15Oct

If you have gaps in your teeth that you’d like to close, braces are probably the first solution that comes to mind. However, dental bonding is a viable though lesser known option. This post from Carol E. Follette DDS in Santa Monica discusses what dental bonding is and the advantages it offers.

What Is Dental Bonding?

In a dental bonding procedure, a tooth-colored resin material (similar to robust plastic) is applied to the “spaced” teeth and then hardened with a special light. During the hardening process, the resin material bonds to the teeth, with the result being an improved or restored smile.

There are several situations in which dental bonding is a viable option. From a cosmetic dental bonding perspective, this procedure works not just to improve and restore a patient’s smile but also to enhance the appearance of discolored teeth, alter the shape of the teeth, and make teeth appear longer. Dental bonding is also employed as a cosmetic alternative to traditional dental fillings.

Dental bonding is also effective for various preventive measures, like repairing chipped or cracked teeth, or to repair decayed teeth. Moreover, dental bonding is an option when a patient needs to protect part of a tooth’s root exposed due to gum recession.

Procedure

One of dental bonding’s many upsides is that it’s a simple, fast, cost-effective procedure. Unless the bonding is to protect an exposed root or alleviate a decayed tooth, anesthesia is usually unnecessary. The first step involves the dentist using a shade guide to find the ideal resin color to match the patient’s teeth color. When a color match is made, the tooth’s surface is roughened and a conditioning liquid is applied to facilitate a strong bond between tooth and bonding material. The tooth-colored resin is then applied and smoothed until it fits the desired shape, and a laser is employed to harden the resin material. Post-hardening, the dentist trims, shapes, and polishes the bond so that it blends seamlessly with the surrounding teeth.

The entire process takes only 30 - 60 minutes per tooth.

Caring For Bonded Teeth

Another upside to dental bonding is that bonded teeth have no special care requirements. A standard practice of brushing, flossing, and mouthwash is all that’s needed, just like a person would do with non-bonded teeth.

Since bonded teeth can chip, there are some things that patients should avoid: chewing on pens, eating hard food and candy, or using the teeth to open something.

Dental Bonding - Advantages

We’ve covered a few of dental bonding’s advantages, but there are many more. One of the biggest is dental bonding’s affordability, with a total cost that’s lower than other options such as braces. Dental bonds are also low-maintenance compared to braces, which require periodic tightening and often frustrate patients with their penchant for trapping food particles. Dental bonding is also a quick procedure, with complete results delivered in one appointment of three hours or less.

Dental bonding is also comfortable and non-invasive, and it offers superior durability: cared for properly, dental bonds can last years.

Schedule an Appointment

If you’re interested in learning more about dental bonding, contact our dental office in Santa Monica and schedule an appointment. Our decades of experience make us the perfect choice for all facets of tooth care and improvement.

 

25Sep

Do you experience dry mouth? Aside from being annoying and uncomfortable, chronic dry mouth can also impact your oral health.

If you experience dry mouth, one of the first things you should do is consult your Santa Monica family dentist. Having sufficient saliva in your mouth is essential because it acts as a natural cleansing rinse because it contains compounds that kill bacteria in the mouth. Saliva is beneficial because it washes away these bacteria as well as food and other debris on which the bacteria feed.

  • Medications –Record numbers of people now take prescription medications regularly for conditions like hypertension, depression, anxiety, allergies, pain and more. A common side effect of these medications is dry mouth.
  • Medical Conditions – Dry mouth can also be related to certain medical conditions including HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, anemia, and hypertension.
  • Dehydration – Another common cause of dry mouth is, not surprisingly, dehydration. You might suffer from dehydration if you have the flu, a high fever, or if you exercise and sweat profusely.

How We Treat Dry Mouth

How your dentist treats dry mouth depends on the cause. Obviously, if your dry mouth is due to dehydration, drinking plenty of water rehydrates the body quickly, including your mouth. Since many cases of dry mouth are related to prescription medications, your doctor might adjust the dose of the medication you're taking. They may also prescribe a medicine that encourages saliva production.

A diligent routine of proper oral hygiene is essential to help remove bacteria that builds up as a result of dry mouth and results in decay. These bacteria are also a breeding ground for infection and periodontal disease.

Please Call the Santa Monica Family Dentist

Dry mouth should be addressed sooner rather than later, so please call our office to arrange an exam and cleaning appointment. We will provide you with the tools you need to keep your smile healthy and free of disease.

 

15Sep

If you need periodontal treatment but prefer to avoid surgery, there are several effective, non-invasive options to consider. Carol E. Follette DDS, a Santa Monica dentist with wide-ranging expertise including laser periodontics, offers helpful insight into these solutions.

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease (aka gum disease), is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. The disease begins as a bacterial infection caused by poor tooth and gum care (specifically, a lack of regular brushing and flossing), and gradually spreads to the gum and bone tissue surrounding the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss.

Non-invasive Periodontal Procedures

Periodontal Laser Treatment

Another non-invasive option for consideration is periodontal laser treatment. Over the last decade-plus, lasers have become prevalent in a variety of non-invasive, outpatient procedures. Contrary to what some people might think, there is nothing harmful about using a laser, and there is no pain involved with periodontal laser treatment. On the contrary, the treatment is comfortable and gentle, so much so that recovery time is minimal. Laser periodontal treatment not only rids the gums, teeth, and bone of harmful bacteria, it facilitates gum tissue regeneration.

Scaling and Root Planing

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) suggests that scaling and root planing is a very effective periodontal solution. In fact, no further active treatment is required after the first undertaking, although periodic therapy is recommended in order to maintain gum health. Scaling and root planing represents a meticulous cleaning of a patient’s root surfaces, with a three-fold objective: to smooth the tooth root, remove plaque and tartar from deep in-gum pockets caused by decay, and rid the gums of harmful bacterial toxins. Scaling and root planing can be supported post-treatment via therapies including antibiotics and antimicrobial delivery.

Tray Delivery

Similar to fluoride trays prescribed by dental professionals to help prevent tooth decay, a periodontal tray delivery system is based on a custom tray that’s created using an impression of a patient’s mouth. A dentist prescribed medications to treat the patient’s periodontal problem (i.e. gum disease), and this medication is delivered when the patient inserts the tray into his mouth while at home.

Perioscopy and Localized Medication

Perioscopy is a cutting-edge technique that combines a miniature dental endoscope (a camera used to look inside the body) with the latest lighting, video, and magnification technology. With perioscopy, a dentist can examine the area under a patient’s gum line and locate bacteria deposits. Once pinpointed, localized medication can be applied to the affected area in an effort to eliminate the bacteria and assist in reinvigorating the gums. Perioscopy’s usage and effectiveness is intertwined with the extent of a patient’s periodontal disease. In the majority of cases, perioscopy is most helpful after a scaling and root planing procedure has already been conducted.

Visit an Experienced Santa Monica Periodontist

Our dental office serving Santa Monica is well qualified to provide a range of oral care services, from cosmetic dentistry and veneers to teeth whitening and non-invasive periodontal procedures. Contact us today and let’s discuss a customized approach to your dental needs.