Painful Mouth Sores – Canker versus Cold

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All mouth sores are painful and irritating, and most of all… unsightly. Below you will find a description of two of the most common type of mouth sores. These are not pre-cancerous sores, but not all sores are created equal. Regular check-up of your teeth, gums, and oral tissues are critical to early detection.

Cold sores are a cluster of fluid-filled blisters known commonly as fever blisters. They may be found on the gum tissue, roof of the mouth or even on and around the lips. These types of sores are contagious and are caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 or 2. The primary infection of this virus usually occurs during childhood and may often be confused with the cold or flu.

Once infected, the virus will remain dormant in the body. Recurrent cold sores may be triggered by irritants such as the sun, stress, illness etc. Once the blister breaks, the scab will form and all will be healed in about 7-10 days. Agents such as topical antiviral creams or systemic medications taken at the onset of symptoms may help to decrease the longevity, discomfort and severity.

Canker sores, unlike cold sores, begin as a red bumps. They may produce a tingling or burning sensation before they appear. There is no known cause for canker sores, and therefore, no exact cure. Treatment is palliative in nature and serves to minimize the discomfort. Like most benign sores, these too shall heal in about 7-10 days. Anything lasting longer warrants a visit to your dentist for examination.

Not all sores are harmless and short-lived. Arizona Dental Medicine provides visual oral cancer screening examination at all recare appointments. In addition, in-depth cancer screenings are provided using the ViziLite Plus examination. This enhanced evaluation improves our ability to identify suspicious areas that may have been missed during the conventional examination. Should you notice any changes in your mouth, painful or non-painful sores, call to schedule an appointment. Early detection of precancerous tissue is the key to possibly saving your life.

Tucson Endodontist – What Happens During A Root Canal

Tucson dentists root canalEndodontic treatment can often be performed in one or two visits and involves the following steps:

  1. The endodontist examines and x-rays the tooth, then administers local anesthetic. After the tooth is numb, the endodontist places a small protective sheet called a “dental dam” over the area to isolate the tooth and keep it clean and free of saliva during the procedure.
  2. The endodontist makes an opening in the crown of the tooth. Very small instruments are used to clean the pulp from the pulp chamber and root canals and to shape the space for filling.
  3. After the space is cleaned and shaped, the endodontist fills the root canals with a biocompatible material, usually a rubber-like material called “gutta-percha.” The gutta-percha is placed with an adhesive cement to ensure complete sealing of the root canals. In most cases, a temporary filling is placed to close the opening. The temporary filling will be removed by your dentist before the tooth is restored.
  4. After the final visit with your endodontist, you must return to your dentist to have a crown or other restoration placed on the tooth to protect and restore it to full function.
    If the tooth lacks sufficient structure to hold the restoration in place, your dentist or endodontist may place a post inside the tooth. Ask your Doctor for more details about the specific restoration planned for your tooth.

Call Arizona Dental Medicine today and schedule an appointment if you need endodontic treatment. 520-297-9069

Tucson Dentist – Why Would I Need a Root Canal

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

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

What are the signs of needing endodontic treatment?

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

How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?

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

Will I feel pain during or after the procedure?

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

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

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

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

Child’s First Visit To The Dentist

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Bullet-proof Your Smile With Zirconium Crowns

In the past, dentists have relied on full-cast gold and porcelain metal crowns and bridges.  Using such materials guaranteed durability and strength.  One of the downsides to such crowns is the look and taste of metal that is then ever present in your mouth.Tucson Dentist

Today there is a solution provided by BruxZir.  BruxZir makes a product that is made from virtually unbreakable, biocompatible medical-grade zirconium.  This is the exact element that is used to make bulletproof military armor.  There is no porcelain overlay so it is more resistant to chipping, cracking or breaking in the mouth.  This makes BruxZir  dental crowns and bridges ideal for people who grind their teeth, or those who have broken their natural teeth or porcelain restorations in the past.

If you are in need of a crown or bridge why not consider Bruxir…not only is it virtually unbreakable, it is visually pleasing as your dental professional can make your BruxZir crown look like your natural teeth.

Call Arizona Dental Medicine today to see if BruxZir zirconia crowns and bridges are your ideal solution for your dental needs.

Dangers & Risks of Cross-Border Dentistry

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tucson dentistLiving close to the Mexican border as we do in Tucson, AZ offers many fringe benefits.  The beach is only a couple of hours away.  Unique shopping opportunities in border towns offer hours of entertainment and good deals.  And we have easy access to highly discounted medical and dental services in Mexico.

Many Americans are lured to Mexico to have dental procedures done.  And this is because of the extremely low cost rather than excellent care and quality service.   If you or someone you love is contemplating going across the border for dental work carefully consider the following:

Standards and Compliance

Dentists in Mexico do not comply with the same standards of care as those in the US.  American Dentists are under the regulation of BODEX, OSHA, and the Department of Health and Human Services.  American staff employees of dental offices are required to be vaccinated against Hepatitis.  Only 21% of Mexican dentists are vaccinated against Hepatitis.

Infectious Diseases

Contagious diseases threaten Mexico and the water system.  Life-threatening diseases such as Hepatitis, Tuberculosis, Typhoid fever, Amebiasis, and Shigellosis.

Hep A – transmitted through food and water

Hep B – contracted through exposure to blood or other infectious material

Hep C – viral infection contracted from blood to blood contact

Typhoid fever – contracted through contact with feces

Amebiasis – water or food borne parasite resulting in intestinal illness

Shigellosis – bacterial infection carried through water and food polluted by feces and contracted by hand-to-hand or hand-to-mouth contact.

Tuberculosis – transmitted through the air (coughing, sneezing etc.)

Don’t put your oral health or even your life in jeopardy by using discounted dental services across the border.

The American legal system and the Board of Dental Examiners cannot help when treatment in Mexico fails.”

At Arizona Dental Medicine your overall health is very important to us.  That is why we offer a variety of payment options to fit the budgets and needs of a wide variety of patients.  Call us today to schedule your professional dental evaluation 520-297-9069

Health Conditions Your Dentist May Be The First To Detect

You may never have thought of this but often times your dentist is the cornerstone of your overall health and well-being.tucson dentist

It is common for many of us to think that our oral health is not related to our overall health.  But upon closer examination, your comprehensive health is directly related to the health of your teeth and gums.

Your mouth is a direct entrance to the rest of your body.  Teeth and gums are directly linked to your digestion and bloodstream as well as your nervous, endocrine, lymphatic and skeletal systems.

The harmful organisms, bacteria, that breed in your mouth are easily shared with your entire body.  It is estimated that about 90% of systemic diseases in your body are directly related to conditions in your mouth.  This is why your dentist can often times be your first line of defense in detecting and preventing diseases.

At Arizona Dental Medicine we are trained at diagnosing and treating conditions of your teeth, gums and upper jaw and face.  These are conditions that can impact your overall health.

There are several diseases that your dentist may be the first to detect and diagnose.  Here are 7 of them.

1. Red, sore, swollen and bleeding gums are signs of periodontitis or gum disease.  Periodontitis is proven to be associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

2. Sore, pale gums are an indicator that you have anemia.  Anemia affects about 3.5 million people in the united states.  Left untreated anemia can lead to severe fatigue, heart problems, nerve damage, impaired mental function and even death.

3. Bright red, spongy, inflamed gums that bleed easily is often times a signal of leukemia.

4. Tooth erosion and a breakdown of enamel is an indicator that you may be suffering from eating disorders, such as anorexia or bulimia.

5. Air blowing on your gums and making them bleed can be an indication of pregnancy.

6. Bad breath, chronic dry mouth, receding gums and gums that bleed easily are often associated with diabetes.

7. White spots and sores that are slow to heal on your gums and other oral tissues in the mouth can be early signs of oral cancer.

Don’t take chances with your health.  If it’s been longer than 6 months, call us today to schedule an appointment.  Early detection of health issues goes a long ways towards reversing them completely. 520-297-9069

Dr. Rochelle Riley’s

Choosing The Right Dental Partial or Bridge

A dental partial, otherwise knows as a dental bridge, is a prosthetic that goes in the mouth to replace missing teeth.

If you have a few teeth that are missing there are many benefits to having a dental partial (besides appearance).tucson dentist

1.  It will be easier to speak and chew your food.

2.  It will help maintain the shape of your face.

3.  It will prevent your remaining teeth from shifting.

4.  It will help to prevent problems that are caused by changes in teeth spacing, such as TMJ, headaches and earaches.

There are many choices of materials available to use in creating a custom designed partial.  At Arizona Dental Medicine we work closely with our patients to make sure that together we choose the partial that is best suited for you both mechanically and cosmetically.

Because we are concerned with your overall health we work closely with you to help you choose the right and perfect product for your particular situation.  In many cases we recommend metal-free products as they are more aesthetically appealing and often times feel better in your mouth.

One choice that we regularly work with  is Valplast.  Valplast is a durable tissue colored thermoplastic that can be used in the mouth without metal.

Getting a new partial can be simple and painless.  Call Dr. Riley today at 520-297-9069 to schedule your consultation for dental partials.

Risk Factors Of Periodontal Disease

tucson dentistPeriodontal disease (gum disease) is an infection of the tissues (gums) that support the teeth.  The gums do not attach very firmly to the teeth.  There is a shallow v-shaped gap existing between the teeth and gums where periodontal disease easily thrives.

There is a lot of bacteria in your mouth.  The bacteria and food particles combine and cause a sticky film that clings to your teeth called plaque.  Thorough brushing and flossing every day (best after every meal) removes most of the plaque but all too often not all of it especially around the gum line.  The bacteria in plaque creates a toxin that may injure the gums and all supporting tissues.

There are many factors that increase your chance of developing periodontal disease.  These range from oral habits, diet and disease to pregnancy and medications.

How do you know if you have it?  Here are some of the most common sign and symptoms:

  • Gums may be red, swollen, tender or bleed during brushing/flossing
  • Root surfaces may be exposed
  • Experience pain with chewing or increased sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Calculus or tarter build-up
  • Loose teeth
  • Changes in your bite or tooth position
  • Bad breath

Periodontal disease doesn’t just effect your oral health.  It can effect your overall health in many ways.  It has been known to cause:

Cardiovascular disease and stroke
– As bacteria colonies grow the immune system may not be able to keep them in check.  The oral bacteria can then enter the blood stream and attack the arteries and cardiovascular system.  New research indicates that people with periodontal disease are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular disease.

Bacterial pneumonia
– The bacteria in your mouth can be inhaled or aspirated into your lungs thus causing infections and pneumonia.

Increased risks during pregnancy
– Studies indicate that women with periodontal disease are more likely to give birth to underweight or premature babies.

Periodontal disease is the primary cause of teeth loss after the age of 35.

Some people are more susceptible than others.  This can be reversed, if caught early, and properly cared for.

Have you had a recent checkup with your dentist to see if you have periodontal disease?  If not then call us at Arizona Dental Medicine to make your appointment today – 520-297-9069.  Your health depends on it!

Are Your Fillings Hurting Your Teeth?

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Do you ever get tired of looking at those unsightly silver fillings in your teeth? Besides looking terrible, has anyone ever told you what they do to your remaining tooth structure?

Silver (Amalgam) fillings are composed of a mixture of metals, the most controversial and toxic being Mercury. When this type tucson dentalof restorative material is placed in the mouth, it is not bonded to the tooth, but rather packed into the tooth like a putty. Because there is no chemical bond to provide retention, often times, unnecessary tooth structure must be removed in order to provide for mechanical retention. In other words, more tooth structure may have to be removed in the form of grooves and undercuts to hold in the restorative material.

Have you ever thought of what happens when you go from eating something hot to drinking something cold? These type of fillings have been known to expand and contract causing micro or macro fractures in the teeth. This means that one may suffer from a fractured tooth due to the stresses that these types of fillings may cause. Furthermore, the expansion and contraction of these fillings can lead to separation from the surrounding tooth structure. Leaving microscopic gaps between the filling and the tooth can lead to infiltration of bacteria. Ninety-five percent of the time these type of restorations are removed, decay is found lurking beneath. Why can’t we catch this decay sooner? Because of the metal, x-rays are unable to penetrate through, therefore, decay will not be seen radiographically until it has destroyed enough surrounding tooth structure to be visualized.

Why is the tooth blackish/gray? Have you noticed that silver fillings turn your tooth dark in comparison to teeth without these amalgam fillings? This is a direct result of the metals leaching from the restoration and staining the tooth and sometimes even the surrounding gum tissue. In the case of the latter, this is known as an amalgam tattoo. Unfortunately, once the gum tissue is stained, there is no removing the discoloration. In the case of a stained tooth due to an amalgam restoration, some of that discolored tooth structure will be removed upon removal of the silver filling. Many times it is difficult to remove all of the discolored tooth structure, in which case, there are alternative cosmetic procedures available to address these concerns.

So why are these restorations still used? Well they are becoming less and less popular as the public becomes more knowledgeable about ingredients and types of dental materials available. Amalgam fillings are quick and easy restorations to place. They are not as technique sensitivity as bonded restorations. The American Dental Association deems them to be a safe dental material leading to minimal mercury release. We’ve covered the amount of tooth structure lost when placing an amalgam filling, micro and macro fractures, mercury release and metal staining of surrounding hard and soft tissue. With dental technology so advanced and offering so many better choices in restorative materials, you be the judge of what you want in your mouth. After all, you have to live with it!

Ready to get rid of your silver fillings?  Then call Dr. Riley today.  Your Tucson general dentist with a cosmetic flair.  520-297-9069

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