Frequently Asked Questions

What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?


Porcelain veneers are very thin cosmetic shells of tooth-shaped porcelain that are beautifully and artfully crafted to cover the fronts of teeth. This is by far the most popular cosmetic dental procedure performed today. They are very durable and will not stain, making them a very popular solution for those seeking to restore or enhance the beauty of their smile. Veneers may be used to restore or correct the following dental conditions:

  • Severely discolored or stained teeth
  • Unwanted or uneven spaces
  • Worn or chipped teeth
  • Slight tooth crowding
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Teeth that are too small or large
Veneers are created from a strategic plan utilizing digital photography, diagnostic models, and impression of your teeth. Our top-rated dental laboratory takes all the provided information where each veneer is custom-made for your smile. Veneers are an excellent dental treatment that can dramatically improve your teeth and give you a natural, beautiful smile. Rest assured that Toluca Lake Cosmetic Dentistry will never cut any corners when planning your veneers. If you’ve envisioned yourself with natural looking, beautifully crafted, artfully made custom veneers contact our Toluca Lake Cosmetic Dentistry.




What should I do if I have bad breath?


Bad breath can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have bad breath, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning. There are various causes that attribute to bad breath, but in healthy people, the major source is microbial deposits on the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent. What causes bad breath?

  • Morning time – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep, reducing its cleaning power and allowing bacteria to grow, which results in bad breath.
  • Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream; they are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles remaining in the mouth promote bacterial growth.
  • Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria and food debris residing under inflamed gums.
  • Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances – May also contribute to bad breath.
  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – May be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
  • Tobacco products – Dry the mouth, causing bad breath.
  • Dieting – Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat.
  • Dehydration, hunger, and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away.
  • Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia are several conditions that may contribute to bad breath.
What can I do to prevent bad breath? Practice good oral hygiene – Brush at least twice a day with an ADA approved fluoride toothpaste and toothbrush. Floss daily to remove food debris and plaque from in between the teeth and under the gumline. Brush or use a tongue scraper to clean the tongue and reach the back areas. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months. If you wear dentures or removable dental appliances, clean them thoroughly and place them back in your mouth in the morning. See your dentist regularly – Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. If you have or have had periodontal disease, your dentist will recommend more frequent visits. Stop smoking/chewing tobacco – Ask your dentist or hygienist what they recommend to help break the habit. Drink water frequently – Water will help keep your mouth moist and wash away bacteria. Use mouthwash/rinses – Some over-the-counter products only provide a temporary solution to mask unpleasant mouth odor. Ask your dentist about antiseptic rinses that not only alleviate bad breath but also kill the germs that cause the problem. In most cases, your dentist can treat the cause of bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy and bad breath remains persistent, your dentist may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.




How often should I brush and floss?


Brushing and flossing help control the plaque and bacteria that cause dental disease. Plaque is a film of food debris, bacteria, and saliva that sticks to the teeth and gums. The bacteria in plaque convert certain food particles into acids that cause tooth decay. Also, if plaque is not removed, it turns into tartar. If plaque and calculus are not removed, they begin to destroy the gums and bone, causing gum disease. Plaque formation occurs every 12-24 hours and can only be controlled by regular brushing, flossing, and the use of other dental aids. Toothbrushing – Brush your teeth at least twice a day (especially before going to bed at night) with an ADA approved soft bristle brush and toothpaste.

  • Brush at a 45 degree angle to the gums, gently using a small, circular motion, ensuring that you always feel the bristles on the gums.
  • Brush the outer, inner, and biting surfaces of each tooth.
  • Use the tip of the brush head to clean the inside front teeth.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and to freshen your breath.
Electric toothbrushes are the gold standard for toothbrushes. They are easy to use and can remove plaque efficiently. Flossing – Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone.
  • Take 12-18 inches of dental floss and wrap it around your middle fingers, leaving about 2 inches of floss between the hands.
  • Using your thumbs and forefingers to guide the floss, gently insert the floss between teeth using a sawing motion.
  • Curve the floss into a “C” shape around each tooth and under the gumline. Gently move the floss up and down, cleaning the side of each tooth.
Floss holders are recommended if you have difficulty using conventional floss. Rinsing – It is important to rinse your mouth with water after brushing, and also after meals if you are unable to brush. We personalize all dental products for your needs. your dentist and hygienist will recommend the appropriate products for you.




How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?


At Toluca Lake Cosmetic Dentistry we believe in tailoring all preventative dental programs for each individual. With that is mind, you should have your teeth checked and cleaned at least twice a year. Regular dental exams and cleaning visits are essential in preventing dental problems and maintaining the health of your teeth and gums. At these visits, your teeth are cleaned and checked for cavities. Additionally, there are many other things that are checked and monitored to help detect, prevent, and maintain your dental health. These include:

  • Medical history review: Knowing the status of any current medical conditions, new medications, and illnesses, gives us insight to your overall health and also your dental health.
  • Examination of diagnostic X-rays: Essential for detection of decay, tumors, cysts, and bone loss. X-rays also help determine tooth and root positions.
  • Oral cancer screening: Check the face, neck, lips, tongue, throat, tissues, and gums for any signs of oral cancer.
  • Gum disease evaluation: Check the gums and bone around the teeth for any signs of periodontal disease. “Pockets” area assessed and measured at each appointment.
  • Examination of tooth decay: All tooth surfaces will be checked for decay with special dental instruments.
  • Examination of existing restorations: Check current fillings, crowns, etc.
  • Removal of tartar: Tartar is hardened plaque that has been left on the tooth for sometime and is now firmly attached to the tooth surface. Tartar can form above and below the gumline and can only be removed with special dental instruments.
  • Removal of plaque: Plaque is a sticky, almost invisible film that forms on the teeth. It is a growing colony of living bacteria, food debris, and saliva. The bacteria produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gums. This inflammation is the start of periodontal disease.
  • Teeth polishing: Removes stain and plaque. This is safe and does not damage the enamel.
  • Oral hygiene recommendations: Review and recommend oral hygiene aids as needed (electric dental toothbrushes, special cleaning aids, fluorides, rinses, etc.).
  • Review dietary habits: Your eating habits play a very important role in your dental health.
As you can see, a good dental exam and cleaning involves much more than simply checking for cavities and polishing your teeth. At Toluca Lake Cosmetic Dentistry,we are committed to providing you with the best possible care, and to do so, will require regular check-ups and cleanings.




How can I tell if I have gingivitis or gum disease?


Four out of five people have periodontal disease and don’t know it! Most people are not aware of it because the disease is usually painless in the early stages. Unlike cavities, which often causes discomfort, it is possible to have periodontal disease without noticeable symptoms. Having regular dental check-ups and periodontal examinations are very important and will help detect if gum problems exist. Gum disease begins when plaque, a sticky, colorless, film of bacteria, food debris, and saliva, is left on the teeth and gums. The bacteria produce toxins that cause inflammation and slowly destroy the bone. Brushing and flossing regularly will ensure that plaque is not left behind to do its damage. Other than poor oral hygiene, there are several other factors that may increase the risk of developing gum disease:

  • Genetics may play role – Some patients may be predisposed to more aggressive types of periodontitis. Patients with a family history of tooth loss should pay particular attention to their gums.
  • Smoking or chewing tobacco – Tobacco users are more likely than non-users to form plaque and tartar on their teeth.
  • Defective crowns or bridges – Bridges that no longer fit properly, crowded teeth, or defective fillings that may trap plaque and bacteria.
  • Medications – Steroids, cancer therapy drugs, blood pressure meds, oral contraceptives, Anti-Anxiety/ Anti- Depressant medications. There are over 500 known drugs that cause dry mouth, making plaque easier to adhere to the teeth and gums.
  • Pregnancy, oral contraceptives, and puberty – Can cause changes in hormone levels, causing gum tissue to become more sensitive to bacteria toxins.
  • Systemic diseases – Diabetes, blood cell disorders, Autoimmune/ immunosuppressive conditions.
Signs and Symptoms of Periodontal Disease
  • Any bleeding when brushing or flossing.
  • Red and puffy gums – Gums should never be red or swollen.
  • Bleeding gums – Gums should never bleed, even when you brush vigorously or use dental floss.
  • Persistent bad breath – Caused by bacteria in the mouth.
  • New spacing between teeth – Caused by bone loss.
  • Loose teeth – Also caused by bone loss or weakened periodontal fibers (fibers that support the tooth to the bone).
  • Pus around the teeth and gums – Sign that there is an infection present.
  • Receding gums – Loss of gum around a tooth.
  • Tenderness or Discomfort – Plaque, calculus, and bacteria irritate the gums and teeth.
Good oral hygiene, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits can help reduce your risk of developing periodontal disease. Please contact our team at Toluca Lake Cosmetic Dentistry if you have any questions about your gum health.




Why is it important to use dental floss?


Brushing our teeth removes food particles, plaque, and bacteria from all tooth surfaces, except in between the teeth. Unfortunately, our toothbrush can’t reach these areas that are highly susceptible to cavities and gum disease. Daily flossing is the best way to clean between the teeth and under the gumline. Flossing not only helps clean these spaces, it disrupts plaque colonies from building up, preventing damage to the gums, teeth, and bone. Water flossers could be a great adjunct to your daily routine if you have a hard time using dental floss or just want to ensure that the areas in between the teeth are completely clean. Your hygienist will inform you of the best floss types, brands and frequency.




How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?


If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth or simply want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments at Toluca Lake Cosmetic Dentistry may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile. Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due to advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials, but also because patients are becoming increasingly focused on improving their overall health.This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.
There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Here are common cosmetic procedures performed at Toluca Lake Cosmetic Dentistry. Cosmetic Procedures:
Teeth Whitening: Bleaching lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, food, drink, and smoking. Tougher stains caused by medications or trauma could be whitened as well over time. Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings: Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair defective, cavitated, chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession. Porcelain Veneers: Veneers are thin custom-made, tooth-colored shells that are bonded onto the fronts of teeth to create a beautiful smile. They can help restore or camouflage damaged, discolored, poorly shaped, or misaligned teeth. Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth. Porcelain Crowns (caps): A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be fixed with fillings or other types of restorations. They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that have large cavities. Dental Implants: Dental implants are the gold standard for replacing teeth. Implants are surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. At Toluca Lake Cosmetic Dentistry we use the highest standards of surgical techniquesvand placement giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable solution to removable dental appliances.
Invisalign: Invisalign treatment uses a series of virtually invisible, removable and comfortable aligners that allow you to smile more during treatment as well as after. Invisalign clear aligners are made with 3D computer imaging technology and have been proven effective. The aligners are virtually invisible and removable so you can eat and drink whatever you want during treatment. Plus, brushing and flossing is easy with removable aligners, NO wires which means fewer problems and adjustments.




What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?


Since teeth whitening has now become the number one aesthetic concern of many patients, there are many products and methods available to achieve a brighter smile. As we age, changes in our enamel can occur, eventually revealing a darker or yellow shade. The color of our teeth also comes from the inside of the tooth, which can become darker over time. Smoking and dark fluids such as coffee, tea, and wine can also contribute to tooth discoloration, making teeth yellow and dull. Sometimes, teeth can become discolored from taking certain medications. Traumas to teeth have the ability to change the color and appearance of the teeth. At Toluca Lake Cosmetic Dentistry we will determine which whitening system will be best for you. Teeth whitening only works on natural tooth enamel, it is also important to evaluate any old fillings, crowns, etc. before bleaching begins to ensure a more predictable result. We offer three smile whitening options:

  1. Our most popular option is At-Home Bleaching Trays. We will make you custom fitted clear bleaching trays that are worn at home with professional whitening gel. This whitening process can take a couple weeks up to a couple months to achieve the level of desired whitening.
  2. Our second bleaching option is our in-office professional teeth whitening, where we will apply a specialized, concentrated bleach in order to expedite the whitening process.
  3. Our third method involves both, the At-Home and In-Office options.

Over-the-counter products are also available, but they are much less effective than professional treatments and might not be approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). Teeth whitening can be very effective and can give you a brighter, whiter, more confident smile!





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