Cleanings & Exams
Keeping your mouth in tip-top shape requires regular cleanings and exams. During these visits, you can expect to have your teeth cleaned of any tartar or plaque buildup, as well as a check-up for any signs of disease or decay. Whatever we come across, there will always be a heartful discussion to figure out the best possible game plan for treatment.
What can I expect from the cleaning and exam?
The first step to maintaining a healthy mouth is to simply begin with the exam and cleaning. The initial exam will involve us taking diagnostic records, which are used to identify any areas that may require special attention. Safe digital x-rays and intraoral images aid us in providing a comprehensive evaluation. An oral cancer screening will also be conducted at every visit. If there are any issues that need to be addressed, together we will formulate a customized treatment plan that is tailored to your specific needs. As always, we will provide any tips or insight on how to keep your oral health in great condition.
How often should I visit The Smile Space?
For regular dental exams and teeth cleanings, we recommend scheduling biannual visits, or once every six months. Regular dental visits will allow you to maintain a healthy mouth and ensure that you don’t have any major dental issues that may go unnoticed, such as cavities, misaligned teeth, tooth wear from grinding, infections and more. For patients who require deep cleanings and more extensive care, we recommend visits every three to four months to prevent tartar and plaque from building up underneath the gums.
Why do I need to see the dentist?
To put it simply, establishing routine dental care will often spare you from major oral health problems in the long run. A common misconception is that you only need to see the dentist when there’s a problem. There may be several issues in the early stages that you may be completely unaware of, including tooth decay, gingivitis, bone loss, teeth grinding, and TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder). If left untreated, these conditions may continue to worsen over time, leading to more extensive treatment and requiring oral surgery at times. Diagnosing these problems early on will allow us to treat them in the most conservative manner.
How long is this visit?
Your initial visit will take about an hour and a half. This time is needed to capture safe digital x-rays and intraoral images along with a comprehensive clinical examination to carefully identify any areas that require special attention. A gentle and thorough cleaning will have you leaving with a fresh new mouth! If you plan on visiting with a family member, please let us know and we will gladly accommodate a time for all of you to be seen in the most efficient manner.
A dental emergency can happen when you least expect it. If you have a toothache or dental emergency, you can rely on The Smile Space to help. We know that when you’re in dire need of emergency care, the last thing you want to do is wait. You can expect a prompt response from us should you encounter any issues with your oral health. This applies regardless of whether you are an established patient at our office or a new patient. If you ever find yourself in need of immediate dental care, call us at (206) 294-5712 or book an appointment online.
The Smile Space offers a full range of emergency dental services in downtown Seattle. Some common dental emergencies include a broken tooth, a missing tooth, severe tooth pain, dental abscess, swelling or bleeding of gums, or a loose or missing restoration such as a crown, veneer or filling. Whatever the case may be, rest assured that you can count on us to receive a quick response, as well as to provide you with an immediate assessment and thorough treatment options to solve the issue. We know these situations can be stressful, so our friendly staff will help you throughout the entire process of restoring your oral health.
A dental cavity often requires treatment with a filling. If left untreated, the decay will continue to grow and break down tooth structure, ultimately leading to infection of the pulp (a tooth’s nerve and blood supply) and possible loss of the tooth. Identifying these cavities early on will allow us to treat the teeth with a conservative tooth colored filling.
What’s the procedure like?
First, local anesthetic is used to completely numb the tooth. The tooth is then isolated and the decay is carefully and thoroughly excavated. A custom matched shade of composite resin is used to fill the cavity, restoring the natural contours, anatomy, and color of the tooth. Before your leave, your bite will be checked and adjusted accordingly, and the filling will be polished to a high shine, making it virtually unnoticeable.
Tooth Colored vs. Metal Fillings
Gone are the days of choosing between metal or tooth colored fillings, at least at The Smile Space. We are proud to use the best composite resin materials available. Not only are tooth colored fillings much more esthetic, allowing us to precisely match everyone’s unique tooth shade, but they also require less drilling, or preparation of the tooth, than traditional metal amalgam fillings.
If you currently have metal fillings, you can elect to have them replaced with tooth colored fillings to improve the esthetics of your smile. This procedure is done under the isolation of a rubber dam, which will allow us to effectively remove the old metal filling while ensuring no residual debris is inhaled or swallowed. The result is a natural-looking tooth comprised of the most reliable materials that do not contain any mercury.
When it comes to whitening your teeth, we recommend using a system that gives reliable and long-lasting results with as little to no sensitivity as possible. We’ve tested many different brands of whitening products and systems over the years and have come to learn that there are few on the market that can predictably whiten the teeth and allow them to stay whitened. That was until we discovered the KöR Whitening System. We do not have a vested interest in KöR, we’ve just seen the results for ourselves and can attest to the fact that it provides exceptional outcomes for every patient, every time.
What's the procedure like?
We begin by digitally scanning your teeth for fabrication of custom whitening trays, which you will use at home for two weeks prior to your in-office whitening session. The in-office visit lasts for an hour and a half. A unique combination of whitening gel will be applied to the teeth while they are isolated by a dental dam to prevent any tissue contact or swallowing of the gel. No lights or lasers are used as recent studies have shown that photon energy from these lights or lasers can actually trigger sensitivity of the teeth during the whitening process. Once complete, the result is a significant increase in teeth whiteness that will have you smiling from ear to ear.
Fear no more! Although this procedure has a notorious reputation, it is a surprisingly painless procedure. If you find yourself with an infected or damaged tooth that needs to be saved, a root canal is the answer.
What’s the procedure like?
The very first step is to numb the tooth. This will allow the doctor to perform the procedure while you feel no pain at all. Once numb, the doctor creates an opening in the tooth to access the interior portion so that the infected tissue can be thoroughly cleaned out. The fully cleaned roots will then be filled with a special sealing material. Depending on how much infected tooth structure needs to be removed, the tooth may need extra support and a crown to be able to save it and restore it to its natural function.
One of our main goals at The Smile Space is to give you a confident smile that you love. Sometimes a small transformation can create a lifetime of difference. Veneers are shells of porcelain as thin as a contact lens that can be bonded to the surface of your teeth to brighten and straighten your smile. Teeth that are worn, chipped, discolored, or misshapen can be enhanced by veneers. Not only will they improve the esthetics of your smile, they will also keep them strong and protected. For the most ideal esthetic results as well as for complex cases, orthodontic treatment may be recommended first to bring your teeth into the proper position and then restore them with veneers.
What’s the procedure like?
The first step involves a consultation, where we will listen to your wants and needs and take records to uniquely tailor a treatment plan. The next visit will involve preparing your teeth and delivering high quality temporary veneers. This will essentially let you “test-drive” your new smile, which can be altered as you desire. Once you’re happy with how your new smile looks and feels, porcelain veneers will be fabricated by the lab and then permanently cemented. We will take whatever steps necessary to ensure that you love your new smile!
Crowns & Bridges
Your teeth are the workhorses of your mouth. All the stress and force they bear can possibly result in cracked teeth, broken fillings, severe wear, discoloration and more. A porcelain crown is the go-to method for restoring these types of teeth with optimal function and nature-mimicking esthetics.
What is a porcelain crown?
A porcelain crown is a tooth-shaped cap that fits perfectly over your natural tooth. By doing so, we can restore teeth that have been damaged or decayed to its proper strength, shape, size, and color while being virtually unnoticeable. A properly fitted crown will not only provide a perfect seal around the tooth, but it will keep it protected from further fracture or decay. A custom shade match is performed to ensure optimal esthetics resulting in a natural looking tooth.
What is a bridge?
Bridges are used to replace a missing tooth or missing teeth. A bridge simply fills in the space with an artificial pontic tooth, which is connected to two crowns that are cemented on the adjacent teeth. By utilizing the best porcelain materials for a bridge, we can functionally restore a missing tooth while providing fantastic esthetics.
What’s the procedure like?
Delivering a perfectly fitting crown or bridge is a two-visit procedure. The first visit will involve us preparing the tooth under local anesthesia and taking a 3D scan of it for the lab to fabricate your crown or bridge restoration. While the restoration is being carefully designed and made by the lab, a temporary crown or bridge will be placed until you return for the final delivery at the second visit.
Your second visit will be after approximately two weeks, which is considered a “trial period” for you to get comfortable with how the crown or bridge fits and functions. At the final delivery, we can address any concerns before permanently cementing your lab-fabricated crown or bridge. If there are no issues with your temporary crown or bridge, we will simply remove it and replace it with your brand new porcelain crown or bridge.
3D Digital Impressions
Say goodbye to gooey impression materials! At The Smile Space, we are a fully digital dental practice and utilize a 3D intraoral scanner to capture your prepared teeth without the use of the traditional messy impression materials. Aside from keeping things clean and simple, a digital scan can result in a more accurately fitting crown or bridge.
Dental implants are able to replace missing teeth with a predictable, long-term success rate. With proper placement and home care, dental implants can last a lifetime. From single implants to full mouth reconstruction, we are able to restore your smile and allow you to function normally and with confidence.
What are dental implants?
A fully restored dental implant contains three simple components:
The implant itself is a titanium component that is essentially the “root” of the tooth and is placed within the jaw bone
The abutment is a component that connects the implant and crown, stabilizing them as a unit
The crown is the portion of the tooth that you see in your mouth. Once the porcelain crown is connected to the implant, you can expect the restoration to feel and function like a normal, healthy tooth
What are the advantages of a dental implant?
When placed properly, dental implants are more secure and sturdy than other tooth replacement options. They are independently placed into the jaw bone of the missing tooth site, thus offering a fixed permanent solution that will not come loose like a denture or Maryland bridge, for example. Unlike dentures and bridges, implants will also not compromise the adjacent teeth in any way, allowing you to preserve the health of those surrounding teeth.
What’s the procedure like?
The initial visit will be a consultation to determine if a dental implant will be the right option for you. Diagnostic images and appropriate records will be taken to properly plan and discuss your case. If we decide to move forward, the first step in implant placement is to get the site properly anesthetized with local anesthesia. Although implant placement sounds like a complex procedure, there is essentially no more pain or discomfort than when placing a normal dental filling! Once the implant is placed into the bone, it will take about four to six months for it to fully integrate with the bone before we can proceed with the implant crown placement. This time frame ensures that the implant is fixed securely within the bone. Once the crown portion is attached to the implant, you will have a fully functioning tooth replacement to eat all of your favorite foods with!
Sometimes, a tooth just has to go. Despite our aim to always treat conservatively and save the teeth, certain teeth may present with a hopeless prognosis. Our main goal in these circumstances is to provide care with minimal discomfort while presenting you with all of your options to restore or replace the teeth. While extracting a tooth can sound so final, it can actually help improve your oral health. Removing a severely infected tooth can prevent the infection from spreading to other parts of the oral cavity and body. In orthodontic treatment, sometimes healthy teeth are recommended for extraction to resolve severe crowding or bite issues. No matter what the case is, we will always provide you with a comfortable procedure and treatment options that will not affect your appearance.
What’s the procedure like?
Your comfort is our entire team’s top priority when it comes to oral surgery. The first step prior to touching the tooth is to completely numb the area with local anesthetic. This will ensure a pain-free procedure. If you are feeling anxious, we are happy to offer nitrous oxide (laughing gas) to shake away any jitters you may have. Once you are fully comfortable and anesthetized, we will then gently carry out the procedure.
Carefully following post-op instructions will greatly ensure a speedy recovery. You will be provided with a specific set of post-extraction instructions with a list of certain foods and activities to avoid. We will schedule you to return in one week for a follow up visit to make sure everything is healing properly and to remove any sutures if placed.