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Posts Tagged: oral health

How To Get Affordable Dental Care

The cost of dental care has constantly risen over the past decades. Aside from the increasing dental cost, the number of people with access to dental insurance has decreased.

In fact, a new poll finds that most Americans can’t afford even the basic dental care. More than half of the people surveyed also said that they did not know how they would get affordable dental care after they turn 65.

If you do not have access to dental insurance or you lack money to pay for the high cost of dental care, there are cost-saving measures to help you save money.

7 Ways to Save Money on Quality Dental Care

1. Use Low-Cost or Free Dental Providers

There are some dental professional providing services to patients without insurance. They also operate on a sliding scale, which means that they set rates based on your income.

If you can’t find or you still can’t afford a dentist operating on a sliding scale, consider receiving dental services from a free medical clinic. Generally, eligibility is limited to low-income patients.

2. Participate in Medical Studies

There are some organizations and universities performing research on certain dental treatment methods. You can actually participate in medical studies in exchange for free dental care, like having a wisdom tooth extracted or dental cleanings.

3. Look for Online Savings and Coupons

Check out online sites that occasionally provide deals and coupons for dental care services like fillings and cleanings. These sites can be your lifesaver if you do not have insurance.

4. Receive Dental Care from Dental Students

Dental students must acquire experience before they graduate and get their license. You can help them get the experience they need while receiving affordable dental care. Whenever these students operate, they are supervised by a licensed dentist.

5. Ask for a Discount

Most dentists understand that some of their patients are uninsured. So don’t be afraid to inform the dentist about your financial situation and ask for a discount. Also, try to negotiate ahead of time.

6. Find a Job with Dental Benefits

Most jobs will require you to be a full-time employee so you can receive insurance benefits. However, there are others that are more flexible. So long as you meet a certain number of hours worked each month, you can qualify for health and dental insurance.

7. Use Government Resources

Most government organizations are established to help uninsured and low-income people so that they receive the medical and dental attention they need. The Health Resources and Services Administration or HRSA provides listings of the affordable dental providers in your area that you might be eligible to use.

Taking care of your teeth on a daily basis must be your priority even if there are ways you can save on dental care. Although some dental problems are unavoidable, preventative dental care practices can minimize the chances and costs of most dental problems.


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.


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.


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.

 


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.


Dental Health Care And Aging

What You Should Know About Dental Health And Aging

Aging brings about various indications of physical, physiological, and mental degeneration. Dental health is among the most common concerns for older adults. As you get older, the risk of experiencing dental problems also increases.

Because of impairments in the normal bodily processes associated with aging, older people may find it more challenging to perform oral hygiene and self-care.

The most common dental conditions experienced during old age are:

Dry mouth (Xerostomia)

The golden years are considered cavity prone years. Cavities during old age are commonly caused by dry mouth. Xerostomia or dry mouth is not a normal process in aging; rather, it is a result or a side effect of various medications, which are usually taken by older adults to treat or control high blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, and other illnesses that come with aging.

Dry mouth can lead to cracked lips, fissured tongue, caries, and mucositis. A Prescott, AZ dentist recommends increased fluid intake and avoidance of alcoholic and carbonated beverages to relieve the symptoms of dry mouth and prevent cavities.

Periodontitis or gum disease

Dental health and aging are linked together in many ways. As a person grows older, he may start to experience receding gums, which exposes the roots of the teeth. This increases the risk of developing decay.

In addition, poor dental hygiene also causes the buildup of plaque, causing the gums to become irritated and swollen.

In general, gum disease, in its early stages, is painless and does not present any symptoms. As such, it is often left undiagnosed and untreated until it is in the advanced stages. Advanced gum disease affects not only the gums, but also the bones and ligaments supporting the teeth.

Good oral hygiene through regular and proper brushing are very helpful in preventing periodontitis. Regular visits to a dentist for professional cleaning are also advised to remove hardened plaque.

Root and coronal caries

The four elements needed for dental caries to form are the tooth surface (enamel or dentin), fermentable carbohydrates, bacteria, and time. Dental caries could lead to advanced gum disease and tooth loss when left untreated.

Regular brushing using fluoride-containing toothpaste remains to be the main preventive measure for dental caries.

Because older adults may not be fully capable of caring for themselves, it is important to have a caregiver who can help them maintain their personal hygiene, including dental care. It is essential to discuss dental care and self-care with professionals such as dentists and doctors.


8 Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

8 Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums

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

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

How to Achieve and Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


6 Tips for Eliminating Bad Breath

Horizon Dental Care Tips for Eliminating Bad Breath

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

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

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

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

How to Get Rid of Bad Breath

1. Watch What You Eat

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

2. Stay Hydrated

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

3. Avoid Drinking Too Much Coffee

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

4. Avoid Smoking

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

5. Limit Your Alcohol Intake

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

6. Chew Gum

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

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


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.