Posts for: August, 2016

By Pasadena Dental Implants Peter G. Cooper, DDS
August 19, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.

By Pasadena Dental Implants
August 18, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral surgery  

Here are some of the best measures you can take to make sure your mouth heals as quickly as possible.

Whether you’ve just had surgery to treat your gum disease or you had your wisdom teeth removed, it’s important that you know exactly how to care for your smile post-surgery. From the office of your Pasadena, CA periodontist, Dr. Peter Cooper, find out how to care for Oral Surgeryyour smile to speed up your recovery process.


You may notice some bleeding for about one day after your dental procedure. You can often place sterile gauze over the area and to bite down on it to help control the bleeding. If the bleeding seems heavy or won’t stop, please call our Pasadena gum specialist right away.


It’s not uncommon to notice some discomfort for at least a day or two after your procedure, depending on the invasiveness of the surgery. You may receive a prescription pain reliever from us to help control your discomfort, but if not, then over-the-counter pain relievers may do the trick. If you are trying an over-the-counter medication, make sure that you follow the instructions exactly as they are written on the bottle.


It’s pretty normal to experience some swelling after your surgery. Fortunately, there are a couple of options. You can apply an ice pack (Just make sure to wrap it in a towel first because you never want to apply ice directly to the skin) to the affected side of the face for up to 10 minutes. You can also ice several times a day.

If you are looking to medications that can also reduce swelling then it’s time to try an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory like Aleve or Tylenol, which can temporarily relieve both pain and swelling. Depending on the type of procedure you go through, we may also prescribe you a stronger medication to treat your post-surgical symptoms.


It’s important to stay hydrated and to drink enough fluids. Until your mouth heals, you’ll want to stay away from any food or drink that is hot. As we will mention to you before you leave our office, you’ll want to stick to a soft foods diet until otherwise instructed. Foods like eggs, yogurt, pasta, soup and fish are only some of the safe foods you can enjoy.

Your Oral Routine

Until your mouth heals, how you care for your smile will most likely change for the interim. We may provide you with a special oral rinse to use after your surgery to help keep teeth clean. We also recommend warm salt water rinses several times a day, which can also help with pain and swelling. We will also let you know when you can begin brushing and flossing your teeth again, but you will want to be exceedingly gentle on treated areas.

If you have questions about caring for your smile, particularly after oral surgery, don’t hesitate to call Pasadena Dental Implants in Pasadena, CA. Dr. Cooper is here to address all of your questions and concerns.

By Pasadena Dental Implants Peter G. Cooper, DDS
August 04, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: x-rays  

It's difficult to measure how x-ray imaging has transformed dentistry since its use became prominent a half century ago. As equipment and methods standardized, the technology revolutionized the way we diagnose tooth decay and other mouth-related issues.

One of the more useful of these methods is called the bitewing x-ray. The term comes from the shape of the device a patient holds between their teeth with the film attached on the side toward their tongue. We direct the x-ray beam to the outside of the patient's cheek, where it passes through the teeth to expose on the film. Its particular design provides clearer images since the patient's bite helps keep the film still and distortion-free, making it easier to view signs of early tooth decay.

Bitewing x-rays usually consist of four films, two on either side of the mouth, necessary to capture all of the teeth (children with smaller jaws, however, often only require one film per side). How frequently they're conducted depends on a number of factors, including the patient's age: children or young adolescents are usually filmed more frequently than adults, usually every six to twelve months. Frequency also depends on a patient's particular decay risk — the higher the risk the more frequent the x-ray.

Regardless of how often they're performed, a similar application principle applies with bitewing x-rays as with any other radiological method: As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). With the ALARA principle in other words, we're looking for that sweet spot where we're able to detect the earliest stages of dental disease with the least amount of radiation exposure.

Bitewings fit this principle well: a patient receives only a fraction of the radiation exposure from a four-film bitewing as they do from a daily dose of environmental radiation. Factor in new digital technology that reduces exposure rates and bitewings pose virtually no health risk to patients, especially if conducted in a prudent manner.

The benefits are well worth it. Thanks to bitewing x-rays we may be able to diagnose decay early and stop it before it causes you or your family member extensive tooth damage.

If you would like more information on the importance of x-rays in dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

Pasadena, CA Dentist
Pasadena Dental Implants
175 S. El Molino, Suite 4
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 796-1241
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