The Women's Journal

Q & A With Local Dentist Dr. D

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By Laura Dougherty, D.D.S.

Do you have questions regarding your teeth or mouth? Do you have questions about your children’s mouth and dental care? I have answers for you! The following are a few questions, which I am asked on a regular basis.   

When should I take my child to the dentist for the first time? 

The ADA recommends taking your child to the dentist at age one. Many parents ask, why so early? It is so important to teach good habits at an early age for both the child and parent. The earlier they are introduced to the dental chair the more comfortable they will be as they get older. It is also important to educate parents regarding their child’s oral health at an early age. With early visits comes good dental health as adults.

My child’s front tooth was knocked out. What should I do? 

This is a great question, and one I feel is important for everyone to understand. If a permanent tooth is completely knocked out, or avulsed, which means that the tooth and root come out in one piece, it is possible for the tooth to be re-implanted. The key is timing. The sooner that tooth can be pushed back into place the better its chances for long-term success. If this occurs, any noticeable dirt needs to be removed but the tooth shouldn’t be completely cleaned. Teeth have fibers on the root that need to be kept intact when possible. The next step is to push the tooth back into the socket and immediately call your dentist. It is important that he/she is treated that day to get the tooth splinted and stabilized.  

What is the difference between a crown and a veneer? 

A crown acts as a sleeve that covers the tooth 360 degrees. It can be made with a number of different materials, including porcelain, gold, or zirconium. Crowns are for back or front teeth that have lost too much supporting tooth structure to be filled with just a filling. A veneer is a facing that is made of a porcelain material and is placed on a front tooth for cosmetic purposes only. Crowns and veneers have a typical life span of 5-8 years, but with proper care and maintenance can last much longer.

Am I a good candidate for an implant? 

An implant is a titanium screw that is placed in your bone to replace missing teeth. The body likes titanium, so while the implant is healing, the bone grows around the threads of the implant. When the healing is complete a crown is placed on top of the implant. Although an implant is an excellent option, it isn’t always the best option. Your dentist will take measurements and a 3-D scan to ensure that the bone is stable enough to accept an implant.  

What causes bad breath?

There are a number of oral sources that cause bad breath, however, other sources of bad breath can be indicative of certain systemic health problems. In the mouth, two sources of bad breath can come from your tongue or the pockets of tissue around your teeth. Using a tongue cleaner to scrape your tongue, or simply brushing your tongue when you brush, removes the coating that can attach to your tongue. Around everyone’s teeth are spaces between the gum and the tooth. They are referred to as periodontal pockets. These pockets are ideally shallow, but if these pockets start to get deeper it can be indicative of periodontal disease. The bacteria that causes periodontal disease can cause bad breath. How do we know if we have deep pockets? When you see your hygienist every six months, he or she will measure these pockets and review any recommendations with you. Bad breath can also come from sinus drainage which can be addressed using a saline spray or neti pot. If it progresses it is always important to follow up with an ENT. Lastly, bad breath is a symptom of diabetes that can manifest in the mouth.  It is not a typical “bad breath” smell but is a sweet smell. Routine blood work is always important, and once the diabetes is under control the bad breath will subside.

These are just some of the questions I receive on a regular basis during routine dental exams. As always it’s important to follow up with your dentist every six months to do a thorough exam and address any concerns or questions you may have. For more information call 302-475-3270 or visit


Born and raised in Delaware’s Sussex County, “Dr. D” earned a B.A. degree in Biology from the University of Delaware in 2001 before going on to study dentistry at the University of Maryland’s Baltimore College of Dental Surgery, achieving her Doctorate of Dental Surgery degree in 2006. After completing her General Practice Residency with the Christiana Care Dental Residency Program, she went into private practice for 11 years prior to opening Dougherty Dental Solutions in 2018. Dr. Dougherty has been named Top Dentist in Delaware Today for three years in a row, taking pride in restoring and maintaining her patients’ smiles.

Dougherty Dental Solutions

2505 Silverside Road, Wilmington, DE


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