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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!

What Are Some Risk Factors for Tooth Decay?

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dental cleanings
Tooth decay is one of the most common dental ailments and can affect anyone. There are a few different things that can cause tooth decay, but preventing it really comes down to practicing good hygiene and seeing a dentist regularly. Here are four of the main risk factors for tooth decay.

1. Poor Hygiene
One of the biggest risk factors for tooth decay is, of course, poor dental hygiene. It’s important to practice good dental hygiene routines. Brushing should be done at the very least twice a day with a good toothbrush. Flossing should be done frequently as well, to reduce the chances of tooth decay between teeth, and rinsing with an alcohol-based mouthwash can help clean the hard-to-reach areas. Furthermore, getting regular professional dental cleanings is essential.

2. Misaligned Teeth
Another risk factor for tooth decay is misaligned teeth. Severely crooked teeth can be tough to clean, since there might be more tight spaces and harder to reach areas between and around the teeth where food can get trapped. The more food gets trapped, the more plaque there will be, which leads to tooth decay. This is another reason getting regular dental cleanings is important — dentists have the right scaling tools and ability to get into the really hard-to-reach areas and clean plaque.

3. Dry Mouth
Dry mouth is actually another really common risk factor for tooth decay. A sufficient amount of saliva is important for preventing tooth decay, since it helps wash away plaque and food particles. If a person’s mouth is not producing enough saliva, this could leave food and plaque lingering in the mouth to cause or contribute to decay.

4. Genetics
Another contributor to tooth decay is genetics. The shape and size of teeth really depends on the genetic factors that a person gets from his or her parents. Genetics can also cause the darkening of teeth. Getting regular dental exams and professional dental cleanings can help keep teeth clean and prevent any decay from happening in deep pits of teeth or between teeth that are situated closely together.

There are a number of different options for people who have even very advanced tooth decay. Though they may seem like an unpleasant option, there are a number of different types of dentures and other dental technologies for people who suffer from tooth decay. Dental implants have been shown to be 98% successful, and are a permanent option for the correction of missing teeth.

Do you have any questions about the common causes of tooth decay or how to prevent it from happening? Feel free to ask in the comments section below.


Follow-up to the Kirkland Dentistry & Hopelink End Summer Hunger Campaign Program

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Over the summer and fall of 2014 Kirkland Dentistry hosted a special refer-a-friend program for charity. Each time an existing patient referred someone, a contribution was earmarked for the Hopelink End Summer Hunger Campaign.

Thanks to your support we recently presented Hopelink with a check for $1000.

David Richardson DDS presents a check to Hopelink

David Richardson DDS at Hopelink

Hopelink created the End Summer Hunger Campaign to provide parents with help feeding their children over the summer when the school discounted lunch program is not available. We are thrilled that our patients joined with us to provide community support to the campaign.

Please consider making a donation to Hopelink during their winter holiday campaign. Your gift will give children an opportunity to experience fond holiday memories, while ensuring that they have shelter, food and warmth throughout the winter.  Click to visit Hopelink’s Donation Page.



What Happened When Cows Wore False Teeth Will Amaze You

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dentures cost
A new study shows that humans aren’t the only ones who benefit by wearing various types of dentures to replace missing teeth.

According to a Dec. 3 The Cattle Site article, Argentinian researchers found that cows that wore false teeth were healthier and lived longer than those that didn’t. Cattle dentures also helped increase the number of calves per cow, due to the cows living longer.

Outfitting cattle with dentures also had no negative impact on pregnancy rates, body weight or condition, the National Institute for Agriculture and Livestock Technology (INTA) study found. In fact, no detrimental health effects were found among the cattle that had dentures at all.

According to The Cattle Site, the cows’ dentures need replacing around the five-year mark, with slight variations occurring due to pasture type, water quality and other factors. Researchers affixed the dentures inside the cows’ mouths with a special bovine denture glue.

No word yet on how much these cattle dentures cost — but it’s probably safe to say that these dentures cost a little more than human dentures prices! However, they allow each cow to enjoy a longer lifespan, which can help farmers save money in the long run.

Dentures have plenty of health benefits for people, too. They help maintain a person’s face shape and prevent it from sagging inward due to missing teeth, which can make a person appear older. They also act as a vital aid for eating and speaking along with offering a boost in one’s self-confidence.

Considering the health benefits that a set of dentures can offer both humans and cows, it’s clear they’re a great choice for anyone who no longer has all their natural teeth.

Have any questions about getting dentures of your own or finding a dentist office that’s right for you? Go ahead and ask by leaving a comment below this article.


Corporate-Run Dental Offices Prioritize Profit Over Patients

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dentist officeA growing number of dentist offices around the country have increasingly and aggressively begun to over-diagnose patients in a move to drive up profits.

According to, one group of 11 dental patients recently filed a class-action lawsuit against a prominent corporate-run chain of local dentists that operates throughout New York City.

“Maybe they came in because they had a toothache and maybe needed a filling; they walk out with a two- or three-thousand-dollar treatment plan,” Brian Cohen, a New York-based attorney representing the 11 patients in the class-action lawsuit, said. The group’s lawsuit alleges that the dental clinics are guilty of practicing unlawful corporate medicine.

“They lure patients in with promises of free X-rays and exams and the quicker they can get them out of the dental chair to the sales chair, the better,” Jeffrey Norton, the lawsuit’s co-counsel, said.

The group’s lawsuit is one of the more extreme examples of this growing trend to focus on driving up profits at dental practices. Over-diagnoses can be as simple as telling a patient his or her dental condition needs to be treated with a special procedure when the issue can be managed or monitored non-surgically, reports, or giving a tooth a filling that it might not have needed.

With these corporate-minded and profit-prioritized dentist offices on the rise across the country, how can one find a dentist that will focus on patient’s dental health rather than getting more money?

When looking for a dentist, it’s usually a good idea to read dentist reviews online to get a clear, unbiased look at the clinic’s business practices.

And if your current dentist makes a diagnosis that doesn’t make sense to you, feel free to speak up or go to a different dentist office to seek out an alternate opinion.

Have you ever felt like your dentist over-diagnosed you during a dental cleaning or check-up? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.


4 Common Questions About Finding a Dentist, Answered

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how to find a local dentistIf you’ve simply been combing the local results when you type “dentist” into Google, you may be getting frustrated in your quest. The good news is that there are better ways to find a dentist. Here are some answers to questions on how to find a local dentist that meets all your needs.

  1. Who Should I Ask for Recommendations?
    Personal recommendations are the best way to choose any medical practitioner. One group of people you can tap as a resource is other medical professionals. If you have a great pediatrician, for example, he or she may also know a pediatric dentist (called a pedodentist) your kids will love.

    You can also ask around in your neighborhood or social groups. Someone in your homeowners’ association might know the best dentist close to home, or someone in your office may know which dental offices can get you in for a cleaning over your lunch break.
  2. Are Online Reviews Reliable?
    When you’re trying to figure out how to find a local dentist, one of the most common dilemmas you’ll face is whether you should factor in online reviews. The best approach is to read reviews, but keep in mind what they can and can’t help you discover. Reviews are a great way to find out if a dentist is kind, or compassionate, or timely, or good with children — they’re less reliable if you’re trying to estimate costs or rates of procedural success.
  3. Can General Dentists Do Cosmetic Procedures?
    If you’re searching for one dentist who can perform both cosmetic dentistry and your regular cleanings, your success will likely depend on the size of your town. Most extensive cosmetic procedures are performed by specialists, but increasingly popular procedures such as professional whitening (which, along with at-home tooth whitening products, now constitutes a $1.4 billion industry) and veneer application (which has increased by 250% just in the last five years) may be offered by your dental office.

    Remember when you’re weighing the benefit of cosmetic procedures that certain treatments once considered cosmetic, such as orthodontia, are now seen as necessities. This is because misaligned teeth can cause wear and premature tooth loss later in life. Similarly, dental implants can stop bone loss and preserve function needed for eating and speaking.
  4. Is It Really Worth Spending Time Searching?
    Unfortunately, some patients assume that all dentists are the same and it doesn’t really matter which one you choose. But the personality of the office staff can have a big impact on how pleasant or unpleasant office visits are — especially for your children. So yes, it’s worth putting in a little time now to find a dentist you’ll be happy to visit for years to come.

Do you have any other tips on how to find a local dentist? Share how you found the dentist of your dreams in the comments.


How Veneers Can Offer a Solution to a Variety of Dental Issues

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cosmetic dentistWhen people think of solutions for crooked or discolored teeth, traditional braces and in-office whitening procedures are probably the first things that come to mind. Did you know that there is another method used by cosmetic dentists that can fix both of these issues without metal wires and potent bleaching gels? Veneers are becoming a more popular treatment for people who want to achieve a straight and bright smile, with veneer solutions increasing in popularity by more than 250% in the last five years alone.

What are Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers are a thin, tooth-colored material that is adhered to the front surface of the teeth. Veneers can enhance the look of teeth, improving their shape, alignment and color. Porcelain or resin composite are typically used to make veneers, though porcelain veneers are often more natural looking and resist stains better than resin veneers. Dental veneers typically last anywhere between five and 10 years, after which they need to be removed and replaced with new veneers.

Who Should Get Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers can fix a number of different issues that patients might have with their teeth. Veneers can provide a solution to teeth that are chipped, broken, uneven, discolored or have a noticeable space between them. Veneers offer an alternative solution to painful braces or costly teeth whitening procedures, but it is important to ask a dentist first if it is the best solution for your teeth.

What are the Benefits of Dental Veneers?
Dental veneers have many benefits. First and foremost, it is nearly impossible to tell the difference between real teeth and veneers since they are specifically designed for each individual patient. Veneers are also resistant to stains that affect natural teeth, allowing you to enjoy your favorite foods and beverages while maintaining a bright, white smile. Since veneers fix several different issues, from discolored teeth to crooked teeth, they allow you to solve multiple problems with a single treatment.

Dental veneers are a great alternative to the traditional methods of fixing crooked, discolored teeth. As they become a more popular cosmetic dentistry technique, it is important to consider them as a viable dental solution for a number of different problems.


Finding the Right Dentist for You and Your Family

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find a dentistFinding a dentist can be a daunting task. Sure, Google can get you a hundred names of dentists near you who can easily handle your dental exams and professional dental cleanings… but that’s usually not the only reason people are picky when it comes to their dental health. Here are some common questions when looking for a dentist.

“How do I find a dentist for my kids’ teeth?”
Most dentist’s offices will have at least one certified pedodontist (children’s dentist), so you may be able to consolidate your and your kids’ appointments into one trip. Very occasionally, a general dentist will also specialize in children’s teeth (this can happen more often in smaller towns), but if you’re looking for a one-stop shop, you’ll likely have to schedule with two different dentists for you and your children.

“Is it possible to find a dentist who does regular exams and cosmetic procedures?
There’s usually a distinction between “general” dentists and “cosmetic” dentists. That being said, many general dentists now provide a few basic cosmetic services. Chemical whitening, for instance, is a fairly straightforward procedure using a peroxide-based mixture to oxidize stains away from your teeth. Over the past five years, as more and more general dentists add whitening to their menu of services, the amount of procedures performed has gone up 300%.

“How do I know what kind of dentist I really need?
With all the specialties out there, confusion is understandable. Orthodontists deal primarily with misaligned teeth, and can help patients avoid gum disease, tooth loss, and unnecessary wear on their enamel. Periodontists deal with the gums specifically. Oral surgeons specialize in reconstruction and complicated cosmetic work. Endodontists deal with the inside of the tooth (the root and the pulp).

“How can I find a dentist I can trust?”
For many, this is the most important question of all. After all, your teeth are the gateway to your overall health — the healthier your teeth, the healthier your body and its various systems. As such, don’t be afraid to ask any potential dentists questions (like if they offer emergency services, or how large their referral network is). It’s okay to interview your dentist to see if it’s going to be a good fit. And never, ever be reluctant to switch dentists if you don’t feel you’re getting the best possible care at all times.


How Can Cosmetic Dentistry Improve My Health?

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porcelain veneersCosmetic dentistry is sometimes referred to as a purely appearance-based specialty of dentistry, without any real connection to health. However, as more and more research points to the strong link between the health of our mouths and the health of our bodies, more and more “cosmetic” procedures are proving to provide a big benefit to our overall physical health and well-being. Here are a few examples of cosmetic procedures that are actually pretty good for you.

Porcelain Veneers
In order to quickly and effectively cover decay spots, hide severely discolored teeth, or even out an irregular bite pattern, patients may elect to have porcelain veneers installed. These are custom-shaped, thin porcelain shells that are installed directly over the front part of a crown, offering a brand new facade and an immediately improved look. The health benefit? When porcelain veneers are used to cover decay spots, they effectively seal up the affected areas, preventing further damage.

Dental Implants
Modern reconstructive cosmetic dental surgery usually begins with the placement of dental implants. These are small posts, made of titanium alloys, which are inserted into the jawbone to act as surrogate roots for replacement teeth. Implants can help patients who are missing one tooth, several teeth, or all their teeth have a beautiful, brilliant smile again. The health benefits? The new dentures are permanent dentures (implants can boast a 98% success rate), so digestion is improved, gums are better protected, and the patient’s diet is completely free of restrictions, unlike with traditional dentures.

Chemical whitening involves the application of a peroxide-based solution to the enamel in order to oxidize stains and discoloration away. While whitening is perhaps the most “cosmetic” of the cosmetic procedures, with arguably the fewest direct health benefits, the psychological, emotional, social, and even financial benefits are not to be ignored. A whiter smile can make a person more confident, more friendly, and yes, even more hirableto the world, especially in professions with a lot of camera time and media exposure. Better success, quite simply, leads to better health across the board.

The simple truth is, the healthier our teeth, the healthier and happier we are, whether it’s a direct physical benefit or a less-measurable but no-less-important boost in our self-esteem. Keep them looking great, and you’ll keep yourself feeling great for years and years to come.


Do You Need to Floss? Four Questions People Often Have for Dentists

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pediatric dentistDid you know that if you fail to floss, you end up missing 40% of your tooth surfaces when it comes time to clean? Although everyone might want clean teeth, there’s often a disconnect between what people should do, and what they actually end up doing. Often, some of the disconnect is due to miscommunication or a lack of information. Here are four common questions many people like to ask a dentist, as well as their answers.

1. Is There a Point to Visiting a Pediatric Dentist?
It is very important that good dental care begins in youth with pediatric dentistry. Not only does this help establish a good lifelong habit of visiting the dentist and caring correctly for teeth, but dentists can take preventative measures to prevent problems from occurring later on. A child who has a bad brushing technique, for example, can have their technique corrected before permanent damage is done to the teeth.

2. Is Cosmetic Dentistry Expensive?
There is a large variety of potential cosmetic dentistry procedures. While some — like porcelain veneers — will be more expensive, others, like teeth whitening, can be highly affordable. It’s worth keeping in mind that better teeth can often give people a confidence boost and help them create better first impressions, which can be important both socially and in the workplace. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99% of Americans agree that smiles are important social assets.

3. If I Don’t Get Cavities Easily, Do I Really Need to Floss?
Yes! It’s no secret that flossing is one activity that many dental patients would rather avoid at all costs — in fact, about 75% of Americans surveyed say they would rather go grocery shopping than floss. Even if your teeth are good at standing up to cavities, flossing, along with brushing, helps ensure good gum health. Many people don’t realize just how prevalent gum disease, known as periodontal disease, really is. It affects about 80% of adults in the U.S., and, left untreated and unmanaged, it can lead to irreversible bone and tooth loss.

4. Is There Such a Thing as a Bad Dentist?
It’s fair to say that there are some dentists you may want to avoid, which is why reading online dentist reviews is a good idea if you haven’t heard about the practitioner through word-of-mouth. If a dental office is frequently overbooked, or the dental staff are inexperienced and have trouble answering patient questions, that is something you’ll want to know.

If you have children, do you visit a pediatric dentist? Let us know in the comments.


Myths About Affordable Dentistry

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cheap dentistsWith something as important as our teeth, it would be nice to think that cost was no obstacle when it comes to dental health and oral hygiene.

But unfortunately, we know that’s not the case.

The number of Google searches in a single month for “cheap dentists” might shock you, but cheap dentistry is what struggling families are looking for. As more and more connections between oral health and total-body health are discovered, the importance of professional dental cleanings and expert examinations is becoming clearer. However, the issue of “cheap dentistry” is really two separate issues.

First, there’s the upfront cost of care, and to be fair, this can be a difficult hurdle to jump. Parents see the cost of services for their children’s oral care (or their own), and the strength suddenly goes out of their knees. But it’s important to remember that the cost of dental care, especially preventative care, doesn’t begin and end with that single bill. It’s spread out over all the future problems prevented by those services — the fluoride treatment that prevents cavities, the filling that prevents further breakage and loss of teeth, and the braces that reduce the likelihood of major reconstructive surgery down the line.

The second issue is the use of the word “cheap.” It can easily conjure up images of substandard care and unsanitary conditions. The passage of the Affordable Care Act left very obvious holes in dental coverage for adults (though children’s services were deemed “essential”), and many found themselves scrambling to supplement their existing coverage. This led to a spike in searches for “cheap dentistry,” and the accompanying surge of less-than-reputable sources to fill the need.

So what’s the best way to tell the difference between an affordable dentist and a cheap one? When you walk into their office, if you’re not 100% comfortable and confident that your teeth (and the teeth of your whole family) are in good hands, you should walk right back out. A family dentist for kids and adults should put everyone at ease, exude confidence and competency, and leave no doubt whatsoever in your mind that you are getting the best care possible, no matter what the price.

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.