Signature Dental

10 Common Dental Emergencies and First Aid

There’s nothing worse than realizing something is wrong in your mouth. This is partly because it’s really difficult to examine it for yourself.  As a layperson, it’s often difficult to know whether the problem is a dental emergency or something you can take care of yourself.  Often, you can help alleviate your symptoms with some at-home first aid remedies. Other times, you should call your dentist immediately.

To help you determine what action you should take, here are 10 common dental emergencies:

1. You Fell and Injured Your Mouth

If you are over the age of 10 and have all your adult teeth, you should never experience loose teeth.  If you’ve fallen or had an accident, your tooth or several teeth may become loose.  In this case when you’ve experienced trauma, you should call your dentist immediately. In fact, you should go to the emergency room if you’ve experienced a fall.  On the way to the ER contact your dentist and explain what has happened.  Ask if they can meet you at the ER.  It is a good idea to ask your dentist to check and make sure your jaw isn’t broken. This may be overlooked in the ER.

2. Tooth Knocked Out

If your tooth gets knocked out, do NOT touch it by the roots.  Instead, pick the tooth up by the other side (the one you chew on) and do so very carefully. If at all possible, try to place your tooth back inside its socket.  It is important to make sure you position your tooth back into the socket the correct way. You don’t want to place it in your mouth backward.  If you can’t position it back in the socket, that’s okay.  Put the tooth in a glass of milk and take it with you.  If there’s no milk available, gently place your tooth in your mouth between your teeth and your gums. Your tooth must remain moist.  It is important to call your dentist immediately. A knocked out tooth should be positioned back in your mouth within 30 minutes.

3. Pain

Common dental emergencies all cause some degree of pain or discomfort. The extent of pain and discomfort determine the difference on how you should handle it.  If you experience pain when you bite down, it could mean a cracked tooth or it could be the result of you grinding your teeth.  However, this can also be a sign that you have an abscess.  If the pain is minimal, then take some Tylenol for the pain to reduce swelling.  You can also use an ice pack on the sensitive area.  You should contact your dentist within a week to have everything checked out. If you suspect a cracked tooth, don’t chew or bite on it until you see your dentist.  If you’re experiencing extreme pain, then call your dentist or visit the ER immediately.

4. Infections

Infections are not going to go away on their own.  It’s a sign that something is seriously wrong with your body.  If you think you have a dental infection, call your dentist immediately. You can also take some over-the-counter medications like Tylenol to help alleviate the pain.

5. Tooth Sensitivity

Some people are sensitive to extreme temperatures. They bite into an ice cream cone and all of a sudden, they feel extreme sensations.  The same is true when they ingest hot beverages or certain foods. While tooth sensitivity isn’t an emergency, it should be examined as soon as possible to make sure there’s nothing more serious.  In the meantime, you can buy an over-the-counter toothpaste that helps reduce sensitivity.

6. Mouth Sores

There are a variety of common dental emergencies that are considered mouth sores.  They can range from canker sores to food, hand, and mouth disease. However, a sore in your mouth can also be a sign of gum disease.  While mouth sores are not life-threatening, they can be painful.  If you’re experiencing pain due to a mouth sore, try taking some Tylenol. You can also wash your mouth out with hydrogen peroxide. It’s a natural mouthwash and will kill any germs. Don’t swallow any of it, though.  There are some over-the-counter pain remedies you can find at your local pharmacy.  Contact your dentist and schedule an appointment if you notice the sore isn’t healing properly or if it gets progressively worse.

7. Abscessed Gums

While abscessed gums are a common type of dental emergency, they actually don’t look like it at first.  In fact, a gum abscess looks like a pimple. It could be yellow, red, clear, or whitish, and you’ll find it located on your gum.  An abscess usually means your tooth or gums are infected, which results in a root canal or an extraction.  It is important to call your dentist immediately. Do NOT pop your abscess.  It’s not a pimple.  You should keep brushing and flossing the area until you are able to visit the dentist.

8. Broken Teeth

A broken tooth is annoying but usually not life-threatening. However, it all depends on how your tooth was broken and how much broke off.  If it’s only a slight chip, there’s nothing to be too concerned about. Schedule an appointment with your dentist at your earliest convenience.  If it’s a large break and especially if you’re in pain, contact your dentist immediately.

9. Bleeding

Bleeding in your oral cavity should not be taken lightly. If you see blood on your dental floss, it’s usually an early sign of gum disease or gingivitis. While not an emergency, it should be examined sooner rather than later to prevent further problems. However, blood in your saliva might indicate an advanced stage of cancer or an extremely advanced stage of gum disease.  Bleeding from the mouth isn’t normal. Even if you’ve had a tooth extracted, bleeding that won’t stop is a problem!  Keep your head elevated and call your dentist right away.

10. Swelling

While swelling is one of the more common dental emergencies, it’s never a good sign.  It could indicate you have a serious dental infection. It’s safe to bet that it won’t heal on its own.  If you are experiencing swelling, do not wait. Contact your dentist right away.  Stay upright and do not lie flat until after you visit the dentist. You should also drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

Take Care of Your Mouth

Unlike sharks’ teeth, our teeth aren’t replaceable.  It is critical to maintain a healthy diet and drink plenty of water.  You should always brush your teeth at least twice per day and don’t forget to floss.

It is important to schedule your dental exams regularly for cleanings.  Signature Dental is equipped to handle a variety of dental emergencies. We encourage you to contact our Beverly Hills office with any dental emergencies or questions!

Tags: , ,

Are You Going To Need Dentures?

Did you know that this year in the United States alone, the number of adults expected to be wearing dentures is a whopping 37.9 million? That’s about 4.3 million more people than just 30 years ago!

So, you’re not alone if you think you may be headed down that path. Even people that take great care of their teeth sometimes end up requiring dentures, simply due to the many years of wear and tear.

To help you recognize if you may need dentures – now or in the near future – we’ve provided the top five warning signs that you may require dentures.

Note, if you’re currently experiencing warning signs #1, #2 or #3, it may not be too late to save your teeth, assuming you visit a dental provider in a timely manner. However, if you’re experiencing warning signs #4 or #5, it may be too late. Regardless, we’d strongly urge you to schedule a consultation with your dentist right away, as there is still some opportunity available for preserving your valuable teeth.

Warning Sign #1: Severe Toothaches

The first and most prominent denture warning sign is a painful toothache that won’t go away. This type of nagging toothache could indicate that tooth decay is occurring and has already made its way to your nerve. At this stage, a routine root canal could save the tooth. However, if the decay is too excessive, you’ll need a dental implant or partial denture. So, it is important to promptly visit your dentist if you are experiencing any tooth discomfort. It may be the difference between saving your original teeth or requiring dentures.

Warning Sign #2: Inflammation and Bleeding of the Gums

A fundamental rule of thumb for preserving optimal oral health – When you feel sensitivity or have bleeding gums, make an appointment with your dentist right away! It’s always better to detect and address the issue in its early stages. If left untreated, that inflammation can progress from the beginning stages of gingivitis to severe periodontal disease. Once you experience periodontal disease, bone loss around your teeth begins to occur. Unfortunately, this ultimately leads to the loss of teeth and the need for dentures.

Warning Sign #3: You’re Having Trouble Eating Hard or Chewy Foods

If you experience severe pain when eating hard or chewy foods, it may indicate a cracked tooth, cavities, or gum disease. It’s always important to promptly address these matters with your dentist and they can take any needed action to preserve your teeth. Your dentist will often recommend root canal treatment, then placing a crown on the tooth to prevent further decay. In addition to eliminating the cause of your pain, you’ll often get to maintain your original teeth and preserve strong bone density.

Warning Sign #4: Loose or Shifting Teeth

Once your teeth start to shift or become loose, it typically means bone loss around the teeth has already started. If this is occurring, your dentist will need to examine your teeth as soon as possible to determine if they can be saved or if they will need to be extracted. Once a tooth is removed, there is no good option for keeping it. It is also important to note that this bone loss can cause a myriad of other issues, including the reshaping of the jawbone.

Warning Sign #5: Tooth Loss

While a loose tooth should certainly motivate you to visit your dentist ASAP, a tooth that has fallen out should prompt even more immediate action. Unfortunately, due to the misconception that tooth loss is not a significant issue as long as you can still chew properly, recent statistics show that nearly 19% of adults aged 65 and over were edentulous (had complete tooth loss). It is important to understand that besides further bone loss occurring in the jawbone, the fewer teeth you have doing all the work, the higher the chance of losing more teeth. The remaining teeth often take on too much-added pressure, causing them to fall out as well.

Conclusion

While our dental team believes in taking all the necessary actions to preserve your original teeth, it’s sometimes too late and dentures are required. If you are currently experiencing any of the above warning signs, we advise you to contact us today to make an appointment. Whether taking preventative actions or providing you with denture treatment options, we’re here for you every step of the way.

Tags: ,

Why A Smile Makeover Can Dramatically Change Your life

What is the most powerful and profound facial expression of all time? The one expression that transcends all cultures while simultaneously bringing positivity to yourself and those around you.

It’s the humble Smile!

Even though there are drastic differences between the many cultures around the world, psychologists have discovered that the smile transcends them all. When we smile, it signals friendliness, openness to engaging, and an interest in people.

3 Facts About Having a Nice Smile

  • Smiling Improves Your Relationship Prospects. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99.7% of the population perceives a “smile” as an essential social asset. Those who have a great smile are seen as more attractive, happier, engaging, and more appealing.
  • Your Smile can Have an Impact on Your Career. Surveys reveal that smiling can impact how far you’ll go up the career ladder. While smiling does not correlate with your work itself, those that have a great smile are perceived as smarter and more successful.
  • Smiling Makes You Feel Good. Literally. When you smile, your body releases feel-good neurotransmitters like dopamine, endorphins, and serotonin.

So what do you do if you are dissatisfied with your Smile?

Not being comfortable with your smile will ultimately diminish how frequently you do smile. Fortunately, there are many ways you can quickly and easily improve your smile through cosmetic dentistry.

5 Ways Cosmetic Dentistry Can Upgrade Your Smile

  1. Crooked Teeth. Using Invisalign or conventional braces, misaligned teeth will be straightened to perfection.
  2. Repair Chipped or Broken Teeth. You can transform your smile into one you enjoy showing off with the aid of cosmetic bonding, porcelain veneers, caps, and porcelain crowns.
  3. Missing Teeth or Gaps can be Fixed. Large spaces between your teeth can cause functional problems on top of being unattractive. Solutions include dental implants, a dental bridge, dentures, or porcelain veneers.
  4. Brightening Your Smile. If you are not satisfied with the brightness of your teeth, you can effortlessly get professional teeth whitening.
  5. Increasing the Fullness of Lips and Reducing Wrinkles. Adding thickness to your teeth with the application of veneers actually pushes out the natural lip curve, creating a more rounded, supple shape while reducing wrinkles at the corners of the mouth.


Contact Us

Whether you want to be in the movies or simply bring more joy to yourself and those around you, we assure you that a visit to our dental office is the first step in obtaining a smile you can be proud of. We hope that you’ll give us a call today and take a step towards brightening the world with your new-found smile.

Tags: ,

5 Dental Myths

Even though our dental team enjoys working with teeth on a daily basis and looks forward to taking care of our patient’s oral health, most people don’t rank going to the dentist at the top of the fun list. However, sometimes the reasons people don’t come in for check-ups are due to preconceived dental myths. Let’s examine five of the most common myths.

Myth 1: My Teeth Feel Fine, So Why Do I Need to Go to the Dentist?

Skipping regular dental check-ups because you are not experiencing any apparent problems or any discomfort can be a recipe for trouble. By addressing dental related problems before they develop into a more significant issue, you will save unnecessary dental expenses and avoid painful dental conditions. It is important to keep in mind that your dentist is the first line of defense against oral health issues.

Myth 2: Oral Health is Not Connected to My Overall Health

Your oral health is absolutely connected to your systemic (overall) health. The mouth is not an isolated ecosystem, but an integral part of the immune system. A mouth with severe tooth decay and periodontal disease is more likely to cause bacteria, which then, in turn, can enter into the bloodstream. When this occurs, it can result in other health issues. Studies have found a link between periodontal disease and heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and more.

Myth 3: Going to the Dentist is Painful

Dentistry has changed a lot over the past few decades. Today’s dental visits are typically uneventful and pain-free. If you maintain routine dental visits, you can often prevent more significant dental conditions. If you haven’t visited a dentist in years and are concerned, you can rest assured that new dental technology, developments in anesthetics and analgesics, and more conservative dental procedures have made visits to the dentist office a more comfortable, enjoyable experience.

Myth 4: You Don’t Need to Take Your Child to the Dentist Until They Have Their Adult Teeth

Baby teeth are very important! As soon as your child has teeth, they can (and should) be seen by the dentist. Baby teeth provide the necessary space for permanent teeth to develop properly. Cavities in baby teeth can cause tooth loss much earlier than is natural.

Myth 5: Bleeding Gums are Normal

No! If your gums are bleeding, then something is wrong. Unless you’re scrubbing your teeth with a toothbrush that is too hard, healthy gums shouldn’t bleed when you brush or floss. If your gums do bleed, you may be experiencing the beginning stages of gum disease. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in the United States, so if you find yourself looking at pink in the sink after you brush, make an appointment to see your dentist ASAP!

If you have any other concerns about coming in for a check-up or want to discuss a potential myth you heard about, please don’t hesitate to give us a call. We’d be glad to address all of your questions. We are here for you!

Tags: ,

Detecting Oral Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2020 about 53,260 people will get oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer, and an estimated 10,750 people will die from these diseases. If you think the mortality rate is high, you wouldn’t be wrong. However, this is not because oral cancer is hard to detect or diagnose, but because it is often discovered late in its development.

That is why regular dental visits are more important than just maintaining a pearly white smile. Dentists are highly trained and experienced in recognizing diseases of the mouth, such as oral cancer, and can immediately detect and diagnose you. They are your first line of defense against this disease.

With that said, you play an important role in early detection as well. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, you should be performing this 6-step oral cancer self-exam every month.

6-Step Oral Cancer Self-Exam

Using a bright light and a mirror:

  • Remove any dentures
  • Look and feel inside your lips and the front of your gums
  • Tilt your head back to inspect and feel the roof of your mouth
  • Pull your cheek out to inspect it and the gums in the back
  • Pull out your tongue and look at its top and bottom
  • Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes (glands) on both sides of your neck, including under the lower jaw

Be on the lookout for anything suspicious, like:

  • White patches of the oral tissues (leukoplakia)
  • Red patches (erythroplakia)
  • Red and white patches (erythroleukoplakia)
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • An abnormal lump or thickening of the tissues of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing
  • A mass or lump in the neck

Should you discover any of these signs, we encourage you to promptly call us to make an appointment for an examination. People have an 80-90% survival rate when oral cancer is diagnosed during the early stages of development. So the sooner the cancer is detected, the easier the treatment, and the higher the chance of a cure.

Tags: ,

How Your Dentist Can Help Relieve Minor Sleep Apnea

Sleep disorders, including sleep apnea, have become a significant health issue in the United States. According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, it is estimated that 22 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, with 80 percent of the cases of moderate and severe obstructive sleep apnea still undiagnosed.

When left untreated, sleep apnea can lead to a myriad of problems, such as high blood pressure, chronic heart failure, atrial fibrillation, strokes, and even traffic accidents (due to the persistent drowsiness from the chronic failure of not getting a good night’s sleep).

Is there a difference between snoring and sleep apnea?

The first step to effectively treating these conditions is understanding the differences between sleep apnea and snoring. For all those people across the country who are constantly getting nudged or elbowed throughout the night from annoyed bed partners, it’s important to understand what their snoring could mean.

Snoring

Snoring is the result of tissues in the throat relaxing to the point that they partially block the airway. This blockage causes vibration and, ultimately, the sound you hear when someone is snoring. Snoring can be caused due to being overweight, the position of sleep, and even lifestyle factors such as alcohol consumption (as alcohol relaxes your jaw and throat muscles).

Snoring once in a while isn’t usually a serious problem, but if you’re a long-term snorer, you may be hindering your quality of sleep.

When Snoring Could Mean Sleep Apnea

Loud, frequent snoring is one of the first indicators that you or a partner may have sleep apnea. You will also start to notice pauses in breathing or shallow breaths during sleep. When people with sleep apnea fall asleep, they can stop breathing for 10 seconds or more, even up to a minute! This pattern is often followed by gasping or choking, as the person starts to breathe again.

If you or your partner regularly snore loud, stop breathing, gasp or choke during sleep, experience excessive restlessness at night, or feel excessively sleepy during the day, you should definitely address it with your primary care doctor to determine whether a sleep study is necessary.

How Your Dentist Can Detect Signs of Sleep Apnea

In addition to loud snoring and gasping for breath, people with sleep apnea typically have the following issues:

  • Grind their teeth. Your dentist will be able to see excessive wear on the teeth
  • Cracked teeth. The pressure on the teeth by clenching your jaw may also cause cracks on the tooth surfaces.
  • Dry mouth or even a sore throat upon waking up.
  • Pain in the jaw or teeth.

If you’re not ready to schedule an appointment with your primary care doctor, you should at least ask your dentist for their expert opinion. They will be able to assess oral health cues that can possibly confirm your concern about sleep apnea. Your dentist will then be able to work with you and your doctor in order to provide you with the best treatment plan possible.

Dental Treatment For Minor Sleep Apnea Cases

One way your dentist can help treat minor sleep apnea is by providing you with a specially designed mouth guard that can be worn during sleep. This mouth guard keeps the jaw and tongue in a position where airflow is not obstructed.

Note, although you may be able to find commercially available mouthguards, it is recommended that you consult your dentist or doctor before using any dental device for snoring. This will ensure that you are not self-diagnosing sleep apnea and possibly overlooking other related serious medical condition(s).

It is also important to be aware that in more severe cases of sleep apnea, it will require a doctor’s help. Some advanced treatment options include surgery to correct the obstruction or using a device called a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) system.

First Step is to Get Evaluated

If undiagnosed or untreated for a long period of time, sleep apnea can result in a number of serious health problems. If you think you or a partner may be suffering from sleep apnea, we’d encourage you to call us to schedule a time for a dental sleep apnea evaluation. We can assist with your initial assessment and guide you onto a path to improved sleep and overall health!

 

Tags: ,

The Benefits of Having Straighter Teeth

You already know that having a straighter, brighter smile will improve your overall physical appearance, but straightening your teeth can do so much more for your health than simply giving you better-looking selfies. Straighter teeth can also improve your overall health as well.

Let’s examine six unexpected benefits of straight teeth:

Straight Teeth are Easier to Clean

Crowded or crooked teeth can be much trickier to clean properly, as it can be harder for your toothbrush to cover all of your teeth’s surface areas. In addition, flossing between overlapped teeth can be very difficult. Both of these factors could lead to the accumulation of unwanted plaque and bacteria, eventually causing decay, gum inflammation or even tooth loss. Straightening your teeth allows your oral routine to be more manageable and considerably reduces the chances of having any of these issues occur.

Improves Chewing

Misaligned teeth can cause difficulties with proper chewing. Straighter teeth will align your bite and will remove any gaps or overlaps that are present, therefore allowing you to fully chew your food down to a level where it is easier for your stomach to digest. Straighter teeth also allow for less food to be trapped in-between teeth and, in turn, fewer bacteria will build-up in those hard to reach areas. As an added perk, less food trapping and fewer bacteria build-ups provides you with fresher breath and can kick your sugar-free breath mint habit – which is often filled with unhealthy aspartame.

Speech Functions

In addition to chewing, straightening your teeth can improve your speech as well. Individuals with gapped or misaligned front teeth can often have awkward whistling noises when speaking, lisps or other speech hindrances. The use of orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth can facilitate clearer speech, which can tremendously benefit your self-confidence, your personal life, and even your career.

Healthier Gums

This one is fairly simple. When your teeth are straighter, your gums are healthier. Proper tooth alignment allows the gums to fit better around each tooth, which gives bacteria fewer places to hideout and thrive.

Prevents Premature Tooth Wear

A crowded mouth may cause teeth to rub against one another, especially when chewing. Over time, this can gradually wear down tooth enamel. Straighter teeth reduce the extra pressure placed on each tooth, preventing your teeth from wearing out prematurely.

For Improved Confidence and Happiness

Numerous studies have shown that having a straight smile is an important social asset and has a big impact on first impressions. Research also suggests that a better-looking smile increases confidence and even the amount of time you smile, which allows you to take advantage of all the health benefits smiling has to offer.

To learn more about the ways we help our patients get straighter smiles, please give us a call and we’d be happy to answer all of your questions!

Tags: ,

What are the Differences Between Dental Bonding and Veneers?

If you have a smile you don’t like due to teeth that are discolored, chipped, misaligned, uneven, or gapping, you probably find yourself refraining from showing your teeth. Perhaps you smile with closed lips or you cover your mouth when laughing. It is likely that you unintentionally walk around with an unfriendly, straight face. Do you realize that not being able to smile at your full potential can hurt your social life, as well as deprive you of some of the amazing benefits? Below are just a few of these benefits you may be missing out on.

5 Benefits of Smiling

  1. Your entire body relaxes when you smile.
  2. Smiling, even if forced, has been proven to immediately improve your mood.
  3. Smiling releases those feel-good endorphins.
  4. Smiling people are viewed as more attractive, sociable, and approachable.
  5. Smiling gives the illusion that you look younger than you actually are.
  6. And a whole lot more!


Two Ways to Easily Improve Your Smile

While there are many ways to improve your smile, two of the most popular methods are dental bonding and veneers. These are very similar dental cosmetic procedures, but they do have some important differences. Let’s take a look at each option.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a low cost and simple dental cosmetic procedure that is used to improve the appearance of heavily discolored or chipped teeth, lengthen teeth that are too short, and even close-in unwanted gaps.

After you and your dental provider select a shade of white that is right for you, your dentist will then etch and roughen each tooth with a special tool. This process is painless and does not require anesthesia. One at a time, the teeth are coated with a special bonding liquid and then with a resin. Before hardening the bonding liquid, the resin is molded to the ideal shape. Then, using a high-intensity light, the resin is hardened into place. If needed, further trimming and shaping are completed to perfect the appearance. Last, but not least, you’ll receive one last polish. You are finally ready to fully smile and enjoy all the benefits that come along with it.

Veneers

Dental veneers, like dental bonding, are also used to improve the appearance of your smile. However, veneers are custom-made, thin coatings that are typically comprised of porcelain. The material for veneers is hard from the very start, unlike with dental bonding, and may not be shaped after they are made.

At your first visit, a dental impression will be made of your teeth and then sent to a dental laboratory, where your new veneers will be made to fit your teeth. This process only takes 1-2 weeks. When your dentist is ready to apply your veneers, they will sculpt your existing tooth to make room for the veneer. This is a painless process and allows the final tooth thickness to look even and natural. With this final step completed, you permanently trade-in your natural teeth for porcelain veneers.

Choosing Between Bonding and Veneers

The decision to choose between dental bonding and veneers usually can be decided after reviewing these five significant factors…

  1. Cost: Bonding is more affordable than veneers.
  2. Durability: Veneers are far more durable than bonding; they won’t stain, chip, or break easily.
  3. Time: Bonding is a faster process.
  4. Permanency: Once you apply veneers, you cannot go back to your natural teeth.
  5. Appearance: Veneers have a nicer, subtle sheen to them; both options look natural.

If you are looking to smile with confidence, dental bonding and custom porcelain veneers are two great options to consider. To learn more about which option might be best for you, our dental team encourages you to give us a call and we’d be happy to address all of your questions.

 

Tags: ,

Our New Blog!

Our blog has recently been set up. Please check back soon!