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1515 Wilson Blvd., Suite 103
Arlington, VA 22209

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Monthly Archives: June 2016

Don’t Let Gingivitis Keep You From Smiling

YOU’RE SITTING IN THE DENTAL CHAIR, everything going as planned at your checkup, until your dentist tells you that you have gingivitis. If you haven’t heard of gingivitis before you’re probably thinking, “What is gingivitis? Is it serious? Is it treatable?”

We’ve compiled all the information you need to know about gingivitis so you can keep your smile healthy!

What Is Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums characterized by gum irritation, redness, swelling and sometimes bleeding. Symptoms of gingivitis are fairly mild and can even be painless. Visiting your dentist regularly is important so gingivitis can be diagnosed, especially if symptoms are not obvious.

Gingivitis is the first stage of periodontal, or gum disease, and should be taken seriously. If left untreated, gingivitis will progress to full-blown gum disease, which can lead to receding and damaged gums as well as bone and tooth loss.

What Causes Gingivitis?

Gingivitis is usually the result of poor oral hygiene. When plaque is not removed by proper brushing and flossing, bacteria-filled plaque hardens and turns into what is called tartar. Plaque and tartar buildup around the gum line cause gum irritation and inflammation or, in other words, gingivitis.

Other factors may contribute to the development of gingivitis such as hormonal changes (especially during pregnancy), smoking, certain medications or illnesses and genetic predisposition.

Is Gingivitis Reversible?

Finding out you have gingivitis can be worrisome but here’s the good news: good oral hygiene habits and professional dental cleanings can, in most cases, rid you of gingivitis.

Proper oral hygiene not only prevents gingivitis, but treats it as well. Professional cleanings as recommended by your dentist, daily brushing and flossing, and regular use of an antibacterial mouthwash can keep bacteria found in plaque at bay, effectively preventing and treating gingivitis.

So, yes, gingivitis is reversible! By treating it early and following the instructions of your dental care provider, you can treat gingivitis and smile on!

Keep Your Smile Healthy

A smile shouldn’t only be happy, it should be healthy too! Your oral health is the gateway to your overall health and wellness. So if you’ve been diagnosed with gingivitis, practice proper oral hygiene care and you’ll have your healthy smile back in no time.

If you have any questions regarding your oral health, call us today or leave us a Facebook message. We’re always glad to address your concerns!

Top image by Flickr user Tom Woodward 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 Causes Stained Teeth?

WE OFTEN TAKE STEPS to achieve that sparkling white smile when we brush in the morning and before we go to bed. The truth is, what we consume throughout the day is often the largest contributor to whether or not our smile will light up a room.

Although there are several causes for tooth discoloration, we can separate them into three basic categories: intrinsic, extrinsic, and age-related discoloration. Here’s how each affects your teeth, and what you can do to ensure a life full of bright, healthy smiles.

Food And Drink Are Large Contributors To Surface Stains

Extrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the enamel—the outer layer of the tooth—becomes stained. These stains are caused by pigments, acidic content, and other chemical factors (natural or artificial) present in things we enjoy eating and drinking.

A few common culprits for tooth discoloration include:

  • Wine
  • Coffee
  • Tea
  • Cola
  • Sports drinks
  • Hard Candy
  • Berries
  • Tomato Sauce

Most of these items won’t have an immediate affect on the color of your teeth, but over time, they can begin to wear away and cling to enamel causing unsightly stains. Try to consume these in moderation and always remember to drink plenty of water and brush your teeth after meals.

Here’s a couple of quick tips to help avoid those wine stains!

Trauma Can Discolor Teeth From The Inside Out

Intrinsic tooth discoloration occurs when the inner structure of the tooth—the dentin—begins to darken or develop a yellow tint. This type of discoloration can develop because of a trauma sustained to the tooth. Sometimes when a tooth sustains trauma during childhood, it can damage the developing permanent tooth beneath it, affecting the tooths color. If a trauma is sustained during adulthood, internal bleeding can potentially discolor the damaged tooth.

Other causes include uses of medication at certain stages of life or being born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta which can cause gray, amber, or purple discolorations. If you have questions about intrinsic discoloration, come in and see us and we can help answer your questions.

Your Smile Can Change Color With Age

Age-related tooth discoloration is a combination of both intrinsic and extrinsic factors. The dentin inside our teeth naturally yellows as we age. Enamel on the outside of teeth also thins as we get older, allowing the yellow pigment of the dentin to show through. A lifetime of consuming certain foods or smoking cigarettes will also contribute to deep-set stains on the enamel’s surface.

We Can Help Brighten Your Smile

We know just how important it is to provide our patients with bright, healthy smiles. Each situation is unique and we provide our patients with effective solutions for their unique oral health needs. If you have any questions about your smile’s appearance, let us know in the comments below or call and make an appointment today!

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

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.

Brush Up On Some Toothbrush History

WITH ALL THE AMAZING technology we see today, it’s easy to overlook the small wonders of the world—like the toothbrush! This small, but remarkable invention is the staple of our oral hygiene and health. Join us on a journey through time as we explore the way the toothbrush has changed across the ages!

Ancient Civilizations Used Sticks To Clean Their Teeth

Today, we understand the importance oral hygiene plays in our overall health. But even over 5,000 years ago people recognized the need for some type of oral care. Babylonian and Egyptian civilizations around 3500-3000 B.C. made “toothbrushes” by fraying the end of sticks and chewing on them!

Later, the Chinese made similar chewing sticks from aromatic tree twigs that were meant to freshen breath. People didn’t just use sticks, however. Bird feathers, animal bones and even porcupine quills were used to pick at food debris in the teeth.

The First Toothbrushes Were Made With Pig Hair

The first mention of an actual brush to clean teeth appears in Chinese writings around the 13th century. Bamboo or animal bone was used as the handle of the toothbrush and pig hair formed the bristles. Toothbrushes weren’t widely used or produced, however, until a couple hundred years later.

Around the year 1780, an Englishman named William Addis was sitting in his prison cell thinking of better ways to clean our teeth than rubbing them with a rag full of soot and salt (yuck!). He carved a handle out of animal bone, made some holes at the top and tied swine bristles to it. When he got out of prison, he turned toothbrush production into a business and made a fortune!

The Modern Toothbrush Continues To Evolve Today

As appetizing as pig hair sounds, aren’t you glad toothbrushes nowadays are made with nylon bristles? Nylon was invented in 1938 and by the 1950s, toothbrushes began to look and feel more like they do today. More technological advances made it possible to develop toothbrushes even further; the electric toothbrush made its way to the United States in 1960.

People are still looking to drive toothbrush technology forward. New apps are being created all the time to make toothbrushing easier and more enjoyable. It even looks like built-in cameras may be in the future of toothbrushes!

The Toothbrush: One Of Man’s Greatest Inventions?

The idea of the toothbrush was simple, but there’s no doubt it has greatly contributed to our oral and overall health. In fact, when a group of people were asked which invention they could not live without, the toothbrush beat out the car, computer, cell phone and microwave!

So, don’t take your toothbrush for granted. Use it twice daily for a full two minutes! Your pearly whites will thank you.

Top image by Flickr user William Warby 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.

Learn The Benefits Of Dental Implants

IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED TOOTH LOSS, you are not alone. In fact, more than 35 million Americans are missing all of their teeth, while 178 million are missing at least one tooth. Here’s the good news: there are solutions for you.

Dental Implants Function Much Like Natural Teeth

While there are other tooth replacement options, dental implants have many advantages over other treatments. They are called “implants” because an artificial tooth root is placed, or implanted, in your jawbone. It is then covered by a natural-looking tooth replacement. Implants are the only tooth replacement option that incorporate an artificial root, allowing them to function much like natural teeth.

There Are Many Benefits To Choosing Implants

Here are five major benefits to consider when deciding between dental implants and other tooth restoration options:

#1: Dental implants are convenient and long-lasting.

Unlike dentures, you don’t need to take them out to eat or clean and there’s no need to reapply them with adhesive. Implants also provide a permanent solution to tooth loss–they are built to last a lifetime if they are well taken care of.

#2: Get the look, feel and function of your natural teeth.

Dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth so you can look and feel your best. They also function like real teeth, meaning you can bite naturally and eat the foods you love without hesitation. Implants also don’t interfere with speech like some other replacement options.

#3: Oral hygiene isn’t complicated by implants.

You can take care of your teeth as usual, flossing once a day and brushing twice daily. With implants, it’s easy to maintain that bright, beautiful smile!

#4: Implants prevent bone deterioration and loss.

When you lose teeth the jawbone deteriorates, causing your face to appear sunken over time. Implants act as an artificial tooth root, stimulating the jawbone and promoting bone growth. This helps maintain the natural shape of your face and jaw.

#5: Leave your natural teeth unaltered.

Some treatment options, like a dental bridge, require grinding down other healthy teeth to support the bridge. Implants replace lost teeth but do not require any alteration of your existing healthy teeth.

Here’s A Behind-the-scenes Look At How Implants Are Made

Don’t Let Tooth Loss Keep You From Smiling

You should never let tooth loss keep you from a healthy, beautiful smile. If you have experienced tooth loss, come and talk with us today. We will consult about what tooth restoration options will be best for you, your lifestyle and health.

Our patients’ smiles make it all worthwhile!

Top image by Flickr user Vanessa Porter 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.

Calcium Isn’t Just Good For Bones—It Benefits Your Smile Too!

WE’VE ALL BEEN TOLD (and many of us tell our children) that milk builds strong bones. But our nutritional and dietary preferences are not only widely varied, they also change from time to time. Does milk really “do a body good”? Some believe it does, and others believe it doesn’t.

Regardless of your take, you’re not alone. Today, millions of people follow vegan or vegetarian diets, and tens of millions of people are lactose intolerant. Whether or not you choose to avoid dairy for health or other personal reasons, here are some thoughts from our team.

Calcium And Vitamin D Play A Key Role In Oral Health

It’s true that dairy products are full of calcium, and often supplemented with vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium and other bone-building minerals). While people on specialized diets (including vegans and vegetarians) are typically very careful about eating healthy, there’s still a risk of calcium and vitamin D deficiency.

One of the dangers in calcium and vitamin D deficiency is the increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. In addition, these deficiencies can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Without the right vitamins and minerals, your mouth’s defenses may be down.

Need A Good Source Of Calcium? Dairy Isn’t The Only Option!

The good news is that, if you choose, you can get these nutrients from alternative sources. For example, just one ounce of sesame seeds contains almost as much calcium as an entire glass of milk. Other major sources of calcium are dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens.

When it comes to vitamin D, surprisingly, your best source is the sun! When exposed to the sun’s radiation, your body naturally produces vitamin D. But of course, be careful and use common sense—you also know the potential problems associated with prolonged/unprotected sun exposure.

There are also a number of things we can eat and drink that are “fortified” with calcium and vitamin D including soy milk, orange juice and some breakfast cereals. You can also consider taking supplements.

Here Are 10 Calcium Rich Options For Your Diet

Do you have questions about this topic? Contact us! Do you have suggestions for others who may be wondering about other sources for their daily calcium? Let us know! Leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

And, as always, thank you for being our valued patient!

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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