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Dental Cavities Treated with Composite Fillings

Dental cavities are extremely common and affect more than 90% of the population. If you have reached adulthood without ever having a cavity you are one of the lucky few. Cavities can affect anybody at any age from young to old. Oral hygiene habits, nutrition, and even normal changes associated with the aging process can play a direct role in making cavities a problem for all ages.

Cavity Is A Word We Don’t Like To Hear

Cavities are caused by decay and, as the name suggests, are tiny pitted holes in your teeth. Cavity-causing bacteria found in plaque is the primary culprit to blame for this decay. Bacteria, saliva and food intermix forming that sticky substance called plaque that attaches to your teeth. Plaque can accumulate most anywhere on the teeth and is most common along the gum line, in between teeth and in the small grooves in the tops of teeth. The bacteria in plaque interact with carbohydrates and sugars creating acid which attacks protective enamel (a tooth’s outer layer). Eating or drinking things high in sugar and starches contribute greatly to this process.

When a tooth is overly exposed to acid it weakens the enamel and forms a cavity. Once the dense, hard enamel erodes it leaves exposed the softer, porous inner layer of the tooth called the dentin. Once this occurs decay will rapidly advance penetrating the dentin and deeper layers of the tooth. You may not experience any symptoms of a cavity, such as pain or sensitivity, until the cavity actually reaches the dentin. You may occasionally be able to see a cavity as the area around a cavity may appear to be a grayish or dark brown color. In many cases, however, cavities cannot be seen and can be detected only by x-ray or a dental exam.

Do I Really Need A Filling?

A cavity will not just go away and should be treated. If cavities are left untreated they can cause pain, discomfort and may even cavities-composite-fillingslead to tooth loss. The decay will continue to spread and will eventually permeate the nerve center of the tooth which may be as painful as it sounds. Treatment also become much more involved and costly the longer it is left alone. Untreated cavities can develop into a more complicated problem such as an infection or abscess. Rather than a simple filling you may be faced with a root canal in an effort to save the tooth.

Resin fillings can also be used to repair a chipped tooth or replace an existing filling. Existing fillings can weaken over time and the seal between the tooth and the filling material loosens allowing bacteria in. Once this happens the tooth decay process takes hold.

Treating Cavities with Composite Fillings

Composite fillings are a restorative material that may be used by your Greeley dentist to treat cavities. It has become a favored choice for fillings because it closely resembles the color of your natural tooth and also creates a solid bond to the tooth. The material used for composite fillings consists of plastic resin and silica filler or tiny glass particles. Through the years technological advances in filling materials have tremendously improved composite fillings making them stronger and more durable. Composite fillings, however, can be vulnerable to staining or changes in color and can sometimes chip or wear away from the tooth.

A cavity can be filled right in your dentist’s office. Your dentist will typically numb the affected area using a local anesthetic so that you don’t feel any pain during the procedure. All areas of decay will be removed from the tooth and the tooth prepared so that your dentist can rebuild the missing tooth structure with the composite filling. A bonding solution will be applied with the next step being application of the composite filling material. A blue dental high intensity curing light is used to harden the filling material which takes just a few seconds. The filling is then checked to be sure there are no rough edges and your bite is okay. Any necessary adjustments will be made at this time to ensure your tooth has the right shape and appearance.

Expectations after Getting A New Composite Filling

It is not uncommon to experience some slight discomfort after getting a new composite filling. Your dentist may recommend ibuprofen to relieve any discomfort. If symptoms persist you should contact your dentist. The decay may have permeated deep into the tooth causing the nerve to become infected with bacteria. There is a chance that the tooth may need to undergo a root canal to relieve the discomfort even though the cavity has already been filled.

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental | (970) 351-6095

Ascent Family Dental welcomes the opportunity to be your number one Greeley dentist and help you to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile. You are invited to contact Dr. Scott Williams for an appointment to discuss all of your dental needs. The knowledgeable and caring staff at Ascent Family Dental will make you feel at home and will do everything possible to alleviate any fears you may have about dental procedures. If you have any questions or concerns about dental cavities, call (970) 351-6095 to schedule an appointment with a dentist you can trust.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095

Tooth Extraction – What to Expect When Having a Tooth Pulled

Tooth extraction is the process of extracting, or removing, a tooth. Before this procedure can be performed, you must first inform your dentist of any medical conditions you may have, including a history of valve or heart conditions, diabetes or artificial joints. It is also important to inform your dentist of any medications you may be taking or have previously taken. This includes blood thinners, Phen fen, Redux or any medicines with bisphosphonates in them.

Tooth Extraction Process

The first step in the process is to apply an anesthetic. This makes the tooth extraction more comfortable by numbing the immediate area. Some dentists will use nitrous oxide gas in conjunction to the anesthetic. Consult with your Greeley dentist beforehand if you have a personal preference. Extraction will not begin until the area is completely numb.

The first tool your dentist will use is called an elevator. This instrument helps loosen the tooth. Once the tooth is loose enough, your dentist will use forceps to remove it from its socket. If complications arise, a surgical hand tool may be used to aid in the tooth extraction process.

Dental Extraction Complications

tooth extractionAlthough this is a routine procedure, there is still the risk of complications arising. There is a small chance of developing an infection after the extraction. Continued bleeding and tenderness at the extraction site is also possible. Other possible complications include:

  • Loosening of fillings, crowns and nearby teeth
  • Dry socket
  • Although rare, there is a possibility that an upper tooth can become dislodged into the sinus.
  • Permanent or temporary numbness and a fractured jaw are two very rare complications.

Do not forget to consult with your dentist about post-operative care. It is also important to develop a proper home care routine to keep your teeth healthy after the tooth has been removed.

Replacing the Extracted Tooth

Once the tooth is extracted, it is usually recommended you replace it as soon as possible. The space left behind gives neighboring teeth the opportunity to shift over into that space. This can create complications with misalignment, which can result in joint or jaw problems later on. Shifted teeth are notoriously difficult to clean. This makes them vulnerable to decay, gum disease and even tooth loss. This is why it is so crucial to replace the extracted tooth with an implant, bridge or a removable partial denture.

Extraction is Not Always the Best Choice

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental | (970) 351-6095

It is tempting to consider pulling a tooth rather than repairing it. After all, the cost of dental extraction is typically more affordable than other repair procedures. However, it may actually wind up costing you more if you decide to go this route. As previously mentioned, you will need to replace the tooth once it is extracted. The cost to remove the tooth and replace it may wind up being more costly than just repairing it.

Pulling a tooth is a relatively simple procedure that comes with minimal risks. If you are having a tooth removed, make sure that you have a plan in place to remove that tooth as soon as possible to avoid future complications. Also, consider whether or not it is better to simply repair the tooth rather than going through the process of removing the tooth and replacing it. If you are unsure of the best course of action, Dr. Williams of Ascent Family Dental will be happy to help. Tooth extraction does not have to be complicated – Make an appointment with us today to see how we can help.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095

Dental Cleaning and the Importance of “Prophy”

Did you know that professional dental cleaning can actually help prevent gum disease? Most people are well aware of what gingivitis is and the effects it has on dental health. One word you probably aren’t familiar with is prophy. What exactly is prophy? The term is actually short for prophylactic teeth cleaning. This type of cleaning is typically prescribed to those who are diagnosed with gum inflammation, better known as gingivitis.

A person with gingivitis may typically experience the following symptoms:

• Swollen gums
• Shiny gums
• Soreness of the mouth
• Red and inflamed gums

Another sign of gingivitis is gum bleeding, which is typically experienced while brushing or flossing. Itching gums and bad breath may also be signs of this condition.

Dental Cleaning Can Prevent Gingivitis

dental cleaning greeleyThe development of gingivitis typically begins with poor brushing habits. After all, the root cause of the condition is a build-up of plaque and tartar. Plaque is the first thing to develop. This is the yellow film that builds up on teeth and is caused by bacteria and food particles in your mouth.

If the plaque is not removed, it will mix with the saliva in your mouth and harden over time. This is what causes tartar and ultimately what causes gingivitis. This causes an unending cycle with poor brushing habits being the root problem.

Gingivitis is a precursor to a more serious gum disease known as periodontal disease. Periodontal disease develops when a person fails to treat gingivitis. It can eventually lead to tooth or bone loss if allowed to progress.

While the effects of these diseases may be frightening, there’s no reason to despair. A professional dental cleaning from Ascent Family Dental can help treat gingivitis. By practicing good oral hygiene at home as well, you can prevent gingivitis from coming back.

Dental Cleaning Procedure (Prophy)

Prophy cleanings are performed in a dental office. The process involves multiple steps, but will be completed in one visit.

Step 1: A regular cleaning is given first. This may be done with a cavitron (an ultra-sonic instrument) or it may be done manually. A combination of the two may also be used. Regardless of the method, the goal is to dislodge and eliminate any plaque or tartar build-up on the teeth.

Step 2: After the regular cleaning is completed, a rotary machine will be used. Its primary purpose is to eliminate plaque that has built up along the gum line. It also polishes the tooth’s surface, which can actually help prevent plaque build-up in the future.

Step 3: The final step in the process is flossing. This will eliminate any plaque that may be hiding in between teeth.

Bacterial rinses may also be used to help further reduce bacteria in the mouth.

Although the cleaning process may seem intensive, the risks are typically minor. Some may find that a filling or crown has become loose after a prophy cleaning. However, the filling or crown was likely already defective in this case. A good crown or filling should be able to withstand the cleaning safely.

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental | (970) 351-6095

Regular in office dental cleanings are a key component in maintaining a healthy and bright smile. While it is also important to maintain a good oral hygiene routine at home, professional cleanings will eliminate any lingering plaque build-up that your toothbrush may miss. Call Ascent Family Dental today to schedule an appointment. Aside from your dental cleaning, Dr. Williams will be happy to answer any questions you may have about gingivitis and preventing periodontal disease.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095



Have a Confident Smile With Overdentures

Greeley OverdenturesOverdentures are a way for denture wearers to have a more confident smile and eliminate many problems associated with conventional dentures such as slipping and irritation of gum tissue. A denture is custom molded to the shape of the gum and bone ridges in the mouth and is meant to fit comfortably and securely over the gums. An upper denture, which covers the palate or roof of the mouth, is held in place by suction with the clear, viscous fluid in the mouth (saliva) acting as a seal. Lower dentures, on the other hand, are shaped like a horseshoe as they need to allow space for the tongue. The lower denture is mainly dependent on gravity as well as the cheek muscles and tongue to hold it in place.

Over time certain problems can begin to develop which causes instability of the denture resulting in loose dentures, painful dentures, inability to eat certain foods, and even problems with speech. Overdentures are designed to give denture wearers security and the ability to smile, eat and speak with confidence. An overdenture is simply a denture which snaps onto a set of implants that help keep it in place. Overdentures are most often used for lower dentures but can also be used for upper dentures as well.

Benefits of Choosing Overdentures

Dentures are a wonderful way to restore a beautiful smile after being faced with problem teeth and gums. Many people, however, find it difficult to wear their dentures with one of the most common reasons being loose dentures (particularly the lower denture). When dentures are loose and slide around it can trigger a number of problems such as gum irritation, pain, or problems with speech and eating and denture adhesives may not be the best solution. Eventually that beautiful smile may fade away due to a lack of confidence or embarrassment. Patients who experience problems wearing dentures may be the perfect candidate for overdentures or implant retained dentures. Here are a few of the benefits to choosing overdentures:

•    Loose-fitting dentures are replaced with improved stability, support and retention.

•    Eat the foods you love. When dentures are stabilized you can chew your food properly and not be nervous about what you are eating. Eating the right types of foods and following a healthy diet can improve overall health.

•    Smile, laugh and speak with confidence. Laughter is the best medicine and smiles are contagious. Overdentures can give you the confidence to open your mouth to smile and laugh without embarrassing moments due to slipping dentures. Speech can also be improved.

•    Wear dentures in comfort. Dentures that fit properly and securely will not rub against gum tissue thereby eliminating bleeding or irritated gums and pain.

•    Eliminate the need for denture adhesives. With overdentures you can do away with the cost and inconvenience of using ineffective over-the-counter denture adhesives.

•    Your existing denture can (in many cases) be used for your overdenture.

Three Primary Types of Overdentures

There are three different types of overdentures (also referred to as implant retained dentures) used to stabilize dentures and each has its own unique set of advantages, drawbacks, and differences in associated costs and longevity.

1. Mini Implant: The mini implant is the most affordable option in overdentures and is quickly gaining popularity based on the lower cost and reduced healing time. The implants (also referred to as a ball abutment), which contains a ball-top design, are surgically inserted into the jaw and the denture attaches to the implants by snapping onto the ball tops. The implants create an anchor for the denture which stabilizes the denture and keeps it firmly in place.

2. Locator Abutment: This second type of overdenture is actually the most popular due to the fact that there often are only two implants required. This is a common overdenture because of its adaptability. Between 2 and 6 implants may be placed depending on how stable the patient desires their denture to be. Patient healing time, however, is much longer than with mini implants. It is very similar to the mini implants in that the implants are inserted into the lower jaw (mandible) and the underside of the overdenture contains a matching cap that allows it to snap into place over the implants.

3. Bar Attachment: An overdenture bar is the third type and the most costly due to fabrication of the precision bar that would sit along the alveolar ridge. It is designed to be resilient and extremely durable providing excellent stabilization of the overdenture. One of the key benefits of a bar attachment is that it can direct forces away from the supporting gum tissue and bone.

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental | (970) 351-6095

If you are experiencing any difficulties or discomfort with your dentures, overdentures may be the perfect solution. Consulting with your dentist on all of your concerns and available treatment options will help you determine if overdentures are the right choice for you. You are invited to call Dr. Scott Williams at Ascent Family Dental (970-351-6095) to schedule an appointment to discuss your options for implant retained dentures and your overall denture care.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095


Dental Habits to Kiss Goodbye

Are you guilty of bad dental habits?

Are you guilty of bad dental habits?

Let’s face it, we’re all a little guilty of developing some bad dental habits at one point or another. What’s really the harm in not flossing every day or skipping a brushing now and then? Have you ever stopped to consider that you may be causing damage to your teeth when you hold something between your teeth like a set of car keys to momentarily free up your hands. Can it really be a good thing to tear or pry something open with your teeth? It can be very easy to fall into some bad habits and take your dental health for granted. In order to develop excellent oral hygiene practices and maintain good dental health it’s important to kick those bad habits for good.

Say Goodbye Forever to 8 Bad Dental Habits

Below is a list of some of the most common bad dental habits that are easily acquired and why those habits should be eliminated.

Poor Brushing Habits

We all know how important it is to brush our teeth but did you realize that brushing your teeth too vigorously can do more harm than good. Brushing too hard can wear down tooth structure and cause gums to become irritated and even recede. Tooth sensitivity, exposed roots and even loose teeth can result. Brushing incorrectly or using the wrong type of toothbrush can also contribute to deterioration of the teeth and gums. Using a soft bristle toothbrush is best and learning proper gentle brushing techniques from your dentist will help preserve those precious pearly whites.

Failing to Floss

We have all heard over and over again the importance of flossing yet this is still one good habit that is tough to make stick. Failing to floss on a routine basis or even at all is something that many of us are guilty of. It’s time to search for that little container of floss, keep it right next to your toothbrush, and be sure to use it every day. Just remember that bacteria loves to accumulate and hide between teeth, destroying enamel and causing cavities to develop, and the only way to truly get those areas between your teeth clean is by flossing.

Consuming Sugary Foods and Acidic Beverages

Eating a proper and nutritious diet is one way to help promote good oral health. Many of us have a serious weakness, however, for lots of sugary treats and/or beverages loaded with sugar and acid. Consuming too many sugary foods and allowing that sugar to remain on the teeth after eating can accelerate tooth decay. Beverages that are high in sugar and loaded with acids such as soda, juice, coffee, tea and energy drinks can also contribute to cavities and the destruction of tooth enamel. Cutting back or eliminating sugary treats will help. If you do eat or drink anything high in sugar or acidic content be sure to rinse your mouth with water immediately after and brush your teeth as soon as possible.

Using Your Teeth as a Tool

If you’ve ever used your teeth to tear open a package, turn the cap on a bottle, tear off a price tag, or pry something open you are putting your teeth in harms way and making them prone to cracks or breaks. This can also damage existing dental work. Instead of using your teeth as a tool buy a Swiss army knife.

Crunching on Ice

Chewing on hard objects such as pens, pencils or your fingernails or crunching on ice cubes can be one of the worst things for your teeth. This practice makes your teeth susceptible to fractures, cracks and chips and wears away at the enamel which can also promote tooth decay.

Do You Grind Your Teeth or Clench Your Jaw

These habits (the technical term is bruxism) can be very hard to break particularly because most people don’t even realize they are doing it. Grinding your teeth often occurs during sleep and can be caused by stress or anxiety, missing teeth, or an abnormal bite. Headaches, tooth sensitivity, and jaw pain are a few signs of bruxism so if you are experiencing any or all of these symptoms, or you know you are grinding your teeth or clenching your jaw, it is important to consult with your dentist for solutions to correct the problem. If left untreated the long term effects can be quite serious from tooth fractures to bone loss.

Foods and Beverages That Stain

Coffee, tea and wine are all beverages that can stain teeth. There are several drinks, as well as foods, that can be harsh on tooth enamel and cause discoloration and staining. Avoiding or cutting back on these items is ideal. You can also consult with your dentist on the best methods to remove stains and whiten teeth.

Avoiding the Dentist

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental | (970) 351-6095

Going to the dentist is most likely not on anyone’s top 10 list of favorite things to do but routine visits to your dentist for cleanings and checkups will help to keep yourdental health in tip top condition. Be sure to keep those scheduled dental appointments and if you experience persistent problems like bleeding gums, gum or tooth pain, mouth sores, etc. be sure to contact your dentist.

A habit is merely a behavior that is repeated regularly and becomes routine. It typically tends to occur subconsciously without any real thought. It’s never too late to break a bad dental habit but you first need to recognize that it is a bad habit that can have detrimental effects on your oral health. It can initially take some effort to break the behavior but once you do it can be replaced by healthy dental habits that will have you on the road to great dental health.

You are invited to call Dr. Scott Williams at Ascent Family Dental (970) 351-6095 for all of your dental needs. Dr. Williams is passionate about educating his patients on how to properly care for their teeth.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095



Understanding Gum Disease

This could be a symptom of gum disease.

This could be a symptom of gum disease.

Gum disease is an inflammatory condition that silently preys upon approximately 50% of American adults aged 30 and older. According to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) a study was conducted and published using data from 2009 and 2010 on the prevalence of periodontitis in adults in the US. Findings indicated that an estimated 64.7 million Americans have mild to severe periodontitis. The earliest stage of gum disease is commonly known as gingivitis and affects virtually everyone at some point, both children and adults. Gingivitis is the mildest form of gum disease and when caught early and treated properly with good dental hygiene and proper diet adverse effects can be reversed. If gingivitis is left untreated it can progress to periodontitis and may cause irreversible damage to the gums and bone supporting the teeth.

What is Gum Disease?

So what exactly is gum disease? Gum disease is a chronic form of inflammation that affects the gum tissue in your mouth. The bacteria associated with plaque buildup around the gum line can irritate and infect this soft tissue and when left untreated it can advance into more severe stages of gum disease. There are basically three stages of gum disease which encompass mild, moderate and severe disease.

• Gingivitis (mild gum disease): Plaque buildup is something that everyone gets and with good dental hygiene such as daily brushing, flossing and routine dental visits, in addition to a well-balanced diet, it can be controlled and eliminated. Bacteria in your mouth forms into plaque which can build up on the teeth and gums and can cause inflammation, redness and bleeding which is known as gingivitis. There is no irreversible damage to the gums or bone during this stage. If left untreated, however, gingivitis progressively works its way to a more serious form of gum disease known as periodontitis.

• Periodontitis (moderate gum disease): When gingivitis advances to this stage there is irreversible damage to the gum tissue and the surrounding bone that supports and holds the teeth in place. Deep pockets can form between the gums and teeth (more than 3mm in depth) where food and plaque can get trapped. Serious inflammation and infection underneath the gums can occur. Receiving the proper professional dental care and treatment as well as practicing excellent dental hygiene at home can stave off any further damage.

periodontal disease

• Advanced Periodontitis (severe gum disease): This is the final and most serious stage of gum disease. The connective tissues and bone holding the teeth in place are severely damaged which may result in teeth becoming loose or shifting. Aggressive dental treatment may be able to save the existing teeth; however, there is a good chance that teeth may need to be removed in this advanced stage of periodontitis.

Why Does it Occur?

The number one cause of gum disease is a build-up of plaque on the teeth around the gum line. Plaque is basically formed from bacteria in the mouth. It is a type of harmful bacteria that increases in mass and thickness until it forms a sticky, white-yellow type of film that adheres to teeth and the surrounding gums. Plaque can usually be removed with daily brushing and flossing; however, if it is not removed the plaque will continue to build up and the harmful bacteria will attack the gums causing inflammation and infection. As plaque buildup hardens it turns into calculus or tartar and is much more difficult to remove than plaque. Tartar should be removed professionally by a dental hygienist. Other causes of gum disease:

Genetics can be a major contributing factor to gum disease. If you have a family history of periodontal disease, you may be more likely to develop this problem and it may be necessary to take a more aggressive approach to avoiding gum disease.

Poor oral hygiene is a very common cause of gum disease. It is extremely important to develop and practice excellent oral hygiene habits like brushing twice a day, flossing, rinsing after meals, and visiting your dentist on a routine basis. A lack of any or all of these practices can result in gingivitis.

stop smoking to improve dental health

Smoking and tobacco use can put you at a greater risk for gum disease. According to the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, studies have indicated that tobacco use is a significant risk factor for the development of periodontal disease. Smoking makes it more difficult for gum tissue in the mouth to repair itself.

Hormonal changes can have an affect on the development of gum disease. Puberty, pregnancy, and menopause are some instances where hormonal changes are occurring which can result in increased sensitivity in gums putting the individual at a greater risk for developing gingivitis.

Illnesses such as cancer or HIV where the immune system is compromised can adversely affect the condition of the gum tissues with a greater likelihood for developing gingivitis. Other types of illnesses like diabetes or the use of certain medications can also be linked to gum disease.

A Dental Exam Will Help Your Family Dentist Diagnose Gum Disease

As part of a dental exam, your family dentist will examine you for the following issues or conditions and will be able to diagnose the presence of gingivitis or periodontitis or the probability for developing gum disease.

– The condition of your gums. Are you experiencing redness, swelling or inflammation, bleeding or tenderness? How deep are the pockets between the gum and the tooth (healthy gums will have a depth anywhere between 1 and 3 mm). The deeper the pocket the more aggressive the gum disease is.

– Your dentist will examine teeth alignment, teeth sensitivity and teeth movement.

– Examining and possibly x-raying your jawbone will help detect any changes in bone structure and the breakdown of bone supporting the teeth.

Common Symptoms

Gum disease can really sneak up on you and you may not even realize it’s there. The most common symptoms of gingivitis are red, inflamed or tender gums. Gums will also bleed easily when brushing your teeth or flossing. Gums may also start receding which will make your teeth look longer. If you are having persistent issues with bad breath or have a bad taste in your mouth that may be a sign of gum disease. Many of the symptoms can be very subtle so if you are experiencing any of these issues it is best to schedule an appointment with your family dentist for an exam and to discuss your concerns.

If you experience any drastic changes such as the alignment of your teeth seems different or your bite has changed, the gum around a tooth appears to be pulling away from the tooth or a tooth feels loose, you should contact your dentist immediately as this may be a sign of more advanced periodontitis. One of the biggest reasons that many patients ignore the warning signs until it may be too late is because gum disease is typically painless.

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental | (970) 351-6095

Gum disease is a progressive condition; however, when caught early it can be easily treated with no damage to the gums or bone. Even if gingivitis has progressed to periodontitis (affecting millions of Americans over the age of 30 and 70% of adults over age 65) professional treatment is available which can help save your teeth and prevent further damage from occurring. Educating yourself on what gum disease actually is, the causes of gum disease and the warning signs can be a huge help in preventing gum disease.

You are invited to contact Ascent Family Dental for all of your dental care needs. Dr. Williams and his dedicated staff will make you feel welcome and comfortable and can answer any questions or concerns you may have. Make an appointment today to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095


6 Ways to Help You Beat Bad Breath

Bad breath  momentBad breath is the killer of any social situation – especially that all-important first date. Those up-close and personal moments will quickly turn cold if your date catches a whiff of your not-so-fresh breath. While you may go the extra mile to avoid any foods with garlic or onion, halitosis can still be a serious issue for some people.

Rather than isolate yourself from friends and family, you can take comfort in knowing that there are many other people out there just like you. One in five people, or 20% of the population, suffer from halitosis. More than half of the men and women in the United States use breath freshening products on a regular basis. Nearly three billion dollars is spent each year on these products, which include gum and mouth washes. The good news is that bad breath can be eliminated with relative ease. Before we delve into which bad breath solutions are most effective, we first need to discuss the causes of bad breath.

Causes of Bad Breath

There are many different causes for bad breath, but the vast majority has to do with diet choices and poor oral hygiene practices. The most common causes are:

•    Irregular brushing and flossing: When teeth and not properly cleaned, food particles rot inside of the mouth and release unpleasant odors. Furthermore, these food particles encourage the growth of plaque, which emits its own foul odor.

•    Use of tobacco products: Tobacco products such as cigarettes leave behind odor-causing chemicals in the mouth.

•    Food choices: Aside from poor oral hygiene, food choices play a significant role in the development of bad breath. Foods that produce the most offensive odors include garlic, onions, spicy foods, fish, some cheese and acidic beverages like coffee.

•    Dry mouth: Also known as xerostomia, dry mouth is something that affects many people. Dry mouth tends to become a major problem during the winter when the air in your home is at its driest.

•    Medications: There are some medications that can cause halitosis. These are often antihistamines and diuretics that contribute to the development of dry mouth.

•    Morning breath is an issue that affects many people as well. Saliva production slows while the body is sleeping, which creates the perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

How to Cure Halitosis

There are just as many cures for halitosis as there are causes for the condition. In most cases, it is best to first determine what is causing your halitosis before selecting a treatment. Let’s take a look at the some bad breath solutions that may be effective for you:

1.    Keep your mouth clean: Breath order prevention is the best way to keep halitosis under control. Brush your teeth at least twice a day and do not forget to floss. Many people also fail to give their tongue a good cleaning, which is a key part of having fresh breath. It is recommended that you scrape your tongue twice a day in addition to regular brushing and flossing.

2.    Drink plenty of water: Staying hydrated is a great way to combat bad breath, especially if you are unable to brush your teeth after a meal. Ensuring that you drink plenty of water will help eliminate debris and odor-causing bacteria from your teeth.

3.    Skip the after-dinner breath mint: If you are looking for chronic bad breath cures, leave breath mints at the door. Breath mints often contain large amounts of sugar, which only contribute to bacterial growth and could actually make the problem worse. The minty smell may mask the unpleasant odor, but it does not eliminate the root cause of the problem. Try eating parsley, celery, carrots or an apple instead. These foods are known to promote fresh breath and the tough skin of an apple can help eliminate plaque.

4.    Cut back on coffee and alcohol: When searching for bad breath cures, many people fail to realize that their favorite beverages may be the root cause of the problem. Cutting back on your consumption of acidic beverages like coffee and alcohol can go a long way in preventing bad breath. It may not be a fan-favorite cure, but it is highly effective.

5.    Watch what you eat: Unfortunately, many foods that cause bad breath, like garlic and onions, are actually good for your health. While you may not want to eliminate them completely, you can ensure that you avoid these foods when in intimate social situations. In the very least, you can be prepared by bringing a travel toothbrush with you. This will give you a chance to fight bad breath head-on before it can ruin your night.

6.    Keep dentures and retainers clean: Bridges, dentures, retainers and mouth guards can also fall victim to bacteria growth. Be sure to give all of your dental appliances a thorough cleaning each day to remove this bacterium and the odors they emit. There are several cleaning products on the market today, but your dentist can provide you with some recommendations.

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental

Bad breath is no laughing matter. While there are many people that suffer with halitosis, finding the right treatment is not always an easy task. If none of these solutions provide you with relief, it may be time to see your Greeley dentist.  Make an appointment with Dr. Williams today and finally put an end to bad breath for good.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095


Painful Dentures is a Common Problem Associated with Loose Dentures

No more painful dentures Denture pain is unfortunately something that may be experienced at one time or another by all denture wearers. Thankfully it can often be corrected quickly and easily with the help of your denture dentist. One of the most common reasons for denture pain is because the dentures are not fitting properly. Dentures are intended to fit comfortably and snugly against the gums without shifting or moving around. Loose fitting dentures may slide or shift around in the mouth rubbing against the gums. This can quickly result in sore, swollen and irritated gums and wearing dentures can become extremely painful if left untreated.

There is typically a period of adjustment for new denture wearers after getting a new set of dentures. Immediate dentures are inserted right after the teeth are extracted before the gums have had a chance to heal. The gums and bone supporting the teeth reshape during the healing process which will cause the dentures to become loose requiring one or more adjustments during this time to ensure a proper fit. Adjustments may even be needed with conventional dentures, which are inserted after all of the tissues have healed, so it is extremely important to visit your denture dentist in Greeley if you are experiencing any pain or discomfort.

Painful Dentures May Be a Result of Bone Loss

Long time denture wearers may begin to experience a change in the way their dentures fit at some point due to normal wear. Also, as we age our mouth undergoes natural changes just like every other part of our body. The boney ridges under the soft tissue (alveolar ridges) become smaller over time due to gradual bone loss. This process occurs in everyone in varying degrees over time. As the bone in the jaw shrinks in size, which can happen over a period of years without you even realizing it, a properly fitted denture may begin to loosen and shift against the soft tissue causing chafing, soreness and extreme irritation and pain. Continued rubbing of dentures against the existing bone can also accelerate bone loss.

Bone loss appears to be a more progressive condition for denture wearers. Bone is stimulated by the tooth roots to maintain its strength, shape and density and without those roots for stimulation the bone will decrease in density and size over time. There are other contributing factors that can also result in bone loss. Gum disease, hormonal changes, certain medications, metabolism, teeth grinding, loose fitting dentures and even gender can have a direct effect on the rate and amount of bone loss. As a result, what were once properly fitting and comfortable dentures may end up causing great discomfort and pain if they are not adjusted to accommodate these changes occurring in the mouth.

Bone loss and poor fitting dentures can also have a significant effect on the soft tissue in the mouth. Residual effects of bone loss are changes to the gums. This soft tissue also decreases in size and shape. Overlying gum tissue actually thins out and is susceptible to sore spots. Complaints of painful dentures may mean that the dentures are moving freely against the gums, instead of fitting snugly, creating sore spots and irritation of the gums.

Temporary Relief from Denture Pain

There are some quick fixes that can provide some temporary relief; however, a visit to the dentist is necessary and the sooner the better. Removing dentures will provide your gums with some much needed relief and allow for healing. Practicing good oral hygiene is extremely important to remove bacteria and help prevent infection. Over-the-counter adhesives and creams can also help to provide a protective cushion between dentures and gums and will also help with slipping dentures. These are just temporary measures though and it is extremely important to contact your denture dentist and schedule an appointment to rectify the problem and maintain good oral health.

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental

Loose fitting dentures should not be ignored. Once dentures begin to slide or move and continuously rub against the gums, irritation, sores and swelling are often not far off. When sores develop you become more prone to infection and other health complications. Continuing to wear dentures without seeking help from your Greeley denture dentist will surely result in prolonged pain and may also make you more susceptible to infection and illness. Eating and drinking with sores or cuts in the soft tissue from dentures that no longer fit properly may also cause additional pain, especially if eating salty, acidic or spicy foods. Painful dentures are not uncommon for denture wearers to experience but with proper care and treatment it can be resolved quickly and dentures will fit correctly, be comfortable and can be pain free.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095



Dental Flossing: The Key to Improving Oral Hygiene

dental flossing greeleyDental flossing may be a simple concept, but most people forget to include this important step in their daily oral hygiene routine. This may be in part because most people view flossing as an “extra” or an unnecessary step. After all, brushing is enough to keep your teeth healthy, right? The problem with this theory is that plaque not only lives on the surface of your teeth, but in between your teeth as well.

This slimy bacterium forms a coating on your teeth that can easily be removed through regular brushing AND FLOSSING.  However, when plaque is allowed to stick around, it will release damaging acids and eventually harden to create tartar buildup. At this point, only a dental professional can remove the calcified plaque. Without regular flossing, all the plaque living between your teeth will wreak havoc on your smile.

People have a tendency to confuse brushing and flossing. With many modern toothbrush models boasting the ability to clean those “harder to reach” places, many people are under the impression that flossing is no longer necessary. Similar to a toothbrush, floss is a tool used to scrape plaque from the teeth. However, both tools have their own purpose.

Much like cleaning your home, you need several tools to get the job done right. Vacuuming removes dirt and dust from the carpet, while a dust rag removes dust and dirt from furniture. You would never use a vacuum to dust your bookshelf because it simply cannot do the job quite as well as your dust rag could. The same goes for your teeth. A toothbrush cannot truly get in between your teeth to remove plaque quite like floss can. To truly provide yourself with the best dental care, you need to make dental flossing a part of your daily routine.

Dental Flossing is Essential to Optimal Dental Care

Many people claim they simply do not have the time to floss. However, spending just 60 seconds each day flossing can make a huge difference and provide you with a number of benefits, including:

Removing Plaque 

The first and most obvious benefit to dental flossing would be plaque removal. By eliminating plaque build-up in between your teeth, you take an important step towards preventing gum inflammation. At the same time, you eliminate toxins released by plaque.

Preventing Gum Disease and Other Serious Illnesses

Plaque build-up often leads to gum disease and tartar. Gum disease starts out as gingivitis, but can eventually develop into Periodontitis if left untreated. This occurs when plaque is allowed to eat away at the bone and soft tissue. Gum disease has also been linked to a number of other serious illnesses as well, such as diabetes and heart disease. Remember, plaque is a form of bacteria. When given the chance to flourish, this bacteria can eventually make its way into your bloodstream and move towards other organs in the body.

Eliminating Bad Breath

When food particles make their way in between your teeth, they eventually begin to rot and release unpleasant odors. Regular dental flossing will remove food particles and freshen your breath.

Creating a Whiter Smile

Eliminating plaque build-up in between teeth will prevent the formation of tartar and prevent the bacteria from releasing damaging acids. As a result, you can enjoy a whiter, brighter smile.

Saving Money

Ultimately, dental flossing can help you save money by reducing the number of trips you make to the dentist. Prevention is the key to optimal dental health and flossing will go a long way in preventing gum disease as well as the formation of cavities.

Flossing Techniques: Finding and Eliminating Plaque

In order to truly take advantage of the benefits listed above, you need to understand how to properly floss. Believe it or not, improper dental flossing can still leave you vulnerable to plaque build-up and gum disease. The first and most important thing is to understand where plaque lives. Once you know how to find plaque, you can gain a better understanding of how to remove it. Plaque develops in two primary locations: the space between teeth and the space between a tooth and gum tissue.

Now that you know where to find plaque, you can eliminate it through proper dental flossing techniques. It is important to remember that simply placing the floss in between teeth is not an effective way to remove plaque. The goal here is to “scrub” the plaque away by drawing the floss up the side of each individual tooth. Start by holding the floss in between your thumb and index fingers and gently slide the floss up and down between teeth. Curving the floss around the base of each tooth will eliminate plaque build-up below the gum line. Always be sure to use clean sections of floss when moving to a new tooth. Dental flossing must be performed daily if you wish to maintain optimal oral health.

dentist in Greeley CO

Dr. Scott Williams | Dentist Greeley CO | Ascent Family Dental

Daily dental flossing should be a part of every person’s oral hygiene routine. Not only does it help prevent gum disease, but it also helps keep your smile looking its best. If you are unsure of whether or not you are flossing properly, it may be a good idea to demonstrate your dental flossing technique for your dentist or dental hygienist.

Scott Williams DMD of Ascent Family Dental can assist you with all of your dental health care needs. The expert staff at Ascent Family Dental looks forward to hearing from you.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095


Your Dental Care Provider and You – How to Get the Most Out of this Relationship

get to know your dental care providerBuilding a relationship with your Greeley dental care provider is one of the most important steps on the road to excellent oral health care. You will want to find a dentist that you feel comfortable with and can trust in providing the right recommendations for dental procedures, treatments and ongoing care to maintain healthy teeth and gums. In order for your dentist to assess your overall oral health and put the proper dental health care plan in place for you, it will be important for you to do your part and do a little homework prior to your dentist visit.

Dental appointment preparation should consist of putting a list together of all prescription and over-the-counter medicines and/or vitamins you take, updating your medical history to include any current medical conditions, a list of any questions and concerns you would like to discuss with your dentist as well as what you should be doing to keep your dental care up to speed. There is a notable connection between your oral health and your general health and well-being, and one can significantly affect the other. So, make sure your dental care provider is aware of any and all issues related to your overall physical health.

Questions and Concerns to Discuss With Your Dental Care Provider – It’s All About You!

Take the time to really consider some of the things that you would like to discuss with your dental care provider and make a list. Even if you have had a minor issue that doesn’t really seem worth mentioning you should add it to your list of questions and concerns. Your dentist will be glad you asked and will be able to put your mind at ease that it is nothing to be concerned about or it may be an early warning sign of a potential problem down the road. The better prepared you are the easier it will be for you and your dentist to put together a good oral health care plan.

Here are some questions you may want to ask yourself when preparing for your dentist visit. These are just a few things to get you started; however, it is not intended to be a complete list as you will want to add anything that pertains to your own personal health.

  • Do your gums bleed when you brush? This can be a warning sign for gum disease. Bleeding is a very common symptom of a mild form of gum disease, gingivitis, which causes irritation and inflammation of the gums. It is easily treated and preventable through good oral care, however, if left untreated it can lead to more serious gum disease, periodontitis, and tooth loss.
  • Are you constantly popping breath mints to cover up continuous bad breath? Halitosis (bad breath) can be an embarrassing problem and is typically caused by a build-up of bacteria in the mouth. Certain foods, health conditions or accelerating tooth decay can also be the culprit. Talk to your dental care provider to get to the root of the problem and find solutions to overcome it.
  • Do you grind your teeth or find yourself clenching your jaw? This is a common problem that many people experience, however, over time it can wear down teeth and make them more susceptible to decay. Your Greeley dentist can discuss causes and a course of action to help. Sometimes a simple mouth guard worn at night can alleviate the issue.
  • Have you experienced sores inside your mouth that seem to take forever to heal? It is imperative you advise your dentist of any sores that won’t heal as it could be an early warning sign of oral cancer. This health condition can be treated much more easily when detected early.
  • Do you have dry mouth or a lack of saliva? This condition is known as xerostomia and can significantly increase the risk of cavities and tooth decay. Certain medications or illnesses can contribute to a lack of saliva so it is important to advise your Greeley dental care provider of your medical history and any medications you are taking.
  • Do you have tooth pain or unusual sensitivity to hot or cold? Most times pain or sensitivity issues are caused by tooth decay, cavities or a broken filling or cracked tooth.

The Importance of Discussing Your Medical History with Your Dental Care Provider

Prevention and early detection is paramount in maintaining good overall health which includes oral health. Surprisingly, your Greeley oral health care dentist greeleydentist may be able to detect serious, and possibly life-threatening, health conditions in the early stages through warning signs that may be present through oral symptoms. Symptoms such as bleeding or swollen gums, mouth ulcers, bad breath, a metallic taste in the mouth, or dry mouth can be early warning signs of serious diseases that affect the body which is why it is so critical to openly discuss any issues you are experiencing with your dental care provider.

Some of the serious health conditions that can be detected early by your dental care provider through oral symptoms are:

  • Diabetes: One of the symptoms of diabetes is periodontal bleeding and inflammation. A high percentage of people with diabetes tend to have gum disease according to the American Academy of Periodontology. It is suspected that this is due to the body’s reduced ability to fight infection which affects the tissues in the mouth (the gums).
  • Cancer: One of the symptoms of cancer may be sores or lesions of the mouth that won’t heal. A routine part of a dentist visit exam is screening for oral cancers including cancer of the head or neck. Other types of cancers may also be detected by a dentist such as cancer of the jaw, thyroid cancer or skin cancer.
  • Kidney Disease: When kidneys are not functioning properly, by-products of incomplete protein breakdown get released into the body and oral symptoms such as bad breath, dry mouth or an unpleasant taste or metallic taste in the mouth may appear.

Your dental care provider can have a huge part in identifying the presence of, or the potential for, major health issues. It is extremely important to disclose your complete medical history and discuss all of your concerns and symptoms with your dentist no matter how minor or insignificant you may think it is. Early detection of a serious health condition can make all the difference in the world.

Be Sure to Bring a List of Medications Taken to Your Dental Appointment

Prescription History and Your Dental Care ProfessionalThere are actually a number of reasons why it is important to bring a list of all medications you take (both prescription and over-the-counter) for your dental care provider. While most medications are taken to improve or control a health issue and are meant to have a positive effect on the body, they can also have an adverse reaction on oral health. Some drugs can negatively affect the teeth and gums and can end up being the root cause of oral symptoms and dental problems. This can also be true for over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and homeopathic medicines and herbs.

Full disclosure of medications taken is also necessary in the event a dental procedure is necessary that will require anesthesia. Epinephrine, a common additive used in anesthesia, may have an adverse reaction for patients who are on blood pressure or heart medications. Blood thinning drugs can also cause excessive bleeding during oral procedures.

 Soft Tissue Reactions:

Many different medications can have side effects that result in oral symptoms and mouth discomfort due to soft tissue reactions. Drugs taken for blood pressure have been known to cause swelling and inflammation, tissue discoloration and mouth sores. Oral contraceptives, immunosuppressive agents and chemotherapeutic agents can also be included in this category.

Gingival Enlargement:

Overgrowth of gum tissue or enlarged gum tissue can be caused by anti-seizure medications like phenytoin, immunosuppressive drugs taken after an organ transplant, or calcium channel blockers used by heart patients. Careful and meticulous cleaning of teeth and gums is needed and, in some instances, gum surgery may even be required.

Abnormal Bleeding:

A potential side effect of taking aspirin and anticoagulants (blood thinners like heparin and warfarin) is reduced blood clotting which can result in excessive bleeding during an oral surgery or treatment for periodontal disease. Your Greeley dental care provider will need to be aware of the potential for bleeding problems during an oral procedure.

Tooth Decay:

There are many medications that can cause dry mouth which in turn causes irritation of the tissues of the mouth and opens up a greater possibility for infection. Saliva typically helps to cleanse the mouth and remove bacteria from the teeth and mouth tissues but with the lack of saliva with dry mouth teeth are more susceptible to tooth decay. Among the long list of drugs that can cause dry mouth, some of the most common ones are antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers, blood pressure meds, muscle relaxants and drugs for Parkinson’s Disease.

Taking a little time with dental appointment preparation will be well worth it when you actually go in to see your dental care provider. Be sure to disclose your complete medical history as well as a complete list of all prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and vitamins, supplements or herbs you take. The list should contain drug name, dosage amount and how often it’s taken.

Don’t forget your checklist of questions and concerns to discuss with your dentist. All of this information will allow your dental care provider to effectively assess your overall oral health and come up with a personalized oral health care program for you. Also talk with your dentist about the things you need to be doing at home to maintain proper dental in Greeley CO

You’re invited to call Dr. Scott Williams at Ascent Family Dental (970-351-6095) to set up a consultation or appointment. Dr. Williams strives to become your Greeley family dental care provider and will work closely with you to create the perfect customized dental health care plan for you and each member of your family.

Ascent Family Dental
3535 W. 12th St., Ste B
Greeley, CO 80634
(970) 351-6095


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