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.
March 10, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   veneers  
VivicasVeneerstheMakingofaHollywoodSmile

What's an actor's most important feature? According to Vivica A. Fox, whose most recent big-screen role was in Independence Day: Resurgence, it's what you see right up front.

"On screen, your smile and your eyes are the most inviting things that bring the audience in" she said. "Especially if you play the hot chick."

But like lots of people, Vivica reached a point where she felt her smile needed a little help in order to look its best. That's when she turned to a popular cosmetic dental treatment.

"I got veneers years ago," Ms. Fox told Dear Doctor magazine in a recent interview, "just because I had some gapping that probably only I noticed."

What exactly are dental veneers? Essentially, they are thin shells of lustrous porcelain that are permanently attached to the front surfaces of the teeth. Tough, lifelike and stain-resistant, they can cover up a number of defects in your smile — including stains, chips, cracks, and even minor spacing irregularities like the ones Vivica had.

Veneers have become the treatment of choice for Hollywood celebs — and lots of regular folks too — for many reasons. Unlike some treatments that can take many months, it takes just a few appointments to have veneers placed on your teeth. Because they are custom made just for you, they allow you to decide how bright you want your smile to be: anywhere from a natural pearly hue to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Best of all, they are easy to maintain, and can last for many years with only routine care.

To place traditional veneers, it's necessary to prepare the tooth by removing a small amount (a millimeter or two) of its enamel surface. This keeps it from feeling too big — but it also means the treatment can't be reversed, so once you get veneers, you'll always have them. In certain situations, "no-prep" or minimal-prep veneers, which require little or no removal of tooth enamel, may be an option for some people.

Veneers aren't the only way to create a better smile: Teeth whitening, crowns or orthodontic work may also be an alternative. But for many, veneers are the preferred option. What does Vivica think of hers?

"I love my veneers!" she declared, noting that they have held up well for over a decade.

For more information about veneers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
December 17, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
HowKathyBatesRetainsHerMovie-StarSmile

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
December 13, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   orthodontics   Invisalign  

A lot of patients mistakenly assume that in order to get a straighter smile they have to get a standard braces treatment and wait years for invisalignresults. The truth of the matter is that you can have that better looking smile in just months with Invisalign. The office of Gallagher & Eden in Westminster, MD offers this revolutionary braces treatment to qualifying patients who are both smile-conscious and concerned about how long it will take to get a more attractive smile.

Wearing Traditional Braces
Although braces are the traditionally trusted solution for straightening smile imperfections, not every patient can tolerate the treatment period. Some patients have to wait two to three years to get the results they want. Patients who have mild to moderate orthodontic problems often prefer to perfect their smile with the help of Invisalign clear aligners.

What Is Invisalign?
Invisalign is a solution that gives patients straighter teeth in a shorter period of time compared to traditional braces. Instead of waiting up to three years, some patients can reveal their new smiles in as little as six months. The treatment utilizes clear plastic trays that are designed to align the teeth in a better position. With each tray prescribed by your Westminster dentist, your smile gets closer and closer to the ideal look.

A No-Hassle Solution
Because Invisalign aligners are removable, you can continue to live a no-hassle lifestyle. If you want to take off the aligners to eat or to have a close one-on-one conversation with someone, you can do that without a problem. There's no pain from metal brackets or no embarrassment when smiling or talking in social settings. 

See if Invisalign Is Your Ideal Solution
If your ultimate goal for your teeth is to have a straighter smile, you may find that that can be easily achieved by getting an Invisalign treatment. Call (410) 848-3866 today to schedule an appointment with a dentist at Gallagher & Eden in Westminster, MD.

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
October 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Find out how this simple tooth-shaped cap can breathe life back into a damaged smile.

Dealing with a cracked or damaged tooth can feel frustrating. After all, now everyone can see that you have a less-than-perfect smile. It dental crownsmight sound ridiculous but your smile’s appearance can certainly play a large role in how good you feel about the way you look. Let our Westminster, MD dentist, Dr. Patrick Gallagher, helps boost your self-confidence with dental crowns.

With so many different and new dental restorations on the market you may have forgotten about dental crowns, but they really are a classic. There is a reason that our Westminster general dentist has been using them for so long. They are an amazingly easy way to save a damaged tooth and improve the health of your smile for years to come. A dental crown is custom-made to fit over the damaged tooth to treat issues caused by infection, trauma or severe decay.

Dental crowns are often used if a tooth is cracked, broken, chipped or worn down enough that the structure is no longer stable. A crown is designed to restore the tooth back to its full strength so you don’t have to worry about damaging your tooth further. Plus, crowns are designed to look just like natural teeth so they can also be a great option for a tooth that is severely malformed or discolored. While dental crowns are usually used to restore smiles they can also be used for purely aesthetic reasons, too.

Of course, before getting a dental crown the tooth has to be shaped properly in order for the crown to fit over the tooth. This means that enamel will need to be removed from your natural tooth. This is performed under local anesthesia, so you won’t feel a thing!

Then we will take impressions of your teeth. After all, the lab needs something from which to create your custom-made crown. Once your crown is made we will check the fit and your bite and then cement it into place. With the proper care a dental crown can last anywhere from 10-15 years (or more!).

Whether you have questions about dental crowns or you are dealing with dental pain, turn to the dental experts of Gallagher & Eden in Westminster, MD for the special, individualized care your smile deserves every time.

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
September 26, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
LasersareMakinganImpactinTreatingGumDisease

Periodontal (gum) disease is potentially devastating to your teeth, gums and bone. To fight it we have to remove the substance that causes and sustains the disease from all oral surfaces — a thin layer of bacteria and food particles known as plaque.

To accomplish this task, we use a variety of hand instruments called scalers to mechanically remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits), as well as ultrasonic equipment to vibrate plaque loose and flush it away with water. If we detect plaque deposits well below the gum line and around the tooth roots, we may need to use other techniques like root planing or surgery to access these deeper areas.

 While gum disease is persistent and aggressive, these traditional techniques have proven quite effective in controlling the infection and restoring health to diseased gums. Yet like other aspects of medicine and dentistry, technological advances have created a new option for gum disease treatment: the Nd:YAG laser.

The Nd:YAG laser is named for the crystal it uses to produce a narrow and intense beam of light on a specific frequency. In recent years it's become an important surgical tool because it can distinguish between diseased and healthy tissue, destroying the former while not affecting the latter. It's being used now on a limited basis for treating gum disease, especially for removing infected tissue in deep pockets that can form below the gum line, and for removing plaque and calculus from root surfaces.

 Because of its precision, early evidence of effectiveness is encouraging: minimal tissue damage and swelling, less bleeding and reduced patient discomfort after treatment. The heat from the laser has also been shown to kill bacteria and essentially sterilize the area.

Still, the findings aren't conclusive enough as to whether lasers are superior in most circumstances to traditional scaling methods. For the time being, we'll continue to use the tried and true methods for removing plaque and calculus. But as laser technology advances, the time may come when this new approach to gum disease treatment will become a more prominent and beneficial option for patients.

If you would like more information on your treatment options for gum disease, 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 “Lasers Versus Traditional Cleanings for Treating Gum Disease.”