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Posts Tagged: cavities

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!

The Importance of Dental Checkups

Dental CheckupsDental Checkups | The Importance of Dental Checkups

It can be tempting — and quite easy — to skip visits to your dentist for routine checkups. When you are preoccupied with matters such as work, your children, household chores, important errands, social engagements, bills and other financial responsibilities, and other concerns that the typical adult needs to face regularly, finding time to schedule an appointment with the dentist can take a backseat.

Dentists advise patients to see them at least once every six months, so it’s easy for people to think that they have plenty of time to get to that later — more pressing responsibilities or more pleasant activities can surely be tackled first, they think. Unfortunately, the tendency is to keep pushing this task down their list of things to do until, once again, a year has passed and they have forgotten to see their dentist.

To remind everyone of the importance of dental checkups, it helps to run through the things that a dentist usually performs during a routine visit and to identify the benefits that you can receive.

During your checkup, your dentist will:

Look for cavities

Even if you always brush and floss like you’re supposed to, you may be developing cavities that you do not know about, like between the teeth. If your Prescott dentist detects them immediately (thanks to your regular visits), they can begin treatment to stop the process and decay and save your teeth from further damage or complete extraction.

Look for signs of tartar and plaque buildup

Plaque can form over your teeth and become tartar when you fail to remove it on time. Tartar then becomes impossible to get rid of with mere brushing and flossing. Your dentist can address this effectively to keep gum disease from developing.

Inspect your gums

As mentioned, the gums can succumb to disease and can also provide clues to your overall health, so examining them regularly is a must.

Check not just your mouth, tongue and throat, but also your face, head and neck

This is how your dentist looks for signs of other potential health concerns such as swelling or oral cancer.

By paying regular visits to your Prescott Valley dentist for checkups, you can experience the following benefits:

  • A whiter, more beautiful smile. Dentists perform professional cleaning during checkups so any stains from food, drinks and medication are effectively removed.
  • Healthy gums. You won’t have to suffer swollen or inflamed gums if your dentist is always able to catch any problems and treat them early.
  • Fresher breath. Because food particles and regularly dislodged from between your teeth, and you are taught proper oral hygiene habits, your breath will always stay fresh as well.
  • Stronger teeth that last. When you frequently see your dentist, there won’t be any chances for cavities to set in and gradually destroy your teeth. Regular checkups can ensure that your teeth stay strong and healthy for years to come.

Call your local Prescott dentist at Horizon Dental Group to schedule your dental checkups!

Cavity Prevention | A Few Tips and Tricks

Cavity Prevention

Dentist-Approved Tips For Cavity Prevention

Cavities are such a common dental issue that some people tend to simply ignore their presence. That is, until they get attacked by the searing pain that cavities can cause – among other serious complications and health risks.


Some of the problems you might encounter as a result of having cavities include the following:

  • Tooth structure may weaken or become damaged.
  • Tooth and gums may become swollen due to abscess and the presence of pus around the infected tooth and gum area.  
  • Permanent teeth might move and shift, leaving gaps or causing overlapping of teeth.  
  • Difficulty chewing and eating, which will limit your food options and in the long term will affect your nutrition and overall health.
  • Intense pain in the gums and teeth. Eventually, this pain can escalate and become so debilitating that you won’t be able to continue doing your daily routines and responsibilities.
  • Tooth loss, difficulty in speaking properly and having a less-than-presentable smile can impact your social life, self-esteem as well as personal relationships and career development.
  • There is a higher risk of contracting life-threatening diseases due to heart complications and diabetes that can be caused by blood infections that originate from bacteria from the mouth.


Given the serious, risky and long-term side effects of having cavities, it’s important to get help from your dentist at the first sign of it. As always, prevention is better than cure, so knowing and following the proven ways to cavity prevention is a must for everyone regardless of age, gender or occupation.  

Eat well

Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables that boost dental health. Avoid snacking on sugary treats and drinks, including fruit juice.


Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth

Brushing your teeth during the day after meals is definitely important, but what you don’t want to miss is brushing after your last meal or snack in the evening, right before you go to bed. Use toothpaste with fluoride, an ingredient that effectively fights cavities.  

Instill dental care habits early

Train your children on dental hygiene while they are still small so they can establish good dental health habits that can stick with them for life. Teach them the proper way to brush and keep supervising them until at least the age of seven.


Get help from your dentist

A particular solution that your Prescott Valley dentist may be able to offer you for cavity prevention is the application of dental sealants. These sealants are coated on the tooth surface to serve as a barrier against food particles and bacteria. Children as young as five who already have their first permanent molars can be taken for dental sealants. Regular professional tooth cleanings and in-clinic dental examinations are essential investments as well to protect yourself and your family against cavities.

Tooth-Colored Fillings | What You Need To Know

Why Are Tooth-Colored Fillings the Better Option for Cavities?


When you have teeth that are damaged by decay, one of the solutions that your dentist can provide is a filling. First, the decayed tooth material will be removed, and then the affected area is cleaned. Afterwards, a filling can be placed on the cleaned out cavity in order to close off all spaces where bacteria can enter and stimulate further decay.


Dental fillings can be made of different materials. Some people will choose fillings made of porcelain or gold. Others prefer tooth-colored fillings, also called composite resin. An amalgam can also be used — it’s an alloy of silver, copper, mercury, tin, and zinc (in some cases).


A better choice

Many dentists recommend tooth-colored restorations over the more controversial silver fillings for a number of reasons, including:


  • Tooth-colored restorations, porcelain inlays/onlays or composite resin are bonded to the affected tooth. This means that there is a tight, secure fit to the natural tooth, helping it become stronger and more intact.
  • The resin cement used in tooth-colored fillings can contain fluoride, which can help prevent further tooth decay.
  • Tooth-colored restorations do not require placement below the gum line, so you get fillings that wear like natural teeth and promote gum health.
  • These are mercury-free fillings, so none of the health risks associated with silver fillings and dental amalgam are cause for concern.


Silver fillings, on the other hand, come with considerable disadvantages such as:


  • Their edges can break, wear down, or become weak, which results in reduced protection for the tooth and a risk of causing new cavities to develop.
  • Over time, the metal in silver fillings can expand, contract, and eventually cause the tooth to split.
  • Silver fillings contain 50% mercury, and when they corrode or leak, your teeth and gums can become stained.
  • Dental amalgam emits mercury even after being implanted into the body, which endangers human health. In pregnant women, the mercury can penetrate the placenta and accumulate in the fetus. Children, fetuses, nursing infants and individuals with compromised kidney function are more prone to health risks caused by mercury.
  • When amalgam is used as a cavity filling, a substantial amount of healthy tooth matter must be removed. The drawback is that the overall tooth structure becomes damaged and weak, so more dental work will need to be done in the future.
  • Dental devices that come with mercury add to the pollution in the environment. The mercury finds its way into the water waste in dental clinics, which can then end up in water systems and the ocean.


If you have silver or amalgam fillings, they can be effectively replaced with tooth-colored fillings in just one sitting (with the help of technology called computer aided design and computer assisted milling or CADCAM) or in two appointments (using chairside oral scanning or COS). Your dentist can help your teeth become stronger, with a more natural look and feel.  

Which Filling Should You Get?


What Kind of Filling Should You Get?

When you experience tooth decay, one of the solutions that your trusted dentist will recommend is to give you a filling. This will help restore the normal shape and function of the affected tooth. Basically, the dentist will remove the decayed material, clean the area, and then fill the space with a filling material. Doing this ensures that the tooth will no longer go through further decay since bacteria will have no way of entering the tooth.

If you decide to get a filling, your dentist can explain the different kinds that you can consider:

Gold fillings. These are considerably the most expensive type of filling material, and getting them can require multiple visits (they will need to be created in a laboratory and cemented into the patient’s mouth). But because they are long lasting (they can last more than 20 years) and they are tolerated well by human gum tissues, gold fillings are typically the top recommendation by dental specialists.

Porcelain fillings. These are also called inlays or onlays and are quite similar to gold fillings in terms of price. Created to order in a lab and bonded over the affected tooth, porcelain fillings can be made to match the tooth’s color and they resist staining, so they look good.

Silver fillings. Also called amalgam fillings, these are a more inexpensive option that are built to last. What patients must keep in mind, though, is that their dark color makes them highly visible, so they would normally be used further inside the mouth rather than in more prominent areas.

Composite resin fillings (plastic). These are made by mixing the required ingredients and placing them directly onto the cavity so they can harden. They can match the color of the original teeth for a natural appearance. However, these fillings are not as resistant to stains from tea, coffee or tobacco as the other kinds, they can suffer from wear and tear over time, and they only last about three to 10 years.

Which fillings should you get?

Some patients, after getting one type of filling, may be wondering if they can switch to another type. If you’re thinking, for example, “Do I need to replace my silver fillings?” the answer would depend on the reason that your dentist may think you need the replacements. These could be:

The existing fillings may be defective. If you have metal fillings, there’s often no need to be concerned about damage or exposure to mercury since they are highly durable and are safe for use according to the American Dental Association. But if there are signs of damage, replacing them would be the right thing to do.

Decay may have started to set in. A broken filling may cause tooth to begin decaying and to become prone to infections, so getting a new filling is essential.

Cosmetic reasons. Your silver fillings may be highly visible to other people, and if this is the case, you can talk to your dentist about getting composite fillings for a more natural look — but only if your dental health will not be compromised.


Is It OK to Share Toothbrushes?

Is It OK to Share Toothbrushes?Is It OK to Share Toothbrushes?

You’re traveling, and you forgot your dental hygiene kit. You suddenly need to stay overnight at your best buddy’s house so you were not able to pack for your stay. You’re too tired and sleepy, but the only toothbrush you see is the one that belongs to your spouse. Your toothbrush suddenly broke in the middle of brushing, and you really need to brush your teeth right now. These are just some of the situations wherein you’ll probably be asking yourself: Is it OK to share toothbrushes?


Of course, everyone knows that the right thing to do is to use only your toothbrush; just like most other tools for hygiene, the toothbrush is designed only for the single user. But the reality is that there are more people than you think who are sharing toothbrushes. In a study, for instance, many married or cohabitating couples admit to using the toothbrush of their partner in multiple occasions or on a frequent basis, not only due to emergency or necessity, but also out of convenience.


If you’re guilty of such a habit, are you putting yourself in danger, or is the no-sharing-toothbrushes rule only for hygiene nitpickers?    


According to dental experts, sharing toothbrushes can lead to the following:

When you share toothbrushes, you also share bacteria.

The common practice among most people is to rinse the toothbrush under running water after every use. This may get the remaining toothpaste off the bristles, but it isn’t effective in removing microscopic oral bacteria. Thus, when you use the toothbrush of another person, there’s a huge chance that the remaining bacteria in the toothbrush gets transferred in your mouth. At the same time, you also leave bacteria from your mouth to the toothbrush, which may also transfer to the owner’s mouth the next time they use the toothbrush. Basically, in the process, you are not only sharing a single toothbrush, but may be exchanging millions of bacteria as well.    


Cavities and other contagious dental diseases may be exchanged.

Most cavities, cold sores, fungi and herpes are contagious, and are usually caused by bacteria that can easily pass from one person to another. If the person who owns the toothbrush is suffering from periodontal diseases, then it will be likely for you to catch the diseases, too. In the same vein, you may transfer the problem to the toothbrush owner if it’s you who has an infection in the teeth and/or gum.


Toothbrush sharers can also catch life-threatening diseases.

Sharing toothbrushes can sometimes lead to much more than dental problems. When you brush, sometimes you may cause bleeding in the gums. The blood may remain in the bristles. If one of the toothbrush users has a disease that can be transmitted through contamination by blood, you may also become at risk for infection. Examples of blood-borne diseases include hepatitis B and HIV.    


So, to go back to the question: Is it OK to share toothbrushes? The short answer is no. It’s always a good idea to keep an extra toothbrush handy. Next time you stop at the store pick up a few extra and eliminate the risk of having to use a different toothbrush or suffer through those pesky “fuzzy slippers”.