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If you have ever had a cavity, you might already be aware of the treatment process that Dr. Sara follows at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry. To treat a cavity, Dr. Sara works to remove the decayed portion of your tooth. Once that happens, she can “fill” in the area of the tooth where the decayed material was removed. Fillings can also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth, as well as teeth that have been worn down from misuse such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding.

While dental fillings are common for cavities and other reasons, Dr. Sara takes a different approach than many dentists. At Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry in North Scottsdale, Dr. Sara uses traditional composite fillings for improved dental health. Here is how it works.

What steps are involved with a filling?

First, a local anesthetic will be used to numb the area around the tooth that will be filled. Next, a drill, air abrasion instrument, or laser will be used to remove the decayed area. Dr. Sara will then probe or test the area to determine if all the decay has been removed.

Once the decay has been removed, she will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. If the decay is near the root, a liner made of composite resin will be placed to protect the nerve. Generally, after the filling is in, Dr. Sara will finish and polish it.

What Types of Filling Materials Are Available?

There are several dental filling materials available, including gold, porcelain, silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper), or tooth-colored, plastic, and materials called composite resin fillings. There is also a material that contains glass particles and is known as glass ionomer. This material is used in ways similar to the use of composite resin fillings.

Tooth-colored Composites

By using composite fillings, Dr. Sara can provide her patients with the following benefits:

  • Aesthetics: the shade/color of the composite fillings can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth. Composites are particularly well suited for use in front teeth or visible parts of teeth.
  • Bonding to tooth structure: composite fillings actually chemically bond to tooth structure, providing further support.
  • Versatility: in addition to use as a filling material for decay, composite fillings can also be used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.
  • Tooth-sparing preparation: sometimes less tooth structure needs to be removed compared with amalgam fillings when removing decay and preparing for the filling.

Contact Dr. Sara at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about composite fillings and how she can treat your cavity.

Today’s busy dental practices face a serious challenge, which is to maintain or increase productivity while ensuring that patient safety remains a top priority. At times, these may seem like incompatible goals. However, advances in dental processing equipment have empowered practices to develop safer processes while identifying efficiencies and ultimately, saving money.

At Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry, Dr. Sara has moved away from disposable instruments. Instead, she uses a high standard of sterilization to help keep waste down in her office.

Cleaning and sterilization. A cleaning and sterilization process that meets the American Dental Association (ADA) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines is vital to an effective infection control program. Streamlining of this process requires an understanding of proper methods, materials, and devices. Many methods of instrument reprocessing are available. Use of a complete system that encompasses and fulfills all elements that are critical maximizes efficiency and minimizes risks.

Difference between disinfection and sterilization. Disinfection destroys most pathogenic and other microorganisms by physical or chemical means. However, sterilization destroys all microorganisms, including substantial numbers of resistant bacterial spores, by heat (steam autoclave, dry heat, and unsaturated chemical vapor) or liquid chemical sterilants. Disinfection does not ensure the degree of safety associated with sterilization processes.

Contact Dr. Sara at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about her high standard for sterilization and how it improves patient care.

To help you get a better understanding of sleep apnea, and understand what questions we might ask, we have put together a simple questionnaire for you. In this survey, you will see a series of questions about how likely you are to doze off during the day. Take a look:

How likely are you to doze off or fall asleep in the following situations? You should rate your chances of dozing off, not just feeling tired.

Sitting and reading

  1. No chance of dozing
  2. Slight chance of dozing
  3. Moderate chance of dozing
  4. High chance of dozing

Watching television

  1. No chance of dozing
  2. Slight chance of dozing
  3. Moderate chance of dozing
  4. High chance of dozing

Sitting inactive in a public space (i.e. a theater or a meeting)

  1. No chance of dozing
  2. Slight chance of dozing
  3. Moderate chance of dozing
  4. High chance of dozing

As a passenger in a car for an hour without a break

  1. No chance of dozing
  2. Slight chance of dozing
  3. Moderate chance of dozing
  4. High chance of dozing

Lying down to rest in the afternoon when circumstances permit

  1. No chance of dozing
  2. Slight chance of dozing
  3. Moderate chance of dozing
  4. High chance of dozing

Sitting and talking to someone

  1. No chance of dozing
  2. Slight chance of dozing
  3. Moderate chance of dozing
  4. High chance of dozing

Sitting quietly after a lunch without alcohol

  1. No chance of dozing
  2. Slight chance of dozing
  3. Moderate chance of dozing
  4. High chance of dozing

In a car, while stopped for a few minutes in traffic

  1. No chance of dozing
  2. Slight chance of dozing
  3. Moderate chance of dozing
  4. High chance of dozing

If you experience a high chance of dozing in most of these situations you might be suffering from sleep apnea. Please contact our office for more information on sleep apnea and how we can help you get a better night’s sleep.

Sleep apnea can lead to a long list of complications in other conditions (as well as its own condition). To expand on this area of the worsening of conditions, sleep apnea has an inability to regulate blood pressure. Just one bout of sleep apnea can impact your ability to regulate blood pressure—only one instance can lead to high blood pressure. So what happens when it continues to occur? It continues to get worse.

What is the connection?

Sleep apnea can result in frequent periods of decreased oxygen levels in the body. This is known as intermittent hypoxia. Just six hours of fluctuating oxygen levels associate with sleep apnea can deteriorate a person’s circulatory system. We know that sleep apnea is linked to high blood pressure and can impact the cardiovascular system in one day.

As little as only six hours of fluctuating oxygen levels can lead to the body’s inability to regulate blood pressure—imagine what would happen after 8 hours. These changes occur instantly in healthy young adults–it’s not something many can prepare themselves for. For those suffering from sleep apnea, interventions should take place as soon as a diagnosis is found.

Contact Dr. Sara at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry in North Scottsdale for more information on sleep apnea and the steps you can take toward improving your overall health and well-being.

Let’s cut to the main point of this blog post: sleep apnea can increase your risk of type 2 diabetes. It’s that to the point. Sleep apnea is a condition where a person’s airway becomes partially or completely blocked during sleep. As a result, breathing will stop and start throughout the night. Approximately 13 percent of men and 6 percent of women suffer from moderate to severe undiagnosed sleep apnea. While the percentages might seem small, it is important that we do not ignore them.

What is the Connection?

The World Health Organization states that approximately one in every 10 adults suffers from diabetes. Of those with diabetes, a majority has type 2 diabetes, which is when the body can’t make or process enough of the insulin hormone. For those who have type 2 diabetes, obesity is an increased risk. In addition, sleep apnea is also an increased risk for obesity and vice versa.

We need to place a high amount of focus in preventing sleep apnea. By screening for diabetes if you have sleep apnea, and screening for sleep apnea if you have diabetes, we can take strides in further protection against both conditions. This also holds true for those who are overweight and physically inactive people.

It is important to be aware of the link between sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes. While ongoing research is still being completed, knowing there is a connection is key to protecting your overall health and well-being.

Contact Dr. Sara for more information on how sleep apnea and type 2 diabetes are connected, and how we can help.

Did you know Dr. Sara also offers treatment for jaw pain, also known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder (TMD)? She does! If you suspect you might be experiencing TMD or some subjset of jaw pain, the first step in treatment is to receive a proper examination and diagnosis from Dr. Sara in North Scottsdale. Once you receive a proper diagnosis, the next step is treatment planning because there is a different treatment option for everyone.

TMD severity will vary from person to person, which means there are a variety of options for you to choose from that will best suit your needs. Let’s take a look at a few common treatment plans for TMD, starting with Oral Appliance Therapy:

Oral Appliance Therapy

Oral appliance therapy is a very helpful and successful technique in treating Temporomandibular joint dysfunction. These devices are extremely popular among TMD patients due to the simplicity and comfort of the appliance. People describe the appliance as being similar to a retainer for orthodontic treatments.

These appliances are made to fit your mouth and your mouth only, completely unique! Some of these devices are meant to move the lower jaw forward, while others simply prevent the tongue from falling backward which in turn would block the airway. These appliances are the most effective treatment in preventing and/or controlling sleep apnea related disorders.

TMD Splints

Another popular option for TMD treatment is a splint. Splints are put in place and prevent the upper and lower teeth from touching. These are typically worn at night to avoid any teeth clenching or grinding which would result in pain the next morning. Wearing these splints will enable your jaw muscles and joints to relax and heal, relieving you from any pain.

Medication Options

For less severe cases, over the counter anti-inflammatory drugs would work just as well. The most typical medicine prescribed for TMD is muscle relaxants due to their ability to help loosen tight muscles. This is especially popular for those who grind or clench their teeth. With any situation, it is important to speak with your doctor about which direction is best for you.

So, what’s next? After reviewing the available options for your TMD treatment plan in North Scottsdale, Dr. Sara will help you pick a path that best meets your individual needs. With a treatment planned out, you will be on the road to living a pain free, happy life again.

At Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry, Dr. Sara offers a variety of cosmetic dentistry options to help you achieve a beautiful, sparkly smile that you deserve. The availability of cosmetic dentistry has proven to be an important aspect to the dental profession in helping to create healthy, glowing teeth.

In addition to giving you that shiny smile you have always wanted, cosmetic dentistry is also used to repair defects, such as an overbite or crooked teeth, chipped teeth or missing teeth. Here are four common cosmetic dental procedures you might be interested in:

  • Whitening – One of the most popular procedures in cosmetic dentistry. It is a simple and effective technique to obtain a whiter smile.
  • Bonding – Tooth colored composite is placed to “fill in the blanks.” It is commonly used to fill in the gap between front teeth.
  • Contouring – The process of shaping your natural teeth to improve their appearance.
  • Veneers – Porcelain facings that are bonded to the front surfaces of teeth. Veneers can be used to whiten teeth, close spaces, straighten teeth, or repair chipped or worn teeth.

While these options are the most popular, there are many other procedures that can be done to perfect your smile. We can change your smile for the better to help you feel more confident. Having a dentist that you can trust to be friendly and personal is what we strive for. Call Dr. Sara today to discuss your cosmetic dental inquiry.

It can be easy to notice signs and symptoms of temporomanibular disorder (TMD) on yourself because it is usually accompanied with some sort of discomfort. It is important to be observant and look for these symptoms. With the help of Dr. Sara you will be able to find a treatment plan that solves all of your problems!

What are the Signs and Symptoms of TMD?

When eating you may notice a clicking or popping sound in the jaw, which becomes quite an annoying sound and feeling. In more serious cases, the jaw may even get stuck in the open or closed position. Oftentimes, avoiding this condition is impossible because of the pain it causes. This is a disorder that is often overlooked, but it can be very serious if left untreated. If you think you are suffering from TMD, take note of these signs:

    • Pain when chewing
    • Pain when talking
    • Clicking/popping in the jaw
    • Pain/tenderness in the jaw region
    • Lock-jaw

What are the causes of TMD?

As you know, we are all different, and that means the causes of TMD will vary from person to person. This is especially true when taking into account the severity of the situation. Typically, any injury involving your jaw, jaw joint, or the muscles in your neck, such as whiplash or a heavy blow to the face, can be a major contribution to TMD. 

In other instances, grinding of the teeth or clenching of the jaw can play a major role in the development of TMD. Putting any added stress on the jaw can cause an onset of TMD. And, in more serious cases, arthritis could be forming in the joint, causing you extreme discomfort. All of these instances can lead to a diagnosis of TMD, which means you need to visit your dentist today for further diagnosis.

Contact Dr. Sara today to learn more about TMD and to find out if you suffer from this condition. Remember, pain is not something you should ever “just deal” with. There is relief in sight.

If you have ever found yourself looking in the mirror and thinking, “I wish my teeth were brighter, straighter and just all around better looking,” you’re in luck. Don’t be ashamed if you have been worrying about this–we’ve all been there before. To help you love your smile again, Dr. Sara and her team in North Scottsdale, AZ offer cosmetic dentistry.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry helps us to improve the appearance of your teeth. If you are experiencing any of the following, you might be a good candidate for cosmetic dentistry:

  • Repairing chips and cracks.
  • Treating an injury.
  • Improving a person’s overall appearance.

Regardless of your reason for wanting to transform your smile, cosmetic dentistry in North Scottsdale from Dr. Sara can help you look younger and healthier, and that begins with your teeth.

What Cosmetic Procedures are Available?

With the help of your cosmetic dentist in North Scottsdale, you can improve your smile and repair any dental damage you might have been putting off for years. In as little as just a few appointments you can have a brand new, sparkling smile from the completion of any of the following procedures:

  • Teeth Whitening.
  • Dental Veneers.
  • Bonding.
  • Dental Implants.
  • Bridges and Crowns.
  • Invisalign.

Cosmetic dentistry in North Scottsdale from Dr. Sara allows you to take the next step in achieving an improved smile in only a couple dental visits at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry. From a whiter, brighter smile to the replacement of missing teeth, cosmetic dentistry offers a solution that meets most patients’ needs by allowing you to smile once again.

Now you can turn back the clock to new, bright teeth.  Full mouth reconstruction involves restoring the teeth, bite and muscles to a natural looking, youthful feeling condition, and achieving the cosmetic improvements you have always wanted.  

Full mouth reconstruction refers to the use of one or more restorative dental treatments to improve the function, strength, health, and stability of your gums and teeth.  So if your smile has multiple problems, a full mouth reconstruction can help restore your teeth to their natural glow. This treatment involves restoring all of the teeth in your mouth with the main focus being the improvement of the function of your teeth.  

Any cosmetic benefits resulting from a full mouth reconstruction remain secondary, though correcting dental imperfections and restoring the health of the gums and teeth often provide an instant improvement to the aesthetics of your smile.

Who is a candidate for a full mouth restoration?

If you are experiencing difficulty chewing or speaking, pain when biting down, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) issues, missing teeth, tooth decay, or other dental issues that are not based solely on improving the aesthetics of your smile, then a full mouth reconstruction may be just for you.  During this procedure, Dr. Sara, our dentist in North Scottsdale, will restore all of your teeth in the upper and lower jaw, and address any issues that may have contributed to the demise of the function and health of your teeth.

Since health and function of your teeth are the primary focus of full mouth reconstruction, virtually everyone is a candidate for this procedure.  Dental issues that can be improved and corrected during full mouth reconstruction, include:

  • Missing teeth
  • Fractured teeth
  • Teeth with severe tooth erosion
  • Advanced periodontitis
  • Worn teeth, uneven teeth
  • Misalignment
  • TMJ issues, including pain and teeth grinding

This comprehensive restorative procedure can reverse years of aging and neglect.  It can also provide you with the extreme Hollywood smile that you have always dreamed of having!

What is the first step?

Before your full mouth reconstruction can begin, Dr. Sara will complete a comprehensive dental examination, which includes x-rays and impressions of your upper and lower teeth, to determine the best treatments for your full mouth reconstruction.  She will also look for wear, decay, caries, cracks, receding gums, bone loss, loose teeth, missing teeth, TMJ problems, and a multitude of other dental issues during this thorough dental examination.

Every patient is different, which means the only way to determine what treatments will be included in your full mouth reconstruction is to schedule an examination with Dr. Sara. Some of the treatments that may be included in your full mouth reconstruction are:

  • A professional dental cleaning.
  • Dental implants.
  • Crown lengthening.
  • Surgery to reposition the jaw.
  • Gum contouring
  • Preparation for the placement of dental crowns, bridges, inlays and onlays, and veneers.
  • The placement of dental crowns, bridges, inlays and onlays, and veneers.
  • Bone or soft tissue grafting.
  • Scaling and root planing.

To learn more about full mouth reconstruction and the restorative dental treatments involved, contact Dr. Sara, our North Scottsdale dentist at Pinnacle Peak Family Dental.

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Call Us (480) 473-8920