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Archive for March 2016

How to Prepare for an Upcoming Root Canal

tooth that needs a root canal

Preparing for an Upcoming Root Canal at Your Chino Valley Dentist office

When you are suffering from a prolonged and intolerable toothache, you have two options: You can have the problem tooth extracted, or you can undergo root canal depending on the severity of the damaged tooth. If you want to get rid of this pain immediately but don’t want to lose your natural tooth, you would be encouraged by your dentist to choose root canal therapy.

Severe toothaches and swelling are usually triggered by an infection or decay in the tooth’s pulp and nerve that has been left untreated for too long.  This infection or decay is usually caused by damage to the tooth, either through a deep cavity or an injury that caused the tooth to crack. As a result, the tooth’s interior areas become infected. This infection further affects and damages the pulp, the network of blood vessels, and the nerves of the tooth. Ouch, right?!

Through root canal or endodontic treatment, your Chino Valley Dentist will remove the damaged or infected pulp, nerves, bacteria, and any decay that is causing you pain, without extracting the tooth. The space inside the tooth will then be filled with a special or medicated dental filling which will restore the tooth to its full function.  

Preparing For Root Canal Therapy

Endodontic treatment can indeed cause some pain and discomfort to a patient during and after the procedure. Depending on the severity of the damage to the tooth, the treatment can take several hours as well. To prepare for an upcoming root canal therapy, take note of the following tips:

  • Follow all your dentist’s instructions and ask questions if you don’t understand something about the procedure. Before recommending root canal therapy, your dentist will check the damaged tooth and your overall oral health. If this treatment is ascertained as the best for your case, get as many details as you can about the procedure so that you won’t be too anxious and nervous about it. Also, make sure you follow all your dentist’s pre-treatment instructions so that risks can be eliminated or minimized during the actual procedure.
  • Ask your dentist to prescribe you a painkiller. Before your dentist starts drilling your tooth, he or she will inject a numbing agent into your gums. If you would like to feel a bit more relaxed during the procedure, take the painkillers your dentist prescribed before your appointment. However, avoid drinking aspirin for at least 10 days before the procedure since this can thin your blood and cause complications.

Post root canal, avoid certain types of food.

Lastly, as much as possible, don’t eat sticky, chewy or hard food a few days before the procedure. These types of foods can get stuck in your tooth and your dentist may have a hard time removing them prior to treatment. If you can’t avoid consuming hard, sticky and chewy foods, chew on the side of your mouth that is opposite the tooth that requires the root canal. This will also help keep you from experiencing any pain prior to the root canal procedure.

Why Are There Spots on My Teeth?

spots on my teeth

OMG, why are there spots on my teeth? I brush every day!

On a seemingly normal morning, you get up from bed and start your daily personal hygiene rituals in the bathroom. Still sleepy, you begin brushing your teeth, paying little attention to the mirror as you concentrate on brushing and rinsing. Once you’ve put your toothbrush down, however, you throw a passing glance at the mirror and flash your teeth to quickly check if any toothpaste residue was left behind — and you suddenly stop short. You alarmingly wonder, “What are all those spots on my teeth?”

A variety of imperfections

There are several different kinds of spots, or discolorations, that you might observe on your teeth from time to time, and they can be caused by different factors:

Brown spots on my teeth 

Brown spots are warning signs for tooth decay (one of the earliest forms of tooth decay is called enamel demineralization). These spots can be superficial — they could be stains caused by tea, coffee, tobacco, wine or food additives, or they could be stains that settle into the “margins” of failing dental restoration devices like crowns and fillings. On the other hand, there are also intrinsic stains that develop deeper within the tooth; these are caused by the antibiotic use while the teeth are in the process of forming.

Brownish-gray spots on my teeth

These spots tend to look similar to freckles and are uniformly distributed across the teeth’s surface. The cause can be attributed to two possibilities: fluorosis (a condition wherein too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing) and enamel hypoplasia (this occurs during the formation of the tooth; it can also result in an irregular pitting appearance on the enamel).

White spots on my teeth 

These lighter spots can display a frosted appearance in specific areas of a tooth’s enamel. They are typically the result of enamel demineralization. The tooth sports a more matted, almost etched appearance because of the food/drink acids and plaque acids that are starting to dissolve the enamel. Eventually, these white spots will take on yellowish-brownish stains from coffee, tea, tobacco and other substances that stain. Fluorosis and enamel hypoplasia can also cause these white spots.

Aside from seeing spots, you may also notice that your teeth appear to have a color other than pure white.

Gray teeth are generally caused by intrinsic stains — dark pigmented materials that have become incorporated into the teeth’s dentin and enamel (the harder layers of teeth) during the teeth’s formation. Some of the more common culprits are tetracycline antibiotics.

Teeth can simply appear darker because of intrinsic stains, as mentioned above, or because of periods when a person experiences inflammation (often when there is trauma to a tooth) and there is a saturation of iron in the bloodstream.

Finally, having yellowish teeth is one of the most common observations. Because the dentin under the enamel thickens and develops further over time, it’s quite natural for teeth to take on a yellowing appearance. When a person’s dental hygiene habits are poor, plaque can accumulate and cause the stains to worsen. Yellowing can also happen earlier to people who grind their teeth, since dentin formation accelerates when stress is placed on the teeth.

These discolorations, of course, can be addressed by a qualified and experienced dentist. Pay regular visits to your trusted Prescott Valley dentist so that he or she can devise a proper treatment program that will suit your individual case.

Gum Bleeding | Is it Serious?

gum bleedingHow to Prevent Gum Bleeding

Are you seeing red in your sink when you brush or floss your teeth? You may be suffering from gum bleeding.

Bleeding gums can be due to various reasons, including:

  • Plaque build-up, gingivitis gum inflammation – the most common reasons
  • Periodontal disease, tooth or gum infection
  • Improper dental hygiene practices. You may be brushing too vigorously or applying too much force when flossing
  • Reasons that may not be directly related to your dental health. You may have a bleeding disorder, or you may be pregnant undergoing hormonal change  
  • Ill-fitting dentures or braces
  • Existing medical conditions. Bleeding gums are also associated with leukemia, Vitamin K deficiency and scurvy
  • The use of medication that may thin out your blood

Bleeding gums can lead to serious complications, so it’s important to address the problem as soon as you notice it. The best way to know how to prevent bleeding gums is to visit your dentist. Only your dentist will be able to determine the root cause of the bleeding and therefore provide you with the specific treatment you need.

In the meantime, you can embark on the following changes in your lifestyle, health and hygiene routines to alleviate the condition:

Investigate your dental care routine

Choose your toothbrush well – perhaps a soft-bristled brush will be more suitable for you. Switching to a toothpaste for sensitive teeth and gums can also be a good option. Know the right strokes and movements for brushing teeth so you can get at as much food particles and bacteria from your mouth without putting too much trauma on the gums.   

Lead a healthier lifestyle

Change your diet — say no to sugary treats that cause tooth decay and eat more fruits and vegetables that are rich in dental health-boosting vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, magnesium and calcium. Also, make sure to enjoy a deep sleep every night. Studies show that high stress levels lower your immune system and make you prone to inflammation, which leads to gum bleeding.

Ditch the bad habits

Avoid smoking and alcohol, as these substances can make inflammation and bleeding more aggressive. As much as possible, don’t take any drugs and over-the-counter medication unless recommended by your doctor. Don’t share anything that touches your mouth — toothbrush, drinking glass, utensils, etc. — because this is a way for bacteria to transfer from one person to another.

Consult your dentist

Avoid the guesswork and seek help from your trusted dentist, especially if the bleeding has been happening for some time now and despite your at-home remedies. Most likely, you will be asked to undergo a periodontal examination, so your dentist can accurately diagnose your condition.

What Are the Benefits of Invisalign?


The Benefits of Invisalign

Crooked, skewed, overlapping teeth. Nothing robs your smile of its radiance quite like less-than-perfect aligned pearly whites. However, the problem with misaligned teeth is much more than just aesthetics — although the aesthetic issues are problematic enough, with studies showing how unsightly teeth can affect one’s self-confidence, social life, and professional and personal relationships. Perhaps it’s time to learn more about Invisalign.

The deeper and uglier consequence of having unruly teeth is that they can lead to more serious dental issues. If the spaces between each tooth are too narrow or almost non-existent, cleaning your teeth via brushing and flossing can be very difficult. On the other hand, if the spaces are too wide, the gaps can be a catch-all for food particles that can be hard to remove and will attract bad bacteria. As a result, you may be at risk for gum infection, cavities, tooth loss, bone damage and all kinds of periodontal diseases

Traditional Braces

The problem is that the old way of correcting misaligned teeth can lead to more problems as well. Metal brackets that are used for traditional braces can lead to mouth sores and gum irritation. They make speaking, eating and practicing regular dental hygiene difficult. Moreover, you’ll have to wear them for a long time (years) before real results show. 


Thankfully, innovative dental technologies have paved the way for Invisalign. Aside from being clear and being near invisible, Invisalign aligners are also made of softer and more pliant materials, making them gentler for the wearer. If your dentist lists Invisalign as a suitable option for you, then here are the benefits of Invisalign that you should know about:

They’re virtually undetectable.

Clear brackets mean they’re suitable for any age — from tweens or teenagers who may feel self-conscious about their appearance, to ladies and gentlemen who may be worried that wearing braces isn’t agreeable for adults and professionals.

They’re easy to remove and re-wear.

What does easy removal mean? It means you can take off your Invisalign braces anytime — like if you want to eat something that might get stuck in between the braces, if you want to brush your teeth really thoroughly, or if you just want to take a short break from wearing them in your mouth. Then, you can place them back on so they can resume their work immediately.

They’re gentle and effective.

Invisalign braces don’t have sharp edges commonly found in metal braces, so you don’t have to worry about getting injured from wires or metal bits. Moreover, Invisalign uses a gentle but gradual pressure to effectively put teeth back in place, unlike metal aligners that use brute force to correct the growth and direction of affected teeth.      

Money- and time-saving.

You can already experience straighter teeth within a year or so of wearing clear aligners. That’s a huge improvement from metal braces that often take five years or so before you see notable results. Thus, even if Invisalign seems at first costlier than metal braces, the fast results, proven effectiveness and significantly fewer side effects make it the smarter and more economical option.

For more information about what method might be right for you, contact your local dentist and make an appointment. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions that come to mind.


Meet the Dentists at Horizon Dental Group

meet the dentists

Meet your Chino Valley and Prescott Valley Dentists

Are you scouting around Yavapai County for a good dentist? Horizon Dental Group would like you to meet the dentists based in Chino Valley and Prescott Valley.

Your oral health is a serious matter, so you want to make sure that you entrust its care to the very capable hands of excellent dental professionals. Even if you’re already a current patient, it’s always a good idea to get to know your dentist so you can ensure that he is worthy of your confidence and trust. For this reason, we encourage you to read on and meet the dentists – Dr. Sean Reed and Dr. Mark Costes.

Dr. Sean Reed

Dr. Sean Reed spent his growing up years in Chicago, IL and Denver, CO. For college, he headed to Provo, UT to attend Brigham Young University where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology with a minor in Spanish. He then furthered his education by pursuing a Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at New York University. After this, he completed a one-year residency in general dentistry at the University of Utah.

Today, Dr. Reed and his wife, together with their beautiful children, reside in gorgeous Prescott, Arizona.

Dr. Mark Costes

San Diego, California holds a special place in Dr. Mark Costes’ heart. Not only did he receive his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California, San Diego, but he also met his future wife in this fair city. After college, he moved to Wisconsin to pursue his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree from the Marquette University School of Dentistry in Milwaukee, but in 2001, he returned to San Diego to marry his lovely Leslie in the city where they first met and fell in love. These days, Dr. Costes and his wife live in Arizona with their three adorable boys: Bryce, Brendan, and Brady.

Dr. Costes treats patients of all ages. He is also certified to perform oral conscious sedation, which allows a stress-free dental experience, an option appreciated by many patients who are fearful of dental procedures.

Dr. Costes is also a very active member of his community, serving as the President of the Chino Valley Chamber of Commerce as well as part of the clinical faculty of the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health. Besides these, he is also involved in charitable dentistry, giving at least eight hours of his time per month to the homeless population of Arizona.

Wasn’t it absolutely worth your time to meet the dentists – Dr. Sean Reed and Dr. Mark Costes? Knowing their impressive credentials, you can be certain that your dental health is very much in good hands.

Which Filling Should You Get?


What Kind of Filling Should You Get?

When you experience tooth decay, one of the solutions that your trusted dentist will recommend is to give you a filling. This will help restore the normal shape and function of the affected tooth. Basically, the dentist will remove the decayed material, clean the area, and then fill the space with a filling material. Doing this ensures that the tooth will no longer go through further decay since bacteria will have no way of entering the tooth.

If you decide to get a filling, your dentist can explain the different kinds that you can consider:

Gold fillings. These are considerably the most expensive type of filling material, and getting them can require multiple visits (they will need to be created in a laboratory and cemented into the patient’s mouth). But because they are long lasting (they can last more than 20 years) and they are tolerated well by human gum tissues, gold fillings are typically the top recommendation by dental specialists.

Porcelain fillings. These are also called inlays or onlays and are quite similar to gold fillings in terms of price. Created to order in a lab and bonded over the affected tooth, porcelain fillings can be made to match the tooth’s color and they resist staining, so they look good.

Silver fillings. Also called amalgam fillings, these are a more inexpensive option that are built to last. What patients must keep in mind, though, is that their dark color makes them highly visible, so they would normally be used further inside the mouth rather than in more prominent areas.

Composite resin fillings (plastic). These are made by mixing the required ingredients and placing them directly onto the cavity so they can harden. They can match the color of the original teeth for a natural appearance. However, these fillings are not as resistant to stains from tea, coffee or tobacco as the other kinds, they can suffer from wear and tear over time, and they only last about three to 10 years.

Which fillings should you get?

Some patients, after getting one type of filling, may be wondering if they can switch to another type. If you’re thinking, for example, “Do I need to replace my silver fillings?” the answer would depend on the reason that your dentist may think you need the replacements. These could be:

The existing fillings may be defective. If you have metal fillings, there’s often no need to be concerned about damage or exposure to mercury since they are highly durable and are safe for use according to the American Dental Association. But if there are signs of damage, replacing them would be the right thing to do.

Decay may have started to set in. A broken filling may cause tooth to begin decaying and to become prone to infections, so getting a new filling is essential.

Cosmetic reasons. Your silver fillings may be highly visible to other people, and if this is the case, you can talk to your dentist about getting composite fillings for a more natural look — but only if your dental health will not be compromised.


The Structure of the Tooth

The Structure of a Tooth

The Structure of the Tooth

What are the different parts of a normal tooth? All people basically see is the white shell, but a tooth actually has two anatomical parts: the crown, which is covered with enamel (or the shell), and the part that is embedded in the jaw and secures the tooth in a bony socket. To learn the structure of the tooth, it’s best to start with the actual tooth.

A tooth is made up of four components: the enamel, the dentine, the pulp, and the cementum


This is the shell that everyone sees — that hard outer layer of the crown.


This is the inner layer of the tooth that forms its bulk, which can be quite sensitive if the protection of the enamel wears down.


This is the soft tissue that contains the blood vessel, connective tissue, and nerve supply to the tooth; it provides the teeth blood and nutrients and can be found from the crown down to the tip of the root. It’s also what gets infected when a tooth develops cavities.


This is the bone-like tissue that surrounds the root. It may look like the enamel, but it’s actually not as tough as the enamel, which is the hardest substance in the human body. It can also be sensitive to stimuli.

And then, there are the elements around the teeth that complete the structure

Elements around the teeth that complete the structure are composed of the periodontal ligament, oral mucosa, gingivae, bone, nerves and blood supply. Here is a breakdown of each element and how it functions.

Periodontal ligament

Thousands of fibers that anchor the cementum to the bony socket make up the periodontal ligament. This functions as a shock absorber when teeth do what they’re supposed to: chew things ups.

Oral mucosa

This is the moist tissue that lines the mouth.


(or more commonly known as the gums) – This is the soft tissue around the teeth and bone. Its primary job is to protect the bone and roots of the teeth.


This provides the hole or socket that holds the roots of the teeth in place.

Nerves and blood supply

Every tooth and periodontal ligament has these, and the nerve supply is what reacts to the different stimuli that come in contact with teeth. As for the blood supply, its main job is to maintain the vitality of teeth. Cut off blood supply to teeth and they will look grey and become prone to bacteria. If left untreated, an abscess can actually occur.

Now that you have learned and have a visual of the structure of a tooth, you might find it easier to understand the lingo between your dentist and dental hygienist on your nest Prescott Valley Dentist visit. Our goal is always to provide educational dental content so that you have a clear understanding of oral health. As always we encourage you to ask questions on your next visit to our office, were happy to help you understand your dental treatment plan.

Is It OK to Share Toothbrushes?

Is It OK to Share Toothbrushes?Is It OK to Share Toothbrushes?

You’re traveling, and you forgot your dental hygiene kit. You suddenly need to stay overnight at your best buddy’s house so you were not able to pack for your stay. You’re too tired and sleepy, but the only toothbrush you see is the one that belongs to your spouse. Your toothbrush suddenly broke in the middle of brushing, and you really need to brush your teeth right now. These are just some of the situations wherein you’ll probably be asking yourself: Is it OK to share toothbrushes?


Of course, everyone knows that the right thing to do is to use only your toothbrush; just like most other tools for hygiene, the toothbrush is designed only for the single user. But the reality is that there are more people than you think who are sharing toothbrushes. In a study, for instance, many married or cohabitating couples admit to using the toothbrush of their partner in multiple occasions or on a frequent basis, not only due to emergency or necessity, but also out of convenience.


If you’re guilty of such a habit, are you putting yourself in danger, or is the no-sharing-toothbrushes rule only for hygiene nitpickers?    


According to dental experts, sharing toothbrushes can lead to the following:

When you share toothbrushes, you also share bacteria.

The common practice among most people is to rinse the toothbrush under running water after every use. This may get the remaining toothpaste off the bristles, but it isn’t effective in removing microscopic oral bacteria. Thus, when you use the toothbrush of another person, there’s a huge chance that the remaining bacteria in the toothbrush gets transferred in your mouth. At the same time, you also leave bacteria from your mouth to the toothbrush, which may also transfer to the owner’s mouth the next time they use the toothbrush. Basically, in the process, you are not only sharing a single toothbrush, but may be exchanging millions of bacteria as well.    


Cavities and other contagious dental diseases may be exchanged.

Most cavities, cold sores, fungi and herpes are contagious, and are usually caused by bacteria that can easily pass from one person to another. If the person who owns the toothbrush is suffering from periodontal diseases, then it will be likely for you to catch the diseases, too. In the same vein, you may transfer the problem to the toothbrush owner if it’s you who has an infection in the teeth and/or gum.


Toothbrush sharers can also catch life-threatening diseases.

Sharing toothbrushes can sometimes lead to much more than dental problems. When you brush, sometimes you may cause bleeding in the gums. The blood may remain in the bristles. If one of the toothbrush users has a disease that can be transmitted through contamination by blood, you may also become at risk for infection. Examples of blood-borne diseases include hepatitis B and HIV.    


So, to go back to the question: Is it OK to share toothbrushes? The short answer is no. It’s always a good idea to keep an extra toothbrush handy. Next time you stop at the store pick up a few extra and eliminate the risk of having to use a different toothbrush or suffer through those pesky “fuzzy slippers”.