Bay Area Dentists Share Their Expertise

Dental Care

Patients now have more options for dental care. Photo: Alfred B. dela Cruz, DDS ©2020

When was the last time you saw your dentist? If it has been a while, you may be surprised to learn about advancements in dental technology and treatments. Below, top rated Bay Area dentists discuss some new options for common procedures and share a few tips for maintaining good oral health.

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What You Need to Know About Dental Care

  • Innovations in Dental Technology

    New Treatments

    Top rated dentists discuss the latest innovations in detecting and treating dental problems.

  • A Guide to Cosmetic and Restorative Procedures

    Improve Your Smile

    Learn more about the options available for improving your smile.

  • 8 Oral Hygiene Hacks

    Oral Hygiene

    Beyond flossing and brushing, there are numerous ways to improve your oral health.

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Tips on Dental Care From Diamond Certified Experts

Dr. Lovely Manlapaz

Lovely Manlapaz Teodoro DDS

Dr. Alfred dela Cruz

Alfred B. dela Cruz, DDS

Dr. James R. Mattingly, DDS

Dr. James R. Mattingly DDS

Dr. Josh Hammer

Landeros & Hammer Cosmetic & Family Dentistry

Dr. William Schneider

William M. Schneider, D.D.S.

Dr. William Hummer

William R. Hummer, DDS

The Benefits of CBCT in Dentistry

The Benefits of CBCT in Dentistry

HERCULES — Cone-beam computed tomography (CBCT) is a medical imaging technique that’s being used more and more commonly in dental offices today. This technology is extremely useful for ensuring accuracy with diagnosis and evaluation. It’s particularly beneficial for determining the placement of dental implants. When placing a dental implant, a dentist needs to make sure the jawbone is of adequate height and width and that no important structures will be damaged, such as the nerve or the maxillary sinus. CBCT allows a dentist to get a clear image of the implant area and determine a suitable placement location.

Due to the potential risks involved, if you’re planning to get one or more dental implants, make sure your dentist is using CBCT technology to plan your procedure. Your dentist can even show you how it works and map the nerve or locate the floor of the sinus right in front of you. This will give you complete confidence that your implant(s) will be placed correctly without accidentally damaging any of the important structures in your mouth.

Solutions for Sore Gums

Solutions for Sore Gums

SAN RAMON — If you suffer from sore or bleeding gums, you may just need to implement a couple of oral hygiene measures, the most important of which is flossing. If you aren’t flossing every day, you’re missing out on a crucial part of your oral hygiene routine—in fact, it’s probably the main reason your gums are bleeding. Keep in mind that when you first start flossing, it’s going to cause your gums to bleed even more. However, with time, regular flossing will correct this issue, resulting in healthier gums.

As an alternative to flossing, some people prefer to use a water flosser (such as a Waterpik®), which employs the power of pressurized water to clean between the teeth. The targeted, pressurized stream of water is less abrasive than floss and does a great job of breaking up plaque, film, and food particles in between the teeth.

In addition to flossing, consider rinsing your mouth daily with hydrogen peroxide to kill oral bacteria and viruses. Three percent hydrogen peroxide will work, but you should dilute it with water at a 50/50 ratio; you can also add it to your regular mouthwash at the same ratio. Swish the solution around in your mouth for about one minute (don’t mind the fizz), then spit. This daily mouth rinse will help heal sensitive gums and improve your overall oral health.

Detecting Cavities with Dental Laser Technology

Detecting Cavities with Dental Laser Technology

WALNUT CREEK — Traditionally, dentists have employed two different methods to detect cavities: x-rays and directly examining teeth with a handheld instrument. While these continue to be valuable techniques, a more recent innovation benefits patients by identifying cavities in their earliest stages: dental lasers.

How does a dental laser work? When a dentist shines the laser on the chewing surfaces of a patient’s teeth (where the vast majority of cavities are found), it measures the reflected light energy, or “fluorescence,” of the tooth structures’ various layers. While a healthy tooth will exhibit little to no fluorescence, any decayed areas will register a noticeable reading on the laser’s sensor.

One of the biggest attributes of dental lasers is they can detect cavities when they’re still very small, even before they can be identified visually. Because the lasers are also extremely accurate, this technology gives patients the opportunity to have cavities treated proactively rather than after they’ve grown and caused significant damage.

Benefits of a Night Guard

Benefits of a Night Guard

SANTA ROSA – Amid the fast-paced tumult of modern-day life, it’s common for people to become overstressed. This stress can be expressed in a number of conscious and unconscious ways. One frequent example of the latter is clenching and grinding of the teeth during sleep, which can result in tooth and jaw pain, including conditions like TMJ. Due to its unconscious nature, people are often confused when they learn the cause of the symptoms they’re experiencing.

Fortunately, there’s a simple tool that can alleviate the effects of nocturnal clenching and grinding: a mouth guard worn in the mouth while sleeping, often referred to as a “night guard.” In addition to protecting the surfaces of your teeth from grinding, the cushion provided by a night guard helps allay some of the jaw strain caused by clenching. Some research even suggests that wearing a night guard reduces the frequency and intensity of grinding sessions.

When it comes to purchasing a night guard, a custom-made model procured from your dentist is ideal, as it will conform to your mouth’s unique shape and contours. However, even a generic night guard purchased from a drugstore is better than nothing, so whatever your budget, don’t hesitate to take advantage of this beneficial device.

How to Identify and Treat Sleep Apnea

How to Identify and Treat Sleep Apnea

WALNUT CREEK — Although it’s often mistaken for mere snoring, sleep apnea is a serious condition that causes the sufferer to literally stop breathing during sleep—potentially hundreds of times in a single night. In addition to daytime sleepiness (which can affect work performance and increase the likelihood of a car accident), it can cause a variety of health problems, including elevated blood pressure, depression, and the risk of diabetes and stroke.

There are several factors that increase your susceptibility to sleep apnea, including physical attributes and personal habits. One common contributing factor is your body weight, although it’s primarily the size of your neck that matters. Males whose neck circumference is more than 17 inches and females whose neck circumference is more than 16 inches are particularly at risk. Other factors that increase your predisposition to sleep apnea are a deviated septum, chronic nasal issues or sinusitis, and smoking.

If you’ve been diagnosed with sleep apnea by a physician, you typically have three treatments to choose from. The first is the use of a CPAP, which is a mask attached to a machine that assists breathing during sleep. Another option is an oral appliance that brings your jaw forward to open up your airway while you sleep. The third option is to have surgery to correct the physical attributes that contribute to your condition.

Considering the health risks involved, if you’re experiencing symptoms of sleep apnea, you should consult a medical or dental professional who can help you find a treatment that best fits your needs.

Heeding the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

Heeding the Warning Signs of Oral Cancer

SAN LEANDRO — Treating cancer is one of the great challenges of modern health care, and dentistry is no exception. According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, nearly 50,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with oral cancer each year, and only slightly more than half typically survive. In fact, oral cancer has a higher mortality rate than many more well-known forms of cancer.

The Oral Cancer Foundation asserts the main reason for oral cancer’s unusually high mortality rate is that it’s typically discovered in later stages when treatment is less effective. As with any form of cancer, early detection is the most important factor in successfully treating oral cancer. For this reason, it’s crucial to be aware of the potential warning signs. These include:

• Unusual lumps or bumps

• Changes in texture, contour or color in the mouth

• Sores that grow rapidly or bleed spontaneously

• Any sore or lump that hasn’t subsided after 12 days

If you notice one or more of these developments, schedule an appointment with your dentist or physician to have it checked out.