Cosmetic Dentist in Owings Mills MD | 6 Harmful Habits That Affect Your Teeth

dentist in 21117Nearly everyone has at least one habit that they wish they could break. Did you know that some of them can affect your oral health? Here are a few common habits and tips for how to break them.

  1. Nail Biting

Why it’s harmful: Your dental health may suffer from nail biting by possibly chipping your teeth or impacting your tooth. You place pressure on your jaw when you leave it in a protruding position for long periods of time. You could also tear or damage your gums.

The solution: Some patients find it helpful to wear a mouth guard to deter form nail biting. Other ways to reduce nail biting include using therapy techniques, reducing stress, or applying bitter tasting nail polish.

  1. Brushing Too Hard

Why it’s harmful: It’s best to brush your teeth for two minutes at least twice a day. Make sure to not brush too hard since this can lead to damage to the teeth and gum irritation. When you brush too hard, you risk gum recession and not cleaning your teeth efficiently.

The solution: Instead of brushing hard, use a soft toothbrush and apply a proper pressure. Let your toothbrush bristles touch your gums at a 45 degree angle and reduce the force of your brush on your gums.

  1. Grinding and Clenching

Why it’s harmful: This can chip or crack your teeth as well as cause muscle tenderness and joint pain. You may also experience a painful sensation when chewing or inability to open your mouth wide.

The solution: Stay aware of your teeth grinding and clenching and use relaxation exercises to keep from doing both. A mouthguard can also help protect you from grinding your teeth while you sleep. This will reduce any tooth pain, or muscle soreness and give you a better sleep. Our dentist can provide recommendations for how to combat teeth grinding.

  1. Chewing Ice Cubes

Why it’s harmful: Tooth enamel and ice are both crystals. When you push two crystals against each other, it can cause one to break. This may be the ice and sometimes it may be the tooth.

The solution: Try drinking beverages without ice or use a straw instead.

  1. Constant Snacking

Why it’s harmful: If your diet consists heavily of sugary foods and drinks, you are at a higher risk of forming cavities. The cavity-causing bacteria feast on leftover food and produces acid that attacks the outer shell of your teeth.

The solution: To reduce snacking, eat balanced meals so that you can feel fuller, longer. You should avoid sugary foods when snacking. If you are tempted to eat the occasional sugary snack, just make sure to drink a glass of water after to wash away the leftover food.

  1. Using Your Teeth as a Tool

Why it’s harmful: Using your teeth as a tool to hold items, open bottles, cut through thread, or other functions can put you at risk for chipped or broken teeth or jaw injuries.

The solution: Your teeth should never be used to hold or open items or to cut things when you don’t have scissors at your disposal. Look for your scissors or find someone that can give you a hand. Your mouth will thank you for it and you’ll be saving yourself from potentially costly and painful dental complications.

Contact our office to schedule your next dental appointment.

10 Crossroads Dr | Suite 203 | Owings MillsMD | 21117 | (410) 363-2121

Owings Mills Dentist | 5 Teeth Sensitivity Myths

Dentist in Owings Mills

Owing Mills DentistDo you suffer from regular sensitivity? Teeth sensitivity is often misunderstood, but our dental team can help you find relief. We’re here to separate the fact from fiction in sensitivity.

MYTH: People’s teeth are supposed to hurt when they bite into cold or hot foods.

Feelings of sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods should not be a typical experience. If you suffer from hypersensitivity, it can actually be a sign that something is wrong. There are many causes for hypersensitivity including cavities, older dental fillings, worn tooth enamel, gum disease, and exposed tooth roots. Dentin hypersensitivity is a common issue. A visit to our dental office can help you find relief.

MYTH: Desensitizing toothpastes are not effective in reducing teeth sensitivity.

Desensitizing toothpastes include compounds like potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients work by preventing pain signals being transmitted between the surface of your tooth and the inside nerves. It may take several applications of the toothpaste until you will feel a noticeable difference. Prescription strength toothpastes are also an option for more severe and prolonged feelings of sensitivity. Ask our dentist to recommend a toothpaste for your needs.

MYTH: You shouldn’t drink coffee or eat ice cream if you have sensitive teeth.

You don’t have to be limited from eating or drinking your favorite foods. It is important to check with our dentist to determine the root cause of your discomfort. Based on your cause, we may recommend a prescribed toothpaste or another treatment. You should always maintain proper oral care to prevent sensitivity.

MYTH: Sensitivity never results in tooth loss.

Sensitivity may in fact be a precursor to tooth loss. Gum recession, which exposes the roots of your teeth, can cause general sensitivity among several teeth at the same time. Prolonged and untreated gum recession can lead to tooth loss. Tooth decay can also cause sensitivity. When left untreated, it may lead to an infection in the gums or jaw and risk spreading to other areas in the head or neck. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a difference in keeping your smile healthy.

MYTH: Sensitivity does not have a cure.

Depending on the cause, there are many ways to treat teeth sensitivity. Proper oral hygiene is the best way to prevent any sensitive tooth pain. If you experience sensitivity, schedule a comprehensive dental examination today.

We look forward to seeing you.

Contact our team to schedule your next visit.

10 Crossroads Dr #203
Owings Mills, MD 21117

Owings Mills Dentist | 5 Interesting Dental Facts

Cosmetic Dentist in Owings Mills

dentist in 60030Did you know your oral health can impact your overall health? We’ve compiled a list of 5 tidbits about your teeth and oral health.

Say Cheese

Cheese has been found to promote dental health by helping prevent tooth decay. The calcium and phosphorus found in cheese help neutralizes acid in the mouth. Acid can create dental erosion, which can cause decay that may require filling. Cheese creates a protective film around teeth and helps remineralize the enamel.

Keep Smiling

Your smile can make a difference. Studies have found that 50% of people consider a smile the first facial feature they notice. One study found that 88% of us remember people with beautiful smiles whenever we meet new people. This means attractive smiles are key to being more noticeable and remembered.

Toothbrush Time

Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush at least once every three months. You should get a new toothbrush after recovering from any sort of viral infection, flu, or cold. You are more likely to be re-infected if these bacteria implant themselves on the bristles.

You’re Unique

In your lifetime, you only get two sets of teeth— baby teeth and permanent teeth. It is important to take proper care of your permanent teeth. Did you know that no two people have precisely the same set of teeth? Your teeth are as unique as a fingerprint. This is the reason teeth are used by investigators for identification. Your tongue also has a unique print, though it is not commonly recorded.

F.Y.I on Floss

Floss is a lot more useful than you may think. If you skip out on your daily flossing, you can miss cleaning up to 40% of your tooth surfaces. Flossing can also help prevent gum disease by removing plaque near the gum line. Floss has other alternative creative uses. The next time you are looking for a fun holiday project, grab some dental floss and a handful of cereal to string for the tree. Floss works well for repairing a bead necklace too!

Bonus Fact: Health professionals are rated among the most trusted people in the U.S so make sure to call our dentist and make an appointment today!

Dentist Owings Mills | 5 Interesting Dental Facts

Cosmetic Dentist in Owings Mills, MD

dr. joanne block riefDid you know your oral health can impact your overall health? We’ve compiled a list of 5 tidbits about your teeth and oral health.

Say Cheese

Cheese has been found to promote dental health by helping prevent tooth decay. The calcium and phosphorus found in cheese help neutralizes acid in the mouth. Acid can create dental erosion, which can cause decay that may require filling. Cheese creates a protective film around teeth and helps remineralize the enamel.

Keep Smiling

Your smile can make a difference. Studies have found that 50% of people consider a smile the first facial feature they notice. One study found that 88% of us remember people with beautiful smiles whenever we meet new people. This means attractive smiles are key to being more noticeable and remembered.

Toothbrush Time

Don’t forget to replace your toothbrush at least once every three months. You should get a new toothbrush after recovering from any sort of viral infection, flu, or cold. You are more likely to be re-infected if these bacteria implant themselves on the bristles.

You’re Unique

In your lifetime, you only get two sets of teeth— baby teeth and permanent teeth. It is important to take proper care of your permanent teeth. Did you know that no two people have precisely the same set of teeth? Your teeth are as unique as a fingerprint. This is the reason teeth are used by investigators for identification. Your tongue also has a unique print, though it is not commonly recorded.

F.Y.I on Floss

Floss is a lot more useful than you may think. If you skip out on your daily flossing, you can miss cleaning up to 40% of your tooth surfaces. Flossing can also help prevent gum disease by removing plaque near the gum line. Floss has other alternative creative uses. The next time you are looking for a fun holiday project, grab some dental floss and a handful of cereal to string for the tree. Floss works well for repairing a bead necklace too!

Bonus Fact: Health professionals are rated among the most trusted people in the U.S. so make sure to call our dentist and make an appointment today!

BAD BREATH, A Topic That Can’t Be Ignored!

Dentist in Owings Mills MD

Bad breath can be socially debilitating. If we haven’t experienced it ourselves, we all know someone with it. It can be a very embarrassing condition. What’s important to know is that bad breath should be addressed as it can be a symptom of a health problem.

There are several causes of bad breath, also known as halitosis. Obvious causes include certain foods such as garlic or onions or smoking or chewing tobacco products. More serious conditions that can create bad breath include liver and kidney problems, pneumonia or bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, chronic acid reflux, postnasal drip, and diabetes.

At the dental office we see the most common causes of bad breath every day. Here are some:

  • Dry Mouth (this can be caused by several common medications, decrease in salivary flow with age, salivary gland problems, or mouth breathing)
  • Gum (Periodontal) Disease
  • Yeast infections of the mouth
  • Cavities
  • Ill-fitting dentures
  • Failing fillings or crowns
  • Poor homecare, including not properly brushing the tongue and palate

A comprehensive dental exam will allow us to identify any of these causes and discuss options for treatment. So if you or someone you care about has bad breath, even if only periodically, it certainly warrants a dental visit! Call our office today and we will help restore confidence in your breath and your smile!

Owings Mills Dentist | X-Rays: What You Need to Know When You Visit the Dentist

Dentist in Owings Mills

Dentist in 21117X-rays provide useful visual data for dentists to utilize when treating you. Occasionally, guests to our office ask about the radiation from x-rays and the dangers associated with high-exposure. Rest assured, a dental x-ray is one of the safest medical imaging procedures there is. Here’s what you need to know about getting a dental x-ray.

The Purpose of Oral X-Rays

X-ray imaging of the mouth can show our dental team damage to your teeth as well as disease. They can also show incoming teeth that could be problematic. X-rays allow our team to prevent problems by addressing them early. Rather than wait for excessive tooth damage to become visible, a simple x-ray procedure can identify it before it becomes painful.

Dangers of X-Ray Radiation

Excessive radiation exposure has been linked to increasing the risk of cancer. However, not all radiation sources are the same. It matters greatly where the radiation is coming from, how much you are exposed to, and for what length of time. X-rays have not been shown to present a significant increase in cancer development.

Comparing X-Ray Radiation

Dental x-rays are among the lowest dose of radiation producing procedures in medical imaging. It would take roughly 1,200 panoramic x-rays of your mouth to equal one CT Scan. Did you know that when you fly in an airplane you are exposed to a small amount of radiation? A panoramic x-ray of your mouth is only half of the radiation you’re exposed to on a 7-hour plane ride. The amount of radiation is even lower for a routine x-ray exam. A routine procedure including 4 intraoral images is about the same dose of radiation from a 1-2 hour plane ride. A dental x-ray provides less than the amount of radiation you are exposed to in the average day from natural radiation.

Safety First

Even though dental x-rays are safe and expose you to a small amount of radiation, our office takes additional measures to keep you safe. First, state laws and regulations set the limit of radiation patients can be exposed to. We never exceed these restrictions. Our experienced team is also trained to use the x-ray equipment. Visitors are provided with a shield or bib that provides additional protection.

What You Can Do

Communication is key. If you are a new patient, please provide us with your medical records so that our team knows about any previous medical imaging you have had. Talk to our dentist about your concerns. Together we’ll work with you to ensure you are treated in a safe environment.

Dental x-rays are a safe and incredibly helpful procedure. They allow our dentist to detect problems and develop solutions specific to your mouth. Dental x-rays provide a significantly lower dose of radiation than other safe medical imaging methods. We strive to create an atmosphere where our guests are comfortable. If you have any concerns, please let us know.

 
If you have any questions or would like to schedule your next examination, please contact our office.

Composite or “White” Fillings

More recently, I’ve had patients asking questions about their fillings such as “what kind of filling am I getting?”, and “what is my filling made of?” and “how does it work?” I love when patients ask dental questions and I would imagine many people may be curious to know the answers.

At Crossroads Dental Arts, we place composite restorations. We are an amalgam free practice. Composite restorations or “white fillings” are used to fill decayed teeth and bond teeth for esthetic improvements. They are composed of a mixture of glass and plastic. This mixture of polymers is also referred to as resin. Many people prefer resins because they are tooth colored. We are able to match the shade of your tooth with the shade of composite for a natural looking blend. Additionally, many patients want to avoid the mercury from metal fillings, known as amalgams. Another advantage of composite over metal fillings is that they can bond to the tooth. This allows for a more conservative tooth preparation-less cutting of healthy tooth!

How does it work? After choosing the matching shade, the composite is bonded to the tooth and hardened with a blue light. It is added to the cavity preparation in layers, then shaped and polished. Composite resins are strong enough to withstand chewing forces in the back teeth. They generally last 10 years or more. Longevity depends on several factors including the patient’s homecare and diet, the dentist’s placement and choice of materials, and the patient’s caries risk (risk for decay).

At our practice, we choose the best quality dental materials and use modern technology including a special composite delivery system that is sonically activated. The SonicFill applies a specific amplitude and frequency of sonic energy to the composite material to achieve outstanding adaptation during filling placement.

Hopefully this sheds a little more light on the filling process. Please feel free to ask any and all questions you may have regarding any treatment options. We appreciate all of our patients and your trust in us! See you at your next visit!

Maintaining Your Oral Health During Cancer Treatments

Dentist in Owings Mills

owings mills dentistBefore, during, and after cancer treatment it is necessary to keep up with your oral health routine. Cancer and cancer treatments can impact your mouth, so talk to our dentist about your specific treatment and what you can do to keep up with your oral health. Here are a few points to consider.

Brush, Floss, and Come Visit Us

You should always brush for two minutes, twice each day, and floss regularly. This is your best defense against tooth decay. You should also be visiting our office for a routine examination regularly, however it is especially important to do so before starting cancer treatment. Our dentist can share recommendations about changes you can make to your brushing and flossing routine to help manage potential cancer treatment side effects.

Practice Healthy Habits

This is true for everyone. Eat healthy and avoid smoking, whether it is tobacco or electronic cigarettes. A balanced diet and regular exercise will keep your immune system working at its full potential. Make sure your diet is full of diverse fruits and vegetables and low-fat dairy products. Don’t skip out on getting protein through eggs, beans, and chicken.

Keep Your Mouth Clean & Moist

A common side effect of cancer treatments such as radiation is dry mouth. Our teeth depend on saliva to help keep the enamel on our teeth strong, but a dry mouth lacking saliva will leave you susceptible to decay and damage. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth moist. Rinse your mouth frequently, especially after vomiting, to wash away sugars and acids from collecting on your teeth.

After Treatments, Visit Us

Keep regularly scheduled visits to our office, particularly when you end treatment. Certain medications can weaken your teeth or leave you at a higher risk for developing oral health issues. Talk to our knowledgeable dental team about your treatment plans and how they can impact your teeth.

Cancer and cancer treatments and medications can have a significant impact on your oral health. Make our dental team part of your support group during your treatment, and inform us of the medications and treatments you are receiving. Together we can work towards solutions that keep your mouth healthy, and your teeth strong.

For more information on keeping your mouth healthy, please contact our office.

Oral Cancer Awareness

Did you know oral cancer kills one person every hour of every day of the year? It is currently estimated 50,000 people in the United States are newly diagnosed with oral cancer each year. April is oral cancer awareness month and we want to help educate people on the importance of routine screening to aid in early diagnosis.

The death rate associated with mouth and upper throat cancer is very high because it is usually not found until late in its development. Sadly, the 5 year survival rate is only 60%. Many survivors live with severe facial disfigurement and/or trouble eating and speaking. This is why early diagnosis is so important!

There are a number of risk factors that may contribute to the development of oral cancer. Major risk factors include smoking and tobacco use and heavy consumption of alcohol, especially those people over the age of 50. Alarmingly, young, healthy non-smokers are the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients! This is due to HPV-the human papilloma virus. There are more than 150 types of HPV, and HPV 16 is the one linked to oral cancer. In fact, if you have HPV, you are 30 times more likely to develop oral cancer.

At Crossroads Dental Arts, we always perform a thorough oral cancer screening at all new patient visits and at every recall hygiene appointment (2-4 times per year). In addition to examining all the soft tissues of the mouth, we use an enhanced assessment system known as the Velscope. This technology uses natural tissue fluorescence that allows clinicians to view abnormalities that may not be visible to the naked eye. Our hygienists perform a Velscope screening regardless of insurance coverage and at no additional cost to the patient!

In between dental visits, it is important to check for any of the following and call their dentist if the symptoms persist for 2 weeks.

  • a sore or irritation that doesn’t go away
  • red or white patches
  • pain, tenderness or numbness in mouth or lips
  • a lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
  • difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue

If you have not had a recent oral cancer screening, please call the office today 410-363-2121 and we would be happy to get you checked out right away!

Help! 5 Tips to Know When You Can’t Brush

Dentist Owings Mills

Occasionally you might find yourself in a situation where you won’t be able to brush your teeth, perhaps through a lack of time or your location. Though it is vital to brush twice each day, here are a few steps you can take if you find yourself in a bind.

Drink Water

When you are in a spot where you won’t be able to brush your teeth for a while, water can be your friend. Drink water to help wash away sugars and acids that are in your mouth and on your teeth. Water also helps your mouth produce more saliva, which works to keep enamel strong. Our doctor suggests drinking water regularly, not just when you can’t brush your teeth.

Chew Sugar-Free Gum

Try chewing some gum to help keep your teeth clean. The American Dental Association (ADA) approves certain chewing gum brands with their seal on the package. ADA approved gums are sugar-free and do not contain other decay causing sweeteners. Like drinking water, chewing gum is good for saliva production, which helps to strengthen tooth enamel.

Floss Your Teeth

We suggest always carrying dental floss; it’s usually small enough to fit almost anywhere. Flossing is not a replacement for brushing, just as brushing does not replace the need for flossing, however in a pinch it is essential that you remove any plaque and build up that you can. The ADA suggests flossing once a day. Flossing will help improve your gum health too.

Use a Disposable Toothbrush

If you know you might be out of the house for a while, perhaps because of a long day at work or an overnight stay, we recommend you consider a disposable toothbrush. Disposable brushes usually come with toothpaste already applied and are easy to store and carry. They are an excellent alternative that allow you to still thoroughly clean your teeth.

Avoid Sugary Foods

A helpful step you can take if you find yourself in a situation where brushing isn’t possible is to avoid eating or drinking sugary or acidic things. Acids and sugars are what contribute to decay, as they weaken your teeth’s enamel. If you cannot brush your teeth, then don’t eat foods that lead to decay. Avoid sugary soft drinks, juices, sports drinks, and energy drinks as these drinks will leave behind sugars and acids that sit on your teeth.

For more helpful tips on keeping your smile healthy, contact our office.