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Dentist Near Me | One Tool for Better Gum Health

Hagerstown Dentist

Loose teeth, bad breath, and painful, bloody gums – these are among the signs and symptoms of periodontal, or gum, disease. Unfortunately, periodontal disease can also begin without any obvious symptoms. If left undiagnosed or untreated, you could be at risk for irreparable damage to your teeth and gums. The good news is that periodontal disease is preventable. In fact, one of the most effective tools for preventing the disease only takes a minute of your time each day.

Floss to the Rescue

Dental floss is an effective and easy to use tool that can be among your best defenses for preventing periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Even if your daily oral hygiene routine already includes a thorough brushing that lasts for two minutes, at least twice each day, you should be flossing daily as well. Dental floss is highly effective at cleaning areas where your toothbrush cannot reach. Small gaps and tight spaces between teeth catch food debris and sugars and acids from drinks all day long. Flossing helps to clean out these tough to reach spaces.

Facts Behind Flossing

According to a survey referenced by the American Dental Association, only 40% of Americans floss each day. The same study showed a clear link between regular intra-oral care and better oral health. Unfortunately, many people also lie about how frequently they clean between their teeth. A study from the American Academy of Periodontology found that 27% of adults lie to their dentist about their flossing habits.

Tips for Flossing Correctly

It can be confusing to figure out the best way to use dental floss. Try cutting off about 18 inches of floss and wrapping most of it carefully around your middle finger. Use roughly one inch to clean between each pair of teeth. Using your thumb and index finger, carefully slide the floss between your teeth. Floss to your gumline, but be gentle. Avoid cutting your gums. Work your way through your 18 inches of floss by using a new, clean section between each pair of adjacent teeth.

It only takes about a minute to floss your teeth each day, but these minutes contribute to a lifetime of optimal oral health. Floss is among the most effective tools at your disposal to keep your gums clean and healthy. Get into the habit of flossing your teeth regularly – your gums will thank you.

For more information about gum health, or to schedule a visit to our office, please contact our team.

Valley Dental Associates of Hagerstown
(301) 733-3414

Dentist Near Me | How to Deal with Sensitive Teeth

Dentist Hagerstown

Tooth sensitivity is a condition that can make everyday activities such as eating, drinking, and even walking outside in colder weather painful and unpleasant. If you frequently experience a sharp burst of pain in your teeth when drinking coffee, eating ice cream or being hit by a gust of cold air, sensitive teeth may be the cause. Sensitive teeth are a common, though frustrating issue. The Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) estimates that up to 40 million adults in the United States suffer from this condition.

The primary cause of sensitive teeth is thinning of the enamel, the hard covering that protects teeth from damage. Thinning of the enamel exposes the dentin within teeth, which is full of nerve endings. Exposed nerve endings are the reason you can feel a sudden flash of pain when enjoying your favorite ice cream.

Fortunately, sensitive teeth are a treatable condition. Here are some of your options for managing sensitive teeth.

Adjust your brushing habits

Tooth sensitivity may be reduced by a simple change in your daily brushing habits. Switching to a softer toothbrush should be one of your first steps. Brushes with hard bristles can aggravate your teeth, increasing sensitivity and discomfort. Likewise, scrubbing teeth aggressively can hasten damage to the tissue covering the roots of your teeth and increase sensitivity. Be sure to brush gently for a full two minutes at least twice daily.

Try a special toothpaste

Toothpastes made to treat sensitive teeth can be a helpful remedy. These toothpastes can be purchased over the counter and contain ingredients designed to help protect your teeth. It is important to use the toothpaste regularly to see improvement.

Avoid acidic foods and drinks

Soda, citrus and red wine are some of the acidic biggest offenders. If you cannot fully avoid acidic foods and beverages, be sure to brush twenty minutes after consumption. Be aware that brushing immediately after can actually increase sensitivity, so it is better to rinse your mouth and allow sufficient time for the acids to be neutralized by your saliva before brushing.

Surgical solutions

In some cases, surgical solutions may be recommended to treat the underlying cause of your teeth sensitivity. If you have receding gums, tissue grafts can help protect your teeth roots and reduce sensitivity. Inlays, crowns and bonding may also be options if there is damage to your teeth that is causing or exacerbating your sensitivity.

Speak with our dentist to determine what type of treatment is best for your sensitivity. Contact our office for your consultation.

Valley Dental Associates of Hagerstown
(301) 733-3414

Dentist Hagerstown | Are Dental Veneers Right for Me?

Dentist Near Me

We often have visitors to our office ask about solutions for fixing stained teeth or filling in gaps between teeth. We sometimes suggest veneers. Veneers are one cosmetic option available for correcting your smile. Here’s what you should know about veneers, and whether they are right for you and your smile.

What Are Veneers?

A Veneer is a thin cover placed over the front of the tooth. Typically, they are made of dental porcelain and designed to cover your existing tooth, not replace it.

What They Do

Veneers are used to fix a broken or chipped tooth, shrink the noticeable gaps in between teeth, or reduce the visible stains on teeth. Our office specially sizes them to fit your teeth. Generally, the structure of your teeth is not altered since the veneers are placed over your teeth.

What You Need to Know

Those who get veneers sometimes experience a minor increase in sensitivity, particularly to hot or cold food and drinks. Veneers are typically nonreversible, as they often require a small amount of tooth enamel to be removed. After getting them, it is advisable to avoid drinks such as wine, coffee, or tea that are often culprits of causing staining. Taking care of them still requires you to brush twice each day and floss regularly as well. Your teeth are not invincible to staining or decay so be sure to continue to take care of them.

It is important to know that veneers are a solution to minor tooth issues such as discoloration, gaps, or misaligned teeth. They are not a substitute for braces, bridges, or other dental work. Schedule a visit to our office to meet with our dentist. Together our team can work with you to develop a plan to reach the goals and look you are hoping to achieve.

For more information on how to achieve the smile you have dreamed of, contact our office. We look forward to seeing you during your next visit with us!

Valley Dental Associates of Hagerstown
(301) 733-3414

Dentist Hagerstown | Oral Hygiene at Work

Dentist Near Me

Do you brush your teeth after lunch? If you’re one of the millions of people who work outside the home, chances are you don’t have the time or resources to brush during the day. However, not being able to brush doesn’t mean you can’t protect your teeth at work.

Grab a drink of water. When you finish eating, get a drink of water. Swish the water around in your mouth, then spit or swallow it. Water helps to remove small particles of food that can remain on your teeth after your meal or snack.

Chew sugarless gum. There are certain types of sugarless gum that are approved by the American Dental Association (ADA) as good for your oral health. The reason for this is that chewing stimulates the production of saliva in your mouth. That saliva washes away food particles and helps to neutralize acids on your teeth.

Limit time drinking coffee or soda. Coffee, soda, tea, and many other beverages contain high levels of sugars and acids. The more time you spend sipping your drink, the longer your teeth are exposed to these sources of decay. Instead of spending an hour taking small swallows, drink quickly to limit exposure, then rinse your mouth or switch to water to help counteract the effects.

Brush and floss when you can. Try to keep to a regular routine of good oral hygiene practices when you are at home. Brush at least twice daily, for two full minutes each time. Floss or use an interdental cleaner of your choice once a day. Keep your recommended appointments to have your teeth cleaned and evaluated by our team.

Taking care of your teeth doesn’t have to interrupt your workday. Keeping these simple tips in mind can help protect your mouth from tooth decay, periodontal disease, and other oral health issues.

To learn more ways to preserve your oral health, talk to our team during your visit. Contact our office to schedule your next appointment today.

Valley Dental Associates of Hagerstown
(301) 733-3414

Healthy is the New Beautiful | Dentist 21742

Dentist Near Me

Cosmetic dentistry has been around for ages. We’ve noticed that now, more than ever, people are concerned with overall wellness in addition to a beautiful smile. In past years, we had many patients come to us seeking whitening and seeming unconcerned with ridding their smile of infection and decay.

More recently, however, mainstream news has joined our efforts to educate the public on the oral & overall health connection. This has led to patients seeking care that will contribute to overall wellness. We’ve experienced a surge in questions such as:

Does periodontal disease really increase my odds of heart disease?

Does untreated decay lead to root canal therapy and risk eventual loss of the tooth?

Do oral lesions signify potential oral cancer? How is that screened and treated?

This increase in “Dental IQ” is leading to more comprehensive care for our community. It’s allowing us to provide dentistry which we know is in the best interest of our patients. Dentistry is not only about the aesthetic appeal of your smile. As many of our patients have been learning, valuable overall health benefits go hand-in-hand with preventive and restorative dental care.

If you’re seeking a dentist that contributes to your overall health and wellness, contact us today.

 


13424 PENNSYLVANIA AVE., SUITE 301
HAGERSTOWN, MD 21742

Dentist 21742 | Do I Really Need an Exam?

It’s highly likely that after visiting our practice, you understand the value of a thorough, professional dental cleaning. It’s also likely that you may not fully understand the importance of a complete exam and radiographs.

There are many reasons the exam is an important part of your oral health routine.

1. Exams allow the doctor to evaluate for signs of health conditions. Many health conditions present early signs and symptoms in the mouth, including: Crohn’s, Addison’s, Leukemia, Diabetes, Lupus, Anemia and many others. Skipping an exam could prevent your dentist from screening for oral manifestations of systemic disease.

2. According to research, one American dies every hour from oral cancer. A thorough complete examination can catch early signs of oral cancer, allowing for early treatment, which can be key to survival.

3. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and is related to serious systemic health conditions such as heart disease and stroke, among many others. Evaluating your soft tissue and bone health allows our team to identify early signs of periodontal disease, which can allow for prevention and early treatment. This is vital for your oral and overall health.

4. Radiographs provide valuable insight. Decay and other oral health issues are often hidden from the human eye. Radiographs (X-Rays) allow us to find what we could not otherwise see, allowing for early treatment and less invasive solutions.

Whether it has been 6 months or 6 years since your last appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you and your heath and comfort are our main concerns.

Valley Dental Associates of Hagerstown
13424 PENNSYLVANIA AVE., SUITE 301
HAGERSTOWN, MD 21742
(301) 733-3414

An Important Reminder About Your Next Dental Appointment

At times, life can seem to move quickly. Between work, school, sports, and social events, it can seem there is little time left for you and your health. It’s imperative for a healthy mouth and body to always have your next dental appointment scheduled and to prioritize this care. Our team will work with you to find the most convenient day and time for you. If you need to reschedule, we will do our best to accommodate you. Advanced notice of a change is greatly appreciated, whenever possible. Missed appointments without notice are harmful to our practice, as we’ve reserved your appointment time exclusively for you.

Missed dental appointments can lead to worsened oral and overall health. Whether receiving preventive or restorative care, if left without professional treatment, plaque and decay will progress and the state of your oral health will likely decline. Some of our patients are predisposed to more frequent oral health issues. Many times, these guests prefer more frequent office visits. Please know this is an option for you as well. Investing in one extra cleaning each year can often prevent more costly concerns.

We know it can be tempting to skip your dental appointment. Perhaps you’d rather be relaxing at home or you’ve had a last-minute obligation arise. Please make every effort to prioritize your healthy smile, as it significantly contributes to your overall health.

Please know we’re here for you. If you have any questions about our care or practice philosophy, don’t hesitate to contact us.

Digital X-Rays

Hagerstown, MD DentistX-rays, or radiographs, have long been used in dentistry. Traditional film x-rays are a safe and effective part of your dental care, but they do require a small amount of radiation. In our office, we utilize digital x-ray technology that provides the benefits of film imaging but uses up to 80% less radiation. With our advanced digital radiographs, we can view your teeth and surrounding structures with remarkable accuracy.

Unlike traditional x-rays, digital x-rays require no wait time for film to develop. Instead, the images are available on the computer screen within seconds. These images can then be enhanced and enlarged for more accurate diagnosis. Digital x-rays can be stored, printed, or even transmitted electronically to a specialist or laboratory, if needed.

Intraoral x-rays create an image of the teeth, bone, and tissues inside the mouth. This image can be used for prevention, diagnosis, and/or treatment planning, depending on the need. X-ray images can be used to identify or diagnose potential oral health issues that may not be fully visible to the naked eye. Some of these may include:

  • Tooth decay
  • Cracks or fractures
  • Impacted teeth
  • Tooth root infection
  • Bone loss
  • Cysts, tumors, or other abnormal growths

How often you need dental x-rays will change over your lifetime. Healthy adults may only need radiographs taken every 2-3 years. Children and teens often need more frequent imaging to monitor the growth and alignment of their teeth. However, there are several additional factors that can influence how often digital x-rays are recommended. Some of these include:

  • Multiple dental restorations
  • Periodontal disease
  • Dry mouth
  • Tobacco use
  • Orthodontics
  • Root canal therapy

Your safety is our primary concern. Before having a digital x-ray taken in our office, let us know if any of the following apply to you:

  • You have had a dental x-ray in another office within the past year
  • You are or may be pregnant
  • You have any questions or concerns about x-rays

For more information on how our digital x-rays benefit you, contact our office.

You Need to Know About Oral Thrush: Here’s Why

Even a healthy mouth is lined with bacteria. Normally, your daily oral hygiene routine helps prevent oral health complications. However, it is possible to develop an excess of bacteria and fungi, which can lead to additional problems. Here’s what you should know about oral thrush and what you can do to prevent it.

What is it?

Oral thrush is caused by a collection of the fungus Candida in your mouth. Bacteria and fungi occur naturally in your mouth, but it is important that they are not permitted to build up. Thrush can appear as white, thick scrapes on your tongue or inner cheek. It may also look like patchy, white sores.

Who does it affect?

Young children, infants, and the elderly are at a higher risk of developing oral thrush. If you have a weakened immune system or diabetes, it is even more important that you stay active to keep your mouth healthy and prevent issues like oral thrush. Smokers also tend to develop oral thrush more than other patients.

What can it do?

Oral thrush can lead to trouble swallowing and tasting. As it develops, it can become painful. Oral thrush can make affected areas feel like they are burning, and slight bleeding can occur if you are scraping your tongue or cheeks. Some describe the feeling as having cotton in their mouth.

Thrush can spread. If you have a weakened immune system, it is possible that thrush moves into your lungs, digestive tract, and even your heart.

How can I prevent It?

Our best recommendation for preventing oral thrush is a vigilant daily oral hygiene routine that includes a thorough brushing and flossing of your teeth, and includes your tongue. We sometimes recommend a patient use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue. Just like brushing your teeth, your tongue depends on daily cleaning to stay healthy and free of germs and bacteria.

The American Dental Association recommends that for some patients it might be helpful to consider an antimicrobial toothpaste or mouthwash. Check with our doctor to see which solutions might be best for you.

We cannot overstate the importance of regularly scheduled dental exams. If you are a diabetic, it is even more important that you schedule regular visits to our office. By having your mouth checked by our staff, we can work with you to prevent oral health issues like thrush.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office.

Hagerstown Dentist | 4 Tips for Healthy, White Teeth

Dentist Near Me

Your smile is one of the first things that people notice about you. One way to make a lasting impression is to have a healthy-looking smile. Over the years, teeth whitening has become immensely popular. People turn to in-office whitening, over-the-counter whitening, and home-made whitening techniques. Did you know that there are ways to keep your smile white with just small changes to your daily routine? Read the tips below to keep your smile looking pearly white.

  1. Brush and Floss

To keep your mouth clean, healthy, and stain-free, brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. Brush your teeth after drinking coffee, tea, soda, or red wine to help fight discoloration.

  1. Diet

Some of the food and drinks you are consuming may cause your teeth to look dull or stained. Wine, coffee, tea, soft drinks, and berries all contain substances that stain teeth. Chromogens are molecules found in all of these items that stick to the enamel of your teeth causing a dull look.

  1. Quit Smoking

Smoking is not only bad for your heart and lungs, it is also bad for your mouth and teeth. Smoking causes tooth discoloration, increased plaque buildup, gum disease and more.

  1. Visit Your Dentist

Dental cleanings and exams are an important part in keeping your teeth healthy and bright. You may need frequently follow up visits based on your oral health care. Don’t forget to schedule an appointment twice a year.

Even if you do use in-office whitening or over-the-counter products, your teeth need extra care to keep up with the initial results. By flossing, lifestyle changes, and regular dental visits your teeth will be looking bright.

Call our office to schedule your dental cleaning today.