Creative Ways to Encourage Your Children to Brush and Floss

Children are often easily distracted from their daily brushing and flossing and sometimes a little encouragement is merited! Since thorough brushing is not only imperative to keep children’s teeth cavity-free now—but also to establish good life-long habits—we have compiled a few ways to get your kids to brush.


We love songs. Just enough distracting, songs like The Happy Birthday song (sung twice) can help kids learn the proper amount of time to brush, however any 2-minute song is good! So, choose your child’s favorite and play it while they are brushing!

2-Minute Timer

A simple 2-minute kitchen timer will also do the trick when trying to ensure proper brushing time. Most people don’t realize how long 2 minutes really is and the timer will help encourage brushing the whole time.

Star Chart

What kid doesn’t appreciate a good star chart? Simple star stickers (or any fun stickers) can be used to track daily brushing and flossing. Star charts let children show their progress and success with their hygiene routines. Hang the star chart on the mirror or bathroom door to keep it front-and-center.

Reward System

Small rewards after a short period of time are a fun way to motivate children to maintain oral health. Rewards given weekly can teach children the value of doing these daily-habits each day. This can be small amounts of money, extra screen-time, a small toy or other desirable and age-appropriate treat.


Some kids do well when they are able to follow a checklist. Routine helps solidify the good habits necessary for good oral hygiene. Make an easy checklist that includes brushing, flossing, and rinsing. Combine this with other daytime and nighttime tasks such as brushing hair and washing face.

Employ one of these, or another fun or creative ways to connect with your children and educate them on the importance of a strong oral care routine. And if you have any great ideas you would like to share, please feel free to comment below—you may just help another parent!

Dental bonding, also known as a binding compound, is a procedure that applies the application of a resin material of the color of the tooth to the teeth. Bonding is a method used to correct the cosmetic and/or structural defects of a tooth. Dental bonding uses resin material applied to either the back or the front of the teeth. The purpose of the procedure is to restore decayed teeth or for cosmetic changes. Bonding is used to cover natural defects and can correct the appearance of crooked teeth.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a medical procedure that is used to solve cavity problems, and also to repair damaged or chipped teeth. Dentists can also use the procedure to fix and hide teeth that have become discolored. Dental bonding can also be used to close some natural hollow unsightly teeth caused by any form of accident or damage to teeth. Bonding can be used to change or alter the shape of the teeth, and make the teeth more attractive.


Both structural and cosmetic conditions can be relieved by dental bonding. Structural conditions include the repair of decayed teeth, the repair of chipped or cracked teeth, and the protection of exposed roots due to gum recession. Dental bonding can also improve the appearance of discolored teeth, close the spaces between the teeth, give the impression of longer teeth, change the shape of the teeth and provide an alternative to amalgam fillings. For poorly aligned teeth, bonding can provide a more aligned smile.

Process of Dental Bonding

Bonding does not require much prior preparation and anesthesia is not often unnecessary. The dentist begins by selecting a composite resin to match the color of the patient’s natural tooth. The surface of the tooth is rough, and then a conditioned liquid is applied. Roughness allows the resin to adhere properly to the tooth. The resin is then applied to the tooth. The dentist molds and softens the resin to get the desired shape. The dentist then hardens the resin by applying a high-intensity light, either laser or ultraviolet. Once the resin has hardened, the dentist will promote shape and polish the tooth to match the appearance of neighboring teeth. The procedure can take 30 to 60 minutes to complete.

Dental Bonding Benefits

Bonding compound is an alternative to more expensive procedures, such as porcelain veneers, bridges, and crowns. Bonding can be done in a single visit, unlike the veneer, which are personalized and made in a laboratory. The amount of tooth enamel that needs to be removed from the joint is less than that necessary for veneers or crowns. The composite resin expands and contracts with the tooth, avoiding cracks and tooth loss. Contact our  Gilbert, AZ office to get more information on the cost for dental bonding.

Limitations of Bonding

The composite resin has some resistance to stains, but not as resistant to stains as a crown. The bonding material is not as strong as a varnish or a crown, which can cause the chip resin and detach from the teeth. Due to limitations, bonding is often suggested for small cosmetic changes and correction of temporary cosmetic defects.

After the Bonding Procedure

Dental bonding does not require special maintenance. Patients should follow standard oral hygiene practices: brush at least twice a day, floss once a day and schedule regular check-ups and cleanings. Avoiding nail-biting, chewing ice, and using your teeth as an opener to help prevent the resin from splintering.

If you have questions about the look of your teeth or smile, please give us a call today to make your next dental appointment here at Smiles at San Tan Ranch.

On the topic of Dental Caregiving: If you have an aging parent, disabled child,  friend, or spouse who is unable to maintain oral care on their own, you may need to help them keep their mouth clean and/or remind them to brush and floss daily. Depending on their level of ability you may need to do this for them, or provide instruction to their care team. There is so much to be done, and all of this can become quite challenging, even for the most capable caregiver.

Simple tasks such as brushing and flossing need to be adapted for those who are not able to do for themselves. Here are a few things to consider

For those who wear dentures, caregivers should be aware if the loved one is having trouble eating. Often dental issues are the cause, and can the dentures can be adjusted to provide a better fit and allow easier eating and chewing.

Immobility Issues

If you are caring for someone immobile or confined to bed, there are many issues to manage. However, it is important to maintain oral health to avoid bacteria from the mouth causing inhalation and possible pneumonia or other dental issues. Ask your dentist for some tips on how to maintain oral health for people in prone positions. Dental sponges are also available online to help gently swab the mouth with an oral rinse.


You may also need to make and provide transportation and support during regular dental visits. Please let the office know if there is any circumstance we need to be aware of, or if we can help accommodate.

Scheduling and Prioritization

Caregivers often are balancing a long list of both critical and mundane tasks for their loved ones. Dental care, while extremely important, can get de-prioritized. We recommended you set alarm reminders on your phone for morning and night for dental care at home and bundling dental care with other activities (i.e. bathing time, or dressing time), so that the routine is maintained.

Help and Support

There is help and support available for caregivers. If you are caring for an aging adult, check out the American Association on Aging, and if you are caring for a disabled loved one, please look at the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

You First

On an airplane, you are instructed that in case of emergency, you should put your oxygen mask on first. The reason being you can’t help others in need unless you have what you need first. This is especially true for caregivers who dedicate their days and often nights to manage the care of a loved one. Remember that you need to take time for yourself, eat a balanced diet, get exercise, and of course, maintain a regular health dental care routine to be at your best.

When you schedule an appointment with the dentist, typically you’ll meet with both the dentist and the dental hygienist. Together, they care for the entirety of your oral health, including education on the best ways for you to maintain dental health at home.

Dental hygienists, or “Registered Dental Hygienists (RDH)” are professional, highly-trained and dedicated to their patients. They focus on the prevention of gum disease and cleaning of the teeth during routine dental visits. Dental Hygienists are the first line when it comes to spotting tooth decay or other issues and assist the dentist during procedures.

Registered Dental Hygienists typically need an associate’s degree in dental hygiene to practice and every state requires Dental Hygienists to be licensed, (requirements for licensing vary by state). 

Dental Hygienists must also complete many hours of continuing professional development each year and be covered by insurance.

Your Dental Hygienist is available to answer any questions you may have and help you to understand your oral health, procedure options, cosmetic opportunities or anything else you may need. To make your next appointment, give us a call at 480-457-8600 here in Gilbert. Your team at Smiles at San Tan Ranch is here for you.

If you would like to keep your pearly whites healthy this year, here are some simple dental tips that will brighten that smile.

Plaque buildup is the main culprit of any set unhealthy set of teeth. According to the Journal of the American Dental Association your teeth are covered with a sticky bio film known as plaque which contains bacteria that releases acids that attack tooth enamel. Here are some tips and tricks that will help protect and promote a clean and healthy set of teeth!

Brush twice a day and floss once a day

Brushing twice a day and flossing once a day are extremely important when it comes to keeping a healthy smile. Whenever you do these things you help clean your teeth out from bacteria, germs, and plaque. It can also help a lot with whitening your teeth and strengthening them for the future. Plaque can often be seen as a colorless biofilm which will actually grow into the crevices of your teeth.

Eat foods that are low in acidity and are high in calcium

There are a variety of foods and drinks that will easily rot your teeth more than most. The food can even be healthy or good for you such as pineapples or oranges. Although sugary foods and beverages such as soda which are pumped with added sugars tend to be the worst for oral health, even “healthy” foods can increase plaque build-up. However, there are lots of foods, that also can help your teeth such as dairy or leafy greens. It is best to avoid staining foods such as coffee, tea, or red wine, but if you do choose so it is always recommended to have it unsweetened and to rinse your mouth after to prevent staining.

Choose a quality toothbrush and replace the brush or head quarterly

A high-quality electric toothbrush will help remove plaque, but if you brush with a lot of pressure or very frequently, get a softer bristle brush to avoid wearing down enamel. Additionally, always make sure to rinse your toothbrush in hot water to kill whatever bacteria is on your bristles.

Drink more water!

Drinking water is always great for your health in many, many ways. Likewise, in oral care, it helps rinse and wash away all the acid and bacteria that lingers in your mouth. It is also significantly better than drinking acidic and sugary drinks such as soda or processed fruit juice.

Routine cleanings with your dentistScheduling an appointment for a routine cleaning has never been easier and it is highly recommended to come for a minimum of twice a year for a cleaning and checkup. If you would like to schedule an appointment with one of the dentist here in Gilbert, you can contact our office here. Your dentist will be able to clean your teeth and gums more thoroughly than your toothbrush will ever be able to. Additionally, your dentist will be checking for signs of cavities, gingivitis and even plaque buildup to help give you advice on specifically what you should be doing on a regular basis to have a healthy and winning smile.

Teeth whitening is the new must-have beauty secret. Amidst flashy ads, you should know what teeth whitening products works and what doesn’t. Keep reading to know more.

Teeth Whitening Products – What Works… and What Doesn’t

White teeth are healthy looking, and there is a big push from marketers and the media to promote “whiter teeth”. However, there are so many products on the market that claim to whiten teeth, it is hard to know what really works… and what does not. Let’s look at some examples.

1) Whitening gum – Whitening gum will not make your teeth super-model white. But depending on the gum, it could clean off some surface stains. Gum with 100% xylitol has been shown to help build strong enamel, which is good for teeth and can make them appear whiter. Gums with sugar and sugar alternatives other than xylitol can actually promote the growth of bacteria which causes tartar and have the opposite effect, and gums with sugars will certainly cause bacterial growth.

2) Baking soda – Baking soda will whiten teeth… however in order to get the effect you would have to use so much you would have likely caused gum erosion… and then tooth loss! We do not recommend you use baking soda on your teeth.

3) Whitening toothpastes – toothpastes are great for cleaning surface stains of teeth, and keeping them free of yellow tartar (which will make your teeth whiter). Use these toothpastes in addition to a fluoride rinse for greater effect.

4) In-home whitening kits – Grocery store whitening kits (or those purchased online) can be effective for some staining. They often have trays that can be molded and gel that is used for 15 minutes a day. It is important to follow instructions with these kits as they could cause sensitivity or gum recession if over-used. Some dentists offer a similar at-home whitening set which have a higher strength whitening gel and trays which are used for a few minutes each day for 2 weeks. The advantage to these is that if there are concerns, you have your dentist to consult.

5) In-office dental whitening – Many dental offices are offering a professional-level whitening. This is a very effective whitening process and it has amazing results. Your dentist will ensure that the whitening process is both effective and safe for you by making sure the product is left of the teeth the optimal amount of time and does not damage the gums.

If you are interested in what teeth whitening options are good for you, we are happy to talk through these and any other oral health concerns that you may have. Call us at 480-409-3548 to make an appointment with our Smiles at San Tan Ranch office. We look forward to seeing you soon.

How are Dentures Made?

Following a tooth extraction, the tooth socket begins to fill in. The body seeks to heal itself and bone and gum tissue heal and changes the shape of the void left behind. After a few months, the gums and bones achieve a stable stage. Once the process has completed, (about 8-12 weeks), it is possible to make a conventional full denture.

After this healing process has completed, your dental team with take a series of impressions of your mouth. Then, a dental lab will use these impressions to make models of your mouth. The dentist and laboratory technician will begin to build the dentures on these models and then transferring them to your mouth in steps to ensure proper fit, establish a proper bite, and ensure that the appearance is desirable. You will generally need to be seen by the dentist once per week for about 4 to 5 weeks until the denture is complete. It is normal to need to return occasionally during the first month after the denture is delivered to have adjustments made.

For most patients we will provide a temporary denture to wear while the permanent one is being made. This temporary denture will be made ahead of the teeth extractions and will provide shape to the mouth and the ability to chew some foods in the interim period. It will not fit as snugly, and while many patients appreciate having one for this time, they do look forward to getting their new permanent dentures.

Other Dental Alternatives to Dentures

In addition to dentures, there are two other alternatives which may be recommended to you depending on your unique situation. Bridges replace missing teeth with a simulated tooth/teeth placed in between two healthy teeth which act as anchors by using crowns, or next to a single tooth and secured with an attached piece of metal to the back of the tooth. Bridges can span 1 to three missing teeth depending on the location. The whole appliance is cemented in place and is permanent.

A second option is an implant. Dental implants are metal posts that are inserted into the upper or lower jaw bone. The post fills the place of the missing tooth and receive a crown on top to simulate a tooth. Implants are the costliest of the options per missing tooth, but are generally most favored for aesthetics.

If you are interested in learning more about dentures, get in touch with our team at Smiles at San Tan Ranch. Contact us today at (480) 457-8600 to set up an appointment.