Dentist Bel Air, MD | Common Questions from Parents

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These are some of the most common questions we hear from parents, and the answers we provide:

When should I schedule my child’s first visit to the dentist?

Our team recommends that you schedule an appointment for your child as soon as your baby’s first tooth develops. If your child does not have teeth by their first birthday, you should schedule an appointment so we can ensure their teeth are developing properly. You can help protect your child’s teeth by establishing a pattern of regular dental visits.

How is a pediatric dentist different from other dentists?

A pediatric dentist must complete additional education necessary to provide care to children. Pediatric dentists undergo two to three years of specialty training to treat the specific oral health needs of infants and children through adolescence, including those with special needs.

What happens during my child’s first visit to the dentist?

At your child’s first visit, you should expect to:

  •      Review your child’s history
  •      Respond to questions and concerns
  •      Bring any questions you would like answered
  •      Have your child’s mouth examined and cleaned
  •      Have our team help set your child at ease and make their visit fun

For other questions, please call our office. We’re here for you and your child.

Allegiance Dental Associates of Bel Air
2021 Emmorton Rd., Ste. 222, Bel Air, MD 21015
(410) 670-3376

Dentist 21015 | Early Dental Care Could Save Your Child’s Life

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The negative effects of poor oral hygiene are well documented, and can impact much more than your mouth. A lot of serious medical conditions can be caused or worsened by complications arising for poor oral health. Starting your child’s oral care off right serves the twofold benefit of modeling the importance of good oral hygiene to them and giving their mouth a solid foundation of oral health. If you want to ensure your child’s oral health is taken care of, contact our pediatric dental team today to schedule your child’s next examination and cleaning!

The Dangers of Poor Oral Health
Poor oral health can result in much more than cavities and toothaches. Studies have linked a long list of serious and life-threatening conditions to poor oral hygiene, including heart disease, dementia, stroke, respiratory issues, an increased risk of miscarriage, and more. Most of these conditions are worsened by the bacteria that can enter your bloodstream due to gum disease or tooth decay. These issues take time to develop and time to treat. However, the sooner you start practicing good oral health, the better defense your mouth with have against disease, protecting your whole body.

Care for All Ages
Everyone experience different oral care needs throughout their childhood. From the teething stage as baby teeth start to appear to loss of teeth as adult ones begin to take their place, there are a lot of different stages a child’s mouth will go through before it’s fully developed. It’s important to recognize that each of these stages requires their own unique oral care. Waiting to teach your child good oral hygiene could be disastrous for their health.

Invest in your child’s future health by starting off their oral care routine off well. Contact our pediatric dental team today to learn more about the potentially life-saving benefits of early childhood dental care or to schedule your child’s next examination and cleaning.

Allegiance Dental Associates of Bel Air
2021 Emmorton Rd., Ste. 222, Bel Air, MD 21015
(410) 670-3376

Bel Air Dentist | Casting Shade

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Have you ever tried whitening your teeth at home? At first, it may seem more affordable and convenient than visiting your cosmetic dentist, and the difference in results may not seem that significant. In a study conducted by Kelton Research, researchers found that 61 percent of study participants were viewed as more confident after their teeth had been whitened. With numbers backing up the importance of a bright smile, we have a few key factors for your consideration before you decide to use at-home whitening kits.

Cost vs. Benefit

When you use over-the-counter whitening products, such as strips, you’ll notice that your teeth are whitened by a few shades at best, since these at-home kits typically contain only around three percent hydrogen peroxide as a main ingredient. The professional solutions that cosmetic dentists use, however, contain approximately 35 percent hydrogen peroxide—whitening your smile up to eight shades in just one visit. So, while at-home treatment options might seem more cost effective at the beginning, you will need to keep using the product over again to achieve the desired results. We can help you whiten and brighten your smile in one visit.

The Convenience Factor

At-home whitening systems are often purchased for convenience and ease of use. You can purchase them at almost any retail store and use them in the privacy of your own home, but most—including mouth trays with gel—need to be applied twice per day for several weeks or months to be effective. Professional treatments will require just a few visits that will last under an hour. While the strips and mouth trays may seem more convenient at first, you will ultimately spend less time achieving more desirable results when you visit us.

Quality Control

At-home systems purchased at a drugstore typically come with “one-size-fits-all” strips or trays, with one strength meant for all types of teeth. This can lead to uneven application of product, creating varied results among your teeth. One tooth may be lightened significantly, while another is barely different. With every person’s teeth, and preferences, being unique, we will apply the product evenly to all of your teeth, ensuring consistent results for a brighter smile. Professional whitening provides the most consistent, tailored, and long-lasting results, and since your smile is one of a kind, why should your whitening treatment plan be any different?

If you are considering the benefits of a brighter smile, contact us to learn more about our options for professional teeth whitening.

Allegiance Dental Associates of Bel Air
2021 Emmorton Rd., Ste. 222, Bel Air, MD 21015
(410) 670-3376

Dentist in Bel Air | Tips for Your Kid’s Successful Summer Oral Care Routine

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Summer break doesn’t have to mean a break from your child’s oral hygiene routine. Just because they’re no longer following a consistent school day schedule – shower, eat breakfast, brush teeth, and scramble out the door – there are ways to make sure your child keeps their healthy smile all summer long!

Tip #1: Create Your Own Summer Routine

It can seem like every day is different on summer break – sleepovers, sports camps, late nights – which can make it difficult for you and your child to keep track of when teeth are brushed. Think about creative ways to trigger a reminder about brushing. Maybe it’s that every morning when the breakfast dishes are cleared, you reiterate that it’s “toothbrush time”. Or, maybe this summer it’s time for a fun new toothbrush that your child will be excited to use, like an electric toothbrush that plays a song while they brush.

Tip #2: Schedule a Dental Check-Up

Children should see their dentist at least twice a year (every six months). With busy schedules in the school year, the start of summer break can be the perfect time to schedule that next check-up. A visit to the dentist will flag any issues with your child’s health – like new cavities – and be a fresh reminder to them of the importance of brushing and flossing teeth twice a day.

Tip #3: Buy Teeth-Friendly Foods

The types of food you buy for your child can also impact their oral health. We all know that sweets are detrimental to teeth, but in addition to limiting the intake of things like ice cream and popsicles this summer, you can also buy foods that proactively support oral health. For example, cheese and yogurt are rich in protein and calcium, which protect enamel health. Carrots and apples can be helpful as well. When your child eats apples and carrots, salvia is created in the mouth, helping to wash away bacteria that’s collected inside. The texture of apples and carrots also help stimulate the gums.

Tip #4: Keep an Eye on the Soda

Soft drinks are full of sugar and highly acidic – a perfect recipe for cavity creation and enamel deterioration. Soft drink consumption can spike in the summertime, so try to avoid having soft drinks around the house. To satisfy your child’s craving for sweet drinks, consider healthier alternatives like water with lemon or strawberries.

Tip #5: Get Your Child a Travel Set

Make it easy for your child to keep up with their oral hygiene routine while they’re on the go this summer with a toothbrush travel kit! Buy a travel-sized toothbrush, toothpaste, and dental floss in a small kit that your child can put in their overnight bag. This makes sticking to their regular habits easier, as everything they need is in a handy bag right with them.

For more tips on how to promote good dental hygiene with your child, or to schedule their next visit, reach out to Allegiance Dental Associates today!

Daniel Hoch, DDS
Allegiance Dental Associates
2021 A Emmorton Road, Suite 222
Bel Air, Maryland 21015

Bel Air Dentist | Should My Old Metal Fillings Be Replaced?

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The overwhelming majority of adults in the United States have dental fillings, and a good portion of those fillings are made of metal amalgam – a mixture of mercury, tin, copper, silver and other metals. You can thank metal amalgam fillings for the shiny tinge of silver that peaks through when you give a wide smile. These metal amalgam fillings typically last 10 to 15 years, given the natural wear and tear of chewing and drinking, though some may hold out longer. When metal fillings reach the end of their lifespan, it’s important that they be replaced, so that cavities don’t become exposed and teeth aren’t subject to cracking, damage, or decay.

If you’ve had metal fillings for more than 15 years, you may want to evaluate their condition and ensure that they’re in good shape to stay in your mouth. While your dentist will be able to tell you with certainty when it’s time to get a filling replaced, you may be able to pick up on some clues yourself that it’s time for a visit to the dentist.

Metal fillings should be replaced when they show visible signs of deterioration. You may notice that your dental fillings appear to be chipped, cracked, or display poor margins – common among fillings made of metal amalgam. Unlike other types of fillings, metal amalgam fillings do not reinforce the strength of the teeth, which means that when placed within the cusps of a tooth, it’s not uncommon to see teeth fracture as a result of the metal placement.

Sometimes these metal fillings can also include mercury, which, in high doses, is harmful to human health. Given what we know about mercury today, many may wonder: do the low levels of mercury exposure from a metal filling warrant a replacement? The FDA believes that fillings with mercury are safe for adults and children above the age of six. The World Health Organization also states that there aren’t any studies published that show the adverse health effects of metal amalgam fillings, and the American Dental Association does support the use of the material. Unless there are accompanying signs of filling deterioration or damage to the teeth, the simple presence of mercury in your fillings likely isn’t a reason to request a replacement.

You may also wonder if it’s time for a replacement given that metal fillings aren’t as popular as they once were. Most dentists now opt for composite fillings (a mixture of plastic and glass) because they’re more durable and can serve as a more aesthetically pleasing solution, as they’re the color of natural teeth. Composite fillings are also bonded to the tooth (unlike a metal filling), which means that they can help strengthen weak teeth. However, just because you have metal fillings rather than composite fillings, it doesn’t mean you need to get your metal fillings replaced. If your metal fillings are in good shape and aren’t affecting the health of your teeth, it’s best to just leave them be.

For an evaluation of your old metal fillings or for a regular cleaning, schedule an appointment with Allegiance Dental Associations online or call (410) 670-3376!

Daniel Hoch, DDS
Allegiance Dental Associates
2021 A Emmorton Road, Suite 222
Bel Air, Maryland 21015

Dentist Near Me | Healthy is the New Beautiful

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Cosmetic dentistry has been around for ages. We’ve noticed that now, more than ever, people are concerned with overall wellness in addition to a beautiful smile. In past years, we had many patients come to us seeking whitening and seeming unconcerned with ridding their smile of infection and decay.

More recently, however, mainstream news has joined our efforts to educate the public on the oral & overall health connection. This has led to patients seeking care that will contribute to overall wellness. We’ve experienced a surge in questions such as:

  • Does periodontal disease really increase my odds of heart disease?
  • Does untreated decay lead to root canal therapy and risk eventual loss of the tooth?
  • Do oral lesions signify potential oral cancer? How is that screened and treated?

This increase in “Dental IQ” is leading to more comprehensive care for our community. It’s allowing us to provide dentistry which we know is in the best interest of our patients. Dentistry is not only about the aesthetic appeal of your smile. As many of our patients have been learning, valuable overall health benefits go hand-in-hand with preventive and restorative dental care.

If you’re seeking a dentist that contributes to your overall health and wellness, contact us today.

Allegiance Dental Associates of Bel Air
021 Emmorton Rd., Ste. 222, Bel Air, MD 21015
(410) 670-3376

Dentist 21015 | Maintaining Proper Oral Hygiene with Braces

Dentist Bel Air, MD

When you’re sporting braces, good oral hygiene is everything. If you don’t properly care for your teeth throughout, you could be in for a surprise when the braces are removed and you’re ready to show off your smile! Without diligent, proper care, bacteria and plaque can build up around the surfaces of your braces, and leave stains that become hard to remove. Be sure you can show off the smile you deserve by maintaining proper oral hygiene with braces.

Let’s take a look at a few ways you can best care for teeth with braces.

One of the biggest challenges that come with wearing braces is getting around your wires and brackets. It’s difficult to do as comprehensive of a brushing job without special tools, like an inter-dental brush. Instead of using just a toothbrush as part your daily oral care routine, add an inter-dental brush that’s specifically designed to clean between your braces. This small brush is narrow enough to fit between your brackets and wires to clean out food particles that get trapped there, which a regular toothbrush wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.

You’ll also discover that traditional flossing is tricky to use when you have braces. That’s why you’ll want to get floss and a floss threader. Inexpensive and simple to use, you can take about a foot or a foot and a half of dental floss and pass about five inches of it through the eye of your threader needle. Then, weave the floss under your wires and in between your teeth for a deep clean. It’s as easy as that!

For your regular brushing, consider upgrading to an electric toothbrush with soft bristles. Electric toothbrushes remove 21% more plaque than regular toothbrushes, which you’re at a greater risk to acquire while wearing braces. Another simple tactic for keeping those pearly whites? Use fluoride products as much as possible, like fluoride toothpaste, fluoride-enriched drinking water, and mouthwash with fluoride. Fluoride is a great defendant against tooth decay and mouthwash is a great addition to your regular brushing routine (and it gets in all the hard-to-reach nooks and crannies).

Beyond brushing and flossing with adequate tools, you can keep your teeth healthy by choosing the right types of food to eat. For example, especially hard foods (like nuts and ice) can damage the wires and brackets of your braces. You’ll also want to avoid sticky foods like caramels, gum, and candies, which can stick to your braces and are difficult to remove with a toothbrush. Choose foods that are low in acidic content like bananas, milk, meat, eggs, and mangos as well. Especially acidic foods (like pineapples, tomatoes, vinegar, and salsa) can wear away the protective enamel of your teeth.

Lastly, be sure that you’re rinsing in between brushes. It’s best practice to brush after every meal when you have braces. However, you probably won’t always have your toothbrush handy. In those cases, do a quick rinse with warm water to get bacteria and food particles out of the mouth!

For more about proper oral hygiene both with and without braces, reach out to the dental professionals at Allegiance Dental Associates today!

Daniel Hoch, DDS
Allegiance Dental Associates
2021 A Emmorton Road, Suite 222
Bel Air, Maryland 21015

Dentist Bel Air, MD | 3 Signs You Have a Healthy Mouth

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You’ve heard it said time and again because it’s true: good overall health starts in your mouth. The mouth can tell the story of what’s happening throughout the rest of the body and indicate the onset of certain diseases.  In fact, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, 90 percent of all systemic diseases have symptoms that appear in the mouth. If you’re not sure how your oral health is measuring up these days, consider the following three signs that show you have a healthy mouth.

  1. Your gums are pink and firm. If gums are bright red, white, or swollen, they could be showing signs of gum disease (also known as periodontal disease, if you want to get technical). Gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue, caused by the buildup of plaque, which forms when you don’t brush your teeth often or thoroughly enough. Gum disease is bad news for overall oral health because that bacteria can damage the integrity of gums, which hold teeth in place, as well as cause inflammation throughout the rest of the body.

Healthy gums will appear even, firm to the touch, and a consistent shade of pink. Any lesions, sores, or red areas that appear on the gums can also be signs of an infection or irritation. You may also want to check to see if your gums are receding from your teeth, which can be another indication of poor gum health. And, when you brush or floss your teeth? It shouldn’t cause your gums to bleed! Healthy gums that aren’t infected will be able to withstand the contact of regular flossing and brushing.

  1. Your breath doesn’t smell. While we all occasionally wake up with delightful “morning breath”, if your breath smells throughout the day even after you brush, it could be a sign of a rotting tooth, gum disease, or mouth sores. Chronic bad breath can also be caused by “dry mouth”, which is a real medical condition that leaves the mouth without enough saliva, which your mouth needs to wash away bacteria and prevent bad odor.

If you don’t brush or floss your teeth regularly, food particles will get stuck in the teeth and cause bacteria to multiply on the teeth, gums, and tongue. In addition to causing bad breath, unchecked bacteria can create toxins that irritate the gums. Persistent bad breath could also be a sign of other health concerns beyond the mouth, such as pneumonia, bronchitis, diabetes, and chronic acid reflux.

  1. Your tongue is smooth and even-colored. If your tongue is evenly pink, moist, and firm- good news! Your tongue is probably in good health. However, if your tongue seems swollen and inflamed, or showcases areas of bright red, it may be an indication of low iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12 – deficiencies that affect your overall well-being. If you spot white patches on your tongue, it can be a sign of a fungal infection, while a tongue that’s completely covered in white may have a yeast infection. If you take antibiotics or have an autoimmune disease, you may be at a higher risk for this type of yeast infection. You should also keep an eye out for any lumps or sores along the tongue, or occasional bleeding, all of which could be a sign of an infection or something more serious, like cancer.

The best way to know if you have a healthy mouth is to visit an oral healthcare professional on a regular basis. To schedule an appointment for your next evaluation, reach out to the trusted professionals at Allegiance Dental Associates.

Dentist Bel Air | Change Your Life with a Smile

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The results are in. Multiple studies have confirmed what “Put on A Happy Face” told us to be true; the very act of smiling can have a real impact on your health and happiness. Not only does it make you feel better, but a smiling face can also make you appear more likeable to others, helping you in life, love, and career.

Smiling has been shown to reduce your stress level, increase your pain tolerance, boost your immune system, and more. Your smile has a tangible effect on the release of hormones in your brain and can often be enough to turn a bad day around or give you the confidence to get through a difficult task.

Maintaining a happy disposition is something that requires work, and smiling can help. There are multiple studies that have confirmed that smiling can help make you happier and more confident, two traits that are greatly desirable in potential friends, partners, and employees. If you feel like your wheels are spinning in life, smiling more could be the trick you need to improve your chances of success.

However, if you’re unhappy with the way your smile looks, it can be hard to feel comfortable showing it off. Whether your teeth are yellowed, crooked, or missing altogether, there are plenty of factors that can contribute to a person feeling embarrassed to smile. Our cosmetic dental team is dedicated to helping you gain the smile you’ve always wanted. We’re proud to offer a wide array of cosmetic dental solutions designed around meeting the unique needs of each patient’s smile.

When you come for your visit, our dentist will perform a consultation to better understand what about your smile you’d like to change. We’ll then recommend an optimal treatment plan based on your needs, goals, and budget. This will allow you to understand your options and pick the solution that’s right for you! Don’t let embarrassment about your smile continue to hold you back.

Contact our dental team today to learn more about how we can help you reclaim happiness and confidence in your life through a smile you’re proud to show off.

Allegiance Dental Associates of Bel Air
2021 Emmorton Rd., Ste. 222, Bel Air, MD 21015
(410) 670-3376

Dentist Bel Air | Do I Really Need an Exam?

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It’s highly likely that after visiting our practice, you understand the value of a thorough, professional dental cleaning. It’s also likely that you may not fully understand the importance of a complete exam and radiographs.

There are many reasons the exam is an important part of your oral health routine.

1. Exams allow the doctor to evaluate for signs of health conditions. Many health conditions present early signs and symptoms in the mouth, including: Crohn’s, Addison’s, Leukemia, Diabetes, Lupus, Anemia and many others. Skipping an exam could prevent your dentist from screening for oral manifestations of systemic disease.

2. According to research, one American dies every hour from oral cancer. A thorough complete examination can catch early signs of oral cancer, allowing for early treatment, which can be key to survival.

3. Periodontal disease is the leading cause of tooth loss and is related to serious systemic health conditions such as heart disease and stroke, among many others. Evaluating your soft tissue and bone health allows our team to identify early signs of periodontal disease, which can allow for prevention and early treatment. This is vital for your oral and overall health.

4. Radiographs provide valuable insight. Decay and other oral health issues are often hidden from the human eye. Radiographs (X-Rays) allow us to find what we could not otherwise see, allowing for early treatment and less invasive solutions.

Whether it has been 6 months or 6 years since your last appointment, please do not hesitate to contact us. We’re here for you and your heath and comfort are our main concerns.

Allegiance Dental Associates of Bel Air
2021 Emmorton Rd., Ste. 222, Bel Air, MD 21015
(410) 670-3376