What is the Purpose of Scaling and Root Planing?

Woman at the dentistryWhen gum disease reaches a chronic stage, it can alter the fit of your gums. Your teeth may look elongated, which can be alarming. But they haven’t stretched—the gums around them have loosened. This creates a baggy effect known as periodontal pockets. When you have pockets, you make it even easier for bacteria to form at the gum line and destroy your teeth.

Once you’re at this point, it’s essential that you have scaling and root planing before something more dire is needed, like pocket reduction surgery. Also known as a deep cleaning, scaling and root planing happens in two phases. First, the existing pockets are cleaned using either ultrasonics or hand instruments. Since it’s so important that all the plaque deposits at the gum line be eradicated, our dentists in Northridge often likes to combine both the ultrasonic scanner and hand instruments for a more precise touch. The two can be used to check each other’s work, so to speak. We may also use lasers.

In the second phase, the dentist smooths the tooth roots to make it more difficult for bacteria to adhere. This is also done with a combination of digital and analog equipment.
Contact our office for more information.

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Is Tooth Bleaching Right for Me?

Portrait of young beautiful smiling woman

Just about everyone these days seems to be getting their teeth whitened. If you haven’t yet taken the plunge, you might be wondering, is tooth bleaching right for me? Teeth get darker naturally over time, but they also accumulate stains as a result of what we eat and drink, as well as due to habits such as smoking. If your teeth are darker than they used to be, you might be a candidate for teeth whitening.

Professional whitening is the most common and effective way to bleach your teeth. At your consultation, we will assess your teeth to determine if bleaching is the best way to brighten your smile. Peroxide-based bleaching solutions are most effective for people with extrinsic stains. Extrinsic stains refer to those that are on the surface of the teeth, such as those caused by coffee, wine, soft drinks, berries, tobacco, and other substances.

Intrinsic stains, or discolorations that have occurred in the developing tooth, are often associated with antibiotic use and dental trauma. These stains do not typically lighten with conventional teeth whitening solutions. Restorations will also not respond to bleaching. If you have intrinsic stains or visible restorations, you might not be a candidate for teeth whitening. You also might not be a candidate for whitening if you have any untreated dental problems, such as cavities or gum disease.

Call our office today to find out if you are a candidate for bleaching or to schedule an appointment with our cosmetic dentist in Northridge.

How Veneers are Used in Cosmetic Dentistry

Beautiful sisters smiling

Many people do not see a dentist for their cosmetic dental issues because they believe that the only option is complete restoration, which will be undoubtedly costly and time consuming. These patients are not aware that there is another option that can perfect their smile. Dental veneers are a simple and effective solution for most cosmetic dental problems.

Dental veneers are thin strips of porcelain that are bonded to the front surfaces of the teeth. They can effectively mask a wide variety of cosmetic issues. These include chips, cracks, and spacing issues, as well as crooked and misshapen teeth. Patients have the choice of whether to place dental veneers on all of their visible teeth, or just a select few.

Porcelain is a material often used in dentistry for several reasons. It is stain resistant, meaning patients do not need to worry about their favorite foods leaving their marks. It is also very strong and durable, just as our teeth. Furthermore, it naturally reflects light just as enamel does.

Our Northridge cosmetic dentist can use dental veneers as part of a larger smile makeover process. Talk to our porcelain veneers dentist in Northridge to learn how this option can benefit you and your smile.

How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

Pure beauty

A number of professional teeth whitening options are used today. In all of these treatments, a similar basic process is used to eliminate or greatly reduce discoloration from the tooth surfaces. Here is how these procedures work.

Whitening Ingredients

Gels used for professional whitening are all have a peroxide base. Most of these gels contain hydrogen peroxide in concentrations higher than what is sold on store shelves. Some treatments from our cosmetic dentist in Northridge, such as Zoom whitening, also contain carbamide peroxide to boost the effects.

Stain Oxidation

Oxidation is the key to how bleaching gels are able to clear stains off of teeth. When the peroxides make contact with the pigments that have settled on the tooth enamel, the chemical reaction of oxidation occurs. After oxidation is finished, the pigment particles are smaller and lighter colored. Activation methods, such as lights, cause oxidation to happen more rapidly.

Because whitening gels must make contact with particles in order to oxidize them, the gels only work on discoloration on the outsides of teeth. These include most stains resulting from coffee, tea, wine, chocolate, and tobacco. Patients can schedule a consultation with our teeth whitening dentist in Northridge to learn more about our whitening treatments.

Steps in Getting Dental Implants

Dental implants are a favorite form of tooth replacement today for many reasons. With their permanence, ease of maintenance, and natural appearance, implants compare favorably with all alternatives. Here are the steps to getting this treatment.

Preparation

Before getting implants, you will visit our dentist for a consultation. X-rays will help determine if your jaw bone density can support implants. If necessary, you may have to receive bone grafting to bolster your jaw bone mass before surgery.

Surgical Placement

After making incisions in your gums and holes in your jaw bone, our dentist in Northridge will put your implants in place. Over several months, the implants will fuse with your jaw bone tissue. The length of this period varies with healing rate.

Artificial Teeth

Once healing is finished, you will return to have artificial teeth, or crowns, put on your implants. These crowns will look and feel just like real teeth. Thanks to the fusion of the implants with the jaw bone, the implants will also be more stable than even real teeth.

Treatment time for implants is longer than that of dentures and bridges, but the results can last for life. You can schedule a consultation with our dental implants dentist in Northridge to learn more about the implant process at our office.

How Braces Work

Happy teen with  braces

Braces are taken for granted as a rite of passage. They still fix smiles and correct orthodontic issues at the same old rate. But the process is much more inclusive since the advent of self-ligating braces and superior materials. The actual process of braces is fascinating science, but is still not really thought about by most people, with or without braces.

Teeth straightening is really about bone remodeling. This is the biomechanical phenomenon that strengthens bone when a weight is introduced, and weakens bone when that weight is taken away. The right mix between the two, of adding weight and taking it away, stimulates bone density and provides movement, in this case of teeth into better position.

How is this formula achieved? Our braces dentist in Northridge, who completed three extra years of training to become an orthodontist, installs your braces in just the right way. She puts a bracket, not always made of metal anymore, on each tooth. Archwire connects the brackets to each other. Ligature elastics, or O-rings, ensure the brackets stay on the archwire (self-ligating braces do not need O-rings, hence their name.)

Most of the work falls on the archwire, which is naturally bent on staying straight and also reacts favorably to temperature conditions in the mouth, which make it even stiffer.

Straightening occurs over 10 months, which is about the time it takes for bone remodeling to complete its back-and-forth weight distribution, and the results to be finalized.

For more about braces science, contact your Northridge dentists.

Success Rate of Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign is an excellent program for teens and adults who want to feel less self-conscious about their smile, or simply make an average smile better. Its success rate has been documented at 96 percent, with the percentage of flawed cases typically involving patients who do not follow directions.

One way in which people feel self-conscious about their smile is while maintenance is ongoing. When you wear braces, for example, you can worry about the old metal-mouth stigma. Invisalign changes all that by straightening your teeth without visible bracket or archwire. You wear clear plastic aligners and those do the work right in plain sight.

Our expert in Invisalign in Northridge recommends Invisalign for those who can keep to a schedule and do not mind following instructions. In most cases, a bad result is produced by deviating from the course. You are meant to wear the aligner trays in a certain order, for a certain length of time. Failing to do so, or failing to remove the aligners for meals, can affect your treatment.

Simply put, Invisalign works if you work it. For more on how Invisalign can help you, contact our Northridge cosmetic dentist.