M 7am-4pm|Tu 10am-7pm|F 7am-4pm|Sa 9am-2pm   18323 98th Ave NE #2, Bothell, WA 98011
   425​-​354​-​3138

All Posts in Category: Lifestyle

Everything You Need to Know About Dental Sealants

Today we’re focusing on one the most important ways you can prevent cavities in your children’s teeth. Despite modern technology and the number of dental care products on the market, cavities are the most common chronic disease for children ages 6-19 according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

The good news is that cavities are almost completely preventable with the proper care.  While the first step is instilling healthy brushing and flossing habits early on, parents can also give their children an advantage by talking to your dentist about sealants. Let’s walk through everything you need to know about sealants and provide answer to some of the most common questions we receive.

What is a Sealant?

While flossing and brushing can help control plaque, our molar teeth have deep grooves that help us grind our food.  While this is great for enjoying our favorite foods, debris can get stuck in these areas making teeth vulnerable to decay and cavities.   Dental sealants are a coating that is applied to the surface or occlusal of the teeth to provide a barrier to protect teeth from food and future decay.

Do Sealants Really Make a Difference?

Yes, they do! According to recent research published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, sealants on permanent molars are shown to reduce the risk of cavities by 80%. Since kids don’t always brush as thoroughly as we would like them to, sealants are a great first line of defense to protect your children from cavities.

How are Sealants Applied?

Since most sealants are applied to children, the process is designed to be quick and painless.  To achieve the greatest benefit from sealants, they should be applied shortly after permanent teeth arrive. For most children, this occurs around age 6.  The dentist or hygienist begins by polishing each tooth to prepare it for the sealant application. Once it is free of any plaque or debris, they apply a liquid material that fills into the valleys of the tooth.  After a few minutes, the material has set and after final inspection, your child will be able to eat immediately after their appointment.

Glass Ionomer Sealants and their Benefits

There has been recent concern regarding the potential health impacts of Bis-Phenol A (BPA) found in resin sealants.  Research has shown that only trace amounts of BPA are found in resin sealants – including less than in the air we breathe.   The ADA’s infographic below illustrates exactly low the risk is.

Our practice uses glass ionomer sealants that do not contain Bis-Phenol A (BPA) or Bis-GMA.  The sealants are part of the GC America’s family of products that met strict ISO quality standards.  Additionally, GC America’s products have the CE mark in Europe, are registered with Health Canada, and have received FDA Pre-Market Notification clearance for sale in the United States under section 510(k) of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

Glass ionomer sealants have several advantages including:

  • The ability to be placed on a partially erupted tooth for earlier protection than a resin sealant
  • Moisture-tolerant which allows for easy placement
  • High release of fluoride – which provides additional protection against decay
  • Quick setting – the glass ionomer sealants only take a few minutes to set making for a shorter appointment to get you and your child on your way

We hope this information answers any questions you had about sealants. If you have additional questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at (425) 354-3138 and we’d be happy to chat more about them!

Dr. Amanda McCauley, DDS

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First Day of Winter

While it’s felt like winter around here lately, today is the first official day of the winter season! The change of seasons is a great time to swap out your old toothbrush for a new one as they tend to wear out after a few months of use. If you’re still shopping for stocking stuffers, it’s a great opportunity to pick up some toothbrushes and add them to their stocking!

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Keep Your Family Happy and Healthy this Summer

Summertime is finally here! For many families that means school is out and kids are home on summer break.  While most parents prepare for summer activities with sunscreen, bug spray, and first aid kits, it’s important to consider your child’s dental health as well.  Below are some tips for keeping your kids’ smiles healthy this summer.

Keep up Good Oral Hygiene Amidst Schedule Changes 

With schedules changing from school days to time at the beach, pool, summer camp, and vacation, it can be easy to fall out of our usual dental care routines.  Encourage your children to keep up their healthy habits despite the shift in schedules.  It’s ok if that’s at 7:00 am before swim practice or at 9:30 pm after enjoying s’mores as long as they are brushing twice and flossing at least once per day!

You can also put our office goodie bags to good use by pulling together the travel size dental essentials (toothpaste, floss, toothbrush, mouthwash) and creating a portable travel bag for your children that can easily be transferred from their swim bag to overnight bag as needed.

On a long road trip without a brushing opportunity on the horizon?  Be sure to drink water instead of sugary drinks and sodas and try to rinse after eating to help remove any starches or acids from your teeth.

The Beginning of Summer is the Best Time to Schedule Your Child’s Check-up

According to a 2015 survey conducted by Delta Dental on U.S. students, more than 30 percent of parents said their children between the ages of 6 and 12 had to miss school due to an oral health problem.   Make life easier and schedule dental check-ups during summer vacation when you don’t have to coordinate with their academic calendar.

Many parents wait until August to schedule their children’s check-ups before the start of the school year, the beginning of the summer is actually the best time to get your kids scheduled.  By having Dr. McCauley clear your children of any issues before the start of summer, you can relax knowing you won’t have any dental surprises during a weekend camping trip or while you’re out of town.   If there are any issues to address, it’s easier to take care of them during the summer instead of when you’re getting organized for a new school year.

Prevent Dental Emergencies

We know summer means more time outside playing basketball, baseball, swimming, biking, and enjoying other outdoor sports.  While all these activities are part of the fun of summer, they can unfortunately result in a dental injury. Here’s some tips to prevent some common accidents.

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, many summer oral injuries are the result of a pool accident.  Your kids may roll their eyes at the pool rules of “no running on the deck” or “no excessive horseplay” but slippery decks and hard ledges present two opportunities to chip or knock a tooth loose.  Remind your children why the rules are in place and encourage them to play and swim safely.

Feel like you’ve spend your summer at the pool?  Don’t be surprised if you notice discoloration on your children’s teeth. Swimmers who spend more than six hours a week in chemically treated water may be at risk for developing stains on their teeth.  Pool water contains chemicals that give the water a higher pH than saliva.  As a result, salivary proteins break down quickly and form organic deposits on teeth. These hard, brown deposits, known as “swimmers’ calculus,” appear most frequently on the front teeth.  Parents should be aware but not alarmed; swimmers’ calculus can normally be removed by a professional dental cleaning.

Know how to React When Accidents Happen

Despite our best efforts, accidents happen!  It’s important to know what to do in case of a dental emergency to minimize your child’s pain, chance of infection, and increase their chances of a quick recovery.  If your child chips or loses a tooth, first clean the area with warm water and apply an ice pack to reduce the swelling.  Apply gauze to stop any bleeding, clean the tooth of any debris, check the orientation of the tooth, and try to replace a lost permanent tooth back in the mouth.  If that’s not an option, use saltwater or milk to keep it moist for the ride to the dentist.  It’s important to get to the dentist’s office as quickly as you can so they can assess the tooth and take immediate action.

I also recommends a dental emergency kit to take with you on your summer adventures.  It can be as simple as a bag that includes gauze, a small container with a lid, ibuprofen, and our office contact information (425) 354-3138 or [email protected]. Enjoy your summer and comment below to let us know about your summer travels!

Dr. Amanda McCauley, DDS

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Take Back your Time with Cerec Crowns

What would you do with a couple extra hours in the day?  While we would love to see our patients more, we recognize how important your time is and understand you have other places to be! That’s why we’ve invested in the latest dental technology that allows us to create same day dental crowns, saving you from having to book a second appointment. Today on the blog we’re talking more about the CEREC crown technology that makes this possible.

We value your time and your comfort. Getting a crown at the dentist used to involve messy impression material, two appointments, and a temporary between those appointments that might break or fall off at the most inopportune moment. Not anymore! In our practice, we have technology to make a crown while you are sitting in the chair. This reduces your time to one single appointment with no need for a temporary!  It also eliminates the need for gooey impression material making it a thing of the past. With this new technology, our impressions are digital and made with an intraoral camera.

What is the technology and how does it work? The CEREC crown milling machine is much like a 3D printer and stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. After we prepare your tooth, we use a special camera to take a picture of this tooth, your opposing teeth, and your bite. The information from these pictures is transferred to a color display on a computer screen as a 3D virtual model. We design the restoration on this computer and then the designed crown is sent to the milling unit where it is manufactured.

cerec crown

CEREC crown milling machine

Patients are free to watch TV, read, or just relax during the manufacturing process. When the crown is ready, it tried in your mouth to ensure proper fit, and then it is bonded to over your tooth. That’s all it takes!

The material we use is tooth-colored and comes in a variety of shades to perfectly blend into your smile. For the back teeth, we use a lithium disilicate glass-ceramic which acquires a final strength of 360 MPa, making it durable while maintaining a beautiful esthetic. The front teeth have an even more esthetic all-ceramic material that displays their true to nature translucency.

If you have any questions about this process, please ask! Our office is proud to use cutting-edge technology that improves our patients’ overall experience. Patients continue to be amazed and pleased when we prove that one easy appointment is all they need!

To schedule an appointment or learn more, call our office at (425) 354-3138 or visit our website http://mccauleydentistry.com.

Dr. Amanda McCauley, DDS

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The Science Behind Cold Sensitivity and Tips on How to Reduce and Relieve It

Baby It’s Cold Outside! As winter approaches and temperatures decrease, I hear from patients more often that the cold air outside makes their teeth hurt. Cold sensitivity, or dentin hypersensitivity, is very common in patients. In fact, 67% of people experience pain when eating cold food or drinking cold drinks, and 51% of people experience pain when breathing in cold air*. Instead of enduring the occasional wince, it is better that you understand why your teeth are sensitive and what you can do to relieve the sensitivity!

What exactly causes cold sensitivity? There are several possible causes of tooth sensitivity including the following:

  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Fractured/broken teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Exposed roots

Percentage image

Healthy teeth have a layer of enamel that protects tooth structure above your gum line. It is the hard outermost surface of a tooth. Under the gum line, a layer called cementum protects your tooth root. Below the enamel and cementum layers is a tooth layer called dentin. Dentin is porous and contains microscopic canals with nerve endings in them. When dentin loses its protective covering, the nerve endings are exposed to the external environment, allowing cold to reach the nerves inside the tooth. This results in a short, sharp nerve pain in the tooth. All of the causes of sensitivity listed above damage the protective layer of enamel or cementum in different ways, exposing the underlying dentin layer and making you occasionally wince!

Your dentist can examine your teeth and recommend possible treatments. A variety of treatments could be suggested based on the underlying cause, including the following:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste.Toothpastes like Sensodyne have potassium nitrate in them which help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. It usually requires two weeks (14 days) of daily use before the sensitivity is reduced.
  • Fluoride trays. Your dentist can make you take home trays that you can use to bathe your teeth in prescription fluoride gel. The fluoride will strengthen your tooth enamel and reduce sensitivity.
  • A filling, inlay, or crown. These can be used to restore cavities, worn fillings, or fractured/broken teeth, correcting the flaw that has been causing your sensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft. If you have gum recession and exposed root surfaces, your dentist may recommend a gum graft to protect your root and reduce sensitivity.
  • Root canal. If cold sensitivity is prolonged and/or constant, you may require a root canal to eliminate the problem.

Holiday graphic #2

Be proactive and protect your enamel so that your sensitivity does not worsen! Here are some ways to be proactive in protecting your teeth:

  • Don’t brush too hard. Use a soft toothbrush and brush in tiny circles (not sideways which can expose root surfaces). Brushing vigorously can eventually wear down tooth enamel.
  • Avoid grinding or clenching your teeth. Grinding wears away your protective enamel. Ask your dentist about a mouth guard for nighttime or daytime use!
  • Practice good oral hygiene. Brush and floss twice a day properly to prevent periodontal (gum) disease. Periodontal disease can cause recession in your gums and expose your root surface.
  • Schedule your professional teeth cleaning. Your dentist will provide recommendations and advice on reducing your dentin hypersensitivity.

To schedule an appointment, call our office at (425) 354-3138 or visit our website http://mccauleydentistry.com.

Amanda McCauley, DDS

*Source: http://us.sensodyne.com/sensitive-teeth-and-gums/sensitivity-triggers.aspx

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Avoiding Acid Erosion During the Holidays

Thanksgiving is right around in the corner!  In preparation for the start of the holiday season, we’re sharing information on acid and alkaline content in many holiday foods and providing tips to keep your teeth healthy and strong.

Enamel is the protective armor of our teeth. Preventing damage to the underlying dentin and nerve layers, our enamel acts as a first line of defense from hazards including trauma, bacteria, habits like nail or pen biting, and acid erosion. Acid erosion is caused by frequent consumption of foods and drinks with a pH below 5.0-5.7. Although holidays are a time of eating, drinking, and general merriment, it is important to not overwhelm our teeth with an acidic challenge during these feasts. Aside from dental erosion, acidic foods can also trigger heartburn. Where’s the merriment when you are suffering from heartburn?!

cropped cheese graphic

High Acid Content: Fruit juices (especially orange and apple juice), sports drinks, wine, beer, carbonated sodas, dried fruit, beef, chicken, eggs, pork, shellfish, cheese, artificial sweeteners.

Moderate Acid Content: Ketchup, mayo, butter, apple, apricot, banana, blackberry, blueberry, cranberry, grapes, mango, orange, peach, papaya, pineapple, strawberry, brown rice, oats, rye bread, wheat, wild rice, ocean fish.

Mild Acid Content: Black beans, chickpeas/garbonzos, kidney beans, cantaloupe, fresh dates, nectarine, plum, sweet cherry, watermelon, soybeans, freshwater wild fish, rice and soy milk, brazil nuts, pecan nuts, hazel nuts.

Mild Alkaline Content: Artichokes, asparagus, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, carrot, chives, zucchini, leeks, new baby potatoes, peas, rhubarb, watercress, grapefruit, coconut, buckwheat, quinoa, lentils, tofu, goat and almond milk, most herbs and spices.

Moderate Alkaline Content: Avocado, pepper, cabbage, celery, collard/spring greens, endive, garlic, ginger, green beans, lettuce, mustard greens, okra, onion, radish, red onion, rocket/arugula, tomato, butter beans, soy beans.

High Alkaline Content: Himalayan salt, grasses, cucumber, kale, kelp, spinach, parsley, broccoli, sprouts (soy, alfalfa, etc.), sea vegetables (kelp), all sprouted beans.

Veggies_final

Don’t worry! You can follow these rules to help prevent acid erosion:

  • Don’t swish or swirl your acidic holiday beverage in your mouth.
  • After consuming highly acidic foods or drinks, rinse thoroughly with water.
  • If you can, bring a soft toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste to your feast so that you can brush 30 minutes after eating! You may even end up eating less at the party, also saving you from heartburn.
  • If you cannot brush during the party, chew sugar-free gum to help dislodge food particles and produce saliva to naturally neutralize acids in your mouth.
  • If you drink soda, use a straw to prevent direct contact of carbonated soda with your teeth.
  • Remineralize your teeth with a fluoride mouthwash or paste.
  • Acid erosion yellows, dulls, thins, and weakens teeth. When your protective enamel layer is slowly dissolved over time by a highly acidic diet, you may begin to notice visible changes. Once the underlying dentin layer is exposed, you may also notice sensitivity. Being proactive at reducing your acid-rich diet can save your armor and ultimately your beautiful, strong, pearly white smile!

Our team at McCauley Family and Cosmetic Dentistry wishes everyone a great start to the holiday season!  Still looking for recipes for Thanksgiving?  Check out our Facebook page as we’ll be sharing our favorite recipes between now and Thanksgiving.

 

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18323 98th Ave NE #2, Bothell, WA