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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!

Nine-Year-Old Launches Company That Makes Teeth-Friendly Lollipops

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dentist officeA nine-year-old entrepreneur who came up with the idea for a tooth-friendly lollipop made with healthy ingredients is making headlines for her emerging company.

According to a February 24 Entrepreneur article, the young Alina Morse came up with the idea for Zollipops, a treat just as likely to be seen in a dentist office as it is in a Whole Foods, after her dad warned her not to eat a lollipop given to her by a bank teller.

“My dad always told me that I should not eat candy, because sugar is terrible for your teeth,” Morse explained. “I asked my dad if we could make a healthy sucker that was good for your teeth.”

To create the ingredients list for a lollipop that would make dental cleanings and dental exams headache-free for both kids and their dentists, Morse and her dad consulted with local dentists and hygienists, and did plenty of online and in-store research. Zollipops contain no sugar — the ingredient responsible for tooth decay in millions of mouths of all ages.

Nowadays, Zollipops are sold at Whole Foods Markets, a chain of natural food stores, and are available at a growing number of dental practices. How does Morse balance a rapidly-growing business with her school and social life?

“By splitting my time after school, one third for homework, one third for business updates or projects and one third for organizing and playing with my sister,” she told Entrepreneur.

Over the last few years, demand for more teeth-friendly foods has risen as a result of studies showing how important an attractive smile is. Almost everyone — 99.7% of people — believe that a smile is one of the most important social assets; an amazing 75% of people say that an unattractive smile can be harmful for career success. This might be why teeth whitening procedures have risen in popularity by 300% in the last five years — and why entrepreneurs like Morse are looking for ways to make candy less damaging to teeth.

Morse isn’t stopping at merely selling Zollipops to encourage dental health among her age group, however. According to aCandy Industry article, she plans to give 10% of Zollipops’ profit to support dental education in schools across the country.

What are your thoughts on Zollipops? Have any other questions for us about how to find a dentist office or on eating the right foods for your teeth? Feel free to share and ask by leaving a comment below.


How a Trip to the Dentist Saved a Girl’s Life

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neighborhood family dentistry
There are plenty of reasons the average person might make dental exams and appointments a priority: for one, the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry reports that 99.7% of Americans believe a smile is an important social asset, while 75% of people fear an unattractive smile could hinder their professional success. Moreover, visiting a dentist office for even relatively common procedures can have life-changing effects: correcting misaligned teeth, for example, can prevent lifelong periodontal problems and severe tooth wear, including premature tooth loss. However, a family in Oklahoma recently discovered yet another reason to prioritize trips to their neighborhood family dentistry: their local dentist helped save their 11-year old daughter’s life.

The Woodard family told the Washington Post that they almost cancelled their six-month cleaning appointment. However, they dutifully made the trip to their neighborhood family dentistry practice with their four children, including their 11-year old daughter, Journee. During her cleaning, the dental hygienist and dentist noticed that Journee’s eyes were extremely yellow, a sign of jaundice. The dentist urged her mother to seek medical attention as soon as possible. When the family attended an appointment a few days later, it was revealed that Journee had a grapefruit-sized tumor on her pancreas, which needed to be removed immediately. Doctors told the family they were lucky: Journee was reportedly one basketball game away from rupturing the tumor.

While it isn’t always a well-known service, the best family dentists will often be able to detect signs of a variety of conditions in their early stages, including high blood pressure, diabetes and HIV, in addition to preventing and treating a number of oral health problems. In the Woodwards’ case, this ability gave them the sign they needed: Journee’s earlier symptoms, which included mild nausea and burping, were misinterpreted as minor ailments which had abated by the time of her appointment.

Currently, Journee has returned home following her surgery, where her family and doctors say she is recovering exceptionally well. As for their dentist, the Woodwards say they’re patients for life. If you needed a reason to attend your next check up at your neighborhood family dentistry practice, consider this a sign.


This February, Celebrate National Pet Dental Health Month

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dental cleaningsYou know about the importance of visiting your dentist twice yearly for regular dental cleanings and checkups — but what about your pet? It’s something we don’t often think about, but our cats and dogs have very similar dental hygiene needs to us — but they aren’t able to brush or floss their own teeth. While the average cosmetic dentistry patient spends anywhere between $5,000 to $6,000 on improving their smiles, most people spend $0 on making sure their pets’ teeth are healthy.

As a result, a stunning 80% of dogs and 70% of cats will display signs of dental disease or decay before they reach three years old. And unlike people, pets are unable to take advantage of peroxide-based teeth whiteners, veneers or dental implants to help correct the effects of dental disease.

To help combat these statistics, the American Veterinary Dental Society has named the month of February National Pet Dental Health Month to help encourage pet owners to bring their cats and dogs to the veterinarian’s office for dental cleanings.

Here are three things you can do to help your pet’s dental hygiene throughout the month of February:

Feed your pet the right diet
Much like with our own dental health, our pets’ diets play a big role in how healthy their teeth are. The right pet food should help fight plaque and tartar build-up, not contribute to it. Be sure to give your cat or dog high-quality, additive-free pet food that’s right for his or her age, size and breed.

Regularly inspect your pet’s teeth
You can tell a lot about your pet’s dental health by simply looking at his or her teeth. Your pet should have white teeth, light-pink gums that aren’t swollen, and relatively fresh breath. Loose teeth, bumps on the tongue and discolored gums are all signs of concern.

Ask your pet’s veterinarian to perform regular dental cleanings and exams
You should already be bringing your cat or dog to the veterinarian twice a year. At these regular checkups, ask your veterinarian to give your pet a dental cleaning as well. This allows your pet to get a professional teeth cleaning and helps the veterinarian detect signs of disease or complications in your pet’s teeth.

Have any other questions for us on finding a dentist office, or about cosmetic dentistry? Get the conversation going — feel free to ask us anything by leaving a comment below!


What Are the Worst Foods for Your Dental Health?

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dental cleaningsMany of us know that consuming too many sugary foods and beverages can lead to tooth decay, periodontal disease and a slew of other complications.

But there are other foods and drinks that aren’t necessarily sugar-laden, but still take a significant toll on your dental health and the appearance of your teeth. As a result, your diet might be harming your teeth without you even knowing it! With the popularity of teeth whitening procedures rising by more than 300% in the last five years, and 75% of people reporting feeling that an unattractive smile is harmful to one’s success, you can’t afford to let your diet have an adverse impact on your teeth.

Which foods should you be avoiding? To make sure your dental cleanings are quick, easy and cavity-free, the American Dental Association recommends that you avoid these foods — or enjoy them in moderation:

Hard candies
As stated before, too much exposure to sugary foods leaves your teeth highly vulnerable to decay. Because hard candies stay in your mouth for at least an hour before dissolving, they are able to do even more damage. And before you bite down on a hard candy, beware — biting down on hard foods like these can lead to emergencies like broken, chipped or fractured teeth.

Too many citrus fruits
Citrus fruits — lemons, limes and oranges — are all great dietary choices for the health-conscious dieter. They’re rich in vitamins and fiber, and are low in calories. Sadly, eating too much citrus throughout the day could be harmful. In addition to the high sugar content of citrus fruits, they’re also packed with citric acid — which eats away at your teeth’s natural protective layer of enamel. Enjoy citrus fruits in moderation, and drink plenty of water to offset their effects on your teeth.

Sticky foods
Sticky foods don’t just include taffy and other candies — dried fruit can also stick to teeth, exposing them to sugar longer. When snacking on trail mix or dried fruits like raisins and cranberries, be sure to drink lots of water in addition to frequently brushing and flossing your teeth. Your dentist will appreciate your efforts at your subsequent dental cleanings!

This one isn’t really a food — but many people have a habit of chewing on ice. It’s a habit that jeopardizes your teeth every time you bite down. Chewing on ice damages the enamel of your teeth, and can even break or chip your teeth in certain cases. If you can’t break your ice habit, simply suck on an ice cube — no chewing! — or drink some chilled water.

Have any other questions or comments for us on how to find a local dentist office or what to expect during dental exams and dental cleanings? Share all your thoughts with us in the comments below.


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.

Kirkland Dentistry | 11830 NE 128th Street, Suite 201, Kirkland, WA 98034
Phone: 425-823-6820 | Fax: 425-820-2427 | E-Mail:
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