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Teeth Gaps | Closing the Gaps in Your Teeth

teeth gapsTeeth Gaps | Closing the Gaps in Your Teeth

Gap-toothed grins: Love them or hate them?

For some people, a gap between the two front teeth can look adorable. Others are bothered by how it looks. Thus, closing that gap often becomes a matter of personal preference and aesthetic taste. But in some cases, gaps between teeth can bring about dental health problems. Finding the right solution to close those, with the help of a trusted dentist, should be a priority.

A gap between two teeth may pose some risks to your overall dental health. Having spaces between the teeth can make it easy for food particles to be lodged between the gaps. It can make the teeth and gums difficult to thoroughly clean even with vigorous and regular brushing and flossing. The gaps can retain sugars and bacteria that can build up and become cavities, tartar or a cause of infection. In this case, closing the spaces in teeth is a dental health need.  This can happen regardless of the affected teeth’s location (not just the front teeth) and if gaps occur between more than two teeth.


Causes of Diastema

The medical name for the gap between two teeth is diastema. Some of the cases of this condition include:

Natural development: Many children have teeth gaps which close up on their own as their dental structure matures. If this is the cause, treatment is often unnecessary; parents just have to wait for the baby teeth to fall out and mature teeth to grow.

Teeth size is too small for jaw size.

Missing teeth.

Habits such as excessive or prolonged thumb-sucking.

Protruding, too wide or too large labial frenum (the tissue inside the center of your upper lip).  


Treatment Options

Your dentist in Silver Spring, MD will develop a treatment plan for you according to the cause of the gap. Some of the possible treatment options are:

  • Periodontal treatment if necessary, before conducting actual treatment
  • Crown and bridgework, porcelain veneers or dental bonding to correct the appearance
  • Dental implants if the gap is caused by missing tooth
  • Dental braces, retainer therapy or Invisalign to correct teeth misalignment
  • Dental surgery to reposition or resize for the labial frenum

As always, maintaining diligent dental hygiene practices will allow you to maintain the beauty, health and strength of your smile that you have regained after diastema treatment. Talk to your Silver Spring dentist today and know more about how to manage your teeth gaps and ensure superior teeth and gum health at all times.


Common Reasons Oral Surgery Is Recommended By Dentists

Oral SurgeryWhy is Oral Surgery Recommended By Dentists

Most people want their visits to the dentist to be as quick and hassle-free as possible. Not all are comfortable with the thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair for extended periods to undergo procedures that involve scary looking dental tools and equipment, so their recourse would be to maintain the best possible oral care habits on their own to ensure the good health and condition of their teeth, gums and mouth without scheduling that appointment with the dentist.

However, there are instances wherein the specific condition of your mouth and teeth will require treatments and procedures that are more complex than the routine cleaning or checkup you are used to. In such cases, you’ll be glad to know that dentists are highly trained and experienced in performing different kinds of oral surgery which can effectively restore and improve your overall oral health.

Provided below are the common reasons oral surgery is recommended by dentists:

You have problems with your bite or temporomandibular joint (TMJ)

Some people’s jaws do not come together properly, and this can cause pain and discomfort as well as impaired function. Corrective jaw surgery can help improve the bite and help the patient experience comfort.

Your teeth roots are infected

 Root canal procedures are typically recommended for infected tooth pulp, but if this treatment proves insufficient, the dentist can also perform a surgical procedure called apicoectomy which calls for the removal of the tip of the tooth root.

You suffer from pain caused by wisdom teeth

The emergence of wisdom teeth is known to cause swelling, pain and infection, but there’s no need to endure those since wisdom teeth can be extracted surgically.

Some of your teeth are missing

If you’ve lost teeth because of decay, an accident or trauma, dentists can provide surgical solutions to help your mouth function and appear normal as before. One of the best options is a dental implant; titanium screws are embedded surgically into the jaw and serve as roots or support for crowns, dentures or bridges that act as your replacement teeth.

In addition, if your jaw does not have enough bone mass to support dental implants, dentists can perform a bone grafting procedure.

There are lesions and abnormal growths in the lips, mouth, neck and face

If you have suspicious growths in these areas, your dentist can perform biopsies on them. If oral cancer is diagnosed, he or she can also surgically remove the affected tissues.

You suffered trauma to the face

Lost teeth can be replaced by your dentist while any broken facial bones can be reconstructed using plates, wires or screws.

Oral surgery may be exactly what you need for your teeth, gums, mouth, jaw and face to return to their proper functioning and appearance. Talk to your dentist in Silver Spring about your individual condition so the appropriate procedure can be prescribed.


What Are Lingual Braces?

Lingual BracesWhat Are Lingual Braces?

Contrary to the belief held by people that metal braces are your only option when you want to get your teeth straightened, there are actually other options you can choose from, including lingual braces.

Lingual Braces

Unlike conventional metal braces which utilize brackets and wires which are placed on the front surface of the teeth, lingual braces are placed behind the teeth. This eliminates one of the common hassles associated with wearing traditional braces: the awkwardness of being seen with wires and brackets in your mouth. The wires and brackets are essentially hidden and it can be practically impossible to know if a person is wearing this type of braces.

Lingual braces operate under the same principles as conventional braces: gentle and continuous pressure is applied to the teeth. This pressure slowly shifts the teeth toward the desired position. For lingual braces, treatment can last between 18 to 36 months, depending on the severity of the patient’s problem.

Lingual Braces Manufacturer

Although there are several options you can choose from when it comes to the manufacturer of lingual braces, essentially, all of these function the same way. The key difference lies in how one manufacturer designs their braces and how these are attached to the teeth. Your choice of brand of lingual braces to use will depend on your preference as well as the recommendation of your dentist.

Before these braces are installed, your dentist needs to take an impression of your teeth. This impression will be sent to a laboratory which will fabricate your customized brackets. This process typically takes about six weeks to complete. Once the brackets have been fabricated, your dentist will cement these on the back surface of your teeth.

What to Consider When Wearing An Orthodontic Appliance 

Wearing any type of orthodontic appliance requires diligent adherence to good oral hygiene practices in order to prevent the onset of both gingivitis and tooth decay. If you are planning to wear lingual braces, it is essential that you brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes, using a soft round bristle toothbrush. Special attention should be given to the teeth and gumline. It is also highly recommended that you floss your teeth daily in order to remove plaque and food debris trapped between the teeth. You may also use an oral irrigation device to remove food debris that have been trapped between the brackets and your teeth.

Be aware that like conventional braces, lingual braces can also irritate your mouth, specifically the tongue. In order to prevent this, you may apply wax on the brackets installed on the lower teeth. Some patients also report that wearing lingual braces has made their speech and enunciation difficult. This problem can be easily overcome with practice.

Are you interested in more information about braces? Contact the friendly dentists at Nicholas Dental Care in Burtonsville. Take the first step to a more confident smile.


What Is Endodontic Treatment?

Endodontic TreatmentEndodontic Treatment | Root Canal 

If your tooth has become diseased or injured, your dentist may recommend a few treatment options to you. In the past, these available options were limited. However, with advances in the field of dentistry, your dentist can help you save your teeth.

One such option that your dentist can recommend is endodontic treatment, also known as root canal treatment.

Endodontic treatment is a procedure that is used to treat the infection of the root canal system which is found in the center of a tooth. Infections are caused by bacteria that reside in the mouth and, when left unchecked, can invade your teeth. Infections typically occur when a patient has tooth decay, leaky fillings, or when a tooth has been damaged due to trauma.


Structure of a Tooth 

Contrary to what some people believe, the tooth is actually made up of two basic parts: the crown, which you can readily see in your mouth, and the root, which anchors the tooth in position and extends into the jaw. Your teeth are also comprised of the enamel, dentine, cementum and the dental pulp, which is the soft tissue inside the tooth.

The dental pulp is contained within the root canal system which extends from the crown to the root. The dental pulp is comprised of nerves and blood vessels. Now, when the pulp is infected by bacteria and multiplies and spreads, the pulp may die. Eventually, the bacteria and the substances these release will leak out to the end of the root canal through an opening where nerves and vessels enter.

When this happens, the tissues around the teeth become red and swollen. In turn, this can lead to pain and dental abscess.

The infection is treated by removing the bacteria either through extraction or through endodontic treatment where the dentist attempts to save the tooth.

After the bacteria has been eliminated, the dentist will use either a filling or crown to fill and seal the root canal. Afterwards, the inflamed tissue will heal naturally.


Why should you opt for root canal treatment?

The treatment offers a few advantages, chief of which is that you get to save your natural tooth. This means that you can chew your food efficiently and have a tooth that looks natural and has a normal biting force, and you’ll protect your other teeth from excessive wear and strain.

And contrary to the unfounded belief that root canal treatment is a tedious and difficult treatment, it is not. A lot of patients who have undergone the treatment compare it to getting their teeth filled. The treatment can be finished in one to two appointments, depending on a few factors including the severity of the problem and your personal circumstance.

The best way to determine if you endodontic treatment is to schedule a dental check-up with your local Burtonsville dentist. The dental professionals will be able to help you work through any questions or anxiety you might have.

Do Dental Check-ups Embarrass You?

Dental Check

The Importance of Not Being Embarrassed During Dental Check-ups 

A percentage of people who claim to have dental phobia are not really afraid to undergo dental treatments or think the dentist will hurt them; these people are simply quite embarrassed to present their teeth to the dentist during a dental check. They fear that the dental professional will judge them for not taking good care of their teeth. They may also fear that the dentist will humiliate them.

Is that the reason for your dental phobia? Are you embarrassed to go to dentist check-ups because your teeth are not perfect?

Rid Your Dental Anxiety

Dentists say that last thing you should feel is embarrassed. You should not worry about anything because dealing with dental problems is their job, after all. When they check your mouth, you can bet your case is not that unique – it’s not something they have never before seen, no matter how bad things may have gotten. Likewise, they know that their patients have all sorts of reasons for not being able to stay on top of proper oral care and they understand. When they see a severe dental problem, while they care about the story behind it, their natural inclination is to focus more on how they can solve that issue so their patients’ confidence will be restored.

Also, it’s not part of their practice to make patients feel bad. They might reprimand you a bit (like a friend who’s only looking after your well-being) if you had been lazy with oral care, but they are actually very understanding and sympathetic. They know that you’ve now decided to do things right, and that’s why you showed up for the check-up; that’s something they appreciate. They want you to keep on making the good decisions so they can ensure a positive experience for every dental session.

Find A Dentist You’re Comfortable With

It’s worth mentioning as well that dentists are well aware of how scared a lot of people are to visit the dental clinic, even just for a check-up. The last thing they want to do is aggravate the phobia and turn away patients. Dentists want every patient to feel at ease during appointments and to trust them completely.

So, if you’re feeling too embarrassed to see a dentist, try to get over the feeling and proceed with the appointment. You’ll be surprised at how your scary expectation can be completely different from what will actually happen. Typically, that one bold and brave decision is all it takes for you to get over your negative emotions about seeing the dentist.


Cavity Prevention Tips

Cavity Prevention TipsCavity Prevention Tips | How To Avoid Cavities

The most concerning oral health problem people deal with is a toothache. When you get a toothache, it’s simply impossible to function. There’s just no ignoring that throbbing pain that makes you want to pull your teeth out, which is what may actually need to be done by a dentist if the cause of your toothache is a damaged or completely decayed tooth or teeth.

To avoid toothaches, the solution is simple: Make sure you don’t get cavities or tooth decay. And to prevent cavities from developing, it’s all about smart oral care. So here are some cavity prevention tips to include in your oral care routine:

Brush your teeth properly and regularly.

This is really the most basic thing that you can do to prevent the development of cavities. However, people don’t really know how to go about this simple activity for oral care correctly. Dentists advise brushing after every meal and using a soft bristle toothbrush to protect the teeth’s enamel from scratches that can actually lead to the formation of cavities. Also, brush gently for about two to three minutes, dedicating about 30 seconds for the six sections of your set of teeth.


Always use fluoride toothpaste or rinse with a mouthwash that contains fluoride.

Fluoride toothpaste will strengthen the enamel and make it less prone to damage.


Floss well.

Flossing is able to target those little spaces between teeth where small bits of food get stuck. It’s hard to reach these areas with a toothbrush and only flossing can dislodge stuck food between teeth. There is a proper way to floss, though, to fully get rid of build-up: You don’t just move the floss up and down, move the floss sideways as well to target the base of the teeth where plaque usually form. Be careful not to cut your gums when you’re working the floss through those tiny spaces.


Avoid eating sweets.

Sugar acids from sweets corrode the tooth’s enamel. Reducing your consumption of candies and other really sweet foods will help prevent cavities from forming. But if you do consume sweets, do not brush your teeth right after eating. Drink water and wait about half an hour because immediate brushing and the presence of sugar acids in the mouth can actually weaken teeth and make it prone to cavities.


Drink more water.

Water will wash away food debris, hydrate and help restore the healthy pH level of the mouth, which is essential in preventing cavities.


Visit your dentist regularly.

Don’t miss appointments and have your teeth cleaned thoroughly by a Burtonsville dentist. Also, by visiting your dentist, you’ll have a better understanding of your teeth’s condition and what you should be doing to protect it better and prevent tooth decay.

There you go, the most basic cavity prevention tips; they’re so easy, there shouldn’t be any issue in applying them to your oral care routine.


What You Should Know About TMJ Pain Relief

TMJ Pain ReliefWhat You Should Know About TMJ Pain Relief

The condition is called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, but the pain and problems it brings can go beyond the specific joint it is named for.

Many TMJ patients can suffer from a wide range of symptoms including headaches, migraines, earaches and ringing in the ears. Others complain of feeling heavy pressure behind the eyes or their jaw clicking, feeling tender or suddenly getting “locked.” Some can feel pain brought about by ordinary movements such as chewing, opening their mouth or yawning. Many had to go through terrible pain in the head and neck, especially on the back and sides. The alignment of teeth can also feel different or uncomfortable.   

Some home remedies can bring about TMJ pain relief:

  • Eat only soft foods so as not to stretch your mouth or pressure your jaw too much.
  • Be careful about how you move your mouth and jaws.
  • Apply moist heat over the painful area. You may use a hot water bottle or heat pack wrapped in a moist towel to induce moist heat.  
  • An alternative is to apply an ice pack as a way to numb the pain and reduce the inflammation.
  • Deep and slow breathing, meditation, yoga, massage and other ways to aid relaxation are also used as a technique to ease TMJ pain.
  • Look for the right sleeping position that eases the pressure on your shoulders and neck, such as sleeping on your side and using supportive pillows.

The best way to address TMJ pain is to seek the help of a reputable dentist experienced in TMJ therapy. Some solutions may include the following:  

  • Take pain medications as instructed by your doctor. Some doctors may also prescribe more natural methods for severe pain such as trigger point acupuncture and marijuana (where legal).
  • Look into therapeutic options advised by your dentist, such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), ultrasound therapy, trigger-point injections and radio wave therapy.
  • Surgery may also be considered, provided that the risks and commitments that come with it are fully understood.

When seeking TMJ treatment, make sure to seek the help of a dentist with solid training, skills and qualifications in managing jaw pain. Many common types of dental treatment such as bridges and crowns can impact and may even trigger further jaw complications, so it’s likewise important to discuss your TMJ problems with your dentist before getting any work done. Talk only to a Burtonsville dentist to ensure the solutions implemented will be safe, effective and can finally free you from TMJ pain.

What Are the Signs of Teeth Grinding?

Teeth GrindingWhat Are the Signs of Teeth Grinding?


It’s hard to believe that you could be causing damage to your teeth even while you’re asleep, but for a lot of people, this is actually quite real.

Bruxism is the term used to refer to some behaviors that involve the teeth — clenching, gnashing, gritting and grinding — and these take place while a person is asleep. According to one study, one in three people suffer from this condition, and it can affect children and adults.


What Causes Bruxism?

Some of the most common causes of are stress and anxiety. During stressful periods, a person can develop a nervous, repetitive action that is meant to help relieve some of the tension they experience. For some people, this action could be nail biting or hair pulling, while for others, it’s teeth grinding. In other cases, having a hyperactive personality can increase incidences of bruxism because it becomes a way to release excess energy.


It may not be easy to accurately identify whether you are suffering from bruxism if there is no one spending the night with you in the same room who can observe and say for sure that you grind your teeth as you sleep. However, there are some symptoms that you can look out for to help you check if there’s a possibility.


The following are the most common signs of teeth grinding:
  • Dull or flat teeth (or even nubbed teeth)
  • Spots of wear on teeth
  • Worn-out enamel
  • Jaw and tooth pain
  • Indentations on the tongue
  • Damage to the insides of the cheeks
  • Earaches
  • Sensitive teeth


Bruxism Cure?

According to dental experts, while there is no single real cure for bruxism, there are things that you can do to reduce the symptoms. The best option would be to wear mouth guards while you sleep — specifically, night guards. You can purchase night guards from a drug store; these may not be a perfect fit, but they can be very effective in protecting your teeth from the worst of the damage as you grind your teeth while you sleep.

Alternatively, you can have a custom night guard made for you by your Burtonsville dentist. Your mouth and teeth will be properly and accurately measured so that the shape, comfort and fit will be right for you.


You can also observe the following practices to help relieve the condition: reducing stress, consciously relaxing your jaw and face as the day goes on, avoiding caffeine and alcohol, not chewing gum, getting more and better sleep, and drinking more water.