Category Archives: Blog

Protecting Children’s Teeth For the Future

A Safety Net For Young Teeth

Did you know that school-age children who do not have sealants applied to their teeth have three times more cavities than children with sealants? That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), which said in October 2016 that only 43% of children 6 to 11 years of age have sealants.

In Washington state, nearly 40% of kindergarteners have cavities and 58% of third graders have them. Tooth decay is still the most common chronic childhood disease in the US.
While brushing and flossing are great ways to prevent cavities, the back teeth do not always get the best out of brushing and flossing. Because of their posterior position, molars and premolars are not always easy to clean, and besides, their uneven top surfaces provide attractive places for food debris to lodge and get colonized by bacteria. Fluoride in toothpaste and in drinking water protects the smooth surfaces of teeth but the back teeth need extra protection.

A safe and affordable safety net can be provided by sealants. Painted as liquid on the surfaces of molars, this thin, almost translucent coating made from plastic sticks to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth and then quickly hardens via light curing. You have actually provided a physical barrier against food debris and bacterial attack.

Sealants can last many years and save time and money in the long run by avoiding fillings, crowns, or caps used to fix decayed teeth. Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but it is best to start early, like around the age of 6 through 12. Both primary and permanent molars benefit from sealants. Adult teeth can have sealants too, provided their back teeth are still carries-free and without fillings.

How safe are sealants? Unless it’s an allergic reaction, sealants have no known other ill-effects. Now if you’re concerned about BPA in dental sealants, the common chemical in plastic products, talk to your child’s dentist. There are dental sealant materials available that are without BPA. Your child’s dentist will help you decide which option is best for your child.

Safe Sealants in West Seattle

Like we use to say, where dental health is concerned, it is better to start early. Have your kid’s molars protected from tooth decay by way of sealants. It’s safe, painless and affordable, a preventive measure in oral care by your dentist in West Seattle.

West Seattle Dentist: Here is Periodontal Therapy Sans The Surgery

Periodontitis: When The Choice Is Non-Surgical

Treatment of choice for gum disease depends on the stage of the disease, your overall health as patient, and your response to previous treatments. There’s the surgical approach and the non-surgical, and the success of either approach will depend on the three aforementioned conditions.

When you say surgical, it means the dentist will have to restore destroyed periodontal or gum tissue and that will involve some surgery. On the other hand, the dentist opting for the non-surgical approach will need to control bacterial growth by means that are not surgical, such as cleaning.

Professional dental cleaning is not invasive and involves manually removing dental plaque and tartar that has built up on tooth surfaces and spaces in between teeth. It reaches into tooth pockets to scrape off tartar that adhered on root surfaces, above and below the gum line. These are debris that bacteria can colonize and initiate decay. Professional dental cleaning is also sometimes called Root Scaling and Planing, but this is more aggressive.

It involves also smoothing the root surfaces to prevent bacteria from clinging. It can be extensive or more frequent than twice a year depending on the health of your gums. As long as your gums are not yet infected, this procedure can staved off cavity formation and gum swelling. It’s preventive, so it cannot be the treatment if you already have active gum disease.

Another non-invasive approach is the use of the tray delivery system which consists of a custom-fit tray made from impressions of your mouth. Used at home the trays carry medications, like antiseptics or antibiotics, that penetrate gum tissue surrounding teeth and kill living bacteria present and provide an aseptic environment. This is usually effective as an adjunct treatment for surgical and non-surgical approaches.

Don’t Wait Til It Becomes Serious

Both non-surgical approaches to periodontal disease are offered by your West Seattle dentist. Both approaches don’t require surgery and can prove effective in the long run. Best suited when you still have no active gum disease, why don’t you come by 1st Impressions Dental. It will save you more in terms of time and money.

West Seattle Dentist: Veneers Are A Reason To Smile

When Do You Need Porcelain Veneers?

Dental veneers are used in cosmetic dentistry to replace the look and function of problematic teeth. They are light, thin and translucent, custom-made ceramic shells that are bonded tightly to fit the teeth, usually the front teeth, looking as natural and healthy as the rest of your dentition. Dental veneers can be made from porcelain or from resin composite materials. What do you choose? Porcelain veneers resist stains better than resin veneers and better mimic the light reflecting properties of natural teeth.

Porcelain veneers are the most common choice, however, resin veneers are thinner than porcelain. It requires less work on the natural tooth preparing it to receive its new look. All veneers require tooth trimming, about ½ millimeter of the natural tooth’s frontal surface, about the thickness of the veneer.

You might be suffering from any of the following situations, it would be a great idea to consider porcelain veneers. A discolored tooth is a good candidate. The discoloration might be due to root canal treatment; stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth.

Veneers can be considered for teeth that are misaligned, malformed, or uneven, as they can be shaped to conform to natural, healthy teeth. It’s also for chipped, broken, and worn down teeth. It can also replace a gap between teeth. On the other hand, veneers are not for decaying teeth or if there’s the presence of active gum disease; or if the teeth are already weakened by a large filling material and not enough enamel is left.

It’s a relatively easy procedure to do in the dental office. They can last up to 10 years with proper care and good oral hygiene. Apart from the natural look they provide and stain-resistant properties, veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape. They generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative.

Specializing in Porcelain Veneers in West Seattle

If you are looking at enhancing your look and your teeth are presenting a problem, come over to see your West Seattle dentist. Here at First Impressions Dental, we have done a lot of cosmetic and restorative work using porcelain veneers. See if this is your option and have that natural, healthy smile again.

Oral Cancer and Oral Hygiene West Seattle Dentist

Oral Outcomes with Chemotherapy: What to Expect

While chemotherapy aims to fight cancer, the treatment can cause some unwanted though expected side effects to manifest in your body. The mouth and its structures can be affected and that can be problematic. Best to consult your dentist first to be able to understand what to expect or to be able to minimize the symptoms, discomfort or xxxx.

Chemo drugs kill cancer cells but they may also harm normal cells, including those in the mouth. Side effects include problems with your teeth and gums, the mucosal lining and your salivary glands. The effects can be painful and can make it hard for you to talk, swallow or eat.

Apart from painful mouth and gums, there may also be burning, peeling, or swelling tongue, and also dryness of mouth, and change in taste. Mouth infection, like gum disease, is very likely because your immune system is down. The effects might be so intolerable, you may not be able to keep up with your cancer treatment. Your doctor may need to cut back on your cancer treatment or may even stop it.

Professional advice from your dentist may help you cope with cancer treatment, so see one first before your chemotherapy starts. Your dentist will instruct you to always keep your mouth hydrated by drinking plenty of water, sucking on ice chips, using sugarless gum or sugar-free hard candy. Your oral hygiene should not be neglected. Brush teeth, gums and tongue with very soft bristled brush using fluoride toothpaste.

Floss where gums do not bleed. Use mouth rinses without alcohol content. Or better use a solution of ¼ teaspoon of salt or 1 teaspoon of baking soda in 1 cup (8 ounces) of warm water. Follow with a plain water rinse.

Be careful what you eat and drink. Choose foods that are soft and moist, easy to chew and swallow. Take only small bites of food, chew slowly, and sip liquids with meals. Avoid sharp, crunchy, hot and spicy foods; likewise, acidic and sugary food and drinks; needless to say, tobacco products and alcoholic drinks. All these precautions are helpful and will see you through from the beginning of your cancer treatment until sometime after your therapy. Consult regularly with both your doctor and dentist for better and successful outcomes.

Working Together with Your West Seattle Dentist

Let your First Impressions team in West Seattle help you along with your chemotherapy. For better outcomes, it pays better to heed dental advice while you’re on cancer treatment.

Handling Tooth Sensitivity in West Seattle

The Biggest Causes of Sensitive Teeth

Are your teeth sensitive? There are a variety of reasons that are causing you to wince from tooth sensitivity. Some of the biggest causes are everyday activities you take for granted, while others aren’t so simple. All must be looked into and treated by your dentist or you may end up losing teeth.

The way you brush is one reason. You might be brushing too hard, using too much force or using a hard-bristled toothbrush. Over time, hard brushing can erode the protective layers of your teeth and expose microscopic hollow tubes that lead to dental nerves. When exposed to cold or hot temperatures, such as drinking cold water or sipping coffee, the teeth become sensitive.

Sometimes acidic or sweetened foods can cause the same. Your dentist will tell you to use gentler motions while brushing. Also, cut down on acidic intake, like tomato sauce, lemon, grapefruit, kiwi, and pickles, for acid wears down enamel.

Are you using whitening toothpaste? Some brands use hard chemical formulas as whiteners. Ask your dentist about it and he may switch you to another less caustic formula. In like manner, some mouth rinses bought over-the-counter can make teeth sensitive due to their alcohol content. Rinses can be real irritants especially if your dentin is already exposed. Gargle with water instead and don’t forget the brushing and flossing.

You might have a cracked or chipped tooth that exposes dentin or pulp, or you might have open spaces at the edges of tooth fillings, openings that expose the tooth to bacterial attack and decay.

Are you a tooth grinder? Called bruxism, you unknowingly clench or grind your teeth while you sleep. Over time you can erode enamel layer and expose sensitive dentin. Your dentist can prescribe a nightguard for you. Another cause of sensitivity is an excessive buildup of plaque that can cause tooth enamel to wear away.

And do you notice receding gums? Receding gums are looking like your teeth are elongating as gums pull away from hugging your crowns. You might even have pockets, spaces created between your teeth and gum tissue. It’s a sign of late gum disease. It also causes sensitive teeth. A dental visit is long overdue.

Saving Sensitive Teeth in West Seattle

Where sensitive teeth are concerned, come to your West Seattle dentist here at First Impressions. We can point out to you where your problems lie and give you tips to prevent further sensitivity. Treatment procedures are in order to prevent loss of teeth.