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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Types of Clear Braces

Three young people smiling

As dentistry, orthodontics, and the technology behind them improve, our patients receive many choices about their care. Changes in the kinds of braces available to our patients are an example of this. The days when getting braces meant getting a mouth full of metal brackets and wires are over. There is an increase in the number of patients we see who are seeking clear braces. Often when patients come to our orthodontist in East Los Angeles, they are unsure about the types of clear braces. To help with your decision, we have compiled an overview of the kinds of clear braces available at our office.

CERAMIC BRACES
While ceramic braces are not entirely invisible, they are either a transparent ceramic material or a ceramic material that matches tooth color. Often the ceramic braces have tooth enamel colored wires to make the braces less visible. Aside from the bracket material, ceramic braces are very similar to metal braces. They perform the same task in the same way and typically require the same amount of time to correct your teeth. Adults and older teens frequently choose ceramic braces because they are not as noticeable as metal braces.

LINGUAL BRACES
Our patients seldom choose the option of lingual braces. These are not truly clear braces. The lingual braces are metal braces that our orthodontist attaches inside of the mouth behind the teeth. The braces successfully hide from view, but patients often struggle to clean lingual braces, and these braces realign teeth slowly.

INVISALIGN
The most popular type of clear braces we offer are the Invisalign braces. These differ from traditional braces; Invisalign braces are a series of clear trays which patients slip over their teeth. Over time, the trays realign teeth. While the correction process takes longer than traditional braces, patients love Invisalign. Among the top reasons patients give regarding satisfaction with Invisalign are the fact that they are removable and that patients can eat and drink whatever they want and there is considerably less pain with Invisalign.

The options available for clear braces are each unique. Take a few moments to consider your lifestyle and what you expect from braces. Then do not hesitate to contact our office to make your appointment.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

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Most people cringe when they hear the phrase root canal – it evokes all of the ubiquitous imagery of the horrors of the dentist, drills, and Novocain. The unfortunate truth is, if you need a root canal, you really need a root canal. But the good news is that they aren’t quite as horrifying as they make them out to be on television, and our root canal dentist in Agoura Hills has all of the tools and expertise necessary to make the process as efficient and painless as humanly possible.

 

So, what exactly is a root canal? Within the tooth is something called pulp, and the places where the pulp meets the roots of the tooth is called the root canal.  Sometimes, the root, the pulp, or the nerve of a tooth becomes so severely infected that it cannot be saved, causing a lot of pain. In cases where the inside of the tooth is decayed beyond redemption and the outer portion can still be saved, the tissue in peril is removed in a procedure of the same name, a root canal.

 

Root canals are perfectly safe, as the sensitive inner tissue of the teeth really doesn’t serve much of a purpose after childhood when all the adult teeth have grown in.  There are many issues which can result in a root canal being necessary. Most dentists will agree that the most common of which is probably ordinary decay. Infection and inflammation of the outer tooth can sometimes travel inward, bringing with it heightened sensitivity and severe pain. Damage resulting from physical trauma is also a frequent culprit; cracks and fractures provide outside bacteria and plaque to penetrate the enamel and affect the delicate tissue within. Disease, especially periodontal disease, also puts one at an increased risk.

 

How can a person know whether or not a root canal is necessary? Acute pain while eating, brushing, flossing, or otherwise putting pressure on the tooth or teeth in question is one easily-perceived early indicator of underlying damage; sensitivity to temperature is also something important to watch out for. Sometimes an infected root will present itself as a small lump pushing through the surface of your gums; bring up any newly-formed sores or lesions when you go in for your semi-yearly check-up. Discoloration may also be a warning sign, as are tenderness or swelling of the gums surrounding the affected tooth.

When is a Smile Makeover a Good Choice?

beautiful young indian couple

When most patients are first introduced to the concept of a smile makeover, it can seem like a very complexly orchestrated event. Some may question whether or not their cosmetic issues are severe enough to warrant all of the fuss and hassle, but for those interested in solving all of their dental concerns at once, it may be the best option.

A smile makeover is defined as being a multi-step set of procedures designed by your dentist to solve every imperfection you struggle with at once. Whether your concerns are functional or purely ornamental, there is a path forward for you – at your initial consultation you will be x-rayed, scanned, and thoroughly evaluated. After having a conversation about the state of your teeth as they exist currently, a course of action will be will be planned and treatment can begin. Any individual suffering with multiple dissatisfactions can qualify; it’s simply a matter of what needs to be done that differentiates individual cases.

A smile makeover can be used to resolve literally any issue concerning the appearance or health of the teeth. For patients whose teeth have garnered noticeable discoloration, a bleaching regimen can be recommended. Those who have been involved in an accident will be able to find restoration of any broken, chipped, cracked, or completely missing teeth in a smile makeover, whether only one tooth is affected or the entire set. Old, damaged, or failing dental fixtures of the past may be repaired or replace over the course of a smile makeover, including any fillings, crowns, veneers, or implants already existing in the mouth. Misshapen or otherwise eroded teeth can also be altered through these means.

There are certain factors that may deter a patient from seeking a smile makeover, the two most commonly cited ones being the money and time commitment; as there can be many discrete steps involved in the process overall, participating in a smile makeover will require many in-office appointments, both before treatment, during, and after, to make any adjustments necessary and keep tabs on any potential issues that may arise down the road.

If any doubt remains, just take a look at any of the smile makeover before and after pictures from our office – if you’re interested in becoming our next success story, give us a call and stop by for a consultation.

Benefits of Dentures in Replacing Teeth

Senior man giving woman piggyback ride

Many people with oral health issues resulting in multiple tooth loss can still have a healthy smile that feels much like their natural teeth. Dentures are a great option for many, but there are common misconceptions about getting them. There are misconceptions about the look and discomfort of having false teeth. However, these are misconceptions are based on dentures of the past.

Today’s full and partial dentures look and feel like your natural teeth. Very few people will notice the difference. Our dentists can ensure that you enjoy a comfortable fit and natural look. Dentures can be used to replace some or all of your teeth. Partials may be fixed or removable. Fixed dentures are also known as implants, and they are permanently fixed in place inside your mouth. The fixed option looks and functions much like normal teeth. Removable dentures typically are less expensive and require metal fasteners.

Full dentures are a full set of removable prosthetics that replaces all your missing teeth in the upper and lower jaw. If you are able to keep some natural teeth, our dentist in Huntington Beach may suggest overdentures that will fit over them. The goal is to keep as many of your natural teeth as possible. Our dentists will ensure that you will have the most natural looking smile possible.

There are several benefits to getting full dentures: improved ability to bite and chew, fewer restrictions on what you can eat, reduced speech problems caused by missing teeth, your face has a fuller appearance, protects your remaining teeth and they can be removed for proper cleaning and brushing. With proper care and fit, complete dentures can last for many years.

Normal wear and tear does happen, however, our dentists are here to repair any chips, cracks or loose teeth. Dentures must always fit well and feel comfortable. If you have dentures and they hurt or feel uncomfortable, contact our dentists. Of course, you need to do your part by keeping them in tip-top shape. Remove and rinse dentures after eating, handle them carefully and brush your dentures daily.

Talk to our dentists if you are missing more than one tooth. We can talk to you about your restoration option. There are so many options available today to restore your smile. You can have a natural looking smile that is all your own so you can smile with confidence. Schedule a consultation with us to get started.

What Invisalign Can Fix

Aligners Focus - 2

If you are looking to improve your smile, our Torrance cosmetic dentist can help. We are the experts in fixing crooked, misaligned, crowded and misplaced teeth. We understand that getting braces can be a daunting process. It’s important that you explore all your options before correcting your smile. We have a few treatments available that are very convenient for both adults and teens.

 

Schedule a consultation with our Invisalign dentist in Torrance to see if Invisalign can improve your smile. We will examine your mouth using an advanced scanner to create a 3D digital image of your teeth. Then we will map out your customized treatment plan including the movements of your teeth and how long your treatment will take. Invisalign slowly moves your teeth into place without the pain and anxiety of metal braces. As the teeth move and shift into place, the aligners will be switched out for new ones. This happens about every week or two depending on your case. The treatment length depends on your case as well. The average case can take an estimated 12 months for adults. For teens, our office will determine the length.

 

Invisalign can help fix gapped teeth, overbites, underbites, open bites, overly crowded teeth and crossbites. When you schedule a consultation with us, we can examine your mouth to see if you have a treatable case with Invisalign. It is a very popular option because it is made of clear plastic removable aligners. You can remove these aligners for eating, drinking, brushing and sleeping. It is one of the most convenient ways to straighten your teeth.

 

Maintenance of the Invisalign system is also very convenient. Make sure to clean your aligners with the cleaning kit provided to you or with warm water. When you go to brush and floss your teeth, simply remove the aligners and pop them back in when you are done. They should be worn 20 to 22 hours per day and only removed for the activities mentioned above. Teens can also benefit from this system. With clear plastic aligners, they are hardly noticeable. Teens can also enjoy the flexibility and comfort if they play sports. There are no metal brackets or wires that can cause irritation in the mouth, which is a great advantage over traditional braces.

 

If you are looking for a very convenient way to improve your smile, contact us today. We can explore every treatment option available to you.

When are Inlays and Onlays Used?

Happy together

If you need your teeth repaired due to cracks and fractures, our dentist can help. Talk to our experts about the repair options available to improve your smile. Sometimes when the teeth are too damaged or decayed, fillings are just not enough to fix them. If you have sufficient healthy tooth remaining, you may opt for inlays and onlays. This procedure is used for mild to moderate forms of decay or cracks in the teeth.

 

This form of tooth repair allows our dentist to conserve more of the patient’s original tooth structure. This is also a great option when a crown is not appropriate to use. This alternative is made from tough materials that can last up to 30 years. They can help strengthen your original tooth up to 75 percent unlike metal fillings, which might actually reduce the strength of teeth. It can also help prolong the life of the tooth and prevent the need for more dental work down the road.

 

If you choose to get this procedure done, our dental experts will first remove any old fillings you might have during your first visit. They will take an impression of the teeth that need to be repaired, and send the impressions to a lab. The new inlay or onlay is made from a mold in porcelain, gold or composite material. During a second visit, our experts will cement them into place and then polish them to ensure a smooth and attractive finish.

 

Both visits to our office will take about an hour. The first appointment may take a little longer due to the preparation process. Once the procedure is completely done, there may be a little discomfort as the new tooth will feel a little odd. But soon you will get used to the new surface and how it feels and looks in your mouth. The tissue around the treated tooth or teeth may be a little sensitive or sore, but this will subside in a few days. You can take over-the-counter pain medication to alleviate and discomfort.

 

Long-term maintenance includes proper oral care. Make sure to brush and floss twice daily along with scheduling routine checkups with our experts. Maintaining good oral health will only ensure the longevity of your teeth and gums. Talk to our office about repairing any broken, fractured or decaying teeth you might have. We can discuss the different procedures available to you in order improve your smile.