Dentist in Owings Mills | What’s your excuse?

Owings Mills Dentist

Sadly, there are way too many people who do not visit the dentist at all, or not as often as they should. We want to take a look at the most common reasons people put off their dental check-ups and discuss why they may be poor excuses.

The dentist is TOO EXPENSIVE!
Prevention is key to saving money on dental care. We understand high quality care can be costly but if you invest in preventive procedures such as exams, x-rays and cleanings you could save yourself thousands of dollars. Ignoring your mouth allows for disease to progress and worsen. That disease results in the need for more extensive and costly treatment. Procedures such as root canals, crowns, and extractions (to name a few) cost patients the most in the long run. The goal is to prevent the need for them! If you have dental insurance, most plans cover 100% of preventative care. That’s one more BIG reason to call and schedule your appointment today!

NOTHING HURTS, so why go?
Very simply, if you wait until it hurts, you’ve waited too long. Small cavities and early gum disease are painless. That means the only way for you to know if trouble is starting is to have an exam and x-rays. At your visit, we thoroughly examine your entire mouth, checking for any cavities and monitoring the health of your gums, as well as performing an oral cancer screening. This way we can treat disease early…which makes for painless treatment and avoids toothaches. Most importantly, it will help keep your mouth and body healthy!

I’m so SCARED of the dentist!
We understand the dental chair is not everyone’s favorite place to be. Some people have had bad experiences in the past and that keeps them from returning until they have an emergency. The emergency only perpetuates their bad experiences with the dentist!

If you are fearful of the dentist we can help you conquer your anxiety and take steps to make you feel more comfortable. Let us know your concerns and we will discuss ways to put you more at ease. Excellent communication and a gentle touch, only with modern techniques and improved anesthetics can make your dental visit much more comfortable than you could imagine. We are only here to help!

At Crossroads Dental Arts we want to provide you with the highest quality of care in the most CARING and COMFORTABLE manner possible. We value our patients and take pride in treating them like family!

Dentist Owings Mills, MD | One Simple Treatment Can Save Your Child’s Smile

Dentist in Owings Mills, MD

Dentist Owings MillsOur dentist might suggest dental sealants for your child during a visit to our office. Sealants are a way to protect your teeth against decay. With any dental treatment, it helps to understand the procedure and how it can impact your child’s oral health.

Why Get Sealants?

Sealants help to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are applied on the back teeth, where decay is most likely to develop. Our dentist will often recommend sealants for children and teens, but adults may benefit from sealants, as well.

The further your teeth are in the back of your mouth, the more difficult it can be to maintain the proper hygiene needed to keep them healthy. Sealants can prevent up to 80% of decay within the first two years alone. After 4 years, sealants continue to prevent as much as 50% of decay. Children without sealants are more than three times as likely to develop tooth decay than those with sealants.

When Should You Get Them?

Your child’s first molars usually become visible around age 6, with the second set around age 12. You will want to talk to us about the best course of action for keeping molars healthy. Sealants are most effective when they are done as soon as the molars break through. Regular examinations with our dentist will determine the best time to have sealants applied.

What Should I Expect?

Sealants are one of the simplest treatments we perform in our office. There is generally no discomfort associated with this process. We will first thoroughly clean your child’s teeth, and then use a special gel. The gel is then cleaned off before the sealant is applied. A small blue light is used to harden the sealant in a matter of moments.

What Concerns Should I Have?

There are no side-effects from sealants, and allergic reactions are extremely rare. However, talk to our doctor about any allergies your child has so we can discuss the best possible course of action.

Next Steps

Sealants last for years before needing to be reapplied. It is important to schedule regular visits to our office so that our dentist can check the condition of the sealants and teeth on an ongoing basis. If your child had sealants several years ago and you are unsure if they should be reapplied, schedule an appointment with us.

For more tips on keeping teeth healthy and for questions about dental sealants, contact our office.

Dentist in Owings Mills, MD | Dental Tips for Breastfeeding Moms

Dentist Owings Mills, MD

Owings Mills DentistIf you are a mother who is breastfeeding your baby, there are several important points to be aware of regarding your baby’s teeth. We suggest you talk with your doctor about your plans on feeding your baby, but there are some known benefits of breastfeeding. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, breastfeeding can help reduce a child’s risk of developing asthma, diabetes, obesity, ear infections, sudden infant death syndrome, and other disorders, but it also affects your child’s teeth – here’s how:

Shaping Your Child’s Bite

The first few months of your child’s life can dramatically shape their mouth for years to come. According to a 2015 study in Pediatrics, breastfeeding results in better development for your child’s mouth. The study found that babies who were breastfed for a period of six months were up to 72% less likely to develop crooked teeth. Overbites and underbites were also reduced. Your child might still need dental work later in life, especially due to other factors such as pacifiers and even genetics, but breastfeeding may lower their risk of requiring significant dental work.

Avoid Tooth Decay from Bottles

Babies fed by bottles are at a higher risk for developing tooth decay because they are exposed to sugar containing drinks. Feeding by bottle before bed can leave their teeth coated with decay-causing sugars. Breastfeeding reduces the risk of decay.

Don’t mistake this as a sign your baby’s teeth will be completely decay free. Breastmilk still contains sugar. We recommend gently wiping your child’s gums with a damp cloth. As their teeth begin to develop, begin brushing with rice-sized toothpaste on a small brush. Talk to our dentist about the best types of toothpaste to use for infants.

Keep Track of Your Medication Use

If you are receiving treatment that requires medication or take medication regularly, it is essential that you are aware of the effects the medication might have on the baby. Constant communication between you, your doctor, your dentist, and your baby’s pediatrician is key to staying healthy.

There are many benefits to breastfeeding your baby. Make sure you are keeping track of your own health in addition to your baby’s. Be sure to schedule regular appointments to keep up with your own oral health.

For more information about your baby’s teeth, contact our office.

Dentist Ownings Mills | Looking For Healthy And Easy New Year’s Resolutions?

Owings Mills MD Dentist

new-year-dentist-in-owings-mills-md2017 is right around the corner, and most of us are brainstorming ways to improve for the New Year! Common resolutions include: go to the gym, lose 10 pounds, drop a dress size, eat better, call your mother more often, save more money, work less, travel more etc., etc.…These resolutions are good, but of the 120 million Americans who ring in the New Year, 36 percent give up on their resolution by the end of January. The problem usually is the resolution itself. We want to give you ten “Dental Resolutions” which are easy to keep and will make you feel better about your overall health!

Toothbrushes should be replaced about every 3 months. The bristles should look almost brand new. If they look worn and flared, chances are the toothbrush is not cleaning your teeth effectively and it’s harboring lots of gross bacteria! Same goes for electric brush heads, they do need to be replaced every 3 months.

Speaking of electric brushes….If you are still using a manual toothbrush, then it’s time to treat yourself (and your teeth!) Electric toothbrushes do a much better job at removing plaque and food debris from the surfaces of your teeth. They also have timers which help you brush for the full amount of time you need in order to clean all those surfaces (2 minutes!). Ask one of the team members at Crossroads Dental Arts which brush would work best for you These are also GREAT Christmas presents for family members.

We know that most people don’t floss regularly, or at all. This is a big one that could really change the health of your gums. Flossing everyday helps to prevent gum disease. Not only will it help you to keep your teeth healthy for a lifetime but it will also decrease your risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetic complications, and pre-term labor and low birth weight!
If you currently don’t floss, this is the perfect resolution. If you’re unsure of the best way to floss, please ask at your next visit. We love to demonstrate the correct technique to maximize your efforts!

Mouth injuries are very common from sports and can cause major problems, especially to your precious smile. Who wants to deal with a chipped, broken or even worse, lost front tooth for the rest of their lives!? Give us a call and we will fit you or your child (and the whole team!) with a well-fitting custom mouthguard.

Substituting soda and juice for water will benefit you in more ways than one! The excessive amounts of sugar and the acidic nature of the soda and juice are very destructive to your teeth. Soda and juice not only cause cavities and tooth erosion, but also contribute to obesity, diarrhea, and other stomach problems such as excessive gas, bloating, and abdominal pain. Lastly, switching to water will save you money!

You only have one set of (adult) teeth, so take care of them! Avoid using your teeth to open bottles, bite your nails, or chew on pen caps!! They should only be used to chew and bite food, speak, and of course, SMILE

What better way to reward yourself? Who doesn’t want a bright smile? Professional whitening is the best way to whiten your teeth. Ask us for the details, it is super easy!

Now this is a more popular resolution, but it’s worth including in our dental list because it is SO important! As if cancer, heart disease, emphysema, pregnancy complications and a host of chronic illnesses are enough of a reason to quit smoking, it’s important to know smoking is bad for your mouth and teeth as well! Smoking causes mouth cancer, increases your risk for gum disease, stains your teeth, and gives you stinky breath!

If you are clenching or grinding your teeth, or have been told you are (many people don’t know if they are doing it while they sleep), then you should wear a night guard. Clenching and grinding damage your teeth by wearing away the enamel. This enamel is irreplaceable! It can also cause loose fillings and broken teeth, resulting in the need for crowns or root canals. What’s worse is that you are also causing damage to your TMJ and facial muscles, as well as tooth sensitivity and headaches.

Whether it’s been 8 months or 8 years, don’t put off your dental visit! Keeping regular visits and maintaining a great relationship with your dental provider is key to excellent oral and overall health! At Crossroads Dental Arts we practice preventative dentistry in an effort to avoid problems before they start. This will keep you pain free and is less costly in the long run. Everyone deserves a healthy and beautiful smile.

Owings Mills Dentist | 7 Ways to Get Your Calcium Dairy-Free

Dentist Owings Mills

Dentist Owings MillsCalcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth, but not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. About 65% of people have reduced ability to process lactose past infancy.

If you have difficulty with lactose but want to ensure you are getting the calcium you need, consider one of these non-dairy sources of natural calcium.

  1. Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be a good source of calcium. These inexpensive options actually contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood contains small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or other dish.
  2. Calcium-fortified juices are available in both orange and cranberry varieties. These juices taste the same as non-fortified options, but contain a substantial amount of calcium. Check the label to ensure it is a calcium-fortified juice.
  3. Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute for many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish in place of regular milk. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
  4. Beans are a calcium-rich food. Black-eyed peas and baked beans are particularly high in calcium.
  5. Green vegetables are a good source of natural calcium. Collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.
  6. Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or Brazil nuts are strong sources of calcium. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a great snack or salad additive with calcium. Almond butter, cashew butter, and pumpkin seed butter are a fun and calcium-rich alternative to peanut butter.
  7. Breakfast cereals are highly fortified with several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Old-fashioned rolled oatmeal adds calcium to your breakfast as well.

Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble with dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium.

For more information that can improve your oral health, contact our office.

Owings Mills, MD Dentist | Happy Thanksgiving!

Owings Mills Dentist

Dr. Rief and her team are thankful for many things in their lives. Besides health, happiness, family, and friends, we are thankful to have you as one of our patients. If you are a potential new patient, we would love the opportunity to meet and serve you also. Here are some dental related facts that we hope you are thankful for!

Your Overall Health

Since we now know that diseases of the mouth, particularly periodontal (gum)disease, can be related to heart disease, respiratory disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and others, we hope you are visiting us regularly to help improve your overall health.

Your Teeth

Studies show that people with healthy teeth live longer. Teeth enable us to bite and chew and enjoy food. Having straight teeth help us to speak clearly. We can always help recommend the best treatments to replace missing teeth and straighten teeth so you can show off your pearly whites!

Your Smile

Studies have shown that a person’s smile is the first thing that people notice. Don’t hide your smile, it can be your most important asset, especially when looking for a new job and meeting members of the opposite sex. Let us help you smile with confidence.

Your Dental Team

Dr. Rief is so proud of the dental team she has created. Our associate dentist, dental hygienists, dental assistants, and front desk team have all had extensive training and love what they do each day. We take pride in our office and are here to serve you in any way we can. Hope to see you soon!

Contact our office for more information.

Dentist in Owings Mills | Getting a Healthy Start with Children’s Dentistry

Owings Mills Dentist

Dentist Owings Mills MDOur convenient local dental office is featuring children’s dentistry services for families in our community. The American Dental Association recommends that all patients follow a routine of dental examinations at least every six months, or as directed by their dentist. This is particularly important for growing children.

Regular professional dental cleanings are essential for a healthy mouth. During your child’s appointment, we will screen your child’s mouth for tooth decay and gum disease. During your child’s dental cleaning, any buildup of plaque or tartar will be gently removed.

We may recommend a topical fluoride application for your child’s teeth as part of their preventive treatment. Topical fluoride is used to strengthen enamel and make teeth more resistant to tooth decay.

Sealants are also highly effective in preventing tooth decay and cavities on your child’s molars and premolars. These areas are the most susceptible to cavities due to the anatomized grooves. Typically, children should get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. These sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14.

The process of applying sealants is quick and easy. The application steps include:

  • Your child’s teeth are thoroughly cleaned
  • The teeth are dried
  • A liquid solution is put on the chewing surfaces of the teeth
  • The solution is cured using a special curing light

Sealants act as a barrier to protect the enamel from plaque and acids. They may last for several years before reapplication is needed. So long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.

However, sealants are not a substitute for brushing your teeth. It is important to have your child maintain proper oral hygiene and continue to follow up with professional dental cleanings as recommended by our dental team. In addition, sealants do not protect between the teeth, so it is essential that your child continues to floss daily.

Without proper dental care, children are susceptible to oral decay. Healthy smiles should not stop at our dental office. Our caring team will educate both you and your child on how to make healthy food choices and how to properly brush and floss at home.

Our doctor and team have the experience and qualifications to care for your child’s teeth, gums and mouth throughout various stages of childhood. For more information or to request an appointment, contact our office.

Dentist in Owings Mills, MD | 4 Ways to Make Brushing Fun for Kids

Dentist in Owings Mills, MD

Dentist Owings MillsAs a parent, the best way to help ensure your child has a lifetime of healthy teeth is to help them establish great dental hygiene habits as they grow.

Here are some useful tips for keeping your child engaged by making dental hygiene fun:

Pick out a special toothbrush.

One great way to keep your child excited about brushing is to allow him or her to choose their own toothbrush in a favorite color or branded with a favorite cartoon character. Child-size soft-bristled brushes come in a wide variety of options designed to make your child like their toothbrush.

Choose children’s toothpaste.

Another great option is to use a toothpaste that is designed for kids. While adults generally prefer the fresh mouth taste of a minty toothpaste, many children find mint to be too powerful a flavor. This can make brushing unpleasant or even painful to sensitive taste buds. Instead, let your child choose a children’s toothpaste. There are many options available in a variety of soft mint, fruity, and bubble gum flavors. It is much easier to keep your child brushing for a full two minutes when their toothpaste tastes good.

Use a timer.

Two minutes can seem like a long time to a child. It can be very difficult for your child to try to estimate or count how long to brush without some kind of visual aid. You can help your child stay more engaged and ensure a full two minutes of brushing by using a timer. Choices range from a small sand timer your child can flip over, to a manual stopwatch with buttons to press, or even an app on a phone or tablet to time digitally (if your child is old enough). By letting your child take control of the timer, they can be more confident and more engaged in their brushing.

Brush together.

A parent is the first and strongest role model for their child. Brushing together can help your child model your great brushing technique, which will improve their own. Additionally, brushing together emphasizes to your child that brushing is important. When your child sees that you take dental hygiene seriously, they are likely to follow suit.

For more tips on making dental hygiene fun for your child, contact our office.

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!