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All posts by Aysia Randolph

When Would I Need a Fluoride Treatment?

We hear the word “fluoride” a lot. It’s in the municipal water supply. It’s in our toothpaste. Teenagers get fluoride treatments and if you have dental insurance, it’s one of those preventative treatments that are usually covered up to a certain age.

But did you know that fluoride could actually help aging teeth? It’s a supplement that can actually strengthen teeth. This article will look at fluoride treatments and whether they might be right for you or your family members.

What is Fluoride?

Fluoride is a naturally-occurring mineral in food and water. It has also been added in very small increments to municipal water supplies in the United States.

Fluoride is also a supplement that can be applied to the teeth in toothpaste or mouth rinses. Dentists can also professionally apply fluoride treatments.

The teeth can lose minerals every day from plaque, sugar, and bacteria in the mouth. Demineralization can be reversed, though, when teeth receive fluoride.

Fluoride helps reverse tooth decay and when given early enough as a supplement, can help provide life-long protection against tooth decay.

Fluoride Treatments for Kids

Fluoride intake is most important for children between six months and 16 years. That’s when the permanent teeth are coming in and fluoride can strengthen developing teeth.

WebMD has this to say about fluoride and kids:

In children under six years old, fluoride becomes incorporated into the development of permanent teeth, making it difficult for acids to demineralize the teeth. Fluoride also helps speed remineralization as well as disrupts acid production in already erupted teeth of both children and adults.

But what about fluoride treatment for adults? The research says that fluoride is just as important to the adult teeth as to the newer teeth of children.

Fluoride Treatment for Adults

As adults age, their teeth age right along with them. Adults can experience tooth erosion, including areas where the enamel is wearing away. Crowns can have leaky margins and the teeth generally can start to weaken. Fluoride is one way to strengthen the elderly tooth, making them stronger, less sensitive to cold and hot, and less resistant to decay. Too, fluoride can even lessen root decay, which is something that can begin to happen to people that are over the age of 50.

As adults age they can also suffer from dry mouth, a condition that can contribute to tooth decay. Gum disease can cause the gums to recede, exposing the roots to bacteria. Fluoride can help in all of these cases. We often recommend fluoride as a way to shore up aging teeth and help prolong the life of adult teeth.

But is Fluoride Safe?

When given in the recommended dosage, fluoride is both safe and effective. However, it can be hazardous in high doses. That’s why it’s important to talk with your dentist about using fluoride products for you and your children. However, it is very hard to “overdose” on fluoride. This mineral is both beneficial to people and natural.

To talk with your Las Vegas dentist about the benefits of fluoride, contact us.

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Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

Americans place a lot of importance on our straight while clean smiles. That’s why every toothpaste manufacturer says their product will whiten your teeth. But now there are also lots of over-the-counter tooth whitening products that can make your teeth a gleaming shade of white.

While every toothpaste and mouthwash says they’ll brighten your smile, but there’s nothing like professional teeth whitening to make you look your best. This article looks more closely at professional teeth whitening to determine how safe the process is and how it can help make those pearly whites their whitest.

What Does the ADA Say About Teeth Whitening?

The American Dental Association points out that tooth whitening is a process of chemically removing surface stains on the teeth. They define it as any process that makes the tooth appear whiter, which could be a bleaching action that changes the natural tooth color or a product that just uses a safe chemical action to remove the stain.

Typically, these bleaching products have peroxide to help whiten teeth. Over-the-counter products can vary in intensity, and the ADA suggests that tooth sensitivity and an occasional irritation of the gums can occur with these products. They suggest:

Patients should be cautioned that not enough information is available to support unsupervised long-term and/or repeated use of bleaching products.

In fact, the ADA suggests that there are many options for over-the-counter teeth whitening products. However, “The level and type of active ingredients, the form of the product and how they are applied may vary widely.”

The ADA goes on to suggest that you should consult your dentist about the process of whitening your teeth. Preferred Family Dentistry is standing by to help.

Teeth Whitening Dentist in Las Vegas

It’s very common for our patients to visit with the request that they would like their teeth to be whiter. It’s one of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to improve how you look. Our clients typically are dealing with aging, which can make the teeth look greyer. Or, they’ve stained their teeth with coffee or tobacco. Sometimes they’ve come to us for help because they’ve had some sort of trauma to their tooth, and the underlying nerve has died.

For many of these people, tooth whitening is a way for them to regain their clean, healthy smile. We offer professional at-home or in-office whitening professionally overseen by Dr. J. and her expert team.

  • At Home Whitening The first visit consists of an exam and discussion of how white you want your smile to be. Then we take impressions of your teeth. Those impressions are sent away and on your second visit, you will be sent home with custom-built trays and a safe, effective tooth whitening gel. You simply coat the trays in the gel and wear them. Over time the teeth whitening.
  • In-Office Whitening For a faster whitening process, we recommend having an in-house whitening session where we apply the gel and use a UV light to whiten the teeth. The visit consists of a professional cleaning and exam. Then we apply the teeth whitening gel, three times, each for 15 minutes.

For more information on either of these procedures, contact us.

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All About The (Not Royal) Crown

A dental crown is an artificial tooth that fits over the real tooth to make it look cosmetically appealing or to correct damage to the underlying structure. Crowns are very common procedures in our practice; we are expert and using these tools of the dental profession to protect your smile.

This blog will talk about the process of the dental procedure known as the crown.

Why Would I Need a Crown, Anyway?

There are several reasons for coming to our practice to be fitted with a dental crown:

  • You may have a cracked, worn down, or weak tooth that needs protecting.
  • It may be part of other restorative work, such as a dental bridge.
  • It may be cosmetic, to repair a slightly imperfect smile or to cover discolored teeth.
  • If you have a dental implant, we use a crown to cover it.

Crowns can even be used on baby teeth, in special circumstances. They are safe and relatively easy procedures to accomplish in the dentist’s chair; we apply crowns dozens of times each year.

Crowns are typically made from tooth-colored porcelain, resin, or ceramic materials. However, permanent crowns can also be made from metals like gold or stainless steel. Metal crowns do have the advantage of being strong and able to withstand biting and chewing longer than ceramic crowns. Metal crowns can be used on the back molars unless you want a silver or gold front tooth. (It happens.) Each of these types of crowns has different pros and cons – contact us to discuss your options.

The Crown Procedure

Adding a crown is normally a two-step process. The first visit typically includes:

  • An exam and x-rays to check the roots and bone.
  • If there is extensive damage, we may need to conduct a root canal first. If not, we can anesthetize the tooth and gums surrounding it.
  • The tooth set to receive the crown will be filed down on the chewing surfaces, making sure there are no sharp edges and creating a smooth surface for the crown to be bonded to.
  • Conversely, if the tooth is too worn down, we will use a filling material to increase the size of the tooth.
  • Next, we’ll use a dental putty to form an impression or mold of the tooth.
  • These visits will be sent to the dental lab where they will custom-make your crown. We’ll also color match the tooth to your existing smile.
  • Finally, we will put a temporary crown on top of the old tooth, to protect it for when the crown arrives.

Here’s what to expect on your second visit.

 

  • The dentist will remove the old crown and check the new one to be sure it’s perfect.
  • Then we’ll numb the tooth again and use a bonding agent to cement the crown on the tooth.
  • We’ll check your bite to be sure the crown fits properly and give you instructions on how to care for your new tooth.

 

Thanks to dental crowns, you too can have a clean, bright smile. Contact us to find out how these procedures can improve your life.

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Everything You Never Wanted to Know About a Root Canal

The most important thing to keep in mind if we say you need a root canal is – that we’re trying to save the tooth. That’s really the goal of a root canal. When a tooth becomes infected or is very badly decayed, the root canal is a dental procedure that will clean out the tooth, seal it, and keep it from abscessing.

This article will share all the details about root canals so if you’re ever faced with the procedure you’ll have a better understanding of the process.

What Does a Root Canal Do?

A root canal goes into the natural cavity at the center of the tooth. Within that nerve channel is a pulpy area that can become damaged and abscess. In fact, the nerve within the adult tooth is really only there to serve as a hot or cold sensor. Once the tooth has emerged from the gum line, the root is actually something that can be removed. When the root is too damaged, it will break down with decay, and if left untreated can become severely infected. The swelling that can occur can be dangers – your teeth are near your brain, after all. So we want to mitigate the risk of swelling going to the face, neck, or head. This means it’s time for a root canal.

What Happens During a Root Canal?

There are several steps that we undertake during a root canal procedure:

  • The first step is usually to take an x-ray of the tooth to see the shape of the tooth and what lies beneath the bums and into the bone.
  • The dentist will place a rubber sheet (dam) around the tooth to keep the area clean and free of saliva.
  • We usually anesthetize the area around the tooth to make the procedure more comfortable.  
  • Once you can’t feel anything, we will drill a hole into the tooth, removing all the decayed nerve, pulp, and any bacteria. To do this we use a series of small files that will scrape and clean the sides of the tooth. Don’t worry – you won’t feel this! Periodically, we’ll use water or sodium hypochlorite to flush away any debris.
  • When the tooth is completely clean, we will seal it. That may occur the same day.
  • But, depending upon the infection, we may put medication inside the tooth and wait for it to work. If we do this, we’ll put a temporary filling over the hold to keep it clean.
  • To seal the tooth, we use a sealer paste and a rubber compound to fill up the root canal. Finally, we’ll add a filling to complete the work.

One thing to note is that teeth that need a root canal are most often the larger back molars. If this is the case, it’s likely there was a large filling on the tooth or it may have cracked, causing the root to die. In these cases, further restorative work, such as a crown may be needed. We’ll cover the process for getting a crown in our next blog.

If you’re feeling any tooth or jaw pain, contact our team right away – we can help!

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How to Get Teeth Like a Hollywood Movie Star

Think of your favorite actor. Now ask yourself if their smile is the one they were born with. Chances are, the answer is, “No.”

You probably already know this. But what you may not realize is the same techniques that shaped the grins of some of the most famous people you see walking the red carpet, are available to anyone.

Preferred Family Dentistry has been performing some of those same smile makeovers on the residents of our region for years. This article takes a look at some of the most common techniques for giving you a Hollywood smile.

 

How Can I Have a Beautiful Smile Like…?

If you have a crooked smile or other tooth imperfections, it’s inevitable at some point that you might find yourself thinking, “I wish I had a smile like – (you fill in the blank).” This is normal. But modern dentistry has enabled us to achieve that smile makeover with a minimum of fuss, discomfort, and at a price that will – make you smile.

In any case, some things are worth investing in, right?

So, while your favorite Hollywood actor has a smile that appears effortless, the truth is that in many cases, straightening and whitening their teeth has taken a lot of effort. Some of the Hollywood-type cosmetic procedures that we perform include:

  • Dental Veneers that are perfect for hiding gaps or small imperfections in the underlying tooth. Veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are handcrafted to fit your tooth structure and the shape of the smile makeover we’re aiming for. The veneer fits right over the existing tooth and is bonded so you can’t tell the difference between the real tooth and the veneer. We guarantee that a high percentage of Hollywood stars have full veneers that dramatically changed their smile from drab to devastatingly gorgeous. You can have the same smile!
  • Dental Crowns are excellent when a veneer simply won’t work because the underlying tooth is too worn. Crowns actually create a new tooth structure, making both a prettier and stronger smile. Crowns are particularly helpful later in life if your teeth haven’t worn as well as you imagined they would.
  • Teeth Whitening is useful if you’re fairly pleased with the overall shape of your teeth, but feel they simply aren’t as white as they used to be. Professional teeth whitening is a cost-effective, fast, and safe way to spiff up an otherwise solid smile. The process takes a few weeks, gradually whitening your teeth, so instead of showing up at work with brand new sparkling teeth, this process happens over a short time.
  • Tooth-Colored Dental Fillings are perfect if you still have a mouth full of those outdated (and unsafe) mercury fillings. Over time those fillings can begin to break down, which can create health problems. Today we have an alternative that is both safer and that is actually colored to match your teeth. Ask us about replacing any old fillings you have with composite resin tooth colored fillings.

There you have it. You can have a Hollywood smile. There’s just one thing stopping you now; pick up your cell phone and call us to discuss your options. We can help you get a TV-grade grin. What are you waiting for?

 

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What is Gum Reshaping?

Gum reshaping, or gum contouring, is perfect for our patients that are unhappy with how their smile looks. If your smile seems like it’s all gums – or all teeth – it’s possible that gum reshaping could give you the smile makeover you’ve been wishing you always had.

This article looks at gum reshaping, a standard part of Preferred Family Dentistry’s treatment options, and one that dozens of Las Vegas residents have taken advantage of.

 

Las Vegas Cosmetic Dentistry – Gum Contouring

While there are a variety of cosmetic procedures for your teeth, there is one that can actually change the look of your “gummy” smile. Gum reshaping is a contouring process for the tissue around your teeth. It has a lot of names:

  • Gum reshaping
  • Gum contouring
  • Tissue sculpting

No matter the name, this procedure is a good way to smooth out an uneven gum line. People come to Preferred Family Dentistry’s team for this procedure frequently; many times these patients have despaired of ever having a smile to be proud of.

When the gum line covers too much of your teeth, it can make them look like tiny “baby teeth.” Or, gums that are too high can give your teeth a “horsey” appearance. These issues can be caused by genetics, health problems, certain prescription medications, or periodontal disease.

 

Why Have Gum Contouring

If you’ve been embarrassed by your smile, this is a cosmetic procedure that can produce startling changes in your smile fairly quickly. However, gum contouring can also be part of a periodontal treatment regimen that is necessary to improve your health.

Gum reshaping is a minimally-invasive surgical procedure that could include adding tissue to the gums when they have receded from the tooth too far. Or, it could include the trimming of overgrown tissue that is covering too much of the tooth. 

 

What Happens During Gum Reshaping?

Some gum reshaping can be done with just a local anesthetic. The procedure is always done as outpatient work in our office, even if the patient requires anesthetic. We use a number of different tools to conduct the procedure, but you won’t feel a thing, and the procedure requires very little recovery time.

We start the process by marking on your gums how the new gum line will be reshaped. The day of the surgery, you should limit your activities, and it may take a couple weeks for your gums to heal completely. Typically, the patient recovers well from the surgery and within a month will have a brand new smile to show off. Over-the-counter pain relievers like Advil or Tylenol can help alleviate the minimal discomfort patients typically experience. It’s also wise to eat non-spicy foods, such as:

  • Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Pasta
  • Soft veggies
  • Mashed potatoes
  • Ice cream
  • Cottage cheese

Every procedure is individualized to the patient, so your recovery time will vary along with any other cosmetic procedures that we do in addition to the gum contouring.

Contact Preferred Family Dentistry for a confidential consultation of the cost, process, and outcomes possible when receiving any of our cosmetic procedures.

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