Posts for: September, 2016
Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Even with wear and tear from years of eating and biting they can continue to function properly and look attractive well into your senior years.
Teeth are resilient thanks in part to enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. But the gums also contribute to this resilience: besides attractively framing the teeth, they protect the dentin and roots below the enamel covering.
Unfortunately, the gums can shrink back or “recede” from their normal place. Not only does this look unattractive, the recession can also expose teeth to disease and cause tooth sensitivity to temperature changes or biting pressure.
There are a number of causes for gum recession, some of which you may have little control over. If, for example, your teeth come in off center from their bony housing, the gum tissues may not develop around them properly. You might also have inherited a thinner type of gum tissue from your parents: thinner tissues are more delicate and susceptible to recession.
But there are other causes for which you have more control. Over-aggressive brushing (too hard for too long), ironically, does more harm than good as it can injure your gums and cause them to recede. More likely, though, your recession is a direct result of neglecting proper hygiene for your teeth and gums.
When teeth aren't properly cleaned through daily brushing and flossing, a thin film of bacteria and food remnant called plaque builds up on tooth surfaces. This can trigger periodontal (gum) disease, which subsequently causes the gum tissues to detach from the teeth and often recede.
To reduce your risk of gum disease, you should gently but thoroughly brush and floss daily, and visit us for cleanings and checkups at least twice a year. If you have a poor bite (malocclusion), consider orthodontic treatment: malocclusions make it easier for plaque to accumulate and harder to remove.
Above all, if you begin to see signs of gum problems — swelling, bleeding or pain — see us promptly for an examination and treatment. Dealing with these issues early is the best way to ensure your gums continue to do their jobs for the long-term.
Whether you are a 50 year old executive at a Fortune 500 corporation, or a 17 year old high school student preparing to take the SATs, discreetly straightening your teeth has never been easier thanks to Invisalign.
Straighter Teeth with Invisalign in Rockville, MD
Many adults and older teenagers can be reluctant to sign up for traditional metallic braces, choosing to delay or put off treatment in order to avoid the social stigma and potential embarrassment. That's where Invisalign clear aligner trays come in. Invisalign delivers the same results as traditional braces, without the wires and brackets. Made of high quality plastic, the trays are practically invisible, and less invasive than braces.
Invisalign Offers Convenience and Better Control Over Oral Hygiene
Dr. H. David Allick, a family dentist at Rockville, MD based White Flint Dental Associates, recommends Invisalign for qualified patients in need of a subtler, and more discreet method to align and straighten crooked and misaligned teeth. The trays are custom made for each person, and each tray is worn for a period of approximately two weeks, after which it is replaced by the next tray in the series. Over the course of approximately 15 months, the teeth gradually shift into the desired alignment. Invisalign trays can be removed for up to two hours each day, allowing for better comfort while eating (no more giving up favorite foods for braces!), and allow for daily brushing and flossing. Because the trays are made out of clear plastic, they are virtually invisible to the naked eye, making them a great option for people who might otherwise skip necessary orthodontic treatment.
Find a Family Dentist in Rockville, MD
For more information on how Invisalign works, and whether it is the right option for you or a member of your family, contact White Flint Dental Associates by calling (301) 881-6666 to schedule a consultation with Dr. H. David Allick today.
Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.
“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”
That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.
Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!
The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.
If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”