Desert Smiles Blog

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

January 18th, 2019

Man and Woman Smiling at the SunOne of the many ways that drug and alcohol addiction can take a toll on someone's overall health and well-being is through the deterioration of that person's smile and dental health. Sadly, dental health is commonly overlooked in substance abuse programs.

Substance abuse programs typically focus on intervention and, while they may provide support programs for long-term sobriety, they do not tend to provide services for oral health issues commonly faced by recovering addicts such as:

  • Dry mouth
  • Acid enamel erosion
  • Tooth decay
  • Tooth infection and abscess
  • Gum disease
  • chipped , cracked, or broken teeth
  • Bruxism (tooth grinding)

All of these issues compromise the health and strength of the teeth and greatly increase risks for tooth loss. In fact, excessive alcohol use makes tooth loss three-times more likely. These risks are similar, if not higher, with almost all illegal and illicit drugs as well. Meth addiction for example, can have a profound impact on oral health. A study conducted at UCLA found that 96% of people who struggled with meth addicition had cavities and 38% already had six or more missing teeth.

Risks Posed by Missing Teeth

Missing teeth can have a profound impact on the health, strength, and structure of the mouth. Even one missing tooth can allow adjacent teeth to slip out of place, thus changing bite tension and strength, and increasing the risks for additional tooth loss. At the same time, when a tooth is missing, bone surrounding the socket will begin to deteriorate. Over time, this will cause the jaw to shrink and collapse, resulting in changes to the structure of the teeth and the shape of the entire face.

Dental implants are the only type of tooth replacement that can prevent changes to the structure of the jaw, making them the most complete tooth replacement option.

Tooth Replacement and Addiction Recovery

Replacing missing teeth plays an important role in recovering from drug addiction or alcoholism. Having missing teeth replaced with natural-looking and functionally strong restorations can:

  • Restore speaking abilities
  • Restore proper tension and bite strength
  • Prevent adjacent tooth slippage and additional tooth loss
  • Restore an attractive appearance to the smile
  • Help to affirm an individual's self esteem and self confidence

When tooth replacement is completed with dental implants, structural changes to the jaw are addressed as well.

To be a candidate for tooth replacement, you only need to be missing teeth. To be a good candidate for dental implants, however, additional considerations will need to be made.

Because jaw collapse is inevitable following tooth loss, people who have been missing teeth for some time may not have sufficient jaw bone density to support an implant. Bone grafting is an option but, just like the surgical placement of implants, grafting may require sedation - something many recovering addicts avoid so as to prevent rekindling the addiction.

We provide a safe, and welcoming environment with many drug-free options to improve and protect your comfort. If you are a recovering addict, talk to Dr. Tenney today about our drug-free treatment options that can help restore your smile to its strongest and most attractive state.

We Are Here to Help

Call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to learn more about our tooth replacement services for recovering addicts. We proudly serve men and women overcoming addiction in Glendale, Arizona, as well as the greater Phoenix, Scottsdale and Peoria communities.

January 03rd, 2019

Woman with a toothache at the dentist's officeHas overindulgence in sweet treats made your teeth extra sensitive? Maybe now is the best time to call our Glendale office and schedule your next appointment. Spaced about six months apart, routine dental cleanings and examinations are an essential part of your oral health routine. During these visits, we can thoroughly clean your teeth, even below the gum line, to restore luster, remove tartar, and help prevent issues such as cavities and gum disease. What’s more, these visits give Dr. Tenney an opportunity to check for signs of decay and infection, and to provide treatment options for issues like sensitivity.

If it has been longer than six months since your last tooth cleaning, call us at 602-978-1790 to set up an appointment right away.

Why Oral Health Matters

The health of your teeth and gums is directly linked to the health of your entire body. Bacteria found in patients with gum disease has shown to travel throughout the body, increasing risks for:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Hypertension
  • Liver and kidney failure
  • Pancreatic and breast cancers
  • Dementia

Gum disease is often spotted during routine cleanings when it is at its earliest stages. This is the ideal time for treatment. When caught early on, mild cases of gum disease may respond very well to professional cleaning coupled with an improved at-home routine.

In addition to gum disease, issues like tooth infection and decay can have a profound impact on the health and beauty of your smile. Left untreated and these issues can result in tooth sensitivity, chronic bad breath, and eventual tooth loss. Biannual visits allow these issues to be addressed as they occur, helping to prevent their more severe consequences.

What You Can Do

First things first, if it has been longer than half a year since you were in the dentist chair for a cleaning, contact us right away to set your next appointment up. During this visit, we can talk about your at-home routine to help ensure it is optimal for your needs. This will help you make the best choices for your oral care in between visits.

In the meantime, you can start 2019 with a bright smile by:

  • Flossing your teeth before you brush both morning and night
  • Brushing your teeth with a soft-bristle toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste after every meal and snack
  • Using an antibacterial mouthwash 30 minutes after brushing

Flossing before you brush removes more plaque from the teeth and is better at preventing gum disease. Waiting at least 30 minutes before using a mouthwash helps prevent prematurely removing fluoride from the teeth after brushing. However, it should be noted that people with porcelain or ceramic restorations may want to skip the mouthwash. This can be discussed in more detail during your next visit to our office.

No matter if your teeth are hurting from the holidays or if you’re just overdue for a cleaning, scheduling your biannual checkup now is a great way to set the foundation for strong teeth and healthy gums in 2019. Call 602-978-1790 to set up an appointment today.

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December 05th, 2018

Man With Fingers on Chin, WonderingDental implants are the strongest, most reliable, and longest-lasting tooth replacement option available today. This is, of course, reflected in their cost. If you are considering dental implants, cost may be at the front of your mind. However, while a consideration for just about everyone, we do not want the price of dental implants to be an obstacle to the perfection of your teeth.

During your initial consultation at Desert Smiles, we will carefully examine the quality of your jaw, teeth surrounding those missing, and other relevant factors to provide you with an accurate cost estimate for each of your restoration options.

What Impacts Dental Implant Costs?

The cost of dental implants can range fairly widely, from $1,000 to $4,000 or more depending on circumstances. Some of the things that may influence the cost of dental implants include:

  • The type of dental implant used
  • The number of implants used
  • The type of restoration used (tooth crown or implant-supported denture)
  • Your dentist's experience, training and technology

Additional considerations will include existing oral health issues and jaw density, the latter of which may require bone grafting to ensure optimal support of your dental implants. Bone grafting is an additional surgery that will increase the cost of your implant placement. However, this cost is often worth it once the true advantages of dental implants are taken into consideration.

Why Choose Dental Implants?

While dental implants tend to be one of the more expensive ways to replace missing teeth, they are also the most durable, longest-lasting and aesthetically pleasing ways to do so. Advantages offered by dental implants include:

  • No risk of implants coming loose or falling out
  • Full restoration of bite tension and strength
  • Natural-looking and feeling restorations
  • Better preservation of surrounding teeth
  • Prevention of jaw shrinkage

Missing teeth have no roots.

When tooth roots are missing, the bone in that area of the jaw begins to shrink and will eventually collapse. Dentures and dental bridges that are not supported by implants cannot prevent jaw shrinkage. If you are missing one or more teeth and do not have the root replaced with dental implants, your jaw will eventually change size and shape, altering your bite and changing the appearance of your entire face.

Dental implants are the only tooth replacement option that addresses this unavoidable consequence of tooth loss, often making them the best choice for our patients.

Paying for Dental Implants

We work with a number of insurance carriers to cover the cost of dental implants. Before you schedule your appointment at our Glendale office, make sure your plan pays for implant surgery and restoration.

If insurance is not an option, we accept all major credit cards, cash, and checks for dental implant payment. We also work with CareCredit, a healthcare credit card that can be used for all uncovered dental expenses. CareCredit has a number of promotional offers, including 0% APR and low, fixed-rate plans that can work with nearly any budget. If you would like more information about financing dental implants, we can discuss this option with you in greater detail during your initial consultation.

Dental implants are more expensive than their alternatives, but they are also vastly superior in reliability, quality, and durability. If you are missing one or more teeth, we welcome an opportunity to meet with you and discuss your options, helping you determine the best way to restore strength and comfort to your smile.

If you live in Phoenix, Scottsdale, Glendale or Peoria and want to find out how much it would cost to replace one or more missing teeth with dental implants, please call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Nathan Tenney. 

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October 23rd, 2018

Dr. Donald Wilcox is retiring. After 32 years spent developing strong relationships with our patients, Dr. Wilcox has decided it’s time he shifts his focus to spending time traveling, playing golf, and being with his family, especially his grandchildren.

In selecting a new dentist to head Desert Smiles, Dr. Wilcox took great care to choose someone who he felt would continue to provide the patient care and quality service we are known for. Dr. Nathan Tenney fits the bill perfectly.

Current staff will be staying on and the transition should be seamless for a majority of our patients. If you have questions about this transition or need to touch base with our office for any reason, please call 602-978-1790.

“Dr. Tenney is probably the most passionate person I have ever seen about dentistry.” - Dr. Donald Wilcox

Dr. Nathan Tenney

Dr. Nathan Tenney has been practicing dentistry for five years, four of which were spent as a dentist for the U.S. Army, where Dr. Tenney held the rank of Captain. Graduating at the top of his class from Midwestern University Dental School, Dr. Tenney’s commitment to continuing education is clear. While the state requires 25 hours of continuing education for dental professionals every year, Dr. Tenney routinely completes 100 or more. This has enabled him to incorporate advanced techniques and cutting-edge technologies into his practice, including 3D x-rays and intraoral cameras, which he implemented into his practice while stationed in El Paso.

“CPT Teney is the most talented young dental officer I have seen in my career.” - Col. Hemker, Army Dentist

Dr. Tenney’s favorite part of dentistry is people and he strives to build relationships with his patients that last for generations - and generations they can - Dr. Tenney serves patients of all ages, from six months on. His own childhood dental trauma informs his approach, which is accessible, gentle, and intentional. For patients who need a little additional help, Dr. Tenney has advanced training in sedation dentistry and can help you find the best solution for your needs.

In addition to advanced training in sedation dentistry, Dr. Tenney has trained with root canal specialists to incorporate pain-free infection removal. He has also trained with oral surgery residents where he learned how to perform extractions and advanced restorations such as dental implants.

In his spare time, Dr. Tenney enjoys water skiing, traveling, hiking, using his Traeger grill, and spending time with his wife, two daughters, and son.

Please take a moment to welcome our new dentist the next time you are in the office. If you have questions or are ready to make an appointment with Dr. Tenney, please call 602-978-1790 and schedule your appointment today.

October 04th, 2018

Glendale Dentist | Oral Hygiene Awareness Month

October is Oral Hygiene Awareness Month. How thorough is your routine? With the holiday season approaching, treats and candy will become more readily available in homes across the country. That makes now the best time to start thinking about oral hygiene and the most effective ways to protect your oral health for years to come.

Let’s Talk About Brushing

Brushing your teeth seems like a fairly basic task and, indeed, it is far from complex. But many people are either not doing it enough or not doing it correctly. These things matter.

  • Brushing should be done after every meal and snack. Twice a day is adequate for some, but insufficient for many. Please wait 30 minutes before brushing your teeth if you have eaten anything sweet or acidic to help prevent enamel damage
  • Brushing should be completed with a soft-bristled toothbrush. Medium bristles, like brushing too soon after eating acidic foods, can remove softened enamel
  • Fluoride toothpaste makes a difference. Fluoride strengthens teeth and helps prevent cavities. Significant evidence supports its use in the maintenance of oral health
  • Your toothbrush makes a difference, too. If you use a manual toothbrush, plan on brushing for about two minutes each time. If you use an electric toothbrush, one minute may be sufficient

Brushing your teeth is a powerful weapon against tooth decay and infection, but it should not be relied upon as the only one. During your visits to our Glendale office, we can discuss your routine and help you find ways to optimize it.

Flossing is Important

Flossing should be performed twice a day. Either before or after you brush your teeth is fine.

Floss removes bacteria, food particles, and plaque from in between teeth and helps reduce risks of gum disease. Flossing can also help prevent cavities and may serve to reduce halitosis.

It is important to run a clean section of floss in between each tooth, from below the gum line to the crown, being careful not to irritate sensitive gum tissue. If you struggle with flossing, we can provide you with personalized tips on your next visit to our office.

Biannual Visits

Biannual visits are the final step in maintaining peak oral health. These visits allow us to clean all surfaces of your teeth, removing tartar and topical stains to produce a more appealing appearance. Routine visits also give Dr. Wilcox an opportunity to examine your teeth and gums for signs of oral health problems and to provide treatment as needed to help keep your smile healthy and attractive.

If you live in or around Glendale and are overdue for a visit to the dentist, call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule an appointment. Dr. Wilcox is an award-winning dentist who serves Phoenix, Peoria, Scottsdale, Chandler, and all surrounding areas of Arizona.

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September 26th, 2018

Sedation dentistry is a safe and effective way to address both physical and emotional discomfort before, during, and after your appointment. Glendale sedation dentist Dr. Donald Wilcox is certified by DOCS, the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, enabling him to offer the latest and most effective options to benefit our patients.

For more than four decades, Dr. Wilcox has offered advanced general and cosmetic treatments to men and women living in the Glendale area. If you have typically been afraid or anxious when thinking about dentistry, or if you have physical discomforts that keep you from scheduling an appointment, he welcomes an opportunity to meet with you to discuss your concerns and to help you decide if sedation dentistry is a good fit.

The short quiz below can help you determine if the sedation options offered at our office may be useful to you. Take moment to answer the questions honestly, then give us a call at 602-978-1790 to schedule a consultation and learn more. Located in Glendale, Desert Smiles welcomes patients from Scottsdale, Peoria, Phoenix, Tempe, and all surrounding areas.

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September 12th, 2018

September is Self Improvement Month, a month during which we are encouraged to look at those areas of our lives we find unsatisfactory and to take steps to mold them into something positive. For some, this means sticking to commitments, becoming more present, or engaging in new activities, but self-improvement needn’t be sweepingly emotional or excessively difficult.

Consider teeth cleaning. There is a clear and well-established connection between oral and systemic health. Gum disease, in particular, increases risks for serious health issues including heart attack, pancreatic cancer, kidney failure, and hypertension. This Self Improvement Month, you can commit to taking proper care of your teeth to not only ensure optimal oral health, but to reduce your risks for these larger and more worrisome issues.

If you brush your teeth twice a day, consider upping that to three or four times - adding times after lunch or a midday snack - and help keep teeth clean in between brushing by avoiding sugary foods and drinks. Commit to floss both morning and night as well, to help ensure better removal of plaque and bacteria from in between teeth.

Biannual visits with Glendale dentist Dr. Donald Wilcox should also be included in your self-improvement goals. These visits help keep teeth bright and attractive while allowing for prompt detection of oral health and beauty issues.

Cosmetic Dentistry

If your self-improvement lies more in the realm of aesthetics, it may be time to meet with Dr. Wilcox to discuss which cosmetic dentistry options would best enhance your smile. We offer a complete range of cosmetic services that can be used to address every issue with your teeth and gums to produce a clean, healthy, and bright appearance you’ll feel proud to show the world.

Some of our most popular cosmetic treatments are:

  • Porcelain veneers - placed on the front of teeth, veneers are shaped, sized, and shaded to improve the overall look of the smile
  • Dental bonding - applied to the surface of teeth, bonding can be used to reshape teeth, close gaps and spaces, and improve tooth color
  • Cosmetic gum lift - reducing gum tissue can help produce a better contour for the smile, making teeth appear longer while eliminating the “gummy smile”
  • Tooth whitening - professional strength bleaching gel and customized application trays help make our teeth whitening services significantly more effective and comfortable than store-bought options

Cosmetically minded, Dr. Wilcox has even geared our general services towards cosmetic perfection. Tooth-colored fillings, porcelain inlays and onlays, and porcelain crowns are all available at our office and can be used to both restore and beautify the smile. During your next visit, Dr. Wilcox can answer any questions you may have about our services and help you determine which are best suited to produce the look of your dreams.

This Self Improvement Month, take steps to protect and enhance your smile. Call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Wilcox and learn how we can help.

Located in Glendale, Dr. Wilcox serves the communities of Phoenix, Tempe, Chandler, Scottsdale, Peoria, and all surrounding areas.

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September 02nd, 2018

Dr. Chip Whitney who is double board certified in Family Medicine is a leading advocate of closing the "oral-systemic gap" between dentistry and medicine.  He states "Gum bleeding usually seen as blood in the sink, is a sign of oral inflammation or infection.  This creates an open door to the flow of bacteria from the mouth into the bloodstream and spraying everywhere.  Whereever those bacteria land, they have the potential to elicit the same inflammatory reaction that they do in the mouth in those distal organs like the pancreas, uterus, brain and arteries.  As a champion of preventive medicine, Dr. Whitney sees great effectiveness in the Perio Protect Method of treating gum disease.  Dr Whitney again states, "I have seen countless patients significantly improve their blood tests simply by improving their oral health, thus lowering their risk of heart attack and stroke.  For more information on how you can enjoy better oral and systemic health, visit with our professional hygiene staff about Perio Protect.  For more information visit www.DesertSmiles.com., including information about oral preventive services in our Glendale dental office.

August 21st, 2018

Dental phobia is a serious condition that impacts an unknown number of adults in the United States. Marked by anxiety or fear relating to dental care, this type of phobia can result in serious oral health issues including gum disease and tooth loss. Oral health problems like gum disease may pose systemic health problems as well, increasing risks for heart attack and stroke, kidney and liver failure, pancreatic and breast cancers, and dementia. If it has been longer than six months since your last visit to the dentist, call 602-978-1790 to schedule your appointment today.

Are you afraid of the dentist? Dr. Wilcox is a member of DOCS and has undergone extensive training in sedation dentistry. Give us a call to schedule a consultation and learn more about the sedation options we offer and how they may be able to help you find complete comfort and ease while in our care.

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August 07th, 2018

Charcoal Teeth Whitening | Glendale Tooth WhiteningCharcoal teeth whitening is a growing beauty trend. Long touted by some alternative medicine and natural living bloggers as a way to remove “toxins” from the mouth, beauty vloggers and YouTube celebrities have taken up the torch and begun promoting activated charcoal as a miracle tooth whitening solution. But is it?

With nothing more than a toothbrush and some activated charcoal powder, you can remove surface stains from your teeth over the course of just a few days. The process, while somewhat cumbersome, is not prohibitive, requiring only that you brush, gently and continually, for two to five minutes daily until you have achieved your desired level of whiteness. However, while activated charcoal does in fact work to remove surface stains, here are two things to keep in mind about its efficacy:

  • Activated charcoal only works on surface stains, like those caused by coffee, tea, and sports drinks
  • Prolonged use of activated charcoal can remove tooth enamel, exposing the underlying dentin and causing a permanent yellowing of your teeth

If you have deep stains, such as those caused by tetracycline or fluorosis, or if your staining is the result of aging, activated charcoal, like any topical whitener, will likely enhance the discoloration. Because activated charcoal can only remove topical stains, those deeper stains will be accentuated when surrounding tooth structure is lightened.

The best way to avoid unforeseen consequences of tooth whitening is to talk with a cosmetic dentist about professional options that work to lighten even the deepest of stains - along with alternative options, like porcelain veneers, that can be used to address stains that will not respond to topical whiteners.

How Abrasive is Activated Charcoal?

Unlike baking soda or similarly abrasive ingredients used in toothpaste, charcoal does not remove stains by buffing them off. Instead, charcoal binds to the stains and lifts them from teeth. In the process, however, the abrasiveness of charcoal also serves to remove tooth enamel, increasing the risks of dingy and yellowed teeth.

According to the American Dental Association, there is not enough information about activated charcoal for there to be an official stance on its safety and efficacy as a tooth whitener.

However, in one study cited by the ADA it was found that using a mixture of activated charcoal and table salt was, “...not only ineffective (the teeth had a yellow cast, which the authors attributed to removal of the enamel during the brushing, revealing the dentin underneath), [they] also documented concave cavities on the labial surfaces of the anterior teeth following use.”

Increased risks for cavities? Enhanced discoloration? Activated charcoal begins to sound less and less like an alternative to tooth whitening and more and more like a fast-track to oral health and beauty issues.

Stick With the Professionals

The truth is, it is always best to work with a cosmetic dentist when you are whitening your teeth and Phoenix cosmetic dentist Dr. Donald Wilcox offers a comprehensive selection of teeth whitening services, including topical bleaches, dental bonding, and porcelain veneers, enabling him to address even the most severe tooth staining. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, we welcome an opportunity to meet with you and discuss your concerns, and to help you find the best solution for your needs.

Call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule a consultation and learn more. Located in Glendale, Dr. Wilcox serves Phoenix, Mesa, Chandler, and all surrounding areas of Arizona.

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