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Gum Disease Risk Factors

What is a periodontal risk assessment?

Periodontal disease can adversely affect your over all health. It has been linked to other systemic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. A periodontal risk assessment exam evaluates various factors that contribute to periodontal diseases. We look at your medical history and the condition of your gums and bone to identify any problems and determine the best treatment to keep you healthy. We perform this exam because ONE OUT OF EVERY TWO American adults aged 30 and over has periodontal disease. We are committed to the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease so that you can have a healthy smile.

What are the risk factors for periodontal disease?

- Age – over 32 and especially over 65
- Gender – males are more susceptible than females
- Tobacco use – the biggest contributor
- Diabetes
- Heart Disease

What are the symptoms of active periodontal disease ?

- Bleeding gums when you brush or floss
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Gums that have pulled away from your teeth, creating pockets
- Bad breath that doesn’t go away
- Pus
- Loose or separating teeth
- A change in the way your teeth fit together

What test are used to to detect periodontal disease?

X-rays: Radiographs reveal how much bone is supporting your teeth.

Periodontal probing : We take measurements to determine how healthy your gums and bone are. Brushing and flossing can only reach about 3 mm below the gum line. Which means that, if you have pockets deeper than 3 mm you can’t maintain the health of your gums properly and you are vulnerable to gum disease.

Visual inspection of gums: Bleeding is a sign of infection . Healthy gums don’t bleed.

Color and texture of the gums: Healthy gums should be smooth and pink

For more information about periodontal disease, including risk assessments, please contact us at (480) 860-8282. We will be happy to answer your questions.

Crowns and Bridges

What is a crown?

A dental crown is a tooth shaped “cap” placed over a malformed or broken tooth to restore it’s strength and appearance. Crowns are made from a variety of materials including ceramic metals.

Why should I consider having a crown?

A crown can be used to salvage a badly damaged tooth, support and protect a weak tooth, or anchor other dental appliances by providing the necessary framework to secure bridges or dentures. In addition, a crown can improve the appearance of your teeth… and your smile.

What is a Bridge?

A dental bridge is a fixed appliance that replaces a missing tooth.

How does a bridge work?

The bridge typically consists of two crowns, one over each anchoring tooth (abutment) and a replacement tooth (pontic). The pontic is attached permanently to the anchoring teeth, filing (bridging) the gap created by a missing tooth.

Are there any disadvantages to having a bridge?

Bridges are an inexpensive way to replace a missing tooth, but they do require the alteration of healthy tooth structure on adjacent teeth to support the bridge.

If you have any questions about crowns or bridges, we will be glad to answer them for you.

Please call our office at (480)860-8282 or email us at info@scottsdaledentalarts.com

Composite Restorations

Your smile is a valuable asset and when cavities occur, the “remedy” no longer has to diminish your smile’s natural beauty. Tooth-colored composite fillings let you keep your natural-looking smile and have the durability to withstand the wear-and-tear of daily life. Composite fillings are a mix of plastic and glass. In addition to fillings, the composite material is also used for cosmetic improvements, such as changing the color of teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.

At Scottsdale Dental Arts, composite fillings are a popular choice as patients who are unhappy with the disfiguring look of silver-colored fillings have their amalgam fillings replaced with composite ones.

What are the advantages of composite fillings? The benefits of composite fillings include:

Aesthetics. Unlike metal or amalgam (silver) fillings, composite fillings look like a natural tooth. We blend the color to match your other teeth. This makes composites ideal for front teeth, where a silver filling would be unattractive.Composites can be shaped to resemble a real tooth.

Support. Composite fillings bond with the tooth, offering support to a tooth weakened by decay. In addition, less tooth needs to be removed to prepare for the composite filling as compared to an amalgam filling. Tooth material should be preserved whenever possible as it may be useful in future restorations.

Thermal Stresses. Amalgam fillings are more likely to expand and contract when exposed to hot and cold foods,leading to cracks in the surrounding tooth structure. The insulating qualities of composite fillings offer more protectionfrom destructive temperature swings.

Good Durability. Composite fillings are durable and resistant to fracture in small- to mid-size fillings. They are bonded directly to the tooth, lending strength to the remaining healthy tooth. Though strong, they cannot be used in every situation, including large cavities on posterior teeth. Composites have a softer nature than amalgams and wear more naturally, however, depending on lifestyle, a composite should last at least five years.

Versatility. In addition to filling cavities, the composite material can repair chipped, broken or worn teeth, or even be used to cosmetically enhance your smile.

What is the process?
Composite fillings are more conservative than amalgam fillings and are usually completed in one appointment. The
process includes:
Drying the tooth and making sure it stays dry.
Removing the decayed portion.
Placing the composite resin in layers in the tooth.
Hardening each layer using a special light.
Shaping the hardened composite to resemble a tooth and ensure a comfortable “bite.”
Polishing the composite to prevent staining and early wear.
If desired, a protective plastic coating can be placed over the composite to reduce staining.

Find Out More
If you are considering composites, please call our office at (480)860-8282 for a consultation. We can discuss the pros and cons of composites and review options based on your individual needs. There is no one best solution for every case, but by assessing your needs, we can advise you on appropriate treatments.

Dental Health And Bad Breath

Dental Health and Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Have you noticed or has someone told you that you have bad breath? Halitosis (the medical term for bad breath) can be embarrassing. But once the cause is known, it can usually be treated. Here are some of the most common causes of bad breath.

Bacteria – Food particles left in your mouth after a meal combine with bacteria to create a bad odor. Bacteria often collect on the back of your tongue.

Gum Disease – Gum disease (also called periodontal disease) can cause bad breath.

Dry Mouth – Saliva cleanses your mouth, washing away many odor-causing bacteria. If your mouth has too little saliva, this can lead to bad breath. Your mouth may become dry when you sleep, when you’re thirsty, or because of certain medications or medical conditions.

Certain Foods – Some types of food and drink can cause bad breath. These include garlic, onions, curry, fish, cabbage, coffee and alcohol.

Tobacco – Smoking or chewing tobacco can make your breath smell, and the odor stays with you even when you’re not smoking or chewing.

Other Causes – Braces, dentures, and other mouth appliances cause halitosis if not kept clean, and so can untreated tooth decay. Sinus problems that cause drainage into the throat may sometimes lead to mouth odor. Other conditions, such as lung, stomach or nasal problems, can cause bad breath. In general, bad breath becomes more of a problem as you grow older.

What We Can Do to Help – We can help in two ways: finding a cause of bad breath, and treating it.

Finding the Cause – Some people think they have bad breath when they don’t. So our first step is to confirm that you do have a problem. Then, we will look for causes, checking for gum disease and other oral health factors, and asking questions about foods you eat, medications you take, medical conditions you have, and how you care for your teeth.

Possible Treatments – Depending on the cause, we may be able to treat the problem. We may also suggest a prescription mouth rinse that can help kill odor-causing bacteria.

What You Can Do

• Brush your tongue and use a special tongue scraper to clean off food and odor-causing bacteria.

• Drink plenty of water and rinse your mouth with water every so often to keep saliva flowing. Sugarless gum or mints can also help.

• Try to avoid eating foods that can cause bad breath.

• Stop smoking or chewing tobacco. You’ll be amazed how much better your breath will smell!

• Ask us about mouth rinses. Most over-the-counter mouthwashes only cover up bad breath for a short time.

• Call Scottsdale Dental Arts to schedule an appointment at 480-860-8282

February Is National Children’s Dental Health Month

For those of you who may not know, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month (NCDHM) in the United States. Sponsored by our friends at the American Dental Association (ADA), this special, month-long observance is designed to raise awareness of how important good dental health is for children. All month long, dentists, healthcare providers, educators and more will be speaking to kids and parents about all the benefits children can enjoy when they have good dental health.

Our Scottsdale dentist, Dr. McCargar and his friendly team, will be taking part in NCDHM by speaking to our young patients about how essential it is that they take good care of their smiles. We’ll be offering some useful tips for doing a good job of brushing & flossing and will be reminding parents to bring their kids into our dental office twice yearly for routine checkups and professional cleanings.

Fighting Tooth Decay

One of the main goals of NCDHM is to reduce the prevalence of tooth decay among children. Childhood tooth decay can have devastating consequences on a child’s health and wellness. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause pain and infections that may lead to problems with eating, speaking, learning and playing. The good news is that tooth decay is preventable. By doing a good job of brushing & flossing, eating right and getting enough fluoride, tooth decay can be avoided.

Scottsdale dentist Dr. Jason McCargar offers dental sealants which are a proven, effective weapon in the battle against tooth decay. Dental sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of permanent teeth wherein they fill in the deep grooves and fissures on teeth that trap bacteria and are difficult to clean well with a toothbrush. Once sealants have been applied, dental plaque is much easier to remove and the risk for developing tooth decay is significantly reduced.

Questions? Contact Us

If you have any questions about how you can help improve the health of your child’s smile, please feel free to contact us as we’re always happy to help! If it’s time for your child to see a dentist for a routine exam and cleaning, please give us a call at (480) 860-8282 or use the online contact form to request an appointment with Dr. McCargar. We look forward to seeing you and your child soon and helping your child achieve and maintain good dental health for a lifetime of amazing smiles!

How Brushing Your Teeth Can Help Prevent a Heart Attack

Toothbrushing is an activity that most people do several times a day without giving it much thought. However, scientists have recently found that brushing teeth thoroughly with a special type of toothpaste can actually reduce the risk of heart attack. Additionally, it may even have a similar effect on the body as cholesterol-lowering medications.

The toothpaste, called Plaque HD, highlights or reveals the plaque on teeth. This special toothpaste has been shown to reduce dental plaque as well as inflammation in the body that can cause a range of illnesses. Plaque HD contains cleaning agents that weaken the structure of the plaque to help keep the teeth free from bacteria.

In a US-based study, 61 participants were given a 2-month supply of either normal toothpaste or Plaque HD toothpaste. Their plaque and inflammation levels were tested before and after the study. The researchers also measured changes in a C-reactive protein called hsCRP, which is a marker for inflammation in the body. It was found at the end of the study that the participants using Plaque HD reduced their plaque levels by 49 percent, compared with 24 percent for the control group. Those using the plaque-revealing toothpaste also had lower levels of hsCRP than those using the standard toothpaste.

This study adds weight to the theory that there is a connection between poor oral health and heart problems. Numerous studies have strongly suggested that there is a link between oral health and inflammatory diseases affecting the entire body – in particular, heart attacks and strokes. While more research is needed to confirm this link, it’s safe to say that if you’re proactive with keeping your mouth healthy, your overall health will improve as well.

To maintain good oral health, you should be brushing your teeth at least twice daily and flossing once per day. You should also visit your dentist regularly for routine oral examinations and professional cleanings. By doing so, you can enjoy having an attractive and healthy smile and maybe your heart will love it too!

Time for a Checkup? Schedule A Visit with our Scottsdale Dentist

At Scottsdale Dental Arts, Dr. McCargar and his team are committed to helping all of our patients achieve and maintain good oral health. If you have any questions about the connection between oral and heart health or wish to request an appointment for a checkup and professional teeth cleaning, please contact us. We look forward to hearing from you soon!

Top 10 Benefits of Having Straight Teeth

Brushing and flossing everyday are great ways to maintain good oral hygiene, but did you know that having crooked teeth could prevent you from effectively cleaning your mouth? There are more benefits to straightening your teeth, beyond cosmetic. Dr. McCargar has put together a list of the benefits of having straight teeth.

1. Better Oral Hygiene

The hard to reach spaces between crooked or overlapping teeth can start to accumulate oral bacteria and build up plaque. With straight teeth, it is easier to brush and floss.

2. Clear Speech

Certain speech impediments are a result of jaw misalignment. Properly realigning the teeth and jawbone may be a solution to these speech problems.

3. Better Chewing and Digestion

With a crooked and improper bite, you may not be chewing food properly. Problems with digestion can occur as a result.

4. Protection for Your Teeth

Protruding teeth, also known as buckteeth, are more exposed, and thus susceptible to injury. Protective mouth guards are also more difficult to fit for crooked teeth.

5. Lower Risk of Soft Tissue Injury

Protruding teeth and misplaced teeth may poke or irritate the inside of the mouth, causing cuts and sores that could lead to infections.

6. Prevent Gum Disease

Bacteria can build up between hard to reach spaces in crooked teeth. The build up can put you at a higher risk for gum disease.

7. Stop Your Headaches & TMJ Pain

Misaligned teeth will wear down unevenly, applying an unusual tension on the jaw. This uneven tension can results in headaches, migraines, or TMJ/TMD pain.

8. Cost Effectiveness

Individuals with straight teeth generally have a lesser likelihood of developing severe oral health issues in the future. This means a lesser likelihood of needing costly, invasive treatments down the line.

9. Better Overall Health

Straighter teeth lead to improved oral hygiene and less tooth decay. Studies show that gum disease and oral bacteria may be linked to heart disease, arthritis, lung problems, and other poor health conditions.

10. Positive Self Esteem

Of course, one of the most noticeable benefits of straight teeth is the physical appearance, and the confidence it gives you to let your smile shine through everyday.

Book An Appointment With Scottsdale Dental Arts Today!

Get started on your journey to a healthier, happier smile today. Give us a call at our Scottsdale office. If you have any questions about our dental or orthodontic care, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Ways To Keep Your Toothbrush Clean

In order to follow a good oral hygiene routine, it’s essential to arm yourself with the tools you need to get the job done right like a good quality soft-bristled toothbrush, floss and toothpaste. If there’s one place that germs like to linger, it’s your toothbrush. One of the best ways to keep your toothbrush germ-free is to clean it regularly. Here are a few ways you can keep your toothbrush clean, compliments of the friendly team at Scottsdale Dental Arts, your leading Scottsdale dentistry practice.

Don’t Let Anyone Else Use Your Toothbrush
Toothbrushes should never be shared and that includes even with your own family members. Everyone should have their own toothbrush to prevent cross-contamination. It is easy to pass a cold or flu to someone via your toothbrush so no sharing!

Be Sure Your Hands Are Clean
Because your hands are constantly coming into contact with all types of germs, you should get into the habit of washing your hands often throughout the day. Doing this can help keep your toothbrush free of germs that can be transferred from your hands to your brush.

Always Rinse Your Brush After Using It
As soon as you’re done brushing your teeth, take the time to rinse your toothbrush off well by running it under water for a few moments. This helps rid it of bits of food, debris and germs that may be lingering in the bristles.

Clean Your Toothbrush Holder Once a Week
Bacteria that builds up on your toothbrush holder will transfer over to your brush and then to your mouth. If you’re storing your toothbrush in a cup, wash the cup out with dish soap and water at least once per week.

Contact Scottsdale Dental Arts
If you have any oral hygiene questions or would like to find out more about the range of dental services we provide, please don’t hesitate to contact us as we’re always happy to speak with you! Our practice is very proud to provide a comprehensive range of dental services that run the gamut from general to cosmetic dentistry to ensure our patients have access to all the dental services they need to keep their smiles healthy and beautiful!

The Cavity Crisis

Did your tot brush this morning? Hmmm…you were in a rush. Maybe he missed last night, too, as you battled over bedtime. These scenarios may be behind the first rise in preschool cavities in 40 years. More than a quarter of kids under 5 now have tooth decay.  Rhea Haugseth, D.M.D., immediate past president of the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, tells how to keep the drill at bay:


Monitor tooth brushing until about 8 years of age for when your kiddo will have the motor skills to really get the job done.


Many parents think bottled water is healthy, but it may not contain the all-important decay-preventing fluoride that’s in your tap.


Bacteria in the mouth feed on sugar, producing an acid that attacks your teeth for 20 minutes after your last bite or sip, says Dr. Haugseth.  Keep snacks to a minimum, and wash them down with water.


The under-2 set should brush with a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). Bigger kiddos can have a pea-size squirt.


Your child should begin seeing a dentist around his first birthday.


Article from Parenting.com-October 2012 Issue

Give Children’s Teeth a Healthy and Happy Easter

Easter is almost here and parents often wonder how can they help their kids have a fun holiday without wreaking dental havoc. Dr. Jason McCargar of Scottsdale Dental Arts recommends trading out all the sweets in Easter baskets and eggs for toys, money, stamps, stickers, coloring books, sidewalk chalk or other children’s favorites.

However, if parents still feel they need to give at least a little candy on Easter, Dr. McCargar shares the best and worst types for their children’s teeth and some tips to manage sugar consumption.

Best and Worst Easter Treats for Teeth
(Ranked least to worst)

1.Sugar-free gum and candy provide the best sweet treat for teeth

2.Chocolate bunnies that melt away quickly are also a “better” option

3.Jelly Beans and peeps that get stuck in between teeth aren’t recommended

4.Jollly Ranchers, lollipops or sour candies are the worst culprits – the longer the candy sits in the mouth the worse for teeth, and sour candies eat away teeth’s enamel

How to Eat Easter Candy Responsibly
(Tips to parents)

1.Give Fun Dental Gifts
A favorite cartoon character toothbrush in an Easter basket serves as a great reminder to always brush after eating delicious Easter treats.

2.Location, Location, Location
Put Easter Baskets up high, preferably out-of sight, so children aren’t constantly reminded of the forbidden treats.

3.Easter Dessert
Make Easter candy a true treat by letting children choose a few pieces after a meal. They are already full from their healthy food, and saliva production (which protects the teeth) has already been initiated from the meal.

4.Let Your Dentist Help
Schedule a cleaning for your child and let your dental professional help. At Scottsdale Dental Arts, we teach children moderation and good dental habits to guarantee many years of happy, healthy Easter smiles.

Happy Easter from Scottsdale Dental Arts, Dr. Jason McCargar and Staff!