Our Blog

Can I Go to My Normal Dentist for Cosmetic Dentistry?

November 16, 2022

Who should you trust to perform cosmetic dental procedures that will help you achieve smile goals? The answer may surprise you.

Your general dentist, the one who cleans your teeth, fills cavities and helps you improve your oral health, may be able to help you transform your smile. It all depends upon how you want to change your smile, the procedures that need to be performed and whether your general dentist has undergone specialized training in cosmetic dentistry.

We will provide you with the information you need to help you determine if you should visit your general dentist for cosmetic dentistry.

Specialized Training in Cosmetic Dentistry

General dentists can, and often do, perform certain procedures that are considered cosmetic. For example, teeth whitening, correcting cavities with tooth-colored dental fillings, and placing dental crowns on severely damaged teeth or those that have recently undergone a root canal. No additional training or education is needed for these procedures.

However, for other cosmetic dental procedures, such as dental implants, Invisalign and full mouth restoration, specialized training is needed.

A dentist can gain additional experience and training in cosmetic dentistry in the following ways:

  • Through fellowships – specialized medical/dental training that focuses on developing skills and knowledge needed to offer cosmetic dentistry
  • Residencies – training that your dentist took part in after they have completed their medical/dental school. Residencies allow your dentist to gain hands-on experience working in specialized fields, such as cosmetic dentistry.
  • Advanced courses – advanced training and educational courses are often necessary for dentists who wish to offer oral surgery, surgical tooth extractions, dental implant placement, dental implant restoration and bone grafts.
  • Attending courses offered by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD)

Specific Dental Procedures Performed by Cosmetic Dentists

A number of different cosmetic dental procedures may be needed to help you achieve your smile goals. Some of the dental procedures, such as fillings or basic tooth extractions, may be able to be performed by both a general dentist and a cosmetic dentist. However, some procedures may require the experience and knowledge of a specialized cosmetic dentist.

Dental procedures that both general dentists and cosmetic dentists can perform to improve your smile include:

  • Dental fillings
  • Dental crowns
  • Basic tooth extractions
  • Professional cleanings
  • Teeth whitening

Procedures that are often performed by a dentist with additional or specialized training include:

  • Dental implants
  • Dental bridges
  • Porcelain crowns
  • Veneers
  • Teeth bonding
  • Some types of professional teeth whitening
  • Dentures

Questions to Ask Yourself to Help You Determine if You Should See Your General Dentist for Cosmetic Dentistry

Whether or not you choose to use your general dentist for cosmetic dental services will depend upon your own personal comfort level. To help you determine if you should use your general dentist for cosmetic dentistry or instead visit a dentist with specialized training, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How comfortable are you with your dentist? – You want to feel comfortable and at ease with your dentist who is performing the cosmetic dental procedures. You should feel able to ask questions and voice concerns.
  • Are dental procedures explained to you in a way you can understand?
  • Do you feel welcomed at the dental office? – You may be visiting the dental office several times while undergoing a smile transformation. You will want to feel welcome at the dental office as you will be spending a lot of time there.
  • Are you able to see before and after pictures of your dentist’s work? – Ask to see before and after pictures of your dentist’s work. This will help you get a better idea of what type of results you can expect to experience.
  • Do you know what type of results you expect to see from your dental procedures? – Most experienced cosmetic dentists use a smile simulator to help patients visualize what their smile will look like after completing treatment. The use of a smile simulator allows patients to see how their smile will change with treatment. If any problems arise or results aren’t as expected, patients and their dentist can work together to find a treatment option that will procedure the desired results.
  • Does your dentist work together with you as a team? – It takes teamwork to achieve your smile goals. Find a dentist listens to you, asks questions and creates a customized treatment plan so both your clinical dental needs and aesthetic goals are being met.

Let Our Rockville Dentists Help You Reach Your Smile Goals

Whether you are looking to make minor adjustments to your smile or whiten your teeth or you want a full smile makeover, our team at Pike & Valega, DDS is there to help. We offer a wide variety of general, cosmetic and restorative dental services that can not only transform and change your smile, but improve your overall oral health.

One of the benefits of choosing Pike & Valega, DDS to help with your smile transformation is we rarely have to send you out to a specialist. Our dentists have experience performing various general and cosmetic dental procedures that range from dental fillings and root canals to veneers and dental crowns.

In the event that you need surgical tooth extractions or placement of dental implants as part of your smile transformation, you won’t have to be sent out to a separate dental office for these procedures. Dr. D. Timothy Pike has extensive experience with implant dentistry, oral surgery procedures such as bone grafts and sinus augmentations, and surgical tooth extractions.

Curious to see how we can help you improve your smile? Call us to schedule a consultation. During your consultation, we will discuss your aesthetic goals and help you explore various treatment options that will help you improve your smile. We take the time to answer questions and help you make informed decisions regarding your dental care.

Call our Rockville dental office or Poolesville dental office to schedule a complimentary consultation. We look forward to meeting with you and seeing how we can help you get the smile you have always wanted.

How Sleep Apnea Affects the Way You Look and Feel

October 12, 2022

Sleep apnea does more than just cause you to feel tired throughout the day and snore loudly at night. It can also affect the way that you look and feel.

Continue reading to find out how exactly sleep apnea affects you and learn how the dentists at Pike & Valega, DDS, located in Rockville and Poolesville, Maryland, may be able to help you if you suffer from this condition.

What is Sleep Apnea?

When you sleep, your airways are relaxed and you are able to breathe freely and easily throughout the night. For people with sleep apnea that doesn’t happen.

People with sleep apnea experience an extremely narrowing or complete closure of the airways while they sleep. The narrowing or closure of the airways causes you to stop breathing which results in an interruption in your sleep.

Diminished Quality of Sleep from Sleep Apnea Affects How You Look and Feel

Constantly being woken in the middle of the night from sleep apnea diminishes your quality of sleep. Not getting a proper night’s sleep can cause a number of problems, such problems with cell rejuvenation and immune function, which can affect how you look and feel.

Examples of How Sleep Apnea Affects Your Physical Appearance

Everyone’s experience with sleep apnea is different. However, the following are some examples of how sleep apnea may affect your physical appearance.

Sleep apnea may cause you to experience:

  • Facial swelling
  • Appearance of dark circles under your eyes
  • Dropping or floppy eyelids
  • Skin around the facial area may appear thinner and have less volume
  • Facial skin can appear redder or discolored
  • Reduce the appearance of front jaw prominence
  • Dry skin which appears red, irritated or duller

Examples of How Sleep Apnea Affects How You Feel

Sleep apnea doesn’t just cause changes to your physical appearance. It can affect your emotional and physical health.

Some examples of how sleep apnea affects your emotional and physical health include:

  • Overall feeling of fatigue – you may often feel as if you lack energy all the time and feel tired
  • Increased anxiety – the constant interruption of your sleep can cause you to feel jittery or anxious throughout the day
  • Increased forgetfulness or feeling as if you are in a fog – you may feel as if your thoughts are foggy or vague or you may notice you seem more forgetful
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Increased feelings of depression
  • Increase in the number of colds and infections you experience – a lack of quality sleep impacts your immune system which can make you more susceptible to colds and other infections
  • Weight gain or weight loss

Just because you experience these problems, doesn’t mean it is caused by sleep apnea. Other medical problems could be causing these emotional and physical changes.

If you experience any of these changes, it is best you discuss them with your doctor. A doctor can order additional testing and help you determine if the changes you are experiencing are from sleep apnea or another medical condition.

How can a Dentist Help with Sleep Apnea?

At Pike & Valega, DDS, we provide dental sleep medicine services to our patients. Dental sleep medicine is a very specific area of dentistry that focuses on helping to treat or correct sleep-disordered breathing issues caused by obstructive sleep apnea or snoring with the use of oral dental appliances.

Patients who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea and other sleep-related breathing disorders may benefit from wearing a customized mouth guard at night. The customized mouthguard will shift the position of the jaw so it is less likely that your airways collapse or narrow while sleeping.

If our dental team at Pike & Valega, DDS suspects you may be suffering from sleep apnea or other sleep-related disorders, we may recommend you undergo a sleep study. The sleep study can help us determine what if any sleep-related disorders you are suffering from and the severity of the issues. Once that is determined, we can determine what treatment options are right for you.

The dental team at Pike & Valega, DDS has experience in creating customized mouth guards for individuals who suffer from mild to moderate sleep apnea. We use a combination of digital impressions and imaging to create a mouth guard that is specifically designed to help treat your sleep apnea.

Schedule an Appointment with Our Dentists to Discuss Sleep Apnea Treatment Options

Many of the problems you experience from sleep apnea go away once you have started treatment. If you suspect you may suffer from sleep apnea, we encourage you to schedule an appointment to discuss this issue with our dentists.

Our dentists will be able to assess your situation and determine if you may be suffering from sleep apnea. We can help you explore possible treatment options, such as creating a customized mouth guard, and even provide recommendations or referrals to a sleep specialist who can conduct a sleep study.

Call us today to schedule an appointment to speak with our dental team and learn more about how we may be able to help you if you suffer from sleep apnea.

 

How to Decide if a Dental Bridge is Right for You

September 14, 2022

It is recommended that you replace missing teeth as soon as possible to avoid experiencing additional dental problems. Fixed dental bridges are a popular tooth restoration option that many of our patients at Pike & Valega, DDS, located in Rockville and Poolesville, MD, choose to use to fill in the gaps caused by missing teeth.

While fixed dental bridges are a great option for tooth restoration, not everyone is a good candidate for this type of procedure. To help you decide if a fixed dental bridge is right for you, take the following things into consideration.

The Health of Your Teeth

The health of your teeth, especially the teeth on both sides of the area where the teeth are missing, is extremely important if you are thinking of getting a dental bridge. The teeth need to be healthy in order to support the fixed dental bridge. If the supporting teeth are weak, a fixed dental bridge will eventually fail.

If the surrounding teeth aren't healthy, you may still be able to get a dental bridge. An implant-supported dental bridge may be an option if you have healthy gums and bone.

At Pike & Valega, DDS, we offer both fixed dental bridges and implant-supported dental bridges as part of our dental services.

Number of Teeth Missing

Fixed dental bridges can be used to replace anywhere from one to three teeth. If you are replacing more than one tooth, all the missing teeth need to be consecutive if you are to be a good candidate for a fixed dental bridge.

While a fixed dental bridge could replace more than three teeth, other dental restorations, such as partial dentures or full dentures, may be a better option for your situation. The dental team at Pike & Valega, DDS can help you explore all treatment options so you can make a well-informed decision regarding which treatment option is best for you.

Non-Surgical Option for Tooth Replacement

Many of our patients choose a fixed dental bridge because it produces natural looking results without the need for oral surgery. Other tooth replacement options, such as dental implants, require oral surgery. If you are reluctant to undergo oral surgery, a fixed dental bridge is a non-surgical option for tooth restoration.

Healthy gums are needed to provide a strong, sturdy foundation for a fixed dental bridge. If you suffer from gum disease, you may need to undergo treatment for it before you can get a fixed dental bridge.

Commitment to Practicing Good Oral Hygiene

Good candidates for this tooth restoration procedure are committed to practicing good oral hygiene in order to prevent plaque and tartar from building up around the fixed dental bridge. If plaque and tartar are left to accumulate around the edges of the dental bridge or around the healthy teeth that support the bridge, it could cause the entire dental restoration to fail.

A good candidate for a fixed dental bridge is someone who is committed to daily brushing and flossing as well as scheduling regular dental exams and professional cleanings.

Understand that the Dental Bridge Will Need to be Replaced

Fixed dental bridges are strong and sturdy, but they aren't built to last forever. With good oral hygiene, regular dental exams and professional cleanings, a fixed dental bridge can last anywhere from 5 to 10 years or even more before needing to be replaced.

A good candidate for a fixed dental bridge is someone who understands that this dental restoration is not permanent. They understand that the dental bridge will need to be replaced sometime in the future so as to avoid any dental problems, such as additional tooth loss, teeth shifting or bone loss.

Number of Appointments Need to Complete the Procedure

Fixed dental bridges are a great option for individuals who want to quickly replace missing teeth. Other restoration options, such as dental implants, can require multiple appointments and it could take up to a year to complete the entire procedure. Our patients often choose a fixed dental bridge because they can get natural-looking results in a fraction of the time it would take for other dental restorations.

With a fixed dental bridge, multiple office appointments will be needed, but the entire procedure can usually be completed in just a few weeks.

During the first appointment, your teeth will be prepared for the dental bridge. This requires our dentist to shave down the surrounding teeth to prepare them for the crowns that will support the fixed dental bridge. Impressions are then taken to be used for the creation of the dental bridge. A temporary bridge is placed until the permanent bridge has been completed.

The second appointment is when the permanent bridge is placed. Our dentist will remove the temporary bridge and clean the area. The permanent bridge is then placed in the area and adjustments may be made to make it fit properly. Once all adjustments have been made, the fixed dental bridge is cemented into place.

Schedule a Consultation and Explore Treatment Options

So many different factors need to be considered to determine if a fixed dental bridge is right for you. We encourage you to schedule a consultation with the dental team at Pike & Valega, DDS to discuss the best treatment options for your unique situation.

At your scheduled consultation, Dr. D. Timothy Pike or Dr. Margaret A. Valega will conduct a thorough examination to assess the health of your teeth and gums. Additional imaging may be taken, such as digital x-rays, to determine what, if any, bone loss has occurred.

After gathering all the necessary information, our dental team will discuss your treatment options. If you aren't a good candidate for a fixed dental bridge, we can recommend other treatment options that may work better for you.

Call us to schedule a consultation. We look forward to helping you explore your treatment options and finding the right one for you.

 

7 Benefits of Having A Dentist Treat Your Sleep Apnea

August 6, 2022

Ensuring your body gets enough sleep these days can be challenging, but even moreso if you experience obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) at night. This sleep disturbance can wreak havoc not only on how you feel but also negatively impact your physical and mental well-being.

Fortunately, your trusted dentist can provide you with the beneficial treatments you need to manage the OSA and get a better night’s rest.

What Is Obstructive Sleep Apnea?

Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is a condition where you stop breathing periodically during the night. The common cause for the pauses in breath is a physical blockage of the anatomical airway. This blockage is usually the result of the soft tissues located in the back of your throat collapsing or the tongue sliding back.

Each time this blockage happens, it results in a lack of oxygen which alerts your brain that something is wrong, and you temporarily awaken in order to restart your breathing.

Signs that you may be suffering from obstructive sleep apnea include:

  • Insomnia

  • Loud snoring

  • Snorting or making choking sounds during the night (as breathing restarts)

  • Waking up and feeling a shortness of breath

  • Morning headaches

  • Dry mouth

  • Extreme drowsiness during the day

While your dentist can treat OSA, you’ll first need a diagnosis by a physician, who is usually a sleep medicine specialist.

7 Benefits of Having a Dentist Treat Your Obstructive Sleep Apnea

The treatment for obstructive sleep apnea can vary depending upon severity. However, oral devices are often prescribed by your dentist to help position the mouth as you sleep, preventing the airway from becoming blocked.

There are numerous benefits for having a dentist treat your obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) with oral appliance therapy, including the following seven.

1. Customized Oral Appliance Selection and Fit

Your dentist will conduct thorough examinations of your current dental and periodontal health and also your throat anatomy. Since dentists specialize in oral health, they know what to look for and can easily identify whether or not you are a candidate for oral appliance therapy.

Once it’s determined that an oral device will be helpful to you, one of the following types will most likely be selected and fitted.

  • Mandibular Advancement Device (MAD): Similar in appearance to mouth guards, MADs slip over your upper and lower teeth with a hinge in the center to keep the two trays connected. Once in place, the device positions the lower jaw and tongue slightly forward as you sleep. This forward positioning prevents the soft tissues in the back of your mouth from moving to block the airway as you relax.

  • Tongue-Retaining Mouthpiece: A tongue-retaining mouthpiece fits over and around your tongue, holding it in place with light suction. It keeps the tongue from slipping back into your airway while you sleep.

2. Regularly Scheduled Follow-Ups

Once fitted with your oral appliance, you’ll return periodically for a check-up. During these follow-up appointments, your dentist will check the device to make sure it remains effective and may need to readjust the fitting inside your mouth.

You’ll also receive a dental and periodontal exam to ensure they both remain healthy and there are no adverse effects to the treatment.

You can also expect your dentist to frequently communicate with the diagnosing physician so your overall health is monitored as well.

3. More Restful Sleep

With a well-fitting oral device, you can more easily adjust to wearing it at nighttime. As it works to keep your airway open, you’ll receive a more restful sleep, which can make a positive impact on your quality of life.

You’ll begin to notice you feel less drowsy during the day. The morning headache may disappear, and your partner may tell you you no longer snore as you sleep.

4. An Increase in Bodily Well-Being

Sleep is medicine to the body, and without it your well-being can deteriorate. Untreated obstructive sleep apnea interferes with your ability to enter deep sleep, and it is this stage of the sleep cycle that benefits your body’s well-being the most.

With treatment, you’re more likely to enter that deep sleep, allowing your body to naturally go to work restoring your energy, generating new cells, and increasing blood flow to muscles to increase your well-being.

5. Lower Risk of Developing Certain Health Conditions

Undiagnosed and untreated sleep apnea can negatively impact the cardiovascular, respiratory, endocrine, digestive, and nervous systems of the body.

Treatment overseen by your dentist and collaborated with your diagnosing physician can lead to less sleep disturbances and better rest. In turn, you lower your risk for developing certain health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, hypertension, and cancer.

6. Enhanced Memory, Focus, and Productivity

As your treatment continues, you will notice a change in your abilities when it comes to memory, focus, and productivity. With more restful sleep and the ability to reach those deeper levels of the sleep cycle, your brain has a chance to relax and repair itself in ways that contribute to having a better memory and focus. In turn, your productivity can soar.

7. Better Managing of Diabetes

With sleep apnea, you are at a higher risk for developing diabetes. With treatment, you experience enhanced insulin resistance which lowers that risk considerably.

If you already have diabetes, sleep apnea left untreated can worsen blood sugar control, making it more difficult to manage effectively. Once you begin treatment, however, you should find your diabetes much more manageable.

As you can see, having your dentist treat your obstructive sleep apnea is highly beneficial in numerous ways, both to your comfort, convenience, and overall health.

Contact Pike & Valega, DDS Today to Discuss Treatment for Your Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Getting a good night’s sleep can make all the difference, and when obstructive sleep apnea is interfering, we might be able to help. If you already have a diagnosis or need a referral to a sleep apnea specialist, our team can work with you to determine if oral appliance therapy is an option. Contact Pike & Valega, DDS today and schedule a treatment consultation.

When Is Root Canal Treatment Needed?

July 7, 2022

One of the best ways to ensure good oral health is daily brushing and flossing. This habit not only helps your teeth remain attractive when you smile but also keeps them strong and functioning so you can enjoy all your favorite foods. Yet, when sudden pain develops or teeth become sensitive, you may be left wondering what could possibly be wrong.

Symptoms such as these can result from different things, but if severe and persistent, you might need a root canal treatment. While this can create anxiety or concern, it may help to understand more about what a root canal treatment is and when it is needed.

What is Root Canal Treatment Exactly?

A root canal treatment is a specific procedure to address an infected tooth and involves a thorough clearing out of the inflamed inner pulp. It is essential to prevent the spread of infection into the nearby teeth, gums, jaw, and also into the bloodstream.

Your dentist will numb the area of the tooth first, or, if you choose, you can undergo sedation during the procedure. After creating a small incision in the top part of your tooth to gain access to the pulp, your dentist will gently remove the infected tissue inside.

Once cleaned, a resin material is used to fill the inner tooth to help keep the tooth structure intact. The last step then is to seal the small hole made to reach the tooth’s root.

At some point following the treatment, you most likely will need a dental crown or other restoration fitted over your natural tooth for stronger protection.

While root canal treatments fall under the specialty known as endodontics, many dentists today offer them right in their office, making it more convenient for patients.

Signs a Root Canal Treatment May Be Needed

Confusion often surrounds knowing whether or not a root canal treatment is needed. If you are concerned, look for the following signs and discuss them with your dentist.

Sharp, Severe Persistent Pain

If you have severe pain in a tooth that doesn’t go away, it’s a sign that something is seriously wrong. It may be a throbbing pain or only worsen as pressure is applied, such as when you bite down on that tooth or lay on that side of your face. The pain can be persistent or come and go at times. It may also radiate outwards to your other teeth, jaw, or face.

Tooth Sensitivity

Your tooth becomes increasingly sensitive to hot or cold temperatures, such as when sipping coffee or eating ice cream. This sensitivity may feel like a sharp, sudden pain or a dull ache and is often a sign that the nerves and blood vessels in a tooth are damaged or infected.

Cracks or Chips in Tooth

Cracks or chips can form in teeth as a result of some type of trauma, often occurring during contact sports, falls, and when chewing ice or biting into nuts or hard candies. They can also occur due to unattended decay or infection inside the tooth.

Tooth Appears Discolored (Grayish black appearance)

Discoloration or darkening of the tooth can indicate an infection in the pulp. As the pulp dies inside the tooth, the blood supply reaching it is inadequate. Such damage to the roots can make the tooth appear grayish-black as a result.

Swollen, Tender, or Discolored Gums

Changes to your gums surrounding a tooth can also indicate that you have an infected tooth. If they are swollen, feel tender, and become slightly painful to your touch, it may be a sign that a root canal is indeed necessary. A darkening color to the gums can also indicate that the tooth is dying, and the gums may decay as well.

Fistula or Abscess

When bumps, called fistulas, develop on the gums, it can also be a sign that the tooth is infected and needs a root canal. Another sign is an abscess forming, usually at the base of the tooth or hidden from view and only detectable by X-ray.

When Is a Root Canal Treatment Needed?

Certain circumstances can confirm that a root canal is needed. These include:

  • A tooth has undergone several dental procedures already, such as fillings or crown replacements, deteriorating the structure of the tooth itself and exposing the inner pulp.
  • A cavity or tooth decay reaches deep within the tooth, breaking into its pulp and allowing harmful bacteria to enter. If not treated, it can destroy the remaining tooth, and the infection itself can enter the bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body.
  • Severe trauma occurs to the tooth and results in nerve tissue damage.
  • You sustain a tooth injury that causes major chips, cracks, and breaks of the tooth’s structure.
  • There are unseen injuries to the tooth’s interior, found during an X-ray by your dentist.

Contact Pike & Valega, DDS Today for All Your Dental Needs

Concern about a dental issue or particular tooth can create anxiety and even apprehension when it comes to seeking treatment. The compassionate team at Pike & Valega, DDS understands this and is here to help you through the process, whether it requires a root canal treatment or other beneficial procedure. Contact our office today and make an appointment to find out more or to help solve any of your dental needs.

Are dental implants painful? What You Need to Know

April 22nd, 2020

Whether it is the result of tooth decay, gum disease, or injury, millions of people suffer tooth loss. Dental implants provide a strong replacement tooth root for fixed replacement teeth that are designed to match your natural teeth. Of course, there is one question all patients have about dental implants: are they painful?

Dental implant placement is performed under local or general anesthesia and is not considered a painful procedure. However, if the surgery is more complicated and involves bone or tissue grafts, there may be slightly more discomfort and swelling. At the same time, every patient has a different threshold for pain, so what may bother one person may not bother another. If you experience any pain from dental implants, there are several things can do to relive it.

Relieving Pain from Dental Implants

1. The initial healing phase can last up to seven to ten days. Over-the-counter painkillers such as Tylenol, Ibuprofen, and Motrin work well to alleviate any pain or discomfort you may experience. However, only take these if instructed to by Dr. Pike and Dr. Valega.

2. Once you leave our Poolesville and Rockville MD office, you can reduce inflammation and any swelling to your cheek or lip by holding an ice-pack on your face over the implant area.

3. Your gum will be tender for the first few days. We often recommended that you bathe your gums with warm salt water.

4. Steer clear of crusty or hard foods for the first day or two. Ice cream, yogurt, and other soft foods are ideal as your gums will be tender.

5. Dental implants are a relatively straightforward oral procedure. Many people take time off from work to have dental implant surgery, and then return to regular activities. However, if you are feeling any pain or discomfort, there is nothing wrong with taking the day off, relaxing, and putting your feet up.

There is typically no severe post-operative pain with dental implants. When most people return for a follow-up appointment about two weeks later, they often say that getting a dental implant was one of the least painful procedures they’ve experienced.

The History of Dental Implants

April 15th, 2020

The earliest endeavors for dental implant tooth substitutes on record dates back to the Mayan civilization, to 600 AD. Archeologists recovered primeval skulls in which the teeth had been replaced with materials the ranged from wood, stones, and jewels to small pieces of seashells.

Like most scientific progresses, the finding of what makes todays dental implants so successful was unexpected. In 1952, a Swedish orthopedic surgeon, named Dr. Branemark, placed a very small titanium cylinder into a bone to learn how the bone would heal. What he discovered was that the titanium cylinder had fused (melded to the bone.) Out of this experiment dental implants would be born within two decades.

In 1970s, modern dental implants made their first appearance. Of course, over the past four decades, the original dental implant has undergone several improvements in both structure and design, but has always been based on the original theme.

Dental implants were first made available to individuals who had lost all of their teeth and had difficulty wearing dentures, mainly because they had lost of much of their jawbone were dentures set. Today, most dental implants are used in place of dentures, for multiple teeth that are missing, or to replace a single tooth.

When dental implants were first designed, they were a one size fits all. The original dental implants were all the same circumference, while the length of each tooth varied depending on the type of tooth it was replacing. The dental implants were smoothed out and polished by a machine, but still did not produce the natural looking dental implants we have today.

Now, with the help of state-of-the-art equipment and advanced technology, implants come in a wide variety of sizes and shape to match the teeth that are missing. The surfaces of today’s dental implants give them a more natural look and feel. In addition, the surface of the dental implant also attaches to the bone much easier and for a longer period of time.

Dr. Branemark's discovery has left an impression on dental professionals, all over the world, including Dr. Pike and Dr. Valega. If you are considering dental implants to improve your smile’s health, beauty, and function, be sure to contact our Poolesville and Rockville MD office to schedule an appointment.

How do I care for my dental implant?

April 8th, 2020

Dental implants are designed to be strong and durable, able to withstand the everyday rigors of chewing and biting, but to keep them functioning the way they should and looking their best, you need to care for them properly. Luckily, dental implant care is fairly straightforward; in fact, your implants can be cared for the same way you care for your natural teeth, with regular brushing and flossing performed correctly, as well as regular visits with Dr. Pike and Dr. Valega to ensure your implants, the neighboring teeth, and your gums are as healthy as possible.

Before the actual replacement tooth is attached to the implant post, you may want to avoid harshly abrasive toothpastes, such as those with baking soda or those designed to get rid of significant staining. These abrasives may damage the threads of the posts or irritate the gum and soft tissue surrounding the posts, causing inflammation or bleeding.

As the implant heals and “settles in,” a special kind of protective tissue called “keratinized” tissue will form where the implant meet the gum. This natural development in healing helps ensure the implant post and the soft tissue beneath the gum line are protected from bacteria.

As you care for your implants, always look for signs of infection, like swollen, tender, or bleeding gums – just as you would with your normal teeth. If you're nervous about caring for your implants or you feel you may be reluctant to floss around them, ask our team to provide you with care tips and walk you through the process of flossing.

Your implants represent a considerable investment both in time and money, so it's only natural you'd want to be sure you're doing all you can to keep them in top shape. Remember: dental implants are designed to replace your natural teeth, and they're also designed to be cared for in much the same way as you care for your natural teeth. Although you may be a little nervous at first, you'll soon become as used to your new implants as you are to your natural teeth, and caring for them will become second nature.

More questions? Simply as at your next visit to our Poolesville and Rockville MD office!

This April, Let’s Celebrate National Facial Protection Month!

April 1st, 2020

Poor April. While other months celebrate romance, or giving thanks, or costumes and candy, April has—April Fool’s Day and a tax deadline. We might be forgiven for thinking these two dates seem more like warnings than celebrations.

So here’s a new topic for the April calendar: National Facial Protection Month! Take the opportunity this month to review your safety practices while you’re enjoying your favorite activities.

  • Mouthguards

If you have a mouthguard for sports or athletic activities, wear it! In any activity or sport where humans come into contact with solid objects (including other humans) tooth injury is possible. A mouthguard will help protect you from dental injuries caused by falls, physical contact, or other accidents that might happen in your active life. And it’s not just your teeth—mouthguards protect your lips, tongue, and jaw as well.

You can buy mouthguards in stock sizes or shape-to-fit options, or you can have a guard custom made especially for you at our Poolesville and Rockville MD office. Custom mouthguards fit perfectly and are designed to make breathing and speaking easy and comfortable. And if you wear braces or have fixed dental work such as a bridge, a custom mouthguard can protect your smile and your appliances. Talk to Dr. Pike and Dr. Valega about mouthguards for some great advice on how to protect your teeth and mouth.

As long as we’re discussing facial protection, let’s look at some other ways to keep safe as you keep active.

  • Helmets

If there’s a helmet available for your sport, use it! Helmets are especially important for protecting athletes from brain injury and concussion, and they help protect the face and jaw as well.

  • Face Guards

If you’ve experienced a puck speeding toward you, or a defensive tackle hurtling your way, or a fast ball coming in at 90 miles an hour, you know the importance of wearing a face guard. These guards can help protect your eyes, face, teeth, and jaws. Many sports now recommend using face guards—it’s worth checking to see if your sport is one of them.

  • Eye Protection

And let’s not forget eye protection. Whether it’s safety glasses or a visor, protecting your eyes and the bones around them is extremely important. You can even get sports goggles or protective sports glasses with prescription lenses to keep you safe and seeing clearly.

We have the training and experience to help treat and restore injured teeth. But we will be the first to tell you, the very best treatment is prevention!

So here are a few suggestions for your calendar this month:

  • If you haven’t gotten a mouthguard yet, now’s the time. Tooth and mouth injuries occur in sports beyond hockey and football. If you play basketball, ski, skateboard, ride a bike—in fact, almost any sport where you can fall or make contact with a person or object—a mouthguard is a must.
  • If you need to replace an ill-fitting or damaged helmet and face guard, do it before your next game. And do replace a bike helmet if you’ve been in a crash—most likely it won’t be as protective, even if damage isn’t visible.
  • Talk to your eye doctor about protective eyewear if off-the-rack products don’t work for you.
  • If you are a parent or caregiver, make sure your child athlete has the proper facial protection—and uses it.
  • If you are a coach, make sure your athletes have the right protective gear—and wear it.
  • It’s also a great time to commit to using your protective gear every single time you’re active.

But, wait—these reminders are helpful and important, but weren’t we promised something to celebrate this April? Good catch! The great news is, using facial protection for sports and athletic activities gives you rewards you can celebrate all year: fewer injuries, fewer visits to the emergency room, and a beautiful, healthy, intact smile. Suit up!

Receive Our Free DVD

Fill out the form below or call:
(800) 608-9267 (Rockville) or (800) 704-2147 (Poolesville)