The unofficial blog of all things related to dentistry.

The people portrayed in this blog are actual patients of mine. We write and post these blogs in the interest of and respect for all the amazing and diverse patients that happen to find themselves in my dentistry.

Sulaeman Family Dentistry
25054 E. Baseline St.
San Bernardino, CA. 92410
(909) 889-9591









                        CITY:   San Bernardino

                        PHONE: 909-889-9591




Lee W Sulaeman, DDS, MAGD

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Besides our blog we also have a Facebook page where you can find out information about our business and where we regularly post articles about tips and tricks of how to keep the mouth disease free. Also, we post things related to research and development of dentistry. Please feel free to look! Thank you and have a wonderful day!



Today, the popularity of cooking shows on Television is very high. Some of these shows have competitions between cooks with a given allotted time, cooks visiting famous restaurants, or hosts showing the best places to eat exotic food like eating alligator, shark, or ostrich. All of these shows are very successful because of the one simple fact: Humans love food. In this article we will tell you what happens when you enjoy a meal too fast.

One beautiful morning, a mother and her daughter (DV) came into our dental office and told us there was something growing on her daughter’s lip. Upon examination of the DV’s mouth, we found something round with a diameter about 4 mm on her lip right in front of her lower left eye tooth. DV said that this thing was not hurting. The size could be big or could be little and it would come and go. The mother wanted to know what that was and how to cure the problem.

We told them that the round thing was created when DV bit her own lip when she was eating. She cut open some salivary glands on that area of her lip with her teeth and creating that round lesion. In medical terms we call it a mucocele. We told DV and her mother that it happens to all of us. Whenever we are very hungry and eat too fast we sometimes we will bite our tongue, cheek or lip on accident. 


These are what we recommend to do for this kind of situation:

1. Try to eat slowly all the time so that way you will be able to better digest your food by taking the time to cut it up into small pieces and to decrease the chance of biting your lip, cheek or tongue.

2. If for some reason you keep biting your cheek, lip or tongue whenever you are eating, the dentist must adjust your bite.

3. The lesion (mucocele) usually will go away by itself unless you repeatedly bite the same area. Avoid chewing on that side until the lesion goes away completely. The lesion will go away in about 2 weeks.

4. Sometimes the dentist has to remove the lesion (mucocele) if it does not go away by itself.


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"Tips for Success"

In 2002, Dr. Lee was featured in the San Bernardino County Sun Business Section. In his article, Tips for Success, Dr. Lee outlined the personal and business philosophies that have brought him success. They included furthering education, embracing changing technology, recognizing opportunities, and continually raising the bar. Here the article that was featured:


Since this article was written, the Sulaeman Family Dentistry has been building smiles for an additional 11 years. We care so much about the quality of your smile that we utilize the most effective ways at looking at each tooth. The Intra Oral Camera (IOC), at the time of this article, was state of the art. Never before could we see such clear images of the mouth. As we know technology is innovating all the time. The IOC of today allows us to display higher defined images on an LCD screen to the patient, a live video feed of your teeth. The adoptions of new technologies, and a forward-oriented philosophy for education has allowed us to provide the highest quality services to our community.+

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"Wrestling Accident"

Exercise is good for people of all ages. Young, middle-aged, and elderly alike can all benefit from a little physical activity each day. The reason boils down to simple physiology. A higher heart-rate increases the flow of red blood cells, which deliver oxygen to all parts of the body, and remove waste and impurities. A person who eats well and exercises regularly will usually be in an overall healthier state.

When you pick an exercise, make sure you protect your head and body from the possibility of any injury. One of the most important things to consider when playing any contact sport is the need to wear a mouth piece. Mouth pieces do wonders in protecting oneself from not only problems in the mouth, but also the brain, jaw, and face in general. Trauma to a tooth caused by a physical blow can irreversibly damage the flow of blood to it, necessitating a root canal treatment. Broken teeth, swelling, and sensitivity can occur as a result of blunt-force trauma to the teeth.

DK, a young woman at the age of 16, came to my dental office with her dad. She was on the wrestling team at her school, and had just had an accident at while wrestling a young man in a match. Her opponent, a much larger young man, elbowed her in the face and broke her upper-big incisor, which also cut her upper lip. Needless to say, she was in a great amount of pain, the area was very swollen, and she was not happy to see her tooth broken. After an initial exam, I told her that the best course of action would be to do a root canal, place a post, and a brand new porcelain crown. I also recommended she get a tetanus injection from her physician. This kind of injury could have been prevented had she been wearing a mouthpiece.

Where can you get a mouthpiece?

1. You can get a readymade mouthpiece from Walmart, Sav-On, K-Mart, and any other big box supermarkets, as well as some pharmacies like Walgreens. Prices start from around $4 and up depending on how comprehensively you want it to cover your teeth. They should come with directions on how to apply. Typically it will instruct you to put the mouthpiece inside hot water, which will make it softer and more malleable. Next, place the piece in your mouth and shape it with your fingers so that it conforms to the surfaces of your teeth.

2. If you do not like readymade mouthpieces because they don’t fit very well, go to your dentist so that they can make one customized to your mouth. Professionally made mouthpieces are much more comfortable and resilient to breakage. You won’t even know you’re wearing one!

If you like sports like basketball, wrestling, football, soccer, judo, taekwondo, karate, or any other body contact sport, remember this: “DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT YOUR MOUTHPIECE.” 


The resulting swollen lip and damaged tooth caused by the wrestling accident.


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(Who Doesn’t?)

“Extreme Makeover” was a very popular TV show. It took people with self-perceived physical problems, flew them to Hollywood, and made them over in dramatic fashion. Quite possibly the main reason for the show’s great success is its relatability. Everyone at one point or another has felt self-conscious about their appearance. Perceived physical shortcomings often have negative effects on mental health as well, driving the irrational myth of the “perfect form.” The show was popular because it allowed people to change while also promoting self-acceptance and healthy lifestyle choices.

Since 1985, when I first started practicing dentistry, patients have consistently asked the same question, “How do I make my teeth whiter?” Unfortunately, the answer is not as simple as many of them would like to believe. To make teeth whiter, the bone, the gum, and the tooth must all be healthy. If they are not, the whitening process is simply a cosmetic effect, and is in no way indicative of a truly healthy smile. It is like buying a car with a beautiful exterior, only to find out after a couple of miles that the transmission needs to be replaced. For those with healthy tooth, gum, and bone, professional whitening done in a dental office is the ideal choice. For those on a budget, or those who would like to do it themselves, the same whitening products used by dentists are more often becoming available to the consumer.

These are some guidelines to make your teeth whiter:

1. Go to your dentist and ask whether teeth whitener will be safe for your mouth. The goal is to make sure that your teeth, gum, and bone are all healthy so that the teeth whitener will not damage them.

2. Ask your dentist which teeth whitener he or she recommends for you. That way you will not waste your money buying just any teeth whitener.

3. You can try over-the-counter teeth whitener first. If you do not get the results you want, step up to professional teeth whitening done by your dental office.

4. If you are on a tight schedule, and need teeth whitening done quickly (for example, getting married), your best bet is to have it done by your dental office.

5. If the teeth whitener starts creating pain or sensitivity in your mouth, stop using it right away. Give it a break for 1-2 days, or until the pain disappears. Start using it again but only for shorter lengths of time.

6. Results vary. It may take several hours, several days, or even several weeks before seeing results. This can be due to the strength of the whitener itself.

7. White teeth do not last forever. In the future, you may have to touch-up again. Certain foods with a high amount of chromogens (natural dyes found in organic substance) and acidity will accelerate discoloration. Among the most discoloring foods are Wine, Tea, and Cola drinks. A diet regular in these foods may necessitate a retouch every 2-3 years.

8. There is no age limitation for using teeth whitening products, but young people (less than 18 years) are more likely to experience teeth sensitivity.

9. Because teeth whitening is a purely cosmetic procedure, most insurance policies will not cover it.

10. If a teeth whitening product does not work for your, you can always ask your dentist about other options such as veneers, crowns, snap-on-smiles, white filling, or any other treatment appropriate to your needs.

A lawyer came to me and told me that he wished to make his teeth whiter, but didn’t want to make them too white and unnatural looking. I suggested he use a teeth whitener that allows him to control the degree of whiteness. He used it for about a week and stopped because he had already reached his goal. He was very happy with the results, and returned 10 years later to ask for a touch-up.


First Lady Michelle Obama greets the Extreme Makeover team at the White House

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“Be all you can be”

That is the motto of the United States Army. It represents the potential greatness one can achieve if one is willing to apply and discipline themselves. Being in the armed forces is not an easy task, however. It takes courage, conviction, and self-sacrifice. It is a learning experience with the possibility of giving you a career.

To serve your country, you can join any one of the armed services. These include the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, and National Guard. Sometime ago I was commissioned as board adviser for the Army. They informed me that they recruit many dentists, doctors, nurses and other healthcare professionals to join the Army. What is very interesting is the fact that the Army attempts to recruit professionals early in their careers. One can apply to join the Army the second they graduate from dental school, and in some instances, right before graduating. They will pay for the cost of your 4-year education, and sometimes will provide a monthly stipend of about $2,000 to supplement the cost of room, board, and materials (FYI, the average cost of dental school in the United States is about $400,000). When you graduate, you must serve at least 4 years as a dental officer in the Army. Once serving, one can enroll in specialized training programs such as Advanced General Dentistry, Oral Pathology, Public Health Dentistry, Endodontist, Orthodontist, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontist, and Prosthodontist. All of these special programs, of course, will paid for by the Army. After serving, one can decide to renew employment, or leave the service.

An Army Dental Corps Officer is responsible for the dental health of the soldiers. During combat, the Dental Corps Officer assists in the emergency medial management of soldiers, identifies casualties through dental records, and makes sure soldiers are combat ready.

Here are the requirements to qualify for an Officer appointment in the Army Dental Corps:

1. Meet the prescribed medical and moral standards for appointment as a commissioned officer

2. Be a U.S. Citizen

3. Be a graduate of an American Dental Association (ADA)-accredited dental school

4. Have a current unrestricted license to practice dentistry in a U.S. state; District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, or other U.S. territory

5. Be 21-46 years of age (Dentists 47 years of age or older may apply for an age waiver)

For more information, call 1-877-4065861 or go to their websites: http://www.goarmy.com/amedd/dentist.html & healthcare.goarmy.com/n470




A NAVY dentist on duty

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"Are white fillings good for your smile?"

Everyone wants to look and feel good about themselves. Therefore, one of the most important things to have is a good smile. Obviously, in order to have a good smile, you must have healthy white teeth.

DR, one of my patients had many, many white fillings in his mouth. Almost every tooth he had was covered with at least one white filling. Those white fillings were performed on him by his previous dentist. When DR came to our dental office, his main complaint was that his mouth was hurting everywhere. He could not eat hot or cold things, and sweet things were particularly painful to his teeth. Chewing, in general, was a chore for DR. Upon examination, we found out that nearly every white filling he had was leaking very badly. Many of his teeth had large decay right underneath his white fillings. As of today, we have already performed 5 root canal treatments, and delivered 5 crowns. These 5 teeth were the exact ones DR’s previous dentist had performed on before. We still plan to perform more root canals and deliver more crowns sometime in the future. Pretty soon DR will be able to eat and drink without pain. He will have a good smile.

So, this begs the question. When is it appropriate to have white fillings? Here are some guidelines so that you can be informed and better able to discuss it with your dentist:

1. Whether awake or asleep, grinders are constantly causing damage to their teeth. I advise grinders to not get white fillings since they are likely to loosen and have the filling fall out from the pressure. I recommend instead a porcelain crown.

2. If you want an aesthetically pleasant solution, are looking for a very long-term restoration, I recommend porcelain inlays, onlays, and veneers to fill and cover large cavities.

3. Large white fillings are not nearly as strong as gold or silver fillings. Larger white fillings will last for a much shorter length of time compared to these more durable solutions, and therefore require more maintenance. Maintenance = $.

4. If a large white filling has broken while traveling, I recommend you do not replace it with another one for the sake of time. Not every dentist can perform a “good” white filling, and you may be throwing your money away. Instead, I recommend you replace the filling with a temporary restoration in the meantime, and wait until you’re home. Your regular, trusted dentist will likely be more attentive to your needs. Temporary fillings can typically be found at pharmacy-type stores.

5. If you have any doubts, ask your dentist what he/she would do in your situation. As healthcare providers, good dentists are required to give honest, straightforward counsel.

6. If a tooth with a large white filling has habitually caused you pain and sensitivity from the beginning, and has not improved after 6-8 weeks, please consult your dentist. It may be signs of something more pressing than a cavity.

I’m sure Mona Lisa has a beautiful smile. She just doesn’t know it yet.

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"Why can’t my child eat? Why does he have a fever?"

During World War I, a painful bacterial infection that involved swelling ulcers on the gums became a vey common problem for soldiers, particularly those engaged in trench warfare. The problem was Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis, more affectionately and appropriately know as: Trench Mouth.

The natural and healthy state of a mouth contains a balance of different types of bacteria. Trench mouth occurs when an imbalance of the bacteria becomes prominent, allowing the gums to become infected and develop distinguishable and painful ulcers. Another side-effect is exceptionally bad breath. Coupled with the presence of a virus, the bacteria can grow much more aggressively. Trench mouth is similar to an immunodeficiency disease, meaning that once infection has begun in the mouth, a body’s whole immune system can become compromised.

An 11 year-old patient of ours, JC, came in with his mother and told us that he could not eat or sleep because his mouth was so painful. She noticed that every flare-up he had was usually accompanied with a fever. Upon examination of his mouth, we found out that he had Trench Mouth (ANUG). We informed them to keep his mouth as clean as possible (i.e. brush teeth 3 times a day, floss, and rinse). The pain was so unbearable, that we also had to prescribe a pain pill to be taken 30 minutes before every meal, and an antibiotic in order to fight the infection. Of course we told them that he should not share food or drink with anyone until the infection has been killed off.

JC came back a week later. He followed our directions and had no more fever, no more pain, and no more bad breath. He was a very happy boy.

If your child has exceptionally bad breath, and experiences chronic fever and headaches, consult your dentist and doctor.

As we can see, there’s inflammation all along the perimeter of the teeth and on the gums. The unhealthy gum is much darker than the rest.

The film War Horse depicts the trench warfare conditions that lead to the discovery of “trench mouth.”


An example of necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis. If left untreated, this patient could experience symptoms similar to those found in trenches


Unsanitary, cramped, brutish, and inhumane, those fighting in trenches could be stationed there for months on end

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