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Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Tooth Replacement

dentist st george utah, oral care st george

Just about everyone has heard of gingivitis. Unless you are a dentist, it is likely that gingivitis is the only gum disease you have ever heard of. Even the word itself has a sort of ring to it. Gingiva is the area of gum around the teeth, hence the word gingivitis. At least if you don’t continue to read you learned something useful. Perhaps you thought gingivitis has to do with toxic levels of ginger root consumption, and you will be leaving now. In that case farewell. For those of you who stay, you will learn the ins and outs of this fairly common type of gum disease.


What is it?  


Well, in case you just got here and skimmed past the intro paragraph, gingivitis is a type of gum disease.


What are the Symptoms?


Huh. The previous section was really short. Only one sentence about what it is. The symptoms of gingivitis include but are not limited to the following; swelling, redness, soreness, inflammation, and a general state of discomfort.


Do I Have Gingivitis?


The likelihood that you have gingivitis is actually quite steep. In studies by the Center for Disease Control, it was estimated that almost half of adults in the United States have periodontal disease (gum disease). Don’t worry, this data takes into account even the most mild diagnosis of gum disease.  If you are the type of person that takes the time to self-diagnose about gingivitis by looking through world wide interwebs, it is likely that your case of gingivitis is in the mild and early stages of development. In many cases, gingivitis is caused by a lack of oral hygiene. We all know we need to brush our teeth. Unfortunately, the gums can be overlooked. Other causes may not be a lack of hygiene. Perhaps a list would be helpful?


  1. Lack of oral hygiene
  2. Old age
  3. Dry mouth
  4. Malnutrition (especially vitamin C deficiency)
  5. Certain drugs (don’t do drugs kids)
  6. Genetics (bad luck, I guess)
  7. Hormonal changes related to pregnancy (not fair, I know)
  8. Medical conditions  


What’s the takeaway here? Brush your teeth and floss. Don’t ignore giving your gingiva attention. There’s that word again. You’d forgotten about it huh? If you end up with gum disease in spite of having good oral hygiene, definitely make a beeline to your dentist for help.          

Back to Your Roots

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Tooth Replacement

When most people think of a painful dental procedure, they think of a root canal. Fortunately, horror stories about root canals can be traced back to early experimental procedures performed by some of the pioneers of dentistry. The modern technology surrounding root canals today allows for a safe procedure that saves millions of teeth each year.    


What is a Root Canal?


Root canal treatment is a procedure designed to save a tooth from disease or injury to the dental pulp. The pulp is the innermost part of a tooth. It contains blood vessels and nerve endings. It extends from the crown of the tooth through root. If the pulp is inflamed or infected, it can cause serious pain. Root canal treatment simply removes the inflamed or infected area. The following steps explain the process of root canal treatment.


  1. Your mouth will be numbed so that you don’t feel any pain during the procedure
  2. A small plastic shield will be placed around the tooth, keeping it dry and clean
  3. An opening is made into the crown of the tooth and into the pulp chamber
  4. Fluid is put into the canals to kill bacteria and rinse out any debris
  5. The infected or inflamed pulp is removed  
  6. The canals are cleaned and shaped using small instruments
  7. The canals are filled
  8. A temporary filling is used until the procedure is completed by a dentist
  9. Your dentist will properly restore your tooth with a filling or crown



Root canals are performed by an endodontist. Endodontists have advanced training in root canal treatment. Despite the negative connotation behind root canals, millions of treatments are performed effectively, safely, and comfortably each year.


Remember, root canals are often the best solution to stop serious tooth pain and save the tooth.

Don’t Just Floss, Floss Daily

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Tooth Replacement

We all know it’s important to take care of our teeth. The two common ways that teeth get damaged are through an accident or neglect. It may be our genetics that make accidental damage more likely. Sometimes accidents can’t be avoided. Fortunately, modern dental procedures such as best dental implants or root canals are quite effective at fixing these problems. Damage through neglect, on the other hand, is entirely up to us. When going in for your regular dental checkup, at some point the dental hygienist will likely make a comment about flossing. The comment will either be that you have been doing a good job at flossing daily, or it will come as a recommendation. We all know that flossing is an important part of dental hygiene. Even if you are part of the 50.5 percent of Americans that floss daily, it is important to make sure you floss correctly.


How to Floss

There is no substitute for flossing. We all know the value of it, but sometimes it is helpful to put things in a different perspective. Imagine that every time you brush your teeth you only brush your top teeth. Day in and day out, your bottom row of teeth are completely neglected. You can also imagine the outcome. Flossing cleans about 40 percent of the surfaces on our teeth that brushing doesn’t effectively reach. Ready to start flossing everyday?


  • Use an arm’s length of floss
  • Use waxed or unwaxed floss, whatever you prefer
  • Individual flossers can be used to make flossing more convenient
  • Gently floss the curves of your teeth
  • Move the floss in all directions, back and forth, up and down
  • Gently floss the gum line between your teeth
  • Don’t forget the hard to reach molars
  • Remove the floss carefully with a back and forth motion
  • Only floss once a day. Flossing too much can lead to serious gum damage


Set Goals

If you don’t already floss daily, it can be difficult to get into the habit. As a rule of thumb, it’s as difficult to start flossing as it is to quit smoking. Keep in mind your long term goal of having healthy teeth, and that rewarding moment when the dental hygienist compliments all of your hard work. All jokes aside, daily habits are often fragile at the start. Make sure you avoid “ah-screw-it” moments and skip flossing right before you go bed. Missing one day can quickly lead to another.  




Caring for Your Dental Implants

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Tooth Replacement

It’s easy to want to cut corners with oral hygiene. However, if you want to keep a beautiful and healthy smile, a commitment to effective oral hygiene is necessary. This is especially true when caring for full mouth dental implants. Taking the necessary steps to care for your implants and natural teeth is not a friendly suggestion made by your dentist to fill conversation time at your appointments–it’s vital to being able to keep those implants for a lifetime.

dental implants

Why does it matter so much to care for dental implants?

Caring for dental implants is much like caring for natural teeth. There are many benefits of dental implants, but there are also a few vulnerabilities. Because a dental implant is not completely attached around the gums by a periodontal ligament, like a natural tooth, is it less capable of fighting plaque buildup and infection. The peri-implant crevice also provides a place for plaque to build up when not consistently cleaned. When not cared for, inflammation, infection, and irreversible bone loss can occur, leading to the implant being removed. Thus, regular oral hygiene becomes especially important.

For those who have needed implants due to oral hygiene negligence, they must be committed to maintaining oral care so their implants can last. The same way you would not spend thousands of dollars on a home just to leave it to crumble and fail, so also we do not want to see you invest in a dental implant only for it to dislodge and fail you.

white smile

What care is necessary to keep those implants healthy and functional?

As stated above, caring for dental implants can be much like caring for natural teeth. Both regular brushing and flossing are needed, twice a day, to remove plaque buildup. Especially important is brushing and flossing immediately after eating. Recommended tools for brushing and flossing are:

  • Low-abrasive, plaque-fighting/tartar control toothpaste
  • A soft toothbrush (either manual or electric can be acceptable)
  • An interdental brush for between teeth and implants
  • Unwaxed or implant-specific floss or floss pick
  • An oral irrigator can be beneficial when recommended

In caring for your dental implants, 360 degree cleaning is necessary.

When brushing: With a soft toothbrush, brush all sides and angles of your dental implant, including around, in, and under the peri-implant crevice. Make sure to brush at and just below the gumline, as the dental implant can build plaque in those areas in the same way that natural teeth do. Using a soft toothbrush is required for a dental implant because scratches in the abutment or crown can house bacteria and lead to inflammation or infection.

When flossing: An effective method for flossing around a dental implant is to insert the floss on either side of the implant, crossing floss ends and moving in shoe-shine pattern to clean fully around the implant. Floss fully into the peri-implant crevice, where plaque can build up easily. When using an interdental brush, select a brush that is large enough to brush against the implant when inserted into the peri-implant crevice.

Visit Your Dentist

Home care should not replace check-ups with your dentist. For individuals with dental implants, regular checkups with the dentist should be scheduled every three to six months for a professional cleaning, and an x-ray examination of the dental implant should occur each year. Both you and your dentist want to see your dental implants remain healthy and functional, so both consistent home and professional care should be included in your dental implant treatment.

cleaning dental implants at the dentist

In the end, you’re committing a few minutes each day in return for years of healthy implants, saved money, and painless smiles. If you want beautiful, strong, and healthy dental implants to bring back your confidence and comfort, come to Red Cliffs Dental in Saint George, UT. We want to see you smiling and happy, and we will help you on the road to achieving that smile!

Dental Crowns

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Tooth Replacement

Dentist working on dental crownsDental crowns are a very common procedure, and there is actually evidence of them being done since 800 BC. Of course since then, there have been new advancements to make them stronger, safer, and more aesthetically pleasing.

Dental crowns can be made from a wide array of materials such as stainless steel, gold alloy, palladium, nickel, and porcelain. The metal crowns are stronger, but the porcelain crowns look more like natural teeth. But there is the option of creating a crown from metal and fusing it to porcelain, which will combine the strengths of both types of crown.

We have recently discussed several methods of tooth replacement on our blog, so you may be wondering why dental crowns may be advantageous. Dental crowns have several uses. They can be used as a temporary fix for a tooth that is not quite ready for a full tooth replacement. They can be used to hold together parts of a broken tooth. They last 5-15 years before they need to be replaced. At that time, the problem may need to be reevaluated to see if it is necessary to use another methodology of tooth replacement.

Dental crowns are very important to discuss because they are used in most other forms of tooth replacement. They are used to cap the dental implant and give the appearance of a tooth. They are also used on either side of a dental bridge to anchor it down with natural teeth. But crowns can also stand on their own as a type of tooth replacement. They can be used for relatively mild procedures.

Crowns can be used to cover an already weakened tooth from the invasion of bacteria and plaque. One example is after a root canal. After a root canal, your tooth is not strong enough for biting down, even after a filling. A dental crown is placed on top of the tooth to strengthen it. Due to a dental crowns strength, it can withstand fracture, wear, and corrosion. It seals very well to the tooth, which prevents leakage and decay from your weakened natural tooth.

Typically, how the procedure works, is the best dental implants dentist will take a mold of your natural tooth and while they are manufacturing an exact crown for your tooth, they will give you a temporary crown for a few weeks. These temporary crowns are not an exact fit, but they will work just fine for the waiting period.

However, there is a high-tech medical device called E4D. This uses 3-D imaging to create same-day crowns that are an exact match for your tooth. This eliminates the need for temporary dental crowns and saves you one more trip to the dentist.

Red Cliffs Dental, in St. George, Utah uses E4D technology to get you in and out of the dentist in one day with a perfect match dental crown. Comfort and convenience are our top priority. If you would like to learn more about our procedures and our same-day dental crowns, give us a call at (435) 261-3400.

Permanent Dentures

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Tooth Replacement

permanent dentures are an affordable fix to tooth loss

Tooth loss is an unfortunate but common reality that many people face. It affects self-confidence, speaking and eating abilities, and overall oral health if you leave it untreated. In fact, just 2 years after tooth loss, a person can lose 50% of their bone density in the jaw. The good news is there are several options available to you when trying to treat tooth loss.

A traditional form of tooth replacement is dentures. Conventional dentures are created by making a wax mold of your bite, and then from there, making a set of false teeth, from an array of materials such as plastic or porcelain. These false teeth would fit to the ridges of your gums, but could be easily taken out and put back into your mouth.

This practice is still used today, but there are some problems people often face with this method of tooth replacement. Regular dentures can shift in your mouth, and cause an older, sunken looking face. They can also limit the foods you can eat because they will fall out or get stuck. They can cause unclear speech, and often look unnatural. And because dentures rely on suction to stay in, their permanence is not very dependable.

If you live in the St. George area, you’re in luck, because Dr. Olsen at Red Cliffs Dental has several solutions that are far superior to a traditional denture. He uses new technology to make dentures that will fit your face perfectly and are more secure. They can make you look 10-20 years younger and they are completely functional. You can chew and speak with ease, and they look much more realistic than any other form of removable dentures.

There are other ways you can make a denture-like device that will be much longer lasting. We have already discussed bridges, veneers, and dental implants, but another common method of tooth replacement is a permanent denture. This can be a full set or a partial set of false teeth. The way it works is by combining implants, bridges, and dentures. Basically, there is an abutment on either side of a full arch. In between are false teeth.This system is not removeable, so it is much more reliable. If you have several or all of your teeth missing, this may be the best and most affordable option for you.

If you have any questions about tooth replacement methods, and what may be best for you, Red Cliffs Dental in St. George, Utah has all of the answers for you. Give us a call and we’d be happy to help!

Dental Implants vs. Veneers

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Tooth Replacement

veneers vs dental implants

Last month we discussed the pros and cons of both dental implants and dental bridges. Between the two, dental implants are the most reliable, long-term, and aesthetically pleasing. However, dental implants and dental bridges are not the only forms of tooth replacement. Another very common method is veneers.

Both dental implants and veneers have circumstances in which they work best. But ultimately the choice should be made on a case by case basis. Red Cliffs Dental, in Saint George, Utah is here to give you all of the information about any form of tooth replacement   so that you can make the decision that is right for you.

First off, a veneer is a thin piece of porcelain that can be custom fitted and then bonded to your natural teeth. They are very much like a crown. The key difference is that crowns cover an entire tooth, whereas a veneer typically only covers the front or back surface of a tooth. There are several instances where veneers can be an excellent option. Veneers are good for fixing minor cosmetic issues. They are great for covering up problems such as yellowing, cracks, gaps, and worn down teeth. They also work well to cover up crooked teeth. Some people like veneers because they do not require surgery like implants do, but they are not always an option. In order to have veneers, there has to be some tooth present.

There are also many problems and risks involved with veneers. In order to make room in your mouth for the veneers, the enamel on your teeth must first be removed. Because of this, the procedure cannot be reversed. And if a veneer falls off or is damaged, it must be replaced. Veneers also put you at a greater risk of periodontal disease. This is because they do not cover every surface of the tooth, which can cause greater decay and make it harder to floss. If you are going to get veneers, you must commit to maintaining the best possible level of oral hygiene. Another problem with veneers is that they can shift if they were not bonded correctly, exposing the natural tooth with no enamel, which is extremely dangerous. Veneers can last 10-20 years if excellent oral health is maintained, and they are often much less expensive than dental implants. But because the porcelain is so thin, they can easily be stained or damaged from hard biting.

Between the two, dental implants are by far the most permanent method of repair for lost and broken teeth. If the problem could spread to other teeth, dental implants are the best method of eliminating that risk. In fact, there are almost no risks at all involved with dental implants. Sure, there is surgery involved, but it is very safe. As for cost, it may actually end up being more cost effective, because most often the procedure is a one time deal, and they will last a lifetime. However, if there are no roots present, the jawbone will start to collapse upon itself. This means that if you wait too long, there will be nothing to bond the implant to, so make sure you are being proactive about your oral health and your tooth replacement.

If you are wondering what method of tooth replacement  would work best for you, please feel free to give Red Cliffs Dental, in Saint George, Utah, a call at (435)261-3400. We are more than happy to schedule a consultation, and help you get the smile of your dreams.

Professional Teeth Whitening

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Cosmetic Dentistry

teeth whitening treatments will boost your confidence

Red Cliffs Dental can help you get the confident smile you deserve







Teeth whitening is a safe, easy treatment that is gaining traction and popularity at an amazing speed. In fact, according to the American Association of Orthodontists, 90% of patients are requesting to have their teeth whitened. At Red Cliffs Dental, in St. George, Utah, we are beyond pleased to hear that teeth whitening treatments are in such high demand, because we have state-of-the-art technology and methodology to make sure you get the best possible results. We want you to feel confident and love your smile, and we believe our teeth whitening treatments are the best ones to do the job.

There are several other types of teeth whitening treatments, such as toothpastes, mouthwash, and whitening strips. They even have at home kits with a mouthguard and whitening gel. But professional teeth whitening treatments can whiten your teeth 3-8 shades, while at home kits typically only lift 1-2 shades. The Academy of General Dentistry recommends dentist supervision even for over-the-counter treatments to ensure the utmost level of safety.

Many teeth whitening treatments are approved by the ADA, but sometimes there can be risks involved with teeth whitening that only your dentist can predict. Many home whitening kits can burn or bleach your gums and other soft parts of the mouth if applied incorrectly.

There are a few circumstances in which a dentist may discourage teeth whitening treatment, whether that be professional or otherwise. If your teeth are already sensitive, teeth whitening may not be the best choice for you. It can also be dangerous if you have gum disease. Whitening can also wear down the teeth’s enamel, so if your teeth already have worn enamel, your dentist may refuse to provide you with teeth whitening treatments.

These risks should not discourage you from seeking out your options. Consulting your dentist is the best way to find out information about teeth whitening treatments that are the best fit for you specifically. If you live in the St. George area, come on in to Red Cliffs Dental. We guarantee that we will explore all the possible options for you and give you our honest advice about how to achieve the best results. We will do whatever we can to make sure you are happy with your smile. If you have questions about the services Red Cliffs Dental can provide, you can visit our website, or you can give us a call at (435)261-3400 to schedule a consultation appointment.

Dental Implants vs. Bridge

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Tooth Replacement

How a dental implant worksSometimes life happens and tooth replacement is a necessary reality. There are several different methods of tooth replacement, and each has its pros and cons. Two of the most common methods of tooth replacement are dental implants and dental bridges. If you live in Utah, you can go to Red Cliffs Dental- a great dentist in St. George- for all of your tooth replacement needs.

What is the difference between dental implants and dental bridges?

Dental bridges are basically a minimum of three crowns in a row. The outside teeth have to still be in place. Unlike an implant, they have to be cut down quite a bit to fit the crowns. The tooth or teeth in the middle would be completely artificial. Dental implants however, can be used on individual teeth and they do not need to be cut down. It is an artificial root that is implanted into your gums, where it will bond to the jaw. On top of that, a crown is crafted to look like an individual tooth.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of dental implants?

Dental implants are initially more expensive than dental bridges. But they often last a lifetime, so in the long run they can be more cost effective. And the good news is that many insurance providers will help pay a portion. It is an invasive method of tooth replacement because it requires surgery. It is 98% successful, but if you have a weakened immune system or a lowered ability to heal, it may put you at higher risk. But, dental implants are the most reliable option. They mimic the form and function of a natural tooth, so your brushing and flossing routines can remain as normal. They also offer the best possible aesthetics. They are also more hygienic than bridges because your cleaning routine stays the same.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of dental bridges?

Dental bridges are less expensive than implants, and they are often covered by insurance, but they typically only last 5-7 years. Because all teeth in a bridge are cemented together, you cannot brush and floss as usual. Dental bridges also require your natural teeth to be sanded down to fit the crowns. They still look fairly natural, and they only take a few weeks to complete. A bridge may also be better than implants if you have been missing your natural tooth for a long time.
In the event that you do need a tooth replaced, the choice is ultimately your own. Feel free to call a great dentist in St. George, Utah, Dr. Kelly J. Olsen at Red Cliffs Dental. He can provide you with his expert advice on your individual case. If you want to learn more about all on 4 dental implants, you can read about it on our website.

Laser Dentistry 101

Written by Red Cliffs Dental on . Posted in Blog, Cosmetic Dentistry

Laser dentistry may seem like an obscure technology of the future, but it was actually invented in 1964 and introduced into dentists’ offices in the 1990’s. Since then, it has become more and more refined and the benefits have become more and more abundant.

However, only 6% of dentists have incorporated laser dentistry into their offices. Lucky for you, Red Cliffs Dental, right here in St. George, Utah, offers a wide range of laser dental procedures!

It’s common to feel skeptical or even a little afraid of new things, so here is everything you need to know about laser dentistry:

How do lasers work?

To start, a laser is a very small, very powerful beam of light energy. The laser causes a reaction that makes it possible to remove and shape tissue. A trained and skilled dentist, like Dr. Olsen at Red Cliffs Dental in St. George, can use that light energy to perform several different kinds of procedures.

What procedures can be performed using lasers?

Well, there are different types of lasers dentists can use depending on the type of procedure. This makes it so there can be a wider range of FDA approved laser dental procedures. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Root canal preparation by reshaping of the gums
  • Filling preparation by removal of tooth decay
  • Gummy smile correction
  • Partially erupted wisdom tooth exposure
  • Cancer screenings
  • Canker sore removal
  • Teeth whitening
  • Nerve regeneration
  • Benign tumor removal
  • Hypersensitivity correction

What are the benefits and advantages of laser dentistry?

Laser dentistry is more precise and with none of the pain of traditional procedures. There is often no drill and no anesthesia. The use of lasers eliminates need for an incision or stitches, which results in less bleeding or swelling after a procedure. Laser procedures take less time to perform and the healing time afterwards is significantly shorter. Your chance of infection is much lower with the use of lasers because they sterilize as they work, without using bleach and other chemicals. Lasers can provide an earlier detection of cavities and can create a stronger bond between your tooth and a filling than traditional methods. Overall, lasers can offer you maximum safety and comfort during your dental procedures.

Dr. Olsen and his team at Red Cliffs Dental in St. George, are well trained in laser dentistry. If you want to learn more about the services they can provide, click here or call (435) 414-8452 for a consultation appointment.


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