When you’re faced with dental damage, you want to seek treatment as soon as possible. Generally speaking, treating dental issues is easier, more comfortable, more convenient, and less expensive the earlier it is completed.

Today, our San Francisco dentists are here with some information that will help you spot dental irregularities before they become severe. Keep reading to learn more!

Perhaps the easiest changes to notice are those visible changes to your smile:

  • Dark spots on your dental enamel (some types of discoloration are purely cosmetic, while others occur because bacteria have infiltrated the tooth)
  • Especially red or swollen gum tissue
  • Frequent blood when you brush or floss your teeth (this can indicate gum disease that is worsening into periodontal disease)
  • Cracks or chips in the dental enamel

Additionally, you may find that your mouth feels different than usual:

  • Your teeth may feel rough or grimy, rather than smooth, when you run your tongue over your dental enamel (this rough coating occurs due to bacterial plaque and tartar building up on the natural tooth structure)
  • You might find that your breath is stale or malodorous; this occurs due to a proliferation of oral bacteria in the mouth
  • If you experience increased sensitivity, either on a tooth or around your gum tissue, this may indicate an ongoing infection. Please do not ignore this type of discomfort, or over-medicate it with numbing agents; over time the damage will compound.

Staying aware of any changes to your smile, and your mouth in general, will help you take control of your dental health and make strong decisions for your oral health. Our San Francisco dentists can give you additional information and guidance; please feel free to give us a call, or use the Contact Us page on our website to reach out to our team.

There’s no question that certain foods are worse for your teeth than others. Delicious treats like soda and citrus and even bread can damage your teeth over time, but none of those are likely to cause immediate, painful damage that would qualify as a dental emergency. Dr. Robert Walley and his staff treat people with chipped or cracked teeth all the time, and these emergency appointments often occur as a result of some food that unleashed unexpected mayhem.

Obviously, bread and soda and oranges aren’t the type of thing causing that immediate damage, but which foods create the biggest risk for dental emergencies? We have compiled a list of the most common culprits, not necessarily to steer clear of them, but to consume them carefully to hopefully avoid having to visit your emergency dentist in the first place.

#1 Hard Candy

Anybody who ever had braces knows that hard candies are off-limits because of the damage they can do to brackets, but they’re just as bad for your teeth. Yes, the sugar is bad for you long-term, but crunching down onto one of these sweets can chip or crack a tooth. Suck on these candies, and don’t crunch into them until absolutely necessary.

#2 Caramel

While caramel is anything but “hard,” it’s a candy that can cause some problems, too. The soft, chewy morsels seem harmless, but the candies can wedge themselves between your teeth and loosen any dental work or restorations you’ve had done. They’re probably not going to pull out a natural tooth, but pulling loose a crown can be just as painful and problematic.

#3 Popcorn

America’s favorite movie treat can leave shards from the husks in between teeth or even underneath your gums, which could cause a painful abscess that requires emergency treatment. Worse, a kernel that didn’t pop all the way is hard enough to crack a tooth, so chew slowly while enjoying your film.

#4 Almonds

Nuts are a great source of healthy protein, but almonds are the hardest nuts of the batch. Believe it or not, they cause a lot of chips and cracks in teeth. Eating sliced almonds are softer and easier to chew than full almonds, so consider consuming the same snack, but in a different way.

#5 Ice Cubes

While ice cubes are not technically a “food,” some people love chomping down on them as a guilt-free way to keep their mouths busy rather than eating salty or sugary snacks. From a practical standpoint, chewing ice is not that different from chewing on rocks, which means it can crack and break the enamel of teeth, leading to a dental emergency.

If one of these foods cracks or damages your tooth, it is important to contact your San Francisco dentist immediately to get yourself in for any necessary repairs. Remember, the sooner you get into see your emergency dentist, the better chance there is you’ll be able to save the tooth. The aforementioned foods and treats are delicious, but eat with caution! If any problems do arise, call Dr. Robert M. Walley right away so he can fix whatever went wrong.



When you are ready to take your smile to the next level, it may be time to take a look at your diet. The food and drinks that we consume affect our smiles—both in appearance and health. Our San Francisco dentists have put together this short overview of the ways in which popular foods and drinks affect your smile.

The first thing to keep in mind is that water is the number one most beneficial drink when it comes to oral health. When you drink water, you rinse away harmful plaque and dental debris, while simultaneously promotion saliva production.

  • Both coffee and tea are likely to stain dental enamel over time
  • Sodas and energy drinks are laden with sugar; because oral bacteria feed on sugars, and need them to grow, these types of beverages can wreak havoc on your smile
  • Fruit juices are often quite sugary as well, and they are also acidic. When your teeth are exposed to acid, the enamel becomes temporarily softened, and more vulnerable. Take special care not to brush your teeth for 20 to 30 minutes after acid exposure, so as not to inadvertently erode enamel.

There are also a number of foods that can contribute to discoloration and acid damage;

  • Sugary treats, and refined carbohydrates, give oral bacteria a boost
  • Deeply colored sauces can lead to dental staining
  • Chocolate is both sugary and discoloring
  • Citrus fruits are highly acidic, and thus weaken dental enamel for about 20 to 30 minutes directly following exposure

Protecting your smile only get easier as you gather more information about how dental damage develops in the first place. To learn more about the mechanics of dental health, please reach out to our San Francisco dentists. You can also schedule a personal consultation in order to get personalized recommendations. 

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