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Silver Spring, MD 20902



By Dr. Alice Charland Bassford D.M.D. M.A.G.D.
June 05, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Do you take good care of your teeth or could your oral hygiene routine benefit from a little TLC? Silver Spring, MD, comprehensive familyoral hygiene dentist, Dr. Alice Charland Bassford, explains how preventive care will keep your smile healthy.

A strong oral hygiene routine reduces your cavity risk

There's no way to avoid plaque. The sticky film constantly forms on your teeth during the day and night. Although plaque can make your teeth feel a little rough, that uncomfortable feeling isn't the only drawback of plaque. The film contains bacteria, which contributes to tooth decay. If you eat a handful of chips or indulge in a candy bar, the bacteria interacts with sugars in those foods and produces strong acids capable of creating cavities.

Brushing your teeth removes the bacterial film, reducing your tooth decay risk. Getting rid of plaque prevents it from turning into tartar. Tartar, a very hard deposit, is responsible for gum disease. These tips can help reduce your risk of tooth decay and gum disease:

  • Brush Twice a Day: Brushing in the morning and evening helps keep plaque from damaging your teeth. Worried that you'll miss some spots? Brush for at least two minutes.
  • Floss Once a Day: Flossing removes plaque that forms between your teeth. Use a gentle up-and-down motion when you floss, and be sure to clean around the base of your teeth, too.
  • Brush Your Tongue: Bacteria doesn't just form on your teeth, but also grows on your tongue. Brushing your tongue with your toothbrush or a tongue scraper will get rid of it before it can transfer to your teeth.
  • Use Mouthwash for Additional Protection: Rinsing with antibacterial mouthwash offers an additional layer of protection for your teeth.
  • Stay Away from Sticky Candy: Caramels, gummy worms and other sticky candies expose your teeth to sugar for long periods, increasing your tooth decay risk. Long after you finish that gummy worm, tiny pieces may still remain on your teeth.

Regular dental visits are essential

One of the best ways to protect your smile is with twice yearly visits to our Silver Spring office. During your visit, plaque and tartar will be removed with a thorough dental cleaning. Regular visits also include examinations of your teeth, mouth, jaw and neck, and a fluoride varnish application and oral cancer screening. We will also discuss your health and how your mouth/gums may be affecting your Systemic Health and screen for Sleep Apnea using a simple 8 question interview. Sometimes, no matter how carefully you care for your teeth, cavities can still occur. Luckily, prompt treatment will mean you'll only need a small filling (Bonding).

Has it been a while since you've seen the dentist? Call Silver Spring, MD, comprehensive family dentist Dr. Bassford at (301) 593-5500 to schedule your visit.

By Dr. Alice Charland Bassford D.M.D. M.A.G.D.
April 04, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Headaches   migraines  

Find out if your symptoms are caused by a headache or whether a migraine could be to blame.headaches

Your head is throbbing. You can’t concentrate at work. You wish you could just close the door to your office a lie down. Does this scenario sound familiar? It might be if you deal with headaches. Of course, have you always wondered whether your symptoms are just that of a regular headache or something more serious like a migraine? Our Silver Spring, MD, family dentist, Dr. Alice Charland Bassford, provides insight into the difference between these two conditions and how she might be able to provide relief.


While a headache will certainly cause an aching pain it can also cause pressure. While you may notice that your headache originates more along the temples or forehead it will often show up on both sides. Headaches can last a couple of hours or even days. Tension is often the cause of headaches, but stress and sinus problems may also be to blame.


Unlike headaches, which can be mild, migraines are characterized by severe and sometimes debilitating pain. Along with extreme pain you may also experience pain behind the eyes, nausea, vomiting, sensitivity to sound or light, or blurry vision. Migraines are also more likely to just affect one side of the head rather than both.

How can a dentist help manage your symptoms?

You might not think about it, but our Silver Spring dentist can actually help treat your headaches and migraines. How? When you come in for a consultation we will be able to examine your teeth and jaws to determine whether misaligned teeth, a TMJ disorder (a problem that affects the jaw joint) or a bad bite (malocclusion) could be causing your recurring symptoms. Depending on the cause of your pain, we will determine whether dental appliances, jaw exercises, orthodontics or other conservative options can finally provide you with the relief you’ve been looking for.

If your headache could be due to tension or a TMJ disorder then it’s time you called our Silver Spring, MD, dental office today at (301) 593-5500 to schedule an appointment. Let’s finally provide you with the relief you need to say goodbye to your headaches!

Here is our patient questionnaire on Head Health History.

By Dr. Alice Charland Bassford D.M.D. M.A.G.D.
December 13, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmj   jaw pain  

Do you suffer from frequent headaches? Your pain may be caused or triggered by a problem with your jaw. Dr. Alice Charland Bassford, tmjyour Silver Spring, MD dentist, explains how you can benefit from headache and migraine treatment that targets jaw issues.

The problem

Your headaches may be due to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). TMJ affects the hinge joints in your jaw just below your ear. Muscles, bones, ligaments and tendons in the joints work together to allow you to open and close your mouth. If there's a problem with the functioning of any of these structures, pain, stiffness and headaches can occur.

TMJ can result in tight muscles that can cause tension headaches. Grinding or clenching your teeth at night can make the problem worse. TMJ symptoms can also occur if your bite is off. Your bite is the way your teeth fit together. Bite problems can stress your jaw joints, which can eventually cause headaches.

TMJ headaches can be so bad that they're mistaken for migraines, but the problem can also trigger migraines, particularly if your trigeminal and occipital nerves are stressed. Strained muscles in your face and head can interfere with blood flow, which can increase blood pressure and cause migraines.

Signs TMJ may be to blame for your headaches

It may not always be obvious that TMJ is the reason you experience frequent headaches, but you may notice a few signs that may indicate that you have the problem, such as:

  • Waking up with a stiff jaw due to clenching or grinding your teeth at night
  • Facial swelling
  • Dizziness
  • Tightness in your neck and shoulders
  • Pain in your face, ear and jaw joints
  • Trouble opening your mouth completely
  • Temporary or permanent locking of your jaw
  • Clicking or popping sounds when you eat or open or close your mouth
  • Bite problems

How can a Silver Spring dentist help me?

Your dentist offers different treatment options for headache pain caused by TMJ. She may recommend occlusal splints, soft plastic devices that are worn over your teeth at night. Wearing a splint prevents grinding or clenching and reduces jaw tension. If your pain is caused by a bite problem, she may recommend that you realign your teeth with braces.

Don't let headaches take over your life. Dr. Bassford, your Silver Spring, MD dentist, offers headache and migraine treatment that can reduce your pain. Call (301) 593-5500 to make an appointment.

By Dr. Alice Charland Bassford D.M.D. M.A.G.D.
October 17, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: sleep apnea  

A good night’s rest is often synonymous with a good mood during the day. However, if you suffer from significant daytime sleepiness orsleep apnea insomnia, these could be symptoms of a more complex nighttime issue. Sleep apnea could have serious consequences if left untreated. Find out how Dr. Alice Charland Bassford in Silver Spring, MD can help you manage your sleep apnea symptoms.

What is sleep apnea? 
Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes obstructed or collapses while asleep, resulting in an apnea, or a pause in breathing. This condition occurs exclusively while you sleep, so you may not notice any symptoms at first. If you share your bed with someone, they are more likely to notice your symptoms before you do. The most common symptoms of sleep apnea are:

  • snoring loudly and excessively
  • waking up suddenly with shortness of breath
  • gasping for breath during sleep
  • insomnia
  • feeling irritable or very tired during waking hours
  • waking up with a dry mouth or headaches

How can I manage my sleep apnea? 
Depending on the type of sleep apnea you have and its severity, managing your condition may be as simple as some lifestyle changes. In some cases, getting down to a healthy weight may reverse the symptoms. Changing the position in which you sleep may also help relieve the symptoms of sleep apnea.

Sleep Apnea Treatment in Silver Spring, MD 
If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, you should contact Dr. Bassford for an appointment as soon as possible. If left untreated, sleep apnea could become severe and pose serious health risks.

Some people find that the CPAP machine that is typically used to treat sleep apnea as bulky and difficult to wear. If this is the case, another treatment option for sleep apnea is oral appliance therapy. These oral appliances are used at night while you sleep, and they work by repositioning the jaw and the tongue so that air continues to flow. By preventing the airway from collapsing this allows you to get a good night's rest.

For more information on sleep apnea or its treatments, please contact Dr. Bassford in Silver Spring, MD. Call (301) 593-5500 to schedule your consultation with Dr. Bassford today!

By Dr. Alice Charland Bassford D.M.D. M.A.G.D.
July 21, 2016
Category: Uncategorized

Learn about crowns and bridges from your Silver Spring dentist.

A Gallup poll found that up to a third of Americans didn’t visit the dentist’s office in the course of a year. Unfortunately, the longer you avoid going to the dentist’s office, the higher the chance of dental problems that may require restorative work. If you’ve been looking for a restorative solution for your smile, crowns or bridges may be your bestDental Crowns option. Learn more about these common dental treatments by exploring a few frequently asked questions.

What Is the Difference Between Crowns and Bridges?
A crown is a whole covering, commonly made of porcelain, metal or ceramic material, that replaces the enamel layer of the tooth. It is bonded on top of a healthy rooted tooth that needs strengthening and protection. A bridge is a device that uses two crowns to fill in a gap in the smile from a missing tooth. The crowns cover the two adjacent teeth, called abutments. The center of the bridge called a pontic, is a false tooth that is designed to fit in with the rest of your smile.

Who Is a Good Candidate for Crowns?
Since a crown is only a superficial covering, the inner parts of the tooth have to be healthy to support it. A dentist must examine the inside of the tooth using X-rays to confirm that the tooth is healthy enough for a crown. Patients who have root canal therapy are also candidates for crowns.

Who Needs Bridges?
Someone who has one or two missing teeth and wants a reasonably secure and semi-permanent solution may benefit from bridges. The bridge is needed to help make it easier to process food, maintain the structure of the jawline and give the patient a smile to be proud of. The abutment teeth have to be healthy enough to support a crown. Generally, a good candidate for a crown will likely also be a good candidate for bridgework.

How Long Will These Dental Solutions Last?
A crown or bridge can last for between five to 15 years or even longer if you take care of your teeth. But no worries, because when the time comes your dentist can redo the crown or bridge and give you another 15 or more years to enjoy your new smile.

Contact your Silver Spring Dentist
Call your Silver Spring dentist to find out if a crown or bridge can help give you a better smile. These two restorative treatments can help fix a number of common dental problems.

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