Healthy Gums & Teeth

Maintaining a Bright, Attractive Smile
Phoenix Magazine, Oct. 2002
by Dr. Richard J. Croft

A bright, white, clean and healthy smile exudes confidence, sex appeal and a youthful appearance. Knowing that your smile is feminine and fresh is a great feeling, however, there's more to a great smile than whitening your teeth or carving that perfect smile.

The mouth is a mirror of your general health and well being. During regular oral examinations our staff at Scottsdale Dental - Smiles by Design screens for serious systemic illnesses. The signs and symptoms of these diseases can appear in the mouth long before they show up in other parts of the body.

Some examples are: Periodontal disease, which is an infection of the gum and bone that results in bone loss. Almost 75% of adult women have some form of periodontal disease, a condition that is usually painless and silent until it has reached advanced stages.

Disease-causing bacteria that lives in the mouth spread toxins through the circulatory system to the heart and other parts of the body. Periodontal disease has been identified as a risk factor for serious conditions like heart disease, respiratory ailments, and the delivery of pre-term, low birth-weight babies.

Periodontal disease also plays a major role in a condition called halitosis. Each year people spend billions of dollars to mask bad breath with sugary mints and mouthwashes that contain alcohol. But not only are these remedies temporary and ineffective, they can even make the problem worse.

During pregnancy, some women may experience a condition known as pregnancy gingivitis. The gum tissue becomes red and swollen, is sensitive and generally bleeds easily. This condition usually begins during the first trimester of pregnancy with symptoms progressively worsening as the levels of progesterone and estrogen increase.

During pregnancy, it is imperative that women practice excellent oral hygiene and use a toothpaste containing fluoride. Occasionally, women who have had healthy teeth before becoming pregnant will experience an increase in cavities - another important reason to maintain your teeth.

Oral cancer is easily detected and often curable when caught in its early stages. Scottsdale Dental Smiles by Design offers a painless non-invasive visual test that allows a better chance to find any oral abnormalities at the earliest possible stage. The test has successfully improved the chances of identifying pre-cancerous conditions.

Patients need to be aware that migraine-like headaches, sore jaw muscles, cracked, broken and/or worn teeth, which can age your smile, could be caused because teeth do not fit together properly. Treatment begins by wearing a simple appliance, usually worn at night.

In a large percentage of cases symptoms of headache and sore muscles can disappear immediately.

Our Team at Scottsdale Dental - Smiles by Design knows that smiles are a serious business. We make it a priority to listen to our patients, identify these conditions and recommend the proper treatments to ensure that every patient has a beautiful and healthy smile.

Richard J. Croft, DDS

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Our practice is state-of-the-art, innovative and personal. We focus on practicing comprehensive dentistry - which means you will not have to go to three or four doctors for your dentistry.

Our dental team of talented, skilled people are dedicated to meeting the needs of our patients in a gentle and caring way.


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Scottsdale Dental - Smile Designs
Richard J. Croft, D.D.S., F.A.G.D.

7170 E. McDonald Drive, Ste. 1
Scottsdale, Arizona 85253
(480) 946-3333
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