Category Archives: Blog

Going for Safety with Digital X-rays in West Seattle

Digital vs Traditional Radiography

Between conventional and digital dental x-rays, the similarity would be the film used. Traditional dental X-rays use film plates on which the image is reflected; digital uses a sensor, like a film plate, but is electronic and hooks up to a computer where the image is projected on a screen for viewing. The similarity ends there. The properties of digital radiography are weighty enough to overshadow traditional film X-ray features.

Digital X-rays use up to 90 percent less radiation than film X-rays. This makes digital radiography a safer, excellent option for those who take X-rays on a regular basis or for those who are concerned about radiation. Digital X-rays also produce higher quality images of mouth structures, especially tooth surfaces. Brightness and contrast are adjustable, enabling to visualize even small cavities. On the other hand, the standard size of film X-rays can make viewing and study sometimes difficult and may necessitate re-exposure to X-rays to ascertain accuracy of the image produced.

Through the power of the web, digital dental images can be copied, downloaded, printed, and emailed to colleagues, patients, and others, making it easier to transfer data for review, second opinion, and other requests. It eliminates the time and expense to copy files and mail them.

Finally, digital radiography is environmentally friendly for no chemicals are used to develop film, no darkroom, no storage room needed. Definitely it lowers cost and translates to savings. Digital radiography conforms to the ALARA principle: As Low As Reasonably Achievable. This is a radiation safety principle for minimizing radiation exposure to both patient and operator by employing all reasonable means possible.

Low Radiation Concerns with Digital X-Rays

Dental X-rays are an important part of your regular dental visits, helping pinpoint and diagnose dental issues. If you’re concerned about radiation, talk to your West Seattle dentist about digital X-rays. Find out more how we at First Impressions Dental practice safe dentistry.

Looking after Tongue Health: West Seattle Dentist

Help Tips for a Healthy Tongue

The state of your tongue can very well speak about your hygiene practices and can even tell the status of your overall health. You may not know that oral health is not just about teeth brushing and flossing. Your tongue needs as just much attention, too. A few tips might help you along.

Your tongue needs brushing, too. But do not use the bristles part of the toothbrush for that, instead the reverse part of it if that is provided for by your brush. Or you may use a brush specifically designed for tongue-brushing, sometimes called a tongue-scraper or tongue-cleaner.

The scraper must be thoroughly cleaned before use, that scraping must be in a downward motion two to three times and not too vigorously or you’d hurt your tongue. Do use toothpaste to coat your tongue before you scrape. Remember that you are removing harmful bacteria from your tongue and doing so regularly prevents them from growing and spreading.

While toothpaste neutralizes bacteria on the tongue, rinsing with mouthwash after scraping eliminates bad odor. However, mouthwashes may dry out the mouth so use them only occasionally. Take a half glass of lukewarm water and put in a half teaspoon of salt. Rinse your mouth five to six times a day with it.

Additionally, drink green tea; it eliminates oral bacteria, too. Drink plenty of water to hydrate your mouth. Know that sometimes, dehydration changes the tongue’s color. Avoid black grapes and berries also; they leave their color on your tongue. And if you notice a whitish layer on the tongue during high fever, you can scrape that off.

However, it is likely a fungal infection if it doesn’t get off. For that you might need to see your dentist.

Know More about Tongue Health! Ask our West Seattle dentist

When you come by your dentist in West Seattle the first time, you’ll surely go through a thorough oral examination that includes your tongue. Get to know a complete assessment of your oral status that can lead to a better understanding of what you might need for optimal oral health.

Tooth Bonding by West Seattle Dentist

The Best Uses of Tooth Bonding

If you’ve ever had tooth bonding, you’ve had a cosmetic procedure done on your tooth. It is simply using a tooth-colored material, such as resin, bonded to tooth using adhesives and a high intensity curing light. The procedure restores the natural appearance of teeth that were discolored, chipped or decayed.

Aside from repairing, bonding can alter the shape and length of teeth as may be necessary to align them with others, such as adding tooth-colored resin to edges of teeth that have been worn out. It can take the place of a gap between teeth and protect an exposed root portion after gum tissue has receded.

Bonding is a relatively easy procedure, takes minimal to no preparation unlike using veneers or crowns, and in most cases not requiring anesthesia except when a decayed tooth is involved. It is a common, short office visit (except if multiple teeth need treatment), and must be the least expensive of cosmetic dental procedures.

Due to some inherent limitations of its own, bonded teeth are best suited to small cosmetic changes, ideal for correction of frontal teeth owing to the less stress and pressure they are subject to.

Care for teeth that have undergone bonding is similar to that you give to your natural teeth. Proper oral hygiene as brushing and flossing are essential to maintain their appearance and function. Regular dental visits are as important to see to how bonded teeth are holding up and to check for any chips or discolorations on the surfaces. Your dentist will be able to tell you if bonding is right for you or may make other recommendations relative to your personal conditions.

Cosmetic Solution by Your West Seattle Dentist

A consultation with First Impressions Dental, can help determine if tooth bonding is just right for you. Your West Seattle dentist can provide options depending on the concerned tooth’s condition.

Brush Maintenance

Do you know how to take care of your brush? Some people make the mistake of simply placing this important tool aside in their bathroom cupboards every day, not sparing a thought to its maintenance. If this describes your general practice, consider the following tips to make sure that you continue to get the best out of your toothbrush:

  • Change Your Brush Regularly: The general rule is that you replace your toothbrush every three months. However, some variables may influence this, like if you brush too hard or if you have a gum disease. If the bristles begin to just out at odd angles, they are no longer strong enough to effectively remove plaque. Consider buying a brush with a color-change indicator.
  • Store Your Brush Upright: By standing your brush upright in a glass, you can allow it to air dry after brushing. This prevents the build-up of bacteria. Further, make sure that your brush isn’t stored so close to another person’s that the two can cross-contaminate.
  • Shield Your Brush: When your toilet is flushed, it sends up a light spray of water that can land on your brush if you store it too close.
  • Periodically Clean Your Brush: Occasionally dipping the bristles of your brush in hot water or an antibacterial mouthwash is a good way to kill off any bacteria that may be gathering therein. However, never wash your brush in the dishwasher or zap it in the microwave, as these will damage the delicate bristles.

Talk to our West Seattle dentist for more toothbrush-related tips.

Should I Use Tartar Control Toothpaste?

You have many options when you go to buy your toothpaste. When you browse through the dental care aisle, one of the terms you’re probably going to see a lot of is “tartar control”. But what does this mean, exactly, and how do you know whether or not this is the right choice for you and your family?

The purpose of a tartar control toothpaste is to give you superior protection against the development of tartar on your teeth. This is accomplished with the inclusion of chemical compounds, like pyrophosphates and zinc citrate, which are very effective in discouraging tartar buildup. Some tartar control toothpastes also feature antibiotics that help to control your oral bacteria.

Tartar control toothpaste can, indeed, be a good option. The important thing to remember is that it is only effective for preventing the development of new tartar, and it will not help you to remove tartar that is already on your teeth. You can only safely remove this tartar with the help of a professional dentist. Consult our West Seattle dentist to schedule a regular cleaning.

Anesthesia and Sedation in West Seattle

Different Ways to Block Pain

The choice of the right type of anesthesia and sedation for you will depend on several factors. Your dentist and you will agree on the particular treatment procedure you need, your level of apprehension will have to be considered, as well as history of allergies and your overall health.

Sedation methods come in various forms and strengths. One form is via inhalation, such as nitrous oxide gas, while there are also oral drugs and injectable sedatives. They can provide mild to moderate or deep sedation depending on the dental treatment employed. Sedatives can be administered before or during a procedure. You are actually conscious with mild or moderate sedation and can respond but maybe not speak.

Together with an anesthetic to block the pain, you are just more relaxed, more comfortable, and your recovery would be quick and easy. But if your treatment is complex and lengthy, deep sedation would be necessary.

Local anesthesia comes in injectable form. It aims to numb the area the dentist is going to work on by blocking the pain signals of the nerves therein. Sometimes, you might even request for topical anesthesia, which is an ointment applied to the area so you don’t feel the pain where the needle is to be injected. You are fully awake and able to respond under local anesthetics. On the other hand, there are situations that might merit using general anesthesia where there is total absence of consciousness during a procedure.

Painless Dentistry by West Seattle Dentist

First Impressions Dental in West Seattle offers different forms of sedation and anesthesia for pain numbing in our various dental procedures. Our methods are safe and effective and performed by certified and qualified practitioners. While we strive to achieve excellent treatment outcomes, we do this with our patients’ overall comfort and well-being in a stress-free environment.

West Seattle Dentist: Natural Color is Better

White versus Silver Fillings

The popularity of tooth-colored filling materials is due to the public’s demand for aesthetically acceptable restorations that are metal-free, hence safer. They are not limited to frontal teeth use only as even the molars can be restored using them. Tooth-like materials, such as composite resins and porcelain, have been proven safe and predictable as validated by scientific data. They bond exceedingly well with tooth enamel and dentin, hence, strengthening tooth integrity further. This is a case of modern dentistry mimicking nature.

On the other hand, there is amalgam, a metal mix of mercury, silver, tin and copper used in dentistry in over 150 years. Mercury in amalgam fillings is not toxic. It changes its character when combined with other materials. It is the only element proved to bind the mixture together so that it becomes easily manipulated by the dentist to fill in a tooth cavity. Mercury in amalgam released in the mouth when you eat is so negligible, you’d probably get more mercury in your food and water. And so, is that the reason why some dentists still use amalgam?

Amalgam, sometimes called silver fillings, has withstood the test of time with a proven track record of safety, durability, and affordability. While a dentist finds it easy to work with amalgam, due to its quick binding with tooth structure, he has to create sufficient space on the tooth, large enough (to include healthy enamel and dentin) with undercuts provided so that amalgam will hold. That’s relatively easy for him with modern tools.

Using composites is quite different. It requires a dentist’s skills and experience, and more time, to place the white fillings diligently and carefully to avoid gaps and future leaks. It also saves tooth structure for there’s no need to enlarge space where the composite is to be placed. All in all, it makes a great filling material with the color of real teeth.

White Fillings with West Seattle Dentistry

Look no further than your West Seattle dentist for white or tooth-colored fillings. They are safer, looking natural as real healthy teeth, and as sturdy and durable as amalgam fillings in the hands of an expert.

Cosmetic Dentistry by West Seattle Dentist

Cosmetic Dentistry: solid and lasting

As you age and acquire certain habits that leave their mark on your oral structures, you think of your dentist and make a mental note that you ought to visit soon. While facial treatments or a new haircut every now and then is part of your routine, why shouldn’t cosmetic work done on your teeth be a more solid and lasting recourse? It can cost more than a visit to the beauty salon but the effects are incomparable if it can totally transform your face, your smile and overall self-esteem for the better. What cosmetic options are available anyway at the dentist’s office?

The most popular cosmetic procedure is teeth whitening; great for mature teeth, discolored teeth from foods and drinks that stain, and even smoker’s teeth. Your dentist can do an in-office whitening or design customized trays for home use that fit your arches and contain some whitening solution. Bonding is another procedure that treats chipped, broken, cracked or stained teeth, or even if you have extra spaces between teeth. Tooth-colored materials, usually composite resins, are applied to those breaks, including cavities, to restore normal tooth surface. Enamel shaping and contouring is another option that changes the shape, length, or position of teeth that may be crooked, overlapped, or chipped. Bonding is usually combined with this procedure.

Veneers are also popular options. These ultra-thin porcelain shells are permanently bonded to the front teeth that have discolored, are chipped or worn, poorly shaped or slightly crooked. They’re also great for spaces in-between teeth. If not veneers, crowns are good alternatives for the same type of problems, especially for the back teeth. They completely cover the teeth, restoring the shape and appearance. They’re also used for implants, bridges, and after root canal treatment.

Before deciding which cosmetic procedure is best for you, know the benefits and risks of the process.

Safe and Expert Cosmetic Dentistry in West Seattle

Find out at First Impressions Dental which treatment works best for you. Our West Seattle dentist will help you decide how to remake your smile with our complete line of cosmetic procedures.

The Popularity of Tooth-Colored Fillings

Composites: favorite dental filling material

Patients who come for dental treatment for their cavities are likely to have fillings, which are durable, non-toxic materials used to act as ‘fillers’ in tooth locations where a cavity has been. Signs of decay are removed, the cavity is cleansed, treated, and prepared to receive the filling material. The material of choice must be strong to withstand tooth stress, able to be shaped according to tooth structure and function, and must be safe for the oral tissues. The location and extent of decay, cost of filling material, and your dentist’s recommendation help in determining the type of filling best for you.

Dental materials which are the color of teeth are very popular with dentists and patients alike. Apart from their safety and durability, tooth-colored fillings, properly called composite fillings, mimic the natural color of teeth and blend easily with the rest of your oral structures. It’s going to look like as if you haven’t had dental work.

Other things that may interest you about composite fillings concern how these materials chemically bond well with tooth structure, the bonding is tight and makes the treated tooth a lot stronger. When preparing the tooth for composite, less natural tooth structure needs to be taken out by drilling, so the preparation is a lot easier for your dentist. Likewise, composites are versatile, not just as cavity fillers but also are used to repair chipped, broken, or worn teeth.

These advantages make tooth-colored fillings sought after. Composites are, however, more expensive than other types of filling materials. Their effectiveness highly depends on the skill and training of your dentist.

Expert Specialist in West Seattle

Come over to West Seattle dentistry for your dental cosmetic and restorative needs. If tooth-colored fillings are for you, rest assured that you will get all the advantages of composites – its strength, durability, and natural look. Put these in the hands of your qualified and experienced specialist at First Impressions, West Seattle.

Replacing the Old with New Dentistry

When Old Dentistry needs to go

You’ve had those dental works for a long time and it seems they are not giving you problems. However, they just don’t look the same as when you first got them. You know that dental works serve us a long time, but they will not last forever. Especially if one’s dental hygiene practices are on the poor side, or you are not going for dental check-ups regularly, you’d never know that your crown, filling or veneer has already reached the end of the line.

You ought to be replacing your old crown, such as when there is breakage or damage to the crown, most especially if made of porcelain. Also, replacements are called for if the crown has worn out due to constant use, or has discolored and no longer matches the color of the rest of your teeth. Remember, while crowns don’t decay, the natural tooth underneath it can.

For old dental fillings, replace if the filling has cracked, chipped off, or slowly worn away and food debris and bacteria can seep in through entry points. Sometimes it is the cement bond, the one that binds natural tooth to artificial crown, that is weakened or broken. Before the pulp gets involved, old fillings should be replaced. As far as veneers go, have them replaced if they have cracks, stains, if they keep dislodging or if they start to smell from underneath.

Out with the Old, In with the New in West Seattle Dentistry

For all these cases of old dentistry, seek the help of your West Seattle dentist. He will tell you that early detection minimizes the need for extensive and costly procedures. When you drop by First Impressions, have your old dental works examined. They might be due for replacements.