Posts for: January, 2016

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
January 19, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.

“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.

Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.

“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.

Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?

Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.

Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a third to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.

Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”

Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.

If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
January 06, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

How Do I Know if Dental Implants Are Right For Me? Why Dental Implants Are the Perfect Choice.

If you are missing one tooth or several teeth, and you are tired of looking at the spaces in your mouth, it’s time to do Dental Implantssomething about it. It’s time to think about dental implants, and make an appointment with the expert, Dr. Kenneth Woo, your family dentist in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

Dental implants are widely considered by dentists to be the best choice for replacing missing teeth, because they are the most similar to your natural teeth. Implants also have a nearly 95% success rate because they are “biocompatible” with your tissue. Your body won’t reject them. In fact, implants help to keep you from losing bone in your jaws, and help to maintain the youthful contours of your face.

When you lose teeth, you have a few options, including:

  • Not replacing the teeth, this will leave a space and could interfere with chewing
  • Partials you can remove, which may or may not fit correctly
  • Dentures, which may also have fit problems or be uncomfortable
  • Bridges, which require treatment for the teeth on either side of the bridge
  • Implants, which are the closest to having your natural teeth

Implants are made of titanium and resemble a screw. This screw is placed into your jawbone, and functions as the missing “root” of your tooth. A beautiful porcelain crown is then placed over the implant, creating a strong, completely natural-looking replacement for your missing tooth.

Implants are a perfect choice for you because:

  • They look better, just like your natural teeth
  • You can speak better with implants because they stay in place
  • You can eat better because they are strong and permanent
  • They are more comfortable and durable than other replacement options

If you want to say yes to implants, or just want to find out more information, stop in and visit Dr.Kenneth Woo, your implant expert in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Do it today, and get back your smile!


Even though a child’s primary (“baby”) teeth eventually give way, it’s still important to treat them if they become decayed. Primary teeth serve as guides for the emerging permanent teeth — if they’re lost prematurely, the permanent tooth may come in misaligned.

If the decay, however, affects the tooth’s inner pulp, it poses complications. A similarly decayed adult tooth would be treated with a root canal in which all the pulp tissue, including nerve fibers and blood vessels, are removed before filling and sealing. Primary teeth, however, are more dependent on these nerves and blood vessels, and conventional filling materials can impede the tooth’s natural loss process. It’s better to use more conservative treatments with primary teeth depending on the degree of decay and how much of the pulp may be affected.

If the decay is near or just at the pulp, it’s possible to use an indirect pulp treatment to remove as much of the softer decay as possible while leaving harder remnants in place: this will help keep the pulp from exposure. This is then followed with an antibacterial agent and a filling to seal the tooth.

If the pulp is partially exposed but doesn’t appear infected, a technique called direct pulp capping could be used to cover or “cap” the exposed pulp with filling material, which creates a protective barrier against decay. If decay in a portion of the pulp is present, a pulpotomy can be performed to remove the infected pulp portion. It’s important with a pulpotomy to minimize the spread of further infection by appropriately dressing the wound and sealing the tooth during and after the procedure.

A pulpectomy to completely remove pulp tissue may be necessary if in the worst case scenario the pulp is completely infected. While this closely resembles a traditional root canal treatment, we must use sealant material that can be absorbed by the body. Using other sealants could inhibit the natural process when the primary tooth’s roots begin to dissolve (resorb) to allow it to eventually give way.

These all may seem like extraordinary efforts to save a tooth with such a short lifespan. But by giving primary teeth a second chance, their permanent successors will have a better chance of future good health.

If you would like more information on treating decay in primary teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment for Children’s Teeth.”