Now Is the Time for a Smile Makeover

With children of all ages heading back to school, some parents are no doubt breathing a collective sigh of relief, while some are trying to be brave and not cry as they bid farewell to their kids in this new chapter in their lives. But whether your child is heading off to school for the first time or leaving the nest for good, now is the perfect time to focus on someone who probably hasn’t gotten a lot of attention lately: you.

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How to Help Kids Ace Their Dental Exams This Back-to-School Season

When most kids think of summer vacation, they think of staying up late, sleeping in and endless hours of outdoor play. What they probably aren’t thinking much about - but you should be thinking about - are exams. No, not math tests and chemistry finals, but dental exams! The end of summer is a great time to schedule your child’s annual or semi-annual dental exam and cleaning. In fact, a recent study by Delta Dental found that 31 percent of school-aged children have missed at least one full day of school to deal with a dental problem.

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What Is the ADA Patient’s Bill of Rights?

Whether you’re starting at a new dentist (welcome!) or a longtime patient, it's vitally important as a patient that you know your rights. That’s why organizations like the National Institutes of Health, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and, yes, even the American Dental Association have their own "Patient’s Bill of Rights" to show patients what they can – and should – expect when being treated by a clinician.

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Does ‘Oil Pulling’ Really Work?

A question we hear a lot around here is, "Should I be oil pulling?" Well, the answer to that may come as a surprise to some.

Before we get into the good and bad of oil pulling, let's discuss what exactly it is. Oil pulling is an ancient ayurvedic practice that has been done for centuries to draw toxins from the body. Recently, it has become popular in mainstream culture as a way to whiten teeth and clean the mouth. The idea is you put coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around for 20 minutes a day, and voila - instantly whiter smile! But does it work?

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Brush Up on Back-to-School Oral Health

As the summer starts to wind down and our focus starts to shift from beach days to backpacks and binders, it’s also a valuable time to remember our kids’ oral health. Whether you’re sending your student off to college or just starting his journey in kindergarten, incorporating a dental exam into your child’s back-to-school preparation is essential. Here’s your back-to-school oral health checklist.

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The Fluoride Debate

There’s no shortage of controversial topics on the news most evenings, but there’s at least one topic that shouldn’t be as controversial as it seems. It’s the great debate many towns across America are facing these days: to fluoridate or not to fluoridate the water - that, as they say, is the question. So, who’s right: The anti-fluoride activists who claim that fluoridating the water supply can cause everything from low IQ to cancer, or the medical community who say fluoridating the water helps reduce dental caries (cavities)? Decide for yourself.

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Wise Investment or Waste of Money?

Self-brushing toothbrushes. Waterpiks. UV teeth-whitening lights. With so many oral health innovations on the marketing – and so many more coming out each year - it can be overwhelming to consumers to know which products work, and which ones just aren't worth the investment. After all, why spend $200 on a whitening kit if it’s no more effective than your $4 whitening toothpaste? Here, we'll go over some of the more popular at-home products to help you decide which ones to buy.

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Don’t Try This at Home: Leave This Repair to the Experts

There’s a certain sense of accomplishment you can only get from completing a do-it-yourself (or DIY) project – especially if that project is something you’ve never tried before. But sometimes in life there are DIY projects that you really shouldn’t do yourself, not just because they’re too difficult, but also because they can be extremely dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Such is the case with many at-home dental treatments. While some may promise results that rival a professional job, the risks involved make them not worth the effort. Here’s one dental treatment you should definitely not try at home.

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943 Hits

Botox From the Dentist?

You may never have known about it, but across America, there’s a controversy that’s been brewing for years involving a very popular cosmetic filler. That’s because, depending on where you live, your dentist may be able to inject you with the cosmetic filler Botox - and not everyone thinks it’s a good idea.

Here in California, dentists cannot inject patients with Botox for cosmetic purposes. Many other states have the same law. This was done to protect patients from practitioners who may not have the skills and training to administer Botox. However, dentists arguably know the muscles and nerves around the mouth and face better than any other type of doctor, including plastic surgeons.

The good news is that your dentist can inject you with Botox for medical purposes! In fact, you may never have realized it, but Botox can be used to help alleviate the pain from some very common dental issues.

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How Much Pain Is Normal with New Braces?

 

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_486598651.jpgBraces are one of those necessary evils that nobody particularly wants but almost nobody regrets getting once they come off. The good news is that they usually work really well - and they don’t stay on forever (despite how it feels sometimes!). The bad news is that, unfortunately, they aren’t always the most comfortable or easy-to-clean oral appliances. If you’re hesitant about getting braces because of a fear of potential discomfort, check out this blog about what to expect when you get braces.

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1202 Hits

Common Questions About Dental Implants

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_294243569.jpgWhether you are already missing teeth or you are facing the loss of a permanent tooth, an increasingly popular solution is the installation of dental implants. A dental implant is a permanent prosthetic tooth (crown) that secures via a metal post that is implanted into the jaw. When properly installed, the crown looks and feels just like a natural tooth. But in order to achieve a flawless installation, there are some steps you should take before you even lose the tooth your crown is replacing. If you’re considering dental implants, here are some facts you should consider.

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How to Cut Costs at the Dentist

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_331734899.jpgThe new year is in full swing, bringing with it new goals, new resolutions and, yes, even new insurance plans. For many Americans, a new policy, or changes to an old policy, can be very stressful, especially if your coverage has changed.

One area where coverage can often be seriously lacking is in dental care. In fact, even though more Americans have dental coverage today than ever before, out-of-pocket costs have never been higher. So even if you do have insurance, there’s a good chance you’re still paying more money out of pocket than you would have 20 years ago for the same services. For an individual, these costs can be hard to manage - but for a family, they can be devastating.

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Forensic Scientists Find Links Between Teeth, Environment

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_776608750.jpgMany things get stuck in our teeth - caramel, popcorn, spinach - but did you know that for some workers, evidence of their job can get stuck in their teeth, too?

A team of scientists at Gujarat, India’s Gujarat Forensic Sciences University, under the helm of forensic odontology student Dr. Riddhi Thanki, Rajesh Babu and Dr. MS Dahiya, found a connection between the hardened plaque deposits found on teeth and certain environmental factors.

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Don’t Be Afraid to Floss

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_273038321.jpgThere’s no topic discussed at a dental exam that seems to make people more uncomfortable than flossing. As you may already be aware, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends we floss our teeth at least once a day. This is because string dental floss can reach between the teeth in ways brushing or water flossing cannot. In fact, when you don’t floss, you’re only cleaning about 60 percent of your teeth! That’s right - flossing alone cleans about 40 percent of your teeth’s surfaces.

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These Vitamins Can Help Oral Health

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_338422418.jpgA trip down the vitamin aisle at your local pharmacy can be an overwhelming experience. With literally hundreds of brands and types of vitamins to choose from, it’s hard to know which one you need to address your specific health needs. Do you go with a generic multi-vitamin? A probiotic? A chewable? And how do you know what dose to take, or if you’re already getting enough of certain vitamins from your diet or other medications?  

The best advice we can give you about vitamins is to speak to your physician about which supplement is best for you, but if you are looking for a vitamin to improve your oral health, here are a few that have proven benefits. Remember: If you’re interested in trying any of these vitamins, speak to Dr. Abelar or your physician to see if they would be a good fit with your lifestyle.

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Smile Insecurities Affect Career Aspirations, Study Says

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_125240636.jpgA recent study by the American Dental Association has revealed some startling statistics about millennials and oral health. According to the study, titled "Oral Health and Well-Being in the United States," 29 percent of lower-income individuals and 28 percent of millennials admitted that insecurities about the health and appearance of their teeth have negatively affected their ability to interview for a new job.

"These numbers are very disheartening to hear, given the difficulty younger workers and lower-income workers have experienced entering the work force," says Dr. Martin Abelar, a dentist in San Diego, California. "These are definitely people we should be rooting for in the job market."

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The 3 Types of Teeth Discoloration

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_85060831.jpgIf you’ve ever lost an adult tooth, you already know your options for replacing that tooth are limited. Dentures, partials or bridges give you the look of having a tooth where one is missing, but they aren’t permanent and can still cause a great deal of insecurity to wearers. Dental implants are a more permanent solution, but their high cost can be prohibitive to some budgets, and they do carry a risk of implant failure that can cost the wearer portions of his or her jawbone. But a new procedure under development at Columbia University may provide a solution that patients will really want to sink their teeth into.

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1917 Hits

What’s That Spot?

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_333000893.jpgWhen you come in to the dentist's office for a teeth-whitening procedure, you probably have a few expectations: a whiter smile; a calm, relaxing environment; and an attentive, professional staff. What you may not expect is tooth sensitivity. But many patients experience this side effect during or after a whitening procedure. While for some the pain is manageable and only temporary, for others it can last from several minutes to several days. If you are considering a whitening procedure and either have experienced sensitivity in the past, or would like to reduce your risk of experiencing it in the future, try these tips before you whiten.

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619 Hits

Permanent Birth Control Device Blamed for Tooth Loss

b2ap3_thumbnail_shutterstock_608251319.jpgBritish soap opera star Samantha Womack recently made headlines for undergoing a deep-cleaning gum treatment called Bone One Session Treatment, or BOST, that claims to cure periodontal disease in just one session. Womack claims that after one four-hour sitting, her gums were completely cleaned and essentially cured of periodontal disease. But is this possible? Dentist Martin Abelar of San Diego, California, weighs in.

"The BOST procedure consists of gently pulling the gums away from the teeth to reach underneath the gum line and clean out the bacteria that is hiding inside," he says. "The dentist will actually DNA test the bacteria in each pocket and develop a treatment to kill that specific type of bacteria."

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826 Hits

Quality is Something to Care About

b2ap3_thumbnail_Untitled-design-12.jpgRoot canals are one of the most feared procedures a dental patient can undergo, but the root canals of today are a far cry from the painful procedures they used to be. Today’s root canals are quicker, less painful and have a higher success rate than procedures performed decades ago. In fact, many of today’s root canal procedures are about as simple and painless as getting a regular filling. Unfortunately, despite their reduced pain and higher success rate, there are still failed procedures - but a team from the UCLA School of Dentistry and UCLA’s Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science have teamed up to try to improve the success rate of the root canal using particles known as nanodiamonds.

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706 Hits