Learning Center

Articles and Q&A

Service-specific Articles

Training

FAQ's

Implants

What Are My Options?

Dental implants are a great way to replace missing teeth and give you a solution to having removable, partial, or complete dentures. Dr. Loftin will discuss all options with you and explain the pros and cons of each scenario. Additionally, we’ll review your financial options so you’re able to make the best decision for your budget.

They provide excellent support and stability for these dental appliances. The artificial roots and teeth (usually titanium) are surgically placed into the upper or lower jaw bone. The artificial teeth attached to implants are natural looking and often restore or even enhance a patient’s smile!

This is the best way to have strong, stable and durable teeth that and will last many years, but on occasion, they will have to be re-tightened or replaced due to normal wear.

There are many reasons for dental implants, here are a few:

  • Replace one or more missing teeth without affecting adjacent teeth.
  • Resolve joint pain or bite problems caused by teeth shifting into a missing tooth space.
  • Build to a confident smile.
  • Recover comfortable chewing, speech and digestion.
  • Restore or enhance facial tissues.
  • Support a bridge or denture, making them more secure.and comfortable.

After treatment, we’ll develop the best care plan customized just for you.

The best practice is to continue good daily oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing. Periodic follow-up visits will be scheduled to monitor your implant, teeth and gums to make sure they are healthy. We’ll also schedule regular cleaning visits with your hygienist. Special instruments are necessary to clean dental implants that will not damage their metal surface beneath the gum tissues. The dentist will monitor your implants to ensure stability and proper function.

Implant crowns and other false tooth replacements are made to be remarkably failsafe. They are removable and replaceable by your dentist so that if damage or wear necessitates replacement, this can be accomplished without affecting the implant(s) or attachment to the bone.

Invisalign

After a complimentary consultation of your smile, we may find that you are a candidate for Invisalign. If Invsialign is your choice, we can start right away and scan your mouth to begin creating your custom series of virtually invisible, removable aligners. You switch out every two weeks for about a year, depending on your case. For best results, you would wear then for about 22 hours per day.

Invisalign gently moves your teeth into their proper place in order to minimize excessive wear so that you can have your own teeth for as long as possible.

Please see our videos for more information or check out www.invisalign.com.

YES! After a complimentary consultation to determine if you are a candidate, we would most likely suggest Invisalign. Invisalign consists of a series of virtually invisible, removable aligners that you switch out every two weeks. For best results, you would wear then for about 22 hours per day.

Invisalign gently moves your teeth into their proper place in order to minimize excessive wear so that you can have your own teeth for as long as possible.

Please see our videos for more information or check out www.invisalign.com.

They are practically invisible, removable aligners. They are manufactured to mold perfectly around your teeth. We have examples to show you when you come in to see us. You can also see them on www.invisalign.com.

Your first appointment with us will be to scan your entire mouth. That’s right, no more impression goop! The scan is sent to the lab where they create your aligners. Dr. Loftin will review each and then we’ll schedule your next appointment where and deliver your aligners. We’ll review how to best care for your aligners and what to expect when wearing them. There will be slight discomfort as your teeth are being properly positioned, but you typical pain reliever should help.

After that, you’ll come to visit us every six to eight weeks, depending on your case. These are quick appointments, maybe 15-20 minutes depending on adjustments or buttons added (these help move your teeth as well).

Then, after about a year to a year and a half and when you’re happy with your new smile, you’re all done! We’ll order you a retainer that you’ll wear at night to be sure that we keep your investment in your wonderful smile in the same place.

Bonus: Your aligners are great whitening trays! Why not brighten you smile as you properly line them up? Just let us know and we’ll provide whitening gel.

There is! Have you thought about properly aligning your teeth so they’re easier to care for? Call us to set up a free consultation with Dr. Loftin and see if you’re a candidate for Invisalign.

Invisalign gently moves your teeth into their proper place in order to minimize excessive wear so that you can have your own teeth for as long as possible. Moving your teeth into the proper place will make them SO MUCH easier to clean. Flossing will be a breeze and the treatment will most likely reduce the “scraping” of plaque no one likes during your regular cleaning.

Give us a call and see if you’re a candidate for Invisalign!

Teeth Whitening

Absolutely!

This is a two-step process. Your first visit will be about 30 minutes long as we get impressions taken for your custom trays, top and bottom. Your second visit will be about a week later, and we’ll show you how best to apply the whitening gel as well as go over any questions you may have. We also will share with you our tips sheet so you have the best whitening results.

Come in to Loftin Dental for your custom teeth whitening trays! If you’ve already been through that step with us, maybe you just need a touch up. We offer whitening gel tubes in two sizes.

Be sure to stay away from colored foods and drinks while you’re whitening and for about three days after you’ve achieved your desired white. Things like red wine, coffee, teas, red pasta sauce, curry, pesto and berries will begin the yellowing process on your teeth.

Patients throughout Walnut Creek and Clayton may have tried a variety of products and processes in the past, but working with a professional is the best way to be sure that the enamel of the tooth is not damaged. We invite you to give us a call when you want to improve your smile. Dr. Loftin and our team at Loftin Dental are ready to work with you to help you feel comfortable with your oral health care.

If this happens, you most likely used too much whitening gel in your trays and it crept up to your gums. Next time, use a little less. When you put your tray on and you see excess squirt out of the trays, wipe it off. The white gums are not permanent and will go away over the next few days. You may feel a burning sensation in the gums as well.

Sleep Dentistry

What are My Options?

You are the best judge of your level of fear. If you feel you have a mild case of fear of dentistry, laughing gas (nitrous) may be enough for you. You will be aware of everything going on while you lay back relaxed. It helps take the edge off your fear so you can comfortably go through your treatment. It will wear off by the time your appointment ends, so you will not need a ride home.

If you feel you need a little bit more to get through your treatment, Dr. Loftin is licensed to offer our patients conscious oral sedation. He will prescribe you pre-medication to take the night before your treatment and another medication an hour before your appointment. In taking this medication, you will need a ride to our office and to get you home. Dr. Loftin and his dedicated Registered Dental Assistants continually monitor you through your appointment as most likely you will be asleep. You can be woken up during treatment to respond to instruction and to see how you’re doing. The next day you most likely will not remember your appointment, so you will be sent home with care instructions that we have already reviewed with your driver.

Is That Possible?

Yes! Dr. Loftin is licensed to offer our patients conscious oral sedation. With this medication, we can have you be sedated anywhere from two to eight hours. He will prescribe you “pre-medication” to take the night before your treatment and another medication an hour before your appointment. In order to keep you sedated, he will give you more tablets as needed during your procedure. You will need a ride to our office and to get you home.

Dr. Loftin and his dedicated Registered Dental Assistants continually monitor you through your appointment as most likely you will be asleep. You can be woken up during treatment to respond to instruction and to see how you’re doing. The next day you most likely will not remember your appointment, so you will be sent home with care instructions that we have already reviewed with your driver.

Dr. Loftin is licensed to offer our patients Oral Conscious Sedation.

If you are fearful to get any dental treatment or just want a lot done during one appointment and are concerned about fatigue, Dr. Loftin is licensed to offer our patients Oral Conscious Sedation. What this means is that Dr. Loftin prescribes one pill (also known as a ‘happy pill’) for the evening before your appointment (to be taken after dinner & right before bed) and another to take an hour before your appointment. Please do not eat anything in the morning as you take this second pill as the medicine may not work as well, or last as long. These pills are meant to help relieve your anxiety and mildly sedate you as well.

You are asked to arrange to have someone drive you to and from our office as you will not be in any state to drive yourself. Even if you are close enough to walk, it’s best to have someone escort you as you can become easily disoriented and may forget where you’re going.

Once your appointment begins, you are monitored 100% of the time. If you need more medication, Dr. Loftin will administer additional help to ensure you are comfortable. You will be able to take direction from him and his Assistant, but you will not remember much that happened afterward. This being said, all parts of the treatment you are going to go through is reviewed in detail prior to your appointment and you are sent home with further instructions, if needed. Dr. Loftin will give you a call the next day and see how you’re feeling.

Oral Health Care

Everyone’s tolerance is different. If you are uncomfortable and the pain is getting worse and worse, please call us and we will fit you in to see Dr. Loftin as soon as we can. If it’s over a weekend or after hours, we ALWAYS have a phone number to either reach Dr. Loftin or our on-call emergency dentist.

Yes! If your tooth is broken, chipped, or fractured, call us as soon as possible. It’s always best to catch this quickly so your tooth doesn’t become further damaged or possibly infected and causing you pain. Worst case, if you wait too long, you could possibly lose your tooth. Until you see us, try the following self-care:

  • If your tooth is painful, take your regular over the counter pain reliever. Rinse with warm salt water.
  • If the chip/crack in your tooth has resulted in a sharp, jagged edge, cover it with a piece of paraffin wax or sugarless gum. This will help keep it from possibly cutting your tongue or the inside of your lip or cheek.
  • If you eat, try softer foods and avoid biting down on your broken tooth. Biting on it may cause the crack/chip to get bigger.

Treatment for a broken or chipped tooth will depend on how severely it is damaged. If only a small piece of enamel broke off, the repair can usually be done simply in one office visit. A badly damaged or broken tooth may require a more lengthy and costly procedure.

Be careful not to swallow it. Please call us and we will fit you in to see Dr. Loftin as soon as we can. If it’s over a weekend or after hours, we always have a phone number to either reach Dr. Loftin or our on-call emergency dentist.

Everyone’s tolerance is different. It is important not to ignore your symptoms as it could be a sign of something more serious like a cracked tooth, gum recession or tooth decay. We don’t want you to lose your teeth. If you are uncomfortable and the pain is getting worse and worse, please call us. We will fit you in to see Dr. Loftin as soon as we can. If it’s over a weekend or after hours, we ALWAYS have a phone number to either reach Dr. Loftin or our our on-call emergency dentist.

A dark spot on a tooth typically means you have a cavity and needs to be evaluated immediately. If ignored, it can cause significant loss of tooth structure, you can be in pain or you can ultimately lose your tooth. Even if you’re not in any pain, please call us and we will fit you in to see Dr. Loftin as soon as we can. If it’s over a weekend or after hours, we ALWAYS have a phone number to either reach Dr. Loftin or our on-call emergency dentist.

This may be a sign of infection. Determine if that area is sensitive to hot or cold or to pressure. It’s best to call us and have Dr. Loftin take a look. Based on what you’re experiencing at that moment you call, we may prescribe you an antibiotic to get the swelling down before we see you.

In many instances, swollen and bleeding gums are a sign of gum disease. However, there are a number of other things that could be causing your gum problems. Whatever the cause of sore, painful gums, there are steps you can take to minimize gum damage and discomfort.

Let’s review your brushing and flossing technique:

  • Use a soft bristle brush. Medium or hard bristles can cause red & swollen gums.
  • Brush gently in circular motions. Brushing hard in back/forth motion will cause soreness, bleeding or even recession.
  • Brush and floss at least twice a day.
  • Floss by sliding up and down between your teeth and then following the curve of each tooth. Flossing hard or quickly will cause some swelling, bleeding and may not remove all plaque.

If you are doing all the above, it may be something else:

  • Undergoing Chemotherapy
  • Having canker sores
  • Using tobacco
  • Going through puberty, menstruation, pregnancy or menopause

Be sure to seek attention if you have the following, even if you’re experiencing any discomfort:

  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together on biting or in the fit of partial dentures
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Bleeding during and after brushing
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Red, swollen or tender gums

When gingivitis progresses, it develops into periodontitis, a condition in which the gums and bone that hold the teeth in place can be severely weakened. The bacteria on the teeth release toxic substances that harm your gums and cause them to become infected. The infection and the inflammation that result when your body attacks the bacteria can degrade your gums and the bone in your jaw even further. You may have exceptionally swollen, painful gums that are likely to bleed. If left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice each day. Make sure you follow proper brushing technique. If you’re not sure what to do, ask your dentist or dental hygienist for a quick lesson at your next appointment.
  • Floss daily. It doesn’t take more than a few minutes, but flossing may be the most important thing you can do to prevent gum problems now and in the future.
  • Eat a well-balanced diet. A balanced diet, including plenty of vitamin C and calcium, may minimize the likelihood you’ll have gum problems.
  • Drink plenty of water. Drinking water, especially after eating, can help wash food off your teeth and make it less likely that bacteria will form gum-damaging plaque.
  • Say no to tobacco. If you smoke cigarettes or use other tobacco products, try to quit.
  • Be cautious about extremely hot or cold foods and drinks. When you have gum problems, you may find you’re more comfortable having lukewarm or cool foods and beverages.
  • Relax. Being stressed out raises levels of the stress hormone cortisol, increasing the likelihood of inflammation throughout your body, including in your gums.

More than three-quarters of American adults over age 35 get periodontal (gum) disease. While most people with gum disease have the less severe form, called gingivitis, between 5 percent and 15 percent have a much more serious type of gum disease known as periodontitis.

When you don’t practice proper dental hygiene, bacteria in the mouth forms plaque on the teeth. These bacteria may cause your gums to become inflamed, which results in red, swollen, or bleeding gums. For many people with gingivitis, this inflammation is not painful. If you catch gingivitis early, it can be reversed and healed with proper oral hygiene. But left untreated, gingivitis can worsen and ultimately lead to tooth loss.

Be sure to seek attention if you have the following, even if you’re experiencing any discomfort or notice the following:

  • Changes in the way your teeth fit together on biting or in the fit of partial dentures
  • Formation of deep pockets between teeth and gums
  • Bleeding during and after brushing
  • Loose or shifting teeth
  • Persistent bad breath or bad taste in mouth
  • Receding gums
  • Red, swollen or tender gums

There are various reasons you may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the major reason is due to microbial deposits on the tongue, especially the back of the tongue. Some studies have shown that simply brushing the tongue reduced bad breath by as much as 70 percent. Other things you can do:

  • Brush and floss twice a day
  • Use a tongue scraper
  • Replace you toothbrush every two to three months
  • If you wear dentures, clean them thoroughly before placing them again.
  • Use an over-the-counter mouth rinse. If you’ve been using those and the problem is persisting, ask Dr. Loftin about Closis
  • Drink water frequently. This helps keep your mouth moist and washes away bacteria
  • See Dr. Loftin regularly. Get a check-up and cleaning at least twice a year.

If you’re still experiencing bad breath, review below to see if modifying or addressing one of these items will help. Typical causes of bad breath include:

  • Morning time: Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and its reduced cleansing action allows bacteria to grow, causing bad breath.
  • Certain foods like garlic and onions: Foods containing odor-causing compounds—enter the blood stream and are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled, causing bad breath.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Periodontal (gum) disease
  • Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances
  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia) that may be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing
  • Tobacco products dry the mouth
  • Dieting: Certain chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat
  • Dehydration, hunger and missed meals: Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow and washes bacteria away
  • Certain medical conditions and illnesses: Diabetes, liver and kidney problems, chronic sinus infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia

In most cases, we can treat the cause of your bad breath. If it is determined that your mouth is healthy, but bad breath is persistent, we may refer you to your physician to determine the cause of the odor and an appropriate treatment plan.

Noises in the jaw joint, the TMJ, are extremely common in the general population. Like any joint, such as the hip, shoulder, or wrist, the TMJ muscles in your jaw can be strained or injured. Joint problems involving the TMJ are slightly more common in women than men. The injury can be the result of a specific trauma to the jaw or can result from prolonged micro-trauma from oral habits. There are also other causes for jaw problems as well.

Once a joint or muscle is strained, it can be easily re-injured. Because we use the jaw for so many activities (talking, eating, yawning, laughing, etc.), the joint and the muscles are constantly moving. Therefore, total relaxation of the jaw joint and surrounding muscles is difficult. Holding the jaw muscles and joints in a relaxed position is, however, very manageable with practice. Regular attempts to relax the jaw muscles, and avoidance of activities that would overwork the area, will be helpful to reduce pain and prevent additional strain to the area.

The following suggestions should help:

  • Apply moist heat for 15-20 minutes, two to four times each day, to the painful area. For example, microwave a gel pack or hot water bottle and a wet towel until they are very warm. Wrap the towel around the gel pack and hot water bottle and put it on both sides of your jaw, going under your chin, or to one side and then the other side of your jaw. This should feel very warm but comfortable. Also, try using ice wrapped in a very thin cloth (or no cloth) for 5-10 minutes, two to four times each day. The ice may initially give you a “burning” sensation, but this is normal. Keep the ice on the painful area only until you first feel some numbness, then remove it. Heat or ice can reduce joint or muscle pains and relaxes the muscles. You may also find that cold followed with heat is useful. Experiment.
  • Eat a pain-free diet. Avoid hard foods, such as French bread or bagels.
  • Avoid chewy foods, such as steak or candy.
  • Cut fruit into small pieces and steam vegetables.
  • Chew with your back teeth rather than biting with your front teeth.
  • Chew foods on both sides.
  • Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a muscle tensing drug that can make your muscles feel tighter. Caffeine or caffeine-like drugs are in coffee, tea, soda, chocolate and some aspirins. Decaffeinated coffee typically has half as much caffeine as regular coffee.
  • Avoid habits that strain your jaw muscles and joints, including teeth clenching, grinding, biting cheeks or lips, pushing you tongue against your teeth, jaw muscle tensing, biting pens or pencils, chewing gum and resting your jaw on your hand.
  • When you feel like yawning, put your tongue hard against the top of your mouth and let your mouth open as far as it can without letting your tongue off the top of your mouth. You can also put your hand under your jaw to limit the opening.
  • Avoid stomach sleeping since this puts strain on the jaw and neck muscles. Sleeping on your side is okay as long as you do not put a force on your jaw. Sleeping on your back is best.

Recognize that this is not a life-threatening situation, even though it can be very uncomfortable. Injury to the TMJ and jaw muscles is extremely common, and locking of the jaw is not uncommon. Most often, these symptoms will improve over time. Changing habits, relaxing the area, avoiding additional strain or injury and doing the above should speed up your recovery considerably.

It is normal to feel some tenderness in the area for a few days after your root canal treatment as your body undergoes the natural healing process. You may also feel some tenderness in your jaw from keeping it open for an extended period of time. These symptoms are temporary and usually respond very well to over-the-counter pain medications. It is important for you to follow the instructions on how to take these medications. Remember that narcotic medications, if prescribed, may make you drowsy, and caution should be exercised in operating dangerous machinery or driving a car after taking them.

Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your root canal treatment has been completed. If you have severe pain or pressure that lasts more than a few days, please contact us.

You should treat your new tooth just as you would your other teeth. Daily flossing and brushing after each meal will help keep the gums and the remainder of the tooth under the crown healthy and free from bacteria, which can cause gum disease or even re-decay of the remaining tooth structure. While we often call these crowns ‘permanent’, nothing can really last forever. Most insurance companies will consider a crown a success, and pay for its replacement, if it serves you daily for 5 years. We want to see it last much, much longer. Avoid chewing on ice and hard foods such as nuts which can crack or break your new crown. Do not be afraid to chew a normal diet because with proper care your new crown will last you for a very long time.

New crowns can take just a little getting used to. Usually your teeth will mesh perfectly even before you leave the dental office. If, after a few days, you still think that your new tooth is ‘high’ please let us know so that we can quickly take care of it for you. It is not abnormal to have some slight sensitivity to air or cold for a short while after you have your crown installed. Remember that you have had delicate surgery to hard tissues in your mouth and that, after recovery, your new crown will become such a part of you that you will probably even forget that you had the procedure done. We want you to have many years of enjoyment eating and smiling with your brand new tooth!

First, get the crown out of your mouth.  You don’t want to risk swallowing it or accidentally breathing it in. If you swallow it, it will probably pass without a problem, but after it’s been through your digestive system you probably don’t want it back in your mouth.

Call us and let us know that your crown fell off and we’ll schedule an appointment for you, hopefully on the same day, but at least within a few days, as long as you’re pain free.

Examine the crown, if your tooth fractured and is inside the crown, you will have to see Dr. Loftin before anything can be done.

If desired, here is a temporary solution before you see Dr. Loftin:

  • If the crown looks hollow or if it is not hollow but there is a small metal rod coming out of it (about the width of a paper clip), then you should be able to temporarily cement it back into your mouth before seeing Dr. Loftin to get it permanently cemented. Before proceeding, check with us to see if it will be alright if you use temporary cement from the drugstore to temporarily put your crown back on.
  • Take a toothbrush and gently clean off the crown and the tooth inside your mouth where the crown was located. After cleaning, make sure that the crown and the tooth are as dry as you can get them.
  • Next, you will need to have some temporary crown cement, which you can purchase at most any pharmacy. A popular brand name of this cement is Recapit Temporary Crown Cement, which is a temporary glue that will hold your crown onto its underlying tooth structure until you can get in to see a dentist.

If it fits passively, put it back with some temporary cement from the drug store to protect the tooth integrity. Clean and dry tooth, but don’t overload the cement. It is important that it is fit in properly and you don’t use excess cement that could cause a gum problem or have the crown sit too high and causes a problem with your bite. If it does not fit or you are not comfortable, do not put it back. Call us and we will get you in as soon as able.

If it doesn’t hurt, then it may be ok to leave it off for a couple days; however, your teeth can shift if your temporary is off more than a few days causing the permanent one to not fit.

As long as there is no pain and you are comfortable, you can wait until normal business hours to take care of this.

Remember to be careful and not chew too hard on the crown that you have re-cemented.  Don’t chew sticky foods like caramel or taffy. The temporary cement is much weaker than the permanent cement that the dentist initially used.

Ready to schedule an appointment?
Our friendly front desk team is available during business hours to get your appointment scheduled! You can call or text after hours, and we’ll return your call the next business day! Call us at 925-672-7997.
Insurance Coverage
Have dental insurance? Find out what insurance we accept.
No dental insurance? No problem! Join The Club!