Dentist - Dr. Amy Norman, DDS, PS

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The Four Stages of Gum Disease

 Gum disease is the leading cause of tooth loss among adults. It’s also incredibly common even though it’s highly preventable in most cases. A consistent, efficient oral hygiene routine that consists of brushing twice a day and flossing can do wonders to help prevent the complications that come with this damaging disease. Seeking professional care as soon as you notice an issue will help you reverse the damage before it becomes more severe. There are four stages of gum disease that increase in severity and invasiveness of treatment as it progresses.

Stage One-Gingivitis 
The earliest stage of gum disease is marked by swollen, red gums and sometimes bad breath. Bleeding gums is one of the most common symptoms and the easiest to notice. The good news is, since bone loss has not yet begun, the damage done in this stage of gum disease is usually reversible with treatment.

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New Bio-Foam May Replace Bone in Jaws

Dental patients with periodontitis and other periodontal diseases are at risk for losing jawbone because of their condition. Researchers from New York and Texas are collaborating on a material to serve as a replacement for lost jaw and skull bone material.

Periodontitis is an infection of the gums and other tissues that surround the teeth and attach them to the jawbone. The condition also causes irritation and inflammation of the gums, painful abscesses and tooth loss. Periodontal infections also put patients at risk for endocarditis, a serious and potentially life-threatening infection of the lining of the heart muscle.

Researchers at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Texas A&M University have developed a new foam product designed to replace bone lost to injury or infection. The foam, which can be shaped when heated in warm saline, allows physicians to fit the material to fill into hard to reach and uneven areas. Once the material is placed, the material hardens. The sponge-like foam encourages bone regeneration because its surface is covered with a special coating designed to attract bone cells and slowly dissolves as new bone is generated.

The ideal use of the material is in small areas of bone loss. Researchers on the project say the material could potentially be used in a larger area, but would require splinting to support the area until new bone has fully formed.

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Is Tooth Enamel the Model for New Airplane Materials?

Tooth enamel is one of the strongest substances in the body. Known for its strength and ability to flex, tooth enamel endures a large amount of force during chewing and biting. Tooth enamel's ability to stand up to this force has caught the eye of research at the University of Michigan interested in building stronger airplane flight computers.

Flight computers experience a significant amount of pressure caused by atmospheric changes when in flight. The pressure on these devices and other solid materials in the airplane’s may cause cracking and damage. The materials found in airplanes that are softer or more flexible hold up to the vibrations and pressure exerted on them from being in flight.

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Strawberries May Be the Newest Weapon Against Oral Cancer

Researchers at the Ohio State University have discovered a potential weapon against oral cancer: strawberries. A study at the school’s Comprehensive Cancer Center-Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute show that the phytochemicals of the fruit may help to prevent oral and esophageal cancers. 

The project tested the enzymes of the saliva of both smokers and non-smoking study participants on the phytochemicals of strawberries. Phytochemicals are compounds found in plants. Many phytochemicals have a positive health effect on the body. The study also examined participant DNA that is affected by smoking and oral cancer risk.

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Fluoridated Water Benefits

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are encouraging dentists across the country to review annual water quality reports for the communities they serve. The CDC is encouraging dentists to review the reports in order to understand the fluoride levels that their patients are exposed to through drinking water. Understanding fluoride level exposure in the drinking water of patients gives dentists insight into their patients’ oral health.

Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral found in rocks, soil and water. Fluoride was first added to the drinking water system in Grand Rapids, Michigan, in 1945. Since then, it has been added to many public water drinking systems across the United States as a preventative against tooth decay. Seventy-five percent of cities and other municipalities across the US have fluoride in their public drinking supply. This translates to over 200 million Americans receiving fluoride when they turn on the tap.

The fluoridation of public drinking water is considered one of the top 10 medical advances of the 20th century, according to the CDC. Fluoride helps to remineralize teeth against bacteria that cause tooth decay. Teeth are demineralized by acid formed when the bacteria found in dental plaque and sugars in the mouth left behind from food meet. This acid attacks and weakens the tooth’s enamel, leaving it susceptible to decay.

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Are E-Cigs All That Safe?

E-cigs, or electronic cigarettes, are a popular choice for people who have given up smoking cigarettes, but are they really safe? The e-cig device vaporizes a liquid, which is then inhaled by the user. This is commonly known as vaping. The vapor is made up of nicotine, water, glycerin, the food preservative propelene glycol, as well as flavor oils. The vapor replaces smoke and other toxic carcinogens that are found in regular tobacco cigarettes. Because the e-cig eliminates the exposure to smoke and other cancer-causing agents, users possibly lower their risk of contracting lung and other smoking related cancers. Even though e-cigs may be a healthier option than cigarettes and tobacco use, they still have a negative effect on the mouth. Dr. Norman cautions patients about the use of e-cigarettes.

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When it Comes to Dentistry, Dr. Norman Goes the Extra Mile

It can be really frustrating when your family is looking for a new dentist and they all seem exactly the same. Same sterile environment, same way of treating you like just another file number, same way of feeling like no one there really even looks at your file before treating you. But at Dr. Norman’s office, we pride ourselves on what makes us different and unique.

When it comes to Invisalign...
We don’t charge you for whitening. We believe when you finish treatment you deserve your beautiful straight teeth to look as new as they feel. If a tooth didn’t move right where it should or your bite isn’t exactly aligned, we make a whole new set of aligners for no charge so you can be sure your new smile is picture perfect.

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New Research May Reduce Dental Implant Failures

Although implants are a successful treatment for many patients, five to 10 percent of dental implants fail. But new nanocoatings developed at the University of Plymouth may reduce the number of dental implant failures each year.

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, over three million Americans have dental implants. Predictions by the AAID suggest that the number of dental implants in the United States will increase by half a million implant procedures per year and the estimated value for dental implants will rise to 4.2 billion by 2022.

Dental implants are so popular because they are a long-term solution compared to prosthetic solutions like dentures for patients who have lost teeth to decay, injury or illness. If taken care of properly, dental implants last patients for the rest of their lives.

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Earliest Example of Dentistry Known to Date Discovered in Italy

Researchers recently discovered evidence of the world’s oldest dental fillings in near Lucca in northern Italy in 13,000-year-old teeth. To date, these fillings are the earliest known example of dentistry in the world. The fillings were made of bitumen, a semi-solid form of petroleum and were found in two upper incisors at the Riparo Fredian archaeology site. Each tooth was found to have a large hole that spanned from the enamel into the pulp of the tooth. Each tooth was also found to have marks that indicate they were drilled out before the bitumen filling was added.

Anthropologists and archaeologists have found other examples of dental drilling at other dig sites around the world. In addition to the bitumen material, researchers found hair and plant matter. These components may or may or may not have been part of the filling.

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Type 2 Diabetes and Periodontal Disease

Periodontitis may be an early sign of type 2 diabetes, according to new research published in the BMJ Open Diabetes Research and Care journal. The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Amsterdam and was made up of over 300 participants from the school’s dental clinic. Participants in the study either had no gum disease to moderate gum disease, and some had severe periodontitis.

Over 29 million Americans live with diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control. The CDC estimates that of this number, over 8 million Americans go undiagnosed. Type 2 diabetes is an adult onset of the autoimmune disease in which the body rejects insulin or does not make enough insulin.

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Can Selfies Improve Your Smile?

An August 2016 Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine study suggests that recording video selfies of brushing one’s teeth may help some individuals improve their oral hygiene practices.

Before the study began, the brushing habits of each participant were reviewed. Each individual was given instruction to correct their technique until they were brushing in the methods prescribed by the American Dental Association. These methods include holding the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle, brushing the inside of the teeth, then the outside and then the chewing surface.

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Lost and Found: How Can Dental Implants Help You?

For many patients, losing a tooth or multiple teeth can be a very emotional event. Not only does tooth loss impact their ability to chew, and in some cases, even how they talk, some people relate to losing a tooth to losing a part of themselves. Dr. Norman counsels patients who have lost a tooth through their options for tooth replacement and the ins and outs of dental implants.

Dental implants are an excellent option to replace lost teeth because they are a permanent solution. This is because the implant is placed on a titanium post that is surgically implanted into the jawbone. Over time, the post becomes ossified or grows, into the jaw. Once it is fully integrated into the bone, a high-quality ceramic tooth is placed onto the post. This ceramic tooth functions just like a natural tooth and can be brushed and flossed normally as part of a regular oral hygiene routine.

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Study Confirms Substance Abuse Damages Teeth

Recreational drug use is showing an impact on the oral health of users, according to a March 2017 review published in Addiction, the scientific journal of the Society for the Study of Addiction. Study findings show that dental patients using recreational drugs have increased rates of tooth decay and gum disease compared to peers who do not use drugs.

There are approximately three million new drug users per year. The review’s findings came from 28 studies performed across the globe and included the data from 4,086 dental patients who used recreational drugs, and 28,031 patients in the control group.

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Is Mercury Amalgam Going Away for Good?

A recent decision by the European Parliament has British dentists looking for new ways to restore teeth. The legislative body adopted a plan to limit the use of mercury in order to prevent mercury pollution and poisoning. The plan will take effect in January 2018, a gradually decrease the use of mercury in dental amalgam fillings by 2030.

Mercury is a naturally occurring element and is found in soil, water, air and even food. It is the only metallic element that is a liquid in its natural state.Mercury has a variety of applications and is used in items like thermometers, barometers, fluorescent lighting and dental restorations.

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Did You Know that Menopause can Affect Your Mouth?

Many menopausal women find that estrogen therapy is helpful in managing any menopause related conditions, but a big benefit other this hormone treatment protocol has recently been seen to benefit the teeth and gums. Estrogen levels decrease during menopause, which leaves women susceptible to losing minerals, like calcium, that are necessary for healthy, dense bones and teeth. Additional complications from the decrease in estrogen levels include gum inflammation and periodontal disease. In fact, every 1 percent of bone density loss translates to a 4 percent increase in periodontal disease, according to the Cleveland Clinic. The Cleveland Clinic also reports that low bone density in the hips, wrist, and lumbar vertebrae show a correlation to low bone density in the jaw.

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Dental Research Gets a Boost

Exciting opportunities for dental research are on the horizon, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research. The NIDCR announced in March that it received an $24 million dollar award to help develop new techniques and methods to regenerate oral, dental and craniofacial tissues that have been lost or damaged as a result of injury or disease. 

The project, called the Dental, Oral and Craniofacial Tissue Regeneration Consortium will focus on new ways to replace lost tissues of the mouth and face. These tissues are often lost as a result of periodontal infections, mouth injuries or other conditions, like oral cancer. 


Periodontal infections not only affect the gums, but often result in tooth and bone loss. Infections begin when dental plaque builds up over the teeth, and is not brushed or flossed away as part of a proper oral hygiene routine. 

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A Different Kind of Dental Experience

If you are already one of Dr. Norman's patients, you know that the service and the care she provides is a cut above the rest. Dr. Norman and our entire staff are dedicated to providing our patients high quality, personalized care in a comfortable setting. If this sounds like just the dentist you’re looking for, keep reading.

 

She Loves What She Does. Dr. Norman is passionate about dentistry and strives to provide an experience tailored to each patient’s individual needs and wants. This means that a big part of our practice involves listening to the patient’s previous experience with dentists and dental work, understanding any reasons for fears or phobias, and finding out their goals for treatment.

 

The Rest of the Staff Does, Too. You may be surprised to know that there has never been a sick day in our practice. It’s true- and some employees have worked here for 30 years! We are committed to your care, so we make it a priority to be at work to be there for you.

 

When You’re a Patient, You’re Part of the Family. We don’t take for granted when patients choose us to be their dental care, provider. We feel like all of our patients are part of the family, and have a genuine affection and appreciation for them.

 

We're Happy to See You. When you arrive at our office, we’re excited to see you- something you will see by the smiles on our faces! Not only are we happy to see you, but we're also ready to treat you. You can rest assured that before you even open the door that we have reviewed your file, taking note of any special need or consideration to make during your appointment. 

 

Our approach is different than many other dental practices because our care is different than many other practices. We believe that dentistry is highly personalized.  

 

Many patients are pleasantly surprised at the differences they see in our practice, and as a result, refer us to their family and friends. We take those referrals as compliments and as confirmation that we are doing dentistry right. If you want a high quality, personalized dental experience, call Dr. Norman today at 425.212.1975.

 

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What Do You Know About Your Teeth?


When thinking about teeth, more than likely many people really just think about the brushing, flossing and other hygiene related tasks associated with their care. They don’t actually think about their teeth – what they are made of, why they are shaped a particular way or what specific function they possess. In fact, many people likely don’t think about their teeth at all until something hurts or there is a problem. When patients become educated about their teeth and mouth, patients become passionate about taking care of them and protecting their oral health.

Each tooth is made up of two parts. The visible part of the tooth that is above the gum line is known as the crown. This part of the tooth is used to macerate, or break down food, during chewing. The part that is below the gum line is known as the root. This part connects the teeth to the jaw to prevent them from moving during chewing.

The crown is covered by enamel. Enamel is a white, bone-like material, and according to the American Dental Association is the hardest and strongest substance in the body. It serves to protect the tooth from debris and foreign bacterial invaders. Like bone, it is made up of the minerals calcium and phosphorus. Unlike bone, enamel does not regenerate. However, enamel remineralizes or is strengthened, by the enzymes of saliva and through the use of fluoride treatments and oral care products containing fluoride.

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Feeling the Burn: Identifying Burning Mouth Syndrome

Burning mouth syndrome is a condition that affects about two percent of Americans, according to the American Academy of Oral Medicine. While two percent is not a huge number, and burning mouth syndrome itself is not dangerous, the condition may indicate a patient has a more serious health condition and should be mentioned at dental checkups for a further look.

Burning mouth syndrome sufferers experience the feeling of burning that is similar to how it feels after burning the mouth with a cup of scalding coffee or having a spoonful of too-hot soup. However, unlike those situations, the burning feeling of burning mouth syndrome never goes away. Other symptoms of the condition include dry mouth, numbness, tingling or a sandy, gritty feeling of in the mouth. Some patients also experience physical changes in their taste buds and have pain when eating or drinking.

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Do You Need a Deep Cleaning?

As part of a regular dental and checkup, the dental hygienist who performs the cleaning part of the exam will check the gums for gaps or pockets. These pockets are home to millions of bacteria that cause tooth decay and periodontal infections. If the depth of these pockets is four millimeters or greater, the hygienist is likely to recommend a deep cleaning or root planing procedure in order to reverse the damage caused by periodontal disease. 


Deep cleaning, also known as scaling, is a process in which plaque and tartar are physically removed from the deep pockets surrounding the teeth through ultrasonic or manual scaling. Plaque is a biofilm full of bacteria, that blankets the teeth in between brushings. While plaque is soft enough to be brushed and flossed away, if a patient does not practice good oral hygiene, plaque calcifies into tartar. Tartar is a hard, bony substance that cannot be brushed away. Tartar spreads over and in between teeth and also stretches below the gumline. 

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