Westminster, MD Dentist
Gallagher & Eden Family Dentistry
715 Baltimore Blvd.
Westminster, MD 21157
(410) 848-3866
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By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
June 12, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: braces   oral hygiene  
EffectiveHygieneisKeytoPreventingEnamelWhiteSpotsWhileWearingBraces

Finally — your braces are off! A look in the mirror reveals a straighter, more attractive smile. Unfortunately, it may also show something not so attractive — tiny, chalky spots on your teeth.

These “white spot lesions” are created by acid remaining too long in contact with the enamel, causing it to lose minerals at those places. The acid comes from plaque (a thin film of bacteria and food particles) that brushing and flossing fail to remove. Snacking on foods and beverages with added sugar or high acid content may also make it worse.

Besides their unattractiveness, these spots can lead to tooth decay — so it’s important to try to prevent it. Limiting sugar-added snacks and acidic beverages to mealtimes will help, but the main key to preventing lesions is more thorough brushing and flossing.

Because of the braces, this can take longer to do than if you weren’t wearing them. It’s also more difficult maneuvering your toothbrush or floss around the orthodontic hardware. You can improve thoroughness and access by using a powered brush or one specially designed for use with braces. And, a water flosser that removes plaque between teeth with a pulsating spray of water is an effective alternative to string floss.

Even if (despite your best efforts) some lesions form, we can still treat them. Resuming normal hygiene practices after braces may take care of it — if not, we can strengthen the affected areas of the enamel with pastes, gels, or other topical fluoride applications. We can also use a technique called caries infiltration that injects tooth-colored resin (often used for cosmetic dentistry) beneath the white spot to harden it, and leave it more translucent in resemblance of normal enamel. If these fail to produce satisfactory results, we can use cosmetic bonding that permanently covers the tooth with resin or veneers.

It’s best, though, if you can prevent the lesions while you’re wearing braces. Besides daily hygiene, be sure to keep up regular dental visits for teeth cleaning. Your efforts will go a long way toward keeping your newly aligned teeth bright and blemish-free.

If you would like more information on dental care and hygiene while wearing braces, 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 “White Spots on Teeth during Orthodontic Treatment.”

By Gallagher and Eden Dental
June 09, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

While looking into replacement options for your missing tooth or teeth, you may have run across dental implants. These implants, which use a biocompatible titanium post called a fixture to replace a tooth’s root and the tooth itself, can completely overhaul your smile. But are dental implants right for you? Find out the answers to some commonly asked questions about dental implants with help from your Dental ImplantsWestminster, MD dentist.

What can dental implants do for me? 
Dental implants are a versatile procedure which can replace one, many or all of your teeth. Single tooth replacement uses one implant to replace one tooth. Multiple tooth replacement allows your dentist to use several implants to hold a row of prosthetic teeth in place. Your dentist can also strategically place implants throughout the arch to hold an implant-supported denture in place to replace all of the teeth on an arch.

How long do dental implants last? 
The implant’s fixture is implanted into the jawbone beneath your missing tooth. Over time, the fixture integrates with the bone, becoming a permanent part of your smile. While the prosthetic tooth itself may require maintenance over time, your implant will last a lifetime with the proper care.

Am I a good candidate for dental implants? 
If you are missing one or more teeth, you could benefit from dental implants. However, untreated missing teeth no longer stimulate the bone underneath them. This lack of stimulation causes the bone to degrade. Good candidates for dental implants have healthy enough bone for implantation and integration and can undergo general anesthesia and the recovery time required by the procedure.

What is the procedure like? 
The procedure for dental implants usually takes place in two parts. The first part involves an initial consultation with your Westminster dentist to determine if implants are right for you. Surgery involves implanting the implant’s fixture into the jawbone. During recovery, the fixture begins to integrate into the bone. After successful integration, the second part of the procedure begins. At this point, your dentist works with a dental laboratory to create the prosthetic teeth. Then, your dentist affixes the replacement teeth to your implant, completing the procedure.

Caring for Your Implants
Dental implants require a strong at-home oral care routine in order to remain healthy. Brush at least twice daily and floss at least once. See your dentist at least twice a year to maintain both your natural teeth and implants alike.

For more information on dental implants, please contact Dr. Patrick Gallagher III at Gallagher and Eden Dental in Westminster, MD. Call (410) 848-3866 to schedule your consultation for dental implants today!

By Patrick Gallagher DDS Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
June 09, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Flossing  

Learn more about why your should floss regularly from your East Lansing dentist.

Have you ever wondered if flossing is really worth the effort? Dr. Thomas G. Faiver, your East Lansing, MI dentist, explains why flossing is such an important part of your oral hygiene routine and shares a few flossing tips.Flossing

Why should I floss?

The benefits of flossing include:

  • Fresher breath: Flossing removes small bits of food that can become trapped between teeth. If the food particles aren't removed, they begin to decay, causing bad breath.
  • Healthier teeth: Although brushing your teeth is a very effective way to remove plaque from your teeth, your toothbrush bristles can't penetrate the areas between your teeth. Flossing gets rid of plaque in hard-to-reach areas and reduces your risk of developing cavities between your teeth.
  • Reduced risk of gum disease: Plaque turns into a hard deposit called tartar if it isn't removed. When plaque forms at your gum line, it can cause painful gum disease. Flossing helps prevent the formation of tartar.

How should I floss?

Follow these three flossing steps once each day:

  1. Wrap an 18" length of dental floss around your middle fingers on each hand. Use your thumb and index fingers to control the movement of the floss.
  2. Gently rub the floss up and down between each tooth.
  3. Curve the floss around the base of each tooth to remove plaque from your gums. Use very gentle pressure, not a sawing motion, when you floss around your gums.

What kind of floss is best?

Any type of floss is effective in removing plaque, although you may find some types more comfortable than others. If you have wide spaces between your teeth, it might be easier to clean your teeth with floss tape, while waxed, string-like floss may be a better choice if your teeth are close together.

Brushing and flossing, in addition to regular dental exams, are the key to good oral health. Call Dr. Faiver, your East Lansing, MI, dentist, at (517) 351-7222 to schedule your next dental appointment. Keep your teeth strong and healthy with flossing!

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
May 28, 2016
Category: Oral Health
DrTravisStorkDontIgnoreBleedingGums

Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all  Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.

What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.

Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.”  If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.

By Dr. Patrick Gallagher, D.D.S.
May 13, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
DentalOfficesHoldtotheHighestStandardstoProtectPatientsfromInfection

Our bodies wage a continuous war against enemies too small to be seen with the naked eye. If we’re healthy, our immune system will stop the vast majority of these microbial agents.

But some of them, viruses in particular, are so small and with certain characteristics that they can slip past our immune systems. Prevention — removing the opportunity for these viruses to gain entry into our bodies in the first place — is a key component in controlling infection.

Healthcare facilities, including dental offices, are primary battlegrounds in this war. In recent years, the stakes have increased as viral infections that cause the liver disease hepatitis (B and C) and HIV that causes the auto-immune disorder AIDS are on the rise. Although different in effect, these viruses spread in much the same way — when the blood of an infected person comes in contact with the bloodstream of another person.

The risk for this exposure is higher in situations when there’s a break in the skin. Blood transfusion, surgery centers and similar facilities with invasive procedures require high standards of protection to prevent viral transmission between people.  This includes dental clinics — even a routine hygienic cleaning can become a conduit for viral infection.

As a result, the more than 170,000 dental providers across the country have adopted strict infection control standards that conform to the National Center for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines, as well as state and local regulations. These standards detail such issues as wearing protective equipment and clothing (like disposable gloves, gowns or facemasks), cleaning and sterilizing instruments, or disposing of bio-hazardous waste.

High infection control standards are also promoted by the professional boards and organizations of dental providers, like the American Dental Association, and are a requirement for continued membership. As a result, infection occurrences from dental visits or procedures are extremely rare.

We understand you may have concerns. We’re glad to discuss with you our procedures for infection control and how we’re following the highest standards to keep you and our staff safe. We’re making sure the care you receive for your teeth and gums doesn’t lead to another health problem.

If you would like more information on dental infection control practices, 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 “Infection Control in the Dental Office.”





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