Tooth decay is preventable with proper care. However, many people do not know all of the ways they can protect their teeth. We have compiled the most effective ways to keep your smile healthy and clean.

1. Don’t forget to brush! Brush your teeth twice a day, once before bedtime and at least one other time during the day with a fluoride toothpaste. Every day! If you need tips for how to remember to brush, or how to handle the challenge of brushing while traveling—talk to your hygienist at your next visit.

2. The whole tooth. All the teeth. Brush every surface if the teeth. Front, backs, biting surfaces and around any gaps should be brushed thoroughly. Using specialty brushes and dental floss will help reach between teeth. There are multiple options and shapes of toothbrushes available today, and no one said you need to use just one type. It is perfectly acceptable to use two different types of toothbrush each time in order to clean each tooth.

3. Go to your appointments regularly. Regular dental cleanings are important for every member of the family. The dental office has the ability to thoroughly clean and check teeth for the initial signs of decay.

4. Food choices matter. Be aware of the foods you choose. Sugary foods should be limited and low or no sugar healthy alternatives should be chosen. Note that sugars are sometimes hidden, so check ingredients. Sucrose, maltose, glucose, lactose dextrose and fructose are all sugars – so be aware what you are eating.

Root canal treatment  is very effective. However, the success rate is not 100% effective. And that means that unfortunately, sometimes the tooth gets re-infected, or the body is not able to heal themselves, and a root canal re-treatment is necessary. 

At times it is best to remove the tooth entirely, but sometimes there’s a still a chance to save the tooth and try a second root canal. This procedure is exactly the same as the first root canal.

There are several reasons why a root canal treatment may not be a success. Since the “canals” of the tooth are narrow passageways deep inside the tooth that some may be difficult to see or to get to completely. It is also possible that the canals might have become infected again because of a delayed or poor crown restoration, new decay, gum disease, or a cracked or fractured tooth.

What is A Root Canal Retreatment Procedure?

If a retreatment root canal is determined to be the best option for you, you can expect the procedure to be similar to the original one, with a few added steps.

Next, a microscope and light are used to search carefully for additional canals or unusual structures. When all the canals have been cleaned and disinfected, they will be filled again and sealed. Then a temporary filling will be placed in the tooth. A permanent crown will need to be placed at a second appointment after healing has finished.

Root Canal Re-treatments are not common, but they do happen. It is important to identify the reason for the need, and address any underlying issues along with re-treating the tooth.

Wisdom teeth are the last set of molars to come in for most people, and the begin to erupt in the late teens or early 20’s. Some people do not have wisdom teeth at all. For some patients, wisdom teeth fit well and provide an additional chewing surface. For many others, it’s common for wisdom teeth to be extracted.

Wisdom teeth are often misaligned, angled toward out or come in more horizontally—or get stuck completely. When the teeth are stuck, they are called “impacted” which means they are completely enclosed in the soft tissue or the jawbone, or they come out partially which can lead to bacterial infection. In these cases, extraction is best. Your dentist can take an x-ray to see if you have wisdom teeth and if they are aligned correctly to come in without issue. If your dentist sees any issues, you may be sent to an oral surgeon for an additional evaluation.  

If you do require an extraction, we can remove the teeth, unless there are some additional concerns. However, the complexity of this depends on the location of the teeth and how developed they are. You will be given a thorough explanation of what to expect in the procedure and post-op. It is important to note that removing a wisdom tooth can be a simple or very complex procedure. If the tooth has fully erupted then extracting it is relatively simple. If is impacted, the surgeon will need to make an incision in the gum and potentially break the tooth in order to remove it. Both types and variations of this procedure are very common, and pain medication is available. Some patients even choose sedation dentistry for these procedures.

Recovery after wisdom tooth extraction varies by person, however we recommend plenty of rest, soft foods, ltos of liquids, and pain medication as prescribed by your dentist. Following post-surgery instructions is very important, especially when impacted wisdom teeth have been removed.

You may not give it a lot of thought, however, there are several different types of teeth—and each one has a very different jobs in your mouth.

Your teeth are made of proteins and minerals. Teeth are one of the strongest parts of the body and help you chew and speak—in addition to holding the shape of your face. Most adults have 32 teeth. This includes the 8 incisors, 4 cuspids (canines), 8 bicuspids (premolars) and 12 molars.

Incisors

Incisors are the teeth at the front of your mouth. You have 4 up top and 4 on the bottom. The sharp edges of the incisors allows you bite into something (think apple). Most people get incisors first as babies and they are the first to fall out and be replaced by adult incisors at around age 6.

Canines

Canine teeth are the 4 teeth that are next to incisors and they have sharp pointed tips, perfect for ripping food. Adult canines appear on the bottom about age 9 and on top about age 11.

Premolars

The average adult has 8 premolars that sit next to the canine teeth. These teeth are bigger and have a flat surface with ridges that are ideal for crushing and grinding food into smaller pieces in order to swallow. Premolars come in around 10 and replace baby molars.

Molars

Molars are the strongest and biggest teeth. These 12 teeth come in in waves, roughly at age 6 and age 12. Molars are for grinding teeth and breaking it down so it can swallowed. Wisdom teeth are included in the molar count. These 4 teeth come in last around 18-25 and are sometimes removed because there is no room in the mouth for them.

Each tooth is important, as is taking care of them. Regular brushing and flossing, healthy food and good habits along with regular dental checkups will help ensure your adult teeth last your lifetime.

How often should I change my toothbrush is a question we wish we got asked more! The reason is,  you should probably be changing your toothbrush a lot more often than you probably are. The average toothbrush sits in a bathroom… where all types of airborne molecules of various “bathroom types”float around (ick!)

Now, there are various devices to cover and sanitize one’s toothbrush that work to varying degrees, however the American Dental Association (ADA)still recommends that you replace your toothbrush approximately every three to four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.

Besides length of time you have been using your toothbrush, here are a few reasons you should change your toothbrush regularly:

1) A cold or illness: If you had a cold or illness, it is important to replace the toothbrush to avoid re-infection from germs.

2) The toothbrush was used for anything other than brushing your teeth: This seems like common sense, but it happens! If the toothbrush was borrowed, or used for cleaning anything else besides your mouth, do yourself a favor, and invest in a new one!

3) You’ve recently experienced any cold or canker sores: Any mouth infections can spread to other parts of your mouth through your brush. If you’ve had mouth sores, it is time to retire that old toothbrush.

4) You left your toothbrush out: If you left your brush out on the sink when your toilet was repaired or the exterminator sprayed for bugs… you will want a new toothbrush!

5) The bristles begin to bend: Some toothbrushes show wear quickly for various reasons and become less effective over time. If your toothbrush bristles are bending, it is time for a fresh one!

When we hear the word “Botox” many of us think about the cosmetic benefits of wrinkle reduction and smoothing of unwanted fine lines. However, many patients who suffer from headache pain related to grinding their teeth, are experiencing relief from TMJ discomfort by having Botox injections into the temporalis and massetter muscles. With a few units of Botox carefully injected into each muscle, patients have experienced fewer headaches related to a clenching or grinding habit. This relief can last anywhere from 3-4 months.

Of course, there are cosmetic benefit to Botox injections. Reducing “crows feet”, that ever present “11” that can form between the eyes and horizontal lines along the forehead are easily controlled when a trained professional uses Botox.

Dealing with anxiety and phobias at the dentist

Dental phobias range from mild anxiety all the way to overwhelmingly debilitating. The answer to this for many is to avoid visiting the dentist, even for routine cleanings. However, this can have very serious consequences on your health.

Some people develop a dental phobia after a particularly traumatic childhood dental procedures, others are bothered by the sounds, or the confined space due to PTSD. For others a sensory disorder causes severe anxiety when people are close, or touching their mouths. In fact, there are numerous reasons a person may want to avoid a dentist. We understand, and we can help ease your dental fears and anxiety.

The most effective way to mitigate dental phobias is to visit the dentist regularly for check-ups and cleanings every 6 months. Beyond replacing good experiences for bad ones, this will help to avoid major dental problems—and more potentially traumatic dental procedures.

Sometimes, that’s not easy for everyone. If you, or a loved one, are nervous about visiting the dentist for any reason, please inform our staff ahead of time as to the severity of the condition. We can discuss options such as sedation dentistry(which can range to a mild medication that causes relaxation, to complete sedation). Our professional dental team is well-trained and very respectful of the various reaction’s patients can have to dental treatments, and we’ll work with you to ensure your experience with us is as pleasant as possible.

One of the most common concerns we hear in our Gilbert dental office is that our patients have sensitive teeth. To help, here are a couple solutions. First, it’s helpful to differentiate between gum and tooth sensitivity. If you have symptoms of sore, bleeding, or red gums, this would indicate gum sensitivity. If you drink cold or hot foods/drinks and begin to feel a “ZING” feeling to the tooth and nerves, this would indicate tooth sensitivity. The easiest method of gum sensitivity prevention it to brush, floss, and remain consistent with your dental re-care visits. In addition, there are different toothpastes and fluoride treatment that can help with tooth sensitivity.

#1- Home CareBy staying on top of a great home care routine of brushing twice per day for two minutes and integrating a method of flossing, there with be less plaque retention around the gums. This plaque can be causing irritation, inflammation, and in some cases bleeding. By improving your home care regimen, gum pain can reduce and furthermore protect your teeth from decay.

#2- Desensitizing Toothpaste: Sensodyne toothpaste, MI Paste, and PreviDent are created specifically for remineralization of the tooth but also help with sensitivity. Sensodyne is available over the counter while MI Paste and PreviDent are stronger strength and can be dispensed at our dental office. Remember when using these toothpastes to brush, spit, but do NOT rinse. It is important to allow the ingredients to sit on the teeth rather than rinse away with water.

#3- Fluoride TreatmentThere are a few different methods of fluoride treatment available for patients. One in specific that has an easy and swift application would be a fluoride varnish. These vitamins are tooth-colored and painted onto the teeth after a cleaning. It is designed to assist with tooth sensitivity and promote remineralization of the tooth. Fluoride varnish is great for all ages and it comes in various flavors.

It seems like nowadays there is a holiday for every thing and every reason. But one we can’t ignore is April being Oral Cancer Awareness Month. It’s so important, it doesn’t get just a day to be recognized, it gets it’s own month!

As dental professionals in our offices, when you come in for your routine dental visit, we always offer and want you to be aware that we do a basic oral cancer screening for you. There is one other screening we offer, called Identify, that helps us detect tissues on the cellular level through a light source, to identify areas that may need further attention. The dental hygienist or dentist will look at all the areas in your mouth, including your tongue on the sides and in the back, and the roof of your mouth.They will also check for any swelling along the neck. Each and every patient should be screened regardless of age or habits.

Another way to identify a possible oral cancer lesion is to be aware of what is in your own mouth. Look at your tongue, the tissues of your cheeks and around the teeth. If you notice something like a red or white patch, take note of the appearance. If the lesion doesn’t go away after 2-3 weeks, go see your dentist for his opinion. He may check the area again after 2-3 weeks or he may refer you to a specialist to have the area evaluated.

“There is much that can be done for those who are diagnosed with head and neck cancer. Since early detection and treatment is critical, it’s important to see your dentist regularly and to promptly see a medical professional if there are any warnings signs,” — The Oral Cancer Foundation

Oral cancer symptoms:

Again, if you notice any of these things, come into the office and get things checked out. The earlier oral cancer is identified, the better the outcome.

According to the American Cancer Society, “A relative survival rate compares people with the same type and stage of cancer to people in the overall population. For example, if the 5-year relative survival rate for a specific stage of cancer is 90%, it means that people who have that cancer are, on average, about 90% as likely as people who don’t have that cancer to live for at least 5 years after being diagnosed.”

Monthly Oral Cancer Self-exams

The prevalence of oral cancer is on the rise; in fact one person dies per hour from oral cancer. In the early stages oral cancer can often times go unnoticed. It can be painless and not obvious to the naked eye. The most common areas for oral cancer are the floor of the mouth and the sides of the tongue. That being said, oral cancer can be found in various locations as well as a variety of shapes, colors, textures, and sizes. It is important that you perform monthly oral self-exams. If you notice any suspicious areas that do not go away within ten to fourteen days make an appointment with your dentist to have them checked. Remember early detection saves lives. 

How to perform a monthly self-exam: 

What to look for specifically: