Frequently Asked Questions

As a parent, what dental issues should I consider?
When should I start taking my child to the dentist?
What will the dentist do on my child's first visit?
Must I take my child to a children's dentist (pedodontist)?
When will my baby start teething?
What is a teething ring?
How can I prevent tooth decay caused by a bottle?
Is thumb-sucking a no-no?
How can I make brushing fun for my preschoolers?
What is gum disease and how do I prevent it?
What is plaque?
What causes crooked teeth?
How much will treatment cost?
What about financing?
What do I do in the case of a dental emergency?
What can I do to keep my teeth healthy?
What is TMJ Disorder?
What is the best way to brush?
What is the best way to floss?
What is a root canal?
Should I have my Wisdom Teeth removed?
What is cosmetic surgery?
Who is a good candidate for cosmetic surgery?

After Your Procedure - What to Do After Surgery...
(Post-Op Instructions)


Tooth Extraction
Temporary Crown
Permanent Crown
Root Canal Therapy
Tooth Filling
Cosmetic Procedure

As a parent, what dental issues should I consider?

Baby-bottle tooth decay is the most prevalent problem for infants-but also the most preventable. Many children expose their teeth to decay through the sugar in baby formula, juice, and even breast milk. If your baby sleeps with a bottle filled with any sugary drink or breast milk for long periods, they are highly susceptible to tooth decay. One way we can help your baby to prevent the onset of cavities is through fluoride treatments, which promotes the healthy growth of new teeth.

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When should I start taking my child to the dentist?

Your child is ready for the dentist as soon as the first teeth start to come in. That's usually between the ages of 18 to 24 months.

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What will the dentist do on my child's first visit?

We like the first visit to be an introduction to our office. This allows children to get used to the idea of the dentist and learn about what we do. Each child has a different comfort zone, and we want a child to proceed at a pace that works for him or her. It's vital to first build a child's trust, and sometimes we build trust by inviting you, the parent, to sit in the dental chair with your child in your lap. Your child's confidence will grow from there. Next, we perform a gentle, informal examination of the teeth, gums, and bite. This allows us to create a baseline of where your child is currently, so that we can monitor changes as your child grows. We conclude with a very mild teeth cleaning, followed by a brief talk about how to clean your own teeth at home.

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Must I take my child to a children's dentist (pedodontist)?

Pedodontists are specialists who see only children, and that may be important to you, but not necessary. I am a general dentist, but am fully trained in the care and treatment of children. What's more, I work very well with children. A dentist that is gentle and playful helps set children at ease. These are the qualities you should look for in your child's dentist.

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When will my baby start teething?

The normal time for the first teeth to come in is between 18 to 24 months. Occasionally, sore gums may exist until the age of three, and a cold spoon, teething ring, or a cold wet washcloth or toothbrush may effectively sooth the gums.

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What is a teething ring?

Teething rings are small, fluid-filled circular tubes that you can chill. Most children who are teething find them very soothing to chew on when they have sore gums.

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How can I prevent tooth decay caused by a bottle?

Try to avoid putting your baby down to sleep or nap with a bottle. Many children expose their teeth to decay through the sugar in baby formula, juice, and even breast milk. Hold your baby while bottle feeding, and if the baby needs a bottle at bedtime, fill it with water, or replace the bottle with a pacifier or toy. Keep in mind that we can help your baby to avoid early cavities by providing fluoride treatments. This simple procedure promotes the healthy growth of new teeth. You may also brush your baby's teeth daily.

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Is thumb-sucking a no-no?

Infants find it soothing to suck on a thumb or finger. It's quite normal. But usually the practice is abandoned by the age of two. If it continues as your child reaches five or six years old, thumb-sucking may lead to crowded or crooked teeth, or bite problems. Best to help children give up thumb-sucking when permanent teeth begin to emerge.

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Ten Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Preschoolers!

  1. Get your child off to a good start. Bring your child in to see me! Our dental team will teach your child the proper way to brush in a kid-friendly way.
  2. Kids love to pick their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Let your child choose a colorful child-sized toothbrush and flavored toothpaste. Just help your child select a toothbrush that has soft, or very soft, rounded bristles. That way they won't damage their gums or tooth enamel.
  3. Your child only needs a tiny dollop of toothpaste. If your child doesn't like toothpaste, let it go; Kids tend to get too much fluoride, anyway. And the last thing you want is for brushing to be unpleasant.
  4. Make brushing convenient. If there's more than one bathroom, keep a toothbrush and toothpaste in each one to encourage brushing often.
  5. Provide motivation. Let kids win stickers. Make colorful signs to put on your child's plate at mealtime. Place a funny reminder on your child's pillow at bedtime.
  6. Show your child how to brush by practicing on your pet's teeth, and let your child help. This not only reinforces the importance of clean teeth, and it's also good for your pet!
  7. Praise your child's brushing. Point out the results they can see and feel. "Your teeth are so sparkly!" "Your breath smells so good!" It will mean a lot to them and they'll remember the positive comments the next time they brush.
  8. Read books about brushing with your child, like Dragon Teeth and Parrot Beaks, Even Creatures Brush Their Teeth by Almute Grohmann, and Just Going to the Dentist by Mercer Mayer.
  9. Make up funny tooth-brushing songs with your child. Borrow a familiar tune and change the words to something silly.
  10. Set an example. Children learn best what they see you doing. Brush with your child on occasion so that they know you think brushing and flossing are important.
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What is gum disease and how do I prevent it?

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, occurs when plaque causes the tissues around your teeth to deteriorate. Because gum disease is often painless, it's hard to detect. Signs of gum disease include red or swollen gums, frequent bleeding, tender gums and loose tooth. You can prevent gum disease by brushing and flossing and eating healthy, and regular dental care.

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What is plaque?

Plaque is the hardened matter produced when the food you eat mixes with the bacteria in your mouth. Starchy and sugary foods are the most common causes of plaque. The best way to prevent plaque build up is to brush and floss frequently, especially after meals and snacks. If you don't take care of it, plaque can build up and cause tooth decay and gum disease.

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What causes crooked teeth?

Generally speaking, crooked teeth are genetic. Uneven teeth or jawline can lead to poor chewing and digestion, which may eventually cause tooth decay and gum disease. We try to detect crooked teeth early on, so we can help young patients avoid serious treatments later in life.

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How much will treatment cost?

Treatment costs can best be determined after a thorough check-up. After we have a chance to diagnose your dental condition, we will provide you an estimate for recommended treatment. If your dental examine shows no problems, you will only pay for the cleaning costs. We can help you get the most out of your insurance as well by assisting you in completing the necessary claim forms.

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What about financing?

We realize dentistry is an investment in your future, so we offer a variety of financial options, including:

  • A flexible monthly payment plan with no down payment.
  • A six-month interest-free financing program.
  • A 5-percent discount for payment at the time of service.

Let us help you complete the paperwork required for insurance reimbursement and take away the hassle and confusion this process can sometimes cause.

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What do I do in the case of a dental emergency?

Dental emergencies may include, but are not limited to, severe mouth pain, tissue swelling, lost fillings, damaged or unattached teeth. In case of emergency, we offer a 24-hour emergency help line (951-461-7000), so you can get the immediate care you need.

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What can I do to keep my teeth healthy?

Of course, the best way to keep teeth healthy is regular and proper brushing and flossing. This, combined with regular dental visits, can help sustain your dental health long into your later life.

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What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ, or temporomandibular joint, stands for a broad range of muscle and joint dysfunctions that affect the jaw. TMJ could present itself as a minor clicking or popping that occurs when you open and close your mouth, or as a persistent pain extending into your face, neck, and shoulders, affecting posture and even mobility. TMJ Disorders can be caused by any number of different things, but a short list of causes might include:

  • Crooked Teeth
  • Missing Teeth
  • Overbite
  • Misaligned Teeth
  • Head and Neck Injuries
  • Clenched Teeth

We can identify a TMJ Disorder and recommend the right treatment plan for you, which may include one or more of the following solutions:

  • Prescription Medication
  • Self-care Techniques
  • Jaw Physical Therapy
  • Dental Surgery
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What is the best way to brush?

Here are a few things to remember about brushing and flossing:

  • Brushing and flossing must be done at least twice a day, every day.
  • Use a soft, round-bristled toothbrush that is gentle on tooth enamel.
  • Make sure you reach all areas of your teeth during brushing and flossing.
  • Spend equal time on each area of your teeth.
  • Make sure to brush your tongue and gums.
  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months.
  • Choose a toothpaste with fluoride.

How to brush

Guidelines for proper brushing:

  1. Clean the outside surfaces of your teeth by positioning the brush at a 45-degree angle against the base of your teeth (where your teeth meet your gums). Gently move the brush back and forth using a tight, circular motion. Apply light pressure to get the bristles in the crevasses between teeth.
  2. Repeat the process on the inside of your back teeth.
  3. Clean the inside surfaces of your front teeth by putting your brush tip in a vertical position. Gently move the bristles back-and-forth over each tooth and surrounding gum tissue.
  4. Clean the biting surfaces of your teeth with tight, circular motions. Change the position of your brush often to reach and clean all tooth surfaces.
  5. When you finish brushing, rinse vigorously with water (or preferably mouthwash) to remove all loosened plaque and food particles.
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What is the best way to floss?

How to floss

Guidelines for proper flossing:

  1. Take a piece of floss about 18-inches long between your index fingers.
  2. The floss between your fingers should only be about a half-inch long.
  3. Gently wedge the floss in the gap between two teeth.
  4. Start with one tooth, and press the floss tightly against its side.
  5. Slide the floss up and down a few times to make sure you have scraped away debris all the way down to your gum line.
  6. Rinse vigorously with water (or preferably mouthwash) to remove all plaque and food particles.
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What is a root canal?

When a tooth is severely damaged, infected, and swelling, root canal therapy may be necessary. A root canal is the process of removing deteriorating tissue from inside the tooth's root. After root canal therapy, your tooth will continue to receive nourishment from the surrounding gums and bone.

If you have any of the following symptoms, you might need a root canal:

  • Heat or cold sensitivity;
  • Soreness;
  • Tooth aches; and/or
  • Chewing pain.

Sometimes it's very hard to tell whether you have an infected tooth. You may not feel any pain or discomfort. Regular dental check-ups can help us detect problem teeth before they get too seriously damaged.

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Should I have my Wisdom Teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth are your last set of molars; they are also the last teeth to come in. And they are the teeth you need the least for good oral health. Wisdom teeth tend to cause crowding, gum disease, and tooth decay, so many dentists recommend removing them before any of these serious problems arise.

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What is cosmetic dentistry?

Not everyone was born with a perfect smile. That's where the art of cosmetic dentistry can help. We provide many beautifying applications to enhance the appearance of your smile, such as porcelain veneers, natural-looking crowns and bridges, tooth-colored fillings, tooth whitening, and implants.

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Who is a good candidate for cosmetic dentistry?

Do you like the look of your smile? If not, you may be a good candidate for cosmetic surgery. People with crooked teeth, discolored or stained teeth, or an uneven smile-all may wish to see immediate results with cosmetic dentistry. It's really for anyone who wants a straight, even, bright smile.

After Your Procedure - What to Do After Surgery... (Post-Op Instructions)

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Tooth Extraction

1. Relax
Avoid strenuous activity during the first 24 hours after surgery. You'll likely experience some swelling for the first 48 hours. The initial healing period usually takes one to two weeks.

2. Avoid Chewing
The anesthetic you took to ensure your comfort during surgery will probably numb your lips, teeth, and tongue for a little while after the procedure. So avoid chewing for a few hours or until you no longer feel numb.

3. Take Pain Reliever
It is normal to feel some discomfort. Feel free to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you choose, we can prepare a prescription for a stronger pain reliever.

REMEMBER: Eat before taking pain medication to avoid nausea.

4. Apply Ice Pack
Another way to reduce pain and swelling is to apply an ice pack. Follow this schedule for the first six hours following the extraction:

20 minutes on
20 minutes off

5. Care for Blood Clot
Be aware that a blood clot will form on the extraction site. This is perfectly normal. In fact, it promotes proper healing. DO NOT:

  • Touch the extraction point with your tongue or fingers.
  • Use a straw when drinking.
  • Spit forcefully.
  • Sneeze violently.
  • Blow your nose vigorously.

6. Do not rinse your mouth the day of the surgery.

7. Avoid Smoking
Smoking dramatically inhibits the healing process.

8. Keep Tooth Socket Clear
Try not to allow food particles to get packed into your tooth's empty socket.

9. Rinse Mouth
24 hours following the procedure rinse your mouth gently with mouthwash or a warm salt water solution. You can make a good salt solution by dissolving one teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water. Gently swish the solution around your extraction site; Be careful to gently spit out the solution as well. You should do this two to three times every day for a week.

10. Take Antibiotics
If we prescribe antibiotics, continue to take them until they are gone, even though you no longer have any sign of infection.

11. Call Us
Feel free to call us anytime if you have any questions or concerns.

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Temporary Crown

1. Avoid Chewing and Eating
If you took an anesthetic for the surgery, you will probably have numb lips, teeth, and tongue for a little while after the procedure. So avoid chewing for at least a half-hour or until you no longer feel numb. This will also allow the temporary crown enough time to bond properly.

2. Avoid Hard, Sticky Food
Keep your crown in place by avoiding hard or sticky foods, especially gum. If possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.

3. Floss Carefully
While it is OK to brush normally, take special care when flossing. When you remove a string of floss, be sure to slide it sideways between your teeth, not up through the top. This will prevent removal of the temporary crown.

4. Brush with Desensitizing Toothpaste
Use desensitizing toothpaste if your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold, or pressure. Call us if sensitivity persists beyond a few days.

5. Take Pain Reliever
It is normal to feel some discomfort. Feel free to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you choose, we can prepare a prescription for a stronger pain reliever. REMEMBER: Eat before taking pain medication to avoid nausea.

6. Take Antibiotics
If we prescribe antibiotics, continue to take them until they are gone, even though you no longer have any sign of infection.

7. Rinse Mouth
To reduce any discomfort or swelling, rinse your mouth three times a day with warm salt water. You can make a good salt solution by dissolving one teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water. It's normal for your gums to be sore for several days.

8. Call Us
Feel free to call us anytime if you have any questions or concerns. Call us if your temporary crown comes off, and save the temporary so we can re-bond it. To properly fit of your final crown, your temporary must stay in place. Also, call us if your bite feels uneven or if you have persistent sensitivity or discomfort.

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Permanent Crown

1. Avoid Chewing and Eating
If you took an anesthetic for the crown cementation, you will probably have numb lips, teeth, and tongue for a little while after the procedure. So avoid chewing hard foods or sticky foods (ice, gum, etc.) until you no longer feel numb.

2. Brush and Floss Normally

3. Brush with Desensitizing Toothpaste
Use desensitizing toothpaste if your teeth are sensitive to hot, cold, or pressure. Call us if sensitivity persists beyond a few days.

4. Take Pain Reliever
It is normal to feel some discomfort. Feel free to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you choose, we can prepare a prescription for a stronger pain reliever. REMEMBER: Eat before taking pain medication to avoid nausea.

5. Take Antibiotics
If we prescribe antibiotics, continue to take them until they are gone, even though you no longer have any sign of infection.

6. Rinse Mouth
To reduce any discomfort or swelling, rinse your mouth three times a day with warm salt water. You can make a good salt solution by dissolving one teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water. It's normal for your gums to be sore for several days.

7. Call Us
Feel free to call us anytime if you have any questions or concerns. Call us if your bite feels uneven or if you have persistent sensitivity or discomfort.

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Root Canal Therapy

Root canal therapy often takes two or more appointments to complete. A temporary filling or crown is placed to protect the tooth between appointments. You should take the following precautions to protect your tooth and ease any discomfort until the permanent crown is installed.

1. Avoid Chewing and Eating
Your lips, teeth, and tongue may feel numb for several hours after taking an anesthetic. Avoid chewing or eating anything until the numbness has completely worn off.

2. Take Pain Reliever
It is normal to feel some discomfort. Feel free to take an over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If you choose, we can prepare a prescription for a stronger pain reliever. REMEMBER: Eat before taking pain medication to avoid nausea.

3. Take Antibiotics
If we prescribe antibiotics, continue to take them until they are gone, even though you no longer have any sign of infection.

4. Rinse Mouth
To reduce any discomfort or swelling, rinse your mouth three times a day with warm salt water. You can make a good salt solution by dissolving one teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water. It's normal for your gums to be sore for several days.

5. Avoid Hard, Sticky Food
To protect the tooth and keep your temporary filling or crown in place, avoid hard or sticky foods, especially gum. If possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth.

6. Floss Carefully
While it is a good idea to brush normally, take special care when flossing. When you remove a string of floss, be sure to slide it sideways between your teeth, not up through the top. This will prevent removal of the temporary crown or filling.

7. Call Us
Feel free to call us anytime if you have any questions or concerns. Please call us if your bite feels uneven or if you have persistent swelling or pain. The last step in root canal therapy is usually the placement of a permanent crown on the tooth. A crown covers the tooth and protects it from breaking in the future. If your bite is uneven or causing pain or discomfort, the temporary crown needs to be adjusted so that the permanent crown can be installed properly.

IMPORTANT:
It is normal for a small portion of your temporary filling to wear away or even break off between appointments. This is not a problem. But if the entire filling falls out, or if a temporary crown comes off, call us so that we can replace it. And save the temporary crown so we can re-bond it.

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Tooth Filling

1. Avoid Chewing and Eating
It's normal to experience some hot, cold, and pressure sensitivity after your appointment. Also, if we prescribed anesthetic, your lips, teeth, and tongue may feel numb for several hours. Avoid chewing or eating anything until the numbness has completely worn off.

2. Rinse Mouth
To reduce any discomfort or swelling, rinse your mouth three times a day with warm salt water. You can make a good salt solution by dissolving one teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water. It's normal for your gums to be sore for several days.

3. Avoid Hard, Sticky Food
To protect the tooth and keep your filling in place, avoid hard or sticky foods for 24 hours. Do not chew directly on silver fillings-if possible, chew only on the opposite side of your mouth. You may chew right away on white fillings, because they set completely on the day of the appointment.

4. Call Us
Feel free to call us anytime if you have any questions or concerns. If your bite feels uneven, or if you have persistent pain, please call us.

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Cosmetic Procedure

Congratulations on your new smile! Now, take some time to adjust to the feel of your new bite.

What to expect:

  • When your bite or teeth are altered, your mouth will feel different for awhile. But call us if you sense any high spots or problems with your bite.
  • It's normal for your teeth to be a bit sensitive to heat, cold, and pressure, since we removed some tooth structure and placed new materials on your teeth. Any sensitivity should wear off after several days.
  • Don't be alarmed if your speech is affected slightly for the first few days. You will quickly adapt to the new feel of your mouth.
  • You might notice an increased flow of saliva in your mouth. This is how your brain might respond to the new size and shape of your teeth. But it should return a regular flow within a week.
  • If you participate in sports, you may want us to create a custom mouth guard to protect your new smile.

Here are some tips to help you through the adjustment period and to ensure a successful long-term outcome:

1. Rinse Mouth
It's normal for your gums to be sore for several days. To reduce any discomfort or swelling, rinse your mouth three times a day with warm salt water. You can make a good salt solution by dissolving one teaspoon of salt into one cup of warm water. Gently swish the solution around your mouth; Be careful to gently spit out the solution as well.

2. Take Pain Reliever
It is normal to feel some discomfort. Feel free to take a mild, over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. This should ease your discomfort during the adjustment period, but if necessary, we can prepare a prescription for a stronger pain reliever. REMEMBER: Eat before taking pain medication to avoid nausea.

3. Avoid Hard, Sticky Food
Remember, any food or substance that can crack, chip, or in any way damage your natural teeth can do the same to your new restorations. Avoid sticky candies and hard substances, like popcorn hulls, peanut brittle, fingernails, pencils, or ice.

4. Be Careful of Staining
Tobacco products, whether smoked or chewed, will quickly stain your teeth an unattractive yellowish brown. Red wine, cola, berries, coffee and tea can stain your teeth as well as your new restorations, so brush or rinse after consuming them.

5. Floss Daily
Remove plaque on a daily basis to achieve long-term success with your new smile. That means brushing and flossing twice a day every day.

6. See Us Regularly
See us on a regular basis for professional cleanings. We'll use the appropriate cleaning abrasives and techniques for your specific cosmetic work to help preserve your new smile for a lifetime.

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