Unraveling the Differences Between Private and Commercial Dental Practices | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

When it comes to oral health, the choice between a commercial dental practice and a private dental practice is a decision that many individuals face. Each type of practice has its unique set of characteristics, catering to diverse preferences and needs.

Commercial dental practices, often part of larger corporate chains, are characterized by their accessibility and widespread availability. These practices are typically found in bustling commercial areas, making them convenient for individuals seeking dental care in the midst of their busy lives. With extended hours and walk-in appointments, commercial practices prioritize accessibility, aiming to accommodate a broad spectrum of patients.

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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.

What Are the Benefits of Swishing Daily with an Oral Rinse? | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

In order to have the healthiest mouth possible, daily steps need to be done. Brushing, flossing and rinsing each day will not only keep your smile bright, but healthy as can be. We all know what brushing and flossing does, but what exactly is the role of mouthwash? Let’s take a look at the benefits of swishing a bit of mouthwash each day:

Freshens breath. First and most obviously, mouthwash temporarily reduces bad breath. Mouthwash kills bacteria associated with causing bad breath leaving you with minty fresh breath.

Prevents plaque build-up. Various mouthwashes help prevent plaque build-up on your gums, in-between teeth, and on the surface of your teeth. Although it prevents the build-up of plague, it cannot reduce the plaque that already exists on your teeth.

Removes particles. Most people use mouthwash only after brushing. This is a perfectly fine practice but used before before brushing to rinse out loose particles in your mouth will make the brushing and flossing more effective.

Stop cavities from forming. Regular use of mouthwash before and after you brush and floss, you can reduce the chances of cavities forming. Mouthwashes that contain fluoride can prevent cavities and strengthen your enamel. Remember, not all mouthwashes contain fluoride. (Source: WebMD)

Mouthwash is not a substitute for brushing and flossing and should be used along with good oral health habits. It only takes a moment to rinse but the positive impact on your oral health is much greater. With rinsing daily you can successfully navigate around dental problems.

If you would like more information on oral rinses, 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.

Maintaining Your New Dental Implants | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

You never thought it could happen, but accidents happen. And now you need dental implants. But what exactly does that entail? A dental implant is an artificial tooth root similar to a screw that is placed in your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. It will take a few procedures but once it’s done, it’ll be like you never had a missing tooth. 

But what now? You have a basic grasp of daily oral care, but implants can’t possibly be the same to maintain as normal teeth, right? Does this mean you will need to retrain yourself a new dental care routine in order to look after them? Not exactly, but you will definitely have some things to alter a bit. The following are just a few things to keep in mind as you are going forward with your brand-new teeth:

You will be able to eat normally, speak without issue and no one will notice, feel free to smile just as you did before losing the tooth. While implants are designed to withstand quite a bit, don’t go neglecting their care. You may not be able to get cavities like your originals, but you can get inflamed gums and infections, or periodontal disease, just like before. Dental implants are generally meant to last for decades to come, but they are still breakable. Handle them with care. Make sure you are careful when you are cleaning or caring for them. Your new restorations will require periodic checking by your dentist to ensure that everything is working properly, and the surrounding gums and bone are being maintained and remain healthy.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 Need to Know About Pediatric Dental Care | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Many parents believe that the best time to establish good dental hygiene habits is right when their child’s first tooth appears. In actuality, the best time to start taking care of your child’s teeth is the moment that your child is born. Because even without teeth, bacteria can build up on the mouth’s surfaces. To prevent this from happening, wipe your baby’s gums with a soft damp cloth after every feeding. Once your child’s teeth develop and break through the gums, it’s time to start brushing just like you would, but with a few tweaks. Use a soft children’s toothbrush and minimal to no non-fluoride toothpaste. As they reach preschool-age, feel free to start using fluoride toothpaste. You may also want to increase the amount of toothpaste to about the size of a pea. Little humans have a tendency to swallow the toothpaste, instead of spitting it out, leaving permanent stains on the teeth.

Cavities are the resulting holes formed by the acid from the bacteria or germs in your mouth when they’ve consumed too much sugar from your food. Keep sugar to small, regulated treats. But that’s not all; there are other circumstances, like being born with low birth weight or premature, ongoing treatment for any special health care needs, brown areas and white spots on the teeth and infrequent trips to the dentist can all lead to the development of cavities.

To stop this from happening, start teaching your family good dental hygiene habits. Everyone needs to be involved in order to get the habit to stick. Other family members can pass on cavity-causing bacteria to both children and babies, so every family member has to make an effort to take care of their teeth properly.

If you would like more information on pediatric dental care, 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.

Keeping Bad Breath out of Your Mouth | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

Nobody wants to hear, “You have bad breath.” Sure, we all know that eating stinky foods like garlic or onions, but there are also some medications or lifestyle habits that can also be causing your dragon breath. If you find that bad breath is commonplace, you may want to consult a dental professional.

Because saliva is a major player in keeping your mouth clean and halitosis at bay, it is important to keep your saliva production going at all times. It isn’t difficult; keeping a nice glass of water close is helpful. Many of our favorite beverages actually dehydrate our systems due to the sugars.

So, what do we do to maintain fresh breath throughout the day? Below are five easy ways to keep your breath fresh all day:

Stay hydrated. If you can’t brush your teeth after a meal, drinking a lot of water can help speed up the process of cleaning harmful bacteria and debris from between your teeth. Drinking milk can even help deodorize some offensive breath odors. Avoid sugary drinks!

Don’t drink too much coffee. It may be tasty, but coffee is a tough smell to get off the back of your tongue.

Avoid smoking or other tobacco products. Cigarettes, pipes, and snuff can foul your breath. Smoking gives people horrible breath!

Cut back on alcohol. Alcohol can lead to a dry mouth. Too much beer, wine, and hard liquor can make your breath reek for up to eight to 10 hours after you finish drinking.

Chew sugarless gum. Doing so 20 minutes after a meal can help with saliva flow. Gum that’s 100% xylitol-sweetened can help reduce cavities

If you would like more information on bad breath, 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 Implants Could Save Your Smile | Rancho Santa Margarita Dentist

As far as missing teeth go, you have three dental options to choose from, namely dental implants, bridges and dentures. Each one of the three has its own set of distinct advantages and disadvantages. However, of all three options, dental implants are considered as a much better option. But, why?

Dental implants are permanent fixtures of titanium posts. The posts are anchored to your jawbone and topped off with an all-new replacement tooth or a bridge that’s screwed or cemented into the posts themselves.

Of the three, dental implants are the ones that feel and function like natural teeth.

Dental implants are not always the best choice, which is where fixed bridges and removable dentures come in. However, the majority of the time, dental implants are a better solution because unlike removable dentures, implants do not slip, or make embarrassing clicking sounds when eating or speaking. Also, unlike bridges, there’s no partial cutting involved when it comes to having dental implants placed inside your mouth.

The most important factor, though, as to why dental implants are just better is because dental implants do not put the patient’s teeth at as much of a risk to recurrent decay and gum disease as dental bridges and dentures would.

As an added bonus, dental implants can last for as long as 25 years, ten years longer than fixed bridges and removable dentures.

Ideal candidates for dental implants are those with good general and oral health, as well as having enough bone in their jaw to help support the implant. Although, those who’ve lost bone in their jaws in the past do not have to worry as much as they can still have implants if they go through a bone-grafting procedure first.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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.