I Brush and I Floss, but I Still Have Bad Breath!

I Brush and I Floss, but I Still Have Bad Breath!
By Mina Levi, DDS, 09/18/2015

Bad breath is not something that anyone wants to suffer from, but sometimes no matter how often you brush and floss your teeth, your breath is still bad. In this week’s article, San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS discusses causes of bad breath, what bad breath could mean, and how we can treat it.

Bad Breath Dentist San Francisco

What are some of the causes of bad breath?

1. Food particles in the mouth. The first cause is simple, which is a buildup of old food/drink residue still left on the teeth. If you are brushing and flossing well every day, this shouldn’t be the problem causing the bad breath for you.
2. Bacteria build up on the tongue. While brushing and flossing your teeth is great and definitely necessary to clean the bacteria and food debris from the teeth, sometimes the tongue is ignored and can be a place where bacteria builds up into a film over the tongue and can cause bad breath.
3. Using tobacco. Smoking or chewing tobacco-based products can cause bad breath and stain the teeth.
4. Something’s wrong somewhere else in the body. Bad breath can be a sign that there is something going wrong or needs attention from somewhere else in the body, no matter how clean your mouth is. For instance, diabetes and acid reflux tend to have a specific breath odor associated with them.

What health problems are associated with bad breath?

1. Gum disease. Bad breath could mean that you are in the beginning stages of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by build up of plaque and bacteria in between the teeth and gums. If the gum disease goes untreated, it will advance to periodontitis and can cause tooth loss and jaw bone damage.
2. Dental decay. Decay of the teeth and especially the roots of the teeth can cause bad breath.
3. Dry mouth. Dry mouth is an underproduction of saliva, a necessary substance in the mouth to moisten and neutralize acids. Dry mouth can cause bad breath when dead cells are not washed away and the acids in the mouth build up.
4. Disease. Pneumonia, sinus infections, diabetes, acid reflux and liver or kidney failure all have associated bad breath odors.

What can we do to treat bad breath?
1. Brush your tongue too!
2. Drink lots of water
3. Quit using tobacco products
4. See the dentist and general health practitioner regularly

If you have concerns about your bad breath, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.


Causes of Tooth Stain and Discoloration

Causes of Tooth Stain and Discoloration


By Mina Levi, DDS, 09/11/2015

Almost everyone wants to have a pearly white smile instead of having yellow or brown staining on the teeth. Whitening is a great option for most to whiten the color of the teeth. However, sometimes there is stain on the teeth that needs to be cleaned before the color of the enamel can show through. In this week’s article, San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS talks about the causes of tooth stain and discoloration and what you can do to keep your teeth white.

 Causes of tooth stain and discoloration san Francisco Dentist

1. Staining food/drink. Dark colored foods and drinks like coffee, cola, wines, fruits, and red sauces stain the teeth. Avoid eating a lot of these foods, or keeping the food/drink in your mouth for an extended period of time. You can also rinse out your mouth and/or brush and floss after eating staining foods to keep staining at bay.

2. Poor hygiene. When you don’t brush and floss regularly, plaque and bacteria build up on the teeth can cause tooth discoloration. Also, without brushing and flossing, staining foods and drinks like coffee stay on the teeth and stain them.

3. Tobacco use. When you smoke cigarettes/cigars or chew tobacco, the substances used to make these products cause the teeth to change color.

4. Medications. Certain medications like antibiotics, especially when given as children, can affect the color of the teeth.

5. Age. As we age, the outer layer of enamel wears down and the darker dentin shows through, causing the teeth to appear darker. For more information about how teeth and oral health change as we age, check out our previous article here: AGING AND ORAL HEALTH.

6. Trauma. Damage to the teeth can cause the teeth to die and change color.

If you have any questions about how teeth get stained or what you can do to avoid staining your teeth, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.


Causes of Tooth Mobility

Causes of Tooth Mobility
By Mina Levi, DDS, 09/04/2015

We’ve all experienced a loose tooth at some point in our lives – usually when our baby teeth came loose to make way for permanent adult teeth to come in. As adults, however, it’s much less common to have tooth mobility. In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS talks about what causes loose/mobile teeth.

Mobile or Loose Teeth in Adults San Francisco Dentist

Causes:
·     Gum disease – gum disease is the most common reason for loose or mobile teeth. When bacteria builds up between the gum and the tooth, the attachment of the gum to the tooth slowly loosens and comes apart. When the gum is no longer firmly attached to the tooth, the tooth can become mobile. If the gum disease is not treated, the tooth can eventually fall out or need to be extracted. Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.

·      Trauma – if you hit your tooth on something in a fall or a physical altercation, it can affect the attachment from the gum to the tooth or from the tooth to the jawbone and cause the tooth to become loose or even fall out.

·      Malocclusion (Bite Interruption/Error) – if the bite of your teeth or the way that the teeth fit together is off or interrupted, the uneven forces can cause the teeth to become mobile. Bite errors can be caused by crowded teeth or by clenching/grinding the teeth at night.

·      Abscess – a gum or tooth abscess will cause the tooth to come loose, and must be treated as soon as possible to reduce risk of an infection getting into the bloodstream and/or eventual loss of the tooth itself.

·      Orthodontic treatment – while undergoing orthodontic treatment to straighten the teeth such as Invisalign clear aligners or traditional braces, the teeth may feel mobile because the attachments are being moved. This should go away once the teeth are set in their final position and have been retained there for some time.

If you have loose or mobile teeth as an adult or are concerned about possible causes of mobile teeth, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.


Can Root Canals Be Re-Treated?

Can Root Canals Be Re-Treated?
By Mina Levi, DDS, 08/28/2015

In a root canal procedure, the roots or nerves of the tooth are removed, so there shouldn’t be any pain coming from that tooth anymore. However, every now and then some patients have residual pain that is immediate, or years after the root canal is performed and they need a second root canal. This isn’t a second root canal so much as it is a re-treatment of a root canal. In this week’s article, San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS discusses what it means when a root canal needs to be re-treated.

Root Canals San Francisco

What happens during a root canal re-treatment?

The endodontist will re-open the tooth or drill through the placed restoration and remove the filling materials that were placed in the canals of the tooth during the first root canal procedure. Then, the endodontist will look for signs of new infection or additional canals that need to be treated. The endodontist will then remove any infection or clean out the missed canal, clean and reshape them, and place new filling materials. Another crown or restoration will need to be placed on the tooth after the retreatment.

Why would I need a second root canal procedure?

A tooth may not heal as expected after the initial root canal for a number of reasons:
1. Complicated canal anatomy went undetected in the first procedure. Some people have a complicated root system like an extra root that is directly behind another root, so an x-ray may not have shown this in the initial treatment.
2. Narrow canals were not treated during the initial procedure.
3. The restoration (filling or crown) did not prevent saliva from contaminating the inside of the tooth.
4. The placement of the crown was delayed after the endodontic root canal treatment. If you wait more than 30 days after a root canal to have the crown placed, it can cause problems with the initial treatment.

If you have tooth pain or a root canalled tooth that is bothering you and you think you may need re-treatment, visit San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.


Aging and Dental Care

Aging and Dental Care
By Mina Levi, DDS, 08/21/2015

As we age, our dental and oral anatomy changes. The dentin (bone-like tissue under the tooth enamel) changes to a darker, yellower color and the enamel becomes thinner. Because of these changes in the mouth, we need to make changes to the way we care for our teeth. In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS discusses aging teeth and what we need to do to best take care of our teeth.

Aging and Dental Care San Francisco Dentist 

Changes in the mouth:
1. Teeth will be darker. Teeth darken because the dentin darkens and the enamel covering our teeth thins out, showing more of the darker dentin. Teeth can also darken due to a lifetime of consuming staining food and drink, especially if the teeth are not cleaned professionally on a regular basis. Since the enamel thins as we age, the teeth are less sensitive to the signs and symptoms of teeth decay and so the decay can progress faster without the person knowing it.
2. Drier mouth. As we age, our salivary glands do not produce as much saliva naturally, which causes the dry mouth. Also, we tend to take more medications as we get older, which can also contribute to dry mouth.
3. Gum disease. Gum disease is often a problem for older adults and is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the US. Gum disease is caused by plaque and bacteria buildup in between the gums and teeth, use of tobacco, and certain diseases like anemia and diabetes.
4. Root decay. Over time, especially without proper care, the gums can recede away from the teeth, exposing the dentin to acids in the mouth. These areas are extra vulnerable to bacteria and acids because they are not covered by enamel, so when the tooth begins to have a cavity, the decay can eat straight through to the root of the tooth causing infection or causing the root to die. This can lead to needing a root canal or needing the tooth to be extracted.

What do we need to do?

In order to make sure we keep up with the changes in our mouth as we age, it is important to see the dentist regularly at least, if not more often, twice per year for check ups and cleanings. This makes it possible for the dentist to detect any beginnings of decay before it causes a lot of damage and the hygienist can keep bacteria from building up and prevent gum disease. If the gums start to recede from the teeth, the dentist will be able to treat it so that the tooth underneath is protected from decay and sensitivity.

If you have any questions or concerns about the changes in the mouth that occur as we age, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.


Anatomy of the Teeth

The Anatomy of a Tooth
By Mina Levi, DDS, 08/13/2015

We all have teeth or have had teeth at some point in our lives, and it is common knowledge that enamel has something to do with the outside of the teeth and can be whitened. However, do you know the anatomy of a tooth inside and out? In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS breaks down tooth anatomy.

Tooth numbers: The teeth are numbered from 1-32 starting from the upper right side and ending on the lower right side. Tooth #1, 16, 17 and 32 are the wisdom teeth, and some people may not have those in their mouths.

Tooth numbers anatomy San Francisco dentist

The back three larger teeth (Tooth #1-3, 14-16, 17-19 and 30-32) are called molars. The next two teeth that are a little bit smaller than the molars (Tooth #4-5, 12-13, 20-21, and 28-29) are called premolars. The next tooth that is sharp and is often referred to as a fang tooth (Tooth #6, 11, 22, and 27) is called the canine tooth. The rest of the teeth in the very front (Tooth #7-10 and 23-26) are called incisors, central for the very front (Tooth #8, 9, 24 and 25) and lateral for the ones next to them (Tooth #7, 10, 23 and 26).

Quadrants: The mouth and teeth are broken up into four quadrants, upper right (Tooth #1-8), upper left (Tooth #9-16), lower left (Tooth#17-24) and lower right (Tooth #25-32). Each quadrant has 8 teeth: 3 molars, 2 premolars, 1 canine, and 2 incisors (1 central and 1 lateral).

Tooth anatomy Dentist San Francisco

Crown: The crown of the tooth is the part of the tooth that is visible in the mouth and sits on top of the gums.
Root: The roots of the tooth are below the gum line and are the part of the tooth that is cemented into the jawbone. Depending on what type of tooth, there are a different number of roots. For example, a molar generally has 2-3 roots, a premolar has either 1 or 2 roots, and canines and incisors have 1.
Enamel: the enamel is the hardest, white outer part of the tooth that can be seen in the mouth and is made up of calcium phosphate. The enamel helps protect the inside of the teeth from decay.
Dentin: Dentin is the layer underneath the enamel that makes up the general body/filler material of the tooth and is made up on living cells that secrete a hard mineral substance.
Pulp: Pulp is the softer, inner structure of the teeth that hold the nerves and blood vessels in the tooth that run from the jawbone and out of the root canals.

If you have any questions or are interested in the anatomy of the tooth, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.


How Whitening Toothpastes Can Cause Sensitivity

How Whitening Toothpastes Can Cause Sensitivity
By Mina Levi, DDS, 08/06/2015

Whitening your teeth can be done in the dental office with Zoom whitening or custom take-home whitening trays, or you can use home whitening products such as whitening toothpaste or mouthwash. Although you will be warned of possible sensitivity when you have your teeth whitened at the dental office, the warnings for whitening toothpaste are not so clear sometimes. In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDStalks about how whitening toothpastes can cause sensitivity and why.

Whitening Toothpaste Sensitivity San Francisco

Bleaching products contain peroxides (similar to the hydrogen peroxide you have at home) to help remove deep and surface stains from the teeth. Whitening toothpastes are called dentifrices, which have chemical agents that are designed to remove surface stains through chemical chelation or polishing, rather than via bleaching.

 Some of the abrasive factors found in whitening toothpastes that are great at removing stains also open up pores in the enamel when used for an extended period of time and can cause tooth sensitivity.

To avoid sensitivity when using whitening toothpaste, use a sensitive whitening toothpaste like Sensodyne, or switch from whitening toothpaste to regular toothpaste periodically.

If you are having tooth sensitivity after using whitening toothpaste or have questions about different teeth whitening procedures in the dental office, visit San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

Why Treat Baby Teeth?

Why Treat Baby Teeth?
By Mina Levi, DDS, 07/30/2015

We all know that baby teeth (most of the time) fall out and are replaced with adult teeth eventually in our lifetimes. So, if a baby tooth gets a cavity, why not just wait until the tooth falls out instead of opting for costly dental treatment? In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS will discuss why it is necessary and recommended that baby teeth are treated for decay.

Why Treat Baby Teeth San Francisco

What happens when a baby tooth gets a cavity?

Baby teeth have thinner enamel than adult teeth, and so when a tooth gets a cavity, it can spread quickly toward the nerve and blood vessel of the tooth. As the cavity deepens at this quickened rate, painful sensitivity can develop and can turn into deep, severe pain as the pulp of the tooth becomes infected with the decay. Infected teeth can lead to abscesses that require extraction of the teeth and can sometimes cause more serious facial infections.

Why not just pull out the tooth, since it’s going to come out anyway?

When baby teeth are extracted or pulled out before they are ready, it can cause some problems. If the tooth is firmly rooted to the jaw still, the extraction would be complex and difficult, and can sometimes cause harm to the jaw bone itself and/or make it difficult for the adult teeth underneath to erupt or even form (if they have not formed fully yet). Also, when teeth are extracted early, the other teeth will shift to fill the empty space, causing difficulty for the adult teeth to erupt and increasing the probability that the child will need orthodontic treatment to correct the crowding or the teeth.

If you have questions about fillings for children or are concerned about your child’s oral health, visit San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.


How Crowded Teeth Affect Health

How Crowded Teeth Affect Health
By Mina Levi, DDS 07/23/2015

When a person thinks about getting braces, Invisalign clear aligners, or any other kind of orthodontic treatment, their main focus or reasoning is for cosmetic reasons: they want pretty, straight teeth. However, there are many more clinical reasons that orthodontic treatment like Invisalign is recommended that impacts a person’s health. In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS discusses how crowded teeth affect your health.

Crowded teeth Invisalign San Francisco

1. Calculus buildup. When your teeth are crowded, it causes very tight and unusual contacts between the teeth, making it difficult for floss and toothbrush bristles to reach all of the surfaces of the teeth to clean the bacteria and plaque that accumulates on the teeth. Because of this, those places are usually missed and so plaque and bacteria collect there and turn into hard calculus build up that cannot be removed by home care alone.

2. Gum disease. With more bacteria collecting in these tight places, the bacteria travel into the periodontal pockets, which are the pockets between the gums and the teeth. When bacteria and plaque accumulate in these places, the attachments weaken and the gum separates from the tooth, creating a deeper pocket in which the bacteria travels and causes a cycle of bacteria and disease. Periodontal/gum disease is irreversible, and can only be treated by a professional dental hygienist, the dentist, and a rigorous home care routine.

3. Tooth decay. When calculus builds up on the teeth, the bacteria sit there and eat away at the dental enamel. Once the enamel is penetrated, the bacteria eats away at the tooth structure causing a cavity or dental decay. Once the enamel is penetrated to a certain level, the decay can only be repaired with a filling. If the decay travels to the nerve of the tooth, the person may need a root canal.

4. Misalignment of bite/jaw issues. If the teeth are crowded, the top teeth may not fit correctly over the bottom teeth and they may have a mismatch on the bite. This misalignment can cause TMJ or jaw pain or issues like clicking, popping, or sticking.

5. Broken teeth. If the teeth do not fit correctly on top of one another, the force of biting or clenching/grinding at night can cause the teeth to actually break. This can only be repaired by a dentist, and if the misalignment is not corrected the problem can occur over and over again.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding crowding of the teeth or Invisalign clear aligners, visit San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

Signs of Anemia in the Mouth

Signs of Anemia in the Mouth
By Mina Levi, DDS, 07/09/2015

A person is “anemic” or has anemia when the red blood cell count is lower than normal. Anemia also occurs when your red blood cells don’t contain enough of the iron-rich protein hemoglobin, which gives blood its red hue. There are ways to tell if you are anemic without having a blood test done, and some of the signs are in your mouth! San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS discusses anemia signs in the mouth in this week’s article.

Smooth swollen anemia tongue San Francisco dentist

If you have anemia, your body may not get an adequate supply of oxygen-rich blood. Signs of anemia in the mouth include:
  • Pale tissue in the mouth due to decreased number of red blood cells
  • Ulceration of oral tissues
  • Smooth, beefy-red tongue with soreness (called glossitis)

Anemia can affect your health in many ways, including increasing your risk for gum disease and infections, so be sure to inform your dentist if you have anemia or if you believe you are anemic before any dental procedures. If you have questions about anemia or the signs of anemia in the mouth, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

Dry Mouth Symptoms, Causes and Treatments

Dry Mouth Symptoms, Causes and Treatments
By Mina Levi, DDS, 07/02/2015

Many people suffer from dry mouth symptoms such as feeling thirsty all of the time or having a dry, sticky feeling in the mouth or throat. Dry mouth not only is uncomfortable, but it also increases your risk of tooth decay and gingivitis. There are many different reasons why a person may be experiencing dry mouth. In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS discusses dry mouth symptoms, causes and treatments.

Dry Mouth treatment San Francisco dentist

Symptoms of Dry Mouth
1.       Dry feeling in the mouth
2.       Dry feeling in the throat
3.       Chronic thirst
4.       Sores in or around mouth
5.       Split skin at the corners of the mouth
6.       Burning or tingling sensation in the mouth
7.       Dry, red tongue
8.       Trouble speaking or eating
9.       Hoarseness/sore throat
10.   Bad breath

Possible Causes of Dry Mouth
1.       Side effect of certain medications such as those used to treat depression, anxiety, pain, allergies and asthma
2.       Side effect of certain diseases such as diabetes, anemia, HIV, and hypertension
3.       Side effect of medical treatments such as chemotherapy
4.       Dehydration
5.       Nerve damage in the head and/or neck area
6.       Lifestyle choices such as smoking or chewing tobacco

How to Treat Dry Mouth
The doctor may change the medication you are on if that is the culprit, or prescribe an oral since that helps to restore moisture in the mouth. You can also try:
1.       Brushing with fluoridated toothpaste
2.       Drinking plenty of water
3.       Using an over the counter saliva substitute
4.       Using a vaporizer to add moisture to your surrounding environment
5.       Breathing through your nose and not your mouth as often as possible

If you suffer from dry mouth and are concerned about your symptoms or treatment, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

Why Does My Hygienist Recommend Fluoride Varnish?

Why Does my Hygienist Recommend Fluoride Varnish?



By Mina Levi, DDS, 06/18/2015

When a patient comes in for their routine professional cleanings at the dental office of Mina Levi, DDS in San Francisco, it may be recommended that a fluoride varnish be applied to the teeth after the cleaning is complete. The term “fluoride” is a bit of a buzz word for many people and some patients have concerns about fluoride and why it is recommended that it be placed in their mouths. In this week’s article, San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS discusses fluoride varnish, safety information and why it may have been recommended.

Fluoride Varnish San Francisco Safety

What is fluoride varnish?
Fluoride varnish is a concentrated fluoride paste that is usually white and sticky and is applied to the surfaces of the teeth after the teeth have been cleaned. The paste adheres to the teeth for a few hours and then is washed away by brushing and flossing regularly at home.

What is fluoride varnish effective for treating?
Fluoride varnish releases sodium fluoride into the enamel surface and re-mineralizes areas of the enamel that have been eroded. It also prevents de-mineralization of the enamel, prevents decay/cavities, and reduces tooth sensitivity.

Why was fluoride varnish recommended for me?
Fluoride varnish may have been recommended to you for a number of reasons in one of two categories: preventative or treatment. If you are considered at a “high risk” for dental decay, the fluoride varnish may be recommended to prevent decay and stop cavities from forming. If you are not a high risk, fluoride varnish may be applied to prevent de-mineralization and strengthen the enamel. Patients with teeth sensitivity have fluoride varnish recommended re-mineralizing the area and reduce the sensitivity. Some patients have areas of the teeth that have de-mineralized or have eroded away, leaving the tooth more vulnerable to decay and sensitivity. In this case, fluoride varnish will be recommended to re-mineralize the area.

Is fluoride varnish safe for me?
The short answer is yes. Fluoride is safe and effective in the dosages given at the dental office. The lethal dose of fluoride for most adult humans is 5 grams to 10 grams (depending on size of the person). The dosage given at one sitting at the dental office is about .4 grams.  It would take ingesting 12 and a half fluoride varnish doses in one sitting to be at the minimum concentration to be lethal.

If you have further questions about fluoride varnish or why you may need it, visit San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

How Often Should my Dentist take X-Rays?

How Often Should my Dentist take X-Rays?
By Mina Levi, DDS, 06/11/2015

Many of our patients at the dental office of San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS are concerned and have questions about the dental digital x-rays we take for them periodically. Some questions include: ‘how much radiation will the x-rays emit?’, ‘how often should dental x-rays be taken?’ and ‘why do we need to take x-rays?’ In this week’s article, Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS discusses why we need to take digital x-rays and how often they should be taken.

Digital Dental X-rays

What are digital dental x-rays?
Dental x-rays are images of the internal structure of the teeth using electromagnetic radiation. With digital x-rays, traditional photographic film is not needed and the dentist can see the images immediately without having to develop film. Another advantage to digital x-rays is that there is less radiation emitted than traditional x-rays.

How much radiation is emitted by digital x-rays?
An estimated 1% of cancer cases may be associated with medical/dental radiation. Medical radiation is about 8 times more than dental. One-time dose in uSv can cause:
· 100,000 - Thyroid Cancer
· 250,000 - Skin Cancer
3D dental x-ray doses are about 0.002% of this amount. The following table describes radiation sources and the effective dose exposure:

Radiation Source
Effective Dose Exposure (uSv, ICRP 2007)
Average Daily Background Exposure (US)
8.5
Dental Bitewing X-Ray, Digital/F-film
9
Average Daily Total Exposure (US)
17
Dental Bitewing X-Ray, D-Speed Film
22
One Hour of High-Altitude Air Flight
50
X-Ray - Chest
100
X-Ray - Skull
100
Dental FMX (18), Digital X-Ray
171
Promax CBCT, Focus Area
192
Promax CBCT, Lower Skull
260
Promax CBCT, Full Skull
324
Dental FMX, D-Speed Film
388
X-Ray - Mammogram
420
X-Ray - Hip
700
CT - Head
2,000
X-Ray - Lumbar Spine
6,000
X-Ray - Abdomen
7,000
CT - Chest
7,000
CT - Abdomen
10,000
CT- Cardiac
20,000

Why do we need to take digital x-rays?
Digital x-rays are taken because they show the dentist the condition of your teeth and roots beyond what the naked eye can see. These images can help the dentist determine the degree of periodontal (gum) disease, can show abscesses or abnormal growths, can show the beginning of or position of dental decay or cavities and much more. If the cavity, infection or other issue is not visible in the mouth, it is almost impossible for the dentist to make a diagnosis without x-rays.

How often should my dentist take digital x-rays?
The frequency at which your San Francisco dentist takes digital x-rays depends on your health history and dental health needs. Usually, a small set of about six x-rays (4 BW, 2PAs) is taken once per year with your routine exam to monitor growth or lack of growth of dental decay and make sure that no new areas of decay have emerged. A full set of about eighteen x-rays (FMX) is taken once every three to five years for a more thorough picture of the teeth and jaw.

If you have questions regarding digital dental x-rays or when you should be getting them taken, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

The Scoop on Invisalign

The Scoop on Invisalign
By Mina Levi, DDS, 06/04/2015

When it comes to straightening your teeth, one of the best courses of treatment is Invisalign clear aligners. Many people have heard about the Invisalign product or are at least familiar with the Invisalign brand, but some are not aware of the benefits of this type of orthodontic treatment, what it looks like, how much it costs, or what it even does. In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi, DDS breaks down Invisalign clear aligner treatment and answers questions you may have about straightening your teeth and getting your dream smile!

What is Invisalign?
Invisalign takes a modern approach to straightening teeth, using a custom-made series of aligners created for you and only you. These aligner trays are made of smooth, comfortable and virtually invisible plastic that you wear over your teeth. Wearing the aligners will gradually and gently shift your teeth into place, based on the exact movements your dentist or orthodontist plans out for you. There are no metal brackets to attach and no wires to tighten. You just pop in a new set of aligners approximately every two weeks, until your treatment is complete. You’ll achieve a great smile with little interference in your daily life. The best part about the whole process is that most people won't even know you're straightening your teeth.

What do Invisalign trays look like?
Invisalign aligners are made out of a clear, plastic material that is molded to your teeth, as you can see in the image below:
Invisalign Dentist San Francisco

The Invisalign Process:
Step One: Talk to Dr. Mina Levi, a San Francisco Invisalign Preferred Provider
Invisalign Dentist San Francisco Dr. Mina Levi has been a preferred provider with Invisalign for over six years, and has treated many different types of cases with Invisalign. During your initial Invisalign consultation, she will discuss your case with you and determine if you are a good candidate for Invisalign. Dr. Levi will talk through the Invisalign treatment and answer any questions you may have about the process, costs, insurance, or any other concerns. You and Dr. Levi will determine the best course of treatment for you together.

Step Two: Create a 3D Image of Your Teeth
Dr. Levi and her team will take digital x-rays, photographs, and impressions of your teeth, which Invisalign will use to create a three-dimensional image of your teeth. Dr. Levi will use this image to map out your treatment plan and will be able to show you what your teeth will look like after every step of your Invisalign treatment.

Step Three: Receive Your Clear Aligners
Based on your individualized treatment plan, a series of clear custom-made aligners will be made just for you. Wear the plastic aligners throughout the day, and take them out to eat, drink, brush your teeth and floss. As you continue to wear each set of aligners, your teeth will gradually move into place. These aligners are clear and almost invisible, so most people will not even know you are wearing them.

Step Four: Wear a New Set of Aligners Every 2 Weeks
After two weeks of wearing one set of aligners, you will move onto the next step and then wear that set for another two weeks. To monitor your progress, you will have appointments set up with Dr. Levi about every six weeks. With each set of aligners that you go through, you are one step closer to your dream smile!

Step Five: Reveal Your New Smile
For most adults, treatment typically takes about a year although each individual case is different. The best way to ensure that treatment goes smoothly and as quickly as possible, make sure to wear the aligners about 22 hours a day. Then, you will be ready to show the world the smile you've always wanted.


Treatable cases:
Many different types of cases are treatable with Invisalign, the following are some of the main conditions that are treated:
1. Gapped teeth: Gaps between teeth can occur with abnormal continued growth of the jawbone. Missing teeth can also cause the surrounding teeth to shift due to the extra space, creating gaps in your teeth. Spacing issues and gaps between teeth can lead to gum problems (due to lack of protection by the teeth), periodontal pockets and increased risk of periodontal disease.
2. Overbite: What people commonly refer to as an "overbite" is known to dental professionals as "overjet." It occurs when the upper teeth bite over the lower teeth. It's typically caused by genetics, bad oral habits, or overdevelopment of the bone that supports the teeth. This can lead to gum problems or irritation, and/or wear on the lower teeth, and can cause painful jaw and joint problems.
3. Underbite: Underbite can occur when the lower teeth protrude past the front teeth. It's usually caused by undergrowth of the upper jaw, overgrowth of the lower jaw, or both. It can also be caused by missing upper teeth. This can prevent the normal function of front teeth or molars, which can lead to tooth wear. It can also cause painful jaw and joint problems.
4. Open Bite: Open bite often occurs when some teeth are unable to make physical contact with the opposing teeth for a proper bite. Most often caused by a genetic abnormal jaw structure or excessive thumb-sucking, an open bite can cause poor or painful chewing, and even speech impairment. It can also lead to greater issues like thermo-mandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
5. Crowding: Teeth crowding occurs when there is simply a lack of room within your jaw for all of your teeth to fit normally. When left untreated, overly crowded teeth can get worse over time, and result in severely crooked teeth. This crowding can lead to plaque accumulation, tooth decay and an increased chance of gum disease.
6. Crossbite: Crossbite can occur when the upper and lower jaws are both misaligned. It causes one or more upper teeth to bite on the inside of the lower teeth, and can happen on both the front and the sides of the mouth. This can cause wear of the teeth, gum disease and bone loss.

Is Invisalign a good fit for you? Find out! Visit Invisalign Preferred Provider Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066 to schedule a consultation today!

Tobacco and Your Mouth

 Tobacco and Your Mouth
 By Mina Levi, DDS, 05/28/2015

It is common knowledge that smoking and other tobacco use causes health problems such as lung cancer. However, not many people are aware of the dental andoral health implications of tobacco use such as cigarettes, chewing tobacco, cigars, and smokeless tobacco. In this week’s article, San Francisco dentist Mina Levi,DDS talks about dental and oral health concerns that are affected by tobacco use.

Tobacco use oral health implications San Francisco dentist

What are the dental problems that are caused by tobacco use?
Using tobacco:
· Increases risk of oral cancer – a disease that rapidly progresses and is often not diagnosed until the later stages III and IV, causing it to have a high death rate. See more about oral cancer here.
· Increases risk of gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults in the United States today.
· Causes bad breath.
· Causes buildup of tartar or dental plaque on the teeth, which if not cleaned professionally will cause tooth decay.
· Causes staining on the teeth causing them to turn yellow or brown in color and cannot be cleaned with a regular toothbrush – staining will need to be removed at a San Francisco dental office.
· Causes damage to gum tissue and causes receding gums, which leaves the roots of the teeth exposed to “the elements”. This increases sensitivity and also increases the risk of tooth decay.
· Slows down gum healing, so if you have an oral surgery procedure done or you cut your gums, the healing time will slow down and an infection can occur more easily.

Quitting
Quitting tobacco use is essential in ensuring future and present health and can provide long term health benefits. There are many different ways to quit using tobacco, such as:
· “Cold turkey”: quitting all tobacco use without the help of any chemical or medical remedy
· Nicotine patches/gum: nicotine patches and gum provide the tobacco user with small amounts of nicotine which is the addictive property in tobacco products. This can help reduce cravings for cigarettes and other tobacco products as the nicotine is being replaced. However, the use of the gum and patches will also need to cease eventually because nicotine can have negative health implications as well.
· Psychotherapy: therapy with a psychologist or psychiatrist can help a person mentally achieve overcoming the addiction and can provide self-control strategies. Therapy is also good for your overall mental well being and should be included in your regular health program.

If you have questions about how tobacco products such as cigarettes and chewing tobacco can affect your teeth and mouth, or if you have concerns about quitting tobacco use, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

Dental Insurance: What are the Differences between HMO and PPO Plans?

Dental Insurance: What are the Differences between HMO and PPO Plans?
By Mina Levi, DDS, 05/21/2015

One of the most common questions we get asked here at the office of dentist Mina Levi, DDS in San Francisco is “what is the difference between choosing an HMO dental plan and a PPO dental plan?” along with “are you an in-network provider?” Many people who have dental insurance or are in the market for dental insurance have concerns and/or are confused about different plan aspects and sometimes can end up locked in with a plan that isn’t a good fit for them. Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS clears up some of the dental insurance lingo and answers some questions in this week’s article.

PPO Dentist San Francisco

What is an annual maximum?
Most dental insurance plans limit the amount that they will pay out for services per year. The average annual maximum in our experience is around $1500. This means that after that annual maximum has been paid out for the year, any services rendered after that will be an out-of-pocket expense for the patient until the new year comes and the annual maximum rolls back over.

What is an in-network provider?
Dental insurance companies have contracts with certain dentists in your area. This means that the dentist has agreed to see patients who have this insurance plan and only charge the fees for services as lined out in the contract. This means that when you see an in-network provider with your insurance, the services you receive will be charged at a “discounted” in-network rate. So even when you are maxed out of your dental insurance yearly maximum and all services are out-of-pocket, all services will be at this same discounted rate.

What is an HMO plan?
HMO stands for Health Maintenance Organization and this kind of plan limits subscribers to choosing a dental care provider that is an in-network provider only. The patient must choose or is assigned a pre-approved dentist and if the patient seeks treatment elsewhere, the dental bills will not be covered at all.
                Pros: More affordable
                Cons: No freedom of choice, limited access to dental providers

What is a PPO plan?
PPO stands for Preferred Provider Organization and offers flexibility for subscribers when choosing dental providers. A PPO dental plan will allow the patient to choose an in-network provider or an out-of-network provider, but will pay more or a higher percentage for an in-network provider.
                Pros: Freedom of choice, wider range of providers
                Cons: More expensive

If you have more questions about dental insurance, PPO plans or HMO plans, visit Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

Breaking Down Flossing: A Three Part Series #3

Breaking Down Flossing: A 3 Part Series #3

By Mina Levi, DDS, 05/07/2015

In the dental office of Mina Levi, DDS, we highly recommend brushing twice per day and flossing at least once per day. We recommend a variety of products, including Listerine’s woven or “Gum Care” floss and the Waterpik water flosser. It can be unclear to many people what exactly each type of flossing is and the pros and cons of all of them, so in this 3-series article,Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS breaks down three flossing options: traditional dental flossthe Waterpik water flosser, and the Phillip’s airfloss flosser.

Week 3: AirFloss

AirFloss Dentist San Francisco 94108

What is it?
AirFloss is a device by Philips to remove plaque biofilm from between the teeth. It uses a rapid burst of air and water droplets to disrupt the biofilm from between the teeth. It is called “miroburst technology.”

How do I use it?
Direct the tip of the AirFloss to the spaces between the teeth. Once you have it in place, click on it for the microburst to remove the plaque. Then repeat this point-and-click method of cleaning between all teeth, which is a bit similar to the point-and-click feel of a computer mouse.

Pros:
1.  Is portable
2.  Good for people whose gums bleed with regular flossing
3.  Effective in removing plaque from tooth surfaces

Cons:
1.       More expensive than floss and the Waterpik
2.       Can cause pain in the gums

We have now discussed three flossing options: traditional dental floss, the Waterpik water flosser, and the Phillips AirFloss. Which one is your preference? If you have questions about flossing or water flossing, visit San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.


Breaking Down Flossing: A 3 Part Series #2

Breaking Down Flossing: a 3 Part Series #2
By Mina Levi, DDS, 04/30/2015

In the dental office of Mina Levi, DDS, we highly recommend brushing twice per day and flossing at least once per day. We recommend a variety of products, including Listerine’s woven or “Gum Care” floss and the Waterpik water flosser. It can be unclear to many people what exactly each type of flossing is and the pros and cons of all of them, so in this 3-series article,Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS breaks down three flossing options: traditional dental floss, the Waterpik water flosser, and the Phillip’s airfloss flosser.

Week 2: Waterpik

Water Flosser San Francisco Dentist

What is it?
A Waterpik is a device that shoots pulses of water in between the teeth and below the gum line to remove plaque and bacteria.

How do I use it?
Fill container with warm water and place at the setting desired. Aim the tip of the waterpik between the teeth. Start with the back teeth and work your way forward, making sure the water pulses are reaching the pockets between the tooth and the gum as well as the spaces between the teeth.

Pros:
1.  Gentle on the gums
2.  Ideal for people who wear braces because it can penetrate the gums under the wires
3.  Effective in flushing bacteria out of deep pockets
4.  Can be used by those with limited hand mobility

Cons:
1. More expensive than floss
2. Can be messy
3. It has to be plugged in

Next week we will profile the Phillips Air Floss. If you have questions about flossing or water flossing, visit San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

Breaking Down Flossing: a 3 Part Series

Breaking Down Flossing: a 3 Part Series
By Mina Levi, DDS, 04/23/2015

In the dental office of Mina Levi, DDS, we highly recommend brushing twice per day and flossing at least once per day. We recommend a variety of products, including Listerine’s woven or “Gum Care” floss and the Waterpik water flosser. It can be unclear to many people what exactly each type of flossing is and the pros and cons of all of them, so in this 3-series article, Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi, DDS breaks down three flossing options: traditional dental floss, the Waterpik water flosser, and the Phillip’s airfloss flosser.

Dental floss San Francisco

Week 1: Traditional Floss
What is it?
Dental floss is a thin cord that is used to remove food, plaque and bacteria from in between the teeth, where the bristles of a toothbrush cannot reach.

How do I use it?
Remove a good length of floss from floss holder. When flossing correctly, the floss needs to be pushed through the teeth and pressure put on one side (pressing against one of the teeth) and into the gums, then to the other side (pressing against the other tooth) and into the gums. It is very important when you are flossing to make sure that your floss reaches down below the gum line. There is plaque and bacteria that can accumulate in the periodontal pocket (space between the tooth and gum) and can lead to gingivitis and periodontitis if it is not removed.

Pros:
1.  Inexpensive
2.  Effective in cleaning tight spaces between teeth
3.  Effective in removing plaque from teeth due to scraping up and down the sides of each tooth

Cons:
1.  Can be irritating for people with sensitive gums
2.  Can’t be used by people who have braces without a threader
3.  Inconvenient to use, takes a “long” time to correctly clean between each tooth

Next week we will profile the Waterpik waterflosser. If you have questions about flossing or a water flosser, visit San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.

Cleaning Your Kids' Teeth

Cleaning Your Kids’ Teeth
By Mina Levi, DDS, 04/16/2015

We all know that many babies are born without teeth, and they slowly emerge throughout infancy and childhood, then they sprout their adult teeth in later childhood. However, many of us don’t know when we should start or how to go about keeping our kid’s mouths healthy and clean. In this week’s article, Dentist San Francisco Mina Levi DDS discusses the process of cleaning your kids’ teeth so that they can have healthy mouths and won’t have any cavities.

Brushing Kids Teeth San Francisco Dentist

When should I start brushing my kids’ teeth?
Before your child’s teeth emerge, you should be taking care of their gums by rubbing a ramp washcloth or gauze across gum tissue to clear the mouth of any food/bacteria and starts healthy oral care habits. Children’s teeth should be cleaned as soon as they emerge. When the teeth first appear, the teeth are small and the child’s mouth is small, so it seems it would be difficult to clean or at least get a toothbrush in there. You can use a soft washcloth wrapped around your finger instead of a brush when the teeth first appear. When you do try to start using a toothbrush as soon as you can, you can try a long-handled toothbrush that you and the baby can grasp or a finger puppet type toothbrush that will be similar to the washcloth. There is no need to use toothpaste right away, just dip the toothbrush in warm water. If your child is having trouble adapting to the toothbrush, it’s okay to switch back and forth to the washcloth.

How do I brush my kids’ teeth?
When a few more teeth appear, it will be time to upgrade your child to using toothpaste. The American Dental Association recommends using fluoridated toothpaste about the size of a grain of rice. Fluoride is important for children because it helps their developing teeth be resistant to cavities. Brush your child’s teeth twice per day – once in the morning and once before bed time. Spend 2 minutes brushing and make sure to spend extra time on the back molars when they appear. The molars are an area where cleaning isn’t always great and cavities begin to appear. You can start using a pea sized amount of toothpaste when the child is about 3 years old.

When should I start flossing my kids’ teeth?
You should start flossing your child’s teeth when two teeth emerge that are touching each other. You can use flossers or floss sticks instead of traditional floss which may make it easier to navigate your child’s small mouth without them gagging.

When should my kids start brushing and flossing on their own?
Most kids start being able to brush and floss their own teeth by the time they are around 6 or 7. The best way to teach kids how to brush and floss on their own is to “lead by example”. Let your kids watch you brush your teeth. This teaches them that an oral hygiene routine is important and they will also pick up on your technique.

When should I take my kids to the dentist?
Kids should start going to the dentist by the time they are one year old, or within six months of their first tooth emergence. Your San Francisco Dentist can inspect the teeth for any irregularities and also give you tips about how to brush your kids’ teeth and diet changes.
If you have questions about how to brush your children’s teeth or your kids are due for a dentist visit, visit San Francisco Dentist Mina Levi, DDS on the web at www.minalevidds.com or give us a call at (415) 513-5066.