Toothache Trouble? How to Make the Wait Less Painful

It can happen to anyone: the sudden onset of a throbbing toothache at the most inconvenient of times. Perhaps it arrives in the middle of the night, or worse, at the start of your weekend–when a whole lot of time and agony seem to stand between you and the next available dentist appointment.

You’ll live, of course, but there is no need to suffer so badly! With a little observation and resourcefulness, the wait for professional care can be a lot less excruciating.

Conduct a Self-Exam

Understanding what is causing your tooth to ache can help you identify the best solution for interim relief. While a cavity is the more probable culprit, other common reasons include:

  • A damaged filling that has left a sensitive nerve exposed
  • An abscessed tooth, which tends to feel more painful due to an infection of the root
  • A jaw complication (“TMD”” or “TMJ”) resulting from excessive chewing or grinding
  • Sinusitis, an inflammation of the nasal area often confused with tooth pain

You won’t know for sure what’s truly to blame until you see your dentist, but a quick assessment of your symptoms and the location of your discomfort may prove telling. For instance, extremely sharp, shooting pain and fever suggest an abscessed tooth is likely, whereas tenderness in the jaw area and a clicking sound is usually due to TMD.

How to Ease the Pain at Home

Countless tips are touted to zap your toothache as quickly as it started, but aside from visiting your dentist, there is no long lasting cure. For temporary relief however, here are a few tried-and-true measures you can take:

  • Take a dose of store-bought pain medication, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen
  • Soak the problem tooth in clove oil to help dull the throbbing
  • Avoid yawning or chewing, especially if you suspect your toothache is jaw-related
  • Pass on extremely cold or hot foods that may cause acute pain in your tooth
  • Wear a mouth guard while sleeping to prevent grinding down on the tooth
  • Use an ice pack or cold compress near your problem tooth to minimize any swelling

Rinsing your mouth with water and salt, and stepping up your normal dental routine in general can also keep the problem from getting worse.

(Please note that these suggestions are for adults only. If your child suffers a toothache, consult with his or her pediatrician for safe treatment options.)

Long Term Preventative Care

Once your appointment is under way, use the time you have with your dentist to its fullest. He or she will be able to determine the cause and treat the toothache accordingly. After the problem has been treated, be sure to ask for a detailed explanation and recommendations to help you avoid a similar experience in the future.

Brushing, flossing and regular check-ups continue to play central roles in the world of preventative care, but based on your unique dental situation, additional procedures may be recommended as part of your treatment plan.


Dental Health and Toothaches. (2013, March 24). Retrieved June 1, 2015 from

Toothache: Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention. (2013, December 17). Retrieved June 1, 2015 from

Toothache Treatment. (2014, January 10). Retrieve June 1, 2015 from

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Oral Bacteria May Predict Your Migraines

28203611 - middle-aged woman with a migraine headache sitting with her fingers to her temples and eyes closed in pain as she tries to relax

Migraines affect over 1 billion people worldwide. The most significant characteristic of a migraine is a severe and debilitating pain in the head, but migraine headaches are more than just a bad headache. They are a neurological disorder and considered to be the most common disorder of the nervous system.

In a recent study published in the American Society for Microbiology, researchers found people who suffer from migraines have a higher growth of oral bacteria that reduces nitrates into nitrites. Your body then converts the nitrites into nitric oxide.

In separate research, scientists linked an increased amount of nitric oxide with a higher potential for suffering from migraines. Further research investigating the use of drugs to reduce the amount of nitric oxide production to alleviate headaches was successful with headache reduction, but had significant cardiovascular safety concerns.

Knowledge of how the nitrates are triggering migraines may lead to further interventions that address the oral and gut microbiome. According to lead author Antonio Gonzalez, a programmer analyst and research assistant at the University of California San Diego:

“There is this idea out there that certain foods trigger migraines — chocolate, wine and especially foods containing nitrates. We thought that perhaps there are connections between what people are eating, their microbiomes and their experiences with migraines.”

While the researchers have found a link, whether the change in bacterial growth is the result of migraines, or is the cause of the migraines, is a topic for further research.

Migraines Headaches may also link to:

  • Hormones – Reduction in estrogen may increase your vulnerability to the negative effects of stress, lack of sleep and food choices, thereby increasing your risk of migraines.
  • Vitamin Deficiency – Research from Cincinnati Children’s Medical Center discovered a link between migraine headaches and below average levels of coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) and riboflavin.
  • Magnesium Deficiency – Migraine sufferers may develop magnesium deficiency from a variety of reasons, including poor absorption, renal wasting, and increased excretion due to stress or low nutritional intake. 

How to Ease Migraine Pain Without Drugs:

  • Turn down the Blue Light – Many digital devices and LED light sources emit mostly blue light
  • Eliminate Processed Food High in Nitrates
  • Develop a Strong Intestinal Microbiome
  • Use Essential Oils to Soothe Tension and Reduce Stress
  • Get Seven to Nine Hours of Quality Sleep Each Night
  • Use Relaxation Techniques to Reduce Pain

Schedule a courtesy consultation at the Aesthetika Dental Center by calling 415 986-1616 or visit to schedule your courtesy consultation.



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Dental Implants – Your Smile Solution

Dental Implants                        

Dental Implants by Dr. Rebecca Castaneda

Dental Implants by Dr. Rebecca Castaneda                    

Dental implants enable dentists to create healthy, attractive smiles in an innovative way. Used to replace one or more missing teeth, implants are another alternative to conventional bridges and dentures. In essence, dental implants act and look like natural teeth. And, because they maintain bone mass, dental implants can help prevent additional tooth loss as well as the sunken facial appearance associated with missing teeth. A dental implant restoration consists of a bio-compatible titanium screw and post topped by a crown bridge or denture.

The implant is surgically replaced into the jawbone where it replaces the natural tooth root. In a few months, the implant securely attaches to the bone (called “osseointegration”), allowing it to withstand biting and chewing forces just like a healthy, natural tooth.

The most common indications for implant therapy are:

  • Replacement of one or more missing teeth
  • Support of a non-removable “bridge” to replace multiple teeth
  • Support of a removable full or partial denture

Patients who successfully pass a screening and evaluation can be considered as candidates for implant replacement. The primary limiting factor inherent in implant therapy is the amount of bone available to receive and support the implant. If it’s determined that a patient does not have enough bone to support an implant restoration, bone-grafting procedures may be considered. Heavy smoking and some medical conditions may preclude the use of implant therapy.

Schedule a courtesy consultation at the Aesthetika Dental Center by calling 415 986-1616 or visit to schedule your courtesy consultation.


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Nature vs. Nurture: Dental Problems Parents Pass Down To Children

NatureXvsXNurtureParents, in particular, want to know: does DNA predetermine dental health? It’s the classic nature vs. nurture question that dentists get asked often, but the answer doesn’t simply boil down to one or the other. The scary truth is that many dental problems are indeed “inherited”–but not from genetics alone! Harmful habits that run in the family can also play a huge role in the health of your child’s smile. Find out which oral issues you could be passing down, and what you can do about them.

DNA-Driven Dental Issues

Even before birth, the stage has already been set for certain aspects of your child’s oral health. Ultimately, your child’s genes dictate the likelihood for common issues such as:

Jaw-related Disorders:

The size and position of one’s jaws, as well as overall facial structure, are hereditary traits that can cause a number of bite complications (or “malocclusions”). Overbites or underbites caused by uneven jaws can lead to chewing and speech difficulties, and result in chronic pain and/or Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder(“TMJ”) if left untreated.

Tooth Misalignments:

Spacing problems, either due to missing or overcrowded teeth, are oral issues that have been hardwired in a person even before the emergence of teeth. Cases where people lack some (“Anodontia”) or all (“Hypodontia”) permanent teeth can threaten gum and jaw health, as can instances of “supernumerary” teeth, in which extra teeth erupt.

Weak Tooth Enamel: 

Though rare, it is possible for tooth enamel to be defective, or develop abnormally. Dentin, which makes up the protective enamel covering of teeth, may not be produced or mineralize at normal levels, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay, sensitivity and damage.

Predisposition To Oral Cancer:

Genetic mutations and the presence of oncogenes, a type of gene that transforms healthy cells into cancerous ones, can increase the risk for cancer by interfering with the body’s ability to metabolize certain carcinogens. From serious conditions such as a cleft palate, to occasional aggravations like canker sores, many other oral issues may be linked to genetics. Keeping track and sharing the family’s health history with your child’s dentist can help detect and treat inherited conditions as early as possible.

Behavioral Risks

DNA may deal your child some unavoidable complications, but when it comes to tooth decay and gum disease, learned habits and tendencies shoulder much more of the blame, including:


Harmful oral bacteria from a loved one can easily colonize and overtake your little one’s mouth from something as simple as sharing food, utensils, or kissing. The inadvertent swapping of saliva can put your child at increased risk for cavities and gingivitis.

Diet Choices:

Satisfying that sweet tooth with sugary, refined treats, or turning to soda and juice for refreshment can create an unhealthy addiction that’s as dangerous to the mouth as it is to the waist. Sugar and acid can eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities and tooth sensitivity. Exposure to certain chemicals and ingredients can also cause discoloration.

Bad Hygiene:

Last, but certainly not least, lacking a good dental routine can wreak havoc on teeth and gums. Failing to follow through on brushing and flossing twice a day (or as recommended by the dentist) can create a haven for cavities and periodontitis, not to mention halitosis. Leading by example is an easy, effective way to teach your child the importance of oral health while benefiting the whole family.

Stay One Step Ahead

Every parent wants the best for his or her child–including a healthy smile. With so many potential problems that can be passed down, protecting your child’s oral health is not easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. Seek the help of your child’s dentist for optimal professional and at-home dental care. Treating existing issues early on and teaching your child to make dental friendly decisions can provide lifelong benefits to his or her health.


CDC Oral Cancer Background Papers. (n.d.) Retrieved July 9, 2015, from Rondon, Nayda. (n.d.) Genetic Dental Abnormalities: Type and Symptoms. Retrieved July 10, 2015, from

Schedule a courtesy consultation at the Aesthetika Dental Center by calling 415 986-1616 or visit to schedule your courtesy consultation.


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Dentist or Detective? Major Health Clues Your Mouth Provides: Part I

Chew on this for a minute: just by glancing inside your mouth, your dentist28cdb514-ad7a-4eda-a174-30dcd60433a2
can tell you a number of things that may be news to you and your doctor! Surprising as it may sound, your oral health can speak volumes about the rest of your body, and something as simple as a routine dental checkup can benefit your health and wallet big time. From harmful habits to life-threatening diseases, find out what clues your mouth can provide about your wellbeing.

The Presence of Disease

Many connections between your mouth and larger health issues have to do with bacteria. Studies have shown that heart disease and endocarditis (an inflammation of the lining of your heart), in particular, are linked to gum disease – a bacterial infection of the mouth. Inflamed gums can also signal a vulnerable immune system, which can be due to diabetes or disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome. Furthermore, patients who are pregnant and are diagnosed with periodontitis may be at a heightened risk for birth-related issues, as studies have shown a connection between gum disease and both premature birth and low birth weight.

In addition to gum problems, other oral matters are also telling. Tooth loss, for instance, has commonly been linked with both osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. And lesions of the throat occur often in individuals suffering from HIV or AIDS. Last but not least, a dental exam can detect both oral and throat cancer, which typically present themselves via sores or patches that don’t go away. Suffice it to say, dental checkups can prove themselves invaluable when it comes to early detection of life-threatening health conditions.

Incompatibility With Certain Medications

While you may already be aware of and treating a health condition, a dentist can help identify whether or not the medicine you are taking is causing other complications. Dry mouth, a condition that causes oral issues such as halitosis, fungal infection, and tooth decay, is a known side effect of hundreds of commonly prescribed medications including:

Painkillers Antibiotics Antidepressants
Antihistamines Asthma Inhalers Diuretics
Sedatives Corticosteroids Statins

If you’re currently undergoing medical treatment and/or using prescription drugs, be sure to have your dentist examine your mouth for any harmful side effects.


Schedule a courtesy consultation at the Aesthetika Dental Center by calling 415 986-1616 or visit to schedule your courtesy consultation.



Your Mouth, Your Health. (2015, July 23). Retrieved July 25, 2015, from

What conditions may be linked to oral health? (2013, May 11). Retrieved July 14, 2015 from

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Receding Gums: Are Your Teeth in Peril?

Receding Gums photoNo cavities, no problem, right? Wrong! Even the straightest and whitest of teeth can fall prey to a serious case of receding gums, a common condition that can sneak up and do some damage before many individuals realize it’s even a problem.

While a surefire way to detect and treat it is with regular visits to the dentist, meticulous at-home monitoring and preventative care is also a great line of defense. Here’s what you should know to keep the threat of gum recession at bay.

Signs and Symptoms of Receding Gums

Gums don’t recede overnight, but if you pay close attention, you can spot telltale signs of the problem: a tooth that appears much longer than its neighbors, yellow stains where the tooth touches the gum line, or even a ridge you can feel on the affected tooth, indicating your gums have shifted. Tooth sensitivity is another red flag, as a declining layer of protective gum tissue can leave nerves beneath the enamel exposed.

Causes of Receding Gums

Many things can cause vital gum tissue to detach and recede, but the most common culprit is untreated gingivitis. If you have gum disease, chances are that gum recession is just around the corner.

Other possible causes include:

  • Clenching or grinding your teeth aggrevates the supporting bone.
  • Smoking/tobacco use, which can impact blood supply to the gums
  • Crooked teeth that can pull on the gums, and also lead to gingivitis
  • Brushing too hard, thereby resulting in unnecessary pressure and irritation
  • Oral piercings that force precious tissue aside over time
  • Genetics, an inherited predisposition to gum recession
  • Diabetes, which has been linked to receding gums
  • Aggressive orthodontics can move the teeth too far from the supporting bone.

Depending on the root cause, the rate of recession may vary, but being aware of all the possible factors can help you steer clear of other hazards and behaviors that will only aggravate the problem.

In-Office Treatment Options

The good news is that, if you do have a confirmed case of receding gums, all is not lost. Whether it is mild or extreme, in-office treatments are available to help halt recession — and in some instances, even restore lost tissue.

Periodontal therapy is an effective procedure your dentist may recommend to put a stop to further gum erosion. This process involves laser treatments that target and sanitize the problem area(s). With proper care and time, it is possible for the gum tissue to reattach to the tooth’s surface.

For patients with severe gum recession, the dentist may ultimately advise surgery. Grafting is one common option that may be offered, in which tissue from a donor or another area of your mouth is applied to the affected area. Periodontal surgery or “pocket depth reduction”, is another alternative that involves removal of diseased tissue altogether. This treatment may be recommended only if the gums have receded to such a point that tooth loss is imminent, and it can result in tooth sensitivity.

Other Steps You Can Take

In addition to seeking professional help, preventative care is critical to combating gum recession. Due to its gradual nature, sometimes a few proactive measures can go a long way:

    • Use a mouth guard at night to keep teeth grinding from stressing the gums and bone.
    • Brush and floss more regularly to help eliminate gum disease
    • Switch to a soft-bristled toothbrush to apply less pressure on your teeth
    • Quit smoking/tobacco use to maintain a healthy blood supply to your teeth
    • Get teeth straightened to help prevent gingivitis, which is linked to receding gums

If you observe recession around your teeth, Dr. Castaneda at Aesthetika can assess the cause of your recession and recommend treatments available to correct or prevent further recession from occurring. Schedule a courtesy consultation at the Aesthetika Dental Center by calling 415 986-1616 or visit to schedule your courtesy consultation.

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Receding Gums. (2014, September 12). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from

Receding Gums Causes, Symptoms, Treatment and Prevention.(2014, March 18). Retrieved June 12, 2015, from

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Is It Possible to Re-Shape Your Teeth?

8bWhen you look closely at your smile in the mirror, something isn’t quite right. You just don’t like the shape of your teeth. Maybe your front teeth are too straight at the bottom, and you’d prefer that they looked more rounded. Maybe your canines are, well…perhaps a little too pointed and sharp. Wouldn’t it be amazing if you could swing by your dentist and have your teeth re-shaped just as easily as you could walk into a salon and have your nails contoured?

Well, surprise, you actually can! Cosmetic dentists like Dr. Castaneda can perform a special procedure called aesthetic contouring of the teeth. This procedure is a great option if you’d like your teeth to look more rounded, smoother, or to remove minor chips in the tooth. The result is often a subtle change that can nonetheless transform your smile, especially if the shape of your teeth really bother you.

For more information on cosmetic/aesthetic dental treatments please visit, or schedule a courtesy consultation by calling Aesthetika Dental Center at 415 986-1616.

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Tooth Bonding vs. Veneers

VeneersIf you do not like the look of your smile, you’ll need to visit a cosmetic dentist to help you fix it. Depending on the state of your teeth and your budget, a cosmetic dentist may recommend the use of bonding or veneers. Which option is best for you?

Tooth Bonding                                                            

Bonding is typically used to address smaller problems with a tooth. The bonding is a tooth-colored material that a cosmetic dentists like Dr. Castaneda uses to fill gaps between teeth, to fill small cavities, fix very small chips, or even to cover an entire tooth to change its color. The drawback of bonding is that it can’t fix most cracked or chipped teeth, and it is more susceptible to chipping or staining than veneers.


Veneers offer a more permanent and dramatic solution to help fix your smile. These are thin pieces of porcelain or plastic that actually cover your teeth. They can be used to correct uneven, chipped, crooked, or discolored teeth, as well as teeth that are unevenly spaced. They are stronger than bonding but also more expensive.

For more information on cosmetic/aesthetic dental treatments please visit, or schedule a courtesy consultation with Dr. Castaneda by calling Aesthetika Dental Center at 415 986-1616.

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Singles Rate White Teeth A Top Priority

Dating and Having White Teeth

When judging a potential date, both men and women rate teeth at the top. Based on a national survey of almost 5,500 unattached adults 21 and older, meeting a prospect with clean, bright white teeth wasn’t just a “nice to have” item on their wish lists, but a top priority for both men and women. The survey was conducted for the dating website

In our youth oriented culture, we find a brilliant white smile appealing. Teeth also reflect good hygiene and health to a prospective date. If your date’s teeth are yellowed or stained, it tells a lot. Maybe he drinks too much coffee or wine. Maybe he neglects brushing. Or he took too much of the tetracycline antibiotic.

White teeth also take years off your perceived age. A study conducted by Oral B in the United Kingdom showed that having white teeth can make you look five years younger and increase your attractiveness by 20 per cent.

So, if you’re updating your wardrobe and new look, don’t forget to freshen up those pearly whites. The KöR Whitening System used by Dr. Castaneda at Aesthetika can lighten teeth up to 16 shades. Schedule a courtesy consultation at the Aesthetika Dental Center by calling 415 986-1616.

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What to Expect During Your Smile Makeover Consultation

Smile Makeover ConsultationIf you want a gorgeous new smile, then your first stop should be to a cosmetic dentist, a trained expert who specializes in just that – giving you a perfect smile. At Aesthetika Dental, one of our most popular procedures is called a “Smile Makeover.” What the smile makeover entails will depend on your teeth and your goals.

The first step is to come in for a consultation. During the consultation, Dr. Rebecca Castaneda will sit down with you to learn what you want the smile makeover to accomplish. Maybe you have a gap between your front two teeth you want to fix, or perhaps you want your teeth to look straighter. Dr. Castaneda will then perform an examination of your teeth. This will help her determine what options will work best for you.

Finally, Dr. Castaneda will give you some options and pricing along with her recommendation so that you can make an educated choice that will accomplish your goals and stay within your budget.

For more information on cosmetic/aesthetic dental treatments please visit, or schedule a courtesy consultation by calling Aesthetika Dental Center at 415 986-1616.

Schedule your Appointment

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