Our Blog

Is gingivitis preventable?

March 24th, 2017

The earliest sign of gum disease is called gingivitis (sometimes called periodontal disease), and is an inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to gum tissue loss, loss of bone that supports the teeth, and eventually tooth loss. The good news is that gingivitis is easily treatable at Discovery Dental. Better yet, gingivitis is nearly 100 percent preventable.

Gingivitis is usually caused when plaque and bacteria accumulate on the gums, generally due to poor oral hygiene. A patient with gingivitis will have red and puffy gums that will likely bleed when he or she brushes or flosses.

It is almost entirely within our patients’ power to prevent gingivitis by brushing and flossing on a daily basis. In addition to good oral health habits, regular visits to see Dr. Dave Stinchfield and Dr. Tom Stinchfield will also help with early detection. We can often detect minor inflammation and other signs of gingivitis before it causes any discomfort or issues.

If left untreated, gingivitis will eventually progress to periodontitis, a breakdown of the tissue and bone that support the teeth. Smokers, women who are pregnant or menopausal, people with heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy or HIV infection, and people who suffer from poor nutrition are more likely to have gum disease.

To learn more about gingivitis, or if you suspect you have gingivitis, we encourage you to give us a call at our Washougal, WA office today!

Why do wisdom teeth need to be removed?

March 17th, 2017

Dr. Dave Stinchfield and Dr. Tom Stinchfield and our team at Discovery Dental get this question a lot. Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to come in, once young people get their adult teeth. Because they are the last teeth to break through the gums, they are often called the third molars. There are four wisdom teeth: two on each side of the top and bottom of the mouth.

There is no hard-and-fast rule that says everyone must have the wisdom teeth removed. There are certain situations in which they either cause problems directly, or create a situation where there is a greater likelihood problems will arise eventually.

Impacted wisdom teeth

If Dr. Dave Stinchfield and Dr. Tom Stinchfield and our team say you have a soft tissue impaction, it means your wisdom tooth is covered by gum tissue that is preventing it from erupting — most likely because your mouth is too small to provide the tooth with the room it needs to emerge.

The term “partial bony impaction” means that gum tissue is covering the wisdom tooth, but part of the jaw bone is also covering it, in which case there is no room in your mouth for the tooth to erupt. The opposite end of this spectrum is a complete bony impaction, where the wisdom tooth is completely covered by gum tissue and the jawbone, which prevent it from ever erupting.

The importance of removing impacted wisdom teeth

Dentists often want to remove impacted wisdom teeth because of the likelihood that they will cause problems, or because a problem already exists. One such problem is pericoronitis, an acute abscess that affects partially impacted wisdom teeth. Food, bacteria, and other mouth debris can become lodged under the gum flap that covers the wisdom tooth, which prevents it from erupting. Pericoronitis symptoms include pain, swelling, and the presence of an abscess.

Regular dental checkups will enable your dentist to keep an eye on your wisdom teeth, especially if they have some type of impaction. Dr. Dave Stinchfield and Dr. Tom Stinchfield and our team at Discovery Dental typically recommend removal of impacted wisdom teeth because of the likelihood that severe infections such as pericoronitis will develop.

If you have any questions about wisdom teeth, or if you would like to schedule an appointment with Dr. Dave Stinchfield and Dr. Tom Stinchfield, please give us a call at our convenient Washougal, WA office!

Dental Implants vs. Natural Teeth

March 10th, 2017

If you're considering getting an implant, you'll most certainly have questions for Dr. Dave Stinchfield and Dr. Tom Stinchfield. You might be wondering how a dental implant compares to a real tooth. Let's look at some of the differences between implants and natural teeth.

It should be noted that one of the primary goals of implant dentistry is to try to provide the same form and function as your natural teeth. However, with that in mind, know that an implant is not a tooth. An implant does not decay and does not have dental pulp or periodontal membrane like teeth.

An implant won't always work in every case, but they do have some great advantages when they are called for. Some advantages of an implant:

  • Often last for decades without needing to be replaced
  • Create a functional and aesthetically pleasing replacement for your missing tooth
  • Don't require surrounding teeth for support
  • Do not decay like natural teeth
  • Can be fixed or removable
  • Are able to replace single tooth or multiple teeth

There are downsides to implants where natural teeth win out. The disadvantages of implants include:

  • Higher cost compared to traditional dentistry
  • It's a surgical procedure which requires a period of healing afterward
  • Fracturing of fixtures and loosening of screws can occur (only in about 5% of patients)
  • Since there is no cushion between the implant and the bone, fracturing of crowns and bridges is more common with implants than with natural teeth, though this is rare.

It's best to speak with Dr. Dave Stinchfield and Dr. Tom Stinchfield about your options regarding implants. Let us know what you want to achieve and we'll work with you as best we can to accomplish that. And don't hesitate to contact our Washougal, WA office for further questions about the procedure.

The Definitive Guide to Cleaning Your Teeth Correctly

March 3rd, 2017

Type “How do you brush teeth” into Google and you will find 15.5 million articles discussing the most basic oral health practice. Here’s a foolproof guide to keeping your teeth pearly white:

  • Two Brushes a Day Keeps the Dentist Away – Brushing for two minutes twice a day is the bare minimum to maintaining a healthy smile. If you can, consider brushing three times a day to keep your chompers clean and your breath smelling great.
  • Stop Singing ‘Happy Birthday’ – A common rule of thumb for the amount of time it should take to brush your teeth is the time it takes you to hum the Happy Birthday song. Ditch the kids’ song and instead plan on spending two minutes in front of the mirror. Divide up your mouth into four sections and spend about 30 seconds really cleaning each quadrant.
  • Check the Technique – Hold your brush at a 45-degree angle to your gums and make short up-and-down motions. Wide, side-to-side strokes can cause scrapes along your gum line so avoid those. Brush outer and inner tooth surfaces, back molars, and don’t forget your tongue!
  • Floss – A critical component to a clean and healthy mouth is dislodging any bits of food from your teeth with floss. Flossing is simple: wind 18 inches of floss around the middle fingers of each hand, pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, gently guide floss between teeth by using a zig-zag motion and then slide the floss up and down against the tooth surface to remove any residue and food. Flossing isn’t just for keeping teeth clean; in fact, it’s an important tool to fight against bad breath.

If you ever need help keeping your smile bright, you can always come visit Dr. Dave Stinchfield and Dr. Tom Stinchfield. Our Solea dental laser provides you with virtually anesthesia-free procedures so you can get in and get out of our Washougal, WA office quickly and easily.