How do you know if you have periodontal (gum) disease? Sometimes your gums will tell you—when they’re red, swollen or bleed easily.
But your gums can also look and feel healthy while a gum infection still brews below the gum line. In this case, a regular dental visit could make the difference. Even without overt signs of infection, we may be able to detect gum disease with a slender metal instrument called a periodontal probe.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection that most of the time arises from dental plaque. This thin film of bacteria and food particles accumulates on tooth surfaces, especially because of poor or non-existent oral hygiene. A continuing infection can weaken gum tissues and cause them to pull away or detach from the teeth.
Normally, there’s a slight gap between the gums and teeth. But as the infected gums pull away, the gaps grow larger and deeper, forming what are known as periodontal pockets. They become filled with infection that soon spreads to the root and bone and increases the risk of tooth loss.
These pockets, though, could be the means for detecting a gum infection with the help of the periodontal probe. During a dental exam we gently insert the probe, which has millimeter depth markings etched on it, between a tooth and its adjacent gums. While a depth of 1 to 3 mm is normal, a probe measurement of 4 to 5 mm could be a sign of an early stage infection. A reading of 7 to 10 mm, on the other hand, may indicate more advanced disease.
Along with other factors, periodontal probing can be quite useful identifying both the presence and extent of a gum infection and then how to treat it. The goal of any treatment is to remove plaque and tartar (calculus) deposits that sustain the infection. But probing, along with other diagnostic methods like x-rays, could point to deeper infection below the gum line that require more extensive methods, including surgery, sometimes to access and remove the disease.
Achieving the best treatment outcome with gum disease often depends on finding the infection early. Periodontal probing helps to make that discovery more likely.
You brush and floss daily, but those stubborn stains won't budge. Fortunately, here at Bellevue Dental Excellence in Bellevue, WA, Dr. Man Sunwoo and Dr. Alan Ho can provide some assistance with professional teeth whitening services. Professional whitening is a safe and effective way to dramatically brighten teeth in 60 minutes or less. For your convenience, we provide you with two options, so that you have a choice to whiten in-office or in the comfort of your own home. Read on to learn more!
Types of Teeth Whitening Services
At Bellevue Dental Excellence, Dr. Man Sunwoo and Dr. Alan Ho offer two professional whitening services for Bellevue, WA, patients. These are:
- In-office - The doctor is in control during this chair-side bleaching method, and all you have to do is sit back and relax. First, a protective barrier to ensure your safety is placed on gum tissue and around the lips. We then apply a highly concentrated whitening gel to the teeth. In one hour, you will notice immediate results up to eight shades whiter.
- Take-Home Trays - You take the stage in this whitening method because we give you the tools to renew your smile at home. To ensure the best possible results and achieve your desired level of whiteness, we take a mold of your mouth to provide you custom-made mouth trays. You'll fill them with the gel and wait 15 minutes before removing them.
How Can Teeth Whitening Renew My Smile?
The coffee you grab from the drive-thru window, the glass of wine you sip before bed, or the cigarette you smoke before work, are all causes for intrinsic (inside) and extrinsic (outside) stains. Surface stains may lessen from brushing and flossing, but when they are deeply rooted in the enamel, you'll need some professional help to help make your pearly whites white again. Professional teeth whitening renews the appearance of your smile, but it can also boost your confidence and revitalize your self-esteem.
Am I A Candidate For Teeth Whitening?
Most of our Bellevue, WA, patients are candidates for teeth whitening, but this will be validated once Dr. Man Sunwoo or Dr. Alan Ho performs an oral examination at Bellevue Dental Excellence.
Interested? Give Us a Call
To learn more about professional teeth whitening, in-office, or take-home trays, visit our website. For questions or to schedule an appointment at our Bellevue, WA, dental office, please call (425) 378-1600.
The ongoing opioid addiction epidemic has brought together government, law enforcement and healthcare to find solutions. The focus among doctors and dentists has been on finding ways to reduce the number of opioid prescriptions.
Opioids (or narcotics) have been a prominent part of pain management in healthcare for decades. Drugs like morphine, oxycodone or fentanyl can relieve moderate to extreme pain and make recovery after illness or procedures much easier. Providers like doctors and dentists have relied heavily on them, writing nearly 260 million narcotic prescriptions a year as late as 2012.
But although effective when used properly, narcotics are also addictive. While the bulk of overall drug addiction stems from illegal narcotics like heroin, prescription drugs also account for much of the problem: In 2015, for example, 2 million Americans had an addiction that began with an opioid prescription.
The current crisis has led to horrific consequences as annual overdose deaths now surpass the peak year of highway accident deaths (just over 54,000 in 1972). This has led to a concerted effort by doctors and dentists to develop other approaches to pain management without narcotics.
One that’s gained recent momentum in dentistry involves the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs like acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin work by dilating blood vessels, which reduces painful inflammation. They’re available over the counter, although stronger doses require a prescription.
NSAIDs are effective for mild to moderate pain, but without the addictive properties of narcotics. There are some adverse health consequences if taken long-term, but limited use for pain or during post-procedure recovery is safe.
Many dentists are recommending NSAIDs for first-line pain management after most dental procedures. Narcotics may still be prescribed, but in a limited and controlled fashion. As part of this new approach, dentists typically combine ibuprofen and acetaminophen: Studies have shown the two work together better at reducing pain than either one individually.
Still, many aren’t eager to move away from the proven effectiveness of narcotics to primarily NSAIDs. But as these non-addictive drugs continue to prove their effectiveness, there’s hope the use of addictive opioids will continue to decrease.
Howie Mandel, one of America’s premier television personalities, rarely takes it easy. Whether performing a standup comedy gig or shooting episodes of America’s Got Talent or Deal or No Deal, Mandel gives it all he’s got. And that intense drive isn’t reserved only for his career pursuits–he also brings his A-game to boosting his dental health.
Mandel is up front about his various dental issues, including multiple root canal treatments and the crowns on his two damaged front teeth. But he’s most jazzed about keeping his teeth clean (yep, he brushes and flosses daily) and visiting his dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups.
To say Howie Mandel is keen on taking care of his teeth and gums is an understatement. And you can be, too: Just five minutes a day could keep your smile healthy and attractive for a lifetime.
You’ll be using that time—less than one percent of your 1,440 daily minutes—brushing and flossing to remove dental plaque buildup. This sticky, bacterial film is the main cause of tooth decay and gum disease. Daily hygiene drastically reduces your risk for these tooth-damaging diseases.
But just because these tasks don’t take long, that’s not saying it’s a quick once-over for your teeth: You want to be as thorough as possible. Any leftover plaque can interact with saliva and become a calcified form known as calculus (tartar). Calculus triggers infection just as much as softer plaque—and you can’t dislodge it with brushing and flossing.
When you brush, then, be sure to go over all tooth areas, including biting surfaces and the gum line. A thorough brushing should take about two minutes. And don’t forget to floss! Your toothbrush can’t adequately reach areas between teeth, but flossing can. If you find regular flossing too difficult, try using a floss threader. If that is still problematic, an oral irrigator is a device that loosens and flushes away plaque with a pressurized water stream.
To fully close the gate against plaque, see us at least every six months. Even with the most diligent efforts, you might still miss some plaque and calculus. We can remove those lingering deposits, as well as let you know how well you’re succeeding with your daily hygiene habit.
Few people could keep up with Howie Mandel and his whirlwind career schedule, but you can certainly emulate his commitment to everyday dental care—and your teeth and gums will be the healthier for it.
If you would like more information about daily dental care, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Daily Oral Hygiene: Easy Habits for Maintaining Oral Health” and “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home.”
How same-day crowns from our office in Bellevue, WA, can put your smile back on track!
Do you need dental care? Most people at some point in their lives will be afflicted with dental decay and end up needing to receive a dental crown to remedy the situation. Here at Bellevue Dental Excellence in Bellevue, WA, Drs. Man Sunwoo and Alan Ho provide patients with CEREC to quickly alleviate this problem.
More About CEREC Restorations
CEREC restorations are tooth-colored all-ceramic crowns that are created and installed in a single dental appoint. That's right! With CEREC, you won't need to shuffle back and forth to the dentist to receive care.
To begin the CEREC process, your Bellevue dentist examines your teeth to determine the appropriate treatment. If we discover that the issue can be solved with crowns, our dentist will remove the decay and shape your tooth so that a CEREC cap can easily fit over the tooth.
The dentist then takes an optical impression of the tooth using a special camera that sends a digital image of your tooth to a 3D software to convert the digital image into a virtual model on a computer screen.
The image is then sent to a separate milling machine in the office, and a ceramic block matching your tooth shade is placed in the milling machine to be carved/shaped (a process that takes about 10 -15 minutes). Finally, your dentist bonds the crown over your natural tooth and, voila, you're all set!
Suffering from Tooth Decay or a Similar Issue? Give Us a Call
Are you interested in CEREC same-day crowns? If so, don't hesitate to call Bellevue Dental Excellence in Bellevue, WA, at (425) 378-1600 to schedule an appointment.
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