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.

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

What is Sleep Apnea?

Sleep Apnea is abnormal pauses in breathing while sleeping. During these pauses, the brain, and the rest of the body, may not get enough oxygen.

  • Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA): The more common of the two forms of apnea, it is caused by a blockage of the airway, usually when the soft tissue in the back of the throat collapses during sleep.
  • Central sleep apnea: Unlike OSA, the airway is not blocked, but the brain fails to signal the muscles to breathe due to instability in the respiratory control center.

Affects of Sleep Apnea On Your Oral Health

Sleep apnea has been shown to have a negative impact on your teeth and oral health too. Issues that can be caused by sleep apena include:

  • Cracked or worn teeth: Grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep—a condition called bruxism—is more common in people who have sleep apnea.  Over time, grinding of the teeth can can cause tooth sensitivity, and even cracked, chipped, or damaged teeth. 
  • Jaw pain: Sleep apnea is associated with chronic pain disorders, including jaw pain like TMJ or TMD. If it hurts to open and move your jaw bones, you may have one of these conditions.
  • Higher risk of developing cavities: People who have sleep apnea are likelier to breathe through their mouths—which can dry out protective saliva and lead to more tooth decay. As a result, you may be at a higher risk for enamel erosion and cavities.

Being diagnosed and treating your sleep apnea can reduce or sometimes even eliminate these dental issues. Talk to your dentist to find out the best treatment plan for you. 

Is Sleep Apnea Dangerous?

Sleep Apnea is a serious sleep disorder and can be dangerous, but is treatable in most cases.

What Treatment is Available For Sleep Apnea?

Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy is an effective treatment option for snoring and obstructive sleep apnea. Oral appliance therapy should be provided by a qualified dentist who has technical skill and knowledge in dental sleep medicine. 

Schedule An Appointment

Do you suffer from sleep apnea, or think that oral appliance therapy may be right for you? Make an appointment today for a consultation.

TMJ Diagnosis and Treatment

What is TMJ?

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or also known as TMJ, is acute or chronic pain in the temporomandibular joint that acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. Dysfunction can lead to pain and discomfort. Symptoms associated with TMJ disorders may be:

  • Blinking
  • Biting or chewing difficulty or discomfort
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sound when opening or closing the mouth
  • Dull, aching pain in the face
  • Earache (particularly in the morning)
  • Headache (particularly in the morning)
  • Hearing loss
  • Migraine (particularly in the morning)
  • Jaw pain or tenderness of the jaw
  • Reduced ability to open or close the mouth
  • Tinnitus
  • Neck and shoulder pain
  • Dizziness

How Can You Treat TMJ?

Your dentist will discuss your symptoms and examine your jaw. Your doctor will listen to and feel your jaw when you open and close your mouth, observe the range of motion in your jaw, and press around your jaw to identify any pain or discomfort.

If your’re suspected of having TMJ, you may need dental X-rays to examine your teeth and jaw, a CT scan of the bones involved in the joint, or an MRI to reveal problems with the surrounding soft tissue.

Properly diagnosing and treating TMJ can help ease the following symptoms:

  • Jaw noise
  • Headaches
  • Muscle tension
  • Soreness
  • Fatigue

If your TMJ stems from teeth grinding or clenching, your dentist may recommend that you wear a custom mouth guard at night. This dental appliance will keep your upper teeth from grinding against your lower teeth. Along with helping to alleviate TMJ symptoms and pain, this guard will prevent wear on your teeth from grinding that can lead to other problems.

Schedule An Appointment

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, or have been told by another healthcare provider that you may have TMJ, give us a call for an appointment. Our Gilbert dentists can evaluate you for TMJ and offer treatment solutions.


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.

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.