Thursday Thought: Oral Cancer Screening

Oral Cancer Screening

oral cancer annapolis md treatment Have you ever wondered why, during your dental visit, the hygienist or dentist move your tongue to the side and look under your tongue? Do they feel the tissues inside your mouth? The reason is that during your regular dental visit, they perform an oral cancer screening. This is completed to help identify any signs of oral cancer early on when the chances of a cure are favorable.

The American Dental Association says that at least 60% of people in the United States see a dentist yearly. By doing these regular screenings, there are hundreds of opportunities to help catch early stages of oral cancer.

It is important to be aware of some factors that can increase the risk of oral cancer. They are:

  • Tobacco use. This includes cigarettes, cigars, chewing tobacco, snuff, etc.
  • Substantial Alcohol use;
  • History of oral cancer; and
  • History of exposure to the sun, which can increase the risk of oral cancer involving the lips.

If your hygienist or dentist discover any suspicious sites in your mouth, depending on the severity or type of finding, they may request a follow-up visit with you in a couple of weeks to see if the area is still present or if it has changed. They might also refer you directly to an oral surgeon to remove a small sample of the site and have it sent to a laboratory for testing.

There are certain signs/symptoms to be aware of that can indicate signs of oral cancer. These can include:

  • A sore that does not go away;
  • Red or white patches inside your mouth;
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness in your mouth or around your lips;
  • A lump, rough spot, or small worn down area;
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue;
  • A change in the way your teeth feel against each other when you close your mouth; and
  • Feeling like something is caught up in the throat, numbness, or changes in your voice.

If you have any of the following, or notice anything that does not feel or look “normal” to you, call your dental office for an examination as soon as possible.

Posted in: bleeding gums, general dentistry, oral cancer, oral cancer screening severna park, oral cancer symptoms, Oral Health

5 Ways to Treat a Chipped Tooth

Damaged Teeth Solutions Severna Park MDAre you dealing with the effects of a broken or chipped tooth? It happens to the best of us! Thanks to modern dental technology, there are a variety of ways to treat a broken tooth. Dr. Lynn Morgan in Severna Park, MD has years of experience performing different types of cosmetic dental procedures and can offer you a customized treatment plan to fit your needs.

How to Fix a Chipped Tooth

Dental Crowns

Crowns are caps that are placed on a tooth to seal it against bacteria and future decay while restoring the tooth’s appearance and function. Crowns are one of the most common restorative dental treatments recommended by dentists because of their simplicity and effectiveness.

Dental Implants

While the goal in dentistry is to save the natural teeth, sometimes a crack leading all the way down to the gumline requires extraction of the affected tooth. In this case, you don’t have to deal with a gap in your teeth forever. Dental implants are artificial teeth that are fitted next to and that look like your natural teeth.

Porcelain Dental Veneers

Porcelain veneers are thin, biocompatible porcelain covers that are placed on top of teeth to restore their appearance. They provide very natural results and last up to 30 years with proper care, making them a reliable, effective way to restore the appearance of a cracked or chipped tooth.

Composite Bonding

Another way to restore a chipped or broken tooth is to use composite bonding. It’s a way to repair discolored and decayed teeth, and is a popular treatment that can last for up to 10 years. The result is a natural-looking smile that doesn’t require anesthesia or extended down time following the procedure.

Root Canal

A root canal treatment involves your dentist removing the decayed portion of the tooth and sealing it with a crown. Many broken teeth are susceptible to decay, so most teeth that are chipped are broken require some kind of treatment such as a root canal. Thanks to modern technology, root canals feel more like having a cavity filled.

You don’t have to live with a chipped, broken, or incomplete smile. To find the treatment plan that is right for you, schedule a consultation with Dr. Morgan.

Posted in: cosmetic dentistry annapolis

What Is Periodontal Disease?

What Is Periodontal Disease?

The U.S. National Institute of Health has found that half of Americans over the age of 30 have bleeding gums. Interestingly enough, many people think it is normal to have bleeding gums. We have to think of our teeth and gums, as we do with any other part of our bodies. If our hands, feet or ears were bleeding, we would be concerned. The same holds true for our teeth and gums.

Bleeding gums are early signs that your gums are infected with bacteria. If you choose to ignore this and not do anything, this can spread and destroy the gums ligaments and bone that surrounds our teeth. This can lead to loose teeth and ultimately, the loss of your teeth.
Periodontal disease is caused by various types of bacteria. Believe it or not, it’s our body’s response to the bacteria that causes the problem. In trying to get rid of the bacteria, our immune system releases a substance that causes the swelling. This in turn, causes damage to the ligaments, gums and bone around our teeth. Visiting your dentist regularly and practicing good oral hygiene can help prevent periodontal disease.

It is plaque building on our teeth that allows bacteria to spread under the gum line. It goes to an area where your tooth brush cannot reach and without removal, this will multiply causing serious problems. Once the gums swell, there is a space that is formed between the teeth and the gums. This pocket becomes a great area for bacteria/plaque to accumulate without being bothered. Untreated, damage spreads to the area surrounding the tooth, causing destruction to these areas.

Different signs of periodontal disease include:

  1. Gum Recession;
  2. Bad Bread;
  3. Sores inside your mouth;
  4. Loose teeth;
  5. Pain when chewing; and
  6. Pockets that help bacteria hide.

Periodontal Disease progression annapolis md

Unfortunately, once you have periodontal disease there is no cure for it and it is a chronic condition. However, there are different types of treatment that can help maintain and prevent further damage. These include:

  1. Periodontal scaling and root planning. This is a procedure where your hygienist will scrape off the plaque/tartar off your teeth and below the gum line. They will also smooth out the rough spots on the root of your teeth, which makes it more difficult for bacteria to collect. Sometimes this can cause some discomfort, but the area can be numbed to prevent any discomfort.
  2. Osseous Surgery. If after scaling and root planning, the pocketing persists, then osseous surgery may be recommended. This surgery is typically performed by a periodontitis. During this procedure, plaque/tartar are removed and the pockets are then stitched closed. This allows the gums to hug the teeth again, removing the pocket.
  3. Sometimes tissue and bone can be destroyed and need to be rebuilt. This is where your dentist may recommend a graft surgery. This replaces the bone and/or the tissue that has been destroyed.
  4. After active periodontal treatment, you will then see your dentist every 3-4 months for a periodontal maintenance visit. This type of cleaning is not to be confused, nor is it the same as a regular prophy visit. Patients with a periodontal disease history need deeper cleaningsbecause pockets have formed.

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to visit your dentist regularly and complete all needed dental treatment. For more information regarding periodontal disease, please visit the American Academy of Periodontology’s website – https://www.perio.org.

Posted in: bleeding gums, dental cleaning severna park area

Thursday Thought: They Why and How of Implants

They Why and How of Implants

dental implants tooth replacementOne of the biggest goals in the dental community is to save natural teeth. Making sure we have regular checkups and address any issues that may be going on is one way to prevent tooth damage and/or loss. However, there are situations in which a natural tooth is lost and it is one of the things that we dread the most. Cavities cause bacteria which eat away at the enamel of our teeth. This causes decay and can lead to our gums becoming inflamed, which in turn can cause our teeth to become loose and fall out. Gum disease is a common cause of tooth loss.When we do not treat gum disease, it can cause the loss of the tissue which causes teeth to become loose, leading them to fall out. Illegal drugs can also cause severe tooth decay, specifically methamphetamines. Trauma to the mouth can cause you to lose a tooth, especially amongst athletes. Those are just a few of many other reasons we lose teeth.

When these situations occur, replacing a lost tooth with a dental implant is one of the most ideal solutions. Although no one can guarantee how long an implant will last, it is known that with proper care, implants can last forever. However, other alternatives typically last 5-15 years before they need to be replaced. The implant procedure has become easier through the years and you can typically replace a lost tooth, and have it restored within a year.

The placing of implants is normally performed in the dental office and is an outpatient procedure. The tooth is removed and if necessary, some bone may be added to the site to aid in the integration of the implant. This area then needs anywhere from 3-6 months of healing and then your dentist can place the implant. Implant surgery can take anywhere from 1-2 hours. Once the area is anesthetized; a small incision is and a small hole is drilled into the bone where the implant is then placed. The implant site then heals for 4-6 months and once complete integration is confirmed, you can then have the implant restored in approximately two weeks with a crown and can continue eating normally, as you would if it were a normal tooth.

If you are considering replacing a tooth with a dental implant or have any questions or concerns, please contact our office for a consultation and our doctors will be happy to discuss this option and answer any questions.

Posted in: Comprehensive Dental Care, dental implant, dental implants severna park, missing teeth, missing tooth

Thursday Thought Prevention Is Key

It is very important to call for a dental appointment if you are experiencing the following:

  1. Mouth Sores. There are many causes for mouth sores. It can indicate an infection, irritation from a broken tooth or filling, or a symptom of a disorder.
  2. Jaw Pain. Teeth grinding or clenching can lead to broken teeth, pain and bite problems.
  3. Swollen/Red gums. Redness/swelling could indicate an infection or other type of gum disease.
  4. Tooth sensitivity/discomfort
  5. Broken Teeth
  6. Dry Mouth
  7. Bleeding after brushing or flossing. This could be a sign of poor dental hygiene. Gums bleed when there is a buildup of plaque, which contains bacteria that cover your teeth and gums. If you are not brushing well, the bacteria can cause tooth decay or gum disease.
  8. Bad breath. Infections in your mouth can cause bad breath. However, it could also be the result of a sinus condition, diabetes, or liver disease (just to name a few).
  9. Bad taste in your mouth. Decay and infection can cause a bad taste in your mouth.
  10. Receding gums. Gums recede for different reasons and in some cases can be prevented. Plaque buildup can cause receding gums, which is why it is important to have good oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure….” Benjamin Franklin

Posted in: Family Dentistry

Root Canals Demystified

Oral cancer awareness month, Severna Park, MDEveryone knows root canals as one of the most-dreaded dental procedures. But are they really that bad? Dr. Lynn Morgan in Severna Park MD has many years of experience performing root canal procedures in her comfortable office and wants you to know that root canals actually provide relief from pain and discomfort from an infected tooth.  Put simply: Needing a root canal and not having one is more painful than having one.

What is a Root Canal?

The root canal therapy, usually referred to as simply a “root canal,” is performed by your dentist when the pulp, the tissues inside your teeth, becomes infected. This most often happens as a result of a deep cavity or a chip or crack in enamel of the tooth. This infection can spread through the tooth to the root canals of the teeth (hence the procedure’s name) and become an abscess, which is a serious infection that needs to be treated as soon as possible.

Do I Need a Root Canal?

Not all dental pain is caused by an infected tooth, but there are some key indicators that might be a sign that you need to investigate it. For example, if a tooth or teeth (sometimes it can be hard to pinpoint which teeths’ roots are afflicted) are very sensitive to temperature, touch, or chewing and the gums surrounding it are inflamed and sensitive. Many dentists opt for root canal procedures to clear infections and save the tooth as their success rate is 95%.

The Root Canal Procedure

First, your dentist will sanitize and numb the area for your comfort and safety. Then, he or she will use a drill down into the top of the tooth to access the tissues inside and remove the infected pulp. Once we reach adulthood, our teeth don’t require the pulp as the tooth will still receive nutrients from surrounding tissues.

Once the pulp has been removed, a biocompatible material will be used to temporarily fill the now-empty space inside the tooth. A permanent crown is created in a dental laboratory, carefully crafted to look and feel like a real tooth, but Dr. Morgan will place a temporary crown until the permanent one arrives.

Finally, the permanent crown will be placed over the tooth, which will seal up the tooth from bacteria and air and prevent further damage and sensitivity. In only a few days, you’ll be able to use the tooth normally and you won’t even notice the difference between it and your natural teeth.

Root Canal Tips

Having a root canal procedure is only about as painful as having a filling placed and thanks to modern medicine, there’s a much lower risk of the infection spreading from the site. Most patients notice an improvement as soon as the infection is cleared out of the tooth.

So while root canals may sound scary, they are actually a helpful dental procedure designed to save your teeth. Instead of having to completely remove an infected tooth, root canals allow dentists to simply remove the infected tissue, reinforce the weakened tooth and leave the tooth intact.

You can prevent needing a root canal by brushing twice daily, flossing at least once a day, and scheduling regular exams with Dr. Morgan. Keep an eye on your smile and let her know of any changes, especially any new chips or cracks, to help keep your smile healthy and strong.

Posted in: Severna Park dentist, tooth decay

Tips for Brushing Your Teeth

BRUSHING YOUR TEETH: Improve your Technique

Following the below tips can help you maintain a healthy and beautiful smile.

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day. Did you know that brushing three times a day is ideal? Brush once after every meal, but wait an hour after the meal, as brushing too soon may cause damage to the enamel on your teeth.
  • Thoroughly brush your teeth for 3 minutes and don’t forget to floss daily.
  • When you brush along your gum line, angle your toothbrush toward your gums.
  • Do not be too rough. You can damage your gums.
  • The toothpaste you choose is important. Use a fluoride toothpaste, because it helps combat tooth decay.
  • Remember, our teeth have many surfaces. Don’t just brush the front. Make sure to clean every surface that surrounds your teeth.
  • Do not stop at your teeth. Make sure to brush your tongue, as it collects bacteria that can cause bad breath.
  • Do not forget to rinse your toothbrush after you use it.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months.
  • Drink plenty of water and limit the in-between meal snacks.
  • See your dentist regularly.

Posted in: cavities severna park, dental insurance, Family Dentistry, gingivitis, gum disease, halitosis, Oral Health, oral hygiene, pediatric dentistry

THE DENTAL DOS AND DON’TS OF ORAL SURGERY

THE DENTAL DOS AND DON’TS OF ORAL SURGERY

After completing oral surgery, you will always be given a set of instructions to follow to help in a speedy and successful recovery. Here are some things to always keep in mind.

  • There are many benefits associated with exercise. They can range from losing weight,
    maintaining weight and lowering the risk of developing certain diseases (diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.). However, after oral surgery, it is always recommended to take a break from physical activity for 2-3 days after surgery.
  • While oral hygiene should always be a priority, it is important not to rinse vigorously after
    surgery and instead lightly spitting. You should avoid mouthwashes and use a saline or salt water solution to rinse.
  • Stop smoking for at least 24 hours after surgery. Smoking delays the healing process and may cause a dry socket, which is extremely painful.
  • Swelling is normally expected and can be common around the mouth, cheek and sides of the face. Do use ice for the first 12 hours after surgery.
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth thoroughly, as best you can, avoiding the area of the
    mouth involved in surgery.
  • Do follow instructions on dosage and taking of any prescriptions/medications given to you by your dentist.

Always remember to call your dental office with any questions or concerns you may have.

Posted in: children's dentist severna park, cosmetic dentistry annapolis, dental cleaning severna park area

Thursday Thought: Oral Piercings

How can oral piercings affect your dental health?


Oral Piercings have increased in popularity among all age groups, especially teens and women. As with anything new we are interested in proceeding with, it is important to consider all risks associated with lip, tongue or any type of piercing involving the mouth. Piercings in the mouth can affect your speech. It can also cause the following:

  • Infection and pain. Because the environment of your mouth is almost always moist, it is a breeding ground for large amounts of bacteria. Infections can quickly occur and without treatment, can become life threatening.
  • Damage to your Teeth. Specifically, with tongue piercing, it is very common to play or bite the jewelry/metal in your mouth. This can lead to inuring your gums, cracking
    teeth and recession. Crowns on teeth can also be damaged by the metal hitting them consistently.
  • Damage to your Nerve. After a piercing, you could experience numbing of your tongue. This is caused by the piercing and is usually temporary. However, this damage can also be permanent and could affect your sense of taste and the movement of your mouth and tongue.
  • Drooling. Tongue piercings increase saliva production.
  • Diseases. Oral piercings can lead to transmission of Hepatitis B, C, D and G.

Recession is one of the most common damages caused to gums because of tonguepiercings. Recession is when the gums recede from the teeth, exposing the roots of the teeth. Catching recession as early as possible is key to the treatment. If you do need treatment, we will refer you to a periodontist who is a gum specialist and they can decide the best treatment.

If you have a piercing and develop any sign of infection, damage to teeth or gums, or have any other concerns, please contact your dentist immediately. The best way to prevent damaging your oral health is to be gentle with anything that is associated with your mouth and teeth.

Posted in: Uncategorized

Thursday Thought: Dealing with Dental Anxiety

Are You Afraid of the Dentist?

Believe it or not, many people are often nervous about going to the dentist. They worry about if it will hurt, the cost, will there be down time. However, there are many people with a true fear of the dentist who find it extremely difficult to even make an appointment, let alone keep it. Between 9%-20% of people avoid going to see their dentist because of anxiety and people with dental phobia will do anything possible to avoid going to the dentist.

 

While it’s easy to think that dental anxiety and dental phobia are the same, there are some differences. The patient with dental anxiety is uneasy and nervous, but they will still go see the dentist while worry before and during their visit. The patient with phobia will be absolutely terrified about a dental visit and most likely will not go see their dentist. There are many different reactions experienced by patients with both anxiety and phobias when thinking about their dentist. These might be:

 

  • Trouble breathing
  • Crying
  • Tense
  • Insomnia/Restlessness
  • Nauseousness
  • Headaches

 

People tend to fear pain during their visit. This is the most common fear in adults. A lot of this fear stems from experiences when they were children, before there was pain-free dentistry. People also fear embarrassment as to the condition of their teeth. Some patients prefer not to have anyone looking at their teeth. We also have a fear of needles. Now it’s important to note that fear of needles not only is a dental fear, but many people avoid other medical procedures because of their fear of the needle. These are just a few fears that people have.

 

If you are experiencing anxiety and fear over a dental visit, talk to your dentist and dental staff about it. There are some things we can do to assist you in alleviating your fears. Don’t avoid going to the dentist. We can help make things easier for you and look forward to helping you attain dental health, function and a beautiful smile.

 

Posted in: dental anxiety, Dr. Morgan, family dentist severna park, general dentist severna park area, preventive dental care, restorative dentist severna park