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What Are Amalgam Tattoos?

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If you’ve ever had a dentist use amalgam on you, like in a filling, you may have noticed a spot of discoloration in your mouth. This spot might appear as a blue-gray area in your cheek or gums. Our Federal Way dentistry clinic knows these stains as amalgam tattoos.

An amalgam tattoo occurs when a bit of the amalgam used in your treatment seeps into the soft tissues of your mouth, much like tattoo ink. These marks are generally nothing to be concerned about, though they can be removed with a minor surgical procedure if the discoloration is bothersome to you.

What you need to watch out for is any changes in the discoloration area. If the patch gets larger or changes color, chances are that it is not an amalgam tattoo after all. It may in fact be a sign of oral cancer or a similar disease, which you should bring to your dentist as soon as possible.

What Toothpaste Should My Child Use?

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Fluoride is an important part of keeping your teeth healthy. This is the substance that rebuilds your enamel, repairing the damage of the acids that break them down. This is why our Federal Way dentistry clinic advises that all children should start using a fluoride-based toothpaste as soon as they start showing teeth.

If your child is under three years old, a light smear of toothpaste that covers less than three quarters of the brush should do just fine. Look for a toothpaste that has at least 1,000 ppm (parts per million) of fluoride. Children between the ages of three and six years old should use a pea-sized drop of toothpaste of between 1,350-1,500 ppm of fluoride. Teach your children to not swallow their toothpaste, as ingesting large amounts of fluoride is not healthy.

Vary Your Brushing Routine!

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When you get your routine check-up at our Federal Way dentistry clinic, do you find that you’re often developing plaque in all the same places? Maybe you’ve even tried to pay more attention to brushing thoroughly, and yet you still encounter the exact same plaque growth patterns. If this is the case, the solution to your problem may be as simple as adding some variation to your daily brushing routine.

Since humans are creatures of habit, it’s easy to fall into a strict pattern with your tooth brushing. You most likely always start brushing in the same place every time you pick up your toothbrush. This means that the same part of your mouth is always getting the best of your attention, and you’re only getting to the other parts of your teeth after you’ve grown impatient, used up much of your toothpaste, and lost focus on your routine.

To avoid this, pay attention to where you begin brushing and try to mix it up. Mentally split up your mouth into four quadrants, then focus on starting in a different quadrant every time you brush. You may be surprised at the improvement you see at your next visit to Bella Dental!

Looking Out for Dental Abscesses

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If you get a cavity, you ought to get it fixed by our Federal Way dentistry clinic as soon as possible. Otherwise, you are putting yourself at serious risk for a debilitating infection that will cause you even more pain and grief than a simple cavity. This infection is what dentists call a dental abscess.

An abscess is caused by the same bacteria that form cavities. When these bacteria penetrate deep enough into your tooth, it begins to flourish in the soft tissues and bones in your face and neck. You experience it in the form of a pain in your mouth, jaw, face, or throat region, and can come with any of the following symptoms:

  • Redness, swelling, or tenderness in the mouth or face
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Pus drainage
  • Difficulty opening your jaw
  • Difficulty swallowing

Should you experience these symptoms, contact your dentist right away.

What is a Mucocele?

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Sometimes people will come to our Federal Way dentistry clinic with concerns about strange bumps or developments in their mouths. One of these is called a mucocele. These generally appear in the form of a small, round bump, between two and ten millimeters wide, either pearly white or bluish in color. They may appear on the inside of your lower lip, your gums, or on the roof or floor of your mouth.

Mucoceles happen when a salivary duct becomes blocked or damaged. Maybe you took a blow to part of your face, or maybe you simply bite or suck on your lip or cheek too much. They’re generally painless, and will probably go away by themselves without treatment, but your dentist can help you if they enlarge or become bothersome.

Your Pool vs. Your Teeth

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Are you a swimmer? It’s one of the best forms of exercise, and a great way to stay cool in the summer months. However, our Federal Way dentistry clinic advises that your pool water is not always the friend of your oral health.

In a study, a full 15% of people who swim frequently showed signs of erosion in their tooth enamel. This was opposed to the 3% of people who did not identify as swimmers. The culprit here appears to be the chlorinated water, which can become too acidic if it isn’t properly maintained. In order to avoid unnecessary damage while you swim your laps, check with your pool to see if the water’s pH is routinely checked, and do what you can to keep the pool water out of your mouth.

Crown Problems

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Every so often, you may experience a problem with your crowns. This can be due to an improper fitting, tooth decay, or simple wear and tear on the cement holding your crown in place. Most crown-related problems should be fairly simple to remedy, though you will want to bring them to our Federal Way dentistry clinic as quickly as possible in order to avoid any further damage.

First of all, pain or sensitivity on the crowned tooth is fairly common. You may simply need to brush your teeth with a paste designed for sensitive teeth. If you find yourself experiencing pain when you bite down, your crown may be too high up; your dentist should be able to fix this problem.

Sometimes a crown can become loose, or fall off. When this happens, you are exposing a very vulnerable part of your tooth. Be on the lookout for a loose feeling in your crown, and tell your dentist right away if you notice anything askew. Should your crown actually fall off, clean both the crown and the tooth and replace it with temporary tooth cement until you can get to your dentist.

The Emergence of Test Tube Teeth

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There are a lot of options available in the modern dental world for people who lose one of their permanent teeth. Implants, dentures, bridgework, each of these are great ways to plug the hole in your smile and give you back the strength and functionality you had before. However, in the near future, facilities like our Federal Way dentistry clinic may be able to plug one of your own teeth back into your head.

Though the science is yet a little immature, a London-based group has had some success in growing new teeth from stem cells. Using this technology, a dentist may be able to take some of your own stem cells, grow a new tooth, and implant it into your mouth. There the tooth can take on blood and grow and develop just like one of your original teeth, without any of the problems associated with an artificial tooth. Though further research is needed before the technique is ready for use on humans, we are all excited to see where this science may take the future of dental care.

Could Gum Disease be Linked to Brain Diseases?

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Oral care is about more than just keeping your teeth happy. Since your mouth is the portal to much of the rest of your body, a healthy set of teeth and gums can have a profound effect on the rest of your health. Indeed, when our Federal Way dentistry clinic is giving you your regular cleaning, we’re not just guarding you from toothaches; we may also be saving you from serious brain problems.

According to a study conducted by the University of Central Lancashire School of Medicine and Dentistry, poor dental health may have a direct link to conditions like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. In this study, researchers examined samples of brain tissue from ten healthy brains and ten brains that suffered from dementia. In four of the dementia-inflicted brains, they found signs of a specific oral bacteria known to thrive amid gum disease.

More research is needed at this point. In particular, scientists are asking the question of whether poor dental health can lead to brain disorders in healthy people, or whether it simply aggravates an existing disorder. Until such a time, though, it remains a good bet that you should keep your teeth clean for the sake of your brain.

When Should I Pull Out My Child’s Loose Tooth?

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So, your child’s baby teeth are starting to come out. Should you get in there and yank them before they stick around too long? This is an important issue when it comes to your child’s oral health, and our Federal Way dentistry clinic advises that you should generally allow the teeth to come out on their own.

First of all, your child’s mouth is a delicate place. Reaching inside his or her mouth and yanking out a tooth before its time will damage the fragile gum tissues. Only your child really knows for sure just how much pain is going along with forcing the tooth out, and he or she should therefore be allowed to make the call.

One concern that parents have in this situation is preventing the child from swallowing the tooth. This can happen from time to time, but it’s not something to worry about. A tooth can pass from your child’s system harmlessly. Ultimately, you should really only worry about removing a loose tooth if the permanent tooth starts to come in underneath it; at this point, there may be some risk of the permanent tooth coming in crooked, and you might want to bring a stubborn baby tooth to the attention of your dentist.

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