• The Most Common Treatments General Dentists Perform

    Horizontal color close-up headshot of beautiful woman having dental examination.

    Dentists, orthodontists, periodontists and oral surgeons provide different types of oral care. You should visit a general dentist for routine dental exams and teeth cleanings every six to 12 months. Aside from preventative care, here are some other common treatments you can receive from your general dentist.

    • Fillings: When plaque and tartar build up on your teeth, holes called cavities begin to form. Dental fillings replace the damaged areas with durable material to help save your teeth.
    • Root canals: The pulp of a tooth is protected by dense surrounding tissue called dentin and the tooth’s hard outer coating called enamel. However, an injured, cracked or decayed tooth can cause infection in the pulp, which is very painful. A toothache may indicate the need for a root canal, a procedure your general dentist can perform to relieve pain and restore your tooth.
    • Crowns: A badly damaged tooth may require more than just a filling or root canal. If the dentist decides capping the tooth is the best choice, your existing tooth will be filed down to make room for the crown. Then, the tooth-shaped cap will be cemented into place to restore the size, strength and appearance of a healthy
    • Tooth extractions: Severely damaged teeth may need to be taken out. Tooth extractions are also performed on healthy baby teeth and third molars (also known as wisdom teeth) to prevent overcrowding.
    • Implants: If lost or extracted teeth leave gaps in a patient’s smile, dental implants can restore the look and function of the missing teeth. The process involves implanting a titanium post into the jawbone, which simulates the root. Then, a crown sits on top, taking on the role of the tooth.
    • Dentures: When several teeth are missing, full dentures or partial dentures could be the answer. These are removable dental apparatuses that provide a lower-cost alternative to implants. Full dentures replace all the teeth in the upper or lower jaw, while partial dentures feature clasps or precision attachments that fasten to your remaining teeth.
    • Teeth whitening: Tooth enamel darkens over time with exposure to staining foods, drinks and Teeth whitening is a cosmetic dental procedure that lightens your teeth by several shades. At-home kits are available, but in-office whitening performed by a general dentist is the most effective option.
    • Bonding and veneers: These restorative procedures repair chipped, fractured, stained or discolored teeth. Bonding and veneers can also be used to close gaps between the teeth. They involve covering the natural teeth with permanent, enamel-colored composite resin or thin pieces of ceramic.

    These are just some of the services the general dentist at Zen Dental Center offers to patients of all ages. In fact, we also provide periodontal care and emergency dentistry to fulfill all your oral care needs. To find out more about our dental office in Seattle, please contact us at 206-324-1100 today.

  • Dental Issues Associated with Diabetes

    The American Diabetes Association explains that the relationship between diabetes and gum disease goes both ways. Not only are you more susceptible to gum disease if you have diabetes, but, like all infections, gum disease may cause your blood glucose levels to rise and contribute to the progression of diabetes.

    Fortunately, by learning which dental issues are associated with diabetes, you can take steps to keep your teeth and gums as healthy as possible despite your diagnosis.

    How Diabetes Affects Your Oral Health

    If you have sore or bleeding gums, get infections often, or have lingering bad breath, these are signs your diabetes is affecting your oral health. Some dental issues facing diabetes patients include:

    • Gum disease: Poorly controlled blood sugar puts you at risk of developing severe gum disease called periodontitis. At this advanced stage, your gums start to pull away from your teeth, leaving pockets where germs and pus accumulate. You may need gum surgery to save your teeth. If you do nothing, the infection will attack the bone, and your teeth may loosen or fall out.
    • Dry mouth: High blood sugar causes dry mouth in some patients, which worsens existing gum disease, promotes plaque buildup and leads to cavities. Untreated dry mouth can also cause soreness, ulcers and soft tissue infections.
    • Thrush: This is a yeast infection that can develop in the moist areas of the body, including the mouth. People with diabetes are more likely to develop thrush because high sugar levels lead to ideal growing conditions for yeast.

    Tips for Diabetes Patients to Decrease Dental Issues

    The trick to a healthy mouth for people with diabetes is two-fold – control your blood glucose levels and take good care of your teeth and gums. Here’s what you should do:

    • Follow suggestions from your general practitioner to keep your blood sugar under control. This step alone can relieve many of the dental issues associated with diabetes.
    • Brush your teeth morning and night.
    • Floss and rinse with antiseptic mouthwash once a day.
    • If you wear dentures, remove and clean them daily.
    • Visit the dentist for a cleaning and check-up every six months. Tell your dentist and hygienist that you have diabetes and alert them to any changes in your condition or the medications you’re taking.
    • If you smoke, quit.

    At Zen Dental Center, we care about your oral health! If you have any questions or concerns about the dental issues your diabetes might be causing, please contact Zen Dental Center at 206-324-1100 and schedule a check-up with our Seattle dentist right away.