Ask the Dentist is a question-and-answer service hosted by Dr. Carey Penrod, DDS.  Submit your question about oral health, dental procedures, cosmetic dentistry, or anything related to dentistry and Dr. Penrod will answer!  (Be sure to read the Ask the Dentist Terms of Service.)

Do I need to get my wisdom teeth removed?


Although some people never get any wisdom teeth at all, those who do often experience problems with them. If you visit your our office and you still have your wisdom teeth, chances are that our dentist will recommend removing them.

Why do we even have wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are thought to be leftovers from an early stage of evolution. Regular dental care usually involves extracting wisdom teeth since there is no advantage to having them. Getting rid of wisdom teeth prevents pain, cysts, crowding of neighboring teeth, infections, and other complications that they usually cause.

Visit our office to confirm if you need wisdom teeth removed and we will refer you to one of our great oral surgeons!

What are sealants?

A sealant is a protective coating that can help protect your back teeth. It’s important to still brush and floss daily, but sealants can help to prevent cavities. Sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. According to the Center for Disease Control, “school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants.”

young boy in chair with bib and instruments


Who should get sealants?

Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start!

Call us today to see if sealants are right for you and your family!

To learn more about sealants click here:

When should you wear a mouthguard?

Mouth-Guards-1080x627Mouthguards should be a standard part of your athletic uniform! Collision and contact sports are at a higher-risk for mouth injuries, but dental injuries can also happen in non-contact sports.

Mouthguards usually only cover the upper teeth. Your bottom teeth are generally protected since they are further back. Your dentist can make a custom-made mouthguard that is comfortable and a perfect fit for you. Mouthguards can also work with braces and will help protect the cheek, gums, and lips along with the teeth.

To learn more about mouthguard care and replacement give us a call or click here:

What does a cavity feel like?

young adult girl in dental chairSometimes people feel like they have a cavity when they don’t, and others may have cavities and not even know it! In the earliest stages of a cavity, there may be no symptoms. There are no nerves in your tooth’s enamel, so when the decay is in that layer, it’s likely that you won’t feel a thing. Once the decay has progressed enough to reach the softer tissues inside the tooth, you might experience some symptoms.

  • Your teeth might feel sensitive
  • You might feel some pain after eating sweets, hot foods or cold foods. The pain might be fairly mild or it might be sharp and intense.
  • You may feel pain when you bite down
  • Cavities sometimes create visible holes in the teeth.
  • Cavities may create stains that are black, brown or white on the surface of the tooth.

What should you do if you think you have a cavity? See your dentist! Although cavities can be reversed in the early stages, by the time you are feeling discomfort or pain, only a dentist can treat them. An x-ray will be taken to determine how the cavity has progressed into the tooth. Depending on how severe the cavity is, you might need a filling to fix it. If the decay is very severe, the dentist might replace the tooth with a crown or perform a root canal.

Even if you’re not sure if you have a cavity, regular professional cleaning and dental visits are important. As with many conditions, when it comes to cavities, taking preventative steps is a lot easier than treating the problem down the road.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month

Has it been a while since your kids have visited our office? February is National Children’s Dental Health Month! The theme this year from the American Dental Association and Crest + Oral-B is “Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste and clean between your teeth for a healthy smile!!” Remember, as soon as two teeth are touching you should be cleaning between your child’s teeth. Come see us, let’s work together to keep your child’s mouth healthy!


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How do I care for my teeth when I’m sick?

1.Choose sugar-free cough drops

2. Swish and spit after vomiting to wash the acid off. Wait about 30 minutes to brush your teeth so you aren’t brushing the acid around.

3. Drink lots of water to stay hydrated. If you must reach for tea or sports drinks for electrolytes try to choose sugar free.

Sad woman with tissue and medicines lying on bed

 Read more at:

Is sparkling water bad for my teeth?

1.29 sparkling waterPlain fluoridated water is still the best option, but sparkling is far better than soda or sugary drinks.

Sparkling waters don’t damage your enamel the way sugary drinks do. You should be careful, however, not to drink too much citrus sparkling water. Citrus flavors have a lot more acid which can eventually breakdown your enamel. The ADA recommends not sipping on sparkling waters throughout the day but instead trying to finish it off during mealtime.

Read more here: Mouth Healthy – The Truth about Sparkling Water

Is It Okay for My Child to Drink Water with Fluoride?


Yes! It’s one of the best ways to prevent cavities for children and adults. Rancho Santa Margarita has fluoride in their water which helps strengthen teeth and prevent decay. Fluoridated toothpaste should also be used daily.

A two-year-old had such bad decay and infection that she had to loose her four front teeth, but afterward she gave her hygienist a huge hug! The little girl was finally pain free. Fluoride can help prevent this from happening! Read more about the importance of fluoride here:

How Long Should I Brush My Teeth For?

Here’s an easy way to remember! Brush your teeth twice a day for 2 minutes. 

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Remember, brushing isn’t the only way to take care of your teeth. Don’t forget to:

  • Floss between your teeth daily. Flossing will remove plaque and leftover food that the toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Eat a balanced diet and limit snacks in between meals. 
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams. Call us today or you can schedule your cleaning online!

Get your crown done in just one visit!

Get your crown done in just one visit!

Crowns are an integral part of many dental restoration treatments including implants, root canals, or simply covering and strengthening a tooth that’s damaged by trauma or decay, but getting a crown done has traditionally been very inconvenient!

Before now, placing a crown took at least three steps:

1) You needed an appointment to prepare the tooth, make the impression, and place the temporary crown.

2) You needed to wait (possibly two weeks) while your permanent crown was milled (created) at a dental lab, then sent back to us.

3) You needed a SECOND appointment for us to remove the temporary and place your permanent crown.

But now Penrod Dental Care uses CEREC so you can get your permanent crown in just one appointment!

CEREC is new CAD/CAM technology we have here in our office that allows us to mill your new, custom, perfectly crafted permanent crown during ONE VISIT. No need to take more time off work, no temporary crown, and no chance that you may need to be numbed twice.

Here at Penrod Dental Care we make it a priority to provide you—our valued patients and friends—with the best experience possible. One of the ways we achieve that is by keeping ourselves on the leading edge of technology and convenience. So if you’ve been waiting to deal with that crown until it was convenient—it’s time!

Let us know if you have any questions about our CEREC technology and if you know someone who may be interested in one-visit dental crowns as well, let them know about us!


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Ask the Dentist

Dr. Penrod answers questions about oral health and cosmetic dentistry


Although some people never get any wisdom teeth at all, those who do often experience problems with them. If you visit your our office and you still have your wisdom teeth, chances are that our dentist will recommend removing them. Why do we even have wisdom teeth? Wisdom teeth are thought to be leftovers from an early stage of evolution. […]

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