Our Blog

Telltale Signs that Your Tooth has a Cavity

July 16th, 2019

Dr. Marshall Clayton and our team at Pinnacle Peak Dentistry frequently get questions about cavity causes and prevention. You brush twice a day and floss regularly. You rinse with mouthwash, just like the dentist recommended. In fact, you can’t remember the last time you had a cavity, but you think it was when you were a little kid. In all seriousness, you thought only kids got cavities.

The Signs and Symptoms of a Cavity

It’s believed that roughly 90% of North Americans will get at least one cavity in their lifetime. Those other ten percent, it seems, can eat as much pie, cake, and sugary cereals and sweets as they want. That’s not really true; just a stab at dental humor, and it was as bad as the pain your cavity is probably giving you.

When a cavity is in its initial stages, you will often be symptom-free and experience no discomfort at all. It’s not until the tooth decay has reached a certain level that you will begin to notice the signs and symptoms. While a toothache and sensitivity to hot and cold foods and liquids are surefire signs that you have a cavity, there are lesser-known symptoms as well. If you’re experiencing any of these warning signs, you may want to consider making an appointment with our office as soon as possible:

  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • When you bite down, there is a sticky, tarry feeling
  • Puss or discharge around a tooth
  • A visible discoloring, usually black or brown
  • Small pits or holes in the tooth

Routine dental care is important. While good oral hygiene, a healthy diet, and regular cleanings will deter the formation of cavities, they do not constitute a foolproof practice. A cavity can occur at any time, no matter what your age. Bacteria causes tooth decay, and no amount of brushing, flossing, and rinsing will eradicate all the bacteria from your mouth. If you think you may have a cavity, please contact our office immediately.

Patient Reviews

July 12th, 2019

We're excited to share more patient reviews we've received! Our patients are so important to us, and it's amazing that they feel the same way. Check out some of their comments below!


"EXCELLENT, AS ALWAYS!!!! :)" - Jordan F.

"I just think every one in your office is great. I have had years of dental work and this is the first time I can say that I enjoy seeing every one. Keep up the good work." - Carol R.

"Dr. Clayton & his staff make coming to the dentist a fun experience! Surperb quality of care for my family!" - Melissa M.

"We have been going to this dentist for the past 21 years and are very satisfied with the entire staff. Dr Clayton is the best." - Ronald M.

"Best dentist ever. Been seeing Dr Clayton now for 23 years!!!!!!!!!" - Paula S.

"Dr. Clayton is the best, and Cara is a wonderful dental hygienist!" - David S.

"I always feel comfortable coming to Dr. Clayton's office, despite bad experiences at other offices in the past. The staff is very friendly. I trust his decisions. He is very thoughtful to call and check on his patients personally, it is so appreciated." - Kathryn C.

"Extremely happy with my visit yesterday!" - Karen H.

"Great experience as usual. You guys rock! Keep up the great work!" - Timothy K.

"Very happy with my experience and professionalism of staff and Dr Clayton" - Lynda C.

"Hey All...My 5 stars are why I come here!" - Charles S.

"Always a great experience! Have recommended to new residents and winter visitors often!" - Debbi B.

"Visit is non-stressful which is a compliment!" - Pat J.

"Kit is great!" - Stuart G.

"Love your office 100% professional all the time reminds me of my old office! Trust, 100% of time and I am treated as a patient not a dollar $$$ sign that getting hard to find these days! Moral with integrity with compassion and empathy that's your office" - Frank F.

"Great experience for our first appointment - really appreciated Jan's help in getting our records transferred from our previous dentist and working to get us scheduled around our travel plans. Thank you!" - Judy V.

"After 20 plus years with Dr. Clayton, I can say we have been very satisfied with his expertise, skill and advice. His assistants and the front desk staff are welcoming and well informed. It's also a friendly relaxed experience, and that's a real plus!" - Maureen L.

"Dr Clayton is an exceptional dentist. He has been my dentist for almost 20 years. I have recommended him many times and everyone who has become a patient has thanked me over and over. His staff is amazing -- very professional, friendly, accommodating." - Lynn S.

"Always a wonderful experience. Thank you to all of you.." - Dale B.

Don’t procrastinate about dental work!

July 9th, 2019

When you have dental issues or just need routine care, you may try to put off making an appointment at Pinnacle Peak Dentistry. Common reasons for procrastination are not having the time or fear of pain. Avoiding Dr. Marshall Clayton is not a good idea, though. Putting off dental care can turn small problems into large ones. Short appointments turn into long ones with significantly more work and expense.

What happens when you wait?

The small cavity that could have been filled easily has turned into a large cavity. The larger the cavity, the more work required to fill it. However, this is only a minor problem compared to more advanced issues. The minor toothache you are trying to ignore could be a small fracture or an abscess. Small fractures can sometimes be repaired, but if you wait and the fracture increases, you may need to get a crown.

An abscess can be treated in the early stages. Ignoring an abscessed tooth may lead to root damage and the need for a root canal. Infection can spread to other teeth, which multiplies the damage. These treatments will require more of your time than you would have spent taking care of the problem early.

Perhaps you are just putting off a routine cleaning. Even if you brush, rinse, and floss the way you are supposed to, you need a professional cleaning at Pinnacle Peak Dentistry. Plaque that is left behind hardens into calculus or tartar that you cannot remove by yourself. A build-up of calculus can also lead to gum disease.

Unfortunately, avoiding appointments due to a lack of time may mean that you have to give up substantially more time later on. You also can experience needless pain from tooth problems. It’s always best to visit Dr. Marshall Clayton for regularly scheduled cleanings and exams to ensure your smile stays healthy and beautiful.

How do I know if I’m at risk for oral cancer?

July 2nd, 2019

Every year, over 50,000 North Americans are diagnosed with oral or throat cancer, which has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body, most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.

Because oral cancer is typically painless in its early stages and often goes undetected until it spreads, many patients aren’t diagnosed until they are already suffering from chronic pain or loss of function. However, if detected early, Dr. Marshall Clayton and our team at Pinnacle Peak Dentistry want you to know that early detection of oral cancer improves the survival rate to 80 percent or more.

If you visit our Scottsdale, AZ office regularly, you have probably received an oral cancer screening and didn’t even realize it. That’s because the exam is quick and painless; Dr. Marshall Clayton and our team check your neck and mouth for signs of oral cancer such as discolorations, lumps, or any changes to your tissue. Oral cancer is typically found on the tongue, lips, gums, the floor of the mouth, or tissues in back of the tongue.

Factors that may influence your risk for developing oral cancer include:

  • Use of tobacco products. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, a pipe, or chewing tobacco all elevate risk for developing oral cancer. Tobacco use especially is a serious risk factor because it contains substances called carcinogens, which are harmful to cells in your mouth.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Those who drink alcohol regularly have an elevated risk of getting oral cancer. Alcohol abuse (more than 21 drinks in one week) is the second largest risk factor for the development of oral cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
  • Excessive sun exposure. Those who spend lots of time outdoors and do not use proper amounts of sunscreen or lip balm have a greater risk for developing lip cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight may also cause melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
  • Your age. Oral cancer is typically a disease that affects older people, usually because of their longer exposure to other risk factors. Most patients diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40.
  • Your gender. Oral cancer strikes men twice as often as it does women.
  • A history with viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables.

In between your visits to our office, it is critical for you to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and give us a call if these symptoms don’t go away after two weeks.

  • A sore or irritation that doesn’t disappear
  • Red or white patches
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness in mouth or lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

During your next visit, Dr. Marshall Clayton will examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. If you have been putting off a visit to our Scottsdale, AZ office for your regular checkup, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits can be the first line of defense against oral cancer because we can identify early warning signs of the disease. Give us a call today!

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