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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.

NuCalm: Drug-Free Treatment for Dental Anxiety

dental anxietyDental appointments are rarely anyone’s favorite activity. Letting another person poke around in your mouth just feels wrong; the light is too bright; it gets a bit boring lying back in the chair; and there’s always the chance you might get bad news. But we stand up straight, lift our head, and go to our appointments anyway, because we know it’s the best way to preserve the health of our teeth.

For the millions of Americans with dental anxiety, however, there’s a lot more to the story. Dental anxiety and phobias can prevent even the toughest personalities from getting the care they need. For these patients, no amount of bravery or coaching is enough, because their reaction to dental situations is not something they can control. They may experience irrational panic and dread so severe that it starts before they even get to the dental office.

Do you know someone who has avoided the dentist due to dental anxiety? Read on to learn how Vancouver, WA dental office Creative Smiles can help you have a more comfortable dental appointment, with or without medication.

Overcoming Dental Anxiety

Dental phobias may have their roots in bad memories from the past, fear of pain, fear of needles, or an instinctive response to the sounds, sights, and smells of a dental office. Ultimately it doesn’t matter what the cause is, because most patients respond favorably to a two-fold approach to combat dental anxiety.

  1. Establish a trusting relationship with the dentist and staff, so you can communicate your fears and feelings, knowing the dentist will respect your wishes.
  2. Use mildly sedating medications to induce a more relaxed state of mind.

For many patients, a dose or two of an oral sedative is enough to give patients a worry-free, non-triggered dental appointment. Mild anti-anxiety medications do not induce unconsciousness, but simply take the edge off, and allow the patient to relax. Oral sedatives can safely be used in conjunction with nitrous oxide gas, to help patients tune out their anxiety and stay calm.

Medication-Free Sedation?

Dental sedation can “work miracles” for many anxious patients—but it’s not always the answer. Some patients cannot take sedatives for medical reasons, and some people react badly to sedatives; in some cases, the medication may actually increase anxiety because they feel like they are relinquishing control. For patients who cannot take oral sedatives, we are proud to offer a medication-free option.

NuCalm is an all-natural, patented process for inducing a state of deep relaxation. It uses a combination of sensory blocking tools (earphones and eye mask), calming music, and an FDA-approved cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) device. This device gently stimulates your brainwaves to bring you into an alpha and theta wave state, which occur naturally when you are calm and relaxed. Ordinarily, you would experience your appointment in a beta wave state of alert wakefulness. Click here to read more about brain waves.

NuCalm has been used safely on more than 250,000 patients, and 98 percent report positive experiences. It does not interfere with your brain function, but is simply a way to “hack” yourself into a state of calmness without the use of medication. You can read more about NuCalm on their website; in addition to its application in dental situations, NuCalm is also used as a stress-relief system, and a performance enhancing tool.

If you are averse to the idea of taking drugs, or simply want to be able to drive yourself home after your appointment, ask Dr. Carl Futenma about NuCalm for your next appointment.

If you experience dental anxiety, contact our Vancouver, WA dental office at 360-574-3061 to schedule a consultation. We will meet with to discuss treatment options and help you decide if you want to try NuCalm or oral sedation to get the care you need.

Thinking About Orthodontics? Six Month Smiles May Be Right for You

Vancouver WA orthodonticsOrthodontic treatments are an excellent way to improve your appearance and help ensure your teeth and gums stay healthy and strong for a lifetime. If you are considering orthodontics, it’s important to know there are many benefits to realigning your smile. The most notable benefit will be the feeling of having a beautiful, symmetrical smile to share with the world, but there are also several health benefits to straightening your teeth.

Vancouver, WA dentist Dr. Carl Futenma provides Six Month Smiles orthodontic treatment to help his patients achieve the confidence that comes with a smile that is as beautiful as it is healthy. Call us at 360-574-3061 to learn more about Six Month Smiles.

For a Beautiful and Healthy Smile

Misaligned teeth negatively affect the appearance of your smile, but they can also lead to oral health problems. For example, when teeth are crowded and overlap, they may be harder to keep clean and therefore put you at a disadvantage when it comes to preventing cavities and gum disease. Furthermore, a poorly aligned bite can weaken and wear down teeth and lead to jaw problems later in life, such bruxism and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.

Health benefits of orthodontics include:

  • Teeth that are easier to clean
  • Improved jaw function
  • Increased chewing efficiency
  • Long term health of the gum tissue

In addition to improving your appearance and self-confidence, straightening your teeth with orthodontics will give you the peace of mind that you are taking every possible step to maintain the long-term health of your teeth and gums.

Six Month Smiles

The most well-known orthodontic treatment is bracket-and-wire braces. This dependable system is based on the principle that teeth can be shifted into new positions when gentle, constant pressure is applied. Brackets are permanently affixed to the teeth, and wires are threaded through the brackets to apply carefully controlled pressure. Small alignment changes will be enacted by tightening the wires during monthly visits to our office. Over time, teeth are shifted into more healthy and aesthetic positions: a beautifully balanced smile!

With Six Month Smiles, orthodontic treatment is faster than ever. Typically, braces take approximately 24 months, but with this system a new smile can be complete in just six months. That’s faster than even clear aligner systems, such as Invisalign. It is also less noticeable than standard braces; with tooth colored brackets and wires,  there is no stainless steel to distract from the beauty of your smile during treatment.

Your Consultation with Dr. Futenma

If you would like to learn more about orthodontic treatment for correcting your smile, Dr. Futenma will meet with you for a consultation, during which he will (1) conduct an examination, (2) explain your unique alignment concerns, (2) determine whether Six Month Smiles is right for you.

Using x-rays and the most up-to-date digital imaging technology, we will carefully assess your teeth and provide a complete clinical diagnosis and written summary of your alignment concerns. You will see a detailed treatment plan that outlines the proposed treatment, goals, and estimated fees.

The Time Has Never Been Better!

Orthodontic treatments have been around for many decades, but recent advances in technology, materials, and digital imaging provide patients with better options than ever before. Modern orthodontic treatments like Six Month Smiles can better target your unique alignment issues and provide more conservative, faster corrections than those of the past.

Visit our Vancouver, WA office to learn more about what modern orthodontics can do for you. Whether you are considering braces for you child, teen, or yourself, we will help you understand the benefits and details of the process. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Futenma, call our office at (360) 574-3061 or contact us online anytime.

When Should I Start Thinking About Wisdom Teeth Removal?

wisdom teeth removal
If you have children, you may be wondering what you should know about wisdom teeth removal. Do wisdom teeth have to come out? When is the best time to have them removed? Are there any health benefits to keeping one’s wisdom teeth?

At Creative Smiles, Dr. Carl Futenma can answer all your questions and help you determine the right timing for wisdom teeth removal—if it is, indeed, necessary for your child. Call our Vancouver, WA dental office at 360-574-3061 for a consultation at Creative Smiles.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the very last adult teeth to cut through the gums. Also called the third molars, these teeth erupt during a teenager’s transition to early adulthood, hence the name.

Wisdom teeth have become mostly unnecessary for food consumption in the past two thousand years; few humans eat great quantities of unprocessed grains and fibrous vegetables any more. Over time, the human jaw seems to be getting smaller, as well, and more and more people are born without some of their wisdom teeth.

Why are wisdom teeth extracted?

Many people choose to have wisdom teeth removed before they erupt to prevent crowding and misalignment, and to promote good oral health. If your teeth have been carefully aligned by orthodontic treatments, keeping your wisdom teeth may send them into a state of misalignment again. Additionally, wisdom teeth that try to erupt into an already-crowded mouth may become painfully impacted.

It is not absolutely necessary to remove wisdom teeth, but many people elect to have them removed to prevent problems in the future. For example, some patients are told they have “plenty of room” for their wisdom teeth, and that they don’t need to have them removed. Often those same patients will have them extracted later in life, after they have developed deep cavities or suffered deep cracks and breaks that lead to infection. The truth is that wisdom teeth’s extreme location in the back of the mouth makes them very hard to keep clean.

Should everyone have their wisdom teeth removed?

Dr. Futenma assesses each case individually, recommending removal in cases in which future oral health may be complicated by their presence.

Ideally, we will monitor a child’s development over several years and can watch the wisdom teeth when they form, assess their position, and determine when to remove them, if needed. This is one of the reasons why we take regular dental x-rays throughout the teenage years.

When is the best time for extraction?

Since every mouth is different, the ideal age for extracting wisdom teeth will vary. The best time is when the teeth’s roots are 50-70 percent developed. This allows us to remove the teeth quickly and reduce the risk of complications.

This milestone usually occurs between the ages of 15-19 years. Sometimes we see wisdom tooth roots develop at a younger age, which is why we like to monitor tooth development throughout childhood. If your child is receiving routine dental health check-ups, we will check the development of wisdom teeth on every dental x-ray and intraoral scan.

If you are thinking about wisdom teeth removal for your teenager, call Creative Smiles for a consultation with Dr. Carl Futenma. We will help you understand your child’s unique anatomy, so you can make an informed decision about wisdom teeth removal.

Call our Vancouver, WA dental office at 360-574-3061 for a consultation at Creative Smiles.

 

 

Preventive Visits Keep Your Family’s Smiles Healthy

family dentistryAs the expression goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Nowhere is this saying more true than in dentistry. It’s much easier to prevent cavities than to treat them–and much cheaper, too. If you fit into the category of people who only go to the family dentist when you have a toothache, get ready for a big dose of truth: there’s a better way!

We know no one looks forward to dental appointments, but the reality is that regular six-month visits to your dentist are the single most important thing you can do (beyond daily brushing and flossing) to prevent cavities and gum disease.

Do you need a family dentist in Vancouver, WA? Creative Smiles provides excellent quality dental care to keep your family’s smiles healthy and strong. Contact us at 360-574-3061 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Carl Futenma.

What Happens During a Preventive Visit?

Six-month preventive visits serve two main purposes. They give us the opportunity to (1) examine your teeth for problems, and (2) deliver a professional teeth cleaning. When signs of decay are caught early, this allows our staff to provide treatments that can actually prevent a cavity from developing. If cavities are already present, we can provide fillings to prevent the kind of deep decay that leads to complex restorations.

There are many goals to preventive visits:

  • Remove tartar from tooth enamel
  • Clean and polish teeth
  • Answer questions about oral health and hygiene
  • Examine teeth and take x-rays
  • Check for cavities and spots of demineralization
  • Apply fluoride gel and sealants to prevent cavities
  • Check gum tissue for signs of gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease)
  • Discuss overall medical health issues that may affect your oral health
  • Oral cancer screening

As with any dental procedure, preventive visits can be performed with the assistance of sedation. If a member of your family experiences dental anxiety, ask about our sedation options when you book the appointment.

Why Prevention is So Important

Most Americans will experience some level of tooth decay in their lifetime. Even those of us who are vigilant about our daily oral hygiene can develop cavities. Why? Mouth bacteria are miniscule, and any amount of tartar build-up can lead to a cavity if not removed with dental tools. Once a cavity has started there’s nothing your body can do to heal it. Only your dentist and dental staff can halt tooth decay and keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Why You Need Professional Teeth Cleanings

You may love how white and shiny your teeth look after a dental cleaning, but appearance is the least important benefit of a dental cleaning.

When you eat and drink, small amounts of food residue stick to the teeth and invite bacteria to feast on them. As bacteria consume, they excrete acids that can demineralize tooth enamel. Bacteria and food residue form a biofilm called plaque. If not removed by brushing and flossing, plaque can harden into calculus (tartar), which is not soluble and can only be removed with dental instruments. At your dental cleanings, we remove small spots of tartar that would otherwise develop into cavities if neglected.

Practicing good oral hygiene is the best thing you can do at home to prevent cavities. But the truth is that brushing and flossing can never remove all bacteria from the mouth. All it takes is a very small spot of tartar to initiate the beginning of a cavity. Teeth often have deep ridges and crevices (especially the molars), so it can be extremely difficult to clean them thoroughly on your own.

When we find these spots of tartar and demineralization, it gives us the opportunity to treat them. Without regular dental cleanings at your family dentist, you are more likely to develop cavities that require restorations, such as fillings and root canal therapy.

Patient-Centered, Family Friendly

At Creative Smiles, you’ll find a caring, patient-focused staff who will make your experience as comfortable as possible. No oral hygiene lectures (unless you ask for them) and no shaming will take place inside our walls. Our one goal is to help you and your family have the best oral health possible, so you can keep your teeth for life.

A native of Hawaii, Dr. Carl Futenma has a friendly chair-side manner that will make every member of your family feel welcome and well cared for. From the youngest member of your family to the oldest, Dr. Futenma’s expertise and experience ensure you get the best care possible.

Visit our Vancouver, WA dental office to meet family dentist Dr. Carl Futenma. We can’t wait to meet you! Call us at 360-574-3061 for an appointment.

Dentist in Vancouver, WA | Preventing Enamel Erosion

98665 Dentist

Do you have white spots on your teeth? Are your teeth quite sensitive? Do your teeth have cracks, chips, or indentations? If yes, then you may be experiencing enamel erosion.

Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body. It is the clear coating that protects your teeth. However, being the strongest substance in the body does not mean it should be neglected. Enamel can erode. Without the protection of enamel, you not only risk developing decay, but also abscesses, tooth pain, and even tooth loss.

What Causes Tooth Enamel Erosion?

There are several factors that cause tooth enamel to erode, some of which are the result of everyday actions. Sugars and acids can wear down enamel. If you regularly drink soft drinks or sugary fruit drinks, you may be damaging your teeth. To protect your teeth, limit your consumption of such drinks. Alcohol can also erode enamel, as well as a diet that is high in sugary or starchy foods. The bacteria in the mouth can transforms starches and sugars in foods such as bread into damaging acid.

Other factors include acid reflux, recurrent vomiting, gastrointestinal problems, genetically inherited conditions, grinding your teeth, even brushing too hard or not flossing properly. All of these impact the health of your enamel, and, ultimately, your teeth. Once the enamel is worn or chipped away, it cannot be replaced.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats, replace white breads with whole grains, and try eating more cheese and yogurt to bolster the calcium in your saliva to keep the acids in check.

How Can Enamel Erosion Be Prevented?

In addition to exercising moderation with soft drinks, alcohol, sugars and starches, and, of course, taking extra care with regard to medical conditions and your tooth care regimen, there are a few extra things you can do to protect your smile. Saliva can neutralize harmful acids in your mouth. By drinking water and chewing sugar-free gum, you can boost saliva production.

Keep the sweets from becoming everyday treats and replace white breads with whole grains. Add more cheese and yogurt to your diet. Not only are both foods high in calcium, but they also help neutralize harmful acids in your mouth.

Tooth enamel is essential for maintaining a healthy smile. Be mindful of what you eat and drink. Enamel erosion may also be the consequence of other complications such as excessive teeth grinding or acid reflux. Regular visits to our office allow our team to provide a full examination. If we detect that your enamel is eroding, we will discuss potential causes and solutions.

To schedule your next visit to our office, please contact our team today.

3405 NE 78th St
Vancouver, WA 98665
(360) 574-3061

Vancouver Dentist | Health Link: Oral Hygiene and Heart Disease

Dentist in Vancouver

The human body is a network of interconnected systems and organs. Unfortunately, issues that impact one particular area of your body can also effect the health and function of other areas. Recently, studies have highlighted evidence for links between gum disease and heart disease.

While the exact nature of the connection is still being researched, heart disease is almost twice as likely to occur in people who have gum disease. Nearly half of all Americans have undiagnosed gum disease. In the United States, heart disease is the leading cause of death, making it pertinent that you maintain a healthy heart. The first key to doing so might lie in keeping your gums healthy.

While gum disease may be a contributing factor to heart disease, it is not the only cause. It is essential that you maintain regular visits to your primary care physician as well to measure your overall health. Other factors and lifestyle choices can impact your heart health.

Diet and exercise. Maintain an active lifestyle with activities you enjoy, such as taking walks, riding bikes, playing sports, or doing yoga. Avoid foods high in starches and sugars, including carbonated soft drinks, as they can also damage your teeth.

Don’t smoke. Whether you’re smoking or vaping, nicotine has a detrimental effect on your cardiovascular system and can damage teeth, gums, and lungs. Recent studies have connected vaping to a rapid loss in healthy cells that line the top layer of your mouth. These cells play an essential role in keeping your mouth healthy.

Brush your teeth. The most basic part of oral hygiene is also the most effective. Make sure you brush and floss at least twice a day.

By keeping a balanced, exercising regularly, and taking care of your teeth, you’re taking a holistic approach to your well-being and minimizing your risk of developing heart disease.

As with other diseases, preventing gum disease alone will not completely remove the risk of developing heart disease. However, you can take a proactive approach to keeping your body healthy, starting with your oral health.

To schedule a cleaning and examination, please contact our office.

Vancouver, WA Dentist | Post-Extraction Care: Dry Sockets

Dentist in Vancouver

When a tooth is extracted, your blood cells clot over the site of the tooth to protect your bone, nerves, and tissue. However, some patients experience dry sockets, a condition where blood clotting does not occur. Here’s what you need to know about dry sockets after tooth extraction.

What are Dry Sockets?

Dry sockets are the result of your blood failing to clot, or when an existing clot is removed. They leave the area previously protected by your tooth exposed, which includes bone and nerves.  Symptoms often include significant pain and discomfort where your tooth was extracted. Pain often lasts beyond the first three days following your procedure. Further symptoms can include having a bad taste in your mouth, pain on the same side of your face as the extracted tooth site, and visible bone where the tooth was removed.

Who Is At Risk for Developing Dry Sockets?

In most cases of extraction, your mouth will heal normally. Dry sockets have been noted to occur at a higher rate in individuals who smoke, chew tobacco, practice poor oral hygiene methods, or suffer from an infection impacting the gums or teeth. Additionally, it is important that you follow all directions provided to you following extraction. Patients who fail to do so, and choose to do things such as drinking with a straw after treatment, have a higher risk for developing a dry socket.

Treating Dry Sockets

If you experience a dry socket, contact our team for an appointment. It is essential to keep the area clean to prevent infection. Removing debris is the first step to keeping the site clean. Additionally, our team may provide you with pain medication suggestions as well as gauze or medicated dressings to protect the site. Avoid touching the area before coming in to our office.

The direct cause of dry sockets is not widely understood. However, it is a temporary condition that can be managed and treated by taking the proper precautions. If you develop a dry socket following the extraction of a tooth, please contact our team. We will do our best to see you as soon as possible to ensure your mouth is able to heal properly.