Laser Treatment for Gum Disease

In the past, deep tissue infection of the gums required painful cutting away of gum tissue from the infected area so that a deep cleaning of damaged tissue and bacterial debris built up on the root of the tooth could be scaled and cleaned to prevent further damage to the teeth and gums.  Since it was approved by the FDA in 1994, the LANAP procedure has offered patients a less invasive approach to periodontal surgery.  Dr. Martin Abelar offers LANAP as one of the many periodontal procedures at our office.

LANAP stands for Laser Assisted New Attachment Procedure.  Instead of cutting away infected gum tissue and resectioning, the LANAP procedure uses a tiny laser no larger than the width of three hairs, and inserts it into the gum pocket for debridement of the diseased tissue.

The pulsating laser dissects the diseased area opening it up so that the practitioner can see any plaque or other bacterial buildup on the root of the tooth.  An ultrasonic scaler is used to remove the debris from the tooth roots.  The laser then finishes debridement of the pocket and the pocket is closed.

The LANAP procedure is typically performed in 30 minute increments, and for most patients the whole mouth is complete in two sessions.  If you are experiencing inflammation of your gums and would like to discuss the LANAP procedure as an option for your periodontal treatment, call our office at (858) 866-9692.

 

Continue reading

For Many, a White Christmas Starts in Their Mouth

Harvard Psychologist Amy Cuddy recently released a book titled Presence, that discusses the notion that first impressions typically revolve around assessing two criteria critical to human interaction:  (1) Can I trust this person?  And (2) Can I respect this person?  Much of this initial assessment is based on physical appearances, and may feel beyond our control.  Dr. Martin Abelar offers cosmetic dentistry services to help patients take control of the impression they make when they smile.

 A warm, authentic smile can go a long way toward achieving those criteria of trust and respect.  A healthy smile with healthy gums and clean white teeth shows a commitment to personal hygiene and good health, both of which can be telling of a person’s capability to be reliable.  But far too many people are self-conscious about flaws in their smile, whether it be due to staining of their teeth from drinking coffee and dark colored beverages, to missing teeth and noticeable fillings.

 Many of these issues can easily be remedied with regular visits to a dental hygienist, a simple tooth whitening, or composite resin fillings to replace amalgam fillings, and bonding of cracked or chipped teeth.  If there is extensive space between teeth or damage to tooth shape, veneers can be a great option.

 By taking care of these smile inhibitors, you can feel confident flashing your pearly whites and making a great first impression.  Call our office at (858) 866-9692 to find out what cosmetic dental options might be right for you.

Continue reading

7 Causes of Tooth Loss

Last week researchers at Columbia University released information from a study in which they found a link between Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) and cardiovascular disease.  Dr. Martin Abelar D.D.S sees this as one more reason that it is important for OSA patients to seek treatment to maintain their cardiovascular health.

Researchers comparing blood samples from patients who had OSA and patients who did not identified cellular differences in a protein that protects the cells linking blood vessels from autoimmune attacks.  In patients with OSA, the protein that is normally on the outside of the cells protecting it from being attacked by the body’s own immune system was instead absorbed inside the cells leaving them vulnerable to these attacks.  This is the beginning of cardiovascular disease.

Many patients find that the standard of medical care, Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) therapy hard to tolerate and discontinue treatment, thinking that surgery is their only other option.  However, Dr. Abelar can help with a dental option to position your teeth and jaw to prevent airway obstruction from happening.  It’s called Oral Appliance Therapy or OAT.  To learn more about Oral Appliance Therapy or schedule a consultation, contact our office at (858) 866-9692.

Continue reading

The Value of Your Smile

Most people are not highly aware of how common Temporal Mandibular Jaw Dysfunction (TMD) can be, but a number of celebrities have popped out of the woodwork noting TMD as the source of their head, neck and jaw pains.  According to the National Institute for Health, up to 30% of adults have experienced orofacial pain lasting longer than one month.  Dr. Martin Abelar has had the distinction of teaching on the subject of TMD at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies when he is not practicing here at our office in San Diego.

Orofacial pain (in English, pain in the face and mouth) is most commonly caused by an improper alignment of the temporal mandibular joint (TMJ), which can also influence ear pain, neck and shoulder pain, and overall posture.  Poor alignment of the TMJ creates a domino effect of joints that touch each other all the way down the spine and upwards into the sinus cavities and back of the head.

If you are experiencing TMJ pain, you are in the company of such outspoken celebrities as Burt Reynolds, Iggy Azalea, LeAnn Rimes, Rebecca Russo, among others.  The good news is that we can help.

Using Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) therapy, we can relax and loosen the muscles in the face, neck and throat to provide temporary relief, and employ 3D computer modeling to determine the ideal bite position to alleviate these problems in their entirety.  After administering TENS therapy to relax and position the muscles appropriately, we can place a customized orthotic to train the jaw to stay in its ideal position.

For more information about TMD or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at (858) 866-9692.

Continue reading

Why Cosmetic Dentistry

As you weigh your options for replacing lost teeth, price can be a discriminating factor.  In the short term, dentures are a flexible, low cost solution, but over the long term the benefits and cost savings diminish.  At Dr. Martin Abelar’s office, we believe that the benefits of getting dental implants at a slightly greater price up front will pay off over time.

 

Longevity.  Dentures are a flexible molded piece of plastic designed to give the image of real teeth and gums that is fitted over the remaining gum and jawline and in some cases affixed with a clasp.  They are removable and require daily cleaning.  With wear and tear over time, or changes to the remaining jawline, the dentures will need to be replaced. 

 

Alternatively, dental implants are synthetic teeth placed into the actual jawbone with screws that provide a semi-permanent solution.   They can be replaced if broken or otherwise damaged, but for most cases, this is rarely necessary.  The dental implants become a part of the natural teeth and gums, and are cared for with normal tooth brushing and flossing.

 

Changes Over Time.  With dentures, there is a large difference in the amount of biteforce between the denture, which can offer 50 lbs. of pressure, and the regular teeth and gums that offer 200-250 lbs. of pressure, which means that there is a large difference in chewing capability that can impact the wearer’s diet and overall health.  When natural teeth remain, chewing pressure is largely redistributed to those teeth, causing greater wear and tear, and lack of stimulation of the jawbone underneath the dentures can lead to resorption and shrinkage of the jawline that can lead to a variety of health problems.  Wear and tear to the existing teeth and shrinkage of the jawline also leads to the need for dentures to be remade or refitted.

 

Unlike dentures, dental implants fitted into the jawbone help it retain its structure and shape as well as maintaining the full 200-250 lbs. of bite force delivered by the original teeth, enabling better chewing capability and preventing the redistribution of wear and tear to the remaining natural teeth.  For more information or to schedule a consultation, please contact our office at (858) 866-9692.

Continue reading

Columbia Research Scientists Discover Cell Activity Link Between Sleep Apnea and Cardiovascular Disease

Sometimes an experience at the dentist as a child can lead to a fear of the dentist as an adult.   In other cases, other basic fears can be projected onto the experience of a dental visit.  This “dentalphobia,” or fear of the dentist, can have a profound affect on a person’s health.

The greatest impact of dentalphobia is its affect on preventive care.  Preventive care includes professional cleanings, screenings, x-rays and hygiene checkups.  These treatments are non-invasive, routine and diagnostic.  They are not painful.  Yet, people with dentalphobia skip such appointments because of their fear.  And, when someone lets their preventive care lapse, any break or infection in the teeth and gums can cause a more serious problem such as abscesses, gum disease or painful cavities and infections.  This is where fillings, root canals and more invasive procedures are necessary just to restore normal health.

So, the result of dentalphobia often is a procedure the fearful patient was hoping to avoid in the first place.  This is why my practice offers sedation dentistry.  We all need regular dental visits for preventive care.  We all want to avoid the need for invasive procedures.  So, we want our patients to know that it is ok to come in nervous.  We can help with mild sedatives or, if necessary IV sedation if it helps a patient get the dental care he or she needs.

Do you have dentalphobia?  If so, why not ask us about options for sedation dentistry?  Maintaining your preventive care is best thing you can do to avoid what you fear if you have dentalphobia.

Continue reading

Laser Treatment for Gum Disease

Despite the fact that sleep apnea is a major stressor of the body and is linked to diseases such as depression, diabetes and high blood pressure, it’s the snoring that gets people into our office for diagnosis and treatment.  Nobody likes to listen to snoring in the middle of the night and it’s that irritation that gets people motivated.  But once a person starts to learn about the dangers of sleep apnea, they quickly become motivated to treat it.

When the airway becomes obstructed, the only way to get air is to struggle with snoring. A snorer’s sleep is not restful, which takes its toll on the body. This shows up in many ways.  Sleep apnea sufferers spend most of their days with low energy, which affects their performance at work. The effects of being unrested contribute to hypertension and other systemic problems. 

We treat sleep apnea because it is an airway issue. As a dentist, I am right there working in a patient’s mouth. I see the airway and can be the first to help. When patient identifies himself or herself as a snorer, we recommend a sleep test to start. A sleep test determines if the patient has sleep apnea and the type of sleep apnea. With this information and diagnosis in hand, we can determine the best way to treat the sleep apnea. 

Treatments may include the CPAP machine that many sleep apnea suffers struggle to use with comfort.  In my treatment, I create an orthotic that the patient can put in their mouth while sleeping. This orthotic helps maintain the airway, leading to clear breathing and restful sleep. Sometimes the orthotic and the CPAP are both required to fully treat the sleep apnea but many of my patients just need the orthotic to get back to restful nights sleep… and quiet ones.

Do you have more questions about sleep apnea that I didn't address in this blog? Please don't hesitate to reach out at: 858-866-9692

Continue reading

Overcome Fear with Sedation Dentistry

In recent years, medical and dental professionals have placed more concern on connections between inflammation in the mouth and certain life-threatening conditions. Inflammation and bleeding are not just a warning sign. When it gets to that point, an infection is already occurring. One strain of mouth bacteria has been found in the blood clots of heart attack and stroke patients. Infection in the mouth has also been connected with Alzheimer's, diabetes, accelerated obesity and more. 

Dental cleanings have multiple purposes, including taking a measurement of your gum recession depth. Healthy gum tissue is 3mm. Anything above that is cause for concern. The reason being, these pockets signify bone loss that you can never get back naturally. These sinking groves create space for bacteria to move into the bloodstream and if untreated ultimately cause tooth loss. 

Patients can often avoid gum recession through good homecare and biyearly cleanings. Others require more frequent cleanings due to sensitive gums passed through genetics. Catching problems early is the best way to avoid issues down the road. I take pride in creating a comfortable experience for my patients because I never want fear of the dentist to stand in the way of their health. 

Do you have more questions about gum recession? We would love to hear from you. Give us a call at: 858-866-9692

Continue reading

Importance of Brushing Your Gums

There are many ways in which the mouth and body are connected, one being the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). While small, this particular joint plays a very important role in the overall homeostasis of an individual. TMJ dysfunction can result in symptoms that hinder daily activities and change peoples' lives completely due to their pain. Because of the variety of possible symptoms that don't seem to directly relate to the jaw, TMJ often goes undiagnosed and patients learn to live with their symptoms. It's not uncommon for TMJ sufferers to take medication for headaches and never undercover the true source of the problem.  

The practice of Neuromuscular Dentistry allows us to examine patients' posture and muscle function. We can then begin to work toward a jaw position that is most comfortable for the patient. We will often create a short-term solution for patients while working toward a long-term goal for TMJ treatment. Our TMJ treatment is focused on non-invasive (surgery free) methods that help to realign the jaw to its proper position. 

Possible TMJ symptoms rage from jaw pain and clicking to pain in the neck, ears, back and shoulders. One of the most common symptoms is frequent headaches. If you experience any of these symptoms that cannot be explained by something else, it's a good idea to have a neuromuscular exam. 

Do you have questions about TMJ dysfunction that I didn't cover in this blog? You can reach me at 858-866-9692 to find out more or schedule a consultation.  

Continue reading

Types of Sleep Apnea

There are several options for patients with missing teeth. Each case is different, but I often recommend dental implants because of the long-term benefits they provide that are unmatched by any other solution. On top of basic function, implants are permanent protection from bone loss in the jaw that occurs when teeth are lost. 

Overtime, the lack of tooth root creates deterioration of the jaw bone. This is because without that stimulation, the body cannot produce vital tissue. As a result of a broken down jaw, the face begins to appear sunken and hollow. Implants actually replace the root of the tooth, furnishing the stimulation to keep the jaw healthy.

Dental implants are custom designed to fit in with your smile. After the process is complete, patients regain the ability to eat virtually anything and there is no removal or special cleaning process. You will not be able to see, feel or notice a difference between the implants and your natural teeth. An implant case can often turns into a cosmetic dentistry procedure where were perform a full mouth reconstruction or, "smile makeover." This gives patients the opportunity to design the smile they've always wanted. 

Do you have questions about missing teeth or dental implants? Please don't hesitate to contact me: 858-866-9692  

Continue reading

Benefits of Dental Implants Over Dentures

If you get a cut on your skin what do you do? Most likely disinfect and place a bandage on top. But what about when your gums bleed? Many people are unaware of the implications ignoring oral hygiene can have years down the road. 

It’s a common misconception that problems in the mouth only affect the teeth and gums. I tell my patients to think of the mouth as the body’s largest doorway. Infection in the mouth can spread to the body through the bloodstream. There are well-established associations between gum disease and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension. 

Healthy gum tissue should not bleed. If your gums do bleed, it could be a sign of a larger issue. Your mouth contains entire colonies of bacteria that you can’t see, feel or taste. Most are not harmful, but the rest need to be maintained through diet, homecare and regular dental cleanings. Sensitivity to pain decreases as we age, so keep in mind that regular oral checkups are crucial for early detection of problems. 

If you have any questions about gum disease or other oral health concerns, please feel free to contact me here.  

Continue reading

Mouth-Body Health Connection

Considering how many bodily functions depend on the mouth, it makes sense that it’s an extremely sensitive place. A dental procedure can prevent us from speaking properly or even chewing for the rest of the day. As a result, many people avoid checkups and sometimes unknowingly put themselves at risk for serious health problems.

This is why I have dedicated my career to changing perceptions of what going to the dentist means. I don’t want people to think of pain and anxiety when they schedule an appointment to come to my office. It’s important for patients to know they are in good hands and feel comfortable while they are here. I aim to create a relaxing dental experience.

From the moment they walk in, I want patients to feel at ease. We use diffusers to create a calming aroma as well as colors and design recommended by professionals as having a soothing effect. I believe paying extra attention to these details helps people overcome fears and anxiety about the dentist.

f you have any questions about my practice or options for sedation dentistry, please contact me here

Continue reading

Neuromuscular Dentistry Treatment for TMJ

Since I was a kid I’ve had an appreciation for beauty, whether it was a painting or a nice house. Cosmetic dentistry gives me an outlet for my visual eye as well as an opportunity to boost my patients’ confidence.  

Smiles are so important to our self-esteem and the way we carry ourselves. I hate to see people let something hold them back from feeling great. This is why I have developed a detailed process to ensure my patients are happy with the result of their transformation. 

A very important part of the process is the first conversation. I try to ask questions that go beyond obvious corrections. I want to truly understand the patient’s ideal smile and where that stems from. There’s always a unique starting point to my process that’s uncovered during consultation. Sometimes it’s a celebrity and other times it’s an old photo of them. Whatever it is, making that vision come alive is my goal. 

If you would like to learn more about cosmetic dentistry, please contact Martin Abelar, D.D.S. today.  

Continue reading

Periodontal Health

There's an old marketing story about a barber shop in a small town that has provided high-quality haircuts and service at a fair price for many years.  One day, a new chain barber shop opens up across the street and starts advertising haircuts for $5.  The other barber is quite concerned because he knows he can never compete with that price and provide any kind of quality for his customers. And he has no interest in compromising his standards.

He knows the $5 haircut barber is not providing the same quality service that he is, since it's simply not possible at that price.  So he comes up with a brilliant plan to get his customers back.  He places a sign in front of his shop that says, “We fix $5 haircuts." 

The story underscores what many of us struggle with as consumers.  We want the best service for our money and (especially in this economy) we must carefully manage that aspect of our lives.  Cosmetic dentistry has always been subject to price competition, and because of that the quality providers tend to be very close in their fees. 

As with all services though, there are those that offer discount bonding and veneers and try to make it work by increasing volume and using suspect dental labs and inferior materials.  Considering the state of the market it would be tempting for any cosmetic dentist to employ these tactics and provide that type of service.  Sometimes for the patient it is just the only way at the time. At some point, we have all been a position where we have had to make compromises based on price. 

The problem arises when people do not understand the differences, and what they are getting into, and end up with something completely different than what they expected.  They learn quickly that there are huge differences in materials, techniques, laboratory fees and case design.  All of this affects the final outcome in terms of appearance, functionality and longevity.  Porcelain veneers should look natural and age appropriate and it can be done with proper experience of the doctor.

If you have been disappointed with the results of your cosmetic dentistry, gives us a call and see if we can help.  A lot of what I do is re-doing old work or work that didn’t come out so well.  There is no need to hate your smile and the solution might be easier than you think.

Continue reading

White, Bright Teeth

 

Many people fear the dentist and as a result skip regular appointments to keep their teeth and gums healthy.  Someone who fears the dentist may even avoid cleaning appointments for fear of discovering what work they might need.   Fears of the dentist range from fear of pain, to discomfort with having work done in your mouth, to fear of the entire experience.  The bottom line in these cases is fear prevents some people from necessary dental health care.   And, they only wind up at the dentist in urgent care situations where the pain outweighs the fear.

This is why I offer sedation dentistry.   Sedation dentistry allows me to put fearful patients at ease, allowing us to do the necessary dental work to keep their teeth and gums healthy.   I offer a few levels of sedation dentistry.  This includes a range from light sedation with nitrous oxide to relax patients during procedures to IV sedation where the patient is more sedated for a lengthy procedure.  With IV sedation, patients are still awake and I am able to adjust the level of sedation as necessary.  I also offer oral sedation, which is a pill which offers minimal to moderate sedation for patients who do not feel like they need IV sedation but could use a little more than nitrous oxide.  And, if a patient requires full general anesthesia for a procedure, I work with an anesthesiologist.

Understanding sedation dentistry can be the difference between someone caring for his or her teeth properly.  If you have a fear or anxiety about dental work and are not caring for your teeth, nothing good can come from that.  You have sedation dentistry in your corner at our practice if the need arises, so it’s ok.  Let’s take great care of your teeth and gums.

 

Continue reading

The Hidden History of the Tooth Fairy

Keeping your regular dental hygiene appointments can be one of the best ways to avoid more costly dental care treatments. Cavities, periodontal disease (also known as gum disease) and even oral cancers can be detected in the early stages when minimal treatment often does the job to restore health.

Dental hygiene includes screenings and cleanings. Yet, people tend to put off their hygiene appointments, thinking that their home care is good, so why bother? Sure, let’s assume you brush your teeth after every meal and take good care of yourself. No gums are bleeding and nothing hurts. These are the conditions under which someone might postpone or cancel a dental hygiene appointment.

Even good home care is nowhere near the detail we put into a professional cleaning. First off, we have a much better view than you do! A professional hygiene appointment cleans in places that are very hard to find with a toothbrush and floss. Plaque buildup in places you can’t reach or don’t see can lead to gum disease, gum loss and erosion of your tooth enamel. Sodas and other high sugary items do even more damage under those conditions. This is why it’s best to keep your regular cleaning appointment every six months.

We screen for periodontal disease to keep your gums healthy and we screen for oral cancer. Your short-term and long-term dental health is considered during a hygiene appointment. Do you have yours scheduled for this year?

Continue reading

A Test for Chronic Migraines Most Don't Even Consider

A Test for Chronic Migraines Most Don't Even Consider

A chipped tooth can feel like “No Man’s Land.” It’s not fully broken and that can mean an extraction would be unnecessary. If multiple front teeth are chipped, a great solution is porcelain veneers. These days we normally associate porcelain veneers with elective cosmetic dentistry. In this case, there are a lot of practical reasons for the veneers as well as a cosmetic need to make your smile look right again.

When only part of a tooth is lost, or if it is only chipped, the remaining part of the tooth can be healthy. You do not want to disturb the enamel or the healthy part of the inner tooth if possible. In these cases the solution is to encase the tooth as much as possible to maintain a healthy tooth. In doing this, there is an opportunity to make cosmetic corrections.

Dental veneers that are created by an experienced cosmetic dentist can lengthen teeth, increase whiteness and generally improve the smile. When using veneers to treat a chipped tooth, I use my skills as cosmetic dentist to make sure that we are making the most of the work being done. If through using veneers we can make improvements to the smile, I consult with the patient to let them know the opportunities I see. This can turn the negative experience of a chipped tooth or teeth into a chance to enhance the smile.

Continue reading

Are TMJ Dysfunctions Making You See Stars?

The most gratifying things about treating a patient’s TMJ is seeing the relief from pain.  And, once that pain is behind most of them, one of the first reactions is “why didn’t I do this sooner?”   Here’s a few reasons why.

 

When you are in pain, you are not your best self.   A TMJ sufferer’s pain is often in the head, neck and shoulders, not just the jaw.   This can mean migraines and persistent pain so bad you just want it to stop.  Even with someone helping them this sort of patient’s top priority is often to stop the pain.   Most TMJ patients tell us that they have suffered with the problem for years and only after cycles and cycles of the pain do they take the time to do the research to learn about neuromuscular dentistry and find a neuromuscular dentist.

 

And, due to the location of the pain, most TMJ sufferers go to doctors.  This is fast way to get prescription pain relief that treat the symptom but not the cause.  When the pain is managed this way, a patient tends simply to maintain the status quo.  This can become a situation that goes on for months or years.   Many TMJ patients that come to us tell us they have been off and on prescription pain medications for years due to the TMJ pain.  Again, it often takes years before the patient will do something actually to address the root cause of the pain: their TMJ.

 

 

So, when I finally get someone out of their TMJ pain and it’s gone for good, they often say “Why didn’t I do this sooner?”  It’s part of the relief of having TMJ behind you and not part of your day-to-day life.  It’s also a great lesson moving forward to listen to your body.  Pain is feedback; when it hurts, your body is telling you something is wrong.  Numbing it or ignoring it only makes the chronic pain last longer because you are not treating it.

Continue reading

Why You Should Invest in Dental Implants vs. Dentures

When people think of dental work, most think about teeth. Most will think of fillings, root canals or crowns. But a cleaning and the emphasis on periodontal health is equally important. For some, the gums are an afterthought when it comes to dental care, but they shouldn’t be. Inflammation and infection in the gums can lead to other health problems and gum disease is linked to many serious health conditions such as high blood pressure and heart disease.

Periodontal care begins with your daily brushing and flossing. When healthy, your teeth and gums create a barrier against disease and infection, protecting the living part of your teeth. Failure to stimulate your gums with brushing or failure to floss leaves partially digested food in contact with your gums that can cause a weakness or inflammation. Not only does this cause discomfort, but it can lead to infection.

And, although infections that start in the mouth can affect teeth and related systems, it’s important to understand that an infection can spread to other areas of the body through the bloodstream. Research has shown that many infections that begin in the mouth find their ways to infect other areas of the body.

So, when you think about dental care, it’s important to think about what you can do each day. Brush, floss and be clean. Be attentive to your professional cleaning appointments and do what you can to avoid periodontal treatments like we offer. This is one aspect of your dental health that you can control!

Continue reading