Dental Implant vs Bridge: Single Tooth Replacement

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Dental Implant vs Bridge: Single Tooth Replacement

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For most patients missing a single tooth, a fixed (non removable) and natural looking replacement is the number one priority. Historically, dental bridges offered these results by crowning the teeth adjacent to the missing space and "bridging" it with a false tooth. However, the rise of dental implants has created new opportunities to restore missing teeth without needing to modify the neighboring dentition. The best choice for your mouth depends on a number of biological and cosmetic factors. Take a look!

Dental bridges are an excellent way to restore missing teeth without requiring surgery or implant placement. The most obvious drawback is that the adjacent teeth need to be modified to receive crowns to support the bridging tooth. However, if both teeth already have crowns or large fillings, a bridge can seem like a more attractive option. The biggest hesitation towards placing a bridge is when one of the neighboring teeth is completely healthy and free of any previous dental work. From a oral hygiene standpoint, bridging two teeth creates a potential food trap and an area that is difficult to floss. You will probably need to use floss threaders to clean under and around this area. Cosmetics are difficult to judge on bridges. The height of remaining soft tissue, space to be covered by the false tooth and angulation of adjacent teeth will all influence the final outcome. 

Likewise, implants allow dentists to restore missing teeth independently of neighboring teeth. In fact, an implant does not even need a tooth on both sides of it to be placed. This is why implants are the first choice for replacement when the last teeth in the dental arch are lost. Since an implant is placed surgically, cosmetics can be managed via bone remodeling and gum grafting. A well placed implant is indistinguishable from natural teeth. However, implants have a long healing time, typically requiring 6+ months from insertion to final crown placement. In the meantime, patients are provided with a temporary denture called a flipper if cosmetics are a concern. Another consideration with implants is bone height and health. There needs to be ample space and width for the implant to be placed without damaging nerves, blood vessels or sinuses. Not every patient will qualify for implant surgery. 

Deciding between an implant or a bridge is ultimately your choice. However, an exam and conversation with your dentist can alleviate concerns and help guide you towards the option that suits your needs best. If you would like to schedule an exam or consultation, please give our office a call today!

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Dental Questions: Are root canals painful?

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Dental Questions: Are root canals painful?

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If there was a ever a classic trope of bad dental experiences, it would certainly be the root canal. From cartoons to movies to TV shows, we are taught from a young age that root canals are the most painful of all dental procedures. Fortunately, this bad press is entirely undeserved. Root canal treatment offers relief from excruciating pain and a near instant improvement of symptomatic teeth!

For starters, a "root canal" is a dental procedure where the nerve inside the tooth is removed and replaced with sealing material. It is usually performed on a tooth with an infection (where the now-dead tissue is feeding bacteria) or with an inflamed nerve. In either circumstance, removing the internal nerve pulp and cleaning the inside of the tooth relieves symptoms of extreme pain and pressure. After performing a root canal, the tooth will most likely need a crown and/or post placement to add strength back to its structure. 

A root canal procedure will not be more painful than any other dental treatment. Endodontists (root canal specialists) require that the patient is completely numb so that there are no undue delays or interruptions to the root canal process. The most common complaint after receiving this therapy is a sore jaw from staying open for the duration of the procedure. In cases of extreme infection, some teeth may be difficult or impossible to fully anesthetize. In these cases, the endodontist may elect to use antibiotics or mild sedation to maximize the numbing effect. Either way, you will be completely comfortable for the entire appointment. 

If you have dental pain and think you might need a root canal, don't panic! Tooth pain comes from a number of different causes and requires a complete dental exam to diagnose. If you would like to schedule an appointment today, please give our office a call!

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Office Spotlight: Hygienist Kristi Villela

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Office Spotlight: Hygienist Kristi Villela

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

At Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry, our team is what makes the experience special! We are fortunate to work with a dedicated group of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and office staff that are passionate about excellent care. Hygienist Kristi Vilella represents this goal by providing expertise and friendly service at every dental cleaning!

Kristi joined our team as a registered dental hygienist at Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry in December of 2012. Kristi is from Newbury Park and is a graduate of Newbury Park High School.  She furthered her education with dental hygiene prerequisites at Moorpark College and then obtained her degree in dental hygiene at Fresno City College in 2000.  Kristi resides in Newbury Park with her husband and three children.  On the weekends you can find Kristi at the beach or hiking on the local trails with her family.

At our office, we pride ourselves in selecting staff members to suit a number of different dental needs and personality types. Our goal is to have every patient to feel like part of our "family." To schedule an exam and/or cleaning, please give our office a call at (805) 480-9820 today!

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Office Spotlight: Hygienist Nancy Akahoshi

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Office Spotlight: Hygienist Nancy Akahoshi

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

At Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry, our team is what makes the experience special! We are fortunate to work with a dedicated group of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and office staff that are passionate about excellent care. As such, hygienist Nancy Akahoshi is an expert in all your dental cleaning and oral hygiene needs!

Nancy joined our team as a registered dental hygienist at Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry in December of 2015.  Nancy is from Santa Monica and is a graduate of Santa Monica High School.  She received her Bachelor of Science in Dental Hygiene from the University of Southern California in 1983.  Nancy resides in Thousand Oaks with her husband and she has two grown daughters.  On the weekends you can find Nancy spending time with her family, hiking, reading, and engaging in other outdoor activities like skiing and fishing.

At our office, we pride ourselves in selecting staff members to suit a number of different dental needs and personality types. Our goal is to have every patient to feel like part of our "family." To schedule an exam and/or cleaning, please give our office a call at (805) 480-9820 today!

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Office Spotlight: Hygienist Adrienne Spaeth

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Office Spotlight: Hygienist Adrienne Spaeth

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

At Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry, our team is what makes the experience special! We are fortunate to work with a dedicated group of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and office staff that are passionate about excellent care. As such, our office wouldn't be complete without hygienist Adrienne Spaeth. As a true Conejo Valley local, she really understands what our patients want and need from a dental cleaning!

Adrienne joined our team as a registered dental hygienist at Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry in December of 2013.  Adrienne is from Newbury Park and is a graduate of Newbury Park High School.  She received her Associates of Science degree from Moorpark College and then obtained her degree in dental hygiene in 2003 from the West Los Angeles School of Dental Hygiene.  Adrienne resides in Newbury Park with her husband and two elementary school aged daughters.  On the weekends you can find Adrienne on the soccer fields or camping, boating, and hanging at the beach with her family.

At our office, we pride ourselves in selecting staff members to suit a number of different dental needs and personality types. Our goal is to have every patient to feel like part of our "family." To schedule an exam and/or cleaning, please give our office a call at (805) 480-9820 today!

 

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What is your mouth telling you?

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What is your mouth telling you?

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If you pay attention, your mouth does a great job of cluing you into its problems. From color changes to random aches and pains, the oral cavity responds very vividly to alterations in environment. With this in mind, we made a list of some of the most common complaints at dental exams and screenings nationwide. However, this article isn't a substitute for an actual diagnosis. Only a dental professional in a clinical setting can give you the full story! Read on to see how and why we respond to these common complaints:

Red/puffy/bleeding gums- This usually indicates some type of disease process occurring in the periodontal tissues. While fixing the problem involves a dental checkup and cleaning, it usually starts with better brushing and flossing techniques at home. 

Sensitive teeth near the gum line- Gingival recession (where the gums wear away from the necks of the teeth) affects about 50% of the adult population and almost 90% of those over 65. As the gums recede back, they reveal bare tooth root material, called cementum. This layer conducts cold to the nerves much quicker than enamel. We recommend switching to a sensitivity toothpaste like Sensodyne to help ease the shock with cold foods. 

Sore teeth/jaw on both sides- This is typically an indication of clenching or grinding. While we can make a custom fitted night guard to protect dental enamel, grinding itself is a psychological process that occurs subconsciously. 

Tooth sensitive to chewing after a filling- While post-filling sensitivity can indicate many problems, pain to chewing is a telltale sign of a high spot in the new material. This is easily fixed at a follow up appointment to re-contour the biting surface. 

Lingering pain to temperatures- Prolonged sensitivity to hot and cold usually means the nerve within the tooth is irritated irreversibly. That tooth will most likely need a root canal or other nerve therapy. 

Cracked lips or burning gums after switching toothpaste- Many toothpastes contain a compound called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). Some patient's soft tissues will become irritated, red or swollen after being exposed to this chemical. For those with more sensitive gums, we recommend seeking out a milder product like Sensodyne or Biotene paste while avoiding products with SLS.

 Food constantly stuck between two back teeth- This usually indicates that a physical space has opened between two adjacent teeth. With time, the teeth move as they adapt to changes in jaw space and biting forces. An opening between two posterior chewing teeth should be addressed to protect the gums and bones in this area. Constant food impaction will speed up the progression of periodontal disease exponentially. 

In general, it is difficult (or impossible) to properly diagnose a dental problem without an exam and appropriate x-rays. This list serves as a general idea of how a dentist may interpret your complaint into a treatment or recommendation. It does not take into account your personal dental history, medical history or any other specific information. If you would like more information on dental exams, diagnosis or emergency treatments, please give our office a call!

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Office Spotlight: Hygienist Lori Dombroski

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Office Spotlight: Hygienist Lori Dombroski

Lori and her husband

Lori and her husband

Lori's kids

Lori's kids

At Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry, our team is what makes the experience special! We are fortunate to work with a dedicated group of dentists, hygienists, dental assistants and office staff that are passionate about excellent care. Today, we would like to honor Lori, one of our beloved hygienists. She has been an important part of our office for nearly a decade, with many patients attesting to her expertise and skill.

Lori Dombroski joined our team as a registered dental hygienist at Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry in February of 2008.  Lori is from Newbury Park and is a graduate of Newbury Park High School.  She furthered her education at Moorpark College and obtained her degree in dental hygiene from West Los Angeles School of Dental Hygiene in 1991.  Lori resides in Moorpark with her husband and has two grown children.  On the weekends you can find Lori antique shopping, going to the beach, spending time with her family, and enjoying area restaurants.

At our office, we pride ourselves in selecting staff members to suit a number of different dental needs and personality types. Our goal is to have every patient to feel like part of our "family." To schedule an exam and/or cleaning, please give our office a call at (805) 480-9820 today!

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Dental Questions: Will my teeth be whiter after a dental cleaning?

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Dental Questions: Will my teeth be whiter after a dental cleaning?

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

Have you ever had your teeth cleaned only to see no noticeable difference in their appearance? Your mouth may feel cleaner, but the shade of your dental enamel probably didn't change too much. Read on to find out why this is the case, and what a routine cleaning actually achieves!

For the majority of the population, yellow and discolored teeth are caused by something called intrinsic staining. Here, the teeth pick up pigment in the dentin layer beneath the outer enamel. No amount of brushing, scrubbing or abrasive products will remove these compounds. A smaller portion of the population will be effected by extrinsic staining. This occurs when a combination of deeply colored foods, plaque and tartar discolor the surface of the teeth. This staining most commonly effects smokers, heavy coffee drinkers and those with deficiencies in their daily oral care. Because this staining only involves the outermost layer of the teeth, brushing and flossing will have some control over its presence.

As you can probably see, dental cleanings will have little to no affect on intrinsic staining. To take care of dentin layer staining, you will need to use a specific bleaching system like white strips, bleach trays or ZOOM whitening. However, extrinsic staining will be readily addressed by a routine "prophy" cleaning. Since these stains are adhered to the surface of the teeth, mechanical polishing and scaling will eliminate them with ease. 

Your routine cleaning serves three general purposes: to remove plaque and tartar from the teeth, allow a dental professional to asses changes in your oral health, and provide feedback on your home care between visits. The combined goal of these objectives is to protect the teeth from periodontal disease and the progression of tooth decay. Any improvements in the cosmetic appearance of the teeth after a cleaning is a celebrated secondary benefit. If you would like to know more about dental cleanings, dental staining or whitening, please give our office a call!

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Lower Arch Reconstruction

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Lower Arch Reconstruction

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com
thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

Today's patient came to us with porcelain and metal crowns on all of their lower teeth. With time, these restorations had become chipped and worn, making it obvious that they were not natural teeth. Additionally, gum recession had revealed the dark metal collars around these crowns, creating an obvious transition from enamel to porcelain. Finally, porcelain and metal crowns are inherently opaque (do not transmit light) to block out the inner metal layer. This contrasts harshly with the natural translucency of dental enamel and makes the teeth look "old" or yellow. 

After considering the many options, Dr. Kari Ann Hong and the patient decided to replace the existing crowns with new Emax lithium disilicate restorations. Emax provides increased durability over porcelain and metal crowns with better esthetics and more design possibilities. The results speak for themselves! The new crowns have a much more natural shape and contouring, while the shade and translucency better matches natural enamel. Additionally, the increased wear resistance will help ensure these teeth for years to come. If you would like to know more about dental crowns, fillings and other cosmetic procedures, please give our office a call! 

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Ultrasonic Dental Cleanings

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Ultrasonic Dental Cleanings

Pictured: A cleaning done at Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry using an ultrasonic scaler. 

Pictured: A cleaning done at Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry using an ultrasonic scaler. 

If you have had your teeth cleaned within the last decade, chances are your dentist or hygienist used a metal instrument that sprayed water and made a high pitched vibrating noise. These tools, called ultrasonic scalers, make dental cleanings quicker and more effective while reducing stress on the operator. Read on for the full story!

Before the age of ultrasonic scalers, teeth were typically cleaned using steel hand instruments. Hand instruments come in a number of sizes and have different shapes to reach all parts of all teeth. While these tools are still a very important part of dental cleanings, they put more stress on the users hands, can be uncomfortable for the patient and need to be sharpened consistently. An ultrasonic scaler uses high frequency vibration and a water jet to remove plaque and tartar quickly and (typically) with less discomfort to the patient. Additionally, the constant water flush provided by these instruments can aid in cleaning out deep periodontal pockets.

All cleaning are usually finished with hand instruments as they provide more tactile feedback and thus give the dentist/hygienist a better idea of how smooth the enamel is. Ultimately, every patient leaves their cleaning appointment with tartar free enamel regardless of instruments used! If you would like to know more about dental cleanings, preventative dental care or any other oral health topics, please give our office a call!

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