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Posts for: August, 2016

August 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Have you lost a tooth but aren't sure if dental implants are the right choice for you? Dr. Mehr Tucker, your Rockville, MD dental implantsdentist, explains how you can benefit from dental implants.

Dental implant replace teeth roots

Dentures and bridges only replace the visible portions of teeth, but dental implants actually replace tooth roots. Implants, which look like tiny screws, are placed in your mouth during a minor surgical procedure. They're made of titanium, a strong metal that fuses to your bone. After the bonding process is completed, your Rockville dentist adds a realistic-looking crown to the implant. In some cases, the crown can be added immediately after you receive the implant.

Root replacement offers multiple benefits

Replacing your entire tooth from the root to the crown offers these benefits:

  • A Stronger Jaw: You may not realize it, but your roots keep your jawbone strong by constantly exerting pressure on it. Once you lose a tooth, the underlying area of the jawbone begins to shrink and weaken. Eventually, the problem can lead to further tooth loss and facial sagging, particularly if you've lost multiple teeth. Since dental implants replace your roots, you never have to worry about the problems caused by a receding jawbone.
  • Improved Comfort: Poorly fitting dentures and bridges can irritate your gums, causing pain every time you bite into food. Your dental implant offers a stable foundation for your crown and eliminates slipping and irritation.
  • Better Biting Power: Dentures reduce your biting power, which makes it difficult or impossible to chew hard foods. When you choose a dental implant, you'll be able to continue to enjoy your favorite foods.

Dental implants are versatile

Implants are a good choice whether you've lost one tooth or all of them. They can even be used to support upper or lower dentures. In fact, an entire denture can be supported with just two to four dental implants.

Dental implants offer an excellent way to restore your smile. Call Dr. Tucker, your Rockville, MD dentist, at (301) 963-8900 to schedule an appointment to find out if you can benefit from implants. Don't let tooth loss ruin your smile. Take advantage of the many benefits of dental implants!

By Mehr Tucker, DDS, LLC
August 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth decay   fluoride  

Protecting a child's primary (“baby”) teeth from tooth decay should be a top priority. If one is lost prematurely due to decay, it could cause the permanent tooth to misalign when it comes in.

The basic prevention strategy for every child is daily brushing and flossing and regular dental visits. But children at higher risk for decay may need more:  additional fluoride applied to teeth enamel during office visits.

This natural mineral has been shown to strengthen enamel, teeth's protective layer against decay, especially during its early development. Enamel is composed of calcium and phosphate minerals interwoven to form a crystalline structure called hydroxyapatite. Fluoride joins with this structure and changes it to fluorapatite, which is more resistant to mouth acid than the original structure.

We mostly receive fluoride through fluoridated drinking water and dental care products like toothpaste. Topical fluoride takes it a step further with a stronger dose than found in either of these sources. It can be applied with a foam, varnish or gel using an isolation tray (foam or gel) or painted onto the enamel (varnish or gel).

But does topical fluoride effectively reduce the occurrence of decay? Research indicates yes: a recent review of 28 studies involving over 9,000 children found an average 28% reduction in decayed teeth in children who underwent topical fluoride treatments.

There is, though, one potential side effect: children who swallow the fluoride substance can become sick and experience headache, stomach pain or vomiting. This can be avoided with proper precautions when applying it; the American Dental Association also recommends using only varnish for children younger than 6 years. It's also recommended that children receiving gel or foam not eat or drink at least thirty minutes after the treatment (those who receive the varnish aren't restricted in this way).

Topical fluoride is most effective as part of an overall prevention strategy. Besides daily hygiene and regular dental visits, you can also help reduce your child's decay risk by limiting the amount of sugar in their diet. Sealants, which are applied to the nooks and grooves of teeth where plaque can build up, may also help.

If you would like more information on fluoride gels and other clinical treatments to prevent tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Mehr Tucker, DDS, LLC
August 10, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

When the multi-platinum recording artist, songwriter and TV personality Jason Derulo was recently asked about his ideal woman, his answer covered a remarkably broad spectrum. "There’s no specific thing," he said, "so I think it’s unfair to say what my ‘type’ is." But it turns out that there is one thing the So You Think You Can Dance judge considers essential: A beautiful smile.

"I’m not into messy teeth," Derulo said. "If the grill has spaces and different colors, it’s not my vibe."

As it turns out, he may be on to something: A number of surveys have indicated that a bright, healthy smile is often the first thing people notice when meeting someone new. Yet many are reluctant to open up that big grin because they aren’t satisfied with the way their teeth look. If you’re one of them, consider this: Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of ways to improve your smile — and it may be easier and more affordable than you think.

For example, if your smile isn’t as bright as you would like it to be, teeth whitening is an effective and economical way to lighten it up. If you opt for in-office treatments, you can expect a lightening effect of up to 10 shades in a single one-hour treatment! Or, you can achieve the same effect in a week or two with a take-home kit we can custom-make for you. Either way, you’ll be safe and comfortable being treated under the supervision of a dental professional — and the results can be expected to last for up to two years, or perhaps more.

If your teeth have minor spacing irregularities, small chips or cracks, it may be possible to repair them in a single office visit via cosmetic bonding. In this process, a liquid composite resin is applied to the teeth and cured (hardened) with a special light. This high-tech material, which comes in colors to match your teeth, can be built up in layers and shaped with dental instruments to create a pleasing, natural effect.

If your smile needs more than just a touch-up, dental veneers may be the answer. These wafer-thin coverings, placed right on top of your natural teeth, can be made in a variety of shapes and colors — from a natural pearly luster to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Custom-made veneers typically involve the removal of a few millimeters of tooth enamel, making them a permanent — and irreversible — treatment. However, by making teeth look more even, closing up spaces and providing dazzling whiteness, veneers just might give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

If you would like more information about cosmetic dental treatments, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry — A Time for Change.”