My Blog

Posts for: May, 2017

By H. David Allick, DDS, PA
May 28, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

A root canal treatment is a commonly known but often misunderstood procedure. Contrary to popular belief, these treatments aren't painful — in fact, they often stop a toothache. More importantly, a “root canal” can give a tooth on the verge of loss another lease on life.

Still, if you've never experienced a root canal treatment before, you probably have questions. Here are the answers to a few of the most common.

Why do they call it a “root canal”? This is the popular shorthand term for a procedure that removes diseased tissue from a decay-infected pulp, the innermost part of a tooth and the actual root canals themselves. Root canals are the narrow, hollow channels that run from the tip of the root to the pulp and are also involved in the procedure.

Why do I need one? Once infected, the pulp's bundles of blood vessels, nerves and other tissues become diseased. This often results in a painful toothache that can also suddenly disappear once the nerves within the pulp die. But there's still a problem: If we don't clean out the diseased and dead pulp tissue, the infection could spread through the root canals to the bone and endanger the tooth's survival.

What happens during the procedure? After deadening the tooth and surrounding gums with local anesthesia, we enter the pulp through an access hole we create. Using special instruments we remove the diseased tissue and shape the root canals to seal them with a filling material called gutta percha. Sealing the access hole is then necessary to prevent re-infection. Later we'll cap the tooth with a porcelain crown to restore its appearance and add further protection against fracture or cracking of the tooth.

Who can perform a root canal treatment? In many cases a general dentist can perform the procedure. There are some complex situations, however, that require a root canal specialist with additional training, expertise and equipment to handle these more difficult cases. If your tooth is just such a case it's more than likely your general dentist will refer you to an endodontist to make sure you get the right kind of care to save it.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”

By H. David Allick, DDS, PA
May 24, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry   veneers  

If you feel as though your smile is dull, damaged or generally not up to par, you may have looked into porcelain veneers. These versatile veneersdental restorations can accomplish many tasks, from subtly tweaking your smile’s imperfections to renewing an entire arch of teeth to straighten, even and whiten them. Learn more about porcelain veneers with Dr. H. David Allick at White Flint Dental Associates in Rockville, MD.

What can veneers do for me? 
Dentists use dental veneers to improve the appearance of imperfections in the teeth. The veneer itself fits over the front of the tooth and covers the imperfections, providing a completely new appearance. The new appearance can be subtle or dramatic, depending on your preferences. Dentists often use dental veneers to treat issues like:

  • chipped teeth
  • cracked teeth
  • yellowed teeth
  • discolored teeth
  • slightly misaligned teeth
  • slight overcrowding
  • slight under crowding

What can I expect from my veneers? 
Porcelain veneers can last up to 20 years with the proper care. The procedure is permanent and irreversible and patients should understand that a committed oral care routine is necessary to keep their veneers healthy. Before placing your veneers, your dentist will prepare the teeth by removing a small amount of enamel from their surfaces. This roughens the surface of the tooth to help the bond between the veneer and the tooth and makes room for the veneer to fit against the tooth naturally.

Porcelain Veneers in Rockville, MD
If you decide veneers are the right dental procedure for you, regular dental examinations and cleanings alongside a strong at-home oral care routine will become more important than ever. Your at-home routine should consist of brushing at least twice a day and flossing at least once. Seeing your dentist for bi-annual checkup appointments will help them catch dental issues like tooth decay early while at their most treatable stages. Additionally, regular dental cleanings will keep both your veneers and natural teeth healthy and free of bacteria and plaque.

For more information on dental veneers, please contact Dr. Allick at White Flint Dental Associates in Rockville, MD. Call (301) 881-6666 to schedule your consultation for veneers today!

By H. David Allick, DDS, PA
May 13, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Is having good oral hygiene important to kissing? Who's better to answer that question than Vivica A. Fox? Among her other achievements, the versatile actress won the “Best Kiss” honor at the MTV Movie Awards, for a memorable scene with Will Smith in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. When Dear Doctor magazine asked her, Ms. Fox said that proper oral hygiene was indeed essential. Actually, she said:

"Ooooh, yes, yes, yes, Honey, 'cause Baby, if you kiss somebody with a dragon mouth, my God, it's the worst experience ever as an actor to try to act like you enjoy it!"

And even if you're not on stage, it's no fun to kiss someone whose oral hygiene isn't what it should be. So what's the best way to step up your game? Here's how Vivica does it:

“I visit my dentist every three months and get my teeth cleaned, I floss, I brush, I just spent two hundred bucks on an electronic toothbrush — I'm into dental hygiene for sure.”

Well, we might add that you don't need to spend tons of money on a toothbrush — after all, it's not the brush that keeps your mouth healthy, but the hand that holds it. And not everyone needs to come in as often every three months. But her tips are generally right on.

For proper at-home oral care, nothing beats brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing once a day. Brushing removes the sticky, bacteria-laden plaque that clings to your teeth and causes tooth decay and gum disease — not to mention malodorous breath. Don't forget to brush your tongue as well — it can also harbor those bad-breath bacteria.

While brushing is effective, it can't reach the tiny spaces in between teeth and under gums where plaque bacteria can hide. But floss can: That's what makes it so important to getting your mouth really clean.

Finally, regular professional checkups and cleanings are an essential part of good oral hygiene. Why? Because even the most dutiful brushing and flossing can't remove the hardened coating called tartar that eventually forms on tooth surfaces. Only a trained health care provider with the right dental tools can! And when you come in for a routine office visit, you'll also get a thorough checkup that can detect tooth decay, gum disease, and other threats to your oral health.

Bad breath isn't just a turn-off for kissing — It can indicate a possible problem in your mouth. So listen to what award-winning kisser Vivica Fox says: Paying attention to your oral hygiene can really pay off! For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read the entire interview with Vivica A. Fox in Dear Doctor's latest issue.