Dental x-rays! Very few patients “like” to have dental x-rays taken. “Why do I need to have x-rays when nothing is bothering me” they say. “I don’t want the extra radiation” is another comment dental professionals often hear.
At Khajavi DDS we address this issue daily. Dental x-rays are an invaluable diagnostic tool used for the detection of dental decay and other dental anomalies. It is impossible to see between the teeth, inside the teeth, beneath the gums or in and around the bone without the use of a dental x-ray. Decay can start without any pain or discomfort to the patient. Early detection of a cavity helps patients avoid pain as well as possible extensive dental treatment in the future.
In our office we use digital x-ray equipment. Using this technology enables the images to be saved on the computer so viewing is immediate. This alleviates the wait time for “developing” the x-rays and digital x-rays reduce the radiation exposure to the patient by close to 80%!
The frequency of dental x-rays is dependent on the individual patient. Dental professionals take into consideration the patient’s health history, their medical history including medications they are currently taking, and the clinical condition of their mouth. Do they have current decay, root exposure or multiple filled surfaces? All of these factor in to how often you will need to have dental x-rays taken. While in our care, we will consider the situation and assess whether an x-ray is necessary to diagnose and treat a tooth. Your health and well- being is always our top priority.
So the next time you need to have dental x-rays taken, remember that they are a necessary diagnostic tool important for the overall health of your mouth and teeth!
Eating a healthy diet is not only good for our general health but is beneficial for our dental health as well. Let’s take a look at some of the vitamins and minerals that we consume on a daily basis and see why they are so important for keeping our mouths in tip top shape.
Two of the most common oral health problems caused by poor eating habits are tooth decay (caries or cavities) and periodontal (gum) disease. Deficiencies in vitamins and minerals can lead to both these conditions.
Vitamin A – Vitamin A’s job is to maintain healthy saliva flow which washes away harmful bacteria. It also promotes healing after dental surgery. Good sources of Vitamin A include sweet potatoes, carrots, dark green leafy vegetable and squash.
Vitamin B – These vitamins- B, B2, B3 & B12 help nervous system function which in turn helps your body convert food to energy. A deficiency of any of the “B” vitamins can affect your oral health by causing bad breath or mouth sores, better known as canker sores. Good sources of Vit B are liver, fish, bran & red meat.
Vitamin D – Vitamin D helps our bodies absorb calcium, a much needed mineral to keep our jaws and teeth strong. Good sources of Vit D are not only milk and cheese but also spinach, kale & tuna. Also recommended is a little sunshine (20 minutes a day) but don’t forget your sunscreen!
Zinc-This mineral helps prevent the build-up of plaque along the gum line. Consuming Zinc in our diet, combined with good tooth brushing techniques will help keep the plaque to a minimum. Good sources of this mineral include wheat germ, seafood, beef & spinach.
Magnesium – Magnesium is essential for building strong enamel and preventing cavity formation. Spinach, kale, fish, beans & lentils are good sources of this mineral.
Use this information to make better food choices and eat a variety of healthy foods. This is essential to your overall health. Keep in mind the foods we eat play an important role not only in the condition of our general health but in our dental health as well!
If your upcoming dental appointment is creating anxiety or fear you are not alone! According to some estimates 20% of Americans avoid seeing the dentist because of these specific feelings. That’s about 30 – 40 million people! People often use the words “anxiety” or “phobia” when speaking about the dentist. These two words, although sometimes used interchangeably, actually have very different meanings. Dental “anxiety” is a sense of uneasiness when it is time for your dental appointment. Dental “phobia” is a more serious condition wherein patients anticipating a dental appointment experience intense fear and even panic. Whether you suffer from the less disabling “anxiety” or the more serious condition of dental “phobia,” visiting your dentist under either of these circumstances can be a very uncomfortable experience.
At Khajavi DDS, we realize there are patients who truly suffer from these fears. There are many reasons why patients manifest these symptoms. They could have a fear of the unknown, a fear of needles, a negative or traumatic past dental experience, embarrassment for neglecting their oral health or simply a fear of choking. Each of these can potentially keep the patient from receiving the proper and necessary dental treatment they need. As we all know, avoiding dental treatment can lead to serious dental complications in the future. So, what’s the solution?
One of the most effective ways to address these problems is to find a dentist that you feel comfortable with. Most dentists are trained to support patients who suffer from anxiety, fear and stress. Khajavi DDS begins by building a relationship with the patient through a thorough consultation appointment. This is important for both the patient’s comfort and for the dentist to get to know the patient before any treatment begins. Patients are encouraged to ask detailed questions about the dental treatment needed and we believe it is our professional obligation to make sure each patient understands each step of whatever procedures will be performed. In most cases, this initial appointment helps relieve some of the dental anxiety that the patient may be feeling.
Distraction techniques are another very effective solution. Many patients reduce their anxiety levels and fear by listening to their favorite music. This not only helps some patients relax but also “tunes out” some of the trigger noises that set patients nerves on edge. We all have a very clear memory of the sound made by a dental drill being used to prepare a tooth to be filled. At our office, we have provided TV’s with full cable channel selections that can be viewed from our comfortable reclining dental chairs. This is another nice distraction for those who would like to take their mind off having dental work performed. For those highly anxious patients, nitrous oxide sedation is available. In extreme cases a general anesthetic administered by a medical doctor specializing in anesthesiology may be used. And a very simple way to relieve much of the stress experienced during any dental procedure is establishing a “signal”, such as raising your hand, for use when you want the dentist to pause whatever function is being performed. This arrangement gives the patient more control over the process. Knowing you can stop the procedure any time you want lessens the anxiety level associated with treatment. These signals may be used when you are uncomfortable, need to rest your mouth or simply need to catch your breath.
So next time you see a dental appointment on your calendar and start feeling a bit anxious and apprehensive remember, your dental health is extremely important and your dentist is there to not only provide the treatment necessary to maintain your dental health, but to do so in such a way as to avoid the traditional trauma historically associated with visits to the dentist. We may even be able to make your trip to the dentist an experience you’ll look forward to and not dread. Well, at least we can eliminate the “dread” part! So come on in, we’ll warm up the T.V. and turn on the soft music for you!
Dentistry today offers many preventive procedures that help keep our patients’ dental health at its best. By encouraging routine dental check-ups and x-ray exams, daily brushing, flossing, and regular fluoride treatments for children and adults that are cavity prone, we here at Khajavi DDS strive to do all we can to boost our patients dental health. One of the ways this goal can be achieved is by including dental sealants into our treatment plans.
Dental sealants are a preventive measure used to protect tooth surfaces that are susceptible to decay. In the molar region of a patient’s mouth (molars are the “back teeth” where most of our chewing takes place) the portion of the tooth used for chewing is relatively rough and filled with pits and fissures. Food and other debris get caught in these irregularities and when combined with the bacteria in your mouth this starts the decay process.
Dental sealant placement is a quick and painless procedure. After the target tooth is cleaned, a gel is applied to the chewing surface and then washed off. The tooth is then dried completely and the plastic sealant material is “painted” on the tooth surface making sure that the material flows into the grooves of the tooth. It takes about a minute for the material to harden with the help of a light cure. The “occlusal” surface of your tooth is the portion used for chewing your food. Applying the dental sealant to these areas does not diminish the chewing effectiveness of the tooth, but it does make these surfaces far easier to clean during your regular brushings and helps prevent decay from developing in these areas.
We know that fluoride helps prevent decay and helps protect our enamel from possible decay. Dental sealants go one step further. They provide extra protection for the teeth by covering the pits and fissures and therefor stopping food from getting lodged in these grooves.
Dental sealants have proven to be a safe and cost-effective dental procedure for patients prone to cavities. Children and teenagers are prime candidates for this treatment because their brushing habits are frequently not up to par. Adults that are susceptible to decay or have very deep grooves in their teeth will also benefit greatly from dental sealant placement.
Dental sealants can last as long as 5 – 10 years and should be checked routinely during your regular dental check-up. They are a covered benefit by most dental insurance plans, but it is always a good idea to check your specific dental plan prior to treatment.
If you are looking for a minimally invasive, safe and effective way to prevent or reduce tooth decay, dental sealants should be considered!
There are times when your dentist may suggest a patient take antibiotics before certain dental procedures. But do we know why the dentist would be asking a patient to do this?
We all have bacteria in our mouths. No matter how meticulous we are with our brushing, flossing, rinsing and oral hygiene, the bacteria are still present. When these bacteria enter the bloodstream through the gum tissue it is called “bacteremia.” This can occur while we are performing our daily oral hygiene routines but more likely happens upon having invasive dental work performed such as dental cleanings, deep tissue cleanings, extractions and any procedure that can involve the bleeding of the gums. For most of us this does not pose a problem because a healthy immune system prevents these bacteria from causing harm. However, for some patients who may have a compromised immune system, these bacteria can cause infection elsewhere in the body.
The American Heart Association has guidelines identifying patients who they recommend needing antibiotic prophylactic treatment prior to their dental procedure. Any type of “heart” issue is one the conditions requiring a patient to take a dose of antibiotics before their dental appointment. This may include artificial heart valves, previous heart transplant, any history of infection in the lining of the heart, heart conditions that have been present since birth and shunts or other prosthetic material.
Also included in antibiotic prophylaxis guidelines are those patients who have orthopedic implants such as artificial joints including hip and knee replacements. The American Dental Association and the American Association of Orthopedic Surgery work closely together to frequently update their recommendations for these types of conditions. Currently, they no longer recommend antibiotics for everyone with artificial joints. The current guidelines suggest that a thorough health history is necessary for your healthcare provider to assess whether or not antibiotic prophylaxis is necessary. A patient with a compromised immune system due to diabetes, arthritis, cancer, chemotherapy or steroid use is likely to be a good candidate for a dose of antibiotics prior to dental treatment to reduce the risk of orthopedic implant infection. These guidelines are re-evaluated every few years to make sure they are based on the best scientific evidence available.
Penicillin is the antibiotic of choice for patients needing antibiotic prophylaxis prior to dental care. However, if the patient is allergic to Penicillin, Clindamycin would be prescribed.
Hopefully this information is helpful in understanding the need for antibiotic prophylaxis. Whether it is for a heart condition or any type of artificial replacement in your body, taking a dose of prescribed antibiotics prior to your dental appointment can keep the rest of your body healthy too!
What can be found in 99.9% of household’s around America?
Probably many things, but the answer I’m looking for is toothpaste! Yes, we all have it and use it on a daily basis . . . . hopefully! But have you noticed just how many different types of toothpastes are on the market these days?
There are toothpastes for sensitive teeth, for tarter control, and for cavity protection. They come in green, blue, red and even striped. There are toothpaste especially for smokers and herbal toothpaste (maybe for those “hippies” who are still with us!). So how does one choose what to use?
Basically it boils down to preference---what you prefer in flavor or consistency (gel or paste) and what your “toothpaste” goal is. Many of you may not give a second thought to what toothpaste you purchase. If it’s on sale or you have a coupon or you like the color, that’s the one. That works most of the time, however, some toothpastes are designed to address special conditions, and are very beneficial to your dental health.
A patient who has very sensitive teeth will benefit from using toothpaste made especially for sensitivity. These toothpastes have additional ingredients in them that over time and with continual use coat the enamel of your teeth with a thin layer of protection reducing sensitivity and avoiding the discomfort that is caused by this condition.
Children’s toothpastes not only come in yummy, fun flavors to encourage brushing, they usually contain less fluoride, to reduce the risk posed by children ingesting too much fluoride (some children think toothpaste is a food to be swallowed!) They are also formulated to contain abrasives that are less harsh than those used in adult toothpaste.
Toothpaste designed for those who smoke or chew tobacco contain harsher abrasives. The use of tobacco, whether it be smoking or chewing, stains teeth and the harsher abrasives are needed to remove these stains. This type of toothpaste can be harmful to the tooth’s enamel and should not be used on a daily basis.
Herbal toothpastes are becoming more
and more popular. Patients buying herbal toothpaste may be sensitive to
some of the ingredients in regular toothpaste and choose to opt for the gentler product
Tarter control toothpaste is a popular toothpaste for those of us that tend to “produce” a lot of tarter. This usually occurs in patients whose saliva is more on the acidic side. This is part of their chemical make-up and can’t be changed so this specific toothpaste does help reduce the amount of tarter that forms on the teeth. Another benefit is that the tarter is softer and easier for the dentist/hygienist to remove at your cleaning appointments!
And let’s not forget cavity protection toothpastes which contain small amounts of fluoride safe for use by adults.So, when choosing a tube of toothpaste on your next shopping trip, you may want to consider “customizing” your purchase to benefit the specific needs of each of your family members.
The exact origin of the dental mouthguard is unclear. Most believe the concept of a mouthguard originated in the sport of boxing dating back to the late 1800’s. Boxers created “mouthguards” out of cotton, sponges, tape and even pieces of wood. They would then clench the apparatus between their teeth to prevent injury. But it was not until the early 1930’s that dental literature started mentioning the “dental nightguard.”
The nightguard has evolved greatly since the archaic original version. Today nightguards are not only used for sports purposes but are commonly used in dental practice to correct dental issues due to grinding or clenching of teeth. The high-intensity contractions of the powerful muscles of the face cause pain to surrounding tissues, joints and other muscles. By reducing the intensity of the clenching, we can minimize the source of pain to the patient.
Most people do not realize they grind or clench their teeth while sleeping. Many will even deny that this is occurring. But, once awake, they often have facial pain, ear aches, jaw pain, headaches or sensitive teeth. The teeth start showing signs of stress in the form of fractures, cracks, worn down teeth or tooth enamel erosion or wear which your dentist will observe upon exam. A dental nightguard provides relief from these problems and stops further mouth and jaw damage.
There are basically two types of dental nightguards: custom and over the counter. A custom nightguard is made in your dental office and is more effective because it is designed specifically for your mouth. This is accomplished by taking impressions of your teeth and the nightguard is fabricated to fit these exact specifications. These nightguards offer a tight, snug fit over the upper teeth and are usually worn at night while sleeping. There are instances, such as if you wear braces or have a fixed dental appliance already in your mouth, that your dentist will make a nightguard for the lower teeth as well.
The second type of nightguard is the over-the-counter type. This “one size fits all” does not match up exactly with your teeth. They are often worn for sports and usually must be boiled in hot water before use so the plastic becomes pliable enough to fit over your upper and lower teeth. Biting down on the hot appliance creates the impression for your teeth. When the plastic hardens the nightguard matches the alignment of your teeth. This type of nightguard does not offer the snug fit of a custom made mouthguard, and may not be as comfortable or effective for people with severe grinding or clenching issues.
Some of the reasons people may be grinding or clenching their teeth include stress and anxiety, suppressed anger, missing or crooked teeth and misaligned or abnormal bite. Teeth grinding and clenching can also occur in people who have Parkinson’s disease. Also, young children may grind their teeth as their teeth and jaws are developing.
So, if you happen to find yourself waking up in the morning with a headache or pain in your jaw or your dentist notices wear and tear on your teeth, there may be an easy fix to relieve that pain - a dental nightguard!
Bad Breath Stinks
Bad breath, otherwise known as “Halitosis” is not only a nuisance but can be quite embarrassing! According to Andrew Spielman, DMD, Phd, associate dean and professor at NYU College, “50% of the adult population has bad breath at one point or another, and just about everyone has it in the morning!” Unfortunately, many people do not even realize that others are experiencing “their” bad breath! We purchase endless amounts of gum, mints, mouth rinses and other products designed to fight bad breath, but many of these products are only a temporary fix because they do not address the cause of the problem. Let’s take a look at some of the common causes of Halitosis.
Poor oral hygiene is one of the top causes of bad breath. Bacteria hide out on the tongue which works like Velcro to trap bad odors. Proper home care, that includes daily brushing (tongue included) and flossing, helps minimize bacteria and reduces the amount of food particles left in the mouth. Regular dental cleanings to remove plaque and tarter are also a critical part of keeping your mouth healthy; thus less bad breath caused from gum disease.
Foods we eat are another culprit. Garlic, onions, spices, some cheeses and fish are all guilty of causing smelly breath. Most of the time this is short term, as long as the residue from these foods is properly brushed and flossed away. The amount of saliva we produce also affects our breath. Saliva is a vital part of the digestion process and too little can limit the breakdown of the foods we ingest. What may be surprising to some is that after you digest these foods, they enter your bloodstream, are carried to your lungs and can again become the cause of bad breath!
Medical disorders are also linked to Halitosis. Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, lactose intolerance and GERD (acid reflux) may affect our breath. Respiratory illnesses like pneumonia and bronchitis play a role too. Certain prescription medications, over the counter medications and some vitamin supplements including fish oil can also contribute to this annoying problem. Many of these have a tendency to cause dry mouth, and as stated before saliva is vital to the cleansing of the mouth.
Lastly, tobacco products cause havoc with our breath. Not only are these products unhealthful to the tissues of the oral cavity and leave stains on our teeth, they also leave a chemical residue that significantly alters the smell of our breath.
Bottom-line, we all experience bad breath at one time or another. Being aware of its causes and the steps that can be taken to reduce its symptoms is a step in the right direction for fresh breath.
These days, the choices for cosmetic dentistry have blossomed! Dental procedures are much easier and quicker with better results than in years past. Let’s take a look at some of the cosmetic procedures available to the dental patient today.
Teeth whitening, or bleaching is one of the top cosmetic procedures performed today in dentistry. Starting back in the late 1980’s, dentists started prescribing home-applied bleaching (tray bleaching) and other products and techniques for tooth bleaching that could be applied both in the dental office and home. The tooth whitening market has evolved since that time. Today we have professionally applied laser treatments performed in the dental office, dentist-prescribed/dispensed patient home-use whitening kits, over the counter whitening agents purchased by the consumer including whitening agents added to toothpastes and mouth rinses and often bleaching materials given to the dental patient after in-office laser bleaching has been performed! So many options since “bleaching” was introduced years ago.
Dental implants are another cosmetic procedure that can be performed in today’s dentistry. Believe it or not, the first dental implants date back as far as 600 AD among the Mayan culture in South America. Back then, shells, ivory, and animal bones were pounded into the jaw to try and replicate the look and function of a missing tooth – ouch! Thankfully, the procedure and placement of dental implants has come a long way since then! Today, implants are an effective and popular way to replace missing teeth and are an excellent long-term solution for restoring your smile.
Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. Posts are surgically placed in the jaw where they function as a sturdy anchor for a replacement tooth. Next, the bone around the implant heals, a process call “osseointegration” which means “combines with bone.” The time table for this process to occur depends on the individual patient; usually within six months. Lastly, an artificial tooth, called a crown, is placed over the implant and resembles the natural shape, color and size of the missing tooth.
Dental bonding and Porcelain veneers are two other examples of cosmetic dentistry performed in the dental office. Although very different procedures, they both have the same goal of restoring or improving your smile. Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth colored resin material is applied and hardened with a special light, which “bonds” the material to the tooth. These “bondings” can be applied for repairing chipped or cracked teeth, to improve discolored teeth, to change the shape of a tooth and also to protect a portion of the tooth’s root that has been exposed when the gums have receded.
Porcelain veneers, on the other hand cover the entire front surface of a tooth. They are composed of a wafer-thin shell of porcelain that is bonded onto the front side of a tooth to create a cosmetic change due to discolored, worn, chipped or misaligned teeth. This procedure creates a very “life-like” appearance when cosmetic changes are requested by the patient.
As you can see, they are many options open to patients in dentistry today who wish to change the appearance of their smile. Finding the “right” cosmetic procedure for you has never been easier!
“What’s My Line?”
There are many specialists in the field of dentistry. Each one performs specific duties to help your oral health. At Khajavi DDS we are fortunate enough to have specialists working under the same roof! Let’s take a closer look at their specific duties.
The Periodontist specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of periodontal diseases (gum diseases) and oral inflammation and also placement and maintenance of dental implants. In addition to implant placement, Periodontists perform gum surgery which may involve treating the bones that support the gums and provide patient education to prevent further gum disease.
The Endodontist specializes in treating the soft tissues found inside the tooth. When you hear the dreaded words “root canal” you may be visiting an Endodontist soon. There are many general dentists that perform their own root canal treatments but if there are any complex or special circumstances regarding the tooth that needs the root canal therapy an Endodontist will most likely be called.
Then we have the “braces doctor”. As parents, most of us have visited the Orthodontist! This is thedoctor who specializes in improving their patients' smile by straightening the teeth, closing gaps and correcting bites by guiding misaligned jaws. This treatment will improve the long-term health of the gums and teeth and prevent long-term excessive wear or trauma of the teeth. Customized treatment plans are tailored to treat each individual patient based on his or her dental needs.
A TMJ specialist (Temporal Mandibular Joint) specializes in the problems or symptoms relating to the chewing muscles and joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull. There two matching joints are located on each side of your head, just in front of your ears and are called the temporal mandibular joints. Hence, the abbreviation TMJ. If you have ever experienced pain in this joint, you will never forget it! There are many causes for pain in this region. Some include stress & tooth grinding, malocclusion,a condition wherein the upper and lower teeth do not align properly when biting or chewing. Arthritis, fractures and dislocations can also cause TMJ pain. Patients suffering from problems in these joints may experience jaw pain or tenderness, clicking or popping of the jaw, locking of the jaw, earaches, headaches and difficulty opening their mouth.
Lastly, the Oral Surgeon, better known as an Oral Maxillofacial Surgeon specializes in treating conditions, injuries, and defects of the mouth, teeth, jaws and face. Some procedures performed by an oral surgeon include the infamous wisdom teeth extractions, surgical correction of misaligned jaws, treating accident victims with facial injuries and dental implant surgery. Also, these specialists will care for patients with tumors and cysts located in the jaws.
Hopefully taking a closer look at the specific specialists practicing at Khajavi DDS will help you stay informed and keep you up to date. These specialists, along with your general dentist, are here to provide the best possible dental care for you as a patient!