703-528-3336
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1515 Wilson Blvd., Suite 103
Arlington, VA 22209

"A first class practice from top to bottom!" — Bob B.

Monthly Archives: January 2016

Why You Shouldn’t Wait To Treat A Cavity

MANY OF US HAVE HAD at least one cavity in our lives, and if we don’t keep up on our oral hygiene, it’s likely that we’ll get a couple more as time goes by.

While cavities may be inconvenient, it’s imperative that we get them treated immediately. Early treatment of cavities prevents long-term damage to our teeth and is essential to maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile!

Cavities Are A Sign Of Tooth Decay

A cavity is a small hole that develops on your tooth when it begins to decay. Harmful bacteria is contained in the plaque that sticks to our teeth. This bacteria produces acid that eats away at our teeth and causes cavities if the plaque is not removed. If left untreated, the cavity can grow larger and cause permanent damage to the tooth.

Letting cavities fester is more common than you think. Approximately 28 percent of adults are living with untreated cavities. Because cavities are so commonplace, some may think they can leave them untreated, either to save money or spare themselves a filling. It is important to remember, however, that a cavity is considered an infection that requires prompt treatment.

Cavities Will Continue To Grow If Left Untreated

Cavities can only get worse with time. Once that harmful bacteria creates a cavity, it will continue to grow if not repaired with a filling. To further understand the damage a cavity can do to your tooth, let’s go over some tooth anatomy.

A tooth consists of three parts:

  1. The hard and protective outer layer called the enamel
  2. The middle layer called dentin
  3. The inner layer called the pulp, which contains the tooth’s blood vessels and nerves

The enamel is the tooth’s first line of defense against cavity-causing bacteria. If treatment is postponed, the bacteria will eventually get through the enamel and enter into the layer of dentin, and eventually, the pulp.

If cavity-causing bacteria is allowed to reach the dental pulp, it can lead to a condition known as pulpitis, or inflammation of the pulp. If treated quickly, pulpitis can be treated with a simple filling. If left to progress, more serious measures may need to be taken such as a root canal or tooth extraction.

Your Health And Comfort Are Our Priority

In the end, the ideal option is to prevent cavities before they even occur! At our practice, your health and comfort are our priority. We are your partners in helping you maintain a cavity-free, beautiful smile!

Thank you for continuing to be part of our practice family!

Top image by Flickr user Bob G used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Ice Cravings: A Sign Of Something More?

DO YOU EVER WONDER WHY many people enjoy chewing their leftover ice after finishing a nice refreshing drink? It may surprise you to learn that the cool crunch of the ice may not be the only thing drawing people to chew those last few cubes.

Chewing Ice Is Not Cool For Your Teeth

Many enjoy chomping down on those last few ice cubes at the bottom of their glass, but is it really that bad for your dental health? Absolutely!

Ice is an incredibly hard substance, and when pitted against teeth it can do serious damage to our enamel. Repeated grinding against ice and other hard substances can result in enamel cracking and erosion. Because enamel has no living cells, the body cannot repair any chips or cracks on its own—they will require enamel restoration treatments.

Ice Cravings May Be Caused By More Than Preference

Ice cravings are fairly common–especially among expecting mothers–but not all of these cravings are driven by enjoyment alone. The compulsive consumption of ice, known as pagophagia, has recently been linked to anemia—a lack of iron in the blood. Anemia can lead to serious health complications if left untreated. But don’t worry, if diagnosed by a doctor, anemia is easily treatable with daily iron supplements. Scientists still aren’t sure why the link between chewing ice and anemia exists, but many suspect it may the body’s natural response to relieve oral inflammation caused by anemia.

We Care About Your Whole Body Health

Excessive ice cravings affect far more than just your teeth. We care about far more than just the health of your smile! If you or someone you care about has questions about ice cravings and how they affect your health, feel free to set an appointment or leave a comment below! We’d love to work with you to ensure that not only your smile is healthy, but your whole body as well.

Thank you for being a valued patient and friend!

Top image by Flickr user Simon_sees used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What To Expect At The Dentist… When You’re Expecting

IF YOU’RE PREGNANT, you’re probably worried about anything and everything that may affect your baby, especially if you’re a first time mother. But when it comes to your dental care, there’s no need to worry!

Annual exams and preventive dental care during pregnancy are not only safe, but recommended. In fact, you need to pay special attention to your dental health while pregnant, as your teeth and gums can be affected by the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy.

Watch Out For These Things During Pregnancy

Morning sickness and increased levels of progesterone can result in some dental problems for pregnant women. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:

  • Pregnancy gingivitis—an inflammation of the gums—occurs because of changing hormone levels. Some women may experience bleeding when brushing or flossing and red, swollen gums.
  • Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is caused by bacterial infection that develops below the gum line. This disease damages the fibers that hold your teeth in place and can also affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown that expectant mothers with periodontal disease are at a higher risk of premature delivery and lower birth weights.
  • Dry mouth comes from a decrease in saliva caused by hormonal changes. Chewing sugarless gum can help increase saliva production.
  • Erosion of tooth enamel is always a risk associated with vomiting. As morning sickness and frequent vomiting are common during pregnancy, enamel erosion on the back of the front teeth is more likely to occur.

How To Care For Your Teeth When Expecting

So, how do you avoid the dental problems that can arise during pregnancy? Easy: be consistent in your normal oral care routine!

  • Eat healthy. Nutrition is important for your teeth, as well as the teeth of your developing baby. A nutrient-rich diet is the best thing you can do for your oral and overall health.
  • Brush regularly. As usual, brush at least two times a day for two minutes, and if possible, brush with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
  • Floss. Need we remind you? Flossing at least once a day helps prevent pregnancy gingivitis.
  • Use mouthwash. Antimicrobial mouthwash fights the bacteria that contribute to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
  • Tell your dentist you’re pregnant. If X-rays, medication, or anesthetics are being considered, your dentist can weigh the risks and do what’s best for you and your baby.
  • Visit your dentist. Preventive dental care while pregnant is essential to avoid oral infections. When you find out you’re pregnant, make an appointment and speak to your dentist about how you can avoid pregnancy-related dental problems.

Expectant Mothers Can Trust Our Practice

Visits to your dentist during your pregnancy are just as important as visits to your healthcare provider. We care about the dental and overall health of you and your child. So, between trips to the doctor and Babies-R-Us, don’t let visiting the dentist fall off of your pregnancy to-do list!

Thank you for being our valued patient and friend!

Top image by Flickr user David Leo Veksler used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What Your Dentist Can Tell By Looking In Your Mouth

DENTISTS AREN’T JUST LOOKING FOR CAVITIES at your routine checkup. A quick examination of your mouth can reveal a lot more about your oral and overall health than you think. The dentist may even discover some of your quirky habits!

Here are a few things dentists may notice when they look inside your mouth:

#1: You Haven’t Been Flossing Regularly

That quick flossing session right before your appointment may make it more apparent to your dentist that you haven’t been flossing on a regular basis. When you only floss right before your dental checkup, your gums may still be bleeding and usually look damaged and inflamed. Healthy gums, on the other hand, appear tight and pink.

#2: You Have A Sinus Infection

Sinus infections are known for causing pain and pressure in your sinus cavity, but sometimes you can even feel it in your upper teeth!
Are you unsure whether you have a toothache or a sinus infection? Luckily, your dentist can tell the difference! A simple home test is to bend over and touch your toes. If the pressure or pain increases upon bending over, it is most likely not a toothache!

#3: You Bite Your Nails

Here’s one of those quirky habits that you can’t hide from your dentist! Nail biters have leveled off, flat front teeth. This is because of the grinding that occurs between the top and bottom teeth.

#4: You Have A Vitamin Deficiency

Dentists look at more than just your teeth—they examine the health of your whole mouth! Vitamin deficiencies in particular can manifest themselves in your mouth in various ways. Here are some examples:

  • Sores
  • Changes in the tongue
  • Tissue sloughing off
  • Delayed healing
  • Easily bleeding gums
  • Burning tongue syndrome

Dentists are often the first to discover a vitamin deficiency and can help get you back on track.

#5: You Used To Suck Your Thumb

If you had the habit of sucking your thumb or finger past the age of seven, there will be significant changes in your bite and the position of your teeth. Telltale signs may remain but these can be fixed through orthodontic treatment.

#6: You Have Another Serious Health Issue

Serious maladies such as oral cancer, diabetes, and heart disease show symptoms in the mouth.

Oral cancer, for example, is characterized by unexplained bleeding, discolored patches, swelling, bumps, or even eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth. Diabetes and heart disease visibly affect the health of the gums, shown by increased swelling, bleeding and sensitivity.

We Provide More Than Just A Cleaning

Your dental appointment is much more than just a cleaning! Beyond being able to tell that you bite your nails or don’t floss as often as you should, we can also detect other, more serious health problems and help you get your health back on track.

Your overall health is important to us. Trust us to catch any warning signs that may appear in your mouth. We’re here to detect any problems and help you stay healthy and happy!

Thank you for placing your trust in our practice!

Top image by Flickr user Tobias Scheck used under Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.
The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.
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