Posts for: February, 2020
Keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy may sometimes seem like “one step forward, two steps back.” You do all the right things like daily brushing and flossing, and keeping sugar consumption to a minimum. But they’re still getting too many cavities.
We can add something else to what you’re already doing to decrease their cavity rate: apply a concentrated fluoride mixture (stronger than what’s found in toothpaste or drinking water) directly to their teeth. Studies have shown that topical fluoride is effective at reducing the risk of new cavities in children at high risk for decay, and may even reverse early decay.
Topical fluoride can be applied as a gel, foam or varnish. The particular method used depends on factors like the child’s age or the preference of the dentist. But any of the three methods can deliver a short-term, high dose of fluoride to the teeth.
As a result, the burst of fluoride strengthens tooth enamel against decay, with plenty of evidence of its effectiveness. As such, the American Dental Association recommends periodic topical fluoride applications for children older than 6, and especially those that appear to be at higher risk for decay.
You might, however, be concerned about the long-term health effects of these stronger concentrations of fluoride. Again, research indicates that the only long-term hazard associated with too much fluoride is a condition called fluorosis, which produces heavy tooth staining. Fluorosis, though, is more of an appearance issue and doesn’t harm the tooth itself. And it can be avoided in the case of topical fluoride by performing the procedure correctly and conservatively.
There’s also a short-term risk of a reaction to the fluoride mixture if the child swallows too much during the procedure, which could cause stomach upset and pain, vomiting or headaches. We can avoid this by using precautions like dental dams and other isolation methods to prevent the child from ingesting it.
Using proper precautions and procedures, topical fluoride is a safe and effective way to give your child added protection against decay. Avoiding this destructive disease can help ensure they’ll enjoy good dental health for the rest of their lives.
If you would like more information on keeping your child’s teeth and gums healthy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Fluoride Gels Reduce Decay.”
Colesville Dentistry in Silver Spring, MD, provides patients with the preventative care and knowledge patients need to improve and maintain their oral health. Led by Drs. Gregory Hysong and Lynda LePore, read on to learn more about what their offered treatments can do for you.
More about Preventative Care
Preventative care is more than just oral or dental maintenance. It's about stopping disease before it happens or dead in its tracks. So, what constitutes preventative care?
- Oral Exams: Initial exams consist of several things: visual examination, diagnosis, and treatment recommendations. Your dentist uses panoramic or full mouth x-ray the front and back of teeth, as well as a bite-wing x-ray. Your dentist will also perform an oral cancer and blood pressure screening, as well as collect a complete dental history.
- Professional Dental Cleaning: Needed every six months, this treatment entails that your hygienist removes plaque and tartar off teeth surfaces using a special vibrating tool. This tool dislodges the plaque and tartar off tooth surfaces and under gums. Dental cleanings facilitate in the removal of plaque to prevent serious illnesses, such as gum disease. Professional dental cleanings are an effective preventative tool that protects teeth.
- Sealants: This is a white fluid that fills dental fissures, holes, and cavities to prevent bacteria from entering your teeth. To apply them, your dentist first removes any pre-existing decay and applies the sealant to the tooth surface. This protects teeth from future decay and disease.
Oral Hygiene at home is just as important as the preventative care you receive at our Silver Spring office. Brushing and flossing helps maintain teeth and prevent tooth decay, as well as stave off plaque buildup. Brush using a soft-bristled toothbrush and rotate the brush in a circular motion on tooth surfaces and near gum edges to properly clean teeth. Additionally, make sure to floss at least once a day before bed to eliminate debris.
Need Dental Care? Give Us a Call
If you have any questions regarding preventative care and what you need to know regarding oral hygiene, then make sure you contact Drs. Gregory Hysong and Lynda LePore of Colesville Dentistry in Silver Spring, MD, by calling (301) 384-6000 today!
Find out when pulling a tooth may actually be the best option for your smile.
While our goal is almost always to preserve your natural teeth whenever possible, there are some scenarios in which our Silver Spring, MD, dentists, Dr. Gregory Hysong and Dr. Lynda LePore, may recommend undergoing dental extraction. An extraction may be necessary if you are dealing with any of these three dental issues:
Severely Damaged Teeth
A tooth that is cracked, fractured, or severely decayed can often be treated with root canal therapy and a dental crown; however, if the infection is serious and widespread, a simple root canal alone may not be enough.
Here at Colesville Dentistry, your dentists will examine the tooth to determine whether it can be saved with a root canal, or whether the only way to stop the source of infection is by extracting the tooth.
Complications of Advanced Gum Disease
Gum disease doesn’t just impact the health of the gums but also the teeth, bone, and ligaments of the gums that support the teeth. If left untreated, gingivitis can turn into full-blown gum disease, which can impact the bones, ligaments, and tissue. Advanced periodontitis can even cause loose teeth. If teeth become too loose, an extraction is often necessary.
By visiting your dentist every six months for dental cleanings and checkups, we can catch the early warning signs of gum disease to prevent this problem from happening to you.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars to come in, and they usually appear during your teen years. Most of the time, there isn’t enough room in our mouths to accommodate these teeth. When this happens, wisdom teeth only partially erupt through the gums. This is known as an impacted tooth.
This partially erupted tooth leaves an opening in the gums where bacteria can get trapped and cause decay, gum disease, and infections. Furthermore, since most wisdom teeth do not come in straight this can also damage surrounding teeth. Removing wisdom teeth early on can prevent these problems from happening in the first place.
Concerned? Give Us a Call
Whether you are dealing with impacted wisdom teeth or you have questions about the health and care of your teeth the dental team at Colesville Dentistry in Silver Spring, MD, can help. Call our office today at (301) 384-6000 to schedule a consultation with your dentists, Dr. Hysong or Dr. LePore.
Sometimes you need only a single solution to improve your smile: teeth whitening to brighten stained teeth; porcelain veneers or crowns to mask dental flaws; or a life-like dental implant to replace a missing tooth. But not all dental situations are that simple and sometimes require a combination of treatments.
A case in point: restoring a missing tooth within a poor bite. The absent tooth itself may be the cause of the bite problem if it’s been missing for some time: The nearby teeth tend to move or “drift” into the empty space, leaving no room for implant placement.
When this happens, you’ll first need orthodontic treatment to correct the bite problem. Not only will this open the space for the implant, it also comes with its own benefits. It obviously improves your smile appearance—but straighter teeth are also easier to keep clean of bacterial plaque, which reduces your disease risk. You may also experience better digestion after your teeth are properly aligned and able to function as they should during eating.
The traditional way to improve a bite is through metal braces. But there are some downsides: For one, braces can make it difficult to keep teeth adequately clean, making wearers more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Braces are also quite visible and can detract from a person’s appearance (even more so if a missing tooth is involved).
Unless your situation requires braces, you can choose clear aligners as an alternative. These clear, computer-generated plastic trays are worn in sequence to gradually move teeth to their desired positions. Unlike braces, you can remove aligners for eating, cleaning or rare special occasions. And, they’re barely noticeable to others.
If you also have a missing tooth, you can have a temporary prosthetic (“false”) tooth built into your aligner trays. In this way you can still enhance your smile while undergoing aligner treatment.
Once your bite has been corrected, we can then proceed with restoring your missing tooth permanently with a dental implant. Although orthodontics adds to the time and expense of restoration, its often necessary to achieve the best result. Your future smile will be the better for it.
Hollywood superstar Jennifer Lawrence is a highly paid actress, Oscar winner, successful producer and…merry prankster. She's the latter, at least with co-star Liam Hemsworth: It seems Lawrence deliberately ate tuna fish, garlic or other malodorous foods right before their kissing scenes while filming The Hunger Games.
It was all in good fun, of course—and her punked co-star seemed to take it in good humor. In most situations, though, our mouth breath isn't something we take lightly. It can definitely be an unpleasant experience being on the receiving end of halitosis (bad breath). And when we're worried about our own breath, it can cause us to be timid and self-conscious around others.
So, here's what you can do if you're concerned about bad breath (unless you're trying to prank your co-star!).
Brush and floss daily. Bad breath often stems from leftover food particles that form a film on teeth called dental plaque. Add in bacteria, which thrive in plaque, and you have the makings for smelly breath. Thorough brushing and flossing can clear away plaque and the potential breath smell. You should also clean your dentures daily if you wear them to avoid similar breath issues.
Scrape your tongue. Some people can build up a bacterial coating on the back surface of the tongue. This coating may then emit volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs) that give breath that distinct rotten egg smell. You can remove this coating by brushing the tongue surface with your toothbrush or using a tongue scraper (we can show you how).
See your dentist. Some cases of chronic bad breath could be related to oral problems like tooth decay, gum disease or broken dental work. Treating these could help curb your bad breath, as can removing the third molars (wisdom teeth) that are prone to trapped food debris. It's also possible for bad breath to be a symptom of a systemic condition like diabetes that may require medical treatment.
Quit smoking. Tobacco can leave your breath smelly all on its own. But a smoking habit could also dry your mouth, creating the optimum conditions for bacteria to multiply. Besides increasing your disease risk, this can also contribute to chronic bad breath. Better breath is just one of the many benefits of quitting the habit.
We didn't mention mouthrinses, mints or other popular ways to freshen breath. While these can help out in a pinch, they may cover up the real causes of halitosis. Following the above suggestions, especially dental visits to uncover and treat dental problems, could solve your breath problem for good.
If you would like more information about ways to treat bad breath, please contact us or schedule an appointment. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bad Breath: More Than Just Embarrassing.”