7/15/2016 12:00:00 PM | Amsale Berhanu-Demissie

Maintaining healthy gums is an important part of maintaining long-term oral health. When neglected, individuals leave themselves vulnerable to developing gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, this condition causes bacteria to attack the gums. If left untreated, the condition can lead to teeth becoming loose and falling out of the mouth. With these consequences in mind, seeking care for gum disease is a crucial to keeping your smile healthy.

Identifying Gum Disease
Unlike other dental conditions, periodontal disease can start off virtually undetected. During its initial stage of gingivitis, patients may mistake bleeding gums as a minor inconvenience that will resolve itself. However, neglecting treatment during this early phase allows the condition to continue damaging the smile without interruption, often requiring more advanced care in order to restore the smile in the future.

Some common symptoms patients suffering from gum disease experience include:
- Bleeding or tender gums
- Red or purplish gums that appear to be swollen
- Receding gums
- Painful checking or sensitive teeth

Treating Gum Disease
The treatments used to removing disease-causing bacteria and restore the smile vary from patient to patient. For some, deep cleaning and root planing and scaling are the only procedures needed to correct gum health. However, instances of severe periodontitis may require soft tissue and bone grafting. During your visit with your Banning dentist, Dr. Berhanu-Demissie will discuss your needs and go over your potential treatment options.

Similarly, restoration options can vary between patients. This is typically determined by the size of the periodontal pockets left by the disease as well as the health of bone tissue following treatment. For patients who lost a tooth as a result of aggressive periodontal disease, dental implants can be used to replace the missing tooth and reinforce weakened bone density in the area. At Amy Berhanu-Demissie, DDS, our team collaborates with local area specialists to help create a treatment plan that addresses your health and restorative needs following gum disease treatment.

Preventing Future Infections
For patients recovering from gum disease, prevention is a necessary part of protecting the smile from recurrent infection and damage. At our Banning and San Bernardino practices, Dr. Berhanu-Demissie and her team work closely with patients to create an ongoing treatment schedule. Often, this continuing care plan includes more frequent visits for cleanings to prevent the build-up of tartar and to monitor changes to the gums.

Schedule Your Visit Today
At Amy Berhanu-Demissie, DDS, we believe patient education is key to detecting, treating, and preventing gum disease. For more information about this condition and to learn more about viable treatment options for your smile, contact our Banning or San Bernardino practices today.

6/20/2016 12:00:00 PM | Amsale Berhanu-Demissie

After dental implants are placed, patients typically undergo a recovery period during which the implant becomes an embedded part of the jaw bone. During this time, it is important that patients begin thinking about their restoration options.

Knowing your restoration options and understanding which best addresses your smile’s functional, health, and aesthetics needs is a key part of successful dental implant treatment.  For some, implant restoration is just a porcelain crown. For others, particularly those replacing multiple teeth with implant-supported restorations, the choices may be more varied.

Some of the most common implant restoration options include:

Porcelain Crowns:  For individuals using dental implants to replace one tooth, a porcelain crown is the restoration of choice. Designed to look just like natural teeth, crowns are highly resilient and easily replaceable in the event of accidental damage. As the crown is supported by the dental implant, patients do not need to worry about the alteration of neighboring teeth to support the restoration as they would with a bridge.

Bridges: Made of porcelain or porcelain fused to metal, implant-supported bridges are ideal for patients missing several teeth. While traditional bridges are held in place by a set of crowns attached to adjacent teeth, implant-supported bridges are attached to dental implants, eliminating the risk of damage to otherwise healthy teeth. Depending on the number of teeth being replaced, these fixed bridges can require anywhere from two to six dental implants. Implants are strategically placed to best support dental function and help patients enjoy improved bone density, protecting the shape of the face.

Overdentures: This treatment option is ideal for patients missing all the teeth in an arch as well as those looking to stabilize existing dentures, in particular those on the lower arch. Unlike implant-supported bridges, these implant dentures are removable, allowing patients to take out and replace their overdentures just like they would traditional dentures. In terms of aesthetics implant overdentures are less bulky than traditional, removable dentures.  

Dr. Amy Berhanu-Demissie offers a wide range of implant restoration options tailored to each patients’ health, function, and aesthetic needs. Following implant placement by a local oral surgeon, patients return to our Banning or San Bernardino practices to discuss which implant restoration will best meet their immediate and long-term goals. To learn more about implant dentistry in Banning and San Bernardino, contact Dr. Berhanu-Demissie today to schedule your restoration consultation.

6/3/2016 12:00:00 PM | Amsale Berhanu-Demissie

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children should begin visiting the dentist for routine cleanings once they reach six months or when their first tooth emerges. Initially, these visits are often just checkups to make sure the baby teeth are coming in properly and that parents know the right way to care for their child’s developing dentition at home.

However, as more teeth begin emerging, these regular visits become important opportunities to protect new teeth from potential dental problems such as tooth decay. In addition to comprehensive professional cleanings, fluoride rinses and sealants help dentists such as Amy Berhanu-Demissie, DDS protect the child’s smile.

Throughout childhood, children’s teeth are still developing. As the dental enamel has not yet hardened, children’s teeth are more susceptible to the development of cavities than adult teeth. If left untreated, childhood cavities can quickly progress into more serious conditions, such as gum disease and tooth infections, each of which require advanced care in order to restore the child’s oral health and function.

To help strengthen dental enamel during this development phase, naturally-occurring fluoride is often applied to children’s teeth during regular dental visits. In addition to reinforcing dental enamel, fluoride combines with the saliva to prevent sugar and bacteria from sticking to the teeth and forming cavities. When supported with the use of a fluoride toothpaste throughout childhood, patients are able to improve their chances of maintaining a healthy smile into adulthood.

Practicing proper brushing and flossing techniques can be difficult for many patients. For children in particular, mastering these skills can be challenging. Without proper follow up by a parent, chances are that the child will miss a spot, leaving their smile vulnerable to plaque and bacteria buildup.

To lower the risk of future dental issues and help improve children’s oral health, dental sealants can be used to cover the crowns of hard-to-brush teeth. Made of a biocompatible plastic material, sealants help smooth out the teeth, eliminating areas where food particles tend to hide and plaque tends to accumulate. Sealants are very effective at preventing the development of future dental issues.

Children’s Dentistry in Banning and San Bernardino
At our family-oriented dental practices, Dr. Amy Berhanu-Demissie and her team are dedicated to helping patients of all ages achieve healthy smiles. By offering comprehensive children’s dental treatments at our Banning and San Bernardino practice, our dentist is able to help children grow into a healthy, fully functional adult dentition. For more information about preventive children’s dentistry or to schedule your child’s next appointment, contact Dr. Berhanu-Demissie today.

5/23/2016 12:00:00 PM | Amsale Berhanu-Demissie

Routine dental visits make up an important part of pediatric preventive dentistry. During these appointments, preventive sealants and fluoride rinses are used to protect young smiles from potential damage and decay, eliminating the potential need for future restorative care as well as ensuring the long-term health of the patient’s smile.

While necessary for maintaining a healthy smile, for some children these routine visits can be intimidating experiences. Help your child prevent and even overcome their fears associated with the dentist by using the follow tips:

Start Early
Introducing children early to the routine of regular dental visits is critical to helping them become comfortable with the dentist. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, children can be brought in for check-ups as early as six months of age, regardless of whether they have teeth or not. These early childhood visits also provide new parents with the opportunity to learn about steps they can take at home to improve their child’s oral health as they develop baby teeth.

Use Positive Language
Children infer a great deal from language. As a result, using dental visits as a threat for poor behavior rather than framing them as an important, normal part of a healthy lifestyle can create negative word associations for children, instilling unnecessary apprehension at the thought of a dental visit. Using positive, child-friendly language when discussing upcoming visits to the dentist can help prevent children from developing long-term dental anxieties.

Avoid Telling Negative Stories
Similarly, the stories your child hears can also play a role in how they view the dentist. If they are listening to their parent discuss how painful a root canal treatment was, children may begin to associate discomfort with every dental visit, potentially leading to the future development of dental anxieties or phobias. Discussing what a normal dental exam is like and how active at-home oral hygiene can help prevent the need for extended care can help children better understand that dental visits are nothing to be afraid of.

Coordinate with Your Child’s Schedule
For younger children in particular, coordinating dental visits when they are least fussy can help eliminate frustrations and the risk of discomfort. Depending on the dentist’s preferences, parents may be welcomed into the operatory to help children remain calm during their appointment.

Continue Oral Hygiene at Home
Practicing good oral hygiene between dental appointments is just as important as regular dental check-ups and the upkeep of your own oral hygiene routine can help children develop their own routine of regular brushing and flossing. By normalizing daily dental care, young patients are able to become acclimated to regular dental care, eliminating the fear that can come with dental visits.

With practices located in San Bernardino and Banning, Dr. Amy Berhanu-Demissie and her team offer comprehensive dental  care for patients of all ages. To learn more about preventive pediatric dentistry at our practices, contact Dr. Berhanu-Demissie today.

5/9/2016 12:00:00 PM | Amsale Berhanu-Demissie

Between natural wear, accidental chipping or cracking, and the impact of dental decay, at some point you may find yourself searching for a restorative treatment option. Thanks to innovations in the realm of restorative dentistry, advanced treatment options are now available and applicable to various instances of dental damage.

In particular, advances in implant dentistry have made dental implants and implant-supported restorations more readily available for a variety of patient needs. However, as implant-based treatments can require a more extensive overall treatment plan, it is important that patients thoroughly weigh their options prior to committing to a certain procedure. Some of these factors include:

Condition of the Smile
Implants are ideal in cases where the dentition is at risk of further damage without a substitute tooth. For example, in cases of a failed root canal, replacing the continuously infected tooth with an implant can help eliminate recurrent infection. However, in some cases patients may not require such extensive care. For instance, in cases where the tooth can be saved, a crown or filling may be the most effective method of preserving the natural tooth.

Impact on the Smile

The impact of care on the rest of the smile is another important factor to consider. Depending on the condition that has caused the tooth damage and the extent of overall smile damage, implants can be used to comprehensive improve overall oral health. For example, in cases where the underlying bone has deteriorated due to periodontal disease, implants can be used to reinforce jaw strength and stimulate healthy bone regeneration.

Cost of Care
This goes beyond initial cost to include long-term maintenance and a patient’s future restorative needs. While traditional restorations like dentures and bridges may come with limited initial costs, the long-term financial obligations of replacing these options can quickly add up. Additionally, as these treatments often fail to provide a long-term solution to missing teeth, traditional restorations can lead to more extensive damage over time, ultimately requiring more extensive and expensive care down the road. As dental implants are permanent restorative solutions, patients do not need to worry about future maintenance or replacement costs.

At Amy Berhanu-Demissie, DDS, we believe that effective, successful dentistry comes down to providing patients with the information they need to make educated decisions about their smile. For individuals considering dental implants as a long-term solution to missing or damaged teeth, visit our San Bernardino or Banning location today.

4/25/2016 12:00:00 PM | Amsale Berhanu-Demissie

An effective at-home oral hygiene routine is the first line of defense against dental decay, cavities, and gum disease. While easy to practice, adults often miss out on key elements of oral hygiene, such as proper brushing and flossing techniques. If these patients are not supplementing their at-home oral hygiene with regular visits to the dentist, many may find themselves facing extensive dental problems that could have been easily prevented. If you are looking to enhance the health of your smile, consider adding the following steps to your oral health routine:

Switch to Electric

While seemingly straight-forward, the most effective brushing habit involves small, circular motions along the surface of teeth and gum lines. With manual toothbrushes, patients may experience difficulty performing this motion on all the teeth. Electric toothbrushes eliminate this challenge and are programmed to move in the correct circular motion, making it an ideal alternative for children and adults alike. 

Use a Pick

After brushing and flossing, there may still be leftover debris and plaque below the gum. If left, this plaque can harden into tartar, opening the door for periodontal disease to begin damaging the gums. By gently running a rubber-tipped dental pick along the gum line of the teeth, plaque can be easily removed. These rubber-tip picks can also be rubbed along the gums to help stimulate blood flow, thereby encouraging healthy soft tissue. 

Drink More Water

Staying hydrated is great for your overall health, and is particularly important for the longevity of your smile. Drinking water helps stimulate saliva production, a key defense against bacteria and plaque growth. After eating particularly sugary foods, drinking water can help prevent the sugars from sticking to the teeth and eroding the enamel, thus preventing cavities. 

Increase Vitamin Intake

In order to remain healthy and strong, the teeth require lots of calcium, vitamin D, and vitamin B complex. If your diet lacks these nutrients, consider adding an age-appropriate supplement to your diet. Additionally, evaluating your diet to include more vitamin-rich foods can help ensure a healthy, lasting smile. 

Learn about Your Smile 

Being able to identify when your smile does not look or appear normal is an important part of preventive care because it allows you to identify potential oral problems. Understanding whether you are experiencing a dental emergency allows you to take proactive measures to prevent a worsening of your oral condition and the need for more extensive restorations. 

At Amy Berhanu-Demissie, DDS, our dental team is dedicated to providing patients with the knowledge and treatments needed to protect their smiles. With locations in Banning and San Bernardino, Dr. Berhanu-Demissie is committed to helping all patients achieve lasting smiles through effective preventive dentistry. To learn more, contact your nearest location today. 

12/21/2015 9:56:00 AM | Amsale Berhanu-Demissie

We're excited to announce the official launch of our Amy Berhanu Demissie, DDS, PC blog.

We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.

We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.

If you would like to stay up to date on the latest from Amy Berhanu Demissie, DDS, PC, simply click the RSS “Subscribe to feed” link located on our website and subscribe. Our subscribers will be updated when we make a new blog post.

Here's to your best oral health ever!