Yakima, WA Dentist
Reep Family Dental
3804 Kern Road Suite A
Yakima, WA 98902
(509) 388-0331

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Posts for: February, 2016

By Reep Family Dental
February 23, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal Therapy  

Maybe you woke up this morning with a throbbing toothache, or maybe you went in for a routine dental appointment, only to be told you have a tooth that needs some work.

The words “root canal” may cause a little worry. A number of questions may pop up in your mind – how long does it take, what is Root Canalinvolved and is it expensive? But the big question one should ask is this: how can root canal therapy help me?

If you live in the Yakima, Washington area, the staff at Reep Family Dental and Sleep Solutions might be a good resource to help you find answers to that question.

The truth is, depending on your situation, root canal therapy can help significantly. Contrary to the usual jokes and horror stories, the procedure is safe, reliable, relatively quick, long-lasting, and painless.

Why do I need a root canal?

To better understand root canal therapy, it helps to understand the anatomy of a tooth. According to the American Association of Endodontists, what you see in the mirror when you smile – your “pearly whites” – is the outer hard cover enamel layer of each of your teeth. Inside each tooth, under the enamel and another hard layer called the dentin is a soft tissue called the pulp, which contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. That pulp helps grow the root of your tooth during its development.

In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the tissues surrounding it. When that pulp becomes inflamed or worse, infected, an endodontist can treat it by removing the infected or inflamed pulp, disinfecting the inside of the tooth, and replacing the pulp with a substance similar to what your dentist would use for fillings. The tooth can then be recovered with a crown. While your dentist will walk you through the particulars, generally, the procedure can be done in one or two visits.

The important thing to remember is the result is going to be a repaired tooth that is strong, natural looking, and can last as long as the rest of your teeth. If you are in the Yakima, Washington area, and you are seeking information about root canals, or you need a qualified dentist to help you with such a decision, consider contacting Reep Family Dental and Dental Sleep Solutions. For more information call 509-248-0896 or visit the website at www.reepfamilydental.com.

By Reep Family Dental
February 20, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.

What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.

For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.

Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.

Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.

So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”

By Reep Family Dental
February 11, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: flossing  

Why Do I Need to Floss? Flossing can keep your teeth and gums healthy.

So, what’s the big deal about flossing? You brush your teeth, isn’t that enough? The short answer is no, brushing only cleans part of flossingyour teeth; a toothbrush will never be able to clean in between your teeth. Often, that’s where a cavity will start. Your dentist, Dr. Nic Reep in Yakima, Washington wants you to know why flossing is so important to the health of your teeth and gums.

When you eat food, the hidden sugars in food combine with the normal bacteria in your mouth to form an acid. This acid is strong enough to eat through your tooth enamel. After the acid has eaten through your enamel, which is the hardest substance in your body, it will eat through the dentin underneath. That’s when you have a cavity that needs to be filled. If you let things go, the acid will eat through to the pulp and then you need a root canal. If you floss daily, you can prevent the formation of acid which causes the decay. You can stop decay in its tracks!

Dr. Reep wants you to know it isn’t just your teeth that benefit from flossing. It’s also your gums. If you don’t floss, bacteria-laden plaque builds up between your teeth. If the plaque and bacteria are left alone, toxins will form which start infecting your gums. Your gum inflammation can destroy the soft and hard tissue that holds your teeth in place. Pretty soon, that tiny crevice you should have been flossing has turned into a deep pocket, almost impossible for you to clean. You now have periodontal disease.

Don’t wait to start flossing. You can keep your teeth and gums healthy so that you can avoid:

  • Bacterial acid causing decay in between your teeth
  • Deep decay turning into the need for a root canal or extraction
  • Plaque in between your teeth turning into gum inflammation
  • Gum inflammation resulting in periodontal disease

Flossing is an important way to keep your teeth and gums healthy, but you need to see your dentist regularly too. Don’t procrastinate! Make an appointment with Dr. Nic Reep in Yakima, Washington. He will help you protect your teeth and gums. Call him today and find out more about what he can do for you!

By Reep Family Dental
February 05, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: thumb sucking  

It’s true — thumb sucking beyond age 4 can cause bite problems for permanent teeth. But prolonged thumb sucking is just one of a number of possible contributing factors for a bad bite (malocclusion). A dentist must identify all the factors involved when a bad bite is present — their involvement is essential for a successful treatment outcome.

A fairly benign habit for infants and toddlers, thumb sucking is related to an “infantile swallowing pattern” young children use by thrusting their tongues forward between the upper and lower teeth when they swallow. Around age 4, though, they usually transition to an adult swallowing pattern in which the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. Thumb sucking stops for most children around the same time.

Thumb sucking beyond this age, though, can put increased pressure on incoming permanent teeth pushing them forward. This could lead to an “open bite” in which the upper and lower teeth don’t meet when the jaws are closed. The tongue may also continue to thrust forward when swallowing to seal the resulting gap, which further reinforces the open bite.

Before treating the bite with braces, we must first address the thumb sucking and improper tongue placement when swallowing — if either isn’t corrected the teeth could gradually revert to their previous positions after the braces come off. Besides behavioral incentives, we can also employ a thin metal appliance called a “tongue crib” placed behind the upper and lower incisors. A tongue crib discourages thumb sucking and makes it more difficult for the tongue to rest within the open bite gap when swallowing, which helps retrain it to a more normal position.

An open bite can also occur if the jaws develop with too much vertical growth. Like thumb sucking and improper tongue placement, abnormal jaw growth could ultimately cause orthodontic treatment to fail. In this case, though, surgery may be necessary to correct the jaw structure.

With all these possible variables, our first step needs to be a thorough orthodontic exam that identifies all the cause factors for your child’s specific malocclusion. Knowing if and how thumb sucking may have contributed to the poor bite will help us design a treatment strategy that’s successful.

If you would like more information on the causes of poor tooth position, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”