Are Old Silver Fillings Safe?

There’s no controversy that has plagued the dental world more than the issue about the safety of dental amalgam. When studies from long ago established a relationship between thyroid problems, neurological disorders, respiratory diseases, and mercury in amalgam, people just went on panic mode. Since silver fillings were popular for preventing the spread of cavities due to their impressive durability, many grew greatly concerned that the restorative dentistry procedure they had was “killing” them.

Do people really need to be worried?

After all, fillings are so small.  “Are old silver fillings safe or are they making patients highly prone to everything from neurological issues, autoimmune disease, chronic illnesses, to mental disorders?”

Here are the facts that everybody concerned about this issue should understand:


  • It’s true that amalgams are 50 percent mercury but they were always considered inert (chemically inactive) so the likelihood or mercury release was none to very minimal.
  • When it comes to mercury leaking from amalgams and producing a toxic effect on the body, different variables come into play (like the age of the fillings, one’s diet, the tendency to grind teeth, and number of fillings one has). It’s never just a matter of “having” silver fillings.
  • More studies are being carried out in order to fully establish the impact of mercury in silver fillings on people’s wellness. So far, findings have been inconclusive.
  • The current ADA and FDA position (because of all the inconclusive results) is that amalgam is a safe restorative material. Therefore, any dentist who recommends removing amalgams due to health concerns from mercury vapor is deemed unethical and could have their license revoked.
  • If you’re concerned about mercury release from your old dental fillings, a lot of dental professionals have advanced detection techniques that can measure mercury release. Hence, they can establish if your health is truly at risk.
  • The highest amount of mercury exposure from silver fillings occurs when they are placed and when they are removed from our mouths. So, if you’re worried about exposure, the smartest thing to do is to have a highly experienced dental team inspect your fillings to see if they’re still structurally intact, instead of just rushing to have them taken out.

It’s only natural to look after your health. Whether you want to have your old silver fillings removed just to be safe or not is completely up to you. Now, if you need to have some cavities filled, there are other filling options to choose from and you won’t have to worry about mercury exposure.

If you want to have your silver filling examined by a highly experienced dentist in Burtonsville MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, our head dentist can take care of that. Contact us today to set your appointment!

What Does Gum Bleeding Around One Tooth Mean?

Bleeding gums are one of the most common conditions that affect people. But what if the bleeding is confined to just one tooth? What does gum bleeding around one tooth mean?

If the bleeding or swelling is confined around one tooth, there are a few reasons behind that. The most common causes of this dental problem are improper brushing and/or flossing, gum disease, and an abscessed tooth.

Improper brushing and flossing

Simply brushing and flossing your teeth won’t be enough. You also need to do these vital tasks regularly and properly.

If the bleeding is confined around one tooth, it is possible that you have not been brushing or flossing in the correct manner. This will lead to your teeth and gums not being cleaned the way they should be and food debris being left on your teeth.

In turn, this can cause both decay and inflammation in the areas that have not been properly cleaned. Gum disease can also become a problem as a result of this.

Check your gums. If these are swollen or red, if there is pus coming out from the affected tooth, if your gums bleed after brushing, or if you have been experiencing bad breath and taste lately, you will need to visit your dentist.

Gum disease

Gum disease is the leading cause of bleeding and swollen gums. In fact, according to some studies, about half of the adult American population 30 years old and above are affected by gum disease in varying degrees.

One of the initial signs of gum disease is the swelling and reddening of the gums. If you notice these symptoms, you have to consult your dentist to prevent your conditioning from worsening.

Abscessed tooth

Another leading cause of swelling and bleeding around one tooth is an abscessed tooth.

An abscessed tooth is an indication of an infection of a tooth. This often occurs when a cavity is left untreated and the bacteria that caused the decay spread in the different parts of the tooth and infect it.

Apart from redness and swelling of the gums, other symptoms of an abscessed tooth include swelling of the jaw, tenderness or soreness on the affected tooth, throbbing pain, fever, and a salty taste in the mouth.

In order to treat an abscessed tooth, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to contain the infection. Your dentist may also recommend a root canal treatment or tooth extraction, depending on the severity of the condition.

Preventing bleeding and swollen gums

The importance of good oral hygiene cannot be over stressed. Brushing and flossing your teeth regularly and properly can help prevent a diverse array of teeth and gum problems.

It is also of utmost importance that you visit your dentist at least twice a year for professional cleaning and to identify and treat potential problems before these worsen.

If you are currently looking for a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, Dr. Aaron Nicholas and our staff would love to hear from you. Contact us today.


You’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis

The main question on your mind is this: “Can gum disease go away?”

When gingivitis is diagnosed and treated early on, and if the patient closely follows a dentist’s instructions, it can still be reversed. However, when gum disease is left unchecked, it can worsen and progress into periodontal disease.

Usually, gum disease does not require professional intervention. Instead, a patient is asked to practice good oral hygiene habits. In fact, poor oral hygiene is one of the leading causes of gingivitis.

However, there are some dentists who argue that gum disease is not really reversible. Instead, these dentists say that like periodontal disease, gingivitis can only be controlled.

In order to better understand that argument, here are a few important facts that you should know.

First, periodontitis is a non-curable bacterial infection

Periodontitis damages gum tissues as a result of the body’s immune system fighting off bacteria. Now, if a patient with periodontal disease responds well to the treatment for the disease, he is said to be cured, but not healed.


When the periodontal disease has been stabilized, bone loss stops. However, the damage on the bones can no longer be repaired. Patients who are healed of their periodontitis will notice a marked improvement in the swelling, bleeding, redness, and pocket depth of their gums. Now, if the patient fails to follow through with the treatment, periodontal disease can return.

How is that related to gingivitis?

Gum disease is caused by bacteria that elicits an immune response from the body. Patients with gingivitis experience bleeding, swelling and redness of the gums as a result of the immune system responding to the attack of the bacteria. However, gingivitis does not involve the development of pockets in the gums or bone loss.

Gingivitis and periodontitis share a few similarities. For one, both are bacterial infections that cause damage to tissues. Second, both respond well to the reduction of biofilm control (good oral hygiene). Finally, both diseases can return if the patient fails to practice good oral hygiene and to go for follow-up visits with the dentist.

However, the two also have a few key differences. Although both diseases are caused by a bacterial infection, the bacteria involved in gingivitis are considered to be less harmful. Second, gingivitis can be managed by good oral hygiene and regular dental cleaning. Periodontitis, on the other hand, needs to be managed for a whole lifetime. Patients also need to visit their dentists every three months.

But if there is one key difference that patients should be aware of, that is the fact that periodontitis has been linked to chronic illnesses like diabetes, heart attacks, and stroke.

If you want to learn more about how you can take better care of your teeth and gums and stave off diseases like gingivitis, Dr. Aaron Nicholas, a dentist in Burtonsville, MD, and his team can provide you with invaluable tips. Contact us today.

Dental Implant Benefits

Dental Implants

Dental Implant Benefits | The Impact On Your Quality Of Life

Your smile is one of the first things people will notice about you. When you have missing or broken teeth it can be hard to for you to show others a genuine smile and it can leave you with a lack of self confidence. Whether you have lost a tooth due to natural causing or outside trauma or disease a dental implant could be an easy solution that can provide with with a number of benefits. In Burtonsville, MD, dental implants are a highly recommended option for those wishing to replace a missing tooth with a realistic and fully functional implant. Let’s take a look at some of the dental implant benefits. 

Just how can dental implants improve your quality of life?

1.) They can give your increase your self- esteem.

Teeth help assist in some regular daily functions like proper pronunciation, supporting the lips and help keeps your face from looking saggy. Burtonsville, MD, dental implants feel like real teeth and function as such also. You retain a more youthful appearance, preserve your natural smile and be able to speak and pronounce words with ease.

2.) Long Lasting.

Dental implants are designed to last longer than dentures or support bridges. With the proper regular care such as brushing, flossing and dental check up your implants are the permanent solution for tooth loss and replacement.

3.) Easy To Maintain.

You take care of your dental implants the same way you would take care of your regular teeth. Regular brushing, flossing and visits to your dental implant office are enough to keep your implants clean and healthy. Your dental implants cannot develop cavities and therefore will also not decay.

4.) Healthy Option.

Dental implants are placed in the missing spaces in your mouth and are rooted to the jawbone. This allows the jawbone to retain bone density, as well as the implant provide necessary support to the surround teeth instead of needed support from them. Your teeth are less likely to shift and are less likely to be infected by the damages of tooth decay caused from your missing teeth.

5.) They Stay In Place.

Dentures can often fall out or shift around in your mouth as you talk or eat. Bridge supports can loosen and make it difficult and painful to chew. Missing teeth can greatly limit the types of food you can eat. With dental implants you do not need to worry about embarrassing teeth slipping, avoid your favorite foods or even laughing. Dental implants are designed to stay in place and allow you to go about your daily life as usual.

Nicholas dental Care can help assist you in your dental implant option. Dental implants can get your confidence back by providing you with an almost identical tooth replacement option. If you want to get back to enjoying your favorite foods without having to feel self conscience about your teeth then you want to consider dental implants. For more details about Burtonsville, MD, dental implants contact Nicholas Dental Care at; (301) 989-0088.


6 Possible Causes of Tooth Pain

Tooth Pain

What is Causing Your Tooth Pain?

One of the most terrible physical aches a person experience is tooth pain. It’s so awful that many claim there’s just no way of functioning properly when your tooth is aching persistently. Even if the pain is coming from just a very small area of the body, the ache radiates all over — you can’t think straight, and every movement seems to just aggravate it even more that all you want to do is lie down and cradle the sensitive area with your hand.

To avoid tooth pain, it’s important to know what could possibly cause it. Tooth pain could be caused by something simple, like foods that are too hot or too cold. However, tooth pain can also be a warning sign of something that you should be a little more concerned about. 

Top six reasons behind common toothaches.

1. Recent dental treatment can cause sensitivity. This can go away easily, but if it’s lingering longer than it should, you may take mild pain relievers like acetaminophen, ibuprofen, aspirin, or mefenamic acid to alleviate the sensitivity. Alternatively, you can try switching to a different toothpaste — one with high fluoride content and sensitivity blockers.

2. Contact with cold and hot food can also cause sensitivity. A toothpaste with sensitivity blockers can help greatly; you can also use a straw when drinking cold beverages to prevent direct contact.

3. Loose fillings and exposed root surfaces will really cause pains, especially when elements come into contact with the exposed root. The best solution to this is a quick visit to the dentist for the appropriate corrective treatment. But if you have to wait a few days for your appointment, you can switch to a toothpaste that addresses sensitivity and keep the area clean by gently brushing after every meal, as well as avoiding chewing in that achy area.

4. Tooth decay and infected pulp always hurt, and heading to the dentist as soon as possible for treatment is the smart solution. The tooth may need to be extracted or a filling may have to be applied. Root canal is also a popular option to halt pains once and for all.

5. Gum disease is another one of the usual causes of tooth pains. Overall, the gums are just very sensitive and any chewing or tooth-grinding action will lead to pain. Gum disease has to be treated by a dentist and will also require medication.

6. Sinus infection is another common cause, but people often do not make the connection easily. The infection causes radiating pain; you won’t just feel a toothache — it’s likely you’ll have headaches similar to migraine as well, and your eyes and ears can hurt, too. For sinus infections, doctors often prescribe antibiotics and pain relievers.

If tooth pain is affecting you, don’t continue to suffer. Contact your local dentist to get relief from your pain.


How to Prevent a Broken Tooth

broken tooth

How to Prevent a Broken Tooth

A broken tooth is rarely that big a problem for many. For those who don’t care much about the aesthetic alteration, they don’t even bother to have their broken tooth fixed right away or at all. At times, they just leave it looking as it is and would only be prompted to have it fixed if it starts hurting or it becomes sensitive to pressure or contact with hot and cold food.

If you wish to address your broken tooth and you live in the Burtonsville, Maryland area we can help to reduce your tooth pain  or to restore its original appearance — and if it’s after hours, our emergency dental service can easily take care of it.

How Does a Dentist Determine the Correct Treatment?

The first thing the dentist will do is to determine the extent of the damage and what’s truly causing the discomfort. Afterwards, a corrective treatment will be executed; however, you must know that a broken tooth does not really heal. A broken or cracked tooth will not regrow; in fact, over time, the tooth can actually morph even more and become smaller, or the cracks may continue to progress and separate. The best solution available, which is the placement of a crown or porcelain veneers, may restore its original appearance, but your actual tooth will most likely wear away if exposed to the elements.

Preventing Broken Teeth

Knowing that there’s no reliable way of restoring broken teeth, everybody really should do their best to prevent their teeth from breaking or cracking. We are not just talking about wearing a face mask when playing baseball. Dr. Nicholas, Owner of Nicholas Dental Care has seen it all, and with that, he has some tips to prevent this oral problem from happening.

  • Load up on calcium to strengthen your teeth. Drink milk and consume dairy for a healthy dose of calcium each day.
  • Use fluoride toothpastes. Fluoride can strengthen teeth and make them less prone to breaking or cracking.
  • Avoid eating or breaking down ice with your teeth. Not only does the cold temperature cause sensitivity, but ice is actually very hard, especially if it’s a thick cube.
  • Avoid chewing on other hard objects like pencils or pens, and be careful of un-popped popcorn kernels. It’s going to be a battle over which is stronger — your teeth or these things — and your teeth may just not be strong enough against these items.
  • Don’t clench or grind your teeth. You may not notice the damage right away, but if you constantly grind your teeth, they’ll wear away and change shape. If you’re unaware that you’re doing it, such as when you’re sleeping, dentists advise exercising during the day or wearing a mouth guard as protection.
  • Lastly, if you’re heavily into sports, wear a mouth guard or protective mask to prevent accidental strong contact with other players that can damage teeth.

If you have a newly chipped tooth that is causing you pain or one you have a cracked tooth that you have been putting off getting repaired for a while, Dr. Nicholas is the Burtonsville MD. Dentist to help you repair your tooth.

How Long Do Root Canals Take

Root Canal

What You Should Know About Root Canals

Do you need to have a root canal performed on one or more of your teeth? If this is your first time, then you probably don’t know what to expect. Here are some of the basic things you need to know about getting a root canal done.

Can a Root Canal be Completed in One Visit?

To begin with, you should know that a root canal treatment can be completed in just one visit, but there is also the more traditional two (or more)-visit approach. With more than one visit, the first appointment is usually dedicated to the task of cleaning and shaping the tooth’s root canal system. About a week later, the second appointment takes place and is used to fill and seal the tooth. Since the ‘90s, however, the single visit treatment has gained not only widespread acceptance, but popularity as well, as soon as people realized that this approach does not compromise treatment quality.

Can we say that one approach is better than the other? Both have their advantages, of course. It’s really a matter of choosing the most suitable option for each case. For instance, if the tooth still harbors some live pulp, then a single appointment is probably the preferred treatment choice. In cases wherein the entire root canal harbors bacteria, multiple appointments are probably necessary. The same is true for complex cases or cases wherein the patient is suffering from pain, swelling, or tenderness.

One of the things you’re probably eager to find out is the length of time an appointment lasts. How long do root canals take? Over the past decades, experts have discovered new techniques while dental equipment manufacturers have introduced new devices and machines that improved the efficiency of the root canal procedure. This is definitely the reason why single-visit treatment is now possible.

How Much Time Does a Root Canal Take?

A good estimate of any single root canal appointment is about 30 minutes to an hour, with the possibility of it extending for about 30 minutes more. If you can’t commit to a long session for whatever reason (schedule issues, jaw joint difficulties, problems with sitting still for extended periods of time, etc.), you have to inform your dentist that the treatment has to be broken down into multiple visits. On the other hand, if you really have a strong preference for fewer visits, then you need to signify this to your dentist as well.

So, how long do root canals take? You can assume at least 30 minutes. At the end of the day, the duration really depends on the condition of your tooth and how much time you’re willing to commit to a single visit.

Gum Disease | Why Should I Worry?

Gum disease

Should I Concerned About Periodontal or Gum Disease?

Having healthy gums is as important as having a set of strong and white teeth. When some people think having excellent oral health means they focus most of their attention on their teeth. However, gums play a crucial role, not only in your oral health but also in one’s overall physical health. 

Gum disease or Periodontal disease is something that can go undetected if you are not seeing the Dentist regularly. Were going to share early gum disease detection and preventative measures you can take to prevent it.

Why is having healthy gums important?

Think of your gums as the covering for the structure beneath the teeth. It provides a tight seal around the bones and the teeth against bacteria. If you do not take good care of your gums, plaque can form on the surface of the teeth. Now, when plaque is not removed, it releases toxins that can cause inflammation. This condition is called gingivitis.

Left unchecked, a case of gingivitis can lead to a worse problem known as periodontal disease, or gum disease. Gum disease is a type of infection that can destroy the gums and the underlying bone structure of the teeth.

If you fail to practice good oral hygiene and skip your visits to the dentist, the buildup of plaque can spread beneath the gum line and beyond areas which brushing cannot reach. If this continues, the plaque will cause the gums to become inflamed and detach from the tooth. This leads to the creation of gaps or pockets between the gums and teeth which, in turn, worsens the buildup of plaque.

Apart from this, periodontal disease can increase the risk of a person contracting cardiovascular disease and respiratory infections. This gum disease has also been associated with other medical issues, including strokes, premature births and diabetes.

How do you know if you are at risk for gum disease?

Although this gum disease is primarily caused by bacteria found in plaque, there are some people who are highly vulnerable to contracting the disease.

These include: smokers; patients with crowded or misaligned teeth; people who have braces or have undergone bridgework; patients who suffer from bruxism; people with poor nutrition; patients suffering from diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and HIV infection; patients taking medicines that can dry the mouth or cause gum enlargement, and people with fluctuating hormones.

The disease is also prevalent in people who are under a lot of stress. For some patients, the problem often lies in their genes.

What can you do to keep gum disease disease at bay?

Your best defense against gum disease (and other oral health problems) is practicing good oral hygiene.

Make it a habit to brush and floss your teeth correctly and consistently. Both can help prevent the buildup of plaque. However, doing both is still not enough. You still need to visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist, through professional cleaning, can remove stubborn plaque found in areas that are hard to reach through brushing or flossing alone.