My Blog

Posts for: July, 2017

By Dr. Steven L. Rattner DDS & Associates
July 24, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: root canal  

What your dentists in Gaithersburg want you to knowroot canal

Your tooth hurts a lot, now what? Do you need a filling, or do you need a root canal? That’s a good question, and one that only your dentist can answer. That’s because diagnosing the need for root canal treatment relies upon state-of-the-art technology only available from your dentist. Your dentists at Grove Dental Arts in Gaithersburg, MD want to share some of the signs and symptoms you may need a root canal.

There are some definite signs and symptoms that you may need a root canal including:

  • Chronic, throbbing pain that doesn’t go away
  • Sharp or throbbing pain that radiates to other areas
  • Sharp pain when you consume hot or cold foods or drinks
  • Redness and swelling around a tooth
  • Yellow or white drainage coming from the root of your tooth

If you experience any of these symptoms, you should visit your dentists in Gaithersburg. Using x-rays, temperature testing and vitality testing, they can determine for sure if you can benefit from root canal therapy.

It’s important to visit your dentist because you may not experience any signs and symptoms, but you may still need a root canal. Sometimes teeth can lose their vitality naturally. The nerves and blood supply can dry up, causing the tooth to appear darker than the teeth around it.

There are many reasons why your tooth can be damaged and need root canal therapy. Teeth can be compromised due to:

  • An accident or injury to your jaws or face
  • Deep decay which has traveled to tooth pulp
  • Chronic trauma due to grinding or clenching

If you do need a root canal, it’s because the pulp, an area of tissue deep inside your tooth, is damaged or diseased. When the pulp is compromised, it causes inflammation and swelling inside your tooth. The only way to relieve the pressure is to open up the tooth and remove the diseased tissue. The tissue is then replaced with an inert material and your pain is relieved.

Typically a dental crown is recommended after a root canal because the treated tooth can become brittle and break easily. For more information about the signs and symptoms you may need a root canal, call your dentists at Grove Dental Arts in Gaithersburg, MD. They can help relieve your tooth pain, so call today!

By Dr. Steven L. Rattner DDS & Associates
July 23, 2017
Category: Oral Health

A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.

“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”

That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.

Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:

  • Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
  • Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
  • Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!

So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”

By Dr. Steven L. Rattner DDS & Associates
July 08, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

All treatments for periodontal (gum) disease focus on one goal — to remove any bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that are at the heart of the infection. Plaque is a thin surface film of food particles and bacteria that cause gum disease.

Plaque builds up on tooth surfaces due to inadequate oral hygiene. And as the disease progresses brushing and flossing won’t be enough — you’ll need our services and specialized equipment to fully remove the plaque and calculus. The basic technique is called scaling in which we remove plaque and calculus manually from tooth surfaces above and just a few millimeters below the gum line.

As the disease develops, though, the slight natural gap between teeth and gums may begin to increase to form voids known as periodontal pockets. Filled with infection, these pockets can extend below the gum line onto the roots of the tooth. If the pocket extends more than 4 millimeters, basic scaling may not be able to remove all of the plaque and calculus.

Periodontists (dentists who specialize in the treatment and care of gum tissues) can perform a surgical method to access these deeper areas. Known as flap surgery, this procedure aims not only to reach and disinfect periodontal pockets and root surfaces, but also repair damaged gum tissue and create a better environment for future hygiene and treatment.

As the name implies, we create an opening in the gum tissue with one side remaining attached to the gum structure — much like the flap of a paper envelope. Through this opening we’re able to reach areas to remove plaque and calculus, as well as install both bone grafts to regenerate lost bone and growth factors to stimulate tissue growth. Once finished, we stitch the flap back into place with sutures and, in many cases, place a moldable dressing to protect and hold the flap secure while the incision heals.

This relatively minor procedure can be performed with local anesthesia and requires only a few days of recuperation. The results, though, can provide long-term benefits — reduced infection, better bone and gum health, and a more conducive environment for future maintenance of health — that could save your teeth and your smile for many years to come.

If you would like more information on treatments for gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Periodontal Flap Surgery.”