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Dentist Vancouver | Gaining Wisdom on Wisdom Teeth

Vancouver, WA Dentist

dentist vancouverWisdom teeth are the last new teeth that will enter your mouth. Most patients have some form of complications resulting from their wisdom teeth. Did you know that your wisdom teeth can impact your overall health? Here’s what you need to be aware of regarding your wisdom teeth.

The Basics

Typically, your wisdom teeth will come in between the ages of 17 and 25. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), as many as 90% of patients have an impacted wisdom tooth. An Impacted tooth is unable to properly grow through your gums because of a lack of space.

What This Means for You

An impacted wisdom tooth is something you should talk to our doctor about. Impacted teeth can cause infection and damage to surrounding teeth. It is extremely important these issues are addressed early on. Your wisdom teeth are hard to clean in the back of your mouth. An infected tooth not receiving the proper care can be a breeding ground for bacteria leading to infection and gum disease.

Wisdom Teeth & Your Overall Health

An infection of your wisdom teeth can lead to oral diseases, but it can also lead to further, more serious complications as well. THE AAOMS explains that oral bacteria that gets into your bloodstream can lead to heart, kidney, and other organ infections. That’s right, your teeth can impact your overall health!

The Importance of Examinations

You might not notice any pain or discomfort around your wisdom teeth, but that does not necessarily mean they are healthy. Even wisdom teeth that fit properly can be the target of a future infection. It is essential to keep up with regular examinations so that our trained, experienced team can take a close look at your wisdom teeth.

What You Can Do

We cannot overstate the importance of regular oral examinations. Our doctor can help assess your wisdom teeth and whether they will need to be removed. Wisdom teeth can have a significant impact on your oral health and your overall health, so we recommend staying vigilant with your daily oral hygiene routine.

For more questions about wisdom teeth or to schedule your examination, please contact our office.

Dentist Vancouver, WA | Root Canal Therapy for Children

Vancouver Dentist

dentist vancouverPrimary (or baby) teeth play a vital role in the proper growth and development of your child’s permanent teeth. This is the reason why we may recommend root canal therapy for your child, rather than simply extracting a severely decayed baby tooth. Please review the information below to learn more about what symptoms may indicate the need for root canal treatment and how to prevent tooth decay in baby teeth.

In early stages, your child may not experience pain or discomfort from tooth decay. However, if your child suddenly develops sensitivity to hold, cold, sweet, or acidic foods and drinks, this could be a sign of decay. Other signs your child could need root canal therapy can include pain or throbbing in a tooth, which may indicate pulp damage or infection. This is most common when a tooth has been previously chipped or cracked and exposed the pulp within. We may recommend diagnostic x-rays to determine the extent of the damage or infection before advising treatment.

Root canal treatment for children proceeds in similar fashion to the adult experience. Local anesthetic medication is generally used to ensure comfort throughout. In most cases, your child’s root canal therapy will be a pulpotomy – removal of infected pulp only. Since less structure is affected by this treatment, it usually requires less time and discomfort to complete and to heal.

After your child’s root canal therapy, a dental crown will be fabricated and placed on the tooth to protect the remaining tooth structure from further damage. This crown will be strong and designed to perfectly fit within your child’s mouth. When the baby tooth falls out, the crown will go with it, allowing the permanent tooth to move into place normally.

There are actions you can take to help protect your child from tooth decay requiring root canal therapy. Some of these include:

Start twice yearly dental visits by age 1
Brush your child’s teeth until they are old enough to take over
Teach your child how to brush and floss correctly
Practice healthy nutrition in your home
Talk to your child about the value of healthy teeth and gums

For more information about childhood root canal therapy, contact our office.

Dentist Vancouver | Tobacco & Your Teeth: The Risks of Chewing and Smoking

Vancouver Dentist

Vancouver WA DentistChewing and smoking tobacco are known to cause severe health problems, particularly in the lungs. But the risks to your mouth and teeth can be just as extensive and alarming. If you use tobacco, stop. Here’s what tobacco can do to your oral health.

Chewing Tobacco

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), tobacco chewers increase their risk of developing gum and cheek cancers by 50 times. Tobacco dissolves the gums which leads to sensitivity from exposed roots. This also makes for an ideal location for bacteria to grow, leading to decay. If you are chewing tobacco, stop, and ask our experienced oral health team about what you can do to keep your mouth healthy.

Smoking

According to a report by the AGD, smoking one pack a day can lead to the loss of two teeth each decade of your life. Smoking increases your odds of losing teeth. Cigarettes and cigars are both damaging to your oral health. Smoking can cause staining as well, leading to an unattractive smile.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can develop in several places in your mouth including on your tongue, lips, mouth floor, and gums. Those over 50, are at an increased risk of developing oral cancer, as are men. However, Oral cancer has been on the rise, especially for people under 30 according to the AGD.  Schedule an appointment with us to receive a thorough oral health examination, and ask us about an oral cancer screening, particularly if you are a tobacco user. Oral cancer screenings are often very quick as our dentist checks your mouth, teeth, and cheeks for signs of irregularities. If caught early, oral cancer can be treated.

If you are a tobacco user, we strongly advise you to quit. You can work with our professional dental team as well as your doctor to overcome tobacco use. Everyone should be receiving regular oral health examinations, but if you are a tobacco user, you need to be especially vigilant in doing so. Schedule a visit to our office so that we can work with you to identify any potential issues.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

Dentist Vancouver, WA | What to Know About E-Cigarettes and Your Oral Health

Dentist in Vancouver

Vancouver WA DentistThe hazards surrounding vaping are not entirely clear. More research is needed in this area, but a recent study indicates that e-cigarette vapors could be damaging to your mouth. Here’s what you need to know.

The Vapor Ingredients

Electronic cigarettes are not regulated in the same way tobacco cigarettes are, meaning that their contents can be inaccurately labeled without any oversight. Contents that e-juice usually contains include nicotine, glycerin, chemical flavoring, and propylene glycol. Some of these substances are safe in food, such as chemical flavors, but the effects of inhaling them is not well researched. Heating these chemicals can form dangerous carcinogens such as formaldehyde. E-cigarettes might also include tiny metals and particles that you inhale while smoking.

What This Means for Your Oral Health

A recent study from UCLA found that vapors from an e-cigarette can kill the cells in your oral cavity, or the area of your mouth beyond your teeth and gums. The study placed oral cells in an environment where electronic cigarette smoke was produced for 24 hours, in a machine simulating how a person would smoke. During the test, 85% of the cells died. According to the lead author of the study, they plan to move forward to test the impacts in humans.

These cells are your mouth’s defense by helping to release antioxidants. As the cells die off or become less effective, your mouth becomes more vulnerable to oral diseases.

Another study by the University of Rochester Medical Center concluded e-cigarettes are just as bad for your gums as tobacco cigarettes are. Nicotine, which both types of cigarettes contain, is a known factor in contributing to gum disease.

Steps You Can Take

Since the e-juice industry is largely unregulated, it is best to avoid smoking electronic cigarettes. The carcinogenic contents pose serious risks to your health, especially to your mouth. Your mouth relies on the functions of these important cells to defend itself against dangerous bacteria and other substances. Without your mouth’s natural defense system, you open yourself up to oral disease.

Make sure you are regularly visiting our office, especially if you are a smoker of either tobacco cigarettes, or electronic cigarettes. Our experienced dental team will perform a complete oral examination during your visit to check for signs of oral disease. Being proactive is your best defense against combating oral disease.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact us.

Vancouver Dentist | You Need to Know About Oral Thrush: Here’s Why

Dentist in Vancouver, WA

Dentist VancouverEven a healthy mouth is lined with bacteria. Normally, your daily oral hygiene routine helps prevent oral health complications. However, it is possible to develop an excess of bacteria and fungi, which can leading to additional problems. Here’s what you should know about oral thrush and what you can do to prevent it.

What is it?

Oral thrush is caused by a collection of the fungus Candida in your mouth. Bacteria and fungi occur naturally in your mouth, but it is important that they are not permitted to build up. Thrush can appear as white, thick scrapes on your tongue or inner cheek. It may also look like patchy, white sores.

Who Does It Affect?

Young children, infants, and the elderly are at a higher risk of developing oral thrush. If you have a weakened immune system or diabetes, it is even more important that you stay active to keep your mouth healthy and prevent issues like oral thrush. Smokers also tend to develop oral thrush more than other patients.

What can it Do?

Oral thrush can lead to trouble swallowing and tasting. As it develops, it can become painful. Oral thrush can make affected areas feel like they are burning, and slight bleeding can occur if you are scraping your tongue or cheeks. Some describe the feeling as having cotton in their mouth.

Thrush can spread. If you have a weakened immune system, it is possible that thrush moves into your lungs, digestive tract, and even your heart.

How can I Prevent It?

Our best recommendation for preventing oral thrush is a vigilant daily oral hygiene routine that includes a thorough brushing and flossing of your teeth, and includes your tongue. We sometimes recommend a patient use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue. Just like brushing your teeth, your tongue depends on daily cleaning to stay healthy and free of germs and bacteria.

The American Dental Association recommends that for some patients it might be helpful to consider an antimicrobial toothpaste or mouthwash. Check with our doctor to see which solutions might be best for you.

We cannot overstate the importance of regularly scheduled dental exams. If you are a diabetic, it is even more important that you schedule regular visits to our office. By having your mouth checked by our staff, we can work with you to prevent oral health issues like thrush.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Vancouver, WA Dentist | Blood Thinners and Oral Surgery

Dentist Vancouver

Vancouver DentistBlood thinning medications are helpful in regulating your body to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other serious issues. However, if you are scheduled for oral surgery, it is vital that our oral surgeon is aware of all medications you are using.

How Blood Thinners Work

There are two types of blood thinners. The first type works to prevent blood clotting. Medications ranging from aspirin to Plavix fit into this category. The other type of blood thinners work to prevent blood from coagulating; Coumadin or warfarin accomplish this.

What Our Oral Surgeon Should Know

When you have your oral surgery consultation appointment, be sure to share with us any medications you are taking. We need to have your complete medical history to ensure your safety and proper treatment. Our dentist might also ask you the purpose of each medication you are taking to better understand any side-effects or other medical issues that could affect your oral surgery.

Steps to Take Before Surgery

Never stop any medication without consulting your doctor. Depending on your medical history, your doctor might suggest specific blood tests before having oral surgery. Communication is key, both between you and your primary physician, and between you and our office. If your treatment requires additional medication to be taken, ask about potential drug interactions.

Steps to Take to Minimize Oral Bleeding

Bleeding resulting from oral surgery can occur, but each patient will have different results. The most effective way to minimize oral bleeding is to firmly apply pressure to the area for up to 30 minutes. Gauze is recommended for applying gentle pressure to stop bleeding. Depending on the oral surgery procedure, we may ask you to refrain from drinking hot liquids and rinsing your mouth for the first day. We suggest avoiding rough or sharp foods that might cut your mouth.

Prior to having any oral surgery, it is important that our experienced surgical team has a thorough knowledge of your medical history. This enables us to find the best possible solutions for your needs, while ensuring your safety.

If you have any questions about medications and oral surgery, contact our office.

Dentist in Vancouver | Maintaining Your Oral Health During Cancer Treatments

Dentist Vancouver

Dentist in Vancouver WABefore, during, and after cancer treatment it is necessary to keep up with your oral health routine. Cancer and cancer treatments can impact your mouth, so talk to our dentist about your specific treatment and what you can do to keep up with your oral health. Here are a few points to consider.

Brush, Floss, and Come Visit Us

You should always brush for two minutes, twice each day, and floss regularly. This is your best defense against tooth decay. You should also be visiting our office for a routine examination regularly, however it is especially important to do so before starting cancer treatment. Our dentist can share recommendations about changes you can make to your brushing and flossing routine to help manage potential cancer treatment side effects.

Practice Healthy Habits

This is true for everyone. Eat healthy and avoid smoking, whether it is tobacco or electronic cigarettes. A balanced diet and regular exercise will keep your immune system working at its full potential. Make sure your diet is full of diverse fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Don’t skip out on getting protein through eggs, beans, and chicken.

Keep Your Mouth Clean & Moist

A common side effect of cancer treatments such as radiation is dry mouth. Our teeth depend on saliva to help keep the enamel on our teeth strong, but a dry mouth lacking saliva will leave you susceptible to decay and damage. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. Rinse your mouth frequently, especially after vomiting, to wash away sugars and acids from collecting on your teeth.

After Treatments, Visit Us

Keep regularly scheduled visits to our office, particularly when you end treatment. Certain medications can weaken your teeth or leave you at a higher risk for developing oral health issues. Talk to our knowledgeable dental team about your treatment plans and how they can impact your teeth.

Cancer and cancer treatments and medications can have a significant impact on your oral health. Make our dental team part of your support group during your treatment, and inform us of the medications and treatments you are receiving. Together we can work towards solutions that keep your mouth healthy, and your teeth strong.

For more information on keeping your mouth healthy, please contact our office.

Dentist in Vancouver, WA | Help! 5 Tips to Know When You Can’t Brush

Dentist in Vancouver

Vancouver DentistOccasionally you might find yourself in a situation where you won’t be able to brush your teeth, perhaps through a lack of time or your location. Though it is vital to brush twice each day, here are a few steps you can take if you find yourself in a bind.

Drink Water

When you are in a spot where you won’t be able to brush your teeth for a while, water can be your friend. Drink water to help wash away sugars and acids that are in your mouth and on your teeth. Water also helps your mouth produce more saliva, which works to keep enamel strong. Our doctor suggests drinking water regularly, not just when you can’t brush your teeth.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Try chewing some gum to help keep your teeth clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) approves certain chewing gum brands with their seal on the package. ADA approved gums are sugar-free and do not contain other decay causing sweeteners. Like drinking water, chewing gum is good for saliva production, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel.

Floss Your Teeth

We suggest always carrying dental floss; it’s usually small enough to fit almost anywhere. Flossing is not a replacement for brushing, just as brushing does not replace the need for flossing, however in a pinch it is essential that you remove any plaque and build up that you can. The ADA suggests flossing once a day. Flossing will help improve your gum health too.

Use a Disposable Toothbrush

If you know you might be out of the house for a while, perhaps because of a long day at work or an overnight stay, we recommend you consider a disposable toothbrush. Disposable brushes usually come with toothpaste already applied and are easy to store and carry. They are an excellent alternative that allow you to still thoroughly clean your teeth.

Avoid Sugary Foods

A helpful step you can take if you find yourself in a situation where brushing isn’t possible is to avoid eating or drinking sugary or acidic things. Acids and sugars are what contribute to decay, as they weaken your teeth’s enamel. If you cannot brush your teeth, then don’t eat foods that lead to decay. Avoid sugary soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks as these drinks will leave behind sugars and acids that sit on your teeth. 

For more helpful tips on keeping your smile healthy, contact our office.

Dentist Vancouver | Keep Kids’ Teeth Safe and Healthy This Winter

Dentist in Vancouver

Vancouver DentistAs a parent, you want to keep your child’s teeth safe and healthy all year long. Brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits are great ways to prevent tooth decay. What you may not realize is that the colder weather of the holiday season brings its own challenges to bear. Here are some ways to help protect your child’s oral health this winter.

Encourage Water

While you may think of summer as having dangers of dehydration, winter play holds similar risks for children. The air is drier during this season than in the spring or fall. Activities such as sledding and snowball fighting can lead to sweating out fluids. Have your child sip water throughout the day. This can keep them hydrated and prevent dry mouth, which can raise risk of tooth decay.

Mouth Guard

Whether your child enjoys skiing, sledding, skating, or snowball fights, winter brings increased risks of falls and injuries to both mouth and face. According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), up to 40% of kids’ dental injuries occur during sports. Having your child wear a mouth guard during these activities can greatly reduce their risk of damaging teeth or gums.

Strong Hygiene

Regular brushing and flossing are crucial to keeping teeth healthy. If your child becomes ill with a cold or flu virus, continuing dental hygiene can help their immune system concentrate on getting well. If your child vomits, have them rinse their mouth with water right away to avoid leaving acids on their teeth. Discard and replace your child’s toothbrush once they are well to prevent re-infection.

Limit Sugar

Cold weather can lead to sniffles and coughs. Avoid bathing your child’s teeth in sugar from cough drops. Choose sugar-free options to soothe sore throats. Limit juice and cocoa that have high sugar content. Monitor your child’s candy intake through the holidays and ensure they brush after indulging.

Don’t Share

While sharing toys and books is a habit to encourage, sharing cups or silverware is not. Tooth decay, cold sores, and other oral ailments can be spread through saliva. Make sure each family member is using their own drink, spoon, and fork.

For more ways you can keep your child’s teeth safe through the winter season, contact our office.

Dentist Vancouver, WA | Connected Health: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Vancouver, WA Dentist

Dentist VancouverFor decades, scientists have been studying the links between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease. Over the years, research has continued to find strong correlations between these two inflammatory conditions. While there is work yet to be done, we have already discovered connections that may influence how we approach health care in the future. Consider a few key components of the gum disease – heart disease relationship.

Gum disease and heart disease share many of the same risk factors. Some of these include smoking, obesity, stress, nutrition, and more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 70% of Americans aged 65 and older currently have periodontitis – the most advanced form of gum disease. Recent studies have suggested that patients with heart disease may have increased likelihood of developing gum disease as well.

Likewise, gum disease increases your risk of heart disease. This may be due to the higher rates of inflammation in your body that occur with gum disease. If you already have a heart condition, gum disease may worsen your illness. One study published in 2015 noted an increase in the severity of heart attacks in patients with gum disease. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S.

Treating gum disease may decrease your odds of contracting or worsening heart disease. A study published in 2014 found that patients who were treated for gum disease had fewer hospitalizations and lower health care costs related to heart disease. While more research is needed to determine the exact nature of this connection, it is clear that avoiding or treating gum disease can be considered an important part of prevention and treatment for heart disease, as well.

You can reduce your risk of serious health complications from heart disease or gum disease. Healthy diet, regular exercise, good dental hygiene, and avoiding tobacco can all help reduce to your risk of developing one or both of these conditions. See your doctor and our dentist regularly for preventive care and treatment.

To schedule your periodontal screening, contact our office today.