Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Why Consider A Single Tooth Implant?

Dental implants are one of the best options for replacing a single missing tooth. Implants are made of two parts – a small titanium post that is inserted to replace the natural roots of the tooth, and a custom-made crown. Here’s what to know about single tooth implants and how our team at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics can help.

What Problems Are Caused By a Missing Tooth?

Missing teeth (even a single one) can cause many compounding problems. These can include joint pain, grinding, clenching, shifting, difficulty removing plaque and bacteria, and bone loss in the jaw.

Bone Loss

Normally, when you chew, your teeth transmit chewing forces through the roots and stimulate the jawbone. This keeps the bone healthy. When a tooth is missing, the bone no longer has this stimulation and begins to shrink, along with the gums.


A gap in your teeth can change the way your teeth bite down and the force they experience when chewing. If a gap is present, the neighboring teeth can begin to shift and extrude from the socket, causing many other problems.

Difficulty Cleaning Teeth

When your teeth begin to shift because of a gap, it can create places around the teeth that are difficult to clean. This can allow bacteria and plaque to accumulate, causing decay and periodontal disease.

Grinding and Clenching

Changes in your bite because of a missing tooth can upset the chewing forces on your remaining teeth. This can cause grinding and clenching, possibly leading to problems in the jaw joint such as TMJ.

Single Tooth Implant Diagnosis and Treatment

The single tooth implant process begins with a thorough examination by our team. This examination will include your medical history so we can create a complete picture of your oral health. We will check the health of your jaw and surrounding tissues, which may include x-rays or scans. Then, an impression and bite registration will be taken to get an accurate model of your mouth. Once we have the above information, we will discuss whether a single tooth implant is best for you.

Dental implants require a series of visits that will include evaluation, implantation, and fabrication of your new crown. Although the process may have multiple steps, dental implants are very long-lasting and can be a valuable step in maintaining good oral health.

The Benefits of a Single Tooth Implant

The biggest benefit of a single tooth implant is that it replaces the natural missing tooth. Because it is anchored into the jawbone, it functions just like a natural tooth when you talk or chew. The custom crown is even made to blend in with your natural smile so it’s undetectable. Finally, dental implants can keep your smile healthy by preventing shifting, bone loss, jaw problems, and decay.

Schedule a Consultation

At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we can help you learn more about your options with tooth implants during an appointment. To meet with our team, contact us online or call our Reno, NV office.

Failing Amalgam Fillings

Dental fillings may fail for a number of reasons, but fixing them is not typically a big issue. That’s not necessarily the case for amalgam fillings. Amalgam fillings can release a small amount of mercury vapor when they fail and that can lead to certain health risks in some patients. Even removing the filling can release a small amount of mercury vapor but it can be necessary to ensure your tooth is protected and you maintain good oral health.

What are Amalgam Fillings?

Amalgam fillings, commonly known as silver fillings, are actually made of mercury, silver, copper, tin, and zinc. They are typically about half mercury while the rest is a combination of other metals. They are durable and when properly taken care of, can last for years. But in some situations, they can start to wear down, chip, or even begin to leak and may need to be removed or replaced with another filling.

What Causes Amalgam Fillings to Fail?

There are a variety of reasons for amalgam fillings to fail including:

● Extreme temperature changes in the mouth which can cause the metal to expand and contract and lead to a fracture in the tooth
● Filling may wear down due to chewing and everyday wear and tear
● Moisture in the mouth can cause the filling to swell
● Excessive grinding or blunt force
● Regular or excessive smoking and drinking
● Recurrent decay or decay that occurs under the filling

When an amalgam filling fails, the tight seal between the filling and the tooth is broken which allows bacteria to become trapped there. This bacteria can eat at the tooth enamel and the tooth structure and lead to decay. If you’re experiencing any sensitivity, inflammation, discomfort, or pain in a tooth with an amalgam filling, call us to schedule an appointment at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics today.

Replacing the Filling

If your filling is in good condition and there is no decay beneath the filling, removal of the amalgam filling is not recommended or even necessary. Why? Because removing the filling may result in losing some of the tooth structure and increase the risk of mercury vapor being released during the removal process.

If the filling is failing or worn down, then it can be moved and replaced with another filling, inlay, onlay, or crown that is made up of a different dental material. After one of our staff at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics examines the filling in question, we can recommend the best solution for your situation.

The removal of failing amalgam filling is especially important for women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant, nursing mothers, children, and anyone who is allergic to mercury. It can also harm those with neurological impairments or kidney dysfunction.

Schedule A Consultation

Are you struggling with an amalgam filling that is worn down or chipped? Now is the perfect time to schedule a consultation at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics. Our dentists can help determine what the problem is and have a new filling placed in no time. Whether it’s a filling or another issue, we are dedicated to ensuring you have the best oral health possible.

To schedule a consultation today, please call our Reno, NV office at (775) 413-2976 or use our online scheduling form.

Extracting Wisdom Teeth: What You Need To Know

Wisdom teeth removal involves the extraction of your third molars, or the four permanent teeth located in the back of the mouth in both your upper and lower jaws. These teeth often erupt between the ages of 17 and 21, and most people have all four wisdom teeth.
Sometimes, wisdom teeth do not cause any issues at all. However, sometimes they grow in at an angle or are partially impacted in the jawbone or underneath the gum tissue. This can result in a range of issues such as pain, gum disease, tooth decay, and cyst development around the teeth.

Benefits of Having Wisdom Teeth Removed

Having your wisdom teeth extracted can be very beneficial, as it can prevent dental problems in the future, including periodontal disease, tooth decay, the risk for infection, and cysts in the jawbone. If you are already experiencing discomfort due to your wisdom teeth, extraction can help to alleviate any pain almost immediately.

The Wisdom Tooth Extraction Procedure

Prior to your procedure, you may be offered nitrous oxide to help ensure that you are relaxed. We will then numb the area with an anesthetic to ensure you are comfortable. During this procedure, you may feel some pressure when the tooth is removed, but you should not feel pain. If you do feel any discomfort, we will stop the process and give you more anesthetic.
In cases where the wisdom teeth have not yet erupted through the gums, we will first make a small incision. An instrument known as an elevator will be placed next to each tooth to loosen it. Forceps will then be used to grip and remove the teeth.
For some people, their tooth’s roots are curved or anchored tightly into the socket. In these cases, we may need to cut the tooth into sections to remove it. If any incisions are needed, they will be stitched up once the tooth is fully removed.

Tooth Extraction Aftercare

Following the removal of your wisdom teeth, we will provide you with specific aftercare instructions. It is important that you follow these guidelines, especially during the first 24 hours, to ensure optimal results. These instructions will cover how to relieve pain and minimize swelling, as well as how to control any bleeding and prevent dry sockets (a dislodged blood clot).
While there may be some discomfort following a wisdom tooth extraction, you should not experience severe pain. If you do, please contact our office as soon as possible for an assessment.

How Long Does It Take to Recover from Wisdom Tooth Removal?

Recovery time may vary from person to person following wisdom tooth removal, but most people are comfortable after 3 to 4 days. You should avoid strenuous activity for at least 48 to 72 hours, and rest as much as you can for the first couple of days. Also, remember to take any medications you a prescribed such as antibiotics or pain relievers.

Schedule a Consultation

To learn more about wisdom teeth extraction in Reno, NV, please contact South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics. You can reach us by phone at (775) 413-2976 or fill out our online contact form.

How to Treat a Cracked Tooth

If a tooth cracks, it often needs to be protected to prevent further breakage and damage to the surrounding area. Crowns are the best way to protect cracked teeth and strengthen the tooth.

How Do Teeth Crack? 

Teeth can crack in a variety of situations. Pressure placed on the teeth from chewing, clenching, and grinding weaken the teeth over time and cause them to lose strength. Tooth decay that breaks down the structure of the tooth can also make it more susceptible to cracking. Additional pressure from chewing on ice, un-popped popcorn, and hard candy can fracture or crack these weakened teeth.

Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth 

If you have any of these symptoms, you may have a cracked tooth:

  • Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures
  • sensitivity to overly sweet or sour foods
  • Sharp pain when you chew
  • Intermittent pain that comes and goes rather than constant

When Should I See My Dentist

Some teeth might look cracked because of hairline cracks that develop over time, but these do not always need treatment. A diagnosis is the best way to determine whether you have a cracked tooth, the severity of the crack, and the necessary treatment. You should schedule an examination at the earliest sign of a cracked tooth since these cracks grow quickly and can lead to larger problems like tooth decay if they reach the tooth’s nerve.

At your appointment, we will start with x-rays. X-rays do not always reveal a crack so we may also need to analyze your bite. Both of these diagnostic procedures are quick and painless. If a crack is discovered, we will discuss your options for crowning the tooth.

Treatment for Cracked Teeth

A crown is often the go-to treatment for cracked teeth. These small oral appliances sit over the chewing surface of the tooth like a cap to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. A cracked or weakened tooth could be further damaged or become decayed. Crowns come in gold, porcelain, or porcelain fused to metal. Your dentist will determine the best crown for you depending on the area of the mouth that the cracked tooth is in. If the crack has extended further into the tooth and damaged the tooth, a root canal or tooth extraction might be needed.

Schedule a Consultation

Going to the dentist is not something many people look forward to, but you can rely on our warm and considerate staff to make your experience a positive one. If you suspect a cracked tooth, it is important you do not wait to take action. Schedule an appointment today with our expert team at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics for tooth repair in Reno, NV.

How Do Crowns and Root Canals Work Together?

If you have ever had a cavity, you know how painful it can be. Although a root canal may sound scary, it is the only effective solution to restore healthy teeth and prevent future damage. At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, you can expect compassionate care as we work to repair your teeth with a root canal and crowning.

What is a Root Canal?

A root canal is a dental procedure that is often necessary if you have a decaying tooth. The inner tooth tissue (the pulp) can be infected by bacteria that enter the tooth from an untreated cavity or a crack caused by injury. During a root canal, the infected or dead pulp in the center of the tooth is removed with a special tool called a file. This is performed under local anesthesia so you will not feel any pain during the procedure.

How Root Canals Affect a Tooth

After a root canal, your tooth may be more brittle or weak. The inner pulp layer removed during a root canal contains much of the tooth’s nerves and blood vessels. Therefore, the tooth’s blood supply is lost after a root canal. Additionally, the tooth is weakened because only the sides are left after a root canal. Hollowed teeth after a root canal are more at risk of cracking or breaking when you bite down on food or put pressure on the treated tooth.

How Crowns Protect the Teeth

A crown is a protective cap placed over decayed or broken teeth. Crowns are almost always placed after a root canal to restore the tooth’s strength and prevent future problems like tooth breakage. There are many types of crowns that can be made from porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or gold. Crowns are also custom fitted for every patient. The type of tooth and its location will often impact which material is chosen. For example, porcelain crowns are a great choice for the front teeth since they blend into your natural tooth color for a flawless smile.

How Do I Know If I Need a Root Canal?

Infection or tooth decay that is left untreated could lead to a more serious infection, bone loss, or loss of the entire tooth. If you have any of the following symptoms, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away:

  • Pain in the tooth or gums
  • Swelling
  • Sensitivity to hot or cold foods
  • Warm feeling in the gums
  • Tooth discoloration

Oral Health Care at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics

At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we specialize in general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry as well as orthodontics. If you have an untreated cavity and are beginning to feel the effects of your damaged tooth, we encourage you to schedule an appointment today.

How to Care for Your Dentures

Dentures are a great way to restore your smile if you have missing teeth. They can also improve the quality of life for many patients who are unable to chew, speak, or swallow properly because of their missing teeth. When you receive dentures, you don’t want to have to replace them, so these are a few important things to keep in mind when caring for your dentures.

Eating Habits

To prevent your dentures from being damaged, avoid chewing on ice or other hard foods like candy. If you wear your dentures while eating and food gets trapped beneath them, remove the dentures and rinse them with water. Although trapped food is not an immediate problem, it can cause bacteria to build up if it sits there for an extended period of time.

Brushing and Flossing

Regularly brush your remaining teeth, gums, and palate twice a day to prevent a buildup of plaque and tooth-decaying bacteria. Brushing also includes massaging the gums gently to prevent gum disease and cleaning your tongue to remove bacteria and maintain fresh breath. Flossing and mouth rinses are also helpful tools for preserving oral health and should be used along with your daily brushing.

Denture Cleaning

Although your dentures are not “real teeth,” bacteria can still build up on the surface, harming the remaining teeth and your gums. Carefully clean your denture with a denture brush and cleaning product or toothpaste once a day. We recommend cleaning and rinsing it over a sink full of water in case the denture is accidentally dropped.

You should also soak your denture periodically in a soaking solution or use half white vinegar and half water if there are no metal parts. After soaking your dentures, rinse them thoroughly with cool water before placing them back in your mouth.

Denture Storage

Remove your dentures while you sleep and keep them stored in a soaking solution or cool water in a closed container so that they do not dry out. We recommend removing the dentures for at least 6-8 hours per day. If you have children or pets, make sure to keep your dentures in a place that is out of reach.

Dental Checkups

Regular dental exams are necessary for every person. Maintaining the health of your teeth and a beautiful smile is important! If you wear dentures, you should also schedule an appointment if your bite feels uneven or you develop sore spots, inflammation, swelling, or discomfort from your dentures. If the dentures become loose, cracked, or broken, your dentist can also repair it.

Schedule a Consultation

At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we are dedicated to our patients’ overall well-being and oral health. Whether you need a regular dentist appointment or assistance fitting or repairing your dentures, we encourage you to schedule a consultation today by calling our office or filling out an online contact form.

Abfractions: Causes and Treatments

Abfractions might sound like an unusual word, but it simply refers to a specific type of tooth substance being lost. We will be discussing the causes of this tooth damage and how you can treat a developing abfraction to help you maintain a beautiful, healthy smile.

What Are Abfractions?

Abfractions are small wedge-shaped grooves that form on the teeth near the gumline. These are unrelated to cavities or bacteria that could eat away at the enamel on the tooth and cause similar damage. Although abfractions are generally not painful, the loss of tooth structure could lead to further chipping and loss of enamel which leaves the teeth and gums exposed to harmful bacteria that could cause tooth decay or gum disease

What Causes Abfractions?

Not all the causes of abfractions are known, but these are a few possible causes that we can address at your appointment:

Misaligned Bite

Even if your bite is slightly off, one tooth could connect with the parallel teeth sooner than the rest. This can cause the teeth to flex over time because of the stress and pressure put on them. This flexing causes the enamel to separate from the inner layers of the tooth, creating an abfraction or notch near the gumline. To correct your bite and stop the teeth from pushing against each other, we can smooth down areas of the chewing services to redistribute the force of your bite.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding and clenching are another source of stress for the teeth that could cause the enamel to separate from the dentin layer, leading to an abfraction. Teeth clenching can be especially harmful because the constant pressure could also cause jaw pain, headaches, and other dental problems. Teeth grinding and clenching can be prevented with a nightguard that will protect your teeth.

Abrasive Brushing

People often think that you can scrub away bacteria with harsh brushing but applying too much pressure when brushing your teeth can actually cause more damage. Abrasive toothbrush bristles could be responsible for the gradual loss of tooth substance causing the abfraction. We can recommend toothbrushes with soft bristles and different types of toothpaste to better maintain your oral health.

How Can You Treat Abfractions?

After treating the cause of the abfraction, our dental team can treat the abfraction itself. We can restore the lost tooth substance with a filling or cover up the gap with gum tissue to prevent harmful bacteria from getting trapped under the gums. Tooth-colored fillings will make the repair invisible so that you can enjoy a beautiful smile and significantly improved oral health.

Schedule an Appointment

If you think you may be developing an abfraction, schedule an appointment at South Meadow Dental & Orthodontics in Reno, NV. Our dental team will be happy to give your teeth an examination so that we know the type of damage we are dealing with and how to best treat it.

What Can I Expect After Opalescence Boost Teeth Whitening?

Opalescence Boost Teeth Whitening is a quick and easy way to enhance your smile and get rid of stains. If you’ve tried over-the-counter teeth whiteners without results, then our team can help. At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we offer both in-office professional whitening treatments and at-home custom trays to completely transform your smile. It’s normal to wonder what to expect after Opalescence Boost teeth whitening, so here’s what to know and how to take care of your results.

Avoid Foods and Drinks That Stain

Certain foods and drinks can cause stains to accumulate over time, so it’s important to enjoy them in moderation and prevent stains from coming back. It’s most important to avoid these foods and drinks for the first 24-48 hours after treatment (that’s because your teeth will continue to whiten during this time). A good rule to follow is: if a food or drink would stain your white shirt, it will also stain your teeth! Here are some common foods and drinks to avoid after your treatment:

  • Black tea and coffee
  • Red wine
  • Red (tomato) sauces
  • Soy sauce
  • Dark berries
  • Tobacco
  • Dark sodas

Additionally, some desensitizing products that contain stannous fluoride can cause stains and should be avoided.

Managing Sensitivity

It’s possible to have some sensitivity after treatment, but it typically fades within a few days. You may notice white spots on the gums, but these will also fade (within about 20-30 minutes). If you experience sensitivity when using your at-home treatments, it can be helpful to spread some petroleum jelly (Vaseline®) on your gums before inserting the trays.

Make sure to take care when brushing your teeth for the first few days after treatment and gently use a soft bristle tooth brush to avoid discomfort. Additionally, be careful when flossing and use a seesaw motion to glide floss between the teeth rather than “snapping” it.

When Will I See Results?

If your ideal shade is very different from your current shade, it may take more than one appointment to achieve your intended results. Our team can give you the best idea of how many sessions you can expect. Once you achieve your ideal shade, it’s best to return for touch-up treatments (either in-office or at-home) every 6-12 months. This can help reverse new stains and prevent them from setting in.

Schedule an Appointment

Our team can help you explore your teeth whitening options with Opalescence Boost. To schedule an appointment, contact our Reno office by calling or filling out our online contact form.

What is Gingival Recession and What Causes it?

Of the many health issues facing people, dental health can have far-reaching implications, from whole-body health to self-esteem. If your teeth and gums aren’t kept in peak condition with regular checkups and constant oral care at home, several conditions can crop up that can only be fixed with restorative dental treatments that we offer at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics.

One of the most often ignored issues people encounter is gum disease, which is marked by gingival recession, or receding gums. There are many possible and contributing causes of this condition, and few solutions, which means preventive care is extremely important to prevent gum disease.

What is Gingival Recession?

Gingival recession is the phenomenon of gum tissue receding from the visible parts of the teeth in the mouth. Not only does this become apparent as your teeth appear larger, with more surface enamel exposed, but it also leads to symptoms like sensitivity, accelerated tooth decay, and pain.

Gingival recession is the main symptom of gum disease, also called gingivitis, which can lead to more serious decay called periodontal disease, which requires more frequent and more involved teeth cleanings from a dentist in Reno.

The Causes of Gingival Recession

The general cause of gingivitis or gingival recession is poor oral health. However, certain behaviors, habits, and substances can accelerate the condition. Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can accelerate all kinds of tooth decay and damage, including gingival recession. In addition, overly aggressive brushing or toothbrushes with too-hard bristles can wear away at gums and irritate them more immediately, as well as brushing with a purely side-to-side motion as opposed to a circular one.

Finally, tobacco use and piercings can aggravate the gums and teeth, quickening gum disease and gumline recession. With age, all of these causes will worsen the condition of the teeth, gums, or both.

What’s problematic about gum disease is that it’s often painless. People don’t realize they have an issue until it becomes uncomfortable or unbearable, meaning it takes years for the disease to manifest and get worse before people seek treatment. This re-emphasizes the importance of regular checkups and cleanings by a dentist who can see more than you might feel in your mouth, spotting the early stages of gingival recession and creating a treatment plan to stop or even reverse it.

Diagnosis and Treatment of Gingival Recession

Diagnosing gum disease is relatively simple. There are standard protocols to measure the depth of gum loss to determine if you have gum disease, periodontitis, or other degrees of gingival recession. From there, your dentist will ask you about your oral health, including any symptoms involving tooth grinding and other potential risk factors. You will then be advised on a treatment plan to fill cavities, treat sensitive teeth, remove piercings, quitting smoking, or many other types of lifestyle changes that might help slow the progress of gum disease.

Gum and Dental Care in Reno, NV

If you’re suffering from sensitive teeth, sudden changes in your oral health, or a cosmetic issue with your smile or mouth, the dental professionals at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics are here to help. Call or contact us online to start a conversation about your needs and our availability.

What to Know About CAD/CAM Restorations

Tooth decay (cavities) is caused by sugars and enamel-destroying bacteria that build up when the teeth are not properly cleaned over an extended period of time. At South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics, we use CAD/CAM restorations to create accurate and effective restorations that will give you a long-lasting, beautiful smile.

What Are CAD/CAM Restorations?

CAD (computer-aided design) or CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) is an innovative technology used to create customized tooth-colored crowns, onlays, inlays, and veneers. These restorations are used to treat tooth decay and reinforce damaged teeth. The CAD/CAM technology used takes a digital, 3D image of the tooth being treated and the teeth surrounding it. That image can be used to design and shape the restorative material which will be fitted to the tooth. Using precise machinery and the skills of a trained restorative dentist, CAD/CAM restorations can restore beautiful, natural-looking smiles.

CAD/CAM Procedure

Before your CAD/CAM restoration begins, we will numb the area to ease any discomfort. The teeth will then be cleaned to remove decayed tissue and shaped to best fit the restoration. A reflective powder is applied so that the digital imaging tool can see the contours of the tooth being treated. Once the 3D image is taken and the restoration is made, it can be customized with coloring, bonding, and polishing to match your natural tooth color and appearance. Final adjustments can also be made to maximize your comfort while wearing the restoration and make sure your bite stays the same.

Benefits of CAD/CAM Restorations

One Appointment

Your CAD/CAM restoration can be completed in one appointment that takes anywhere from 45 minutes – 2 hours depending on the severity of tooth decay being treated. This means fewer disruptions in your schedule and more cost-effective treatment.

Minimal Tooth Preparation

Less tooth preparation means more of the healthy tooth structure can be left intact. This can make your restoration last longer and feel more comfortable than a bulky restoration that may need to be adjusted to fit your tooth and bite.

Natural-Looking Results

CAD/CAM restorations use tooth-colored materials like porcelain so that your restoration will blend into the surrounding area and leave you with a more aesthetically pleasing smile.

Schedule a Consultation

If you’ve gotten behind on your annual cleanings or have painful tooth decay in need of restoration, schedule a consultation with our amazing team of dentists and orthodontists at South Meadows Dental & Orthodontics. Give our Reno, NV office a call at 775-413-2976 or fill out an online contact form to take the first step toward a restored, healthy smile.