Dental Treatment in Frederick, MD
At Monocacy Valley Dental, our mission is to help each of our patients achieve a great smile that lasts a lifetime. As a leading dental practice serving the Frederick, MD area, we're proud to provide world-class cosmetic and restorative dental treatments – but we believe the most important part of great dental treatment is consistent, effective preventive care. We work with each of our patients to create a customized treatment plan that helps them avoid dental decay and maintain a healthy smile through preventive dental treatments like the methods below.
Dental Checkups & Teeth Cleanings
The cornerstone of preventive dental treatment is regular checkups and teeth cleanings. At this routine appointments, Dr. Motz and your dental hygienist will work to keep your teeth healthy over the long term by doing all of the following:
- Thoroughly examine the teeth for cavities or decay
- Check for any dental problems you may not see or feel on your own
- Inspect the health of the gums and check for signs of gingivitis or gum disease
- Perform a thorough teeth cleaning to remove plaque and bacteria
By having a regular checkup every 6 months, you're protecting your teeth from cavities, decay, and other dental problems by catching them before they become serious. Regular checkup appointments are among the most important parts of your dental health regimen.
Fluoride is an important mineral that's vital to the health of your teeth, helping to fortify enamel and prevent cavities and decay. Most patients get the fluoride they need from diet, toothpaste, and drinking fluoridated tap water, however in some cases, we may recommend supplementing this with a fluoride treatment. This simple, preventive procedure involves applying a fluoride gel to the teeth and leaving it on for about 30 minutes without brushing, rinsing, eating, or drinking. The treatment itself takes just minutes and helps to bolster the strength of your teeth against cavities.
The grooves and divots that form the chewing surfaces of the rear molars are almost impossible to keep clean with regular brushing, as they make the ideal place for particles of food and bacteria to hide. Normally, this isn't a problem – for most adults, the teeth are strong enough to handle whatever bacteria get left over after brushing. In children, however, this can be a problem.
Baby teeth aren't as strong as adult teeth and are more vulnerable to cavities caused by plaque and bacteria, so the food and plaque that builds up on the rear molars frequently causes cavities in children – in fact, close to half of all childhood cavities form this way. Even with a stellar oral hygiene regimen, it's possible for children to develop this kind of cavity.
Dental sealants are a solution to this problem. By cleaning the teeth and applying a thin layer of resin to the molars, we can seal off the chewing surface and protect it from cavities and decay. The resin is clear and applied in a thin layer so it's barely noticeable, and it can provide a vital layer of protection for the vulnerable areas of teeth.
Sealants are common for both children and adults, and Dr. Motz will recommend them on a case-by-case basis. They last 3-5 years, although they can last longer – and during that time, they'll protect your teeth from bacteria, cavities, and decay. In combination with regular oral hygiene, dental sealants can be a highly effective preventive measure.
Ever find yourself waking up with jaw pain, an earache, a headache, or clenched teeth? You might be suffering from bruxism, a condition where you unconsciously clench and grind your teeth. Bruxism is common and often goes unnoticed, as it most commonly occurs during sleep – but the effects can be serious.
If untreated, bruxism can cause uneven wear on the teeth and lead to tooth decay. It may also lead to cracked teeth, broken teeth, tooth loss, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ/TMD), and all manner of pain in the jaw and head. Bruxism can be a nuisance and a significant threat to the health of your teeth.
Thankfully, treating bruxism is fairly simple, and there's an effective, noninvasive solution: nightguards. A custom-made nightguard is a simple, straightforward oral appliance that protects your teeth from grinding, absorbing bite force when you clench at night. Nightguards take only one appointment to fit, and they can provide an effective treatment for bruxism for years on end.
What Kind of Toothpaste and Toothbrush Should I Use?
When it comes to toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss, there are so many choices that it can seem impossible to find the perfect one – but don't worry! While electric toothbrushes can be convenient, it's completely possible to keep teeth clean with a manual soft-bristled toothbrush. Look for fluoridated toothpaste to ensure your teeth are getting enough fluoride and protect the health of your enamel. Most importantly, choose a toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss that's approved by the American Dental Association (ADA). If you still have questions, just give us a call at (301) 698-0044 and we'll be happy to help.
How Teeth Erupt
You may already know that people have primary (baby) teeth that fall out and permanent (adult) teeth that last a lifetime – but those two sets of teeth are different in more than just longevity. There are only 20 primary teeth, which start erupting after 6 months of age. Buy by age 21, the permanent teeth have grown in – all 32 of them! While most adults have 32 adult teeth, it's common to have the third molars – often called wisdom teeth – removed, as the mouth often doesn't have room for all 32 teeth.
Anatomy of a Tooth
Ever wondered what's inside your pearly white? Check out this handy chart to learn more about what lies beneath the surface of your teeth!
Tooth Eruption Chart
For most people, the teeth erupt in a specific order during certain age ranges. This chart explains when teeth erupt and fall out for both the primary and permanent teeth.
Oral Cancer Screening
While much of our work focuses on preventing and treating dental decay, there are other serious conditions that can affect the mouth, including oral cancer. We believe in taking a holistic approach to dental health and overall well-being, which is why we include oral cancer screening as a part of your regular checkups and dental exams.
Dr. Motz and our team of dental hygienists are trained to recognize oral cancer, but it never hurts to be on the lookout yourself. These are some of the most common symptoms of oral cancer to watch out for:
- Red spots, white spots, or open sores in the mouth
- A sore that won't heal or bleeds easily
- A rough spot or thicker part of the mouth
- A lump in the mouth
- Sensations of pain, numbness, or tenderness anywhere in the mouth or lips
- Problems speaking, chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue and jaws
When you come to our office for checkup and cleaning appointments, our dental team will examine your mouth for cavities, dental problems, and oral cancer. If we see anything that could possibly be cancerous, we may perform a simple test like a brush test, where we collect cells from the area to be analyzed in a lab. If the cells look suspicious, we'll recommend a biopsy.
As with all forms of cancer, the best way to treat oral cancer is through prevention. Here are some things you can do to limit your risk for oral cancer:
- Avoid cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, and all tobacco products
- Avoid drinking or drink only in moderation
- Keep up a healthy and balanced diet
- Limit your sun exposure and wear high-SPF, UV-A/B blocking sunblock anytime you go outside
We are committed to providing the most effective and convenient treatment possible at our office, and as a part of that commitment, we incorporate the latest dental technology into our treatments. That's why we're proud to use cutting-edge digital dental X-rays when treating our patients.
Digital X-rays allow us to form a more detailed image of the teeth and mouth while using significantly less radiation, helping to protect your health and giving us a clearer picture of your dental condition. Digital X-rays are a safer, more effective alternative to traditional dental X-rays.
A Clear Vision of Your Dental Health
X-rays are a valuable tool for finding out what's going on below the gums – but they don't give us a complete picture of everything happening inside your mouth. That's why at our practice, we're proud to use an intraoral camera as a part of regular dental checkups. This small, compact device allows us to get a closer look at the health of your teeth and gums, highlighting plaque deposits, finding small cracks in teeth, cavities near fillings, excessive wear, and many other issues. It's a simple, effective, inexpensive way to detect any dental health problems that may be present.
In addition to giving us a clearer picture of your dental health, the intraoral camera lets us display the video feed on a monitor that you can see. This allows you see your dental health for yourself, providing an excellent opportunity to learn more about the health of your teeth and understand how you can take better care of them. Using an intraoral camera allows us to take better care of your teeth, find problems faster, and help you better understand how to take great care of your mouth.
Contact Your Frederick, MD Dentist
Preventive care is the first step to maintaining a healthy, beautiful smile for a lifetime – so schedule your next checkup today! The team at Monocacy Valley Dental is always happy to speak with our patients, and if you'd like to come in for an appointment, we'd be thrilled to help. Contact us today to schedule your next appointment at our Frederick, MD office. We look forward to hearing from you!