Dental x-rays, or dental radiographs, are essential diagnostic tools used by your dentist to diagnose and prevent severe dental diseases and complications. These images provide the dentist with valuable information not available through a regular dental exam. Early identification of such problems saves you time, money, and unnecessary pain. Dental x-rays often reveal:
– Abscesses or cysts
– Bone loss around teeth
– Tumors, whether cancerous or non-cancerous
– Decay between the teeth
– Developmental abnormalities
– Poor tooth and root position
– Any other problems inside a tooth or below the gumline
Our patients often wonder if dental x-rays are safe. While x-rays use a low-level dose of radiation to capture diagnostic images, the amount of radiation that a patient receives from a full mouth series of dental x-rays is equivalent to what a person would typically receive in a single day from natural sources present in our everyday lives. With standard precautions in place, x-rays near you are perfectly safe.
At Torrey Hills Dental, we take x-rays at check-up visits only as necessary. Our San Diego Dentist regularly reviews each patient’s unique situation and requests x-rays only when necessary based on medical and dental history, age considerations, and risk of dental disease. A full mouth series of x-rays is recommended for new patients and is generally good for three to five years. Your dentist will typically recommend bite-wing x-rays (x-rays of top and bottom teeth biting together) once or twice a year to evaluate the potential development of cavities between teeth.
Dental Exams and Cleanings
When you visit Torrey Hills Dental for your regular check-up, you will undergo a dental exam performed by your dental hygienist and dentist.
Every dental exam includes several steps to check for signs or symptoms that may indicate dental concerns:
– X-rays to detect decay, tumors, cysts, bone loss, and tooth and root positioning.
– Oral cancer screenings to check the entire head, neck, and mouth for signs of oral cancer.
– A thorough gum disease evaluation to assess the health of the gums and bone around your teeth.
– Examination of the tooth surfaces to check for decay, evaluate the condition of fillings and crowns, and establish overall condition of the teeth.
Once this examination is complete, your dentist and dental hygienist will determine whether your oral health necessitates a preventative dental cleaning, also called a dental prophylaxis, or whether interventional periodontal therapy is necessary.
Your San Diego Dentist may recommend that a dental prophylaxis, or dental cleaning be performed when there is no evidence of gum disease to accomplish the following:
– To remove plaque, which is the sticky substance that can inflame the gums and cause decay.
– To remove tartar, the hardened plaque that leads to advanced periodontal disease if left unchecked.
– To polish the teeth, removing stains and brightening your smile.
It is absolutely essential to visit your dentist at minimum every six months for a dental exam and dental cleaning in San Diego. Without these regular preventative visits to your dentist, you run the risk of developing cavities, gum disease, and other serious problems that are much easier to resolve when caught early.
Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Sleep Apnea can be a very serious condition. Sleep apnea is a disorder that occurs when a person’s breathing is interrupted during sleep. If you suffer from Sleep Apnea, you are at much higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and even certain types of cancer.
Fortunately, Dr. James Tasto is a proud member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine. In his San Diego Dental Office, he treats Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) with a Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD). This device pulls the lower jaw forward in order to maintain an unobstructed upper airway by increasing its dimensions and reducing collapsibility.
What Are the Effects of Sleep Apnea?
If left untreated, sleep apnea can result in a growing number of health problems, including:
– High blood pressure
– Heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart attacks
– Worsening of ADHD
In addition, untreated sleep apnea may be responsible for poor performance in everyday activities, such as at work and school, motor vehicle crashes, and academic underachievement in children and adolescents.
Patients who suffer from sleep apnea stop breathing repeatedly during their sleep, sometimes hundreds of times. This means the brain — and the rest of the body — may not get enough oxygen.
Who is at risk?
Sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age, even children. Risk factors for sleep apnea include:
– Being male
– Being overweight
– Being over age 40
– Having a large neck size (17 inches or greater in men and 16 inches or greater in women)
– Having large tonsils, a large tongue, or a small jaw bone
– Having a family history of sleep apnea
– Gastroesophageal reflux, or GERD
– Nasal obstruction due to a deviated septum, allergies, or sinus problems
Thousands of patients have benefitted from a simple yet effective therapy provided by our sleep apnea dentist in San Diego. The device fabricated for our patients is recognized by specialists as a discreet and comfortable oral appliance.
How it works:
The Mandibular Advancement device (MAD) holds the mandible (the lower jaw) in a forward position, bringing the base of the tongue forward and increasing the space behind the tongue.
This positioning has a double impact:
– It reduces the risk of obstruction (collapse of the airway) and decreases the frequency of apneas or hypopneas, which leads to sleep fragmentation.
– The speed at which the air is inhaled decreases, reducing the snoring caused by the vibration of soft tissues in the throat.
Call us today to schedule an appointment to evaluate you or your loved ones for sleep apnea dental treatment in San Diego!
Mouthguards are devices that can be used in multiple ways to maintain and protect your oral and overall health. They can be worn to protect your teeth from grinding or clenching while you sleep or from injuries when you are playing sports. Other types of mouthguards can also help to reduce snoring and relieve obstructive sleep apnea.
If you are suffering from jaw pain, sensitive teeth, or broken teeth due to clenching and grinding, the team at Torrey Hills Dental can help you find relief using a custom-made nighttime mouthguard.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is a condition characterized by intense jaw clenching that occurs while the patient is asleep, leading to various issues with the jaw, teeth, neck, and head that can be extremely painful.
Because bruxism occurs while you are asleep, it’s not uncommon for the condition to go undiagnosed for years. Patients don’t always realize the cause of their pain until their jaw clenching begins to take its toll, causing tooth damage, jaw pain, sore gums, earaches, chronic headaches, and more.
Nightguards are custom-made to protect your mouth from the effects of bruxism and can even help you get a good night’s sleep.
An Athletic Mouthguard is a device worn over your teeth that protects them from trauma resulting from blows or injuries to the face and head. Mouthguards are an essential piece of athletic equipment for anyone participating in a sport that involves falls, body contact, or flying equipment. If you participate in sports like baseball, football, basketball, soccer, hockey, skateboarding, gymnastics, or mountain biking, you might benefit from a protective athletic mouthguard that can help prevent or reduce the severity of injuries to your mouth.
Mouthguards typically cover just the upper teeth and are designed to protect athletes against broken teeth, lip lacerations, and other damage to the mouth. If braces or other fixed dental appliances are worn on your lower jaw, your dentist may also suggest a mouth protector for the lower teeth.
Custom-made mouthguards are individually designed and made in your dentist’s office in San Diego or in a professional dental laboratory. Custom mouthguards are very likely to provide the most comfortable fit and best protection available. Your San Diego dentist will make an impression of your teeth and then construct the mouth guard over a model made from that impression. Because they fit accurately and feel better in place, most athletes prefer customized mouth guards.
Boil and bite mouth guards come in a pre-formed shape that can be somewhat customized by placing the mouthguard in boiling water, then biting into the warm plastic for a customized fit. These semi-custom guards can be bought at many sporting goods stores and may offer a better fit than stock mouth protectors. Follow the directions carefully to avoid ending up with a poorly-fitting mouthguard.
Stock mouthguards are fairly inexpensive and come pre-formed and ready to wear. Unfortunately, they often don’t fit very well as they do not offer options for customization. They can be bulky and may even make breathing and talking difficult.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist in San Diego today to have a custom-made mouthguard fabricated for you!