Straighter Teeth for Adults: Invisalign or Braces?
Posted on April 28, 2020 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

Many adults – whether they’ve had braces as a child or not – dream of a straighter smile. But what many adults today also struggle with is the idea of having metal braces at an older age.

For some, having metal braces right now may not be a big deal. After all, braces are a generally common feature on people.

However, having braces as an adult can have its own set of issues. For one, adults lead busier lives these days, so having to rethink your social and eating schedule may prove troublesome. Braces can also be uncomfortable, which may lead to small distractions that can affect your day-to-day routine.

Clear aligners like Invisalign® offer more flexibility than braces in many ways.

What is Invisalign®?

Invisalign® is a reputable and well-known producer of clear aligners, which are small, plastic, orthodontic devices designed to help you achieve a straighter smile.

Clear aligner treatment is often touted as a welcome and wonderful alternative to braces. They are especially wonderful for adults who have once had braces and are looking for retreatment options, as sometimes teeth may become crooked again years after the braces have come off.

What are some of the pros and cons of Invisalign®?

Invisalign® has a reputation that often times sells itself – straighter teeth without the hassle of metal braces.

You can still eat whatever you want, whenever you want, although you have to keep in mind that it is only for a small window of time in your day. Those undergoing clear aligner treatment can remove their trays at any time throughout the day, but most dentists recommend that you keep Invisalign on for at least 20 to 22 hours a day.

Ensuring that your trays are on for that amount of time does require a little bit of discipline. But, as long as you stick to your routine, cleaning your teeth before and after eating, and putting back on your appliances, then you should have no problem with it.

If you’re still unsure what orthodontic treatment is best for you, then you should make an appointment with your dentist. Your doctor will be able to talk through your options and work with you on finding the best treatment plan for achieving straighter, beautiful teeth.

Book your appointment today with Dr. Stephen Coates and his experienced dental team in Long Beach, CA. You can either request an appointment here or call us at 562-434-6414.

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How Do You Know You’re Experiencing a Dental Emergency?
Posted on April 20, 2020 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

During the COVID-19 pandemic, our dental office is available for dental emergency appointments, and have postponed routine dental care for after May 15, or whenever the “Stay at Home” order has been lifted.

We understand that some dental and oral issues cannot wait, so our phone lines are available for any questions you may have. However, here are some guidelines to use if you think you may have a dental issue that cannot wait.

Here’s a statement from the American Dental Association:

“Dental emergencies are potentially life threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding, alleviate severe pain or infection, and include:

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Cellulitis or a diffuse soft tissue bacterial infection with intra-oral or extra-oral swelling that potentially compromise the patient’s airway
  • Trauma involving facial bones, potentially compromising the patient’s airway

Urgent dental care focuses on the management of conditions that require immediate attention to relieve severe pain and/or risk of infection and to alleviate the burden on hospital emergency departments. These should be treated as minimally invasively as possible.

  • Severe dental pain from pulpal inflammation
  • Pericoronitis or third-molar pain
  • Surgical post-operative osteitis, dry socket dressing changes
  • Abscess, or localized bacterial infection resulting in localized pain and swelling
  • Tooth fracture resulting in pain or causing soft tissue trauma
  • Dental trauma with avulsion/luxation
  • Dental treatment required prior to critical medical procedures
  • Final crown/bridge cementation if the temporary restoration is lost, broken or causing gingival irritation
  • Biopsy of abnormal tissue

Other urgent dental care:

  • Extensive dental caries or defective restorations causing pain
  • Manage with interim restorative techniques when possible (silver diamine fluoride, glass ionomers)
  • Suture removal
  • Denture adjustment on radiation/ oncology patients
  • Denture adjustments or repairs when function impeded
  • Replacing temporary filling on endo access openings in patients experiencing pain
  • Snipping or adjustment of an orthodontic wire or appliances piercing or ulcerating the oral mucosa.”

If you are still unsure and need to talk to someone on our dental team, please call us at 562-434-6414.

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‘Stay at Home’ and Reassess Your Family’s Dental Routine
Posted on April 16, 2020 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

With the government’s plans to extend the “stay at home” order across the state of California to at least middle of May, there is no better time to focus on your home and your family than now. Plus, it’s spring season now, which means it’s a good time to think about spring cleaning!

But one part of the house that often gets overlooked with spring cleaning is cleaning our at-home care routine. Disinfecting your bathroom and reorganizing the medicine cabinet are important, but what about the tools you and your family uses?

Many dentists and the American Dental Association recommend that you change out your toothbrush every 3 months. When was the last time you replaced your family’s toothbrushes? Now is a good time to throw away the old brush and get yourself a new one.

Regarding your home dental care routine, think about how often your family brushes their teeth. Are they brushing the recommended twice a day, for at least 2 minutes each time? How often do you floss? Are you flossing correctly? There are many great and instructional YouTube videos you can research to see if you’re brushing and flossing correctly.

Not only is this a good time for teaching your children how to brush and care for their teeth, but maybe it’s a great time for continuing more education at home. There are many tools online that you can use to teach your kids (and yourself, honestly) about our mouths – what is saliva and why is it important, how to name and identify different teeth in your mouth, how to care for bad breath… and so much more!

Another aspect of your dental care routine is going to the dentist. Since non-emergency dental appointments are delayed until after the “stay at home” order is lifted, it’s time to look at your summer schedules and find a time for you and your family to visit your local family dentist.

Our family dental office in Long Beach, CA is committed to protecting the health of their patients and team members. We will not only ensure that you receive quality dental care in our office, but also keep your health and safety a priority while you’re with us.

Request an appointment for summer dates using the link here, or call our office at 562-434-6414.

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What Bleeding Gums May Indicate
Posted on March 23, 2020 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

What Bleeding Gums May Indicate

Have you ever found blood coming out of your gums after brushing? Of course, it’s natural to be concerned and worried. It’s not a very common thing, and sometimes, it may indicate that something wrong has happened, or is happening.

For some people, bleeding after brushing may mean that the brushing was too aggressive. Either the bristles on your toothbrush are too hard, or maybe you’re incorrectly brushing your teeth and irritating your gum lining.

If you bleed after flossing, it may also mean that you’re flossing too hard. For those who have never flossed or rarely floss, your gums may be too sensitive, so it’s typical to experience a little bit of bleeding.

It’s also important to consider if you’re taking medication. If you are, take a look at some of the side effects – for example, blood thinners can cause you to bleed in your mouth. You should contact your doctor to get more information and form a plan of action.

Ultimately, bleeding should not be a common occurrence. If you find that your gums are bleeding for more than a few days (and blood thinners aren’t the problem), then it’s time to book an appointment with your dentist!

Bleeding gums may be a sign of gingivitis, which is an oral disease that causes inflammation of the gums. This is normally due to high plaque buildup. The more plaque that forms on your teeth, the more it infects the gum line and irritates it.

If not treated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, which is a long-term gum condition that damages beyond the gum, and can negatively affect the bones that support the teeth. Periodontal disease causes more than just bleeding gums – it can cause you to lose permanent teeth.

There are also other health conditions that can cause bleeding gums, like leukemia, diabetes, or hemophilia. The best way to determine the ideal course of action for treating bleeding gums is to visit your dentist for an exam and consultation.

If you have an emergency dental issue, give our dental team a call. Our dentistry in Long Beach, CA headed by Dr. Stephen Coates has been serving the local community for decades, and we are happy to accept emergency visits.

Call 562-434-6414 to book an appointment today.

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How to Spring Clean Your Home Dental Care Routine
Posted on March 12, 2020 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

How to Spring Clean Your Home Dental Care Routine

It’s the beginning of spring, which means it’s time to clean! As you’re planning out your strategy for tackling your bathroom, don’t forget about the cabinets and the dental care tools you use daily.

This is a great opportunity for you and your family to assess your oral care routine and make the necessary adjustments to maintain healthy and beautiful smiles.

  • Throw out your old toothbrush if it’s older than 4 months old. The American Dental Association recommends that you change out your toothbrush every 3-4 months, or whenever the bristles on your brush get too frayed. You always want to make sure that the main tool you’re using to care for your teeth is in tip-top shape!
  • Organize all of your dental tools in one place. Brush, floss, and mouthwash – it’s easy for some of us to remember, but if all of your products are in one place, then it’s even more efficient for your home oral care routine. This can also help your children remember all the things they need to do during brushing time.
  • Sanitize inside the cabinets, or wherever you store your toothbrushes. Everyone stores their toothbrushes in different places, but one thing is for certain: everyone needs to make sure that they are cleaning in the areas around where those toothbrushes are stored. That could also mean cleaning inside the toothbrush cup holder, where bacteria is sure to be collected.
  • Think about how you can change or update your oral cleaning routine. If you designed a fun experience for your child to encourage them to brush their teeth, maybe it’s time to change it up! Children love to be challenged, and they also love to try new things. Maybe find them a new character toothbrush based on what they’re watching, or change the 2-minute song you use to time your brushing. Even the smallest tweaks can raise interests again!

Remember, it’s not just the counter and sink that need a good scrub! Spring cleaning gives us a chance to look at our daily routine again, and make improvements to help maintain – or make better – our tasks that have to perform regularly.

Need some more ideas on improving your at-home oral care routine? Book an appointment with our Long Beach dental team and we can help your family find something that works for you.

Come in for an exam and cleaning with Dr. Stephen Coates and his experienced and friendly dental team! Call us now at 562-434-6414.

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