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July is Watermelon Month: How This Fruit Affects Oral Health

With one of the hottest months of summer here with us, there is always the temptation to keep cool with some sweet treats. While this is an effective way to beat the summer heat, most treats have high sugar and fat content, which can harm your teeth.

But you don’t have to forego the refreshing sweet treats just because you fear for your teeth. Watermelons are an excellent option to stay cool while enjoying a sweet healthy snack.

Besides being sweet and delicious, the fruit contains nutrients and vitamins that can benefit your teeth, eyes, and gums. Also, as July happens to be Watermelon month, there is never a better time to enjoy your favorite snack!

Why Go Wild About Watermelons this July?

I bet you’re wondering; why the fuss about watermelons while there are a thousand other fruits that can do the job equally well?

Obviously, it’s because July is Watermelon Month. But far from it! The snack is amazing, and it can be a magic wand for your teeth and overall health. How so?

  1. Contains high water content
    To neutralize the acids in your mouth and prevent the formation of cavities, you need to eat veggies and fruits that contain lots of water. Watermelons have high water content, about 90%, which can aid in washing away food particles and bacteria that can harm your teeth. Besides, the high water content stimulates the release of saliva that has enzymes that break down bacteria.
  2. High fiber content
    Additionally, the fruit contains high fiber content. The fiber scrubs and cleans your teeth as you chew the watermelon. As a result, it removes food particles and curbs the accumulation of dental plaques, which cause tooth decay.
  3. Rich in Vitamins
    Watermelon is also rich in vitamins A and C, which are crucial for your dental health and eyes. Vitamin A helps in healthy gums and strong enamel, while vitamin C strengthens your soft tissues and prevents gum diseases.
  4. Sweet taste with low sugar
    This snack is sweet, meaning you can replace it with your favorite sweet treats. But what makes it a great alternative is that even though you enjoy the extra sweetness, it comes with no additional sugars. Its sugar levels are low, making it a very healthy treat.

Cleaning teeth after eating fruits

Once you’ve eaten your favorite fruit, you want to make sure you clean your teeth well. Drink enough water or rinse your mouth after eating. In turn, this should help dilute any sugars or acids that remain in the mouth.

Wait for about 30 minutes or so before brushing your teeth. Brushing too early or immediately after eating the fruit can easily damage your enamel because fruits contain acids that weaken the enamel temporarily.

Watermelons alone don’t work magic.

Watermelon is not a magic food. While you can reap its immense benefits to your dental and overall health, eating the fruit alone won’t give you results. You need to go the extra mile, and have regular dental checkups and eat a balanced diet.

Making regular dental visits will not only help you detect dental problems, such as enamel wear down and gum diseases at their onset, but also enable you to stop them early. Besides, routine visits help you to make your dental health a part of your daily life.

Cool down in a healthy way!

As we go through this hot Watermelon month, let’s remember to beat the heat in a sweet, healthy way. A 100 grams slice of the watermelon should be enough to get the most out of the fruit to stay healthy and cool this July.

Speaking of summer, did you schedule your routine dental cleaning yet? Summer is also a great time to get your cleaning done! Our Long Beach dental team is accepting new patients, so call us today at 562-434-6414, or use this online form to request an appointment.

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What is Saliva and is it Important?

Saliva, or our spit, plays a very important role in keeping our mouths healthy. Believe it or not, we get saliva from our blood and it’s therefore fitting that it acts as ‘the bloodstream of our mouths’.

And just like blood, saliva maintains healthy tissue in our mouths. So when our mouths aren’t producing enough saliva, oral health problems can arise. One way to maintain a healthy flow of saliva in your mouth is through chewing, as chewing compresses the salivary glands which in turn releases more saliva.

What else does saliva do? Saliva…

  • Washes away excess food and debris around our teeth and gums,
  • Aids in the breakdown of the food we eat (especially starches),
  • Moistens food to make it easier to swallow,
  • Contains germ-fighting agents to prevent tooth decay and infection,
  • Cleans teeth surfaces because of the levels of calcium, fluoride and phosphate ions,
  • And fights bad breath.

On top of all these benefits, our saliva does a lot to determine the health of our bodies overall. As mentioned it is derived from our blood, so it contains similar properties to blood and therefore clues to our overall health. Have you ever wondered why saliva samples are used in a variety of health tests? Well, now you know! Saliva samples are used to determine everything from gum disease, breast cancer, HIV and more recently COVID-19.

So just in case you were wondering, having healthy saliva has lots of health benefits all over the body, not just oral health. So get chewing!

Talk with our dental care team to learn more about what you can do to achieve better oral health. Dr. Stephen Coates and his team are happy to welcome new patients to our Long Beach family dentistry!

Give us at a call at 562-434-6414 or go here to request an appointment.

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Why You Should Talk to Your Dentist About Sleep Apnea

Dentists are able to help their patients with many different oral health concerns, including cavities, gum disease, and teeth extraction. Did you know that your dentist can also provide solutions for sleep breathing disorders (SBD)?

Defined by its repeated breaks in breathing while an individual sleeps, sleep apnea is considered a potentially life-threatening sleep disorder. This irregular breathing can cause an imbalance in carbon dioxide and oxygen levels in the bloodstream, leading to a number of complications.

There are two types of sleep apnea to watch out for. The first is called central sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea happens when the brain fails to communicate with an individual’s breathing muscles. The other type is known as obstructive sleep apnea, which happens when air is unable to pass through the nose or mouth, despite attempts made by the body to continue breathing. This sleep disorder often causes severe morning headaches, insomnia, and sleepiness throughout the day.

There is also a condition called Upper Airway Resistance Syndrome (UARS). This is a disorder included with many others that encompass an umbrella of conditions characterized as a sleep-related breathing disorder. UARS was aimed at understanding what was not historically covered by Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome (OSAS). Unlike OSA, there are no apneas in UARS. Instead, airway resistance is significant enough to cause short awakenings which disrupt the normal sleep pattern. A patient with UARS is usually not aware of the arousals, but still develop symptoms that affect their quality of life. One study found UARS or OSA present in up to 56% of children with ADHD. Studies show that symptoms of ADHD caused by UARS significantly improve or remit with treatment.

In general, individuals with OSA snore or create choking noises while they sleep. During these episodes, affected people may not wake completely. Because of this, many are unaware that they have a problem, leaving it undiagnosed.

While serious if left untreated, there are a number of options to treat sleep apnea. During your initial appointment with your dentist, they will examine your mouth and throat to get a better sense of what they are dealing with. This helps them determine what is causing the breathing issues, as well as determine a sensible solution. If necessary, your dentist may recommend an airway screening exam and with a home test first and if the situation is serious refer you to a physician who is familiar with sleep disorders and prescribe you to participate in a sleep study. This allows your dentist and physician to better understand your disorder since they look to see how many breathing episodes you have during the night.

Once your dentist can determine what is causing the issue and how serious your condition is, they are able to recommend a solution to manage your SBD. Initially, they may suggest that you cut down on things like smoking and alcohol consumption since these can exacerbate the issue. If these changes don’t help, your physician might try a sleeping mask. Also known as a CPAP device, these are worn during sleep and help the wearer keep their airways open.

Another less intrusive option is a dental device. These are used to encourage the lower jaw to sit more forward, preventing the tongue from obstructing the user’s main air passage. Dental devices are a good option for patients looking for an easy-to-wear alternative to surgery. If this helps then we know that increasing the oral volume for the tongue may be a way to actually cure this disease and not just manage it. There are few dentists and physicians that are aware of all the options out there so choosing the correct one can be daunting. Treatment options can range for a combination of orthodontics and minor surgery to full repositioning of both jaws.

Sleep apnea can cause a number of negative effects that lessen an individual’s quality of life. If you suspect that you may have this sleeping disorder, reach out to our Long Beach dental team today. We will help you figure out what is going on and the options for treatment so that you may return to your happy, healthy, well-rested self.

Give us a call to book an appointment at 562-434-6414 or send in a request here.

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Caring for Your Kids’ Teeth During the Summer

With summer in full swing, it can be difficult to maintain your family’s normal schedule. Whether your kids are sleeping in or staying up late, be sure that they still consistently brush and floss their pearly whites. A late bedtime is no excuse for lackluster dental hygiene. Worried about keeping everyone on track? Make brushing more fun by trying one of the following:

  • Create a Brushing Calendar
    This can be a great way to track your kids’ progress each day. Make it engaging for your young ones by rewarding them with fun stickers every time they brush or floss.
  • Establish a Family Brushing Time
    Children are more likely to do things if they see their parents doing it. By having everyone brush together, you can be sure your family is using correct techniques and following recommended brushing times. This comes with the added bonus of spending more quality time with your family!

Another summertime dental concern is consuming too many sugary drinks and snacks. Summer is about having fun, but with that fun often comes soda and candy. Encourage your children to make healthy food options, like drinking water and eating fruit. Not only will this be beneficial to their overall health and happiness, but it will also help keep cavities at bay.

An additional area for improvement comes in how often your kids eat. Instead of offering snacks to your children throughout the day, wait until they tell you they’re hungry. With more time between meals and snacks, their mouths are better able to clean themselves from previous food particles.

Finally, use your children’s break from school to your benefit. Make the time to schedule a dental checkup for each member of your family. By scheduling early, you’re more likely to get an appointment that best works for you. Earlier dental visits also allow your family dentist to take note of any health concerns. By noticing issues sooner, there’s a better chance that your dentist will be able to address the problem before your kids go back to school. This means no missed class time or taking time off from work.

By making your family’s dental health a priority this summer, they’ll have healthy, happy smiles all year long. Whenever you’re ready to book an appointment with our Long Beach dental team, call us at 562-434-6414, or request an appointment here.

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Tips for an Invisalign-Friendly Summer Picnic

Enjoying a summer picnic is still possible, even if you are an Invisalign wearer. Orthodontic treatment doesn’t have to prevent you from enjoying food in this warm weather!

When packing for your picnic, here are a couple of guidelines you can follow:

  • Aim for foods that won’t stain your teeth too much if you can’t get to a toothbrush.
  • Opt for bite-sized foods or foods that can be ripped into bite size pieces.

From there, you just need to pack your basket and head out! Next time you’re planning a picnic, try adding these mouth-healthy foods.

Things to Clean Your Teeth

One of the top priorities when you use Invisalign is keeping your teeth as clean as possible. Not only will it prevent any accidental staining, it will help prevent cavities and maintain your oral health. Be sure to throw a travel toothbrush and toothpaste in your basket. If you are especially dedicated to your oral health, add a pack of floss, too. And don’t forget a bottle of water to help when you brush.

Dairy

Packing dairy products in your picnic basket can be a great way to maintain your teeth while still enjoying a tasty treat. Things like cheese and yogurt are highly portable and great for your mouth. They are high in calcium and protein, while also raising your mouth’s pH balance. A low mouth pH can lead to cavities. If you do choose a yogurt option for your picnic, consider one lower in sugar to further protect yourself against cavities.

Fruit

Many fruits make an easy-to-grab snack for a pick. And sure, an apple a day keeps the doctor away, but it will also make your dentist love you. They are packed with water and fiber – great for your overall health – but they can also cause you to produce more saliva. This will help to wash away leftover food bits. On top of that, the texture of a crisp apple can improve your gum health.

Another yummy fruit option is any one of the many varieties of berries. They are loaded with vitamins and minerals, as well as antioxidants that can improve the health of your entire mouth, not to mention your body. On top of that, many berries have a compound that can reduce the plaque build up on your teeth.

Almonds

One way to add protein and calcium to your diet without reaching for a dairy-based option is to grab the almonds instead. Just like dairy, they have the calcium and protein your teeth want, but without the lactose that can cause distress, nor the fat, for those watching their figure. Plus the crunchiness of a handful of almonds can offer some protection from plaque.

Veggies

There’s a reason so many doctors want us to eat veggies: they work! Take carrots, for instance. The crunchy texture can clear away food debris in your teeth, as well as plaque. It will also encourage your saliva production while providing a good source of fiber and vitamin A.

Leafy greens, particularly the dark ones like spinach and kale, are something else you should pack for your picnic. Full of vitamins and minerals, these emerald greens will work to keep your bones healthy – and teeth are just outside bones!

While celery may not be the most exciting kid at the party, it plays an important role in your oral health. The fibrous texture and water content are perfect for washing away food stuff and scraping off plaque. They also have tons of vitamins A and C, which your gums will love.

Finally, top off your picnic with a handful of cucumbers. The high water content can help you wash out your mouth and keep it hydrated, while still providing you with healthy fiber and nutrients.

If you’re looking for ways to brighten and straighten your smile, you’ve come to the right place. Our Long Beach dental team has the knowledge and tools available to help you achieve that perfect smile. Call now to schedule with Dr. Stephen Coates at 562-434-6414, or request an appointment online here.

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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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