Thursday, 28 February 2013

Dentists in Silver Spring MD Ask: Do You Have Gum Disease?

This article explains what gum disease is, what the symptoms of this condition are and how it can be dealt with.

Do you have gum disease?

This question may sound outrageous and one can be sure that the majority of you reading this are shaking your head vehemently in response. Well, consider this: according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 80% of the American population presents with some form or stage of gum disease. In other words, if you were standing in an elevator with nine other totally random people, only two people in that crowded space would be in good oral health. The rest would be suffering from an oral bacterial infection of some degree.

Makes you want to hold your breath until you get out the elevator, doesn’t it?

Dentists Silver Spring MD

According to dentists in Silver Spring MD and to national healthcare organizations, tooth loss, dental decay and gum disease are pervasive problems in our modern society. This is in spite of all our advanced medical technology and preventative measures and our greater appreciation for good oral hygiene. The bottom line is that people just don’t spend the time and money necessary to keep their teeth and gums in excellent condition.

So, the questions are: DO you have gum disease? What can you do about it?

The Signs and Symptoms of Gum Disease

Dentists Silver Spring

It’s hard to believe that you could have something as serious as gum disease and not even know it. Most people deny that they have any oral problems whatsoever, but this is in most cases ignorance. Oral bacterial infections do not typically cause any pain, which makes the other initial symptoms of gum inflammation and swelling quite easy to ignore.

Chronic bad breath is another symptom of oral infection, but let’s face it: few people enjoy telling a friend or family member that their breath is insufferable. Oral bacterial infections also weaken the gums, causing them to tear easily and bleed when brushing or eating hard crunchy foods. For the record – from the collective wisdom of dentists in Silver Spring MD - bleeding gums are NOT normal. Too many people believe otherwise. It’s not. It could be a sign of gum disease.

So, as you can see, all of these initial symptoms of gingivitis can quite easily be ignored. It’s only when the more severe problems occur - loose teeth, dental discoloration, oral lesions and the visible build-ups of calculus on the teeth - that people are forced to admit they have a serious problem. By then, the treatment required is far more complex and expensive, too.

Treating Oral Infection and Gum Disease

Dentists in Silver Spring

Gum disease is a rather loose definition of an oral bacterial infection. This infection can be localized around a single tooth, or it can affect your entire mouth. There are also varying degrees of gum disease or bacterial infection. In its initial stages, dentists term it “gingivitis” - inflammation of the gums. In its advanced stages, it becomes known as “periodontitis.”

If you suspect that you may have an oral infection or disease, your primary responsibility is to book an appointment with the dentist. Once a diagnosis has been made, a treatment will be prescribed. You will need to take much better care of your teeth moving forward. Regular and thorough brushing and flossing are a must. If you have been diagnosed with gingivitis or periodontitis, it might be a good idea to incorporate an anti-bacterial mouthwash into your hygiene routine. Cut down on acidic, sugar-rich foods and beverages (including alcohol) and give tobacco-use the boot.

A Final Note...

Tooth loss is a very real risk for those who don’t care for their teeth properly. If you don’t fancy a future of denture wearing, it comes recommended by dentists in Silver Spring that you take the necessary measures to get your oral health back on track.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

The Dentist in Silver Spring Talks About Smoking and Your Oral Health

This article explains the detrimental effect smoking has upon the health of your teeth and gums.

There really is very little doubt about the fact that smoking, or any form of tobacco use, is terrible for your health. Dentists in Silver Spring and other health organizations are constantly warning the public against the dangers of this habit. The problem about advertisements against smoking is that it tends to highlight the long-term ramifications of tobacco-use, such as lung cancer and heart disease. As a result, the warning signs tend to be ignored, especially by young smokers who feel as though they have their whole lives to quit.

“I’ll quit smoking before I get old enough to fall sick from it.”
“I’ve only been smoking for a few years. Not enough to kill me yet!”
“I don’t plan on being a lifelong smoker, so I’ll be safe.”

Dentist Silver Spring

Aside from the fact that these sentiments are completely illogical, smoking has a variety of undesirable effects on the body that manifest themselves in the short term. And in no other area are these effects more visible than in the health of your teeth and gums.

The Effects of Smoking on Your Oral Health

Smoking, by its very nature, is a counter-intuitive addiction for us to develop. It tastes awful, it makes you stink like an ashtray and it dictates your day-to-day behaviors to quite a large extent. Our bodies were not designed to be able to inhale smoke; otherwise we would have evolved with some kind of inbuilt filter! Instead, we suffer through the addiction, hating ourselves when we do smoke and feeling miserable when we don’t.

The psychological effects of smoking aside, this addiction takes a terrible toll on the health of your teeth and gums:

  • “Dry Mouth”: Smoking causes xerostomia or “dry mouth,” a condition marked by the slowed production of saliva in the mouth. Saliva is an important natural defense against bacteria, so those who suffer from dry mouth are more susceptible to cavities, tooth decay and gum disease.
  • Soft Tissue Inflammation: Smoking burns and irritates the soft tissues in the mouth, causing the gums, tongue, palate and buccal lining (inner cheeks) to become inflamed and sensitive.
  • Tooth Discoloration: The nicotine and other chemicals in cigarette smoke seep into the tiny pores in your dental enamel, causing the teeth to become stained and discolored. In the long run, this can have a devastating effect on one’s smile aesthetics.

Dentist in Silver Spring Maryland

  • Slowed Healing: Tobacco-use causes a squeezing of the blood vessel of the gums which restricts the amount of oxygen rich blood getting to the right place at the right time. This causes damage because this area won’t get enough blood and not having the right blood supply retards the natural healing processes in the mouth. This not only increases a person’s risk of developing oral infection or disease, it also compromises their ability to fight it off and heal properly. Patients requiring dental surgery - especially dental implants - are warned by the dentists in Silver Spring Maryland to cease smoking in the weeks beforehand as it can substantially lower the chance of success.
  • Gum Disease and Oral Cancer: Tobacco-use is one of the greatest causes of gum disease and oral cancer. Both are serious conditions that, unless diagnosed early and treated, are potentially fatal.

A Final Note from Dentists in Silver Spring Maryland

It’s not an easy undertaking for anyone, but quitting is the only way you can improve your chances of living a long, healthy and happy life. Find out what it is you need to kick the habit today and DO IT.

Thursday, 21 February 2013

The Silver Spring Dentist Talks About The Importance of X-Ray for Dental Health

This article explains why X-ray is such an important tool for the preservation of good oral health.

You’ve heard it said before: prevention is better than cure! It’s also a whole lot less expensive and, for the most part, completely painless. When it comes to the health of your teeth and gums, what does prevention involve? For one, it requires a meticulous home oral hygiene routine with regular and thorough brushing and flossing. It also requires regular scheduled visits with the Silver Spring dentist and oral hygienist. But one of the most important diagnostic tools needed to prevent severe conditions from claiming the lives of your teeth and the youthful beauty of your smile is X-ray!

About Dental X-Ray and Why it’s so Important

Silver Spring dentist

Right now, you may be imagining the dentist zapping tiny disease-causing pathogens in your mouth using some kind of futuristic X-ray gun. Well, the benefits of X-ray are a touch more intellectual than that. X-ray provides dentists with a clear picture of what’s going on underneath the gums. It allows dentists to view the jawbone, the roots of the teeth and the insides of the crowns without actually having to perform complex, invasive and painful surgery to do so. X-ray, in other words, is an indispensible diagnostic tool, without which dentists would be “flying blind.”

Imagine you have a toothache and you go to the Silver Spring dentist for a solution. He investigates the problematic tooth visually, but can’t seem to see anything obvious. The tooth looks fine on the outside and the gums underneath it appear healthy and pink. The dentist then takes an X-ray image of your jaw centered on the tooth that seems to be causing you all that pain and discomfort. Upon reviewing the pictures, the dentist spots the cause of all your trouble: a hairline fracture in the tooth root. Without even having to perform any surgery, the dentist has identified the problem and can now plan a very precise and effective solution.

Dentist Silver Spring MD

Cone Beam CT Scans

X-ray saves patients thousands of dollars on needless and dangerous surgery by enabling dentists to identify problems and pinpoint treatment. Over the years, even this technology has been advanced, improved upon and refined. Cone Beam CT scans are an example of the more sophisticated machinery being used in dentist’s offices nowadays. CBCT scans take 3D X-ray images and feeds the data digitally into a computer imaging software program. This software allows dentists to manipulate a 3D view of a patient’s jaw and dentition. Treatment planning is done in detail prior to any surgery and, thanks to this technology, without the patient needing to be in the same room!

A Final Note on X-Ray Technology

Any dentist in Silver Spring MD will tell you that a comprehensive dental exam really isn’t complete without X-ray. Hidden problems, such as fractures, abscesses and endodontic infection can readily be identified and treated before any visible or obvious symptoms have begun to reveal themselves. This prevents the need for costly, invasive restorative procedures further down the line. And as we all know, prevention is better than cure!

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

The Silver Spring Dentist Talks About Teeth Whitening Treatments

Teeth whitening is a wonderful quick and easy treatment that can be done to remove the appearance of staining and discoloration, making your smile appear years younger.

It’s an inescapable truth... white is the preferred hue for your teeth when it comes to modern standards of beauty. Just compare the two pictures below! You are inherently programmed to find the second smile the more attractive one. Brown, grey and yellow simply don’t make the cut and rightly so!

Silver Spring Dentist

Dentist in Silver Spring

Very few people are ‘born’ with perfectly white teeth. It takes a fair amount of professional intervention to get your teeth looking absolutely flawless. In fact, your dental enamel is naturally an off-white or even pale yellow color. So how do all those celebrities get their smiles looking like sunlit snow? Well, it takes a few visits to the Silver Spring dentist and perhaps some teeth whitening!

Ask the Dentist in Silver Spring: How Does Teeth Whitening Work?

A teeth whitening treatment essentially involves the application of a special gel to the crowns of the teeth. A strong dental light is then shone on the teeth to activate the bleaching agent in the gel, which, in professional whitening kits, is typically a 10% concentration of hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

After about 30 minutes, the enamel of the teeth will have been bleached quite a few shades lighter, eliminating the appearance of staining and discoloration caused by repeated exposure to the natural tannins, dyes and pigments in foods and beverages. A professional whitening treatment can also help to counteract the appearance of staining caused by smoking or chewing tobacco. In severe cases of discoloration, patients may first require treatment for decay or gum disease, or a cosmetic procedure such as porcelain veneers.

Can Anyone Go for Teeth Whitening?

A professional teeth whitening is one of the simplest and quickest cosmetic procedures offered by the dentist in Silver Spring, so most people are able to book themselves in for a treatment without any problems. However, in cases where patients present with a poor standard of oral health, your dentist may first recommended treatment to resolve these issues. A bacterial infection of the gums - for example, periodontitis and gingivitis - can render the soft tissues in the mouth weak and very sensitive, which might cause them to react adversely to the bleaching agent in the whitening gel.

In any case, it is always advisable that patients first have their oral health restored to an acceptable standard before simply opting for cosmetic improvement. This can quite naturally come about by improving health and hygiene.

How Long Do the Results of a Teeth Whitening Last?

This really depends upon what kind of staining agents - and the frequency with which you consume them - you expose your teeth to. If you’re a heavy coffee drinker and a smoker, no doubt your results will be shorter-lived than a non-smoker who restricts their coffee intake. Generally, however, the results of a professional teeth whitening can last up to a year before re-treatment becomes necessary.

Remember, bleaching your teeth may remove evidence of past staining, but it won’t prevent future staining, so you may want to go easy on the red wine for a while! Also, nothing preserves the youthful beauty of your pearly whites like proper oral hygiene. A teeth whitening treatment will not erase evidence of decay and infection caused by negligence.