Westminster, MD Dentist
Gallagher & Eden Family Dentistry
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Westminster, MD 21157
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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

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.”

KristinCavallarisSpaghettiCatcher-FirstStepToAWinningSmile

Kristin Cavallari's flawless smile has been featured on TV, film and magazine covers. But the 25-year-old actress and reality-show personality didn't always have a perfect set of teeth. In fact, she told Dear Doctor magazine — where readers recently voted to crown her with the “Smile of the Year” award — that her dental treatments began the same way many do: with orthodontics in sixth grade.

“I had the ‘spaghetti catcher,’ which is what everyone used to call it,” she reminisced. But by that, she didn't mean a strainer — she's talking about what dentists call a “palatal expander.”

In case you're not familiar with this orthodontic device, a palatal expander takes advantage of the natural growth patterns of a child's upper jaw to create additional space for the top set of teeth. How does it work? Basically, it's similar to braces: By applying gentle pressure, the appliance creates changes in the jaw. Unlike braces, however, it's invisible — it fits between the upper teeth, close to the roof of the mouth.

During the three to six months a child wears the palatal expander, it pushes the left and right halves of the upper jawbone apart, and then maintains and stabilizes the new, wider spacing. Since the palatal bones don't fuse until after puberty, tightening it a little bit each day for the first few weeks provides a quick and painless method of making the upper jaw a bit roomier. And that can be a very good thing. Why?

There are lots of reasons. For one, it can relieve the condition called “crowding,” when there is not enough space in the upper jaw to accommodate the proper alignment of the permanent teeth. In the past, teeth often had to be extracted in that situation. It may even allow “impacted” teeth — ones which are blocked from erupting by other teeth — to come in normally.

It can help treat a “crossbite,” when the back top teeth come down to bite inside (instead of outside) the lower back teeth. It also generally shortens the total time a child needs for orthodontic treatment. That's good news for any teenager — even if their own day-to-day “reality show” isn't featured on TV!

If you would like more information about palatal expanders, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Palatal Expanders” and “Early Orthodontic Evaluation.”

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
December 11, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
CatherineZeta-JonesAward-WinningSmile

She received an academy award for best supporting actress in Chicago (2002); she regularly stars in big Hollywood films like Oceans Twelve and Side Effects. And she’s been named one of People magazine’s “most beautiful people” of the year… a total of five times so far. According to big-screen heartthrob Antonio Banderas, “She has one of the most beautiful close-ups in cinematography today.”

So would it surprise you to learn that Catherine Zeta-Jones had a little help from cosmetic dentistry along the way? In her childhood, the actress said, “I was teased because I had a really flat-looking nose, and before I got braces, my teeth used to stick out a bit.” According to press reports, she has also had various dental treatments to make her teeth look whiter and more even.

Because she’s been in the spotlight since a young age, Zeta-Jones had her cosmetic dental treatments performed over a number of years. But if you’re unhappy with your smile right now, there’s no need to wait: Getting a complete “smile makeover” starts with a consultation at our office. How does it work?

We begin with a thorough dental exam to check for any underlying issues, and some basic questions, including: What do you (and don’t you) like about your smile? Are your teeth as even and as white as you’d like them to be? Is your smile too “gummy”, or do the teeth seem too large or small in proportion to your facial features? Do gaps, chips or cracked teeth detract from your appearance?

Next, working together with you, we can develop a plan to correct any perceived problems in your smile. We’ve already mentioned two of the most common ways to enhance a smile that’s less than perfect: orthodontics for straightening crooked teeth, and whitening treatments for a more brilliant smile. If your teeth are otherwise healthy, both treatments can be performed at any time — in fact, more and more of today’s orthodontic patients are adults.

Other treatments that are often used include cosmetic bonding to repair small to moderate chips or cracks in teeth; crowns (caps) to restore teeth with more extensive structural damage; and veneers to remedy a number of defects — including discoloration, small irregularities in tooth spacing, and even teeth that appear too long or too short. Plus, we have even more procedures designed to remedy specific dental issues.

Will having a better smile get you on the “most beautiful people” list? We can’t say for sure. But we think you’ll feel better about yourself… and people will notice.

If you would like more information on smile makeovers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “The Impact of a Smile Makeover” and “Great Expectations — Perceptions in Smile Design.”

By Patrick R Gallagher III DDS
December 10, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

Find out how long the treatment process will take before getting your new smile.

Are dental flaws keeping you from the smile you want? If so, dental veneers might be just what you’ve been looking for. If you are interested in getting veneers in Westminster, here is what to expect from this cosmetic treatment:

What are dental veneers?

Dental veneers are thin porcelain shells that are made to look like just like natural teeth. They are adhered to the front of your teeth to reshape smiles, hide discolorations and cover gaps or crooked teeth.

How many dental visits are required to get veneers in Westminster?

There are three different phases of treatment; therefore, you should expect to come in to see your Westminster dentist three times. The first visit will be a consultation and exam, in which we will determine if dental veneers are right for you. We will also sit down and talk with you about your goals and expectations for this treatment to make sure this is the right cosmetic procedure for your smile.

What will my preparation visit entail?

Once we have deemed you a good candidate for treatment, we will need to prepare your smile for the veneers. One of the benefits of opting for dental veneers over other cosmetic treatments is that it’s not invasive, so you won’t necessarily need anesthesia (however, some patients might).

During the preparation visit we will remove a very small amount of your tooth’s enamel—about half a millimeter. This will provide more room to add on the veneers without creating a bulky look. We will also create a mold of your smile to send to a lab to fabricate your veneers.

What should I expect from my last visit?

The final visit is known as the bonding visit. This visit will take a couple hours, as we will need time to place the veneers on your teeth and check their fit and color. We will also want to get your approval before permanently adhering the veneers. Once you are satisfied with your new look, we will apply a tooth-colored cement between the veneers and your teeth, and then shine a light beam over your smile to harden the cement.

Will I have follow-up visits after my veneer treatment?

It usually takes patients about two weeks to fully adjust to their new veneers. However, we recommend that you continue to brush and floss each daily as you normally would. There is no reason to change your dental routine. If you have any questions about your veneers during this period, don’t hesitate to call us.

You’ll come back to our office for a follow-up about one to two weeks after your procedure to check the placement and make sure everything looks healthy.

If you are interested in dental veneers in Westminster, call your dentist today to schedule a consultation. After all, we want to make sure that whatever dental procedure you opt for will give you the smile you deserve.