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All Posts in Category: Los Angeles Dental Care

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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Advantages of Getting Invisalign

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Los angeles ca dentist

The advantages of using the Invisalign system are greater than simply achieving a beautiful smile. With Invisalign’s clear, comfortable, and removable devices, you can expect to see significant and lasting results as well as a variety of oral health benefits.

What is Invisalign?

Invisalign is a highly effective teeth alignment program that provides a welcomed alternative to traditional wire braces—in less time. Invisalign corrects any tooth abnormality, including over-bites, under-bites, cross-bites, overcrowded, gapped and protruding teeth. But that’s not all. Here are some of the added benefits of using Invisalign:

Overall health

In addition to fixing crooked, crowded and gapped teeth, Invisalign also corrects abnormal bite functions: for example, when the upper and lower jaws fail to align properly when your mouth is closed. If bite issues are left unmanaged, they can lead to further oral health problems, like cavities, tooth loss, gum infections, erosion of tooth enamel and difficulty speaking and/or eating.

Gum disease is a major factor in mouths where teeth are too widely spaced or crowded. Once your teeth are properly aligned, gums fit around them more snugly, providing a stronger defense against infections. The straighter your teeth, the healthier your mouth.


Invisalign aligners gradually and gently move teeth into their proper positions, without the unsightly metal brackets that come with traditional braces. Invisalign appliances are made from medical-grade polyurethane resin; their smooth, soft edges provide greater control throughout the teeth-straightening process, shifting your teeth slightly, vertically and horizontally. They are virtually indestructible, invisible and best of all, comfortable—and, also unlike metal braces, Invisalign aligners are removable, allowing you to brush and floss your teeth as normal while maintaining a greater level of oral hygiene.


Another benefit to choosing Invisalign is that you get to spend more time doing what you love, and less time in a dentist’s chair. Unlike conventional fixed braces, typical Invisalign treatment plans last about 12 months, with the aligners worn roughly 22 hours per day. That means fewer in-person check-ups!

Invisalign also grants you the freedom to continue enjoying the foods you love. Simply remove your aligner and tuck into corn on the cob, whole apples, and other previously tricky solids that wreaked havoc on wire braces and allowed for trapped debris, thus leading to tooth decay and gum disease.

Boost in confidence

Invisalign can drastically boost your self-confidence by allowing you to show off your beautiful smile—with the added knowledge that your oral health is in top condition.

Teens and young adults

Protruding, crooked or even missing teeth can have a detrimental effect on the self-esteem of teenagers and young adults, resulting in feelings of unattractiveness. Teens who experience low levels of self-confidence during their formative years are vulnerable to negative influences and are more likely to become depressed. Fortunately, teens are now opting for the Invisalign treatment over conventional braces due to the former’s discreet and unnoticeable fit.

If you still have questions about Invisalign, our experts at Shervin M. Louie, DDS are always available to help. Call today!

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3 Things You Should Know About Tooth Contouring

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Tooth Contouring

Tooth contouring, a procedure also called enameloplasty) is a way to alter the shape of a patient’s tooth, not to mention the surface, which can start to become stained and experience plaque and tartar buildup over time.

Pits and bumps can also start to develop in the tooth which can lead to bacterial growth and cavities.

The benefits of a tooth contouring and reshaping procedure at Shervin M. Louie, DDS extend beyond simple aesthetics and reach into functional and preventive as well.

Below are a few things you should know about the tooth contouring procedure.

1.) Tooth Contouring is Painless!

Many dental procedures involve the use of novocaine or some other type of numbing agent. But not the tooth contouring procedure. Tooth contouring is simple, fast, and relatively pain-free.

2.) You Have to Have a Sufficient Amount of Enamel

The best candidates for the tooth contouring procedure already have a fair amount of tooth enamel to work with. For those of our patients who are in need of more major dental restoration work or lack the necessary amount of enamel for the procedure will want to consider other options like dental veneers.

3.) Tooth Contouring is an Easy Way to Boost Self-Confidence

A great smile will open new doors you didn’t know existed before. Having a smooth, contoured set of pearly whites will help you stand out in a crowd and leave you with a smile more often — on a daily basis!

If you have any questions about the tooth contouring procedure, please contact Shervin M. Louie, DDS to schedule your consultation today. We have a long track record of giving our patients the celebrity treatment, whether they’re a celebrity or not! Don’t wait another day to achieve the smile of your dreams.

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Going Overboard on Bleaching?

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Woman with nice white teeth

Teeth Whitening and Bleachorexia

Teeth whitening products have given people the opportunity to smile brightly after years of staining their teeth with coffee, tobacco, tea, and other products that aren’t good for dental health and tooth color.

However, they’ve also given rise to a new issue that dentists have begun calling bleachorexia. Bleachorexia describes the act of over-bleaching one’s teeth to make them as white as possible. Not only do overtly white teeth look unnatural, but the act of over bleaching them can actually destroy them.

Therefore, it’s important to know the effects of bleachorexia and how to prevent them.

What Does Bleachorexia Cause?

Bleachorexia can cause several effects that range from simply uncomfortable to downright painful. The intensity of these effects depends on how often a bleaching product is abused, the starting condition of the user’s teeth, and the particular product being used.

A bleaching agent works by using peroxide to lessen the effects of stains that have built up by drinking coffee, tea, smoking, using chewing tobacco, and other habits that aren’t good for the coloring and health of teeth.

This peroxide is fairly strong and it causes teeth to become very sensitive to varying temperatures. However, it’s usually not a permanent problem if the user stops using the bleaching product. The sensitivity will typically cease soon after the bleaching agent is removed from the user’s teeth cleaning regimen.

Another common effect of bleaching is irritation in the gums and throat. This is another symptom that’s caused by the peroxide used to whiten the teeth. The gums and throat simply aren’t good at resisting corrosive chemicals such as peroxide.

It’s not a very serious side-effect of bleachorexia, but it is an annoyance and it’s avoidable by using ADA-approved products, or by having a licensed dentist perform the whitening.

The most serious side-effect of over-bleaching is tooth erosion. If teeth are exposed to bleaching agents too often and for too long, the enamel that protects teeth is destroyed. This causes a number of long-lasting oral health issues and quite a bit of pain.

After an individual bleaches the enamel off of their teeth, professional help is a necessity. It’s best to simply have a professional do the bleaching properly to avoid the effects of improper bleaching.

Dr. Shervin M. Louie, DDS: An Expert in Preventing Bleachorexia

Dr. Louie is a cosmetic dentist in Los Angeles. He recommends using only ADA-approved products for teeth whitening. It’s also recommended to use them under the watchful eye of a licensed dental expert.

However, Dr. Louie also provides his patients with ADA-approved kits that they can use at home. That removes the guesswork involved in finding an effective product. If you’re looking for professional teeth whitening services, you’ll find some of the best at Smile in LA.

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Dental Myths: Fact or Fiction?

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Woman flossing teeth

There are lots of myths surrounding dental care and treatment. Inaccurate information may make you feel confused and anxious, wondering if some daily habit is destroying your teeth. In times like this, it’s good to seek out expert knowledge. Los Angeles cosmetic dentist Dr. Shervin Louie is here to put an end to these dental misconceptions and misinformation.

Myth #1: Sensitive Teeth are Signs of Dental Decay

FICTION. When you experience tooth sensitivity, it does not necessarily mean that you have a decaying tooth. Tooth sensitivity can have multiple causes, such as gum recession that exposes the tooth’s roots. You may just have naturally sensitive teeth. If you do, then it is advisable that you visit a professional dentist like Dr. Louie who will perform an examination and establish the exact cause of your tooth sensitivity. In the case of a gum recession, a filling can be done to cover the exposed root.

Myth #2: Bleeding Gums are Normal and should not be Brushed

FICTION. If you have not established a flossing habit, then your first time flossing may make your gums bleed. This is normal and your gums will build up a tolerance if you continue. But in any other case, bleeding gums are not normal. They may be a sign of gingivitis. The good news is that this condition can be treated.


There is also a misconception that bleeding gums should not be brushed and should be allowed time to heal before they can be cleaned again. But the bleeding is itself a result of not brushing. Gums that have not been brushed enough tend to develop bacteria around and beneath them that irritates the gum and makes it bleed. Regular brushing will help get rid of all the bacteria.

Myth #3: More Sugar Means More Cavities

FICTION. Whereas it is true that cavities are a result of bacteria breaking down sugary substances into harmful acids that corrode your teeth, it is not true that more sugary foods will necessarily result in tooth decay. The important factor is the amount of time that sugary substances stay on your teeth. The longer they stay, the more the chance of cavities and decay. For example, if you drink soda through a straw, the liquid bypasses your teeth and does not contribute to decay. But if you eat a bar of chocolate and allow the sticky reside to coat your teeth, cavity formation is greatly accelerated. It is always advisable to brush your teeth or rinse your mouth with water after every meal and especially after eating sugary foods.

Myth #4: Dental Problems Lead to Bad Breath

FACT. While many factors contribute to bad breath, from the last food you ate to even what time of day it is (“morning breath” is a real phenomenon), bad teeth do lead to bad breath. Many people with bad breath resort to using breath fresheners and mouthwashes, which is treating the symptoms rather than the cause of the problem. Daily brushing and flossing will significantly reduce bad breath. But if it persists, you should visit a professional like Dr. Louie to see if you have any serious dental issues.

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Bruxism: The Seemingly Harmless Habit That Could Literally Make Your Teeth Fall Out!

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Bruxism: The Seemingly Harmless Habit That Could Literally Make Your Teeth Fall Out!

Bruxism TreatmentDo you sometimes find yourself waking up some mornings with a headache you can’t seem to explain? Have you experienced slight muscle pains in your face? If you answered “Yes” to these questions, you may be suffering from bruxism. Bruxism is more commonly referred to as “teeth grinding” or “jaw clenching”. This nasty habit seems harmless, but should not be ignored. The truth is, bruxism wears your teeth down and sets you up for cavities and makes you vulnerable to tooth fractures. If not addressed, worst case scenario is that bruxism will contribute to tooth loss. Below are ways to better understand bruxism and how you can address the issue to save your smile.

What Causes Bruxism?

Here at Smile in LA, we’ve understand that many factors can combine to create a bruxism habit. It is believed that anxiety and stress are the leading causes of bruxism. A misaligned bite, having missing teeth, or sleep abnormalities can also contribute to bruxism. There have also been some medications known to trigger episodes. Even neurological or musculature illnesses have been linked to the development of bruxism. If you’re are currently experiencing facial pain or discomfort due to bruxism, give us a call at (323) 461-9353 and schedule an immediate appointment.

Isn’t it Common for People to Grind Their Teeth?

Teeth grinding may be a common issue amongst the population,  but that does not mean this action is necessarily “normal”. Due to the fact that the stresses of bruxism affect your entire jaw, this pressure has been known to create cracks and chips in teeth. Over time, this can lead to jawbone loss which will result in a shortening of lower face height. For this reason, signs of bruxism should not be ignored! Los Angeles Dentist Dr. Shervin Louie of Smile in LA is pretty sure that is not a look you’re are looking to capture!

How Do I Know I Have a Bruxism Problem?  

In a majority of cases, we are able to see evidence of bruxism in your X-rays, an also from examining for signs of bruxism on the surface of your teeth.  We will alert you about any bruxism issues we see long before you exhibit a single symptom, especially if you sleep alone (which makes bruxism harder to notice). However, you might notice that you may occasionally begin to clench and grind your teeth between visits and start to notice bruxism symptoms on your own. If this explains your current situation, and you find that you frequently awake with a sore jaw, a headache that goes away shortly after rising, or if a loved one tells you your teeth are making odd “clicking and clanking” noises all night, be sure to mention it the next time you’re visiting our Los Angeles dental practice.

What Treatments Are Available?

Due to the varied cases of bruxism, treatments options vary as well. For example, should we determine stress as the primary cause of your bruxism, we will recommend you abstain from excessive caffeine as well as alcohol, while including some form of daily relaxation. Even something as simple as taking time to soak in a warm bath before sleeping can work ease your body and mind working to stop your bruxism habit.

Now, if your bruxism is a bit more serious, and your bite is of concern or if Dr. Louie suspects your bruxism links to a TMJ disorder, he will use his expertise to assist you with the root cause. In either case, we still like to start out with recommending an occlusal mouth guard to protect your teeth and jawbone from further damage. Protective devices like a sleeping mouth guard are easy to wear, and best of all – will not disrupt your ability to get a peaceful night’s sleep. As a matter of fact, sleeping guards tend to improve your quality of your sleep resulting in you waking up more refreshed and feeling well rested. Patients using sleeping guards have reported to snore less or stopped snoring, as well as awake with less facial pain.

So, the next time you’re sitting in for your dental visit at Smile In LA, ask if some sort of sleeping guard may help with your bruxism. It is common for many people go years without ever being aware of the fact that they are clenching and grinding their teeth since it takes some time for symptoms to show and be recognized. Getting a mouthguard once you are aware you have this habit will help you find relief from related headaches and muscle pain. Call us at (323) 461-9353 or visit our website for more information on how we can help you.

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