Preparing Your Child for Their Dental Exam

Five young friends standing outdoors smilingVisiting the dentist can be a scary and anxiety-inducing situation. For a child, this can be the things nightmares are made of. The sounds, the lights, the strangers, and not to mention the tools in their mouths can all have a nasty impact. Of course having the right pediatric dentist in Van Nuys can help. But as a parent, it’s also important to prepare a child for their dental exam.

First, schedule dental exams at a time when the child will be better rested or more likely to cooperate. Be positive and try not to use words that have negative connotations, while still being honest about the experience. Remind them that their parents visit the dentist too. Encouraging them to share their fears will also help counteract any apprehension. Make them part of the experience, not just the unwitting victim of it. Always take the time to improve their idea of the dental experience and take an active role in improving their oral health.

A child is only as prepared as a parent. And if grown-ups are forthcoming, yet compassionate, it shouldn’t be a hassle getting children into a dental exam. From infants to teens, oral care is a must.

For more, contact our Van Nuys dentist.

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When Should Dentures be Used?

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Dentures are commonly thought of as being only for the toothless. But both full and partial dentures are used regularly to fill out and revitalize patient smiles. Whether you’ve lost teeth to illness or neglect, or are having the remaining teeth extracted, dentures have been modernized enough to ensure you still have a full life.

Dentures rest naturally on the alveolar bone, the thick ridge that forms the teeth sockets. This is true of both the upper and lower arches.

To begin your denture process, exhaustive molds and measurements are taken. This requires a few appointments over several weeks. Your expert in dentures in Van Nuys then takes several “try-in” sessions to guarantee perfect fit. Dentures that don’t fit exactly can cause slippage, breakage, and discomfort. Even with the correct fit, they take getting used to, and the human jawbone shrinks over time as well—almost guaranteeing you’ll need follow-up fittings or “relining”.

Upper dentures can be especially tricky. The plate can touch parts of the tongue or teeth and cause gagging, especially if you have a high reflex. But the period of adjustment should be minimal.

If you’ve suffered catastrophic tooth loss or are experiencing a steady drip of tooth loss, ask our dentists in Van Nuys if dentures are right for you.

Problemas de salud que debe discutir con su dentista

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La salud dental y la salud general están estrechamente vinculadas, y algunos problemas de salud pueden aumentar su riesgo de problemas dentales. Si usted tiene estos problemas de salud, debe mencionarlos en su próxima cita dental para que podamos tomar las precauciones necesarias para proteger su sonrisa.

1. Embarazo
El embarazo puede llevar a muchos cambios hormonales, lo que puede hacer que sus encías se vuelvan más sensibles y aumentar su riesgo de gingivitis embarazo, así como otros problemas dentales.

2. Diabetes
La diabetes es una condición sistémica que puede aumentar su riesgo de caries, enfermedad de las encías, sequedad de la boca, candidiasis y otros problemas dentales. Un buen control de su glucosa en la sangre puede reducir su riesgo de problemas dentales, y mantener su sonrisa saludable puede ayudarle a manejar mejor sus síntomas de diabetes, de acuerdo con la investigación.

3. Trastornos alimenticios y ERGE
Los trastornos alimenticios, como la bulimia, y problemas de estómago como la ERGE, exponen sus dientes a los ácidos del estómago, lo que puede conducir a la erosión ácida y la sensibilidad del esmalte. La anorexia y las condiciones pueden causar deficiencias nutricionales, que pueden afectar sus dientes y encías. Podemos ayudarle a tomar medidas para proteger su sonrisa de estos problemas.

Llame a nuestra oficina hoy para saber más o para programar su consulta con nuestro dentista.

Causes of Sleep Apnea

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There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common, and involves apneic events in which normal breathing is interrupted. Central sleep apnea involves apneic events during which no breathing is detected, sometimes for as long as 20 seconds.

Our expert in sleep apnea in Van Nuys lists the following as common causes of sleep apnea:

Causes of Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Risk factors include being male, being middle-aged, being African-American, and having a large neck size. But these do not exactly cause sleep apnea. Directly, the breathing difficulty develops when the muscles controlling the airway relax too much. This relaxation, combined with excess fatty tissue—which is where the overweight part comes in—can produce apneic events.

Causes of Central Sleep Apnea

While rarer, central sleep apnea can be greater cause for alarm because of its neuropathological roots. Some data links it to disorders of the brainstem. In central sleep apnea, the asleep subject will stop breathing entirely simply because the brain isn’t telling them to. Sometimes, an underlying medical condition is to blame. The patient may exhibit affinity for Cheyne-Stokes breathing, which is a known associate of heart failure. More episodically, central sleep apnea may occur after a drastic change in altitude, or drug use.

A small group of patients have an apneic case that combines both obstructive and central sleep apneas. This is known as mixed or complex sleep apnea.

Contact our Van Nuys dentist for more information.

When Should Inlays and Onlays be Used?

Happy Girl Undergoing Dental Treatment

Inlays and onlays are an alternative to traditional fillings, and fit a very specific set of circumstances. They are typically used for teeth that are too damaged to support traditional fillings, but not so damaged that they need to be crowned. In this alternative state, inlays and onlays are sometimes referred to as indirect fillings—as opposed to direct fillings.
Inlays build up the interior of the damage tooth in much the same way fillings do. But while fillings can degrade tooth structure by 50 percent, inlays actually increase tooth strength by up to 75 percent. This gives a tooth, even a damaged one, greater life expectancy.
Onlays are meant to cover the biting surface of the tooth, and so cover more ground than inlays. Both inlays and onlays are made of composite resin or porcelain, and are tooth-colored for realism.
If you have teeth that are cracked or broken, but not so severely that you need crowns, our expert in inlays and onlays in Van Nuys will probably approve your candidacy. They can also be used as a serious upgrade to your old fillings, or to replace fillings that have fallen out.
Contact our cosmetic dentist in Van Nuys today.

Which Dental Problems Require Surgery?

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Oral surgery is at the extreme end of dentistry, when milder treatments have been exhausted. This is not to say that oral surgery is not routine, as most procedures are outpatient and require minimal aftercare. However, most dentists try a range of things before recommending the patient to a surgeon.
You need an oral surgeon in Van Nuys for the following:
• Wisdom teeth removal
• Dental implants
• Bone grafting and gingival flap surgery
• The repair of broken facial bones
• Removal of tumors or cysts
One hypothetical that satisfies the “last resort” definition of oral surgery is a severe case of Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). This is a mysterious condition that affects jaw movement and function and can lead to systemic dysfunction. Not a lot is known about the nature of TMJ, so surgery for it is still considered experimental.
Unequal jaw growth, usually hereditary or a birth defect, can also require surgery. Eating, speaking, and even breathing may be affected by a malformed jaw.
Something like dental implants may involve less cutting than is typically associated with surgery. But an oral surgeon usually heads this procedure, working with a periodontist and prosthodontist.
For more about oral surgery, contact our dentist in Van Nuys.

Best Age for Orthodontic Treatments

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The American Association of Orthodontics recommends children start a dental treatment plan at the age of 7. This plan will start with simple evaluation, as adult teeth start to come in. Any problems the child has can be diagnosed and treated either with braces or appliances. For instance, if the child’s upper arch is too small for their mouth, the doctor may prescribe a palatal expander to ensure the permanent teeth will grow in properly. This practice is called interceptive dentistry.

Most kids get their adult teeth between the ages of 8 and 14. Before all of them erupt, it may be possible to guarantee their best positioning with dental appliances. This makes braces easier down the road.

Not all children evolve the same way. But you can do your child a favor by watching for the following symptoms:

• Excessive spacing
• Open bite
• Crossbite (front or back)
• Overjet
• Abnormal eruptions

Thumbsucking and mouth breathing are also warning signs, with the former contributing largely to overjet.

Our orthodontist in Van Nuys follows the industry trend of prescribing braces between the ages of 8 and 14, while the jaws are still malleable. A few decades ago, it was common for kids to receive braces much later, while already in high school.

For more, contact your Van Nuys cosmetic dentist.