Dentist Near Me | Healthy is the New Beautiful

Dentist Bel Air

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

4 Ways to Achieve Optimal Oral Health | Dentist 21015

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Keeping up optimal oral health takes more than brushing and flossing. Maintaining oral hygiene demands a bit of work, but it is worth it in the long run. Here are four ways you can improve your dental health right now.

  • Replace your toothbrush more often. When was the last time you replaced your toothbrush? A month ago? Six months? Most people don’t swap out a new brush often enough, which can lead to reduced brush effectiveness. Change your brush at least every three months. Be sure to switch after having an infection like the cold or flu to prevent reinfection.
  • Lay off the fizzy drinks. The acids present in soda wear away enamel, weakening your teeth and leaving them vulnerable to decay. In fact, people who drink three or more glasses of soda per day experience about 62% more tooth decay than those who choose another beverage like water.
  • Opt for chocolate. Everyone loves a sweet treat now and then, but did you know that certain candies are better for your teeth than others? The American Dental Association reports dark chocolate is the healthiest option, as it is soft and washes off your teeth easier than other candies. Hard, sticky, and sour goodies should be avoided, because they can stick to your teeth and even cause chips or cracks if you bite down too hard.
  • Visit your dentist. Trips to our office should occur at least twice a year—not just when you have a toothache. We offer preventative care, vital education, and important cleanings, which are all part of maintaining excellent oral health.

We are pleased to offer a variety of solutions to keep your smile healthy. We are also able to customize a health plan tailored to your specific needs. Book your appointment today.

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

What to Do If You Get Your First Cavity

Did you know? Cavities are actually quite common. While we all strive to avoid them, the reality is that 91% of people between the ages of 20 and 64 in the U.S. have at least one cavity. In fact, cavities are the second most common health disorder in the world (right behind the common cold). So, if you think you may have your first cavity, know that you’re not alone. What’s important is that you identify and address your cavity with a dentist as soon as possible. Cavities that are left untreated can lead to a whole host of dental problems that you’d probably rather avoid.

Let’s start with the symptoms of cavities. While most dentists will identify a cavity during a routine visit, you may be able to detect one in-between appointments if a tooth becomes highly sensitive or you experience sharp pain when chewing food. You may also notice bad breath (the result of bacteria in the cavity), dark spots or discoloration. Sensitivity to hot or cold liquids specifically can also be a warning sign. If you suspect any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible.

If your dentist confirms you have a cavity, it’s probably time for a filling. Fillings – and dental work in general – are often characterized as unpleasant, sweat-inducing experiences; however, that’s truly not the case with a standard cavity filling. Here’s how it works. Your dentist will numb the area near the filling so that you don’t feel any pain (by applying what’s known as local anesthesia). Fillings can sometimes be done with a needle, but you will only feel a pinch. You may still feel some pressure as your dentist cleans out your cavity, but this action shouldn’t be accompanied by any pain since your local anesthesia will have set in.

To fill a cavity, your dentist will clean out the opening of the cavity and fill in the hole with a material. The filling will restore the natural shape of your teeth and close off the opening. That material (the filler) can be made of gold or silver – or more commonly today, porcelain or composite, so as to match the natural color of your tooth.  Most of these fillings will last between at least 5 to 15 years, though some may last even longer if they’re taken care of well.

In terms of time spent in the dentist’s office, a filling procedure shouldn’t take more than thirty minutes from start to finish! Your local anesthesia will wear off approximately one to three hours after your procedure, which means you’ll be back to your normal routine quickly.

Note that depending on the severity of your cavity, you may need a crown, which is a cap that’s placed over your entire tooth. The cap is a more comprehensive solution required when a cavity is fairly sizable. However, your dentist will be able to walk you through the solution that best fits your needs.

If you think you have a cavity or it’s time for another check-up, schedule an appointment with Allegiance Dental Associates, specializing in caring, comprehensive dentistry! Give us a call at (410) 670-3376 or request an appointment online!

Dentist 21015 | 3 Steps to a Healthy Smile

Dentist Bel Air, MD

Did you know that tooth decay is the single largest cause of school absences? The longer decay goes untreated, the worse it gets. Not only can this mean costlier expenses for you, but it also jeopardizes your child’s oral health and education. You can help your child have a healthy, happy smile by taking a few steps to defend against tooth decay. Here are three steps you can take at home.


  1. Reduce Excessive Sugar

Sugary foods feed the bacteria that cause tooth decay. Limit your child’s sugary intake by keeping candy, soft drinks, juices, and other sweets to a minimum. If your child does indulge in a sugary snack or treat, make sure they brush their teeth afterwards.


  1. Follow a Consistent Brushing Routine

One of the best steps you can take for your child is to help them establish a daily brushing routine. They should brush for at least two minutes both morning and night. Try brushing at the same times each day so that it becomes a habit. We also strongly recommend that parents monitor their children to make sure they are brushing correctly and safely. It’s important that children avoid swallowing toothpaste or mouthwash.


  1. Strengthen Teeth with Dairy Products

Dairy products are excellent sources of calcium, particularly cheese, yogurt, and milk. Calcium helps to build strong bones and teeth. Increasing the amount of calcium in your child’s diet can help strengthen tooth enamel, one of the natural defenses against decay. If your child is lactose intolerant or cannot consume other dairy products, we suggest you talk to our team for additional solutions.


Healthy teeth start at home. Implement the three simple steps above with your child at home to ensure they have a happy, healthy smile. The single most important step you can take for your child is to bring them in to see our team. Regular oral health examinations for your child are essential to ensure that their teeth are healthy and growing properly.


Contact our team to schedule your child’s next examination today.


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

Suck it Up: Why Using a Straw Can Protect Your Teeth

If you’re a regular brusher, flosser, and rinser, but are still looking for additional ways to protect your teeth and avoid surface stains – we hear you. Try as you might, sometimes doing everything “right” doesn’t always lead to perfectly white teeth. That’s why many are adding another tactic to their oral hygiene routine: straws! Simple and effective, straws can help move you toward the bright, healthy smile you seek.

Drinking from a straw limits the contact between corrosive liquids and the surface of your teeth. Acidic drinks like coffee, orange juice, alcohol, and soda can all eat away at your teeth’s enamel. The impact of these sweet substances can be amplified when consumed too much or when paired with poor dental hygiene.

In addition to wearing down enamel (which increases sensitivity and risk of tooth decay), using a straw to minimize contact can also help prevent cavities (as corrosive materials come in less contact with your teeth). Those that drink from a straw also find that it helps reduce surface stains, as again, the straw minimizes contact with corrosive, acidic materials. The next time you’re enjoying that glass of red wine at home, reach for a straw and rest easy.

Silly as it may seem, there are best practices for using straws. One is that it’s important to keep a straw positioned toward the back of your mouth (as opposed to allowing the tip of the straw to rest on your teeth) and avoid taking big gulps that would lead to liquid resting in the back of your mouth for more than a second or two. You should also be mindful of chewing on straws if you’ve been using them to drink for an extended period of time. Excessive biting and chewing (as unconscious as it may be) can also damage your teeth.

If you’re going to switch to straws, consider using biodegradable versions that are more environmentally-friendly, or invest in a reusable straw made of thicker plastic or glass. Throwing away every straw used with a drink can add up over time, negatively impacting the environment if not made of biodegradable material. Opting for that sturdier, reusable straw can also save you money in the long run (no need to continuously restock).

You may also want to be conscious of when and for what reasons you’re using a straw. For example, it’s probably not necessary to use a straw when drinking something like a glass of water, which can actually be good for cleansing and re-mineralizing your teeth. A selective straw routine ensures your use is environmentally-friendly. Only use a straw when there’s a reason!

Pro-tip: If you’re at a coffee shop and in need of a straw, you can use a stirrer as a makeshift straw (trust us, it works!).

To determine if switching to straws is something that could positively impact the health of your teeth, consider reaching out to a dental professional. Allegiance Dental Associates is happy to speak with you about a variety of strategies for protecting and preserving your teeth. Give us a call at (410) 670-3376 or request an appointment online!

Teeth Whitening: The Best Gift for Mom, Dad and Grads

Flowers for mom, a watch for dad, an envelope of money for your recent grad…

This year, why not give a give a gift they’ll appreciate every time they look in the mirror? Teeth whitening can be a unique, unexpected way to treat your loved ones to something special.

Think about it. Who among us doesn’t want a bright, brilliant smile? Yet, even the most diligent brushers can deal with stained, discolored teeth as a result of age and genetic background. Not to mention, the formation of plaque can naturally build up over time, and because our teeth are porous, that film of bacteria can find its way into the structure of our teeth, causing stains and discoloration.

While inner beauty will always reign supreme, having a smile that your loved one is excited to show off can instantly heighten their sense of confidence! Don’t believe it? Research has found that your smile has a direct impact on your self-confidence. That self-confidence influences how you interact with others, how likely you are to take risks and try new things, as well as how approachable you are to others. Plus, studies have shown that smiling more frequently naturally improves your mood! Why not give mom or dad that kind of long-lasting pick-me-up?

Teeth whitening can also be impactful for recent graduates on the interview circuit. Healthy, bright smiles can be viewed more favorably by those conducting interviews. A whitening treatment can give your grad that extra boost they need to go into an interview confidently and encourage the interviewer to view them as the truly competent, qualified young professional they are.

At-home whitening solutions like teeth whitening strips or mouthwash can be helpful, but for the quickest, most noticeable results, gift a whitening treatment from a dental professional. This whitening technique is done right in-office and removes significantly more surface stains than at-home whitening strips. There are typically two types of professional whitening: those that involve the use of halogen lighting to activate the carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide base (which brightens teeth by eight shades) and those without halogen lighting (which brightens teeth by five to eight shades). Consider, too, that professional whitening delivers results much faster than at-home options. Results typically come after just one whitening session, which usually takes about 90 minutes as opposed to days or weeks.

Worried that a whitening treatment might damage enamel? While there can be a risk of damage when using DIY solutions and applying them on for too long, a dentist’s professional service will safely conduct the whitening treatment. Professional practices can also minimize the risk of sensitivity by applying a protective layer before treatment begins.

Note that gums and teeth need to be healthy enough for whitening and that a whitening treatment won’t work on caps, crowns or veneers (which should already be white!).

To learn more about giving the gift of a professional teeth whitening treatment, reach out to the friendly folks at Allegiance Dental Associates today to set up a consultation for your loved one. Give us a call at (410) 670-3376 or request an appointment online!