3/30/2018 8:00:00 AM | Anonymous

There may come a time when you need to restore a broken, cracked, or weakened tooth. As much you expect your teeth to last forever, tooth decay and dental trauma can cause significant complications for your smile.

When you have a tooth that is no longer functional on its own, consider restorative procedures. Durable and beautiful prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, dentures, and dental implants are popular options for improving the strength and stability of your teeth.

Particularly popular are dental implants, which consist of titanium screws that are placed within the jawbone. Although you might believe that only a dental crown is necessary, an implant can significantly improve both health and function.

Why an Implant May Be Necessary

The crown of your tooth is the visible portion of the gum line. It’s what you brush and floss on a daily basis, and it’s what makes up your smile. Although much attention is paid to the crowns of your teeth, much of your dentition is beneath the gums.

The roots of your teeth keep your crowns in place and supply them with necessary nutrients. When these are damaged, the is also vulnerable. Without healthy tooth roots, the crowns of your teeth are essentially useless.

A dental implant replaces the natural root of your tooth, increasing strength and functionality. Once the implant heals, a ceramic crown can be secured, creating a comprehensive replica of your natural tooth.

The implant and crown work together to restore the health of your smile. Without the dental implant, you may be putting yourself at risk for resorption, where jaw bone volume starts to diminish.

Life After Dental Implant Placement

Receiving dental implants may sound like a complicated treatment, but the procedure is safe and results in a healthy smile. Once your implants have healed and restorations are placed, you can expect your new restorations to act just like your natural teeth. You can eat and drink all of your favorite foods and practice the same oral hygiene techniques as you normally would.

The goal of dental implant treatment is to restore your smile to complete health. Dentition that is fully functional will improve your quality of life and ensure that you take full advantage of a healthy set of teeth.

Call Today to Learn More!

For more information about dental implants, contact our office and schedule an appointment with Dr. Dowd in Pleasant Hill today!

2/16/2018 8:58:00 AM | Anonymous

At the office of Kevin T. Dowd, DDS, we focus on providing our patients with quality dental care that benefits them holistically. In order to better serve our patients of Contra Costa County, we provide only composite resin fillings to protect our patients from the mercury found in traditional amalgam fillings. With the county’s current ban, we too are focused on keeping our community healthy and smiling. Below are some benefits of composite resin fillings compared to amalgam.

Aesthetically Pleasing

Traditional metal fillings are noticeable in the smile. Like porcelain, composite resin fillings have the look and feel like natural teeth, while the shade of the material can be matched to the coloring of your existing teeth. If you have a chip or a filling in the front or visible parts of your smile, white fillings offer a discreet treatment that restores aesthetics. This versatility allows for composite fillings to be used to treat chipped, broken, or worn teeth, not just for cavities and decay.

Retaining Healthy Tooth Enamel

When receiving a metal filling, more of the tooth structure must be removed to properly bond the restoration. Composite resin fillings spare the additional preparation by removing less structure than needed for traditional fillings. White fillings provide further support to the tooth structure by chemically bonding to the enamel. This may require more time in the chair and additional visits to ensure proper coloring and placement.


A small percentage of patients are allergic to the mercury found in amalgam fillings. Mercury can be a highly toxic chemical and is harmful to patients. Metal fillings can exude a low level of mercury vapor, and over time this can be detrimental to overall health.

Composite resin fillings allow patients a healthier alternative to amalgam fillings. Made from a mixture of plastics and glass materials, tooth-colored fillings are safer for those with known metal allergies. Although they do not last as long as metal fillings, they offer long-lasting health benefits that keep the smile mercury free.

Schedule Your Appointment in Pleasant Hill Today!

Composite fillings offer natural looking and healthier alternative to metal fillings. If you are interested in learning more about composite resin filings in Pleasant Hill and the surrounding communities throughout Contra Costa County, contact the office of Kevin T. Dowd, DDS in today for more information about our aesthetically pleasing restorations. 

5/9/2016 12:00:00 PM | Anonymous

Caused by the obstruction of the airways while asleep, sleepapnea affects countless individuals across the country. While the cause of this condition varies by patient, many are often recommended continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy as a means of treatment.

While considered the gold standard by most physicians, CPAP therapy can be difficult to adjust to, with many patients often choosing non-compliance over a better night’s rest. To help tackle non-compliance, oral appliances have become a popular method of treating mild to moderate cases of sleep apnea.

In addition to eliminating the machine component of treatment, there are several unique advantages of sleep apnea oral appliances, including:

Tailored to Your Needs: Every case of sleep apnea is unique. While CPAP is often considered blanket treatment for all forms of sleep apnea, oral appliances are tailored to comprehensively address the cause of each individual’s sleep apnea.

Custom Fit Appliances: Similar to other night guards, sleep apnea devices are created using custom impressions of your dentition, resulting in a comfortable fit and effective treatment. As the appliances are tailored to the patients’ smile, individuals find themselves able to comfortably sleep with the appliance in place, improving treatment compliance.

Easy Travel: For individuals that are constantly traveling, CPAP machines can be difficult to fit into a carry on. As these machines can also be fairly expensive, purchasing multiple machines for different locations is often not a feasible option. Oral appliances are similar in size to orthodontic retainers or bruxism mouth guards, making them easy to slip into a container and travel with.

Silent Care: CPAP machines are notorious for making noise when in use, making it difficult for light sleepers to enjoy a good night’s rest. As oral appliances are silent, many unable to tolerate the noise associated with CPAP find themselves able to enjoy undisrupted sleep with this appliance.

Easy Maintenance: With multiple tubes and masks, cleaning CPAP machines can become a hassle for busy patients. Cleaning sleep apnea devices is a simple, 15 minute soaking process that can be easily integrated into a daily hygiene routine.

In Pleasant Hill, Dr. Kevin T. Dowd and his team work closely with local sleep specialists and other medical professionals to find the right sleep apnea solution for each patient. For more information about using oral appliances as an alternative to CPAP therapy, contact our Pleasant Hill dentist today. 

2/1/2016 12:00:00 PM | Anonymous

Braces are often considered a hallmark of childhood dental care. However, as patients age many begin to notice changes in the alignment of their smile. While there is no single factor that can be blamed for orthodontic relapse, there are patient behaviors as well as developmental changes that can negate orthodontic treatment.

Some of these factors include:

Failure to Follow a Post-Treatment Plan: One of the most common causes of relapse is the failure to maintain follow-up treatment plan recommended by your orthodontist. Wearing a retainer post-treatment is critical to keeping the teeth in their new position as it reinforces the new alignment.

Wisdom Teeth: Since the wisdom teeth are the last to grow, many patients undergo orthodontic treatment before their wisdom teeth have emerged. If these third molars are not able to breach through the gums and become trapped in the jaw, they may develop incorrectly and become impacted. As a result, the neighboring teeth may be pushed out of alignment as the wisdom tooth grow, negating any prior orthodontic or alignment therapy.

Bone Adaptation: Successful orthodontic therapy requires the permanent adjustment of the tooth in relation to its position in the supportive bone. Repositioning the tooth too quickly or failing to allow the bone to reintegrate the tooth in the new position can encourage future relapse.

Failing the Eliminate the Original Cause: If orthodontic misalignment is the result of a poor oral habit such as mouth breathing or thumb sucking, the cause of misalignment must be addressed in order for treatment to be successful.

Development of Negative Habits: As we age, we often develop additional oral habits which can play a significant role in the relapse of an orthodontia-treated smile. The development of bruxism, clenching, or even nail biting as a response to stressful scenarios can cause the bite to become misaligned, leading to the need for eventual re-treatment.

Orthodontic Re-Treatment in Contra Costa County
At the Pleasant Hill practice of Dr. Kevin Dowd, our team is committed to helping patients achieve optimal oral health and aesthetics. For patients that have noticed their teeth reverting to their original position following orthodontic treatment, our Pleasant Hill dentist offer Realine® as a way to regain dental symmetry. For more information about this re-treatment program, contact our practice today to schedule your consultation.


1/18/2016 4:48:00 PM | Anonymous

While often underestimated, the temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, plays a significant role in a number of daily functions. From enabling chewing, swallowing and smiling to even to facilitating breathing, the TMJ is an incredibly important part of your anatomy. As a result, temporomandibular joint dysfunction, known as TMD, can significantly impact an individual’s ability to perform those routine and necessary functions.

What is TMD?
TMD is a fairly broad term used to describe a condition affecting the functionality of the jaw joint. Normally, the mandible (jaw) is able to move via a set of condyles which glide along sockets located on the skull. Between the socket and condyle is a soft tissue disc, which ensures smooth movement. However, when the disc becomes dislodged or worn, this gliding motion can be extremely painful, causing movement limitation and affecting the individual’s ability to effectively speak, chew, swallow, and even make facial expressions.

The Causes of TMD
While there is no specific cause of TMD, there are a number of factors that can increase the likelihood of developing a TMD as well as pre-existing conditions that can lead to TMD. These include:
  • Autoimmune Diseases or Infections
  • Trauma to the area
  • Dental procedures or instances of prolonged mouth opening
  • Arthritis
  • Genetic and environmental factors

Interestingly, studies on the prevalence of the TMD have indicated that these conditions were more common among women in their childbearing years, suggesting that hormones may play a role in the development of the condition.

Treating TMD
When it comes to alleviating the pain caused by TMD, night guards have also been shown to be highly effective and non-invasive. Stabilization splints act as a barrier between the upper and lower dental arches. This allows the jaw to rest in a neutral position, preventing muscle spasms as well as bruxism from occurring.

To determine the best stabilization splint for your case of TMD, in-depth images of the patient’s dentition and jaw are taken to determine the best type of oral appliance for your case of TMD. Advanced impressions are then taken to create the splint. Once the splint has been made, final adjustments are made and patients are free to take their oral appliance home with them. At our Pleasant Hill dental office, we also schedule follow up appointments to ensure proper splint use and function.

Additionally, there are a number of home remedies that patients can use to help minimize pain and inflammation. Some of these self-care practices include avoiding hard, crunchy, or sticky foods, applying ice packs, avoiding extreme jaw motion, practicing stress relief and relaxation techniques, as well as trying gentle stretches to help increase and stabilize jaw movement.

Facing TMD Pain? Contact Dr. Dowd today!

At our Pleasant Hill dental office, family dentist Dr. Dowd offers night guards as a way to alleviate jaw pain caused by TMD. For more information about treating this jaw condition, contact our team today.  

1/12/2016 7:41:00 AM | Anonymous

Of all available dental procedures, root canals are often among the least desired and most avoided treatments. However, endodontics are sometimes necessary in order to save an infected tooth from extraction.

How does a Tooth Become Infected?
Infections occur when bacteria enters the inner cavity of the tooth through an exterior crack, chip, or fracture. As bacteria multiply they begin to destroy the tissue within the tooth, known as the dentin, as well as attack the nerve of the tooth. If left untreated the tooth infection can escalate into an abscess, during which the nerve dies and the bacteria spreads to the bone, creating a pocket of dead tissue.

What are the Consequences of an Untreated Infection?
In addition to being incredibly painful, neglecting treatment for a tooth infection or abscess can have serious implications for your overall health. In certain rare cases, the infection that caused the abscess can spread to other parts of the body, putting vital organs at risk of damage.

How Do Root Canals Treat Tooth Infections?
Given the comprehensive nature of the procedure, root canals are the most effective method of treating tooth infections. During the endodontic procedure, a small opening is made in the top of the tooth. Special tools are then used to remove the dead tissue and nerve. The inner cavity and nerve canals are then cleaned, shaped, disinfected, and filled with a sealer material. Patients return at a later date to receive their final restoration.

What Can I Expect During My Root Canal?
If there is one thing that potential endodontic patients should understand, it is that root canal treatment itself is not a particularly uncomfortable procedure. Often, individuals tend to be nervous about the procedure, thinking that it is incredibly unpleasant. In actuality, the side effects of the tooth infection or abscess are often more unpleasant than the procedure. Additionally, patients are fully anesthetized during the root canal treatment, ensuring only minimal discomfort during their procedure.

What Symptoms Should I Look Out For?
In addition to severe toothache, tooth infections can also cause dental sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, sensitivity to the pressure of chewing or biting, fever, facial swelling near the infected tooth, and a bad taste or smell. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is recommended that you schedule a visit with your dentist immediately.

Endodontics in Pleasant Hill

While routine cleanings and an effective oral hygiene routine can help minimize risk of developing a tooth infection, a root canal may be needed into order to protect the health and function of a patient’s smile.  At the family-friendly dental office of Dr. Kevin T. Dowd, our team is dedicated to helping patients improve the health of their smiles. Contact Dr. Dowd today to learn more about root canals in Pleasant Hill. 

9/21/2015 4:38:00 PM | Anonymous

We're excited to announce the official launch of our Kevin T. Dowd, DDS. blog.

We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.

We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.

If you would like to stay up to date on the latest from Kevin T. Dowd, DDS, simply click the RSS “Subscribe to feed” link located on our website and subscribe. Our subscribers will be updated when we make a new blog post.

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