Monday, October 16, 2017

My Two Root Canals


It all started during the Christmas holidays last year. I began getting a headache and radiating pain on the right side that felt like it was a TMJ episode or maybe my sinuses acting up. A few days later I noticed swelling in the gum around my upper right first molar. I immediately knew that that tooth had died and abscessed. A few months earlier it had been cold sensitive but an x-ray revealed no decay. I went to one of my trusted colleagues who specializes in root canals and he did a great job.

A few months later I was out to dinner with some of my dental laser training colleagues and noticed a lower left molar was extremely sensitive to cold and started to hurt when I bit on it. That tooth had been occasionally sensitive to biting hard foods for years. I knew it had a small crack in it but it only had a small filling and no active decay, so I lived with it. I knew right away I needed root canal number two for the year. I almost never get cavities, brush and floss like a pro, and get regular check ups. So..... why did I need two root canals within a few months? The answer is the destructive sleep habit known as Nocturnal Bruxism.

 I have been very lucky to have a low decay rate. Except for some small fillings when I was a teenager I have hardly a cavity in decades. I do, however, clench and grind my teeth while sleeping. I did not realize this until I was in dental school and learned about nocturnal bruxism, which is the non-functional grinding of teeth while asleep. In recent years I have tried to wear my night guard regularly but would forget sometimes.

Bruxism can damage the teeth in many ways. It causes an insidious loss of tooth enamel that over time can destroy far more tooth structure than decay in most patients. It also can contribute to gum recession as the excess forces cause the supporting bone and gingiva to slowly drop down the root surface of the tooth. People who primarily clench such as myself can develop vertical cracks in the teeth. Over time these cracks can make their way into the dental pulp (the "nerve") and become a passage for bacterial infection.
In my case I had two teeth develop infections completely due to these cracks caused by clenching and grinding in my sleep. Much of the damage had been done before I regularly wore a night guard and reared its ugly head years later. I was lucky, however. These cracks can be so bad the the tooth needs to be extracted.

If your dentist diagnoses that you grind your teeth it is very important that you start wearing a night guard. The long term effects of bruxism include not only cracked teeth, but also severe loss of enamel, aesthetic problems, TMJ disorder, gum recession, and can make periodontal disease worse.

For more information follow these informative links to our practice website...
www.laserdentistbaltimore.com/teeth-grinding-bruxism
www.laserdentistbaltimore.com/tmj-disorder

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

CPAP Alternative-Oral Appliance Therapy

CPAP is the gold standard for treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea. If one can tolerate the CPAP mask it is extremely effective. However, studies have shown that up to 40% of patients will quit using CPAP within the first six months. The reasons are many and include...

  • Discomfort of the nose and upper lip
  • Claustrophobia
  • Unconsciously removing the CPAP while sleeping
  • Nasal Dryness
  • CPAP machine noise interrupts sleep
  • Leaky mask
  • Discomfort caused by straps and headgear
For those patients that can not tolerate CPAP, Oral Appliance Therapy is a safe and effective alternative. Oral appliances are recognized by the Academy of Sleep Medicine. They work by pulling the lower jaw forward which helps keep the throat from collapsing allowing air to reach the lungs. In addition, Oral Appliance Therapy is usually covered by your medical insurance. 
We have been providing Oral Appliance Therapy at the Baltimore Center for Laser Dentistry for over a decade. We also work with a billing company to ensure maximum medical insurance coverage available under your plan. 
If you would like to consult with us regarding Oral Appliance therapy for Sleep Apnea give us a call today at 410-789-4999. Also visit our website www.laserdentistbaltimore.com. 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

What is TMJ Disorder?

TMJ Disorder is a common affliction that often goes undiagnosed. The discomfort can range from the mildly annoying to debilitating. Early diagnosis and treatment is the key as it is with many medical problems. Simply put,TMJ Disorder is the presence of pain and/or loss of function in the joints and muscles of the jaw. Below is a list of common symptoms that may indicate a TMJ Disorder problem...


  • Jaw pain and/or stiffness
  • Headaches, usually at the temples and side of head
  • Vague tooth soreness or toothaches which often move around the mouth
  • Sensitive teeth
  • Painful or tender jaw joint
  • Difficulty opening jaw
  • Pain and fatigue when eating hard or chewy foods
  • Clicks, pops, or grinding sound in jaw joint
  • Ear pain
  • Cervical neck tension and pain
  • Tooth wear
  • Awareness of grinding/clenching teeth while sleeping or awake (Bruxism)
  • A pattern of breaking or cracking teeth with no other cause, i.e. tooth decay or trauma
  • History of medically diagnosed migraine headaches (common incidence of concurrent TMD)


Having any of these symptoms may indicate the presence of a TMJ problem that should be evaluated by your dentist. The good news is that most TMJ Disorder problems can be managed effectively with a combination of bite splints and physical therapy. At the Baltimore Center for Laser Dentistry we often prescribe the NTI device which is a cost effective solution that yields results in the great majority of cases. For more in depth information visit our TMJ Disorder webpage at http://www.laserdentistbaltimore.com/tmj-therapy/.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Dr. Pohlhaus is Interviewed About the Dentist's Role in Treating Snoring and Sleep Apnea.





Dr Pohlhaus was recently on WBAL TV discussing the dentist's role in treating snoring and sleep apnea. He also talks about the NightLase procedure. NightLase is a non surgical laser treatment of the soft palate that reduces snoring in 80 percent of the patients treated. For more information on NightLase and other snoring treatments visit The Baltimore Center for Laser Dentisrty's website at www.baltimorelaserdentist.com



Monday, February 22, 2016

Revolutionary Cavity Treatment Now Available


We are very excited to introduce a new treatment for tooth decay called  Advantage Arrest™. 
This procedure was recently highlighted on WBAL TV and here is a link to the story.... http://www.wbaltv.com/health/new-way-to-treat-cavities-is-quick-painless/36616006 
Imagine treating decay effectively without needing a filling at all.
This treatment has been available in Europe for many years and just recently got FDA approval for use in the United States. This remarkable treatment can stop decay in teeth and allows the cavity to heal where many times no filling will be needed at all. When an early decay is detected in a tooth the topical solution is applied for just a minute. It rapidly kills the bacteria that caused the cavity and applies a strong dose of fluoride to start the healing process. The treatment may need to be repeated every six months for up to two years. It is ideal for treating the early decay we find with the Diagnodent laser decay detector and our digital, high resolution x-rays. This procedure can be used at all ages and can be ideal for baby teeth in young children. We at the Baltimore Center for Laser Dentistry have always been committed to using the least invasive procedures when treating dental problems and Advantage Arrest is basically non-invasive. The only disadvantages  are that the decay turns dark so it is contraindicated in esthetic areas and larger cavities still need fillings in adult teeth. 
Early diagnosis and treatment is the key...allowing you to keep healthy teeth that last a lifetime. Call us at 410-789-4999 today!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

20 mistakes that ruin your teeth

Here is an excellent blog post about things to avoid that can damage your teeth.

Here's the list.........

Multitasking while you brush
Over-cleaning your toothbrush
Using social media as your dentist
Avoiding x-rays
Storing your wet toothbrush in a travel case
Hanging on to that tongue or lip piercing
Drinking apple cider vinegar
Ditching your retainer
Brushing right after your morning OJ
Ignoring your daily (or nightly) grind
Smoking
Reaching for a toothpick
Skipping dentist appointments
Going overboard with whitening products
Not drinking enough water
Skimping on calcium and vitamin D
Getting addicted to juicing
Reaching for the wrong mouth rinse
Using a brush that's too hard
Drinking soft drink - even the diet stuff

If you are unsure how best to care for your teeth and gums or its been 6 months or more since your last dental check or hygiene visit then call us to make your appointment for a full mouth health assessment. We will inform you and show you exactly what is going on in your mouth and how best to manage or treat any conditions you may have and prevent you having major problems down the track.