• John N. Kim, D.D.S., P.A.

8301 Cherry Lane
Laurel, MD 20707
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Posts for: June, 2015


A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.

We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?

Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.

When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?

In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.

So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.

If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”

By John N. Kim, D.D.S., P.A.
June 23, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Toothaches  

Toothache Find out what you should do to properly treat a toothache.

At some point in many of our lives we will have to deal with a toothache. While some reasons are more minor, most of the time tooth pain warrants a trip to see your Laurel, MD dentist Dr. John N. Kim. Learn more about the telltale signs that it’s time to come into our office for treatment.

Classic Signs of a Toothache

While a toothache might seem like a pretty obvious symptom in and of itself, those with toothaches may experience a nagging or throbbing pain while others may experience sharp or shooting pains. Your toothache may come and go throughout the day while others may be more persistent. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then you need to talk to your Laurel, MD dentist right away.

Causes of a Toothache

The main cause of a toothache is dental decay. If you’ve gotten to the point that you are experiencing a toothache then you’ll need to seek treatment from your Laurel, MD dentist Dr. Kim. The quicker you address the issue the more likely you’ll be able to preserve the majority of the tooth.

Other causes of a toothache can be due to a sinus infection, ear infection or even gum disease.

What to do About a Toothache

The only way to stop a toothache altogether is to see your Laurel, MD dentist Dr. Kim as soon as possible. A toothache is considered a dental emergency and should be treated right away. Don’t put off treatment! When you call our office be honest about the severity of your pain and condition. We are here to accommodate dental emergencies.

In the meantime, you can find relief from your tooth pain by opting for over-the-counter pain medications and anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen or aspirin. While this alone isn’t the way to fix the cause of your toothache, this can be a great temporary relief until you get to our office.

Another way to ease swelling and discomfort is to ice the side of the face where your toothache is. Just be sure to wrap ice in a towel before applying it to your skin.

Rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water rinses can also help reduce your symptoms. Add ¼ tsp of table salt to an 8 oz. glass of warm water. You can rinse your mouth out with salt water several times throughout the day to keep pain and swelling down.

Suffering from a toothache? Don’t suffer in silence. Call your Laurel, MD dentist Dr. Kim today and get the relief your smile needs.

By John N. Kim, D.D.S., P.A.
June 12, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crown lengthening  

A crown — a life-like “cap” made of dental porcelain that permanently covers an existing tooth — is an effective way to restore a still-viable decayed or broken tooth’s appearance. Properly fitting the crown over the tooth requires some healthy tooth structure above the gum line.

But what if the tooth has broken down to the gum line? In this case, we would need to perform a common procedure known as crown lengthening to expose more of the tooth.

Crown lengthening is a minor surgical procedure performed with local anesthesia to numb the tooth, surrounding gum tissues and supporting bone. We first make tiny incisions inside the gum-line on both the cheek and tongue side of the tooth to expose the bone, and then carefully remove a small amount of bone from either side of the tooth; this will expose or “lengthen” the tooth. Once finished, we suture the gum tissue back into place with self-dissolving sutures against the bone and tooth.

Most procedures take only sixty to ninety minutes, and the mild discomfort afterward is usually managed with pain relievers like ibuprofen. While the gum tissues may appear to be healed after a week, we typically wait six to eight weeks to perform the final crown restoration to give the tissues time to fully mature.

Crown lengthening may not work in all situations, especially with a severely fractured tooth. In these cases, we may need to evaluate the long-term viability of the tooth and consider other restorative options. Depending on your bite, it may also be necessary to treat with orthodontics first: not only will the tooth move into a better position, but the treatment may move both the gum and bone down with the tooth. Subsequent crown lengthening will then only affect the intended tooth and not adjacent ones, resulting in a more even smile.

The first step is for us to decide after a thorough examination if you would benefit from crown lengthening. If so, this minor surgical procedure could pave the way for better mouth function and a more attractive smile.

If you would like more information on crown restorations, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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