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How to Save Your Teeth From Grinding

Grinding your teeth on the regular is a nasty habit that can lead to significant consequences, including fractured or loosened teeth and – ultimately – tooth loss. In the most severe cases, teeth grinding can even result in compromising the jaw and changing the appearance of the face. To avoid this type of damage, it’s important to address the issue and pursue treatment.

Before we go into the various steps you can take to save your teeth from grinding, it’s important to first determine if and when you grind your teeth. While some people grind consciously when they’re anxious or stressed, most people actually grind their teeth during sleep – which makes it difficult to know that it’s happening. If you often wake up with a sore jaw or a dull headache, we recommend getting examined by a dentist to give you the confirmation you need that you are, in fact, grinding your teeth!

If you struggle with teeth grinding or think you do, here are the most common ways to protect yourself:

Treat Stress & Sleep Disorders

Stress has a profound impact on your health, even during your sleeping hours! If you’re grinding your teeth, try stress-reducing activities such as exercise, meditation, seeing a counselor, or consulting with your primary physician for possible medicinal solutions. Meanwhile, sleep disorders can be another common cause of grinding. Treatment of the disorder will usually fix the issue. There are a limited number of dentists that are truly familiar with airway focused dentistry so ask a lot of questions or give me a call.

Avoid Caffeine & Alcohol

Consuming anything that contains caffeine – such as coffee, soda, and chocolate – can interfere with a restful night’s sleep, which can cause teeth grinding to intensify. Also avoid consuming alcohol, because while you may think it helps you relax, it can actually increase teeth grinding when sleeping.

Try Jaw Relaxation Exercises

Grinding your teeth is an unconscious reflex. Try making a mental note of it whenever you notice it happening, to gain greater awareness of the issue during waking hours. When you feel your jaw tighten and you think you might start grinding, move your tongue so that it’s between your front teeth. This will help your jaw to relax. At night, you can accomplish this same thing by pressing a warm washcloth to your cheek just below your earlobe. Heat will help relax the muscles.

Use a Mouth Guard

Consult with your dentist to get fitted with a specialized mouth guard. While the guard won’t actually stop your teeth grinding, it will protect your teeth from damage as you pursue long-term treatment.

If you struggle with teeth grinding and want to know how we can help you save your teeth, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment.

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ADD/ADHD vs. Sleep Apnea

Are you sure it’s ADD/ADHD? The issues that you or your child are experiencing could actually be dental-related problems that occur during the night. This can cause an unfit rest and sleep deprivation! To find out more, watch this video:

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Accelerated Teeth Straightening

It can take over a year to achieve beautiful straight teeth, but there’s an accelerated option that will cut down the time to as little as six months! We invite you to watch this Minute with Dr. Coates video to learn more about how we can get your teeth as straight as we can, as fast as we can. Watch the video now!

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Crowns That Don’t Break

If you have ever experienced the pain and inconvenience of a broken dental crown, you’ll want to watch this video… Today on A Minute with Dr. Coates, you’ll learn about a wonderful new type of crown that is just as beautiful as porcelain while also incredibly resistant to damage! Watch the short video now:

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Can Pregnancy Affect Oral Health?

If you’re pregnant, it’s important that you don’t forget about your teeth. Expecting has major effects on your body and your teeth are no exception. Here’s what you need to know:

As soon as you find out you’re pregnant, make an appointment with your dentist. Let your dental office know how far along you are and if there are any medical conditions they should be aware of, including a high-risk pregnancy.

Your dentist can discuss your oral health with you and come up with a plan for the rest of your pregnancy. If you’re thinking about becoming pregnant, you should also make an appointment with your dentist and take care of any outstanding procedures before you become pregnant.

You may have heard the myth that you lose calcium when pregnant or that “one tooth is lost with every pregnancy.” This is not true, but you can experience changes during pregnancy because of an increase in hormones like estrogen and progesterone that can affect the way your gums respond to plaque. Being pregnant can put you at higher risk for tooth decay, gum disease (also known as “pregnancy gingivitis”) and oral growths called “pregnancy tumors.” If you have moderate to severe gum disease, you may be at higher risk for delivering a pre-term, low-birth weight baby. These conditions are all treatable and your dentist can prescribe treatment.

Your regular dental cleanings pose no harm to your or your baby. In fact, they’re the best way to keep your teeth and gums healthy, which is especially important during pregnancy.

Dental x-rays are now considered safe during pregnancy by the American Dental Association. X-rays can be crucial in identifying major problems that cannot be seen otherwise, like tooth decay, bone loss or infected root canals. If you have any concerns, talk to your dentist, who can help evaluate your situation and decide whether x-rays can or should be postponed.

Anesthesia may not be safe for you during pregnancy, especially the first trimester. You’ll want to delay dental work that requires anesthesia like a filling or a root canal, until after you’ve given birth.

If you’re pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment.

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March Special: Get White Teeth & Help Those In Need

Do you want a nice, bright smile? Do you love helping others less fortunate than yourself?

For the entire month of March, we’re donating 100% of our teeth whitening proceeds to a foundation that helps battered women. Watch this video to find out how you can lighten up your smile and also give one to someone else:

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Dental Practices Throughout History

Going to the dentist today is like a day at Disneyland compared to what people endured thousands of years ago! Nowadays, you walk into your dentist’s office and wait patiently while browsing through magazines and listening to Easy FM. In past civilizations, people were cringing in pain with infected toothaches and full of dread in anticipation for what’s to come.

Sparkly Grills

The Mayans are credited with being the inventors of cosmetic dentistry because they were known to decorate their teeth by embedding them with precious stones or by carving notches and grooves into them. Tiny holes were made in teeth and ornamental stones—including jade—were attached with a glue made from natural resins, such as plant sap, which was mixed with other chemicals and crushed bones. The Mayan “dentists” knew how to drill into teeth without hitting the pulp inside, so they likely had a sophisticated knowledge of tooth anatomy.

Tooth Worms

Have you ever heard of a “tooth worm?” In the middle ages, they believed that a “tooth worm” had entered the body if someone had a hole or crack in their tooth. The idea of this creature came from the idea of a worm eating its way into an apple. “Tooth Worms” don’t exist but it started some pretty crazy dental procedures. Patients thought to have damage from a “tooth worm” were subjected to skin blistering, laxatives, bloodletting, nerve destruction via strong acid or a hot iron, and putting garlic cloves in their ears.


Hippo ivory was used to create dentures, like the bottom half of George Washington’s teeth. His dentures also had human teeth fixed in place by gold rivets. While the hippo’s ivory helped hold in other people’s teeth, it did not assist with eating or looking one’s best. George Washington was very particular about reshaping his dentures because he didn’t want his teeth to look as if they were pointing out from under his nose!

Ancient Toothbrushes

The first bristle toothbrush that was like today’s, was invented in China about 1498. The bristles were hand plucked from the backs of wild boars living in the colder climates of Siberia and China (frigid weather causes hogs to grow firmer bristles), and they were fastened into handles of bone or bamboo. Orient Traders introduced the Chinese toothbrush to Europeans, who found boar bristles too firm, they liked softer, horsehair toothbrushes. Nylon bristle toothbrushes weren’t used in the United States until 1938. Nylon was stiff, resilient, tough and kept its space well. Nylon was also impervious to moisture which help to hinder bacterial growth.

Thank goodness our dental practices have improved greatly over time!

Call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule a pain-less and pleasant appointment.

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Baby teeth may seem like no big deal, but in actuality, they are crucial to the development of a toddler’s growing jaw by saving space for the adult teeth they’ll eventually have. In general, babies are not born with any visible teeth but begin “teething” around 6 months old and will have 20 baby teeth when done. Baby teeth are important for chewing but they also play a big role in the development of the jaw and normal speech.

The primary function of baby teeth is to make space for the adult teeth to develop underneath. Toddlers get their baby teeth because adult-sized teeth would be too large to fit into their mouths at that age.  As children use their baby teeth to bite and chew, this exercises the jaw and helps the bones grow. All of these things together allow the adult teeth to come in properly and have enough room.

You may think that losing a baby tooth to cavities is no big deal since a child will lose them in the future anyway, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Missing baby teeth provide the space needed for adult teeth so if that space is not being “held” it could cause the adult teeth to come in crooked or become crowded from not enough space. A prematurely missing baby tooth can even delay the eruption of an adult tooth because bone can fill in above it.

In order to give your child the best chance to get straight, even adult teeth, you need to promote oral health at home and early. Once your toddler begins to get their baby teeth in, make sure they are brushed twice a day.  As your child gets older, this is something that you can teach them to do (supervising to make sure it’s done correctly) on their own and instill good dental habits at an early age.  Bring your child into the dentist for regular check ups and cleanings so that the process becomes familiar to them. Good dental habits and baby teeth that are well-cared for can’t guarantee your child won’t need braces in the future but it can definitely help!

Call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment for your toddler.

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Show Your Teeth Some Love This Valentine’s Day

The message might be l-o-v-e on Valentine’s Day but we like to celebrate it with gifts that involve candy, sweets and treats. Americans spend over 340 million dollars on Valentine’s Day candy each year with over 8 billion candy hearts sold within the first 2 weeks of February. That’s a lot of sugar!

Expecting your kids (and yourself!) to avoid sweets this Valentine’s Day is unrealistic, but making healthier choices will help protect your teeth. Here’s a few do’s and don’ts to follow to show your teeth some love this holiday.

DO: Enjoy healthy, heart-shaped snacks.

Get in the spirit of Valentine’s Day the healthy way and even have some fun by ditching the usual sweets. A few ideas for kid (and adult) friendly snacks:

  • Dark chocolate-dipped fruit on a stick: Bananas, pineapple, cherries, strawberries, etc.
  • Heart-shaped strawberries
  • Sweetheart yogurt parfaits
  • Heart-shaped stacked sandwiches
  • Heart-shaped pancakes
  • Raspberries filled with mini dark chocolate chips
  • Mini heart-shaped pizzas
  • Grilled, heart-shaped mozzarella and tomato sandwiches

Want to take it up a notch? Check out these creative and nutritious Valentine’s Day treat ideas:

DON’T: Choose sticky, hard candies or low-quality chocolate

All those sweet, sour and sticky candies may taste great, but these treats are known to damage teeth. Sour candies can be acidic to your teeth and actually wear down the enamel that protects them, leading to tooth decay and cavities. The worst offenders include gummy bears, jelly beans, tootsie rolls and lollipops.

DO:  Limit the sweets.

If you are going to indulge in sweets, your best bet is chocolate. Choose a high-quality brand that is 50% or more cocoa which has a higher purity level and is free from the additives that do the most damage to your teeth. Opt for softer treats such as peanut butter cups or bakery items.

DON’T: Forget to brush & floss!

After enjoying sweets, make sure to show your teeth some tender loving care. Brush and floss between your teeth, around the brackets and at the gum line. Don’t forget that your tongue carries bacteria as well and needs to be brushed from the back to the front and bottom to top!

You CAN have a “sweet” Valentine’s Day while still keeping your oral health in mind. Try one of our healthier snack ideas above and make this a February 14th that you won’t forget!

Give your teeth the best Valentine’s Day gift of all and call our office at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual checkup!

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New Years Resolutions For Your Teeth

We all make new year’s resolutions, but many of us are not likely to follow through. Turning over a new leaf in the New Year can be tricky, but finding a way to stick with it is important when that new leaf benefits your health. If you want to take better care when looking after your teeth and gums this year, these resolutions can keep you diligent:

Visit the Dentist Twice a Year

A resolution to make routine visits to the dentist may help prevent oral disease or reveal an existing disease in its early stage. Dental visits should take place every 6 months to allow your dentist and dental hygienists to monitor the condition of your oral cavity and develop an appropriate treatment plan to meet your wants and needs.

Commit to Brushing & Flossing Twice a Day

Brushing and flossing protect your teeth from decay and gum disease, which is caused by your teeth’s most persistent enemy, plaque – a sticky, colorless, invisible film of harmful bacteria that builds up on your teeth every day. Both brushing and flossing are equally important for good oral health. Only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gum line, where decay and gum disease often begins. Without proper brushing and flossing, you may develop bleeding gums, which may worsen to severely swollen, red, bleeding gums (gingivitis) and, eventually, gum disease. Because diseases of the mouth can affect the rest of your body, it is especially important to maintain good oral health. Remember to floss first & brush second!

Kick the Habit

Quitting cigarette smoking and smokeless tobacco use is important for improving your oral and overall health. There is no better time than the present to make a resolution to stop tobacco use. Consider free online tools, smoking cessation groups, progress-tracking apps and support from friends and family to assist you with tobacco cessation.

Eat More Mouth-Health Foods

Eating well is important for your dental health. Poor nutrition can affect the entire immune system, increasing susceptibility to many common oral disorders, including gum (periodontal) disease. Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums. In addition, crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.

Make Smarter Beverage Choices

Frequent consumption of beverages containing carbohydrates and carbonation, like soda, contributes to tooth decay. Limit your soda intake and always brush your teeth after drinking sugary or carbonated drinks.

Improve Your Smile

There are several smile-improving techniques that you can use while you brush and floss. In recent years, tooth whitening has acquired enormous popularity. It enhances the appearance of teeth by removing deep (intrinsic) or surface (extrinsic) stains. There are a number of tooth whitening products that can be purchased over-the-counter (OTC) for at-home use and higher performance products administered by a dentist or dispensed by a dentist for at-home use.

And finally, SMILE more! It has been scientifically proven that a simple smile can boost our moods, relieve stress, and even strengthen our immune system!

Stick to your New Year’s Resolutions and give us a call our office at (562) 434-6414 to schedule your bi-annual checkup!

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