Are You Using the Right Toothbrush?

Buying a new toothbrush can be difficult with so many different shapes, sizes and styles to choose from. Which toothbrush you use and how often you replace your toothbrush, however, is important for maintaining good oral health and a radiant smile. Here are some basic recommendations from Dental Dimensions to consider when selecting a toothbrush:

Right Toothbrush

  • Your toothbrush should be the right size for your mouth and teeth; it should not be uncomfortable to clean your teeth.
  • Your toothbrush should have bristles that stand up straight.
  • Choose a toothbrush with soft bristles that are gentle on your teeth and gums.
  • Select a toothbrush with a handle that is easy to grip and long enough so as not to make the action of brushing awkward or difficult.
  • Your toothbrush should have a marginally small head so it can fit comfortably between the teeth and cheek. The head of the toothbrush should be small enough to clean the back molars and other hard to reach areas.

How to Care for Your Toothbrush:

  • Replace your toothbrush every three to four months, or when the bristles look worn or bent.
  • After an illness, throw away your old toothbrush and buy a new one to avoid re-infection.
  • Never share toothbrushes as this increases the risk of infection and illnesses.
  • After brushing, thoroughly rinse your toothbrush with water to remove remaining toothpaste and debris.
  • Allow your toothbrush to air-dry by storing it in an upright position.

When you choose the toothbrush that is the right size and style for your mouth and dental care needs, you’ll be able to clean your teeth more completely and help prevent the development of plaque and other dental diseases. If you need assistance deciding on the best toothbrush for your oral health needs, discuss your choice of toothbrush with our San Jose office.

Create Your Perfect Smile with Veneers

Tired of putting up with pesky gaps in your teeth? Want to get rid of stained, misshaped or crooked teeth once and for all? Veneers might be a good option for you if you’re ready to repair nature’s mistake or the results of an injury.

Perfect Smile with Veneers

For the ultimate smile makeover, veneers are ideal for enhancing the color, shape and size of your teeth. Removing minimal tooth structure, this safe procedure involves adhering strong, thin, tooth-colored shells to the front of your teeth, and can be completed in just a few appointments.

At Dental Dimensions, we recommend veneers for:

  • Dull or discolored teeth
  • Teeth that are worn down or aged
  • Chipped, cracked or broken teeth
  • Misaligned or irregularly shaped teeth
  • Closing gaps between teeth

Because veneers are fabricated with a durable and highly stain resistant material (such as porcelain), they usually last longer than most other cosmetic dental procedures, which mean fewer appointments for replacements and repair. Once your veneers are in place, they’ll essentially become part of your teeth, resulting in a more shapely, white and natural looking smile!

If you are looking to enhance your smile and dramatically improve the overall appearance of your teeth, veneers could be the perfect option to help your reach your goals.  Speak with one of our dental professionals at Dental Dimensions in San Jose for more information, and find out if veneers are right for you.

At Dental Dimensions, we offer many smile-enhancing cosmetic treatments. So whether you desire the complete smile makeover, a quick repair of a minor imperfection or a routine check up and cleaning, patients can feel confident knowing that our experienced San Jose dentists will help them achieve their most beautiful, healthy smile.

How To Ease A Toothache

A severe toothache can be difficult to bear, often times preventing you from participating in your daily activities or keeping you up through the night. The severity of a toothache can range from chronic and mild to sharp and excruciating. It’s common for the pain to be aggravated by chewing, or sensitive to foods and beverages which are hot and cold.

Ease Toothache

Relieving Toothaches

When tooth pain comes your way, you’ll want to know what steps you can take to alleviate the pain until you can see your dentist. The following tips from Dental Dimensions may provide temporary relief, but it’s always best to contact our San Jose office for any dental problems, including a toothache. Numbing the pain is never a good substitute for professional dental care.

Here are a few simple remedies to cope with the pain until you can see your dentist.

  • Schedule an appointment with our San Jose office. Putting off treatment for tooth pain can lead to more serious dental problems.
  • Take over-the-counter pain medications to reduce the pain and swelling, but never place the medication directly on the affected tooth. Always consult with your dentist or physician first.
  • Apply a cold compress to the side of your cheek.
  • Floss to remove particles that may be lodged between your teeth causing the pain.
  • Elevate your head to reduce the pressure on the affected tooth.
  • Rinse with a mixture of salt and water to remove any food particles or debris that may be irritating your tooth.
  • Avoid foods that intensify the pain, such as foods with extreme temperature or foods that are hard to chew.
  • Take care of your teeth by brushing and flossing regularly, and visit your dentist for routine check ups. This is the best way to avoid dental pain and keep your teeth healthy.

While it’s possible to manage tooth pain, you should seek professional care from our San Jose office whenever you experience dental pain or unusual symptoms. In most instances, a toothache is caused by a dental problem, such as a cavity, a fractured tooth, or an infection. A thorough oral examination from Dental Dimensions can help determine the cause. Based on the problem, we can administer the appropriate treatment to ease your pain.

Cavities: Avoiding Tooth Decay for a Healthy Smile

Cavities. You know you want to avoid them. Maybe you’ve even had one or two in your lifetime. But do you really know everything you need to know about cavities, including how to detect and prevent them?

Cavities Avoiding Toth Decay

At Dental Dimensions, we believe educated patients are better equipped to care for their teeth and gums. That’s why we focus on preventative care for each of our patients in order to avoid dental problems that are often caused by cavities and decay.

What is a Cavity?

To put it simply, cavities are decayed areas of your teeth that develop into small openings or holes- a process that occurs over time. Also called tooth decay, cavities are caused by a combination of factors, including poor oral hygiene and the frequent snacking of sugary foods. When bacteria, acid, food particles and saliva combine to form plaque, it clings to the teeth, and when not removed by regular brushing, begins to dissolve the enamel surface of the teeth. Inside your teeth, decay can gradually destroy the inner layer, or pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves and other tissues. Left untreated, the long-term decay process can lead to infections in your gums and can eat away at the bone structures under the teeth.

You might have a cavity if…

The signs and symptoms of cavities vary depending on the extent of decay and the location of the cavity. In its early stages, a cavity may not present any symptoms. As the decay progresses, the following symptoms may indicate a cavity:

  • Toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity to sweet, hot or cold drinks
  • Pain when chewing or biting
  • Visible pits or holes in the teeth
  • Pus surrounding a tooth

Red, tender and swollen gums; unexplained bad breath; loose teeth; and changes in your bite are also signs of serious dental problems and should be examined by our San Jose office.

How can I prevent cavities from developing?

Dental Dimensions recommends the following steps to help prevent tooth decay:

  • Brush at least twice a day to keep teeth clean, especially after eating and drinking
  • Floss at least once a day to remove food particles and plaque in hard to reach areas
  • Avoid frequent snacking and sipping of sugary foods and drinks
  • Visit our San Jose office for routine cleanings and check ups. Professional cleanings can remove plaque and tartar build up that a regular toothbrush cannot

Cavities are very serious. Left untreated, a cavity can destroy your tooth and kill the delicate nerves at its center. Once an abscess forms, the only treatment options may be a root canal, surgery or extracting the tooth. The best way to detect and prevent cavities is by visitingDental Dimensions regularly, as we can detect a cavity in its earliest stages. By practicing good dental care at home and visiting our San Jose office regularly, you’ll help your teeth stay cavity free!

It’s Not Wise to Wait for Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom teeth, also known as the third molars, generally erupt between the ages of 17 and 25 according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. Some people go their entire lives without ever getting their wisdom teeth, while others can develop up to four, one at each end of the upper and lower gums.

It's Not Wise to Wait for Wisdom Teeth Removal

Why is Extraction Necessary?

  • When the mouth isn’t large enough to accommodate the third molars, they can become impacted (trapped within the jaw)
  • Partially erupted wisdom teeth are very susceptible to tooth decay, infections and even gum disease
  • Misaligned wisdom teeth can shift or damage adjacent teeth
  • Cysts can form and destroy bone, nerves or tooth roots

Early Removal for a Quick Recovery

A patient’s age and the position of the wisdom teeth will determine the relative ease in which they can be extracted. Removal before the third molars have a chance to emerge is generally recommended in order to maintain proper alignment of the teeth. When wisdom teeth are impacted, extraction becomes more difficult and may require a more involved surgical procedure.

Younger patients typically have an easier time with wisdom teeth removal because the tooth roots are not fully developed and the bone is less dense, making extraction less complicated. As a result, recovery time is generally shorter.

Not everyone’s wisdom teeth need to be extracted. If the third molars are aligned, healthy and functional, dentists may let the teeth remain, but continue to monitor their movement. Patients experiencing jaw pain or inflammation should have their wisdom teeth evaluated by a dentist.

If you haven’t already, visit our San Jose office to learn more about your wisdom teeth. At Dental Dimensions, routine check ups can help us monitor the development of your third molars and recommend an appropriate time for removal, should it be necessary.

What Your Mouth Says About Your Health

Your mouth is the gateway to your body. An unhealthy mouth may increase your risk for serious health problems, including heart attack, diabetes and preterm labor. Research shows that more than 90 percent of all systematic diseases have oral manifestations, including swollen gums, mouth ulcers or excessive gum problems. Here’s a look at some of the diseases and conditions that may be connected to oral health.

  • Diabetes – Due to elevated blood sugars, diabetes increases your risk of gum disease, cavities, tooth loss, dry mouth, and a variety of oral infections. Conversely, because diabetes can reduce the body’s resistance to infection, it can be difficult to control.
  • Heart Disease – According to research, poor oral health can increase the risk for developing heart disease as studies have shown a link between the bacteria found in both diseases.
  • Premature Birth – Studies have found that expectant mothers with periodontal disease are up to seven times more likely to deliver premature, low-birth-weight babies.
  • Your mouth can reveal other clues about your state of health as well including respiratory conditions, oral cancer and osteoporosis.

To keep your mouth and body healthy:

  • Provide our San Jose office with a complete health history — illnesses and medication use — even if they seem unrelated to your oral health.
  • Brush and floss regularly to help remove bacteria from the mouth that could potentially travel through your body.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet to keep your immune system strong.
  • If you smoke, talk to your dentist about options for quitting.
  • Visit Dental Dimensions for routine checkups and professional cleanings to prevent problems and detect potential issues in their early stages.

The signs and symptoms of many potentially life-threatening diseases appear in the mouth first. Since most people have regular oral examinations, the dentist is often the first to identify a health problem in its early stages. Dental professionals are trained to look for many systemic diseases simply through your regular oral exam.

Make it a priority to practice good oral hygiene every day. You’re making an investment in your total body health, not just for now, but for the future, too.

Zoom! Your way to a Whiter, More Confident Smile

Teeth stains can be caused by a number of factors, including age, drinks, foods and smoking. When a smile is faded, it can have an effect not only on an individual’s appearance, but also on your self-confidence. Simple teeth whitening from a professional dentist is an easy way to achieve a brighter, more attractive smile and gain back your confidence.

At Dental Dimensions, we offer the best in teeth whitening for patients who desire a whiter smile.  The Zoom! teeth whitening system is one of our most powerful in-office whitening options—a safe, effective and convenient chairside treatment that delivers long-lasting results for our patients.

Zoom! teeth whitening is a great option for busy patients. In under an hour, Zoom! can whiten your natural tooth color up to 12 shades! This safe procedure is easily performed in our San Jose office by an experienced dental professional. The degree of whiteness will vary from patient to patient depending on the condition of the teeth and nature of the stain. With proper care and occasional maintenance at home, you can extend the longevity of your newly whitened smile.

Benefits of Zoom! Teeth Whitening include:

  • Quick and convenient
  • Immediate results
  • Longer lasting results
  • Less fade back
  • Safe and comfortable procedure

Whether you’re looking to enhance your teeth for a special occasion or every day, a professional whitening treatment from Dental Dimensions can have you smiling brighter in a single treatment! Your teeth will be several shades lighter, and you will feel great about how you look.

Back to Basics: 6 Ways to Keep Teeth and Gums Healthy

When it comes to maintaining healthy and attractive teeth and gums, don’t underestimate the importance of good oral hygiene and a healthy lifestyle.  This includes regular brushing and flossing, routine dental visits, a nutritious diet and an overall healthier way of living.

But taking good care of your teeth and gums does more than help you maintain a healthy, bright smile.  A healthy mouth and healthy body go hand-in-hand.  Here are 6 simple ways to keep your teeth and gums looking and feeling their best.

1. Brushing

It goes without saying that brushing your teeth is essential for avoiding decay and other dental diseases.  Brush at least twice a day to protect your teeth from plaque—the sticky, colorless, invisible film of harmful bacteria that builds up on your teeth every day.

2. Flossing

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, only flossing can remove plaque from between teeth and below the gumline where decay and gum disease often begins. Make sure to floss at least once a day to clean the hard-to-reach places where a toothbrush can’t reach.

3. Fluoride

Fluoride found in some drinking water, toothpaste and mouthwashes can stop or even reverse the tooth decay process. It keeps the tooth enamel strong and hard by preventing the loss of important minerals.

4. Dental visits

Always make time in your schedule for the dentist. Two visits a year for a check up and cleaning are recommended. By visiting your San Jose dentist, you can help prevent any oral health problems before they cause pain or require extensive treatment. Your dentist can detect signs of serious dental diseases in their earliest stages, such as decay, gum disease and oral cancer that shouldn’t be ignored.

5. Healthy Diet

The foods you choose have a big affect not only on your general health, but also the health of your teeth and gums. Limit your consumption of sugary and starchy foods, such as soda, candy and cookies that cause cavities. Instead eat a well-balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks to lessen your risk of decay.

6. Avoid Tobacco

Smoking and other tobacco products can open up an array of health problems. People who smoke are at a much higher risk for getting periodontal disease compared to a nonsmoker, and smokers also have a slower recovery and healing time.  Talk to your San Jose dentist or primary physician to learn ways to kick this habit.

Caring for Your Teeth with Braces

Now that you have your braces in place, it is especially important to maintain good oral health throughout the length of your treatment. To get the most of your braces, and wear them for the shortest time with the fewest visits, keep your braces clean and be mindful of the foods you eat.

Brushing and Flossing with Braces

While wearing braces, the risk of gum disease and tooth decay is much higher as food and plaque can get trapped in the tiny spaces between brackets and wires, causing decay and enamel stains. To avoid dental problems and discoloration, it is best to brush after every meal and use special orthodontic floss at least once a day to clean between brackets and under wires. Check your teeth in a mirror to make sure all food particles have been washed away. If you don’t have your toothbrush with you, rinse your mouth vigorously with water. Ask our San Jose office about special cleaning aids, which are specially designed to clean between wires and appliances.

Eating with Braces

Patients can eat and drink most foods while wearing braces, but there are certain foods and habits that a patient should avoid to prevent bending wires, breaking brackets, and loosening the cement that attaches the appliances to your teeth.

  • Avoid chewy and sticky foods, such as caramel, taffy, chewing gum and beef jerky which can stick to braces.
  • Avoid hard foods, such as apples, pretzels, candies, nuts and popcorn which break wires and loosen brackets.
  • Minimize sweets, soda and other sugary and starchy foods and drinks that promote decay.
  • Refrain from habits such as pencil chewing, nail biting and picking at your wires as this can also lead to damaged braces.

Keep in mind that broken braces will require extra appointments and time. Make an appointment immediately if your wires and brackets are damaged so that your orthodontic treatment won’t be delayed.

Protecting Your Mouth

Any contact to the mouth could not only break or damage your braces, but it could seriously injure your teeth and gums. If this is a problem, a special wax is available, which is placed on the wires to prevent irritation of your oral tissues. When playing sports where there is a chance of getting struck in the mouth, wear a mouth guard. These durable mouth pieces fit over your braces and teeth to protect your mouth tissue from painful contact with your braces.

Caring for your braces will require a little more time and effort on your part, but is necessary to keep your teeth and gums healthy throughout treatment. Remember that your orthodontic care is only temporary, but your new, beautiful smile will last a lifetime!

What’s Causing Your Tooth Sensitivity?

At one time or another, you’ve probably experienced a sharp, sudden tooth pain.  This is known as tooth sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, and is one of the most common complaints among dental patients.  Are your sensitive teeth simply an annoyance, or could it be a sign of something more serious?

Before we examine the causes of tooth sensitivity, let’s first understand the structure of a tooth.  The outermost layer of a tooth is called the enamel, a protective covering that envelopes the inner tooth surface known as the dentin. Beneath the dentin and in the center of the tooth are living tissues; this is known as the pulp.  The pulp contains sensitive nerves, which are connected to the dentin.  When dentin is exposed, the nerves are easily stimulated which results in discomfort and pain.

People with sensitive teeth generally experience discomfort when a hot, cold, sweet or sour food or beverage comes into contact with the exposed dentin and irritates the nerves. The sensation can range from slight irritation to excruciating pain.

One or combinations of the following are common causes of tooth sensitivity.

  • Overly abrasive toothpaste
  • Receding gums
  • Brushing too vigorously or using a hard-bristled toothbrush
  • Cracked teeth
  • Teeth grinding or clenching
  • Tooth decay
  • Enamel wear caused by acidic foods or drinks, such as soda
  • Eating disorders
  • Root nerve damage
  • Teeth whitening products
  • Dental procedures such as cleanings, crowns or root canals

Not all occasional tooth sensitivity warrants a trip to the dentist, but when tooth sensitivity persists, talk to Dental Dimensions. A more serious issue, such as gum disease, that requires professional treatment may be causing your discomfort.  Your San Jose dentist will assess the severity of your tooth sensitivity, determine the cause of your pain and recommend the best course of treatment to relieve your discomfort.