Scottsdale Dentist: New Dentist on Board, Dr. Handelman!

We are excited to announce our new dentist at Serenity Smiles, Scottsdale Dentist: Dr. Richard Handelman!

Here’s his biography:

Dr. Richard Handelman is originally from St. Louis, Missouri. He attended the University of Minnesota, and was admitted to the first combined degree program and graduated with honors with a B.S. and D.D.S. in Biology and Dentistry. He has practiced general dentistry, sub-specializing in oral surgery, endodontics, and radiology for over 30 years. He attended the University of Denver in 2011 where he received his masters in Business Administration. Dr. Handelman attended the Napa Valley Wine Academy and is a level three certified Wine Specialist, as well!

When not in the dental office, Dr. Handelman enjoys working out daily, specifically enjoying cardio in the gym, biking, and swimming. He loves to entertain, and is a fabulous cook, pairing his creations with international vintages. He spends a lot of time with his family and has three beautiful grandsons.

Dr. Handelman is very excited to join Dr. Kaushesh and the team at Serenity Smiles, and looks forward to meeting you soon at the Scottsdale office.

Scottsdale Dentist: Can We Save Your Tooth?

An implant is the closest restoration to mimic a natural tooth; however, a natural tooth is the best option if it can be saved. That’s not to say implants are a lowly treatment option – it’s often the best option if a tooth is unable to be repaired sustainably. Before any decisions are made, let’s try to save your natural tooth.

The first step is to evaluate your tooth to understand why it’s condition is poor — which the most common reasons are from tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. Although different diagnoses, tooth decay and gum disease begin with bacteria in the mouth and can both lead to tooth loss.

Millions of harmless bacteria are present in your mouth consistently. There are a few strains that live in dental plaque on a thin “biofilm” on your teeth, that can cause disease. As they feed on sugar bound to teeth, they convert the sugar to produce acid, which can erode the protective enamel on teeth. This can cause the formation of cavities, which must be cleaned and filled with safe dental material to fix.

If decay is left untreated, it spreads deep within the pulp and through the root canals. When decay spreads deeper, your tooth is in more danger. Your tooth may be able to be saved with a root canal treatment. In this common procedure, we access the pulp chamber and clean out all the diseased or dead tissue. Then, the empty chamber is filled with sterile dental material and root canals with a gutta percha filling, then sealed. We later cap the tooth with a new crown to further protect it.

Dental plaque triggers chronic inflammation if gum disease is present. The inflammation can cause the gums to weaken and detach from the teeth to form large voids called periodontal pockets, which can fill with infection. This could lead to bone deterioration, causing the tooth to become mobile and loose.

By removing plaque stuck to the surface, we can help fix your tooth. Plaque may be fueling the infection you’re experiencing. We normally do this with special hand instruments, but in special cases, surgical instruments may need to be used. After successfully removing plaque off the teeth surfaces and below the gum line, inflammation should calm, giving the tissues a chance to heal and rebind to teeth. Depending on severity,  we may also need to assist the  tissues to regenerate through gum or bone grafting.

You may be able to save your natural teeth through oral care efforts and treatment options. Saving your natural smile yields the most benefits to your overall dental and bone health, so your Scottsdale Dentist will present you all possible treatment options before removing a tooth. Sometimes, however, it may be the best option to remove a tooth.

We are always willing to help you learn more about your treatment options. You can also learn more about saving teeth vs. placing implants by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?

Expecting Mothers Dental Q&A – Scottsdale Dentist

Pregnancy is an amazing and exciting time for an expecting mother. However, during this time, a lot of questions may come to mind about both the mother’s and the baby’s health. Dental care is an important factor within health during this time.

We frequently hear these questions from expectant mothers, and we’re happy to answer them here:

Is the calcium in my teeth used for development of my baby’s teeth?
Mothers who have had dental problems in the past frequently ask this question as they are worried to pass their troubles to their child. No — a baby developing in the womb acquires minerals, such as calcium, for their teeth and bones from the mother’s diet, not her teeth. A mother that ensures she is eating healthy, balanced diet rich in nutrients and minerals like calcium will help her own health and her baby’s development.

Are my chances of developing a dental disease higher when pregnant?
Pregnancy causes significant fluctuations in your body’s hormones, particularly increasing estrogen. With increased estrogen levels, changes can occur in the gum tissue’s blood vessels that may make periodontal (gum) disease (commonly called “pregnancy gingivitis”) develop. Later in pregnancy, it is also possible to develop non-cancerous overgrowths of gum tissues called “pregnancy tumors.” Considering that there is a heightened risk for gum disease during pregnancy, it is important to monitor your gum health closer and visit your dentist if you have any questions or concerns.

How should I take care of my teeth?
Like normal, it is important to brush your teeth twice a day with ADA-approved fluoride-containing toothpaste to remove plaque, bacteria, and food remnants that cling to your teeth. Flossing daily and using an anti-plaque/anti-gingivitis mouthwash also positively impact oral health. During your pregnancy, you should continue to see your Scottsdale Dentist for regular office cleanings and checkups, or if you notice any abnormalities, such as gum swelling, bleeding, and more.

Should I take prenatal fluoride supplements?
Studies on its fluoride supplement effectiveness do not support the idea that this will benefit you and your baby’s dental development. There is not data to encourage this professionally. Although, there is solid support from research that application of fluoride to teeth in young children just after they appear in the mouth has shown 99% cavity-free results using topical fluoride applications with sealants (in a study of over 1,000 teeth)!

Your Scottsdale Dentist is more than happy to assist you during your pregnancy. Call or visit us! The Dear Doctor magazine article “Expectant Mothers” covers more information on your pregnancy and healthy choices.

What is a Comprehensive Exam: Scottsdale Dentist

When establishing yourself as a new patient at a dental office, the very first visit you’ll experience is a “Comprehensive Exam.” This is the first time you’ve ever been on their schedule!

The key of Comprehensive Exam is to get to know you as a dental patient. Also, you should get to know your dentist and office! Typically, you will receive a panoramic X-ray to evaluate your whole mouth. Next, a set of Bitewing X-rays will determine the need for fillings, root canals, or crowns. A hygienist will then complete “perio charting” to physically check your gum health. Your dental assistants may take photos of you and within your mouth for more diagnostic material. Read our blog about the different types of dental X-Rays here: https://www.serenitysmiles.com/blog/are-dental-x-rays-safe/.

Afterwards, your dentist will meet you face to face during your first appointment. They will give you a physical exam, gently exploring your oral health. For your dentist to gain key information about you, your medical history and previous dental experiences will be reviewed.

Looking for that perfect dentist? Read the American Dental Associations guide to picking the perfect one: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/dental-care-concerns/how-to-choose-a-dentist.

Dental Technology – Making Dentistry Easier: Scottsdale Dentist

The science of lasers has changed dentistry forever, giving patients easier and better experiences when visiting the dentist. Also, dental technology is making dentistry easier for everyone! When you visit your dentist, you most likely will see new technologies that make dentistry less messy, time consuming, and more fun!

Panoramic 3D images are used to see your entire smile and skull anatomy in one image! Because of this powerful image, your dentist requires less X-Rays overall to diagnose and treat your dental needs, exposing you to less radiation.

Have you ever had an impression taken at your dental office? Was it messy and gooey? Now, dental offices are ditching the goop and using 3D scanning technology! With new digital scanning, dentists can quickly “scan” your mouth to make the perfect crown, bridge, night guard, and more. Best of all, your dentist might have the technology to 3D print your crown, bridge, or night guard right in office!

Read our blog about laser technology used in procedures at: https://www.serenitysmiles.com/blog/what-is-laser-dentistry/!

To learn more about other things 3D scanning can do in dentistry, read: https://www.laserdesign.com/3d-laser-scanning-makes-an-impression-on-the-dental-profession/.

Dental professionals are working hard to make your experience as painless, quick, and comfortable as possible. New technology, such as 3D scanning, changes how dentistry is performed and makes your visit enjoyable! Check out our website to see what other technology we offer to you: https://www.serenitysmiles.com/our-technology/!

Are Dental X-Rays Safe – Scottsdale Dentist

Dental X-Rays provide a precise diagnosis of your dental problems. Also, with procedures such as “crown seats” or “root canals,” X-Rays ensure that your treatment was completed successfully. With the technology available today, X-rays are the safest they have ever been. Four X-Rays use about the same amount of radiation that is in your banana.

Though small amounts of radiation pass through dental X-rays, offices still follow ALARA: “As Low As Reasonable Achievable” when performing any treatment.

There are a few different types of X-Rays that you’ll receive in a dental office, depending on your treatment.

Panoramic X-Rays: A 3D “panoramic” image of your whole mouth, jaw bones, sinuses, and neck.

Bitewings: X-Rays designed to focus on the crowns of your teeth, to help diagnose cavities and deep pockets.

PA’s: Single X-Ray films designed to focus on a specific area of the mouth, such as a painful tooth.

Dentists are switching to a technology called Nomad X-ray technology. Unlike your typical big X-ray heads where the assistant leaves the room while operating, they are handheld and expose you to even less radiation than before.

Dental professionals take every precaution to limit your exposure to radiation. Every patient receives a lead vest for each X-Ray.

It is important to let your dentist, hygienist, and assistant know of all of your medical changes, such as pregnancy. When pregnant, it is important to limit radiation as much as possible or get medical clearance from an OBYGN. Pregnant patients with a medical clearance can still receive X-Rays for treatment, with a different protective vest to protect both the patient and fetus.

If you have questions regarding children getting X-rays, here is a brochure made by dental and medical professionals: https://www.imagegently.org/Portals/6/Dental/IG14_DentalBrochure.pdf.

 

What to Look for in a Dental Practice: Scottsdale Dentist

Choosing the right dental practice can be daunting with so many offices to choose from. It is important to keep in mind what factors are important to you when trusting a dentist and staff with your dental care.

Find out their values.

All dental offices have a mission statement in their practice. The mission statement should be posted or easily available to you to look over. On the main page of a dental office’s website, there should be key information to define themselves to you. Also look for videos from the doctor or staff!

Check out their social media and website.

Find out what your future dental office does besides dentistry? Are they active within the community? Do they seem friendly? Social media accounts provide an excellent window into the actual culture of a practice and it is posted for you to see! A great dental office frequently posts about not only dentistry, but about the livelihood of their practice. If you interact with these posts, a great dental practice should almost immediately reach out to you!

See if your insurance is covered there.

If insurance is a factor in your dental office decision, you may call and ask if your insurance is covered, or check the dental office’s website. Some offices bill all insurances, regardless of them being “in network” with them or not, so keep this in mind if you end up preferring an office that isn’t “in network” with your insurance, because you may still receive worthwhile benefits.

Read reviews.

Reviews are the newest and easiest way to learn if a dental office is worth your visit. Communities thrive when word-of-mouth referrals exist, so reading reviews from people in your area will help you better understand the practice you’re looking into. If a dental office has stellar reviews from multiple people – it’s safe to say that the office prides itself in great work. You could even reach out to the reviewers and ask them for their honest feedback.

Learn about the dentist(s).

Learning about your dentist is just as important as learning about the dental office. On the dental office’s website, you can read about the dentist(s) working at your office of choice. Dentists should include credentialing, a bit of their personality, and their mission as a provider.

See what services they offer.

Before choosing a dental office, it is important to consider what services they offer and if they align with what you’re looking for. Do you suffer from anxiety or fear of the dentist? Gag reflex? If so, make sure that the office can cater to your comfort through oral or IV sedation. Also, most dental offices aren’t specialized in full mouth rehab/transformations and bigger procedures, like implants. Double check by calling or checking out their website that the office can cater to your needs.

Search for any local ads.

If you need to save money, look in the local ad papers to see if they have new patient specials or specials on procedures you may need done. Looking at the dental office’s advertisements also gives you a look into how they stage their practice to look to the public. Is it the type of practice you see yourself receiving treatment from?

Visit for a comprehensive appointment.

If you have narrowed your search for the right dental office down to one or two, schedule a comprehensive appointment! A comprehensive appointment is a full check-up done by the dentist so that he can diagnose any problems you may have and meet you personally for a one-on-one appointment. This is your chance to actually sit in the dental chair and see your dentist and dental office in action for your treatment and their first impression on you. First impressions COUNT, so pay close attention to their care.

Ask questions!

During this whole process, don’t be afraid to call and ask questions, as well as ask questions during your comprehensive appointment. A great dental office should happily help you through the process of gaining you as a new patient. Also, your dentist should thoroughly answer any of your questions!

Use these tips to find your best dental office ever. It is important to find an office that cares about your customer service experience, treatment experience, and overall satisfaction!

Great Choices for your Oral Health – Key Tips: Scottsdale Dentist

We all want to make the best choices to keep ourselves looking young and feeling our best. There are excellent choices you can make today for your oral health that will keep your smile looking its best and lasting the test of time with consistency. This blog will go over key tips to making great choices for your oral health.

Brush your teeth at least twice daily.

Brushing your teeth is essential for maintaining good oral health. Morning and evening brushing are the most recommended times for brushing. Brushing after meals or sugary drinks ensures that your teeth have less exposure to bacteria, food, and sugar!

Drink through a straw.

Drinking any beverage through a straw helps avoid the surfaces of your teeth. Avoiding your teeth with certain drinks helps prevent sugar from coating and degrading your smile. Doing this also lowers the likelihood of staining your teeth with coffee, wine, and juices.

Floss.

Flossing is the best way to ensure a full-mouth clean after brushing. Flossing reaches between your teeth and removes trapped food, plaque, and bacteria that your toothbrush and/or mouthwash cannot reach.

See your dentist.

Scheduling checkups with your dentist will keep your smile in check.

Avoid using your teeth as tools.

Using your teeth as tools for opening lids and other tasks causes damage. With the wrong job, you may chip or fracture your tooth! Take the time to use the right tools for the job, it will save your smile.

Avoid clenching and grinding.

Clenching and grinding cause irreversible damage over time. Clenching may cause teeth to crack, fracture, and chip. Also, your jaw may hurt over time due to the stress. Grinding wears down your teeth over time, actually shortening them! Most people clench and grind in their sleep, so it’s important to talk to your dentist about a night guard to prevent further damage. Read our blog about night guards and more on our blog: https://www.serenitysmiles.com/blog/2156/

Maintain a good routine!

This is the most important tip for having a healthy smile. With anything, consistency is KEY!

The Facts About Dental Implants: Scottsdale Dentist

Implants are one of the most popular dental restorations as it offers a permanent solution for replacing missing teeth. Compared to others treatments, such as fillings, crowns, and root canals, implants last the longest. Below are FACTS about dental implants.

  • Our implants are titanium

    • Our Serenity Smiles implants are made of titanium which binds to your bone through something called “osseointegration.” Titanium has proved to be the best material for dental implants and is a permanent solution to replace missing teeth or secure loose dentures.
  • Implants stimulate your bone

    • Stimulating your jaw bones effectively prevents noticeable aging effects. Dental implants keep your bone stimulated so it does not die or decrease with missing teeth or as you age. Looks of a “sunken face,” or decreased jawline are due to lack of bone to fill the face. You can learn more about facial aging at https://www.livescience.com/35332-face-bones-aging-110104.html.
  • Implants are delivered to you in 3 unique components:

  • Implants can secure dentures

    • If you already have dentures or have treatment pending for dentures, implants placed on both the upper and lower arches of your mouth to secure them in place! Also, implant-retained dentures improve the taste delicious foods because the palate is exposed, unlike with traditional dentures.
  • Over 3 million people have dental implants in the US

  • Implants are the closest restoration to a natural tooth

    • Implants stimulate bone just like your natural tooth root does, so it is the closest feeling match to a natural tooth.

A lot of prepping and planning happens with implants. Your dentist will require medical history and a CT scan of your jawbones to ensure that implant restorations are possible for you.

Visit https://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-implants#1 for the benefits and insurance information on dental implants.

Read our blog https://www.serenitysmiles.com/uncategorized/dentures-vs-implants-smile-restoration/.

 

Dentures Vs. Implants – Smile Restoration: Scottsdale Dentist

Dentures and implants are excellent solutions for restoring a confident smile. Full dentures are removable upper and lower arch appliances that fit around your jaw bones. Negative pressure from breath stabilizes your dentures. Also, patients with full dentures can also use dental glue to keep their dentures in place. Full dentures are an easy way to restore your smile.

Partial dentures restore small areas of the mouth. They seamlessly replace missing teeth amongst natural teeth.

Implants provide a permanent solution to restoring or replacing missing teeth. Our titanium implants bind to your available jaw bone, just like the root of a natural tooth. Implants are placed in 3 parts:

  1. the implant placement
  2. the healing abutment (button) placement
  3. final crown placement

One implant replaces one missing tooth. Also, if you have full dentures, 2-4 implants can be placed on your upper and lower arch to secure them in place.

Additionally, read more about dental implants at: https://www.aaid-implant.org/dental-implants/what-are-dental-implants/ 

Overall, dentures and implants give you functionality back where you may be missing teeth. Visit us today to get your dental implant journey started!

Check out https://www.serenitysmiles.com/blog/oral-health-topics/the-ages-of-dentistry-2/ to read about the ages of dentistry.