703-528-3336
1-855-VA-SMILE
1515 Wilson Blvd., Suite 103
Arlington, VA 22209

"You have a kind and professional staff and office." — Trisha H.

Monthly Archives: September 2016

Protect Your Smile With A Custom Mouthguard

THE CRISP SMELL OF FRESHLY CUT GRASS on the soccer field, the gleam of the basketball court before a game, the cheering fans at the football stadium, the feeling of the baseball bat, familiar in your hands… There’s no doubt about it–playing sports can be a magical thing.

We love when our patients are having fun and being active, but unfortunately, sports-related dental injuries happen all the time. That’s why we make custom mouthguards in our practice, so you and your children can always play it safe!

Wear A Mouthguard And Reduce Your Risk Of Injury

You may be surprised to learn that up to 40 percent of dental injuries are sustained during sports activities. In fact, not wearing a mouthguard makes you 60 times more likely to sustain an injury to the face and mouth! Wearing a mouthguard during recreational as well as competitive sports activities decreases both the frequency and severity of injury.

A fractured, chipped or knocked-out tooth isn’t the only thing a mouthguard safeguards against. Did you know that wearing a mouthguard can also help prevent more serious injuries such as concussions, jaw fractures, and neck injuries? Not to mention the protection it provides for the soft tissues of the mouth like the tongue, lips and cheeks.

This is especially true for those of you with braces. Not only are your braces an investment you should protect, but those metal brackets can be especially damaging to your mouth if you’re hit by a stray ball or elbow. On top of that, if your braces are damaged, there may be a delay in your orthodontic treatment.

Custom Mouthguards Provide More Comfort And Protection

When it comes to purchasing a mouthguard, you have a couple different options. A custom-fit mouthguard made specifically for you by a dental professional is the most effective and comfortable choice. We can even specially customize your mouthguard for the specific sport you play. Custom mouthguards are:

  • Less likely to be displaced during the action because of their custom fit.
  • Durable and tear-resistant. Custom mouthguards last longer due to the higher quality of materials used to construct them.
  • More fitted and less bulky. This adds to the overall comfort and makes talking, breathing and swallowing easier.

Your Smile Is Worth Protecting

Customized specifically for your smile, the mouthguards we make in our practice provide superior safety and genuine comfort. Your smile is worth protecting. Talk to us today about your own custom mouthguard!

Our patients make our day!

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.

Have You Gotten Screened For Oral Cancer Lately?

THROUGHOUT LIFE PEOPLE get regular prostate exams, mammograms and colonoscopies. These preventative health care exams are extremely important for detecting any abnormalities–including cancer–early, so they can be treated as soon as possible. These exams save lives. So do oral cancer screenings.

Unfortunately, many people don’t understand that a regular oral cancer screening is just as important as these other preventative exams. We want our patients to know that coming in to see us every six months isn’t just to make sure you don’t have cavities; it can actually save your life.

The Truth About Oral Cancer

There are 400,000 people throughout the world who are diagnosed with oral cancer every year–in the U.S. alone, that’s about 100 new cases every day. Oral cancer is a particularly deadly cancer, as only about half of oral cancer patients survive five years past their diagnosis.

These statistics are frightening, but there is some good news: early detection of oral cancer can boost survival rates 80 to 90 percent. The reason oral cancer is so harmful is because many patients aren’t diagnosed until late in the game. By raising awareness about this disease and the need for regular screenings, we hope to help stop that from happening.

Lifestyle Choices Can Put You At Higher Risk

Certain lifestyle activities can put you at a higher risk of developing oral cancer. Familiarize yourself with these risk factors:

  • Tobacco use–Smoking and other tobacco use makes you three times more likely to develop oral cancer
  • Age–Two-thirds of individuals with oral cancer are over age 55
  • UV exposure–Frequent and prolonged exposure to sunlight increases your risk of developing lip cancer
  • Alcohol consumption–Drinking alcohol more than doubles your risk of oral cancer

While knowing the risks can help us prevent oral cancer, it still occurs in people without any of the above risk factors. In fact, it is becoming increasingly more prevalent among non-smoking, healthy individuals. The reason for this shift is the rise of HPV, or human papillomavirus, a common sexually transmitted infection. Individuals with HPV are 32 times more likely to develop oral cancer–even more so than tobacco users.

Monitor Abnormalities And Get Regular Screenings

We’re all used to the occasional canker sore or sensitive cheek that we accidentally bit while eating dinner. While sores in the mouth are common, it’s important to remember that oral cancer often begins as a painless sore that simply outstays its welcome. If you experience any of these symptoms, come in to see us right away:

  • A lump or thickening of your cheek
  • A white or red patch on any part of your inner mouth or throat
  • Numbness inside the mouth
  • A sore inside your mouth that doesn’t heal within two weeks
  • Difficulty with swallowing, chewing, or moving the tongue or jaw

The most important thing you can do to combat oral cancer is get regular screenings. Dental professionals are the first line of defense against this disease and we are often the first health care professionals to notice any abnormalities.

So, ask us more about oral cancer screenings when you come in for your biannual checkup. Or give us a call today to set up a screening for yourself or someone you care about. We want to see you healthy and smiling bright for a lifetime.

Thank you for placing your trust in our practice

Top image by Flickr user Gabriel Gama 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 Does Food Taste Funny After Brushing?

HAVE YOU EVER WONDERED why certain foods taste unpleasant after brushing your teeth in the morning? Most of us have experienced that bitter sensation a time or two, but what exactly causes it?

Your Mint Toothpaste Flavor Isn’t To Blame

It’s a common misconception that mint-flavored toothpaste causes the unpleasant taste when eating that first meal after brushing. In reality, it’s a chemical found in most toothpastes called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) or other variants like sodium laureth sulfate (SLES). These compounds are known as surfactants, which are foaming agents which make it easier to spread toothpaste evenly as you brush.

Aside from helping toothpaste clean your teeth, surfactants also affect your tastebuds.

Surfactants Affect Your Tastebuds

Surfactants like SLS affect your tastebuds in a couple of different ways. First, it suppresses receptors that pick up the sweet taste in food and drinks. This is why some foods just taste a little more bland if you’ve recently brushed your teeth. The second way surfactants affect your taste is it enhances bitter flavors, so sour food and drinks taste especially bitter.

This effect is especially noticeable in orange juice. Believe it or not, your morning glass of OJ is actually surprisingly sour if you take away the sugar. So when you take a sip of orange juice after brushing your teeth, not only will SLS inhibit your ability to taste your drink’s sweetness, it will enhance the underlying sour flavor and make it really bitter.

Don’t Worry, It Doesn’t Last Long!

Fortunately for us, the effects of SLS don’t linger too long in the morning. After about 30 minutes, your saliva will have diluted the leftover surfactants and things begin to taste normal again. In order to avoid the unpleasant taste after you brush, take a little time to read the paper or accomplish other to-do’s in your regular morning routine before you eat. Rearranging morning activities is an easy way to help your breakfast taste sweet!

We Have A Pretty Sweet Gig

We love making our patients smile. Whether it’s through fun tips like this or answering questions about your unique oral health situation, our priority is keeping your teeth happy and healthy. Do you have any more questions about your morning oral hygiene routine? We’d love to answer them! Call us or let us know in the comments below!

Thank you for giving us a reason to smile!

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.

4 Tips To Soothe A Toothache Before Your Appointment

SUDDEN TOOTHACHES ARE painful and far from convenient in today’s busy world. However, getting to a dentist as quickly as possible is the best thing you can do to treat and relieve your pain as well as prevent any further problems.

Your Dentist Can Provide Effective Treatment And Long-Term Relief

It’s important to remember that there is always an underlying cause for a toothache, such as decay, gum disease or tooth enamel erosion. They usually never go away on their own and only get worse–and more painful–over time.

Paying a visit to the dentist as early as possible is the best course of action for tooth pain. Your dentist will not only relieve your pain and provide long-term relief, but will also work to treat the cause of your toothache, preventing further discomfort and damage in the future.

Take a page out of our crocodile friend’s book…

In The Meantime…

With that being said, we know that not everyone can come in to see us the moment they feel tooth pain. We also know that the time between the start of a toothache and actually getting to the dentist can be excruciating. Between making your appointment and getting to the dentist, try some of these at-home, temporary toothache remedies to help relieve your pain.

Over-The-Counter Pain Relievers

OTC pain relievers–such as acetaminophen, ibuprofen and the like–can provide short-term pain relief. If you use aspirin, swallow it as you normally would. Do not put it right on your tooth or gums as this will not relieve any pain and can damage the soft tissues of your mouth.

Salt Water

Swishing salt water around your mouth can help clean out an infected area and loosen any food debris present. This can help relieve some discomfort, depending on the cause of your toothache.

Garlic

Garlic is said to have properties that help it inhibit the growth of bacteria and temporarily relieve pain. Simply chew some garlic or mash a clove of garlic into a paste and apply it to your tooth. Warning: this remedy may cause severe bad breath!

Clove or Peppermint Oil

Both clove and peppermint oil contain natural anesthetics and can act as numbing agents. They are very strong and can do damage to your mouth’s soft tissues, however, so you’ll want to be careful. Drip a drop or two of oil onto a cotton ball and apply it to the throbbing tooth.

Be sure to check with your dental or health care provider before you try any of these at-home remedies, especially if you have any pre-existing medical conditions.

Don’t Wait To Treat Your Toothache

Remember, toothaches only get worse over time, so don’t wait to come in and see us. These at-home toothache remedies are meant to help with short-term pain relief and are in no way a substitute for the treatment and care you’ll receive from the trained professionals in our practice!

Our specialty is serving YOU!

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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