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We understand that oral cancer is scary–so are all cancers. While it might be difficult to imagine, we need to make sure we are all properly educated on oral cancer. It has been shown that oral cancers have a five-year survival rate that is as low as 60 percent. That is scary to think about, but it is important to protect yourself by getting checked today.

To help, Dr. Sara has put together some of the top reasons why you should add an oral cancer screening to your wellness checklist.

It’s easy. Asking your dentist to check for signs of oral cancer during your next visit is super easy. Just ask! It can save your life, so don’t be afraid to speak up and ask your dentist for this examination or if you have any questions. By asking for a screening, you can boost your chances of survival by at least 20 percent when the disease is caught early.

It’s inexpensive. When you incorporate an oral cancer exam into your regular dental visit, there is no extra charge! The only added expense comes if any follow-up procedures are needed. And if that is the case, at least you staying proactive and ensuring your health is taken care of. These follow-up visits will help.

It’s better to be safe. You might feel anxious or nervous to ask, but you shouldn’t. While asking is easy, it is also better to be safe than not. Even if you don’t have oral cancer, isn’t it better to know for sure? We think so.

Contact Dr. Sara at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry in North Scottsdale today to schedule your next dental appointment and ask for an oral cancer screening. Your health and well-being is important, so speak up and be proactive in ensuring you receive optimal care.

We’re still in the middle of the time of year when everyone around you starts coughing and sniffling. Once you finally get sick, your teeth may not be on the top of your mind. But having a cold or flu can affect more than just your sinuses. It can affect your mouth too.

Here’s what you can do to keep your teeth healthy, while you fight the flu or cold this season.

Brush your teeth well. Being sick can be exhausting, but make sure to brush and floss. Remember to spend at least two minutes brushing your teeth at least twice a day. However, once you start feeling better, replace your toothbrush. Your old toothbrush can harbor bacteria and easily reinfect you.

Drink lots of liquid. Staying hydrated is important when you’re sick, because your body needs extra fluid to fight the infection. Dry mouth is a common problem, especially when you can’t breathe through your nose easily. Since saliva is a key player in controlling cavity-causing bacteria, dry mouth can increase your chances of cavities and gum disease. Do yourself a favor by loading up on water, soup and juice.

Gargle with salt water. Dissolve a tablespoon of salt water in a glass of warm water. Gargle and spit until the water is gone. This helps cut down on harmful bacteria in your mouth and throat, reducing the effects of bad breath and plaque.

Choose sugar-free medication. Many cough drops and syrups are packed with sugar to sweeten the dose. Even paired with medication, this sugar can cause tooth decay and harm your gums. Shop smart by looking for medicine that’s sweetened with sugar substitutes like xylitol or sucralose. If you can’t find sugar-free alternatives, make sure to brush or rinse afterwards. If your medicine is acidic, wait at least half an hour before brushing to let your enamel harden.

Contact us at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn about more ways to protect your oral health while you don’t feel well.

We’ve talked about dental implants before, but it is important to understand what this treatment is and if you are a good candidate. While dental implants are an excellent way to replace a single tooth or multiple teeth that are missing, they are not for everyone.

Implants are a permanent alternative to dentures and bridges–depending on the individual patient. When deciding on dental implants for restoration of your smile, Dr. Sara will provide you with proper education while also discussing your options. There are many options for replacing missing teeth, but let’s take a closer look at dental implants.

Why get dental implants? To replace one or more missing teeth to create a natural-looking tooth to take its place. This is done without causing harm to the surrounding teeth and help to restore proper function to your mouth–from chewing to speaking. As a result, your quality of life is also improved and you will prevent further jaw joint issues from an “off bite.”

Full arch replacement is also available for patients who are missing all of their teeth on either of their arches. This treatment is followed by a hybrid denture, or an All-on-4 denture. This functions as a denture, but it is fixed to the denture like a bridge.

Multiple Tooth Replacement. For patients who are missing several teeth, implants are a great way to have a permanent solution that is able to be treated and used as a normal tooth. In these cases, a fixed bridge will attach to the implant.

Single Tooth Replacement. Single tooth replacement for patients is a great alternative to having bridges placed, where adjacent teeth are being destroyed. Single tooth implants have individual porcelain crowns placed on them so the tooth becomes like a natural tooth for that patient in terms of cleaning, and day-to-day functioning.

Contact Dr. Sara in North Scottsdale at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about dental implants.

At Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry, we are committed to making sure we use the most current materials and technology to meet your needs. We understand that dentistry is constantly changing, but it is our mission to remain on the cutting edge of all dental advancements, which means our patients get the highest quality of work available to dentistry.
And when you are looking for a way to improve the appearance of your smile, we have the best restorative options to help.

Composite fillings. The composite filling is a tooth colored resin that is used to repair teeth that have fallen victim to cavities. Composite fillings are a great alternative to the tooth destroying amalgam (silver fillings). What was not realized when amalgam fillings were being used in dentistry, is that the metal expands and contracts in the tooth, breaking it down and damaging the tooth, leading to fractures, recontamination with cavities, and pain. These types of fillings are also very useful in filling unwanted gaps, and even to cover exposed root surfaces that occur when gum recession is present.

Dental crowns. Dental crowns are custom made for our patients, and are used for teeth that have been broken down too much for a composite filling to be able to help it. A crown is used as a full coverage type of protection for the tooth structure that remains. Crowns are available in porcelain, as to blend in with the patient’s natural tooth color and structure. We use a local lab that has been around for decades, and has always been a great partner in creating the best dental crowns for our patients.

Fixed dental bridges. A dental bridge is typically used to “fill” any gaps created by missing teeth. A dental bridge works by having two anchor crowns and one floating crown that fills in the gap. As opposed to a denture, the bridge is fixed and unable to be removed from the mouth.

Professional cleanings and preventative care. At Pinnacle Peak Family, we believe that preventative care is the best form of care for any patient. With our comprehensive evaluations, we are able to develop a continuing plan of care for our patients, and educate them as to why it is so important. Prophylactic cleanings are completed for patients who have optimal gum and bone health. This means there are no signs of inflammation, bleeding or bone loss that can all be early signs of periodontitis. Once a patient experiences any type of periodontal issues, we are able to help guide them through proper therapy to bring their mouth back to a healthy status!

Please let us know how we can help you gain the smile you deserve and have been looking for. Contact Dr. Sara at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about restorative options that might work for your teeth.

It’s never too late to straighten your teeth! With Invisalign® you can straighten your teeth without anyone even noticing. Now that sounds great! Invisalign is a clear, virtually invisible and comfortable alternative to braces–it makes it easy to straighten your teeth without bands, brackets or wires.

And because it is invisible and removable, you are able to brush and floss normally during your treatment. There is no need to change your busy lifestyle either. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!

The negative effect of misaligned teeth. Teeth that are not properly aligned in your mouth create what we call malocclusion. If left untreated, malocclusion may lead to abnormal amounts of stress on the teeth and jaw. Also, the patient risks suffering from periodontal disease if they are not able to properly clean their teeth at home due to crowding or spaces.

How Invisalign can help. By using a series of clear, removable aligners, Invisalign straightens your teeth right before your very eyes. Change them every two weeks and your teeth will move—little by little—toward the smile you have always wanted.

Benefits to having properly aligned teeth

There are so many benefits to having straight teeth. For example, you can get healthier teeth and gums. And when there is proper alignment, you are able to ensure a properly cleaned mouth when brushing and flossing.

A balanced and properly aligned bite also prevents the risk of teeth “rubbing” or hitting each other in ways that can cause premature wear, chipping and breaking of restorations, as well as the health of the tooth in its lifespan. Your overall health is even increased when the mouth is able to remain clean and free of the bacteria from cavities or periodontal disease.

Contact Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about Invisalign and to find out if you are a candidate for this procedure!

Can you smile with confidence? Are you searching for a better looking smile? Your smile is often the first thing people notice about you, so why not restore it with cosmetic dentistry? At Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry, we know that your smile means a lot to you and we want to help. Our dentists have extensive training in cosmetic dentistry procedures to ensure your smile always looks–and feels–its best! Here are some cosmetic options that can help renew your smile.

Porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are individually created by hand to beautifully cover your tooth or teeth. These “covers” are as strong as your own teeth and can be a great cosmetic choice for most dental problems. Porcelain veneers will not change colors and will resist chipping and cracking. Veneers are a wonderful choice for treating gaps, chips, small or large teeth, stained or discolored teeth, or crooked teeth.

Resin bonding. We also use tooth-colored resin material to repair chipped, broken or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces cause by gum recession.

Teeth whitening. As we age, so do our teeth. You might notice that your teeth are beginning to  darken–it happens. Foods, drinks, smoking and certain medications will also darken teeth. Teeth whitening will help to lighten teeth and aid in maintaining a white and bright smile.

Contact Dr. Sara at Pinnacle Peak Family Dentistry to learn more about your cosmetic dentistry options. We’re happy to help you regain confidence in your smile!

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.

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