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

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
April 06, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Do you have one or more missing teeth? If so, dental implants from Patrick R. Gallagher DDS in Westminster may be just perfect for you. Get the answers to all of your questions here.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are dental devices that replace your missing or badly damaged teeth. They consist of a crown (which takes the place Dental Implantsof your old tooth), a screw (which anchors the implant into your jawbone) and an abutment (which connects the two together). Dental implants can be used to replace one, several or even a mouth full of teeth.

What are the Advantages of Dental Implants?

Dental implants from Dr. Gallagher in Westminster are strong, durable and dependable. Unlike other tooth replacement options, they will last a lifetime if taken care of properly. Dental implants look and feel completely natural, so no one even has to know you are wearing false teeth. They are easy to clean and take care of, they don't move around, and they can even help you maintain the health and shape of your face and jaw as you age.

Who is a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?

Westminster residents considering visiting Dr. Gallagher for dental implants must have good oral health and a jaw bone strong and thick enough to support the implants. They must be healthy enough for surgery and they must commit to taking care of their dental implants for a lifetime.

How Long Do Dental Implants Take to Place?

The process of getting dental implants typically requires around five office visits spread out over the course of three to eight months. This is because each piece of the implant needs to be placed and have time to heal before the next piece is placed. Once the procedure is finished, Dr. Gallagher will want to see you again for a follow-up appointment to check the fit.

If you are considering visiting Dr. Gallagher in Westminster for dental implants, you are making an excellent choice. If you have any more questions or concerns, please call our office. We'd be happy to discuss your options and help you set up an appointment today!

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
March 16, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
TeensMayNeedaTemporaryReplacementforMissingTeeth

Tooth replacement at any age is a challenge, but especially for teenagers. Dental implants in particular may not be possible yet for teens or young adults whose jaws are still developing. Because it’s imbedded directly into bone, the implant will not move with the jaw as jaw growth occurs, making it look potentially unattractive.

The best solution could be a temporary replacement until their jaw reaches maturity. One such option is a removable partial denture (RPD), an artificial tooth set in an acrylic base that resembles gum tissue. Although we associate dentures with older adults, an RPD works well for teens as a temporary measure. Perhaps the best version for a younger person utilizes metal clips that fit over adjacent teeth and hold the RPD in place. Although quite resilient, the wearer needs to be careful when biting into something hard (like an apple or similar firm fruit) or the artificial tooth may break off.

Another option, a bonded bridge, is a fixed solution similar to a traditional bridge. Whereas a traditional bridge is supported by crowns affixed to the teeth on either side of the empty socket (and requiring extensive alteration of the teeth to accommodate them), a bonded bridge attaches to the supporting teeth with wing-like projections of dental material that attaches to the backs of the adjacent teeth, hidden from view. Although not as secure as a traditional bridge, they can conceivably endure until the teen’s jaw structure is ready for an implant or other permanent solution.

Choosing between an RPD and a bonded bridge will depend on a number of factors, including the teen’s individual bite, clenching or biting habits and the health and strength of supporting bone and gums. Regardless of the type of solution chosen, it’s important to maintain good oral hygiene, especially around a bridge. If bacterial plaque is allowed to build up on tooth surfaces, it could result in an infection that can damage both gums and bone, and reduce the chances of a successful implant in the future.

All these and other considerations should be discussed after a thorough examination. From there, we can advise you on the best course of action to restore both appearance and function until it’s time for a permanent restoration.

If you would like more information on temporary tooth replacements for teens, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
February 12, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
CosmeticGumSurgeryCanRestoreHealthasWellasAppearancetoGums

We most often associate plastic surgery with cosmetic enhancements to our outer appearance. While this is their primary purpose, some forms of reconstructive surgery restore lost function and health as well as improve appearance. A classic example is cosmetic periodontal (gum) surgery that restores receded gum tissues that have exposed more of the tooth than is visually appealing.

Gum recession occurs primarily because of excessive brushing (too hard or for too long) or because of periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection that ultimately causes gum tissue to detach and pull away from the teeth. Gum recession not only affects the appearance of the teeth, it can expose the tooth’s root surface to further infection and decay. Without treatment, the disease could progress causing further damage with the potential for the tooth to be eventually lost.

In conjunction with plaque removal to stop gum disease and possibly other treatments like orthodontics to correct misaligned teeth, cosmetic gum surgery is used to rejuvenate lost gum tissues around teeth through tissue grafting. In these procedures, a combination of surgical approaches and/or grafting materials are attached to the area of recession to stimulate the remaining tissue to grow upon the graft and eventually replace it.

Donor grafts can originate from three sources: from the patient (an autograft); another person (an allograft); or another animal species, usually a cow (a xenograft). Tissues from outside the patient are thoroughly treated to remove all cellular material and bacteria to eliminate any possibility of host rejection or disease transmission.

Depending on the nature of the gum recession and tooth condition, the procedure can take different forms. It could involve completely detaching the graft tissue from the host site and re-attaching it to the recipient site. But if more of the tooth root is exposed, the surgeon may cover the graft with tissue adjacent to the host site to supply blood to the graft, and affix the loosened pedicle to the graft site. While any technique requires advanced training and experience, the latter procedure involves microsurgical techniques that require the highest levels of technical skill and art.

Cosmetic gum surgery can result in healthier gum tissues and teeth that are less susceptible to infection and loss. No less important, though, these procedures can return a more natural look to your teeth and gums — and a more pleasing smile.

If you would like more information on gum tissue reconstruction, 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 “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
February 09, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

Discover how this simple cosmetic procedure could completely transform your smile.

A smile is one of the first features someone is likely to notice about you during a first encounter. Whether you’re preparing for an upcoming job interview or you are organizing a weekend date night, you may be taking some time to revamp your appearance. Have Veneersyou stopped to consider how your smile might play into your transformation? Not all cosmetic dental procedures have to be invasive or time-consuming. Your Westminster, MD dentist can give you a more radiant smile in no time.

What are dental veneers?

Dental veneers are thin shells made of porcelain that cover over the front of your teeth to hide small dental flaws.

What flaws can dental veneers hide?

If you suffer from minor chips, cracks or misshapen teeth, overcrowding, gaps between teeth or severe discolorations, than getting dental veneers can greatly improve the appearance of your smile by hiding all of these imperfections.

How are dental veneers applied?

Before the veneers are placed on your teeth, we will remove a small amount of your natural tooth’s enamel to make room for the veneers. While this process isn’t painful and won’t require anesthesia, it’s important to note that once the enamel has been removed, the procedure is irreversible.

Once this tooth preparation is complete, we will match the dental veneers to the rest of your smile to choose the proper shade. Then we will apply a specialized dental cement between the veneer and your tooth and direct a laser on your smile to harden the cement and permanently attach the veneers.

How do I care for dental veneers?

One of the benefits of getting dental veneers is that they do not require special care. You can treat them just as you would natural teeth, so your brushing and flossing regime does not need to change. However, you should continue to maintain good oral hygiene. While dental veneers themselves cannot develop cavities, it’s still possible that cavities can form around the veneers. To prevent this from happening, it’s important to keep up with at-home oral care, as well as routine dental cleanings.

If you’re interested in finding out whether dental veneers are right for your smile goals, then call Dr. Patrick Gallagher III, DDS, your Westminster, MD dentist to schedule a consultation.

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
January 28, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
HowTaylorHicksKeepsHisSmileBright

Like many who have risen to the top tier in show business, singer Taylor Hicks found that he needed a few things (besides talent, of course) to really succeed: a willingness to seek out opportunities and work hard; a unique and energetic stage presence; and a bright, appealing smile.

“Everyone wants to have a great smile,” Hicks recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “In my business, it’s one of the most important things. A lot of what I do is smiling and having fun, being in front of the camera and taking pictures.”

To help him keep his smile sparkling, Hicks opts for in-office whitening treatments from his dentist. These treatments are a safe, quick and effective way to lighten teeth by 3 to 8 shades in a single one-hour visit. Best of all, you don’t have to be an American Idol winner or a Las Vegas headliner to take advantage of them — in fact, we offer them right here in our own office.

Why choose in-office treatments instead of take-home trays (or over-the-counter products)? While each system can be effective at lightening teeth to some degree, the in-office method offers several distinct advantages. For one, it’s the fastest way to get your teeth as bright as they can be; the same lightening that can be achieved in one office visit could take a week when done at home, using custom-made trays and dentist-supplied bleaching solutions — and several weeks with over-the-counter products! So if your time is limited, in-office treatment is the way to go.

Plus, in-office treatments are performed under our direct supervision. That means we can safely use the most powerful whitening gels, and achieve the maximum control over the result. This can be important when you have crowns or replacement teeth such as implants, which Hicks has. Artificial crowns don’t whiten like natural teeth, so it’s important to get just the right degree of lightening to produce an evenly bright smile.

The bottom line, of course, is the result: a dazzling white smile. “In entertainment, a big, pearly white smile makes a difference,” Hicks said. But you don’t have to be an entertainer to enjoy the benefits of a brilliant smile — we do it for plenty of “regular folks” too.

So if your smile could use a little brightening, why not call us and schedule an appointment for whitening treatment? You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening” and “Important Teeth Whitening Questions Answered.”