All Posts By

Dr. Erick Gutierrez

Woman with bright smile

Regular Dental Check-Ups Go Beyond Teeth Cleanings

By | General Dentistry | No Comments

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

By | General Dentistry | No Comments

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 and Zalatimo offer 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!

Must Know Tips after Teeth Whitening

By | General Dentistry, Teeth Whitening | No Comments

Once you’ve had your teeth whitened you’re going to want to make those pearly whites last as long as possible. Though the process to get your teeth whitened may be quick, and you think the job’s done. The chemicals used will still take some time to act on your teeth fully. 

This means a few adjustments to what you eat and drink daily.

We’ll go through these below so you’re walking around with a stunning smile for the foreseeable future!

The first 24 hours

After you’ve had your teeth whitened. The first 24 hours are crucial and when your teeth are most vulnerable.

During this time it’s important you do the following:

Avoid any staining drinks. This means beverages such as Coffee, Tea, Red Wine, and any colored drinks are off-limits. This applies to both alcohol and nonalcoholic drinks.

The same applies to food and you want to avoid anything that may also stain your teeth. Stay away from foods such as red meat, soy sauce, pasta sauce, chocolate, and most fruits with a lot of natural colors in them. 

A good rule of thumb is if the food or drink can stain a white shirt, then it’s off limits!

On top of what you can eat or drink, you’re not allowed to smoke cigarettes and avoid any toothpaste or mouthwash that’s colored in nature.

After the first 24 hours

After the first 24 hours, your whitened teeth are less sensitive and vulnerable. But this doesn’t let you off the hook, and there are certain food and drinks that are worth avoiding if you’d like the whitening effects to last as long as possible.

When it comes to food, you want to stick to foods that are ‘white’ in nature.

This means you’re eating skinless chicken or turkey meat, fish, pasta, cheese, onions, egg whites, bananas, and yogurt. What’s important to note is you’ll find colored or darker varieties of these such as darker fish meat. You want to try and avoid these colored varieties and stick to the white ones. That red-colored strawberry flavored yogurt is a no-no. 

With drinks, a similar rule applies to help your teeth stay white longer. Go for clear drinks with no added sugars in them. White lemonade, skimmed milk, clear coconut water, and alcohols such as Gin are all okay. 

There are many other ways your white teeth can be stained, so it’s good to put on the lens of a ‘white diet’. If it looks colored and could stain your white shirt then avoid it. Food items can have strong acting color pigments and can alter the results of the whitening chemicals being used on your teeth. 

You’ll want to follow these tips for at least the first 10 to 15 days after treatment. 

After this, the rules can relax a bit but it’s not a bad idea to follow it as closely as possible and invest in oral care products that can help keep your teeth white and remove slight stains. 

Veneers Can Help You Smile With Confidence

By | General Dentistry | No Comments

 

Perhaps you are feeling insecure about your smile, or you want to improve the look of your smile so that you can laugh with abandon. Cosmetic dentistry can make all the difference, and help you leave your worries behind. Here we’re going to tell you all about veneers, so you can decide whether they’re the best option for you.

What are Veneers?

Veneers are paper-thin porcelain coverings which sit over your natural teeth and help correct visible dental imperfections, including chipping, wear, and tear, or stains that cannot be removed by any other way. 

They can also be used to fill in small gaps and imperfections, to give you a natural smile still follows the shape of your mouth.

Essentially veneers give you a dream smile that enhances your natural teeth, and which look natural – helping you to be more confident in your smile than ever before.

Why Veneers Are A Great Option

If you’re considering investing in veneers, it’s important to consider the effect that you hope to achieve. There’s significant false information out there about what you might need, including the expectation that veneers will need to be applied to every individual truth. This is not the case! Instead, you’ll find veneers are placed on as few teeth as possible, depending on the way you want your smile to look. So, for example, if you are looking to fix a small chip or a slight misalignment, then veneers are a perfect way to do so.

Equally, if you are hoping to completely reinvent your smile, veneers can make all the difference in the world. Many people feel self-conscious about their teeth and lack the confidence or know-how to change that. Yet you don’t have to feel insecure any longer. Veneers provide you with a long-lasting and natural-looking solution that can ease your concerns about your smile’s aesthetic.

Best of all, veneers allow you to completely customize your experience so that you pay for what you want to get – and then get it, rather than having to fit into one-size-fits-all models.

What Next?

Although veneers are a fantastic choice, and many people will find them the best cosmetic option for your dental concerns, it’s important to visit an experienced dentist who can talk to you about your needs and provide you with the care and attention you deserve.

You may find, for example, that if your concern is having a brighter, whiter smile you are the perfect candidate for whitening, rather than paying for veneers. Only a consultation with an experienced professional can tell you exactly what the right course of action is for you.

It’s important to know all the options that are available to you, and the requirements and expectations of each possible dental intervention. Get in touch today if you want to talk through your hopes and expectations, and find out if veneers are the right choice for you.

Gum Disease and Gingivitis: Major Differences to Recognize

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Gum disease is caused by a build-up of plaque on the teeth. Plaque is a sticky substance that contains bacteria.

Some bacteria in plaque are harmless, but some are harmful to the health of your gums.

If you do not remove plaque from your teeth by brushing them, it builds up and irritates your gums. This can lead to redness with bleeding, swelling and soreness.

Gum disease is an inflammation of the gum line that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. The three stages of gum disease — from least to most severe — are gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis.

Difference between Gum disease and Gingivitis

Gingivitis (gum inflammation) usually precedes periodontitis (gum disease).

However, it is important to know that not all gingivitis progresses to periodontitis.

In the early stage of gingivitis, bacteria in plaque build up, causing the gums to become inflamed and to easily bleed during toothbrushing. Although the gums may be irritated, the teeth are still firmly planted in their sockets. 

No irreversible bone or other tissue damage has occurred at this stage.

When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to periodontitis. In a person with periodontitis, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. 

These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. 

The body’s immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line.

As the disease progresses, the pockets deepen and more gum tissue and bone are destroyed. When this happens, teeth are no longer anchored in place, they become loose, and tooth loss occurs

Signs of Gum Disease

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Pain when chewing
  • Receding Gums
  • Swollen, red gums

Causes of Gum Disease

Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease. However, other factors can contribute to periodontal disease. These include:

  • Hormonal changes, such as those occurring during pregnancy, puberty, menopause, and monthly menstruation, make gums more sensitive, which makes it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Illnesses may affect the condition of your gums. This includes diseases such as cancer or HIV that interfere with the immune system. Because diabetes affects the body’s ability to use blood sugar, patients with this disease are at higher risk of developing infections, including periodontal disease and cavities.
  • Medications can affect oral health because some lessen the flow of saliva, which has a protective effect on teeth and gums. Some drugs, such as the anticonvulsant medication Dilantin and the anti-angina drug Procardia and Adalat, can cause abnormal growth of gum tissue.
  • Bad habits such as smoking make it harder for gum tissue to repair itself.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits such as not brushing and flossing on a daily basis make it easier for gingivitis to develop.
  • Family history of dental disease can be a contributing factor in the development of gingivitis.

Conclusion

Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

Always schedule a visit to your dentist the moment you notice irregularities in your oral health.

At Manhattan Dental Care, we can employ a variety of tactics to fight gum disease, including deep cleaning and preventive care.