Dentist - Towson
8600 LaSalle Rd. Suite 406 Severn Bldg.
Towson, MD 21286
410-321-0551

Posts for: March, 2012

By Dr. Mark Shulman
March 27, 2012
Category: Oral Health
FactsYouShouldKnowAboutToothWear

You may have noticed, as you get older, that the enamel of your teeth is looking worn in certain areas. Sometimes tooth wear takes the form of a minor chipping or fracturing at the incisal (cutting) edges of the teeth, or a loss of tooth material from the area near the gum line. In more severe cases, worn teeth look quite a bit smaller than they used to. Why does this happen?

Some wear with age is natural. But too much wear can interfere with your bite, expose more sensitive inner parts of the tooth to decay, and give you a more aged appearance.

There are things you can control that affect wear:

Your habits: Clenching or grinding habits, also called “bruxism,” is a major cause of tooth wear. The motion of teeth sliding over each other with forces that are beyond what's normal for biting or chewing causes a mechanical removal of tooth enamel. This can happen during sleep or periods of high stress. In either case there are therapies available, such as a thin, professionally made mouthguard that prevents your teeth from coming into contact with each other. Holding foreign objects, such as nails and bobby pins, between your teeth can also cause wear.

Your diet: Tooth enamel can be eroded (dissolved away) by acidic beverages, such as sodas, sports drinks and juices. Frequent snacking on sugary foods encourages the growth of oral bacteria that produce acid as a byproduct — also leaving your teeth vulnerable to tooth decay. Your saliva can buffer the effects of the acid in your mouth in about half an hour; if you consume these types of foods and beverages continually, there won't be enough time for this to work.

We can restore the appearance and function of worn teeth in a variety of ways. Porcelain crowns and veneers, for example, can re-establish the normal thickness and length of teeth while improving their color and giving you a more youthful appearance.

If you have any questions about tooth wear, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about tooth wear by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How And Why Teeth Wear.”


By Dr. Mark Shulman
March 19, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: snoring   sleep apnea  
HowYourDentistCanHelpYouGetaBetterNightsSleep

Scientists don't know much about sleep even though it has been extensively studied. We do know that several hours of deep, restful sleep per night are essential for a healthy life.

Many people remain tired and unrefreshed, even after a full night's sleep. About a third of them are affected by sleep related breathing disorders (SRBD). Dentists can play a significant role in helping patients overcome these disorders, which range from frequent snoring to severe Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). If you think you may have such a disorder, read on.

Under normal conditions, your upper airway is open, allowing air to flow from your nose, through your throat, and into your lungs. If you suffer from SRBD, you experience frequent reductions in the flow of air to your lungs during sleep. You may not be aware of it, but sometimes your breathing may even stop for brief periods. These reductions happen when your tongue and other soft tissues in the back of your throat collapse backwards and block your upper airway or windpipe. You may briefly awaken as many as 50 times per night because of these breathing lapses. These brief awakenings, called micro-arousals, keep you from reaching the deep stages of sleep your body needs.

The resulting reduced oxygen flow to your heart and to your brain can cause serious damage. You will also be tired during the day and experience a lack of energy, even if you sleep for seven or eight hours per night. This constant drowsiness puts you at greater risk for accidents.

Because dentists generally see their patients at six-month or other regular intervals, we are in a good position to screen and refer patients with suspected SRBD to physicians for diagnosis and treatment. Dentists can also treat SRBD in a number of ways.

  • One of these is Oral Appliance Therapy (OAT), in which a device that looks something like an orthodontic retainer holds your lower jaw in a forward position relative to your upper jaw, preventing your tongue and soft tissue from collapsing into your airway.
  • Another consists of breathing equipment called Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP). The CPAP is a mask connected to a machine that pushes air into your lungs.
  • Other treatments include oral surgery or orthodontia. The goal of these techniques is to increase the volume of air passing through your upper airway by pushing your tongue forward.

Medical insurance usually covers the cost of much of these treatments.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about sleep disorders and their treatments. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sleep Disorders and Dentistry.”


By Dr. Mark Shulman
March 11, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: floss  
FoolproofFlossing

Dental professionals agree that effective removal of plaque, the film of bacteria (also called a biofilm) that gathers on everyone's teeth, is the key to good dental health. Daily brushing and flossing are the usual recommendation for plaque removal. It is important to ask us about effective brushing and flossing. At your next appointment, ask us for a demonstration.

Effective brushing removes plaque from the easily accessed surfaces of the teeth. To remove plaque from between the teeth, you must floss.

Some people find it awkward to hold the floss with their fingers as they move it around their teeth. One technique for flossing, suggested by a dentist in Dear Doctor magazine, may make it easier than more traditional methods, although it does take a little practice.

Preparation
This method requires tearing off a 10 to 12 inch length of floss and tying it to form a circle big enough for your fingers, but not your thumbs, to fit within it. The circle should be knotted with a double knot.

To Clean Teeth and Gums
Keep the floss taut at all times, with about and inch or less between your thumb and index fingers for your upper teeth, or index fingers only for your lower teeth. Curve the floss around each tooth and gently move it up and down until you hear a squeaky clean sound. Extend the downward movement of the floss to just below the surface of the gum, without being too harsh and causing injury. As you move from tooth to tooth, move around the floss circle so that each tooth gets a clean section of floss.

Upper Teeth
Place all your fingers in the ring, with the floss over your left thumb and right index finger to floss your upper left teeth, and over your right thumb and left index finger to do the other side.

Lower Teeth
Use both index fingers to floss all your lower teeth.

You may only need to floss once a day before or after brushing to keep your gums health and ward off periodontal (gum) disease. Your dentist will guide you as to how often you may need to floss your teeth. Try this technique and see how it works for you.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about flossing techniques. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Flossing — A Different Approach.”


By Dr. Mark Shulman
March 03, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   tmd   tmj  
WhatCouldBeCausingYourTemporomandibularDisorderTMD

When treating Temporomandibular (jaw joint) Disorder (formerly known as Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, TMJ), we feel we have two equally important challenges facing us. First, we must start your treatment by relieving the symptoms of pain and discomfort. We typically accomplish this with heat, mild pain medications, a diet of soft foods, and some simple jaw exercises. Once we have begun to relieve your pain, our second critical objective is to identify and remedy what is causing the pain. It could be the result of an injury or trauma to the jaws and/or teeth or it could be due to a bite issue or a filling or crown that is too high and thus causing a misaligned bite. There are many other reasons, so it is first necessary to obtain a thorough medical history and conduct a comprehensive evaluation so that we can properly diagnose and treat the TMD condition and what is causing it.

Next to stress resulting in clenching and grinding habits, the four most common causes leading to TMD include:

  • Underlying dental conditions that are triggering muscle pain
  • Internal joint derangement (displaced or improperly positioned jaw joint)
  • Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease)
  • Synovitis — the painful inflammation of a synovial joint-lining membrane that is characterized by swelling, due to effusion (fluid collection)

If you or another family member suffer from chronic jaw pain, please let us know so that we can properly address your concerns and conduct a thorough examination. Or if you are in constant or severe pain, contact us as soon as possible to schedule an appointment. You can learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options for TMD by reading “TMD — Understanding The Great Imposter.”


By Dr. Mark Shulman
March 01, 2012
Category: Oral Health
RepairingChippedTeeth

Your son just crashed his skateboard and cracked a tooth, or maybe your daughter fell off the monkey bars at school and now has a chipped front tooth. For children, and some adults, repairing chipped or damaged teeth with tooth-colored restorative materials directly bonded to the teeth may be the perfect solution to restore their smiles.

What is Involved: Composite bonding is a technique that has been developed to correct chipped teeth and other minor dental imperfections. It may also be used to correct mild crookedness or gaps between teeth. The procedure requires the application of a tooth-colored composite resin material to the surfaces of teeth, which is then sculpted to the desired shape. It can be performed in a single visit for one or multiple teeth. The procedure usually takes between one and two hours, and the end result is a beautiful, natural-looking smile.

Advantages for Kids and Adults: Composite resin bonding is a good choice for kids and teens since their jaws are still growing and developing, and they may still be engaged in high-risk activities. After your child's teeth and jaws are fully developed, we can discuss options for more permanent restorations such as porcelain veneers or crowns. These require removal of more tooth structure, which could compromise the long-term health of your child's teeth if done too soon. Composite resin restorations, which bond straight to the teeth and require little to no tooth preparation or drilling are therefore a good option for fixing chipped teeth, and they're less expensive than choosing veneers.

Disadvantages: The longevity of composite resin restorations is related to how well you maintain your teeth. Many people can go for ten or fifteen years before they need to have the bonded resins repaired or replaced. Others will tend to stain and wear after only one or two years and will need some touch-up work.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss any questions you may have regarding dental bonding. Read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Repairing Chipped Teeth.”




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