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Teeth Grinding – Treat it Early! Scottsdale Dentist

Teeth grinding and biting habits can generate up to thirty times the forces of normal use of your teeth. If continued for a long time, significant damage to teeth, supporting gums and bone can occur.

Occlusal trauma, meaning injury from the bite, can injure and inflame the jaw joints leading to feelings of soreness, swelling and even dysfunction. You may hear the word “bruxism” from your Scottsdale dentist as well, which means: condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. Having these habits cause the teeth to wear down at a much faster rate than the typical rate from aging. In some cases, the periodontal ligaments holding teeth in place can weaken, increasing the risk of losing teeth.

There are several ways to treat excessive biting habits, all having a goal to reduce the amount of force generated by the habit to alleviate the problems that occur as a result. A custom-made occlusal guard, often worn while sleeping, helps give your teeth a rest at night by separating your arches from making contact. Anti-inflammatory drugs such as aspirin or ibuprofen, muscle relaxants or physical therapy can help relieve tissue soreness from occlusal trauma. Behavioral therapy and counseling may also be helpful if stress is the leading factor to unfavorable clenching, grinding, and biting habits.

A dental exam and discussion with your Scottsdale Dentist will determine if a tooth grinding habit is playing a role in your teeth and gum problems. With care, your occlusal trauma can be relieved.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding or other biting habits, please give us a call to schedule a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Loose Teeth.”

Scottsdale Dentist: Removing Teeth Before Straightening

“Sometimes you have to sacrifice something to gain something else.” In orthodontics, this quote aligns with a practical consideration before aligning your smile or your child’s. In this case, a straighter and more attractive smile is gained; the sacrifice you may have to make would be a few teeth hindering your case. This may be necessary if there are too many teeth present on an arch, where the teeth are considered crowding. A lack of space for teeth is the main reason misalignment occurs and why orthodontics can help.

Before we can correct a smile’s alignment, we will need to remove teeth that are crowded. The ideal candidates for removal are the teeth that are not highly visible. The first bicuspids are the most common choice for removal because they’re located behind the cuspids (the teeth located under the eyes that are pointy).

Ideally, we’ll remove the selected teeth a ways before treatment so that the gums have ample time to heal, as well as attempt to preserve the bone in the sites where the extractions occurred. The supporting bone left where a tooth was extracted doesn’t receive the same stimulation so it may die. Placing a bone graft in the empty socket immediately after removing the tooth can help bone stimulus and support for regrowth. With careful planning, the bone hopefully will be strong enough to proceed with orthodontic treatment.

Don’t worry, once orthodontic treatment begins, the teeth will shift to the spaces where you are missing teeth. The shifted teeth will fill out your smile and it will seem as though there were never missing teeth.

Orthodontic treatment with teeth extractions must be carefully planned and executed. It may take a few months to years to reach the full result. In the end, though, this complicated bite and crowding problem can be corrected with an attractive, straight smile.

If you would like more information on correcting a poor bite or straightening your smile – visit us today or go on our website www.serenitysmiles.com. Also, you can read more about this topic through the Dear Doctor magazine article https://www.deardoctor.com/inside-the-magazine/issue-19/tooth-removal-for-orthodontic-reasons/.

Get to the Source of Your Tooth Pain: Scottsdale Dentist

Though it is common to feel a toothache, the pain may not be originating from the source you think. Regardless, you should seek help immediately upon feeling a toothache to ensure that more damage and pain do not occur. Your Scottsdale Dentist is always understanding of a toothache and will help diagnose the cause of pain, as well as treat it in the best way possible.

If you experience a quick, shocking and stabbing pain with hot and cold foods or drinks, you most likely are experiencing sensitive teeth. Read our blog about sensitive teeth here: https://www.serenitysmiles.com/blog/sensitive-teeth-treatment-for-sensitivity/.

If the pain lasts only a moment or a few seconds, you may have a small amount of decay in a tooth, a loose or leaky filling, or an exposed root. An exposed root can commonly occur because of aggressive brushing or periodontal (gum) disease. In both cases, the gums may have shrunk back or receded to expose the root surface, causing an achy, tender feeling.

If you experience a sharp pain when biting down, this may be a sign of decay or a loose or leaky filling. This type of pain could also indicate a fracture or crack present on a tooth. In any of these situations, you will need to undergo a dental procedure to fix the problem and relieve the pain.

You may also experience a lingering tooth pain that could feel dull or sharp. It may be localized to one tooth or feel as though it is radiating from a larger, general area, such as the “lower left jaw.” In this scenario, there are several possible reasons for the symptoms, but two prominent ones are an abscess or deep decay within the pulp. A root canal treatment for the affected tooth is a probable solution. In this procedure, we drill an access hole into the pulp and clear it of infected and dead tissue. You will not be able to feel anything from this tooth as we will have removed its infected nerve. Then, the clean and empty pulp chamber and root canals are filled with a special filling and sealed. Later, we bond a permanent fabricated crown to the tooth to further protect it and restore its function.

Whether your pain is momentary or lingering, dull or sharp, you should see us as soon as possible to determine its cause. Even if the pain goes away or is on and off, you may have a dental problem that needs to be treated or a lingering infection. The sooner you treat the problem – big or small –  the better your chances of a happy and less costly future!

If you would like more information on tooth pain and what to do about it, please contact your Scottsdale Dentist for an appointment. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Pain? Don’t Wait!

Simple Tooth Extractions: A Common Dental Procedure: Scottsdale Dentist

When a tooth is not able to be repaired due to disease, decay, or injury, it may be best to remove it. A “simple” tooth extraction is a member of the most common dental procedures and is not the grievous procedure you may think it is!

The term “simple extraction” is used because the shape of the tooth and root allows for a fairly uncomplicated removal. An example would be the normally cone-shaped upper front tooth that offers a resistance free extraction.

The simple extraction process is quite straightforward. The periodontal ligament holds your teeth in place. The periodontal ligament is an elastic tissue with tiny fibers that attaches the tooth to surrounding supporting bone. With careful manipulation by the hands of an experienced dentist, the fibers loosen. Once the fibers have detached, the tooth can be removed with little effort; with the aid of local anesthesia, you should not experience pain. You may experience slight pressure.

Immediately after removal of the tooth, we commonly insert bone grafting material in the socket to minimize bone loss. If you’re planning an implant or other restoration in this area, the bone graft helps make the next phase simpler. After your extraction, we place sterile gauze over the site until a blood clot forms. If you have a large socket, we may place a few dissolvable stitches to close the area and promote faster healing. Post-extraction materials are given to you for proper caring and cleaning methods. After extraction procedures, we commonly prescribe antibiotics to reduce the chance of infection and anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce potential discomfort.

Although a simple extraction is a very common procedure, we still perform a proper assessment of the tooth and the surrounding bone beforehand, which includes x-rays to determine the tooth’s exact structure and position.

It’s our hope you’ll have your natural teeth for a lifetime. But if you find yourself needing a simple extraction, you can rest assured it’s a very common — and uneventful — experience.

If you would like to more about simple tooth extractions, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Simple Tooth Extraction.

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.

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.

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!

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.

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!

Gum Disease – What You Need to Know: Scottsdale Dentist

Gum disease affects the tissues that surround your teeth. In adults, gum disease is a leading cause for losing teeth! It may be hard to tell if you have gum disease because it usually does not cause pain. Your dentist, hygienists, and assistants are all knowledgeable in the signs and symptoms and with regular check ups, you can avoid gum disease.

Some problems can signal the presence of gum disease, including:

  • bleeding gums
  • red, swollen, and/or tender gums
  • consistent bad breath or taste
  • loose permanent teeth
  • bite changes
  • change in the way your partial dentures fit

The risk of developing gum disease can increase with some factors:

  • inconsistent oral hygiene or poor oral hygiene
  • smoking and tobacco product use
  • certain medication use
  • diabetes
  • crooked teeth that are hard to clean effectively
  • pregnancy

The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which usually includes symptoms of red, swollen, and bleeding gums. Luckily, gingivitis is reversible in most cases! Receiving a deep cleaning from your dental hygienist can help you regain a healthy mouth, followed by daily brushing and flossing.

Periodontitis is the diagnosis for advanced gum disease. Over 45% of adults in the United States suffer with chronic periodontitis. Consequently, the tissues and bone are both affected over time.The most destructive form of gum disease is aggressive periodontitis and causes rapid loss of both bone and tissues and could occur in the entire mouth.

Researchers and doctors are starting to link systemic diseases (such as heart disease) to periodontal disease. it is important to schedule regular dental check ups and cleanings. Outside of the dental office, great oral hygiene helps maintain your natural smile for a lifetime!