What is a Dental Emergency?

Sometimes an injury or tooth pain can occur suddenly, and immediate dental care may be required. It’s not always obvious when a problem needs emergency care, but some dental emergencies do need to be treated quickly to avoid infections or permanent damage. Here’s a guide to situations that are usually considered dental emergencies.

  • Cracked or broken tooth – contact your dentist immediately. Rinse your mouth with water and hold a cold compress to the affected area until you can get to your dentist’s office.
  • Excessive bleeding with lip or tongue bite – clean the area and use a cold compress. Go to the emergency room if the bleeding is severe or won’t stop.
  • Jaw injury – if you think you may have broken your jaw, apply a cold pack and immediately to your dentist’s office or the emergency room.
  • Knocked out tooth –rinse the root of the lost tooth if it’s dirty. Do not scrub or removed any tissue left on the tooth. Try reinserting the tooth into its socket, but if that isn’t successful, see your dentist right away. Placing the lost tooth in milk may help preserve the tooth until you can get professional help.
  • Loose tooth – see your dentist immediately if one of your teeth is loosened. Take over-the-counter pain reliever if needed, and apply a cold compress.
  • Lost crown or filling – place the crown or filling in a safe place and contact your dentist. To decrease sensitivity, you may apply clove oil and dental cement available at your drugstore, but only if you’ve gotten approval from your dentist.
  • Severe or sudden toothache – rinse your mouth with warm water and gently floss around the tooth. Contact your dentist if your toothache persists.
  • Swelling – painful swelling in your mouth may indicate an abscess, which is an infected area of pus that can become serious. See your dentist as soon as possible, and try rinsing your mouth with saltwater in the meantime.

Schedule your appointment at our Federal Way dental office

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.

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

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.

Oral Surgery FAQ

If you or a loved one is scheduled to have or has recently had oral surgery, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common questions:

  • One of my stitches came out after my surgery, should I be worried? Losing a stitch isn’t a problem. In the majority of cases, stitches are put in place during surgery to assist in clot formation and bleeding control. If you have undergone a bone-graft procedure, however, contact your surgeon because you may need to be seen immediately.
  • What can I eat after surgery? Immediately following surgery, eat only soft foods of tepid temperature. Avoid very hot or very cold foods. Eat nothing that is crunchy or chewy so you won’t damage the surgical site.
  • I am having a lot of pain following my procedure, what should I do? If you have been prescribed pain medication, take it as recommended. If no prescription was given, use over-the-counter medicines containing natural anti-inflammatory properties such as ibuprofen. Stay hydrated by drinking room temperature water and get plenty of rest.
  • I had a tooth extracted, how can I tell if I have a dry socket? Dry socket is the result of the loss of the blood clot present in the extraction site. Smoking, using a straw, poor oral hygiene or failure to rest properly following the extraction procedure can lead to this condition. Typically dry socket will present within one week of extraction and is treated with sterile wash and pain-relieving, medicated gauze.
  • I had a procedure this morning and am still bleeding. Is that normal? Bleeding following extractions or other surgical procedures is common. If you are bleeding more than normal, bite down on some sterile gauze or a damp teabag for twenty or thirty minutes. Don’t keep removing the gauze to look for blood; that can make the bleeding worse. Call your surgeon if you feel your bleeding is excessive.

Your oral surgeon can answer these questions and more. Don’t hesitate to call the surgeon’s office to get the peace of mind you require to heal comfortably following your procedure.

We treat patients from Federal Way and the surrounding area

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.

dentures

Dentures: Frequently Asked Questions

Dentures have improved dramatically over the past several years. Whether it’s your first set of dentures or your fifth set, you probably have questions. Below are some commonly asked questions and answers about dentures:

  • Will dentures change how I look? Today’s dentures are personalized to your mouth, making their appearance more natural than ever. Dentures also support your cheeks and lips, making you look years younger.
  • Will dentures change how I feel? After a period of adjustment, dentures should make you feel more confident than ever.
  • Will dentures alter my speech? While speaking may be difficult initially, with practice, your speech should quickly return to normal. Practicing reading and counting out loud will help to speed up the adjustment.
  • Will dentures affect how I eat? Eating may take some practice, and you should start with a soft food diet while you adjust to the differences between eating with your natural teeth and dentures. Take small bites and try to chew on both sides of your mouth at the same time. Avoid hard, crunchy or chewy foods that can damage your dentures.
  • How do I care for my dentures? Clean dentures daily, brushing immediately after every meal if possible. Use a soft brush and gentle cleanser, taking care to avoid hard abrasives. Be careful when they are out of your mouth not to drop them or clean them on hard surfaces.
  • Once I have dentures, will I still need to see the dentist? Regular dental examinations and professional denture cleanings are vital to maintaining your oral health. Have your dentist periodically check the fit of your dentures to ensure they are comfortable and last for as long as possible.
  • When will I need to replace my dentures? With care, dentures typically last 5-10 years. Because your mouth continues to change shape as you age and denture teeth wear down, you should have them checked yearly to avoid any significant problems.

Consult with your dental professional about any additional questions or concerns you may have about your future with dentures and your potential for a bright, new smile.

We treat patients from Federal Way and the surrounding area

Common Services Offered by General Dentists

Common Services Offered by General Dentists

General dentistry offers exactly what the name implies: dental care related to the general maintenance of good oral health. The ideal way to look at dentistry is preventative, which means focusing on good oral hygiene and functionality before problems can take hold. Finding a qualified and skilled general dentist who you visit every six months for checkups is the best way to prevent serious dental issues and help you maintain excellent oral health.

A trip to the general dentist for you or any of your family members, no matter their age, is a smart way to keep your smile looking and feeling great. Your general dentist will help create the perfect dental plan that depends on your personal oral health and needs. A typical dental visit includes thorough examination, X-rays or other diagnostic tests, professional teeth cleaning, and any treatments that might be needed for your condition. If a certain treatment isn’t available through your general dentist, it’s likely that you’ll receive a referral to a reputable specialist to complete the work.

Every dentist is unique, so you’ll need to inquire about the specific treatments available at your dentist’s practice. Some common services that many general dentists provide include:

  • Dental sealants
  • Fluoride treatments
  • Professional cleanings
  • Gum scaling or recontouring
  • Fillings
  • Bonding
  • Root canal therapy
  • Crowns and bridges
  • Dental implants
  • Dentures
  • Veneers
  • Orthodontics

In addition to dental treatments, your general dentist will evaluate your at-home hygiene routine and make suggestions for improvement. You will learn proper brushing and flossing techniques, as well as learn about any additional products or practices that might improve your oral health. Your general dentist wants you and your family to have the best smiles and oral health possible, and will help you achieve that goal.

Schedule your appointment at our Federal Way dental office

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

Making Dental Hygiene Fun for Kids

In many households, the bedtime routine is no fun. One of the trickiest parts for some parents is getting their kids to brush their teeth. However, it’s not a part of your child’s routine that should be skipped. To help make taking care of their teeth fun for children, here are some ideas for parents.

Toothbrushes

Provide your kids with fun toothbrushes! By choosing a brush decorated with their favorite character or color, your children will think of their toothbrush more like a toy than a dental tool. Consider getting more than one toothbrush, so each night they can choose the one they want to “play” with at the time.

Toothpaste

Children are picky about their toothpaste flavors just like their foods. Select toothpaste that you know your kids will like. Some of the flavor options include bubble gum and fruits, as well as the standby mint.

Floss

If they start flossing at a young age, your kids will likely view it as part of their oral hygiene routine all of their life. Try using some of the fun flossing tools on the market today, because they may help get your child interested in flossing. There are many colors and shapes to choose from, so keep trying until you find one that motivates your child.

Rewards

Enticing your children with rewards is often an easy way to encourage them to perform a task without arguing. Consider making a rewards chart and giving them a sticker each time they brush and floss. By the end of a week filled with good dental hygiene, a special reward will await them!

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

Dental Implants: An Alternative to Dentures and Bridges

In the past, replacing lost teeth meant getting dentures or bridges. Even though these offered the best way at the time to restore your mouth’s appearance and function, technology has improved through the development of dental implants. The main drawbacks of bridges and dentures is that they do not feel or look just like real teeth, and it is difficult to chew tough foods. The advantage of implants is that they look and perform so well that you can’t even tell they are not your natural teeth.

Made from titanium, dental implants are screws that are surgically placed directly into your jawbone. They are light and malleable, but durable and strong. The titanium screws are implanted into your jawbone and given time to heal. Once healing is complete, one or multiple crowns are placed on top of the implant to recreate your missing teeth. One implant can hold more than one screw, so it is possible to attach as many crowns as needed to replace your missing teeth.

Dental implants look so much like real teeth that others won’t even be able to tell that you have any artificial teeth. You might even forget about it yourself, as they feel real as well. Since the implants are securely placed in your jaw, they are as strong as real teeth and you are able to chew and bite anything that you would normally eat. Another great thing about implants is that they don’t impact any of your adjacent healthy teeth. While bridges and dentures can sometimes damage neighboring teeth because those teeth are necessary for support, implants avoid this problem. You are left with a fully restored and comfortable smile.

Our dental office is located in Federal Way

Facial Injuries and Oral Surgery

There are a number of reasons that dentists or oral surgeons recommend surgery, but facial injuries are probably the most unexpected and alarming cause. Maxillofacial injury, or facial trauma, refers to any injury to the mouth, jaw, and face. Most of these injuries result from sports, car accidents, job accidents, violence, or an accident at home. Let’s learn about oral surgery resulting from facial trauma.

Broken bones are a common type of serious facial injury. Fractures can occur in the upper or lower jaw, cheekbones, palate, and eye sockets. Injuries in these locations may affect vision and the ability to eat, talk, and breathe. Hospitalization is often required for treatment, which is similar to that for fractures in other parts of the body. The bones must be lined up and held in place to allow time to heal them in the correct position. Because casts are not possible in facial injuries, the surgeon may use wires, screws, or plates to treat fractures. Sometimes healing takes as long as six weeks or more.

Even though some facial injuries are worse than others, all of them should be taken seriously. They affect an important area of the body, so it is recommended to seek treatment from an oral surgeon to make sure you receive optimum care. Even if stitches are all that’s required, it’s best to have them performed by an oral surgeon who can place them exactly as needed to produce the best results.

It’s no surprise that the best solution for facial injuries is to prevent them in the first place. Oral surgeons suggest consistent use of mouth guards, seat belts, and masks and helmets as required. Improvements have been made to safety gear to make these items more comfortable and efficient, so there should be no excuses for not using them to protect yourself and avoid injuries that can lead to oral surgery.


We treat patients from Federal Way and the surrounding area

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.

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

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.

We treat patients from Federal Way and the surrounding area

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

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

 

What to Do in a Dental Emergency

Problems with your mouth or teeth can occur suddenly. You might be injured playing a sport, eating, or even just while doing a seemingly harmless activity. You should know what types of dental problems are considered emergencies, and what to do while waiting to see your dentist. Quick action can make a big difference in saving a tooth, or limiting damage to your mouth or face.

What is considered an emergency?

Not every dental problem must be treated as an emergency, but some do require professional treatment as soon as possible. This includes a broken or knocked out tooth, lost crowns and fillings, severe toothache, infection, and injuries to the soft tissues of your mouth.

What should I do?

See your dentist as soon as possible to treat the problem and prevent further damage. Here are some steps to take if you experience any of the following common dental emergencies:

  • Severe toothache – rinse your mouth with warm water and floss to remove trapped food.
  • Swelling – apply a cold compress on the outside of the swollen area. Do not place any painkiller or aspirin against your gums, because it can burn your gum tissue.
  • Chipped or broken tooth – if possible, save the piece that has broken off. Rinse both the piece and your mouth with warm water. If it is bleeding, hold gauze on the area. Apply a cold compress to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
  • Lost filling – apply dental cement from your drugstore to fill the hollow area until you can see your dentist. Or, try placing a bit of sugarless gum into the area.
  • Lost crown –try to replace the crown on your tooth and hold it in place temporarily with dental cement, denture adhesive, or toothpaste.
  • Abscess – infections in your mouth can become abscessed, which is a serious condition. Rinse with warm salt water and see your dentist immediately.
  • Soft tissue injuries – treat damage to your gums, cheeks, tongue and lips by rinsing with warm salty water. Hold gauze to the specific area to control bleeding, and hold a cold pack to the external area.

If you need a dentist in Federal Way contact us today

Benefits of Dental Implants

Are you missing one or more teeth? Dental implants are among the best possible solutions for patients missing teeth. Dental bridges and dentures can fill the gaps left by acute decay or gingivitis, but dental implants have many advantages over these other techniques.

Dental implants are typically made of titanium and serve as an artificial root for a missing tooth. They are fused directly to the jawbone and become an excellent foundation for replacement teeth. They are the best possible substitute for a natural tooth that a dentist can provide.

Dental implant therapy has several benefits, among them:

  • Dental implants are very convenient. Bridges necessitate cleaning carefully under and surrounding the bridged tooth, and dentures need to be removed and specially cleaned and can utilize messy adhesives to affix them to your mouth. Dental implants are cleaned exactly as you would clean your natural tooth. Brush and floss normally. There is no slippage or cleaning beneath or between the replacement tooth, which is permanently attached to the gum via the dental implant, which fuses to the bone in a process known as ossification.
  • Dental implants look better than other replacement teeth. They are intended to appear and function as your natural tooth would.
  • Because they’re fused to your bone, they are more secure than dentures or bridges that can slip in the oral cavity, causing pain, muddled speech and problems eating or drinking. Dental implants are incapable of slippage, leaving you to lead your life with confidence and security.
  • Dental implants preserve bone by stimulating the bone in your jaw, something necessary for the health of the bone. Without this stimulation, the bone can begin to shrink.
  • Dental implants are very durable and can last for decades, if not for a lifetime, when cared for properly.
  • Because dental implants don’t require any alterations to the surrounding teeth, those natural teeth are able to remain intact, lending to your overall good oral health.

We treat patients from Federal Way and the surrounding area

Missing Teeth? Dental Implants Can Change Your Life

If your quality of life has been compromised by tooth loss, dental implants may be the answer to your problem. Missing teeth can affect even the most basic daily activities like speaking and eating. If you are looking for a lifetime replacement for a missing tooth, dental implants should be your first choice for restoration.

A dental implant is an appliance that is affixed to the jaw bone and replaces natural teeth by supporting a crown or fixed denture. Once the implant has been placed, bone forms around the implant to make it a stable anchor for a restoration.

Any patient who is missing natural teeth is considered a candidate for implant placement. Just a few of the many reasons you should consider dental implants include:

  • Your desire for a durable and long-term restoration
  • Your desire to restore your facial appearance that has been altered by missing teeth
  • Your desire to eat and speak normally

There are many benefits to dental implants. The placement of dental implants does not require any alteration of adjacent teeth, which is ideal as it preserves your natural tooth structure. Dental implants are cleaned the same way as your natural teeth, allowing you to maintain excellent oral health. Once the implant has been placed, you can eat all your favorite foods and speak without worrying about slipping or breaking.

When you replace a missing tooth with a dental implant, you will enjoy the same function, convenience, and natural look as you have with your other teeth. If you are missing teeth, talk to your dentist about the possibility of dental implants to restore your beautiful, healthy smile.

Our dental office is located in Federal Way

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

How to Know You Need Root Canal Therapy

Tooth decay that is allowed to become severe can cause extensive damage to your tooth, even resulting in tooth loss if not treated. Sometimes symptoms are present that cause you to visit your dentist, but other times it’s just a regular checkup that catches a problem.

The source of trouble usually begins with a small area of tooth decay that goes unnoticed. Bacteria attacks, decay thrives, a cavity may form, and infection can spread. Cavities may be filled to repair the tooth and eradicate infection, but advanced cases of decay can reach the tooth’s interior. Once it gets to the pulp, serious damage can set in. This is when symptoms often appear, sometimes becoming severe.

Once damage reaches your tooth’s pulp, some common symptoms that will prompt you to call your dentist may include:

  • Slight to severe pain when biting, chewing, or even putting slight pressure on the tooth
  • Minor to extreme sensitivity when your tooth comes into contact with anything hot or cold
  • Inflammation or swelling near the gum line surrounding the affected tooth
  • Ongoing aches in the general area of the damaged tooth, including headaches, neck aches, or earaches
  • Ulcers or bumps near the damaged tooth
  • Difficulty performing normal mouth functions like eating

If you experience any of these symptoms, it’s time to visit your dentist for an evaluation. Root canal therapy might be recommended to restore your tooth’s health and regain comfort and functionality. Root canal treatment involves cleaning the damaged areas of the tooth pulp to remove infection and bacteria, filling the open space, and sealing it to prevent future damage. Sometimes a crown is placed on top to complete the process.

When a tooth is severely damaged, root canal therapy provides your best chance for restoration and optimum oral health. Your dentist will effectively and safely perform the procedure, and at the same time relieve the related symptoms that you may be experiencing.


We treat patients from Federal Way and the surrounding area

Common Kids Dental Emergencies

Kids will be kids, and emergencies happen that can affect the mouth. To avoid long-term damage, extensive pain, or unsightly results, it’s important to know what to do in a dental emergency. Let’s learn what you should do when your child has one of the following common oral problems.

Severe toothache:
Look for food stuck between the teeth, and if so try to dislodge it with floss. Clean the affected tooth and rinse the mouth well with warm water. Swollen gums may indicate an infection, which requires a dental visit. Facial swelling can be relieved with cold compresses, but if it accompanies severe pain you should take your child to the dentist or emergency room. Try giving over-the-counter pain reliever, but don’t place the medication directly on the gum or tooth.

Chipped tooth:
If your child chips a tooth, contact your dentist immediately. Fast action can help save the tooth, reduce the risk of infection, and prevent extensive procedures. Have your child rinse with cold water. If you can find the tooth fragment, take it to the dentist in case it can be bonded back in place.

Knocked out tooth:
The first thing to do is locate the missing tooth. Hold it by the crown instead of the root, and rinse it gently. Try replacing the tooth back in the socket, and have your child bite a piece of gauze or cloth to hold it in place until you get to the dentist. If you can’t insert it, place it in a cup of cold milk to take with you. Time is important in saving a displaced tooth, so see your child’s dentist immediately.

Cut lip, tongue, or cheek:
Ensure your child’s teeth are undamaged, and apply firm pressure with a moist washcloth or teabag to the bleeding area. If it doesn’t stop in fifteen minutes, call your child’s dentist or head to the emergency room. If the tongue is bleeding, there’s not much you can do except wait to see if it stops bleeding on its own within fifteen minutes. If not, visit the dentist or emergency room.

We look forward to seeing you 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

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