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Here we are in that time of year when coughs, colds, and flu symptoms can make our lives miserable. Most people turn to over the counter medication to either relieve some of their symptoms or lessen their effects. Did you know that these medicines can result in tooth decay?

Ingredients in Medications that Cause Tooth Decay

Many cough drops and liquid medications contain a variety of ingredients that make you and your child more susceptible to tooth decay:

-High Fructose and Corn Syrup. These high sugar ingredients contribute to tooth decay. These are generally sticky sugars which cause your mouth environment to become more acidic and also give the bacteria in your mouth the sugars to break down and attack the enamel of your teeth. When you combine the sticky sugars with dry mouth, high carbs ingested while ill, and decreased oral hygiene you are putting your mouth at high risk for decay.

-Citric Acid. This type of acid can cause tooth enamel to erode and wear down. In addition, the higher acid levels allow bacteria to do their work at a rapid pace.

-Alcohol. The addition of alcohol in some popular cold and cough syrups also has a drying effect on the mouth. Saliva helps to naturally rinse the sugars and acids away from your teeth. With alcohol present it means less saliva will be present, the sugars and acids remain in the mouth even longer, leading to increased risk for tooth decay.

These risks can be magnified if medication is taken just before bedtime. The effect of taking liquid medication before bedtime is not very different from drinking juice or soft drinks right before bedtime. This is because you produce less saliva while you sleep, sugar and acids remain in contact with the teeth longer, increasing your risk for tooth decay.

What to Do?

-Take Medicine at Meal Time. Take liquid medication at meal times instead of bedtime so that more saliva is produced to rinse away the sugars and acids.

-Brush. Try to brush following each incidence of using these medicines. This will remove any excess in your mouth as well as neutralize the acidic environment these medicines can create. Not only will you be doing your teeth some good but you probably will feel better with a cleaner mouth.

-Rinse. This is just as important as brushing in this scenario. Rinsing with water will neutralize the acids as well as “wet” your mouth so it does not dry out as quickly.

Sugar free gum and lozenges. consider chewing sugar free or xylitol gum following taking your medicine or when your mouth feels dry. Choose sugar free lozenges instead of the sugar loaded ones that sit and stay in your mouth for hours on end.

Drink Water. When we are not feeling well, we tend to drink sugary beverages such as juice and carbonated beverages. Drinking plenty of water will neutralize acids, wash away sugar, and help you heal more quickly.

-Choose Pill Form. If it is available, choose a pill form of the medication instead of syrup.

Conclusion

Medication is usually unavoidable when we are sick.  While you are sick, try to avoid inflicting further complications.  Use good judgement and try to maintain your dental health even when not feeling your best. Managing the type of medication you take, when you take it, and how you neutralize the effects,will go a long way to keeping you healthy and happy.



Choosing the right dentist or doctor is always a difficult thing to do. Some of us rely on friends and family for a referral, while many turn to internet reviews. There are over 150,000 dentists nationally, with new graduates added every year. Many of these dentists are not trained beyond general dental school knowledge to perform more complex dental procedures.

A recent survey revealed that this year about 10% of Americans (and the number grows every year) received at least one cosmetic dental procedure to transform their smiles. Receiving cosmetic dentistry from an experienced, skilled cosmetic dentist can transform your appearance, but poorly executed dentistry can prove to be a disaster.

A sobering statistic, well over 25%, (that is 1 out 4 procedures done) of all the money spent by Americans on cosmetic dentistry is spent re-doing and correcting poor dental work from previous visits.

Things That Can Go Wrong During Cosmetic Dentistry

-Restoration Failure – When any dentistry is done, there can never be decay from cavities left behind. Fillings must be properly shaped and hardened so that they do not cause new problems to arise. Improper technique will not only mean your new fillings,  porcelain veneers or dental crowns will eventually fail, it could also mean the possible need for root canal therapy or even potentially the loss of the tooth if left untreated.

-Pain and Discomfort – A skilled, experienced, dentist knows that  dentistry is about more than just appearances. If you do not plan to address bite issues, periodontal issues, and sensitivity problems, restorations will fail and cause pain and discomfort for the patient. If the bite is off, even slightly, the dental work and tooth will be prone to cracking, wearing, and pain. Root canals can be incomplete and cause reinfection, extractions of teeth can be improperly performed causing severe bone infection, fractures, and pain.

-Lost Time – Cosmetic dentistry is usually lengthy, necessitating multiple visits to the dentist. A typical cosmetic treatment takes at least 2-3 appointments, and can take 1 hour to more than 5-10 hours in the dentist’s chair. The work is an investment of your time and money. If this work is performed poorly and needs to be redone, patients will need to take off more time from work to have it repaired or redone elsewhere.

-Increased Cost – In addition to losing time, the original cost budgeted could explode to fix poor dental work. There is an old saying “You Get What You Pay For”. The same is true in cosmetic and traditional dentistry. It is smart to be cost conscious but many dentists who call themselves cosmetic dentists will offer inferior materials in order to cut costs and lower the price to the consumer. Using a poor dental lab or lower quality materials will cut into the longevity as well as the final appearance of any dental work. When dentistry goes bad, it usually needs to be redone from the beginning. This means losing what you initially invested and paying again for the re-do work.  It is not unusual to have a patient spend money initially only to have to spend a much higher amount to re-do all the work just a short time later.

Conclusion

Choosing a dentist is never an easy decision so do your best to get information from friends, family, and internet. Request a free consultation to tour the office and meet not only the doctor but the staff. Dentistry tends to be an intimate experience and you need to feel confident and comfortable in the dental chair. Choosing the right dentist will make all your dental work a breeze. Most importantly, good dentistry will keep you healthy and end up saving you money in the long run.



Tooth brushing has been a part of our lives since we can remember. It has become an activity that, for most, seems to be second nature. Brushing your teeth, as with any habit, can become tedious. You may forget the proper way and get sloppy, or may never have learned proper tooth brushing techniques to begin with. Improper tooth brushing technique can lead to many problems, including root and enamel wear, gum recession, cavities, and gum disease .

Tooth Brushing Mistake #1

-Choosing the wrong tooth brush. Not all toothbrushes are the same. Things to consider when choosing the right type of toothbrush include size of head, size of handle, and type of bristles. The head of the toothbrush should be the right size to enable you to reach all tooth surfaces. If you are straining to open wide enough to get the brush into your mouth, having a hard time cleaning around back molars, or banging into other teeth, then the brush is probably too large for you. The handle needs to be comfortable for you to use and fit your hand properly. The bristles should be soft to extra soft. If it the bristles are any harder, you increase surface abrasion.  Abrasion slowly causes wear and damage to your teeth and gums while brushing. As for manual tooth brush vs electric tooth brush, most research shows that electric toothbrushes get the teeth far cleaner than a manual brush, and if used properly, cause less abrasion.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #2

-Not brushing enough. This includes both, time of actual tooth brushing and the times per day you brush. It is recommended that you brush a minimum of twice per day for at least two minutes each time. Many of us do not brush for the recommended amount of time,instead brushing for only 15-30 s, this can definitely lead to insufficient removal of food and plaque bacteria. Brushing after each meal is ideal, removing food particles before they begin to cause problems. Timers can help you spend the correct amount of time, or humming a tune, many electric toothbrushes have an advantage in that many have a built in timer to monitor the time you are tooth brushing. Carrying a spare toothbrush or having one in your desk at work, may help you to brush more frequently.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #3

-Brushing too aggressively. Tooth brushing too vigorously can erode tooth enamel, expose the roots of the teeth, and wear away gum tissue. Erosion causes increased sensitivity to hot, cold, and sweets. Develop the proper tooth brushing technique utilizing the right amount of force to keep your teeth clean. An aggressive tooth brushing technique is difficult to change, especially if you have been doing it this way for a long time. Electric toothbrushes are ideal for changing technique, as you hold them over each tooth, letting the brush do the work, and do not “brush” with them.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #4

-Using improper tooth brushing technique. The tooth brush should be angled at a 45 degree angle and use short strokes when brushing. This will allow you to brush safely but also give yo the ability to remove the plaque at the gum line. The strokes should be soft, going up and down, and circular or vertical. Be sure to brush the outer AND inner surfaces of your teeth along with the chewing surfaces and finally your tongue.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #5

-Not Rinsing? Cleaning your brush. Bacteria will grow on an un-rinsed, wet toothbrush. If you do not rinse, and clean your toothbrush, you will be putting plaque bacteria back in your mouth each time you brush. Rinse and dry your tooth brush after you brush to help remove any leftover toothpaste, and rid of the moist environment that bacteria love. There are many techniques to clean your brush, including UV sanitizers, soap and water, and anti bacterial rinses. Keep your mouth cleaner with a clean, dry toothbrush.

Tooth Brushing Mistake #6

-Not changing your toothbrush regularly. The recommendation from the American Dental Association is to change to a new brush every 3-4 months or sooner if the bristles appear worn.  Research shows us that, as toothbrush bristles splay, their ability to remove plaque decreases significantly. You know how often and how hard you use your brush, which will help you evaluate when it is time for a new brush. Do a visual inspection every so often to ensure the bristles still have their original flexibility. There are even some brushes now that have colored indicators on them to tell you when brushes need changing. You may need to change every 1-2 months if you are a frequent brusher.

Conclusion

Tooth brushing is a very important daily habit. The premise is simple, but the technique is critical to good oral health. It is never too late to learn proper tooth brushing technique. Don’t be shy, ask your hygienist if you are doing it correctly, he/she may have some great pointers for you. The next time you see your dentist  for a dental examination and professional cleaning, take full advantage of their knowledge, and ask questions. You may be pleasantly surprised by the outcome, healthier teeth and gums!

Maintaining a good bedtime oral hygiene routine is even more important than your daytime one. A lot can happen overnight while you are sleeping. Food debris and

Oral Health Marielaina Perrone DDS

Maintain Good Oral Health At Bedtime!

bacteria can wreak havoc on your teeth and gums during sleep time, when there is almost no saliva produced to wash away bacteria. Most of us have more time at night to properly clean our teeth, but wait until we are too tired to do so.  In a few easy steps, you can be assured of a clean mouth, and get a better night’s sleep.

Bedtime Oral Health Tips

1. Tooth brushing at Bedtime. Brushing your teeth before you go to bed at night helps protect against plaque buildup, tooth decay, and periodontal disease. If you are particularly susceptible to tooth decay and/or periodontal disease, it is recommended that you brush immediately after dinner, then again right before bedtime. The earlier you brush, the less likely you are to start snacking, less snacking will reduce food debris and decrease the likelihood of cavities.

2. Practice Proper Brushing Form. The best way to clean your teeth is to brush at an angle gently in short circling strokes. Brush the outer tooth surfaces first, then the inner tooth surfaces, followed by the chewing surfaces. To clean the backs of your front teeth, use the tip of the brush and stroke gently up and down. Get a separate brush (or even a specialized tongue cleaner) to clean your tongue, there is quite a bit more bacteria (as well as dead cells) on your tongue than your teeth, so don’t use the same brush for both.

3. Switch to an electric toothbrush. The rotating and oscillating movement of the electric toothbrush head removes plaque from your teeth more efficiently than a regular toothbrush. Be sure to choose an electric toothbrush that’s comfortable to hold, easy to use, and has the rotating-oscillating head.

Oral Health Marielaina Perrone DDS4. Do Not Just Brush – Floss Too! Flossing removes food particles and plaque buildup where toothbrush bristles can’t reach. If this debris stays on the teeth, bacteria will increase throughout the night and feed off them, produce acid, and break down enamel while you’re sleeping. Tartar can not be removed by flossing, but accumulation can be slowed down with good hygiene, and the proper rinses. Flossing before bedtime is essential if you want to decrease your chances of periodontal disease and tooth decay. Morning flossing is also recommended, especially if you’re prone to periodontal disease or tartar buildup.

5. Rinse with mouthwash. Mouthwash isn’t just for fresh breath — anti bacterial mouth rinses contain a variety of ingredients that strengthen teeth(fluoride), kill plaque bacteria (Listerine) , help treat certain oral health conditions (Chlorhexidine), or simply dissolve plaque and tartar, like Periogen. Rinsing with a mouthwash before bed will help keep your teeth free of plaque and tooth decay and your gums safe from gingivitis. Most commercial, over-the-counter mouthwashes are designed to mask bad breath, tend to dry your mouth, and they won’t do much to contribute to your oral health. Talk to your dentist about which mouth rinse  is the right one for you.

6. Be aware of teeth grinding, apnea, and snoring. If you experience worn tooth enamel, increased tooth sensitivity, or torn cheek tissue, you may be grinding your teeth (also called bruxism) while you sleep. Though dentists cannot stop you from grinding your teeth, they can make you a mouth guard that you can wear at night to protect your teeth from the effects of grinding. There are also appliances that can be made to help you with jaw repositioning to help you breathe easier, and stop snoring.

7. Use a Waterpik. A waterpik is an excellent tool to remove debris that we are unable to get to, massage and stimulate gum tissue, and cleanse a deeper periodontal pocket. You can also add your therapeutic mouthrinse or periogen to the waterpik, to place it where it is needed most.

8. Maintain Regular Dental Visits. Be sure to schedule regular dental examinations and professional cleanings. Your dentist and hygienist will help you keep your teeth clean and your gums healthy over the course of your lifetime. Remember, preventive care and maintenance are just as important for a healthy mouth as good daytime and nighttime oral hygiene.

 

Oral Health Conclusion

Dental hygiene must be maintained on a regular basis along with visits to the dentist for dental examinations and professional cleanings if you are to maintain a bright, healthy smile. Dental hygiene can not be left by the wayside just because we are tired. Make the time and effort to properly maintain your teeth, and you will be rewarded every morning with a beautiful smile!