• What to do if You Need Emergency Dental Care While Traveling

    When you plan a vacation, you expect to have a fun time with family and friends visiting new places and making memories to last a lifetime. You don’t expect to deal with a dental emergency. If you crack a tooth or lose a filling while traveling, you may need emergency dental care .

    How to Prevent Dental Emergencies Away from Home

    It’s best if you can prevent an emergency in the first place. Here’s how:

    • Take care of dental problems before your trip: If you’ve been putting off a procedure, or it’s nearly time for your six-month exam and cleaning, see your dentist before you leave town.
    • Make wise choices on your trip: Don’t chew on ice, use your teeth as tools or do anything else that could cause dental problems.

    How to Handle a Dental Emergency Away from Home

    Even with the proper precautions, you might still need emergency dental care while traveling. To mitigate potential damage to your smile, follow these tips:

    • Get coverage: Obtain travel insurance and make sure dental treatment is included.
    • Pack emergency supplies: Bring clove oil as a natural tooth pain remedy and dental wax to relieve discomfort from broken braces. Also, have your dentist’s contact information handy in case you need advice.
    • Call around: Before an urgent situation strikes, make sure you find a dentist in the city you’re traveling to who can provide you with emergency dental care.

    Handle Dental Emergencies Wisely Until You Can Receive Treatment

    Various dental emergencies can strike when you least expect them. Here’s how to ease some of the most common tooth problems until you can receive emergency dental care.

    • Toothaches: Rinse with warm water and floss gently around the achy tooth to remove debris. If the pain doesn’t subside, see an emergency dentist.
    • Broken/cracked tooth: Rinse with warm water and apply a cold compress to your cheek. Contact a dentist for more help.
    • Knocked out tooth: Place gauze over the empty socket and bite down gently. Rinse the tooth with warm water or milk and place it back in the socket. If that’s not possible, place it in a container of milk, salt water, or saline solution. Seek emergency dental care immediately to save the tooth.
    • Lost dental filling: Stick a small piece of sugarless gum in the hole left by the filling and visit a dentist to have the filling replaced.
    • Tooth abscess: Rinse with salt water to relieve pain and schedule an emergency dentist appointment as soon as possible.

    Zen Dental Center is an emergency dentist in Seattle. Our team is happy to provide emergency dental care for our regular patients as well as those visiting the area. Whether you knocked out a tooth or are experiencing excruciating pain from a mysterious toothache, please call us at 206-324-1100 to set a same-day appointment with our emergency dentist.

  • Finding Delta Dental Dentists in Seattle

    You’re new to Delta Dental, and now you need to find an in-network dentist in the Seattle area. This is an important decision that could shape your family’s oral health for many years to come, so you must make your selection carefully. Here’s how to find a Delta Dental dentist:

    Define Your Basic Requirements

    Before you get serious about reviewing Delta Dental dentists in Seattle, decide what basic criteria are most important to you. For example:

    • Do you need the office to be in a particular location? It’s easiest to make dentist appointments a priority if the office is close to home, work or your child’s school.
    • What specialties do you need your dentist to provide? A family dentist offers treatments for patients of all ages, an important consideration for people with children.
    • Are you picky about office hours? You need a dentist who can accommodate your schedule.
    • Do you require a specific spoken language? Zen Dental Center has staff members who can speak English, Spanish and Japanese.
    • Do you need a handicap-accessible office? This is a critical consideration for anyone in a wheelchair or with other accessibility restrictions.

    Use the “Find a Dentist” Tool on the Delta Dental Website

    Once you know what you’re looking for in a Delta Dental dentist, you can begin your search. The Delta Dental website offers a handy “Find a Dentist” tool , which allows you to search for providers by name, specialty or location. This helps you narrow down the dentists who accept Delta Dental in your area.

    Interview Delta Dental Dentists in Seattle

    After you find a few candidates, it’s time to dig a little deeper. Visit each dentist’s website to find out if they meet your basic criteria. If they do, give them a call to ask more specific questions, such as:

    • What is your educational background and credentials?
    • How many years have you been in the business?
    • What special in-office technology do you offer?
    • How do you handle dental emergencies outside regular business hours?

    Visit Dentist Offices for a Tour

    If you like the answers you receive from a few potential dentists, the final step is to visit the office in person. While you’re there, assess the courtesy of staff members and pay attention to the way they treat you. A courteous, knowledgeable team reveals how your future visits will go. If possible, speak with the lead dentist as well. He or she should make you feel invited and comfortable.

    Request a tour of the office before you leave. As a staff member guides you around, evaluate the cleanliness of the exam rooms and the overall condition of the building. You should feel confident about your choice after following these steps.

    At Zen Dental Center, we accept many types of dental insurance , including Delta Dental. Call us at 206-324-1100 for additional information or to schedule an appointment.

  • Compare Your Teeth Whitening Options

    Everyone wants a brighter smile, but how do you choose between all the teeth whitening options out there? Consider your choices, listed here in order from least to most effective.

    Whitening Toothpaste

    Toothpaste contains mild abrasives that act like tiny scrubbers to remove surface stains. Whitening toothpaste features an additive such as hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, so it not only removes surface stains but also lightens the color of your teeth a few layers deep. Still, even the most effective whitening toothpaste only lightens your teeth by one shade.

    Over-the-Counter Whitening Rinses

    The purpose of all mouthwash products is to freshen your breath and fight gum disease by killing bacteria. Whitening rinses provide the added bonus of lightening your teeth. Hydrogen peroxide is a common ingredient to accomplish this. However, most manufacturers say it takes 12 weeks of daily use to see the teeth whiten just one shade, which comes as no surprise because the whitening agent is only in contact with your teeth for 60 seconds at a time.

    Over-the-Counter Whitening Strips

    Drugstore shelves are lined with over-the-counter teeth whitening solutions, including thin, flexible strips coated in peroxide-based gel. Consumers apply these strips to their teeth for 30 minutes per day or as directed on the package. After a few days, the teeth should whiten by two to three shades with results lasting for about four months.

    Over-the-Counter Whitening Trays

    This option is similar to strips, but users wear a mouthguard-style appliance filled with a peroxide bleaching agent while they sleep. Depending on the level of tooth stains and desired whitening effect, daily use may be required for up to four weeks or even longer.

    Prescription-Grade Whitening Trays

    Stronger whitening products are also available from your dentist. Zen Dental Center offers Philips Zoom NiteWhite take-home treatment consisting of 22 percent carbamide peroxide for quick, safe results.

    In-Office Teeth Whitening

    Zen Dental Center also offers Philips Zoom in-office teeth whitening , the number one patient-requested professional whitening brand available today. This solution uses advanced LED light-activated technology to whiten your teeth up to eight shades in a single 45-minute procedure!

    To enjoy the best results, choose Philips Zoom in-office teeth whitening at Zen Dental Center in Seattle. Then, maximize the effects by using Philips Zoom NiteWhite take-home whitening after your in-office treatment. These treatments can whiten your smile by a combined average of 11 shades!

    To learn more, or to schedule a teeth whitening appointment, please contact us today at 206-324-1100.

  • Benefits of Seeing a Family Dentist

    Are you tired of taking various family members to different dentist offices around Seattle? If so, it’s time to find a family dentist who can care for everyone in your family, from the youngest child to the oldest adult. Here are some of the benefits of seeing a family dentist.


    While you know regular dentist appointments are critical to your family’s oral health, it can be difficult to fit in visits around your kids’ soccer practices, dance classes and other extracurricular activities, not to mention your own busy work schedule.

    With a family dentist, there’s no need to set up appointments with different providers on different days – everyone can come in together and receive dental care at the same time. This convenience simplifies your family’s life.

    Extensive Service Offerings

    Most family dentists offer the basics – including teeth cleanings , dental exams, and x-rays – as well as more advanced procedures, such as dental implants , periodontal care , and root canals . The chance to take advantage of a wide range of services in one office eliminates the need to travel between providers to receive the oral care you need.

    Personal Relationship

    Choosing a family dentist gives your children the unique opportunity to see the same dentist for many years, even as they grow into adults. This facilitates a personal relationship between your family and your dentist, which helps your children feel comfortable with receiving teeth cleanings and exams instead of dreading their time in the dentist chair.

    Tracking Dental History

    For some children, jumping from a pediatric dentist to a general dentist when they turn 18 is problematic. Most people find it beneficial to stick with the same dentist into adulthood.

    Not only does this keep your child’s dental history in one place, but seeing the same family dentist as your children makes it easy to identify hereditary tooth and gum problems. This allows your dentist to provide the best possible care for your children by keeping an extra close eye on potentially problematic areas.

    Setting a Good Example

    When it comes to encouraging good behavior in your children, it’s best to lead by example. Visiting a family dentist together allows your children to see the priority you put on your own oral health.

    It’s also less frightening for young kids to watch their parents receive an oral check-up first. Then, when it’s their turn in the chair, they know Mom and Dad have just received the same treatment. This encourages good lifelong habits in your children by alleviating any fear of the dentist at a young age.

    Clearly, finding the right dentist can make all the difference in your family’s oral health. To work with a dedicated, patient-focused family dentist in Seattle, please contact Zen Dental Center at 206-324-1100.

  • Are X-Rays From Your Local Dentist Safe?

    When most people think of reasons to get an X-ray, they picture broken bones and a trip to the emergency room. But X-rays from your local dentist are far more common. Why do dentists X-ray your teeth, and is this procedure safe?

    Reasons to Have Dental X-Rays

    The purpose of a dental X-ray is to examine parts of the mouth that aren’t visible to the naked eye. People of all ages can safely receive X-rays from their local dentist. Here are the top reasons X-rays are recommended for dental patients:

    • Observe how permanent teeth are developing in a child’s mouth before they erupt through the gum line.
    • Determine if the patient has room for wisdom teeth to come through. If not, an extraction may be recommended.
    • Figure out if the patient has any extra or missing teeth that could affect their dental care.
    • Identify the presence of cavities, infections, cysts, tumors or abscesses that aren’t visible from the surface.
    • Prepare the patient for braces.

    Why Dental X-Rays are Considered Safe

    Radiation exposure is the biggest concern people have about receiving X-rays. However, the American Dental Association points out that the dose of radiation from a dental X-ray is only 2.5 percent of the total radiation patients are exposed to from receiving regular medical X-rays. The levels are so low that radiation exposure from natural sources such as soil and radon are far higher.

    How to Make Dental X-Rays as Safe as Possible

    While there is little concern that the minuscule amount of radiation from a dental X-ray could cause a patient any harm, your local dentist should still take the following precautions to minimize your exposure as much as possible:

    • Require patients to wear a leaded apron to protect the chest, abdomen, and pelvic area from radiation. Offer leaded collars for patients with thyroid conditions.
    • Train staff members to use X-ray machines safely.
    • Use the latest digital X-ray equipment, which minimizes radiation exposure compared to older technology that develops images on film.
    • Allow pregnant patients to opt out of receiving dental X-rays.

    At Zen Dental Center, we use advanced digital dental X-rays to help us see what’s going on under the surface. We highly recommend this quick, painless procedure as part of your routine dental care, but you can always opt out if you wish. To schedule your next dental exam and X-ray with a reliable local dentist, please call our Seattle office at 206-324-1100 today.

  • Six Benefits of Routine Teeth Cleaning

    Good dental health is important no matter your age. That’s why we recommend visiting the dentist for a checkup and teeth cleaning twice a year or as often as recommended by your dentist. Here are six ways regular teeth cleaning visits benefit you:

    Prevent Tooth Decay and Cavities

    The number one reason people visit the dentist is to prevent cavities. These holes form when plaque begins eating away at the outer layer of your teeth called the enamel. Plaque is a sticky white deposit of bacteria that clings to your teeth. Brushing and flossing daily helps to prevent plaque buildup, but a professional cleaning every six months is even more effective.

    Avoid Gum Disease

    Plaque doesn’t just decay your teeth – it also damages your gums when it builds up below the gum line. If allowed to advance, gum disease can lead to tooth loss. Fortunately, regular teeth cleanings reduce plaque buildup and greatly reduce the chance of this happening to you.

    Remove Stains

    Common habits – such as drinking coffee, tea and wine and using tobacco products – leave stains on your teeth. Brushing removes some of this, but thorough teeth cleaning and polishing from your dentist is necessary to truly brighten your smile.

    Freshen Your Breath

    Good oral hygiene habits are the best way to prevent halitosis or chronic bad breath. Brushing and flossing is a good start, but if you have an underlying dental problem such as tartar buildup – a hard, crusty deposit that stains your teeth and traps bacteria – you may struggle with bad breath despite taking good care of your mouth. Scaling, which is a technique dentists use to remove tartar buildup from along the gum line, is necessary to freshen your breath and restore your confidence.

    Improve Your Overall Health

    Your mouth affects the rest of your body more than you probably realize. It sounds odd, but regular teeth cleaning visits can help lower your risk of heart attack and stroke . This is because the chronic inflammation associated with gum disease can lead to hardened arteries, which can, in turn, cause a heart attack or stroke. Many other seemingly unrelated medical conditions, from kidney disease to diabetes, can be detected in their early stages simply by visiting the dentist.

    Save Money on Restorative Dentistry

    One of the biggest reasons people skip routine teeth cleanings is to save money. However, the cost to clean and polish your teeth is far less than the restorative dentistry required to fill a cavity or treat periodontal disease. As it turns out, a bit of preventive care helps you avoid unpleasant and potentially costly problems in the future.

    If it’s time for your next teeth cleaning appointment, or you have other dental needs, please contact Zen Dental Center at 206-324-1100.

  • 5 Signs a Toothache Is More than a Toothache

    An oral health guide from our Capitol Hill, WA, dental professionals

    Toothaches are no fun for anyone. Not only can the pain be difficult to endure, but it can also signify more serious dental issues. Having a hard time pinpointing your type of pain? Concerned you might be suffering from something more serious? This comprehensive guide from our team at Zen Dental will help you understand your tooth pain symptoms and determine if your toothache signifies a more serious underlying dental complication. Read on to learn about the 5 most important signs a toothache is more than a toothache, and give us a call at (206) 324-1100 to schedule an appointment with our dental professionals today!

    Sharp tooth sensitivity

    This type of tooth pain is only felt when your teeth are exposed to temperature changes, such as eating cold foods or drinking a warm beverage. In the more severe instances, exposure to cold air can even cause symptoms to flare up. The sensation feels like a stabbing pain and can typically mean a cavity or an abscess, but can also be a result of gum recession or brushing your teeth too harshly.

    Sporadic jabbing pains

    If you notice your toothache is less of an ache and feels more like random stabbing pains within one or several teeth, this is usually a telltale sign your pain is due to more than a minor toothache. This pain is usually felt in response to a stimulus or action, such as opening your mouth, eating cold foods, and other activities. The sensation comes and goes, but when it occurs, it is very painful. Almost always an indication of something more than a simple toothache, this type of pain is typically caused by a cavity, crack, or abscess of the teeth.

    Pain when eating

    In cases where you feel pain in your teeth only when you are eating, you most likely are suffering from either a dental fracture or tooth decay. This pain can be subdued by over-the-counter medication, but you do not want to wait too long to see a dental professional, as a damaged tooth will only get worse over time without the help of a professional. Schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible to determine the cause of the pain and treat your tooth.

    Dull tooth pain

    Dull pain can be described as a radiating or throbbing sensation in your tooth and the surrounding area, and can range from mild to extreme in severity. Dull toothaches are typically caused by cavities or, in more serious cases, gum disease. This type of pain can make everyday functions like chewing a lot more difficult.

    Pain felt at the back of the jaw

    Feeling pain at the back of your mouth is not as typical as other kinds of toothaches, because it likely indicates you have an impacted wisdom tooth, which is a very common situation. An impacted wisdom tooth means your tooth has been blocked in trying to push through your gums and into your mouth. When your tooth becomes impacted, the gum on top of it can become infected and lead to serious health issues if left untreated. If you are experiencing this type of pain, it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist right away.

    Suffering from a toothache? Call our dental team today!

  • Signs You Should Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

    An oral health blog post from our Capitol Hill, WA, dental team

    Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that, for most people, develop in their late teens or early twenties. For some, wisdom teeth aren’t a problem: They develop normally and are accommodated by ample room in the mouth. For most, however, wisdom teeth development can lead to a number of unwanted symptoms and oral health concerns. This occurs due to a common phenomenon called wisdom tooth impaction, whereby wisdom teeth become “impacted” and do not erupt properly. This can lead to symptoms of pain and can cause a number of structural concerns for surrounding teeth. Impacted wisdom teeth can occur in several different ways — each of which necessitate wisdom teeth removal . In this guide, our dental professionals here at Zen Dental Center outline the signs and symptoms that suggest it may be time to your have wisdom teeth removed. Read on to learn more, and contact our Capitol Hill, WA, dental team at (206) 324-1100 today!

    Do you need your wisdom teeth removed? Look for these signs

    Wondering whether you need your wisdom teeth removed? The best way to find out is to schedule an appointment for X-ray imaging with your dentist. Unfortunately, even impacted wisdom teeth do not manifest signs and symptoms until very late in their development, which is why scheduling X-rays with your dental care provider can help you identify the problem and set up a date for removal before things get worse. In the event you are experiencing symptoms and believe they may be due to impacted wisdom teeth, here’s what to look out for:

    • Jaw pain and stiffness: These symptoms can indicate improper eruption early on and should be followed up with X-ray imaging to determine whether impacted wisdom teeth are the culprits.
    • Pain at the tooth site: If you’re experiencing pain around the area of your wisdom teeth (even if you can’t see wisdom teeth themselves), this is likely an indication that your wisdom teeth are impacted.
    • Swelling in the gum tissue: Feeling like you’re teething again? Noticing swelling around your gums? Your wisdom teeth may be trying to erupt. Schedule an appointment with your dentist to determine whether removal is the right course of action.
    • Evidence of gum disease at the back of the mouth: In some cases, impacted wisdom teeth can lead to gum infection. If you or your dentist notices evidence of gum disease in the back of your mouth, it may be time to schedule imaging to find out in impacted wisdom teeth are to blame.

    To schedule imaging and/or removal surgery, call (206) 324-1100 today!

  • Why You Should Visit Your Hygienist Twice a Year

    A guide from our Capitol Hill, WA, family dentistry professionals

    We all know dental care is good for us, but a lot of us find it hard to make time to schedule appointments. Although a busy schedule makes it more difficult to get into the dental office, having regular dental check-ups is extremely important not only for your health, but for disease prevention. According to the National Dental Association, it is necessary to visit your dentist at least twice a year. Through this informative article, our team at Zen Dental will walk you through the importance of biannual dental appointments and why they are necessary for maintain excellent overall oral health. If you want to learn more or would like to schedule an appointment, give us a call at (206) 324-1100 today!

    Preventive treatment

    Biannual dental appointments are ideal for preventing any unnecessary dental complications and keeping your dental health in check. During your appointment, your hygienist will conduct normal teeth cleaning and check everything from your teeth and gums to your jaw to identify any warning signs or health concerns. Your hygienist will take care of plague and tartar buildup to prevent gum disease and cavities from developing in your mouth. If it has been a while since your last appointment or if you are a new patient, X-rays may be required to ensure there are no issues with your teeth and jaw.

    Serious dental complications

    Visiting your dentist once every six months is crucial to your overall health — especially if you are at particular risk for serious dental health complications. Oral hygiene is not only important for your teeth and gums, but also has a significant impact on the rest of your body. Not only do regular dental checkups ensure your teeth stay plaque- and cavity-free, they also are critical to preventing and catching more serious dental issues, like gum disease or oral cancer. Studies show three out of four adults are affected by gum disease at some point throughout their life. With the chance of disease and other serious dental issues being so high, regular dentist visits are crucial to keeping your oral health up to date, and giving you the care you need should serious complications arise.

    Creating healthy dental habits

    In addition to keeping your mouth healthy and clean, regular dental appointments help you establish effective home hygiene routines to maintain your dental health. From regular flossing and mouthwash usage to recommended toothbrush changes and suggested brushing time, your dentist is there to help you develop effective and preventive personal dental care for your at-home routine.

    To schedule your biannual dental appointment, call (206) 324-1100 today!

  • What Constitutes a Dental Emergency?

    An overview from our Capitol Hill, WA emergency dentistry team

    Emergencies come in all shapes and sizes. For those that affect the teeth and mouth, it is important to seek dental care as quickly as possible. On this page, our emergency dentistry team here at Zen Dental Center provides a guide to what, exactly, constitutes a dental emergency, and why you should contact your dentist if one happens to you or your family. Read on to learn more, and contact our experienced emergency dentistry professionals by calling our Capitol Hill, WA, office at (206) 324-1100 today!

    What is a dental emergency?

    In general terms, a dental emergency is defined as any dental problem that requires immediate treatment to save a tooth, stop ongoing tissue bleeding, or alleviate severe pain. In rare cases, dental emergencies can be life-threatening; in many others, they can simply lead to unwanted health complications if not treated immediately. Below are several examples of dental emergencies.

    Knocked-out teeth

    Knocked-out teeth are prime examples of dental emergencies, because they require the immediate care of a trained dental professional. Why? If done quickly enough, a trip to the dentist after your tooth has been knocked out can ensure your tooth is properly preserved and reinserted into your mouth. Always remember to save your tooth and try to reinsert it if it’s been knocked out. Then, get yourself to a dentist as quickly as possible.

    Loose or misaligned teeth

    Just as dental professionals can reattach knocked-out teeth, they can also fix loose or misaligned teeth and return them to their original, permanent positions. If you have a tooth that has been loosened or knocked out of alignment, it is important to see an emergency dentist as quickly as possible. Failure to do so may cause your tooth to decay and die.

    Fractured, chipped, or cracked teeth

    If you have chipped your tooth and are experiencing no signs of pain, you may be able to wait several days before seeing a dentist. However, if you tooth has been structurally damaged, leading to noticeable symptoms of pain, it is important to seek emergency dental care as quickly as possible. These situations indicate your tooth is in immediate structural jeopardy and qualify as dental emergencies. By seeking the care of a trained dental professional, you can both alleviate symptoms of pain and save your tooth from decay and possible removal.

    Facial pain and tissue injury

    If you are experiencing facial pain or have sustained a significant injury to tissue in your mouth, it is important to seek the care of an emergency dentistry team as quickly as possible. Emergency dentists are trained to quickly diagnose the source of facial pain and treat wounds for infection.

    Dental emergency? Call (206) 324-1100 for same-day care!