4 Things That Can Happen If You Don’t Brush Your Teeth Regularly

The American Dental Association, along with your dentist in Reno, recommends brushing your teeth for at least two minutes, twice a day, every day. However, many people don’t brush their teeth as often as they should. This can increase the risk of developing some serious oral problems. 

1. Cavities

The most common oral health problem that can happen when you don’t brush your teeth regularly is cavities. Cavities occur when the bacteria in your mouth feed on food debris and release acid. This acid can wear down tooth enamel and decay teeth. The result? A brand new cavity. If treated by your dentist in Reno quickly, a cavity is often an easy fix. However, if the cavity becomes too large and affects the inner workings of the tooth, you may need a root canal or additional treatment.  

2. Bad Breath

Another likely side effect of not brushing your teeth is bad breath. The same bacteria that cause cavities can also carry a pretty pungent smell, and the more bacteria there are, the worse the smell. One of the best ways to avoid bad breath is to brush your teeth twice a day. 

3. Gum Disease

Gum disease, also called periodontal disease, is an infection of the gum tissues. It’s often caused by poor oral hygiene habits, such as not brushing your teeth or flossing as often as you should. When you don’t brush regularly, plaque builds up on teeth, can harden into tartar, and provide a nice environment for bacteria to thrive. These bacteria can work their way into your gums and cause an infection. Gum disease can be treated if caught early, but if it’s left alone too long it can contribute to other health problems such as heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. 

4. Tooth Loss

Untreated gum disease is scary enough since it can lead to other problems throughout the body. However, to make matters worse, gum disease can also lead to tooth loss. Losing natural, adult teeth can mean even more oral health and overall health problems. A jaw bone can deteriorate, chewing power becomes limited, and self-confidence lowers. Thankfully, there are ways to replace teeth such as dentures, dental implants, or even implant-retained dentures. 

We understand that it can be easy to skip brushing your teeth, especially if you’re running late in the morning or are extremely tired at night. However, we always recommend doing everything you can to get a thorough brush in both morning and night. Additionally, we encourage you to see your dentist in Reno every six months for regular checkups and cleanings. 

3 Things You Should Do If Your Filling Falls Out

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 90% of American adults have had at least one cavity in their lifetime. Most of the time, these cavities will be fixed with a filling from your dentist in Reno. While dental fillings are tough restorations, there is a chance that they can fail or fall out. So what do you do if you lose a filling? 

Lose a Filling? Don’t Panic. 

If you lose a filling, don’t panic. Oftentimes it can be fixed quickly and easily by your dentist in Reno. There are also several steps you can take prior to your appointment to help ease any discomfort and protect your teeth. 

  1. Loose Fillings

First, let’s talk about what to do if your filling is loose but hasn’t yet fallen out on its own. If your filling comes loose, we always recommend removing it as soon as possible as long as you can do without tools. Loose fillings can wiggle out on their own, putting you at risk of swallowing choking. 

  1. Schedule An Appointment, Take Precautions

As soon as you realize that you’ve lost a filling or that one is about to come out, schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno. Prior to your visit, there are few things you should do to protect your tooth from harmful bacteria settling into the crevice. 

  • Brush your teeth gently
  • Rinse your mouth with water
  • Use over-the-counter pain medication to ease discomfort
  • Be wary of temporary dental cement — it could make problems worse
  1. Eat Wisely

We use our teeth every single day to help chew our foods, but if you lose a filling, this can be a bit difficult. Before you get your filling, make sure to steer clear of sticky, sugary foods that can get stuck in the old filling area. Also, be cautious with hot or cold foods as the area may be extra sensitive. 

Signs of a Lost Filling

Knowing the signs of a lost filling can help you seek treatment quickly. Some signs include: 

  • Feeling a hole in your tooth
  • Sensitivity
  • Food buildup in a tooth with a restoration
  • Crunching down on a hard particle while eating 

It’s always best to see your dentist as soon as you can if you lose a filling or think one is about to fall out. Early treatment is the best way to fix a filling before other problems have a chance to develop. Remember, these tips above are only suggestions for temporary relief and not a permanent solution. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Reno to get your tooth fixed properly. 

How Sports Drinks Can Damage Teeth 

As the weather warms up and we’re spending more time outside in the heat, we tend to get thirstier than normal. Many of us may turn to our favorite sports drinks to rehydrate after a day in the sun or after a tough workout. While these beverages can help replace lost electrolytes due to sweating, they can also damage teeth if consumed too often. Let’s join your dentist in Reno to see how sports drinks can damage teeth.  

Acid Is As Bad As Sugar

You’ll hear your dentist talk about enjoying sugary drinks in moderation, but they should also talk to you about doing the same with acidic beverages such as sports drinks. Even though many sports drinks don’t contain high amounts of sugar, they do tend to be acidic. This acid can attack tooth enamel and leave teeth at risk for decay. But that’s not all. Once tooth enamel is gone, it doesn’t come back so teeth remain at risk. 

Cavities

As enamel is worn down, it makes it easier for bacteria to settle into teeth. These bacteria feed on food particles and release an acidic byproduct which further exacerbates the problem. The more this cycle repeats, the more likely it is for cavities to develop and require treatment from your dentist in Reno. But if this treatment isn’t sought early, what was once a simple filling can become something more complicated.  

Root Canals, Abscesses, and More

If a cavity isn’t treated quickly, a small cavity can easily become a big cavity that affects the inner workings of the tooth. If the decay hits your roots, it will be painful and may require a root canal from your dentist. This treatment will ease pain and prevent the decay from causing even more problems. Now, if a tooth that needs a root canal is left alone, it may develop a painful infection called an abscess, or worse, the tooth may require extraction. 

Symptoms of Decay

If you know the symptoms of decay, you can get treatment early when it’s often easier. Some symptoms of decay, include: 

  • Hot or cold sensitivity 
  • Toothaches
  • Pain when biting
  • Holes in the teeth 

Experiencing any of the above should be a sign that you need to see your dentist in Reno

The best way to protect yourself from decay is to enjoy sugary and acidic foods and drinks in moderation, brush and floss your teeth every day, and see your dentist at least twice a year from preventive dentistry checkups. If you’re due for a visit, call today to schedule an appointment. 

Is Tooth Discoloration Bad? 

If you notice that your teeth aren’t quite as white as they used to be, or if there’s a sudden appearance of brown, yellowish, or black spots, you have every right to be concerned. After all, we all want to have bright, white smiles we’re proud to show off. But if your smile is less than its ideal shade of white, your dentist in Reno can help. 

What Causes Tooth Staining? 

Before we can dive into ways to fix a dull or discolored smile, we need to understand what caused it in the first place. There are several lifestyle factors, as well as health conditions, that can contribute to tooth discoloration. The root cause varies from person to person, and the treatment will differ as well. So let’s take a look at some of the most common things that can cause teeth to darken. 

  • Lifestyle Factors

Perhaps the most common reasons behind a change in tooth color are things we do in our lives every day. The foods we eat, the medicines we take, and the habits we may have all play a role in tooth discoloration. For example, red wine drinkers may experience darkening of the teeth because of the staining properties in the wine itself. What’s more, is that everyday things such as a morning cup of tea or coffee and certain medications can also cause discoloration. Lastly, those who use tobacco products are more likely to not only have tooth staining but also additional dental concerns that will require treatment from your Reno dentist.  

  • Dental Health Contributors

However, it’s not always a lifestyle factor that leads to tooth discoloration. Overall oral and overall health complications can also darken teeth. There are various health conditions that can cause this including:

  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Dental materials such as amalgam or metal fillings
  • Sudden trauma to the face or teeth
  • Genetics
  • Aging
  • Certain diseases and their treatments such as cancer radiation

Color Variations Can Be Normal 

It’s important to note that each person’s natural tooth color varies, so don’t base your smile on what you see in others. If your regular checkups with your dentist in Reno are always good and there are no signs of trouble, you may just have naturally darker teeth. However, if it bothers you, your dentist can recommend smile whitening treatments to help transform your look. Some forms of cosmetic dentistry that can whiten teeth include: 

  • In-office professional smile whitening 
  • Dental bonding
  • Crowns
  • Veneers

Not all treatments are appropriate for each case, so talk with your dentist about the best way to whiten your smile.

If you’re concerned about the way your smile looks and are searching for ways to get whiter teeth, talk with your dentist in Reno. It’s especially important to have this discussion prior to starting treatment on your own such as over-the-counter whitening treatments. 

Allergies & Cavities

Pollen counts are high, eyes are itchy, noses are drippy, and sinuses everywhere are stuffy. It’s allergy season, and even though allergies don’t directly cause cavities, allergies can still be concerning for your dentist in Reno. In fact, the way our bodies react to allergens can put us at increased risk for decay and other dental problems. 

Stuffy Noses = Mouth Breathing

Thanks to an overproduction of mucus, one of the most common side effects of allergies is a stuffed-up nose, which can make it difficult to breathe. As a natural response, we will automatically shift to breathing out of our mouths rather than our noses. Now, while our bodies will thank us for the oxygen, our teeth, and your dentist in Reno, may have something else to say. 

Mouth Breathing Leads to Cavities 

Remember when we said that allergies themselves don’t cause cavities but the symptoms of allergies can? Mouth breathing is one of those symptoms. You see, when we breathe out of our mouths instead of our noses, our mouths dry out faster than normal. Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva, and a healthy mouth needs saliva to stay healthy. Without it, bad bacteria can linger around and cause bad breath, wear away at protective tooth enamel and cause cavities, and can even result in gum disease. Additionally, mouth breathing as a child can cause a gummy smile or even problems with facial development. 

Tooth Pain

We already know that allergies can cause an overproduction of mucus, but this excessive amount of mucus can put pressure on the sinuses. The maxillary sinuses in particular can cause some unwanted and unexpected molar pain. How? Well, the roots and nerves of the back teeth are so close to the maxillary sinuses that sinus inflammation can put pressure on the nerves and cause discomfort. 

Allergy Medicine Can Help… And Hurt

Most allergy sufferers will take allergy medication to alleviate the uncomfortable side effects of a flare-up. While these medications can relieve some of the stuffiness, itchiness, and drippiness, they too can sometimes cause dry mouth. But lucky for you, your dentist in Reno knows a few tricks that can reduce the likelihood of experiencing negative side effects of dry mouth, such as: 

  • Chewing sugar-free gum
  • Using lubricating mouthwash
  • Drinking water
  • Sleeping with a humidifier in your bedroom

Never stop any medication recommended by your doctor without first talking about it. 

If you’re concerned that your allergies or allergy medication is causing dry mouth and putting your oral health at risk, or you’re experiencing unexplainable molar pain, we welcome you to call us to schedule an appointment. 

Does Acid Reflux Cause Cavities?

Acid reflux is a condition that originates in the stomach, but that doesn’t mean it can’t affect other parts of the body. In fact, acid reflux is one of many whole-body problems that concern your dentist in Reno because of the negative way it can impact your oral health. Let’s take a closer look at what acid reflux is, how it affects your teeth, and what you can do to reduce these side effects. 

Acid Reflux: 101

Our stomachs naturally produce acids to help break down food and aid in digestion. But when these acids find their way up into the esophagus and into the mouth, there can be quite a few unwanted side effects. First, acid reflux sufferers often complain of a burning sensation in the chest, also known as heartburn. This uncomfortable feeling can be painful and come along with a sour taste in your mouth, excessive burping, or a sore throat. Next, acid reflux can cause damage to teeth, oftentimes without the person ever knowing it. 

What Does Acid Reflux Do To Teeth? 

There’s a reason why your dentist in Reno cautions patients against eating or drinking anything acidic too often. Basically, acid is bad for teeth, and stomach acid is no different. When stomach acid creeps its way up into the mouth, it can easily wear down tooth enamel, also called tooth erosion. Without this protective layer of strong enamel, teeth are put at increased risk for decay, cavities, sensitive teeth, and discoloration. And that’s not all. Once erosion occurs, you can’t get enamel back. Your dentist will need to look at your specific case and find the best way to fix tooth erosion for you. Some treatments may include: 

  • Dental bonding
  • Dental crowns
  • Root Canal
  • Fillings

Reduce Your Risk 

Thanks to advancements in medications, acid reflux can often be treated with daily medication. However, your dentist and your physician or gastroenterologist may also recommend additional precautions such as: 

  • Using a fluoride toothpaste designed to strengthen enamel
  • Quitting smoking and drinking alcohol to reduce acid reflux episodes
  • Avoiding acidic or spicy foods and drinks
  • Chewing sugar-free gum 
  • Swishing your mouth with water after eating
  • Drinking plenty of water throughout the day
  • Waiting an hour to brush your teeth after you eat or drink something acidic
  • Seeing your dentist in Reno every six months to catch any problems early. 

Even though we recommend that everyone visits the dentist at least twice a year, it’s even more important for those with acid reflux. Since acid reflux can cause tooth damage without any signs or symptoms, your dentist in Reno should keep a close eye on your oral health so any potential problems are caught and treated early. 

3 Tips for a Picture-Perfect (or Zoom-Perfect) Smile

As much of the world has transitioned from in-person meetings to Zoom meetings, people have all of a sudden started looking at themselves way more than they ever did before. While video meetings such as Zoom can be a great help in today’s confusing world, it can be uncomfortable staring at yourself day in and day out. It may also have sparked some additional insecurities about your appearance and your smile. Don’t worry, your dentist in Reno is here to help.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Reno

Cosmetic dentistry is no longer reserved for movie stars and celebrities. In fact, cosmetic dentistry services are one of the most commonly requested services at dental offices across the country. Thanks to advances in technology, there’s now a cosmetic dentistry solution to fit any desire and any budget. But there is some homework you’ll want to do first before you dive into cosmetic dentistry. 

  • Figure Out What You Want to Change

Your dentist is there to help you achieve the smile of your dreams, so it’s important to have an idea of what you’d like to change or which areas of your smile you don’t particularly like. Before you schedule an appointment with a cosmetic dentist in Reno, consider the following questions: 

  • Are you bothered by the color of your teeth? 
  • Do you wish your teeth were straighter? 
  • Do you have older dental restorations that don’t match with the rest of your teeth?
  • Are small gaps in your teeth making you feel self-conscious?
  • Is the shape of your teeth ideal or are some too long or too short? 

Once you’re able to identify specifically what you’d like to change, you can find a dentist to help you achieve your ideal smile. 

  • Finding the Best Cosmetic Dentist Near You

With so many dental offices to pick from, how do you find the best dentist to help you with cosmetic dentistry? We always recommend you start by asking friends, family, or co-workers for any advice. Then, head online and read reviews, look at websites, and check out before and after photos. This should narrow down your list to a select few. Once you’ve decided on a dentist, schedule a consultation. 

  • Consider Which Cosmetic Dentistry Treatments You May Want  

Cosmetic dentistry is a broad term that describes several different dental treatments that can transform the look of individual teeth or the entire smile. The right cosmetic dentistry solution for you will depend on what you want to change and the current state of your oral health. Sometimes, your dentist will recommend a combination of cosmetic dentistry treatments to achieve the look you want. Three of the most common types of cosmetic dentistry include: 

  • Teeth Whitening – This is best if you’re unhappy with the color of your teeth and wish they were whiter. The best smile whitening treatment is often done by your dentist in Reno as you can typically whiten several shades at one easy appointment. 
  • Veneers – If you want a whiter smile but you’ve been told that smile whitening won’t work for you, your dentist may recommend dental veneers. These thin pieces of porcelain can cover the front surface of one or several teeth and are custom-created to match other teeth. Veneers can also hide imperfections such as chips or breaks, gaps, or unevenness. 
  • Bonding – Dental bonding is another option that can correct discoloration in those where traditional tooth whitening won’t work. It can also fix minor chips, cracks, or gaps. 

Your smile can play a key role in your self-confidence, so if your Zoom meetings have you feeling down about your smile or cosmetic dentistry has been something you’ve been thinking about for a while, schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation with your dentist in Reno today and start smiling proudly! 

Healthy Nutrition: Fuel Your Body, Protect Your Smile

Eating a well-balanced diet, including plenty of fruits and vegetables, can go a long way in reducing the risk of serious health concerns such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity. Yet according to the CDC, less than 10% of American adults are getting enough vegetables and only 12% are eating the recommended amount of fruits. This is one reason why the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics sponsors National Nutrition Month every March, and it’s an event also supported by your dentist in Reno. After all, nutrition doesn’t only affect whole-body health, it also affects oral health. 

National Nutrition Month

The purpose of National Nutrition Month is to help raise awareness of how eating right can help fuel your body and protect your health. But is nutrition so complicated that it requires an entire 31 days and a whole awareness campaign? In short, yes, nutrition can be complicated, which may explain why many Americans don’t eat a well-balanced diet. 

Nutrition 101

We know we should eat our vegetables. We know we should avoid high-fat foods. Yet many of us don’t get close to eating enough of what we should and eat more of what we shouldn’t. How can this be? Well, the truth is, nutrition is confusing. So much so that the Food Pyramid Guide from the United States Department of Agriculture has changed two times since it was originally created in 1992. Nutritional standards don’t fall into a one-size-fits-all recommendation, and food group intakes vary based on gender, age, height, weight, and activity level, among other things. This is where a site like MyPlate can help. Input your information and find your individual nutritional needs so you can start to find foods that fit your needs. Eating properly can help your body function well, protect your health, and, as your dentist in Reno knows, protect your smile. 

Eat Well, Smile Well

Research shows a strong correlation between whole-body health and oral health. This connection extends to include what we eat. After all, those who eat a balanced diet are often healthier and also typically have better oral health. When choosing foods for you and your family, look to pick options that are both recommended in your MyPlate account and ones that can also help your smile. Some smile-friendly foods include: 

  • Cheese
  • Fatty Fish
  • Poultry
  • Vegetables
  • Water

When in doubt, pick foods that you know are good for your body. Chances are, they’re also good for your teeth. 

A Note About Sugar

It’s no secret that your dentist in Reno doesn’t like sugar, but you should know that sweet treats packed with sugar aren’t only dangerous to your teeth, they can also put your overall health at risk. Sugar is a high-calorie food, and when consumed in large amounts it can cause weight gain and increase the risk of heart disease. However, it’s not only sweet foods that show a high sugar content on the label that are concerning. Foods that are high in carbohydrates can also affect your body and your teeth similarly to sugars. Try your best to limit the amount of sugar and carbohydrates in your diet. 

Eating well is one of the best ways to protect your body from disease. It’s also one of the best ways to protect your teeth. So this National Nutrition Month, commit to finding your individual nutritional needs and stick to eating well. 

Why Does My Tooth Hurt? 

Waking up with tooth pain is a feeling like no other. The throbbing zings of pain can make it nearly impossible to think about anything else other than getting relief. Tooth pain can be an indicator of a serious problem and you should see your dentist in Reno for any toothache that doesn’t go away. But in the meantime, here’s some helpful information about different types of tooth pain and what each could mean. 

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity is often explained as a quick burst of pain when something hot or cold touches your teeth, such as a zing of pain with your sip of hot, delicious coffee, or a bolt of discomfort with a spoonful of your favorite ice cream. The feeling may be short-lived or it could linger around for minutes or longer. 

What It Means

Tooth sensitivity could be a sign of: 

  • Receding gums
  • Worn enamel
  • Tooth decay
  • Cracked tooth

Dull Ache

This type of tooth pain can either affect one tooth, several teeth, or can even be felt in your jaw. While this pain may not be constant and may seem to come and go, it’s still important to get it checked by your dentist in Reno to find out what’s causing the pain and the best way to relieve it once and for all. 

What It Means

A dull ache could be a sign of: 

  • Decay
  • Something stuck in the gums or teeth
  • Clenching or grinding
  • Abscess

Sharp Pain

A more intense type of tooth pain described as sharp or even stabbing. The pain may not always be apparent but gets worse or is initially felt upon biting down or applying pressure. Like most toothaches, those accompanied by sharp pain require a dental visit before the problem has a chance to get worse. 

What It Means

Sharp pain could be a sign of: 

  • Chipped tooth
  • Fractured tooth
  • Damage to an existing dental restoration
  • Cavities

Throbbing 

This type of tooth pain is typically constant and can affect your everyday life. Some patients describe this pain as a constant thumping of pain. The pain can be localized to one tooth or area, or can spread to other parts of your mouth including your jaw or face. Since this pain can be so debilitating we recommend seeing your dentist in Reno as soon as possible. 

What It Means

Throbbing pain could be a sign of: 

  • Gum disease
  • Broken tooth
  • Infection
  • Something stuck in the gums

The information above isn’t meant to diagnose any toothaches but can be used to help determine what you should do. Most of the time, tooth pain that doesn’t go away for two or more days requires an appointment with your dentist.

Can Your Dentist Tell If You Smoke? 

Many smokers try to disguise their habit by covering up the smell with gum, mints, or mouthwash. But the truth is, your dentist in Reno can probably still tell that you’re a smoker even if you don’t share that information. In actuality, there’s a lot your dentist can tell about you and your health simply by looking in your mouth. 

Your bi-annual dental visits are a great opportunity for both you and your dentist to catch up, share and discuss any changes that may have happened in your oral or overall health, and for your dental team to thoroughly clean and exam your teeth. But did you know that it’s important to share your habits and health history with your dentist? It’s true! Talking with your dentist about things, even if you’re embarrassed by them, can help make your dental care better. Additionally, there are even some things your dentist can tell about you even if you choose not to disclose that information.  

3 Things Your Dentist Already Knows

  • You Bite Your Nails

Your dentist in Reno doesn’t need to be a trained manicurist to know that you bite your nails. How? Nail biters tend to have tiny chips and cracks in their teeth more often than those who don’t bite their nails. And that’s not all. A nail biter’s front teeth can appear worn down, shortened, or flat. Both of these side effects of nail-biting are concerning as they can lead to other problems. Chips and cracks provide a place for bacteria to nest, increasing the risk of decay. These tiny imperfections can also become bigger over time and cause sensitivity and broken teeth. Lastly, the change in tooth shape can throw off your bite and cause jaw pain for TMD/TMJ disorder. 

  • You Only Floss Right Before Your Appointments

While we’re impressed with your last-minute flossing session and we appreciate the attempt, we will know if this is the only time, or one of the only times, since you’ve flossed since your last appointment. The truth is, while you probably did a good job at removing anything that was lingering in between your teeth, your gums can still tell on you. When you don’t floss regularly, your gums will often be red and puffy and will most likely bleed during your hygiene visit. A common misconception is that everyone’s gums bleed at the dentist, and this simply isn’t true. Healthy gums that are flossed regularly won’t bleed. 

  • You Don’t Brush Your Teeth

Patients that don’t brush their teeth twice a day, every day, or those who do a bad job at thoroughly brushing will have several tell-tale signs that your dentist in Reno will see immediately. The proof is in both the health of your gums as well as what’s left lingering on your teeth. Avid brushers typically have healthy, pink gums and minimal tartar buildup whereas casual brushers usually show larger areas of tartar and red, swollen gums. 

We always encourage you to share any habits or concerns with your dentist in Reno. Don’t be afraid to talk to your dental team, even if it’s something you feel like you should hide. Your dentist, like your physician, is a crucial part of your healthcare team, and the more they know, the better they can care for your teeth and overall health.