With digital x-rays, radiation from exposure to x-ray has been reduced by 80-90%. We receive more radiation from our environment in one day than from regular check up x-rays done about once a year. Washington State does not require the use of a lead apron, but to further protect our patients, we use one that even covers the thyroid. In addition, with traditional film x-rays, harmful chemicals are needed to process them, but with all digital we’ve been able to eliminate exposure to that as well. For our patients who are very sensitive to having x-rays taken, we even have a Green Tea ND supplement where 1 teaspoon mixed in water is equal to 20 cups of green tea and protects DNA from radiation damage.

The American Dental Association says yes. Based on what science says about mercury I question its use in dentistry. Amalgam (or silver) fillings have a mixture of different metals that make up this material. One of the metals used in amalgam is mercury, a harmful and toxic substance. Like lead it is a heavy metal. Lead was taken out of gasoline and paint. Mercury thermometers have been discontinued. We have to dispose of scrap amalgam as a toxic waste or risk being fined. There are many opinions on the safety of the mercury being used in the mouth. Small amounts of mercury vapor (the most harmful form of mercury) are released into the body every time amalgam fillings are chewed on. Over time, mercury could build up in your body and possibly be damaging. Not only that, but placing amalgam can also put patients and ourselves at risk for mercury exposure. In my practice, I do not use amalgam fillings and we practice a safe removal technique designed to protect the dental team and patient. To learn more about how we are practicing mercury and metal-free dentistry please read here.

I get this question a lot. Your mouth is the main gateway into the body and has a very direct relationship with overall health. Gum disease is associated with other diseases such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, stroke, some cancers, and low birth weight in babies. Gum disease is the most common chronic inflammatory condition. Inflammation of the gums results in bleeding which allows bad bacteria to enter the bloodstream and be absorbed into the body, causing more inflammation in other parts. Inflammation is the root cause of nearly every disease. Likewise an infected tooth can cause problems beyond the oral cavity. To learn more about how we practice whole person dentistry please read here.

An abscess is an infection at the root of the tooth or in the gum. This can be caused by severe and untreated tooth decay or trauma that has occurred to the tooth and/or a gum infection. Some symptoms may include throbbing and constant pain, fever, a sore or “pimple” on the gum, swollen gums or face, and/or lingering sensitivity to hot and cold. Even if the tooth becomes non-vital or dead and the pain goes away, the infection will remain active. Antibiotics may be needed to fight the infection and reduce pain symptoms temporarily. To treat an abscessed tooth, a root canal may be recommended, but at times an extraction is necessary.

Sensitivity can occur when the root surface of the tooth becomes exposed as a result of receding gums. The roots of the teeth are not covered by enamel and contain microscopic little tubules that lead to the pulp of the tooth which contains nerves. These exposed tubules allow the hot, cold or sweet feelings to reach that nerve and cause sensitivity. A few things can cause sensitivity including tooth decay, recession, brushing too hard, clenching and grinding, acidic foods and beverages, cracked or broken teeth and/or tooth whitening products.

Tooth decay is caused by a few different things including certain oral bacteria and the sugars in the food we eat. Biofilm, or plaque, containing bacteria forms a barrier over the gums and teeth where the bacteria can feed on the natural or artificial sugars in our food and turns it to acid. Over time that process breaks down the tooth enamel which results in a cavity. Decay can easily be prevented with good oral hygiene such as brushing twice a day to disrupt that biofilm and flossing once a day to remove food and saliva from between the teeth.

Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. This is usually caused by plaque build up on the teeth. Plaque that remains in the mouth can harden under the gum line and turns into calculus (tartar). The gum then becomes irritated and swollen and more likely to bleed. Gingivitis is easily treated with a professional cleaning by a dentist or hygienist and with better oral hygiene routines such as brushing and flossing. But left untreated, gingivitis can progress into periodontal or gum disease. Periodontal disease is a serious gum infection that damages the gum tissue as well as the bone supporting the tooth. Untreated, periodontal disease can increase the risk of other diseases and inflammatory issues in the body such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some forms of cancer. Treatments include scaling the root of the tooth to remove the hardened plaque called tartar along with the bacteria using hand instruments and/or laser treatment. The laser is very effective at removing diseased tissue as well as tartar build up, encouraging tissue reattachment and reduced pocket depths. Maintenance usually includes more frequent checkups and cleanings. To learn more about how we are helping patients with periodontal disease, please read here.

Lasers have been used in the dentistry since the early 90s and has many different purposes in the dental field. Some the them are for the treatment and removal of decay, treatment of diseased gum tissue and pain therapy. We use the Waterlase MD and Biolase Epic in our office. The Waterlase is the only laser designed specifically for dentistry and uses light energy and water to remove tooth decay usually without even using the drill. The drill can cause microscopic fractures in the tooth and the friction the drill causes heats up to tooth resulting in sensitivity. The laser can often be used without anesthetic and usually results in no post-operative sensitivity or discomfort. We use laser energy to remove diseased gum tissue and calculus for patients with periodontal disease, resulting in tissue reattachment and reduced pocket depths. The laser can also be used during root canals to kill bacteria up to 1mm into the tooth structure and sterilizes the canals. The laser not only disinfects but also biostimulates, bringing needed blood and oxygen to stimulate healing. The Biolase Epic is used for pain and tissue therapy, using diode energy followed by pulses of “down” time for comfort. This laser can be used for soft tissue surgery, whitening and the temporary relief of minor pain from restorative dental treatment, gum disease treatment and TMJ. To learn more about our lasers read here.

An implant is an artificial tooth root made traditionally from titanium, but also more recently from zirconia, a non metal substitute. Implants are surgically placed into the bone as an anchor for a crown to replace a missing tooth and acts as the “root”. For implants to be successful a patient needs to have a healthy amount of bone and healthy gum tissue. Smokers or patients who have conditions or disorders such as diabetes or heart disease need a proper evaluation done for them individually to see if they would qualify for implants.

Bad breath (halitosis) can be caused by a number of different factors. If you don’t brush and floss your teeth daily, then plaque is allowed to sit on your teeth and gums and allows bacteria to grow, this can attribute to bad breath. Smoking cigarettes and chewing tobacco can also cause bad breath. When a patient has periodontal disease, which is the build up and calcification of plaque and bacteria, they are also prone to having bad breath. Patients who either naturally or because of certain medications experience dry mouth often experience bad breath because of the lack of saliva. Saliva cleanses away food and debris, as well as washes away dead skin cells from the gums, cheeks and tongue that would otherwise begin to decompose in the mouth. Some foods such as garlic and onions also usually contribute to bad breath as well. Some stomach conditions as well as acid reflux are also to be considered when determining why a patient is experiencing bad breath.

Choosing a biological dentist:

A biological dentist uses natural approaches and solutions to help patients achieve and maintain healthy teeth and gums. They have the same training as general dentists, but they focus on the structural interrelationships of oral tissues and how the jaw, teeth, gums, and supporting muscles work together. Biological dentistry is focused on preventing problems before they develop, such as tooth decay, gum disease, and temporomandibular joint disorders. This approach also emphasizes the importance of proper nutrition, supplements, and minerals for overall health and wellness. A biological dentist may also use gentle techniques and holistic remedies as well.

Biological dentists focus on the body as a whole, so they may screen their patients for nutritional deficiencies or signs of vitamin and mineral deficiency. They may also take a patient’s overall health into account before making a treatment plan.

No, they do not! Biological dentists use tooth-colored composite resin to restore cavities and broken teeth. Amalgam is an outdated metal-filling material that has been linked to health problems, including allergies, headaches, fatigue, and more. If your family is looking for a restorative dentist, we offer mercury-free dental care for patients of all ages.

Biological dentists provide the most conservative care that dentistry has to offer. They are embedded in a holistic philosophy, meaning that every treatment is individualized to each patient, and nothing is rushed or performed quickly just to fill the schedule. Remember that your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. A holistic approach means looking at the big picture of your oral health. For example, mercury fillings may be falling out and causing you pain, but the rest of the body is suffering as well. Mercury poisoning can lead to chronic health complications such as heart damage, kidney issues, chronic pain and fatigue, and more. A biological dentist will recommend alternative options that are kind to the body as a whole and will address the root cause of the problem rather than mask the pain with quick fixes that will lead to more problems in the future. While they do offer traditional restorative procedures when necessary, they will always look to the body holistically first and will never recommend anything that is not best for the patient’s long-term health and well-being.

Dental Questions You Should Be Asking:

If you chip or break a tooth or a crown, you need to see your dentist as soon as possible. If you put off seeing a dental professional, you risk further damage to the tooth either by decay or infection. If possible, avoid chewing or biting down on that tooth to prevent further pain or damage. Treatment of a broken tooth or crown depends on how much damage has occurred. If the chip or break is small enough then a simple filling can be down to repair it. If more significant damage has been done then a crown may be necessary. When a chip or break has hit the nerve or pulp of the tooth then a root canal or extraction will be recommended.

Crowns do not last forever. Although many crowns have lasted upwards of 25-30 years, most crowns have a life expectancy of 15-20 years. A crown may need to be replaced for a number of different reasons, the most common being that decay has crept in under the crown around the margin where the crown meets the tooth. Other reasons include ill-fitting crown or the cement may be wearing out and causing microleakage. If you have a crown or crowns in your mouth, it is good to have regular checkups and cleanings by a dentist or hygienist to make sure your crowns are in good condition.

Behind brushing, flossing is the most important thing you can do to maintain good oral health. Flossing removes small pieces of food and disrupts bacteria and plaque. If plaque (or biofilm) is not removed by brushing and flossing, it hardens and turns into tartar or calculus. When tartar builds up under the gums, it causes them to become inflamed and irritated and eventually leads to gum disease. Flossing removes the bacteria that the brush misses in between the teeth, so it is a very important part of your oral health routine.

Gums bleed and can hurt when plaque has been allowed to sit on your teeth and near your gums long enough for it to harden and turn into tartar or calculus. At this point, brushing and flossing will not remove this. The tartar causes the gums to become irritated and inflamed; this is called gingivitis. In some cases, you may already have the more advanced stage called gum disease. If a patient is not a regular flosser, the gums bleed easier and are more painful when they do floss. Other health reasons that cause bleeding gums include: Leukemia, blood disorders, and hormonal changes such as pregnancy.

The answer to this question is yes, you can test for susceptibility to periodontal disease. This test identifies a person’s genetic susceptibility to gum disease with a saliva sample. The test itself is easy and requires that a patient swishes a saline solution in their mouth for 30 seconds. Afterwards, the test is sent to a lab and the results are sent back as to whether you have the gene that puts you at greater risk for periodontal disease. This genetic test only needs to be done once in a person’s life.

First of all, there are two different ways you can whiten your teeth effectively, in-office whitening and at home whitening. In office whitening’s are a little more expensive up front, but give an immediate result. With just one in office session a person’s teeth can become 3-7 shades whiter than when they walked in depending on the patient. At this appointment, a protective gel is put around your gums and a bleaching gel is put on the teeth to be whitened. A curing light or laser is then shined onto the gel which enhances the whitening process. The other option is an at home whitening method. This system is a little less expensive, but is more time consuming and requires diligence and dedication from the patient to reach the same results. This method requires impressions of the teeth so that custom fit bleaching trays can be fabricated. With these, you will receive a few syringes of whitening gel, usually a hydrogen peroxide solution, and you put it into the trays. You wear the trays for 1-2 hours a day until you reach the desired shade. There are many brands of over the counter whitening products that are less expensive. These products contain more chemicals than professional whitening gels, but are relatively safe. Over the counter methods are less effective and usually only whiten 1-2 shades. Whitening can cause sensitivity to the tooth and gums for a few days, especially if you have gum recession. And bleaching is not permanent; you may need touch ups every few years. Whitening has no effect on crowns, veneers, or fillings so this also needs to be taken into consideration when you want to whiten your teeth. If you are thinking of having your teeth whitened, speak with your dentist about whether you are a good candidate because whitening may not be for everyone. Your dentists will be able to talk to you about what options are best for you personally.

Dental x-rays are a very important part of diagnosis. Without x-rays, many cavities and other dental problems would go undetected and worsen. Decay can at times progress rapidly, and sometimes without symptoms, such as pain. X-rays reveal decay that is not visible to the naked eye, especially between the teeth, as well as abscesses at the end of the roots. It is recommended to have a series of 4 Bitewing x-rays every 12-18 months and a full mouth series of x-rays every 5-8 years. This gives us a good picture of the health of your teeth, as well as the health of the bone supporting your teeth.

Dental photography is just what it sounds like…pictures of our mouth. This is a very key aspect in patient education because as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. A picture allows the patient to see exactly what the dentist sees and thus is able to then understand why certain treatment may be recommended or see a problem and how it affects them. Dental photography also captures changes that can occur in the mouth over time, such as before and after treatment. The invention of dental photography also has its place in schools and continuing education seminars. Instructors are able to use real life examples of people’s mouths and teeth for teaching and educational purposes, instead of just diagrams. Photographs are also used to communicate with insurance companies and dental laboratories, as well as between referring doctors. A standard series of photographs are usually taken on a patient’s first appointment and then updated every few years.

This is a hotly debated topic amongst scientists and dentists alike. Her are some of the facts about fluoride: Fluoride is a chemical byproduct of copper, iron and aluminum, but is also a synthetic chemical that can be recreated in a laboratory. Fluoride is typically found in toothpastes, mouthwashes, and tap water. Many cities in the US put fluoride in their water supplies, but some are stopping the practice because it is not federally regulated. The most recognizable benefit of using fluoride is that it helps prevent tooth decay and can at times reverse early decay by rematerializing the enamel. There are some significant dangers to using fluoride though. Again, fluoride is a chemical ion and so if a person (specifically children) are exposed or swallow too much fluoride, they are at risk for poisoning. Studies have shown that the use of fluoride in children is linked with lowered IQ, thyroid dysfunction and lower bone density. New research is also proving that any possible fluoride benefits are only topical, so there is no valid reason to swallow it. Before fluoride was used in dentistry, it was used as a rat poison and insecticide. Fluoride is considered a toxic substance and once ingested the kidneys can only eliminate about 50% of daily intake. This toxin has also been shown to enhance the brain’s absorption of aluminum, a contributor to Alzheimer’s disease.

Cavitation, also called residual infection, can occur after a person has a root canal or extraction due to an abscessed tooth. A residual infection can occur following tooth removal, and sometimes there is incomplete healing of the bone. This area of jawbone contains bacteria and other toxins. Slowly over time this hole in the bone will begin to leak its bacteria and can at times impact the health. Cavitations can develop as a result of a bacterium that has remained after a root canal or extraction and/or incomplete healing. It is very difficult to diagnose cavitation without doing explorative surgery on a past extraction site. Even x-rays are limited in being able to diagnose cavitations. Cone-beam CT scans are helpful when diagnosing cavitations, as they are 3 dimensional images. To prevent cavitiation, we use our dental laser to disinfect extraction sites and root canals. This kills bacteria up to 1mm into the tooth and tissue.

We believe lower night guards are better for your dental and overall well being. I took training with a local Osteopathic physician in Cranial Sacral therapy (which is the gentle manipulation of the bones of the skull and back). When I trained with this Osteopath she taught that if the bones didn’t move correctly, it could cause problems with wellness. There are 29 bones in the head and only one in the lower jaw that is not hooked to the other bones. The lower jawbone (mandible) is a single bone and is suspended from the skull by ligaments, tendons and muscles. The rest of the bones in the skull have sutures and subtle movement. Putting a night guard on the upper teeth has the side effect of binding the skull bones in place, preventing their natural movements. This can affect the normal cranial sacral rhythm. Making a night guard on the lower arch still protects the teeth the same as an upper but prevents those bones from binding up and actually stimulates cranial sacral movement. At times, a lower night guard is not the best option, so an upper is still better than none at all if a patient is a clencher or grinder, but when possible we will recommend a lower night guard.

One out of every 10 Americans suffers from chronic headaches. Many never know that their headaches may be caused by TMJ, and that their pain is the result of a bad bite. Symptoms can include headaches, ear ringing, earaches, jaw clicking, and stiffness of the jaw, neck, shoulders or back. TMJ stands for Temporomandibular Joint and it is the joint that connects the mandible (lower jaw) to the temporal bone of the skull. It is unclear at this time what causes this disorder, but some factors like an improper bite, injury, severe stress, clenching, grinding and arthritis as well as some sleeping disorders can tire the muscles of the TMJ and create painful spasms. A cycle of pain can continue as the repeated muscle problems affect the joints causing muscle tenderness and more spasms. There are a few treatments available for TMJ disorder including: applying moist heat or ice, getting a custom bite or night guard, stress management, bite adjustments, laser therapy, relaxation therapy, and restorative work to relieve the joint of stress.

Holistic Dentistry:

Holistic dentistry is centered on bringing balance to people's lives by treating the whole person, not just their symptoms or a specific issue. Practitioners of holistic dentistry strive to reduce a person's risk of disease and promote optimal health through dental care.

Holistic dentists believe that the mouth is an excellent indicator of overall health and that problems in the mouth can affect the rest of the body. However, they also understand that oral health issues can cause a patient to suffer psychological stress that can negatively impact their life and health.

Holistic dentists work with people to identify the root causes of their oral issues and strive to resolve them without placing unnecessary medications or other treatments into the patient's body. They believe that patients should contribute to their own health as much as possible while also consulting with a dental professional when appropriate.

Holistic practitioners also strive to use biocompatible materials in dental treatments while avoiding exposure to toxins whenever possible. This means that a holistic dentist may use an amalgam filling to fill a tooth rather than a composite resin material because the mercury in an amalgam filling is less toxic to the body than BPA in the composite material. Holistic dentists may also recommend vitamins to support healthy levels of antioxidants in the body. Antioxidants help the body fight free radicals that cause tissue damage to gums and other tissues in the oral cavity. They also promote oral health by reducing inflammation in the periodontal tissues caused by bacteria. Holistic dentists also offer dietary counseling.

Holistic dentists focus on understanding the whole person rather than focusing solely on the teeth and gums. Because of this, they'll often ask about a patient's diet, stress levels, and overall health before recommending treatment. As a result, they will consider many factors when developing a treatment plan and help patients make lifestyle changes that will improve their mouth as well as the rest of their body.

For example, a dentist may advise a patient who drinks several cups of coffee each day to switch to decaffeinated coffee or herbal tea because caffeine can stain teeth over time and cause other health problems like headaches and anxiety. They may also suggest cutting back on sugary foods and drinks that can cause tooth decay while also encouraging the patient to eat a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals for overall wellness.

When dentist understands what goes into making a person's mouth healthy, they can create a treatment plan that is individualized for each patient. Rather than simply prescribing a toothbrush or a topical fluoride gel to every patient who needs to improve the health of their smile, they can provide recommendations that are customized to what will work best with their unique circumstances and lifestyle.

Holistic dentists believe in using nontoxic materials and techniques, and they avoid exposing the patient to unnecessary x-rays and fluoride treatments.

Many patients prefer holistic dentistry because it eliminates the possibility of being exposed to harsh chemicals or materials. Your teeth and gums will not be compromised since most professionals use natural methods to treat the teeth and gums. This also means you will not be exposed to toxic elements like mercury when receiving fillings or other procedures.

Since many holistic dental practices generally focus on prevention instead of treatment, you can expect your teeth to be in better shape than if you visited a traditional dentist. By visiting a holistic dentist every six months, you can help maintain your healthy teeth and good oral hygiene habits. You can also learn how to naturally prevent cavities and other issues without the need for harsh products or more invasive procedures.

A holistic dentist treats cavities using mercury-free fillings. A holistic dentist understands that mercury is toxic to humans, animals, and the environment, so you won't find amalgam fillings in their offices. Instead, these dentists use tooth-colored porcelain fillings that are not only more aesthetically pleasing but also safer for you as well.

This treatment involves using ozone gas to disinfect the teeth and gums. It's possible that this may help treat gum disease and mouth ulcers by removing harmful bacteria from the gums. What's more, ozone can also kill harmful yeast and fungi in the mouth, which can have a negative impact on your health.

If you have a disease like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, your holistic dentist may recommend dietary changes to stop the progression of the disease and reduce any symptoms you're experiencing. These may include eating more leafy greens, nuts, and seeds and avoiding sugar and other processed carbohydrates that can damage your teeth.

If you have a disease like diabetes or rheumatoid arthritis, your holistic dentist may recommend dietary changes to stop the progression of the disease and reduce any symptoms you're experiencing. These may include eating more leafy greens, nuts, and seeds and avoiding sugar and other processed carbohydrates that can damage your teeth.

Holistic dentistry is preferred by many patients as it keeps more natural tooth tissue, uses longer-lasting, nontoxic materials, and improves overall health by improving oral health.

Traditional dentists employ titanium dental implants to replace the patient's missing tooth root; however, many patients are sensitive to metal. Biocompatible zirconia implants are used by holistic dentists because they better integrate with the jaw and don't trigger allergic responses.

Holistic dentists treat gum disease with the least intrusive, nontoxic methods possible. Ozone treatment, which aids in killing harmful germs that hurt the gums and create inflammation, is often their first line of defense. Many holistic dentists also use laser dentistry if the patient needs surgery. When surgeries are carried out using lasers rather than conventional scalpels, patients recover more quickly and experience less discomfort. 

Even dental cavitations linked to gum disease can be treated with lasers.

One area where you'll see a noticeable change between conventional and holistic dentistry is in root canals. Since 100% sterilization of the root canal is challenging to achieve, holistic dentists approach root canals with caution. Holistic dentists believe that some sterilizing agents, like formaldehyde, may be dangerous and poisonous. In addition, we are aware that bacteria in the canal can cause heart disease and breast cancer. So, holistic dentists typically avoid root canal treatment and recommend ozone therapy or laser to clean the infected root canal or extraction if necessary.