My Blog

Posts for: August, 2017

By Mehr Tucker, DDS, LLC
August 30, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
26MillionFansLikeJustinBiebersChippedTooth

Is a chipped tooth big news? It is if you’re Justin Bieber. When the pop singer recently posted a picture from the dental office to his instagram account, it got over 2.6 million “likes.” The snapshot shows him reclining in the chair, making peace signs with his hands as he opens wide; meanwhile, his dentist is busy working on his smile. The caption reads: “I chipped my tooth.”

Bieber may have a few more social media followers than the average person, but his dental problem is not unique. Sports injuries, mishaps at home, playground accidents and auto collisions are among the more common causes of dental trauma.

Some dental problems need to be treated as soon as possible, while others can wait a few days. Do you know which is which? Here are some basic guidelines:

A tooth that’s knocked out needs attention right away. First, try and locate the missing tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid holding the tooth’s roots. Next, grasp the crown of the tooth and place it back in the socket facing the correct way. If that isn’t possible, place it between the cheek and gum, in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva or a special tooth preservative, or in a glass of cold milk. Then rush to the dental office or emergency room right away. For the best chance of saving the tooth, it should be treated within five minutes.

If a tooth is loosened or displaced (pushed sideways, deeper into or out of its socket), it’s best to seek dental treatment within 6 hours. A complete examination will be needed to find out exactly what’s wrong and how best to treat it. Loosened or displaced teeth may be splinted to give them stability while they heal. In some situations, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.

Broken or fractured (cracked) teeth should receive treatment within 12 hours. If the injury extends into the tooth’s inner pulp tissue, root canal treatment will be needed. Depending on the severity of the injury, the tooth may need a crown (cap) to restore its function and appearance. If pieces of the tooth have been recovered, bring them with you to the office.

Chipped teeth are among the most common dental injuries, and can generally be restored successfully. Minor chips or rough edges can be polished off with a dental instrument. Teeth with slightly larger chips can often be restored via cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. When more of the tooth structure is missing, the best solution may be porcelain veneers or crowns. These procedures can generally be accomplished at a scheduled office visit. However, if the tooth is painful, sensitive to heat or cold or producing other symptoms, don’t wait for an appointment — seek help right away.

Justin Bieber earned lots of “likes” by sharing a picture from the dental office. But maybe the take-home from his post is this: If you have a dental injury, be sure to get treatment when it’s needed. The ability to restore a damaged smile is one of the best things about modern dentistry.

If you have questions about dental injury, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”


By MEHR TUCKER, DDS, LLC
August 22, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease   Gingivitis  

What your dentists in Rockville want you to knowgum disease

Gingivitis is a common and reversible problem. To reverse gingivitis, you need to practice good oral hygiene habits daily. Dr. Mehr Tucker in Rockville, MD want to share what to look for and how to reverse gingivitis.

Gingivitis is inflammation of your gum tissue, caused by plaque bacteria. The pasty white stuff on your teeth is actually a live bacterial colony containing millions of harmful microscopic bacteria. These bacteria can produce toxins which eat away at tough tooth enamel, causing a cavity. The bacteria also cause gum inflammation or gingivitis.

Some common signs and symptoms of gingivitis to look for include:

  • Gum redness or swelling
  • Pain or bleeding when you brush or chew
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Chronic sour taste in your mouth

You can deal with gingivitis by following a few simple tasks every day. Remember to:

Brush after you eat and before you go to bed. You should use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste. Brush in a gentle, circular motion on each tooth surface and along the gumline.

Floss at least once every day. Use a single piece of floss or floss picks to wrap around each tooth as you go down in between your teeth. Floss each area between each tooth.

Don’t forget to visit your dentist for an exam and x-rays at least yearly, and your dental hygienist at least twice each year for a professional cleaning. Your dentist and dental hygienist will monitor your gums to make sure they are healthy.

Healthy gum tissue should look light pink and firm, with no swelling or redness. You should also not have bleeding when you brush or floss. If you think you might have gingivitis, begin a program of regular brushing and flossing immediately.

It’s important to remember that gingivitis can progress to gum disease and eventually to periodontal disease if left untreated. Periodontal disease affects the bone surrounding your teeth, causing your teeth to become loose. The bone loss due to periodontal disease is not reversible; it can only be managed.

To get started on a program of better oral health, call the experts, Dr. Tucker in Rockville, MD. Don’t wait for your gingivitis to become a more serious problem, call (301) 963-8900 or email at office@sfaa.dentist today!


By Mehr Tucker, DDS, LLC
August 15, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
AnswerstoCommonQuestionsAboutRootCanalTreatments

A root canal treatment is a commonly known but often misunderstood procedure. Contrary to popular belief, these treatments aren't painful — in fact, they often stop a toothache. More importantly, a “root canal” can give a tooth on the verge of loss another lease on life.

Still, if you've never experienced a root canal treatment before, you probably have questions. Here are the answers to a few of the most common.

Why do they call it a “root canal”? This is the popular shorthand term for a procedure that removes diseased tissue from a decay-infected pulp, the innermost part of a tooth and the actual root canals themselves. Root canals are the narrow, hollow channels that run from the tip of the root to the pulp and are also involved in the procedure.

Why do I need one? Once infected, the pulp's bundles of blood vessels, nerves and other tissues become diseased. This often results in a painful toothache that can also suddenly disappear once the nerves within the pulp die. But there's still a problem: If we don't clean out the diseased and dead pulp tissue, the infection could spread through the root canals to the bone and endanger the tooth's survival.

What happens during the procedure? After deadening the tooth and surrounding gums with local anesthesia, we enter the pulp through an access hole we create. Using special instruments we remove the diseased tissue and shape the root canals to seal them with a filling material called gutta percha. Sealing the access hole is then necessary to prevent re-infection. Later we'll cap the tooth with a porcelain crown to restore its appearance and add further protection against fracture or cracking of the tooth.

Who can perform a root canal treatment? In many cases a general dentist can perform the procedure. There are some complex situations, however, that require a root canal specialist with additional training, expertise and equipment to handle these more difficult cases. If your tooth is just such a case it's more than likely your general dentist will refer you to an endodontist to make sure you get the right kind of care to save it.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”