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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Mehr Tucker, DDS, LLC
February 24, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles  
JimmyFallonsDaughterLosesaToothonNationalTelevision

Even though coronavirus lockdowns have prevented TV hosts from taping live shows, they're still giving us something to watch via virtual interviews. In the process, we're given occasional glimpses into their home life. During a Tonight Show interview with Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson and his wife, R & B performer Ciara, Jimmy Fallon's daughter Winnie interrupted with breaking news: She had just lost a tooth.

It was an exciting and endearing moment, as well as good television. But with 70 million American kids under 18, each with about 20 primary teeth to lose, it's not an uncommon experience. Nevertheless, it's still good to be prepared if your six-year-old is on the verge of losing that first tooth.

Primary teeth may be smaller than their successors, but they're not inconsequential. Besides providing young children with the means to chew solid food and develop speech skills, primary teeth also serve as placeholders for the corresponding permanent teeth as they develop deep in the gums. That's why it's optimal for baby teeth to remain intact until they're ready to come out.

When that time comes, the tooth's roots will begin to dissolve and the tooth will gradually loosen in the socket. Looseness, though, doesn't automatically signal a baby tooth's imminent end. But come out it will, so be patient.

Then again, if your child, dreaming of a few coins from the tooth fairy, is antsy to move things along, you might feel tempted to use some old folk method for dispatching the tooth—like attaching the tooth to a door handle with string and slamming the door, or maybe using a pair of pliers (yikes!). One young fellow in an online video tied his tooth to a football with a string and let it fly with a forward pass.

Here's some advice from your dentist: Don't. Trying to pull a tooth whose root hasn't sufficiently dissolved could damage your child's gum tissues and increase the risk of infection. It could also cause needless pain.

Left alone, the tooth will normally fall out on its own. If you think, though, that it's truly on the verge (meaning it moves quite freely in the socket), you can pinch the tooth between your thumb and middle finger with a clean tissue and give it a gentle tug. If it's ready, it should pop out. If it doesn't, leave it be for another day or two before trying again.

Your child losing a tooth is an exciting moment, even if it isn't being broadcast on national television. It will be more enjoyable for everyone if you let that moment come naturally.

If you would like more information on the importance and care of primary teeth, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Importance of Baby Teeth.”

By MEHR TUCKER, DDS, LLC
February 22, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures

If there is one dental procedure that demands to be demystified it is the root canal. It is the subject of jokes and is a source of anxiety for many nervous patients. But modern root canal treatments are not any more uncomfortable than other dental procedures, and one of its goals is pain relief. To learn more about root canals get in contact with Dr. Mehr Tucker in Rockville, MD.

The Tooth Inside and Out

Your tooth is encased by enamel, the hardest material in the human body, durable and strong, but is nonetheless susceptible to certain types of damage. Trauma, wear, and decay are common culprits.

The next layer beneath it is called dentin, it's porous, and without enamel's protection, it allows discomfort from heat and cold to pass through into the inner chamber which hosts nerves and blood vessels. These stem down the tooth through the root, where these connect to the rest of your body. It's when decay breaches into this space that can bring about inflammation of these soft tissues and pain.

Untreated, the infection can spread and may lead to tooth loss and other more severe complications.

Root Canals in Rockville, MD

A root canal is performed by first reshaping your injured tooth to gain working access to the pulp, which will be removed, down through the roots, thus alleviating pain.

Your dentist then fills the opening with a rubber-like material and seals it to prevent bacteria from re-entering. To protect it further it is then prepared for a crown which will give your tooth back its form and function.

A root canal's purpose is to save your tooth and to fight against infection, and with it, the pain that accompanies it. Saving you from more costly dental work is an added benefit. If you're struggling with pain or just wish to prevent it, then book your appointment today! Make a call to Dr. Tucker of Smiles for All Ages in Rockville, MD, by dialing (301) 963-8900.

By Mehr Tucker, DDS, LLC
February 14, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implant  
TwoMajorCausesforImplantFailureandHowYouCanPreventThem

Dental implants are a reliable way to replace teeth. More than 95% of implants survive ten years after their installation, and many of these could conceivably continue for decades.

But that still leaves a tiny few that don't reach the ten-year mark. Some fail early because the implant didn't integrate fully with the bone to create a durable hold. But others fail later—usually for one of two major causes.

Some failures occur due to over-stressing of the implant from abnormally high biting forces, usually because of teeth grinding. People who have this involuntary habit generate excessive force as they grind their teeth, which can damage implants (as well as natural teeth). To reduce this force, a patient's dentist can fit them with a biteguard they wear in the mouth to prevent teeth from making solid contact with each other during a grinding episode.

Fortunately, teeth grinding isn't that prevalent among adults—but that can't be said about the other major cause for implant failure: periodontal (gum) disease. This is a bacterial infection caused by dental plaque, a thin, bacterial film that accumulates on teeth. The implant itself isn't affected by the infection, but the gums and underlying bone supporting the implant can be.

Implants are most in peril from a form of gum disease called Peri-implantitis, which spreads deeper into the gum tissues around implants faster than infections around natural teeth. That's because implants lack the gum attachment of real teeth, which supply a collagen barrier that slows the spread of infection. Peri-implantitis can quickly infect the supporting bone and eventually weaken its connection with the implant.

Because of its aggressiveness and speed, we must diagnose and treat peri-implantitis as soon as possible to limit any damage to the support structures around an implant. If you notice any swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, you should call your dentist as soon as possible for an examination.

And in light of this potential danger to your implants, you should also strive to prevent gum disease through daily oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth, including around your implants, removes harmful plaque buildup. This daily habit and regular dental cleanings will help you avoid a costly gum infection and ensure your implants are there for years to come.

If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implants: A Tooth-Replacement Method That Rarely Fails.”

PorcelainVeneersTransformRealHousewivesStarsSmileSpoiledbyTeethGrinding

Dorit Kemsley isn't shy. Best known to fans as an outspoken and sometimes outrageous cast member of the reality show Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Kemsley is never reticent about “mixing it up” with fellow castmates or their significant others. Recently, though, she confessed to something that left her less than confident: her smile.

Kemsley has been self-conscious about her smile because her teeth looked noticeably short, worn down from an unconscious habit of grinding her teeth. Although teeth grinding is more common among children (who normally grow out of it by adolescence), it can persist into adulthood, usually from difficulties managing high stress (a likely component in the fashion designer/reality show star's busy life).

Stress-induced teeth grinding can occur during waking hours or, more likely, during deep sleep. The accumulating, long-term effects from the habit can lead not only to worn teeth but to weakened gum support, a high risk of tooth fracture or jaw pain and dysfunction.

So, how do you know if you grind your teeth, especially if it's only happening at night? Typical signs include sore jaws after awaking from sleep, increased tooth pain or sensitivity or, like Kemsley, a noticeable difference in your tooth length. Your family or sleeping partner may also complain about the “skin-crawling” noise you make during the night.

There are ways to lessen the effects of teeth grinding. The first step is to have us verify the underlying cause for the habit. If it's tension from stress, then you might reduce the habit's occurrences by learning better stress management or relaxation techniques through individual counseling, group support or biofeedback therapy. We can also fit you with a mouth guard to wear at night or through the day that reduces the force generated during teeth grinding.

And if you've already experienced accelerated tooth wear like Kemsley with a resultant “small teeth” smile, you might pursue the same solution as the RHOBH star: dental veneers. These thin, life-like wafers of porcelain are custom-made to mask imperfections like chips, staining, slight tooth gaps and, yes, worn teeth.

Veneers are often less expensive and invasive than other cosmetic techniques, yet they can have a transformative effect, as Kemsley's Instagram followers have seen. In conjunction with other dental treatments needed to repair any underlying damage caused by a grinding habit, veneers are an effective fix for the smile you present to the world.

If you suspect you may have a grinding habit, see us for a complete examination. From there, we'll help you protect your teeth and your smile.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding habits and their effects, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Grinding.”

By MEHR TUCKER, DDS, LLC
November 13, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal  

How a root canal from your dentist in Rockville, MD, can eliminate tooth pain

Have you been struggling with recurrent tooth pain? If so, there is a good chance that tooth decay may be to blame. Root-CanalFortunately, root canal therapy is available to help save both your tooth and your smile! Here at Dr. Mehr Tucker's office in Rockville, MD, we offer root canal treatment to eliminate tooth pain and give your tooth a second chance. Read on to learn more!

 

What root canal therapy can do for you

When you give your tooth a second chance, you are eliminating the need for expensive tooth replacement like dental appliances, dental bridgework, and dental implants. Instead, you are keeping your natural tooth in place, and thus maintaining full chewing function as well as your natural smile.

You may need a root canal because the innermost layer of your tooth, an area known as the pulp, has been damaged or bruised. The pulp is where the nerves and blood supply to your tooth are located. When the pulp is damaged, inflammation begins, leading to fluid buildup, pressure, and pain. You may also notice signs and symptoms such as:

  • Increased pain when you consume foods and beverages that are hot, cold, or sugary
  • Pain that continues even after a filling or dental crown is placed
  • Sharp, stabbing pain when you chew or bite down
  • A red or white bump that appears on your gums next to a tooth root
  • Drainage, including blood or pus, coming from the bump on your gums

Other times, you may not feel any pain or notice any symptoms but may still require a root canal. In these cases, the only way to know that a root canal is necessary is to visit our Rockville office.

 

Concerned? Give us a call

If you want to give your painful tooth a second chance, it’s time to think about root canal therapy. To learn more about how you can eliminate tooth pain with a root canal, call Dr. Mehr Tucker in Rockville, MD, today at (301) 963-8900