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Key Tips for Great Oral Health – Excellent Choices Today: Havasu Dentist

We all try to make the best choices to look young and feel 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 those excellent 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!

Use a straw for drinks.

Drinking your beverages through a straw helps avoid the surfaces of your teeth. Preventing contact of these drinks to your teeth helps prevent sugar from coating and sticking to your teeth. Doing this also lowers the likelihood of staining your teeth with beverages like coffee and wine.

Floss.

Flossing is the best way to get a full-mouth clean after brushing. Flossing reaches between your teeth and removes trapped food and bacteria that your toothbrush and/or mouthwash cannot reach alone. Colgate explains the importance of flossing here: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/basics/brushing-and-flossing/how-important-is-flossing-0816.

Visit your dentist.

Scheduling biannual visits with your dentist will keep your smile in check.

Avoid using teeth as tools.

Using your teeth as tools causes damage. With the wrong job, you may chip or fracture your tooth! Take the time to use the right tools for the job, such as opening bottle caps and lids, 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! 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.serenityhavasu.com/uncategorized/night-guards-for-teeth-grinding/

Maintain a good routine!

With anything, consistency is KEY to having a healthy smile!

Sensitive Teeth – What Causes Tooth Sensitivity: Havasu Dentist

Tooth sensitivity can cause you to avoid hot and cold foods and beverages because of the overwhelming sensation. Sometimes, simply brushing teeth can be painful! 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 Dental so we can help relieve you and help you enjoy your smile.

Gum Disease – Gingivitis and Periodontitis: Havasu Dentist

In adults, gum disease is a leading cause for dental problems and losing teeth! It may be hard to tell if you have gum disease because it typically painless. Your dentist, hygienists, and assistants are all knowledgeable in the signs and symptoms of gum disease. With regular check ups, you can avoid and potentially reverse gum disease.

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

  • gums that bleed easily
  • tender, inflamed, and/or red gums
  • bad breath or taste
  • loose permanent teeth
  • change in bite
  • change in the way partial dentures fit

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

  • poor or inconsistent oral hygiene
  • tobacco products and smoking
  • some medications
  • diabetes or other health conditions
  • crooked teeth that are hard to clean effectively
  • pregnancy

Early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which 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 good daily oral hygiene.

Periodontitis is advanced gum disease. Over 45% of adults in the United States suffer with chronic periodontitis! Consequently, tissue and bone in the mouth are both affected over time. Aggressive periodontitis causes rapid loss of both bone and tissues and could occur in the entire mouth.

Researchers and doctors are starting to link the onset of 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 smile for a lifetime to come!

Water Flossing Vs. Traditional Flossing: Havasu Dentist

Both traditional dental floss and water flossing are effective ways to thoroughly clean the spaces between your teeth that a toothbrush can’t reach.

Dental floss is guided by your fingers to reach contact between teeth and under the gums. To effectively use dental floss, guide the floss to make a “C” shape around the side of the tooth – like the floss is hugging it. Dental floss and handheld flossers are both effective as long as you can reach all of your teeth.

A water flosser is a powered flossing tool that uses water pressure to clean the spaces between teeth and under the gums. It’s long head is very easy to handle, making it a breeze to reach all areas of the mouth.

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

Dental Floss Pros

  • Easy to travel with
  •  Very inexpensive
  • Comes in different thickness and types for your unique smile
  • Effective tool for removing plaque and food from between teeth

Dental Floss Cons

  • May be hard to gain the proper technique
  • May be hard to reach all areas of the mouth
  • May “pop” between your teeth or be hard to guide between teeth

Water Flosser Pros

  • Very easy to access all teeth
  • 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

  • May take counter space
  • May cause sensitivity in the gums due to water pressure
  • May cause gum recession if improperly used

Your Gum Tissue ‘Biotype’ Could Determine How Gum Disease Affects You: Havasu Dentist

Periodontal (gum) disease can cause a number of devastating effects that could eventually lead to tooth loss. However, you may be more prone to a particular effect depending on the individual characteristics of your gums.

There are two basic types of gum tissues or “periodontal biotypes” that we inherit from our parents: thick or thin. These can often be identified by sight — thinner gum tissues present a more pronounced arch around the teeth and appear more scalloped; thicker tissues present a flatter arch appearance. While there are size variations within each biotype, one or the other tends to predominate within certain populations: those of European or African descent typically possess the thick biotype, while Asians tend to possess the thin biotype.

In relation to gum disease, those with thin gum tissues are more prone to gum recession. The diseased tissues pull up and away (recede) from a tooth, eventually exposing the tooth’s root surface. Receding gums thus cause higher sensitivity to temperature changes or pressure, and can accelerate tooth decay. It’s also unattractive as the normal pink triangles of gum tissue between teeth (papillae) may be lost, leaving only a dark spot between the teeth or making the more yellow-colored root surface visible.

While thicker gum tissues are more resilient to gum recession, they’re more prone to the development of periodontal pockets. In this case, the slight gap between teeth and gums grows longer as the infected tissues pull away from the teeth as the underlying bone tissue is lost. The resulting void becomes deeper and more prone to infection and will ultimately result in further bone loss and decreased survivability for the tooth.

Either of these conditions will require extensive treatment beyond basic plaque control. Severe gum recession, for example, may require grafting techniques to cover exposed teeth and encourage new tissue growth. Periodontal pockets, in turn, must be accessed and cleaned of infection: the deeper the pocket the more invasive the treatment, including surgery.

Regardless of what type of gum tissue you have, it’s important for you to take steps to lower your risk of gum disease. First and foremost, practice effective daily hygiene with brushing and flossing to remove bacterial plaque, the main cause of gum disease. You should also visit us at least twice a year (or more, if you’ve developed gum disease) for those all important cleanings and checkups.

If you would like more information on hereditary factors for gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Genetics & Gum Tissue Types.”

Which is Better for Cleaning Your Teeth: Ultrasonic or Hand Tools: Havasu Dentist

Dental plaque (a film of bacteria that forms on your teeth) is known to be the main cause of periodontal (gum) disease. When the bacteria settle on your teeth they form a whitish film called biofilm. Those that are not removed cause formation of “pockets,” areas of separation between the teeth and their surrounding gums, in which plaque hardens into deposits known as calculus or tartar. The purpose of having your teeth cleaned regularly by a trained professional hygienist is to remove deposits of plaque and calculus. Removal of hard deposits on your teeth is called “scaling.” This can be done either by using hand-held scalers or by newer technology: ultrasonic power scalers.

Let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of both types of instruments.

Power Scalers

How they work: These instruments use the energy of ultrasonic vibration to crush and remove hard, calcified deposits of calculus. They also create shockwaves that disrupt bacterial cells. Use of these tools includes washing and flushing the pockets and any exposed root surfaces with water.

Pros: They are as effective as manual instruments for calculus removal in shallow gum pockets and significantly more effective in pockets greater than 4mm. They are very effective in removing calculus from root surfaces and from within periodontal pockets. Their small tips can penetrate deeper into periodontal pockets than manual instruments and are more comfortable to experience, and they are more effective for cleaning difficult nooks and crannies. Coolant sprays flush the area and remove bacteria and their by-products. They require less time than manual instruments.

Cons: A contaminated mist may form so that the hygienist needs to wear protective equipment. The vibration of the ultrasonic instruments may make it difficult to feel if the root surface is completely smooth and free of calculus. Power scalers affect some heart pacemakers.

Conventional Hand-held Scalers

How they work: These depend on the skill and knowledge of the hygienist to manipulate them and scrape away calculus (tartar) from teeth and within pockets.

Pros: They are equally effective for plaque and calculus removal from shallow gum pockets. They do not interfere with electronic equipment like heart pacemakers. They can be used more easily on teeth in which there are areas of demineralization (areas where minerals have been removed from the tooth’s enamel, making it more vulnerable to decay). They are easier on the tooth’s surface and are thus better for use with porcelain or composite restoration, or sensitive teeth.

Cons: They take longer to complete a cleaning. Sometimes they cause more discomfort than ultrasonic scalers.

In most cases the choice of scalers is not really an either/or situation. Most experts say that the best results come through using both types of instruments. As a result, cleanings can be done with effective and efficient outcomes and greater patient comfort.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental cleanings. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article, “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”

What Scientific Studies Reveal About Smile Makeovers: Havasu Dentist

A generation ago, hearing the term, “smile makeover,” would most likely have resulted in questions and puzzled looks. However, through the power of both the media and celebrities, today it has become a common household term with over 70% of all inquiries coming from people in the 31 to 50 year old age group, according to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). While some people seek cosmetic dentistry purely to boost their self-esteem, others pursue it to improve first impressions during business and social interactions, as many studies have revealed that first impressions are the ones that typically last the longest.

The AACD study also revealed other interesting statistics that support why a smile makeover is a wise choice that can yield a life-changing return on your investment — you!

  • 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.

Another important study recently conducted by Beall Research & Training, Inc., an independent marketing research firm, used before and after photos of smile makeovers for polling purposes. The research found 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 clearly proves just how important a first impression can be as well as what it can silently communicate about you.

Want to learn more?

Contact us today to discuss your smile makeover questions or to schedule a consultation. We look forward to meeting with you to learn about your specific concerns and to show you what we can do for you. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctorarticle, “The Impact Of A Smile Makeover.”

We’ll Help You Maintain Your Oral Health After Gum Disease: Havasu Dentist

It’s been a long road back to oral health for you after periodontal (gum) disease. But after several plaque removal sessions and perhaps even surgical procedures to address deep infection, your gums have regained their healthy pink appearance.

But now you must face a hard reality: because you’ve had gum disease you’ll need to be extra vigilant with your oral hygiene to avoid another round with this destructive disease. But don’t worry—you won’t have to fight your prevention battle alone. We’ll continue to provide you care that reduces your risk of re-infection. We call that care periodontal maintenance (PM).

The heart of PM care involves regular dental visits for monitoring, cleanings and treatment when necessary. While most patients may visit their dentist at least twice a year, as a previous gum disease patient we may advise more frequent visits, especially if you’ve just finished periodontal treatment. Depending on the extent of your disease, we may begin with a visit every other week or once every two to three months. If your mouth continues to be disease-free we may suggest increasing the time between visits.

During your visit we’ll carefully examine your mouth, as well as screen you for any signs of potential oral cancer. We’re looking for both signs of re-infection or new issues with your teeth and gums. We’ll also assess the effectiveness of your oral hygiene efforts and advise you on ways you can improve.

If we find any signs of disease, we’ll then formulate a treatment plan to effectively deal with it. With frequent visits we have a better chance of discovering re-infection early—and the earlier the better to minimize any further damage. We may also need to take steps to make future PM care easier. This could include gum surgery to alter the tissues around certain teeth for easier access for examination and cleaning.

Our main focus with PM care is to look ahead: what can we do now to prevent a future bout of gum disease or at least lessen its effect? With continued monitoring and care we can drastically reduce your risk for further damage from this destructive disease.

If you would like more information on post-gum disease maintenance, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Periodontal Cleanings.”

Understanding Tooth Sensitivity: Havasu Dentist

Tooth sensitivity is an issue that can range from a slight twinge at times to downright excruciating pain. However, before we continue, understanding the cause of tooth sensitivity is helpful to both relieving and treating it.

Tooth enamel is inert in that it has no nerve supply and thus it protects the teeth from temperature and pressure changes — the main cause of sensitivity. Once it is compromised, worn thin, or exposed due to gum recession, it leaves the delicate nerve fibers within the dentin vulnerable to touch, acid, and temperature change. These nerve fibers most often grab your attention when they come in contact with heat, cold, or a “double whammy” combination of both cold and sweet. They also become sensitive to touch — even the bristles of a soft toothbrush can irritate exposed dentin.

As for the causes of tooth sensitivity, one common cause we see is aggressive brushing. Yes, too much brushing can be bad for you! To be more specific, excessive, improper brushing with a sawing back and forth motion can erode the gum tissues, expose, wear, and even groove the dentin. Another cause for sensitivity can be from the destructive process of tooth decay that eats through the enamel and into the dentin.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or have questions about this condition, please contact us to schedule an appointment. Or you can learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sensitive Teeth.”

Understanding Dry Mouth: Havasu Dentist

The medical term for dry mouth is xerostomia (“xero” – dry; “stomia” – mouth), something that many of us have experienced at some point in life. However, for some people it can be a chronic condition that is ideal for promoting tooth decay. It can also be a warning sign of a more serious health condition.

Dry mouth occurs when there is an insufficient flow of saliva, the fluid secreted by the salivary glands. Your major salivary glands are located in two places: inside the checks by the back top molars and in the floor of the mouth, with about six hundred tiny glands scattered throughout your mouth. And many people are surprised to learn that when they are functioning normally, saliva glands secret between two and four pints of saliva per day! While this may sound like a lot (and it is), saliva is key for buffering or neutralizing acids in the mouth. Without this powerful protection, tooth decay can increase quickly. This is especially true for older individuals who have exposed tooth root surfaces.

It is also important to note that there are times when mouth dryness is perfectly normal. For example, when you wake, you will probably have a slightly dry mouth because saliva flow slows at night. Another example is if you are dehydrated when it is simply a warning sign that you need to drink more fluids (especially water). Other causes for temporary dry mouth include stress as well as what you consume: coffee, alcohol, onions, and certain spices.

You can also have a dry mouth due to a side effect from an over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription medication. If it turns out that this is the cause in your case, you need to talk to the prescribing physician to see if there is something else you can take to avoid this side effect. If there are no substitutes, one tip you can try is to take several sips of water before taking the medication followed by a full glass of water, or chew gum containing xylitol, which moistens your mouth and decreases the risk of tooth decay.

Another cause of dry mouth is radiation treatment for cancer in the head and neck region. Yes, these treatments are crucial for fighting cancer; however, they can inflame, damage or destroy salivary glands. You can also have dry mouth from certain systemic (general body) or autoimmune (“auto” – self; “immune” – resistance system) diseases, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, cystic fibrosis and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).

To learn more, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dry Mouth.” Or, you can contact us today to ask your questions, discuss your circumstances or schedule an appointment.