Monday, September 28, 2009
While mouthwash is not an alternative to regular brushing and flossing, it can help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. There are several different types of mouthwashes available, and all of them will help do different things for your smile. The most common types of mouthwashes are:
• Fluoride - fluoride is the most used type of mouthwash available, and is used to strengthen the enamel of the teeth while preventing cavities and tooth decay.
• Antiseptic - an antiseptic mouthwash is used to kill bacteria and germs in the mouth. Most commonly used before and after a dental surgery, antiseptic mouthwashes can also help to fight gum disease, and halitosis (chronic bad breath). Antiseptic mouthwashes can affect your sense of taste and may stain the teeth, so it is recommended that you consult your dentist before using this type of mouthwash.
• Combination - a combination mouthwash is designed to help prevent tooth decay, freshen the breath, and maintain the health of your smile.
• Prescription - for patients with gum disease, or any signs of gum disease, you may need a prescription mouthwash. Prescription mouthwashes, like Peridex of PerioGard, are used to treat gingivitis, and other forms of decay.
There are also many different brands of mouthwash. Some common brands include:
• Tom’s of Maine (all-natural)
• Plax (anti-plaque rinse)
• Breath Rx
• Targon (special mouthwash made for smokers)
• Rembrandt (whitening mouthwash)
If you are curious about which kind of mouthwash would work best for you, be sure to ask Dr. Cortez at your next dental appointment. If you have a favorite mouthwash, let us know by posting a comment for others to read!
Monday, September 21, 2009
There are so many questions about orthodontics that we never ask, so Drs. Cortez, Sanchez and Planells took some time to explain the most common concerns.
At what age should orthodontic treatment occur?
Orthodontic treatment can be started at any age. Many orthodontic problems are easier to correct if detected at an early age before jaw growth has slowed. Early treatment may mean that a patient can avoid surgery and more serious complications. The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that every child first visit an orthodontist by age seven or earlier if a problem is detected by parents, the family dentist or the child's physician.
What is Phase I and Phase II treatment?
Phase I, or early interceptive treatment, is limited orthodontic treatment (i.e. expander, Herbst, Facemask, headgear, or partial braces) before all of the permanent teeth have erupted. Such treatment can occur between the ages of six and ten. This treatment is sometimes recommended to make more space for developing teeth, correction of crossbites, overbites, underbites, or harmful oral habits. Phase II treatment is also called comprehensive treatment, because it involves full braces when all of the permanent teeth have erupted, usually between the ages of eleven and thirteen.
Would an adult patient benefit from orthodontics?
Absolutely!! Orthodontic treatment can be successful at any age. Everyone wants a beautiful and healthy smile. Between 30-40% of our patients are adults.
How does orthodontic treatment work?
Braces use steady gentle pressure to gradually move teeth into their proper positions. The brackets that are placed on your teeth and the arch wire that connects them are the main components. When the arch wire is placed into the brackets, it tries to return to its original shape. As it does so, it applies pressure to move your teeth to their new, more ideal positions.
How long does orthodontic treatment take?
Treatment times vary on a case-by-case basis, but the average time is from one to two years. Actual treatment time can be affected by rate of growth and severity of the correction necessary. Treatment length is also dependent upon patient compliance. Maintaining good oral hygiene and keeping regular appointments are important in keeping your treatment time on schedule.
Do braces hurt?
The placement of bands and brackets on your teeth does not hurt. Once your braces are placed and connected with the arch wires, you may feel some soreness of your teeth for one to four days. Your lips and cheeks may need one to two weeks to get used to the braces on your teeth.
Will braces interfere with playing sports?
No. It is recommended, however, that patients protect their smiles by wearing a mouth guard when participating in any sporting activity. Mouth guards are inexpensive, comfortable, and come in a variety of colors and patterns.
Will braces interfere with playing musical instruments?
No. However, there may be an initial period of adjustment. In addition, brace covers or wax can be provided to prevent discomfort.
Should I see my general dentist while I have braces?
Yes, you should continue to see your general dentist every six months for cleaning and dental checkups, or more frequently as recommended.
Got more questions? Give us a call at (562) 377-1375. We'd love to hear from you.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
There are many treatment options available to you with cosmetic dentistry that allows you and your doctor to create that beautiful smile you have not only dreamed of, but the smile that you deserve.
Some of your basic cosmetic options include natural tooth colored fillings, porcelain, metal, or composite crowns that strengthen and improve the shape of your teeth, and bonding to repair slight chips, discolorations, or crooked teeth.
If you are missing any teeth, it is very important to replace them. Dental implants are made of steel and porcelain and look just like your natural tooth. You may also want to consider a bridge. Bridges are made up of two crowns and a natural looking false tooth that are supported on both sides by your natural teeth.
Another option is Veneers; custom designed “shells” that cover your natural tooth to enhance your teeth for a more aesthetic smile.
If you’re interested in learning more about cosmetic dentistry, and all of the wonderful options available to you, please call our practice at (562) 377-1375
to schedule an appointment and consultation.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Piercing, like tattooing, is one of today’s popular forms of “body art” and self-expression. If you’re thinking about getting a piercing – or if you already have one or more – there are some health risks you should know about.
Your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection is a common complication of oral piercing. Just touching your mouth jewelry (tongue barbells and lip and cheek labrettes) can lead to infection. Many people who have piercings tend to regularly touch them – which is a perfect opportunity for bacteria from hands to enter piercing sites. Also, food particles that collect around piercing sites can lead to infection.
Pain and swelling are other possible side effects of piercing. Your tongue – the most popular piercing site in the mouth – could swell large enough to close off your airway! Piercing also can cause uncontrollable bleeding or nerve damage. Damage to the tongue’s blood vessels can cause serious blood loss.
The hoop, ring, stud, and barbell-shaped jewelry can hinder your ability to talk and eat. Some people also develop a habit of biting or playing with their piercings – which can lead to cracked, scratched teeth; gum damage and recession; and sensitive teeth. There may also be a need for restorations, such as crowns or fillings, and additional dental treatment due to piercings.
Consider the potential pitfalls of piercing carefully before getting one. Keep in mind that it will be an added responsibility to your life, and will need regular upkeep. Make sure that you’re committed to the task of taking care of it for the full healing period and beyond.
If you have an oral piercing, pay special attention to it. Clean the piercing with antiseptic mouthwash after eating, and brush the jewelry when you brush your teeth. Of course, let us know if you have any questions.
--Pediatric Dental Specialists
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Even if you brush and floss daily, it is still important to see us at Pediatric Dental Specialists every 6 months. Why?
-We can detect and treat tooth and gum problems that you may have never felt or noticed.
-Even thorough daily oral care may not be enough to prevent cavities and oral decay.
-Frequent visits can allow us to treat a problem early to prevent future complications.
If you are overdue for an appointment with us, call (562) 377-1375 today!
--Pediatric Dental Specialists