You may not know how the inner workings of your car motor function, but you do know you need to take it in every three months or every 3,000 miles for an oil change if you want to keep it running for years to come. You may not know everything about oral health, but you do know you need to see your family dentist regularly, every six months, for routine cleanings and exams if you want to keep your mouth healthy. Both your car and your teeth help you get through each day a little more gracefully, and with both, the same rings true—prevention is the best medicine.
“Have you been flossing regularly?” Many of us dread this question when we go to the dentist, even dentists themselves skip out on flossing sometimes! We know it can feel exhausting to add one more thing to your to-do list every day, but flossing should really be at the top of the list. If you’re too tired at the end of the day to floss at night, try adding flossing to your morning routine instead. It only takes about two minutes and the benefits for your oral and overall health make it well worth it. Be sure not to snap the floss up and down, but curve it gently in a c-shape around each tooth and under the gum line and release a new section of floss between each tooth.
Brushing is the easy part, right? But are you doing it correctly? At Stephen P. Hahn DDS, we recommend investing in an electric toothbrush for the ultimate cleaning power, although a manual brush will do just fine if you use the proper technique. Most people brush their teeth using an up-and-down motion holding the brush perpendicular to the teeth—this is the wrong way! You should hold the brush at a 45-degree angle, so the bristles get under the gum line, and brush in small circular motions.
Another handy and underrated tool when it comes to oral hygiene is something you already consume every day—water! Rinsing with water after eating or drinking, before brushing, and between meals throughout the day is a great way to minimize plaque buildup, reduce acidity, and lessen enamel damage when brushing.
While most days your oral hygiene is in your hands, at Stephen P. Hahn DDS, you’re never alone. We’re here to help every step of the way. We do our best to educate our patients about the importance of oral hygiene, but even the most diligent among us need professional cleanings every six months. Only your hygienist has the tools and techniques needed to remove plaque that’s hardened into tartar, and clean deep beneath the gum line to remove any pesky bacteria that could cause problems later. If you’re due for a cleaning, our hygiene team has some of the friendliest folks with the gentlest touch, so you’ll leave with a smile every time.
Bleeding gums are a telltale warning sign—your body is trying to tell you there is something wrong, so don’t ignore it! You may think it’s normal for your gums to bleed during brushing and flossing, but this is simply not the case. Healthy gums don’t bleed this way. Bleeding gums indicate gingivitis, or early-stage gum disease, which is very common but should not be taken lightly.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that spreads when proper oral hygiene is not followed. When plaque is left along the gum line, it quickly hardens into tartar which promotes more plaque and tartar buildup. Even more troublesome than plaque and tartar is the acidic environment that promotes the spread of bacteria and harmful pathogens and the growth of disease.
Left to its own devices, gum disease will cause gum recession, deep periodontal pockets where the infection will flourish, and eventually, tooth loss. But the damage doesn’t stop there. When your gums bleed, the pathogens that cause the disease have a direct pathway through the gums and into your main lifelines—your heart and brain. Gum disease has been directly linked to many serious and potentially deadly disease including heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s.
Thankfully, gum disease is entirely preventable and treatable! Whatever stage your gum disease is in, we will recommend improving your at-home oral hygiene routine as much as possible. The time is now to start flossing! We may recommend using CariFree® products to help balance the pH of your mouth for a healthier environment to fight the infection. We also use a technique called scaling and root planing to clean deep under the gum line and remove any tartar or infected tissue, and we will likely want to see you more regularly for deep cleanings until we get your gum disease under control.
At Stephen P. Hahn DDS, we believe our patients deserve only the best of what modern dentistry has to offer, and that does NOT involve mercury fillings. Not only are mercury fillings an unsightly reminder of dental work, but they tend to expand and contract with temperature changes, making them unstable. Plus, mercury is now considered a known neurotoxin that can be poisonous to the human body, and thus should not be used anywhere inside the mouth.
If you still have some mercury fillings lurking in your mouth from the dark days of dentistry’s past, don’t worry, but you may want to consider having them removed and replaced with safer, more stable, and more aesthetically pleasing tooth-colored fillings. Our tooth-colored fillings are mercury- and BPA-free.
We follow strict protocols and safety standards when it comes to mercury filling removal to ensure the health and safety of you and our staff during the removal process.
Oral cancer is unfortunately on the rise in the United States, with HPV infections becoming the leading risk factor—above both tobacco and alcohol consumption combined. At a time when most sexually active adults will contract HPV at some point in their life, you would think most dentists would take it upon themselves to regularly screen their patients for oral cancer. Would you believe us if we told you less than 20% of dentists in America actively screen for oral cancer? It’s sad, but true.
That’s why Dr. Hahn is the family dentist you want on your side. He and our team care deeply about the health and wellness of our patients, and we’re in a unique position—inside your mouth—to detect oral cancer before it becomes deadly. Oral cancer screenings are just one of the reasons your regular dental exams and cleanings are so important. So come see us for a screening today, it might just save your life—or at least give you peace of mind.
Your healthy smile is one of your greatest assets, and you should do everything you can to protect it! If anyone in your family is involved in any type of contact sports, we highly recommend an athletic mouthguard to protect against oral injuries and minimize damage from concussions. Yes, there are stock and boil-and-bite mouthguards available at the local sporting goods store, but only a custom mouthguard offers the best fit, the most comfort, and the highest level of protection.
Even if your family isn’t into sports, one of you may clench and grind your teeth all through the night. Teeth grinding and clenching, known as bruxism, can cause a whole lot of problems for your oral health, including worn-down teeth, receding gums, and jaw pain which may develop into TMJ disorder. A custom nightguard worn during sleep can provide a soft cushion to minimize the damage, preserving your teeth and allowing you to wake up rested and pain-free.
The American Dental Association recommends custom mouthguards for the following sports:
Keeping with the theme of protecting your family’s smiles, dental sealants are a wonderful preventive measure that help seal out acid erosion and decay. We use sealants a lot in pediatric dentistry, because kids lack the knowledge and dexterity to properly care for their teeth, so they are more prone to tooth decay and cavities. But with the help of dental sealants, we can stop decay and minimize cavity formation.
But sealants are not just for kids! We also use sealants for adults who are more prone to tooth decay than others for any number of reasons. To apply sealants, we use a tooth-colored resin—similar to the material we use for tooth-colored fillings—to paint over the surfaces of the teeth. Then we use a special light to speed up the hardening process and… seal the deal. Sealants can be brushed and flossed over just like your natural teeth, and you can have peace of mind knowing your teeth are protected.
715 MALL RING CIRCLE #200
HENDERSON, NV 89014