Is Tooth Decay Contagious?

tooth decay prevention La Mesa

This post from Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA is about dental health and tooth decay. Your mouth has a thriving community of bacteria. There are from 200-300 types, but most don’t cause tooth decay.

Bacteria that cause tooth decay are in the mutans streptococcus family. The bacteria mix with sugar to create a powerful acid. The acid reduces the calcium in tooth enamel.

When the bacteria remains on teeth, it produces a yellowish substance called plaque. Plaque is brutally effective at drilling into tooth enamel and causing cavities. Minerals in saliva and fluoride help enamel re-mineralize.

The tooth decay bacteria can spread through saliva. People in close contact with one another are at risk. Sharing spoons or kissing are two avenues. Mothers, fathers, siblings, and caregivers can actually give the bacteria to babies.

Young children whose teeth are forming are at a heightened risk of decay. Daily oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and fluoride protect young teeth.

At Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA, we want all our patients to have healthy teeth and gums. People throughout San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee come to us for comprehensive general and restorative dentistry. Contact us today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 8113

Halitosis And Xerostomia (Bad Breath And Dry Mouth)

dry mouth treatment La Mesa

In this post from Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA, we address the unpleasant topic of halitosis, also known as bad breath.

While poor dental hygiene is the most common cause of halitosis, many factors can contribute to it, or even make it worse. One of these is the lack of saliva, or xerostomia.

Saliva and Oral Health

One of the functions of saliva is moistening the teeth and gums and removing odiferous dead cells. Saliva also neutralizes the ever-present acids on the tongue, gums, and cheeks and the minerals in saliva help to maintain enamel stability.

Immunoproteins in saliva curb the overgrowth of microbes in the mouth, thereby shielding the gums from gingivitis. Saliva also functions as a disinfectant by cleansing the mouth of leftover food, bacteria, and fungi. This protects against cavities and infections.

Most of us have a dry mouth now and then, like when we’re anxious or under stress. Limiting caffeine, chewing sugar-free gum, using over-the-counter saliva substitutes, and using a humidifier can add moisture to the mouth.

If you have occasional periods of dry mouth, there is probably nothing to worry about. Constant dry mouth, however, can result in additional oral and physical health problems.

If you are coping with either condition, be sure to tell us at Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA. We’ve helped patients throughout San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee discover the source and guide them on treatment. Our services include general and restorative dentistry. Contact us today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 7334

Want to Fill Those Gaps in Your Smile?

tooth replacement La Mesa

Do you have gaps in your smile? You’re not alone! Missing or failing teeth are among the most common problems we treat at Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA.

Missing teeth not only detract from an attractive smile; they also do a number on your self-confidence. Do you find yourself covering your mouth when you laugh, or smiling for pictures with your lips tightly sealed? 

That’s no way to live. We provide multiple ways to maintain, or regain, your ability to eat, drink, speak, laugh, and smile in selfies.

We help hundreds of patients restore missing teeth. If you are interested in tooth restoration, we invite you to schedule a consultation. Your consultation will include a treatment plan to restore missing teeth, an outline of the cost of required procedures, and a schedule for completing the services. 

Tooth restoration includes a wide array of services. A dental bridge can help rejoin a gap between teeth. An artificial tooth, that is indistinguishable from the real thing, is attached to the surrounding teeth. Dental bridges have been used successfully for decades.

A dental implant, on the other hand, consists of an artificial tooth AND an artificial root, usually made of biocompatible titanium. It’s a much more extensive procedure, but the results last longer, and look and feel more natural, than other restoration options. With local anesthesia, your dentist anchors the artificial root into the jaw bone. In the following months, it integrates and meshes with the jaw bone tissue.

There are three components to a dental implant: the artificial root or post, the connecting abutment, and the final crown or denture. An implant is often the most successful restoration, as it offers beauty, strength, and natural function. In addition, it offers something many patients don’t realize is important: protection from bone recession that often take places at the site of a missing tooth.

Finally, there’s dentures. Most people have heard of them. They consists of a plate holding artificial teeth, that can be removed by the wearer. These are individually-constructed and can contain varying numbers of teeth. Sometimes the entire set of upper and lower teeth have to be extracted, and a custom denture created. Modern dentistry offers a myriad of custom dental implant-denture combinations to restore missing teeth.

If implants and other restorative dentistry options at Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA sound too good to be true, we invite you to visit us and see for yourself! Patients from all over San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee also come to us for cosmetic dentistry options like teeth whitening. Contact us today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 8679

What Do You Do If You Get Something Stuck Between Your Teeth?

what to do if something is stuck between your teeth La Mesa

Ever get something stuck between your teeth? Of course you have. At best, something stuck between your teeth is bothersome, especially if it takes a long time to remove it. At worst, it is painful, and a situation that requires professional attention, like what we provide at Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA.

Some people have narrow and tight spaces between their teeth. They seem more susceptible to getting things wedged in there. It can cause pressure and discomfort, and even pain.

Before you head to our office, there are some things you can try at home to dislodge what you have stuck between your teeth.

Tips

  • It may be tempting, and it may even seem like it would work. But never use a sharp object to try to pry out something stuck between your teeth. Repeat, never. That includes toothpicks. You run the risk of damaging your gums, or even your teeth.
  • Rinse your mouth out vigorously. Use lukewarm saltwater. You may need to repeat several times, but this is often enough to loosen whatever is stuck.
  • Dental floss, especially waxed, is excellent for getting things from between teeth. Waxed floss slides easily into tight spaces. If it won’t go in, do not force it. Floss picks with tight strands of floss are useful. Also useful is tying a tiny knot into the floss, to snag the object and free it. But again, never force things.

If these methods don’t work, give us a call. At Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA, we have the tools and skills to help you out. We specialize in general and restorative dentistry, and have helped patients from San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee. Contact us today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 8435

5 Ways To Restore A Tooth

tooth implants La Mesa

There is more than one way to fix a tooth. If you are the fortunate owner of perfectly healthy teeth, you may never need any of these procedures. However, if you are like most, you will need to restore a tooth eventually. Today’s post looks at five cosmetic dentistry options from Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA that are routinely used to repair a damaged tooth:

  1. Porcelain Veneers: These wafer-thin covers can hide a chip or crack or fix the alignment of a tooth that is slightly crooked. Dental veneers are quickly becoming one of our most popular services.
  2. Fillings: A traditional filling is shaped and molded after it is applied to the tooth. Because inlays and onlays are produced in a dental lab, they are generally called indirect fillings. Inlays are applied to just the center of the biting surface of a tooth (not to a cusp or point) and are ordinarily smaller than onlays. An onlay restores one or more cusps of a tooth. If you have old silver amalgam fillings, you can replace them with white fillings.
  3. Dental Crowns: Crowns and bridges can help redefine the shape of your mouth and repair any inconsistencies on misshapen or cracked teeth. A crown replaces the entire visible portion of the tooth, restoring appearance, stability, and function. They can be made of all metal (such as gold), porcelain-fused-to-metal, all ceramic, or all resin.
  4. Dental Implants: A permanent dental implant is often  a great restoration for a tooth that has been extracted. It revitalizes the entire tooth—both root and crown. Most dental implant recipients report that the implant is indistinguishable from a natural tooth. Dental implants are used in a variety of applications, such as anchoring dentures and dental bridges.
  5. Dentures: At our practice, we offer customized, permanent dentures, so you can avoid uncomfortable, loose fitting teeth.

For more specifics on any of these procedures, contact Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA. Patients from San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee also come to us for general and restorative dentistry. Request an appointment today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 8090

Toothache Relief at Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa

urgent dental clinic La Mesa

Toothaches happen. The best way to prevent them is to keep your teeth and gums healthy and clean. That means brushing and flossing twice a day, avoiding the sugary stuff, and having regular dental checkups. But they still happen sometimes, and when they do, see us at Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA.

Toothaches may be characterized by a dull ache, or by throbbing and a sore, tender mouth. If something prevents you from getting to our office right away, there is short-term relief available to keep the pain at bay.

Here are some tried-and-true home remedies for a toothache:

  1. Cold Compress: An ice pack can do wonders to dull pain, especially when there is swelling. Another option is a bag of frozen vegetables (peas are really good because of their size). Hold it against the outside of your cheek just above the painful tooth. Alternate between several minutes on and several minutes off.
  2. Saltwater Rinse: Dissolve a teaspoon of salt into a glass of warm water, then swish it around your mouth for about half a minute. Then spit it out. A salt water rinse can loosen debris stuck in cavities and can reduce swelling. Repeat the rinse as often as you like.
  3. Garlic: Seriously, garlic. It might sound like hocus-pocus, but garlic has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. It contains allicin, which has natural antibacterial properties. You can chew a piece of garlic or put diced bits on the tooth. Obviously, the downside is the smell!
  4. Painkillers: Aspirin or ibuprofen can provide temporary relief from a toothache. There are plenty of brands to choose from. If you decide on aspirin, swallow it. Some people think, erroneously, that placing aspirin directly on the tooth will help. It won’t, and could even hurt the inside of your mouth.

Of course, the sooner you get professional treatment, the better. And the best thing is to get to Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA as soon as possible. We provide toothache relief and other general dentistry options. Patients from San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee also come to us for dental implants. Schedule an appointment today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 8674

For A Healthier Smile, Stop Doing This

La Mesa friendly family dentist

Your teeth can last a lifetime. With a few daily precautions and regular checkups at Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA, you’ll go a long way toward making sure they do.

If you do any of the following, we recommend that you stop:

  • Chewing sugared gum all day. Cavities, a sore jaw, or compromised bridgework may result. If you must chew, select gum with Xylitol.
  • Drinking soda and energy drinks. These sugary, acidic beverages are immensely efficient at eroding enamel.
  • Chewing ice or hard candy. Your enamel is quite hard. But so are ice and hard candy, and head-to-head, occasionally they win, resulting in a cracked tooth.
  • Skipping flossing. Maybe you think brushing is enough. Following brushing with a careful flossing job cleans away fragments of food and plaque between teeth.
  • Using a firm bristled toothbrush. A soft bristled brush is the best tool for the job. Save your firm brush for cleaning the grout around your bathtub.

At Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA, our family dentistry will help keep your teeth and gums in excellent condition. People from San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee come to us for regular checkups and for cosmetic and general dentistry. Request an appointment today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 7381

Dry Mouth Can Cause Dental Problems

dry mouth treatment La Mesa

The condition known as dry mouth is fairly common, and has some equally common causes. It can be really uncomfortable, and is connected to several other dental conditions. At Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA, we want our patients to know: dry mouth is not a lost cause!

Common Causes

The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia, which is pronounced zero-STO-me-ah. it can have a range of reasons, so our team has put together a list of the most common ones.

  • Medications: It’s a common side effect of some drugs, which is a really good reason to read the labels.
  • Lifestyle Choices: Physical exertion coupled with improper hydration can result in dry mouth. So can smoking or chewing tobacco, and alcohol. That includes alcohol-based mouthwash; another good reason to read labels.
  • Aging: Estrogen, for example, drops in women after menopause, which may be linked to dry mouth.
  • Asthma: Inhalers can result in dry mouth. So can mouth breathing, which is often seen in people with asthma.
  • Type 2 Diabetes: Dry mouth is, in fact, a symptom of Type 2 diabetes.

Dental Problems Caused By Dry Mouth

One of the key functions of saliva is washing food debris from the mouth, and fighting the bacteria that cause cavities. A reduced saliva flow leaves you vulnerable to several dental problems. We have listed them below, so you can stay informed.

  • Tooth decay.
  • Gum disease.
  • Difficulty swallowing.
  • A condition called burning mouth syndrome.

The most obvious solution to dry mouth is to drink more water. That often does the trick, but not always. You can also avoid salty foods, beverages with caffeine and/or alcohol, and smoking.

Another good idea is to try artificial saliva. You can find it in most drug stores, and it comes in several forms, including an oral spray, swabs, dissolving tablets, and gel.

Above all, be sure to tell us about it at Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA. We can make a recommendation that is best for you. People from San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee trust us with their dental health, and come to our office for general and cosmetic dentistry. Request an appointment today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 8670

How Oral Inflammation Affects Your Health

inflamed gums La Mesa

Swollen and painful gums are symptoms of periodontal disease, an inflammatory gum disease. At Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA we see patients every day who complain about pain and discomfort.

Swelling of the gums occurs from an auto-immune response of the body reacting to an infection. Infections are noticeable through pain, redness, and warmth.

If the infection is left untreated, it can affect the bone near the teeth. The body’s immune system wants to rid the bone of the dangerous material the bacteria is creating. Over time, bone loss will occur.

Inflammation in the gums also is associated with atherosclerosis, the occurrence of fatty deposits inside of the body’s arteries. Inflammation coincides with an increase of the blood protein CRP (C-reactive protein), produced by the liver.

The more inflammation there is, the more the liver produces CRP. The more CRP present, the more likely cardiovascular disease is present, along with related problems. CRP production is also related to arthritis, auto-immune disorders, and intestinal problems.

If inflammation is left untreated, gums can develop pockets that provide the perfect breeding ground for infection. The longer the infection persists, the more likely bone loss will develop, eventually causing tooth loss.

All of this underscores the importance of flossing and brushing at home, every single day. At Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA we offer complete general and restorative dentistry. We serve satisfied patients in San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee. Schedule an appointment today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942

 

ArticleID 7095

7 Surprising Causes Of Bad Breath

Anyone with chronic bad breath understands the embarrassment and frustration associated with this condition. As unpleasant as it is, rest assured we can help at Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA.

Possible Causes for Bad Breath

  1. Poor oral hygiene
  2. Digestive problems
  3. Systemic infection
  4. Bacteria on dentures
  5. Gum disease
  6. Food particles on tonsils
  7. Dry mouth

If your bad breath is the result of poor oral hygiene, you’re in luck; this is one of the easiest types to treat. Make sure you brush for a full three minutes before you climb into bed, and don’t forget to floss.

People who have no idea how long they brush can set a timer. There is probably one on your smartphone. In addition to cleaning tooth surfaces, scrub your tongue! Then take the time to floss around each tooth to wash away the plaque between your teeth and keep your gums healthy.

You can also brush after each meal to prevent food debris from sitting on their teeth. In addition to freshening your breath, brushing after each meal will improve your dental health.

Treating bad breath starts with a visit to Jeff Gray DDS | Espire Dental in La Mesa CA. Be sure to mention it! People from San Diego, Alpine, El Cajon, and Santee come to us for our comprehensive general dentistry, dental implants, and so much more! Schedule an appointment today!

Contact Jeff Gray DDS – Sedation & Cosmetic Dentistry:

619-337-7700

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

8555 Fletcher Pkwy Ste 102
La Mesa, California
91942