Dentist in Baltimore
Normal flow of saliva provides lubrication for swallowing and begins the process of digestion while you chew. Saliva also protects your teeth by neutralizing and washing away acids, sugars, and other particles left behind after eating. From time to time, we all experience some amount of dry mouth. Hot weather, exercise, and dehydration can all cause a temporary decrease in saliva production. However, if you have chronic dry mouth, or xerostomia, you could be at risk of serious oral health complications. Some of the oral health issues commonly associated with dry mouth include:
- Much higher rates of tooth decay
- Oral yeast infection
- Bad breath (halitosis)
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Constant sore throat
- Soft tissue infections
- Difficulty swallowing
- Denture discomfort
The most common cause of chronic dry mouth is medication. More than 400 over-the-counter and prescription medications include dry mouth as a frequent side effect. Dry mouth is also associated with stress, autoimmune and other systemic diseases, hormonal changes, radiation or chemotherapy treatment for cancers, and salivary gland disease. You may find relief from dry mouth through a variety of methods. Some easy options to help alleviate your dry mouth include:
- Increased water intake
- Sugar-free candies or gum
- Artificial saliva, as recommended by doctor or dentist
- Alcohol-free mouthwash
- Limiting alcohol, caffeine, and carbonated soft drinks
- Use a humidifier to add moisture to the air in your home
- Change in medication, only as directed by doctor
Brush and floss regularly to help prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other complications. If you are experiencing dry mouth, make an appointment and be sure to tell our team. We will review your medications and perform a thorough dental exam to check for any potential underlying oral health issues. For more information about dry mouth, contact our office.
Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive inflammation of the gum tissues. It is most frequently caused by bacterial infection. Left untreated, gum disease can have serious consequences for your oral and overall health. However, one of the biggest challenges for early detection and treatment of gum disease is its silence. Gum disease can often begin and progress with few or no symptoms until reaching an advanced stage. Gum disease is caused when the bacteria found in plaque builds up between the teeth and the gums. As the bacteria grow, the gums can become inflamed and pull away from the teeth. When gum disease is not treated promptly, it can worsen, leading to increased gum recession, infection, and bone loss. In addition, periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults. Gum disease also impacts other aspects of your overall health. Research has found links between gum disease and diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and other serious inflammatory illnesses. To help prevent gum disease, ensure you are practicing strong oral hygiene habits, including brushing, flossing, use of mouthwash, and regular dental examinations. Be aware of your risk factors for developing gum disease, such as age, tobacco use, genetics, stress, medications, grinding, obesity, or other inflammatory diseases, among others. Consider having an annual periodontal evaluation. While symptoms may not appear until later stages of the disease, it is important to watch for the warning signs of gum disease. Some of these include:
- Red, swollen, or tender gums
- Mouth pain
- Bleeding gums caused by brushing, flossing, or eating hard foods
- Loose or separating teeth
- Pus between gums or teeth
- Mouth sores
- Chronic bad breath
- Gums receding or pulling away from teeth
- Changes in your bite or the fit of dentures
Gum disease can start silently, but may cause great damage if left untreated. Once gum disease has started, it can be effectively treated, but not fully cured. Protect your oral and overall health with preventive care and regular periodontal screenings. For more information about gum disease or to schedule your periodontal screening, contact our office.
Dentist in Baltimore
Root canal, or endodontic, therapy treats inflammation or infection within the pulp of a tooth. If you are awaiting your first root canal treatment, you may feel anxious or uncertain. It can be difficult to separate myth from fact when trying to learn what to expect. Here is some useful information about root canal therapy and some common misperceptions you may encounter. Despite common belief, root canal therapy does not cause pain. Instead, it relieves the pain you are already experiencing by treating the underlying cause of the infection or inflammation. Some common reasons for tooth pulp inflammation or infection include:
- Deep tooth decay
- Chip or crack in tooth structure
- Tooth root fracture
- Periodontal (gum) disease
- Repeated treatment on a single tooth
Once inflammation begins, the pulp experiences swelling and pressure that cause pain. If left untreated, permanent damage to the pulp can occur, including pulp tissue death. When this happens, you may experience temporary relief of pain, but it may lead to painful infection and tooth loss. Root canal therapy is the removal of diseased or dead pulp tissue from the inside of a tooth. We use specially designed instruments that clean out the pulp chamber and root canals. Next, we disinfect the canals with special medications and clean them once more. Finally, we seal the canals to prevent re-infection. You may experience minor discomfort for a few days, but this can usually be managed with over-the-counter medications. After your root canal treatment, your tooth will need a permanent restoration to replace the lost tooth structure and protect the remaining tooth. This may be a filling or crown, depending on your need. We will discuss your restoration plan with you prior to your root canal therapy. Whenever possible, saving your natural tooth is our goal. Root canal therapy can help to preserve your tooth. To learn more about root canal therapy or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.
Dentist in Baltimore, MD
For decades, scientists have been studying the links between periodontal (gum) disease and heart disease. Over the years, research has continued to find strong correlations between these two inflammatory conditions. While there is work yet to be done, we have already discovered connections that may influence how we approach health care in the future. Consider a few key components of the gum disease – heart disease relationship. Gum disease and heart disease share many of the same risk factors. Some of these include smoking, obesity, stress, nutrition, and more. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 70% of Americans aged 65 and older currently have periodontitis – the most advanced form of gum disease. Recent studies have suggested that patients with heart disease may have increased likelihood of developing gum disease as well. Likewise, gum disease increases your risk of heart disease. This may be due to the higher rates of inflammation in your body that occur with gum disease. If you already have a heart condition, gum disease may worsen your illness. One study published in 2015 noted an increase in the severity of heart attacks in patients with gum disease. Heart disease is currently the leading cause of death for both men and women in the U.S. Treating gum disease may decrease your odds of contracting or worsening heart disease. A study published in 2014 found that patients who were treated for gum disease had fewer hospitalizations and lower health care costs related to heart disease. While more research is needed to determine the exact nature of this connection, it is clear that avoiding or treating gum disease can be considered an important part of prevention and treatment for heart disease, as well. You can reduce your risk of serious health complications from heart disease or gum disease. Healthy diet, regular exercise, good dental hygiene, and avoiding tobacco can all help reduce to your risk of developing one or both of these conditions. See your doctor and our dentist regularly for preventive care and treatment. To schedule your periodontal screening, contact our office today.
Dentist in Baltimore
Welcome to Dr. Garcia General & Cosmetic Dentistry. We love getting to know our new patients! Whether you’re a new patient yourself or referring a friend or family member to our office, we know that it can be stressful to wonder just what to expect during the first visit with us. We want our new patients to be able to relax and feel confident about their choice of dental home. To that end, please review or share this description of our initial appointment. Greeting: Our team is ready to greet you the moment you arrive. We want you to feel comfortable when you are here. If you are anxious about your appointment, let us know. Our team is compassionate and highly experienced in helping to alleviate dental fear. Professional cleaning: During your first professional cleaning appointment, our expert hygienist will gently and thoroughly clean your teeth to remove any plaque or tartar and complete the first check for potential oral health issues, such as tooth decay, sensitivity, or periodontal disease. Background information: We will ask you some detailed questions about your oral health and overall health, your health history, and goals for your smile. We need to know about any chronic health issues, ongoing treatments, or medications you may be taking. All of these can impact both your oral health and the treatments we recommend for you. Evaluation: Our dentist will thoroughly and gently examine your mouth and teeth. We may recommend x-rays for a more thorough view of your teeth and bone structure. We will check for any signs of potential oral health concerns, including an oral cancer screening. Let us know if you are experiencing any symptoms. Follow-up: At the end of your appointment, we will discuss our recommendations for your next appointment and any treatments you may want or need. We will also talk with you about your oral hygiene habits, how you feel about your teeth, and any goals you have for improving the appearance of your smile. We encourage you to ask every question you have so we can help you make informed choices about your care. Your comfort and your healthy smile are our primary focus. If you have any questions or concerns about your oral health or if you would like to review your options for improving the look of your smile, contact our office.
Dentist in Baltimore, MD
Calcium is an important mineral for building strong, healthy teeth, but not everyone can tolerate the lactose found in dairy. Lactose is a sugar found in milk and other dairy products. About 65% of people have reduced ability to process lactose past infancy. If you have difficulty with lactose but want to ensure you are getting the calcium you need, consider one of these non-dairy sources of natural calcium.
- Canned seafood, such as sardines and salmon, can be a good source of calcium. These inexpensive options actually contain more calcium than their fresh counterparts. Canned seafood contains small, soft, edible bones that are generally unnoticeable but can be a great way to add calcium to a salad or other dish.
- Calcium-fortified juices are available in both orange and cranberry varieties. These juices taste the same as non-fortified options, but contain a substantial amount of calcium. Check the label to ensure it is a calcium-fortified juice.
- Soy, rice, and almond milks offer added calcium and can be used as a milk substitute for many dishes. Experiment with different varieties to determine which flavor you like the most for each use. Try one of these milk alternatives on cereal or use in a cooked dish in place of regular milk. Soy, rice, and almond milks are available in a variety of flavors, including plain, sweetened, unsweetened, vanilla, and other options.
- Beans are a calcium-rich food. Black-eyed peas and baked beans are particularly high in calcium.
- Green vegetables are a good source of natural calcium. Collard, mustard, turnip, and dandelion greens, Chinese cabbage, spinach, kale, okra, and broccoli are all great choices for adding calcium to your diet.
- Nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts, or Brazil nuts are strong sources of calcium. Flaxseeds and sunflower seeds are a great snack or salad additive with calcium. Almond butter, cashew butter, and pumpkin seed butter are a fun and calcium-rich alternative to peanut butter.
- Breakfast cereals are highly fortified with several vitamins and minerals, including calcium. Old-fashioned rolled oatmeal adds calcium to your breakfast as well.
Calcium is important for developing and maintaining strong teeth and bones. If you have trouble with dairy, don’t let that stop you from consuming your recommended amount of daily calcium. For more information that can improve your oral health, contact our office.
Your smile is one of the first things a person will notice when you meet. If you would like to improve your smile with a simple procedure, teeth whitening may be a great option for you, especially if you have stained, dull or discolored teeth. Our dental office is providing teeth whitening services to new and existing patients. Regardless of how well you care for your teeth, over time, discoloration will occur. The main causes of stained teeth are genetics, antibiotics, tobacco and certain foods. As we age, our teeth darken as well. While preventing tooth discoloration is nearly impossible, our experienced team can help reverse the effects of discoloration by helping to create a whiter and brighter smile. Whether it’s an in-office treatment or at-home treatment, the principles of teeth whitening are the same. A special whitening agent is applied to the teeth in order to bleach the stains and brighten your smile. Our expert dentist will discuss your whitening needs and goals with you to determine which option is best for you. In-office teeth whitening is the quickest method to a brighter, whiter smile. With the supervision of an experienced dental professional, a stronger bleaching solution can be used than with at-home kits. Optimal results are achieved much faster with the professional whitening treatment, and in many ways the results are much better given the nature of the bleaching agents that are used. On average, patients find they appear up to ten years younger just by restoring the bright, white smile of their youth. During a professional teeth whitening treatment, we will first clean the teeth. Then we will apply a whitening agent to your teeth, carefully avoiding your gums and soft tissue. Once applied, a laser light will be directed at the teeth to expedite the process. For maximum results, the process may be repeated more than once. If a visit to our office for professional whitening isn’t an option for you, at-home treatment may provide the whitening you need. While you will find a vast variety of at-home teeth whitening products on the market, including whitening toothpastes, over-the-counter gels, rinses, strips, trays and more, we can fit you with custom-made whitening trays that will more accurately fit to your teeth for a more even whitening result. At-home teeth whitening results are less dramatic compared to those achieved at the dentist. While at-home teeth whitening is easy to use, it is not recommended if your teeth or gums are sensitive. If you are looking to brighten your smile and look ten years younger, contact our office for more information or to schedule a consultation today.
Baltimore, MD Dentist
Over 45% of U.S. adults have moderate to severe periodontal disease. Periodontal disease ranges from a mild inflammation of the gum tissues to periodontitis, a major oral disease that can result in soft tissue and bone damage and even tooth loss. Our experienced dentist is providing periodontal treatments to both new and existing patients who are suffering from any form of periodontal (gum) disease. One of the major causes of gum disease is practicing poor oral hygiene habits. Daily brushing and flossing and regular professional exams and cleanings are essential to maintaining optimal oral health. When these practices are not followed, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gumline. If this plaque is not properly removed, it may harden over time and become tartar. Once that occurs, only a dental professional can remove the tartar from teeth. If gum disease is not treated in a timely manner, tartar may continue to build. When this occurs, the gum disease may advance. Gums redden, swell, and become prone to bleeding from normal activities, such as brushing or eating. At this point, professional periodontal treatment is needed to prevent the disease from advancing further. When periodontal disease is not treated in a timely manner, it may become periodontitis. Periodontitis is the most advanced form of periodontal disease. With periodontitis, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small “pockets” along the gumline. These spaces are highly difficult to clean without professional intervention and can lead to rapid worsening in overall oral health. Without prompt and thorough treatment, bone, gums, and soft tissues may be destroyed by periodontitis. One of the leading causes of tooth loss in adults is periodontal disease. Some of the most common factors that contribute to periodontal disease developing include poor oral hygiene habits, diabetes, smoking, and female hormonal changes. Some medications can cause gum tissue to develop abnormal tissues, which can increase difficulty in proper cleaning of the teeth. People who are receiving treatment for AIDS are also at increased risk of developing periodontal disease. Our doctor has the training and experience to diagnose and treat every stage of periodontal disease. If you have symptoms of periodontal disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation. Some symptoms include: chronic halitosis (bad breath), sensitive teeth, red or swollen gums, sensitive or bleeding gums, and difficulty or pain with chewing. Our dentist provides excellent periodontal care for our patients, and welcomes new patient consultations. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact our office.
Dentist in Baltimore, MD
About 1 in 4 adults experience tooth loss between the ages of 21 and 30. Dental implants are a safe and long-term option for tooth replacement that improve the appearance and functionality of your smile. A dental implant can be paired with a replacement crown for single tooth replacement or can be used in small groups to anchor a denture or dental bridge. Dental implants are a strong, long-lasting solution for tooth loss and serve to prevent jaw bone loss in the same manner as a natural tooth root. There are many benefits to choosing dental implants as a tooth-replacement solution. Some of these include:
- Natural looking smile: Dental implants are crafted to closely resemble your natural teeth, restoring a natural-looking smile.
- Improved oral health: Since there is no need to alter surrounding teeth to anchor implants, more of your natural teeth are preserved intact, improving long-term oral health.
- Improved speech: With removable, non-anchored dentures, teeth can slip within the mouth, causing slurred or mumbled speech. Dental Implants remove that concern.
- Improved comfort: Dental Implants avoid the slipping and discomfort of removable dentures.
- Improved function: Dental Implants function like your natural teeth, allowing you to eat without pain.
- Durability: Dental implants are stable, strong, and stain-resistant.
- Protect healthy bone structure: Empty spaces caused by tooth loss can, over time, lead to deterioration of the jawbone. Since Dental Implants function like tooth roots, they are able to prevent this type of deterioration, just as natural teeth do.
- Long-term solution: Dentures must be replaced about every 5-7 years. Dental Implants, when cared for properly, can last a lifetime.
If you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants may be right for you. We will consider your oral and overall health prior to determine if you are a good candidate for dental implants. Some considerations include:
- Adequate bone support to anchor the implant
- Healthy gum tissue
- Sinus and nerve location
- Overall health, including any chronic illnesses
In some cases, we may recommend advance treatment for your upper or lower jaw to enable you to have the bone support needed for implantation. As always, your treatment plan is created based on your specific needs and goals for your healthy smile. If you are interested in learning more about dental implants or would like to schedule a consultation, contact our office today for an appointment. We’re here to help restore the health and beauty of your smile.
Our expert dentist wants to remind patients that our office offers thorough oral cancer screenings as part of our comprehensive dental health services. Like with every form of cancer, early diagnosis can have a profound impact on the success of your treatment. Regular screenings are your first line of defense against oral cancer and our doctor is here to help. In your screening, our doctor will check your lips, tongue, gums, mouth, and throat for any abnormalities that could be or become cancerous. We will give careful consideration to any symptoms you may be experiencing. If you have experienced any oral cancer symptoms for more than a week without improvement, schedule an appointment and tell your dentist immediately. Symptoms that could indicate oral cancer include:
- Ear pain
- Unexplained mouth bleeding
- Mouth sores that don’t heal
- White or red patches in your mouth
- Dramatic weight loss
- Lumps or swellings in or around your mouth
- Sore throat without other sinus symptoms
- Sensation of something caught in the back of your throat
- Pain or difficulty in swallowing, speaking, or moving your jaw or tongue
One adult American dies of oral cancer every hour. Though anyone can develop oral cancer, some factors can increase your risks. Some of the most common risk factors include: genetic predisposition, prolonged sun exposure, unhealthy diet, and excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages. Oral cancer is more common in men than women. Patients with gastro-esophageal reflux disease (GERD) are at increased risk. Users of tobacco in any form are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-users. Whatever the cause, the success of treatment depends on the size, type, and stage of the cancer. Early detection can play a critical role in your successful recovery. When found in early stages, oral cancers have an 80 – 90% survival rate. The primary reason for this is that early detection leads to earlier treatment. Oral cancers that are found in early or precancerous stages can often be removed and require less invasive procedures to treat. Later stages of cancer are likely to be larger and more complex and often have spread far beyond your mouth. We are accepting new patients. If you would like more information about oral cancers and oral cancer screenings, call our office for a consultation.