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Ask Dr. Dave DDS Blog

Your curiosities, your concerns, your dental questions!! Ask me here! Helping you understand dentistry for you, personally, is what I love to do. Let me know what you’d like to know. Ask away!

Porcelain Veneers: Behind-the-Scenes

Posted on by admin in Blog, Cosmetic Dentistry

porcelain veneersEveryone wants whiter teeth. In the United States, patients spend $1.4 million on whitening procedures alone, ranging from basic chemical whitening trays to laser-activated in-office procedures. In extreme cases, patients can even undergo full dental replacements on titanium implants. But if you fall somewhere in between (i.e. if your teeth show some visible decay that chemical whitening can’t hide, but are otherwise healthy and strong), then porcelain veneers may be the perfect solution.

Porcelain veneers are exactly what they sound like — false, porcelain fronts installed over your existing teeth. Picture the false store fronts on a movie set for an old Western. Veneers will not only cover decay spots or badly stained teeth, but they’ll also in effect seal off the tooth from further damage.

The process is fairly straightforward. A patient receives a series of dental exams, which gauge everything from enamel strength to root health. Dental molds are taken so the veneer (or veneers) can be created to exactly match the tooth it’s replacing, including shape, size, and shade. Then a thin layer of enamel (usually around a millimeter is removed from the existing tooth, so that the veneer doesn’t protrude farther out than the surrounding teeth.

The porcelain veneers are created and bonded to the tooth, and the patient’s smile is instantly restored to its former glory. For patients who might find cosmetic dentistry too expensive at first glance, veneers can also be made from a composite resin, which may make the procedure more affordable. Be advised, however, that porcelain veneers are inherently stronger than the plastic ones, and will therefore last longer.

Porcelain veneers are a great middle ground between general whitening and full implant-based replacement. If you’re self-conscious about your teeth because of unsightly decay spots, ask your dentist about veneers, so you can stop hiding your smile from the world.


Dental Cleanings: More Than Just Cleaning

Posted on by admin in Blog, General Dental Care

dental examsBelieve it or not, dental cleanings are about much more than cleaning your teeth. Your semi-annual cleanings serve as the perfect opportunity for a family dentist to examine the condition of your teeth, your gums, and your bite pattern, as well as any other oral health concerns you may have.

Examining Your Teeth
When you consider that dental exams need to pay particular attention to the enamel of your teeth, the cleaning process can actually seem like just the first step in the process, literally clearing the way for a more involved inspection. Your dentist is looking for areas of decay, discoloration, or sensitivity, as these could be signs of underlying problems.

Examining Your Gums
Your teeth are just the most visible part of the dental picture. Healthy roots are vital to strong, functional teeth, and the gums act as protective blankets for those roots. Unhealthy gums warrant extra attention, to determine if that protective layer is weakening and potentially exposing the roots to danger, or if the weakening of that protective layer is a result of a deeper problem within the root.

Examining Your Bite
Dental exams also inspect how your upper and lower teeth fit together, know as your bite pattern. A healthy bite pattern should distribute the pressure evenly across the contact points of the teeth, so that no area is wearing away faster than another, and so that we can efficiently chew our food. If the bite pattern is shifting, advanced dental technologies like dental digital x-rays can help your dentist determine the cause (such as unerupted wisdom teeth, or significantly weakening roots).

Dental exams and cleanings can help your dentist identify and address areas of concern before they become full-blown problems. Whether or not you enjoy your cleanings, be sure to keep your appointments — your future mouth will thank you.


What Happens During a Dental Cleaning?

Posted on by admin in Blog, General Dental Care

dental examProfessional dental cleanings can make your teeth feel great, no question about it. But your dentist is doing much more than just cleaning with those shiny tools. They’re constantly looking for trouble spots, warning signs, and areas of concern. Here are just a few of the ways cleanings do double-duty as your dental exams as well.

  • Sensitivity and Bleeding. Let’s be honest, the dentist is poking around in your mouth with a sharp metal hook — like it or not, a tiny amount of bleeding may be a normal part of every exam. What your dentist is really looking for during your dental exams are areas that bleed more than normal, or more easily than others. Sensitivity can be much harder for your dentist to detect, so be sure to tell them when you’re uncomfortable.
  • How Well You Brush. Your dental exams are when all your bad brushing habits are revealed. Your dentist will know how much attention you’ve given the inside surfaces of your teeth (the sides your tongue rests against), as well as how regularly you’ve been flossing. Don’t take their criticisms personally. This is information you need to know if you want to avoid things like cavities and small cities of harmful bacteria in the plains and valleys of your enamel.
  • Whatever You Tell Them to Look For. If there’s something you’ve been worried about, for goodness’ sake,ask about it. Mind-reading is not part of the standard curriculum in dental schools. It can be anything on your mind — better brushing techniques, cosmetic dentistry, discolorations, braces… Your dentist would much prefer you ask those questions in the office rather than calling their home number in the middle of the night.

Your cleanings are about so much more than giving you that “fresh from the dentist” feel. It’s about examination and prevention. It’s up to you to communicate with your dentist. Or as much as you can, anyway, with a pick and a little mirror in your mouth.


What Do I Look for in a Good Dentist?

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Dental ProcedureOur teeth our some of our most valuable assets. They help us eat, they help us speak, and they help us smile at our fellow human beings. Almost all of the respondents in a survey (over 99.5%) see a healthy smile as important to everyday life. So finding the right dentist for you and your whole family is a big decision. But how do you decide? Here are some things to keep in mind.

Finding a Dentist Near You
It may seem obvious, but location matters. While you may be willing to drive a certain distance for specialized care, your general dentist should be relatively close by. And don’t rely on signs and window labels — many dentistry signs are surprisingly low-key, and you may have passed by several without even knowing it. When the time comes to find a dentist, do a Google search for the nearest location. You might be surprised at what you can find nearby.

Finding a Dentist You Can Afford
Most dental insurance covers semi-annual dental exams and professional dental cleanings, but before you seek more specialized care, find out what portion (if any) of the procedure will be covered by your plan. Even orthodontic correction, which many consider to be more health-related than cosmetic, is very rarely covered by typical insurance. If you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket for the procedures you or your family needs, make sure you know your dentist’s prices up front. Many offices today offer flexible payment options and financing.

Finding a Dentist You Can Trust
A broad menu full of procedures and an office full of the most modern dental technologies are helpful… but if your dentist doesn’t inspire confidence and trust, you should find a new practitioner. Your teeth are too valuable an asset to settle for anything less than a competent, caring, and trustworthy dentist, who can treat not just you but your family with the utmost professionalism and care.
What do you look for in a good dentist? Please feel free to share your comments in the field below.


Think You Might Need a Dental Specialist?

Posted on by admin in Blog, General Dental Care

Dental SpecialistsIn the dental field, as with any field, there are a number of specialists you can go to. There are restorative dentists, cosmetic dentists, endodontists, periodontists, orthodontists, prosthodontists, pedodontists and oral surgeons. It can be a bewildering search through the phonebook if you don’t know exactly the kind of specialist you need. So what do you do?

When in doubt, a family dentist is your best bet.

A family dentist can take care of your routine dental exams and dental cleanings, recommend treatments for common problems or conditions, and provide many dental procedures right in their office, such as fillings, x-rays, some whitening treatments, and some restorative techniques. But most importantly, they can tell you when and if you really do need to see a specialist.

Everyone should see a family dentist at least twice a year for routine checkups. With regular visits, your dentist can actually spot irregularities and incipient conditions before they ever become full-blown problems, which may make a trip to a specialist completely unnecessary. However, if you’ve been somewhat lax in your preventative dental care, a family dentist can still assess the situation in your mouth, and help you find a cosmetic dentist, orthodontist, or any of the specialists listed above that can give you the specific care you need.

Your teeth are, quite literally, the gateway to your body’s health. If you take good care of them, they’ll take good care of you. If you ever have dental questions or concerns, ask your dentist. That’s what they’re there for. And if you don’t yet have a regular dentist but think you might have a problem that needs investigating, don’t waste any more time. Open a phonebook, do an online search, or ask a friend for recommendations. The sooner you address the problem, the easier (and probably cheaper) it will be to fix.


Give Yourself Something to Smile About Again

Posted on by admin in Blog, General Dental Care

Healthy smileHow do you feel about your smile? Over 99% of adult Americans believe that a healthy, straight, white smile is important to a successful life. However, misaligned teeth can be more than just a source of self-consciousness -— they can also delay speech development in young children, contribute to poor nutrition, and unevenly wear down your enamel.

  • Speech Development in Children. The language skills we develop as children are highly dependent on the alignment of our teeth. Improperly erupting adult teeth can hamper speech development from a very early age. The sooner these misalignments are corrected, the easier it will be for the proper language skills to develop. In addition to finding a dentist for dental exams and professional dental cleanings, make sure your children are examined by an orthodontist once they start to lose their baby teeth. Today’s dental technologies can spot and correct irregularities long before they become problems.
  • Proper Nutrition. Your mouth is the first step in the digestive process, and the more efficiently your teeth can break food into smaller pieces, the more efficiently your body will absorb the nutrients that food provides. A well-aligned bite pattern, with no appreciable spaces or gaps when the mouth is closed, is a vital link in the chain of your overall physical health.
  • Uneven Wear. Can a healthy mouth save you money? Absolutely. If your bite pattern is uneven, your enamel can wear down more in some spots than in others, which may make it easier for decay to form. This can lead to increased future trips to the dentist to repair the damage. Braces and proper home care can actually reduce the likelihood that you’ll need more elaborate cosmetic dental treatments down the road. And if you already know you’ll need a procedure done, make sure it’s sooner rather than later -— the longer you wait, the more extensive (and expensive) the procedure could be.

Recent advances in dental technologies are making corrections, adjustments, and cosmetic improvements easier than ever. And with the obvious benefits to your health, your appearance, and your overall quality of life, there’s never been a better time to give yourself something to smile about again.


Amazing Cosmetic Dental Procedures!

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Dental CleaningDid you know that more than half of all cosmetic dentistry patients are now between the ages of 41 and 60? It used to be that cosmetic dentistry was more popular among younger people, with their best years ahead of them. For example, adolescents would get braces to correct overbites or crooked teeth, and many young adults would find a cosmetic dentist to whiten their teeth.

Well, times have changed, as cutting-edge technologies in dental crowns, porcelain veneers, and dental implants have made the top cosmetic dentists popular among people of all ages. Additionally, state-of-the-art invisible braces now make braces a viable option for adults who would, otherwise, be scared away by traditional styles of braces. Basically, no matter their ages, anyone can now have straight, white, gleaming teeth.

It’s somewhat shocking to think that periodontal disease is the most wide-spread disease in the United States, despite the fact that Americans have access to the best medical and dental care in the world. Unfortunately, nearly 20% of Americans still don’t have access to basic health care, let alone carry any decent dental insurance. As a result, too many of them skip regular dental cleanings to avoid the bills. Even though this saves money in the long run, its long-term effects will come back to haunt them.

The most obvious consequence of foregoing regular dental appointments is tooth decay, which becomes most apparent in tooth discoloration. As we all know, tooth yellowing can occur for other reasons than skimping on routine dental cleanings, such as genetics, consuming too much of certain foods, antibiotics, and aging.

In the event that a person experiences tooth discoloration, tooth decay, or tooth loss for any reason, dental implants or veneers could be the answer to their prayers. Porcelain veneers are realistic surface replacements for tooth chips or discoloration, and they can be completed in a little over an hour in the dentist’s chair. Dental implants are more invasive, and take considerably more time, but they will last a lifetime with proper care. On the other hand, veneers will probably need to be replaced within 10 years.

While it is always best for individuals to brush and floss regularly, and commit themselves to regular dental cleanings, it is good to know that there are more options on the table than ever. The bottom line is nobody has to suffer the negative social consequences of an unattractive smile, because today’s dentists are capable of near-miracles that have to be seen to be believed.


Team Up With a Cosmetic Dentist for Permanent Solutions to Misshapen Teeth

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Team Up With a Cosmetic Dentist for Permanent Solutions to Misshapen TeethDid you know that, within the last five years, tooth whitening procedures and treatments have grown by more than 300%, and Americans spend an average of $1.4 billion on tooth whitening in any given year? Stained or yellowing teeth can cripple Americans’ self-esteem. Greater problems, including malocclusions, gaps, and missing teeth, can even lead to permanent health problems, such as irregular jaw relationships and premature tooth loss. What are some of the most common ways to correct the appearance and structure of teeth?


Traditional, metal braces use arch wire, bonding materials, ligature elastic, and a series of brackets to apply gentle and constant pressure to teeth. With time, this constant pressure shifts teeth into place. Americans are not, however, restricted to metal braces alone. The 22% of American adults wearing braces, for example, may opt for subtle and effective alternatives, such as clear aligners. Clear aligners, including the well-known Invisalign, also use pressure to correct teeth over time. Invisalign can also be conveniently removed and replaced before and after meals. Ask your insurance carrier whether they cover clear aligners, or whether they classify clear alternatives as a form of cosmetic dentistry, in order to get an accurate estimate of costs.


Just over six years ago, in 2006, 600,000 people chose veneers to improve their smiles. Since 2008, the use of dental veneers has increased by as much as 250%. Veneers typically fit over teeth, and provide a quick fix for gaps and missing or misshapen teeth. Some veneers, such as Lumineers, are especially thin and bright, and can be used as a fast means of permanently whitening teeth. Top cosmetic dentists and dental digital xrays can determine whether patients are well-suited for veneers.

A dazzling white and confident smile can be a valuable asset to bring into social situations. Cosmetic dentists and dental digital xrays can help determine whether patients would benefit most from traditional wire braces, clear aligners, or delicate veneers.


Kirkland Dentistry Refer-A-Friend Contest

Posted on by admin in Blog, What's New

Just Launched – New Refer A Friend Contest !!!

We are thankful for all of you who have told friends and families about Kirkland Dentistry over the years.  We love welcoming them into our practice!

In appreciation of your family and friend referrals to Kirkland Dentistry and to spread holiday cheer, we are announcing a fun new Refer-A-Friend Contest

Refer a new adult patient to Kirkland Dentistry for an initial exam and x-rays and…

You receive our gratitude and your choice of a $50 Gift Card

Refer-a-friend Sample Gift Cards

+ They receive a warm welcome and $100 Kirkland Dentistry Dental Dollars to be applied toward their dental account – Here’s the page to share…

+ You get your choice of one of these GRAND PRIZES if you’re one of the top THREE referrers:

Prize 1: Sony HTCT260H Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer (or similar)

Sony Sound Bar with Wireless Subwoofer

Prize 2:  All new Kindle Paperwhite

Kindle Paperwhite 3G


Prize 3:  A $200 Costco Gift Card – (or your choice of available gift cards)

Costco Gift Card

So please feel free to give $100 in Kirkland Dentistry Dental Dollars to anyone you know to introduce them to Kirkland Dentistry.   The contest runs through January 31, 2014, and there’s no limit to the number of $50 “thank you” gift cards you can receive.

We’ve created a webpage you can share:

We will announce the Grand Prize winners on our Facebook page so be sure to click here and “Like” our page


Contest Terms:  Contest starts on October 1st and runs through January 31, 2014.  Grand Prizes will be awarded on February 14th.  New patients are formally counted for the contest after being seen for their office appointment and must be seen by January 31, 2014 to be counted.  Each new adult (>18 years old) patient referred and seen is counted as one referral and will receive their $100 Dental Dollars credited to their account after completing their first appointment.  Dental Dollars are not transferrable between patients; will remain on-account until applied toward dental services and expire in if not used in 24 months; no cash refunds will be offered for Dental Dollars.  There is no limit to the number of $50 gift cards a referrer can receive.  You can choose from any gift card available in a $50 denomination.  We’ll contact you following the appointment of the person you referred to get your gift card choice. Referring patients may choose $100 Dental Dollars in lieu of $50 Gift Card if preferred.  Ties in the number of referrals for the top three Grand Prizes will be settled by a drawing.


Dental Financing Options – Kirkland Dentistry offers CareCap Dental Financing

Posted on by admin in What's New

A CareCap Patient Testimonial

Sometimes our patients need an affordable payment alternative for their dental work.  We want to provide the best dental financing alternatives, so we’ve partnered with CareCap

Here’s an excerpt from an interview with our patient Janet Walker where she talks about dental financing with CareCap…

Several years ago Janet had a very unsatisfactory experience using a medical credit card, so when she needed assistance with monthly payments for this procedure she was looking for a very different alternative. Kirkland Dentistry had partnered with CareCap to provide monthly payment plans for their patients. When they suggested CareCap to Janet she decided to do her own research and chose CareCap.

What does she think of her experience with CareCap so far? Frankly, we were overwhelmed by her answer.

Janet said… “There’s a saying, He who serves, leads. I believe CareCap will lead the industry in healthcare monthly payment plans through their unique servicing model. Their approach is rooted in compassion and the result is affordable access to care that treats the patient with dignity and allows the doctor to be more successful. I hope CareCap has the satisfaction of knowing that they genuinely helped me by making it possible to get the care I needed. I am a big fan of CareCap!”

Read the full original interview on the CareCap website…

Kirkland Dentistry | 11830 NE 128th Street, Suite 201, Kirkland, WA 98034
Phone: 425-823-6820 | Fax: 425-820-2427 | E-Mail:
Business Hours: Monday: 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. | Tuesday - Thursday: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.