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Archive for April 2017

Brushing Your Tongue – Is It Important?

Most people just brush their teeth day in and day out, not knowing that this won’t remove all the harmful bacteria in their mouth.

For you to gain the best oral health, you need to brush both your teeth and your tongue.

Bacterial Live and Proliferate on Your Tongue

Biofilm, a specific type of bacteria, makes up a huge amount of the bacteria in your mouth. Similar to other bacteria, biofilm will contribute a lot to creating different oral health problems for your teeth, gums and mouth. These bacteria live on your tongue in the ridges and spaces you can’t see. A few hours after brushing your teeth, these bacteria can transfer from your tongue to your teeth. Mouthwash alone won’t eliminate them, which is why brushing your tongue is very important.

Tongue Brushing Tools and Techniques

  • Toothbrush – Focus on brushing your tongue after you’ve brushed your teeth. You can use the bristles of your toothbrush or a specialized brush with a built-in tongue cleaner. Start brushing by reaching to the back of your tongue, and working forward toward your mouth’s opening. You must brush the entire tongue’s surface with gentle pressure. After that, rinse with water.
  • Tongue Scraper – This is a flat, soft and flexible plastic tool that is used mainly for brushing your tongue. When using a scraper, start from the back of your tongue going forward. Since it lacks bristles, it may be more difficult for you to reach certain areas. After each swipe of the tongue, you must rinse the scraper. Avoid using the scraper with too much force to prevent tongue sores and bleeding. And since the center of the tongue has the bulk of bacteria, concentrate on this area when scraping.
  • Cleaner – This is an excellent tool for brushing your tongue because this is a scraper with bristles. It combines the best of a scraper and a toothbrush. The bristles, though, are rubber.

How Often Should You Brush Your Tongue?

Cleaning your tongue, a Prescott, AZ dentist says, must be done at least once in the morning and once in the evening before going to sleep. Whenever you feel your mouth is dry or has a foul taste in midday, cleaning your tongue immediately will be the best solution.

Aside from that, consider using a mouthwash rinse after brushing your tongue to moisturize your mouth and to kill other bacteria.

Indeed, maintaining fresh breath and a healthy mouth is not just about brushing your teeth. Make it a habit to give your tongue sufficient attention to ensure fresh breath and good oral health. Call us today!


All About Dental Bone Graft Procedures

When it comes to restorative dentistry, dental implants generate the most interest. Unlike other procedures, implants achieve the feel and function of original teeth the best. It’s like you never lost your teeth at all.

However, to be a good candidate for dental implants, you need to have enough bone density to securely anchor the implants. If you don’t, additional work needs to be carried out.

Dental bone graft is performed for patients whose bone under the gums is not wide, tall or dense enough. This procedure is a rather complex one, so it greatly increases the overall cost of dental implant surgery.

To further understand this crucial treatment that is included in some dental implant procedures, listed below are things you need to know all about dental bone graft procedures.

  • This process will rebuild or replace bone in the jaw to support dental implants. Bone loss is usually caused by periodontal disease, trauma, an abscess, or aging and not having teeth for a long time already.
  • Bone grafts make use of bone (cadaver, cow, patient’s own bone) or bone-like material (synthetic bone).

  • An oral surgeon, prosthodontist or periodontist commonly performs extensive bone grafts several months before the dental implants.

  • A single bone graft using bone from a cow, cadaver or synthetic bone can cost between $250 and $1100. Meanwhile, for bone graft using the patient’s own bone, the procedure can cost between $2000 and $3000 – obviously more expensive as it includes two surgical sites, anesthesia and hospitalization.

  • The cost of bone grafts is dependent on the following factors:

  • size and shape of the surgical site, source material used, and where the bone is harvested from.

  • Additional costs can be expected, and they’re for X-rays, CT scans and consultation fee of other specialists.

  • Dental insurance normally doesn’t cover the cost of dental implants but may cover a portion of the cost of a dental bone graft due to bone loss’s impact on a person’s wellbeing.

  • The safest graft material is your own bone because it naturally integrates well and there’s no risk of infectious disease, tissue rejection and contamination. This is usually harvested from the chin, jaw, shin or hip.

  • Least ideal bone graft material is synthetic bone. While it’s second to your own bone when it comes to safety, this material is absorbed by the body and needs to be replaced over time.

  • Lastly, recovery from bone grafting usually takes about four to nine months so it’s a long waiting time before dental implant surgery can be performed. During the recovery/waiting period, you are expected to consistently practice proper oral care and to follow a healthy diet to ensure the success of the dental implant.

To know if a dental bone graft procedure is right for you, contact your trusted Prescott, AZ dentist. 


The Different Types of Dental Bridges and Their Benefits

Cases of missing teeth among young children are often deemed cute occurrences (which is probably why there’s a popular song about missing teeth). But when you’re old, missing teeth can be a health risk.

Apart from a sagging facial appearance that can make you look sad and older, missing teeth can also have other negative consequences. One is the high likelihood of “shifting” – teeth can move a bit toward the gap. This movement creates spaces between the teeth that will not only alter alignment and bite but can also make teeth prone to harmful bacteria buildup that can lead to gum disease. A more serious consequence is bone loss, which will put you at greater risk of losing more teeth as you get older.

One of the best solutions to missing teeth is a dental bridge. What it does is it literally bridges the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It is made of two or more crowns (depending on the missing tooth’s location). One crow will serve as the replacement for the missing tooth, and the other/s for the anchoring tooth or teeth (called abutment teeth).

When dental bridges are placed in, you will be able to:

  • Restore your smile.
  • Restore your ability to speak for clearly.
  • Chew food properly.
  • Maintain the healthy shape of your face (no more hollow areas).
  • Maintain your proper teeth alignment and bite.
  • Preserve your original teeth better.

There are different types of dental bridges that your dentist can put in for you depending on where your missing tooth or teeth are, and they are:

  • Cantilever bridges – These are the type of bridges used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing teeth. Cantilever bridges are not used that often anymore because they are not ideal as restorative solutions for missing tooth at the back of the mouth where there’s usually a lot of pressure on surrounding teeth.
  • Maryland bonded bridges – These are also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge. They are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums held together by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings, usually placed on just one side of the bridge, are anchored or bonded to your existing teeth.
  • Traditional bridges – These consist of a crown for the tooth or implant on both sides of the missing tooth, with a pontic or a dummy tooth in between. Traditional bridges are the most frequently used type of bridge and they are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.

The application of dental bridges takes multiple visits to the dentist, which can take several weeks. But once the bridges are permanently placed in, you’re sure to feel a big difference in the way your mouth feels and functions. Ask your trusted Prescott, AZ dentist about the best treatment for you.


Tooth Decay Treatment

Contrary to the common belief that tooth decay is only caused by not brushing teeth regularly – this is the main reason, but it can actually be the result of frequent, hard brushing as well. When you brush your teeth too much and you brush rather vigorously, your tooth’s enamel gets scratched, creating small “abrasions” or cavities that if not taken care of may result in serious tooth decay.

Whatever type of tooth decay you may have, immediate treatment is important for tooth decay only gets worse over time, says a Prescott, AZ dentist. It’s worth noting too that decay spreads rapidly and when it reaches the more sensitive parts of your teeth, you can expect pain to intensify and occur more often. Other complications may arise as well, such as face swelling, pain that radiates to other parts of the head, and in severe cases, flare-ups of other health issues such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.

Tooth decay treatment is affordable especially if it will be performed for the prevention of further damage instead of for the purpose of removal. For small abrasions or erosion on your enamel, prevention of further damage has to be done right away. The dentist will perform the treatment using filling materials that contain fluoride, calcium and phosphates.

Now, for tooth decay that has already reached the dentin, repair is performed using a dental filling. There are different kinds of filling; there’s amalgam, which is composed of silver and other metals, or a tooth-colored resin material, which has a much nicer appearance though not as durable as amalgam.

For damaged teeth that have changed in shape and size, the dentist will fill them and then add a crown to help strengthen and restore shape and function. The application of a crown can be expected to increase the cost of treatment.

As for the worst case of tooth day, meaning there’s an abscess, these are your treatment options:

  • A root canal treatment, followed by a crown because teeth can become more brittle after this treatment and are likely to break easily.

  • An extraction – this when there are no other means to save the tooth.

These only go to show how important it is to have consistent, good oral care practices because tooth decay is a serious health issue. On top of this, treatment can cost you a significant amount of money. So brush, floss, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash and visit your dentist regularly to prevent the pain and cost of tooth decay.

Schedule an appointment with one of our dentists today!


What is a Flipper for Teeth and Do You Need It?

Losing a tooth or teeth makes eating and speaking a little bit difficult and uncomfortable.

Aside from these obvious effects of tooth loss, there are also the non-obvious effects, such as bone loss. When you lose a tooth and you take too long to take it to a dentist, the surrounding bone that used to support your tooth could also lose its form and density. If you have more than one tooth missing, your facial structure will eventually change as the distance between the chin and the nose decreases.

Typically, the first tooth that you lose is a back tooth. Back teeth develop early during childhood and are more prone to decay. When this happens, the best thing for you to do is to go and visit a dentist as soon as possible. However, before going there, you may want to learn a few things.

What is a flipper for teeth?

A flipper is a temporary replacement for a permanent tooth after it has been extracted. It is usually prepared before the extraction, and once it’s ready, can simply be inserted into the mouth for immediate use. Flippers are used instead of a permanent implant at first because implants need to be prepared for a period of time which sometimes takes months. According to research, it is unhealthy to go on without a tooth replacement for a long time as it could already alter the bone that surrounds the teeth as well as the jawbone.

Flippers are removable dentures made of resin and work almost just like a retainer. The contours of a flipper follow that of the roof of the mouth and the same is true if you need it for the bottom teeth. This dental appliance can be made of porcelain or plastic, which is the cheaper option. Once you get your flipper, your dentist may ask you to eat only soft food for the first week so you can gradually adjust to using it.

Keep in mind that flippers are just supposed to be temporary.

You need to have a dental implant eventually as flippers do not have a very long shelf life – the material is not as durable as dentures, and the fit may become loose over a relatively short period of wearing them.

On the other hand, for kids who lost a tooth, only a flipper is advisable as a tooth replacement. Children need to wait until the jawbone has stopped growing at around 17 or 18 years old. Dental implants can then be performed.

If you have lost a tooth or you think you are about to lose one, you need to have it checked by your dentist immediately. Visit your trusted Prescott, AZ dentist to know the right solution for your specific needs.


The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Last February 19 and 20, 15 international specialists with years of knowledge and experience among them assembled in Madrid for the Perio-Diabetes Workshop led by the European Federation of Periodontology and the International Diabetes Federation to tackle one of the biggest health issues in the society today:

The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease.

While diabetes is characterized as a complex disease that involves deterioration or complete inability of an individual to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, periodontal disease (often called gum disease) is defined as the inflammation and irritation of the gum line.

More often than not, both illnesses result in more severe problems such as bone corrosion and teeth loss.

A group of experts have worked together to finally solve this massive dental dilemma.

During the workshop, it was discussed that patients who have periodontitis are also the ones who are most likely susceptible to pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Those who have diabetes, on the other hand, are very much prone to acquiring periodontal disease. People who suffer from periodontitis and other gum diseases find it difficult for their bodies to keep their blood pressure normal.

Now that it has been revealed that there is actually a strong resemblance between periodontal disease and diabetes, it is important that you also know how to treat or manage both conditions.

For those with periodontal disease, it has been shown that self-performed oral hygiene at home is an effective practice. By simply establishing a habit of regular brushing and flossing, you can save yourself from one of the most severe dental diseases.

Based on the workshop’s conclusion, diabetes can be treated while one practices self-care techniques for periodontal disease. The length and type of treatment varies from one patient to another, depending on the level of their infection. As a rule of thumb, it is still always the best option to consult a Prescott, AZ dentist to assist you throughout the procedure.

As for diabetes, there are injections prescribed by doctors that can help pump one’s bloodstream with enough insulin to treat diabetes. As expected, addressing diabetes also creates an impact on periodontal disease as both of them heal at the same time. It is important to know that the condition should be treated with utmost urgency, as more serious complications to one’s health may arise if left untreated for a long time.

To learn about other professional treatments, you can search for credible online sources or simply contact your dentist for advice.