Call for an appointment: Long Beach, CA (562)434-6414

Does Your Practice Stand out

In this dental podcast with DENTAL UP, Dr. Coates discusses his successes in excellent customer service and how he stands out as the quality professional that clients choose above all the rest in Long Beach, CA! In this podcast, Dr. Coates sinks his teeth into topics such as his dental background, his passion for dentistry, as well as the tremendous impact of online reviews from happy clients.

Listen in now:

Do you have questions for Dr. Coates, or want to set up an appointment to see how he can help you achieve a healthy, beautiful smile? Call our office today at (562) 434-6414!

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How to Prevent Yellow Teeth

Yellowing teeth has many causes, from what you eat and drink to your age. By understanding what colors you teeth, you’ll be able to keep them whiter than ever! And if your teeth are already yellow or discolored, we also have some tips on how to whiten them.

Preventing Yellow Teeth

Avoiding coffee, soda, and smoking helps prevent discolored teeth as well as any other staining materials like wine, energy drinks, hard candies, and sauces made from berries, tomatoes, and soy. Basically if it can stain your shirt or carpet, it will also stain your teeth. Using a straw to drink will help reduce the damage, and we also recommend drinking plain water after consuming something acidic to help minimize the acid’s erosion. Flossing and brushing your teeth will also help prevent discoloration!

Whitening Discolored Teeth

Daily flossing and brushing can lighten yellow teeth gradually, but other treatments exist for more immediate results. Discoloration is usually responsive to bleaching, which can be done professionally by your dentist or by purchasing a DIY over-the-counter whitening treatment. A professional whitening done by your dentist is typically the most effective way to brighten your smile, and the results tend to be better and last longer than DIY solutions. Furthermore, it’s important to continue to maintain your teeth and take preventative measures such as avoiding certain foods and drinks after a whitening treatment to avoid future discoloration.

To find out what treatment is right for you, consult your dentist or call our office to schedule your next appointment at (562) 434-6414.

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Top 5 Questions About Invisalign

If you’re considering the Invisalign solution to correct your teeth, you’ve probably wondered about these common questions before. Some of them you might even be too embarrassed to ask your dentist! But don’t worry, we’re here to get you the answers you need:

1. Does it hurt?

Some people do experience pain when using Invisalign, due to the oftentimes odd shapes that it conforms to inside your mouth. However, you can consult with your dentist to file down any sharp edges that are bothering you. If you’re more interested in a DIY method, some people use wax to cover rough or sharp edges on the aligners. However, we recommend having a chat with your dentist to see what will work best for you!

2. Will I talk funny?

While Invisalign is custom-molded to your teeth, it’s still a foreign object in your mouth that will take some getting used to at first. It can affect your speech, sometimes causing a slight lisp that some find noticeable and others don’t. Ultimately, the more you speak with the aligner in, the faster you’ll adjust. If it’s been weeks and your lisp hasn’t gone away, speak with your dentist – as it may be a sign that your aligners aren’t fitting correctly.

3. Can I still kiss people?

One of the biggest concerns we’ve heard about Invisalign is if it’ll affect romance! And the answer is… it depends. Some people find that it doesn’t change a thing, while others encounter more of a struggle. Most of that is embarrassment, such as worrying your significant other will be bothered by it. But a kiss is a kiss, and your loved one probably won’t even notice. People have been smooching with brackets in their mouths for years, and there are some things in life that just won’t be stopped!

4. How long does it take to see results?

On average, it takes about a year for adults to complete their Invisalign course. However, you’ll start noticing results much sooner than that! It typically takes 2-3 months for most patients to see results, and not much longer before others notice as well.

5. How much does Invisalign cost?

There are two primary factors that dentists need to consider for the cost of your Invisalign. First is the treatment’s complexity, which means that the more extensive the corrections are, the longer the treatment time and the more aligner trays will be needed. This results in additional expense.

The second factor to consider is aftercare. You may need things like bite guards, retainers, and bite adjustments – so be sure to ask your Invisalign provider what is included in your initial price quote.

For more information about Invisalign or to find out of Invisalign is right for you, call us today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment!

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Sugar And Its Effects on Your Oral Health

When it comes to keeping your family’s teeth healthy, it’s important to ensure they brush and floss, but it’s just as important to be mindful of what they put in their mouth. There is a long list of foods and drinks that are bad for your teeth. In fact, they can actually hinder or reverse any good your dental routine is doing.

Sugar-based drinks, such as fruit juices and soft drinks, are definitely on this list. Although they are the go-to beverage for children everywhere, they are not the best choice. Drinking too much can cause a host of dental problems, including gum disease, tooth decay, dental cavities and even bad breath.

Sugar has a direct impact on the health of your teeth and mouth in general. While the amount, type and form of the sugars can change the severity of the impact, generally speaking all sugars cause the same effect. When sugars intermingle with your saliva and begin to get processed by the gnashing of your teeth, the pH levels in your mouth and saliva are affected. You may not think of your saliva as acidic but it actually is. The level of acidity in your mouth helps control the bacterial environment in your mouth; if the pH levels decrease then the environment becomes more hospitable and promotes bacteria growth. If your acidity levels were to rise too much, it could cause damage to your teeth and other tissues.

Researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine looked at public health records from around the world and found that in the U.S. especially, tooth decay–which is one of the most common non-infectious diseases in the world–from sugar, was far too high.

About 60 to 90% of school-age children and 92% of adults in the U.S. have experienced tooth decay.

“Only 2% of people at all ages living in Nigeria had tooth decay when their diet contained almost no sugar, around 2g per day. This is in stark contrast to the USA, where 92% of adults have experienced tooth decay,” study author Aubrey Sheiham, emeritus professor of Dental Public Health at University College London, said.

The average 1- to 3-year-old consumes about 12 teaspoons of sugar each day, and the average 4- to 8-year-old takes in 21 teaspoons, according to the American Heart Association. And the numbers don’t get better for tweens and teens — kids between the ages of 9 and 19. Boys in this age group average between 29 and 34 grams of sugar a day, and girls in the same age group average between 23 and 25 grams, according to the journal “Circulation.” These numbers significantly exceed the recommended sugar limits for children.

The actual limit of sugar for children is 3 to 4 teaspoons during the preschool and early elementary years, and between 5 and 8 teaspoons during the tween and teen years.

The forms of sugars you ingest are also a significant factor in your overall oral health.  A sugar that you drink and a sugar that you chew are both bad for your teeth but for different reasons. Sugars that come in liquid forms, such as sodas or juices, wash over your entire mouth and get into every nook and cranny of your teeth. This is harmful because, even with regular brushing, those sugars can sit in hard to reach places and allow bacteria to grow.

Sugars that you chew are harmful because they can leave a larger than normal amount of residue on the teeth. This residue will not wash away with saliva; again, it creates a more than normal amount of substrate for bacteria. Even natural sugars can be harmful for your teeth but naturally occurring sugars aren’t as concentrated as artificial ones and they are generally ingested alongside other foods which are low in sugar. An example of this would be eating an apple. It’s not purely sugar and the apple itself is neither sticky nor a liquid.  While residue will be left behind after consuming the apple, it will be much less so than with artificially created sugar products.

Sugar consumption causes issues like severe erosion that go far beyond cavities. It can lead to:

  • extreme changes in your bite (the way your upper and lower teeth come together)
  • a significant reduction in the size of your back teeth
  • tooth loss and/or extraction of unhealthy teeth
  • the replacement of dental work
  • gum surgery
  • dental implants

If sugar consumption has caused you tooth decay, tooth loss or other oral health issues, don’t wait, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to schedule an appointment!

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Tips & Tricks for Good Halloween Dental Care

With Halloween fast approaching, it’s time for Long Beach parents to brush up on oral hygiene! Many parents grow anxious and worry about this holiday candy bonanza, but many experts agree that this is the perfect time to reinforce good dental care in children. We’re going to share a few quick tips and tricks on how to keep your child’s teeth clean and healthy, even during the month of sugary treats!

The stickiest and most long-lasting treats are the ones to avoid. Candies like taffy and gummies stick to the teeth and take longer to be washed away by saliva, so keep consumption to a minimum. Likewise, hard candies that stay in the mouth longer such as lollipops play a big role in getting cavities. Also avoid high-sugar drinks such as soda, juices, and flavored water, as these will increase risk of tooth decay. Sugar-free candy is almost always recommended above the rest, when possible.

We recommend setting up a Candy Bank for your child as soon as they get home from their night of trick-or-treating. Let the child choose their top ten candies, and then remove the rest from their possession and allow them to make candy withdrawals under your supervision. This is a great way to monitor candy consumption and decrease the risk of tooth decay!

Your children should brush and floss their teeth twice a day, once in the morning and once at night. If your child is 8 years or younger, directly help them with brushing and flossing rather than just supervise. After eating sugary treats, however, it is recommend to brush teeth right away to help prevent cavities and promote good oral hygiene.

Use fluoride to help fight cavities. Brush with fluoride toothpaste – a pea-sized amount will do – and make sure the child drinks lots of fluoridated water. Fluoridated water is usually distributed through a community’s water supply. Consider purchasing bottled fluoridated water if your area does not have any, or ask your Long Beach dentist for fluoride supplemental products for your children.

There’s no better time than Halloween to remind your kids about the importance of healthy teeth and gums. Use the holiday as a fresh reminder that brushing, flossing, and dental visits are important. Use a Candy Bank to help facilitate healthy diet and consumption, and treat your child to a new, special toothbrush and even some flavored floss to reinforce good habits for healthy oral hygiene.

If you suspect your child may have developed a cavity from the candies or even broke a tooth on one just give us a call (562) 434-6414.

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Is my Baby’s Pacifier Bad for his Teeth?

Babies love their pacifiers and the act of sucking can provide comfort and soothe an anxious or cranky child and maybe soothe the parent’s anxiety of a crying child. Unfortunately a pacifier habit is setting your child up for a lifelong path of poor facial development and airway development. If you are lucky you & your child will be under the care of an airway focused dentist who can help correct the skeletal and functional problems that the pacifier causes before it becomes permanent or requires jaw surgery even in the early “teen” years.

If your child continues relying on pacifiers or thumb sucking or even bottle feeding for too long it will most likely affect tooth alignment and other important mouth development. In general you should attempt to rid them of their sucking habit between 18 and 24 months.

Some of the lasting negative effects of sucking a thumb or pacifier for too long include:

  • Bottom front teeth can slope inwards and the top front teeth can slope outwards.
  • Front teeth not meeting when the mouth is closed.
  • Both their upper and lower jaws can become misaligned.
  • The roof of the child’s mouth can become narrower.
  • An abnormal tongue swallowing pattern can occur which causes a narrow jaw, narrow airway, crowded teeth, and a number of other issues

If you’re trying to get your child to stop sucking their thumb or relying on a pacifier, here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Instead of reprimanding them when they suck their thumb, try using positive reinforcement and praise them for not doing it.
  • Kids often suck their thumb when they feel insecure or anxious. Focus on addressing the cause of their discomfort and soothing the child.
  • Acknowledge and reward the child when they avoid sucking their thumb during a stressful situation, like being left with a babysitter.
  • Wrap a Band-Aid around their thumb as a reminder to the child not to put it in their mouth.
  • Try putting a sock over their thumb sucking hand at bedtime to prevent them from inadvertently doing it while sleeping.

If you’re still having trouble getting your child to reverse their thumb sucking habit, contact our office. If home remedies haven’t worked for you, a dentist can prescribe a mouth appliance or medication that coats the thumb to prevent sucking.

If you think your child’s teeth are being affected by pacifier use or thumb sucking, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to see how we can help.

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Sleep Apnea can Affect Women, Too!

We often picture a heavyset man over 40 with a thick neck and a window-rattling snore when we think about the typical sleep apnea sufferer. This image often fits the profile of a sleep apnea patient, however, it doesn’t represent a complete picture of the demographic of all sleep apnea sufferers.

Contrary to popular belief, sleep apnea patients come in all shapes, sizes, races, genders and can even have symptoms atypical to those common for sleep apnea. For instance, not all sleep apnea sufferers snore, many are not obese or even overweight, and not all of them are male. Sleep apnea is prevalent in women as well as men and they are often under-diagnosed and under-served by the medical community.

Loud, persistent snoring is the most recognizable sign of obstructive sleep apnea, which is the most common form of this condition. Women have a different breathing pattern than men, so while it’s certainly possible for women to snore, they may be more likely to present other symptoms of sleep apnea, such as:

  • Difficulty sleep
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Memory loss
  • Fibromyalgia

Many of these symptoms may not seem like they are connected to sleep problems at first glance so it’s easy to miss the connect. If you have noticed any of these symptoms, it may be a good idea to get tested for sleep apnea. Around half of the people with condition are not aware of it and as a result, it goes untreated.

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which someone has moments where they stop breathing when they sleep. Not breathing is a bad thing obviously, so your body will wake you up long enough to take a breath or two. This can occur dozens of times every hour, and that can prevent you from getting the restful sleep that you need. As a result, you can feel sleep deprived, and you may experience frequent daytime sleepiness. This can lead to difficulty focusing on a specific task and an increased risk of accidents, including driving accidents. Likewise, the breathing stoppages mean your body is fighting to keep you alive throughout the night. That can lead to higher blood pressure and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) machines remain the most common treatment for sleep apnea. Unfortunately, they only work if you actually use them. For some people, CPAP machines create new issues. The mask can be uncomfortable and even irritating. The sound of the machine itself may make it difficult to fall asleep. And since the machine needs electricity, this can limit its effectiveness. Fortunately, you also have the option of getting an oral appliance that you can wear while you sleep. You could think of this as a special kind of mouth guard. It works by slightly adjusting the position of your jaw. This helps to keep your airways open so you can continue breathing throughout the night. That allows you to sleep longer and deeper so you get the rest and rejuvenation that comes from healthy sleep.

If you suspect that you or someone you love may have sleep apnea, contact our office at (562) 434-6414 to schedule a visit.

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The Affect of Dry Mouth on Teeth

Dry mouth is a fairly common condition clinically known as xerostomia.

Most people who have it experience it most strongly when they first awake.  Their mouths often feel dry, scratchy or sticky.  It is always uncomfortable and can lead to cracked and bleeding lips, sores on the sides of the mouth, difficulty speaking and horrible tooth decay and loss!

The Most Common Causes of Dry Mouth Are:

  1. Dehydration from not drinking enough water or from diabetes, which causes frequent urination
  2. Certain medications
  3. Medical treatments for cancer such as radiation and chemotherapy
  4. Certain medical conditions like Sjogren, cancer of the head or neck, Parkinson’s disease, HIV/AIDS
  5. Infection in the gums or mouth
  6. Nerve damage that affects the salivary glands
  7. Social habits like smoking, drinking, and recreational drugs, which significantly dry out oral tissues
  8. Excessive snoring or mouth-breathing

Solutions for Dry Mouth Can Include:

Medication Adjustment – If medication you are taking is causing your dry mouth, consult your doctor to adjust the dosage or change to another medication without that side effect.

Hydrate – Many cases of dry mouth will remedy themselves if you simply drink enough water to stay hydrated. This is especially important if the weather is very hot or very cold. To figure out the proper amount of water you should drink every day, divide your body weight in half and drink that number of ounces per day! To make this even more effective, replace any caffeine or soda drinks as both can dehydrate you with frequent urination.

Stop/Minimize Bad Habits – Excessive smoking and drinking can contribute to dry mouth. If dry mouth is a problem for you, cut down on alcohol consumption to no more than 2 drinks, 3-4 times a week. Also consider cutting out smoking altogether, as it comes with numerous health complications!

Chew Gum – Citrus, cinnamon, or mint-flavored gum helps stimulate saliva production.

Humidify – Many people with dry mouth wake up in the middle of the night so dry that they can’t speak. Using a humidifier in your bedroom at night can help.

RX Saliva Boost – Your dentist or doctor can give you a prescription for a medicine that can help boost your saliva production.

Artificial Saliva – There are several over-the-counter sprays and drops that are available at your local pharmacy and available from your dentist.

Resolving Breathing Problems – Block sinuses or deviated septums can actually cause some cases of dry mouth due to the decreased airflow through your nose. This causes you to mouth-breathe and can significantly dry out your mouth tissues. See an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor who can help you breathe correctly through your nose.

Protect Your Teeth

  • Brush teeth at least twice a day
  • Floss before you brush to get the maximum benefit
  • Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash
  • Rinse your mouth with water after every meal (or better yet, brush your teeth)

Dry mouth has many causes, but it also has many solutions! You are not doomed to a dry, uncomfortable mouth forever. For more information on how a dentist can help you fight dry mouth or to schedule an appointment, call our office today at (562) 434-6414.

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Importance of Sleep Hygiene For Sleep Apnea Sufferers

Your routine during the day and before bedtime can have a big effect on your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. High-quality, restful sleep is important to your overall health, especially if you suffer from sleep apnea.

Your behaviors throughout the day—what you eat and drink, your medications and vitamins and the level of consistency in your schedule can all significantly affect your sleep. Sometimes just a couple slight adjustments can be the difference between falling and staying sound asleep or tossing and turning the night away.

“Sleep Hygiene” refers to the healthy sleep habits that can increase your chances of falling asleep and staying asleep. Maintaining these habits can provide you with a foundation for better quality sleep which will contribute greatly to staying healthy and feeling rested. Many people have trouble sleeping, but as sufferers of sleep apnea know, snoring can make a good night’s rest seem impossible. Follow these suggestions to get your healthy sleep habits on track:

  • Maintain a consistent schedule. Get up and retire for the night at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
  • Establish a bedtime that gives you at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Institute a relaxing pre-sleep routine.
  • Keep exposure to bright light in the evenings to a minimum.
  • Shut off all your electronic devices half an hour before your set bedtime.
  • Refrain from eating a large or heavy meal too close to bedtime. If you must eat late, opt for something healthy and light.
  • Incorporate exercise on a regular basis and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Stay away from caffeine at least 5 hours before bedtime.
  • Avoid drinking alcohol or taking medicine before bed. Sleeping pills can exacerbate sleep apnea symptoms and alcohol can act as a stimulant once your body metabolizes it.
  • Don’t smoke. Nicotine relaxes the muscles that keep the airways open. If you quit smoking, those muscles are less likely to collapse at night and narrow your airways.
  • Sleep on your side instead of your stomach or back.
  • Raise the head of your bed by 4 inches by placing bricks or blocks under the legs of your bed. You can also try using a special pillow, called a cervical pillow that will keep your head in a position that reduces sleep apnea.
  • If you use a CPAP machine or have an oral device your dentist made you to help you breathe, use it every night. Your symptoms will return right away if you don’t use it all night, every night.

Following these healthy sleep tips can make the difference between restlessness and a night of peaceful slumber and help maximize the hours you spend sleeping. It’s vital to get plenty of sleep as apnea episodes tend to be more frequent when you don’t get enough sleep.

If you suffer from sleep apnea, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to see how we can help.

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Am I Getting Enough Oxygen While I Sleep?

The upper airway muscle tone of patients with sleep apnea tends to narrow and collapses temporarily during sleep. When this happens, your breathing stops and it’s accompanied by a drop in your blood oxygen levels. When your blood oxygen levels decrease during sleep, the blood vessels that run through your lungs constrict, getting smaller in diameter. This makes the blood pressure in your lungs higher, causing pulmonary hypertension, putting added stress on the right side of your heart. Over time, if not corrected, the right side of your heart can become enlarged and less effective at pumping blood.

Having low oxygen levels while you sleep can result in an irregular heart beat and other signs that your heart is not getting the amount of oxygen it needs to function properly. If you experience low blood oxygen levels for extended periods during sleep, over time you can have fluid buildup in your body, which can result in heart failure or stroke. If you’re experiencing restless sleep, waking up with headaches, waking up short of breath or daytime sleepiness, it could be a result of impaired breathing. Night time teeth grinding and clenching can also be a sign of this problem.

Determining if your oxygen levels drop during sleep is relatively easy to find out. Using a device called an oximeter, your healthcare professional can monitor and record your oxygen levels for the entire night. Based on the results, your physician can discuss the options available to you.

If your low blood oxygen levels are determined to be a result of sleep disorders like snoring or obstructive apnea, your dentist can recommend an oral appliance that will open the upper airway through advancement of the mandible and tongue. There are many different dental devices on the market for sleep apnea and your dentist will recommend the one that’s right for you. Two of the most common are the Mandibular Repositioning Appliance that advances your mandible in an outward position and the Tongue Retaining Appliances which hold your tongue in an advanced position.

If you’re experiencing impaired breathing or think you may have low oxygen levels due to sleep apnea, call our office today at (562) 434-6414 to see how we can help.

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