Are Dental X-Rays Necessary?

Female dentist with x-ray pictureIf you are about to see a new dentist for the first time, they will likely want to take a few x-rays. This added task at your appointment may be an inconvenience to you, but having current dental x-rays done is actually very important for moderating your dental and oral health.

Not all problems can be detected by simply looking inside the mouth. Dental x-rays offer a closer, detailed perspective. They can be used for:

• Finding tooth decay
• Finding damage to the jawbone
• Checking orthodontic conditions
• Looking at broken teeth
• Checking for growths, cysts, and abscesses
• Seeing if any permanent teeth are being prevented from erupting
• Planning treatment, such as root canal therapy, inserting dental implants, or tooth extraction

There are several types of x-rays, using different materials to take them. Bite wing x-rays show the upper and lower back teeth, and should be taken by adults every two to three years. A periapical x-ray shows an entire tooth, from below the bottom of the root to the crown. These are typically used to find dental issues below the gum line. Panoramic x-rays show the structure of the entire bottom half of the face, and can show problems such as bone abnormalities, impacted teeth, and infections.

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Are Dental X-Rays Necessary?

Reasons for Painful Gum

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When thinking of oral health, many patients forget about the gums. Gums, however, are an important part of the mouth, and can play a big part in both oral and overall health. Gums can become red, swollen, tender, and painful due to several reasons, but the main cause is poor care of the teeth.

When the teeth have been neglected or simply not taken proper care of, it can affect the gums directly. Bacteria, plaque, and tartar can seep into the teeth and accumulate along and below the gum line. This can lead to root canal infections and pain in the gum tissue, which is otherwise known as severe gum disease, or periodontitis.

Our expert in treatment of painful gums in Los Angeles can perform several treatments and procedures to eliminate periodontitis and the pain that comes with it. A scaling and root planing clears plaque and tartar from the gum line and tooth roots. Other treatment options include gum grafting, pocket reduction, and laser treatments.

Be sure to not wait if you experience any pain, swelling, tenderness, or redness in your gums, as it is likely a symptom of severe gum disease or similar serious problem. An appointment with our best Los Angeles dentist can perform an examination and determine the best way to treat your gum pain.

Reasons for Painful Gum

Caring for Teeth after Whitening

Young woman touching her face isolated on white background.

The results of professional teeth whitening can last for months or longer, but keeping your smile pristine afterwards calls for taking certain steps at home. Additional care may also be beneficial if you have sensitive teeth afterwards. Here are some ways to care for your smile after you have your teeth whitened by our San Francisco cosmetic dentist.

How to Avoid Stains

Some lifestyle factors are notorious for causing stained teeth. Among staining foods and beverages, the worst include wine, chocolate, berries, coffee, and soda. Tobacco, whether smoked or chewed, can quickly turn your whitened smile a yellow-gray color. If you do encounter these staining factors, rinsing with water and brushing 20 minutes afterwards may help reduce discoloration.

“Just make sure if you have some acidic foods, you don’t brush your teeth for at least 20 minutes to let saliva buffer the acid, or you would cause damage to you enamel.”, says our dentist.

“Research shows the highest amount of tooth wear is when acid and abrasion (tooth wear from brushing) are combined together. It’s ok to rinse your mouth after having something acidic but don’t brush right away.”

How to Resolve Teeth Sensitivity

Fluoride is often effective at eliminating teeth sensitivity. Each day, brush your teeth gently using a fluoride toothpaste. If necessary, you can also ask our dentist about special gel products containing higher concentrations of fluoride for direct application to teeth.

Store-bought teeth whiteners, such as toothpastes and strips, can also be used to help preserve your new look. However, particularly with abrasive-based products, you should avoid frequent use, as teeth sensitivity or visible enamel loss could result. You can schedule a consultation with our expert in teeth whitening in San Francisco to find out more about post-whitening care.

Caring for Teeth after Whitening

Does TMJ Cause Numbness?

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TMJ is short for the temporomandibular joint, a disorder that affects the joints that connects the jaw to the skull. This disorder has many telling symptoms, including pain and discomfort in several areas. Many are unaware it can also cause numbness. Our TMJ specialist wants everyone to know how this effect occurs.

When one or both of the jaw joints becomes damaged or inflamed, the surrounding tissues can be disturbed. This includes the muscles and nerves. The trigeminal nerve runs right next to the joints on both sides of the face, and carries sensory input from the forehead, face, and jaw to the brain and back. It is estimated that approximately forty percent of the brains total input is received through this nerve. If it is affected, the patient can experience numbness in these areas.

Other symptoms of TMJ include:

• Headaches and migraines
• Tooth pain
• Neck pain
• Stiffness or tenderness in the jaw
• Clicking or crackling in the jaw
• Lock jaw
• Muscle spasms

It is more common to experience pain due to TMJ than numbness. The joints are blocked from having too much contact from the trigeminal nerve by the skull bone, so if pressure is put on the nerve, it will likely respond by sending out pain signals.

Does TMJ Cause Numbness?

What is Different in Invisalign Express?

Junge Frau setzt lächelnd Zahnspange in den MundSporting an orthodontic appliance is seen by many as a rite of passage for adolescents. But not everyone needs this kind of work done on their teeth, and some only need minimal corrections. Why go through the process of getting metal braces applied if you only require them for a short amount of time? Invisalign responds to this problem with their Express plan.

Invisalign Express is for patients who have only a few, minor orthodontic flaws needing correction. You may be a candidate if you require:

• Less than two millimeters of spacing or crowding per arch
• Less than two millimeters of midline correction
• Minimally rotation cuspids, bicuspids, or incisors
• Less than 1.5 millimeter dental expansion required per arch

Express is perfect for those wishing to perfect their smile for a special occasions, such as a wedding, important birthday, or graduation. Treatment usually takes about six months, compared to the approximately eighteen months required of Invisalign Full. Your Invisalign Express dentist may recommend a retainer after treatment is completed to ensure the teeth stay in their new, healthier positions.

To see if you are a candidate for this option, schedule a consultation with your Invisalign Express provider in Los Angeles today.

What is Different in Invisalign Express?

How Metal Braces Work

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Though there are several, more modern orthodontic appliances available today that are often preferred by patients, traditional metal braces are the best at correcting a vast amount of issues. They may not be clear or comfortable, but they are the most useful and effective. The following explains how metal braces work.

After an exam and decision to proceed with traditional braces, our Rocklin orthodontist will take an impression of the teeth and any other images if necessary. These will be used to track the progression of the teeth throughout treatment. They will then proceed to bond metal brackets to the teeth, either on one arch or both. Brackets used today are typically smaller than those used in the past. A metal wire is then threaded through them. It is this wire that works to move the teeth into correct places. The patient must attend regular appointments to get the wire tightened. The pressure created by the tight wire forces the teeth to move. The teeth rearrange best when moved slowly, so regular tightening appointments over the course of several months are required for correct treatment.

The ends of the wires and the brackets can be abrasive against the soft tissue of the mouth. Our expert in metal braces in Rocklin can provide patients with wax or other solutions for this problem. Basic medications are sufficient in alleviating pain from the pressure.

How Metal Braces Work

Qualifications of an Invisalign Doctor

smiling girl with tooth tray

In order to offer Invisalign treatment to patients, dentists must undergo rigorous training through Align Technology, the company who makes it. If you are looking for an Invisalign doctor in Los Angeles and do not already have someone in mind, the company website is a good starting point to find one.

Not only does the company control qualification for Invisalign, they certify dentists according to how much experience the particular dentist has with the treatment. They do this through designations, increasing from “Preferred” to “Premiere” to “elite” to “Top 1% Doctor.” Though these designations speak only to experience level and not quality of treatment, patients are more likely to find quality outcomes with higher experience levels. Outcomes are more uncertain when the dentist has little experience, so these designations can serve as a guide to find a dentist who is more likely to produce quality results.

But there is more to finding a good dentist than experience level. You will be working with this person on an on-going basis, so you need to feel comfortable with your choice. Once you identify experienced dentists, schedule a consultation with each of them to discuss your case and make sure they are a good fit. Do they listen to you? Do they answer all your questions and address your concerns? Meeting with them will allow you to assess whether they are the right person for you.

If you are searching for the right Invisalign doctor, schedule a consultation to meet our expert in orthodontics in Los Angeles.

Qualifications of an Invisalign Doctor