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Dentist in San Diego | Understanding Your Jaw Pain

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Are you having trouble chewing or talking? If you are experiencing pain and discomfort in your jaw, we recommend coming in to our office. There are numerous possible causes of facial and jaw pain and our doctor can work with you to determine the best course of treatment.

What Causes Jaw and Facial Pain?

Pain and discomfort in your jaw can be dental related, but it can also be caused by other medical conditions. Sinus infections and arthritis are potential culprits. However, your pain could be caused by a toothache, infection, excessive grinding of your teeth, tooth decay, periodontal disease, or TMJD.

I’ve Heard of TMJ – What is it?

The jaw is connected to your skull by the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). It acts as a hinge and can be found in front of your ears. In temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJD), the joint doesn’t move in the way it is supposed to. This can lead to pain or restricted jaw movements. Someone might complain about difficulty chewing, yawning, and talking. You might hear a clicking sound when your jaw moves. The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that as many as 10 million Americans suffer from TMJD.

What We Can Do

If you come into our office with jaw and facial pain, we will provide you a thorough examination. Treatments can vary depending on what is determined to be the primary source of your discomfort. Periodontal treatment, root canal therapy, and tooth removal are sometimes solutions to consider. A filling may be suggested for pain caused by tooth decay. For problems resulting from arthritis or TMJD, exercises and anti-inflammatory medications may be a consideration. If you grind your teeth, a guard may be recommended to protect your teeth.

Solving Your Jaw and Facial Pain

Step one in determining a course of treatment is to determine the source of your jaw or facial pain. Talk to our doctor about the specifics surrounding your discomfort. Maintaining a schedule of regular visits to our office can help prevent future pain caused by decay or infection. Having our professional, experienced team regularly examine your mouth is one way you can stay healthy. Diagnosing jaw and facial pain can be difficult due to the number of potential causes. Our dental professionals are well prepared to effectively diagnose and treat your condition.

For more questions about jaw pain, or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521

92117 Dentist | The Necessity of Replacing Missing Teeth

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It’s easy to take your teeth for granted. However, when they are lost from injury or decay, your oral health and confidence can be impacted. By replacing your missing teeth with implants or other restorations, you can renew the appearance and function of your smile. Learn more about the importance of tooth replacement with our quick guide.

The Alignment of Your Teeth

When teeth are lost from injury or decay, the alignment of your teeth can be affected. Missing teeth create a gap that can cause adjacent teeth to shift into it. An otherwise straight smile can be lost as your teeth change their position. By filling the empty space with a bridge or implant, you can preserve your teeth’s alignment.

Tooth Decay and Gum Disease

Difficulties in oral hygiene can present themselves as a result of missing teeth. Your teeth can crowd or shift in a way that makes them harder to reach while brushing or flossing. Plaque can build, leading to periodontal issues or tooth decay. By replacing any missing teeth, you can prevent their shifting that causes these problems.

Jaw Alignment and Disorders

Missing teeth and the subsequent shifting of adjacent teeth can affect your bite. This alters your jaw alignment, changing how you chew your food. The added strain of favoring a side of your mouth can cause TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorders. Tooth replacement can bring stability to your bite and alignment, preventing the onset of jaw pain or disorders.

Change in Appearance and Facial Structure

Over time, missing teeth can cause the loss of underlying bone. This can affect facial structure and appearance by creating a sunken look from your bite. Dental implants can place roots into your jawbone, providing the stimulation needed to preserve bone tissue in the region.

Dental implants or bridges can restore both function and appearance to your smile, and can also prevent many oral health issues stemming from missing teeth. Improve your confidence and your health. Contact our team to see which solutions are best for your replacements.

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521

San Diego Dentist | Can Regular Dental Visits Help Prevent Pneumonia?

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Pneumonia is a common infection of the lungs, usually affecting older adults or those with immunodeficiencies, though anyone can fall ill. However, did you know that going to your dentist can help prevent your risk of pneumonia? While your oral health and your respiratory system are usually thought of as entirely separate, research has shown a curious connection between them.

The Bacteria of your Mouth

You may be surprised to hear that your body is full of bacteria — both beneficial and harmful alike. Your mouth itself is host to many cultures alone, and has defenses in place to ensure your health and your safety. Saliva can help keep oral bacteria in check, but it isn’t a failsafe. Bacteria like streptococcus or staphylococcus can invade through your oral cavity and make it to your lungs, causing infection and pneumonia. So how can you bolster your body’s defenses?

Dental Visits and Pneumonia

Regular dental visits are one of the most significant ways of retaining optimal oral health, salivary regularity, and other forms of homeostasis. When dental visits are foregone, tooth decay can set in, disrupting oral health. Bacteria may then have an easier time making their way through your mouth and throat. A study in 2013 showed that in a sample size of almost 30,000 individuals, those who did not follow regular dental visits had an 86 percent higher risk of developing pneumonia than those with regular, twice-yearly appointments.

The Mechanisms Behind It All

While brushing and flossing can help control the amount of oral bacteria you have, plaque removal requires a dental cleaning to truly combat. With proper dental care, the amount of oral bacteria present can be limited to a safe degree — which, in turn, limits the amount that may aspirate into your lungs and cause infection.

If you have seen delays in your dental visit schedule, don’t hesitate any longer. Protect your oral health, reduce your risk for pneumonia, and make your future brighter with a smile. Contact our office to set up an appointment today.

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521

Dentist in San Diego | Effective Prevention for Healthier Smiles

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Tooth decay is the most common chronic disease for children and adolescents. About ¼ of children and more than half of teens currently have this illness. Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that 90% of adults over age 20 have some amount of tooth-root decay. However, tooth decay is highly preventable. By providing effective dental care during childhood, better long-term oral health may be achieved.

Here are some practices that can help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health issues at every age:

Hygiene

Brush teeth twice each day with a soft-bristled brush. Clean your tongue gently with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper. Use fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen enamel. Children should use only toothpastes designed for kids’ use. Replace toothbrushes every 2-3 months.

Clean between teeth daily. Use dental floss or another interdental cleaner. Talk to your hygienist for a recommendation and instructions for effective use.

Diet

Eat healthy foods and limit sugary and acidic foods. Drink plenty of water.

Sealants

A recent study on the effectiveness of sealants was published jointly by the American Dental Association (ADA) and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD). They found that sealants can prevent up to 80% of tooth decay in permanent molars when used for children and teens. Adults may see similar benefits from use, as well. Additionally, no adverse effects have been reported with use of sealants on patients of any age. Talk to our dentist about whether dental sealants may help you prevent tooth decay.

Fluoride

Fluoridation of public water has been listed by the CDC as one of the great achievements in public health in the 20th century. Studies have shown tooth decay in children who have fluoridated water sources is reduced by up to 40%. If you have concerns about tooth enamel weakness or if you live in an area without fluoridated water, ask our dentist whether supplemental fluoride may be right for you.

Dental Care

Visit our office for a professional cleaning and thorough exam at least twice each year, or as instructed. Seek treatment right away if issues are identified.

Effective preventive care saves time and money and can help ensure a lifetime of healthy, beautiful smiles. For more information about tooth decay prevention, contact our office.

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521

92117 Dentist | What Vegetarians and Vegans Need to Know About Their Teeth

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If you are on a vegetarian or vegan diet, it is important that you are aware of the impact these diets can have on your teeth and overall oral health. While there are numerous benefits of following a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle, your teeth depend on certain nutrients to remain strong and healthy. Vegetarians and vegans might be missing some key nutrients by avoiding certain foods. Here’s what you need to know.

A Higher Risk of Tooth Decay?

While there have not been enough studies to find any conclusive proof, German researches found an interesting correlation: vegetarians had far better periodontal health than meat-eaters, but the reverse was true for dental health. However, the study shouldn’t be taken as conclusive until more research in this area is done.

Getting the Right Nutrients

A vegetarian diet can be deficient in recommended amounts of key vitamins and nutrients, such as vitamin D, calcium, and protein. When it comes to vitamin D, deficiencies can sometimes occur in those who don’t eat fish or drink milk. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends adding soy milk or vegetable margarine to your diet to boost vitamin D counts.

Protein: Teeth Strengthener

Protein is an essential nutrient that your body uses to help keep your teeth strong. The phosphorous contained in protein is also helpful for strengthening your jaw. But if you are a vegan, you will need to consider finding alternative sources for protein since common sources such as meat and eggs are not part of your diet. Dried lentils and mixed nuts can provide you with plenty of protein.

The Benefits of Plant Based Diets

According to the National Institutes of Health, diets that primarily include plants, fruits, and vegetables are one way of reducing your risk of developing oral cancer. You can talk to our doctor for more information about oral cancer and your risk factors.

Steps You Can Take

If you are a vegetarian or a vegan, we recommend finding a comprehensive multi-vitamin to help you get nutrients you might be lacking. Your doctor is a good resource to ask about the right multi-vitamin for you. Be sure to maintain regular visits to our office. We can help you assess potential problem areas in your mouth. By keeping up with a daily oral hygiene routine, you can lower your risk of developing tooth decay and periodontal disease.

Your diet has a tremendous impact on your teeth and your overall oral health. Your mouth depends on a balanced diet, daily oral hygiene, and regular check-ups. But for vegetarians and vegans, it might be helpful in making extra effort to ensure you still receive the proper nutrients your teeth need.

For more information on keeping your teeth healthy, contact our office.

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521

Dentist in San Diego | The Dangers of Grinding

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Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521

Dentist in San Diego, CA | Periodontal Disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis

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Periodontal disease and Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) share a complex relationship with one another. Both of these chronic conditions cause increased inflammation in the body. Both can lead to serious damage, especially if a patient does not seek prompt, effective treatment. However, the connection between these potentially destructive illnesses does not end with similarity of symptoms. If you have either periodontal disease or RA, you may benefit from learning more about the links between the two.

Periodontal disease is an inflammation of the gum tissue in the mouth. Patients with periodontal disease most often experience swelling, redness, sensitivity, and/or painful, bleeding gums. They will develop pockets where the gums begin to pull away from the teeth. These pockets are more difficult to properly clean, so are more prone to infection and bacteria that cause tooth decay. If not treated regularly, periodontal disease will worsen over time and can lead to tooth and bone loss.

RA is a chronic autoimmune disease where the protective immune response is triggered when no harmful viruses or bacteria are present. With no pathogens to attack, the white blood cells instead attack the joints, leading to pain, swelling, stiffness, and eventually deterioration of the joints. Since RA often affects the small joints of the hands and wrists, many patients have difficulty maintaining proper brushing and flossing habits. With less effective dental hygiene, patients with RA are at increased risk of developing, or worsening, periodontal disease.

Moreover, in a recent study, scientists looked at the effects of the bacterium porphyromonas gingivalis, which causes periodontal disease. They found that this bacterium can lead to earlier onset, more rapid progression of symptoms, and increased severity of RA. Fortunately, it was also discovered that successful treatment for periodontal disease can reduce RA pain and other symptoms.

If you have RA and are having difficulty maintaining your oral hygiene due to stiff, painful joints, consider these simple ideas:

  • Add a tennis ball or bicycle handlebar grip to make your toothbrush easier to hold.
  • Try replacing ordinary string floss with a water flosser that may be easier to hold and manipulate.
  • Use a pump-style toothpaste dispenser to avoid the need to squeeze and roll a small tube.
  • Have professional cleanings at least 2-3 times each year.
  • Schedule a periodontal screening annually.
  • Ask your dental hygienist for more ideas on making your daily regimen work for you.

For more information regarding periodontal disease and rheumatoid arthritis, contact our office to schedule a consultation.

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521

92117 Dentist | Repair Your Smile with Dentures

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Our dental team is pleased to provide high-quality removable dentures to new and existing patients who have experienced the loss of some or all of their teeth. These dentures are custom-crafted to fit the individual patient’s mouth and specific tooth replacement needs. They provide both a cosmetic and functional replacement solution for tooth loss.

To make the dentures, we will make a series of impressions of the patient’s jaw, teeth, and gums, including several measurements. A model will be crafted, tested, and adjusted until the color, shape, and fit of the denture are right for the patient’s unique needs. Once the model is ready, it is sent to the dental lab and used to cast the permanent denture. Finally, the patient will receive the permanent denture and minor adjustments will be made, if necessary, to ensure comfort and fit.

There are two basic types of dentures: Conventional Full Dentures and Partial Dentures. Each of these meets a different teeth replacement need.

  • Conventional Full Dentures are a great option if a patient needs replacement for all of the upper and/or lower teeth. Once the gums have fully healed from any extractions, we will take impressions and measurements of the jaws and gums. These are used in crafting a custom model of the future denture. The model will be adjusted for fit, then sent to the lab for the denture to be made. Once complete, he will fit the denture to the patient’s mouth, making any minor adjustments needed to ensure a secure, comfortable fit.
  • Partial Dentures, also known as Dental Bridges, are a replacement for one or more missing teeth. Besides the aesthetic reason for bridges, patients often choose to have a bridge to prevent teeth from rotating or shifting into the empty spaces caused by tooth loss. A standard bridge places a crown on the teeth surrounding the empty space, then attaches a replacement tooth to those crowns. We will match the replacement to the patient’s natural teeth for a consistent look to their smile.

With any form of dentures, the patient should follow up with the doctor as recommended. We may need to make adjustments to dentures over time to keep proper fit and full comfort. Dentures should be cleaned regularly using a soft bristle toothbrush and a non-abrasive cleanser to avoid build up of plaque. Generally, dentures should be replaced every 5-10 years. Ask our doctor to evaluate whether your dentures should be refit or replaced.

For more information or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521

San Diego CA Dentist | What to Exect During Your First Visit to Our Office

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Whether you’re a new patient yourself or referring a friend or family member to our office, we know that it can be stressful to wonder just what to expect during the first visit with us. We want our new patients to be able to relax and feel confident about their choice of dental home. To that end, please review or share this description of our initial appointment.

Greeting: Our team is ready to greet you the moment you arrive. We want you to feel comfortable when you are here. If you are anxious about your appointment, let us know. Our team is compassionate and highly experienced in helping to alleviate dental fear.

Professional cleaning: During your first professional cleaning appointment, our expert hygienist will gently and thoroughly clean your teeth to remove any plaque or tartar and complete the first check for potential oral health issues, such as tooth decay, sensitivity, or periodontal disease.

Background information: We will ask you some detailed questions about your oral health and overall health, your health history, and goals for your smile. We need to know about any chronic health issues, ongoing treatments, or medications you may be taking. All of these can impact both your oral health and the treatments we recommend for you.

Evaluation: Our dentist will thoroughly and gently examine your mouth and teeth. We may recommend x-rays for a more thorough view of your teeth and bone structure. We will check for any signs of potential oral health concerns, including an oral cancer screening. Let us know if you are experiencing any symptoms.

Follow-up: At the end of your appointment, we will discuss our recommendations for your next appointment and any treatments you may want or need. We will also talk with you about your oral hygiene habits, how you feel about your teeth, and any goals you have for improving the appearance of your smile. We encourage you to ask every question you have so we can help you make informed choices about your care.

Your comfort and your healthy smile are our primary focus. If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health or if you would like to review your options for improving the look of your smile, contact our office.

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521

Dentist in San Diego | 6 Harmful Habits That Affect Your Teeth

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Nearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.

  1. Nail Biting

Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.

The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.

  1. Brushing Too Hard

Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.

The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.

  1. Grinding and Clenching

Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.

The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubes

Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.

The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.

  1. Constant Snacking

Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.

  1. Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.

The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.

Contact our office to schedule your next dental appointment.

4320 Genesee Ave.,
Suite 101, San Diego, CA 92117

Phone: (858) 496-7521