What to Know about Dental X-Rays

Examining radiography

X-rays are a powerful diagnostic tool. However, due to potential radiation exposure, having x-rays taken is a subject many patients find concerning.

The amount of radiation received from an x ray with modern dental equipment is negligible. Radiation is measured in units called “Sieverts.” We are all exposed to radiation just living on Earth. In the course of a year every person on the plant will absorb roughly .001 Sieverts. The modern x-ray used in a dental office exposes patients to half that amount.

Purpose of X-Rays
While x-rays can reveal cavities between the teeth, there are many other things x-rays can reveal. These include positioning of teeth that are still below the gum line, identify growths in and around the jaw and can save lives by finding cancers that physical exams might not catch.

Two-Dimensional vs. Three-Dimensional X-Rays
Many dental practices still rely on two-dimensional radiographic x-rays, just like the ones hospitals use. However, two-dimensional x-rays have some drawbacks in dental work. Because the image is often fuzzy, it typically doesn’t show the needed detail to spot small problems areas, such as cavities of potential abscesses. Three-Dimensional x-rays use a cone beam CT scan to creates a three dimensional image of the teeth and the surrounding bone structure. This produces an incredible detailed image that can catch even the smallest problem, before it can become a big one.

Frequency of X-Rays
Some patients may benefit from a new set of x-rays every year, whereas others will only require x-rays as needed. Generally, there is no right answer as to how often x-rays should be taken, as there are typically many factors to consider. These factors can include:

• If the patient has a history of severe tooth decay
• If the patient has a history periodontal disease
• Whether or not the patient has received all of their adult teeth
• If the patient’s teeth haven’t yet moved into their permanent locations
• Whether or not there is enough room in the patient’s mouth for their wisdom teeth
• If the patient needs some type restorative solutions

If you want more information about dental x-rays or are looking for a dentist in Northridge, give us a call and we will be happy to schedule an appointment for you.

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Is TMJ a Genetic Disorder?

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When you experience jaw tenderness, it can be difficult to do basic tasks such as eating and speaking. TMJ, or temporomandibular joint pain, has a variety of causes and can be incredibly painful if left untreated. Our TMJ dentist specializes in helping patients find the treatment that is right for them.

TMJ is pain focused in one or both of the joints that connect the jawbone to the skull. Often times TMJ is caused by trauma to the jaw, cartilage damage as a result of arthritis, and disk movement or erosion. This disorder can also be a result of stress and clenching one’s jaw. Contrary to popular opinion, TMJ is not technically a genetic disorder. However, many of the causes that lead to this condition may be hereditary. For example, misaligned bite, anxiety disorders, arthritis, and fibromyalgia can all play a contributing role in the development of TMJ. If you experience pain in your jaw or around your ear, have difficulty chewing, or experience locked jaw, it is possible you suffer from TMJ.

It is important to seek treatment at the diagnosis of TMJ to avoid severe headaches, tinnitus, and neck and shoulder pain. There are a variety of treatments for this condition, including physical therapy, oral splints, medications, and in certain circumstances, surgery. It is important to discuss all of your options with your doctor upon diagnosis.

Process of Getting a Dental Filling

Family lying on a carpet

Dental fillings are a scientific response to the body’s inability to heal wounds in teeth. If you get a cavity, that hole stays there until filled. These fillings can be made of gold, ceramic, porcelain fused to metal, or a tooth-colored composite. The latter is the most modern choice, as most people want their fillings, and therefore the knowledge that they ever had holes in their teeth, to be invisible.

To start the filling process, our expert in dental fillings in Northridge numbs the area with a needle. After five minutes, the anesthetic kicks in and the dentist isolates the tooth from saliva—and your throat from tooth chips—by using a rubber dam. They then drill out the decay, and replace it with your chosen material.

Most fillings are done in about 15 minutes. Certain kinds may take longer, such as when the cavity is between teeth or deep inside the tooth near the nerve. In the latter case, the dentist may administer nitrous oxide to neutralize discomfort and anxiety.

If the bulk of the tooth has been destroyed by cavity, you may need root canal therapy. This is a separate process from an ordinary filling, but is just as routine.

Ask our cosmetic dentist in Northridge for more about dental fillings.

What You Need to Know about Smile Makeovers

woman beauty

Three-quarters of polled Americans believe a below-average smile can damage a person’s career opportunities. If you believe your smile is below-average, you may consider a smile makeover your best chance to meet more people and make more money. The following are some treatments our expert in smile makeover in Northridge recommends to start your smile on the road to recovery. You may use any one, or a combination, to get the results you want.

Teeth Whitening

You can whiten your teeth at home or in the office, using chairside services like Zoom whitening, or take-home products from a retail space. The difference between these two options is speed and strength, as over-the-counter products do not offer immediate results or the high bleach component of chairside whitening.

Dental Bonding

Using composite resin, the dentist fills in chips or cracks in teeth that need a tune-up. Shorter teeth can even be elongated using this process.

Dental Implants

If you have missing teeth, those spaces can be both unsightly and unhealthy. Every tooth is essential, and every tooth is missed. Implants replace missing teeth from the root up, restoring full tooth function with titanium and porcelain.

If you’re interested in smile makeover opportunities, contact your Northridge cosmetic dentist.

What Zoom Whitening Can Do

Cute smileZoom whitening, a professional teeth whitening procedure, goes beyond regular whitening capability. Thanks to its unique formula and process, Zoom can be exactly what some patients need for a brighter smile. Below is an overview of what can be achieved with Zoom whitening.

Resolves Severe Stains

Like other whitening procedures, Zoom is performed to address surface stains, which cling on to tooth enamel. With three whitening cycles per session and a combination of two peroxide bleaching agents, Zoom is better equipped to eliminate heavy discoloration. Stains caused by wine, coffee, tea, chocolate, berries, and tobacco are examples of what Zoom can either eliminate or greatly reduce.

Whitens Smiles Repeatedly

Depending on their lifestyle, patients may desire professional teeth whitening from our cosmetic dentist on a regular basis. This can cause teeth sensitivity in some patients, but Zoom is designed to work safely in these cases. Zoom sessions include the application of fluoride to the teeth, making fairly regular whitening treatments more feasible.

Clearing discoloration from teeth can be easier with Zoom whitening. During a single one-hour session, our dentist can brighten tooth enamel by as much as eight shades. You can schedule a consultation with our expert in Zoom whitening in Northridge to find out what this treatment can do for you.

Why You Should Try a Sleep Apnea Oral Appliance

Gum Guard Perspective

Over eighteen million adult Americans today suffer from sleep apnea. Many of these people have simply decided to deal with this condition, which is a very unhealthy and even dangerous choice. It is important to know that there are many different ways that sleep apnea can be treated, some of which as very easy. One of these treatments is using a sleep apnea oral appliance.

We find that many patients do not like the idea of sleeping with an oral appliance in at night. We reassure everyone that these mouth guards are comfortable and cannot cause pain. In fact, most patients report that they are completely used to wearing it within just a few nights.

This may be the easiest way to eliminate the effects of sleep apnea. There are two main types of appliances. You might get a better night’s sleep with one that moves the lower jaw forward, or one that moves both the lower jaw and the tongue forward, in order to create more room in the air passageways.

Our dentist will work with our Northridge sleep apnea patients to find a treatment that works best for them. You don’t have to suffer from this disorder for life. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Pros and Cons of Tooth Bleaching

Cute smile

Tooth bleaching is the most common method of clearing stains from teeth. Used in both consumer products and professional procedures, bleaching works well for most stains caused by foods, beverages, tobacco and other factors. Here are the pros and cons of this cosmetic option from our cosmetic dentist in Northridge.

Pros of Tooth Bleaching

A major advantage of bleaching is its range of strengths, which makes it effective for eliminating most types of stains. Whereas low concentrations of peroxides can gradually eliminate mild stains, higher concentrations can work well for heavier discoloration. Properly performed, bleaching also can be gentler on tooth enamel compared to abrasion.

Cons of Tooth Bleaching

One con of bleaching is that it only works on surface stains. When internal discoloration is involved, patients may need to have concealment used instead of bleaching. Furthermore, bleaching may not eliminate some of the heaviest surface stains. Bleaching can also cause teeth sensitivity and gum irritation if it is used improperly, such as if it is left on the teeth for too long.

Bleaching can be very effective for whitening teeth, but it is not always the best approach. By visiting our expert in tooth bleaching in Northridge before ordering the procedure, patients can find out if it will work well for the stains they have.