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b2ap3_thumbnail_jaw-xray-teeth.jpgLiving with Temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) can be a pain in the neck...and the head and the jaw. Often in excruciating pain, patients turn to a traditional orthodontist for answers, and they’re met with a recommendation for jaw surgery to alleviate their discomfort and "fix" the problem. Dr. Buck sees many patients who are coming to him for a second opinion in similar situations. While he understands in very severe cases, jaw surgery may be necessary, most of the time, it’s not. In fact, jaw surgery tends to be over recommended which is why it’s crucial to obtain a second opinion.

Jaw surgery is a painful and costly procedure, and it comes with a host of risks. Patients are at risk of blood loss, infection, and even nerve damage. Recovery times are often substantial, ranging anywhere from three to six weeks. When faced with these facts, it only makes sense that patients would seek out a second opinion to see if there just might be a less invasive treatment. Surprisingly, there is.

As a neuromuscular dentist who uses neuromuscular orthodontics to treat a range of dental issues, Dr. Buck is strongly opposed to jaw surgery for the sake orthodontic treatment. He believes that by implementing jaw development strategies, we can successfully reshape and move the jaw so that jaw surgery isn’t necessary.

"I’m of the belief that it’s an excuse that puts the blame on the patient, so now the patient accepts responsibility for the compromised outcome," Dr. Buck said. "There are extreme cases that need it, but the majority of the time it’s not necessary. If we can do something conventionally, like using orthodontics with some very carefully designed and safe appliances, we can avoid jaw surgery."

Traditional orthodontics tells us that the jaw can’t be remodeled or reshaped, but based on first-hand experiences with his patients and supporting research, Dr. Buck can confidently say it CAN be done. By using appliances with correct stimulation in the right places, the jaw can successfully remodel and regrow, thus alleviating pain and discomfort and taking jaw surgery off the table. Because he understands that each case is different, Dr. Buck carefully evaluates his patients and develops a treatment plan that addresses their unique needs and effectively treats their dental issues.

If you’ve been told that you need jaw surgery, don’t assume your orthodontist is the final say. As a patient, you have the right to understand all your options, and that’s why we encourage you to schedule an appointment with Dr. Buck for a second opinion. Call our office today at 425-361-7499 to schedule your visit.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Danger.jpgMercury fillings pose a number of health risks, and a recent study released by the University of Georgia's department of environmental health science in the College of Public Health provides further proof. Trace amounts of mercury may not be harmful, but according to the study, people with eight or more fillings may be exposed to unhealthy levels of mercury. This isn’t news to Dr. Buck. That’s why in an effort to protect his patients’ overall health, his practice offers mercury-free fillings, including composites and ceramics. But what if you already have mercury fillings? Dr. Buck can help with that, too. 

Past studies on mercury show that high amounts in the body can be dangerous for your health. It’s been known to cause brain, lung, kidney, heart and immune system damage. Results from the University of Georgia study show that people with more than eight fillings had an average of 150 percent more mercury in their blood than those with none. Such high exposure rates are quite obviously problematic. The dental amalgams used in many traditional fillings are a mixture of metals including mercury, silver, tin and copper. Mercury compromises about half of this troublesome concoction. While amalgams have been used in dentistry for more than 150 years due to their affordability and durability, there is a safer alternative.

The first step to protecting ourselves from the dangers and toxicity of mercury is to avoid having it put into our bodies in the first place. Our office offers mercury-free fillings, composites and ceramics for patients in need of dental restorations. For patients who have existing amalgams, Dr. Buck provides a safe replacement option. He uses materials that are strong, long-lasting, and most importantly, biocompatible. As a dentist with extensive experience in amalgam replacement, Dr. Buck understands how toxic the chemicals in these fillings are both to the patient and to the environment. Not only does he take great care to safely perform this kind of dental work on his patients, but he disposes of the amalgam waste in an environmentally-safe way. Our office utilizes a wastewater protective service and was one of the very first U.S. offices to have it installed.

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional amalgam fillings or if you’re interested in having your existing fillings replaced, contact our office today at 425-361-7499 to schedule an appointment.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_Halloween-candy-corn.jpgWith Halloween just around the corner, now is the time to arm yourself with the right tricks to keep those tasty treats from causing dental issues for your children. Ghouls and ghosts may be scary Halloween staples, but they’re nothing compared to the horror of cavities and tooth damage caused by excess sugar. And while it’s every child’s goal to fill up their treat bags with every kind of candy, it’s typically a parent’s worst nightmare. Sure chowing down on candy leads to an epic sugar rush (and the inevitable crash!), but the damage it can do to tiny teeth is even more worrisome. So what can you do to protect your child’s teeth? Dr. Buck has a few tips to keep the cavities at bay.

Steer clear of sticky sweet treats or hard candies
Candies like gummy bears, taffy, Dots or other similarly sticky treats can wreak havoc on teeth. Because of their consistency, they stick to teeth, causing an increased risk for tooth decay. Hard candies are equally as problematic because they require kiddos to keep them in their mouths for prolonged periods of time. Sort through your child’s candy bag and toss these candies before they dig in.

Moderation and timing are key
Halloween candy is a treat, and parents should model this for their children. Limit the amount of candy your child is allowed to eat to one or two pieces. Designate a special time of day when your child is allowed to indulge in a snack from their Halloween stash. After mealtime is typically best. Saliva production increases around meals, so the extra saliva will help rinse away some of the residual sugar.

Stick to a strict tooth care schedule
Halloween isn’t an excuse for your child to skip their daily tooth care routine. In fact, it’s probably more important to help keep their teeth cavity-free. Stick to the schedule you already have in place for your child, and remember to have them brush their teeth twice a day.

Schedule routine cleanings with your child’s dentist
Part of any good oral hygiene regimen is scheduling regular visits with your dentist, and it’s just as important for children. Make sure to take your child in to see their dentist every six months. If you have any concerns about the state of their oral health, be sure to bring this up at their appointment.

We all know the point of Halloween is to stock up on candy, and the point of having that candy is to munch on it. But by implementing a few simple tricks, you can help keep your child’s treat from causing dental problems. And remember, schedule regular visit with your child’s dentist! Give our office a call at 425-361-7499 to schedule an appointment.

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b2ap3_thumbnail_tmjpain.jpgTemporomandibular Joint Disorder, more commonly known as TMJ, can be harmful and even dangerous if left untreated, but a more holistic treatment modality provides an alternative to conventional treatments. TMJ is characterized by pain in the jaw joint and the muscles controlling jaw movement that can impact jaw mobility. The condition ranges in severity from mild to severe. Some patients exhibit few symptoms, however, many patients are plagued with a host of symptoms including chronic jaw pain, migraines, difficulty chewing or swallowing, popping or cracking of the jaw and limited jaw mobility. TMJ is also associated with other conditions like snoring, grinding of teeth, frequent ear infections and restricted airway. While patients may believe their symptoms are mild or choose to forgo treatment to avoid invasive treatment plans, doing so can be dangerous. But neuromuscular dentistry offers an alternate route to conventional TMJ treatments.

Untreated TMJ can lead to a range of issues. Some of those issues can be extremely harmful to a patient’s health. Minor issues include worn tooth enamel, premature wear and tear from teeth grinding and clenching and tooth pain. On the opposite end of the spectrum, more serious conditions can arise such as malnutrition, insomnia, tinnitus, vision impairment and even addiction to pain medications. Additionally, a recent study shows a link between untreated TMJ and an imbalanced and compromised immune system, leading to a higher risk of infections.

Traditional treatments for TMJ can be off-putting. Typically, patients can expect to take medication to manage the pain, wear a splint or night guard to minimize grinding and clenching or undergo dental work, such as replacing missing teeth or being fitted for braces to correct the bite problem. In severe cases, surgery is recommended. None of these options are all too appealing, and they do not always yield the desired results. As a neuromuscular dentist with over 16 years of experience treating TMJ patients, Dr. David Buck provides a different approach to treating TMJ for his patients, and it’s called neuromuscular dentistry.

According to Buck’s website, "neuromuscular dentistry places the jaw into its optimal position, relieving the symptoms associated with TMJ. While traditional dentistry evaluates primarily the teeth, bones, and gums, neuromuscular dentistry works with the hard tissues and the soft tissues, muscles and nerves. When the jaw is misaligned, both the hard and soft tissues are affected and many physiological problems can result, such as headaches, jaw pain, neck and shoulder pain, tinnitus or ringing in the ears, and clicking or popping sounds in the jaw joint. In a number of cases, these symptoms are the result of TMJ."

In most cases, TMJ is a result of malocclusion, otherwise known as a "bad bite" and occurs when the upper and lower teeth are misaligned. When this happens, the teeth are unable to support the facial muscles required for proper chewing and swallowing. These strained muscles are forced into an unfavorable position, causing pain throughout the head, face and upper body. These forms of pain are consistent with TMJ. A neuromuscular dentistry treatment plan addresses these symptoms by understanding how everything in the human is interconnected. For TMJ cases, it corrects the bite and realigns the jaw. This holistic approach allows dentists like Buck to successfully alleviate the pain and discomfort associated with TMJ. Through the use of neuromuscular dentistry, Buck is able to "place the jaw into its optimal position, relieving the symptoms associated with TMJ."

Neuromuscular dentists like Buck carefully evaluate patients to assess the severity of their TMJ symptoms using state-of-the-art technology and generate a treatment plan in accordance with their findings. Typically, the neuromuscular dentist uses:

  • Computerized jaw tracking instruments to record jaw movement, resting position and path of closure
  • Electromyography to measure the jaw's muscle function in stressed and relaxed positions and measure the jaw-to-skull relationship to determine any structural imbalance
  • Sonography to record jaw joint sounds to detect any abnormalities
  • X-rays of the jaw to help evaluate the condition and positioning of the joint

Traditional TMJ treatments can be discouraging and may interfere with a patient’s way of life. In contrast, TMJ patients who have used neuromuscular dentistry as a treatment plan report less pain without the need for long-term medications or invasive procedures.

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Sleep apnea is a serious condition that affects more than 18 million adults[1], and what’s often surprising is how outside factors such pediatric orthodontics might be contributing to this epidemic. Characterized by interrupted breathing during sleep, sleep apnea often occurs when the tongue collapses down into the throat, causing a pause in breathing. People living with sleep apnea can suffer from many symptoms including disrupted sleep, excessive fatigue and even more serious health conditions such as high blood pressure, heart attack, and depression. Many factors contribute to a person’s probability of being diagnosed with sleep apnea including being overweight, smoking and alcohol use, age and a small jaw or a large overbite. What is often overlooked is how pediatric orthodontic equipment contributes to a small jaw that eventually leads to sleep apnea.

Modern orthodontists are quick to recommend braces for young children for a variety of reasons. While there are pediatric dental cases that do require braces, more often than not, the main reason for braces is to only straighten the teeth. Due to an overwhelming societal obsession with straight teeth and the "picture perfect smile," this isn’t surprising. But studies show that patients who had braces at a young age without any additional orthodontic intervention may be at an increased risk for sleep apnea. Because children develop at a rapid rate, devices like braces are not only changing the alignment of their teeth but altering the shape of the mouth and jaw. Braces create a narrow jaw which affects the tongue’s ability to fall into the optimal position on the roof of the mouth. This "perfect storm" can cause breathing obstruction which is characteristic of sleep apnea. If parents are concerned about the state of their child’s oral health, even as it pertains to tooth alignment, there are alternative treatments available.

Dr. David Buck, a Seattle-based neuromuscular dentist, has over 20 years of dental experience and is a strong advocate for a less-invasive approach to pediatric dentistry.

"If we can correct the oral posture and help the parents understand the unbelievable value of nasal breathing, we can change that whole trajectory of the growth of the face and maybe even prevent the need for future orthodontics because of that early intervention," Buck said. "At two or three years of age, you can effectively do things like help the oral posture, tongue placement, swallowing, rest oral posture and breathing to be corrected. If we could intervene at that level for our patients, we likely would have little need or much-reduced need for orthodontics later on."

According to Buck, simple orthopedic development strategies can provide an alternative to braces. Additionally, he stresses the importance of understanding the role of the tongue and the importance of nasal breathing to his patients’ parents. The role of the tongue and its placement is commonly overlooked as a precursor to sleep apnea. As Dr. Buck’s website suggests, "if the jaw isn’t expanded in a way to properly support the tongue, it can cause insufficient breathing, much like cases of sleep apnea." The tongue and the airway are both equally crucial in oral development.

"[It’s important to understand] what’s going on with the airway, what’s going on with the tongue and the oral posture, the posture of the cranium over the cervical spine and the overall body posture," Buck said. "What is over emphasized is simply the way the teeth fit together. The problem is, where are the teeth in the face? What’s going in the face? What’s going on in the airway, the nasal airway, and the pharyngeal airway?"

So if braces can contribute to an increased risk of sleep apnea but children still have dental issues that need to be addressed, what’s the answer? According to Buck, it’s as simple as letting the growth correct the issues, implementing the right kind of orthopedic development strategies and re-evaluating as the child grows. 

"If we could intervene at an early age and prevent that growth alteration from occurring, we literally would not have sleep apnea patients later in life," Buck said.

[1] "Sleep Apnea." National Sleep Foundation. Accessed September 25, 2016. https://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/sleep-apnea.

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The ongoing debate of bottle versus breast remains a controversial staple in modern parenting, but a recent study shows how breastfeeding can impact a child’s jaw structure and tooth alignment later in life. Breast is best. It is a saying most parents have heard more than once. Breastfeeding advocates cite statistics and research supporting the nutritional and immune-boosting benefits of breastfeeding, while formula supporters are quick to remind parents that today’s formula is equally nutritious and just as safe for babies as breast milk. Nutrition aside, new research shows exclusively breastfeeding can impact a child’s dental health, affecting jaw position and tooth alignment.

In a 2015 study released by Pediatrics, researchers discovered a link between exclusive breastfeeding and a decreased incidence of dental malocclusion (the misalignment of the upper and lower teeth), overbite and other conditions impacting the jaw. The study revealed the risk of overbite was approximately one-third lower for babies who were exclusively breastfed for a minimum of three to six months compared to babies who were not exclusively breastfed. Additionally, exclusively breastfed children were 41 percent less likely to have teeth misalignment. 

Bottle feeding varies significantly from breastfeeding. While both forms provide adequate nutrition, the mechanics of each are fundamentally different. Bottle feeding is more passive, requiring less effort to extract milk or formula from the bottle. In contrast, children who breastfeed utilize different muscles in their mouths and actively engage their tongue and jaw in removing milk from the mother's breast. Children use more jaw muscles breastfeeding and stimulate muscle tone in the jaw.

According to Dr. David Buck, a neuromuscular dentist in Seattle, Washington, these differences can impact the size and shape of the developing jaw. As a strong supporter of epigenetics(the study of how environmental and technical factors coupled with genetics can lead to certain outcomes or conditions), he is keenly aware of how outside factors, such as breastfeeding or bottle feeding, ultimately impacting a child’s long-term dental health.

"We have this interplay of several factors coming together at basically the wrong time when the face is rapidly growing," said Buck. "The infant has a huge cranium and a tiny face. For the first 12 years of life, your face grows out from underneath your cranium, and it becomes imbalanced. During that radical and rapid growth of the whole face, we are doing a number of things that corrupt it. Number one, we aren’t breastfeeding well and long enough."

Breastfeeding requires children to move their jaw and tongue in a manner that develops their oral cavity, building a solid foundation for properly aligned jaws and teeth. As children grow, many outside factors influence their development. Breastfed children exhibit adequate orofacial structure along with good muscle tone and effective nasal breathing. 

Because the mechanics of breastfeeding help optimally shape and form the jaw, it lessens the risk of nasal breathing problems as the child gets older. But by forgoing breast for bottle, the shape of the jaw changes in a more unfavorable way.

"We’re diminishing the child’s ability to breathe nasally," said Buck.

According to a study published by PLOS One, breastfeeding has also been linked to a lower prevalence in snoring and sleep apnea. This may be because these conditions are most often seen in people with a high palate and narrow dental arch. Because breastfeeding helps shape the jaw in an optimum way, it effectively provides "protection against upper airway dysfunction causing sleep-disordered breathing."

Additionally, children who breastfed were less likely to use pacifiers. Pacifier use is linked to an increased risk of malocclusion. They are used for non-nutritive sucking but can quickly become a comfort measure for infants if they are not weaned within a reasonable time frame. Because the sucking action is passive, much like with a bottle, jaw and tongue muscles are not fully engaged. Though pacifiers do have their place and purpose. Most Neonatal Intensive Care Units (NICUs) give pacifiers to premature babies born too early to develop the suck and swallow reflex in utero.

Breastfeeding has many benefits, yet when compared to bottle feeding, the dental benefits are second to none. Many dental experts, like Dr. David Buck, have long touted how crucial breastfeeding is in the proper development of an infant’s jaw and airway, and current research continues to substantiate these claims further.

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Putting the health of our children first is a top priority for parents. We do all we can to ensure our children are receiving the best health care, and that includes dental care. We make sure our kiddos are brushing and flossing twice a day and scheduling regular cleanings, but some parents still find themselves face-to-face with this diagnosis: your child needs braces. Children are fitted with braces for a number of reasons including crooked or overcrowded teeth, overbite or a "bad bite,” also known as malocclusion. While there are benefits to having braces, parents are often unaware of the possible long-term effects that their children may experience later in life as result of wearing braces. In his practice, Dr. Buck sees many patients well into their 20s, 30s and 40s who are experiencing a number of problematic symptoms often tied to their orthodontic treatment. He treats patients who are currently suffering from conditions like sleep apnea that can be linked to pediatric orthodontic work.

With traditional orthodontics, the primary goal is generally for aesthetic purposes, namely to straighten the teeth. But fitting a child with braces can have more adverse effects than beneficial ones. Patients who had braces as children may have straight teeth later in life, but they can also suffer from chronic headaches, damaged jaw joints and sleep apnea. These issues typically don’t present in childhood, which is why many orthodontists assume every patient with braces is a successful case. Very few are able to see the long-term damage braces can cause their patients if they aren’t absolutely necessary. Additionally, the role of the tongue with respect to orthodontics is often overlooked, and little attention is paid to its position or function. Braces tend to create a narrow upper jaw which ultimately entraps the lower jaw behind the upper narrow jaw preventing the tongue from coming into its favored position. This can impact and obstruct breathing because the tongue isn’t in the proper place at the roof of the mouth. If the jaw isn’t expanded in a way to properly support the tongue, it can cause insufficient breathing, much like cases of sleep apnea. Because the current training in the dental field doesn’t focus on the importance of airways and tongue placement, there’s still not enough understanding about sleep apnea and how it can be caused by orthodontic treatments.

As a dentist with more than 29 years of experience, Dr. Buck is focused on the health of the whole child which is why recommending braces is not his go-to approach. With his younger patients, he firmly believes that if we can customize a less-invasive treatment plan appropriate for each child, correct oral posture and tongue placement and help the parents understand the value of nasal breathing, we may be able to prevent the need for future orthodontics like braces and other health issues. Dr. Buck believes that how we treat the bite can have a long-term effect. Because of this, he’ll work to create a creative and holistic treatment plan that is the most beneficial for your child both today and later in life. If your child’s dentist or orthodontist has recommended braces, we encourage you to contact our office at 206-316-8284 for a second opinion with Dr. Buck. 

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It’s been a widely accepted belief that genetically speaking, we simply play the hand we’re dealt. Our bodies and its genetic code are hardwired to act and perform a certain way, and they can’t be rewired or reprogrammed. But something called epigenetics is changing that perspective, and it’s impacting the dentistry field in a big way. According to Dr. Buck, with respect to the genetic code, the idea that you “get what you get” is wrong. In fact, the genetic code is constantly being modified, and a deeper look into epigenetics may provide an explanation. But what is epigenetics, and how does it affect our dental health?

Epigenetics is the study of changes in gene expression that aren’t caused by changes in the DNA sequence. Instead, certain changes in gene expression can be the result of outside factors such as environment, lifestyle and even diet. In fact, epigenetic experts believe that these types of outside influences serve as switches in our genetic code that can allow certain genes to be flipped on or off. Still a little fuzzy on the details? Consider this explanation from University of Adelaide's School of Dentistry’s associate professor, Toby Hughes.

“Our genetic code, or DNA, is like an orchestra -- it contains all of the elements we need to function -- but the epigenetic code is essentially the conductor, telling which instruments to play or stay silent, or how to respond at any given moment.”

Now what role does this play in dentistry? One example is the notion that humans have inherited a small jaw structure. In Dr. Buck’s belief, this is inherently false quite simply because we don’t possess the genetic mutation that would cause this. The reality is that a small and narrow jaw is likely the result of things like diet or lifestyle. Additionally, how variations in gene expression possibly influence the development of certain oral diseases, like periodontitis, may be explained by epigenetics, though more research is needed to confirm any potential link

Epigenetics is slowly changing the face of modern dentistry, and with additional data and research, it can even impact initial diagnoses as well as aid in formulating more effective treatment models. The more we learn the better equipped we are to understand and treat oral health issues in a more holistic way. As a dentist who strongly believes in treating the whole patient, Dr. Buck understands the importance of integrating epigenetics into treatment models for his patients. Contact out office at 206-316-8284 to make your appointment with Dr. Buck. 

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Tooth extraction in preparation for orthodontic purposes is very common in traditional dentistry. Most often, this practice is applied when a patient is being prepped for braces. The oral surgeon sees a need to extract teeth due to overcrowding or to make room for the teeth to straighten and align properly. Dr. Buck’s approach is quite the opposite. He utilizes a functional orthopedic approach to dentistry in which the focus is on “treating the jaw posture, tooth relationship, muscle relationship and head and neck posture as a whole system.” He doesn’t subscribe to the notion of tooth extraction for purely orthodontic purposes, as he feels that the end result is often more detrimental to the patient’s overall health and well-being. In fact, he sees many patients in his office who have undergone this treatment modality and are now suffering from pain and discomfort later in life. He also stresses how the practice of tooth extraction for orthodontic purposes can have a substantially negative impact on facial aesthetics and long-term health.

 

Virtually any form of orthodontic treatment will change the structure and appearance of the face. The goal, however, is for the change to be healthy versus harmful. Because the goal of conventional orthodontics is strictly to straighten the teeth for aesthetics and appearance alone, little thought is given to how the method of treatment will affect other parts of the body long-term. After a conventional orthodontic treatment, including tooth extraction and braces, patients can experience breathing problems, gum recession, unstable teeth, head and neck pain and a propensity for developing TMJD. Additionally, this treatment model changes facial aesthetics by causing the face to recede down and back, elongating the face to a point where it begins to collapse.

 

Functional orthopedic orthodontics, on the other hand, is proven to be significantly better treatment option. Because this type of dentistry “emphasizes how the muscles, jaw joints and teeth affect one another,” it’s much more holistic. Through the use of dental appliances, Dr. Buck works to create proper tongue and jaw position to alleviate any negative impact on the teeth. This type of treatment works to align “the upper and lower arches by use of appliance therapy, and then [aligns] the individual teeth via the use of braces.” The end result is proper horizontal face growth and a noticeably broader smile, wide face and a fuller appearance to the entire smile.

 

If you’ve been told by an orthodontist that you or your child's teeth need to be extracted for braces please contact our office today at 206-316-8284 and schedule an appointment with Dr. Buck for a second opinion. 

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You’ve likely heard the latest buzz concerning flossing. According to a recent investigation conducted by the Associated Press, it turns out, it might not be so important after all. The findings suggest that there’s little evidence to show that flossing is as beneficial as we’ve been lead to believe. But before you toss that floss, Dr. Buck encourages you to review some very real data and information on oral health.

Our mouths are virtual cesspools for bacteria. It’s the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and multiple. The best way to prevent our mouths from being a battleground for bacteria? Good oral hygiene. And yes, that still includes flossing. Brushing is great for removing food and bacteria from the surface of our teeth and tongues, but what about the gunk that gets trapped between our teeth and underneath our gum line? If left untreated, that bacteria can cause some pretty nasty problems. Bacteria in our mouths can ultimately lead to periodontal disease, a disease characterized by infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), a whopping 47% of adults over the age of 30 have some of periodontal disease. So how does flossing play into all this? If left untreated, the bacteria that causes periodontal disease turns into plaque. The plaque eventually hardens, forming tartar, and that tartar build-up can quickly and easily spread below the gum line. The only effective way to reach that area to keep it plaque and tartar-free is, you guessed it, by flossing.

But that’s not all! While popping a mint or two can freshen your breath for a bit, to really banish that bad breath, flossing regularly is key. Because food particles are notoriously stubborn and like to wedge themselves in the tiniest little crevices of mouths, a tooth brush alone just isn’t going to get the job done. Flossing allows you to remove food from between your teeth and under your gums to ensure that your mouth is as fresh as possible.

Good oral hygiene is the only way to prevent gum disease, and contrary to what you’ve recently read online, flossing is still an important piece of that. But so are regular dental cleanings and exams. Call us today at 206-316-8284 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Buck. 

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Parents often aren’t sure what to do as their children go through the process of shedding their baby teeth and growing in their adult teeth.  It can be confusing to see circumstances when a child has teeth of differing sizes and stages, or in some cases an adult tooth grows in before the baby tooth has fallen out leaving two teeth in the same position (sometimes called “shark teeth.”)  Some parents decide to have baby teeth extracted to make room for adult teeth to grow in or out of fear of crowding.  Dr. David Buck believes that parents should not simply pull teeth without considering the greater implications.

Quite often the best course of action is no action, but there are some cases where leaving an infected baby tooth, or one that is disrupting the position of new teeth growing in can be detrimental to ignore the situation.  Dr. Buck warns that pulling baby teeth prematurely can cause problems with adult teeth growing in because they serve as natural placeholders for the adult teeth to grow in when they are ready.  If baby teeth are pulled prematurely, the surrounding baby teeth will naturally grow closer together to fill in the gap of the pulled tooth.  As a result, the corresponding adult tooth may not have enough room to grow in, and can cause crooked or impacted adult teeth later on.

Because many of these things are happening below the gums surface and in the jaw bone, it is important to bring your child in to have X-rays as part of a dental exam.  Dr. Buck can look at x-rays and conduct a full mouth examination to see how your child’s teeth are developing and outline an appropriate course of action such as tooth extraction, insertion of spacers to make room for teeth growing in, and/or braces. 

To schedule an exam, contact our office at 206-316-8284.

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For decades there has been increasing hype about the mercury content found in amalgam dental fillings, but mercury is not necessarily the only potentially harmful substance that can become part of your body through dental care.  As a matter of fact, there are more than 2,000 materials that are used in modern dental practice, and some people can be allergic to certain materials.  Dr. David buck specializes in biocompatible dentistry, ensuring his patients have the best dental experience.

While being allergic to chemicals and materials used in dental care is not the most common occurrence, it does happen, and can be problematic.  When a patient is allergic to a material that was used in or on a tooth as part of a filling, crown, or cement used to hold them in place, the patient who experiences an allergic reaction will continue to suffer from the reaction ongoing until the dental work containing the allergen is removed.

If you or a loved one has been experiencing chronic allergies and been unable to identify the offending allergen, Dr. Buck recommends getting tested for potential allergies to dental materials that may have been used in any existing fillings, crowns, bridges or dentures you already have.  If you test positive for allergies to one of the previous materials used, Dr. Buck can remove the structure that contains the allergen and replace it using materials that are more compatible with your body and immune system.

To learn more about biocompatible dentistry, or to schedule a consultation, call our office at 206-316-8284.

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One of the interesting psychological aspects of pain is that it isn’t always observable by other people, and thus those who suffer from chronic migraine and other types of chronic pain often question the truth of whether their pain and the debilitation it can cause actually exists.  Dr. David Buck is a dentist who specializes in helping patients who suffer from chronic migraine due to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD.)  June is National Migraine Awareness Month, and our office encourages all migraine sufferers to get checked to determine if there is a physical cause for their pain.

Invalidation is a common social phenomenon that evolves through our culture, and communication with friends, family and coworkers who fail to understand what the pain sufferer is going through.  Because there is not an obvious observable source of pain such as a broken bone or a bruise, people have a natural inclination to assume it does not exist. By responding to those who suffer from pain as though their pain does not exist, the person who is suffering begins to question the validity of his or her own pain.

Invalidation can cause social isolation, feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness, and physical complications due to ignoring the root cause of the pain.  In patients who suffer from migraine from TMJD, this potentially crippling problem can be easily eradicated by correcting poor alignment of the spine that begins with an improper set of the jaw.  This relieves strain on the muscles and joints throughout the head, neck, spine and lower back.

Dr. Buck encourages sufferers of chronic migraine to stop ignoring their pain and get examined to determine the root cause of their pain.  Once discovered, the problem can be corrected and the patient can resume normal, and even better life. 

To schedule an appointment, call our office at 206-316-8284.

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Recently, the trending topic in research is epigenetics – that is:  the environmental and technical factors that combine with genetics resulting in particular outcomes.  For example, the shape of a person’s jaw is influenced by genetics, but it is also influenced by nutrition, usage, and breast feeding. Dr. David Buck specializes in educating patients about the important role epigenetics plays in their overall health, especially in families with young children and adolescents needing orthodontic work.

While much of the research on breast feeding has been spent on nutritional aspects, and immune system development, a large influence on a baby’s jaw development is the actual physical mechanics of breast feeding. Scientists have observed that babies who are breast fed develop their jaws differently from babies who are bottle fed. Speculation is that bottle feeding is a passive activity that requires little effort on the part of the child to obtain nourishment, which a breastfeeding child actually has to utilize the muscles in his or her mouth, tongue and jaw to suckle the milk from the mother’s breast.

This difference in activity level of the tongue, jaw and other muscles involved in suckling at a mother’s breast versus bottle feeding can have a significant impact on the size and shape of the developing jaw. Dr. Buck feels strongly that with proper jaw development many health issues a patient may face as an adult can be prevented, such as sleep apnea and TMJD.

To schedule a pediatric visit to check on your child’s dental development, or to schedule an adult consultation, contact our office at 206-316-8284.

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According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), driving while drowsy contributes to approximately 100,000 automobile accidents, 71,000 injuries, and 15,500 fatalities on US highways every year. This, among many other consequences of Americans not getting enough sleep or enough quality sleep have resulted in the initiative to declare May Good Sleep Month, and remind patients to check up on their health and sleep hygiene habits to ensure they are getting a good night’s sleep. Dr. David Buck assists patients who suffer from sleep apnea, one of the leading causes of Americans not getting a refreshing night’s sleep.

Scientists have come to understand that sleep goes through three cyclical stages with varying degrees of relaxation, and that the cycle repeats approximately every 90-110 minutes. During the 3rd stage, the brain slows down and produces delta brain waves that are responsible for the restorative effects of sleep. In patients with sleep apnea, the body stops breathing as the muscles relax in the throat and the brain produces alpha brainwaves to induce the body to wake up again just enough to resume breathing.

In patients with chronic sleep apnea, these alpha brain waves can cause them to partially wake up as often as every 1-3 minutes, causing the disruption of the delta brainwaves and the failure of the body to restore itself during sleep. Often sufferers are not even aware that they are being jolted in and out of sleep.

The primary standard of care for patients with sleep apnea is the use of a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) device, but many patients abandon CPAP therapy because they have trouble tolerating the forced air pressure keeping the airways open, or they feel constrained by the mask, which can fall off when rolling over in their sleep. Dr. David Buck offers Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) as an alternative to CPAP. To schedule a consultation to determine if OAT is right for you, contact our office at 206-316-8284.

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As part of the increasingly popular movement to get away from amalgam fillings that contain mercury, more and more dentists are recommending porcelain inlays and onlays to provide better looking and still cost effective dental restorations without the potential dangers of mercury. Dr. David Buck feels very passionate about the removal of mercury in dental practices. You can read more about his stance and reasonings here. Ceramic inlays and onlays are just two types of dental restorations offered by Dr. David Buck, D.D.S.

Inlays and Onlays are different from traditional fillings in just the way that they sound. They are crafted and shaped to fit onto or into the existing tooth structure and are cemented in place restoring a natural look and feel to damaged teeth and restoring natural bite force.

First, Dr. Buck’s team will provide you with a professional teeth cleaning and take impressions of your teeth in their current state.  Using the 3D model of your existing tooth structures, Dr. Buck will work with a master craftsman to custom design the porcelain inlays or onlays to fit the architecture of your mouth.  From the model being agreed upon between Dr. Buck and the craftsman, the inlays or onlays will arrive for placement in approximately 2 weeks.

On the day of placement, Dr. Buck will place the inlays or onlays onto your teeth to test for accuracy of fit. If any adjustments are needed, he will make them and polish the finished inlay or onlay before cementing in place.

To schedule a consultation to determine if ceramic inlays or onlays are right for you, contact our office at 206-316-8284.

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Just months ago, the nation was rocked by news of the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on February 13, 2016.  According to the Washington Post, a noteworthy detail that could have factored into Scalia’s death was the fact that he suffered from sleep apnea, which was treated by a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine. The night Scalia died, his CPAP machine was found in his hotel room, unplugged and turned off. The death of such an important public figure underscores the danger of sleep apnea and the importance of having a reliable treatment method. Dr. David Buck offers Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT) as a treatment alternative for patients with whom CPAP is not well tolerated.

Sleep apnea is a chronic ailment affecting more than 22 million Americans, not to mention the spouses and loved ones who must deal with the characteristic snoring caused by the condition.  In untreated cases of sleep apnea, the patient stops breathing during sleep and the body must rouse itself to resume breathing, resulting in the interruption or absence of the restorative phases of sleep. Sleep apnea has been linked to a number of chronic illnesses including high blood pressure and increased risk of heart attack or stroke.

CPAP is the standard of care within the medical community, but many patients have difficulty tolerating it due to discomfort related to forced air preventing blockage of the airways. This can include dry and irritated mouth and airways. A machine continually pumps oxygen into the nose and mouth preventing obstruction of the airways that occurs as muscles relax when the body falls asleep. Many patients also have trouble utilizing a CPAP machine due to the noise it creates, power supply, and the need to sleep with a mask over the face.

OAT provides a viable alternative to CPAP that requires no power or pressure. Dr. Buck can design a custom orthotic designed specifically to address positioning of the jaw and tongue that can cause airway obstruction. The user simply inserts the orthotic device into his or her mouth and the device helps maintain the necessary position of the teeth and tongue to prevent sleep apnea from occurring. To find out if you are a viable candidate for OAT, call our office at 206-316-8284 to request a consultation.

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Mercury, a common element that makes up as much as 50% of an amalgam dental filling, has been known to be unstable and toxic when found in large quantities.  Studies indicate that mercury toxicity in the human body can cause severe damage to the central nervous system, kidneys, liver, and immune systems, as well as birth defects and impaired cognitive function.  Dr. David Buck offers the service of removing amalgam fillings and replacing them with safer composite resin fillings that are safer and more natural in appearance.

As a dentist who deals with amalgam fillings on a regular basis, Dr. Buck engages in the American Dental Association’s (ADA’s) best practices for ensuring that Mercury is properly extracted and separated from other materials and biohazard waste to ensure that it is recycled in a manner that is not harmful to the environment.

When mercury is improperly disposed as regular biohazard waste, it can be incinerated releasing toxic fumes into the air that can then be evaporated and released into the water supply to the surrounding area when it rains.  This endangers local fish and wildlife by causing mutations and endangerment of certain species of fish and birds.  It can also be toxic to humans who eat those fish or birds.

To discuss replacing your amalgam fillings with composite resin, or to learn more about environmentally conscious dentistry, contact our office at 206-316-8284.

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A recent publication in the Independent Journal quoted the National Institute for Health as saying that a habit of chewing on pens or pencils can be a symptom or a temporary relief for tension headaches caused by temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJD.)  The premise is that placing a pencil between one’s teeth can hold the jaw in a better alignment relieving the tension caused by TMJD. However, Dr. David Buck warns that it is important to note that actually grinding teeth or chewing on a pen or pencil is bad for the teeth and encourages patients to get fitted for a proper orthotic device that serves the same purpose.

Aside from the potential for a mouth full of ink and the toxicity found in pencil lead, these items can actually cause damage to the surface of teeth, leaving dentin exposed and making teeth more vulnerable for decay.  According to the American Dental Association, chronic pen or pencil chewers are just as likely as teeth grinders to wind up with ragged and uneven front teeth.

Dr. Buck’s office can take impressions of patients’ teeth and custom create an orthotic device that is modeled to the exact shape of the user’s mouth to restore the proper set of the jaw to alleviate TMJD pain. Typically the orthotic is ready within 2-3 weeks of the initial visit, and will be adjusted on 3-4 subsequent visits to ensure the fit of the device is comfortable and resolving the problem.

For those who have not yet been fitted for an orthotic device to help their TMJD, Dr. Buck recommends chewing gum to relieve tension or applying an ice pack to numb the jaw. Please call the office at 206.316.8284 if you think you may be suffering from TMJD.

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Some people are remembered for the perfection of their smiles. Their white teeth. Their dimples. The symmetry of their teeth. The straightness of their teeth.  For some of them, they are born lucky, but for others, the craftsmanship of a cosmetic dentist gives them what nature did not. Dr. David Buck offers porcelain veneers as a way for patients to achieve straight, symmetrical, stain resistant teeth that are even in length.

The process begins with an impression of your existing teeth that gets reconstructed in a 3D computer model. Dr. Buck and the lab work together to design the perfect shape and length for a thin piece of porcelain to be fitted as a covering over your existing teeth. The measurements are precise down to the fraction of a millimeter.

From the time of the computer model getting prescribed to the lab, it takes approximately two weeks for the porcelain veneers to be 3D printed, and then smoothed, shaped and polished by a master craftsman. During this time, Dr. Buck will drill about 1mm into the tooth enamel of each tooth that will provide space for the veneer to be fitted over the tooth.

Once the veneers are received in Dr. Buck’s office, he will match them to the existing shade of your teeth and apply a glaze that seals the color into each veneer, and finally, each veneer will be placed on each tooth to ensure proper fit. Dr. Buck will make any adjustments to the veneers to ensure a perfect fit, and finally will cement the veneers over your existing teeth.

One to two weeks later, we will check to ensure that the veneers are fitting closely to the gum line without causing irritation. Your perfect smile is complete. If you would like to gt started on the smile of your dreams call our office at 206.316.8284.

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