Keeping Your New Smile Bright

You have just made a very good decision and decided to have your teeth whitened. You love your new look, and your smile has not been this dazzling in years. Wherever you go, people are commenting not only on your smile, but also that you seem to look younger and more vibrant.

So how do you maintain your teeth’s sparkling new appearance?

Avoid staining beverages, if possible

One of the main causes of teeth yellowing is coffee, tea, cola soft drinks, and red wine. Changing your drinking habits to include more water and fewer harmful beverages will go a long way towards maintaining your bright smile.

If you do not want to forgo your latte, or chia tea, or glass of red wine, consider using a straw. This will help considerably minimize your teeth’s exposure to the stain-inducing beverages.

Also, follow your staining beverage with a glass of water, which will immediately reduce the staining impact. (more…)

How and Why to Look for Oral Cancer

In the public eye, cancer is most commonly associated with the breasts, lungs, skin, prostate, and other body organs. However, oral cancer is one of the most prevalent and dangerous, affecting approximately 40,000 new patients in the United Sates every year and claiming the lives of over 8,000 in the same time period. An oral cancer examination is a routine part of your regular dental exam and cleaning. If you neglect a visit, then oral cancer can go on unnoticed and become more difficult to treat by the time it’s detected.  Dedicated Cerritos oral surgeon, Dr. Shawn Hofkes, encourages everyone to periodically perform oral cancer self-examinations to reduce the risk of late detection. (more…)

Why Do We Develop Dry Mouth?

Does your mouth ever feel dry or parched? Dry mouth may seem at first like a trivial issue, but in fact, dry mouth can increase the risk of serious dental health issues. Not to mention, dry mouth can make communication difficult and lead to quite a bit of discomfort. Cerritos oral surgeon, Dr. Shawn Hofkes, explains the causes of dry mouth and what you can do to ease the issue.


The Summer Sun Can Help Protect Your Teeth

You might not realize it but while you’re soaking in the sun you’re also helping to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Sometimes called the “sunshine vitamin,” vitamin D is known as an essential component for healthy bones. However, Cerritos, CA, oral surgeon Dr. Hofkes says few people realize vitamin D is vital for oral health. (more…)

Prefer to Sleep Through Dental Cleanings?

Have you ever had someone tell you to “just calm down?” Sure, we all probably have heard those words. Yet they seem ridiculous in a state of panic. After all, wouldn’t we calm down if we could? If you fear going to the dentist or doctor, you are far from alone. Being poked, prodded, examined, and questioned makes even the most mellow person somewhat uneasy. However, for some people, the feelings go far beyond a little nervousness. Some people are so phobic about dental appointments that they avoid going to the dentist altogether.  Cerritos, CA dentist, Dr. Hofkes offers intravenous sedation dentistry to patients who are particularly anxious or require dental surgery. We won’t tell you to calm down, but we can certainly help you feel calm.

Dental Phobia Explained

Phobias and anxieties are words which are often interchangeable. The definition of a dental phobia is an irrational anxiety or fear which peaks when a patient has to go to the dentist. Some patients can’t stand the sounds, sights and smells of a dental office. Many people are concerned that their appointment will lead to discomfort. Whether you’ve had a bad experience in the past, or your fears are based on an active imagination, there’s no reason to avoid going to the dentist if you know that you’ll be sleeping calmly through your entire appointment. (more…)

Have you Been Spreading Around Cavities?


Cavities are bacterial infections. Therefore, it makes perfect sense that they are contagious…sort of. No, if you kiss someone with a cavity, you won’t have an instant cavity yourself. However, the germs which cause tooth decay are spread from person to person, usually when you are very young. A mere 1% of the population is immune to Streptococcus mutans (the bacteria which cause cavities). If you are a parent who has ever shared a spoon or cup with your child, you could have inadvertently exposed them to the germs. Dr. Hofkes in Cerritos, CA wonders if changing certain parenting habits can lower tooth decay rates in the future, or if oral hygiene is still the only way to avoid cavities.

Missed School

Liliana Rozo, D.D.S., assistant professor at the University of Louisville School of Dentistry, says that cavities have a detrimental impact on a young person’s ability to perform well in school. Toothaches from severe untreated cavities are a known cause of a lower quality of life for kids and many missed school days. Discomfort is one issue, but embarrassment over visually damaged/discolored teeth and obvious metal fillings compound the troubles of children with extensive decay. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends that parents secure a dentist for their little ones as soon as their first tooth erupts.                (more…)

Learn about Zirconia Dental Crowns

A dental crown is considered a restoration. Designed to completely surround a damaged tooth or dental implant, dental crowns are affixed to the remaining tooth structure or titanium post using dental cement. Over the years, a large variety of materials have been used for fabricating dental crowns. Some materials proved more successful than others, but improvements and innovations continue all the time. Dr. Hofkes in Cerritos, CA  will tell you about one of your options: zirconia crowns.

The Benefits of Zirconia

Zirconia distinguishes itself as a dental material because of unprecedented strength. Obviously, this is a major benefit when considering a dental restoration. Your teeth weather plenty of wear and tear. When you go through a dental crown procedure, you want the restoration to last. Zirconia is made from an oxide of a metal. The look of zirconia gives the material an aesthetic look of being “metal-free” even if it technically is not. Once placed, a color-matched Zirconia crown is polished or glazed to give a natural, translucent, tooth-like appearance. The most cosmetically appealing method is to layer Zirconia with porcelain.

Disadvantages of Zirconia (more…)

Correcting Tied Tongues and Gaps in Teeth

Some dentists focus their practice of providing basic preventive and restorative dental care, potentially adding a few cosmetic services to their list. Dr. Hofkes in Cerritos, CA is a surgery specialist, but still provides a comprehensive list of dental services ranging from corrective to cosmetic. Common oral surgeries include removal of wisdom teeth, biopsies to remove suspicious spots, tumors, or cysts, and dental implant placement. Less common are frenectomies which address tongues that are tied, or teeth that are significantly spread apart due to excess tissue.

Maxillary and Frenectomies

While most of the oral surgeries we listed probably sound familiar, you may not know as much about maxillary and lingual frenectomies unless you’ve had one. Frenums are attachments of gingival tissue bands with muscle. You can take stock of the two you have in your mouth as you read this. Underneath your tongue and between your inner lip and upper front teeth you have these flaps of skin. In some people, frenums are too big, thick, or poorly placed. This means an obstruction of normal function which causes dental issues such as a large gap between the front upper teeth (clinically known as a diastema) or a tied tongue. Surgical treatment easily resolves these issues in a fairly simple outpatient procedure. The tongue surgery is called a lingual frenectomy and the procedure to help close the gap in upper teeth is called a maxillary labial frenectomy.

Sedation for Oral Surgery (more…)

The Debate over Silver Amalgam Fillings

For years, experts have heatedly discussed the use of silver amalgam dental fillings. Somewhat misleadingly named, silver amalgam contains far more mercury than it does silver, and mercury has been linked to a number of serious health concerns. The issue is far from settled, and the debate will most likely continue to rage for years. Fortunately, Dr. Shawn Hofkes offers mercury-free white fillings at his Cerritos, CA practice. Whether or not silver amalgam actually does pose significant health risks, tooth-colored composite fillings offer a number of cosmetic advantages. Why not err on the side of caution and choose fillings that will enhance your smile – and possibly protect your health? (more…)