Enhance Your Smile With These Oral Care Accessories | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

In the ever-evolving technological age, there are a number of ways you can enhance the hygiene and aesthetic of your smile. There are also a number of gadgets on the market specifically designed to fill whatever gaps you feel are present as you strive to enhance your smile. These means essentially fall into two categories; hygienic and aesthetic. Of course, a well-rounded oral care routine is the first step towards attaining the smile you want, but if your hygiene is quite good, and you still aren’t seeing the results you want, aesthetic additions may do the trick.

Hygienic

Electric Toothbrushes: Do you even complete your two-minute scrub and think “My teeth don’t feel very clean”? It may be because the traditional toothbrush just isn’t cutting it anymore. Electric toothbrushes have gained popularity because they are designed to provide brush strokes that work to give you a better clean in the same amount of time. It can go a long way to providing the basic care your teeth need.

Flossers: There are so many ways to floss available for your choosing. Traditional waxed or unwaxed threads are no longer the only option. Water flossers and plush threads are great alternatives (if not better alternatives) to the floss we commonly associate with.

Tongue Scraper: While there is no definitive rule that these need to be employed in your care routine, the benefit of incorporating one is the added removal of potentially harmful bacteria. Tongue scraping removes the same bacteria that feed on the sugars left between the teeth after a meal from the surface of the tongue, improving overall hygiene.

Aesthetic

At-Home Aligners: At-home aligners are an easy, effective means of straightening out your teeth for an enhanced aesthetic. While they aren’t meant for everyone, and you should speak with your dentist prior to incorporating at-home aligners into your oral care practices, they can gently move your teeth into their proper position and enhance your smile.

Whitening Trays: These work similarly to the teeth aligners mentioned above. Instead of working to straighten your teeth however, you simply mold the trey to your teeth, brush on the included whitening solution to the inside of the tray and allow it to rest on your teeth for the prescribed amount of time. Kits are easily accessible and when done properly can make your smile a few shades whiter.

UV Light: This is another means of enhancing the color and brightness of your teeth. Typically, when you employ a UV light, you first brush on the whitening solution and allow the light to rest on that set of teeth for a number of minutes. The solution and the light combination work to enhance your smile and can potentially do so up to a few shades whiter.

If you would like more information, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Top Tips To Avoid Staining Your Teeth | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

If you look at your teeth in the mirror and aren’t thrilled with what you see, your teeth may be stained as a result of the foods and beverages you consume. There is nothing wrong with consuming dark foods and beverages, of course, but if you find your smile has become dull or yellow, it may be time to evaluate the habits that surround our consumption of them.

Common culprits of staining are red wine, dark sodas, and coffee, three beverages casually consumed by the average person. Thankfully, however, there are ways you can mitigate dental staining with some common and easily applied practices.

Try A New Brushing Method:

Brushing your teeth 30 minutes after consuming these beverages may sound counter-intuitive, but it’s better than brushing immediately after. Coffee, soda, and wine are acidic, meaning they weaken your enamel. When we brush immediately after, we are being abrasive against an already weakened barrier causing it to weaken further. Brushing some time after consumption helps retain your enamel and will help prevent staining.

Other Ways You Can Avoid Staining:

Otherwise, you can floss, employ whitening powders or pastes, and maintain regular dental visits to keep teeth stains at bay. If you are interested in incorporating health practices into your life that also help reduce the risk of staining, cutting back on your consumption of dark sodas, red wine and coffee will go a long way to achieve that goal. You can also try at-home whitening strips, trays, or UV light whitening devices that may help you get up to two shades of whiter teeth.

If your teeth are already stained, and at-home methods aren’t working to mitigate the appearance of dull or yellow teeth, that’s where a cosmetic dentist can help. In-office whitening is more powerful than at-home treatments, and when professionally executed may go further than DIY methods.

If you would like more information, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Wisdom Tooth Surgery and Aftercare | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

The removal of one’s wisdom teeth is often a dreaded moment, but for most people, it is absolutely necessary to avoid overcrowding. Whether you choose to be sedated for the surgery or go with nitrous oxide, the first 72 hours after surgery are imperative to your recovery and avoiding issues down the road.

Once the procedure is over, your surgeon will place gauze on the surgery site to absorb the blood. They will send you home with extra you can replace the gauze as needed at home, helping to keep the area clean and dry. Once the bleeding has stopped, you can place a moist tea bag on the site to help prevent clotting. You will also want to keep your head elevated, this will help keep the swelling and further bleeding down. Compresses also work well to help keep the swelling down. Apply a cold compress, then a warm one on rotation to the external surgery site every 20 minutes for the first 48 hours. It will help reduce pain and swelling.

After that, your focus should switch to keeping the surgery site as clean as possible as the soft tissue continues to heal. Rinse your mouth with warm or saltwater throughout the day and especially after meals. Your dentist may give you a syringe to squirt water directly onto the surgery site to clear any debris. Swish utilize the syringe carefully, you don’t want to disturb your stitches. If food is left stuck in the soft tissue cavity and stays there as the tissue heals, that debris is likely to become infected over time, requiring another surgery to remove it.

Your dentist will give you all kinds of tips and tricks to help you heal properly, but some of the most important ones to remember are not to use straws as the suction can induce bleeding. Don’t use tobacco because it will hinder the healing process, and don’t engage in strenuous activity as an increased heart rate will increase blood flow and the possibility your surgery site will bleed.

If you would like more information, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Tips for How to Care for Porcelain Veneers | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Porcelain veneers are one of the most common cosmetic dentistry procedures people seek for their smiles. The longevity of your veneers can vary depending on how they are cared for. To get the most out of your veneers, here are some best practices for maintaining them for years to come.

Good Oral Hygiene- Maintaining good oral hygiene such as regular brushing, flossing and incorporating a mouthwash is great for your natural teeth and veneers. Veneers are placed along the gemlike to retain the appearance of being natural, so it’s important to keep your oral hygiene up to avoid a receding gemlike that may expose the veneer.

Avoid Unnecessary Force- Nail biting, chewing ice and forceful brushing can break or dislodge a veneer; they can also be the reason your dentist recommended veneers to begin with. It’s important to make an effort to avoid these habits for the longevity of your veneers.

Stop Clenching and Grinding- This bad habit is a great way to chip or break your veneers over time. Bruxism, or the grinding of teeth at night, can be avoided by incorporating a night guard when you sleep. Reducing stress or finding alternative means to clenching your teeth will also go a long way in maintaining your new pearly whites.

Limit Staining- Porcelain is a material that resists stains, but the dental cement used to keep them in place unfortunately is not. Coffee, tobacco, wine and any other food and beverage that may stain your teeth will stain the cement over time. Eventually, if not properly cared for along the way, the cement will become discolored and look odd against your veneers – or even start to make your veneers look discolored by association.

If you would like more information on veneers or how to care for them, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Dental X-Rays and You | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Getting your x-rays taken at the dentist is an essential part of their ability to evaluate the way your teeth are situated and move over time. These images tell dentists and hygienists a lot about how to best care for your oral health. X-rays however, use radiation in order to capture these images, and it may cause you to be hesitant about having them taken. That is understandable, so we think it’s important to share a bit more about x-rays so you can feel more at ease the next time your dentist wants to see what’s going on.

What to know

X-rays are generally considered to be a safe, effective means for dentists to understand your unique oral structure and health. Dentists will take four different types of x-rays; bitewing, occlusal, panoramic, and periodical. Each of these focuses on a different aspect of your teeth and bite. The bitewing will show how well your teeth align and may also show cavity development. Occlusal x-rays capture all your teeth in a single image and can help detect abnormalities in the anatomy of your mouth or palate. It can be uncomfortable to have these images taken, as the tab you bite down on isn’t made to contour to your mouth, but the momentary discomfort passes quickly.

Panoramic images let dentists check your wisdom teeth, jaw, and any implants you may have. Panoramic images show the entire tooth from root to crown around the jawline. The execution of this x-ray is different than those mentioned above. Your dentist will have you stand and help fix your head into position for the x-ray to rotate around your jawline to produce the image.

Purpose

The purpose of a radiograph, or x-ray, is to analyze oral health. They capture what is happening on the interior of your teeth and gums. Images allow dentists and orthodontists to evaluate positioning, decay, and impact of the teeth. They are also used to track the progression of growing teeth in children and the progress of any treatment you may undergo. Whenever you enter a new practice without existing or current imagery your dentist will take them for your file with their practice.

Safety

While there is no official preparation to receive an x-ray, there are measures dentists take to ensure your safety and theirs. Whoever takes your x-rays will outfit you with a lead vest to protect your internal organs and other essential body parts from radiation exposure. It effectively blocks the radiation from your person without hindering the ability to produce an image.

You need an initial, and ongoing x-rays throughout your life to ensure the overall well-being of your teeth and jaw are properly monitored and maintained. Your teeth naturally shift over time, so while x-rays may induce anxiety or be uncomfortable, they are harmless and should be considered an essential part of your oral care.

If you would like more information on teeth whitening, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

What You Should Know About Fluoride | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Fluoride has long split public opinion. Proponents advocate for its ability to keep cavities and tooth decay from wreaking havoc on your oral health. Opponents point to its discovery in the public water supply and consider it a harmful neurotoxin. Dentists are consistent proponents of fluoride for their patient’s oral health and utilize it during regular cleanings. Whether someone chooses to opt out of it at home is their prerogative, but if they don’t want it used during their dental visit, it’s important to discuss your concerns with your hygienist.

Too much fluoride, like anything, can cause dental fluorosis which can change the color of your enamel and specifically impact children ages eight years of age and younger. According to smiledentalcenterct.com, however, “research has shown that by adding fluoride to public water supplies, tooth decay-related conditions decline by 25 percent among adults and children.” Meaning two dental visits a year and drinking community water isn’t likely to cause harm. Though, it’s not recommended to give children fluoride toothpaste, as their risk of swallowing it is high. Once your child develops the motor skills to brush his or her teeth, and spit properly, they can begin using fluoride toothpaste at your discretion or the advice of their dentist.

It’s important to note, however, that your dentist may dissuade the use of fluoride toothpaste if you are allergic to it, or feel strongly about your concerns regarding the safety of its use. Fluoride-free formulas offer the same cleaning power and are recommended over not using toothpaste; the difference is that on average, fluoride formulas reduce the number of cavities and occurrence of tooth decay one may experience over their lifetime.

In general, trace amounts of fluoride in the drinking water work to improve the oral health of our communities and the use of fluoride toothpaste is safe for adults. The decision to use fluoride toothpaste lies with the individual, but he or she may need to take extra steps such as mouthwash and flossing to ensure they or receive the cavity-fighting benefits normally provided by fluoride formulas.

If you would like more information on teeth whitening, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Are You Looking to Whiten Your Smile? | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

In-office treatments. Not only can we give your teeth a deep cleaning, but teeth whitening can help you achieve a beautifully white smile by bleaching your teeth and removing any deep stains that cannot be removed by brushing or hygiene appointments.

DIY whitening. In addition to in-office power whitening treatments, we also offer professional home bleaching kits. We custom fabricate whitening trays to fit over your teeth and then supply you with a professional-grade teeth whitening solution to carry out the whitening procedure in the comfort of your own home. The home bleaching delivers results over a longer time period. Many of our patients choose combination treatment with in-office whitening, followed by the home bleaching in order for you to maintain the beautiful smile as a result.

If you are looking for a more natural way to whiten your teeth, there are a few ways you can with things you have around the house.

The version most people are used to hearing about is a hydrogen peroxide and baking soda paste. You can find a lot of toothpastes with these ingredients, but if you want to do it DIY style, just drop a few drops of hydrogen peroxide into a little bit of baking soda makes a paste.

Diluting some apple cider vinegar in your pantry with some water (3 parts water, 1 part vinegar) and mixing it with an all-natural toothpaste makes a pretty efficient tooth whitening solution. Swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for 20 minutes also helps dingy teeth. But did you also know that you can turn it into a paste? Heat a cup of coconut oil, add two teaspoons of baking soda & five to ten drops of natural spearmint essential oil.

If you would like more information on teeth whitening, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Toothbrush Alternatives | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

It’s important to brush your teeth every day – we all know this. But there are times when a toothbrush isn’t readily available. Say, you go camping, or you travel somewhere remote and forgot to pack one? Sure, these are extreme times, but they could happen. It’s nice to know there are ways we can maintain our oral health until we get a toothbrush, right? Below are a few ways we can substitute some regular everyday items for a toothbrush when we are in a pinch:

Washcloth or paper towel. Say you aren’ta great packer, and your hotel doesn’t have a gift shop inside of it. You can use a paper towel or a washcloth as a substitute. Just wrap your index finger with the paper towel or washcloth, use toothpaste if you have but water will do, then brush your teeth like you would with a toothbrush. Start at your gums and work your way down each tooth. Make sure to wash your tongue as well. Rinse with water and there you have it – a clean mouth.

Find a twig. If you are camping or hiking, a great alternative for a toothbrush is a twig. The first toothbrushes were actually twigs so you aren’t far off with this option. Find a flexible twig about 6-8 inches long. Peel off the skin and chew on an end until it frays. A natural toothbrush!

Your index finger. If worse comes to worse and none of these are an option, there’s always your finger. Make sure you wash your hands before you begin, then take your index finger and starting at the gums, work your finger like a toothbrush, cleaning in a circular motion until all teeth are clean. Rinse your finger for each quadrant, then rinse.

If you would like more information on toothbrushes, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Signs and Symptoms: Cavities Edition | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

We all know that a dentist is the expert on all things oral. But there are times when you may feel a sharp pain or a twinge when you eat or drink something hot or cold. While this could be a couple of things, it could be that you’ve developed a cavity. It’s time to make a dental appointment to find out for sure. Because if this is the case, you will likely need a filling.

I know you may feel a bit skittish about this, but it is important that you remedy the situation. If left untreated, it can progress into more severe dental issues, so it is important to keep an eye on your smile and any changes that may be developing. So, if you notice any of the following signs, dental fillings will likely be a solution:

  • A dark spot or hole in your tooth
  • A chipped tooth
  • A rough tooth
  • If floss is tearing in a particular location between your teeth

If your dentist finds that a filling is necessary, you will be presented with a few options, including amalgam, composite and ionomers. Amalgam fillings are very durable, easy to use, and inexpensive when compared to other materials and usually used for molars. Composite fillings are made out of a mixture of glass or quartz and resin, producing a tooth-colored filling. Composite fillings are durable and provide good resistance against fracture in small to medium restorations but tend to stain and discolor over time. Ionomers, on the other hand, are made out of a mixture of acrylic acids and fine glass powders used to fill cavities on the root surfaces of teeth or in small fillings that do not require any chewing resistance.

If you would like more information on dental fillings, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.

Your Smile Is Turning Yellow | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Are you tired of having yellow, stained teeth, despite your strict daily dental hygiene? You are not alone. There are millions of people suffering from the same problem. Not only is it a natural occurrence, but it will continue happen throughout our lives. So, if you brush, floss and visit your dentist regularly then why are your teeth still discolored? This happens because the outer layers of your teeth get stained over the years by our diet or bad habits like tobacco use. Drinking red wine and other dark beverages are fantastic and should be enjoyed. When these outside sources of staining are left to sit on the teeth all day until your next brushing, the dentin on your teeth becomes yellowish or darkened.

This is why keeping up with your daily dental practices are so important. But there are ways to brighten that smile of yours. And the best way to help your stained discolored teeth is professional tooth whitening.

While most of our teeth staining comes naturally over time, these are also some of the contributing factors to your teeth becoming yellow and stained:

  • Tetracycline based antibiotics used before the age of 8 years old
  • Excessive exposure to fluoride as a child
  • Internal bleeding due to trauma
  • Discoloration due to a health condition
  • Natural aging- as time goes by enamel gets thinner and thinner and will get a yellowish hue
  • Soda
  • Wine
  • Smoking
  • Caffeine

While staining is natural and will continue to happen, regardless of our efforts, there are simple ways to slow down the process. Here are some tips:

  • Visit your dentist regularly for teeth cleanings
  • Rinse your mouth out with water several times throughout the day
  • Use toothpaste with whitening agents; just be aware not to overdo it.

If you would like more information on brightening your smile, call Dr. Herd in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA at 949-858-5147 or visit www.gregherddds.com.

Dr. Greg J. Herd proudly serves Rancho Santa Margarita and all surrounding areas.