Dental Phobia? Find Out How Sedation Dentistry Can Help

Dental Phobia? Find Out How Sedation Dentistry Can Help

Dental Phobia? Find Out How Sedation Dentistry Can Help

If the thought of plopping down in a dentist’s chair sends chills down your spine and makes you tense up with fear, you’re not alone. Surveys estimate that between 13% and 24% of adults fear going to the dentist. Many people with this fear would rather suffer with a toothache or severe oral infection than visit the dentist for treatment, and many who fear going to the dentist also choose to live with aesthetic imperfections that could easily be corrected with simple cosmetic dentistry services.

If you, like so many others, avoid getting the dental treatment you need because it causes too much anxiety, then sedation dentistry is for you. What is sedation dentistry? It’s regular dentistry without the anxiety.

It’s Actually Possible to Relax at the Dentist’s Office

Sedation dentistry uses various forms and levels of medication to help patients relax during all types of dental appointments from routine examinations and cleanings to fillings, root canals, and extractions.

Types of Sedation Dentistry

Minimal Sedation
Minimal sedation uses nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to relax the patient. Administered in the dentist’s chair, inhaled nitrous oxide helps a patient feel calm while allowing them to remain completely conscious and awake. Patients will be able to communicate and will remember the appointment.

Moderate Sedation
Moderate sedation is the most commonly used form of sedation dentistry. Moderate sedation is typically achieved with a prescription oral sedative (like Valium) that’s taken prior to the patient’s appointment. Patients become deeply relaxed, might not be able to speak clearly, and won’t remember much of the appointment.

Deep Sedation and General Anesthesia
Patients are either near unconscious or completely under. These forms of sedation dentistry are administered by an anesthesiologist with intravenous (IV) mediations and are usually reserved for lengthy, invasive procedures, such as having multiple teeth extracted.

Schedule a Free Sedation Dentistry Appointment in La Mesa

At Cardinal Dental in La Mesa, we offer patients free oral sedation dental appointments. We want all of our patients to get the dental care they need to safeguard the health of their teeth or to be able to get the smile they’ve always wanted — without stress or fear. When you schedule a sedation dentistry appointment, Dr. Paul Michels will call in a prescription sedative for you to take prior to your appointment at no extra charge.

We do ask that all sedation dentistry patients arrange transportation to and from their appointments, as traveling alone is not recommended for a patient who has been sedated.

To find out whether sedation dentistry is right for you or to schedule your next dental appointment, contact our La Mesa dental clinic today.

It’s a New Year, Why Not Resolve to Get a Better Smile?

It’s a New Year, Why Not Resolve to Get a Better Smile? 

It’s a New Year, Why Not Resolve to Get a Better Smile?

It’s January, so naturally, fitness gyms are packed and diet plans are selling like low-calorie hotcakes. If you’ve ever set a New Year’s resolution and failed to keep it, then you know how tough it can be to make real lifestyle changes. Instead of making promises to yourself that you won’t keep in 2020, why not resolve, this year, to of course try to live healthier, stick with a solid dental care routine, and to finally get the smile you’ve always dreamed of?

The best part of setting a resolution to get the smile of your dreams is that you won’t have to do it alone! Dr. Paul Michels at Cardinal Dental in La Mesa will be there with you every step of the way.

How to Get Your Best Smile

Start with Your Health

Nutrition and good oral hygiene are the foundation of an attractive smile. A well-rounded diet comprised of whole foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and nuts contain nutrients that actually help fight the bacteria in your mouth. It’s also important to make sure you get enough calcium in your diet to ensure the mineral structure of your teeth stays strong.

Eating healthier doesn’t just support your smile physically, it’ll also help you feel better and more energized, in general, which will surely put a genuine smile on your face.

In addition to a healthy diet, remember to brush and floss at least twice each day and be sure to schedule regular exams and cleanings with our dentist.

Schedule a Smile Consultation

When it comes to smiling, nothing should prevent you from feeling confident when you’re feeling happy, but common cosmetic concerns such as crooked, chipped, broken, gapped, missing, misshapen, or discolored teeth often do. If you have cosmetic concerns regarding your smile’s appearance that keep you from smiling freely, Dr. Michels can help you address and correct them.

Depending on your individual concerns, Dr. Michels will work with you to determine the best course of treatment, which might include:

  • Professional ZOOM Whitening Treatments
  • Clear Orthodontics
  • Veneers
  • Crowns
  • Dental Bonding
  • Dental Implants or Bridges
  • Amalgam Filling Replacement

At Cardinal Dental, we offer a comprehensive menu of both general and cosmetic dentistry services that can help you get the smile of your dreams, so that you can feel free to smile with confidence.


Schedule a New Smile Appointment Today

If you’re ready to start the new year and the new decade with a brand-new smile, then we encourage you to contact Cardinal Dental to schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul Michels. During your consultation, our dentist will examine your teeth and discuss your smile goals with you to get a better understanding of the exact aspects of your smile that you would like to improve. Our dentist will then work with you to determine the best cosmetic dentistry options to help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted.

Experience the Power of Smiling to Improve Your Health and Happiness

Experience the Power of Smiling to Improve Your Health and Happiness

Experience the Power of Smiling to Improve Your Health and Happiness

People tend to think of smiling as a sort of symptom of happiness, but the neuromuscular connection between the muscles that make us smile and our brains is actually much stronger than that. In fact, the simple act of smiling — whether you do so while feeling happy or not — has the power to affect your entire being, making you feel happier, improving your health, and also making those around you feel great, too!

6 Ways Smiling Is Good for Your Mood, Health, and Relationships

1. Physically Smiling Leads to Emotional Happiness
When a person smiles, the nerves and muscles in your face tell the brain that they’re smiling. In turn, the brain releases serotonin, which is a feel-good hormone that makes you feel happier. Several studies have proven that smiling makes you feel happy, rather than happiness making you smile.

2. Smiling for Pain Relief
The same serotonin that makes you feel emotionally happy and content also works as a natural pain reliever, helping those who smile to experience less physical pain.

3. Smiling Can Lower Stress and Boost Mood
Smiling individuals produce less of the stress-inducing hormone, cortisone, than those who don’t smile through stressful situations. Uplifted by the smile-induced release of serotonin, smiling people are also able to maintain a better mood when faced with stressful circumstances.

4. Smiling Makes You More Attractive
Smiling makes you more attractive. Smiling is a powerful tool in a person’s arsenal of body language. Whether you intend to become more attractive by smiling or not, you’re going to be perceived as more attractive when you smile.

5. Smiling Makes You Look Younger
Studies have found that individuals are perceived as younger when they smile, compared to wearing neutral or negative expressions. Simply smiling could shave years off your face.

6. Easy Way to Make Others Feel Good
Smiles are contagious. Similar to the way that yawning causes people near you to yawn when you yawn, when you smile, others can’t help but smile, too. Entering the world with a happy expression will help others enjoy the benefits of smiling, too.

Get the Smile That You’ve Always Wanted to Show Off

If you’ve been covering up your smile or not smiling as frequently as you would like, we welcome you to schedule a smile makeover consultation with Dr. Paul Michels at Cardinal Dental in La Mesa. During your consultation, Dr. Michels will discuss your goals and the best treatments options from our completely list of cosmetic dentistry services. We can help you get a smile that you can’t wait to show off!

How to Take Care of Dental Implants

How to Take Care of Dental Implants

How to Take Care of Dental Implants


Dental implants have become one of the most commonly and highly recommended methods for replacing missing teeth because, once in place, they’re the most comfortable and natural-feeling type of replacement. Dental implant success depends greatly on good oral hygiene before, during, and after placement. Caring for your dental implants properly will ensure they can last you a lifetime.

Why It’s Important to Take Good Care of Your Dental Implants


As with natural teeth, preventing gum infection (periodontal disease) around the tooth is essential to its preservation. Excessive bacteria or an infection could lead to bone loss around your dental implant. Lost bone in the region of an implant can reverse the osseointegration (fusion to the jaw bone) of your dental implant, causing it to loosen and disconnect from the jaw bone.

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Dental Implants


Dental implants aren’t exactly the same as natural teeth; they’re on an artificial root and have a composite crown, but they’re the closest thing you can get to a natural tooth. Although they’re not natural teeth, they are designed to be a close replacement that are fairly simple to care for. As a result, taking care of your dental implants isn’t much different from caring for your regular teeth.


Regular Brushing and Flossing Are Essential


You should brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled tooth brush. We also recommend using a minimally abrasive toothpaste. (Dr. Michels can provide you with a few recommendations.) When you brush, be sure to brush under and around your implant’s crown. Holding your toothbrush so its bristles are at a 45-degree angle to your gums will help you get into hard-to-reach places.
You should also floss at least twice daily. We recommend using floss designed specifically for dental implants. We’ll provide you with a few recommendations and will show you how best to floss around your dental implant.
To keep bacteria at bay, feel free to add an antibacterial mouth rinse to your daily routine, as well.


Maintain Regular Appointments for Dental Exams and Cleaning


Dental implants gather plaque, calculus, and tartar just like your natural, enamel-covered teeth. Regularly scheduled professional cleanings are essential to the maintenance of your dental implants, in addition to your natural teeth. During your appointment, our dental hygienist might use special tools to clean around your dental implant.

What to Do When Regular Brushing and Flossing Aren’t Enough


If you’re having a difficult time keeping your dental implant adequately clean, we can provide you with a nylon-coated interdental brush and special wax-free dental tape that will help you keep your dental implant and surrounding gums squeaky-clean. We might also recommend using a special oral irrigator (water flosser). These tools are a great investment to make toward the preservation of your dental implant, as the water floss can reach places regular floss can’t.

If you have additional questions about your dental implants, we welcome you to contact Cardinal Dental in La Mesa today!

Healthy Smile, Happy Body: The Connection Between Oral Health and Total Wellness

Healthy Smile, Happy Body: The Connection Between Oral Health and Total Wellness

Healthy Smile, Happy Body: The Connection Between Oral Health and Total Wellness


If you’ve ever been to the dentist, then you already know flossing and brushing your teeth regularly is essential to keeping your mouth, teeth, and gums healthy. It’ll also help you hold onto your natural teeth well into old age. Recently, lots of research has come out revealing a strong connection between good oral hygiene and overall, systemic health. It now seems that brushing, flossing, and visiting the dentist regularly will not only keep your smile bright and healthy, but also your whole body.

Correlation between Disease and Oral Health


A clear link exists between patients with periodontal (gum) disease or periodontitis (severe gum disease) and certain systemic conditions (diseases that affect the entire body or an entire system within the body), such as:

  • Cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, endocarditis)
  • Bacterial pneumonia
  • Diabetes
  • Complications with pregnancy and birth (low birth weight and premature birth)

What Is Periodontal Disease?


Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection of the gums, which can occur due to poor oral hygiene or other health concerns. Periodontitis is an advanced, severe form of periodontal disease. Periodontal disease develops when plaque and tartar build up along the gum line. This buildup creates moist pockets in which harmful bacteria thrive, infecting the gums.

Patients who have periodontal disease often experience the following symptoms:

  • Their gums bleed after brushing or flossing
  • Receding gums or gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Persistently bad breath
  • Swollen, tender, or unusually red gums
  • Shifting bite or alignment of teeth

How Is Periodontal Disease Connected to Systemic Health?


Patients with the above-mentioned conditions are more likely to have periodontal disease. More research is needed to determine the exact connection between periodontal disease and systemic health problems. It’s not yet clear whether periodontal disease increases the risk of these conditions or if systemic illnesses make people more susceptible to periodontal disease.

Many doctors believe that the bacterial buildup and subsequent inflammation associated with periodontal disease is to blame. It’s possible for bacteria from the mouth to enter the bloodstream and travel to different parts of the body. As a result, a bacterial infection of the gums can spread, causing inflammation and harming other organs.

Schedule a Cleaning and Exam Today


Regular check ups are essential to preventing and detecting periodontal disease early. Contact Cardinal Dental to schedule an appointment in La Mesa today.

To Pull or Not to Pull? That’s Today’s Question

To Pull or Not to Pull? That’s Today’s Question

To Pull or Not to Pull? That’s Today’s Question

If you have a cracked tooth or significant decay, you might be faced with choosing between a tooth extraction or root canal procedure to save the tooth. This can be a difficult choice to make, and many people often look to the easiest, least expensive option, which is extraction.

Yes, pulling a tooth costs less than a root canal and it’s the fastest treatment, but it is really the best choice?

Benefits of Saving a Tooth

Consider these benefits of preserving natural teeth, before deciding to have a tooth extracted:

  • Natural teeth are strongest.
  • Surrounding teeth will naturally shift into the space left by your pulled tooth, changing bite and appearance.
  • Without adequate pressure from teeth, the jaw bone deteriorates. This leads to bone loss and can alter a person’s appearance over time.
  • Saving your tooth means you won’t have to deal with an empty space in your mouth. Depending on which tooth is affected, losing it could mean a significant change to your appearance.
  • Avoid potential side effects and complications of a pulled tooth, such as dry socket and lingering pain.
  • You might require additional dental visits to consider replacing your pulled tooth.

Options after Having a Tooth Pulled

Even if you prefer a root canal to having your tooth pulled, some teeth are so damaged that they cannot be saved. If you must have a tooth extraction, there are options for replacing the tooth. These include:

  • Flipper – A flipper is a small mouth piece that serves as more of a cosmetic replacement than a functional one — especially when filling in the gap of only a single missing tooth.
  • Dental Bridge – A dental bridge is a replacement tooth that fits in the gap left by your pulled tooth. A bridge is a permanent dental appliance, as it is affixed to nearby teeth. Installation requires neighboring teeth to be shaved down so that the bridge can be fitted and affixed accordingly.
  • Dental Implant and Crown – A dental implant is the most effective replacement for a pulled tooth. A dental implant features a metal post, which is installed and fused to the patient’s jaw bone. The metal post mimics a patient’s natural tooth root. Once the post is in place, a crown is then fixed to the post to replace the missing tooth. Dental implants are permanent, durable, and prevent jaw bone deterioration.

Schedule a Consultation Today

If you’ve been experiencing tooth pain or need advice regarding a compromised tooth, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at Cardinal Dental. We’ll discuss your treatment options and help you determine the best plan for you. Contact our office today!

Bruxism: Are Your Teeth Working Overtime, While You Sleep?

Bruxism: Are Your Teeth Working Overtime, While You Sleep?

Bruxism: Are Your Teeth Working Overtime, While You Sleep?

Even if you practice stellar oral hygiene while you’re awake, brushing and flossing like a superstar, your teeth could still be at risk of damage in the night.

The Teeth Thief That Comes in the Night — It’s Not the Tooth Fairy

Sleep bruxism (not awake bruxism, which occurs during waking hours) is a condition that causes individuals to grind their teeth and clench their jaws, while they doze, otherwise, peacefully. As teeth grind and press against each other, their enamel and structure wear down. Individuals with night bruxism wind up with several hours of extra wear and tear on their teeth every time they fall asleep.

This extra wear can lead to a whole host of long-term consequences, such as:

  • Degradation of teeth
  • Cracks and fractures
  • Extreme sensitivity to temperature and pressure
  • Chronic pain
  • Damage to artificial teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • Damage to the temporomandibular joints (TMJ)

What Causes Night Bruxism?

The most common cause of night bruxism is stress, but the exact causes or reasons people develop bruxism aren’t entirely understood. For example, not everyone who’s stressed out grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw at night. Bruxism seems to be caused by combination of factors which include stress, but can also be aggravated by having an abnormal bite or a sleep disorder. Bruxism also seems to have a genetic component, as it tends to run in families.

Signs and Symptoms of Night Bruxism

If you don’t realize you’re suffering from night bruxism, no one will blame you. After all, you are asleep, far away in dreamland, when it occurs. Night bruxism, however, does cause some signs and symptoms that you might notice when you’re awake. These include:

  • Waking up with tender, sore, or stiff jaw muscles
  • Toothache or earache-like symptoms
  • Tension headaches
  • Odd patterns of wear and tear on teeth

What You Can Do to Relieve Bruxism

Taking measures to relieve stress can help reduce night bruxism. Get plenty of exercise, use a warm compress to relax your jaw muscles before bed, meditate, go for walks, or relax in the bath.

Schedule a Teeth Grinding Consultation with Cardinal Dental

If you suspect your teeth are staying up after you’ve gone to bed early, we recommend scheduling an appointment with Cardinal Dental. Our dentist can provide you with solutions, like a custom-fitted mouth guard, to reduce the damaging consequences of nighttime grinding. Plus, we can help you with treatments to restore extensive damage and reduce any extra sensitivity that has occurred due to grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw at night. For more information about bruxism or to schedule an appointment, we welcome you to contact our office today.

You Might Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed If…

You Might Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed If…

You Might Need Your Wisdom Teeth Removed If…

A third set of molars, wisdom teeth develop and grow later in life, between the seventeen and twenty-five. Although some people’s wisdom teeth come in without a problem, others do not have enough room in their mouths.

You might need your wisdom teeth out, if you experience any of the following signs. Luckily, extracted wisdom teeth won’t leave you looking like one of Jeff Foxworthy’s famed rednecks.

Common Signs You Need Your Wisdom Teeth Taken Out

Impacted Teeth

When there’s not enough room for development. Wisdom teeth grow at an angle, damaging neighboring molars and leading to painful symptoms.

Pain and Irritation

Wisdom teeth sometimes cause pain and irritation. A dentist can evaluate the molars to determine if removal is necessary.

Difficulty Eating

Food easily sticks between wisdom teeth and gums. Since these molars are deep in the mouth, they are difficult to keep clean.

Cyst Formation

If you develop a cyst (a pocket of fluid in the gums) around a wisdom tooth, it can lead to bone degeneration. You might need to have the cyst and tooth removed to prevent further complications.

Not Enough Space

When wisdom teeth try to come in without enough space, they shift, move, and push existing teeth closer together. This can damage existing teeth.

Sinus Problems

You have maxillary sinuses in your upper jaw. When the upper wisdom teeth grow in and their roots develop, they can push against the sinuses in the jaw. This additional pressure can cause sinus pain, pressure, congestion, and sinus headaches.

Inflamed Gums

Sometimes when wisdom teeth erupt, they create a thick flap of gum tissue next to the tooth. Food particles easily become trapped in this excess tissue. Since the teeth are so far in the back of the mouth, they’re not easy to clean thoroughly. As a result, the gum tissues become inflamed and can harden (a condition called pericoronitis).


Difficult to clean, bacteria often causes cavities on wisdom teeth.


Preventative Removal of Wisdom Teeth

Some people live with their wisdom teeth — problem free — for their entire lives. Sometimes, however, dentists recommend the removal of wisdom teeth even if a patient has no current issues. Located at the very back of the mouth, wisdom teeth can be difficult to keep clean and can also crowd the mouth, leaving a patient susceptible to future tooth decay or other issues. Removing teeth while the bones are still soft is a much simpler procedure than having them extracted later in life.

To learn more about wisdom teeth or find out whether you should have yours or your child’s removed, we welcome you to schedule a consultation at Cardinal Dental.

What Are Veneers and How Do They Work?

What Are Veneers and How Do They Work?

What Are Veneers and How Do They Work? (Hint: They’re Not Made of Wood)

When you hear the word “veneer,” you might think of a decorative, thin wooden covering that’s used to cover courser, less attractive surfaces. The veneers used in dentistry are thin covers, but they’re not made of wood. (Unless a dentist was going to cover George Washington’s legendary wooden teeth. Then we might recommend a nice mahogany.)

All jokes aside, dental veneers are thin, coverings for teeth, usually made from composite resin or porcelain. They are used to change, improve, or restore the appearance of a person’s teeth and smile. Veneers are a perfect choice for patients who have cosmetic concerns or insecurities regarding the appearance of their smiles, but do not have major structural problems with their teeth (in which cases, crowns or implants might be the better choice).

So, How Do Veneers Work?

Like their wooden counterparts, dental veneers are in fact thin coverings, but they are made to resemble teeth. Veneers attach to and cover the front part of a patient’s teeth, restoring or improving their appearance. They can be used to mask discolorations, cover chips, fill spaces, and lengthen short teeth. Veneers can be placed on one or several teeth, depending on each patient’s individual smile goals. Composed of either composite resin or porcelain, veneers are custom-designed and made to complement a person’s features and neighboring teeth.

To place veneers, a dentist must first prepare the tooth for bonding. This requires the dentist to remove some of the original tooth’s enamel to accommodate a natural fit and appearance for the new veneer. A bonding solution is then painted on the tooth. When the veneer is placed, the dentist uses a special light to set the bonding material, permanently attaching the veneer to the tooth.

Although patients will have the opportunity to discuss their ideal smile with our dentist and view their veneers before placement, patients should keep in mind that getting veneers is a permanent procedure that cannot be reversed.


Caring for Your Veneers

Individuals with veneers can continue brushing and flossing as normal. Veneers can last anywhere from 10 to 20 years, when patients take care not to chomp sticky or hard foods, refrain from grinding or clenching teeth, and avoid excessive wear and tear.

Schedule a Consultation with Our Dentist

At Cardinal Dental, we proudly serve patients with comprehensive general and cosmetic dentistry services. If you are unhappy with the appearance of one or more of your teeth, feel uncomfortable smiling, or simply want to upgrade to the smile of your dreams, we welcome you to schedule a consultation with Dr. Paul Michels to discuss the best treatment option for you.

Options for Patients Who Want to Remove and Replace All of Their Teeth

Options for Patients Who Want to Remove and Replace All of Their Teeth

Options for Patients Who Want to Remove and Replace All of Their Teeth

Living with missing teeth and/or lasting oral health problems not only causes painful symptoms, but can also affect a person’s health, diet, speech, and appearance. Many of our patients who have persistent oral health concerns due to past injuries, genetics, damage, a history of poor oral hygiene, or age eventually decide that removing and replacing all of their teeth is the best way to completely restore their smiles, eliminate unpleasant symptoms, and achieve the appearance they want.

Options for Patients Replacing All of Their Teeth

Patients who wish to replace all of their teeth have fewer options than those only replacing a few teeth, but they do still have options that range in cost and vary in procedure.

Full Dentures

Full dentures are a type of dental appliance designed to look natural and fit a patient comfortably while worn throughout the day. Full dentures help patients eat and speak more normally. Though dentures are long-lasting and typically the least expensive option for replacing all of a patient’s teeth, they do have some drawbacks. Dentures can sometimes slip or move around, which can make eating certain foods less comfortable. They must be removed and cleaned thoroughly each night. Dentures also do not actively engage the jawbone, which can alter appearance as the bone deteriorates over time.

Click here to learn more about our dentures services.


Dental Implants

Dental implants consist of a post which is implanted and fused to the jawbone and an attached crown that replaces the missing tooth. Although they are more costly and require a more invasive procedure for installation, dental implants do not have the same drawbacks as dentures. They are fixed, so they do not move around like dentures. They also mimic actual teeth in the mouth, actively engaging the jawbone and preventing bone deterioration. Dental implants look, feel, and function like a patient’s natural teeth.

All-on-Four or All-on-Six

Patients can achieve the look, feel, and function of dental implants, without replacing every single tooth with an implant. With this option, the dentist mounts a permanent denture onto just four or six dental implants per top and bottom jaw. (The number of implants depends on the patient’s individual needs.) These patients will benefit from a healthy, activated jawbone in addition to a complete set of fixed teeth that function as natural teeth. This option is less expensive than a full set of implants, while more functional than full dentures.

Click here to learn more about our implant services.

Schedule Your Smile Restoration Appointment Today

If you have an incomplete smile or frequently deal with dental problems, you don’t have to suffer through the painful and sometimes embarrassing symptoms. At Cardinal Dental, we provide patients with a complete list of both general and cosmetic dentistry services designed to keep their smiles both happy and healthy. If you are missing one or several teeth, or if you are considering having your remaining teeth removed and replaced, we encourage you to schedule a consultation to discuss all of your options with our experienced dentist.