Busting Dental Hygiene Myths | Bell Dentist

Dental hygiene plays a crucial role in maintaining overall health, yet myths and misconceptions often cloud the path to optimal oral care. In this blog post, we will debunk some prevalent dental hygiene myths to help you make informed decisions and achieve a healthier smile.

  • Myth: Brushing harder is better.
  • Many believe that applying excessive force while brushing will lead to cleaner teeth. However, dentists recommend a gentle touch to prevent enamel erosion and gum recession. Opt for a soft-bristled toothbrush and use a circular or back-and-forth motion for effective cleaning without damaging your teeth and gums.
  • Myth: Mouthwash can replace brushing and flossing.
  • While mouthwash can be a valuable addition to your oral care routine, it is not a substitute for brushing and flossing. These activities work together to remove plaque and bacteria from different areas of your mouth. Incorporate mouthwash as a supplementary step, not a replacement, for comprehensive oral hygiene.
  • Myth: You only need to see the dentist if you have a problem.
  • Regular dental check-ups are essential for preventive care. Dentists can detect issues early on, preventing more extensive and costly treatments. Even if your teeth feel fine, schedule routine check-ups to maintain optimal oral health and catch potential problems before they escalate.
  • Myth: Sugar is the sole cause of cavities.
  • While excessive sugar consumption can contribute to cavities, it’s not the only factor. Poor oral hygiene, infrequent dental check-ups, and acidic foods and drinks also play a role. Focus on a well-rounded approach to dental care by brushing, flossing, and limiting sugary and acidic substances.
  • Myth: Chewing gum is just as effective as brushing.
  • Chewing sugar-free gum can stimulate saliva production, aiding in the prevention of cavities. However, it does not replace the thorough cleaning provided by brushing and flossing. View gum as a complement to your oral care routine, not a substitute.
  • Myth: Flossing isn’t necessary.

Some people believe that brushing alone is sufficient for maintaining oral health. However, flossing is crucial for removing plaque and debris between teeth, which a toothbrush can’t reach effectively. Make flossing a daily habit to ensure a thorough clean and reduce the risk of gum disease.

Dispelling dental hygiene myths is key to fostering a healthier smile. By embracing evidence-based practices, such as gentle brushing, regular dental check-ups, and proper flossing techniques, you can safeguard your oral health and promote overall well-being. Stay informed, adopt a comprehensive oral care routine, and let go of these myths for a brighter, healthier smile.

If you would like to find out more, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalandimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Oral Herpes: Symptoms, Treatment, and Prevention | Bell Dentist

Oral herpes, commonly known as cold sores or fever blisters, is a prevalent viral infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV). While it may not be a comfortable topic to discuss, understanding oral herpes is crucial for promoting awareness, reducing stigma, and preventing its spread.

Symptoms

Oral herpes typically manifests as small, painful blisters or sores around the mouth, lips, or gums. These lesions can be accompanied by itching, burning, or tingling sensations. The initial outbreak is often more severe than subsequent ones and may be accompanied by flu-like symptoms, such as fever and swollen glands.

Transmission

HSV-1, the primary cause of oral herpes, is highly contagious and can be transmitted through direct contact with an infected person or their saliva. The virus can also spread through shared items like utensils or towels. While oral herpes is commonly associated with kissing, it can be transmitted through various forms of close personal contact.

Treatment

Although there is no cure for oral herpes, antiviral medications can help manage symptoms and reduce the frequency of outbreaks. Over-the-counter creams and ointments may provide relief, but prescription medications are often more effective in controlling the virus. It’s crucial to consult a healthcare professional for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Prevention

Preventing the transmission of oral herpes involves practicing good hygiene and being mindful of personal contact. Avoiding close contact with individuals experiencing an outbreak, refraining from sharing personal items, and using barrier methods during intimate activities can help reduce the risk of transmission. Furthermore, maintaining a strong immune system through a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and regular exercise, can contribute to preventing outbreaks.

Oral herpes is a common condition that, while incurable, can be effectively managed with proper care and treatment. Education and open communication are essential in reducing the stigma associated with the virus and promoting responsible behavior to prevent its spread. If you suspect you have oral herpes or are concerned about the risk of transmission, seek guidance from a healthcare professional for accurate diagnosis and appropriate management strategies. Remember, awareness and understanding are key to minimizing the impact of oral herpes on individuals and communities alike.

If you would like to learn more, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalandimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

The Silent Threat: Oral Infections | Bell Dentist

Oral health is a crucial aspect of our overall well-being, yet it often takes a back seat in our daily healthcare routine. One of the most underestimated risks to our oral health is the threat of oral infections. These infections can silently wreak havoc, causing discomfort, pain, and even long-term damage if left untreated.

The Hidden Dangers

Oral infections encompass a range of conditions, from common gum diseases like gingivitis to more severe issues like abscesses. Bacteria, viruses, and fungi can find a home in our mouths, thriving in warm and moist environments. Poor oral hygiene, a diet high in sugars, and a weakened immune system can create a breeding ground for these microorganisms.

Gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease, is often characterized by swollen and bleeding gums. If neglected, it can progress to periodontitis, a more severe form of gum disease that can lead to tooth loss. Oral abscesses, pockets of pus that form within the teeth or gums, are another serious consequence of untreated infections. Not only do they cause intense pain, but they can also spread infection to other parts of the body if not addressed promptly.

Prevention is Key

The good news is that oral infections are largely preventable with proper oral hygiene practices. Regular brushing and flossing, coupled with routine dental check-ups, play a crucial role in keeping these infections at bay. Avoiding excessive sugar consumption and adopting a balanced diet can also contribute to overall oral health.

Early Detection and Intervention

Being vigilant about the signs of oral infections is equally important. Persistent bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, and pain are red flags that should not be ignored. Seeking prompt dental care at the first sign of trouble can prevent the escalation of the infection and minimize potential damage.

Oral infections are a silent threat that can compromise not only our oral health but also our overall well-being. By prioritizing preventive measures and staying attuned to the early signs of infection, we can safeguard our smiles and enjoy a lifetime of good oral health. Don’t let the silent threat of oral infections catch you off guard—take proactive steps to protect your teeth and gums today.

If you want to learn more, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalandimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

What To Know About Wisdom Tooth Removal | Bell Dentist

Wisdom tooth removal is a very common procedure performed on a majority of young adults and is nothing to be afraid of. Wisdom teeth are located behind our molars and don’t typically break beyond the gemlike until our late teens to early twenties, if at all. Yet, if they do break, they can crowd valuable gum space and can cause third molars to grow improperly and teeth to overlap one another; for individuals with small mouths and jaws, this is especially detrimental.

If your wisdom teeth do break through, and begin to cause problems, here is the process you can expect to go through with your dentist, and what recovery will look like when you get home.

Consultation. If you are feeling the growing pains of new teeth coming in at the back of your jaw, it may be a sign your wisdom teeth are coming in. It is common for this set of teeth to erupt in young adults between one’s late teenage years to their early twenties.

Removal. The removal process will look a little different for everyone depending on the circumstances of tooth positioning, jaw size and angle at which wisdom teeth come in. For some, this set of molars does not impact their jaw or existing teeth and they can safely retain them. Most people however do require removal and have two options:

         IV Sedation. For those with dental anxiety or who are generally concerned about their procedure, IV sedation is a great option. Upon arrival, you are allowed a few minutes to breathe and relax as an IV drip slowly puts you to sleep. When the procedure is over, you will wake up and may experience a somewhat dazed feeling until the solution fades.

         Nitrous Oxide. Commonly known as “laughing gas”, nitrous oxide allows one to remain awake during the procedure and is administered as a means of relaxing an individual into their procedure. It’s important to note that nitrous oxide does not work for everyone and that increased amounts do not necessarily mean a more effective result.

Recovery. Initial recovery from the effects of sedation or nitrous oxide after surgery typically only lasts a few hours. Healing time for the gums can take up to two weeks and the reintroduction of certain foods follow this period so as not to further disturb your gums. Your dentist will speak with you about proper cleaning methods for the gums to ensure a safe and effective healing process.

Wisdom tooth removal can be viewed as either a rite of passage into adulthood or terrifying for someone to go through. Either way, the removal of our wisdom teeth for those who attain them is important.

If you would like to find out more about proper brushing habits, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalandimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Understanding Dental Specialties | Bell Dentist

Believe it or not, not all dentists are the same. In fact, there is a variety of specialties within this field that allow individuals to specialize in different aspects of oral care. Here is a list of dental specialties, and the areas of focus they attend to.

A Prosthodontist repairs deficient teeth and replaces missing ones. As their name suggests, they work with prosthetics and custom-fit dentures and crowns as permanent replacements for missing teeth. 

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons treat diseases, injuries, and defects of hard and soft oral tissues. They may work with patients whose cases require work on the jaw, face, and mouth with issues ranging from misalignment to tumors and cysts within this region.

Endodontists diagnose, treat, and prevent infections and injuries to the pulp or nerves of teeth. You may seek the opinion of an endodontist if you experience acute pain in your tooth, injure a tooth or notice swelling around the teeth and gums. They perform root canals, treat traumatic dental injuries and apply dental implants.

An orthodontist specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and correction of misaligned bites, and the neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of orofacial structures. You may visit an orthodontist to evaluate jaw alignment, straighten teeth, close gaps or improve speech. If you are referred to an orthodontist by your dentist, it is important to make a visit to better understand how you may improve your oral alignment as misalignment can lead to serious health concerns later on.

Periodontists are experts on gum health. Your dentist will recommend a periodontist if you show signs of gingivitis (gum disease), have a complex case of gingivitis or are at risk of tooth loss. Periodontists will aid in the prevention of gum disease, and support your natural or manmade teeth as they monitor your soft oral tissues.

If you would like to find out more about proper brushing habits, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalandimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Are You Having A Dental Emergency? | Bell Dentist

Dental emergencies happen and can occur at any time, anywhere. As with any emergency, it’s going to throw us into fight or flight mode, raising our cortisol levels and potentially even causing us to freeze in our tracks wondering what the best plan of action may be. If a dental emergency does happen, do your best not to panic, and keep the following information about what to do during a dental emergency in mind.

What is an emergency?

Dental emergencies refer to events that occur in which you need to immediately save a tooth, need to attend to a bleed or begin experiencing acute tooth or mouth pain. A cracked or lost tooth following a traumatic incident are a good example.

Common emergencies

Tooth Loss –  For children who still have their baby teeth, the loss of a tooth, be it the tooth’s “turn” or due to trauma, isn’t as much a cause for concern as the loss of an adult tooth. If your child suffers the unintentional loss of a tooth due to trauma, contact their dentist right away to ensure pieces of bone are not lingering in the socket, and do not attempt to place the tooth back in their socket. An adult who has lost a tooth should attempt to place the tooth in the socket without touching the root. If that is not possible, the tooth can be stored between your cheek and gum, in milk, or an ADA-approved preservation solution. It’s important to keep the tooth wet until you can have the situation, and lost tooth, evaluated by your dentist.

Cracked Tooth – If you crack your tooth, it’s important to rinse your mouth to clear it of immediate debris that may embed itself in the crack. Then, place an ice pack on the site to reduce the pain and swelling. Wrap the tooth in wet gauze or a piece of cloth, and call your dentist to make an appointment as soon as possible.

Toothache – Simply rinse your mouth with warm water, gently floss to remove food debris, and note any facial swelling that may occur. Swelling may signal an infection, and if the swelling does occur, place an ice pack on the site to reduce it and ease the pain. Call your dentist right away so he or she may evaluate the situation and advise you on how to proceed.

Preventing emergencies

Here are a few common ways patients increase their risk of a dental emergency. It’s best to avoid these common mistakes, as it’s easier to avoid an emergency than to recover from one.

  • Don’t use your teeth when scissors can do the job
  • Wear a mouthguard when engaging in contact or high-impact sports
  • Wear a helmet whenever engaging in activities such as biking and rock climbing
  • Avoid chewing on hard candies and ice
  • Help your child keep toys, trinkets, and hard items out of their mouth

Dental emergencies happen, and if they do, try to remain calm, and contact your dentist immediately.

If you would like to find out more about proper brushing habits, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalandimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Proper Brushing FAQs | Bell Dentist

Mouth open or mouth closed?

After lunch or after dinner?

Flat or at an angle?

We brush our teeth every day (hopefully!), but who knew it was this complicated. Just grab a brush a get to work, right?

Not so fast, my friend! There are actually some best practices to be mindful of when brushing those pearly whites.

The trick is cutting through the fat and finding out exactly what works. We live in a world of alternate facts, truthiness, and lists of “7 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Clean Without Picking Up a Toothbrush.” What’s even correct these days?!

Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with this handy FAQ (frequently asked questions) guide. We’ll keep it simple with some easy dos and don’ts of brushing. Let’s get to it!

Don’t: Keep your brush flat

Do: Use a 45-degree angle when brushing

Don’t: Use looooooooong strokes. No need to cover your whole mouth in one stroke!

Do: Use short, side to side strokes

Don’t: Brush with the force of a giant. This isn’t a strongman contest!

Do: Gently cover all areas. A gentle touch helps prevent wear and tear on your enamel

Don’t: Go one and done

Do: Brush at least twice a day, especially after eating or drinking something acidic (like citrus or soda)

Don’t: Be sentimental and use the same toothbrush for life

Do: Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. A trick to remember – switch out on the first day of each season

Don’t: Be average – the average person brushes their teeth for 45 seconds

Do: Brush for a full 2 minutes. A helpful trick: say the alphabet while brushing a certain section, move to the next section after you hit Z.

Don’t: Keep your toothbrush in a closed container

Do: All your toothbrush to air dry

Don’t: Store your toothbrush on the sink counter where bathroom particles can get on it

Do: Store your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet

Don’t: Wield a tough-bristled brush

Do: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is much better for your tooth enamel

And there we have it! Some easy practices to keep that perfect smile. Remember: Brushing is only 4 minutes out of the day, so why not make it the best 4 minutes of the day!

If you would like to find out more about proper brushing habits, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Protecting Yourself Against Oral Cancer | Bell Dentist

If there were a quick and painless way to identify pre-cancerous cells in the mouth of someone you loved, would you want them to try it? What if that person were you? The truth is, as uncomfortable as it may be to even think of the word “cancer,” thinking about it, and thus detecting it early, is key. That’s why, if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you should schedule a visit, because while the oral exam that accompanies your cleaning may not be noticeable to you, it’s often your earliest line of defense in the detection of oral cancer.

Let’s take a quick look at a few of the risk factors and symptoms and consider a few options you may have to help reduce risk. Keep in mind that no list is exhaustive, and to always share with each of your health care providers your concerns and strategies regarding your oral health.

Those at Risk for Oral Cancer

Passing certain age thresholds and engaging in certain lifestyle habits can place you at increased risk for oral cancer. For example, men tend to have higher rates of oral cancers than women.

Here is the short list:

  • Patients aged 40 and older (95% of all oral cancer cases)
  • Patients aged 18-39 who use tobacco, are heavy drinkers, or may have a previously diagnosed oral HPV infection.

Warning Signs

If you experience any of the below symptoms lasting more than 7-10 days, please seek the advice of your doctor. Also, keep in mind that aside from an obviously sore throat, the below symptoms can present themselves in the absence of pain. Look out for changes that can be detected on the lips, inside the cheeks, palate, and gum tissue surrounding your teeth and tongue. At Dental Implant & Care Center, we occasionally run across such concerns a few times a year and are able to help patients get treatment early.

  • Reddish or whitish patches in the mouth
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing

Reducing Risk

If you do not visit the dentist regularly, you could be missing out on the benefits of early cancer detection. Currently, just over half of all those diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years – a statistic driven by late diagnosis – so please visit your dentist and get an oral exam at least once a year. If you are considered “high risk,” (see list above) you should be receiving an oral exam at least every six months, if not more frequently.

Below is a short list of healthy habits you can start doing now, which may reduce your risk:

  • Avoid all tobacco products
  • Avoid or reduce your consumption of alcohol
  • Consume more fruits and vegetables (good for everything, of course)
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure that can result in cancer of the lip (using lip balm with an SPF of at least 30 can be helpful)
  • Avoid exposure to environmental hazards (wood dust, formaldehyde, printing chemicals)
  • Conduct a self-exam monthly so you can catch any of the symptoms listed above. Use a small hand-held mirror so you can see the back of your mouth and tongue Selma is a great person to ask for instructions on this sort of home exam. If you haven’t been in to see us in a while, give us a ring at (323) 312-0500 and we’ll show you how to perform this exam in between visits.
  • Consider coffee. While the jury is still out, some research suggests coffee may help protect the mouth from oral cancer.

Oral cancer is serious business. Yet, it can be managed when caught early. So, do the right thing and visit your dentist regularly and get that screening.

If you would like to find out more about oral cancer, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Proper Brushing FAQs | Bell Dentist

Mouth open or mouth closed?

After lunch or after dinner?

Flat or at an angle?

We brush our teeth every day (hopefully!), but who knew it was this complicated. Just grab a brush a get to work, right?

Not so fast, my friend! There are actually some best practices to be mindful of when brushing those pearly whites.

The trick is cutting through the fat and finding out exactly what works. We live in a world of alternate facts, truthiness, and lists of “7 Ways to Keep Your Teeth Clean Without Picking Up a Toothbrush.”  What’s even correct these days?!

Fear not, because we’ve got you covered with this handy FAQ (frequently asked questions) guide. We’ll keep it simple with some easy dos and don’ts of brushing. Let’s get to it!

Proper Brushing Habits

Don’t: Keep your brush flat

Do: Use a 45-degree angle when brushing

Don’t: Use looooooooong strokes. No need to cover your whole mouth in one stroke!

Do: Use short, side to side strokes

Don’t: Brush with the force of a giant. This isn’t a strongman contest!

Do: Gently cover all areas. A gentle touch helps prevent wear and tear on your enamel

Don’t: Go one and done

Do: Brush at least twice a day, especially after eating or drinking something acidic (like citrus or soda)

Don’t: Be sentimental and use the same toothbrush for life

Do: Change your toothbrush every 3-4 months. A trick to remember? Switch out on the first day of each season

Don’t: Be average – the average person brushes their teeth for 45 seconds

Do: Brush for a full 2 minutes. A helpful trick: say the alphabet while brushing a certain section, move to the next section after you hit Z.

Don’t: Keep your toothbrush in a closed container

Do: All your toothbrush to air dry

Don’t: Store your toothbrush on the sink counter where bathroom particles can get on it

Do: Store your toothbrush in the medicine cabinet

Don’t: Wield a tough-bristled brush

Do: Use a soft-bristled toothbrush, which is much better for your tooth enamel

And there we have it! Some easy practices to keep that perfect smile. Remember: Brushing is only 4 minutes out of the day, so why not make it the best 4 minutes of the day!

If you would like to find out more about brushing your teeth, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.

Reasons You May Have a Dry Mouth | Bell Dentist

We all know drinking enough water is good for our health. And when you’re feeling parched, there’s nothing better than a tall drink of ice-cold water to dampen that dry mouth of yours.

But what do you do when you find yourself constantly needing to wet your whistle? There are numerous reasons you could be suffering from dry mouth. Below are the top five.

Physiologic. Sometimes having a dry mouth is just a normal part of life. Temporary anxiety, open-mouthed breathing, mild dehydration, menopause, pregnancy, and decreased saliva due to sleep are all normal causes of dry mouth.

Prescription medication. Sixty-three percent of the top 200 most commonly prescribed drugs in the U.S. are known to cause dry mouth. And the higher the number of medications a person takes, the higher the chance of dry mouth.

That’s why as we age, we tend to experience more instances of dry mouth. It’s not necessarily age-related, but our consumption of medication may cause this side effect.

Habitual use of alcohol and tobacco. Use of any of these products will dry out the oral cavity. Please drink in moderation, and make sure to up your water intake when you imbibe. As for tobacco, we always recommend quitting as soon as possible.

Chronic disease. Diabetes, Sjogren’s disease, Sarcoidosis, Hepatitic C can all cause dry mouth.

Psychogenic or idiopathic. When symptoms are present without an identifiable cause (idiopathic), or because of psychological causes (psychogenic), they can be difficult to diagnose.

If you find yourself with a persistent, unidentifiable case of dry mouth, you should make an appointment at (323) 312-0500.

Figuring out which one is causing your dry mouth is so important because a dry mouth has a big effect on your dental health. Saliva is so important for swishing away bacteria.

The dryer the mouth, the more prone you are to cavities, bad breath, and gingivitis. This is just one more reason it is important to practice good daily dental hygiene practices and regular checkups.

If you would like to find out more about dry mouth, contact Dr. Ahmadi at 323-312-0500 to schedule a consultation or visit www.dentalimplantcare.com for additional information.

Dr. Mike Ahmadi proudly serves Bell and all surrounding areas.