Learning About Dental Implant Work

Categories: Cosmetic Dentistry
Learning About Dental Implant Work

Here at Thompson Dental in Laguna Niguel, we are a local authority on dental implant dentistry – but what does this really mean? Some people haven’t heard much about this sort of technology, even though it’s becoming a more common part of how dentists treat patients. If you haven’t looked into dental implants, you may […]

Improve Your Self Esteem with a Smile Makeover

Categories: Cosmetic Dentistry
Improve Your Self Esteem with a Smile Makeover

Cosmetic dentistry is the overall process of repairing teeth for cosmetic reasons. This can include implants, veneers, whitening, orthodontics, and composite reconstruction. Any type of dental work that is undertaken primarily for cosmetic reasons falls into this category. These procedures can dramatically improve an individual’s self-esteem. Many cosmetic dentists call the process of evaluating an […]


Categories: Cosmetic Dentistry

Many of us do the best we can with our smiles. Through the twice-yearly checkups for oral wellness to staying on top of our flossing to prevent dental decay, we can take pride in knowing our mouths are quite healthy. What about when our enamel isn’t the right shade of white, though? Coffee and wine […]

What Are Veneers And How Do They Work?

  A study in 2015 showed that over 80% of people think their teeth look BAD in photographs. It also found that nearly 30% of people don’t show their teeth when smiling in photos on social media because they don’t like the way their teeth look. That’s a lot of people that are unhappy with the look […]

Reasons to Use Your Dental Insurance Before the End of the Year

Did you know that you could actually save hundreds of dollars by using your dental benefits before the end of the year? This is a fact that many people simply do not know. While some dental insurance plans run on a fiscal year, many others run on a traditional calendar year. If your dental insurance plan runs on a […]

All Things Denture Related

New Dentures

Getting dentures for the first time can feel like your lips are being pushed forward and that your teeth are too big. However, this will subside within the first few days. The best way to get used to your dentures is to keep them in your mouth progressively longer each day during the first two weeks. For dentures placed immediately after surgery, the dentist will want you to wear the dentures continuously for the first few days, or as they recommend. Wearing dentures during the night when you sleep is not recommended, it is important for the soft tissue to rest uncovered overnight. Address any questions or concerns about wearing dentures to your dentist.

Because of the natural shape tendencies of a mouth, the lower denture will not be as tight as the upper. Over time, you won’t notice the loose fit as much and your dentures will feel more natural.

Speaking with New Dentures 

Tongue position with dentures is different than with natural teeth. This may cause a hissing or whistling sound while speaking, but most patients adapt quickly to their new dentures. A good way to train your tongue to return to its natural position is to practice by reading out loud for a few days. As you do this, you will train your tongue to say S, Sh, Th, and Ch sounds more clearly.

Eating with Dentures

Eating with new dentures is an acquired skill and takes time, patience, and practice to become comfortable and efficient. It may take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months to learn how best to eat with new dentures. Some foods may be more difficult to eat, such as corn on the cob or apples, and require caution when eating.

It will also take longer to finish a meal when dentures are new. By choosing easy-to-chew foods at first, it will help gradually strengthen muscles and prepare them for more difficult and tougher foods later on. 

Tips for Eating with Dentures

  • Do not use your front teeth for biting at first. Push food back to the side of your front teeth rather than biting things off with the front teeth
  • Cut up your food in small pieces and try to chew on both sides of the mouth at the same time
  • Try easy-to-chew foods first before you try hard foods or tougher meats
  • Try chewing your favorite foods at home first before eating them out in public
  • Generally speaking, new denture wearers have a difficult time eating salads since lettuce does not tear well with denture teeth

Dentures’ Impact on Taste

Dentures should not affect taste, as all taste buds are on the tongue so covering the palate with denture acrylic should not affect a person’s taste of food. However, some new denture patients complain that they can’t taste food as well with the dentures as they could before they had dentures. This should improve with time as you get used to eating with dentures.

How to Clean Dentures

Just like natural teeth, it’s important to brush dentures and keep them clean to avoid the spread of bacteria, to keep breath fresh and keep your gums healthy. Read below for information regarding how to clean dentures. 

  • Rinse your dentures before brushing to remove any loose food
  • Use a soft-bristle toothbrush and water to brush all the surfaces of the dentures twice per day. This removes food particles and plaque, and also helps keep your dentures from staining. Avoid conventional toothpaste. You can purchase cleaner created just for dentures at your local drug or grocery store

Denture Care

It is important to regularly clean your dentures and handle them with care. With proper maintenance, you can protect your investment for years to come. 

  • Handle carefully. You can easily prevent denture damage when removing or cleaning dentures by filling the sink with water or placing a folded towel in the sink to prevent accidental falls
  • Keep dentures moist. Soak your dentures in cool water or denture cleaning solution when not in use. This will keep them from drying out. Refrain from using water that is too hot, as this can warp dentures
  • Think of them as real teeth. Just as you would brush your natural teeth twice a day, you should brush your dentures twice a day as well. Use a soft-bristle denture brush and cool water to brush all surfaces. After every time you eat, be sure to rinse your dentures with water to keep them fresh for longer
  • Give them a rest. Remove your full or partial dentures and soak them every night. This will keep them moist and allow your gum tissue to rest
  • Visit your dentist regularly. Regular checkups are good for your dentures and your mouth overall. At your regular checkups, your dentist will ensure that your dentures are in good condition and fit continue to fit properly. Your dentist will also provide a thorough cleaning, just like they would for your natural teeth at a regular checkup
  • Follow directions. Be sure to follow all instructions that your dentist gives you regarding care and cleaning, and do not hesitate to ask questions

Benefits of Invislign

Invisalign clear aligners are one of the orthodontic treatment options you can choose to achieve your perfect smile. But how do you know if Invisalign is the right option for you over traditional metal braces, ceramic braces, or lingual braces? Learn the benefits of Invisalign and what to look for when choosing the best orthodontic treatment for you!

Most cases can be treated with Invisalign, but it’s always best to see an orthodontist for a consultation to see what option is best for your individual situation. Depending on your treatment plan, you’ll receive between ten and 40 Invisalign clear aligners total, changing to a new set once a week. This will gradually and discreetly straighten your teeth over time with easy maintenance and fewer appointments than traditional braces. At the end of treatment, you’ll keep a clear retainer to wear at night to maintain your beautiful smile! 

Benefits of Invisalign over Braces

  • Easier hygiene and maintenance. You’re able to take Invisalign clear trays in and out when you eat and brush, which means there’s less of a chance for white spots on the surface of your teeth and cavities during orthodontic treatment. Wouldn’t it be nice to eat the same foods you always have? With Invisalign, you can.
  • Aesthetically-pleasing. Since Invisalign trays are transparent and nearly invisible, you’ll have the benefit of smiling and talking without worrying about people seeing brackets or wires in your mouth. 
  • Invisalign fits well with most patients’ lifestyles. For example, if you travel a lot for work or are away at college and are unable to come back for an appointment when recommended, you can keep multiple sets of trays at home. If you’re gone a long time and you reach the end of the trays you have currently, you can simply continue to wear the last tray as a retainer until you’re able to come back for an appointment.
  • No age restrictions. Invisalign is safe for kids as young as 7 or 8; at your child’s initial consultation, we will discuss the best treatment plan for your child based on their individual case.
  • No goopy impressions before treatment starts! Our clinics use digital 3D impressions to map your mouth prior to treatment. This is not only more comfortable for you, but it’s also faster and more accurate since the scan is completely digital. Learn more about digital impressions for dentistry and orthodontics.
  • Time-saving benefits. You won’t have to come back to the clinic to receive each set of trays. We typically give between three and six at each visit, so our patients average a clinic visit once every month and a half.

Differences Between Invisalign and Other Clear Aligners

The most significant difference between Invisalign braces treatment and other clear aligners (like Smile Direct Club or Candid Co.) is that Invisalign has features that others don’t have. We can do much more with Invisalign because we fasten clear attachments on your teeth so we can make more precise movements. The clear Invisalign trays also have different ridges that push the teeth more efficiently. The trays have features built into the trays that other brands don’t. With Invisalign, we have more control over your teeth movement and can treat a broader range of cases, including more complex bite cases.

Remember this: straightening your teeth is a medical procedure, and as with any health care decision, you want a licensed medical professional overseeing your treatment the entire time and performing regular check-ins to ensure most efficient and effective treatment. Braces that you receive in the mail from “as seen on TV” companies can’t do that.

Using Technology to Ensure Successful Invisalign Treatment 

Another benefit of Invisalign is that they have completed thousands of successful cases over the years, from minor adjustments to the most complex cases. We’re able to pull data and examples from their huge database of cases, so if you have a unique case, we have a way to use past successes to ensure your treatment concludes quickly and efficiently. 

We understand that orthodontic treatment is an investment in your smile, so we want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your treatment or your child’s treatment. To keep it fun and engaging, Invisalign offers a smartphone app that actually tracks your progress during treatment so you can see how far you’ve come! You’ll also receive reminders to your phone for when it’s time to switch to a new set of trays.

Invisalign for a Straighter Smile

Invisalign is a great way to discreetly and comfortably straighten your smile! As with any dental treatment, we will discuss your options with you at your initial consultation to learn your individual wants and needs. A straighter smile will help you be more comfortable smiling and talking, and our orthodontic team is excited to help you on your journey! 

Pregnancy and Dental Health

When expecting a new addition to their families, few women stop to think about how pregnancy may impact their dental health. However, shifting hormone levels paired with the delicacy of fetal development makes caring for a woman’s teeth during pregnancy critical both for their own health and that of her unborn baby.

Dentists should encourage patients considering conceiving to visit them pre-pregnancy as well as throughout their gestation period. Periodontal disease may permit dangerous bacteria to enter the mother’s bloodstream, potentially causing harm to her fetus. Dental health professionals can significantly reduce these risks by educating their clientele on proper oral hygiene while they’re expecting.

Preconceived Ideas

Preferably, women should book an appointment with their dental-care provider for a thorough cleaning and allow their dentist to check for any signs of gingivitis. Patients exhibiting signs of swollen, bloody gums should receive treatment before conceiving. Dental best practices include educating female patients of childbearing age about the importance of pre and postnatal oral care.

Prostaglandin in a pregnant woman’s mouth can significantly impact the chances of premature birth when it enters the bloodstream via cuts in the gum line. Infants born too early often need intensive hospital care to complete development. This puts an added economic strain on families during what is already a stressful time.

Diet During Pregnancy

Medical professionals have long known the importance of vitamin D in helping the body process calcium and magnesium, minerals important to oral health. However, only approximately 18 percent of expecting womenget their recommended daily amount of this vital nutrient.

Seek prenatal vitamins that include vitamin D or invest in a separate supplement. Dairy and fish both contain high levels of vitamin D, and seafood also offers essential fatty acids required for fetal neurological development.

How Pregnancy Hormones Affect Dental Care

The hormonal changes women experience during pregnancy impacts both teeth and gums. Women who experience morning sickness unwillingly expose their teeth to corrosive stomach acids, which can destroy tooth enamel. As the smell and taste of toothpaste can further nauseate pregnant women, rinse after vomiting with a mild baking soda and water solution to remove the acid. The baking soda neutralizes any remaining stomach acids on the teeth.

Babies born to mothers suffering from periodontal disease often suffer lower birth weights than those of mothers with healthy gums. As the disease progresses slowly, expectant mothers should undergo regular dental checkups throughout pregnancy to catch and reverse early cases.

What’s Safe and What’s Not

During pregnancy, the general rule states that maintaining regular dental care improves birth outcomes. However, dental health practitioners should urge patients to postpone elective services such as getting new braces or undergoing tooth whitening.

Dentists should likewise inquire as to all medications the pregnant woman takes, including over-the-counter supplements. Some drugs cause a decrease in saliva production, leading to dry mouth. With inadequate saliva production, food particles remain trapped in teeth longer, causing decay.

Other medications cause swollen gums or changes to gum tissue. Such patients should take care to see their dentists with increased frequency during pregnancy as their risk of developing gingivitis increases significantly.

Finally, women may safely undergo dental X-rays while expecting. Dentists should exercise additional precautions, such as covering the woman’s thyroid and abdomen before taking images.

Once a Woman Gives Birth

Once a woman gives birth, her body continues to undergo hormonal changes. While the postpartum period contains a ton of new responsibilities, reach out to new mothers and remind them of the importance of undergoing a thorough mouth examination to check for any gum disease and to pursue more aggressive treatment regimens if necessary. Breastfeeding mothers are especially vulnerable to gingivitis, cavities and calcium deficiency.

Dentists should likewise remind patients of protecting the oral health of their children. While most children don’t have a full mouth of pearly whites until their third birthday, dental care begins even before teething. Instruct new moms to feed infants breast milk, water or formula, and urge them to refrain from giving babies sweet juice drinks and other sugary beverages.

Healthy Mouth, Healthy Mom, Healthy Baby

Maintaining proper dental hygiene before, during and after pregnancy improves health outcomes for mothers and children alike. Dental health professionals should educate parents-to-be about what to expect and what problems to look for. When dentists and parents work together, more children have the opportunity to grow up strong.


Dental Anxiety

We all know people who struggle with going to the dentist. Maybe it’s a close friend or family member. Maybe it’s a patient who you can just see would rather be anywhere else. Well the phenomenon of “dental anxiety” goes beyond such anecdotes: studies have shown that anywhere between 9% and 20% of Americans actively avoid going to the dentist because of anxiety about the appointment.

As practitioners, it’s our duty to make sure that our patients feel as relaxed and comfortable as they can when they’re in our office, waiting room, or operating table. After all, if someone doesn’t have a positive experience at your office, they’re not going to come back in 6 months and their important dental care will fall by the wayside.

 Here are a few things you can advise your patients to consider if they’re dealing with fear or dental anxiety.

Strategies to Manage Dental Anxiety

Deep breathing is still one of the best ways to manage any kind of anxiety, which generally causes hyperventilation and panic. If you have a patient who seems uncomfortable during their appointment, take a moment’s pause and advise them to try some basic deep breathing exercises before you continue.

 Distractions in the operating room can keep patients’ minds off of any discomfort or fear they’re experiencing. Having a television in the room is becoming more popular, but allowing a friend or family member to be in the room during the checkup is also very helpful, especially for children who experience dental anxiety.

 Laughing gas and other forms of medication are of course the most popular ways to calm patients and treat more severe dental anxiety that is actively interfering with an appointment or procedure.

 Sometimes, dentists and their patients will work out hand signals beforehand to help cope with anxiety. For example, telling a patient to hold up a closed fist if they want the current procedure to stop. Just knowing they have the power to halt discomfort at any time can help patients cope with dental anxiety, even if they never end up using the hand signal.

Strategies to Manage Dental Phobia

Extreme dental anxiety, usually caused by past trauma during an encounter with a dentist or health care professional, is known as “dental phobia.” Dental phobia is unlikely to be assisted by something as minor as deep breathing or playing music in the room. This is usually when a patient needs to consider general anaesthesia, stronger anti-anxiety medications, and other forms of sedation dentistry.

Understanding The Causes Of Dental Anxiety

Ultimately, if you have a patient who fears going to the dentist, there’s more than likely some reason for it. There’s the obvious stressors: the bright lights, the clinical environment, letting relative strangers poke around in your mouth for an hour. Many dental procedures involve a certain amount of discomfort or even pain, and while your patients may understand logically that you’re doing these things for their own long-term health and happiness, it can be hard to look past the emotional discomfort involved in the short-term. And the portrayal of dentists in popular culture certainly hasn’t helped.

 However, some patients – particularly those with full-blown dental phobia – may also be recovering from a traumatic experience relating to dental care, or healthcare, in general. And “trauma” doesn’t have to be something dramatic – even something as seemingly small as being accidentally poked in the gums, resulting in bleeding, can be enough to scare someone out of seeing another dentist for years.

 We have to be sympathetic to the fears and anxieties of such patients – indeed, of all patients – if we truly want to help them have a positive experience every time they come into our office.

Smile Awareness Month

Smile…It’s Good For You

We’ve all heard that laughter is the best medicine, but just go ahead and try to laugh without smiling!

And we all know that when we feel good we tend to smile more, but did you know that the reverse may be true as well?

That is, just the simple act of smiling can be good for our health.

Even though smiles have been said to be incredibly contagious, cracking a smile is scientifically proven to be good for your overall health.

In a 2012 study, published in issue of Psychological Science, researchers at the University of Kansas found that the act of smiling has a positive effect on our happiness and physical health, helping the heart recover more quickly after stressful events.

The Science of Smiling

According to the Psychological Science study, and this associated article from The Telegraph, Tara Kraft, of the University of Kansas, said:

“Age old adages, such as ‘grin and bear it’ have suggested smiling to be not only an important nonverbal indicator of happiness but also wishfully promotes smiling as a panacea for life’s stressful events.

“We wanted to examine whether these adages had scientific merit; whether smiling could have real health-relevant benefits.”

Ms. Kroft and Dr. Sarah Pressman divided smiles into two categories – standard smiles, which use the muscles surrounding the mouth, and genuine or Duchenne smiles, which engage the muscles surrounding both the mouth and eyes.

Kraft and Pressman worked to manipulate the types of smiles to examine the effects on stress.

The results of the study showed that smiling during brief periods of stress can actually help to reduce the intensity of the body’s stress response, regardless of whether you actually feel happy or not.

Dr. Pressman went on to say:

“The next time you are stuck in traffic or are experiencing some other type of stress you might try to hold your face in a smile for a moment.

“Not only will it help you ‘grin and bear it’ psychologically, but it might actually help your heart health as well.”

National Smile Month

The month of May gives us many reasons to smile here in the U.S., but aside from the warmer weather, Mother’s Day, & Memorial Day, May 18th-June 18th also gives us all another reason to exercise our smile muscles – National Smile Month.

National Smile Month was started in the U.K., it’s the UK’s largest and longest-running oral health campaign and is sponsored by the British Dental Health Foundation.

In 2009 the National Smile Month campaign ran simultaneously in the U.K. and U.S.A. for the first time.

Let’s hope more dentists around the world, international health organizations, dental colleges & universities, municipalities, & other industry players get more involved as National Smile Month continues to promote the message that oral health IS overall health.

And that smiling is good for our health!