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Dental Infections (also referred to as an abscess) generally develops as a result of untreated tooth decay and poor oral hygiene. However, a dental infection can also develop from other reasons previous dental work or traumatic injury. When a dental infection begins to develop, a pocket of pus forms in the mouth as a result of an overwhelming growth of bacteria. Symptoms of a dental infection often includes swelling, pain (often radiating away from area), and sensitivity in the area. It is vital to seek professional treatment as without proper and timely treatment, the dental infection may spread to other areas of the jaw or even the brain.

Tooth decay and cavities are very common. About 90% of adults ages 20–64 have had prior tooth decay. Also, almost 30% of people in the same age group have untreated tooth decay. Treating tooth decay early is important to prevent further complications such as dental infections which can often lead to tooth loss.

Anyone who experiences dental infections should see a dentist immediately to prevent the dental infections from spreading.

One of the initial options for a dentist is to recommend an antibiotic to kill dental infections. Some antibiotics will work better than others. This is due to the type of bacteria causing the actual infection., There may also be some over-the-counter pain medications to help relieve the dental infection symptoms temporarily.

Antibiotic Use For Dental Infections

Dentists generally only recommend antibiotics for dental infections. However, not all infected teeth will require antibiotics during treatment. In some instances, a dentist may be able to drain the infected area of pus, remove the infected tooth, or complete a root canal procedure to fix the issue. Antibiotics should not be used unless absolutely necessary to complete dental infections treatment.

Antibiotic Types And Dosages For Dental Infections

The type and dosage of antibiotic your dentist will recommend will vary depending on the type of bacteria that causes dental infections. Different antibiotics work in different ways to eliminate different strains of bacteria. There are over 150 different strains of bacteria that are present in the oral cavity. Many of these bacteria have the potential to grow and cause a dental infection. Treatment can change depending on the bacteria causing the dental infection, although, dentists simply recommend an antibiotic that works against many types. This gives them the best chance to handle the infection effectively and quickly.

Classes Of Penicillin For Dental Infections

Penicillin type drugs are common forms of antibiotics for dental infections. This includes penicillin and amoxicillin. Some dentists may also recommend amoxicillin with clavulanic acid, as that combination may help eliminate bacteria that are being unsuccessfully treated by previous drugs.

Typical dosages of amoxicillin for a dental infection are either 500 milligrams (mg) every 8 hours or 1,000 mg every 12 hours.

Typical dosages of amoxicillin with clavulanic acid are around 500–2,000 mg every 8 hours or 2,000 mg every 12 hours, depending on the minimum effective dosage.

However, some bacteria have been found to resist these drugs, making them less effective. In fact, many doctors now simply choose a different antibiotic as their 1st line of treatment.

Dentists must also be aware that some people are allergic to these drugs. Anyone who has had an allergic reaction to similar medications should tell their dentist immediately before receiving their treatment recommendation.

-Clindamycin

Clindamycin is highly effective against a wide range of infectious bacteria. Some researchers recommend clindamycin as the drug of choice to treat dental infections, as bacteria may be less likely to resist this drug than penicillin-class drugs.

A typical dosage of clindamycin is either 300 mg or 600 mg every 8 hours, depending on which dosage will be effective for the individual situation.

-Azithromycin

Azithromycin also is able to work against a wide variety of bacteria, working to halt their growth. It may be effective in treating some dental infections, though dentists may only recommend it to people who are allergic to penicillin-class drugs or who do not respond to them or other drugs such as clindamycin.

 The typical dosage of azithromycin is 500 mg every 24 hours for 3 consecutive days.

-Metronidazole

Metronidazole is an antibiotic uses to treat a number of infections by both doctors and dentists. This drug is typically not the 1st choice of treatment.

The dosage for metronidazole is around 500–750 mg every 8 hours.

Time To Begin Feeling Better?

The speed with which each antibiotic takes to work on the dental infection varies depending on many factors. These can include the severity of the infection and how effective the drug is at eliminating the infectious bacteria present.

It is imperative for people to complete a full round of antibiotics, taking all of the prescribed medication exactly how the dentist says to take it. A person may begin to notice their symptoms go away after a couple of doses, completing the full dosage of antibiotics helps prevent the infection from returning or getting stronger.

The majority of acute infections resolve in 3–7 days.

Side effects Of Antibiotics For Dental Infections

While antibiotics are very effective for dental infections they can have some possible side effects. These side effects will vary by antibiotic type and individual. It is important to speak with your dentist regarding possible side effects and what to expect.

Dental Infection Treatments Beyond Antibiotics

Antibiotics may help clear active dental infections, but the tooth will still need work to clear up the root of the dental  infection. Antibiotic treatment is just one part of the treatment.

Typical treatment for dental infection can include one or more of the following procedures:

-draining the abscess

-filling in any cavities

-performing a root canal

-extracting the infected tooth

Natural Remedies For Dental infections

Some over the counter remedies may also help “control” the symptoms of a dental infection. This can include over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetaminophen (Tylenol) and Sodium naproxen (Alleve).

Other things to try to relive symptoms at home:

-gently rinsing the mouth with warm salt water

-rinsing gently with baking soda and water

-avoiding very hot or very cold foods to prevent temperature sensitivity

-chewing with the opposite side of the mouth

-brushing with a very soft toothbrush around the sensitive area

-avoiding very sharp, hard-to-chew foods that may bump into the sensitive area or become stuck in the teeth

-sleeping with your head elevated to relive pressure

Dental Infections Summary

Antibiotics are not the sole answer to dental infections. They are a part of a larger dental infection treatment. Most if not all dental infections require further dental work by your dentist. This can include a root canal or a tooth extraction.

Prompt dental treatment is important to keep dental infections from spreading and making things more dangerous and painful. Some helpful home remedies mentioned above may help keep inflammation down or ease pain while taking antibiotics and preparing for the recommended dental procedure. maintaining a good oral hygiene regimen, such as brushing and flossing each day and seeing a dentist for regular checkups, may help prevent dental infections and their complications.


Recent research has begun to mount linking the oral health to the rest of the body. Did you know that more than 90% of all systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms?  Oral health means more than just an attractive smile. Poor oral health and untreated oral diseases and conditions can have a significant impact on quality of life. In many cases, the condition of the mouth is a direct sign of the condition of the body as a whole. This means that it is even more important to seek regular dental care as your dentist might the one to notice oral signs of systemic disease developing.

Systemic Disease With Associated Oral Symptoms

Heart Disease/Stroke – Recent research has proven a link between periodontal disease and heart disease. The research results find that the bacteria present in periodontal disease does not just stay in the mouth but can move and travel throughout the body. It is believed that the bacteria moves from brushing, flossing, or eating and causes inflammation. The process of inflammation that affects the tissues in the mouth are what causes the heart disease issues. In periodontal disease, the body goes into an inflammatory state to rid the offending bacteria but in the process they are destroying good tissues and bone. When bacteria goes mobile and travels throughout the body, this bacteria can irritate the arteries which in turn will respond by creating arterial plaques. These plaques lead to decreased or blocked blood flow which in turn can cause a heart attack.

Diabetes – Diabetic patients are unique in that their disease reduces the body’s ability to fight infection. This reduced ability can lead to an increased occurence of periodontal disease. Diabetic patients need to increase their at home dental hygiene as well as see their dentist more often to ensure they do not succumb to their disease. Diabetics may experience burning mouth syndrome and fungal infections, such as thrush and oral candidiasis. Dry mouth may also develop, causing an increased incidence of tooth decay. To prevent problems with bacterial infections in the mouth, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics, prescription mouth rinses, and more frequent dental cleanings.

Gastrointestinal Diseases – These diseases include Crohn’s disease, Ulcerative Colitis, and Gastroesophageal Reflux (GERD). The oral cavity is the portal of entry to the GI tract. In the case of GERD it is not uncommon to see tooth enamel erosion from the acids in the stomach entering the mouth and for the other diseases, the presence of regular ulcers can be a sign of colitis or Crohn’s disease. Obviously these ulcers alone would not be a diagnosis for them in absence of other symptoms.

Hematologic (Blood) Disorders – Mucosal conditions, such as glossitis, recurrent aphthae, candidal infections, and angular stomatitis may be more common in patients with anemia. Glossitis can be the first sign of a folate or vitamin B-12 deficiency. The tongue appears red, and the papillae produce a smooth appearance. Angular stomatitis is commonly caused by a candidal infection, and it has been linked to a deficiency in iron. If the anemia persists, a person may have decreased resistance to infection.

Sjogren Syndrome – This disease predominantly affects women (9 women to 1 man) and primarily affects those over age 50. Oral changes can include difficulty in swallowing and eating, changes in taste and speech, increased tooth decay, and an increased chance of infection, all due to a decrease in saliva.

HIV/AIDS – The oral symptoms include candidiasis (oral infection), Karposi’s sarcoma, increased herpes outbreaks, as well as human papilloma virus (HPV) infections.

Conclusion

The above list is by no means comprehensive, but it goes to show you how various diseases affecting different parts of the body can appear and affect the mouth. Scientific research continually furthers the evidence that the mouth is a window to your health. While your dentist may not be able to definitively diagnose any of the above diseases they can be an early communicator of the symptoms developing to give you a better chance of recovering from the effects of these diseases. Some believe that increased dental health and oral hygiene have led to an increased chance of autoimmunity to certain diseases and conditions.



For many of us, our ethnicity is not easily seen from outward appearances. As generations go by, the different ethnic backgrounds have been mixed to produce a large variety of people in the world. Recent research has shown that the diverse oral bacteria in our mouths is actually as powerful as a fingerprint. It turns out the bacteria deep within our gums can give clues to our unique ethnic origins.

Ethnicity Study And Oral Bacteria

Research completed at the Ohio State University periodontology department studied the oral bacteria found in different ethnic groups . The researchers identified about 400 species of oral bacteria in the mouths of 100 subjects. The study consisted of 4 ethnic groups: white, non-Hispanic blacks, Chinese, and Latinos.

More than 60 percent of oral bacteria in the human mouth have never been classified, named or studied. The reason being, that  many oral bacteria will not grow in a laboratory culture dish. To get around this problem, the researchers found a different way to identify the different oral bacteria. The solution was to identify different species by utilizing DNA sequencing.

The study found that only a small percentage ( 2%) of the oral bacteria were found in every one of the research subjects. Bacteria were found in different concentrations based upon the subjects ethnicity. The researchers found that each ethnic group was represented by their own unique signature of oral bacteria.

Another research of ethnicity and oral bacteria found that African Americans and Latinos are more susceptible to periodontal disease.

What Does This Mean?

-Some oral bacteria leave us highly susceptible to tooth decay, some to periodontal disease. Knowing who is more prone to which specific oral diseases can make it easier to monitor and prevent.

-Knowing which bacteria you have allows for specific antibiotic regimens to be customized to target your particular bad oral bacteria, and allows you to decrease your odds of succumbing to oral disease.

-Understanding the genetic basis of bacteria allows researchers to study particularly harmful bacteria, and find new ways to battle it.

-Knowledge of your ethnic background may help you understand why you are genetically prone to certain bacteria related diseases and what you can do to improve your overall oral health.

What Your Dentist Can Do For You

-Test your particular oral bacteria via saliva samples sent to MyPerioPath.

-Help you understand your risk factors.

-Custom design an antibiotic regimen to substantially reduce the dangerous oral bacteria present in your mouth.

-Oral hygiene regimen and instruction.

-Monitoring the mouth for disease progression.

 Effects Of Oral Bacteria On Dental Health

Bacteria are present throughout our body. Some bacteria are sticky and form biofilm. A thin grouping of oral bacteria, plaque biofilm, lives on gum tissue and teeth. Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth. The oral bacteria in the biofilm release acids that attack the enamel of our teeth, and break down tissue attachments in the gums. The plaque bacteria can cause tooth decay and periodontal disease. Knowing which bacteria you have present in your oral environment allows you to know what you are up against.

Conclusions From Research Study

Understanding the genetic basis to bacteria not only helps scientists study them and find cures, but can help you fight oral disease.  Being aware of your particular harmful bacteria and potential issues they may cause, could and should lead to a more personalized approach to dental and medical care.



Pregnancy is a time of drastic change and anticipation. With so many changes in your body, it is important to keep your overall health in check. This includes your dental health. Poor dental health can affect you and the child you are carrying. Many parents are unsure of how to proceed with dental care during this exciting time. Below you will find many common questions and the answers to  help you make your best decisions for optimum dental health.

Common Pregnancy Dental Questions

Is Dental Care Safe During Pregnancy? YES!! There are some limitations but the main thing is to communicate with your dentist that you are pregnant. This allows the dental team to take all precautions for your health as well as your baby’s health. If you are planning to get pregnant, you should visit your dentist for a full checkup to ensure there are no issues and if there are have them taken care of. Dental cleanings should be done throughout any trimester of your pregnancy. This can help prevent pregnancy ginigivitis and periodontitis. Periodontal Disease in pregnancy has been linked to preterm birth and low birth weight. The safest time to receive dental treatment for dental problems during pregnancy is during the second trimester. Cosmetic dental work and other elective dental procedures should not be done during pregnancy.

Marielaina Perrone DDS PregnancyAre Dental X-Rays Safe During Pregnancy? It is best to postpone all radiographs until after the birth of your child. That being said, the American College Of Radiology says that “no single diagnostic x-ray has a radiation dose significant enough to cause any adverse effects in a developing embryo or fetus. Treatment of decay, fracture, infection, or pain, should not be avoided.  You can put your baby in harms way if you do not treat a dental infection, do not eat properly due to pain, or do not sleep well due to pain. Treatment of such issues should be completed during the second trimester of the pregnancy if possible.

What To Do For A Dental Emergency during Pregnancy? If you are experiencing a dental emergency while pregnant you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Never ignore dental pain especially during your pregnancy. The pain will cause increased stress on your baby as well as yourself. It is also important to not allow any kind of infection to spread, this can cause fever, spread bacteria to your child, and cause fetal distress.

If dental treatment is necessary, local anesthetic can be used in monitored amounts, but will still be enough to make you comfortable.  When you are comfortable, the amount of stress on you and the baby is reduced. Also, the more comfortable you are, the easier it is for the anesthesia to work. If antibiotics are necessary to fight dental infection the choices include penicillin, amoxicillin, and clindamycin. These have been classified to be safe for you and your baby while taking care of the infection.

What If Toothpaste Sickens Your Stomach? Morning sickness is an individualized event. For many it could be the smell of mayonnaise while for others it could be toothpaste. If this occurs, try a few different flavors and brands to find the one that does not trigger your nauseousness. It is important to continue brushing your teeth and maintaing dental hygiene while pregnant. Not only will it hold back any tooth decay but it will also help control pregnancy gingivitis.

After I Give Birth, Will Dental Work Affect Nursing? Studies have shown about 1% of any medication you are taking is excreted in a woman’s breast milk. This is a small amount but this should be discussed with your dentist or physician to ensure your baby’s safety.

Can I Whiten My Teeth During Pregnancy? If you are pregnant, it is suggested to refrain from the use of bleaching agents, including whitening toothpastes. Cosmetic dentistry can be resumed after pregnancy.

Pregnancy Dental Questions Conclusion

It is important to remember to keep asking questions during your pregnancy. There are so many new things happening to a pregnant woman’s body, being informed can help make everything go much more smoothly. You need to know the difference between the facts and the myths in case a dental emergency arises. The most  important thing for you is to maintain your health and your child’s health and make informed decisions while dealing with any dental issue.