Salt Water Rinses

Posted by DrSimmons | Filed under , ,

 Salt Water Rinses


     The concern for oral hygiene dates back at least 5,000 years to ancient China and India.  Many references are made for using saltwater rinses to treat gum disease as early as 2700 B.C.  There is documentation during the Greek and Roman periods, by author Pliny the Elder and Hippocrates, recommending saltwater rinses to the upper classes as part of their oral hygiene routine.

     Dentists often recommend saltwater rinses to ease the swelling and pain that can result from a canker sore, an extraction, or dental cleaning.  Salt water has been used by multiple cultures over countless generations to clean wounds and rinse out mouths.  Salt water deters the reproduction of many microorganisms by changing the PH of the mouth.  It also draws excess water out of inflamed tissues, helping to reduce the amount of physical discomfort.  And is also very soothing to the mucous membranes of your mouth.

    Raw salt, which is primarily sodium chloride, restricts bacterial growth in many foods and preserves them because it absorbs water molecules.  Bacteria need moisture in order to thrive, so without enough water, they cannot grow well.  Although salt water is not considered an antibiotic, it works by temporarily increasing the alkaline or PH in the mouth, and deterring bacterial growth (most species prefer an acidic environment).  Further, salt water is isotonic and not irritating to mucous membranes.

     To make a salt water rinse, simply mix ½ teaspoon of table salt in one cup of warm water.  Stir until the salt is completely dissolved.  Use ½ cup of the solution to gently swish for 30 seconds, being sure to force the solution over any tender areas.  The spit out into the sink.  Repeat until the entire cup is gone.

      Caution:  Washing your mouth with salt water and spitting it out is harmless, but swallowing it in large quantities can be harmful.

   Regular dental visits and dental cleanings will minimize the need for salt water rinses.  If it’s been a while since your last checkup, please call the office at (661) 947-3163 to schedule an appointment.  Preventing problems is much easier than fixing them.




Why Does It Hurt To Breathe?

Posted by DrSimmons | Filed under , ,

Why does it hurt to breathe?


We've all experienced the occasional discomfort of cold ice cream on teeth (usually along with brain freeze), a temporary condition that ends once our ice cream is gone.  However, if your tooth routinely hurts when you breathe in - i.e. it's reacting to the cooler air - it may be caused by one of more of the following:-

 1) A sensitive root. As we get older our gums are more prone to recede.  This exposes part of the tooth root.  Roots have nerve endings in them and can react to cold, sweet, touch and heat.  The remedy is to build a barrier to protect the exposed nerve endings, either by having the tooth build one itself (using desensitizing toothpastes and mouthwashes) or by placing an artificial barrier in the form of a filling. In some unlucky people, the discomfort can be so exquisite that a root canal (removing the nerve from the tooth) is required.

  2) Sensitivity to air can also be aggravated by any other irritation to the tooth - a deep filling, tooth decay, an acid reflux problem, or recent dental treatment.

 3) If part of a tooth has broken off, or part of a filling is missing, the tooth can become sensitive to air.  A filling or cap would them be required to remedy the situation.

 4) Mild or moderate trauma can cause a temporary sensitivity to cold - (if a tooth is bumped.)

 Persistent sensitivity to temperature is a classic symptom of the pulp of the tooth being inflamed. If the cause is decay, then the dentist will need to remove the decay and place a filling. If the tooth has a sharp pain that occurs on its own, without being provoked by cold or air, this could indicate possible irreversible pulpitis (nerve death) and need root canal treatment.

 To determine exactly why your tooth (teeth) is sensitive, a dental exam with one of our Doctors is the only way to determine the exact cause.

 Please remember, we are always here to answer your questions about your dental health, and look forward to hearing from you.  If you have a question you would like answered in a blog post please e-mail us at

Your Gentle Dentists - Dr. Simmons 




Our Love of Dentistry

Posted by DrSimmons | Filed under ,

In June this year, Dr. Louis finally retired.

 He first told Dr Michael and Gerald he was planning to retire in 1996 at the tender young age of 65.  It didn't happen.  Every year for the next 19 years they heard the same thing, "I'm going to retire this year.". Like the boy who cried wolf in the children's story, they didn't believe him when he told them again this time, expect, this time it was for real. 

 Both Dr. Michael and Gerald have to thank their father for his love of dentistry.  It was because he wanted a U.S. degree that they ended up living and staying in the U.S. (this was after he moved they to Canada from the U.K. for two years after getting his Canadian dental degree).

Dr. Louis worked as a dentist for 59 years.  From Devonshire place in London (which is to dentistry what Harley street is to physicians) where he treated many celebrities such as George Harrison of the Beatles, to Wilshire Blvd in Beverly Hills where he treated celebrities such as drummer Buddy Rich and Boxer Ken Norton (unfortunately HIPPA prevents us from revealing the many actors and celebrities still living ) to Palmdale, where he had the pleasure of getting to know you all.

 We don't know if it was because of genes that both Michael and Gerald became dentists (their mother's only brother was also a dentist) or because they spent so much time hanging around their father's practice.  Regardless, the bug bit and the bite lingers.

 Dr. Michael went on to get a fellowship in head and neck pain and is currently completing his masters degree in sleep medicine.  Because of his expertise he has written chapters in multiple textbooks and written for several dental journals.  He works 6 days a week and currently teaches at both USC and UCLA dental schools.  He is currently President of the San Fernando Valley Dental Society and has been voted one of the best dentists in the San Fernando Valley.  We're still trying to work out when he finds time to sleep! 

 Dr Gerald got into dentistry late compared to Dr,Louis and Michael.  Unlike the others, he completed his Bachelors and worked as a pharmacy technician for two years before entering dental school.  He is licensed to work in 20 countries in Europe and the Far East and currently writes for FDJ, the dental journal of the Royal College of Surgeons (UK) where he is known as "our man in America".  In his spare time, he writes novels.  His self help book "How I beat depression without drugs and you can too" will be available through Amazon later this year.

 Though we will all miss Dr. Louis, we know Drs Michael and Gerald will do a fine job filling his shoes.

 Your Gentle Dentists - Dr. Simmons








Rebuilding Our Office

Posted by DrSimmons | Filed under

A year ago we were forced to rebuild.

As most of you known, in July 2014, the office flooded.  The staff arrived to find 3 inches of water covering the office floor.  The hose that lead from the toilet shut off valve to the toilet tank had broken and water poured out all night long. 

We were fortunate to find a water abatement company that could immediately come over.  They vacuumed up all the water, tore out the floor coverings and cut away the bottom three feet of drywall where the water had soaked in, to allow the wood studs to dry out.  Giant fans and heaters were set up everywhere and shortly it felt as though you were in a Turkish bath, not that I've ever experience one first hand. 

It took almost a week to dry the place out and that's when the construction guys ran into their problem, asbestos, under the flooring.  In order to get it all out, all the floor cabinets in the treatment rooms would have to go along with the cabinets and staff seating areas in the reception area.  Worse, as they were all irregularly sized, they would have to be custom built.

The place quickly turned into Elliot's house from the movie E.T.  Plastic sheets everywhere, guys in white jump suits and masks, strange looking equipment.  Abatement took a week and by the time they left the floor looked as though someone had worked it over with a sledge hammer.

When it came to redesigning the office, the doctors who I'm sure you all know by now have different opinions on just about everything, made a smart decision, they decided that just one of us would take the lead, getting approval for things such as wall color, floor color etc.  Dr. Michael stepped up to the task and we think he did an admirable job. 

In the meantime, we crammed a staff of four into the doctors' office, along with computers, phone lines, a mobile air conditioner (it was hot, hot last summer) and plenty of water.  They did an admirable job rescheduling patients (as you know our hygiene schedule is booked months in advance) and farming out your dental emergencies to the other dentists and specialists who were kind enough to help us out.

It took nearly 3 months before we were able to see patients. Through it all, 99% of you stuck with us and for that we cannot thank you enough.  Our practice is what it is because of you.  All the doctors entered the health profession because they wanted to help people.  We could have easily become physicians or physical therapists or any other health field related professional.  It was the fact that we all liked using our hands and fiddling with tiny things as kids, that made dentistry the right fit.  Learning later on that the mouth was often the first area where disease presented itself and that the mouth was responsible for many of the diseases we face today, made what we do more important than giving you a great smile and making sure that nothing hurts.  I'm not going to bore you the diseases that mouth microorganisms cause/exacerbate in the body but leave you with one fact:- One of the 2 indicators that determine lifespan are whether or not you floss (those that do live longer) - the other, if you're interested, is tidal volume (the amount of air you can inhale and exhale into your lungs).

So thank you again for being our patients and May the Floss be with You.

Your Gentle Dentists - Dr. Simmons





The Latest Dental Trend from Japan

Posted by DrSimmons | Filed under ,

The Japanese are famous for their inventions and discoveries.  Entertainment inventions range from Walkman cassette players, CDs and Blu-Ray to anime and video games;  practical inventions range from the quartz wristwatch to robotics and the bullet train.  Their discoveries are no less impressive.  We have the Japanese to thank for general anesthesia, Vitamin B1 and of course, the instant noodle.

When it comes to dentistry, the Japanese have different ideas to those of us in the U.S.

In the 8th century black teeth were considered beautiful on women.  The craze (known as ohaguro) continued , believe it or not, until the nineteenth century when it was banned by the Japanese Government.


I find their latest craze no less disturbing.  The ultimate in beauty is now a crooked tooth smile in which the cuspids (eye teeth) stand out.  The look, known as yaeba, is apparently attractive to Japanese men who find the smile child like and endearing.

If this is the way you'd like to look, I'm afraid Simmons Dental cannot help you.  We will only use Invisalign and  6 month smiles to actually straighten your teeth.

Your Gentle Dentists - Dr. Simmons


Your Dental Breath

Posted by DrSimmons | Filed under ,


     Lots of patients share a concern about bad breath.  We've all found ourselves chatting with someone whose breath could knock us over.  However there are simple tips to fix this problem.
     Bad breath strikes when people aren't properly taking care of their oral health.  The odor is usually caused by food particles and bacteria in your mouth.  That's why brushing and flossing your teeth is so important,but don't forget to brush your tongue to get rid of even more bacteria.
    Gum disease is the first dental problem we suspect when it comes to halitosis.  A periodontal check up during your regular dental visit gives us a chance to control gum problems as a source of bad breath.
    A clean tongue goes a long way to warding off bad breath.  The tongue is like a "shaggy carpet".  There are millions of filaments on your tongue that trap particles and bacteria.  Regularly cleaning your tongue using a toothbrush and/or tongue scraper will help remove the bacteria.  If you have any mouth guards or oral appliances, make sure to clean them thoroughly before putting them in your mouth.
    Mouthwash is only a temporary fix.  It masks the odor instead of correcting the source of the problem.
    Believe it or not saliva is your best weapon against bad breath.  That's why dry mouth, often caused by certain medical conditions, leads to odor problems.  Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria.  The term "morning breath"  is because saliva production slows while you sleep allowing particles and odor to linger longer.                  
     Sugarless chewing gum is a natural odor fighter!!  Chewing gum stimulates saliva production.  Mints, do not stimulate saliva, but temporarily mask bad odors.  .Gum makes you salivate and the more saliva in your mouth the fewer bacteria you have.  Saliva contains enzymes and natural antiseptics that kill bacteria.  While anything that makes you salivate will improve your breath, a gum that is sweetened with xylitol is your best defense.  Xylitol is a sugar substitute that not only increases salivation, but also works to prevent bacteria from developing in your mouth.  Make sure Xylitol is the first ingredient to be most effective.  But most important is having regular cleanings every 3-6 months, and dental examinations to catch and prevent halitosis.

 Your Gentle Dentists - Dr. Simmons


Whoopi Speaks on Periodontal Disease

Posted by Administrator | Filed under