Blog

Lutherville & Havre de Grace Oral Surgeon

Lutherville MD Dentist | Signs Jaw Misalignment Is Causing You Pain

Our mouths, jaws, and gums are a delicate ecosystem. While good oral health can help us lead happier, less stressful lives, complications in our mouths can bring physical, psychological, and financial burdens. While straightforward dental issues like tooth decay can be easy to recognize—localized sensitivity around a specific tooth is a telltale sign—other conditions are less obvious. When severe, jaw misalignment can be a serious concern that requires dental intervention. Here are some of the most prevalent signs you should consult your dentist for potential jaw misalignment.

Pain in the Temple

A serious misalignment of the jaw will often be felt around the jaw joint. Chronic pain in the jaw joint is known as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome. The jaw joint is located in the back of the mouth, near your neck. If you feel pressure or soreness behind your temples, it could be a sign of jaw misalignment or TMJ.

Jaw Tightness

If your jaw constantly feels tight, and you struggle to open and close it regularly, jaw misalignment could be the culprit. Jaw misalignment is often related to TMJ, which is frequently implicated in cases of jaw tightness.

Cheek Pain

Though the primary structural issue causing jaw misalignment often originate in the jaw joint, the pain can radiate outward. It’s not uncommon for people with jaw misalignment to feel soreness and tenderness in their cheek muscles.

Trouble Eating

Eating requires us to use our jaws more than any other activity. When we eat, our upper and lower sets of teeth are in constant movement. This puts a lot of pressure on our jaw joint. In fact, it’s the fulcrum of the entire act of eating. If you have trouble with the constant opening and closing of the jaw required during meals, you could be dealing with jaw misalignment.

Because of the stress the act puts on the jaw joint, eating can cause individuals with jaw misalignment or TMJ to experience significant, even debilitating pain. This is one of the most serious symptoms of jaw misalignment. Those who find themselves in pain every time they sit down to eat should reach out to our office right away. We can realign your jaw and help relieve your pain. Schedule an appointment today.

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | What to Do Before Your Dental Implant Surgery

Dental implant surgery is a fantastic solution for patients who are missing teeth and can provide results that look and feel completely natural. While many people consider the surgical recovery process most important, what you do before your surgery is just as important to ensuring you heal quickly and properly. Follow these pre-op tips and help make your surgery as smooth as possible.

Avoid Alcohol and Tobacco Products

We know this may be difficult for some of our patients, but alcohol and tobacco products will have a negative effect on your  healing process. To ensure that you heal fully and properly, you should avoid these products for a few weeks both before and after your surgery.

Maintain Your Oral Hygiene

Prior to your surgery, make sure you brush and floss like you normally would. Ensuring good oral health keeps oral bacteria under control. This prevents complications such as infection from occuring during the surgery.

Take Care of Business

You want to make sure that your recovery period is filled with rest and healing. To help make this possible, you’ll have to make like a boy scout and prepare yourself. In the time leading up to your surgery we recommend that you

  • Pick up your medications
  • Purchase anything you might need, such as soft foods or dental products
  • Clean up around your home

Clean and Comfortable 

Make sure you get a good night’s sleep before your surgery so you can be as rested and relaxed as possible. We also recommend wearing loose, soft clothing to make sure your surgery is as comfortable as possible.

Talk to Your Doctor

If you want to learn more about dental implants, and whether or not they could be right for you, contact your doctor today. We’ll help you make smart decisions regarding your oral surgery and you dental health options.

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | Perfect Post-Op Foods to Accelerate Your Healing

When you’re recovering from oral surgery, one of the hardest parts can be deciding what to eat. How can you get enough nutrients without causing further damage to your mouth as you try to heal? Below we’ve listed out some great options for you that may also help speed your recovery process, having you back to chomping through your favorite foods in no time.

Greek Yogurt:

Greek yogurt has an incredible amount of health benefits, whether you’re recovering from oral surgery or not. Healthy, and high in protein, this smooth and creamy superfood is also a great source of vitamins and minerals such as calcium and zinc. Several studies have linked a low-protein diet to a slower recovery process meaning that you need as much of it as you can get. Since a steak isn’t a viable option for your recovering mouth, this is a great option. Additionally, studies done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) have shown that proper zinc intake may promote the healing process.

Mashed Potatoes:

This versatile veggie is a fantastic source of nutrients. Potatoes are packed with calories and nutrients like vitamin C, more potassium than a banana, vitamin B6, fiber, magnesium and antioxidants. Potatoes have just about everything you need to speed your recovery time in a small package.

Mashed Pumpkin:

The mashed potato’s autumnal cousin, mashed pumpkin is rich in vitamins A, C, and E, and is a great source of potassium. These vitamins help keep your immune system running at full speed and can help your body recover from a tooth removal. 

Omega- 3’s

 Omega-3’s have been shown to potentially aid in the healing process as well by helping to reduce inflammation. With the protein of greek yogurt and the added benefit of omega-3 fats, scrambled eggs are an easily chewable option for you. Another great source of omega-3 fatty acids is salmon. Salmon is one of the healthiest fish you can eat. It’s also easy to chew and can be added to your diet later in your recovery period.

Avocado

Avocados are popular for a reason. They are an incredible source of vitamin K, vitamin D and potassium. In another fascinating study done by NCBI, avocados were shown to speed up the healing process in animals.

If you would like more ideas of what you can eat after your surgery, or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our office today.  

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | Don’t Underestimate the Importance of Correcting Your Overbite

More than just a matter of physical appearance, an overbite can quickly become a major hindrance to your overall health if left untreated. While a slight overbite of a few millimeters is common, more serious issues should be discussed with your doctor as soon as possible. As time goes on, issues with you bite can worsen dramatically.

What is An Overbite?

Malocclusion, or deep overbite, often occurs when a patient has a recessive chin. This feature can affect the shape of the face, making it appear shorter, rounder and older. Beyond physical features, patients with malocclusion usually suffer from headaches and TMJ pain. They are also more likely to clench their jaw and grind their teeth.

Why it’s So Important

As patients continue to clench and grind, the overbite can become more pronounced, leading to problems with speech and difficulty maintaining proper oral health. Eventually, as oral hygiene decreases, patients may begin to experience pain. As a result, your nutrition and health may suffer. Nobody enjoys a painful eating experience.

If you think you may have an overbite, or are already experiencing some of the symptoms listed above, you should immediately consult with your doctor to see which solutions may be best for you. If advanced intervention is required, your general doctor may refer you to an oral surgeon. Contact us to discuss overbite surgery and schedule an exam.

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | What is Hemisection Dental Surgery?

Hemisection is a type of dental or endodontic surgery in which half of an injured or infected molar is removed. This type of treatment is only used for molars, due to their larger size and dual-root structure that provides added strength and stability. A hemisection may be recommended in certain cases to allow the healthy portion of the affected tooth to be preserved, rather than extracting the full molar.

When might a hemisection be recommended?

Our dentist may recommend a hemisection for you if you experience any of these:

  • Vertical fracture, due to trauma or decay
  • Vertical bone loss near the molar
  • Damage to pulp chamber
  • Infection of tooth that has had root canal treatment
  • Gum disease affecting the area between the molar’s two roots

How is a hemisection performed?

Our doctor will gently expose the structure beneath your molar to confirm that one root is healthy enough to be preserved. The infected or injured root is removed and the gap is cleansed and filled. A crown will be fabricated and placed to strengthen the tooth after treatment.

Hemisection provides an effective option to save a molar that may otherwise require full extraction. If you have a molar that may be injured or infected, contact our team as soon as possible for an evaluation.

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | How to Prevent Dry Socket

Alveolar osteitis, more commonly known as dry socket, is a temporary complication that can occur following a tooth extraction. Fortunately, it is rare, preventable, and short-lived. Here are some tips to help avoid dry socket after oral surgery and ensure a quick and comfortable recovery.

What is Dry Socket?

When your tooth is extracted, a blood clot forms in the space left behind. This clot helps to block the underlying bone, gum tissue, and nerves from bacterial infection or food debris while the extraction site heals. In rare cases, the clot can be dislodged or not form correctly, which can leave the site exposed. This is dry socket.

The most common sign of dry socket is a throbbing, deep-set discomfort from within the extraction area. A foul smell may emanate, causing bad breath as well as an unappealing taste in your mouth. If this occurs, contact our office right away.

Risk Factors and Prevention

Developing dry socket is rare, but certain factors can put you at increased risk. Tobacco use, oral contraceptives, poor oral hygiene, or gum infection around the extraction site can increase your chances. To prevent dry socket, avoid using straws, brushing the extraction area, or rinsing your mouth vigorously during healing. Follow your post-treatment instructions and contact our office if you have questions.

Treatment and Recovery

If you do develop dry socket, we will provide quick, effective treatment. Our team will flush the area to remove any debris, and pack the extraction site with gauze or other dressing. Medication may be prescribed to help reduce discomfort. It is important to attend follow-up appointments to ensure your timely recovery.

Dry socket is rare, and is temporary and treatable when it does occur. Our experienced team will guide you throughout your recovery. For more information on post-extraction care, contact our office.

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | Apicoectomy – What is it and Why is it Needed?

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | Apicoectomy - What is it and Why is it Needed?

If you have ever needed root canal therapy, you may know that an Endodontist is a dentist who specializes in treatment of the tooth root. However, there are some cases where traditional root canal therapy will not be possible or will not yield the best solution for your infection. In these cases, your dentist may refer you to our office for an apicoectomy. Here’s what you need to know:

What it is

An apicoectomy is a minor treatment that involves removing the infected tip of a tooth root, then sealing the interior of the tooth to prevent further infection. 

Why It Is Done

In most cases, when pulp in the root of a tooth becomes infected, root canal therapy is performed. This removes the infection and prevents it from spreading further. In traditional root canal therapy, the full pulp is removed from the tooth, along with any infected tissue. When this is not possible or previous root canal therapy has failed, an apicoectomy is recommended.

An apicoectomy is generally performed by a certified Endodontist, like our doctor. You will receive local anesthetic to ensure your comfort throughout your treatment. We will make a small incision in the gum tissue. The inflamed root tip is then removed and sealed to prevent the infection from spreading. You should expect this treatment to take 30 to 90 minutes. In most cases, an apicoectomy on a front tooth takes less time than one on a lower molar.

What to expect afterwards

Like any oral surgery, some discomfort can occur for the first few days following the procedure. When brushing your teeth, you will want to be gentle around the area. Any further discomfort can usually be mitigated with over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen. We may prescribe medicine, if needed, to alleviate any discomfort that cannot be managed by over-the-counter medications. Please use medications only as directed by our doctor.

Unlike traditional root canal therapy, you may not need to have a dental crown placed following an apicoectomy.

Acting on root issues as soon as they are detected is your best defense against infection and tooth loss. For more tips on keeping teeth healthy or for questions about apicoectomies, contact our office.

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | Filling in the Gaps: Your Options for Missing Teeth

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | Filling in the Gaps: Your Options for Missing Teeth

Are you embarrassed to show your smile because of missing teeth? For many people, missing teeth can create a feeling of diminished self-confidence. Modern dentistry can not only replace the gaps in your smile, our team can also create long-term replacements that look and feel just like your natural teeth. You have options. Here are a few of the most common tooth replacement solutions.

Dentures

Dentures are a solution for those who have lost many or all their teeth. They create a realistic, aesthetically pleasing smile. They are ideal for patients that are missing multiple teeth on either the top or bottom. Our team will start by taking an impression of your mouth. We will then send the impression to a lab for a customized set of dentures to be created. Once your dentures are ready, we will ensure a proper fit and make any necessary adjustments. Dentures should be cleaned regularly with a non-abrasive cleanser. Our team will provide you with all the information you need to take care of your dentures.

Bridges

You may have heard of dental bridges referred to as partial dentures. Dental bridges are a replacement solution for one or more missing teeth. They help prevent your existing teeth from shifting into the empty gaps of your missing teeth. Bridges utilize your surrounding teeth as an anchor for your replacements. Our team can match the bridge to look like your natural teeth; no one will even notice the difference.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are a long-lasting tooth replacement option. Unlike dentures, which may require replacement, dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. Our team will ensure your gum tissue is healthy enough with adequate bone support to anchor the implant. For some patients, additional preparations may be necessary such as a bone graft to guarantee your implant has a strong, stable foundation.

The gaps in your smile can be filled. Our team can help you decide on a tooth replacement solution based on your individual needs. It is important to fill the gaps of missing teeth to prevent deterioration to your gums and the shifting of teeth into these empty spaces. Additionally, tooth replacement solutions such as dentures, bridges, or implants can help improve your speech and comfort.

If you are missing teeth, we invite you to schedule a consultation with our team.

Lutherville MD Oral Surgeon | Gaining Wisdom on Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the last new teeth that will enter your mouth. Most patients have some form of complications resulting from their wisdom teeth. Did you know that your wisdom teeth can impact your overall health? Here’s what you need to be aware of regarding your wisdom teeth.

The Basics

Typically, your wisdom teeth will come in between the ages of 17 and 25. According to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons (AAOMS), as many as 90% of patients have an impacted wisdom tooth. An Impacted tooth is unable to properly grow through your gums because of a lack of space.

What This Means for You

An impacted wisdom tooth is something you should talk to our doctor about. Impacted teeth can cause infection and damage to surrounding teeth. It is extremely important these issues are addressed early on. Your wisdom teeth are hard to clean in the back of your mouth. An infected tooth not receiving the proper care can be a breeding ground for bacteria leading to infection and gum disease.

Wisdom Teeth & Your Overall Health

An infection of your wisdom teeth can lead to oral diseases, but it can also lead to further, more serious complications as well. THE AAOMS explains that oral bacteria that gets into your bloodstream can lead to heart, kidney, and other organ infections. That’s right, your teeth can impact your overall health!

The Importance of Examinations

You might not notice any pain or discomfort around your wisdom teeth, but that does not necessarily mean they are healthy. Even wisdom teeth that fit properly can be the target of a future infection. It is essential to keep up with regular examinations so that our trained, experienced team can take a close look at your wisdom teeth.

What You Can Do

We cannot overstate the importance of regular oral examinations. Our doctor can help assess your wisdom teeth and whether they will need to be removed. Wisdom teeth can have a significant impact on your oral health and your overall health, so we recommend staying vigilant with your daily oral hygiene routine.

For more questions about wisdom teeth or to schedule your examination, please contact our office.

Havre de Grace MD Dentist | To Floss or Not to Floss?

By now, you have likely seen news reports questioning whether flossing is necessary for your oral health. 

We want to answer your question right away with an absolute YESCleaning between your teeth is an essential part of caring for your teeth and gums. 

Whether you use traditional string dental floss, a water flosser, an interdental (between teeth) brush, or other form of interdental cleaning, it is important that you clean between your teeth correctly and on a daily basis. 

Unfortunately, in the quest for catchy headlines, many news agencies have been providing a great deal of incomplete and inaccurate information. 

Here’s the truth: Plaque and bacteria can be prevented from building up between teeth when flossing is done correctly on a daily basis. 

Why does that matter? Build-up of plaque and bacteria between teeth is one of the leading causes of periodontal disease, a condition which not only affects your mouth, teeth, and gums, but has been linked to complications with diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, and many other systemic health issues. 

The next time you visit our office, ask your hygienist to show you the most effective way to clean between your teeth. For more information on flossing and interdental cleaning or to schedule an appointment, please contact us