What should I do if my tooth is knocked out or pushed out of position?
If your tooth is knocked out it will have the best chance of surviving the trauma if you see your dentist within one hour of the incident. Gently rinse the tooth in water to remove the dirt and place the clean tooth in your mouth between your gum and cheek to keep it moist. If it is not possible to store the tooth in your mouth, wrap it in a clean cloth or gauze, and immerse it in milk or saline solution (used for contact lenses). Contact your dentist immediately or call Richards Dental Care. Dr. Richards has successfully replaced knocked out teeth on several occasions. If your tooth is loose and pushed out of position, call your dentist right away to schedule an emergency appointment. In the meantime, you can attempt to reposition the tooth to its normal alignment using light finger pressure.
What is acid reflux and GERD and how does it affect my oral health?
Acid reflux occurs when the muscles of the lower esophagus relax and allow stomach acids to flow upward into the esophagus and even to the mouth. These stomach acids can cause irritation and inflammation of the esophagus. Acid reflux may progress further, developing GERD. In patients who have GERD, the esophageal muscles are unable to keep stomach acids from flowing upward, causing corrosion of the esophageal lining and the uncomfortable burning sensation associated with heartburn. In addition to damaging the esophagus and increasing the risk of esophageal cancer, over time GERD can erode tooth enamel. Dr. Richards and the excellent hygienists at Richards Dental Care can provide you with ways to prevent acid reflux from damaging your teeth and causing decay.
What oral conditions am I more prone to as I age?
As we age patients should know that maintaining good oral health is vital to having a healthy smile and optimal overall health. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC ), oral pain, difficulty eating, and tooth loss are all signs of oral health problems in aging adults. Your dentist can help prevent and detect these oral health problems. Dental caries (cavities), Periodontal (gum) disease Xerostomia (dry mouth), and oral cancer are just a few of the oral conditions that more mature adults are at a higher risk of developing. As part of our Preventive Care Philosophy at Richards Dental Care, our staff is trained to educate our patients how to maintain their oral health as we all age and provide specific recommendations and instruction for their specific dental needs.
My mouth seems to get very dry more often now than in the past. Is it something I should be worried about?
Xerostomia, more commonly known as dry mouth, is a condition related to salivary glands, which help keep the mouth moist, thus preventing decay and other health problems. When the salivary glands do not work properly, the amount of saliva in the mouth decreases, resulting in xerostomia. Prescription and over-the-counter medications are the most common cause of dry mouth. There are more than 400 medications that can contribute to mouth dryness, including antidepressants, painkillers, tranquilizers, diuretics, and antihistamines. Some oral problems of dry mouth are burning sensations, difficulty swallowing, increased susceptibility to oral infection, tooth decay, gum disease, and halitosis (bad breath). If you exhibit any of these symptoms, it's important to contact your dentist so that he or she can properly evaluate and diagnose the condition. At Richards Dental Care we have a variety of methods available to help patients manage dry mouth.
What is the difference between the DDS and DMD that comes after a dentists’ name?
Great question! There is no difference between the two degrees. The DDS stands for “doctor of dental surgery, while the DMD stands for “doctor of medical dentistry.” In 1839 the first separate dental school in the United States opened in Maryland as the Baltimore College of Dental Surgery granting the degree of Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS ). A few years later Harvard changed their degree to Doctor of Dental Medicine (DMD ) because they viewed dentistry as a branch of medicine. a few schools followed Harvard’s lead and offered the DMD degree. In recent years, more schools have changed from the DDS to the DMD and currently, about one-third of the US dental schools award a DMD degree. The curriculum in all the US dental schools are similar and all must meet the same guidelines and standards determined by the American Dental Association.
I noticed that Dr. Richards has the initials MAGD after his DDS degree. What does that mean?
Dr. Richards’ education didn’t stop when he received his dental degree. During his career he has been dedicated to learning, growing and staying current in his field so that he can provide the best oral care to all his patients and their families. He has been a member of the Academy of General Dentistry since 1986. This organization’s purpose is to encourage and foster proficiency of general dentists through quality continuing dental education to better serve the public. Dentists who achieve certain levels of achievement are awarded Fellowship (FAGD) and then Mastership (MAGD) designations. The Fellowship award requires 500 hours of continuing education and passing a 200 question examination. After achieving this level the Mastership requires an additional 600 hours of CE in 16 different areas of dental specialties. Dr. Richards received his Fellowship award in 2005 and his Masterhip in 2013. Less than 2% of dentists have earned their Mastership.