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Posts Tagged: tooth decay

4 Dental Procedures For Correcting Overlapping Teeth

Smiling increases your endorphins, a hormone that is responsible for your happiness. So if you hold yourself back from smiling because you don’t have perfect teeth, then it is likely to prevent you from feeling cheerful.

As such, correcting overlapping teeth is quite crucial for people who feel insecure about their smiles. By undergoing the right dental procedure, they will finally be able to smile freely and with confidence.

Heredity, bad oral habits, and tooth loss are among the main causes of overlapping teeth. Fixing your overlapped teeth will improve your self-esteem, eliminate possible speech problems, and boost your dental health. Overlapped teeth correction will also promote good dental hygiene. If your teeth are straight, it will be a lot easier for you to brush away all of the harmful bacteria present in your teeth and mouth.

Here are the different ways that a Prescott, AZ dentist can correct your overlapping teeth.

1. Braces

Braces are the traditional approach, and the most effective. Getting braces involves having a set of wires attached to your teeth and this can last for months or years. Today, you have the option to get lingual braces instead; these cannot be seen since they are attached to the back of your teeth. These braces have tinier wires but tend to be more uncomfortable as compared to regular braces.

2. Veneers

Veneers are shaped casings for teeth. Your dentist will sculpt your teeth, build a mold, and put the veneer over your old teeth. The number of veneers you’ll need will depend on how many overlapped teeth you have.

Apart from straightening teeth, veneers can also whiten your smile since they can be made in any shade you choose. The main downside of this dental solution is its high cost.

3. Invisalign

Invisalign can fix overlapped teeth without being seen. Also, they are removable. So if you want to eat some chewy candies, you can easily take the brace-like mouthpiece out and put it back once you are done. Also, you can remove them before brushing and flossing. However, they are way more expensive and are not the best option if you have severe overlapping teeth.

4. Dental Sculpting

If all your teeth need some reshaping, dental sculpting is a good option. Your dentist will use a drill or laser to reduce the overlap and give your teeth more room. However, this process can weaken your teeth.

Another means of reshaping your teeth is bonding. In this procedure, a hardening paste will be applied to the affected tooth.

The correction procedure you’ll take will depend on the severity of the overlap and the number of overlapped teeth you have. Your dentist will consider your budget and preferences as well. You will also be informed about the advantages and disadvantages of each option to help you make the right decision.


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.


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.


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

How Much Is It To Get A Tooth Filled Without Insurance

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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!


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!


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!


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!


The Link Between Periodontal Disease and Diabetes

Last February 19 and 20, 15 international specialists with years of knowledge and experience among them assembled in Madrid for the Perio-Diabetes Workshop led by the European Federation of Periodontology and the International Diabetes Federation to tackle one of the biggest health issues in the society today:

The relationship between diabetes and periodontal disease.

While diabetes is characterized as a complex disease that involves deterioration or complete inability of an individual to produce or respond to the hormone insulin, periodontal disease (often called gum disease) is defined as the inflammation and irritation of the gum line.

More often than not, both illnesses result in more severe problems such as bone corrosion and teeth loss.

A group of experts have worked together to finally solve this massive dental dilemma.

During the workshop, it was discussed that patients who have periodontitis are also the ones who are most likely susceptible to pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes. Those who have diabetes, on the other hand, are very much prone to acquiring periodontal disease. People who suffer from periodontitis and other gum diseases find it difficult for their bodies to keep their blood pressure normal.

Now that it has been revealed that there is actually a strong resemblance between periodontal disease and diabetes, it is important that you also know how to treat or manage both conditions.

For those with periodontal disease, it has been shown that self-performed oral hygiene at home is an effective practice. By simply establishing a habit of regular brushing and flossing, you can save yourself from one of the most severe dental diseases.

Based on the workshop’s conclusion, diabetes can be treated while one practices self-care techniques for periodontal disease. The length and type of treatment varies from one patient to another, depending on the level of their infection. As a rule of thumb, it is still always the best option to consult a Prescott, AZ dentist to assist you throughout the procedure.

As for diabetes, there are injections prescribed by doctors that can help pump one’s bloodstream with enough insulin to treat diabetes. As expected, addressing diabetes also creates an impact on periodontal disease as both of them heal at the same time. It is important to know that the condition should be treated with utmost urgency, as more serious complications to one’s health may arise if left untreated for a long time.

To learn about other professional treatments, you can search for credible online sources or simply contact your dentist for advice.


Dental Health Facts and Fiction

People can become so concerned with their teeth that they tend to believe any information they receive about ways to care for them, which may not always be true or advisable. As a result, they observe dental routines that could be causing more damage to their teeth instead of helping them maintain strong and healthy set of chompers.

Keeping this in mind, it is important to learn about and adopt clinically proven and effective dental habits that you should practice to keep your teeth healthy — and to determine whether a piece of information about dental health is a fact or fiction.

Some examples of dental health facts and fiction include the following:

STATEMENT: Your teeth should be looked at and cleaned by a dentist once a year

VERDICT: Fiction

The frequency of your visits to the dental clinic relies entirely on your dentist and not any self-established schedule. Each person’s dental condition is different from the next one’s, so the recommendations for dental check-ups would depend on the patient’s specific dental needs.

Some individuals with relatively healthy teeth may only need to see their dentist every few months, for example, while others with more delicate or serious dental issues may be advised to head to the dental clinic to undergo treatments or procedures once a month.

Since people consume different kinds of food and drinks, follow different oral hygiene practices, and have varying health conditions that could affect the state of their teeth, mouth and gums, required dental procedures also vary from patient to patient.

STATEMENT: Popcorn is a snack that is good for your teeth

VERDICT: Fiction

Popcorn doesn’t always look the way it does when you buy it at the cinema. Its uncooked form is a hard, tough corn kernel. However, cooking doesn’t always turn every single kernel into soft, tasty and fluffy popcorn, and when your teeth accidentally bite hard on those un-popped kernels, precious white enamel on your teeth might end up chipped or cracked.

And because popcorn is often flavored with butter and powdered artificial cheese and butter, popcorn is not exactly the best choice of food to keep your teeth healthy.

STATEMENT: Sugar is the cause of cavities

VERDICT: Fact

It is true that sugary food or drinks cause cavities in teeth. Keep in mind, though, that they are also not the only reasons why people suffer from tartar build-up. There are other harmful chemicals and foreign contaminants that can cause plaque, such as nicotine and alcohol. Meat is also a culprit when it comes to cavity build-up; however, it does not directly affect the surface of your teeth. Instead, meat leftovers get stuck between teeth, allowing bacteria to gather and attack the enamel of your teeth.

In order to get helpful tips for improving the health of your teeth, you can consult dental experts such as a Prescott, AZ dentist in a fully equipped dental clinic near you.