You’re never too old for braces! The case for straight teeth

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At Gateway Oaks Family Dentistry, some of our patients wonder if getting braces is right for them. Some people are deterred from straightening their teeth because of their age or the cost. Straight teeth are a long lasting investment that have more benefits than just a pretty smile, at any age. And with new technology, straightening your teeth can be fast and affordable. It is never too late to get the straight and healthy teeth you have always wanted.

Prevents Gum Disease
When teeth are aligned correctly, they are easier to clean around and in between. While teeth that are too spaced apart can get food debris and bacteria stuck in them, causing cavities and infected gums. This can also happen when teeth are also too close together or crowded. I guess you can say that there is a sweet space that teeth need to be aligned in for optimum cleaning potential. Being able to thoroughly clean teeth in important for preventing gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss.

Aligned teeth don’t chip-
Have you ever chipped a tooth from another tooth? OUCH! Having crowded teeth can cause stress on teeth which increases the chance of damage being caused to the structure of a tooth.

Straight teeth improve speech-
The lips, the teeth, and the tip of the tongue work with the palette to form sounds. It may not be obvious, but the tongue does use the teeth in speech, and if teeth are too far forward to too far back, this can have an effect on the forming of words.

Helps the digestive system-
Straight teeth are perfect for grinding and chewing food. Not being able to properly chew food can set your digestive system into overdrive, making your stomach and intestines have to work harder to break down the food you eat. The long term effects of bad digestion can be painful. Including problems such as indigestion, stomach ulcers and more. So, straight teeth equals a happy stomach.

Be confident in your smile-
Why do straight teeth look better and whiter? Because light reflects off of straight teeth evenly, this helps them appear white and healthy. While crooked teeth can appear dark and dull due to poor reflection of light.

Having confidence in a smile can equal up to confidence in oneself. And others catch on to the high self esteem and cool confidence a healthy, straight smile can bring. Let your smile be a reflection of you.Image

Want to find out how to straighten your smile? Visit GatewayOaksDental.com for more information  or Schedule a Free Consultation with Dr. Truong and find out how to get straight teeth in a short amount of time at an affordable price.

Replace Your Missing Tooth with a Dental Implant

Cosmetic dentistry has come a long way when it comes to restoring your smile. There are many options that vary in price, safety and durability. The latest in smile restoration are dental implants. This is a permanent implant that replaces missing teeth or a permanent fixture that holds full dentures in place. Dental implants can last you the rest of your life with proper dental hygiene checkups, brushing and flossing.

What is a dental implant?Image

A dental implant is a titanium screw like structure that is surgically inserted into a space where a tooth is missing. After the screw is inserted, it is covered with a crown that looks just like a real tooth, so anyone who sees your smile would never know that it was not a real tooth.

How will an implant help me?

The implant helps to stabilize bone and prevent further bone loss due to missing teeth, it supports the facial skeleton, gums, cheeks and lips. Dental implants help you eat, smile, speak and they look completely natural. Implants are the best option to replace missing teeth.

What kind of surgery do I need?

The surgery itself is an outpatient procedure only requiring a localized numbing of the area being operated on. (Of course, when it comes to pain management there are options that general or specialized dentists can provide such as oral sedation or nitrous oxide to make the experience less unpleasant.) In special cases, a sinus lift or bone graft may be needed in order to make the implant a successful procedure.

In the simple form of the procedure, a pilot hole is drilled into the bone that the implant will be placed in. This will guide the implant to ensure an accurate and stable placement. Depending on the dentist performing the implant and if a sinus lift is involved, the surgery for a single implant can vary between 1-2 hours.

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How long will the implant last?

A dental implant, with the proper care of your oral hygiene, should last for the rest of your life. The screw is usually made out of titanium (Ask your Dentist what type of material is used) and the ceramic crown is made to last. For a person who goes to the dentist for checkups on a regular basis and who brushes and flosses after every meal, a dental implant should last for the rest of your life. Just like anything though, you must take the proper care to make your investment last.

I think a dental implant is best for me, now what?

The first thing you need to do is see your Sacramento dentist. Your dentist can determine if an implant is

the best option for you. There are many factors when it comes to implant surgery: your overall health, as well as your oral health can affect the success rate of your implant. Therefore, it is absolutely necessary to discuss any health concerns with your regular dentist or specialist.

In some cases, a CT scan, sinus lift or bone graft may be necessary in order to make a dental implant a success. In most cases, these can be taken care of during the same surgery as the dental implant, so no additional surgeries would be necessary.

Call (916) 649-0249 to schedule your consultation today!

Turn Your Child Into the Best Brusher & Avoid Cavities

Sacramento Kids Dentist

Your child’s oral health is very important. It sets the stage for their smile for the rest of their lives. Introducing your kids to good oral health habits at a young age ensures they will carry those habits with them as they get older. 

Consider these facts:

  • A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report from 2007 shows the number of cavities in children ages 2 to 5 have increased from a decade ago. 
  • In a 2004 study, tooth decay was found to be the most common chronic childhood disease, 5 times as common as asthma.
  • A 2000 report found that dental-related illnesses result in a loss of more than 51 million school hours each year.

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Do not fret! You can make oral care fun and easy for your kiddos. 

  • Brush and floss your teeth together to set a good example. (Yes, parents, you need to floss, too)
  • Sing a song or nursery rhyme for 2 minutes to help the process seem to go by faster for your kids.
  • Pick a fun toothbrush with your kids’ favorite character on it.
  • Pick a toothpaste that is flavorful to the child. Ask your dentist for samples.
Sacramento Kids Dentist

This cool toothbrush holder for kids can hold up to 4 toothbrushes. $19.99 at ModCloth.com

Other tips for success: 

1.    Brush teeth twice a day and floss once a day
2.   Change your child’s toothbrush every 3 months to ensure they always brush their best
3.   Have your child’s teeth checked by a dentist twice a year, starting at age 1.
4.   Limit sugary snacks and drinks like juice, sports drinks and soda to help prevent  cavities.

Following these simple guidelines is a great place to start to ensure that your child will lead a life with less cavities and create the habits of a well-oiled brusher and flosser. Good luck, and happy flossing! 

No Cavities? You Can Thank The Fluoride!

People fall into three categories, there’s the “What the heck is fluoride” category, the “NO! I don’t want fluoride” category, and the “Duh, give me the fluoride” category. Although we’re hoping that our patients fall into the latter of the three we know that certainly isn’t the case. Our office is in Sacramento County, a county that does not fluoridate its water. An interesting concept considering that the centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) calls fluoridation “one of the 10 most valuable public health measures of the 20th century.” (Read that here: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/00056796.htm)

What’s all the fuss about anyway? Fluoride was introduced and the rates of tooth decay decreased significantly in communities who adopted fluoridated drinking water. Fluoridated drinking water was so successful that soon it seemed everything contained fluoride:  orange juice, milk, toothpastes, drops, gels, and ingestible tablets. So while decay was on the decline, over fluoridation was on the rise.Fluoride In Water

This sparked an enormous debate that is still going strong and is not wavering. Over fluoridation called fluorosis, can create dark spots or white spots on the teeth because fluoride used too much will be poisonous. Fluorosis is rarely a result of fluoridated drinking water.  Just like one drink at the end of a long day is fine, 19 drinks will kill you. The CDC, American Dental Association (ADA), and most national health agencies endorse fluoride.

Think about this, less tooth decay means less visits to the dentist and less of your money going to the dentist, but yet all the dental associations and all the dentists you know ENCOURAGE you to get fluoride. That must mean that is a beneficial mineral for your teeth.

Fluoride provided in the office is not swallowed; it is applied topically, just like toothpaste. The fluoride helps to strengthen your teeth by filling the porous surfaces of your teeth with vitamins and minerals. According to the CDC, every $1 invested in fluoridated saves approximately $38 in dental treatment costs.

But still, this effort to fluoride communities has been called an unconstitutional form of mass medication and the culprit for medical issues such as AIDS, Down syndrome, all forms and cancer, the list goes on. Although no scientific data validates these claims, fluorosis (over fluoridation) does occur. Therefore, babies younger than 6 months old should not be given fluoride, their formula should not be prepared with fluoridated water and children that are younger than 2 years of age are advised not to use fluoridate toothpaste. For all children, toothpaste use should be monitored, kept out of their reach, and made sure to be spit out.

For information on flossing visit this article: https://bestsacramentodentist.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/irritated-bleeding-gums-and-flossing_sacramentodentist/

Oral Conscious Sedation – When fear and anxiety keep you from dental bliss

oral-conscious-sedation_Dentist-SacramentoIf you have had your wisdom teeth taken out you have experienced one form of sedation. However, conscious sedation is a more rare form that is now being used for basic to extensive dental procedures for anxious or fearful people.

Oral Sedation is a tool that trained dentists use to put anxiety-ridden patients at ease in a clean and comfortable environment; it is also a good option for those with time constraints.

One of our employees undergoes sedation. Watch it here.

Not just any ‘ole dentist can perform oral conscious sedation. Dentists are required to get special training and take special courses. The requirements for most states include a permit but few require the dental team itself to receive training.

The steps to oral conscious sedation are below. However, oral conscious sedation is not just for anxious and fearful people it is also perfect for hardworking individuals who cannot take more than one day off work for multiple dental procedures. Under sedation, the dentist will be able to keep your mouth open for an extensive period of time and since your pain tolerance is not an issue, the doctor will be able to complete multiple large procedures in one day. Appointments can last anywhere from 3 hours to 8 hours.

  1. The first step is to find a dental provider near you. Sedationcare.com can help you find a sedation provider in your zip code. When you are ready, you will call the provider and their sedation team will help you set up your initial appointment.
  2. At your first appointment you will receive a full set of x-rays and receive a full examination by the doctor. The doctor will want to take many photographs which can be invasive. But not to worry, these pictures will allow you to see exactly what the doctor is seeing so you are not in the dark about the condition of your oral health. The doctor may take you into a consultation room to go over your options as far as what needs to be addressed immediately and what can be done at another appointment.  You will fill out your paperwork and set up your payment arrangement.  Be prepared for lots and lots of paperwork.

On our next blog post we will complete the steps of oral sedation. Stay tuned!

Tricky Tooth Killers

There are attacks on own teeth everywhere we look: the food we eat, the medications we take, our hormones. Silent, and tricky, these tooth killers can harm you in ways you haven’t thought of before.

Teeth Whitening at the Mall:  Does knowing that they are more than willing to pour 35% hydrogen peroxide on your gum disease and cavities make you feel good? If it does than you need to research about the effects of teeth whitening on your oral health. If it doesn’t, you’re my kind of patient. These types of services are unaccredited and are being shut down all over the country. A typical teeth whitening requires a dental office visit, exam, and any cavities or gum disease to be treated prior to receiving the bleaching treatment.Oral Health and Diabetes (click here for teeth whitening tips)

Sports Drinks & Energy Drinks: these highly acidic beverages create pitting in the teeth and other forms of tooth erosion. Pitting and erosion results in your teeth being uneven on the surface and they are more likely to stain easier and more quickly. In addition, erosion makes your teeth more susceptible to decay. If you must drink these highly acidic drinks do it through a straw to avoid pitting and tooth erosion on the fronts of your teeth.

Pregnancy:  your hormones play a gigantic part in your oral health. Increased levels of pregnancy hormones progesterone and estrogen boost circulation, which brings more blood to the gums and puts you at a higher risk for infection. Pregnant women with bloody gums are significantly more likely to have a preterm baby, according to many studies. If you are trying to get pregnant your best bet is to visit the dentist so that you can address all your oral health issues before you conceive. (Or read our preggo article here) 

Medications: many medications and diet supplements have side effects such as decreasing salivary flow in the mouth. The lack of saliva can lead to dry mouth, bacteria, and tooth decay. Products like biotene can help with dry mouth so tell your dentist if you are experiencing dry mouth.

Using teeth as tools: using your teeth in absence of other tools might cause them some harm.  My grandma has a perfect triangle in between her two front teeth at the very bottom where she keeps her pins for sewing. See my granny uses her teeth for all sorts of things, like tearing open packages, biting her nails, and that’s just the small stuff. Her teeth have become her go-to place to store the needles for sewing which have created a permanent change in her teeth. Using your teeth for anything other than chewing is a bad idea: it can lead to chipping and cracking.

Are you a suspect in these dental crimes? Studies prove that taking better care of your teeth can improve your overall health, especially if you are pre-diabetic or your family has a history of heart disease. If it has been more than six months since your last dental exam and cleaning call a dentist near you today. (or read our oral health article) 

Q & A with the Dental Hygienist: Eight Ways to a Healthier Smile

Cosmetic Dentist Sacramento

1. What’s the biggest problem that you see with patients who come in terms of oral hygiene?

Most patients do not like to floss and think that it is no big deal.

2. How often should I brush and floss?

In an ideal world you should floss after every meal or snack. But, at least twice a day at morning and at night when that is not possible. The best time to loss is at night if morning is not possible because you do not want to leave remnants of food in between teeth to rot.

3. What are the benefits of flossing regularly?

Healthy gums, helps keep the teeth’s foundation of bone level, no bleeding, fresh breath, good check-ups, less cavities, less money to be spent on treatment because teeth are healthy, improves overall health of the body because the bacteria content that can cause heart problems is significantly decreased, decreased chance of bacteria between teeth being passed from mother to unborn child which leads to low-term newborns.

4. What are the dangers of not flossing on a regular basis?

I just mentioned that bacteria found in plaque can be passed from expectant mothers to their fetus. But there are studies that show a strong link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Not to mention that not flossing can lead to the loss of your teeth which could mean periodontal surgery and that costs money.

5. What is a deep cleaning and why would I have to get one?

A deep cleaning involves scraping the crown and root of the tooth to get rid of built up calculus and debris. Someone would need one if there are deep pockets between the gums and teeth and there is calculus present on the roots of the teeth.

6. What percentage of new patients that you see need a deep cleaning? Is it expensive?

Approximately 30-40% of the new patients that I see a month need a deep cleaning. It is expensive. But, have normal cleanings on a regular basis will eliminate the need for this type of invasive cleaning.

7. Why is flossing painful for patients? Will it always be painful?

Flossing is only painful for patients who have swollen gums, periodontal disease, or who only floss sometimes. Healthy gums do not hurt when flossed unless one is flossing incorrectly. Your hygienist can show you how to floss correctly.

8. Any other tips or products that you have for patients?

For patients who don’t like to floss with the string I highly recommend the Reach Flosser, it has a big handle so you don’t have to stick your hand in your mouth. At $3 a piece it is really affordable. The Air Flosser is a new device that can be used to floss. It costs about $70. Things like waters picks are good at removing plaque but does not replace flossing.

I Hate Flossing! Part II

A former flossing procrastinator turned flossing advocate; why to floss, how to floss, and the dangers of not flossing.

Sacramento DentistDid you know that if you lose five or more teeth to gum disease your odds at having a heart attack increase by 26%? If you are predetermined to have heart disease or diabetes you might want to think twice about flossing. Studies definitely show a strong link between poor oral health and heart disease.

Okay, well, I didn’t know this before. I was one of those “sometimes” flossers. You know what I’m talking about. When the dentist asked me how often I flossed my response was a sheepish “sometimes”. Then, I realized that my paternal grandmother died from heart disease. To add insult to injury, my father received a quadruple bypass at 46 and I lost an uncle to diabetes. Keep in mind that at that time it had been a few years since my last dentist appointment. Like many people it really hurt to floss my teeth and it was uncomfortable. I really didn’t want to do it. Really.

I guess you could say that skies parted one day when I stumbled upon some reading material reminding me that I was predisposed to horrible health issues (my grandmother’s heart disease, my dad’s clogged arteries, my uncle’s diabetes) and that not flossing could come back to haunt me with a vengeance. Now I’m a flossing advocator. And I put down the french fries. Win-win.

Now, working in a dental office provides me with more of an affinity towards taking care of my teeth. And all the compliments I get on my pretty teeth are just icing on the cake.  I promise that I am a modest person. I am! But I constantly receive compliments on my teeth. People comment on how straight they are to how white they are (thanks for braces mom and dad!). It’s those compliments that make me take pride in my teeth.

Think about it, when you work hard for your toned body and people take notice it only makes you work harder, right? My teeth are the same thing to me. That’s why I floss.

Everyone hates to floss. I hate to floss. But at the end of the day I’m healthier for it. You will be, too. Did you know that even the girls in the office hate to floss? That’s two Registered Dental Hygienists, four dental assistants!

Top 5 Reasons We Hate to Floss!

  1. It’s uncomfortable to stick whole hand in mouth
  2. “It’s gross!”
  3. Food flies around
  4. When floss gets stuck in the teeth
  5. Messes up lipstick

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I Hate Flossing! Part I

A former flossing procrastinator turn floss advocate; why to floss, how to floss, and the dangers of not flossing.

sacramento dentist_flossing

Specks of food on the bathroom mirror, the gums are bleeding and it hurts, those dang molars are hard to get to, your hands can’t fit in your mouth, the list goes on. Tell me I didn’t list at least one reason why you don’t floss.

Here’s a little note: people go to college for years to learn how to prevent, diagnose, and treat people who don’t floss! Yes, they are called dental hygienists and dentists.

Imagine showering but never once washing behind your ears, under your armpits, in between your toes, and even, ahem, the private areas. Kinda gross, right? That’s what it’s like when you don’t floss. Your toothbrush cannot get in between each tooth and under the gum line to get the food that has collected there. Now think about how long that food stays between your teeth before it can naturally be dissolved. You don’t know how long it will take because you don’t even know that there is food in your teeth. But there is!

I bet you are thinking that flossing does not apply to you because you go to the dentist every six months and have been since you can remember and you cannot recall the last time that you got a cavity. I know this excuse because my husband uses it every day. And he’s right; he goes to the dentist every six months for a cleaning and hasn’t had a cavity since high school.

But look back at those cleanings that you received. Was the hygienist having a hard time getting the floss between your teeth? Did you have bleeding gums? Did she overload your goodie bag with floss samples followed by a stern reminder that you won’t be so lucky at the next cleaning? Yeah… that’s because while right now your gums feel fine they can take a drastic turn.

A very painful and expensive alternative to daily flossing is a deep cleaning. Yay! Doesn’t that sound like fun!? Hardly. A deep cleaning can be extremely invasive and in some cases down-right uncomfortable. A deep cleaning is something that has to be done because there is plaque underneath the gum line. Cases range from small to severe but either way the hygienist scrapes the plaque off the root of tooth. Ouch.  I think I’ll pass.

You must choose to jump in with both feet and commit to flossing. While the dentist recommends twice a day most people just can’t do it. So, I propose that if you can only do it once a day then you must do it at night. That way your teeth are clean when you go to bed and bacteria doesn’t have a chance to grow when you are sleeping with gunk in between your teeth.

Flossing for me was painful at first and if I go a week without flossing my gums will be a little sore after I floss again. But I have the knowledge of what can happen to my teeth and pocketbook if I choose not to floss and really I’d rather save myself the trouble and just floss. I leave floss all over the house, on my nightstand, on the coffee table, by the computer, and I use it whenever I’m lounging around. I suggest you follow this advice for TEETH’s sake!

“I had a root canal, what now?”

By: Hoang Truong DDS

Patients usually require a post and crown following a root canal treatment. Why ? A root canal treated tooth is hollow and brittle so that post/core build retention and support and a crown is needed to hold everything together.

Some patients receive root canals but do not follow through with receiving the post and crown. This can lead to an infected or fractured tooth. When that happens the tooth either needs to be extracted because it is beyond repair or another root canal must be performed which can be costly and will only weaken the tooth further.

Is a root canal painful? A root canal procedure is no more painful than getting a filling. The difference is that it takes longer to perform a root canal and the cost is 10 times more. However, if the tooth has a chronic infection the body’s metabolism increases to fight the infection. When the metabolism is going through the roof a person’s anesthetic has the potential to wear off very quickly and getting numb is difficult. Only then should a person have pain during a root canal procedure. Lots of noise comes from the drills and files in the dental chair but no one should experience pain.