What does Fluoride Varnish do?

Fluoride varnish is used to help with tooth sensitivity and tooth decay prevention, Once applied, the fluoride will last for 2-3 months. It will help decrease tooth decay by 25%.

The varnish, is 5% Sodium Fluoride,  takes minutes to apply in the dental office and costs @$50. It appears clear on the teeth and should be kept on the teeth for 6-8 hours. One can eat and drink immediately afterwards.  In some cases, dental insurance will cover it. Over-the-counter toothpastes with fluoride have roughly .2% fluoride.  In our office, we have personally seen patients, who have had tooth sensitivity decrease or even disappear.

Sonal Patel, DDS



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Acidic Drinks can damage teeth within 30 Seconds of Consumption

A new study published by the Journal of Dentistry, July 2014, found that “within 30 seconds of drinking an acidic drink, lifelong damage happens in the form of dental erosion when it combines with tooth grinding and reflux”.

One 20 ounce can of soda contains 16 teaspoons of sugar while a 32 ounce sports drink may contain up to 14 teaspoons of sugar!

Word of advice- drink water. Not only will it hydrate you, but it will hydrate your mouth and help push away the harmful bacteria that causes tooth decay.

CDA Journal Oct 2014can

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Did you know Flossing may save your life?

perio and heart disease
Studies have shown that there is a link between heart disease and gum disease. While the exact source is not known, it is suspected that bacteria that causes inflammation in the gums may be linked to coronary artery (heart) disease. This is because people with gum disease are twice as likely to have heart disease.
So, make the effort- Floss! Getting regular teeth cleanings will not only save your teeth, but your heart!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What is tooth decay?


Tooth decay is when enamel of the tooth becomes soft and a hole is formed through it. There are various stages of decay. In early, stages of decay, the hole is initially small. One will not feel pain at this stage. As the cavity progresses with time and no treatment, the hole will become larger. There will be a point that it will get into the nerve of the tooth. At this time, one will inevitably feel the pain.

How is a cavity treated? If the cavity is small, the tooth will usually require some local anesthetic. The areas that are soft and decayed will be removed by the dentist. The dentist will fill the tooth with a filling material that will be either white, composite (plastic/porcelain) material or a silver filling. If a cavity is deep and into the nerve, the tooth will require  root canal, where the nerve of the tooth is removed. After this, there will be minimal pain, if any. However, the tooth will then require a crown to prevent breakage.

Brushing regularly- twice a day, and flossing daily, will help prevent tooth decay. A healthy diet filled with natural foods versus sugary substances will on a general level help prevent tooth decay. Fluoride treatments can decrease decay by up to 30%! Getting regular check-ups at your dentist will help maintain a healthy mouth over your lifetime!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Did you know that dental night guards can save your teeth?


For 60-70% of adults, teeth grinding is occurring on their teeth, and most people don’t even know it! How can someone tell if grinding is occurring on the teeth? A dentist can point out and take pictures of a patient’s teeth. There will be various amounts of wear on the teeth attributed to grinding or the bruxism habit. In addition, dental craze (i.e fracture) lines on the teeth may be present- especially, if one has a clenching habit. The forces of grinding or clenching can lead to the fracturing of teeth. In some cases, a crown may be needed to replace the fractured tooth. In other situations, a root canal and crown may be needed. In the worst case scenario, the tooth may need to be extracted.

Most people ask me what is the solution? The issue is that most people are in a deep sleep while grinding is occurring.  So, it is very difficult to try and stop the habit because it is subconsciously occurring during sleep.

What I recommend is a night guard. It is fabricated from hard acrylic, yet it is softer than naturally, hard tooth enamel. The hard acrylic provides stability for the bite. The soft over-the-counter guards can change the bite over time and sometimes, the teeth will not touch after a few months of wearing the soft type of night guard. The type I usually make for my patients, have a soft inner liner inside of the night guard. This type of guard is more user-friendly. It provides a cushion to the teeth so the guard is more comfortable.

What is the fabrication process? Impressions are taken of the mouth and sent to a special dental lab. The night guard is delivered to the patient and any necessary adjustments are made. It will usually take a few weeks to get used to wearing the guard. However, those few weeks will translate to healthier, happier mouth!

Sonal Patel, DDS San Francisco Dentist

Image | Posted on by | Leave a comment

Why choose white fillings?

silver_whiteWhite, composite, fillings are tooth-colored and usually, will closely match the color of natural teeth. They are composed of a porcelain, resin material. Because composites are bonded into the tooth, this will add strength to the tooth and filling. I, personally, prefer composite fillings because the tooth preparation can be more conservative than amalgam, silver fillings. Bonding the white fillings to the teeth has vastly improved over the past 15 years and white fillings can last for 10-15 years.  Silver, amalgam fillings are now comparable in strength, but may not be as conservative when the tooth is being prepared. Your dentist can give you information on what types of fillings are best for you so that your teeth can last a lifetime!

Sonal R. Patel, DDS, San Francisco Dentist

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

You don’t have to brush after every meal? Really!

woman-brushing-teeth_thumb[1] Yes, that’s true! In fact, if you do brush after every meal , you should wait at least a ½ hour to allow for the acidic ph to come back to a more neutral state.  You should brush 2 times/day. During the other times, drink water to wash away what you have eaten or drank. Drinking water after meals also helps deter stains that occur from drinking coffee or soda. If you brush right after your meal, the enamel on your teeth can slowly wear away. Because your teeth are in an acidic state, the teeth are softer. The toothbrush will remove enamel slowly from the teeth and cause them to weaken. Also, remember eating food like carrots and apples will naturally brush your teeth during the day!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Should I whiten my teeth?

before-after[1] This is one of most common questions I routinely get asked.  Teeth whitening works by application of a special, concentrated amount of  peroxide to the teeth. This allows the pores of the teeth to open and allow the whitening to occur. Certain shades of teeth whiten better than others. Yellower shades are easier to whiten than grayer shades, which may due to tetracycline. In addition, it may be harder to whiten teeth with white spots. You will not get an even white color. Porcelain veneers may be an option. However, after whitening, teeth will appear brighter. Before getting teeth whitening, make sure to get a dental check-up and exam to make sure you have no cavities. If you do have a cavity, whitening can be very painful.

Teeth whitening can be done in-office or with custom-made trays. The in-office whitening I use is ZOOM Whitening. It is much stronger than tray whitening or over-the-counter products. Your teeth will be whitened in an hour or less! For people with very little time, this is the best method to whiten your teeth. With custom tray whitening, it may take 5-14 days of 1 hour at-home applications. Either way, with teeth whitening, most people’s teeth do get a whiter, brighter smile in a short amount of time!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Natural tooth cleaners….yum!

Did you know by just eating these foods, you help keep your teeth clean? Fresh, crunchy vegetables and fruits help naturally remove the plaque that builds up during the day. They helpespecially when you don’t have time to brush your teeth. Not only are these foods- carrots, apples, celery, bell peppers- good for you, but they taste great, too!

apples       bell pepper             carrots celery

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ummm- what more can I say,,,Nobody likes floss…

Ummm- what more can I say,,,Nobody likes to floss...

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment