Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

At Lomita-Torrance Dental Office , we believe that our patients should be educated and informed about their dental health. Before we perform any procedure, we will always discuss your options and give you the information you need to make a decision that is right for you. We’ve found that patients who feel empowered to take charge of their health ultimately make excellent choices and live healthier lives.

We encourage you to take a look at some of these common questions we are asked about dental health, the services we offer, and our practice. If your question isn’t answered here or you would like more information, feel free to give us a call or contact us using our convenient online form.

How often should I brush my teeth?

You should brush your teeth at least twice daily – once in the morning and once before bed. We also recommend that you brush your teeth following sugary snacks, but if a toothbrush isn’t available, at least rinse your mouth out to remove as much sugary residue as you can.

Am I flossing my teeth correctly?

Flossing your teeth once daily is important for preventing gum disease and cavities between your teeth, but many people don’t realize that they are doing it incorrectly. Follow these five steps to improve your flossing technique:

  1. Don’t worry about “wasting” floss. Use about 18 inches each time.
  2. Wind each end of the floss around the middle fingers on each hand until you have about two inches to work with.
  3. Use your index fingers to guide the floss and gently work it between your teeth and slide it up and down and just slightly beneath the gumline.
  4. Take your time and don’t snap the floss. This can injure your gum tissue.
  5. When you switch teeth, unroll the floss so that you are using a clean section each time.

If you need extra assistance, one of our excellent dental hygienists will be more than happy to provide you with a hands-on demonstration so you can get the feel for proper flossing technique.

How many professional cleanings do I need every year?

At Lomita-Torrance Dental, we agree with the recommendation of the American Dental Association, which says that you should have a professional cleaning (and examination) every six months. In some cases, more frequent cleanings and examinations are recommended, and if this is true in your case, we will discuss our recommendation with you.

I'm unhappy with my yellow teeth. What can I do?

In some cases, improving the appearance of your teeth may be as simple as improving your daily oral hygiene routine. Our dental hygienists will be happy to discuss good hygiene techniques with you to help you get the most benefit possible out of your routine.

If your teeth are discolored because of staining caused by smoking, food and drink, or certain antibiotics, professional teeth whitening is a good option to remove the stains and give you a fresh start. We offer both in-office and at-home whitening treatments, and we are happy to schedule a consultation with you to discuss whether this option is right for you.

If your discoloration can’t be improved with bleaching, we also offer dental veneers. This cosmetic option fits thin shells of porcelain over the front of your teeth for a beautiful but natural appearance. If you’re interested in discussing this option, please call our office to schedule an examination with one of our Lomita-Torrance dentists so we can determine if you’re a good candidate for porcelain veneers.

Are dental veneers right for me?

Dental veneers can improve a number of cosmetic imperfections including:

  • Short or worn-down teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Discolorations that are resistant to bleaching
  • Damage to the enamel

If you have healthy teeth and gums but would like to improve the appearance of your teeth, dental veneers are likely fine. We recommend that you call Lomita-Torrance Dental today to schedule an appointment for a consultation and an examination.

If you have certain conditions, such as gum disease and teeth grinding or clenching, dental veneers may not be the right choice for you. With treatment, however, you may be a candidate for veneers in the future!

Will my insurance pay for my cosmetic procedure?

In most cases, dental insurance will not pay for cosmetic dentistry procedures – unless the procedure also improves the functionality of your teeth, such as in the case of a porcelain crown.

The best way to determine whether a particular procedure is covered is to call your dental insurance plan and ask. We are always happy to help with this.

Should I get dental implants or dentures?

The answer to this question strongly depends on your personal needs and goals. Each procedure has its advantages and drawbacks, and we are happy to discuss both of these in-depth with you to help you decide which option is right for you.

While dentures are usually covered by insurance and are often the more affordable solution, they do not stop the deterioration of the bone and other tissue the way that dental implants do. They are also not permanent and require considerably more maintenance than dental implants, although implant-retained dentures and partials are also an option.

Some insurance plans are starting to cover dental implants, and we can certainly talk to your insurance company and find out whether they cover the implant procedure or the restoration. Depending on how many teeth need to be replaced, the cost may make implants a less attractive option. However, it’s important to know that unlike dentures, implants are a much longer lasting part of your mouth and look and function exactly the same as a natural tooth. Dental implants will also prevent bone loss in your jaw.

If you are missing teeth, call Lomita-Torrance Dental today to schedule a consultation to learn more about your options.

Will people be able to tell that I have a crown?

Not if you have an all-porcelain crown! Unlike porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, these crowns don’t leave a gray line right at your gumline. Today’s dental technology allows us to create crowns that look exactly like your natural teeth – we can even choose a shade that blends in with your own teeth.

What can I expect following a wisdom tooth extraction?

A surgical extraction may be necessary to remove a wisdom tooth that is partially or completely covered by the gum tissue (impacted). We will provide you with complete instructions for caring for the extraction site as well as medication for discomfort and swelling, if necessary.

Prior to your procedure, stock your refrigerator and your pantry with soft foods that require little chewing such as yogurt, smoothies, pudding, applesauce, and soups (allow soups to cool before you eat them). Don’t drink through a straw because this could dislodge the clot that is forming at the extraction site and delay healing. Avoid strenuous activity and don’t smoke.

You should be able to return to your regular routine in about three days. If you have any questions about your healing process, don’t hesitate to call our office. We have a dentist on-call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Don't dentures and partials look fake?

Not anymore!

Huge advances have been made in the technology used to create dentures and partials, which means that today’s appliances look nearly identical to natural teeth, and hardly anybody will know that you are wearing them.

Some of the major improvements include:

  • Creating and placing teeth individually to allow for realistic-looking variation
  • Improvement in the coloration of both the teeth and the gums
  • Better, more comfortable fit for less chance of slipping and less need for denture adhesives
  • Availability of implant-retained dentures and partials for a more permanent option

Call Lomita-Torrance Dental today if you are considering dentures or partials to find out how much dentures have changed in the last few years!

I don't smoke. Do I really need an oral cancer screening?

While smoking will significantly increase your risk of developing oral cancer, you could have other risk factors you are not even aware of such as:

  • Chewing tobacco
  • Drinking alcohol
  • Being over age 55
  • Exposure to the human papilloma virus (HPV)
  • Being male
  • Sun exposure on the lips

In addition, people can develop oral cancer who don’t appear to have any risk factors at all. We recommend that everyone receive regular screenings for oral cancer. Catching this disease early is vital, and it could save your life.

Does your office see children?

Yes!

Dr. Estelle Liou is our board-certified pediatric dentist. She loves caring for children, and children love visiting her for their dental care.

My daughter fell and broke her tooth. What should I do?

Call our office now for a same-day emergency appointment. We will work quickly to relieve your child’s pain and provide treatment. We have an on-call dentist available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to provide emergency advice.

I woke up in the middle of the night with a terrible toothache. What can I do?

Call our office to speak with our 24/7 on-call dentist who will discuss your symptoms and provide advice. We can also schedule you for a same-day emergency appointment to relieve the pain, determine the cause, and provide treatment.

How can I prevent gum disease and periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a group of diseases that affect the tissues that support and anchor the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease results in the destruction of the gums, alveolar bone (the part of the jaws where the teeth arise), and the outer layer of the tooth root. It has been linked to other diseases including strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, and cancer. Follow these steps to help prevent gum disease:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Floss every day.
  • Visit Lomita-Torrance Dental twice a year for cleanings and examinations.
  • Talk to your dental hygienist about good brushing and flossing technique.
  • Eat a nutritious diet full of healthy foods including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your immune system in great shape.
  • If you smoke, quit. Talk to us if you need help or support.

If you are showing signs of gum and periodontal disease (red, inflamed, or bleeding gums), please call today to schedule an appointment with our periodontist, Dr. Daniel Teboul.

Periodontal disease is a group of diseases that affect the tissues that support and anchor the teeth. Left untreated, periodontal disease results in the destruction of the gums, alveolar bone (the part of the jaws where the teeth arise), and the outer layer of the tooth root. It has been linked to other diseases including strokes, heart attacks, diabetes, and cancer. Follow these steps to help prevent gum disease:

  • Brush your teeth twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush.
  • Floss every day.
  • Visit Lomita-Torrance Dental twice a year for cleanings and examinations.
  • Talk to your dental hygienist about good brushing and flossing technique.
  • Eat a nutritious diet full of healthy foods including plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables to keep your immune system in great shape.
  • If you smoke, quit. Talk to us if you need help or support.

If you are showing signs of gum and periodontal disease (red, inflamed, or bleeding gums), please call today to schedule an appointment with our periodontist, Dr. Daniel Teboul.

My gums are bleeding. Should I be concerned?

Healthy gums don’t bleed. If you are noticing that your gums have started bleeding, especially when you brush, you are likely seeing the early signs of gum disease. Early gum disease is quite treatable, but it’s important to take care of it quickly to prevent further progression.

Call Lomita-Torrance Dental today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Daniel Teboul, our periodontist

Is my root canal going to hurt?

Root canals have a reputation for being a painful dental procedure. The good news is that advances in the techniques used have made this procedure much easier, more efficient, more effective, and (best yet) more comfortable than ever.

You are unlikely to feel anything during your root canal. You may experience some discomfort as your anesthetic wears off following the procedure, but this is because of the body’s own immune response. Once your immune system realizes that the infection is gone, your discomfort will quickly fade.

We have an excellent endodontist on staff to handle root canals, Dr. Darren Smolkin.

My tooth isn't hurting. Why are you saying I need a root canal?

While pain is often a good indicator that a root canal is needed, if the nerve is dead because of damage or infection, you may not be feeling any pain. We can still, however, see the problem on your x-rays. If a root canal is not performed, the infection will spread, affecting other teeth. An infection in your mouth can even spread to your bloodstream and become a systemic problem.

If we see something concerning on your x-rays, we will discuss it with you and provide our recommendation so that you can make an informed decision.

Should I be concerned about the mercury in my metal fillings?

Many dental patients still have older metal fillings in their mouth and are concerned about the fact that those fillings contain mercury.

To address this concern, the U.S Department of Public Health as well as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have conducted multiple studies and have found that amalgam dental fillings do not pose a health risk. No adverse health effects have ever been linked to metal dental fillings.

If you have any concerns about your fillings, we are happy to discuss these with you. Composite resin (tooth-colored) fillings do have some significant advantages over metal fillings, and we typically recommend these for our patients.

Will anyone be able to tell that I have a cavity?

At Lomita-Torrance Dental, we recommend tooth-colored composite fillings for filling cavities. These fillings repair the cavity with only a minimal removal of healthy tooth structure, bond with the tooth from the inside, and are resistant to temperature changes.

Best of all, the color can be mixed in such a way that the filling blends in perfectly with your natural teeth, meaning that nobody will ever be able to tell that you have had a cavity filled.

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