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All Posts in Category: Dental Blog

How to Save a Damaged Tooth

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If you are experiencing a dental emergency, it is important to take steps to save a damaged tooth before it worsens. Dr. Louie and his team understands the urgency of such situations, and we’re here to guide you through the process of preserving your tooth until you can reach our Los Angeles office.

Take Immediate Action

Time is of the essence when dealing with a damaged tooth. The sooner you act, the better the chances of saving it. Rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and remove any debris.

Handle with Care

Avoid touching the root of the tooth. Hold it by the crown (the part visible in your mouth) to prevent further damage or contamination.

Reposition if Possible

If your tooth is partially dislodged, try to gently push it back into its original position. Avoid exerting too much force, and don’t attempt to reposition a completely knocked-out tooth.

Add Fluids

If you can’t reposition the tooth, keep it moist by placing it in a container of milk or saliva. This helps preserve the tooth’s viability until you can see your dentist.

Apply Cold Compress

To reduce swelling and alleviate pain, apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth near the affected area.

Remember, these steps are temporary measures to help save your tooth in the event of an emergency. It is essential to see a dentist as soon as possible for proper evaluation and treatment. Dr. Shervin Louie and our team at Shervin Louie, DDS here in Larchmont and Los Angeles, can provide prompt and effective care for your dental emergencies.

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Replacing Dental Crowns

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Dental crowns are a restorative solution for damaged or decayed teeth. These tooth-shaped caps are placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size, strength, and appearance. While dental crowns are durable, they may need to be replaced over time due to wear and tear or other issues. Our team specializes in replacing dental crowns to ensure our patients maintain healthy and beautiful smiles in Los Angeles and Larchmont.

Assessment and Consultation

If you believe your dental crown needs a replacement, schedule an appointment with Dr. Shervin Louie for a thorough evaluation. During your consultation, we’ll assess the condition of your crown and discuss your treatment options.

Preparation

Before replacing the crown, the tooth is prepared by removing the existing crown and any decay or damaged material. This process may involve numbing the area to ensure your comfort.

Once the tooth is prepared, an impression of the area will be taken to create a custom-made crown that fits perfectly with your bite and surrounding teeth.

Temporary Crown

While your permanent crown is being fabricated, a temporary crown will be placed to protect the tooth as well.

New Crown Placement

Once your new crown is ready, you’ll return to our office for its placement. Our team will ensure the crown fits accurately and comfortably before permanently bonding it to the tooth.

Additional Adjustments

We’ll make any necessary adjustments to ensure your bite is aligned correctly and that the crown looks natural alongside your other teeth.

Replacing a dental crown is a straightforward procedure that can significantly improve the function and appearance of your smile. If you’re experiencing discomfort or notice signs of damage to your crown, don’t hesitate to contact Shervin Louie, DDS, for expert care at our Los Angeles and Larchmont office.

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Smile-Friendly New Year’s Resolutions from Your Dentist

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Dr. Louie and his team encourage patients to adopt smile-friendly resolutions for the upcoming year. By developing a consistent routine and placing extra attention to your oral health, you can make the year ahead a great one for your smile.

Regular Check-Ups

Commit to regular dental check-ups at our Los Angeles and Larchmont office to catch and prevent potential issues before they escalate. Practice good oral hygiene habits, such as brushing, flossing, and using mouthwash consistently. 

Cosmetic Dentistry

Consider exploring cosmetic dentistry options to enhance your smile and boost your confidence. These include veneers, teeth whitening, bonding, Invisalign, and more.

Remember to stay hydrated, as water helps flush out bacteria and promotes a healthy mouth. Limit sugary and acidic foods to protect your teeth from decay. By incorporating these resolutions, you’ll be on the path to a healthier and more radiant smile in the new year.

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The Risks of Prolonged Missing Teeth

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The importance of addressing missing teeth goes beyond cosmetic concerns, especially for patients looking to maintain excellent oral health. Prolonged gaps in the dental arch can lead to various health concerns, and Dr. Louie emphasizes the significance of comprehensive dental care to mitigate these risks.

Changes in Bite Alignment

Missing teeth can cause neighboring teeth to shift, leading to changes in bite functionality. This shift can result in challenges in chewing, speaking, and may contribute to the development of temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders.

Bone Resorption

The roots of teeth play a crucial role in stimulating the underlying jawbone. When there is a missing tooth, the lack of stimulation can lead to bone resorption, causing a decrease in bone density and altering facial structure.

Increased Risk of Gum Disease

Gaps in the dental arch create spaces where bacteria can accumulate, which can heighten the risk of gum disease. Proper tooth alignment and spacing are essential for optimal oral hygiene.

Speech Impediments

Missing teeth, particularly in the front of the mouth, can impact speech patterns, leading to difficulties in pronunciation and articulation.

Dr. Shervin Louie and his team in Los Angeles emphasize the importance of addressing missing teeth promptly through various restorative options, including dental implants, bridges, and dentures. Their patient-centered approach focuses on restoring not only the aesthetics but also the functionality and overall health of the smile. By providing comprehensive solutions, we can ensure that patients can enjoy a complete and healthy smile for years to come.

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Reducing Teeth Sensitivity After Whitening

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A bright, white smile is often a goal for individuals seeking to enhance their overall appearance. Professional teeth whitening treatments with a Los Angeles dentist are among the most popular choices for achieving that aesthetic. A frequent common concern associated with teeth whitening is sensitivity. Dr. Louie and his team recognize the importance of minimizing discomfort during and after the whitening process.

Professional whitening treatments utilize high-quality, enamel-safe whitening agents. Despite the effectiveness of these treatments, some patients may experience increased tooth sensitivity, especially immediately after the procedure. To address this, here are some recommendations:

Pre-treatment Assessment

Prior to the whitening procedure, a comprehensive examination is conducted to identify any existing tooth sensitivity issues. This allows for a personalized approach, taking into consideration the unique needs of each patient.

Desensitizing Agents

Dentists incorporate desensitizing agents into the whitening process to minimize post-treatment sensitivity. These agents help to soothe the nerves in the teeth, providing a more comfortable experience for the patient.

Customized Treatment Plans

Not all patients have the same level of sensitivity or response to whitening agents. Dr. Louie and his team create customized treatment plans, adjusting the concentration and duration of the whitening process based on individual sensitivity levels.

Post-Whitening Care

Patients are provided with detailed post-whitening care instructions to manage sensitivity at home. This may include using desensitizing toothpaste, avoiding extreme temperatures, and temporarily refraining from certain foods and beverages.

By prioritizing patient comfort and employing these proactive measures, we ensure that patients can achieve the dazzling results of professional teeth whitening without enduring prolonged sensitivity.

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Dental Implant Recovery: What to be Aware of

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Dental implants have revolutionized the world of restorative dentistry, providing a long-lasting solution for those missing one or more teeth. If you’re considering dental implants or have recently undergone the procedure, understanding the recovery process is crucial. At Shervin Louie, DDS, your trusted Larchmont, Los Angeles dental practice, we want to ensure you have all the information you need to make your recovery as smooth as possible.

Immediate Post-Operative Care

After your dental implant surgery, it’s vital to follow your dentist’s instructions carefully. The initial recovery period is critical for the success of your implants. Here’s what you can expect:

Pain and Discomfort

You may experience some pain and discomfort, which is normal after surgery. Your dentist will prescribe pain medication or recommend over-the-counter options to manage this.

Swelling

Swelling around the surgical site is common and typically peaks within 48 hours. Applying ice packs to the area can help reduce swelling.

Bleeding

Some bleeding is normal during the first 24 hours. Gently biting on a sterile gauze pad can help control it.

Diet

Stick to a soft diet for the first few days to avoid putting too much pressure on your implants. Soups, smoothies, and mashed foods are excellent options.

Oral Hygiene

While you should avoid disturbing the surgical site, it’s essential to maintain good oral hygiene. Your dentist will provide instructions on how to do this without harming the implant.

Long-Term Recovery

Recovering from dental implant surgery is not just about the days immediately following the procedure. Successful recovery extends into the weeks and months ahead. Here’s what you should be aware of:

Osseointegration

Dental implants rely on a process called osseointegration, where the implant fuses with the jawbone. This can take several months, during which you should avoid any strenuous activities that might stress the implant.

Follow-up Appointments

Regular follow-up appointments with your dentist are crucial to monitor the healing process and ensure everything is progressing as it should.

Oral Hygiene

Continue to maintain impeccable oral hygiene to prevent infection and promote healing. Use a soft toothbrush and follow your dentist’s instructions for cleaning around the implant.

Diet

Gradually reintroduce harder foods into your diet as your implant heals. Your dentist will guide you on when it’s safe to do so.

Avoid Smoking and Alcohol

Smoking and excessive alcohol consumption can hinder the healing process and increase the risk of complications. It’s best to avoid them during your recovery.

Protect Your Investment

Dental implants are a significant investment in your oral health and appearance. Ensure their long-term success by caring for them diligently and attending regular dental check-ups.

Dental implant recovery is a crucial phase in achieving a healthy, beautiful smile. By following your dentist’s guidance and being aware of what to expect during the recovery process, you can increase the likelihood of successful implant integration.

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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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