Am I Developing a Cavity? | Dentist in Riverside

A bright, healthy smile is the optimal goal for every dental patient, but let’s face it – things happen, and we may not end up with the most ideal smile. This is why keeping our dental appointments is so important. Dentists are the only ones that can fix dental issues that may arise.

One common dental ail is a cavity. 92% of adults and 40% of kids across the globe are reported to have cavities. That’s a lot of cavities! So, how do you know if you are developing a cavity? There are a few telltale signs. If you find that you suffer from any of these symptoms, make a dental appointment to check things out. If left untreated, it will only get worse – and more painful.

Tooth pain. No one likes tooth pain, regardless of its level of pain. If it hurts when you bite something soft, this is an indication of a progressed cavity.

Tooth sensitivity. Sensitive teeth are caused by bacteria thinning down your enamel to the nerve. There is toothpaste to deal with tooth sensitivity, but you need to address the issue.

Tiny holes. Do you see holes in your teeth? It’s likely a developing cavity.

Dark spots. Typically, if there is a dark spot on your tooth, chances are high that there is an invisible hole.

Bad breath. As the bacteria that causes a tooth decay penetrates deeper, it can cause bad breath.

Cracked tooth. Accidents, extremely hard food and poor oral hygiene can cause crevices in your tooth, which can lead to infection.

Pus. Pus is a sign of a decayed and infected tooth – don’t ignore this symptom. It could lead to fever, pain and swollen glands.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.

Why Do I Need a Filling? | Riverside Dentist

When it’s time to visit the dentist, we are all crossing our fingers that our dental hygiene efforts have proven fruitful, and our checkup is passed with flying colors. Unfortunately, this doesn’t happen to many of us. Yes, for many of us, a cavity has developed on one or more of your teeth. And we all know what that means – it’s time for a filling.

But is there a way for you to know you have a filling? What does it feel like when a cavity develops? Do you feel anything? For many, a cavity doesn’t feel like much of anything – many times, you don’t even realize it’s there. But then there are times when a cavity progresses into something more serious, and that’s when you really feel some pain. If you are experiencing sensitivity to certain foods or having difficulty eating due to an excessive amount of pain, it’s time to make a dental appointment – you’ve got yourself a toothache.

The following symptoms indicate that dental fillings are needed to treat your teeth effectively:

  • A visible gap or hole in your teeth
  • A filling that needs to be replaced because it is broken
  • Food getting stuck between your teeth

So, why a filling? Fillings are absolutely necessary in order to prevent further tooth decay from occurring. The consequences of not receiving dental fillings can result in permanent tooth decay and the loss of teeth. With the help of fillings, each tooth is less prone to infections. In order to guarantee your teeth are in top shape, regularly visit your dental professional to avoid any dental issues that can arise in your future.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.

Natural Ways to Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea | Dentist in Riverside

We all love getting some good sleep. Unfortunately, this isn’t a luxury for most of us. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night, but 80% of people use the weekends to catch up on sleep. And if a poor night’s sleep is a common occurrence, this could be a sign of a more serious issue, like obstructive sleep apnea.

OSA is a condition in which a person’s upper airways become partially or completely blocked, causing pauses in breathing while they sleep. Thankfully, there are lots of ways to treat this sleep issue and its varying degrees, both medically and naturally. Here are some of the DIY options:

Weight loss techniques. For some people, carrying excess body weight can increase the likelihood of sleep apnea. Losing excess weight could be a good first step in treating obstructive sleep apnea.

Healthful lifestyle changes. Other health changes could help a person reduce the symptoms of sleep apnea, including avoiding smoking or drinking, and taking allergy medications to open up airways.

Side sleeping position. One of the most common approaches to home remedies for sleep apnea is a body positioning pillow or another similar device to keep someone from sleeping on their back.

Raise the head of the bed. Sleeping at an angle of about 60 degrees may help reduce the number of apnea episodes for back sleepers.

Didgeridoo playing. The didgeridoo is a wooden wind instrument from Australia that requires a special breathing technique that could help strengthen the muscles in the upper airway.

Oral or dental appliances. Another home remedy for sleep apnea is wearing an oral device that holds the tongue or jaw in a certain position to help facilitate better breathing. See your dental professional for recommendations.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.

Improving Your Smile with Dental Implants | Riverside Dentist

When we are deciding to improve our smile, there are plenty of ways to do so. Some like the look of white teeth, so they brighten their smile with whitening treatments. If you’re missing teeth, there are a few options, like crowns and veneers, but there is also another option – the dental implant.

Dental implants are the best long-term solution for missing teeth because it is a complete tooth replacement. There are three components: the post, abutment, and restoration. The dental implant post looks like a screw made of titanium and integrates into the jawbone like a tooth root. The abutment is attached to the post, and the restoration, or crown, is attached to the abutment. With dental implants there are plenty of immediate benefits including, improved speech, easier eating, improved comfort and overall improved oral health. Here are some others:

Conserve your jawbone. With a bridge, your jawbone will eventually begin to deteriorate underneath the missing tooth. The longer you wait, the more likely it is that your jawbone may lack the integrity to get implants in the future without a dental bone graft.

Stop your teeth from shifting.  When you lose a tooth, the surrounding teeth will eventually begin moving to fill in the space, causing complications. Placing a dental implant will keep your teeth properly spaced and make it easy to keep them clean.

Preserve your appearance.  When your jawbone deteriorates because of missing teeth, it often causes your face to appear sunken in, making you look older. People with dentures often complain of having thin lips and sunken cheeks. Dental implant posts provide the stimulation your body needs to produce dense, healthy jawbone material and keep your face looking full.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.

Thumb Sucking: A Child’s First Dental Issue | Dentist in Riverside

We may not see it as a big deal – in fact, most of us think it’s rather adorable. Unfortunately, thumb sucking can become an issue if it’s allowed to go on too long.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), thumb sucking, or finger sucking, is a natural reflex even seen during an infant’s development in the womb that is known to soothe and comfort a child. The habit may also help to induce sleep, so it isn’t uncommon for toddlers and infants to suck their thumbs as they fall asleep. The question is – how long do you let it go on?

The ADA recommends that the best time to start discouraging thumb sucking behavior in children is by the age of four because prolonged sucking could affect your child’s developing jaw and teeth and cause permanent teeth to become misaligned. In fact, the constant pressure of the sucking motion will begin to have an effect on the mouth and teeth as their teeth begin to come in. The front teeth may protrude, leading to ‘buck teeth’. The child’s bite may also become open, a dental disorder where the upper and lower front teeth cannot touch. Even worse, thumb sucking will begin to have an effect on the alignment of their permanent teeth.

The best way to discourage thumb sucking is to ignore the behavior. But if you notice that your child is continuing to rely on thumb sucking, consider these tips to prevent future damage:

  • Have your child use a pacifier; they’re easier to discourage and are also easier to take away.
  • Create a reward system. Encouragement and praise go a long way.
  • Schedule a consultation with your child’s dentist.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.

Don’t Allow the Dental Chair Scare You | Riverside Dentist

dental fear

In order to maintain the brightest, healthiest smile you possibly can, you need to practice good dental hygiene every day. We all know this. Brushing and flossing while rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash will ensure that you are doing your best to keep your smile healthy and white. But that isn’t all we need have our optimal smile – we need to visit the dentist on a regular basis. Because only our dental professional can make sure we have the best smile we can. Unfortunately, many patients are quite frightened about this task, and avoid it at all costs. Don’t worry – you aren’t alone, but there is no reason to have this fear. There are lots of ways dental professionals are giving their patients a wonderful experience.

Sedation dentistry uses medication to help patients relax during dental procedures. Sedation is most appropriate for people with a real fear or anxiety that is preventing them from going to the dentist. Things like Anesthetic and relaxant gas are especially used for patients who:

  • have a low pain threshold
  • can’t sit still in the dentist’s chair
  • have very sensitive teeth
  • have a bad gag reflex
  • need a large amount of dental work completed

But our top-notch accommodations aren’t just for our skittish patients – all of our patients will receive the best treatment we can possibly provide. This includes patient comforts, such as blankets, headphones, Netflix movies and a coffee & juice bar to make your dental experience the best it can possibly be. So, there is no longer a need to dodge the dental chair – your peace of mind is just as important to us as your dental health.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.

The ABCs of Fluoride | Dentist in Riverside

We’ve all seen it before – fluoride in our water, in our toothpaste, everywhere. But what exactly is fluoride? And what exactly does it do to our teeth? Here is everything you need to know about this mystery additive.

Before teeth break through the gums, the fluoride taken in from foods, beverages and dietary supplements makes tooth enamel stronger, making it easier to resist tooth decay.

After teeth erupt, fluoride helps rebuild weakened tooth enamel and reverses early signs of tooth decay. When you brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, or use other fluoride dental products, the fluoride is applied to the surface of your teeth.

In addition, the fluoride you take in from foods and beverages continues to provide a topical benefit because it becomes part of your saliva, constantly bathing the teeth with tiny amounts of fluoride that help rebuild weakened tooth enamel.

So, now that we know it’s great for our teeth, how do we get fluoride?

  • Drink water with fluoride.
  • Use dental products with fluoride.
  • Brush twice a day (morning and night) or as directed by your dentist and physician.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.
  • Take a fluoride supplement.

For children younger than 3 years, start brushing their teeth as soon as they start to appear in the mouth by using fluoride toothpaste in an amount no more than a smear or the size of a grain of rice.

For children 3 to 6 years old, use no more than a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. Children don’t have developed swallowing muscles so stay away from mouthwash until they are at least seven years old.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.

Dental Aftercare: Eating After a Filling | Riverside Dentist

When we head over to the dentist with a cavity, we can be sure that a dental filling is on the docket to repair the situation. After your procedure, you will realize that it’s a bit difficult to eat. Don’t worry – anesthesia doesn’t last long. But it is likely that your mouth will a bit of tooth sensitivity, so here are a few helpful tips to getting through those tender couple days. If pain lasts longer, contact your dental professional for advice:

  • Chew on the opposite side of the mouth from your filling. If possible, avoid chewing with the tooth you just had filled to prevent pain and damage.
  • Chew slowly, bite lightly. Take your time and try not to bite all the way through. A lot of the pressure of chewing is from your top teeth and bottom teeth pressing together. By keeping your jaw loose, you can minimize pain.
  • Keep your mouth closed. This isn’t just to practice good manners – sometimes cold air can cause pain in sensitive teeth.
  • Skip sticky foods. Some fillings take time to set after you leave the dentist’s office. Eating sticky or gummy food could dislodge a new filling, so it’s best to avoid them for a little while.
  • Avoid very hot or cold drinks. High and low temperatures can trigger pain in sensitive teeth.
  • Pass on the sweets. Sugary foods and drinks can trigger sensitivity in your tooth and could even promote bacterial growth around or under your new filling.
  • Avoid hard foods. Foods like nuts, hard candy, or ice can cause more pressure on your tooth when you chew. Tough foods like steak, too. That pressure can dislodge your fresh filling if it hasn’t properly set yet.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.

Nibbling on Foods that Brighten Your Smile | Dentist in Riverside

During the holiday season, it is almost impossible not to indulge in the delicious foods everywhere we look. Whilst gathering with friends and family, breaking bread is always a given, whether it be just nibbling on snacks or having a meal.

Luckily, there are loads of foods that are great for our smile – some brighten, others strengthen, but all are delicious. And once the new year hits, take a moment to stop in for a quick check-up.

Here is a general breakdown of beneficial foods during this delicious time of year.

Crunchy fruits and veggies. Crunchy fruits and veggies like carrot, celery and apple are just some of the foods that prevent tooth decay, due to a high fiber content that stimulates the flow of saliva throughout your mouth. The saliva you produce when you eat crunchy veggies, in particular, rinses any remaining sugar away from your teeth before it has a chance to attack healthy tooth enamel.

Dairy. Cheese is full of protein and calcium – both of which are important for the strength and health of your enamel and actively protects the teeth from cavities. And drinking milk after eating sweets also reduced the amount of plaque buildup on one’s teeth.

Seafood. Fish, lobster and shellfish are an excellent source of lean protein, which can help keep your teeth healthy and strong in general. They also contain fluoride, which helps reduce your risk for tooth decay just like the fluoride incorporated in your tap water.

Nuts and other proteins. Nuts contain a good amount of protein, as well as calcium and phosphorous, which help strengthen your teeth’s enamel and stimulates saliva production. Chicken, eggs and other types of lean meat are great for your teeth thanks to their own protein.

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.

Baby Teeth Should Not Be Ignored | Riverside Dentist

When we bring a new life into the world, we do everything we can to keep them safe and happy. We baby-proof the home, buy all of the healthiest foods and read every reference we can find to make sure we are prepared for anything that can happen. There is one thing that has a tendency to fall through the cracks when it comes to our tiny humans – dental health.

It’s easy to think that baby teeth don’t really make a difference because they fall out, but these tiny placeholders can dictate what happens when they are replaced by the permanents. When it comes to general oral hygiene, always remember that consistency is key. And while it will forever be a struggle for parents to teach oral hygiene, it needs to be done. Here are some quick tips that can make the process of teeth cleaning fun:

Teach them young. Timing can be a huge thing in helping your child adjust to a normal cleaning routine. Sometimes children get crankier as time goes on. With that in mind, try to start your routine earlier in the day, perhaps a little bit after dinner. This will definitely improve their mood.

Make it a family affair. Younger children love mimic what their parents do, so, take advantage of that habit by brushing your teeth alongside them.

Crank up the tunes. Music may play an important role in allowing your child to not only enjoy brushing their teeth, but sufficiently brush their teeth. Choose a song that is at least two minutes long, to ensure the brushing process is done in its full time, and then choose a song that your kid enjoys!

To set up an appointment, call Dr. Middleton’s office in Riverside, CA at 951-688-3442 or through the website

Dr. Gerald Middleton proudly accepts patients from Riverside and all surrounding areas.