My Blog

Posts for: February, 2021

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

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.”

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.

February 16, 2021
Tags: Crown   Bridge  

Is your smile being held back by a dental problem? Here at Mehr Tucker, DDS, LLC in Rockville, MD, Dr. Mehr Tucker can solve various dental problems using crowns and bridges. Both are somewhat similar but they can tend to different dental needs or can be used together to resolve certain issues.


How Dental Crowns Work

A crown is a “cap” that is placed over a damaged tooth, encasing it entirely. It can be utilized to fortify and improve your tooth’s appearance. Dental crowns can come in a variety of materials such as ceramic, porcelain, acrylic, gold, and metal alloys. Dental crowns are extremely versatile and are commonly used to:

  • Protect a weakened tooth from further damage
  • Fix a fractured tooth
  • Replace a large filling
  • Conceal a severely stained or discolored tooth
  • Cover a malformed or irregularly-shaped tooth
  • Fasten a bridge into place
  • Reinforce a tooth that has undergone root canal treatment


How Dental Bridges Work

Tooth loss can contribute to your risk of developing an improper bite, temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorders, or periodontal disease. If you are missing one or multiple teeth, a dental bridge could be a viable replacement solution.

A dental bridge consists of artificial replacement teeth that close the gap created by missing teeth. It is cemented onto your natural teeth or a crown that surrounds the unoccupied space. Those neighboring teeth, known as abutments, function as anchors for your bridge.

Similar to dental crowns, bridges are available in different materials. Your dentist will decide which material best fits your exact needs, based on particular factors.


What Happens During The Procedure

The treatment process you may undergo in our Rockville, MD, office for both dental crowns and bridges works similarly. The initial step is to prepare your teeth by reducing their size to accommodate the crown or bridge. In this step, local anesthesia is administered so you won’t experience any discomfort.

Next, a mold or impression of your teeth will be made by your dentist for the creation of your crown or bridge. This will be sent to a dental laboratory that will fabricate them. You and your dentist will also discuss the specific shade of your crown or bridge depending on the material that you want. For the last step of your first visit, you will be instructed to wear a temporary crown or bridge while waiting for your permanent one.

Once your permanent crown or bridge is ready, you will see your dentist for the second and final visit. Here, your temporary crown or bridge is removed and your permanent one is placed. Before cementing, your dentist might make some adjustments to ensure that it fits right.


Contact Us For More Details or Questions About Crowns and Bridges

Set an appointment here at Mehr Tucker, DDS, LLC in Rockville, MD, with Dr. Mehr Tucker, by calling (301) 963-8900.

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

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.”

By Mehr Tucker, DDS, LLC
February 04, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

Enamel is the hardest substance in the human body, and for good reason—it's your teeth's first line of defense against wearing and harmful oral bacteria. But although enamel can “take a licking and keep on ticking,” it can lose its mineral content, soften and eventually erode to expose the teeth to bacteria.

Here are 4 tips for protecting your enamel so it keeps on protecting you.

Practice sound brushing techniques. Brushing is necessary for removing bacterial plaque that can trigger dental disease. But how you brush could prove not only ineffective, but also harmful to your enamel. So, be sure you're brushing all tooth surfaces, but not too forcefully or too often (twice a day is enough)—otherwise, you could wear down enamel and damage your gums.

Wait to brush after eating. The acid levels in the mouth go up during eating, causing an immediate softening of enamel. But saliva then goes to work neutralizing acid and helping to restore enamel's mineral content. Since it takes saliva about thirty minutes to an hour to complete this task, wait on brushing at least that long. Otherwise, you might remove tiny traces of temporarily softened enamel.

Avoid eating right before bed. While we sleep, our saliva flow decreases until we wake up. If you eat just before bed, you may not be giving your saliva enough time to neutralize acid before it “goes to sleep” with you for the night. So, give your saliva ample time to neutralize any remaining acid by not eating anymore at least an hour before you turn in.

Limit drinking acidic beverages. Some of our favorite drinks—sodas, energy and sports drinks, and even some juices—can be high in acid. To protect your enamel, reduce your consumption of these types of beverages in favor of water or milk (the calcium in the latter will also benefit your enamel). When you do drink acidic beverages, use a straw to minimize contact of the fluid with your enamel.

Healthy and strong enamel is the key to healthy and strong teeth. It's worth taking these steps to protect this important defense against destructive tooth decay.

If you would like more information on personal dental care, 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 “6 Tips to Help Prevent the Erosion of Tooth Enamel.”