How Your Dentist Can Tell if You’re Stressed
Posted on October 10, 2019 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

These days, a lot of us understand that stress has a negative impact on not just our minds, but also our bodies. We talk about stress with our family, our friends, our coworkers, and our doctors. But where does the dentist come in? In reality, there are many ways that stress can affect our oral health.

During your routine oral exams, your dentist may find signs that you’re dealing with stress and anxiety, and that you’re likely not addressing them, either. It’s important to have conversations about our lifestyle and stress with our dentists during our appointments, so that we can prevent devastating oral health issues and create treatment plans for any current issues caused by our stress.

Teeth Grinding or Bruxism
One of the most common signs of stress is bruxism, the technical term for grinding teeth and clenching jaws. While a clenched jaw may not seem like a big issue on its own, it could lead to other serious oral issues like sensitive or eroded enamel, shifting of the teeth, headaches, and more.

Tempro-Mandibular Joint Dysfunction
Grinding your teeth can also lead to TMJD, sometimes called TMJ disorder. This happens when your jaw is not working properly, is severely sore, or is making popping or clicking sounds. TMJD can be severely debilitating to everyday life, and needs to be treated as early as possible.

Periodontal and Gum Disease
Studies have shown that stress can lead to higher chances of gum disease in many otherwise healthy adults. The reasons for this may vary, including lack of attention to normal, daily oral care and eating foods that are bad for your health. Canker sores, which are not a disease and are not contagious, are common in stressed patients, as well.

Addressing Stress and Visiting Your Dentist
As you start to make positive life changes to deal with the stress in your life, it’s important to keep a routine schedule in seeing your dentist. They will be able to identify issues before they get bigger, which can cause even more stress – the last thing anyone needs!

Be sure to schedule a stress-free and easy oral exam today with our experienced and friendly dental team here in Long Beach, CA.

Request an appointment online here, or call us to book your next appointment at 562-434-6414.

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Celebrating “Eat Better, Eat Together Month” and Having Better Oral Health
Posted on October 1, 2019 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

As our lives today get busier, it’s easy to lose sight of what matters most: quality, face-to-face time with our family.

That’s what “Eat Better, Eat Together Month” hopes to address, urging all of us to get back to basics when it comes to our families and meal time, and to be conscious of the foods we put on the table. Not only is eating together at the dinner table important for building relationships with our family members, but being mindful at planning dinner can have a positive effect on our mental and biological health, too.

When cooking for the family, it can force us to think twice about what we put on our plates. We want to provide the best for our children, so that means shopping for the best quality ingredients and preparing our meals mindfully.

With better food selection, comes better health. It’s no secret that picking wholesome, quality foods can enhance our health, including weight loss, cardiovascular health, and more. But did you know that good foods can also improve your oral health?

Here are some of our smile-friendly food recommendations to consider when preparing your meals:

  • Fibrous fruits and vegetables: There’s a reason why fruits and veggies appear on many lists for improving your health. But what does it mean when it comes to your teeth? Foods with lots of fiber promote saliva production, which is the body’s best defense to periodontal diseases. Saliva helps to clean your mouth and provide the necessary acids and minerals to naturally clean your mouth.
  • Calcium-rich foods, like dairy: Calcium is an important mineral that plays a big role in improving bone and teeth health in our bodies. If you love cheese, then getting more calcium may not be too much of an issue, but if you’re looking for an alternative for lactose-intolerant or vegan loved ones, there are still many options. Try seeds (like sesame and chia), beans and lentils, almonds, and tofu.
  • Water: Yep, you read it right… Water! Not only is this nourishing and necessary for general health and wellness, but water also helps to clear debris from your teeth, and produce more saliva.

In short, simply eating healthier can help improve the health of your teeth and gums. If you’re looking for more food tips and how your diet can help your family’s oral health, consult with your dentist at your next appointment.

Our Long Beach dental team has helped thousands of families in the area achieve beautiful smiles through dental care and guidance. Book your next appointment with Dr. Stephen Coates and his friendly and experienced dental team today.

Request your appointment online, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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Achieving a Straighter Smile by Holiday Time
Posted on September 23, 2019 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

Shopping list, vacation planning, company parties – there’s a lot to think about this coming holiday season, but one thing that you may not be thinking much about? Your smile.

If you’ve been struggling with having confidence behind your smile, it’s not too late to address this issue. Many adults have started to turn to an orthodontic solution that does not involve multiple trips to the dentist – and, best of all, no metal.

Invisalign, a company that produces clear aligner trays, has helped countless people achieve a better, more beautiful smile in an innovative process that helps you to continue living your life as you already do while straightening your teeth. Your dentist simply works with you to create an Invisalign treatment plan that makes sense for your lifestyle and your budget.

In many cases, people will start experiencing visible results in as little as two months. Who would have known that clear, plastic appliances (when supervised by your dentist) would be an easy and simple alternative to traditional metal braces!

Of course, there is nothing inherently wrong with metal braces. But Invisalign’s attractive and clear aligners have transformed the lives of many busy, hard-working adults who may have not had the time or opportunity to wear metal braces. Clear aligners can be taken out at home so that you can still enjoy the foods you want. And they’re easy to put back on when you’re done.

Are you ready to have a straighter smile before the end of 2019? Make an appointment with our dental team located in Long Beach, CA and talk to us about Invisalign. We even offer different financing options to help alleviate the financial stress of the holidays.

Request an appointment online today, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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“Fall” into Better Oral Health This Season
Posted on September 10, 2019 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

The official start of the fall season is kicking off this month, and we are ready to embrace autumn with open arms and a bright smile.

It’s also time to think about how our oral health might change with the season. As it gets colder, you may experience some sensitivity in your teeth in response to the chilly weather. If you do, it could be a sign of some oral health issues, like cracked enamel or a cavity.

Colder weather can also affect saliva production, which is important for maintaining good oral hygiene. Drink more water to stay hydrated, and consider sugar-free chewing gum to get those saliva glands working again.

Your diet may also change with the season, and that will also affect our mouths. Pumpkin spiced lattes are delicious, but the sugar can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums if you don’t clean your teeth often. You may also be drinking more ginger beer, eating more pumpkin-laced desserts, or more fast-food with school in full swing – all of which could negatively affect your oral health if you aren’t careful.

We assume you’re already brushing your teeth twice a day throughout the entire year anyway, but if you’re consuming more sugary treats, you should pay closer attention to your at-home oral care routine. Consider using mouthwash more often, or maybe finally purchase that electric toothbrush you’ve been eyeing.

Your eating habits may also change with the holidays around the corner – Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas are opportune times to be bombarded with sweets and treats at every corner. We want you to be able to enjoy the many treats, which is why we also want you to have good oral health.

Come in for your check-up before the season gets more hectic. Our Long Beach dental team is here to help you manage oral care for you and your family.

Schedule an appointment now using our online system, or give us a call at 562-434-6414.

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TMJ Disorders are Common for Teenagers
Posted on September 2, 2019 by Dr. Stephen A. Coates

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD) is a common concern for teenage kids, according to the American Association for Pediatric Dentistry. The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is a complex area of the face that connects the jaw bone, the pit of temporal bone, and connective tissue.

TMD can be painful or restrict movement of the jaw, which makes it a disorder that needs to be addressed as soon as signs of it appear. Other signs may include bruxism (biting or grinding your teeth at night), clicking noises when moving the jaw, dislocated or “locked” jaw, and more.

For many young adults, treating TMD can be relatively simple, given that the problem is identified sooner rather than later. You may be prescribed muscle relaxers for the pain, and you may receive dental appliances – like a bite guard – to help with the grinding or irregular biting movements.

For more serious cases, surgery may be needed to relocate the jaw. This is a more permanent way to realign the mouth and has a higher success rate of treatment. A headgear or even braces may also be used to help manage TMD.

Diagnosing TMD can be done by your family dentist, who can also give you more customized tips for managing TMD and the associated pain. However, it’s important to make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you notice signs or symptoms. As with any medical issue, the earlier you identify it, the easier it is to treat it.

What causes TMJ disorder?

There is no known, specific cause for TMJ disorder (or TMD), though many dentists will agree that some cases may arise from injury to the jaw, mouth, or neck. Other reasons may include arthritis, bruxism, or even imprecise previous orthodontic treatments.

Orthodontic treatment may make the teeth straight and give you a great smile, but if the bite is not aligned properly, TMD can develop. Evaluation of the bite may disclose an underlying trigger for the TMD and recommendations may be made by your dentist to tweak the orthodontic results, adjust the bite, or place a bite guard.

Whether you’re experiencing pain or have more questions, make plans to visit our Long Beach general family dentistry. Our experienced team has served the community for many years, and we’re happy to see you, as well.

Book online now with our scheduling system, or call us at 562-434-6414.

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