Why Do I Need a Root Canal? | Northridge Dentist

Finding out you need a root canal is never fun news, but it can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular check-ups. In fact, YOU are your first line of defense when it comes to tooth decay. And since knowledge is power, let’s talk about what exactly is causing your teeth to decay. If we know how to dodge the proverbial bullet, we will be less likely to have painful dentist visits. Here is a quick list:

  • Large cavities
  • Cracked or chipped teeth
  • Facial trauma
  • A habit of clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Repeatedly damaged teeth

If left untreated, a tooth can become infected and won’t be able to heal properly, eventually leading to an abscess or even tooth loss. Abscesses aren’t just bad for our smiles, but the content in an abscess can spread to other areas in the body, causing further damage. If you find that you have developed one of these symptoms, it’s time to visit the dentist. It is likely you have developed a condition that can only be remedied by a root canal.

Don’t worry – root canals aren’t as scary as they are made out to be. In fact, their pain level could even be compared to getting a filling. Your dentist needs to remove all of the pulp and nerve causing the issue, then replacing it with a dental crown to make your tooth look good as new. But in the end, if you look after your teeth, you may never need one so make sure to properly brush and floss.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Tooth Abscesses: Not a Laughing Matter | Northridge Dentist

When we develop pain in our mouths, it is something that can turn a nuisance into incredible pain relatively easily. One of the main causes of this is an abscessed tooth. Thankfully, it is something that is completely preventable by following simple oral health steps.

Firstly, an abscessed tooth is an infection at the root of a tooth or between gums caused by decay, trauma to the tooth, gingivitis or other gum diseases. It begins when bacteria infect the core of a tooth, through a cavity or cracked tooth, and progressing until pockets of pus begin to form at the root.  Symptoms include toothache, sensitivity to hot or cold, a bitter taste in mouth, bad breath, swollen glands at the neck or jaw and painful chewing, the severity depending on the patient. Some patients feel excruciating pain right away, while others do not know they have an abscessed tooth until they go in for a routine dental exam.

An abscessed tooth can become very dangerous if left untreated. It can spread infections to other areas of the mouth that may cause loss of teeth, facial disfigurement due to rotting facial bones, while putting your immune system at risk of developing other health problems. If an abscess isn’t treated, it will continue to grow and spread through tissue, causing outward facial swelling called cellulitis, and in rare cases, death.

In order to prevent a tooth abscess, it is important that you follow a daily dental routine to ensure that your mouth remains healthy and your smile bright and clean. If you feel an abscess may be forming, see your dental professional immediately.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

What You Need to Know About Family Dental Care | Northridge Dentist

Instilling good habits really is a family affair. And your oral health is important – keeping your teeth and gums healthy is something everyone in your family should be involved in. Taking proper care of your teeth and gums now prevents problems in the future. Here is a general routine that each member of the family should follow:

Babies and Children

  • Clean each new tooth gently with a clean wet washcloth. As your baby grows you can switch to a child’s toothbrush.
  • If younger than two years old, do not use toothpaste.
  • Do not let little ones fall asleep with a bottle to prevent what is called “baby bottle tooth decay.”
  • Take your child to the dentist regularly after their first birthday.

Teenagers

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
  • If your teenager plays sports be sure they wear a protective mouth guard.
  • Make sure they see the dentist for all regular checkups.

Mom and Dad

  • Brush teeth at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Floss at least once a day.
  • Don’t smoke or chew tobacco.
  • Check with your doctor to ensure medications you are taking won’t damage teeth.
  • Check your mouth regularly for sores, red swollen gums or anything out of the ordinary.
  • See your dentist every six months for regular checkups and cleanings.

Family dental care is a priority. Make dental appointments for your family to keep your family’s teeth and gums healthy. Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

How to Keep Your Child’s Teeth Healthy | Northridge Dentist

It may sound like quite the chore, teaching proper dental hygiene to your little one, but it’s really easy to do. After all, the earlier you initiate a daily routine, the more likely your child will continue to have great check-ups.

As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water.  If you are considering using toothpaste before your child’s second birthday, ask your dentist first.

To avoid baby bottle tooth decay and teeth misalignment due to sucking, try to wean your child off the breast and bottle by their first year and monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers and thumbs. Never give your child a bottle of milk, juice or sweetened liquid as a pacifier at naptime or bedtime. The sugars in the drink will sit in their mouths as your child sleeps, slowly causing dental issues.

Brushing at night is a great idea to start teaching good dental habits due to lower salivary flow and higher susceptibility to cavities. Perhaps let the child brush their teeth first to build self-confidence, then follow up to ensure that all plaque is removed. By about age five, your child should be able to brush his or her own teeth with proper parental instruction.

As a parent, the best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene. In addition, preventative routine dental checkups ensure your child has healthy teeth and gums.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

If You Love Coffee, There’s Something You Should Know | Northridge Dentist

There is always a line at your favorite coffee shop, so you know aren’t the only one that needs their cup of joe in the morning. But if this is your caffeine form of choice, you need to be extra careful. Not only does coffee stain your teeth, but it can also contribute to the buildup of plaque and tartar, while accelerating the progression of periodontal disease.

Firstly, you should know the two forms of periodontal disease. Gingivitis, or an inflammation of your gums caused by plaque, and periodontitis, a more advanced version of gingivitis that results in a gap between your teeth and your gums. When caught in the beginning gingivitis stage, it can be treated and, hopefully preventable in the future. Periodontitis, on the other hand, is more difficult to treat and, due to the gap between the teeth and gums, may cause your teeth to become loose and fall out.

Now, coffee affects your mouth in two ways: it lowers the temperature of your mouth and gums, and reduces the blood flow to your gums. This does not allow your gums to get all of the necessary oxygen they need to continue functioning properly.

When it comes to gum disease, saliva plays a major role in prevention. It contains oxygen and specialized enzymes which help prevent gum disease by killing the unnecessary bacteria in your mouth. However, drinking coffee can cause dehydration and reduce the amount of saliva you produce, thus increasing your chances of developing gum disease.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Which Should I Choose – Manual or Electric? | Northridge Dentist

ToothbrushWhat we know as the modern toothbrush is just one of those life necessities that is constantly evolving. But are these developments actually necessary? Do they negate the old-fashioned versions we have all gotten used to?

The purpose of the toothbrush is to clean your teeth – to remove plaque and other stimuli in our mouths that perpetuate the development of gum disease and tooth decay. Good news? Both the “old timey” manual and the “fancy schmancy” electric versions do that.

Things don’t get more basic than the design of the manual toothbrush. It’s light and stores easily so it’s definitely travel-friendly. And while the head of the brush now has variations in shapes and features, you still have to manually brush your teeth in a circular motion at a 45° angle. This may be an easy task for most of us, but there are some with dexterity issues that find it somewhat difficult. Conversely, the electronic toothbrush has much more weight to it because of the battery included. The downside to this is the fact that batteries die and need to be replaced. As for cost effectiveness, both will need to be replaced every few months, but replacing manual toothbrushes will easily fall within your budget.

When it all comes down to it, YOU are what decides how your oral health ends up. Brushing your teeth for 2-3 minutes daily, making sure every tooth gets some attention and keeping up your regular dental checkups will always be key to ensuring a lovely smile, whichever version of toothbrush you decide.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

December 30th Is National Baking Soda Day | Northridge Dentist

480320367Sure. It seems like a silly thing to celebrate in general, much less give it a yearly celebratory day. But if you really think about it, baking soda has so many everyday uses, maybe we’ve been a bit too harsh deciding that it’s unworthy for a holiday. From cooking to cleaning to removing more stains than your typical stain cleaners, we have been using baking soda in our kitchens, baths and laundry rooms for ages. But there are also dental purposes for baking soda. And because of its whitening qualities, there are many uses for baking soda in our dental routines.

There are ways to stave off cravings while you’re watching your weight. And during this time of year, who isn’t? If you crave sweets, rinse your mouth with one-teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a glass of warm water. Don’t swallow the mixture; spit it out. Your craving should disappear instantly.

And of course, there is baking soda toothpaste. Toothpaste containing sodium bicarbonate has in several studies been shown to have a better whitening and plaque removal effect than toothpastes without it. Not only sold over-the-counter, baking soda toothpaste can be made at home by simply mixing a teaspoon of baking soda with some water until it turns into a paste. Apply it to your toothbrush and brush as usual. You will slowly notice that your teeth will become whiter as you continue to work it into your dental routines. Sodium bicarbonate is also used as an ingredient in some mouthwashes. It has anticaries and abrasive properties that work as a mechanical cleanser on the teeth and gums, neutralizing the production of acid in the mouth, and also acts as an antiseptic to help prevent infections.

But that’s not all. Soak toothbrushes in baking soda and warm water overnight to clean bristles. That’s right. We all know we need to change out our toothbrushes every few months, but it is really nice to know that our mouths can always have a clean brush if we just soak it while we sleep.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

The Holidays and Your Teeth | Northridge Dentist

sb10066697t-001With all of the holiday parties and festivities comes all those goodies and sweets! Although it can be hard to limit ourselves to ‘just a few’, there are some things you can do to make sure you’re protecting your teeth. If your overall dental health is good and you practice good oral hygiene, you can probably safely indulge in some holiday treats as long as you do so in moderation. We did some research so you can enjoy the holiday season, treat yourself, but still keep that beautiful smile. Below are a few things to keep in mind…

  • Don’t eat constantly throughout the day. Waiting a couple hours between eating will allow saliva to neutralize acid and repair tooth enamel.
  • Try to avoid sticky treats (taffy), extremely hard (peanut brittle),  or chewy (caramel). These types of treats can break your teeth, pull out fillings and interfere with crowns.
  • If available, stick to soft treats, ones that melt in your mouth (peanut butter cups, chocolate kisses, thinly sliced fruit, etc.), and brush and floss after eating them.  A teeth-whitening toothpaste wouldn’t hurt if you’re indulging in lots of caffeinated beverages.
  • If you can, sip with a straw, it can help minimize the acids direct contact with your teeth.
  • Once you finish your holiday cocktail, keep yourself from chewing on the ice, it can damage the tooth enamel (as well as braces).
  • Don’t always ‘rush to brush’…brushing your teeth immediately after eating highly acidic foods can accelerate acid wear. Wait an hour or so before brushing to let some of the acid wear off. You may also want to consider a specially formulated, low-abrasion toothpaste that helps re-harden enamel.
  • Try chewing sugar-free gum following a meal, it can activate saliva and help wash away debris.
  • Swish water around in your mouth for 15-20 seconds after eating anything acidic. You can stop the acid attack on your teeth and stimulate the production of saliva, nature’s original neutralizer, works better than mouthwash because it won’t dry out your mouth.

We know the holiday season can be a crazy and stressful time. Make sure that you’re eating healthy, exercising and taking care of yourself…it’s amazing what stress can do to your body. Also, make sure to keep up on your 6 month cleanings. Your teeth, and your mouth, will thank you.

Schedule an appointment today with Dr. David Lunt, DDS by calling 818-885-7230. Visit the website for more information at www.davidluntdds.com.

 Dr. Lunt gladly accepts patients from Cal State Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura and all surrounding areas.

Pediatric Dental Care Starts from Birth | Northridge Dentist

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Halloween is a sweet time of year for your child. Sometimes it is difficult to be a parent when there is sweet treats everywhere your little one turns. But protecting their dental health at home is easy to do. Here are just a few little tips to keep in mind when it seems like keeping their smile bright is an impossible feat, and it starts from infancy. Yes, even little ones without teeth can start becoming accustomed to dental health care. The sooner you get them into a good routine, the easier it will be when this holiday rolls around every year.

Clean your infant’s gums with a clean, damp cloth after each feeding. As soon as the first teeth come in, begin brushing them with a small, soft-bristled toothbrush and water.  If you are considering using toothpaste before your child’s second birthday, ask your dentist first.

To avoid baby bottle tooth decay and teeth misalignment due to sucking, try to wean your child off of the breast and bottle by one year of age, and monitor excessive sucking of pacifiers, fingers and thumbs. Never give your child a bottle of milk, juice or sweetened liquid as a pacifier at naptime or bedtime.

Help a young child brush at night, the most important time to brush, due to lower salivary flow and higher susceptibility to cavities. Perhaps let the child brush their teeth first to build self-confidence, then the parent can follow up to ensure that all plaque is removed. Usually by age 5 or so, the child can learn to brush his or her own teeth with proper parental instruction.

The best way to teach a child how to brush is to lead by good example. Allowing your child to watch you brush your teeth teaches the importance of good oral hygiene. Have them pick out their own toothbrush and toothpaste. Children love to feel like they’re doing adult things and it will help them feel responsible for their teeth.

In addition, preventative routine dental checkups ensure your child has healthy teeth and gums. Don’t wait. Schedule your child’s next pediatric dental visit with Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or online at davidluntdds.com.

Dr. David Lunt also proudly serves Northridge, Granada Hills, Reseda, Chatsworth, Porter Ranch, Winnetka and surrounding areas.

Halloween and Braces: Trick or Treat? | Northridge Dentist

thinkstockphotos-178564205October is National Orthodontic Health Month, and coincidentally, Halloween. (I know…How did that happen?) So in honor of these two fantastic occasions, let’s do a quick run-down of what is going to happen if you throw caution to the wind and celebrate Halloween like all of your friends without braces. Because if you do decide to not look after your braces, the consequences will be more frightening than the holiday itself.

When we get our braces put on, we are warned that there are certain foods we will have to forgo while our braces are fixing our smile. And when it comes to Halloween, these foods are in full force. Popcorn, nuts, gum and all hard, sticky or chewy candies are pure evil on your mouth’s delicate appliances. As a matter of fact, while everything is fine in moderation, candy is the worst on your teeth. They come in lots of different variations.

They can be a hard candy, like a lollypop or a Jolly Rancher, which are a favorite because they last a while if we suck on them. Having the sugar linger around in your mouth as the candy dissolves makes it easier for cavities to form. And if you chomp on them, you can run the risk of breaking off one of your brackets or chipping an actual tooth. Chewy candies, like a gummy bear or a jelly bean, have similar results but have a tendency to get stuck in the crevices of your molars, making a perfect hideout for cavities. Sticky candy, like caramels or chewing gum, are some of the worst treats of all. Not only can they pull off a bracket from your tooth, but they can burrow within your molars as well, making them basically a sweet combination of the two others. There are also candies on the market that are sour than they are sweet and are an absolute favorite with all kids today. The sourness is actually acidic and can break down your tooth’s enamel, making them more prone to decay, so try to limit these candies the most.

There are some alternatives to these candies that will not only be safe on your braces, but won’t make you feel like you’re being left out of the scariest of holidays. Chocolate, soft treats and ice cream are all braces-friendly treats that are quite enjoyable.

So, what do you do to prevent anything from happening to your braces during this spooky time? Try to limit your candy intake. The more you indulge in these sweets, the higher the risk of damaging your appliances. When eating the candy, make them quick snacks, not an all-day treat. The longer you let the sugar linger in your mouth, the easier it is for the sugars to stake inside your mouth. After you have your sweet treat, rinse you mouth out with water. Saliva is your mouth’s natural fighter against cavity-causing bacteria. And lastly, brush and floss at least two times a day. Cavities are no match for good oral hygiene. Happy Halloween!

For more information on oral health care, contact Dr. David Lunt at (818) 885-7230 or visit our website davidluntdds.com.

Dr. David Lunt also proudly serves Northridge, Burbank, San Fernando, Topanga Canyon, Valley Glen, Agoura, CSUN, Cal State Northridge, and all surrounding areas.