Young woman at dentist looking shocked getting shot of local anesthesia

We are all familiar with dental procedures that require parts of your mouth to be numbed so you won’t feel any pain from the procedure. There’s good reason to numb your jaw while the dentist is working on your teeth or gums. Your teeth are nourished by blood vessels and filled with nerves so that invasive procedures in and around these areas are going to cause pain. 

Types of Dental Anesthesia

The answer to avoiding pain during dental procedures for most of modern dentistry’s history has been to numb the area being treated. Numbing your jaw usually involves a shot of local anesthesia that is injected into your gum-line or inner cheek. For example, you may be given local anesthesia before having a tooth pulled or before the dentist drills to clean out a tooth cavity or prepare the surface for a crown. The injection deadens the nerve responses around the work area, so the patient feels no pain when the procedure begins. Local anesthetic lasts for about 90 minutes, so the patient may leave the dentist office before it fully wears off, temporarily making drinking, eating and sometimes talking hard to do.

Your dentist will likely apply a topical anesthetic first, a light paste applied to the gum or cheek surface that numbs it at the injection site. Then, the dentist will inject a local anesthetic with a needle to numb the surrounding jaw area, allowing it several minutes to take effect.

Novocaine or Lidocaine?

Years ago, the most commonly used shot anesthesia in dentistry was Novocaine. It was widely used because it works quickly and does not last too long. There were some common side effects that could occur with the use of Novocaine, such as pain around the injection site and a tingly feeling that lasts for more than a few hours. Unfortunately, for some people, there can be a serious allergic reaction when Novocaine is used, so most dentists abandoned it years ago in favor of Lidocaine. 

Lidocaine is used in dentistry as a numbing agent as well as a nerve block. Lidocaine can also be mixed with a small amount of epinephrine to reduce the risk of bleeding and help the numbing effect to last longer, making it ideal for more complicated procedures.

Another form of anesthetic that your dentist might use, either alone or with a local anesthetic, is nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide, often referred to as “laughing gas”, is used for its sedative properties. It is mixed with oxygen for the patient to inhale through a mask. Designed to help you relax, you will not go to sleep after inhaling nitrous oxide, and will be able to follow the directions of your dentist. While your limbs may feel heavy, you will feel calm and relaxed. The effects will wear off as soon as the mask is removed. 

Are There Alternatives to the “Shot” of Dental Anesthesia?

While the vast majority of patients have no problem with local anesthetic use, a few have minor side effects that can last for several hours. One of these side effects is hematoma if the injection site hits a blood vessel. You also can experience facial drooping which will rectify after the drug wears off. There is a small risk of more dangerous side effects, such as damage to a nerve. Allergies to some medications such as Novocaine can be severe and lead to symptoms like hives, irregular heartbeat, drowsiness, anxiety, vomiting, tremors, and seizures.  Tell your dentist if you have any drug allergies.

No Shot with Laser Dental Treatment

Young man receiving laser dental treatment at his dentist wearing protective glasses

Of course, many of us dread those injections. Sometimes it’s more the anticipation, knowing the shot is coming, that is painful. And, sometimes putting a needle in that sensitive area of the mouth really does hurt. Avoiding the “shot” even keeps some people away from the dentist. They end up foregoing important care and repair of cavities that can result in lost teeth, unattractive smiles and even long term health problems caused by dental decay, including respiratory infections, dementia and heart disease.

 Well, the good news is, for many procedures, the shot may no longer be necessary. For a growing number of dental procedures, such as cavity repair and teeth whitening, today’s dentists have more options than traditional anesthetics. One of these is the growing field of laser dentistry. Unlike traditional mechanical dental procedures, lasers focus only on the area that is being repaired and avoid damage and pain to surrounding areas that are not part of the procedure. This reduces the need for numbing a large section of the jaw.

In laser dentistry, a laser produces an exact beam of concentrated energy delivered right where the dentist needs it. It also provides the added benefit of sterilizing and coagulating the blood vessels at the same time, reducing your risk of infection. It can be used as both a cutting tool and a vaporizer that melts away tissue. You will be given glasses to protect your eyes and may or may not need an added anesthetic, depending on the complexity of your procedure along with your tolerance to pain. 

Other Advantage of Laser Dentistry

There are many pros to using laser dentistry for your dental procedures. With laser dentistry:

  • You won’t have to endure the sound of the drill.
  • You may not require local anesthesia or sedation.
  • Bleeding and swelling can be controlled when undergoing gum disease treatment.
  • Laser promotes the tooth’s natural ability to help heal deeper cavities. 
  • There is minimal post-operative discomfort.
  • You will have a shorter procedure time for fillings as the lasers are used for curing the filling as well. 

If you are looking for a quicker way to get your cavities filled, or take care of other dental treatments with minimal pain, minimal use of anesthetic and without the fear of the drill, ask about laser dentistry as an option. About 70% of dental cavity cases can be fixed with laser treatment, making it an ideal option for this common procedure. 

Las Vegas Laser Dentist Jesus Medina Jr DDS

Want to see if laser dentistry is right for you? Contact Dr. Jesus Medina Jr. DDS, an experienced Las Vegas laser dentistry practitioner today at 702-368-3627 to schedule your appointment.

Pretty young dental patient in chair during exam of her healthy gums and teeth

Your gums do more than simply hold your teeth in place — they’re pulling double duty! Gums are a barrier where your mouth meets the outside world. Because of this, gums pick up a lot of bacteria. That’s not a problem by itself, but when the bacteria grows and spreads in the mouth, it can lead to a condition called periodontitis or periodontal disease. Because periodontitis can lead to tooth loss and health problems throughout your body, it’s very important to take good care of your gums.

How Gum (Periodontal) Disease Begins

graphic showing the stages of gum disease as teeth - healthy, gingivitis and periodontitis

The gums are a soft type of skin that covers the teeth and keeps them sealed and protected from the outside world. Your mouth makes up an ecosystem that has a lot of different kinds of bacteria competing for space. Regular brushing and flossing is needed to keep some of those bacteria in check and to prevent them from congregating and building plaque. If plaque is allowed to build up on the surface of the teeth, it can start to release toxins that irritate the gums. This reddening and irritation is a condition known as gingivitis.

Gingivitis causes the body’s immune system to kick into high gear. The main symptoms are swelling and reddening of the gum tissue. White cells in your bloodstream show up to attack and eradicate the bacteria causing the irritation. However, white blood cells don’t discriminate – they destroy the bad bacteria, but these cells can also destroy healthy gum tissue. Once that process starts, the more serious stages of periodontitis begin to take place.

How Gum Disease Can Impact Your Health

Complications of gum disease Periodontitis. Bacteria from inflamed gums can enter in to the blood stream and affect other organs such as heart and brain.

Many adults can have gingivitis and not even know it. This is why it’s so important to brush and floss regularly. As the gum damage progresses, the effects can spread to the teeth and jaw.  Once gingivitis progresses to periodontal disease, the bony structures of the teeth and jawbone come under attack. Many additional chronic health conditions have been associated with gum disease with the likely connection being inflammation in the body. Doctors have determined that people with gum disease are at higher risk of cardiovascular (heart) disease, chronic respiratory conditions, diabetes and pregnancy complications. There are even links between periodontal disease and dementia.

One positive thing about the connection that doctors have found is that treating these conditions works both ways. If a person’s gum disease is effectively treated, it can reduce the severity of diabetes, and vice versa.

How to Maintain Healthy Gums

Man In Bathroom leaning on sink and brushing his teeth to maintain healthly gums and teeth

Following this regimen is the best way to prevent gum disease:

  • Regular Brushing and Flossing: Plaque buildup provides a nice home for bacteria to nest and cause gum disease. Brushing your teeth a couple of times per day and flossing before bedtime gets most of that trapped food out of your mouth. Ask Dr. Medina to recommend the best type of toothbrush for your teeth and gums.
  • Stop Smoking: If you smoke, stop! Doctors have found a direct correlation between smoking and a highly increased risk of gum disease. Smoking half a pack of cigarettes per day makes you three times as likely to develop gum disease as a non-smoker. The risk of gum disease is even greater if you smoke more than that.
  • Eat Healthy Foods: A diet with lots of vegetables, fruits, vegetable oils, nuts and fatty fish helps your body fight inflammation (which leads to gum disease). The omega-3 fatty acids in certain types of fish have been shown to reduce the risk of gum disease.
  • Have Regular Dental Checkups: Keeping regularly-scheduled dental appointments for cleaning and a check up can help prevent the buildup of plaque. Your dentist will also be able to spot signs of gum disease early, when it is much easier and less costly to treat.

Schedule Your Next Las Vegas Dentist Appointment with Dr. Medina

Advanced gum disease is treatable. Dr. Jesus Medina specializes in laser dentistry for gum disease. This is a less invasive, less painful method of treating gum disease. Whether you need a regular checkup or teeth cleaning, or if you think you might have gum disease, contact Dr Medina’s office in Las Vegas to schedule your next dentist appointment.

Young boy with missin front tooth smiling in a Christmas Elf costume

Remember that kid’s song “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth”? The kid singing was always cute and had a lisp because his teeth were missing. Well, if you have missing teeth as an adult, it isn’t really that cute. It makes you self-conscious, it makes it harder to enjoy your favorite foods, and missing teeth can affect your bone, jaw and dental health for years to come.

Missing Teeth? You Are Not Alone

Missing teeth is a common occurrence in adulthood with the American College of Prosthodontists estimating that at least 120 million Americans have lost at least one tooth during adulthood. The good news is your self-confidence can be restored this holiday season by choosing to replace missing or damaged teeth. Modern dental technology offers a number of ways to replace missing teeth, so there is a way to get your holiday smile back.

Causes of Tooth Loss

the four stages of periodontal disease leading to tooth loss step 4

There are a number of reasons an individual loses a tooth. Tooth loss could be a result of a serious injury. Any form of trauma, such as a car accident or sports injury, could knock one or more teeth out of your mouth.

Tooth decay that is not managed through regular dental care can also cause a tooth to fall out. As the decay spreads to the root of the tooth, the tooth may need to be pulled or fall out on its own accord.

Gum disease, or periodontal disease, is a leading cause of tooth loss, as well as being related to other health problems, including heart disease. Bacteria build up around the gums, infecting the surrounding area. As the infected gums start to recede, tooth loss is imminent. This is one reason dentists encourage daily flossing as well as regular cleanings and checkups that help you keep your gums healthy.

A number of pre-existing medical conditions could put a patient at risk for tooth loss. For instance, patients with diabetes, high blood pressure, and certain forms of arthritis are more likely to experience tooth loss.

Consequences of Tooth Loss

When you have missing teeth, you are likely to experience a number of mental and physical effects. You could feel shy over your smile and may have an overall dissatisfaction about your appearance. During a 2015 oral health study, 58 percent of participants with tooth loss felt it had a negative effect on their social lives and self-esteem. They were also more prone to bouts of depression. When you have tooth loss, you may withdraw from social events due to embarrassment over your appearance.

Missing teeth lead to health complications as well. The bones in the jaw where the teeth are missing have the potential to atrophy since they are no longer being stimulated through the act of chewing. The tissue in the jawbone will dissolve continuously until the tooth is restored. The shrinking of the jawbone causes evident facial sagging.

Another issue is remaining teeth in the mouth may move when a tooth is missing and create gaps between teeth. Consequently, the drifting teeth put you at risk for gum disease and further tooth loss. Also, eating certain foods can become a challenge when you are missing teeth. Meats, raw vegetables, and nuts are difficult to chew when you are missing a number of teeth, and without these items in your diet, there’s a risk for malnutrition.

Four Treatments for Tooth Loss

smiling hockey player with tooth loss missing front tooth

Here are the four most common treatments for lost or heavily damaged teeth:

  • Dental Bridges: Dental bridges are fixed appliances that permanently replace missing teeth in the mouth. A bridge uses two anchor teeth to cement the artificial teeth in place. Even if the anchor teeth are perfectly healthy, they must be cut down as a way to connect the teeth together. Porcelain crowns need to go over the cut teeth as a way to fix the bridge in place. Typically, bridges will have two or more artificial teeth set between the two porcelain crowns.
  • Dentures: Unlike bridges, dentures are a removable option for tooth replacement. Dentures feature a plate that holds artificial teeth and will suction to the gums to stay in place. Dentures are used to replace all teeth on the upper or lower jaw. In comparison, partial dentures are used when you still have some natural teeth. They leave spaces on the plate to accommodate the remaining healthy teeth.
  • Dental Veneers: Dental veneers are an option for damaged teeth that have yet to be pulled. Teeth that have been worn down, broken, or chipped could be cosmetically repaired with veneers. Veneers are traditionally made from porcelain and colored to match surrounding teeth. They are very thin and fit like a shell over the damaged tooth. Veneers will be permanently bonded to the teeth.
  • Dental Implants: Dental implants are the preferred option for tooth restoration because the procedure replaces both the crown and root, creating a stable, permanent replacement of your natural teeth. A post is embedded into the jawbone to act as a new root and once the bone has healed, a ceramic or porcelain crown is attached. No surrounding teeth are impacted by a dental implant procedure.

Dental Implant Dentist in Las Vegas

Healthy teeth and dental implant. Realistic vector illustration of tooth medical dentistry. Human teeth dental implantation

Today’s dental implants are the best, long-term solution to tooth loss. Dental implants have the appearance of real teeth and function in the same exact manner. Once in place, dental implants feel like your own teeth. You’ll enjoy a healthy smile and won’t have to worry about your face changing shape due to bone loss.

And, you’ll never cringe when you hear the song “All I Want for Christmas is My Two Front Teeth” again.

Jesus Medina, DDS in Las Vegas offers dental care, including dental implants, to patients in Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and Henderson in his  Las Vegas dental office conveniently located off I-95 and Rainbow in Las Vegas. Contact Dr. Medina today at 702-368-3627 to schedule an appointment.

Graphic art anxious woman in dental chair with dentist ready to start work

When you think about visiting the dentist, how do you feel? Anxious, worried, or stressed perhaps. Wouldn’t it be nice if going to the dentist was as routine as getting a haircut or manicure? Well it can be. Many modern dental offices focus on making sure the patient experience is as pain-free and stress-free as possible. Plus, the latest dental technology can make procedures like getting a crown or X-rays much more comfortable and safer than in the past.

So instead of grinning and bearing it, you can feel relaxed about going to the dentist. Think of your dentist visit like a workout at the gym. A dentist visit takes only a little time, is far less work than lifting weights, and has lasting benefits. It’s good for your teeth and your overall health. Most of us know that getting cleanings and preventive care on a regular basis can help you to avoid problems later on. Here are some common issues people face when they skip the dentist for too long:

Young afro american woman wearing winter sweater over isolated background touching mouth with hand with painful expression because of toothache

  • Toothache: Most of us have some kind of experience of toothache. Once you’ve had a tooth that is damaged enough to cause toothache, you don’t forget the sharp, strong pain that comes with it, making you miserable until you can get to a dentist. Regular preventive care can help you avoid the pain of toothache by diagnosing problems before they hurt and by preventing them in the first place.
  • Bad breath (or halitosis): Did you know about one out of four people has a type of halitosis? Some may not even realize they have bad breath unless someone lets them know. However, you can take some easy steps to fix the problem. A dentist can help you figure out what’s causing bad breath and how to treat it.
  • Gum disease: If your gums bleed when you floss or brush your teeth, or if they’re tender or swollen, those are early signs of gum disease. If it’s not treated, gum disease can cause tooth loss and lead to other serious health problems. A dentist has simple treatments that can help prevent or stop gum disease from progressing. Your teeth will last longer, and it won’t hurt to brush your teeth anymore.
  • Your smile:  If you have crooked, broken, yellow or missing teeth, it’s hard to feel good about your smile. Cosmetic dentistry today is so advanced that you can have your teeth restored better than ever, and not feel much discomfort at all. Don’t shortchange your own happiness with how you look and feel, just ask a dentist about the options you might have.

These are just a few examples of why dental care is both important and easy compared to the alternative pain and tooth loss from poor dental hygiene.

While you might know you have a dental problem, worrying about the treatment could prevent you from setting up an appointment. It’s easy to just take charge of the process. If you don’t feel comfortable with your current dentist for any reason, it’s perfectly fine to try somewhere else. Call or visit a few dentist offices before you decide which dentist to use. There are as many professional styles as there are people in dentistry, and eventually you’ll find a place you feel most at home.

What’s new in dentistry will make you smile

smiling young man in dentist chair looking at dentist's tablet computer as she explains a dental procedure

If you currently don’t have a dentist, or you’re thinking about trying a new one, how can you choose a dentist you feel comfortable with?

Here are few questions to ask when deciding which dentist to see:

  • Does the dentist use the latest techniques such as sedation dentistry or laser dentistry to minimize pain and discomfort for a patient? With sedation dentistry, no IV needle is used and you snooze during most of the procedure, but you can still respond to a question. Laser dentistry is virtually painless and doesn’t use drills and needles, which causes stress for many people. Many procedures can be done with laser dentistry, so if you find a dentist who offers it, that may make a good regular dentist for you. You can also get painless teeth whitening for a brighter smile.
  • Does the dentist provide “dental health care” and not just “disease care”? A good dentist not only treats problems after they happen, but also encourages easy, routine cleanings and regular exams to check the health of your gums and teeth to prevent dental disease. Regular care is a lot less painful, and more affordable, than the “emergency care” model, when you call the dentist only if you have a serious – and painful – dental problem. Find a dentist where you are at ease with the hygienist who cleans your teeth and with the dentist who examines them. Just make that inexpensive 6 month cleaning and exam part of your regular self-care routine.
  • Does the dentist office feel relaxed? A good dentist will know how to make your visit pleasant, from start to finish. The office should be sparkling clean and neat, but relaxed and inviting. Comfortable chairs, music or a low volume TV for entertainment can help take the edge off.  Some offices may even offer coffee or tea for those who have to wait a bit. The staff should be quiet, busy and happy, helping patients to relax and feel welcome. If you don’t feel “at home”, it’s ok to find another dentist you enjoy visiting.
  • Does the dentist take the time to inform you about your care? Trust is an important part of your relationship with a health care professional, and this is especially true for your dentist. Being able to ask questions before a procedure will help you feel less anxious and more at ease during the procedure. Your hygienist plays an important role as well. He or she can answer questions about dental care and gather information about any problems you have to let the dentist know. From front desk to the dentist chair, your entire dental team should be dedicated to giving you quality care that’s right for you.
  • If you feel anxious. If you feel anxious on the day of your appointment, it’s ok to let the dentist know. This is more common than you may think. The dentist may suggest solutions, like taking breaks with a chance to walk around, a moment to relax or meditate, drinking a glass of water before he starts work, or adjusting the chair or light. Another solution is to break multiple treatment visits into multiple shorter visits. Just let the staff know, and you may be surprised how many ways they can help you feel better about your visit.

Looking for a dentist in the Las Vegas area?

Young handsome man smiling confident showing and pointing with fingers to clean teeth after dentist visit

Dr. Jesus Medina, Jr. DDS provides personalized dental care for his patients. Whether you need routine preventive care or restorative dentistry, Dr. Medina uses the latest painless technologies, like Waterlase laser dentistry, and is dedicated to making sure all of his patients get the highest quality of care. Dr, Medina’s practice is conveniently located just off I-95 at the Rainbow interchange, at 777 N. Rainbow Boulevard, #395, Las Vegas, NV 89107. Contact his office at 702-368-3627 for more information about easy and pain-free dental care.

happy woman holding cup of coffee on sofa considering teeth whitening

As a child, you probably took your bright, new white teeth for granted. But, by now your smile may be showing signs of long-term exposure to things that make teeth look dull, yellow or stained. Teeth age and the surface enamel gets worn and stained. Different foods, coffee, cigarettes, wine, even illnesses or those missed dental cleanings – all these things contribute to teeth yellowing and staining over time. Even people who are very careful in caring for their teeth will find their teeth becoming less white over the years.

Don’t be embarrassed about your smile. Today’s teeth whitening processes provide a solution that helps bring back those beautiful white teeth. Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about teeth whitening, to help you make a decision about whether or not you should whiten your teeth.

Why should I whiten my teeth?

Mouth and teeth before and after teeth whitening

There are many reasons people decide to whiten their teeth, such as:

  • Improve Appearance — a brighter smile can make a big difference in the way we look and more importantly, how we feel about ourselves.
  • Correct Discoloration — removing specific stains or spots on one or more teeth.
  • Balance Tooth Coloration — some people have widespread staining on either top or bottom teeth and want to balance out the color or shade of whiteness, to give the teeth a more uniform look.
  • Increase Self-Confidence — knowing you look your best allows you to feel free to be yourself without being embarrassed or worried about the appearance of your teeth.
  • Desired Change — for people who want to renew their look, teeth whitening is cheaper than having a facelift, Botox or other cosmetic procedure.

Are over-the-counter teeth whiteners safe and effective?

Portrait of a happy Hispanic young woman using a whitening strip on her teeth and smiling

Teeth whitening products sold at pharmacies and grocery stores are fairly inexpensive. These typically contain a much less potent whitening gel than used by your dentist. The whitener is usually applied with small plastic strips or painted on with an applicator. This is a convenient alternative to professional whitening, though results may be less or inconsistent whitening. These do-it-yourself whitening kits are not customized to the individual patient and can cause increased sensitivity of teeth and gums burns or irritation.

Are there natural ways to whiten my teeth?

People have used various natural methods to care for their teeth for centuries. This includes teeth whitening. These methods are generally safe, but they are not generally effective enough to make a truly visible difference in the color of your teeth. From strawberries to oil pulling, here are a few of them.

What methods are used for professional teeth whitening?

Woman is whitening teeth with special toothpaste and LED light at home.

These three methods are done in the dentist office or supervised by your dentist for best results.

Whitening by Your Dentist A special bleaching gel using hydrogen peroxide is used by dentists to achieve whiter teeth in under an hour at the dentist’s office. A rubber protective coating is used to protect gums from the enamel whitening solution. The procedure is followed up with bleaching at home, using custom whitening trays (which are included in the cost of the whitening procedure).

Professionally Provided Whitening Kits — Professional-quality whitening supplies are provided by your dentist for you to use at home. Whitening gel is used in custom trays that are inserted into the mouth. These formulations are used for 30 minutes or longer, depending on your dentist’s assessment of your teeth. This is a safe whitening method, if you follow instructions and do not leave trays in too long. This convenient at-home method produces excellent results.

On-The-Go Whitening — Your dentist can provide a whitening kit with a tray made of material that readily conforms to your teeth (instead of a custom-made tray). This process provides coverage from molar to molar, ensuring that the whitening gel covers more of the posterior teeth.

How long does the teeth whitening process take?

A teeth-whitening session with your dentist usually takes less than an hour. The dentist will have you take home trays to use overnight, to follow-up the in-office procedure. Severe staining may require several sessions in the dental office to complete the whitening process.

Is teeth whitening permanent?

Teeth whitening is not a permanent solution. The regular daily use of our teeth continues breaking down tooth enamel and reducing its whiteness throughout our lifetimes. You are probably not going to stop drinking the dark-colored beverages that promote discoloration, and you cannot stop the aging process that inevitably thins the enamel. Therefore, teeth whitening will need to be repeated from time to time for the effects to continue.

Can teeth whitening damage fillings or bonding?

Teeth whitening is safe for teeth with restorations. Existing bonding, fillings, crowns, veneers and bridges are not damaged by teeth whitening agents or processes. Whitening may, however, make your teeth different colors than your restorations. Just keep in mind that, after you have your teeth whitened, a filling, crown or other restoration will remain the same color that it was previously.

Can teeth-whitening toothpaste be used instead of whitening procedures?

Toothpaste in the shape of question mark coming out from toothpaste tube.

Whitening toothpastes do not contain anything that actually whitens teeth. These toothpastes can help maintain the whitening effects after bleaching, and are recommended for that purpose.

Is teeth whitening bad for teeth?

There is no evidence that whitening harms tooth enamel. Whitening does not make teeth softer or change the tooth surface—if the process is performed properly and cautiously. Of course, anything done in excess can be bad for a person, and teeth whitening is no exception. If you over-use whitening agents to strip your teeth over a long period of time, you may cause damage to your enamel. It is important to follow your dentist’s instructions and advice on whitening processes and frequency of application.

What is GLO teeth whitening?

pretty woman in dental chair waiting for teeth whitening process

If you’re looking for an easy, painless and fast professional teeth whitening procedure, GLO teeth whitening is one method we recommend. The GLO (Guided Light Optics) procedure uses a simple device that combines light and heat to activate the unique GLO tooth whitening gel. GLO provides the level of results that is only possible from a process performed in a dental office. Your office procedure is supplemented with simple home care that continues the whitening processes, giving you significant whitening in just a few days of use.

The GLO Teeth Whitening Process

The first step of the GLO process is a one-time in-office procedure. Heat and light are thoroughly and quickly introduced to the teeth, to remove stains from tobacco, coffee, tea, soda, medications, etc. as well age and genetic effects on the teeth. Then, follow-up at-home whitening materials and instructions are provided to complete the full process. Unlike other teeth whitening methods, the innovative GLO process does not cause any tooth sensitivity. You can expect to leave your dentist’s office after the whitening session with no discomfort. GLO also works better than other whitening procedures, due to its dual-step application process.

How else can I keep my teeth white?

After you get your teeth whitened, upkeep is required to keep them at their new level of whiteness.

  • Use whitening toothpaste to help reduce new staining and discoloration.
  • Use straws when drinking coffee, tea, dark-colored soda or other beverages, to reduce risk of staining your teeth.
  • Do not smoke.
  • Do not grind your teeth, as it can cause spotting.
  • Have a teeth whitening touch-up every six months.

Dr. Jesus Medina, Jr. DDS, Las Vegas Can Help

Our highly-skilled and caring dental professionals can help you achieve whiter and brighter teeth in just one brief visit—using the state-of-the-art GLO teeth whitening process. For more information about teeth whitening, contact Dr. Jesus Medina, Jr. DDS, by calling (702) 368-3627 to schedule an appointment.

Permanent Dental patient enjoying dinner with friends

When you have lost one or more of your permanent teeth, the changes it causes can affect your oral health and quality of life for a long time to come. it is important to understand you options for safeguarding your remaining teeth as well as your bone and gum health that can also be affected. The best course of action is to replace lost teeth in order to keep the normal functions of your teeth and jaw as much as possible, both for comfort and convenience, and for your health. Options include partial or full dentures, either removable or permanent. There are many benefits to permanent dentures, also known as dental implants, and most dentists and users agree they work much better than removable dentures.

Removable dentures are made with either plastic resin or metal-based. This fixture is carefully measured and designed to fit your gum line and also may be supported by the roof of your mouth.  It is designed to look as natural as possible. It is held in place with adhesive. These are less expensive than dental implants. Drawbacks are some people find them mildly uncomfortable and they may need to be replaced if your jaw changes shape as you age.

A dental implant involves surgically inserting a small titanium rod into your jaw, plus an artificial tooth and a post. The artificial tooth permanently replaces a lost tooth, and it looks and functions exactly like a real tooth would. Care for an implant tooth is the same as natural ones, except they never get cavities, of course. They are a more expensive option than removable dentures that is a permanent and natural-feeling solution to tooth loss.

So are permanent or removable dentures better? Here are some key differences and benefits of permanent dentures.

Permanent Dentures or Removable Dentures?

Elderly nice woman having bad tooth pain

Better Bone and Gum Health

When you lose a natural tooth, you can experience bone loss in the area of the tooth extraction, and your gum health can also be affected. These effects can lead to some serious issues as time goes on that can affect both your oral health and your overall health. When you lose a tooth, the jaw bone doesn’t get the same workout from chewing that it did when a tooth was present. Just like an arm or leg when you don’t exercise, this results in a  loss of bone density which can affect the strength and shape of your jaw, and may cause more visible changes and jaw discomfort as the bone continues to recede. At the same time, the gums also thin and weaken, leading to periodontal disease and possible further tooth loss. When you get permanent dentures, your full set of teeth mean your jaw is able to continue normal activity and your jaw and gums remain stronger and healthier. Removable dentures help you to with normal jaw activity, but they are not as effective in maintaining the natural, healthy shape of your jaw and they can sometimes rub uncomfortably against receding bone or gum tissue.

Lower Maintenance Costs

3d lower teeth and dental implant isolated on white

Many people think permanent dentures are more expensive than removable dentures. Although the up-front cost for the dental implants procedure is higher, the cost in the long run may be lower. Because removable dentures are not as sturdy and permanent, they are prone to breakage, loss or other problems over time. And, if your oral health is affected by long-term tooth loss and removable dentures that you don’t wear 24 hours a day, you may have some of the effects of tooth loss that lead to additional dental and medical costs. Permanent dentures are a good investment to restore and maintain a full set of healthy teeth to help you avoid more trouble and expense down the road.

A Better Smile

Smiling senior woman with new dental implants sitting in the dental office and looking at the mirror

When you lose teeth, you lose more than your healthy smile. Losing even a few teeth results in bone loss which can cause your jaw to recede over time, even enough to change how you look. You may eventually have discomfort or nerve pain from a weakened jaw bone. Even with removable dentures, you will feel your jaw and bite work differently than before. But permanent dentures can help to alleviate the problems of bone loss and improper bite, which improves your physical appearance. Wearing removable dentures can negatively affect your comfort level and how your mouth feels when you talk. You may experience slippage of the dentures from time to time, which can get worse as your jaw bone continues to recede. With permanent dentures, you don’t have these problems. You also just feel better about smiling and laughing when you have permanent teeth in place. You’ll have a healthy, natural smile.

More Enjoyable Mealtimes

Woman smiling at family dinner table showing her new dental implants

If you have lost some teeth, you are probably not able to chew as well as before and enjoy a wide variety of foods.  If you have removable dentures, the appliance can move and slip around, making it difficult to chew and eat. Also, removable dentures may leave an unpleasant taste in your mouth due to the adhesive which can affect how you enjoy your food.   Permanent dentures work just like real teeth, so you have none of these effects. You won’t worry about what foods you eat, chewing will feel natural and easy, and the teeth don’t affect the taste of your food. With regular dental care, your permanent dentures should give you a lifetime of service, just like real teeth.

When you factor in all the different considerations, it quickly becomes clear that permanent dentures are an excellent alternative to removable dentures. The process of getting permanent dentures is faster and easier than ever.  If you would like more information about permanent dentures from Dr. Medina in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact us.

las vegas dentist teeth whitening services

Everyone wants whiter teeth. They boost our confidence, widen our smile and make us feel healthier and, yes, better looking. Fortunately, there are a number of home remedy and retail product options to help you whiten your yellow teeth, remove coffee or tobacco stains and even help with teeth stains from medications. For more difficult tooth discoloration, or for faster and more effective results, there are advanced solutions provided by your dentist, available thanks to today’s sophisticated technologies and treatment methods.

Below we discuss a few of the teeth whitening options available. No matter what you choose to do, take time to discuss teeth whitening with your dentist at your next regular visit as he or she can help you choose the most appropriate teeth whitening alternative for your situation. After all, your dentist knows your teeth better than anyone.

Causes of Tooth Discoloration

smoking yellow teeth need whitening in Las Vegas

There are two forms of tooth discoloration—extrinsic (on the surface) and intrinsic (inside the tooth). As a rule, extrinsic stains can normally be improved or removed while intrinsic stains are generally much harder to deal with. Below are some common causes of these two types of tooth staining.

Extrinsic Tooth Discoloration — There are numerous causes of extrinsic teeth staining, surface discoloration left by foods and substances you eat or smoke, including:

    • Smoking


    • Chewing tobacco


    • Medications


    • Various antihistamines


    • Antipsychotic drugs


    • High blood pressure medications


    • Mouth injury (causing teeth to generate more dentin, a darker layer beneath the enamel)


  • Many foods and beverages can contribute to, or cause tooth stains, including: 
      • Coffee


      • Black or green tea


      • Soda


      • Red or white wine


      • Blackberries or blueberries


      • Pomegranates


      • High-sugar snacks


    • Marinara or barbeque sauces

Intrinsic Tooth Discoloration — Permanent tooth stains that originate in the inner structure of the tooth are referred to as intrinsic stains. This form of tooth discoloration is much more difficult to reduce or eliminate. Some causes of intrinsic discoloration include:

    • Taking antibiotics during childhood — Young children who were exposed to antibiotics such as tetracycline or doxycycline in the womb or as an infant may develop discolored teeth as adults.


    • Chemotherapy — Chemotherapy as well as radiation of the neck and head can darken the teeth.


    • Aging — The natural aging process can bring discoloration of teeth, due to a variety of lifestyle, dental maintenance, and/or medical conditions.


  • Genetics — Some genetic conditions can cause or contribute to intrinsic teeth discoloration.

Stain-Preventive Tooth Care

Stain Preventive Tooth Care in Las Vegas

Of course, the most recommended strategy for getting back a smile with bright white teeth is to maintain effective daily care of your teeth. Here are four simple things that can make a big difference in the color and health of your teeth:

    • Brush and floss twice daily to help prevent stains from forming


    • Switch to an electric toothbrush to get a better clean


    • Use tooth whitening toothpaste containing very mild whitening agents


  • Use a soft-bristled toothbrush to help maintain gum health and avoid damaging tooth enamel

Natural Ways to Whiten Teeth

teeth whitening before and after

The least expensive of the long-tested approaches for teeth whitening are natural methods. Some of these simple methods can help with extrinsic staining:

    1. Hydrogen peroxide — Most home teeth whitening systems contain this bleaching agent. The inexpensive pharmacy variety contains a very low percentage of the agent. Note that the American Dental Association has suggested that rinsing with this solution is likely to irritate gums faster than it whitens teeth. However, using a gel containing a higher percentage of the agent (6% hydrogen peroxide) may whiten teeth after two weeks of routine application.


    1. Baking powder — Baking powder is a mild abrasive agent, effective for scrubbing away teeth stains. You can add a little tap water to create a baking soda paste and use the paste to gently brush your teeth. This method can remove light stains and brighten teeth. However, brushing teeth with toothpaste products that contain baking soda over time may work better to reduce surface stains.


  1. Oil Pulling – used commonly in traditional Ayurvedic medicine, oil pulling is simply swishing an oil like sesame or coconut oil around in your mouth for a period of time, usually 10-20 minutes. While this seems a lot of time commitment, it is effective at removing bacteria and surface contaminants from your teeth and tongue. But oil pulling has to be done regularly to have an effect on removing extrinsic tooth stains.

Commercial Teeth Whiteners

If you want to whiten your teeth more quickly and with products specifically formulated for that, you can use commercial over-the-counter teeth whitening products. Some of these work well for moderate tooth whitening needs, and, though not as cheap as natural products, they’re relatively inexpensive. Some popular types include:

    1. Whitening toothpaste and treatments – a number of commercial products available over the counter can help with whitening your teeth. Simply ask your dentist for his or her recommendation so you can get the best one for your situation, budget, and lifestyle. Below are two examples.


    1. Carbamide Peroxide — An ADA accepted bleaching gel, some over-the-counter (OTC) products contain this chemical. These products may also contain potassium nitrate to help prevent increased sensitivity from the treatments and promote a strengthening of tooth enamel. Check for the ADA seal of approval before buying any OTC teeth-whitening products.


  1. Hydrogen Peroxide — Some commercial whitening products available online and in stores contain 10% hydrogen peroxide in a gel that is administered in thin plastic strips, one on the upper and one on the lower teeth. An example is Crest 3-D Whitening Strips (and other whitening strips of this kind) which are molded around the front surfaces of the teeth. The strips are effective, and the lower concentration of hydrogen peroxide is more appropriate for people with sensitive teeth.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Las Vegas Dentist teeth whitening process

There are circumstances under which you should leave your teeth whitening to your dentist. It may be time to consult with your dentist about having teeth whitening treatment performed at a dental office if you encounter problems like:

    • Unsuccessful whitening attempts — The discoloration does not improve by using any of the following usual methods: 
        • Increasing the consistency and quality of your routine dental hygiene


        • Changing your diet to eliminate tooth-staining foods and/or beverages


        • Trying natural tooth whitening agents


      • Using commercial whitening products


    • Extreme discoloration — You may have intrinsic or serious extrinsic staining, requiring a professional application of stronger whitening products.


    • Teeth or gum sensitivity — You have sensitive teeth or gums. Most home whitening agents will cause discomfort and irritation.


    • Tooth damage — You have damaged teeth or apparent tooth decay.


  • Risk of over-whitening — You are concerned about mistakes such as over-whitening. This error can actually cause additional tooth discoloration, causing your teeth to turn a slightly gray color.

Your dentist will use his or her best judgment in choosing a method for whitening your teeth. This will involve considering the type of staining, your overall dental/medical situation and your budget. The dentist will choose from a number of approved procedures, including the latest laser whitening technology and advanced bleaching processes.  Be sure to go over the entire program with the dentist so you understand the cost, timeline, and your responsibilities as far as care at home.

Dr. Jesús Medina Jr. DDS — GLO Teeth Whitening Treatment

happy woman after teeth whitening

Dr. Medina offers a convenient, pain-free and fast teeth whitening service. The GLO (Guided Light Optics) technique uses advanced laser technology to speed up the teeth whitening process and produce a better-looking result. GLO is an innovative teeth whitening technology allowing pain-free treatments that won’t result in increased tooth sensitivity. The treatments are also simpler to administer than other types of professional whitening procedures, which has made the teeth whitening process more convenient for patients. This system is safe and highly effective.

GLO combines light and heat to apply with a simple device to activate a special tooth gel. This process provides results in one treatment that is only possible in professional dental office teeth whitening treatments. And, it provides the convenience of very simple and effective at-home maintenance.

Dr. Medina and his caring dental office team provide a full range of dental services to his patients, including general care and cosmetic and restorative dentistry. If you would like more information about your options for teeth whitening, or to make a dental appointment, contact Dr. Medina’s Las Vegas dental office by calling (702) 368-3627 or request an appointment. Once you’ve seen Dr. Medina, you’ll love your bright new smile!

your diet does affect your teeth

If you’ve recently received some disappointing or expensive news from your dentist, you may be wondering if what eat might be partly to blame. We all know about candy and sugar, which generally can increase the likelihood of cavities and other trouble with your teeth. But what positive things can you do with your diet to actually help your teeth?

In addition to the recommended dental hygiene routine of brushing your teeth twice per day, flossing regularly, and visiting your dentist for a checkup every six months, paying just a little extra attention to the foods and drinks you consume will help you keep your healthy smile glowing for a long time.

Foods That Improve Your Teeth

It’s probably not a surprise that a generally well-balanced diet will help your teeth and gums just like it does for the rest of you, so use common sense when choosing what you eat. In addition, here are a few especially tooth-friendly foods you can add to your diet to help strengthen your teeth and improve your gums.

selective food can improve your teeth

  • Leafy greens – Greens like collards, spinach, kale and bok choy contain high levels of calcium and vitamin K, improving your bone density which helps strengthen your teeth and gums.
  • Firm fruits like apples and pears – Although these fruits (like all fruits) have a fairly high sugar content, they also have enough water to dilute the effect of this sugar on your teeth. Apples and pears are also loaded with vitamins, ensuring good gum health.
  • Cheese – In addition to being loaded with calcium, cheese can neutralize the effect of many of the other acids and other enamel-eroding elements in the food you eat, protecting your teeth in the process.
  • Nuts – Nuts are another food that can help your overall tooth and gum health. By being loaded with phosphorus, an essential mineral, nuts like peanuts, cashews, and Brazil nuts can preserve the delicate capillaries that supply blood to your teeth and gums.

Foods That Can Harm Your Teeth

harmful food to your teeth

While it’s ok to eat whatever you want in moderation, eating or drinking too many of these treats and foods can cause dental damage:

  • eat drink right food for healthy teethLollipops  – If, like many, you tend to eat lollipops wedged in one cheek, you may be exposing these teeth to pure sugar, increasing your risk of cavities. When you eat lollipops, avoid having them in direct contact with your teeth, and be sure to brush or at least rinse your mouth with water after you’ve finished to avoid tooth damage from sugar left behind.
  • Gummy snacks – Chewy fruit snacks or gummy candy can also be harmful to your teeth — these candies tend to become lodged in the small spaces between your teeth, leading to bacteria growth that may eventually cause a cavity.
  • Coffee with sugar or honey – Although black coffee won’t cause any dental damage other than a slight staining of your teeth, coffee sweetened with sugar or honey — or the use of sugar-based coffee creamer — can cause many of the same issues present with lollipops and other high-sugar items. Consider sweetening your coffee in a different way or even phasing out sweetener altogether.
  • Soda – Heavy consumption of carbonated soft drinks can cause a high rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) in your blood which causes vital calcium to leach out of your bones, including your jaw. This can increase your risk of osteoporosis and other bone density disorders. In addition, many types of soda contain citric acid or another type of preservative acid, which can cause additional erosion of your dental enamel and increase your risk of cavities and tooth decay.
  • Pickles – or any other high-pH foods, like lemons and other citrus fruits — can erode your dental enamel. These foods are all very acidic, making them bad news for dental enamel unless mixed with neutralizing fats that can minimize the total acid level of the food you’re eating.

Eat a Variety of Real Food for Dental Health

las vegas dentist says eat real food
Your body was built to find all the nutrients it needs to keep you healthy, including your teeth and gums, from foods that nature provides. The best way to keep your mouth healthy is to keep this in mind. Look for foods that are not processed in a factory but processed instead in nature. This means a real peach instead of peach cobbler, corn on the cob instead of corn flakes and, well, you get the idea. In general, stay away from foods with ingredients you can’t pronounce, or ones with lots of added sugar, and your smile will be brighter than ever before because you and your teeth will feel and look better.

A Day to Appreciate Your Healthy Teeth and Gums

Anyone who’s ever shied away from bad breath instinctively knows the importance of good oral hygiene. But we don’t see our own teeth much, so it’s easy to let them slip out of sight, out of mind, when other things in life demand your attention. Well, here’s an opportunity to give a little thought to your oral health.

March 20 is World Oral Health Day, the perfect time to remember just how important good oral health is, for everything from self-esteem to its impact on your overall health, not to mention your ability to enjoy eating and everyday activities without pain.

Here’s a great guide, Mouth Smart provided for World Oral Health day that shows you how easy it can be to take care of your dental health.

The Downsides of Poor Dental Hygiene

Everybody knows that feeling of dread that comes when the dentist starts an exam by saying “Well, you’re going to need…” It’s equal parts fear for ourselves — after all, there’s no escaping the reality of having someone drill away at your teeth when it’s happening right in your face — and fear for our pocketbooks. The financial struggle is real: Americans spend some $110 billion every year on oral care, a las vegas celebrating world oral health day 2017cost that could be greatly reduced if we all did regular preventive care and reduced our risk factors for oral disease.

As tempting as it might be to put off fillings or other restorative care until they become an emergency, consider this: In extreme cases, oral disease is associated with everything from pain and anxiety to disfigurement and poor quality of sleep, and it can even interfere with your ability to do everyday tasks like eating or speaking. If you’ve suffered at toothache, you’re not alone.  According to the CDC, 27% of adults and 17% of children have untreated cavities in their teeth, a problem that, left untreated, can lead to loss of the tooth.

Flossing and brushing after every meal will go a long way to keeping your teeth and gums healthy. As many dental hygienists say, “Only floss the teeth you want to keep.” But just in case that’s not enough motivation to keep that smile nice and bright, consider this: Oral health is an important indicator of your general health and well-being. It’s no coincidence that the same risk factors that cause oral health problems (tobacco use, harmful alcohol use and a poor diet, especially if it’s rich in sugar) also elevate your risk of developing conditions like heart disease, stroke, cancer and chronic respiratory problems. And poor dental hygiene allows harmful bacteria to enter your body, which can lead to heart disease and other major health problems.

The Good Side of Oral Health

Now, the flip side: When you have the privilege of showing off a bright, healthy smile to the world, it’s floss your teeth show las vegas your smileimpossible not to feel good about yourself. Social interactions become easier, because you’re not worried about letting people see your teeth. Your immune system doesn’t have to struggle against persistent inflammation or infections. You won’t have to worry about pain when you eat or drink.

Just make time for regular preventative dental care. Make it a habit to eat a healthy diet that’s low in sugar.  Floss daily, and brush at least twice a day for two minutes at a time.  With those simple habits, you’ll save money on dental care that you won’t need. But perhaps the most importantly of all, you’ll have the use of your teeth for many years to come.

So thank your teeth and gums on Monday March 20th, World Oral Health Day, for all they do for you, and remember to be good to them from now on!


las vegas laser dentistry dentist

You do everything you can to care for your teeth and gums. You want them to be there for you throughout your lifetime and you know they are an important part of taking care of your overall health. Dental care starts at home with regular brushing and flossing, and of course, we all need regular cleaning and checkups at the dentist.

But, problems with teeth and gums can develop over time.  When you do need additional procedures, it’s good to know that modern dentistry has come a long way. With the equipment, training and procedures available today, going to the dentist doesn’t have to be painful, and our dental care is more effective than ever.

One recent development is the use of laser dentistry for some procedures.  With its gentler approach, laser dentistry can reduce pain and healing time.  Less invasive and more precise, laser dentistry means less damage to surrounding areas that don’t need treatment. Laser procedures may also help minimize bleeding and swelling. When used in conjunction with traditional treatment, laser dentistry is a great option for a number of common dental procedures.

What is Laser Dentistry?

Lasers are beams of light that use heat to cause a reaction on whatever surface they touch.  Used for many things as precision tools, they have also proven to be a safe and efficient way to repair teeth and gums for some dental procedures. It works because laser heat is minimal and so precise it is able to remove only diseased tissue, leaving healthy tissue around it intact and undisturbed. The laser may also be used for “curing” a filling, that is helping it bond to the surface of the tooth, and in tooth-whitening procedures where the laser’s heat helps to activate the bleaching agents.

Laser Dentistry is Better For Your Teeth

Laser dentistry is better for your teeth in two primary ways.

If you have a cavity, it needs to be taken care of quickly. Without treatment, your tooth will decay further, causing pain and eventually the loss of your tooth. In the past, the dentist relied on a drill to remove large chunks of the tooth in order to make sure all the decay was gone. But, with this method, the drill takes out a big part of the tooth, not just the decayed part. You can end up losing too much of your tooth to remove a cavity that is very small. Once it’s weakened, that tooth is more likely to eventually have to be replaced with a more costly dental implant.

Laser dentistry helps address that problem. It’s precise, and it does little external damage, focusing only where it is needed. The healthy part of the tooth stays intact, assuring it will have a better chance of lasting longer.  And, this saves you, the patient, money and inconvenience down the road, because it’s less likely you will have the pain and expense of a tooth that has to be removed and replaced.

Laser Dentistry is Better for the Gums

The second way that laser dentistry helps protect your teeth is by helping to keep your gums healthy. When gums are severely inflamed, they separate from the tooth, allowing bacteria to go deep into the roots. Eventually that tooth will fall out.  So, healthy gums mean healthier teeth.

las vegas laser dentistry treatmentsIf you have periodontal disease, or gum disease, during treatment a dental hygienist would typically use various hand instruments to break up the plaque under the gumline and remove the pockets of nasty bacteria. The gum must be pulled away from the tooth in order to scrape this material out from under the gums. But this procedure is also damaging to the gums, delaying healing and often resulting in discomfort and occasionally bleeding.

Dental laser treatment for gums, on the other hand, uses a gentle beam of light to gently dissolve pockets of bacteria at and below the gumline. The laser can more effectively target tight areas that dental tools struggle to reach without causing pain. Since the laser can be finely targeted, damage to the gums is minimal and the procedure is pain free, needing no anesthetic or extended healing time.

The American Dental Association looks “positively” on the dental laser procedure for its potential to reduce the need for local anesthetic, which besides the nuisance factor of having a numb mouth for hours also carries some minor medical risks.  Laser dentistry means fewer times the dentist needs to use local anesthetic, which everyone can appreciate.

While laser dentistry is still in the early stages, it is widely used for a number of procedures where it has proven to be both effective and comfortable for patients.  We expect that its uses will increase as new way are found to use this tool to better care for your teeth and gums, and make a visit to the dentist easier than ever before.

Laser Dentistry treatment available now

Dr. Medina offers laser dentistry treatment for a number of procedures including dental fillings, root canals, gum treatment and more.  Learn how Laser Dentistry works and call Dr. Medina today to see if you can benefit from pain-free laser dentistry care.