My Blog

Posts for: June, 2015


While the prevention and treatment of tooth decay has improved dramatically over the last half century, it continues to be a major health issue, especially for children. One in four children 5 and younger will develop some form of the disease.

Although tooth decay in children stems from the same causes as in adults — the presence of decay-causing bacteria in plaque, unprotected teeth and the right mix of carbohydrates like sugar left in the mouth — the means by which it occurs may be different. We even define tooth decay differently in children as Early Childhood Caries (ECC), “caries” the dental profession’s term for tooth decay.

ECC highlights a number of cause factors specific to young children, such as: continuous use of a bottle or “sippy cup” filled with juice or other sweetened beverages; at-will breast-feeding throughout the night; use of a sweetened pacifier; or regular use of sugar-based oral medicine to treat chronic illness.

If you noticed sugar as a common denominator in these factors, you’re right. As a primary food source for bacteria, refined sugar is a major trigger for the disease especially if it constantly resides in the mouth from constant snacking or sipping. In fact, it’s the primary driver for a particular pattern of decay known as Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD). This pattern is specifically linked to sleep-time bottles filled with juice, milk, formula or other sweetened beverages, given to an infant or toddler to help soothe them through the night or during naps.

All these factors cause a cycle of decay. To interrupt that cycle, there are some things you as a parent should do: perform daily hygiene with your child to reduce decay-causing bacteria; reduce the amount and frequency of carbohydrates in the diet, particularly sugar; and protect the teeth by having us apply fluoride or sealants directly to the teeth.

Early tooth decay could affect your child's oral health for years to come. With a little care and vigilance, you improve your chances of avoiding that encounter.

If you would like more information on preventing tooth decay in children, 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 “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By My Dentist
June 08, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

Find out what makes someone an ideal candidate for this cosmetic treatment in San Bernardino.

We would all love to have smiles that are as beautiful as a Hollywood movie star’s; however, it’s pretty rare to have this perfect smile naturally. VeneersThat’s where your San Bernardino cosmetic dentist Dr. Sanjay Patel comes in. While you may not have been blessed with the ideal smile at birth you can still get the smile you want without needing to have a budget like you favorite actor or actress. Find out more about dental veneers and what they can do to get you that award-winning smile.

What are dental veneers?

Veneers are thin shells usually made from porcelain that are adhered to the front of your teeth by your San Bernardino cosmetic dentist Dr. Patel to hide dental flaws and problem areas. Veneers are designed to look just like the front portion of your tooth and they help cover imperfections found in the aesthetic zone.

Are dental veneers a good choice for my smile?

Porcelain veneers can offer wonderful results for a healthier looking smile, but before you can get dental veneers your San Bernardino cosmetic dentist Dr. Patel will need to evaluate your smile to make sure this is the right procedure for you. Here are some questions you need to ask yourself to make sure veneers are the best option.

  • Do you have severe stains that teeth whitening can’t fix?
  • Are your teeth healthy and free of decay?
  • Are you dealing with chipped or broken teeth?
  • Are you looking to correct some minor crookedness, gaps between teeth or overlapping?
  • Do you have oddly shaped teeth?
  • Do you want to have veneers for life?

If you have said, “yes” to all of these questions then dental veneers could be an ideal solution for your smile. It’s important to note that because some healthy enamel must be removed to accommodate your veneers, this procedure is irreversible. Be sure you are ready for veneers for the rest of your life before you agree to this procedure. Dental veneers are an investment, but a long-lasting, beautiful smile is well worth it.

Have we piqued your interest when it comes to dental veneers? Want to truly find out if veneers are right for you? Then schedule a consultation with your San Bernardino cosmetic dentist Dr. Patel today. Let My Dentist help you get that red carpet smile!

By My Dentist
June 07, 2015
Category: Oral Health

Professional basketball player Lamar Odom is sometimes known as “the candyman” because of his notorious fondness for sweets. But when his sweet tooth finally caught up with him — in the form of a mouthful of decayed teeth — the six-foot-ten-inch, 230-pound hoops star admitted that he had been avoiding treatment… because he was afraid of going to the dentist!

It took two Kardashians (Khloe and Kim) and a painful toothache to finally persuade Odom to sit in the chair. Once he did, it was found that he needed a root canal, a wisdom tooth extraction, and several fillings. Yet the fretful forward sailed through the whole set of procedures in a single visit, and walked out with a big smile afterward. How did his dentists make that happen?

Put it down to the “magic” of sedation dentistry. With anxiety-relieving medications that can be delivered orally (in pill form or by gas) or intravenously (into the bloodstream), the techniques of sedation dentistry can help even the most fearful patients get the dental care they need. That’s good news for about 50 percent of the population, who admit they’re at least somewhat afraid of the dentist — and even better for the 15 percent who avoid dental care completely due to their fear.

Dentists have a number of ways to ease apprehensive patients through a dental visit. An oral anti-anxiety drug can be given in pill form about an hour beforehand. Nitrous oxide (sometimes called “laughing gas”), which is administered by a mask placed over the mouth or nose, may also be used to relieve anxiety. The calming effects of these medications help make any nervousness melt away — and in many circumstances, mild sedation is all that’s needed to ease the fear.

For lengthier or more complex procedures, intravenous (IV) sedation may be recommended. Unlike deeper (unconscious) sedation, IV sedation doesn’t cause “sleep.” Instead, it puts you in a comfortable semi-awake state, where you can still breathe on your own and respond to stimuli… but without feeling any anxiety. And when the procedure is over, you probably won’t have any memory of it at all.

IV sedation can be administered by dentists who are specially trained and equipped with the proper safety equipment. While sedation is being provided, you will be monitored at all times by a dedicated staff member; when it’s over, you will rest for a while as the medication quickly wears off. Then (as is the case with oral sedation), you’ll need another person to give you a ride home.

Does sedation dentistry really work? Lamar Odom thinks so. “I feel so much better,” he said when his 7-hour procedure was over. “I feel like I accomplished something.”

If you would like more information about sedation dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Sedation Dentistry.”