Witnessing or being involved in a sports-related dental injury can be a scary event not only for the player, but also for onlookers even if the injuries turn out to be minor. However, knowing what to do — and more importantly — how quickly to react can make a radical difference to the outcome. This is just one reason why we want to share the following easy-to-remember guidelines for what, how and when you need to respond to various types of dental injuries.
- Immediate — within 5 minutes of the injury: If a permanent tooth is totally knocked out (avulsed), it requires immediate treatment by cleaning and re-implanting the tooth back into its original position to have any hope of saving the tooth long-term. Knocked out baby (primary) teeth are not reimplanted for fear of damage to underlying permanent teeth.
- Urgent — within 6 hours of the injury: If a permanent or primary tooth is still in the mouth but has been moved from its original position, it is considered an acute injury and should be treated within 6 hours.
- Less urgent — within 12 hours of the injury: If a permanent or primary tooth is broken or chipped but has not shifted from its original position, the injury is classified as less urgent. You still need to see a dentist for an exam; however, you generally can wait up to 12 hours before possible irreversible damage occurs.
Want To Learn More?
There are several ways you can learn more about sports-related dental injuries.
Yes, dental x-rays are a safe and vital tool we use for measuring and monitoring your oral health. We feel it is imperative to ensure that our patients have the facts — especially when it comes to their oral healthcare. This is why we want to respond to this important question about the safety of dental x-rays.
We want you to know what they are, how they are used, what makes them a safe and effective tool, and why they are so important to dentistry and your health. X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation, in fact, just like natural daylight, except they have a much shorter wavelength. And because they are a form of ionizing radiation, they can easily penetrate bodily tissues without causing any harm when used properly. The reasons we use them are obvious; they help us literally see what is unseen. For example, they enable us to see bone structure and roots of teeth among other things, and are commonly used for diagnosing tooth decay. Furthermore, today’s x-ray machines and other image capturing techniques are so sophisticated and sensitive that the amount of radiation required for diagnosis is almost nothing when compared to what you get from the background radiation present in everyday living. In fact, the average single digital periapical (“peri” – around; “apical” – root end of a tooth) film is equal to 1/10 the amount of everyday natural environmental exposure. Knowing these facts make us better informed about the importance of dental x-rays and that they are completely safe.
Learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “X-ray Frequency And Safety.” If you need to schedule an appointment, contact us today at 415-388-2172.
Of major importance in all wedding day plans is to ensure that you have your special day captured on film. And it is that fact that influences most brides and grooms to take a long and hard look in the mirror to observe their smiles. Not only do wedding dates motivate many brides and grooms to address concerns regarding their smile, it also serves as the perfect time for their parents to pursue their smile makeover dreams so that they too feel good about themselves in your wedding photos.
A proper smile makeover should have a two-fold design plan that ensures you obtain optimal functionality and oral health while creating the cosmetic look you want. Starting with the basics, a thorough dental cleaning is the least expensive way to remove stains and freshen both your smile and breath. We will also use this consultation to learn about your concerns, goals, expectations, and wedding day timeline to create the action plan for future treatments in reaching your smile makeover goals. You may also want to discuss whitening your teeth during your appointment, as whitening teeth is an effective way to brighten your smile a few shades in as few as 1 to 2 appointments plus whitening while at home.
If your smile makeover is a bit more challenging, relax. There are a wide variety of tools and techniques available that include bonding, veneers, crowns, bridges, and dental implants for restoring your smile. Or we may work closely with a specialist such as an orthodontist to straighten your teeth or a periodontist for periodontal plastic surgery that can alter your gum tissues and their relationship with your teeth. The most important tip to remember is to schedule your first dental appointment soon after you become engaged so that you have plenty of time prior to the big day to attain your picture perfect wedding day smile.
Want to learn more?
Contact us today at 415-388-2172 to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about your smile makeover. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor article, “Planning Your Wedding Day Smile.”
For adults with a reasonably well fitting bite, but mild to moderate crowding or spaces between your teeth, Invisalign® clear orthodontic aligners can be an ideal solution for straightening your teeth. This is why we offer this treatment option to our patients experiencing these issues. However, for those of you who are unfamiliar with what they are or how they work, this will give you a brief understanding.
Clear orthodontic aligners consist of a series of clear “trays” that fit snuggly over all teeth to slowly shift them into alignment. Patients are typically required to wear them 20 hours per day for about 2 weeks before progressing to the next tray. With each new tray, you are one step closer to achieving your goal of perfectly aligned teeth. The entire process usually lasts 6-18 months depending on how much movement is required to achieve the goals.
Each aligner is individually made from very precise molds of the patient’s teeth to ensure proper fit. And we map out the entire alignment process using computer generation from each patient’s initial molds so that we can identify the number of trays required. But best of all, clear orthodontic aligners are perfectly smooth with no rough edges like traditional braces, and you can remove them for eating, brushing, and flossing teeth as well as for brief social events.
To learn more about this topic, read the article “Clear Orthodontic Aligners.” Or contact us today at 415-388-2172 to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about Invisalign.
You may get a laugh out of jokes about snoring, but in fact snoring and “Sleep Apnea” (“a” – without; “pnea” – breath) is no laughing matter. Nights of chronically disturbed sleep results in accidents, lost productivity and even depression, as well as problems at work and with relationships. Chronic snoring as a result of sleep apnea, results in sleep deprivation and health problems such as high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, heart attacks, brain damage and strokes.
What causes snoring?
Snoring results when soft tissue structures block the airway (windpipe) in the back of the throat. These structures include tonsils, soft palate, the uvula (the little punch-bag shaped structure at the back of the throat), and fat deposits. As you relax in sleep these tissues collapse onto themselves and the tongue drops back, causing a blockage in the air passage to the lungs. These obstacles to airflow create the familiar sound that we know as snoring.
What is Sleep Apnea?
When the obstruction is severe, it can block airflow completely. Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) occurs when your upper airway is so seriously obstructed that there is significant loss of airflow, or even a complete arrest of breathing for 10 seconds or more. Reduced airflow into the lungs causes low levels of oxygen in the blood reaching the brain. Your brain, saving itself from suffocation, wakes you briefly out of deep sleep, followed by a loud gasp as the flow of air starts again. This can happen more than 50 times an hour. Low oxygen levels and fragmented sleep cause most of the dangers of sleep apnea.
What can be done to combat sleep apnea?
Medical and dental treatment includes:
- Staying physically healthy: Being overweight contributes to OSA, so start by losing weight and exercising.
- Oral Appliance Therapy: Specially designed (retainer-like) appliances are designed to maintain an open, unobstructed, upper airway during sleep.
- Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP): CPAP bedside machines send pressurized air through a tube connected to a mask (covering the nose and sometimes mouth), keeping your airway open.
How can we help you combat your snoring and sleep apnea?
The first step is assessment and diagnosis. Dentists, specially trained in sleep medicine, are in a unique position to help diagnose and help treat snoring and sleep apnea as part of a medical team. Contact us today at 415-388-2172 to schedule an appointment if you think you have a problem with snoring and OSA — or if your spouse thinks you do. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Snoring and Sleep Apnea.”
Most dental treatment has a cosmetic aspect to it since in the act of “restoring” teeth they are made to look better. The word “cosmetic” comes from roots meaning, “to adorn, dress and embellish.” Here are some terms and cosmetic dental techniques that could change your smile.
- The best and easiest way to remove stains on your teeth? Make an appointment to see a dental hygienist to remove unwanted stains from coffee, tea, red wine, that can discolor the outer surfaces of your teeth. Your teeth will look better and be healthier as a result.
- Dental office or home whitening? Dull, dingy and discolored teeth can be whitened with over-the-counter products at home, or professionally in our office. If you use the home method, be sure to follow the manufacturers’ instructions carefully to make sure you don’t overdo it. In our office we can use stronger bleaching solutions with special precautions to protect your gums and other tissues and achieve whiter teeth more quickly.
- Cosmetic change for back teeth? Tooth-colored composite resin filling materials are a relatively inexpensive way to replace tooth structure that has been damaged (by decay or otherwise) with non-metallic materials that bond to your natural teeth, match their color and make them stronger. (Sometimes metal restorations, like gold are advised for people who grind their teeth.)
- Cosmetic change for front teeth? Tooth-colored composite resin restorative filling materials — can be bonded directly to natural tooth structure becoming “one” with it. Used to replace tooth structure damaged by decay or injury such as chipped teeth, they are especially useful for front teeth in the smile zone. And they actually strengthen the teeth as well as providing highly cosmetic tooth restorations. In artistic hands nobody will know your teeth have been changed, except you and your dentist.
- Porcelain Veneers are thin layers of glass-like ceramic material that replaces the original tooth enamel. Veneering a tooth often involves some enamel reshaping or removal to accommodate the veneer. Veneers are bonded to the underlying tooth, but can be made brighter and whiter than your own enamel to cosmetically enhance your smile.
- Porcelain Crowns are similar to veneers in their cosmetic appearance but they cover the entire surface of a tooth, replacing tooth structure that has been damaged, lost or has become very discolored.
- Clear Aligners are a newer technique used in orthodontics (tooth movement) to move teeth into better position to enhance cosmetic change and improve biting function. A series of clear plastic trays is used to gradually move teeth to more attractive and functional positions.
- Dental Implants replace the roots of missing teeth. They are placed into the jawbone and become fused with it. Once implants have integrated with the bone, crowns are attached that look, function and feel just like stand alone natural teeth.
Contact us today at 415-388-2172 to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: A time for change.”
Nearly every parent and caregiver has experienced that almost instantaneous sick feeling when they see that their child has been injured, especially when it is an injury to the mouth and teeth. For some, it is just a bloody lip; however, if the accident chipped a tooth, then you may have a completely different situation on your hands. If the nerve of the tooth has not been damaged, you needn’t worry too much — a composite (plastic) tooth-colored restoration that is actually bonded to the tooth is an ideal material for repairing most broken or chipped teeth. See us as soon as possible to assess the extent of injury, so that proper and appropriate action can be taken.
An additional reason why bonding with composite resin may be the ideal choice for repairing a child’s chipped tooth is that it can be custom created in virtually any shade so that it perfectly matches the damaged tooth and the surrounding teeth. It is also far less expensive than a crown, an important factor to consider when repairing a primary (baby) tooth that will eventually fall out to make room for a permanent tooth. If the injury is to a permanent tooth, a composite resin still may be ideal to use as a restoration until your child or teenager has stopped growing or playing contact sports. This is because your teenager may be too young for a more permanent restoration such as a crown or porcelain veneer.
An important, proactive step you can take to be prepared for the next time your child has a dental injury is to download Dear Doctor’s Field-side Pocket Guide for Dental Injuries. This handy, quick reference guide is a must have for athletes, parents, caregivers, teachers, coaches or anyone who is often in an environment where a mouth injury is likely to occur. Knowing what to do and how quickly you must respond can make the critical difference between saving and losing a tooth.
Contact us today at 415-388-2172 to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.
Whitening your teeth is an easy way for most people to achieve a brighter, more appealing smile. And for older adults, it can also contribute to a more youthful appearance. We are often asked how our tooth whitening products and services stack up when compared to the many over-the-counter (OTC) products available at discount and drug stores. The following are some key facts to understand about teeth whitening so that you can receive the results you want.
What is the real difference between professional products and ones I can buy over-the-counter?
Whether you purchase over-the-counter whitening strips, toothpaste, mouthrinses, or “paint on” tooth whitening products, you are basically receiving the same product, but with a lower concentration of carbamide peroxide, the chemical responsible for teeth whitening. And while some of the products may contain a slightly higher concentration of this solution, they all are under strict governmental guidelines for ensuring you experience little to no side-effects as long as you follow the instructions. However, with our bleaching products and services, you are under the care of a trained professional and thus can receive much higher concentrations without compromising your health or the health of your teeth. This fact means that under our care you can achieve more dramatic results faster.
How long will the results last?
Bleaching is not a permanent solution; thus, your results will diminish over a six-month to one year period of time. However, it doesn’t take much to touch up or maintain your white smile in a single visit, or with custom-made whitening trays that we can provide for home use. You can also keep your brighter smile a little longer by avoiding food that stains your teeth. And when drinking coffee, tea, cola, wine and other drinks like these, sip them using a straw so that they are less likely to discolor your teeth.
Is bleaching safe for my teeth?
We pride ourselves on providing and promoting optimal oral healthcare and thus would never offer any products or services that are unsafe. Additionally, there are numerous studies supporting the overall safety of whitening your teeth. We are careful to avoid sensitivity, which is an occasional side effect of intensive bleaching, and we suggest protecting the teeth with fluoride.
Want to learn more?
Contact us today at 415-388-2172 to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor article, “Teeth Whitening: Brighter, Lighter, Whiter….”
If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile and would like to change it, we can help you determine what will work best, from a simple whitening to brighten your smile to a complete smile makeover — the possibilities are almost limitless! Consider a “Smile Design” customized just for you. One method of improving your smile is with porcelain veneers. Porcelain laminate veneer tooth restorations are thin layers of dental ceramic — a glass-like material created by dental laboratory technicians, the “artists” who exactly mimic natural teeth making them straighter, whiter, and brighter. They are used to replace worn, dull-looking stained enamel. In addition to making your teeth and smile whiter and brighter, veneers can even be used to change tooth shape and color, close small spaces, and reshape slightly crooked or mis-shapen teeth.
In order to determine if porcelain veneers are a viable solution to help you achieve the smile you have always longed for, consider the following questions:
- Do you want to permanently alter the appearance of your smile?
- Are you hoping to make improvements to your smile that don’t take a very long time to complete?
- Are you looking for a way to improve your smile with minimal or even no removal of your natural tooth material?
- Would you like to have more evenly aligned teeth?
- Do you want to change the color of your teeth?
- Do you want whiter teeth and a brighter smile?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is yes and whitening or other treatments have not given you the smile you want, we can help you assess the feasibility of porcelain veneers as one of the many options to enhance and improve your smile. We can fully discuss all the benefits, risks, alternatives, and costs associated with improving your smile.
Call us at 415-388-2172 to make an appointment for a Smile Design consultation and we can get started. If you would like to read more information about porcelain veneers, as well as see a few before and after photos, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Smile Design Enhanced With Porcelain Veneers.”
The beloved title of “mother” unfortunately does not come with a manual. If it did, it would certainly contain a section in which mothers-to-be could learn about the impact that pregnancy has on both their general and oral health. For example, did you know that during pregnancy the normally elevated levels of female hormone progesterone can cause inflammation in blood vessels within the gum tissues making the gums bleed? It typically occurs in response to less than adequate daily oral hygiene; however, it is just one important fact that all pregnant women should know.
There are numerous studies that have revealed that oral health during pregnancy can have a significant impact on the child growing inside you, and in particular, it has a direct relationship on your baby’s developing and future oral health.
Periodontal (gum) disease can also be a factor in your baby’s birth weight. In fact, there are a variety of studies supporting a positive link between pre-term delivery and low birth weight babies in the presence of severe periodontal disease in pregnant women. And there is also a correlation between the severity of periodontal disease and the possibility of an increased rate of pre-eclampsia or high blood pressure during pregnancy. This is another reason why it is important to see Dr. Farr for an evaluation of your oral and dental health as soon as you know you are pregnant.
Please note that the goal of sharing these facts is not to scare you, but rather inform you so that you can be an educated mother-to-be. After all, you should be as healthy as possible for the most important job in the world and this includes both your oral and general health. Learn more about your body and discover the many relationships between mother and child as you read the Dear Doctor article, “Pregnancy And Oral Health.” Or if you want to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions, contact us today at 415-388-2172.