Posts for: June, 2017
Fillings are designed to be tough, but they must be replaced eventually. Our Mill Creek, WA, dentists, Dr. Chad Slocum and Dr. Sara Lundgaard, share a few signs that may indicate that it's time for a new filling.
The filling is cracked
Wear and tear can eventually cause fillings to crack. Although it usually takes years of wear to crack a filling, the problem can occur sooner if you grind your teeth. Any opening in a tooth, even one as narrow as crack, can allow bacteria to enter the tooth and cause decay. In some cases, you may actually see a crack in a filling, but in others, you might not know you have one until you have X-rays during a dental visit.
Your tooth hurts
If you have a crack in your tooth, you may develop a cavity under the filling. It's important to schedule a visit with our Mill Creek office if you develop pain in a tooth that has been filled.
You feel pain when you drink cold beverages
Sensitivity to cold temperatures can occur as a result of leaky fillings. The problem happens when fillings don't adhere tightly to the sides of your teeth.
Your old filling has changed color
Tooth-colored composite resin fillings can eventually become darker or may look slightly yellow. Replacing the filling restores your tooth's appearance.
Your filling has fallen out
There's no doubt that you need a new filling if you've lost all or part of your filling. If this happens, call us as soon as possible during regular office hours. You might experience a little pain when the tooth is exposed to the air or hot or cold temperatures. If this happens, applying a little dental cement, available in drug stores, can help reduce the sensitivity.
Your filling is old
Depending on the type of material used, fillings usually last between seven to 15 years. If your filling is old and showing some signs of wear, it's best to replace it before it cracks.
Replacing problem fillings promptly can help you avoid tooth decay. If you're concerned about a filling, call our Mill Creek, WA, dentists, Dr. Slocum and Dr. Lundgaard, at (425) 337-7300 to schedule an appointment.
When does dental care begin for a child? In the truest sense, before they're born. Although the first teeth won't erupt until months after birth, they're already forming in the baby's jaw while still in the womb.
During the prenatal period a baby's dental health depends on the mother's health and diet, especially consuming foods rich in calcium and other minerals and nutrients. Once the baby is born, the next dental milestone is the first appearance of primary teeth in the mouth. That's when you can begin brushing with just a smear of toothpaste on a toothbrush.
Perhaps, though, the most important step occurs around their first birthday. This is the recommended time for you to bring them to visit our office for the first time.
By then, many of their primary teeth have already come in. Even though they'll eventually lose these to make way for their permanent set, it's still important to take care of them. A primary tooth lost prematurely could cause the permanent tooth to come in improperly. Saving it by preventing and treating tooth decay with fluoride applications and sealants, fillings or even a modified root canal treatment could stop a bad bite and costly orthodontic treatment down the road.
Regular trips to the dentist benefit you as a caregiver as much as they do your child. We're your best source for information about dental health and development, including concerns like teething and thumb sucking. We'll also keep you informed on your child's growth process as their teeth, jaws and facial structure develop.
Beginning regular dental visits at age one will also help make your child comfortable with seeing the dentist, more readily than if you wait until they're older. It's an unfortunate fact that many people don't seek out the clinical dental care they need because of anxiety over visiting the dentist. Starting early, not only will your child be getting the best in dental care, they'll be developing a habit that can continue to benefit their oral health the rest of their lives.
If you would like more information on your child's dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Age One Dental Visit.”
Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.
First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.
How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of allÂ Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.
What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.
Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.” Â If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.