Posts for: October, 2014

By Cesar Acosta, DMD, Family Dentistry
October 27, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental care  

Today’s dentist can not only treat most dental diseases and conditions, but can almost prevent disease completely. Our true needs as a society, however, go beyond the dentist’s chair — to the lack of availability and affordability of care for every American.

That’s of grave concern to dentists — so much so that dentistry itself is already changing to meet these challenges.

In one of the most visible changes, we’re seeing accelerated technological advancement that could lower costs and extend our range of care. Advances in 3-D digital imaging are giving dentists amazingly detailed views of patients’ mouths that surpass the accuracy of traditional imaging. Telecommunications and the internet are enabling dentists in distant locations to examine patients and even review dental x-rays to guide treatment, providing a new level of care access for patients.

The means for delivering that care are also changing as the traditional paradigm of the solo practice becomes more difficult for new dentists to achieve. With educational debt and practice setup costs reaching as high as $1 million — before earning their first dollar — many dentists are joining larger groups or dental corporations. In these arrangements, practitioners don’t have the burden of overhead expenses and can concentrate mainly on their clinical work. On the downside, patients seeing multiple providers may not easily build that all important dentist-patient relationship that’s the hallmark of a solo practice. This alternative model could, however, increase the number of practicing dentists over time, making dental care more widely available.

Finally, we’re beginning to see greater collaboration between physicians and dentists. There’s an emerging understanding of the true interconnection of the body’s various systems: diseases of the mouth can affect other diseases of the body, and vice-versa. We’re also experiencing a growing development in salivary diagnosis, using this vital oral fluid to detect conditions and disease in other parts of the body. Dentists and physicians will be working more closely than ever to treat the whole person, not just individual systems — a collaboration that will improve patient care all around.

As these changes continue to emerge in dentistry, you may soon see their effects during your visits. One thing, however, won’t change — the commitment of dentists to provide the highest level of care, for both your oral and general health.

If you would like more information on how changes in dentistry could affect your care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Cesar Acosta DMD Family Dentistry
October 14, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Sodium  
sodium gun disease Many Turlock patients believe that sugar is the absolute worst for your teeth. We are all familiar with the fact that consuming too much sodium can increase chances of developing high blood pressure, heart attack and stroke, but you may not know that salt can be just as aggravating to your teeth as sugar. Dr. Cesar Acosta wants his patients to know the facts when it comes to sodium and dental health.

Salt and Tooth Decay

I’m sure you’re wondering how sodium comes into play with oral health. The salt itself does not damage tooth enamel, but sodium and carbohydrates often go hand-in-hand, especially when it comes to processed foods. Oral bacteria feasts on simple sugars and produces tough acids whenever you consume any food or beverage that contains carbohydrates. The acids are kept in contact with tooth enamel by plaque that forms in your mouth throughout the day. The longer it remains in your mouth, the more time the tooth enamel becomes damaged.
Bread, pizza, pasta, and salty snacks are among the top sources of sodium in the American diet. While most of these foods are relatively low in sugar, some of their starches can be broken down into simple sugars by the enzymes in your mouth. As your body breaks them down, the starches generate the same damaging effects to your teeth as sugar would.
Sodium can also weaken your teeth. A lot like bones, tissues make up your teeth rely on calcium to give them structure and strength. A high sodium intake is shown to increase the amount of calcium your body disposes of through urine, which can lead to osteoporosis and tooth loss.

The Other View of Salt and Your Teeth

The American Heart Association does not recommend using salt liberally in your diet. You should not consume more than 1,500 milligrams a day. Rather than consuming sodium, applying it to your teeth or using it as a mouthwash can actually be beneficial. The American Dental Association believes that sodium lauryl sulfate and other sodium-based compounds act as foaming detergents in toothpaste. A mild salt rinse is also recommended to sooth painful tooth sores or bacterial infections.
No matter what your diet may be, it is very important that you partake in daily oral hygiene, as well as annual dental cleanings and checkups. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment or for more information.

By Cesar Acosta, DMD, Family Dentistry
October 09, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures

Now that celebrities can communicate directly with their fans through social media, we’ve started to see dispatches from some surprising locations — the dental chair, for example! Take singer Kelly Clarkson, who was the first winner of American Idol, and perhaps one of the first to seek moral support via social media before having an emergency root canal procedure.

“Emergency root canal — I’ve had better days,” Kelly posted on her Facebook page, along with a photo of herself looking… well, pretty nervous. But is a root canal procedure really something to be scared about? It’s time to clear up some misconceptions about this very common dental procedure.

First of all, root canal treatment is done to save a tooth that might otherwise be lost to an infection deep inside it. So while it’s often looked upon with apprehension, it’s a very positive step to take if you want to keep your teeth as long as possible. Secondly, tooth infections can be painful — but it’s the root canal procedure that stops the pain. What, actually, is done during this tooth-saving treatment?

First, a local anesthetic is administered to keep you from feeling any pain. Then, a small opening is made through the chewing surface of the infected tooth, giving access to the central space inside, which is called the “pulp chamber.” A set of tiny instruments is used to remove the diseased pulp (nerve) tissue in the chamber, and to clean out the root canals: branching tunnel-like spaces that run from the pulp chamber through the root (or roots) of the tooth. The cleared canals are then filled and sealed.

At a later appointment, we will give you a more permanent filling or, more likely, a crown, to restore your tooth’s full function and protect it from further injury. A tooth that has had a root canal followed by a proper restoration can last as long as any other natural tooth — a very long time indeed.

If you have any questions about root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “A Step by Step Guide to Root Canal Treatment.”

Contact Us

Cesar Acosta DMD, Family Dentistry

(209) 250-2560
1065 Colorado Avenue Ste 3 Turlock, CA 95380