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Chief Dental Officer at Western Dental

Dr. John Luther leads our dental policy, clinical quality, practice standards, and best practices programs. 

Prior to joining Western Dental, Dr. Luther served as the Chief Dental Officer & Senior Vice President-Dental Management for DentaQuest, the third-largest oral health enterprise in the country, and served as Chief Dental Officer for UnitedHealthCare Dental 

“On the Road with Dr. Luther”
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Ask Dr. Luther

Do you have a question about dental health or teeth in general? In this section, we’ve provided a forum for you to ask Dr. Luther anything teeth-related. Simply enter your question here.

Ask a Question

Angela C. from Los Angeles, CA asks…

I’m bleeding on the gums around one of my teeth. What can this be?

Bleeding gums can be a sign of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), or gum disease, a more advanced stage known as periodontitis. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to serious problems like bone and tooth loss. Infection in your gums can spread to other parts of the body and has been linked to heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Fortunately, there are ways to manage gingivitis and gum disease. See your dentist to evaluate the type of treatment right for you based on the condition of your gums.

Dr. Luther

Cynthia B. from San Jose, CA asks…

I have a high canine tooth on my upper left arch, but not on my upper right. Can that be fixed?

High canines can be the result of crowded teeth which restrict the room necessary for all teeth to grow in properly. The best advice I can give is to see a Western Dental orthodontist for a free ortho consultation. Braces can adjust the position of your teeth to allow movement of an upper canine and other crowded teeth into their correct position.

Dr. Luther

Denise from El Cerrito, CA asks…

Is it normal to get braces without pulling painful wisdom teeth?

Extraction of wisdom teeth before starting braces is not always necessary, unless they are crowding the rest of your teeth and impeding proper alignment. Your orthodontist can determine if you can start orthodontic treatment without having them pulled. However, if your wisdom teeth are decayed, painful or you are unable to keep them clean, a consultation with your dentist is advisable first.

Dr. Luther

Fatima A. from Cathedral City asks…

Will I feel pain under conscious sedation?

Your dentist will discuss your concerns with you prior to treatment and make every attempt to make you comfortable during treatment using the type of anesthesia and sedation best suited to your needs.

Dr. Luther

Gabrielle J. from Los Angeles, CA asks…

What are dental sealants?

Dental sealants are a clear, thin protective coating that can reduce and prevent cavities when applied to your teeth.

Dr. Luther

Jennifer S. from Firebaugh, CA asks…

Does Medi-Cal Dental cover braces?

Medi-Cal Dental typically covers orthodontic treatments deemed medically necessary for patients at least 13 years old and not more than 21 years of age. To qualify, a patient must be evaluated to determine the severity of their case and receive approval for treatment from Medi-Cal Dental. Orthodontic consultations are free at Western Dental, and we treat more Medi-Cal Dental patients than any other dental office in California, so we are experts on your coverage.

Dr. Luther

Josh H. from Phoenix, AZ asks…

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontitis, or gum disease, is common but fairly preventable. The cause is usually poor oral hygiene. Periodontitis can lead to tooth and bone loss, and it's a risk factor for heart and lung diseases.

Symptoms include swollen, red, and tender gums. Treatment includes professionally cleaning the pockets around teeth to prevent damage to surrounding bone. Advanced cases may require surgery.

Dr. Luther

Lyndsey from Stockton, CA asks…

I was on a lot of pain medicine for back pain for six years and I was wondering if that causes teeth to fall out and break?

Without knowing the specific pain medicine you used, I can tell you that some medications cause “dry mouth” that can increase your chances of tooth decay or gum disease, which can result in tooth loss. When taking medication, it’s important to be diligent in maintaining an oral hygiene regimen to minimize the effects of medications on your dental health.

Dr. Luther

Matt from Los Angeles, CA asks…

Do you offer alternatives to opioids or narcotics to manage pain after dental work?

Strong narcotics are not always required for dental pain. Your dentist will offer alternatives to opioids to diminish pain following dental treatment.

Dr. Luther

Michelle from California asks…

Most of my teeth are gone or broken. They are infected and cause me a lot of pain.  Can you help?

Yes, we can help you. If you have pain or broken teeth, you should consult your dentist who can develop a treatment plan that relieves your pain and restores your smile and your oral health.

Dr. Luther

Roxana from Fullerton, CA asks…

I’m afraid of the dentist but I really need a check up. Can you put me to sleep?

If you are uneasy about dental procedures, sleep dentistry is an option for many patients. Sleep dentistry can range from deep sedation, or general anesthesia, recommended for tooth extractions and complex oral surgeries, to a kind of “twilight” sleep that will put you in a very relaxed state. Nitrous oxide, or laughing gas, is another option for relieving anxiety during dental visits and is appropriate for patients of all ages, including children.  Your dentist can discuss what’s right for you.

Dr. Luther

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