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thousand oaks dental exam

Dental Questions: Do I REALLY need to floss every day?

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Dental Questions: Do I REALLY need to floss every day?

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

Do you actually need to floss every day? Yes! Flossing is one of the most beneficial habits you can add to your daily routine. It is associated with lower rates of gum disease, fewer cavities and lower lifetime dental costs. However, you can only reap these benefits if you floss every single day! Sporadic or intermittent flossing still allows for bacterial growth, tooth decay and eventual dental disease. 

When you use floss, you are targeting the spaces in between the teeth, at/below the gum line. The primary goal is to remove any plaque or food that has accumulated in these areas throughout the day. Plaque is a primary concern, as it plays a major role in the gum disease process. Left undisturbed (unflossed), it only takes about 24 hours for plaque to mineralize to tartar. Tartar cannot be removed, dissolved or displaced with anything other than a professional dental cleaning. Eventually, Tartar will lead to gingivitis (inflammation of the gums) and periodontitis (irreversible bone loss around the teeth). Stuck food between the teeth can also lead to tooth decay. Sugary and carb heavy food will lodge itself between the teeth, sit up against tooth enamel, and eventually develop cavities.  

The proper way to floss. After going under the tooth contacts, make sure you thread the floss down the gums and around the teeth in an up-and-down motion. 

The proper way to floss. After going under the tooth contacts, make sure you thread the floss down the gums and around the teeth in an up-and-down motion. 

Tonight, when you're getting ready to go to bed, do a quick experiment. First, brush your teeth thoroughly for two minutes with a fluoride toothpaste. Afterwards, floss between every tooth. Take note of all the gunk you get out even after brushing- it may surprise you! If you would like to know more about brushing, flossing or generally keeping your teeth clean, please give our office a call.

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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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National Children's Dental Health Month!

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National Children's Dental Health Month!

ThousandOaksFamilyDentistry.com

February is the official National Children's Dental Health Month, as recognized by the ADA. Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry will be rolling out weekly topics relating to pediatric dentistry all month long. Make sure to check back regularly to catch all the great information. 

For our first topic, we would like to discuss your child's first dental appointment. This visit should take place place at one year of age or when the first tooth erupts (Usually the mandibular incisors at 6-12 months). The first appointment serves as an important introduction for future dental care. Our office reserves this time to examine the mouth for any developmental problems and have a discussion on oral health with the parents. There are typically no x-rays or cleanings at this visit- just a checkup!

Just as important as the actual examination, this type of appointment sets the stage for a lifetime of positive dental experiences. Many less fortunate children will first see a dentist when they have a toothache and will forever associate the pain, confusion and anxiety with dental offices. We hope to start your children off with a fun and easy appointment that gets them excited to return for cleanings and exams! If you would like to know more about the dental services we provide for children or to book an appointment for your young ones, please give our office a call!

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Perfecting Incisors using Emax Crowns

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Perfecting Incisors using Emax Crowns

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

One of the most common dental anomalies is underdeveloped lateral incisors. Often referred to as peg laterals, this condition typically presents as two lateral incisors that look smaller and mismatched when compared to the central incisors. For today's patient, Dr. Kari Ann Hong chose to correct the cosmetics of this smile using two beautiful Emax lithium disilicate crowns.

Since the incisors were already undersized, only a minimal amount of tooth structure had to be removed in fitting the crown. By working with Opus One Dental Lab a near perfect match was made to the natural central incisors. Notice the delicate translucency near the edges of the teeth and harmonious shape. We even captured the pronounced developmental grooves (called mamelons) on the central incisors. The result is a beautiful smile that looks more natural than the "before" shot!

If you would like to know more about the cosmetic services we offer at Thousand Oaks Family Dentistry and what we can do for your smile, please give our office a call!

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Dental Questions: What are digital x-rays?

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Dental Questions: What are digital x-rays?

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

Most of our patients will remember the transition from film to digital dental x-rays with a positive stance. Gone are the days of sharp film holders, waiting for the developer and difficulties in duplication. But what are the biggest advantages of digital x-rays? Are they safe? How to they work? Read on to find out the true benefits behind this new technology!

Digital dental x-rays work on the same principles as modern digital cameras. In fact, our x-ray sensors use the same CMOS technology found in many modern DSLR, pocket and cell phone cameras. The main difference is that dental sensors are calibrated to react to x-ray radiation rather than the photons in visible light. Beyond that, the images are digitally decoded and rendered using much of the same technology as digital photography. The sensor itself contains no hazardous material and emits no radiation. 

The two main principles that drive the digital revolution in dental x-rays are lower radiation and increased efficiency. "Exposing" a digital x-ray sensor requires less radiation than a similarly sized film, even when comparing the most sensitive film available. Digital images are also easier to manipulate, enlarge and change contrast, which allows us to gather more information off of a single picture. Finally, we can now judge the need for re-takes immediately, which translates to less waiting during your appointment. 

Whenever discussing dental x-rays, the topic of safety always comes to light. We are here to assure our patients that dental radiography is extremely safe, with the benefits largely outweighing any drawbacks. Even after a full-mouth set of x-rays (taken about once every five years), you experience roughly the same amount of radiation as a trans-atlantic flight. Furthermore, four bitewings (taken about once every year to 18 months) require less radiation than spending a day outside in the sun. Particularly with our ultra sensitive digital sensors, your effective radiation exposure is negligible

It is important to note that traditional film x-rays still play an important role in dentistry. Many practitioners still rely on film with excellent results and high patient satisfaction. This is particularly true of pediatric offices, where the thin profile and gentle flex of film allows dentists to get clearer images in smaller mouths. If you would like to know about digital x-rays or any other new trends in dental technology, please give our office a call!

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Dental Questions: What do probing numbers mean?

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Dental Questions: What do probing numbers mean?

A periodontal probe in healthy gum tissue.

A periodontal probe in healthy gum tissue.

At your last dental exam, you may have heard the dentist or hygienist say numbers while scanning your teeth with an instrument. The numbers were grouped in triplets and called out after each tooth ("three-two-three, two-one-two"). These findings correspond to the space between your teeth and gums. They are typically measured using an instrument called a periodontal probe, which is pictured at the start of this article. Each color change corresponds to three millimeters, creating a sort of measuring stick for the mouth. 

The numbers you hear are the millimeters that the probe slips below the gum line. A reading from one to three millimeters is generally considered healthy. Measurements four and above indicate the presence of a periodontal pocket, where the bone has recessed away from the tooth. There are many different treatments for periodontal disease, ranging from deep cleanings to bone grafts, designed to halt or reverse increasing pocket depths. If you would like to know more about dental exams, cleanings or periodontal services, please give our office a call!

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Dental Questions: What can I do to make a toothache feel better?

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Dental Questions: What can I do to make a toothache feel better?

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

Generally, toothaches are caused by inflammation of the nerve inside the tooth. The best way to temporarily relieve the pain is by taking a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory over-the-counter medication such as naproxen sodium (Aleve) or ibuprofen (Motrin).  If the tooth is sensitive to temperature and biting pressure, then it likely needs a root canal to completely resolve the pain.  If there is swelling around the tooth or in the face, then the nerve inflammation has progressed to an infection and antibiotics and a root canal are required to fix the situation. 

You may be tempted to use over-the-counter toothache remedies such as topical anesthetic (Orajel). However, these medications are best used to treat sore gum tissue caused by ulcers or canker sores and will do little to remedy actual tooth pain. Remember, a toothache is caused by an inflammatory process that is occurring within the tooth (and not in the surrounding gums). Additionally, do not try crushing aspirin or other medications and placing them against the tooth area. These medications are only meant to be taken orally, and can cause serious chemical burns on the gum tissue and mucosa. 

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