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Ask Dr. Mark

Ask Dr. Mark Each month Dr. Mark Costes answers a question posed by a reader. It is published here and in the Lonesome Valley Newspaper. If you have a question for Dr. Costes, please email him at info@horizondds.com.

The Horizon Dental Group Family Announces Two New Dental Offices

Through the years, the Horizon Dental Group’s objective has been to serve generations of families residing in Northern Arizona and to provide them with top quality dental services. From teaching toddlers and young kids the basics of keeping their teeth clean and healthy to providing services to adults and seniors with dental issues, their team of dental experts is ready to serve.

With this in mind, the Horizon Dental Group Family is proud to announce the addition of two new partnerships. The Gentle Touch Family Dental Care at the West Bell Plaza Building in Phoenix, Arizona and the Horizon Dental Group New River located along the North Black Canyon Highway in New River, Arizona. The Horizon Dental Group has four additional offices located within the following locations: Chino Valley, Prescott Valley, Prescott, and Spring Valley. Dental patients can now choose from a total of six different offices to schedule for an appointment with our amazing team.

Regardless of whether you are a new patient or returning for additional dental work, Horizon Dental Group makes it easy for patients to visit a dentist and receive the necessary services. At the Horizon Dental Group dental office in New River, we offer the Ambassador Dental Plan. It is an in-house membership plan that offers patients the opportunity to avail of specific dental services regardless of their current financial situation. There are plans available for individuals, families and new patients alike.

In both the Gentle Touch, our Phoenix/Glendale area dentist and the Horizon Dental Group New River offices, a number of general dental care services are available. The services allow patients to work with their dentist to develop and follow long-term oral hygiene goals. Services include teeth cleaning and digital x-rays. These services help detect hidden dental issues such as cysts, tumors and irregular tooth positions, among others.

Horizon Dental Group’s two new offices also offer a host of cosmetic and restorative dental care services. These types of services make it easier for patients to achieve their ideal smile. Under these categories, Horizon Dental Group offers the following services: teeth whitening, creation of crowns, fixed bridges and veneers made out of porcelain and composite fillings.

For patients looking for a dentist in Arizona, contact the Horizon Dental Group today to schedule an appointment or a consultation with one of their dental specialists. Horizon Dental Group dentists are ready to assist patients and give them all the details needed to bring back their winning smile.


6 Dental Issues That Require Oral Surgery

6 Dental Issues That Require Oral Surgery

Most types of surgery can automatically strike fear in some people; however, some are performed rather quickly, and recovery from them is usually speedy.

Oral surgery, for example, is one that usually doesn’t take long to perform and is required for certain dental issues. A Prescott, AZ dentist lists six of the most common dental issues that he treats effectively through oral surgery.

  • Biopsies

When there are lesions in the mouth, dentists try to establish right away if they’re early signs of mouth cancer. Through simple oral surgery, they can remove a small piece of tissue for analysis.

This popular restorative solution consists of two to three oral surgeries so that new, natural-looking teeth will feel and function like original teeth. It involves “opening” the gums so metal posts can be implanted into the jawbone in order to enable gum tissue and bone to fuse over time.

  • Facial Injury

Teeth that have been knocked out and broken jaws are treated through oral surgery in order to restore function and appearance.

  • Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Most wisdom teeth do not cut through gums properly, creating great discomfort for many. They are surgically removed to get rid of pain and also to preserve the structural integrity of surrounding teeth.

  • Misaligned Jaws

There are all sorts of discomforts for people with misaligned jaws. Not only that, this issue affects appearance and function as well. Oral surgery can take care of the problem for enhanced physical appearance and proper, painless functioning.

  • Sleep Apnea

This condition can lead to even more serious health woes and a simple oral surgery that removes excess tissue from the back of the throat can improve sleep quality and reduce other symptoms of the condition.

Although oral surgery is rarely as complex as other surgical procedures, it demands proper aftercare. No matter how quick and simple it was, the right aftercare is necessary to ensure speedy recovery.

The Prescott, AZ dentist recommends taking prescribed pain relievers for tenderness, sensitivity and pain. He likewise says it’s important to avoid any type of physical exertion that will cause blood to flow to the head, and to use ice packs to reduce swelling. It’s important as well to stick to soft food for a while to avoid disturbing the treated area, loading up on vitamin C to speed up cell regeneration and the body’s overall ability to recover, and frequently but gently cleaning the mouth with a mild solution to prevent infection.


 Common Reasons People Need Dentures

Common Reasons People Need Dentures

If you are one of those who have been religiously observing proper oral care since you were young, chances are you won’t be needing dentures when you get old. But if you are one of those who constantly put off regular brushing or call off dentist appointments, then you may find yourself needing dentures as you age.

A denture, commonly known as false teeth, is a removable replacement for missing teeth and gums. It can either be full or partial, depending on your needs, and your dentist will help you choose the type that is best for you.

It is also worth noting that there are several situations wherein you might need dentures. A Prescott, AZ dentist states the common reasons people need dentures below:

  1. Loss of natural teeth

The loss of natural teeth, whether from tooth decay or injury, is one of the primary reasons people need dentures. Tooth loss due to mouth disease does not happen at once, unlike accidents or injury. It is a gradual process that starts when you neglect caring for your pearly whites.

Having said so, losing one or more of your teeth due to decay and gum disease is avoidable, yet it still remains to be among the top reasons for getting dentures.

  1. Difficulty chewing and speaking

Dentures might not be your first choice, but when you are missing some teeth, you may find it difficult to chew certain types of food and to speak properly. When this happens, getting a set of dentures may become your best option.

Because the front teeth are important in speech, pronouncing certain words becomes challenging when you are missing some of your teeth. Denture placement can restore essential oral functions like chewing and speaking.

  1. Facial sagging or altered facial contour

Missing or underdeveloped teeth causes the facial muscles to sag and the facial contour to alter and appear hollow. Dentures help individuals have an improved appearance by filling out their facial features. This will help individuals gain back their self-confidence or self-esteem.

New dentures may feel awkward at first and it will take some getting used to. It will require practice to speak and eat with your dentures on, but your dentist will help you deal with some of the challenges you may experience.

Caring for your dentures is also important to ensure that they will last a long time. Careful handling is also vital because they are delicate and can easily break. Of course, regular dental checkups are still necessary even if you have dentures on.


How to prevent gingivitis?

How to prevent gingivitis?

According to a study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention between 2009 and 2010, around 47 percent of Americans suffer from the different stages of gum disease.

A trusted Prescott, AZ dentist says that Gingivitis is the earliest stage of gum disease. And left unchecked, gingivitis can worsen into periodontitis.

When gingivitis progresses into gum disease, your body’s immune system begins to fight back the plaque that causes irritation in the gums. However, this immune response can harm the tissues supporting your teeth. Apart from that, a noticeable space between the gums and the teeth develops, making the gums more vulnerable to infection.

Gingivitis occurs when the plaque bacteria build up on the tissues around the teeth. Although plaque is naturally found in the human mouth, it is essential to remove it through proper oral hygiene in order to prevent gingivitis.

One of the reasons why there are many people with gingivitis is because it can be difficult to detect due to the absence of pain. However, there are a few other symptoms that you or your dentist can check for. Among the symptoms of this dental issue are the swelling, reddening, and bleeding of the gums.

Poor oral hygiene is the leading cause of gingivitis. However, some conditions can leave a person vulnerable to this problem. These include pregnancy, diabetes, consumption of tobacco products, substance abuse, stress, autoimmune diseases, and the use of some types of medications. If you’re suffering from Gingivitis, call us to schedule an appointment today!

If you want to know how to prevent gingivitis, here are some guidelines offered by dental professionals.

In order to prevent gingivitis from wreaking havoc on your gums, there are four crucial things that you need to do.

First, you should brush your teeth at least twice a day. Make sure that you spend two minutes brushing your teeth, preferably with an antibacterial toothpaste. Avoid brushing too forcefully.

Pay special attention to every part of your mouth, including the tongue. Make sure that you brush your teeth before going to bed because bacterial growth occurs at a faster pace during sleep.

Next, floss at least once a day to remove food particles stuck between the teeth.

Third, use a mouthwash especially formulated to remove plaque and the bacteria that cause gingivitis.

Finally, visit your dentist every six months for checkups and professional cleaning. However, if you notice the signs of gingivitis in your mouth, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.


8 Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

8 Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

Most people think that their teeth will always be healthy, strong and functional, and so they usually take these for granted. A reputable Prescott, AZ dentist emphasizes that proper and efficient dental care is very crucial throughout the human life cycle.

Here are some tips for healthy teeth and gums that will help you achieve a bright, big smile.

How to Achieve and Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums

1. Deal with dental visit anxiety – If sitting on a dentist’s chair often makes you anxious, help yourself feel calm by bringing your headphones and a music player to your next appointment. This is indeed a great way of relieving your anxiety. Most of all, you must communicate with your dentist so he can help you.

2. Floss first before you brush – Flossing first will make brushing more effective since it will remove the food that gets trapped in between your teeth. There are floss holders you can buy from a drugstore if handling floss agitates you. After flossing, brush your teeth gently and rinse with a recommended antibacterial mouthwash to totally eliminate any leftover plaque.

3. Regularly replace your toothbrush – Over time, toothbrush bristles flatten, wear down and fray. Replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months is highly recommended. To avoid harboring germs, consider replacing your brush if you are sick.

4. Be gentle when using toothpicks – A toothpick is a good alternative to floss; however, be very gentle when using it because it can easily damage your gums and it may even break off below your gum line.

5. Consume cheese – The whey protein and casein in cheese will help keep your tooth enamel in its excellent form because it reduces demineralization. Moreover, cheese has tooth-building calcium. But do not forget to include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet because this vitamin can help your body absorb calcium.

6. Remove teeth stains with baking soda – If you love drinking red wine, coffee or other tooth-staining beverages, your pearly white teeth can become dim. Brushing your teeth using baking soda at least twice a month will help brighten your smile. You can use toothpaste containing baking soda if plain baking soda irritates your teeth and gums.

7. Control your acid reflux – Preserve your tooth enamel and oral health by controlling your acid reflux. Avoid consuming foods and drinks that can trigger reflux, such as tomatoes, coffee and tea, chocolate, mint, and caffeinated drinks.

8. Brush your tongue – Brushing or scraping your tongue each time you brush your teeth can help prevent bad breath. Your tongue can host different bacteria that cause bad breath, so giving it a scrub will help minimize or eliminate odor-causing compounds.

Your teeth and gums can stay healthy and happy throughout your life with proper care. Most importantly, there will be fewer risks for gum disease and tooth decay if you always have healthy teeth and gums. Schedule your appointment with one of our dentists today!


6 Tips for Eliminating Bad Breath

Horizon Dental Care Tips for Eliminating Bad Breath

Also known as halitosis, bad breath can be embarrassing for you when there are lots of people around you. This is caused primarily by a build-up of bacteria in your mouth. The bacteria cause inflammation, thereby giving off noxious gases that smell unpleasant.

Studies have shown that 80% of bad breath has an oral source. Gum diseases, trapped food particles on your tonsils, cracked fillings, and unclean dentures – all of these can lead to bad breath. Medical conditions can likewise cause bad breath. These include liver disease, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, and respiratory tract infections.

The good thing is that there are tips for eliminating bad breath that you can try.

The key to preventing and eliminating bad breath is good oral hygiene. You need to floss and brush your teeth after every meal in order to reduce the build-up of odor-causing bacteria in your mouth. Using mouth rinses can also prevent cavities as well as reduce bacteria-causing plaque. A reputable Prescott, AZ dentist recommends using an antibacterial or antiseptic rinse that will kill bacteria instead of a cosmetic rinse that only promises fresh breath.

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

1. Watch What You Eat

What you ingest will greatly affect what you exhale. The food gets digested and absorbed into your bloodstream, and is expelled when you breathe. As such, you need to eat a balanced, healthy diet and regular meals. Eating watery fruits and vegetables like raw carrots and apple slices can help clear your mouth of any food particles or debris. Diets, like very low-carb ones and extreme fasting, can actually give you bad breath. Moreover, avoid consuming breath busters like onions, garlic and spicy foods.

2. Stay Hydrated

If you cannot brush your teeth after each meal, you must drink a lot of water as this can help hasten the process of cleaning debris and harmful bacteria in between your teeth. To help deodorize some offensive breath odors, drink milk.

3. Avoid Drinking Too Much Coffee

Coffee can be very tasty; however, this has a tough smell that can stay on the back of your tongue. Drink herbal or green tea instead.

4. Avoid Smoking

Cigarettes and other tobacco products can give you horrible breath. Moreover, smoking can stain your teeth and damage your gums. Opting for nicotine patches can help tame your desire. If you think you need a bit of help, make an appointment with your doctor and tackle how you can easily and successfully quit smoking.

5. Limit Your Alcohol Intake

One cause of dry mouth is alcohol. You can suffer from bad breath if you consume too much wine, beer and hard liquor.

6. Chew Gum

If you chew gum 20 minutes after having a meal, it can help with your saliva flow. Choose sugarless gums to help reduce cavities. This also has a cooling effect, giving you a nice fresh breath. Avoid sugary mints because the sugar will just sit on your teeth and may worsen the problem.

These tips can help make your mouth feel clean and fresh. Indeed, it is very easy to keep your teeth and gums healthy and to improve your breath at the same time.  Schedule an appointment with us today!


5 Things You’re Doing That Cause Bleeding Gums

5 Things You’re Doing That Cause Bleeding Gums

Habits That Cause Bleeding Gums

Do your gums often bleed? That probably happens often because of certain practices. It may also be due to health conditions that you’re not aware of. If you wish for your mouth to be healthier and for bleeding to stop, it’s crucial to know the real causes.

So, what usually causes bleeding gums?

You floss too hard.

Flosses can often cut through the fleshy tissues of your gums if you don’t know how to handle them properly. Also, there are flossers that really are too sharp, so even if you’re careful, they cut your gums anyway. Get instructions from your dentist on how to properly floss to prevent injuring your gums, or how to be more meticulous in choosing flossers for your teeth. Perhaps invest in sonic air floss, which uses a strong jet stream of water instead of a waxed string to dislodge food debris between teeth and gums.

Brushing too thoroughly with a hard-bristled brush.

If you think a hard-bristled brush performs better in getting rid of food particles, bacteria and germs in the mouth, you’re wrong. Such a toothbrush can leave scratches on your teeth’s enamel and they can also cut your gums especially if you brush too hard. Use a soft-bristled brush instead and brush more gently to prevent scratching both your teeth and gums.

You’re using a mouth appliance that doesn’t fit well.

The wrong fit of mouth appliances (such as dentures and mouth guards) can constantly put pressure on teeth and gums, and this can lead to bleeding. They can also move out of place, especially when you’re eating or talking, which can injure your gums. This is why it’s imperative to visit your dentist regularly and have him check the fit of the mouth appliance you’re using.

You don’t brush regularly.

Not brushing regularly encourages the proliferation of disease-causing bacteria in the mouth. Gum bleeding is one of the symptoms of periodontal disease and if this gum disease is not treated right away, it’s not just gum bleeding you’ll experience — you may lose your teeth eventually as well.

You’re taking medication.

There are certain drugs for the treatment of certain illnesses that have a blood-thinning effect. If you take these regularly, gum bleeding is always a risk. Therefore, you should consult your physician on what you can do to reverse this side effect of your medication, or perhaps have him recommend a different drug that doesn’t have this particular side effect.


Relaxing at the Dentist: Facts About the 4 Sedation Dentistry Types

Relaxing at the Dentist: Facts About the 4 Sedation Dentistry Types

From a simple tooth cleaning to invasive procedures, using sedation is a great technique to get patients relaxing at the dentist. How it will be used will depend on the patient’s level of fear or comfort.
Sedation dentistry makes use of a certain medication to help patients feel relaxed while undergoing dental procedures. According to a Prescott, AZ dentist, the levels of sedation used will include the following:

Minimal sedation. The patient is awake but relaxed.
Moderate sedation. The patient may slur his words when speaking and won’t remember much of the procedure.
Deep sedation. The patient is on the edge of consciousness.  General anesthesia. The patient will become completely unconscious.

4 Types of Sedation Dentistry

1. Inhaled Sedation
Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is the common agent used for inhaled sedation. This is a colorless, odorless and non-irritating kind of gas. It is combined with oxygen and administered via nasal cannula or face mask a few minutes before the procedure. The gas will help the patient feel relaxed. This type of sedation is used only for procedures that will allow patients to go home right after the procedure.
2. Oral Sedation
Oral sedation will have minimal to moderate effectiveness. The patient will just take a pill an hour before the procedure for minimal sedation. A larger dose will be given to produce moderate sedation.
Generally, this is the commonly used type of sedation dentistry. The patient will feel drowsy and groggy, and can even fall asleep. However, he can still be easily awakened by gentle stimuli. After the procedure, he will need assistance on his way home since the sedative effect of the drug can still be active.
3. Intravenous Sedation
Intravenous or IV sedation, otherwise known as deep dental sedation, is an invasive procedure. The anesthetic medication will be administered through the intravenous route. Since the medication is directly delivered into the bloodstream, it causes rapid effects. It will instantly lower the patient’s ability to recognize any stimuli.
IV sedation will provide a higher degree of muscle relaxation, so it requires very strict monitoring before, during and after the dental procedures. The patient will also be assessed for allergies to any IV medication and the existence of other comorbid medical conditions. This type of sedation dentistry will allow the dentist to continuously regulate the level of sedation.
4. General Anesthesia
General anesthesia will make the patient completely unconscious. In other words, he will be in a deep sleep with reduced sensory perception. Since this type of sedation has a very high sedative effect, constant patient monitoring must be done during the dental procedure. Medications will be administered via face mask. After the procedure, the patient will feel uncomfortable and dizzy, so assistance is highly advised for those who will undergo this type of sedation dentistry.

For patients who need help relaxing at the dentist, sedation dentistry is highly indicated. Also, this is used for those who have phobias undergoing dental procedures and those suffering from mental health conditions. So call us to schedule your appointment today!


Get to know Dr. Reed – Prescott Dentist

Are you new in Prescott, AZ and you’re looking for reputable Dentist who can take care of your family’s dental care needs?

Meet Dr. Reed – make that Dr. Sean Reed, one of the most trusted dentists in the Prescott community. He’s been working at Horizon Dental Care in Prescott, AZ for many years now. Dr. Reed is a proud member of the community and enjoys raising his family here.

Originally from Chicago, IL and Denver, CO, life took him to Brigham Young University in Utah where he obtained his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and minor in Spanish. After this, he moved to New York to secure his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree at NYU.

He then returned to Utah for his yearlong residency in general dentistry at the University of Utah and now he’s enjoying his career as one of the leading providers of superior dental services to the locals of Prescott. Dr. Costes recognized Dr. Reed’s talent and hired him on as an associate and eventually a partner in our Prescott office.

Dr. Reed is a beloved personality in Prescott. He is known for building strong relationships with his patients by getting to know their families, and carefully listening to their concerns so he’s able to deliver results and ensure a positive experience for each and every one of them.

Patients have consistently provided him great reviews because they appreciate his sincerity and the dedication he displays. Likewise, they laud him for being very helpful with all of their concerns. He doesn’t cut corners when it comes to the true state of a person’s oral health, and he always makes sure to explain concerns in the most comprehensible way possible for patients, which is why patients say they remain loyal to Horizon Dental Group.

Loyal patients of Horizontal Dental Group also pointed out that Dr. Reed doesn’t only pay attention to dental concerns; he also carefully tackles his patients’ nerves. He is well aware that there are people who have dental phobia, or are just very nervous about unfamiliar procedures, or are simply the nervous kind. Dr. Reed is very patient and does his best to help patients overcome the jitters. He assures each and every one of them of the safety of treatments and even provides tips on how patients can personally deal with their nerves.

So, if you’re looking for a dentist you can trust for your family in Prescott, visit Horizontal Dental Group’s clinic (which also has a branch in Chino Valley) and meet Dr. Reed – the friendly dental expert of the community.


Common Teeth Alignment Problems

 The 8 Common Teeth Alignment Problems

Perfectly aligned teeth are not that common. If you see someone with really straight teeth alignment, it’s quite likely that she wore braces — that’s because most people just don’t naturally grow their teeth that way. On top of that, there are certain habits that affect proper teeth alignment such as thumb sucking and pacifier use. Plus, other variables contribute to the problem as well.

So, what are the common teeth alignment problems most people suffer from? A Prescott, AZ dentist rounds up eight of them below:

  1. Malocclusion – This condition is also known as “poor bite” and it basically means you have crooked teeth. It is often hereditary and it’s frequently associated with other dento-facial deformities.
  2. Deep overbite – This is when your upper teeth cover the entire row of your lower teeth when you bite. This condition may not be unsightly and it also may not look like a big problem but when lower teeth bite into the palate or gum tissue behind the upper teeth, this can lead to bite discomfort and bone damage.
  3. Underbite or lower jaw protrusion – This is the complete opposite of an overbite and it tends to look more unnatural. It can create speech difficulty, with the lower jaw protruding to some degree longer than the upper jaw.
  4. Crossbite – This is when the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth. This can make biting and chewing difficult, which is why early orthodontic treatment is recommended for correction.
  5. Overjet or protruding upper teeth – While it may seem similar to a deep overbite, an overbite doesn’t necessarily mean that the upper front teeth protrude a lot; with this case it does. It’s a serious problem because it makes the lower front teeth quite prone to injury. Typically, this condition is associated with a lower jaw that is shorter in proportion to the upper jaw.
  6. Open bite – This when the upper and lower incisor teeth do not touch when biting down. You can see an open space between the upper and lower rows. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t look nice, this teeth alignment issue overworks the molars.
  7. Teeth crowding – This usually happens when the dental arch is small and/or the teeth are just too big.
  8. Teeth spacing – When teeth are small or a few teeth have been removed, this causes “shifting,” which then creates spaces between teeth. It doesn’t look nice and it also makes the gums more prone to damage.

Thankfully, all these teeth alignment problems have solutions. Consult your dentist if you have any of these issues to see which corrective treatment is most suitable for you.