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Fun Facts for the Fourth

June 30th, 2015

The Fourth of July is a great time to get together with friends and family members for BBQ, games, fireworks, and other celebrations in honor of our country’s independence. While your fellow revelers eat hot dogs and wave flags, you can impress them by sharing these fascinating facts and historical tidbits about some of our country’s traditions and symbols from the team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry.

The Statue of Liberty

With a torch in one hand and a tablet in the other, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most iconic and recognizable symbols of our country. However, as recognizable as certain parts of the statue are, not many people know that broken shackles, which represent oppression and tyranny, are lying at Lady Liberty’s feet. According to the Statue of Liberty-Ellis Island Foundation, the copper-plated lady weighs in at a whopping 450,000 tons and has been holding her torch up for more than 125 years, which must make for some impressive arm muscles.

Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest

Since 1916, people have been flocking to Coney Island on the Fourth of July to witness what some people call the “superbowl of competitive eating.” Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating contest challenges competitors to devour as many hot dogs as they can in just ten minutes, with the current record holder swallowing a whopping 68 hot dogs! If you’d like to witness this bizarre and frenzied eating competition but you won’t be anywhere near Coney Island on the fourth, don’t worry. ESPN has been broadcasting this popular event for several years, so you can watch from the comfort of your couch while you eat a reasonably portioned meal.

The History Behind Fireworks

Viewing the nighttime fireworks display is exciting way to finish off the fourth. Many people know that these brilliant displays probably originated with the Chinese. However, many historians also believe that fireworks were stumbled upon when the Chinese roasted bamboo sticks over fires and watched them explode. After many years of roasting the sticks, a group of alchemists created an early form of gunpowder, which they stuffed into the bamboo sticks to create an even more powerful explosion, paving the way for the today’s modern fireworks.

Whether you’re planning on visiting the Statue of Liberty, watching fireworks in Seattle, WA, or even participating in a hot dog eating contest, Dr. Tracy and our team hope you have a safe and fun-filled holiday. Happy Fourth of July!

What is nitrous oxide and is it safe?

June 23rd, 2015

Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry understands that the sights, sounds and sensations at a dental office can be unsettling for some patients. One effective technique that we use to comfort you is to offer the gas nitrous oxide. Nitrous oxide is a common anesthetic used during many dental procedures.

What is nitrous oxide?

Nitrous oxide is an oxide of nitrogen which has a slight sweet odor and taste. During medical or dental procedures, the gas is mixed with oxygen then inhaled through a mask that covers your nose. Within minutes, you should feel calm and experience an overall sense relaxation. You will be able to breathe on your own, move your limbs, and be conscious enough to hear and respond to our dentist's questions. The effects of nitrous oxide disappear shortly after the mask is removed and the drug is quickly eliminated from your body.

Is nitrous oxide safe?

Recreational use of nitrous oxide for its euphoric effects can be dangerous, however, the drug is combined with oxygen at dental offices. This ensures oxygen reaches the brain and prevents dangerous side effects or hypoxia. Nitrous oxide inhalation is a safe and effective technique to reduce anxiety, produce analgesia, and enhance effective communication.

Nitrous oxide is non-addictive and non-allergic, however, it may cause nausea in up to ten percent of patients. The drug is not recommended for people with some medical conditions such as chronic pulmonary disease. We recognize that all patients are different and encourage you to talk with Dr. Tracy about whether nitrous oxide would be a good option for you.

Our team wants to help all patients in Seattle, WA to overcome dental anxiety, so please, give us a call at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry.

Quit Smoking to Save Your Smile

June 16th, 2015

You’ve likely heard that smoking increases risk of lung cancer and emphysema. But did you realize that your cigarette habit also has an impact on your smile? Chronic smokers suffer from increased dental problems that make their smiles unsightly. Understanding how smoking affects your oral health may provide the momentum you need to kick the habit for good.

Cosmetic Changes Associated with Smoking

Cigarettes contain more than 600 ingredients that, when lit, create in excess of 4,000 chemicals. Of these chemicals, many are known carcinogens while others have been shown to have serious negative effects on health. The nicotine and tar in tobacco products are absorbed by the enamel of your teeth. The result is yellowed teeth that look unsightly; with heavy smoking, your teeth may eventually turn nearly brown in color.

The chemicals in cigarettes and cigars also cause your teeth to become less clean. Smoking is associated with a build-up of tartar and plaque on the surface of your teeth. Over time, this increases your risk of developing cavities and other oral health problems. Furthermore, pursing your lips while smoking leads to wrinkles around your mouth, which detracts from your smile.

More Serious Dental Conditions

In addition to having unsightly teeth, smoking can cause serious health conditions. Because of the carcinogens in cigarettes, smoking is associated with an increased risk of oral cancer, which can be deadly. Smokers are also more likely to develop gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss. You may experience an increased loss of bone within your jaw, which will cause significant problems later in life.

Treatment for Smoking-Related Oral Health Problems

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry will tell you that the best defense against smoking-related oral health problems is to ditch your nicotine habit. By decreasing the amount of nicotine and other chemicals you consume, you can decrease your risk of oral cancer and gum disease. Remember to mention your smoking habit when you’re at our Seattle, WA office. We frequently treat smokers and can recommend smoking cessation programs to help you quit. Dr. Tracy can also advise you about whitening treatments and gum disease prevention activities that ensure you’ll have a beautiful smile for years to come.

Five Common Reasons for Emergency Care Visits

June 10th, 2015

A dental emergency can strike anywhere, anytime, and without warning. Perhaps you’re playing a game of touch football on Thanksgiving and your brother-in-law decides to up the ante and tackles you, accidentally knocking out your two front teeth. Or maybe you’re on vacation somewhere in the tropics and decide to go deep-sea fishing, but when you’re climbing onto the boat you slip on the dock, fall, and chip three of your teeth. From misplaced fly balls to bagel seeds causing a painful bout of inflammation, there are all kinds of dental emergencies.

Here are the five most common reasons for emergency care visits.

  1. Somehow you've managed to knock out a tooth. Whether it's the result of a sports injury or because of decay, when you lose a tooth, you need emergency dental care. If the tooth is salvageable, then it can be reattached to the socket, but this needs to be done within a one- or two-hour window.
  2. A chipped tooth is the most common dental emergency. Small chips can be caused by food (chicken bones and nuts have sent many people to the dentist); however, it's usually some sort of accident or injury that more often causes a chip. While you might be embarrassed to walk around with a gaping chip in your front tooth, it is easily fixed with a bond, crown, or veneer.
  3. A broken tooth is more severe than a chipped tooth. When a tooth breaks, it might be due to a small or hidden chip. However, chances are the pain and discomfort will be more severe.
  4. It might seem comical, but getting a piece of food lodged in the wrong place can result in a dental emergency. If something gets stuck deep in a crevice, it can cause pain and inflammation.
  5. The loss of a filling happens more often than you think. When you lose a filling, you need to receive emergency care immediately. If you don’t, you risk further damage to your tooth.

When you injure your teeth or mouth, you need to seek emergency care as soon as possible. In the event of a suspected emergency, don't wait. Contact Dr. Tracy immediately.

Getting Ready for Summer Sports

June 2nd, 2015

With the warmer and longer days here, we know many of our patients at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry will be much more active in the summer. Though most of our patients are probably already ready to hit the field for some summer fun, we thought we would discuss a few precautions to take when it comes to keeping your teeth safe as you enjoy playing your favorite sports.

Use a Mouthguard

Are your kids participating in contact sports this summer? If the answer is yes, we strongly encourage you to have them fitted for a mouthguard at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry before the season starts. Athletes can avoid serious mouth and jaw injuries by using a mouthguard.

Be Mindful of Sports Drinks

While sports drinks can be refreshing after a game, they unfortunately contain high levels of sugar and citric acid, which are known to erode the teeth and reduce the minerals in the outer tooth enamel. The simplest way to prevent sports drinks from damaging your teeth? Avoid them completely and drink water instead. Water is a great option to keep you hydrated before, during, or after a game.

Floss, Floss, Floss

While we always tell our patients about the importance of flossing, it is especially important on the day of the game. Athletes are likely to consume more sugar; from energy bars and chews to gum, you are not doing your teeth any favors. All that sugar may give you that extra bounce in your step when out on the field, but we want you to remember to floss when you get home, or else contend with an increased risk of cavities down the road.

If you have any questions about keeping your teeth and mouth healthy while participating in summer sports, please give us a call at our Seattle, WA office! Have fun!

What should I use to clean my baby’s teeth?

May 26th, 2015

You might think babies don’t need to brush their teeth, especially when they don’t have any. But by starting good habits like brushing when your child is young, you can lay the foundation for them to continue those good habits into adulthood.

When do I start?

The best time to start brushing your baby’s teeth is before he or she has any. Develop the habit of wiping your baby’s gums with a wet, soft washcloth or gauze every day. There is no need to use toothpaste, just wrap the gauze or cloth around your finger, moisten it with a little water, and gently rub it over the gums.

This helps your little one get used to brushing while it eliminates bacteria in the mouth that can harm emerging teeth. You don’t need to apply a lot of pressure or even take very long: just a quick, gentle rub over the gums will do it.

What do I use?

When your child’s teeth begin to come in, you will need to switch from a cloth to a baby toothbrush. Find one that has a grip big enough for your hand, but a head that is small enough to maneuver easily in your infant’s mouth.

You don’t need to use any toothpaste until your son or daughter is about a year old. Even then, though, you’ll want to use just a tiny amount: about the size of a grain of rice. When your toddler is about two years old, you can use a pea-sized amount.

By around six years of age, your child will probably rinse and spit without your help. At that point, you may want to introduce a child-friendly fluoride mouthwash.

How do I do it?

Your child probably won’t be able to brush his or her teeth alone until about the age of five or six. This means that you will need to do it. To brush your child’s teeth, gently use the brush over all the teeth and gums, even areas where the teeth have not come in yet.

As your child grows and becomes more independent, you can allow him or her to hold the toothbrush while you guide your child’s progress. Make sure you talk to your child while you are brushing, and explain why you brush: what you are doing and how you are doing it.

In addition to regular visits with Dr. Tracy, instilling good oral health habits in your child early on will ensure a lifetime of good dental health.

Memorial Day and Getting Ready for Summer

May 19th, 2015

Memorial Day didn't become an official holiday until 1971, but Americans started gathering annually in the spring to remember those who lost their lives in war during the 1860s, right after the Civil War. Celebrated on the last Monday in May, people still decorate the grave sites of war veterans and hold memorial services, but Memorial Day has also evolved into a day that signifies the beginning of summer.

During the summer months, many people take road trips to visit family members. Some head off to the airport to enjoy a long-awaited vacation far away, while others look forward to spending time with friends and family at home. However you spend Memorial Day and the subsequent summer months, there are a few things you can take care of to ensure your summertime is enjoyable.

Checklist for an Enjoyable Summer

  • Have the AC Checked. During the hottest days of summer, many families find themselves sweating it out due to a broken air conditioning system. Be proactive so you can avoid waiting for hours or days because the HVAC repair person is booked solid. Have your air conditioning system checked before or around Memorial Day each year.
  • Ensure Security While You're Away. When you leave for vacation, the last thing you should have to worry about is the security of your home. Install a home security system, if possible, and put a timer on your lights so they go on and off at normal hours. You can also alert your local police department that you'll be gone, and ask them to drive by your house once in a while to make sure everything is okay.
  • Visit Dr. Tracy Before Vacation. Many people put off exams until after summer vacation. Avoid the crowds and make sure your physical and oral health are in top shape prior to vacation time so there are no unpleasant surprises.

Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry wants you to look forward to Memorial Day and the days of summer by preparing to spend the time safely and comfortably. As you plan ahead, take care of your health and secure your home, you can place your focus on creating memories with family members and friends while enjoying your favorite Memorial Day traditions.

Early Detection is Key to Treating Oral Cancer

May 12th, 2015

Every hour of every day, someone in North America dies of oral cancer, the sixth most common diagnosed form of the disease. The five-year survival rate is only 50 percent, and oral cancer is one of the few cancers whose survival rate has not improved.

This grim statistic may make you think that oral cancer is a particularly deadly form, when in fact the high death rate has more to do with how late in its development oral cancer is detected. Routine screening is the key to early detection and survival, and in our continuing efforts to provide the most advanced technology and highest quality care available to our patients at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we proudly screen our patients for oral cancer.

So, who’s at risk for oral cancer?

Anyone can develop oral cancer, but some people are at a higher risk. These high-risk groups include those over the age of 50 and men, who are twice as likely as women to develop the disease. Smoking or chewing smokeless tobacco products, consuming alcohol excessively, and constant exposure to the sun at a young age are also risk factors.

How is oral cancer detected?

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry suggest our patients perform a monthly self-examination to check for unusual red or white patches, sores, lumps, or thickenings anywhere inside the mouth, on the lips, or in the throat and neck area.

We encourage you to give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office if you find any of these symptoms or if you have trouble swallowing or experience a chronic sore throat and hoarseness. During your visit, Dr. Tracy will inspect the oral tissues and neck to determine if abnormalities are present.

What happens if oral cancer is detected?

If we discover abnormal tissues during your visit, a biopsy will be required. The results from the biopsy will be sent to a laboratory to determine if the cells are cancerous or precancerous. If a diagnosis of cancer is made, surgery, as well as treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation may be necessary. Dr. Tracy and our team will work closely with your oncologist and other members of your medical team to ensure that you achieve the best possible oral health care both during and after treatment.

Finding out you have oral cancer can be devastating news. If you are concerned that you might be at risk for developing oral cancer, talk to us about screenings and other things you can do to reduce your risk. Through a routine visual inspection, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry can often detect premalignant abnormalities and cancer at an early stage when treatment is both less expensive and more successful, and can potentially save your life. Ask us about a screening during your next visit!

Summer is Almost Here: Tips for a bright, white smile!

May 5th, 2015

Summer is almost here, which means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories is just around the corner for our patients at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry.

Everyone wants a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over the summer! Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks, or dark colored juices. Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile you're working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth; everyone knows that when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to rinse your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after. Your teeth, inside and out, will benefit!

And remember, whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to below or on our Facebook page! We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!

When should my child start using toothpaste and how much should I use?

April 28th, 2015

As a parent, it is your job to instill good dental habits in your kids, and this starts even earlier than you might realize. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry responds to the “when to start” question with a succinct “The sooner the better!”

From the time your baby is born, you should make sure that your child’s gums are regularly cleaned using water and a toothbrush made for infants. Once the first tooth erupts, you should visit the pediatric dentist for the first time. Dr. Tracy and our staff often recommend that if your child is a year old, but has yet to get the first tooth, you should bring your son or daughter to our Seattle, WA office for his or her initial dental care appointment.

Once your child’s teeth start to appear, you can begin brushing two times per day, using fluoride toothpaste. Choose a toothbrush made specifically for your child’s age group, and one with has soft bristles.

Only a small smear of toothpaste is needed if your child is under two years old. Once the child celebrates his or her second birthday, you can use a pea-sized amount of fluoridated toothpaste. Continue this practice until your child is five.

Of course, it is important that you monitor your child’s tooth brushing closely to help educate about proper techniques. Some young children might try to eat or swallow toothpaste, and this needs to be strongly discouraged. Be sure to teach proper rinsing and spitting behavior to round out your child’s early childhood tooth-care regimen.

For young kids, tooth brushing can be made into a fun event, and you can find a multitude of special toothbrushes that appeal to kids. There are even uniquely flavored and colored toothpastes that might encourage your child to get into the brushing game!

Every Day is Earth Day

April 21st, 2015

During the early days of the environmental awareness movement, those who demonstrated against pollution, toxic chemicals, and the general public health were known as hippies. The early 1970s were a time of change, and assertions that we needed to pay more attention to the Earth's atmosphere were generally dismissed. But within a couple decades, it had become clear that the previous generation was right; the citizens of the world needed to become more environmentally conscious.

Many people feel that they can't make a difference if they don't do something big. But caring for the environment doesn't have to be an all-or-nothing concept. In fact, the little things you do can add up to make a great impact, especially in our community. Here are a few ways you can help the environment on Earth Day, April 22nd and all year around.

Four Small Ways to be Environmentally Friendly

  • Recycle Your Textiles. Nearly 21 million tons of textiles are added to American landfills each year, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Donating your unwanted clothing to a secondhand store or an organization that repurposes fabric helps cut down on solid waste and conserves natural resources.
  • Reduce Usage of Disposables. Plastic bottles and bags, disposable diapers and other things we can use and toss out are convenient, but they're not necessary. Simply choosing to replace one of type of disposable with a reusable product can help you cut down on waste that has a large negative impact on our environment.
  • Conserve Water. If everyone in the United States turned off the water while brushing their teeth, more than 1.5 million gallons of water could be conserved. Turn the water on long enough to wet your toothbrush for brushing and rinsing, and then immediately turn the water off again.
  • Turn Off the Lights. Flip the light switch to "Off" if you're going to leave a particular room for 15 minutes or more. This will conserve energy on incandescent light bulbs and cut down on cooling costs.

It's not necessary to be an activist or install solar panels all over your home to help the environment. Although you can do these things, the little everyday measures make a big difference in helping to conserve energy and the environment, while reducing your carbon footprint. Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry wants to remind you to celebrate Earth Day and help the environment, knowing that it will benefit your and your children's generation.

My son is turning one. When should I bring him in for a visit?

April 14th, 2015

Dr. Tracy and our team know that cavities know no age boundaries, and that is why we recommend a visit to our Seattle, WA office by a child’s first birthday. That also happens to be the opinion of our friends at the American Academy of Pediatrics, as well as the American Dental Association.

Research has shown that more than one in four kids has had at least one cavity by the time they’re four years old. In fact, many children get cavities as early as age two, which is a critical reason why you should pay us a visit sooner rather than later. Your child’s appointment at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry also covers topics such as the importance of baby teeth, nutrition, development, and any concerns you may have with your child’s dental health. We believe that your child’s first visit with Dr. Tracy should be an enjoyable and positive one, and we strive to teach good oral care that will enable your child to have a beautiful smile that lasts a lifetime.

To learn more about baby teeth, or to schedule your child’s next visit with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call today! We look forward to seeing you!

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 7th, 2015

What is oral cancer?

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month. If you have been putting off a visit to our Seattle, WA office, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits to Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry can be the first line of defense against oral cancer, by identifying early warning signs of the disease, or helping you with preventive care tips to lower your chances of developing it.

Oral Cancer Rates in America

Nearly 40,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year, and more than 8,000 die every year from this disease. It is a devastating illness: most people who are diagnosed with it do not live more than five years beyond their diagnosis. Oral cancer has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body—most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.

What causes oral cancer?

While there is no way to predict exactly which individuals will get oral cancer, there are some potential causes you should know about—because in some cases, you can minimize these risk factors.

  • Age (most patients diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40)
  • Tobacco use, either from cigarettes or smokeless chewing tobacco
  • Excessive alcohol consumption (especially in combination with tobacco use)
  • Persistent viral infections, such as HPV16
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables

In addition, oral cancer tends to occur at a rate six times greater in men than in women, and more often for African Americans than other ethnic groups. No genetic links have been identified to explain the higher incidence in these populations, so lifestyle choices remain the likeliest cause.

Oral Cancer Treatments

Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment of oral cancer usually involves a multi-disciplinary team that includes surgeons, oncologists, dentists, nutritionists, and rehabilitation and restorative specialists. Our team will decide on the best approach for each patient, depending on the risk factors and how far the cancer has progressed. The strategy will be different in every case. Some of the most common methods include chemotherapy, radiation, and potential surgery.

Finding out you have cancer can be devastating news. If you are concerned that you might be at risk for developing oral cancer, talk to us about screenings and other things you can do to reduce your risk.

Five Nutrition Tips for Healthy Kids' Smiles

March 31st, 2015

If your child could have it his way, chances are he would eat Lucky Charms for breakfast, a peanut butter and fluff sandwich for lunch, and chicken fingers slathered in ketchup for dinner.

Kids will be kids, and maintaining a healthy diet is often the farthest thing from their minds. Do you remember the old saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”? Well, that folksy wisdom can be applied to oral health, too. Think of it like this: an apple a day keeps the dentist at bay. Here are five nutrition tips Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry wanted to pass along that will give your child a healthy, bright smile.

  1. Eat a well-balanced diet of fruits and vegetables. We weren't joking about the apple. An apple naturally scrubs and cleans your teeth. The nutrients and antioxidants in vegetables are good for the entire body.
  2. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, calcium is a mineral needed by the body for healthy bones and teeth, and proper function of the heart, muscles, and nerves. Dairy products like milk, cheese, and yogurt are good sources of calcium. Dark leafy vegetables and calcium-fortified foods like orange juice and tofu are also healthy options.
  3. Keep snacking to a minimum. Sticky and gummy snacks can increase a child’s risk of tooth decay. Unless a child brushes after every snack (and what child does?), sticky snacks can easily get lodged between the teeth.
  4. Limit soda intake. Drinking large amounts of soda has been linked to childhood obesity. Soda is loaded with sugars and acids, and these ingredients also damage the teeth. Soft drinks have long been one of the most prominent sources of tooth decay. Have your child drink water throughout the day or juice that’s low in sugar concentrate.
  5. Chew sugarless gum. After all those fruits and vegetables, sooner or later your child is going to want a treat. Chewing gum stimulates saliva, which in turn helps keep teeth clean and bacteria-free. Sugarless gum contains xylitol. The combination of excess saliva and xylitol reduces plaque, fights cavities, and prevents the growth of oral bacteria.

For more information on keeping your child’s smile looking its very best, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

Beat the Brushing Battle

March 24th, 2015

Dr. Tracy and our team know it can be a challenge to get our children to brush, brush well, and brush often. Here are some tips that can help you keep those beautiful little teeth healthy.

Make it Fun, Make it a Habit!

We should all brush twice a day. The most important time to brush is at night before bed. When we sleep, our saliva production decreases, and this creates an environment for oral bacteria to cause greater destruction to our teeth and gums. Brushing should last at least two minutes, followed by flossing and mouthwash if you choose.

Here are some ideas to make this nightly ritual more entertaining.

  • Set a good example. Brush your teeth with your children and make it fun! Pick a song to play while brushing.
  • Make it a race to the bathroom to see who can get their toothbrush and floss ready. But don’t make it a race to finish; make sure brushing lasts at least two minutes.
  • Try using a sticker sheet. For every night your children brush well, give them a sticker. (Be sure to check their work.) After a certain number of stickers, they earn a reward. Let them pick the reward! As the child improves at brushing every night without reminders, you can wean her or him from the reward.
  • SPECIAL TIP: Let your child check your brush work!

As parents, we should help our children make health and wellness something to take pride in. Be gentle with your children when they make mistakes, whether forgetting to brush or maybe developing a cavity. Tell them even our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry gets cavities. Thankfully, there is always room for improvement. Happy brushing!

St. Patrick's Day

March 17th, 2015

On March 17, everyone has a little Irish in them. St. Patrick’s Day is a joyous celebration of Irish heritage. The holiday originated as a commemoration of Saint Patrick, who brought Christianity to Ireland. The saint arrived in Ireland in 432 and earned the reputation of a champion of Irish Christianity. March 17th, the day of St. Patrick’s death, has been commemorated by the Irish for over 1,000 years. St. Patrick’s Day is still observed as a religious feast day by several Christian denominations, but it is better known in the public imagination as a rich celebration of Irish culture.

St. Patrick’s Day has been an official public holiday in Ireland since 1903. Each year, the Irish celebrate with a several-day festival that includes theater performances, music, fireworks, and festive parades. The celebration is also a public holiday in Northern Ireland, Montserrat, and Newfoundland and Labrador. In other parts of the world with heavy Irish populations, it is an unofficial celebration of Irish heritage. Parts of Great Britain, Canada, Argentina, South Korea, Switzerland, New Zealand, the United States, and Australia commemorate the holiday each year. Typical celebrations in these countries include drinking green beer, wearing green, eating traditional Irish foods, parades, and shamrock decorations.

Many people, Irish and non-Irish alike, take part in the “wearing of the green” on St. Patrick’s Day. In fact, the color originally associated with Saint Patrick was blue. His use of shamrocks to explain the Holy Trinity to the Irish made the green clover emblematic of the holiday, leading to the traditional green attire worn by thousands on St. Patrick’s Day. Other little-known facts about St. Patrick’s Day include the following:

  • Each year, the United States and Ireland face off in a rugby competition called the “St. Patrick’s Day Test.”
  • Montreal celebrates the holiday with an annual parade, which has been held each year since 1824. The Montreal city flag even features a shamrock in its corner, as a nod to its Irish heritage.
  • The Guinness World Records named St. Patrick’s Day the “Friendliest Day of the Year.”
  • Along with Valentine’s Day, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the most widely celebrated saint’s day in the world.

No matter your cultural heritage, St. Patrick’s Day is a great time to let loose and celebrate your inner Irish-ness! Don your greenest attire and exclaim “Erin go Bragh!” (Ireland forever!) to everyone you meet. From Dr. Tracy - have a great St. Paddy’s day!

Should I use mouthwash?

March 10th, 2015

Mouthwashes are commonly used as a part of a daily oral care regimen. Not only do they freshen breath, but some are capable of improving dental health too. Using a mouthwash daily can rinse fine debris away and out of reach while brushing. It can also make the teeth and gums more resilient to decay and disease.

Types of Mouthwashes

There are several types of mouthwashes available today that Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry want you to be aware of. Some do little more than freshen breath and are known as cosmetic mouthwashes. These are ideal for quickly eliminating odors that linger after eating, drinking, or taking medication. Using a cosmetic mouthwash does not offer any health benefits.

Other mouthwashes offer more comprehensive benefits; they can potentially prevent tooth decay and gum disease. Mouthwashes that contain antimicrobial agents work by preventing the buildup of plaque that can lead to gingivitis and decay of the tooth enamel. However, it should be noted that the use of a mouthwash is never a substitute for regular brushing and flossing.

In some cases, prescription mouthwashes are necessary to treat patients with gum disease or who have undergone periodontal surgery. These specialty mouthwashes are designed specifically for the treatment of gum disease and should not be used outside of their intended use. The majority of mouthwashes require no prescription.

Tips for Choosing a Mouthwash

The choice to use a mouthwash and which one to use is between you and your dentist, depending on your individual oral health needs. If you determine that a mouthwash is right for you, look for one that contains fluoride, if possible. Fluoride provides an added layer of protection for your teeth, and helps them become more resistant to decay. As always, if you have any questions or concerns when choosing a mouthwash, please give our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry a call for assistance in selecting the rinse that is best for you. Or, we invite to ask us during your next visit to our Seattle, WA office!

Are your teeth ready for the big day?

March 3rd, 2015

Capturing the Moment

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry we know that just about anyone who has taken on the challenge of planning her own wedding could tell you how important the little details can be. Things like having complementary colors, the right location, show-stopping flowers, and delicious food are all a big part of planning your spring wedding. Another little detail that has a big "I do" related role? Your smile.

Whether you’re the bride, or an attendant, looking your best when you tie the knot (or help someone tie the knot) is essential. If your teeth aren’t ready to make an entrance, turning to one of the many available teeth whitening solutions is a great option.

Reliable Solutions

Before the wedding day arrives, you should take your smile into consideration. If diet and daily wear-and-tear have caused your teeth to lose their original luster, our team can help! In-office procedures do cost more than kits you use at home, but with an in-office treatment, you benefit from a professional taking proper care of your teeth.

In addition, relying on our office to handle teeth whitening before the wedding can give you access to trustworthy advice on how to keep your teeth looking their best for a longer period of time. It’s common for someone experienced in assisting people with their oral health to suggest investing in an in-office whitening technique and then following up with a teeth-whitening kit at home.

This is a season of new beginnings and beauty. Take the time to bring out your most beautiful smile before the big day. Don’t let your smile hold you back on your wedding. With our in-office teeth whitening, you can be sure that you’ll be more confident and comfortable interacting with friends and family. So remember, when in need of some quality oral care in Seattle, WA to think of Dr. Tracy!

When was your last dental checkup?

February 24th, 2015

While Dr. Tracy and our team tell you daily oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing, are essential to optimal oral health, regular dental checkups at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry ensure your teeth are treated to a deeper level of cleaning.

We recommend for most of our patients to have a cleaning at our Seattle, WA office at least every six months. In addition to a thorough cleaning and polishing of your teeth, visits with Dr. Tracy help us detect and prevent the onset of tooth decay and gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. During your visit, we will check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue for signs of any decay or disease. We will also check old fillings and restorations as these can wear away over time due to chewing, clenching, or grinding.

If you are predisposed to any oral diseases, Dr. Tracy may recommend checking in with us more often than every six months. We want your teeth to get the professional attention they deserve! If you are overdue for your next cleaning, give us a call at our Seattle, WA office to schedule a checkup! See you soon!

What exactly is a root canal?

February 17th, 2015

Hearing that you need a root canal can be highly intimidating. What is a root canal? It is the removal of the nerve supply from the tooth. Here, Dr. Tracy will describe the parts of a tooth and explain the reasons for a root canal and how it is done when you visit us in our Seattle, WA office.

Your tooth is made up of many layers. The outside layer is called enamel and is made of minerals. The middle layer is dentin, which is also a calcified tissue, but less dense. The center of the tooth is called the pulp, and that hosts the nerves and blood vessels. A root canal is the removal and replacement of this center with a sterile filling.

A root canal is needed when an infection spreads to the center of the tooth. This can be from trauma (recent or previous), a cavity, a severe crack, or other compromise that causes nerve damage. An X-ray and examination are required to see if a root canal is needed. Symptoms may include but are not limited to pain, swelling, change in tooth color, and over-reaction to temperature change or pressure.

When it is time to begin, you’ll receive local anesthesia (via injection) to make you most comfortable. A rubber dam is used to isolate the tooth, while other equipment determines the nerve location and maintains a sterile working environment. All of the infected area is removed including the nerve tissue and blood vessels. Then, medicines are used to sterilize and alleviate any pain. Next is the placement of a filling material in the spot where the nerve used to be.

When your nerve and blood supply are taken away, the tooth is non-vital, or dead, and can become weak and fragile. If your tooth is badly decayed, a large portion of it will have to be removed. It is recommended to place a crown on the tooth to keep the enamel from breaking or falling apart. If you do not get a crown, you could eventually lose the tooth to more decay or infection. The tooth could also break off completely and you would have to have an extraction. The crown fits over the top of the tooth and secures it from breaking down.

A root canal saves the life of a tooth that would otherwise succumb to further infection and eventually extraction. Infection is the cause of most-needed root canals. If you are ever unsure what is happening at your appointment, don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand the procedure completely.

Valentine's Day History

February 10th, 2015

Valentine’s Day is best known as a celebration of love in all its forms. Pink hearts, red roses, and cute greeting cards adorn every surface you see. What many people don’t realize is that the modern Valentine’s Day celebration arose from a religious holiday.

St. Valentine’s Day was originally celebrated as a religious feast day in honor of early Christian martyrs. Three martyrs named Valentine were honored: a priest in Rome, the persecuted bishop of Interamna (a town in central Italy), and a saint martyred in Africa. This saint’s day was celebrated throughout Christendom, although it was removed from the Roman Catholic Calendar of Saints in 1969.

The origin of Valentine’s Day as a holiday for lovers began with Geoffrey Chaucer in his 1382 poem “Parlement of Foules.” Chaucer wrote, “For this was on Saint Valentine’s Day, when every bird cometh there to choose his mate,” and the modern romantic holiday was born. William Shakespeare and other writers mentioned Valentine’s Day as a day of love.

Valentine’s Day as we know it came about in the early 19th century. In Victorian England, printers began manufacturing small numbers of cards with romantic verses, lace, ribbons, and other frills. Anonymous Valentine’s Day card were a popular way for young lovers to exchange romantic sentiments in an otherwise prudish time. As the 19th century progressed, printers began mass manufacturing Valentine’s Day cards. People in the United States give an estimated 190 million valentines every year, and up to one billion if you count children exchanging cards at school! With the rise of the Internet, Valentine’s Day e-cards have become a popular mode of communication, with millions of e-cards sent each year.

The other items associated with Valentine’s Day include chocolate and flowers. The tradition of giving chocolates has been around for decades, and Richard Cadbury created the first box of Valentine’s Day chocolates nearly 150 years ago. Today, purchases of chocolate total over $1 billion in the United States alone, with 35 million heart-shaped boxes sold each year. Loved ones also exchange flowers, with red roses being associated with Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. On Valentine’s Day itself, florists sell nearly 200 million stems of roses.

Although many people dismiss Valentine’s Day as a commercialized “Hallmark holiday,” it is beloved to couples and romantics across the United States and other countries. The team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry wants to remind all patients that no matter what your celebratory plans, February 14th can be a wonderful day to celebrate the loved ones in your life. Happy Valentine’s Day!

How often does my child need to see the dentist?

February 3rd, 2015

According to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, checkups at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry are recommended for all children two times a year. Children should be evaluated for cavities and other emerging dental issues every six months, because these problems can lead to more serious dental problems and health issues if left untreated.

While it is always good to follow the official guideline mentioned above, it is also important to understand that each child is unique and his or her dental needs are equally unique. If your child shows signs of dental or orthodontic problems, Dr. Tracy might recommend more frequent visits.

One way to help your son or daughter maintain good oral health between pediatric dental visits is to monitor brushing and oral care habits, especially if the child is still very young. Children who are two to five years of age will usually still require at least some degree of monitoring during their dental care routine.

The Checkup Visit

During your child’s regular dental care checkups, Dr. Tracy will evaluate the current state of oral health and will be able to recognize any issues. The twice-yearly checkup visits are typically the time at which problems like cavities, irregular growth patterns of the teeth, and oral decay are discovered. Thus, making these appointments for your child, and following through with them, is extremely important.

Learning and Maintaining Good Oral Health

Dr. Tracy and our Seattle, WA staff are your partners in terms of your child’s health care. Even when your child is an infant and a toddler, good brushing and other oral care habits can be taught. We will help you to educate your child about how to care for teeth in the most effective way, and you can carry those lessons home and help your child to follow them for the ultimate in oral health.

How to Handle an Unexpected Dental Emergency

January 27th, 2015

Regardless of the type of dental emergency you experience, it is important that you visit Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry for emergency dental care as soon as possible. A chipped or cracked tooth requires professional attention, as bacteria may gather in these areas, potentially causing infection that could require a root canal. Remember, you may be capable of managing pain, bleeding, and swelling at home, but by visiting our office for immediate treatment, you can fight infections and minimize lasting damage to your mouth, teeth, and gums under the expert care of our emergency dentist.

24/7 Emergency Dental Care

Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry is proud to offer emergency dental care around the clock, seven days a week. Dental emergencies do not wait for regular business hours, and if you experience a serious dental emergency, you need immediate treatment. Whether you have a broken tooth or if you have bitten through your tongue, do not hesitate to visit us day or night. Until you arrive at our office, however, there are some helpful steps you can take if you encounter a serious dental dilemma.

Managing Your Dental Emergency

If a toothache is causing problems, you can probably keep the discomfort under control until our emergency doctor can treat you. Start by checking the gums that surround the affected tooth for inflammation, bleeding, or foreign objects. There may be food lodged in the gum that could be removed by flossing. You can control pain by placing a cold compress against your mouth, or by using an over-the-counter oral numbing agent.

More serious situations may be extremely time sensitive, and require immediate emergency attention. For example, if a tooth is completely knocked out, carefully clean it with water. Try to place the tooth back into its socket or briefly store it in a cup of milk if it will not fit back into the gum. Never pick up a tooth by the root or force it into the socket. Come straight to our office, as your tooth will need to be replaced within a short amount of time. Similarly, if you have bitten through your lip or tongue, the American Dental Association recommends carefully cleaning the area before coming as quickly as you can to our emergency dental office for treatment.

Remember, there is no reason you should live with discomfort. By visiting our Seattle, WA office immediately in an emergency, you can take control of your oral health comfortably and safely.

The Link Between HPV and Oral Cancer

January 20th, 2015

Cancer has become a common word, and it seems like there is new research about it every day. We know antioxidants are important. We know some cancers are more treatable than others. We know some lifestyles and habits contribute to our cancer risk.

Smoking increases our risk of cancer, as does walking through a radioactive power plant. But there is a direct link to oral cancer that you many may not know about—the link between HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) and oral cancer.

This may come as a shock because it has been almost a taboo subject for some time. A person with HPV is at an extremely high risk of developing oral cancer. In fact, smoking is now second to HPV in causing oral cancer!

According to the Oral Cancer Foundation, “The human papilloma virus, particularly version 16, has now been shown to be sexually transmitted between partners, and is conclusively implicated in the increasing incidence of young non-smoking oral cancer patients. This is the same virus that is the causative agent, along with other versions of the virus, in more than 90% of all cervical cancers. It is the foundation's belief, based on recent revelations in peer reviewed published data in the last few years, that in people under the age of 50, HPV16 may even be replacing tobacco as the primary causative agent in the initiation of the disease process.” [http://www.oralcancerfoundation.org/facts/]

There is a test and a vaccine for HPV; please discuss it with your physician.

There are some devices that help detect oral cancer in its earliest forms. We all know that the survival rate for someone with cancer depends greatly on what stage the cancer is diagnosed. Talk to Dr. Tracy if you have any concerns.

Please be aware and remember that when it comes to your own health, knowledge is power. When you have the knowledge to make an informed decision, you can make positive changes in your life. The mouth is an entry point for your body. Care for your mouth and it will care for you!

What's on your child's reading list?

January 13th, 2015

What better way for children to spend their time than cuddled up by the fireplace or out in the yard with a book in hand? Dr. Tracy and our team encourage you to inspire your child’s mind with a few great books. Sure it may be easy to put off reading when balancing a busy schedule, but reading is vital to kids’ brain development. Plus, reading is always fun!

This week, we thought we’d ask: What are you or your child reading? Do you have any suggestions for must-read books? Out of ideas for great reads? Ask us during your next visit, and Dr. Tracy and our team would be happy to provide a few suggestions. You may also ask a local librarian here in Seattle, WA for some ideas.

Happy reading! Be sure to share your book picks or your all-time favorites with us below or on our Facebook page!

I have fluoride toothpaste and fluoridated water; do I need a fluoride treatment?

January 6th, 2015

Fluoride is a naturally found ion with a history of greatly reducing the incidence of tooth decay in children. However, over the past decade, people have increasingly consumed bottled water, most of which does not contain fluoride, and children are no longer getting the recommended dosage of fluoride. In addition, many areas do not add the optimum amount of fluoride to the town drinking water.

Everyone’s dental needs are different. The amount of fluoride a person needs is determined by age (children), tooth sensitivity, risk for cavities, and medical conditions. When a patient needs additional fluoride it can be applied in a foam or varnish.

Children receive additional topical fluoride because teeth in the early development stages have a higher mineral uptake. The future strength of the enamel depends on this. When a tooth absorbs the fluoride ion, it creates hydroxyapatite, a harder mineral compound than enamel alone.

Those who have a dry mouth from medication also need extra fluoride. A daily fluoride rinse and a semi-annual fluoride varnish treatment are standard. If you are on medicine for high blood pressure, anxiety, diabetes, depression, or cholesterol, you may fit in this category.

Cancer treatments can also greatly impact your oral health. Fluoride varnish treatments prior to, during, and after radiation and chemotherapy can be beneficial. There are other mouth conditions which coincide with cancer treatments which make it difficult to brush and floss daily, and can contribute to an increased risk for decay. An infection during cancer treatment can be especially harmful, which is why preventive measures are important.

Fluoride treatments, administered topically, are highly beneficial in preventing decay. Feel free to call Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment or if you have any questions.

New Year's Eve

December 30th, 2014

Watching the clock tick down the final seconds until midnight, many of us- Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry included- feel nostalgic about the passing year and hopeful about the new one to come. New Year’s Eve is one of the most widely celebrated holidays in the world, with over-the-top celebrations taking place in dozens of countries. The Gregorian calendar, which is widely used in Western nations and around the world, was implemented in 1582. Since that time, December 31st has marked the final day of the year, with midnight heralding the beginning of a brand new year. In the United States, New Year’s Day is a public holiday; government offices, schools, public organizations, and many businesses are closed for the day. Ponder the following fun facts as you think about your plans for the holiday:

  • Approximately one billion people watch the New Year’s Eve ball drop in Times Square, New York City. This televised event is one of the most iconic New Year’s celebrations in the world. For many years, watching the ball drop meant tuning in to Dick Clark’s Rockin’ New Year’s Eve, an iconic television special dear to the hearts of many viewers.
  • The idea for the New Year’s Eve ball came about because of a citywide ban on fireworks. Before 1907, when fireworks became illegal in New York City, celebrations included an elaborate fireworks show. The large, glittering, illuminated ball was developed as an alternative. Although the first ball was heavy at 700 pounds, the modern New Year’s Eve ball is made of Waterford crystal and tips the scale at six tons!
  • The top five New Year’s resolutions are: to lose weight, quit smoking, get a new job, return to school, or increase personal savings. However, approximately 88% of New Year’s resolutions fail. But don’t let that discourage you! Resolutions are most likely to succeed when they are clear, achievable goals. Setting out a concrete plan to achieve your resolution also boosts your chances of success.
  • Eating black-eyed peas on New Year’s Day is said to bring good fortune in the new year. Collard greens, cabbage, and ham hocks are also considered lucky foods to enjoy. Just steer clear of the chicken or turkey dinners; eating poultry is a bad omen for the year to come.

Whether you plan to stay in Seattle, WA, or head out into the crowds to watch the ball drop in Times Square, New Year’s Eve is a time to enjoy friends and family. Send your loved ones well wishes for the New Year, and look for that special someone to share a midnight kiss with for good luck!

Fluoride Use in Adolescents

December 23rd, 2014

Fluoride is a mineral that plays an essential role in oral health. In fact, the significant reduction in American tooth decay in recent decades can be attributed to a greater availability of fluoride in public water supplies, toothpaste, and other resources. When it comes in contact with the teeth, fluoride helps protect the enamel from acid and plaque bacteria. In some cases, it can even reverse tooth decay in its earliest stages.

Despite the benefits of fluoride, tooth decay is still common, especially among teenagers. The Centers for Disease Control reports that cavities can be found in more than half of young teens and two-thirds of older teens over age 16. Many of those teens are deficient in fluoride, either due to a lack of public water fluoridation or the use of bottled water. So how can parents ensure their teens are getting the fluoride they need to facilitate strong, healthy teeth?

Monitor Fluoride Exposure

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry recommend you start by measuring your teen’s fluoride exposure. Make sure you purchase fluoridated toothpaste for your household, and find out if your tap water is fluoridated. If your teen primarily consumes bottled water, examine the bottle to determine whether fluoride has been added. The majority of bottled waters are not supplemented with fluoride, but those that are will be clearly labeled.

Fluoride Supplementation

Dr. Tracy may recommend topical fluoride treatments at routine dental exams. These treatments are painless for your teen and may help establish stronger enamel that is more resistant to plaque and tooth decay. If you have a public water supply that is non-fluoridated, we may recommend fluoride supplementation between visits. These can be administered as drops, tablets, or vitamins.

Keep in mind that fluoride is most important for children and teens under the age of 16. Be proactive about your teen’s oral health by speaking with us about your family’s fluoride needs at your next dental visit.

For more information about fluoride, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

Teeth Grinding: Not just a bad habit, but a dental concern

December 16th, 2014

Perhaps you don't even know you grind your teeth. Maybe a spouse or loved one woke you up in the middle of the night and made you aware of what was happening.

For many people, teeth grinding is a habit and a mechanical reflex; when they’re awakened and informed they were grinding their teeth, they have no recollection of it at all. According to the American Dental Association, this is the nightly situation for roughly ten percent of Americans. From young children to the elderly, teeth grinding, known in the dental community as bruxism, is a serious concern.

Many people who grind their teeth in their sleep have no idea they're doing it. In fact, when they wake up in the morning they feel no jaw pain and their teeth are fine: if it hadn’t been for someone telling them about it, the teeth grinding would have gone unnoticed.

There are other people, however, who wake up with jaw pain, shoulder and neck pain, and headaches. Teeth grinding can cause a host of dental complications. From cracked teeth and receding gums to a misaligned jaw, teeth grinding is not something to take lightly.

Preventive measures are the key to combating bruxism, and a visit to Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry can set you on the path to a healthy and safe night sleep.

The Reasons for Teeth Grinding

There are many reasons for teeth grinding. For some people, it’s a habit they acquired when they were a child and never grew out of. On the other hand, some research claims that the condition is related to stress, anxiety, or some other type of psychiatric issue.

Still other studies point to everything from poor muscle control or over-eating before bed to gastro-esophageal issues. However, the root cause of the teeth grinding is less important than identifying preventive measures against it.

Common solutions to teeth grinding include:

  • Wearing a protective nightguard
  • Stress management techniques
  • Medications and muscle relaxers

When you make an appointment with Dr. Tracy at our Seattle, WA office, we will assess your situation and determine what the best course of action is. Teeth grinding is a dental concern that can cause serious health issues down the road, so be sure to take preventive measures today.

What happens during my hygiene appointment?

December 9th, 2014

Regular visits to the dentist are important for people of all ages. Seeing Dr. Tracy as recommended provides preventive care for oral diseases. If a disease is already present, early detection can prevent hefty dental bills and further damage to the teeth and gums. Once you have made the decision to visit Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, you may ask yourself, “What happens during my hygiene appointment?”

Preparation

Arrive at your appointment a few minutes early and bring along any insurance cards or medical information. While it may seem irrelevant, a full medical history can be important, since certain conditions include symptoms that occur inside the mouth.

Initial appointment

In some offices, the first appointment is a screening appointment, during which a dental hygienist will go over your medical and dental history with you, assess the condition of your teeth and gums, then schedule a future appointment to complete the cleaning and any other treatments you may need. In other offices, the screening and cleaning will be done over the same appointment. The dental hygienist may:

  • Count your teeth
  • Clean your teeth by using a small tool to scrape them in order to remove plaque
  • Brush and floss your teeth
  • Apply a fluoride treatment using foam that sits on your teeth within a tooth mold, or a gel that can be “painted” on with a small brush
  • Inspect your teeth for cavities or signs of decay
  • Administer oral X-rays. You will be covered with a special blanket to protect your body and then given a small piece of plastic on which to bite.

Seeing the dentist

After the dental hygienist completes his or her portion of the appointment, the dentist will usually come in and inspect your teeth. After an initial inspection, the dentist may:

  • Perform a quick tooth count as well as a more thorough inspection, looking for signs of decay in and around the teeth
  • Use a small tool called a “probe” in order to check for signs of gum disease around the base of your teeth
  • Visually inspect the skin around your mouth, called the “mucosa”

If you need any further dental work completed, you will usually be required to make an additional appointment. To learn more about hygiene visits, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

Are you at risk for tooth erosion?

December 2nd, 2014

Many people consume carbonated or sugary drinks and acidic foods every day but have no idea those beverages may be harming their teeth, making them vulnerable to tooth erosion. The acid in the foods we eat and drink can cause tooth enamel to wear away, making your teeth sensitive and discolored. Dr. Tracy will tell you that in many cases, what’s important is not what you eat and drink, but rather how you consume it.

What is tooth erosion?

Tooth erosion is the loss of tooth structure caused by the weakening of dental enamel, which is the strongest substance in the human body. Enamel is the thin, outer layer of hard tissue that helps maintain the tooth’s structure and shape. When the enamel is weakened, it exposes the underlying dentin, causing your teeth to appear yellow.

What causes tooth erosion?

Tooth erosion may occur when the acids in the foods and beverages you eat and drink, as well as other factors we will discuss later, weaken the enamel on your teeth. Typically the calcium contained in saliva will help remineralize (strengthen) your teeth after you consume foods or drinks that contain some acid. However, the presence of a lot of acid in your mouth does not allow for remineralization to happen.

Acid can come from many sources, including the following:

  • Drinking carbonated or fruit drinks. All soft drinks (even diet varieties) contain a lot of acid and are capable of dissolving enamel on your teeth. Bacteria thrive on sugar and produce high acid levels that can eat away at enamel.
  • Eating sour foods or candies. All those sour candies may taste great, but these treats can be acidic to your teeth. Sour and fruity candy, such as Starburst and Skittles, are the worst for your teeth since these candies have a low pH value, which is known to ruin enamel.
  • Low saliva volume. Saliva helps prevent decay by neutralizing acids and washing away leftover food in your mouth.
  • Acid reflux disease. Acid reflux, or GERD, brings stomach acids up to the mouth, where the acids can erode enamel.
  • Bulimia or binge drinking. These conditions can cause tooth damage because they frequently expose teeth to stomach acids.
  • Wear and tear. Brushing your teeth too vigorously or grinding your teeth at night can erode enamel.

What are the symptoms of tooth erosion?

Acid wear may lead to serious dental problems. When your tooth enamel erodes, your teeth become more vulnerable to cavities and decay, and you may begin noticing the following symptoms:

  • Severe sensitivity or tooth pain when consuming hot, cold, or sugary foods or drinks
  • Tooth discoloration
  • Rounded teeth
  • Transparent teeth
  • Visible cracks in teeth
  • Cupping, or dents, that show up on the biting or chewing surfaces of the teeth

What you can do to prevent tooth erosion

  • Reduce or eliminate altogether your consumption of carbonated drinks. Instead, sip water, milk, or tea.
  • If you must consume acidic drinks, drink them quickly and be sure to use a straw so that the liquid is pushed to the back of the mouth. Don’t swish them around or hold them in your mouth for a long period of time.
  • Instead of snacking on acidic foods throughout the day, we suggest eating these foods just during meal times in order to minimize the amount of time the acid makes contact with your teeth.
  • After consuming highly acidic food or drinks, rinse with water to neutralize the acids.
  • Chew sugar-free gum to produce more saliva, as this helps your teeth remineralize.
  • Brush with a soft toothbrush and be sure your toothpaste contains fluoride.
  • Dr. Tracy may also recommend daily use of a toothpaste to reduce sensitivity (over-the-counter or prescription strength) or other products to counter the effects of erosion.

It’s important to know that the majority of dental problems, such as tooth erosion, do not become visible or painful until they are advanced. And, unfortunately, serious oral issues are painful and expensive to treat. A deep cleaning twice a year by our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry is the best way to hit all the spots you may have missed with brushing and flossing and prevent any issues that may have gone unseen.

Make sure your teeth get the professional attention they deserve! If you are overdue for your next checkup or cleaning, please give us a call to schedule an appointment at our conv

Thanksgiving Trivia

November 25th, 2014

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry we love learning trivia and interesting facts about Thanksgiving! This year, Dr. Tracy wanted to share some trivia that might help you feel a bit smarter at the holiday dinner table and help create some great conversation with friends and family.

The Turkey

There is no historical evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving dinner. It was a three-day party shared by the Wamponoag Indians and the pilgrims in 1621. Historians say they likely ate venison and seafood.

According to National Geographic, the dinner at the Plymouth colony was in October and included about 50 English colonists and 90 American Indian men. The first Thanksgiving dinner could have included corn, geese, and pumpkin.

Today, turkey is the meat of choice. According to the National Turkey Association, about 690 million pounds of turkey are consumed during Thanksgiving, or about 46 million turkeys.

The Side Dishes

The green bean casserole became popular about 50 years ago. Created by the Campbell Soup Company, it remains a popular side dish. According to Campbell’s, it was developed when the company was creating an annual holiday cookbook. The company now sells about $20 million worth of cream of mushroom soup each year, which is a major part of the recipe.

While there were likely plenty of cranberries for the pilgrims and Indians to enjoy, sugar was a luxury. What we know today as cranberry sauce was not around in those early Thanksgiving days. About 750 million pounds of cranberries are produced each year in the US, with about 30 percent consumed on Thanksgiving.

The Parade

Since Thanksgiving did not become a national holiday until Lincoln declared it in 1863, the annual parades were not yearly events until much later. The biggest parade that continues to draw crowds is the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Beginning in 1924 with about 400 employees, they marched from Convent Avenue to 145th Street in New York City. Famous for the huge hot-air balloons today, it was actually live animals borrowed from the Central Park Zoo that were the stars of the show then.

However you choose to spend your Thanksgiving holiday, we wish you a safe, happy and healthy holiday with those you love.

What are dental crowns?

November 18th, 2014

A dental crown is often called a “cap.” A dental crown covers all of the visible parts of the tooth and has many functions and reasons for placement.

There are several different types of crowns available at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry. They vary in their material, appearance, and functionality. A PFM, or porcelain fused to high-noble metal, is the most common. A full cast, high noble metal crown is a gold crown, and a stainless-steel crown is meant to be temporary. The most natural-looking crown is one that is all porcelain. These are often used for front teeth.

Getting a crown typically requires two appointments. The first is a preparation with impressions, shaping, and placing a temporary. The impressions are either sent to a dental lab, where the process generally takes two weeks, or done in-office with a machine that can make a crown without needing a second appointment. These crowns are made from a high-quality solid block of porcelain. The shape of the tooth is constructed from a digital 3D image of your tooth.

To accurately determine which type of crown is best, you must first know why you need the crown and in what area of your mouth is it needed, which can be answered when you visit us at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry. For instance, if you have a gold crown on the lower right and need a new crown directly above on the upper right, the best durability and long-lasting relationship is another gold crown.

If you need a crown on a front tooth, a gold crown may not be the best choice. A PFM has strength but is not ideal, as a dark line will appear at the gum line. A full porcelain crown is going to look as close to a natural tooth as possible, but will have less strength than a gold crown.

There are two types of porcelain crowns, depending on how they are made. A dental lab makes a full porcelain crown by baking layer upon layer to make the porcelain look like natural enamel. A full porcelain crown made in-office out of a solid piece of porcelain will have increased strength. However, the natural layered appearance is extremely difficult to achieve.

A crown is placed on a tooth when added strength is needed. Cracks, large broken-down fillings, or previous root canal treatment are all conditions where a crown is the standard care. The type of crown that is most appropriate depends greatly on location.

How does whitening toothpaste work and how effective it is at whitening teeth?

November 11th, 2014

Brushing your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste that has the American Dental Association seal of approval can help prevent tooth decay and relieve other conditions, such as bad breath, sensitive teeth, and gingivitis.

Beyond these health effects, another motivation for frequently brushing your teeth with high-quality toothpaste is to keep your teeth white. If you want whiter teeth but do not want to undergo in-office or at-home bleaching treatments, you might consider choosing whitening toothpaste for your daily brushing.

Why Consider Whitening Toothpaste

Whiter teeth are more attractive, which can help you feel more confident in your smile. Your smile is also one of the main components of the first impression you make on people in your professional and personal life. Having a whiter smile and greater self-assurance can send the message that you take care of yourself and are confident in your abilities.

How Whitening Toothpaste Works

The American Dental Association explains that all toothpaste has whitening properties because they help remove food particles from your teeth. To carry the American Dental Association seal for whitening, however, toothpaste must contain certain chemicals that help remove stains.

Unlike bleaching products, which contain carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide, whitening toothpaste only cleans the enamel rather than changing the color of your teeth. To obtain the benefits of whitening toothpaste, you need to use it regularly.

The Effectiveness of Whitening Toothpaste Varies

Due to individual variations in the color of your teeth, some people are more likely than others to achieve the desired results with whitening. Teeth that are tinted grayish are unlikely to respond well to bleaching, while brown teeth can sometimes respond, and yellowish teeth are most likely to become pearly white with bleaching.

If Dr. Tracy and our staff believe that bleaching is not a viable option for you, proper oral hygiene and the use of a whitening toothpaste are your best bets for keeping your teeth as white as possible. In addition, avoid using tobacco products, and rinse your mouth after drinking coffee.

How to Make Brushing Fun

November 4th, 2014

Let’s call it the cranky phase. Let’s call it the “Mom, I don’t want to” stage. When kids are little, getting them to brush can be a challenge. They bite the toothbrush and eat the toothpaste. They make faces in the bathroom mirror, brush for two seconds, and run away. When it’s time to brush, some kids even resort to kicking and screaming, which makes the bedtime chore a lot like, well, pulling teeth.

As a parent, you know the importance of good oral hygiene, so when the dreaded “brushing hour” arrives, if you want to prevent your child from turning into an angry pumpkin, you better have a few tricks up your sleeve to make brushing fun.

Game time

Kids love games, so it’s time to get creative and turn tooth brushing into game time. Whether you’re playing a hide and seek, peek-a-boo game with your child as he or she brushes, or singing the ABC’s as your child brushes for two minutes, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry recommend turning the process into play. Games are based on a reward system, right? If your child does a good job, put a sticker on the calendar. Tell your son or daughter that five stickers will earn a treat at the end of the week.

Fun accessories

A toothbrush that lights up and blinks when you turn it on is more fun than a traditional toothbrush from the dentist’s office. The same is true of a toothbrush that’s shaped like your child’s favorite animal or features a cartoon character. A fun accessory like a Smurfs or Angry Birds toothbrush might make all the difference. A timer is another fun accessory. Give your child the special responsibility of setting it for two minutes before brushing.

The Great Toothpaste Experiment

Kids can be notoriously picky eaters, so it stands to reason that they would be picky about their toothpaste flavors too. Little Johnny might like strawberry, whereas Suzie prefers mango. Spend a night experimenting with different flavors (yes, it’s another game). Say something like, “It’s just like sampling different flavors of ice cream, right kids?”

Eventually, your child will develop the healthy habit of brushing on a regular basis, and think nothing of the time it takes to clean his or her teeth. Just remember to make it fun, and it can be a great experience for you both!

To learn more about making brushing fun for your little one, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

The Intriguing History of Halloween

October 28th, 2014

Halloween is fast approaching, and Dr. Tracy wanted to be sure to wish our patients a happy day, no matter how you might celebrate this holiday. The Halloween that is familiar to most people today bears little resemblance to the original Halloween; back in the "old days" it wasn't even called Halloween!

Festival of the Dead

Halloween started out as a Celtic festival of the dead that honored departed loved ones and signified a change in the cycle of the seasons. The Celtic people viewed Halloween, then called "Samhain," as a very special day – almost like our New Years day in fact, as their new calendar year began on November 1st. Samhain was the last day of autumn, so it was the time to harvest the last of the season's crops, store food away for winter, and situate livestock comfortably for the upcoming cold weather. The Celts believed that during this day, the last day of winter, the veil between this world and the spirit world is the thinnest, and that the living could communicate with departed loved ones most effectively on Samhain due to this.

Modern Halloween

Halloween as we know it today started because Christian missionaries were working to convert the Celtic people to Christianity. The Celts believed in religious concepts that were not supported by the Christian church, and these practices, which stemmed from Druidism, were perceived by the Christian church as being "devil worship" and dangerous.

When Pope Gregory the First instructed his missionaries to work at converting the Pagan people, he told them to try to incorporate some of the Pagan practices into Christian practices in a limited way. This meant that November 1st became "All Saints Day," which allowed Pagan people to still celebrate a beloved holiday without violating Christian beliefs.

Today, Halloween has evolved into a day devoted purely to fun, candy, and kids. What a change from its origins! We encourage all of our patients to have fun during the holiday, but be safe with the treats. Consider giving apples or fruit roll-ups to the kids instead of candy that is potentially damaging to the teeth and gums.

Remind kids to limit their candy and brush after eating it! Sweets can cause major tooth decay and aggrivate gum disease, so to avoid extra visits to our Seattle, WA office, make your Halloween a safe one!

Heart Disease and Oral Health

October 21st, 2014

According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, more than 200 million Americans suffer from some degree of inflammation of the gums. Over the past decade, researchers have published studies that link the bacteria involved in periodontal disease to cardiovascular disease. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have connected oral infections to heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and low birth weights.

Studies suggest bacteria that cause periodontal disease are also responsible for causing a thickening of the carotid arteries, which increases the chance of a heart attack or stroke. Further research is being conducted to understand the link between oral health and heart disease better.

What is periodontal (gum) disease?

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry hear this question all the time. Periodontal disease is an infection. Our mouths are filled with bacteria, and this bacteria forms plaque. If the plaque is not removed through brushing, flossing, and regular cleanings at the dentist, it hardens into tartar. If gingivitis (gum inflammation) is not treated early, it can advance to periodontitis. Bacteria get under the gum tissue and erode it as well as the bone that supports the teeth. The gums eventually pull away from the teeth, and infected pockets form.

Proving that periodontal gum disease is connected to heart disease has been difficult for researchers. However, there are two theories about to what might connect the processes.

  • Bacteria are released in the bloodstream through chewing and tooth brushing. The same species of bacteria that causes gum disease has been discovered in the plaque in arteries in the heart.
  • Inflammation in the mouth is a catalyst for inflammation throughout the rest of the body.

Practice good oral health habits

While the link between periodontitis and heart disease is not yet fully understood, you can prevent the possibility of health complications by practicing good oral health. It’s recommended that you brush and floss twice a day, as well as visit your dentist twice a year for a cleaning and exam. Oral health should not be taken for granted. By preventing oral diseases, you’re also minimizing the risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

To learn more about the connection between heart disease and oral health, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office! A clean mouth leads to a happy heart!

Pediatric Dentistry Q&A

October 14th, 2014

Today, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry thought we would answer some of the most frequent questions about pediatric dentistry and oral health we hear from parents.

What constitutes a “healthy, balanced diet” for my child?

A healthy, balanced diet contains all the nutrients your child needs to grow, including one serving each of fruits and vegetables, breads and cereals, milk and dairy products, and meat, fish and eggs per day. Make sure your child limits snacking in between meals and limits how frequently they consume food or beverages that contain sugar, which is known to cause tooth decay. Besides pastries, cookies, and candy, sugars are usually found in processed foods such as crackers, cereals, and soda, as well as in condiments like ketchup.

Should my kid give up all foods that contain sugar?

Absolutely not, we simply recommend choosing and serving sugars sparingly. A food with sugar is safer for teeth if it is eaten with a meal, not as a snack. When your child chews during his or her meal, the saliva produced helps neutralize the acids that are found in sugary and starchy foods. Foods that are not easily washed away from your child’s teeth by saliva, water, or milk have more cavity-causing potential.

What causes cavities?

Many types of bacteria live in our mouths—some good, some bad. When these bacteria come into contact with sugary foods left behind on your child’s teeth after eating, acids are produced. These acids then attack the enamel, and eventually eat through the enamel and create holes in the teeth, which Dr. Tracy and our team call cavities, or caries.

How can I help my child avoid cavities?

This is a great question that we hear a lot. Make sure that your child brushes his teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. Flossing daily is also important, as flossing can reach spots between the teeth that brushing simply can’t. And finally, we encourage you to schedule regular appointments with Dr. Tracy at our Seattle, WA office so that we can check the state of your child’s teeth and gums, as well as provide a professional cleaning to protect him or her from cavities and gum disease.

What is the best way to clean my baby’s teeth?

We recommend you clean your baby’s gums after feedings with a damp, soft washcloth. This is even before your baby’s first tooth appears. As soon as his or her first tooth does appear, you may begin using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a small head. You can most likely find a toothbrush designed for infants at your local drugstore or ask us for one during your next visit.

What should I do if my child has a toothache?

First, we recommend rinsing the irritated area with warm salt water and placing a cold compress on his or her face if it is swollen. If you have any at home, give your child acetaminophen for any pain, rather than placing aspirin on the affected teeth or gums. Finally, give us a call as soon as possible to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy.

We hope that helps! Please give us a call if you have any questions or ask us next time you visit our office for your child’s appointment with Dr. Tracy! If you have any other questions, or would like to schedule an appointment, we would love to hear from you.

Year-End Insurance Reminder

October 7th, 2014

Dr. Tracy, as well as our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, would like to give those patients with flex spend, health savings, or insurance benefits a friendly end of the year reminder that it’s high time to schedule your dental visits so you optimize your benefit.

Now is the time to reserve your appointment with us. Space is limited and we tend to get busy around the holidays, so don’t wait to give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

Pumpkin-Everything Recipes For Fall!

October 2nd, 2014

We might be a bit obsessed with the Starbucks PSL every fall!

We came across this great copycat recipe for the Starbucks Pumpkin-Spice Scones on Cooking Classy, and thought it would be a great fall-inspired recipe to try!

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Pumpkin Scones {Starbucks Copycat}

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 8 scones

Ingredients

Scone
    • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/4 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
    • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
    • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/8 tsp ground cloves
    • 1/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 3 Tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, cold and diced into 1/2-inch pieces
    • 1/2 cup + 1 Tbsp canned pumpkin puree, chilled (don't chill in can)
    • 3 1/2 Tbsp buttermilk
    • 1 large egg
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 1 Tbsp honey
    • 1 Tbsp half and half
Glaze
    • 1 cup powdered sugar
    • 2 Tbsp half and half, then more as needed
Pumpkin Icing
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp pumpkin puree
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp half and half

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Directions

  • For the scones:
  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a food processor pulse together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves, brown sugar and granulated sugar until well blended (if you don't have a food processor you can whisk by hand in a large mixing bowl, then cut in butter with a pastry cutter). Add butter and pulse mixture several times to cut butter into mixture (large pieces of butter should no longer be visible). Pour mixture into a large mixing bowl and create a well in center.
  • In a bowl whisk together chilled pumpkin puree, buttermilk, egg, vanilla extract and honey. Pour mixture into well in flour/butter mixture. Stir mixture with a wooden spoon to incorporate, then knead in bowl (or on work surface) by hand several times to bring mixture together. Dust a work surface with flour then invert dough onto surface. Pat and shape dough into an even 8-inch round. Using a large knife, slice into 8 equal wedges (dust knife with flour as needed while cutting, it will be fairly sticky).
  • Transfer scones to a Silpat or parchment paper lined baking sheet. Brush tops with 1 Tbsp half and half then bake in preheated oven 13 - 15 minutes until tops are golden brown and toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack and cool 10 minutes (no longer) before spreading with glaze.
  • For the glaze:
  • In a mixing bowl whisk together powdered sugar and half and half, adding more half and half as needed to reach desired consistency (it should be fairly thick not runny). Spoon and spread mixture scones to evenly coat tops (use all of it). Let glaze set at room temperature.
  • For the pumpkin glaze:
  • In a mixing bowl (I just used the one from the glaze above without cleaning out) whisk together powdered sugar, pumpkin puree, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and half and half. Transfer mixture to a small Ziploc bag, seal bag, cut a small tip from corner and drizzle mixture over tops of scones. Allow icing to set. Best served day prepared.
  • Recipe Source: Cooking Classy

Are you a candidate for dental implants?

September 30th, 2014

When you are missing teeth, it is critical to replace them. Without all your teeth, chewing and eating can be challenging, as well as uncomfortable. Missing teeth can also destabilize your bite. Dental implants are a great option for replacing teeth that are missing or are badly diseased. A dental implant at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry offers relief, support, and stability to your bite, and often, implants are the most natural and effective option available.

Dr. Tracy and our team have helped many patients using implant dentistry at our Seattle, WA office restore their smiles to look more natural. Each implant is created to fit in perfectly with the look of the rest of your teeth.

Besides making your smile appear more natural, dental implants have other benefits. They include:

  • Restoring your ability to properly chew food
  • Preventing your teeth from shifting and moving
  • Stabilizing your bite, helping you avoid pain or discomfort

If you are missing a tooth or multiple teeth and feel like you are a candidate for dental implants, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry encourage you to give us a call to schedule an appointment. See you soon!

Try This Recipe: Peekaboo Pumpkin Pound Cake!

September 24th, 2014

We are officially in the first week of fall and we've gotten the baking bug!

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One of our Robert Tracy Family Dentistry co-workers recently shared this adorable recipe idea for the fall weather, with a surprise pumpkin theme!

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Ingredients:

For the pound cake

  • 1 (14-ounce) box pumpkin bread mix
  • 1 (16-ounce) box pound cake mix
  • Orange food coloring

For the icing

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Directions:

1. Prepare pumpkin bread

Mix up pumpkin bread ingredients according to the directions on the box. Add orange food coloring to make it more "pumpkin-y" looking (less brown).

2. Bake and cut

Bake in a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan according to directions. Remove from oven before completely done, about 8-10 minutes less than instructed. Let cool, remove from pan and refrigerate for up to four hours. Cut cold pumpkin bread into large slices. Cut pumpkin shapes from slices. Align them down the center of a lightly greased and floured 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

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3. Make pound cake

Mix up your pound cake batter according to the directions on the box. Pour over your pumpkin bread cutouts in the pan, making sure to cover the tops of the pumpkins. You may have more pound cake batter than you need. Try not to overfill the pan. Bake according to the directions on the box. Let cool when done.

4. Prepare icing

Meanwhile, prepare the brown butter pecan icing.

Put powdered sugar in a mixing bowl. In a saucepan, melt butter and boil, stirring until it starts to brown and form dark flecks on the sides and bottom. Remove from heat. Pour the melted brown butter and flecks over the powdered sugar. Add the evaporated milk and vanilla. Stir until combined and creamy. Add more powdered sugar if it appears too runny or more evaporated milk if it seems too stiff.

5. Ice cake

Remove baked and cooled pound cake from pan and top with brown butter icing. Add chopped pecans, if desired. Cut into slices and delight your guests with the pumpkin-shaped surprise that peeks out from inside!

Implants: Why it's important to replace missing teeth

September 23rd, 2014

The average adult has 32 teeth, a combination of molars, canines, and incisors. By middle age, however, most adults are missing at least one tooth due to an injury, decay, or gum disease. Though many people choose to forgo tooth replacement, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry will tell you that every tooth is important. Each plays a vital role in the structure of the mouth and in relationship to the remaining teeth. Leaving the space where a tooth once stood can have serious consequences. There are many reasons why severely decayed or missing teeth should be replaced as quickly as possible.

  • Speech: A missing tooth can negatively affect the way you speak, depending on its location.
  • Bite changes: The loss of one or more teeth can cause the redistribution of bite pressure onto other teeth. Over time, this can cause the teeth to shift and move into the space the tooth once held.
  • Gum disease: Shifting teeth can make it easier for plaque to accumulate in hard-to-reach places. This can increase the risk of gum disease, which can lead to additional tooth loss.
  • Bone loss: The teeth are place-holders in the jaw. When one falls out and is not replaced, the bone that once surrounded it begins to deteriorate and wear down.
  • Aesthetics: A missing tooth leaves a visible gap between the teeth and can be a source of embarrassment and insecurity.

Advancements in modern dentistry have made it easy to replace missing teeth using natural-looking and functioning prosthetics. Dental implants are permanent solutions for replacing missing teeth with the use of special rods that are anchored in the jaw bone. These implants serve as artificial tooth roots that fuse with the jaw over time. When cared for properly, most dental implants can be fitted to last a lifetime.

To learn more about dental implants, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

When should I begin brushing my baby's teeth?

September 16th, 2014

One question our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry hear all the time is, “When should I start brushing my baby’s teeth?”

You should begin regular cleanings even before your baby has teeth. After each breast feeding (or bottle-feeding) use a clean, damp washcloth to gently rub your baby’s gum tissue. You may wrap the material around one finger to make it easier to remove any food bits from your baby’s mouth.

When your baby’s first tooth comes in, switch to a baby toothbrush. Look for special baby toothbrushes in your drugstore; they have just a few bristles and are very soft. There are even brushes shaped like finger puppets that fit over the tip of your pointer finger! All you need at this point is water (no toothpaste yet).

After a few more teeth appear, you may start using toothpaste, but you only need a tiny bit, and make sure it doesn’t contain fluoride for the first two years. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing. That way, he or she will already have the good habit of spitting when you switch to fluoride toothpaste, which should never be swallowed.

If you have any questions about caring for your baby’s teeth, or to schedule an appointment at our convenient Seattle, WA office, please contact Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry.

Stress and Your Oral Health

September 9th, 2014

Stress symptoms—which include high blood pressure, severe aches, and insomnia—may be affecting your health, even though you might not realize it. You may think illness is the culprit when in fact stress may actually be the reason. While stress can be good for us sometimes, Dr. Tracy and our team know stress can be physically harmful. But what is often overlooked is that stress can also take a toll on your mouth. Here’s how:

Teeth Grinding

It’s not uncommon for people dealing with stress to develop teeth grinding, also known as bruxism. People who grind their teeth at night may do so unconsciously, but the condition requires treatment to prevent the development of headaches, TMJ, and tooth damage. If you’re a night-grinder, talk to Dr. Tracy. We may recommend a night guard.

Mouth Sores

Research suggests stress and depression harm your immune system, making it easier for infections to develop and stick around. That can mean canker sores or a cold sore outbreak. If mouth sores are a recurring problem for you, give us a call to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy.

Bad Habits

Stress can lead to bad oral health habits such as smoking, drinking, and neglecting your daily brushing and flossing routine. If you’ve been feeling under pressure lately, try to keep up with your oral health routine—it will serve you well when your stress levels return to normal.

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry know there’s not always an easy way to reduce your stress levels, but eating healthy, exercising regularly, and spending time with friends and family are all good places to start.

What was your favorite part of summer?

September 2nd, 2014

It's the end of summer, and fall is just around the corner. Soon the temperatures will cool down, the leaves will start to change, and Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry are sure that you’ll soon be thinking about Halloween costumes and Thanksgiving plans in no time. But wait! First, we want to know about your favorite parts of the summer! Did you go on a wonderful family trip? Did you pick up a new hobby? Did you try to spend as much time outside and in the sun as possible?

Share your favorite memories, stories, or photos with us by leaving a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Happy Labor Day!

August 26th, 2014

Labor Day is upon us, and that means the non-official end to summer. Before the kids head back to school and temperatures start to cool down, this is your last chance to barbeque in the beautiful Seattle, WA community, head to the lake, and wear your favorite pair of white pants.

About Labor Day

Each year, Labor Day is celebrated on the first Monday of September. It is the one day of year Americans celebrate their achievements in work, which the US Department of Labor says has contributed to prosperity and well-being of America as a whole. Americans have been celebrating Labor Day since the 1880s, and today it is an official federal holiday.

Interesting Facts About Labor Day

  • Every year, more than 30 million Americans travel over Labor Day weekend.
  • Canada was the first to celebrate Labor Day, and the US soon followed.
  • President Cleveland made Labor Day and official US holiday in 1894.
  • Labor Day marks the beginning of the NFL and NCAA sports seasons for fans.
  • Labor Day marks the end of hot dog season, when Americans consume seven billion hot dogs.

Thanks for being a valued patient of our dental office. Our staff would like to wish you a safe and happy Labor Day weekend. Enjoy your time off!

How do I know if I’m at risk for oral cancer?

August 19th, 2014

Every year, over 50,000 North Americans are diagnosed with oral or throat cancer, which has a higher death rate than many other common cancers, including cervical cancer, testicular cancer, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and thyroid or skin cancers. The high death rate results from the fact that most oral cancers go undiagnosed until the disease is well advanced and has spread to another part of the body, most often, the lymph nodes in the neck.

Because oral cancer is typically painless in its early stages and often goes undetected until it spreads, many patients aren’t diagnosed until they are already suffering from chronic pain or loss of function. However, if detected early, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry want you to know that early detection of oral cancer improves the survival rate to 80 percent or more.

If you visit our Seattle, WA office regularly, you have probably received an oral cancer screening and didn’t even realize it. That’s because the exam is quick and painless; Dr. Tracy and our team check your neck and mouth for signs of oral cancer such as discolorations, lumps, or any changes to your tissue. Oral cancer is typically found on the tongue, lips, gums, the floor of the mouth, or tissues in back of the tongue.

Factors that may influence your risk for developing oral cancer include:

  • Use of tobacco products. Smoking cigarettes, cigars, a pipe, or chewing tobacco all elevate risk for developing oral cancer. Tobacco use especially is a serious risk factor because it contains substances called carcinogens, which are harmful to cells in your mouth.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Those who drink alcohol regularly have an elevated risk of getting oral cancer. Alcohol abuse (more than 21 drinks in one week) is the second largest risk factor for the development of oral cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation.
  • Excessive sun exposure. Those who spend lots of time outdoors and do not use proper amounts of sunscreen or lip balm have a greater risk for developing lip cancer. Exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from sunlight may also cause melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer.
  • Your age. Oral cancer is typically a disease that affects older people, usually because of their longer exposure to other risk factors. Most patients diagnosed with oral cancer are over the age of 40.
  • Your gender. Oral cancer strikes men twice as often as it does women.
  • A history with viral infections, such as human papillomavirus (HPV).
  • A diet low in fruits and vegetables.

In between your visits to our office, it is critical for you to be aware of the following signs and symptoms, and give us a call if these symptoms don’t go away after two weeks.

  • A sore or irritation that doesn’t disappear
  • Red or white patches
  • Pain, tenderness, or numbness in mouth or lips
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • A change in the way your teeth fit together when you close your mouth

During your next visit, Dr. Tracy will examine your mouth for signs of oral cancer. If you have been putting off a visit to our Seattle, WA office for your regular checkup, now is an excellent time to schedule one. Regular visits can be the first line of defense against oral cancer because we can identify early warning signs of the disease. Give us a call today!

Periodontal disease; I have what?!

August 12th, 2014

Our team from Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry understands the diagnosis of periodontal disease can be scary and confusing, but the good news in most cases is that it is treatable and manageable with a little work on the part of the patient.

Periodontal disease is an infection of the gum tissue, bone, and supporting structures for the teeth. In the past it was known as pyorrhea. Diagnosis is commonly made through a combination of dental X-rays, periodontal readings (called probe depths), and visual clinical findings.

The mouth is a gateway to the rest of the body and can provide clues to the patient’s overall health. In fact, the first signs of some chronic diseases appear in the oral cavity; they can be a hint for the dentist to refer the patient to a medical doctor for a thorough exam.

If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to premature tooth loss, sensitivity, and chronic or acute mouth pain. If you have diabetes, you are more prone to periodontal disease and can experience greater difficulty controlling your blood glucose levels. The body ends up spending so much energy fighting the infection in the mouth that it cannot achieve balance elsewhere. Studies have shown that once periodontal disease is treated, the glucose levels become more responsive to control as well.

Standard treatments can include scale and root planing, medicated mouth rinse, and in some cases antibiotic therapy or laser therapy to help control bacteria while promoting healing. Periodontal disease can range from a few localized pockets to extensive and severe infection that may require surgery.

The process of scale and root planing may entail two to four appointments for treatment, with follow-up maintenance exams every three to four months to help prevent the spread of disease. In most cases you will be numbed for comfort during the procedure. After treatment you may feel a little sore—but you are taking steps to improve your health!

Scheduling an appointment with the Seattle, WA office of Dr. Tracy will give you an accurate diagnosis and a range of treatment options. Periodontal disease is “silent,” which means you will not always experience pain as a signal of infection. When caught early and subjected to proper oral hygiene care on a daily basis, treatments are usually successful.

Our Robert Tracy DDS August Recipe is Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches!

August 5th, 2014

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Here is a tasty summer recipe our Robert E. Tracy D.D.S., P.S. office assistant wanted to share with our patients. It's perfect to share with friends and family on one of these hot summer evenings. Simple and tasty... what more could you want?

A nice add-on to this lovely meal would be grilled corn on the cob!

Just remember to floss after!

Yum!

Ingredients

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 (14-ounce) can low-sodium tomato sauce
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons molasses
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1 whole rotisserie chicken, skin removed, meat shredded into thin strips (about 4 to 4 1/2 cups)
6 whole-wheat hamburger rolls
6 large green lettuce leaves
Directions

Heat the oil in a large saute pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook until they are soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute more. Add tomato sauce, tomato paste, water, vinegar, molasses, pepper and liquid smoke and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes. Add chopped chicken, return to a simmer, and cook an additional 10 minutes.

Split rolls. Place a leaf of lettuce on each roll, then pile on 3/4 cup of the chicken mixture onto the roll.

Per Serving:
Calories 440; Total Fat 12 g; (Sat Fat 2.5 g, Mono Fat 5 g, Poly Fat 3.5 g) ; Protein 36 g; Carb 47 g; Fiber 5 g; Cholesterol 95 mg; Sodium 400 mg

Excellent source of: Protein, Fiber, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, Copper, Iron, Magnesium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc

Good source of: Vitamin A, Thiamin, Riboflavin, Vitamin K, Pantothenic Acid, Calcium

Is gingivitis preventable?

August 5th, 2014

The earliest sign of gum disease is called gingivitis (sometimes called periodontal disease), and is an inflammation of the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to gum tissue loss, loss of bone that supports the teeth, and eventually tooth loss. The good news is that gingivitis is easily treatable at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry. Better yet, gingivitis is nearly 100 percent preventable.

Gingivitis is usually caused when plaque and bacteria accumulate on the gums, generally due to poor oral hygiene. A patient with gingivitis will have red and puffy gums that will likely bleed when he or she brushes or flosses.

It is almost entirely within our patients’ power to prevent gingivitis by brushing and flossing on a daily basis. In addition to good oral health habits, regular visits to see Dr. Tracy will also help with early detection. We can often detect minor inflammation and other signs of gingivitis before it causes any discomfort or issues.

If left untreated, gingivitis will eventually progress to periodontitis, a breakdown of the tissue and bone that support the teeth. Smokers, women who are pregnant or menopausal, people with heart disease, diabetes, epilepsy or HIV infection, and people who suffer from poor nutrition are more likely to have gum disease.

To learn more about gingivitis, or if you suspect you have gingivitis, we encourage you to give us a call at our Seattle, WA office today!

Solutions for Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)

July 29th, 2014

Dry mouth, or xerostomia, is a common side effect of many medications. It can also be a side effect of cancer treatments, or the result of certain auto-immune diseases. Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry will tell you that for most people, discontinuing their medication isn’t an option. The solution is two-fold: find ways to increase saliva production and eliminate specific things that are likely to increase dryness in the mouth.

Lack of saliva creates a situation in the mouth that allows harmful organisms such as yeast and bacteria to thrive. It may also make it difficult to swallow food, create a burning feeling in your mouth, or cause bad breath, among other problems.

Medications that are known to cause dry mouth include:

  • Anti-depressant drugs
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Drugs for lowering blood pressure
  • Allergy and cold medications — antihistamines and decongestants
  • Chemotherapy drugs
  • Medications to alleviate pain
  • Drugs used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease

Saliva helps people digest their food. It also functions as a natural mouth cleanser. Xerostomia increases the risk you will develop gum disease or suffer from tooth decay.

Solutions for dry mouth

  • Carry water wherever you go, and make a point of taking regular sips.
  • Avoid oral rinses that contain alcohol or peroxide.
  • Chew sugarless gum or suck on sugarless hard candies that contain xylitol.
  • Limit your consumption of caffeine, carbonated beverages (including seltzer and sparkling waters), and alcoholic beverages.
  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and use dental floss or other inter-dental products to remove food particles that get stuck between your teeth.
  • Look for oral rinses and other oral hygiene products that bear the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Approval.
  • Brush your teeth and use oral rinses that contain xylitol. Certain gels and oral sprays are equally helpful. Biotene is one over-the-counter brand that makes products designed to treat dry mouth.
  • Make sure you get your teeth checked and cleaned twice a year. Dr. Tracy will be able to examine your mouth for problems and treat them before they turn into something more serious.

You may not be able to solve your dry mouth problem altogether, but you’ll be able to deal with it by following these recommendations. You’ll be able to increase saliva production while reducing your risk of more serious dental problems. To learn more about preventing dry mouth, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

The Thumb-Sucking Habit

July 22nd, 2014

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we are often asked “should I be concerned with my child’s thumb sucking?” So, our team thought we’d share what our thoughts are on your child sucking his or her thumb.

Infants Who Suck Their Thumbs

As infants begin experimenting with the basic functions of their mouths, from sucking on a bottle to beginning to speak, it is natural for them to suck their thumbs. Parents with young babies who regularly suck their thumbs probably don’t need to feel overly concerned, so long as fingers are kept clean and the habit is kept in check. For most children, the exploratory stage of thumb sucking ends after just a few short years. Problems with thumb sucking occur when infants grow into young children but the habit has not been resolved.

Dangers of Thumb Sucking

One of the main differences between an infant and a child sucking his thumb is the formation of the mouth and teeth. An infant’s mouth is barely beginning to grow and develop, so sucking a thumb might actually help to stimulate the process. For a child with a mouth full of teeth, however, a thumb-sucking habit might cause some serious problems. As a parent, it can be very important to watch your child carefully to make sure the sucking habit is regulated.

As a child grows and develops, baby teeth begin to fall out. A child sucking his or her thumb during the baby teeth stage may not run any great risks. Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry often sees that once a child has developed his or her permanent teeth, the problems with thumb sucking can become more serious. KidsHealth.org states that children who suck their thumbs beyond the age of four or five might increase their risk of developing an overbite, infections, and other dental problems.

What You Can Do To Help

Parents who want to prevent possible problems for their child would be wise to begin preventive care early on. While you don’t need to be overly concerned about an infant sucking a thumb, it might be a good idea to help your toddler break the habit before permanent teeth begin to show.

  • Try to use positive rewards for good behavior instead of negativity or threatening behavior.
  • Talk openly with your child about the potential dangers of a thumb-sucking habit.
  • Help your child find other productive things to do with the hands as a means of distraction. Playing a game of blocks, for example, might be a great diversion.
  • Support and encourage your child while he or she is trying to break the habit.

As children develop, they have many things to learn and to think about. By understanding a few simple facts about thumb sucking, you can help your child develop in a healthy and positive way. If you have any other questions, feel to contact us at our Seattle, WA office, or ask Dr. Tracy during your next appointment!

Why Baby Teeth Matter

July 15th, 2014

The primary teeth are the initial teeth that erupt from a child’s gums in the first few years of childhood. There are a total of 20 primary teeth, most of which will have appeared no later than age three. Because they are only temporary, some parents believe they are less important than the permanent teeth that will emerge around age five or six. However, primary teeth hold a special significance and are important for a child’s long-term oral health.

Function and importance of baby teeth

Baby teeth have several basic functions. Decay can interfere with these functions, and potentially lead to life-long complications. For example, severe tooth decay that causes tooth loss during childhood, perhaps due to sleeping with a bottle at night, can obstruct a child’s speech development. It can also hinder his or her ability to sufficiently chew food.

The primary teeth also serve as place-holders for the permanent teeth. When a primary tooth falls out or must be removed before its time, surrounding teeth may shift into the space the tooth once held. This can cause orthodontic complications once the permanent teeth begin to erupt, which can lead to serious tooth alignment problems and call for extensive orthodontic treatment.

Caring for baby teeth

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry will tell you it is never too early to begin caring for your child’s teeth. Baby teeth require the same care and attention that permanent teeth do. The American Dental Association recommends that children see a dentist as soon as the teeth begin to erupt from the gums. Early childhood dental visits usually include examinations, cleanings, fluoride treatments, and hygiene education for parents. It is also important to adopt an oral care routine at home that includes daily brushing, flossing, and dietary modifications that support a lifetime of good oral health.

To learn more about baby teeh, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy for your little one, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

Good Dental Hygiene Impacts Overall General Health

July 8th, 2014

There are many ways in which your oral health has an impact on your overall general health. There are naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth. Some of those bacteria, including strep and staph, are harmful, while other bacteria are essential for the balance of intestinal flora. The healthier your mouth is, the less likely it is the harmful bacteria will travel to other parts of your body to infect it and make you sick. There is much more to good dental hygiene than brushing and flossing.

Historical Methods of Maintaining Oral Health

Ancient civilizations relied on natural remedies for maintaining oral health. Around 250 AD, the Kemetic Egyptians used myrrh and other herbs as antiseptics for treating infected gums. Two centuries later, the Nubians, who lived in the Nile River valley, drank beer to ease the pain of infected teeth. That probably sounds crazy, but their beer was effective because they used grains that were contaminated with the same bacteria that produce the antibiotic tetracycline.

Today's Biggest Dental Hygiene Challenge

In the past, tooth decay was more of an issue because there was no routine dental care, and problems that are routinely treated today went untreated. Thanks to fluoridated water, and toothpastes containing fluoride, tooth decay is far less problematic than it was a century or more ago. Gum disease has replaced tooth decay as the most serious dental problem facing people today. According to the American Dental Association, a staggering 80 percent of Americans over age 65 suffer from some form of periodontal disease.

Ironically, if that infection attacked any other part of your body, especially in a place where it was clearly visible, you would head to your doctor for treatment immediately. People tend to ignore gum tenderness and bleeding. When the tenderness and bleeding aren't treated, the inflammation can turn into periodontitis. The longer you allow the inflammation to go untreated, the greater the likelihood that it will affect other body parts. Make sure to visit Dr. Tracy at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry regularly to be proactive about dental health!

Researchers are now discovering that untreated inflammation in the mouth acts as a driving force for multiple chronic illnesses, including clogged arteries, heart attacks, arthritis, and even cancer. That inflammation is one of many hypotheses that may explain how chronic infections can trigger systemic diseases, and even intensify existing ones. Bacterial overgrowth in the inflamed gum tissue can enter the bloodstream through the food you eat, and from daily brushing.

Caring for your mouth at home is just as important as visiting our office for exams!

Happy Fourth of July!

July 1st, 2014

Happy Independence Day from Dr. Tracy and team! The Fourth of July celebrations in America may have changed a lot over the years, but there is no doubt that we Americans love to celebrate the anniversary of our country's independence! Today we're devoting the Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry blog to some fun facts about the Fourth!

  • My, how we have grown! This year the United States Census Bureau estimates that our country has 313.9 million residents celebrating the Fourth of July this year, but back in 1776 there were just 2.5 million members of the country.
  • Our country loves to show how proud that we are of our independence. Did you know that there are 31 United States places with the word “Liberty” in their names? The state of Iowa actually has four towns with the word Liberty in the name: Libertyville, New Liberty, North Liberty, and West Liberty.
  • The United States loves Fourth of July food! It is expected that around 150 million hot dogs are eaten on the Fourth each year. One of the Fourth's most popular sides, potato salad, goes just perfectly with the hotdogs and hamburgers that are standard Fourth of July fare. Some people choose potato chips instead, but we wouldn't have such a plethora of potatoes if not for the prodigious production of the states of Idaho and Washington -- they provide about half of all the potatoes in the United States today!
  • Americans love celebrating the Fourth outdoors: About 74 million Americans fire up their BBQ grill every Fourth of July.
  • The Chinese contribution: Did you know that Americans have spent more than $211 million on fireworks that were imported from China?

No matter how your family chooses to celebrate the Fourth, stay safe, take precautions, and don't forget to brush after your fabulous Fourth feast!

HPV and Oral Cancer

June 24th, 2014

Human papillomavirus, or HPV, is best known as a sexually transmitted infection. In the United States, HPV is the most common sexually transmitted disease, with 79 million Americans currently infected, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition to increasing risk for cervical cancer, HPV is a contributing factor in some cases of oral cancer. Each year an estimated 1,700 women and 6,700 men develop oropharyngeal cancer, which affects the tongue and throat.

Connection between HPV and oral cancer

There are more than 40 strains of HPV that live in the skin and mucosal areas. Some of these affect the genitalia, while others are found in the mouth and throat. Of the strains of oral HPV, only one, called HPV16, increases the risk of oral cancer, the Oral Cancer Foundation reports. A retrospective study conducted found that oral cancer developed an average of 15 years after exposure to HPV, making it a relatively slow-growing form of cancer.

In general, 80% of Americans will have an HPV infection at some point in their lifetimes, while 99% develop no ill effects. Getting oral HPV is associated with multiple sexual partners and engaging in oral sex; however, even some individuals who have been with only one partner may contract the infection. Although overall risk of oral cancer from HPV infection is low, it is essential to be proactive about oral health.

How to prevent HPV-related oral cancer

Scientists continue to study how HPV infections lead to oral cancer, so little is known about the progression of the disease. However, one recent study found that poor oral health, including gum disease and poor oral hygiene, is associated with oral cancer risk. Thus, being vigilant about brushing and flossing your teeth regularly may reduce HPV-related oral cancer. Getting the HPV vaccine also protects against the oral form of the virus.

Another key way to reduce mortality from oral cancer is to have regularly scheduled appointments with at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry. Having Dr. Tracy examine your mouth at least two times a year increases the likelihood that a sign of oral cancer, such as a sore or patch, will be detected. If you’re concerned about HPV-related oral cancer, please give us a call at our Seattle, WA office for advice about oral hygiene and disease prevention.

Pacific Northwest Dental Convention!

June 18th, 2014

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Last week, the Robert E. Tracy DDS staff had the chance to attend the 2014 Pacific Northwest Dental Convention in Bellevue!

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Halfway through the day we met up for lunch and discussed all that we learned in the lectures that we were able to attend. The lectures were very informative and we had a chance to feel completely submerged in the dental industry!

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We had a fantastic time at the convention and can't wait until next year!

Who’s afraid of the dentist?

June 17th, 2014

Is the sound of a drill enough to make your child flinch or cringe? Does he or she worry about the twice-yearly dental checkup at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry? Trust us when we say your child is not alone!

To help eliminate that distress, Dr. Tracy and our team put together five steps to help your child overcome his or her dental anxiety when visiting Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry.

1. Ask your child what they’re most afraid of. Is it the sound of the drill? Do you have needle phobia? Has your child been traumatized by previous dental visits? Have children write down their fears, one by one, and talk about them.

2. Don’t wait. The more frequently your child visits our office, the less work will need to be done at any given visit. Simply having Dr. Tracy professionally clean your child’s teeth twice a year prevents many, if not most, problems down the road.

3. Bring a distraction such as music to your child’s appointment. Just plug in those earphones, have your child close his or her eyes, and get lost in the music. Listening to tunes can also be a pain killer.

4. Remind your child to unwind. Inhaling slowly and counting to five helps. Encourage children to hold their breath for ten seconds, then exhale slowly to the count of eight, and repeat as needed. It’s easier if they’re not focused on the work going on inside their mouth.

5. Ask us. Before any procedure your child undergoes, we encourage you to ask Dr. Tracy or one of our assistants why we’re using the tools we’re using. Ask us what we’re doing during your child’s procedure, what the tool is used for, and how it benefits your child. Also, please ask about anti-anxiety medications we may prescribe to help your child relax during his or her appointment.

Remember, our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry are health care professionals who strive to improve your child’s oral health, and will do all we can to ensure a trauma- and pain-free experience during his or her visit!

We hope these tips help! For more on pediatric dental anxieties, ask us during your next visit to our Seattle, WA office! Or, ask us below or on Facebook!

Looking For a New Waffle Recipe? Try This One!

June 11th, 2014

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Oh... we are going to try this recipe right away! Our Robert E. Tracy DDS June recipe is a decadent one!

You can find this Dark Chocolate Waffles recipe on the Epicurious website!

Buttermilk brings slight tang and moisture to the batter, while olive oil offers fruity richness. Choose a mild-flavored (not too peppery) type of oil for this.

2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 cup (packed) brown sugar

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon kosher salt

3 large eggs, separated

2 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup olive oil

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao), finely chopped

Nonstick vegetable oil spray

Unsalted butter and warm pure maple syrup (for serving)

Preheat oven to 250°F. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add egg yolks, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Blend with a fork, then gradually incorporate dry ingredients, mixing just until combined.

Using an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat egg whites in a small bowl until soft peaks form. Working in 2 batches, fold egg whites into batter just until combined. Fold in chocolate.

Heat a waffle iron until very hot; lightly coat with nonstick spray. Working in batches, cook waffles until cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet, cover loosely with foil, and keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Serve waffles with butter and syrup.

DO AHEAD: Batter with egg whites can be made 4 hours ahead. Cover and chill.

They're just baby teeth, right?

June 10th, 2014

“But they are only baby teeth; won’t they just fall out?” Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry has had these questions asked many times from parents over the years. Primary teeth, or “baby teeth,” will indeed come out eventually, to be replaced by permanent teeth as the child grows and develops. These teeth serve a great purpose as the child continues to develop and require specific care.

Because baby teeth are temporary, some parents are unenthusiastic about fixing cavities in them. This may be due to the cost or having to force a child undergo the process—especially having to receive an injection. But if a cavity is diagnosed early enough, an injection can often be avoided. More important, failure to fill cavities in primary teeth when they are small and manageable can have lasting consequences in cost and health concerns. Serious illnesses in children have been diagnosed which began as a cavity.

Primary teeth act as a guide for permanent teeth. When decay reaches the nerve and blood supply of a tooth, this can cause an abscess. Severe pain and swelling may result. At that point, the only treatment options are either to remove the tooth or to perform a procedure similar to a baby root canal. When a primary tooth is lost prematurely—to decay or a painful abscess—the adjacent teeth will often shift and block the eruption of a permanent tooth. Braces or spacers become necessary to avoid crowding or impaction of the permanent tooth.

There is nothing more heartbreaking for Dr. Tracy than to have to treat a child experiencing pain and fear. To all the parents of my little patients our team strongly recommend filling a small cavity and not waiting until it becomes a larger problem such as those described above.

Prevention is the key to a healthy mouth for our smallest patients. Parents should allow the child to brush his or her teeth using a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste and then take a turn to ensure the plaque gets removed from all surfaces: cheek side, tongue side, and chewing edges of all the teeth.

Summer Break: An ideal time for wisdom teeth removal

June 3rd, 2014

After your son or daughter departs for college, the last thing you want to get is a call or text to learn he or she is in pain. Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry will tell you there aren’t many emergency situations that can be avoided when it comes to dental health, but one crisis that can easily be prevented before your teen heads hundreds of miles away for college is wisdom tooth extraction.

What are wisdom teeth?

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars that erupt in the late teen years to early 20s. Spacing and crowding problems often cause impaction and infections, which is why many people elect to have their wisdom teeth removed. Wisdom teeth can go from barely noticeable to extremely painful in a very short period of time.

When your teen’s wisdom teeth erupt, they may cause overcrowding of his or her teeth, which can have a negative effect on their alignment. Most people’s mouths do not have enough room for wisdom teeth to erupt fully and remain perfectly aligned. Thus, pain, swelling, infection, damage to adjacent teeth, and decay are often the most common problems associated with wisdom teeth. These problems can brew beneath the surface for weeks or months, offering no warning before painful symptoms hit.

If your child does elect to go through wisdom tooth extraction, we want to inform you that the first few days of recovery consist of careful measures to control bleeding and swelling, an adherence to a special soft diet, as well as a medication routine that must be followed as recommended by Dr. Tracy after surgery.

Dr. Tracy and our team are dedicated to providing exceptional service before, during, and after your wisdom tooth procedure, so you can have peace of mind knowing that your child’s oral health is in good hands. We will do everything we can to minimize discomfort and help your child heal safely and quickly.

Summer break is the perfect time to remove wisdom teeth so that your child can avoid the stressful scenario of experiencing this medical emergency far away from home. If you have any questions on wisdom teeth removal or to schedule an initial consultation with Dr. Tracy, give us a call today!

My child is getting blood blisters; is this normal?

May 27th, 2014

Thanks for the question. The “blisters” you are referring to are actually a normal part of losing baby teeth. Sometimes when teeth start to come through, children experience some bleeding under the skin, which typically causes small blisters or bruises on your child’s gums. The blisters, bluish in color, will disappear once the tooth comes through, and the tooth itself will still come through as it should.

Even though they can look a little frightening at first, there is no treatment required to treat blisters, nor are these blisters preventable. In fact, our bodies do a great job of cleaning up the loose ends of baby tooth loss and permanent tooth emergence, and not too long after, it’s as if no blisters ever happened. It’s important to note, however, that these blisters should not be pricked or cut as doing so may cause an infection in your child’s mouth.

If you are worried about blisters or bruises in your child’s mouth, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy. We especially encourage you to give us a call if your child has had one of these blisters for more than a month and the tooth has yet to come through.

Memorial Day

May 20th, 2014

Memorial Day is not only a federal holiday in the United States, but it is a day of observance and remembrance of those who died in service. Originally known as Decoration Day, this solemn day has been marked on calendars since the end of the American Civil War as a day to commemorate both the Confederate and Union soldiers who fought and died in the war.

Marking the graves of fallen soldiers with flowers, wreaths, or other tokens has been practiced throughout history, but it wasn't until the mark of the end of the Civil War that a special day was decided upon as the one to spend in remembrance. By 1890, every state in the country was observing Decoration Day. It wasn't until 1967 when the name formally changed from Decoration Day to Memorial Day, in order to encompass all fallen American soldiers in all wars and conflicts. In June of 1968, Congress moved the official date of Memorial Day to the last Monday in May in order to create a three day weekend.

Today, while there is certainly an air of remembrance on Memorial Day, it has become more a day of spending time with family, friends, and other loved ones. This day is also heralded as the start of summer, with many schools finishing for the year around this time. Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry remembers it as a day to take solace and remembered those lost.

Traditional observances of Memorial Day are still held, and they often involve raising the American Flag then lowering it to a half-staff position until noon, and then raising it once again to its full height afterwards. The flag is lowered to remember those who've lost their lives while in service to their country, and then it is raised to signify our willingness to not let their sacrifice be in vain.

From community parades in the Seattle, WA area, backyard cook-outs, and fireworks to formal ceremonies, Memorial Day is commemorated in many different ways. No matter how you choose to spend this day, take a moment to remember those who've lost their lives in an effort to preserve our freedom.

How Sedation Dentistry Can Help You Overcome Dental Anxiety

May 13th, 2014

Putting off your dental visit to Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry because of fear or anxiety only increases the potential for tooth decay or gum problems. At our office, Dr. Tracy and our team offer solutions that allow you to relax, without any pain, so you can keep your mouth healthy. Our solutions can help with many different anxiety issues for both adults and children.

Help with minor anxiety

Nitrous oxide is an excellent choice for most patients. Sometimes referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide can be regulated to provide you with the amount of sedation you need. When used before a local anesthetic, the injection will not be uncomfortable and you should not notice any pain during your procedure.

If you plan to use nitrous oxide, you can drive yourself to your appointment. In most cases, you will be fine to drive after your treatment: the sedation wears off quickly. Nitrous oxide can also be used along with other sedation techniques to produce a higher level of sedation.

Oral sedatives are available in a liquid or pill form. If you experience moderate anxiety levels, you can be given a tablet to take before your appointment. This type of sedation will be beneficial in relieving the anxiety that can build before your procedure. However, if you choose this method, you cannot drive yourself to your appointment.

Help with major dental anxiety

If you experience extreme levels of stress and anxiety about dental treatment, you may wish to discuss deep sedation or general anesthesia. With these techniques, you will be barely conscious or unconscious during your procedure. You will not feel discomfort or pain. Once you have experienced dentistry with a sedation technique, your anxiety level may decrease on its own.

People are not born with the fear of a dental exam. Unfortunately, most anxiety issues are due to a bad dental experience or childhood trauma. Sometimes anxiety comes from listening to the tales of others, who may have exaggerated their story. Talk to Dr. Tracy and our team about your dental concerns or fears. Let us help you so you can get the dental care you need for a healthy mouth for life.

For more information about overcoming dental anxiety, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

The Perfect Mother's Day Brunch Recipe!

May 6th, 2014

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With sunny Seattle days fast approaching (we hope!) we've been dreaming of warm, relaxed brunches with friends and family in our near future! Mother's Day is the perfect occasion for a brunch in celebration of your favorite mom... and a delicious quiche! Our May recipe is The Food Network's Brunch Tart with Spinach, Olives, and Leeks.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 fat leeks (white and pale parts only), coarsely chopped and washed (2 cups)

1/2 medium onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

8 ounces baby spinach, coarsely chopped

Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1 15-ounce container ricotta cheese

3 large eggs

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1/2 cup halved pitted kalamata olives

All-purpose flour, for rolling

1 sheet frozen puff pastry, thawed in the refrigerator

Directions

In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the leeks and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, stir and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add the spinach and cook until wilted and tender, 2 minutes. Remove from the heat, taste and season with salt and pepper as needed; let cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the ricotta, 2 eggs, the thyme and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Fold the cooled vegetable mixture and the olives into the ricotta mixture.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry until it's 12 inches square. Using a 12-inch plate or just eyeballing it, cut the dough into a circle (knead the scraps into a ball and save for another use-cheddar straws, say). Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet. Spoon the tart filling into the center, leaving a 2-inch border of pastry. Lift the pastry edges and fold over the filling, creasing the dough as needed and leaving the filling exposed in the middle. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water and brush a thin layer of the egg wash on the exposed pastry, taking care not to let egg run down the sides to the pan.

Bake until the pastry is golden brown, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest 10 minutes before serving.

 

May Marks National Physical Fitness and Sports Month!

May 6th, 2014

The merry month of May also happens to be National Fitness and Sports Month, so take advantage of the warmer days to get outside and exercise! Bringing a friend, family member, or coworker with you when you go for a brisk walk during a lunch break can provide an opportunity to socialize as well as health benefits. If you need a little more motivation, here are some good reasons to stay active and fit.

Exercise provides:

  • Improved stamina and energy as well as toned muscles and bone strength and density
  • Improved circulation and breathing for a healthier heart and lungs
  • Reduced risk for Type 2 diabetes and certain forms of cancer
  • For older adults, regular exercise may help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls as well as improved cognitive abilities

Children and Teens

Children and teenagers spend long hours at their desks in school, on the computer, watching television, and involved in other sedentary activities that result in obesity and poor health later in life. Getting them engaged in school or community sports teams can help them form good life-long exercise habits. One important note: If they are participating in contact sports, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry recommend your kids wear an approved mouthguard to protect those valuable teeth from injury! Ask us for a proper fitting of your safety appliance during your next visit!

A gym membership is nice but not necessary to stay fit; try these easy ways to work some exercise into your daily routine.

At Home

  • Take a friend along for company on a walk through your neighborhood.
  • Pursue gardening or other yard work, including mowing or raking.
  • Take your kids on a bike ride or have them push a baby stroller around the block.

Couch potatoes take note: simply moving from the sofa to the floor for some sit-ups, leg-lifts, or push-ups while you’re watching television can help you get in better shape in no time.

At Work

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.
  • Take exercise breaks for walks around the building or parking lot.
  • Walk or ride a bike to work.

So what are you waiting for? Get moving!

For more information on exercise techniques, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

How do I know when I have a cavity?

April 29th, 2014

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry frequently field questions about cavities and what causes them. Patients will typically ask, “I brush twice a day and floss regularly, as well as rinse with hydrogen peroxide, so a cavity is unlikely, right?”

Not quite.

When cavities, also known as caries, are in their initial stages, people often will feel no symptoms, and they won’t experience any pain or discomfort. It’s not until the tooth decay has reached a certain level that patients begin to notice the signs. If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Tracy as soon as possible:

  • Dull or sharp toothache
  • Tooth sensitivity or mild to sharp pain when eating or drinking something sweet, hot, or cold
  • Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth
  • The presence of a sticky, tarry feeling when biting down
  • Puss or discharge around a tooth, especially when pressing on your gums
  • Visible holes or discoloration in your teeth (usually black or brown)

Cavities can happen at any time, to anyone, no matter how old you are. Routine dental care is important to prevent cavities or the onset of tooth decay, so it is important to visit Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry for regular cleanings. If you are overdue for a checkup or think you may have a cavity, please give us a call at Seattle, WA office to schedule an appointment.

Make Every Day Earth Day

April 22nd, 2014

Earth Day began in 1970 as an event to raise awareness of our environment. What began as a single day in April is now recognized around the world to bring attention and education to global environmental issues. Conserving our natural resources, reducing water and air pollution, and developing green technologies are all ways in which we can improve the environment around us.

Reduce, Recycle, and Reuse

One of the easiest ways to participate in Earth Day is by simply reducing the amount of refuse that ends up in landfills. Many communities have recycling programs for paper, plastic, and metal refuse. By keeping recyclable items out of landfills, we reduce the need for new disposal space and the amount of energy needed for burning refuse. Recycling products also helps conserve the resources that are used in making new products.

You can save money by reducing your consumption of many everyday products. Single disposable water bottles can be recycled but they are costly. By using filtered faucet water, you can conserve your financial resources. Disposable paper towels can also be wasteful. Consider reusable cleaning rags for the majority of your chores.

Reusing items saves both the environment and your finances. A large number of products can be re-purposed to create a new item. Old furniture can be remade into a new piece. Old clothing can be used for craft items. If you are not able to find ways to reuse your old items, donate them to a charity. Remember to continue your positive environmental steps on a daily basis.

Other things you can do to improve the environment

Everyone, young or old, can find ways to participate in improving the environment. Some ideas include:

  • Planting trees
  • Picking up litter
  • Reducing energy consumption
  • Walking, bicycling, or carpooling to work or school
  • Disposing of hazardous waste properly
  • Using rain barrels to conserve water for plants

Earth Day is designed to appreciate and celebrate the health of the earth. Keeping the earth healthy is important, but keeping your mouth healthy is important, too. Healthy teeth and gums contribute to your overall health and well-being, so remember to call our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry to schedule an appointment. Have a happy and healthy Earth Day, from Dr. Tracy!

Pacifiers and Your Child's Oral Health

April 15th, 2014

Children are born with a natural sucking reflex. In fact, sonogram images from the womb often reveal an unborn baby practicing by sucking on his or her fingers or thumb. Not only does sucking aid in your baby’s ability to acquire food and nutrients, but it is also a security and possible analgesic outside of meal times.

Though it is both normal and beneficial for parents to soothe their children with pacifiers during infancy, long-term use could interfere with oral health and development. Most children will stop using a pacifier on their own. However, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends halting pacifier use after age three. Prolonged thumb sucking or pacifier use after this time can cause the upper front teeth to begin to lean outward. It can also cause new teeth to erupt crookedly, and it can negatively affect jaw alignment.

If your child is not showing signs of self-weaning by age two, you may begin the process by limiting pacifier usage to specific times, such as nap time or when getting vaccinations. Offer an alternative security item, such as a blanket, and be sure to praise your child when he or she chooses the blanket over the pacifier.

Tips

  • Never under any circumstances should you dip your baby’s pacifier in something sweet. Though it is a tempting way of encouraging your child to take a pacifier when crying, it can also lead to early childhood tooth decay.
  • If your child has not discontinued pacifier use by age three, talk with Dr. Tracy about behavioral modifications or appliances that can help your child wean.
  • Never use negative reinforcement to discourage pacifier use. Punishment for pacifier use is not effective for changing your child’s habits.

If you have any questions or concerns about your child’s pacifier usage or which types of pacifiers are best for your child’s oral health, please give our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

Our April Recipe is... Lasagna with Turkey Sausage Bolognese!

April 8th, 2014

lasagna

Yield
Makes 8 to 10 servings
Active time
45 minutes
Total time
1 hour 30 minutes
Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 2 cups chopped onions
• 1/2 cup diced carrot
• 1 tablespoon fennel seeds, crushed in spice mill or in mortar with pestle
• 1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausages, casings removed
• 3 large garlic cloves, pressed
• 1/2 cup dry white wine
• 5 cups crushed tomatoes with added puree (from two 28-ounce cans)
• 1 cup chopped fresh basil, divided
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
• 1 15-ounce container whole-milk ricotta cheese
• 3 cups (packed) coarsely grated whole- milk mozzarella cheese (12 ounces)
• 1 1/4 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
• 16 6 1/2 x 3 1/4-inch no-boil lasagna noodles
Preparation
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, carrot, and fennel seeds; sauté 5 minutes. Add sausage and garlic; sauté until sausage is cooked through, breaking into pieces, 8 to 10 minutes. Add wine; boil 1 minute. Add tomatoes, 1/2 cup basil, and oregano. Bring to boil. Reduce heat; simmer until sauce thickens, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Combine ricotta, mozzarella, 1 cup Parmesan, and 1/2 cup basil in medium bowl; stir to blend. Season with pepper. DO AHEAD: Sauce and cheese mixture can be made 1 day ahead. Cover separately; chill.
Place noodles in large bowl; cover with hot water. Soak until pliable, separating occasionally, about 30 minutes. Drain well.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Spread 1 cup sauce over bottom of 13 x 9 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Cover with 4 noodles, arranging crosswise. Drop 1/4 of cheese mixture over by tablespoonfuls; spread out. Top with 1 cup sauce, then 4 noodles and 1/3 of remaining cheese mixture. Repeat 2 more times with 1 cup sauce, 4 noodles, and 1/2 of cheese mixture. Spread any remaining sauce over. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup Parmesan.
Bake lasagna uncovered until heated through and puffed, about 50 minutes. Let stand 10 to 15 minutes and serve.

 

Found inBon Appétit, March 2011, by Rozanne Gold,  photo by Hans Gissinger

Periodontal Disease in Adolescents

April 8th, 2014

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry know that periodontal disease isn't something exclusive to adults. It can affect adolescents as well. Gingivitis, which is a milder form of periodontitis, is a form of periodontal disease, and a warning that more serious problems may arise. Untreated gingivitis can develop into full-blown periodontitis.

The American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) explains that research proves that younger people may develop more severe forms of gingivitis. Gingivitis is linked to periodontal disease. Children and adolescents who have type 1 diabetes or immune deficiencies are more likely to suffer from periodontal disease.

There are three types of periodontal diseases Dr. Tracy and our team see in children and adolescents.

Chronic gingivitis

Parents may suspect that their adolescent has chronic gingivitis if he or she shows or complains of symptoms such as redness, swelling, or bleeding gums. Early treatment may prevent gingivitis from developing into a more severe form of periodontal disease.

Aggressive and/or chronic periodontitis

Once called adult periodontitis, the term chronic replaces “adult” because periodontitis can occur in people in their early teenage years, and progress throughout their teens. Chronic and aggressive periodontitis primarily affects incisors and first molars. One of its distinguishing characteristics is bone loss. Curiously, patients who suffer from this form of the disease have minimal dental plaque on examination.

Generalized aggressive and chronic periodontal disease

This form of periodontal disease has many of the same characteristics of the chronic and aggressive form, but this more severe type of the disease affects the entire mouth. Symptoms include major plaque and calculus accumulation, and inflamed gums.

In both forms of more severe periodontal disease, the overall gum structure may change. The severity of these changes may alter gum strength enough to loosen teeth, or even worse, cause them to fall out.

The success of any treatment is largely contingent on early diagnosis. Dr. Tracy should conduct a thorough periodontal exam as part of an adolescent’s twice-yearly complete dental examinations.

The mouth is full of bacteria. Some of it is necessary for food digestion. Diseases are more likely to develop if bacteria travel to open places in the mouth, such as exposed gum pockets or cavities. Proper dental hygiene is essential for a healthy mouth, and a healthy mouth offers greater protection against painful dental diseases.

Be sure every member of your family has a complete dental exam and cleaning twice a year, and contact Dr. Tracy when you or your young kids or adolescents complain of pain, sensitivity, or other oral problems. Early detection at our Seattle, WA office leads to treatment of oral problems and prevents them from turning into serious periodontal disease and potentially irreversible problems.

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 1st, 2014

The Importance of Facial Protection

Americans from all walks of life should mark April as National Facial Protection Month on their calendars. The American Association of Pediatric Dentistry, Academy for Sports Dentistry, American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons have combined forces to sponsor this annual campaign, which aims to educate and remind us of the importance of protecting our face and teeth against impacts and injuries.

Wearing a helmet can save your life and prevent devastating physical damage in a variety of situations, from playing football to riding a bicycle. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, helmets reduce the risk of various head injuries by as much as 85 percent. Whether helmet laws apply in your area or not, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry want you to make sure you and your loved ones wear helmets with the appropriate safety ratings for specific activities. (A sticker on or inside the helmet will usually indicate this rating.) Helmets can also help save your teeth if they come with an attached faceguard, an essential addition for football players and others involved in contact sports.

Preventing Dental Injuries

A mouthguard can protect you against a variety of dental injuries, such as cracked, broken, or knocked-out teeth. The American Dental Association states that mouthguards play an essential role in preventing up to 200,000 dental injuries each year, and many states mandate their use for sports activities such as football and hockey. The Academy for Sports Dentistry warns, however, that these mouthguards must be custom-fitted as precisely as possible to prove effective. Have a professional-quality mouthguard molded and fitted by our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry for better protection than a generic store-bought or “boil-and-bite” variety can offer. These cheaper versions tend to wear out quickly, interfere with proper breathing, and provide uneven degrees of cushion against impacts. Always have a fresh mouthguard fitted for each new sports season.

Choose the right combination of helmet, faceguard, and mouthguard to protect your teeth and face this April, and tell your friends to do the same! To learn more about mouthguards, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

Gum Disease and Your Child

March 25th, 2014

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we know that unfortunately, gum disease can exist in your child’s mouth without you even knowing. In fact, your child may be suffering from the beginning stages of periodontal (gum) disease without noticing any pain or discomfort. Since gum disease can be undetectable, it’s critical to watch for the warning signs in order to prevent the disease from growing worse!

If your child is experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may want to consider scheduling an appointment with Dr. Tracy as soon as possible:

  • Gums that are red or swollen
  • Gums that feel tender
  • Gums that bleed easily during brushing or flossing
  • Gums that are receding
  • Persistent halitosis (bad breath)
  • Loose teeth
  • Any change in the way teeth come together in the biting position

If your child is experiencing these symptoms, schedule an appointment right away by calling our Seattle, WA office. Dr. Tracy and our team can diagnose the problem and begin treatment to save your child’s teeth!

Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry looks forward to seeing you!

Can children be at risk for developing periodontal disease?

March 18th, 2014

Dr. Tracy and our team hear this question a lot. While many people believe periodontal disease is an adult problem, studies have indicated that periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, as well as other serious infections such as gingivitis and periodontitis, are prevalent among kids and adolescents. First, let’s identify the differences between gingivitis, periodontitis, and periodontal disease.

Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a type of periodontal disease in which only your child’s gums are affected. Characterized by swollen and red gums that bleed easily, gingivitis causes an inflammation of the gums, and is the first stage and mildest form of periodontal disease. The good news is that gingivitis is often reversible. Treatment for gingivitis includes having your child come in for a professional teeth cleaning. It also includes daily brushing, which will help eliminate plaque from the surfaces of your child’s teeth. Your child should also get in the habit of flossing daily to remove plaque and food particles wedged in the crevices between his or her teeth.

Periodontitis

If left untreated, gingivitis can progress to periodontitis, the advanced stage of gum disease that can not only damage your child’s gum tissue, but also destroy the underlying bone which supports the teeth. Eventually, teeth can become loose and may have to be removed. In some cases, the bacteria from the ensuing infection may also be distributed to other areas of the body via the bloodstream.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums, periodontal ligament, and bone that surround and support your child’s teeth. Periodontal disease causes gums to become red, swollen, and tender, and can even cause the gums to recede (pull away) from the teeth. If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to tooth loss.

Having persistent at-home oral care regimen is a critical step in your child’s fight against periodontal disease. But sometimes brushing and flossing are simply not enough. Having your child’s teeth cleaned twice a year, or as recommended, is crucial.

Early diagnosis of gingivitis, periodontitis, and periodontal disease can give you and your child peace of mind. If you are concerned your child is suffering from gum disease, we recommend that you give us a call at our Seattle, WA office. We look forward to working with you and giving your child a smile to last a lifetime!

Go Green for St. Patrick’s Day

March 11th, 2014

Millions of people, around Seattle, WA and beyond, wear green on St. Patrick’s Day so they can show their spirit for the holiday and avoid getting pinched. While it may be easy for you to throw on a green shirt, sport a St. Patrick’s Day button, or wear a pair of emerald-hued shoes, if you’re an avid St. Patty’s Day enthusiast you may want to try something different this year. Dr. Tracy thought of a few ideas that will help you take your holiday spirit to the next level:

Visit Chicago’s Green River

If you happen to be near the Windy City during St. Patrick’s Day or you’re thinking of planning a trip, don’t miss out on going downtown to watch the large-scale celebration that kicks off when the city dyes the river bright green. According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Chicago has been celebrating the holiday with this tradition for more than 50 years, with tens of thousands of people gathering annually to witness the mysterious dying process and the stunning result.

Don Green Face Paint

Just like an avid sports fan on game day, you can use green face paints to showcase your enthusiasm for this holiday. Avoid breakouts or allergic reactions by only using paints that are specifically meant to be applied to the skin. A little bit of face paint can cover a large area, so feel free to get creative and decorate the whole family on St. Patrick’s Day.

Eat Green All Day

Not a fan of green eggs and ham? With the increasing popularity of green smoothies, there’s no better time to get in on this health craze. To create a green smoothie without the aid of food coloring, you can simply blend a generous amount of a leafy green vegetable, such as spinach or kale, with the ingredients that you would typically use to make a smoothie, like fruit, ice, milk, or juice. Keep the trend going throughout the day by using those same vegetables to create a green soup, egg salad, or a batch of bright green pastries. As an added bonus, you’ll get a healthy dose of vitamins without changing the taste of most of these foods.

If your old holiday routine has gotten stale, leave your green T-shirt in the drawer and try one or all of these tips. Don’t be surprised if you have so much fun that you decide to start a new, annual St. Patrick’s Day tradition! Have a happy St. Paddy’s day from Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry!

Good Nutrition Leads to Healthy Mouths

March 4th, 2014

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we know the most common oral health diseases are tooth decay and periodontal disease (or gum disease), and both are among the easiest to prevent. One of the most common ways we recommend to boost your oral health is by improving your diet, because you (and your mouth) truly are what you eat. A healthy diet can lead to a healthy mouth and body, while an unhealthy diet can lead to the exact opposite.

The Role Nutrition Plays

While diet is not the only factor that leads to periodontal disease, studies suggest the disease may be more severe among patients whose diets lack essential nutrients. Poor diets will generally lead to a weaker immune system, leaving your body susceptible to all kinds of ailments, including periodontal disease.

A Well-Balanced Approach

There is no “magic” diet that we can recommend to improve your oral health, but the most important thing is to seek a well-balanced approach in your eating. While fad diets that emphasize one food group over another may help you lose weight in the short-term, they probably will not provide all the nutrients your body needs in the long run.

Meals should include a balance of lean meats or other healthy protein sources, colorful fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy, and healthy fats. Foods containing substantial amounts of sugar and salt should be consumed in moderation.

Soda and Sugar: A Dangerous Duo

Millions of gallons of soda are consumed every day in America, but sipping a cold soft drink can be very harmful to your teeth. Many of these beverages wear down the enamel that protects the teeth, which weakens and even destroys them over time. The American Beverage Association estimates that soft drinks account for almost 30 percent of all drink consumption in the U.S., averaging an annual total of about 50 gallons per person (up from only 20 gallons in the 1970s). For healthy teeth and a healthy body overall, try to limit your soda intake.

Sugar is another ubiquitous treat in our daily lives. When we eat sugar, naturally occurring bacteria in our mouths convert it to acids that attack tooth enamel. Consuming too much sugar can swiftly lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum diseases like gingivitis. Most people do not even realize how much sugar they consume each day. It’s important to limit your daily sugar intake by reading the labels of all the food you eat, and sticking with natural food sources that are low in sugar, especially ones that minimize added sugar, such as fruits and vegetables.

If you have questions about your diet and how it may be affecting your oral health, talk to Dr. Tracy about it. See you soon!

What happens if I don’t have my wisdom teeth removed?

February 25th, 2014

One of the things Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry monitor during your dental appointments is the growth of your wisdom teeth, or third molars. Third molars generally begin to erupt between the ages of 17 and 25. Wisdom teeth may require removal for many reasons, including pain, infection, or growth issues. While not all patients need their wisdom tooth removed, problems can develop if removal is not performed.

Overcrowding

Many patients have smaller mouths and jaws, which do not allow room for the third molars to grow in properly. If these teeth do erupt, overcrowding can occur. Your teeth will begin to shift or overlap each other. Wisdom teeth that erupt after orthodontic care is completed can cause the teeth to shift and negate the work performed.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

When wisdom teeth are impacted, they are trapped below your gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth can be very painful and may be prone to abscess and infection. The impaction can lead to decay and resorption of healthy teeth.

On occasion, if wisdom teeth are not monitored properly, their growth can shift parallel to the jaw line. They can also shift backward and eventually interfere with the opening and closing of your jaw.

Greater Potential for Decay

Even when wisdom teeth grow in properly, the location can make the teeth harder to care for. This in turn can lead to the growth of more bacteria, and create health issues later in life.

If you do not have your wisdom teeth removed, they will require continued monitoring. Wisdom teeth are just as subject to decay and other problems as the rest of your teeth. Those that appear above the gum surface can often be extracted at a dental office in a fashion similar to any other tooth extraction. Impacted teeth are normally handled by an oral surgeon.

Pain in the back of the jaw and swelling may indicated wisdom teeth that are beginning to rupture or are impacted. A simple set of X-rays will determine the extent and direction of growth. Please do not hesitate to discuss your concerns during your next visit our Seattle, WA office. We will be happy to explain wisdom teeth, and potential removal, as it applies to your specific case.

Five Tips to Help Kids Overcome Their Fears of the Dentist

February 18th, 2014

Is your child nervous about visiting Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry? Today, we put together some tips to help ensure your little one relaxes before his or her next dental checkup!

  1. Start early. The earlier your child visits our Seattle, WA office, the better. This will provide your child with a familiarity and ensure that he or she is comfortable with our team, office, and surroundings, whether it’s for a preventive visit or an emergency. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that your child first visit the dentist at age one or when the first tooth is visible.
  2. Choose your words wisely. When preparing for a visit, go easy on the details. Over-explaining and adding more information about treatment such as a filling will lead to more questions as well as add unnecessary alarm. Remember to keep a positive attitude!
  3. Bring a distraction to your child’s appointment. Bringing along music is a great idea. Just plug in those earphones, have your child close his or her eyes, and get lost in the tunes. Listening to music can also be a pain killer.
  4. Consider a “pretend visit.” Before your child’s appointment, try role playing with him or her—you be the doctor and your child is the patient. All you'll need is a toothbrush. The key is getting your child familiar with the routine so that he or she is more relaxed once it’s time for the real visit with Dr. Tracy.
  5. Stress the importance of good oral health. Instill in your child that visiting the dentist is a necessity, not a choice, and that visiting the dentist will lead to a lifetime of smiles.

We hope this helps! For more on dental anxieties, ask us during your next visit to Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry! Or, ask us on Facebook!

Happy Happy Birthday!

February 14th, 2014

Ginny BDay with Cake

Yesterday we celebrated Dr. Tracy's wife's February birthday in the office!

Lily, our hygienist, made a yummy taco salad and Laurie, Dr. Tracy's dental assistant, made a delicious carrot cake!

Happy Birthday Ginny!

Ginny BDay with BDay SignGinny BDay Presents_2

Laurie’s Carrot Cake

February 14th, 2014

carrot cake

Preheat Oven to 350º and Grease and Flour 2 Cake Pans

*DRY:

2 Cups Flour    à plus 1 Tablespoon (see instructions for BULK ingredients)

1 Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder

1 Teaspoon Cinnamon

½ Teaspoon Salt

*WET:

2 Cups Sugar

1 Cup Oil

4 Eggs à Room Temperature

1 Teaspoon Vanilla

*BULK:

2 Cups Grated Carrots

1 Cup Chopped Pecans

1 Cup Raisins

1 Cup Drained Crushed Pineapple

Beat Sugar, Oil, and Eggs until light yellow à Add Vanilla

Sift together dry ingredients and slowly add to wet.

Mix well.

Toss the 4 Bulk ingredients with the 1 Tablespoon Flour and fold into batter.

BAKE:

350º for 45-50 minutes or until done.

 

Lily’s Chicken Taco Salad

February 14th, 2014

 Here are the ingredients that Lily uses for her Chicken Taco Salad!

lily's taco salad

DRESSING:

Mayo

Taco Seasoning

Brown Sugar

Milk

Ketchup

 

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Tortilla Chips (crushed)

Chicken (cubed)

Canned Corn (1/2 can)

Canned Garbonzo Beans (1/2 can)

Salad Greens

Diced Yellow Onion

Cilantro (chopped)

Green Bell Pepper (Diced)

Carrots (chopped or shredded)

Green Onions (diced)

Tomatoes (diced)

Cucumber (diced)

Celery (diced)

Choose Chocolate on Valentine's Day

February 11th, 2014

From a student handing out sweets for her classmates to an older married couple exchanging boxes of candy, Valentine’s Day is the time of year when people like to show affection by gifting sugary treats to their loved ones. Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of Valentine’s Day candy, you can celebrate the holiday in a healthier way by making dark chocolate your confection of choice.

Contribute to Your Health

According to the Cleveland Clinic, studies have shown that the cocoa beans used to make chocolate contain flavonoids, which can help protect the body against damage from various toxins. Flavonoids may also help lower blood pressure and improve blood flow to the heart and the brain. Dark chocolates typically contain a higher amount of flavonoids than other types, making them a great choice for chocolate lovers. However, you should keep in mind that many companies produce chocolate that is so heavily processed that the flavonoids are largely eliminated. Your best bet is to look for high-quality dark chocolates and cocoa powders that have undergone minimal processing.

Protect Against Cavities

If you think there’s no way candy could ever be beneficial for your teeth, think again. The Texas A&M Health Science Center has reported that the tannins present in cocoa beans may actually help prevent cavities by interfering with bacteria’s harmful interaction with teeth. Just like with flavonoids, tannins have been found to be present more often in dark chocolates, rather than milk chocolates, giving you another great reason to choose the richer, sweet varieties.

Avoid a Sticky Situation

One more benefit of choosing chocolate over other candies is that it is less likely to get stuck in the crevices and spaces between teeth. Gooey sweets like taffy can stay lodged in the mouth for longer periods of time, putting you at a greater risk for developing cavities. When you choose your chocolate, be sure to avoid types that also contain sticky ingredients like caramel or marshmallow, and instead opt for the plain varieties.

Remember that the health benefits you can receive from dark chocolate are largely based on eating the candy in moderation. With that being said, it’s easy to make this delicious and health conscious switch when you’re out shopping for your sweetheart, friends, loved ones, and yourself. Have fun satisfying your sweet tooth this year and Happy Valentine’s Day from all of us at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry!

Hawk Yeah!

February 6th, 2014

tarc1

Dr. Tracy and Katie got a chance to go out to the Seahawks Celebration Parade in Seattle yesterday!

They dressed for the cold weather and waited in the crowd for the Seahawks to arrive!

We are so happy that the Hawks won the Super Bowl!

trac2trac4

February is Heart Month

February 4th, 2014

The American Academy of Periodontology stresses the importance of good oral health since gum disease may be linked to heart disease and stroke. Thus far, no cause-and-effect relationship has been established, but there are multiple theories to explain the link between heart disease and periodontal disease. One theory suggests that oral bacteria may affect heart health when it enters the blood and attaches to the fatty plaque in the heart's blood vessels. This can cause the formation of blood clots. Another theory suggests the possibility that inflammation could be a contributing link between periodontal disease and heart disease. Gum disease increases plaque buildup, and inflamed gums may also contribute to the development of swollen or inflamed coronary arteries.

What is coronary artery disease?

Coronary artery disease is caused in part by the buildup of fatty proteins on the walls of the coronary arteries. Blood clots cut off blood flow, preventing oxygen and nutrients from getting to the heart. Both blood clots and the buildup of fatty proteins (also called plaque) on the walls of the coronary arteries may lead to a heart attack. Moreover, periodontal disease nearly doubles the likelihood that someone will suffer from coronary artery disease. Periodontal disease can also worsen existing heart conditions, so many patients who suffer from heart disease need to take antibiotics before any dental procedures. This is especially true of patients who are at greatest risk for contracting infective endocarditis (inflammation of the inner layer of the heart). The fact that more than 2,400 people die from heart disease each day makes it a major public health issue. It is also the leading killer of both men and women in the United States today.

What is periodontal disease?

Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that destroys the bone and gum tissues around the teeth, reducing or potentially eradicating the system that supports your teeth. It affects roughly 75 percent of Americans, and is the leading cause of adult tooth loss. People who suffer from periodontal disease may notice that their gums swell and/or bleed when they brush their teeth.

Although there is no definitive proof to support the theory that oral bacteria affects the heart, it is widely acknowledged better oral health contributes to overall better health. When people take good care of their teeth, get thorough exams, and a professional cleaning twice a year, the buildup of plaque on the teeth is lessened. A healthy, well-balanced diet will also contribute to better oral and heart health. There is a lot of truth to the saying "you are what you eat." If you have any questions about you periodontal disease and your overall health, give our Seattle, WA office a call!

Tooth Eruption Timeline

January 28th, 2014

Parents, and even older children, can become concerned about tooth development. Wondering when teeth should erupt, and being concerned when the teeth do not appear on schedule, is common. First, you need to remember that each individual is different. Guidelines are just guidelines, but Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry thought we would pass on this information to help you.

Primary teeth

Children normally have 20 primary or baby teeth. The first two to appear are usually the lower central incisors between six to ten months of age. These fall out between five and seven years of age.

  • Two upper central incisors – eight to 12 months
  • Two upper lateral incisors – nine to 13 months
  • Two upper cuspids or canines – 16 to 22 months
  • Two upper first molars – 13 to 19 months
  • Two upper second molars – 25 to 33 months
  • Two lower lateral incisors – ten to 16 months
  • Two lower cuspids or canines – 17 to 23 months
  • Two lower first molars – 14 to 18 months
  • Two lower second molars – 13 to 31 months

As you can see, all the primary teeth normally have erupted before three years of age, but the timeline can vary by four to six months. Except for the lower central incisors and second molars, upper teeth tend to appear before lower teeth.

Permanent or adult teeth

Adults normally have 32 permanent teeth. However, four of these are wisdom teeth or third molars, which are often removed.

  • Two upper central incisors – seven to eight years
  • Two upper lateral incisors – eight to nine years
  • Two upper cuspids or canines – 11 to 12 years
  • Two upper first premolars or bicuspids – ten to 11 years
  • Two upper second premolars or bicuspids – ten to 12 years
  • Two upper first molars – six to seven years
  • Two upper second molars – 12 to 13 years
  • Two upper third molars or wisdom teeth – 17 to 21 years
  • Two lower central incisors – six to seven years
  • Two lower lateral incisors – seven to eight years
  • Two lower cuspids or canines – nine to ten years
  • Two lower first premolars or bicuspids – ten to 12 years
  • Two lower second premolars or bicuspids – 11 to 12 years
  • Two lower first molars – six to seven years
  • Two lower second molars – 11 to 13 years
  • Two lower third molars or wisdom teeth – 17 to 21 years

Please discuss any of your dental concerns during your visit with Dr. Tracy. If there is a problem with tooth development, the earlier we address it, the better the outcome. We specialize in pediatric dentistry and look forward to helping you and your child with all your dental needs. To learn more about tooth eruption, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

Love your new smile? Tell us about it!

January 21st, 2014

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we have been creating beautiful smiles for years. Whether you have visited Dr. Tracy and our team for a week or for your entire life, we would love to hear your thoughts about your experience! In fact, we encourage you to leave a few words for us below or on our Facebook page!

We look forward to reading your feedback!

How do you accommodate a child with special needs?

January 14th, 2014

Providing dental care for patients with special needs can be a challenge at times, both for the dentist and the family of the individual. Fortunately, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry have the experience needed to provide optimal care for your special-needs child. Here are just a few of the ways our office works to help those who need a little extra care.

Assistance with at-home dental health care

We understand that sometimes at-home dental care can be extremely difficult for those with special needs. Individuals with physical difficulties, which may prevent them from holding the toothbrush, and those with developmental issues, who may have difficulty understanding the importance of dental hygiene, need extra attention with regard to home hygiene care. Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry can provide support and education to ensure your child will achieve and maintain a healthy smile. For example, devising improvised toothbrushes to help patients get a properly grip, creating a specialized meal plan, and establishing a more frequent office visitation schedule to monitor overall dental health are all areas where our office is happy to help.

Coordinating office care

Dr. Tracy and our team understand that sometimes special-needs patients feel anxiety when it comes to receiving dental care. In many cases, reliably seeing the same dental health professionals can help to promote a relationship and soothe the patient. We encourage special-needs patients to make appointments at the optimal time of day for them to help everything go smoothly as well. We also encourage preparing your child in advance of the appointment so he or she is not surprised in the office. In certain situations, Dr. Tracy may also recommend sedation dentistry. Occasionally, special-needs patients are too overwhelmed by the thought of dental care and exams are best performed with the support of light sedation.

Accommodating physical needs

We also understand that special needs patients sometimes need physical accommodations. Two of the more common examples we face are patients in wheelchairs who need access to the office. We are fully compliant with all accessibility regulations to make sure our patients receive the care they need. Other patients need physical props for their mouth to help keep it open if they are physically unable to do so.

Dental care for patients with special needs requires knowledge and experience of limitations and how to address them. In our Seattle, WA office, you will find an accommodating staff ready to help, so your child can receive optimal dental care.

What exactly is tinnitus?

January 7th, 2014

It’s estimated that about one in every five people is affected by tinnitus, which is a ringing or noise in the ears. But tinnitus isn’t a condition in itself; it’s actually the symptom of an underlying condition. Some of these underlying conditions could be hearing loss, injury to the ear, or some sort of circulatory disorder.

Another common cause if tinnitus is a dental injury or dental issue, whether it involves the jaw or the temporomandibular joint, better known as the TMJ. “Somatic tinnitus” is the term given to the version that is attributable to injuries to the head or neck area. Symptoms of somatic tinnitus may include noticeable fluctuations in sound volume, intermittency, headaches, memory loss or increased forgetfulness, and an increased likelihood of being depressed or sad.

Dr. Tracy will tell you tinnitus usually isn’t serious and is more common in older populations. For that reason, many people won’t even seek an answer to what’s causing it. But people can also experience more severe cases of tinnitus that can affect a person’s ability to complete everyday activities, which has a larger impact on their lives. For people facing these more severe cases of tinnitus, treatment may be necessary to increase their quality of life. It’s also worth noting that tinnitus seems to worsen with age, so while symptoms might not be a problem one year, they may be more significant and distracting the next.

If you have tinnitus that is caused by the misalignment of the TMJ or an injury to the mouth, that’s a condition that can be corrected by Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry. We will work to relieve your symptoms by realigning the jaw or adjusting your bite with routine dental care. Sometimes we won’t even have to go this far, because an oral infection or gum infection may be causing your problem. We might also recommend other life changes, such as dietary adjustments and medication.

If you're experiencing tinnitus-like symptoms and have ruled out various other reasons for it, contact our Seattle, WA office today. Dr. Tracy and our team will carefully analyze your situation and put you on a treatment course so that you can kick the symptoms for good.

It's a Wrap: Ending the year with a smile!

December 31st, 2013

People have been ushering in the New Year for centuries but it became an official holiday in 1582 when Pope George XIII declared January 1st to be the day on which everyone would celebrate the New Year. At midnight people would yell, holler, and blow horns to scare away the evil spirits of the previous year so the New Year would be joyous and filled with opportunity. Nearly 500 years later, we still greet the New Year by whooping and hollering, but in a celebratory manner instead. Whether you intend to ring in the New Year quietly at home in the Seattle, WA area or have plans to join the countdown at a gala extravaganza, these tips can help you ring out the old and usher in the new with a smile.

Tips for a Happy New Year's Eve Celebration from Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry

  • Be Safe. There's no way to predict the behavior of others on New Year's Eve, but you can be responsible for your own behavior to keep yourself safe. If adult beverages will be part of your celebration, plan on spending the night wherever you are or line up a designated driver to bring you home after the party is over.
  • Enjoy Family and Friends. Spending time with the important people in your life is what makes the holidays enjoyable. Coordinate your schedules and choose New Year's Eve activities that everyone in the group will enjoy. You don't have to go to a party to ring in the New Year; some people like to go bowling, see a movie, or have a great meal at home.
  • Accessorize with a Smile. Whether you dress up or have a quiet dinner with family and friends, one of the best accessories you can add to your attire is a beautiful smile.

New Year's Eve is a time to gather with friends and family, reflect on the year that's coming to an end, and look forward to the new one with anticipation. Enjoy this transitional holiday in a way that's safe, healthy, and fun. After all, counting down until the clock strikes 12 marks the beginning of a full year of opportunity ahead of you. From Dr. Tracy, have a great new year!.

Halitosis in Children: Causes and treatment

December 24th, 2013

Halitosis is the scientific name for bad breath. It is one of the most common oral concerns, and it affects a large percentage of the population, including children. Having bad breath can be embarrassing and a nuisance. When considering what to do about halitosis, the team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry highlights that you need to focus on the cause, rather than just masking the problem.

Children commonly have bad breath because of an upper respiratory infection. This includes a common cold, postnasal drip, or allergies. When this is the case, treatment may be complicated if one or more of these issues is chronic.

Another cause of halitosis in children is a condition with their teeth or gums. Just as in adults, gum disease has a distinctive malodor. The quality of brushing and flossing in children directly influences the presence of gum disease. If there is a large untreated cavity, there will be a strong smell causing bad breath. Both of these issues need professional attention, including a visit to the dentist.

Tonsillitis can also cause halitosis in children. It happens because of a constricted airway, resulting in mouth breathing. Mouth breathing is a concern because of how much it dries the tissue in the mouth. This makes any bacterial infection in the mouth worse and causes an increased potency within the bacteria in the mouth.

Treatment of halitosis is as varied as the causes listed above. Beware of ingredients in products that mask bad breath. Sucking on a mint on a regular basis will cause more harm than good because of potential decay. Chew sugarless gum and mints.

If you have any other questions, feel free to call us at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry or ask Dr. Tracy during your next appointment!

The Importance of Baby Teeth

December 17th, 2013

Dr. Tracy and our team know it can be easy to underestimate the significance of baby teeth. At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we sometimes meet parents who assume that since their child's baby teeth, also known as primary teeth, eventually fall out and are replaced, they are less important. But did you know baby teeth serve purposes other than biting, chewing, and digesting food properly?

Baby teeth are essential not only for your child’s language development, but they also serve other important functions, like contributing to the normal development of your child’s jaw bones and facial muscles. Baby teeth also reserve space for your child’s future permanent teeth.

So, when do baby teeth fall out?

A baby tooth is intended to remain in your child’s mouth until the permanent tooth underneath it is ready to take its place. Sometimes, either due to a tooth being knocked out accidentally or being removed because of tooth decay, kids lose baby teeth before the permanent teeth are ready to erupt. If a tooth is lost, the teeth on either side of the open space may possibly push into the open space. The result? There may not be enough room for the permanent tooth when it is finally ready to erupt.

If you have any questions about your toddler’s teeth, or if your child is experiencing issues that concern you, please give us a call to set up an appointment at our convenient Seattle, WA office.

Preventing Tooth Decay in Children

December 10th, 2013

Childhood tooth decay is the most common chronic childhood disease, affecting nearly one in three children between the ages of two and five. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry reports that tooth decay can appear in children as young as six months old. As a parent, it is possible to spare your child from early childhood tooth decay, and potentially prevent a lifetime of oral health problems in one fell swoop.

Birth to age two

Good oral health begins before your child’s teeth ever erupt from the gums. During the first few months of life, you should be wiping your child’s gums with a damp cloth after eating. As soon as teeth appear, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry recommend you start brushing them with a toddler toothbrush and water, and call our Seattle, WA office to schedule your child’s first visit. Never allow your child to go to bed with a bottle, and try to limit beverages other than water only to meal times. Children who walk around or go to sleep with bottles or sippy cups full of juice or milk are exposed to more sugars and are more likely to develop tooth decay.

Ages two to six

All of your child’s primary teeth should erupt by age three. Brush your toddler’s teeth at least twice daily with a toddler toothpaste and toothbrush. As your child gets older and learns not to swallow toothpaste, you may begin to use oral care products specially designed for preschoolers and elementary-age children. Be sure to maintain regular dental appointments and cleanings as recommended by your child’s dentist, and encourage your son or daughter to begin drinking from a regular cup. This is also the time to teach your child the importance of healthy eating habits, which includes limiting sweets and sugary desserts to mealtime.

By first grade, your child will begin to lose primary teeth. This is the time to start talking with Dr. Tracy about dental sealants, which can prevent tooth decay from forming on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. Sealants are painless, easy to apply, and undetectable to other people.

Tips

Fluoride is an important ingredient for healthy teeth. Check to make sure the water your child drinks is enriched with fluoride. Also, brush your child’s teeth with fluoridated toothpaste, and talk to our office about whether fluoride treatments could be right for your family. For more information about preventing your child’s tooth decay, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy, please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office!

My gums are shrinking!

December 3rd, 2013

Have you ever looked in the mirror and noticed that your teeth looked longer? Does it seem like your gums are shrinking? This condition is called recession—many adults have it. Let’s look at some of the causes and what you can do about it.

During your exam at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we will take measurements to check for periodontal disease. Dental professionals take recession measurements to see how much attached gingiva is present. This is the kind of tissue that is most resilient to infection.

The more recession, the less attached gingiva. The less attached gingiva, the less bone support. The less bone support, the higher your chances of tooth loss. It is quite a domino effect.

Don’t lose hope. The effect can be halted once you know the cause of your recession.

Do you ever wake up with your jaw clenched, and/or a headache that originates just above your ears? Clenching or grinding your teeth can cause recession. When there is added stress on a tooth, it flexes at the gum line.

Over time this causes microscopic breaks in the enamel and then a notch appears. The gum line is forced to move away from its original position. If this is something you see in your mouth, we can discuss the possibility of an occlusal guard at your next visit.

How do you brush your teeth? Do you brush in a straight line or circles? What kind of bristles do you use? Are the bristles on your toothbrush frayed?

When you brush in a circle, you are sweeping all along the gum line, removing the plaque from most angles. When you brush in a straight line, you may often miss the concave portion of the gums. This leaves plaque behind and leads to gingivitis. Whenever gingivitis occurs, the body attacks supporting structures like bone while trying to get rid of the infection. This is periodontal disease, which can cause recession.

Recession may also result from an irritant on the gums, such as a bar from a partial denture or orthodontic appliance (braces).

Gums do not “grow back.” The most common treatment for advanced recession is a tissue graft. There are many different kinds of tissue grafts.

Other factors can cause recession. If you think recession is happening in your mouth, schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy to discuss your options, so you can make the appropriate treatment choice.

Thanksgiving

November 26th, 2013

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we love to celebrate the holidays with vigor! Dr. Tracy would love to share some unique ways of celebrating Thanksgiving from beyond the Seattle, WA area to the national level!

When Americans sit down to dinner on the last Thursday of November, the day that Abraham Lincoln designated as the day on which Thanksgiving would be celebrated, they do so thinking that the first Thanksgiving feast was held at Plymouth in 1621. According to National Geographic, the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez Coronado and his men celebrated a feast of Thanksgiving in Texas in 1541, giving Texas the distinction of being the first place where Thanksgiving was celebrated.

Different Types of Celebrations

Native Americans had rituals around which they celebrated in hopes of ensuring a bountiful harvest. The Cherokees had a Green Corn Dance that they did for this very purpose. The Pilgrims (not to be confused with the Puritans,) rejected any type of public religious display. They held a three-day long non-religious Thanksgiving feast. Although they said grace, the focus of their celebration was on feasting, drinking alcohol (they did have beer,) and playing games.

The Pilgrims at the Plymouth Plantation celebrated a different day of Thanksgiving in 1623. Plagued by a crop-destroying drought, the settlers prayed for relief. They even fasted. A few days later, they got the rain they so desperately needed. Soon thereafter, they received another blessing when Captain Miles Standish came with staples they couldn't otherwise get. He also told them that a Dutch supply ship was en route. In gratitude for the abundance of good fortune, the Plymouth settlers celebrated a day of prayer and Thanksgiving on June 30, 1623.

The Story of Squanto

No discussion of Thanksgiving is complete without a discussion of Squanto, or Tisquantum, as he was known among his people, the Patuxet Indians. It is believed that he was born sometime around 1580. As he returned to his village after a long journey, he and several other Native Americans were kidnapped by Jamestown colonist, Thomas Hunt. Hunt put them on a ship heading to Spain where they were to be sold into slavery.

As fate would have it, some local friars rescued him and many of the other kidnapped natives. Squanto was educated by the friars. Eventually, after asking for freedom so he could return to North America, he ended up in London where he spent time working as a ship builder. By 1619, he was finally able to get passage on a ship headed to New England with other Pilgrims.

Upon arriving at Plymouth Rock, he learned that his entire tribe was wiped out by diseases that accompanied earlier settlers from Europe. In gratitude for passage on their ship, he helped them set up a settlement on the very land where his people once lived. They called the settlement Plymouth. Since they knew nothing about how to survive, let alone how to find food, Squanto taught them everything, from how to plant corn and other crops, how to fertilize them, how and where to get fish and eels and much more.

After a devastating winter during which many settlers died, thanks to Squanto's teaching, they had an abundant harvest. After that harvest, they honored him with a feast. It is this feast of 1621 which was celebrated between the Pilgrims and Wampanoag Indians that is widely considered the first Thanksgiving celebration.

About the Meal of the Plymouth Settlers

Surviving journals of Edward Winslow that are housed at Plymouth Plantation indicate that the first Thanksgiving feast was nothing like what Americans eat today. The meal consisted of venison, various types of wild fowl (including wild turkey,) and Indian corn. There were no cranberries, stuffing, pumpkin pie, potatoes, or any of the other “traditional” foods that appear on modern menus.

Today, Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November, the day that Abraham Lincoln designated as the holiday. It is still a day of feasting, and for some, a day of prayer and thanksgiving. For others, it is a celebration of gathering, especially for families. Still others may celebrate in entirely different ways, including watching college football bowl games, or by playing family games.

If you ever wonder why you're so tired after the Thanksgiving meal, it's because turkey contains an amino acid, tryptophan, and it sets off chemicals whose chain reaction combine to make people sleepy.

A Belated Update on Halloween at the Office!

November 20th, 2013

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For Halloween, our office entered a pumpkin decorating contest with Dr. Burn Orthodontics and WE PLACE 3RD!!!

Our Yellow Chicken Pumpkin helped us win 2 movies tickets each!

We had such a fun time celebrating!

Kids and Teeth Grinding

November 19th, 2013

Grind, grind, grind… if your little one happens to be a teeth grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound. Teeth grinding, or what Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry also call bruxism, is common in children. In fact, three out of ten kids grind or clench their teeth, usually in response to stress, jaw growth, malocclusion, losing teeth, or other discomforts, such as allergies. Kids typically outgrow teeth grinding by the time they reach their teenage years.

Many kids who grind their teeth in their sleep have no idea they’re doing it. In fact, when they wake up in the morning they feel no jaw, facial, neck, or shoulder pain. In most cases, if it hadn’t been for a parent or sibling telling them about it, the teeth grinding would have gone unnoticed.

There are children, however, who wake up with jaw pain, shoulder pain, neck pain, and headaches. Teeth grinding can cause a host of dental complications, from cracked teeth and receding gums to a misaligned jaw. Dr. Tracy will tell you that teeth grinding is not something to take lightly. Teeth grinding can have serious consequences that, if left untreated, can lead to tooth fractures and damage to the temporomandibular joint, also known as TMJ.

The first step in helping your child recover from teeth grinding is noticing and diagnosing the problem. Symptoms of teeth grinding typically include:

  • Grinding noises when your child is sleeping
  • Complaints of tightness or pain in the jaw
  • Complaints of headaches, earaches, or facial pain
  • Complaints of pain when chewing
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Chipped, worn down, or loose teeth

If you suspect your child is a teeth grinder, Dr. Tracy and our team will be able to help. Please give us a call at our convenient Seattle, WA office! We look forward to treating your child!

November Chili Recipe!

November 14th, 2013

This month's recipe comes from Skinnytaste!

If you have a picky eater on your hands, or if you're just looking for a delicious recipe, look no further!

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Crock Pot Kid-Friendly Turkey Chili

Skinnytaste.com
Servings: 5  • Size: 1 cup  • Old Points: 6 pts • Weight Watcher Points+: 6 pt
Calories: 226 • Fat: 3 g • Carb: 21 g • Fiber: 3.5 g • Protein: 31 g • Sugar: 5 g
Sodium: 688 mg • Cholest: 59 mg

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Ingredients:

  • 1.3 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 teaspoon oil
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 1 red bell pepper, diced fine
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 10 oz can Rotel Mild Tomatoes
  • 8 oz small can plain tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Optional Toppings:

  • diced avocado
  • reduced fat sour cream
  • reduced fat shredded cheese
  • baked tortilla chips

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Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the turkey, season with salt and cook, breaking up with a spoon until turkey browns and is no longer pink; place into the slow cooker. Add the oil to the skillet and sauté the onion, garlic and bell pepper over medium heat for about 4 to 5 minutes. Spoon over turkey into the slow cooker and stir in corn and tomatoes, tomato sauce, cumin, chili powder, paprika and salt, mix until well blended. Pour chicken broth into the crock pot and add the bay leaf.

Cover and cook on HIGH 4 hours or LOW 6 hours. Serve with desired toppings.

I drink a lot of coffee. Could it be hurting my smile?

November 12th, 2013

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we know most of our patients enjoy a cup of coffee or two throughout the day. But what many of you don’t know is that coffee can be especially tough on your teeth because tannic acid (the substance that makes the dark color) etches into the pits and grooves of tooth enamel, staining your pearly whites and being generally detrimental to your smile.

Coffee is one of the most popular beverages in the world, with more than 50 percent of Americans drinking a cup daily. Other foods and drinks such as wine, chocolate-flavored beverages, and soft drinks can all cause tooth enamel discolorations. A hot cup of Joe, however, goes one step farther: extreme temperature changes in your mouth can cause teeth to expand and contract. This allows stains to penetrate deep into the micro-cracks of your tooth enamel.

Additionally, caffeine is considered a diuretic, which means it causes the body to lose fluids. So when you enjoy coffee or any kind of caffeinated beverage, it slows the production of saliva and causes dry mouth, which can potentially lead to bad breath and even tooth decay.

If you just can't make it through the day without a cup of java, we encourage you to consider these tips to help make sure your teeth stay in tip-top shape:

    • Drink a glass of water with your coffee or rinse with a glass of water after every cup. Not only does it help neutralize and rinse away the acid left behind from the coffee, but it also helps replenish fluids drawn out of your body by caffeine.
    • Chew gum after you drink coffee. Chewing gum will help keep your saliva production up and prevent dry mouth.
    • Enjoy your beverage with a straw so that tannins don’t make contact with your front upper and lower teeth.
    • Switch to decaf. Each cup of regular coffee you drink has an average of 110 milligrams of caffeine. Decaf has the same great taste with only two to 12 milligrams of caffeine.

Dr. Tracy and our team also invite you to visit our convenient Seattle, WA office for whitening options. We can help bleach your teeth with proven and professional products. To learn more about whitening options available at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, please give us a call!

What Exactly is a Root Canal?

November 7th, 2013

Hearing that you need a root canal can be highly intimidating. What is a root canal? It is the removal of the nerve supply from the tooth. Here, Dr. Tracy will describe the parts of a tooth and explain the reasons for a root canal and how it is done when you visit us in our Seattle, WA office.

Your tooth is made up of many layers. The outside layer is called enamel and is made of minerals. The middle layer is dentin, which is also a calcified tissue, but less dense. The center of the tooth is called the pulp, and that hosts the nerves and blood vessels. A root canal is the removal and replacement of this center with a sterile filling.

A root canal is needed when an infection spreads to the center of the tooth. This can be from trauma (recent or previous), a cavity, a severe crack, or other compromise that causes nerve damage. An X-ray and examination are required to see if a root canal is needed. Symptoms may include but are not limited to pain, swelling, change in tooth color, and over-reaction to temperature change or pressure.

When it is time to begin, you’ll receive local anesthesia (via injection) to make you most comfortable. A rubber dam is used to isolate the tooth, while other equipment determines the nerve location and maintains a sterile working environment. All of the infected area is removed including the nerve tissue and blood vessels. Then, medicines are used to sterilize and alleviate any pain. Next is the placement of a filling material in the spot where the nerve used to be.

When your nerve and blood supply are taken away, the tooth is non-vital, or dead, and can become weak and fragile. If your tooth is badly decayed, a large portion of it will have to be removed. It is recommended to place a crown on the tooth to keep the enamel from breaking or falling apart. If you do not get a crown, you could eventually lose the tooth to more decay or infection. The tooth could also break off completely and you would have to have an extraction. The crown fits over the top of the tooth and secures it from breaking down.

A root canal saves the life of a tooth that would otherwise succumb to further infection and eventually extraction. Infection is the cause of most-needed root canals. If you are ever unsure what is happening at your appointment, don’t be afraid to ask questions so you understand the procedure completely.

November Marks National Diabetes Awareness Month

November 5th, 2013

Diabetes is a chronic disease that increases the risk for many serious health problems, including severe gum disease. November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and it’s a great time for us at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry to remind our patients that the way you care for your teeth at home doesn’t just affect your oral health; keeping your mouth healthy is vital to your overall health, too.

Diabetes is the result of a deficiency, or lack of the hormone insulin to properly transport glucose (blood sugar) to the cells throughout the body. According to the American Diabetes Association, the most common types of diabetes are Type One (90-95 percent of cases), Type Two (five percent), and gestational or pregnancy diabetes. Women who have had gestational diabetes have a 35 to 60 percent chance of developing diabetes, mostly Type Two, in the ten to 20 years following their pregnancy.

In the past decade, researchers have found links between periodontal (gum) disease and diabetes. Not only are people with diabetes more vulnerable to gum disease, but diabetes may also have the potential to affect blood glucose control, as well as contribute to the advancement of diabetes.

Nearly 26 million Americans currently live with the disease, with an additional 79 million in the pre-diabetes stage. There is some good news we want you to know, however; you can protect your gums and teeth from the effects of diabetes by visiting our Seattle, WA office for an exam. Patients who are living with diabetes may require more often visits to ensure their dental health remains in tip-top shape. Many insurance plans provide expanded benefits for diabetic patients, and Dr. Tracy can tell you how often you need to come in for an appointment.

For more information on how we can help, please do not hesitate to give us a call at our Seattle, WA office.

The Intriguing History of Halloween

October 31st, 2013

Halloween is fast approaching, and Dr. Tracy wanted to be sure to wish our patients a happy day, no matter how you might celebrate this holiday. The Halloween that is familiar to most people today bears little resemblance to the original Halloween; back in the "old days" it wasn't even called Halloween!

Festival of the Dead

Halloween started out as a Celtic festival of the dead that honored departed loved ones and signified a change in the cycle of the seasons. The Celtic people viewed Halloween, then called "Samhain," as a very special day – almost like our New Years day in fact, as their new calendar year began on November 1st. Samhain was the last day of autumn, so it was the time to harvest the last of the season's crops, store food away for winter, and situate livestock comfortably for the upcoming cold weather. The Celts believed that during this day, the last day of winter, the veil between this world and the spirit world is the thinnest, and that the living could communicate with departed loved ones most effectively on Samhain due to this.

Modern Halloween

Halloween as we know it today started because Christian missionaries were working to convert the Celtic people to Christianity. The Celts believed in religious concepts that were not supported by the Christian church, and these practices, which stemmed from Druidism, were perceived by the Christian church as being "devil worship" and dangerous.

When Pope Gregory the First instructed his missionaries to work at converting the Pagan people, he told them to try to incorporate some of the Pagan practices into Christian practices in a limited way. This meant that November 1st became "All Saints Day," which allowed Pagan people to still celebrate a beloved holiday without violating Christian beliefs.

Today, Halloween has evolved into a day devoted purely to fun, candy, and kids. What a change from its origins! We encourage all of our patients to have fun during the holiday, but be safe with the treats. Consider giving apples or fruit roll-ups to the kids instead of candy that is potentially damaging to the teeth.

Remind kids to limit their candy and brush after eating it! Sweets can cause major tooth decay, so to avoid extra visits to our Seattle, WA office, make your Halloween a safe one!

Canker sores, cold sores, and mouth sores: What's the difference?

October 24th, 2013

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we know many people have experienced some form of mouth sores or irritation. Some mouth sores are harmless and go away on their own after a few days, while others are more serious and should not be ignored. Mouth sores occur for many different reasons, but bacterial infections, viruses, or funguses often trigger them. The best way to tell the difference between a canker sore and a cold sore is that canker sores occur inside the mouth while cold sores occur on the outside the mouth.

The most common mouth sores are:

Canker sores: A non-contagious, small, grayish ulcer with a red border, canker sores appear inside the mouth. While outside factors such as stress, fatigue, or allergies may increase the chances of developing a canker sore, most health experts believe they stem from bacteria or a virus that attacks the immune system. Canker sores typically heal within a week or two.

Cold sores: Also called fever blisters, cold sores are contagious groups of fluid-filled blisters that often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or around the chin. Cold sores are the result of the herpes simplex virus, and once infected, the virus remains in the person’s blood stream.

Leukoplakia: A potential warning sign of oral cancer, leukoplakia is a premalignant lesion that appears as a white patch on the inside of the mouth, tongue, or gums. The lesions, which are caused by excessive cell growth, usually afflict those who smoke tobacco. Dr. Tracy may choose to have the lesion biopsied if the outbreak appears severe.

Oral candidiasis: Also called oral thrush or moniliasis, this condition is caused by the overgrowth of a type of yeast called candida. Common symptoms of oral candidiasis include white spots inside the mouth and on the tongue, redness or discomfort in the mouth area, sore throat,difficulty swallowing, and cracking at the corners of the mouth. It is important to visit Dr. Tracy if you have oral candidiasis. If left untreated, it may infect your bloodstream, which can be very dangerous. Healthy adults do not usually get thrush, and the condition is most often seen in infants, the elderly, patients undergoing chemotherapy, or people with AIDS or other diseases that are known to weaken the immune system.

Should you have a mouth sore that lasts a week or longer, we encourage you to give us a call and schedule an examination at our Seattle, WA office.

Treatment and Diagnosis for your Child’s Teeth Grinding

October 17th, 2013

The habit of grinding teeth can be both painful and harmful for your children. If you discover that they are frequently grinding their teeth—a condition called bruxism—here is some helpful information on the problem, and how you can find help to put a halt to it.

How to Know if Your Child is Grinding

Sometimes, identifying a child that grinds teeth is as simple as checking in while he or she is asleep. At other times, you may not be able to readily identify the grinding problem. A few of the most common symptoms associated with bruxism include:

  • Frequent teeth grinding or clenching of the jaw (in some cases it may be more subtle; in others it may be loud enough that you can hear it)
  • Teeth that are worn down
  • Complaints of sensitive teeth
  • Pain or tightness in the jaw muscles, or an earache or other jaw pain
  • Frequent unexplained headaches

In most cases, if your children are grinding their teeth, they will do it at night. If the teeth grinding is a result of excessive amounts of stress, it may also happen during the daytime. Some of the most common reasons children grind their teeth involve:

  • Improper alignment of top and bottom teeth
  • As a response to pain, especially for tooth, jaw, or gum pain
  • Excessive stress, tension, or anger

Treatment Options for Bruxism

In many cases, children will grow out of the teeth grinding as their permanent teeth develop, replacing poorly aligned or painful baby teeth. If your child grinds his or her teeth more frequently, or you begin to notice significant damage, it may be more serious and need to be addressed by Dr. Tracy before it causes more permanent pain or problems.

In some cases, our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry may recommend that your child wears a protective mouthguard to prevent grinding, or work with a therapist or other specialist to develop awareness of the grinding. If the grinding is caused by stress or anxiety, it may be helpful for you to sit down and talk to your child each day about how she is feeling, and why, to help her work through the stress.

Teeth grinding can be a painful, problematic condition for some children. However, a combination of parental vigilance and frequent visits for regular checkups at our Seattle, WA office can help. If you are concerned that your child may be grinding his or her teeth, and it could cause permanent damage before the child grows out of it, come talk to us about strategies for dealing with bruxism, and ways for you to help your child.

Try Out Our October Recipe!

October 14th, 2013

Now that the weather has gotten a little more chilly for fall, we wanted to find a comfort food that works for everyone! For this intensely mushroomy lasagna, brawny portabellas and shiitakes cook down until their flavors are concentrated. Then they're layered with a creamy, velvety sauce and sheets of no-boil pasta, which are thinner than regular dried pasta.

tracy

Ingredients

  • 12 no-boil lasagna noodles (1/2 lb.)
  • 1 qt. milk
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • About 1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • About 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, divided
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, divided
  • About 3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
  • 2 medium leeks, sliced into thin rings
  • 1 1/2 pounds portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 pound shiitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
  • 1 cup finely shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup plus 2 tbsp. coarsely shredded asiago cheese

Preparation

1. Soften noodles in a pan of very hot water while you prep the other ingredients.

2. Make béchamel (white sauce): Bring milk to a simmer in a saucepan and remove from heat. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook, stirring, until slightly darkened, 2 minutes. Whisk milk into flour mixture all at once and whisk until smooth. Add 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. pepper, and the nutmeg. Sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon; if it isn't, cook over medium-low heat, stirring, until thickened, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in garlic, 2 tbsp. parsley, and 1/2 tbsp. thyme. Keep covered.

3. Preheat oven to 375°. Heat a deep, wide pot over medium-high heat 2 minutes. Swirl in 1 tbsp. oil and add leeks. Cook until tender but not browned, 3 to 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Scoop leeks into a bowl and set aside.

4. Swirl 2 tbsp. oil into pot. Add mushrooms, season lightly with salt and pepper, and cook over medium heat, covered, until mushrooms are tender and beginning to release juices, about 5 minutes. Uncover and cook until edges start to brown. Stir in leeks and remaining 1/2 tbsp. thyme. Remove from heat.

5. Mix parmesan with asiago.

6. Assemble lasagna: Oil a 9- by 13-in. baking dish. Spread a few spoonfuls of béchamel over bottom. Arrange 3 noodles crosswise in dish, then spoon on about 1/2 cup béchamel, followed by a third of the mushrooms and 1/3 cup cheeses. Repeat layers twice more. Top with a final layer of noodles and béchamel, and sprinkle with remaining cheese.

7. Bake lasagna until browned and bubbling, about 45 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining 1 tbsp. parsley and let sit at least 15 minutes before slicing.

Make ahead: Through step 6, 1 day, chilled, or up to 3 months, frozen. Let chilled lasagna sit at room temperature 1 hour before baking. Frozen lasagna can either be thawed in the refrigerator overnight and then baked, or baked straight from the freezer for 1 3/4 hours (cover for first hour).

 

You can find this recipe in Sunset Magazine, the OCTOBER 2013 issue!

  • Yield: Serves 12
  • Total:2 Hours, 45 Minutes

Dental Veneers

October 10th, 2013

Are you looking to improve the appearance of your front teeth? Dental veneers are widely used to improve the appearance of front teeth and are a much more conservative option than a full dental crown. Veneers can be used to improve the appearance of staining, large gaps, large fillings, chipped teeth, or overall shape. Veneers are a thin covering over the front and biting end of the tooth used to restore the beauty of a smile. Over the years we have helped many patients who opted for veneers and now have the confidence to smile again.

Dental veneers are made in a lab from long-lasting porcelain materials. The shade can be chosen to a desirable color to whiten the appearance of your smile. Dental veneers are usually placed on the anterior, or front teeth, where the chewing forces are not as hard as the back teeth. The process of placing veneers is relatively easy requiring only two dental appointments. In some cases, only one appointment is needed. It depends on the fabrication process.

The first appointment is to “prep” the teeth and take an impression to be sent to a lab to fabricate the veneers. Veneers are fairly conservative in the preparation as it requires a small amount of space to be created on the face (front), bottom, and sides of each tooth to allow space for the veneer to be placed and look natural. You will leave the office with temporary veneers for the next week or two while the permanent veneers are being made.

The second appointment is to place the veneers and make minor adjustments if needed. What a difference it makes in the appearance of the teeth! If you’re interested in learning more, give Dr. Tracy a call today!

What's on your fall reading list?

October 3rd, 2013

How better to spend the fall months than inside by the fireplace with a warm cup of cider and a book in hand? Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry encourage you to warm up your mind this fall season with a few great books. Sure it may be easy to put off reading when balancing a hectic schedule, but reading is vital to brain development. Besides, reading is always a blast!

This week, we thought we’d ask what you or your child are reading this fall. Do you have any suggestions for must-read books this year? Out of ideas for great fall reads? Ask us for suggestions, and we would be happy to provide a few. You may also ask a local librarian here in Seattle, WA for some ideas.

Happy reading! Be sure to share with us your fall picks or your all-time favorites below or on our Facebook page!

Pregnancy – What Should I Know About My Oral Care?

September 26th, 2013

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry know this is an exciting time as you anticipate the arrival of your new little one. We want to take this opportunity to provide you with some important information pertaining to your oral health during pregnancy. Just as the rest of your body is changing, the amount of bacteria in your mouth also changes. Scientists don’t understand all the reasons why, but during pregnancy, your mouth is more susceptible to bacterial complications that could result in increased risk for gingivitis or periodontal disease. What researchers do know is the change in hormones creates a more favorable environment for gum infections and diseases when you are pregnant.

You may experience an increase in gingivitis, even while continuing with regular daily brushing and flossing, and routine semi-annual month cleanings. You will likely complain of increased bleeding of the gums with routine daily care and more tenderness in the mouth. This is due, in part, to the increased blood flow and volume that naturally occurs with pregnancy. There is a greater amount of blood flowing through your veins, which translates into slightly engorged gum tissues. If gingivitis prevails, you may also experience pain and tenderness. We can help you navigate through your specific needs.

Brushing your teeth two times a day may not be quite enough. Similarly, if you only floss on occasion, consider making this activity a daily habit. Mouthwash is also advised, or sometimes a mild saltwater rinse may feel better than a commercial brand. Consider other products with xylitol and a WaterPik for additional cleaning.

Finally, we now know that bacteria in the mouth circulate throughout the body. These harmful bacteria compromise your immune system and may increase your risk for respiratory illness and cause other strains on your immune system. Remember that nutrients as well as pathogens are shared with your baby. If you feel tired or tempted to slack on your home-care routine, remember the importance and implications of your daily decisions on how your care for your oral health.

Contact our convenient Seattle, WA location if you have more specific questions. We’re here to help you!

What Kind of Toothbrush and Toothpaste Should My Child Use?

September 19th, 2013

Imagine that you sit down for some evening television, and during the course of the evening, you see five commercials regarding dental products. They all claim to be the best. Then remember your last visit to the dental aisle at a local grocery store. The choices are overwhelming and there seems to be no sure answer as to which would be the best choice for your child.

Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry recommends that parents break down the decision process. First, consider your child’s age and stage of development. Up until age ten to 12, your child cannot adequately brush or floss independently. It is not a maturity issue, but rather dexterity. Automatic toothbrushes are highly appropriate for all ages. Brushing quality improves when using a battery-powered toothbrush. Use it together with your child, and always play an active role in your child’s oral home care.

As a general rule, the brush head of the toothbrush should be a little larger than the child’s upper portion of the thumb. This will help ensure it will fit in all the places it needs to.

Flossers are great for children. These will have a horseshoe shape on one end with floss in-between. A particular brand name does not matter. Some have a higher quality and this should be evident when you use them. You can make a choice for individual preference with color, handle size, or shape, etc.

There are many brands of toothpaste and there are also differences in the ingredients. Some contain sodium fluoride, the standard ingredient in cavity prevention. Others have stannous fluoride, which is anti-bacterial and anti-cavity. Potassium nitrate is commonly found in anti-sensitivity, and triclosan is found in one particular brand for anti-bacterial properties. It is most common for children to be at a high risk for cavities. Therefore, our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry recommends toothpaste with fluoride once your child is old enough to spit.

Before a child can spit, use toothpaste without fluoride. This is an ideal time to use toothpaste with xylitol. Xylitol should be listed as the first ingredient; this way you’ll get the almost medicinal property of this natural sweetener. After you have found the right type of toothpaste, consider its flavor. The best kind of toothpaste is one that will be used, so choose a flavor that your child will love!

If you have any other questions, our would like specific brand recommendation feel free to call us at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry or ask Dr. Tracy during your next appointment!

Our Staff Recommends... "Fajita" Burgers!

September 18th, 2013

We're always looking up great recipes and wanting to share them with our patients!

Fajita Burgers are a new favorite!

http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/fajita_burgers.html

From EatingWell:  May/June 2008, July/August 2012

This healthy burger recipe features a spicy fajita burger slathered with a spicy chipotle mayonnaise and topped with roasted Anaheim peppers and a delicious slaw. Serve it on an oblong bun.

4 servings | Active Time: 50 minutes | Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 pound 90%-lean ground beef
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro, divided
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped scallions
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder, preferably New Mexican
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano, preferably Mexican
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup reduced-fat mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chipotle chile in adobo, (see Ingredient Note)
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 4 French rolls, preferably whole-wheat, split and toasted
  • 2 roasted Anaheim or poblano peppers, (see Tip)
  • 1 cup shredded green cabbage
  • 4 slices tomato
  • 4 thin slices red onion

Preparation

  1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
  2. Place beef, 1/4 cup cilantro, onion, scallions, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, pepper and salt in a large bowl. Gently combine, without overmixing, until evenly incorporated. Form into 4 equal patties, about 1/2 inch thick and oval-shaped to match the rolls.
  3. Combine the remaining 1/2 cup cilantro, mayonnaise, lime juice and chipotle in a small bowl.
  4. Peel the roasted peppers, halve lengthwise and remove the seeds.
  5. Oil the grill rack (see Tip). Grill the burgers until an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, about 6 minutes per side. Top with cheese and cook until it is melted, about 1 minute more.
  6. Assemble the burgers on toasted rolls with the chipotle mayonnaise, half a roasted pepper, cabbage, tomato and onion.

Nutrition

Per serving : 434 Calories; 20 g Fat; 7 g Sat; 7 g Mono; 87 mg Cholesterol; 36 g Carbohydrates; 31 g Protein; 6 g Fiber; 662 mg Sodium; 660 mg Potassium

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 1/2 medium fat meat

Tips & Notes

  • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the chipotle mayonnaise (Step 3) for up to 5 days.
  • Ingredient Note: Chipotle chiles in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful sauce. Look for the small cans with the Mexican foods in large supermarkets. Once opened, they'll keep up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer. You can also find them dried with other chiles or at melissas.com and ground in the spice section of many supermarkets.
  • Tips:
  • To oven-roast peppers:
  • 1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Place a wire rack on a large baking sheet. Arrange whole bell peppers on the rack.
  • 2. Roast peppers in the center of the oven, turning occasionally with tongs, until blackened in places, 30 to 40 minutes.
  • 3. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Let steam for 10 minutes. Uncover and let cool.
  • 4. With a paring knife, remove stems, skins and seeds. If serving as antipasto, combine accumulated juices with peppers.
  • To oil the grill rack: Oil a folded paper towel, hold it with tongs and rub it over the rack. (Do not use cooking spray on a hot grill.) When grilling delicate foods like tofu and fish, it is helpful to spray the food with cooking spray.

You can find the recipe on the Eating Well website here!

 

Is there a correlation between my dental and cardiovascular health?

September 12th, 2013

YES!  Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care. Cardiovascular disease remains American’s leading killer, claiming more lives than the rest of major causes of death, according to our friends at the American Heart Association. In fact, an estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

Studies also suggest that patients, especially those with gum disease, are believed to have an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. Since most patients are not regularly visiting a heart specialist, their regular visits to our Seattle, WA office can help detect early warning signs of heart issues, prevent gum disease or at the very least catch it at its early stage. We’d also like you to know your numbers: blood pressure (less than 120/80), cholesterol (less than 200) and BMI (less than 25).

There are many benefits to visiting Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry in addition to maintaining your dental health. If it has been more than six months since your last visit, please give us a call!

September is National Gum Care Month!

September 5th, 2013

Can you believe it's already September? At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we know that gingivitis, the early stage of periodontal disease, can be difficult to recognize. Many people don’t recognize the warning signs—bleeding and swollen gums, as a precursor to gum disease. This month, a national campaign is under way to raise awareness about gum health and periodontal disease, and we wanted to help do our part to spread the word!

Dr. Tracy will tell you early recognition and action are the most important steps to health gums, and ultimately a health body, too! Studies are published every year linking oral health, including the gums, to the health of other areas of the body, such as your heart. One of the most important steps to improving the care of your gums is recognizing the warning signs for gum disease. These can include:

  • Gums that appear red or swollen
  • Gums that feel tender
  • Gums that bleed easily (during brushing or flossing)
  • Gums that recede or pull away from the teeth
  • Persistent halitosis, or bad breath
  • Loose teeth
  • Any change in the way teeth come together in the biting position

If you happen to notice any of these signs with you or your child, please schedule an appointment at our convenient Seattle, WA office as soon as possible. Dr. Tracy and our team can take proactive steps to prevent gingivitis and gum disease, while showing you how to improve gum care in your or your child’s daily oral hygiene habits.

Celebrate Labor Day by Getting Away

August 29th, 2013

Labor Day honors the contributions that workers have made to this country, and for many Americans, the holiday is a great time to relax at home with family and friends. But there are quite a few people who celebrate the holiday by getting out of town, with an estimated 33 million people traveling more than 50 miles over Labor Day weekend in 2012, according to CNN.com. If you’re dreaming of a great Labor Day escape but you’re not quite sure where to go, here are a few ideas from our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry to give you some travel inspiration.

Explore a National Park

On a national holiday like Labor Day, it’s only fitting to experience the beauty of America’s landscapes by heading to the nearest national park. If you’re confined to an office most days of the year, national parks can provide a relaxing and scenic escape, whether you’re by yourself, traveling with a group of friends, or bringing the whole family along. Depending on how close you live to the nearest park, you can stay for an afternoon or for longer than a week. With 58 parks located in 27 states, there are plenty of beautiful areas to choose from.

Chow Down in a BBQ Haven

Barbecuing is a popular Labor Day activity, but instead of sweating over your own grill or oven, try visiting one of the country’s BBQ capitals. U.S. News and World Report names Memphis as the top BBQ destination, with more than 80 BBQ restaurants in the city, most notably Corky’s BBQ and Central BBQ. Kansas City is also known for the sweet taste of its sauces, while central Texas is said to have perfected the technique of smoking tender and flavorful brisket.

Relax on the Beach

Many people think of Labor Day as the unofficial start of fall, which brings cooler temperatures, more rain, and for many people, an end to lazy days at the beach. End your beach days with a bang by taking a trip to one of the coasts or to a lakeside beach. For an added dose of festivity, find a city or town that celebrates the occasion with a fireworks display over the water.

Whether you’re looking to turn your getaway into a full week affair or you simply want to experience a quick escape, make the most of your holiday by changing your surrounding scenery. Happy Labor Day from the dental practice of Dr. Tracy!

What is baby bottle tooth decay?

August 22nd, 2013

Great question! Baby bottle tooth decay is the development of cavities caused by the frequent and long-term exposure of a child's teeth to liquids containing sugars. These liquids include milk, formula, fruit juice, sodas and other sweetened drinks. The bacteria in the mouth thrive on this sugar and produce acids that attack the infant's teeth and gums. After numerous attacks, tooth decay can begin.

The first rule is to make sure your child does not fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, juice or other sweetened liquids. Giving an infant a sugary drink before bedtime is harmful because the flow of saliva decreases during sleep, allowing the sugary liquids to linger on the child's teeth for an extended period of time. If left untreated, pain and infection can result.

So, how can you prevent baby bottle tooth decay? Be sure to clean and massage the baby's gums once a day to help establish healthy teeth and to aid in teething. When brushing your child's teeth, use a soft toothbrush, as well non-fluoride toothpaste. Once your little one is able to spit, around the age of two, you should begin using fluoride toothpaste. From the beginning, have your little one practice spitting the toothpaste out after brushing. That way, he or she will already have the good habit of spitting when you switch to fluoride toothpaste, which should never be swallowed.

Also, be aware that children should visit Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry when they are between six and 12 months old. Please give us a call if your child hasn't visited our Seattle, WA office in the last six months!

Snacks for Healthy Teeth

August 15th, 2013

Concerned parents often ask Dr. Tracy about which kinds of snacks are best for a child's teeth. While most know that candy isn't always the best choice, many parents are confused about which kinds of after-school snacks can actually be beneficial for teeth. Left to their own devices, children might pick the sugary snack that comes in colorful packaging. There are, however, choices that are much better for your child's teeth.

Go Natural

The foods that are best for your children's teeth are also the best for their overall health. Choosing whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, is always the best option for snacks. Try sticks of celery and let your kids dip it into all-natural peanut butter, or a juicy and crunchy apple cut into wedges.

Lean Proteins

Lean protein, such as chicken breast, fish, turkey, and lean cuts of pork also make good snacking options. For the best overall health, avoid giving your child a lot of lunch meats, because such products are often higher in sodium. However, these proteins are also low in sugar, which is always a preferable choice when it comes to teeth.

Avoid Packaged Foods

Sugars are unhealthy partly because they stick more readily to the surface of the teeth. Even foods that appear to be healthy, such as many brands of granola bars, can in fact be loaded with hidden sugars. Sugar can also be found in higher concentrations in dried fruit, honey, and syrups. The rule is that if a foodstuff has been altered in any way from its original state then there are perhaps better choices.

Beverages

Drinks are another murky area. Parents often presume that fruit juices are an acceptable beverage when in reality many of them are loaded with excessive sugar as well. The best beverages for your child's teeth are water and low-fat milk. Milk has the added benefit of containing calcium, which is highly beneficial for the bone structure that supports the teeth.

An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but it is also a great snack to keep teeth healthy. The next time your children are looking for an after-school snack, guide them toward healthier, low-sugar options that are beneficial to their overall health and their teeth.

How to Brush a Two-Year-Old’s Teeth Effectively

August 8th, 2013

Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry would like to offer some tips regarding the sometimes dreaded task of brushing a toddler’s teeth.

Much of the trick lies in the positioning. Before you begin, make sure you are in a position of control. This protects both you and your child from injury. Consider how well you can see. If you cannot see clearly, the quality of brushing drops significantly. For instance, if your child is standing, you are likely to see only the bottom teeth well.

Our team finds that the best position for brushing and flossing a toddler is when your child is calm. Have your child lie down on his or her back with arms out to make a T. Sit down just above the head and lightly place your legs over your child’s arms. Using a circular motion, brush all sides of the teeth.

It may sound odd, but approaching the routine this way can make brushing time a cinch! After you’re done, give your child the toothbrush and let him or her have a turn. The benefit of doing the brushing and flossing first is that it gives an example, which your child is more likely to repeat when you’re done.

Different methods work best for different families and children. These practices need to be performed with kindness and care. Be gentle and make this time a happy learning time. Don’t forget to bring your child to our Seattle, WA office for regular dental checkups and cleanings. Dr. Tracy can advise you on ways to implement portions of these tips in a way that may work bests for you and your child.

Can baby teeth get cavities?

August 1st, 2013

Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry knows that every parent loves to hear his or her child say, "no cavities!" when leaving our office. Let's talk about why primary (baby) teeth get cavities, what you can do to help prevent them, and what Dr. Tracy can do if your child gets a cavity. It's a team effort!

Prevention is Key

A well-balanced diet high in protein, vitamins, and minerals (especially calcium and phosphorous) is an important part of cavity prevention. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) states that children should eat healthy snacks like cheese, vegetables, and yogurt, and drink milk. Limit hard candy and carbonated beverages, which have acid and can cause tooth decay. Also, do not put children to bed with a bottle of milk, formula, or juice because sugary fluids pool around the teeth and gums, which promotes decay.

In addition to limiting sweets and scheduling regular visits at our Seattle, WA office, make sure your child flosses once a day and brushes his or her teeth twice a day with a pea-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste. A good rule of thumb is if children can tie their shoelace, then they should be able to brush their teeth without help. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends the following basic brushing techniques:

  • Place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Move the brush back and forth gently in short strokes
  • Brush the outer surfaces, inside surfaces and chewing surfaces of all teeth.
  • To clean the inside surface of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

These tips will greatly increase cavity prevention; however, if your child gets a cavity, it will not heal on its own and must be fixed. Dr. Tracy will remove the decayed part of the tooth and fill the hole where the decay was. You may wonder why it's important to fill baby teeth if they're going to fall out eventually. Baby teeth hold space for permanent teeth to grow in. If one is lost, teeth may shift and prevent a permanent tooth from growing in. In addition, a decayed tooth can become abscessed and cause pain. No fun!

Let’s work together to help your child develop good oral health habits that last a lifetime. Please contact our office if you have any questions about your child's diet or cavity prevention.

Use Pediatric Dentists to Treat Children

July 25th, 2013

There are many different types of dental specialties out there, so how do you know when you should see a general dentist (your regular dentist), and when you should seek the help of a dentist with specialized training? This article covers the basic differences between a pediatric dentist and a family or general dentist, and why it may be beneficial to find a specialized doctor to work with your children’s teeth.

What is a Pediatric Dentist?

All dentists, regardless of which specialty they practice, attend a four-year dental school for either a Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or a Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD) degree. Once they have completed the initial degree program, some dentists choose to proceed to additional training in an area of dental specialty. Pediatric dentistry is one of those specialties.

According to the American Dental Association, a pediatric dentist will study the development of teeth from infancy through the teen years. Babies, toddlers, school-age children, and teenagers experience different growth phases and have different needs for their oral health care from adults. A dentist with post-graduate training in this specialty can often provide a more comprehensive approach to treatment to meet those needs.

Specialized Needs Pediatric Dentists Can Address

Starting with the first teeth that grow in your child’s mouth (usually around six months of age), you need to begin caring for your child’s teeth. However, it’s not as simple as just doing the same things you do for your adult teeth, because children have specific needs and may have concerns and issues that you do not face for your oral health care as an adult.

Mouth Healthy, a public service of the American Dental Association, lists several concerns that are unique to younger dental patients. Beginning with babies, parents need to be aware of the specific oral care required for children. For example, babies who drink from bottles can develop baby bottle tooth decay if parents do not properly clean their teeth. Young children may develop a habit of sucking their thumb, which can contribute to poor oral hygiene. Children who have trouble with teeth grinding may need specialized care. And children have specific dietary needs that serve their need to develop strong teeth and gums.

All these concerns can be addressed by a pediatric dentist with specialized knowledge of childhood oral health and teeth development. General dentists often know some of this information, but without the specialized training they may not be able to provide the care that is geared toward the needs of your children. In addition, pediatric dentists will often have a practice that is built entirely with children in mind, with décor, staff, and other elements that can help put children at ease when it’s time to visit the dentist.

If you have young children, consider our pediatric dentistry office. At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, our specialized care for young patients features a caregiver with the knowledge and training to provide your children with the best possible care.

Providing the Right Dental Care for your Children

July 18th, 2013

You already know that Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry recommends you come in for a checkup and cleaning at least every six months, but do you know what your child’s dental needs are? From the time children are babies and growing in their first teeth, their oral health care needs may be different from adults. It’s important to know what they need, and when, to help them grow strong, healthy teeth.

When to See Our Team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry

While dental care (at home) can begin as soon as your baby starts to show signs of that first tooth, most experts do not recommend you see a dentist until your child is at least one year old. The child will likely be too young at this point to have a full dental exam, but we can take a look at your baby’s teeth and give you tips for brushing and flossing properly.

By the time your child has all of his or her baby teeth—usually around 24 to 30 months of age—we can begin scheduling regular checkups and cleanings.

What to Expect on the First Visits

The first visit to our Seattle, WA office for a full exam will mostly involve getting to know Dr. Tracy and staff members, and making your child feel comfortable. Let us know if you would like to sit in the exam room during the appointment, but keep in mind that it may be beneficial to leave your child alone with Dr. Tracy for a portion of the appointment so we can start building trust with your child.

Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry will likely do some or all of the following during your child's visit:

  • Look for signs of decay or other tooth or gum problems
  • Examine your child’s bite, checking for misalignment that could lead to problems in the future
  • Clean the teeth, and apply fluoride if your child is old enough
  • Talk to you about proper oral health care for your children
  • Answer any questions you may have about caring for your child’s teeth, which may include topics like fluoride needs, nutrition and diet, teething, and the frequency of future checkups

In most cases, we will recommend that you bring your child in every six months for regular checkups, the same as your recommended frequency.

Understanding your child’s unique dental needs is important for providing the best possible care when it becomes necessary. We look forward to building a good relationship with your child so coming to the dentist is a fun, rewarding experience and not a frightening one.

Birthday German Chocolate Cupcakes

July 18th, 2013

We celebrated Jessie's July birthday with Barefoot Contessa German Chocolate Cupcakes!

They look just as good as they tasted!

Do you want to try them out yourself?

Ingredients

* 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
* 2/3 cup granulated sugar
* 2/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
* 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
* 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
* 1 cup buttermilk, shaken, at room temperature
* 1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature
* 2 tablespoons freshly brewed coffee
* 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, such as Pernigotti
* 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
*

Coconut Frosting:

* 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
* 1 (12-ounce) can evaporated milk
* 1 1/4 cups light brown sugar, lightly packed
* 4 extra-large egg yolks
* 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
* 1/2 teaspoon pure almond extract
* 2 cups sweetened flaked coconut
* 1 cup blanched sliced almonds, toasted
* 1 cup chopped pecans
* 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line cupcake pans with 14 or 15 paper liners.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl. Lower the speed to medium, add the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla and mix well. In a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, sour cream, and coffee. In a third bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, add the buttermilk and flour mixtures alternately in thirds, beginning with the buttermilk and ending with the flour. Don't overmix! Fold the batter a few times with a rubber spatula to be sure it's mixed.

Scoop the batter into the cupcake liners. (I use a 2-inch ice cream scoop.) Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, remove from the pans, and allow to cool completely before frosting.

Coconut Frosting:

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in the evaporated milk, brown sugar, and egg yolks and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, for about 15 minutes, until slightly thickened. If the mixture looks a bit curdled, beat it vigorously with a whisk. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla extract, almond extract, coconut, almonds, pecans, and salt. Allow to cool for about an hour. Frost the cupcakes with a knife or small metal spatula.

 

Pediatric Dental Emergency Know-How

July 11th, 2013

First aid training is a must when you are a parent. You can put on a bandage with your eyes closed. Perhaps even apply butterfly tape to avoid stitches. What about a dental injury? Do you have a checklist in mind on what to do when a tooth is knocked out, broken, or displaced from impact? All of these situations happen often and should be in a parent’s emergency training regiment. Luckily Dr. Tracy and our team are here to be a resource for such an incident!

Children’s most common dental injury is chipping a front tooth. It is so common that it seems like a right of passage. Say, for example, a two year old trips and hits her front teeth on the tile floor. First, check to see if the teeth have been broken to the nerve. You can tell if you see layers and a pinkish center. Then, wiggle each tooth and make sure it is not loose. If the teeth feel firmly in place, that is a good sign. Even if they are a little loose, the teeth will tighten again with time. If she develops a severe temperature or bite sensitivity then you know treatment is needed, which may include a root canal. If there are minor symptoms that diminish with time, continued observation will be fine.

Knocking out a tooth is also common and requires more attention than observation alone. As soon as possible, locate the tooth, touch only the crown (not the root), and rinse any debris gently with milk or water. Place it back into the tooth socket as soon as possible. The American Association of Endodontists states a tooth has a high chance of survival and retention for life if it is re-implanted within five minutes or up to 60 minutes if soaking in milk or saline solution. Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry know many parents are nervous about the thought of doing this alone, but not to worry, our team is here to help!

Here’s another dental emergency example: Your child takes an elbow to the mouth during a basketball game and severely displaces a tooth but does not knock it out. What to do? First, apply light pressure in an attempt to move it back into place. Be extremely careful not to use excessive force. Place a cold pack for swelling and contact our office as soon as possible.

A dental emergency can be frightening. It is often messy and painful. The best initial reaction is to remain calm, and remember that we are here to help! Contact us at our Seattle, WA office if your child encounters a dental emergency.

Happy Fourth of July

July 4th, 2013

Every year, Americans all over the world celebrate the birth of the country and its independence on the Fourth of July. There are countless ways that people celebrate and they range from community parades and large scale gatherings to concerts, fireworks displays, and smaller scale celebrations among family and friends. For some people, July 4th is synonymous with baseball, while for others it is all about the beach of barbecues. However you celebrate, you can be sure that red, white, and blue is visible everywhere throughout the Seattle, WA area.

The Beginnings of Fourth of July Celebrations

Although it wasn't officially designated as a federal holiday until 1941, the actual tradition of celebrating Independence Day goes back to the time of the American Revolution (1775 – 1783). At the time of the American Revolution, representatives from the 13 colonies penned the resolution that ultimately declared their independence from Great Britain. The continental congress voted to adopt the Declaration of Independence on July 2nd of 1776. Two days later, Thomas Jefferson's famous document that is now known as the Declaration of Independence, was adopted by delegates representing the 13 colonies.

First States to Recognize the Fourth of July

In 1781, Massachusetts became the first state (or commonwealth) whose legislature resolved to designate July 4th as the date on which to celebrate the country's independence. Two years later, Boston became the first city to make an official designation to honor the country's birth with a holiday on July 4th. In that same year, North Carolina's governor, Alexander Martin, became the first governor to issue an official state order stipulating that July 4th was the day on which North Carolinians would celebrate the country's independence.

Fun Facts About the Fourth of July

  • The reason the stars on the original flag were arranged in a circle is because it was believed that would indicate that all of the colonies were equal.
  • Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs on July 4th.
  • Imports of fireworks each year totals over $211 million.
  • The first “official” Fourth of July party took place at the White House in 1801.
  • Benjamin Franklin didn't want the national bird to be the bald eagle. He believed that the turkey was better suited to the coveted distinction. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson disagreed with him, and he was outvoted, so the bald eagle became the official bird of the United States.

For many, the tradition is something entirely different. Along the coastal areas of the United States, people may haul out huge pots to have lobster or other types of seafood boils. Others may spend the day in the bleachers at a baseball game, or at a park, cooking a great traditional meal over an open fire. No matter how or where you celebrate, one thing is certain: all Americans celebrate July 4th as the birth and independence of our country.

Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry wish you a safe and happy Fourth of July!

Sleep Apnea and Snoring

June 27th, 2013

Snoring may not be something you take seriously. You might even laugh or joke about it. But the fact is, anytime you or your partner snore to the point of waking, it could be a sign of serious health problems.

Sleep Apnea and Its Effects

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is potentially dangerous, and the most common symptom is loud snoring. Breathing repeatedly starts and stops throughout the night, and you wake up feeling tired. Other serious effects from sleep apnea could be potentially dangerous to your health if left unaddressed.

Besides losing a good night's sleep, you may experience difficulty concentrating. Depression, risk of heart attack, irritability, high blood pressure, memory loss, sexual dysfunction, and chances of stroke all increase when sleep apnea is not treated.

Sleep apnea occurs when the muscles in the back of the throat relax to the point of inhibiting natural breathing. The muscles used to support the soft palate relax and the airway closes, causing breathing to stop for ten to 20 seconds. This lowers the oxygen level in the brain. As the brain senses the inhibited oxygen levels it rouses the sleeper awake so the airway can reopen. Normally, the reawakening is so brief the person won't remember it.

If you think you may have sleep apnea, visit our Seattle, WA office and let Dr. Tracy determine what treatment is needed. Without it, you could risk losing more than a restful night's sleep.

Prevention and Treatment

Anyone can develop sleep apnea, but it is more common among middle-aged adults who are overweight. Dr. Tracy can help you determine the cause and suggest positive treatment.

A common treatment for apnea is the placement of oral devices that are designed to help keep the airway open. By bringing the jaw forward, the device opens the airway and thereby discourages snoring. We are experienced in sleep apnea appliances, and Dr. Tracy can prescribe a fitted device and monitor its success with follow-up therapy.

A continuous positive airway pressure mask, known as a CPAP, is among the other treatment options. A mask is fitted over the mouth and forces oxygen through the throat while you sleep. The pressure holds the soft tissue and throat muscles open.

Our professionals at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry can advise you of other ways to prevent sleep apnea, including weight loss, avoiding alcohol, or alternative sleeping positions. We can help you sleep return to easy sleep, knowing you are safer and healthier during your resting hours.

How Do I Handle My Child’s Dental Emergency?

June 20th, 2013

With children undergoing developmental dental changes and engaging in rough-and-tumble activities, dental emergencies can sometimes arise. If your child knocks out a tooth or experiences any type of oral discomfort, call Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry right away so we can provide you with a quick assessment and pain-free treatment.

Before an emergency occurs, it’s a good idea to stay informed about the problems your child may encounter. Here are a few things you should keep in mind about teething pain, loose baby teeth, and other common dental issues.

Teething Pain?

Typically occurring in babies that are between four months and two and a half years old, teething may cause excessive drooling, tender gums, and some irritability. The Massachusetts Dental Society recommends providing plenty of fluids to children who are experiencing teething pain. Giving your baby a cold teething ring or gently rubbing her gums with wet gauze or your finger may also make her feel better.

Loose Baby Tooth

It is normal for a child’s first set of teeth to become loose and fall out. On the other hand, if your child’s baby tooth is knocked loose, schedule an appointment with our office so we can assess whether any damage has been done.

Issues with Permanent Teeth

Sometimes a child’s permanent teeth will grow in before the baby teeth have fallen out. Sutter Health notes that this a good reason to consult with a dental professional. Even if this condition isn’t causing any discomfort, you should schedule an appointment with our office so we can determine whether your child’s permanent teeth are growing in correctly.

Bleeding Gums

Bleeding gums can result from a number of factors, including periodontal disease, rough brushing, or an injury to the gum tissue. If your child’s gums are bleeding heavily, call our office right away so we can address the situation. If you have time before your appointment, the Cleveland Clinic recommends that you wash the child’s mouth with salted water and gently put pressure on the affected area.

Regardless of the type of dental issue your child has, you can always consult Dr. Tracy for further guidance. We make sure our emergency services are available 24 hours a day and seven days a week, so you have ready access to convenient and professional dental care that will have your child feeling better in no time.

What is a pediatric dentist?

June 13th, 2013

Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry hears this question a lot. According to our friends at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD), pediatric dentistry is “an age-defined specialty that provides both primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic oral healthcare for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special healthcare needs.”

Pediatric dentists, such as Dr. Tracy, are dedicated to the oral health of our young patients from infancy through their teen years. Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry has the experience and qualifications to care for your child’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout his or her various stages of childhood.

Pediatric dentists complete at least four years of dental school, including an additional two additional years of residency training in dentistry for infants, children, teens, and children with special needs.

At Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry, we know children are not born with a fear of the dentist, but they can fear the unknown. And that is why Dr. Tracy and our team know how to examine and treat children in ways that make them relaxed and comfortable.

To learn more about pediatric dentistry, or to schedule your child's next visit at our Seattle, WA office, please give us a call today!

Recipe of the month: Orange Cranberry Scones

June 10th, 2013

Happy June everyone! Looking for a tasty, refreshing breakfast this week? Try out our recipe for orange cranberry scones! It's the perfect breakfast treat, and incredibly easy to make. Give them a try, and make sure to let us know what you think!

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups of flour (3 c-white, 1 c-whole wheat flour)
  • 1 1/3 sticks butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • Add Craisins
  • Add zest of 2 large oranges
  • Add juice of 1 large fresh orange or touch of OJ concentrate
  • Add butter milk or half and half
  • 2 eggs

Directions:

  1. Mix flour, sugar, salt and baking soda.
  2. Cut softened butter in the dry ingredients.
  3. Add Craisins, orange zest, orange juice, eggs, milk to the mixture and form a dough.
  4. Cut dough into desired shape.
  5. Bake at 400°F for 12 min.   Enjoy!


Smile! June is National Smile Month!

June 6th, 2013

Can you believe it’s already June? Today, Dr. Tracy and our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry thought we’d tell you June is National Smile Month, and remind all our patients to practice good oral hygiene between your visits to our office!

Below are a few simple steps you can take to improve your oral health so that you may celebrate National Smile Month for many, many years to come:

  • Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
  • Floss every day to clean between your teeth
  • Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks
  • Visit Dr. Tracy every six months, or as recommended

If you have questions about any of these tips, we encourage you to give us a call, ask our team during your next visit, or ask us on Facebook!

Pediatric Dentistry: The Benefits of Dairy

May 30th, 2013

When you were a child, your mother may have instructed you to drink all your milk to build strong bones. Now that you have children of your own, you may hear yourself parroting those instructions you received years ago. Getting enough dairy is essential for young children whose teeth are growing. A child who consumes the recommended daily serving of dairy will develop healthy, strong teeth for the rest of his or her life.

Structure of the Tooth

To fully grasp the importance of dairy for dental health, it is necessary to understand tooth structure. Your teeth are made of living tissues covered by a hard outer shell. The inner dental pulp is fed by blood vessels and connects to a nerve bed in your gums. Surrounding the pulp is dentine, a calcified tissue that is less brittle than the tooth’s outermost layer, the enamel. The enamel layer is the white part of your teeth, 96% of which consists of minerals such as calcium phosphate.

How Does Dairy Help My Child’s Teeth?

Milk and other dairy products are excellent sources of calcium. Your child’s body deposits this calcium into her growing bones, including the teeth. Calcium contributes to bone growth and strength, and it forms an important part of the solid enamel that surrounds each tooth’s fragile inner pulp. Milk also contains vitamin D, phosphorus, magnesium, and proteins. Magnesium promotes calcium deposits in your enamel, while phosphorus forms a small barrier against acidic foods that cause cavities. Vitamin D and protein are used by a child’s body to build bone tissue and maintain dental health.

How Much Dairy Does a Child Need?

According to a 2011 study conducted by researchers at the University of Connecticut, the majority of Americans do not receive enough calcium. The U.S. Department of Agriculture recommends that children under the age of eight should receive at least two and a half cups of dairy per day. Children older than eight need three full cups — the same as adult men and women. Supplying your child with nonfat milk to drink and yogurt to eat every day is a great way to increase dairy consumption.

Growing children who do not get enough dairy in their diets risk improper tooth development and other dental health problems. Drinking sugary beverages in place of milk causes cavities and tooth decay. As a parent, it is essential to monitor your child’s dairy consumption to ensure he or she grows healthy teeth to last a lifetime.

Memorial Day: Parades, Remembrance, and the Unofficial Start of Summer

May 23rd, 2013

“The purpose of all war is peace.” - Saint Augustine

Fire truck sirens, baton twirlers, marching bands covering patriotic tunes, colorful floats, costumes, and millions of red, white, and blue American flags being waved in the air on a beautiful day in late May, that is what Memorial Day is all about. It is a federal holiday celebrated with town parades, remembrance, and a sense of unity and community togetherness.

Our team at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry wants to take this time to wish you and your family a happy Memorial Day, as well as pause for a moment to reflect on what this holiday means and how it has changed over time. No, this is not a history lesson, but just a couple of thoughts and observances for you to take with you on your way to the next barbecue.

On the last Monday in May, America observes Memorial Day as a time to remember and celebrate the men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country in the Armed Forces. The holiday originated after the Civil War; at that time it was known as Decoration Day. While holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter remain the same from year to year, Memorial Day has changed over time, and in the 21st century we observe a far different holiday than what Americans did after the Civil War, or even the World Wars.

While many people place flags at cemeteries and visit national memorials in order to honor those who have passed away serving the country, Memorial Day is also a time for family barbecues, pool parties, trips to the beach, blockbuster movies, long weekend getaways, and fireworks. In America, Memorial Day has come to represent the unofficial start of the summer – a long, sunny, warm weekend devoted to family togetherness, outdoor events, and community.

It is time to load up the potato salad and the apple pie and head over to the neighbor’s house for their annual barbecue. And yes, contrary to popular belief, dentists do eat sweets, especially homemade apple pie! Everything in moderation, of course.

So whether you’re in the Seattle, WA area or beyond- Happy Memorial Day to you and yours from Dr. Tracy!

Three Must-Have Dental Treatments

May 16th, 2013

In our office, we customize treatment for every patient. Amid all of the fillings, crowns, and veneers, we find there are three treatments that are most valuable when offering our patients options: dental implants, bite guards, and teeth whitening.

Dental implants are a great tool for those who have lost teeth from trauma, genetic predetermination, decay, or fracture. Technology and design have allowed these implants to look and function like a natural tooth. They are a great investment when maintaining bone structure and smile presentation.

In our fast-paced lives, people take their stress and tension out on their teeth. Clenching and grinding, or bruxism, is on the rise. This is traumatic to crowns, fillings, and natural teeth. Headaches are a symptom of bruxism and when not treated, jaw joint inflammation and pain are a result. Bite guards are often worn at night when most of the action occurs. Many are not even aware of this habit until presented with evidence of cracked teeth, broken crowns, and pain.

Last, but most definitely not least, is whitening. Tooth whitening is safe and effective. There are different types of tooth whitening: in-office, custom trays, and over-the-counter strips. Each is effective, though at different levels. First, and your best option, is done in the office. The gums are protected and a gel with high potency is applied to the teeth. Some methods have a light shining on teeth and some have timed intervals without the light. Next are custom trays, which require an impression of your bite. Trays are picked up at a later date. At that point, instructions are given and the gel and trays are delivered. A final option is whitening strips, which can be found in many local stores. They are effective, though the whitening process is slower and some areas may not whiten.

It is safe to say that implants, bite guards, and whitening agents are applicable for 85 percent of the population. Each treatment has risks and rewards that should always be considered prior to any treatment. Implants must be well cared for. Bite guards must be an accurate fit and worn regularly. Comfort is most important. Whitening causes temporary sensitivity and some people’s teeth whiten better than others.

Consider what your needs are, and then customize your wants to fit into the equation. A little stability from implants, protection from a bite guard, and a brilliant smile may be just what the doctor ordered. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our office, Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry.

Why Visiting the Emergency Room for Your Dental Problem isn’t a Good Idea

May 10th, 2013

 

Emergency rooms are for emergencies, so before you head to the hospital because of a dental problem, you need to ask yourself this question: Is what you’re experiencing really a medical emergency? While emergency room visits for dental related issues are on the rise across the United States , they’re not necessarily the best solution for every problem. Many people don’t know about emergency dental care services, many of which are available 24/7, and so they go to the ER.

These types of statistics are common across the country. However, despite the numbers, not all dental problems are created equal. If you’ve experienced some type of injury to your mouth, jaw, or face, then an ER visit is a good idea, but if you’re suffering from a toothache, cavity, or broken crown or veneer, then the ER is not the best place to handle the situation. If you’re having a dental emergency, then seeking emergency dental care should be your course of action.

Seeking Long-Term Solutions

The ER doesn’t provide a long-term solution to your dental issue; it only gives you temporary relief. There’s a chance they will simply hand you a prescription for pain medication and tell you to call your dentist in the morning. In the end, you’re going to be saddled with two medical bills, and nobody wants that. Even if the ER outfits you with a temporary crown or filling, you’re still going to have to make a follow-up appointment our office.

There are numerous homemade remedies that can sooth tooth and gum pain. However, if you’re experiencing a dental emergency, the ER is not the place to go. The specialized emergency team at our office is available to take care of every dental problem you may have. In the case of a dental emergency, don’t wait any longer than necessary. Feel free to contact our office at any time, day or night.

 

Recipe of the Month: Greek Quinoa Salad

May 1st, 2013

Our recipe this month is another salad, this one the super healthy and amazingly tasty Greek quinoa salad. If you're unfamiliar with quinoa, this is the perfect first recipe for you to try since it's so easy. Quinoa is a grain-like food that makes an excellent addition to foods like salads, soups, stuffed squash, or even burger patties! Try this recipe from our office, and make sure to let us know how yours turned out!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup chopped cucumber
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, halved
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • To make the dressing:
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Fresh herbs from the garden (chives, oregano, parsley)

*For a creamy option you can add: non-fat plain yogurt OR non dairy option, add a avocado, diced

Directions:

  1. Using a strainer, rinse the quinoa under cold water. Add quinoa, water, and salt to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil for 5 minutes. Turn the heat to low and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until water is absorbed.   (Many boxes or bags of quinoa recommend 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water.  Follow cooking instructions on back of box or bag.)  Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. Let quinoa cool to room temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, combine quinoa, tomatoes, cucumber, kalamata olives, red onion, and feta cheese.
  3. To make the dressing, whisk together olive oil, red wine vinegar, and oregano in a small bowl. Pour dressing over the salad and stir until mixed well. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.  Add lemon juice and lemon zest at this time as well.

*If non-fat plain yogurt and/or avocado is desired, add when combining everything in large bowl.

Three Must-Have Dental Treatments

April 26th, 2013

In our office, we customize treatment for every patient. Amid all of the fillings, crowns, and veneers, we find there are three treatments that are most valuable when offering our patients options: dental implants, bite guards, and teeth whitening.

Dental implants are a great tool for those who have lost teeth from trauma, genetic predetermination, decay, or fracture. Technology and design have allowed these implants to look and function like a natural tooth. They are a great investment when maintaining bone structure and smile presentation.

In our fast-paced lives, people take their stress and tension out on their teeth. Clenching and grinding, or bruxism, is on the rise. This is traumatic to crowns, fillings, and natural teeth. Headaches are a symptom of bruxism and when not treated, jaw joint inflammation and pain are a result. Bite guards are often worn at night when most of the action occurs. Many are not even aware of this habit until presented with evidence of cracked teeth, broken crowns, and pain.

Last, but most definitely not least, is whitening. Tooth whitening is safe and effective. There are different types of tooth whitening: in-office, custom trays, and over-the-counter strips. Each is effective, though at different levels. First, and your best option, is done in the office. The gums are protected and a gel with high potency is applied to the teeth. Some methods have a light shining on teeth and some have timed intervals without the light. Next are custom trays, which require an impression of your bite. Trays are picked up at a later date. At that point, instructions are given and the gel and trays are delivered. A final option is whitening strips, which can be found in many local stores. They are effective, though the whitening process is slower and some areas may not whiten.

It is safe to say that implants, bite guards, and whitening agents are applicable for 85 percent of the population. Each treatment has risks and rewards that should always be considered prior to any treatment. Implants must be well cared for. Bite guards must be an accurate fit and worn regularly. Comfort is most important. Whitening causes temporary sensitivity and some people’s teeth whiten better than others.

Consider what your needs are, and then customize your wants to fit into the equation. A little stability from implants, protection from a bite guard, and a brilliant smile may be just what the doctor ordered. And if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call our office

Earth Day

April 22nd, 2013

The idea for Earth Day was the brainchild of Gaylord Nelson, a senator from Wisconsin. He envisioned an Earth Day that would be a kind of environmental teach-in. The first Earth Day celebration took place on April 22, 1970, and a surprising 20 million people participated on that day. Ultimately, it became the largest organized celebration in US history.

Earth Day Over the Years

Over the years, the recognition of the day, and the number of people celebrating it all over the world, turned Earth Day into an international celebration. Because it is celebrated throughout the world, it is not only the largest international environmental observation, but it is also more widely celebrated than any other environmental event in the world. Today, Earth Day is celebrated in 175 countries where over 500 million people participate in celebrations.

The Earth Day Movement

The Earth Day movement is credited with developing the idea that people should “think green”. It encouraged congress to enact laws, including one that resulted in the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. It also inspired the passage of the Endangered Species Act.

The Five R's and Their Importance

  • Reduce – Reduce by avoiding unnecessary purchases. Reduce your use of materials that wind up in landfills. Reduce the use of chemicals around your house. Reduce your use of disposable bags, plates, cups, eating utensils, and batteries.
  • Reuse – Instead of using plastic bags for your groceries or purchases, bring your own reusable bags. When you go to buy coffee at Starbucks, take a travel mug so you don't have to get your coffee in a disposable paper cup. Instead of storing food in disposable refrigerator containers, buy containers that can be washed and reused. Don't use regular batteries. Whenever possible, opt for rechargeable batteries that you can reuse.
  • Recycle – Most cities offer a recycling program to collect used bottles, cans, and newspapers. Recycling includes collecting recyclable materials that would otherwise be considered waste, sorting and processing recyclables into raw materials such as fibers and manufacturing raw materials into new products.
  • Re-buy – Make an effort to purchase things that are made through recycling. When purchasing furniture, look for items that are made from reclaimed wood. When buying paper for kids school work, computer printer paper, holiday cards, or anything else, make a point of purchasing recycled paper products. Instead of buying clothing at full retail price, shop for second hand clothing. You will save a lot of money by doing so!
  • Rethink – Rethink the way you do things so that you do them in an eco-conscious way at all times. Instead of driving to work alone, consider taking the bus or going in a carpool. Walk or ride your bike when you're only going a short distance. Plan your shopping trips and errand runs so that you can do everything on one day, and do it in a way where you can save time and gas.

Other ways to "think green" include growing your own food, composting yard waste and food scraps, or by participating in local recycling programs. Join a group like Freecycle so you can share your unneeded and unwanted possessions with people who can use them. Likewise, you'll be able to get things you need or want for free.

Earth Day teaches people that the planet belongs to everyone, so everyone is equally responsible for protecting it. Although Earth Day is an environmental celebration, our team wants to remind you that you don't have to wait until then to make changes that will allow you and your family to live a greener life.

Happy Earth Day from our team.

How do I avoid bad breath?

April 12th, 2013

At our practice, we see a lot of patients who are concerned about their bad breath, also known as halitosis. So today we thought we would educate our patients about what you can do to keep your pearly whites clean and your breath minty fresh!

Naturally, good oral hygiene on your part is the first step. With proper brushing and flossing you can keep halitosis in check. Even though you may have done an excellent job of brushing and flossing your teeth, if you fail to brush your tongue, you may still have bad breath. Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in your mouth. Certain foods, medications, smoking, sinus issues, or even gum disease can cause bad breath.

Besides proper brushing and flossing, bad breath can be prevented if you:

Stop smoking/chewing tobacco-based products: Ask our team for tips on kicking the habit.

Keep your mouth hydrated: Because a dry mouth typically leads to bad breath, drinking water or eating oranges or celery may help.

Visit our office for regular dental checkups: By visiting us at least twice a year, you will keep bad breath at bay. We will conduct an oral exam and will be able detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.

 

 

Recipe of the Month: Apple Cowboy Slaw

April 1st, 2013

We love celebrating staff birthdays in the office, and for this month's batch, we made some wonderful salads to share. One of the most popular was this apple cowboy slaw- try it at your next work event or with your family, and let us know how much you enjoyed it!

To save time, use pre-shredded cabbage.  For the pickles, choose the level of sharpness that you please most.

PREP: 25 minutes CHILL: 2 HOURS

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 Tbsp. cider vinegar or malt vinegar – I used Fred Meyer apple cider vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. course-grain brown mustard – I used ground mustard
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 cups coarsely shredded cabbage
  • 2 medium tart red and/or green apples, cored and chopped – 1 each
  • 3 large whole dill pickles, chopped (1 cup)
  • ½ green or red seedless grapes, halved – I used both
  • ¼ cup chopped onion

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl stir together the mayonnaise, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the cabbage, apples, pickles, grapes, and onion.  Add the mayonnaise mixture to the cabbage mixture; toss to coat.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 2 to 6 hours before serving.  Stir before serving.  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Nutritional Facts: EACH SERVING: 163 cal., 10 g total fat (1g sat. fat), 4mg chol., 713 mg       sodium, 18 g carbo., 3 g fiber, 1 g pro.  Daily Values: 4% vit. A, 34% vit. C, 3% calcium, 4% iron

 


When Was Your Last Dental Cleaning?

March 22nd, 2013


You water the garden three times a week, you change your car's oil every three months, and you replace the batteries in your smoke detectors once a year. Your teeth need to see your dentist on a regular schedule, too.

</p?While daily oral hygiene habits are essential to good oral health, professional dental cleanings at our office ensure your teeth are treated to a deeper level of cleaning. We recommend for most of our patients to have a checkup at least every six months. In addition to a thorough cleaning and polishing of your teeth, these regular visits help us detect and prevent the onset of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. During your visit, we’ll check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. We’ll also check old fillings and restorations, as these can wear away over time from constant chewing, grinding, or clenching.

If you are predisposed to oral diseases, you may need to visit our office more often than every six months. Factors at play in these diseases include age, pregnancy, tobacco use, medical conditions (such as diabetes, dry mouth, or HIV infection), along with how well you take care of your teeth on a daily basis.

Make sure your teeth get the professional attention they deserve – If you’re overdue for your next cleaning, check with our office to schedule an appointment!

St. Patrick's Day: Celtic Pride, Green Shamrocks and Lucky Charms

March 13th, 2013

“St. Patrick's Day is an enchanted time -- a day to begin transforming winter's dreams into summer's magic.” Adrienne Cook

Lucky green shamrocks, leprechauns, and pots of gold: It must be St. Patrick’s Day! If you’re not Irish, how do you go about celebrating St. Patrick’s Day? It’s easy: You just put on one of those tall leprechauns hats, dress in green from head to toe, and wear one of those carefree pins that say “Kiss Me, I’m Irish”. On St. Patrick’s Day, everyone is Irish, and that is the universal beauty of the holiday. Celtic pride does not discriminate.

St. Patrick’s Day is an important cultural and religious holiday. There are lavish parades and church services across Ireland on March 17th. Over time, however, the holiday has developed into a day to observe Irish culture in general. In places like England and the United States, where there is a large Irish Diaspora, the holiday has greater significance than other countries. From the streets of Boston to St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, it is a day of celebration, and many Americans of Irish descent will cook up a traditional meal of corned beef and cabbage.

So, to all of you with Irish ancestry, and to all of you who have decided to be Irish for the day, our office wishes you a Happy St. Patrick’s Day. Good luck looking for a pot of leprechaun gold, which is said to exist at the end of the rainbow. However, keep away from those sugary Lucky Charms; sweet cereals might taste good, but your kids’ teeth might not be feeling too lucky if they eat it for breakfast every day. Have a great St. Paddy’s day and remember to call your favorite dental office soon to keep your oral health in check!

Spring into Spring with a New Smile!

March 4th, 2013

It’s almost spring! Tulips are blooming and the world is awakening from its winter sleep. We thought today we would remind our patients about the need to visit our office for your cleaning. After all, studies have shown there could a link between proper oral and dental care and heart disease, diabetes and even stroke. Regular visits to our office can keep harmful bacteria from entering your body by removing plaque build up.

Another great benefit to scheduling your 6-month visit is the opportunity for us to screen for other potential health hazards. During your visit, we can not only clean and whiten your teeth, but potentially identify other signs or symptoms.

Get your beautiful smile today! Give us a call to schedule an appointment!

Patient question: "How do I prevent gum disease?"

February 25th, 2013


Great question. It’s usually easy to tell when you have a cavity, but unfortunately, gum disease can exist in your mouth without you even knowing. In fact, you can have the beginning stages of gum disease without even noticing any pain or discomfort. Since gum disease can be undetectable, it’s imperative to watch for warning signs in order to prevent the disease from worsening.

Here are the signs to watch for:

• Gums that appear red or swollen
• Gums that feel tender
• Gums that bleed easily (during brushing or flossing)
• Gums that recede or pull away from the teeth
• Persistent bad breath (halitosis)
• Loose teeth
• Any change in the way teeth come together in the biting position
• Any change in the way partial dentures fit

If you or someone in your family is showing these signs, schedule an appointment at our office. We can diagnose the problem and begin treatment to save your teeth and give you back a healthy mouth!

What's on your mind?

February 18th, 2013


By now, you’re probably familiar with our blog-writing process: Each week, we write about important dental topics and your well-being, including the treatments we proudly offer.

This week, though, we thought we’d step back and ask you, our amazing patients: what’s on your mind? What would you like to know about the always-changing and exciting field of dentistry? What would you like us to focus on our blog? Perhaps there’s something you’ve wanted to ask us for a while now? Here’s your chance! Let us know by posting here or on our Facebook page! Give us your best shot, and we’ll try to answer any question you may have!

Recipe of the Month: Gluten Free Banana Bread!

February 12th, 2013

How tasty does that picture look! Using the recipe below, you'll be able to impress your friends with your tasty banana bread. Don't worry, we won't tell them where you got the recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4)
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • ½ cup chopped dates
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups brown rice flour (such as Bob’s Red Mill)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Lightly beat eggs in large bow.  Whisk in bananas, sugar, applesauce, vanilla, butter, dates, and pecans.
  3. Stir together the five dry ingredients in separate bowl.  Gently stir flour mixture into wet ingredients just until blended.
  4. Pour mixture into a greased 9 x 5 loaf pan.
  5. Bake 350 degrees for about 1 hour to 1 hour 10 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center come out clean.
  6. Cool for 10 minutes then remove from pan.  Cool completely for 1 hour before cutting.  ENJOY!

VARIATIONS:

Add chocolate chips. Different nuts, mini Reese peanut butter cups or whatever you have on hand.

Fat free recipe: omit butter

 

February is also Heart Month!

February 10th, 2013

You may remember our post from last week, when we discussed February being National Dental Health Month and the benefits of visiting our office every six months (or as recommended). But did you know February also marks American Heart Month?

It’s a great time to take notice of the health of your heart as cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in the world, according to the American Heart Association.

Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care. Visiting our office on a regular basis can help prevent gum disease or at least catch it in its early stages. In observance of Heart Month, it’s also important to know your numbers: blood pressure (less than 120/80), cholesterol (less than 200) and BMI (less than 25).

A healthy mouth begins with a visit to our office! If you have any questions about your heart health, or to schedule your next appointment, please give us a call today!

February Marks National Dental Health Month!

February 4th, 2013

Did you know February is National Dental Health Month? It’s a great time of the year to renew those resolutions about continuing to practice great dental hygiene. Today, we thought we would discuss the importance of preventative oral care. While most folks are familiar with traditional healthy-conscious practices such as eating well and exercising regularly, lesser-known are the benefits that great oral hygiene provides to your cardiovascular health.

Here are a few tips to help you continue taking care of those pearly whites and in the process, your heart.

*Brush and floss every day to remove the plaque that can lead to cavities. Flossing daily removes food debris that your toothbrush simply cannot reach.

*Replace your toothbrush on a regular basis. You should replace your toothbrush every three to four months or after a cold to prevent re-infection. Please remember to use a soft toothbrush so that you don’t wear off the enamel of your teeth.

*Visit our office regularly. The American Dental Association recommends you visit us every six months (or as recommended) for regular checkups and cleanings. Fluoride treatments twice a year will help prevent tooth decay.

Each February, we focus on the preventive oral care of our patients. Have you visited us in the past six months? If not, it’s time to give us a call and schedule an appointment!

What do you love about our office?

January 28th, 2013


From your very first visit to our office, we strive to provide superior treatment in a pleasant, friendly atmosphere. We are always updating our office with the most advanced and up-to-date dental technologies and methods and are here to get to know you personally and find out how we might make your dental visit a wonderful one!

We thought we’d ask you, our wonderful patients: Have you been especially impressed by our work? Did our team go out of their way to make your day? Are you in love with your smile?

Whether you’ve just come in for a one appointment or your family has been visiting our office for years, we’d love to hear your feedback below. Or, you can tell us by posting on our Facebook page!

The importance of wearing a mouthguard

January 21st, 2013

With winter sports underway, we wanted to remind our patients about the importance of wearing a mouthguard while you’re on the court or the field. Here are some frequent questions we hear from our patients about mouthguards.

Q: What are mouthguards?

A: Mouthguards are a flexible, removable device made of soft plastic, and they are adapted to fit comfortably with the shape of the upper teeth.

Q: Why are mouthguards so important?

A: Mouthguards protect not just the teeth, but the lips, cheeks, and tongue, and they also help protect athletes from head and neck injuries, as well as concussions and jaw fractures. Increasingly, organized sports are requiring mouthguards to prevent injury to their athletes, and research shows us that most oral injuries occur when athletes are not wearing mouth protection.

Q: When should I wear my mouthguard?

A: Whenever you are in an activity with a risk of falls or head contact with other players or equipment. This includes football, baseball, basketball, soccer, wrestling, hockey, and even gymnastics.

Q: How do I choose a mouthguard that is right for me?

A: We encourage you to choose a mouth guard that you can wear comfortably. You can select from several options in mouthguards. First, preformed or “boil-to-fit” mouthguards are found in sports stores. Otherwise, we can talk about your options for a custom mouthguard, which will be more comfortable to wear and more effective in preventing injuries this winter. Please give us a call if you have any other questions, or ask us on Facebook!

Foods for healthy gums and healthy hearts

January 15th, 2013

It’s that time of the year again, when we try to stick to our New Year’s Resolutions. If you look around, you’ll notice many ads are about fitness and exercise equipment. However, the best place to start is with smart nutrition.

A healthy diet is very important. If we all followed recommended guidelines for the proper daily intake of foods -- foods that include fruits, dairy, vegetables and meat -- we would see a huge decrease in deadly diseases such as heart disease, cancer and high blood pressure. We recommend you to try to add an extra piece of fruit or an extra vegetable to your diet each day until you achieve the correct number of daily servings.

Water is also a vital component to an overall healthy diet. If you make water your primary beverage of choice, you will ensure you are drinking a zero-calorie, no chemical drink instead of a high-calorie or high-chemical alternative such as soda. Fruits such as berries are a great source of antioxidants, as well as other chemicals your body uses to repair and prevent some of the damage caused by aging. Like fruit, fish and nuts are healthy as they are great sources of Omega 3s and improve your good cholesterol.

If you try to change one thing about your diet each week, you will begin to view these changes as habit over time, and start taking steps to a healthier lifestyle.

Do germs really live on my toothbrush?

January 7th, 2013

The dreaded cold and flu season is here again! After recovering from your cold, one of the most important steps you can take to avoid becoming reinfected is replacing your toothbrush!

Germs can linger on the bristles, and you risk prolonging your sickness by continuing to use the same toothbrush. Be smart - keep a spare, just in case! To protect your toothbrush from bacteria all year long, consider the following tips:

• Wash your hands before and after brushing
• Allow the brush to air dry after each use, harmful bacteria dies after being exposed to oxygen
• Store the toothbrush in an upright position to allow water to drain and dry faster
• Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Worn bristles are less effective in properly cleaning your teeth, and can actually be damaging to teeth if used too long!

We hope these tips help! Feel free to give us a call or ask us on Facebook if you have any questions!

Happy New Year!

December 31st, 2012

With the year almost over, we thought we would ask you, our dear patients: what was memorable about 2012 for you, and what are you looking forward to in 2013? Do you have a new year's resolution, or any exciting plans for the coming year?

We want to wish all our patients, friends, family and all our dental and medical colleagues a happy and healthy New Year!

Celebrating the Holidays with Dr. Tracy's Office!

December 26th, 2012

Wrapping up the holidays, we thought we'd share with our patients how our office celebrated the season! We had our office holiday party, a dinner party hosted by Dr. Tracy and his wife Virginia! The meal was wonderful, and after we were full we participated in a Secret Santa gift exchange! Laurie made a delicious Bunche De Noel cake that we ended the night with, with full tummies and fun gifts.

We had a blast, and are of course looking forward to sharing with you more photos and stories from our upcoming office parties!

End of the year tooth tips!

December 26th, 2012

Today we thought we would remind our patients to practice good oral hygiene to keep those pearly whites shining and happy! This includes brushing and flossing on a regular basis, brushing after consuming foods that can stain your teeth and visiting our office every six months or as recommended.

The American Dental Association, or ADA, also recommends the following for ideal oral hygiene:

• Brush your teeth twice a day with an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won't do a good job of cleaning your teeth.

• Clean between teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner. Tooth decay-causing bacteria still linger between teeth where your toothbrush bristles can’t reach. This helps remove plaque and food particles from between the teeth and under the gum line.

• Eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks.

• Visit our office on a regular basis for professional cleanings and oral exams.

Lastly, a great reason to smile is this: smiling can actually help you live longer according to recent studies! Have you visited our office lately for a cleaning or checkup? If not, give us a call to set up an appointment! The beginning of the year is a great time for a visit!

Season's greetings!

December 18th, 2012

In this season given to tidings of comfort and joy, and as we reflect on the year that was, we’d like to ask you, our wonderful patients: What do you love about the holidays this year? Being with your loved ones? Hitting the slopes? A clean slate for 2013? Opening presents by the fireplace? All the delicious food?

Also, what gift are you most looking forward to getting this year? We’d love if you shared with us all the things you love about the holidays. Stay warm, and don’t forget to stay away from those sweets!

When you have a dental emergency, we are here for you

December 10th, 2012


We know dental emergencies are never convenient nor timely. If you are a patient of record, we are committed to your dental health and are happy to see you.

When your dental health is at risk, we will do everything we can to make sure that you’re treated as soon as possible. While dental emergencies are certainly rare, we know they can happen at any moment, and it’s important to know how to deal with them.

Common dental emergencies may include:

• A bitten lip or tongue
• Broken or cracked tooth/teeth
• Permanent tooth that has been knocked out
• Object caught between teeth
• Severe toothache

If you have a dental emergency after regular office hours, please give us a call.

We hope you’re all having a great holiday season!

Celebrating December's Office Birthdays!

December 7th, 2012

We'd like to take to our blog to share with you how we celebrated the birthdays we have in the office this month! December marks the birthdays of Julie and Katie, and to celebrate we had a little party! Enjoy the pictures below, and trust us -- we MORE than enjoyed that delicious peanut butter cake that Laurie Made!!

It's A....

November 28th, 2012

We're THRILLED to announce our office administrator Julie knows the sex of her baby!

 

IT'S A BOY!

 

If you've been into the office lately, I'm sure you've noticed a bump developing around Julie's midsection. At first we thought maybe she was hiding a watermelon, but boy were we wrong!

Make sure you come into the office soon to wish her congrats and good luck, her beautiful baby boy is due to make his big debut on February 9th, 2013!

Holiday Office Closures

November 19th, 2012

As we're sure you've noticed the Starbucks "Red Cups,' we're sure you're well aware that the holiday season is upon us!

We want to make sure our patients know when we're here in the office, and when we'll be closed so that you can see you all before the end of the year when your benefits expire! If you have questions on your benefits or need to schedule an appointment, please contact us!

Now for our office closure dates!

Our office will be OPEN the day before Thanksgiving, but CLOSED Thanksgiving day and the day after Thanksgiving (11/22-23). We will reopen Monday, November 19th.

In December, our office will be CLOSE Friday December 21st through January 2nd. Please make appointments before the 21st or starting on January 3rd.

We're so excited to see you in the holiday season, please schedule your appointments accordingly!

How Our Office Celebrated Halloween...

November 14th, 2012

We had an absolutely fantastic Halloween here at Robert E. Tracy Family Dentistry! We're lucky enough to work with great people, both inside and outside of the office! This year, we celebrated Halloween as a team with Amrit Burn Orthodontics.

Dr. Burn is a great Orthodontist who happens to have an office in our building. He put on an incredibly fun Halloween party this year, featuring a yummy lunch, costumes, complimentary massages, and a pumpkin decorating contest! The picture above is of Dr. Tracy and Jessie, a hygienist you've probably seen before!

We had SUCH a blast at the party, and we're so excited to announce our pumpkin WON the pumpkin decorating contest! Pumpkin burgers, look out for them on your local burger stand's menu!

Teeth Grinding: Not Just a Bad Habit, But a Dental Concern

November 8th, 2012

Perhaps you don't even know you grind your teeth. Maybe a spouse or loved one woke you up in the middle of the night and made you aware of what was happening.

For many people, teeth grinding is a habit and a mechanical reflex; when they’re awakened and informed they were grinding their teeth, they have no recollection of it at all. According to the American Dental Association, this is the nightly situation for roughly ten percent of Americans. From young children to the elderly, teeth grinding, known in the dental community as bruxism, is a serious concern.

Many people who grind their teeth in their sleep have no idea they're doing it. In fact, when they wake up in the morning they feel no jaw pain and their teeth are fine: if it hadn’t been for someone telling them about it, the teeth grinding would have gone unnoticed.

There are other people, however, who wake up with jaw pain, shoulder and neck pain, and headaches. Teeth grinding can cause a host of dental complications. From cracked teeth and receding gums to a misaligned jaw, teeth grinding is not something to take lightly.

Preventive measures are the key to combating bruxism, and our office can set you on the path to a healthy and safe night sleep.

The Reasons for Teeth Grinding

There are many reasons for teeth grinding. For some people, it’s a habit they acquired when they were a child and never grew out of. On the other hand, some research claims that the condition is related to stress, anxiety, or some other type of psychiatric issue.

Still other studies point to everything from poor muscle control or over-eating before bed to gastro-esophageal issues. However, the root cause of the teeth grinding is less important than identifying preventive measures against it.

Common solutions to teeth grinding include:

• Wearing a protective nightguard
• Stress management techniques
• Medications and muscle relaxers

When you make an appointment at our office, we will assess your situation and determine what the best course of action is. Teeth grinding is a dental concern that can cause serious health issues down the road, so be sure to take preventive measures today.

Snacks for Healthy Teeth

November 2nd, 2012

Concerned parents often ask their dentist about which kinds of snacks are best for a child's teeth. While most know that candy isn't always the best choice, many parents are confused about which kinds of after-school snacks can actually be beneficial for teeth. Left to their own devices, children might pick the sugary snack that comes in colorful packaging. There are, however, choices that are much better for your child's teeth.
Go Natural
The foods that are best for your children's teeth are also the best for their overall health. Choosing whole foods, such as fruits and vegetables, is always the best option for snacks. Try sticks of celery and let your kids dip it into all-natural peanut butter, or a juicy and crunchy apple cut into wedges.
Lean Proteins
Lean protein, such as chicken breast, fish, turkey, and lean cuts of pork also make good snacking options. For the best overall health, avoid giving your child a lot of lunch meats, because such products are often higher in sodium. However, these proteins are also low in sugar, which is always a preferable choice when it comes to teeth.
Avoid Packaged Foods


Sugars are unhealthy partly because they stick more readily to the surface of the teeth. Even foods that appear to be healthy, such as many brands of granola bars, can in fact be loaded with hidden sugars. Sugar can also be found in higher concentrations in dried fruit, honey, and syrups. The rule is that if a foodstuff has been altered in any way from its original state then there are perhaps better choices.
Beverages


Drinks are another murky area. Parents often presume that fruit juices are an acceptable beverage when in reality many of them are loaded with excessive sugar as well. The best beverages for your child's teeth are water and low-fat milk. Milk has the added benefit of containing calcium, which is highly beneficial for the bone structure that supports the teeth.
An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but it is also a great snack to keep teeth healthy. The next time your children are looking for an after-school snack, guide them toward healthier, low-sugar options that are beneficial to their overall health and their teeth.

Fun Facts About Pumpkins!

October 26th, 2012

Since October is one of the most fun months, we decided to share some fun facts about a pretty iconic part of Halloween here on our blog. Read on to learn something new about the pumpkin!

•Pumpkins are a fruit that originated in Central America.
•The name "pumpkin" comes from the Greek word "pepon," meaning a large melon.
•90% of the pumpkin is made up of water.
•The yellow-orange flowers that bloom from a pumpkin vine are edible.
•Using pumpkins as lanterns at Halloween is based on an ancient Celtic custom brought to America by European immigrants.
•The world's heaviest pumpkin was grown by Chris Stevens (USA) and was recorded on October 9, 2010 weighing 1,810.5 lbs. (source: Guinness World Records)
•Pumpkins, and their seeds, were a celebrated food of the Native American Indians who treasured them both for their dietary and medicinal properties.
•Illinois grows more pumpkins than any other state in the country. It harvests nearly 12,300 acres of fruit.

Tooth Discoloration: Common Causes and What You Can Do To Stop It

October 18th, 2012

Looking back at childhood photos, you may notice picture after picture of yourself with a mouthful of shiny white teeth. When you look in the mirror today, you wonder what happened to that beautiful smile. Many adults struggle with tooth discoloration and find it embarrassing to show off their teeth in a smile. Once you identify the cause of your tooth discoloration, there are treatment options that can restore your teeth and your confidence.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

There are a host of factors that may cause your teeth to discolor. Some are directly under your control, and others may not be preventable. Here is a list of common reasons that teeth become discolored.

• Genetics: Much of your dental health is determined by genetic factors beyond your control. Some people naturally have thinner enamel or discolored teeth.
• Medications: Several medications lead to tooth discoloration as a side effect. If you received the common antibiotics doxycycline or tetracycline as a child, your teeth may have discolored as a consequence. Antihistamines, high blood pressure medications, and antipsychotic drugs can also discolor teeth. If you think a medication may be leading to tooth discoloration, talk to your dentist. Never discontinue the use of a medication without consulting your doctor, however.
• Medical Conditions: Genetic conditions such as amelogenesis or dentinogenesis cause improper development of the enamel, and can lead to yellowed, discolored teeth.
• Poor Dental Hygiene: Failing to brush your teeth at least twice a day or regularly floss may lead to tooth decay and discoloration.
• Foods and Tobacco: Consumption of certain foods, including coffee, tea, wine, soda, apples, or potatoes, can cause tooth discoloration. Tobacco use also causes teeth to turn yellow or brown.

Treatments for Tooth Discoloration

There are a variety of treatments available to individuals with discolored teeth. One of the easiest ways to reduce tooth discoloration is through prevention. Avoid drinking red wine, soda, or coffee and stop using tobacco products. If you drink beverages that tend to leave stains, brush your teeth immediately or swish with water to reduce staining.

After determining the cause of tooth discoloration, our dentist can suggest other treatment options. Over-the-counter whitening agents might help, but in-office whitening treatments provided at our office would be more effective. When whitening agents do not help, bondings or veneers are among the alternative solutions for tooth discoloration.

If you are worried about your teeth becoming yellow or brown, think carefully about your diet and medication use. Talk to your dentist to identify substances that may be causing the problem. After treatment for tooth discoloration, you will have a beautiful white smile you can be proud to show off.

 

Which Type of Mouthwash is Best?

October 11th, 2012

Taking care of your oral health involves a daily regimen of brushing, flossing, and rinsing to prevent tooth decay and bacterial infections. Though you may have asked us which toothbrush to use, few patients ask about mouthwash.

However, different mouthwashes you might choose will have varying effects on your oral health. So which type is best for you?

Gum Health
Antiseptic mouthwashes are designed to reduce the majority of bacteria on and near the gum line. Using an antiseptic mouthwash can help decrease your chances of developing gingivitis. If possible, look for a mouthwash with antibacterial or antimicrobial ingredients.

Fluoride
Fluoride is beneficial for oral health and can help prevent tooth decay. If you drink a lot of bottled water without fluoride, we may recommend that you purchase a rinse with fluoride in it.

Bad Breath
Although mouthwash is designed to prevent bacterial build-up within the mouth, many people use it to combat bad breath. Most mouthwashes will help eliminate the bacteria that cause bad breath, and some are specifically designed to do so.
However, if bad breath is a chronic problem that requires daily treatment with a mouth rinse, contact our office to discuss your symptoms.

American Dental Association Approval
The ADA reviews mouth rinses for safety and effectiveness. A mouthwash with the ADA Seal of Approval will meet strict criteria, and will have scientific evidence or clinical studies that support the claims of the manufacturer. If possible, select a mouthwash that bears the ADA Seal of Approval to ensure you are using a quality rinse.

Considerations
If you are unsure as to which mouthwash is right for you, contact our office or ask our dentist or dental hygienist at your next appointment. Also, be sure to keep mouthwash out of the reach of children, as it contains alcohol and other substances that could be harmful to them. Avoid letting children under age six use a mouth rinse, and discontinue use if you experience a burning sensation in the soft tissues of your mouth.

Update from First Insight Seminar!

October 4th, 2012

Last week, we shared on our blog the Insight Seminar Calendar to show some of the continuing education and training that Dr. Tracy will be participating in! The doctor went to the first seminar last week, and would like to share some information on how well it went!

The seminar was held at the Blue Ribbon Cooking School here in Seattle. Dr. Tracy said the kick off event was a complete blast, and is looking forward to participating in more of the learning focused seminars. The advantage to attending the kick of potion was not only getting to cook a full meal with a fantastic chef instructing, but also to meet other doctors in the industry. The great thing about getting to meet other dental professionals in the Seattle area, is that Dr. Tracy got to meet a lot of the orthodontists, periodontists, and oral surgeons that are seeing YOU- our amazing patients!

The next portion of the Insoft Seminar series will take place later this month and will be all about team treatment planning! We hope to be able to tell you all about that seminar too!

Dr. Tracy to Attend Insight Seminars in 2012/2013!

September 28th, 2012

Dr. Tracy makes it a goal yearly to participate in ongoing education and training. It's part of what makes him such a great dentist and helps our office be on the cutting edge of care! Below is the schedule of courses Dr. Tracy will be participating in these practice centered seminars in 2012/2013, and we're excited to learn more about all the different topic areas!

Take a look, and stay tuned to learn more about what we take away from these great seminars!

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When is the Best Time to Floss?

September 21st, 2012

At Our office, we encourage our patients to practice good oral hygiene between office visits. Part of that process includes flossing, which is the process of cleaning between the teeth to remove food and debris from the areas that are hard to reach with a toothbrush. When food is allowed to remain between the teeth, it provides a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause periodontal disease!

Should You Floss Before or After Brushing?

According to recent clinical findings, you can floss either before or after brushing, according to your own preference. By flossing first, you can brush away dislodged food debris afterward. On the other hand, brushing first allows you to loosen plaque between the teeth, making it easier to floss more effectively.

Whichever you choose, the most important goal is to floss thoroughly. That means using a fresh strand of dental floss each day, and carefully pulling it back and forth between all of the teeth. Do not skip flossing because your teeth look or feel clean.

When to Floss

Unlike brushing, you need only floss between your teeth once per day. Although you may choose to do it in the morning or afternoon, many prefer to floss at night to prevent food and debris from remaining in the crevices of the teeth overnight. This could prevent the build-up of plaque too, which is a cause of tooth decay.

Help with Flossing

If you have questions about your flossing technique or what type of floss is best for your teeth, contact our office. The staff will be more than happy to assist you in perfecting your home hygiene regimen. In most cases, you can choose between interdental cleaning picks or flexible floss strands to perform your daily flossing routine.

Cold season is here, be prepared!

September 13th, 2012

Cold and flu season is here yet again. The folks at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that a common cold usually includes sneezing, runny nose, sore throat and coughing. Symptoms can last for up to two weeks.

To promote a healthy and clean environment, our entire staff give a great deal of attention to sanitation and sterilization in our office at all times, as well as following all requirements for sterilizing instruments and work surfaces. For the protection of other patients and our staff, we always ask that patients reschedule their appointments if they have any type of cold or illness that can infect others.

And remember to constantly wash your hands and avoid contact with those who are ill! Stay Healthy!

The Truth Behind Six Popular Dental Myths

September 7th, 2012

Myths about dentistry and general dental care abound. These myths are passed on by word of mouth and are presented as being factual; although they are typically inaccurate. There are dangers associated with dental misconceptions. By believing in these dental myths, you are placing your oral health at risk and you may not be receiving proper dental care. Find the answers behind many popular dental myths.

Myth: It is not important for young children to care for their baby teeth.

Fact: Although baby teeth are not permanent, long-term problems with permanent teeth can develop if baby teeth are not properly cared for. The malpositioning of permanent teeth, misalignment issues, and early orthodontic treatment are just a few of the concerns related to losing baby teeth too early as a result of tooth decay. It is crucial that children learn the basics of proper oral hygiene at an early age. Doing so will help them form permanent habits that are essential for oral health.

Myth: If you are not having problems with your teeth, seeing a dentist is not necessary.

Fact: Most dental issues are not evident in the early stages. It is only when they have progressed further that you start to notice there is a problem. In most cases, only a dentist can detect when there is a problem. Scheduling an appointment in our office twice a year for regular cleanings and exams is a vital component to your dental health. In this way, dental problems can be treated early before they become a serious concern and require a more advanced form of treatment.

Myth: You should avoid brushing and flossing if your gums are bleeding.

Fact: If your gums are bleeding, it is usually a warning sign of gum disease or gingivitis. You should continue to brush and floss your teeth gently during this time since poor oral hygiene is a primary cause of bleeding gums. If the bleeding worsens or continues to be a problem, contact our office to schedule an appointment.

Myth: Chewing sugar-free gum is a good substitute for brushing your teeth.

Fact: Although chewing sugar-free gum offers the benefits of freshening your breath and minor teeth cleaning between meals, it should not be considered a substitute for brushing and flossing. Dental plaque and food particles can only be thoroughly removed by brushing and flossing.

Myth: Cavities are only a concern when you are a child.

Fact: Cavities can develop at any age. There are many situations and conditions that place both adults and elders at risk for the development of cavities. As an adult, you are more prone to developing receding gums, which can quickly result in tooth decay. Many adults and elders also take prescription medications that cause dry mouth. This can cause tooth decay as there is an insufficient amount of saliva within the mouth to wash away bacteria and neutralize acids.

Myth: Once you treat a decayed tooth, it will not become decayed again.

Fact: It is possible for other areas of the tooth to become decayed; although proper brushing and flossing will prevent the treated area of the tooth from becoming decayed again. If a filling gets old and begins to break down, there is a possibility that bacteria can become trapped inside and cause tooth decay.

Four Common Causes of Toothaches

August 31st, 2012

If you have ever suffered from a toothache, you know how excruciating the pain can be. Tooth pain is usually caused by irritation to the nerves in the roots of the teeth, although there are other potential sources of the pain as well. Fortunately, there are ways to both prevent and resolve a toothache, regardless of its cause.

 

Causes of Tooth Pain

Some of the most common causes of tooth pain include:

1) Tooth Decay – Also known as cavities, tooth decay occurs when bacteria erodes the enamel of the tooth, which can eventually expose the nerve. This is the most common cause of tooth pain.

2) Gum Disease – Also known as periodontal disease, occurs when bacteria populate along and below the gum line.

3) Injury – An injury can include a small chip or a large break in the tooth.

4) Impaction – Teeth often become impacted beneath the surface of the gums. This condition is most common in molars, such as the wisdom teeth. An impacted tooth may cause no pain at all, or it could become extremely painful if it begins to affect the nerves and teeth around it.

 

Pain Resolution

Determining the source of your pain starts with a trip to the dentist. Usually, your dentist will conduct a thorough examination that may include X-rays. If your X-rays or examination reveal tooth decay, the solution may involve a simple filling, a root canal or even a tooth extraction. Your dentist will decide which option is best for you based on how advanced the tooth decay is, as well whether an infection is present within the tooth.

If, however, gum disease is causing your tooth pain, the solution may be as simple as a root planing and scaling, followed by administration of oral or topical antibiotics to kill the bacteria causing your symptoms. If you have a cracked, chipped or broken tooth, your dentist may resolve your pain by either filling the crack, or covering the tooth with a crown designed to prevent bacteria from entering the tooth.

If your dental X-rays reveal that you have an impacted tooth, you will most likely need to have it extracted to avoid causing damage or misalignment to the other teeth. Impacted teeth can also become infected, which is why it is important to remove impacted teeth before they begin to cause problems.

 

Prevention

Although there are ways of treating a toothache, the best way to treat it is by preventing it altogether. Some causes of tooth pain are not preventable, such as an impacted tooth or a predisposition to tooth sensitivity. However, tooth decay and gum disease are easily prevented by using good hygienic practices at home and visiting your dentist for regular examinations and cleanings. By brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing, as well as wearing protective mouthguards when participating in high impact activities, you can significantly decrease your chances of developing tooth pain in the future.

A Healthy Mouth Starts With What You Eat

August 23rd, 2012

Most people know that visiting the dentist is an essential part of caring for their teeth. Regular checkups and cleanings are, of course, very important. But what some people don't realize is that good dental hygiene starts long before you get to the dentist's office. You may be saying, "I know, it starts with my toothbrush and floss." But actually, oral health begins even before that. A healthy smile starts at your grocery store.

Dental checkups can detect problems early on and address them, but only good nutrition can give your teeth and gums the healthy foundation they need. If your diet is rich in tooth-friendly nutrients, you will be less prone to gum disease, tooth decay, and even jawbone loss.

So, which nutrients are the most important? Here are a few tooth-building superstars.

Calcium:
We all know that calcium builds strong bones and teeth. Most expectant mothers are even aware that the calcium-rich foods they eat during pregnancy will ensure that their babies develop strong, healthy teeth later on. But did you know that calcium is important to your teeth long into adulthood?

On its "Milk Matters" page, the National Institutes of Health tells us that calcium can protect teeth against decay. Furthermore, a 2001 study published by the US National Library of Medicine found that elderly people who had adequate amounts of calcium in their diets were more likely to retain their teeth as they aged.

Good sources of calcium include yogurt, cheeses, milk, and leafy green vegetables. If you can't get an enough calcium from your diet alone, talk to your doctor about adding a calcium supplement.

Vitamin D:
Vitamin D is sometimes called the sunshine vitamin because your skin can synthesize it during exposure to sunlight. Vitamin D could also be called the healthy smile vitamin. It not only helps your teeth, but it also keeps your gums healthy. Another study published by the National Library of Medicine has shown a connection between low levels of dietary vitamin D and gingivitis. People in the study who had more of the vitamin in their diets had healthier gums.

While most of us get plenty of vitamin D from sun exposure, people who live farther from the equator may need to take a supplement during the winter months.

Vitamin C:
Long ago, British sailors were called "Limeys" because their superiors made them eat limes on long ocean voyages. Why? Because limes are rich in vitamin C and without it, the sailors got scurvy and often lost their teeth. While there's little danger of developing scurvy today, a study in the year 2000 of people who ranged in age from 20 to 90, showed that vitamin C is still necessary for healthy gums. People in the study who had the lowest dietary intake of this essential vitamin were at the highest risk of gum disease.

Vitamin C is perhaps the easiest of vitamins to get from your diet. Rich sources include strawberries, apricots, oranges, lemons and, of course, limes. Red and yellow peppers also have lots of vitamin C, as do tomatoes and brussel sprouts.
Never put off regular dental checkups and cleanings, but in between appointments, watch your diet. Making sure these essential nutrients are a part of your daily intake will ensure that your teeth and gums are as healthy as they can be.

Fun Ways to Encourage Children to Brush Their Teeth

August 16th, 2012

It's that dreaded time of day for many parents — the nighttime routine. As kids whine and stomp up the stairs as you send them off for pajamas and bedtime, you face the daunting task once again of trying to get your children to brush their teeth. While this is certainly a chore for many parents across the country, the following are several tips you can use in order to make brushing teeth a fun, enjoyable time.

1. Give them exciting toothbrushes
By buying your children special toothbrushes in their favorite colors, or decorated with their favorite TV characters, they will see their toothbrush as more of a toy than a tool. By keeping things fresh and fun, children will be excited to use their toothbrush since it represents a little bit of who they are and what they enjoy.

2. Make a rewards chart
For each night your children willingly — and without argument — brush their teeth, give them a sticker. After a week of stickers, give them a special reward.

3. Keep it fresh with different toothpaste
While adults may not care too much what flavor their toothpaste is, children are a different story. Be sure to purchase flavored toothpaste that kids will enjoy. Mint is always a good option, but many toothpaste companies create other flavors as well, including fruit flavored toothpastes and even bubble gum toothpaste.

4. Buy a fun flossing tool
Flossing is an essential part of good oral hygiene, especially for children. Encourage this habit along with tooth brushing by purchasing a fun flossing tool. These colorful contraptions get children excited about flossing their teeth, and if you find that they prefer flossing to brushing tell them that the only way they can floss, is if they brush their teeth first.

Instead of making children feel like brushing their teeth is something to be dreaded, parents can make this ritual a lot more fun and exciting using these tips. According to Parenting Squad, the more fun parents make this routine, the more children will be encouraged to brush their teeth. We all know that a healthy mouth and healthy child begin with healthy teeth — so getting kids in the good habit of brushing often is essential in the long run.

Sensitive Teeth? Try Changing Your Toothpaste

August 7th, 2012

If you have noticed that your teeth are starting to feel more sensitive than usual, you might initially avoid foods and drinks that seem to cause discomfort. For example, you feel some dental pain when you drink a hot cup of coffee in the morning or while chewing on a cold apple. While it’s a normal reaction to avoid foods or drinks that lead to pain or discomfort, it’s better to determine the cause of the problem and take steps to improve the health and quality of your teeth.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

- If only a single tooth is sensitive, it could be caused by a cavity. In other cases, the tooth might be cracked. These situations require care from a trained dental professional. You may need to get a filling, a new crown, or a root canal to reduce the tooth sensitivity.

- If many or all of your teeth are sensitive, you may have recently begun consuming increasingly larger amounts of foods or drinks that are high in acid. The acid dissolves the protective enamel of your teeth, exposing the dentin. The tooth’s dentin is sensitive to heat and cold as well as sticky or acidic foods that can trigger pain.

- Teeth whitening treatments can also cause tooth sensitivity.

- Increased stress in your life also can indirectly lead to tooth sensitivity. High stress can cause you to grind your teeth while you sleep. If you suffer from teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, one treatment option may be a special night guard appliance to wear while you sleep.

- Weather changes are another factor to consider. If it starts getting cold suddenly, the cool air you breathe in may trigger teeth pain, especially when enamel has been eroded from your teeth.

Reducing Tooth Sensitivity

- Avoid consuming foods and drinks that are high in acid. For example, citrus fruits and their juices can wear down your teeth’s enamel over time. Taper down your consumption to minimize teeth erosion. Try using a straw when drinking acidic juices in order to minimize their contact with your teeth. Rinse your mouth with water after consuming acidic foods and drinks.

- Start brushing your teeth with the softest available toothbrush. Use gentle motions to brush your teeth to minimize abrading their surfaces.

- You may be interested in switching to a new toothpaste to help you with the discomfort. Select a toothpaste formulated for sensitive teeth. You can find a variety of brands at your local pharmacy or supermarket. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions, particularly paying attention to how long you can use the product. If your teeth are still sensitive after using the special toothpaste, you should contact our office so we can rule out a more serious underlying problem.

What is Gingivitis?

August 1st, 2012

Gingivitis is a type of periodontal disease in which only your gums are affected. Gingivitis, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), is a milder and often reversible type of periodontal disease. However, it can lead to periodontitis -- a more destructive and serious disease -- if proper professional treatment and home care aren't put into place. No tissue damage or irreversible bone damage is present in the gingivitis stage of periodontal disease.

Many people with gingivitis won't experience any discomfort, particularly in its early stage. However, as the bacteria in plaque builds up, it can cause your gums to become inflamed, which may make them red and swollen. You may also experience blood when brushing your teeth, indicates the American Academy of Periodontology.

Causes of Gingivitis

The most common cause of gingivitis occurs when plaque builds up due to inadequate oral hygiene.

Other less common causes of gingivitis include:
* diabetes
* aging
* smoking
* improper nutrition
* hormonal fluctuation
* stress
* pregnancy
* substance abuse
* certain medications
* genetic predisposition

Up to 30 percent of people in the United States may be susceptible genetically to gum disease or are six times more prone to developing gum disease, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. Therefore, if one of your family members has gum disease, it may indicate that you have a higher risk of developing the condition as well. If you are one of these people who are more susceptible to developing gum disease, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings, check-ups, cleanings, and treatments.

Implications of Gingivitis
If gingivitis is left untreated, it can progress to periodontitis. In periodontitis, the bone and inside layer of your gum pulls away from your teeth, allowing small pockets to form. These small pockets are danger zones because they allow bacteria to collect, and can they can then become infected. As periodontitis progresses, these pockets deepen, resulting in even more bone loss and gum tissue damage. Eventually, teeth that were once anchored in place become loose. Tooth loss often follows.

Treatment of Gingivitis
In practically all cases, gingivitis can be reversed, according to the Cleveland Clinic. Treatment includes proper control of plaque, which consists of having a professional teeth cleaning, at least two times a year. It also includes daily teeth brushing, which will eliminate plaque from the surfaces of your teeth. You should also floss daily to remove plaque and food particles from in between your teeth.

Lifestyle and health changes may help decrease the risk of developing gingivitis or reduce its severity or progression. These lifestyle changes include stopping smoking, decreasing your stress, eating a well-balanced diet, and avoiding grinding and clenching of your teeth.

Does Oral Health Affect Your Heart?

July 26th, 2012

Brushing your teeth every day keeps them cleaner, improves your breath, and reduces plaque buildup. But did you know that there may be a connection between your dental health and chronic illness? Some scientific evidence suggests that poor dental health may be linked to cardiovascular disease. Although more research is needed to explore this association, it provides yet another reason to brush your teeth twice per day, floss daily, and visit your dentist regularly.

Over 2,400 people die from cardiovascular disease each day, making it an immense public health problem. Cardiovascular disease occurs when arteries become harder, making it more difficult for blood to easily pass through your circulatory system. Plaques also build up in your blood vessels, further restricting blood flow. Periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, affects nearly 75% of the U.S. population, according to the American Academy of Periodontology. It is a chronic inflammatory condition that can cause bone and gum tissue to deteriorate, causing bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, and loose teeth.

If periodontal disease affects your teeth and cardiovascular disease affects your heart, what’s the connection between the two? Scientists have known for years that the two conditions share several risk factors. Increasing age, cigarette smoking, and type 2 diabetes increase your risk of developing both periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease. None of these risk factors, however, explain the causal mechanism connecting the two conditions.

According to a 2009 review article by the editors of the American Journal of Cardiology and the Journal of Periodontology, one possible explanation is inflammation. Moderate to severe periodontal disease triggers chronic systemic inflammation, affecting not only your mouth but also your circulatory system, leading to cardiovascular disease. Another hypothesis is that bacteria from your mouth can cause heart disease. People with periodontal disease have billions of bacteria and other microorganisms teeming in their mouths. Chewing food and brushing your teeth release these bacteria into the bloodstream. The Harvard Heart Letter reports that the types of bacteria that cause periodontitis have been associated with plaque buildup in your arteries.

Not all scientific findings have shown a relationship between the two conditions. In April 2012, the American Heart Association published a scientific statement in the journal Circulation denying that gum disease causes heart attacks or stroke. The American Dental Association’s Council on Scientific Affairs and the World Heart Federation also endorsed the statement, agreeing that there is no conclusive evidence that the conditions are related. More scientific research needs to be performed to determine the exact relationship between periodontal disease and cardiovascular disease.

Although the scientific evidence has been mixed, periodontal disease can be very harmful to your health even if it does not lead to cardiovascular disease. It is important to reduce your risk of gum disease by careful tooth brushing, frequent flossing, and regular trips to the dentist.

What, exactly, is a root canal?

July 16th, 2012

Our team knows one thing no patient likes hearing when visiting our office is “root canal.” But what, exactly, is a root canal, and when might you need one?

A root canal is a treatment uses to repair and save a tooth that is infected or badly decayed to the point where the nerve is involved. In the past, if a patient had a tooth with a diseased nerve, dentists in most cases would recommend an extraction. Today, however, with a procedure called root canal therapy, available at our office, you may save that tooth—and your beautiful smile—after all!

Here are some symptoms that indicate a decayed or infected tooth, courtesy of WebMD:
• Severe toothache pain upon chewing, biting or application of pressure
• One tooth consistently more sensitive to hot or cold than other teeth
• Pain that hurts without any stimulus, keeps you awake or wakes you up at night
• A tooth that feels loose
• Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
• Pain that persists weeks following a filling or replacement of a filling
• Chronic pain and/or pressure that may extend to the ear, eye or neck

If any of these symptoms apply to you, we recommend you schedule an appointment with us right away.

The best way to avoid a root canal is to practice good oral hygiene at home, and that includes brushing at least twice a day and flossing to reduce plaque and bacteria. For more tips on how to avoid root canal therapy or for general questions about your dental treatment, we invite you to ask us during your next visit to our office! We also invite you to ask us on Facebook!

If I have braces, do I still need a dental checkup every 6 months?

July 10th, 2012

Thanks for the question! Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit our office regularly. When you're wearing braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush normally can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis and even gum disease. Believe it or not, an estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of gum disease. Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care. Our team will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while you're undergoing orthodontic treatment.


If it has been more than six months since your last visit to our office, please give us a call! We look forward to your next visit!


What do your teeth say about your health?

July 10th, 2012



We know your dental health is closely connected to your overall health. We also know the mouth can oftentimes be the first place to indicate signs of health issues in the body. Recently, we found a helpful article that outlined seven warning signs that indicate it might be time to check in with our team.

Flat, worn teeth plus headache (sign of stress)

Grind, grind, grind .... grind. If you live with a teeth grinder, you’re probably familiar with this unpleasant sound. Emotional or psychological stress can definitely contribute to teeth grinding. In addition, headaches, which are caused by spasms in the muscles, can radiate from the mouth and head down to the neck and upper back. Night guards, which we proudly provide at (Insert Name of Practice), may relieve the symptoms, as well as protect your teeth.

Cracking, crumbling teeth (sign of Gastroesophageal reflux disease)

As we age we may notice that the enamel on our teeth starts to chip at the edges of our front teeth or form hollowed out “wells” on the surface of our molars. These symptoms may be a sign of gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which is a chronic digestive disease that occurs when stomach acid—and occasionally, bile—flows back into your food pipe. Other signs and symptoms of GERD include acid reflux, dry mouth and heartburn.

Sores that won’t go away (sign of oral cancer)

More than 21,000 men and 9,000 women are diagnosed with oral cancer annually, according to the National Cancer Institute. Those most affected include the elderly (most are over the age of 60) and smokers. The survival rate for oral cancer is 35 percent. When an open sore in the mouth doesn't go away within a week or two, or when you experience unexplained bleeding or numbness, it’s always a good idea to visit our office so that we may rule out oral cancer. A lot of sores and ulcers may lurk underneath your tongue, where they are difficult to find.

Gums growing over teeth (sign of medication problems)

If you notice your gum growing over your tooth, and you're taking a prescribed or other medication, please give us a call as soon as possible. Certain medications may cause the gums to overgrow; the dosage will need to be adjusted, but it’s important we take a look.

White webbing inside cheeks (sign of Lichen planus)

Lichen planus, whose cause is unknown, is an inflammatory skin disease that usually affects the skin, mouth, or both, according to the Mayo Clinic. On the skin it manifests with small purplish bumps while in the mouth it takes the appearance of a whitish, lacy pattern on the insides of the cheeks. The disease can't be passed from one person to another. Lichen planus may require relatively simple at-home care or no treatment. When symptoms are severe, such as pain or significant itching, please give us a call.

Crusting dentures (sign of pneumonia)

Older folks are known to inhale debris around the teeth and dentures, and inadvertently breathe in other materials into the lungs and airway, causing dangerous (even fatal) inflammation. Be sure to remove and wash dentures on a regular basis.

Independence Day Facts, Tips, and Party invitations!

July 2nd, 2012



It’s hard to believe, but July is already here and half of 2012 has already passed! As July 4th approaches, our team thought it would be fun to share some facts and safety tips for celebrating our country’s independence day.

Fun Facts:
• Betsy Ross, according to legend, sewed the first American flag in May or June 1776, as commissioned by the Congressional Committee.
• The major objection to being ruled by Britain was taxation without representation. The colonists had no say in the decisions of English Parliament.
• The word ‘patriotism’ comes from the Latin patria, which means ‘homeland’ or ‘fatherland.’
• The first public Fourth of July event at the White House occurred in 1804.
• And what could be more fitting than spending the day in a place called “America”? There are five such places in the country, with the most populous being American Fork, Utah, with 21,941 residents. Check out American Fact Finder.

Safety Tips:
• Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
• Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
• Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
• To prevent a trash fire, be sure to douse the spent fireworks with plenty of water from a bucket or hose after fireworks complete their burning and before discarding them.
• Make sure fireworks are legal before buying or using them.

What are your plans this 4th of July? Share them with us! We’d love to hear what you and the rest of the community will be doing to celebrate! (Don’t forget to make sure there are no restrictions on fireworks! Check out this link to see if fireworks might be an issue for you this year.)

Also, check out these 4th of July party invitations, eGreeting cards, and delicious recipes!

July 4th eCard invitations!

Happy Independence Day eCards

Independence Day Recipes

Photo by shawnajean
Photo by shawnajean

2012 Pacific Northwest Dental Conference

June 26th, 2012

This month Dr. Tracy and his team attended the Pacific Northwest Dental Conference, which took place on June 14th and 15th this year at The Washington State Convention & Trade Center. The Pacific Northwest Dental Conference (PNDC) is sponsored by the Washington State Dental Association (WSDA), and offered two days of continuing dental education from over 50 nationally-renowned speakers. In addition to the continuing education, the PNDC holds a dental trade show of more than 350 exhibits. With over 8,000 attendees, the PNDC is the largest gathering of dental professionals in Washington. Dr. Tracy and his team attended numerous education sessions, including specialization in periodontal disease, and classes from Dr. Gordon Christensen. Check out the photos from their time at the Pacific Northwest Dental Conference!

Sealing In Your Child’s Dental Health

June 19th, 2012

Keeping your child’s teeth in the best possible condition will help them maintain optimum oral health for the rest of their lives. When brushing and flossing isn’t enough, we may suggest placing a dental sealant on your child’s teeth. Children who have dental sealants can decrease their chance of tooth decay by 60%! Sealants are a safe, effective way to ensure your child’s dental health for years to come.

Dental sealants work by providing a protective shield over the tiny grooves and depressions found on the chewing surfaces of teeth. While brushing and flossing is still essential even if your child has a sealant, this coating will help vulnerable areas from tooth decay by “sealing out” plaque and food.

If we think a sealant would be a good option for your child, a simple office visit is all it takes. One of our friendly dental hygienists or assistants will thoroughly clean your child’s teeth before applying the white or clear liquid-plastic material to the tooth’s surface. Sealants can protect teeth from decay for up to ten years, but they need to be checked for chipping or wearing at your child’s regular checkups.

Bad Breath is No Good

June 14th, 2012




Bad breath, also called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. You may not even be aware of your own bad breath, so if you’re concerned you may be suffering from it, talk to our team. We can help identify the cause and, if it’s due to an oral condition, develop a treatment plan to treat it.

There are many reasons for bad breath:

• What you eat can also affect the way your breath smells. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, can have a very strong and lasting odor.
• If you don’t brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath, not to mention tooth decay and gingivitis.
• Bad breath can be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor.
• Tobacco products cause bad breath. If you use tobacco, ask us for tips on kicking the habit.
• Bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If this is the case, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause.

The good news is there are many ways to help eliminate bad breath from your life. Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath, so schedule regular dental visits with our office for a professional cleaning and checkup. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque, and don’t forget to brush your tongue, too!

Smile! June is National Smile Month!

June 4th, 2012

Can you believe it’s already June? Today, our team thought we’d tell you June is National Smile Month, and a good time to remind all our patients to practice good oral hygiene between your visits to our office!

Below are a few simple steps you can take to improve your oral health so that you may celebrate National Smile Month for many, many years to come:

* Brush at least twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.

* Floss everyday to clean between your teeth.

* Reduce your intake of sugary foods and drinks

* Visit us regularly!

If you have questions about any of these tips, we encourage you to give us a call, ask our team during your next visit or ask us on Facebook!

Summer is Almost Here- Tips for a Bright, White Smile!

May 30th, 2012

 

Summer is only weeks away, which means a season full of vacations, adventures and great memories is just around the corner for most of our patients. Whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, hitting America’s open roads or just having fun in the backyard this summer, we want to hear all about it! Make sure to let us know what you’re up to as spring winds down and summer begins on our Facebook page!

Everyone wants a glowing and radiant white smile when the sun comes around and we have a few reminders to keep your pearly whites healthy and beautiful over the summer! Try to stay away from drinks that will stain your teeth like coffee, soft drinks or dark colored juices- Not only will drinks like this weaken your enamel but they will also darken that fabulous smile your working on! Another tip is to try and focus on brushing your teeth- everyone knows when busy schedules start picking up, getting a good brushing session in tends to take the backseat! A good tip for keeping your mouth safe from staining and other possible pitfalls is to try and swirl your mouth with water after any meal you can’t fully brush your teeth after- your teeth, inside and out, will benefit!

We also encourage you to post any photos from your adventures!

Wishing you a safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!

May 22nd, 2012

Memorial Day weekend, a time to remember and honor the men and women lost while serving for our country. Memorial Day is also the unofficial start of summer, and for many folks getting out of town for three days after being cooped up in the classroom or the office spells sweet, sweet relief.

What about you? What are you up to this Memorial Day weekend? Whether you are headed to a barbecue, a camping trip, or just hitting the great American open roads, we’d like to hear all about it!

Our entire team wishes you a happy, safe and relaxing Memorial Day weekend!

When Was Your Last Dental Cleaning?

May 15th, 2012

You water the garden three times a week, you change your car's oil every three months, and you replace the batteries in your smoke detectors once a year. Your teeth need to see your dentist on a regular schedule, too.

While daily oral hygiene habits are essential to good oral health, professional dental cleanings at our office ensure your teeth are treated to a deeper level of cleaning. We recommend for most of our patients to have a checkup at least every six months. In addition to a thorough cleaning and polishing of your teeth, these regular visits help us detect and prevent the onset of tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. During your visit, we’ll check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue. We’ll also check old fillings and restorations, as these can wear away over time from constant chewing, grinding, or clenching.

If you are predisposed to oral diseases, you may need to visit our office more often than every six months. Factors at play in these diseases include age, pregnancy, tobacco use, medical conditions (such as diabetes, dry mouth, or HIV infection), along with how well you take care of your teeth on a daily basis.

Make sure your teeth get the professional attention they deserve – If you’re overdue for your next cleaning, check with our office to schedule an appointment!

Patient question: “What should I expect during my first visit?”

May 8th, 2012

Thanks for the question. Your first visit typically includes an x-ray that allows us to view the structure of the jaw, the position of any teeth that have not yet erupted, malformed roots, and tooth decay.

The initial visit also involves getting your medical history. When you share your medical history with us, be sure to provide complete, up-to-date information on your health. Please let us know if you have experienced recent hospitalization or surgery, or if you have recently been ill. Also tell us the names, doses, and frequency of any medications you are taking — whether prescription or over-the-counter products — and the name of your physician. Please also let us know about any changes in your health or medications. This information will us select the most safe and effective method of treatment path for you.

Have any more questions about your first visit? Please give us a call!

May is National Teen Self-Esteem Month!

May 2nd, 2012

At Dr. Robert Tracy’s office, we know image is everything. May happens to be National Teen Self-Esteem Month, and during this time, parents are encouraged to act as positive role models, help stop negative self-images, and improve confidence and security among teenagers.
We know one of the great ways to improve your confidence is to improve your smile. And that begins with a visit to our office. Has your child visited Dr. Robert Tracy in the past six months for his or her regular check-up? We invite you to give us a call to book your appointment!
See you soon!

Doing Our Part to Help the Planet!

April 26th, 2012

We are living in an age with a renewed commitment to conservation, and are frequently reminded to recycle, reduce and reuse. Last Sunday marked Earth Day, so today we thought we would discuss some of the things we do to conserve our natural resources and the environment.

Our office is digitalized, which means we can operate without the use of large amounts of paper and printing materials. The information in our office can be sent and processed digitally, which is also more efficient. We take all of the steps possible to be a 'green' office, making us better for the planet and more convenient for our patients.

We would love to hear how you minimize your impact on the environment. Leave us a comment below or post on our Facebook page!

If I use fluoride toothpaste and the water in my area is fluoridated, do I still need additional fluoride?

April 16th, 2012


Cities have been adjusting the fluoride levels in water since 1964. Since that time, fluoridation has dramatically improved the oral health of tens of millions of Americans. Community water fluoridation is the single most effective public health measure to prevent tooth decay, but you may not be drinking as much fluoridated water as you may think. If bottled or home-purified water is your main source for drinking water, you may be missing out on this extremely safe and effective mineral that prevents tooth decay.

Of course, using toothpaste with the ADA Seal of Approval is a good source of fluoride, but optimal levels of absorption can only be achieved if you use it as directed: brushing twice a day for two to three minutes each time.

At our office, you can receive professionally applied topical fluoride during your next dental checkup. This is extremely important for people who are at high risk for tooth decay, including children, people with less than perfect oral hygiene, people undergoing orthodontic treatment, and people with weakened enamel due to lifestyle choices or genetic factors. If you have any questions regarding fluoride, please feel free to ask us at the office. We want you to have the healthiest smile possible.

Spring is here! Do we have your current contact info?

April 9th, 2012


Spring is in the air! As you probably know, you can always connect with us on our Facebook page, but we invite you to please contact our office with any updates to phone numbers and addresses, so that we may be able to reach you.

We also encourage you to call us and let us know if you have any new phone numbers or if your contact information has changed!

Thank you! Have a great week!

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 2nd, 2012

Visiting our office regularly will not only help keep your teeth and mouth healthy, but will also help keep the rest of your body healthy. The fact is, every hour of every day in the U.S., someone dies of oral cancer, which is the sixth-most common diagnosed form of the disease. The five-year survival rate is only 50 percent, and oral cancer is one of the few cancers whose survival rate has not improved. Since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we would like to take this opportunity to remind all of our patients about the importance of maintaining good oral hygiene.


We are trained to diagnose, treat, and prevent oral health problems. Please let us now if you have any questions about your oral health during your next appointment. Take care of your teeth!

Bad Breath is No Good

March 26th, 2012

Bad breath, also called halitosis, can result from poor dental health habits and may be a sign of other health problems. Bad breath can also be made worse by the types of foods you eat and other unhealthy lifestyle habits. You may not even be aware of your own bad breath, so if you’re concerned you may be suffering from it, talk to our team. We can help identify the cause and, if it’s due to an oral condition, develop a treatment plan to treat it.

There are many reasons for bad breath:

• What you eat can also affect the way your breath smells. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, can have a very strong and lasting odor.
• If you don't brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath, not to mention tooth decay and gingivitis.
• Bad breath can be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia), which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases. Saliva is necessary to cleanse the mouth and remove particles that may cause odor.
• Tobacco products cause bad breath. If you use tobacco, ask us for tips on kicking the habit.
• Bad breath may be the sign of a medical disorder, such as a local infection in the respiratory tract, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment. If this is the case, you may be referred to your family doctor or a specialist to determine the cause.

The good news is there are many ways to help eliminate bad breath from your life. Maintaining good oral health is essential to reducing bad breath, so schedule regular dental visits with our office for a professional cleaning and checkup. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque, and don’t forget to brush your tongue, too!

The Scoop on Dental X-rays

March 19th, 2012

Dental X-rays are an essential and invaluable tool to help assist us in evaluating your oral health. With X-rays, we can see what’s happening beneath the surface of your teeth and gums and identify oral health issues otherwise hidden during a visual exam, including:

• small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing restorations (fillings)
• infections in the bone
• periodontal (gum) disease
• abscesses or cysts
• developmental abnormalities
• types of tumors

If left untreated, these problems can lead to expensive, time-consuming, and painful conditions, so it’s important to find and treat them early.

Dental X-rays are extremely safe, and our team is certified in the proper use of our digital X-ray equipment. The amount of radiation that you are exposed to from dental X-rays is very small compared to your daily exposure from things like atmospheric radiation and naturally-occurring radioactive elements, as well as medical X-rays you may have gotten at your doctor’s office or hospital. In fact our digital system dramatically decreases the already minimal amount of exposure even further. We try to be as conservative as possible when prescribing x-rays but do need them to see what is going on where our eyes can't see.

Connect with us on Facebook!

March 12th, 2012


We will be rolling out our new Facebook Timeline page soon and would love for you to check it out!

You’ll find all the useful information that was there before, but now in a fun, new layout. When you Like us on Facebook, you’ll be able to check out photos of our office, find out about new events and contests, or you can even leave a note about how much you enjoyed your visit at our office. We love hearing your feedback to make our practice serve you and your family even better. To make life even easier, if you “Like” us on Facebook, you’ll automatically receive updates from our office right on your own news feed!

See you on Facebook!

March is National Nutrition Month!

March 5th, 2012

March has arrived, and that can only mean one thing: it’s National Nutrition Month. Every March, Dr. Robert Tracy and thousands of dentists and hygienists celebrate this occasion, and this year is no different. This March, Dr. Tracy and our team want you to think diabetes, obesity and periodontal disease, and how healthful eating and physical activity may improve periodontal health.

Small changes really can make a big difference, and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) has some advice on ways to start improving your diet this March:

Focus on fruits and vegetables: Add a serving each day to one meal and increase it every few weeks. Adding more of these foods into your diet is important whether you buy frozen, fresh or organic.
Think fresh, think local: From farmer’s markets to community-supported agriculture, you have many options to find new, fresh foods in Seattle, WA.
Make each and every calorie count: When you are choosing between options, focus instead on the one with more of the vitamins and nutrients that you need. Sometimes, foods with fewer calories aren’t always the healthiest options.
It’s tempting, but…: If you have a sweet tooth, have fruit and yogurt for dessert. If you crave a snack in the afternoon, enjoy some trail mix or nuts.
Expand your horizons: Try a fish you’ve never eaten before or find a new vegetable recipe. By testing yourself, you might find new healthy favorites to add to your regular grocery list.

If you have additional questions about periodontal disease or keeping yourself and your mouth healthy, please give us a call!

Link: http://www.eatright.org/nnm/

Smoke screen

February 28th, 2012

Everybody knows that smoking causes lung cancer, but did you also know that smokers and tobacco users are susceptible to a variety of oral health problems at a faster rate than non-smokers?

It’s true! Smoking is responsible for almost 75 percent of gum disease in adults; and, similar to smokers, adults who smoke pipes and cigars, as well as those using smokeless tobacco, are just as susceptible to gum disease and other tobacco related health problems.

As soon as you use tobacco products, you become more likely to experience any of these oral health problems:

• Oral cancer
• Gum disease
• Tooth loss
• Loss of bone in the jaw
• Gum recession
• Delayed/impaired healing process after oral surgery or any other treatment
• Decreased success rate of dental implant (tooth replacement) procedures
• Mouth sores
• Loss of your sense of taste and smell
• Bad breath
• Tooth and tongue stains

If you are interested in protecting your oral health, we strongly recommend you quit using tobacco products! The following steps are recommended by the Surgeon General to help you quit smoking and using tobacco:

• Get ready – set a quitting date and remove all materials from your home, car and office
• Get support
• Learn new skills and behaviors
• Get medication and use it correctly
• Be prepared for relapse or difficult situations

For support, start with Dr. Robert Tracy! We can help by recommending different options to help you quit, and above all we will support you throughout the quitting process. We are dedicated to helping you protect your oral health – and quitting smoking is significant step in the right direction.

Cavities – Not Just Kids’ Stuff

February 23rd, 2012

Cavities occur as a result of the destruction of tooth structure, called tooth decay. Tooth decay can affect both the enamel (the outer coating of the tooth) and the dentin (the inner layer of the tooth). While it is very important to brush and floss every day to remove food particles and plaque, regular cleanings and checkups with Dr. Robert Tracy is the best way to help avoid cavities.

Dr. Robert Tracy can discover cavities during your regular dental checkup. The tooth surface feels soft when probed with a dental instrument. X-rays can also show cavities before they become visible to the eye. In advanced stages of tooth decay, you might experience a toothache, especially after consuming sweet, hot, or cold foods or drinks. Other signs of tooth decay are visible pits or holes in the teeth.

Don’t wait for a toothache!

Remember, the longer you wait to treat a cavity, the more extensive your treatment will be. A small cavity can be treated with a filling, while a large cavity that weakens the structure of your tooth may require a crown. If the decay is so bad that it causes the nerve or pulp of the tooth to die, a root canal or tooth removal may be your only options. If you think you may have a cavity, contact us and schedule an appointment. We’ll make sure you leave with a healthy, pain-free smile!

Presidents' Day Fun Facts!

February 17th, 2012


Monday, Feb. 20 marks Presidents’ Day, a day known for celebrating of both George Washington’s and Abraham Lincoln’s combined Birthdays. Presidents’ Day was created in 1971, when President Richard Nixon combined the birthdays of two of our most well-known presidents into one single federal holiday. Presidents' Day also marks a hard-earned day off from work and school for a lot of our patients at Dr. Robert Tracy's office.

Here are a few fun facts about our nation’s presidents:

*Abraham Lincoln, our 16th president, carried letters, bills and notes in his tall stovepipe hat.

*George Washington is the first president to be featured on a postage stamp.

*Ronald Reagan, our 40th president, broke the so-called "20-year curse," in which every president elected in a year ending in zero died in office.

*Abraham Lincoln was the tallest of the U.S. presidents, measuring 6’ 4” tall.

*Virginia is the birthplace of more United States presidents than any other state, followed by Ohio and Massachusetts.

*Harry S. Truman was the first president to have his Inauguration and speeches televised.

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month!

February 10th, 2012

For the past 62 Februaries, the American Dental Association, or ADA, has sponsored National Children's Dental Health Month to raise awareness about the importance of oral health. National Children's Dental Health Month began as a one-day event in 1941 in a Cleveland clinic. In 1981, however, the program was extended to a month-long celebration known today as National Children’s Dental Health Month.

Each February thousands of dental professionals focus on the preventive oral care of America's children. Dr. Robert E. Tracy and our staff want you to remember developing good habits at an early age and scheduling regular dental visits helps children get a good start on a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums. Has your child visited Dr. Tracy in the past six months? If not, it’s time to give us a call and schedule an appointment!

Ask Dr. Tracy: Which mouthwash is right for me?

February 3rd, 2012

While mouthwash is not an alternative to regular brushing and flossing, it can help keep your teeth and gums clean and healthy. There are several different types of mouthwashes available, and all of them will help do different things for your smile. The most common types of mouthwashes are:

Fluoride – fluoride is the most used type of mouthwash available, and is used to strengthen the enamel of the teeth while preventing cavities and tooth decay.
Antiseptic – an antiseptic mouthwash is used to kill bacteria and germs in the mouth. Most commonly used before and after a dental surgery, antiseptic mouthwashes can also help to fight gum disease, and halitosis (chronic bad breath). Antiseptic mouthwashes can affect your sense of taste and may stain the teeth, so it is recommended that you consult your dentist before using this type of mouthwash.
Combination – a combination mouthwash is designed to help prevent tooth decay, freshen the breath, and maintain the health of your smile.
Prescription – for patients with gum disease, or any signs of gum disease, you may need a prescription mouthwash. Prescription mouthwashes, like Peridex of PerioGard, are used to treat gingivitis, and other forms of decay.

There are also many different brands of mouthwash. Some common brands include:
• Scope
• Listerine
• Act
• Crest
• Tom’s of Maine (all-natural)
• Plax (anti-plaque rinse)
• Breath Rx
• Orajel
• Targon (special mouthwash made for smokers)
• Rembrandt (whitening mouthwash)

If you are curious about which kind of mouthwash would work best for you, be sure to ask us at your next appointment. If you have a favorite mouthwash, let us know by posting a comment for others to read!

Dr. Robert Tracy & team

Ask Dr. Tracy: If I have braces, do I still need a dental checkup every 6 months?

January 25th, 2012

Thanks for the question! Yes! In fact, it's even more important that patients receiving orthodontic treatment visit our office regularly. When you're wearing braces, food may be caught in places that your toothbrush normally can't reach. This causes bacteria to build up and can lead to cavities, gingivitis and even gum disease. Believe it or not, an estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of gum disease. Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care. Our staff at Dr. Robert Tracy's office will work closely with your orthodontist to make sure that your teeth stay clean and healthy while you're undergoing orthodontic treatment.

If it has been more than six months since your last visit to our North Seattle office, please give us a call! We look forward to your next visit!

The benefits of dairy, from Dr. Robert Tracy

January 19th, 2012

Dr. Robert Tracy wants to know: Is dairy a major part of your diet? If not, it should be! A study from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) found that regular consumption of dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, can actually lower your chances of contracting periodontal disease (also known as gum disease). Results of the study also showed that adults who consume at least 55 grams of lactic acid a day are less at risk for gum disease.

Cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child's teeth. In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Monterey Jack all stimulate the body's salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect them from acids that weaken them, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque's ph level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child's teeth.

Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection in the mouth that affects the gums and jaw. Gum disease results in a loss of teeth and bone, and has been connected to certain cases of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease and osteoporosis.

Eating dairy is not just healthy for building strong bones, but is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy mouth. Next time you reach for a quick snack, choose some cheese, or a glass of milk, and remember with each bite, and every sip you are preserving your teeth for a lifetime of smiles and good oral health!

For more information about which dairy foods are best for keeping your teeth healthy, please give us a call.

Softly brushing your way to clean teeth

January 13th, 2012

Just as there are so many different types of toothbrushes to choose from, each brush also has a different type of bristle! There are generally three different types of bristles; hard, medium, and soft. Our team at Dr. Robert Tracy's office always recommend that our patients, especially children and seniors, use a soft bristled toothbrush.

Using a hard and medium bristled brush can actually harm your teeth and gums by stripping the enamel from the teeth and irritating the gums so that they become red and sore, and can even cause gum recession. If you do use a hard or medium bristled brush as a personal preference, we recommend using an electric toothbrush.

Soft bristles are much gentler on your teeth and gums, and while patients of all ages are recommended to use soft bristled brushes, they are particularly great for children, seniors, patients recovering from a dental procedure, and patients wearing braces.

Soft bristles, and even extra-soft bristles are every bit as effective when it comes to cleaning your teeth; in fact, if you currently use a hard or medium bristled brush, try a soft bristled brush next time you buy a toothbrush and we bet you won’t even notice a difference!

Happy brushing!

Have you had a check-up lately?

January 3rd, 2012

Even if you brush and floss daily, it is still important to see Dr. Robert E. Tracy every 6 months, or as recommended.

Why?

• We can detect and treat tooth and gum problems that you may have never felt or noticed.
• Even thorough daily oral care may not be enough to prevent cavities and oral decay.
• Frequent visits can allow us to treat a problem early to prevent future complications.

If you are overdue for an appointment with us, please give us a call today!

-- Dr. Tracy & Team

Make 2012 the year to improve your oral health

December 27th, 2011

Many folks in Seattle consider the beginning of a new year a time to not only reflect on the year that was, but also to set personal goals for the upcoming year. How are you planning to improve your health and happiness in 2012? Dr. Robert Tracy and our team recommend that you make a New Year’s resolution to benefit your oral health!

It is important that New Year’s resolutions are reasonable and attainable, and that they improve your overall quality of life—for example, did you know that flossing every day is the very best way to prevent periodontal, or gum, disease? Using a straw when drinking sugary beverages can also help prevent cavities. There are many small steps that you can take to prevent cavities, oral infections and bad breath.

Be sure to give us a call if you need a few suggestions on ways to improve your oral health, or visit this helpful article from our friends at the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). After all, we know your oral health is about more than just a beautiful smile.

Happy New Year!

-Your friends at Dr. Tracy's office

Happy Holidays! From Dr. Tracy's office

December 19th, 2011

With holiday season here, Dr. Robert Tracy and our staff wanted to stop for a moment to say how thankful we are to have you in our dental family. We realize that our practice thrives because of great patients like you. We are the lucky ones because we not only help keep you and your smile healthy, but we also have the pleasure of knowing you and your loved ones.

As always, if you know anyone we can help, just let us know. We promise to give them the same quality care that we have given you over the years.

We hope that this holiday season brings fond memories. Thank you for being part of our family.

Ask Dr. Tracy: What, exactly, is a root canal?

December 12th, 2011

Dr. Robert Tracy knows one thing no patient likes hearing when visiting our office is “root canal.” But what, exactly, is a root canal, and when might you need one? A root canal is a treatment Dr. Tracy uses to repair and save a tooth that is infected or badly decayed to the point where the nerve is involved. In the past, if a patient had a tooth with a diseased nerve, dentists in most cases would recommend an extraction. Today, however, with a procedure called root canal therapy, available at our office, you may save that tooth—and your beautiful smile—after all!

Here are some symptoms that indicate a decayed or infected tooth, courtesy of WebMD:
• Severe toothache pain upon chewing, biting or application of pressure
• One tooth consistently more sensitive to hot or cold than other teeth
• Pain that hurts without any stimulus, keeps you awake or wakes you up at night
• A tooth that feels loose
• Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
• Pain that persists weeks following a filling or replacement of a filling
• Chronic pain and/or pressure that may extend to the ear, eye or neck

If any of these symptoms apply to you, we recommend you schedule an appointment with Dr. Tracy.

The best way to avoid a root canal is to practice good oral hygiene at home, and that includes brushing at least twice a day and flossing to reduce plaque and bacteria. For more tips on how to avoid root canal therapy or for general questions about your dental treatment, we invite you to ask Dr. Tracy during your next visit at our convenient Seattle office! We also invite you to ask us on Facebook!

Share your winter break plans with us!

December 5th, 2011

Dr. Robert Tracy and our team want to know: what do your winter plans look like? Do you have any plans for an exciting family vacation? Are you hanging out around town? Catching up on sleep? Spending time with friends? Let us know!

Please feel free to share your exciting winter plans and experiences with us here or on our Facebook page! We would like to wish all of our patients and their families a safe and fun holiday season!

Your Next Dental Checkup Could Help Detect Heart Issues Early

November 28th, 2011

Dentistry isn’t just about teeth anymore! As Dr. Robert E. Tracy and our team have shared in previous blog posts, oral health issues have been increasingly linked to other health concerns, such as heart disease. Studies are beginning to suggest that patients, especially those with periodontal disease, are believed to have an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. Since most patients are not regularly visiting a heart specialist, their regular visits to our Seattle office can help detect early warning signs of heart issues or disease.

Additionally, if it’s been more than six months since your last visit, give us a call!

Happy Thanksgiving, from Dr. Robert E. Tracy and team!

November 21st, 2011

Dr. Robert E. Tracy and team would like to wish you a safe and happy Thanksgiving. It's a big food holiday, so be careful what you eat! If you have any stories or pictures to share with us, we'd encourage you to post them to our Facebook page or call our office and ask how.

Gobble Gobble!

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month! From Dr. Robert E. Tracy

November 14th, 2011

Dr. Robert E. Tracy and our team know the way you care for your teeth at home doesn’t just affect your oral health – it can impact your overall health as well. In recent years, researchers have found clear links between the mouth and other parts of the body, and the evidence is especially impactful for people with diabetes.

November marks Diabetes Awareness Month, and a great time to learn about how keeping your mouth healthy is vital to your overall health, too. If you are one of the nearly 26 million Americans currently living with diabetes, there is some good news: you can protect your gums and teeth from the effects of diabetes by visiting our Seattle dental office for regular check-ups and cleanings. Most people should have at least two dental appointments per year, but those folks living with diabetes may require additional visits to make sure their dental health remains in top shape. Many insurance plans provide expanded benefits for diabetic patients. Dr. Tracy and our experts can tell you how often you need to come in for your dental visits.

For more information on how we can help, please give us a call or ask us on Facebook!

Emergency Care with Dr. Tracy

November 10th, 2011

At Dr. Robert Tracy's office we know dental emergencies are never convenient or timely. If you are a patient of record, we are committed to your dental health and are more than willing to see you.

We are here to help you, any time, any day, and when your dental health is at risk, we’ll do everything we can to make sure that you’re treated as soon as possible. While dental emergencies are rare, we know they can happen at any moment, and it’s important to know how to take care of your teeth no matter what.

Common dental emergencies include:

• A bitten lip or tongue
• Broken or cracked tooth/teeth
• Broken jaw
• Permanent tooth that has been knocked out
• Object caught between teeth
• Severe toothache

If you have a dental emergency after regular office hours, please give us a call. If you are calling us after hours, please follow the emergency prompts to contact Dr. Tracy. We proudly serve patients from Seattle, WA, among other surrounding communities.

We hope you’re having a great day!

5 tips to avoid plaque, from Dr. Tracy

November 2nd, 2011

At Dr. Robert Tracy's office, we know nobody likes getting plaque on their teeth. Here are five other ways you can avoid that dreaded enemy of the teeth, courtesy of WebMD.

Let’s start with brushing regularly. Brushing your teeth twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste is vital to a healthy mouth. Make sure you softly brush all the surfaces of your teeth.

Next on the list is flossing daily: a simple daily flossing between teeth clears away plaque before it can cause damage and can also clean plaque at the gum line. Plaque is known to reach the spaces between teeth.

Also, evading a trip to visit Dr. Tracy is probably not a great idea. Let’s say you brush and floss daily. You’re still at risk for plaque. With time, the plaque hardens and turns into tartar. Consider visiting Dr. Tracy's office at least twice a year or as recommended, and you have a lower chance of getting cavities or losing your natural teeth.

You’ll also want to stop avoiding those fruits and veggies. Believe it or not, there are foods out there that play a key role in keeping plaque off our teeth. They include apples, carrots, cucumbers and other raw fruits and vegetables. You can still eat these types of fruits and veggies if you’re wearing braces, but be sure to cut them up into bite sized pieces to avoid breaking off brackets.

Finally, before you pick up that candy bar, remember to not give in to your sweet tooth. Consuming sugary drinks or eating candy or other junk food allows sugar to stick to our teeth. The bacteria, then, becomes plaque, which turns into acid and damages our teeth. Avoiding these five bad habits keeps your plaque in check and your mouth as healthy as can be. If you have any questions, give us a call or ask us on Facebook!

Smile! October is National Dental Hygiene Month!

October 26th, 2011

Did you know that October is National Dental Hygiene Month? For our staff at Dr. Robert Tracy's office, that means only one thing: Reminding you that your teeth are an important part of your body, and keeping them clean helps keep your mouth and your body healthy. By taking care of your teeth, eating a balanced diet and visiting our convenient Seattle, WA office on a regular basis, you can have healthy teeth and an attractive smile throughout your entire life.

We encourage you to check out the American Dental Association website as well, which provides pointers on keeping your mouth clean and healthy. Lastly, has it been six months since your last visit to Dr. Tracy's office? If the answer is yes, we encourage you to give us a call to set up an appointment with Dr. Tracy.

Cold season is here, from Dr. Tracy

October 21st, 2011

Cold and flu season is here - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that a common cold usually includes sneezing, runny nose, sore throat and coughing. Symptoms can last for up to two weeks.

To promote a healthy and clean environment, Dr. Robert Tracy and our entire staff give a great deal of attention to sanitation and sterilization in our Seattle, WA office at all times, as well as following all requirements for sterilizing instruments and work surfaces. For the protection of other patients and our staff at Dr. Tracy's office, we always ask that patients reschedule their appointments if they have any type of cold or illness that can infect others.

And remember to constantly wash your hands and avoid contact with those who are ill! Stay healthy!

Ask Dr. Tracy: How to ease dental fears in children

October 13th, 2011

Dr. Robert E. Tracy knows that many children have fear when it comes to visiting the dentist. Our team found a great article on how to help kids overcome fears of the dentist, courtesy of our friends at WebMD.

Making your child feel comfortable when they visit Dr. Tracy is a huge reason to take your child to a pediatric dentist instead of a regular dentist. Dr Tracy and his team excel at making children feel comfortable visiting the dentist. In fact, most of our patients look forward to their next visit!

Has your child visited us in the last six months? If not, it’s time to schedule an appointment!

Dr. Tracy asks: are there teeth grinders in your house?

October 7th, 2011

Grind, grind, grind. If you live with a teeth grinder, you may be familiar with this unpleasant sound, especially recently. A recent study published in the journal Head & Face Medicine suggests that people—adults and kids—faced with stress tend to cope by grinding their teeth. In addition, the Chicago Dental Society suggests that since the recession began in 2007, teeth grinding, or bruxism, has been on the rise.

The Chicago Dental Society surveyed more than 250 members about the connection between stress and oral health. Nearly 75 percent of dentists said their patients reported increased stress over the past year, largely due to the economic recession. During stressful times, teeth grinding can be a nuisance that causes headaches and sleep problems, but it also can cause lasting problems for your teeth and gums, including chipped teeth, worn enamel, chronic pain, or even TMJ, a painful jaw disorder.

The first step of recovering from teeth grinding is noticing the problem, says Dr. Tracy. Symptoms of teeth grinding include:

• Sensitivity in the teeth
• Tightness or pain in the jaw
• Dull headaches, earaches, or facial pain
• Chipped, worn down, or loose teeth

An important thing to remember is that people frequently grind their teeth in response to stress, and taking measures to reduce or eliminate stress can help solve the problem. If the teeth-grinder in your house can’t stop, schedule an appointment to see us by giving us a call. Dr. Tracy and our team can help determine the cause of the problem.

Friday fun facts, from Dr. Tracy

September 30th, 2011

Everyone loves fun facts and dental tips. Fun, fun, fun! Dr. Robert Tracy and our team at the office came across these dental fun facts recently and thought you might enjoy!

• The second most common disease in the United States is cavities. The first is the common cold.
• There are almost 9,000 accidental pockings and piercings with toothpicks per year.
• X-rays may be an effective tool in preventing strokes.
• A child will have 20 baby teeth by the time he or she is 2 years old. Through childhood, kids gradually lose baby teeth and grow 32 permanent teeth, including wisdom teeth.
• According to consumer reports, dentists are among the 5 most trusted professionals in the United States.
• Approximately $2 billion a year is spent on dental products like toothpastes, mouthwashes and dental floss.
• The average American spends about 38 days brushing teeth over his or her lifetime.
• Kids in North America spend half a billion dollars per year on chewing gum.
• Approximately 94 percent of Americans say they brush nightly while only 81 percent say they brush first thing in the morning.
• Grand Rapids, MI was the first American city to fluoridate its water.
• Earliest record of a toothbrush was found in Chinese literature about 1600 AD
• The natural bristles of early toothbrushes were taken from the necks and shoulders of swine, especially pigs living in colder climates like Siberia and China.

Manual vs. Electric Toothbrushes: What’s the Difference?

September 23rd, 2011

Everybody is jumping on the electric toothbrush bandwagon in recent years, with many experts in the dental field claiming electric toothbrushes provide superior dental care. It’s true that electric toothbrushes are recommended for those who can’t do a good job brushing manually or who have arthritis or other conditions. But manual toothbrushes do have some advantages, according to an article we recently found including:

• Cost. While electric toothbrushes may be expensive for many people, manual toothbrushes are both inexpensive and accessible.

• Less pressure on your teeth & gums. While we can feel the amount of pressure we’re using as we grasp our manual toothbrush, we can’t feel the pressure nearly as well with an electric toothbrush. Placing too much pressure on our teeth can wear away at the tooth enamel, which causes pain, sensitivity, as well as an increased risk of tooth decay.

• Simple to pack. Manual toothbrushes are easy to carry around for those business or family trips. People are less likely to let their good dental care habits lapse on vacation with a toothbrush that they can easily bring along!

• Better for kids. Learning at a young age how to properly use a manual toothbrush helps children get a feel for how to properly take care of their oral hygiene.

Electric toothbrushes, on the other hand, are more effective in removing plaque and are considered a better alternative to maintaining gum health. Remember, whether you choose a manual or an electric toothbrush, Dr. Robert Tracy and our team encourage you to choose one with soft bristles and be sure to change the bristles on the electric brush when they become worn down. We also encourage you to replace your toothbrush every three months, when the bristles are no longer straight and firm or after you recover from a cold.

Give us a call at Dr. Tracy's office if you have any questions or ask us on Facebook!

Happy brushing!

Your oral health and overall health

September 16th, 2011

Don’t put off your next visit to Dr. Robert Tracy's office any longer! Over the years, oral health issues have been increasingly linked to other health concerns, such as heart disease. Cardiovascular disease remains American’s number one killer, claiming more lives than any other cause of death, according to the American Heart Association. Believe it or not, an estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of gum disease. Studies have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, underscoring the importance of good oral health care, both at home and by visiting the dentist.

Studies are also beginning to suggest that patients, especially those with periodontal disease, are believed to have an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke. Since most patients are not regularly visiting a heart specialist, their regular visits to Dr. Tracy's office can help detect early warning signs of heart issues, prevent gum disease or at least catch it in its early stages.

Additionally, if it’s been more than six months since your last visit to our Seattle, WA office, please give us a call!

Five great snacks for kids

September 9th, 2011

At Dr. Robert E. Tracy's office, we know getting kids and teens to eat healthy isn’t always an easy task, especially when they’re busy with school and other school- and social-related activities. At the school cafeteria, it's just too easy for kids to nosh on french fries, chicken nuggets and other fried foods and unhealthy snacks, so Dr. Tracy and our team thought we’d pass along five delicious and nutritious snacks we know your child will love.

1. Cheese – Cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child's teeth. In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheese stimulates the body's salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect them from acids that weaken them, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque's ph level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child's teeth.

2. Blueberries These tiny nutritional powerhouses are loaded with Vitamin C, as well as folic acid, minerals, fiber and disease-fighting phytochemicals, which have shown to help prevent cancer and diabetes. Kids love them sprinkled with a bit of sugar, topped with whipped cream, added to muffins and pancakes.

3. Whole wheat bread or cereal With bread, kids get their iron, vitamins, magnesium, and zinc. With vitamins, calcium, and fiber, a bowl of enriched whole grain cereal with milk—and even fruit—is a power-packed snack or healthy start to the day.

4. Almonds They’re rich in disease-fighting phytochemicals and Vitamin E, and also have good amounts of fiber, iron, and calcium. Let your kids eat them raw. (Note: Whole nuts are a choking hazard for children under 3 years old.)

5. Yogurt Eating dairy is not just healthy for building strong bones, but is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy mouth. Low-fat yogurt is an excellent source of calcium, especially when whipped up in a parfait with berries and granola. Homemade fruity yogurt pop sure beats sugary store-bought frozen treats!

We encourage you to check out the other 15 healthy snacks your child can enjoy at any time of the day! For more information about which foods are best for keeping your teeth healthy, please post your question here on our blog, give us a call or ask us on Facebook!

The trouble with bottled water

September 1st, 2011

Our team at Dr. Robert E. Tracy's office knows that as more families turn to bottled water and away from the traditional tap, they may be missing out on one important ingredient that most brands of bottled water fail to include: fluoride!

For more than 60 years, water fluoridation has proved to be a safe and cost-effective way to reduce dental caries. Today, water fluoridation is estimated to reduce tooth decay by 20- to 40 percent in children who have access to fluoridated toothpaste.

Bottled water, however, which remains one of the more popular drinks in the world, may not contain any fluoride, which is known to help prevent and even reverse the early stages of tooth decay. The majority of bottled waters on the market do not contain optimal levels (0.7-1.2 ppm) of fluoride, according to our friends at the American Dental Association, or ADA. Many dental health specialists suspect bottled water’s increased popularity as the culprit behind rising rates of cavities.

Because fluoride helps strengthen teeth, it is an important component of maintaining good oral health. So if bottled water is your water of choice, be sure to check the label to make sure that your brand contains fluoride. As of a 2006 decision, the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, allows bottled water containing .6 to 1.0 milligrams per liter (parts per million) of fluoride to carry a label stating that fluoridated water may reduce the risk of dental cavities or tooth decay. The ADA has backed this decision.

Of course, simply drinking fluoridated water is not a magic ticket to perfect teeth. To keep your pearly whites in tip-top shape, it’s important to brush and floss daily and avoid sugary sweets, in addition to maintaining your fluoride intake and visiting Dr. Tracy and our team at the office regularly.

All about baby teeth

August 26th, 2011

At Dr. Robert Tracy's office, we know teething patterns vary greatly from child to child—some don’t have any teeth by their first birthday, while others have a mouthful by then. Experts, however, including our friends at the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, do recommend that children have their teeth checked by their first birthdays.

Your child will have 20 baby teeth, which will later be replaced by permanent teeth. A baby's first tooth can come in as early as 3 months or as late as 1 year of age, however primary teeth usually begin to break through the gums when a child is about 6 months old. Most kids have all of their primary teeth by the time they are 3 years old.

The most important thing is not to worry if your toddler’s pearly whites don’t look perfect as they come in—baby teeth come in all shapes, sizes, and slants. Teeth generally appear one at a time over a period of months, and often—but not always—in this order: First the bottom two middle teeth, then the top two middle ones, then the ones along the sides and back. (They may not all come in straight, but don't worry—they usually straighten out over time.) Besides crooked teeth, your child may experience crowded or spaced-out teeth, missing teeth, supernumerary (too many) teeth and even discolored teeth.

If you have any questions about your toddler’s teeth, or if your child is experiencing issues that concern you, please give us a call to set up an appointment with Dr. Tracy. Or, we invite you to ask us on Facebook!

A great article about changes in dentistry

August 18th, 2011

The world around us is always changing and evolving, whether it’s the latest gadget you ordered online or the high-tech braces on your teeth! Recently, we read an article in the New York Times about dental implants, and how they are becoming increasingly favored over bridges to replace lost teeth. One thing to remember about dental implants is that they need to be cared for just like your regular teeth; daily brushing and flossing are a must!

Call us today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Robert Tracy to discuss your implant options.

-Dr. Tracy and team

Flossing with Dr. Tracy

August 12th, 2011

We hope you are not a part of the 51 percent of Americans who don’t floss every day. And we definitely hope you're not part of the 10 percent who never floss at all. Dr. Robert Tracy and our staff at the office will always tell you that proper flossing is just as important for your dental health as brushing regularly. Flossing, you see, cleans food and plaque that builds up between teeth and below the gumline, key areas that brushing simply cannot reach.

Flossing 3-to-5 minutes each day is recommended, but even 60 seconds of flossing has a great benefit over not flossing at all. Also, make sure to always brush your teeth after you floss, and to rinse with water or mouthwash. When you begin flossing you may experience gum pain or bleeding, but with daily flossing and brushing this should stop within a week or so.

Lastly, has it been at least six months since your last checkup with Dr. Tracy? If the answer is yes, we encourage you to schedule an appointment!

You, your child and cavities, from Dr. Tracy

August 4th, 2011

Our team at Dr. Robert Tracy's office read an interesting article this afternoon pertaining to cavities and how bacteria spreads from parents to children, and thought we'd share the news with you, our valued patients and parents.

According to the MSNBC article, Streptococcus mutans, or MS, is a bacterium that can pass from person to person through the transfer of saliva, and is the main culprit. Bacteria have been known to spread through blowing on babies' foods, sharing household utensils and even kissing your little one. In fact, a 2008 pediatric dentistry study showed “strong evidence demonstrated that mothers are a primary source of MS colonization of their children; a few investigations showed other potential sources … notably fathers.”

Dr. Tracy knows tooth decay is caused by a combination of factors, including the transfer of infectious saliva, genetics, oral hygiene, and feeding practices, such as letting your baby constantly suck on a sippy cup full of juice or milk or other sugar-laden liquids.

Dr. Tracy would like for you to read the article and learn a bit more about the transmission of bacteria and how it might impact your child. If you have any questions about bacteria or your treatment at Dr. Tracy's office, please feel free to give us a call!

Smile, and you might just live longer!

July 26th, 2011

Folks with big smiles may actually live longer than those who don’t, according to a March 2010 study at Michigan’s Wayne State University. Dr. Robert Tracy has known for quite some time that positive emotion has been linked to both physical and mental health, but researchers at the university did something quite interesting: they looked at photos of 230 ball-players who began their careers in baseball prior to 1950 and studied their smile intensity (ranging from big smile, no smile or partial smile). The players' smile ratings were compared with data from deaths that occurred from 2006 through 2009. The researchers then took into account other factors that impact life longevity, including body mass index, career length and even college attendance.

The results? Researchers found that players who weren't smiling in the photos died at the average age of 72.9 years. Players with partial smiles lived to be 75. Those with big smiles, however, lived on average to be 79.9 years old.

The take-away from the study? Smile now, smile often and you might just live longer! Have you been perfecting your smile by visiting Dr. Tracy's office on a regular basis? If not, give us a call!

Vending machine or cavity dispenser?

July 20th, 2011

Vending machines are a quick way to satisfy hunger. You put in $1.50 and you get back a candy bar, bag of chips or even a soda…but that’s not all! Dr. Robert Tracy wants to remind you that vending machines not only dispense sweet treats and caffeine bursts, but they also dispense cavities!

Every time you chow down on that chocolate bar the bacteria in your mouth have a party feasting on the sugar. The sugar quickly turns into acid; that’s right, ACID!!! The acid sits on your teeth and eats away at the tooth’s natural enamel (the stuff that protects your tooth from decay). When this enamel is eaten away by the acid on your tooth, you get a cavity! Brushing your teeth after eating a sugary treat can help prevent cavities; but before you indulge, remind yourself: “can’t brush? Hold the sugar!”

When choosing a snack, consider these nutritional options that will not only satisfy your hunger and that “sweet tooth,” but won’t cause acid build up resulting in cavities:

• Fresh Fruits (berries, oranges, melon, pears, etc)
• Raw Vegetables (broccoli, celery, carrots, etc)
• Bread
• Pretzels (low salt)
• Milk (low or non-fat)
• Cheese (low or non-fat)
• Nuts and seeds (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc)
• Sliced meat

If you would like more advice about how you can prevent cavities, give Dr. Tracy's office a call or ask Dr. Tracy during your next appointment.

Which toothbrush should my child use?

July 14th, 2011

Dr. Robert Tracy will tell you that brushing your teeth is one of the easiest methods of cavity prevention. But which type of toothbrush should your child use? When choosing a toothbrush, look for round-ended (polished) bristles that clean while being gentle on the gums. Choose one that is specifically designed for children's smaller mouths and hands. Also, look for large handles that can help children control the toothbrush. Lastly, throw out a toothbrush after three months or sooner if the bristles are fraying. Frayed bristles can harm your gums, and are not as effective in cleaning teeth.

As far as which toothpaste is best? It doesn't matter as long as it has fluoride in it. However, for small children who tend to swallow toothpaste, do not use fluoridated toothpaste. Make sure to touch each tooth and every side of that tooth. Also, you do need to gently brush on your gums.

To learn more about choosing the right toothbrush and toothpaste for your child, we encourage you to read this helpful article from Parenthood.com. Or, you may give us a call and we'll try to answer any question you may have about keeping your child's mouth as healthy as possible!

Ask Dr. Tracy: What’s so bad about nail biting?

July 7th, 2011

We’ve all heard that biting your nails is an awful habit, but you may wonder- really- what’s so bad about it? Recently, our team at the office of Dr. Robert Tracy found an interesting article that discusses how biting your nails affects your teeth and oral health.

Nail biting, also known as Onychophagia, is a common habit among various age groups, including primarily children, teens and young adults. Nail biting is generally triggered by stress and most often decreases with age. That being said, nail biting is unsanitary, unattractive, as well as unhealthy for your teeth!

Here’s why:

It’s unsanitary. Your nails are dirty, almost twice as dirty as your fingers! Hence, biting your nails is just asking for germs and bacteria.
No good things come to your teeth. Nail biting causes your teeth to constantly be chewing, which is not good for them. This excessive motion wears your teeth down faster than a non-nail biter’s and puts a large amount of stress on your front teeth- contributing to teeth misalignment.
Braces don’t love it either. Braces already put pressure on teeth, nail biting ads unnecessary pressure, further stressing your teeth and weakening their roots.
It can be costly. Nail biting can result in up to $4,000 in additional dental bills over one lifetime, according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Yikes!

What can you do about it?

Now that you know how harmful nail biting can be, it’s time to take action to break your nail biting habit. Try to be conscious of your fingernails and to keep them looking good- this will help you resist the temptation. Ask Dr. Tracy or visit the article for tips on how to break a nail biting habit.

Good luck!

Your friends at Dr. Tracy's office

The office of Dr. Tracy wants to know: What are your 4th of July plans?

July 1st, 2011

This coming Monday, July 4th, is Independence Day and the United States of America will be turning 235 years old! It’s a day to commemorate the signing of the Declaration of Independence and also a time for every American to pay homage to our soldiers, past and present, who have placed themselves in harm’s way so that we may continue to enjoy our freedom.

Dr. Tracy and team will be celebrating this Monday and we would like to know, what are your plans for the 4th of July? Will you be out in the sun? Have you stocked up on fireworks? Are you going to grill up your favorite summer foods? Are you staying in town or heading somewhere else? If you have a 4th of July tradition, we would love to hear about it.

Whatever you plan to do, Dr. Tracy's office hopes you have a fun and safe holiday! Feel free to upload your 4th of July photos to our Facebook page and let us know how your Independence Day turned out this year.

Summer reading with Dr. Tracy

June 22nd, 2011

With a lot of your patients traveling this summer or grabbing some much-needed R&R on the hammock or at the beach, some of us at Dr. Tracy's office wanted to remind everyone about the importance of reading. Dr. Tracy is an avid reader. He loves books about history. Here are a few of his  recommendations for summer reads:

  • - The Wealth and Poverty of Nations by David Landes
  • - The Discovers by Daniel Boorstin
  • - and The Creators by Daniel Boorstin

We wish everyone a safe and fun filled summer. Don't forget, we are taking the first two weeks in August off for vacation. Dr. Tracy will be attending his office manager's wedding in Scotland. At this time, we will have another Seattle doctor on call to handle emergencies. Please try to schedule your appointments before August if you have any special concerns.

Moooooove over gum disease!

June 17th, 2011

Dr. Tracy wants to know: Is dairy a major part of your diet? If not, it should be! A study from the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP) found that regular consumption of dairy products, such as milk, cheese and yogurt, can actually lower your chances of contracting periodontal disease (also known as gum disease). Results of the study also showed that adults who consume at least 55 grams of lactic acid a day are less at risk for gum disease.

Cheese is one of the healthiest snacks for your child's teeth. In addition to providing large amounts of much-needed calcium, cheese also does its part to fight cavities. Cheddar, Swiss, Mozzarella, and Monterey Jack all stimulate the body's salivary glands to clear the mouth of debris and protect them from acids that weaken them, according to the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry. This means cheese disrupts the development of cavities, especially when eaten as a snack or at the end of a meal. Calcium and phosphorous found in cheese reduce or prevent decreases in the plaque's ph level and work to re-mineralize the enamel of your child's teeth.

Gum disease is caused by a bacterial infection in the mouth that affects the gums and jaw. Gum disease results in a loss of teeth and bone, and has been connected to certain cases of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease and osteoporosis.

Eating dairy is not just healthy for building strong bones, but is essential for maintaining a strong, healthy mouth. Next time you reach for a quick snack, choose some cheese, or a glass of milk, and remember with each bite, and every sip you are preserving your teeth for a lifetime of smiles and good oral health!

For more information about which dairy foods are best for keeping your teeth healthy, please give us a call.

June is National Smile Month!

June 10th, 2011

Did you know that the average person brushes for 37 seconds? And that only 20% of people floss daily? June is National Smile Month and according to a 2011 poll conducted by the American Dental Association, a person's smile outranked eyes, hair and body as the most important physical feature.

To preserve your most important feature during the summer months, Dr. Tracy reminds patients to brush and floss twice a day. It is recommended that you brush each tooth for ten seconds or for a total of 2 minutes. Take your floss with you in the shower, or floss when you are watching tv! According to some of our patients, it's easier to floss when it's a secondary task to something else. Remember, flossing is more important than brushing!

Keep that smile healthy and beautiful!

Understanding cavities

June 3rd, 2011

One word nobody wants to hear when they visit the dentist is Cavity! That’s right, the dreaded cavity; but what exactly is a cavity and how do you get one? A cavity is a hole that develops in a tooth when the tooth begins to decay. It’s important to get a cavity filled as soon as it’s detected so that it does not grow bigger.

So, what causes a cavity? A cavity is caused by plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the tooth as a result of germ and bacteria build-up. Plaque is acidic and as it clings to your teeth the acids eat away the outside of the tooth (also called the enamel) and a hole is formed.

Yes, cavities can be repaired by your dentist, but here are a few simple steps you can take to prevent cavities:

• Brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste at least twice daily
• Gently brush your gums to keep them healthy (when choosing a toothbrush it is recommended to use soft bristles)
• Floss your teeth at least once a day to remove plaque and food that may be caught between the teeth where your toothbrush can’t reach
• Limit the amount of soda and sugary treats you eat/drink
• Be sure to visit your dentist every six months for a teeth cleaning and check-up

Your summer smile questions, answered!

May 25th, 2011

Summer is just around the corner, which for many people means vacations, baseball season, days spent at the beach, and fun in the sun. It also means that our hygiene schedule is filling up fast! To accommodate the busy schedules of our patients, Dr. Tracy is offering extra hygiene days on June 9th, June 28th, July 19th and July 26th. We will be taking off the first two weeks in August, during which time, we will have another doctor on call for emergencies.

It’s important to take special precautions to prevent facial injuries and preserve your healthy smile for a lifetime. That’s why Dr. Tracy and our team wanted to answer a few of the common questions that we often receive from patients and their parents during the summer months.

How can I help prevent my teeth from becoming chipped or broken while I play sports this summer?

As summer sports and activities begin, we want to remind our younger patients of the importance of sports guards. They can protect your teeth from becoming chipped and or broken, a lot of the time when a sports injury occurs, the tooth eventually has to be pulled because the nerve dies. You can prevent this with a sports guard! Starting June 1st, we are offering our sports guards for only $250.00, as an incentive to play safe.

If I’m hit in the mouth, and a tooth gets knocked out, what can/should I do? What should I do if I am injured on a weekend when the office is closed?

If you are hit in the mouth and a tooth gets knocked out, chipped or broken you should immediately find the piece of tooth and put it in milk, then call our office to come in. If it is after hours our answering machine will have a number you can call. Your tooth can be saved.

Are sports drinks bad for my teeth? What can I drink to stay hydrated and keep my teeth healthy?

Sports drinks are very bad for your teeth, we have seen many young people with massive amounts of decay with no explanation, we recently have found it is linked to sports drinks. They are full of sugar and are very unhealthy. As an alternative, we encourage patients to choose water or drinks sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol is a sweetener that is actually good for your teeth and prevents cavities. You can find xylitol at Trader Joes and most supermarkets.

Remember: If you have any further questions, please feel free to comment below and we will return them as promptly as possible. Please contact our office to schedule your next hygiene appointment with Dr. Tracy!

Ask Dr. Tracy: If you weren’t a Dentist, what would you be?

May 18th, 2011

Dr. Tracy loves keeping his patients' teeth healthy and sparkling! He enjoys getting to know our patients on a personal level, and creating a positive dental experience for everyone who visits our office. But we thought we’d ask him what profession he would pursue if it wasn’t for dentistry. There were actually a few professions that came to the top of Dr. Tracy's mind.

While he would surely miss all of our patients, if Dr. Tracy wasn't a dentist, he would love to be a golf pro. He has always enjoyed the game. Dr. Tracy would also enjoy being a history teacher or a crossword puzzle writer. He is very patient, enjoys teaching others, and does crossword puzzles everyday! Whenever someone is looking for Dr. Tracy, we can usually find him in his office doing a crossword.

Today, we would also like to ask you, our wonderful patients: Is there a profession or a job you've always wanted? Which job would you like to experience, if only for a day? Feel free to share your responses here, on our Facebook page or at your next appointment. Have a great day!

Staff Spotlight: Welcome Lily to Dr. Tracy's office!

May 13th, 2011

Dr. Tracy and our team are excited to welcome Lily Chen as a new hygienist at our office. Lily is a joy to have as a part of our dental team. She has two children and enjoys kayaking.

Our whole office attended the Seattle Study Club this Friday, May 13th. The topic was growth and goal setting, we all enjoyed the opportunity to learn together.

Easing your fears of the dentist

May 3rd, 2011

While we strive to offer the very best dental experience for all our patients, our office realizes that many people still suffer from dental phobia. Dr. Robert Tracy has the experience and expertise to treat patients from various dental backgrounds. He uses his patience and kindness to help our patients work through their fears.

In one particular situation, Dr. Tracy treated a severely phobic patient who had multiple root canals, crowns and other various restorations. After three years of working with this patient, she decided she wanted to become a dental assistant—and she has been a dental assistant for 20 years.

For patients who need extra comfort and relaxation during their dental visit, we have medications available that can decrease anxiety. These medications can work wonders! We often find that patients only need the medication once before they realize we are here to make them feel better—not worse.

At Dr. Tracy's office we know that each person is different and unique, which is why we often encourage patients to bring in a pillow, iPod or anything that will help you feel more comfortable. Please let our team know if there's anything we can do to better serve you on a personal level.

Dr. Robert Tracy, taking steps to reduce our environmental impact

April 26th, 2011

We are living in an age with a renewed commitment to conservation, and are frequently reminded to recycle, reduce and reuse. At Dr. Tracy's office we have been commited to conservation for many years. We are avid recyclers and have been actively trying to get our supply companies to reduce the amount of waste in packaging. Dr. Tracy and other companies are using biodegradable plastics and other items. Our office also chooses washable mugs for tea and coffee in our waiting room, rather than plastic or styraphoam. We have come a long way.

In the last few years, our office has gone digital and severely reduced our paper waste with electronic charting and email reminders. We no longer use chemicals for developing x-rays on a daily basis, since our x-ray system is also digital.

We are continuely trying to come up with ideas to lessen our ecological footprint. Please feel free to share any ideas you may have for our office or what you do to stay green. You can leave your response here or comment on our Facebook page.

April is National Facial Protection Month

April 18th, 2011

Since April is National Facial Protection Month, Dr. Tracy is offering $75.00 off customized sports guards. We encourage patients to use facial protection while participating in spring sports. According to the National Youth Sports Safety Foundation, children, high-school athletes and adults will have more than 5,000,000 teeth knocked out in sporting events this year.

It is important for young people to take precautions now. Protective gear is vital for anyone engaging in tooth or mouth-threatening activities. These are the teeth you will have for the rest of your life!

Ask Dr. Tracy: How do you accommodate a child with special needs?

April 12th, 2011

Patients with special needs, conditions and disabilities deserve a dental professional that is experienced and willing to work with them to create a comfortable, relaxing environment. When Dr. Tracy purchased the pediatric office next door, we had a lot of patients with disabilities join our practice.

Dr. Tracy is very patient and kind, which really helped create a smooth transition. Patients are now comfortable and confident in our office.

We encourage parents to ask any questions whilst they are in the office. You can also give us a call if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule a consultation with Dr. Tracy. We look forward to serving your family!

Your first dental visit with Dr. Tracy

April 5th, 2011

Although Dr. Tracy is not a pediatric dentist, he has always been excellent with children. In 2005, he purchased the pediatric practice next door, and most of the patients stayed as active patients.

Dr. Tracy's patients prove that he can handle almost any case. We have other doctor's offices call and refer children to us to this day. We find that if you take a conservative approach and let the child get to know you, on their terms, that you can build a very successful relationship. It is important for children to get to know the sights, sounds and smells of the dental office before their first visit, so feel free to bring your kids in with you and we will play with the toys, they can sit on your lap or just watch you get your teeth cleaned. From 2 to 102, our office welcomes patients of all ages!

Today, Dr. Tracy and our dental team would like to share a few of their first experiences at the dentist:

Julie, our office manager, has always loved going to the dentist. Dr. Tracy has been her dentist her whole life. She used to beg Dr. Tracy for braces and wanted to come in for a cleaning every couple of months.

Dr. Tracy says he got his first cavitiy when he was 13 years old. He remembers the feeling of being numb because his brothers teased him for talking weird.

Kathy, our front desk assistant, used to go to the dentist a lot as a child, but was never afraid. She enjoyed visiting the dentsit even though she needed to be given a shot.

Laurie, our Monday and Tuesday dental assistant, loved going to the dentist and only has one small filling. Her pediatrician and dentist growing up were brothers. She was a star patient.

Miychell, our Wednesday and Thursday assistant, was a little fearful as a child but has had good experiences as she grew up that changed her mind about dentistry.

What sets our office apart

March 29th, 2011

Over the last 34 years, Dr. Tracy has worked hard to establish and maintain his dental practice, while gaining trust and respect from patients and our Seattle community. Dr. Tracy has learned that it's important for him to be himself, and come to work with a positive attitude. The patients we see everyday are also friends.

Dr. Tracy knows that patients feel a sense of security when they are comfortable and casual in our office. While the latest dental treatments are helpful for some, we always make treatment recommendations based on what is best for each patient. We enjoy staying updated on our patients' personal lives because we truly enjoy our friendships with all of them.

Dr. Tracy and team welcome Lily to the practice of Robert E. Tracy

March 21st, 2011

Dr. Tracy is excited to share that Graham's orthodontic practice in Monroe is picking up! We are so glad for him, however, this does mean he will be coming in less to do hygiene for us. We will miss him!

To replace hygiene hours, Lily Chen will be working Mondays. She worked with Dr. Tracy and our team last fall. We've received compliments about Lily's techniques, and we're so happy that she will be joining our team. Be sure to say "hello" to Lily the next time you're in the office! As always, please give us a call if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule your next appointment at our office.

Dr. Robert Tracy, Your Seattle Dentist and NCAA Enthusiast!

March 16th, 2011

A University of Washington School of Dentistry alumnus, Dr. Robert Tracy is very excited about this year's NCAA tournament! Our team has a pool going about who will win, and we all fill out the tournament brackets. March Madness is a lot of fun, and it keeps us in touch with other dental professionals in the building. We're sorry about the sound, please let us know if we aren't loud enough!

Dr. Tracy attends the Seattle Study Club

March 9th, 2011

It is our office's goal to provide patients with the highest quality of dental treatment in a fun and positive atmosphere. To do this, Dr. Tracy invests in state-of-the-art technology (such as our new highspeed hand pieces), and he is a member of many study clubs and organizations that focus on proving exceptional dental care. Dr. Tracy will be attending the Seattle Study Club this Friday to discuss comprehensive treatment planning.

At the Seattle Study Club meeting this week, participants will discuss the many factors that are considered when developing customized treatment plans. Our office takes into account a patients' history and background, clinical and radiographic findings, diagnosis and prognosis, and concerns when developing a treatment plan. At this week's meeting, we will discuss these factors, along with the objectives of treatment and considerations for treatment planning. Each group of participants at the Study Club will develop a proposed treatment to present for a specific case.

Dr. Tracy is very excited for this week's meeting! As always, please let us know if you have any questions, or if you would like to schedule an appointment at our office.

Staying connected with Dr. Tracy and team

March 3rd, 2011

At Dr. Tracy's office, we embrace technology, whether it’s through the innovative treatments we offer, our email and text appointment reminders, high-tech website or our Facebook fan page. Our practice is new to social networking, and Dr. Tracy is anxious to share his love for dentistry with everyone through our social networks. We hope that everyone feels comfortable "liking" our Facebook page, reading our blog, and viewing our YouTube videos.

It is our office's goal to continuously learn about the latest dental procedures and advancements, so that we can provide our patients with the very best dental experience. Dr. Tracy is currently preparing for one of his monthly study clubs, the Interlake Study Club. Next week's topic is "Ethics and Modern Dentistry." Dr. Tracy is also excited for the salmon dinner that will be served at the meeting.

For social media to work, we understand that conversation is vital, and that’s why we invite you to join in and tell us what’s on your mind. We would love to hear about your experiences with our new text and email appointment reminders. Feel free to post your comments here, on our Facebook page, blog, or by giving us a call!

Welcome to Our Blog!

February 18th, 2011

Thank you for taking the time to visit our blog. Please check back often for weekly updates on fun and exciting events happening at our office, important and interesting information about the dental industry, and the latest news about our practice.

Feel free to leave a comment or question for our doctor and staff – we hope this will be a valuable resource for our patients, their families, and friends!

American Association Of OrthodontistsAmerican Academy Of Cosmetic DentistryAmerican Board Of Orthodontics 2015American Dental Association

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