Q: My dentist says I have cavities that show on my x-rays, but he can’t see them when he looks in my mouth. How does that work?

A: Cavities that begin in between your teeth (also known as interproximal decay) show up only on the radiographs (x-rays) at first. They are not visible in the mouth until a large amount of your tooth is destroyed. Daily flossing is essential to help avoid this type of cavity.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the westside Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: How do dentists brush their teeth in space?
A: As you’d expect, brushing your teeth in zero gravity is a complicated process! In an article on the Gizmodo website, astronaut Leroy Chiao explains some of the challenges.
“It is unbelievably easy to lose things,” Chaio writes. “Get distracted for a moment, and that toothpaste cap is gone! Even if you are good about anchoring such things behind a rubber bungee, some rookie going by could knock it loose.”

But despite all of the difficulties, astronauts in space do still take care of their teeth… So those of us here on planet Earth have no excuse!

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: I’ve heard of kids needing to have a “baby root canal.” How are they different from adult root canals?

A: Kids need root canals (also known as pulpotomies) when cavities on their teeth reach the pulp chamber, the center of the tooth which houses the tooth’s blood vessels and nerves. In a pulpotomy, the pulp tissue is removed from the crown part of the tooth and medicine is placed to kill possible remaining bacteria and calm down the remaining nerve. This procedure is typically followed by placing a prefabricated crown on the tooth so bacteria can’t enter the tooth and infect it again.

An adult root canal involves going down the root of the tooth, but a baby root canal is less complicated and takes much less time.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees children and adults in Culver City and serves the greater Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: Do you accept Denti-Cal at your office, and what’s covered?

A: Yes, we are a California Medi-Cal Dental Program (Denti-Cal) provider. Patients under age 20 have unlimited benefits for all services, including fillings, cleanings and extractions, while patients over 21 are covered for all emergency services.

If you’re a member of the California Medi-Cal Dental Program, call us today to set up an appointment.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: I’ve heard about an alternative to the dental drill, something called air abrasion. What is it?

A: We use air abrasion at our office in Culver City, and it’s terrific for adult and child patients.

For decades many people have been anxious about going to the dentist, dreading the prospect of getting injections, hearing the sound of the drill on their teeth and then leaving the dental office feeling groggy and numb from anesthetic. Air abrasion changes all of that. Many dental procedures can now be performed quietly, without anesthetic and with minimal to no discomfort.

The air abrasion instrument has been compared to a tiny sandblaster, using compressed air to precisely direct a stream of sand-like particles at the patient’s tooth decay and wear it away while leaving the healthy portion of the tooth unharmed. Air abrasion is non-invasive and does not produce heat, vibration or friction. As a result there’s little need for anesthesia, and the patient can leave the office wide awake, without facial numbness or lingering pain. Not only does this make the dental experience easier for the patient, it also eliminates the cost of anesthetic and pain medications.

We would be glad to offer a tour of our office, so you can learn about air abrasion, meet Dr. Khadavi and her staff, and learn about what sets them apart from other Los Angeles dentists.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees children and adults in Culver City and serves the greater Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Jennifer Aniston’s musical dentist

On Monday’s episode of The Daily Show, Jennifer Aniston told Jon Stewart that during dental treatments her dentist serenades her with his guitar.

The Friends star, who appears as a unscrupulous dentist in the upcoming dark comedy Horrible Bosses, said her “dentist plays the guitar … when I have the molds in my mouth.”

“He’s literally [playing his guitar,] I mean, it’s odd, but it’s the truth.”

“Why isn’t he doing dental work?” Stewart asked.

“Don’t ask,” Aniston joked. “It’s Hollywood! … I’m not kidding … and you can’t get out of the chair, so you’re stuck listening to it.”

But Aniston didn’t seem to mind her dentist’s performances too much. She said she’s been going to the same dentist for 15 years and he’s “really good.”

At our practice in Culver City we have various ways to keep our patients entertained during treatment, including an overhead monitor where they can watch videos… But we’ll leave the guitar at home for now!

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees children and adults in Culver City and serves the greater Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: What causes tooth decay?

A: Tooth decay, which is also known as dental caries or cavities, is an infectious disease that causes the structure of your teeth to break down. If you don’t treat it, it can cause infection, pain and tooth loss.

There are four things required for tooth decay to take place: a vulnerable tooth, the bacteria responsible for cavities (primarily Streptococcus mutans and Lactobacillus,) fermentable carbohydrates (such as lactose, glucose and sucrose) and time.

If you have poor oral hygiene, chronic dry mouth or a history of high sugar consumption, you have an increased risk for caries. There are also some genetic risk factors that make your teeth more susceptible to decay, such as Amelogenesis imperfecta.

The best way to prevent tooth decay is to see your dentist every 6 months at least and follow proper oral hygiene.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: My baby has a painful, dark bump on his gums. What is it?

A: It’s most likely an eruption cyst, also known as an eruption hematoma. An eruption cyst is a swelling over a primary or permanent tooth that is coming out. It contains fluid that collected around the erupting tooth, and it may be pale, blue or purple-colored due to some blood in the fluid.

Parents are often most concerned about the dark cysts, but eruption cysts usually aren’t anything to worry about. Once the tooth erupts the cyst will go away, so typically there’s no need for treatment. If the cyst remains for more than two weeks or the child is in a lot of pain, you should definitely see your dentist.


Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees adults and children in Culver City and serves the greater Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: I’ve been brushing and I haven’t changed my diet, but lately I’ve had bad breath. What could be causing it?

A: Bad breath (also known as halitosis) can have many potential causes. Frequent causes include tooth decay, gum disease, plaque and calculus build up, using tobacco products and eating odor-causing foods like garlic or onions. Other possible causes include respiratory infections and long-term dry mouth. There are more serious medical conditions, like diabetes, that can cause bad breath, and some medications can also cause it.

If you’re having problems with bad breath, it’s important to see a dentist and get checked out so you can find out what’s causing it and get it treated.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

Q: I’ve heard that chewing gum can actually be good for teeth. What kind should I chew?

A: Chewing gum is beneficial for your teeth, as long as you’re chewing the right kind. Sugary gum obviously isn’t good for your teeth, but sugarless chewing gum helps prevent tooth decay. Your mouth will produce more saliva when you chew sugarless gum, and that helps to break down the acids in your mouth while it also strengthens your tooth enamel. We suggest chewing some gum after a meal, so your increased saliva flow will help loosen any particles of food from your teeth.


Be sure to look for brands of gum that are recommended by the American Dental Association. You should also check for the ingredient xylitol, since it helps to reduce plaque.

Dr. Natalie Khadavi sees patients in the Los Angeles area. Visit our website or give us a call at (310) 482-3971 for more information about how we can provide you and your family with healthy smiles that last a lifetime.

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