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Are Genetic Dental Problems a Myth?

September 29, 2014

177035393The answer to this question is both yes and no. Genetic dental problems are no myth. Scientists have found that genetic factors cause about 60% of the risk for tooth decay. While tooth decay isn’t an actual gene in the body, your genes do determine factors that are directly related to your ability to avoid tooth decay. Dr. Latner is an experienced Los Angeles area dentist that can help you find a treatment plan to fix your dental problems if you find yourself on the losing end of genetic tooth decay risk factors.

Genetics Can Increase the Risk of Developing Dental Problems

You can’t blame your parents for all of your dental problems, but you can blame them for passing on a few risk factors. Scientists have identified five genetically determined factors that affect your body’s ability to combat tooth decay.

  • Sweet Preference- The stronger your genetic preference for all things sweet and sugary, the more likely you are to overindulge, which will increase your risk for tooth decay.
  • Enamel Strength- If you have inherited soft enamel, it will be easier for bacteria to find a home there, which can lead to more cavities.
  • Tasting Ability- Some people possess the ability to perceive a wider variety of flavors than others. Though research has not yet discovered why this is the case, studies have revealed links between taste ability and cavities. The greater measure of your ability to taste a variety of flavors, the less likely you are to have tooth decay.
  • Saliva Strength- Saliva plays a big role in the proper metabolization of nutrients like calcium and potassium. Genetics make some people better at this metabolization process than others.
  • Microbiome- Your body’s immune system response to these communities of bacteria in the mouth can affect your ability to fight off tooth decay.

Dr. Latner Can Help Los Angeles, CA Patients Fight Genetic Risk Factors for Dental Problems

The remaining 40% risk of tooth decay can be attributed to environmental factors. These include your diet, dental hygiene habits, smoking habits, access to dental care, culture, and some socio-economic factors. The most widespread environmental factor increasing the risk of tooth decay is the consumption of sugary drinks. Although tooth decay is the most common chronic disease in the world, an important factor to decrease your risk of tooth decay is to get regular dental check-ups from an experienced dentist. Dr. Latner has been helping his patients fight tooth decay and perfect their smiles for many years. You can contact Dr. Latner today to fight back against tooth decay and protect your healthy smile. He proudly serves all Los Angeles, CA communities including Brentwood, Santa Monica, Venice, Beverly Hills, Marina del Rey, Rancho Park, Mar Vista and West LA.

Pediatric Dentistry and Sports

September 15, 2014

76649015No matter how old your children are, protecting their teeth is a top priority. Injuries to teeth have the potential to affect your child for the rest of his or her life. The key to protecting their beautiful smiles is prevention. You should start bringing your child to regular dentist appointments as early as age two. As they grow and become more active in activities like soccer, football, karate and cheerleading, it becomes necessary to protect their teeth from sports injuries as well. If you’re thinking about allowing your child or teen to participate in contact sports, contact Dr. Latner for an appointment today. Dr. Latner serves families in Los Angeles, CA Brentwood, Santa Monica, Venice, Beverly Hills, Marina del Rey, Rancho Park, Mar Vista, West LA, and the surrounding communities.

Pediatric Dentistry and Custom Mouthguards

The first step to ensure your child is protected while participating in any contact sport is to take them to the dentist to be fitted for a custom mouthguard. While almost all sports organizations require children to wear mouthguards, there is no strict quality standard for the mouthguards themselves. This means that your child may not be adequately protected from injury.

You have three choices in mouthguards. The cheapest option is the stock mouthguards sold in sporting goods stores. They are not customizable and rarely fit well. This lack of protection could cause your child serious injuries if they were to be hit near the jaw bone or back teeth. The next best option is the “boil and bite” mouthguards which are somewhat more customizable. However, they may still be unable to protect the back teeth, or stay in place. If your child must clench the mouthguard to keep it in place, their ability to speak or breathe correctly could be hindered. A custom mouthguard made specifically for use in sports and recreational activities is the single most effective option.

Pediatric to Adolescent Dentistry

As your child grows into a teenager, his dental needs will grow and change as well. While encouraging your teen’s healthy dental habits — like brushing and flossing regularly — is important, you also need to make them aware of the unhealthy habits that will affect their oral health. For example, the sugar and acidic flavorings in soda can cause their tooth enamel to erode and can cause the development of cavities. Experimenting with tobacco products can, among other things, cause their teeth to turn yellow or brownish shades and can eventually lead to oral cancers. Developing eating disorders such as bulimia and anorexia can also cause permanent damage to the mouth, gums and throat. At this stage in their development, parents must be proactive in making sure that their teens develop good oral health habits.

Trusted Pediatric Dentistry in Los Angeles, CA

Dr. Latner can be a trusted resource for every stage of your child’s healthy smile development. Bringing your child in for visits early and often will foster a positive attitude towards visiting the dentist that will keep their teeth healthy for the rest of their lives. Contact us today to schedule your child’s next appointment. Dr. Latner serves children and adults throughout Los Angeles, CA, Brentwood, Santa Monica, Venice, Beverly Hills, Marina del Rey, Rancho Park, Mar Vista, West LA, and the surrounding communities.

Is There a Difference between a Children’s Dentists and a Pediatric Dentist?

May 30, 2013

pediatric dentistryRegular dental care isn’t just important for adults—children need it too. But are all dentists the same when it comes to offering dental care to kids? For instance, if one doctor says he’s a children’s dentist but another says he’s a pediatric dentist, are they saying different things?

In short, the answer is yes. Even though a children’s dentist is perfectly suited to providing kids with care, in most cases, that means children who are three years old or older. Pediatric dentistry, on the other hand, is a specialty recognized by the American Dental Association and requires special knowledge of how to treat very young patients.

At Westside Dental Associates, Dr. Les Latner offers specialized pediatric care. Dr. Latner has trained as a pediatric dentist at Children’s Hospital/L.A. and USC and teaches pediatric dentistry at UCLA. That means when your child’s first tooth comes in around the age of one, you know who you can turn to for help.

Children should see a dentist from the moment they have their first tooth. That’s because monitoring the development of teeth is important. If they aren’t developing properly, or if there’s a complication, Dr. Latner can provide effective care that your child will benefit from going forward. We can also look for and treat gum disease and tooth decay, just as we would in older patients. Preventing and treating these in young patients is important.

Do you have a child or grandchild who has developed his or her tooth, or will soon? Call Westside Dental Associates to schedule an oral evaluation appointment. We’re proud to serve patients of all ages from Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Beverly Hills, West LA, Mar Vista, and all surrounding areas.

Pediatric Dentistry and Your Child

January 31, 2013

We understand the importance of dental care for adults, but it’s equally important to care for the health of your child’s teeth as well. Pediatric dentistry is an important dental specialty recognized by the ADA. Dentists in this field are skilled and practiced at caring for the health of children’s teeth.

Your child should first go to a dentist when they are one year old. This may seem rather young, but cavities can occur at any age, and it’s important to get started on a health routine early.

When taking your child to the dentist, make sure you’re taking them to a pediatric dentist. They’re prepared and experienced at handling young children and their needs. They also know how to work with a small patient that may not always stay still. If you don’t know who you should take your little one to see, your general dentist may be able to provide a referral.

The pediatric dentist will examine your child’s teeth and go over health concerns and proper brushing techniques with you. The sooner you start taking your child to the dentist the better. You don’t want your child’s first dental appointment to end with them having to get a mouth full of fillings, as this could cause them to become fearful of the dentist. Their first dental memory needs to be a pleasant one, to instill in them that going to the dentist is important for the health of their teeth and gums.

A pediatric dentist can also give you advice about teething, thumb sucking, and information on how your child’s teeth will grow and develop. A pediatric dentist is an important resource.

Don’t forget, once your child is a year old, it’s time for their first dental appointment. Pediatric dentistry plays an important role in the dental health care system and in our own personal dental health. Dr. Les Latner is a trained pediatric dentist, having completed his residency at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.

Effective Pediatric Dentistry for the Los Angeles Area

October 9, 2012

Every smile is important, even a smile that’s still developing. That’s why Dr. Latner and his team at Westside Dental Associates in Los Angeles offer pediatric dentistry. Through our commitment to serving children as well as adults—and Dr. Latner’s commitment to teaching pediatric dentistry as UCLA—we’re helping patients of all ages enjoy better oral and overall health.

As is the case with caring for adults, the most important aspect of pediatric dentistry is the regular checkup. During a regular checkup, Dr. Latner can look for signs of tooth decay or gum disease, common dental conditions that have serious implications for overall wellbeing. What’s more, a pediatric checkup also gives Dr. Latner the opportunity to check on the development of teeth.

Our team also likes to take part of every pediatric dentistry visit to talk to our young patients about brushing and flossing. Effective brushing and flossing take practice and instruction. We can offer some of that in our Los Angeles office, but it’s up to parents to also provide instruction at home.

Is your little one nearing their first birthday? Then it’s time to start planning for their very first visit. Call Westside Dental Associates to schedule your child’s first (or second, or third…) visit. We want to see all of our young Los Angeles-area patients grow healthy smiles. Our team can work together with you to help them develop the healthy habits that will make that possible as they move from childhood into adolescence and adulthood.

Call us today!

Pediatric Dentistry for Young Patients in Los Angeles

March 19, 2012

If you have a young son or daughter and live in Los Angeles, one of the key questions on your mind might be, “When should I start bringing my child in for regular checkups?” The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that all children see a dentist around their first birthday, or by the time they have their first tooth.

Your child’s visit with Dr. Latner will consist of a simple exam and cleaning. What Dr. Latner wants to make sure of, more than anything, is that your child’s smile is developing as it should. We’ll also use your child’s first visit to begin teaching him or her about the basics of brushing and flossing.

Teaching your child to brush and floss isn’t something Dr. Latner can do alone, though. It’ll take the both of us to help your little one develop the kinds of healthy habits that will help them build a strong, health smile.

Are you ready to bring your son or daughter in to Westside Dental Associates for their first visit? Our entire team is ready to help. We understand that you have to treat a child’s smile just a little bit differently and have the experience to help him or her get started down a road that will help them lay the foundation for a healthy lifestyle.

Call us today. And to learn more about how we can help, visit our pediatric dentistry page. We serve patients of all ages from all throughout Los Angeles.

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