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Dr. Sean Reed

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Archive for May 2016

How Gingivitis is Treated


How is Gingivitis Treated

But how do you get gingivitis? Gum infections arise when the microorganisms in your mouth enter an area that is susceptible to infection and begin multiplying. Typically, these microorganisms hide in the space between the teeth and gums. And when these microorganisms are not removed, they can cause serious dental problems like tissue breakdown, periodontal pockets and infections.



According to studies, about half of adult Americans have a mild case of gum disease known as gingivitis. Furthermore, it is estimated that somewhere between five and 15 percent of adult Americans have an advanced form of gum diseases known as periodontitis. The main reason behind this relatively small number is because patients who regularly visit their dentists are made aware of their condition and their dental care professionals are able to contain the problem before it worsens.


If you have periodontitis, the area between the teeth and gums become affected as the nearby tissue begin to break down. In turn, when the tissue becomes damaged, the area between the teeth and gums develops pockets where bacteria are stored, which eventually leads to gum infection.


Don’t Hesitate To Visit Your Prescott Valley Dentist

At the first sign of gum infection, it is highly recommended that you visit the dentist as soon as possible. Symptoms include swollen, tender or bleeding gums, pus coming out of the gums, bad breath, loose teeth and receding gums. If you notice anything different with your bite, that may also be one sign of gum infection.


How is gum infection treated?

There are a few options when it comes to treating gum infections. Which treatment will be used for you will depend heavily on the severity of your infection. Among these, the most common ways to treat gum infections are antibiotics, root planing and scaling, and surgery.


In an antibiotic treatment, your dentist can either prescribe an antibiotic pill or administer an antibiotic injection on the affected area. Root planing and scaling is often used for more advanced cases of gum infection. Here, the areas between the gums and teeth are thoroughly cleaned. Finally, surgery is recommended as a last resort. Under surgery, there are a few additional options including flap procedure and gingivectomy.


If you want to avoid gum infection, your best defense is practicing good oral hygiene habits including regular brushing and flossing and visits to your Prescott Valley Dentist.

What Is an Abscessed Tooth?

Abscessed ToothWhat is an Abscessed Tooth and What Causes It?

If you are experiencing a severe and continuous toothache combined with other symptoms like fever, painful chewing, tooth sensitivity, bitter taste in your mouth, foul mouth odor, swollen neck glands, swelling in the upper or lower jaw, redness and swelling of gums, and draining sores on the side of your gums, you likely have an abscessed tooth.


What exactly is this condition and what causes it?

An abscess is an infection of either the tooth’s root or the area between the gum and one of your teeth. Typically, this condition is caused by severe tooth decay, although it may also be caused by gum disease or trauma where the affected tooth is chipped or broken.


These causes create an opening in the tooth enamel, allowing the bacteria to enter and infect the tooth’s pulp. Soon after, the infection can spread from the tooth’s root toward the supporting bone structure.

The infection can cause the tooth’s root to die. Once this happens, the toothache you may have been experiencing will stop. However, the infection is not truly gone. Rather, it can remain active and spread and destroy nearby tissue. This is why it is critical for you to immediately seek the help of a dentist if you experience the aforementioned symptoms.


How are abscessed teeth diagnosed and treated?

Using a dental instrument, your dentist will probe and tap your teeth. If you experience pain when your dentist taps a particular tooth, then you have an abscessed tooth. Your dentist will then ask you a few questions to determine whether you indeed have an abscessed tooth. Your dentist may also use X-ray imaging to look at the condition of the bone around the affected area.

In treating this condition, the overall goal of your dentist would be to preserve the tooth while eliminating the infection and preventing complications.

In order to eliminate the infection, your dentist needs to drain the abscess through root canal therapy or root surgery. Once the abscess has been drained, a crown will be placed over the affected tooth.

In some cases, the affected tooth needs to be extracted in order to drain the abscess and prevent further infection. One final option that may be recommended by your dentist is for him to create an incision on the swollen gum tissue, allowing him to drain the abscess.
Your Prescott Valley dentist may also prescribe antibiotics to help contain the infection and over-the-counter pain medications for pain relief.

Damaged Filling | What Should You Do Now?

damaged filling

What to Do When You Have a Damaged Filling

When one of your teeth sustains damage because of decay, your dentist is most likely to replace the lost tooth structure with a dental filling or dental restoration.  This will help your teeth regain normal function for a number of years.

However, no dental filling is designed to last forever. It’s inevitable for your to suffer from a damaged filling at some point. Often, normal wear and tear is the cause of damage; in some cases, a person who frequently grinds or clenches their teeth can end up putting too much stress on the filling, causing it to fail and to fall out.


Why addressing the damage is important

A damaged filling, when left unchecked, can develop worn areas, cracks, or chips that can create a gap between the tooth and the filling; this gap then becomes an entry point for bacteria, which are abundant in saliva and in dental plaque (which is the thin film that forms over teeth and gums). The bacteria won’t be easy to remove by brushing your teeth, and they can cause decay to develop underneath the dental filling or along its edges.


In more severe cases, the decay can worsen and infect the dental pulp which contains nerves and the blood supply for the tooth. The dentist may then need to perform root canal treatment or even extract the tooth entirely.


What you should do

If you haven’t noticed signs of your dental filling failing yet, the best preventative solution would be to pay regular visits to the dentist as usual. Your dentist will examine your teeth and your dental device and look out for warning signs, like any weaknesses, chips or cracks in the filling.


Your dentist may use a tool called an explorer to gently feel for worn spots around the edge of the filling and determine if the filling needs replacement. X-rays or dental radiographs may also be taken to pinpoint decay underneath the filling.


On the other hand, if no signs of damage have been observed and yet one day you suddenly discover that your filling has fallen out, don’t panic. Your dental clinic will have time set aside for emergency cases, such as lost fillings, and your dentist should be able to see to your filling on the same day. After a look into your medical history and an examination, the dentist will determine the best treatment method to use.


Some damaged fillings will simply need a replacement, and your Prescott Valley dentist will talk to you about the options for the filling’s material, such as amalgam (silver) or glass ionomer and composite (tooth-colored), which are ideal for molars and premolars. Composite and glass ionomer fillings are also recommended for front teeth (canines or incisors). Other failed fillings may require a root canal, after which a crown or cap will be placed to restore the tooth. There’s also the possibility that the lost filling may require a tooth extraction.


Dental fillings help restore the integrity of your tooth, so it’s important that they are kept in the best condition possible. Remember to submit to regular dental examinations even when you don’t notice any problems arising so that discomfort, pain, and tooth loss can be prevented.


Understanding the Dental Veneer Process

dental veneer processUnderstanding the Dental Veneer Process 

The dental veneer process requires a series of steps that must be done carefully and correctly in order to produce the desired results.

If you’re considering getting a porcelain veneer (or a dental laminate), the following information can give you an idea of dental veneer process:


Trimming The Enamel

The enamel on the front side of the tooth has to be trimmed in the same thickness as the veneer that will be placed on it; this ensures that the tooth’s overall thickness won’t amount to more than the original. Generally, about 1.5 mm or so of enamel will be removed.

If there are any decayed areas, there will be more trimming done in order to remove them.

The preparation’s outline will be provided a shape wherein the area where the tooth and the veneer will meet won’t be seen.

As a rule of thumb, an anesthetic is provided for this procedure to protect the patient against sensitivity issues.


Finding the Right Shade

Your dentist will use a shade guide to find out the color of the porcelain veneer that matches the teeth found on either side of the affected tooth.


Obtaining the Impression of Your Teeth and Gums

There are two ways in which dentists can make a copy of your mouth which will be used to create your dental veneers.

An impression putty is a thick paste applied to a tray, which is then fitted over your teeth and allowed to sit for a few minutes. The resulting impression is sent to a dental laboratory where the porcelain veneer will be made — this takes about two weeks.

A dental milling machine, on the other hand, comes with a camera that takes an optical impression of the tooth. The milling machine will then use the captured image to grind the veneer out of a ceramic block.


For Those Who Require it: Placing a Temporary Veneer

Because manufacturing the veneer in a dental laboratory can take one or two weeks, some patients will need a temporary veneer to protect the tooth. The trimming of the enamel can cause the tooth to become more sensitive to hot and cold food or drinks, as well as cause it to feel rough. A temporary solution would be to slip a plastic-filled mold over the tooth.


Evaluating the tooth before bonding the veneer

Once the veneer is available, the dentist will check how well it fits onto your tooth. The veneer will be trimmed, rounded, squared off or shortened as needed until it looks right on the tooth. The color of the translucent veneer can also be tuned (with the help of the bonding cement) until it comes in the right shade for you.


Bonding the veneer onto the tooth

After cleaning the veneer and washing and polishing the surface of the tooth, cementing the veneer can begin. The dentist will etch the tooth’s surface using an acid etching gel for 15 to 20 seconds to create a rough enamel surface (which is exactly what the cement of the veneer will bond to).

After the etching gel is washed off and the tooth is dried, a clear bonding agent is then applied to the tooth, cement is placed inside the veneer, and the veneer is set into place. A curing light will then be used to set the cement.


Cleaning up

The dentist will scrape off any excess cement, check the veneer’s contours, and trim or polish it as needed. Then your bite will be assessed to determine if the veneer affected it in any way.


Paying a follow-up visit

You will need to see your Prescott Valley dentist about a week after the dental veneer process so he can evaluate how your teeth and gums respond to the new veneer. Any adjustments that need to be made or sensitivity issues that arise should then be brought to the dentist’s attention.

Gum Health | Dental Procedures That Could Improve Your Overall Health

gum healthThe Most Common Dental Procedures for Better Teeth and Gum Health

Investing in your dental health offers benefits beyond your teeth and gums. By ensuring good gum health, you reduce your risks of getting a heart attack, stroke or diabetes, all of which have been linked to bacteria from the mouth and gum infection. A great-looking set of teeth is also an asset to your social life and your career. Disease prevention, better overall health and improved looks are just some of the reasons why vigilant at-home dental care and visiting a dentist regularly should be on top of your must-do list.

The good news is that achieving better dental health has become easier and more affordable today. The most common dental procedures now offer the best results at less to zero pain, thanks to the state-of-the-art dental technology leading facilities have. Moreover, it also pays to choose an experienced, reputable dentist who knows how to apply certain techniques that can make each procedure as comfortable and pleasant as possible for you as a patient.

The most common dental procedures that can solve your tooth and gum health issues include the following:


For cracked/broken teeth: Fillings and repairs.

Trauma and tooth decay are two of the main causes of damage to tooth surface and structure. The tooth can be repaired using fillings which are made of materials that look and feel like natural teeth.

To cover and protect damaged teeth: Dental crowns or caps.

Dental crowns are placed over the entire tooth to cover the tooth damage, whether it’s a crack, stain, chip or structural weakness. Not only do dental caps improve the appearance of a tooth, but they also add strength to it.

To fix stained or discolored teeth: Tooth whitening procedures.

You can now choose from a wide array of tooth whitening systems, from in-clinic treatments to at-home kits. While you can easily get over-the-counter tooth whitening solutions today, it’s best to get the advice of your dentist before trying any product or procedure to ensure safe results.

To replace missing tooth: Bridges and implants.

To replace a missing tooth, your dentist may recommend the use of a bridge or an implant. A removable denture also known as a bridge works best for filling in gaps caused by missing teeth. A more advanced solution is the placement of dental implants, which are surgically attached to your jawbone for a more secure and more long-term fit.  

To save tooth from extraction: Root canal.

If the tooth becomes too infected or decayed, the patient will usually be left with two options: extraction or root canal, if applicable, to save the tooth. During the procedure, the pulp of the tooth is removed and the root canal is sealed off to avoid further infection.    

Contact the professionals at Horizon Dental Group if you have any questions about how you could improve your overall dental health.

Get Rid of Tooth Plaque Build Up

Tooth Plaque

How to Get Rid of Plaque Buildup

As much as we would like to keep our teeth clean and pristine to prevent all signs of decay and disease, it’s certainly difficult to do so since we repeatedly use our mouths to eat, drink and nourish the body — and the residue from these, when not properly cleaned off, can cause all kinds of dental problems.

Plaque is one specific problem everyone must be mindful of. Dental plaque isn’t something that you can readily see with the naked eye, but it’s important to keep in mind that tooth plaque is made up of masses of harmful germs. These germs live in people’s mouths and stick to the teeth.

If you aren’t careful, plaque can build up inside your mouth and potentially cause two common dental issues: tooth decay or gum disease. Ignore the signs of gum disease (bleeding, puffy or red gums) and your gums will eventually be destroyed — and the teeth they hold will fall off.


So, how do you get rid of tooth plaque buildup? There are four simple steps you must follow:

Stain your teeth to identify areas with plaque buildup.

Plaque will become more visible to the eye if you introduce a stain, such as if you use a cotton swab to apply green food coloring on your teeth, or purchase red disclosing tablets from grocery or drug stores and chewing on them. Wherever there are green or red stains left on your teeth, that’s where the plaque is.

You can do the staining method regularly so you can keep track of any signs of plaque buildup.


Flossing is essential because it effectively removes food particles and germs found between your teeth. Make sure to ease the floss gently into place rather than snapping it into place, which can harm the gums. Rinse your mouth when you’re done.

Brush your teeth.

Apply fluoride toothpaste to your toothbrush — this helps protect your teeth from decay. When brushing, using small circular movements as well as short back and forth motions is recommended. Rinse well when you’re done.

Brush your tongue.

You might think that it all ends with brushing teeth, but you need to remember to brush the tongue as well. Residue from the food and drinks you consume can be left behind on the tongue, not just the teeth, so you need to remove that as well so that there won’t be anything for the germs that make up plaque to feed on inside your mouth.

Removing tooth plaque at least once a day is a good habit, but you can always go the extra mile and do it twice a day for best results — healthier gums and teeth that you can have for your entire life.

These simple tips are great, but we recommend keeping up with a regular dental cleaning with your local Chino Valley Dentist  If you are not able to reduce visible tooth plaque build up on your own, ask Dr. Costes about a deep cleaning on your next visit.