What We Look for During Dental Exams | Issaquah Dentist

Most people take their trip to the dentist for granted. They go in with the hope that they will hear they have no cavities, a new toothbrush and an appointment to return in 6 months. They don’t really pay attention to what we are doing, but it’s not a bad thing to learn about if you want to improve your oral health.

While most people think that the most important work we do is during the actual exam, the work we do before that is just as important. We start out by looking at the history we have for our patients, including any issues that could signal potential problems with oral health. We also want to look at the x-rays and notes from previous exams to see if there are any changes that signal a potential issue.

During the exam we are looking for more than changes. We look for signs of any bacterial growth that could lead to plaque buildup, the positioning of your teeth and gums, and gaps and pockets that may cause a problem. We look for any discoloration of the teeth or spots on the teeth that are signs of tooth decay. We are looking for the same signs that a patient can look for at home that the health of their teeth and gums are at risk.

We also rely on x-rays to look at the structure of the teeth and gums to spot problems before they become a bigger issue. Our goal is to make sure we can treat any issues as easily as possible to prevent problems before they occur. During an office visit, we will do this and then give you the treatments and tools needed for optimal oral health.

For more information about dental examinations, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.

Depression Affects Your Smile’s Health | Issaquah Dentist

In recent years, scientific research has discovered a close link between your oral health and your overall health. There are many conditions we can identify during a visual examination of your oral cavity, even if you don’t know you suffer from them.

This includes mental health problems such as depression. Recent studies suggest that depression conclude depression is closely related to poor oral health.

When someone is depressed, they lose interest in everyday activities, and in many cases, the person stops taking care of themselves, including neglecting his or her oral health in general. Not brushing your teeth twice daily and flossing at least once per day can be extremely detrimental to your mouth and set the stage for serious dental conditions in the future.

When you struggle with depression or other emotional condition your teeth will also suffer. Some signs of depression that will show in your teeth are:

General dental neglect. If you stop brushing and flossing your teeth regularly, you may have more cavities than usual, and your gums may be tender or swollen without the stimulation from brushing.

Periodontal disease. There is a close connection between depression and periodontal disease. Depression can affect your oral health through the salivary glands. When the production of saliva is restricted, you can have dry mouth which results in a higher risk for tooth decay.

Oral pain. Many people who have recurrent pain from conditions such as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ) also suffer from depression. There is a clear connection between pain and depression, according to scientific studies.

Keeping your regular checkups will let us identify any potential problems that may develop in the future. If you struggle with depression, your teeth may show it at different levels.

For more information about the effects of depression on your smile, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.

Scrubbing Your Teeth with Snacks | Issaquah Dentist

Keeping our teeth clean and healthy is important, not only to our dental health, but also our overall health. But this doesn’t mean you need to constantly brush your teeth. While brushing after each meal would be advantageous, not all of us have a toothbrush available at all times. Fortunately, there are loads of snacks you can nosh on that will do a good job in between brushings.

Carrots are full of fiber and help keep teeth clean by scrubbing the plaque off as you eat. Due to the fact that they’re not a juicy vegetable, they stimulate saliva production. This naturally cleans your teeth by rinsing your mouth as you eat. Additionally, carrots are full of B vitamins, which are essential in fighting gingivitis.

Leafy greens are high in fiber and low in calories, so not only are they good for your body, but they’re also great for your teeth. Kale and spinach contain calcium, which helps strengthen your teeth and B vitamins, which like we mentioned with carrots, help fight gingivitis! The fiber in both kale and spinach help scrub away plaque and food debris as you eat them.

You’ve heard the old saying ‘an apple a day keeps the doctor away‘, well it also keeps the plaque at bay! Not only does the fiber in an apple help clean your teeth, but they also fight bad breath. They scrub away plaque and debris and the acidity of an apple helps kill the bad bacteria that encourages bad breath.

Keep choosing healthy snacks and you’ll keep the plaque away, making your overall oral health even better. Give our office a call today to schedule your next exam, we look forward to hearing from you soon!

For more information about snacks that brighten our smiles, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.

Your Teeth May Hurt Following a Root Canal | Issaquah Dentist

You’re at the dentist and you find out that you need a root canal. But what happens after the root canal? What if it still hurts? Understanding the reasons can help you figure out what to do.

A root canal is a surgical procedure. Some pain or discomfort is normal after this type of procedure. There are some things that will subside with a little aftercare.

  • Inflammation and swelling. It is possible that the surrounding tissue and nerves can become inflamed after a root canal. This can cause some discomfort for a few days.
  • Collateral damage. During the procedure, the instruments may cause a little damage to tissue around the site of the root canal.
  • High temporary filling. It is possible the temporary filling is not smoothed down enough creating a high or rough spot that is sensitive to touch.

There are also times when the pain is related to something else. Pain for these reasons will require a return to the dentist for more treatment.

  • Infection in the bone. It is possible for the infection to include some of the bone along with the tooth and the root canal may not have cleaned out this infection.
  • Excess cement or air on the root tip. This is a result of the way the root canal was done.
  • Missed canal. Your troth has more than one root canal. It is possible to miss a canal during this procedure.

Pain is a sign that something is wrong. If you have pain after a root canal, you should not ignore it. You need to figure out what the cause is, so you know what to do about it.

For more information about root canals, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.

Why Does My Wisdom Tooth Hurt So Much? | Issaquah Dentist

When a baby is teething, parents work hard to soothe their pain. As an adult, we experience teeth growing again. Sometime during our teen and young adult years, your wisdom teeth will come in. For some people there is no pain, while others experience pain like they’ve never imagined. Here are the reasons why wisdom teeth hurt:

Eruption. The top of your gums is full of nerves. When wisdom teeth erupt through the skin, they are breaking those nerves and the result is pain. The tooth does not grow at a very fast speed. That means the pain can last for a lot longer than anyone wants until the tooth is fully grown.

Impaction. There are times when the tooth grows at the wrong angle. It gets stuck in the gum and is then an impacted wisdom tooth. This is another type of pain people feel. The pain from an impacted wisdom tooth is felt in many places. It can affect the area of impaction, the teeth surrounding the impaction, the gums and the jaw.

Infection. It is possible for the wisdom tooth to have an infection. Like any other infection of the teeth or gums, the infected wisdom tooth cause pain.

Pain from a wisdom tooth is normal and something that plenty of people deal with. The good news is that there are things to do about the pain. Over-the-counter medications can help manage the pain until the tooth grows in.

Extraction is also an effective treatment for impacted teeth. The key is to get the help of our dental professionals when you have painful wisdom teeth. They’ll be able to advise on the next steps.

For more information about wisdom teeth, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.

Most Common Mistakes People Tend to Make When Flossing | Issaquah Dentist

Flossing is an important part of your daily routine of getting a healthy smile and keeping cavities and gum disease away. Yet, most people don’t know it is possible to floss the wrong way and damage their teeth while doing it.

Flossing is considered important because when brushing and flossing the floss is responsible for the removal of 40% of bacteria and plaque. Below, we cover why flossing is important and a few common flossing mistakes. 

Bad Habits While Flossing

When you move from tooth to tooth quickly you risk not removing the tartar buildup on your teeth. Which is the whole purpose of flossing. We floss to clean old food and bacteria from between your teeth, but also helps remove a thin, damaging layer of plaque that can cause cavities to form.

Many people only floss one side of each of their teeth, think about it. Do you slide it between teeth and only put pressure against one side or do you take the time to slide up and down a few times against one tooth and then reverse the process against the other tooth?

Bleeding When You Floss

A full flossing routine should always involve cleaning teeth down below the gum line. This is where dental plaque can deposit in the pockets unreached by toothbrushes. If left untreated, plaque buildup near the root of teeth can lead to gingivitis and tooth decay. Bleeding gums when flossing is often an early sign of gum disease.

If you or your child has sensitive, swollen gums that bleed when they are brushed or flossed, then it most definitely is time to schedule a visit to our office. Gum disease is very treatable and can be reversed. Allow us to help get your oral care back on track. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.

For more information about flossing, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.

Do All Wisdom Teeth Require Removal? | Issaquah Dentist

Wisdom teeth, or third molars, are a set of four teeth that appear after the initial growth of the permanent teeth. This is why they are called “wisdom” teeth colloquially; they appear in our wiser years. They are routinely removed by dentists, as they can often be the cause of oral health issues.

Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?

Our prehistoric ancestors had larger jaws than we do, and room to accommodate the extra set of teeth that we dub “wisdom teeth”, today. A mutation in the gene MYH16 may be responsible for having caused changes in the size of some of our ancestors’ jaws.

Why Are Wisdom Teeth Removed?

As a result of these evolutionary changes, many modern humans have smaller jaws, and the growth of the extra teeth can cause dental crowding (the other teeth are slowly pushed forward, and with nowhere to go, become crooked near the front of the mouth). They can also be hard to reach when brushing and flossing, resulting in decay and cavities.

Wisdom teeth may also cause issues with the bite, leading to jaw discomfort. In some cases, wisdom teeth do not fully grow in, but remain impacted within the gums. This causes extreme discomfort, swelling, and even bleeding.

When Can Wisdom Teeth NOT Be Removed?

Some people have space in their mouths for wisdom teeth. If there is space in the mouth, and the extra teeth grow in fully, without impaction, do not compromise the health of a patient’s bite, and can be easily reached during daily cleaning, there is no need for removal.

The decision whether or not to remove wisdom teeth is one that must be made with the help of our dentists. There are many factors to take into account, all of which our dentists are aware of, and able to discuss with our patients. We will be able to assess whether it is in your best interest to have your wisdom teeth removed.

For more information about wisdom teeth, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.

How Brushing Can Change as We Get Older | Issaquah Dentist

As we grow older some things have to change to continue to maintain good oral health. The elderly face many challenges when faced with basic routines they could practice when they were younger. Cavities, gum diseases, and oral cancers are commonly found in the elderly. This is due to several factors, including diet, medications, physical health, and oral health routines.

How to maintain good oral habits with limited mobility

Flossing your teeth, Brushing, and using a good mouthwash with fluoride is the standard recommendation for everyone. If you have limited mobility, it’s time to be innovative. You don’t have to practice your routine in the bathroom. Place your hygiene material in the drawer next to your bed with a cup of water. When you wake up, sit up in bed and brush, floss, and gargle in the comfort of your bed.

If you wear dentures, always remove them before brushing. Another good practice is to soak your dentures overnight to kill off all bacteria that may accumulate it hard to reach places. This ensures you get all the small particles that can get lodged between your gums and dentures.

Maintaining good oral habits with limited strength

The next step is to invest in a good electronic toothbrush. Getting a good electronic toothbrush will allow you to clean all of your teeth without struggling to brush with angles you’re not capable of anymore.

There are different flosses that are convenient and used with one hand. The most popular selling is the floss that looks like the letter Y bent to the left. It’s a piece of plastic with a half-inch piece of floss running between the Y. You can hold it with one hand and get into your teeth’s hard to reach places.

As you get older, it can be frustrating to not be able to practice the habits you had for so many years. With new technology, even if you have limited mobility or strength, it is possible to maintain good oral health. Our office is dedicated to providing new oral care strategies and tools to stay healthy. If you have any questions or comments, please contact us. If you’d like to schedule a checkup, we are happy to help.

For more information about dental hygiene, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.

Common Foods that Darken Teeth | Issaquah Dentists

If you want to keep your teeth white, brushing regularly and using a tooth-whitening toothpaste aren’t the only things you have to do. You also have to watch what you eat and drink. What does eating and drinking have to do with your teeth staying white?

What many people don’t realize is that some food and drinks have compounds in them that cause your teeth to stain. These compounds are called chromagens and they are what make some foods and beverages very colorful. Another tooth staining compound is called tannin, and this gives beverages a brown color. What’s crucial to understand is that acids in food and drink play an important role. Acids wear down the enamel on your teeth which makes it easier for the staining to occur.

What Should I Look Out For?

You can probably guess that coffee and tea contain tannins, but you may not know what other food and beverages to avoid. Colas is damaging not only because of their color, but also because of the acids in them. The combination is brutal for your teeth. While on the subject of beverages, you should also know that red wine is one of the most common tooth-staining beverages.

Yes, it tastes good, but it isn’t good if you want white teeth. Dark-colored fruit juices can also stain your teeth. Look out for grape, cranberry, and blueberry juices, particularly if you have had your teeth whitened. You may find that you just wasted your money.

When it comes to food there are many culprits out there. Tomato-based sauces, healthy though they are, will stain your teeth. Spices such as curry can stain your teeth. Soy sauce makes your Chinese food have a little extra kick, but it also kicks I the staining factor. Beetroot and most berries are also likely to stain your teeth.

Aside from rinsing your mouth after eating or drinking these substances or stimulating saliva production after eating them, your only other option is avoidance. Give us a call and we can discuss it at your next appointment.

For more information about foods that darken teeth, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.

Why Does a Taste Bud Swell So Much if You Accidentally Bite It? | Issaquah Dentist

When you look at your tongue you may notice that there are bumps on it. These are known as papillae and they help with taste, hence the name “taste buds.” Sometimes these will grow enlarged. There are numerous reasons for this.

Why taste buds swell. Sometimes if you accidentally bite your tongue in the wrong way you can cause your taste buds to swell. This is because the nerve receptors in this area of your mouth are especially sensitive. They can also become inflamed or irritated occasionally. Usually this happens when you have a virus in your body though.

Treating swollen taste buds. Usually, it’s unnecessary to treat your taste buds if they become enlarged. However, if they stay enlarged for more than 7 – 10 days you should definitely give our office a call. We will bring you in for an appointment so that we can look at the size, color, and location of the swelling.

You most definitely want to schedule an appointment any time you have unusual bleeding, pain, or growth in your mouth. These are things that we’ll want to immediately take care of for you.

Preventing swollen taste buds. It’s important for you to maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing twice daily. Make sure you brush your tongue when doing so. When you’re participating in sports, make sure you’re wearing a mouth guard. Additionally, you should avoid smoking and chewing on things that aren’t food. Sometimes you will still experience swollen taste buds.

When this happens, try rinsing your mouth with warm saltwater and drinking plenty of water. Monitor how well your swollen taste buds are healing for you and when or if you have any concerns, make sure you set up an appointment to visit our office so we can look at them for you.

For more information about taste buds, call Dr. Sciabica in Issaquah, WA at 425-392-3900 or visit www.issaquahdentists.com.

Dr. Frank S. Sciabica proudly serves patients from Issaquah and all surrounding areas.