Gift Yourself and Your Loved Ones With a Healthier Smile

December 3rd, 2018

Your daily brushing and flossing routine is crucial to thwarting dreaded cavities and gum disease from invading your smile, but by itself, it’s still not enough to maintain top-notch oral health. There is a reason we recommend regular dental cleanings and exams!

Seeing our dental team for routine dental checkups and cleanings supports your daily oral hygiene efforts by taking care of those things you can’t at home, like removing tartar (that hardened plaque of sticky film which destroys gum tissue and tooth enamel) as well as detecting problems early when they are the least invasive and costly to treat. Surprisingly, plaque and tartar can build up in a short period of time making your mouth vulnerable to all kinds of dental issues.

When you come in for a routine dental cleaning, our experienced team will scrape the tartar off of the gum line and below it, as well as give your pearly whites a thorough polish and flossing. Polishing removes stains on tooth enamel that builds up from the food and beverages consumed.

You will also receive a thorough examination of your oral tissues, including the gums and the throat along with your teeth. With the help of dental X-rays, we can detect problems that may not be noticeable to you right now, such as cavity formation, gum disease, oral cancer, jawbone issues, bite issues, impacted teeth, abscesses, diabetes and more.

Why You Should Come in Twice Yearly for Dental Cleanings

– Save tooth enamel from the destructive acids in plaque and tartar as well as the effects of bruxism (teeth grinding).

– Keep gum disease from inflaming your oral tissues and preventing tooth and bone loss.

– Make sure your jaw bone is healthy and supportive to prevent tooth and bone loss.

– Keep your teeth whiter and brighter by removing stains and discoloration.

– Keep your breath fresher and prevent halitosis.

– Detect oral cancer in the early and most successfully treated stages.

– Keep your body healthier as your mouth is free of disease, including heart disease and stroke.

– Maintain previous dental restorations such as fillings, crowns, dentures, etc.

If you are at increased risk for dental issues, it is crucial that you don’t skip annual dental cleanings and checkups. High risks include being 55 and older, male, a woman experiencing hormonal changes like menopause or pregnancy, being a regular tobacco user or regularly drinking alcohol. You are also at greater risk if you have diabetes or cancer, take medications that result in dry mouth, have poor oral hygiene, are excessively stressed or have a family history of poor oral health.

In addition to preventing oral issues, seeing our dentist for preventative maintenance can reduce the amount you spend on extensive dental work down the road, including lower dental insurance. Preventative maintenance is a wise investment in your oral health and overall health as well as your bank account. With the holidays in full swing, gift your loved ones and yourself with end-of-year dental cleanings and start your new year off with better dental health!

The Difference Between Full and Partial Dentures

November 1st, 2018

Do you know the important differences between full and partial dentures? Our team is happy to review both versions for optimal tooth replacement to help you better understand how they can restore your smile. Below we will review the main types of dentures, which are full and partial dentures, and the benefits they have to offer.

Dentures replace missing teeth in your smile to keep other teeth from changing their position. Dentures are customized for your mouth to fit comfortably and can be removed for cleaning. Today’s dentures are more natural-looking than ever so that your appearance and smile remain natural. Without dentures, missing teeth can cause the facial muscles to droop and you may appear to age prematurely. Dentures also help you chew comfortably and speak clearly again when they restore missing teeth in your smile.

Full Dentures

Full dentures are designed to offer full tooth replacement by filling a full arch of missing teeth with a beautiful and natural-looking appliance. To place full dentures, it may be necessary to perform a tooth extraction to make space for this appliance if there are still teeth lingering in your smile. The conventional denture is made after your teeth have been extracted and after the gum tissue has started healing. These are typically ready to be worn about eight to 12 weeks after your teeth are removed. Your oral appliance is placed over your gums and held securely using suction to attach to the roof of your mouth. Full dentures are removable and can be taken out at night and for cleanings.

Partial Dentures

If you have a few missing teeth in a row, partial dentures can restore your beautiful smile. This removable oral appliance is used to fill the gap from missing teeth so that you can have a beautiful and functional smile again. These partial appliances clasp to the neighboring teeth in your smile to help you speak, smile and chew properly. These replacement teeth are attached to a colored plastic base that looks like your natural gums. If you have a fixed bridge to replace one or more of your teeth, crowns are placed on the teeth that border the space with artificial teeth and are cemented into place.

In addition to full and partial dentures, there is a third option for some. Implant-supported dentures are an overdenture which is attached to dental implants for support and are most often made for the lower jaw. These are often done if there are no teeth in the jaw but there is sufficient jaw bone material to support implants. These have special attachments that snap them onto the implant.

No matter which type of denture you wear, you want to take good care of your oral health to keep your gum tissue healthy by practicing good oral hygiene habits. You will also want to make sure you see our dentist regularly to make sure your dentures fit correctly and ensure they are comfortable and that your gums are healthy.

Both full and partial dentures can be very functional and make excellent choices when it comes to tooth loss and tooth replacement. If you would like to learn more about your options for the types of dentures, please feel free to call today for a consultation with our team!

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month & Dental Hygiene Month

October 8th, 2018

October is here and fall has officially begun, bringing with it Breast Cancer Awareness Month as well as National Dental Hygiene Month. This is a time to raise awareness for both and help to prevent problems by monitoring your health and being mindful of your lifestyle choices. Whether you are fighting cancer or dental problems, catching problems in their early stages helps stack the success rate in your favor.

When it comes to breast cancer awareness, you can find out about local and national outreach to educate yourself about steps you can take to help prevent and fight this disease. In addition, your overall health can have an impact on your oral health, and vice versa. According to the American Cancer Society, all women should have a breast exam by a physician every three years from the age of 20-39, and after that, yearly at age 40. The ACS also advises conducting breast self-exams every month. When it comes to your day to day habits, eating a balanced diet, limiting alcohol intake and avoiding smoking can help you tip the balance in your favor to prevent this deadly disease.

October is also when we celebrate the work dental hygienists do to protect your oral health and prevent dental problems. It allows us to stress the importance of regularly monitoring your oral health to catch problems in their early stage when they are most easily and least invasively treated. As with breast cancer, avoiding smoking (or tobacco in any form) and limiting alcohol can help you prevent oral cancer. There are also steps you can take to keep oral cancer away:

What You Can Do:

– Avoid smoking and tobacco in all its forms.

– Limit alcohol use or avoid altogether.

– Avoid prolonged exposure to the sun, particularly between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Use sunscreen to help protect your skin.

– Shield your lips with a lip balm containing SPF 30 or more when you are outside.

– A daily diet rich in cancer-fighting fruits and vegetables for their phytonutrients and other unique compounds. Vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes and garlic, and fruits like berries, red grapes and citrus.

– Keep up with all routine dental checkups.

When you see our dentist for routine cleanings and exams, we will also be checking for oral cancer. Cancer can show up on the lips, inside your mouth, on the salivary glands, your tonsils, the back of the throat, on your tongue or esophagus. If you are being treated for cancer anywhere in your body using radiation or chemotherapy, your dental health can be impacted so it’s especially important to check for problems.

When it comes to your daily oral hygiene habits, you want to maintain healthy teeth and gums to avoid oral cancer and other dental problems. As part of Dental Hygiene awareness month, we encourage you to follow the advice of the American Dental Association which promotes your best dental health.

Dental Hygiene Tips

– Brush at least twice a day with a toothbrush that fits into your mouth easily. Brush the surfaces of all your teeth – the front, back, and tops – and don’t forget the ones in the back. Also, brush your tongue to reduce bacteria in the mouth and fight halitosis.

– Floss between the teeth and around the gum line at least once a day with a flossing method of your choice. Be sure you clean between your pearly whites daily to avoid harmful build-up or the hardening of plaque.

– Rinse with a non-alcohol microbial mouthwash to remove bacteria and biofilm that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

– Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes after meals can stimulate healthy saliva production which neutralizes harmful acids and washes away bacterial debris.

Daily brushing, flossing, eating healthy and checking your mouth monthly for signs of unusual activity can all go a long way in protecting your health for a lifetime of healthy smiles. For October, we encourage you to take stock of your overall health as well as your dental health and do what you can to live your healthiest life. You hold the keys to better health by detecting problems early on when the success rate is highest. We wish you the best of health and are here to support your daily efforts!

Dental Implant Placement Basics as a Step-by-Step Process

September 12th, 2018

If you have ever lost a tooth, you might have more than just a gap between your teeth. If a lost tooth is not replaced, the bone in the jaw that supported the lost tooth starts to deteriorate. That’s because when you chew your food, there’s no more stimulation to the bone from the missing tooth’s chewing action. Over time, the gaps in your mouth change as the surrounding teeth shift into the empty space, causing your bite alignment to shift with it. When this happens, missing teeth can not only affect how you look but can cause problems when you chew and even when you speak.

What can you do to prevent this from happening to your smile? You want something to take that missing tooth’s place, and one of the best options available today is a dental implant. Acting like a tooth, implants stimulate your jawbone from the pressure they exert when you chew by acting as the base of a regular tooth. Because of this, they keep the jaw healthy and strong and your bite alignment intact. You can have a single implant done or multiple implants to replace as many teeth as you need.

The implant itself is a titanium post used to act like a tooth root. Once it is surgically placed into the jawbone under the gumline, it can hold a tooth replacement (or a dental bridge). Once the implant fuses to your jawbone it is sturdy and durable. It won’t shift in the mouth, so you can speak and chew without worry. A dental implant can be used to secure dentures, bridges, and crowns to replace your teeth to help them feel natural in the mouth.

To have an implant done for your missing teeth requires healthy gums and enough jawbone material to support the implant. You’re also going to need to keep up excellent daily oral hygiene, including routine dental visits to support the ongoing function of the implant. If you are considering dental implant placement, we are pleased to offer some insight into what you can expect from the procedure.

Many patients are concerned that the process will be painful, and while any surgical procedure has some degree of discomfort as the mouth heals, our team can provide a local anesthesia or another form of sedation to ensure you are comfortable during the implant placement process.

When it’s time to place your dental implant after you’ve been given the appropriate anesthesia, our team of professionals typically perform the following basic steps:

– Create an access point in the gum line to reach the underlying jawbone area.
– Create some space in the jawbone to create an anchor point for the dental implant to support a new tooth.
– Attach the titanium screw to the jawbone, which forms the base of the dental implant.
– Allow the jawbone time to grow around the metal base and fuse naturally with the implant, which can take a few months.
– Attach an abutment to the titanium screw after the bone has completed its regrowth process, which serves to keep the final dental crown or other tooth restoration in place.
– Allow your gums to heal and improve their health for a few weeks prior to placing the dental restoration.
– Create a detailed impression of your smile to serve as a guide for the creation of the restoration.
– Place it on the implant so that it looks natural and matches well with your surrounding teeth.

Depending on the number of teeth that need to be replaced, the overall process can take a few weeks or months to achieve final completion. To learn more about dental implants and how they can replace missing teeth, contact our team today for more information!

Enamel-Friendly Foods for Your Teeth

August 9th, 2018

When it comes to protecting your teeth, your first line of defense against tooth decay and cavities is tooth enamel, as it is the outermost covering that protects the more vulnerable dentin and tooth pulp below. Your enamel comes equipped for the job as the hardest substance in your body. However, because it doesn’t have living cells it can’t grow back once it is lost.

The number one enemy of tooth enamel is acid. It eats away at the enamel leaving it vulnerable to decay as it weakens. Because tooth enamel protects the lower layers from acids and plaque, protecting it is vital to your oral health. Be sure to limit these harmful items as much as possible, and be sure to clean your teeth at least twice a day. Here are some items to avoid:

– Soda
– Fruit juice
– Flavored water (has citric acid and other additives)
– Sugary snacks like cakes, cookies and candies
– Starchy snacks like chips, crackers, pretzels and bread
– Citrus fruit

Of course, it’s not just about what you leave out of your diet that protects tooth enamel. There are foods that can help strengthen tooth enamel, so let’s take a look at them.

– Probably the number one food choice for healthy teeth is rich in calcium which helps form strong teeth and bones. Cheese, which is high in calcium, also helps balance your oral pH which lowers the acids that attack the enamel. Besides cheese and other low-fat dairy items like yogurt, you can find calcium in fortified rice and soy milk, sardines and salmon in the can, almonds, and dark leafy greens like kale, broccoli and spinach.

– Foods rich in vitamin D help your body absorb calcium. Vitamin D is abundant in milk, salmon, margarine, as well as soy and rice beverages which are fortified.

– Your teeth also need phosphorus which you can find in eggs, meat and fish.

– Vitamin A, found in sweet potatoes, red peppers, mangoes and kale.

– Beta-carotene in fruits and vegetables which are orange.

– Magnesium rich foods like bananas, whole grains, and spinach.

For healthy tooth enamel, you also want to make sure are hydrated throughout the day. Water helps support saliva flow and keeps your mouth debris-free while helping all the bodily tissues.

Healthy eating habits, combined with daily tooth brushing and flossing and regular dental checkups and cleanings can help your teeth and gums stay strong for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

If you would like to have our team provide you with a thorough dental cleaning and exam, we invite you to call and schedule an appointment today. We look forward to providing you with the quality care you deserve.

How Routine Dental Checkups Help Your Smile in the Long Run

July 23rd, 2018

When you come in for dental exams and we have cleaned your teeth and gum line and removed any hardened plaque, our dentist can look at them for any signs of trouble, such as cavities, loose or broken teeth, damaged fillings, and evaluate your risk rate of certain diseases which might also take into account your family history. We will look for swelling in the gums or redness and bleeding and even measure the depth of gingival pockets signaling gum disease. We will evaluate your bite, determine if you have bruxism (a sign of teeth grinding), check the contact between teeth and examine the lower jaw joints for problems. We will also examine the soft tissues in your head, mouth and neck, including the lymph nodes, for any indications of cancer or infection. If problems are detected, you may require further diagnostics followed up with recommended treatment options.

As you can see, this is one of the biggest reasons why dental checkups are so important, because spotting problems early on is crucial for providing effective, minimally invasive, and economical treatment. Using x-rays and other diagnostic tools, we can detect problems early when you may not even be aware of them, especially since tooth decay isn’t usually obvious or painful in the early stages. By the time you do notice problems, the condition has often already advanced.

While most of the time you may need to see your dentist twice a year, there are circumstances that might require coming in more often, particularly since your oral health is directly related to your overall health and vice versa. For example, if you have a disease such as diabetes or heart disease you may be at greater risk of gum disease. If you have a weakened immune system, you will likely have a diminished ability to ward off infections and diseases. If you regularly use tobacco or are a heavy drinker, you are at greater risk of oral problems. Taking medications that result in dry mouth – a reduction in saliva production – puts you at higher risk of developing cavities. So be sure to let our dentist know what medications and supplements you are currently taking when you come in for your routine checkups. You can also let us know if you are noticing signs of tooth sensitivity, pain or an unusual lump. Again, the earlier a problem is addressed, the better the treatment success rate.

If you would like to have our dentist and team provide you with a thorough dental cleaning and exam, we invite you to call our office to schedule an appointment. Our goal is to help you create the healthiest oral environment for your teeth and gums and we look forward to providing you with the quality care you deserve.

Halitosis: The Reasoning Behind Your Chronic Bad Breath

May 21st, 2018

If you have bad breath that just won’t go away despite your thorough brushing and rinsing techniques and even your attempts at improving your breath with mints, then you are likely a victim of halitosis, which is the technical term for chronic bad breath. Halitosis can be quite inconvenient and troublesome. It’s best to know all about halitosis so you can know how to deal with it. Our dentist, Dr. Phuong Nguyen, is happy to tell you all about halitosis today.

There are many causes of halitosis. Some causes include dental problems (like periodontal disease and tooth decay); infections in the throat, nose or mouth; smoking; using tobacco products; dry mouth; and health conditions, like diabetes, gastric reflux, liver disease and kidney disease. If you have halitosis, it’s best to visit our dentist as soon as possible. That way if a serious problem is causing your bad breath, she can treat it immediately and help you return to a top-notch health.

There are many treatments available for halitosis. Some of those treatments are:

-Proper oral hygiene (brushing twice a day and flossing once a day)
-Drinking water throughout the day
-Chewing sugar-free gum regularly
-Stopping smoking and tobacco-use habits
-Cutting back on caffeine
-Dental treatment that helps with cavities and gum disease
-Heath treatments that help with any chronic health issues

To learn more about halitosis in Fircrest, Washington, please contact Tacoma Washington Dentist and talk to a member of our dental team. When you dial 253.565.2895, we will be happy to help you in any way we can, even if it’s just by answering your questions. We look forward to talking with you!

The Advantages of Cavity Prevention

April 25th, 2018

Building a better smile includes always making sure you are well aware of the risks associated with plaque buildup. Plaque buildup occurs as a thin layer on your tooth enamel consisting of debris and bacteria. If plaque buildup is allowed to continue, dental erosion, tooth decay and gum disease can all occur.

Due to the risk of cavities, which can be caused by holes in your tooth enamel, you’ll want to limit plaque buildup in your mouth as much as possible. To prevent cavities, have an effective cavity prevention plan in place that assesses your diet and eliminates products that could be potentially putting your teeth and gums at risk.

Also, be aware of any substances in your oral health care cleaning routine that may not be healthy or safe. Make sure you are always implementing and using strong and safe products and techniques for your smile, which includes cleaning utensils such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, mouthwash and dental floss. For additional help with keeping your mouth cavity free, visit our doctor for professional cleanings every six months.

If you would like to know if you require treatments for cavities, please schedule an oral exam with Dr. Phuong Nguyen and our team at our dental office in Fircrest, Washington, by calling us at . Tacoma Washington Dentist wants you to know it’s never too late to start taking steps to a healthier you!

An Oral Cancer Screening Is Part of Your Checkup

March 26th, 2018

When you come in for a dental checkup, did you know you are getting checked for more than just cavities? In fact, many people do not realize that an oral cancer screening is part of every dental checkup. Having a dental checkup regularly, you are keeping your teeth and gums healthy, while doing your best to watch for other dangerous conditions like oral cancer as well.

Our dentist, Dr. Phuong Nguyen with Tacoma Washington Dentist in Fircrest, Washington, cares about your overall health and has provided you some material on identifying oral cancer early.

For starters, did you know oral cancer targets thousands of Americans each year? Well, it’s true! Oral cancer can thrive on the tongue, in the mouth, and even in the throat. Smoking or any form of tobacco use is generally linked to oral cancer. However, even people who have never used tobacco of any kind can still suffer from oral cancers devastating effects.

Here are some signs and symptoms of oral cancer to keep an eye out for:

  • Jaw Movement: Trouble or pain with chewing, talking, or moving your jaw can be an indicator.
  • Ear pain: Your jawbone is close to your ears, so ear pain could be a warning sign.
  • Numbness: Numbness in your tongue, mouth, or throat could be a tumor close to a nerve.
  • Sensitivity: An upsurge in sensitivity in your mouth and neck should be examined right away.
  • Bleeding: Unexplained bleeding can arise from your mouth, gums, or throat with oral cancer.
  • Dramatic weight loss: Dramatic weight loss is a hazard sign connected to various cancers.
  • Lumps and bumps: Any strange growths in your mouth need to be treated.
  • Spots or patches: Red or white spots could be an indicator of cancer or a severe infection.
  • Pain in the mouth or jaw: Unexplained pain in your smile could be caused by a tumor.
  • Change in your voice: If your voice changes after puberty or feels sore get examined quickly.
  • Inflammation: Swelling can occur from areas inside your mouth.
  • A sore throat: A stubborn sore throat could be a sign that should not be ignored.

If you have noticed any of these situations occurring to you, it’s imperative to seek professional help and treatment right away. Our dental team is fully trained to spot oral cancer during your checkup and is happy to help you keep your smile healthy.

Do you still have questions about your oral health? If so, then please call us today at to schedule an appointment with a professional member of our staff. We are always happy to help you keep your smile in top-notch health.

A Dental Implant Supported Bridge to Replace Multiple Teeth

February 23rd, 2018

Losing multiple teeth in one area of your mouth can profoundly hamper your ability to speak and to eat and can have a negative effect on the appearance of your smile. If you are missing several teeth, you should consider scheduling a consultation appointment with our doctor, Dr. Phuong Nguyen. Once she has assessed the health of your mouth and the available bone structure in the affected area, she might recommend replacing your missing teeth with a dental bridge supported by implants.

If there are any structural issues with the underlying bone tissues, you might need a bone graft or other treatment to provide sufficient structure to anchor the dental implants. At this point, the doctor will perform minimally invasive oral surgery to place a pair of titanium dental implants in your jawbone. This typically requires full sedation and you should have a friend or family member drive you home after your appointment. Over time, the special titanium will bond with the surrounding bone tissues. When this process is complete, the doctor will prepare a pair or abutments capable of anchoring a dental bridge. This will complete the dental restoration process which will allow you to once again enjoy the look and function of your previously missing teeth.

If you live in the Fircrest, Washington, area and you are missing multiple teeth you should call to learn more about the dental restorations offered at Tacoma Washington Dentist.