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: April 2017

Ever Wonder How Teeth Whitening Works?

IT IS NOT UNCOMMON for your teeth to lose their luster over time, which is why so many people are interested in whitening them!

Teeth Get Yellow For A Number Of Reasons

Teeth becoming yellow over time is as normal as graying hair–it is a natural part of the aging process. As we get older, our tooth enamel begins to thin due to everyday wear and tear. This causes the layer beneath our enamel, called the dentin, to show more, giving our teeth a more yellow appearance.

There are other factors that can cause teeth to yellow other than aging however, such as:

  • Tobacco use
  • Food and drink
  • Poor dental hygiene
  • Dental trauma
  • Certain medications

If you want to prevent your teeth from yellowing as best you can, we suggest you change some of your lifestyle habits. If you use tobacco in any form, quit. Consume acidic food and drink in moderation and monitor your intake of beverages that can stain your teeth such as wine, coffee, tea, soda, etc. And as always, brush up on your oral hygiene habits and make sure you’re getting frequent cleanings!

The Way You Whiten Your Teeth Depends On The Stain

There are two types of stains that you can have on your teeth. Surface, or “extrinsic” stains, caused by smoking and diet occur on the surface of the enamel. “Intrinsic” stains are deeper, and happen inside the tooth.

You can remove surface stains on your teeth by using a whitening toothpaste. These kinds of toothpastes usually contain special abrasives that gently polish the teeth as well certain chemicals that can help break down stains. These toothpastes can be tough on tooth enamel, so make sure to always read labels when using them–some should only be used temporarily.

Intrinsic stains can’t be helped by whitening toothpastes. To get that brighter smile, you’ll need to actually change the color of your teeth. You can do this using a bleaching agent. The bleaching agents most products use are hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These chemicals break stains into smaller pieces, making their color less concentrated and leaving your teeth much whiter! Some of the most common ways to bleach your teeth are whitening strips and gels, tray-based tooth whiteners and in-office whitening services supervised by a dentist.

We Would Love To See You At Our Office

At our practice, we offer in-office whitening that will get you the white smile you’ve been dreaming of in half the time or less than other whitening options. We will also carefully monitor the whole process to ensure its safety and efficacy.

Or, if you’re looking to use a tray-based whitening system, we can customize your mouthpiece to exactly fit your teeth! This will protect the soft tissues of your mouth, especially your gums, as well as ensure maximum contact between your teeth and the whitening solution.

Either way, we’d love to see you, whether that’s for a cleaning, checkup, or whitening treatment!

Have any questions? Call us or let us know in the comments below. Thank you for reading our blog!

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 Fun Apps To Improve Your Oral Hygiene

OUR SMARTPHONES are never farther than an arm’s length away and help us do everything from track our calendars to track our calories. Today, we want to show you the wonders they can do for our daily hygiene routines with the help of these apps!

Dental Expert

We may only see you twice a year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a “dental expert” by your side every day. The Dental Expert app acts as a patient’s guide to understanding different dental procedures. This app includes frequently asked questions answered by actual dentists. It also has sections discussing myths vs. facts and things that can improve your smile.

Brush DJ

Brushing for two minutes, twice a day is an important part of your oral hygiene routine. It can sometimes be hard to keep track of the time, so why not get some help from your favorite songs with Brush DJ!

Brush DJ is a free app that will play 2 minutes of music from your music library. It also has a visual display guiding you on where to brush and for how long. Brush DJ also lets you set reminders to change your toothbrush, floss and go to regular dental appointments.

Chomper Chums

Getting your child excited about brushing their teeth can sometimes take a bit of creativity. Luckily, Chomper Chums® has you covered. Chomper Chums is a dental hygiene focused app designed to help parents teach children proper brushing techniques while keeping them engaged and entertained.

Children earn rewards within the app for brushing their teeth which they then use to buy food or drinks for their virtual Chomper Chums pet. Don’t worry though, this is a free app and no actual money is used to buy their virtual pals’ treats! The app encourages children to choose healthy food for their on-screen friends as well, so they learn about healthy eating choices in addition to building better oral hygiene habits.

BracesHelp

BracesHelp is an iPhone app for people who have or are considering getting braces. This app has helpful tips, videos and pictures on how to care for braces. It also has information on what to do if you are having trouble with your braces. If used in conjunction with tips you receive during your regular orthodontic appointments, you will have all of the help you need on your smile-makeover journey.

Have You Used One Of These Apps?

Or, do you know of other great dental apps for your smartphone or tablet? Comment and share below! And if you decide to try out one of the apps above, let us know how you like it!

We love giving our patients the resources to not only better educate them about their oral health and hygiene, but to make it fun! If you have any questions about these apps or other dental health topics, please feel free to reach out on social media or give us a call!

We appreciate you, our valued patients and friends.

Top image by Flickr user Brad Flickinger 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.

The Battle Inside Our Mouths

EVERY DAY INSIDE YOUR MOUTH, there is an epic battle of good versus evil being waged over the ultimate prize: your teeth! And guess what… only YOU can protect them from the destructive forces that seek to harm them.

The Good Guys And The Bad Guys

Because tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body (it is made up of mostly minerals), we automatically think of it as a tough shield that nothing can get through. In reality, tooth enamel is porous!

When tooth enamel loses minerals, teeth are weakened and more susceptible to decay–we call this demineralization. If tooth enamel is demineralized enough, a cavity will form. But here’s the good news! The enamel can also be strengthened by receiving nutrients and minerals in a process we call remineralization. This constant dynamic of tooth enamel losing and gaining minerals is the battle that goes on inside your mouth every day!

So, who are the bad guys? Although there are a lot of good bacteria in our mouths, there’s also the cavity-causing bacteria found in plaque. They feed on sugar and other carbohydrates and produce harmful acids in the process. These acid attacks demineralize, or break down tooth enamel, and if left unchecked, can lead to tooth decay.

Check out the video below to learn a little more about plaque:

But all is not lost! You have a secret weapon in your ammunition… and that’s saliva! Not only does saliva wash out food debris and neutralize harmful acids, but minerals in saliva like fluoride, calcium and phosphate can be deposited back into tooth enamel, strengthening and defending it against bad bacteria. That’s why we call saliva the unsung hero of oral health–it works around the clock to protect our smiles and keep our teeth healthy and strong!

Whose Side Are You On?

This “battle” isn’t something that just goes on in your mouth without you having any say in it. You can promote tooth enamel remineralization and help your saliva fight off harmful bacteria by practicing mouth-healthy habits. In the end, you are the ultimate protector of your teeth!

The first thing you can do to defend your teeth from cavity-causing bacteria is eat a nutritious diet. Sugary drinks and treats, crackers, bread and processed foods are just what these bad bacteria love and eating these types of foods can lead to tooth enamel demineralization. On the other hand, foods like cheese, eggs, apples, celery, carrots, dark leafy greens and wild-caught fish promote enamel remineralization. So the next time you open up the fridge or pantry, make the mouth-healthy choice!

Another way to prevent demineralization is to brush with fluoride toothpaste! Where plaque breaks down the tooth, fluoride builds it up. This cavity-fighting mineral protects teeth from bacteria by remineralizing tooth enamel and reducing plaque bacteria’s ability to even produce acid in the first place!

You Are Responsible For Your Oral Health

The battle to keep teeth strong and healthy depends on you! By eating a well-balanced diet and maintaining good oral hygiene, you can have a lifetime of healthy smiles. Keep up the good work, soldier. You’re doing great!

We’re grateful for our awesome patients!

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.

Get Screened For Oral Cancer

WHEN PEOPLE GO TO THE DENTIST, it’s generally because they have a toothache, they need some dental work done, or they want to get their teeth cleaned. But this month being Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want to emphasize more than ever how important regular, twice-yearly dental exams are. Of course your dentist will make sure you don’t have any cavities, but what you may not realize is that regular dental exams could actually save your life.

What You Need To Know About Oral Cancer

Some people think oral cancer is rare, but here are the facts: approximately 132 individuals are diagnosed with oral cancer each day in the United States alone, and someone dies of oral cancer every hour. It is a particularly deadly cancer–only about half of oral cancer patients survive five years past their initial diagnosis. But what we really want you to remember is that early detection saves lives. When oral cancer is detected early, survival rates increase by 80 to 90 percent!

Be Aware Of The Risk Factors

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
  • Alcohol consumption–Drinking alcohol more than doubles your risk of oral cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure–Frequent and prolonged exposure to the sun’s UV rays increases your risk of developing lip cancer
  • Age–Two-thirds of individuals with oral cancer are over age 55

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.

Get Screened Regularly At Routine Dental Exams

Oral cancer often begins as a painless sore in the mouth. We encourage doing frequent self checks at home as well as visiting your dentist regularly, where you will receive routine oral cancer screenings. Come and see us immediately if you experience any lumps, white or red patches, numbness, or a sore that doesn’t heal within two weeks in and around the mouth and throat.

As dental professionals, we are the first line of defense against this awful disease. Next time you’re in our office, ask us more about how we screen for oral cancer. We’d be happy to answer any questions you have.

Help Us Raise Awareness

Unfortunately, we don’t hear as much about oral cancer as we do other cancers, and many people are unaware of their need to get screened on a regular basis at routine dental exams. As your trusted oral health care providers, we want to change that. Help us spread oral cancer awareness this month by sharing this post with your friends and loved ones.

We love being the dental practice you trust! Thank you!

Top image by Flickr user John Ragai 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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