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Bridge Out Ahead: Avoiding the Common Pitfalls of Dental Bridges

Since as far back as 200AD, dental bridges have been used to fill the void left by a missing tooth (or group of teeth). Fast forward to the 18th century, and even the famous patriot, Paul Revere was familiar with the dental bridge. In fact, during his life – Mr. Revere even placed advertisements in a local Boston newspaper, informing his neighbors of his very own dental practice.

Fortunately for the patients, the vetting process for dentists has become quite a bit more selective. But in his experience as a dentist, even Revere was familiar enough with the dental bridge to be able to identify a friend’s body by the bridge that he himself constructed.

This brief bit of history goes to show that dental bridges have been time tested, and they’ve continued to get better and better as the years have passed. Today, a modern dental bridge is often indistinguishable from a natural tooth, and their stability and strength allow patients of all ages to use their restored teeth almost as if they were their natural teeth.

But there are some pitfalls when it comes to dental bridgework.

the Most Common Disadvantages of Having a Dental Bridge

They are “Destructive”

Dental bridgework relies on the teeth on either side of a missing tooth as support. Unfortunately, if those teeth are completely natural and healthy – preparing them for the bridge can be damaging. This is because, in order to make enough room for the bridge, the teeth need to be filed down.

There is one situation where this is actually positive. If the teeth in question have already been damaged or have had multiple fillings, this step will actually play an important role by protecting those teeth in the future.

They Can Get Expensive

Not only can dental crowns add up (and bridgework typically requires two crowns), but dental bridges tend to last between 5 and 8 years.

For this reason, if the supporting teeth are healthy and only one tooth needs to be replaced – dentists often recommend dental implants. While a dental implant can cost more at the outset, a dental implant will last as long as a natural tooth, doesn’t damage the teeth on either side, and makes oral care easier — all factors that can help save money in the long run.

They Can Damage Your Nerves

When your dentist prepares your teeth for the crowns used to support your future dental bridge, there’s a small chance (roughly 1-15%) that the nerve in the tooth could die, which ultimately could require future root canal treatment. If you’re at a particular risk for this, your dentist may recommend performing a root canal before bridgework is completed.

The Appointment Can Be Long

Despite being one procedure that can replace a missing tooth in just 2 visits (compared to an implant, which will require repeat visits to the dentist’s office over the course of about a year before the tooth is fully complete.) The procedure for installing a bridge takes quite some time. Your first appointment will usually take between 1 and 3 hours. While the second appointment, when your bridge is installed permanently, typically takes about one hour.

They are Harder to Clean (When Compared to Implants)

With dental bridges, a bit of extra care is needed when it comes to cleaning. Since the underside of your dental bridge isn’t a part of your jaw, you will need to clean under your bridgework using a special tool known as a bridge threader. Because of this added difficulty, patients sometimes opt for the easier-to-clean dental implant, which can be treated just like a natural tooth.

How to Know When It’s a Dental Emergency

WHAM!

               CRACK!

                                CRUNCH!

No, unfortunately you’re not reading a comic book. But if you combine your teeth with any of the onomatopoeia (noun: the formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named) above, there’s a good chance you might be wondering, “Who’s a dentist near me” and “Should I call them to take a look at this?”

Dental emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. Fortunately, some simply seem scarier due to the amount of sheer stress generated when  the CRUNCH or CRACK! that you feel (and hear)  is the result of one of your teeth taking the brunt of the impact during a collision on the sports field or after a nasty fall. But it’s not always easy to know when you need emergency dental care.

So, without further ado: some simple guidelines.

When You Need Immediate Dental Care

The most important thing to remember when it comes to dental emergencies is the fact that no list of  symptoms is comprehensive. If you’re experiencing an issue that isn’t discussed in this article, please don’t hesitate to contact us at your earliest convenience.

  • Excessive bleeding that doesn’t want to stop: If your mouth is bleeding severely, you need to be seen be either your dentist or the emergency room as soon as possible. In many cases, your dentist will recommend you visit an emergency room first.
  • Pus in your mouth: If a sore or injury in your mouth ever begins to emit pus, you should contact your dentist immediately. Pus is a sign of definite infection that your body is having a hard time correcting on its own. Dental intervention such as a root canal treatment is likely.
  • Swelling in your mouth or gums: Swelling can be dangerous, especially when its in your mouth. If swelling isn’t addressed, it can quickly (or gradually) begin to restrict your airway. If your swelling doesn’t appear to be related to any of your teeth or gums, a visit to the emergency room is in order.
  • Traumatic dental injuries:  Here, it is important to remember that “trauma” is objective. While even the smallest chip can seem traumatic to some patients, a traumatic dental injury typically involves a tooth that’s been completely knocked out, cracked, or broken.
  • Infection with a Fever: If you have what appears to be a dental infection accompanied by a fever, you should seek immediate medical care as soon as possible. Generally, an emergency doctor should be seen first to take care of the fever. Following this, your dentist will want to address the underlying cause by locating and treating the infection.

It’s What’s Inside That Matters

Contrary to popular belief, most chipped teeth aren’t dental emergencies. In fact, the difference between a chipped tooth that’s an emergency and one that can wait until you can call your dentist during regular office hours is pretty simple, that difference lies in whether or not your tooth’s “insides” are exposed. If your tooth’s dental pulp is exposed, you should contact your dentist ASAP to prevent infection and other damage. In most cases (and depending on the severity) your dentist will recommend either a porcelain veneer, dental bonding, or a dental crown.

Having an emergency right now? 

Cypress DDS brings together the best dentists in Cypress, CA to offer patients the highest level of care when they need it the most.  If you have questions, concerns, or you’ve just experienced your own dental emergency – we’re here to help.

3 Common Questions Answered About Your Teeth

This week is national teacher appreciation week.  Given the topic of today’s blog, that simple fact is particularly relevant to the fact that, many times, good teeth are the result of good teaching.

One of the most common roles we find ourselves in as dental care professionals is that of the teacher. Without good teachers, our children are hopeless. Similarly, without good dental education, it’s no stretch to say our teeth are hopeless, too.  But that’s where your nearest family dentist comes in, to answer the questions you have about teeth to ensure you have healthy teeth for years to come.  So let’s start with a few of the most common questions we get from both patients looking  for a new family dentist in Cypress, CA and existing patients alike.

When should I take my child to the dentist?

Most dentists recommend that your child should see the family dentist around the age of one, or about 6 months after his or her first tooth has come in. Don’t think that just because your baby has “no teeth” they don’t need to see the dentist. Establishing comfort with the dentist early on, and ensuring everything is “coming in” properly can pay long-term dividends when it comes to a long life of healthy teeth.

Do I need Fluoride?

Fluoride is an important mineral that is actually found in a number of foods, as well as in your water. Naturally, fluoride can be found in tea, fish, spinach, cooked kale, skim milk, and apples. On top of this, many municipalities add fluoride to water supplies, giving residents access to vital fluoride from simple tap-water. Fluoride in tap-water is a primary contributor to teeth that are stronger and healthier in the long-term, and fluoride deficiency has been identified as a contributor to cavities and decay.

Fluoride’s primary function is help your tooth’s enamel protect itself against decay by strengthening the enamel against acid and plaque.

Who can get their teeth whitened?

Many patients often wonder if age is a factor when it comes to teeth whitening. The answer? Sort of. After about age 10 or older, most of a patients permanent front teeth will be fully erupted. While it’s generally not “worth it” to bleach a discolored baby tooth, it’s incredibly common for patients young and old to bleach their teeth once most of the front teeth are “here to stay”. The reason is simple: why deal with silly nicknames for darkened teeth when they can be taken care of quickly and inexpensively?

If a young patient is self conscious about a tooth’s discoloration, the solution is incredibly simple and likely only required a short whitening session in our dentist’s chair.

Do you have a question? We’re a dental office in the Cypress, CA area focused on delivering the highest level of care to our patients. To us, that starts with questions answered. Feel free to ask your own below, or contact us today to schedule your first visit.

5 Reasons Your Dentist May Recommend a Dental Bridge vs a Dental Implant

Picture your face and your smile as they would appear in an ideal world.  Now, picture your smile with a big piece missing.

When we’re missing a tooth, it’s hard to ignore. It’s only natural for a patient (of any age) to want to replace it. Fortunately, that’s where we have options. While the two most common options, dental bridges and dental implants, have a variety of advantages and disadvantages, today we’re going to discuss the dental bridge – and which situations it might be preferable when compared to a dental implant.

There isn’t enough space for a dental implant

Sometimes, a dental implant won’t work simply because there isn’t enough space to fit one. For some patients, missing a tooth for an extended period of time causes the adjacent teeth on either side to shift in place. If the adjacent teeth are allowed to shift too much, it can cause the gap to grow small enough that the implant post and prosthetic simply won’t fit without having to make more extensive adjustments. While a bridge can often be used instead, your dentist might also recommend orthodontic treatment to widen the gap and make the space suitable for a dental implant instead.

When Time is of the Essence

If time is of the essence and you need to fill the gap in your teeth quickly, a dental bridge will always be the fastest choice. Dental bridgework can be prepared and installed in as little as two visits to your family dental office.

When Surgery Isn’t an Option

Some patients simply don’t want to get the surgery required for dental implants, which can sometimes seem uncomfortable or invasive. Compared to implants, dental bridgework requires very little and is complete very quickly, improving your smile in virtually no-time.

The Question of Cost

When cost is important, and the teeth adjacent to the missing tooth would benefit from the bridge preparation, dental bridgework is an ideal solution. For an immediate fix, bridgework is much more affordable than dental implants. On top of this, while patients can expect to get at least 5 and 8 years out of a traditional bridge, many patients find that proper care and diligence can lead to a dental bridge that lasts for many, many years.

In addition to dental bridges involving a lower up-front cost than dental implants – it is also often recommended because dental insurance providers often cover dental bridgework, but not implants.

Questions? Get the answers you need. In our family dental office in Cypress, we provide support for patients needing dental bridges virtually every day. To learn more, schedule a consultation or contact us today. 

Saving Money on Children’s Dental Care

Just about every parent wants what’s best for their children, and that generally doesn’t change when it comes to teeth. Then again, everyone knows that dental care can get expensive when the patient hasn’t been very careful with their teeth. But sometimes kids just don’t know any better, so we’ve compiled a few tips to make sure your children’s teeth get the best care, while your wallet doesn’t take a beating.

Baby teeth matter, get them checked!

In order to avoid the need for potentially expensive dental replacements like dental bridges and implants in the future, it’s important to start early by building great habits when it comes to teeth. This begins in the dentists office at your child’s very first appointment. While many parents mistakenly believe an infant doesn’t need to see the dentist (because they don’t have teeth) this isn’t actually true. In order to make sure everything is as it should be, your baby should see the family dentist right around the time their first tooth comes in (6 months to a year). In the meantime, be sure to wash your baby’s gums with a warm, damp wash cloth to take care of any residual food.

Limit Bottles and Pacifiers 

Bottles and pacifiers should see limited use at night due to their ability to impact the future bite and tooth placement of your child. However, it’s doubly important to avoid letting your child go to bed with a bottle with anything that could hurt their teeth, particularly sugary drinks. Doing so would simply bathe your child’s tooth In sugar all night, and a cavity wouldn’t be too far away.

Brush with them

One of the most important tips you can learn when it comes to setting your child up for a lifetime of healthy teeth is that brushing with them will quickly help them develop healthy brushing habits. By brushing with your children, you take advantage of their natural urge to emulate mom or dad,  which goes a long way when it comes to helping them realize how important it is to brush after every meal and floss daily.

Why it matters….and why they aren’t just “baby teeth”

One of the most dangerous misconceptions when it comes to children’s teeth is that “they’re just baby teeth, they’re not even permanent.” This line of thinking is bad for two reasons. First, it undermines how important it is for your children to develop good brushing and flossing habits. Just like learning a language, the fundamentals are easier to instill when it’s done early.

Secondly, while baby teeth will eventually be replaced by adult teeth, their influence lives on. Because every baby tooth doesn’t fall out at the same time, adult teeth rely on them for help when it comes to spacing and alignment. Without the baby teeth, adult teeth could come in crooked and out of alignment.

Do you have questions about your child’s teeth? If your family lives in California and you’re looking for a great family dentist in the Cypress area, we can help! If not, and you’re just looking for some good information, feel free to continue browsing our blog.

Putting off Dental Work is More Expensive Than Just ‘Getting it Over With’

We’ve all been there before, you see a toothpaste commercial or read something in the news about teeth, and begin to feel the tingle in your mouth. Chances are, there’s nothing wrong with your teeth, but you begin to get that lingering feeling that you’re long overdue for a trip to the dentist’s office.  No matter what reason you’re avoiding the dentist’s office, take this one simple tip: STOP.   Read on to learn a few reasons why you shouldn’t wait to go to the dentist.

Save Money, Get it Over With:  When it comes to your teeth, the waiting game is almost always a losing proposition. There are very few reasons to delay serious dental treatment, like a root canal or filling.  On the rare occasion that you do delay treatment, it is important to appreciate the fact that follow-up treatment should not be delayed. Another situation where delaying treatment might be recommended is if you are expecting one tooth to receive work and it is adjacent to a space that will soon be affected by a dental bridge.

The Insurance Problem: Sometimes, patients put off getting important dental work because they don’t have dental insurance, and the cost of the procedures could be expensive. Our advice to these patients: see if your dentist is willing to work with you. Many times, dental offices are willing to be flexible and provide payment plans for treatment.

Dealing with Dental Anxiety: An entirely different reason for patients to avoid getting timely dental care is the very real factor of anxiety. Do you get anxious about going to the dentist’s office? For some patients, its the prospect of a needle being used for local anesthesia, for other patients it’s the drill, and for some it’s the prospect of going in for dental work at all that fires up the anxiety. For those patients, a wide variety of solutions are available through sedation dentistry. Typically, sedation dentistry is accomplished by using either laughing gas (nitrous oxide) or IV sedation.

While nitrous oxide isn’t generally used to “put you under” it is incredibly effective at rendering a patient relaxed and ambivalent towards their surgery. While you will still be capable of following directions and comprehending what’s going on, you simple won’t care about the drill or the needle. When combined with some headphones for music to drown out the sound of the drill, many patients never need anything more than laughing gas. Fortunately, in addition to working quickly, the gas also wears off relatively quickly – meaning you won’t feel hungover after your procedure.

IV sedation is a little more serious and is typically reserved for more in-depth surgeries. Because it actively uses anesthesia to render a patient unconscious, diligent attention must be paid to the patient’s vitals at all times. With IV sedation, you won’t even know a dental procedure has taken place until you’re back in the waiting room receiving after-care instructions before a friend or family member drives you home.

Are you someone in the Cypress, CA area that’s been putting off important dental work? Stop the trend today, give us a call! We’ll make the process easy.

The Major Differences Between Dental Bridges and Dental Implants

It’s not entirely surprising when a dental patient appears anxious to replace one or more teeth that have “gone missing”. Missing teeth is never fun. Your teeth are one of the first things people notice about you, as such, we hardly blame the patients who want to find the best and fastest solution available for tooth replacement. That’s where we tell them to pump the brakes a little bit.

When it comes to replacing any number of tooth, the most important step to take is to stop and breathe. Not only is it important to stop and think because there are more than one solutions available for tooth replacement, but the two main options take different lengths of time to prepare, install, and perfect. But, as is always the case, sometimes the best option available might take some time. Our word to the wise? Don’t rush.

Dental Bridges

Remembering that it’s important not to rush your decision, if you’re looking for a quick fix for a missing tooth and you’d rather avoid the need for surgery, dental bridges are the answer. We get it, dental implant surgery isn’t for everyone. Whether you’ve got a medical condition or you’re a bad candidate for dental implants (your dentist can explain), a dental bridge might be the most logical solution.

On the other hand, we have dental implants. A dental implant is the longest-lasting replacement alternative for teeth. On top of this, they also tend to produce the most natural looking results (however, keep in mind that dental bridges still offer an exceptional aesthetic). Even still, dental implants tend to be more expensive in the short-term but less-expensive in the long-term, as they will most likely never need to be replaced again – whereas a dental bridge can be expected to last around 10 years.

So, dental bridge or dental implant? Ultimately the choice is up to you. If you’re a younger patient and you’re only missing one tooth – there’s a good chance your dentist will recommend a dental implant. This isn’t because dental implants are more profitable! That, actually, couldn’t be further from the tooth. In fact, it’s likely your dentist will make this suggestion for a couple reason. First, it’s more cost-effective in the long term, since a dental implant will likely never have to be replaced. In addition, it preserves the surrounding teeth as well. Unlike a dental implant, a dental bridge requires the two adjacent teeth to be crowned in order to support the bridge (think of them as the bridge’s architectural supports). If these two teeth are already healthy, most dentist’s won’t want to damage them. However, if they have cavities, fillings, or could generally be expected to require a crown in the future – a bridge might be a perfectly suitable solution.

Do you have questions about dental bridges, dental implants, and the options available to you for replacing a tooth? At Cypress DDS, we’re the area’s experts when it comes to cosmetic dentistry.

Dental Bridges: the How and Why

It’s only natural that your teeth are important to you. It’s also natural to want to replace a tooth as quickly as possible in the event you’re missing one. One of the most popular solutions for replacing missing teeth is the dental bridge.

At Cypress DDS, we’re Cypress, CA’s dental bridge experts. For years, our cosmetic and restorative dentists have put their skills to the test in order to help our patients restore confidence in their smiles, while simultaneously helping to restore functionality to their teeth. Fortunately, dental bridges help us accomplish both.

What is a Dental Bridge?

It might not surprise you, but a dental bridge is actually a lot like a bridge you would use to traverse a gap in the landscape. Except, in this case, the landscape is your smile and the bridge is a dental appliance (not a series of girders and supports). However, the concept is still the same.

One one of your teeth is missing, a dental bridge is used to replace it. In doing so, your dentist uses the adjacent healthy teeth as supports. These teeth are given crowns as additional reinforcement and support. Just like a bridge over a body of water, this is done to help spread the pressure and weight across the entire structure – rather than place it all on the bridge itself.

In your mouth, once the supports for the bridge have been created with crowns, your dentist installs a pontic. The pontic is an artificial tooth which is installed between the crowns and matched to your existing teeth in order to fill-in the space. As dental technology and the materials available have become better and better, dental bridges have also become stronger and more life-like. In many cases, friends and family alike won’t be able to tell you’ve had a replacement tooth installed at all.

Why Replacing a Missing Tooth is About More than Just “Looking Good”

Many patients don’t realize that getting a dental bridge is about more than just improving the look of your smile. In fact, filling the gaps made by missing teeth is actually an important step your dentist will encourage you to take for the good of your long-term oral health.

Dental bridges are about more than just appearance because the gaps they’re filling can make a very real impact in the balance of your bite.  Because the missing tooth is no longer there to help support the teeth adjacent to it,  losing a tooth can gradually cause your remaining teeth to fall out of alignment. This not only impacts your ability to eat, but it will also impact your ability to speak. By installing a dental bridge and filling the gap between your teeth, you ensure that your entire smile maintains its proper shape.

Do you have questions about dental bridges? The dental team at Cypress DDS is here to help. If you’re a patient in the Cypress area, schedule a free consultation today. To learn more, come back to visit our blog often. 

A Brief Introduction to Your Baby’s Teeth by a Family Dentist in CYPRESS, CA

Whether you just had your first child or you’re making a lovely addition to an already very busy family, it’s never uncommon for questions to arise from parents, whether they’re new to being parents, or seasoned pros — hardened in the battlefield of bottles and late-night diaper duty.

More often than not, the most common questions parents ask about new babies pertain to the odd rash, stomach ache, fever, and a litany of other issues ranging from how long it’s normal for a baby to cry to how a baby should be sleeping at night.

Unfortunately, few of the questions asked about newborn health tend to be about a newborn’s teeth. We don’t particularly blame parents for this. After-all,  a newborn doesn’t have teeth. With that said, it’s easy to let oral health fly under the radar.

However, even though your baby doesn’t have teeth, it’s important to find your newborn family dentist nearby, especially if you can find a dentist that specializes in pediatric care. One of the best reasons? An oral health risk assessment

Your Baby’s First Dentist Appointment (by 6 months of age) 

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, performing an oral health risk assessment is incredibly important for infants. Put simply: this visit allows your dentist to spot the potential for any problems that could arise in the future. It assesses your baby’s risk for conditions relating to the hard and soft tissues of the mouth, as well as the potential risk for dental caries, and make suggestions for your baby’s fluoride needs.

Why baby teeth are Important

Parents occasionally believe that their baby’s teeth aren’t incredibly important because they’re just (eventually) replaced with adult teeth. This is one of the first misconceptions a good family dentist will squash right away.  Your baby’s first teeth are important for the development of healthy adult teeth by helping to properly space permanent teeth, while also aiding the development of speech and the ability to chew.

How to Brush a Baby’s Teeth

Even if your baby is “all gums” it’s still important to gently brush, it’s still important to brush very gently with a small amount of fluoridated toothpaste. If teeth have not yet come-in, a warm and damp washcloth will do. If possible, this should be done twice a day. The overarching goal: clean out the bacteria. Gently doing whatever you can to clean the bacteria out of your baby’s mouth is the name of the game.

Helpful Tip for Better Teeth: Follow Meals with Water (and bottle feeding before bed)

Many parents don’t realize that simply following every infant’s meal with water is a sure-fire way to reduce the risk for gingivitis and decay. By preventing gingivitis and decay early on, your baby’s teeth get an oral-health head start that can impact his or her smile for years and years to come.

On top of this, it’s important to remember that bottle-feeding anything but water before bed means that the bacteria from that food will continue to live in your child’s mouth all night – which can contribute to decay  and gingivitis.

Cypress Family Dentistry: 3 Simple Tips for Better Teeth

One of the most important tasks any good family dental clinic will undertake is the task of educating patients.

But education goes far beyond informing patients about how to instruct their children to properly brush their teeth, or when a dental bridge  should be used. While most patients understand that sugary drinks and candy can be detrimental to your teeth, many patients don’t realize that it’s all sugar that should be avoided, which leads us to our first tip:

For Healthier Teeth: Don’t Just Beware Sugar, Beware Carbs and Starches

While you might not look at potato chips and other starchy snacks as a dental risk, that’s because you’re not thinking about their chemistry. While they might not have a lot of sugar on their ingredient’s list, the starch in potato chips (and other starch-filled items) converts into sugar after you’ve eaten them. If you’ve eaten or served snacks like these, follow them up with water whenever you can. Or, at the best you can opt instead for mixed nuts – which are ultimately more healthy and less likely to allow sugars to bathe your teeth.

Drink More Water

You would likely hear the same advice from your doctor, but don’t be surprised to hear it from your family dentist as well, that is: drink more water. Most dental patients don’t drink nearly enough water. Not only is it helpful to your body, but it also helps to wash away the bacteria in your mouth while neutralizing acid residue as well. If you’re consuming food or beverages that are acidic always remember to rinse, rinse rinse.  On top of this, if your children participate in sports and feel inclined to the occasional sports drink, be careful. While these drinks are okay from time to time, water is always better than a sugary sports drink that not only contains calories, but can also be an unnecessary burden on the teeth.

Brush: At the Right Time, with the Right Force

Nobody needs to be told that brushing your teeth is important. However, many patients do need to hear a few not-said-enough warnings about their teeth. First, don’t brush too hard. Brushing too hard for too long can eventually wear down your tooth’s enamel, while also contributing to gum erosion (which can contribute to sensitivity and other problems down the road). On top of not brushing too hard, it’s also important to consider the acid in your diet. Just like we mentioned it being important to wash away acid from your diet, it’s also important not to help it attack your teeth. Brushing too soon after eating acidic can contribute to accelerated erosion and abrasion. Due to this, it’s best to wait for about 30 minutes after eating to brush.