(323) 469-6269

321 N. Larchmont Boulevard, Suite #714 | Los Angeles, CA 90004

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Phone: (323) 469-6269
Fax: (323) 469-1142
Email: larchmontsmile@gmail.com

321 N. Larchmont Blvd.
Suite #714
Los Angeles, CA 90004

Request An Appointment

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I do if I have a dental emergency while on vacation?

Most dental emergencies involve broken fillings, toothaches and/or abscesses, lost caps (crowns), broken/chipped teeth, and broken dentures.

Here's what you should do in a dental emergency:

If you cannot reach a dentist after exhausting all of the above possibilities, use these common sense dental emergency aids:

At the most, you should only have to wait 24-48 hours for dental care. Do not wait more than two days if you have one of the above emergencies.

The best way to avoid vacation emergencies is to have regular dental check-ups (three month, four month, or six month). Never leave the country before having your teeth checked. Foreign dentistry is years behind California dentistry, but it is often three times more expensive.

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How can I keep a youthful smile?

Vigorous healthy smiles have several characteristics. First of all, your two front teeth should be slightly longer than the other teeth by about ½ millimeter. Teeth that are the same length indicate excessive wear (a hard life) and they age a person considerably. The aging process can be reversed by lengthening the front teeth. Special plastic (Cosmetic Bonding) can be applied to the edges of the teeth or the teeth can be capped or crowned.

Make your teeth look whiter and brighter by closing all spaces. Dark spaces or chipped teeth make the teeth look darker and dirtier. Spaces may be closed three ways: braces (orthodontics), caps (crown), or plastic fillings (Cosmetic Bonding)

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What is a cap?

Did you know that a tooth has six sides, just like a box? The sixth side at the top of the root is not visible in the mouth, so for all intents and purposes, only five sides are fillable inside the mouth. One, two or three sides of decay can be filled on any tooth. But four or five-sided fillings are usually very weak and a cap (crown) or "complete tooth covering" would be a better solution.

A cap replaces lost or broken enamel. The shape of the tooth under the cap is very important in determining how well the cap will stay on. The tooth should be shaped like a box instead of a pointed "tepee." Teeth average 7-10 millimeters in width. Your dentist can shape the tooth under the cap so the cap is only 1½ millimeters thick instead of 3 millimeters.

Caps or crowns help protect the rest of the tooth from decay and nerve damage. Caps can be made of aluminum, plastic, stainless steel, gold, porcelain or a combination of gold and porcelain. Remember, no cap lasts forever and no cap is as strong as enamel ... and even enamel wears out. Aluminum lasts 6 weeks; plastic, 6 months; stainless steel, 1 year; gold, porcelain or gold and porcelain, 5-7 years.

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How can I be sure that my caps/crowns/veneers look natural?

Keep three words in mind: color, contour, and texture.

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What can I do about sensitive teeth?

In some adult mouths, the bone around the front of the tooth is very thin and the gum tissue can recede (or lower) exposing the root which is not covered by a hard material-like enamel, but a very thin coating called cementum. This layer (cementum) has very fine nerve connections to the tooth's pulp (nerve) and if exposed to air, hot, cold or sweet sensations, may result in some pain or sensitivity.

There are some over-the-counter toothpastes (Sensodyne, Denquel) that can be purchased that can help reduce the sensitivity. I usually suggest that my patients utilize these over-the-counter desensitizing toothpastes before I prescribe fluoride gels from the pharmacy. Special fluoride gels can be applied directly to the exposed roots with a cotton swab at least once a day, preferably two times a day.

Fluoride gels should also be used on all the teeth if the patient is undergoing chemotherapy. Chemotherapy to arrest cancer not only affects one's hair and skin, but also causes the saliva glands to stop functioning. Without saliva, decay becomes rampant throughout all the existing teeth). The use of fluoride gels three times a day helps stop extensive root decay due to chemotherapy.

Not all sensitive teeth are treatable with fluoride gels. Sensitive teeth might indicate bite problems, night grinding, or cracked or decayed teeth, so please consult your own dentist if any of your teeth are sensitive.

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What can I do about bleeding gums?

Healthy gum tissue is firm and pink and does not bleed. In most cases, bleeding gums are caused by infrequent brushing and flossing, poor diet (high in sugars, starches, carbohydrates or alcohol), and blood sugar imbalances. If it has been one year since your last cleaning, very often there will be calcified deposits attached to the teeth and the gums will be irritated. Similar to having a splinter in your finger, it is sore until you get the splinter out.

You can avoid getting sensitive, bleeding gums by:

Your mouth is a mirror of your body's health. If you do see your dentist regularly, and you do take care of your teeth between check-ups, bleeding gums could indicate other problems, including diet deficiencies, vitamin deficiencies, pregnancy, menstrual cycles, or even diabetes or leukemia. Blood tests at a laboratory can quickly determine if you have any other diseases. Select a dentist who is interested in prevention and has a plaque control program. If your gums still bleed after finishing this plaque program, your dentist may consult with your physician about the need for some medical tests.

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How does fluoride work?

Fluoride is a natural compound that is found in practically all soils, plants, animals and even teeth! Since the 1940s it has been used in drinking water, topical gels, solutions and tooth pastes.

Fluoride can drastically reduce tooth decay by 25 to 50%. The most common use for fluoride is in drinking water. (Over 100 million Americans currently drink fluoridated water.) The best dosage is one part fluoride to one million parts water. Fluoride drinking water is most effective during the years when a child's teeth are forming (birth to age 6)

Remember, the adult teeth (front incisors as well as back molars) begin to form buds at age 9 months, even though they don't appear in the mouth until ages 6 or 7. Fluoride becomes part of the calcifying tooth bud and helps make the adult teeth stronger and more resistant to decay. Fluoride can also strengthen the first set of teeth (baby teeth) while they are forming in utero, and during the first 6 months after birth.

On the negative side, the adult tooth buds (forming from birth to age 6) are very susceptible to high temperatures and also stains from medication. Therefore, fevers and viruses can cause pits or chalky areas in the enamels, while the antibiotic tetracycline can stain the forming teeth blue and/or gray.

Excess fluoride 5-6 times the ideal (or 5-6 parts fluoride to one million parts water) can cause brown or yellow stains in the teeth. Don't be afraid; Los Angeles doesn't have water like that. Los Angeles has fluoride in the water naturally, one half part fluoride to one million parts water. The states of Colorado and Texas have high concentrations of natural fluoride (56 parts per million)

Today, many children's vitamins contain fluoride, so it is important to talk with your pediatrician and dentist about the proper dosage of fluoride vitamins and fluoride drinking water to avoid increasing the optimum dosage of one part fluoride to one million parts water.

And as for the "quack doctor" claims that fluoride is a poison: At the level of one part fluoride to one million parts water, you would have to drink 200-300 gallons of water at one sitting to get a lethal dose. The water alone would kill you first!

Dentistry is one of the few professions dedicated towards eliminating the very basis for its existence (decay and periodontal disease). Fluoride drinking water works well!

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How can I avoid tooth decay caused by sugar intake?

Don't be misled by labels! Sucrose, fructose, dextrose, honey, corn starch, corn syrup, natural sweetener, all are "high falootin" names for SUGAR. Honey is sugar in a syrupy form. Alcohol is quickly digested to become sugar in a liquid form. Most packaged foods today contain sugar: your creamer is loaded with corn starch, that little 8 oz fruit yogurt has about eight cubes of sugar in it...even table salt has sugar in it. The average person today eats more than 120 lbs of sugar a year, as compared to 10 lbs a year in 1920.

The signs of heavy sugar diets include:

If you do eat sweets, limit them to mealtimes, or maybe limit them to one treat a day a week. Be sure to brush within thirty minutes. It only takes thirty minutes for the bacteria in your mouth to turn sugar into an acid which can destroy tooth enamel.

Here are some ways to limit your sugar intake:

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How can I avoid enamel damage caused by citrus intake?

Many people are dissolving their teeth with citric acid (the liquid that is present in lemons, oranges and grapefruits). Just like too much bleach can eat holes in your clothes, too much citric acid can dissolve your tooth enamel.

The signs of damage caused by citrus include:

The damage from citrus juice overdose can be corrected with bonding (tooth-colored material that sticks to the tooth). Or, if the damage is too deep, the affected teeth may have to be covered with caps (sealed under the gum tissues). Remember to drink orange, lemon or grapefruit juice in moderation.

Rinse your mouth with water to stop the citric acid. Also, the same enamel damage can occur with a heavy diet of sugary carbonated drinks or even olives pickled in vinegar.

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How do I protect my teeth while playing sports?

Mouth protectors should be worn while playing sports. Mouth guards reduce the probability of concussion and help absorb trauma to your mouth and jaw. Torn and traumatized cartilage in your TMJ (Temporomandibular joint) can result in a permanently stiff joint, limiting your ability to open your mouth. Other injuries to your mouth that can occur while playing sports include:

The shape of your jaw can be very critical in sports injuries. The jaw (mandible) is one continuous U-shaped bone that inserts into a socket near the ear on either side of your face. The jaw joint (Temporomandibular joint) is just like any other joint. There is a ball and a socket, a pad of cartilage, and ligaments that hold the jawbone into the socket. If your jaw (ball) or condyle is larger than the socket, you will have a higher risk of jaw fracture if you are hit in the face. Such a jaw is labeled "glass jaw".

Before you begin any sporting activity, you should get a dental checkup and be sure that:

The key to mouth protectors is to make them comfortable. There are 3 types and in all cases a dentist should fit all three. Don't rely on coaches, trainers or yourself. The types of mouth protectors are:

Mouth guards attempt to protect the mouth from trauma. The "bite" or the relationship of the upper and lower teeth determines on which dental arch the protector is actually worn. There are 3 general "bite" classifications:

Mouth-guards for Class I and II would cover the upper teeth, while with Class III (prominent lower jaw), the mouth-guard may be used on the lower teeth. For the most protection, cushioning and retention, the mouth protector should cover all of the remaining teeth of one arch.

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How do I ensure my dentures look natural?

Just like there is an art and a science to matching hairpieces and eyelashes, there is an art and a science to matching dentures. Here is the criteria for natural looking dentures:

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What is dental insurance?

Over 70 million Americans are covered by prepaid dental care programs. While each plan is unique, there are some general points to remember: