Category Archives: Blog

What Swollen Taste Buds Tell You

Learning From Taste Buds

Do you feel your taste buds? There may be times you think they’re swollen or feel bumpy or hurt. What you call taste buds are receptor cells located on the upper tongue surface. They are found around the small, rounded bumps called papillae not only on the tongue, but also on the soft palate, upper esophagus, the cheek. These receptors are responsible for and enable you to taste sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savory flavors. If your taste buds are swollen, it can really make you feel uncomfortable.

Typically, taste buds regenerate themselves about every one to two weeks. Yet, at times, they can be damaged, like getting burned or become swollen. If they are swollen, your tongue can be swollen, too, and can damage your sense of taste. That’s because within the papillae are microvilli projections that are strong sensory transmitters of taste to the brain. Any disruption to these can affect a person’s ability to taste foods.

What causes damage to the taste buds? There are many conditions that can irritate the taste buds to result in swelling. These include: very hot or very icy food or drinks, or similarly very spicy or sour, acid reflux disease, acidic medications, dry mouth, burns, cuts, or injuries to the mouth, radiation exposure to the head and neck, infection, such as a cold, flu, fungal, or bacterial illness, smoking and poor oral hygiene. Sometimes, it can be a symptom behind tongue cancer.

Normally, you wouldn’t be able to see your taste buds with the naked eye. Yet, you might see your tongue appear white or bright red, or have little fluid-filled blisters that are known as pustules on the tongue.

The cause of swollen or damaged taste buds determines the course of treatment. A specialist, called an otorhinolaryngologist or ENT can examine you and diagnose. They can prescribe medications to reduce tongue or taste bud swelling, such as antibiotics if there’s an infection or something for reflux disease.

A dentist can also address the condition with an examination of your oral health. Your dentist can prescribe treatment for soft tissue infection, like if you have gum disease. Other ways are by brushing and flossing teeth at least twice daily, using a special mouth rinse and toothpaste if a chronic dry mouth is a cause, or gargling with warm salt water several times daily. The situation needs to be addressed soonest as it can affect your appetite and food enjoyment.

Returning the Sensation of Taste

Not enjoying your food because of swollen taste buds? See your West Seattle dentist right away and let’s have a look-see at your oral health. One’s sense of taste is as important to health and life as anything.

Why The Brown Spots On Teeth?

What Causes Brown Spots on Teeth?

People who have brown discoloration on their teeth usually have less than healthy lifestyle habits. They ought to know that ceasing from unhealthy practices can improve teeth color or at least stop it from progressing. Sometimes, through no fault of their own, people can acquire the discoloration. Other causes can be systemic diseases and their treatment. To be specific, let’s profile each one of them and see how treatment can improve things.

There are many dark-colored foods and drinks that contain chemicals which can stain tooth enamel, such as tannic acid in red wine. Coffee, dark and white teas, colas, and sports drinks are others. They are not only acidic but many have artificial colors and dyes that can stain teeth.

Nicotine and tobacco products contain particles that can stick to the tooth enamel. They can build up with repeated use and tend to become darker and harder to remove over time.

Tartar can discolor teeth into brownish. Also called calculus, tartar is hardened plaque. It’s the result of bacteria attacking food particles on teeth to form a sticky, translucent film called plaque. Poor oral hygiene causes the plaque to harden into tartar and only a professional cleaning by a dentist can remove it. There’s an increase risk of developing tartar among smokers, diabetics, ill, imobile or bedridden patients, women who are undergoing hormonal changes, and certain medicines like those for AIDS. These risks are accompanied by poor oral hygiene. Certainly, also tooth decay can cause discoloration.

Age and Genetics

Aging and genes are also culprits for staining teeth darker. With age, the enamel breaks down and may expose yellowish dentin underneath. On the other hand, some people are genetically predisposed to discoloration depending on several factors. For example, strength of the enamel, its response to pigments and acids and wear and tear, hereditary conditions, and abnormalities in bone or tooth formation. Enamel hypoplasia is thin enamel, which can be present at birth or is acquired.

Celiac disease, in which a person is hypersensitive to gluten, can also cause brown patches or spots on teeth. Severe fluorosis can cause dark brown spots and pits as well, owing to overuse of fluoride in childhood. Certain medications like tetracycline in young children can also lead to browning of the teeth.

Treating Discolorations in West Seattle

The best treatment of the brown spots on teeth can be determined by its cause. Ask your dentist in West Seattle about your best course of action. There’s no reason to live with these discolorations if you can seek our help here at 1st Impressions Dental in West Seattle.

Understanding Your Baby’s Teeth

From Coming In To Falling Out

Ever wondered why your teeth differ in size, shape and location in your mouth? While they give your face its form and shape, teeth differences enable you to chew food well, speak in words, and smile, of course.

Baby teeth are also called milk teeth or primary teeth. In all, children have 20 baby teeth – 10 on the upper jaw and 10 on the lower jaw. They will act as placeholders for the permanent teeth that grow in after the baby teeth fall out. Baby teeth start to come in or erupt at about 6 months of age and fall out or shed at various times throughout childhood. By age 21, all 32 of the permanent teeth have usually erupted.

Apart from being able to chew and eat, primary teeth are needed for providing space for permanent teeth and guiding them into position, allowing for proper jaw bone and muscle development, and for proper speech and having that attractive appearance that engages everyone with babies.

Actually a child’s teeth begin to form before he or she is born. The basic substance of the tooth forms in the fetus at 6 weeks of gestation. Next, the hard tissue that surrounds teeth is formed, around 3 to 4 months. After the child is born, the next stage occurs when the tooth actually protrudes through the gum. This is called teething and its variable among individual babies. It’s at six to ten months when the first lower center usually make an appearance. Although all 20 baby teeth usually appear by age three, their pace and order of eruption may vary.

Permanent teeth begin appearing around age six, starting with the first molars and lower central incisors. This process continues until approximately 21 years of age, if there is space for the third molars to erupt in. The front teeth (incisors) are usually lost between six to eight years of age, and the back teeth (canines and molars) are not lost until ages nine to thirteen.

Every child is different, so when teeth first come in, some babies may have sore or tender gums. Gently rubbing the child’s gums with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad can be soothing. A clean teething ring to chew on is another tip. If your child is still cranky and in pain, consult your dentist or physician.

All About Baby Teeth in West Seattle

Know more about your baby’s or young toddler’s teeth with a visit to your West Seattle dentist. It pays that parents are concerned with their little one’s oral health care this early.

Essential Teeth Cleaning

Benefits of Professional Cleaning

Oral prophylaxis is a basic cleaning procedure performed by the dentist or a dental hygienist that cleans teeth as thoroughly as possible. It is highly recommended at the bare minimum of every 6 months for the average patient, with additional cleanings depending on patient profile, such as every 3 to 4 months if periodontitis is present.

Cleaned teeth is actually your first line of defense against bacterial attacks which cause cavities and decay. It is one of dentistry’s most important preventive treatments. The overall health of your mouth, in fact, may depend on whether or not you get your twice yearly cleaning.

Oral prophylaxis have health-saving benefits for both your mouth and body. For starters, regular cleaning may rid your mouth of halitosis, which is any foul-smelling breath resulting from rotting food particles below the gum line that can turn into a serious infection and other periodontal issues. Your regular brushing and flossing also keeps your gum free of swelling and inflammation. Firm, pinkish and firmly attached gums are signs of healthy gums, free of gingivitis, the earliest form of periodontitis.

Dental prophylaxis also frees your teeth of tartar, the resulting buildup of plaque and calculus which accumulates over time at the back of your front teeth, in between premolars and molars, and under the gum line. Without professional cleaning the debris can hardened which not even daily brushing or flossing can remove. This accumulation can easily lead to tooth decay or a serious gum disease without the cleaning.

An aesthetically pleasing smile is another benefit of oral prophylaxis. Professional cleaning can rid teeth of yellowish hues or stains; even ugly teeth can look bright again when given a thorough, deep cleaning. Surface stains can become permanent if they are left to set into the teeth over a long period of time. Regular cleanings can reverse stains, even stains that have set in; in time they become lessened and may disappear.

Even a person who is meticulous about cleaning teeth and gums will typically develop calculus deposits at some locations in the mouth. Remember that it is easy for bacterial plaques to mineralize and adhere to teeth and restorations, making home-care and future cleanings more difficult. There’s really no alternative to having your teeth professionally cleaned on an appropriate interval best determined by your dentist.

No Compromise for Professional Cleaning in West Seattle

Even if you perceive you have the cleanest mouth and the most sparkling whites, a professional cleaning is always in order. Ensure healthy mouth and protected teeth and gums in West Seattle.

The Right Toothbrush: Key to Proper Hygiene

Tips in Choosing the Right Toothbrush

Want to know some interesting toothbrush history? Ancient civilizations, some 3,000 years back, used a “chew stick,” which was a thin twig with a frayed end, that were rubbed against the teeth. By 1498, in China, boar bristle toothbrushes were used. The bristles were stiff, coarse hairs from the back of a hog’s neck and attached to bone or bamboo. Mass production of toothbrushes began in America around 1885. The nylon toothbrush we know today was invented 1938. While the electric toothbrush appeared in America by 1960.

Most of us might be taking our toothbrushes for granted, but did you know that choosing the right one is important to properly carry out brushing? Regardless of whether your toothbrush is manual or powered, here are some general tips for choosing the right fit.

For size, the best toothbrush is the one that can access and reach all surfaces of teeth. For most adults, a toothbrush head a half-inch wide and one-inch tall will be the easiest to use and the most effective. The handle should be long enough and comfortably held.

For the bristles and for most people, a soft-bristled toothbrush will be the most comfortable and safest choice. Medium- and hard-bristled brushes could actually damage the gums, root surface, and protective tooth enamel if you brush vigorously. Rounded tip bristle brushes are for added tooth protection.

Ask our West Seattle Dentist

To ensure your toothbrush has undergone rigorous quality control tests for cleaning effectiveness and safety, ask your dentist for a recommendation. Also, look for manual or powered toothbrushes that have earned the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval. Manual brushes that have the ADA seal have safe tips, bristles that will not fall out during use, firm handle, and the toothbrush will effectively reduce plaque build-up and gum disease in their early stages. Powered toothbrushes bearing the seal must undergo safety testing in an independent lab and prove through clinical trials that the toothbrush is safe for use on the tissues of the mouth and teeth, as well as any dental hardware that may be in place.

As long as tooth brushing is regular and using proper brushing technique, you should be able to reduce plaque build-up and keep your gums healthy with either a manual or powered toothbrush. Finally, replace your manual toothbrush every 3 to 4 months when those bristles are already frayed for they are ineffectual. Replace right after you’ve been sick, to avoid spread of old infection.

Making Best Toothbrush Choices in West Seattle

Find out more recommendations from 1st Impressions Dental, your trusty and friendly oral team out here in West Seattle. Don’t take your toothbrushes for granted, because we don’t.