What Is Oral Lichen Planus?

Oral lichen planus is not a common disease—it only affects about 2% of the population—but it can be quite painful to the ones infected with it. Oral lichen planus is not entirely understood, but it can be diagnosed in a doctor’s or dental office in Lake Stevens, WA. Continue reading to learn more about oral lichen planus.

Lichen planus is a disease that can affect a certain number of areas around the body, including the mouth and esophagus. Oral lichen planus is the common type that is found on the tongue and gums of an infected patient. Doctors and dentists do not understand what causes lichen planus, but there are a few theories that suggest it is an autoimmune disorder or a product of genetics. Lichen planus can present in the mouth as raised, lacy, white threads on the cheeks. The gums can also appear bright red, due to erosion of the gum surface. Patients with lichen planus may experience discomfort or pain when eating and drinking. If a patient thinks that he or she has oral lichen planus, it is best to make an appointment at the local dental office for a consultation.

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Understanding Different Types of Tooth Discoloration

Patients often ask about teeth whitening procedures in Lake Stevens, WA . They wish to invest in whiter and brighter teeth, but they may not understand why their teeth have darkened or discolored in the first place. There are two types of stains, extrinsic and intrinsic, and both have their ways of causing tooth discolorations and the need for teeth whitening. Let’s take a closer look at the different types of tooth discoloration. teeth - stains

Extrinsic Stains

Extrinsic stains are also referred to as superficial stains, meaning they occur on the surface of the tooth. Certain stains, such as yellowing and mild brown spots, may occur due to the consumption of various staining products. Coffee, wine, tobacco, and certain fruits can cause extrinsic staining. These types of stains can be minimized or erased with professional teeth whitening and teeth whitening toothpastes.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic stains occur below the surface of the teeth, also known as dentin. These stains are not easily diminished by teeth whitening products, and they are usually indicative of a larger problem. Some brown spots that occur deep into the tooth might be a result of an injury, excessive fluoride consumption, or tooth decay. If these stains cannot be erased with teeth whitening, then dental veneers are another option.

Yellow Teeth

Yellowing teeth are a normal part of life; teeth will yellow and darken as they age. The yellowing may also be a result of bruxism, also known as chronic teeth grinding. Over the years, the dentin layer of the teeth continually thickens, which results in yellowing teeth. When stress is put on the teeth, from grinding, then the dentin responds by forming more quickly.

White Spots

When white spots are found on a tooth’s surface, it usually indicates the beginning stages of tooth decay. The white spot may look dull and etched, especially compared to the rest of the tooth. The enamel is being demineralized from bacteria and acid, which will eventually cause a cavity. The white spots can also pick up extrinsic stains from coffee, tobacco, and other staining products.

Dear Valued Patient

Dear Valued Patient,

It has been said that the only sure thing in life is that nothing stays the same. In fact, change can be good for us.

There has been some recent changes in my life, which are both exciting and unsettling. My husband has accepted a promotion within his company which has taken us to the Chicago area. We were fortunate enough to have sold our home relatively quick and are currently getting settled in that area.

While I am saddened that I personally will not be providing your preventive care in the future, Dr Jason and team here are dedicated to providing you and your families with the finest in dental care. Our newest dental hygienist Mindy, is friendly, gentle and a great hygienist. I am sure you will like her. I have left many detailed notes about the care that I have provided specifically for each of my patients so that you will receive the same gentle care you and your families are used to. If there are any specific requests please let Mindy know as she will be more than happy to try to make any necessary accommodations.

I am excited to also tell you I am still working for Dr. Jason in a support role on his administrative staff virtually. I will also be continuing my career as a dental hygienist in the Chicago area once my family and I are settled.

I have enjoyed being your dental hygienist and sharing in your lives over the past nine years. I hope that our paths will cross again in the future.


Deb Willey, RDH

What Happens When You Don’t Brush Your Teeth?

When you have poor dental care, such as not brushing your teeth regularly, you risk your current and future health. Poor dental care can lead to a lowered immune system, extra tooth-related conditions, and all-around embarrassment every time you smile or speak. Here is a look at what can happen when you do not brush your teeth: brushing - teeth

Exacerbate Current Conditions

Bacteria is constantly building up in your mouth, on your gums, and on your teeth. This occurs whether you brush your teeth or not, except that brushing your teeth regularly removes bacteria before it does any damage. If you do not brush your teeth, then the bacteria continue to form and worsen. These high levels of bacteria can travel throughout your body, causing damage to your immune system. If you already have a condition, such as diabetes, then poor dental care will only exacerbate your condition or illness.

Contract Gum Disease

If you do not take care of your teeth—with regular brushing, dental examinations, and teeth cleanings—you will likely develop the beginning stages of gum disease. Early gum disease, also called gingivitis, can eventually lead to periodontitis and advanced periodontitis. If either of the last stages occurs, gum disease is no longer reversible. Pockets of pus and infection will develop and irreparably damage the connective tissues of your gums, which may result in eventual tooth loss.

Develop Tooth Decay

In addition to gum disease, you may develop tooth decay if you do not brush your teeth or floss every day. The bacteria that is constantly forming on your teeth’s surfaces will eat at the enamel until a cavity is formed. If the decay worsens, then infections can develop in the tooth root and surrounding gums.

Increase Heart Disease Risk

There have been theories that link poor dental care with an increase of heart disease. With poor dental care, the bacteria in your mouth forms plaque on the surface of your tooth. This may increase the plaque that develops in your arteries, eventually causing heart disease.