My Blog

Posts for: October, 2016

By Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA
October 17, 2016
Category: Oral Health

A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.

“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”

That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.

Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:

  • Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
  • Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
  • Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!

So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”

October 13, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: flossing  

Any dentist will tell you that flossing your teeth daily is just as important as brushing them twice a day. However, only 20% of people flossingregularly floss their teeth. This leaves the vast majority of people more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease. Find out why you should incorporate flossing into your daily oral care routine with Dr. Kathleen M. Geipe in Salisbury, MD.

What are the benefits of flossing? 
Flossing is the only way to reach the spaces between your teeth which your toothbrush’s bristles cannot during your oral care routine. Flossing knocks away bacteria and plaque which cause tooth decay and gum disease. If left on the teeth, plaque hardens into tartar. This stubborn substance remains on the teeth until professionally removed at a dental cleaning. Flossing regularly helps prevent plaque from becoming tartar at all, keeping your teeth healthier than if you did not floss at all.

How do I floss correctly? 
To floss correctly, use a strand of floss about 18 inches long. Wrap each end of the floss around your forefingers, pulling the floss taught between your hands. Slide the floss between each tooth, extending it all the way up the tooth and under the gum. Move down the strand of floss with each tooth, using a new section for each tooth. Use a new strand for each quadrant of your mouth to cut down on spreading bacteria.

Regular Dental Examinations and Cleanings in Salisbury, MD
One of the best things you can do to keep your mouth and teeth healthy is to see your dentist at least twice a year for regular dental examinations and cleanings. These preventative visits help your dentist discover problems with your teeth early. This prevents a condition like a cavity, which is treated with a simple dental filling, from becoming a full infection and requiring a procedure like a root canal. Additionally, regular cleanings remove all plaque and tartar from the teeth, giving you a fresh start to properly care for your teeth between appointments.

For more information on flossing, please contact Dr. Kathleen M. Geipe in Salisbury, MD. Call (410) 543-0599 to schedule your appointment!

By Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA
October 09, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics  

There are an assortment of techniques and treatments in an orthodontist's toolkit, braces being the most common and best known. Of course, there wouldn't be any tools at all if teeth couldn't move naturally.

Teeth aren't directly connected to the jawbone. An elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament lies between each one, with tiny fibers attaching to the tooth on one side and to the bone on the other. The ligament's elasticity and other qualities allow micro-movements of the teeth as we bite.

The ligament can also adapt to changes in the mouth and teeth by allowing the teeth to move to different positions. That's the basic concept behind braces: we thread a thin wire through brackets attached to the teeth, which we then attach to anchor points (usually back teeth not intended to move) and apply tension to it. Gradually over time, the target teeth move.

But what if your malocclusion (poor bite) is more complicated or the back teeth can't supply enough anchorage for moving the intended teeth? That's where we take advantage of other sources of anchorage.

One such source is the patient's skull, which we can make use of through special headgear worn a few hours a day. The device consists of a strap under tension that runs around the back of the head or neck to a wire housing attached to brackets on the target teeth. If you want to “pull” the teeth forward, the strap would come over the chin, forehead or a combination of both.

We may sometimes want to isolate some teeth to move without moving nearby teeth, such as moving front teeth backward to close a space without affecting teeth further to the rear. We can create a separate anchor point in the jaw with a TAD or temporary anchorage device.

TADs are tiny screws made of stainless steel inserted temporarily into the bone. We loop an elastic band over the TAD on one end and to a bracket or tension wire attached to the target teeth on the other. When we've achieved the teeth's new position we can easily remove the TAD from the bone.

These various tools make it possible to correct difficult or complex malocclusions. They may not always look attractive, but they'll help ensure the final result is.

If you would like more information on available orthodontic treatments, 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 “Orthodontic Headgear & Other Anchorage Appliances.”