Porcelain Veneers Are Your Best Bet | Walnut Creek Dentist

When looking to improve your smile, it is easy to be overwhelmed by all of the options available. One option would be getting porcelain veneers, or the superhero of cosmetic dentistry. These fingernail-thin shells are bonded directly over the teeth in question. And if taken care of properly, can last a lifetime. Not only will they immediately improve your smile, but they can improve a number is dental issues, including covering stains, fixing minor misalignments, or repairing a chipped or misshapen tooth. Still not convinced? Here are several reasons that may change your mind…

Natural looking. Porcelain is a translucent material that mimics the light reflective properties of your natural tooth, creating more natural-looking results. No one will ever know they aren’t your teeth!

General repairs. Porcelain veneers can repair broken, chipped or misshapen teeth, thus improving your overall smile.

Fill in gaps. Porcelain veneers can be customized to repair your smile by filling in unsightly gaps.

Conservative. Porcelain veneers are considered a less invasive procedure since less of your natural is required to be removed.

Stain-resistant. Porcelain doesn’t change color over time, and is resistant to classic stains like coffee, soda, tea and smoke.

Durable. Porcelain veneers are extremely durable; the strength is comparable to natural tooth enamel.

Customizable. The shape, size, and color of your porcelain veneers are all customizable.

Long-lasting. If you take care of your porcelain veneers properly, they can last a lifetime.

Dramatic results. Porcelain veneers produce fast and dramatic results. What could be better than that?

For more information about porcelain veneers, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.

Cosmetic vs. Aesthetic Dentistry: What’s the Difference? | Walnut Creek Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry is generally used to refer to any dental work that improves the appearance but not always the function, of a person’s teeth, gums and/or bite. Many dentists refer to themselves as “cosmetic dentists” no matter their specific education, specialty, training, and experience in this field. The American Dental Association (ADA) does not recognize cosmetic dentistry as a formal specialty area of dentistry. However, there are still dentists that promote themselves as cosmetic dentists.

There are only two dental specialties that mainly focus on dental aesthetics or cosmetics: Prosthodontics and Orthodontics. In aesthetic dentistry, the dentist is more focused on restoring teeth to their normal appearance as found in nature. Whereas cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the color, shape or arrangement of teeth to make things look better to the eye of the beholder.

Instead of categorizing procedures into “cosmetic” vs. “aesthetic”, a better way is to distinguish between minimally invasive and traditional cosmetic dentistry. Tooth-friendly cosmetic dentistry generally does nothing irreversible to the teeth, teeth whitening, resin bonding, or short-term orthodontics, where the results are reversible. These types of treatments are unlikely to jeopardize your long-term dental health.

In contrast, traditional cosmetic dentistry can include porcelain veneers, crowns, bridges – anything that involves drilling away a significant volume of otherwise healthy tooth. These treatments need to be re-done every so often and usually are also associated with an increased risk of the treated tooth requiring root treatment in future. The key factor here is once you have them, you are stuck with them for life.

For more information about cosmetic dentistry, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.

Gum Disease in Three Stages | Walnut Creek Dentist

Believe it or not, but close to 75% of Americans will experience some form of gum disease within their lifetime. Gum disease is an inflammation of the gums that can progress to affect the bone that surrounds and supports your teeth. This is why it is important to maintain proper oral hygiene.

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is caused by bacteria found in plaque, or that sticky colorless film that forms on your teeth. This plaque will build up and the bacteria will infect not only your gums and teeth, but your gum tissue and bone that supports your teeth. So, before it gets to that point, let’s take a look at the three stages as it progresses:

Gingivitis. This first stage of gum diseases is termed gingivitis. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums that’s caused by plaque build-up at your gum line. When you don’t brush and floss daily to remove plaque it produces toxins that irritates your gum tissue. This is the only stage of gum disease that is reversible since it hasn’t affected the connective tissue and bone.

Periodontitis. This is the stage where the supporting bone and tissues are irreversibly damaged. Your gums start to form pockets below the gum line, which in turn traps plaque and food debris. With proper treatment and improved home care you can typically prevent further damage.

Advanced periodontitis. Advanced periodontitis is the final stage of gum disease, the tissues and supporting bone are destroyed, which lead your teeth to shift and loosen. This stage affects your bite, and if treatment can’t save your teeth, they may need to be removed.

For more information about gum disease, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.

Take Care of that Implant | Walnut Creek Dentist

When we get any sort of dental surgery, we are always wary about what the aftercare will entail. Sometimes it can be a lot of deal with, but it’s worth it in order to make your smile healthy again. So, if you are considering dental implants, you need to look after them, because they require a clean environment to properly heal. Here’s how to keep your dental implant for good:

Leave it alone. Immediately after getting your dental implant installed, leave the surgical site alone as much as possible. Agitating the surgical site can slow down the healing process or could potentially lead to additional problems.

Ice it. If a part of your face swells over the first few days, don’t worry – it’s completely normal. To help reduce the swelling, you can apply an ice pack to the affected area for the first 24 hours and take 20-minute breaks in between icing.

Careful eating. Avoid swishing liquids around your mouth for the first week after the procedure. You should also eat soft food for the first few days and avoid eating or drinking anything hot. When you do eat, avoid the implant as much as possible.

Keep things clean. In order for your new dental implant to heal properly, it’s important to keep your mouth and the surgical site as clean as possible. Rinse your mouth out with a warm saltwater solution at least 4-5 times a day, preferably after every meal.

Exercise. Refrain from any physical activity for the first few days following your dental implant surgery – activity may cause unnecessary bleeding. If they cause bleeding, reduce the level of activity.

For more information about dental surgery aftercare, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.

Signs You May Need a Crown | Walnut Creek Dentist

Many patients are unaware of the signs that signal you need a dental crown, generally because we will tough through any dental pain we may have until we can’t take it. In order to treat your teeth as soon as possible and avoid further damage, dental professionals strongly suggest looking for the following three signs that indicate you need a dental crown. After all, the sooner you seek treatment, the more likely it won’t develop into further issues down the line:

Deep cracks. If you have a deep crack in your tooth, it is very likely that you will need a dental crown. Deep cracks allow for bacteria to build up and make its way to the nerve of the tooth which can cause breakage and permanent tooth loss.

Chipped tooth. A chipped tooth can also be a sign that you are in need of a dental crown. Because strong and healthy teeth do not chip, the reason for the chip will be discussed and decide if a crown is necessary to restore the function of your tooth.

Multiple cavities. The more cavities you have on a tooth, the more your tooth is susceptible to damage and decay. This is a given we are all aware of. And if you are not able to solve your dental problem with a dental filling, a dental crown will most likely be necessary.

If you feel some type of tooth pain, avoid waiting until you can’t stand it anymore and make a dental appointment to find out if the signs indicate that you are in need of a dental crown.

For more information about dental crowns, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.

Bringing Bruxism to a Grinding Halt | Walnut Creek Dentist

When you wake up in the morning with headaches, it is likely that you are grinding your teeth in your sleep. The wisest thing to do is seek treatment, because ignoring the situation will begin to cause dental issues. Referred to as “TMJ” (temporomandibular joint), bruxism can cause damage to the temporomandibular joint (the hinge that connects the lower jaw to the upper jaw) if not properly treated.

The majority of people who clench also tend to grind their teeth. Grinding is when you slide your teeth over each other in a back and forth, sideways movement. The interesting fact about this is that you are likely unaware that you do it and will pointed out by a significant other. If left untreated, this grinding can wear down your teeth. The cause of bruxism is not completely known, but many agree that stress and anxiety play a major role.

So how do you treat it? There are lots of treatment options when it comes to bruxism. Stress reduction and anxiety management are methods used to treat bruxism and reduce the symptoms, but a night guard is the quickest treatment method. A night guard is a horseshoe-shaped, plastic appliance with shallow borders that can be worn on either the top or the bottom teeth to protect the teeth from the pressure of clenching and grinding. There are plenty of options available, and all will be effective at preventing your teeth from wearing down as you sleep, but when properly made by your dentist, it can help reduce clenching, grinding, and TMJ problems by helping to relax the muscles in the jaw.

For more information about bruxism, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.

What You Should Expect from a Dental Implant Procedure | Walnut Creek Dentist

dental implants

If you’ve been told that you need to have your teeth removed or already have missing teeth, it may be time to consider what type of dental procedure you want to replace those damaged or missing teeth. With dental implants, you’ll need to discuss your individual case with a dental implant specialist and you will be provided with the following information:

  • The cost and what it includes
  • Potential risks and benefits of dental implants
  • If dental sedation is offered
  • How many appointments will be required
  • Aftercare requirements

You may be required to visit the dentist office two or three times, and also may have x-rays or CT scans done. During this time, your top and bottom teeth/jaws meet will also be accessed. This is done to allow the dental technician to replicate the way your jaw moves in the dental lab when they are finishing your permanent crown.

Once examined, your dentist will drill a hole into your bone to match the exact diameter of the implant. Then, the dental implant will be placed into the hole and your gums will be stitched over the top, and you’ll have some type of temporary tooth replacement.

During the healing phase, your gums will heal over the implant and the dental implant itself will integrate into the jawbone over 3-6 months. Your missing teeth will then be replaced with the final crown, which is cemented or screwed onto the dental implant.

Afterwards, you take care of your dental implant just the way you would your natural teeth – brush twice a day for two minutes, floss, use a mouthwash, and visit your dentist for regular checkups and professional cleanings.

For more information about dental implants, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.

How Bad Is Gum Disease Really? | Walnut Creek Dentist

If you’re not keeping up with good oral hygiene, harmful bacteria can lead to gum disease, which is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. Though the harmful effects of gum disease have been well documented and highly publicized over the past few years, people still don’t seem to realize how detrimental gum disease can truly be. Not only can gum disease cause bleeding gums and tooth loss, but recent studies have shown that it may also be linked to major health problems. Here are a few ways gum disease can affect your overall health:

Heart. Although the cause-and-effect link has not been identified, research indicates that gum disease increases the risk of heart disease and worsens existing heart conditions.

Respiratory system. The bacteria that grows in your mouth can be inhaled, causing respiratory infections including pneumonia, especially if they are suffering from gum disease.

Blood sugar. People who have diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease because they are more susceptible to infection, and research has found that gum disease can lead to increased blood sugar and diabetic complications.

Memory. Some research has suggested that people with gum disease may be at a greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease, others suggest that gum disease may be associated with mild cognitive impairment, such as memory problems that make daily life or tasks more difficult.

Conceiving. Aside from pregnant woman having increased risks of developing to gum disease, one study shows that gum disease can also cause problems with conception, making it harder to become pregnant, another study states it may increase the chances of miscarriage.

For more information about gum disease, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.

It’s April. Visit the Dentist | Walnut Creek Dentist

April is known as National Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and it’s a scary statistic, but approximately 42,000 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone. And believe it or not, your dentist is not only the expert in this diagnosis, but often the first line of defense against oral cancer, through the process of early detection and discovery.

These are frightening facts, but oral cancer will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 42,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about on a regular basis such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma). Although smoking and tobacco use is still the main cause of oral cancer, especially with the development of vapes, the fastest growing segment are actually young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus.

Because oral cancer is such a major risk factor for everyone, it is important to make sure to regularly visit the dentist in order to get oral cancer screenings. It is always better to be safe than sorry. Not only will you ensure you haven’t developed oral cancer, but you will also maintain healthy dental practices with a thorough professional cleaning and examination. Proactive measures taken is not only going to keep your smile healthy, but also nice and clean.

For more information about oral cancer, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.

Is It Time for Dentures? | Walnut Creek Dentist

When something traumatizes your teeth, there is a good chance tooth loss has taken place. And while there is no reason to fret, there are options to repair your grin. One of these options is dentures. Unfortunately, the only one who can really tell if it’s time for you to get dentures is your dentist, so if something happens to your smile, it’s time to make a dental appointment for a quick checkup. Your dental professional will have the expert knowledge and expertise to suggest dentures after a thorough examination of your teeth and mouth. If dentures are suggested, there are several denture options available and she will help you decide which is best for you. The following are some signs that you are a good candidate for dentures:

Severe tooth decay. if the teeth are decayed beyond repair, then they will need to be pulled. If it’s only a few teeth, a bridge can be used. If a majority of the teeth are decayed or missing, a full denture would be needed.

Physical injury. People with sports injuries or accidents which lead to tooth loss.

Periodontal disease. If teeth and gums are left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss. Keep your dental health up by practicing proper dental hygiene.

Thanks to the modern advancements in technology, dentures are not what they used to be. There are several options available from different shapes, sizes, colors and the new implant supported dentures. They are custom fitted to give you the smile you have always wanted, and no one will have to know you are wearing dentures.

For more information about dentures, call Drs. Barmby and Frick in Walnut Creek, CA at 925-934-5526 or visit www.barmbyfrickprosthodontics.com.

Drs. Barmby and Frick proudly serve patients from Walnut Creek and all surrounding areas.