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1515 Wilson Blvd., Suite 103
Arlington, VA 22209

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Monthly Archives: August 2016

See The Full Picture On Dental X-Rays

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IF YOU COULD HAVE any superpower, what would it be? Would you choose super strength? How about the power of flight? Maybe you’d like the ability to see through solid objects! Although super strength and flight may not come too easily, you don’t have to search far for X-ray vision (in a manner of speaking)!

Today, we want to share with you a little bit about X-rays and how we use them in our practice to spot troublesome cavities and other issues before they have a larger effect on your smile!

X-Rays Were Discovered By Accident!

X-rays were first observed in 1895 by German physicist Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845-1923). Roentgen accidentally made this discovery while conducting an experiment testing whether cathode rays would pass through glass. After covering the glass cathode tubes he was using for his experiment, he noticed a glow coming from a nearby chemically coated screen. He was unsure what rays were causing the glow so he dubbed them “X-rays” for the time-being, and the name stuck!

Roentgen is also credited with discovering the medical use of X-rays. The first photograph of a human body part using X-rays is actually his wife’s hand!

Dental X-Rays Help Spot Problems Early

X-rays have become an incredibly valuable tool in modern medicine—especially for dentistry! We learn a lot from visually examining your teeth, but not everything is visible to the naked eye during a routine dental exam.

Dental X-rays allow us to detect and diagnose tooth decay between teeth, on hard-to-reach surfaces, and under existing dental work. X-rays can even be helpful in identifying dental and orthodontic issues that exist beneath the gum line—something that was impossible without invasive procedures before X-rays became widely available.

We Have Your Safety In Mind

Both traditional and digital X-ray exams are safe. Though low levels of radiation are used to capture the X-ray images, each technique is designed to limit the body’s exposure to radiation. A leaded apron and thyroid collar are often used to minimize exposure to the abdomen and throat during an examination. These protective measures are helpful for everyone, but especially recommended for children, women of childbearing age, and those who are pregnant.

If you are pregnant and in need of dental X-rays, be sure to tell your dentist. They will be sure to use the leaded apron and thyroid collar during your exam to protect you and your fetus from any radiation. Dental X-rays do not need to be delayed if you’re breastfeeding or trying to become pregnant, but talk to your dentist if you have any questions or concerns.

Prevention Is The Key To Healthy Smiles

We want to keep your mouth as healthy as possible and preserve your beautiful smile. That’s why it’s essential that we discover and diagnose the earliest sign of a problem. X-rays are an essential tool in helping spot these problems that might otherwise go unnoticed. If you have any questions about dental X-rays, please let us know! We’d love to speak with you about this or any other questions you may have.

Our patients brighten our day!

Top image by Flickr user Bashar Al-Ba’noon 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.

Does Your Child Grind Their Teeth?

MANY PARENTS HAVE heard their children (loudly) grinding their teeth while they sleep at night, or even during waking hours. You may worry about the health of your child’s teeth or what their tooth grinding habit means and what has caused it. We hope this blog post answers your questions!

Why Does Teeth Grinding Occur?

Most commonly, bruxism–or teeth grinding–occurs at night. The causes of bruxism are not entirely understood and every child is different. Teeth grinding can occur due to teething in infants, or even when children get their permanent teeth. Others may do it in response to pain, frustration or stress. Some may grind or clench due to improperly aligned teeth. Certain medical conditions as well as genetics may also make people more prone to brux.

Is Bruxism Worrisome?

Bruxism is fairly common among children. In fact, between twenty and thirty percent of children grind or clench their teeth at one point during their childhood. The good news is, most outgrow it and do not incur any lasting damage to their teeth during a teeth grinding phase.

If you suspect your child is grinding their teeth, it’s important to take them to your dental care provider. Some symptoms of bruxism include:

  • Grinding noises while your child is asleep
  • Pain when chewing
  • Unusual tooth sensitivity to hot and cold
  • Sore jaw or face, especially in the morning upon waking

If your child is experiencing any of these symptoms or you suspect that they grind or clench their teeth frequently, pay a visit to your dentist. Fortunately, most cases of bruxism in children do not require treatment, as it usually goes away over time. However, depending on the cause of your child’s bruxism, your dentist may recommend various treatment options. For example, if your child grinds their teeth in response to stress, perhaps a more calming bedtime routine would help.

During your visit, your dentist will examine your child’s teeth for tooth enamel wear and damage. If there is damage, or your child grinds their teeth very frequently, your dentist may recommend a custom-made night guard to protect teeth and hopefully prevent grinding.

We’re Here To Help

Whatever the reason for your child’s teeth grinding habit, we would love to help! Have any more questions or concerns about bruxism? Come in to see us today!

Our patients rock!

Top image by Flickr user Katrina Br*?#*!@nd 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.

Flossing Is Essential To Your Oral Hygiene

WE’VE MENTIONED IT TIME AND TIME AGAIN… Flossing is an essential part of good oral hygiene. Many people don’t see the need for flossing when they already brush their teeth; others simply hate the task. We understand that it can be tedious! But as your trusted dental professionals, we want to assure you that flossing will greatly benefit your dental and overall health.

So, How Does Flossing Benefit My Health?

Did you know that when you don’t floss, you miss cleaning 35 percent of tooth surfaces in your mouth? That’s because brushing simply cannot get into those hard-to-reach spaces between your teeth. Unfortunately, however, bacteria can! Flossing completes brushing by cleaning the spaces your toothbrush can’t.

Regular flossing can:

  • Prevent cavities. Have you ever flossed, even after brushing your teeth, and were surprised to find a remnant of your last meal? Flossing removes food debris and plaque, preventing cavity formation between the teeth, a common place for tooth decay.
  • Fight bad breath. If food or plaque are left in between teeth, they will eventually release a bad smell. Yuck!
  • Inhibit tartar buildup and gum disease. If left on teeth for too long, plaque hardens into tartar, which can only be removed by a dental professional. The presence of tartar can lead to gum disease and tooth loss. Gum disease is associated with other systemic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke.
  • Improve your appearance. Food debris and plaque make teeth look more yellow and gritty. Clean, healthy teeth always appear whiter and brighter!

From years of experience, we can confidently say that flossing makes a big difference in your oral and overall health.

For Flossing To Work, It Has To Be Done Correctly

To reap the benefits of flossing, it has to be done correctly. In a 2006 study, researchers wanted to see whether flossing at home had the same benefits as having daily flossing done by professionals. The study showed that participants who were flossed professionally had a 40 percent decrease in their risk of cavities than their at-home flossing counterparts. The researchers concluded that flossing, when done properly, has a substantial, positive effect on oral health.

Many people simply snap the floss in between their teeth and pull it back out. The correct way, however, is to curve the floss around the tooth, as if the floss were hugging it. Still curved around the tooth, move the floss up and down to scrape the plaque. Do the same on the other tooth.

Take The Flossing Challenge

We’d like to challenge you to make daily flossing a part of your oral healthcare routine. We promise you’ll feel the difference! If you still have questions about flossing, call or come in to see us. Seeing our patients is the best part of our day!

Top image by Flickr user angela n. 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.

Snacking Tips To Keep Your Child’s Smile Healthy

GOOD NUTRITION IS ESSENTIAL for a child’s healthy growth and development. It’s also important for their dental health! A good diet can help your child build strong, healthy teeth, while poor eating habits put your child at a higher risk of tooth decay.

You may understand how important nutritious meals are, but one thing some parents struggle with is snack time. Here are our best tips on how to make sure your child’s snack time is tooth-friendly!

Not All Snacks Are Created Equal

Stay away from starchy, sticky or sugary foods during snack time, like dried fruit, crackers, chips and cookies. These types of snacks can stick to the teeth for long periods of time, potentially causing cavities. For snack time it’s best to opt for fruits, vegetables, nuts, yogurt and cheese.

If You Indulge, Do It During Mealtime

Don’t worry, we don’t expect you or your child to never eat sweets or starches. There is a better time to eat them than at snack time, however, and that is during meals! That’s because it’s not just important what you eat, but when you eat. At mealtime, there is an increased amount of saliva in the mouth that helps wash away those starches or sugary treats, counteract acid-producing bacteria and remineralize teeth.

Watch Out For Added Sugars

Almost all foods have some type of sugar in them. Naturally occurring sugars–like those found in milk and vegetables–are less worrisome, since these choices are healthy overall. What you want to keep an eye out for when choosing snacks are added sugars.

According to the American Dental Association, added sugar consumption should be limited to less than 10 percent of total energy intake, ideally less than five percent. To put things in perspective, one can of soda is equivalent to three times the daily recommended sugar intake of a child!

Choose Beverages Wisely

On that note, we’d like to advise parents to choose their children’s beverages wisely. Soda and juice may be your child’s preferred drinks, but milk and water are much healthier choices. Good sources of calcium, like milk, aid in building strong teeth and bones and water helps wash away food particles that may be clinging to teeth, thus protecting against decay.

Sip All Day, Get Decay

Whether your child is drinking milk, juice or soda, don’t let them sip it throughout the day. Constant consumption of either food or drink is harmful for teeth, because not only are you feeding yourself, you’re also feeding the cavity-causing bacteria that reside in your mouth. Limit snacking to once or twice a day and have your child sip on water. If they drink anything that contains sugar, have them drink it during mealtimes or all at once.

Your Family’s Health Is Our Priority

If you have any tips or healthy snack ideas that your kids love, leave them in the comments below! At our practice, we care about the health of your whole family. Proper nutrition, especially at snack time, will ensure healthy smiles for you and your children for a lifetime!

Thank you for being part of our practice family!

Top image by Flickr user Larry Grubbs 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.

Why Is My Mouth Dry?

SALIVA IS ESSENTIAL not only for our oral health, but for our overall comfort. We all experience a dry mouth every once in a while and know how bothersome it can be. But what does it mean? And what should we do if it persists?

Saliva Has An Important Role In Our Oral Health

Our bodies are constantly producing saliva to provide our mouths with moisture–we generate two to four pints of saliva a day! Saliva aids in digestion and allows us to taste and process food. It also protects our mouths by washing away food debris and strengthening our teeth against cavities!

Dry Mouth Can Be Caused By A Number Of Things

Dry mouth occurs when salivary glands are not working properly resulting in an inadequate flow of saliva. It can leave us feeling thirsty and hoarse and our mouths sticky and uncomfortable. We may have problems speaking or trouble tasting and swallowing. It also causes bad breath. Needless to say, not having enough saliva is no fun!

Our mouths may get dry occasionally due to nervousness or stress. More serious and persistent cases of dry mouth, however, are the result of a number of other things, such as:

  • Certain medications like antihistamines, painkillers, decongestants, diuretics, among others.
  • Lifestyle choices such as smoking or chewing tobacco.
  • Illnesses including Sjögren’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, rheumatoid arthritis and diabetes, to name a few.
  • Medical treatments that can damage salivary glands, such as radiation and chemotherapy.
  • Dehydration and conditions that cause dehydration such as fever, excessive sweating, diarrhea, vomiting, blood loss and burns.

Talk To Us About Dry Mouth

More than just discomfort, having a dry mouth raises your risk of tooth decay, gum disease and infection and should therefore be taken care of as soon as possible. Depending on the cause of your dry mouth, we can help determine the best course of treatment. In the meantime, try some at-home remedies such as chewing on sugarless gum or sucking on sugar-free candy. And as always, drink plenty of water!

We’re committed to you–our amazing patients!

Top image by Flickr user Jeremy Buckingham 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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