Importance of Regular Dental Visits

Scheduling and keeping dental appointments every six months may seem like a burden, but these preventive checkups with your dentist in Reno are crucial to maintaining good oral health. Like most things in life, your oral health needs to be checked on regularly in order to identify potential problems before they have a chance to become bigger concerns. In fact, these visits could even save your life. Join us as we talk about the importance of regular dental visits. 

Oral Cancer 

Starting off with the most serious dental disease, oral cancer is common and can lead to death if not treated proactively. In 2022 alone, about 54,000 new cases of the oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer were diagnosed, and these cancers accounted for more than 11,000 deaths. But preventive dental checkups every six months can help diagnose oral cancer early when treatment is often more successful. Anyone can develop oral cancer in their lifetime, but those who smoke, drink alcohol, or are over 55 are more likely to get the disease. This makes regular dental checkups incredibly important not only for everyone but especially for those at high risk. 

Gum Disease 

Gum disease is another serious oral health condition that can cause not only oral health complications but whole-body health concerns as well. When caught early, gum disease can often be treated and even reversed successfully. However, advanced gum disease may be irreversible and can lead to tooth loss, heart disease, dementia, diabetes, and other serious problems. Preventive dental checkups every six months with your dentist in Reno help monitor changes in oral health and can be key to catching gum disease early.  

Cavities

While cavities are incredibly common and fixed easily by dental fillings, they can become big problems if they aren’t treated quickly. Small cavities may not be noticeable to the naked eye and may not have any symptoms, but this is the best time to stop a cavity in its tracks. Your dentist in Reno will be able to diagnose cavities at regular checkups through thorough exams and dental x-rays. If left untreated for too long, they can require more in-depth treatment such as a root canal, dental crown, or extraction. 

Cleanings

Last, but certainly not least, are dental cleanings. At each checkup, your dental team will perform gentle cleanings that remove plaque and tartar that will accumulate on teeth over time, no matter how well you brush and floss at home. Removing this buildup will help prevent bacteria from building up and reduce the risk of several problems mentioned above including cavities and gum disease. 

Don’t forget to schedule (and keep!) your dental appointments this year. They’re crucial to maintaining and healthy smile and protecting your overall health. 

What to Expect After Getting Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Your wisdom teeth tend to erupt between the age of 17 and 21, but they can make an appearance earlier or later. Many times, your dentist in Reno will recommend having wisdom teeth removed. Wisdom teeth extractions are incredibly common and can help maintain oral health. However, it is a type of oral surgery, and there is recovery time after the procedure. Here are some things you can expect after getting your wisdom teeth removed. 

What to Know Following Wisdom Teeth Surgery

While each patient’s case will be different and aftercare can vary from person to person, there are some key things all patients should be prepared for following wisdom teeth surgery. 

  • Rest

Many patients will recover from wisdom teeth surgery in about three days, but it’s important to rest during this time to help promote healing. Avoid any type of strenuous activity for at least 48-72 hours.

  • Ice

Applying a cold compress to the affected area can help reduce pain and swelling. Swap out new ice packs often, and remember to use a thin washcloth or material to serve as a barrier between the ice and your skin. 

  • Clean

Keeping the surgical sites clean is incredibly important to prevent infection, and your dentist may recommend a specific rinse to use. However, your dentist in Reno recommends that you swish gently to help prevent dry sockets. 

  • Medicate

If you’re provided and instructed to take any type of medication such as pain relievers or antibiotics, make sure to follow any and all instructions. 

When to Call Your Dentist

Even though most wisdom teeth extractions don’t have complications, there are some things to keep an eye out for. If you notice any of the following, contact your dentist or oral surgeon. 

  • Excessive pain, bleeding, or swelling after three days
  • Pus coming out of the surgical site or nose
  • A fever over 100 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Difficulty swallowing or breathing
  • Facial numbness

What to Avoid Having Wisdom Teeth Removed

There are also some limitations on what you should and shouldn’t do during your recovery. 

  • Don’t
    • Drink from straws for at least two days
    • Smoke 
    • Eat hard or sticky foods
  • Do
    • Eat soft foods like soup, yogurt, and applesauce
    • Drink plenty of water
    • Gently open and close your mouth to help restore jaw movement

While any type of surgery can cause concern, rest assured knowing that wisdom teeth removal is an incredibly common procedure. If your wisdom teeth are causing you trouble, or even if they aren’t, it’s wise to consult your dentist in Reno about the best treatment for your overall oral health moving forward. 

What Causes Ulcers in The Mouth?

If you’re one of the estimated 20% of people who happen to develop mouth ulcers, you know just how uncomfortable and painful they can be. The good news is that ulcers in the mouth tend to go away on their own within about two weeks, are usually harmless, and don’t necessarily need treatment from your dentist in Reno. However, naturally, you may be wondering what caused an ulcer in the first place. 

What Can Cause a Mouth Ulcer?

An ulcer in the mouth is one of those things that may not have a known cause, but we do know that there are things that can contribute to an ulcer developing such as ill-fitting dentures or accidentally biting your cheek or tongue. On the other hand, if there is no obvious case of an injury, ulcers can develop as a result of: 

  • Increased stress
  • Anxiety
  • Hormones
  • Genes
  • Eating foods that are too spicy, acidic, or salty

Additionally, people with certain medical conditions may be at increased risk of getting an ulcer. Some of the medical conditions  that can contribute to ulcer development include: 

  • Crohn’s or Ulcerative Colitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Iron or vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Viruses 
  • Lupus

If you have one of these conditions, make sure to tell your dentist in Reno

Mouth Ulcer Treatment

Many times, ulcers and their symptoms can be treated at home by rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water a few times a day, avoiding spicy foods, or using an over-the-counter topical anesthetic. For severe ulcers, you are prescribed corticosteroids or antiseptic treatments. 

When to See a Dentist for an Ulcer

Most ulcers should disappear within 10-14 days. But if an ulcer lasts longer than 20 days, you should schedule an appointment with your Reno dentist. Other signs to look out for are: 

  • Sores without pain
  • Big ulcers
  • Fever
  • Ulcers on the outside lips

Is a Mouth Ulcer Cancer? 

While an ulcer in the mouth can be a sign of oral cancer, this usually only applies to a few cases. Ulcers associated with oral cancer are most commonly under or on the tongue, but they can develop anywhere in the mouth. While any type of cancer is certainly concerning, oral cancer can often be treated successfully, especially when it’s caught early.

Having an ulcer in your mouth can certainly be concerning, be rest assured that oftentimes it will go away on its own and typically isn’t a sign of a larger problem. However, if you’re experiencing an ulcer that’s stuck around longer than three weeks or are simply worried about any ulcer, see your dentist in Reno. We’re always happy to help and believe that extra precaution is better than waiting too long.

How to Help Keep Teeth Healthy During Cold & Flu Season

We’re headed into the peak of cold and flu season, which typically comes with stuffy noses, sore throats, fevers, and loads of medicine to help ease symptoms. But did you know that any sickness from the common cold to the flu can also put oral health at risk, too? Your dentist in Reno has some steps you can take whenever you are feeling under the weather to help you feel better and protect your teeth. 

Continue to Brush Your Teeth

Brushing your teeth regularly is important to do every day, especially if you’re sick. Regular brushing can help keep teeth clean and wash away bacteria in the mouth. Even if you’re so sick that you feel that you can’t get out of bed, try your best to continue brushing your teeth twice a day. 

Stay Hydrated

You’ll often hear your doctor and dentist in Reno tell you to make sure you drink plenty of fluids during any illness. Following this advice is beneficial for many reasons. Staying hydrated helps replenish fluids that are lost during the illness such as through vomiting, sweating, and simply not feeling well enough to eat or drink normally. Another reason to drink fluids, preferably water, is to combat dry mouth. Dry mouth is common when a nose is too stuffy to breathe out of and someone resorts to mouth breathing. Additionally, some medications can also cause dry mouth. Dry mouth isn’t only uncomfortable but it can also increase the risk of bacteria buildup and decay.

Gargle with Salt Water

A simple and effective way to help you in multiple ways when you’re sick is to gargle with warm salt water. Symptoms such as a sore throat or painful swallowing can be alleviated with a few quick swishes of salt water. Also, salt water can help remove germs in the mouth. 

Choose Sugar-Free When Possible

Many medications from cough syrup to throat lozenges contain sugar, and as everyone knows, your dentist in Reno really doesn’t like sugar. Sugar feeds mouth bacteria and allows them to flourish in the mouth, increasing the likelihood of cavities and other tooth troubles. Cough syrup and lozenges are particularly concerning because they can essentially coat teeth with sugar. Try to find medications that don’t have sugar. When in doubt, rinse your mouth out with water after taking medicine or sucking on a lozenge.  

Change Your Toothbrush

The general rule of thumb is to toss any toothbrush that was used during an illness. While some research speculates that it may not be necessary, we believe that it’s better safe than sorry. You should also make sure to replace toothbrushes that are more than 3 or 4 months old. 

As we enter what’s typically the height of cold and flu season, take proactive steps to protect you and your family from germs, viruses, and bacteria by washing your hands regularly, sneezing or coughing into your elbow, and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces. If your family does get sick, make sure to protect your oral health while you’re working on feeling better.

What Does The Early Stage of Gum Disease Look Like? 

When your dentist in Reno talks about gum disease, we’re not just talking about its risks to oral health. The truth is, gum disease has also been linked to several whole-body concerns, such as cardiovascular diseases, respiratory problems, and certain types of cancer. However, there is good news. Gum disease can be treated and reversed if it’s caught in the early stages. Therefore, it’s important to know what the early stages of gum disease look like. 

Two Main Stages of Gum Disease

Gum disease can be broken down into two main stages – gingivitis and periodontitis. 

  • Gingivitis

The very first stage of gum disease is gingivitis. It’s during this stage when your dentist in Reno can often treat and reverse gum disease successfully. However, the trick is to catch it in this early stage. Some ways you may be able to tell that you have gingivitis are by looking out for the following signs:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Puffy, swollen gums
  • Bad breath

Keep in mind that sometimes gingivitis won’t show many or any symptoms. It’s important to always see your dentist every six months so they can monitor changes in oral health and catch potential problems early. 

  • Periodontitis 

If gingivitis isn’t treated and it progresses into periodontitis, the chances of the disease being reversed become less and less likely, if not impossible. Periodontitis essentially means that more than just the gum tissues are affected at this point, and it’s now worked its way into the bone. There are various stages of periodontitis. 

Stage 1: Gums will start to pull away from the teeth, known as gum recession. This creates pockets where food and bacteria can settle in. The connective tissues between teeth and bone are minorly affected. 

Stage 2: Gum recession and bone loss continue to become more noticeable and extreme in the second stage of periodontitis. Teeth may also become loose or wiggly. 

Stage 3: The advanced stage of periodontitis is a classification used when there is more than 50% bone loss. There’s also a good chance that some teeth have already fallen out, and more will follow. 

Avoiding Gum Disease

The most common cause of gum disease is poor dental hygiene, so one of the best ways to avoid getting gum disease is to brush your teeth twice a day and floss once a day. Smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease than non-smokers. Avoid smoking or using any type of tobacco. Lastly, it’s crucial that you see your dentist in Reno twice a year for preventive checkups, cleanings, and x-rays so they can keep an eye out for the early signs of gum disease and treat it proactively. 

Can Sinus Pressure Feel Like a Toothache?

Allergies can be triggered at any time of the year. In turn, sinuses can be affected, causing discomfort in many different areas. Sinus pressure or a sinus infection can have various symptoms, such as a stuffy nose, pressure in the eyes, discomfort around the cheeks, and tooth pain. But as your dentist in Reno knows, any type of tooth pain can cause concern. So let’s examine the different ways you can differentiate between a toothache caused by sinuses versus a toothache caused by a dental problem.

Why Can Sinuses Cause a Toothache?

Sinusitis, which is more commonly known as sinus inflammation or a sinus infection, can be a result of many different things. Anything from an upper respiratory infection to a cold or the flu can cause sinus inflammation. Usually, whenever there is inflammation, there is pain. The same goes for sinuses. When there is inflammation in the sinuses, everything close by can feel the effects, including the teeth. You see, the sinus cavity isn’t only in the nose, as often thought, but it’s also located in the forehead, behind the eyes, and in the tooth roots of the upper back molars. Therefore, the swelling and inflammation of the sinuses can cause pain in any of those areas.

The Difference Between Sinus Pain & Toothaches

Knowing the difference between sinus pain in the teeth and an actual toothache can be hard, and if you’re in doubt, you should contact your dentist in Reno immediately. But, you can also use this guide to help you differentiate between the two. 

Sinus Infection Symptoms

  • Runny nose
  • Stuffy nose
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Earache or headache
  • Pain when moving your head up or down

Toothache Symptoms

  • Pain in more than one tooth or that moves from tooth to tooth
  • Swelling
  • Pain in the lower teeth
  • Pressure-induced pain when pushing on a specific tooth
  • Pain when chewing

When to See a Dentist

If you have tooth pain, it’s normal to be concerned. However, if you also have symptoms of a sinus infection, you may want to wait a bit before seeing your dentist in Reno. While every toothache is of concern, one that goes away in a few days may be associated with a sinus infection. If the pain lasts or gets worse day after day, it’s time to see your dentist. Tooth pain that doesn’t go away may be a sign of something serious such as gum disease, cavities, an abscess, or problems with your jaw. By seeing your dentist, you can determine the cause of the pain and get treatment quickly. Keep in mind, most dental problems are best solved quickly before they have a chance to cause additional issues.

If you’re experiencing any type of tooth pain, we encourage you to call a dentist near you to get a closer look at what’s going on so you can get the best treatment and relieve your pain quickly. 

Is Xylitol Good For Your Teeth? 

Sugary sweets can mean bad news for your teeth. But your dentist in Reno wants all of our patients to know that there is a way to enjoy those sweet cravings without all of the damage of sugar.  We’re talking about xylitol, and choosing it over sugar may benefit your oral health. 

What is Xylitol?

Xylitol is a natural sugar that’s found in numerous fruits and veggies, and in recent years, has been used as a sugar substitute. Thanks to its naturally sweet flavor, along with its benefits to oral health, it’s become a favorite for your dentist in Reno

Why is Xylitol Better for Teeth Than Sugar? 

First of all, xylitol is better for us in general because it’s lower in calories than traditional sugar. This means you can treat yourself to xylitol sweets without worrying much about weight gain. Additionally, xylitol has a lower glycemic index than sugar, meaning it doesn’t cause spikes in blood glucose the way that sugar does. But there’s more. Xylitol can also help satisfy your sweet tooth and protect your teeth at the same time. 

Xylitol can help eliminate bad bacteria from the mouth and reduce the chances of that bacteria causing decay and cavities. One of the most common types of bad bacteria in the mouth is something called Streptococcus mutans. This bacteria is known to cause plaque buildup and decay, and they love to feed on sugar. Sugar gives the bacteria energy to multiply, making more bacteria with the more sugar we eat. However, while xylitol will still feed Streptococcus mutans, it doesn’t give them fuel to multiply. In fact, when the bacteria eat xylitol, they will starve. This reduces both bacteria levels and the risk of decay. 

Where to Find Xylitol 

One of the most common places where you can find xylitol is in chewing gum. Make sure to check the label. Chewing gum may be one of the best choices for xylitol, too. The act of chewing gum helps stimulate saliva production. This is an important part of oral health. Saliva helps rinse away bad bacteria and neutralize acids in the mouth, helping to protect teeth from enamel erosion and decay. Additionally, saliva helps remineralize teeth with calcium and phosphate, making them stronger over time. That, along with the addition of bacteria-killing xylitol, can help keep teeth healthy. 

Xylitol can also be found in most grocery stores, usually in the baking aisle. You can choose to use this as a replacement for sugar in many recipes and in your morning coffee or tea.  

When you have a choice, choosing xylitol over sugar can help keep your mouth healthy. Keep in mind that it’s always important to continue to brush and floss your teeth every day. That, along with maintaining regular visits to your dentist in Reno, is a recipe for a happy, healthy smile. 

Does Laughing Gas Really Make You Laugh? 

Hollywood has done a great job showing characters cracking up after getting laughing gas. But is that true? Does laughing gas really make you laugh? If so, how can this be beneficial for patients visiting their dentist in Reno? In reality, laughing gas, also known as nitrous oxide, can make you laugh, but there are plenty of other benefits besides the mood boost. 

How Laughing Gas Works

Many dentists use laughing gas, which is just a mix of nitrous oxide and oxygen, to help reduce anxiety and make patients more comfortable. Nitrous oxide can help minimize any pain associated with dental treatment. Even though this is a form of sedation dentistry, patients will remain conscious throughout their appointment. 

Is It Safe? 

Nitrous oxide is deemed safe by the American Dental Association. However, one reason that it’s safe to use in dentistry is that the patient, as well as the dosage, is monitored the entire time. 

Side Effects

Another great thing about nitrous oxide is that there are few side effects, and the medication wears off quickly. Most patients can return to their normal day after treatment. Keep in mind that we may still recommend that someone drive you after your appointment. 

Patients may also get giggly, hence the name laughing gas. This happens because of the way nitrous oxide interacts with the brain. Patients may also feel relaxed, euphoric, and tingling in the extremities. 

Some other common, yet temporary, side effects of laughing gas that can be felt during or after administration include: 

  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Shivering
  • Nausea

Patients are advised to eat only a small meal or snack before sedation dentistry appointments to help reduce the likelihood of nausea.

Who Should Get Laughing Gas? 

Laughing gas isn’t for everyone, so make sure to talk with your dentist in Reno to see if it’s a good option for you. Some people that may benefit from laughing gas or another form of sedation dentistry include those who: 

  • Will be having a longer procedure
  • Have trouble sitting still 
  • Have a strong gag reflex
  • Experience dental fear

How Is Laughing Gas Administered? 

Laughing gas is easy to administer. Your dentist in Reno will place a small mask over your nose and ask you to breathe normally. With each breath, you’ll inhale a mixture of nitrous oxide and oxygen. When treatment is finished, you’ll breathe pure oxygen to help flush out any leftover nitrous particles. 

Dental fear or any apprehension about upcoming dental appointments shouldn’t stop you from getting the care you need and deserve. Always talk to your dentist about your concerns and if nitrous oxide or sedation dentistry is right for you. 

Don’t Try These 4 Social Media Tooth Trends At Home

There’s an appropriate time and place for do-it-yourself, at-home projects, and improvements. But your dentist in Reno wants you to know that any social media trend involving your oral health isn’t one of them. While you should take great care of your teeth at home by regularly brushing and flossing, you shouldn’t try these four social media dental trends under any circumstances. 

  • Office Supplies Orthodontics

If straightening your teeth or tightening up small gaps is your goal, there’s a right way to go about achieving a super straight smile, and that’s by talking with your dentist in Reno. Moving teeth is a science and an art, and if done incorrectly, can cause some serious problems. One trend popular on social media is using typical office supplies to shift teeth around. This is incredibly dangerous and can cause permanent damage to your teeth. It can also lead to jaw problems or even make teeth fall out. 

  • “Veneers Check” Trend

A highly disturbing trend circulating on social media platforms is something called the “veneers check” where users file down their own teeth into small stubs or just in an attempt to even out some ridges. The result is the appearance of “shark teeth.” Many users are showing these filed-down teeth as a before picture prior to getting veneers. The problem is dental veneers don’t require that type of preparation. But there’s more. Filing down your teeth can be painful, lead to permanent damage, and may require additional treatment from a dentist in Reno such as dentures. 

  • Whitening Experiments

While there are ways to whiten teeth at home, this should be done only if given approval by your dentist and only by using appropriate whitening solutions. Never dig for smile-whitening ingredients in your pantry or cleaning products and mix up a social media concoction that claims to whiten teeth quickly. Many of the ingredients used are highly acidic and when applied directly to the teeth can quickly weaken the enamel. Not to mention, cleaning products can be very harmful to overall health. 

  • Artfully Crafted Teeth

Even other trends involve using art supplies to craft individual teeth. This could be in the form of a crown, partial dentures, or even just filling in a tiny crack. Either way, the materials are often not approved as safe to use in the mouth and there’s a good chance you may be covering up a bigger problem that should be properly addressed by your dentist. The longer dental concerns go undiagnosed and untreated, the bigger issue they can become. 

When it comes to improving the appearance of your smile, never take the DIY approach. Always start by talking with your dentist about your cosmetic dentistry options so you can get the smile you desire safely. 

How Often Should You See a Dentist if You Have Dentures? 

Just because you may have replaced your natural teeth with a denture doesn’t mean you should stop seeing your dentist in Reno. In fact, it may be even more important for denture-wearers to keep their regularly scheduled dental appointments in order to protect overall oral health. After all, dental health also includes your gums, tongue, and entire mouth, not just teeth. 

Every Six Months Is Key

Everyone can benefit from seeing their dentist in Reno at least every six months. These regular checkups and cleanings help prevent problems and can even catch small issues before they become big. They can also help denture-wearers in the following ways. 

Oral Health

Despite the fact that dentures have replaced all of the natural teeth, there are other areas of oral health that need to be protected. Dental care goes beyond caring for the teeth as the gums, tongue, and jaw bones also need regular care. Denture-wearers, in particular, should see their dentist at least twice a year to monitor overall oral health. In fact, dentures may increase the likelihood of developing gum disease, as well as affect jaw bone density. Plus, the size and shape of the mouth change over time, which means the fit of a denture also changes. Dentures often need regular adjustments to remain comfortable. 

Overall Health

Believe it or not, regular dental care can not only protect your oral health but also your overall health. Gum disease, for example, is more common in denture-wearers and should be caught as early as possible. Advanced gum disease can’t be cured and can even lead to whole-body problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Additionally, your dentist in Reno is always on the lookout for oral cancer and looks for signs of this serious disease at every appointment. Oral cancer can be treated successfully with early intervention, which makes regular dental appointments even more important. 

Denture Health 

Dentures are not a permanent solution to missing teeth. But they can last over 7 years with proper at-home care and regular dental appointments. Dentures can sustain regular wear and tear, and sometimes the patient doesn’t know that micro-damage has occurred. Having your denture checked at regular dental appointments can catch and fix any minor problems. 

Essentially, everyone should see their dentist every six months, no matter how many teeth they have. These preventive appointments help protect your health and can prolong the life of your denture.