Ask Your Dentist!

Ask Your Dentist!

Is it Necessary for People with Dentures to Visit the Dentist? Why?

The short answer is yes, it is necessary, although it is important to know why and how.

First of all, diagnosing and treating problems with patients’ teeth is not the only job for dentists. Dental care providers cover a variety of duties. Dentists take care of the oral cavity for all of the soft tissues, hard tissues, as well as teeth and TMJ evaluation. Any changes in oral mucosa, which sometimes can cause serious problems, like oral cancers, should be verified and diagnosed by dentists. Therefore, for people who have dentures, other aspects of dental care exams should not be ignored.

Second, dentures can cause some infectious diseases, or soft tissue lesions, which are very important. Candidiasis is one of the infectious diseases which can be diagnosed and treated by dentists. Other than that, dentures with lack of stability and retention can traumatize the oral soft tissues and cause some lesions such as Epulis Fissuratum (a denture injury tumor), which should be diagnosed and removed by dentists. This kind of lesion sometimes is malignant (cancerous), which is very dangerous for patients.

Thirdly, using dentures can cause TMJ disorders. Usually older people have dentures and in this age group, patients are more susceptible for TMD. Osteoarthritis is one of the possible consequences. In this situation, it is a dentist’s roll to verifying the problem and prevent more damage to the TMJ.

Fourth of all, a denture by itself should be considered as one of the items for an oral exam for edentulous (toothless) patients. Dentures should be cleaned by ultrasound devices and any crack, or teeth attrition, occlusion changes, etc. need to be fixed. In the case of badly compromised dentures, replacing the denture with a new one should be considered.

Dr. Salek of A-Z Dental Care is the right doctor for taking care of patients with dentures, or requiring new dentures. After three decades working as a dentist and making many dentures, he can easily solve denture problems and create good new dentures. In addition to that, because of his specialization in oral medicine and orofacial pain, Dr. Salek can properly diagnose and manage the denture issues discussed above.

If you live in San Gabriel Valley area, including West Covina, Covina, Azusa, La Puente, Baldwin Park, Glendora, and the surrounding areas, and looking help for new denture, periodic exam, or having some problems with your denture, just call us at (626) 966-8408, and set an appointment for a free consultation.

Why is ice chewing bad for teeth?

Ice chewing is a bad habit which unfortunately is very common, especially among younger people. People who have this habit should stop chewing ice, ASAP.

There are two primary reasons why chewing ice so bad. As you might guess, since ice is very hard it can cause cracked or chipped teeth. Also, ice can cause sudden dramatic changes in a tooth’s temperature which can also cause it to crack. Cracked tooth syndrome always brings pain at some level. This may include sensitivity to cold, tenderness when touched and while chewing food, and sometimes pain that seems to come from out of nowhere. In some cases, ice chewing can result in a vertical fracture, which is not treatable and usually means the tooth must be extracted.

TMJ is another unpleasant problem associated with chewing ice. Clicking and popping when opening and closing the mouth are the least serious impacts of temporomandibular joint problems. Over the long term, chewing ice can cause disc displacement, jaw locking, and even osteoarthritis if there is severe damage to the mouth joints. In these cases, jaw movement can be painful, noisy, and rough.

Apart from its harmful consequences, chewing ice can sometimes be a sign of a nutritional deficiency or an eating disorder. People with anemia and other problems sometimes develop a symptom called pica, in which people crave substances with no nutritional value – not just ice (which at least is water) but clay, soil, or paper. If you have severe ice cravings, it is highly recommended that you see your medical doctor to deal with the underlying problem.

If you live in San Gabriel Valley area — West Covina, Covina, Azusa, La Puente, Baldwin Park, Glendora, and other cities — and are concerned about damage to your teeth and TMJ, A-Z Dental Care and Dr. Salek are here to help. The doctor has years of experience restoring teeth that have been damaged and is also a specialist in the treatment of TMJ. If you’re concerned about teeth or jaw pain, call us today at (626) 966-8408, and make an appointment for your free first-time consultation.

Are my Medications Staining my Teeth?

It’s possible. Staining or discoloration of teeth is categorized by dentists as either extrinsic or intrinsic. Substances we consume — medications, supplements, mouthwashes, specific foods, red wines, dark colored spirits, coffee, tea, tobacco, colas, and more. – can cause extrinsic discoloration and staining. Intrinsic discoloration comes from inside our bodies and can be caused by a number of factors, including: genetics, medications received before birth or during breast feeding, medications and supplements taken childhood, and even water that is oversaturated with fluoride, a substance otherwise very beneficial to teeth.

Is there any way to prevent or reduce these side effects? Some techniques can reduce the amount of staining, certainly. For example, a patient who is taking iron drops can make sure to place them the back side of the tongue and, of course, we can always reduce or eliminate our consumption of beverages and foods that tend to cause staining. Generally speaking, however, this is a problem that can be addressed to a greater or lesser extent with special toothpastes and teeth whitening techniques supervised by an experienced dentist.

Intrinsic discoloration is more complicated. First of all, this type of discoloration comes from inside the tooth and is extended from the inner dentine to the outer enamel. Extrinsic discoloration is primarily a cosmetic issue, but intrinsic discoloration is usually accompanied by weakness in the tooth structure. This kind of weakness is one of the reasons of we see early rampant dental decay in some children and young adults. Obviously, it is a far more serious problem

Extrinsic discoloration can be treated by dentists and hygienists in patients through regular cleaning and other techniques. For intrinsic discoloration, such traditional dental techniques as fillings, root canals, and crown are indicated to restore teeth as much as possible and reduce the risk of more damage – as well as dealing with some cosmetic concerns. 

In West Covina and in other San Gabriel area cities such as Covina, Azusa, La Puente, Baldwin Park, and Glendora, people who have any type of discoloration problem can get in touch with A-Z Dental Care. We offer free first-time consultations and all types of treatment, from cleaning to restorative procedures that can help with discoloration and other issues. Please call (626) 966-8418, and set an appointment for a free consultation.

Why is my Face Swollen after a Root Canal?

Before I answer this particular question, I want to discuss the overall possible consequences of a root canal.

Root canals, like other medical and dental treatment, can have side effects and complications, as well as very important benefits.

One of the possible consequences of a root canal is inflammation. Actually, inflammation is one of our body’s natural immune system responses. Inflammation is a result of infection, irritation, or injury – all of which might have necessitated your root canal in the first place. Inflammation has four signs; redness, warmth, swelling, and pain. Inflammation typically begins in the ligament surrounding the tooth and spreads to neighboring tissues. Pain and discomfort when biting down or chewing foods may present itself because of inflammation of ligaments. These symptoms should go away after a few days with a dentist’s care.

The chances of this kind of complication can increase when a dentist is not as expert as they ought to be. You can read more at my website about Root Canal:

What foods should I eat after going to a dentist?

There is no specific type of food patients should eat after finishing their dental treatment. However, for some procedures, like tooth extractions, your dentist will have specific instructions on which foods to avoid.

Regarding when to eat anything at all after a visit, however, local anesthesia is an important concern. Patients should wait until all of their numbness is completely gone before eating anything. Eating food while the anesthesia is still in effect can cause damage to the tongue, lip, and cheek areas because you might accidentally bite yourself and not notice.

After an extraction, it’s necessary to avoid hot and hard food, because these kinds of foods can cause bleeding. After permanent crowns are affixed, patients should avoid chewing food on that side of their mouth for at least 24 hours. For temporary crowns, the situation is little bit different. Temporary crowns are not very resistant to pressure or force, so hard, chewy, or sticky foods can cause the crowns to break. Patients should , therefore, chew carefully and stay with softer, less sticky foods.

In my experience, choosing what to eat before going to the dental office is actually often more important than what to eat after procedures. Generally, patients should feel free to eat normally prior to dental procedures. The exception is if you have been scheduled for a treatment under sedation or general anesthesia. In these cases, your doctor will tell you if it is necessary to abstain from food for a length of time prior to the procedure. Apart from that, patients should definitely stay with their regular eating routines. This is important because, for patients with an empty stomach, there is always a risk of blood sugar dropping, and that could cause issues. Obviously, this is even more of a problem for patients who have diabetes.

Why are periodic exams so important?

Most people understand that periodic dental exams are important. Unfortunately there are still a group of people who don’t believe it and they may decide that it isn’t worth showing up for their periodic exam. However, even people who visit their dentist regularly may not understand exactly how important it can be. They assume it’s mostly for the prevention of damage to the teeth and gums; of course that’s true, but it’s not the whole story.

Very often, oral cancer and pre-cancerous oral lesions, like leukoplakia or erythroplakia, can be diagnosed by dentists during an exam. These are potentially life threatening oral cancers, and early detection is very important. It’s also important to realize that poor oral health can often exacerbate serious health conditions.

A 62 year-old man who was referred to A-Z Dental. The patient’s doctor had already produced a diagnosis of oral cancer. Chemotherapy and radiation were planned, and because of that it was necessary to remove any teeth that were in danger of requiring extraction. Unfortunately, the patient had advanced generalized periodontitis.

This meant that all of his teeth were extremely loose and had to be extracted. We asked the man when he had last been to see a dentist. He did not remember, and stated that it might have been very many years ago. That much was obvious . If this patient had gone to a dentist regularly, he would have had a much better chance of keeping most or all of his teeth and, more importantly, it would have improved his overall chance of survival. Alongside my dental training, I completed a two year residency in Oral Medicine, which covers cancer and other oral lesions, so this case was particularly meaningful to me.


Don’t ignore red flags. If you have not visited your dentist for a periodic exam and are noticing worrisome symptoms such as long lasting discoloration, ulcers, or any other unusual changes in your mouth, now is the time to contact an experienced dentist . A-Z Dental Care is the right dental office for you if you are living in West Covina, Covina, Azusa, and other cities of San Gabriel Valley area.

If you haven’t had an exam in a long time – or even a relatively short one – I want to hear from you. Our number is 626-966-8408.

What are the signs and symptoms of TMJ/TMD?

Does everyone have TMJ? Does everyone have TMD? For sure all of us have TMJ, but just 5% to 12% of people have TMD. What is the difference between TMJ and TMD?

TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) is a joint like other joints, such as knee or elbow joints. This joint and a group of muscles are responsible for jaw movements. TMD (Temporomandibular Disorders) are a group dysfunctions of this joints and related muscles, which work for the jaw movements.

TMD can be verified by just some simple noises, like clicking, popping, or crepitation. Sometimes TMD is accompanied by limitation in jaw movement, and even jaw locking. Pain is not rare in TMD, and sometimes is the main reason for referring to dentists. In severe cases of TMD all of the signs and symptoms can be observed.

TMD can be caused by different factors, such as oral habits, grinding, clenching, specific diet, trauma, and any kind of malfunction like chewing gum.

TMD can trigger headache, or be misdiagnosed as toothache, so it is very important to be taken very serious by patients and doctors.

Treatment of TMD is depend upon how serious the problem is, signs, and symptoms. It could be just keeping our eyes on it, and regular follow ups. Physical therapy, avoidance protocol, topical or systemic medication, and even specific muscle, or joint injections.

Efficient treatment is started by right diagnosis. Right diagnosis requires, a knowledgeable, expert, and enough equipped dentist. Dr. Salek is an Orofacial Pain specialist, who deals with TMD, with a long time experience. He helps his patients in A-Z Dental Care office, which equipped by very high tech CBCT machine, which planned for good imaging of TMJ.

If you have signs and symptoms of TMD, or have been told previously by your dentist about TMD, and looking for a TMJ specialist, who can treat you without invasive, or aggressive ways, call our office at 626-699-8408, and set up an appointment.

How does a ROOT CANAL relate to the risk of an infection?

Before answering this particular question, we first need to know the reasons why the root canal is indicated. The first reason dentists will recommend this type of procedure is for treating advanced decay which has involved the tooth’s pulp chamber. In this case, microorganisms can gain access to the tissues of a tooth’s roots and cause infection. The same condition can happen to the teeth and cause severe wearing, as well as secondary attrition, erosion, or abrasion because of mechanical or chemical factors. These factors can be related to grinding, stress, certain types of diets, or frequent vomiting.

The second reason for a root canal is often trauma, such as breaking a large portion of a tooth crown in an accident, causing tooth pulp chamber exposure. Again, this can be a pathway for microorganisms and lead to an infection in the supporting tissues of the tooth. Sometimes traumas that don’t break the tooth can damage living tissues, such as vessels and nerves. In this case, necrosis can result. Usually necrosis (dead cells) creates what we call a sterile (uninfected) abscess around the tooth.

The third reason is when a tooth needs restoration due to abrasion or other factors — and without root canal, restorative procedures, are not likely to succeed. In some cases teeth that appear sound but at risk due to periodontal (gum) problems can be saved by a root canal.

In a standard root canal treatment, the main goals are cleaning the root canals and sealing the areas of the teeth that dentists call coronal and apical orifices. Cleaning during a root canal may employ mechanical, chemical, and surgical approaches. After cleaning, shaping, and irrigating, the population of microorganisms can be minimized. After the canals are thoroughly cleaned, dentists can achieve a good seal using a variety of special materials, including gutta-percha, a highly specialized product made from material found in certain types of exotic trees.

As you can see from all of this, root canal therapy is a means of greatly reducing the chance of an infection. Studies tell us that the success rate for root canal is between 86% and 98%. When performed properly, root canals consistently succeed. To maximize the chances of a successful – and comfortable – root canal, you want to make sure you’re working with an experienced and well-equipped dentist. Dr. Salek of A-Z Dental Care boasts many years of experience and has dealt extensively with root canal, from the simplest cases to the most complex and challenging.

If you are seeking outstanding dental care for a root canal in West Covina, Covina, Azusa, and throughout the San Gabriel Valley, please call (626) 966-8408 or visit our contact page to set an appointment for a free initial consultation.

My gums are bleeding when I brush. Will changing my toothpaste help?

When gums bleed while brushing teeth, eating, or seemingly out of nowhere, that’s a symptom that needs to be taken seriously. While certain types of toothpaste claim to improve this unpleasant symptom, it’s important to treat the illness that is almost certainly causing it.

Make no mistake, bleeding gums are nearly always a sign that something is wrong. The most common cause is gum disease or another important periodontal issue but, in the worst instances it can be a sign of a serious illness such as leukemia. Making an appointment with a dentist is a must.

Gingiva (gum) inflammation is the main reason for bleeding. While it’s possible that some special toothpastes can reduce the inflammation, it’s a superficial solution at best. While the advertising for these products can be very persuasive, they are never a substitute for going to the dentist. Using these toothpastes is a little bit like taking aspirin for headaches that might be caused by a serious illness. Finding out the root cause is crucial.

Fortunately, a competent dentist can address all types of gum-related issues by treating the cause of the problem. Plaque and calculus in the teeth and elsewhere can damage gums and cause gingivitis (gingival inflammation) or periodontitis (inflammation of both the gums and tissues that supports teeth). These illnesses can lead to gums that are recessed or overgrown, halitosis (bad breath), itching and pain, and even teeth mobility, where teeth seem to “float” around the mouth. Toothpaste will never be enough to deal with these problems.

Gum problems can be serious business and you want an expert dental specialist to help restore your oral health. If you live in West Covina, Covina, Azusa, Baldwin Park, or anywhere else in the Los Angeles San Gabriel Valley area, please call (626) 966-8408 for a free initial consultation or visit our contact page.

Are Implants Really that Much Better than Other Types of Dental Prosthetics?

Traditional bridgework and dentures are vastly better than nothing at all. They prevent problems with nutrition, social isolation, as well as many oral health problems. However, they have their share of drawbacks. Most people understand that dentures can be inconvenient in terms of their care and insuring they stay in place, and some patients are disappointed with their appearance.

Implants are prosthetic teeth that are implanted in the gums through a minor outpatient procedure. Many patients find that ordinary dentures and bridges can make just talking, eating, or even laughing problematic. Implants, however, are considered the gold standard in teeth replacement because, once the process has been completed, they are essentially identical to real teeth. For most patients they are vastly more convenient and comfortable than bridges and dentures, and they look the same as organic teeth. They also are the only solution for lost teeth that prevents the potentially devastating bone loss that can accompany tooth loss.

A less well-known issue associated with losing teeth is bone loss, which can have severe consequences in some cases, including further loss of teeth and changes in facial appearance. Because implants mimic natural teeth and are actually connected to the jawbone, they actually prevent bone loss. At present, no other treatment can do that. The benefits of improved health, better appearance, and the convenience of permanent teeth adds up to a pretty clear preference for most patients.

For more detailed information, see our blog post on dental implants.

How can I reduce my TEETH SENSITIVITY?

This is a very common issue, but the solution depends mostly on the cause of the problem. Therefore, before we know how to deal with the problem, first we need to know what’s causing painful sensations related to cold, heat, or sweet foods and drinks.

Sensitivity often comes down to the construction of the tooth itself. Every tooth has two parts: the root and the crown. Crowns are covered by enamel, and roots by cementum, a calcified substance that keeps teeth attached to the gums and bone. Enamel and cementum, much like hair and fingernails, are without feeling because they contain no living nerve tissues. Dentin the second layer, however, contains living cells and therefore can become irritated by sensory stimuli and sugar. Not surprisingly, anything that causes dentin to become more exposed, such as decay, enamel that has been chipped, cracked or broken can cause sensitivity. Similarly, enamel that has been worn due to bruxism (grinding or clenching) or abrasion can provide insufficient protection and therefore lead to sensitivity. Sometimes, dental work, such as fillings, crowns, and deep cleaning, may cause same pain or sensitivity after the work has been done.

The various causes of sensitivity have correspondingly differing solutions. In certain situations, like decay, urgent care is required, and in some circumstances, such as sensitivity to the cold after a dental procedure, we need to wait and watch. Sometimes very radical treatments, like tooth extraction or root canal are recommended, and sometimes very conservative steps are enough. It’s impossible to know what to do without understanding the source of the problem.

What we don’t know really can hurt us, and for people with sensitive teeth to try and squeak by with over-the-counter solutions can conceal potentially serious problems that, if not addressed early, can wind up patients vastly more pain and expense than addressing them immediately. If you live in West Covina or elsewhere in the San Gabriel Valley area, your best move may be to come to A-Z Dental Care, and see Dr. Salek. His years of dental experience and success promoting oral health in people of all ages make him an outstanding choice for anyone who wants a healthy smile. For further information, call (626) 966-8408 for a free initial consultation or visit our contact page.

I’ve got CHIPPED TEETH. What should I do?

Chipping is very common on front teeth, but it can also happen to back teeth. Chipping can be caused by an accident or other trauma, biting on something hard, bruxism (nighttime tooth grinding), habitual clenching, and even very advanced tooth decay. Treatment largely depends on the degree of chipping, and its proximity to the pulp chamber of the tooth.

Sometimes a chipped tooth may not present any symptoms beyond the altered shape of the tooth itself. In other cases, however, chipping can cause sensitivity or outright pain. If the amount of missing tooth is too big, a tooth may not restorable and may not to be replaced. In most cases, however, a great deal can be done to deal with the issue both in terms of symptoms and cosmetic issues.

The only way to deal with chipping is to visit a skilled dentist who can examine the teeth and offer a course of care. In cases of very minor damage, for example, it is sometimes possible to just shave the tooth and smooth out the surface of the tooth. Sometimes a restorative treatment, such as a filling, is the right treatment. In instances where the tooth is more badly damaged, options like root canal treatment and crowns may be needed.

Dr. Salek and the entire team at A-Z Dental Care are here to help people of all ages to have the healthiest smiles possible. If you’re dealing with chipped teeth, any other issues, or simply want to prevent dental problems before they start, we’ve been serving West Covina and the San Gabriel Valley for years. Contact us today at (626) 966-8408 or visit our contact page.

Click to Call