The Most Important Spring Cleaning in Your Routine

b2ap3_thumbnail_root-beer-float.jpgAccording to a new study, root beer is the least harmful soda when it comes to your teeth. One of the most prevalent myths surrounding tooth decay is that sugar causes it. While sugar does play a role in the formation of cavities, it’s not the sugar itself that leads to decay.

One of San Diego’s premiere cosmetic and restorative dentists, Dr. Martin Abelar, DDS, says,

"The natural bacteria that everyone has in their mouth feeds on sugar, and the result is acid that produces plaque buildup. Once plaque forms, it begins to wear away at the hard outer surface of the teeth, called enamel, until it reaches the inside of the tooth and patients start to feel pain or sensitivity."

The problem with some soda is that its acidity ranking can be higher than that of battery acid. Battery acid has a pH level of 1.0, while some soft drinks ranked as high as 2.52.

Some believe switching to diet or sugar-free sodas is the solution to saving both their waistlines and their teeth. However, these alternatives come with their own dangers. They contain acids that erode teeth at the same rate as regular sodas. Sports drinks and juices contain sugar and acids that make them problematic as well. However, soft drinks are ten times more erosive than fruit juices.

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Is Flossing for Fools?

b2ap3_thumbnail_classroom-social-anxiety.jpgAccording to the National Institute of Mental Health, one in six American adults suffer from an anxiety disorder. A study done by Tel Aviv University researchers has found that social anxiety increases the risk for teeth grinding which can lead to excessive wear on teeth, fractures and jaw pain. This grinding of the teeth can even cause the jaw to move out of place resulting in a TMJ disorder. In the study, 42% of those suffering from social related phobias and anxiety were found to have moderate to severe dental wear.

Preventing the social anxiety that is potentially causing teeth grinding is one step to taking care of the body and mind. There are many professional treatment options for social anxiety as well as methods you can implement at home.

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The Roots of Dental Phobia

b2ap3_thumbnail_man-brushing.jpgMore than 175 million American are missing at least one tooth, and the numbers are rising each year. Nineteen percent of those 65 and older suffer from edentulism, the medical term for missing all of their teeth. Of those 75 and older, 26 percent experienced complete tooth loss.

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The Value of Cosmetic Dentistry

b2ap3_thumbnail_happy-woman-color-tiles.jpgThe "Priceless" MasterCard commercials from the late 90s remain one of the best campaign concepts of the 20th century. One of the reasons they were so successful is because they helped us understand and sort out how we place value on things without even realizing it.

Now in the Advertising Slogan Hall of Fame, their line "There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard" brought to light the obvious but often forgotten notion that emotional value will always trump financial value.

The investment in not just quality, but superior care for your smile is one of those unique situations that actually merits both emotional and financial value.

Studies have shown that people notice smiles first when meeting someone new. This first impression has an impact in so many areas of someone’s life that are often not considered. We smile at job interviews, on dates, in our profile pictures on social media.

People who are unhappy with their smiles may try to smile only with their lips, or become uncomfortable when meeting new people because they are self-conscious about their smiles. Research shows that individuals who smile less often or smile with their mouths closed are perceived as less-confident, smug and even secretive.

As you can see, your smile is one of the most important things in your day to day life. It can, directly and indirectly, affect your levels of happiness, confidence, and success. Call Dr. Abelar’s office today at 858-866-9692 to discuss how we can help you completely change your life and get that priceless smile you’ve always dreamed of.

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For Many, a White Christmas Starts in Their Mouth

b2ap3_thumbnail_holiday-woman-2.jpgUnless you’ve been living under a rock for the last few years, you know that the teeth whitening business has exploded. People have finally realized how easy and relatively inexpensive it is to improve their appearance with something simple and fast.

With the increase in popularity came the overload of available products. There are gels, pastes, strips, trays, lights, rinses, you name it. There are hundreds of brands, retailers that range from boutique to big box and none of this is even taking into consideration the professional options.

People have taken to sites such as Pinterest with home recipes and social media influencers have posted videos that have gone viral of them painting charcoal on their teeth to get them whiter. It has become information overload and trying to decide which methods work and don’t have become a full-time job for some.

Dr. Martin Abelar, DDS and leading San Diego cosmetic dentist says,

"The great thing about in-office professional treatments is that they can be done even on your lunch hour. Thanks to the quality of materials and advanced technology, that one session can do what at-home treatments can take weeks and months to do. And sometimes, no matter how many at-home treatments you try, you just won't be able to achieve that naturally, bright white shade that professional applications can."

As the holiday season approaches, the everyday reasons for wanting a whiter smile are now compounded with some season specific things. This is why November and December are the most popular time of the year to get your teeth professionally whitened.

Pictures

It’s almost impossible to avoid pictures during the Thanksgiving and Christmas season. Family gatherings, work parties and evenings out with friends celebrating mean pictures are flying from phone to phone and social media platform to social media platform. No one wants to look at their picture and grimace from tooth discoloration.

 

Trips

Whether you’re going to a local festival or heading to the beaches of Bali for the holiday season, research is showing that people are trading their love of material possessions for new experiences. Whether you want to look perfect in case you meet someone on your trip or you just want to look good in the pictures you post when you get back, it’s obvious why so many choose to get their teeth whitened this time of year.

New Year New You

New years resolutions creep up on us and before we know it we’re committed to something we just aren’t sure we can make happen. When friends and family ask what you want for Christmas, a professional teeth whitening may be a great jump-start on your resolutions for a new improved you.

Catching up with Friends and Family

The holidays are prime-time for family reunions and meeting up with old friends you haven’t seen in ages. There’s nothing more nerve wrecking than knowing you’re going to see your old high school sweetheart at a holiday dinner party or that cousin you can’t stand that acts like they’re so much better than you. Many choose teeth whitening this time of year because it gives them a confidence boost to help handle these stressful scenarios.

Although many treatment options are available, research supports that professional in-office whitening solutions work best. Research conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry found that 82.5% of those surveyed saw a noticeable difference from their professional, in-office whitening treatment.

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Break the Bruxism Habit Today

b2ap3_thumbnail_sad-piggy-bank.jpgIn a world dominated by companies shouting out loud or in print about who has the lowest prices, it can be easy to get caught up in the price wars. There are many situations where the cheapest offering just as good as the name brand or more expensive one. However, the consequences of choosing cost over quality can be pretty serious in some cases. Here are a few areas you should consider quality over cost on:

 

Tattoos

A good rule of thumb is that anything permanent shouldn’t be done by the cheapest service offered. The visibility of tattoos and permanence make this one a double-whammy. A quick internet search for the term "Tattoo Fails" will be all the convincing you need not to go cheap on this one.

Car Repairs

The biggest concern here is safety. How would you feel if you dropped your car off and saw the mechanic looking up an online video on "How to replace the brakes on a 2012 Chevy Malibu"? The amount of time spent driving your vehicle each day adds up to way more than you think. The Association for Safe International Road Travel estimates 1.3 million people die in car accidents every year. Making sure the person who is working on your car knows what they’re doing could literally save your life.

Dental Treatments

Very few people look forward to going to the dentist. Because of this their search for a dentist often ends with the one that is cheapest and easiest to find. But if you don’t like going to the dentist, why would you want to have to go back several times to fix the same thing. This is exactly what happens if you go for the quick, cheap fix.

Dr. Martin Abelar, DDS, leading San Diego dentist says,

"You wouldn’t believe how much of the work I do is actually fixing the work people had done by other dentists offering cheap, corner-cutting procedures. Your mouth is not an area you want to trust to the lowest bidder. In fact, it usually costs more in the long run because you end up needing the same work done multiple times because the quality of the work matched the price."

Mattresses and Shoes

These may seem like two weird things to pair together, but the reasoning for not being cheap when purchasing either is the same. You are going to use them every single day. Your comfort, relative to their use can have an impact on your physical health which in turn can affect your mood. If your back or feet are aching, you will be grumpy, less productive and it could cost you tons of money to treat the sometimes permanent health problems associated with them.

 

Of course, this list could go on-and-on. I think everyone probably has a few stories about how going cheap ended very badly for them. Avoid making those mistakes if you can and think through the things that have lasting impacts on your life. Be sure to stick with quality over cost where your health, safety, and appearance are concerned.

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The Gift of a Smile

b2ap3_thumbnail_holiday-gift.jpgEvery holiday season hours are spent searching for the right gift for family, friends, coworkers and even acquaintances. The sad reality is so many of those perfectly selected knick knacks end up on folding tables at yard sales with a little yellow sticker priced to sell. I bet you can’t even remember half of the things you were given last year, can you?

One of the hottest trends this year is teeth whitening and Dr. Abelar loves helping people look and feel their best. As the coffee and wine culture of this generation continue to evolve with enthusiasm, it seems anyone and everyone is looking for a way to pass that tissue test with bright, white flawless teeth. Not many things can leave you looking and feeling like a new person in less than an hour.

Maybe you’ve seen the light and have ditched those messy strips and as-seen-on-TV solutions that leave much to be desired. This holiday season is the perfect time to share your secret with your closest friends and family members. It can even help you take care of that white elephant gift you keep meaning to pick up for the annual office party or obligatory family get-together. What could go over better at a white elephant gift exchange than literally giving the gift of a whiter smile?

This generation is shifting the focus from material possessions to memorable experiences. This trend applies not only to a more meaningful daily life but to a less cluttered holiday season too. Why not get yourself and a friend a trip to our office for an in-house whitening session for a great alternative to the usual movie and lunch girl’s day?

For more information, give us a call at 858-866-9692 and let us help you cross those names off your Christmas gift list so you can have a relaxing and memorable holiday season.

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Tips for Choosing the Ideal Toothbrush

b2ap3_thumbnail_baby-smile.jpgBringing your child to the dentist by their first birthday is very important for their long-term health. Introducing them to their home dentist, hygienists, office atmosphere and the normality of a professional cleaning helps create a positive association with oral care and encourages healthy habits from the very beginning.

Dr. Abelar believes in creating a lasting relationship with his patients from early childhood to ensure consistent and comprehensive care. Regular cleanings every six months beginning in babyhood allow for Dr. Abelar to get to know your child’s teeth and mouth. This creates an opportunity to notice when something looks off much sooner than jumping from dentist to dentist that may be unfamiliar with the nature of each child’s unique oral structure.

The Center for Disease Control says that 40% of children are suffering from tooth decay by the time they begin Kindergarten. It’s currently the most common chronic childhood disease in the United States.

The misconception that baby teeth are not important is very dangerous and can have lasting negative impacts well into adulthood. Bad habits such as irregular flossing or brushing carry on into adulthood. Infections don’t just hold consequences for the tooth itself. Infections involving baby teeth, especially when left untreated, spread to the roots surrounding the teeth.

Adult teeth mature in the gums underneath the baby teeth until they fall out. This infection in the root can easily disrupt the development of these permanent teeth and even cause damage to their appearance and structure. If a baby tooth falls out or is removed for any reason, the emergence of a healthy adult tooth can be affected. The permanent tooth may come in crooked, at the wrong angle or emerge before it's ready.

The best way to promote healthy habits and a lifetime of good oral health is to bring your children into the office as early as possible and maintain those vital twice a year cleanings. Even if you get behind, our office is only a phone call away. Let us help you keep your whole family healthy and on track today by scheduling an appointment at 858-866-9692.

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US Supreme Court Declines to Comment on Non-Dentist Provided Teeth Whitening Services

Comprehensive oral care at an early age is no longer just something that seems like an obviously good idea. Research and scientific studies are finding alarming evidence that neglecting to take childhood oral health seriously is having lost lasting impacts on the health of children well into their adult years.

Dr. Martin Abelar, San Diego Cosmetic Dentist, says,

"A lot of people think that they baby teeth aren’t important. That’s not good. If you lose a baby tooth early, it affects the development of the jaw and the development of the face, that means, there is less room for teeth down the road when the permanent teeth come in. "

According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 children (20%) aged 5 to 11 have at least one untreated decaying tooth. In 2014, The Amerb2ap3_thumbnail_child-happy-dentist.jpgican Academy of Pediatric Dentistry released their first "State of Little Teeth Report." The report found that early childhood caries (ECC), a disease of rapid tooth decay, is the most common disease young children are facing today.

They list the dangers associated with ECC:

-Pain

-Damage to permanent teeth

-Vulnerable to more oral diseases throughout lifetime

-Life-threatening infections

-Poor sleeping habits

-Challenges in social development

-Impact on speech development

-School performance can be affected

The concern doesn’t end with one visit to the dentist. Simply getting emergency childhood dental care for things like cavities or chipped teeth does not protect children from long-term issues if not maintained. Abelar is finding this misconception concerning.

"One thing I’ve noticed is that people really underestimate the value of family dentistry. It starts with the baby teeth. Every bit of work you do even on the baby teeth has to be maintained properly the patient’s whole life. If baby teeth aren’t maintained properly, things will start to change as they get to adulthood. They will lose the bite, they will loose too much tooth structure, they will lose a tooth altogether. What happens early on in life really makes a difference as to the type of work that’s needed later on in life. "

"The State of Little Teeth Report" found many solutions to combating this tooth decay epidemic that is facing the children of the nation

-early oral health routines

-first dental visits in infancy

-establishing a routine of dental visits every six months or more -‘Home Dentist’: that is a dentist that your family builds and maintains a relationship with

-‘Home Dentist’: that is a dentist that your family builds and maintains a relationship with

Abelar stresses the importance of a close relationship with a dentist that can see a child through all their dental concerns and changes.

"I do a lot of complicated, full mouth reconstruction and complicated full mouth restoration dentistry. And, I’m looking at these patients, and I’m seeing why they need this work. If I had this patient when they were a child and I could maintain them the way they needed to be maintained, we wouldn’t be doing this expensive treatment right now", he says.

Comprehensive dental care from infancy to adulthood is imperative in maintaining overall health. Good habits begin in childhood and can make a lasting impact on the lifestyle and health over the entire lifespan of a child.

 

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The Top 10 Reasons to Get Porcelain Veneers

A study at the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that 93% of women with sleep apnea have not been clinically diagnosed. As drastic as these numbers are, many experts and health professionals are not surprised.

Many dentists around the nation feel that women are less likely to be diagnosed due to the stereotyped idea of the typical apnea patient. Overweight, middle-aged and male, this patient profile has been ingrained into the minds of medical professionals for years and habits can be hard to break. Another reason for the lower statistics related to diagnoses is that women often experience symptoms that are misdiagnosed as other disorders. Men most frequently present with symptoms witnessed by themselves or others of snoring and gasps or breaks in breathing. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to complain of less specific symptoms like fatigue, insomnia, headaches, depression, restless legs and lack of energy.

A 2008 review of studies published about sleep apnea determined that the number of women affected by this disease is higher than previously thought. 3-7% of men suffer from sleep apnea compared to 2-5% of women. The numbers take a twist when women reach menopause as the percentages become nearly equal in men and women. After menopause women are three times more likely to have obstructive sleep apnea than before. Pregnant women and those with polycystic ovary syndrome or endocrine disorders are also more likely to have sleep apnea.

General Risk Factors

Weight

BMI over 25

Neck Size

Men- 17 inches or moreb2ap3_thumbnail_woman-snore.jpg

Women- 16 inches or more

Age

Men- young adulthood through middle age

Women- post-menopausal

Heart

High Blood Pressure (hypertension)

Inherited Traits

Family history of sleep apnea

Obesity

Recessed jaw

 

Diagnosis and Treatment

The most often prescribed treatment for sleep apnea is a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machine which pumps pressurized oxygen into the airway. Many people dislike these machines or are actually ‘CPAP intolerant’ and are searching for alternative ways to treat their sleep apnea.

Dr. Martin Abelar DDS provides us with a step-by-step in the typical diagnosis process for his San Diego dental practice.

Step 1: Consultation and Exam

In this step, the doctor discusses the concerns a patient might have that have brought them in. He also asks questions about their symptoms and gets a family history to help uncover any details that may help in a diagnosis.

Step 2: Take Home Sleep Study

If deemed necessary, the patient will be sent home with a take home sleep study. This allows the doctor to gather data that can help him better understand how the patient is sleeping. The results of this study will be sent to a sleep physician for feedback and interpretation.

Step 3: Create Customized Oral Device

After the results of the study, if a diagnosis is made the doctor will begin to record measurements, take impressions and gather everything necessary to create a custom fitted oral device for treatment.

Step 4: Deliver Oral Device

The doctor will explain how to use the simple device and give any further instructions or advice. All questions will be answered to ensure the patient leaves the office confident in their treatment and care.

In an interview with the Wellness Show, Abelar said.

"One of the more rewarding things that we treat is sleep apnea. Sleep apnea WILL shorten your life. In most cases, an appliance can be made that holds your jaw in such a position that you get oxygen all night. Most people that come to me for sleep apnea, come to me because they don’t want to use the CPAP or they can’t."

Getting screened for sleep apnea is the first step in improving your quality life if suffering from any of these symptoms. Treating sleep apnea has been shown to eliminate daytime sleepiness, improve psychological health, reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease, and improve symptoms of hypertension and diabetes.

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Why Neuromuscular Dentistry?

b2ap3_thumbnail_tooth-with-crown.jpgA crown strengthens an existing tooth or implant and improves its appearance. It becomes the new face of the tooth, in essence, and is usually color matched to the other teeth that surround it. With all the research that exists showing that smiles are one of the first things people notice about someone, Dr. Abelar feels you should be very concerned about the quality of the care that goes into taking care of one of your most valuable assets.

A huge range of materials can be used in crowns. There are many cheap materials available, and you get what you pay for. Some are sturdy and long-lasting while others may fracture and crack easily requiring a mouth guard to be worn to protect them.

‘You get what you pay for’ may be cliché but experience has shown that cheap goods and services are made cheap, look cheap and last just long enough to get by. Sometimes you have no choice, and Dr. Abelar is truly understanding of those situations, that’s why 40% of his work is spent correcting work that has been done in the past by others trying to make a quick buck.

It takes skill and precision to place a crown correctly. Even an error the width of a single strand of hair can create an opening that harbors bacteria and creates even more oral health problems than what the crown was placed to fix.

Low-quality crowns, even when placed by skilled dentists, are only lasting about five years according to the insurance companies. That means these patients are having to go through the process of having a new crown placed every five years and will have to continue for the rest of their life. The time, hassle, pain, and cost of have the same procedure done four times more often than you would at a quality dentist is astounding.

At Dr. Abelar’s office, crowns are expected to last 15 to 20 years. He uses top quality materials and has been perfecting his technique through years of instruction and keeping up with the latest technology and techniques with regular training. He feels cutting corners with crowns may be one of the worst places to choose cost over quality. Watch a quick video here
 about Dr. Abelar’s all time favorite story about quality care.

Call the office at 858-866-9692 to schedule an appointment today or to get more information on the quality materials and skills he uses in all of is his procedures every day.

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Not All Crowns Are Created Equally

b2ap3_thumbnail_tooth-fairy-2.jpgWhen children are little, they expect adults to be experts on all subjects. Many parents and even educators find themselves "winging it" on occasion or simply having to stall while they go find the information they need.

Rosemary Wells found herself in this predicaments when her students at Northwest University’s School of Dental Hygiene began asking questions about the Tooth Fairy. During her search to provide answers to her students, she found very little information on this mysterious but well-loved childhood icon.

She began researching in depth, reading through folklore and stories passed down among many different cultures. She did surveys and studies to gain insight. In fact, she became so involved in her quest that it quickly turned into a passion and she decided to open a Tooth Fairy Museum in her home in Deerfield, Illinois, in 1993.

The museum offers a tour, and the rooms are filled with artwork, dolls, books and over 500 drawings and stories created by children around the nation. She also has a collection of tooth holders from around the world. One of the strangest has a spot for each baby tooth in a model of pink gums.

Wells' research was fascinating as it found that 74% of Americans believe the tooth fairy is a female and that 97% of parents had positive or neutral feelings about her.

She concluded that the American concept of a tooth fairy probably came from a blending of a generalized happy, good fairy from Europe, specifically from England, Ireland and Scotland and a tradition involving mice and rats from Central and South America.

In Spain, he is Ratoncito Perez and in France La Petit Souris. The "Tooth Mouse" as they refer to the mythical creature in some literature is the epitome of a good sturdy show of teeth. As a prominent feature in stories and science the teeth of these animals are notoriously strong and large; and so, as an offering to these strong-toothed characters, they too hoped their children would be blessed with healthy, strong adult teeth in the place of their lost baby teeth.

It seems to be widely accepted that these traditions didn't stem from boredom but necessity and comfort. Losing baby teeth can be a scary experience for small children who don't yet grasp the difference in the permanent and temporary nature of things. Leaving gifts or money seems to help transition them into the world of growing up while helping distract them from the confusion of that empty spot in their mouth.

Dr. Abelar recommends cleanings every six months, even for children, and will be happy to help your little ones understand how their teeth work and grow together as they make the transition from little kid to big kid. Call us at 858-866-9692 for more information and resources.

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Dentists Can Help Patients Identify Symptoms of Lyme Disease

Latest Version

Do you suffer from chronic and persistent migraines or ear, neck, shoulder, head and body aches or pains? These may sound like symptoms of various medical conditions such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and even Lyme disease, but did you know they are also the symptoms of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, known more commonly as TMJ?

Many patients undergo test after test at their general practitioner's office only to feel like there are no answers and no treatments for their chronic pain. They report feeling misunderstood, confused and anxious due to their futile search for remedies to their pain.

New breakthroughs in dental medicine have made it possible to run tests on patients with these symptoms now to determine if the cause is related to TMJ disorder and if so, how severe. Using advanced, state-of-the-art equipment, the movement of the jaw muscle can be measured to define how serious the problem is. The ideal resting position of the upper and lower jaw can then be determined, and a plan for non-invasive neuromuscular therapy can be put into place to achieve this ideal alignment.

Dr. Martin Abelar, a leading neuromuscular dentist that has over two decades of experience in treating TMJ disorders, discusses the three-part tests he conducts in his San Diego office.

"First we track and record jaw movement, how the jaw rests and how the jaw closes. This is vital information in determining if a jaw is misaligned. Then we record any sounds made and analyze them. This may seem strange but, it's common for a misaligned jaw to make a popping or clicking sound when it moves. The analyzing of these sounds can reveal important details in regards to treatment plans. Finally, we take x-rays or CT scans of the jaw for a visual evaluation. Just evaluating a patient from one of these angles means you only get answers to one. We are looking at the bigger picture so we can get a comprehensive analysis and develop a treatment plan that will eliminate the chronic pain these patients have often lived with for years."

Those who have found relief thanks to these tests, and the subsequent treatment, want to spread awareness for this painful and often overlooked disorder. In fact, the TMJ Association conducted a survey and found that TMJ sufferers want people to, first and foremost, understand the complexity of the condition and to change the misconceptions that surround it.

Dentists that are very passionate in their cause to help those who suffer from the chronic pain associated with TMJ disorders have worked hard to develop innovative treatments through neuromuscular dentistry. They receive specific post-graduate training in neuromuscular dentistry that focuses on not just treating the symptoms but addressing the overlying problems causing them.

Dr. Abelar says,

"Many dentists just want to jump right into surgery when a patient is diagnosed with TMJ. I have made it my mission to try and change this concerning perception that surgery is the only solution. Neuromuscular dentistry is the future of healing that those with chronic pain associated with TMJ have been searching for. Talking to your dentist about getting tested is the first step to begin the process of healing if you are hurting."

Even the American Association for Dental Research suggests conservative and therapeutic treatments for patients suffering from TMJ. Gone are the days of assuming that all those who suffer from TMJ disorders require a broken jaw to heal, an idea that in itself is barbaric.

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The Opportunities of a Smile

The Opportunities of a Smile

A study released by Princeton psychologists has determined that after looking at someone for only a tenth of a second, they make a judgment about their personality based solely on their appearance. That is faster than it takes the average person to blink.

The study found little hope of redemption for faces that received negative feedback. They discovered the original judgments, made in their one-tenth of a second glance, did not change after longer exposures to their faces.

The two most notable character traits they found affected in that split second glance were trustworthiness and attractiveness. Early theories on this suggest that we have learned the value of recognizing sincerity and knowing who is a trustworthy stranger very quickly throughout our evolution due to the nature of its importance.

This study is only one of thousands that point to the trend that physical attractiveness increases a person’s opportunity and quality of life. It is widely believed that people who are regarded as more attractive get more positive attention. They also have more confidence which leads to being perceived as even more attractive, as science has confirmed.

Ask any number of people walking down a busy intersection in San Diego what they notice first when meeting someone new and they will likely answer, "Their smile." Next time you are talking with someone new, pay attention to where your eyes drift as you converse. Most of us are drawn to the mouth, especially when they are speaking or if you are looking at a photograph.

People often make assumptions based off how often someone smiles. People are viewed as more reserved, safe and sometimes even negative that do not smile very often. Those who smile frequently are perceived as confident, fun and positive.

Not only is smiling important in person, but in an era of online resume sites and social media pages being such big players in our day-to-day lives, the average person's face is viewed much more than in was in generations past. Businesses devoted to helping people promote themselves on these platforms encourage users to feature profile pictures with open mouth smiles to increase positive perceptions. This can be hard for those who are not confident in the appearance of their teeth.

Dr. Martin Abelar, DDS, is in the business of creating beautiful smiles. He was trained at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies, made famous by the show Extreme Makeover, and is on a mission to educate people on how accessible that perfect smile is to anyone who wants it.

"There’s a reason so much emphasis is placed on your smile being the first thing people notice about you. It’s because it’s true. A beautiful, white smile can be the difference between being remembered at that job interview or catching the eye of the person across the room you are attracted to. It opens doors to an entire world of opportunity that most people never even consider."

In fact, Dr. Abelar feels the sky is the limit. He even offers complete smile makeovers at his practice in San Diego. He says,

"In the past, people thought it was vain or shallow to put so much emphasis on appearance. Unless your teeth required a visit to the orthodontist, you got them cleaned regularly and were on your way. I don't think the average person even understands how much the field of dentistry has advanced and all the possibilities that exist now. I now encourage patients to bring in photos of their favorite celebrity smiles or maybe even a picture of a friend or family member whose smile they love, and we start there. Because, honestly, there is a world of possibilities and there is no reason we can't make that ‘shoot for the stars,' ‘something I have only dreamed of' smile happen for anyone who wants it."

As modern technology advances, it becomes easier to study what makes people act and react the way that they do. The information we gain from this can be life changing but it up us to decide what to do with it.

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Helping Children with Dental Anxiety

For many parents, taking their child to the dentist can be a stressful ordeal when the child is either fearful or hyperactive.  For many children, the length of time for a professional teeth cleaning and exam can be a long time to sit still in the dentist’s chair.  Dr. Martin Abelar offers sedation dentistry as an option to ease the experience.

One option is oral sedation dentistry.  Dr. Abelar will prescribe an oral sedative for your child to take 1-2 hours prior to the appointment.  Your child will drift into a peaceful slumber that should last through the duration of the dental procedures.  Once the work is complete, your child will wake with little or no memory of the visit or the work that was done.Dr. Abelar also offers conscious sedation dentistry under which we administer nitrous oxide to sedate your child to the point that he or she achieves a comfortable yet conscious state of sedation.  Conscious sedation allows your child to be semi-awake, able to talk and ask or answer questions during treatment and be aware of what work is done without fear or anxiety.

Dr. Abelar also offers conscious sedation dentistry under which we administer nitrous oxide to sedate your child to the point that he or she achieves a comfortable yet conscious state of sedation. Conscious sedation allows your child to be semi-awake, able to talk and ask or answer questions during treatment and be aware of what work is done without fear or anxiety. When Dr. Abelar treats your child under conscious sedation, he or she can be restored to full consciousness when we replace the flow of nitrous oxide with pure oxygen. 

While some parents may consider sedation dentistry a luxury, Dr. Abelar believes that starting with sedation dentistry at a young age can eliminate a lot of the fear and anxiety that goes along with dental office visits. It may help your child feel comfortable with maintaining better lifelong care by conditioning them to understand that there is nothing to fear.

To inquire about sedation dentistry or schedule an appointment, call our office at 858-866-9692.

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High Tech Advances at a Dental Office Near You

Rapid advances in technology are setting apart the dentists of yesterday from the dentists of today.  For those who haven’t been to the dentist in the last five years or more, you may be pleasantly surprised by the changes you see if you brave the trip to see Dr. Martin Abelar, a San Diego dentist specializing in cosmetic, family and neuromuscular dentistry.

The technology we have been able to adopt in our practice over the last few years is way beyond anything patients saw in years past.  We have replaced old school radiographs with lower radiation digital x-rays, and we have new dental instruments with laser technology that can detect cavities without poking and prodding at teeth.

We also have advanced intraoral cameras and laser imaging that can speed the computer aided modeling of potential crowns, veneers and other restorations, reducing the number of necessary appointments required to plan, create and place them in the patient’s mouths.

We also have largely transitioned to better bonding and filling materials that look and feel much more like natural teeth favoring composite resin over the amalgam fillings of the past.  These new materials are able to fill holes on the front and side surfaces of teeth with less drilling into the natural tooth surface.

Overall, Dr. Abelar believes that these advances will offer patients better preventive care, as well as less traumatic maintenance and restorative care.  Making that first step to get back into the dentist’s office can be scary when patients haven’t been in a while, but once they get here, we feel confident that they won’t stay away so long again.  The future is looking brighter, and so will their smiles.

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Laser Treatments for Gum Disease

As we watched the Rio Olympics it was hard not to reminisce about the headlines made by Team USA swimmer Ryan Lochte’s Grillz that were first seen in Beijing in 2009 and sparking controversy when he was asked to remove them before climbing to the podium to received medals in the 2012 London Olympics.  In an issue of Us Weekly, Lochte was quoted as referring to them as being like diamond studded retainers.  One might even jest that like Lochte, many Americans might find the pursuit of the perfect smile worth its weight in diamonds…or gold.  Dr. Martin Abelar is a cosmetic dentist helping patients in the San Diego area don their own perfect smiles.

Maybe not everyone wants to wear the American flag on their teeth as Lochte did.  For many, the goal is simply to have straighter teeth.  Or whiter teeth.  Or mercury free fillings.  Historically, gold was the metal of choice for dental restorations because it was malleable, non-corrosive, and hard enough to form a biting service.  Additionally, gold has been studied for its anti-inflammatory properties, which are still used in a variety of medical and cosmetic products today.

In the 1980s gold dental restorations fell out of the mainstream, largely due to the rising value and price of gold, and the availability of new silver amalgam fillings.  Amalgam fillings remained the standard of care when 2005 when the FDA began soliciting research and recommendations to determine if amalgam fillings should be banned due to the toxicity of their mercury component, as had already been done by Norway, Denmark and Sweden. 

Composite resin fillings have now become far more popular than amalgam due to the fact that they can be formulated to match the coloration of the patient’s natural teeth, which most people find more cosmetically appealing.  Fads like Grillz and dental charms designed as jewelry to be cemented to the teeth will come and go, but having a great smile never will.

If you would like to consult about your options for upgrading your dental aesthetics, contact our office at 858-866-9692.

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Can Chewing Gum Prevent Cavities?

It’s been popping up in your newsfeed. You may have even thought it was a fake article from a farce website. Can it be true? Can you really throw away your dental floss?? Think of all the time wasted from years of flossing! A recent investigation is causing many patients to believe they can finally forego this hygiene habit. According to the investigation, the Associated Press asked the government for evidence that supports the benefits of flossing on oral health, and much to their surprise, they didn’t turn up much in favor of it. For years, dentists across the country have emphasized the importance of daily flossing to their patients. So what is the dental community saying about this? Dr. Abelar and his colleagues are answering with a resounding “Yes! You must keep flossing!”

While floss-haters are rejoicing at the thought of never having to floss again, there are still some very real health benefits to flossing, despite with this recent study would lead you to believe. Almost any dentist you talk to will tell you they’ve seen the benefits associated with flossing. People who floss regularly have healthier gums. Why is that, you may ask? To put it simply, your mouth is the perfect breeding ground for bacteria. It’s dark, warm and moist, making it prime real estate for bacteria to set up camp. Flossing gets rid of the gunk between your teeth and gums that eventually turns into that bacterial build-up. That build-up can lead to some serious dental problems down the road, like gum disease or tooth decay. Regular flossing and brushing are your first lines of defense against bacteria.

It’s also worth noting that both the American Dental Association (ADA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services are still recommending flossing as an important component in your oral hygiene regimen. According to the ADA, the “lack of strong evidence doesn’t equate to a lack of effectiveness,” meaning that just because there isn’t a bounty of evidence in support of flossing doesn’t necessarily mean it isn’t working.

So, before you toss that spool of floss in the trash for good, stop and ask yourself if ridding yourself of the minor inconvenience of flossing is worth the risk of gum disease and tooth decay. Sure, it may add a few minutes to your bedtime routine, but you wouldn’t you rather be safe than sorry? Your oral health is important, so don’t ditch the floss just yet, and remember to schedule annual cleanings and exams with your dentist. Give Dr. Abelar’s office a call today at (858) 866-9692 to schedule your appointment.

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Does it Matter How Much Sugar Was in That Unicorn-Themed Drink?

Roughly 5-8 % of Americans avoid getting dental care entirely, while as many as 20% of Americans admit to only going to the dentist when absolutely necessary, all due to fear of the dentist. For some of these patients, fear stems from a real traumatic event they experienced at a dentist’s office such as improperly being numbed before a procedure, but for far more, the fear comes from not feeling in control of what goes on in the dentist’s chair. Dr. Martin Abelar specializes in treating patients with high levels of dental anxiety.

We have come to recognize that lying prone in the dentist’s chair while a dental hygienist or dentist has hands in your mouth can be stressful because it limits your ability to communicate if you are uncomfortable, and it is important that we be responsive, especially when it comes to managing your levels of discomfort and pain. Patients can feel especially helpless when they are in the chair and things are happening in a way that they don’t understand or can’t give feedback.

Dr. Abelar makes sure that all dental procedures are explained to the patient before any work begins, and takes care to prep the patient for what to expect every step along the way.  We encourage patients to signal us with their hands when they have a question or are uncomfortable. When we see the patient’s hand go up, we stop everything and give him or her a chance to speak and voice any concerns, and take breaks as needed.

For the more fearful patients, we also offer sedation dentistry. Administration of nitrous oxide gas can help calm the anxiety of the patient throughout treatment and levels can be adjusted throughout the procedure as needed. At the end of the procedure, we reverse the flow of nitrous oxide and replace it with oxygen so the patient is fully alert and able to drive before they leave our office.

To learn more about dental care for high anxiety patients or sedation dentistry, call our office to schedule a consultation at 858-866-9692.

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Stress and Jaw Pain

As we discover more and more negative consequences of chemicals and processed foods, many people are looking for more natural alternatives for hygiene and personal care.  Essential oils have become an important component of homeopathic medicine and can be combined with baking soda or “carrier” oils to create a chemical free alternative to traditional toothpaste or mouthwash. Dr. Martin Abelar encourages patients to keep in mind while trying these out, the American Dental Association has stated that while these treatments are harmless, more research is needed to understand their efficacy.

For those interested in DIY homeopathic toothpaste, here are some of the more popular essential oils that proponents are using:

Lemon:  When combined with baking soda, lemon essential oil can help whiten teeth while killing bacteria. A popular addition as a carrier oil is coconut oil, which has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Spearmint or Peppermint:  Commonly the flavors of traditional toothpaste, spearmint and peppermint essential oils are both prized for their antimicrobial properties and their ability to eliminate bad breath.

Clove:  When used without diluting, clove oil has been known to be a powerful numbing agent to sooth tooth aches and mouth sores. When combined with a carrier oil and baking soda, it can effectively kill bacteria in the mouth as well.

Tea tree or Eucalyptus Oil:  Tea tree oil and Eucalyptus Oil have been found to be powerful germicides.

Cinnamon Oil:  Like Clove, Cinnamon oil has been found to have pain killing properties and fights bad breath.

Regardless of whether you are using your own creation of essential oils and baking soda or traditional toothpaste, Dr. Abelar says that patients should continue to brush and floss twice a day and get a professional cleaning every six months.

 

To schedule your six month cleaning, contact our office at 858-866-9692.

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