My Blog

Posts for: December, 2013

By My Dentist
December 24, 2013
Category: Oral Health
Tags: braces   orthodontics   dental hygiene  
MaintainingGoodOralHygieneWhileWearingBraces

Taking care of your teeth is a lifetime commitment, if you want your teeth to last a lifetime. But it can be especially challenging if you're wearing traditional metal braces. With a little extra attention, though, you can reduce the risk of dental disease during orthodontic treatment.

The goal of oral hygiene is to remove biofilm, a layer of leftover food particles called plaque that is a haven for disease-causing bacteria. Orthodontic braces make access more difficult for performing oral hygiene. A little extra effort and attention, though, can make a big difference.

First, be sure you're eating a healthy diet and avoiding unhealthy snacks (especially those high in carbohydrates) between meals; this will discourage the growth of bacteria in the mouth. You should also limit your intake of sodas, sports or energy drinks since their high acidity contributes to tooth enamel erosion.

Although more difficult for someone wearing braces, brushing is still essential to good hygiene. Begin by holding a soft, multi-tufted bristle brush at a 45-degree angle, and then brush the surface area between the gum and the braces all the way around. Return to your starting point and brush the area from the braces to the edge of the top of the teeth in the same direction. Be sure you do this for both the upper and lower jaw and on both the cheek and tongue side.

Flossing is also more difficult, but not impossible. Instead of conventional floss thread, you can use special floss threaders, small interdential brushes, or an irrigation device that sprays pressurized water to remove food particles between teeth.

Above all, it's important to keep up regular office visits with us. In addition to monitoring overall dental health, we can also apply or recommend additional fluoride products to help strengthen teeth or prescribe antibacterial rinses to reduce the mouth's bacterial level.

Keeping up a good daily hygiene regimen and regular checkups will ensure that the smile you gain from wearing braces is healthy as well as beautiful.

If you would like more information on oral hygiene while undergoing orthodontic treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”


By My Dentist
December 10, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
ChippedTeethHarmoniouslyMadeGoodasNew

“Break a leg” is a well-known theatrical expression for wishing good luck to an actor about to go on stage. Singers should have one of their own…“Chip a tooth”! Apparently collisions between microphones and pearly whites are an occupational hazard for crooners. Taylor Swift became one of the latest casualties during a concert in Pittsburgh while belting out her hit “I Knew You Were Trouble.” The consummate professional, she didn’t miss a beat and kept on singing despite seeing a tooth chip hit the floor.

After all, while chipping a tooth is an inconvenience, it’s not a permanent smile wrecker. Modern dentistry offers several options for restoring a damaged tooth to its original symmetry and luster, or even better!

Bonding
Dental cosmetic bonding is the quickest and lowest-cost option to repair a chip. This involves application of a composite filling material that is colored and shaped to match the original tooth. Bonding material can be used to replace the lost portion of tooth or to seamlessly reattach the lost portion if it has been preserved and is otherwise undamaged. Little to no removal of existing tooth surface is needed.

Veneers
A veneer can be used for slightly larger areas or discolored teeth. This is a thin, custom-made shell placed on the front of the tooth to give it a new “face.” Some removal of existing tooth surface may be necessary to fit a veneer so it is flush with the surfaces of surrounding intact teeth.

Crowns
When a relatively large portion of the tooth is missing, a crown is often the better choice. It fully encases the visible portion of the remaining tooth above the gum line and is shaped and sized to match the original. It can be made of tooth-colored porcelain fused to metal crowns or all-ceramic (optimal for highly visible areas). A small amount of the existing tooth surface will be removed to allow the crown to fit over it.

If you would like more information about repairing a chipped tooth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”


Teeth Whitening San Bernardino CAWhen it comes to your teeth, do they scream, “Look at me”? At My Dentist in San Bernardino, Dr. Sanjay Patel is available to work with you to create an appropriate cosmetic treatment plan that will best improve the appearance of your smile.  Through in-office and take-home teeth whitening options in San Bernardino, Dr. Patel offers superior treatment options for you.
 

Factors Affecting the Color of Your Smile

 
Some people are born with teeth that are more yellow than others, while many people experience staining with age.  Surface stains and internal stains can also affect your natural tooth color.  Surface stains, otherwise known as extrinsic stains, are often caused by:
 
  • Tobacco
  • Drinking coffee, tea or red wine
  • Eating highly pigmented foods such as cherries and blueberries
  • Accumulation of tartar deposits, resulting in the formation of hardened plaque
 
Internal stains, also known as intrinsic stains, can be caused by:
  • Treatment with the antibiotic tetracycline during the time when teeth are forming
  • Yellowing or graying of the teeth as part of the aging process
  • Trauma to the teeth that may result in the death of the tooth’s nerve, giving the tooth a brown, gray or black color
  • Ingesting too much fluoride when teeth are forming
 
No matter the reason for your tooth discoloration, there is a whitening treatment for your smile.
 

In-Office Teeth Whitening in San Bernardino

 
Professional in-office teeth whitening performed by Dr. Sanjay Patel is the most popular dental procedure in the world today.  Unlike at-home whitening systems that incorporate low-dose bleaching agents, in-office whitening takes place under carefully monitored conditions which allow for the safe, controlled, pain-free use of a relatively high concentration of bleaching gel.  With this, you can see whitening results immediately. 
 
Other advantages of in-office whitening include:
 
  • No other teeth whitening procedure produces faster results
  • The safest form of tooth bleaching
  • Gum and tooth sensitivity are more controllable
 
Stains that are best removed with in-office whitening are stains caused by aging, discoloration caused by the consumption of certain foods and tobacco use.  Over time, the teeth darken with a yellow, brown, green or grey cast. 
 

Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits in San Bernardino

 
At My Dentist in San Bernardino, Dr. Patel offers multiple strength solutions for home whitening, as opposed to a “one size fits all” approach.  Dentist-dispensed custom whitening trays, when used as directed, have been proven to be as successful as in-office bleaching when used over an extended period of time. 
 
Although you can get over-the-counter whiteners without a dentist’s recommendation, if you over-use them or use them incorrectly, they can harm your tooth enamel and irritate your gum tissue.  Supervision by Dr. Patel can prevent these problems.  By visiting Dr. Patel in San Bernardino at My Dentist, he can provide you with custom at-home whitening trays for a successful whitening treatment. 
 
Everyone responds differently to different whitening procedures.  Some respond well to whitening toothpastes, while others with more serious discolorations may require porcelain veneers or bonding to achieve the smile they have always wanted.  Dr. Sanjay Patel, a San Bernardino dentist, will work with you to determine an appropriate treatment plan for improving the appearance of your smile.