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1)  Flossing is good for your health and the health of your teeth.

2)  If your tooth needs a root canal, getting the treatment done would generally be better than pulling your tooth.

3)  When filling a space from a single missing tooth, and implant/crown most likely will be a better option than a 3 unit bridge.

4)  Most people do not have room in their mouth for wisdom teeth to erupt and be functional.

5)  Cosmetic dentistry can be done to improve your smile.

6)  Having your child wear a mouth guard when playing sports will decrease the chance of dental injuries.

7)  Decreasing your exposure to acids from carbonated sodas, sports drinks and medical conditions such as acid reflux will reduce acid erosion on your teeth.  Acid breaks down enamel.

8)  Dentures are more stable when implants are used underneath, especially on the lower arch.

9)  Bad breath can be caused from bacteria in your mouth breaking down food particles between your teeth.  Flossing can help to remove the bacteria that was not reached by your toothbrush, decreasing your bad breath.

10)  Dental “insurance” is not like medical insurance, and is not real beneficial beyond maintenance procedures.

If you have any comments, questions or opinions on these quick dental tips, please post them below!

By Dr. Elizabeth Fleming
January 23, 2014
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Actual Patient Before Actual Patient After
Entire Mouth Restorative Before

What is it about your teeth, that you would like to change?

  • Color
  • Crowding
  • Length of front teeth due to wear
  • All of the above

If the color of your teeth is your chief concern, then all you may need to do is to have bleaching done.  Approximate time for treatment: 2 weeks.

Crowding can be helped with braces: 2 years; or 6 month smiles: (cosmetic fix only) 6-9 months.

But if your answer is “All of the Above”, you may be a candidate for cosmetic dentistry such as veneers or crowns to get the smile you’ve always wanted.

In our office, cosmetic dentistry requires planning to come up with specific treatment that addresses your desires, and assures an optimal outcome.  We plan the case in wax first, then modify the wax until it meets your expectations.  We may need to have a specialist perform root canal work or gum surgery, prior to doing the restorative work. We can modify the color of the crowns or veneers to achieve a lighter shade than what we could achieve by bleaching the natural teeth alone.  Time commitment for a restorative case: 3-6 months.

Watch this video of an actual patient that had cosmetic dentistry done in our office:

The Staff at Desert Ridge Smiles  20950 N Tatum Blvd Ste 280  Phx, AZ  85050 480-860-4300

By Dr. Elizabeth Fleming
January 20, 2014
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Have you ever wanted to do something that would stretch your capabilities, but would empower you once completed?  I did just that when I was able to hike the Grand Canyon, with some experienced hiker friends of mine!

Now I have done day hikes around Arizona my whole life, but the last time I camped was probably in Girl Scouts, many, many years ago. This hike would involve backpacking, hiking and camping in a tent for 3 nights in the bottom of the Canyon. There would be no showers or makeup.  Could I do it?

The plans for the trip began over a year ago.  We were given a list of needed items, and I slowly acquired the items on the list.  REI became my go-to location for my hiking needs.  My husband became my hiking buddy for the many training hikes before the BIG hike, though he was not going with me on the Grand Canyon hike.  There were 6 of us going:  2 experienced GC hikers and 4 of us newbie GC hikers.  I knew a few of this group vaguely from dental seminars, but felt slightly out of my comfort zone, having no close friends hiking with me.  But I had always wanted to hike the Grand Canyon and figured this was as good a time as any to go!  What an opportunity to experience this hike with people who had done it many times before and were willing to put up with beginners!

The government shutdown almost derailed our plans when they closed the National Parks, but the Grand Canyon was reopened in time for our late October hike, thank goodness!  David and Yoko Madow were super organized in their planning of this trip.  Not only was I physically prepared, but I also felt mentally prepared and totally confident due to their comprehensive organization and planning.

On the first day, we hiked down the South Kaibab trail 7 hours to get to Bright Angel Campground, near Phantom Ranch. Hiking 5000 feet down, carrying a 35 pound backpack was hard on my feet.  My hiking boots that had been great on flat desert terrain at home, were not so comfortable for the long downhill stretches in the canyon.  I couldn’t wait to get my boots off that first day!  And I had no problem sleeping in my cozy 2 person tent with Barb!  When the sun goes down in the canyon, it gets really dark!  I think we went to sleep by 8 pm, worn out from the hiking.

The next day we hiked 13 miles to Ribbon Falls and back.  I love taking landscape photographs, my favorites being sunsets and waterfalls.  The Grand Canyon did not disappoint!  At Ribbon Falls, you are able to hike up behind the waterfalls.  It is a special place.


Behind the waterfall

To hike out from Bright Angel Campground, we went on Bright Angel Trail through Indian Gardens to the South Rim.  This segment took us 9 hours. There were a lot of switchbacks on this trail, but it was manageable with taking breaks as often as needed.  My biggest injury was to my feet…blisters and bruised toe-nails.  Our Grand Canyon hiking team all made it down and back out, thanks to great planning by the Madows and careful coaching along the way.  When we were close to the Bright Angel Trailhead at the top of the South Rim, I felt emotional.  Any doubts about my ability to make it had been erased.  The beauty of the canyon was captured in my photos.  I came, I saw, I conquered… and I emerged a better person because of it!


Yoko and David Madow, Lee Buzard, Barbara Vugteveen, Elizabeth Fleming and Glenn Ulick: The fabulous CG Hiking Team!

The icing on the cake was when the National Geographic Grand Canyon Visitor’s Center posted one of my pictures as their photo of the week, and asked me to share my experience on their website!  Talk about being on cloud 9!!!

Have you ever had an experience like this?  Share it with us!

Elizabeth J Fleming, DDS and the staff at Desert Ridge Smiles

Now that the summer is almost over, it is time to get your kids into the dentist before school starts back up! In the meantime, here is a review of things to do for your children.

Babies should not be sent to bed with a bottle. If they need a bottle, use water instead of milk or a sugary drink. Make sure your baby gets some fluoride from their water. If they use a pacifier, discontinue it after age 2, as it can cause developmental problems with their jaws or teeth. Rub gums and teeth with a wet wash cloth to clean baby’s teeth. (No need to use toothpaste at this age.)

As children get older, you may assist in the brushing and flossing of their teeth. Use a small pea sized amount of toothpaste on a child sized toothbrush. Brush for 2 minutes, 2 times per day. It is best after breakfast and at bedtime. You can play their favorite song and have them brush for the entire song, which may be about two minutes long. Brushing reduces the growth of plaque which is the sticky film of bacteria which can cause cavities and gum disease. You may also help with flossing. We recommend flossing once/day.

Bring kids in to see the dentist at a young age to start them on a good path for oral health. We typically see kids around age 2 or 3 for their first dental visit.

When planning meals and lunches for the kids, there are foods that are good for oral health. Those that contain calcium such as milk, yogurt, cheese, greens such as spinach and kale, and beans are helpful to teeth and jaws, which are primarily made of calcium. Iron helps with brain development and fights against anemia. Iron is in red meat, beans and iron fortified low sugar cereals. Vitamin C helps to keep gums healthy, and is in oranges, red peppers, strawberries and broccoli.

Things you may want to avoid would include too many sugary snacks, like cookies, candy, sports drinks and fruit juices. Moderation is the key for carbohydrates such as chips, bread, pasta, cracker and pretzels, since their breakdown releases acid on teeth which may lead to decay. Another acid exposure may come from carbonated drinks such as sodas. Sodas can lead to loss of enamel, decay and sensitive teeth for those who drink a lot of them.

So before your kids are back in school, review their oral health, get them in to see their dentist, and plan for healthy lunches and snacks to give them the best dental health possible!

Elizabeth Fleming, DDS and the staff at Desert Ridge Smiles

By Dr. Elizabeth Fleming
January 20, 2014
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Tongue tied dental patient before Frenectomy

Tongue Tied 1 week post op

Tongue Tied Dental Patient
Before Frenectomy


Tongue Tied Dental Patient
1 week After Frenectomy

Ankyloglossia or Tongue-Tied is a condition that is present in some newborns, where the frenum, a thickened band of tissue under the tongue, is shortened and attached to the end of the tongue.  This can cause decreased mobility in the tongue, and can affect feeding, speech and oral hygiene.

The sounds that are most commonly affected due to ankyloglossia are “D”, “L”, “R”, “S”, “T”, “Th”, and “Z”.  Most often, these children see a speech pathologist when they are tongue-tied, to help them learn to enunciate these sounds better.

A frenectomy can be performed very easily with the use of topical anesthesia and a soft tissue laser, which frees up the tongue and allows for better movement.  These photos were from a 12 year old boy who had the procedure done in our office.  Followup picture was one week after surgery was done.  When asked if the surgery was worth it, the young patient said, “Absolutely!”.  He had been seeing a speech therapist his whole life, prior to the frenectomy.

To see if this procedure is right for you or your kids, contact your dentist for an oral examination.

We welcome your comments and suggestions!

Dr. Elizabeth J Fleming and the Staff at Desert Ridge Smiles. 

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