In our last blog, we discussed how gingivitis or inflammation of the gums is easily treated. If you miss the signs, or your gums fail to respond to gum treatment, there is a chance that your gums will develop periodontitis or periodontal disease. Gum inflammation is reclassified as periodontal disease when the gum pulls away from the irritating plaque and creates gaps between the tooth and gum. These pockets then become home to bacteria and the area become infected. If left unchecked, the done and the connective tissue which holds the tooth in place will break down and the tooth will be lost.
The risk factors for periodontitis are the same as for gingivitis: poor dental hygiene, smoking, diabetes, being immunocompromised, genetic and hormonal changes. If you have any of these risk factors it is important that you not miss a routine cleaning of your teeth to prevent gingivitis from developing and then progressing to periodontal disease.
If you have been diagnosed with periodontitis, don’t lose heart; it can be treated. The first step is to step up your oral hygiene at home to be sure you are brushing after every meal and flossing. Rinsing with salt water is also a good idea. Your dentist will do a deep cleaning which will involve a scaling and root planing. The deep clean will clean under the gum line and the planing involves smoothing the surface of the root to get rid on any nooks and crannies that would give bacteria a place to grow. You may also be prescribed a medication to help your body fight off any infection. If you suspect you may have gingivitis or periodontitis, call our office to set up an appointment for a consultation and a cleaning.
North Seattle Restorative and Preventative Dentistry is committed to your and your family’s dental health. Dental health isn’t just your teeth, it also means gum health and gum treatment if necessary. There are two main diseases of the gums that dentists see and we’ll discuss those, how to prevent them, and how they are treated. The two main diseases are gingivitis and periodontitis. We’ll discuss gingivitis in this blog, and periodontitis in the following blog.
Gingivitis is usually caused by a plaque build up at the gum line. The plaque irritates the gums and the gums react by becoming inflamed, red, swollen they will bleed easily. Improving your dental habits of flossing daily and brushing after every meal will go a long way to helping plaque-caused gingivitis. There are some cases when plaque is not the cause and those cases include hormone changes, being immunocompromised, or having diabetes. Certain medications can also cause gingivitis including Dilantin. Bad habits such as smoking or using smokeless tobacco or terrible for your oral health because they reduce the healing blood flow to the tissues of the mouth. There are also genetic factors to gingivitis so you can do everything right, but if you are genetically disposed to it, you can still get gingivitis.
Treatment of gingivitis is relatively simple. You’ll want to increase your vigilance of brushing and flossing and have your teeth cleaned by your dentist. If your gums are bleeding a bit you can rinse with salt water until you can see your dentist. We’ll continue with gingivitis in the next blog. Until then, if you have any questions call our office.
Hello Kenmore and North Seattle,
This is your Two Front Teeth. We know your Wisdom Teeth promised to return for another blog post this month, but North Seattle Restorative and Preventative Dentistry asked us to step in for your Wisdom Teeth for this post. They have a big test on general dentistry tomorrow so they’re brushing up (Ha! See what we just did there?) on dental care tonight. While they’re doing that, we are going to review some advantages to flossing.
You were looking for something else to do – It’ll fill up that empty 2-3 minutes per day you were just wasting, and it’s good dental care.
Smile away – As all great smiles are, your smile will be food particle-free. That’s right, flossing also gets you to look in the mirror where you can see that little spec of spinach on one of us.
Flossing saves paper – Now you won’t have to tear off a small piece of paper and shove it between us in a desperate (and failed) attempt to get to that sunflower seed lodged between two of us. Plus, using foreign objects as toothpicks drives Dr. Emerson up the wall, and she’s got a drill in her hands most of the day, so let’s not upset her.
Your teeth will love the extra room – There’s nothing worse for us teeth than when some piece of celery or some other food particle gets lodged in between us and our gums and over-stay their welcome like bad in-laws.
There’s your teeth’s-eye-view of the situation. Sure, it’s a little unconventional, but we’re teeth. We agree with the general dentistry position on flossing, but, as you can see, we also have our own reasons for our viewpoints.
With a dedication to our patients’ satisfaction as well as their good dental health, we at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry are eager to brighten and strengthen your smile.
1. Avoid or at least limit drinks and foods that can stain your teeth. For example, coffee, tea, tobacco, blueberries, and red wine could all stain your teeth. If you do choose to consume these foods and drinks, consider limiting them or using a straw to cut down the amount of stain that will touch your front teeth.
2. When you consume stain-causing beverages or foods, we recommend rinsing with water immediately after consumption. And be aware that brushing and flossing your teeth are the best way to remove plaque, debris, and stain. This helps remove the sticky plaque and tarter build-up that discolors and weakens your teeth. This plaque biofilm builds up within six hours of touching teeth and forms a harmful hard tarter within two days.
3. Bleaching toothpastes contain gritty silicates which can abrade (scratch and wear down teeth to the point of weakening them) the surface enamel of teeth. Certain smooth pastes are better options. Many bleaching products weaken the enamel’s hard crystalline, inorganic matrix. When using a gritty paste at the same time, certain bleaching products make the color of teeth opalescent so they appear greyish and show gradations of yellow close to the gum-line. Also, if you have a grey hue to your teeth from tetracycline stains or from a fever when your teeth were developing during childhood, avoid all bleaching products as they will make the density of your teeth look more grey than white. The enamel matrix of normal healthy teeth may reconstitute itself and re-hydrate itself quickly after bleaching with a safe whitening product, but wait 30 minutes after bleaching before you brush your teeth. We also recommend using smooth, soft toothpastes with soft bristle tooth brushes and using a thicker dental floss. We also recommend always following the manufacturer’s guidelines when using a whitening product.
3. The color of teeth is the result of the foods you consume, following good oral hygiene practices by brushing your teeth after meals and flossing well, and routinely having your teeth cleaned by a good dental professional. (Only certified and experienced dental hygienists and dentists have this training!) Consider discussing teeth whitening with our team at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry. Your regular annual dentist checkups or hygiene care visits are a good time for this conversation. We respect your time and can make these inquiries fit into your already scheduled appointments – which saves you both time and money!
4. If you are able to practice the steps above, you may not need as much restorative dentistry in the long-run. However, many patients discover that implants or veneers are a good way to achieve more attractive and whiter teeth, and at the same time these strengthen and preserve natural teeth for the long-term. Dr. Emerson, a local dentist in the North Seattle and Kenmore area, can discuss with you the treatment options which can benefit your smile as well as the long-term preservation of your natural teeth.
5. When a patient’s natural teeth are missing or they are too badly damaged to be functional, dentures or partials (removable or permanently attached to the jaw) may be good options for whiter and more functional teeth.
Going to the dentist’s office to see the hygienist twice a year is great for your teeth and a good way to prevent or stay on top of any slowly progressing dental issues. However, there are things that you can do at home between dental visits to help keep your teeth healthy and white.
Eat and drink dairy products like milk, yogurt, and cheese. Dairy foods contain calcium that is critical in maintaining strong, healthy bones and growing teeth. Plus, recent studies have shown that eating dairy products raises the pH level in your mouth. A pH level that’s above 5.5 (more alkaline than acidic) helps to protect your teeth against erosion (the thinning of the outer enamel shell of teeth).
The second tip is to eat cut-up apples and other crunchy fruit, eat crunchy vegetables, and choose the hard cookie over the softer sticky chews. We call these “nature’s toothbrushes” and for good reason! Because they’re crunchy and not sticky, they are great at helping to clean teeth while also stimulating saliva that cleans away the acids in the mouth. Plaque builds up within six hours after eating, so if you are not flossing, these crunchy foods help break apart the dirty biofilm layer slowly caking on dirty teeth.
These foods are hard, so they are not a good idea if you have large fillings as you could break your teeth on them; however, if your teeth have enough internal structure and strength, it is very healthy for general good health and specifically beneficial to teeth to eat an apple or a few raw carrots a day, especially at the end of meals.
When you brush your teeth be careful when using a whitening toothpaste. If your teeth fight an attrition or erosion problem, then be sure your brightening paste is a smooth consistency or use no paste at all. But if your teeth have a thick enamel layer with sequential fluoride treatments through the years for strength, a whitening toothpaste can help you keep your teeth white between dental visits. Be careful! These whitening ingredients are intended to increase the brightness of your smile when used daily, but be wary of abrading or thinning your enamel! If you have had tetracycline staining or a fever when the tooth enamel was developing, the bleach can turn your enamel to a dull grey. Most pastes on the market have a lot of gritty silicate particles, so choose carefully, making sure that the whitening toothpaste is ADA (American Dental Association) approved and your tooth brush is soft. Then you’ll be good to go!
For even more reliable whitening and dental results, see Dr. Emerson at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry! The team at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry love dentistry! We are local people of the area and we specialize in maintenance, preventive and restorative dentistry.
Here at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry, we suggest to parents that the sooner a child begins seeing their dentist regularly, the better chance they will have for healthier mouths the rest of their lives. Our dental team offers dentistry for the entire family, from kids to seniors. This includes exceptional cutting-edge preventive care along with the most current scientifically-based restorative procedures. We know that excellent general dental care which starts soon enough and is consistent will be crucial in maintaining a healthy mouth throughout the life of a patient.
Unfortunately, many older kids who come in for their first visit with us already have dental cavities. These spots of bacterial infection are called “caries.” The simple transfer of the bacteria which can cause cavities may be from many places including sharing spoons with friends who have cavities or from kisses from a child’s mom and dad if they have dental decay.
Certain actions cause more aggressive tooth decay. We encourage children to drink lots of water and to choose to eat harder cookies instead of sticky candies. We also encourage parents to use sippy cups rather than bottles for young kiddos who can handle them so that sugars don’t continue to flow over baby teeth while a child sleeps. Especially concerning for younger children is that once the dental bacterial infection is established, the offending bacteria can easily enlarge cavity holes in baby teeth (much more quickly than in adult teeth) if babies are put down to bed with milk or juice-filled bottles in their mouth. When children fall asleep with a bottle, they may continue to soak their teeth and gums in sugar for hours at a time. When you bring your child into our dental office and we learn about bad and good habits, we help to re-enforce the good habits and share with parents seeking to understand why certain habits are not a good practice. We have great products to help children clean their teeth, and we can show parents different ways to position themselves and their child when brushing your youngster’s teeth.
We suggest that your young kiddos come see us at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry. Dr. Emerson loves to help children make the gentle introduction to dentistry when they get their first tooth or at six months of age, whichever comes first! We also encourage mothers to focus on their baby’s teeth by considering that bottles and breastfeeding at night should be minimal once their child’s first teeth come through the gums. Parents can fill their baby’s bottle with warm water instead of milk so the baby still feels the comfort of a full, warm stomach.
Believe it or not, tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among children in the USA. As discussed above, a good way to help avoid tooth decay in children is by eliminating overnight exposure of sugar on baby teeth and by promoting healthy eating which minimizes refined sugar (candy, pasta, and most baked goodies) and starchy snacks such as potato chips. We will help you with these and other preventative good practices which help parents to promote good dental home-care for children so they are less likely to suffer from tooth decay at an early age and as they get older. We look particularly forward to these appointments!
This is your Wisdom Teeth. The good folks at Emerson DDS, your gentle dental care specialist in Kenmore, WA have asked me to explain some benefits of getting your bi-annual cleaning. Everyone knows what an important part of healthy dental living this procedure is to those who have their teeth cleaned twice per year. However, since we are your Wisdom Teeth, we know a few other things that maybe you didn’t know (don’t worry, we’re your Wisdom Teeth, we’re really smart that way).
Your smile will become your hallmark. Everyone loves a great smile, and with your dental cleansing, your family dentist gives you an unlimited license to use your smile as much as like. There are countless times in a day when this simple skill comes in handy. Here’s just a few ways a great smile can help you:
Explaining that your dog really did eat your homework, Mr. Robinson.
Getting pulled over for speeding. You may not get out of the ticket, but you’ll at least let the officer know that you have great teeth. Irresistible smiles are still legal in all 50 states.
Pain treatment. Smiling releases endorphin’s, which are nature’s pain killers and happiness drug. Take two, they’re good for you.
Making the people around you happy. Smile’s are contagious. Be patient zero in the next happiness epidemic.
Flirting. Try flirting without smiling sometime. It’s like trying to drive a car on empty.
Never be misinterpreted again (unless you’re flirting). They’re understood everywhere you go and accepted worldwide. There’s no exchange rate on these beauties, so bring plenty of smiles with you on vacation.
That concludes our list for this blog post. Schedule your next dental cleansing with Emerson DDS and wear that smile with confidence. Tell them your Wisdom Teeth sent you in for your smile check-up.
A conversation about an overlap of medicine and dentistry.
We see many pregnant women and many children in our dental practice at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry. Additionally, Dr. Emerson has young children of her own. Most women have no idea that their pregnancy can affect their oral health in a precipitous manner. Our team is very understanding of patients who have become pregnant, and these patients often indicate their relief to have the care and watchful treatment we provide.
Two common myths about the teeth of a pregnant women are that calcium is lost from a pregnant mother’s teeth and that one tooth is lost for every pregnancy. Of course neither of these are true! But these myths persist because the changes within the mouths of pregnancy women can cause a great deal of problems. Why? It is primarily due to a change in hormones, genetics, and the changes in habits when a woman is tired while pregnant. The balance of a woman’s otherwise healthy mouth is easily tipped when she is building a baby inside her body.
During pregnancy, increased levels of progesterone and estrogen hormones can wreak havoc with an expecting mom’s feelings and physiology.. The disturbed balance of these two hormones can affect oral health by causing a heightened gag-reflux with acid-reflux, nausea and vomiting, swelling and bleeding gums (gingivitis) around teeth, unusual sensitivities to hot and cold, loose temporomandibular joints (joint laxity and disc displacements), and many pregnant women notice an exaggerated amount of plaque and tarter deposits on their teeth. This sticky biofilm buildup of plaque precipitates as early as six hours after brushing and flossing, and the formation of hard calculus (tarter) from this plaque takes just two days to form.
Pregnancy gingivitis affects most pregnant woman to some degree and it normally occurs in the second trimester. We can help patients experiencing this. However, if a patient already has gingivitis and active cavities, it’s highly likely that pregnancy will make gum problems and tooth decay progress quickly, particularly when the patient doesn’t have a safety net of treatments in place which control the process of these dental diseases. It is best to have dental needs addressed before a fetus enters the second trimester while the baby is healthy and Mom can still sit through appointments comfortably.
In our office at North Seattle Restorative & Preventative Dentistry, x-rays taken during pregnancy are select and specific to the patient’s needs. Also, we use a peri-apical machine with low kVp and rates equivalent to ambient day-light radiation (which is 3-6 microseverts. Compare this to a chest x-rays which is approximately 8000microseverts.).
During pregnancy, a woman is also at a greater risk for inflammatory, non-cancerous growths called pregnancy tumors there can develop when gums are swollen and irritated around tarter build-up. Gum swellings can be uncomfortable and irritating, and they may interfere with normal chewing and brushing. They do not need to be treated if one can clean easily around them without causing bleeding or introducing a bacterial infection; and they normally go away on their own after the baby is born and the mother’s hormones return to a normal level.