SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA- Cigarette use is on the decline among Americans, but tobacco is manifesting its harmful effects in a fresh, more appealing way.

Technically, smoking hookah is nothing new. It’s a 500-year-old practice that began in Turkey, Egypt and India. Smoked from a pipe filled with water, hookah entails inhaling flavored tobacco that is drawn up in a hose. Today, teens and 20-somethings (many of which frown upon cigarette smoking) are embracing hookah as a safe and hip alternative to traditional tobacco use.  

Hookah was introduced in the 16th century by an Indian physician who claimed it was perfectly harmless, since the tobacco was passed through water prior to inhaling. Research has rendered this notion false, but many of its young users share the opinion of hookah’s creator.  

Here are the facts: smoking hookah has severe oral and systemic health consequences, including respiratory disease; decreased fertility; and lung, oral, esophageal, stomach and bladder cancers. It is no less harmful than smoking a cigarette.

“This misconception about hookah is dangerous,” says Dr. Robert Walley, a provider of dentistry in San Francisco. “I find it important to educate my young patients about hookah’s negative effects on oral health. There are many.”

Hookah exposes the mouth to countless toxins from the tobacco and charcoal used in the water pipe. Studies show cigarette and hookah users carry an increased risk of oral cancer, tooth loss, gum recession and periodontal disease- a bacterial infection of the gums that is often irreversible. Tobacco exposure also interferes with the healing process of oral wounds, and can hinder the success of many dental procedures.  

Smoker’s leukoplakia, commonly referred to as “smoker’s palette,” is another unpleasant outcome of smoking hookah. This occurs when the mucous membrane (roof of the mouth) acquires a hardened, red substance due to prolonged irritation. Smoker’s palette often proves cancerous, and is typically removed surgically as a precaution. 

We at Robert M. Walley, D.D.S. urge our patients to avoid any sort of tobacco use, whether it’s hookah, cigarettes, snuff or dipping tobacco. All forms of tobacco carry devastating health risks that affect your smile and body.

If you have or are currently using tobacco, please contact us to schedule an appointment. We’ll examine your mouth for threats to your oral health brought on by smoking. If conditions like oral cancer are caught early, the chances of experiencing a complete recovery increase drastically. Don’t put your health at risk- give us a call today. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA- We all know Invisalign can correct malocclusions and supply a serious confidence boost, but the smile perks don’t end there. Gums enjoy the benefits of aligned teeth, too.   

Averting a nasty case of periodontal (gum) disease may not be the primary motivation to seek orthodontic treatment, but San Francisco Invisalign Elite P rovider Dr. Robert Walley knows that Invisalign treatment leads to improved dental and periodontal health.

“When teeth are aligned, it allows for a proper bite and a snug fitting gum line,” says Dr. Walley. “These two factors play a key role in whether you are more likely to get gum disease.”   

The purpose of orthodontic treatment isn’t solely to create a pretty smile. Arranging teeth in optimal alignment allows the teeth, gums and bite to function in harmony. Malocclusions disrupt the bite, which can promote plaque accumulation and hinder periodontal health.

Teeth, gums and the bite…these factors are incredibly intertwined. Truly healthy gums can’t be achieved unless teeth and the bite are positioned correctly.

Here’s why: when a patient with a misaligned and crowded smile eats, food particles are easily wedged or hidden between crooked teeth. Routine brushing and flossing practices may not be enough to eliminate the stubborn plaque. This lingering plaque and bacteria around the gum line will trigger irritation and, eventually, gum disease.

The likelihood of developing gum disease only worsens in such patients, since gums rarely get a secure fit around teeth that are crooked and overlapping. Pockets between the teeth and gums create a perfect spot for plaque to nestle and harmful bacteria to spread.

Periodontal disease is more than an annoyance that causes gums to bleed when flossing.  It’s a bacterial infection that can spark a host of dangerous oral and general health conditions, including tooth loss, jawbone deterioration, cardiovascular disease and dementia. To help prevent the onset of gum disease, we at Robert M. Walley, DDS offer an easy and effective orthodontic solution in Invisalign.

Invisalign achieves optimal teeth alignment and bite position through a series of clear, plastic aligners that are engineered to shift teeth comfortably and efficiently. It’s the perfect method for adults and teens seeking to avoid bulky orthodontic appliances. Invisalign’s technology and discreetness allow for a pleasant and accelerated treatment experience. Every smile is unique and requires personalized attention, but the average duration of treatment with Invisalign is only about one year.

Please contact us to learn additional information about the dental and periodontal health benefits Invisalign can provide. Dr. Walley and our friendly staff are eager to assist you in achieving beautiful, strong teeth and gums. 

SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA- The repercussions of neglecting to treat a cavity are dreadful- but the consequences of using one outdated restorative solution aren’t much better.

Amalgam fillings, which are comprised of a blend of metals like silver, copper and mercury, have been administered by dentists for more than 150 years. Millions of people across the globe have them, but these fillings are far from being the ideal form of treatment.

Treatment for the average cavity is relatively simple. A dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and use a filling material to “fill” the section that was removed. Fillings restore the aesthetics and function of the tooth, as well as shield its more delicate inner layers. When the amalgam variety is used, sensitivity to hot and cold substances increases, and the metal component can shrink and expand according to temperature. This phenomenon can trigger serious discomfort, as well as filling leakage, breakage and one giant dental debacle.

The American Dental Association and the Federal Drug Administration have long insisted that amalgam fillings are safe for use. However, the FDA admitted in 2008 that such fillings emit mercury vapor while chewing and during the placement and removal of the amalgam. The FDA also cautions pregnant women to avoid mercury exposure, stating such fillings could have neurotoxic effects on a fetus’s nervous system.

“Fillings are intended to resolve the issue of decay, not prompt issues of their own,” says San Francisco dentist Dr. Robert Walley. “That’s why I administer composite fillings to my patients.”  

At Robert M. Walley, DDS, we fill teeth with a tooth colored composite material free of mercury and harsh metals that contract or enlarge with temperature changes. This material is engineered with synthetic resins and is proven safe for use. Once it’s placed, patients often forget the filling is present! Other benefits of composite material include:

  • Improved aesthetics. Composite fillings are nearly indistinguishable from real tooth structure.
  • Versatile use. Because of its coloring and durability, composite materials are often used to restore broken, worn and chipped teeth.
  • Greater support. Composite fillings provide greater support, since the material chemically bonds to the tooth.
  • Less removal of tooth structure. In many cases, preparing the tooth for composite fillings require a smaller portion of the tooth to be removed than with amalgam fillings.

You can be assured that Dr. Walley and our staff use only the best products and materials available when administering treatment. Our top priority is to provide you with a truly healthy and vibrant smile. We understand this goal can’t be achieved with outdated practices that fail to deliver quality results.

If you’d like to learn more about cavity treatment options and our restoration methods, don’t hesitate to give us a call. Complimentary consultations are available. 

Smile Consultation: (415) 944-1072
Schedule Online
Patient Reviews
Write Review