Federal Way Family Dentistry – Useful Facts

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On the Lookout for Bruxism

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Have you ever heard the word “bruxism” before? Chances are good that you’re aware of the condition, even if you don’t know it by its proper name. This is the technical term that our Federal Way family dentistry uses to describe chronic tooth-grinding.

Not only is grinding an irritating and generally painful habit to get into, but it also spells bad news for the health of your teeth and jaw. To make matters worse, you might not even be aware that you have bruxism. Keep an eye out for these signs of bruxism, and you could be saving yourself from some disastrous dental problems:

Since a lot of grinding occurs while you sleep, you might be able to ask your spouse or roommate if they hear you grinding during the night. You might also find yourself waking up with headaches or a sore jaw every morning. If the grinding goes on for too long, you might notice that the top surfaces of your teeth are getting worn down, or even chipped. Get to your dentist right away if you discover bruxism, and we can help you to prevent further damage to your teeth.

How to Floss

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At the risk of sounding like a nagging parent, our Federal Way Dentistry would be remiss if we didn’t impress upon you the importance of proper flossing habits. There are parts of your teeth that the bristles of your brush simply do not reach, and it’s in here that most of America’s cavities find their footholds. If you need a refresher course on how to floss, try your hand at the easy step-by-step process below:

  • Floss at least once a day, preferably before you brush.
  • Take a length of floss that is about seventeen inches long, or one forearm’s length. Wind either end around the middle fingers of each hand until you have a one inch length between your hands.
  • Guide the floss gently between your teeth. Pull it into a “C” shape against the edge of either tooth.
  • As you move from one tooth to the next, unwind the floss from one finger and wind it up on the other so that you’re always flossing with a fresh length.
  • Don’t forget to floss behind the back teeth!

For more help on flossing or other aspects of your daily oral hygiene, contact Bella Dental.

Your Teeth vs. Smoking

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You probably don’t need our Federal Way Dentistry to tell you that you should stop smoking. However, the fact remains that smokables and tobacco products have at least as much of a negative impact on your oral health as they do on your lungs, heart, or any other part of your body.

Smoking doesn’t just give you bad breath and stained teeth. Tobacco has a way of affecting the way the soft tissues in your mouth attach to your bones. It impairs blood flow to your gums, and interferes with normal cell function. This puts you at greater risk of gum disease, and slows down their ability to recover from damage. Meanwhile, the smoke you inhale inflames the salivary gland openings in your mouth, which hinders your ability to wash away harmful substances from your teeth. This leads to increased buildup of plaque.

And if this wasn’t enough, you’re sharing many of these problems with the people around you. Secondhand smoke takes its toll on the teeth of your children and loved ones. So, for the sake of your teeth and the teeth of your friends and family, do what it takes to kick the habit today.

Do I Need a Wisdom Tooth Extraction?

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Like many dental centers, our Federal Way Dentistry offers wisdom tooth extractions to the patients who require them. If you dread the day that you’ll have to have your wisdom teeth pulled, the good news is twofold: first of all, dental technology has progressed to a point where a tooth extraction is a simple and painless process. Secondly, contrary to popular belief, there’s a decent chance that you may not need to have a wisdom tooth extraction at all.

Wisdom teeth only represent a problem when they are crowding your other teeth. This can throw your jaw out of alignment and cause all sorts of dental problems. This occurs in many people, as the average human mouth simply isn’t big enough to accommodate these extra teeth. However, when somebody is lucky enough to comfortably live with their wisdom teeth, they can be a valuable addition to your chewing patterns.

Further, some people don’t get their full set of wisdom teeth at all. You may grow only a couple of teeth, or get away without growing any. Watch the development of your teeth with your dentist to find out if a wisdom tooth extraction will be right for you.

Don’t Brush Too Soon after Eating!

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The common wisdom is that you should brush after every meal. The logic seems to make sense: if you brush away the food detritus as soon as possible, it doesn’t get much time to attack your mouth. However, your Federal Way Dentistry advises that the practice of brushing directly after eating can actually do you more harm than good.

When you eat, your mouth is exposed to a brutal, acidic attack. Many foods contain acids, and the ones that don’t are feeding the bacteria in your mouth so that they can produce acids. These acids weaken the enamel of your teeth such that it can be more easily stripped away. Even a routine brushing can actually contribute to your tooth decay, removing this fragile layer to let the bacteria down into the more vulnerable dentin. With this in mind, it is best to wait after meals to allow your enamel to recover before you dive in with your toothbrush.

To help your enamel, it’s always a good idea to rinse your mouth out with water after a meal, or drink some milk to help neutralize the acid. And as always, remember to make your regular appointments with Bella Dental to get the fluoride rinses you need to keep your enamel in tip-top shape.

Your Mouth vs. Your Oral Jewelry

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Do you have a piercing in your lip, tongue, or cheek? As much as a well-chosen bit of facial jewelry can have a certain romance to it, your Federal Way Dentistry advises you to take particular care of your teeth while sporting such adornments. Oral piercings put you at a lot of extra risk of damage to your teeth and gums.

First of all, the rings and studs that you put into your mouth have the potential to crack your teeth. Metal jewelry, in particular the barbell-style tongue studs, are easy to bite down on. Nearly half of people wearing such studs have at least one chipped tooth after four years.

Oral jewelry also increases your risk of gum disease. Not only does the harsh metal rub against the delicate tissues of your gums, but the extra surface areas provided by the jewelry only offer bacteria another surface to cling to. These surfaces are difficult to clean, and are just as active in producing tooth-melting acids as any other part of your mouth.

With this in mind, try talking to your dentist if you either have an oral piercing or are planning to get one. There may be measures you can take to help assure that your new look doesn’t compromise your beautiful smile at some point down the line.

The Importance of Baby Teeth

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Some parents don’t think that their children’s baby teeth are worth worrying about too much. After all, baby teeth, or “primary teeth”, are only going to fall out in a few years anyway. However, this is a potentially dangerous attitude that your Federal Way dentist strongly cautions you against.

Remember that your child’s primary teeth are the first teeth he or she gets, and are therefore the teeth that he or she will be using throughout the important developmental years. They play an important role in learning how to chew food and develop proper speaking patterns, and any crooked or painful teeth are going to inhibit these functions in ways that are very difficult to rectify. Also, a proper smile is important to the development of a child’s fragile self-esteem. Starting life with a strong set of teeth can do wonders to helping a child grow into a strong, capable adult.

Finally, when the permanent teeth start coming in, they are being guided by the teeth that they are replacing. Crooked or absent baby teeth can translate to misplaced permanent teeth, which pose a much more serious problem. With this in mind, make sure to instill in your child proper dental care right away, and get him or her to our Federal Way dentist for all appropriate dental treatments.

Dealing With Dental Anxiety

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Are you afraid of the dentist? You’re not alone. Between ten and twenty percent of Americans have some sort of anxiety or even an outright phobia of visiting the dentist’s office. Fortunately, there are ways that you can work with our Federal Way Dentistry in order to alleviate these fears and allow you to live a normal life with good, proper dental care.

The best way to address your fears is to discuss them with your dentist. If you communicate what your concerns are, you may be surprised by how much your dentist can ease your mind. There are many dental procedures that are not nearly as painful as is commonly believed, or not nearly as invasive as you might imagine. A good dentist can help you understand exactly what is to go on inside your mouth such that you are better able to get through it without worry.

Some people fear the dentist because they feel powerless while on the dental chair, with their mouth invaded by powerful, frightening tools. In these cases, it can help to establish a signal with your dentist. If you’re feeling pain, if you need to swallow, or if you just want to step away for a second, this can go a long way towards helping you feel comfortable with normal dental procedures.

Finding the Right Floss For You

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Are you aware of how many options you have when it comes to flossing? For something as simple as a length of dental string, there is a lot of variation available to accommodate your individual needs. You can ask our dentist in Federal Way about what floss might be right for you, or you can follow these simple tips to try to discover the perfect floss for yourself.

One big factor in floss choice is thickness. Some people have particularly narrow gaps between some teeth, and conventional floss frequently gets stuck or breaks while they are flossing. If this is you, you should look for a finer floss. If you’re comfortable with a thicker thread, however, you’re probably better served thereby.

It’s also a good idea to look out for a floss with fluoride. This is a material that is found in most toothpastes, and works well to reinforce your tooth enamel. The spaces between your teeth may not be benefiting as much from the fluoride in your toothpaste, so a little extra help may be warranted.

Lastly, there are people who lack the manual dexterity needed to maneuver their floss through their back teeth. Maybe you have bad joints, poor coordination, or fingers that are just too big for your mouth. These people might benefit from one of several varieties of flossing aids. Look for these at your local drugstore, or consult your dentist for more information.

Caring for Your Brush

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Some patients of our Federal Way Dentistry are suffering from a poorly maintained toothbrush. Though this may seem like a simple enough device with a simple enough function, there is a number of ways that your brush can fail you and even start doing more harm than good. In order to get the most out of your brushing routine, make sure that your brush is up to the task.

First of all, you should remember to change your brush at least every three months. This is generally how long it takes for the bristles to be worn down too much to give you an effective brushing. They become weaker, they begin to jut out at odd angles, and they’re just not lifting plaque away like they should. You may need to get a new brush more frequently if you brush your teeth particularly hard, or if you are suffering from gum disease.

Another problem that can afflict your brush is bacteria build up. Your brush is bound to be exposed to bacteria in your mouth, and these can quickly multiply deep within your bristles. To combat this, it’s a good idea to store your brush upright; this better allows it to dry out between brushings, which makes it a more hostile environment for microbes. You can also periodically dip the bristles in hot water, or an antibacterial mouthwash. Do not microwave a toothbrush or attempt to wash it in your dishwasher; these can damage your brush.

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