in the front or the back of your mouth. Front teeth tend to be a little cheaper than molars when it comes to endodontic treatments. The geographic location of where you are having the treatment done will also affect the cost. The prices in big cities are usually higher than in smaller cities and rural areas. For example, the endodontic treatment cost in Los Angeles will likely be higher than it is in the Midwest. Also, once the pulp has been removed, your tooth will need to be fit with a crown in order for it to have enough strength to withstand biting forces. In some cases, a metal post may need to be inserted to further support the crown. Both the crown and the post may be charged separately from the endodontic treatment procedure. The level of experience of the person performing the procedure may also impact the cost.

If you are in need of an endodontic treatment in order to save your tooth, contact our Los Angeles endodontic expert to schedule a consultation.

How to Clean Teeth with Lumineers

Lumineers are a fantastic option for providing patients with the Hollywood smile of their dreams. Cleaning them is easy, as it is done in much the same way as you would clean your natural teeth.

The best way to clean your Lumineers is to brush and floss like normal. This means at least twice a day or after meals. While Lumineers are made out of porcelain and therefore resistant to stain and decay, the teeth underneath the Lumineers are still susceptible to decay. That is why in addition to regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, it is still important to visit our San Fernando Valley cosmetic dentist every six months for a professional exam and cleaning.

While Lumineers are resistant to staining, that does not mean that they are stain-proof. It is best to avoid drinking coffee, red wine, tea, and soda, or to at least consider drinking these beverages through a straw instead. Also, avoid biting on hard objects with your Lumineers, and wear a mouth guard at night if you suffer from bruxism.

If you are interested in seeing if you make a good candidate for Lumineers, contact our expert in Lumineers in San Fernando Valley to set up a consultation.

Can Gummy Smiles be Treated?

Gums, lips and teeth all play a role in a gummy smile, or a smile that shows too much gum tissue. Although many people have gummy smiles, they are not always aware that they have treatment options. While gummy smiles do not always affect your dental health, they can affect your confidence. Our expert in periodontics in Los Angeles can help you find the treatment you need to get the smile you want.

Several things can cause a gummy smile, including:

• A short upper lip
• Hypermobile lip muscles
• Overgrowth of gum tissue
• Compensatory eruption
• Altered active eruption
• Altered passive eruption

The three most common ways to manage a gummy smile include periodontal surgery, orthodontics and lip lowering surgery. Jaw surgery is also available to address specific issues. Each procedure works to address specific issues, and several may be combined to manage multiple issues.

Most of the time, we are able to correct the look of your gummy smile using conservative, minimally invasive procedures. People generally recover quickly and are able to show off their new smiles right after treatment. Complications are rare, but some patients have sensitivity for a few days after the surgery. Call us today to learn more about treating gummy smiles or to schedule an appointment with our expert in gummy smile treatment in Los Angeles.

How Teenagers Can Use Invisalign

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Instead of the visual stigma of metal braces, teenagers can now rely on Invisalign Teen, the Invisalign product made just for them. Invisalign Teen uses the same straightening technology as Invisalign, but accounts for the different lifestyle teens have. For instance, the aligners come with special eruption tabs for teeth that may not have come in yet. They can also be fitted with compliance indicators to show approximate wear time.

Since teens have a lot going on and often lose or forget things, our expert in Invisalign Teen in Agoura Hills will make sure the patient gets up to six replacement aligners, just in case.

Teens love wearing the clear aligners as a less embarrassing form of orthodontia, and also because it allows them to follow a regular, even snacky diet. Since the aligners are fully removable, you can eat whatever you want. This means you can brush and floss as normal before putting the aligners back in.
Teens who are especially active, in sports or music for example, will find that the aligners are much less intrusive than braces while eliminating the fear of being cut. Last but not least, the extreme subtlety of Invisalign is a great morale boost in these activities, as well.

For more about Invisalign Teen, contact our Agoura Hills cosmetic dentists.