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The 5 Stages Of Tooth Decay

Cavities always start small and are undetectable to the naked eye. However, if left unchecked and untreated, the decay will eventually progress and bypass the protective layers of the tooth. Once the cavity reaches the inner chamber, an infection is imminent and will cause serious damage to the tooth.

According to a leading Prescott, AZ dentist, there are five stages of tooth decay:

Stage One: Demineralization

The onset of tooth decay happens when acids in your mouth attack the hard outer layer or the enamel of your tooth through a process called demineralization. This happens on a small portion of the surface of the tooth first. This early stage of tooth decay comes in the form of a white spot (also called lesion) on the enamel. If the decay is detected at this point, steps can be taken to remineralize the enamel and stop the cavity from progressing.

Stage Two: Enamel Erosion or Decay

If the initial lesion isn’t treated immediately, the tooth will break down further and cause the decay of the tooth enamel. The damage has now officially become tooth decay. The cavity can now be seen using a dental x-ray and the underlying dentin layer of the tooth is exposed. The cavity can cause patients to suffer from tooth sensitivity when eating or drinking too hot and extremely cold foods and beverages.

The decay at this stage can be still be treated by removing the decayed material and the placement of dental filling, inlay, onlay, or crown.

Stage Three: Dentin Erosion or Decay

The cavity will further spread to the dentin of the tooth if the enamel decay was not treated immediately. Dentin is a porous substance which is not as durable as enamel. When the cavity reaches the dentin, treatment becomes a far more crucial matter because the pace of the decay will go faster.

Stage Four: Dental Pulp Infection

The dental pulp is made up of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues and it is found in the innermost part of a tooth. This pulp plays an important role in the maturation and overall health of a tooth. If the bacteria reach the dentin layer of the tooth, it means that the dental pulp has also been breached. This causes a root canal infection which can be highly painful and uncomfortable.

At this stage, root canal therapy and tooth extraction are the only treatment options.

Stage Five: Abscess Formation

If root canal therapy or tooth extraction has still not been performed, the infection will spread beyond the dental pulp. The surrounding tissues, including the gum tissues and jawbone, will be affected and inflammation and swelling are imminent. Abscesses or the accumulation of pus will also appear as a response to the infection. The presence of an abscess can be a serious health problem which can result in a major general infection and other health issues, especially if it bursts. At this point, the infection has to be treated with antibiotics before the severely decayed tooth will be removed.

The longer you wait to have your cavities treated, the worse it will be for your tooth. If you suspect you have some dental caries or if your dentist has already ascertained this, get the recommended treatment quickly so that you can still preserve your natural tooth.


How To Relieve Tooth Decay Pain

When you neglect to carry out proper oral hygiene, you automatically place yourself in the painful path of tooth decay. Nerves that send signals of pain to the brain get exposed when the enamel, which is the protective shell of your teeth, is compromised.

Tooth decay pain is no joke. Even if it’s not the most excruciating pain one can experience, it’s a kind of pain that cannot be ignored. Most people can’t function properly for as long as the pain persists and it’s quite likely to be the same situation for you.

A visit to the dentist is the smartest solution to this dental woe. However, you may have to wait a while until your dentist can personally treat you.

You don’t have to be rendered useless by the pain, though, because you can get temporary relief from different solutions until your dental appointment wherein the most appropriate treatment will be provided.

Listed below are some helpful tips for relieving tooth decay pain provided by a trusted Prescott, AZ dentist:

  1. Avoid eating anything that can make your tooth more sensitive to the pain. Anything that’s too hot or too cold is a big no-no. When the dentin layer of the tooth has been compromised by tooth decay, it will react painfully to extremes in temperature.
  2. Do stay away from sweet and acidic foods and drinks because these may worsen tooth decay.
  3. Pop some over-the-counter pain relievers. Acetaminophen, ibuprofen and even paracetamol can provide temporary relief.
  4. Apply oil of cloves on the tooth. Cloves are known for their numbing ability but they also have antiseptic properties. What you need to do is soak a small cotton ball in the clove oil and then hold it on the tooth for about 10 seconds. You’ll feel the area becoming numb after a while. This is a particularly effective solution for mild toothaches.
  5. Keep your teeth clean. It may hurt to brush and floss, but this can help in getting rid of the acid-producing bacteria that can attack the tooth.
  6. You may also want to try a temporary filling, which you can buy in some pharmacies. This will seal the decay-created hole that exposes the nerves sending pain signals to the brain.

Once you’ve had a bad episode of tooth decay pain, for sure, you wouldn’t want to experience it ever again. So, don’t miss any of your dental checkups and make sure to go about your oral hygiene routine in a thorough manner.


5 Problems From Wisdom Teeth You May Experience

The social media world has made the removal of wisdom tooth a great source of entertainment. In movies or videos, you see teenagers or young adults behaving in a loopy manner because the anesthesia takes a while to completely wear off.

Many ask if it’s truly necessary to have all wisdom teeth removed.

Wisdom teeth removal is only required if there are problems with wisdom teeth. If you don’t have them, then it’s completely fine to just leave them alone, according to a Prescott, AZ dentist.

So, what are the problems from wisdom teeth that indicate the necessity to remove them? Listed below are five of them.

  1. The teeth didn’t break through the gums completely because your mouth is already overcrowded. This can cause gum tissue to grow over them. The flap of gum tissue can trap food, which then can lead to either gum infection or tooth decay.
  2. The wisdom teeth came out crooked or facing the wrong direction due to overcrowding. Not only do they look weird, but they can also create tightness or weird spaces (that food debris can settle into) between teeth.
  3. They get stuck in the jaw. A lot of people suffer from impacted wisdom teeth because there’s just not enough room in the mouth for all of the teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can be quite painful (some people complain that the sensation is quite similar to a severe migraine and the pain spreads across the face and the base of the head) and also lead to swelling.
  4. Some wisdom teeth come out at the far back in the mouth that it’s just not possible to properly take care of them. They’re difficult to reach with a toothbrush and to floss. Therefore, they are prone to tooth decay and are better off extracted.
  5. At times, a cyst forms around wisdom teeth and this can damage the bone or roots.

All these problems lead to great physical discomfort, which is why it’s smart for parents to take their young children who have yet to grow their wisdom teeth for regular dental checkups. Dentists can check signs for wisdom teeth coming through and conduct an X-ray exam.

The X-ray will reveal if wisdom teeth are likely to cause problems. From this, a program can be created either to assist the proper growth of wisdom teeth or to ensure that problematic wisdom teeth won’t cause health issues.


Advanced Gum Disease Symptoms

Periodontal disease is no laughing matter. Studies reveal that there’s a strong link between gum disease and certain cancers, diabetes, and heart disease. Sadly, despite the call to commit to proper oral health, a lot of Americans are guilty of not doing what they’re supposed to in order to protect their gums and teeth.

A study titled “Prevalence of Periodontitis in Adults in the United States 2009 and 2010” reveals that around 64.7 million American adults have mild, moderate or severe periodontitis. Among adults 65 years old and older, the prevalence rates increase to 70.1 percent. This study only goes to show that a significant percentage of Americans are at high risk of severe health complications due to gum disease.

Gum disease is typically caused by the following factors:

  • Poor health due to smoking or tobacco use
  • Hormonal developments such as puberty, pregnancy, and menopause in women
  • Stress (that weakens the body’s autoimmune system, which is responsible for fighting off infection and diseases)
  • Bruxism (tooth grinding and clenching)
  • Diabetes
  • Malnutrition (not getting the necessary nutrients for gum health)

If you’re suffering from any of the aforementioned conditions, it’s quite likely that you have some type of gum disease. Commonly, for women going through hormonal development, the case is rather mild; after pregnancy, gum disease eventually goes away.

However, immediate dental attention is required if the following symptoms manifest:

  1. Frequent gum bleeding
  2. Loose teeth
  3. Increasing gaps or spaces between teeth
  4. Persistent bad breath
  5. Pus around the teeth (infection)
  6. Receding gums
  7. Redness and puffiness of gums
  8. Soreness and tenderness of gums

All of these are advanced gum disease symptoms, says a Prescott, AZ dentist. Once you have any of these symptoms, it’s imperative to go for a checkup. Your dentist will be able to explain what your mouth is going through and inform you of what needs to be done to restore the healthy condition of your mouth.

There are effective treatments for severe gum disease. You can even restore the healthy appearance of your gums and teeth through surgical restorative dentistry.

Treatment, however, can take some time. It will include different dental solutions, as well as various lifestyle changes. Typically, the dentist needs to see the effects of certain procedures and lifestyle changes first before proceeding with the rest of the treatment. Your dentist can educate you thoroughly about all of these, so don’t delay — set an appointment for a checkup right away.


Dental Hygiene Trends And Tips For Strengthening Your Teeth

According to a study published in the Journal of Structural Biology, human teeth are as strong as shark teeth. If you’ve ever seen the jaws of these underwater creatures in action, you will certainly have a hard time believing that human teeth can be as tough as a shark’s scary choppers.

But even if you won’t be munching on fish bones and other hard objects (as sharks do), you still need to keep your teeth strong all the time. This is because having strong teeth is one of the most important considerations in maintaining good oral health.

To strengthen your teeth, a Prescott, AZ dentist share some dental hygiene trends and tips that can help you out:

Increase your fluoride use and intake

Fluoride fortifies your teeth by making the crystals that form tooth enamel tougher. This element, therefore, remineralizes one’s teeth and enables them to resist acid and decay better.

You can help your teeth get more of this mineral by using toothpaste, mouth rinses, and dental treatments that contain fluoride. You can also do this by drinking fluoridated water and eating foods high in fluoride concentrations such as fish and green tea.

Avoid food and drinks that demineralize the enamel

The enamel is the outermost and protective layer of your teeth. This layer protects your teeth from decay and physical damage. The enamel’s natural enemies are fermentable carbohydrates that come from acidic and sugary foods and beverages such as candies, cookies, and carbonated drinks. The carbohydrates from these items combine with bacteria in your mouth to create harmful acids that destroy the building blocks of your tooth enamel through a process called demineralization.

To keep your teeth strong, avoid or at the very least, minimize your consumption of acidic and sugary foods and drinks. Also, make sure you brush your teeth properly at least twice daily and floss once a day.

Consume foods rich in calcium

Lastly, you can prevent teeth demineralization by increasing your calcium intake. This means consuming more foods and drinks rich in this nutrient such as milk, yogurt, celery, dark leafy green vegetables, sunflower seeds, almonds, and Brazil nuts.

Cheese is also a good source of calcium and will help keep your teeth strong. In addition, cheese also promotes healthy saliva flow which helps maintain the right pH level in your mouth and inhibit acid production.

Proper brushing helps greatly in strengthening one’s teeth as well. As such, with the right diet and good oral care, you can have strong teeth and one less thing to worry about in terms of dental health.


Leading Benefits Of Dental Implant Supported Dentures

There are many reasons behind the loss of teeth. For some, it’s due to an accident or an unfortunate incident (such as getting punched in the mouth by someone with the jab power of Floyd Mayweather). Meanwhile, for a lot of adults, it’s because of severe gum disease.

The loss of teeth, for whatever reason, can make smiling and eating a problem. There’s that feeling of self-consciousness because it truly is uncomfortable to be a grown-up with missing teeth. Plus, there’s also the challenge of breaking down food properly through chewing. You can “gum” tough foods like jerky and steak for hours and they still won’t get cut down to the right size pieces for easy digestion.

Restorative dentistry can address the problems created by tooth loss. There’s a range of solutions available to restore teeth, including dental implant supported dentures. Dental implants can make replacement teeth such as dentures feel like your own. Likewise, they make sure dentures function like your natural teeth because the denture is fastened securely to the implants that are surgically placed into your jawbone.

The feel, look, and function are definitely the best advantages you can get from this restorative dentistry solution, but these aren’t all. There are still several other benefits to be derived from a dental implant-supported denture, says a Prescott, AZ dentist.

  • The perfect fit of the dentures makes sure that there are no weird sounds created when you’re chewing food or speaking.

  • Oral care is easier because you can brush the dentures as if they’re your real teeth (since they’re a part of you due to the implants).

  • You don’t need creams or glue to keep the denture in place (which is an additional expense and can be a hassle for you).

  • It can actually preserve the good health of your gums because it doesn’t just sit on your gums and wear them down.

  • It’s a long-lasting solution.

There are two types of implant-supported dentures: ball-retained and bar-retained dentures. These function the same way, but they are attached to implants differently. Ball-retained dentures are held in place by ball-shaped metal parts that attach directly to implants in the jaw. Meanwhile, bar-retained dentures rely on a thin metal bar attached to implants placed in the jawbone. Have a thorough consultation with your dentist to determine which type of denture is suitable for you.

It’s imperative to mention as well that while a dental implant supported denture makes a fantastic solution to missing teeth, not everybody is eligible for it. There are stringent standards to uphold for the procedure and each of them must be met to ensure success. Consultation with the dentist will reveal if you’re a good candidate for implants or if you’re better off with other restorative dentistry solutions.

 


How Much Is It To Get A Tooth Filled Without Insurance?

How Much Is It To Get A Tooth Filled Without Insurance

Having a tooth filled is one of the fastest dental procedures you can undergo, particularly if you only need one tooth restored and the cavity isn’t too deep. However, it can still be pretty expensive if you need to have several teeth filled and if you don’t have dental insurance.

If you’re wondering how much is it to get a tooth filled without insurance, the final cost will depend on the type of filling you choose and the number of teeth that require treatment.

The least expensive type of filling is metal or silver amalgam. This material can cost between $50 and $150 for one to two surfaces. If you need to have more than two teeth filled, you will have to pay an amount between $120 and $300.

Composite resin or tooth-colored fillings typically cost between $90 and $250 for one to two teeth and between $150 and $450 for three or more surfaces. The most expensive types of dental fillings are made of porcelain and cast-gold. Their price ranges from $250 to $4,500 depending on the size of the cavity.

Another factor that can also affect the price of your filling (with or without insurance) is the size of the cavity. It will take the dentist more time and a lot of materials to fill a huge cavity. Your dentist will also need more time and work harder if the cavity is found in a tooth that is quite hard to reach. The total cost will also go higher if there are several teeth to be filled.

Once you start feeling a sharp or throbbing pain on your tooth whenever you bite down on or chew food, and food always seems to get stuck on or in between some teeth, visit your dentist. A Prescott, AZ dentist also says that the sudden onset of tooth sensitivity is usually a sign and that you need to have a tooth filled immediately as well.

However, if you’re not sure about how bad your cavity is, your dentist will be able to provide the right diagnosis. You can ask your dentist for an estimated cost of all dental works before getting the treatment so that you can prepare beforehand.

If you have been recommended to have a cavity filled, don’t wait too long to undergo the procedure. When you leave it untreated, your tooth will continue to decay over time. If the cavity becomes bigger, regular filling might not be enough to restore your tooth and you will end up paying for a more expensive dental treatment.


Electric Vs. Traditional Toothbrush – Which Is Better?

Electric Vs. Traditional Toothbrush – Which Is Better?

There’s a growing selection of dental supplies available in the market today and these are in line with the call for making a strong commitment to oral health. Among the many options today are different kinds of toothbrushes.

In terms of designs, the choices can prove to be overwhelming. However, if you’re more focused on function, the only issue really is whether to choose an electric toothbrush or a traditional toothbrush.

Electric vs Traditional Toothbrush

It’s imperative to establish that both items do the job well. The main difference is that the battery or electrically powered option can make the task easier because it does the brushing for you. Children, in particular, can benefit from this mechanism, especially since they’re still honing their motor skills.

Another advantage provided by electric toothbrushes is that they can be a time-saver. The head can stroke teeth 6,000 to 30,000 times per minute. Therefore, it works so much faster in getting teeth’s surface clean; this means that instead of the usual two to three minutes of brushing advised by dentists, you can cut that time in half.

As for the disadvantage with electric toothbrushes, even the cheapest brands you find in the market are still more expensive than most manual toothbrushes. It’s important to mention that the bristles tend to get worn faster too, and at times, the vibration of the heads can prove to be too much for people with sensitive teeth and gums.

Manual toothbrushes, on the other hand, are what everybody’s more familiar with. They’re much easier to control, so if you have sensitive spots around your mouth, you don’t have to worry about excessive vibrations.

When it comes to efficacy, a manual’s toothbrush will work well if you know how to brush your teeth well for that perfect smile. Therefore, if you tend to just speed through brushing your teeth, you’re not going to get your chompers thoroughly clean, says a Prescott, AZ dentist.

As for cost, even the most expensive manual toothbrush won’t cost as much as a branded electric toothbrush. It’s definitely a winner as a cost-effective option.

The con with this option, however, is the difficulty some people have in using it. Those who have arthritic hands and fingers will find it hard to brush thoroughly; ditto with young children who still do not have refined motor skills.

There you go – one is not necessarily better than the other. It’s best to choose one kind of toothbrush over the other based on your preference or the limitations you have. Schedule your appointment with one of our dentists today!


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.