What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is a form of gum disease that affects nearly 75% of Americans at some point in their lives. Usually, when gum disease is caught in this stage it can be treated and any damage can be reversed. But if it’s left alone it can quickly progress into more severe stages of gum disease and actually affect your overall health. In fact, research shows that more serious forms of gum disease can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, and stroke. This is one reason why it’s so important to see your dentist in Reno at least every six months. 

Gum Disease, Gingivitis, and Periodontitis

Let’s start by quickly taking a look at the confusing world of gum disease. Gum disease is a term used to describe an infection in the gums. However, not all forms of gum disease are the same. There are three stages of gum disease: 

  • Gingivitis — The first and mildest stage of gum disease.
  • Periodontitis — The second stage of gum disease. Damage that occurs here can’t be reversed
  • Advanced Periodontitis — The most severe stage of gum disease which can lead to tooth loss. 

What Causes Gingivitis?

Everything has to begin somewhere, and gum disease begins with gingivitis. This early stage of gum disease occurs with too much plaque builds up on teeth and up under the gums. Plaque, which occurs naturally in the mouth, is a sticky film that adheres to the teeth. Usually, it can be removed by brushing and flossing. However, when it’s not removed, the bacteria found in plaque can wiggle into the gum tissue and cause an infection. There are several things that increase someone’s risk of gingivitis including: 

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Tobacco use
  • Chronic dry mouth 
  • Hormonal changes
  • Crooked, hard-to-clean teeth

If you notice any signs of gingivitis, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno as soon as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment are key to successfully treating gingivitis before it can progress into more severe forms of gum disease. 

Signs of Gingivitis

What makes gum disease so hard to detect, especially in the early form of gingivitis, is that sometimes there are no symptoms. This is why it’s so important to see your dentist in Reno at least every six months for checkups. Your dental team can catch what you may not see and get you treatment early. However, when there are signs of gingivitis, you may notice: 

  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing
  • Bad breath
  • Receding gums
  • Red, swollen, painful gums

Treating Gingivitis 

As we’ve mentioned, treating gingivitis early is key to successfully reversing the disease and any damage it may have caused. This may include a deep cleaning from your dental hygienist and/or the use of prescription medications. It’s important to know that gingivitis can’t be treated at home and requires a dental professional. 

We welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment if you’re overdue for a dental checkup or suspect you may have gum disease. We’re here to help. 

Can Wearing a Mask Cause Cavities? 

Even though 2020 is over and we can start to leave a lot of that crazy year behind us, one thing remains a constant in our everyday lives — face masks. Masks have become commonplace throughout the United States to help minimize the spread of COVID-19 and are seen everywhere we go. From grocery stores to department stores, facemasks are here to stay (at least for a little while longer). But daily, long-term use of masks may cause some concerns for your dentist in Reno

*An Important Note About Facemasks 

Before we dive any further, we need to be clear that what we’re about to discuss does not outweigh the importance of continuing to wear a mask when in public or around other people. Please continue wearing masks when appropriate and use the provided tips to help combat any concerns we cover herein. 

Mouth Breathing

Most of us were not used to ever wearing a mask, let alone wearing them daily and for hours at a time. Because of this, some of our bodies needed to adjust to this new norm. One of the most common ways we adjusted was to start breathing out of our mouths instead of our noses. However, while this type of breathing may feel more comfortable, it is what concerns your dentist in Reno.

Mouth breathing, whether due to wearing a mask or for other reasons such as a stuffy nose, can quickly dry out saliva. This reduction in saliva will cause our mouths to dry out and feel uncomfortable. But the discomfort of dry mouth isn’t the only thing that’s concerning. Without saliva, bad bacteria and acids are left behind which can increase the risk of decay and other problems.  

Bad Breath & Cavities

The bacteria and acid buildup that often occurs as a side effect of dry mouth puts our teeth at risk for decay and cavities. Since dangerous acid is left behind and not neutralized by saliva, the acid can wear away at the enamel, making it easy for bacteria to settle in and cause cavities. Additionally, these same bacteria will feed on anything left behind in the mouth and continue to produce even more acid, and the cycle continues. What’s more, is these bacteria will also produce a smelly byproduct and can cause bad breath. 

Avoiding Dry Mouth

Now, while the above may seem concerning, the good news about all of this is that your dentist in Reno knows of some simple things you can do to reduce the risk of dry mouth and the concerns that go along with it including: 

  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day to keep the mouth hydrated and moist. 
  • Sucking on sugar-free hard candies or chewing gum with Xylitol. Both of these tricks can stimulate saliva production. 
  • Brushing and flossing every day to help remove bacteria buildup. 

Dry mouth can be more than uncomfortable, but there are ways your dentist in Reno can help. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to find the best dry mouth solution for you.

Celebrate The New Year With a New Smile

We have officially rung in the new year, which means all of the resolutions are in full effect. During this time, many people commit to transforming their lives. Whether they’ve resolved to eat healthier, lose weight, or stop smoking, the new year provides a fresh start and gives people a view of a better life. It’s also a time that you can resolve to work with your dentist in Reno to get a new smile that you’re proud of. 

Cosmetic Dentistry 

Did you know that more than one-third of Americans don’t like the way their smile looks? That’s a lot of people hiding their smiles behind closed lips. If you’re one of those people, you don’t have to live with a smile you’re unhappy with. Your dentist in Reno can help you find your perfect smile with cosmetic dentistry. 

Cosmetic dentistry includes various treatments that are designed to transform smiles. Whether you want to brighten your teeth or completely change the appearance of your grin, there’s a cosmetic dentistry solution that’s right for you. 

If You Want Whiter Teeth

Things like regular wear and tear, tobacco use, and even foods and drinks can take a once bright, white smile and make it dull and discolored. In fact, tooth discoloration is one of the most common complaints of dental patients. But there’s good news. Most tooth discoloration can be fixed through teeth whitening. While there are many teeth whitening products available, not all products will give you the result you want and there may be some that aren’t high quality. We always recommend meeting with your dentist before starting a smile whitening treatment on your own. 

If You Want a More Even Smile

Dental veneers are another form of cosmetic dentistry that can quickly and easily transform the look of your teeth and smile as a whole. These thin pieces of ceramic are individually custom-made to give each tooth an ideal shape and color for a totally natural look. Veneers bonded to the front surface of your teeth can cover up things such as discoloration, chips or cracks, and can even help fix uneven or overlapping teeth. 

If You Only Need a Tiny Fix 

Oftentimes there are small imperfections that are just big enough to bother you and if you could easily fix them, you would. Well, the good news is, your dentist in Reno can do just that. If your teeth are resistant to traditional teeth whitening solutions or if you have smaller chips you may be a candidate for cosmetic bonding. Your dentist will essentially cover the area with safe composite material and shape and harden it into a natural restoration. 

If You Want a Completely New Look

Patients who are unhappy with the overall appearance of their smile may want to consider a full-mouth restoration or smile makeover. This cosmetic dentistry solution combines several treatments and can completely transform your look. Your dentist will talk with you about what you’d like to achieve and develop a custom plan to make your dream smile a reality. 

Nobody should have to live hiding their smile behind their lips. Make a commitment to yourself to talk with your dentist in Reno about the best cosmetic dentistry treatment for your specific wants. You deserve a smile you love and we’d be happy to help you. 

Whole-Body Benefits of Good Oral Health

You may have heard the saying that the eyes are the window to the soul. While that may be true, your dentist in Reno wants you to know that the mouth is in fact the window to overall health. Years of research continues to show just how important oral health is to overall health and how issues with your teeth or gums could increase your risk for more severe health issues elsewhere in your body, which makes proper oral hygiene even more important. 

What Oral Health Can Say About Overall Health

Your mouth can actually give your dentist in Reno a glimpse at what may be happening in other areas of your body. Several whole-body problems can even first show signs in the mouth before anywhere else… and before you even suspect a problem. In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, more than 90% of all systemic diseases display symptoms in the mouth including: 

  • HIV/AIDS
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney Disease
  • Oral Cancer

Seeing your dentist in Reno regularly can help catch these problems early and get you into treatment sooner. 

Gum Disease & Your Health

The connection between oral health and overall health doesn’t end there and goes even deeper to show a link between gum disease and other diseases throughout the body. According to the Mayo Clinic, gum disease is often related to other health issues such as:

  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Preterm births
  • Pneumonia
  • Alzheimer’s disease and dementia 

Protect Your Teeth, Protect Your Health

Having good oral health clearly has whole-body benefits, so it’s more important than ever to practice good oral hygiene habits. Make sure to:

  • Brush your teeth for two minutes, twice a day. 
  • Floss daily to remove bacteria from hard-to-reach places that brushing alone won’t reach.
  • Keep sugary foods and drinks to a minimum and focus on eating a diet rich with vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and proteins.
  • Avoid tobacco use.
  • See your dentist every six months. 

If it’s been a while since you’ve seen a dentist, we’re here to help. Our welcoming team is dedicated to caring for each and every one of our patients, no matter what. There is no judgment in our office, only genuine care and an unwavering commitment to oral and overall health. Call today to schedule an appointment.

Stay Hydrated, Help Your Teeth

Our bodies are made up of about 60% water, so it’s fair to say that we absolutely need to drink plenty of water each and every day to help our bodies perform at their optimal level. In fact, drinking water and staying hydrated helps organs function properly, aids in digestion, keeps joints well lubricated, and can even help fight off illness. But your dentist in Reno wants you to know there are also oral benefits to staying hydrated.

Fights Off Damaging Acids

Everyone naturally has mouth bacteria, but not everyone knows that some of these bacteria are some of the most harmful things for our teeth. As we eat throughout the day, mouth bacteria are getting a feast of their own through the food particles left behind in our mouths. The longer the food is left lingering around, the more the bacteria will consume. As a byproduct of this feeding frenzy, bacteria will give off an acid. This acid, if not removed, will attack the protective layer of teeth and cause decay and cavities. However, if we choose to drink water as we eat, we can help lower this risk. Water helps wash away the source of the bacteria’s meal and without these leftovers to feed on, no acid is produced by the bacteria. Additionally, drinking water immediately after our meals will neutralize any acids that may already be at work attacking the enamel. 

Keeps Mouths Moist

Drinking water throughout the day will also help keep our mouths moist, which is key to maintaining good oral health. If our mouths are too dry it means that not enough saliva is being produced. Without saliva, bacteria are able to flourish, feeding on anything we eat and releasing acids over and over. This increases the risk of developing decay and cavities which may require dental treatment from your dentist in Reno. But that’s not all, dry mouth can also feel uncomfortable and cause chronic bad breath. Keep in mind, dry mouth can be caused by dehydration, but it can also be a result of certain medications, mouth breathing, or smoking. While not all cases of dry mouth are easily solved by drinking plenty of water, it’s not a bad habit to pick up and it certainly can’t hurt. 

Builds Strong Teeth

Drinking water, specifically fluoridated water, can further protect teeth through a process called remineralization. Our teeth’s protective layer of enamel gets worn down over time, whether as a result of too much acid, tooth grinding, or simply time. But drinking water containing fluoride can help remineralize, or rebuild, the lost enamel for better protection. Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that’s organically found in some foods. Over time, researchers have found that higher levels of fluoride resulted in lower levels of tooth decay. That’s why fluoride has been added to many public water systems. Patients can also get fluoride from their toothpaste, through foods or drinks that have been fortified with fluoride, or from their dentist in Reno.  

Water is such a simple thing, but it’s one that can make a big difference in both overall and oral health. Make sure each member of your family drinks at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each and every day.

Dental Emergencies vs. Non-Emergencies

As of March 18, 2020, the American Dental Association has recommended a nationwide postponement of all elective dental procedures and encouraged dentists to provide emergency services only. But how do you determine the difference between a dental emergency and a non-emergency? The ADA is helping out there, too and released important information and guidance to help both you and your dentist in Reno during these unprecedented times. 

What Are Dental Emergencies?

According to the ADA, dental emergencies are “potentially life-threatening and require immediate treatment to stop ongoing tissue bleeding [or to] alleviate severe pain or infection.” The guide released to dentists back in March goes into even more detail to give specific examples of potential dental emergencies. Let’s take a look. 

  • Uncontrolled bleeding
  • Cellulitis or soft tissue infection with swelling that can affect breathing 
  • Trauma to facial bones that may reduce someone’s ability to breathe

Urgent Dental Care

There is also a subset of the ADA’s guidelines to emergency dental needs called urgent dental care. These problems may still require dental care quickly and include: 

  • Severe dental pain caused by pulpal inflammation
  • Third-molar pain
  • Tooth fractures with pain or resulting in soft tissue trauma
  • Post-op complications such as dry socket 
  • Abscess or localized bacterial infection with swelling
  • Dental trauma that results in a lost tooth 
  • Lost or broken temporary restoration or if a restoration is irritating the gum tissue

This is not an all-inclusive list of all dental emergencies that may require immediate treatment. Other situations may include defective restorations that cause pain, extensive cavities or decay that cause pain, needed adjustments to dental appliances when they aren’t functioning properly, or the replacement of temporary fillings where the patient is in pain. 

Non-Emergencies

At this time, dental offices are discouraged from having preventive, routine appointments or seeing patients with non-urgent needs such as: 

  • Initial consultation for cosmetic procedures
  • Restorative dentistry such as fillings if there is no pain
  • Extractions of teeth that are not causing pain
  • Dental cleanings, x-rays, and routine checkups. 

Please note, while your dentist in Reno is here to help you in any way possible, there are some limitations as to what we can and cannot do at this time. The best thing to do if you think you’re experiencing a dental emergency is to call your dentist. 

*As information about COVID-19 changes regularly both at the state level and on a national scale, please check your local area for the most recent updates regarding dental care.

Protect Your Heart, See Your Dentist in Reno

Seeing your dentist in Reno in order to protect your heart may seem like strange advice, but in fact, there is a strong connection between oral health and heart health. To help celebrate Heart Health Month this February, we’d like to educate our patients and neighbors on just how important regular dental care is to protect not only your mouth but also your heart.   

The Link Between Gum Disease and Heart Disease

The main connection between oral health and heart health lies in the gums. Years of research support a positive correlation between gum disease and the increased risk for complications with heart health. In fact, the Academy of General Dentistry states that those with gum disease are more likely to suffer a heart attack than those without gum disease. But how does gum health directly affect heart health? It all has to do with the way gum inflammation and infection can affect your heart. 

How Can Gum Infections Give You a Heart Attack?

Even though infection of the gums may seem like no cause for concern, nothing could be farther from the truth. Not only does gum disease put your whole body at risk for problems such as diabetic complications and lung conditions, but it can also directly affect your heart health. When gums become infected, the bacteria that caused the infection in the first place aren’t isolated to just the mouth. They can easily enter the bloodstream and cause your body to over-produce something called C-reactive protein (CRP). Increased levels of CRP is a known precursor to heart attacks. According to The New England Journal of Medicine, elevated CRP levels can be more accurate at predicting a heart attack than high cholesterol. 

Signs of Gum Disease

Knowing the signs of gum disease can go a long way in getting it treated early before your risk of other health concerns increases. Some common symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Swollen, red, or tender gums
  • Bleeding while brushing or flossing 
  • Consistently bad breath 
  • Chronic bad taste in the mouth
  • Loose teeth 
  • Gums that appear to be pulling away from the teeth

What You Do to Protect Yourself 

The best way to protect yourself from the dangers of gum disease is to practice good oral hygiene habits at home as well as visit your dentist in Reno at least twice a year for regular checkups. Make sure to brush and floss every single day to remove bacteria and plaque buildup, try to eat a well-balanced diet with limited sugary and acidic foods, and of course, avoid tobacco. It’s also important to share any health problems, changes in your health history, and medications with your dentist at each visit. 

This Heart Health Month, and every month, take the steps to protect your oral health. It may just save your life. 

Are You Leaving Areas Of Your Smile Unclean When You Brush?

Brushing your teeth at least twice a day will help you fight cavities and gum disease, and maintain an attractive appearance. So if you brush consistently, and see your dentist for regular dental checkups, you should have nothing to worry about…right? When it comes to daily oral care, you should be careful to make sure that you are thorough in your efforts. If you fail to fully clean your teeth, you can allow plaque to gather, and tartar to form. Patients can discover they need a cavity treatment despite their apparent efforts because of that inconsistency. If you want to fully clean your teeth, you need to work at it effectively. You also need to do more than just brush – to effectively reach those spaces between teeth, you need to floss. Continue reading “Are You Leaving Areas Of Your Smile Unclean When You Brush?”

3 Small Diet Changes To Help You Reduce Your Cavity Risk

Your only means of improving your cavity defense will involve making adjustments to your brushing and flossing habits…right? Actually, if you think of preventive dental care as being just about these actions, you can overlook other ways in which you might be affecting your oral health. Your diet choices can shift your cavity risk in crucial ways. How can you make sure your typical meals and snacks are doing a better job protecting your smile? You may be surprised at how little changes can have a big impact. With a new approach to snacking, or an adjustment to your standard meals, you can make sure you are less likely to need a dental filling or dental crown in the near future. Continue reading “3 Small Diet Changes To Help You Reduce Your Cavity Risk”

Are You Buying The Right Kind Of Toothpaste?

The difference between a healthy smile and cavity trouble may come down to the type of toothpaste you use. At your local grocery store or pharmacy, you likely have a wide variety of toothpaste brands available, with different products boasting different properties. Is your choice delivering on its promises? Should you switch to something more potent? If you want to make sure your toothpaste is doing its job, look for the ADA Seal Of Acceptance. This means that the product you use has been evaluated, and confirmed as effective. Any toothpaste containing this seal of approval will contain fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that will help your enamel stay strong and healthy, so you are less likely to find yourself in need of professional dental care. Continue reading “Are You Buying The Right Kind Of Toothpaste?”