James W. Mellert DDS
Visiting your dentist office in Torrance isn’t on anybody’s list of favorite things to do. In fact, just knowing you have a dentist visit coming up is enough to cause a little stress in your life. But knowing what to expect at your dental visit can help you prepare yourself and make the most of your visit.
You will hope for the best; having your dentist congratulate you for taking good care of your teeth and telling you to schedule another appointment six months down the road. However, there is the chance that not all is right and you will need a dental procedure to resolve the problem. But whether your appointment is just a checkup or you are seeing your dentist for a root canal or other procedure, there are a few things to do before your visit.
Give your brain enough time to rest, this will help dispel anxiety and soothe nerves. A person who gets plenty of sleep is a person who will be in a better mood and enjoy an invigorated body. A lack of sleep can impact your cognitive ability in terms of judgment and problem-solving.
Organize Your information
In addition to your insurance card, you should have a good idea about the information your dentist will need before your procedure. For example, know your current medications, medical history and any other health concerns you might have. There is no shame in having a list of the information you think they will need. Also, make sure you are prepared to disclose your form of payment.
Avoid Caffeine and Sugar
Slamming a sugary coffee drink from Starbucks will wake you up and make you more alert, but it can also raise your level of anxiety. Not only that, you don;t want all that sugar eating away at your teeth while you are at your dentist office.
It is common for patients to try to hide their anxiety, this is counterproductive and helps nobody. There is no shame or embarrassment in feeling scared or nervous about visiting your dentist. Instead of trying to hide your true feelings, make it a point to talk to your dentist about how you feel right away. Discuss specific feelings and fears, this helps your dentist help develop a plan to ensure you are as comfortable as possible.
Be Familiar with the Technology Used in Dentistry
If you haven’t been to a dentist office in a long time, you will discover that many things have changed, some very drastically. As a matter of fact, you might be feeling anxious about an instrument that is no longer used. For example, you might have a fear of the needle used to numb your mouth and gums. However, most dental offices use a topical anesthetic to numb the areas before the needle even goes in. You might also be surprised to know that laser and water spray are used in place of a drill in many locations.
You also might want to do some research on root canal treatment. You will find out that the procedure isn’t nearly as bad as you might think.
Know the Ways Your Dentist Keeps You Calm
Many people have a fear of their dentist that ranges from mild to rather significant. It is common knowledge that people tend to fear the dentist, so most dentist offices have ways they try to calm you during your treatment.
Televisions– many people enjoy watching television, which is why you even see them at restaurants and pubs. A fearful patient is a patient that needs some form of entertainment and a television show or a movie is the perfect distraction. A patient can forget all about what is going on in their mouth by watching Star Wars or Seinfeld.
Televisions also make the wait seem a lot shorter as well. This is important as you may become more and more fearful as you sit in the waiting room.
Music– Calming music is another popular way dentists keep their patients less stressed. Research shows that music lowers your blood pressure and reduces your heartbeat, which has a calming effect on the body.
Running Water– Calming waters are not as well-known as music, but the science is basically the same. The flow of running water has a very calming effect on people and reduces stress. This is why you might see a fish tank or fountain in your dentist’s office.
Pain Control– Dentists understand that treatment can hurt and they will take all the necessary steps to negate it. If you are feeling anxious about the pain you might suffer, ask your dentist about the pain relief options. From oral sedation to nitrous oxide, there are many options available.
Visit your dentist can be stressful and cause anxiety, but it is nice to know there are ways to make your visit as enjoyable as possible.
Jun 1st, 2017 9:50 am
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Nobody looks forward to their biannual trip to the Torrance dental clinic. It might be due to the discomfort of having somebody poke around inside your mouth. But it also might be because it seems as if every time you go to the dentist, there is a problem that needs to be resolved, like a cavity or a root canal. If this sounds like a chapter out of the book of your life, perhaps you aren’t doing everything you can to keep your teeth as healthy as possible. Perhaps the problem lies in the foods you choose to eat.
There are plenty of foods that you should avoid if you are serious about having healthy teeth. Here is a list of foods that are best if left out of your kitchen.
Savoring a sweet lollipop might seem harmless enough, but sadly that is not the case. Sucking on hard candies exposes your teeth to the harsh sugars for a long period of time. Think about how many licks it really does take to get to the Tootsie Roll center of a Tootsie Pop, we can tell you the number is a lot higher than three. And as bad as sucking on this hard candies can be, biting into them is even worse.
Corn on the Cob
It’s that time of year when this delicious vegetable can be found on picnic tables all over the United States. Sadly, this summertime food should be off-limits if you want to protect your teeth. Biting into corn that is still on the cob can crack fillings or loosen sealants. If you have dentures, eating corn on the cob can be downright catastrophic.
The fix for this problem is as easy as pie; all you need to do is scrape the corn from the cob before you eat it.
Red Pasta Sauce
Your tooth enamel is particularly vulnerable to darker colors, like red for example. This means that your favorite spaghetti dish contains a sauce that can easily absorb into your teeth and lead to unsightly stains. But there is no need to ditch your favorite Italian dishes, simply rinse your mouth with water several times while enjoying your meals.
While you may enjoy pleasant breath and feel cleaner after eating an after-dinner mint, you may as well have just soaked your teeth in sugar. If you insist on having a mint, make sure to choose one that is sugar-free.
Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
Yes, they are an awesome food, perfect for lunches on the go, but peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are bad for your teeth. You see, both peanut butter and jelly are high in sugar content and they are both sticky, which is a double whammy for the health of your teeth.
Nothing beats the texture of a good potato chip. They are crunchy at first, then become a gummy mass in your mouth. When potato chip particles get lodged between your teeth, they increase the odds of tooth decay.
Of course, this is only a partial list of foods you should avoid. Check back and we will list more foods to avoid if you desire healthy teeth.
May 1st, 2017 9:42 am
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There are any number of activities in which there is a chance you could damage your teeth. Baseball, basketball and football are all obvious choices as sports that are safer when played wearing a mouthguard. And let’s not forget any sport where sticks are involved, like hockey for example. In fact, besides bowling, we are hard-pressed to find a sport that is not dangerous for your teeth.
But then, you are probably already aware that these types of activities can cause damage to your teeth. So when you gather at the park to lay a game of basketball or decide to throw the baseball around, you take precautions to protect your teeth. At least, this is what you should be doing. But you should also be aware that there are a number of habits you may have formed that have a negative impact on your teeth. Here are a few as chosen by your Torrance dentist.
Biting Your Nails
Nail biting is a common habit that can prove to be harmful to your teeth. It is best if you avoid this habit so that your teeth remain healthy and strong.
There are a number of people who love to indulge in chewing ice, for whatever reason. Ice is hard and this means there is a chance that you could damage your teeth. And while chewing ice might cool you down or soothe a sore throat, you could crack a tooth in the process.
When eating certain types of foods, like chicken and other meat for example, we can get residue stuck in the gaps of our teeth. This becomes a distraction and we seek the aid of a toothpick to rid ourselves these materials. But if you are not careful, you can cause damage by using a toothpick. So use caution when extracting that chunk of chicken.
Using a Toothbrush With Hard Bristles
While toothbrushes are an essential part of tooth care, using the wrong kind can actually damage your teeth. Toothbrushes with hard bristles are not recommended.
Brushing Right After Eating
You might think you are being very efficient if you rush to the bathroom to brush your teeth right after finishing your meal. The reality is that you could be doing more harm than good. You see, by waiting 30 to 40 minutes after you finish eating to brush, you allow saliva to naturally neutralize the low PH in your mouth caused by the foods you eat. If you brush straight away after eating, you are brushing the acids in your mouth into your teeth, which can leave your teeth sensitive over time.
Rinsing after brushing your teeth washes away the fluoride in your toothpaste, which is good for your teeth. The best thing to do is spit out the toothpaste after brushing but avoid rinsing.
Do not use your teeth to open beer bottles, it can cause damage. And while most people know this, they still are tempted to use their teeth as a tool in other situations, like prying the lid off the bottle of aspirin because you are struggling with the childproof cap or opening a package of AA batteries because those things are impossible to open without some sort of sharp instrument.
May 1st, 2017 8:38 am
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Good oral health means more than just fresh breath and a full mouth of pearly whites; it can literally mean the difference between life and death. Your mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria, which can best be controlled with good oral hygiene. If you neglect your gums and teeth, more than just your mouth will suffer. Studies indicate that your overall health is directly tied to your oral health. Which means it is important that you make regular visits to your dental clinic in Torrance.
Periodontal disease is just a fancy word for gum disease or gingivitis. Gum disease can lead to swollen, irritated gums and bleeding. If you have more advanced gum disease, you could suffer receding gums and damaged tissue around the teeth and bones. You could even lose your teeth.
Gum disease is prevalent among Americans, it affects one in two people. Research continues to link gum disease with conditions like heart disease, diabetes and stroke. In fact, gum disease is now recognized by doctors as a risk for coronary arterial disease and stroke. In a recent study, researchers found that after six months, mice infected with four different types of bacteria known to cause gum disease experienced high cholesterol levels and increased inflammation, which both happen to be linked to cardiovascular disease. Researchers also noted that these bacteria had traveled from the mouth to the kidneys, liver and lungs.
Since diabetes reduces resistance to infection, gum disease is more frequent and more severe in those with diabetes. Research also shows that those who have gum disease have a more difficult time controlling their blood sugar levels. The good news is that this same research also shows that regular dental care can improve your control over this disease.
Studies show that gum disease could cause an infection in the lungs, including pneumonia. If you think about it, the connection is fairly straightforward; breathing in bacteria from infected gums or infected teeth over a period of time can’t lead to anything good.
People with gum disease may be at greater risk of developing dementia. Bacteria can enter the bloodstream through a number of everyday activities including chewing and brushing. Once these bacteria are in the bloodstream, they can be carried to other parts of the body, including the brain.
Researchers hypothesize that when bacteria does reach the brain, they might trigger an immune system response, which kills brain cells. This immune response could lead to changes in the brain, which is typical in Alzheimer’s disease. The immune response could play a role in causing symptoms like confusion and deteriorating memory.
Pregnancy and Birth
For a long period of time, doctors have recognized the placenta as an efficient line of defense to protect your fetus from the elements. But it isn’t an impenetrable barrier. For example, alcohol and tobacco can travel through it and cause low birth weight, illness and even birth defects.
It has been long known that risk factors such as tobacco, alcohol and drug abuse contribute to an increased risk of a low birth weight and may cause other health problems. But recent studies provide evidence that gum disease might also be a significant risk factor for low birth weight. In fact, the study shows that nearly 19 percent of all low birth weight cases may be attributed to gum disease.
To better manage your overall health, it makes perfect sense to protect your oral health. And to protect your oral health you need to brush your teeth at least twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste, floss daily, eat healthy foods and visit your dentist on a regular basis for oral cleanings and checkups.
Apr 3rd, 2017 9:19 am
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Eating a healthy diet isn’t all that complicated. All you need to do is choose a variety of foods from the major food groups including fruits and vegetables. It is also important that you cut down on the junk food.
Some of you might think the only reasons to eat healthy foods is to keep your weight down. This might be true, but there are many other reasons you want to eat a healthy diet, and not all of these reasons are obvious. In fact, your dentist in Torrance thinks some of these reasons for a healthy diet you have never thought about.
Healthy foods, like vegetables, fruit and fish, provide energy that is long lasting and helps you to perform optimally all day long. Junk foods give you a sugar high, a big spike in energy that is followed by an equally big crash. The sugars in bad foods cause you to crash because they are quickly digested. Healthy foods are digested slower, which gives you a stable release of energy without the crash.
A healthy diet includes plenty of fruits and vegetables, which also happen to be good for your teeth. Fruits and vegetables are high in water and fiber, so they help balance sugars and clean your teeth. Chewing stimulates saliva production which washed away harmful acids and food particles away from your teeth.
Just like a vehicle, your brain needs quality fuel to run efficiently. There is a study that found people who ate unhealthy diets were much less productive than those who ate healthily. Eating a healthy diet ensures your brain gets the fuel it needs so you can impress your boss and get that raise you deserve.
What you eat has an impact on your brain. Take bananas for example; one banana contains as much as 10 milligrams of dopamine, the chief mood booster in the brain. So when you eat a banana, you feel happy.
Studies found healthy foods packed with omega-3 fatty acids and vitamin C, like fruits and salmon, can help reduce cortisol levels. When you are in a state of stress, your body is breaking down protein, so you need to replenish it as best as you can.
Eating healthy will help you stay healthy. A diet in sugar and saturated fats can lead to heart disease, a stroke or diabetes. The health care savings of a healthy diet can be tremendous. Eating healthy will not only save your body, it will save your bank account as well.
Healthy eating will help you avoid the many diseases associated with poor diets. Studies show that a combination of a good diet and exercise can extend your life by several years. Not only that, but we are more likely to live out our golden years in much better health if we continue to eat the right foods. No matter how you look at it, a good diet is crucial in a happy and healthy life.
Mar 7th, 2017 2:16 pm
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Will teeth whitening in Torrance change your life? For some, it most certainly will, for others it will, at the very least, shake things up a bit in a positive way. Perhaps you have longed for a beautiful white smile or you aren’t happy with the staining that has resulted from years of coffee or tea. Whatever the reason for wanting whiter teeth, you are not alone.
There are a great number of factors that cause or contribute to teeth discoloration, here are just a few:
- The aging process
- The use of tobacco products
- Drinking coffee, tea, cola or wine
- Eating pigmented foods like blueberries and cherries
- The accumulation of plaque and tartar deposits
- Trauma to the teeth
But just as there are several reasons why your teeth have become discolored, there are just as many reasons to have them whitened.
Teeth whitening is a great way to ensure you look your absolute best at the upcoming special occasion. You will look great walking your daughter down the aisle at her wedding, toasting your significant other at your anniversary party or shaking the hand of the most recent graduate. It is these very special occasions that everybody wants to look as good as they can.
Your smile plays an important role in how confident you feel about yourself. Stained or otherwise discolored teeth detracts from your overall appearance. You might look older than you really are or simply less confident about the way you look. Having your teeth whitened eliminates the stains and leaves you looking younger and brighter, which is a huge boost to your confidence.
The white smile you get after having your teeth whitened will increase your confidence and help you create a remarkable first impression when you go in for that job interview. Even if you want to stay with your current company, a bright, white smile might help you land that promotion or get that big raise you have wanted for so long.
Improve Dental Health
Teeth whitening is a cosmetic procedure and won’t improve the health of your smile, but it certainly can give you a renewed focus on good brushing habits and other dental hygiene. With such beautiful white teeth, you will want to do what you can to keep them that way.
Transform Your Image
Your smile says a lot about you. Unfortunately, when your teeth are stained or otherwise discolored, you don’t smile and probably come off as unfriendly to others. If you want people to see you for who you really are, give them a great big white and bright smile. You will be amazed at how people react when they see you smile.
You might feel that some of these points are exaggerated, but changing your smile will really create a change in your life. Let’s put it this way; there are no downsides in teeth whitening. It is a treatment that is inexpensive, pain-free and it really does make you feel better about yourself.
Feb 15th, 2017 9:26 am
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Having attractive and healthy teeth comes with a lot of benefits. For example, job candidates who have bright smiles with even teeth are more likely to be offered a job. Really, we don’t make this stuff up, studies show this to be true. Crooked, yellow teeth may also indicate that you are the type of person who shuns good hygiene habits or who is otherwise unhealthy. Because as you know, first impressions are very important and people judge you the instant they see you.
Cosmetic dentistry in Torrance is a popular solution to dental abnormalities. In fact, cosmetic dental procedures can change your life.
Age is just a number. How you feel about getting older is, in part, a question of attitude. So you have to ask yourself if you will let a number limit you. Then again, there are reasons that you look older than you really are. While this doesn’t seem to bother some, for others it holds them back in many ways. For example, you might want to look better because you are single and like to go out on dates.
In any case, cosmetic dentistry can do just that; make you look younger that is. You might have teeth that are discolored, chipped or otherwise not aesthetically pleasing. This may have occurred gradually over time, and you are just now realizing how problematic they have become. Unfortunately, people associate imperfections with being old. Fortunately, teeth whitening, tooth bonding and dental veneers can give you a healthy, bright smile and take years of your whole look.
Healthy Teeth and Gums
Did you know that improving your smile will make your mouth healthier? Some treatments, teeth whitening for example, have no health benefits. But if you have a mouthful of crooked teeth, it changes the way you bite. In addition, it is far easier for food particle to get lodged between crooked teeth. So as you can see, cosmetic dentistry can improve oral health.
There’s more. A dental crown will hold a tooth in place, preventing it from getting worse, the same holds true for dental veneers. They are an added protection for your teeth.
When you don’t look as good as you know you could, it’s difficult to feel very good about yourself. You have always thought it important to wear nice, clean clothes and keep your hair neat and in good order, so you should have as much pride in your smile. You see, your clothes aren’t the problem, if they were, you would wear different pants and shirts. The smile is your problem, so get to it and get it fixed.
We weren’t kidding when we said people with great smiles were more likely to get hired. This also holds true in promotions and raises. Consider this; employees are often restricted in the style of your hair and the clothes you wear. This is based, in part, on what is considered a professional look. The more professional you look, the more you are seen as a good employee.
Having an unattractive smile isn’t necessarily unprofessional, but it can look bad to others, including your superiors.
Feb 1st, 2017 6:56 am
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It’s not even the end of January and there is no doubt a whole bunch of you who have already broken their new year resolutions. Whether you resolved to lose weight and just sucked down a triple cheeseburger and washed that down with a double milkshake or vowed to eat fewer sweets to reduce the number of times you have to visit your Torrance dentist and just opened a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, we all need better ways in which to reach our goals.
The reason why you can’t seem to keep your resolutions is not because you are lazy or have no focus, it’s because you don’t have a cunning plan. What you need are a few tips for keeping your New Year’s resolutions.
Write It Down
Grab an ink pen or a Sharpie and write those resolutions on a piece of paper. You can even type them out on your computer and print it out. You see, seeing your resolutions clearly articulated on paper can have a tremendous effect on your commitment to them. It is, of course, all psychological, but if it works then go for it.
Don’t just resolve to get into better shape, break it down by what you will do to get into better shape. And don’t stop there, if you plan on losing weight, set a certain weight goal. When goals are measurable, relevant and achievable, you will have an easier time reaching them.
You might start off with rapid gains, but then hit a rut three or four weeks into the new year or you might start off slow, but gain momentum as the year progresses. Either way, your goals will take time to reach, so be patient and take the gains and setbacks in stride.
There Can Only Be One
If you go about trying to change all the negative things about your lifestyle all at once, you are almost destined to fail. Pick just one thing at a time and focus on changing that area of your life. You might want to lose weight, quit smoking and curtail your alcohol consumption, but doing all of these at once will only lead to disaster.
Regardless what your resolutions are, they are not easy goals to reach. Don’t go into this thinking it’s a piece of cake, because it’s not. Go into this knowing you will stumble and there will be setbacks. This way, when things go sideways, you are better prepared for it. Once you have identified that times will be rough on occasion, you will cope with them much better.
If you sneak a cigarette or hide a Big Mac in your mouth, don’t hate yourself for it. Make a note of what triggered the setback and learn a lesson from it.
As you go through this journey of making yourself a better person, it is quite alright to treat yourself to small rewards. In fact, rewards can serve as motivation.
Jan 27th, 2017 12:02 pm
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Foods That You Can Enjoy Without Feeling the Guilt or Having to Pay a Visit to Your Torrance Dental Clinic
It wouldn’t be much fun spending the holiday season avoiding treats, especially when everyone around you is enjoying them. In our last post, we discussed foods and beverages popular during the holiday season that you should avoid. For example, you should avoid candy canes, caramel popcorn and candied beets. But there is good news for those who want to indulge a little this holiday season. Lucky for you, there are holiday goodies that are relatively merciful on your teeth. Here are a few seasonal goodies and other foods that you can enjoy without feeling the guilt or having to pay a visit to your Torrance dental clinic.
Peppermint flavors are popular during the holiday season. But instead of eating candy canes or other peppermint candies, put a peppermint leaf into your water or hot tea.
Ginger has a bold flavor, which means many ginger recipes call for less sugar than other types of cakes and cookies. So serving gingerbread cookies is a great alternative.
Nuts contain a variety of nutrients like iron and magnesium and supply a healthy dose of calcium that helps keep teeth strong. Nuts also stimulate saliva, which keeps bacteria at bay. When it comes to eating nuts, the biggest decision you will have to make is to eat almonds or walnuts.
If there is a cheese platter at your next holiday party, go ahead and indulge. Cheese is antibacterial and has low pH levels, which makes your mouth a less acidic environment.
Vegetables like raw carrots and celery act as nature’s toothbrush. Consider all the good you are doing to your teeth and body when you are choosing vegetables over candy canes.
Apples are a fruit full of fiber and vitamins and work like tiny scrubbers that remove plaque from your teeth.
This holiday staple is a bird that is non-fermentable. Because of this, it battles cavity-causing reactions in your mouth. And the added protein pairs well with calcium to keep teeth strong.
Deviled eggs are a holiday favorite. Just like cheese, egg yolks are excellent sources of vitamin D and calcium, which strengthens teeth.
Once you have finished with holiday snacking, top it off with a stick of sugar-free gum. Chewing gum increases saliva flow and helps neutralize and wash away acids that are produced by the bacteria in your mouth. And as an added bonus, it will leave your breath minty fresh.
Dec 15th, 2016 11:58 am
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During the holiday season. we are all a little bit more inclined to nosh on some less than healthy foods. It would also make sense that many of the foods you eat during the holiday season would be bad for your teeth, perhaps even prompting a visit to your dentist in Torrance. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Kwanza or Festivus, eating and drinking an assortment of goodies is just part of the festivities. Let’s take a look at some of the holiday foods that could affect your dental health.
The two main ingredients in candy canes are sugar and corn syrup. To say candy canes are pure sugar is no exaggeration. As you are already aware, sugar wreaks havoc on your teeth and is the leading cause of tooth decay. In addition to the amount of sugar in candy canes is the amount of time they spend on your teeth. Hard candies take longer to eat and may drench your mouth with sugar for a very long time, hours in some cases. If you value your smile, you might want to avoid candy canes this holiday season.
Eggnog is loaded with sugar and fat and the sugar clings to your teeth hours after consumption. And to make things worse, eggnog is often spiked with rum, brandy or bourbon, which dries out the mouth. With a lack of saliva, your mouth becomes vulnerable to bacteria growth which gives you bad breath and causes tooth decay. If you wish to indulge in this concoction, we suggest rinsing your mouth out after you are finished.
Caramel in any form sends shivers down the spine of dentists all over the world. Caramel is worse than hard candy because of the sticky nature of it. This sticky substance clings to your teeth long after it has been consumed. And when it’s drizzled on popcorn, caramel-covered pieces tend to get lodged between your teeth. When done eating caramel popcorn, you need a toothbrush, floss and chisel to remove all the remnants from your teeth.
Potato latkes are a staple in the Jewish tradition for Hannukah. They are basically pan-fried potato cakes made with flour and eggs. While the latkes themselves are no threat to your teeth, the sugar many dip these delectables in is cause for concern. So skip the sugar and dip your latkes in applesauce instead.
Candied beets are a staple on many tables during the holiday season. You might think this makes the list due to the sugar content, but you would only be half right. Beets are one of the most staining foods around and can discolor your teeth. So watch yourself.
Nothing warms the body from the inside out better than a hot cup of tea, coffee or cocoa. But drink these when they are too hot and you could burn your mouth or damage your gums. It only takes a single burn to cause permanent damage. So let that tea and coffee cool a bit before indulging.
Dec 15th, 2016 9:29 am
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