Is teeth whitening safe?  In general as long as one has fairly healthy gums, teeth whitening is safe and usually very effective.  It’s also one of the easiest and most rewarding parts of cosmetic dentistry!

With in-office same day whitening (ie. ZOOM or BOOST) your dentist in Bellevue will typically use a very high concentration of hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth.  Though results can vary, people are usually happy with the results and can usually have their teeth whitened 2-3 shades lighter, sometimes even more! Over the counter whitening products typically do not whiten as well, but may be worth trying (Crest White Strips is a good over the counter product to try).  The most common side effect is sensitivity, but it usually goes away 1-2 days after the whitening procedure.

What is the difference between a silver filling and white filling?  A silver filling, also known as an amalgam restoration, is a combination of different metals/elements combined together.  It leaves the factory as a liquid, and once mixed at a high speed, it sets into a hardened state.  A white filling, or tooth colored filling, is composed of small particles of glass and resins.  When applied to the teeth, it feels soft; we then use a ultraviolet light to harden the material.

Why do you need to take x-rays?  Your dentist will discuss with you how often to take xrays. X-rays are taken to evaluate for presence of cavities, any bone disease, tooth infection, abnormal bone pathologies, etc.

There’s too much radiation in x-rays, I don’t want them.  With the advent of digital xrays, there is now up to 90% less radiation than that compared to tradional film xrays.  One will actually get more radiation by walking out in the sun, or from flying in an airplane.  Rest assured the xrays taken at the dental office is at very low and safe level.

The cavity doesn’t hurt, I don’t want to get it fixed.  Sometimes if a cavity is small, with proper hygiene and flouride, it may heal and never need treatment. Other times if a cavity is large enough though, there is risk of it getting bigger, and possibly causing pain and, in worst case scenario, future need for a root canal and crown.  Getting the cavity removed and filled ensures better long term predicability.  Your dentist can discuss with you the appropriate and recommended treatment.

Why do I need to get a cleaning and checkup every 6 months? Oral health studies have shown that cavities may take 4-6 months to develop.  If we catch them early, they are often easier to treat and with greater predicability. Cumulative studies in dental medicine have also shown that most levels of plaque and tartar buildup takes 3-6 months to accumulate.  Routine checkups and cleaning is generally the best way to be proactive, preventive, and to save on costs as well.

Why do I need a crown?  If a tooth is fractured or cracked, or if there is a large enough filling that is going bad, sometimes a tooth a crown or “cap” is needed to allow proper chewing and to prevent further fractures.  Due to chewing forces, crowns or “caps” tend to be more frequently needed on posterior teeth (back molars and premolars).

What type of training is required to be a dentist?  In the United States, a general dentist attends a university in an undergraduate program to acqurie a bachelors degree, usually 4 years.  Then an additional 4 years at an accreditted dental school is done, resulting in a Doctorate in Dental Surgery (DDS) or Doctorate in Dental Medicine (DMD).  Many then choose to attend a 1-2 year residency (GPR) to further enhance their training.  Specialists (ie. oral surgeons, endodontists) usually go for an additional 2-7 years after dental school.  Rest assured, your local dentist is trained and well versed to treat your oral health needs.

All of the information here should not be construed as medical or dental advice.   It is meant to be used as reference and general information only.  Please consult your physician and dentist for specific treatment guidelines pertaining to your oral and overall health.
Below are some informative sites in select dental categories:

  • American Dental Association– A resource for the consumer and the public, also providing info on various dental articles, oral health topics, and also various topics on dental science and research.
  • Academy of General Dentistry– A good site providing information for the dental patient.
  • Oral Health – From the Center of Disease Control, it has a comprehensive scientific and knowledgeable base of oral health index of myriad dental topiocs.
  • Orthodontics (Braces) Find out more about oral and maxillofacial orthodontics (ie. brackets, bands, orthodontic wires, etc).
  • Invisalign  An originator of the “clear invisible braces,” find out more about on how Invisalign uses its aligners of near-invisible plastic to straigthen your teeth.
  • Gum Disease (Periodontics)  A good site with general consumer based info on gingival, gum, and periodontal disease, its causes and its treatments.
  • Root Canals (Endodontics)  The official site for Endondists in the US, its has information on nerve pathology and root canals.
  • Kids Dentistry (Pediatrics)  Directly from the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), it generally regarded as an authority on children’s oral health.
  • Oral Surgery (Jaw surgery, wisdom teeth removal)  From the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, it has consumer based information on wisdom teeth management, dental implants, anesthesia, cleft and palate surgery,, and oral/head & neck cancer.
  • Crowns, Implants, Missing Teeth, Dentures – From the American College of Prosthodontics, find out more about veneers, porcelain crowns, dentures, and teeth whitening.
  • Flossing.com – A great resource on cosmetic and laser dentistry, along with info on various topics pertaining to dental wellness.

Some other relative sites with reputable products in oral health to promote optimal at-home dental care.

  • Crest – An excellent resource for more oral health information on toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss.
  • Colgate – Another good resource for oral and dental health, along with an overview of its toothpaste and toothbrushes.
  • Sensodyne Toothpaste – Learn more about this unique anti-sensitivity toothpaste, suitable for mild cold and localized sensitivity.
  • ACT Fluoride Rinse – Learn more about one of the most popular cavity prevention fluoride rinses, great for kids and adults alike.
  • Philips Sonicare – A forefront manufacturer in electric toothbrushes.  See how the Sonicare Toothbrush was made and how it cleans your teeth and gums.

Below are some sites with excellent info on oral health:,

Be sure to contact us at (425) 614-1600 if you have any questions for your Bellevue dentist.

Referrals

If you are looking for a great pediatric dentist in San Diego CA I highly recommend Dr. Allen Job at All Smiles Pediatric Dentistry.

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