October 16th, 2018
We all want to live our healthiest lives. We know that part of keeping ourselves healthy is regular visits to our Puyallup, WA office for checkups and necessary dental work. And that dental work might require an X-ray. Should the amount of radiation in an X-ray concern us?
First, it is helpful to know that the radiation you are exposed to from a dental X-ray is very small. A set of most bitewing X-rays, for example, produces an amount of exposure about equal to the amount of background radiation we get from our normal surroundings in a typical day. We also take care to minimize your exposure even further by using specially designed equipment and protective shielding, and taking only necessary X-rays. If your child is very young, if you are pregnant, or if you have other health concerns, talk to us about the advisability of X-rays and whether they are essential to treatment.
Second, much of our careful general examination will be done visually. Dr. Sung Lee can check for cavities and other problems and assess tooth and gum health. But sometimes, there are conditions which can’t be detected without an X-ray.
- Decay that isn’t visible in an oral exam—if a small cavity develops between teeth, or is hidden underneath a filling, an X-ray will catch it before more damage can take place.
- Infection—An X-ray will reveal infections such as abscesses that can damage both bone and tooth, and gum disease that has harmed bone and connective tissue.
- Orthodontic and periodontal issues—We might need an X-ray to determine the spacing and development of your child’s incoming teeth and maturing jaw structure, to properly create braces for adults or children, or to place an implant within the jawbone.
- If you are a new patient, it is helpful to have complete X-rays taken as a baseline of your current dental health and previous dental work. This baseline allows us to track tooth and jaw development, if necessary, and to evaluate any future changes that might be a concern. (If you have had X-rays taken in another office, we can help you have them transferred so we have a background of your dental history.)
Even though the radiation from a dental X-ray is minimal, be assured that we will never request any unnecessary procedure. When we recommend an X-ray, we do so to make sure there is no decay or infection threatening the health of your gums and teeth, and that we have the essential knowledge we need to treat any dental, periodontal, or orthodontic condition. Because we all want to live our healthiest lives—and part of that healthy life is both active and proactive dental care.
October 9th, 2018
Many teens want straighter teeth but dread a mouth full of metal. Because of that, Invisalign Teen treatment has become a popular choice among teens. It produces great results without the hassle of traditional braces.
If you’re like most teens at our Puyallup, WA office, you love hanging out with your friends, and you don’t want to look different or have to watch what you eat. If you’re unsure about the benefits of Invisalign Teen clear aligners, we’re here to explain some of the perks.
You can eat what your friends eat
Invisalign Teen aligners can be removed easily for meals and snacks, so you can eat just like you normally would. You don’t need to worry about food getting stuck in your braces or a bracket popping off. Unlike with braces, you can enjoy the following foods with your friends during Invisalign Teen straightening treatment:
- Popcorn at the movies
- Trail mix with dried fruit ribs and chicken wings
- A peanut butter sandwich, apples, and carrot sticks
You can take care of your teeth more easily
Since Invisalign Teen aligners are removable, you won’t have to worry about finding tooth decay once your braces are removed. You can brush and floss your teeth as you normally would, just by taking the trays out of your mouth.
People won’t know you’re wearing them
We’ve saved the best for last: Invisalign Teen aligners are nearly invisible. Chances are, the only people who will know you’re getting your teeth straightened are the people you tell yourself!
Getting straighter teeth can be a massive confidence-booster in the long run. With Invisalign Teen clear aligners, the treatment isn’t that bad! Learn more at our Puyallup, WA office.
October 2nd, 2018
If this is your child’s first holiday season with braces, here are some tips on how to help children get the most enjoyment from these celebrations without compromising their braces or leaving them feeling left out of the festivities.
When you think dental health, “Halloween” is not usually the first thing that comes to mind. Halloween can be tricky, but with some planning and intervention, you can make sure your child doesn’t miss out on the treats that make the holiday a favorite.
Braces present other challenges besides dealing with the scary amount of sugar in every trick-or-treat bag. Certain treats can be a challenge to clean from braces, and can even cause broken brackets and wires. How to avoid these frightful results?
- Go through your child’s treat bag when you get home after neighborhood trick-or-treating. Anything which can damage braces, such as regular gum, candy with nuts or caramel, or hard or chewy candies should be discarded. Perhaps you and your child can choose a selection of soft candy such as plain chocolate and peanut butter cups to trade for those tricky treats. Your child’s favorite soft fruits, cupcakes, and cookies could also be safe substitutes.
- Party time? Candy apples, bowls of candy corn, and popcorn balls are favorite treats at Halloween parties, but very bad for braces. Help your child recognize what should be avoided before attending, and suggest safe options like soft cupcakes.
- Finally, even safe treats will leave more sugar than normal in your child’s mouth and therefore more potential for plaque build-up. Brush and floss more often, if needed, and rinse regularly with water.
Talk candy guidelines over in advance with your child. If you’d like, Dr. Sung Lee can recommend safe alternatives. With your help, Halloween won’t be a fearsome experience for you or your trick-or-treater.
Now, this is a holiday to be thankful for! Almost all of your traditional favorites are perfect for family members with braces.
- Appetizers: Offer soft food options such as silky cheeses and deviled eggs instead of crunchy vegetables, chips, and nuts.
- Dinner: Turkey is a required dish on many tables, and no need to miss out! Just make sure pieces are bite-size and off the bone. Creamy mashed potatoes and gravy and jellied cranberry sauce are also braces-friendly traditions. Any cooked vegetable should be fine, but do cut the corn from the cob first. Dressing is a great side dish if your child avoids any crunchy tops and edges, as are soft, nut-free rolls and muffins.
- Dessert: Pumpkin pie, cheesecake, and apple pie with ice cream are all safe (and delicious) choices. Leave the pecan pie, caramel sauce, and anything nutty or chewy off your child’s menu. And remember to brush and floss carefully after the feast!
If you are concerned that following the usual food guidelines might be a little more difficult during this time of year, talk to us. Dr. Sung Lee and our team are happy to suggest ways to make your child’s first holidays with braces memorable for all the right reasons. The last thing you’ll want is an emergency visit to our Puyallup, WA office!
September 25th, 2018
These days, it’s become more common to see adults at our office getting their teeth straightened with Invisalign clear aligners . . . that is, if you can see them! Whether they are seeking to overcome the stigma that “braces are just for kids,” or simply want straighter teeth without a mouth full of metal, Invisalign is an effective and easy solution.
According to the American Association of Orthodontists, from 1994 to 2010 the number of adults 18 and older who request braces increased by 58 percent: from 680,000 to 1.1 million a year. Many adults enjoy how discreet the aligners are and that the user doesn’t need to avoid any foods or make dietary changes the way you would with traditional braces. Also, each treatment is unique to the patient.
With an Invisalign treatment, you can expect to enjoy the following benefits over traditional braces:
- The total treatment time is more precise with Invisalign because your treatment is modeled by a computer. Traditional braces depend more on an estimate and aren’t as exact.
- You’ll make fewer trips to our Puyallup, WA office, since you’re able to change your trays on your own every few weeks or whatever is prescribed.
- Without brackets to place over your teeth, there’s less risk to the health of your tooth enamel.
- Invisalign aligners are clear and practically invisible, so most people won’t even know you’re wearing them!
If you’re interested in Invisalign as a treatment option, please let Dr. Sung Lee know. We’d be happy to help you on your journey to a straighter, healthier smile!