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What Causes Bad Breath?

Apart from the possibly awkward social scenarios, bad breath is sometimes indicative of a larger dental or health problem. Quite simply, if you or someone you love has chronic bad breath, you cannot just ignore the problem.

Bad breath, also known as Halitosis, is often detected when two people come in close contact with one another. Kissing, close talking or in extreme cases, simply talking to someone at a normal distance can raise the red flags for Halitosis.

But what causes bad breath?

According to Burtonsville, MD dentist, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, there are several possible causes of halitosis. Listed here are the most common culprits for this embarrassing problem.

Some types of food

The remnants of your last meal can trigger bacterial growth which in turn can lead to bad odor in your mouth. However, there are some types of foods that are specifically notorious for causing bad breath. These include some types of spices, garlic, and onions. As you digest these and as these travel through your body, they can affect the scent of your breath.

Consumption of tobacco products

Cigarettes and other tobacco products create a distinct, often bad smelling scent in the mouth. But apart from this, tobacco products can increase your risk for dental problems, including oral cancer.

Poor oral hygiene

If you do not practice good oral hygiene, the food particles left in your mouth will serve as the food of the bacteria found in your mouth. And as these bacteria breakdown and consume these food particles, these produce byproducts that can lead to stinky breath.

But apart from bad breath, failure to properly and regularly clean your teeth can contribute to poor oral health.

Dry mouth

Your saliva helps keep your mouth clean by removing food particles. Now, if you have dry mouth due to inadequate saliva production, the remnants of the foods you ate will linger in your mouth and can cause bad breath. Dryness of the mouth is sometimes caused by some types of medications. Dr. Ben Kacos, a Dentist in Shreveport, LA warns patients to be aware of the mouth and body connection, which leads to our last item. 

Medical conditions

Medical conditions related to the respiratory system, especially those that affect the lungs, sinuses and throat, may cause bad breath. Other conditions like diabetes, kidney and liver diseases can also lead to the bad odor in the mouth.

Fortunately, you (and the people who come into close contact with you) do not have to be a hapless victim of bad breath. One of the most important things that you can do to keep bad breath at bay is to clean your teeth, gums and tongue properly to eliminate food particles.

Your local dentist may also recommend products which you can use to prevent bad breath. If you are planning on using over-the-counter mouthwashes, be aware that most of these simply mask bad odor and do not treat the root cause of the problem.

Finally, make sure that you visit your dentist regularly in order to prevent dental problems from worsening. In cases wherein the underlying cause of the problem is medical in nature, you may have to consult a physician.

Possible Causes of Tooth Pain

If you have experienced tooth pain, you understand that there is nothing nice about it. From mild inconvenience to the disruption of your normal routines, tooth pain can stop you in your tracks.

What are the common causes of tooth pain?

Quite simply, there are several possible causes of tooth pain. You must look at the other symptoms you are experiencing to zero in on the actual source of your pain. Burtonsville, MD dentist shares the following insights:

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks

Typically, the discomfort you may feel is fleeting and you may not be dealing with a serious problem. Often, this type of toothache can be attributed to tooth decay, a loose dental filling, receding gums, or brushing too hard.

The best thing that you can do is to keep your teeth and gums clean using a toothbrush with soft bristles and a toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth. Do not brush your teeth more than twice a day. You may also use your toothpaste as an ointment on the affected tooth.

If you are experiencing sensitivity to hot or cold food or drinks after undergoing a treatment

Some types of dental treatments can lead to the inflammation of the tooth’s pulp. In turn, that can lead to increased sensitivity to temperature extremes.

Usually, this type of tooth pain will subside in a matter of days. However, if cavities have been removed from your teeth or if you have recently gotten a crown or dental filling, it may take between one and two weeks before the pain is totally eliminated. Here, you can use mild pain relievers.

If the pain lingers after consuming hot or cold food or drinks

This may be a sign that the pulp of the affected tooth is inflamed or already dying either due to advanced tooth decay or trauma.

If you experience this type of toothache, your best option is to contact your Burtonsville area dentist. Your dentist can recommend the best course of action to take depending on your actual circumstance.

If you experience sharp pain when biting down on food

This type of tooth pain can be caused by tooth decay, a cracked tooth or a loose filling.

Your best option here is to visit your dentist. If the cause of the pain is tooth decay, your dentist will remove the decay or refer you to an endodontist for a root canal treatment. If the cause of the pain is a cracked tooth, your dentist will advise you on possible treatment options depending on the location and size of the crack.

If you are experiencing a toothache on your upper teeth or near the sinus area

This actual cause of this type of pain can be hard to determine because the upper back teeth and the sinus share the same nerves. It is possible that the pain you are experiencing may be caused by sinus congestion or by bruxism.

Visiting your dentist will help you identify the root cause of the tooth pain.

If you are experiencing sharp pain but cannot identify the affected tooth

The pain is possibly caused by a tooth’s pulp that has been severely infected and is dying. It is highly likely that the decay has already progressed toward a nerve.

If you are experiencing this type of toothache, see a dentist or endodontist as soon as possible. You may need to undergo a root canal treatment to remove the affected pulp.

If you are experiencing constant pain, swelling of the gums and sensitivity to touch

One of your teeth may be infected, and that tooth infection may have gone from the pulp toward the periodontal tissue.

You can use over-the-counter pain relievers for the pain, but it is highly likely that you will need to undergo root canal treatment. Now that you have identified possible causes of tooth pain, hopefully you are prepared to contact your local dentist to address the issue. 

Abscessed Teeth | Causes and Treatment Options

abscessed teethDental Treatment for Abscessed Teeth

Abscessed teeth, although not always painful, can definitely create great physical discomfort. This painful infection, which occurs at the root of teeth or between the gums and teeth, can give you fever, sensitivity to hot and cold foods and beverages, a bitter taste in your mouth, swollen neck glands and jaws, and bad breath, even without a toothache.

What Causes Abscessed Teeth?

This dental woe is usually caused by trauma to the teeth and severe tooth decay, which allows bacteria to infect the pulp. If not treated right away, further damage to the teeth or more intense pain may happen.

If you think you have abscessed teeth because you’ve experienced some of the symptoms mentioned, the smartest thing to do is to set an appointment with a dentist who specializes in endodontic care right away.

How to Determine the Best Treatment

Your Burtonsville MD Dentist will carefully assess the situation. He’ll probe your teeth with a dental instrument, and also ask you to bite down hard. If you feel pain during the probe and your gums are red and swollen, these are confirmations that you indeed have abscessed teeth. Apart from these methods, an X-ray of your mouth may also be carried out in order to determine if there’s erosion of the bone around the abscess.


After the accurate determination of the situation, treatment follows. Typically, abscessed teeth are treated with a root canal. The endodontist will get rid of the bacteria from the empty canals within your teeth, and then thoroughly clean and shape them before filling and sealing them in order to protect the nerves. Following this, you’ll be scheduled for a restorative procedure; crowns will be placed to protect your teeth and restore their proper function.

Helpful Strategies While You Wait

Now, if you have to wait days before your appointment, a Laurel, MD dentist recommends the following strategies as a first aid treatment for abscessed teeth. These strategies will help you manage the days you have to wait until your dental appointment:

  • Keep the area clean, but do so ever so carefully so as not to aggravate the condition. Just brush and floss gently.
  • Saline solution is good to use as a mouth rinse to dislodge food particles in the mouth. This solution can keep the area disinfected and may also diminish pain and swelling.
  • To control swelling as well as numb the pain, a cold compress may be used.
  • Finally, if the pain’s too intense, do call your dentist and inquire what OTC pain relievers can help alleviate the pain. An anti-inflammatory pain reliever is likely to be prescribed, especially if you have swelling in your mouth.

Dentist Gets it Done Right and Done Quickly!

dentistI’ve been seeing Dr. Nicholas for over 20 years. He has decades of experience which means not only does he get needed work done well, he gets it done quickly. I rarely need work done but when I do I’m grateful for how quickly he completes, what is for me, an uncomfortable procedure. The office works the same way: professional, efficient, get you in and out as quickly as possible. If you don’t like going to the dentist, go here, not only will it get done right, you’ll get it done quickly! I’ve had nothing but the best possible experience dealing with insurance as well; they’ve been gracious in dealing with my mistakes or the insurance company’s mistakes giving me confidence a tricky problem will get worked out.

– says David K.

The Aftermath of Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Aftermath might sound dramatic but Wisdom Teeth Removal is important. We want you to be prepared after your surgery. 

If you need to have your wisdom teeth removed, you must know that it’s not going to be a typical tooth extraction procedure. Especially if your wisdom teeth are impacted; oral surgery will be required. Don’t worry, you will not feel anything during the surgical process because of the anesthesia; however, you need to prepare yourself for the care you will need after surgery.

What to expect after a tooth extraction?

After the wisdom teeth removal, you will likely experience some bleeding. Your dentist will send you home with gauze to bite down on gently yet firmly on. The gauze packs placed over the treated area; make sure they’re in place for a complete hour or until the bleeding has ceased. If you need to replace the gauze pack, make sure to moisten the fresh one with tap water. Then make sure it is positioned properly over the bleeding spot.

When the bleeding stops, be very careful with the surgical area – don’t do anything that may disturb it.

Oral Hygiene Routine 

Expect your oral hygiene routine to change a bit, too; brushing teeth is still a must, but it should be done ever so carefully — keep the bristles of your toothbrush from going anywhere near the raw area. Rinse your mouth gently with saltwater or saline solution after brushing and use saltwater every time you wish to “disinfect” your mouth.

A Laurel, MD dentist advises avoiding any strenuous physical activity that will cause blood to rush to your head; this may result in bleeding, swelling and pain. You are not to engage in tiring physical activities for three to four days after the surgery – expect to get bored because there are many physical activities you will not be allowed to do.

Swelling will occur and it’s not going to look pretty for two to three days after the surgery. This is normal, so don’t be too alarmed. Most dentists prescribe medicine for managing the swelling after the procedure; just take the medicine as instructed by the dentist and complement this with the application of a cold pack to the swollen area – 20 minutes on, 20 minutes off during the first 24 hours after the surgery.

How to Address Pain

As for pain, which is also normal, you will be prescribed medication for it. Dentists say taking the first pain reliever right before the anesthesia wears off will help a great deal in managing the discomfort that the procedure is known to create. You can take a pill every time the ache is too uncomfortable to bear. If it doesn’t give you relief, call your dentist and you may be prescribed a higher dosage that may be more effective.

Foods to Avoid 

And lastly, you may have to alter your diet for a bit – another necessary sacrifice. You may have to avoid many of your favorite foods. Avoid extremely hot foods because this can trigger bleeding. Stick to a soft diet for a bit and avoid rice or small food items that may lodge into the socket areas. Don’t drink anything that can dehydrate your mouth such as wine; instead, drink lots of water in order to maintain the right pH level of your mouth as well as wash away food debris. Staying hydrated can also promote faster healing and prevent sore throat, which many tend to experience after having their wisdom teeth removed.

If you have more questions about the wisdom teeth removal procedure, contact your local Burtsonville dentist at Nicholas Dental Care.

Treatment options for TMJ

Treatment options for TMJ – Laurel, MD Dentist, Aaron Nicholas’ Weighs in

The temporomandibular joints or TMJ refer to the joints and muscles that are responsible for opening and closing the mouth as well as moving the lower jaw. The TMJ are located on either side of the head and aid in speaking, swallowing and chewing.

Located on each joint is a disc placed between a ball and socket. The main function of these discs is to allow the jaw to open wide and rotate.

TMJ disorders like arthritis, bruxism or grinding of the teeth, dislocation, injury, tooth and jaw alignment issues, and stress can prevent the TMJ from functioning properly, and in some instances, causes pain.

Dr. Nicholas says that a correct diagnosis is an important part of any TMJ therapy. Your local dentist should check the joints and muscles. They will also look for signs like clicking, popping, difficulty in moving and tenderness. Based on the diagnosis, your dentist may prescribe TMJ treatment. In some cases they may need to also refer you to a doctor.

In order to find relief from the pain and discomfort associated with these disorders, there are a few things that you can do in addition to your dental visit.

Heat it up for relief

Applying heat on the affected area using a hot water bottle, moist towel or a heat pack can reduce pain and improve the function of the TMJ. An ice pack, on the other hand, can facilitate healing while decreasing inflammation and numbing pain.

An apple a day…not quite

Dr. Nicholas recommends that you implement a soft diet. Avoid hard, crunchy and chewy food. You may also have to avoid foods that require you to stretch your jaw. Chewing gum is another big no-no.

Medication and Rehab

You may also be prescribed anti-inflammatory medications, and muscle relaxers which can help with the pain and other symptoms.However, if the pain doesn’t quite require a prescription, physical therapy is another solution. To facilitate faster healing and improve jaw mobility, you may be asked to perform jaw exercises as well as techniques that can help relax the facial muscles.

While you are recovering, you have to support your chin while yawning. This can help prevent further damage to the TMJ, or worse, the locking of the jaw. You will also need to avoid cradling the phone between your ears and shoulders as this habit can irritate the muscles of the neck and jaw.

If the main cause of your TMJ disorder is bruxism, you may be asked to wear a bite plate or night guard which can minimize clenching and grinding of teeth. On the other hand, a Laurel, MD dentist may need to reshape or adjust your teeth if your TMJ disorder is caused by an uneven bite.

While treatment options for TMJ may vary, one thing is clear. Jaw pain is not something to ignore. Schedule an appointment with your Dentist to discuss the best course of action.


Saving a Tooth in a Dental Emergency

saving a tooth in a dental emergency

Dentist Recommended Steps to Saving a Tooth in a Dental Emergency

Let’s first qualify a dental emergency. The most common emergencies that come through our Burtonsville Dentist office are broken teeth, and sports injuries or accidents resulting in a severely broken or missing tooth. This is a time of heightened emotion where you are in panic mode trying to determine the best course of action.

There’s still a chance for you to save your tooth. You can have it replanted back to the gums, where it will remain useful for the years to come. By acting fast and knowing the right steps to saving a knocked-out or broken tooth.

A tooth can become dislodged for a number of reasons. It can be due to an injury that made your mouth or teeth come into contact with a hard surface. It can be due to eating food that’s too hard or tough for your tooth to handle. It can be because you’re using your teeth as a “tool,” such as to open a bottle or to open a bag of chips instead of using an opener or a pair of scissors. 

While such incidents are quite common (with millions of teeth getting knocked out among adults and children in the U.S. on a yearly basis), a knocked-out tooth should still be taken seriously and addressed with immediate care. Even if the result of trauma is “just” a crack or a chip, the resulting openings can lead to bacterial growth which can easily lead to tooth decay and infection. 

Immediate action is helpful if the tooth becomes completely dislodged out of its socket. However, there is still an opportunity to save that tooth.

Extend the life of your tooth with the following steps:

  • Bring your tooth to the Laurel, MD dentist nearest you. The ideal scenario is to get to the clinic within 30 minutes of the incident.
  • While preparing the tooth for your Dentist, make sure you are handling the crown and not the root.
  • If it landed on the ground or anywhere dirty, rinse it out gently with clean, cold tap or bottled water. Never use soap, toothpaste or any chemicals. Don’t rub or brush; just let the water rinse the foreign particles off.
  • While the tooth is still a bit wet, try to reinsert it into the socket. Using a careful but firm hold, replace the tooth into the socket or just above it.
  • Very carefully, close your mouth while gently biting down on the tooth to guide it in position.   

    Sometimes it’s not possible to place the tooth back into the socket. If this is the case, do not let the tooth, especially the root, dry out. To keep the tooth moist and keep the living cells alive for longer, you have the following options: 

  • Put the tooth in milk, in a covered container that you can take to the dentist.
  • Put the tooth in the mouth, ideally between the gum and side of the cheek to keep it stable and wet with saliva.
  • Spit some saliva into a container and put the teeth into the liquid.
  •  Do not store the tooth in tap water or wrap it in a dry cloth or cotton.

We realize losing a toot is not a pleasant situation. In fact it can be quite scary. However, do you best to remain calm, and call your Dentist immediately for an Emergency Dental Visit. Most Dentists will leave a few openings on their schedule each day in order to be available for these types of situations.

5 Things You Need to Know About Dental Implants

Dental Implant Success5 Things you need to know about Dental Implants and their success rate.

It’s been established by dental professionals that a dental implant is the best restorative dentistry option if you have lost a tooth or are at risk for losing a tooth.. With implants, the intention is that you will have a long term solution that looks and feels like a natural tooth.

But do dental implants really produce long term success? Or do they require frequent maintenance?

Here are five things you need to know about the dental implant success rate.

Clinical Studies Show

Clinical studies conducted over the last 40 to 50 years prove that dental implant treatment is over 95% successful. There have been very few cases of the implant not integrating into the bone properly. As dental technology continues to improve, the success rate is bound to get even higher. 

Bridges and Partials vs. Dental Implants

In comparison to bridges and partials, dental implants perform much better. Preserving the jaw bone and protecting the remaining original teeth, are crucial according to Laurel, MD dentist, Dr. Aaron Nicholas.

Implants can be treated like your original teeth. The same oral care you perform on your “real” teeth can be carried over to your new dental implant. With bridges, teeth are more prone to decay and fracture due to the resizing of the teeth and the tendency for food to settle at the base of the bridge attached to original teeth .This becomes an area that’s hard to target with brushing and flossing. Meanwhile, removable partial dentures need to be replaced every three to five years because they become loose due to the deterioration of the bone, which can be the result of wearing dentures. 

Adequate Preparation

With adequate preparation for implants (meaning the dentist has made sure that the patient’s oral health condition is good), even those who were initially considered poor candidates for the procedure can have a successful treatment.

Dental Implant Complications

Studies also reveal that there are much fewer cases of complications with a dental implant compared to bridges. Since it’s an independent “installation,” it doesn’t need other teeth to be healthy so that it can be stable.

Dental Implant Success Rate

The 95% to 98% success rate of dental implants hasn’t decreased in the last 50+ years. This means that stringent treatment protocols are observed each time, and as dental technology and methodologies continue to improve, it’s highly likely that one day, there could be a 100% success rate.

This information helps to prove that dental implants are indeed the best form of restorative dentistry. Therefore, if you want to replace your missing teeth, dental implants is the solution you should aim for. To schedule a restorative dentistry consultation, contact your local dentist at Nicholas Dental Care today,