Start the Year Off with Good Dental Habits | Snohomish Dentist

ToothbrushNow that we are in a brand-new year, we are all ready to make the necessary changes to live our best lives. We hit the gym, we eat healthier and try to improve all of the other aspects in our lives that need help. But is your smile on that list?

Here is a list of healthy habits for the best smile possible. Take a look, and if you find you aren’t doing everything you can, consider adding these tips to your list of resolutions:

Proper dental hygiene. Keeping bacteria that causes cavities, gum disease and other dental issues is not only done in a dentist chair but at home as well. Brush, floss and rinse frequently – the longer bacteria have to nestle into your mouth’s crevices, the worse off your dental checkups will be.

Don’t judge a tooth by its color. Not having the brightest smile doesn’t necessarily mean that you have poor dental habits. Teeth come in lots of different shades. But avoiding over-consumption of foods and drinks that stain your teeth can have an effect if dental hygiene isn’t practiced.

Take preventative measures. It is important that you don’t skip out on your dental visits. Not only does your dental professional give your pearly whites a deep cleaning that they need, but they also check your mouth for any issues that may be developing, including an oral cancer screening. If caught early, treatment can be given to eliminate the issue, so make sure to keep your appointments.

If you would like more information about dental hygiene habits, call Dr. Cindy Du, Dr. Joseph Szabo or Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.duandszabo.com.

Drs. Du, Szabo & Haines proudly serves Snohomish and all surrounding areas.

Sugar Awareness Week: What You Need to Know

As we try to stay on task with our new year’s resolutions of good health, chances are you are curbing your diets toward the healthiest items available and away from the ones that aren’t so good for us. For many of us, this includes sugary sweets. January 22-26 is known as National Sugar Awareness Week – let’s celebrate by taking a deeper look at our favorite candies and how they affect our teeth.

There are a multitude of ways to monitor candy consumption that can satiate your cravings without affecting your health resolve. The better you are about limiting the intake of sweets, the better your oral health will turn out.

Both your overall and oral health are affected by your choice in sweets. When choosing the right kinds of candy to eat, it is wise to stay away from the sticky ones, especially if you have dental fixtures like implants or braces. This is because they tend to stick to teeth and are very difficult to remove. The longer they are stuck in the crevices of your teeth, the more harm they will do to your smile. Same thing with hard candy – because they take so long to dissolve, there is a lot of time for cavity-causing bacteria to find a place in your mouth to wreak havoc. If you have a sweet craving, grab chocolate bar. Not only is it consumed quickly, but dark chocolate actually has health benefits.

After all sweet indulgences, make sure to practice proper dental hygiene in order to remove the plaque that will begin to form from leftover residue. The more proactive you are, the healthier your smile will remain.

If you would like more information about the Tooth Fairy, call Dr. Cindy Du, Dr. Joseph Szabo or Dr. Haines in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.duandszabo.com.

Drs. Du, Szabo & Haines proudly serves Snohomish and all surrounding areas.

Pucker Up: The Downside to Sour Candy | Snohomish Dentist

When it comes to candy, we all have our favorites. From chocolates to lollipops, the candy options are so vast, there is something for everyone. And they may be a sweet treat, but too much of a good thing can not only lead to a tummy ache, but future dental issues if you have poor dental hygiene. And while you may think sugar is sugar, so all candy is the same, there are some types of candy that are worse than others.

There is good news for chocolate lovers, because research has shown that cocoa beans have antioxidants that prevent cavity-causing bacteria from sticking to your teeth and microorganisms that can infect your gums and cause tooth decay. While there are three varieties (dark, milk and white), dark chocolate is the least processed, making it the healthiest option for your teeth.

Hard candy, like lollipops and butterscotch, take longer to dissolve in our mouths, which leaves bacteria plenty of time to set up camp inside your mouth. And if you have a tendency to bite these candies, they can cause problems with dental appliances you may have, like braces or implants.

But there is one culprit in the bunch that is worse than them all – sour candy. They draw you in with their tart sugar coating, but that sour candy is so acidic that it attacks your mouth almost instantly. This acid will weaken and wear away your tooth enamel, making them prone to tooth decay and other future dental issues. So, while you are celebrating National Sour Candy Day on July 18th, make sure you limit this sour confection and practice proper dental hygiene afterwards.

If you would like more information about the effects of sour candy on your teeth, call Dr. Haines, Dr. Cindy Du or Dr. Joseph Szabo in Snohomish, WA at 360-568-8577 or visit www.tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines, Du & Szabo proudly serves Snohomish and surrounding areas.

Enhancing your Smile with Teeth Whitening | Snohomish, Wa Dentist

177406608Patients looking to enhance their smile often ask dentists about cosmetic dentistry – procedures such as bonding can help correct gaps, braces can help correct alignment, and veneers can help adjust the size, shape, and color of teeth. While all of these procedures have their uses, one of the cheapest and easiest way to enhance a smile is simple tooth whitening.

There are a wide variety of options available for patients considering tooth whitening. Most use a similar active ingredient – typically hydrogen peroxide – as a bleaching agent to remove stains and provide a shiny white appearance. The nature of the product determines how strong the peroxide product can be – mild products can be used nearly every day, but the strongest whitening products must be used under dental supervision.

Here’s a quick guide to the type of whitening available today:

Whitening toothpaste is typically low risk, and contain a very mild whitening agent and a polishing agent to help remove stains from the surface of the teeth. They are typically capable of a few shades of whitening, but may take weeks or months to achieve a noticeable whitening change.
Whitening strips often use a peroxide gel to coat the teeth, and are typically worn for 30 minutes at a time, repeated several times for maximum impact. Strips will work faster and achieve more whitening than toothpaste, but are more time consuming for users.
Tray based whitening products are available either over the counter or by prescription from your local dentist. These products use a stronger peroxide product, and are typically used at home in longer durations than whitening strips (potentially 60 minutes, but some products may be worn overnight – check with the instructions for details). Because these often have a stronger peroxide gel, they tend to provide a better result than strips, but may be more expensive or require a dentist visit to obtain.
The most dramatic change will be obtained using in-office whitening procedures, where the dentist can protect the tissue around the teeth and use a much stronger bleaching product. Some of these products are light activated (a UV light or laser will be shone into the patient’s mouth to activate the whitening agent), others are chemical-activated (two gels that are mixed together to activate). The procedure generally takes about an hour, and the dentist will adjust the strength of the product and duration to match the level of staining present on the teeth and the whitening desired by the patient.

If you’re interested in enhancing your smile, talk to your dentist about whitening options. Whether you’re considering strips, trays, or in-office treatments, your dentist can help guide you into making an informed decision, and help set realistic expectations regarding the end result.

 

Call Dr. Ted Haines DDS for more information on whitening make an appointment today at 360-568-8577 or visit the website at tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines of Snohomish, WA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

The Benefits of Mouthwash | Snohomish, Wa Dentist

Beautiful Smile

Hopefully you have a good oral care routine at home, one that includes a mouthwash. Mouthwash is a highly beneficial add-on to your regular brushing and flossing. In fact, rinsing with mouthwash can make a big difference win your oral health.

People use mouthwash for a variety of reasons: to freshen breath, to help prevent or control tooth decay, to reduce plaque and even to prevent or reduce gingivitis, to reduce the speed that tartar forms on the teeth, or to produce a combination of these effects.

What ingredients are commonly found in mouthwash?

Basic ingredients include water, alcohol, cleansing agents, flavoring ingredients and coloring agents. Active ingredients vary depending on the type of mouthrinse, but they can be placed into four general groups:

  • Antimicrobial agents act directly on oral bacteria to help reduce plaque, decrease the severity of gingivitis and control bad breath.
  • Fluoride helps reduce tiny lesions (tooth decay) on tooth enamel and make teeth more resistant to decay.
  • Astringent salts can serve as temporary deodorizers that mask bad breath.
  • Odor neutralizers act by chemically inactivating odor causing compounds(Source: ada.org).

Mouthwash can also keep gum disease at bay. Gum disease mainly develops when we’ve slackened on our oral care. When gum disease is in the early stage, the solution is simply upgrading your routine to wash away grime. Brushing after meals, flossing and swishing with antiseptic mouthwash twice daily can stop gingivitis in its tracks.

Mouthwashes should not be used as a substitute for brushing and flossing, and only used in conjunction with good hygiene habits. A complete plan for daily dental hygiene is centered around twice-daily tooth brushing and flossing, but you may want to consider oral rinses.

Call Dr. Ted Haines DDS for more information on oral health or to make an appointment today at 360-568-8577 or visit the website at tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines of Snohomish, WA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

 

What to Expect During an Overdue Dental Appointment | Snohomish, Wa Dentist

Tooth and dental equipment on white background.

Has it been a while since you’ve been to the dentist? If you’re wondering what’s in store for you as a patient, rest easy – modern dental visits are fast, easy, and will be much less painful than in years past.

Most dental visits will follow a similar path, and knowing what to expect can help lower anxiety, so here’s a basic explanation:

– You’ll almost certainly start with X-rays. X-rays allow dentists to get an understanding of the state of your mouth. Not only will they be able to see large problems like misaligned, missing or cracked teeth, they’ll also be able to see small cavities caused by decay, and even problems such as bone loss in the jaw caused by periodontal disease. Most dentists will conduct a number of X-rays – some of them may be uncomfortable, but they shouldn’t be painful.
– Once the X-rays are complete, the dentist will likely check your teeth manually for anything that they noticed when reviewing the X-ray, and also check the health of gums for signs of gingivitis or periodontal disease. If you haven’t been in a while, the dentist may also check your head, neck, and mouth for signs of oral cancer – this may seem unusual, but it’s a great way to find problems early.
– If you’re complaining of a specific problem – perhaps a toothache – it’s likely the dentist will identify the cause in his examination. Depending on time, the dentist may be able to treat the problem immediately – in the case of minor cavities, this typically means a local anesthetic to numb the area, followed by a brief period of drilling to remove decay, and then a filling using composite resin. Once the resin is set and cured, the dentist will polish and shape the resin with the dental drill (handpiece).
– Depending on the length of your appointment, your dentist or dental hygienist may follow your examination with a thorough professional cleaning. In some cases, this can be done in the same appointment – in others, scheduling may dictate that you come in for a follow-up, when more time is available. If you haven’t seen a dentist in quite some time, the professional cleaning may be more involved, with techniques such as periodontal scaling (cleaning the roots beneath the gum line), which can take multiple visits.

Dentistry has come a long way – if you’ve been putting off seeing your dentist because you’re anxious about the pain, rest assured that modern dentistry involves far less pain than you may remember. Talk to your dentist when you arrive if you’re nervous, and let them know – they’ll be happy to go slower, and explain what they’re doing to help keep your mind at east. Remember that visiting the dentist early and often can help catch minor problems before they become major problems, which means fewer and faster dental visits in the future.

Call Dr. Ted Haines DDS for more information on oral health or to make an appointment today at 360-568-8577 or visit the website at tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines of Snohomish, WA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Dental Drills | Snohomish, Wa Dentist

Close-up of dental tools

Many people associate trips to the dentist with the sound of the dental drill. While for many the sound is a source of anxiety, the drill itself is a highly advanced instrument that enables dentists to treat patients quickly and painlessly. Known by many dentists as simply a handpiece, these high tech tools have some interesting characteristics.

First, for health and safety, the dental drill is subject to sterilization after each patient. For safety, this means it’s heated to over 250 degrees with pressurized steam, and kept at that temperature for 15 minutes. This requires extreme engineering to enable – the constant heating and cooling is difficult on metals, but dental drills can withstand this punishment many times a day.

The drills spin at up to 250,000 RPM – more than 4,000 times each second. The heat created by this speed could easily crack a tooth or permanently damage the nerves within a tooth, but to prevent this, dental drills shoot a cooling mist of water as they spin. This cools the tooth, preventing damage.

Dentists will use both a high-speed drill and a low-speed drill – the high speed is often used for removing decay, where the low speed can be used for polishing teeth. While your dentist will use a modern, high speed, high tech handpiece, the original dental drills were first used over 9000 years ago. Hopefully knowing a bit more about the drill may make the sound less disturbing, but if you’re ever worried about the noise, consider asking your dentist about options to minimize anxiety, such as music, earplugs, or television.

Call Dr. Ted Haines DDS for more information on sedation or to make an appointment today at 360-568-8577 or visit the website at tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines of Snohomish, WA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

What is Sleep Dentistry? | Dentist in Snohomish, WA

Girl lying on the grass

Sleep dentistry is preferred by some patients who may experience only slight anxiety to a severe dental phobia. For those with such conditions, sleep dentistry also allows your dentists to work more quickly and effectively. However, there are a number of different types of sleep dentistry.

So what are the different types of sleep dentistry?

-Oral Moderate sedation is typically given in the form of a pill in the same family as Valium. As a result, you’ll be very drowsy, but still often awake. A larger dose may be used to allow you to fully sleep, though you can often be awakened with a gentle shake.

-Light sedation, typically inhaled, often nitrous oxide – ‘laughing gas’  – takes effect quickly, wears off quickly, and allows you to answer questions during the procedure. You’ll likely remember most of the procedure, but will feel little pain or discomfort.

-Deep sedation / general anesthesia is an option for some patients and procedures. With deep sedation, the patient is fully asleep, and must be closely monitored. The patient cannot be awoken quickly or easily. In many cases, a dentist may have an anesthesiologist available to administer anesthesia and monitor the patient while the dentist focuses on the oral procedure.

-IV Moderate sedation is given through a vein, and typically aims for effects similar to oral moderate sedation – anywhere from very drowsy to light sleep.

You should speak to your dentist about which may be right for you. The answer will depend on your medical history, level of anxiety, the length and nature of the procedure, and occasionally your budget or insurance. As is always the case, if you have any questions, Dr. Haines is here to guide you.

Call Dr. Ted Haines DDS for more information on sedation or to make an appointment today at 360-568-8577 or visit the website at tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines of Snohomish, WA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Dental Trauma & What to Do | Snohomish, Wa Dentist

Many people associate visits to the dentist with routine cleaning and occasional cavities, and hopefully for many people regularly cleaning will minimize the necessity of major dental work. However, no matter how thoroughly a patient brushes and flosses, or how routinely they have professional cleaning, some patients will experience physical trauma that will require an unplanned visit to the dentist.

In the event of trauma – perhaps a fall, or a car accident – that causes damage to one or more teeth, the patient should immediately contact a dentist. There are a number of different possible problems, and each of them have different treatments that are necessary. Here are a few possible problems, and their typical solutions:

– A chipped or fractured tooth will likely be corrected with either a tooth-colored filling or a cap or crown. If the inner pulp is exposed, a root canal and crown is likely required.

– A dislodged tooth that is pushed sideways or upward into the gum will generally require a root canal, and a dentist or endodontist will focus on stabilizing the tooth.

– A tooth that has been knocked out of its socket completely may be able to be saved if a patient arrives at the dentist in time, and the tooth is handled properly. The tooth root should not be touched, and it should be kept moist (either in the socket, in milk, or in the gum against your cheek). Rapid treatment is vital to saving the tooth, so the patient should get to a dentist immediately.

While some trauma is treatable, it’s occasionally true that the tooth may be lost due to the nature of the damage. After the initial treatment, your dentist or endodontist will likely recommend follow-up visits for quite some time – potentially as long as 4 or 5 years – to ensure that your mouth is coping with the damage to your teeth. If you feel a chip or crack, even if you believe it is minor, be sure to visit your dentist to ensure that the tooth is healthy and you’re not jeopardizing the tooth root by failing to treat the chip properly.

If you’ve experienced trauma, and have broken, chipped, dislodged, or knocked out a tooth, please contact our office immediately to schedule an appointment. Time is of the essence, and delaying an office visit may jeopardize your teeth.

Call Dr. Ted Haines DDS for more information on oral health or to make an appointment today at 360-568-8577 or visit the website at tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines of Snohomish, WA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.

Chewing Gum Aids in Oral Health | Snohomish, Wa Dentist

177406608Some people enjoy chewing gum for the sweetness, or to perhaps distract us from a  bad habit, but for most of us we pop in a stick of gum after we eat a meal. Did you know the act of chewing gum after a meal is doing wonders for your oral health? The physical act of chewing increases the flow of saliva in your mouth. If you chew after eating, the increased salivary flow can help neutralize and wash away the acids that are produced when food is broken down by the bacteria in plaque on your teeth. In fact, clinical studies have shown that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes following meals can help prevent tooth decay.

It’s important to note that not all gum is created equally: it’s important to chew sugarless gum, and if possible, choose gum sweetened with Xylitol. Tooth decay starts when bacteria in your mouth consumes sugar – whether it’s in a sugary drink such as cola or ice cream from dessert, the sugar stays within your mouth and attaches to the surface of your teeth. When that sugar is allowed to stay in contact with your teeth, it provides an opportunity for decay to set in as bacteria has food to grow and multiply within your mouth. When you chew gum, the additional saliva neutralizes oral acids and flushes sugar away from the teeth, starving bacteria and protecting your teeth from cavities. Xylitol – a sugar alcohol popular in low-calorie foods – not only provides the sweetness that gum chewers may enjoy without adding sugar, the chemical itself neutralizes bacteria known to cause cavities.

While simply chewing gum is a great way to protect your teeth after a meal out, it’s not typically a replacement for brushing and flossing – given the opportunity, it’s always best to brush and floss, but if you’re not at home, sugar free gum is a great second option. Unfortunately, chewing gum is not recommended for all patients – patients with jaw pain or known problems with their jaw / temporomandibular joint should avoid chewing gum until they consult with their regular dentist. For everyone else, finding a favorite sugar free gum sweetened with Xylitol is an easy way to keep your teeth healthy no matter where you are.

Call Dr. Ted Haines DDS for more information on oral health or to make an appointment today at 360-568-8577 or visit the website at tedhainesdds.com.

Dr. Haines of Snohomish, WA also proudly accepts patients from Monroe, Lake Stevens, Everett, Mill Creek, Woodinville, and surrounding areas.