What Is a Dental Hygienist and Why Is Their Role So Important?


What Is a Dental Hygienist and Why Is Their Role So Important?

At Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry, we’re always celebrating the importance of oral hygiene, but we choose to pay special attention to dental hygiene during October because it’s National Dental Hygiene Month. To celebrate this year, we’re highlighting our team of dental hygienists so that they know how much we appreciate them and so that our patients understand how integral a dental hygienist’s role is to their dental care and oral health.

What Is a Dental Hygienist?

Dental hygienists are licensed oral health professionals that are responsible for much of a patient’s professional preventive dental care routine. During their time with their patients, they manage both preventive care and the treatment of several oral diseases.

What Do Dental Hygienists Do?

The specific responsibilities of dental hygienists vary between states. However, generally, they are responsible for the following:

By providing all of these essential services and treatments to patients, dental hygienists help to free up the dentists in their offices so that they can focus on more complex patient care and treatments.

How Often Should Your Teeth Be Professionally Cleaned?

While some adults can get away with a single professional dental cleaning per year, most adults and children need to visit the dentist at least once every six months for proper maintenance of their teeth.

These bi-annual dental cleanings help prevent too much tartar from building up on the surface of your teeth, and this helps to prevent serious oral health problems like periodontal disease (gum disease) and cavities from developing. The prevention of these concerns is paramount because past the earliest stages (softening enamel and gingivitis) neither tooth decay nor periodontal disease can be completely reversed.

Schedule Your Next Dental Cleaning in Kenmore

If it’s been a while since a dental hygienist has scaled and polished your teeth and since a dentist has examined your teeth and gums, we strongly encourage you to schedule a dental checkup at Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry, and we welcome you to contact our office today.


Speed Your Recovery: Post-Op Care for Dental Procedures


Speed Your Recovery: Post-Op Care for Dental Procedures

Although no one wants to undergo dental surgery or other more invasive dental procedures, it is sometimes necessary to preserve your health and your natural teeth. Your specific post-operative care instructions will vary depending on the type of procedure you had performed and your own medical history. However, the following general guidelines can help you enjoy a safe, speedy, and smooth recovery.

Recover Safely and Smoothly From Your Dental Surgery With These 7 Tips

1. Elevate Your Head

Keeping your head elevated will prevent fluids from pooling in your treatment area and worsening post-operative swelling.

2. Avoid Vigorous Activities

Depending on the procedure, you should avoid vigorous or strenuous physical activities for 24 hours to a full week after your procedure.

3. Don't Use a Straw

Sucking through a straw can dislodge blood clots that have formed at your incision site or in the place where you had a tooth extracted, and this can cause serious complications during your recovery.

4. Eat Soft Foods

Avoid hard or overly chewy foods for 24 hours to a week after your procedure. Instead, enjoy soft foods that don’t require much chewing and won’t inadvertently damage the soft tissues around your incision site.

5. Avoid Hot or Spicy Foods

Overly hot foods and even spicy foods can irritate the soft tissues inside your mouth. As a result, you can experience discomfort at your incision site and increased inflammation.

6. Avoid Tobacco and Alcohol

Tobacco products of any kind and alcohol should be avoided while you heal and recover. Both can increase inflammation and slow the healing process.

7. Use Over-the-Counter Anti-Inflammatories

If you experience pain or swelling, we recommend taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. If these do not resolve your pain or your swelling is extreme, contact our office right away.

Oral Surgery and Your Recovery With Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry

No matter the type of procedure you have had completed, it is important to carefully all of the post-operative care instructions provided to you when you leave our office. These instructions will help ensure that your treatment site heals properly without any complications, like an infection. If you have any questions or concerns during your post-operative recovery period, we always welcome you to contact our office.
To learn more about recovering from dental surgery or to schedule a consultation with Dr. Mott, we welcome you to contact our dental clinic in Kenmore today.

When Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out?


When Should You Get Your Wisdom Teeth Out?

Although wisdom teeth removal is common, some patients do not need to have their wisdom teeth extracted. There are, however, several reasons why you might need to have your wisdom teeth removed. If you have any of the following, we might recommend extraction in order to prevent serious oral health problems from developing in the future.

5 Reasons to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

1. Not Fully Erupted

Wisdom teeth do not always fully erupt through the gums. Sometimes, they only erupt partially. Other times, they do not erupt at all. In these cases, wisdom teeth typically need to be removed.

2. Growing at Odd Angles

Wisdom teeth commonly come in at odd angles, rather than growing straight up from the jawbone. In these cases, the wisdom teeth can damage the neighboring teeth if they are not extracted.

3. Crowding Other Teeth

Wisdom teeth were highly useful in times before dentistry and dental care when people would often lose their primary molars to decay by the time they reached their teens or twenties. Today, most patients have all of their teeth and simply do not have room left in their mouths to accommodate a third set of molars.

4. Other Oral Health Issues

Since wisdom teeth are so far back in the mouth, pushed in against jawbones and muscles, they can be difficult to clean thoroughly with brushing and flossing. As a result, they are prone to decay, and the gums around them are at risk of developing periodontal disease. When these kinds of problems arise, extraction is often the best option for eliminating oral health issues.

5. Preventative Extraction

Since wisdom teeth most commonly need to be removed, it is not uncommon for a dentist to recommend removal before a teen’s wisdom teeth have fully formed because they are much simpler to extract before their roots have embedded fully in the jawbone. For this reason, a preemptive extraction is often recommended for teens and young adults.

Wisdom Teeth Consultations With Our Kenmore Dentist

Whether you still have your wisdom teeth or are the parent of a teenager whose wisdom teeth are developing, we recommend scheduling a consultation with our dentist at Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry. We can take diagnostic images of your jaw and developing wisdom teeth to determine whether or not extraction will be necessary for you. To learn more about wisdom teeth and their removal, we welcome you to contact our office today.

What Is a Root Canal?


What Is a Root Canal?

A root canal is the canal-shaped interior of a tooth’s roots. The term root canal also refers to a tooth-saving treatment that is also commonly called root canal therapy.

Is Root Canal Therapy Painful?

Although root canal procedures have a bad reputation for being painful, Dr. Mott takes steps to ensure our patients experience no pain or discomfort during their procedures. In fact, the first step of a root canal procedure is to administer local anesthesia to completely numb the treatment area.
This anesthetic also helps reduce pain for some time after the procedure is complete. Once the anesthetic has worn off, patients can effectively treat any resulting pain and inflammation with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications and a cold compress.

What to Expect During a Root Canal Procedure

Once anesthetics have been administered, a root canal begins with the dentist drilling into the tooth to access the tooth’s interior pulp and root canal system. We then remove all the soft tissues from inside the tooth and smooth the walls of the root canals before filling the canals and interior of the tooth with a material called gutta-percha. The tooth is then covered with a temporary filling until a permanent crown can be manufactured to fit permanently over the tooth.

Why Do You Need a Root Canal?

Treatment with a root canal is necessary when a tooth’s structure becomes compromised or weakened due to injury or disease, exposing the interior pulp of the tooth to bacteria. After being exposed to bacteria, the inside of the tooth can become infected. As a result, root canal therapy is often the last treatment available to save a patient’s natural tooth while avoiding the need for extraction.
Our dentist might recommend treatment with root canal therapy in the following circumstances:
While most patients cringe at the idea of needing a root canal, the treatment is actually highly effective for saving a patient’s natural teeth. A root canal is usually only recommended when it is the only treatment available to save a natural tooth.

Root Canal Therapy and Restorative Dentistry in Kenmore

At Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry, we’re pleased to provide our patients with comprehensive dental care, including root canal treatments and a variety of restorative dentistry services. To learn more or schedule a consultation, we welcome you to contact our office today.

5 Signs That You Might Eventually Need Dentures


5 Signs That You Might Eventually Need Dentures

If you are already missing all or most of your teeth, then you probably know that you are a candidate for dentures. However, most people are not aware of the earlier signs that can indicate that a person might eventually have many of their teeth compromised and eventually lost. If you experience any of the following signs or symptoms, we recommend scheduling a dental checkup as soon as possible to begin treatment interventions right away.

5 Signs You Might Need Dentures Someday

1. You Have Frequent Tooth Pain That You Ignore

Pain isn’t just an annoyance, it’s a signal from your body that something is wrong. When you experience oral pain, like a toothache, sensitivity, or gum tenderness, these are all indications of oral health problems that need to be addressed by a dentist. If you ignore oral pain and go undiagnosed and untreated, then you put the health and strength of your teeth at risk.

2. You Don't Visit the Dentist Regularly

Neglecting your oral health by foregoing routine dental exams and cleanings put you at risk of developing severe tooth decay and periodontal disease – both of which can lead to lost teeth.

3. You Have Untreated, Advanced Periodontal Disease

When the bacteria from periodontal disease reach the periodontal ligaments (the tissues that hold the teeth in place), the bacteria begin to deteriorate these ligaments and the jawbone, which can result in tooth loss.

4. You Have Already Lost Several Teeth

If you are already missing several teeth, you might find it difficult to eat, drink, and speak normally. Getting dentures can help correct these issues.

5. You Feel Self-Conscious About Your Smile

If you don’t like the way your smile looks, dentures (in addition to a variety of alternative cosmetic treatments) can be an option for improving the look of your smile.

Comprehensive Restorative Dentistry and Tooth-Replacement Options in Kenmore

At Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry, we offer our patients full and partial dentures in addition to a variety of other tooth-replacement and smile restoration services. Whether you are missing one tooth, several teeth, or all of your teeth, we can help you determine the type of smile restoration treatment plan that can best meet your needs within your dental care budget. To learn more about smile restoration or schedule an appointment with Dr. Mott, we welcome you to contact our dental office in Kenmore today.

Are Veneers the Right Choice for You?

First impressions are important, and your smile is one of the first things people see when they see you. So, it’s only natural to want to put your best smile forward. If you have discolorations or other imperfections in your smile that you would like to correct, then dental veneers might be a good cosmetic treatment option to help you create the smile of your dreams.

What Are Dental Veneers?

Dental veneers are a permanent cosmetic dental treatment that are designed to mask imperfections to improve the look of a patient’s smile. Veneers are very thin, tooth-colored, porcelain shells that are shaped like the front surface of a person’s teeth.

How Do Dental Veneers Work?

Dental veneers work to hide or mask cosmetic imperfections on a patient’s teeth by permanently affixing to the surface of the tooth. To place dental veneers, a dentist must first shave off a thin layer of tooth enamel from a patient’s teeth to make space for the dental veneers to attach. The veneers are then cemented onto the teeth, effectively creating a completely new look.

What Kinds of Issues Do Dental Veneers Fix?

Dental veneers are used in the following ways:
Dental veneers are designed only to address cosmetic issues. They, however, are not used to treat oral health concerns or to improve the strength of a natural tooth. In these cases, a restorative dental treatment might be the better option.

Are Veneers Right for You? Schedule a Consultation With Our Kenmore Dentist Today

Dental veneers are a great option for covering up a variety of cosmetic concerns to improve the look of your smile. If, however, you have issues that are affecting not just the way your smile looks but also its strength, health, or function, then veneers might not be the best treatment choice for you. In these cases, restorative treatments such as dental crowns or dental implants might provide a better option to help preserve your natural teeth while improving the appearance of your smile, too.
Dr. Mott at Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry will be happy to examine your teeth, talk with you about your goals, and help you determine the best treatment plan to help you create the healthy, beautiful smile of your dreams. To learn more about the cosmetic and restorative treatments available at Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Mott, we welcome you to contact our office today.

5 Tips for Better Gum Health


5 Tips for Better Gum Health

When you think about oral hygiene, you’re likely most focused on the health of your teeth. While it is important to care for your teeth and prevent tooth decay, the health of your gums is just as essential. Your gum health can not only affect the health of your teeth, but it can also affect the overall health of your body, too.

How Gum Health Affects General Health

Periodontal disease (gum disease) is a bacterial infection of the gums that develops most often as a result of poor oral hygiene. The harmful bacteria from this infection can be inhaled leading to respiratory infections, and it can also actually enter the bloodstream, causing issues throughout the body such as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, dementia, reproductive issues, and more.

How to Keep Your Gums Healthy – 5 Tips for Better Gum Health

1. Floss

You should be flossing at least once a day to remove the plaque, food debris, and bacterial buildup from between your teeth and gums. Be sure to floss between each tooth, on either side of the small wedge of gum tissue between your teeth. Pull the floss into a “C” shape to clean thoroughly along the rounded wall of each tooth.

2. Brush the Right Way

When you brush your teeth, hold your toothbrush’s bristles at a 45-degree angle, pointing toward your gum line. This angle will best remove plaque and bacteria from the spaces between your gums and teeth.

3. Stop Smoking

Smoking dries out the mouth and tobacco use of any kind causes inflammation of the gum tissues which can put you at an increased risk of developing gum disease.

4. Cut Back on Alcohol

Alcohol also causes inflammation of the soft tissues in the mouth and can lead to dry mouth, limiting saliva production that helps keep bacteria in check.

5. Use Mouthwash

Use an alcohol-free mouthwash to kill the harmful bacteria living in your mouth.

Schedule Your Next Dental Cleaning and Exam With Our Kenmore Dentist

In addition to practicing good oral hygiene at home, one of the most important things you can do to maintain the health of your gums and your teeth is to schedule regular appointments for professional dental cleanings and exams. During dental exams at Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry, Dr. Mott carefully examines each patient’s teeth and gums for signs of gingivitis, periodontal disease, tooth decay, or other concerns. When we catch these issues as they’re first developing, it’s much easier to treat them, prevent the issue from worsening, and sometimes resolve the problem altogether.
To learn more about our dental practice or to schedule your next dental exam, we welcome you to contact Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry today.

What to Do If You Chip a Tooth

Tooth enamel is the hardest tissue in your body, and it does a pretty amazing job of protecting our teeth and keeping them strong. Tooth enamel, however, isn’t fail-proof. Sometimes, a tooth can get chipped or even fractured and broken. If you chip or break a tooth, there are a few steps you should take right away.

5 Steps to Take If You Chip a Tooth

1. Call the Dentist

While a chipped tooth is not usually considered to be a dental emergency, it is important to have the tooth examined by a dentist. If you break a tooth, you should contact the dentist’s office right away to schedule an appointment to have your tooth repaired as soon as possible.

2. Keep the Tooth Clean

Carefully maintain the area around your broken tooth by flossing and brushing to keep any potentially exposed dental pulp and tissues free from debris and bacterial buildup.

3. Pick Up Some Dental Wax

Chipped or broken teeth can be very sensitive to temperature changes. They also tend to be sharp and can easily irritate, damage, or cut the soft tissues in your mouth. Pick up some dental wax or temporary dental bonding from your local pharmacy to coat the chipped or fractured portion of your tooth until you can have it professionally repaired by your dentist.

4. Avoid Chewing Hard Foods

Teeth can sometimes break or chip because they’re already structurally weak due to some underlying issue. As a result, this means that the same tooth could become further damaged or you could risk breaking other teeth if you chew on hard objects, ice, or hard foods. Until you’ve seen your dentist, try to stick with a softer diet that’s easier on your teeth.

5. Minimize Pain

If your tooth is causing you any pain, you can alleviate it using over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. Applying a cold compress to the outside of your cheek in the area of the broken tooth will also help reduce swelling and relieve pain.

Tooth Repair and Dental Restoration in Kenmore

At Kenmore Smiles Family Dentistry, we have a variety of general, restorative, and cosmetic dentistry treatments available for treating and repairing a chipped or broken tooth. Treatments include dental bonding, dental fillings, veneers, and dental crowns. Depending on the severity of your tooth’s damage, our dentist, Dr. Mott can recommend a treatment plan designed to restore the look, feel, and function of your broken tooth.