Category Archives: Spokane Dentist

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!

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.

Do-It-Yourself Orthodontia May Do More Harm Than Good

emergency dental treatmentMany consider the emergence of the Internet and The Information Age a largely good thing, and it is — for the most part. U.S. adults may have access to endless information, but it is also important for users to assess and process what’s out there, knowing that sources may be ill-informed or altogether incorrect.

In fact, many family dentists, cosmetic dentists, and emergency dentists fear for the future of their patients’ smiles, particularly when they take everything they may see or read online at face value.

YouTube Users Start Troubling Trend
While it began with preteens and teenagers and may have required a one-on-one talk with Mom or Dad, there are now YouTube videos with adults teaching others how to close conspicuous spaces between teeth using rubber bands. This method can be dangerous and unsanitary, no matter how old, meticulous, or careful you might be, dentists warn. “These so-called ‘gap bands’ can work themselves under the gum and lead to tooth loss,” a Feb. 1 New York Times article reports. There has been a notable increase in emergency dental treatments, thanks to do-it-yourself (DIY) dental fixes, such as gap bands, and resulting gum inflammation and infections. Approximately 2.3 million Americans already require tooth replacement options, like crowns or removal dental bridges. Don’t contribute to these numbers with ill-advise, at-home dental procedures.

Are Braces Through The Mail Safe?
Unfortunately, the best dentists agree: the answer is no. While a few companies are cropping up, inviting customers to try Invisalign-like trays and straightening options at lower costs, dentists say that the process can be potentially dangerous. During more traditional orthodontia treatment, a professional will monitor patients’ progress and dental and oral health throughout, making any adjustments as necessary. At-home or by-mail alternatives may not address serious problems, like an increased risk for gum disease and oral infections.

Children already miss 51 million school hours owing to dental problems. Adults similarly miss significant work hours, also to seek routine or emergency dental treatment. Keep these numbers at bay by avoiding risky, at-home orthodontia solutions.

Two Common Myths About Dental And Oral Care

find a dentistWhen is the best time to find a dentist? The answer is right away — and for a multitude of different reasons. First and foremost, the state of American dental and oral health is not good, and it’s not going to get any better unless people of all ages make an effort to do something about it. A good start is choosing a reliable family dentist, visiting dentist offices at least twice per year, and clearing up some common misconceptions about dental hygiene and teeth cleaning. Here are just a few of the most common myths about your health and your teeth.

Myth: There Isn’t A Right Way And A Wrong Way To Store Your Toothbrush
All over the world, just about all adults have at least one cavity — or more. Not to mention, children and teens are missing 51 million school hours owing to illnesses that can be traced back to poor dental health. Part of the problem is a general lack of knowledge. Although the best dentists recommend brushing at least twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste and regular flossing, practicing good dental hygiene does not stop there. Americans also need to carefully store their toothbrush. You should always keep toothbrushes in an upright position, and rinse with hot water after using them. Never let your toothbrush touch someone else’s. It’s also necessary to replace toothbrushes every three months, or after you have been sick. If you fail to do these things, bacteria can (and will!) buildup and lead to more cavities, more dental decay, and ultimately a greater chance of periodontal disease.

Myth: It’s All About Your Teeth
In the U.S., 178 million Americans are missing one tooth. Before it comes to choosing between implants and bridges, there are plenty of preventative measures you can take. First, know that it’s not just about keeping your teeth clean. It’s about keeping your entire mouth clean — and that includes your gums. Drink plenty of water to flush out remaining food particles that may get stuck in the gum line, and avoid microbead toothpastes. These toothpastes will be off shelves in a few months. For now, the small beads can get lodged in your gums and cause inflammation and/or infection.

Don’t wait. Find a dentist now. Take action to carefully clean your teeth and gums, and make certain that you are using a clean and sanitary toothbrush.

Is Drinking Fruit Juice Bad for Your Teeth? The Answer May Surprise You

family dentistIt’s commonly known that sugary drinks like soda and sports drinks are some of the biggest causes of tooth decay and gum disease, two things that sometimes require emergency dental treatment or a cosmetic dentistry procedure. And when tooth decay is the top chronic childhood disease in the world, avoiding drinks like these is a no-brainer for your family’s dental health.

But what about juice?

Many people and their family dentists may think that drinking juice is just as bad for teeth as other sugar-laden beverages, because they contain just as much sugar even though they’re a bit more natural.

And that’s true — because many of the juices we drink are actually “juice drinks,” which aren’t 100% juice but rather fruit juice diluted with water and likely containing added sugar and other ingredients like citric acid, which slowly eats away at the teeth.

But when it comes to 100% fruit juice, drink away — because a new study has found that it has no negative effects on teeth.

According to a Dec. 1 Rochdale News article, newly-released data from the 1999-2004 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey reveals that children who drink four to six ounces of 100% fruit juice every day didn’t experience tooth decay because they drank the juice.

Nor has research yet found any relationship between drinking 100% fruit juice and obesity, another health issue becoming increasingly common among American children, Forbes reports.

So if you want to make your family’s teeth healthier — and your family dentist happier — be sure to buy only drinks labeled as containing 100% fruit juice from the grocery store. And if you’re not sure if a beverage is 100% juice or not, a quick glance at the ingredients label should let you know.

What do you think about these findings? Share your thoughts along with any other questions you may have about teeth cleaning and the dentist office with us in the comments below.

Four Signs That Indicate You Probably Have a Dental Emergency on Your Hands

emergency dentistSome dental concerns can wait until the next time you visit your dentist office — but others should never be ignored.

In fact, neglecting to seek emergency dental treatment as soon as you know you have an emergency can result in lifelong effects to your dental health and the appearance of your teeth — and no one wants that!

Could you have a real dental emergency on your hands? Find out with this list of the top four signs that indicate you need to see an emergency dentist as soon as possible:

A chipped or cracked tooth
If you’ve chipped or cracked your teeth, you will need to see a dentist right away. To ensure the chipped-off tooth can be repaired, you should keep it in either a cup of milk or your own saliva to preserve it until you can get to an emergency dental clinic.

A knocked-out tooth
Losing one of your adult teeth can happen after a number of circumstances — but no matter what caused it, you’ll need to see an emergency dentist right away if you want to have your tooth salvaged. Usually, your own tooth can be re-placed in your gums if you see a dentist within two hours of it being knocked out.

A dental laceration
If you get a cut inside your mouth that won’t stop bleeding, you should seek help at an emergency dental clinic to get the wound stitched up. Until you can see an emergency dentist, you should keep a piece of gauze over the wound to help stem the blood flow a bit.

A toothache that won’t go away
Chronic toothaches aren’t just bothersome — they are also likely to be an indicator of a worse problem looming inside your mouth. If your tooth has been hurting for more than a few days, you could have a dental abscess or another serious condition, so it’s important to seek out emergency dental services as soon as you can.

Have you ever needed to visit an emergency dentist? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.

Drinking Soda More Damaging to Teeth Than Previously Thought

teeth whiteningBy this point, you probably know that drinking sugary beverages like soda and fruit juice doesn’t do wonders for your teeth.

But new research has revealed that these sugar-laden beverages are causing more damage to our teeth than previously thought.

According to an August 14 International Business Times article, a recent study from the Craniofacial Biology Research Group at Australia’s University of Adelaide found that drinks with high levels of sugar and acid are responsible for immediate and permanent tooth decay.

“Our research has shown that permanent damage to the tooth enamel will occur within the first 30 seconds of high acidity coming into contact with the teeth. This is an important finding and it suggests that such drinks are best avoided,” Dr. Sarbin Ranjitkar, the study’s corresponding author, wrote in a release. “If high acidity drinks are consumed, it is not simply a matter of having a child clean their teeth an hour or 30 minutes later and hoping they’ll be OK — the damage is already done.”

The news comes as little surprise — as tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease in the world, and almost 100% of adults have had a cavity at some point in their life. If left untreated, tooth decay can cause tooth loss, which requires costly dental implant surgery to fix.

Sugary drinks, especially soda, are responsible for tooth discoloration, as well, which prompts Americans to spend millions on teeth whitening strips and kits each year. Typically, a professional teeth whitening session with a cosmetic dentist is the most effective way to reverse tooth discoloration.


What do you think about this news? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

Singer Michael Buble Undergoes Emergency Dental Procedure Before New Hampshire Concert

emergency dentistA dental emergency nearly kept pop singer Michael Buble from arriving onstage at his July 11 tour stop.

According to a July 17 Express article, Buble accidentally dislodged a crown while trying to open a ketchup packet with his teeth hours before the Manchester, N.H. stop of his “Crazy Love” tour was scheduled to begin.

Buble’s tour manager enlisted the help of an emergency dentist, who cancelled his dentist office’s appointments for the day to make room for Buble’s emergency dental treatment.

To repay for the emergency dental services he provided, Buble gave the emergency dentist two front-row tickets to the concert at Verizon Wireless Arena that night, according to Express. Buble also took photos with the dentist and the rest of the emergency dental clinic staff.

During a break in between songs, Buble shared the story of his almost-disastrous dental mishap with the audience, according to Express.

“(Buble) stopped the show and he said, ‘Just want to tell you what happened today,’ and he told everybody what happened. He said, ‘This guy right down here took care of me,'” according to Express.

Buble visited an emergency dentist earlier this year, as well — at a May 14 concert in Sydney, Australia, the crooner accidentally knocked out one of his teeth with his microphone, Express reports.

The singer is far from being the only person to suffer from the occasional dental injury. Each year, students are kept out of school for more than 51 million hours because of urgent dental illnesses, and Americans between 20 and 64 years old have an average of 3.28 damaged, decayed or missing teeth, research has shown.

Have you ever had to visit an emergency dentist? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

Residents of Southern U.S. Least Likely to Visit the Dentist, Poll Shows

teeth cleaningA new Gallup poll has found that residents of the American south are least likely to visit their dentist office regularly, with only 60% of Southerners reporting they visited the dentist for teeth cleanings in the last 12 months.

In addition, a Bloomberg Visual Data survey showed that four of the five worst dental health offenders in the United States are located in the deep south; the fifth is West Virginia.

The news comes even as economic conditions have improved in the south, along with the growth of a more health-conscious cultural mindset. So what’s at stake for southerners, and anyone else, who has neglected their dental health?

Numerous studies show that skipping regular teeth cleaning appointments can have dire consequences. About 23% of adults aged 20 to 64 have untreated tooth decay, 92% of people in this age group have had dental caries, and at least half of all Americans have some type of periodontal, or gum, disease as a result.

The fact that gum disease is now more common than the common cold has concerned many family dentists. Periodontal disease, when left untreated, can result in tooth decay and loss — more than 35 million Americans are missing all their natural teeth — as well as diabetes and heart disease.

Ultimately, untreated periodontal disease in its latest stages will require you to visit an emergency dentist or cosmetic dentist to help reverse the damage done to your teeth, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars in some cases.

The only guaranteed way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease is to receive regular teeth cleanings. Experts recommend that you go to your dentist for a teeth cleaning procedure twice a year.

As Whitening Industry Booms, Americans’ Mouths Full of Cavities

teeth whitening kitsCosmetic dentistry may involve the addition of a dental material for bonding, porcelain veneers or caps, tooth removal, teeth straightening and/or teeth whitening. But more and more consumers are increasingly implementing home whitening kits to avoid their cosmetic dentist altogether. They are apparently also cutting back on visits to their dental practitioner as well.

With an estimated 92% of adults ages 20 to 64 with dental caries in their permanent teeth, teeth whitening kits are the least pressing dental item consumers need. Your oral health does not start with your dentist. It starts with you maintaining home health, including flossing, brushing and antiseptic use on a daily basis.

Properly cleaning your teeth on a daily basis lets you avoid caries and the need for dental replacements and fillings. A pressing issue, given an estimated 2.3 million implant supported crowns are made and the number of people undergoing dental implant procedures increases by about 500,000 annually across the US.

With the estimated US market for dental implants is $1 billion, one could conclude that oral hygiene products are taking a backseat to teeth whitening kits. The teeth whitening industry has been able to achieve low growth of .9% annually from 2007 to 2012. Discretionary items like teeth whitening kits, which typically include teeth whitening gel and a tooth tray, are growing in the face of a growing denture and dental implant industry, suggesting white teeth are more important to Americans than healthy teeth.