Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Oral Health Month


June is Oral Health Month. A good oral hygiene routine is the foundation to a healthy smile, especially for young children. For parents, leading by example, should establish healthy habits like brushing, cleaning between your teeth and seeing your dentist. This ultimately leads to the big difference in the health and happiness of your entire family and in children, less fears about visiting their dentist.

Here are 2 tips from the American Dental Association that are a great reminder to enforce.

Start a Routine and Stick to It:
You may be tempted to let your child skip brushing after a long day or during times when your normal schedule is off (like vacation), but keep at it. The more second nature brushing becomes the easier it will be to make sure your child is brushing twice a day for two minutes.

Kids Need to Floss: 
It doesn't matter if you clean between ​your child's teeth before or after they brush as long as you clean between any teeth that touch. You can use child-friendly plastic flossing tools to more easily clean between your child’s teeth until your child learns to do it.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

3 Facts Parents Should Know: Baby's First Tooth


Preparing for a newborn is no easy task. It is an ever changing list of duties and things to prepare for. That does not stop once he or she arrives home. As new parents, we often do not think of our childs teeth until they begin teething and all the growing pains begin.

Baby teeth are essential, as they act as placeholders for our adult teeth and effect the way we speak and eat. Here are three facts parents should know about their baby’s first tooth.

1. Most babies will develop teeth between 6 and 12 months.
There is a wide range of variability of when a first tooth may appear—some babies may not have any teeth by their first birthday! Around 3 months of age, babies will begin exploring the world with their mouth and have increased saliva and start to put their hands in their mouth. Many parents question whether or not this means that their baby is teething, but a first tooth usually appears around 6 months old. Typically, the first teeth to come in are almost always the lower front teeth (the lower central incisors), and most children will usually have all of their baby teeth by age 3.

2. Schedule an Appointment by their First Birthday: 

The American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that infants be seen shortly after the first tooth erupts or no later than their first birthday. This first visit will help establish a dental home for your child.

The earlier you start, the better chance we have to prevent any potential problems. In addition to checking for decay and other conditions, our staff will teach you how to clean your child’s teeth properly, identify your child’s risk for cavities, and offer you helpful advice that will help your child build a lifetime of good dental habits.

3. Help Soothe Teething Pain
Babies may show signs of discomfort in the area where the tooth is coming in, the gums around the tooth may be swollen and tender, and the baby may drool a lot more than usual.

Parents can help ease teething pain by massaging their baby's gums with clean fingers, offering solid, not liquid-filled, teething rings, or a clean frozen or wet washcloth.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

3 Benefits of Straight Teeth in Long Beach


We have been serving patients in Long Beach and the surrounding areas for over 30 years! We consider dental health to be an integral part of overall good health. Our practice philosophy is to provide dental education and treatment, as well as orthodontics, for children, teens, and those with special healthcare needs. We believe that good dental health can instill a sense of well-being, provide a lifelong smile, and promote good overall health.

Your smile is uniquely yours and it is what makes you YOU! Orthodontics is more than having a straight smile, the health benefits go beyond an aesthetically beautiful smile. Here are 3 benefits of a straight smile.

1. Healthy Gums, Healthy Life: Having healthy gums is a health aspect that everyone should have and so easy to obtain. Healthy gums are also the foundation to a healthy smile, inside and out. Your health is all related, from your mouth to your heart, to your entire body and your gums are an essential foundation. When teeth are spaced out or crowded, it’s possible for gums to be inflamed, which can lead to periodontal disease. Straight teeth aligns your gums to fit well around your teeth.

2. Decrease Risk of Tooth Injury:  Crowded, protruding upper teeth are more likely to be broken in the event of an accident, such as playing sports or during an accidental fall.

3. Healthier Bite: Orthodontics is all about a healthy bite. A healthy bite effects the way your child speaks, eats and chews their food and how their teeth fit overall.

Dr. Santos Cortez, Dr. Estela Sanchez, Dr. Ana Planells and Dr. Gabriela Cervantes, as well as our team, are committed to supporting and educating our patients to care for their teeth and gums and help in the prevention of dental disease. We strive to achieve this goal in an environment that is soothing and welcoming to both parents and children of all ages.




Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Prevent Tooth Decay in Babies



Did you know a baby’s 20 primary teeth are already present in their jaws at birth? Those baby teeth that begin coming through the gums around 6 months help set the stage for future smiles by keeping space in the jaw for adult teeth. Starting your child off with good dental care can help protect their teeth for decades to come.

Baby teeth are place holders for adult teeth and help them develop the way they speak, eat and grow. Though baby teeth are place holders, they are still prone to getting cavities and tooth decay, which can cause pain to babies, lead to life threatening infections and can be costly to treat.

“Tooth decay develops when a baby's mouth is infected by acid-producing bacteria.” This most commonly happens when a child's teeth and gums are exposed to liquid and food for a long period of time. “Natural or added sugars in the liquid or food are changed to acid by bacteria in the mouth. This acid then dissolves the outer part of the teeth, causing them to decay. The most common way this happens is when parents put their children to bed with a bottle of formula, milk, juice (even when mixed with water), soft drinks (soda, pop), sugar water, or sugared drinks. It can also occur when children are allowed to frequently drink anything other than water from a sippy cup or bottle during the day or night.”

You can start caring for baby's gums right away. But at first, the care won't involve a toothbrush and toothpaste. Instead, take these steps:

  • Get a soft, moistened washcloth or piece of gauze.
  • Gently wipe down your baby's gums at least twice a day.
  • Especially wipe your baby's gums after feedings and before bedtime.
  • This will wash off bacteria and prevent them from clinging to gums. Bacteria can leave behind a sticky plaque that damages infant teeth as they come in.

When the first baby teeth start to pop up, you can graduate to the use of a toothbrush. Choose one with a soft brush, small head and large handle.

At first, just wet the toothbrush. As soon as teeth erupt, you can start using a bit of training-toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice. You can increase this to a peas sized amount of fluoride toothpaste when your child is 2 years old. Brush gently all around your child's baby teeth, front and back.

You should brush your baby's teeth until he or she is old enough to hold the brush. Continue to supervise the process until your child can rinse and spit without assistance. That usually happens at around age 6.


Wednesday, April 24, 2019

When Should I wear a Mouth Guard?


April is National Facial Protection Month! National Facial Protection Month serves as a reminder over the importance of wearing mouth guards during sports, protecting your beautiful smile.

67% of parents surveyed by the American Association of Orthodontists said their child does not wear a mouth guard, yet 70% said their biggest fear is their child getting hurt when playing sports. The most effective way to protect your childs teeth and prevent injuries is to wear a mouthguard.

About 80% of traumatic dental injuries occur to the two front teeth. Injuries can happen at any age and any skill level. So when should you wear a mouth guard? Here are just a few.

  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Skiing
  • Rugby
  • Softball
  • Tennis  


Monday, April 22, 2019

Facial Protection Month: Types of Mouth Guards

Did you know from the ages of 7 to 11 years old, children are most vulnerable to sports related mouth injuries? The importance of protecting our smile should be stressed enough and should remind our friends and community how easy it is to protect our teeth.

Wearing a mouthguard is the safest way to protect your teeth while playing sports or just enjoying sports related activities. Athletes are 60 times more likely to suffer a teeth related injury if they’re not wearing a mouth guard.

Here are the three types of mouth guards you can wear, especially if you are currently in orthodontic treatment.


  1. Custom fitted mouth guards - these are made by your dentist and can be molded to fit your smile perfectly 
  2. Stock mouth guards - these type of mouth guards are  performed and may be a bit bulky
  3. Boil and bite mouth guards - are mouth guards that are softened by boiling water and then insert your mouth, to form to the shape of your mouth.

Tuesday, March 26, 2019

National Nutrition Month: 4 Foods to Stay Away for a Healthy Smile

We are proud to serve our Long Beach community and see so many smiles and families grow and shine. What sets us apart from other pediatric dental specialist and orthodontists in our community is the opportunity to meet all your child’s dental needs under one roof!

Patients who undergo orthodontic treatment are able to have their orthodontic wires removed for dental cleanings and then have their braces adjusted during the same visit by the orthodontist. This service enables you to make fewer visits to the dentist during your child’s orthodontic treatment by having all the care in one office.

This month, is National Nutrition Month and while there are many healthy foods that serve our body and smile well, there are various foods that we should steer clear from. They can harm our enamel, disrupt our orthodontic treatment and can negatively impact our smile, by causing bacteria and cavities.

1. Sports Drinks - Sports Drinks are notorious for having so much sugar, even if they are labeled “natural” or “healthy.” “The bacteria get energy from the sugar, but in the process produce acid. The acid they make can damage teeth, causing cavities to form or erosion to occur,” according to American Dental Association.

2. Lemon / Acidic Foods -  Our enamel is stronger than our bones, which means it has an important role in keeping our tooth safe. Limit your acidic food intake as it can erode the enamel.

3. Sticky Foods - Stay away from sticky foods if you have braces. However if you are just enjoying a snack, sticky foods may not be the route to go towards. Sticky foods remain on our teeth longer, thus contributing to bacteria and cavities, especially if it is filled with sugar.

4. Crunchy Foods (Chips) - Everyone's go to snack is more often than not something crunchy such as chips. This is a food to stay away from for your smile, especially if you just received braces. Chips get stuck on our teeth and crunchy foods in general can damage our teeth.

There are various foods that can benefit our smile and teeth, it is just important to be mindful of our nutrition and what goes into our mouth. You can find more foods that are appealing, but not recommended during orthodontic treatment specifically on our website.