Westminster, MD Dentist
Gallagher & Eden Family Dentistry
715 Baltimore Blvd.
Westminster, MD 21157
(410) 848-3866
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Posts for: June, 2017

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
June 16, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: loose teeth  
LooseAdultTeethRequireImmediateAttentionandTreatment

During your lifetime you’ll eat thousands of meals — and generate a lot of force from chewing over the years. But thanks to a support system of gum tissues and bone, your teeth can normally handle it.

What your teeth can’t handle, though, are higher than normal chewing forces on a continual basis. This can happen if you grind your teeth, which can produce 20-30 times the normal force. The habit often arises in adults because of high stress and often occurs during sleep.

These abnormal forces can stretch the periodontal ligaments that hold teeth in place, cause the teeth to become loose and at increased risk for loss. The best treatment strategy is to reduce clenching with, for example, muscle relaxants or anti-inflammatory drugs or lower the effects with a mouth guard that won’t allow the teeth to make solid contact during clenching.

Your teeth can also become loose even with normal chewing forces if you have advanced periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease arises from dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles left on teeth due to poor oral hygiene. As it builds up, it causes inflammation of the gum tissues resulting in bone loss and causing the gums to detach from the teeth, increasing pocket depth.

Our first step in this case is to treat the gum disease by removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from all tooth and gum surfaces. This includes infected areas below the gum line and around the roots, a circumstance that could require surgical access.

As treatment progresses in either of these scenarios the gum tissues heal and often regain their attachment to the teeth. But that can take time, so we may need to stabilize any loose teeth in the short term. The most common way is to splint them to other secure teeth. This is done by using a clear acrylic bonding material to join the loose teeth together with a strip of metal or other rigid material (like joining pickets in a fence).

When symptoms arise, quick action is the key to preventing lost teeth. If you notice swollen, painful or bleeding gums or especially loose teeth, don’t delay — contact us so we can begin treatment as soon as possible.

If you would like more information on the causes and treatments for loose teeth, 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 “Loose Teeth.”


By By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
June 12, 2017
Category: Cosmetic Dentistry
Tags: veneers  

Find out how dental veneers can get you on your way to the smile you’ve always wanted.Veneers

Do you feel embarrassed by your smile? Do you try to cover it up as much as possible? Do you wish you felt more confident in your appearance but aesthetic issues stand in your way? If so, our Westminster, MD, dentist, Dr. Patrick Gallagher, might just have a solution for hiding these cosmetic flaws and finally giving you a smile to show off.

Your Consultation

This is the very first step to getting dental veneers and one that cannot be skipped. After all, our Westminster general dentist needs to make sure that you are right for dental veneers. He will sit down with you and discuss your treatment goals to make sure that veneers will meet your needs or if another cosmetic restoration would work better so that you can get the results you want. Dr. Gallagher will also need to examine your smile to make sure that it’s healthy and free of decay.

Tooth Preparation

In order to get veneers, your teeth will need to be prepped for them first. Don’t worry; the process is simple and painless. In order for veneers to fit properly, we will need to shave off some enamel from the front of your teeth (typically less than one millimeter). From there, we will also take impressions of your teeth, which will be used as a model from which design your very own set of veneers.

Veneer Fitting

You’ll come into the office one last time for your final fitting before you can display your amazing new smile. We will place the bonding resin between your veneers and the front of your teeth. You will be able to approve the final look before we use a special light to harden the resin, as well as your veneers, permanently to your teeth.

If you are ready to transform your smile and you think cosmetic veneers are the best way to go, then call Gallagher & Eden in Westminster, MD, today. We would be happy to schedule an appointment with you to find out if your teeth are healthy enough for this cosmetic treatment. Let’s get you that perfect smile!


By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
June 01, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
DontBreakItLikeBeckham

During his former career as a professional footballer (that's a soccer star to U.S. sports fans) David Beckham was known for his skill at “bending” a soccer ball. His ability to make the ball curve in mid-flight — to avoid a defender or score a goal — led scores of kids to try to “bend it like Beckham.” But just recently, while enjoying a vacation in Canada with his family, “Becks” tried snowboarding for the first time — and in the process, broke one of his front teeth.

Some fans worried that the missing tooth could be a “red card” for Beckham's current modeling career… but fortunately, he headed straight to the dental office as soon as he arrived back in England. Exactly what kind of treatment is needed for a broken tooth? It all depends where the break is and how badly the tooth is damaged.

For a minor crack or chip, cosmetic bonding may offer a quick and effective solution. In this procedure, a composite resin, in a color custom-made to match the tooth, is applied in liquid form and cured (hardened) with a special light. Several layers of bonding material can be applied to re-construct a larger area of missing tooth, and chips that have been saved can sometimes be reattached as well.

When more tooth structure is missing, dental veneers may be the preferred restorative option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They can not only correct small chips or cracks, but can also improve the color, spacing, and shape of your teeth.

But if the damage exposes the soft inner pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth. In this procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp tissue is removed and the tooth sealed against re-infection; if a root canal is not done when needed, the tooth will have an increased risk for extraction in the future. Following a root canal, a tooth is often restored with a crown (cap), which can look good and function well for many years.

Sometimes, a tooth may be knocked completely out of its socket; or, a severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted (removed). In either situation, the best option for restoration is a dental implant. Here, a tiny screw-like device made of titanium metal is inserted into the jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure. Over time, it fuses with the living bone to form a solid anchorage. A lifelike crown is attached, which provides aesthetic appeal and full function for the replacement tooth.

So how's Beckham holding up? According to sources, “David is a trooper and didn't make a fuss. He took it all in his stride." Maybe next time he hits the slopes, he'll heed the advice of dental experts and wear a custom-made mouthguard…

If you have questions about restoring damaged teeth, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Children's Dental Concerns and Injuries.”