My Blog

Posts for: June, 2018

By H. David Allick, DDS, PA
June 29, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Transforming your smile can be a huge undertaking. And while we have the technical skills, experience and understanding of aesthetics to perform a smile makeover, your input is just as necessary to achieve a satisfying result.

Your part really has to do with expectations — what do you see when you look in the mirror — and what do you want to change?

Here are 3 questions to help guide you in shaping your expectations for that new, beautiful smile.

What do you dislike about your teeth? This is really about specifics and not just a general feeling of dissatisfaction. Are your teeth misshapen, chipped or missing? Are they discolored or stained? Is the spacing off or do you have a poor bite (malocclusion)? Getting a sense of what you perceive as unattractive will help us formulate a plan to improve the appearance of those problem areas.

Are you concerned with how much your gums show when you smile? Your teeth may be perfect, but if your gums seem to steal the spotlight when you smile (known as a “gummy” smile), you may need some remedy like veneers, crowns or even corrective surgery. Which procedure depends on whether the crowns of your teeth are too short in proportion to the gums, or the muscles in your upper lip are allowing the lip to rise too high when you smile. A dental examination will tell all.

Do you want a “Hollywood Smile” — or just a more attractive, natural you? Smile makeovers aren’t just about clinical alterations — it’s just as much about your personal perceptions of beauty. Some patients want the perfectly shaped, aligned and dazzlingly white smile that’s the epitome of Hollywood. Others want only to enhance their smile, perhaps even keeping a few unique imperfections they’re comfortable with. It’s important to know which person you are, and to communicate that with us when we’re putting together your makeover plan.

Changing your smile is a big step in your life. You can help make the process more satisfying and successful if you understand what you want to change — and why.

If you would like more information on smile analysis and makeover, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Great Expectations.”

By H. David Allick, DDS, PA
June 19, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental injury  

The National Safety Council has designated June as National Safety Month. A key component of staying safe is being prepared for emergencies, and this includes dental emergencies. Would you know what to do if you suffered any of the following dental mishaps?

Chipped tooth: One common dental injury is a chipped tooth. If this happens to you, save the missing chip if possible because we may be able to bond it back onto the tooth—but don’t be tempted to glue the chip back on by yourself! However, even without the missing chip, the tooth can most often be repaired with bonding material.

Cracked tooth: If you crack a tooth, rinse your mouth with warm water. If it is bleeding, hold a clean washcloth or gauze to the area until the bleeding stops, but don’t wiggle the tooth around or bite down hard. Keep in mind that the sooner your tooth is repaired, the better. Depending on how bad the crack is, if the tooth can be treated, it will most likely continue to function pain-free for years to come.

Displaced (“luxated”) tooth: If an injury causes your tooth to become loose, shoves it sideways or pushes it into or out of its socket, don’t try to force the tooth back into position on your own. Instead, call the dental office right away and leave it to us to bring the tooth back into its proper place and determine the extent of the injury.

Knocked out tooth: If a permanent tooth is knocked out of your mouth, pick it up without touching the root and rinse it off with cold water, but do not scrub. For the best chance of saving the tooth, place it firmly back in its socket within five minutes and hold it in position for a few minutes. If this is not possible, keep the tooth between your cheek and gum or in a glass of cold milk so that it doesn’t dry out. Call the dental office immediately.

If a baby tooth is knocked out, there is no need to place it back in the socket since baby teeth are not reattached. However, it is still important to have us examine the injury.

Being prepared for dental emergencies can help save a tooth as well as avoid more costly dental treatment down the road. But no matter what type of dental injury you have, it is important to come in for a consultation as the injury may extend beyond the part of the tooth that is visible. With today’s materials and technology, there’s a very good chance your smile can look as good as before—and often even better!

If you have questions about dental injuries, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth with Composite Resin.”

By H. David Allick, DDS, PA
June 11, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Invisalign Tray  

Invisalign TrayWhat's the best path to a healthy, straight smile? If Nature hasn't provided it, explore discreet orthodontic correction with Invisalign clear aligners. Made from a proprietary acrylic, these thin, removable appliances guide crooked or gapped teeth into favorable positions within a short time frame. At White Flint Dental Associates in Rockville, Dr. H. David Allick and Dr. Ghassan Jacklis use Invisalign to help older teens and adults have great smiles, but without the obvious appearance and lifestyle changes typical of conventional orthodontics.

Invisalign and you

Your relationship with this amazing orthodontic system starts with an evaluation at White Flint Dental Associates. A careful visual examination and X-rays, along with a three-dimensional scan, tell your dentist in Rockville the particulars of your alignment issues and determine if Invisalign can help. Fortunately, the Invisalign system treats a wide range of problems, including:

  • Gaps
  • Tooth rotation and tipping
  • Overcrowding
  • Overlapping
  • Overbite
  • Underbite
  • Openbite
  • Crossbite
  • Overject, or protruding front teeth
  • Tooth drift after prior orthodontic correction
These issues should be in the mild to moderate range. More complicated malocclusions or spacing problems need conventional metal braces.

If Invisalign is a viable treatment option, look forward to care which progresses quickly and comfortably. Normally, patients wear smooth, invisible aligner pairs numbering 18 to 30 in all, and treatment takes 9 to 15 months. That's shorter than traditional orthodontics, and to your advantage, oral hygiene and eating meals and snacks is easy because you simply remove your appliances to eat or brush and floss.

Each day, an Invisalign patient should wear his or her aligners a total of 20 to 22 hours. Your care plan will tell you when to move on the next aligner pair, and your dentist at White Flint Dental Associates will check your progress during a short visit every four to six weeks.

Along the way, only your dentist and closest family or friends will know you're wearing aligners. Plus, for special events, such as proms, weddings or job-related presentations, simply take your aligners out if you like and replace them afterward.

Here comes a new smile

Expect some minor discomfort as you wear your aligners, especially as you begin treatment. However, Invisalign patients experience none of the oral lacerations that people with metal braces do. Also, because there are no brackets to dislodge or wires to break, you eat what you want and brush and floss as you usually do.

When treatment concludes, you'll probably wear a retainer--either the last clear aligner or a custom-made retainer. Either way, your new smile will stay straight and beautiful.

Additionally, your new smile will be healthier--easier to clean and less prone to decay and gum disease. The Oral Health Foundation maintains that people with proper dental bites experience fewer jaw joint issues and headaches, too.

Find out more

Learn about the benefits of treatment with discreet Invisalign aligners by arranging a personal consultation at White Flint Dental Associates. Call today. (301) 881-6666.

By H. David Allick, DDS, PA
June 09, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Is a chipped tooth big news? It is if you’re Justin Bieber. When the pop singer recently posted a picture from the dental office to his instagram account, it got over 2.6 million “likes.” The snapshot shows him reclining in the chair, making peace signs with his hands as he opens wide; meanwhile, his dentist is busy working on his smile. The caption reads: “I chipped my tooth.”

Bieber may have a few more social media followers than the average person, but his dental problem is not unique. Sports injuries, mishaps at home, playground accidents and auto collisions are among the more common causes of dental trauma.

Some dental problems need to be treated as soon as possible, while others can wait a few days. Do you know which is which? Here are some basic guidelines:

A tooth that’s knocked out needs attention right away. First, try and locate the missing tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid holding the tooth’s roots. Next, grasp the crown of the tooth and place it back in the socket facing the correct way. If that isn’t possible, place it between the cheek and gum, in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva or a special tooth preservative, or in a glass of cold milk. Then rush to the dental office or emergency room right away. For the best chance of saving the tooth, it should be treated within five minutes.

If a tooth is loosened or displaced (pushed sideways, deeper into or out of its socket), it’s best to seek dental treatment within 6 hours. A complete examination will be needed to find out exactly what’s wrong and how best to treat it. Loosened or displaced teeth may be splinted to give them stability while they heal. In some situations, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.

Broken or fractured (cracked) teeth should receive treatment within 12 hours. If the injury extends into the tooth’s inner pulp tissue, root canal treatment will be needed. Depending on the severity of the injury, the tooth may need a crown (cap) to restore its function and appearance. If pieces of the tooth have been recovered, bring them with you to the office.

Chipped teeth are among the most common dental injuries, and can generally be restored successfully. Minor chips or rough edges can be polished off with a dental instrument. Teeth with slightly larger chips can often be restored via cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. When more of the tooth structure is missing, the best solution may be porcelain veneers or crowns. These procedures can generally be accomplished at a scheduled office visit. However, if the tooth is painful, sensitive to heat or cold or producing other symptoms, don’t wait for an appointment — seek help right away.

Justin Bieber earned lots of “likes” by sharing a picture from the dental office. But maybe the take-home from his post is this: If you have a dental injury, be sure to get treatment when it’s needed. The ability to restore a damaged smile is one of the best things about modern dentistry.

If you have questions about dental injury, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”