Dr. Scott W. Petersen, DMD, MP, SMP

Our Blog

An ongoing series of informational entries on dentistry.

Embrace Your Braces

Originally Published on May 13, 2015 by admin

Some don’t like orthodontia. It is expensive, looks strange, and can be uncomfortable at times. However, if your orthodontist recommends braces for your teeth, you should listen. There are several benefits from having orthodontia; here are the reasons you should embrace braces.

Straight Teeth and Bite

A misaligned jaw, crooked teeth, teeth spaced too far apart, or crowded teeth are all reasons for getting orthodontia. Fixing these problems is good for your health and gives you a beautiful smile.

Dental Health

When braces fix an uneven bite, they also prevent a lot of future dental problems. These can include tooth decay, jaw problems, tooth wear, gum disease, tooth loss, and affected speech/chewing.

Time Length

Most braces only need to stay on your teeth for one to three years (with the use of a retainer afterwards). In the grand scheme of things, this isn’t a long time, and the result is a beautiful smile for life.

Comfort and Look

Some people may shudder at the idea of filling their mouth with metal, but orthodontia has advanced over the years and is more comfortable than ever. Additionally, there are different types of braces that can be used depending on your bite alignment, including lingual braces (which are put on the back of the teeth) and invisible aligners.

Are Cavities the Second-Most Common Health Disorder in the U.S.?

Originally Published on February 2, 2015 by admin
According to the National Institutes of Health, cavities are the second-most common health disorder in the United States, after the common cold. Indeed, cavities are a common problem worldwide. As long as a person is old enough to have teeth, cavities can occur, regardless of age.

What Is a Cavity?

A cavity is a permanently damaged area on the surface of your tooth that is decayed. And because an untreated cavity can continue to develop, it can altogether destroy your tooth. Cavities occur more often in the molars (back teeth), because bacteria easily collect in their ridges. Molars are also more difficult for the average tooth-brusher and flosser to clean sufficiently.

How Do Cavities Develop?

Plaque is a very sticky film of bacteria that is always developing on your teeth. And when you eat sugary food or drinks, there are bacteria in plaque that produce acids which attack and destroy your tooth enamel, the hard outer layer that protects your teeth.

Tooth decay refers to this destructive process on your tooth enamel. And because plaque is so sticky, it prolongs the exposure of these acids to your teeth. Cavities begin to form as enamel is broken down over time.

How Do I Know if I Have a Cavity?

Unfortunately, when a cavity is in its early stages, you probably won’t have any symptoms at all. More often than not, a person has no idea a cavity is forming. That’s why regular dental checkups and cleanings are so important: Dentists and hygienists are cavity investigators who can detect problems early!

As the area of decay gets larger, cavities make themselves known through some unpleasant symptoms, such as toothaches; tooth sensitivity; brown, black or white staining of the teeth; and pain when biting down or eating / drinking something sweet, hot or cold.

How Are Cavities Treated?

When your dentist finds a cavity on your X-rays or during your exam, the next step is to stop the process of decay. Cavities are typically treated with fillings, crowns and root canals.

Fillings. Your dentist removes the decayed portions of the tooth with a drill and then fills the resultant hole with silver alloy, gold, porcelain or composite resin.

Crowns. A crown (sometimes called a “cap”) is used if the decayed area is expansive enough to weaken the tooth. Large fillings are not as strong and are likely to break, so crowns are fitted over the remaining portion of the tooth. Crowns can be made of gold, porcelain or porcelain that’s attached to metal.

Root Canals. If the decay is significant enough that the nerve in the tooth dies, then the dead nerve and the pulp (blood vessel tissue) are taken out. After the decay and the center of the tooth are removed, the roots are filled with a sealing material and a crown is usually necessary.

You Don’t Need Firsthand Experience

There is good news about cavities: You don’t need to have firsthand experience with them. If you attend your regular dental checkups and cleanings, brush twice a day, floss once a day, and eat a well-balanced diet, then your chances of experiencing a cavity are greatly diminished. If you have questions or concerns about cavities, feel free to call our office.

Velscope Oral Cancer Screening System

Posted September 26, 2016.
As stated from the Oral Cancer Foundation, “Close to 43,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year. It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 43,250 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades. (The survival number at 5 years from diagnosis was for many decades about 50%, so 57% is an improvement over the last ten years. However this is due to the increase of HPV16 caused cancers which are more vulnerable to existing treatment modalities, conferring a significant survival advantage. So a change in the etiology, not improved early discovery or treatments; which are relatively unchanged from a decade ago, are not the sole cause for improvement.) The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely such as cervical cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, laryngeal cancer, cancer of the testes, and endocrine system cancers such as thyroid, or skin cancer (malignant melanoma). If you expand the definition of oral and oropharyngeal cancers to include cancer of the larynx, the numbers of diagnosed cases grow to approximately 54,000 individuals, and 13,500 deaths per year in the U.S. alone. Worldwide the problem is much greater, with over 450,000 new cases being found each year.

Historically the death rate associated with this cancer is particularly high not because it is hard to discover or diagnose, but due to the cancer being routinely discovered late in its development.”

VELscope provides the most powerful technology available for assisting in the discovery of oral mucosal abnormalities. When used as an adjunctive aid in combination with traditional oral cancer examination procedures, VELscope facilitates the early discovery and visualization of mucosal abnormalities, including oral cancer. In one or two minutes, with no rinses or stains required, a VELscope system examination, which utilizes a safe blue light, helps healthcare professionals assess their patients’ overall oral health.

Detecting oral abnormalities early leads to more treatment options, potentially less invasive or radical treatments and better patient outcomes.

We offer a lifetime of Oral Cancer screenings for only a low/one time fee of $35.00. Call us today to schedule an appointment that could save your life.

Six Month Smiles

Originally Published on August 23, 2012 by admin
As we strive to stay abreast the latest technology and research in dentistry, we are excited to announce a revolutionary new way to straighten your teeth with the Six Month Smiles system. Conventional orthodontics involves the use of metal brackets and can take up to two years or longer to complete treatment. Six Month Smiles uses clear brackets and a tooth colored wire that quickly and comfortably straightens your teeth in just six months. Dr. Scott Petersen has been extensively trained in this system and is now treating patients.

Six Month Smiles utilizes clear brackets which allows the light to shine through and makes them virtually invisible. Six Month Smiles braces are also more comfortable as compared to traditional braces due to the light forces placed on the teeth. Also, by using the clear brackets and tooth colored wire, we can align teeth much more predictably than plastic clear aligners that are often seen in advertisements. The other main advantage of the Six Month Smiles system is the price. Six Month Smiles clear braces are much more affordable than conventional braces.

Six Month Smiles is a great addition to the other state of the art dental technologies offered by Dr. Scott Petersen. We strive to offer the best and most comfortable and comprehensive treatments available in the Dental Field. Call us to schedule an appointment with Dr. Petersen for a FREE consultation to see how Six Month Smiles can help you achieve the smile you’ve always wanted. Just think, by the time your next dental appointment rolls around, you could have straight teeth.

For more information on Six Month Smiles, visit

Dental X-Rays and Their Effect On Our Health

Published on April 20, 2012 by admin

Recently, the media has given a lot of attention to a study from Yale linking dental x-rays to brain tumors. Studies such as these tend to resurface every few years, and each time the science behind the study is found to be flawed. The full journal article of the study can be found at the following web address

To put it in lay man’s terms, patients with brain tumors were asked if they had dental x-rays during different stages of their lives. Based upon these surveys, the authors of the article conclude there is a link between exposure to some dental X-rays in the past and Meningioma. Based upon this methodology, I could ask the same questions regarding eating tomatoes and come up with the same conclusion, that tomatoes cause brain tumors.

Surveys are a very weak method of science because they are often inaccurate. Even the study’s authors point out the association between dental x-rays and brain tumors is softened by the fact that most of the exposure to x-rays in the study took place in the 1960s – when doses were much, much higher than they are today. They also point out that we are relying upon patients recalling what happened more than 40 years earlier.

This is, however, a good opportunity to have a discussion regarding dental x-rays and what they mean to our health. Using REM (Roentgen Emission Man) – the traditional units to measure the amount of radiation to which we are exposed – the amount of radiation you receive from background cosmic radiation is about 350 millirem, whereas the amount you receive from a single dental x-ray is less than 3 millirem (the same as a cross country plane flight). This isn’t very much. By comparison, a mammogram provides about 500 millirem per breast, the same amount of radiation you receive from an x-ray of the lumbar spine. This still isn’t very much, thus mammograms are ordered regularly for patients.

All of us at Fillmore Family Dental have the highest concern for your overall health. We will not put your health at risk. Dental X-Rays are a vital tool in diagnosing dental disease. Without x-rays, we cannot properly perform the task in which you trust us, to care for your oral health. Doing dentistry without x-rays is like driving a car on a very dark night with no headlights. It can be done, but we wouldn’t recommend it. Our digital X-Ray units emit the lowest possible radiation. We will always be committed to staying up-to-date on the best treatments for our patients and staying current on the medical literature to better serve our patients.

The following is an article released by the ADA (American Dental Association) regarding this topic.

ADA releases statement on dental X-rays study

By Jean Williams, ADA News staff

A study published online April 10 associating dental radiographs with brain tumors has stirred media attention and questions from experts on the study’s methodology.

The study published in Cancer, an American Cancer Society peer-reviewed journal, found that people with meningiomas (typically, benign brain tumors) are more likely to report that they’ve had certain dental X-ray examinations in their lifetimes.

In a press statement following publication of the study online by Cancer, the ADA referred to their recommendations for prescribing radiographs, which help dentists determine how to keep radiation exposure as low as reasonably achievable.

“The ADA has reviewed the study and notes that the results rely on the individuals’ memories of having dental X-rays taken years earlier,” says the April 10 statement. “Studies have shown that the ability to recall information is often imperfect. Therefore, the results of studies that use this design can be unreliable because they are affected by what scientists call ‘recall bias.’ ”

The ADA released its statement in tandem with the lifting of the press embargo on the study. U.S. News and World Report and MSNBC interviewed Dr. Matthew Messina, a practicing dentist in Ohio and ADA media spokesperson. Several other media outlets cited the ADA’s recommendations on dental X-rays.

In “Dental X-Rays and Risk of Meningioma,” the authors, led by researcher and neurosurgeon Elizabeth B. Claus, M.D., of Yale University School of Medicine and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, conclude that “exposure to some dental X-rays performed in the past, when radiation exposure was greater than in the current era, appears to be associated with an increased risk of intracranial meningioma.”

Using anecdotal evidence, the population-based, case-control study compared dental and therapeutic radiation histories in 1,433 patients who had intracranial meningiomas diagnosed between ages 20 and 79 with a control group of 1,350 patients. Data collection involved interviews and questionnaires and relied on the patients’ recall of details related to dental care received over their lifetimes. According to the study report, “Participants were asked to report the number of times they had received bitewing, full-mouth, or panoramic films” during four stages in life: before age 10, between ages 10 and 19, between ages 20 and 49 and up to age 50.

Dr. Alan G. Lurie, a radiation biologist and head of radiology at the University of Connecticut School of Dental Medicine, has many concerns about the study’s design and outcomes. “I think it’s a very flawed study,” said Dr. Lurie, who is also president of the American Academy of Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology.

He characterized at least one outcome of the study—reflected in a table that related meningioma risk to types of dental X-ray examination—as “biologically impossible.”

Said Dr. Lurie, “They have a table, Table 2, in which they ask the question, `Ever had a bitewing,’ and the odds ratio risk from a bitewing ranges from 1.2 to 2.0, depending on the age group. Then they asked ‘Ever had full mouth’ series, and the odds ratio risk from a full mouth series ranged from 1.0 to 1.2.

“That’s biologically not possible because the full mouth series has two to four bitewings plus another 10 to 16 periapicals. A full mouth series, just to round things off, is 20 intraoral X-rays of which two to four are bitewings. They are showing that one bitewing has 50 to 100 percent greater risk than a full mouth series that has multiple bitewings plus a bunch of other films. That’s biologically not possible.”

Explaining this gross internal discrepancy is difficult, as the epidemiologic and statistical methods are widely accepted, Dr. Lurie said. He attributes the perceived discrepancy in the data to possible recall bias in the patients involved in the study.

“Epidemiologists are very aware of this bias,” Dr. Lurie said. “What happens is you’re asking people to remember what kind of dental X-rays they had 10, 20, 30 or 40 years ago. It’s anecdotal, and the argument is that it’s just as anecdotal for the group without meningiomas as it is for the group with meningiomas. That is not necessarily true.”

Individuals who had meningiomas and had surgery for them in this study population may be more likely to remember having had X-rays than individuals who did not have meningiomas, Dr. Lurie said.

Dr. Lurie emphasized that his comments on the dental X-rays study are his own. “They’re not necessarily the views of the Academy,” he said, noting that the AAOMR was preparing an official response to be released this week.

A broad range of local, national and international media reported news of the dental X-rays study, including ABC World News with Diane Sawyer, CBS This Morning, Good Morning America, USA Today, The Sun (United Kingdom), The Daily Mail (United Kingdom) and others.

An Affordable Smile Make-Over

Posted September 26, 2016.

Snap-On Smile is a patented, easy and painless way to obtain a beautiful smile. It was invented by a dentist who realized that not everyone can afford thousands of dollars to get a Hollywood smile make-over. After years of extensive research and development, your dentist can now provide you with a Snap-On Smile that is thin and strong with the look of natural teeth. You can eat and drink with your Snap-On Smile. It’s easy to care for and can be a temporary or permanent cosmetic solution. It’s available for upper and lower teeth.

Snap-On Smile’s unique, proprietary formula of hi-tech dental resin makes it very thin yet extremely strong. It fits right over your own teeth to give you a beautiful, natural looking smile—even if you have stains, chips, gaps or missing teeth.

And for many people, Snap-On Smile can be life changing. It gives back the confidence to smile. Thousands of people worldwide have already experienced the unique benefits of Snap-On Smile.

Snap-On Smile is for just about everyone!

Snap-On Smile is an affordable and life-changing solution for people of all ages. Getting a Snap-On Smile simply requires two, short, painless visits with no drilling, no shots and no change in tooth structure.

It is an excellent choice for:

Gaps, crooked, stained or missing teeth

Those who are not candidates for bridges or implants

Anyone who would like a Hollywood smile without the expense and discomfort of complex and invasive dental procedures

Anyone who has an old-fashioned removable partial denture and wants a beautiful, more comfortable alternative

Because our office is a premier Lumineers and Snap-On Smile provider, we currently receive discounts on the lab costs which we are passing on to you, our patients! Please check out our “Web Special” section for a discount on this amazing product. Hurry, because this offer will not last long!

Also, check out our “Gallery” section to view how smiles have been transformed by this amazing product.

Visit for more information.

Tooth Whitening/Bleaching

Posted September 26, 2016.

The easiest way to enhance your smile is through a process called tooth whitening or tooth bleaching. As a person ages, the adult teeth often become darker due to changes in the mineral structure. Teeth can also become stained by bacterial pigments, foodstuffs and tobacco. Certain antibiotic medications, like tetracycline, can also cause teeth stains or a reduction in the brilliance of the enamel.

Hydrogen Peroxide or Carbamide Peroxide gels are used to lighten the shade of the tooth. The peroxide penetrates the enamel and oxidizes the stain deposits and tooth structure. It is possible to lighten your teeth anywhere from 6 to 12 shades!

The effects of bleaching can last for several months, but may vary depending on the lifestyle of the patient. Factors that decrease whitening include smoking and the ingestion of dark colored liquids like coffee, tea and red wine.

There are many methods to bleach your teeth. The three most common and effective are:

In office treatments: A stronger bleach gel is applied and monitored by the dentist. Barriers are placed to protect the gums and sometimes a light is used to activate the bleaching process. This is great if you want quick results.

Custom Trays: Plastic trays are fabricated to fit custom to your teeth. The bleach gel is placed inside the trays and they are worn 5-10 minutes a day for two weeks.

White Strips: Prefilled plastic strips are placed on your teeth and are worn for 30 minutes a day for up to two weeks.

Q: Will bleaching damage my teeth?

A: No. In fact, many of the new bleaching gels have components that actually strengthen teeth.

Q: Can I bleach my teeth by rinsing with hydrogen peroxide or Clorox?

A: No. Bleaching only occurs by the consistent contact of the bleach gel with the tooth that allows the solution to penetrate effectively. Rinsing with peroxide or bleach will only damage the soft tissues in your mouth. These rinses cause more problems than they solve.

Q: Will bleaching cause sensitivity?

A: Usually not. The new gels have a desensitizing agent incorporated in them.

Q: What is the best method of bleaching?

A: Depends. Each method will get you to the same end point. It depends on how quickly and comfortably you want to get there. In office bleaching is one appointment. Custom trays are more comfortable and give more predictable results than white strips. Also, the trays last indefinitely, and gel refill packs can be purchased which saves money over time.

Q: Can everyone bleach?

A: No. If cavities are present on the teeth, then bleaching will only make them worse. Also, due to the structural makeup of some teeth, some people may not achieve the results they want. However, this only makes up a small percentage of people. It is always best to consult with a Dentist before proceeding with any bleaching procedure.

Please check out the “web specials” section of our website to see our current promotions for tooth whitening and see how you can have a brighter, whiter Christmas season!

Opalescence Trèswhite Supreme is a simple, fast, and great-tasting way to start whitening or brighten between in-office treatments.


Opalescence Trèswhite Supreme features innovative, preloaded whitening trays that fit comfortably over your teeth. The trays are discrete and disposable, making it easy to whiten on the go. An affordable option, with a wear-time of just 30-60 minutes once a day, Opalescence Trèswhite Supreme is easy to adapt to your budget and lifestyle.


Opalescence Treswhite Supreme contains 10% hydrogen peroxide and is stronger than supermarket teeth whiteners. Because of its prescription-strength formula, Opalescence Treswhite Supreme offers noticeable results in about a week.

Great Tasting

Opalescence Treswhite Supreme is available in mint, melon, and peach flavors, making it effective and enjoyable to wear. It contains potassium nitrate and fluoride, which help to improve oral health by strengthening enamel, decreasing sensitivity, and offering increased cavity prevention.

Better Easter Treats for Oral Health

Originally Published on April 25, 2014 by admin
Easter is the second largest candy buying holiday in America, after Halloween. Between coloring eggs, egg hunting, and Easter bunny meet-and-greets, children often gorge themselves on candy from their Easter baskets. While we don’t think any child should be deprived of any great Easter tradition, we do want to make you aware of healthier options to put in those baskets!

Rather than gooey jelly beans that can stick to the teeth and cause decay, try sugar-free lollipops or hard candies instead. Rather than milk chocolate treats that contain high amounts of sugar and can cause cavities, opt for a dark chocolate treat high in antioxidants.

And even if you do allow your kids a few sticky jelly beans (we know, things happen), simply remember to have your little bunnies brush and floss as soon as possible after the indulgence to ensure good oral health!

How to Go the Extra Mile for Your Chompers

Posted November 17, 2016.

As we enjoy the holiday season, it’s important that we take good care of our smiles. If we don’t, there is a good chance our teeth and gums could be attacked and damaged. So, make sure to go the extra mile for your smile this year. In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing your smile once a day, and visiting your dentist, Dr. Scott Petersen, every six months, our dental team encourages you to do the following things:

-Brush up at the office: If you want to keep a top-notch smile at work, then we recommend brushing your teeth after you’ve eaten lunch. However, if you ate or drank something acidic, make sure to wait 30 minutes before brushing. As you brush, use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brushing will help you keep your smile clean and will also help you avoid having embarrassing “food-stuck-in-your-smile” moments.

-Wear a mouthguard: Participating in high-contact sports and activities can be extremely dangerous for your smile, so it’s best to wear a mouthguard while you are active. Wearing a mouthguard will help you prevent tooth injuries, including chipped, fractured, and knocked-out teeth. You can find a mouthguard at any sporting goods store or your dentist’s office.

-Use a tongue scraper: If you want a completely clean smile and fresh breath, you can use a tongue scraper. Using a tongue scraper will help you wash away the bacteria on your tongue and will also freshen your breath. All you need to do is place the tip of the scraper on the back of the tongue and gently bring it forward, removing the bacteria, film, and particles that reside on the surface.

-Rinse your mouth: After brushing and flossing at night, try rinsing your mouth with mouthwash. Rinsing will help you finish the smile-cleaning job, freshen your breath, and strengthen your tooth enamel. As you rinse, it’s best to rinse with antibacterial or fluoride mouthwash.

Doing these things will help you have an even healthier smile, especially during the holidays. If you would like to learn more about smile care and oral hygiene in Fillmore, Utah, please remember that you can always call Fillmore Family Dental at 435-743-6521 at your earliest convenience. We are more than happy to help you, and we look forward to hearing from you!

The Facts of Pregnancy and Your Teeth

Posted November 17, 2016.
The human body changes when a woman is pregnant. Pregnant women need to take care of their bodies to make sure their baby is healthy. However, many pregnant women forget about the importance of protecting their oral health. In reality, if pregnant women don’t care for their teeth well, they could experience a number of potentially serious issues.

First, if you’re pregnant, you could find yourself at an increased risk for gum disease. You see, while you’re pregnant, you’ll produce more estrogen and progesterone than normal. Sadly, these hormones can actually make your body react more aggressively to the plaque that’s in your mouth–which can lead to inflammation and gum disease. To make matters worse, if you have these issues, you may be more likely to give birth prematurely.

If you are pregnant, you may have to deal with morning sickness. Unfortunately, morning sickness can actually leave your teeth more vulnerable to enamel erosion and cavities because of increased acidity in the mouth. A natural reaction to vomiting may be brushing your teeth right away. But please refrain from doing so. You see, acid will soften your enamel and if you brush it right away, you could actually do more damage to your enamel. We recommend waiting about 30 minutes before brushing. You may also want to consider swishing your mouth with water to reduce the acidity.

You should, of course, remember to brush and floss daily. Eating a healthy diet can also help you keep your mouth healthy. We also recommend scheduling an appointment with our dentist, Dr. Scott Petersen, at the beginning of your pregnancy. If you’re interested in learning more, please don’t hesitate to contact Fillmore Family Dental at 435-743-6521. We’re eager to hear from you.