Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

There are many questions when it comes to dental procedures. Why do we need certain treatments?, What does the dentist look for besides cavities?, Are x-rays safe?, etc. While you may know the answers to some of the questions, there are many questions asked by patients on a daily basis that relate to the ones mentioned below.

-Are You Ever Too Old For Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry is about more than just looking good. It is not suggested to do cosmetic dentistry until after growth and development have ended, beyond that there is no age limit. Cosmetic dentistry will often repair and restore our teeth’s function along with improving esthetics. Cosmetic dentistry has also been shown to improve self esteem and how others see you. Whether it be the use of porcelain crowns to rebuild lost tooth height from years of use or dental implants to replace missing or badly damaged teeth, cosmetic dentistry can give you the smile you have desired and need to live a full, happy life.

-What Are Dental Sealants?

Sealants are a thin, plastic-like coating that is applied onto the chewing surfaces of teeth to prevent tooth decay. Dental sealants are usually placed on the premolars and molars. The sealant flows into the grooves of the teeth and are set using a special dental light so they harden forming a protective shield.

It is generally recommended that children have sealants placed on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as the erupt into the mouth. However, it is also recommended for anyone with deep grooves and pits in the enamel of the biting surfaces of back teeth. Sealants generally last about 2-10 years depending upon wear and seal strength, but they should be routinely checked to ensure they have not fractured or chipped off exposing the tooth structure underneath.

-What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Oral Cancer?

While oral cancer is usually believed to be associated with those who drink and/or smoke, more then 25% of all oral cancer cases are of those who do not smoke and only drink alcohol on occasion. Oral Cancer signs and symptoms include:

-Development of white or red patches in the mouth.

-Development of sores that do not go away within 2 weeks.

-Unexplained pain or tenderness around the face and neck.

-Development of unexplained numbness in the face and neck.

-Chronic sore throat or voice changes.

-Ear pain.

-Change in the “bite” of your teeth.

It is important to remember that early diagnosis of oral cancer gives you the best chance for full recovery.

-How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

This has been a hot topic with many in the media and many families. We are exposed to radiation all day long going about our daily lives. This includes radiation from the sun and appliances in our homes. Luckily, these radiation levels are extremely small. A full set of dental x-rays is similar to the normal radiation we are exposed to on a normal day outside.

Dental x-rays have improved dramatically over the years. Modern x-ray units limit radiation to a small area using a single beam and use higher speed film to require a shorter exposure time. It is important to remember that radiation exposure is cumulative over the course of a lifetime. Dental x-rays are a necessary part of maintaining dental health. The ADA has standards of care in regards to acceptable diagnostic radiographs (x-rays) for all dentists to follow.

-I Have A Gap In My Front Teeth. Can That Be Fixed?

The procedure to close a gap between teeth is called dental bonding. Dental bonding is a cosmetic dentistry procedure using a tooth colored material that is applied to your natural teeth to close the space. The final product will look natural and match color perfectly. No one should know but you and your dentist. The procedure can be completed in as little as an hour.

-Are Teeth Whitening Toothpastes Effective?

Toothpastes contain mild abrasives and are generally effective at removing light surface stains. However, over time the staining goes deeper and more difficult for toothpaste alone to remove. Teeth whitening toothpastes are more effective at removing surface stains but the most effective way to whiten teeth is through your dentist using bleaching agents that can go deeper than just the surface. Whitening toothpastes can lighten your tooth’s color by about one shade. In contrast, light-activated whitening conducted in your dentist’s office can make your teeth three to eight shades lighter.

-When Is The Best Time To Remove Wisdom Teeth?

When the removal of wisdom teeth is determined necessary, it is best done when the roots are approximately 2/3rds formed, usually in the teenage years. Removal at this time allows for an easier procedure and decreases the risk of damage to the nerves in that area.

 Conclusion

An educated patient armed with dental health knowledge is going to be able to ask good questions regarding their dental care. You should know what options are available to you treatment-wise, why treatment needs to be done, and whether or not it specific treatments will work for you. The next time you are at the dental office, ask questions. Your dentist and hygienist will be happy to answer your questions and help you make informed decisions.

Dental X-rays are an integral part of proper dental care. Most of us pose the question…Why do I need to have x-rays?? For starters, dental x-rays give your dentist a view of many oral issues that are not visible to the naked eye. This “photograph” of your dental skeleton allows your dentist information to make a better diagnosis, find potentially dangerous issues and  keep your dental health where it should be. Without routine dental x-rays small issues can develop into much bigger ones.

Benefits Of Dental X-Rays

A dental x-ray gives your dentist a closer look at the teeth, the surrounding bones, the jaws, dental decay, infection, and disease of your oral cavity. The following are some of the benefits of dental x-rays:

-Detection Of Tooth Decay. While a dentist can see some tooth decay during your visual and manual examination, they are unable to see between the teeth, under fillings, and below the gum line. A dental x-ray can allow a much better view of damage to the teeth, and roots.

-Presence Of Tumors In The Bone. A tumor can develop undetected inside the bone. If dental x-rays are taken routinely, it often gives the dentist the ability to detect developing tumors at an early stage.  Some tumors are harmless, while others are quite aggressive leading to loss of jaw bone and teeth. The best prognosis for treatment of tumors depends upon early diagnosis.

-Diagnosis Of Periodontal Disease. One of the key tools in diagnosis periodontal disease are dental x-rays. Once periodontal disease develops past its earliest stages there will be loss of supporting bone. Using dental x-rays your dentist can see the progression and even the improvement once treatment begins. Without early diagnosis, the periodontal disease will progress, and proper treatment to slow progression will not occur.

-Infections. These will be noted on dental x-rays as dark spots in the bone. An infection in the bone can be very destructive and if left untreated can lead to facial swellings,  lost teeth, lost bone, pain, and may be potentially life threatening.

-Locate Teeth. Some teeth do not develop properly, are extremely out of position, may not be present, may have extra teeth, or tooth fragments may be impacted in the bone. It is important to know what is or is not a potential problem, and some may need to be extracted or re-directed by an orthodontist so as not to harm other teeth.

-Check For Children’s Development. Dental x-rays give your dentist the ability to check your child’s development and ensure all the teeth are developing properly. Knowledge ahead of time will help you plan ahead for space management issues (crowding), growth management issues (upper and lower jaws severely out of alignment), lack of permanent tooth development (may require maintaining baby teeth for a much longer time period), extra teeth (usually require extraction).

Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

This is a common concern especially among new parents. It is important to note that dental x-rays use very little radiation. Most people living in the United States today are exposed to a 100 times more radiation in a single year just from environmental sources. Remember not to confuse medical x-rays and dental x-rays. Medical x-rays use significant amounts of radiation while dental x-rays are extremely low radiation exposure.  Your dentist will take all the necessary precautions in limiting your exposure. This includes the following:

-Follow the ALARA Principle. ALARA stands for “As Low As Reasonably Achievable”.

-Use Of The Fastest Speed Film.

-Using As Small An X-Ray Beam As Possible.

-Use Of Lead Aprons.

-Following ADA standards of care in # and frequency with which x-rays are taken.

Dental X-Rays Conclusion

If you are concerned about dental x-ray safety speak to your dentist. A good dentist will be open to your concerns and attempt to alleviate your fears while keeping you safe. If you are seeing a new dentist for the first time, request copies of your old x-rays from your previous dentist. This may help limit new x-rays being taken but also give your new dentist a history of progression of any issues you might have been developing.

Dental x-rays are an important part of a thorough dental examination. While there may be some precautions to take, the benefits definitely outweigh the risks of not having dental x-rays. See your dentist regularly for routine dental examinations and x-rays to diagnose issues early, before they become larger, more dangerous problems.

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 Dental Questions

-Is Dental Care Safe While Pregnant? 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. Gum 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.

-Are 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? 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 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? 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 Questions Conclusion

It is important to remember to keep asking questions. 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.