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Why Porcelain Veneers Might Be a Great Option

If you’ve ever been concerned about the appearance of your smile, you’ve likely considered a number of options to improve the look and feel of your teeth. From whitening strips to crowns, there are many dental treatments and procedures that can help you obtain the perfect grin. One popular, longer-lasting solution is porcelain veneers. These thin pieces of porcelain are custom-made to match the shape and color of your permanent teeth.

While veneers eventually need to be replaced, they are made to withstand use over the course of many years, making them a desirable option for a multitude of reasons. First and foremost, people are attracted to veneers due to their ability to hide cosmetic imperfections. This can include crooked and misshapen teeth, as well as teeth that are too stained or discolored for standard forms of whitening. Porcelain veneers can also be used to create a uniform tooth size, in instances where the natural teeth are either too large or too small. Finally, individuals with spacing issues or chipped teeth are also good candidates for veneers.

The process of placing veneers remains fairly simple for individuals only looking to improve the look of a few of their teeth. Over the course of two visits, your dentist will prepare the surface of your teeth for your new veneers. This includes lightly buffing and shaping them. They will then take an impression of your teeth and help you select a shade that matches the surrounding teeth. When the veneers have been made, your dentist will then adhere them with a bonding cement.

For people that are looking to have the majority of their teeth covered with veneers, the procedure can take a bit more time. Before any treatment begins, your dentist will likely take photos and molds of your teeth. This helps your dentist and lab technician create a mockup of what your mouth will look like once the veneers are placed. When you’re all in agreement and happy with the expected appearance, temporary veneers will be made. These temporary veneers are used as a “test-drive” for your teeth. They help you get the feel of your new smile, while also leaving room for adjustments to things like length and shape. When your final veneers are ready and shaped accordingly, your teeth are cleaned in order to ensure the best possible bond between the porcelain and your tooth’s enamel. Bonding cement is then applied and a specialized light beam activates and hardens the seal. Once set, your new and improved smile is ready to show to the world.

If you’re unhappy with the look of your smile, reach out to our team of dentists to talk about your options. With veneers, you can fix chipped teeth and change the appearance of crooked teeth all in less time than other methods, like braces, would take. In addition, the whitened appearance of veneers lasts for years. By scheduling a consultation today, you’re one step closer to achieving your picture-perfect smile.

Give our Long Beach team a call at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment online here.

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Your Family’s Dental Health Starts at Home

While it’s recommended you visit your dentist on a regular basis, proper dental care begins in the home. Making healthy meals, eating fewer snacks, and correctly using your oral hygiene tools are just a few ways to help control the bacteria and plaque in your mouth that can cause cavities and gum disease. In order to protect the oral health of you and your family, an adequate at-home dental routine is of the utmost importance.

The first step in your family’s oral care routine should be flossing. By flossing at least once a day, you can prevent plaque from forming on your teeth and gumlines. Flossing comes first so that any loosened food particles are removed from the mouth during the other steps of your routine. To floss, simply take 12-16 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, with 1-2 inches held between them. This will be the part that you guide between your teeth with your thumb and forefingers. Curve the floss around each tooth, making a “C” shape, in order to properly clean the sides and under the gumline. If standard dental floss proves difficult for the younger members of your family, there are a variety of disposable flossing products to try instead.

The next step in your family’s regimen should be brushing. It’s best to use an electric toothbrush with soft bristles at least twice a day. The soft bristles are gentle on your gums and enamel, while the electric aspect helps you achieve a better clean. Most people brush their teeth in the morning, and then again before going to bed. Whatever you choose, bedtime brushing is important as it removes any bacteria and plaque that would otherwise sit in your mouth overnight. With your brush in hand, place the bristles on teeth and gums at a 45-degree angle. Using small, circular motions, brush the inner, outer, and biting surfaces of each tooth. Your bristles should always touch your gumlines in order to ensure they’re being properly cleaned. Finish things up by brushing the back of your front teeth and the surface of your tongue.

Your last step is rinsing, which helps get rid of any bacteria that you may have missed. Using mouthwash is also a good alternative to use after meals if you’re unable to brush your teeth at the moment. If you’re currently using an over-the-counter dental rinse, it would be wise to consult with your dentist to ensure you’re using a product that works best for you and your family’s needs. When you’re ready to rinse, simply follow the instructions on the packaging. Most products will ask that you swish the liquid in your mouth for a short period of time. When time is up, simply spit and you’re good to go!

Keep your family smiling by instilling a dental care routine that includes flossing, brushing, and rinsing. In doing so, dental visits will go smoothly and your family will face fewer oral health issues.

Need more information and tips on achieving great oral health for you and your family? Book your next dental appointment with us by calling 562-434-6414 or requesting an appointment online on this page.

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What is Gingivitis and Why Should I Worry About It?

Proper oral hygiene is essential to preventing a variety of oral health issues. One common problem is gingivitis. Gingivitis is a mild form of periodontal disease that affects the gums around the base of your teeth. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontitis which affects the bone and can result inthe loss of teeth. By knowing what to look out for, as well as the steps you can take to avoid getting gingivitis, you can protect the health of your teeth and gums.

Gingivitis is most often caused by poor oral hygiene. Without proper care, plaque begins to form on your teeth and gumlines. Primarily made up of bacteria, it’s important to remove plaque every day. Without daily removal, plaque can harden into tartar. Tartar is detrimental to oral health because it encourages bacteria growth along the gum line, which can lead to irritation and pain. In addition, tartar makes it harder to remove plaque. If you suspect you have tartar on your teeth, it’s important to schedule a dental cleaning quickly to remove the build-up. If left to their own devices, tartar and plaque will continue to inflame the gums around the base of your teeth. This will eventually lead to bleeding and swollen gums. If left untreated, a person can expect their gingivitis to turn into periodontitis, which can cause tooth decay and tooth loss.

While the effects of gingivitis can be scary, there are a number of steps that can be taken to prevent and treat gum disease. First and foremost, practicing good oral hygiene is one of the best ways to avoid any gum and teeth issues. This includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, for a minimum of two minutes each time. Most people opt to brush their teeth in the morning when they wake up and again before going to bed. In addition to brushing, flossing once a day BEFORE you brush will help ensure that food particles and bacteria are removed from between your teeth. This lessens the likelihood of tartar buildup along the gum line.

In addition to good oral health practices at home, it’s also essential to visit your dentist on a regular basis in order to prevent a number of dental issues, including gingivitis. Dental cleanings are vital to keeping gingivitis at bay and are recommended every six to twelve months. If you have risk factors, like dry mouth or take certain medications, professional cleanings may be needed more often. Annual dental exams are also important to overall oral health since dentists can use X-rays to spot any potential problems before they’re visible. Regular visits allow your dentist to track your dental health and make note of any changes.

By practicing good health practices, like healthy eating, regular brushing and flossing, and visiting your dentist, you can lessen your risk of developing gingivitis. Can’t remember the last time you had your teeth cleaned or examined? Then call our Long Beach dental office and make an appointment with Dr. Stephen Coates today!

Call 562-434-6414 or request an appointment online here.

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Should I Get My Teeth Whitened Professionally?

Of the many different ways to improve the health and appearance of your teeth, one of the simplest dental treatments is tooth whitening. This non-invasive procedure works to lighten the color of your enamel, giving you a brighter, more vibrant smile.

People get their teeth whitened for a variety of reasons. For some, it is to help improve the look of the outer tooth layer that is susceptible to normal wear and tear. Over time, our enamel naturally yellows, so teeth whitening is a good option for combatting this. Other reasons include getting rid of stains caused by smoking or drinking certain drinks, like tea, wine, and coffee. Even some medications, like tetracycline, can cause stains! No matter the reason, whiter teeth can be accomplished in a few different ways.

There are two main options for getting brighter teeth. The first option is to buy over-the-counter strips at your local retailer. While convenient, the effects of these are short-lived and require more maintenance. The second option requires the help of your dentist. This kind of whitening will usually happen over the course of two appointments. At your first visit, your dentist will create molds of your teeth in order to create clear, customized trays. During your second visit, they will ensure that your trays fit properly and make any adjustments as needed. From there, the rest is done in the comfort of your own home. A special whitening solution will be given to you, which you will place in your trays. From there, you either wear the trays in your mouth twice a day for 30 minutes, or you can opt to wear them overnight. With due diligence, your teeth will achieve your desired level of whitening over the course of a few weeks. Unlike the strips, this method typically only requires a touch-up once a year.

One additional option is in-office whitening. This also can vary in techinique but it is traditionally takes 1 – 1 1/2 hours in the dental chair where the gum tissue is protected with a barrier and a much stronger solution is placed on the teeth for a few seprate applications. This can whiten the teeth to around the level you will see after 1 week of traditional whitening but is is done in one appointment and can be great for those that need quick results.

If you’re in the market for teeth whitening, talk to our Long Beach dental team today. They can determine whether or not you’re a good candidate for teeth whitening, as well as recommend the option that would work best for you. A whiter, more vibrant smile will leave you feeling confident in your appearance and ready to take on the world! Take the next step and schedule an appointment.  In doing so, you’ll be that much closer to having the “Pearly Whites” you’ve always wanted.

It’s easy to book an appointment! Call us at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment here.

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Dealing with Adult Dental Anxiety

If the thought of going to the dentist leaves you with sweaty palms and racing thoughts, you are not alone. In fact, up to 20% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to their anxiety. While it’s perfectly natural to be a little anxious about your oral health, people with a dental phobia often face irrational fears and panic attacks when confronted with even the most routine dental appointments.

People with dental anxiety can usually attribute their uneasiness to a few different causes. The first cause is a fear of pain. This fear usually comes from a poor dental experience during childhood, or even from dental “horror” stories told by friends. Thankfully, there have been a number of advances made in the oral health field, and many procedures nowadays are either less painful or completely pain-free! Along with this fear of pain, people are often stressed out by the injections dentists use. This can stem from a fear of needles or simply a dislike of the anesthetic side effects.

Beyond the unknown pain associated with dental procedures, those that are afraid of the dentist often admit to feeling helpless. This can stem from the fact that you’re unable to see what’s going on during your procedure. In addition, people also get embarrassed by their dentist’s close proximity to their face and mouth. This can lead to feelings of discomfort and self-consciousness about the overall appearance of a person’s teeth or fear of bodily odors.

Thankfully, there are ways to lessen your fears! Remember that your dentist is there to help keep you and your teeth healthy. Create an open dialogue with them about your fears. Dentists encounter fearful patients on a regular basis, so any good practitioner should be more than willing to help make the experience better for their patient. If they dismiss your fears, find another dentist. In talking about your treatment plan, you have a better idea of what to expect and can mentally prepare. This can help alleviate those feelings of helplessness and fear of the unknown.

Another tactic that can be helpful while you’re in the dental chair is communicating a system with your dentist for when they should stop what they’re doing. This can be something as simple as raising your hand. This can help ease the tension caused by the lack of control some people feel in the dental office. Use this system to signal when you need to rinse your mouth, ask a question, or simply need a break.

Whether you’re a young adult that’s new to booking your own dental appointment or someone who hasn’t been to the dentist in awhile, it’s natural to be a little nervous. If these nerves get in the way of your overall health, however, it may be worth discovering the cause and finding a coping mechanism that works for you. By recognizing where your fears come from, you and your dentist can take the steps needed to make your next appointment a smooth one.

Ready to take that first step? Give our experienced and friendly dental team in Long Beach a call. We are happy to help walk you through your appointment and help you achieve optimal oral health! Give us a call at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment here.

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Do You Need Dental Implants?

Missing teeth can cause a number of issues, including difficulty chewing and low self-esteem. Luckily, with today’s ever-changing dental technology there are a number of options for people looking to replace a missing tooth. Partial or complete dentures are removable options, but if you’re in the market for a fixed, more durable option, then dental implants are the perfect solution!

It’s never ideal to lose one of your permanent teeth. Thankfully, there are a number of reasons to consider a dental implant. The most obvious reason for getting a dental implant is to replace one or more missing teeth. While seemingly cosmetic, doing so can also prevent adjacent teeth from moving into the open area and causing issues with your bite, joints, and alignment. In addition, dental implants are a great way to restore confidence in a patient and their smile, as well as aid in speech, digestion, and chewing. Patients who have artificial teeth placed may also do so in order to restore facial tissues or create a more stable anchor for their current set of dentures.

Nowadays, getting dental implants is a relatively common procedure. Despite this, many people still don’t know what goes into the process of placing these new false teeth. When talking with your dentist, there are two potential goals for your implants. One goal is to replace one or more teeth with a fixed, unmovable final solution. This requires multiple x-rays and impressions of your teeth and jaw to figure out where and how to place the implant. This is based on your bone structure, gum tissue, and the spacing available for the implant. Over the span of one or more visits, your dentist will surgically place the implant and any additional support posts needed to keep the tooth in place. Once the implant location has properly healed, the artificial tooth will be made and fitted to the open area of your mouth.

The other goal one might have for their dental implant is full denture stability. If you’re currently using dentures, dental implants are a good way to ensure they stay in place. This is because once placed, the implants can be used to easily snap dentures on and off the artificial teeth. The dentures will still have to be removed regularly to properly clean them, but the extra stability helps them sit in the correct position in your mouth and more easily stabilize. No matter the final goal, getting dental implants is a low-pain alternative that grants you the peace of mind that comes with having a full set of teeth.

If you’re considering a dental implant, schedule an appointment with our team today. Our dentists will be happy to discuss your options, create a treatment plan, and coordinate the necessary appointments needed. No matter the reason for wanting them, dental implants are a great alternative to natural teeth, are relatively low pain to install, and will keep your smile full for years to come.

Give us a call to book your dental consult at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment using our online scheduling tool here.

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Spring Cleaning and Your Oral Hygiene

As the weather gets warmer and summer draws closer, spring cleaning is likely at the top of your To-Do list. While you’re busy cleaning out your closets and dusting the forgotten nooks and crannies of your home, remember to check in on your current dental hygiene regimen. Spring is the perfect time to revamp and refresh your oral care routine!

The first item you should consider when updating your dental routine is your toothbrush. If the bristles are frayed, it’s time to get a new one. In fact, the American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every three to four months. Instead of buying the same toothbrush as you had before, take the opportunity to consider better, more effective options.

One trait of a good toothbrush is softer bristles. While firm bristles give your mouth the sensation of being cleaner, they can also lead to enamel loss and receding gums. This is a direct result of brushing too hard. With softer bristles, your mouth gets clean and retains its enamel.

Another worthwhile upgrade to make to your routine is opting for an electric toothbrush over a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are proven to clean your mouth more effectively, thanks to their added vibrations and rotations.  If you’re not sure which model to invest in, reach out to your dentist for the best electric toothbrushes for your teeth.

As you clean the rest of your bathroom, pay special attention to the areas you use every day in your oral care routine. Ensure you’re keeping your sink tidy and disinfected. Bacteria thrive in moist, warm environments, so spring cleaning is the perfect excuse to sanitize! Another often forgotten item is your toothbrush holder. The last place you want germs growing is where you store your toothbrush. By washing it out with soap and water or placing it in your dishwasher once a week, you’ll keep the bacteria at bay and away from your toothbrush.

Spring cleaning is also a good chance to take inventory of what you have. Did you know your toothpaste has an expiration date? Be sure to examine the expiration dates on your toothpaste, floss, mouthwash, and any other products you use to keep your teeth healthy. If it’s expired, it’s time to toss it. Use this as an opportunity to try out new products, you might be pleasantly surprised with your purchases.

Finally, while you’re thinking of cleaning your home, consider cleaning your mouth as well! Start your new and improved dental care routine with a fresh slate and coordinate the changes with a professional dental cleaning. It’s recommended that you get your teeth cleaned by a dentist at least once a year, so why not now? With these tips and tricks, you’ll be on track to your best smile yet.

To schedule your routine dental cleaning and exam, give us a call! Our Long Beach dental team is happy to welcome new and existing patients in a safe, hygienic environment. Call our office at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment using this form here.

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The Health Benefits of Happiness and Smiling

There’s the old adage that you should “appreciate the little things in life.” By learning to find joy in even the tiniest moments, you’ll have more reasons to show off your smile! In fact, smiling on a regular basis can greatly improve your life in a variety of ways, including better health, relationships, and mood. By properly taking care of your oral health, you’ll reap a number of other positive benefits that come with putting your pearly whites on display.

The first notable benefit to smiling more is less stress. When we’re bogged down with negative emotions like anger and annoyance, our body produces more of the stress hormone, cortisol. When produced consistently, cortisol puts our bodies at risk of developing health issues like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. However, these problems can be combatted by something as simple as laughing or smiling.

When we smile, our bodies release endorphins. Endorphins are a feel-good chemical produced by the brain, which can serve as a natural pain and stress reliever. In addition to endorphins, smiling and laughing can improve your immune system, help regulate blood sugar, and lower blood pressure, which will lead to a longer, healthier life.

Another advantage to grinning more is better relationships with those around you. When you smile, people are more likely to feel at ease and comfortable in your presence. Smiling also makes you appear confident and in control, which is why people who smile are more often approached than those who don’t.

People who smile perform better at school and work, make friends more easily, and are generally perceived as being happy people. By coming across as pleasant and upbeat, you’re more likely to succeed in the various professional and personal aspects of your life.

Finally, smiling is the perfect excuse to show off the hard work you put into taking care of your dental health! Ensure that your smile is the best it can be by visiting your dentist at least once a year for a deep cleaning and dental exam. When you’re not in the dentist’s chair, continue brushing and flossing regularly in order to ensure the health of your teeth.

Still not comfortable with your smile because of your oral health? Talk to our dental team today about professional whitening options or to explore teeth whitening products available at your local retailer. By keeping your smile in pristine condition, you’ll enjoy the many advantages that come with smiling more, including less stress, lower risk of developing certain health issues, and better relationships.

Give our Long Beach general dentistry a call today at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment at your own convenience here.

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Is Wisdom Teeth Removal Necessary?

When it comes to dental procedures, wisdom teeth extraction has become extremely commonplace among teens and young adults. While not everyone needs to have them removed, these final four molars can cause a variety of problems if they’re left in your mouth. From pain to inflammation, wisdom teeth extraction can lessen a variety of oral health risks.

Despite it being a common procedure, not everyone knows what wisdom teeth extraction entails. It’s best to have them removed before they erupt, but sometimes there isn’t enough room for the teeth to grow. When this happens, the teeth become impacted. In either case, the procedure is considered oral surgery.

Patients are typically put under with a general anesthetic and wake up after the procedure has been finished, thus avoiding any pain or discomfort you would have otherwise felt. While under, the oral surgeon works to extract the troublesome teeth. Post-op recovery generally takes a few days, with complete healing requiring a few weeks. It’s important to monitor your eating habits and activity level in the days following your procedure, as instructed by your oral surgeon.

The procedure is fairly straightforward, however, the reasons people get their wisdom teeth removed can be a bit more complex. For starters, most individuals run into spacing issues if they leave these molars in place. That’s because the human jaw doesn’t grow as large as it used to. In fact, if left to their own devices, these teeth can even grow into the jaw bone, causing more serious problems down the road.

With overcrowding comes plenty of other issues, including inflammation and alignment issues. Wisdom teeth can also cause excessive pain, tumors, eventual gum disease, and tooth decay. The pain comes from the added pressure the teeth add to your jaw and neighboring teeth. Dentists also see damage to other teeth when wisdom teeth aren’t extracted because the extra teeth can make it harder to properly clean and care for your mouth. While they were useful at one point in time, wisdom teeth aren’t necessary nowadays to live a happy and healthy life.

Are you considering having your own wisdom teeth removed? Whether you’re running into some of the issues mentioned above or simply being proactive, seeing a dentist about wisdom teeth extraction bodes well when done sooner rather than later.  Schedule a consultation with one of our Long Beach dentist today. With our help, you’ll be able to decide the best care option for you and your oral health!

Give us a call at 562-434-6414 or request an appointment by using our online system here.

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Reasons Why You Should be Flossing Before Brushing

It’s common knowledge that proper oral health can be maintained by brushing and flossing your teeth every day. These activities help keep your mouth clean and teeth healthy by removing plaque and other cavity-causing bacteria. However, it’s not often mentioned which of the two activities should come first. When taking care of your teeth, should you brush or floss first?

Flossing and brushing help prevent gum disease and other oral health issues. Brushing should be done at least twice a day, while dentists recommend flossing once a day. Whether you’re doing it in the morning or at night, flossing works best when it’s done before you even touch your toothbrush.

Flossing helps remove food debris, bacteria, and plaque from between your teeth, which is why you’re better off doing it before brushing. This allows the bristles of your toothbrush to reach deeper between your teeth. In addition, by flossing before you brush, you’re allowing any loosened food particles to be removed from your mouth during the brushing process.

If you brush and then floss, these particles typically settle into your mouth until the next time you brush, leaving more opportunity for dental plaque to form. This increase in dental plaque can put you and your children at greater risk for gum disease.

Because of the list of potential dental health concerns that your child might face, it’s important to instill good habits early. In addition to brushing twice a day, children should also learn to floss while they’re still young. If they’re not motivated to use plain dental floss, make flossing fun by purchasing kid-friendly flossers! Flossers can be found in a multitude of colors, shapes, and themes, including Dr. Seuss and Crayola. There are even some flossers that are flavored in order to entice young children to regularly use them.

Dental health is extremely important. That’s why dental experts advise brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once before brushing. By making preventative dental care a family affair, you and your children will have healthy smiles for years to come!

Need more tips on at-home dental care? Come into our Long Beach general family dentistry and let our experienced team of dental professionals help! Give us a call at 562-434-6414 to book your family’s appointment. You can also request an appointment time by using our online tool here.

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