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Preventing and Treating a Dry Socket: Scottsdale Dentist

Following the removal of a tooth, there is a “socket” where the tooth used to be rooted. In the right conditions, (about 97% of the time) a blood clot should form in the place of the socket, leaving your gums to heal over it normally. Unfortunately, 2-3% of people experience a “dry socket” (alveolar osteitis) – where the blood clot does not form – causing extreme pain from nerve and bone being exposed.

Why do some people get dry sockets?

To some people, there are heightened risks associated with the development of a dry socket. Some risks include smoking, poor oral hygiene, wisdom teeth removal, use of birth control or other medications, rinsing and spitting after an extraction, and history of dry sockets.

What does a dry socket feel like?

Symptoms of dry sockets may include an appearance of an “opening” in your extraction site, radiating pain to your ear and bad breath a few days after your extraction.

How can I prevent a dry socket?

After your tooth extraction, make sure to follow healing habits:

  • try to avoid touching the area with your tongue, fingers, food, objects
  • avoid smoking for at least 24 hours
  • do not rinse, spit, or use a straw for at least 24 hours, this creates a negative pressure that may dislodge your healthy blood clot
    • you may stand over a sink and let fluids ease out naturally by gravity
  • maintain oral hygiene, avoiding brushing over the extraction site, but gently using mouthwash (gently like the above point)

What can my Scottsdale dentist do for my dry socket?

Luckily, treatment for dry sockets is relatively simple. Your Scottsdale dentist will clean the area of extraction and fill the void with a medicated dressing that promotes healing. Your Scottsdale dentist may give you dressing to take home to continue care for your dry socket. Antibiotics and/or anti-inflammatories may be prescribed to you if your dentist sees this is needed.

If you have recently had a tooth extraction and feel that you may have a dry socket, contact your Scottsdale dentist today for quick treatment!

Scottsdale Dentist: How Can I Tell if I Have TMJ?

TMJ is short for “Temporomandibular Disorder.” The temporomandibular joint is the connection between your upper and lower jaw. From activities like chewing, talking, opening and closing our mouths, our jaw joint is a crucial mechanism for daily life. If you are experiencing TMJ, you are likely to feel intermittent or steady pain throughout the day in your jaw area. It is important to seek help from your Scottsdale dentist to treat TMJ because over time, symptoms can worsen and your jaw joints may require more serious treatment.

Why does TMJ occur?

TMJ occurs from excessive stress placed on the jaw joints and muscles surrounding it. If you have misaligned bite or certain habits, TMJ can develop. It can also be caused from a combination of things. Different causes include:

  • bruxism (clenching and grinding, wearing down teeth)
  • genetics
  • arthritis
  • injury

What symptoms might be from TMJ?

  • pain and/or tenderness in the jaw
  • pain in one or both of your temporomandibular joints
  • pain in and/or around your ear
  • facial aches/pain
  • jaw locking or popping

How can my Scottsdale Dentist help my TMJ? There are a few approaches to helping decrease symptoms associated with TMJ as well as to fix further problems. Depending on your treatment needs, your Scottsdale dentist may do some of the following treatments:

Custom Night Guard

A custom night guard made by your Scottsdale dentist is an option for TMJ treatment. This acts as a “splint,” separating the upper and lower teeth so there is a small space between them. This small space does big wonders for your jaws, as it gives them relief when the splint is worn. Your dentist will suggest duration of wearing the night guard, but typically, as in the name, it is worn at night while you sleep. Night guards are made with comfortable, flexible plastic that is easy to wear for longer periods of time. With the use of a night guard over time, your jaw joints will receive a break each time that promotes healing.

Exercises

There are a lot of muscles controlled by and related to the temporomandibular joints. Smiling and frowning, talking, eating, tensing the face – essentially all movements and actions –  are worked in this area. When you clench or grind, muscles get tense, tight, and used too much. Your Scottsdale dentist may recommend stretches, exercises, and massages for the face that will ease the tension you’re feeling.

Prescribe

If your muscle tightness is lingering after other types of treatments, your Scottsdale dentist may prescribe an anti-inflammatory and/or muscle relaxant to help the muscles rest.

Dental Procedures

Your TMJ symptoms may be occurring from your teeth! If you still have your wisdom teeth, they may be causing the pain you’re feeling. A panoramic X-ray will help solve if your wisdom teeth are the root of your pain. Also, a bite adjustment may be a treatment for TMJ. Sometimes, the smallest adjustment on your bite, less than a millimeter, can make all the difference. You can have your bite checked at any time by your Scottsdale dentist.

Botox

Botox has become an increasingly popular treatment option for TMJ. The injected is targeted into the muscles of the temporomandibular joint, allowing them to release and spread instantly. Botox has helped patients undergo other dental treatments that they couldn’t get before due to lock jaw or jaw pain from staying open for long periods of time.

There are several treatment options for you and your Scottsdale dentist is happy to assist you in diagnosing and relieving you of TMJ symptoms and pain for a healthier, happier smile.

Developing a Dental Strategy that will Save you Money: Scottsdale Dentist

Taking care of your teeth is a commitment you need to make for a lifetime. Similar to any other realm of healthcare, it can get costly — from regular dental visits and cleanings to more expensive treatments and procedures for protecting, preserving, and repairing your teeth.

If you are limited financially, it does not mean that your dental care has to wait or your health has to suffer. If you commit to following an effective strategy for oral care, your dental visits do not have to be expensive in the future. Apart of a good oral health hygiene plan, here are a few key tips:

  1. Practice effective daily oral hygiene. Many of the potential dental problems people experience are the result of not having a consistent, effective oral hygiene habit — which includes daily brushing and flossing along with semi-annual dental visits for cleanings and checkups. The goal of oral hygiene is to remove bacterial plaque effectively, the sticky film that adheres to teeth after we eat, and keep it from building up and causing significant damage over time. Removing plaque reduces your chances of developing the two major dental diseases caused by it, tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, which could result in additional treatment needs. However, even with excellent oral hygiene you’ll still form tartar (hardened plaque deposits) on your teeth, so professional cleanings from a dental hygienist are necessary.
  2. Take care of your whole health. Your teeth and gums aren’t islands to the rest of your body. In fact, your oral health is heavily influenced by other conditions in the body, especially systemic diseases like diabetes or cardiovascular disease. So, be sure you’re following a healthy diet, following an exercise plan and seeing your doctors regularly. Your teeth will benefit from a holistic approach to your health.
  3. Work with your us to make your finances worry-free with treatment plan options. Unfortunately, there’s no guarantee your teeth and gums won’t need additional treatment and procedures sometime in your life, even with excellent care and attention. If you’re in need of extensive treatment or you feel you need to enhance your smile, talk with us. We’ll be glad to talk through your options, and work out both a treatment and financial plan that fits your best health and financial goals.

Learn more about the cost of dentistry and how to make the best of your budget and health in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Finances and Dental Care.”

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.

Scottsdale Dentist: Science Reveals News About Smile Makeovers

Smile makeovers have increased substantially in popularity over recent years, not only for Hollywood celebrities. Over 70% of all smile makeover consultations come from people in the 31 to 50 year old age group, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). While smile makeovers are completed for self-esteem boosts and appearance, many studies have shown that first impressions are lasting and appearance makes an impact. Now, many business professionals or people with publicity are investing in smile makeovers for not only their appearance, but their success.

The AACD study provided though-provoking statistics that support why a smile makeover is a smart investment that can yield a life-changing return on yourself!

  • 99.7% of Americans believe a smile is an important social asset.
  • 74% feel an unattractive smile can hurt chances for career success.
  • 50% of all people polled were unsatisfied with their smile.

Beall Research & Training, Inc., an independent marketing research firm, published a study that used before and after photos of smile makeovers for a survey. It was found in this study that people who have had a smile makeover are viewed by others as more attractive, intelligent, happy, successful in their career, friendly, interesting, kind, wealthy, and appealing to the opposite sex. This evidence undoubtedly shows the importance of a first impression, as well as what it can silently express about yourself!

Want to learn more?

See your Havasu dentist for a smile makeover consultation! We will walk you through every step of the way so you achieve the most attractive smile imaginable! The Dear Doctor article, “The Impact Of A Smile Makeover” can provide you with more information on smile makeover’s effect.

Chronic Dry Mouth: 3 Common Causes: Scottsdale Dentist

Like most people, you’ve most likely experienced occasional dry mouth when you’re thirsty or just waking up in the morning. Usually, this doesn’t last long and shouldn’t concern you.

But xerostomia, which means chronic dry mouth, is a concern. Chronic dry mouth is this persistent lack of adequate saliva. Not only is this uncomfortable for you, it could also increase your chances for tooth decay or gum disease.

Here are 3 common causes of chronic dry mouth and what you can do to help the symptoms.

  • Insufficient fluid intake.
    • Obvious, but very common —you’re simply not consuming enough water. Insufficient fluid intake deprives the salivary glands of essential fluid to produce the necessary amount of saliva. If you find that you’re often thirsty, you’ll need to increase the amount of water you consume throughout the day.
  • Medications.
    • More than 500 drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription, can list dry mouth as a side effect. Older adults who take more medications than average, may have increased problems with dry mouth. You may be able to help your medication-related dry mouth. Talk with your healthcare provider about alternative drugs for your condition that are less likely to cause dry mouth. Also, drink more water right before and right after taking your medication. Lastly, focus on increasing your daily intake of water.
  • Diseases and their treatments.
    • Along with some other, systemic diseases like diabetes or Parkinson’s disease can lead to xerostomia. Autoimmune conditions are particularly problematic because the body may turn on its own tissues, the salivary glands being a common target. Radiation or chemotherapy treatments can also damage the glands and lead to decreased saliva production. If you have a condition and are experiencing xerostomia, talk with your healthcare provider about ways to protect your salivary glands.

You can also ease dry mouth symptoms with xylitol gum (“saliva boosters”) or medications that stimulate the production of saliva. Caffeinated drinks and sugary or acidic foods affect your saliva production, so try to avoid them. Importantly, stay diligent with your oral hygiene habits and regular dental visits to continually reduce your risks of dental disease.

If you would like more information on the causes and treatments of dry mouth, please contact us for a consultation. Also, the following article gives you more insight on xerostomia: Dear Doctor magazine article “Dry Mouth: Learn about the Causes and Treatment of this Common Problem.”

Why Do I Need a “Deep Cleaning?” – Scottsdale Dentist

It can be shocking to hear from your dentist or see your treatment plan and learn that you need a “deep cleaning,” known as an SRP. SRP stands for Scaling and Root Planing. What does this mean? This meanings that you need a cleaning that extends to below the gum line.

During every check up, measurements of your tissues around each tooth are made. If you have multiple measurements of tissues above 4mm long, you need a deep cleaning. With tissue measurements longer than 4mm, this means you have deep pockets, and may have bone loss. Within these deep pockets lies “calculus,” which is hardened plaque attached to the tooth, causing problems to occur. Such problems can include inflammation, redness and bleeding in the gums, bone loss, and tooth decay.

When encouraged to receive an SRP, it is important to understand the risks of not receiving the deep cleaning:

  • Bone Loss
    • Bone loss leads to a higher chance of your teeth becoming loose.
  • Gum Disease / Infection
    • Bacteria present on your teeth and below the gums leads to the occurrence of gum diseases, such as periodontitis and gingivitis, as well as infections. Both gum diseases and infections damage the teeth, causing decay. Also, gum diseases and infection can spread to other systems in the body, such as the heart or brain.
  • Tooth Decay
    • The longer an SRP is not performed, the longer the calculus can damage your teeth below the gum line. Without its removal, your teeth are more likely to start feeling sensitive and/or painful because the exposure of the nerve from decay.
  • Tooth Loss
    • Deep pockets and calculus buildup can ultimately lead to the loss of teeth. Keeping up with your dental cleanings can eliminate this risk.
  • Aging Effects
    • With bone loss due to deep pockets and calculus buildup, your face may start appearing “sunken” and your jawline will become less and less sharp.
  • Overall Health Changes
    • There is research available to you showing correlation between gum disease and buildup of calculus to other health problems, such as heart disease and stroke.

The benefits of SRPs includes:

  • Reversing signs of gum disease
  • More Attractive Smile
    • If your smile teeth have visible plaque or red gums, a deep cleaning will help you gain confidence and show a healthier smile!
  • Decreasing Inflammation, Redness, and Bleeding
  • Better Breath
    • Your breath will improve after removing the bacteria present on your teeth and below the gums.
  • Improving your Overall Health
    • Keeping up with your dental cleanings will help your overall health as the bacteria present in your mouth can reach the rest of your body and the blood stream.

Make sure to schedule your deep cleaning so you can get your oral health back on track! If you have any questions, ask your dental hygienist or dentist.

Here is another great blog about the difference between regular cleanings and deep cleanings: https://www.rsfdentist.com/our-blog/2017/7/1/what-are-deep-cleanings-and-why-is-the-srp-so-misunderstood.

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!

What Causes Sensitive Teeth? Oral Health: Scottsdale Dentist

Tooth sensitivity can cause you to avoid hot and cold foods and beverages because of the overwhelming sensation. Sometimes, brushing teeth is too unbearable! Tooth sensitivity occurs when dentin becomes exposed in your teeth. Dentin is beneath the enamel (hard, outermost layer of your tooth). Increased exposure of dentin can cause more serious problems to your teeth, such as tooth decay!

Tooth sensitivity is the most common type of “toothache.” The pain that is experienced with sensitive teeth can be described as sharp and shooting.

Gum disease, grinding, harsh brushing, post-whitening treatment, and diet are all leading contributors to the experience of tooth sensitivity.

Sweet, acidic, and hot/cold food and drinks are major causes of tooth sensitivity if they are able to sit on the surface of your teeth for long periods of time.

Read more of our blogs on how to prevent and treat tooth sensitivity. If you’re in pain, please contact us at Serenity Smiles so we can help relieve you and get your smile back on track!

Dental Floss or Water Flosser: Scottsdale Dentist

Dental floss and water flossing are both effective ways to clean the spaces between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach. Dental floss is guided by your fingers to reach between teeth and under the gums. Guiding dental floss to make a “C” shape (like a hug) around the sides of your teeth is the best technique for effective cleaning.

A water flosser is a powered flossing device that uses water pressure to clean the spaces between teeth and under the gums. A water flosser has an easy-to-handle head, making it a breeze to use for an effective cleaning.

There are pros and cons to each type of flossing method, but the most important habit to keep would be daily flossing, however you find it easiest.

Dental Floss Pros

  • Can travel anywhere with floss!
  • Inexpensive and convenient to find
  • Different thickness and types for your comfort

Dental Floss Cons

  • May be hard to use effectively
  • May be hard to reach between some teeth in the back of the mouth
  • May “pop” between your teeth

Water Flosser Pros

  • Comes with different speeds for sensitivity
  • Can mix water with mouthwash for a fresh feeling
  • Can work in a specific area for as long as needed – such as a deep pocket

Water Flosser Cons

  • Not as easy to travel with
  • May cause sensitivity in the gums due to water pressure
  • May cause gum recession if improperly used