Summer Vacation Ready Smiles

Summer Vacation Ready Smiles

Summer ReadySummer is here and so is the fun vacation you spent all year planning for!

So, while you’re thinking about where you’ll go, where you’ll eat, and what you’ll see along the way, don’t forget to plan a visit to your dentist as well. Doing so can save you from the misery of a dental emergency that will surely spoil even the best planned getaway.

The Best Plan of Action

Now, we’re pretty sure, visiting the dentist is the last thing you want to do before a relaxing vacation. Yet we’re also fairly certain that discovering a painful cavity mid-trip isn’t on the agenda either – especially if you’re going overseas.

Can you imagine having to look for emergency dental care in some remote part of the world?

Ouch!

Truth is, a quick check-up can catch a future crisis before it ever materializes, and this is one of the beautiful things about dentistry.

Imagine, for example, if you had a bone in your leg that was weak for one reason or another, and a strong impact upon that leg could cause it to break. Nine times out of ten, you would never even know you had this issue until your leg actually broke and you were laying in the emergency room.

With dentistry, however, oral exams, x-rays and other tools allow your dentist to ferret out problems before they present themselves, and that’s why visiting prior to vacation can help.

So, about a month prior to departure – or at least two weeks before you go – schedule a visit. Your dentist will explore your mouth for any loose crowns or teeth that could cause a problem, and identify any cavities that are close enough to the nerve to cause an abscess or pain.

If you’re traveling by plane, air-pressure in the cabin can cause a recently drilled tooth to be overly sensitive, so you’ll want to be certain to plan your visit at least a month ahead of time if you’re flying.

Of course, any surgery such as the removal of wisdom teeth, or a root canal should be scheduled in significant advance, and if you wear braces, you’ll want to visit your orthodontist as well.

Visiting your dentist prior to vacation might actually be one of the easiest things to plan this summer. You’ll depart with a fresh clean mouth, and the confidence that a sneaking dental emergency won’t be appearing in your vacation scrapbook this year.

If you have more questions, please complete the form below.

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Things You Should Know about Your Teeth as You Age

Smiles-of-Spokane-Aging-TeethIf you’ve ever considered the prospect of living without teeth as you age, it’s probably caused you considerable amount of distress just thinking about it. Multiple tooth loss can indeed be traumatic and costly, and, for some, the remedies are less than ideal. That said, you’ll be pleased to know that aging itself isn’t much of a contributor to tooth loss, and that many people live their entire lives with nearly all of their natural teeth intact. So what’s the best way to ensure you’re among this coveted group?

Let’s face it. We all want to keep our natural teeth. Here are a few ways to ensure you do just that as you move along in years. And remember, there is no defined age where problems start to arise, so thinking ahead regardless of your current age is always a good idea.

  • Periodontal Disease: Without a doubt, periodontal disease is the number one destroyer of smiles. There is no cure for this leading cause of adult tooth loss in North America, and once it begins, it can only be proactively and professionally managed. So, here’s the familiar refrain: maintain your regular visits, and if you’re placed on a periodic maintenance routine where you visit your dentist more than twice a year, be sure to keep those appointments. Keeping those appointments will help you keep your teeth.
  • Systemic Disease: There are a host of diseases that can adversely affect oral health, (diabetes, heart disease, etc.) so being mindful of this connection, and maintaining an open door of communication with your doctor and dentist while undergoing treatment may help you minimize the effects these diseases can have on your teeth.
  • Poor Habits: We all know a diet high in sugar, starch and acid harms surface enamel and lessens a tooth’s ability to protect itself from decay. You may not know, however, that smokingand excessive alcohol consumption can also do significant harm. For example, both cigarette smoke and alcohol rob gum tissue of the moisture needed to keep it healthy, leaving it acidic and prone to decay, and smoking can interrupt the mouth’s natural healing mechanisms. More benign habits can also damage teeth and consistently gnawing on objects not designed to be in the mouth all day, like pencils, pipes, paper clips and ice cubes, are not good habits to pursue. Additionally, using your teeth as a vice to open bottles and rip apart bags is best left to those among us committed to losing teeth, not keeping them.
  • Prescription Medication: Lastly, certain prescription medicines can dry out the mouth in ways similar to smoking and alcohol, so if you’re taking prescription drugs, be sure to keep your hydration in check as per your doctor’s recommendations, or use chewing gum with Xylitol to help maintain saliva production throughout the day.

So, as you can see, allowing your “permanent” teeth to live up their name really isn’t that difficult. The old TV image of every grandpa throughout the land dropping his teeth into a bedside jar at the close of the day is far from a reality for the majority of today’s seniors, and it doesn’t have to be for you either. Maintain a solid oral care routine, and ask your care providers about keeping a healthy mouth throughout your years, and you’ll be well on your way to ensuring your teeth stay just where you want them to be – in your mouth.

If you have more questions, please complete the form below.

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Another Reason Not To Skip Your Dental Visits

Melanoma-Screening-Dr.-Todd-RogersSkin cancer is the most common cancer in the United States. It’s also among the most preventable and curable when caught early. Believe it or not, Dr. Todd Rogers is a critical partner when it comes to detecting this form of cancer.

What is melanoma?

Melanoma is a type of skin cancer, and one of the most serious.

Researchers are not certain as to its causes, but according to studies completed at the University of Minnesota, repeated exposure to the sun is considered a “commonly associated factor.”

That said, even though melanoma is understood in layman’s terms to be a “skin” cancer, we can’t always prevent it by applying sunscreen. Biologically speaking, melanoma can manifest anywhere melanocytes exist, whether that’s in our skin, mouth, heart, or other tissues.

It’s precisely for this reason that maintaining regular visits to your dentist can literally save your life.

How does the dentist help and what are the symptoms?

As with any cancer, early detection is key. And a regular visit to your dentist who can see more areas of your mouth at close range is your best course of action. There are signs and symptoms, however, that should elicit concern if you experience them.

If you have a frequent sore throat, difficulty chewing and swallowing, and red or whitish patches within your mouth, you should see you doctor. Likewise, changes in the color, shape or size of skin pigmentation should prompt a visit to the doctor.

How often do I have to have my mouth checked for this?

Dr. Todd Rogers will review your mouth and neck to look for any abnormalities or changes in tissue at every appointment. This exam often takes place without you even being aware it’s happening, but if you’re ever curious, just ask Dr. Todd Rogers to walk you through it during your next appointment.

Due to their ability to detect cancerous lesions early, an oral cancer screening can literally save your life. Dr. Todd Rogers may also offer additional screening opportunities using special medical screening devices. These also help with early detection by illuminating mouth tissue with a special light.

Ask if your doctor has such a device in their office, or can recommend you to a physician who does.

It’s worth repeating …

Your teeth aren’t the only things in your mouth worth protecting. So be sure to visit Smiles of Spokane regularly for an oral health screening. Dr. Todd Rogers plays a critical role in the early detection and treatment of oral cancer concerns, so get that checkup!

If you have more questions, please complete the form below.

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Tooth Removal and Socket Preservation

 

Smiles-of-Spokane-Socket-PreservationWhen we experience the loss of a tooth, either through trauma or decay, the bone that surrounds the tooth undergoes a remarkably quick process known as resorption, where the bone is broken down at the cellular level and dispersed elsewhere throughout the body.

Essentially, because the body believes it no longer needs this bony material due to the tooth’s absence, it reclaims this material into the body for other use.

While this might sound like nothing to worry about, your dentist is likely to suggest socket preservation to prevent a host of further complications that accompany this rather intriguing bit of biological science.

What Is Socket Preservation?

Socket preservation is another name for what is clinically known as a bone graft. Essentially, it’s a stopgap measure for filling in the hole where the tooth used to reside, so it can heal in preparation for later treatment.

If nothing were done to stop this dissipation of bone it would likely destabilize your neighboring teeth, and make future implants and other forms of prosthetic devices unlikely to work.

Aside from the clinical consequences of bone loss, what might concern you more is the fact that the bone height determines our facial features, and a loss of that height due to an unpreserved socket can alter one’s appearance dramatically. Because of this, many dentists prefer to proactively stunt this resorption by using a bone graft.

There are four types of bone grafts that can be used at the time of the extraction, to preserve ridge integrity. They are:

  • Autograft: Bone harvested from patient’s own body
  • Xenograft: Bone grafts or collagen from bovine or porcine origin
  • Allograft: Block bone graft from a cadaver
  • Alloplast: Synthetic biomaterials such as PLGA, hydroxyapatite, tricalcium phosphate, bioglass – ceramics, etc.

Generally speaking, a bone graft is a surgical procedure where one of the above materials is layered into the socket where the tooth used to exist.

There is a great variety to the type and procedure involved in bone grafts, and much is dependent on your dentist, your budget, the quality of the extraction performed, your overall health, your oral health, and the type of material to be used.

However, since preserving the bony ridge of your mouth is critical to future restorative work and your appearance, it is wise to consider the procedure if recommended. The benefits of socket preservation are many, chief among them the overall continual health of the other teeth in your mouth. Ask Dr. Rogers if you have more questions about this procedure.

If you have more questions, please complete the form below.

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Pregnancy and Oral Health

 

Pregnancy and Oral HealthBaby on The Brain?

If you’re considering getting pregnant, or are already expecting, concern over the status of your teeth might not be at the top of your list as of late. However, if you’re early enough into a pregnancy, or planning one, you should actually schedule an appointment to see your dentist sooner rather than later.  If your stack of pregnancy-related reading material hasn’t already included a chapter on oral health, let us help by providing you the short version as to why you should make that appointment soon.

Good oral health is the key to good overall health. You know that already. And during pregnancy, your oral health contributes to the health of your baby. Here are a few things to be mindful of in the coming months as you plan your pregnancy:

  • Visit Smiles of Spokane early: Generally speaking, dental work can be safely performed through the first half of the third trimester, but earlier is always better – preferably before pregnancy. The American Dental Association has pointed to research linking premature birth and low birth weight to women with periodontitis (gum disease): a sure enough reason to schedule a full check-up early. While this might seem like something you can brush off if you’re not already suffering from gum disease, that wouldn’t be wise. Why? Hormones, and the sneak-attack caused by Pregnancy Gingivitis.
  • Pregnancy Gingivitis: Hormones play a pivotal role in a woman’s life, and during pregnancy they’re out in full-force. During pregnancy, this natural rise in hormones causes an increase in blood flow to gum tissue which can cause some women to experience swelling and tenderness in their gums. This increase in blood flow also tends to cause gum tissue to exaggerate the way it reacts to existing plaque in the mouth, and can trigger what is known as “pregnancy gingivitis.” If ignored, gingivitis leads to the aforementioned periodontitis, and a true cause for concern during pregnancy. That’s why it’s so important to see your dentist as early as possible.
  • Pregnancy Tumors: While the name might cause you some concern, these benign growths, which frequently appear along the gumline, are more of a nuisance than anything else. Only about 10% of women get them, and typically in the second trimester. Like pregnancy gingivitis, they’re usually the result of increased hormonal activity and improper oral care.

As you can see, Dr. Todd Rogers can and should be one of your many allies in the path to motherhood. So see us at Smiles of Spokane early, and as often as is suggested during your pregnancy. You’ll be pleased you did, and so will your baby!

Have more questions? Feel free to complete the form below.

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Signs of Gum Disease and Your Health

 

Unhealthy Gums and Your HealthSmiles-of-Spokane-Gum-Disease

Do you suffer with red gums, or is the roof of your mouth swollen? Without fail, you follow your dentist’s orders to keep your teeth and gums healthy — but did you know that the condition of your mouth can also shine light on other health problems? Some dental conditions, such as bad breath, pale gums and red gums, can be signs of gum disease. But other oral symptoms may point to seemingly unrelated health problems. (Hint: Eroded teeth could be a sign of an eating disorder or chronic heartburn.)

If you have gum disease, you’re not alone. More than 1 out of 2, or 64.7 million Americans, have mild, moderate, or severe gum disease, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Gum disease ranges from unhealthy gum swelling, called gingivitis, to serious tissue and bone destruction. In the worst cases of gum disease, you will lose teeth.

Healthy mouths are full of bacteria, mucus, and other food particles that form a sticky, colorless “plaque” on the teeth. Normally, you get rid of plaque by brushing and flossing regularly. But when plaque builds up because of poor oral hygiene, it causes inflamed, bleeding gums or gingivitis.

Gingivitis is the mild form of gum disease. Good oral health habits — brushing at least twice a day, flossing daily, getting regular dental checkups, and not smoking — can help prevent and reverse gingivitis.

Plaque that is not removed hardens into tartar. This will lead to increased bleeding and a more serious form of gum disease, called periodontitis. With this advanced gum disease, the unhealthy gums pull away from the teeth and form small pockets that can become infected. If periodontal disease goes untreated, the bones, gums and connective tissue that support the teeth are destroyed.

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, certain people have a higher risk of gum disease than others. Risk factors for gum disease include:

  • Aging
  • Diabetes
  • Genetic predisposition
  • Hormonal changes in girls and women
  • Medication
  • Other illnesses, such as AIDS and cancer treatments
  • Smoking

Taking care of unhealthy gums or gum disease can save your teeth. Here are some lifestyle and home remedies to consider:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day
  • Use a soft toothbrush
  • Replace your toothbrush every three months
  • Floss daily
  • Use an over-the-counter mouth rinse after brushing to reduce plaque
  • See your dentist regularly for professional dental cleanings and mouth checks
  • Don’t smoke

Take a look at these oral symptoms to find out what they could be telling you about your health.

Have more questions? Feel free to complete the form below.

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Back to School Checkup Tips

Backpack? Check!

Booster shots? Check!

Teeth cleaning? Check!

Regular dental visits are important year-round, but a back-to-school checkup is key in fighting the most common chronic disease found in school-age children: cavities. In fact, dental disease causes children to miss more than 51 million school hours each year.

Prevention and early detection can help avoid pain, trouble eating, difficulty speaking and school absences.

Plan Ahead

Between cookouts, camping trips and everything else on your family’s summer bucket list, it’s easy for school to sneak up on you. Unfortunately, many parents may not think about making that appointment until August, which is a busy time for our office.

Timing Is Everything

Time of day can make or break your child’s appointment.  If your child is young, make sure they have napped and are well rested. If your child is usually cranky after waking up, factor that in too.

For older children, avoid cramming in a dentist appointment right after day camp or school. If the child has already been exhausted or had a bad day or had tests, they just don’t have the stamina to make it through the appointment successfully.

Make One Child a Model

If you’ve scheduled back-to-back appointments for your children, there’s a simple way to decide who goes first: Choose the child who’s had the most positive experiences at the dentist. You generally want the ones first who are more successful because the others get to see how it goes.

A Hungry Child Is Not a Happy Patient

Feed your child a light meal before the appointment. Avoid feeding them in the waiting room before you see the dentist because there’s all that food in their mouth.

Eating light is also better for a child with a healthy gag reflex. Some children gag a lot just because they gag with everything, but they get older and they get more control over swallowing, kids will gag less.

Leave Your Anxiety at the Door

If your heart races at the very thought of the dentist, your child can probably tell. They will pick up on the parents’ anxiety so try to stay calm and positive.

The younger your kids are, the more you need to be aware of how you’re communicating with them. For example, if your child asks about getting a cavity filled, don’t say, “It will only hurt for a little bit.” Instead, encourage your child to ask the dentist.

Keep Cool If Your Child Won’t Cooperate

If your child gets upset during her visit, the worst thing you can do is swoop them out of the chair and leave. It will make the next visit even harder.

First, assess why your child is acting out. Are they truly afraid, or are they trying to test the situation? They are in an environment they feel they can’t control and that makes them upset, so Dr. Rogers and his staff will try to break it down into small steps. Let Dr. Rogers lead the conversation. Jump in where you think it helps most, while still allowing the dentist and your child to build a good relationship.

Take a Card (or Three) on Your Way Out

Accidents can happen whether your child is in sports camp, gym class or just walking down the street. In case of emergency, make sure your child’s teachers and coaches have all the medical contact information they need – including your dentist’s number. Grab business cards for your wallet, your child’s backpack and your school’s files.

If your child is anxious about visiting our office, feel free to let us know when you make your back to school appointment. We will make sure they feel comfortable and have a great dental experience in our office!

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How Sedation Dentistry Can Help

Sedation-Dentistry
As dental procedures have become less invasive over the past few decades, it’s no longer necessary to be put to “sleep” for a procedure that might have meant a noon-day nap not so long ago. What should you know about sedation dentistry? What are the benefits, and why is it used?

How Sedation Dentistry Can Help

Sedation dentistry is generally used to create an anxiety-free experience for the patient. As much as 30 percent of the population suffers from “dental phobia” or a fear of going to the dentist, according to the Dental Organization for Conscious Sedation (DOCS). This phobia can mean that patients do not receive routine dental care, which can compromise their oral, and overall, health.
Using sedation, Dr. Rogers is able to relax and calm a patient before any type of dental procedure. Levels of relaxation vary, from minimal to moderate to deep sedation. Techniques to achieve sedation include traditional methods of inhalation, including “laughing gas” (or nitrous oxide), or intravenous (or IV) sedation – delivered through injection into the blood vessels of the arm or hand. The most common approach to calm patient fears is through “no needle” oral sedation.

How Does It Work?

Oral sedation lets the patient maintain a level of consciousness, which allows them to cooperate and follow commands, but prevents them from remembering much of what happened. Sedation shortens one’s impression of the amount of time the procedure actually takes – many patients think that procedures undertaken while sedated last “only a few minutes.” This can act as a time-saving benefit because more work is able to be completed in a single appointment, and fewer appointments are needed. For this reason, sometimes sedation may be covered by insurance if a patient is able to complete a complicated procedure in a single appointment, but usually it is not covered.
Dr. Rogers must receive thorough additional training or even get accredited to practice sedation dentistry, and it is widely believed that any risks of sedation are far outweighed by the risks of you not getting the care you need. So if seeing a dentist gives you the chills, be sure to ask Smiles of Spokane about oral sedation during your next appointment.

Chipped Tooth? We have a Simple Fix!

Chipped ToothIf your smile has an imperfection you’ve always wanted to fix, Smiles of Spokane may have an easy solution for you called cosmetic bonding. In fact, you may already be familiar with the bonding process and the materials used if you’ve had a cavity repaired using a tooth colored filling. The same material is used in cosmetic bonding to correct blemishes, gaps and irregular sized teeth because of its ability to mimic the color and translucency of our actual teeth. The procedure is also fairly simple, and can be completed in our office with very little or no preparation.

How Is the Process Completed?

Think of cosmetic bonding as being similar to sculpting. Since it is used most frequently to correct chipped or gapped teeth, when Dr. Rogers works with the bonding material, he assumes the role of artist as well as dentist, seeking to restore your smile to its most realistic look, feel and luminescence. First, the tooth is prepared by etching it to allow the bonding material to adhere to the tooth. This process is painless, and requires no anesthesia. Then, the bonding material is applied in layers to the tooth to maximize its strength and to create a look that most resembles your natural tooth. Once the desired look has been achieved, the composite is hardened with an ultra-violet light, and shaped and polished into its final form.

How Long Will My Tooth Bonding Last?

While tooth bonding can’t compare to the strength nature has given our teeth, it does come relatively close. With care, a bonded tooth can last ten to fifteen years for most patients when attention is paid to good dietary and eating habits. For example, as with your natural teeth, liquids such as wine and coffee can stain a bond over time, particularly where the bond meets the natural tooth. Also, if a bond exists on the biting edge of a tooth – as it would be in the case of a chipped front tooth – it can be vulnerable to breakage. Refraining from snapping into a carrot using a bonded tooth, then, would be a good idea. The biting of such foods can easily be diverted to one’s side teeth, therefore protecting the integrity of the bonded tooth.

How Do I care for My Bonded Tooth?

Take care of a bonded tooth the same way as you care for all the other teeth. Regular brushing and flossing is key, and some dentists may even suggest a maintenance routine with a hygienist specifically skilled in maintaining bonded teeth. When brushing at home, you’ll want to be sure to use toothpaste that is geared toward the cleaning and care of bonded teeth – two good toothpastes to try are SuperSmile and Rembrandt. Supersmile can be difficult to find in stores, but most dentist offices carry the line. Lastly, limiting your intake of alcohol is not only good for oral heath, but doing so also helps protect the bonding material from premature wear.

If you have any more questions about bonding, be sure to call our office or complete the form below. Bonding is one of the most affordable dental procedures available, and can benefit your smile and your self-confidence tremendously.