My Blog

Posts for: July, 2018

By Kirkland Smiles Dental Care
July 23, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: celebrity smiles   retainer  

Some moviegoers have been known to crunch popcorn, bite their fingers or grab their neighbor’s hands during the intense scenes of a thriller. But for one fan, the on-screen action in the new superhero film Black Panther led to a different reaction.

Sophia Robb, an 18-year-old Californian, had to make an emergency visit to the orthodontic office because she snapped the steel wire on her retainer while watching a battle scene featuring her Hollywood crush, Michael B. Jordan. Her jaw-clenching mishap went viral and even prompted an unexpected reply from the actor himself!

Meanwhile, Sophia got her retainer fixed pronto—which was exactly the right thing to do. The retention phase is a very important part of orthodontic treatment: If you don’t wear a retainer, the beautiful new smile you’re enjoying could become crooked again. That’s because if the teeth are not held in their new positions, they will naturally begin to drift back into their former locations—and you may have to start treatment all over again…

While it’s much more common to lose a removable retainer than to damage one, it is possible for even sturdy retainers to wear out or break. This includes traditional plastic-and-wire types (also called Hawley retainers), clear plastic retainers that are molded to fit your teeth (sometimes called Essix retainers), and bonded retainers: the kind that consists of a wire that’s permanently attached to the back side of your teeth. So whichever kind you use, do what Sophia did if you feel that anything is amiss—have it looked at right away!

When Black Panther co-star Michael B. Jordan heard about the retainer mishap, he sent a message to the teen: “Since I feel partly responsible for breaking your retainers let me know if I can replace them.” His young fan was grateful for the offer—but even more thrilled to have a celebrity twitter follower.

If you have questions about orthodontic retainers, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Bonded Retainers.”

By Kirkland Smiles Dental Care
July 13, 2018
Category: Oral Health

Teeth CleaningYour dental and gingival health keeps your smile bright and attractive and your overall health vibrant, too. Preventive dentistry assists your careful home maintenance routines. Read here how Kirkland, WA, dentist, Dr. Bernard Pak, and his team at Kirkland Smile Dental Care provide professional cleanings and other outstanding services.

The benefits of professional teeth cleaning

The American Dental Association (ADA) tells both children and adults to brush their teeth twice a day for a full two minutes. Flossing daily is essential as well, but what's the point of these two common oral hygiene practices?

It's plaque removal. Your dentist in Kirkland understands that without brushing and flossing, bacteria-filled plaque and rock-hard tartar accumulate, eventually decaying teeth and causing destructive gum disease.

However, at-home hygiene can't do it all. You need the help of a skilled dental hygienist to scale your teeth with special instruments, removing what you cannot reach with toothbrush and floss.

Other benefits of a professional cleaning at Kirkland Smiles Dental care are:

  1. Your hygienist will alert Dr. Pak to any problems she sees while cleaning your teeth--decay, gingivitis, loose crowns or cracked fillings, and sores in the mouth, as examples.
  2. Your teeth will feel and look shiny and clean. A thorough cleaning removes many surfaces stains, too.
  3. Your hygienist will show you ways to improve how you brush and floss at home. She may recommend using a water flosser, an electric toothbrush or a special mouth rinse to keep your breath fresh.
  4. Your systemic health will improve. When your teeth and gums are healthy, your risk for diabetes, heart attack, stroke, low birth weight babies, and even dementia decreases significantly.

Also, your hygienist and your dentist will assess your gums, tongue, back of the throat, lips, and other soft oral tissues for signs of oral cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that more than 51,000 of these dangerous cancers will be diagnosed in the United States 2018. Dental teams across the country help protect patients just like you with early detection and treatment to achieve complete cures.

Finally, your hygienic cleaning sets the stage for another important preventive dentistry service: the oral examination. Dr. Pak thoroughly inspects teeth and gums for:

  • Decay
  • Gum disease
  • Dental alignment
  • Condition of fillings, crowns, sealants, bonding, veneers, and more
  • Jaw joint function
  • Signs of excessive wear (sometimes related to teeth grinding)

He will present his findings to you, recommending any needed restorations or suggested cosmetic work.

Are your teeth clean?

They will be after a hygienic cleaning at Kirkland Smiles Dental Center in Kirkland, WA. Dr. Pak sees patients for exams and cleanings every six months or as needed. Please contact his office team today for your appointment: (425) 893-9500.

By Kirkland Smiles Dental Care
July 13, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: metal allergies  

Allergic reactions aren't necessarily bad: they're your body's responses to possible threats from foreign substances. But the response can go too far and cause a reaction as minor as a skin rash or as life-threatening as a multi-system shutdown called anaphylaxis.

Anything can cause an allergy: animal fur, food, chemicals — or metals. Because metals play such a large role in dental care, it's only natural we're alert to the possibility of allergic reactions from a procedure.

But don't postpone your implants or other dental work just yet — the threat isn't nearly that ominous. Here are a few facts about dental metal allergies to help you sort it out.

Allergic reactions are rare for metals used in medical and dental procedures. Although reactions to metals in joint replacements or coronary stents leading to failure do happen, actual occurrences are rare. Most metal allergies manifest as a skin reaction to jewelry or clothing. It's less likely with medical or dental metals because they're chosen specifically for their compatibility with living tissue.

Amalgam fillings account for most dental work reactions. Dentists have used this multi-metal alloy for fillings and other restorations for well over a century. Tooth-colored resins are now used for most fillings, but amalgam is still used in less visible back teeth. It's very rare for a person to experience a reaction to amalgam, but when it does occur it usually results in minor inflammation or a rash.

Implant titanium isn't just bio-compatible — it's also osteophilic. Titanium is the perfect choice for implants not only because it's tissue friendly, but also because it's bone friendly (osteophilic). Once implanted in the jaw, bone cells naturally grow and adhere to it to create a more durable bond. Not only does the body usually tolerate titanium, it welcomes it with open arms!

While it's still possible for you to have an allergy to implant titanium, the chances are remote. In one recent study involving 1,500 implant patients, titanium allergies occurred in less than 1%. So the chances are high a metal allergy won't stop you from obtaining a smile-transforming restoration with dental implants.

If you would like more information on allergies and dental work, 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 “Metal Allergies to Dental Implants.”

By Kirkland Smiles Dental Care
July 03, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

If you’re seeing your dentist regularly, that’s great. But if that’s all you’re doing to stay ahead of dental disease, it’s not enough. In fact, what you do daily to care for your teeth is often the primary factor in whether or not you’ll maintain a healthy mouth.

Top of your oral care to-do list, of course, is removing daily plaque buildup from teeth and gums. This sticky film of bacteria and food particles can cause both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. You do that with effective daily brushing and flossing.

Effective brushing starts with the right toothbrush—for most people a soft-bristled, multi-tufted brush—and fluoride toothpaste. As to technique, you should first avoid brushing too hard or too often (more than twice a day). This can damage your gums and cause them to recede, exposing the tooth roots to disease. Instead, use a gentle, scrubbing motion, being sure to thoroughly brush all tooth surfaces from the gumline to the top of the teeth, which usually takes about two minutes.

The other essential hygiene task, flossing, isn’t high on many people’s “favorite things to do list” due to frequent difficulties manipulating the floss. Your dentist can help you with technique, but if it still proves too difficult try some different tools: a floss threader to make it easier to pull floss through your teeth; or a water flosser, a handheld device that directs a pressurized water stream on tooth and gum surfaces to loosen and flush away plaque.

And don’t forget other tooth-friendly practices like avoiding sugary snacks between meals, drinking plenty of water to avoid dry mouth, and even waiting to brush or floss about an hour after eating. The latter is important because acid levels rise during eating and can temporarily soften enamel. The enzymes in saliva, though, can neutralize the acid and re-mineralize the enamel in about thirty minutes to an hour. Waiting to brush gives saliva a chance to do its job.

Lastly, keep alert for anything out of the ordinary: sores, lumps, spots on the teeth or reddened, swollen, bleeding gums. All these are potential signs of disease. The sooner you have them checked the better your chances of maintaining a healthy mouth.

If you would like more information on caring for your teeth at home, 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 “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home.”