General and Preventive Dentistry

Glendale Dentist Serving Phoenix, Scottsdale, Peoria, and nearby areas in Arizona

general and preventative dentistry glendale phoenix arizonaAt Desert Smiles Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry, we value our patients as members of our collective family. That’s why we offer a multitude of services beyond cosmetic dentistry, such as preventative and general dentistry procedures, to help ensure the long-lasting oral health of all who visit our office.

Dr. Wilcox and his staff are highly-trained, passionate about dentistry, and work with you each step of the way to achieve you goals. With state-of-the-art equipment and the latest advanced technologies and techniques, you can be sure that you’re receiving the best care for your dental health.

If you’re interested in learning more about any of our general or preventative dentistry services, contact us today at (602) 734-0050 to schedule an appointment. We proudly serve the areas of Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Peoria, Arizona.

General Dentistry

At Desert Smiles, we believe in taking a comprehensive approach to your oral health. That means offering general dental services to help you maintain a healthy smile and address any dental issues you may have. At our office in Glendale, we offer general dental services that address:

Preventative Dentistry

Maintaining a healthy smile takes more than just brushing your teeth. That’s why Dr. Wilcox provides preventive dentistry services to help avoid unwanted plaque, gum disease, and other dental problems that can lead to more serious health issues. We also offer advice and demonstrations so that you can maintain your healthy, vibrant smile at home.

While our office uses the latest in advanced technologies and treatments, it’s essential that you practice good oral hygiene every day at home. Maintaining a regimented routine of home dental care will help your mouth stay healthy and make your trips to the dentist even smoother. Healthy dental habits include:

  • Brushing daily: If you use a manual toothbrush choose a small, soft head and brush gently for at least two minutes. Brushing too hard can weaken tooth enamel and accelerate gum recession. Dentists also recommend electric toothbrushes because the rotary movement of the heads softly scrubs teeth.
  • Flossing daily: Flossing is the best way to remove the bacteria (in the form of plaque) that accumulates between teeth and leads to bad breath, yellowing, and tooth decay. It also helps stop gum disease from developing.
  • Scraping your tongue: There are 300 kinds of bacteria on the tongue which are responsible for 90 percent of bad breath. After brushing, follow up with a tongue scraper to prevent bad breath and to keep colds from spreading.
  • Dental cleanings: Getting a professional dental cleaning twice a year helps prevent major plaque buildup and lets your dentist assess your current oral health and address any issues they may find.
  • Chew sugarless gum: This can be beneficial when you can't brush after every meal. It increases the flow of saliva, which washes away bacteria.
flossing preventative dentistry glendale phoenix arizona dentist

Preventing Tooth Decay

Minimizing tooth decay through preventative measures can help you avoid costly, and sometimes uncomfortable, procedures at the dentist’s office. Tooth decay is the result of the food you eat converting to acids that attack the surfaces of your teeth. When the food breaks down, the bacteria in your mouth produces the acids that attack the susceptible parts of your teeth, leading to tooth decay. There are three areas where tooth decay can begin, which include:

  • Tooth surface
  • Between teeth
  • At the gum line of the teeth

Thankfully, your body has natural defenses against tooth decay. Your saliva contains minerals that your body uses to repair the spots attacked by the plaque acid. Tooth decay forms when the rate of attack exceeds the rate of repair. Along with your body’s natural defense system, you can help prevent tooth decay by:

  • Brushing your teeth at least twice a day, preferably after every meal
  • Flossing after each meal, or at least once at night, removes the bacteria between the teeth and helps prevent cavities from forming
  • Using fluoride in your toothpaste helps strengthen the teeth to resist tooth decay and increases the repair rate. We can also use fluoride treatments at your regular six month checkups
  • Things that help stimulate saliva help combat cavities. Saliva helps dilute the acids that attack your teeth and help wash away the food before the bacteria can digest them
  • Chewing sugarless gum can help in preventing cavities as it stimulates the saliva

Those who wear braces are susceptible to tooth decay around the braces. Even if you don’t get a cavity, white spots may form around the braces which can turn brown. When the braces are removed, these spots will need to be repaired by Dr. Wilcox.

Benefits of Dental Sealants

One of the best ways to prevent the need for future restorative care is dental sealants. Sealants are thin plastic coatings painted on the chewing surface of posterior teeth to seal the deep grooves which can become decayed, even with proper brushing.

This painless procedure begins with a thorough cleaning of the tooth surface followed by a mild etchant to clean the problem grooves. A bonding agent is then placed on the tooth along with a tooth-colored resin which is then hardened with a laser light to withstand many years of use without being dislodged.

Dental sealants only protect the biting surface from decay and do not prevent decay between the teeth. You can prevent decay in this area by flossing daily, proper brushing, especially after sugar intake, along with regular dental checkups and cleanings.

Oral Bacteria Testing with MyPerioPath

Being able to determine the likelihood of getting periodontal (gum) disease is just another method of advanced treatment we’re able to offer at Desert Smiles. Dr. Wilcox is happy to provide oral bacteria testing by using the MyPerioPath salivary diagnostic test. Periodonatal disease is caused by bacteria in the mouth that collect under the gum tissue in a biofilm.

The test is easily administered in our office by simply swishing a saline solution in your mouth for 30 seconds and spitting into a collection tube. The results are then analyzed and returned in about a week. The MyPerioPath report will:

  • Indentify the type and concentration of disease-causing bacteria you have
  • Analyze bacterial information to determine if you are high-risk or low-risk and if there are any pathogens present
  • Identify the specific bacteria you have to help create a targeted treatment plan
  • Enable a better risk assessment for more predictable outcomes
  • Establish a systematic way to track patient oral progress

Oral bacteria have also been linked to medical issues such as heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and dementia. Being able to find the underlying cause of a person’s periodontal disease not only allows for more targeted gum disease treatment and a healthier mouth, but also helps to identify any potential links to other medical issues you may be susceptible to having.

Preventing Bad Breath

Bad breath (halitosis) can be embarrassing both professionally and personally. Bacteria are almost always the cause of chronic bad breath and hundreds of different types of bacteria live in your mouth and feed on the food you’ve eaten. By hiding in crevices in the mouth (tongue, tonsils, under the gums), volatile sulfur compounds (VSC) are then released and give breath its bad odor.

Some of the other causes of chronic bad breath include:

  • Post nasal drip: this creates a discharge that lingers on the back of the tongue and provides a blanket under which bacteria can hide.
  • Periodontal disease: Large amounts of bacteria related to this gum disease are trapped in the deeper pockets of your gums. Since cleaning is extremely difficult, VSC are continually produced.
  • Tooth decay/cracked fillings: These can also harbor bacteria and food particles that lead to a foul smell.
  • Certain foods: Foods such as cabbage, garlic, and onions contain sulfur compounds which are absorbed into the bloodstream and then carried to the lungs. The VSC forms for several hours after ingestion and then is exhaled when you breathe.
  • Saliva: Decreased salivary function and the resulting dry mouth increases microbial activity and bad breath occurs.
  • Low carb diets: By increasing protein, the body turns to stored fat instead of carbohydrates for fuel. Ketones are developed which is then expelled through the mouth leading to an offensive odor.

If your mouth is in healthy condition, bad breath can be a sign of something more serious. Bad breath in a healthy mouth can be a sign of medical disorders such as:

  • Gastrointestinal ailment
  • Diabetes
  • Liver or kidney problems
  • Chronic bronchitis
  • Chronic sinusitis
  • Chronic infection in the respiratory tract (throat, nose, lungs)

There are many ways to remedy temporary and persistent bad breath. The most important ways to prevent bad bread are avoiding foods which contain sulfur compounds and flossing, brushing, and tongue scraping on a daily basis. Other preventative measures include:

  • Schedule regular dental visits for professional cleanings and checkups
  • Increasing fluid uptake or using artificial saliva products to combat dry mouth
  • Using commercial toothpastes and mouthwashes (i.e. CloSysII, BreathRx, Oxyfresh) that neutralize VCS compounds

Benefits of Brushing

Although most people are aware of the necessity for proper daily brushing and flossing, few realize that clean teeth and healthy gums can protect against a wide variety of serious health problems. When you don't brush and floss effectively or frequently enough, your mouth's normal population of bacteria multiplies on your teeth and gums, depositing a sticky 'plaque' substance. These colonies of germs then cause a series of destructive changes that damage your teeth, gums, and jawbone and can create cavities, gum disease, and pain and infection.

But if these bacteria enter the bloodstream it can increase your risk of serious medical ailments such as:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Respiratory illness
  • Diabetes complications
  • Pregnancy complications

You can control your oral health by establishing a solid regimen of oral hygiene habits like the ones mentioned above. There are also a host of advanced toothpastes, rinses, and electric toothbrushes that can help you take care of your mouth. Two minutes of brushing results in a 77-78 percent reduction in plaque and three minutes of brushing removes an additional 11-14 percent more, for a total of an 86-89 percent reduction.

The area at greatest risk of dental problems is between the teeth. Other tools are needed to effectively remove inter-proximal plaque biofilm. Electric toothbrushes have designed an inter-dental brush for use with their round brush systems. The inter-dental brush has three outside tufts that form a triangle, plus a tuft inside the triangle, to reach between teeth.

The most effective thing you can do is to call the office for an evaluation of your condition and get advice as to which of the many new products would benefit you most. If we don’t have them here in the office, we can help you obtain them.

Contact Your Glendale Cosmetic and General Dentist Today

If you’re interested in learning more about any of our general or preventative dentistry services, contact us today at (602) 734-0050 to schedule your free initial appointment. We proudly serve the areas of Glendale, Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Peoria, Arizona.