Posts for: November, 2011

By Edward Joseph, D.D.S.
November 27, 2011
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   root planing  

What does it mean when your dental hygienist recommends root planing? To put it simply, root planing is a method of cleaning the roots of your teeth in order to avoid periodontal (“peri” – around, “odont” – tooth) disease.

Periodontal disease happens when dental plaque, a biofilm of bacteria, is not regularly removed and begins to build up on teeth near the gum line. The bacteria cause inflammation, and this in turn causes the gum tissue to detach from the teeth. The widening spaces between the gum tissue and the teeth, called pockets, are environments in which bacteria can continue to collect and cause further inflammation and infection. Ultimately, this can lead to infection, bone loss, and loss of teeth.

Root planing is a technique designed to avoid such dire results. The bacteria, along with products they manufacture as part of their metabolism, can become ingrained in the surfaces of the tooth's root (the part of the tooth that is below the enamel). These bacterial products will form hard deposits called tartar or calculus.

Deep Cleaning Your Teeth
Of course, the best idea is to brush and floss away the plaque before the bacteria begin to build up on your teeth. If this is not done and pockets begin to form, the bacteria and toxic products are more difficult to remove in order to deep clean your teeth.

The first step is scaling. My hygienist or I will remove superficial collections of calculus. If material still remains within deep pockets, root planing is the next step. It involves actually planing the surface of the root, smoothing the surface free of calculus, bacteria, and toxins that have ingrained into the root surfaces.

Root planing is most often done under local anesthesia so that you remain comfortable while the cleaning procedures are done. The initial cleaning may be done by an ultrasonic instrument that vibrates particles off the root surfaces and flushes the pockets with water. Small hand instruments called curettes are used to finish the process. Antibacterial medication may then be used to help clear away infection from the pockets. Sometimes you may experience some tooth sensitivity to hot and cold after the root planing. If needed, this can be treated by applying fluoride to the root surfaces.

Depending on the extent of your gum disease, it may not be possible to remove all the deposits at one appointment, and it may be necessary to have multiple appointments over a few weeks to remove the remaining deposits. Often after three to four weeks the inflamed tissues have healed, leaving you with healthy gums once again.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental hygiene and root planing. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Planing.”


By Edward Joseph, D.D.S.
November 20, 2011
Category: Oral Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), community water fluoridation has been a safe and healthy way to prevent tooth decay effectively for over 65 years now. In fact, the CDC has recognized water fluoridation as one of the 10 great public health achievements of the 20th century.

It all began back in the 1930's when it was discovered that fluoride had oral health benefits. However, community water fluoridation did not begin until January 25, 1945, when Grand Rapids, Michigan became the first city to add fluoride to its municipal water system. Before it was officially rolled out in other cities, Grand Rapids was compared to other cities or “controlled groups” that had not added fluoride to their water so that scientific research could assess the relationship between tooth decay and fluoride. Well, you can guess the results — it was proven that fluoride helped reduce tooth decay when added to ordinary tap water. On November 29, 1951, the National Academy of Sciences’ National Research Council (NRC) declared water fluoridation safe, effective, and beneficial based upon the results of their findings and the fact that there was a dramatic decline in tooth decay in the children of Grand Rapids.

Ever since, fluoride has continued to play a critical role as a simple, safe, effective way to provide improved oral health by helping reduce tooth decay in the United States. This reality is still being demonstrated with each new generation benefiting from better oral health than the previous generation.

As for identifying when the time is right to introduce fluoride to your children's oral health program, ask us. Most children get the right amount of fluoride to help prevent cavities if they drink water that contains fluoride. And if by chance you live in an area where your tap water is not fluoridated, brush your children's teeth with no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste twice a day and ask your dentist about fluoride supplements and treatment.

Learn more on this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article, “Fluoride And Fluoridation In Dentistry.”


By Edward Joseph, D.D.S.
November 13, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics   braces  

If you are planning orthodontic treatment for yourself or your child, you may have heard about different types of orthodontic appliances (braces) and you may be wondering which type is best for you.

Orthodontic treatment is the process used to improve the positioning of your teeth and bite so that you look better and your teeth function properly. Movement of the teeth is accomplished by harnessing the natural regenerative powers of the body to remodel living tissue, in this case, the bone, which adapts to the new position into which the teeth are moved. Orthodontic appliances accomplish the movement by placing small light and constant forces on the teeth to move them into new and better positions.

There are currently three main types of orthodontic appliances to move your teeth. After careful analysis of your bite and needs, we can help you select the best option for your particular situation.

Fixed appliances, commonly known as braces, so-called because they are fixed to the teeth thereby bracing them together, small brackets are bonded to the teeth and light flexible wires are threaded through them. Controlled tension on these wires pulls or pushes the teeth into position.

Clear brackets are a second, more aesthetic type of fixed appliance. While they are less visible, they tend to be more fragile.

Use of fixed appliances, whether brackets are metal or clear, is usually recommended in more complex cases because they enable the orthodontist to accomplish more complex three-dimensional tooth movements in the most efficient and predictable manner. Please note that, during treatment, you should avoid eating hard foods or participating in extreme contact sports so you will not damage your teeth or the appliances.

Clear aligners are a third, more recent option for repositioning teeth. They are removable appliances, generally used in situations that are milder in nature and easier to correct. After careful assessment, a series of computer-generated, custom made clear plastic trays are made to move the mal-aligned teeth. Tooth movement is progressive with each successive aligner or tray, moving the teeth minutely, until the new desired position(s) is achieved. Clear aligners are usually used for simpler or tipping movements of teeth.

With any of these options, simple movements of teeth may take a few months, and more complex movements take up to two or three years.

Orthodontic treatment is an ingenious scientific discovery that has allowed the dental profession to accurately and precisely move teeth for improved aesthetic appearance and functional position. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about orthodontics. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Magic of Orthodontics.”


By Edward Joseph, D.D.S.
November 06, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   root canal  

Hearing the news that you need a root canal often causes anxiety for most people given all the bad press this procedure has received (e.g., “I'd rather have a root canal than...”). However, the truth is that root canal treatment relieves pain; it doesn't cause it. And it is typically highly successful. The real pain occurs for most people when decay is left untreated or the nerve in a tooth under a very large filling becomes infected and dies.

For these reasons, we have put together the following list of questions you should consider asking prior to having a root canal or endodontic (“endo” – inside: “dontic” – tooth) treatment.

  • Am I a good candidate for root canal treatment?
  • Does it hurt to have a root canal?
  • What can I expect if I do not have a root canal treatment?
  • Are there any other treatment options for me given my situation? If so, what are they?
  • Do you do root canal treatment or should I see a specialist?
  • How long will the entire process take from my first appointment until my root canal treatment has healed?
  • Will the pain I am in immediately subside after a root canal or will it take some time?
  • Will I need or receive any type of sedation while having the treatment?
  • Are there any risks associated with root canal treatment? If so, what are they?
  • How long can I expect my natural tooth to last after root canal treatment?
  • What could happen to cause a root canal to require a second treatment?
  • How much will my root canal cost?
  • Will my insurance cover all or a portion of the cost?
  • Will the tooth be as strong after root canal treatment, or will it need a crown?
  • Will there be any special maintenance required on an ongoing basis after I have a root canal?

To learn more about root canals, continue reading the Dear Doctor article, “I'd Rather Have A Root Canal.” Or if you feel you may need a root canal or other dental procedure, contact us today to schedule a consultation.




Burbank, CA Dentist
Edward C. Joseph, D.D.S.
2701 West Alameda Ave, Suite #503
Burbank, CA 91505
(818) 842-7628

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