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Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic Dentistry

Power Bleaching, Lightening Teeth

Porcelain Crowns, Bridges, Inlays & Veneers

Lava All-Ceramic Crowns & Bridges

Zirconia Crowns, Bridges, and Implant Posts

Digital Color Matching

Personalized Dentures, Hidden Anchors

Silver vs. Composite, Porcelain and Gold for fillings

Invisalign Orthodontics

Implant Dentistry

What is a Dental Implant?

Dental Implant Placement is easier thank you might think

Dental Implants,

Affordable Mini-Implants

Implants to Anchor Dentures

Implants to Replace Teeth

Mini Implants

What if you have your Teeth Extracted?

Healing Dentures Placed After Extractions

Advances in 3D Implant Design

General Dental FAQs
Dental Emergencies, Toothache, Swelling, Broken Teeth, Injury

Occlusal Guards for clenching and grinding

Economics of Oral Health

Oral Surgery

Sensitive Teeth, Sensitive Fillings

Acid in Food and Beverages Can Harm Your Teeth

How Often Do I Need a Cleaning?

Gum Disease & Heart Disease

Occlusal Guards for Clenching & Grinding

Information for New Patients

New Patient Information Forms (PDF)

Free Sonic Toothbrushes for New Patients

Floss to Live Longer - Really!





8615 NE Hazel Dell Avenue, Vancouver, WA  98665

(360) 574-7477


The Concept of Dental Wellness

Although health could be defined as the absence of disease, the concept of wellness relates to how fit you are, and how well you are able to defend against disease.

Sometimes I meet people who assume that the absence of pain is an indicator of health. On discovery of gum disease, decay, or even an abscess, I have heard remarks like "How could this happen when it never hurt?" The reality is that dental disease seldom produces pain until something is very wrong. Consider these examples:

Tooth decay begins in the enamel, a crystalline surface layer of the tooth that has no nerve endings. Decay can easily advance deeper in the tooth without pain, even in to the dental pulp, which contains the nerves that help your teeth to sense when they are hot or cold. Pain may begin when the pulp has been invaded by decay and becomes very inflamed. Pain may only begin after infection has destroyed the pulp and started an infection in the jaw. Most teeth that have decay involving the pulp need root canal therapy, posts, buildups, and crowns. Some must be extracted. Early detection of decay precludes this kind of trouble. With respect to decay, Dental Wellness focuses on

  • early detection of decay during regular checkups
  • timely repair or replacement of previous crowns and fillings, before they break or develop deep decay
  • prevention of decay through good home care, a sensible diet, and fluoride supplements or treatments

Gum disease is less likely to cause pain than tooth decay. The words "Don’t wait till it hurts" are prominent on the front of the Periodontal Disease brochure published by the American Dental Association. Gum disease is best regarded as a low-grade, chronic infection, where harmful bacteria quietly create pockets between the teeth and gums and destroy bone that supports the teeth. Most bone loss occurs in acute episodes called flare-ups that go unnoticed by the patient. Flare-ups are more likely when a) general health is compromised by stress, fatigue, and other illnesses, and b) health of the gums is compromised by lapses in brushing and flossing, and c) more than 41 days have passed since your last dental hygiene visit with us. This last point   relates to our recommendation that patients with moderate to severe gum disease have maintenance visits with our hygienists every three months.

Although x-rays show bone loss caused by advanced gum disease, the most effective diagnosis is achieved during probing at periodic dental exams. Dental Wellness regarding gum disease focuses on

  • brushing, flossing, and other home care as needed to maintain health,
  • early detection of pockets before they become deep enough to require surgical correction, and
  • regular visits with our dental team to reduce risk of a "flare-up"

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Portrait of Keith W. Collins, DMD

Keith Collins,  DMD

Dr. Collins graduated from Oregon Health Sciences University in 1978.  In addition to caring for patients in private practice, he has enjoyed lecturing and contributing to dental journals.  In 1995 he co-directed the AAID Implant Maxi-Course at OHSU. 


Click here for more info on Dr. Collins.


Click here to "Meet Dr. Collins" on YouTube.


Click here to see Dr. Collins work with the American Dental Association and the Partnership for a Drug Free America on YouTube. 


Click here to see the meth mouth story Dr. Collins produced with Inside Edition.


The information provided on this site is to help educate patients, and is not intended as a guide for self-diagnosis or treatment.  Please rely on your dentist for diagnosis and treatment of oral conditions.


Dental Humor & Anecdotes


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Copyright 1995-2013, Keith W. Collins, DMD    Last modified: October 31, 2014.