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All Posts in Category: Dental Blog

Tips to Help with Plaque Prevention and Removal

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Inadequate brushing and flossing leaves particles of food and drink on the gums and teeth, which attract bacteria that turn into the sticky film called plaque. If that is not cleaned off within a few days it can harden into tartar, which has to be removed by a dental hygienist. Otherwise, this periodontal infection will eventually cause the gums to pull back their support for teeth, which will fall out or need to be removed. Plaque can also cause cavities that become so large that teeth have to be extracted.

The two top tips to prevent these things from happening:

First, if you have not had a recent physical dental exam by Dr. Louie, you should know that the American Dental Association recommends that this be done twice a year to catch oral problems in their early stages. If he suspects there may be cavities that are hidden or a periodontal infection that may have reached into the jawbone, you will need a digital x-ray (involving minimal radiation).

Professional Cleaning

Second, you should also receive a professional cleaning by your hygienist at least semi-annually, more often if she probes and discovers deep gum infections. She has the tools and techniques to do a much better job of cleaning hard-to-reach areas of your mouth than you can. She will also inject an antibacterial solution if needed to stop a serious infection. She can also note when even this is not enough and cleaning needs to be done below the gum line by Dr. Louie.

Brushing and Flossing

Of course, brushing and flossing correctly can prevent plaque formation, but few of us grew up understanding exactly how to do this. Brushing needs to be done twice a day for two minutes each time, ideally after breakfast (which will allow you to remove both the food particles from the meal, as well as the bacteria that collects in the mouth overnight) and then after your last snack at night, when you floss. If you are not sure exactly how to do this, ask your hygienist to show you.

There are other tools your dentist or hygienist can recommend for your plaque prevention and removal, such as an electric toothbrush, a water flosser, small bristle brushes that can clean tight spaces, a periodontal-grade toothpaste, and a dentist-approved mouthwash.

Diet Habits

Drinking more water and chewing gum with xylitol (a bacteria-fighting sweetener) will prevent your mouth from getting dry and not forming sufficient saliva, which also keeps periodontal bacteria in check. Ultimately, if you eat a healthy diet of proteins, good fats, and complex (not refined) carbohydrates, such as whole grains, seeds, nuts, peas, and vegetables, you are far less likely to create the conditions in your mouth for plaque to develop. 

But if your gums have already started to bleed, you have an advanced periodontal infection and need to call today to set up an appointment for an exam.

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How to Save a Damaged Tooth

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There are many ways that teeth can be damaged, including due to car or bike accidents, falling, sports, grinding teeth unconsciously, gnawing on pens, pulling clothes off with teeth, munching on ice, eating hard candy, chewing tough jerky, and the pits of fruits and vegetables. Or the harm to a beautiful smile could just be severe discoloration.

It is important to have Dr. Louie examine any damage ASAP to determine what needs to be done to repair or save the tooth.

A Chipped or Sensitive Tooth

If a tooth has been chipped and is painful or sensitive, Dr. Louie could create a customized veneer, a thin piece of dental porcelain, which is attached to the front to cover a minor crack and strengthen the tooth. Unlike most dental practices, we have a an iTero scanner that can produce this while you wait. He can also create an extremely thin veneer called a Lumineer, which requires less enamel to be shaved off the front compared with conventional veneers, which is done to keep a veneer from sticking out artificially.

Damaged Teeth from Grinding

If the damage has been due to grinding your teeth while you sleep, Dr. Louie can either manufacture a customized dental crown to cover the damage to each and protect them from further harm. He will also provide a personalized nightguard, a mouthguard worn while sleeping, which will stop the grinding (known as bruxism).

For some minor cases, such as small chipping, malformed teeth, gaps between them, or staining, these can be covered by a composite resin known as dental bonding. A shade is chosen and the bonding is applied, sculpted, and then hardened with a special curing light.

Infected Tooth Root

If severe pain is being caused by an infected tooth root, a root canal procedure can clean out the infected pulp, fill the canals with neutral material to prevent this from happening again, and restore the tooth. Contrary to the popular expression about painful experiences, “I’d rather have a root canal,” the procedure itself does not cause pain, it stops it. 

If you have a damaged tooth, call Dr. Louie to set an appointment for a full dental exam to determine what your best options are for restoring your full oral health.

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How Chronic Stress Affects Your Oral Health

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Life is full of stress of all kinds for everyone, from job and financial problems to accidents and family health crises. The three years of the pandemic have increased the stress by magnitudes, whether not because of not being able to socialize with friends or to buy things we thought would always be available.

Unless you have perfected your oral health care regimen, challenges like cavities, periodontal disease, and teeth that fall out may have added to normal stress. But what may not be fully appreciated is that chronic stress of all kinds, including mental health, can impact your dental health.

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, two-third of people with clinical depression reported toothaches and half of those rated their oral health as fair to poor. The reasons for this range from unhealthy diets, lack of discipline to brush twice daily and floss once, and a tendency not to have a dental exam the recommended two times a year. Small cavities can become so serious even in six months that the entire tooth needs to be extracted.

Stress has Many Effects on the Body

Stress of all kinds has an effect  on the body, including dental health. It drives up the level of the hormone cortisol, which weakens the immune system, so periodontal bacteria can find a welcoming home. Some antidepressants and anti-anxiety medications can dry up saliva, which normally fights oral bacteria. Smoking also dries the mouth and often the habit gets worse under stress.

Stress often leads to unconsciously grinding teeth while you sleep, known as bruxism, which can damage the crowns of teeth. These need to be repaired and a personalized nightguard created by Dr. Louie to prevent this from happening again.

Increased Tension Affects TMJ

Stress can cause tension in your jaw and dislocation of the TMJ, the set of hinges on both sides of the mouth that connect the lower jaw to the skull. You can feel these by placing your fingers just in front of your lower earlobes and opening and closing your mouth. The symptoms can be difficulties in even doing that or a popping sound when you do. Many suffering from TMJ Disorder also have soreness around the face, neck, or shoulders.

Cold Sores

Canker sores are mouth ulcers that can be due to a deficiency of vitamin B complex and any kind of stress. Cold sores are caused by the herpes simplex virus. This can be dormant until triggered by stress and these sores appear as lesions on the lips. Other oral infections can appear as red or white spots or white lines are usually due to stress, smoking, and too many acidic beverages (such as sodas) and foods (especially citrus).

If you have not had a full dental examination in the past year, contact our Los Angeles dentist and team today.

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‘Chippendales’ Actor, Kumail Nanjiani’s First Visit to the Dentist in 15 Years

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While on Jimmy Kimmel during his promotion for “Welcome to Chippendales”. Kumail talks about his health and dietary habits while preparing for his new show. In addition, he shares his experiences with sleep apnea, breaking a tooth, and his first dental visit in 15 years.

By the way, this is the picture our lovely dental team member ( Mina ) that Kumail was talking about that was on the wall while getting his teeth cleaned….

Woman with a bright smile

Click below to watch the video clip.

Hilarious story, we look forward to seeing Kumail again and appreciate the shoutout!

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What to Ask at Your Dental Implants Consultation

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As you probably know, the older one gets, the more likely we will have missing teeth, whether due to accidents or because poor brushing and flossing habits result in some falling out or needing to be extracted. You no doubt have questions about whether a dental implant is your best option.

Are there less expensive and quicker alternatives to implants?

Dentures are not an ideal solution because they do not stop the natural erosion of the jawbone that occurs when teeth are missing, which is why they need to be adjusted for fit about every five years. Dental bridges can slow this down by suspending a crown that looks like a tooth between the two teeth on either side of the gap, tricking the body into thinking no tooth is missing, but bridges typically only last 5-7 years. Dental implants can be a permanent solution with good oral care and so very cost-effective. The success rate for experts like Dr. Louie is about 95%.

How long does it take for each tooth to be replaced by an implant?

If a tooth is loose, it first needs to be extracted and the socket allowed to heal, which could take a couple of months. Otherwise, the first step will be for Dr. Louie to use his iTero intraoral scanner to take a 3D image of the area of the missing tooth and transmit the image to a top dental lab to create the biocompatible titanium implant. Because of this fast and highly-accurate digital process, you will quickly be able to have it ready to be screwed into the jawbone. Then you will need to wait a few months for the implant to integrate with the jawbone. The lab will have also made the dental crown, which will look exactly like your lost tooth (or teeth) and this will be attached to the top of the implant as soon as the implant has bonded. But multiple implants can be done in the same time frame.

When can I start eating normally after an implant?

In the first couple of weeks, it is important to rely on healthy soft foods like yogurt, eggs, smoothies, protein shakes, and soups. Drink lots of water, which will wash away food particles, buffer teeth from bacterial acids, and keep tissues hydrated. Avoid spicy, sour, and sweet foods, since they can irritate the surgical site while it is healing. Do not eat hard, crunchy, and sticky foods for a couple months, since they could dislodge the implant. But once the implant has become settled, it is a true treatment for missing teeth, then you can eat normally (and hopefully healthfully). 

Call today for a full exam and consultation to determine if dental implants are right for your case.

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Can a Chipped Tooth Heal on Its Own?

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The anxiety after realizing you’ve chipped a tooth can be overwhelming. Sometimes, the chip is just a filling that comes from wear and tear. But other times, it may be a large piece of your tooth broken off due to an injury, which can be a much more severe issue. 

Chips that are small and not causing any pain or sensitivity can sometimes be left alone and eventually smooth out on their own as you continue to use your teeth for biting and chewing. But if the chip is large, jagged, or causing you pain, it’s best to see a dentist right away.

Do Teeth Grow Back?

Teeth are like any other part of your body—if they’re injured, they need treatment. However, teeth don’t just heal on their own like other tissues in your body. When a bone is broken, for example, it will grow back together over time. But when a tooth is broken, it can’t grow back. 

A chipped tooth can sometimes be repaired with a filling, bonding, or veneers. If the chip is large, you may need a crown. If the tooth is severely damaged, it may need to be extracted. Let’s not forget that a chipped tooth can also be a sign of a more serious underlying dental issue, such as tooth decay or gum disease. So it’s essential to see a dentist in order to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

How Do Dentists Treat a Chipped Tooth?

The type of treatment you need will depend on the size and location of the chip, as well as the severity of the damage.

Small Chips

If the chip is small and not causing any pain or sensitivity, your dentist may just smooth it out with a file. This is called “fracture smoothing.” Fracture smoothing is often used for chips on the chewing surfaces of teeth that are not visible when you smile.

If the chip is on a front tooth and is visible when you smile, your dentist may use bonding to repair it. Bonding is a process where a tooth-colored resin is applied to the tooth and hardened with a light. Bonding can also be used to change the shape, color, or length of your teeth.

Large Chips

If the chip is large, your dentist may use bonding or veneers to repair it. Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of your teeth. They can be used to change the shape, color, size, or length of your teeth.

If the chip is large and the tooth is severely damaged, you may need a crown. A crown is a “cap” that covers the entire tooth. It can be made from metal, porcelain, or a combination of both.

You may need a root canal if the chip is large and the tooth is severely damaged. A root canal is a procedure where the nerve and blood supply are removed from the tooth. The tooth is then filled with a rubber-like material and sealed.

If the chip is large and the tooth is severely damaged, you may need to have the tooth extracted and replaced with an artificial tooth.

A chipped tooth can “heal” on its own if it is a small chip and does not cause any pain or sensitivity. However, the tooth does not regrow or repair itself. It simply may smooth out over time as you continue to use your teeth for biting and chewing. If the chip is large, jagged, or causing pain, it is best to see a dentist right away for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.

For cosmetic purposes, a chipped tooth can sometimes be repaired with a filling, bonding, or veneers. If the chip is large, you may need a crown. If the tooth is severely damaged, it may need to be extracted. Regardless of the issue, you can schedule a consultation with our Los Angeles dentist to determine which treatment option can work for you.

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Dental Injuries After a Car Accident

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If you are in a car accident, it is likely to involve injuries to your mouth that would require our expertise to heal and restore to health.

Sudden crashes often result in the head of the driver and anyone in the front passenger seat hitting the steering wheel or the dashboard. Airbags don’t always stop these injuries for a variety of reasons. The most common result is chipped teeth, for which dental bonding or veneers would provide the remedy. Our veneers are made of a strong cosmetic porcelain that can last for 10-15 years with proper care.


Cracked Teeth

The second most common injury from an auto accident is cracked teeth and a dental crown can hold them together and protect from further damage any tooth that has been cracked or fractured.

If teeth are knocked out in the accident or so severely damaged that they need to be extracted, dental implants are the ideal replacement. An implant consists of a biocompatible metal screw that is inserted into the jawbone and attached to a crown that looks exactly like a natural tooth. This can be a permanent solution.

If teeth are missing for any reason, they always need to be replaced because otherwise the mouth goes through a process of causing neighboring teeth to lean towards the gap, causing them and other teeth to become loose and they may eventually fall out. Alternatively, a dental bridge, which attaches an artificial tooth to neighboring teeth, could slow down this process. 


iTero Restorations

Crowns and implants can be made using our in-office iTero, which produces a highly-accurate 3-D digital image of the inside of your mouth, allowing Dr. Louie to plan the process, speed instructions to a dental lab, and make sure the results are an exact match to your natural teeth.

Another common injury from accidents is TMJ Disorder (short for the displacement of the  temporomandibular joint, the hinges that connect the lower jaw to the upper). You can feel them by holding your fingers just in front of your earlobes when you open and close your mouth and if they are displaced, they will make a popping or clicking sound when you do this. Or you may have trouble opening your mouth at all, feel pain in the hinges, soreness on the sides of your face, experience headaches, and neck or shoulder discomfort.

A customized orthotic splint is an oral appliance you can wear to get the jaw back in its proper place. Your bite can also be improved using crowns, bridges, implants, or Invisalign trays to prevent TMJD. We can also show you neuromuscular exercises to help and prescribe anti-inflammatories or muscle relaxers.

If you are in a car accident, call us as soon as possible for a full dental exam to discuss how Dr. Louie can help you recover.

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How iTero Technology Upgrades the Dental Experience

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When it comes to many of the ways that your smile can be upgraded,  we use an advanced scanning  technology that helps us create perfect solutions for your unique oral health and cosmetic dental needs: iTero.

Few dental practices have this, which enables us to use  a small wand that is moved gently around the inside of your mouth, taking 6,000 digital pictures a second to produce 3-D images, free of any radiation. These highly accurate photos even of hard-to-see parts of the mouth allow us to produce a treatment plan that you and we have confidence in to get you on the way to your smile goals.

 The iTero also allows us to skip making physical impression molds, a messy and uncomfortable process that most other practices must do in order to give the dental lab an idea of what needs to be done. These traditional impressions are never as accurate as a digital version, so more adjustments have to be made before the final version of the oral appliance is installed.

iTero Scanner


There are many possible applications for iTero’s imaging:

Invisalign Orthodontic Aligners

You have probably heard that to straighten teeth now, instead of the long and uncomfortable process of wearing traditional braces, many patients can utilize aligner trays that they can remove before they eat. The iTero allows you to see what your smile will look like when treatment is finished and enables us to track your progress and adjust the aligners as needed to keep progress on course.

Dental Implants

Replacing a missing tooth, whether due to an accident or poor dental hygiene, with a dental implant is a complicated process to make sure it is anchored into the jawbone and is a good fit for the gap, topped by a crown that matches the neighboring teeth. With proper care, this can be a permanent solution.

Dental Crowns

These look like the visible part of your natural teeth and can restore your bite alignment after teeth are missing, ground down while you sleep, or chipped and need the protection of this cap.


A less expensive and quicker alternative to an implant and crown is a dental bridge. This requires an impression to be sent to the dental lab to craft what looks like a natural tooth, which will then be attached to the back of the teeth next to where the missing one was, so no one will know you ever had a gap. It is not anchored into the jaw, however, and may not last as long, but it will keep the teeth from further misalignment (a natural process, as the remaining teeth lean towards any gap and become themselves loose, ultimately resulting in more of them falling out).


Made of strong dental porcelain attached to the front of teeth, these can cover cracks, chips, deep discoloration, and gaps, as well as misshapen teeth or ones that are too small or too large. They are increasingly popular with celebrities and the general public for an easy way to correct cosmetic and functional smile flaws. 

Call today for a dental appointment in Los Angeles and Larchmont Village to have a full dental exam and find out what your best options are to achieve your ideal smile.

More Info and Resources on Cosmetic Dentistry:

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How Dental Visits can Help with Gum Disease Prevention

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Other than having had cavities taken care of by the family dentist, most people grow up with little awareness about the importance of good oral care habits. A third of American adults don’t see a dentist each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and half of all Americans suffer from periodontal disease aka periodontitis.

Periodontal disease is the gum infection that results from inadequate oral hygiene. The right way to do it is to use a soft brush for two minutes twice a day, stroking from the gum line towards the end of the tooth. Flossing needs to be done at the end of the day, carefully holding the string against each side of every tooth. If food and beverage particles are left, a sticky bacterial forms on them and an infection at the gum line begins to peel  away the support of the gums for the tooth.

Without an improvement in oral care, this will ultimately lead to teeth becoming loose and either falling out or needing to be extracted. Some 69% of Americans 35-44 have lost at least one tooth, while 70% of those 75 or older have no teeth.

But even the most dedicated brushers and flossers can’t do the type of cleaning that a dental hygienist can. She has the tools and techniques that enable her to reach difficult areas , scraping off the plaque (aka tartar when it hardens) and injecting antibacterial solutions as needed. This should be done at least twice a year.

Another reason to come into our office at least twice a year is for a full dental exam, including a digital x-ray at least once a year, which is the only way to determine whether a periodontal infection has reached the jawbone. If so, it needs to not only be surgically removed, a bone graft will probably be necessary to make it possible for a dental implant to be done, if a tooth is so loose it needs to be extracted.

Making sure periodontal bacteria are not out of control is also important because this would otherwise raise the risk for having diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. 

Dr. Louie can also look for signs of oral cancer and make sure there are no other dental problems developing. Call for an appointment today in Los Angeles and Larchmont Village before minor problems develop into crises.

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Without Treatment, Chipped Teeth can Lead to Tooth Decay

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A chipped tooth needs to be examined and treated quickly to avoid it becoming a bigger problem. A mere hairline crack in the outer protective layer of enamel due to an accident can expose the more vulnerable inner layers and the tooth could become decayed or even result in a dead root and the need for root canal therapy.

Chipping can occur from a wide variety of causes: an car or bike crash, a fall, a blow to the face playing sports, chewing on a pen, pulling off clothes with your teeth, munching on ice, tearing at jerky, eating nuts, hard candy, bones, nuts, hard breads like pretzels, corn on the cob, popcorn with unpopped kernels, or fruits and vegetables with pits.  

If the chip is painful and sensitive, you can use over-the-counter pain relievers until you come into our office. If there is any bleeding, put a cold pack on and off every 15 minutes for a couple of hours to prevent swelling, and rinse your mouth with salt water to reduce the risk of infection. Eat soft foods and avoid chewing in the area of the injured tooth. Dentemp is a product available at most drug stores to temporarily treat a chipped tooth.

Once Dr. Louie has examined the tooth he will recommend the appropriate solution. If the chip is relatively minor, he may feel that it can be covered and the tooth strengthened by placing a veneer on the front, a very thin piece of biocompatible dental porcelain. This can be exactly matched to the shade of the neighboring teeth so no one will know it was ever harmed. He will use our iTero scanner to create a 3D image of the area to be treated and send this to a top dental lab to craft the veneer. On a second visit, the veneer will be fitted and attached.

If the chip is more of a crack that could endanger the health of the entire tooth, Dr. Louie may feel that it is better to cover it with a crown, a cap to hold it together that also is made to appear exactly like one of your natural teeth.

If you are concerned about any current or potential dental issues, call to set up an appointment for a thorough exam in Los Angeles and Larchmont Village to explore your best options for creating the perfect smile.

More Info and Resources on Cosmetic Dentistry:

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