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Posts Tagged: adult dental care

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.


Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

Aging gives birth to a lot of health woes, which is why it becomes more and more important to pay close attention to your well-being as you continue to get older. It can be a lot of work, but you can be certain that your efforts will have a huge impact on your overall health.

Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age

For example, with oral care, taking care of your teeth as you age will involve additional steps and even special products at different stages in your life. But if you commit to all of these, you do not only get to preserve your teeth and their proper functioning — you also avoid health complications associated with common mouth diseases for aging folks.

If you want to get serious with your oral health in order to feel and look good throughout your life, a Prescott, AZ dentist has these tips for you:

  1. Use soft-bristle toothbrushes – they’re kinder to aging teeth and gums.
  2. Consider an electric toothbrush, especially if meticulous brushing is difficult for you. An electric toothbrush doesn’t need much manipulation to effectively clean your teeth.
  3. Use sonic air floss instead of waxed nylon flosses. This product may be a tad expensive but you can use it for a long time. The advantage provided by this special kind of floss is that it’s so much easier to use and you can avoid cutting your gums as you try to dislodge food debris between your teeth and gums.
  4. If you have dentures, make sure to clean them regularly and to use the appropriate cleaning agents. Don’t clean your dentures with toothpaste – that’s a big no-no. Also, it’s healthier to remove your dentures before going to sleep; doing this will help preserve your gums.
  5. Use a mouthwash to maintain the pH balance of your mouth and prevent bad breath-causing bacteria from proliferating.
  6. Drink water often. Water can also contribute to maintaining the right pH level of your mouth. Plus, it contains fluoride which can help prevent tooth decay.
  7. If you still smoke, better stop. Smoking dehydrates the mouth and a dehydrated mouth is the perfect breeding place for bad breath- and tooth decay-causing bacteria. Likewise, it increases your risk for lung and other cancers.
  8. Eat healthier. Getting loads of vitamins and minerals from your meals will boost your immune system. A healthy immune system will make you less prone to oral diseases.
  9. And lastly, visit your Prescott Dentist regularly for cleaning, treatments and oral cancer screening.

To schedule a dentist appointment with Dr. Costes or Dr. Reed contact us today!


Wisdom Teeth: Should They Stay or Should They Go?

As you approach or go through your early 20s, you may think that you’re just about done with all the growing and developing that your body does. By this time, you think to yourself, you ought to have successfully hurdled the crucial biological stages and are now ready to live life to the fullest.

Unfortunately, typically from the ages of 17 and 21, you will still be going through some significant changes. In particular, your teeth aren’t all fully and perfectly erupted at this point — you may still discover your wisdom teeth beginning to emerge.

Why the name, wisdom teeth?

These teeth are called such because they appear in a person’s mouth when they are at a slightly older and ideally wiser age.

You may indeed be older, but you can still feel pain all the same — and pain is something that wisdom teeth usually create. Sometimes these teeth come through correctly, but more often than not, there is no longer enough space for them to emerge properly in the right position. Wisdom teeth often become impacted, which means that they are unable to come out from under the jaw and to the surface of the gums.

Should you have your wisdom teeth removed?

Your dentist can closely monitor the development of your wisdom teeth. With regular brushing, flossing and check-ups with your dentist, wisdom teeth that come out correctly can help you chew better and cause no issues at all.

However, if you notice some of the following signs, your wisdom teeth may become increasingly problematic as time goes on:

  • Your wisdom teeth are starting to crowd or even cause damage to your other teeth
  • You feel pain and some swelling in the jaw caused by a bacterial infection to a partially erupted wisdom tooth
  • Food is often trapped around an improperly erupted wisdom tooth, leading to cavities
  • A cyst forms near the impacted tooth, putting the surrounding teeth’s roots as well as the bone supporting the teeth at risk

Thorough and routine examinations of your mouth, along with x-rays of the affected area, can help your dentist determine if removing the wisdom teeth is the ideal solution to your particular dental situation. Removal is also often recommended if you are being treated for certain other dental conditions and if you will be getting braces.

Talk to your trusted Prescott, AZ dentist about the best options for your teeth and find out whether your wisdom teeth can prove to be beneficial for you.


How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?

How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?

Since you were a young kid, you’ve heard the adults tell you to limit your consumption of sugary treats. They reasoned out that food laden with sugar can lead to tooth decay, or even worse, tooth loss.

“How does sugar cause tooth decay?” you might ask.

It’s actually not the sugar in food

Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not exactly sugar itself that causes tooth decay and other dental problems.

Sugar is just one of the major factors involved in a series of events that occur after eating sugary and starchy food.

A glimpse into your mouth’s eco-system

Much as you would like to believe that your mouth is clean and free from bacteria, the truth is that it is home to hundreds of bacteria.

Now, some of these bacteria may be harmful, but there are also beneficial bacteria that can be found inside your mouth.

When you consume food rich in sugar, you are essentially feeding the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Some of the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and then release acids.

In turn, these acids corrode the teeth’s enamel, the protective layer of the tooth. Over time, these acids can create a hole in your teeth. Left unchecked, these holes can go to the deeper layers of the teeth which lead to toothaches and even tooth loss.

Little helpers inside your mouth

Your teeth are constantly bombarded by acids that corrode the enamel. But your teeth are not defenseless.

The acids in your mouth remove minerals from the enamel through a process known as demineralization.

But another key process takes place inside your mouth: remineralization. In this process, the minerals leeched away from the teeth’s enamel are replaced and the teeth are strengthened.

Your saliva plays a crucial role in this process, providing the teeth with minerals like calcium and phosphate. These minerals help repair the teeth.

Your teeth need your help

However, the saliva can only do so much. When you eat too much sugary and starchy food, your teeth has little time to repair themselves.

This is why it is crucial to limit your intake of treats laden with sugars and starch.

But apart from limiting your consumption of sugars and starches, a Prescott, AZ dentist says there are a few other things that you can do to protect your teeth against cavities.

For one, you should add more fruits and veggies to your diet. These facilitate the production of more saliva. Dairy products, on the other hand, are rich in the minerals that help strengthen the teeth. Drinking green and black teas can also control the population of harmful bacteria in your mouth.

Dentists also recommend drinking fluoridated water and brushing the teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and even reverse it during the early stages. Schedule an appointment with our doctors today!


Basic Dental Care Exam

Dentists recommend regular dental care to preserve your oral health. They can also help you in finding the most suitable yet affordable treatment. Routine oral health care is a great way to achieve a healthy mouth and teeth for years to come. Regularly visiting your dentist for basic dental care exams and cleaning is a great start!

Reputable Prescott, AZ dentist, Dr. Mark Costes suggests scheduling a visit with your local dental hygienist to clean and polish your teeth every six to nine months. Also, you need to have routine examinations and X-rays. Based on the findings from these examinations, additional preventative dental care may be suggested to ensure good oral health longterm.

Dental Exam and Common Procedures

Complete Oral Examination – This will detect problems such as deteriorating fillings and conditions affecting your overall health such as oral cancer and gum disease. Your dentist will explore each tooth, gums, the tongue.

Panoramic X-ray – This refers to taking a shot of all of your teeth as well as your upper and lower jaws to gain a clear picture of your mouth’s condition. It shows the entire mouth in one image, identifying problems like fractures, bone abnormalities, infections, tumors, and impacted teeth. This imagery method is often used when planning treatments like dentures, braces and implants.

Dental Surgery – This includes everything from a simple tooth extraction to a complicated procedure like dental implant surgery. It is primarily done to relieve pain as well as to boost the appearance and function of your smile. It can be performed in a dentist’s office without having to be referred to another office.

Dental Care Basics

  • Brush at least twice a day – Do not rush when you brush. Proper brushing will require at least two minutes. Also, do not neglect the gum line, areas around fillings, crowns and hard-to-reach areas.
  • Clean in between teeth – Your toothbrush can’t reach all the areas to be cleaned. As such, it is very crucial for you to use floss or interdental cleaners to clean the areas that the toothbrush cannot reach. Brushing your tongue is also important since this will remove bacteria to ensure fresh breath.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Make it a habit to eat a balanced diet that contains foods from the five major food groups. You need to limit snacks containing high levels of sugar.
  • Visit your dentist regularly – Dental visits must be done every six months or more for early detection of any dental problem including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Routine fluoride application is also a must. This can be done during your routine dental examination and cleaning.

Basic dental care will involve your daily participation. Your smile will greatly depend on these dental care basics, so always keep them in mind and put them into practice. Call us today to set up your appointment!


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.