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Regular Exams and Cleanings
Regular exams are an important part of maintaining your oral health. During your exam, we will:
- Take necessary digital x-rays and examine them
- Look for cavities or any other signs of tooth decay
- Inspect your teeth and gums for gingivitis and signs of periodontal disease
- Routine oral cancer screening and examine surrounding soft tissues
- Recommend necessary treatment and options
- Answer any questions you may have
Typically after your exam we will then do a detailed teeth cleaning, in which we will clean, polish, and floss your teeth to remove any tartar and plaque that have built up on the tooth's surface. We also recommend fluoride at the end of your cleaning, and ask that you refrain from eating or drinking for 30 minutes after.
Visiting our office every six months gives you the chance to talk to the doctor about any questions you may have about your oral health. Regular exams are offered by appointment only, so please contact our practice today to schedule your next dental exam and teeth cleaning.
Bonding is a conservative way to repair chipped, discolored, or slightly crooked teeth. During dental bonding, a white filling is placed onto your tooth to improve its appearance. The filling “bonds” with your tooth, and because it comes in a variety of tooth-colored shades, it closely matches the appearance of your natural teeth.
Bonding is less expensive than other cosmetic treatments and can usually be completed in one visit to our office. However, bonding can stain and is easier to break than other cosmetic treatments, such as porcelain veneers. If it does break or chip, tell your doctor. The bonding can generally be repaired in one visit.
A bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, improve your smile, and help maintain proper tooth spacing and bite.
A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, zirconia or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support. They can be made to look just like your own natural teeth.
The success of any bridge depends on its foundation — the other teeth, gums, or bone to which it is attached. Therefore, it’s very important to keep your existing teeth, gums, and jaw healthy and strong.
There are several situations in which a crown is necessary for your tooth. Some of the most common reasons are a broken or cracked tooth, very large amount of decay, a large old filling, or a tooth that has received root canal therapy. In some situations, crowns can also be appropriate for cosmetic purposes to create a beautiful, natural smile.
Crown treatment requires two visits with our Issaquah dentist, Dr. Kari Woo, spaced a couple weeks apart. During your first appointment, Dr. Woo will prepare the tooth and take an impression to send to our lab. When your crown has been created, you’ll return to our office for the crown to be permanently placed.
At W Dentistry, we take great pride in the detail and quality of our crowns. The crown must fit perfectly and look natural, and you must be completely satisfied before we permanently seat your crown. Dr. Woo and our team use a very skilled dental lab and work closely with them to create the best crowns possible. We also stay up to date on cosmetics and restorations by taking classes from a variety of experts in the field to learn the best techniques and materials.
During your initial consultation at our Issaquah dental office, Dr. Woo will examine your X-rays and confirm her findings with a detailed clinical examination to determine if a crown is recommended. Any questions you have will be answered by Dr. Woo prior to beginning any treatment.
Dentures are natural-looking replacement teeth that are removable. There are two types of dentures: full and partial. Full dentures are given to patients when all of the natural teeth have been removed. Partial dentures are attached to a metal frame that is connected to your natural teeth and are used to fill in where permanent teeth have been removed. Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be properly cared for. Use a gentle cleanser to wipe your dentures, always keep them moist when they’re not in use, and be sure to keep your tongue and gums clean as well.
There are times when it is necessary to remove a tooth. Sometimes a baby tooth does not fall out as it should (ankylosed),
and the tooth must be removed to make way for the permanent tooth to erupt. At other times, a tooth may have so much decay that it puts the surrounding teeth at risk of decay, so your doctor may recommend removal and replacement with a bridge or implant. Infection, orthodontic correction, or problems with a wisdom tooth can also often require removal of a tooth.
The root of each tooth is encased within your jawbone in a “tooth socket,” and your tooth is held in that socket by ligaments and bone. In order to extract a tooth, your dentist must expand the socket and separate the tooth from the ligaments holding it in place. While this procedure is typically done with only local anesthesia (numbing the tooth along with surrounding gums and bone), it is important to share with your doctor any concerns or preferences for further sedation. We can offer oral conscious sedation or nitrous oxide if requested.
Once a tooth has been removed, neighboring teeth may shift, causing problems with chewing or with your jaw joint function. To avoid these complications, your dentist may recommend that you replace the extracted tooth.
Traditional dental restoratives, or fillings, may include gold, amalgam, or composite. Newer dental fillings include resin compounds that mimic the appearance and color of natural teeth. These compounds, often called composite resins, are typically used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important. Here at W Dentistry we use only tooth-colored composite resin for fillings on all teeth, whether front or back. There are two different kinds of fillings: direct and indirect. Direct fillings are fillings placed into a prepared cavity in a single visit. Indirect fillings generally require two or more visits. These indirect fillings include inlays, and veneers fabricated with ceramics or composites.
Fluoride is effective in preventing cavities and tooth decay by strengthening the tooth’s surface. A fluoride treatment in your dentist’s office takes less than a couple minutes. After the treatment, patients will be asked not to rinse, eat, or drink for at least 30 minutes in order to allow the teeth to absorb the fluoride. Depending on your oral health or your doctor’s recommendation, you may be required to have a fluoride treatment every three, six, or 12 months.
If you are missing teeth, it is often crucial to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can destabilize your bite and cause you discomfort. When teeth are missing, your mouth can shift and even cause your face to look older. Implants are a great way to replace your missing teeth, and if properly maintained, can last a lifetime!
An implant is a new tooth made of metal and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. It’s composed of three main parts: one part is the titanium implant body that takes the place of the missing root, the second is the abutment which connects the implant to the crown, and the third part is the tooth-colored crown that is cemented or screwed on top of the implant. With implant treatment, you can smile confidently knowing no one will ever suspect you have a replacement tooth!
In addition to tooth replacement, implants may be used to firmly anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so you have a strong and natural-looking smile.
Whether you wear braces or not, protecting your smile while playing sports is essential. Mouthguards help protect your teeth and gums from injury. If you participate in any kind of full-contact sport, the American Dental Association recommends that you wear a mouthguard. When you choose a mouthguard, be sure to pick one that is tear-resistant, comfortable and well-fitted for your mouth, easy to keep clean, and does not prevent you from breathing properly. We can custom make a mouthguard appropriate for your sport, and can even customize the colors as well as add your name or jersey number to it!
If you often wake up with jaw pain, earaches, or headaches, or if you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, you may have a common condition called “bruxism.” Many people do not even know that they grind their teeth, as it often occurs when one is sleeping. If not corrected, bruxism can lead to broken teeth, cracked teeth, or even tooth loss.
There is an easy, non-invasive treatment for bruxism: nightguards. Nightguards are an easy way to prevent the wear and damage that teeth-grinding causes over time. Custom-made by us with hard acrylic material to fit your teeth, a nightguard is inserted over your top or bottom arch and prevents contact with the opposing teeth. We can recommend which type of nightguard is best suited for you.
In the past, if you had a tooth with a diseased nerve, you'd probably lose that tooth. Today, with a special dental procedure called “root canal treatment,” your tooth can often be saved. When a tooth is cracked or has a deep cavity, bacteria can enter the pulp tissue and germs can cause an infection inside the tooth. If left untreated, an abscess and may form. If the infected tissue is not removed, pain and swelling can result. This can not only destroy your jawbones, but it is also detrimental to your overall health.
Root canal treatment involves one to three visits. During treatment, your general dentist or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems with the nerves of the teeth) removes the affected nerve tissues. Next, the interior of the tooth and roots will be cleaned and sealed. Finally, the tooth is filled with a dental composite. If your tooth has extensive decay, your doctor may suggest placing a crown to strengthen and protect the tooth from breaking, especially if it is a force-bearing tooth. In some cases, a root canal treatment cannot save a tooth and removal of the tooth is required, but there are many great options to replace missing teeth.
Sometimes brushing is not enough, especially when it comes to those hard-to-reach spots in your mouth. It is difficult for your toothbrush to get in-between the small cracks and grooves on your teeth. If left alone, those tiny areas can develop tooth decay. Sealants give your teeth extra protection against decay and help prevent cavities.
Dental sealants are plastic resins that bond and harden in the deep grooves on your tooth’s surface. When a tooth is sealed, the tiny grooves become smooth and are less likely to harbor plaque. With sealants, brushing your teeth becomes easier and more effective against tooth decay.
Sealants are typically applied to children’s teeth as a preventive measure against tooth decay after the permanent teeth have erupted. It is more common to seal “permanent” teeth rather than “baby” teeth, but every patient has unique needs, and your dentist will recommend sealants on a case-by-case basis.
Sealants last from three to five years, but it is fairly common to see adults with sealants still intact from their childhood. A dental sealant only provides protection when it is fully intact, so if your sealants come off, let your dentist know, and schedule an appointment for your teeth to be examined.
You no longer need to hide your smile because of gaps, chips, stains, or misshapen teeth. With veneers, you can easily correct your teeth’s imperfections to help you have a more confident, beautiful smile. Veneers are very natural in appearance, and they are a perfect option for patients wanting to make minor adjustments to the look and feel of their smile.
Veneers are thin, custom-made shells made from tooth-colored materials (such as porcelain), and they are designed to cover the front side of your teeth. To prepare for veneers, your doctor will create a unique model of your teeth. This model is sent to the dental technician to create your veneers. Before placing your new veneer, your doctor may need to conservatively prepare your tooth to achieve the desired aesthetic result.
When your veneers are placed, you’ll be pleased to see that they look like your natural teeth. While veneers are stain-resistant, your doctor may recommend that you try to avoid coffee, tea, red wine, and tobacco to maintain the beauty of your new smile.
Wisdom teeth are types of molars found in the very back of your mouth. They usually appear in the late teens or early twenties, but may become impacted (fail to erupt) due to lack of room in the jaw or angle of entry. When a wisdom tooth is impacted, it may need to be removed. If it is not removed, you may develop gum tenderness, infection, swelling, or even severe pain. Impacted wisdom teeth that are partially or fully erupted tend to be quite difficult to clean and are very susceptible to tooth decay, recurring infections, and even gum disease.
Wisdom teeth are typically removed in the late teens or early twenties because there is a greater chance that the teeth's roots have not fully formed and the bone surrounding the teeth is less dense. These two factors can make the extractions easier as well as shorten the recovery time.
In order to remove a wisdom tooth, your dentist first needs to numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic. We can also offer further sedation if you request, and your overall health allows. Since the impacted tooth may still be under the gums and imbedded in your jaw bone, your dentist will need to remove a portion of the covering gums and bone to extract the tooth. In order to minimize the amount of bone that is removed with the tooth, your dentist will often “section” your wisdom tooth so that each piece can be removed through a small opening in the bone. Once your wisdom teeth have been extracted, the healing process begins. Depending on the degree of difficulty related to the extraction, healing time varies. We will share with you what to expect and provide specific instructions for a more comfortable, efficient healing process.