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What Causes Early Childhood Cavities and How To Prevent ECC

Monday, August 13th, 2018

What are Early Childhood Caries?

Dental caries, baby bottle tooth decay, or more commonly, dental cavities, is a common infectious disease. Among children, it is the most common infectious disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) defines ECC as “the presence of one or more decayed (non-cavitated or cavitated lesions), missing (due to caries) or filled tooth surfaces in any primary tooth in a preschool-age child between birth and 71 months of age.” The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has reported that early childhood caries (ECC) is five times more likely to be diagnosed than asthma. Early childhood cavities is the result of the interaction of sugar on tooth enamel and bacteria that live in your mouth, mainly Streptococcus mutans. The acid that develops as a result of the interaction breaks down the surface of the tooth and leads to decay. The American Dental Association recognizes that dental caries is a significant public health problem in pre-school age children that requires careful attention.

Detecting ECC

White spots near your child’s gum line may be the first sign of early childhood cavities. If these spots are not treated and continue to decay, they will turn brown and appear as holes in the teeth. If your child is experiencing any pain when eating, you’ll want to have his or her teeth looked at right away, as this may be an indication of ECC. Any change in your child’s teeth should be assessed quickly and taken care of. If your child does, indeed, have decay, the earlier the diagnosis, the better the prognosis.

Preventing ECC

Not allowing your child to sleep with a bottle that contains sweet liquid such as juice or milk is the main way to prevent early childhood caries. Unfortunately, this is the biggest mistake that we see parents make with their child’s teeth. When a child falls asleep with sweet liquid inside of a bottle, that liquid may pool and sit inside the mouth for a long period of time. The longer sugary liquid sits in a child’s mouth, the more likely the child will develop tooth decay. Once decay is present inside a child’s mouth, it will only continue to flourish. If your child needs a bottle while sleeping, be sure that the bottle only contains water. If your child falls asleep with sugar coated on his or her teeth, it becomes the perfect environment for bacteria to grow. Water, on the other hand, washes bacteria away to help avoid decay. Avoiding foods and drinks that contain large amount of sugar is also a good practice in general. We all know that sugar can lead to cavities, but a child’s fragile baby teeth are particularly susceptible.

Parent Education

Be sure that your child visits the dentist for the first time within six months after the first tooth erupts. After teeth have erupted, be sure your child’s teeth are being brushed twice a day. Getting your child into the habit of brushing is essential to overall hygiene health that will extend on throughout a person’s life. Children are usually able to take care of their own teeth once they are able to write their own name. Until then, a parent is responsible for making sure that their child’s teeth are taken care of. Introducing your child to a dental office early on will only make it easier for them (and you) down the line. The more educated a parent is about preventing early childhood caries, the healthier a child’s mouth will be.

Regular Dentist Visits

While early childhood caries can be prevented, if they are not treated, they can lead to much more serious infections that can affect a child’s growth and development. ECC can lead to a loss of primary teeth which can affect that way that secondary, adult teeth, develop. Parents and dentists together are responsible for preventing early childhood cavities and treating them before they become a problem. Taking care of a young child’s teeth can certainly be challenging due to attention span, cooperation, etc, but it will make life much easier in the long run. Be sure to start your child off early with good hygiene habits. Schedule an appointment with Reno Dental Associates to give your child the smile he or she deserves!

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What Causes Bad Breath? Reno Dental Associates Weigh In

Monday, July 16th, 2018

what causes bad breathHalitosis, more commonly known as bad breath, is a condition that over 80 million people suffer from. While it can be very embarrassing, there are several things you can do to combat the condition. Our Reno Dental Associates weigh in on what causes halitosis, and what can be done to prevent it. The Reno dentists encourage sufferers to visit their Reno dental office if the condition persists.

Halitosis: A Problem Centuries Old

Halitosis has been an issue plaguing individuals for centuries. From high priests and ancient Egyptians concerned about offending others with their bad breath to 15th Century Chinese inventors presenting the first toothbrush to the world in an effort to cure the problem, the curse of halitosis has been a topic of discussion in social circles in virtually every country. Although its causes were unknown in centuries past, modern medicine has provided us with the wide range of reasons halitosis occurs.

Common Causes of Bad Breath

Bad breath is most commonly found as a form of oral halitosis – an accumulation of bacterial plaque on the tongue is typically the culprit, caused by periodontal problems, poor hygiene or bad habits like smoking. When bad breath originates outside the oral cavity, it is known as extraoral halitosis and is typically caused by conditions affecting the digestive or upper and lower respiratory systems or kidney and liver disease. Extraoral halitosis only accounts for 10% of bad breath cases.

Poor Oral Hygiene

For the other 90%, bad breath is generally the result of poor dental hygiene. Inconsistent brushing or flossing habits can leave bacteria accumulating within the oral cavity on the tongue, in between teeth, or in the spaces between the gums and cheek. Because the mouth is a breeding ground for bacteria to grow, not removing the buildup results in halitosis. Periodontal diseases can also bring on a bout with bad breath, as can bacterial infections and stomatitis.

Avoiding Bad Breath

Centuries ago, individuals used toothpicks made of ivory and bone, candies made of licorice and essence of violet and mouth-freshening twigs from shrubs to fight off bad breath. The first toothbrush was made out of hog-hair bristles in the 15th century, and the first mouthwash (later known to the world as Listerine) was introduced in 1876. In the modern era, brushing after meals as well as flossing regularly is the most common method in keeping halitosis at bay. Flossing is absolutely essential as it will remove particles that a toothbrush isn’t able to reach. In addition, dentists recommend electronic toothbrushes as they are more effective at removing plaque and particles. You may also want to mix up the toothpaste you’re using to see if certain ingredients work better for you. Many dentists recommend using a toothpaste that includes baking soda, as the ingredient can be helpful by reducing the acidity in the mouth and making it difficult for bacteria to grow. You can also try scraping your tongue to remove some of the bacteria buildup.

what causes bad breath

Individuals can make a big difference in their war against bad breath by staying hydrated. When your mouth is dry, then unwanted leftover particles linger in your mouth. Hydrating yourself so that your body creates saliva is important to wash away odor causing substances. Smoking is also known to cause halitosis not only because of the odor it leaves on your breath, but because it is known to dry out your mouth. Smoking can also lead to other mouth infections and conditions which cause halitosis. Many smokers don’t even notice the foul smell that smoking leaves behind because they have become accustomed to it. Talk to your dentist from Reno Dental Associates for advice on quitting. Coffee consumption and medication can contribute to mouth dryness as well. If you suffer from bad breath and you’re also taking medications, make a list of those medications and bring it with you to your dental visit.

Dentists cannot stress enough the importance of staying hydrated in order to get saliva flowing. When many patients can’t figure out why they have chronic bad breath, the answer often comes down to hydration. Brushing your teeth in the morning is often not enough to keep your breath fresh throughout the day. Your saliva does a lot of the work for you by breaking down particles and rinsing them away.

Remember that the food you eat can also have a large effect on the condition of your breath. The food doesn’t just stay in your mouth, but the oils get absorbed into your system and get carried through your bloodstream right to your lungs. Many complain about the smell of garlic and onions. Their odor will linger in your system until the food is completely processed. Also be sure to eat standard meals and snack when it is necessary- an empty stomach can cause bad breath due to a build-up of acid. Be smart when choosing your snacks throughout the day. Dry snacks with high-fat content will just contribute to the problem. Choose moist snacks that help stimulate saliva production, which will help wash about unwanted particles.

Temporary Fixes

Many who suffer from halitosis choose to use breath mints, gum and mouthwash as temporary fixes to mask odor. If you choose to chew gum or eat mints to help bad breath, be sure that it is sugarless. Sugar creates plaque that adds to the problem. Sugarless gum and mints promotes saliva production which we know makes a huge difference. Remember that these are only temporary solutions and won’t get to the root of the problem. If your bad breath is just a temporary problem then it makes sense to fix it with a temporary solution. However, remember that halitosis is chronic and usually requires a significant change in lifestyle or habit.

 

Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

While many patients are hesitant to talk to their dentist about bad breath, the Reno Dental Associates deal with this issue frequently and are ready to help in every way they can. They encourage patients to feel confident and comfortable talking with their dentist so that the problem can be tackled and eliminated. In the modern era, no one should have to live with the embarrassment and discomfort of halitosis. Visiting your dentist every six months will ensure that there are no underlying issues that could be causing bad breath. Imagine never having to ask yourself “what causes bad breath?” ever again. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

    (775) 786-3400

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How to Prevent Cavities – Reno Dental Associates

Friday, March 9th, 2018

Every person has dealt with cavities at some point in their life. Luckily, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to avoid cavities and prevent further tooth decay. Our Reno Dental Associates dentists have made a list of how to prevent cavities.

To prevent cavities, you should:

how to prevent cavities

What is a cavity?

A tooth cavity is a result of tooth damage from bacteria. You have hundreds of different types of bacteria living in your mouth. Fortunately, many bacteria in your mouth are helpful. Unfortunately, there are a few bacteria that play a direct role in causing tooth decay.

How do cavities occur?

The cavity-causing bacteria in your mouth use sugar to create acid. Overtime the acid builds-up inside your mouth. If preventative measures aren’t taken, the acid will cause tooth decay, and even worse, cavities.

Everyday in our mouth two sides wage war against each other. On the plaque side, colorless bacteria along with sugar and starch foods (such as cookies, milk, juice, and soda).

The bacteria use the sugar and starch gained from these foods to create acids that rot away the protective surface of our teeth, the enamel.

On the good side of the fight are all the minerals in our mouth. Inside our mouths are minerals such as calcium and phosphate working hard to protect our teeth. Along with these minerals is fluoride. Unfortunately fluoride does not occur in our mouth. Fluoride comes from toothpaste, water, and other sources.

This team (comprised of calcium, phosphate, fluoride, and you) works to fight back the build-up of acid. This team helps repair enamel by replacing lost minerals dissolved by acid.

If your tooth is exposed to acid frequently, you may notice a white spot appear on your tooth. This white spot is an indicator of weakening enamel and a loss of minerals. A white spot is an early sign of tooth decay.

At this stage, it is still possible to stop and reverse the damage. Enamel will repair itself with minerals, so long as you don’t create more acid from sugary foods. More damage to the tooth will result in permanent damage, a cavity.

How to prevent cavities and keep them away

It’s easy to ask how to prevent cavities, but how do we keep cavities away? Luckily, there are many ways we can lend a hand in the battle against cavities and the acids that cause them.

Use Fluoride to reinforce your defenses

Fluoride is the best way to add more minerals to strengthen your mouth. With fluoride, you can stop and reverse early tooth decay. Fluoride:

  1. Prevents mineral loss
  2. Replaces lost minerals
  3. Slows bacteria from making acid

You get fluoride by:

In some cases, your dentist may recommend some additional ways to get fluoride:

*While it is great to drink bottled water, most brands do not contain the fluoride necessary to prevent tooth decay. Talk with your dentist about whether you need additional fluoride.

Limit your consumption of sugary drinks

This includes fruit juices. While the idea of fruit in juice form may seem tempting and perfectly healthy, most fruit juices have additional added sugar. Sometimes, this may be more than soda!

Try to avoid drinking or eating sugary foods before bed

Our saliva is at its weakest when we are asleep, leaving us vulnerable to acid attacks.

cavity prevention

Visit a dentist regularly

Dentists have the tools and experience to clean your teeth better than you. A Reno Dental Association dentist will:

With this list, you no longer need to ask “how to prevent cavities.”

The dentists of Reno Dental Associates are ready to give you the smile you deserve. Give us a call today to schedule an appointment.

(775) 786-3400

 

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What to Know When Selecting a Reno Cosmetic Dentist

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

teeth fixed with bracesYour oral health is paramount to good health overall. The desire for great-looking teeth and a healthy mouth is important to our day-to-day lives. Therefore, it is no wonder why many want to find the best dentist possible.

For those in need of cosmetic dental work, this is even more important. Anybody who has experienced the pain of a diminished smile wants results quickly, affordably and of a quality nature. If you’re looking for a Reno cosmetic dentist and want to know how to find the best, keep reading.

Look for Testimonials

When deciding on any Reno cosmetic dentist, you first need to consider what other people are saying. As such, perusing the reviews and testimonials of those who have had work done prior is absolutely crucial.

You don’t want to take a leap of faith when it comes to having major dental work done. Be sure that whoever you’re considering has an extensive reputation with positive reviews and testimonials. Otherwise, you’re taking a gamble, and one that you really can’t afford to take.

Examine Their Work

Any great Reno cosmetic dentist who will be more than happy to show you before and after shots of the work they’ve done. This can be one great way to inspect exactly how much of a transformation you can expect with comparable dental cosmetic surgery.

Most dentist offices that specialize in cosmetic surgery take plenty of pictures showing before and after. Some even offer their patients a discount for allowing them to do so. Before you agree to any work, ask any prospective dentists you’re considering to provide you with some examples of what they’ve done.

Evaluate Their Qualifications

You may find plenty of positive reviews online about some Reno cosmetic dentists, including before and after samples. However, you absolutely need to inspect their qualifications as well. In the age of the internet, you can find out where almost any dentist went to school, what courses they took and whether or not they’re AACD certified.

The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry is the ideal certification you’re looking for from a dentist. Cosmetic dentists who hold this certification are those who have kept up-to-date with techniques, attended industry-specific seminars and trainings, and are generally the best of the best.

Have a Consultation

Before you commit to any work from a Reno cosmetic dentist, it’s important to have a sit-down meeting and explain what it is you need. Not only will this help you determine what is and isn’t possible, but it’ll help you learn more about the dentist before making any commitment. If you feel comfortable after consulting with a dentist over major dental work, then you’ll be better equipped to choose the right dentist for you.

At the end of the day, you should treat cosmetic dental surgery like any other major surgery. By shopping around, comparing qualifications, examining reviews and qualifications, and inspecting past work, you’ll help eliminate any Reno cosmetic dentists who just aren’t up to par.

Learn more about cosmetic dental surgery from Reno Dental Associates. or call us for a consultation. 775.786.3400.

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Reno DDS – Family Dentistry Best Practices

Monday, October 16th, 2017

teeth whiteningFinding the right dentist for you and your family may take some time and patience. Not everybody falls in love with their first dentist. Therefore, it never hurts to look around and try different solutions for your family. Each dentist’s office is made unique by its staff, culture, customer service and location.

For those in search of a new Reno DDS at the right family practice, you’ll want to consider several different aspects. In order to make the process easier for you, here is what you should be looking for at any family-friendly dentist office in the Reno area.

Plenty of Good Reviews and Referrals

The absolute first thing you must evaluate in a family-friendly dentist office is whether or not the referrals and reviews are good. Any Reno DDS worth its weight in advertising should have plenty of people talking about how great it is for both kids and adults.

Additionally, many offices will offer referrals upon request where you can personally talk to those who’ve had work done. Ultimately, you shouldn’t take an ad’s word for it. You should strive to see what others are saying before you take your family to any dentist!

Easy Financial Flexibility

Many families run on tight budgets. If your family has to worry about making ends meet, then the last thing you want is a huge dental bill thrown at you in one lump sum.

Many family dental practices in the Reno area understand the need for flexible payment solutions. Even if you are not in dire financial straits, finding an office that provides this service is generally a good sign. It speaks volumes about the level of compassion and concern with which they treat their patients.

Kid-Friendly Atmosphere

Any family-friendly Reno DDS should – by definition – be open and friendly toward children. A great dentist office that encapsulates this atmosphere will not just know how to treat kids, but will also offer a variety of amenities for them. This may include exclusive play areas for the kids, toys, games and magazines that they’ll enjoy.

By offering these features, the dentist is demonstrating that he or she cares about the experience each child has while there. Plus, this can make a trip to the dentist less frightening or boring for kids who may not otherwise wish to go.

Pediatric Dentistry

Last but not least, any family-friendly dentist should have at least one dentist on-hand who specifically works with children in his/her role as a Reno DDS. Due to the differences in behavior and mentality between kids and adults, pediatric dentists are more equipped to handle the challenges while in the chair. They are able to provide advice in a way that resonates with children, and otherwise keep them comfortable. This can make the entire process from start to finish a lot easier on both the dentist and the child.

Before concluding any search for a family-friendly dentist in the Reno area, be sure that you consider the following:

If you insist on these qualities in your next dentist, you’re much less likely to be disappointed. Check out how Reno Dental Associates can become the solution for all your family’s dental needs.

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5 Things When Looking for an Affordable Dentist in Reno

Thursday, September 7th, 2017

reno tooth extraction wisdom teeth removal

Finding the right dentist in Reno may take more work than you’d think. Of course, there are plenty of choices to consider, but not all dental offices and services are created equal. Most people searching for a new dentist want to balance affordability with quality of care, customer service and general availability.

Ultimately, those on fixed incomes and with limited budgets are more restricted in their potential selection. Because of this, it’s crucial to know how to find affordable dentists that provide the best care possible. Let’s take a look at what you should consider when looking for a Reno-based dentist.

Recommendations

Before you begin your broader search for a dentist in Reno, ask around the neighborhood for advice. Your family, friends and co-workers may all have their own stories about which dentists do great work (and which dentists to avoid). Personal recommendations are unfiltered and not incentivized by money or other benefits; this is why they can be very valuable tools in scoping out which dentists you should consider. Because dental work is so expensive, many people will also recommend dentists to you that offer affordable rates.

Flexible Payment Options

Let’s face it: dental work is costly. Ultimately, even an affordable dentist in Reno can charge rates that add up quickly, so you want to have wiggle room in case you can’t pay all at once. Many affordable dentist offices provide flexible payment plans for those in need of work, making it much easier to tackle the dental work you need bit-by-bit – and without breaking the bank.

Qualifications

Before you let anybody work on your teeth, you need to know that they have the proper experience and accreditations. Obviously, you want to make sure that the dentist in question has a license to practice as a dentist in Reno. Additionally, ADA accreditations – whether it be for taking new classes or attending recent training seminars – are also ideal.

Educational Background

Every dentist in Reno isn’t on the same playing field. One big problem many run into when searching for an affordable dentist is finding somebody who is educated in modern dentistry. There are some dentists who – while understanding the basics of dentistry and capable of performing a decent job – may not have access to the latest techniques or the most up-to-date equipment. This can be one reason why prices are lower, but it can sometimes lead to less than stellar outcomes.

Ambiance

When picking a more affordable dentist, you’ll definitely want to consider the overall ambiance of the practice. Does the office look clean? Is the staff friendly? Does the customer service experience seem straightforward? How easy is it to get an appointment? Factors such as these can impact not only how quickly you can be seen, but whether your treatment by staff will be what you deserve. Always consider how you “feel” when visiting any office and/or speaking with staff by phone before you make any commitment.

Finding an affordable dentist in Reno may be easier than you think, but finding the right dentist takes a bit more work. By considering these five issues when selecting your next dentist, you’ll be sure to get the quality care you deserve at a fair price.

Meet our doctors at Reno Dental Associates and call us today! 775.786.3400.

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Signs of Osteoporosis in Routine Exam

Monday, March 7th, 2016

Did You Know?? Signs of Osteoporosis Can Show Up in a Routine Dental Exam!

Markers of our health can show up in unexpected places on our bodies, like our fingernails, eyes, and even our mouths. In fact, the mouth can be an impressive looking glass into what’s going on inside the body, offering red flags for everything from diabetes to a risk of heart disease. But did you know that a routine dental exam can also uncover signs of osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a bone density disorder, causing bones to lose mass and become brittle, which can greatly increase the risk of fracture and breaking. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it’s most common in women over 50. Genetics can play a role in your risk for osteoporosis, as can calcium and vitamin D deficiencies, smoking, and other factors. But early and sometimes even advanced symptoms can be hard to detect. Surprisingly, your dentist is often the first to glimpse signs of osteoporosis—not in your teeth, as they’re not bone—but in your jaw and the bone surrounding the teeth.

A routine but comprehensive dental exam, including x-rays, can uncover bone density loss in the mouth. Sometimes this happens simply through comparison of dental records and images, when your dentist or technician notices a difference in the bone mass. Other times, typically in more advanced stages of osteoporosis, complaints of loose teeth or badly-fitting dentures can be the first clue, as bone begins to become porous and compact, shrinking away from the gum line and reducing support for the teeth. If your dentist suspects osteoporosis, he or she will often take a brief medical history, then refer you to your primary care physician for testing and diagnosis.

You can reduce your risk for developing osteoporosis by making sure your calcium and vitamin D levels are in the normal range, decreasing alcohol and caffeine consumption, increasing exercise, and quitting smoking.

Questions? Call Reno Dental Associates at 775-786-3400.

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Combat Cold Sensitive Teeth

Friday, March 4th, 2016

Winter is in full swing in northern Nevada. Unfortunately, this year promises to be a harsher winter than we’ve had in many years. When temperatures drop, those of us with cold sensitive teeth can start feeling the pinch—especially if we spend a lot of time outdoors.

WHY DO MY TEETH HURT WHEN IT’S COLD?

A variety of things can cause tooth sensitivity, from underlying tooth decay to grinding to genetics, but if you find your teeth are only sensitive when it’s cold, chances are there are one of four culprits:

Contractions in the dentin

Our teeth register and respond to temperature changes like most structures do: by expanding and contracting. A rapid drop in temperature—for instance, going from a heated environment into sub-freezing temperatures—can cause the soft dentin in teeth to contract. These repeated expansions and contractions can cause small cracks in the teeth that, while normal and not typically cause for concern, leave them vulnerable to exposure and pain.

Ways to fight it: When spending time outdoors in the winter, especially if activities like running, skiing, and other sports keep you breathing vigorously, protect your mouth with a scarf, or try to breathe through your nose as much as possible. If your nose is congested more in winter, try using a decongestant spray before you go out for that run.

Sinus pressure or infection

Sometimes the pain we feel in our teeth isn’t coming from the teeth at all. The squeeze and pressure of our sinuses can cause a pain similar to cold tooth sensitivity. Colds and allergies can result in inflammation that pushes against the underlying structures of the teeth and jaw. This pressure can cause anything from a dull, constant ache to brief but sharp, shooting pain.

Ways to fight it: The best way to avoid sinus-related tooth pain is to guard against catching the cold and flu by washing hands frequently, exercising, and eating a well-balanced diet. But despite our best efforts, most of us still get the occasional cold, and many suffer from allergies. Saline sinus sprays can help relieve sinus pressure, as can anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen. Over-the-counter allergy medications can help reduce flare-ups.

If you find that you’re frequently or acutely plagued by sinus pain and pressure, consult with your doctor.

Enamel erosion

The protective enamel on your teeth can erode for a variety of reasons, including age, tooth decay, and brushing vigorously. When tooth enamel has become too thin, the sensitive parts of your teeth become exposed. Then, your teeth become vulnerable to temperature sensitivities and other stimuli, including, and most commonly: cold.

Ways to fight it: Caring for your teeth through diet and careful, gentle daily dental care is the best defense for preserving protective enamel erosion. But if you suspect you’re already experiencing enamel erosion, talk to your dentist. Your dentist may recommend a tooth-desensitizing toothpaste, a protective varnish, or discuss other available options for reducing enamel-related tooth sensitivity.

Ill-fitting fillings or dentures, or exposed roots

Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an inflammatory condition caused by bacteria in the mouth that, if left untreated, can result in tooth decay, gum recession, and bone loss. This process of degeneration can change the structure of the mouth, resulting in loose fillings, unstable bridges and dentures, even loose or lost teeth, all of which leave roots and sensitive dentin exposed.
Ways to fight it: Proper oral hygiene is the only true defense against periodontal disease and its resulting pain and sensitivities. Daily dental care and regular dental exams and cleanings go a long way to help prevent periodontitis and gingivitis, and while once it develops it’s not reversible, your dentist can help stabilize gum disease and prevent it from advancing.

Give your teeth a check-up this winter. Call Reno Dental Associates at 775-786-3400.

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