coconut oil

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is an Ayurvedic oral care routine that originated in India some 3,000 years ago. The process involves “swishing” or “swirling” a tablespoon of oil in the mouth for about 20 minutes in order to extract stain-causing pigments and bacteria from and around teeth. Proponents suggest oil pulling dramatically reduces the numbers of bacteria in our mouths and protects teeth and gums from bacterial damage.

How does it Work?

Even though oil pulling has been around for centuries, the scientific community in the West is only now beginning to conduct research into why oil pulling appears successful in being able to reduce overall levels of bacteria in the mouth. Theories include the attraction of microbes being entrapped within the oil solution that when expelled, the bacteria contained within it are discarded as well.

Will Any Oil Work?

Yes, however, most proponents of oil pulling recommend coconut oil because of its more mild taste, and because it contains lauric acid, a compound known to be antimicrobial. Sesame oil may be another option, yet it contains higher levels of Omega 6 oils (which as Americans we get too much of already) and is therefore a poorer fit from a health standpoint.

Are There Any Risks?

Yes. In some populations, coconut oil can cause contact dermatitis, so loading up your mouth with coconut oil without first knowing if you have this sensitivity, or a related allergy, should be avoided.

Similarly, anyone nursing or pregnant should always speak with a doctor before trying anything out of the ordinary, and individuals with gum disease should never begin an oil pulling regimen without first speaking with a doctor because it can sometimes do more harm than good. It’s also worth noting that oil pulling should not be seen as an alternative to brushing and flossing. If anything, it can serve as a complimentary process to your normal routine, not a replacement.

As with any type of medicine, traditional or otherwise, you always have to do your homework. So, feel free to investigate online first, and then run your questions and concerns past a professional. Note: Oil Pulling does not reverse the effects of tooth decay.

Dental Health & Your Diet

Sugar is the main cause of dental decay when there is bacteria present. More important than the amount of sugar you take is the frequency of it.

Probably the worst thing you can do to your teeth is to hold a soda and have a sip every few minutes during a long period of time; the same is true for snacking. It is recommended that if you want to have a snack or a soda or juice it is better to have it after food, as dessert or have it in one sitting. Eating or drinking something sweet during a long period of time creates a constant supply of sugar for bacteria that cause tooth decay!

Arizona Dental Medicine healthy teeth

It is important to know all the sources of sugar. It is not just everything that is sweet but anything that can turn to sugar like pieces of bread. Cutting down your sugar intake is good for cavity prevention as well as general health.

When you have to have sugar! The best way to prevent cavities is to prevent the sugar from staying next to your teeth. Brushing after eating sugar, rinsing your mouth with Fluoride mouth wash or chewing sugarless gum can help. But nothing has the effect of avoiding sugar!

Is there any kind of food that prevents tooth decay? Well, not really. Some people believed that chewing foods like apple and carrots may have some plaque removal effect, but they still contain some sugar so any advantage of them is not clear.

Another group of food that causes significant damage to teeth structure is acidic foods. Things like lime, lemon and grapefruit, if in frequent contact with teeth, can cause serious irreversible damage (erosion) to your teeth.

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Electric versus Manual Brush

There have been multiple studies comparing the effectiveness of manual brushes as opposed to electric brushes.electric1

Although not all electric brushes are the same, these studies conclude that in general electric brushes are more efficient in controlling plaque than manual brushes. Theoretically, you can do a very good brushing with a regular hand brush, but the movements of an electric brush make the task easier and more effective.

Also, some electric brushes (Sonicare) produce sonic vibrations that are difficult to mimic with a hand brush! Other electric brushes like Oral-B and Rotadent have small heads that help you access hard-to-reach areas of your mouth. This aspect is more important when you are talking about someone with orthodontic braces or a history of gum disease.

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Bad Breath

There are a few different causes for bad breath. It ranges from stomach problems to diets and teeth problems. Most of the causes can be found in the mouth, they are:young woman checking her breath with her hand

  1. Tongue (when bacteria grows in between the papilla)
  2. Teeth cavities (especially when food particles get stuck in them)
  3. Gum diseases
  4. Extraction sites during healing
  5. Dentures when not cleaned properly
  6. Alcohol and tobacco

If you or someone you know is concerned about bad breath, the first step is a dental check up. Your dentist will be able to confirm or rule out teeth or mouth as the source of bad breath.

When the reason is found, treatment will be explained by your dentist. If the source of the bad breath is your mouth there is little chance that mouth washes or mints can treat the problem. They usually mask the problem for a
short period of time. They can even sometimes make the situation worse (mouthwashes that contain alcohol cause dry mouth and that usually makes the bad breath worse).

These are a few other, non-dental reasons that cause bad breath:

  1. Sore throat
  2. Tonsillitis
  3. Some foods
  4. Infection of air passages.

Following a good oral hygiene routine and getting regular check ups with your dentist are best ways of preventing bad breath.

If you are looking for a great Northwest Dentist, give us a call today!

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Invisible Braces Bring Visible Results

Invisable to Visable

Invisalign® utilizes 3-D computer technology with clear, plastic removable “aligners” to move teeth at a rate similar to traditional braces, but without any metal or wires. The “aligners” can be removed to eat and clean your teeth and are generally undetectable when worn. The computer imaging technology can predetermine and develop a treatment plan from the initial position of the patient’s teeth to their final desired position. From this a series of custom-made “aligners” are fabricated. Each “aligner” moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about two weeks, then replaced by the next in the series until the final position is achieved.
For years, orthodontists and dentists have used removable appliances for limited treatment. Now Invisalign treats a broader range of cases with greater precision. The principal difference is that Invisalign not only controls forces, but also controls the timing of the force application. At each stage, only certain teeth are allowed to move, and these movements are determined by the orthodontic treatment plan for that particular stage. This results in an efficient force delivery system.
Most people experience temporary, minor discomfort for a few days at the beginning of each new stage of treatment. This is normal and is typically described as a feeling of pressure. It is a sign that Invisalign is working – sequentially moving your teeth to their final destination. This discomfort typically goes away a couple of days after you insert the new “aligner” in the series.
This procedure is especially popular for adults who previously had orthodontic treatment when they were younger and have experienced regression as they’ve aged. Rather than repeat the inconveniences and discomfort of braces all over again, Invisalign provides an appealing alternative.
A common concern is whether or not this treatment is covered by dental insurance. Because dental benefits differ significantly from policy to policy, each patient should review their coverage. However, if a patient has orthodontic coverage, Invisalign should be covered to the same extent as conventional braces. When treatment is complete, some patients might need a positioner, or conventional retainer. Other patients might need a clear plastic retainer similar to the ones Invisalign makes. Please discuss these possibilities with our office. Every patient is different and outcomes vary.

Tucson Dentist – Why Would I Need a Root Canal

dentist tucson
Endodontic treatment, or a root canal,  is necessary when the pulp, the soft tissue inside the root canal, becomes inflamed or infected.

The inflammation or infection can have a variety of causes: deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, or a crack or chip in the tooth. In addition, an injury to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If pulp inflammation or infection is left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.

What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment?

Signs to look for include pain, prolonged sensitivity to heat or cold, tenderness to touch and chewing, discoloration of the tooth, and swelling, drainage and tenderness in the lymph nodes as well as nearby bone and gingival tissues. Sometimes, however, there are no symptoms.

How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?

The endodontist removes the inflamed or infected pulp, carefully cleans and shapes the inside of the canal, a channel inside the root, then fills and seals the space. Afterwards, you will return to your dentist, who will place a crown or other restoration on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function. After restoration, the tooth continues to function like any other tooth.

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

Many endodontic procedures are performed to relieve the pain of toothaches caused by pulp inflammation or infection. With modern techniques and anesthetics, most patients report that they are comfortable during the procedure.

For the first few days after treatment, your tooth may feel sensitive, especially if there was pain or infection before the procedure. This discomfort can be relieved with over-the-counter or prescription medications.

Follow your endodontist’s instructions carefully. Your tooth may continue to feel slightly different from your other teeth for some time after your endodontic treatment is completed. However, if you have severe pain or pressure or pain that lasts more than a few days, call your endodontist.

If you suspect that you may need a root canal don’t delay in getting help. Call us today…297-9069.

Child’s First Visit To The Dentist

tucson dentistUnless a problem is suspected, we would like to see your child after his/her primary teeth erupt into the mouth [24-36 months].

The most important goals of this first visit are to introduce your child to the office surroundings and to develop a trust in the dentist and our staff. We view this visit as an icebreaker.

If your child is too frightened, uncomfortable or uncooperative, we may have to re-schedule several short visits. You will be charged a reasonable fee for the time.

Please do not try to explain the first visit yourself. Do not use phrases like “Be brave!” or “Don’t be afraid”. Don’t offer them a bribe with special treats to get them to the office. Rather be positive and reassuring that the visit will be fun and one in which to look forward.

The appointment should be 15-30 minutes and may include necessary x-rays, a gentle, comprehensive examination of the teeth, gums, jaws, bite and oral tissues. This is both to observe any problems and to establish a baseline so we can monitor your child’s growth and development.

Depending on your child’s age and cooperation, we may also clean and polish their teeth and apply a topical fluoride. Please bring to this first appointment any of your child’s medical records. We will try to discuss and answer any questions you may have at that time. Our objective is to be gentle and patient so your child develops a positive attitude towards the dental office and their own oral health.

Our long-term goal is prevention and minimizing and dental problems for him/her as they mature.

Call us today to make an appointment for your child’s first visit to the dentist…520.297-9069

Considering Dental Implants?

Important Facts to Help Make Your Decision

Many people are unaware of the consequences of losing their teeth or the effects of wearing partial or full dentures upon their jaws and bones. When teeth are lost, the surrounding bone immediately begins to shrink [atrophy]. Implant treatment, for tooth replacement therapy, can be the optimal treatment plan. Here are some important facts to take into consideration.

  • Wearing dentures [plates] accelerates bone loss, and old dentures become loose because of this bone loss. It is possible to watch and wait for bone to disappear to the point where treatment success of any kind is in doubt.
  • At the end of a five-year period, only 40% are still wearing the original partial denture made for them. This is not a great testimonial for value and utility. Those lucky enough to have a functioning partial denture after 5 years are still losing valuable supporting bone.
  • Of those patients who wear a partial denture, 50% chew better without it.
  • One study showed that after 8 years, 40% of the supporting teeth [abutments] that the partial hooks onto were lost through tooth decay or fracture.
  • Patients with natural teeth can bite with about 200 pounds of force. Denture wearers can bite with approxiametly 50 pounds of force. Those wearing dentures for 15 years or more can bite with only about 6 pounds of force, and their diet and eating habits have had to been modified accordingly.
  • The average lower full denture shifts from side to side during chewing and is a significant problem that new denture wearers must get use to and accept.
  • Denture wearers have decreased nutritional intake, a ten year shorter life span, and 30% of denture wearers can only eat soft foods.
  • The single tooth implant success rate is above 98%, and unlike a bridge, the teeth adjacent to the implant are no more at risk than if no teeth were missing.
  • Implant-supported bridges or dentures have 95% success rates over 10 years without the severe loss of supporting bone.

For bone maintenance, the health of adjacent teeth, the longevity of the restoration and patient comfort, implant therapy is the treatment of choice. Implants can restore chewing function to the equivalent of someone with natural teeth. If you have questions or want to know if you are a good candidate for implant tooth replacement therapy, please call our office.  (520) 297-9069

2011 Insurance Benefits

Dentistry, Dental Benefits, Dental InsuranceTime flies…we are almost through 2011.

 

The end of the year will be upon us before we know it; and with the end of the year comes the end of your yearly dental insurance benefits. Did you know that each year insurance companies make millions of dollars off patients who forgo necessary and preventive dental care?

 

Many individuals who are paying for dental insurance do not realize that their plans provide coverage up to a certain dollar amount annually.

 

Consequently, some patients are not scheduling the dental treatment they need, deserve, and have insurance to cover. Thus, the insurance revenues allocated to pay dental claims on many patients are never used, and, unfortunately, those dollars cannot be carried over year-to-year.

 

The bottom line: What the patient does not use they lose.

 

Clearly, it pays in many ways to schedule the preventive care or other dental treatment that you need.

 

We want to make sure that you take full advantage of any remaining benefits your family might have. Many times you may be able to save money by completing your treatment before year’s end and avoid having to pay a new deductible next year. We are here to help you secure the insurance coverage available to you on every dental procedure you schedule.

 

Give us a call today, and together let’s make sure you are in excellent dental health.

 

We look forward to seeing you again and sharing some of the many innovative means we now have available to provide you with superior dental health care.

 

If you have any questions about how much actual coverage remains on your insurance benefits, please call our office so that we can check on that for you. At that time, we can schedule you at the earliest available appointment to ensure you take full advantage of all the insurance benefits you pay for. Please call or email us to make an appointment before the end of the year.

 

We are scheduling November and December appointments at this time. Please don’t wait until the last minute! Our schedule usually fills very quickly in the last quarter of the year.

A Beautiful Smile Is Precious And Priceless

Get Shades Lighter using Teeth Whitening with ZoomDid you know that the shape, shade, length and spacing of your teeth could significantly affect your smile? And our smiles can greatly affect our self-esteem and confidence. Common conditions that impact negatively on your smile include broken, cracked or worn teeth, discolored teeth, missing teeth, crooked teeth, decayed teeth, gaps between your teeth and/or “gummy smiles.” The good news is that with modern technology and improved materials, these situations can be dramatically changed to create natural looking and long-lasting beautiful smiles. Each patient and each specific circumstance must be evaluated on its own merits. Factors such as occlusion [bite], oral habits, available space, health of the gum tissue, severity of the problem and patient expectation must be taken into consideration while planning your cosmetic makeover. Depending on the situation, there are a variety of choices that all result in excellent esthetic outcomes. For whiter natural teeth, in-office or at-home bleaching [whitening] techniques are available. Repairing teeth or closing spaces may be accomplished with tooth-colored composite resin bonding, porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns. These procedures vary in time and cost and have differences in longevity and appearance. If you’re not satisfied with your smile or want to learn if you’re a good candidate for any of these remarkable techniques, call our office for a cosmetic consultation.

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