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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!


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.


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.


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!


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.


How Smoking Affects Your Mouth (and Ways to Treat This)

If you think smoking is bad enough because it destroys your lungs, then you haven’t gotten to the most obvious effects yet.

Tobacco and cigarettes contain tar and nicotine that build up inside your mouth. These gather in between teeth, allowing more bacteria to take refuge in these spaces and attack the surrounding teeth. Since there are about 600 bacterial species that make up the oral microbiome, just imagine how much the act of smoking further aggravates the problem by boosting the growth of the bacteria.

One of the most important things to understand about how smoking affects your mouth is that it also has other effects on your teeth. When plaque or tartar accumulate and harden around your teeth, for example, they create stains, usually yellowish and black in color, that can give you a less attractive smile.

The stains can be very difficult to remove and often cause damage to the surface of your teeth as well. Your teeth are coated with a protective layer called enamel; once the enamel is damaged, bacteria can freely contaminate and infect the core of your teeth, which eventually leads to rotting and extraction.

Another serious effect of smoking is gum disease. Because the nicotine coats the teeth and gums in plaque, oxygen is blocked from properly reaching the bloodstream. This prevents gums from healing as fast as it can, causing in the further development of different kinds of oral diseases. Although smoking can severely damage one’s dental condition, there are ways that can help you treat the damage it has done on your gums and teeth.

Brushing and flossing the right way

Brushing your teeth and flossing should be done the right way in order to achieve optimal results. Brushing three times daily and flossing after every meal is the typical advice, but keep in mind that you also have to do these correctly — you have to use the right strokes and perform the right procedures to remove every bit of tartar stuck on the surface of your teeth. By making a real effort to make a habit out of brushing and flossing regularly, you prevent the cavities from spreading further to your other teeth.

Installing crowns or veneers

When the degree of staining on your teeth is too serious too remove, you can simply cover it up with dental crowns or veneers. These dental solutions can be easily installed by your dentist and would not take too much time to accomplish. They serve as protective coverings and come in a porcelain white color to improve not just function of the teeth, but also their appearance.

Do not allow your teeth to deteriorate and completely lose their beauty. Visit a Prescott, AZ dentist today; these credible dental experts have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to help bring back the perfect smile you lost from smoking.


What Causes Gum Recession?

After brushing, you check your teeth and gums in the mirror and you notice something unusual. It’s either your teeth have become longer or your gums have become smaller.

What’s happening here? The answer: gum recession.

Gum recession is a condition wherein the area where the teeth and gums meet pulls back. When this happens, more of the tooth becomes exposed. This also creates what a Prescott, AZ dentist calls pockets which can leave your teeth and gums vulnerable to the build-up of bacteria. Left unchecked, gum recession can lead to damage to the supporting tissues and bones, and eventually, tooth loss.

Gum recession is fairly common and most people do not know they have receding gums until the condition has progressed to a more advanced stage.

There are, however, a few signs that indicate that a person has receding gums. These include increased tooth sensitivity and longer-looking teeth.

What causes gum recession?

There are several possible causes of gum recession.

Periodontal or gum disease is the leading cause of gum recession.

This bacterial infection destroys both the gum tissues and the supporting bones of the teeth.

Another common cause of this condition is poor oral hygiene.

If you fail to properly and regularly brush and floss your teeth, plaque can easily build up in your mouth and eventually form into tartar.

But sometimes, too much of a good thing can be bad. Take brushing, for example. If you brush your teeth too hard or if you do not brush your teeth properly, you risk wearing away the enamel on your teeth and cause your gums to recede.

Some people have receding gums simply because they are genetically predisposed to suffer from this condition.

According to some estimates, about 30 percent of people will get receding gums even if they take great care of their teeth and gums.

Pregnant, menopausal, and young girls undergoing puberty are also vulnerable to gum recession as changes in their hormones adversely affect their gum tissues.

Cigarette smokers and people who use tobacco products are also highly likely to have receding gums. This is because these people have more plaque on their teeth which can cause gum recession.

If you have bite problems or crooked teeth, you are leaving yourself vulnerable to gum recession if you do not seek the appropriate treatment. Your condition places too much force on the gums and bones which may cause recession. The same thing can happen to people who clench and grind their teeth.

Gum recession may also be caused by piercings on the lip or tongue. When your body piercing jewelry rubs against your gums, this can cause irritation and eventually gum recession.

Gum recession is a serious concern and you should immediately see your dentist for the appropriate treatment.


Teeth Whitening Options in Prescott

Teeth Whitening Options in PrescottTeeth Whitening Options in Prescott

Teeth whitening is such a popular dental procedure for achieving a great smile. People can use different methods to whiten their teeth — from using kitchen ingredients like baking soda, lemon and salt, to purchasing home teeth whitening kits available at local supermarkets and beauty stations, to professional whitening treatments at dental offices where ideal results can be achieved in a single session.

If you’re in search of the best whitening treatments available that will deliver ideal results fast, these are the teeth whitening options in Prescott you should consider:

The budget-friendliest: Whitening Strips

You can buy these in a set and they usually just cost around $20 to $40 (price always depends on the brand). These are available at local pharmacies and supermarkets, and you can even order them online.

This DIY option delivers ideal results but you will need to go through the whole box (and another) if you want the brightest teeth, so you need to be patient. Also, you need to be meticulous when using whitening strips and coating all your teeth with gel, or else you may end up with uneven colored teeth, says a trusted Prescott, AZ dentist.

The best investment: Custom Bleaching Trays

These are way pricier than whitening strips (price ranges between $150 and $1,500), but you can whiten your teeth more conveniently if you have these custom bleaching trays. You can purchase these from your dentist so you can take the best DIY route to teeth bleaching.

Custom-fit trays are perfect for the even application of whitening gel over all your teeth; plus, they feel very comfortable. Be careful, however, with the whitening gel you use because some on the market can be too harsh. Use whitening gel formulas that have Carbamide Peroxide – they tend to be gentler on the gums compared to Hydrogen Peroxide formulas.

The fastest teeth whitening: Laser Teeth Whitening

Dental offices offer this for $500 or up to $2,500. It’s definitely the costliest option, but if it’s fast whitening you want, this is the option that will deliver that. This treatment uses highly concentrated formulas that are properly activated by the heat and light of the laser. In a single session, you’ll see a significant difference in the shade of your teeth.

However, teeth whitening using laser can cause the teeth to become more sensitive than other options tend to do, but you don’t have to worry much about this because your dentist has solutions that can diminish sensitivity during and after the treatment.

These are the best teeth whitening options in Prescott. Consult with your dentist in Prescott to decide which one to use based on your budget and how fast you want to see target results. Contact the teeth whitening professionals at Horizon Dental Group.

 


Lingual Braces – Pros and Cons

Lingual BracesThe Pros and Cons of Lingual Braces

In recent years, the use of Invisalign has increased, especially among the younger set. One key reason behind that trend is because these clear aligners are virtually invisible. Compare that with conventional metal braces which can be awkward, especially for self-conscious teens, and you can certainly see Invisalign’s appeal to this demographic.

But according to a Prescott, AZ dentist, Invisalign is not for everyone. There are simply dental and bite problems that Invisalign cannot provide a solution for.

Fortunately, there is another option that your dentist can recommend: lingual braces.

Lingual Braces

The term lingual refers to the tongue and these braces are called such because these are installed on the inside surface of the teeth. Like Invisalign, these braces are also virtually invisible, even within close range.

But before you decide on using these braces, also known as invisible braces, you need to learn about their advantages and disadvantages.

Advantages 

Again, one of the chief advantages of using invisible braces is that they eliminate the hassle of looking awkward. For teens and young adults, this benefit is often more than enough to convince them to choose this option.

Invisible braces are more effective than clear aligners in correcting complex problems like rotations and large gaps between teeth.

Because invisible braces are installed on the inside surface of the teeth, discoloration of the teeth will not be much of a problem. The discoloration will occur on the part of the teeth which is not visible to other people.

But despite these benefits, invisible braces still pose a few challenges and disadvantages.

Disadvantages

For one, you will go through a longer period of adjusting to these braces. It is not unusual for patients to experience some problems associated with speech. Plus, it will take some time to get accustomed to the feeling of wires and brackets on the inside surface of your teeth.

Another downside of these braces is that they are more difficult to clean. If you have gum problems, these may be adversely affected by your braces.

Installing these braces can also be challenging for dentists. For one, because of the location where the braces will be installed. Your dentist will have to face a few difficulties and use smaller and lighter wires. In turn, this can translate to longer treatment periods compared to both Invisalign and traditional braces. This may also mean that you have to spend a longer time on the dental chair.

Finally, lingual braces can cost more than conventional braces.

If you are interested in learning more about lingual braces contact your Prescott dentist at Horizon Dental Group today. The professionals at Horizon Dental Group are dedicated to helping you develop a confident smile.


Denture Problems | Potential Issues You Should Be Aware Of

Denture ProblemsWhat Are Some Potential Denture Problems?

Tooth loss can dramatically reduce your quality of life. That’s why many patients see dentures as a life-saving solution. Despite the emergence of newer tooth restoration options, dentures continue to be a popular choice for patients all over the world because of its convenience, ease of use and affordability.

Dentures today offer a more comfortable and snug fit compared to past models. High-quality, well-fitting dentures are now made of sophisticated materials that do a good job of mimicking the appearance of natural teeth.  

While most major complaints about dentures have been solved with modern denture technology, some common denture problems still remain.

If you’re thinking of getting dentures, it’s important to ask yourself, What are some possible denture problems? This way, you can make the necessary preparations to reduce or manage these complaints.

Excessive saliva production

First-time denture wearers often experience saliva overflow. This is brought about by the presence of a foreign object inside your mouth, causing your salivary glands to work harder than usual. As your body gets more used to the dentures, saliva production will gradually go back to normal. Mints or hard candies can help you temporarily manage the uncomfortable sensation.

Wearer discomfort

Another sensation that might cause you to feel uncomfortable is the feeling as if your dentures are too large or taking up too much space in your mouth, to the point that your lips feel stretched. If the dentures have an exact fit, this sensation is most likely a normal part of the adjustment period. The only way to make it go away is to wear your dentures more often – eventually, your mouth will learn how to accommodate them.  

Wobbly wear

Some first-time wearers also complain about dentures feeling unstable, making them fear that their fake teeth might accidentally slip out of their mouth altogether. To give dentures a more secure hold, apply a denture adhesive. However, it’s a different matter if the slipping is caused by ill-fitting dentures due to improper measurements or because the gum tissue and jawbone have already shifted or shrunk after some time. If this is the case, consult your dentist immediately.

Mouth sores, inflammation and pain

Another possible problem is pain and inflammation. This is common during the early stages and can be relieved with a warm water and salt gargle and medicines prescribed by your dentist. But if pain and sores continue to persist, check with your dentist to make sure it is not caused by poor fit. Also, prevent inflammation due to bacterial infection by following the proper dental and denture cleaning and care routine.  

Questions or problems with your dentures? Don’t attempt to solve them alone. Contact your trusted Prescott, AZ dentist for professional help.