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thousand oaks family dentistry

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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Fluoride for Kids

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Fluoride for Kids

Remember, kids only need a small portion of toothpaste. 

Remember, kids only need a small portion of toothpaste. 

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. 

Historically, fluoride recommendations for children have gone through a few revisions. Every year, the public health experts at the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and American Dental Association (ADA) evaluate the latest research and recalibrate their suggestions on fluoride use. Data on the number of children with cavities, the number of cavities per child and access to fluoridated drinking water all weigh in on the latest guidelines. 

Fortunately, if you live in Los Angeles or Ventura county and get your water from a major utilities provider, your tap water is properly fluoridated. The exact amount of fluoride varies by district, but generally hovers around 0.7 milligrams per liter. This number was recently lowered due to increased access and usage of fluoride toothpastes and varnishes by the general population. As long as you are drinking, cooking or rinsing with tap water, you and your family are getting a therapeutic dose of fluoride. 

Previously, the ADA recommended against using fluoride toothpaste for children under the age of one. This was to combat the risk of fluorosis (fluoride induced discoloration of teeth) of the adult teeth during critical developmental phases. However, modern research shows that using a rice grain sized smear of paste is safe for children of all ages. Once teeth are visible in the mouth, we recommend attempting to brush twice daily. At about three years of age, you can up the amount to a pea sized portion of toothpaste. As with any medication, make sure your child isn't consuming large portions of toothpaste during brushing or otherwise. 

What's off the recommendation list for fluoride? Supplements and vitamins. As it turns out, ingesting fluoride (like with a chewable vitamin) isn't nearly as effective as having the compound physically contact the tooth. In today's dental practice we will apply fluoride as a foam or varnish at periodic cleaning appointments. Allowing the fluoride to sit on the teeth undisturbed for 30 minutes is proven to limit the development of new cavities. Plus it comes in great flavors!

Due to diets and medical conditions, some children have an even higher risk of developing new tooth decay. Products like fluoride rinses, gels and even xylitol anticavity supplements are available to keep teeth healthy and decay free. If you would like to know more about fluoride, preventative dentistry and how to protect your kids' teeth, please give our office a call!

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Case Presentation: Smile Makeover

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Case Presentation: Smile Makeover

ThousandOaksFamilyDentistry

What makes a beautiful smile? Is it the size of the teeth? The shape? Color? As this case demonstrates, the answer is all of the above! Careful details help us reconstruct a smile that is not only beautiful but appropriate for the patient's face shape, age and mouth size. The goal is to create natural appearing teeth while avoiding the "chiclet" look that can come from too little color or shape variation

For this patient, we used Emax lithium disilicate crowns to restore the cracked and decayed anterior teeth. Additionally, you can see where a bridge was used to replace the patient's missing canine on the photo right. As you study these pictures, take note of the subtle color gradient from the edges of the teeth to the gum line. This gradual darkening mimics natural teeth and creates a very convincing profile. Overall, we could not be happier with the results!

If you would like to know more about cosmetic dentistry, crowns, veneers or dental implants, please give our office a call. We are always excited to restore the natural beauty and luster to deserving smiles!

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Dental Questions: Why do dentists use loupes?

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Dental Questions: Why do dentists use loupes?

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

At your last dental appointment, chances are your dentist or hygienist was wearing a set of eyewear with two microscope lenses mounted to the front. These specialized glasses are called loupes and serve a number of uses in the dental setting. Take a look at how loupes make dentistry safer and easier for both the patient and doctor!

The most obvious benefit of using loupes comes from their ability to magnify the small spaces within the mouth. Many times your dentist or hygienist is try to visualize unthinkably small objects and surfaces, often times smaller than the tip of a pencil. This becomes extremely difficult when you factor in saliva, patient movement and poor lighting. Loupes give the practitioner the best chance of visualizing and treating your teeth. In addition to their magnification abilities, many loupes are also equipped with spotlights that direct focused light at the area of interest. This allows the user to utilize a strength of illumination that would be impossible from overhead lighting. 

Beyond better imaging, loupes help the dentist/hygienist to improve their posture and reduce fatigue. Dentistry is a physically taxing profession that often requires providers to strain their backs and shoulders to complete treatments. Loupes provide relief by allowing the user to assume a more upright seating position and discourage "leaning in" to see more detail. More comfortable daily work leads to a longer career and less chronic back, shoulder and neck pains later in life. Many loupe manufacturers design the angles of their lenses to guarantee a nearly vertical seated position- ideal for prolonged daily work. 

Loupes have helped improve the patient experience in dentistry by providing more thorough care at a quicker pace. If you would like to know more about emerging technologies that are improving the dental field, please give our office a call!

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Dentistry and Children's Teeth

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Dentistry and Children's Teeth

ThousandOaksFamilyDentistry.com

If you ever took a fall or had a cavity as a child, you're probably thankful that we get two sets of teeth. Our primary dentition can certainly seem like a second chance to recover from youthful mishaps. You may be wondering why, if adult teeth will eventually take their place, do we perform restorative dental procedures on kids teeth? Crowns, fillings and even braces may seem excessive when you could simply "extract and wait" for the adult teeth to come in. On the contrary, primary teeth serve a number of important roles in establishing a healthy adult dentitition. 

One of the most basic goals of primary teeth is to hold space for the permanent teeth. They create markers for where the adult teeth need to erupt and keep adjacent teeth from crowding into the open spaces. Once you lose a primary tooth, the teeth on either side can start to drift into its space, blocking the adult tooth from eruption. Many times, children who lose a primary tooth prematurely will receive a space maintainer- a cemented retainer that keeps two teeth from coming closer together.

Primary teeth also play an important role in the development of the jawbones. This is the guiding principle behind interceptive orthodontics, where braces and orthodontic appliances are placed on baby teeth. By ensuring these teeth are in ideal locations, an orthodontist can guide the development of the jaws and palate while lessening the need for future adjustment. 

Beyond the developmental importance of primary teeth, they are critical in psychological and social factors as well. Missing multiple anterior teeth can be embarrassing or humiliating, particularly when children are not at the appropriate age of tooth loss. Moreover, the posterior teeth are important in chewing and processing food. Without the ability to chew, we miss out on important nutrients in our diet. Molars allow us to break down food, increase surface area and ultimately facilitate healthy digestion. 

In short, the primary teeth are an incredibly important part of childhood development. With this in mind, dentists do all they can to maintain these teeth through their healthy lifespans. If you want to know more about childhood dentition, the importance of brushing and flossing or dental development, please give our office a call!

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Case Presentation: Midline Correction Update!

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Case Presentation: Midline Correction Update!

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

Here's a final update to our patient who received four Emax crowns to correct their crooked anterior midline. As you can see, the new crowns create a natural and straight smile with extremely esthetic results. In addition to centering and paralleling the patient's midline, the new restorations give the teeth a more rounded and youthful profile. Additionally, we were able to match the shapes of the two lateral incisors, creating a more harmonious appearance all together. 

A case like this highlights the importance of symmetry in cosmetic dentistry. In comparison to the before pictures, our patient's new smile is centered, with the left and right side incisors appearing as mirror images of each other. The result is a smile that exudes "natural beauty." If you would like to know more about the ways we use cosmetic dentistry to improve our patients' smiles, please give our office a call!

link to the original article

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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

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Baby Bottle Tooth Decay

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

Bed time is certainly one of the most difficult daily struggles with infants. Fussy youngsters will pull out all the stops to avoid getting a good night's rest. Many parents resort to a warm bottle of milk to help ease them to sleep. However, we must warn that this seemingly innocent technique has some serious dental consequences. 

Breast milk, formula and cow's milk all contain carbohydrates like lactose and sucrose. While these aren't necessarily "sweet" like orange juice or soda, they contain enough sugars to fuel the decay causing bacteria in your child's mouth. When infants are allowed to fall asleep with a bottle, the teeth are essentially bathed in acid all night. This creates a typical pattern of decay called baby bottle mouth. Here, the cavities develop very quickly and can affect every single tooth. This is a particular problem with teeth such as the incisors, which erupt at 6-12 months and need to last until 6-7 years of age

Our recommendation is to avoid the temptation of sleeping with a bottle all together. Even a rare occasion could turn into a difficult habit to break. If you have any more questions about childhood tooth decay and how to keep your children's teeth healthy, please give us a call!

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Use this, not that!

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Use this, not that!

thousandoaksfamilydentistry.com

In our world of consumer choices, patients are presented with a number of products promising optimal dental health. The options can be overwhelming, with some making lofty promises. In this article, we will take a look at some common dental products and their superior alternatives. Enjoy!

1. Sugared Gum: Any gum containing sucrose, glucose or fructose is bad news for your oral health. Even if they advertise that they clean teeth or stimulate saliva, the fact of the matter is that these products bathe your teeth in sugar. This sends the bacteria in your mouth into a feeding frenzy, which in-turn causes demineralization and decay. Instead, look for gum made with sorbitol (good) or xylitol (best). Oral bacteria can't process these ingredients, and xylitol even inhibits their activity. 

2. Mall Whitening Kiosks: Underneath the advertising and marketing, these whitening booths are essentially selling OTC bleaching products with a significant markup. While they say they use professional grade bleaching material, its the same peroxide gels used in Whitestrips and other products. Instead, try either in-office bleaching procedures (quicker) or OTC products (more cost effective). 

3. Store-Bought Nightguards: Boil-and-bite nightguards will protect your teeth from nighttime grinding damage. However, they can cause headaches and jaw pains in the process. A nightguard made at a dental office is equilibrated so that all your teeth contact it at the same time. This allows jaw pressure to be evenly distributed instead of causing focal pain. Instead, get fitted for a custom nightguard or target the source of your grinding (stress, emotional strain, etc.)

4. Fluoride Free Toothpaste: In today's health-conscious society, many patients seek out fluoride free "all natural" toothpastes. Unfortunately, there is no compound (natural or man made) that can match the remineralizing power of fluoride. It is safe, effective and used universally in toothpastes around the world. Instead, try to find a toothpaste (any toothpaste) that contains some amount of fluoride!

5. "Floss Action" Toothbrushes: Any product that doesn't get physically inserted between the teeth can't match the cleaning power of floss. Some companies suggest or advertise that their toothbrush design can mimic the action of floss. Unfortunately, this is not the case. While these brushes are plenty efficient of cleaning the rest of your teeth, floss is the only way to get those in-between spaces. Instead, try to add flossing to your daily routine!

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Duke's First Birthday: Update

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Duke's First Birthday: Update

Happy birthday duke!

Happy birthday duke!

We thought you would appreciate a quick update from Duke's birthday- a great time was had by all! As you can see, the birthday boy truly enjoyed himself on his special day. Happy birthday Duke- we hope every one is as great as this one!

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Greg and Maggie are Engaged!

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Greg and Maggie are Engaged!

Congratulations to Greg Hong (Dr. Kari's brother) and Maggie on their recent engagement! Maggie was a dental assistant at our office for many years until she moved with Greg to New York City to launch Reserve, a mobile app for fine dining. They are both doing great and on their way to a wonderful future. Best wishes from California!

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