Family Dentist- Laurel
8363 Cherry Lane
Laurel, MD 20707
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What Are the Signs that a Root Canal Is Needed?
Sometimes no symptoms are present; however, signs you may need a root canal include:
-Severe toothache pain upon chewing or application of pressure
-Prolonged sensitivity/pain to heat or cold temperatures (after the hot or cold has been removed)
-Discoloration (a darkening) of the tooth
-Swelling and tenderness in the nearby gums
-A persistent or recurring pimple on the gums
If any of these symptoms persist please contact Drs. Batz and Weiner's office immediately.
Gum Diseases, also known as periodontal diseases, are usually caused by a build-up of bacteria and plaque that inflames and infects the gums. Plaque is a clear film on the teeth to which bacteria sticks, and if it's not removed with brushing and flossing, it will turn into a hard material called tartar. Tartar and bacteria deposits around and under the gum line are the main causes of periodontal diseases.
Types of Periodontal Diseases
There are two types of periodontal disease: gingivitis and periodontitis.
- Gingivitis is a milder form of gum disease, in which gums become red, swollen, and may bleed easily.
- Periodontitis is a much more serious oral health condition in which the inflammation spreads deep below the gum line and involves the bone and tissues that hold teeth in place. Periodontitis can cause deep pockets of infection, which may result in the loss of teeth and their surrounding bone if it's left untreated.
Fortunately, there are several procedures available to treat these oral health problems, depending on the severity of the disease.
The primary goal of any treatment for periodontal disease is to control and eliminate the tartar and bacterial infection around the teeth and under the gums. Treatments range from deep cleanings to oral surgery.
Periodontal Disease Prevention
The best ways to prevent gingivitis from graduating to periodontitis are to:
- Brush your teeth after every meal.
- Floss at least once a day.
- Eat a balanced diet.
- Avoid tobacco products.
- Get regular dental checkups and cleanings.
Periodontal Disease Treatments
Scaling and root planing. The first step in treating periodontal diseases is a deep cleaning, also known as scaling and root planing. In this procedure, your dentist, a periodontist, or a dental hygienist will remove the tartar and plaque from your teeth by scraping it off above and below your gum lines. Then root planing is used to eliminate rough spots on your exposed tooth roots -- the area where bacteria accumulates.
Your oral health professional may also recommend a medication to treat any infection you may have. Medications for oral infections include:
- Rinses. A prescription antimicrobial mouth rinse can help control bacteria when treating gingivitis and after gum surgery.
- Antibiotic gel. A gel containing the antibiotic doxycycline can also control the bacteria involved in gingivitis. It's placed directly into the pockets around your teeth after a deep cleaning and slowly releases the medication over a week's time.
- Antibiotic microspheres. To control bacteria and reduce the size of periodontal pockets, small round particles that contain minocycline, an antibiotic similar to doxycycline, are inserted into the pockets after a deep cleaning and release medicine over time.
- Chlorhexidine chip. These are tiny piece of antiseptic-filled gelatin that are placed in the pockets around your gums after root planing. They can help control the bacteria involved in periodontal diseases and reduce the size of periodontal pockets as they slowly dissolves.
- Oral doxycycline. When taken in pill form, this antibiotic acts as an enzyme suppressant that interferes with bacterial tissue damage. Doxycycline is usually prescribed in addition to deep cleaning.
Most people who are treated with scaling and root planing probably won't need additional treatment if they maintain good oral health habits. But when gingivitis doesn't respond to deep cleaning, periodontitis can develop, and it usually requires oral surgery.
Surgery. There are two types of surgery for periodontal diseases, including:
- Pocket reduction. Also known as flap surgery, this procedure is recommended when your gums have pulled away from your teeth, forming pockets that are too deep to keep clean. A periodontist will fold back your gum tissue to remove any bacteria before securing the tissue for a snug fit around your teeth.
- Tissue and bone grafts. If you have pocket-reduction surgery, your periodontist might also suggest tissue or bone grafts to encourage regrowth of gum tissue and bone that was destroyed by periodontitis. One procedure entails placing a small piece of mesh fabric between the gum and bone to keep the gums from growing where there should be bone. This procedure allows connective tissue and bone to regrow. Soft tissue grafts are used when gums have receded to a point that the roots are exposed. In this procedure, gum tissue is taken from the roof of your mouth (or another area) and used to cover the exposed root.
All of these treatments can have good outcomes and may not require further surgery. But most patients with periodontal diseases will require ongoing maintenance therapy to maintain good oral health. The number of times you'll need any of these therapies depends on the severity of your gum disease and how diligent you are about keeping up with your oral health routines at home.
Tooth decay -- also called cavities or dental caries -- can happen to anyone but it is a particularly common problem for children and young adults. Left untreated, dental cavities can become infected and eventually, tooth decay can result in tooth loss.
Understanding Tooth Decay
Tooth decay begins with the normal bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria feed on food particles in your mouth and produce acid as a byproduct. The combination of bacteria, food debris, acid, and saliva in your mouth forms a filmy substance on your teeth, called plaque, roughly 20 minutes after you eat. If the plaque isn't removed promptly, tooth decay will begin. Eventually, plaque hardens into a mineral-like substance called tartar which is much harder to remove. Both tartar and plaque can eventually lead to the gum diseases gingivitis and periodontitis.
In addition to gum disease, plaque build-up also affects the protective enamel surface on your teeth, leading to cavities. Initially, cavities are painless. However, without treatment, cavities can become larger and eventually compromise the sensitive nerves and delicate blood vessels within the tooth. If an abscess or other infection develops in the tooth it can result in the destruction, and ultimately the loss of, your tooth.
The Culprits in Tooth Decay
Starches and sugars -- also known as carbohydrates -- are the kinds of foods most likely to cause tooth decay and cavities. Sticky foods also promote cavities because they adhere to the surface of your teeth and encourage bacterial activity. Additionally, if you snack a lot, you have a higher risk of developing cavities because plaque is formed more frequently
Although cavities are more common in younger people, adults aren't immune. With age, gum disease occurs more frequently than tooth decay. Gum damage exposes the roots of the teeth to excess plaque, making them more vulnerable to cavities. Also, older fillings often deteriorate and allow bacteria to accumulate, resulting in more tooth decay.
When Cavities Need To Be Filled
Most cavities are found when they are small, during regular dental checkups. Sometimes your dentist can spot cavities using X-rays even before they're visible to the naked eye. Increased sensitivity when eating sweet, hot, or cold foods and drinks can also alert you to a possible cavity. If you notice tooth sensitivity or pain, it's time to visit your dentist for an exam to find out if tooth decay is the culprit.
Once a cavity is located, your treatment options include getting a filling or crown or undergoing a root canal procedure, depending on the severity of your tooth decay. The most common cavity treatment is a filling, which is put in place by removing decayed tissue from your tooth and then filling the tooth with a composite resin, silver alloy, gold, or porcelain material.
If your cavity is severe, a crown may be necessary to reinforce the damaged tooth. After the decayed portion of the tooth is removed, a crown can be placed over the remaining dental tissue.
If tooth decay has spread to the tooth root, a root canal procedure may be required. In this procedure, the nerve tissue and blood vessels are removed. The canal is then disinfected and allowed to heal. Later, a permanent filling is placed and a crown may be necessary as well.
Preventing Tooth Decay
The best way to prevent tooth decay and the dental problems associated with tooth decay is to practice good oral hygiene. Brush and floss your teeth regularly and see your dentist twice a year for a dental cleaning and checkup. If you experience tooth sensitivity, make an appointment to see your dentist and get checked. The sooner a dental health problem like tooth decay is detected, the easier it is to treat.
If you're looking for a dazzling smile, veneers could be the answer. Veneers are tooth-colored shells made to cover your natural teeth and produce a bright, beautiful smile.
Veneers can correct a multitude of cosmetic defects, from discolored teeth to slightly crooked teeth to gaps in your smile. And advances in cosmetic dentistry have made veneers look even better today.
How Veneers Work
Dental veneers are very thin shells made from tooth-like material designed to cover the front surface of teeth. They can be made of porcelain or resin composite materials. Most veneers today are made of porcelain because this material resists stains better and has a light-reflecting quality similar to that of natural teeth. The veneers are placed on the front of the teeth, concealing imperfections and sometimes changing the size, shape, and length of teeth.
How Veneers Are Applied
Veneers usually require three dental visits. At the first visit, your dentist will discuss whether this cosmetic dentistry procedure will work for you. On the second visit, your dentist will remove a small amount of enamel (the outer coating of your teeth) to make room for the veneer. Usually only one-half millimeter is removed, but this may require local anesthesia.
An impression is then taken of your teeth and sent to a dental lab where the veneers are custom made. At the third visit, your dentist will attach the veneers to your teeth with special adhesive material.
Pros and Cons of Veneers
Veneers are among the most expensive cosmetic dentistry procedures, so it's important to weigh the pros and cons carefully when considering them.
Advantages of veneers:
- Because veneers are made of material that mimics natural teeth and are individually shaped for each patient, it's nearly impossible to tell the difference between veneers and natural teeth.
- Unlike other cosmetic options, porcelain veneers won't be stained by cigarette smoke, coffee, tea, and red wine.
- The color of veneers can be selected from many whiteness shades. But you may want to resist the temptation to choose the lightest shade since the whitest teeth can be blinding and may not look real.
- For healthy teeth, veneers can be a good substitute for crowns (also called caps), which require removal of more of your natural tooth structure.
Disadvantages of veneers:
- Depending on where you live, veneers can cost $1,000 to $2,500 per tooth, and they're rarely covered by insurance. To save money, you can opt to have veneers placed only on the teeth that show when you smile. Your dentist can then bleach the rest.
- After veneers are applied, your teeth may be more sensitive since some of the protective enamel is removed.
- Also, keep in mind that once the teeth are prepared for veneers, the process cannot be reversed.
Are Veneers Right for You?
If you have gaps between your teeth, veneers can be a good alternative to braces. Veneers can also conceal chipping, cracks, or uneven teeth. In addition, veneers are perfect for teeth that don't respond to whitening.
Veneers are not appropriate for teeth that have been weakened by decay, fractures, or large fillings, however. You may need crowns instead if your teeth are significantly weakened, or if you have missing teeth.
People who clench their jaws and grind their teeth are also poor candidates for veneers since this can cause veneers to crack or chip.
Maintaining Your Veneers
With proper care, veneers can last 10 years or longer. But because veneers are so thin, they can break or even fall off if abused. To minimize the chance of this happening, avoid biting your nails and chewing on pencils, ice, and other hard objects. Brushing and flossing won't harm them, however.
In addition, it's important to practice good dental hygiene because teeth with veneers can still become decayed, possibly making it necessary to totally cover the tooth with a crown. Regular dental checkups will also help ensure that your veneers stay strong and flawless-looking.
With proper care of your veneers and good dental health habits, you can enjoy a superstar smile for years to come.
It's no surprise that a bright, white smile makes you appear younger and more attractive. But the mouth is also the gateway to the body, which means the state of your teeth and gums affects your overall health. Follow these seven steps to a better smile.
1. Brush regularly. Brushing is the cornerstone of dental hygiene. It removes food particles that bacteria feed on, cleans teeth, and freshens breath. A toothpaste with fluoride helps strengthen teeth, but you must brush for at least two minutes to allow it to do its work.
2. Floss daily. Flossing removes the bacteria from in between your teeth that your toothbrush does not reach, which helps prevent gum disease. Dentists recommend flossing twice a day, but if you only do it once daily, be sure to floss before bedtime. When you sleep, you produce less saliva, which leaves teeth and gums particularly vulnerable to bacteria.
3. Visit your dentist. Visit your dentist at least twice a year for thorough dental cleanings. Your dentist can spot the early signs of gum disease, which is more easily treated when caught in the beginning stages. If you are prone to gum disease and cavities, consider visiting your dentist every four months. Similarly, if you have other health conditions that put you at higher risk for dental problems (such as diabetes, or a depressed immune system from HIV, cancer, or chemotherapy), ask your dentist how often you should have an exam. A special dental-hygiene regimen should be considered for pregnant women, people with diabetes, and anyone undergoing chemotherapy treatment or using medications that can affect the gums (such as antiepileptics) or dry out the mouth (including some psychiatric medications).
It's wise to examine your own mouth regularly for signs of trouble, such as a nonhealing sore on the lip or inside of your cheek, swollen gums, or sensitive or bleeding gums. If you notice any of these conditions, make an extra dental appointment to have them checked out.
4. Eat a healthy diet. Include plenty of dairy and other calcium-rich foods, like sardines and kale, in your diet. Calcium helps maintain strong bones and teeth, and the vitamin C in citrus fruits boosts gum health.
Equally important to what you do eat is what you don't. Sugary and sticky foods that stick to the crevices of your teeth are particularly bad, as bacteria feed off the sugars and release acids that cause cavities. If you do eat candy or other sweets, try to brush immediately afterward or, if that's not possible, rinse your mouth with water.
5. Don't smoke or use smokeless tobacco. People who smoke are four times more likely than nonsmokers to have gum disease, according to a study by the Journal of Periodontology. Using smokeless tobacco increases a person's risk for oral cancers, including lip, tongue, cheeks, and gums. On a smaller scale, tobacco products contribute to bad breath, or halitosis.
6. Whiten teeth. While the benefits are solely cosmetic, with today's products, whitening is a very safe procedure that will not harm your teeth as long as the products are used as directed and you are under the care of a dentist. Over-the-counter whitening products are effective for minor staining; professional-strength whitening products are better for more-severe yellowing. Speak to your dentist before undergoing any whitening procedure to make sure your teeth and gums are healthy.
7. Consider cosmetic procedures. The first thing a person sees when they meet you is your smile and having crooked, stained, or missing teeth can affect your confidence. There have been great advances in cosmetic dentistry over the past decade, and it is possible to fix most cosmetic problems. Veneers for improving the appearance of crooked, stained, or oddly shaped teeth and orthodontics for straightening teeth are only two of the many cosmetic procedures offered.
However, most cosmetic dentistry is not covered by insurance, and it can be costly. It's important to schedule a consultation with an experienced cosmetic dentist prior to undergoing any type of procedure.