Author Archives: Dr. López

Nervous about Your Wisdom Teeth Extraction? Learn What To Expect

Wisdom teeth aren’t necessary teeth and most adults have them extracted due to impaction, infection, or crowding. While not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed, those that do have them taken out typically do it in their late teens or early twenties. At Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. López uses digital x-rays to decide when it’s necessary to remove wisdom teeth that are not coming in properly or may cause problems.

wisdom teeth extraction at Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

What are wisdom teeth?

While most of us only have room in our mouth for 28 teeth, we actually have 32. Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars, that don’t usually erupt until later in life. Most people have them removed in their late teens or early twenties, and a lucky few never need to have them removed at all. Your wisdom teeth serve no essential purpose, so having them removed won’t damage or inhibit your oral function in any way.

While we don’t need our wisdom teeth to maintain our health, they were originally used to help early human ancestors grind plant tissue. Early humans were thought to have larger jaws, with room for more teeth, helping them ingest a diet made of foliage and plants.

Why Remove Your Wisdom Teeth?

Due to the fact that most of us don’t have big enough mouths to accommodate these extra molars, they don’t have enough space to erupt properly. They can cause overcrowding, or come in sideways and impacted, meaning that they are not growing in straight. When your wisdom teeth are impacted, that can damage surrounding teeth, causing infection. Removing your wisdom teeth makes it easier to maintain your oral health and prevent your teeth from shifting out of place.

What To Expect From An Extraction

Fortunately, wisdom teeth extractions are an extremely common procedure. Dr. López wants you to feel at ease during the process. With the use of sedation dentistry, you will be able to rest pain-free during the extraction, leaving you with little to no memory after your teeth have been removed. As everyone’s wisdom teeth are unique the extraction process is different for each patient.

If your wisdom teeth have already come through the gums the procedure will be similar to any other tooth extraction. However, if your wisdom teeth are still covered by gum tissue, our Spokane dentist will make a small incision, giving him access to the area and allowing him to extract the tooth. It may be necessary to split the tooth into multiple pieces to make it easier to remove.

Recovery From Wisdom Teeth Extraction

Following your procedure, someone will need to drive you home to heal. Immediately following your procedure, your lips, and cheeks may still feel a little numb or sore, however, medication should prevent any feeling of pain. During the next few days, it is important to get plenty of rest, avoid hard foods, or foods that are too hot as this can aggravate the extraction site.

Dr. López will provide medications to help reduce swelling, pain, and prevent infection as you heal. Most patients experience little to no discomfort and are able to return to normal activities such as work within a few days. Working out and heavy physical activity should be avoided until you are healed to prevent complications with your extraction site.

Benefits of Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Removing your wisdom teeth is usually recommended to protect your smile from damage. At Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, wisdom tooth extractions offer many benefits to improve your oral health. Some of the benefits include:

  • Preventing damage to surrounding teeth
  • Improving oral health
  • Prevent shifting in teeth
  • Stop overcrowding
  • Preventing infection

Leaving your wisdom teeth in place when they are impacted or causing overcrowding can cause permanent damage. Wisdom teeth can make it hard to properly clean your back molars, causing tooth decay and cavities. They can also affect the health of your gums trapping bacteria and food debris that can cause gum disease.

It’s natural to be nervous when undergoing serious procedures, however, Dr. López and the team at Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry are experienced in keeping you comfortable and worry-free during your entire treatment. We provide sedation dentistry and will walk you through every step to make sure you know exactly what to expect.

Visit Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Today!

Removing your wisdom tooth will protect your smile from damage, and relieve pain that can be caused by inflamed gums or impacted teeth. Dr. López is dedicated to providing stress-free dental care in a comfortable and caring environment that will put your mind at ease. Contact our Spokane office today!

Is There A Connection Between The Gums and The Heart?

Your entire body is connected, which includes your oral and overall health. It might surprise you but there is actually a direct connection between your gums and your heart. That means that taking good care of your teeth and gums is important for keeping your heart healthy. Dr. López is dedicated to helping patients understand how gum health can impact more than just your smile.

gum disease and the hearts connection

What Is Gum Disease?

The first step is understanding what gum disease, or periodontal disease, actually is. This disease is a bacterial infection that occurs when plaque builds up along the gum line when your teeth aren’t properly cared for. It causes a break down between your gums and the underlying tissue, which in turn causes inflammation and infection. Gum disease breaks down the connective tissue leaving your body vulnerable for that bacteria to spread. As this bacteria spreads it can increase your chances for many different health risks that could cause long term or permanent damage.

How Your Gums And Heart Are Connected

It has been shown that people with gum disease are much more likely to suffer from heart disease or strokes, even when they are otherwise healthy. Gum disease can leave your body vulnerable, allowing bacteria to spread through your body by normal activities such as chewing or brushing. That bacteria can lead to heart disease and other cardiovascular issues. Overall health problems patients with periodontal disease face include:

    • Cardiovascular Disease
    • Coronary Heart Disease
    • Strokes
    • Infectious Endocarditis
    • Preventing Gum Disease

Forming good habits will help maintain your oral and overall health, reducing risk for bigger health issues. Seeking treatment for gum disease before it can progress to a more advanced stage is an important part of preventing damage to your teeth, gums, and overall well-being. Brushing and flossing your teeth at least twice a day and using mouthwash daily are all good habits and preventative measures you can do to keep gum disease and its associated heart issues at bay. Making biannual trips to the dentist for a professional cleaning is also a vital part of keeping your gums and heart healthy. For some patients, your Spokane dentist may recommend more frequent visits.

Contact Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry Today

If you are worried that you might have gum disease, making an appointment with Dr. López can help put your mind at ease. At Summit Family And Cosmetic Dentistry we can help treat your gum disease and keep it from impacting the rest of your overall health. Contact our Spokane office today for an appointment!

Achieving Your Dream Smile In A Day With CEREC

No one wants to live with damaged teeth longer than they have to. After dental work or due to an accident, cracked or broken teeth can cause risks to your health and be a blemish on your smile. Crowns can take two or more visits and weeks to put in place, leaving gaps and cracks visible and exposed to infection in the meantime. Thanks to advances in technology, like CEREC, we are now able to place your crowns on the same day in many cases. With CEREC, you can walk out of Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry with a beautiful smile.

Crowns With CEREC at Summit Family and Cosmetic Dentistry

What Is CEREC?

CEREC stands for Ceramic Reconstruction and is a system that allows our Spokane dentist to create your restoration as you wait in the office. Using 3D images and CAD/CAM technology to create a virtual version of your onlay, inlay, crown, or bridge without taking impressions, our in-office milling machine can then create your restoration during that some appointment.

Placing Crowns Before CEREC

The old method of providing ceramic crowns required a few weeks and at least two office visits to create and fit your crown. Dentists had to create a physical impression of the surgical site using an uncomfortable goopy substance, wait for it harden, and use the impression to build a mold of the restoration.

That mold then had to mailed to a laboratory and the patient would have to wait for the lab to send the completed restoration back to the dentist. Another appointment was necessary for placing and fitting the restoration perfectly for the patient’s mouth. CEREC has changed all that making it easier than ever to create your new smile.

Placing Crowns with CEREC

Using our CEREC system Dr. López can create restorations in as little as a few hours while you wait in comfort in our Spokane office. Impressions are taken digitally and recorded for use when building your crown. The process is simple and painless- all you’ll have to worry about is how to enjoy your new smile!

  • Your tooth will be prepared for the digital impression.
  • CEREC intraoral digital camera will scan the site of your new crown and create a perfect 3D copy of the restoration.
  • Dr. López will send that data to a milling machine right here in our office. In a short period of time your crown can be milled as you wait.
  • After your crown has been placed, Dr. López will check to make sure that the restoration fits perfectly with your smile.
  • Any adjustments that are needed are made to ensure that the crown is comfortable and fits properly. The color can also be adjusted to help it match your teeth.
  • One last check is made to ensure the perfect fit and then Dr. López attaches the crown.

Visit Your Implant Dentist In Spokane Today

If you’re looking for ways to enhance your smile, CEREC can help you achieve the results you want in less time. Get back to smiling more! Contact Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry to schedule a consultation and see how our same day dentistry can help you!

Stay Cavity Free this Halloween

sugary treats on Halloween

Are you ready for Halloween?

With just a week left before a flood of trick-or-treaters descend on your doorstep, we’re heading into crunch time. Getting the last few touches up on front-yard decorations and making the last few adjustments to your costume can quickly absorb any free time you have left before Oct. 31st. And with good reason – Halloween is a fun holiday for every age and is often considered the kickoff to the holiday season.

At Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we want you to enjoy your Halloween worry-free. But before you and your family binge on your candy haul, be sure to keep these tricks in mind to protect your smile from cavities or an accidental emergency:

Stick to Chocolates!
Like anything else, all candy is great in moderation. However, some sweets are certainly better for your teeth than others. Lollipops and hard candies in particular are major culprits behind poor oral health. Because these treats can’t be easily eaten without letting it dissolve for an extended period of time, patients are essentially bathing their teeth in sugar, which can increase the risk of cavities and gingivitis.

Rather than putting your teeth at risk, our Spokane dentist recommends opting for chocolates and other softer candies. Not only are Hershey’s and M&Ms easier to chew (limiting the risk of broken teeth), they don’t stick to teeth and any debris left behind is easily washed away from your smile.

Having a Filling or Crown? Keep Away From Caramels
This one is for our teen and adult patients who also enjoy indulging during this spooky season. Caramels, taffy, and other sticky sweets are especially notorious for damaging dental restorations and have been known to pull out fillings and crowns. If you want to avoid an emergency dental visit, stay away from caramels.

Satisfy your Sweet Tooth with an Apple
While treating yourself to sweets every once in awhile is great, it’s easy to go overboard, especially on Halloween. To keep your smile healthy, our dentist in Spokane recommends alternating candy with smile-friendly snacks like celery sticks, apples, and carrots. Not only are these whole fruits and veggies great for your diet, they’re also excellent for your smile!

Remember to Brush & Floss
Whether you’re going out trick-or-treating or planning on sneaking a few treats while passing out candy, remember to brush and floss twice a day! Neglecting important oral hygiene steps, especially after a night of sugary treats can increase your risk of developing oral health problems, including cavities and gingivitis.

Enjoy Your Halloween!
Our team at Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry wishes you a safe and happy holiday! If you do happen to experience a dental emergency while enjoying your haul, give Dr. López a call – we’ll fit you in for an emergency visit as soon as possible.

Health Smiles Start with a Healthy Diet

We’re all are familiar with the phrase “you are what you eat.” But did you know your diet can impact the health of your entire smile?

Recent studies published in the Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology add greater support to the theory that there’s a strong relationship between diet and smiles. Unhealthy diets that are low in protein and vitamins but high in refined carbohydrates have been shown to increase the risk of cavities and gum health. Other studies, like this one conducted by the WHO Collaborating Centre for Nutrition and Oral Health and the Centre for Community Oral Health Programmes highlight that nutrition has an impact on the development of teeth and can even trigger the preconditions that encourage the development of oral cancer.

Given the long term consequences of these preventable diseases, there’s little question as to why so many dentists are now educating patients of all ages on the importance of a healthy diet.

So What Makes a Smile Friendly Diet?

Many studies agree – the best diet for a healthy smile is a balanced one. This means a diet full of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as lean protein and plenty of water. Smile friendly diets also limit sugar intake, avoiding sticky candies or fruits as well as starchy, carb-heavy foods like potato chips.

So what does this all mean for your day to day life? Here are some of the top foods and drinks our Spokane dental team recommends picking up on your next trip to the grocery store.

Berries

Blueberries, raspberries, and cranberries are all rich in anthocyanins, which prevent bacteria from attaching to the surface of teeth. Try adding them to a cup of Greek yogurt for a delicious parfait or throwing them into your next salad for a pop of freshness.

Crunchy Fruits and Vegetables

Craving the crisp of a good potato chip? Get a satisfying and healthy crunch by swapping out chips for celery, snap peas, apples, or carrots at lunch time. These crisp fruits and vegetables help “scrub” away plaque from teeth as you eat them, keeping cavity-causing bacteria at bay.

Dairy

You probably already know how important vitamin D and calcium are for your bones, but were you aware of how important these essential vitamins are for your teeth? Milk, cheese, and yogurt are all excellent ways to strengthen teeth and fight demineralization of tooth enamel. Cheese in particular has also been shown to increase saliva production, which in turn helps wash away plaque and bacteria from teeth.

Leafy Greens

Spinach and kale not only provide your smile with important antioxidants and iron, they also contain high amounts of vitamin A, beta-carotene, and calcium. Each of these vitamins play a unique and important role in protecting the health of the smile and body.

Garlic

Are you a fan of garlic? You’re in luck. This pungent bulb contains allicin, which has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Allicin helps kill off gum-disease causing bacteria while protecting the good bacteria that resides in your smile.

Lean Protein

Protein is an important building block to every aspect of a healthy lifestyle and your smile is no exception. Lean meats like chicken, turkey, and fish can all help strengthen teeth and protect your smile.

Get the Full Scoop – Visit Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry Today!

At our Spokane dental practice, our team is dedicated to helping patients care for their smiles. This includes choosing a healthy, sustainable diet that promotes good oral and overall health. Whether it’s time for your next teeth cleaning or you have questions about what kind of diet promotes a healthy smile, give us a call! Dr. López and his team are here to help you and your family achieve a beautiful smile.

The History of Dental Implants

Modern dental implants are among the most innovative tooth replacement options available. Reliable, versatile, and permanent, it’s no wonder that that a diverse group of patients is opting for dental implants or implant-supported bridges/dentures.

However, many are surprised to learn that implant dentistry is not unique to the 19th century. In fact, early iterations of dental implants go back to ancient civilizations across the globe, each of whom developed their own solutions for tooth loss. Let’s take a deeper dive into the history behind modern day dental implants by exploring how ancient civilizations treated tooth loss with their own versions of implant fixtures and porcelain crowns:

Considering Dental Implants? Schedule a Consultation

Whether you’re simply exploring your tooth replacement options or actively seeking a tooth replacement option, dental implants are one of the best choices you can make for your smile. At Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. Aníbal López and his team can help you fill gaps in your smile with dental implants. Call our Spokane dentist today to learn more about how this modern treatment can improve your quality of life.

Dental Signals You Should Never Ignore

Too often, serious dental conditions go unnoticed. Not only does this force patients to experience serious dental pain for longer than necessary, it also requires much more invasive care in order to restore our patients’ smiles to optimal health. If you’re experiencing any of the following conditions, be sure to schedule a visit with our Spokane dentist today.

Bleeding, Red or Tender Gums
While easy to dismiss, bleeding gums or bright red gums are the earliest indicator that your gums are under attack from gingivitis. Left untreated, this inflammation can quickly evolve into gum disease. Also known as periodontal disease, this condition quickly causes the gums to recede, leaving tooth roots exposed and vulnerable to infection. In its most severe state, gum disease can even cause tooth loss.

Protect your smile from gum disease by scheduling a visit with Dr. López as soon as you notice that your gums are bleeding, are tender, or have become a brighter red than their natural pink color.

Tooth Sensitivity
Do you have a tooth that only hurts when exposed to extremely hot or extremely cold foods/drinks? Do you chew on one side of your mouth because a tooth on the other side hurts too much? If so, chances are you’ve had a deep cavity that has exposed the inner chamber of your tooth to infection. While it may be easy to ignore this sensitivity and “bite through the pain”, getting the tooth properly treated is in your best interest. If left untreated, severe tooth decay can require full extraction and eventual replacement. Visiting our dentist in Spokane as soon as you start experiencing tooth sensitivity ensures that your smile gets the care it deserves.

Jaw Pain or Grinding
Do you wake up in the morning with your teeth clenched? Are the tops of your teeth worn down? Do you experience jaw pain when you bite, chew, or speak? If you answered yes to any of these, chances are that you are experiencing temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD. Rather than describing one specific issue, this condition refers to any side effects caused by damage or deterioration in the jawbone. Common health issues that result from this condition include bruxism, bite misalignment, and muscle pain, all of which have a domino-like impact on the rest of the smile. Visiting your Spokane dentist for treatment can help prevent these conditions from compromising your oral health.

Loose Teeth
Unless you’re losing baby teeth, there is absolutely no reason that healthy teeth should be loose in your smile. However, it is not an uncommon occurrence. Dental accidents, gum disease, and bone loss caused by missing teeth are all factors that can lead to an otherwise healthy tooth become loose.

Treatment for this oral health issue varies from patient to patient and in some, may require extraction and replacement with a dental implant.

Always Being Parched
Staying hydrated throughout the day isn’t just good for your overall wellbeing – it’s important for your oral health. High saliva production is another important part of achieving and maintaining a healthy smile. Both help wash away bacteria after meals and limit how much plaque sticks to teeth.

If you find yourself frequently parched, you may be showing signs of dry mouth, a condition caused by insufficient saliva flow. If dry mouth is left untreated, patients face complications like constant sore throat, difficulty speaking and swallowing, and an increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease.

At Summit Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, our mission is simple – keep patients with healthy, beautiful smiles for as long as possible. If you’re experiencing any of the above conditions or have gone more than six months since your last dental cleaning or exam, it’s time to schedule a visit with Dr. López today!