Dentist Owings Mills | To Floss or Not To Floss?

Owings Mills, MD Dentist

Dentist Owings MillsBy now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health.

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YES. Cleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums.

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis.

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information.

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis. 

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues.

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Dentist Owings Mills, MD | Why Do I Need Dental X-Rays?

Dentist in Owings Mills, MD

At Crossroads Dental Arts we take X-rays as needed. If a patient comes to our office with a toothache, lost filling, or broken tooth, we generally take a single radiograph of that particular tooth. The X-ray can show us if there is a possible abscess, root fracture, decay, and bone loss. From this information, we can decide if the tooth can be restored, rebuilt or treated in some other way. Patients that come to our office and are having problems related to wisdom teeth, we recommend a panoramic or jaw X-ray to see the location of the wisdom teeth. When patients come in for routine check-ups we generally take four bitewing X-rays annually to check for new cavities, cavities around old fillings and crowns, properly fitting crowns and bridges, and changes in bone levels. If a patient comes to our office for the first time, we like to have a full set of X-rays, including bitewing X-rays to help diagnose any and all dental issues. A full set of X-rays is generally taken every three to five years.

Crossroads Dental Arts uses the latest technology, digital X-rays. Digital X-rays compared to conventional X-rays exposes patients to 70% less radiation and are much more environmentally friendly. Another benefit of digital X-rays is that they are much more comfortable for the patient. For your protection, we use lead aprons with a thyroid collar to minimize the exposure even more. We are happy to answer any and all of your questions at your next visit. We look forward to seeing you!

Owings Mills Dentist | How to Get Your Kids to Eat Healthier

Owings Mills Dentist

Owings Mills DentistThe food children eat affects their long term oral health. Some foods have nutrients teeth need. Others are full of acids and sugars that are harmful to teeth. With so many unhealthy food choices being marketed to children every day, it is vital that you take a stand. Offer fun, healthy snacks and model the better food choices you want your kids to make.

Offer healthy snack choices. Kids should have a well-balanced and nutritional diet. This not only promotes overall health but also helps build a strong healthy smile. Nutrition is an important part of oral health. Teaching your kids about eating healthy and limiting sugary foods will help foster a balanced diet from an early age. This will form habits that will result in a lifetime of strong teeth and better health overall.

Have fun with snacks. Promote a nutritious diet by getting creative with snack choices. If you show your kids that healthy snacks are fun, they will be more likely to eat them. Apple slices with peanut butter, fruit smoothies, and yogurt with granola or fruit are great examples of fun, yet healthy combinations. Remember to avoid soda and sugary drinks. These can leave sugars on teeth and can increase the risk of plaque and tooth decay. Water is always the best solution! Eating a well-balanced lunch and dinner is important as well. Make sure to add a variety of fruits and vegetables to every meal so that your kids become accustomed to them.

Be a good role model. Children learn habits by following the example set by their parents. Send your kids the right message by eating plenty of fruits and vegetables yourself. Avoid sugary snacks that can cause cavities or gum disease. Be sure to practice good oral hygiene in front of your kids. If you brush and floss after meals and snacks, your kids will follow the example. Consider brushing together with your child to reinforce good brushing skills and habits. Make sure to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bedtime. If it is possible, try to encourage your child to brush after lunch or after sweet snacks.

Follow up. Don’t forget it is also very important to have regular dental appointments for your child, and model healthy habits by seeing your own dentist regularly. If you have any further questions, feel free to contact us for more ideas on how to promote healthy snacking for great long term dental health!

Owings Mills, MD Dentist | Providing Relief from Periodontal Disease

Dentist in Owings Mills

Dentist in Owings MillsOver 45% of U.S. adults have moderate to severe periodontal disease. Periodontal disease ranges from a mild inflammation of the gum tissues to periodontitis, a major oral disease that can result in soft tissue and bone damage and even tooth loss.  Our experienced dentist is providing periodontal treatments to both new and existing patients who are suffering from any form of periodontal (gum) disease.

One of the major causes of gum disease is practicing poor oral hygiene habits. Daily brushing and flossing and regular professional exams and cleanings are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. When these practices are not followed, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gumline. If this plaque is not properly removed, it may harden over time and become tartar. Once that occurs, only a dental professional can remove the tartar from teeth.

If gum disease is not treated in a timely manner, tartar may continue to build. When this occurs, the gum disease may advance. Gums redden, swell, and become prone to bleeding from normal activities, such as brushing or eating. At this point, professional periodontal treatment is needed to prevent the disease from advancing further.

When periodontal disease is not treated in a timely manner, it may become periodontitis. Periodontitis is the most advanced form of periodontal disease. With periodontitis, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small “pockets” along the gumline. These spaces are highly difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health. Without prompt and thorough treatment, bone, gums, and soft tissues may be destroyed by periodontitis. One of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults is periodontal disease.

Some of the most common factors that contribute to periodontal disease developing include poor oral hygiene habits, diabetes, smoking, and female hormonal changes. Some medications can cause gum tissue to develop abnormal tissues, which can increase difficulty in proper cleaning of the teeth. People who are receiving treatment for AIDS are also at increased risk of developing periodontal disease.

Our doctor has the training and experience to diagnose and treat every stage of periodontal disease. If you have symptoms of periodontal disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation. Some symptoms include: chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, red or swollen gums, sensitive or bleeding gums, and difficulty or pain with chewing. Our dentist provides excellent periodontal care for our patients, and welcomes new patient consultations. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.

Thank You

Dentist in Owings Mills, MD

Thank you for trusting me with your dental health care. You are a valuable part of my work and my life. I want you to know that my team and I appreciate your time, your trust, and your teamwork in your oral health care.

A smile is contagious. I love coming into work everyday and helping our fellow community members achieve the smile of their dreams because it means that they’ll share that smile with those around them. I believe that all of this smiling makes our community a better, happier place.

Serving the community we share gives me purpose. So, from the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for sharing your smile with our staff and your fellow community members. Thank you for being a patient that brightens our team’s day. Thank you for being a big part of why I smile.

If we’ve made you smile, please tell your friends and family about us. We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment.

Thank you so much.

 

What To Expect From A Second Opinion

by Dr. Joanne Block Rief

Dentist in Owings Mills, MD

Dentist in Owings Mills MDIn our dental practice we get phone calls all the time from prospective patients wanting a second opinion on dental work, or costs associated with dental treatment. We love these calls! We are happy to have patients come to our office for a second opinion!

There is no cost associated with this type of appointment. It is best if the prospective patient can bring in x-rays taken at their former office. If not, we are happy to take the x-rays at no cost as well.

Sometimes patients are just looking to save money on their dental treatment. This is not always the best way to go. Typically, offices that have higher fees, use a higher quality lab and the dentist has been trained extensively beyond his or her four years of dental school.

Many patients bring a copy of a dental treatment plan. Sometimes that is helpful to make sure that the former dentist is planning the same treatment, or if not, maybe there is a better treatment plan that can be presented. Our fees are not the lowest in the area, but they are not the highest either. We use quality materials and very high quality labs to make our crowns, veneers, dentures, implant crowns, bridges, etc.

We also receive calls from patients who are told by other dentists that they need to lose a tooth and they do not want to lose that tooth. This is not always easy since we want to save all teeth. Unfortunately, due to extensive decay below the level of the bone, advanced periodontal disease and root fractures, many teeth cannot be saved. The good news is that we have many options to replace missing teeth, not just a “one fits all” solution. Some solutions are less expensive than others. We can usually give you two or three options of how to replace a missing tooth or teeth.

Other times we get calls from patients for second opinions on whether or not they have gum disease and what can be done to treat it. We can usually treat gum disease non-surgically in our office. Other times we need to refer patients to a periodontist if the disease is more advanced. Lastly, patients come to our office to “check us out.” They have been to an office that is not as state of the art as our office or as clean as they would like a dental office to be. Others do not feel comfortable with another dentist that they had seen to discuss their dental needs. We take the time to get to know our patients and make them feel like a guest here. Give us a call so we can discuss your dental needs!

The Importance of Oral Health Care While Pregnant

Dentist in Owings Mills, MD

Dentist Near MeAre you or a loved one currently pregnant or considering becoming pregnant? Congratulations! Since May is the month of Mother’s Day, we wanted to share some vital information.

Pregnant women experience major hormonal changes. For some, the mouth may be affected, causing what is known as “pregnancy periodontal disease.” Even those with great oral hygiene habits can be affected by this inflammation of the gums that causes swelling, tenderness, and sometimes minor bleeding of the gums during brushing or flossing. Research has shown a connection between periodontal disease and pre-term low birth weight babies. Before and during pregnancy, it is important to practice optimal oral health.

Pregnant woman may also have increased risk of tooth decay. Morning sickness, in particular, can cause increased acid exposure in your mouth, which can eat away at the strong, white protective layer called enamel. The American Dental Association recommends that if you are having frequent vomiting from morning sickness, rinse your mouth with a teaspoon of baking soda mixed with water to neutralize the stomach acid on your teeth.

While you are pregnant, be sure to continue following great oral hygiene habits and keep your regularly scheduled dental appointments. We may recommend increasing frequency of professional cleanings and exams during your pregnancy to help counter these effects.

Please contact us with any questions or concerns involving your oral health. We look forward to seeing you soon.

Help Us Stop Cancer Before it Starts!

Dentist in Owings Mills

Dentist in Owings MillsDid you know that regular screening can allow Dr. Rief to identify and treat oral cancers even before you develop any symptoms? In an oral cancer screening, Dr. Rief will use her expert training and technology to check your mouth for any abnormal or potentially pre-cancerous cells, as well as any actual cancerous growths. Once identified, Dr. Rief may recommend a biopsy to be certain whether cancer is present.

Oral cancer, also known as mouth cancer, can occur in any part of the mouth, such as in the lips or gums, the surface of the tongue, or the roof and floor of the mouth. A person suffering from oral cancer may experience mouth ulcers, swelling, lumping or thickening of the skin in any part of the mouth, or patches on the lining of the mouth or tongue. Pain in swallowing, jaw pain or stiffness, sore throat and loosening of teeth are also symptoms of oral cancer.

Oral cancer is typically caused by unhealthy habits such as smoking, chewing, or sniffing tobacco, consuming alcohol, unhealthy diet, or excessive exposure to sun and certain chemicals. People with GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux disease) digestive condition and those who have undergone radiation treatments of the head or neck areas are also at a high risk for developing oral cancer.

Oral cancer can be diagnosed by various examinations such as biopsy, endoscopy, or imaging tests. If found, receiving proper treatment is imperative. According to the American Cancer Society, an estimated 9,570 people will die of oral cancers this year alone. That’s about one person every hour!Let us help you prevent oral cancer by scheduling an oral cancer screening.

As with any form of cancer, early detection and treatment plays an essential role in ensuring that oral cancer can be stopped before it fully takes hold. For more information or to schedule an oral cancer screening, please call Crossroads Dental Arts today.

Do You Brush Your Teeth Too Much?

Dentist in Owings Mills

Owings Mills dentistBrushing your teeth is a vital step in maintaining good oral health. However, is there such a thing as over-brushing?

The American Dental Association recommends you brush your teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. People sometimes brush after every meal, or brush midday to freshen up. Although this is not always a bad thing, when you start brushing too much or for too long, you can ultimately damage your teeth.

Brushing more than three times a day, and for longer than 2 minutes, can sometimes lead to your tooth enamel wearing down as well as cause damage to your gums. Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and helps fight against tooth decay. Over-brushing can damage this shield and cause teeth to become sensitive and prone to cavities.

Practicing proper oral hygiene care at home is an important part of your overall oral health. However, being aware of how much is too much is equally important in keeping your smile healthy.

Using the right kind of toothbrush helps prevent unnecessary enamel erosion. It is recommended you use a toothbrush with the ADA Seal of Acceptance. The Seal of Acceptance shows that:

All of the toothbrush components are safe for use in the mouth.
Bristles are free of sharp or jagged edges (a soft-bristled toothbrush helps prevent the wearing down of enamel).
The toothbrush can be used to provide a significant decrease in mild gum disease and plaque.
Scheduling regular professional cleanings and exams with our dentist will keep your mouth healthy.

Contact our office today to schedule a cleaning and comprehensive exam with our dentist.