Dr. Bernie Knows Teeth! Questions and Answers

Q: What causes bad breath?

A: Bad breath is a common problem amongst many people. Chronic bad breath is known as halitosis. Mints, mouthwash, gum, and toothpaste act as a temporary fix. Certain foods such as garlic, and onions or smoking cigarettes or cigars can contribute to bad breath, but there are other more serious factors that cause true, persistant halitosis. For some people dry mouth is the cause for their bad breath. Saliva acts as a cleanser ad rinses away food particles from your teeth. If those food particles remain they begin to decay and cause odor. Another major cause of persistant bad breath is gum disease. Good oral hygiene, which includes brushing and flossing daily, can reduce bacteria and removes decaying food particles trapped between teeth and in gum pockets. Simply put....A clean mouth helps eliminate bad breath.  


Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry in Los Angeles; Bite Dysfunction and TMJ (part 3)

Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry in Los Angeles; Bite Dysfunction and TMJ (part 3)

TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint. This is the area directly in front of the ear on either side of the head where the upper jaw (mixilla) and lower jaw (mandible) meet. It is one of the most frequently used joints of the body. When the muscles of the TMJ are relaxed and balanced both jaw joints open and close comfortably and we are able to talk, yawn, or chew without pain.

Let's start by answering the following questions: What are TMJ disorders (TMJD), and what are the causes if TMJ disorders? TMJ disorders are, simply put, problems of the jaw joint. Muscles and joints are designed to work together harmoniously. If there is a problem with one or the other it can lead to pain and discomfort. One of the most common causes of TMJD is buxism, the habitual involuntary grinding or clenching of the teeth. A conflict between the teeth and jaw joints leads to bruxism. By reducing or eliminating the clenching, you are effectively relaxing the jaw and minimizing the source of the pain.

Recognizing the symptoms of TMJ:

  • Clicking, popping, or a grating sound when opening and closing the mouth
  • Chronic headaches and/or dizziness
  • Tenderness in the jaw muscles
  • Ear ache and/or itchy ears
  • Neck pain
  • Locking of the jaw when yawning or laughing
  • Spasms or cramping in the jaw area
  • Unexplained nausea or vertigo
  • Clenching or grinding your teeth
  • Chipping and breaking your teeth

Using custom made occlusal splints will prevent nighttime damage associated with the grinding and clenching while, at the same time, adjusting your bite to relax your jaw. Once your bite has been corrected dental restorations can redirect and balance your bite while repairing and enhancing the look of your smile, bringing you relief from your TMJ symptoms.

At our office we use tekscan technology, a diagnostic device that measures relative biting forces. It collects and analyzes the pressure distribution. This device measures the elapsed time it takes the patient to move the jaw, left, right, forward and to separate their back teeth. The longer your back teeth don't disengage the more muscle firing your jaw creates which leads to pain and headaches. The T-scan has the ability to take very percise measurements and assists with understanding how to correct the bite. Simply put, it helps us balance the bite by locating the points on the teeth that meet with too much pressure. Making corrections and adjustments to those teeth lessen the force and relax the muscles of the joint in the jaw which reduces or eliminates the pain experienced.

We use the BiteFX educational system to show our patients exactly why, and how, your teeth are causing you so much inflammation and persistent discomfort. BiteFX makes a complicated subject easy to understand and, most importantly, easy to select a course of action that will take you out of pain.

EVERYTHING WEARS OUT.....including your teeth!


Dr. Bernie is voted Super Dentist 2014

Dr. Bernie is voted Super Dentist 2014

Read all about it! Southern California Dentists vote Dr. Bernie Villadiego as the dentist they would choose for their own dental needs. Undoubtedly, dentists need dental care and cosmetic restoration, just like we do. The question is ,who do they trust and respect enough to perform that work? The leading researcher and publisher of Super Dentists, sought out the experts and did the research for you.

Health care professionals were asked to nominate one or more colleagues (excluding themselves) they would choose if they needed dental care. The Super Dentist research team reviewed the prospective candidates further and searched for exceptional professionals to complement the results. Dentists were evaluated on the indicators of peer recognition, professional status and disciplinary history.

Nominees were grouped into seven practice categories. A blue ribbon panel reviewe and scored a list of candidates in their practice area. Finally, the dentists who received the highest total points from the surveys, research and blue ribbon panel review were selected for inclusion in Southern California Super Dentist 2014.

We are happy to inform you about this exciting honor. Dr. Bernis is committed to oral health and has earned his colleagues' confidence and high regard.


Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry in Los Angeles; Bite Analysis and Correction Part 2

Written by // Aesthetic Smile Designs

Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry in Los Angeles; Bite Analysis and Correction  Part 2

Benefits of Cometic Dentistry; Bite Analysis and Correction (Part 2)

In Part 1 of our previously published article, Bite Dysfunction, we talked about the fact that cosmetic dentistry is more than just creating a pretty smile. It is imperative that the teeth, jaw, and muscles function together as a unit. To achieve stability, health and comfort, all of these components must operate in harmony. If any one of these is out of balance, the entire system will be affected. This is called malocclusion or bite dysfunction. If bite dysfunction exists in the mouth, it is important to restore the form, function and health of the mouth. To accurately diagnose a bite dysfunction, an oclussal analysis is essential. An accredited cosmetic dentist is highly trained and experienced in diagnosing and treating patients that suffer from bite dysfunction.

Warning signs of bite dysfunction:

  • Cracked of broken teeth
  • Worn teeth
  • Grinding
  • Sore or stiff jaw muscles
  • Facial pain
  • Pain while chewing
  • Lose teeth
  • Clicking or popping in the jaw
  • Uncomfortable bite
  • Gum recession

 If you suspect that bite dysfunction exists within your mouth, you should consult with a cosmetic dentist.  An occlusal analysis (analysis of the bite) should be performed to determine whether or not the bite is stable or unstable and causing damage. Occlusion is a dental term that describes the way our teeth touch when they are closed together. Each tooth has a specific shape which allows it to fit together with the opposing teeth. In proper occlusion teeth, jaw, and muscle all work together free of disease, pain and trauma. A dentist must first determine what is "normal" for a particular patient. Normal for one individual is not necessarily normal for another. How an upper and lower jaw fit together is determined not only by the the relationship of the teeth, but also by the joint and muscles. An instrument called an articulator is used early on in the process to determine where and how occlusal forces occur in a patient's bite. If malocclusion (bad bite) is present, correction is necessary to regain balance and good health within the mouth.

When should an occlusal analysis be performed?

  • Before crown, bridge, denture or implant treatment
  • Before fabrication of any bite gaurd
  • Before and after orthodontic treatment
  • When there is evidence that a poor bite may be contibuting to:
    • Worn or broken teeth
    • Gum recession, sensitivity at the gum line
    • Facial muscle pain
    • Loose teeth, bone loss associated with gum disease

If malocclusion has been detected it MUST be treated! Occlusal correction is often overlooked by dentists or put off by many patients until the damage is so extensive that th only way to resolve the issue is with full mouth reconstruction. Occlusal correction changes or corrects the shape and/or position of the biting surface of the teeth to allow the jaw joints to function in their most biologically natural and comfortable positions. There are several techniques for occlusal correction. They include reshaping of the teeth, restorative dental work, orthodontics, and occlusal splint therapy.

Selective reshaping is a method by which the biting surfaces of the teeth are reshaped by selective tooth reduction to obtain the desired bite relationship. In this procedure, a minimal amount of tooth structure is removed to restore the teeth to better form and function.

Restorative dental work is required when teeth are missing, damaged, decayed or misshapen. The use of crowns, bridges, implants, or partial dentures may be necessary to restore proper bite function.

 Orthodontics is the movement of teeth by use of braces or removable appliances such as retainers to adjust the position of the teeth.

 Occlusal splint therapy  incorporates the use of a removable hard, clear plastic appliance to temporarily stabilize the bite. This is done to stop the destructive effects of clenching, and/or to alleviate muscle and joint pain. Treatment to correct a poor bite may follow.

 Ignoring the warning signs of bite dysfunction may lead to irreversible damage to your teeth, gums, and bone. By performing a proper analysis of your bite an accredited cosmetic dentist can devise a plan that will minimize or prevent most of these problems. Our goal is to help our patients maintain a healthy mouth and a stable bite that will last you a lifetime. 


Dr. Bernie Knows Teeth! Questions and Answers

Written by // Aesthetic Smile Designs

Dr. Bernie Knows Teeth! Questions and Answers- Silver fillings

Q: Dr. Bernie are the silver fillings in my teeth safe?

A: Silver, or amalgam, fillings contain mercury. Mercury is a very toxic poison. Mercury vapor can be absorbed into the body tissue and may cause serious health issues. Symptoms ascribed to mercury toxicity include but are not limited to: fatigue, depression, anorexia, insomnia, arthritis, memory loss, nausea, gum disease and headaches. I want to be clear that we make no claims regarding health improvements based on removal of these mercury/silver fillings. Only with a a careful study of blood chemistry can one determine the body's burden from years of mercury exposure. During my clinical training I took note of how we were taught to handle scrap amalgam- much like it were nuclear waste. For example, one should not touch it. It should be stored under water in a sealed container. For disposal your local health department or recycling agent is to be contacted for pick up. Does that sound safe to you? I use alternative materials that offer all of the advantages of amalgam without the drawbacks.  

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