Dr. Kim’s Blog
Welcome to my blog! This blog is a product of my love of dentistry. I dedicate it to all the patients I have served so that they may better understand my craft. The information here will give you and others the power to maintain and protect one of your most priceless gifts ... your SMILE. Happy reading!
Are you aware of the role your gums play in your grin? While it's true that beautiful, healthy gums support a beautiful, healthy smile, not every patient realizes this. Compromised gums could mean less-than-lovely teeth. But if gingivitis or gum disease has snuck its way into your mouth, never fear: Dr. Kim Okamura and her team are at the ready to offer comprehensive but comfortable periodontal treatment. Those whose gums are ailing deserve the most effective possible treatment to return them to health and comfort posthaste. Laser periodontal treatment allows us to make your time in the dental chair really count.
The Laser Periodontal Treatment Difference
Scaling and root planing physically remove plaque and bacteria from your tooth root surfaces, as well as resurface those areas so that plaque will be less likely to cling to them in the future. Adding a soft tissue laser to this routine will enhance results and make your time in the dental chair (and recovering) more pleasant. Dental lasers aid periodontal treatment by
- Helping reduce periodontal pockets. During gum disease, your gums may pull away from your teeth, forming bacteria- and tartar-filled pockets between the two structures. These can be deep and difficult to access. A periodontal laser will stimulate tissue within the pocket to help regenerate healthy tissue. As new tissue grows, the gums will reattach to your teeth, closing the pocket. This lessens the need for surgical intervention.
- Minimizing bleeding. The high-energy light beam of the soft tissue laser aids in blood coagulation. Your blood will clot quickly, sealing off the treatment area and reducing the risk of infection. You'll also heal more quickly.
- Improving patient comfort. Lasers' narrow beams and ease of use make for precise results, with minimal invasion. While you will still require local anesthesia for treatment, it's likely that you will need less to feel comfortable.
Are Your Gums Ailing? Don't Hesitate to Pursue Periodontial Treatment
If your gums have changed in a significant way in recent weeks, it's a great idea to see your dentist. Contact our Seattle office to schedule an appointment.
A phobia is a fear that isn't totally based in rational thought. True reasons for anxiety or fear can snowball into something as huge and difficult to tackle as a phobia. Past negative experiences, a fear of vulnerability, and common misconceptions about dental treatments can combine to create pretty significant dread. But your next dental appointment doesn't need to terrify. Our Seattle team hopes that we'll be able to change the way you view dental treatment, and we will do so with communication, proper anesthesia, and dental sedation.
Seattle Dental Sedation
Anesthesia and sedation accomplish two very different (but vital) tasks. Dental anesthesia is administered at the treatment site, in the form of an injection. This injection is commonly accompanied by a topical anesthetic, to numb even the pinch of the shot. Once this medication has been administered, that area will be numb and treatment will commence. Anesthesia blocks nerve signals to prevent you from feeling any pain, and it is available to every patient receiving potentially uncomfortable dental work.
While dental sedation is also available to every one of our patients, it's not always necessary. Sedation is for patients feeling especially anxious, who would like to calm their nerves. The forms of sedation offered at Dr. Kim Okamura's include:
- Oral sedation - This medication is taken orally, in pill form. We'll prescribe it to you prior to your appointment, so that you can take it before arriving for your procedure. Once the medication has kicked in, we will begin your treatment. You will feel entirely relaxed during your time in the dental chair.
- Nitrous oxide - Nitrous, also known as laughing gas, is inhaled for the duration of your treatment. It makes patients feel happy and calm, and unconcerned with receiving dental treatment.
The Sedation Dentistry Process
Patients receiving dental sedation will need someone to drive them to and from their appointments. If you think you'd like sedation for your next procedure, get in touch with our Seattle practice and we'll discuss the steps.
Time has many negative effects on our smiles, one of the most common being yellowing teeth. While they are difficult to avoid, discolored teeth aren't impossible to treat. Even internal stains can be permanently removed with certain cosmetic treatments. You'll be amazed by the youthful effect whiter teeth will have on your smile, your overall appearance, and even your confidence level. If your smile has yellowed, don't despair - simply get in touch with our Seattle practice!
Battling The Culprits of Tooth Stains
There are two main types of stains when it comes to tooth discoloration.
The first type of stain is external. This staining occurs when particles lodge in your enamel (which is porous), changing its shade. External stains can be removed with Kor Teeth Whitening. But wouldn't you like to prevent them from taking hold in the first place? Try the following tips:
- Avoid dark foods and beverages. These are the most common causes of external stains, but it's simple to prevent them from affecting your teeth. Just rinse your mouth with water after imbibing anything dark in color (particularly coffee, red wine, tea, or cola), or use a straw to prevent the liquid from touching your teeth.
- Don't use tobacco. Smoking and chewing tobacco expose your teeth to nicotine, which will darken your enamel.
- Brush and floss often and thoroughly. Oral hygiene removes an impressive amount of superficial stains. Take great care of your teeth to see a difference!
Other stains are intrinsic, located below the enamel layer. These stains usually form during tooth development or as a side effect of some medications. As you may have predicted, these are much more difficult to remove. Treating intrinsic discoloration will usually require the aid of porcelain veneers or dental bonding. Unfortunately, preventing internal stains must be done during tooth formation, meaning there aren't preventive measures you can take once your teeth are fully formed. Protect your kids' teeth from discoloration by making sure they get excellent nutrition, receive the proper amount of fluoride, and avoid staining medications (like tetracyclene).
Whitening Your Teeth in Seattle
If you're seeking a brighter grin, get in touch with our practice to talk whitening specifics!
Your teeth don’t always act the way you’d like them to. For example, dental problems can seem to creep up at times when they’re particularly inconvenient. Whether this is during a particularly busy time in your life (isn’t it always?), or when your finances won’t allow for dental work, Dr. Okamura and our staff want to help you find a way to seek dental treatment. Our practice offers several varied ways for you to finance your dental work, and we’ll be with you every step of the way to help you through the process.
Payment Options for Dental Treatment
In-office Dental Wellness Plans – As every individual has different dental needs, we feel your insurance should reflect this. Our in-office dental wellness plans offer varying types of coverage that correspond with your level of oral health. Does one of the following coverage types apply to you?
Gold Level Plan – This plan is tailored to fit new patients who are interested in paying a single fee for a year’s worth of preventive dental care. The gold level package covers routine cleanings, x-rays, fluoride treatments, and exams for the next 12 months.
Silver Level Plan – For patients with ongoing periodontal concerns, the silver plan covers periodontal monitoring and some treatment.
Bronze Level Plan – Current patients of ours may be interested in using something other than their private dental coverage. The bronze level is for patients seeking a year’s worth of cleanings, exams, x-rays, and fluoride treatments.
Dental Insurance – We accept plans through many different dental insurance providers, and will help you verify your eligibility and understand your benefits. If you are unhappy with your insurance coverage, we’d love to discuss our in-house insurance plans.
Financing Plans – If you’re unable to pay for treatment at the time of service, we accept financing plans set up through a number of institutions. Talk to any member of our staff to learn more about how you can finance treatment at our practice.
Affordable Dental Care
At Dr. Kim Okamura’s, you’ll be able to receive the care you need without the headaches. Contact our Seattle practice to learn more about your payment and insurance options.
As dental treatment evolves, your experiences in the dental chair change. Improved tools, techniques, and materials make for more and more positive appointments and treatment results. Even patients with dental anxiety find that contemporary dentistry is less stressful than they once found it. Laser dentistry is one emerging technology that has made a fairly radical change for patients. Periodontal treatment becomes more comfortable, effective, and uncomplicated with the introduction of a soft tissue dental laser. If you’ve ever received treatment for gum disease, read on to discover a few of the differences that dental lasers have introduced.
Pluses of Laser Periodontal Treatment
Typical periodontal treatment is performed with dental picks and scalers, physically removing bacteria and plaque from your teeth and gums. Laser periodontal treatment uses the narrow beam of a laser instead of these tools. This different approach to disease treatment carries more than a few advantages:
- Briefer healing time
- Minimal bleeding
- More comfortable treatment
- Improved tissue regeneration
- Minimal effect on healthy tissue
- Effective reduction in disease
The narrow beam of a dental laser delves easily into small pockets between your teeth and gums, removing disease with needing to disrupt the tissue. Lasers are ideal for soft tissue procedures because of their healing effects on the gums. They not only minimize bleeding and aid with healing by sealing off wounds in the tissue, but can actually help generate healthy tissue growth after disease has been treated.
Experience Laser Treatment For Yourself
We can describe laser dental treatment for days; you won’t appreciate the full extent of it unless you try it for yourself. If you have inflamed or infected gums, or have had periodontal disease in the past, check in with us to evaluate your gum health and seek treatment. We can’t wait to introduce you to soft tissue laser dentistry.
Treatment of chronic pain can be incredibly difficult. Often, the reason the pain is ongoing is because it is difficult to pin down. The source of chronic pain can be hard to determine, and once it is uncovered, near impossible to stop. Fortunately, there’s one type of persistent pain that has become simpler to treat.
Chronic discomfort stemming from contracting muscles affects every part of your daily life. It’s hard to push on bravely when mundane activities cause you pain, even if that pain is minor. We have enough daily stressors; you deserve to be able to get through a day without feeling uncomfortable. Botox may have the answer.
Botox Treatment For Muscle Pain
In order to understand how Botox relieves pain stemming from muscle spasms, it’s important to be aware of exactly what Botox does. The protein that makes up Botox is injected into target muscles. Once present in those muscles, Botox prevents them from receiving commands sent by your nerves. Without reception of those nerve commands, the muscles will not contract.
While Botox is most famously used to relax facial muscles, thereby smoothing wrinkled skin, it is equally adept at taming muscles throughout the body. Certain muscles spasm or contract uncontrollably, without any intent on the individual’s part. These muscles become overworked and fatigued, and emit pain as the contractions continue. It’s often impossible for us to stop these muscles on their own; we have no authority over their contractions. Botox stops these muscles from contracting without needing any effort on your part. The result is welcome pain relief.
Types of Pain Treatable with Botox
Dr. Kim Okamura has experienced great success in the use of Botox for
- TMJ pain – The jaw joint is susceptible to disorders, as it consists of delicate components. When these components don’t function properly, pain can result. They often become damaged due to chronic grinding and clenching, which takes place primarily while the patient is sleeping. Botox at the jaw joint will allow your jaw to relax and prevent it from contracting at night.
- Myofascial pain – This type of pain can be caused by muscles throughout your body, but it manifests in your shoulders and neck. Botox at trigger points will help prevent this pain from recurring.
Ready to make a big change with a minor treatment? Botox could do wonders for your condition. Get in touch with our office to discuss treatment with our Seattle staff.
Making the right decisions about your dental products can help you get motivated in your oral hygiene efforts. If you're using a toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash that you enjoy using, you'll be much more likely to engage in all the required steps at least twice daily. But there are things to take into consideration besides just personal preference. Ensuring that you choose a toothpaste that will treat your teeth in the best possible way will help keep your oral health sound. Read on to learn a few tips from our Seattle office on how to make that decision, and which toothpaste could be best for your teeth.
The Type of Toothpaste Right For You
Different types of toothpaste have different effects on the mouth. Get to know the different types to determine which one will provide your teeth with something they may be missing.
- Fluoride Toothpaste – Fluoride remineralizes enamel to strengthen the outer layer of your teeth. Fluoridated dental products are recommended for patients who have problems with tooth decay, worn enamel, or sensitive teeth.
- Tartar Control Toothpaste – Tartar leads to plaque, and it’s important to make sure it doesn’t have a chance to take hold on your tooth surfaces. Tartar control toothpaste helps target areas susceptible to plaque and keep it at bay. This is recommended for patients who struggle with periodontal disease.
- Flavored Toothpaste – This is especially helpful for children who would be otherwise reluctant to brush. Toothpaste comes in a dizzying variety of flavors, and you and your kids will be able to find pastes that work well for you. Brushing is much more fun when your toothpaste tastes great!
Personalized Dental Product Recommendations
While we offer this blog post as a general guide to dental products, it's important that you remember we can't advise you on exactly what's right for your teeth unless we perform a dental exam. If you're seeking specific recommendations, please set up an appointment so that we may evaluate your teeth and oral health, and help you make the right choice.
Countless dental patients hope to whiten their teeth at one point or another in their lives. Whether in preparation for a special event during which they want to look their best, or on a regular basis to provide an ongoing smile boost, whitening is a common desire. But whitening isn’t always comfortable or effective for every patient. Those with sensitive teeth or deeply stained teeth can find teeth whitening doesn’t provide the results they were hoping for, or experience discomfort during treatment. Our Seattle team just isn’t happy with these limitations, so we offer whitening treatment that’s worth it. The Kor Whitening system whitens teeth deeply while desensitizing, allowing even patients who haven’t found success with whitening in the past to see stellar results.
How Does Kor Whitening Work?
The Kor system is a little bit different from many other types of professional teeth whitening. Rather than receiving whitening in the dental chair, you’ll actually use the Kor whitening system at home.
- You’ll visit Dr. Okamura to have custom whitening trays made for your teeth.
- Once ready, we’ll provide you with your trays and Kor whitening solution.
- You will wear the whitening trays while sleeping, allowing the gel to take full effect over the course of several nights.
- After two weeks of home wear, you’ll visit our Seattle office for one final visit, so that we may confirm your results.
- You’ll need to undergo home whitening touch-ups every so often, but will enjoy Kor’s results for decades to come.
Kor whitening stimulates a tooth’s ability to absorb oxygen, allowing it to pervade a tooth and break up staining molecules. Moreover, the specialized trays create a seal around your teeth, keeping whitening gel inside and saliva outside. This prevents saliva from affecting the consistency of whitening results, and the gel from entering your mouth. And as Kor whitening causes little to no sensitivity, you’ll be able to sleep peacefully as your teeth whiten to an impressive shade.
Experience Teeth Whitening That Really Works
Intrigued by Kor whitening? We’re pretty amazed as well! Get in touch with our office to learn more about whitening treatment with Dr. Kim Okamura.
Trying to navigate dental insurance? We want patients visiting our office to feel great about their coverage and comfortable pursuing dental treatment. We're ready to help you find your way. Dr. Okamura and her team have designed a plan that speaks to your personal needs. We now offer comprehensive, in-office dental wellness plans that address individual needs. This blog post details a few aspects of your wellness options; compare your current plan with our plans and consider which direction you would like to pursue.
Designing Beautiful Smiles and Dental Wellness Plans
We all have different dental needs, and your dental plan should reflect that. Our office takes your oral and dental health status into account to provide the benefit that is just right for you. Available plans include:
- Gold Level – For new patients only, this package offers a year’s worth of preventive dental care for a single fee. You will receive cleanings, x-rays, fluoride and exams for the year without needing to make another payment.
- Silver Level – Patients in need of periodontal treatment have more involved dental needs and require frequent appointments for maintenance. This plan covers patients with low risk periodontal involvement and tissue management.
- Bronze Level – For current patients seeking an easier way to manage preventative dental care and who do not have (or are opting out of) private dental coverage, this plan is perfect for you. One fee provides your cleanings, exam, x-rays and fluoride treatment for a whole year.
Once enrolled in any of our three plans you can enjoy significant savings on major restorative and/or dental cosmetic treatment. With our wellness plans, you won’t find yourself struggling for assistance to understand your benefits. All your questions will be answered, with no surprises, and no hidden restrictions. Our friendly team members will guide you through the plan process and alleviate the hassle of a middleman, deductibles and coverage mumbo-jumbo.
Making The Change
If you are ready for a plan without the hassle, we’d love to talk to you. Get in touch with our office to speak with any team member.
Once we decide to make changes to our facial skin, things can get pretty complicated. Whether we turn to topical treatments or more invasive procedures, there are so many decisions to be made. Botox aims to remove some of this complication. A single Botox treatment in Seattle will affect your facial lines in predictable, temporary ways. Botox offers the positives of plastic surgery without the invasion or the impossibility of turning back. In more ways than one, Botox is ideal for those unhappy with their brow lines but wary of the scalpel.
How Botox Works
The medication halts nerve commands from reaching receptors on targeted muscles. These muscles are responsible for minute movements on your face, and also for causing a variety of facial lines. When you furrow your forehead, lift your brow, or clench your eyes, lines form along the lines where your skin folds against itself. Botox will not only ease these lines, it will prevent new ones from forming. Your muscles will remain relaxed so that your skin may heal.
The Botox Procedure
Seattle Botox is administered in injections, with a certain number of units used depending on the depth of your facial lines and the desired results. A single treatment may be completed within one hour, allowing you to return to your day without delay.
Although you will feel a slight pinch at the injection, you will not feel uncomfortable after treatment. In the few days after receiving Botox, you will begin to notice results. Within a few weeks, your face will be fresher and your skin relaxed. The Botox won’t affect the way you emote or show facial expressions; it will simply relieve those troubling lines.
Don’t let your stress show on your face. Seattle Botox treatment will smooth worry lines without causing you worry throughout the process. Contact us to learn more.