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General Dentistry

Care That’s Out of the Ordinary

Yes, general dentistry services cover common oral health needs, but don’t let that fool you into thinking your time in the chair at Inspired Dental Care will be a run-of-the-mill experience. We want to make you feel at home while you visit, but also strengthen your ability to smile in the face of challenges life may put in front of you. Feeling confident in your knowledge of how to fight and prevent oral infection and illness is the first step!

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Oral Hygiene

Your twice-daily dates with floss and a trusty toothbrush go a long way toward keeping your smile strong—and loyal! Skipping this important self-care step can open the door for bad bacteria to multiply and cause infections like gum disease, which is the #1 cause of adult tooth loss. We can show you that strengthening your defense against decay doesn’t have to be complicated.

  • Hold a soft-bristled toothbrush (medium or firm bristles are very hard on the gums and enamel) at a 45-degree angle and brush your gums and teeth in gentle, circular motions for no less than 2 minutes. Be sure your circles are small, as dragging your toothbrush from side to side is also rough on the gums.
  • Use a tongue scraper or your toothbrush to remove any film (which is comprised mostly of bacteria, debris, and dead cells) from your tongue. This step ensures you don’t distribute bacteria to the areas you’ve just cleaned and freshens your breath.
  • Floss at least once daily to remove food debris and plaque your toothbrush can miss. We can recommend alternatives if the traditional string isn’t your thing.
  • Slide floss slowly between teeth in a C-shape, using small back and forth motions under the gumline to remove debris and plaque. Do not snap the floss up and down, and be sure to use a fresh section of floss between each tooth so as not to redistribute what you’ve collected.
  • If you’d like fresher breath and more bacteria-fighting power, you can gargle mouthwash. Be sure it’s alcohol-free, as alcohol is drying and a dry mouth encourages infection.
  • When you’re out and about without your toothbrush and toothpaste, swish and spit water after meals or snacks. This can dislodge debris and help remove enamel-eroding acid.
  • Wait at least 30 minutes after eating to brush your teeth, as introducing abrasive detergents in toothpaste to acid-coated teeth can also damage your enamel.

Gum Disease

Gum disease, also called gingivitis, is a bacterial infection that causes bleeding and inflamed gums. Many people think bleeding from the gums while brushing or flossing is normal, but it’s only normal in the same sense that a runny or congested nose are normal symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (the common cold). Another dangerous misconception when it comes to bleeding gums is that it means you should brush or floss less, because clearly they’re irritated by the action.

Bacteria, Inflammation & Periodontal Disease

The cause of the inflammation is usually a buildup of plaque that has hardened into tartar (or calculus). Tartar is brimming with bad bacteria and can only be removed by a professional. So, how do you prevent a tartar takeover? Fight plaque. Plaque can harden into tartar in as little as 24 hours. This is the reason we advise brushing twice a day. This also explains why cutting back on brushing and flossing is counterproductive—it will allow more calculus to build up.

If gum disease goes untreated, it turns into periodontal disease. The advanced stage of periodontal disease leads to tooth loss both as a result of your gums pulling away from your root, and the deterioration of bone in your periodontal ligaments and jaw. If this information alone doesn’t make you want to make you brush your teeth right away, this fact might: the bacteria associated with gum disease are linked to cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, and a host of other potentially deadly illnesses.

The good news is that gingivitis is treatable and preventable. If your examination reveals you have gum disease, we can provide deep cleanings and what’s called scaling and root planing.

Receding Gums Illustration

Scaling and Root Planing

Scaling and root planing is also known as a deep cleaning. Dr. Millery will use a special tool to remove all the hardened plaque present above and below your gumline, then begin the planing process. Root planing smooths the roots of your teeth to encourage your gums to reattach to them. This will help the pockets that previously allowed bacteria in to close, helping you prevent further infection—as long as you keep up with your oral hygiene routine.

Dr. Millery may prescribe an antibiotic and/or mouth rinse for further treatment and protection. Your teeth may be sensitive for up to a week after scaling and root planing, and your gums may be tender and continue to bleed for a short period of time. Be extra gentle when brushing, but don’t skip it. You should be on the road to better oral health and smiling with more confidence by your next appointment!

Scaling Illustration

Oral Cancer Screenings

Oral cancer kills one person per hour in the United States. That’s a sobering statistic, but one we inform our patients of because unfortunately, the rate of oral cancer continues to rise in America. The reason it’s so deadly is because it tends to be caught in its later stages. We emphasize the importance of regular checkups because we screen for oral cancer during each examination.

We want to help you live your best life with a healthy smile, so please familiarize yourself with what increases your risk, as well as the signs and symptoms that may indicate the need for a biopsy.

Signs of Oral Cancer

*Can be found on any surface of the mouth, including lips, cheeks, tongue, gums, and throat

  • Swelling, thickening, lumps, rough spots, crusting, or erosion
  • Velvety white, red, or speckled patches
  • Unexplained bleeding
  • Numbness or loss of feeling
  • Pain or tenderness
  • Persistent sores
  • Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, change in voice
  • Ear pain

Risk Factors for Oral Cancer

*Can be found on any surface of the mouth, including lips, cheeks, tongue, gums, and throat

  • Smoking – Smokers are six times more likely to develop oral cancer than non-smokers
  • Chewing – Patients who dip, snuff, or chew are 50 times more likely to develop oral cancer
  • Alcohol – Oral cancer is six times more common in drinkers than non-drinkers
  • Family history of cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • HPV

Oral Cancer Facts & Statistics

*Can be found on any surface of the mouth, including lips, cheeks, tongue, gums, and throat

  • 25% of oral cancer patients have no risk factors
  • Men are 2x more likely to develop oral cancer than women
  • 1 American dies every hour from oral cancer
  • 8,000 people die from oral cancer every year
  • 40% of oral cancer patients die within 5 years of diagnosis
  • Early diagnosis can double your chance of survival
  • 65% of oral cancers are linked to HPV

Mouthguards

Another part of prevention is protecting your smile from injury! If you or young ones in the family play contact sports (whether it’s a person or an object you could come into contact with), having a mouthguard made to fit your smile perfectly can save you from needing an urgent trip to the dentist. Stock mouthguards are available at your local sporting goods store, but for the highest level of protection, comfort, and durability, we recommend having one custom-made by Dr. Millery.

We can also provide you with a comfortable mouthguard meant to protect you from TMD (temporomandibular joint disorder) causing or exacerbating habits like nighttime jaw clenching and teeth grinding. You may be unaware you’re doing either because it tends to happen while you sleep, but signs of the actions will be present during the day and can negatively affect your quality of life. A nightguard made by Dr. Millery can protect your TMJ and keep you smiling, eating, and speaking comfortably.

TMJ Infographic

Click the image above to expand

Extractions

While our goal at Inspired Dental Care is to keep your natural teeth healthy and in your mouth, we’re no strangers to life surprising us with its own plans. If you have very little tooth structure left due to decay, an abscess, failed root canal, or you have a tooth that’s loosened due to advanced periodontitis (gum disease), extraction may be our best chance at getting you back on the road to oral health. Although we know it’s not ideal, we’ll make the experience as comfortable as possible and help you determine what replacement solution is best for you.

Extraction Illustration

Contact Us

If you have any questions about our general dentistry services or you’re ready to schedule a consultation with your Hanover general dentist, Dr. Millery at Inspired Dental Care, give us a call today at (443) 863-2273 or request an appointment online!

Contact Us Today!

(443) 863-2273

7581 Buckingham Blvd. Suite 100
Hanover, MD 21076
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OFFICE HOURS

MONDAY // 9:00am-4:00pm
TUESDAY // 9:00am-4:00pm
WEDNESDAY // by appointment only
THURSDAY // 9:00am-6:00pm
FRIDAY // 9:00am-2:00pm
SATURDAY* // 9:00am-2:00pm
*Call for select days.

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