Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Tooth decay (also called dental cavities or dental caries) –  The destruction of the surfaces (dentin and/or enamel) of a tooth and infiltration of bacteria into tooth structure. Tooth decay results from the action of bacteria that live in plaque. Plaque is a sticky, whitish film formed by bacteria and food debris which adheres to the pellicle (a protein layer on the tooth surface). The plaque bacteria sticking to tooth enamel breakdown the sugar and starch from food particles in the mouth to produce acid.

Only Cake, Candy, and  Sugary Drinks Cause Tooth Decay.

Myth, but it’s almost a fact.

Guess what sugar is? You guessed it a carbohydrate. White rice, french fries, bagels, chips and fruits are all carbohydrates. The stickier the carb, like white rice, caramel, or fruit gummies, the longer they stay lodged between teeth and stuck in grooves. The truth is that the acid produced by the bacteria while breaking down carbohydrates is what causes tooth decay. The bacteria makes the acid when you eat anything with carbohydrates that stick and stay on your teeth. The resulting acid melts through the strong outer enamel and allows bacteria to enter into the inner layer (dentin). The bacteria are not visible to the eye, and the breakdown is slow and steady forming a hole, better known as a cavity.

An important fact to know: It is not the amount of carbohydrates you consume that end up causing tooth decay, but the length of time your teeth are exposed. If you eat a high amount of carbohydrates for lunch, that’s one big exposure. But if you spend the day sipping sugary drinks, chewing on gummy bears, sucking on tic tacs, that continuous exposure is far more unhealthy for your teeth. Dentists have a saying, “sip all day and get tooth decay“.

All Dental Restorations Need to be Replaced Every Few Years.

Myth.

An amalgam or composite filling needs to be replaced only if it breaks down or a cavity forms around it, or if the tooth breaks or fractures. If none of those problems occur, you can keep the same filling for quite a long time. Most dental restorations do have a life expectancy but it depends on each individual. Tooth wear due to clenching or grinding, diet, and dental hygiene habits,  play a huge role in how long these restorations last, some last more than 50 years! Maintaining proper oral hygiene and maintenance  will help your dental restorations last longer.

Once You Get a Tooth Capped, the Tooth Can’t Decay.

Myth.

A Cap or a crown covers and protects underlying tooth structure. However, the area where the crown edge ends and tooth is not covered ( the margin), is where bacteria like to stick. It is the least smooth part of the tooth, and where bacteria can break the seal between the tooth and crown. Once the seal breaks, bacteria can move up and under the crown to slowly breakdown tooth and root structure. A dentist always checks margins around teeth to try to find breaks in margins, however, when breakdown occurs in between teeth it is harder to detect and  usually decays much further before it can be detected on an x-ray.

When You get a Root Canal, the Roots are Removed and the Tooth Can’t Decay.

Myth.

A root canal treatment does not remove roots, what is removed are the nerves, blood vessels, bacteria, and debris from inside of the roots. The dentist then fills and seals the roots with a rubbery filling and sealing paste. This prevents bacteria from re-entering a tooth. Once the root canal is completed, the tooth should heal, and usually be covered and protected with a crown to help prevent cracking. Tooth decay can happen, just as in any tooth.

Children are more prone to Tooth Decay than Adults.

Myth.

Advances in pediatric dentistry have allowed us to cut childhood tooth decay in half over the last 20 years. These advances include sealants, fluoridated water, dietary consultations, and preventive care. As we see advances in pediatric dentistry, and decreases in tooth decay a different population has had increases in tooth decay. Seniors have an increase in cavities due to an increase in advances in pharmacology, limited dexterity, insufficient professional cleanings, and dry mouth. Many medications have a side effect of causing dry mouth which increases the risk of tooth decay.

If You Have Tooth Decay, You Can Feel it.

Myth.

Tooth decay may or may not cause any symptoms. Everyone and each individual tooth varies in it’s pain threshold. The pain associated with tooth decay may be detected very early in some and when it is in a more advanced stage and is actually causing damage to the nerve in others. Allowing tooth decay to progress untreated can and will lead to much more expensive and extensive dental procedures, like root canals and oral surgery. That’s why regular dental examinations are so important.

Teeth can only repair themselves when initial enamel breakdown is occurring, and the bacteria have not entered the dentin. Some enamel can repair with natural calcium remineralization and some can harden and repair with fluoride . Persistent bacteria will cause a cavity to forms which will continue to grow and progress into the tooth, eventually working its way into the dentin and then the nerve of the tooth.

Cavities Are More Likely Between Teeth.

Fact.

Any place in the mouth where you cannot reach and bacteria can hide is a place for tooth decay to form. That is why brushing, flossing, and using an antibacterial and fluoride rinse (such as Purple Listerine) are so important. They allow you to reach areas brushing alone cannot. Flossing is one of the few ways to get in between teeth and properly avoid tooth decay between teeth.

Chips and Cracks in Teeth Lead to Decay.

Fact.

Cracks and chips in teeth can create a hiding place for bacteria and make those areas more prone to tooth decay. Using a fluoride rinse can reduce the risk of tooth decay.

Sensitive Teeth Means You Have Decay.

Myth.

Tooth sensitivity could just mean you have hypersensitive teeth, or gum recession has exposed some root.

You could also have a cracked or broken tooth or could need a root canal. There are many things, including tooth decay, that could lead to sensitive teeth. If your teeth are sensitive you should schedule a dental examination to make sure it is not something serious.

Cavities Are the Only Reason for Root Canals.

Myth.

Root Canal treatment is caused by a variety of things including tooth decay. Root canal treatment is needed if the nerve inside a tooth is damaged which can be a result of decay or trauma.  Trauma can result from accidents, grinding, clenching, biting into a very hard object (piercings, hard candy, etc.), ice chewing, etc.

You Don’t Need to Worry About Cavities in Baby Teeth.

Myth. 

Baby teeth are needed to hold the space for permanent teeth. Also, tooth decay in baby teeth can develop into serious pain, dental abscess and serious infection. On occasion the infection can spread to other parts of the body and has even caused death if left untreated.

Brushing, Flossing, and Rinsing and a Healthy Diet Is the Best Way to Prevent Cavities.

Fact. 

Definitely. Preventive dentistry is the key to staying cavity free. The bacteria must be removed from the teeth.

Brush twice a day with a fluoridated toothpaste, and floss and rinse daily. Antimicrobial rinses target bacteria, reducing plaque, bad breath, and the severity of gingivitis. Rinses with fluoride make teeth more resistant to tooth decay. If bacteria are removed daily from every area of your tooth. Eat healthy foods, and limit exposure to carbohydrates.

Tooth Decay Conclusion

There are many misconceptions about what causes tooth decay and what doesn’t. The facts remain, A healthy diet, and proper oral hygiene will not only help you prevent tooth decay, but keep your whole body healthier.

Losing teeth can be a serious health and self esteem problem for many Americans. If we do not take proper care of our teeth eventually we will lose them. As a child, tooth loss is normal as the primary teeth give way to our adult or permanent teeth. The tooth fairy comes when we lose our baby teeth but not for our adult teeth that we lose through neglect, trauma or disease.

There was a time when it was considered quite normal to lose your teeth as we got older. Losing teeth affects our lives by losing the ability to chew our food properly and stay healthy. With modern dentistry, we are able to care for and replace teeth so that we can maintain our health and hopefully live longer

Causes of Losing Teeth

A person can begin losing teeth by a variety of means. These can include trauma, disease or poor dental maintenance.

Poor dental hygiene. It is recommended that we brush our teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day to help prevent losing teeth. It is also recommended that we visit our dentist every six months for regular examinations and cleanings. If we do not follow these recommendations you are more likely to have cavities and periodontal disease. If untreated this will eventually lead to a person losing teeth.

losing teeth from poor nutrition

Losing teeth from poor nutrition

Maintaining a diet of poor nutrition. Continuously digesting foods that contain high amounts of sugar, carbohydrates and acids can and will damage your teeth and gums. These types of diets will again lead to tooth decay as well as periodontal disease.

Poor habits. Tooth grinding (bruxism) can be a very tough habit on our teeth. People who aggressively grind their teeth will eventually wear away the outer enamel of teeth causing teeth to be come more sensitive and to crack, as well as more prone to tooth cavities. Chewing on ice and biting down on oral piercings are also far more likely to fracture teeth over time. Another major habit that directly affects teeth and gums is smoking. Smoking is a leading cause of adult periodontal disease. Advanced periodontal disease will lead to losing teeth as well.

Contact sports. Many people play contact sports on a regular basis. This includes children, teenagers and adults. The sports vary from football, hockey, basketball, snowboarding and even bike riding. A traumatic accident to the mouth can cause a loss of teeth, or an avulsed tooth. Wearing a mouth guard is very important to prevent fracture or injury to teeth from traumas. These can be the standard over the counter types or custom made ones.

Dental phobia. Some people are so afraid of the dentist that they refuse to see one. These people will not go even if they have a tooth ache. This is a recipe for losing teeth. There are ways to overcome your dental fears, finding a dentist who can work with your phobia is the first step. Seeing your dentist regularly or even at first signs of pain or trouble can lead you to saving the teeth in question versus losing teeth.

Cost. Most people assume that dental treatment is too costly so they just do not go until they have a major problem. It is actually far cheaper to go regularly for prevention than to just go when there is an emergency. Plus going regularly puts you at ease that you are maintaining your oral health as best as possible. Losing teeth should never happen because of cost.

Everybody is at risk of losing teeth. Although tooth loss is usually associated with the seniors of our population, research has shown that about 25-30 percent of people lose their first tooth between the ages of 21 and 30 years old.

Children become far more active as they grow up and the chances of trauma to the teeth increases. Such tooth injuries can occur on baby teeth or adult teeth. If your kids play sports, make sure they wear a mouth guard for protection.

Adults must pay special attention to brushing and flossing because poor oral hygiene is the main cause of periodontal disease. The inevitable outcome of periodontal disease as it advances is tooth loss. Periodontal disease also affects your general health. This is especially true if you have diabetes or heart disease.

Losing teeth usually affects seniors the most. As people grow older, they have more chances to develop certain diseases. These diseases can lower their immune system as well as require them to take medications that can have an affect on their oral health. Maintaining good dental hygiene is very important throughout life but especially as we age.

Consequences of Losing Teeth

General health problems may not be your only concern when it comes to losing teeth. A persons self esteem is directly affected by your smile. Losing teeth changes the way you smile and look as well as feel about yourself. Some other consequences of losing teeth include:

-Problems with speech. Depending on where you are losing teeth you can have definite problems with enunciation of words. This is especially the case as you move towards the front of your mouth.

-Problems chewing and eating certain foods. If you are losing teeth towards the back of your mouth you will have major issues chewing and digesting meatier and healthy crunchy foods. The chewing process is the beginning of digestion. If you do not break your foods down properly it will throw off your entire digestion process.

-Self esteem and self-consciousness issues.

-Earlier breakdown of other teeth because there are less teeth to use when you eat.

-Other teeth will begin to shift towards the open spaces

-Bite closing, loss of teeth causes deeper closing of the mouth, and a change in your appearance.

-Losing teeth as a child will create issues for the eruption of permanent teeth. The primary teeth serve as space holders for the permanent teeth to erupt into. With premature loss of primary teeth, the remaining teeth will shift forward into the space. The loss of space will cause crowding in the arch when the permanent teeth begin to come in.

Options for Replacing Lost Teeth

There are many options in modern dentistry to replace lost teeth. If you have one or more missing teeth you have the following options for replacement:

-Dental implants  Dental implants are an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw bone to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, be a support for a bridge, or as support for a denture. It looks and feels like a real tooth and does not require any other teeth for anchoring or support. Implants are considered to be the best and most comfortable tooth replacement solution as well as the one that should last the longest with proper care. They are also have the highest cost as replacements go.

-Dental bridge is a set of three or more crowns fused together as a group, where the one in the middle replaces the missing tooth. The crowns on the edge cover your own teeth which are used as anchors. A bridge is permanently cemented in, and can not be removed.It can be very cosmetic in nature, looking like your real teeth.

-Partial and complete dentures. These are removable and replace several (partial) or all (complete denture) missing teeth. Since they are not fixed, they are not as natural feeling as implants or bridges, and do not help you chew foods as effectively. Depending upon where your missing teeth are, dentures can give your smile an aesthetic look. Partials also prevent your other teeth from shifting and moving. With the advent of dental implants, dentures have been given a whole new life. Implants can be used to anchor a complete denture giving it much more stability and esthetics than the traditional complete denture.

Porcelain crowns have been a staple in cosmetic dentistry for years. It gives the dentist and patient a much more aesthetic appearance as a final product. In the past crowns and bridges were traditionally made of porcelain fused to metal (PFM). With the development of modern porcelain, which are incredibly strong and reflect light similar to natural teeth, full porcelain crowns can be used in most areas in which porcelain fused to metal crowns were used. This is especially true in a cosmetic area of the mouth.

Porcelain crowns are very versatile and used in many ways. The cosmetic enhancement use of porcelain crowns include, changing color of teeth, closing gaps between teeth, fixing teeth that are crooked or crowded, changing shape or size of teeth. Porcelain crowns are also used to cover and protect damaged teeth, (tooth that has a root canal, broken, cracked, large fillings), and to act as a new tooth in the case of dental implants. Their versatility gives the dentist a greater flexibility in using them to fix potential issues for the patient.

cosmetic dentist emax crown

Emax Porcelain Crowns

The first step often times includes impressions for study models and photos. The patient and dentist can then discuss and plan what the end result should be. The treatment includes preparation of the tooth surface for the porcelain crowns. The outer enamel and sometimes a bit of  the dentin are removed. This allows room for the porcelain crowns to fit over the teeth and be in perfect cosmetic alignment with the others. Impressions are taken of the newly reshaped teeth and temporary crowns are made.  The porcelain crowns are custom made in the laboratory. The porcelain crowns are then cemented or bonded onto the teeth using an adhesive bonding material. The placement of the porcelain crown will normally take about 30 minutes (depends on amount of porcelain crowns being placed). Once completed,  the patient can eat normally and enjoy the benefits of a beautiful new porcelain crown that matches and blends perfectly with the patients existing teeth. Only you and the dentist should know anything was done.

Advantages of All Porcelain Crowns

-No PFM gray or black lines at the Gum Line of Teeth. You may have noticed a person with a dark line in the gum area along a PFM crown edge. With PFM crowns, the soft tissue around the tooth can recede over time. This allows a reveal of the metal framework underneath. This cannot happen with an all porcelain crowns because they are metal free.

-Perfect Fit. Porcelain crowns are created in state of the art facilities. Porcelain crowns will fit so well you will even forget they are present.

-Cosmetically Perfect Match. All porcelain crowns have the ability with modern porcelains to match your existing shade of tooth color as well as mimic the light reflecting properties of your natural teeth. Porcelain crowns will be undetectable to anyone but you and your dentist. Dental porcelain can be shaped custom colored and sculpted to closely copy the look of your own natural tooth enamel. All the while providing the desired strength and resilience.

Some disadvantages of an all porcelain crowns:

-Higher cost over traditional PFM crowns.

-Durability. While porcelain crowns are very durable, they do not have the flexibility of natural teeth, they can fracture. Avoiding certain foods may be necessary. For example, Biting into sandwich with a hard bread. Patients who grind and clench their teeth will need to be fitted with a mouth guard to protect the porcelain crown from unnecessary and excessive pressures.

-Porcelain crowns may need a bit more reduction of tooth structure than traditional PFM crowns.

-Sensitivity may happen for a short time, (hot, cold sensitivity), especially with bonded porcelain crowns.

Follow-up Maintenance of All Porcelain Crowns

The maintenance of porcelain crowns is actually very easy.  They require routine brushing with non-abrasive fluoride toothpaste and regular flossing as well as regular visits to the dentist. A follow-up appointment will be scheduled to evaluate the porcelain crowns about 2-4 weeks after they are placed in the mouth This allows the dentist to review the work with tissues all healed and see how your oral tissues are reacting to the crowns. Even if you think the crowns are successful, this appointment is an important part of your future oral health.
There are several types of all porcelain crowns generally used in dental offices today. They have all proven to give the best cosmetic dental results.
-Zirconia Crowns or Lava Crowns (made by 3M Espe). This type of all porcelain crowns are made out of a zirconium core with porcelain pressed or layered over the crown to follow the natural contours of teeth. These crowns offer good strength and durability. Due to great strength, the material can be used to make a bridge.
-Procera Crowns (made by Nobel Biocare). These are made of an Alumina core with porcelain pressed or layered over the crown to follow the natural contours of the teeth. These crowns offer great strength and durability and are esthetically quite beautiful. Often used in the back of the mouth, (premolars, molars), these are cemented in with traditional cement and have less post-placement sensitivity.
-Empress II Crowns (made by Ivoclar Vivadent).These highly cosmetic porcelain crowns are used in the front of the mouth. They are used mostly for cosmetics, are very beautiful, but can fracture.
-eMAX Crowns or IPS e.MAX Crowns (made by Ivoclar Vivadent). These porcelain crowns are entirely made out of porcelain without a underlying framework. The absence of this framework offers a great advantage over Zirconia crowns, Lava crowns and Procera crowns in that e.MAX crowns allow for more light transmission through the crown translating to a more superior cosmetic dental result. The strength of these porcelain crowns is such that they can be used in any area of the mouth, can be made thinner than most porcelains, and can be used for an implant without much worry of fracture.
Cosmetic Dentistry is the art and science of creating a beautiful smile. The all porcelain crowns are just one more tool that the dentist can use to give you that smile you’ve always dreamed of.
Procera Porcelain CrownsLava Crowns Ivoclar VivadentPorcelain Crowns 3M Espe