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Are You Looking for Affordable Dentistry?

affordable dentistry in Vancouver WAIt’s a sad fact, but did you know that one out of every three to four adults in America does not get regular dental care? For some people, dental anxiety plays a role in forgoing dental services, but for many it is a matter of financial anxiety.

At Creative Smiles, we believe everyone should have access to high-quality affordable dentistry. You should never have to choose between quality services and affordability. For this reason, we take the time to work with each family individually and help you determine a payment scheme that fits into your budget.

Are you looking for the best affordable dentistry in Vancouver, WA? Look no further! Call Creative Smiles at (360) 574-3061 or contact us online to make an appointment.

What We Do to Make Dentistry Affordable

If you’ve been avoiding dentistry appointments due to financial concerns, give us the opportunity to provide you with affordable options for treatment.

If you do not have dental insurance, we offer a $29 new patient special, which includes an exam and dental x-rays. This is your starting point. After we conduct a thorough exam, we will let you know if you have any health concerns, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or structural damage. If there are issues, we will provide you with a personalized treatment plan to explain the recommended steps needed to restore your oral health, and the estimated costs and treatment timeline.

We have two patient care coordinators on staff who will sit down with you and help you understand the treatments plan. If you have dental insurance, we will contact your insurer to find out what percent of the costs will be covered and what percent are out-of-pocket. If you are not insured, we will share with you some of the common pathways that people use to pay for dental services. These often include CareCredit, in-office payment plans, and other forms of financing that are preferable to traditional high-interest credit cards. We want to you to have access to the best oral care possible, and you shouldn’t have to bury yourself in a mountain of debt to do it!

Meet Our Doctor

Dr. Carl Futenma was born and raised on the small island of Kauai, in Hawaii. After attending the University of Hawaii, he worked as a teacher before deciding to pursue his dream of becoming a dentist. He joined the Air Force Dental General Dentistry Residency, where he served for three years. In total, he has practiced dentistry for over 20 years and loves to enrich the quality of his dental services with continuing education and acquiring innovative techniques and technology.

In his practice, Dr. Futenma puts the emphasis on patient comfort and positive experiences. He has invested time and energy into mastering techniques that make dentistry more patient-friendly. For example, he uses laser dentistry tools that make gum disease treatments and fillings more comfortable (no drill needed) and provides sedation dentistry options for patients who suffer from dental anxiety. You will find the most up-to-date tools and techniques at Creative Smiles—all at affordable prices.

If you’ve been avoiding the dentist over money concerns, call us today to get back on track. Let us show you that affordable dentistry does not mean “bargain services” or cutting corners. Call our Vancouver, WA dental office at (360) 574-3061 to make an appointment. In addition to Vancouver, our office is convenient to Battle Ground, Ridgefield, Orchards, Hazel Dell, Salmon Creek, and Portland, OR.

Call Creative Smiles for Affordable Dentistry in Vancouver, WA. Only $29 for Exam and X-Rays.

What Every Parent Should Know About Wisdom Teeth

wisdom teeth extractionParents of teens and tweens often have questions about wisdom teeth. There is a lot of information about wisdom teeth available online, but it can be confusing when you try to understand what it means for your child, specifically.

The most important thing I tell all parents about wisdom teeth is that we are already thinking about them!

Every time your child comes in for a dental check-up, we review dental x-rays to monitor the growth and position of the wisdom teeth. We assess each child’s situation individually and will let you know when we think the optimal time for removal will be, if needed.

Do you have a teen who needs routine dental care and wisdom teeth extraction? Call our Vancouver, WA dental office at 360-574-3061 to learn about wisdom teeth extraction with Dr. Carl Futenma.

Wisdom Teeth: Who Needs Them?

A curious fact about wisdom teeth (the 3rd molars) is that they are not needed for proper dentition. They are a biological holdover from when we used to chew a great deal more fibrous plants and unprocessed grains, thousands of years ago. Many people do not develop wisdom teeth, in fact, or only grow a set on the top or bottom. Most of us do, however, so we have learned that they can be problematic.

Over the past few millennia, human jaws have been getting smaller, but we still grow the same number of teeth to fit into those jaws. This means wisdom teeth can cause problems when they come in. There may not be enough room for them to erupt, so they become impacted—often painfully. Even if there is room in the jaw, they can still lead to overcrowding and undo all that effort you put into straightening the teeth with orthodontics!

Why Wisdom Teeth are Often Removed

If we think your child’s wisdom teeth are going to cause eruption problems or may upset proper alignment, we usually recommend extraction. They are not needed for proper chewing, so in many ways the procedure is a preventive measure. Your child avoids potential pain and dental problems in the future by having the wisdom teeth extracted.

Even when there is ample room in the jaw for wisdom teeth to erupt, patients often choose to have them extracted, anyway. Why? Molars are harder to keep clean to begin with, due to their deep crevices, and the third molars erupt in the farthest corner of the mouth. It can be hard to manipulate a toothbrush and flossing tools so far into the mouth, and many adults develop decay in the deep ridges of the wisdom teeth. Many people who keep their wisdom teeth when they were younger find they have to get them extracted at a later date when they begin to suffer deep decay and structural damage. This can often be more traumatic than having it done before they erupt.

When is the Best Time for Wisdom Teeth Extraction?

Most children begin developing wisdom teeth in their jaws by about age ten. We can see them on a dental x-ray, even though the child won’t notice their presence and they won’t try to erupt until much later.

The ideal time for extraction will be before the teeth have erupted, at a point when the wisdom teeth have developed roots and the surrounding bone is less dense. We typically recommend extraction occur at some point between 16 and 19 years of age, but every mouth is different. Some teens will be ready for extraction at age 15, and some may not be at the ideal stage until they are 20 years old.

This is why routine dental visits are so important. They allow us to monitor the development of the wisdom teeth over a period of several years, so we can determine and advise you of the best time for extraction.

To learn more about wisdom teeth extraction, call our Vancouver, WA dental office at 360-574-3061 to make an appointment.

Call Creative Smiles for Vancouver WA wisdom teeth extraction.

A Family Dentist Can Provide Great Pediatric Care


family dentist
Do you have a little one (or two) who is approaching the age of his or her first dental visit?  Your first instinct may be to seek out a pediatric specialty dentist, but great pediatric care can be found with a general dentist, too.

Just as with all care providers, some general practitioners are great with kids, and some do better with adults and older kids. At Creative Smiles, Dr. Carl Futenma loves treating families, and provides friendly, appropriate care for every age and need. Call our office at 360-574-3061 for great pediatric dentistry in Vancouver, WA.

When To Bring Your Child to the Dentist

Children should visit the dentist for their first exam and cleaning by the third birthday. However, we encourage parents to bring toddlers in earlier for informal visits. This can  help them associate the dental office with positive experiences before their time comes. Bringing your two-year-old to watch your dental appointment, just once, can help normalize the things that happen in the dental chair and show a child that there’s nothing to be afraid of.

At your child’s first formal dental visit, we will take the time to make sure he or she feels comfortable before we ask to see the teeth. Adult attitudes toward dental visits are often shaped by early childhood encounters at the dentist. We aim to provide a relaxed and joyful experience, in the hopes that positive interactions will allay any potential stress or anxiety.

Children’s Unique Dental Needs

Oral hygiene should begin as soon as a child has teeth. Infants’ teeth can be cleaned with a wet washcloth, piece of gauze, or a specially designed infant toothbrush. In addition to cleaning the teeth, avoid any sugary or starchy foods near bedtime or nap time, which can create a decay-friendly acidic environment in the mouth.

Never put your child to bed with a bottle, as this can lead to early pediatric decay (sometimes called baby bottle decay).  Make sure he or she finishes the bottle at least a half an hour before bedtime. Try to use a pacifier or give a bottle with water in it, if your child likes to fall asleep with a bottle.

Make sure you use age-appropriate toothpaste with your child, as fluoride should not be used until a child is old enough to reliably spit out more toothpaste than he or she swallows. Swallowing too much fluoride can cause staining on the adult teeth growing in your child’s jaw, and may even cause poisoning. Use an age-appropriate toothpaste until you are confident he or she is spitting is all out.

Flossing should commence as soon as your child has enough teeth that they are pressed close together. If loose floss proves difficult for you or your child to wield, try some of the fun, flavored pre-loaded flossing picks made especially for small children.

Watch for Signs of Decay

Children’s teeth have thinner enamel than adult teeth, which means decay can develop and advance faster than in adult teeth. This is why we encourage parents to always monitor their child’s brushing and flossing habits. It’s even a good idea to brush the teeth yourself every now and then (up to age six or so) to make sure they are getting thoroughly cleaned. This also gives you the opportunity to notice if there are any discolored spots forming, which may indicate a cavity.

When a Pediatric Specialty Dentist Might Be Needed

Most children do fine with a family dentist, but there are some cases in which a specialist should be sought for pediatric dentistry. If your child has a medical condition that causes oral health problems, a specialist may have more experience with these cases. Additionally, early problems with tooth eruption are sometimes best understood by a pediatric specialist. Dr. Futenma provides appropriate care for all children, but he will be the first one to recommend a pediatric specialist if your child may be better served that way.

Call Creative Smiles to learn more about pediatric dentistry in Vancouver WA. Dr. Futenma and our dental staff love to see children have great first experiences at the dentist, and will give your children the attention and patience they deserve! Call 360-574-3061 to make an appointment.

How to Find a Great Dentist in Vancouver

Vancouver Bay AreaChances are, when you think of a great friend, you think of one you can count on to understand your needs, want the best for you, and never let you down.

A great dentist should make you feel the same way.

But if you’re still in the process of finding a new dentist, that’s a big “should.” How can you be sure you’ve made a great choice as early as your first office visit?

Let us help. You can start by learning about the important qualities that believe make a dentist great. We’ve listed them here, to make it easy for you. Also, read the reviews our patients wrote about their experiences Creative Smiles in Vancouver, our family dental practice.

Overall, what you learn here can help you choose any type of healthcare professional with a high degree of confidence.

YOU KNOW YOU’VE FOUND A GREAT DENTIST IF:

You feel welcome and respected. You know how relaxed and comfortable you feel when you’re with good friends. That’s the feeling you should get whenever you visit your dentist’s office.

Then there’s the fact that anxiety about going to the dentist makes many people anxious. Instead of rushing you into the chair, a great dentist listens to you and takes the time to hear and ease your concerns. That way, your examination or procedure can go smoothly for both of you.

You feel valued as a person, as well as a patient. A dentist  looks forward to having you as a patient today and for many years to come, and so he or she will invest time to build your relationship at every visit. Besides giving you a good feeling of support, a dentist who sets aside ample time to talk with you will take your unique concerns into account, along with your medical and dental history, whenever you come in for care.

Additional signs that you’re valued in your dentist’s practice include:

  1. seeing you on time according to your appointment,
  2. taking your finances and insurance into account when recommending treatment, and
  3. following up with a phone call or check-up after a major procedure to be sure you’re recovering well.

You’ve been told why you’re having a certain procedure and understand the benefits you can expect from it. Understanding the treatment your dentist recommends and how it will improve your dental health will build your confidence that you’re receiving the best care.

There’s another reason why comprehension is important, though. Your dental health is vital to your overall health. Why? Because bacteria in your mouth can play a role in the development of major diseases, including heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. The procedures your dentist recommends must be tailored to your personal medical history, as well as your dental condition; a great dentist lets you know the full story of your care at every visit.

Your procedure will involve technologically advanced dental tools and evidence-based treatments. Modern dental tools—including digital X-ray imaging and dental lasers (for treating gum disease and removing tooth decay)—deliver more accurate information for your dentist and greater comfort for you while providing the best possible results in the shortest time. Furthermore, a dentist who stays involved with current research, clinical methods, and dental materials will have the knowledge to provide you with the most current treatment options.

The staff are valued and respected, the same as the patients. The best indication that your dentist sincerely cares about you, the patient, is the way he or she behaves toward staff. A great dentist is considerate and kind to everyone. You’ll notice a well-treated staff by the smiles and courteous care you receive, from your first phone call to the office.

You’re a full partner in your dental care. It’s important that your dentist is completely honest about every aspect of your care, including making sure you have information about good day-to-day dental care and habits as well as about the reason for today’s visit. If you see the dentist every six months, feel fine, and your treatment plan is shocking, perhaps you need a second opinion. In contrast, if you know that your mouth needs a lot of attention to regain good oral health and comfortable function, and your treatment plan is minimal, the dentist may not understand your goals.

 YOUR GREAT VANCOUVER DENTIST IS WAITING TO HEAR FROM YOU

Just as you value having a great friend for life, a great dentist values you as a patient for life. Over time, the long-term relationship you develop with the dentist you choose will show, not only in your smile, but in your overall health.

If you need a family or general dentist in the Vancouver area, call Creative Smiles and schedule a visit with Dr. Futenma today.