Burtonsville General Dentist

What insurances do you take?
We participate with most dental insurances. If we do not participate with your dental insurance company we will take the time to file a pre-determination of benefits allowed per your contract at your request prior to providing treatment and make certain we make the most of your insurance. Please call our front office team with any questions you may have. 301- 622-1717.

How often should I floss?
Floss, or, to be exact, go where your toothbrush cannot go, often enough so that when you do it effectively you do not bleed. Then, visit us for an evaluation, or Preventive visit for Continuing Care, often enough so that we concur. We will always ask you how you have been tending yourself. Then, importantly, have you noticed bleeding upon those measures? If we perform our evaluation and pronounce you correct! No Bleeding! Then your actions at home, coupled with your time between Continuing Care visits is appropriate. If however, we notice bleeding that you should have, we will coach you on technique to make certain you can manage more effectively and reach the trouble spots efficiently. It may not always be with floss, and you can ask us at your next visit if there are "floss alternatives" that might even serve you better. Remember, we are all different. Some folks build up plaque virtually overnight, some not at all over months. Some folks react rather violently to a little bit of plaque and others can build a ton and hardly respond. Not very fair when these polar opposites share a bathroom! However, it does underscore the need to personally define your Continuing Care interval between Preventive Visits in order to sustain your best dental wellness profile.

How long do crowns last?
Dr. Drewyer believes that there is no correct answer to this question. That is to say, no one may predict accurately how long a crown lasts. However, a better question could be, when does a crown need to be replaced? The number one reason that crowns require replacement is because of decay getting in between the crown and the tooth at the crown margin (the junction between crown and tooth) This causes a loss of integral fit or seal, and, if left alone for too long, may result in enough destruction as to make the tooth no longer restorable, necessitating extraction. Crowns may fracture the porcelain body (on ice cubes, hard pretzels, etc.) resulting in a food impaction problem or an unsightly show of the metal undercarriage. Although fractured porcelain may not necessitate the replacement of a crown, if the integrity or fit or seal is compromised, then the time has come to create a new crown. Of course, a tooth may be lost to gum and bone disease or infection. The crown on that tooth is surely no longer serviceable. Because crowns are glued, or bonded onto a tooth, sticky/taffy/gooey substances can pull off a crown. It may not be caramel #1, allowing a patient a false sense of security when ultimately, over time, caramel #17 actually pulls off the crown. Most often, the crown and tooth are cleaned and the crown can be re-cemented. Incidentally, flossing may pull off a crown, and yet only a crown that was loose and needed to come off in the first place.

Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that crowns are placed when a tooth requires the restoration and protection afforded by this service. Crowns are the most predictably long lasting and protective restoration when a tooth has reached that point of destruction. Thereafter, it is vitally important for our patients to maintain a high standard of diet and hygiene practice, while minimizing the intake of sticky and hard and crunchy foodstuffs. With these things in mind, your crown can remain in service as a long lasting investment in tremendous dental wellness.

Do I need a biteguard?
First, let's consider just exactly what is a Biteguard Appliance and what is it supposed to do? In a very general context, a Biteguard Appliance serves to ease the stress on the muscles, jaw joints and teeth of a patient who is traumatizing these structures by para-functional (above and beyond the ordinary) habits. These habits are often termed bruxism, and include gritting, grinding and clenching of the teeth. Some biteguards are used to protect teeth that are compromised by gum and bone disease and infection, and others may help align the teeth, jaws and joints in cases of malpositioned structures. So let's keep it simple and confine this answer to the most common trait - nighttime, while sleeping, bruxism.

A Biteguard Appliance, by nature of it's custom fit hard plastic material, effectively helps the signs and symptoms of Bruxism in three ways. First, due to it's slight thickness, the biteguard serves to prevent the traumatic banging of the jaw bone into the skull at the jaw joint as happens when a patient clenches. Also, the thickness precludes a patient from over-shortening or clenching the jaw muscles of the head and neck. Clenching leads to spasm, often felt as a cramp or a tension headache. Finally, due to it's slick surface, a patient is not as likely to clench, but may skim the surface of the Biteguard - a much less stressful muscular action, grinding against plastic rather than wearing away teeth.

So, who needs one? Well, many folks clench and grind their teeth while sleeping and would benefit from wearing a Biteguard Appliance. However, patients may not be inclined to pursue this treatment until or if they are aware of the signs or symptoms that their habit is becoming damaging. There are many subtle signs, a full range can be discussed during your consultation. Suffice it to say, many indicators include a limit in opening or closing within a normal range and comfort, tension headaches, muscle fatigue, sore and tender jaw joints, and hypersensitive teeth, to name a few. Quite often Dr. Drewyer will note extreme or advanced wearing of the chewing surfaces of your teeth, including gumline ditching termed abfraction. However, a patient may not be at all aware of the habits contributing to this wear or the dangers of continuing the habit.

Wearing a Biteguard Appliance can be the proverbial finger in the dike or "band-aid" cure, however. It is commonplace that many folks are not managing an array of choices in their normal, day to day activities and relations. When things do not go as expected, or a patient is not feeling empowered to keep moving along, the end result often shows as night-time clenching and grinding. Wearing a Biteguard Appliance will not change the special human ability to have a choice with each breath of the day. However, Dr. Drewyer will share with you the distinctions that making choices of "non-upset"/"no-stress" can lead you away from the need for a Biteguard Appliance. Give us a call. We look forward to a dialogue that includes prevention and support.

For more information on General Dentists in Burtonsville, MD call Austin D. Drewyer D.D.S., M.A., L.L.C. at 301-622-1717 today!