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By Kirkland Smiles Dental Care
February 21, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Teeth Cleanings  

Did you know that brushing and flossing may not be enough to keep your smile healthy? It’s true, and that’s why professional teeth cleanings are so important. Dr. Bernard S. Pak at Kirkland Smiles Dental Center in Kirkland, Washington offers a full range of preventive dental services, including professional teeth cleaning to keep your smile healthy.

Brushing and flossing do a lot to remove plaque, but no matter how excellent your oral care habits are, you can’t remove all of the bacteria harming your smile. Plaque contains millions of harmful bacteria and if you leave the plaque in place, the bacteria colonizes and begins to infect your soft tissue, causing gum disease.

Along with plaque, you also form calculus, or tartar, which is a hard substance you can’t remove with brushing and flossing. Calculus forms a hard, uneven surface which is the perfect place for bacteria to thrive.

During a professional teeth cleaning appointment, your highly-skilled dental care professional will remove the calculus and the plaque using state-of-the-art ultrasonic devices and hand instruments. Your teeth will be polished to remove surface stains, and give you a sparkling smile. If you have a generally healthy smile, you should come in once every six months for a professional teeth cleaning.

Your gums will also be checked for any areas of inflammation and any potential areas where you have lost bone and a periodontal pocket is forming. If Dr. Pak determines you are at risk or do have periodontal disease, he may suggest supportive periodontal therapy, which is a deeper cleaning, performed at three to four month intervals.

Regular teeth cleaning appointments are vital to keeping your smile healthy. They can make the difference so you can enjoy a healthy smile for life. To find out more about professional teeth cleaning appointments and other preventive services, call Dr. Bernard S. Pak at Kirkland Smiles Dental Center in Kirkland, Washington today.

By Kirkland Smiles Dental Care
February 13, 2020
Category: Oral Health

The market for sugar alternatives has grown exponentially since saccharin was accidentally discovered in 1878. Today, saccharin has been joined by other FDA-approved zero-calorie artificial sweeteners, including aspartame (“Equal®” or “NutraSweet®”), sucralose (“Splenda®”) and rebaudioside A, derived from the stevia plant. You can also choose low-calorie alcohol sugars like erythritol or xylitol.

With rare exceptions, all these choices are widely considered safe substitutes for table sugar, high fructose corn syrup or other versions of this plentiful carbohydrate. Finding substitutes for sugar is a worthy health goal: besides its role in obesity, sugar is considered a contributing factor in cardiovascular disease and diabetes.

It's also a prime food for oral bacteria that cause dental disease. As bacteria consume sugar they produce acid as a byproduct. Acid softens and dissolves the mineral content in enamel, leading to erosion and the formation of cavities. While saliva normally neutralizes acid after we eat, constant snacking and higher quantities of sugar in our food make it difficult for it to control or neutralize acid in the oral environment.

Because most of us are hard-wired with a “sweet tooth,” it's difficult for many to cut back on sugar. Artificial sweeteners help reduce the amount of sugar in the diet with obvious benefits for general health. It can also make a big difference in your dental health by helping you prevent tooth decay.

One alcohol sugar may even go a step further. In addition to reducing the presence of sugar in the mouth, xylitol (found in chewing gums, candy and breath mints) also seems to reduce bacterial growth by interfering with their ability to ferment the sugar.

If you're considering using an artificial sweetener, get to know them first: some like aspartame aren't suitable for baked goods or cooking, while saccharine or sucralose are. People with a rare genetic condition called phenylketonuria also can't properly process aspartame in the body.

Be sure you also talk to us about artificial sweeteners' impact on oral health, especially the benefits of xylitol for dental care. Used in a wise and informed way, these sugar alternatives can improve both your oral and general health.

If you would like more information on artificial sweeteners impact on dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artificial Sweeteners: Satisfying and Protecting your Sweet Tooth.”

By Kirkland Smiles Dental Care
February 03, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

Celebrities’ controversial actions and opinions frequently spark fiery debates on social media. But actress Dakota Johnson lit a match to online platforms in a seemingly innocent way—through orthodontics.

This summer she appeared at the premier of her film The Peanut Butter Falcon missing the trademark gap between her front teeth. Interestingly, it happened a little differently than you might think: Her orthodontist removed a permanent retainer attached to the back of her teeth, and the gap closed on its own.

Tooth gaps are otherwise routinely closed with braces or other forms of orthodontics. But, as the back and forth that ensued over Johnson’s new look shows, a number of people don’t think that’s a good idea: It’s not just a gap—it’s your gap, a part of your own uniqueness.

Someone who might be sympathetic to that viewpoint is Michael Strahan, a host on Good Morning America. Right after the former football star began his NFL career, he strongly considered closing the noticeable gap between his two front teeth. In the end, though, he opted to keep it, deciding it was a defining part of his appearance.

But consider another point of view: If it truly is your gap (or whatever other quirky smile “defect” you may have), you can do whatever you want with it—it really is your choice. And, on that score, you have options.

You can have a significant gap closed with orthodontics or, if it’s only a slight gap or other defect, you can improve your appearance with the help of porcelain veneers or crowns. You can also preserve a perceived flaw even while undergoing cosmetic enhancements or restorations. Implant-supported replacement teeth, for example, can be fashioned to retain unique features of your former smile like a tooth gap.

If you’re considering a “smile makeover,” we’ll blend your expectations and desires into the design plans for your future smile. In the case of something unique like a tooth gap, we’ll work closely with dental technicians to create restorations that either include or exclude the gap or other characteristics as you wish.

Regardless of the debate raging on social media, the final arbiter of what a smile should look like is the person wearing it. Our goal is to make sure your new smile reflects the real you.

If you would like more information about cosmetically enhancing your smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Space Between Front Teeth” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”

By Kirkland Smiles Dental Care
January 27, 2020
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: dental crowns  

Dental crowns from your dentist in Kirkland, Washington can help your smile.

If you need a stronger smile, consider dental crowns to help you achieve it. In fact, dental crowns provide overall protection, to keep your teeth from breaking. You can enjoy the foods you love without worrying about damaging your smile. Dr. Bernard S. Pak at Kirkland Smiles Dental Center in Kirkland, Washington offers dental crowns to help your smile.

Damaging your smile is easier than you think. Eating hard foods can take a toll on your teeth. Grinding and clenching can cause chipping and fractures. Even normal aging plays a part in diminishing the strength of your smile.

The good news is, dental crowns provide unsurpassed protection because they cover the entire visible surfaces of your teeth above the gumline. When you bite down on a dental crown, the biting stress is spread out over the entire surface of your tooth, protecting it from breaking.

Today’s dental crown materials provide the strength you need, and they also provide the beauty you want. You can choose from:

Full porcelain crowns, which are the most cosmetically beautiful choice; porcelain reflects light, like natural tooth enamel, so these crowns are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth. Porcelain also resists stains, so a full porcelain crown will stay beautiful for years. Full porcelain crowns are the optimum choice for front teeth and teeth that are visible when you smile.

Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns, also known as PFM crowns, which provide cosmetic beauty and increased strength because of the metal underlay; these are an excellent choice for any area of your smile because they provide increased strength for chewing and biting.

If you need a stronger, more beautiful smile, don’t wait! Find out more about how dental crowns can help your smile by calling Dr. Bernard S. Pak at Kirkland Smiles Dental Center in Kirkland, Washington today.

By Kirkland Smiles Dental Care
January 24, 2020
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: invisalign  

How Invisalign from your dentist in Kirkland, Washington can give you an outstanding smile.

Are you embarrassed by a crooked smile? Perhaps your teeth are rotated or crowded. Maybe your bite is out of alignment, causing jaw pain and other problems. Whether it’s jaw alignment or tooth positioning, Invisalign can help. Dr. Bernard S. Pak at Kirkland Smiles Dental Center in Kirkland, Washington offers Invisalign treatment to give you a straighter smile.

So, why should you choose Invisalign? Invisalign has revolutionized orthodontic treatment. Consider these important benefits:

  • Invisalign is the most discreet orthodontic treatment available because the system uses clear plastic trays, called aligners, which are virtually invisible to people around you.
  • Invisalign is comfortable because the smooth plastic aligners have no sharp parts to irritate or injure your cheeks, lips, tongue, or gums.
  • Invisalign treatment delivers quick results because the treatment is completed in an average of nine to fifteen months.
  • Invisalign is easy to maintain because you can remove the aligners to brush and floss your teeth and to enjoy the foods you love.

It’s true Invisalign offers many benefits, and it also offers the strength to correct problems like these:

  • Overbite or underbite
  • Crossbite or open bite
  • Tooth rotation or tooth overlap
  • Gaps or spaces between teeth

To begin your Invisalign treatment, you receive your first set of aligners and wear them for two weeks. Then you move on to a new set of aligners, which you wear for another two weeks. You continue progressing to a new set of aligners every two weeks as your teeth gradually move into the correct position. You will visit Dr. Pak every four to six weeks so he can monitor your progress until your treatment is complete.

You and your smile deserve to enjoy the benefits of Invisalign. To find out more about this amazing way to achieve an outstanding smile, call Dr. Bernard S. Pak at Kirkland Smiles Dental Center in Kirkland, Washington today.

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