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Endodontic Treatment

What is Root Canal Treatment? How does endodontic treatment save the tooth?

Has your dentist suggested that you need a root canal treatment? Almost 22.3 million root canal or endodontic procedures are conducted annually, a 10% per year increase.Endodontic

Endodontic treatment is conducted to save a tooth when the inner soft part of the tooth (the pulp) is infected. The pulp is the soft inner part of the tooth which is covered by the fleshy, yellowish dentin, then the hard white enamel layer. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissues which help your tooth grow during development and help it feel hot and cold.

If your tooth is infected by deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, improper crowning or a crack in the tooth, then root canal treatment is conducted to save your tooth and give it a second chance. A fully developed tooth can survive and still function without the pulp.

Endodontic or Root Canal Procedure

The word endodontic might seem a bit scary, but the modern root canal treatment is quite different to the stories you’ve heard in the past. Nowadays, with modern pain management medications and treatment techniques, it’s similar to having a routine filling. The treatment is usually completed in one or two appointments, depending on the condition of your tooth.

The Root Canal Procedure Involves:

  • If elected, IV sedation is given to help the patient fall into a light sleep so there is no awareness of the procedure.

  • Local anesthesia is injected into the gum to numb the tooth and surrounding gum tissue.

  • A dental dam (a thin sheet of rubber or vinyl) is placed which is used to isolate the infected tooth from the rest of the mouth to conduct the root canal treatment.

  • A small hole is drilled through the surface of the affected tooth to access the pulp.

  • The infected dental material is removed from the inside using specially designed instruments to clean out the pulp chamber and root canals.

  • Antiseptic and antibacterial solutions are used to disinfect the canals.

  • The root canals are then shaped with flexible instruments for root canal fillings and seals. The canals are again washed to remove debris before sealing.

  • Sealing the canal is critically important to prevent reinfection from bacteria. A rubber-like material called gutta-percha is used to fill the canal space. The thermo-plastic is then heated and compressed to fill the canal space.

  • After this, the access hole is then sealed and the dental dam is removed.

  • At the end of the root canal treatment a crown is placed over the tooth to temporarily seal the filling to protect it from contamination.

When everything is complete, your dentist will repair or replace your crown.

Root canal treatment can help you maintain your natural smile and enable you to continue using your tooth just like before. If properly cared for, the treated teeth can last as long as your other natural teeth. For more details on this or other dental procedures in Burtonsville, MD, please give us a call at (301) 989-0088. Nicholas Dental Care is located at 3905 National Drive,Suite 170-Burtonsville, MD.

Teeth Health – 4 New Year Habits for Improvement

4 New Year Habits for Teeth Health

Looking back at 2015, how well did you treat your teeth? Many of us are lenient in taking care of our teeth and gums because we aren’t plagued with oral problems yet. However, there is a strong relationship between poor oral health and major medical problems such as heart disease and diabetes. Are we going to wait for the symptoms to start popping up before we take charge of our dental health?teeth

This new year, what habits can you practice to have healthier and stronger teeth? Nicholas Dental Care has five suggestions to improve your oral health.

1. Drink more water.

With the abundance of juices and soda, it’s easy to overlook your daily water intake. However, water is beneficial not only for oral health but also for most of the body. It helps flush away food residue in the mouth and reduces acidity caused by certain foods. Although studies show you don’t necessarily need 8 glasses of water a day, you shouldn’t drink more soda or juice than water because it ultimately defeats the purpose of water for your health.

2. Eat more fruits.

Apart from their rich nutritional content, fruits are also very good for dental health, particularly the crunchy, juicy ones like apples, pears, and watermelons. They have high water content which makes them effective in neutralizing acidity, and they are also rich in fiber which helps sweep away the bacteria and debris on and in between the teeth.

3. Practice daily oral hygiene.

We have seen plenty of patients who are suffering from dental problems that could be easily prevented with proper oral hygiene. Our advice is to not let your busy lifestyle get in the way of brushing and flossing. Always make time for your oral care routine, no matter how busy you may be.

4. Visit the dentist every six months.

This is one habit many people forget. Some say they don’t need to visit the dentist that often because they already have healthy teeth. Others are worried that they won’t be able to pay for the dental procedures they need to undergo. However, plaque and tartar formation can easily harden within a couple of months and eventually wreak havoc inside the mouth, causing gum disease.

At Nicholas Dental Care, we do our best to give our patients the highest quality of dental care while also considering their financial concerns. We have various payment options as well as insurance partnerships available for patients. If you would like to know more about our services and payment plans, please contact us today and our dental staff will answer all of your queries.


Tips to Help You Prepare for Dental Surgery

If your dentist has advised you to have dental surgery (e.g. extraction, implant placement, grafting), preparing for the procedure and knowing what to expect can be of immense help to you during and after the surgery

It is important to understand that dental surgery presents both benefits and risks; therefore, communication is needed to understand why this treatment is crucial for you, how the surgery will be carried out, what to expect, and how to recover.

Here are some ways you can prepare for a dental surgery.

  1. During your initial consultation, make sure to discuss the procedure being performed with your dentist. Also, confirm the date, time and location of the surgery.

  2. Make sure that all your medical records, tests, and x-rays have been sent to the dentist or dental specialist if the treatment is being performed in a different location.

  3. Discuss the mode of payment with your dentist and also bring all your dental insurance information on the day of surgery.

  4. If you have any questions, make sure to write them down on a piece of paper, so you can easily discuss them with your dentist.

  5. Your dentist, dental surgeon or other dental practitioner will discuss with you the type of anesthesia to be used for the surgery, but you should confirm this with the dentist.

  6. Make sure your dentist knows if you are currently taking any medications and/or supplements, and any known drug allergies or reactions.

  7. If you have previously undergone any surgery or have any artificial joints, you should bring it to the attention of your dentist/dental surgeon prior to the surgery. You will likely need to take antibiotics prior to the start of surgery.

  8. Ask your dentist about the type of pain medication you will need after the surgery and how to take it properly. Also, don’t forget to ask about the side effects of any medications the dentist prescribes you.

  9. Prior to the surgery, if you are having a form of sedation with your procedure, make sure to arrange for a loved one to accompany you on the day of your procedure and drive you back home.

  10. If you are a smoker, ask your dentist if any precautionary measures are needed after the surgery. Some may recommend that you stop smoking up to one week prior to surgery and not resume until at least one week following.

  11. Cold compresses are a common pain and swelling remedy after the surgery, so make sure you have these available the day before the surgery.

  12. Ask your dentist how much time would it take to fully recover and what to do or avoid to recover best and quickly. Also, make sure to ask your dentist any dietary restrictions you are required to stick to after the surgery (especially for diabetics).

And finally, you should make sure you completely understand all aspects of the treatment, before, during and after. If you are confused or unsure about anything, ask your dentist again. Remember, your dentist or dental surgeon’s recommendations may be different than the ones listed above. Each individual patient has unique needs and requirements, so never hesitate to ask your dentist questions pertaining to your individual circumstances.

We also offer several procedures that require surgery (TMJ etc.), however we make sure that these are performed in a painless manner. If you think you require dental surgery or have issues with your teeth, please get in touch with us today. Please feel free to give us a call at (301) 917-3844 to speak to a representative. You can also like our Facebook page for latest updates and tips on how to keep your teeth in a good condition.


Are Amalgam Fillings Safe?

fillingsNowadays, there seems to be a lot of fuss over what is used in tooth fillings. Amalgam fillings have emerged as one of the more popular varieties yet there is widespread concern regarding their safety. Are these fillings really safe? Let’s take a look at the safety of amalgam dental fillings to help you figure out exactly what type of fillings you should get.

All About Amalgam Fillings

You can easily recognize amalgam dental fillings as the silver colored fillings that grab your attention when people open their mouths. They have a combination of liquid mercury, copper alloy, tin and powdered silver. Amalgam fillings are also referred to as simply “silver” or “mercury” fillings.

Why Mercury is Used in Amalgam Fillings

Dentists have been using mercury dental fillings for over a century and a half. Amalgam fillings are highly desired by dentists because they are soft and can be easily molded. Mercury binds the amalgam and metals together for a reliable filling that will not break across posterity. If the mercury were not present in the filling, it could not be sculpted for a perfect fit and the patient might end up with a flawed bite that requires even more dental work.

The Questionable Safety of Amalgam Fillings

Those who question the safety of mercury fillings believe that they can cause health issues in fetuses as well as young children. These individuals claim that exposure to mercury can cause allergic reactions or possibly a malady that is even worse. The FDA has only gone as far as acknowledging that amalgam fillings release very minor amounts of mercury vapor that patients can inhale. Yet in 2009, the FDA found that these levels were so low that they did not constitute any serious health threat. The FDA also found that the level of mercury in breast milk created by amalgam fillings in the mother was likely not dangerous for infants.

According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) statement in 2009, amalgam dental fillings have been declared as safe for the majority of adults as well as kids over the age of 6. The organization’s statement also applies to all dental fillings containing mercury along with an array of other metals. Yet this statement conflicts with the findings of the FDA’s advisory panel in 2010. This group along with a collection of esteemed dental health experts joined together to review whether amalgam fillings are indeed safe. While these experts upheld the 2009 ruling declaring the fillings to be safe, they also requested that the FDA proceed to study the safety of these fillings more in-depth in the upcoming years.

While there is no proven or hard science to show that amalgam fillings are in any way toxic or dangerous, the mere fact that the FDA has requested even more research on this controversial topic is cause for concern. It is also important to note that the FDA chose to reclassify dental mercury from its original class I device status (low risk) to a class II device (increased risk) in the summer of 2009. This means the fillings require certain considerations and patients must be cautioned about the risks.

Mercury-Free Dental Solutions at Nicholas Dental Care

There are a number of legitimate concerns regarding the safety of amalgam fillings. While the American Dental Association and the FDA agree that these fillings to do not present a clear and present threat to one’s health, there are other tooth filling solutions available that are unquestionably healthier. Nicholas Dental Care is proud to offer mercury-free dental solutions that will give you and your family the peace of mind that you deserve.

Dangers of Teeth Whitening

We all yearn to have a bright and beautiful smile – but for many, our teeth are not as white and attractive as we would hope them to be. Discolored teeth lead a lot of people to experiment with different tooth whitening options. With so many different choices out there, it is important to consider your options carefully and with a bit of education under your belt.

As we age, our teeth naturally start to become darker. Most often, this is do to the consumption of various foods and beverages such as coffee, tea and red wine. Smoking and plaque accumulation are also a common causes.

With most modern bleaching regiments, the active ingredient is either hydrogen peroxide or another chemical called carbamide peroxide. The whitening effect occurs when these chemicals start to break down. This causes oxygen to get into the enamel of your teeth and encourages it to whiten. There are a range of home whitening kits available, and your dentist also provide multiple options as well.

It is very important to use correct technique and the manufacture’s recommended dosages while teeth whitening because the procedure could potentially to harm your gum tissue. This typically occurs if too much of the whitening product is used at one time, or if the bleaching procedure is done too frequently.

People who have sensitive teeth can often find that the process of tooth whitening can leave them feeling even more sensitive than prior to the procedure. This is due to how the whitening chemical affects the enamel of your teeth.

Also, one of the main reasons people decide to whiten their teeth in the first place is due to the discoloration caused by various food and drink, as well as smoking. It is important to remember that even after your teeth have been whitened, they can still be affected by things like this, as well as other food and drink that is strongly colored.

From the above, it is easy to see where the risks of tooth whitening lie. However, it is fairly easy to deal with most of them, as long as your oral health is good and you follow the proper tooth whitening procedure.  Paying a visit to your dentist to make sure everything is okay is not essential, but it’s definitely a good idea before you take the plunge. Please feel free to email me or give me a call at (301) 989-0088 and with any luck, you’ll have a bright white smile before you know it!


Dr. Nicholas


Banish Bad Breath

Bad breath is something that most – if not all – of us are familiar with. The chances are that the condition will affect all of us at some point in our lives, and for many of us, we will experience it on a regular basis. Bad breath is definitely not an unusual condition. In fact, it has been estimated that about half of all people have persistent bad breath.

The good news about bad breath (halitosis) is that root causes are usually not related to serious medical conditions and can be treated quite easily. Listed below are some of the most common causes of bad breath.

In the morning: The vast majority of people have bad breath first thing in the morning and this is a normal condition. One of the main reasons we get bad breath in the morning is that as we sleep, the flow of saliva in our mouths decreases. This causes our mouths to dry out and any food particles leftover create a stale smell.

Food: Some types of food and drink can also lead to bad breath. For example, we all know about the impact that foods such as garlic and onions can have on our breath. However, it is not only foods with strong odors that can give us bad breath. Drinks such as coffee and alcoholic beverages can also be linked to bad breath.

Smoking: Most people are aware of the negative effects that smoking can have on their body. Bad breath is just one of the many negative conditions that smoking can cause within your body. Smoker’s breathe can be very unpleasant.

Drugs: There are a few classes of medications that your doctor may prescribe to you that have the potential to cause halitosis. For example, some chemotherapy drugs for cancer patients can cause bad breath, as can nitrates (these are sometimes used for angina patients).

Hygiene: The purpose of brushing and flossing your teeth is to keep them as clean as possible and to remove any remnants of food, plaque and tartar that may have become trapped in the mouth. If oral hygiene is not sufficient, the food that is trapped will instead be broken down by bacteria in the mouth. This causes a gas to be released, which is the primary cause of bad breath. Therefore, a complete and thorough oral hygiene regiment is imperative to combat bad breath. As you can see from above, there is a wide range of causes for bad breath, some of them more serious than others.

For most people, getting rid of bad breath is uncomplicated. Simply improving oral hygiene can make a huge difference in the eradication of bad breath. For example, regular brushing at least twice a day, with good quality toothpaste can make a huge impact. Remembering to floss regularly is another important step in keeping your oral hygiene in check and decreasing your chances for halitosis.

Since your tongue can also be a source of the bacteria that causes bad breath, it is important to clean your tongue as well as your teeth. You can use a separate toothbrush for this, or some toothbrushes come already equipped with a tongue scraper that you can use for the job. There are also various mouthwashes that you can use to complement your oral hygiene routine.

When it comes to bad breath, the important thing to remember is that most of us will experience it at some point in our lives, but it is generally a fairly easy condition to correct. So try not worry – and maybe keep some mints handy just in case!  Keep up your oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly. Don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions, email or call me at (301) 989-0088.


Dr. Nicholas


10 Ways to Avoid Icky Diseases

For many people a trip to the Dentist is not very high on their list of things to do.  That’s a shame, because dental hygiene is extremely important. If you neglect your teeth for too long one day you’ll wake up and they might just be gone. That would make it really hard to eat the foods you love and to smile when someone takes your picture.

If you’d like to keep your choppers for as long as possible a regular check-up is essential. Here are 10 reasons why;

1) Prevention of gum disease. No, this has nothing to do with Trident but everything to do with the soft pink stuff around your teeth.  If your gums get sick, your teeth will suffer too.

2) Keep your pearly whites white with a regular Dental check-up, and never worry when someone says ‘say cheese!’.

3) Save money. Like maintaining your car, if you take care of your teeth they’ll last a lot longer and look great while they’re doing it. Plus they’ll never leave you stranded on the side of the road.

4) Prevention of oral cancer. This one is serious. Your Dentist can detect Oral Cancer in its earliest stages, when it’s treatable. ‘Nuff said.

5) Make sure if you have cavities that they’re taken care of before they become really bad. Cavities happen sometimes, but if you go regularly your Dentist can fix them while they’re still small.

6) Your Dentist can actually spot Hypertension and Diabetes by looking in your mouth. No fooling.

7) Give your kids a good habit to follow. This one’s a no-brainer.

8) A thorough cleaning really feels great, and can prevent all sorts of icky diseases.

9) Less down time with toothaches and other problems.  Be honest, do you really want to call in sick and tell your boss it’s because you have a tooth ache?  You’ll never hear the end of it!

10) Your smile is the first thing most people see. Take care of it by seeing your Dentist Regularly!

So there you have it. 10 great reasons to see your Dentist more than once every 5 years.  If you haven’t seen yours in a while, why not pick up the phone and make an appointment today by calling me at (301) 989-0088 or shoot me an email. You’ll be glad you did, I promise.


Dr. Nicholas


Low Fat Cheese = Healthy Teeth?

OK, truth time. Very few people really know how to take good care of their teeth.  Right now you may be thinking to yourself ‘well, I sure do’ but the fact is you probably don’t. It’s not your fault, it’s just that nobody has ever shown you the proper way to care for your choppers.

It’s not that it’s difficult it’s that there is a certain method that we all need to use in order to make sure that our teeth are truly clean and well maintained. Certain tasks have to be performed regularly and performed well in order to do this. So without further ado please allow me to show you how to take good care of your teeth.

Let’s start with the basics; brushing. In order to maintain healthy teeth and gums you need to brush thoroughly at least twice a day. This will clean three side of your teeth only so you’ll need to floss too (we’ll get to that) but you should know that brushing at night is the most important because your teeth don’t have the protection of the salivary glands at night like they do during the day.  In between if you can’t brush wash your mouth out thoroughly with water after a meal.

Flossing is next.  This gets the other 2 sides of the teeth that brushing can’t reach.  Any type of floss is OK as well as a ‘water pik’ but this needs to be done at least once daily in order to keep plaque from forming.

Using a tongue scraper doesn’t seem like it will help the teeth but it sure does.  The fact is, the tongue has plaque too and a tongue scraper (or your toothbrush) will remove this excess plaque and freshen your breath too.

Choosing the right foods is extremely important.  Snack foods, sticky foods and even juices all contain an enormous amount of sugar, one of the deadly enemies of your teeth.  If you can, instead of sugary snacks eat low-fat cheese or other low fat dairy as these are alkaline and good for the teeth.

Finally, of course, visit your Dentist regularly for check-ups.  He or she will tell you how great you’re doing which will make you feel good and they will also catch any problems before they become big problems.

In fact, why not make an appointment now if you haven’t been in a while! Don’t hesitate to email or call me at (301) 989-0088. When you’re there, if you have teeth cleaning questions, ask your Dentist for advice. They’re the teeth experts of course!


Dr. Nicholas


Top 10 Ways to Prevent Cavities

Nobody likes bad news when they’re at the Dentist’s office, and some of the worst news you can get is that you have a cavity.  That means that not only is there a hole in your tooth but that the Dentist is going to have to fill it, which in turn fills many a person with dread.

Cavities are formed when food fragments are left on the teeth after meals. This allows bacteria in the mouth to begin to digest it (yuck) and certain types of acids to form that react with the food bits, bacteria and your mouth’s own saliva to form plaque.  Plaque is a nasty, gummy material that sticks to your teeth and eats away at the enamel, eventually causing dental caries or what we call cavities.

So now that we’re all thoroughly grossed out it’s probably a great time to take a look at the Top 10 Ways to Prevent Cavities.

#1) Brush regularly.  This means at least twice a day and better if you can do it three times.  Brushing after meals is the best time using a quality toothpaste and medium soft brush so as not to damage toyr enamel.

#2) Flossing.  Many people don’t floss at all, or floss irregularly.  Yeah, it’s not the most fun thing to do in your spare time but it is proven that flossing alone can reduce the risk of cavities greatly. Try a floss pick or even a water pik but whatever you use floss at least once a day.

#3) Mouthwash.  Many mouthwashes reduce plaque and can be used during the day if you can’t brush.

#4) Cut down on sugar-filled drinks.  Soda, coffee and even most fruit juice is loaded with sugar, which is like termites to teeth. Better to drink water or, if you must drink something sugary, cut it with water.

#5) Like sugary drinks junk food is filled with sugar and other stuff that is not at all good for those pearly whites.  Cut down on junk food and you will reduce your time in the Dentist’s chair (and your pants size too).

#6) Brush correctly.  If you don’t know how to brush correctly ask your dentist to show you and make sure the kids are doing it well too.

#7) Ask your Dentist about dental sealants that can seal the teeth and keep oxygen away from them.  No oxygen, no cavities.

#8) If you don’t have a brush and don’t have mouthwash rinse your mouth with water thoroughly after a meal.  This will at least remove the small bits of food left over and help out until you can brush and floss.

#9) Chew gum that contains the ingredient xylitol.  Xylitol has been proven to reduce bacteria in the mouth, thus reducing cavities.

#10) Visit your Dentist for a check-up regularly, before that plaque has a chance to form cavities.

If you can diligently follow these 10 excellent ways to prevent cavities I can guarantee that your time at the dentist will be much quicker and much more pleasant, and your teeth will give you a lifetime of use while looking great too. (Plus you won’t have to hear the nasty buzz of that drill.  I hate that.)

With these tips on top of maintaining a healthy lifestyle I am confident we can keep your beautiful healthy smile for years to come.  For more information please visit our website or don’t hesitate email or call me at (301) 989-0088.


Dr. Aaron Nicholas


Can my Baby Get a Cavity?

There are 2 things that the general public, unfortunately, doesn’t appear to know very well about the health and well-being of their teeth; 1) babies can get cavities and 2) cavities are nearly 100% preventable if oral care is started from infancy.

Did you know that?  Be honest.  Chances are you didn’t.  That doesn’t make you a bad person, just someone who unfortunately wasn’t informed about those facts from your health care provider.

The fact remains, however that babies are just as likely to get cavities as children and even adults, and for that reason alone oral hygiene should begin at birth.  Also, cavities are preventable but only if treated early on.  There’s a window of opportunity to protect your baby but if you wait until they’re older it might close. Starting their care early on ensures this won’t happen.

Another common misconception is that, since they’re going to fall out anyway, baby teeth ‘don’t matter’.  The exact opposite is true however as baby teeth hold the space for the soon to come permanent teeth.  If lost too early this can affect the development of the permanent teeth and can alter your baby’s ability to speak and chew. That’s a lot of responsibility for the baby teeth, wouldn’t you agree?

Most experts will tell you that the first visit to the Dentist should be between 6 months and a year. This will give your Dentist the opportunity to do a number of things that will help baby’s baby teeth and ensure that they get strong, healthy permanent teeth. Your Dentist can advise you on all aspects of your infant’s oral health and what to do at home to take care of baby’s teeth.

He can also tell you what not to do, including giving babies a Sippy cup at night containing milk or juice when they go to bed. This one habit alone can be very detrimental to a child’s oral health. Another god tip is to rub baby’s gums with a clean, moist washcloth after every meal once their baby teeth have come in.  This will keep bacteria levels much lower, but be sure to use a clean towel every time.

Like I said, your Dentist is a fountain of information and well versed in infant oral hygiene. Get your baby regular check-ups, always be vigilant about brushing once they can start, and get them started early.  When they’re older and they have beautiful teeth they’ll thank you for it I guarantee. If you have any questions or comments please visit our websiteemail or call me at (301) 989-0088.


Dr. Aaron Nicholas