Endodontics or Root Canal Therapy

A tooth that has been damaged by decay or trauma may need endodontic treatment, also called root canal therapy, in order to save the tooth. Although it may sound like a scary procedure, advances in dentistry have made it a much less painful or upsetting process than it used to be. This treatment is worth it to restore your smile as naturally as possible.

How do you know you might need endodontics? You may experience pain in the tooth, sensitivity to hot or cold foods or beverages, or swelling in the area. Severe cases may have a discharge of pus near the tooth. However, not all cases of a badly damaged tooth result in noticeable symptoms. That’s one reason it’s important to maintain regular checkups with your dentist, who will pick up on problems with a tooth that you may not realize is damaged. Examination and testing such as X-rays can help diagnose a tooth that is in dire need of repair.

When possible, dentists strive to save your real tooth. Sometimes the best way to do that is through root canal therapy, which involves removing the damaged tooth pulp from the interior of the tooth. Using local anesthesia to make you comfortable, the dentist or endodontist uses special tools to enter the root canal, remove the pulp, and clean the area thoroughly. Once the tooth is ready, a crown is usually placed on top of the existing tooth to protect it from future damage and to complete the process. Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed if an infection was present to help ensure that you are in the best of health.

Endodontic treatment is often compared by patients to simply getting a regular tooth filling. The procedure is usually completed in one office visit and it won’t be long before you are back to your normal routine, with a fully restored natural tooth in your smile.


We treat patients from Federal Way and the surrounding area

How to Prevent the Need For Root Canal Treatment

The desire for a beautiful, healthy, natural smile is universal. Dental procedures such as root canal treatments aren’t something people aspire to have, and there are things you can do personally that can reduce your risk of having a root canal procedure.

Prevention is the best step you can take to avoid root canal therapy, and it all begins with you at home. If you didn’t grow up with good oral hygiene habits, now is the time to develop them. This simple step can lead directly to good oral health. Be sure you are brushing your teeth at least twice a day, following each meal if possible, and absolutely before sleeping. If you don’t brush your teeth before bedtime, you’re providing a robust breeding ground for bacteria to grow and degrade your teeth while you’re sleeping. Floss daily to reach the places between teeth and beneath the gum line that brushing can’t reach.

Fluoride in your toothpaste and in mouthwash can keep your tooth enamel strong and durable. Never give fluoridated toothpastes to children under the age of two years and avoid fluoridated mouthwash until the child is more than six years old.

Maintaining a proper diet ensures that your body is receiving all of the nutrients it needs for health, both orally and elsewhere in the body. Chewing crunchy foods like raw vegetables and hard fruits can help keep your teeth bright and clean, scraping away debris while you chew.

If you are a smoker, you should stop immediately. Not only is it a huge factor in your oral health, but also for your overall health. Smoking contributes directly to lung disease, cancer and heart disease, as well as other health issues. Your dentist or doctor can give you excellent advice about quitting.

Stay hydrated by drinking lots of water and avoiding sugared drinks. Rinse your mouth after consuming soda, coffee, tea or a sports drink.

Be sure to see your dentist twice a year for regular check-ups and cleanings, and keep your risk of a root canal treatment low.

Schedule your appointment at our Federal Way dental office

Professional Teeth Whitening

Teeth whitening is the most popular cosmetic procedure that dentists perform today. It can have a dramatic effect on your smile at a smaller cost than other cosmetic procedures. You can whiten your teeth yourself using at-home techniques, but often professional whitening with your dentist’s help achieves the fastest and most effective results. Let’s examine the whitening options provided by most dentists to help you evaluate what might work for you.

Whitening at your dentist’s office:
The dentist applies a whitening product to your teeth containing higher percentages of hydrogen peroxide than what is available in at-home kits. Heat or light may be used also. This technique produces quick, uniform results, but it does sometimes cause temporary gum irritation or tooth sensitivity. This method is expensive, ranging between $500 to $1,200.

Home whitening supervised by your dentist:
A customized mouthpiece will be created by your dentist for you to fill at home with whitening gel, which contains a lower strength of hydrogen peroxide then the in-office gel. You wear the mouthpiece at home for several hours each day, and your dentist supervises the whitening with regular checkups. This method is convenient and less expensive at $300 to $500, but it produces slower results than in-office methods.

Repeating the process:
Whichever type of teeth whitening technique you might choose, remember that it isn’t a permanent repair to your teeth. You will need to repeat the process every year or two. The length of time between treatments will increase if you don’t smoke and avoid foods that are known to stain your teeth, such as coffee and red wine.


We look forward to seeing you in our Federal Way dental office

Whitening Your Teeth at Home

If you have to think twice about smiling because you’re embarrassed about your yellowed teeth, then it’s time to do something about it. You might consider having your teeth professionally whitened for quick and effective results, but first you may want to try whitening your smile at home with these natural methods.

Hydrogen peroxide:
Most teeth whitening products you find on store shelves contain hydrogen peroxide. The liquid creates bubbles on your tooth enamel that helps remove stains. The higher the concentration of peroxide and the longer you leave it on, the whiter your teeth will become. However, be careful because too much contact can lead to tooth sensitivity. Some people enhance the whitening properties of hydrogen peroxide by mixing it with baking soda to form a paste to put on the teeth.

Strawberries:
Regularly using strawberries on your teeth can whiten them. Just cut them in half and rub them on your teeth, allowing the juice to penetrate. After a while of using this technique, you should notice your teeth becoming brighter.

Lemon or orange peels:
Rubbing the peels of lemons or oranges against your teeth and leaving the residue on for a few minutes can whiten your smile. Be sure to rinse your mouth afterwards. Don’t leave the peel extracts on your teeth for too long because the acidic content may eventually harm your tooth enamel.

Apple cider vinegar:
Stubborn stains like those from coffee or smoking can be especially hard to eliminate. Rubbing apple cider vinegar on your teeth is one way to combat persistent stains. Apply it for no more than ten minutes and then rinse your mouth, because you don’t want to damage your tooth enamel. It take one to two months of consistent daily use to achieve a whiter smile.

Brush immediately:
The most well-known way to maintain a white smile is to brush your teeth after every meal, as well as after drinking a dark colored beverage. This helps get rid of stains and prevent new ones from forming.


We treat patients from Federal Way and the surrounding area

Enhancing Your Smile with Teeth Whitening

Your smile is a noticeable part of your appearance, and yellow dingy teeth can leave a negative impression on others. Most people have to work at having a bright sparkly smile, because teeth can discolor with age, diet, and lifestyle.

You may not realize that sipping a glass of red wine or coffee can be a detriment to your smile, as can sugary items that allow acids to attack your tooth enamel. Smoking is an even worse culprit. It not only leaves ugly spots on the surface of teeth, it also contributes to poor gum health.

If your teeth are already stained or if you’re having a hard time breaking the habits that discolor them, teeth whitening is a good way to improve the look of your smile. There are numerous methods to regain the natural glow of your teeth, ranging from over-the-counter techniques for home use to professional treatments in an office setting.

Whitening products available at your local drug or grocery store include things like toothpaste, chewing gum, mouthwash, gels, and whitening strips. These are readily available and usually inexpensive options. Most of these products are simple to use and can be done in the convenience of your home when you choose. However, over-the-counter products are not as strong as professional methods. This means that results are not dramatic and usually take a long period of time of consistent use. Also, the effects may not last as long as you hope before it’s time to consider whitening again.

Professional teeth whitening is often performed by general and cosmetic dentists in an office environment. Bleaching is a popular professional method. The biggest advantage of in-office treatment is the fast results, with a visibly brighter smile evident in about an hour. Results are often dramatic, lightening teeth by several shades. Professionals trained and experienced in these methods provide safe and effective treatment. Methods available professionally may cost a bit more than home options, but the dramatic results may be worth it.


If you live in the Federal Way area contact us today

Cosmetic dentist in Federal Way

Top Reasons to see a Cosmetic Dentist

A special area of dentistry has been formed that focuses on making your smile as flawless and appealing as possible. Cosmetic dentistry corrects imperfections that cause people to feel insecure and unhappy with their smiles. If you are one of those people, maybe it’s time to see a cosmetic dentist to give you back your smile and confidence. Here are some of the most common reasons for visiting a cosmetic dentist.

One of the biggest complaints that people have about their smile is the color of their teeth. Stains can cause your teeth to become yellow or brown with time, making your smile unattractive and embarrassing. Cosmetic dentists offer teeth whitening techniques that brighten your teeth, and can restore your pearly whites in just one appointment.

Gaps in your smile from missing teeth not only look awkward, they also make chewing and speaking more difficult. A cosmetic dentist can replace your missing teeth with dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Implants have become increasingly popular because they provide a permanent, comfortable, and natural-looking solution for missing teeth.

Cosmetic dentists can solve a variety of other imperfections that make you unhappy with your smile. Veneers improve the shape and color of your teeth by covering the fronts of your teeth with thin shells. Dental fillings and root canals resolve problems often linked to tooth decay. Crowns are used to cover an unhealthy tooth and restore its strength, shape, size, and appearance. They also may be used in conjunction with dental bridges to correct gaps in your smile.

There is no reason to go through life ashamed of your teeth. Make an appointment with a cosmetic dentist to see how your smile can be improved to get the bright, beautiful smile you desire.

Contact us today to schedule your cosmetic dentistry consultation in our Federal Way dental office.

cosmetic dentistry

Porcelain Veneers Revealed

Thank goodness for modern dentistry that allows people to have attractive smiles even though their teeth may not cooperate. For some people, regular dental care is enough to keep their teeth and gums healthy and looking nice. However, over time many people’s teeth become stained or discolored. Chips and cracks can occur that cause unsightly and embarrassing problems. If things like this happen to you, it’s time to consider restoring your smile with porcelain veneers.

Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are permanently adhered to the front surfaces of your teeth, hiding imperfections and giving you a whole new look. It is a simple, non-invasive procedure that can make a dramatic difference in your appearance without any pain or great inconvenience.

There are a variety of benefits to getting porcelain veneers. Here are some of the great advantages you can expect if you and your dentist decide that veneers are right for you:
•  Veneers completely hide stains and discolorations on your teeth. Years of eating and drinking foods that tend to stain your teeth can be erased with veneers. For tough stains, sometimes whitening techniques simply aren’t enough. Veneers provide an easy remedy that will immediately and effectively hide your problem teeth.
•  You and your dentist can choose the exact color that you’d like your veneers to be. You can select the best shade to match your other features and your goals for your smile.
•  Obtaining veneers does not require invasive procedures like reshaping, scraping, or extensive contouring of your teeth. There isn’t any pain associated with the veneer process.
•  Only one or two dental appointments are necessary to get veneers.
•  Porcelain veneers are durable and strong, often lasting from ten to fifteen years.
•  Veneers give you back your confidence so that you are proud to smile and display your beautiful look.

Cosmetic dentist in Federal Way – Dr. Wallen

smile makeover dentist

Treat Yourself to a New Smile

The changing seasons can prompt many people to want to change their appearance, perhaps through treating themselves to a brand-new smile. Your dentist in Federal Way can provide a number of different cosmetic dentistry and restorative treatments to help provide a beautifully healthy and natural looking smile.

Cosmetic and Restorative Options
Modern dentistry techniques are extremely sophisticated and your dentist can do a lot to improve your smile. Possible options include porcelain veneers that cover the front surfaces of your teeth, crowns to restore teeth damaged by tooth decay or trauma, dental bonding that helps improve the shape of the tooth in just one easy visit, and enamel reshaping to correct minor issues such as slightly overlapping teeth. Dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth, transforming a gappy smile into something far more pleasing.

Teeth Whitening
Professional teeth whitening can quickly brighten up your smile, creating a youthful and healthy appearance. Your dentist in Federal Way can offer you in-office whitening that will lift the shade of your teeth in just an hour. If you prefer, you can have custom made whitening trays to use at home. Your dentist will provide you with the correct strength of whitening gel to safely bleach your teeth.

Teeth Straightening
It’s never too late to straighten your teeth and adult orthodontics is increasingly popular. Ask your dentist about Invisalign clear braces that will discreetly straighten your smile without really affecting day-to-day activities.

Checkups and Professional Cleanings
Your first step should be to schedule an appointment for a checkup and professional cleaning. Your dentist will need to examine your mouth to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy before carrying out any cosmetic dentistry treatments. They’ll discuss the type of options that might help you, and can compile a treatment plan to improve your smile. A professional cleaning removes tartar buildup and gives your smile an added sparkle. It’s a great treatment for keeping teeth and gums healthy.

If you need a dentist in Federal Way contact us today

smile makover dentist

Don’t Be Afraid of a Smile Makeover

Does your smile need some work? Are you sensitive about your teeth and how you may look while you eat or drink? Does speaking in public leave you anxious because you’re worried about the appearance of your teeth? Have you been putting off talking to a cosmetic dentist because you’re worried about the dental therapies you might need? Don’t be afraid of a smile makeover! A smile makeover can be a simple thing, as minor and fast as teeth whitening, a process that can often be completed in-office in a single visit.

If you are looking for solutions to your smile problems, begin by finding a skilled cosmetic dentist. You want to be sure to see photographs of some of the actual work done by a particular cosmetic dentist. Don’t assume that what you see online are actual patient photographs – they may be someone’s patients, but if they weren’t this dentist’s patients, you’re not getting any closer to identifying the right cosmetic dentist for you.

Ask around for private recommendations from friends and family; it might surprise you how many people you know have had work done to their smiles. You might assume that your coworker’s smile is all natural, only to learn it’s the result of a skilled cosmetic dentist and veneer work done so carefully and well that they look just like natural teeth.

Dental veneers can transform your smile in only a few visits. Good veneers will be made of materials that mimic the color and translucency of natural teeth. They won’t look puffy, too long or artificial and will complement your hair and skin color. Orthodontia can change the alignment of your teeth, with choices such as Invisalign to help you feel more confident as you change your smile.

A smile makeover can benefit you in so many ways by simply boosting your self-confidence. After you complete your treatment, you will be surprised at how much better you feel about yourself and about life in general. You will face the day with confidence, knowing you can live your life without worry about your smile.

Dr. Wallen is a cosmetic dentist in Federal Way offering smile makeovers.

cosmetic dentist in Federal Way

What You Should Know About Porcelain Veneers

If you are unhappy with your smile, porcelain veneers are a cosmetic dentistry option that can provide you with flawless teeth. Veneers are a very popular way to improve your appearance without a major, invasive procedure. Here are some things you should know about porcelain veneers if you are considering them as a solution for an imperfect smile.

Difference between veneers and crowns
The purpose of veneers is to restore your smile, and your original teeth are not removed or altered. However, a large part of the original tooth structure is removed with crowns in the process of building a new tooth. If you’re seeking a minimally invasive option, veneers may be your answer.

Natural appearance
Veneers are customized just for you, so your smile can be personalized to meet your desires. Your teeth will look natural and healthy. Porcelain is translucent and provides a realistic look to your smile. Also, stains do not stick to porcelain and even if there is any small staining, it can be easily polished off during a dental cleaning.

Permanent solution
Veneers are a permanent tooth restoration, so make sure you are happy with the color and shape before they are placed using dental cement. Alterations cannot be made once the veneers are in place.

Requires healthy teeth
A thorough examination by your dentist is required to determine if veneers are right for you. Some oral conditions do not work well with veneers, so your dentist will make sure your teeth and mouth are healthy enough to work successfully with veneers.

Cosmetic Dentist in Federal Way

cosmetic dentistry

Many Ways to Improve your Smile

Regardless of what aspect you dislike about your smile, there are cosmetic dentistry procedures to treat them. Smile makeovers are possible to give you the look you’ve been wanting. Not only do they enhance your smile, but they also boost your confidence. You may not know all the options and the problems they address. So here’s a list that can help you decide which of them is relevant to you.

Tooth discoloration
Teeth can easily become discolored from poor hygiene due to consuming foods and drinks such as coffee, red wine, berries, and tea. Smoking is a big culprit for tooth discoloration. Teeth whitening is the most common way to brighten your smile, and various methods are available either at home or professionally.

Misalignment
Teeth that are crowded or malaligned are not only unappealing; they can also make oral hygiene management more difficult and cause added stress on your jaw. Traditional braces, clear methods like Invisalign, crowns, and porcelain veneers are various ways misalignment might be treated. Discuss with your dentist that of those options is best for you.

Gaps
Spaces between your teeth can be embarrassing socially, as well as detrimental to the function of your teeth. Braces or Invisalign are excellent ways to correct gaps. Veneers are another option depending on how large your gaps are. Those are alternatives to cater for your budget.

Gummy smile
Excessive amounts of your gums show when you smile can create what is known as a gummy smile. Treatments may include gum sculpting, veneers, crowns, braces, or surgery.

Missing teeth
Smile restoration can be done with dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Each of these solutions has their good and bad aspects. Therefore, consult your dentist for advice before deciding on it.

Worn-down teeth
If untreated, worn teeth can cause tooth loss or dental health problems. Teeth that are damaged can often be restored with either veneers or crowns.

We look forward to seeing you in our Federal Way dental office

General dentist in Federal Way

What Really Happens When You Get a Filling

You’re sitting in your dentist’s chair for your checkup, and you hear the dreaded words that you have a cavity. Is it really a cause for panic? Modern advances in equipment and methods may surprise you about what really happens when you get a filling. Let’s learn what to expect if you need this procedure.

The first thing you and your dentist will discuss is the type of filling that is best for you. One choice is an amalgam filling. It is known for its durability, but contains a small amount of mercury which raises concerns among some patients. Another option is a resin composite filling, which is a newer material that contains more plastics. Many patients like this option because its white color is less noticeable in your mouth, but it lasts only about half as long as an amalgam filling.

The first step of the process is numbing the area, unless the cavity is very small and it’s unnecessary. First, the dentist will rub a topical numbing agent on the area, and will give you an injection after it takes effect. Many patients don’t even feel the injection after the topical numbing.

Next, the dentist will separate the area being worked on from the rest of your mouth using a rubber dam or a bite block. Once your mouth is ready, your tooth will be drilled and the decay will be removed.

The actual filling will be placed after the decay is gone. If you are receiving an amalgam filling, the hole will be filled with the metals. It will be pushed down to ensure all of the space is full, and then any overflow will be removed to make the tooth smooth. If you are getting a composite filling instead, the dentist will put some blue acid in the hole to create small holes for bonding the material. The acid is then rinsed, and a bonding agent is applied. Then the composite material will be added. A blue light will be used to harden and strengthen the material. Finally, the filling will be filed to make it smooth.

Dental fillings dentist in Federal Way

dental cleaning

What’s the Connection between Oral Health and Overall Health?

Most people know that keeping your mouth clean is the best way to have an attractive and healthy smile. However not so many will be aware of the benefits to general health. Having healthy teeth and gums helps protect your overall health.

What Is Oral Health?
Oral health is concerned with the condition of any of the structures in your mouth, including your teeth, gums, tongue and all your oral tissues.

How Is Oral Health Related to Overall Health?
When your teeth and gums are healthy then it’s much easier to eat a varied and nutritionally sound diet. Choosing foods that are good for your teeth, for example those that are low in sugar, will also benefit your general health. Having a nice smile helps boost self-esteem, and good oral health decreases the risk of bad breath. It’s also much easier to speak clearly when you have all your teeth.

Which Oral and General Health Conditions Are Linked?
Oral health has been connected to a number of different general health issues. Clinical studies have found links between gum disease and diabetes. For example, uncontrolled diabetes can increase the amount of glucose in the saliva, increasing the risk of gum disease. Conversely gum disease causes bleeding gums that allow bacteria in the mouth to enter into the bloodstream where it’s thought they can create new sites of inflammation, making it more difficult to control blood sugar levels. In addition diabetics find it more difficult to heal. Gum disease has also been linked to heart disease, and people with unhealthy gums could be at increased risk of developing heart issues.

How Can I Achieve Good Oral Health?
It’s important to visit your family dentist in Federal Way as often as recommended. Book professional tooth cleanings at the same time as this will reduce bacteria in the mouth, helping to keep your gums healthy and strong. People with diabetes or other medical conditions that compromise their immune system may need to visit their Federal Way general dentist more frequently.

root canal treatment

The Truth About Root Canal Therapy

Most people would rather do anything than have a root canal. Unfortunately, this procedure receives a bad rap. A root canal is generally performed to clean out an infected tooth and prevent future problems. Usually, patients feel better after root canal therapy.

Knowing the truth about root canals may help you feel less apprehensive if your dentist recommends this procedure.

  • A root canal hurts.
    Actually, the pain you feel is caused by the swelling and pressure in your tooth. When a tooth sustains severe trauma, the pulp, or soft nerve center, may die. During a root canal, your dentist will remove the damaged tissue, disinfect the tooth, and seal off the inside. Most people only experience mild soreness afterwards, if they feel any discomfort at all.
  • Root canal therapy takes many appointments.
    Although this timing depends on the severity of the case, most root canals are completed in one to two appointments. Once your dentist finishes the root canal, you will probably need at least one more visit for restoration of the tooth, usually with an inlay, onlay, or crown.
  • I only need a root canal if my tooth hurts.
    Pain often lets you know you have a problem with a tooth, but if your tooth root dies you may have no symptoms. The dentist can perform tests to determine the health of a tooth, including temperature and percussion testing.
  • The root canal won’t last.
    Once the tooth is cleaned and sealed, you should have no further problems with the tooth. Sometimes the restoration of the tooth fails, which can causes the tooth to crack or break. This usually occurs if you wait too long to have a crown or adequate filling placed.

We treat patients from Federal Way and the surrounding area

root canal treatment

Symptoms That Indicate You Might Need a Root Canal Procedure

If you have tooth pain or another issue, you might wonder what a visit to the dentist may reveal. You may need a root canal procedure. In order to properly evaluate your issue and to confirm the need for a procedure, a dentist will examine several factors. These typically include the symptoms you are experiencing, the signs observed, and any additional testing required to confirm an initial theory.

You may have noticed:

  • You experience average to severe pain that lingers, during or immediately after drinking hot liquids or food, or very cold liquids or foods.
  • You have pain, swelling, or sensitivity when biting or chewing on a certain tooth.
  • Your tooth pain disrupts your life, preventing you from sleeping through the night or conducting your daily business without taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • You have a “bubble” on your gum, similar to a pimple. When irritated, it may release blood or pus that can smell or taste bad.
  • You have pain that radiates out from one tooth to other areas of your head or jaw. For example, a tooth pain can lead to a pain behind the eye like a headache or to the ear, resulting in earache symptoms.
  • You have a discolored tooth that is darker than the surrounding teeth. A grey tooth can indicate a “dead” tooth.
  • You have a broken or cracked tooth with obvious signs of damage or decay.


Your dentist may have noticed:

  • A tooth problem revealed by x-rays
  • A recurring or persistent gum pimple (also called “fistulous tracts”)
  • A tooth that has changed color


Additional testing:

  • X-ray examination – if x-rays did not reveal the problem, they can provide an extremely clear picture of tooth health
  • Percussion testing – a gentle tapping on the teeth to evaluate pain response
  • Thermal testing – a careful application of a hot or cold stimulus to evaluate sensitivity

Sometimes, teeth needing to undergo a root canal procedure have no symptoms discernible to the patient. It is important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure the proper diagnosis and treatment needed to maintain life-long oral health.

If you need root canal treatment in the Federal Way area, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.

teeth whitening dentist

Learn about All Your Teeth Whitening Options

A beautifully white smile is often perceived as a sign of youth and vitality, but over time it can gradually fade. Eating certain foods or drinking dark-colored beverages, taking particular medications and simply aging can all take its toll on your teeth. It’s hardly surprising that tooth whitening has become one of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures in recent years. Professional teeth whitening is safe and effective and can quickly rejuvenate your smile. If you’re thinking about whitening your teeth, there are several options to choose from which include:

In-Office Whitening
In-office teeth whitening is hugely popular, as you can literally book a lunch time appointment and leave with a dazzling white smile. Surface stains can quickly be eliminated, and teeth can be brightened by up to eight shades in just an hour. This option is the most expensive, and you don’t have much control over the final results. Your dentist in Federal Way will activate the bleaching gel with a special light so the final result should be a stunning white smile.

Custom-Made Take-Home Teeth Whitening Kits
Not everyone wants to whiten their teeth so quickly, and custom-made whitening trays enable you to safely bleach teeth in a more controlled manner. Your Federal Way cosmetic dentist will take impressions of your teeth that are used to fabricate custom-made whitening trays. You’ll be shown how to use these trays, and should wear them for as long as directed. Most people will begin to notice real results within a few days, but they generally need to be used for two or three weeks to achieve optimum effects.

Over-The-Counter Teeth Whitening Kits
Over-the-counter whitening kits come in the form of trays and whitening strips and can cost between $20 and $50 so it’s tempting to think they will save you money. However the bleaching gels contained in these kits are not as strong as those available to your dentist. In addition, there’s the possibility these kits could irritate your gums as ill-fitting whitening trays can allow the gel to leak out.

Schedule your appointment at our Federal Way dental office

kids dentist

Baby Teeth Basics

Babies obviously can’t take care of themselves, so parents have to handle all aspects of their care. Don’t forget their oral health! Parents need to lay the groundwork for lifelong good dental habits and healthy smiles for their children. Here are some answers to common questions about baby teeth.

Do baby teeth matter?
Primary, or baby, teeth are important. They help children chew naturally and speak clearly. They provide the place for adult teeth to grown in properly later.

Should I brush my baby’s teeth?
You should brush your baby’s teeth without toothpaste, using a small amount of water instead. Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush at bedtime to remove plaque and bacteria from your baby’s teeth and gums.

When can I start using toothpaste?
Fluoride toothpaste can be implemented after age two, when a child can be trusted not to swallow the toothpaste. Only use a small amount of toothpaste, and watch the child carefully to ensure proper brushing and spitting out the toothpaste.

When should I take my child to the dentist?
Experts recommend taking your child to the dentist when their first tooth appears, or by their first birthday. Your child should be taken for dental visits every six months, or more often if your dentist has concerns.

Do I need a certain type of dentist for my child?
You may choose a pediatric dentist who has been trained specifically to treat children. Their goal is to teach children about oral hygiene and the importance of taking care of their teeth, as well as provide a comfortable experience in visiting the dentist. However, you may also choose a regular dentist to take care of your child’s oral health. It is up to you to decide which kind of dentist is right for your family.

Schedule your appointment at our Federal Way dental office

Dental office checkup

Signs You Need to Schedule a Dental Visit

As a rule, healthy adults should plan on dental checkups every six months. These appointments allow the dentist to examine your mouth and monitor your oral health status. Sometimes, you may need to make an extra trip to the dentist. Contact your provider right away if you notice any of the following:

Bleeding gums
Though most people wouldn’t ignore a cut on their arms or legs, many individuals disregard pink in the sink as no big deal. Often, bleeding gums are an initial indication of gum disease. If diagnosed early, long-term damage from gum disease can be avoided. Without treatment, you can face pain, gum recession and eventually tooth loss.

Tooth pain

Enamel erosion, cavities, and TMJ dysfunction can all contribute to tooth pain, so let your dentist perform an exam to determine if you have an underlying issue. No matter the cause, you shouldn’t suffer needlessly, so don’t put off visiting the dentist.

Changes in your mouth

Oral cancer kills more people than cervical, kidney, testicular, brain, or liver cancer. Because it is often found in later stages, 43 percent of patients will die within five years. If you notice a sore that won’t heal, white patches, or swollen areas in your mouth, call your dentist for an appointment.

Persistent bad breath
While everyone experiences days where they need a breath mint, chronic halitosis often signifies a deeper issue. Dry mouth, certain medications, gum disease, and poor dental hygiene can all cause persistent bad breath. Your dentist can help identify the cause of halitosis and offer solutions to address the problem.

If you live in the Federal Way area contact us today

 

Dental health and pregnancy

Caring for Your Dental Health during Pregnancy

When you are having a baby, you have a lot of your mind. Most expectant moms have to worry about doctor’s appointments, prenatal vitamins, morning sickness, and picking out names. It’s important to take good care of yourself during this special time. One area that may fall by the wayside is oral health.

Though you may not think it’s a priority, your dental health can impact your pregnancy. Because hormone levels are so high during pregnancy, you may be more susceptible to problems with gum disease. Studies have shown that untreated gum disease can contribute to pre-term births and low-birth weight babies.

Protect your wellbeing and your unborn child by:

  • Eat a balanced diet. Include foods that are rich in calcium, which will keep your dentition strong and help with your baby’s developing teeth.
  • Take time to brush and floss teeth daily. This kind of home routine may help prevent bleeding gums, which often flare up during pregnancy.
  • Watch the snacks. You may need to eat more frequently, but try to choose healthy options like fruits, veggies, and whole grains so that you are less likely to develop cavities.
  • See your dentist for a checkup. After the first trimester, make an appointment for a cleaning and exam. Though you won’t want to schedule X-rays or repairs during pregnancy, routine dental care is important and shouldn’t be avoided.
  • If an emergency situation does occur, contact your dentist right away. Remind the office that you are pregnant so that they can take precautions to ensure the safety of you and your baby.

General dentist in Federal Way

Diabetes and Oral Health

Diabetes and Oral Health

If you have diabetes, this condition can impact your overall wellbeing, including your oral health. An estimated 24 million Americans have diabetes, and many may not realize the affect it has on your teeth and gums. The link between diabetes and oral health has to do with blood sugar levels.

Regulating blood sugar is an important component of diabetes management. If your blood sugar is out of whack, you can have problems. Uncontrolled diabetes hinders white blood cells, which help fight off bacterial infections in the mouth. Research has shown that keeping blood sugar levels steady can lowers the chances of major complications of with the eyes, heart, and nerves. Apparently, watching these levels also helps avoid oral health problems as well.

People with diabetes have an increased risk for:

Dry Mouth – When your blood sugar is not regulated, it can decrease saliva production, which can lead to dry mouth.

Inflammation and Gum disease – With diabetes, patients face impairing of white blood cells and thickening of the blood vessels, reducing the flow of nutrients and the removal of waste in the mouth. These factors compromise the body’s ability to fight infection, so the risk for gum disease increases.

Poor healing in the mouth – If you don’t have the diabetes under control, healing throughout the body take longer, including with any dental procedures.

Thrush – A fungal infection of the mouth and tongue, thrush can occur in diabetics if their sugar levels are inconsistent because this fungus is very receptive to the high glucose levels in the saliva.

Patients with diabetes can keep their mouths healthy by following good home health care, scheduling dental visits every six months, and keeping your dentist informed about the status of your diabetes. Make sure to give your dentist contact information for your primary physician so that they can coordinate your complete health care.

Schedule your appointment at our Federal Way dental office

 

Vaping and teeth

Smokeless Tobacco Does Not Mean It’s Harmless

Everyone knows that tobacco is harmful to your health, but many people believe that smokeless tobacco doesn’t fall into the same category. Just because it’s smokeless doesn’t mean it’s harmless. It’s dangerous for your overall health, but also for your oral health. Here are some possible oral health outcomes of using smokeless tobacco.

Tooth decay
Smokeless tobacco contains sugar, which combines with the plaque on your teeth to damage your tooth enamel and cause decay.

Receding gums
Placing chewing tobacco in your mouth at the same spot over and over can permanently damage your gums. It can also harm your bone structure. Your irritated gums may pull away from your teeth, expose your tooth roots, and leave your teeth painful and susceptible to decay. Receding gums sometimes also loosen your teeth and cause them to eventually fall out.

Tooth discoloration
Smokeless tobacco stains your teeth, causing embarrassing yellow and brown discoloration. It is extremely difficult to remove with normal brushing, and even professional teeth whitening may not completely remove these stubborn stains.

Bad breath
Your breath will suffer from tobacco products of any kind. Don’t be fooled into thinking that mint-flavored smokeless tobacco hides the problem.

Tooth abrasion
Smokeless tobacco can be gritty and scratch your teeth, wearing down the enamel. Loss of tooth enamel increases sensitivity and may require treatment.

Cancer
The consistent placement of tobacco inside your gums and the irritating juices accompanying it can cause a pre-cancerous condition called leukoplakia. All smokeless tobacco contains cancer-causing agents, which subject users to higher cancer risk in the oral cavity, larynx, esophagus, and pharynx.

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emergency dentistry in Federal Way

When Emergency Dental Care is Needed

As much as you hope it doesn’t happen, dental emergencies can sneak up on you. Some clinics offer emergency dental care to provide quick, effective, and safe treatment. It’s important to know what kinds of dental problems require urgent care, as opposed to those that can wait until you can get a regular appointment with your dentist. Here are some common types of emergencies that warrant immediate treatment.

Severe toothache
A painful toothache that won’t go away should not be ignored. These can occur suddenly, be confined to a single area, cause pain when eating, and also involve your gums. Symptoms like these may indicate an abscess, which can also lead to facial swelling. Sometimes your airway can even become blocked. A severe toothache requires immediate relief, and therefore is considered a dental emergency.

Excessive bleeding
If you have oral bleeding from something like losing a tooth and you can’t get it under control, you need to see an emergency dentist. Normally when a tooth falls out, the bleeding will stop after a few minutes. If the blood won’t clot for some reason, or if there was severe trauma, excessive bleeding can occur. A dentist can help stop the bleeding by applying pressure, using a hemostatic agent, or even using stitches.

Fractured teeth
Infection may occur when a tooth is fractured, especially if the break goes deep into a permanent tooth, so immediate care is necessary. An emergency dentist will apply dentine padding to the affected area, so that you can visit your own dentist the next day for further treatment.

Surgery complications
If you have had oral surgery and the pain is more severe or lingering than your dentist anticipated, you should seek treatment immediately to make sure complications like a dry socket or jaw fracture hasn’t occurred.

If you have a dental emergency, contact our Federal Way dentists office.

Emergency dentist in Federal Way

What’s a Dental Emergency?

It may be obvious when you’re in a situation that requires immediate treatment by a dentist. Perhaps you’re in immense pain, or you’ve had a tooth knocked out or bleeding that won’t stop. Examples like this make it easy to decide you need help right away, but sometimes it’s not as clear. What are some other problems that may require emergency dental treatment?

Cracked teeth
A cracked or fractured tooth is serious, and often means that the tooth has been damaged both on the inside and the outside. Many times the tooth can’t be saved. If your tooth is broken, schedule an emergency appointment immediately. Remember, a cracked tooth is different than a chipped tooth, which is not as serious. You can usually wait to see your dentist at the next available opportunity for a chipped tooth.

Lost fillings
Some lost fillings require immediate care to avoid worse issues. Fillings protect your tooth’s root from exposure, so if the filling falls out your root can be uncovered and cause intense pain. There is also increased risk for damage to your tooth’s structure, so seeing your dentist as soon as possible is suggested.

Lost crown
If your crown falls out, call your dentist for an appointment as soon as possible. Until you can see the dentist, try putting the crown back in place using an over-the-counter dental adhesive. Do not use any products like Super Glue. If the crown won’t stay in place, make sure you take it to your appointment with you so that it can be re-cemented correctly.

Abscess
If you have a painful swelling on your gum that resembles a pimple, it might be a serious condition called an abscess. It can damage gum tissue and teeth, as well as spread serious infection to your body. See your dentist immediately for proper treatment.

 

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Cosmetic Dentistry Not Just for Women

It is a long established fact that a reader will be distracted by the readable content of a page when looking at its layout. Often, advertising for cosmetic dentistry focuses on women. Photos in magazines and on Web sites show attractive females with gorgeous smiles. Although these campaigns often target women, men can benefit from cosmetic dentistry too.

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Cosmetic Dentistry Myths and Facts

Cosmetic dentistry has become one of the most popular ways to improve not only your smile but also your self-confidence. However, many myths exist regarding cosmetic dental procedures. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile, there is no need to let these common cosmetic dentistry myths deter you from seeking the beautiful smile you desire:

Stains on your teeth are permanent. In fact, tooth enamel can become stained by a multitude of factors. Unsightly stains caused by food, drinks, tobacco products or some medications can be removed or considerably lightened through professional teeth whitening.

Fillings and caps are ugly and unnatural in appearance. In fact, current technologies in cosmetic dentistry utilize porcelain materials that can be matched to the shade of your existing tooth enamel.

Dentures are a hassle and only for old people. In fact, today’s dental implants and implant supported dentures are easy to maintain and provide the function and look of your natural teeth.

Dental bridges are painful. In fact, advanced fitting techniques ensure that bridges are more comfortable than ever.

Jagged, crooked teeth take years to correct. In fact, with porcelain veneers, uneven and unsightly teeth can become smooth and even in as little as two office visits.

Braces are only for teenagers. In fact, teeth can be successfully straightened at any age.

Braces are unattractive, cumbersome and will make your mouth look like a train track. In fact, with advancements in clear braces such as Invisalign, braces can be almost invisible and often can even be removed during mealtimes or when playing sports.

A qualified cosmetic dentist can accomplish many things to correct your smile. Don’t let dated myths keep you from achieving the smile of your dreams. Consult with Federal Way cosmetic dentist Dr. Wallen and get the facts about how cosmetic dentistry can improve your smile so you can face the world with more confidence.