My Blog

Posts for: July, 2016

By H. David Allick, DDS, PA
July 30, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: antibiotics  
AntibioticResistanceRequiresAction-andaChangeofAttitude

The development of antibiotic drugs is widely considered one of the greatest medical achievements of the last century. Their widespread use has turned life-threatening diseases like cholera, strep throat or bacterial meningitis into manageable, treatable ones. It’s no exaggeration to say antibiotics changed the face of healthcare, including dentistry.

But this gleaming sword for fighting dangerous diseases has a double edge because our biological “enemies” can adapt to the microscopic attacks against them. This has created an ironic conundrum: as antibiotics have proliferated in both the amount and frequency used they’ve become less effective against ever-resistant organisms.

This unfortunate situation has been helped along by a widespread, misguided practice in the medical profession, created by a “better safe than sorry” philosophy, to use them to treat any illness. This has morphed in recent decades into using antibiotics as a preventive measure in those not even exhibiting signs of disease, which then evolved into using antibiotics as a feed additive for livestock. As a result, antibiotic drugs have made their way into the food chain to accelerate, in many people’s opinion, bacterial and viral resistance.

What can we do then as “super-bugs” are on the rise, like Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus (MRSA) which is resistant to the most common antibiotics?

Certainly, continuing research into creating new antibiotics that address resistance is vital. But it won’t be enough: we — both healthcare providers and patients — must also change our approach and attitude toward antibiotics. This means putting in place better prescription guidelines that reduce the application of antibiotics for only those conditions where it’s absolutely necessary. And, we must restrict their use as a preventive measure, particularly in regard to their use in livestock feed.

This will take a change in everyone’s mindset, our professional standards and guidelines, and perhaps our laws. Thankfully, many are seeing the looming danger, and change is already happening. But time is of the essence, and the future depends on it — not just for people today but also for tomorrow’s generations.

If you would like more information on prudent antibiotic use, 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 “Antibiotics: Use and Abuse.”


By H. David Allick, DDS, PA
July 15, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
HowKathyBatesRetainsHerMovie-StarSmile

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.


By White Flint Dental Associates
July 07, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns   Bridges  

Have you recently lost teeth, or learned that some of your teeth are damaged beyond repair? Don’t worry--your days of bold, confident smiles aren’t over. Millions of people are sporting crowns and bridges from their Rockville, MD dentist at White Flint Dental Associates asDental Crowns part of a natural-looking, healthy smile.

What Is a Dental Crown?

A crown is a cap that covers either a natural tooth or a dental implant. When it covers a tooth, its purpose is to seal off the damaged tooth from infection and reinforce the structure to prevent breakage. When it covers a dental implant, it functions as part of a tooth replacement--the implant replaces the root, while the crown replaces the visible part of the tooth.

Common materials for crowns include:

  • Metal: Withstands the forces of chewing better than any other material and resists wear and tear quite well. A good option for back molars that won’t be seen.
  • Porcelain or ceramic: Matches the natural color of your teeth most closely; a popular choice for front teeth.
  • Porcelain-fused-to-metal: The best of both worlds, this crown type is attached with the strength of metal but provides the natural look of porcelain.
  • Resin: This material is similar to a tooth-colored filling. While it's less resilient than other materials, it’s also an economical and aesthetically pleasing option that won’t break the bank.

What is A Dental Bridge?

A bridge is used when several adjacent teeth need to be replaced. Usually the teeth on either side of the gap, called the abutment teeth, are crowned to create an anchor. The bridge is your set of replacement teeth, which is then attached to fill in the gap.

Like crowns, bridges may also be used alongside natural teeth or dental implants. Most bridges are all-ceramic or porcelain-fused-to-metal for an attractive look.

Family Dentist in Rockville, MD

Crowns and bridges are popular ways to restore a smile after your teeth have been damaged. Visit your family dentist in Rockville, MD to learn how they can help give you a feeling of pride and confidence in your smile once again. Call White Flint Dental Associates at (301) 881-6666 or request your appointment online.