Thursday, September 26, 2013

What is a dental emergency?

So, what is a dental emergency?

With all the hectic things in life, a dental emergency can unfortunately occur unexpectedly and at the most inconvenient times.  It can include:
  • Chipped front teeth
  • Broken crowns or veneers
  • Abscess
  • Tooth and gum pain
  • Lost denture tooth
  • A cavity that bothers you constantly or is extremely sensitive to cold and hot
  • Anything you feel that needs to be addressed right away
Dental emergencies have also gained a bad stigma, and can happen on vacation or on a business trip, and even start on Friday or Saturday night.  If you experience any of the conditions listed above, or even remotely believe anything in your mouth is bothering you, call your local dentist immediately for emergency dental care.  If you are not able to get in touch with a dental office, try calling a major hospital or trauma center and see if they have an on-staff dentist or oral surgeon.  The on-staff dentist or oral surgeon in general has fairly limited resources, but they may at least be able to give you temporary relief of pain until you are able to be seen by a general dentist.

Our website has additional information on dental emergencies if you would like more information.

From your family Bellevue dentist,
Dr. Peter Chien
(425) 614-1600

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Dental cavities linked to lower risk of head and neck cancer

From the JAMA Otolarynology - Head & Neck Surgery, a new study conducted by scientists at the University of Buffalo in New York is suggesting that people with MORE cavities are actually at LOWER risk of developing head and neck cancer.

How are dental caries/tooth decay formed?  Persistent bacteria that remain on teeth feed on the plaque left over from food debris; as a result the bacteria release lactic enzyme that demineralize and literally erodes the enamel, causing a cavity and sometimes necessitating the need for a filling.  

The study suggests that aside from the harmful effects of the bacteria in the mouth on the teeth, these bacteria are actually beneficial in the saliva and inside the mouth's mucosa, and may be a protective factor against head and neck cancer.

Read more about this study here:

Now does this mean that one should actually stop brushing and flossing?  Probably not, but rather take this article in heart and realize that one's oral health and body work in concert. Twice a day brushing combined with daily flossing is recommended for optimal oral and systemic health.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding oral hygiene, be sure to ask your family dentist or hygienist.  Have a great one!

From your Bellevue Dentist,
Dr. Peter Chien
(425) 614-1600

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Center for Disease Control gets over 220,000 smokers to quit

A recent 2013 study conducted by the Center for Disease Control shows that due its 2012 anti smoking campaign, it has influenced well over 220,000 smokers to quit.  As part of a massive $50+ million advertising campaign via print and television ads, it featured patients who suffered diseases associated with smoking: head and neck cancer including tongue, palate, and jaw cancers, asthma, heart disease, and stroke.

CDC Director Tom Frieden, MD, MPH, who explained in a video response to the study, said it best: 
"The impact of this ad campaign is further proof that sustained, hard-hitting media campaigns... save lives.  Tobacco companies spend more in three days than the CDC spends in a year running these ads. It is a David and Goliath fight."

The effects of smoking are well documented in medical, dental, and public health literature.  In addition to systemic side effects, smoking has been shown to cause teeth staining, dry mouth which may lead to increased risk of caries/tooth decay/cavities, periodontal disease, and higher likelihood of oral and tongue cancer.

There are products your dentist and doctor may be able to prescribe to help eliminate the smoking and tobacco habit.  Products to consider include Chantix, Zyban (Bupropion), and NicoDerm CQ patches.

If you have any questions, please discuss with your dentist which products and methods may be more suitable and helpful in your case.

From your Bellevue dentist

Dr. Peter Chien
(425) 614-1600

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Start of the school year with proper diet and oral health.

The first week of September is usually a busy one, especially with families and kids returning from vacation, and kids returning and starting a new school year.  That said, here are somethings to keep in mind:
  • Did you know that some states require a child to have a dental exam as part of enrollment?  Georgia is one such state:  So be sure to check with your local school district to see if your child needs a visit to the pediatric or general dentist.
  • There are multiple factors influencing your child's progress and success at school; health is one of the most important ones.  Children need to be sufficiently healthy to learn, and children with cavities and gum disease are not deemed healthy.  Tooth decay is an oral infection that may get worse without treatment and are usually preventable and very treatable
  • Your child may likely need a snack during their time at school.  Try to make it fun and healthy!  Promote lots of naturally sweet fruits and crunchy vegetables instead of sugary drinks and candies.  Fruits, vegetables, and milk are great for the body, and help promote healthy and strong bone and teeth formation.  Calcium and Vitamin D in particular are great for teeth enamel and development.
  • It's also a great idea to give your a child a spare toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss as part of their arsenal in their backpack.  Brushing and flossing after each meal and snack is a good way to enhance their oral health.
  • School and work days can bush for everyone.  Children tend to imitate adult behavior, so if your child sees your brushing, flossing, and eating well, they should too! :)

If you have any questions regarding oral health care for your children, please don't hesitate to ask your family dentist.

From your family Bellevue dentist,
Dr. Peter Chien
(425) 614-1600