Desert Smiles Blog

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

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.

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. Nathan Tenney 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. Tenney 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.

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.

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, 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.

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.

July 30th, 2018

Do I Need to Replace Old Silver Fillings?This may come as a surprise, but metal dental fillings are not designed to last for a lifetime. The amalgam used for these types of fillings is sensitive to temperature changes in the mouth, allowing it to expand and contract with heat and cold. This can result in one of two eventualities: the filling comes loose and falls out or the filling expands to such an extent that it cracks or breaks surrounding enamel.

You can help prevent a silver filling from damaging your teeth by knowing when it needs to be replaced. Every 10 to 15 years is a safe bet. However, assuming you’re not keeping track of the years by way of dental fillings, here are five additional ways to tell if it’s time to talk to Dr. Wilcox about replacing one:

  1. Increased tooth sensitivity in a tooth with a filling
  2. Sharp or throbbing pain in or around a tooth with a filling
  3. Dark holes or spots on or around a filling
  4. Enamel around a filling feels rough or sharp, even after brushing teeth
  5. Cracks have begun to form on the surface of a tooth with a filling

Tooth pain should never be ignored. If you are experiencing tooth pain, it is important that you contact us right away for an examination. When caught early on, most oral health issues can be treated quickly.

We offer safe, nontoxic, aesthetically pleasing tooth-colored fillings at our Glendale office. Bonded to teeth, these fillings do not come loose or fall out and, while not permanent, porcelain fillings may last for up to 30 years - that’s two to three-times the life-expectancy of metal fillings. This alone has prompted some of our patients to replace older silver fillings even before they fail.

If you believe you have a filling that needs to be replaced or if you are interested in learning more about replacing metal fillings with a tooth-colored alternative, please call 602-978-1790 to schedule an appointment at Desert Smiles today. Located in Glendale, we welcome patients from Mesa, Chandler, Peoria, and all surrounding areas.

July 16th, 2018

Glendale Conscious Oral Sedation | Desert SmilesThe sedation options offered at the Glendale office of Dr. Donald Wilcox have a long history of safe and effective use. A member of the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation, Dr. Wilcox has trained extensively in the art and science of producing optimal patient comfort through sedation dentistry - a service that can be provided before any of your treatments at Desert Smiles.

Some patients choose dental sedation only when they are in need of more involved treatments. Others opt for the service to treat discomforts unrelated to the treatment itself. Issues like an overactive gag reflex, highly sensitive teeth, and TMJ may necessitate sedation for routine services such as cleanings and examinations. Dr. Wilcox will take time to understand your needs and listen carefully to your concerns to help you determine when and if sedation may be useful for you.

Conscious Oral Sedation

Dr. Wilcox offers conscious oral sedation, a trusted and effective sedation dentistry option that does not come with the same risks as deeper, IV sedation. With this option, medication is administered in pill form before your appointment. Once the medication has started to work, you will feel completely relaxed and perhaps even slightly euphoric, but you will still be able to respond to basic instructions - which is incredibly useful for things like spitting during routine cleanings - though you will likely have only limited memory of the procedure itself.

We have found that this method of sedation is incredibly effective, even for those working through previous dental trauma. During your initial consultation, Dr. Wilcox can discuss the medications used for dental sedation in greater detail to help you decide if conscious oral sedation is the best fit for your needs.

Routine Cleanings & Examinations

The cornerstone of a healthy and attractive smile is peak oral health - and that can only be obtained through a consistent oral hygiene routine.

Brushing your teeth after every meal and snack and flossing both morning and night will go a long way towards removing surface stains and preventing issues like decay, infection, and gum disease. However, without professional care, many issues that can pose long-term problems may remain unnoticed.

Biannual visits for professional cleanings and examinations serve multiple purposes, including removing all plaque and tartar from the teeth. These visits allow Dr. Wilcox to detect early warning signs of conditions as diverse as bruxism (tooth grinding) and cavities, and to provide swift treatment that can help prevent small problems from causing serious and lasting damage.

If you have avoided the dentist for fear of discomfort, maybe it’s time to reconsider. Give us a call at 602-978-1790 to schedule a consultation and learn more.

Desert Smiles is located in Glendale, Arizona. Our award-winning dentist welcomes patients from Phoenix, Chandler, Scottsdale, and all surrounding areas.

July 09th, 2018

Glendale Dentist | Celebrate National Ice Cream MonthJuly is National Ice Cream Month and the third Sunday of July, the 15th this year, is National Ice Cream Day. Both the day and the month were created through congressional resolution in 1984, which is a pretty big deal for ice cream.

There is no question that ice cream is a summertime favorite. Even without its own month, this cold treat becomes increasingly popular during the spring and summer, offering a refreshing escape on those days that top 100 in and around Glendale. But is it possible to enjoy ice cream and still maintain optimal oral health?

How to Protect Your Teeth

Let’s start with the good. Ice cream contains calcium, a mineral that is essential for healthy tooth enamel. Of course, ice cream is not the standard go-to calcium supplement, but it is a fairly delicious way to get 100 or so mg of the mineral that comprises 99% of the bones and teeth in your body. Ice cream also has a small amount of protein, potassium, and vitamins A and D.

While it would be irresponsible to claim ice cream has “health benefits,” it would be dishonest to suggest there is nothing healthy in the treat. However, none of the vitamins or minerals in ice cream will protect your teeth against the damage the treat’s sometimes alarming sugar content can do. That responsibility is yours alone.

Here’s the good news, you can eat ice cream AND maintain a strong and healthy smile. You just have to be smart about it. Here’s how:

  • Choose ice cream without candy and other add-ons
  • Brush your teeth within an hour of consuming ice cream
  • Floss within 12 hours of eating ice cream
  • Drink plenty of water throughout the day

Taking time to brush and floss, and drinking several cups of water throughout the day will have a positive impact on your oral health regardless of your relationship to ice cream. These steps will also help reduce your risks of tooth discoloration, the development of gum disease, and issues such as halitosis that are often related to substandard oral hygiene routines. Be sure to visit our office every six months for cleanings and examinations as well. These visits are essential for a strong and healthy smile.

Glendale dentist Dr. Donald Wilcox offers a comprehensive range of general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry services that can be used in various combinations to produce the smile of your dreams. If you are overdue for a visit to the dentist or if you are considering a smile makeover, he welcomes an opportunity to meet with you, learn about your needs, and help you determine the best course of treatment.

Please call Desert Smiles at 602-978-1790 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Wilcox. Located in Glendale, our award-winning dentist serves Scottsdale, Peoria, and all surrounding areas of Arizona.

June 14th, 2018

Men are nearly twice as likely as women to develop gum disease. Symptoms of this common oral health problem may include:

  • Red or swollen gum tissue
  • Gums that bleed easily when brushed
  • Chronic bad breath
  • A persistent bad taste in the mouth

When left untreated, gum disease may present symptoms including:

  • Loose teeth
  • Pus in between teeth
  • Gum tissue pulling away from teeth
  • Tooth loss

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important that you get in touch with Dr. Wilcox to schedule an examination. Left untreated, gum disease can have a profound impact on the health and life expectancy of males.

Men’s Health Month

Treating Gum Disease in Glendale, AZ

June is Men’s Health Month and a perfect time to consider the impact gum disease has on men in particular. Complications linked to untreated gum disease exceed tooth loss and potential jaw shrinkage to include increased risks for:

  • Heart attack and stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Esophageal and pancreatic cancer
  • Dementia

Gum disease is also linked to erectile dysfunction.

This June, take time to schedule a routine cleaning and examination at our Glendale office. During this appointment, Dr. Wilcox will carefully examine your gums for any signs of infection, allowing him to provide swift treatment when needed to help prevent more serious health issues from occurring.

To schedule your next appointment at Desert Smiles, please call 602-978-1790 today.