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When to Replace Fillings

January 22nd, 2020

A dental filling replaces and restores the health of a tooth that has been damaged. Often, the need for a filling results from a cavity due to a large amount of decay in a tooth.

Teeth may also require repairs after cracking from chewing on hard objects, trauma to the mouth, grinding or clenching of your teeth, uneven chewing pressure, or exposure to extreme hot and cold temperatures.

Over time, a filling may have to be replaced after normal wear and tear has occurred. There are signs and symptoms to watch out for if your tooth may need a replacement filling, or a new filling. Swanson Dental Associates performs various types of filling treatments, depending on the damage to the tooth.

Common signs and symptoms to watch out for if you have a cracked tooth can include sharp pain when you bite down, pain that comes and goes, discomfort when eating or drinking, or a constant feeling that something is stuck in your teeth. The crack may not be visible to the eye, which makes it hard to tell whether a tooth is actually cracked.

Pain may come and go quickly when you bite down because you’re expanding the crack with the combined pressure of your teeth. If you notice this happening, contact Drs. Kris Swanson, Richard Swanson, and Brad Jonnes right away so we can get X-rays of your mouth and quickly fix the problem.

If you’ve had a filling in your mouth in the past, you could be due for a replacement. The seal between the tooth and the filling may break down over time, after which bacteria can build up underneath the filling and cause more decay.

It’s vital to catch this early so a filing can fix the problem. If you wait too long, a crown or a root canal may be the only option. You may not notice that a long-time filing is cracked or worn down, because it can take a long time to feel any discomfort. This is one of the reasons we recommend a dental checkup every six months.

If you need a tooth filling or a replacement filling, different filling choices vary in price. Gold fillings and porcelain fillings are more expensive options that last longer -- typically around 20 years. Porcelain fillings match the color of the rest of your teeth, however, which makes them less visible.

Another option is amalgam, or silver fillings, that less expensive but may be more noticeable in visible areas of your mouth. Composite, or plastic fillings, are another affordable option that can be matched to the color of your teeth. Composites are more likely to wear out over time and not last as long: usually around three to ten years.

If you think a past filling might be due for replacement, schedule an appointment at our Bellevue, WA office. Make sure to stay on top of your routine dental appointments in order to prevent decay from breaking down problem teeth.

If we catch the problem early, we can save you both money and time. Fillings can be a great way to resolve any existing teeth issues, and prevent extensive dental care practices from becoming necessary in the future.

 

Adult Mouthguards

January 15th, 2020

You make sure your daughter wears her mouthguard to every soccer practice. Your son doesn’t step on the basketball court without his. Why not protect your smile as well?

Athletes of all ages in team or recreational sports can help prevent dental injuries with a protective mouthguard. If you bike or ski, play racquetball or squash, skate, or sky dive, a mouthguard will help keep your teeth and gums healthy as you keep fit.

Mouthguard Options

Our office will be happy to talk to you about whether a mouthguard is a practical addition to your workout gear. There are many options available to you, including:

Stock: Preformed appliances available at sporting goods stores and drugstores. These are the most affordable, but are a one-size-fits-all option and may not be a comfortable fit for you.

Boil-and-Bite: Also available at sports shops and drugstores. This guard is formed by placing it in hot water and then biting down to allow it to conform to the shape of your mouth.

Custom: Our Bellevue, WA office can create a personalized mouthguard just for you. Individual mouthguards are the most durable and comfortable option, in general, and provide the best fit for ease of talking and breathing while exercising. You may also have special dental conditions, such as the placement of crowns or braces, which could be a factor in your decision.

Whichever option you choose, remember to wear your mouthguard regularly while exercising. A proper mouthguard cannot only help prevent injuries to your teeth, but to your face and jaw as well. A healthy smile and a healthy body are a winning combination. The next time you visit Drs. Kris Swanson, Richard Swanson, and Brad Jonnes, let’s talk sports!

Five Reasons to See Your Endodontist

January 8th, 2020

For most of our dental concerns, seeing the family dentist is the first and only appointment we need. But when you need specialized treatment for an injured tooth, an appointment with Drs. Kris Swanson, Richard Swanson, and Brad Jonnes can not only save you pain and discomfort—it can even save your tooth.

Every tooth is protected by its hard enamel covering—in fact, tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the body—but it’s not perfect protection. Beneath that enamel lies less dense tissue called dentin, filled with tubules leading to the inner chamber of the tooth. This small inner chamber and the even more delicate canals inside each root of the tooth contain the sensitive dental pulp, which holds nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

If the pulp has been compromised through decay, injury, or infection, treatment needs to take place to prevent pain, further infection, and even bone and tooth loss. The diagnosis and treatment of the inner tooth are the special focus of endodontists like Drs. Kris Swanson, Richard Swanson, and Brad Jonnes.

Which symptoms could be a clue that your inner tooth needs treatment?

  1. Sharp, severe pain when you bite down or put pressure on a tooth: This could be a sign that the pulp tissue inside is irritated, damaged, or infected.
  2. Continuous facial pain, toothache, redness or swelling around the tooth: These symptoms could be signs of pulp inflammation, infection, or abscess.
  3. Persistent sensitivity to heat and cold: Any sensitivity to temperature is a good reason to see Drs. Kris Swanson, Richard Swanson, and Brad Jonnes. Cavities and even heavy-handed brushing can cause sensitivity for a few seconds after exposure to heat or cold. Any pain or sensitivity that lasts longer, though, could indicate pulp damage.
  4. Unexplained soreness or pressure in the jaws and teeth: Grinding your teeth and certain sinus conditions can cause these symptoms, but if you have ruled out obvious causes, Drs. Kris Swanson, Richard Swanson, and Brad Jonnes should be consulted.
  5. A cracked or injured tooth: A crack or other injury can leave the pulp vulnerable to irritation, bacteria, and infection. Endodontists are trained to diagnose and treat the different varieties of tooth fractures, including crown, cusp, and root fractures.

If you are experiencing one or more of these symptoms, don’t put off endodontic treatment at our Bellevue, WA office. Once the inner tooth has suffered injury or infection, treatment should take place as soon as possible to prevent further damage to tooth, tissue, and bone. Endodontists work to save injured teeth with a variety of procedures, including root canals, endodontic surgeries on tooth and root structures, and placement of posts and cores to strengthen and stabilize teeth.

If you suspect that you have a tooth that needs endodontic treatment, call your endodontist, or, if you haven’t worked with an endodontist before, ask your regular dentist for a recommendation. Seeing a specialist trained in the latest and most effective endodontic techniques is the best option to save an injured tooth.

Healthy Resolutions for Healthy Teeth

January 1st, 2020

Every January 1st, you have your resolutions ready. No more nail biting. Lose ten pounds. Stop smoking. None of us are happy about those annoying bad habits we’ve picked up over the years. But if nothing else has helped you keep your resolutions, maybe seeing how they can improve your oral health will give you some extra willpower.

  • No More Nail Biting

You can easily see how nail biting affects your fingernails, but its effects are more than cosmetic. The pressure this habit puts on tooth enamel can lead to cracks, chips, and enamel erosion. Nail biters have a greater risk of bruxism, or teeth grinding. (More on that below.) And the transfer of germs from fingers to mouth and mouth to fingers is a vicious circle that can lead to illnesses and infections in both fingers and mouth.

  • Cut Down on Junk Food

Sugars and carbs help pack on the pounds, no doubt. Did you know that they can also help create cavities? Sugar is a favorite food for oral bacteria, which allows them to produce acids which attack and weaken tooth enamel. And carbs? They convert easily to simple sugars. Choose nutritious snacks and beverages, and you will keep those teeth healthy. You might even lose a few pounds!

  • Lower the Volume

If your partner complains about sleepless nights thanks to your nocturnal teeth grinding, or your friends ask you to quit chewing on that cup of ice while they’re trying to watch a movie with you, listen to them! (If you can hear them over the grinding and chewing.) Bruxism can fracture teeth, cause headaches and jaw problems, and might even lead to loose teeth. Chewing hard foods can have the very same effects. Too much pressure from any source can damage your teeth. Grinding, chewing ice, crunching down on hard candies—any habit that’s loud enough to annoy others could be a warning to be more careful of your teeth.

  • Don’t Put That in Your Mouth!

Helping you eat and chew nutritious foods—of course. Smiling—absolutely. Ripping off a piece of duct tape, tearing open a potato chip bag, holding your dog’s leash while you look for your keys, opening a tight bottle cap—no, no, no, and really no. Fractures and chips are common injuries when you use your teeth as tools. Your teeth have a crucial job to do, but that job description never includes “scissors” or “nutcracker” or “bottle opener.” Take that extra minute and find the tool you need!

  • Drink in Moderation

Along with all the other consequences of over-indulging, too much alcohol in your diet can be bad for your oral health. Alcohol, especially paired with sugary drinks, helps create that acidic environment that leads to weakened enamel. More than that, it’s dehydrating. Without sufficient hydration, we don’t have the optimal saliva production we need to fight cavities. After all, saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria, neutralizes acids, and strengthens enamel through remineralization. Ring in the New Year—moderately!

  • It’s Time to Quit

Cigarettes, pipes, cigars, chewing tobacco—there is no tobacco product that is healthy for your body or your teeth! We’re all familiar with the discoloration tobacco can cause, but it also has serious oral health consequences. Oral cancer, gum disease, early tooth loss—all these conditions have been linked to tobacco use. Today there are more methods than ever before to help you quit. Make this your year!

You don’t have to wait for the New Year to start working on healthier habits. If you’d like to tackle teeth grinding, banish nail biting, stop smoking, or work on any other habits that can damage your health and your teeth, talk to Drs. Kris Swanson, Richard Swanson, and Brad Jonnes at your next visit to our Bellevue, WA office. And, don’t forget—resolving to see us twice a year for a checkup and a cleaning is a resolution that’s extremely easy to keep!