Are You at Risk for Hairy Tongue? | Dentist in Kent WA

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You may not realize it, but you could be at risk of developing an unsightly medical condition known as hairy tongue. While it is harmless in most cases, hairy tongue is still an unpleasant ailment. The causes are not always completely known, but practicing good oral hygiene at home and visiting our dental office for cleanings can help prevent the issue. Here’s what you need to know. 

What is hairy tongue? 

With hairy tongue, your tongue may look like its covered in fuzz or hair, but this condition is actually caused by an accumulation of bacteria. The surface of your tongue is covered in small, rough papillae which gives it its rough texture. Overtime, these papillae grow, shed, and are replaced. Occasionally, the older papillae may fail to shed properly. This causes a buildup on the tongue and can cause a hair-like appearance. 

Who is at risk of hairy tongue? 

According to the American Academy of Oral Medicine, as much as 13% of the population may have hairy tongue. Anyone can develop the condition, but certain risk factors such as age and tobacco use increase your chances. 

What causes hairy tongue? 

While the exact causes of hairy tongue are not known, there are a variety of factors that can put you at a higher risk of developing the condition. Poor oral hygiene and a diet of soft foods can put you at an increased risk, as a lack of stimulation on the tongue can prevent the shedding of older papillae. Excessive consumption of certain substances, including tobacco, alcohol, coffee, and tea have been shown to contribute to this condition. Dehydration and dry mouth can slow down the tongue’s natural refresh cycle of replacing papillae. 

The best defense against hairy tongue is a regular at-home oral hygiene routine that includes twice daily brushing, flossing, and mouthwash. Visiting our practice at least twice a year for cleanings can also give us an opportunity to regularly examine your mouth and catch any early signs of hairy tongue.  If you’re past due for your regular cleaning or are concerned that you might be developing hairy tongue, don’t hesitate to contact our practice for an appointment today.

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031

Biting Off More than You Can Chew? | Family Dentist Kent WA

It is not uncommon for many of us to grab a bite to eat in a hurry. Americans have grown accustomed to bigger food portions at restaurants, but our mouths have not. Trying to fit that oversized sandwich or apple in your mouth might be worse for you than you have ever imagined. Below are some reasons why this could be detrimental for your oral health and what you can do about it.  

Why This Is a Problem 

According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), taking bites that are too big for you to chew can not only cause jaw and teeth issues, it can also cause digestive problems. Discomfort, swelling and difficulty eating may result from opening your jaw too wide. Taking large bites may also result in food not being chewed thoroughly, which can lead to weight gain and digestive issues.  

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMD) 

Constantly opening your jaw too wide becomes an even larger problem for people with temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). The temporomandibular joint connects the jaw to the skull bones enabling movement during chewing. People with TMD, usually have a restriction with how wide they can open their jaws. Taking large bites of food, especially hard foods like apples, can aggravate this condition making pain and jaw clicking worse.  

What You Can Do 

If you have food that is too large to chew or starts to cause jaw discomfort, try cutting your food into smaller portions. This makes food easier to eat with less hassle. Also consider eating softer foods that won’t harm your teeth or irritate your jaw.  

Tip: Avoid chewing on ice, popcorn kernels, hard candies, and opening nuts with your teeth. This can lead to a chipped tooth! 

Contact our team today to schedule an exam and cleaning.

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031

Filling in the Gaps: Your Options for Missing Teeth | Dentist in Kent

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Are you embarrassed to show your smile because of missing teeth? For many people, missing teeth can create a feeling of diminished self-confidence. Modern dentistry can not only replace the gaps in your smile, our team can also create long-term replacements that look and feel just like your natural teeth. You have options. Here are a few of the most common tooth replacement solutions. 

Dentures 

Dentures are a solution for those who have lost many or all their teeth. They create a realistic, aesthetically pleasing smile. They are ideal for patients that are missing multiple teeth on either the top or bottom. Our team will start by taking an impression of your mouth. We will then send the impression to a lab for a customized set of dentures to be created. Once your dentures are ready, we will ensure a proper fit and make any necessary adjustments. Dentures should be cleaned regularly with a non-abrasive cleanser. Our team will provide you with all the information you need to take care of your dentures. 

Bridges 

You may have heard of dental bridges referred to as partial dentures. Dental bridges are a replacement solution for one or more missing teeth. They help prevent your existing teeth from shifting into the empty gaps of your missing teeth. Bridges utilize your surrounding teeth as an anchor for your replacements. Our team can match the bridge to look like your natural teeth; no one will even notice the difference. 

Dental Implants 

Dental implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement option. Unlike dentures, which may require replacement, dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. Our team will ensure your gum tissue is healthy enough with adequate bone support to anchor the implant. For some patients, additional preparations may be necessary such as a bone graft to guarantee your implant has a strong, stable foundation. 

The gaps in your smile can be filled. Our team can help you decide on a tooth replacement solution based on your individual needs. It is important to fill the gaps of missing teeth to prevent deterioration to your gums and the shifting of teeth into these empty spaces. Additionally, tooth replacement solutions such as dentures, bridges, or implants can help improve your speech and comfort. 

If you are missing teeth, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team. 

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031

An Important Reminder About Your Next Dental Appointment | Dentist Kent WA

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At times, life can seem to move quickly. Between work, school, sports, and social events, it can seem there is little time left for you and your health. It’s imperative for a healthy mouth and body to always have your next dental appointment scheduled and to prioritize this care. Our dentist in 98031 will work with you to find the most convenient day and time for you. If you need to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you. Advanced notice of a change is greatly appreciated, whenever possible. Missed appointments without notice are harmful to our practice, as we’ve reserved your appointment time exclusively for you.  

Missed dental appointments can lead to worsened oral and overall health. Whether receiving preventive or restorative dental care, if left without professional treatment, plaque and decay will progress and the state of your oral health will likely decline. Some of our patients are predisposed to more frequent oral health issues. Many times, these guests prefer more frequent office visits. Please know this is an option for you as well. Investing in one extra cleaning each year can often prevent more costly concerns. 

We know it can be tempting to skip your dental appointment. Perhaps you’d rather be relaxing at home or you’ve had a last-minute obligation arise. Please make every effort to prioritize your healthy smile, as it significantly contributes to your overall health.  

Please know we’re here for you. If you have any questions about our care or practice philosophy, don’t hesitate to contact our Kent, WA dental office.

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031

12 Reasons to See Your Dentist | Dentist in Kent WA

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Don’t wait until you’re in pain to see your Kent dentist! Most people make time to clean out the house, car, garage, or closets at least twice a year. Why not include your oral health on your “to do” list? 

Schedule an Appointment Now!  

Regular professional cleaning and examinations are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. These routine visits are your first line of defense against tooth decay, periodontal disease, oral cancers, and more. Early identification and treatment of any oral illness improves outcomes and allows for less-invasive treatment options. Don’t wait until it hurts! 

Why Do We Avoid Going? 

The HDI institute, in a study done with the American Dental Association, lists some of the main reasons we sometimes delay going to the dentist. Cost, low perceived need, time, and anxiety are the most common causes. However, if we allow these concerns to interfere with oral care, we may allow more serious issues to develop. 

When Should We See the Dentist? 

The ADA or American Dental Society recommends maintaining twice yearly visits for cleaning and examinations. In addition, they advise making an appointment for any of the following concerns:  

  1. Pain in your mouth, teeth, or face 
  2. Injury to your mouth, teeth, or face 
  3. Conditions that can affect oral health, such as diabetes 
  4. Pregnancy 
  5. Jaw pain or stiffness 
  6. Bleeding, swelling, or redness in your gums  
  7. Recent dental treatment, such as fillings, crowns, dental implants, or root canal 
  8. Pain or difficulty eating or drinking  
  9. Chronic dry mouth 
  10. Smoking or tobacco use 
  11. Sores in your mouth that are not healing 
  12. You have questions or concerns about your oral health or hygiene 

Our team is here to help you achieve and maintain your best oral health. To schedule your next appointment, please contact our dental office in Kent, WA.

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031

How Chocolate Affects the Health of Your Teeth | Kent WA Dentist

Did you know that chocolate might not be as bad for your teeth as people may have thought? You can now eat your favorite treat without feeling guilty. Studies have shown that there are benefits to eating chocolate, however, not all chocolate is created equal. It is important to note that these benefits apply to dark chocolate, not milk chocolate or white chocolate. Dark chocolate is rich in Fiber, Iron, Magnesium, Copper, Manganese and a few other minerals.

A 100-gram bar of dark chocolate with 70-85% cocoa contains:

  • 11 grams of fiber
  • 67% Iron
  • 58% Magnesium
  • 89% Copper
  • 98% Manganese
  • It also has plenty of potassium, phosphorus, zinc and selenium

Here are more advantages to eating dark chocolate and how to maintain good oral health while doing so.

Chocolate and Your Teeth

Chocolate is a candy that dissolves quickly in your mouth, resulting in less time on your teeth. It does less damage than a chewy or sticky candy because the sugar doesn’t cling to your teeth as long.

Chocolate and Your Health

Cocoa and dark chocolate are also a powerful source of antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from damage caused by harmful molecules called free radicals. Many experts believe this damage is a factor in the development of blood vessel disease, cancer, and other conditions. The bioactive compounds in cocoa can improve blood flow in the arteries and cause a small but statistically significant decrease in blood pressure.

Chocolate Benefits

Eating chocolate can lower your risk for cardiovascular disease. A study also showed that the flavanols from cocoa can improve blood flow to the skin and protect it against sun-induced damage.

Remember to eat responsibly as too much sugary food can be harmful, regardless of the benefits. Eating dark chocolate and brushing your teeth after will reduce the negative effects of chocolate.

While you can indulge on your favorite chocolate treat occasionally, be sure to keep up with your oral hygiene routine. Brush at least twice each day for two minutes, and floss regularly. To schedule your next visit to our Kent dentist, please contact our dentist in Kent WA.

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031

What to Expect from Dental Bridges | Oral Surgery in Kent WA

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If you are missing one or more teeth, our dentist in 98031 may recommend a dental bridge. To help you understand what to expect, we’ve assembled a short guide to bridges.

The Purpose of a Bridge

Tooth loss can occur due to periodontal disease, injury, extraction, and other causes. When a space is left, your remaining teeth can begin to shift, leading to changes in your bite. This may also leave your gums more susceptible to damage and disease. A dental bridge may be recommended to fill the gap left by one or more missing teeth. This device may be removable or fixed, and includes one or more replacement teeth, which are anchored to neighboring teeth for stability. A dental bridge can help keep your teeth and gums healthy, covered, and functioning properly.

What to Expect

Bridges usually require two visits. During your first visit, we will prepare the surrounding teeth and take an impression that will be used to accurately fabricate the dental bridge to fit your mouth. We may provide a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums from damage during the fabrication process.

During your second visit, we will fit your custom-made bridge into place. At this time, we will make any needed adjustments to ensure a proper fit and full comfort. We will also discuss a plan for future visits to ensure your bridge continues to fit properly.

Caring for Your Bridge

Keep your bridge clean and in good repair by brushing twice each day and flossing daily. If you remove your bridge for sleep, keep it in water or use a denture cleaning solution. For more information on proper bridge care, ask our team.

Bridges restore your mouth and your teeth to their normal function. If you are missing teeth, schedule an appointment with our Kent, WA dental team. We will provide an examination and determine if you are a candidate for a dental bridge.

To schedule an appointment with our dentist, click here to contact our Kent, WA dental office.

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031

Say Cheese! | Family Dentist in Kent

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It has long been known that dairy products contain high amounts of calcium, which is our dentist in 98031 agrees is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. However, not all dairy works in the same ways. Did you know that a recent study has found that cheese can actually help protect teeth against cavities?

How does cheese prevent cavities?

Eating cheese helps stimulate the production of saliva in your child’s mouth, which washes away sugars, acids, and bacteria on their teeth. Additionally, cheese is a great source of both calcium and phosphorous, which can help strengthen tooth enamel. What’s more, the scientists who performed the study found that some of the other compounds found in cheese seem to adhere to tooth enamel, further protecting the teeth from acids in the mouth.

Are all cheeses the same?

No, our Kent, WA dental team agrees that some cheeses are healthier for your family than others. To get the greatest benefit from your child’s cheese intake, stick with real cheese varieties, rather than processed cheeses. American cheese, cheese dips, and pre-packaged cheese products, such as those found in jars or spray cans, have added sugars to enhance their flavor. These sugars can be harmful to teeth, rather than protecting them. In addition, these types of cheese products contain a significantly reduced amount of actual cheese content. These processed cheeses can even wear down tooth enamel, increasing risk of decay.

What kinds of cheese should I give my child?

There are hundreds of types of real cheese available, which are packed with calcium and great for tooth protection. If your child enjoys aged cheeses, Cheddar, Swiss, Monterey jack are all tasty options. If he or she prefers softer cheeses, Mozzarella, Brie, or Camembert may be a great way to make your child smile. Gorgonzola, Roquefort, and other similar cheeses have much to offer for a child with a more expansive palate.

What if we’re on a low-fat diet?

Good news! The fat content of your cheese choices do not affect its ability to protect your child’s teeth. The low-fat or non-fat versions of your child’s favorite varieties of cheese contain just as much calcium, phosphorous, and other tooth-protecting compounds as the full-fat varieties.

With so many great options to choose from, consider offering your child cheese instead of sugary or starchy options for a snack or end of meal treat. Cheese tastes great and is healthy for your child and their teeth. For more ideas for healthy snacking, contact our dental office in Kent, WA.

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031

Help! 5 Tips to Know When You Can’t Brush | Kent Cosmetic Dentist

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Occasionally you might find yourself in a situation where you won’t be able to brush your teeth, perhaps through a lack of time or your location. Though it is vital to brush twice each day, here are a few steps shared by our dentist in 98031 that you can take if you find yourself in a bind.

Drink Water

When you are in a spot where you won’t be able to brush your teeth for a while, water can be your friend. Drink water to help wash away sugars and acids that are in your mouth and on your teeth. Much of the public water supply is also fluorinated, meaning it contains fluoride. Fluoride helps to build strong teeth. Water also helps your mouth produce more saliva, which works to keep enamel strong. Our doctor suggests drinking water regularly, not just when you can’t brush your teeth.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Try chewing some gum to help keep your teeth clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) approves certain chewing gum brands with their seal on the package. ADA approved gums are sugar-free and do not contain other decay causing sweeteners. Like drinking water, chewing gum is good for saliva production, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel. 

Floss Your Teeth

Our Kent, WA dentist suggests always carrying dental floss; it’s usually small enough to fit almost anywhere. Flossing is not a replacement for brushing, just as brushing does not replace the need for flossing, however in a pinch it is essential that you remove any plaque and build up that you can. The ADA suggests flossing once a day. Flossing will help improve your gum health too.

Use a Disposable Toothbrush

If you know you might be out of the house for a while, perhaps because of a long day at work or an overnight stay, we recommend you consider a disposable toothbrush. Disposable brushes usually come with toothpaste already applied and are easy to store and carry. They are an excellent alternative that allow you to still thoroughly clean your teeth.

Avoid Sugary Foods

A helpful step you can take if you find yourself in a situation where brushing isn’t possible is to avoid eating or drinking sugary or acidic things. Acids and sugars are what contribute to decay, as they weaken your teeth’s enamel. If you cannot brush your teeth, then don’t eat foods that lead to decay. Avoid sugary soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks as these drinks will leave behind sugars and acids that sit on your teeth.

Keep a Routine

Your oral health depends on your ability to brush your teeth twice-daily. Sometimes however, you might find yourself in a situation where that’s not an option. We suggest following these steps to minimize the damage to your teeth. 

For more helpful tips on keeping your smile healthy, contact our dental office in Kent, WA.

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031

7 Ways to Combat Bad Breath | Best Dentist in Kent

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Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve.

Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. There are a variety of ways shared by our dentist in 98031 that you can use to help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:

Practice good oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush your tongue.

Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.

Keep well-hydrated.

Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.

Avoid bad breath triggers.

Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum.

By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath.

Improve your diet.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.

See your dentist.

Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal disease, or infection.

For more information about the potential causes and treatments for halitosis, contact our dental office in Kent, WA.

Panther Lake Dental of Kent
Phone: (253) 854-1222
10930 SE 208th St.
Kent, WA 98031