Everything You Need to Know About Laser Dentistry

Before undergoing dental work, you may be considering treatment options that include laser dentistry. Although the practice has been around for some time and is known for offering a wide range of benefits, you may still be unclear about what it is and why it may be the best choice for you. In an effort to help you understand more about the technology and how it can benefit you, we’ve outlined some basic information about laser dentistry below.

What Is Laser Dentistry?

Potentially offering a more comfortable treatment option for a wide range of dental procedures, laser dentistry uses light energy to treat a variety of dental conditions. The laser allows for the safe and effective removal of tissue and can also be used to remove dead cells, infection, and decay.

What Are the Benefits of Laser Dentistry?

There’s no longer an excuse for not going to see your dentist. It’s a virtually pain-free option that often requires no anesthesia. In case that’s not enough of a reason to make the switch, we’ve listed even more benefits below.

  • Minimal damage to surrounding tissue
  • Reduced bleeding
  • Sutures often unnecessary
  • Faster healing time
  • Reduced risk of infection

What Procedures Can Use Laser Dentistry?

There are many ways in which laser dentistry can be used to treat dental and other conditions of the mouth. Most commonly, dental lasers are used to:

  • Treat and remove abscesses
  • Stop bleeding
  • Treat and remove canker sores
  • Treat periodontal disease
  • Re-contour the gums
  • Perform biopsies needed to identify oral cancer
  • Remove a frenulum or small fold of tissue that is preventing movement in the mouth

Is It Safe?

If you’re interested in laser dentistry, you may be wondering if it is safe. Fortunately, dental lasers are very safe. In fact, they can actually help make your dental procedure safer than with traditional dentistry because they allow us to be more precise and can reduce the risk of infection.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we take pride in offering our patients the right treatment options for their individual needs. For more information about laser dentistry or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

3 Steps To Get Rid Of Bad Breath For Sure

Are you constantly worried about how your breath smells to others? If so, you’re certainly not alone. In fact, there may be some very specific reasons for your bad breath that only a professional can determine. Whether you’ve been battling bad breath for years or just recently noticed a concerning change, scheduling an appointment with your dentist is the best way to get solutions. In the meantime, there are a few things you can do right now to help eliminate bad breath at home.

Hydration Is Key

One of the easiest ways to fight bad breath is to make sure you’re drinking plenty of water. When your mouth gets too dry, the lack of saliva can cause the growth of odor-causing bacteria. Especially when you first wake up after sleeping, drinking water is a great way to kick start those salivary glands and help increase moisture in your mouth.

Good Oral Hygiene Makes a Difference

Practicing proper oral hygiene is another great way to help maintain fresh breath. Although brushing and flossing twice a day is recommended and helps to prevent cavities, it takes more than that to keep bad breath at bay. Since the majority of the bacteria that causes bad breath lives on your tongue, you need to clean your tongue with a tongue and cheek cleaner or with your toothbrush. Using an alcohol-free mouth rinse after brushing is also helpful and helps reduce the risk of bad breath.

Maintaining a Healthy Diet Helps Too

You likely already know that consuming foods with a strong taste or smell can contribute to bad breath. Acidic foods like vinegar or sugar create odor-causing bacteria in the mouth, which causes halitosis. For fresher breath, try sticking to proteins and grains. These foods can help increase saliva production and may help reduce your bad breath.

Whether you experience temporary bouts of bad breath from time-to-time or you’re suffering from constant bad breath no matter what you do, we’re here to help. At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we want to help you maintain healthy oral habits that promote good breath. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact us today!

TMJ / Bruxism: The Cause of Your Headaches and Facial Pain

If you suffer from facial pain and migraines, the problem might come from your jaw. Your joints (TMJ) are the joints and attached muscles that allow you to open and close your mouth. Without them, you couldn’t talk, chew, or swallow. Problems that affect these joints include attached ligaments, muscles, and even your jaw. TMJ disorders can result in pain in the ear, jaw, and one or both TMJ. Aching facial pain may be experienced as well. TMJ disorders can even cause pain and difficulty when chewing or locking of the joint which makes it difficult to open or close your mouth.

There are several different causes for TMJ disorders, including:

  • Dislocation or injury
  • Arthritis
  • Problems with tooth and jaw alignment
  • Teeth grinding


Bruxism is defined as a condition in which you clench, grind, or gnash your teeth. It is common for patients to be completely unaware of the problem of whether bruxism occurs during sleep or wakeful hours. Mild bruxism may be temporary and not even require treatment. Severe bruxism can have a serious impact on your health. Some of the symptoms include:

  • Sleep disruption
  • Grinding loud enough to wake your partner
  • Headaches
  • Worn tooth enamel or damaged teeth
  • Tired or tight jaw muscles
  • Locked jaw that won’t open or close completely
  • Ear or face pain

How Tension Affects Your Teeth

Tension is the number one reason people grind their teeth. Other reasons include sleep disorders, side-effects of certain medications, and uneven bite. Bruxism causes pain and can also cause serious damage to your teeth. Grinding your teeth can cause them to wear down faster. When enamel wears away, teeth are more sensitive, and actually, grow weaker and more prone to cracks. Without treatment, bruxism can cause tooth loss and even gum inflammation or receding gums.

Getting Relief

Treatment for bruxism and TMJ can help ease your pain. Visiting your dentist when pain begins will help you get diagnosed quickly and find the treatment that is best for you. Treatment for jaw pain depends on the cause and severity of your condition. Your treatment plan may use a combination of office and at-home techniques. Some treatments for TMJ disorders include:

  • Avoid stress.
  • Try a night guard.
  • Seek orthodontic treatment.
  • Consider Botox.
  • Perform exercises that stretch your jaw.
  • Visit your dentist regularly.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates we get to know each patient on a personal level to provide gentle caring services that you can count on. If you suffer from jaw pain, headaches, or tooth damage from grinding your teeth, contact us today for a free consultation and get your pain-free sparkling smile back.




Dental Fillings Greenbelt MD – What to Expect from Cavity Repair

Teeth fillings are one of the most common dental procedures. If you have a cavity or think you may have a cavity, you probably have a lot of questions about what the dentist will do about it. In this blog post, we hope to shine some light on what you can expect, so you will be as comfortable as possible when your dental appointment comes up.

Why do I need dental fillings?

If you have a dental cavity, it is because your tooth has begun to decay. If the cavity is bad enough, you have probably already started to experience pain or sensitivity in the tooth. You may think that you can simply deal with the pain. Perhaps you are afraid of the dentist or are unsure whether it is worth the financial outlay to get your tooth fixed. It is very important that you understand that relieving pain is not the only reason to have a cavity filled.

Because a cavity is caused by tooth decay, the state of the tooth will continue to degrade absent intervention. If the cavity is allowed to get too large, a root canal may be necessary. It is possible, in extreme cases, that even a root canal will not be enough and the tooth will need to be removed. Filling the cavity cleans and disinfects the tooth. It removes any damage and seals the tooth from further bacteria and decay. This is part of the reason dental fillings are so crucial to a healthy mouth.

Protecting the cavity from bacteria is another good reason to have your cavity filled. Bacteria in the tooth can attack the living cells and cause pain. In severe cases, the tooth can be abscessed. An abscessed tooth will also require more severe dental intervention than a simple cavity.

Getting your cavities filled as soon as your or your dental professional notice them is important to minimize the amount of work you’ll need to be done later.

Pain management for teeth fillings

As you wait for your dental appointment, there are some steps you can take to minimize the pain from your cavity. Medications that you can use include over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs and clove oil. Clove oil, also known as Eugenol, should be available in the dental section of your local pharmacy.

While you wait for your prescription, you should also make some lifestyle changes to help minimize the pain from the cavity. In many cases, extreme hot or cold will exacerbate tooth pain. Pay attention to your tooth pain as you eat foods that are very hot or very cold and avoid the ones that cause you pain.

Foods with extreme temperatures will let you know when they are hurting your tooth. There are other, more silent, dangers to your tooth that could worsen the pain. While your tooth is in a vulnerable state from the cavity, avoid eating foods that are very sugary or very acidic.

It is also extra important to keep your mouth clean as you await your appointment. Do not be afraid to brush your teeth, or to floss. These activities will not hurt the tooth and will help keep its conditioning from worsening and increasing your pain.

Preparation for tooth fillings

Before a tooth can be filled, all of the decay must be removed. This is done with a dental drill. To ensure that you do not feel any pain from the drilling, your tooth will be numbed. The tooth is numbed with an injection of anesthetic, though a gel anesthetic may be applied first to reduce the pain from the injection.

Once the decay has been removed, the dentist will finish the preparation for your dental fillings by thoroughly cleaning the area to ensure a good bond. The tooth will then be ready to receive the filling material.

Types of dental fillings

There are two mains types of filling material. Each has its own strengths and weaknesses. Those types are silver amalgam and composite resin.

Silver amalgam is a blend of mercury with silver, tin, and copper. This type of dental filling has been around since the late 1800s, and as such it has a long history of proven success. Amalgam fillings are affordable and long-lasting. The main drawback to silver amalgam fillings is that they are very noticeable. They do not blend in with the surrounding tooth at all.

The problem of highly visible and unattractive fillings was solved with composite resin. Resin composite is the same color as the tooth and is unnoticeable. This makes resin composite a particularly attractive option for the highly visible teeth near the front of the mouth. Resin also has the advantage of bonding really well to the tooth’s surface. Composite fillings have their downside as well. They do not last as long as amalgam fillings. So for teeth that are less visible, amalgam may be the better option.

Cost of dental fillings

There are many factors that go into determining the cost of a dental filling. As a rough estimate, amalgam fillings for one or two surfaces cost an average of $50-$150 compared to $90-250 for composite resin fillings. Keep in mind that what your dental insurance covers may vary. Most insurers consider composite resin to be a cosmetic upgrade and pay less for those. In addition to the filling appointment itself, you’ll need to add in the cost of the initial appointment and the x-rays.

Care after fillings

It will take a few hours for the anesthetic to wear off after your teeth have been filled. Be careful when chewing while your mouth is still numb. It is very easy to accidentally bite yourself and not realize it. If you chew while the anesthetic is still active, try to chew on a part of your mouth that was not worked on and is not numb.

Your teeth will also be sensitive to extreme temperature after the dental fillings. This sensitivity can last up to a few weeks. In some cases, it may last even longer. As long as their condition continues to improve, this is not something that you should worry about. The area around the injection site might also be tender for a few days.

Silver amalgam fillings take up to 24 hours to set, so you should avoid eating hard foods during that period. If possible, try to do most of your chewing on the opposite side of your mouth. Composite resins set much quicker, so this restriction will not apply with those.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we pride ourselves on our people skills and our commitment to your oral health. We are aware that many people are nervous about dental visits, and will do our best to put you at ease so that you are comfortable getting your cavities repaired promptly. Please contact us for an appointment if you are experiencing tooth pain or suspect you have a cavity.

Healthy Habits, Thorough Cleanings, and Routine Visits to Your Dentist: Essentials to Great Oral Hygiene

The health of your mouth is essential to a multitude of factors in your life, from the look of your smile to the health of your overall well-being. Maintaining good oral hygiene is fundamental to the health of your mouth, providing protection against a variety of problems and safeguarding your beautiful smile. And as trained professionals dedicated to oral health, your dental team can help keep your oral hygiene and health stay in tip-top shape with routine visits, cleanings, and all of the right habits.

Oral Hygiene: The Basics

Good oral hygiene starts with you. Your teeth, gums, and the rest of your mouth must be properly cared for on a daily basis to maintain function, optimum health, and to prevent serious complications. Poor oral hygiene can result in a variety of issues, but can easily be avoided by taking the proper precautions and adopting the appropriate habits.

The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene

The most obvious advantage to good oral hygiene is a beautiful and brilliant smile. But in addition to pretty teeth, good oral hygiene can prevent a wide array of physical, emotional, and even financial complications. Scientific research performed over recent decades proves that oral health has astonishing connections to our overall health and well-being. Poor oral hygiene can have significant impacts on your life and have been linked to the following issues:

  • Medical problems and conditions such as multiple types of cancer, osteoporosis, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, and cardiovascular diseases.
  • Lack of confidence, low-self esteem, and poor work performance.
  • Increased risk of pregnancy-related complications such as premature birth and low birth-weight.
  • Oral complications like gum disease, cavities, tooth decay, tooth loss, abscesses, and more.
  • Costly dental procedures and surgeries to correct oral complications.

Good Oral Hygiene Habits

In addition to practicing healthy lifestyle behaviors like eating a nutritious diet and abstaining from alcohol and tobacco, you must be responsible for maintaining good oral hygiene every day. But making the right choices can really pay off in the end. Always try to remember the 3 most important habits for maintaining oral hygiene: brush, floss, and rinse.

Begin with an ADA-approved, soft-bristle toothbrush. You should be brushing your teeth at least twice each day; once in the morning and once before bed. You should replace your toothbrush at least every 3-4 months.

For anyone over the age of 1, add an appropriately-sized amount of fluoride toothpaste to your toothbrush. While brushing your teeth, remember to carefully reach every part of every tooth, tongue, gums, and cheeks. Hold your toothbrush at about 45-degrees for the best brushing angle.

When you’re done brushing, begin flossing by wrapping about 1-foot of dental floss around one finger on each of your hands. Very carefully and gently glide that dental floss through each of your teeth, taking special care around the sensitive, gum area.

After discarding your dental floss, use a high-quality mouthwash to rinse your mouth. Mouthwashes and rinses kill germs and bacteria while helping prevent tartar build-up and cavities.

How Your Dental Team Helps Protect Oral Hygiene and Health

Centuries of experience and research allow us the ability to seek help and guidance from trusted professionals in any area of life. Your dental team is equipped with knowledge and training to help you maintain good oral hygiene and handle your oral health at any stage of life. As dental professionals, your dentist can help you improve or maintain your oral hygiene and health with routine exams, cleanings, and x-rays.

Routine Visits and What to Expect

It is recommended that most people see the dentist roughly every 6 months for exams and cleanings. Just as your family doctor uses annual exams to prevent and treat physical issues, your dentist uses routine exams to optimize your oral health. Here’s what you can expect at the typical dental exam:

  • Your dentist will examine your teeth using a variety of tools, instruments, and x-rays. These images along with the physical examination help your dentist spot any trouble areas or complications.
  • During a cleaning, your dentist will use tools and instruments to thoroughly and intricately clean your teeth, as well as the rest of your mouth. These cleanings help get rid of bacteria, germs, tartar, plaque, and debris missed by your daily routine.
  • Your dentist may also check your head, neck, or jaw as part of the exam to check for any unwanted lumps, lesions, or pain.
  • Routine visits also include education provided by your dentist to ensure you are practicing the proper, hygienic habits, as well as to help you avoid oral complications in the future. He or she may also discuss oral health risk factors and medical history with you.
  • If your dentist spots any issues during your exam or in the images that were taken, you may require treatment or additional services.

The Cost of Dental Exams

As with most dental services, the cost of a dental exam varies based on a variety of factors. However, most dental insurance programs cover the cost of your routine dental visits, cleanings, and x-rays. Considered preventative services, insurance companies understand the value of preventing costly procedures. Depending on your insurance coverage, the majority or all of the cost associated with routine exams and cleanings may be covered. To get a better look of what insurance would cover, contact your dentists to see which policies they accept. For example if you’re working with an Avon Lake OH dentist then contact them to ensure they accept your policy.

There are many people who do not have dental insurance coverage, however. For those covering the entire cost of an exam, cleaning, or x-ray, the total can vary. You can expect to pay, on average, between $200-$300 for your exam and cleaning. This cost does not include treatment or other services for any issues that your dentist may find during the exam. But when comparing the costly procedures that could result from poor oral hygiene, it’s easy to see why routine exams with your dentist are always the way to go.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we understand the importance of good oral hygiene and are here to help you maintain your oral health through every step of your life. Keeping your smile beautiful, brilliant, and healthy is always our top priority. To find out how we can help you perfect your smile and to schedule your appointment, contact our trusted staff today!

A Guide to Crowns & Bridges: Greenbelt MD Dentist

Many people have heard of crowns and bridges, but do not know what they are. As a dentist in Greenbelt MD, we have worked with plenty of patients that need Crowns & Bridges. Others know what they are, but are unsure of what is involved in the process of getting them installed. In this post, we’ll go over what you need to know about these dental appliances.

What are crowns & bridges?

A dental crown is like a cover that goes over a tooth. Because the crown entirely covers the tooth, it can be used to restore a damaged tooth or it can be used for cosmetic purposes. Unlike dentures, a crown is a permanent dental appliance that is cemented onto the tooth that is repairing.

A bridge is used to fill a gap where a missing tooth was. A common way of attaching the bridge is to cement it between two crowns, which are then attached to the two good teeth on either side of the missing one.

Both a crown and a bridge are meant to look like your own natural teeth, so they will not be overly noticeable to an outside observer.

Why do I need to get a crown/bridge?

There are a variety of reasons that a dentist might recommend a crown. If you have a fractured tooth or a tooth in danger of fracturing, then a crown is a great way to restore the tooth’s structural integrity. Crowns may also be used to replace large fillings if there is not enough tooth left to put another filling in.

As mentioned in the previous section, crowns can also be cosmetic. It could be that you are unhappy with the shape of a tooth and would like to have it covered with a more pleasingly shaped crown.

Bridges serve the cosmetic function of replacing a missing tooth, but they also serve a very important dental function. The gap left by a missing tooth can cause your other teeth to shift, causing bite issues. Filling the gap of a missing tooth with a bridge will protect your other teeth from shifting. A crown is often used on either side of the bridge to attach it.

What can I expect during the procedure?

Dental crowns are installed over two appointments. During the first appointment, the dentist will prepare the tooth and take an impression of it. The impression will be sent to a laboratory so that they can construct your crown. The second appointment will be made after the crown has been sent from the lab. It is during this appointment that the crown is installed.

During that first appointment, the dentist will numb your mouth. The anesthetic will be given to you in the form of an injection. A local get anesthetic may be applied to reduce the pain of the injection.

After the tooth is numb the dentist will begin work. The first step is to use a rotary tool to shave some thickness off of the tooth. This is because the crown must fit over the tooth. The dentist will also remove any decay and shape the tooth to make application of the crown both easier and more effective.

After the tooth is prepared, the dentist will take an impression of it. For this, either a tray of impression putty or a special type of 3d scanner is used. This is the impression that the dentist will send to the lab.

Finally, a temporary crown will be placed on the tooth and you will make an appointment for your return visit to have the permanent crown installed.

On the day of the second appointment, the dentist will remove the temporary crown. If needed, your tooth will be numbed first, although that is not always necessary for this part of the procedure. Once the temporary crown is removed the dentist will test fit the new crown and let you have a look at it. If everything is okay, the new crown will be cemented into place.

Since a bridge is basically just two crowns with a false tooth in between them, the procedure for a bridge is nearly identical to that for a crown. Of course, with a bridge, it will be two teeth being prepared and worked on instead of just one.

How much does the procedure cost?

As with many procedures, there are a number of factors that will change the cost of a crown or a bridge. A good estimate though is around $500-2500 per tooth for a crown and between $1400 to over $5000 for a bridge. A major factor in the cost of the bridge is the number of false teeth that it must contain.

If you have dental insurance, they will likely cover part of the procedure. Be sure to check with your specific policy though. Some may have restrictions that require you to have the policy for a certain amount of time before they’ll cover more expensive procedures like bridges. Insurance might also not cover a bridge if the tooth was missing before you acquired the insurance.

How do I care for my crown/bridge?

The temporary crown will require the most care. Since it is not meant to be permanent, it is not as durable as your final crown will be. While you await your second appointment, try to avoid eating hard or sticky foods. Take extra care to be gentle while brushing your teeth and use a soft bristled brush. If your temporary crown becomes loose or uncomfortable, contact your dentist.

You can return to normal eating once your permanent crown is on. You’ll want to continue to use the soft-bristled toothbrush and floss every day to make sure that the crown stays clean. You may also wish to avoid really hard foods, or chew them on the other side.

Care for a bridge is the same as care for a crown. A temporary bridge can come loose easily, so be extra careful brushing and chewing while the temporary one is in. As with crowns, avoid hard and sticky foods while you await your permanent bridge.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we care about the oral health of all of our patients and know the importance of a great smile. Whether your needs are functional or cosmetic, contact us today to set up an appointment or to get more information on how we can serve your needs. If you’re not local to Greenbelt MD, your best bet is to find a local dentist near you who can service you properly. If you’re in Syracuse, try doing a Google search of Syracuse, NY dentist and find a reputable practice with high Google star ratings.

Dental Emergencies Greenbelt MD

Life is full of unexpected situations, and when something happens to your mouth or teeth, it can send your world spinning out of control. Whether it’s a broken tooth, injury, or more, dental emergencies should be cared for immediately. But how do you know what is a dental emergency and what isn’t? Read on to find out everything you need to know about dental emergencies, how to prevent them, and when to know it’s time to seek help. Cherrywood Dental has worked with plenty of Dental Emergencies in Greenbelt MD to help you.

Types of Dental Emergencies in Greenbelt MD and How to Care for Them

The mouth is used almost every second of the day and it’s a sensitive area that can be easily injured or damaged in a variety of ways. While damage can occur to your teeth and mouth over time because of diet, age, lifestyle behaviors, and more, much more immediate consequences occur in a dental emergency. There is a multitude of ways in which you can suddenly injury your mouth or teeth, which should be cared for by dental professionals.

When life happens, your mouth, gums, and teeth can get in the way. The next thing you know, you are in pain and wondering if it’s time to seek the help of your dentist. Here are just a few of the types of dental emergencies you can experience.

Sports or Recreational Injury

While you’re playing sports or having fun, the face is one of the most commonly injured parts of the body. When hit with the proper amount of force, you could suffer from injuries to the teeth, jaw, and more. Your dentist will often use x-ray images to check your mouth for misalignment, fractures, and soft tissue damage. Help should be sought for any injury to the face and mouth following an accident.

If you believe you’ve suffered from a sports injury to the mouth, save any pieces of teeth that may have broken, stop any bleeding with gauze, and seek medical attention.

Cracked, Chipped, or Broken Teeth

Whether it’s because you bit into something hard or knocked your tooth on something, cracking or breaking your tooth can cause a world of pain. Your teeth are filled with an entire network of nerves that will cause you pain when damaged. Teeth that are damaged in this way must be dealt with right away, to prevent infection and other serious complications like tooth decay and loss.

For cracked or chipped teeth, rinse your mouth out with warm water and use cold/hot compresses to alleviate swelling and pain. For broken teeth, save any pieces of the tooth you can and keep all areas of your mouth clean with warm water and gauze. This out of all occasions must be the most common of the Dental Emergencies in Greenbelt MD that we deal with.

Failed Dental Work

If you are experiencing difficulty with dental work you’ve had in the past, like bridges, crowns, implants, or fillings, it could be considered an emergency. When dental work fails, it can be painful, hard to chew or eat, and may even cause other problems with your oral health. Any injury or damage to dental work should be cared for right away.

Save any pieces of dental work you can, like pieces of your bridge, filling, or crown. Do not try to replace your bridge or crown if it is damaged or injured. You may also need to take special care if this emergency has left uneven, jagged pieces in your mouth.

Knocked Out or Loose Tooth

Losing a tooth all together can be painful, but also scary. With quick-thinking however, this emergency doesn’t have to be a disaster. If you lose your tooth completely, keep it moist at all times by placing it in a glass of salt water or milk. If one or more of your teeth are loose, it could be the result of soft tissue damage or injury along the roots or gum line. Adult, permanent teeth should never be loose and should be examined and cared for immediately.

Tissue or Jaw Injuries

Decay, injuries, and damage to the teeth are painful, uncomfortable and even unsightly. But possible injuries or damage to your gum line, cheeks, jaw, and even neck can be extremely dangerous when not cared for properly. Injury and/or pain in the jaw, cheeks, or neck should be looked at immediately, as well as lesions and lumps.

If you’ve suffered an injury to the jaw, move it as little as possible until you can seek help. For soft tissue injuries, apply gauze to the area, use salt water rinses to clean your mouth, and use cold/hot compresses to alleviate pain.

How to Prevent Dental Emergencies

While it is true that accidents happen and some things are simply unavoidable, there are some things you can do to prevent dental emergencies from occurring. Here are a few tips and tricks to help you avoid your next emergency visit to the dentist:

  • Keep up with routine dental exams, cleanings, and x-rays to help your dental team determine and find any problems that may cause emergency situations in the future.
  • Avoid using your teeth to open things or chomp down on hard materials. Be aware of possible situations that may harm your teeth or mouth. You may also consider addressing any issues you may have with grinding or clenching.
  • Practice healthy lifestyle behaviors like eating a nutritious diet, avoiding tobacco use, and practicing good oral hygiene habits.
  • Protect your teeth from possible injuries by using mouthguards.

When to Know It’s Time to Call the Office

It can be hard to determine the right time to call your dentist with an emergency or problem. Though some situations may not be considered dental emergencies, it is still best to seek the advice and knowledge of your dental team with any and all mouth-related concerns. Your dental team will want to hear from you immediately if you are experiencing/have experienced any of the following:

  1. A missing/knocked-out tooth, as well as misalignment and/or sudden changes in your teeth
  2. A cracked or broken tooth that is causing severe pain
  3. Unexplained, severe pain in teeth, gums, jaw, or neck that persists and does not go away (especially when accompanied by fever)
  4. Sports-related, accidental injury to the face, mouth, or teeth
  5. Dental work that has failed, is missing or is causing pain

Any severe, unmanageable pain, fevers, or obvious injury should be an indication to call the office and seek the help of your dentist right away!

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we take pride in caring for each and every one of your dental needs. From start to finish, we’re here to help you get the most out of your oral health. Contact us today to see how we can help with your dental emergency and begin you on your path to a healthier, more beautiful smile. We have extensive experience with Dental Emergencies in Greenbelt MD

The Signs & Treatment of Gum Disease: What You Need to Know

The Signs & Treatment of Gum Disease: What You Need to Know

The health of your gums affects your entire body. For example, did you know that unhealthy gums are actually associated with an increased risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease? This is clearly a serious issue, made more serious by the fact that nearly half of Americans aged 30 and over have periodontal disease.

It’s key to stay educated and empowered about your oral health so that you can practice good preventative care — and know when you need to seek professional help. Let’s look into the periodontal disease: causes, signs, treatments, and what you need to know to fight back against the disease.

What is Gingivitis?

Generally considered a precursor to periodontal disease, gingivitis is a milder form of periodontal disease. Just because it’s mild, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Left untreated, the plaque and tartar associated with gingivitis can lead to more serious problems.

The role of plaque and tartar

In gingivitis, the “gingiva,” or the part of your gums that meet your teeth, become swollen and inflamed due to a build-up of plaque along your gumline. What exactly is plaque? It’s an invisible film on the surface of your teeth that forms when bacteria in your mouth interacts with starches and sugars that you eat. One of the reasons we brush our teeth is to prevent plaque from building up.

However, when plaque isn’t removed, it can then turn into tartar beneath your gumline. Tartar is a hard, calcified substance that stores bacteria near your gumline. Because it’s so hard, it can’t be removed without a dentist. Eventually, the bacteria that collects in tartar begins to irritate your gums, leading to the inflammation associated with gingivitis.

Unlike some diseases that give you warning signs through pain, gingivitis is often painless and so may go unnoticed and progress into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontal disease.

What is Periodontal Disease?

As tartar builds up and gums become increasingly more inflamed from the bacteria, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, also called periodontal disease or “gum disease.” After time, untreated tartar causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and create pockets into which more bacteria can grow. As the bacteria proliferates, it can cause even more damage. At its worst, periodontal disease can:

  • Cause your connective tissue to break down.
  • Lead to tooth loss and removal.
  • Destroy your bones and gums.

At this point, periodontal disease isn’t only putting you at risk for losing your teeth and damaging your jaw bone. Because of its links to overall health, periodontal disease may also put you at a greater risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other health issues.

Once gingivitis has progressed into periodontal disease, it’s absolutely vital to see a skilled oral health professional to get treatment.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

Although the early stages of gum disease (gingivitis) are generally painless, there are definitely some major signs that you or a loved one is suffering from this preventable oral disease:

  • Swelling & discoloration. Even in the earliest stages of gum disease (gingivitis), you will probably be able to detect inflamed gums as a result of your body battling against the bacteria. In the more advanced stages of gum disease, you may even notice that your gums are beginning to turn purple or red near your teeth.
  • Bleeding. Your gums may bleed when you brush or floss. Keep in mind that if you’ve only recently begun to floss, your gums may bleed for about a week. As long as it goes away, it may not indicate periodontal disease.
  • Bad Breath & Taste. If you’re noticing that your bad breath isn’t going away, or that you have a perpetually bad taste in your mouth, this could be a sign of gum disease.
  • Receding gums. As the bacteria begins to settle in under your gumline, you may notice that your gums start to recede from your teeth.

Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Some individuals may be more susceptible to gum disease than others. Pay special attention to your oral health if any of the following is true:

  • Lifestyle. If you smoke or have excess stress, you may be more at risk.
  • Disease. Those with diabetes or immuno-suppressed systems (like AIDS) are more susceptible. In addition, taking certain medications that cause dry mouth can be a risk factor.
  • Hormones. Pregnant women and those on oral contraceptives are more susceptible to gum disease.
  • Oral hygiene. If you don’t practice good oral hygiene, or you have naturally crooked teeth, you may be more prone to periodontal disease.

Treatment of Gum Disease

If you suspect you have gum disease, it’s important to get to a professional immediately. They’ll be able to diagnose you through examining your gums and teeth. In addition, they might use a device called a probe to measure how deep the pockets around your teeth are. From there, they’ll be able to recommend the appropriate plan of action for you. Let’s take a look at some of the common treatments for gum disease:

  • Tooth Cleaning. For mild cases of gingivitis, your periodontist might simply do a tooth cleaning that removes the build-up of tartar on your teeth.
  • Scaling and root planing. This is a type of deep cleaning. Scaling refers to scraping off the tartar that’s accumulated both above and below the gum line. In root planing, your dental professional removes areas on your tooth’s roots where bacteria have a tendency to gather.
  • Pocket Reduction Surgery. In this type of surgery, your periodontist will fold back the gum tissue and clean the bacteria that remain in the pocket that has formed. If your bone has been damaged by the disease they can also smooth the bone to promote healing.
  • Soft tissue grafts. To fill in and enlarge your remaining gums, your dentist can take tissue from elsewhere in your mouth and graft it onto the damaged gums.
  • Bone Grafts. If your jawbone has been injured by disease, your periodontist can fill in your bone with a hard tissue graft.
  • Laser gum surgeryUsing the laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP), your dental professional will use a laser to sterilize and kill the bacteria inside the pockets in your gums. In addition to killing the bacteria, the laser will also kill dead tissue and plaque and help reduce the depth of the pockets (so fewer bacteria can proliferate). In the process, this stimulates your gums and bones to grow and helps your gums to heal and re-attach to your teeth.

Treatment Aftercare: What to Expect

Your treatment depends on the stage of your gum disease. Depending on what treatment you received, your doctor will send you home with recommendations for aftercare.

For example, if you had surgery or grafts, you might need to take medication for pain for a few days. You also might use a special mouthwash that helps prevent infection. Depending on the type of treatment you received, be prepared to eat soft foods for a few days and avoid strenuous exercise.

Prevention of Further Loss

Once you’ve seen a dental health professional to get back on the path to good oral health, it’s important to maintain healthy habits to prevent further loss and issues. Here’s how you can help support healthy gums:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and preferably after meals.
  • Floss frequently.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • See a dentist every six months to a year for a cleaning (or more often if you have risk factors).
  • Eat a healthy diet low in sugar and high in nutrients to support overall oral health.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we like to empower our patients near Woodbridge, VA, and Greenbelt, MD, with information about their oral health. As part of your healthcare team, it’s our goal to provide compassionate care coupled with innovative treatments. If you want to get in touch about how we can help restore your smile, please contact us today.

Remove The Root & Save The Tooth

If you have a toothache that just won’t go away, you need to get it checked out, and rather quickly. More than simply addressing the pain, which we realize can be quite intense, not tending to the problem can lead to much larger issues down the road.

The pain can come from a buildup of pressure caused by swelling often due to an infection and/or abscess at the base of the tooth, or in the roots. The only way to alleviate the pain is to get to its source.

What is a Root Canal?

The singular term of the root can be misleading. Your back teeth have multiple roots, whereas a front tooth generally has one. None-the-less, when having a root canal, all roots of that particular tooth will need to be addressed. A root canal is a dental procedure in which all of the nerves and pulp are removed. The canals are then cleaned, filled and sealed.

The Need for Root Canal Therapy

In general, we recommend a root canal over the pulling of a tooth. Although extraction is less expensive, nothing can replace the function of your own teeth, or look as natural.

An article by The American Association of Endodontists states:

Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

  • Efficient chewing
  • Normal biting force and sensation
  • Natural appearance
  • Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain”

And replacement with an implant, or a bridge, can be more costly. Putting it off, or ignoring the issue, will only worsen it. The infection will heighten, can infect the bone, and can cause an overall infection throughout the body. “Leaving a tooth abscess untreated can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

What is Involved in Having a Root Canal?

Having a root canal is actually fairly easy. It can be done with local anesthesia. However, it does take time, and therefore patience.

  • Your dentist must access the roots by removing or drilling through any previous filling or crown, and the tooth, to reach each of the roots. He or she will then begin the process of carefully clean out each of the canals.
  • Sometimes this takes more than one visit, depending upon the severity of the infection, the number of roots, and the area which needs to be cleaned out. In between visits, you will receive a temporary filling. You should avoid chewing in the area.
  • On the subsequent visit, the canals will receive further cleaning. When cleaning is finished, the roots will be filled with a specific material designed for this purpose. You will again receive a temporary filling.
  • You’ll then set up an appointment for a permanent crown to further preserve your tooth.

Is Having a Root Canal Expensive?

The short answer is, it can be. A root canal is a lengthy, precise procedure. The cost will vary depending upon which tooth needs the work done, and how many roots it has. A front tooth will cost less than a back molar. It may also vary on the depth of the infection.

The good news here is that most dental plans cover root canals. Dental or health cards can also help meet the immediate expense, allowing payments over time.

Dispelling Some Falsehoods About Root Canal Therapy

  • Root canals are painful – Let’s face it, you are already in pain! We have had patients describe the experience or a root canal as relieving. Often the pain you had been under will go away immediately or within a day or so of your first procedure.
  • The root canal won’t work – A root canal does work when done properly by a trained dentist with experience in the procedure. Experts rate the average of root canal success to be 85% to 95%. There is the rare occasion when the base of the root may become infected again, even years later. If this is the case, an additional treatment procedure may need to be done in order to save the tooth and prevent further infection.
  • A root canal may make me sick – Generally, when you have the need for a root canal, you are already sick. You have an infection. The infection can travel. Without a root canal, you may become sicker.
  • Having your tooth pulled is a better alternative – There are cases when a tooth must simply be pulled when the decay is just too bad. But, as we said earlier, it is better to keep your own teeth, whenever possible. While functional, an implant or bridge just won’t work quite as well as your own natural teeth.

That’s Done, Now What?

Following your root canal, you’ll have your permanent crown placed. Nothing else needs to be done other than proper, routine dental care. If you have been remiss in having checkups, now would be a good time to have complete x-rays and professional cleaning.

Of course, not every pain you may feel in your mouth is caused by the roots of a tooth requiring a root canal. It could be from gum disease, known as gingivitis. Or it could be an old filling which cracked and is sensitive to hot and cold. This should be attended to quickly before a new cavity may have time to fester. It may simply require removal of the old filling and replacement with new material, an inlay, or possibly a crown.

We are Here for All Your Dentistry Needs

As with all forms of medicine, dentistry is keeping up with modern studies and techniques for meeting the health of the mouth, along with esthetic properties. Gone are the days of silver fillings, which would someday need replacement. At Cherrywood Dental Associates we not only welcome modern procedures and techniques, but we also embrace them.

We are here to help you prevent problems, and if and when you have one, we want to help you catch it at early onset. The beginning of a cavity, or the beginning of a dental or gum infection, best be caught early to prevent further problems, which can be painful to you and your pocketbook.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we address all of your dental needs. From a routine checkup to a root canal, we have you covered. Dr. Bazgar and Dr. Pakpour, who happen to be husband and wife, have nearly 20-years-experience in dentistry. Dr. Bazgar was honored placement on the Excellent 2010 America’s Top Dentists for Cosmetic and General Dentistry, from the Consumers’ Research Council of America.

Whether you live in, or near, Greenbelt, MD or Woodbridge, VA, our local dental clinics are here to serve you. Give one of our offices a call and schedule your introductory consultation to let us help protect your teeth and meet your dental needs. Se Habla español. Our offices are handicap-accessible and we offer hearing-impaired communication assistance.

How Powerful Is Your Smile? Our Favorite Smiles Throughout History

A person’s smile has a powerful impact on first impressions, how you’re perceived, how you feel, and even how you’re remembered. In fact, a smile can be remembered for ages. Unlike treasured people of the past, today’s cosmetic dentistry world provides a wide array of innovative opportunities to help you improve your smile, to help you be remembered for that beautiful grin. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable and unforgettable smiles throughout history and how you can use cosmetic dentistry to maximize the impact of your smile.

The Power of a Smile

Though many may not like to admit it, your smile can have an impact on a variety of things. It is one of the first things people see and one of the most memorable features of a person. A person’s smile is also a reflection of complex, personal feelings. Your smile can reflect emotions you are feeling, such as happiness, pain, discomfort, fear, and love.

A smile, much like other gestures and expressions, has become a learned habit for humans. Though smiles can come naturally from laughter and happiness, smiles are also an expectation considered a “social norm.” For instance, it is considered normal to smile when meeting someone or interviewing for a job, even though it may not reflect any happiness on your part.

In some of the world’s earliest photographs, as another example, most people posed without smiles. In today’s photographs, the expectation for showing your happiness through a smile is considered the norm. This may also link to the improvement we’ve seen of medical and dental care over time to provide better smiles as well.

Smiles Throughout Art

As touched on above, the cultural and societal norms of our time help dictate that we smile in photographs, videos, etc. But throughout history, the norm was quite the opposite. Smiles, in fact, were largely frowned upon and not often seen in traditional art and portraits. But this may also be one of the reasons why we remember certain art pieces and their smiles in particular. Some of the most memorable smiles seen in art include:

  • Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci: For a woman who doesn’t even show her teeth, her small, enigmatic grin is one of the most memorable throughout history. The smile you see in Mona Lisa has attracted, and confused, people for hundreds of years.
  • Buddha: As the largest symbol and center of Buddhism, even those not familiar with the religion know Buddha for his smile. As a representation of peace, enlightenment, and love, Buddha is seen smiling in every piece of art depicting him. This happy depiction has made him a welcome piece of art in homes all over the world.
  • Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol: Andy Warhol is one of the most remembered artists in the modern age. His well-known “pop” art changed the art industry, working with simple, but spectacular muses. Marilyn Monroe became one of these muses, and as one of the most beautiful women in the world, he captured her perfectly. Alongside bright colors, Marilyn’s smile reflects her personality, as well as her impact on society.

Smiles Throughout the Entertainment World

Whether it’s literature, film, or music, there are many people and characters that have made their way into our hearts with a simple smile. Beautiful, scary, or otherwise, here are some of the best smiles in entertainment:

  • The Cheshire Cat: Kids and adults alike can recognize the smile of the Cheshire Cat. The amazing Alice in Wonderland has been made into a variety of movie and TV adaptations, but that silly cat’s smile always stays the same.
  • The Joker: It doesn’t matter what actor plays this character since the Joker has been around since his debut in the Batman comics in 1940. It’s hard to forget his unique, sinister, and wide smile; making him one of the most popular characters/villains in the entire franchise.
  • Frank Sinatra: Still regarded as one of the best singers and entertainers of all time, Sinatra captured people everywhere with his captivating voice, ice-blue eyes, and a warm, welcoming smile.
  • Grace Kelly: This woman was iconic for more than her brilliant, beautiful smile. Though she was already well known for her beauty and talent, the American entertainer became part of her own, real-life “Cinderella” story, marrying the Prince of Monaco in 1956.
  • Marlon Brando: With more of a bad-boy-but-still-sweet smile, Brando made his way into the hearts of millions of women across the globe. Even today, his carefree, majestic smile is remembered and revered.

Though these celebrities and entertainers have not been around for as long as some of the others you’ll find on this list, they are still noted and remembered for their beautiful smiles- sure to be remembered for years to come:

  • Julia Roberts
  • Chris Pine
  • Anne Hathaway
  • James Franco
  • Eva Mendes
  • Patrick Dempsey
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Usher
  • Mila Kunis

Cosmetic Dentistry Today

Today’s dental industry is about more than just preventing serious issues and providing care for your oral health. Cosmetic dentistry today strives to do more than focus on the health of your smile, but also the appearance and the impact your smile has on your life.

Teeth whitening is a simple, yet effective procedure that helps whiten and brighten your teeth, with the help of a dental professional either in the office or at home. Other realistic options for correcting a smile like veneers and bonding provide life-like beauty to your smile while fixing any problems with your teeth at the same time. Highly customizable, these cosmetic options can perfect any smile, while more subtle options for straightening your teeth, like Invisalign, can provide comfort and simplicity to straightening and correcting any smile.

At Cherrywood Dental, we know the importance of a great smile. Our trusted professionals offer an array of cosmetic dentistry services to help keep your smile healthy and beautiful. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment or consultation for a free digital smile makeover. Come see what our team at Cherrywood Dental can do for you.

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Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist

Dr. Barzgar was very professional and gentle. When I first came to his office to see Dr. Barzgar I had a major trust issue between dentist and patient from my past experiences. Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist, whose priority is making sure his...

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