Bryan S. Baker, D.D.S., Inc.

1213 Manhattan Ave. :: Manhattan Beach, CA 90266 :: phone 310.545.5910 :: fax 310.545.8707

Common Problems

Tooth Decay

Tooth decay also known as "caries" is a preventable disease, and may affect any layer of tooth structure. While caries might not endanger your life, it may negatively impact your quality of life by causing discomfort or infection.

Several factors are involved in the development of tooth decay: bacteria, quality and quantity of saliva, pH, and sugars and starches from food.

Sensitive Teeth

Dental sensitivity be caused by a multitude of factors, and can be generalized or limited to so little as only a few teeth.  Both teeth and filling materials expand and contract in response to changes in temperature. In healthy teeth, this change is most noticeable within cooler temperatures, and often last  for just a moment. Sensitivity to warmer temperatures is typically localized to a single tooth and can be indicative of an irreversibly inflamed pulp.

Toothbrush abrasion and / or excessive wear can cause the gums to recede and expose the roots. Roots are made of a material known as cementum, and can be acutely sensitive to cold temperatures, air and sweets.

Excessive wear of the enamel on the chewing surfaces from the opposing teeth can expose the dentin layer. Dentin is softer and more porous than enamel which allows for further wear in addition to vulnerability to sensitivity.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease begins as inflammation of the gums (gingivitis).  This condition eventually leads to bone loss (periodontitis). If left untreated, periodontal disease can result in inevitable tooth loss.

Gingivitis begins with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. Gums in the early stage of disease can bleed easily and become red and swollen. As the disease progresses to periodontitis, teeth may become mobile due to lack of support from bone and eventually need to be removed by a dentist.

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Most cases of bad breath originate from the mouth and are more noticeable in the morning. It can also be caused by consumption of odorous foods (such as garlic or onions), smoking and alcohol. Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent the buildup of food particles, plaque and bacteria in your mouth which contribute to these odors. Persistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or a systemic condition (such as diabetes).

Canker Sores

Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally 7-10 days, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial rinse or salt water. The canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border. Over the counter analgesic gels (such as Anbesol) can provide short-term relief of discomfort.

Orthodontic Problems

A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can either be inherited or occur gradually over time. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may also cause malocclusions.