Many patients visit Kenmore Dental with questions about their dental care. To help you prepare for your next dental appointment, we have provided some of the more frequently asked questions:

What should I do if I have bad breath?

Everyone experiences bad breath (halitosis) from time to time. The most common cause is deposits on the tongue, which can be reduced by brushing the tongue during oral care. Other causes of bad breath are:

  • Morning time: The flow of saliva decreases during sleep, allowing bacteria to grow without the cleansing action.
  • Diet: Foods with odor-causing compounds (such as garlic and onions) enter the lungs through the bloodstream and are then exhaled.
  • Poor oral hygiene: When food is permitted to remain on the teeth, it causes bacteria to grow.
  • Gum disease: Inflamed gums contain colonies of bacteria and food debris.
  • Dental cavities & improperly fitted appliances: Bacteria gathers in concentrated groups.
  • Dry mouth: Certain medications, mouth breath, or salivary gland issues disrupt the flow of saliva.
  • Tobacco use: Tobacco dries out the mouth, causing bad breath.
  • Dieting: When the body burns fat, ketone chemicals are released into the breath.
  • Dehydration & hunger: Saliva production increases when chewing or drinking water.
  • Medical conditions & illnesses: Some medical concerns, such as diabetes, pneumonia, bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, and liver and kidney problems can contribute to bad breath.

We encourage you to keep a record of what may be causing your bad breath. You can treat bad breath with good oral hygiene, regular dental visits, increased water intake, mouthwash, and quitting tobacco habits. Contact our dentist if your halitosis persists.

How often should I brush and floss?

We advise that you brush your teeth at least twice a day, preferably morning and night, with an ADA-approved soft-bristled brush and toothpaste. Hold the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle and use small, circular motions. Do not forget to brush your tongue. Rinse your mouth with water after brushing and if you are unable to brush. Floss daily to clean between the teeth and disrupt the development of plaque colonies. Use 12-16 inches of dental floss or floss sticks.

Are amalgam fillings safe?

Many people have expressed concern over amalgam (silver) fillings, saying the blend of metals creates a vapor and minute particles that are harmful to the health. The American Dental Association has not discovered a link between medical disorders and amalgam fillings, which have been used for over 100 years. Amalgam fillings are still considered safe by the world’s leading health experts, with the exception of individuals with pre-existing allergies to the metal materials. If you are concerned about amalgam fillings, ask Dr. Michael J. Conway about our composite fillings.

How often should I have a dental exam and cleaning?

We encourage you to have your teeth examined and cleaned at least twice a year. You may need to visit more frequently if you are prone to tooth decay or have a chronic oral condition. Dental checkups are important for maintaining your oral health. During a checkup, your teeth are cleaned of any plaque and our dentist and team will screen for signs of decay or oral disease so that we can better care for your smile.

How do I know if I have gingivitis or periodontitis?

As many as 4 out of 5 patients have gum disease without knowing it. Gingivitis is the beginning stage of gum disease and can be virtually undetectable except by a dentist, while periodontitis is the advanced stage that results in tooth and bone loss. Symptoms of gum disease include:

  • Swollen, red gums
  • Bleeding gums
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Receding gums
  • Enlarged spacing between teeth

Please contact Kenmore Dental if you notice any of these symptoms.

Why is flossing important?

We encourage patients to floss daily to remove food particles and plaque that brushing could not reach. Dental floss can reach between the teeth and under the gum line, where decay and gum disease are likely to occur. Take 12-16 inches of dental floss or a floss stick and use a sawing motion between the teeth, reaching below the gum line.

How can cosmetic dentistry help improve the appearance of my smile?

Cosmetic dentistry is the practice of specialized dental care to improve the appearance of one or more teeth. The desire for a more attractive smile has increased in recent decades, resulting in a wide variety of cosmetic procedures, such as:

  • Teeth whitening
  • Tooth-colored dental fillings
  • Porcelain veneers
  • Porcelain crowns
  • Dental implants
  • Orthodontics

These services can enhance your smile by correcting smile flaws such as stains, chips, fractures, gaps, misshapen teeth, and crooked teeth. Several cosmetic treatments also serve as dental restorations that can strengthen your smile and increase your oral health. When you visit Kenmore Dental for cosmetic care, Dr. Michael J. Conway will help you create a customized treatment plan that combines any services you need to achieve your smile goals.

What are porcelain veneers and how can they improve my smile?

Porcelain veneers are thin, tooth-shaped shells that are designed to cover the front of the teeth. Porcelain is known for its durability and stain resistance, making it an excellent choice of material. Veneers are often used to strengthen the teeth and cover unwanted stain, uneven spacing, chips, overcrowding, wear and tear, and teeth that are too small or too large. We offer customized dental veneers to fit your unique smile and goals.

What can I do about stained or discolored teeth?

Teeth whitening is the most popular choice for whitening and brightening teeth because it is simple, effective, and long-lasting. We offer two types of teeth whitening:

  • At-home whitening: Our dentist will take impressions of your smile to create customized whitening trays. You can take these trays and some powerful whitening gel home. By wearing the trays for a short time during the day or while you sleep, you can lighten your teeth over a series of weeks.
  • In-office whitening: We offer Sinsational Smile® for results that are almost immediate. Our dentist protects the gums and then applies a whitening solution to the teeth that is enhanced with a special light.

We invite you to contact our office to learn more about teeth whitening.

We hope that this information has been useful and informative. If you have further questions about dental care in Kenmore, Washington, please contact Kenmore Dental at 425-485-0588 and schedule an appointment with our friendly dentist.