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6 Most Popular Root Canal FAQs

You’re laying in the dentist’s chair, fighting the dizzying pain of a cracked and broken tooth. Your dentist leans back, takes off his glasses, and says “Well, it looks like we’ll need to perform a root canal.” 

How do you react? Do you sprint out the door as fast as possible? Shiver with the anticipation of even more pain? Cringe at the mere words?

If so, you’re not alone. Most people assume this type of therapy will be the most unpleasant and painful dental procedure they ever experience, but that’s far from the truth!

In reality, root canal therapy is a relatively quick and painless procedure. It’s an important procedure, too! Root canal therapy makes it possible to save a damaged or decaying tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted. 

Browse through the most common root canal FAQs to learn more. You don’t need to fear that upcoming dentist appointment after all. 

 

What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal isn’t the same as a root canal procedure. The root canal itself is part of the tooth. This hollow section of tooth holds blood vessels, nerves, and pulp cells. Root canal therapy becomes necessary when the canal is damaged by injury or decay. 

The symptoms of a damaged root canal are easy to identify. Since the nerves held in the canal area are responsible for creating hot and cold sensations, your sensitivity to hot and cold becomes much worse if nerves in the root canal become exposed. When the canal’s blood vessels struggle to transport fresh blood that’s rich in oxygen and nutrients, infection or tissue death develops. Inflammation of the pulp, meanwhile, threatens the integrity of your entire tooth. 

Root canal therapy is performed to remove the infected pulp, stop the spread of infection, and give your damaged tooth a second chance.

 

Does a Root Canal Hurt?

Thanks to highly effective dental anesthesia, you won’t feel a thing during your procedure. In fact, it helps you feel better almost immediately because it eliminates the source of your tooth pain, discomfort, and sensitivity. Root canal techniques have evolved dramatically in the past few decades, so you have nothing to worry about- only relief to look forward to!

 

Who Performs a Root Canal?

Your local dentist can perform a root canal procedure after he assesses the extent of your tooth damage. Other specialists called endodontists exclusively perform root canals, but no other dental treatments. Most patients find it easiest to visit their normal dentist for this type of treatment. 

 

What Are the Signs I Might Need a Root Canal?

A root canal is one of the final treatments that dentists use to prevent tooth loss and extraction. If veneers, crowns, fillings, and other restorative dental procedures fail to restore the health of your tooth, a root canal in Encinitas, CA may be the best option. Especially if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms!

1. Excessive Sensitivity to Hot or Cold

Excessive sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures may indicate a serious problem. Do you experience those painful “zings” of sensitivity on a regular basis? Do they sometimes last more than 30 seconds? If so, a root canal may be the only way to alleviate the pain caused by exposed nerves in your tooth. 

2. Sudden Discoloration of the Tooth

Healthy teeth are protected by white enamel. If your tooth starts showing unusual discoloration compared to surrounding teeth, it may be entering the final stages of decay. A grey or black tooth has to be saved quickly using a root canal to preserve what remains and prevent full extraction. 

3. Chronic Jaw Pain

Tooth damage causes serious pain when you apply pressure to your jaw and gums. Headaches, ear pain, and jaw pain are all common signs of this issue. A root canal is the only procedure that can fully remove the infected tissue causing your pain and prevent future tooth death. 

 

How Is Root Canal Therapy Performed?

The main goal of a root canal procedure is to save your natural tooth from extraction. It’s performed in four basic steps to help you escape pain and protect a full smile. 

1. Clean the Root Canal Space

After your dentist at Ablantis Dental has administered a local anesthetic to numb all pain, he will isolate the tooth in need of a root canal to keep it clean and protected from saliva. You won’t feel anything as Dr. Cortadi makes a small opening in the crown of your tooth to clean and remove the dead or diseased pulp tissue inside. 

You may wonder how it’s possible for your tooth to survive without its inner tissue. Though growing teeth rely on the pulp tissue for nourishment, fully developed teeth can survive by pulling essential nutrients from other surrounding tissues. 

2. Fill the Root Canal With Gutta Percha

Once all signs of infected pulp are gone, your dentist will replace the pulp tissue, nerves, and blood vessels with a biocompatible material like gutta percha. This rubber-like material safely fills the empty space and protects your tooth in the future. 

3. Strengthen the Tooth With a Crown or Filling

Once the gutta percha is placed, an adhesive is used to seal the root canal closed. This is followed by a filling or crown to strengthen the tooth. Though your tooth is technically “dead” at this point, it can still remain in your mouth and serve its most important purposes of helping you chew and talk. Since all infection has been removed and painful, exposed nerves are gone, you’ll be liberated from the pain that tooth once caused. 

When Should I Schedule My Procedure?

The sooner your teeth receive the treatment they need, the better protected your smile remains. Don’t hesitate to call Dr. Claudia Cortadi and her team at Ablantis Dental to schedule an appointment if you’re experiencing extreme tooth pain, sudden symptoms of decay, chronic jaw pain, or other problems. 

Dr. Cortadi is committed to helping her patients achieve and maintain the best oral health possible, so she’ll walk you through the root canal process and provide superior care from start to finish. Call (760) 642-6085 or visit Ablantis Dental online to schedule your treatment today. 

Should I Get Dentures or Implants to Replace My Missing Teeth?

It’s not only embarrassing to have missing teeth, it’s dangerous to your overall oral health. Even just one or two missing teeth compromise the strength of your jawbone and the alignment of your remaining teeth. Not to mention the increased threat of gum disease and decay!

Luckily, it’s easier than ever before to replace your missing teeth with dentures or implants. Which is the best choice for your smile?

 

What Are Implants?

A dental implant permanently replaces a missing tooth. Each implant is made of three pieces: the screw, abutment, and crown. 

The base of the implant is a titanium screw inserted deep into your gum tissue, where it fuses permanently with your jawbone. By replacing missing tooth roots and bonding with the jawbone, the screw creates a sturdy base that supports the other parts of the implant.

An abutment is then placed on the titanium screw as the connector between the screw and the custom-made crown The crown is the part of the dental implant that you can see and feel since it looks and functions exactly like a real tooth. 

 

What Are Dentures?

Dentures are lab-made dental devices that replace missing teeth using an acrylic base that mimics gum tissue to support custom-made teeth. There are three types of dentures: partial, complete, and implant-supported. 

Partial Dentures

Partial dentures are dental prosthetics designed to replace a small section of your teeth and gums. Some are removable, while others are attached to neighboring teeth using crowns or bridges. In the end, partial dentures can fill in the gaps to give you a full smile once again. 

Complete Dentures

You may need complete dentures if no teeth remain along the top or bottom row of your mouth. They’re designed to stay in place by forming a seal with the gums. 

Implant-Supported Dentures

Implant-supported dentures offer a middle ground for patients who want a solution more advanced than standard dentures but not quite as complex as full implants. They are attached to at least two implants installed in the jawbone itself. This is a viable option if you have enough bone to support implants and prefer to secure your dentures with the help of such implants. 

 

The Top 4 Reasons to Get Implants

The question is, should you choose dentures or implants? Titanium implants offer significant benefits that can’t be enjoyed with dentures alone. 

Implants Last a Lifetime

Implants aren’t at risk of wear and tear like other dental solutions. As long as you properly care for your implants, they can last the rest of your life! The titanium implants fuse with your jawbone to create a permanent base, and the durable crowns can endure any normal eating, talking, and biting activity. 

Implants Look and Feel Natural

Implants look incredibly natural and real. You can feel confident in your smile without any hesitation or uncertainty. Your friends and colleagues will wonder why you look so rejuvenated and happy, but they’ll never guess that your teeth aren’t your own. 

Implants Protect Your Facial Bones and Oral Health

Without a full set of teeth, your jawbone doesn’t receive the stimulation it needs to remain strong. Over time, an unstimulated jawbone becomes too weak and damaged to maintain the healthy structure of your cheeks and jaw. Implants prevent this problem from occurring and keep your jawbone strong and durable. 

Implants Improve Your Quality of Life

It’s no secret that missing teeth make it harder to enjoy life. Fortunately, implants solve that problem by making it easy- even effortless- to chew, talk, and smile. Steak, apples, hard pretzels, there’s no food you can’t eat. When all of these benefits combine, you’ll rediscover a sense of confidence you thought you had lost forever.

 

The Top 4 Reasons to Get Dentures

As you debate whether to use dentures or implants to rebuild your smile, consider these important benefits of dentures. 

Dentures Are Versatile

Dentures aren’t a one-size-fits-all tooth replacement solution. You can choose between traditional dentures or implant-supported dentures based upon the condition of your mouth and overall aesthetic goals. The option for implant-supported dentures opens the door to benefits like less shifting, improved jawbone strength, and easier chewing. 

Dentures Are Easy to Remove and Replace

Standard dentures adhere firmly to the gum tissue but can be removed and cleaned at any time. This makes it easier to keep the gums clean. 

Dentures Don’t Require Strong Jaw Bone

Implants are wonderful if you have enough jaw bone to sustain them, but many patients don’t have the amount of healthy jaw bone necessary for implants. In these cases, dentures provide an easier way to replace missing teeth. Since dentures sit along the gum tissue, they can replace teeth regardless of the condition of the underlying bone. 

Dentures Are Non-Invasive

Many patients also choose dentures because they want to restore their smiles without undergoing a major or invasive procedure. Dentures are relatively simple to have fitted, so you can use them to obtain a quick and more affordable tooth replacement solution. 

 

The Bottom Line: Which One is Right For You?

This is an essential conversation to have with your dentist in Encinitas, California. Dr. Claudia and her team at Ablantis Dental Clinic use the best and most advanced dental technologies and practices to ensure that every patient receives personalized, successful dental care. Book an appointment with Dr. Claudia today to start your journey to a healthier smile with dentures or implants. 

Can Celiac Disease Damage Your Teeth?

You know your smile faces threats from every direction: coffee stains, cavities, and sensitivity, just to name a few. But you may not realize that a gluten intolerance known as Celiac disease may pose the biggest threat of all. What exactly is Celiac disease, and how can you protect your smile against its side effects?

What Is Celiac Disease?

Your immune system is designed to work with your body to protect against foreign invaders, but for people with Celiac disease, that’s not always the case. 

 

Celiac disease is a severe autoimmune disease that causes the body to attack itself as soon as gluten enters the digestive system. Gluten is a common protein found in barley, wheat, and rye. Most people without Celiac disease can digest gluten without any problems. However, inside the bodies of the two million Americans with Celiac disease, gluten is interpreted as a foreign invader. 

 

This triggers a strong immune response that attacks the small intestine every time gluten enters the body. These attacks make it harder for the small intestine to absorb essential nutrients. Over time, untreated Celiac disease creates serious health complications:

  • Two times greater risk of coronary artery disease
  • Four times greater risk of small bowel cancers
  • Development of other autoimmune disorders like type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis
  • Iron deficiency anemia
  • Autoimmune thyroid disease

 

Unfortunately, the later that Celiac disease is diagnosed, the more damage it causes. Toddlers diagnosed with Celiac disease have a 10% chance of developing another autoimmune condition, while adults diagnosed with Celiac disease for the first time have more than a 30% chance of developing another autoimmune disease.  

Signs You May Be at Risk of Celiac Disease Damage

Given the serious nature of Celiac disease, there’s great power in early diagnosis and treatment. The following symptoms, especially when they occur together, may indicate Celiac disease:

  • Loose, watery stool on a regular basis
  • Bloating due to inflammation in the digestive tract
  • Excess gas, especially after gluten consumption
  • Severe fatigue
  • Sharp drop in weight
  • Iron-deficiency anemia due to impaired nutrient absorption
  • Constipation due to poor nutrient absorption and dehydration
  • Depression
  • Itchy, blistering skin rashes

 

Although Celiac disease currently has no cure, it can be treated by sticking to a firm gluten-free diet. This involves cutting out pasta, bread, cakes, crackers, cookies, beer, sauces, and all other foods and beverages that contain wheat, barley, rye, or spelt. Even cross-contaminated foods like oats are culprits unless specifically labeled gluten-free. 

 

Adopting a gluten-free diet isn’t always easy, but it’s worth the effort. Especially when you consider the top five oral health risks for people with Celiac disease. 

The 4 Top Oral Health Risks For People With Celiac Disease

Celiac disease damage isn’t limited to the digestive system. Since the digestive system and the mouth are closely intertwined, Celiac disease is known to cause major oral health problems as well. 

 

Identifying the signs of Celiac disease in the mouth is one of the most powerful ways to diagnose the condition when it would otherwise be overlooked or confused with a different health problem. 

Enamel Defects

If Celiac disease develops when a child’s permanent teeth are still developing- usually before the age of 7- dental enamel defects are likely to occur. These enamel defects aren’t random. In fact, they’re predictable and easy to identify from their bilateral, symmetrical, and white or yellow hues. The worst enamel damage causes visible structural defects and may even change the shape of the teeth altogether. 

 

Research indicates that Celiac disease triggers this enamel damage due to an immune reaction that affects the cells that form enamel. People who develop Celiac disease as adults usually avoid enamel defects since their adult teeth grow in without interference from autoimmune reactions. 

Delayed Dental Development

Celiac disease can also be identified in children based upon delayed dental development. Young children with Celiac disease are more likely to lose their baby teeth long after their peers. Their permanent teeth also erupt much later than usual. 

Excessive Tooth Decay

Celiac disease compromises the chemical composition of primary teeth in young Celiac disease patients. This chemical change makes children with Celiac disease vulnerable to cavities and dental caries. As Celiac disease prevents the gut from absorbing nutrients, the teeth lose important minerals like calcium and phosphorous. It’s much easier for cavities to develop in teeth after minerals are leached away. 

 

Frequent Canker Sores

Canker sores, also known as aphthous ulcers, are well-documented oral manifestations of Celiac disease in children and adults alike. Research suggests that canker sores are more common in patients with Celiac disease due to deficiencies in iron, folic acid, and vitamin B12.

 

Even though canker sores are benign themselves, they’re painful and inconvenient side effects of Celiac disease. A strict gluten-free diet is the only evidence-based solution for canker sores and other Celiac disease symptoms. 

Take Control of Your Celiac Disease Now

Celiac disease is a lifetime condition, but that doesn’t mean it has to control you! If your dentist notices signs of Celiac disease at your next appointment, or if some of the common Celiac disease symptoms sound too familiar for comfort, it’s time to take action. 

 

Educate yourself on the foods and beverages that include gluten, and start cutting them out of your diet. Without gluten constantly entering your digestive system and wreaking havoc, your small intestine will have the opportunity to heal. Symptoms disappear quickly once your body is completely free of all traces of gluten. 

 

It’s also important to use vitamins and dietary supplements to overcome the nutritional deficiencies associated with Celiac disease. Fiber, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc, folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin D are just a few of the essential nutrients your body may be lacking. Without them, your internal systems can’t operate at full capacity or supercharge your healing process. 

 

Your doctor will guide you through the other tests, screenings, and exams recommended for all Celiac disease patients. Make sure you also talk to your dentist and take preventative measures to protect your teeth from the effects of Celiac disease. 

 

At Ablantis Dental in Encinitas, California, Dr. Claudia Cortadi and her team are here to give you the personalized care you need to maintain a bright, healthy smile. Call 760.334.0128 or book an appointment to learn more now. 

 

Sensitive Teeth? Here Are the Top Causes and Treatments

 

Your teeth might look healthy, but what issues are lingering under the surface? Sensitive teeth is one of the most common issues plaguing adults, with 1 in 8 people reporting ongoing sensitivity. 

 

If you can’t enjoy an ice cream cone or a hot cup of tea without cringing as zings and jolts of pain shoot through your mouth, you don’t have to suffer in silence. Rather than avoiding your favorite foods or accepting a diminished quality of life, you can seek help from your dentist to minimize and reverse your sensitive teeth symptoms. 

Why Do I Have Sensitive Teeth?

There are many different reasons you may have developed tooth sensitivity. This condition is officially known as “dentin hypersensitivity”. Anything from brushing hard to neglecting your dental care has the potential to trigger tooth sensitivity. 

Aggressive Brushing

We know how important it is to brush, but only when it’s done properly! Brushing too hard wears away your gum tissue and tooth enamel. Imagine using a sponge to scrub away a coating of grime on a kitchen plate; you have to scrub with force to remove the grime. That’s exactly what happens to your enamel and gum tissue when you brush aggressively or use a hard-bristled toothbrush. 

 

Without enamel and gum tissue to provide adequate protection, your tooth roots can become exposed. Every time a food, beverage, or gust of air touches those roots, you experience zings of sensitivity. 

Nighttime Grinding

Many people grind their teeth at night without realizing it. This condition, known as bruxism, can cause significant damage to the integrity of your teeth. The grinding action wears down each tooth’s outer layer of enamel and makes the inner layers more vulnerable to exposure. 

Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is an important and popular cosmetic procedure, but it can cause tooth sensitivity if used improperly. 

 

Most whitening systems use carbamide peroxide as the active ingredient because it breaks down into hydrogen peroxide. As soon as hydrogen peroxide touches the surface of your tooth, it passes through the enamel and breaks down the stain molecules responsible for visible discoloration. This has great cosmetic benefits, but it compromises the integrity of your tooth enamel to protect the underlying nerves. 

 

You don’t need to avoid teeth whitening altogether, but make sure you don’t use your teeth whitening gels more frequently or for longer periods of time than recommended. Some brands offer peroxide-free whitening products specifically for sensitive teeth as well. 

Acidic Foods and Beverages

If soda and orange juice are your go-to beverages, or if pickles and tomatoes are your favorite snacks, your teeth could be in trouble. A high intake of acidic foods and beverages creates gradual and ongoing erosion of tooth enamel. Of course, it also puts you at a higher risk of tooth decay. Both of these factors increase your risk of tooth sensitivity. 

Signs of Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth are very easy to identify. Unlike other health conditions that lurk silently in your body for years, sensitive teeth stimulate blatant symptoms that are impossible to ignore. 

 

More than anything, you can recognize sensitive teeth by the “zing” of pain and discomfort that occurs in response to specific triggers. These are a few of the most common sensitive teeth triggers:

  • Hot beverages and foods
  • Cold beverages and foods
  • Sweet or acidic beverages and foods
  • Cold air
  • Coldwater
  • Alcohol-based mouthwash
  • Brushing and flossing
  • Touching a tooth with a finger object (like a dentist’s tool)
  • Biting or chewing down

 

The pain caused by tooth sensitivity is usually sharp, sudden, and spontaneous. You’ll know it as soon as you feel it. 

Sensitive Teeth Treatment Options

You shouldn’t have to live with the constant fear of sensitivity pings and zings! Tooth sensitivity is just like any other dental issue- it can be treated in order to improve your comfort and happiness. 

 

Ask your dentist about the following treatment options to find the best choice for you. Mild sensitivity may be resolved with something as simple as a different toothpaste, while severe sensitivity may require a more complex dental procedure. 

Mineralizing or Desensitizing Toothpaste

Your teeth are composed of and sustained by minerals. When your teeth lose minerals faster than they gain minerals, you start to notice unpleasant symptoms like sensitivity. You can combat this issue with a mineralizing toothpaste that restores calcium, phosphate, zinc, magnesium, and other essential minerals into your enamel and dentin. 

 

You can also use a desensitizing toothpaste that reduces sensitivity by blocking the transmission of feelings from nerves to the tooth surface. This effect builds over time, so you need to continue using the toothpaste to feel the benefits. 

Mouth Guard for Grinding

If nighttime grinding is causing your tooth sensitivity, using a mouth guard is an easy solution. Simply sleep with a mouth guard in place to protect your teeth and prevent the damage that additional grinding would cause. 

Root Canal

If all else fails, your dentist may recommend a root canal to permanently resolve severe sensitivity. A root canal is a way to save your natural tooth by removing all decaying content from its inner chamber, including nerves and pulp. Once your tooth is cleaned out, it’s sealed shut to prevent future damage. Your pain will subside immediately!

Take Action to Prevent Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth aren’t inevitable! You can take action to protect your mouth from future damage and maintain the integrity of your smile. Prevention is always easier than trying to solve a problem that’s out of control. 

 

Take these steps to improve your oral care routine and reduce your risk of sensitivity:

  • Brush twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush
  • Use gently strokes when brushing
  • Floss daily
  • Decrease your intake of acidic and sugary foods and drinks
  • Drink more water

 

Of course, it always helps to visit your dentist every six months as well. Your local Encinitas dentist will assess the health of your mouth, identify potential concerns, and help you keep your smile as bright and beautiful as possible. 

 

Why Do You Have Bad Breath, and How Can You Get Rid Of It?

Bad breath Encinitas, California

Bad breath happens to the best of us, especially first thing in the morning. However, if you’re always self-conscious about the stench of your breath, even after brushing, you could have a condition called halitosis.
This common (and frustrating!) condition of chronic halitosis affects one in four adults. Fortunately, this issue is easy to avoid once you understand its causes and solutions. 

Why Do You Have Bad Breath?

Chronic bad breath can develop for a few different reasons, including poor eating and oral hygiene habits, slow saliva production, and other health issues.

As soon as you eat or drink anything, food and liquid particles breakdown in and around your teeth. If you don’t brush and floss regularly to remove food remnants, they accumulate into a thick coating of plaque that spreads over your teeth, tongue, and gums. Odor-causing bacteria thrive inside this plaque and emit the foul odor we call “bad breath”.

Your eating habits have the power to reduce or aggravate halitosis because they directly influence the types of particles that cover your mouth until the next time you brush and floss. Soda, juice, candy, and processed foods contain more sugar, which means they support the development of additional odor-causing bacteria and plaque. Milk, almonds, apples, and other healthy choices, on the other hand, help to wash bacteria away and balance the pH of the mouth.

Dry mouth is another cause of bad breath. Since saliva helps to clean your mouth and remove the particles that cause bad odors, a mouth with insufficient saliva production begins to release a bad odor. Chronic dry mouth may develop if the salivary glands can’t function properly to produce the saliva your mouth and body need.

The use of tobacco products, certain medications, and specific medical conditions can also lead to halitosis. The entire body is connected, so one health problem like diabetes can quickly lead to an issue like halitosis. 

Signs of Bad Breath

Bad breath sounds like it would be easy to identify, but many people can’t assess the odor of their own mouths. If you suspect that halitosis is influencing your oral health, you can ask a close friend or spouse to check your breath and give honest feedback. You can also perform a breath test yourself by licking your wrist, giving the saliva time to dry, and then smelling it. 

Fighting Bad Breath

Terrible breath can be humiliating, but there are many solutions to this condition. As long as you follow these tips, you can finally reverse your halitosis and speak confidently during any conversation. 

Improve Your Oral Hygiene

Your oral hygiene habits set the pace for your mouth health. If you’ve been slacking on your brushing and flossing, you can begin to improve your oral hygiene habits with these techniques:

  • Brush and floss at least twice a day
  • Scrape your tongue each morning with a tongue scraper
  • Replace your toothbrush every two to three months. 
  • Start oil pulling. This is an innovative and completely natural way to fight bad breath. The process involves swishing a tablespoon of coconut oil gently in your mouth for 20 minutes, then spitting it out and rinsing with warm water. Since oil pulling removes bacteria from the mouth, it eliminates bad breath at its source! 

These simple yet effective steps will prevent bacteria from building up and generating a foul odor. 

Stay Hydrated

Drinking water throughout the day is another easy but powerful way to kick bad breath to the curb. Water rinses away plaque and bacteria, hydrates the mouth, and freshens bad breath. 

Eat Well

Making strategic food choices can even alleviate bad breath. Raw, crunchy food choices help to clean the teeth and even contain components that control food odor and promote saliva production naturally. Apples, almonds, carrots, and walnuts are great examples. Even the active cultures in yogurt reduce odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. 

Visit Your Dentist  

It’s very important to let your dentist know about your struggles with halitosis. He can evaluate the appearance and condition of your mouth to offer insight regarding the cause of your bad breath. 

 

For example, your Dental Hygienist might identify that your bad breath is caused by dry mouth, which in turn is being triggered by intense snoring at night. By treating the underlying cause of your dry mouth and bad breath, your dentist can help you fully resolve the problem. This is so much better than using mints and gum to temporarily hide your bad breath without any real solution. 

 

Your dentist Dr. Claudia Cortadi, top in Sante Fe Encinitas dental can also recommend specialized toothpastes and mouth rinses formulated to remove the buildup of bacteria on your teeth and eliminate odor from those sources. 

Don’t Let Bad Breath Ruin Your Life

Uncontrolled bad breath can cause you to feel self-conscious, embarrassed, and unattractive. You may find yourself avoiding friends, ending conversations abruptly, and declining invitations to social events. 

Your halitosis doesn’t have to control your life! You just need to improve your oral care habits and visit your dentist. These simple measures will help you identify the root cause of your bad breath and take effective measures to keep your breath pleasantly fresh. 

Dr. Claudia Cortadi and her experienced team at Ablantis Dental in Encinitas, California are committed to helping you embrace strong, radiant oral health. Call Dr. Cortadi’s office now to book an appointment for free dental consultation Encinitas and create a better, brighter version of yourself. 

4 Easy Ways to Stop Dental Issues Before They Start

Some people say that laughter is the best medicine, but when it comes to your dental health, prevention is truly the best medicine that money can buy. There are many quick and simple steps you can take to stop cavities, gum disease, and other serious issues before they ever develop.

With the right Preventative action and Preventative Dentist, you can enjoy the beauty and confidence of a bright white smile for the rest of your life.

Cleaning and Exams

Visiting your dentist in Encinitas every six months is an essential element of preventative care. Each appointment gives your dentist the opportunity to evaluate your gums, teeth, tongue, and throat. Most importantly, it gives your dentist the chance to take note of any changes since your last appointment. Even subtle changes can indicate a potential problem or concern.

Preventative oral care isn’t just about finding cavities; your dentist needs to assess the condition of your entire oral system. If you skip Dentist appointments or only see your preventative dentist every few years, it becomes much harder to identify and treat problems like decay and disease before they cause widespread damage.

You can expect your preventative dentist in Encinitas, CA to perform the following steps in every cleaning and exam:

  • Assess lymph nodes and lower jaw joints
  • Check for signs of gum disease, loose or broken teeth, and decay
  • Identify any change in the way your gums cover your teeth
  • Consider the cleanliness and condition of your teeth and gums

Of course, every dental exam also involves a deep cleaning to remove plaque and tartar that regular brushing and flossing often miss. Topical fluoride is added as a simple yet powerful way to protect teeth from cavities.

Oral Cancer Screenings

We all know somebody who has fought cancer. It’s a devastating disease, and some cancers are easier to prevent than others. Oral cancer is an especially severe type of cancer that forms inside the mouth and often develops without any obvious signs or symptoms.

If you smoke, you’re automatically at higher risk for oral cancer than a non-smoker. More than 70 of the 7,000 chemicals found in tobacco smoke are known carcinogens! A few other lifestyle choices and medical conditions may increase your risk for oral cancer as well:

  • Heavy alcohol use
  • Long-term unprotected sun exposure to your lips
  • Pre-existing immune deficiency
  • An STD called human papillomavirus (HPV)

Since it’s possible for mouth cancer to develop unnoticed on the lips, gums, tongue, roof or floor of mouth, and inner lining of the cheeks, it’s critical to undergo regular oral cancer screenings. Only a medical screening can identify signs you may not notice or consider threatening:

  • Loose and wiggling teeth
  • A growth inside your mouth
  • Mouth and ear pain
  • Non-healing lip or mouth sore
  • Colored patches inside of your mouth

Oral cancer screenings are quick, simple, and non-invasive. Your dentist will examine your entire oral cavity, including your jaw, tongue, gumline, and throat. Though oral cancer affects nearly 50,000 Americans every year and kills almost 10,000 adults annually, it’s highly treatable with radiation therapy when detected early through an oral cancer screening!

Isn’t a 10-minute exam a small price to pay to save your life?

X-Rays

An X-ray is a form of electromagnetic radiation known for its use in producing images of internal body structures like bones and teeth. This is why digital x-ray imaging is such a valuable tool in dentistry.

Your dentist uses digital x-rays to produce detailed images of your teeth, gums, and bone. These x-rays offer insight into the condition of your mouth that may not otherwise be evident. Make sure you visit the dentist regularly to receive timely x-rays and give your dentist the opportunity to detect, diagnose, and treat existing conditions and diseases.

Healthy Eating Habits

The food you eat also significantly influences your overall oral health. By choosing tooth-friendly foods, you can brighten your smile and make your brushing routine more powerful. When it comes to improving your oral health, no technique is easier than simply eating delicious food!

Swap Soda for Water
Soda lacks all redeeming qualities- its empty calories are bad for the body and its sugar and acid cause serious harm to your teeth. Fruit juice is just as bad. If you really want to do your body and mouth a favor, swap your daily soda and juice for water.

In addition to keeping your body hydrated, drinking water during and between meals helps wash food debris, acid, and bacteria off your teeth. It’s like a simple, natural mouthwash that removes sugar before it has a chance to cause damage.

Of course, water also reduces dry mouth and keeps your breath fresh. Drinking cool H20 instead of other high-sugar drinks is an effortless way to protect your mouth from unnecessary damage. You might be surprised by how much better it makes you feel!

Enjoy Dairy
As long as you’re not intolerant to dairy, cheese and yogurt are excellent and healthy food choices– as long as you select unprocessed yogurt and cheese options that are low in sugar. The protein and calcium found in dairy strengthen your teeth by remineralizing and rebuilding enamel that’s been compromised by acids and sugars.

Get Crunchy
Apples and almonds are two of the best crunchy foods for your teeth. They stimulate saliva production, which is an essential natural response to wash bacteria and stray food particles out of your mouth. As an added bonus, the crunch and texture of these foods may be satisfying enough to resist temptation from less healthy choices like sticky candies and potato chips.

Go Green
Green veggies and green tea are both powerful sources of vitamins and antioxidants that combat dangerous inflammation and support the production of red blood cells. Stock up on spinach, kale, and green tea to improve your gum health and reap the benefits of a healthy smile.

Find a Preventative Dentistry Expert

At Ablantis Dental in Encinitas, CA, Preventative Dentist Dr. Cortadi and her team are committed to the practice of effective and personalized preventative dentistry. They believe in the power of prevention to protect your teeth, enhance your smile, and improve your overall health.

Call (760) 334-0128 to book an appointment today and give your mouth the TLC it deserves.

How to Achieve Your Brightest Smile

Professional Teeth Whitening

Many people find that over time, their teeth have become discolored or otherwise stained. This can be caused by many factors, including age and diet. Patients often come to us hoping to transform their smile from average to Hollywood bright. However, the kind of perfect teeth found in Tinseltown are usually obtained via porcelain veneers, and we know not everyone has that kind of budget! Luckily, there are plenty of less expensive solutions available that can help you be more confident and happy with your smile. When it comes to teeth, most people feel that brighter is better. Everyone wants to have a smile that dazzles; yellow or dull-looking teeth aren’t an option for folks who truly want to look their best and turn heads wherever they go. But how can you obtain that Hollywood-level glow?  We are here to help, keep reading to find out everything you need to know about how to achieve a pearly white smile safely!

Causes For Teeth Discoloration

Before we talk about ways to create a brighter whiter smile, we need to talk about what causes yellow or dull teeth in the first place. There are two types of discoloration that can take place when teeth are looking stained and dull, which are extrinsic and intrinsic discoloration. Extrinsic discoloration is when foods, beverages, smoking or lifestyle habits stain your teeth. Coffee, tea, red wine, foods with dyes, and tobacco can contribute to this type of staining. These stains affect the outside of your teeth. Extrinsic discoloration may be treated with whitening toothpastes that target the teeth’s outside stains. On the other hand, intrinsic discoloration is caused from within the tooth. You may have intrinsic discoloration due to medication use, childhood illness, infection, tooth trauma, or aging. Intrinsic discoloration may need to be professionally bleached to get the same level, or better, of teeth whiteness. Depending on what type of discoloration you have, you can then indicate which type of Teeth whitening method is the right fit for you. 

Professional Teeth Whitening Methods

How to whiten teeth? There are many different ways you can whiten your teeth these days, but the safest and best option would be to have your teeth professionally whitened by your local dentist at Ablantis Dental. Generally, the methods they use will bleach your teeth with carbamide peroxide. This breaks down to hydrogen peroxide and targets the tooth’s color in a chemical reaction. It’s considered a safe way to whiten teeth. When getting your teeth professionally whitened, your results can last longer than at-home best teeth whitening kit treatments, with a quicker processing time. Often, you may only need an hour treatment or a few visits to whiten your teeth. This is because the concentration of hydrogen peroxide in the applied products is greater than in products you use at home. Another alternative to professional Teeth Whitening is at home treatments through your dentist. Your dentist will create a custom tray for your teeth and send you home with a whitening gel that can be used whenever you feel like your smile needs a little pick me up. 

Over The Counter Methods

For a cheaper alternative, you can always try over the counter teeth whitening treatments to achieve a white smile. Unlike products used by a dentist to whiten teeth, these products have no carbamide peroxide, or, much less than the products dentists use. This means that if your teeth are intrinsically discolored, over the counter teeth whiteners may not work as effectively or may take longer to whiten your teeth. Over the counter, methods might also cause sensitivity and irritate your gums throughout the whitening process, which does not make it the safest way to brighten your smile. One of the most common treatments to achieve a whiter smile is through whitening toothpastes. Whitening toothpastes don’t use carbide peroxide. Rather, these toothpastes target the surface of your teeth with a variety of substances. It may take more time for whitening toothpastes to work, but could be effective after just one brush since the chemical in the toothpaste makes your teeth appear whiter. Another popular method is teeth whitening strips. Whitening strips contain a smaller amount of hydrogen peroxide than professional products. You apply them one or two times a day to your teeth for a set period of time as indicated by the instructions on the product.

Maintenance is Key

Now that you have decided what whitening method is best for you, it’s time to talk about how to maintain your pearly whites. Your eating, drinking, and oral hygiene habits can impact how long your teeth whitening results last. After you’ve completed any whitening treatment, your teeth are vulnerable to staining from beverages like tea, coffee, wine, and certain foods. Rinsing your mouth or brushing your teeth soon after eating or drinking can keep those kinds of discoloring agents from settling into the surface of your teeth, which results in the decrease of plaque build-up. Aftercare is extremely important when it comes to prolonging your whitening treatment results. Directly after following your teeth whitening appointment or at-home application is when you should pay the closest attention to keeping your teeth stain-free. The first 48 hours after whitening, is the most crucial time to avoid any acidic or teeth staining foods that can weaken your enamel and cause more discoloration. 


Root Canal 101

Root canals have a reputation for being scary and painful. Of course, they’re never ideal but when you need one, you really need one. The course of extracting the infected pulp inside the chamber of the tooth is crucial in saving your natural tooth. Upon deciding to go forward with a root canal, you should know what to expect. Millions of root canals are performed around the world every year, helping preserve tooth health and smiles of the patients. Yet, people are outright scared of the root canal treatment. It is important that this perception is changed. For this purpose, you need to understand the ins and outs of the procedure and what it entails.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is not exactly a treatment. It is the hollow part inside a tooth containing blood vessels, cells, and the nerve tissue. Root canal treatment entails the removal of everything that is inside the root canal. It is then cleaned and decontaminated by the dentist, who shapes it with tiny irrigation and file solutions.

The space is then filled with a rubber-like material and sealed using special cement. Subsequent to the root canal procedure, the patient does not feel any pain in the tooth. The tooth will already be dead because of the removal of nerve tissue and the elimination of the infection. As soon as the root canal is completed, a permanent crown or filling is required for protecting the tooth.

How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal? 

The root canal structures around the pulpy interior of a tooth. The crown lies above the gum, whereas the roots are below it which links the tooth to the jawbone. Within the root and the root canal, the pulp is present. The pulp has soft tissue with blood vessels and nerves. Its purpose is to nourish the tooth and moist the surrounding material. If the pulp becomes injured or diseased, it cannot repair itself, and the tissue dies. If there is a deep cavity, a cracked tooth, or a loose filling, bacteria can enter the pulp. The bacteria will eventually destroy the pulp. If the bacteria penetrate through the root openings, it can cause an infection in the bone.An infection will weaken the bone and break it down. The ligaments around the tooth will swell, and the tooth will become loose. A pulp injury will make the tooth sensitive to high and low temperatures. There may be a pain when chewing, and some people have continuous, throbbing pain. Without treatment, the infection will spread. Eventually, the tooth will become loose and need extracting. The nerves in the pulp can sense coldness and hotness as pain. Once the pulp is infected, it is likely that the infection spreads through the root canal system of the tooth, gradually leading to an abscess. An abscess is a swollen area where pus accumulates, causing inflammation of the tissues surrounding the tooth. An abscess has various symptoms ranging from a dull ache to a sharp pain. The tooth also feels tender when you are eating. If root canal treatment is delayed, the infection begins to spread eventually. In the absence of treatment, the tooth becomes loose and has to be extracted. Some patients may rather have the tooth pulled out, particularly if there is a lot of pain and the tooth is so decayed that it cannot be restored. However, removing a tooth can also result in a crooked area that surrounds the teeth. Not only does it look unpleasant, but can make it extremely difficult to eat properly. Root canal therapy is performed to save the tooth as well as to eliminate pain altogether. In more severe cases, where the tooth cannot be saved, another option is to get an implant. However, it is healthier to save the natural tooth, as nothing can function better. Root canal therapy takes between one and three sessions to complete and involves a few steps.

How Painful is It?

The first thought that comes to people’s minds about Root Canals, is that they are extremely painful and uncomfortable. However, when an expert performs the treatment, it is relatively pain-free. Contrary to popular belief, the pain is actually from the infection and not due to the treatment. The tooth along with the surrounding area is numbed using local anesthesia for relieving the pain of the process. It is quite normal to experience some tenderness. The pain can be short-lived and is relieved by over the counter medication. Prescription drugs, like codeine, are also available if required. An antibiotic can also be prescribed for preventing infection.

How to Overcome Dental Anxiety

Anxiety is a natural feeling everyone experiences when they’re forced to deal with an issue they’re not comfortable with. People are anxious about dental visits for different reasons. Some anticipate pain. Others worry that the dentist might be rushed or neglect their concerns. Additional stress issues include negative memories of past experiences and even the smell of the dentist office can trigger patients to go into full panic mode. Sometimes, simply interrupting the normal day’s routine for a dentist visit creates anxiety. One of the most important factors in order to overcome dental anxiety is good communication between you and your dentist. When you feel informed and in control throughout a visit, you’re typically less anxious. Every dental professional wants their patients to feel calm and relaxed. The simple reason for their concern is that your comfort makes their job a whole lot easier. Whether it’s fear of going to the doctors or dentists, these tips can help make sure that your anxiety is not affecting your health. 

Here are some common fears of seeing the dentist, and how to subdue them:

Pain

The most common reason that creates anxiety in patients, is the fear that the procedure is going to be painful and not tolerable. If you’re nervous about pain, let your dentist know; they can administer anesthesia comfortably so you don’t have to suffer. If you’re afraid of needles, laughing gas (nitrous oxide) works is a good alternative that helps you to relax first. If nitrous oxide isn’t enough to dull your senses, sedation dentistry is common, and all you need is a designated driver to shuttle you to and from your appointment. For patients who can’t get past the fear of the dentist, this is usually the best option. Anyone with anxiety knows sharing your feelings makes a world of difference. If you’re tense or anxious, do yourself a favor and get your concerns off your chest. Your dentist and dental team are better able to treat you if they know your needs. 

Past Experiences

If you didn’t have the best first experience during a dentist visit, chances are that going to future visits can be traumatizing for you. Past unpleasant experiences seem to be the second most common complaint of patients. Sometimes the overall experience of the appointment leaves you feeling unsettled, anxious or worse, repulsed. Perhaps the service was a lot more than you could handle financially, the hygienist wasn’t thorough, the assistant was unpleasant, or the dentist was insensitive. All these examples are very unfortunate, but does happen. But it shouldn’t hold you back from scheduling future visits (whether with the same dentist or a new one). If past experiences are restricting you from seeing your dental professional, it’s important to make sure that the dental staff is aware of your past experiences, so they can understand exactly what happened and try to make your office visit go a lot smoother. It may require some patience, but you should be able to find a team that will be a good fit for you, which in the long run will  make all the difference.

Anxiety About Cost

When it comes to maintaining a healthy mouth, it can be nerve racking thinking about the financial aspect of the treatment. Dental work can be expensive, especially if your insurance doesn’t cover it. It is important that you maintain regular appointments with your hygienist, since it can help reduce the need for more costly treatments later on. When a filling or crown is necessary, however, talk to the office manager about payment options. Most offices will work with you to create a comfortable financial arrangement. Plus, check your area for free or low cost clinics.Another good tip is to look into getting your dental needs taken care of at a dental school, students are always looking for patients. And they work under close supervision, so no need to worry. There are also payment options available when it comes to procedures for your teeth. Dentists are more flexible than ever before when it comes to accepting different methods of payment for costly dental work. Among the latest payment strategies are Flexible Spending Accounts and Health Spending Accounts. A flexible spending account allows you to set aside a percentage of your gross, pre-taxed income to pay for eligible health care expenses for you, your spouse, and your dependants. This type of medical expense program is offered exclusively through your participating employer.

Why Water is Good For Your Teeth

We all know that there is a list of benefits when it comes to why water is good for your body. Consuming enough water daily is vital to the way our bodies functions and recovers from everyday forces. Our bodies are made of 60% water, and staying hydrated helps your body and system distribute healthy nutrients, gets rid of waste, gives your skin a healthy glow and keeps your muscles moving. Consuming water religiously can help with our hair, skin and nails, and is also beneficial for our teeth. Drinking water is beneficial to your smile since the fluoride in water can help fight cavities naturally, which makes it one of the easiest and most beneficial things you can do to keep your smile healthy and strong. Keep reading to find out the other ways that consuming water frequently can help keep your mouth healthy and strong. 

Helps Dry Mouth

Saliva is an important part of your mouth and how it operates, and since it is made up of 99% water, it is crucial to stay hydrated. When you are not producing enough saliva, you will most likely experience dry mouth, which is a condition that makes it hard to swallow and chew because of a lack of saliva. Saliva is your mouth’s first defense against tooth decay. It washes away leftover food, helps you swallow with ease and keeps your teeth strong by washing them with calcium, phosphate and fluoride. When your saliva supply runs low, dry mouth may also put you at risk for tooth decay. By drinking enough water, you help prevent dry mouth and ensure that your saliva is produced at an optimal rate. Drinking water can help cut your risk as you and your dentist work to find the best long-term solution for you. 

Strengthens Your Teeth

Fluoride is a mineral and in the right amount, fluoride in drinking water strengthens teeth. You can generally get fluoride in your local tap water. In 2015, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a recommendation for the optimal fluoride level that should be in drinking water to prevent tooth decay. Why there is some controversy about fluoridation,  water fluoridation is endorsed by the American Medical Association, the American Dental Association and the CDC, which lists it as one of the top 10 most important public health measures of the 20th century. Studies have shown that cities that consume water with fluoride in it, is more likely to get cavities than the cities that don’t have fluoride in their water. 

Cleanses Your Mouth

Water is a great mouth cleaner because it washes away leftover food and particles that cause bacteria to grow on your teeth. The cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth love to eat sugar and produce acid that breaks down enamel, which is the outer shell of your teeth. It also dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. Drinking juice, soda or sports drinks, on the other hand, can leave unwanted sugar behind. Many of these drinks also have added acids (phosphoric, citrus or malic acid) to make them taste less sweet, but those acids also cause trouble by eating away enamel. Water cleans your mouth with every sip and is beneficial by rinsing away leftover food and residue that cavity-causing bacteria are looking for. It also dilutes the acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. You’ll still need to brush twice a day for two minutes and clean between your teeth, but drinking water through the day will go a long way toward keeping your smile cavity-free. 

Helps Fight Bad Breath

Not only can water help strengthen your enamel and help wash away food after eating, but it can also help fight against bad breath.  Morning breath is caused by dry mouth, and drinking water throughout the day naturally helps with that. It also washes away food particles and tooth decay that can also contribute towards bad breath and it keeps bad breath from forming in the first place. Be sure to drink a sufficient amount of water, about six to eight 8-ounce glasses daily to avoid dry mouth. Drinking water will help keep odor under control because it helps wash away food particles and bacteria, the primary cause of bad breath.