Alice P. Moran, DMD

Impacted

'impacted wisdom tooth'When you hear this word in our office, it is most likely that we are talking about your wisdom teeth. And while we know that it may sound scary to have “impacted wisdom teeth”, we want you to know that, actually, it is very common.

What are impacted wisdom teeth?

Throughout evolutionary history, human mouths (jaws) have become increasingly smaller. While the jaws have gotten smaller, the amount of teeth we have has not. So now we have the same amount of teeth squeezing into a smaller space. Because wisdom teeth are the last to erupt, they often become impacted – that is, blocked by the other teeth around them. Often they are growing in sideways or unable to erupt through the gums at all due to crowding.

Why do wisdom teeth need removal?

The inability to erupt properly means that wisdom teeth can cause a lot of pain and even become infected down the road. This is the main reason that we recommend the removal of all third molars (another name for wisdom teeth). The reason that we remove them during the teen years is that the bone is still soft and recovery from the surgery is taken by the patient much better at this age. If we were to wait, your teeth may become infected, your bite crooked, and it may be too late at some point for us to take them out.

Types of Impaction:

  • Vertical Impaction – In this case, the tooth is unable to break through the gum line. Vertical impaction is very common.
  • Mesioangular Impaction – Angled toward the front of the mouth, the tooth is probably pushing on its neighbor, causing pain and crowding. This type of impaction is also very common.
  • Distoangular Impaction – This tooth is angled toward the rear of the mouth, it is uncommon.
  • Horizontal Impaction – In this case, the tooth is a complete 90 degrees from where it should be, and is likely growing into the roots of its neighboring tooth. This is very rare.

What is the removal procedure like?

You will be completely pain-free during the surgery, which takes just about an hour. You will also be sent home with instructions for pain management, eating and rest orders.

What is recovery like?

You will recover comfortably at home. You can start drinking liquids and soft foods as soon as you feel ready, but should avoid crunchy foods, extra hot or cold items, and straws (NO STRAWS!). You can expect to resume some of your normal activities a few days post-operation.

If you have any questions about wisdom teeth removal or aren’t sure if you even need the procedure, give us a call at San Clemente Office Phone Number 949-361-4867!

Bad Breath is Bad News

'woman with fresh breath'Don’t let bad breath be a part of your day! In our office, we are asked on an almost daily basis “How can I get rid of my bad breath?”

Here are some quick and easy tips to help keep your breath fresh and clean:

1. Brush and Floss Regularly:
It’s basic advice, but foolproof. Brushing at least twice a day and flossing and tongue scraping once is the best way to combat bad breath. When the bacteria in your mouth have bits of food and debris to feed on, they create the odors that cause bad breath. Keeping your mouth clean will keep your breath clean at the same time!

2. Drink Water:
You don’t always have access to a toothbrush. As it turns out though, water can be an effective way to freshen your breath until you can get home and brush. Water helps clean out your mouth and prevents dryness, another major cause of bad breath.

3. Eat Good Foods:
A good way to prevent bad breath is to stay away from foods that make your breath smell bad, and eat foods those that will help your breath smell good! Melons and citrus fruit are high in Vitamin C, and help kill bacteria in your mouth. Fibrous foods like apples and celery can help remove food stuck in your teeth, reducing smells caused by bacteria feeding on them.

4. Choose gum and mints with Xylitol:
Sugary gum and breath mints are often used to tackle bad breath. However, the stinky bacteria in your mouth love sugar, and giving them more tends to produce acid that can make your breath smell worse AND lead to tooth decay. Xylitol is a sugar alternative that bacteria cannot break down, which makes it a perfect method for keeping your breath fresh and clean.

If you are troubled by your bad breath, ask us for more tips on staying fresh and clean

Periodontics: More than Just Gum Disease

'woman smiling'

In today’s world, a beautiful smile translates to a more confident (and some say more successful) person. Whether you are talking about the business world or your social circle, the fact of the matter is that smiles simply look better now than they did 10, 15 or 20 years ago.

The fact that nearly half of patients spend $2,500 or more per year on cosmetic treatments in the dental office such as teeth whitening, veneers and orthodontics proves the significance of an attractive smile these days.

Did you know that as Periodontists, we can take your smile to the next level? Whether you were blessed to be born with perfect crowns or have paid substantial money to bring them up to par, we can further perfect your smile to make your investment really worth it with a cosmetic periodontal treatment. Whether you have a gummy smile (too much gum tissue covering your teeth) or the opposite, we can give you a smile boost that will ensure that you have the look you want for a happier and more confident you.

Benefits of Cosmetic Periodontal Work:

  • Affordable – you may be surprised to find that many of the cosmetic procedures we offer are actually cheaper than some of the general cosmetic work you have had done.
  • Permanent – Unlike the maintenance associated with veneers, whitening and braces (retainers for life, anyone?), periodontal procedures such as crown lengthening are permanent.
  • A Lifestyle Investment – A great smile gives you a competitive advantage in today’s world. Invest in your career and your personal life by making sure yours is bright, radiant, straight and well proportioned.

Is your smile just a little bit less than you’d like it to be? Give us a call at San Clemente Office Phone Number 949-361-4867 to set up your cosmetic consultation.

Missing Teeth: More than Just a Gap in Your Smile

'man smiling'While it is true that the most obvious effect of missing teeth is a gap in your smile, missing teeth can cause other problems that you might not be immediately aware of. For example, did you know that for every missing tooth you have you lose 10 percent of your chewing ability? Read on to get a better idea of how a missing tooth can affect your life.

Surrounding Teeth

A missing tooth usually means more stress for the remaining teeth. In addition to that, if you are missing a tooth on the lower jaw, the opposing tooth on the top can grow longer to fill the gap in a process known as superuption or extrusion. This could lead to teeth tilting and move out of place by drifting into the space that was left by your missing tooth – a disaster for your beautiful smile!

Digestive Health

If you are missing teeth, you can’t enjoy all of the foods that you are used to eating – bad for your health and bad for your mood! Say goodbye to caramel apples, saltwater taffy, crunchy carrots and even gum. And because the variety in your diet is reduced when a tooth is missing, digestive problems are unfortunate yet common.

Decay and Hygiene Problems

The shifting of your teeth may cause new hygiene issues as it may be difficult to brush and floss like you normally would. This leaves your mouth more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay.

Facial Aesthetics

People with more than one missing tooth may also have issues with a collapsed bite which causes a loss of vertical dimension. This could make your face appear shorter, as the distance between the tip of your nose and your chin would decrease.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer anymore! Dental implants can help you avoid all of the problems listed above and let you live your life normally again. It’s never too late for a dental implant, give us a call at San Clemente Office Phone Number 949-361-4867 to find out about this life-changing procedure.

Yes, You Still Have to Floss.

'woman flossing in mirror'The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health.

Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed.

The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.

As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).

Of course the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. You can prevent gum disease by maintaining a clean mouth over a long period of time. Wayne Aldredge, President of the American Academy of Periodontology explained: “gum disease is a very slow disease”. In his interview with the AP he recommended long-term studies which he believes would clearly show the difference between people who floss and people who don’t.

Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study? What do you think?

The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to.

Aldredge also pointed out that most people floss incorrectly, using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.

That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.

It’s a shame that studies on an important tool such as floss have yielded poor results, but it’s a bigger shame that the studies themselves were poorly designed. Oral hygiene is a long term process, and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the mean time, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today at 949-361-4867!

What Is Periodontal Charting?

'periodontal charting'A Periodontal Chart is also referred to as a gum chart. It is a graphic chart dental professionals use for organizing the information about your gums. Periodontal charting is the best way to uncover the difference between patients that are periodontally healthy and those with periodontal disease.

The area between your gum and tooth is known as the “pocket”. Periodontal charting is simple and relatively painless, during the procedure you will hear your dentist or hygienist call out a series of numbers for each tooth. This is measuring, in millimeters, the cuff of your gum line and the point at which the gum actually attaches to your tooth.
Healthy gums have pockets that are usually 2-3mm, anything over 5mm means the bone that supports your tooth is being degraded by periodontal disease. Bleeding is also a sign of gingivitis and gum disease, as healthy gums do not tend to bleed.

Know Your Periodontal Measurements:

0-3mm without bleeding: Great! No problems and you’re doing great with your oral health!

1-3mm with bleeding: Signs of gingivitis. Improved at-home oral care as well as further professional cleanings are in order.

3-5mm with no bleeding:This means there is the potential for gum disease. A routine cleaning cannot go below 3mm, so further in-depth visits to the dentist will be needed.

3-5mm with bleeding: Early stages of gum disease, the beginnings of Periodontitis. This may require additional treatment, better home care and three to four visits to the dentist per year.

5-7mm with bleeding: This means soft and hard tissue damage, as well as bone loss. Definitive treatment is required, over several visits, greatly improved home care and many more hygiene visits to prevent tooth loss.

7mm and above with bleeding: It’s the advanced stage of periodontal disease so aggressive treatment is needed. Surgery will probably be needed to repair the bone loss. Periodontal maintenance is definitely required very frequently.

Periodontal charting is a very thorough process and can greatly improve your chances of keeping all your teeth! Is it time to see your Periodontist? Call Alice P. Moran, DMD today on 949-361-4867 to discuss your options!

Little, Medium, and Big Bone Grafts

'tooth surrounded by bone'Bone grafting is a straightforward procedure that is immensely beneficial for numerous reasons. In the instance of a missing tooth (or teeth), the jaw bone can begin to slowly degrade. The jaw bone is holds teeth in place, and once a tooth is no longer present, the bone doesn’t have anything to support. There are different types of bone grafts, and depending on your situation. Outlined below are several different types of bone grafts:

Little Bone Graft

In the case of a simple, single lost tooth, the ideal course of action is to not lose excess bone. In this process, sterile, demineralized human bone granules are packed into the tooth socket immediately after tooth extraction. This procedure is very simple, and does not add anything to your recovery time. Over the next several weeks, your own bone will fill the tooth socket and preserve the bone height enough for you to have the area restored.

Medium Bone Grafts

If a tooth was removed a long time ago, there is likely to already be some bone loss impeding the restoration of the area. In this case, the area of the missing tooth is opened with a small incision, the bone surface is prepared, and demineralized bone graft granules are used to build up the area. Many surgeons prefer to use a little bit of the patient’s own bone in this procedure in order to ensure the best results possible. If your own bone is used, your surgeon will take it from another area of the jaw bone, usually near the wisdom tooth area, shaving off tiny granules and combining them with the demineralized bone. The bone graft will heal and integrate with the surrounding bone tissue. This type of graft can be used for one or multiple areas of missing teeth.

Big Bone Graft

Patients who have many missing teeth and who have been missing many teeth for many years, have often experienced advanced bone loss. In those who wear dentures, the lower jaw bone often recedes so severely that they can no longer wear them. Extensive bone grafting is necessary in order to consider restorative methods. A combination of demineralized, sterile human bone and the patient’s own bone is used to restore the jaw bone, creating enough width and height to consider dental implants. The patient’s bone is supplied by another part of the jaw, hip, or tibia. Bone granules are also used to enhance and strengthen the graft.

Bone grafting is a surgical procedure that takes time. However, it plays an essential role in making new teeth possible, and will ultimately be a positive process! For more information, call 949-361-4867 today for a consultation with Alice P. Moran, DMD

Dental Implant Recovery

'dental implants'Dental implants, titanium posts that are placed within your jawbone, are an excellent option for restoring missing teeth. The process of getting dental implants typically takes a few appointments over the span of several months, and since the strength of dental implants comes from their fusion with the jawbone, proper healing from this surgery is absolutely essential. Here are some tips for a speedy and well-healed recovery!

Prepare

One of the best ways to promote a speedy recovery is to properly prepare for dental implant placement. Get ready for your procedure by:
● Getting plenty of sleep
● Avoiding smoking or drinking excessively
● Maintain your oral health! Brush twice a day and floss once a day!
● Arrange for someone to drive you to and from your procedure
● Plan to take some time off work so you can really focus on resting and recovering
● Pick up post-surgical prescriptions, gauze, cold compresses, and any other supplies
● Ask for a recovery timeline
Getting ready before your dental implant surgery can make a huge difference in the recovery afterwards!

Recovery Time Factors

Recovery time for the dental implants procedure depends on several factors. While each patient’s case is slightly different, these following factors are the main contributors to healing time:
● The number of implants: Having a single implant may take less recovery time than multiple implant placement.
● Whether or not you require preparatory procedures such as bone grafting
● Your oral and overall health: the healthier you are, the easier it will be for you to heal quickly.
Your oral surgeon will explain your unique estimated recovery time based on these and other factors at your initial consultation.

After Your Surgery

After the procedure, the healing process can be sped up through:
● Biting down on gauze to staunch the bleeding
● Avoiding any activity that could put pressure on your mouth
● Taking proper prescribed medication
● Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing near the treatment area
● Rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater between meals
● Using a cold compress to reduce swelling
● Gently retaining oral health routines like brushing and flossing
Following these guidelines, you will be able to heal comfortably and successfully!
To learn more about this treatment, or schedule a consultation, call 949-361-4867 and come see us at Alice P. Moran, DMD today!

Learning the Lingo – Dental Implants

What They Are

Implant: The implant itself is a rod that is screwed into the jawbone.

Abutment: This is the connection between the implant and the crown.

Crown: A tooth shaped cap that is attached to the abutment. It is the part of the tooth that is visible above the gum line.

What They’re Made Of

'dental implant and tooth'Titanium: Most implants are typically made of titanium, a biocompatible metal.

Zirconia: Often used for crowns and bridges and can be used as a metal-free option. Zirconia is biocompatible just like titanium.

Where They Go

Endosteal Implants: Placed in the jawbone. These implants are typically shaped like small screws, cylinders or plates, and they are the most commonly used.

Subperiosteal Implants: Placed under the gum, but on or above the jawbone. These implants are mostly for people with smaller jaws or shallow jawbones.

What Happens To Them

Osseointegration: Creates strength and durability by fusing directly to the bone and is bio-compatible. Bone cells attach themselves directly to the titanium/zirconium surface, essentially locking the implant into the jaw bone. Osseointegrated implants can then be used to support prosthetic tooth replacements of various designs and functionality. Anything from a single tooth, to all teeth in the upper and lower jaws. The teeth/crowns are usually made to match the enamel color of the existing teeth to create a natural appearance.

Bone augmentation: Some people do not have enough healthy bone to support dental implants, so bone must be built. Procedures can include bone-grafting which means adding bone to the jaw.

Talk to us today at Alice P. Moran, DMD to discuss your options with an implant specialist!

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Lasers for Healthy Gums!

The first laser was developed in 1960, based on concepts developed by Albert Einstein many decades before. Shortly after the arrival of the first laser, dental researchers began to investigate how lasers may be used to aid dentists in their work. By the mid 1990s, the first dental lasers were released.

Lasers in Periodontics

'periodontal laser therapy on gums'For periodontal care, lasers are proving themselves to be less invasive tools for accomplishing (in most cases) the same mission: the cleaning of tissue and roots under the gums to avoid or treat gum disease. Traditionally, (and in some cases we still perform this method), we used hand tools to scrape calculus and plaque out of the gum line and around the tooth root. The advent of lasers, however, has allowed us to treat many of our patients in a less invasive way than what we have done in the past.

Lasers have several benefits over traditional root scaling and other periodontal surgeries:

  • Generally speaking, anesthesia isn’t required as the procedure is less painful, particularly when excising diseased gum tissue.
  • Healing time is usually shorter because of the less-invasive nature of the process.
  • Pain and bleeding is also less when lasers are used.
  • And, finally, lasers are very good at targeting diseased areas with precision, and therefore saving adjacent tissue from trauma.

Cost Considerations

The cost of the treatment is totally dependent on the extent of your gum therapy needs. However, it is worth pointing out that sometimes the laser procedures are less expensive than traditional periodontal surgery. This is due to the fact that fewer visits are required.

In short, if you’ve been told that you need to have extensive periodontal treatment and long-term care, you may benefit by starting with our laser process, right here in our office. Give us a call to find out if you are a good candidate for laser periodontal therapy!

 

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