Redmond Town Dental
Dr. John Sayyah
M.D., D.D.S., PLLC

16701 NE 80th Street
Suite 200
Redmond, WA 98052

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Frequently Answered Questions

Below are answers to common question. However if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Sayyah, contact our dental office located near Redmond Town Center. We welcome any comments or questions you may have and look forward to assisting you in all of your dental goals.

1. Smile Analysis
2. Checking out your Dental Health
3. Understanding Plaque
4. Dry Mouth and Cavities
5. From Stains to Smiles
6. Porcelain Veneers
7. Dental Changes
8. A Gift of a Smile
9. Myths About Root Canals
10. Indications for Wisdom Teeth Extraction

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Smile Analysis

Q: I'm not happy with my smile. How do I find out what really needs to be fixed?

A: Get out a mirror and do this quick "smile analysis." Then meet with your dentist and talk about getting the smile you want. Color: Generally, tooth color should be fairly uniform. The white of your eyes are a good indicator for the brightness of your teeth. Shape: Does the shape of your teeth balance your facial features? For example, if you have large features (lips, nose and eyes) tiny teeth may look out of proportion. Length: Generally, when you are young, your two front teeth are longer than your two laterals. Reproducing this look gives one a younger appearance. Position: Are your six upper front teeth all on the same plane? If any of these are recessed or crooked, it shows when you smile.

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Checking out your Dental Health

Q: How often should people get a cleaning and dental checkup?

A: Generally, twice a year. For most people in good dental health, this is adequate for the removal of plaque and tartar, which defy even the most thorough brushing and flossing. The longer that plaque and tartar build up, the greater the risk of cavities and gum problems. Twice yearly checkups allow detection of developing troubles in their early stages, when effective treatment can be less complicated than at later stages. Some patients need checkups and cleanings more often than twice a year. This applies to those who experience tartar accumulation at a greater rate than others and those with a history of tooth decay, gum problems or together conditions that require periodic monitoring such as periodontal disease. In these cases regular schedule of checkups and cleanings more often than twice a year are required.

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Understanding Plaque

Q: What is the most important thing to know about plaque?

That it is the primary cause of most dental disease and tooth loss. Plaque is a colorless layer that coats exposed tooth surfaces. It consists of millions of microscopic bacteria that are held together by various sticky substances. Plaque forms constantly, a process that is accelerated with sugars and starchy foods. Plaque bacteria also produce toxins that attack gum tissue and cause gingivitis. As the condition progresses, the gums swell and recede from the teeth. This creates more places for plaque to accumulate. Researchers estimate that more than 75 percent of the population suffers from some gingival (gum) problem. These conditions can occur at any age. Plaque is reduced by proper brushing and flossing. For good oral health, have at least two dental checkups each year.

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Dry Mouth and Cavities

Q: How does dry mouth affect the teeth?

A: It can contribute to tooth decay. The culprits that cause decay are the bacteria in plaque. This combination produces acids, which erode tooth enamel and form cavities. Our saliva serves to some extent as a defense because it contains substances, which work to neutralize plaque acids. The amount of saliva we produce generally declines as we age. Use of a saliva substitute may be recommended for some people. Dry mouth sometimes is a side effect of certain medications. While saliva helps to counteract plaque's effects, it can't prevent the buildup of plaque. There is now substitute for daily brushing and flossing and scheduled visits to the dental office for professional cleaning.

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From Stains to Smiles

These are alternatives to capping discolored teeth in order to improve their appearance. Depending on the individual condition, we may recommend:

Bleaching - This is done by applying an especially formulated solution to the stained teeth over several weeks. The procedure is done by the patient nightly.

Bonding - A composite resin is sculpted onto the tooth surface. The coating then is hardened under a special light and we shape and polish "the new look." This process also is used to restore the shape of chipped or eroded teeth.

Veneers - A very thin layer of porcelain or plastic is customized to fit a tooth and then is bonded to the surface. Almost any imperfection can be changed with this procedure. This is usually the most dramatic transformation.

Whatever method is chosen, the result is a brighter smile.

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Porcelain Veneers

Q: A friend suggested I look into getting porcelain veneers. What are these?

A: A porcelain veneer is a paper-thin covering that conceals the front and side surfaces of your real tooth- similar to an artificial fingernail. They are made of a very durable, ceramic material and can correct stains, chips and odd shapes and even lengthen teeth. The procedure involves two dental visits. On the first visit, we choose the color that will blend in most naturally with your other teeth. Then we remove some of the tooth enamel so that the veneer will blend with the surrounding teeth rather than protrude out. Then we get an impression of your teeth by applying a paste material that hardens.

During your second visit- which is usually about 3 weeks later- we fit the veneers onto the prepared teeth. They then bond them to your natural teeth, using a laser.

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Dental Changes

Q: Why are my teeth not as white as they were when I was younger?

A: Like everything else in your body, your teeth and your mouth change as you get older. For one thing, the enamel on your teeth becomes more brittle as you get older and reflect light differently. Normal wear, compounded by any decay, cause the teeth to expose more of a substance called dentin, which is more yellow in color. As you get older, more of this secondary dentin shows through the less luminescent enamel, and you end up with a yellow look. Also, as you age, the cells in your gums do not replenish themselves as rapidly as they once did, leaving gums more susceptible to bacterial and irritants. This may cause the gums to recede a bit. If you are unhappy with the appearance of your smile, ask about options. From whitening to porcelain veneers, there are many possibilities to enhance your smile.

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A Gift of a Smile

Looking for a gift idea? Remember you can do more than bring a smile to someone's face - you can help keep it there. Talk to us about our gift certificates to give the gift of a smile. Here are some ideas to consider: A powered toothbrush of a loved one who has a dexterity problem could be a welcomed gift. Has a parent been talking about a cosmetic procedure like veneers or whitening? Talk to us about the possibility of getting a gift certificate of the work. For youngsters, you might consider a book about the first trip to the dentist, something that will ease their anxiety. Or a flashy toothbrush-one with his or her favorite cartoon character on it- that will encourage brushing.

You too, can spread smiles all around.

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Myths About Root Canals

Myth #1�Root canal treatment is painful.

Truth�Root canal treatment doesn't cause pain, it relieves it.

Most patients see their dentist or endodontist when they have a severe toothache. The toothache can be caused by damaged tissues in the tooth. Root canal treatment removes this damaged tissue from the tooth, thereby relieving the pain you feel. (For more about root canal procedures, see Your Guide to Root Canal Treatment.)

The perception of root canals being painful began decades ago when root canal treatment was painful. But with the latest technologies and anesthetics, root canal treatment today is no more uncomfortable than having a filling placed. In fact, a recent survey showed that patients who have experienced root canal treatment are six times more likely to describe it as "painless" than patients who have not had root canal treatment.

Myth #2�Root canal treatment causes illness.

Truth�Root canal treatment is a safe and effective procedure.

Research studies performed in the 1930s and 1940s and those conducted in later years showed no relationship between the presence of endodontically treated teeth and the presence of illness. Instead, researchers found that people with root canal fillings were no more likely to be ill than people without them.

Over the past several years, however, a very small number of dentists and physicians have been claiming that teeth that have received root canal (endodontic) treatment contribute to the occurrence of illness and disease in the body. This claim is based on the outdated research performed by� Dr. Weston Price from 1910-1930. His research stated that bacteria trapped in the teeth during root canal treatment can cause almost any type of disease, including arthritis, heart disease, kidney disease, and others.

The presence of bacteria in teeth and mouth has been an accepted fact for many years. But presence of bacteria does not constitute "infection" and is not necessarily a threat to a person's health. Bacteria are present in the mouth and teeth at all times, even in teeth that have never had a cavity or other trauma.

More recent attempts to copy the research of Dr. Price (and to check its accuracy) have been unsuccessful. Researchers now believe that the earlier findings may have been caused by poor sanitation and imprecise research techniques that were common in the early 1900s.

These more recent studies support the truth we report today�that teeth that receive proper endodontic treatment do not cause illness.

Myth #3�A good alternative to root canal treatment is extraction (pulling the tooth).

Truth�Saving your natural teeth, if possible, is the very best option.

Nothing can completely replace your natural tooth. An artificial tooth can sometimes cause you to avoid certain foods. Keeping your own teeth is important so that you can continue to enjoy the wide variety of foods necessary to maintain the proper nutrient balance in your diet.

Endodontic treatment, along with appropriate restoration, is a cost-effective way to treat teeth with damaged pulp and is usually less expensive than extraction and placement of a bridge or an implant.

Endodontic treatment also has a very high success rate.��Many root canal treated teeth last a lifetime.

Placement of a bridge or an implant will require significantly more time in treatment and may result in further procedures to adjacent teeth and supporting tissues.

Millions of healthy endodontically treated teeth serve patients all over the world, years and years after treatment. Those healthy teeth are helping patients chew efficiently, maintain the natural appearance of their smiles and enhance their enjoyment of life. Through endodontic treatment, endodontists and dentists worldwide enable patients to keep their natural teeth for a lifetime.

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Indications for Wisdom Teeth Extraction

There are several situations where dentists advise to extract wisdom teeth, whether following an infection, or to avoid future complications.

Wisdom Tooth

When the jaws are not wide enough to allow the wisdom teeth to erupt in an alignment that is useful for chewing.

When the wisdom teeth are partially erupted, since this allows bacteria to penetrate around a tooth and cause an infection. Partially erupted teeth are also more susceptible to cavities and gum disease since they are more difficult to clean.

A misalignment of the wisdom teeth can squish or damage the second molars since maintaining a good oral hygiene is difficult in this area, making these teeth more vulnerable to cavities and gum disease.

To reduce the risk of cysts formation that can appear around an impacted tooth.

The best time to extract wisdom teeth is at the end of adolescence, since the roots may not be completely formed, making the treatment less complicated.

X-ray of a Wisdom Tooth

Sometimes a wisdom tooth does not come out completely, creating an extension of gum called an operculum. While eating and chewing on food, this operculum can be irritated and infected causing a pericoronitis. This condition has signs of redness, intense pain, a bad smell and a difficulty of opening the mouth.

If the operculum does not disappear, it is recommended to extract the wisdom tooth to prevent complications of the pericoronitis.

Under certain conditions, if the wisdom tooth has erupted, but an operculum is still present, it is possible to make an operculectomy, which means the removal of the extension of the gum without extracting the tooth.

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