All Posts By

Dr. Erick Gutierrez

Why Veneers Are a Life-Changer

By | General Dentistry | No Comments

The odds are, you will never be known worldwide for your gleaming smile. On the other hand, you could learn a trick from the likes of George Clooney, Demi Moore, Tom Cruise, and Hilary Duff about how to get  a Hollywood smile at a non-celebrity price. All of them upgraded the imperfect set of teeth they were born with by simply having customized veneers pasted on the fronts of those that needed some help.

Veneers are thin pieces of strong dental porcelain that look just like natural teeth, personalized with the same shade of white as the neighboring ones not receiving this relatively simple and cost-effective cosmetic treatment. Or you can choose to have all the teeth that show, even if they are not damaged, given another shade by the top dental lab we work with that crafts them according to your exact preferences.

This could change your life in some surprising ways. We like to think we are always making rational decisions based on data, that we would not make snap judgments about people we don’t really know. Yet studies show that when people meet each other for the first time, almost all of them have instantaneous reactions about what they believe the others are like. And much of that has to do with a nice, friendly smile. That includes job interviews, first dates, negotiations between companies, court appearances, introductions on the street or in stores, at church or synagogue, and other situations.

At such an important moment, you might not be thinking about whether your teeth look stained, crooked, or chipped.  But those conditions could lead someone to believe that you don’t care about personal appearance or take care of your health. Or if you don’t smile out of embarrassment, that could make you seem unfriendly.

It is easy enough to brush right after drinking coffee, tea, red wine and other beverages and foods that cause discoloration, then use over-the-counter whitening or even a stronger one at the dental office. But some staining is very hard to avoid and remove, such as from medications and smoking, while root canal problems can make a tooth appear dark or yellow. Veneers can also cover gaps between teeth, change the appearance of those that are a bit crooked, and fix teeth that are misshapen, too small or too large compared with neighboring teeth. 

Call for an appointment today to have your cosmetic dentistry options assessed with a future that starts with a more beautiful smile thanks to veneers.

Why You Should Have Regular Teeth Cleanings

By | General Dentistry | No Comments

You no doubt feel you do a pretty good job of brushing and flossing. But have you recently had an expert like your dentist or dental hygienist check the results? It isn’t enough that you may have had no cavities for a long while. Even if you are cleaning your teeth exactly like you should (and it may be harder than you realize), as we age and have busy lives, it is all too easy to fall a little short, allowing periodontal infection to gain a hold in the gums and then the jaw.

The problem starts with not scraping off the remainders of food 100%. That results in a sticky clear film developing from the bacteria on the remainder, called plaque. This hardens into yellow tartar and the process begins that can separate a tooth from the gums that support it in place. If not stopped immediately by your dental team, this can lead to the tooth either falling out or needing to be extracted. Once a tooth is missing, the others near it will naturally lean towards the gap, resulting in their also becoming loose. If the process continues, it could lead to requiring many dental implants or dentures.

The way to avoid this happening is to see your dentist at least twice a year for a checkup and a professional cleaning. This starts with a probe to see whether the areas around each tooth are healthy. Anything that measures 4 or higher means it needs special attention and even if you have been attentive to your oral health, you may be surprised at how many problem areas there are.

The hygienist will scrape off any tartar and plaque, thoroughly floss below the gum line around all teeth, and may recommend an antimicrobial solution, gel, or pellets be applied where there is trouble. If there is concern that an infection may have reached the jawbone, a digital x-ray (with very low radiation) will be ordered to find out.

While you are in the chair, ask the hygienist to show you exactly how to brush and floss. Brushing with a soft bristle brush should be done after breakfast and dinner for two minutes each time. The stroke should be from the gum line towards the opening of the mouth on both outside and inside surfaces, then on the tops of the molars at the back. Flossing after dinner should start below the gum line and firmly scrape both sides between teeth. If bleeding occurs, it means some infection has started. You will be advised when to come back to check your progress.

Good oral health also lowers your risk for diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and cancer, so make an appointment for a professional cleaning today.

prepare for root canal

Five Things You Can Do to Prepare for a Root Canal

By | General Dentistry | No Comments

When you first hear that you need to have a root canal, you will most likely begin to fear the worst. After all, the procedure has developed quite a bad rap for itself over the years. However, as long as you follow your dentist’s instructions and adequately prepare for your root canal, the entire event should run fairly smoothly.

To prepare for your root canal, you will need to do the following five things:

Take your antibiotics

Before your root canal, your dentist may prescribe a course of antibiotics to minimize your risk of infection. Aside from reducing your risk of infection, these antibiotics will also help you to deal with any pain or swelling that may occur as a result of your procedure. As with all antibiotics, you will need to ensure that you complete the course to avoid resistance and completely clear out any infections.

Avoid alcohol and tobacco for at least 24 hours before your treatment

When you go in for your root canal, the dentist will inject your gum with a local anesthetic to enable them to work on you without causing any major discomfort. Alcohol and tobacco contain toxins and compounds which may react with the anesthetic and result in adverse effects. To prevent this, you should avoid both of these products for at least 24 hours before your procedure.

Eat something

Ensure that you eat a full meal shortly before your procedure. The local anesthetic that your dentist will inject you with will numb your jaw for a few hours, making it pretty much impossible for you to eat immediately after your root canal. You are also likely to experience some tooth sensitivity immediately after your procedure, which will make it tough to chew.

Get enough sleep

To make it as easy as possible for your body to recover from your root canal treatment, you will want to get plenty of sleep both before and after your procedure. Aim to get at least eight hours each night.

Talk to your dentist

Have a sit down with your dentist a few days before the procedure in order to discuss any concerns you might have. Ensure you ask questions about what the procedure will entail, any medications you should take and what your treatment plan should look like. In addition, you should inform the doctor about any underlying medical problems you might have so they can advise you accordingly.

In Closing

Root canals can certainly seem a little frightening at first. However, by following the advice contained in this article, you can ensure that your procedure is as smooth and pain-free as possible.

Woman with bright smile

Regular Dental Check-Ups Go Beyond Teeth Cleanings

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A third of American adults do not see a dentist regularly, the biggest reasons being fear of bad news and of pain during the checkup. But without going twice a year to get an expert assessment of your oral health, minor irritations can become very serious threats. And Manhattan Dental Care Studio makes any visit a painless way to catch dental challenges early when they are easy and inexpensive to correct.

Manhattan Beach and Redondo Beach dentists, Dr. G and Dr. Z. and their team have spent nearly four decades educating our patients on how to prevent cavities and periodontal disease (infection of the gums and jawbone).

If you are not certain exactly how to brush at the right angles for the proper time and to use floss so that any plaque is cleaned off before it can harden into tartar, ask your dental hygienist to demonstrate. Everyone needs to have a basic cleaning twice yearly with the special tools and techniques that go beyond what you can do at home. If your hygienist detects a spreading infection, your dentist will probe the depth of the gum pockets around teeth. He may advise a deeper cleaning that will remove bacteria below the gum line and flush them out with an antibacterial solution.

cleanings and looking for the signs of tooth decay and gum disease, what are some other issues your dental team can address during a check-up?

*Advise whether fillings need to be replaced.

*Determine if your overall oral health would be improved by correcting crooked teeth with Invisalign aligner trays.

*Find out if you would have more confidence in your smile if your teeth were professionally whitened or chips and gaps covered by veneers.

*Note symptoms of dry mouth, the lack of an adequate amount of saliva, which can be a side-effect of many medications to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies, colds, obesity, hypertension, Parkinson’s disease, and other health issues. Dry mouth raises the risk for tooth decay and gum disease.

*Look for signs that you are grinding your teeth down while you sleep, so that a customized mouth guard can be created to wear at night.

*Check on whether you are suffering from TMJ aka TMD (Temporomandibular Joint Disorder). Among many possible symptoms: a popping sound when you open and close your mouth wide; pain in the jaw joint, face, neck or shoulders; swelling on the side of your face; or an uncomfortable bite.

*Look for signs of oral cancer.

For other issues of oral health that can be checked during your regular visit, read WebMD’s discussion of everything from cold sores to chronic bad breath: https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/oral-health-symptoms-types.

Getting Teeth Whitening With Veneers, Crowns, or Implants

By | General Dentistry | No Comments

Whitening of teeth is America’s No. 1 choice for making a smile gleam again, adding a boost to everyday confidence.

Teeth get easily stained by coffee, tea, red wine, other dark-colored liquids and some foods. You can minimize this by brushing right afterwards, but if surface stains build up, it’s time to see your dentist for a professional cleaning.

In a single teeth whitening session, Manhattan Dental Care Studio can remove as many as eight shapes of discoloration and this is much more effective than trying to remove surface stains by using whitening toothpaste or drugstore strips.

However, it’s not permanent and it’s not for everyone. If you already have a dental veneer, crown, or implant, you need to consult us about the best ways to make sure your smile presents an evenly white and bright appearance.

If these were placed by another dental practice, they might be made of cheap materials that could become discolored, but if you try to whiten them at home they are likely to get scratched, making them more susceptible to darkening. Over-the-counter gels can even harm your gums.

If they are of high quality, they are unlikely to be affected, but if you whiten your natural teeth too much, they may no longer match the cosmetic restorations. That’s why you and your dentist need to strategize about the best way to maintain your best smile.

An even better idea than periodically having your natural teeth whitened at our office is to consider having their appearance enhanced by veneers, crowns, or dental implants. If you already have these cosmetic restorations, you should consider upgrading them to match your current preference for the overall whiteness of your smile.

Veneers are the most popular and affordable way to cover unsightly, cracked, chipped, misshapen, or misaligned teeth and close any gaps between them. Made of translucent dental porcelain, they can be easily placed on the front of your teeth and last with proper care over 10 years. They can be crafted to appear so natural that no one would know you weren’t born with them.  You can see how much of a difference they can make in our before-and-after photos.

Esthetic crowns can be placed on top of teeth that have been worn down and be shade-matched to the adjacent ones. We can design your new smile together and change the original size, shape, and appearance to your ideal, working with a master cosmetic dental laboratory.

Dental implants are the most sophisticated way to not only replace lost or loose teeth but take years off your appearance. Unlike dentures, they can also slow bone loss due to periodontal infection and the aging process, allow you to chew and speak as if you had all your original teeth, and with good dental habits, be a permanent solution.

Give us a call today for a consultation on all your cosmetic and oral health goals.

Reducing the Chances of Cavities in Your Child’s Smile

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Your child can benefit from having an early preventive plan to maintain their oral health as they approach their adolescent and adult years. Good practices and habits early on can result in rewarding outcomes for the future appearance and health of their smile. These habits start from establishing regular oral hygiene routines and making regular check-up appointments with the dentist. In addition, provide them with the education they will need for the prevention of problems that can affect their long-term health.

Here are several tips you can apply to help your child prevent cavities and keep their teeth and gums in good shape.

Establish Good Brushing and Flossing Habits

This means brushing a minimum of two times per day and flossing daily. These consistent routines can be some of the most rewarding ways staving off cavities and gum disease through childhood.

Minimize Intake of Sugar, Starch, and Carbohydrates

Early signs of plaque can accelerate when children consume large quantities of goods containing sugar, starch, and carbohydrates. Maintaining a healthy and nutritious diet that includes fruits, grains, vegetables, lean protein foods, and dairy products is ideal for healthy teeth development and growth.

Twice Per Year Dental Visits

A routine dental exam and professional teeth cleaning can help locate any issues early and clean areas that are difficult to reach with a standard toothbrush.

Use Dental Sealants

A popular form of treatment for children, dental sealants offer additional layers of protection for the back teeth, which can be particularly vulnerable to bacteria that cause decay. In addition, you can use topical fluoride treatments to help strengthen the teeth and further reduce the risks of decay.

Dr. Gutierrez offers multiple family dental care options and preventative solutions to ensure the best experience at Manhattan Dental Care Studio. We service the areas of Redondo Beach, Hawthorne, Torrance, Lawndale, and more. For additional information or to schedule an exam, contact us today.

Saliva Can Help Maintain Your Immune System

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Saliva plays a critical role in helping maintain your immune system. Specifically, it acts as a first line of defense against infections and bacteria that you might ingest. Saliva is produced by a variety of glands located inside the mouth and they primarily serve the function of moistening food and ensuring that it clumps together after chewing for an easy swallow. The enzymes in saliva also help break down certain food molecules as part of the digestive process.

While doing all this, saliva also helps maintain our immune system. Here’s how:

  • Prevents bacteria growth
    Saliva contains lactoferrin and lyzozyme, proteins that inhibit bacterial growth in the mouth. They help prevent inflammation and have antioxidant properties that support the immune responses your body triggers.
  • Kills bacteria in the mouth
    Saliva contains the antibody IgA that lines your oral cavity and helps kill bacteria. This prevents bacteria from being ingested and passing into the rest of the body through the digestive tract.
  • Breaks down food molecules
    Saliva also breaks down food molecules for digestion. By doing this, it lowers the chance of food remaining in the mouth, and thus the chance of those stray food particles encouraging bacterial growth and infection.
  • Maintains pH levels and prevents enamel decay
    In addition to directly fighting bacteria and infections, saliva also ensures that your mouth doesn’t become a petri dish for bacteria to thrive in. It maintains pH levels at the necessary amount where acidity doesn’t encourage bacteria growth and tooth damage. Tooth enamel is also protected from demineralization.

Salivary glands play an important role in maintaining your immune system. However, this doesn’t mean you shouldn’t visit an orthodontist should you suspect an oral infection. They’ll be able to ascertain whether your saliva production is at healthy levels and if there are infections which require medical intervention.

Benefits of Choosing a Local Dentist

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Choosing a dentist is a task in itself, and of the many factors to consider, one of the most important elements to keep in mind is the location or proximity of the dentist. While the problem of location might seem to be more prevalent in the rural areas, it’s not exclusively limited to just the rural locations. Anyone who has a dentist too far away from home is more likely to miss appointments and not schedule routine checkups. 

Having a local dentist makes your life easier in several ways. Here are some of the many benefits you can enjoy when you have a dentist who is nearby:

  • Health emergencies can happen at any given time, and dental emergencies are no different. If you’re suffering from a tooth that’s loose or broken or hurting, you obviously need to rush to the dentist as soon as possible, and here’s the first advantage of having a local dentist. You get to have easy access to urgent care, and that makes your life much simpler.
  • Whether you believe it or not, having a connection with your dentist goes beyond your medical history and health requirements. You might have a dentist in the same city, but having a conversation with them could become difficult due to varying school backgrounds, cultures, beliefs, and the like. On the other hand, having a local dentist entails having a more close-knit relationship with your dentist, and being able to discuss the minute things that bond you two, such as favorite coffee shops, favorite teachers, and so on.
  • Convenience is most definitely the biggest benefit of having a local dentist. For example, if you’ve had a procedure done and can’t travel alone or drive yourself home, a friend or family member can always come get you and take you home safely. It will also save you enough and more time that you otherwise have to dedicate to commuting to the dentist’s office.
  • Local dental offices have connections with local hospitals. Although you hope you don’t have to go to a hospital for a dental emergency, you can’t really predict what might happen. For instance, a severe reaction to anesthesia might require immediate medical attention. Therefore, having a local dentist that is affiliated to a local hospital comes in really handy. 

Do not Skip These Steps in Your Invisalign Treatment

By | General Dentistry, Teeth Whitening | No Comments

‘Tis the season to be jolly and smile in what seems like 100s of photos with friends, family and loved ones. Forget ugly Christmas sweaters and beautiful home decor, what’s the one thing that people notice in any photo? Your smile. One thing that you can ask yourself before the holiday season truly picks up is that is your smile holiday ready?

Every smile is beautiful, however, due to some habits, there is a lack of sheen and brightness that makes you conscious of it. Just like any other body part, your teeth too go through wear and tear, which is why they require a boost every now and then. Getting your teeth ready for the holiday involves a simple process; teeth whitening.

Even after a thorough dental regimen, there are chances that you don’t have pearly white teeth and there are many reasons why. Coffee, tea, and wine can stain your teeth, thus removing the shine and luster from what are perfectly healthy teeth. Other factors include plaque and tartar buildup that not only damage your teeth but also affect its shine. 

The teeth whitening procedure can either be done by a dentist or at home. Regardless of which option you choose, it has to begin with a thorough cleaning. After removing all plaque and buildup professionally, the next step is to get that picture-perfect smile, just in time for the holidays!

An at-home-kit involves teeth whitening strips that are not only easy to use but also are highly effective. These strips do need to be prescribed in order for them to be used at home. They typically come in a pack of 10 and brighten your teeth with gradual use. Hence, this is a solution that needs to be executed well before time.

The more professional options include a laser whitening or bleaching, this is typically a 30-90 minute treatment that gives you sparkling white teeth instantly. If you have a holiday party coming up or you want to look your best for your own holiday dinner, this is a safe and fast teeth whitening option.

Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to remember that a smile is truly effective when you’re confident, happy and thriving. Using these treatments are a good way to help you feel comfortable in your own enamel and make the most of the cheerful holiday season, with a smile!

Getting Your Smile Ready for the Holidays

By | General Dentistry, Teeth Whitening | No Comments

‘Tis the season to be jolly and smile in what seems like 100s of photos with friends, family and loved ones. Forget ugly Christmas sweaters and beautiful home decor, what’s the one thing that people notice in any photo? Your smile. One thing that you can ask yourself before the holiday season truly picks up is that is your smile holiday ready?

Every smile is beautiful, however, due to some habits, there is a lack of sheen and brightness that makes you conscious of it. Just like any other body part, your teeth too go through wear and tear, which is why they require a boost every now and then. Getting your teeth ready for the holiday involves a simple process; teeth whitening.

Even after a thorough dental regimen, there are chances that you don’t have pearly white teeth and there are many reasons why. Coffee, tea, and wine can stain your teeth, thus removing the shine and luster from what are perfectly healthy teeth. Other factors include plaque and tartar buildup that not only damage your teeth but also affect its shine. 

The teeth whitening procedure can either be done by a dentist or at home. Regardless of which option you choose, it has to begin with a thorough cleaning. After removing all plaque and buildup professionally, the next step is to get that picture-perfect smile, just in time for the holidays!

An at-home-kit involves teeth whitening strips that are not only easy to use but also are highly effective. These strips do need to be prescribed in order for them to be used at home. They typically come in a pack of 10 and brighten your teeth with gradual use. Hence, this is a solution that needs to be executed well before time.

The more professional options include a laser whitening or bleaching, this is typically a 30-90 minute treatment that gives you sparkling white teeth instantly. If you have a holiday party coming up or you want to look your best for your own holiday dinner, this is a safe and fast teeth whitening option.

Regardless of which option you choose, it is important to remember that a smile is truly effective when you’re confident, happy and thriving. Using these treatments are a good way to help you feel comfortable in your own enamel and make the most of the cheerful holiday season, with a smile!