GENERAL DENTISTRY

T
he best way to avoid big problems down the road is to take care of your whole smile — teeth, gums, and jaw — right from the start. Fortunately, Wilshire Smile Studio makes it easy with years of experience and a caring, relaxed atmosphere that makes coming in for preventive dental care a pleasure.

Family Dentistry is a special pleasure for us at Wilshire Smile Studio. We enjoy being able to take care of your entire family. Our family-oriented practice can also be a time-saver for you, since you can bring everyone to the same place at once. Dr. Elyassi also enjoys family dentistry because he is particularly aware of the importance of giving children a solid foundation of good dental habits that will keep their smiles at their best for their whole lives.

If you’re a new parent, you should plan to bring your child in for his or her dental appointment at one year old — most toddlers have baby teeth by then, and there’s no better time to start your child with good dental habits that will last for a lifetime. At your child’s first visit at one year, Our Doctors will check the growth sequence of his or her teeth and talk to you about how you can protect your child’s dental health through good hygiene and proper nutrition. After that, you should bring your child in for regular check-ups every six months.

Dentures

When a tooth can’t be saved, dentures are often the best option for keeping a friendly and natural smile. We use the latest techniques to make sure your dentures are comfortable and suit the structure of your mouth and the natural lines of your face.

Properly fitted dentures shouldn’t slip too much or irritate your mouth. If you’ve been relying heavily on denture adhesives to keep your dentures in place, come see us at Wilshire Smile Studio for a consultation.

We offer several different kinds of dentures to serve a variety of needs.

• Conventional Dentures:These are full dentures that Dr. Elyassi will design for long-term use. Dr. Elyassi will carefully adjust your dentures to make sure that they feel good and fit perfectly. You’ll be able to speak, eat, and laugh with assurance, knowing that your dentures will stay in place and look natural.

• Immediate Dentures:You should never have to go a day without teeth! After you have had teeth removed, your mouth will need to fully heal before your permanent dentures can be crafted. Immediate dentures allow you to go about your normal life (and continue your normal eating habits) while your mouth recuperates. In fact, having immediate dentures in place can help speed the healing process. We’ll re-fit your immediate denture appliance every four to six weeks to make sure it fits well and stays comfortable.

• Over Dentures:If you’ve had implants put in or had teeth reshaped, we can craft over dentures to fit on top of them. They’ll help preserve the overall look of your smile.

• Partial Dentures:Were you aware that if your have missing teeth, your other teeth can shift out of alignment? Partial dentures are simple, strong appliances that attach to your natural teeth. They’ll help keep the lines of your smile where they should be, and usually aren’t even noticeable to someone else.

Getting Used to New Dentures

A new set of dentures always requires an adjustment period. You should get used to having them in within a week or two. It will help if you wear your dentures as much a possible and stick to soft foods at first. You can become more comfortable speaking in your new dentures by practicing reading out loud.

It’s not unusual to develop sore spots as you’re getting used to new dentures. Our Doctors will help by scheduling follow-up appointments to check your fit and, if necessary, make adjustments to help you feel more comfortable

Caring for Your Dentures

You will need to take your dentures out at night to let your gums rest. To keep them clean, brush them gently with a normal toothbrush — soft bristles are best. (You’ll also want to brush your gums with a soft-bristle toothbrush, morning and evening, to make sure plaque doesn’t build up.) As a rule, you should let full dentures soak overnight in denture cleaner. However, if you have partial dentures with metal clasps or framework, you should let them dry overnight. Be sure to rinse them before you put them back on in the morning.

Remember that it takes real training and experience to fit and adjust your dental appliance properly — you should never try to force your dentures, or to adjust the clasps yourself. If a clasp or a tooth breaks, give us a call. We’ll either be able to arrange for in-office repairs or have a new set sent from the laboratory within a few days.

Regular Checkups are Key

Even as an adult, the bones and gums of your mouth keep changing. Dentures that fit perfectly at first may be loose or less comfortable after a few years. Regular adjustments can help keep your smile looking and feeling its best.

Root Canals

Every tooth has a soft inner core made of nerves and blood vessels. This inner layer is called the pulp. The pulp can get infected if it’s exposed because of a large cavity, a broken tooth, or a broken filling. The pulp can also get infected because of injury to the tooth (whether you can see it or not,) or when a gumline infection spreads to the tooth.

The roots of your teeth have narrow channels called canals. Because the pulp extends downward through these canals toward the jaw bone, an infection of the pulp can be very serious and spread easily. A root canal protects your teeth, gums, and jaw by removing the infected tissue.

What Happens During a Root Canal

We can usually take care of a root canal during a single visit. As always, your comfort is paramount; we’ll give you a local anesthetic to make sure the area is completely numb. We then drill a small hole to reach the pulp. We’ll remove the pulp and completely clean and disinfect your tooth. We then add medication to the inside of the tooth and fill it with a manufactured replacement pulp to keep it from getting infected in the future. We’ll give you a temporary filling to seal the tooth, and then follow that up with a protective crown.

You should experience minimal discomfort, if any, and should be able to eat and drink normally with no pain shortly after your crown is put in place.

Extractions

When a tooth can’t be saved, it needs to be extracted to preserve the health of the rest of your mouth. You’re probably aware that a deep cavity or infection that can’t be treated with a root canal requires an extraction. There are other reasons for extraction that you may be less familiar with, such as advanced gum disease, broken teeth, or even crowding caused by extra teeth. Our dental professionals may also recommend an extraction before orthodontic work, or to improve the fit of dentures or partial dentures.

Fortunately, an extraction is no longer a procedure to fear. At Wilshire Smile Studio, your comfort is a priority. We offer a range of sedation techniques and numbing agents to make sure we suit your needs. We can provide local anesthetic injections, nitrous oxide, or full sedation, depending on your preferences and our doctor’s recommendations.

Wisdom Tooth Extractions

Many times, wisdom teeth, the final set of molars to emerge, are no problem at all; you just need to take a little extra care to make sure you reach them when you brush and floss. However, sometimes there isn’t enough space in the jaw for the wisdom teeth to come out. When that is the case, the wisdom teeth can become impacted, which means they are trapped by the jaw, gums, and surrounding teeth and are unable to grow properly.

Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and are extremely vulnerable to infection. They can also cause bleeding and swelling of the gums and crowding of the other teeth, pushing them out of proper alignment. Impacted wisdom teeth can even cause bad breath and headaches. Dr. Elyassi can consult with you on whether a wisdom tooth extraction is right for you — it’s often better to go ahead and do them early, before the roots have fully bonded with the jawbone, and stop problems before they start.

What Should I Expect When I Have a Tooth Extracted?

As always, your health and comfort are our top priorities. First, our dental professionals will take X-rays of your mouth to make sure they have a clear understanding of your case. Then they will explain what needs to be done and give you a chance to ask questions about why they recommend an extraction and what will happen during the procedure itself. Our Dental Professionals will also talk about your options for anesthetics or sedation. You may prefer just a local (and highly effective) anesthetic, or you may decide you would rather have an intravenous injection and be fully sedated. Most patients recover in just a day or two.

What is a Bone Graft?

Teeth are anchored in your jawbone. When you have a tooth extracted, the bone that used to surround the tooth will start to decrease. Essentially, the foundation for properly anchoring a replacement tooth begins to disappear.

A bone graft solves that problem. If your dental professional determines a bone graft is right for you, our dental professional will place one inside the empty socket immediately after your extraction. This will stimulate bone growth. The bone graft will become a part of your new bone and will not need to be removed.

How Should I Take Care of my Mouth After I Have a Tooth Extracted?

After a your procedure, it’s normal to experience mild discomfort and swelling. You can help alleviate that by using an ice pack for about 20 minutes after the tooth is pulled. You may also experience some light bleeding. It will help to put some pressure on the area. Try rolling up some gauze, putting it over the empty socket, and biting down. Make sure you feel some pressure when you bite down, and leave the gauze in for about 45 minutes. If you prefer, you can try putting a moistened tea bag over the area instead. For the first two days, you shouldn’t drink through a straw or spit, and you absolutely must not smoke. Avoid hard or crunchy food like nuts and popcorn for the first few days as well.

24 hours after your procedure, you can start rinsing the area with warm salt water. You can also brush the area gently with a soft-bristle brush. And, of course, you should carefully follow the instructions for any antibiotics that Dr. Elyassi prescribes for you. Be sure to read the label and ask your pharmacist if you have any questions.

Porcelain Crowns

Crowns, also known as caps, fit over an entire tooth to restore (or improve) its original appearance. When a filling won’t help the strengthen a tooth enough, or when a cavity is too large for a filling to be useful, your dental professional may recommend a crown for you.

Metal-free porcelain crowns are becoming more and more widely used by experienced dentists because they work well and patients are usually highly satisfied with them.

Porcelain crowns feel more comfortable and natural in your mouth, are the easiest to match to the color of your natural teeth, and are easier to keep clean than other types of crowns. Because porcelain crowns have a tighter seal around the tooth than other types of crowns, plaque and bacteria are less likely to become trapped along their edges. That means they are also less likely to irritate the gums or foster gum disease.

You’ll also appreciate the fact that porcelain crowns require less drilling and have better strength and durability. They’re less likely to chip, and less likely to cause wear on the surfaces of adjoining teeth.

What Should I Expect When I Have a Crown Placed?

As a rule, you’ll come in for two appointments. First, we’ll take a mold of the tooth that will get the crown. We’ll use this mold to make a temporary crown to protect your tooth between your first and second appointments. We’ll administer your choice of anesthetic and then remove any decay and reshape your tooth, if necessary. We’ll make a second, very precise impression of your tooth to send to the lab. Your dental professional will put your temporary protective crown in place and then send detailed instructions to the lab so that they can use the mold to create a unique, custom-designed tooth that will fit you perfectly.

During the second appointment, we’ll remove your temporary crown and clean and inspect your tooth to make sure your permanent crown will fit perfectly — we’ll even take an X-ray to ensure that your fit is perfect. Once you approve the color match of your crown to the rest of your teeth, we will cement your crown to your tooth permanently.

As long as you take good care of your teeth, your crown can last for a decade or more.

Dental Emergencies

Life doesn’t always cooperate with scheduled appointments. Our dental professionals and staff are always available if you have questions or concerns. But just in case, here are some pointers on how to handle some of the most common emergencies so you’ll know what you can do until you can get into the office.

Loss of a Crown or Implant

Don’t worry! A little petroleum jelly (for example, Vaseline) or denture adhesive gel can help. Put a little bit inside the crown, put the crown back over your tooth (it should be easy to find the right orientation, as it will only fit one way), and gradually bite down. That should push the crown back into place.

Broken Tooth or Filling

Of course you should call our office right away. But you don’t need to do too much to the tooth before you get into the office. Just avoid chewing on that side of your mouth and avoid touching the tooth — even with your tongue. If your tooth hurts, an over-the-counter remedy like ibuprofen or Orajel should do the trick until you can get in to the office.

Broken Baby Tooth

Clean your child’s mouth with warm salt water and make sure your child has no signs of other facial injuries. Check to make sure the tooth is a baby tooth and not an adult tooth. If you think there’s a chance that it’s an adult tooth, put the tooth in milk and bring it with you to Wilshire Smile Studio when you bring in your child.

Knocked-out Adult Tooth

You will need to act quickly, but there is a chance to save the tooth. First, hold the tooth by the top (and not the roots) and try to put it back in its socket. If you can’t do that, put the tooth in milk or hold it gently in your mouth between your cheek and gum until you can get to the dentist’s office.

Tooth Pushed or Knocked Out of Alignment

Don’t try to push the tooth back into place yourself – you don’t want to risk shifting the alignment of your other teeth. Call our office for an emergency appointment and take an over-the-counter pain medication until you can get into the office.

Strong Pain and Swelling Outside of Office Hours

If over-the counter pain relievers aren’t working, call us. Your dental professional can prescribe a stronger pain medicine or antibiotics and call it directly into your pharmacy, and then get you on the schedule to be seen the next day.

Even though you may have heard of it as a home remedy, don’t put aspirin directly on your teeth or gums.

And remember: The best way to keep dental emergencies from happening in the first place is to get regular check-ups and take good care of your smile.