One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself is taking care of your oral health throughout your life. Practicing a consistent dental hygiene routine and maintaining regular visits to your general dentist are the best ways to increase your chances of a beautiful, healthy smile.
General dentists focus on preventive care and treating minor problems before they have a chance to worsen into serious issues. Even if you regularly brush and floss your teeth, plaque and tartar can be quick to develop. A dentist has the necessary tools and training to remove damaging deposits before they harm your smile. In addition to professional cleanings and examinations, most general dentists fill cavities, perform root canals, whiten teeth, and even offer additional cosmetic dental procedures like dental implants or veneers.
One of the main reasons for routine examinations is to identify various problems. One common issue that you want your general dentist to catch early is gum disease. When it is treated soon after it starts, you are more likely to avoid bone deterioration or tooth loss. The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis and can be handled by your dentist with simple techniques. If it advances to periodontitis, that’s when bone or tooth loss become a possibility and more invasive procedures like scaling or root planing may be required.
Once you make your dental appointment, which is typically recommended every six months, make sure you keep your scheduled visit. Many patients fall victim to scheduling appointments and then cancelling, not realizing how important seeing your general dentist can be. If you have dental insurance, you can even use your dental benefits for examinations and treatments. This office accepts Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Louisiana, MetLife, and Cigna.
Choose a qualified general dentist and establish a long-term relationship now, so that you can enjoy your healthy and appealing smile for years to come.
If you have to think twice about smiling because you’re embarrassed about your yellowed teeth, then it’s time to do something about it. You might consider having your teeth professionally whitened for quick and effective results, but first you may want to try whitening your smile at home with these natural methods.
Hydrogen peroxide: Most teeth whitening products you find on store shelves contain hydrogen peroxide. The liquid creates bubbles on your tooth enamel that helps remove stains. The higher the concentration of peroxide and the longer you leave it on, the whiter your teeth will become. However, be careful because too much contact can lead to tooth sensitivity. Some people enhance the whitening properties of hydrogen peroxide by mixing it with baking soda to form a paste to put on the teeth.
Strawberries: Regularly using strawberries on your teeth can whiten them. Just cut them in half and rub them on your teeth, allowing the juice to penetrate. After a while of using this technique, you should notice your teeth becoming brighter.
Lemon or orange peels: Rubbing the peels of lemons or oranges against your teeth and leaving the residue on for a few minutes can whiten your smile. Be sure to rinse your mouth afterwards. Don’t leave the peel extracts on your teeth for too long because the acidic content may eventually harm your tooth enamel.
Apple cider vinegar: Stubborn stains like those from coffee or smoking can be especially hard to eliminate. Rubbing apple cider vinegar on your teeth is one way to combat persistent stains. Apply it for no more than ten minutes and then rinse your mouth, because you don’t want to damage your tooth enamel. It take one to two months of consistent daily use to achieve a whiter smile.
Brush immediately: The most well-known way to maintain a white smile is to brush your teeth after every meal, as well as after drinking a dark colored beverage. This helps get rid of stains and prevent new ones from forming.
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Finding the right dentist is an important decision because it’s a healthcare relationship that can last a lifetime. The need for dental care starts around age one and continues through senior adulthood. For routine dental care, you might choose to see a family dentist or a general dentist. Although there are some similarities, the two types of dentists have some unique aspects.
Services: Both types of dentists offer routine services that are common to oral health care. This includes examinations, cleanings, x-rays, and fluoride treatments. Instructing patients about dental hygiene such as proper brushing and flossing is part of most family and general dentistry practices as well. Poor oral care can cause decay, infections, gum disease, or other problems. Both types of dentists also offer treatment for when problems arise, such as dental fillings.
Patients: General dentists often cater to patients in a certain age range, but family dentists provide treatment for patients of all ages. Infants, children, adolescents, adults, and seniors are all able to seek oral health care from a family dentist. Each age group has unique needs and issues, but family dentists are skilled in caring for everyone.
Specializations: Since they see all ages of patients, family dentists are skilled in a wide variety of procedures. They are able to diagnose and treat many oral health conditions, including gum disease and oral cancer. Typical procedures they offer include tooth extractions, root canals, fillings, crowns, bridges, and sealants. Some are able to perform specialty services like implants and veneers. Many patients enjoy being able to obtain treatment from their family dentist without having to see a specialist.
Benefits: In addition to the benefit of getting a variety of treatments in one location, family dentists are also able to provide ongoing treatment for all household members. Children and parents go to the same location and can even request back-to-back appointments. Everyone learns the same dental care techniques that they can practice at home together. Family dentists encourage every member of the family to take pride in their oral health.
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If you or a loved one is scheduled to have or has recently had oral surgery, you probably have a lot of questions. Here are some of the most common questions:
One of my stitches came out after my surgery, should I be worried? Losing a stitch isn’t a problem. In the majority of cases, stitches are put in place during surgery to assist in clot formation and bleeding control. If you have undergone a bone-graft procedure, however, contact your surgeon because you may need to be seen immediately.
What can I eat after surgery? Immediately following surgery, eat only soft foods of tepid temperature. Avoid very hot or very cold foods. Eat nothing that is crunchy or chewy so you won’t damage the surgical site.
I am having a lot of pain following my procedure, what should I do? If you have been prescribed pain medication, take it as recommended. If no prescription was given, use over-the-counter medicines containing natural anti-inflammatory properties such as ibuprofen. Stay hydrated by drinking room temperature water and get plenty of rest.
I had a tooth extracted, how can I tell if I have a dry socket? Dry socket is the result of the loss of the blood clot present in the extraction site. Smoking, using a straw, poor oral hygiene or failure to rest properly following the extraction procedure can lead to this condition. Typically dry socket will present within one week of extraction and is treated with sterile wash and pain-relieving, medicated gauze.
I had a procedure this morning and am still bleeding. Is that normal? Bleeding following extractions or other surgical procedures is common. If you are bleeding more than normal, bite down on some sterile gauze or a damp teabag for twenty or thirty minutes. Don’t keep removing the gauze to look for blood; that can make the bleeding worse. Call your surgeon if you feel your bleeding is excessive.
Your oral surgeon can answer these questions and more. Don’t hesitate to call the surgeon’s office to get the peace of mind you require to heal comfortably following your procedure.
Your family, general, or pediatric dentist or orthodontist may refer you to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for some dental treatments that require oral surgery. An oral surgeon is a specialist who has graduated from an accredited dental school and also completed additional education and residency related to surgical procedures needed to treat various oral diseases and conditions. An oral surgeon is trained in treating the following conditions:
Removal of diseased or impacted teeth
Placement of dental implants
Treatment of facial trauma involving gums, jaws, nasal cavities, cheekbones, eye sockets, and forehead
Evaluation of pathologic conditions such as cysts and tumors of the mouth and face or acute infections of the oral cavity, salivary glands, neck, and jaws
Treatment of facial pain including those caused by temporomandibular (TMJ) problems
Cosmetic or reconstructive surgery to correct jaw, facial bone, and facial soft tissue problems
Corrective jaw surgery
Cleft lip and cleft palate repair
Surgical treatment for sleep apnea
There are many different techniques that oral surgeons use to accomplish your treatment goals. The choice of techniques may vary between surgeons and should be discussed between you and your surgeon prior to the procedure.
Many oral surgery procedures can be completed in an outpatient setting. Often you are only in the office for a few hours and can return to your regular routine in a matter of days. A good oral surgeon will be able to perform these procedures with little chance of complications, and will be able to provide you with the information you need to understand the recovery process. Your oral surgeon will often collaborate with other specialists, such as an orthodontist or cosmetic dentist, to achieve your ultimate treatment goals.
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When you have a tooth or multiple teeth with extensive damage, your dentist may recommend a crown or bridge to restore your smile. Most of the time these restorations provide complete and successful results, but occasionally problems arise.
Tooth decay: Good hygiene is imperative after a crown or bridge because plaque can build up in the area where the tooth and crown meet. Your crown can’t decay, but your tooth still can. Follow your dentist’s instructions for proper brushing, flossing, and fluoride use.
Gum disease: Plaque buildup around a crown can cause gum disease called gingivitis, and if untreated advance to periodontitis.
Chipping or breaking: Crowns and bridges are susceptible to damage like fracturing or chipping. Many crowns are made of porcelain, which can chip or completely fail. Heavy wear or stress such as teeth grinding can cause this type of damage, as well as an accident like hitting your restoration. Small chips may be repaired with composite filling, but larger damage can mean total replacement.
Incorrect color: When having your crown or bridge made, you can choose from a selection of colors. However, the whitest shade is not advised because it likely won’t match the rest of your smile or it can look fake. Make sure you consider the color carefully or else you’ll be faced with redoing the restoration if you dislike it.
Falling out: Several problems can cause your crown to fall out. The core may fail so that the interior portion of your crown is unable to provide a strong base for the restoration. Less likely, the cement can fail so that the crown simply needs stronger adhesion. Or, the post crown can dislodge so that you’ll see a large post sticking out of your crown. If your crown falls out, be sure to save it for your dentist in case it can be reinserted.
In most circumstances, these problems with your crown or bridge do not occur and you can enjoy a long lifespan with your restoration. If you do notice any of these issues, schedule an appointment with your dentist to ensure optimum oral health.
We look forward to seeing you in our Baltimore dental office