Posts for: April, 2016

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
April 18, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavi­ties. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Dr. Kenneth Woo & Associates
April 11, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

Find out how porcelain veneers can enhance your smile

Do you have cosmetic issues with your smile like chipped or uneven teeth, or dark stains? If so, you need to discover how porcelain Veneersveneers can fix many cosmetic issues with your front teeth. They are the go-to treatment to create a celebrity-perfect smile, easily and quickly. Porcelain veneers are an investment in your smile, and so you need to visit the best, like the dentists at Dr. Kenneth Woo & Associates in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

The dentists at Dr. Kenneth Woo & Associates want you to know all about how porcelain veneers can fix your smile. Porcelain veneers can change the look of teeth that are:

  • Overlapped or crowded from genetics
  • Uneven and worn from excessive age-related wear and tear
  • Gapped or spaced apart from genetics
  • Damaged or broken from injury or trauma
  • Badly discolored from medications like tetracycline
  • Yellowed and stained from coffee or smoking

Porcelain veneers are thin sheaths of beautiful porcelain. They may look delicate, but they are strong, and with proper care, they can last for years. Porcelain has a unique translucent quality that looks just like your natural teeth. That’s why porcelain veneers will give you a smile that looks great. Porcelain veneers also don’t stain as easily as your natural teeth, making them a perfect choice for coffee drinkers and smokers who still want a bright, white smile.

The dentists at Dr. Kenneth Woo & Associates need to prepare your teeth by removing only a small amount of tooth structure, just enough to accommodate the thickness of the veneers. They make molds of your prepared teeth which are sent off to a dental laboratory. The highly skilled dental technicians custom-make your porcelain veneers to exact specifications. After the dentists at Dr. Kenneth Woo & Associates receive your veneers, they will cement them permanently to your teeth, and you have a new smile!

If you want to fix your smile, it’s time to think about porcelain veneers, the high-tech treatment to change your smile and your looks. Don’t wait to look great. Call the dentists at Dr. Kenneth Woo & Associates, with offices in Gaithersburg, and Kensington, Maryland. Call today and be on your way to fixing your smile with porcelain veneers!

By Kenneth Woo, DDS and Associates
April 10, 2016
Category: Oral Health

That bit of gum bleeding after you brush, along with redness and swelling, are strong signs you have gingivitis, a form of periodontal (gum) disease. Without treatment, though, your gingivitis could turn into something much more painful and unsightly — a condition commonly known as “trench mouth.”

Properly known as Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (ANUG), the more colorful name arose from its frequent occurrence among soldiers during World War I. Although not contagious, many soldiers contracted it due to a lack of means to properly clean their teeth and gums and the anxiety associated with war. Inadequate hygiene and high stress still contribute to its occurrence today, along with smoking, medications that dry the mouth and reduced disease resistance — all of which create a perfect environment for bacterial growth.

ANUG can arise suddenly and be very painful. The cells in the gum tissue begin to die (“necrotizing”) and become swollen (“ulcerative”), especially the small triangle of gum tissue between the teeth called the papillae, which can appear yellowish. Patients also encounter a characteristic foul breath and taste. Untreated, ANUG can damage tissue and contribute to future tooth loss.

Fortunately, antibiotics and other treatments are quite effective in eradicating bacteria that cause the disease, so if caught early it’s completely reversible. We start with a complete examination to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other possible causes. We then attempt to relieve the pain and inflammation with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen and begin antibiotic treatment, most notably Metronidazole or amoxicillin. We may also prescribe a mouthrinse containing chlorhexidine and mild salt water rinses to further reduce the symptoms.

We must also treat any underlying gingivitis that gave rise to the more acute disease. Our goal here is remove any bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that have built up on tooth surfaces, particularly below the gums. Only then can we fully bring the disease under control.

It’s also important you become more consistent and effective with daily brushing and flossing, quit smoking, reduce undue stress, and get better rest and nutrition. Establishing these new habits and lifestyle changes will help ensure you’ll never have to experience trench mouth again.

If you would like more information on ANUG and other periodontal gum conditions, 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 “Painful Gums in Teens & Adults.”