Westminster, MD Dentist
Gallagher & Eden Family Dentistry
715 Baltimore Blvd.
Westminster, MD 21157
(410) 848-3866
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Posts for: February, 2016

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
February 20, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: fillings  
Tooth-ColoredFillingsProvideaViableAlternativetoDentalAmalgam

For over a hundred years dental amalgam — a combination of silver, mercury, tin and other metals — has been an effective filling material for teeth damaged by decay. But it has one major drawback — its metallic appearance stands out in stark contrast to the natural color of teeth.

As an alternative, composite resin fillings can match the color, shape and texture of natural teeth. These materials and the techniques used to bond them are proving just as effective as and more aesthetically pleasing than dental amalgam.

Fillings help protect and preserve a decayed tooth. By first removing decayed tooth structure through drilling, the resulting void is filled with durable material that strengthens the tooth and provides it protection from further decay.

The ultimate goal for restoration is to return the tooth to as near normal form and function as possible. Dental amalgam serves well in terms of function, providing the tooth strength in the face of the daily biting forces it encounters. In contrast, composite resins excel in appearance, but haven’t always matched the durability of amalgam. They’re material construction has improved over time, though, as well as the techniques used to bond them to teeth.

Most of these bonding techniques incorporate layering. The first step is to seal the dentin (the porous, living tissue just below the enamel); we then build up the composite material layer by layer within the tooth using special bonding adhesive and curing lights. In some cases where a large volume of tooth structure must be replaced, the restoration is first formed on the tooth and then removed for curing before being cemented into the tooth or a separate restoration is formed by a dental lab.

The end result is a tooth which both looks and functions like a fully intact tooth. Though care must be taken not to subject composite resin restorations to undue forces (no cracking open nutshells, for example), your new filling should continue to serve you and look great for a long time to come.

If you would like more information on metal-free restorations, 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 “The Natural Beauty of Tooth Colored Fillings.”


By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
February 11, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

Ready to get a significantly brighter smile in just one hour?

It’s amazing how things like what we eat and the natural aging process take a toll on our smile’s appearance. Over time, you may notice that your pearly whites are no longer as white as they used to be. Fortunately, your Westminster dentist Dr. Patrick Gallagher can teeth whiteningchange all that with professional teeth whitening.

How Teeth Whitening Works

What makes professional teeth whitening from your cosmetic dentist in Westminster so much more effective than commercial whitening products is that it contains a highly concentrated amount of hydrogen peroxide. While retail whitening kits may contain hydrogen peroxide it is nowhere near as strong or as effective. Hydrogen peroxide is used to lift stains that are trapped under the enamel and dentin layers of the tooth.

Whitening works best on stains that are caused by:

  • Certain foods like berries, tomato sauces and other dark condiments
  • Dark drinks like cola, tea, wine and coffee
  • Smoking
  • Natural aging

Teeth whitening isn’t always as effective on stains caused by injury or certain prescription medications. These stains tend to be internal in nature and teeth whitening is only designed to remove surface stains.

Getting Your Teeth Whitened

Your Westminster, MD dentist will be able to determine whether teeth whitening is the appropriate cosmetic treatment for you. If you’ve been deemed a great candidate you have two whitening options: at-home or in-office treatment.

If you choose in-office whitening it may be a bit more expensive but you’ll get a visibly whiter smile in just one hour. This is a great option for patients looking to get a smile up to eight shades whiter before a big event. When you come into the office for whitening we will thoroughly clean your teeth before applying the whitening gel. Then we will use a laser to activate the gel and speed up the whitening process. Most sessions involve three, 15-minute whitening gel applications.

If you choose to whiten from the convenience of your own home we will custom-fit you with whitening trays that will be filled with peroxide gel. These whitening trays will most likely be worn every day. We will tell you how long to wear them each day before starting to see results. It will take a couple weeks before you start to notice results but your smile can get several shades lighter with at-home whitening.

Patrick Gallagher III, DDS is ready to get your smile more radiant before your next big event. Call our Westminster dental office today and let us give you a smile you’ll be all too happy to show off.


By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
February 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
NeilPatrickHarrisWhattheOscarsHostTreasuresMost

A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”