If you have been considering getting porcelain veneers, you may have started to pay attention to a lot of the information (and misinformation) that is out there. In our offices, we hear patients concerns about porcelain veneers and some of their underlying reasons. We wanted to set the record straight about porcelain veneers to help clear up some of the misinformation and make sure that you understand what this procedure is really all about.
- Veneers Are Not Immediate – Porcelain veneers require a multistep process. They aren’t a quick fix, and you can get them installed for that big dinner that’s coming up in just a few hours. Instead, talk to your dentist about the process. This usually includes an initial consultation and evaluation, a preparatory appointment, and then the final installation. The process can sometimes take a few days if schedules align, but you can usually plan on a matter of weeks to complete the process.
- Veneers are Personalized – When it comes to deciding what your final product is going to look like, you will get to help shape the outcome. Your dentist will take a series of measurements to help get the best fit for your bite and your smile, but you can also help to adjust some of those things if you choose. Many patients also opt for tooth whitening, so their veneers will need to match the desired shade of whiteness, but changes can also reflect length, width, and thickness to create the perfect smile.
- You Still have Natural Teeth – One of the most common myths that exist about veneers is that your dentist will have to completely remove or extract your natural tooth in order to have veneers. Veneers are not a tooth replacement like dentures, bridges, or dental implants. Instead, veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that are adhered to the front of your tooth. Dentists generally have to remove some small portion of the front of the tooth so that your veneers don’t protrude out further than your gums or other teeth. However, they are attached to the front of your tooth. In fact, if your tooth had to be removed, you could not have veneers.
- You get a “Trial Smile” – Once the dentist prepares the front of the tooth for your permanent veneers, you’ll have to wear a temporary veneer. While this product won’t look and feel exactly like your permanent veneer, it will help you see and feel what the finished product will be like. Your family and friends probably won’t even be able to notice the difference between temporary and permanent veneers.
- Veneers are not Permanent – Many patients believe that once they have had their veneers that they won’t ever have to worry about them again. While veneers can last for a very long time, they aren’t designed to last forever. With proper care, veneers can last for 10-20 years, and sometimes even longer.
Once your veneers have been installed, it is important to continue their care to ensure that they last as long as possible. Your dentist will help guide you through all of the details of their care, but you can generally expect that you’ll need to adhere to a strict regimen of oral hygiene. This means that you brush your teeth twice a day, floss, and see your dentist regularly. You should also schedule an appointment if you are having any issues with your veneers.
OverviewIf you are interested in porcelain veneers, contact the Arlington Dentistry By Design in Arlington, VA today to schedule an appointment by calling (703) 841-0300. Our staff has the experience that you should expect to help you achieve the beautiful smile you have only dreamed of.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
Many patients that are considering dental implants can feel embarrassed, upset, or even depressed. Their oral health may be suffering, and that can affect your mood and confidence in everyday situations. When patients leave the office with their new dental implants, they are surprised to find that dental implants affect more than their appearance. Here are some important ways that dental implants can help improve your overall oral health.
Protect and Restore Bone Density
Many patients that need dental implants have experienced some level of bone loss in the jaw. This process is also called absorption. When we lose our teeth, the body no longer has a need to maintain the bone that was once surrounding the tooth. Instead, the body begins to recycle that material back into the body. Over time, the bone will deteriorate and diminish. When enough bone has been absorbed, facial features can droop or sag. The jaw becomes more prone to breaking from traumatic injury.
Implants are surgically implanted directly into the bone. These implants are specifically made to integrate with the bone. The implant adds some immediate structure to the jawbone, but this is strengthened over time as your body builds additional new bone around the implant. The renewed bone growth in your jaw can help to strengthen the bone to absorb impacts without breaking. The new bone can also restore your facial appearance. Patients find that these factors help them gain confidence in social and private settings.
Improves Your Gum Health
Many patients have lost teeth due to periodontal disease. Additionally, the void left by missing teeth can harbor more bacteria creating an even more serious problem. When a dental implant is placed, it fills the gap left by the missing tooth and allows our dentist to make sure that your mouth is healthy throughout the implant process.
Once your periodontal health is under control, it’s easier for patients to maintain with a full set of teeth.
Reduces the Risk of Cavities
The space that is left by a missing tooth is often very difficult to keep clean and bacteria free. This hole can attract bacteria and offers a warm moist environment that is ideal for bacteria breeding. Implants fill this gap, and the relative ease that is required to maintain implants can help keep your cavity free into the future.
Avoid Denture Problems
Dentures have been problematic for many patients and can cause other serious health issues. The bone in your jaw under dentures will continue to be absorbed into the bloodstream. This further weakens your jawline and can continue to alter your facial appearance. Cleaning requirements for dentures can be very difficult for patients to follow. When dentures aren’t properly cleaned, they can harbor additional bacteria that is then placed into your body every day.
These bacteria can impact your oral health and your health in general. Patients with dirty dentures are more likely to get sick.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Many patients that have tooth loss or even those that have dentures complain that they can’t enjoy the foods that they used to eat. Apples can be very difficult to eat without a sturdy set of teeth. The overall reduction inability to eat healthy fresh vegetables and fruit can have a detrimental effect on your oral health and your waistline.
Patients who are overweight are more likely to experience a variety of issues, including increased heart disease, which can lead to death.
Dental implants can do more for your overall health than you may have known. If you are considering dental implants, contact us and schedule an appointment with our dentist today. Our dentist can review your specific case and discuss more of the benefits that dental implants can offer you.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
Try as we might to look after our teeth as best as possible, for most of us, dental problems are an inevitable part of life. Unfortunately, sometimes these problems are very difficult to get under control, and this can result in the loss of single or multiple teeth.
Multiple tooth loss can be very challenging. Many people who have several gaps in their teeth report that they feel embarrassed or even ashamed of the appearance of their smile, which can impact on both their professional and personal relationships. This is in addition to the obvious functional problems that accompany the loss of several teeth. However, this doesn’t mean you need to live with the consequences of tooth loss. If you have multiple missing teeth in either your upper or lower jaw, our dentist may recommend that you consider dentures.
What are Dentures?
Dentures are removable, false teeth that replace the ones that you have lost. They are usually made from metal, acrylic or nylon and are custom-designed to give you the most natural, aesthetically-pleasing smile possible. They have a slightly unfair reputation as over the years, the design of dentures has dramatically improved, making them a successful solution for many patients with missing teeth.
Types of Dentures
Before you can start your journey to a functional, beautiful smile, you will first need to meet with our dentist to choose which type of dentures are suitable for you.
When most people think of dentures, they think of the conventional, full variety. These are recommended to patients who have lost most of the teeth in their upper or lower jaws, and will require any remaining natural teeth to be removed. Any extractions should be carried out a minimum of a month before the impressions for your dentures are taken. This is because the shape of the gums and jaw may change slightly once the natural teeth have been removed. Alternatively, our dentist may suggest re-making your dentures six months or so later, which will give your gums and jaw time to assume their final shape.
Full dentures sit over the top of your gums, and are secured using a special adhesive paste. They may feel strange at first, but most patients quickly adapt to wearing them. However, some patients remain cautious about the foods that they eat, as anything too sticky or chewy could cause the denture to come loose. They will also need to be removed for cleaning, and you should take extra care when handling them as they are very fragile and could break easily if dropped.
As the name suggests, partial dentures refer to replacing just a few missing teeth in either the upper or lower arch. The prosthetic teeth are attached to a plate that is secured to your remaining teeth using metal attachments. The attachments are discreet meaning that your new smile looks beautiful and natural. Much like conventional dentures, partials can feel strange or uncomfortable at first, but you will quickly adapt. They will also need to be removed for careful cleaning.
Implant technology has now been combined with the design of conventional dentures to create implant-supported dentures. These prosthetic teeth are attached to an acrylic plate that sits over the top of your gums, but rather than being attached by adhesive, the plate is instead secured onto a number of titanium implant posts. This benefits the patient by adding increased security and durability to the dentures. However, the denture will still need to be removed for cleaning both the device and your gums. Implant-supported dentures are normally made for the lower jaw where conventional varieties are often found to be less secure due to regular contact with the tongue.
If you are interested in finding out more about dentures, contact us and arrange a consultation with our dentist.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
Root canal definitely has one of the most fearsome reputations of any type of dental procedure. However, advances in the techniques used and the anesthesia available means that root canal treatment is not nearly as painful or as concerning for patients as it used to be. In fact, many dentists and past patients state that it is little different to any other type of dental treatment. It is also absolutely essential if you have an infection at the root of your tooth and you wish to preserve it for as long as possible.
Our dentist will inevitably talk to you about what to do after your root canal treatment. Listening to their instructions and advice is invaluable as they have the training and experience to be able to tell you what actions will support your healing and keep complications at bay, and which are likely to cause you further problems. Unfortunately, many patients decide that the instructions given are ‘suggestions’ and do not follow them as directed. Often, this leads to a much higher risk of complications developing and in some circumstances, further root canal treatment will be needed.
What to do after root canal treatment
If you have been recommended to have root canal treatment, here is what you need to know about caring for your teeth after.
Chew on the unaffected side of your mouth
The crown or filling that you will be fitted with after the first part of your procedure is only temporary. This means that it is not fixed as securely as a permanent restoration and could come loose if undue stress is placed on it or could pull out if you choose to eat something sticky or chewy on it. If this happens, food and bacteria can get back into the space in your tooth and cause re-infection. To prevent this, we recommend that you totally avoiding chewing on the side of your mouth that has the affected tooth until your treatment is concluded and your new, permanent crown or filling is in place.
Choose your food wisely
Since you don’t want to damage your temporary restoration, it is advisable to stick to eating soft, easy-to-chew foods until our dentist has confirmed that the infection has been eliminated and your permanent cavity filling or crown has been secured in place. Consider soft potatoes, pasta, soups, boiled vegetables, rice and smoothies. Most people only need to follow the soft food diet for around a week so it shouldn’t be too difficult to make it interesting.
Don’t be afraid to use pain relief
Many people are reluctant to use pain relief unless they absolutely can’t cope without it. Nevertheless, our dentist will recommend that you take pain relief fairly regularly in the first few days after your procedure. Our dentist will have had to drill right down into the root to clear the infection, and some discomfort is inevitable. Studies have shown that people who aren’t experiencing pain heal faster and can carry on with their usual activities much more easily so don’t shy away from pain relief in those initial days after root canal. If over-the-counter medication isn’t sufficient, our dentist may be able to give you a short prescription for something stronger.
Clean around the affected tooth with extreme care
While you have a temporary restoration in place you will need to take extra care when cleaning your tooth so that the crown or filling doesn’t come loose. Brush and floss gently, take your time and speak to our dentist if you have any concerns.
Smoking is bad for your health anyway, but it can also slow down the healing process and increase the likelihood of post-treatments complications for a variety of procedures, including root canal.
Opt for a crown for your final restoration
Any good dentist will strongly advocate that you choose a crown as the final restoration to cover the affected tooth. However, crowns are more expensive than cavity fillings and some patients that are on a budget may try and insist on using the cheaper option. While financial constraints are understandable, there is a good reason why crowns are always recommended – they actually strengthen your tooth. When our dentist drills down to remove the infected area, the cavity he/she will create will weaken the structure of your tooth. By placing a crown over the top rather than a simple cavity filling, our dentist is restoring the solidity and strength of your affected tooth. Crowns also encase the tooth inside, protecting it from further decay or damage.
If you would like more advice on what to do post root canal treatment, or if you would like to make an appointment to book in your procedure, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
If the thought of visiting the dentist fills you with dread, you most certainly aren’t alone. It is estimated that as many as 15% of the U.S. population actively avoid visiting their dentist due to fear or anxiety. Unfortunately, this means that a large number of patients are suffering from poor dental health and as a result, may be living with a range of unpleasant symptoms from pain and bad breath to loss of the function of their teeth, as well as in some circumstances, loss of the teeth themselves. In severe cases, poor oral health can also contribute to a range of other problems with your health and wellbeing. In fact, untreated dental diseases have been linked to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer’s and even stroke. What better reason do you need to get your teeth checked out on a regular basis?
Unfortunately, we know that this isn’t something that is easy for people with dental anxiety or phobia. The symptoms that you can suffer can be extreme, ranging from sweaty palms and shaking to full-blown hysteria and even fainting. Not only is a visit to the dentist a huge obstacle for the patient, it can be extremely difficult for your dentist too. Despite immense knowledge, and years of training and experience, it can be extremely difficult for a dentist to perform thorough examinations on frightened patients who may find it virtually impossible to sit still when necessary. Moving during a dental examination or treatment can put the patient at increased risk of something going wrong.
Thankfully, sedation dentistry can help even the most anxious and phobic patient to feel relaxed and calm at the dentist.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry, also sometimes known as sleep dentistry, uses medications to help patients relax enough so that dental procedures can be performed safely. There are various different types of sedation that can be used, ranging from a mild, sedative gas that is inhaled, to heavy sedatives that are administered intravenously. In almost types of sedation, the patient is awake to some degree while the procedure is being carried out. The only exception to this is the use of a general anesthetic, which ensures that the patient is unconscious for the duration of their surgery.
Why choose sedation dentistry?
There are several reasons to consider sedation dentistry to aide you during your dental appointments.
While sedation medications don’t actually contain anything to block your pain, being less anxious will generally increase your tolerance to discomfort. However, almost all dental procedures will come with anesthetic in addition to the sedation as standard.
Reducing your stress level means that you will be calmer and less likely to panic and move during your treatment. This drastically improves the safety of your procedure and reduces the risk of complications. Unless you have a general anesthetic, you will also still have the capability to communicate to your dentist, so you can let them know if you require additional pain relief, or if you have any other problems while the treatment is underway.
Better quality dental treatment
If you are stressed and worried, your dentist will be stressed and worried, and may feel under pressure to get the work completed and out of the way as soon as possible. This means that the quality of the check-up or treatment may be slightly compromised. However, if you are relaxed and calm, your dentist will be able to work more effectively and ensure that you get the very best quality dental care during your visit.
Sitting with your mouth propped open can quickly become very uncomfortable. Therefore, many dentists who are working on patients who aren’t sedated are often limited to performing just one treatment at a time. However, when the patient is sedated it allows the dentist to work with greater precision much more quickly, meaning that it may be possible to combine two or more treatments into just one appointment!
If you would like to find out more about the reasons to consider sedation dentistry, contact your Arlington Dentistry by Design's office today. They will be happy to help you find the best path to improved, stress-free oral health.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
You may not have heard of sedation dentistry before, but for a surprising number of patients, it is revolutionizing their dental care. This is because sedation dentistry involves the use of medications designed to calm and relax the patient to the point where their dentist can carry out a routine or specialist dental procedure without causing them to become unduly stressed.
What is sedation dentistry?
Sedation dentistry is the name given to the use of sedative drugs in the course of dental procedures. This is done with the aim of enabling an anxious or impaired patient to tolerate a dental appointment.
There are various types of sedation available, and which our dentist will recommend will depend on various different factors, including the extent of your fear and the type of appointment that you need to attend. Any good dentist that offers sedation will always give patients the mildest sedation possible depending on the circumstances. For example, a patient needing a simple check-up will almost certainly be offered less sedation than a patient needing an invasive dental procedure.
Types of sedation include:
- nitrous oxide (mild)
- oral medications taken an hour before your procedure (moderate)
- intravenous drugs (severe)
In some instances, it may be necessary for you to have your procedure under general anesthetic. This means that you will be completely unconscious for the duration of the appointment. Moderate to severe sedation, as well as general anesthetic, can cause you to experience side effects for a number of hours after. For this reason, you will be unable to drive for at least 24 hours and should have someone take you home and stay with you under you are completely recovered.
Who is a good candidate for sedation dentistry?
People who make good candidates for sedation dentistry typically fall into one of two categories.
Patients with a fear of the dentist
Fear of the dentist is an extremely common problem, but it is something that causes millions of people each year to put their dental health at risk. There are many reasons why you might be scared of visiting our dentist, from a bad experience when you were younger to a fear of the unknown. There are also many different ways in which this fear manifests itself, with some of the most common symptoms of dental anxiety being:
- Rapid heartbeat
However, when you choose to avoid visiting our dentist, you are neglecting to give him/her the opportunity to monitor the health and wellbeing of your teeth and mouth. This could mean that dental problems that are entirely preventable are causing irreversible damage to your smile. By diagnosing and treating dental issues early, you and our dentist can prevent them from necessitating extensive and expensive procedures. Since poor oral health has also been shown to contribute towards the development of some chronic health conditions including diabetes, poor liver function and even Alheimer’s.
Patients who are unable to tolerate regular dental appointments
Sitting still in a chair might be no big deal to many people, but for some patients it is something that is simply impossible. Often this is because they have a disability that means that they are either unable to physically remain still, or they lack the understanding to do so. Similarly, the patient must be able to hold their mouth open and follow the instructions given by their dentist. Both of these elements of a dental appointment are very important, since dentistry involved very small and sharp instruments. Any sudden movements could cause an accident or injury to either the patient or dentist. As such, patients with physical or cognitive disabilities may be unable to tolerate a regular dental appointment with the use of sedative medications.
If you think that you would be a good candidate for sedation dentistry, or if you have further questions about the service, our knowledgeable and professional team would be delighted to have the opportunity to assist you. Please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
Many people believe that orthodontic treatment purely refers to the use of traditional orthodontic braces. However, today orthodontic treatment can refer to a variety of different solutions, all designed to improve the appearance of crooked, protruding or crowded teeth, or to correct problems with how the teeth come together, known as the patient’s bite. However, in addition to providing solutions for the aforementioned difficulties, there is also a range of health benefits provided by orthodontic treatment.
Types of orthodontic treatment
Conventional braces may well be the most well-known type of orthodontic treatment, but there are now some variations available. Which is right for your will depend on the extent of the problems with your teeth and/or bite, and Arlington Dentistry by Design dentist will be able to make a personal recommendation after a consultation appointment with you.
The four main types of orthodontic treatment include:
Fixed braces: non-removable braces that use wires and elastics to pull your teeth into the right position. These are attached to your teeth with special adhesive.
Removable braces: these take the form of plastic plates that sit across the roof your mouth, attaching to your teeth with clips. Removable braces have much less scope for moving your teeth than fixed braces.
Headgear: used in conjunction with an orthodontic appliance, headgear is worn overnight, usually with the purpose of correcting an excessive horizontal overbite.
Appliances: one of the newest orthodontic appliances to come on to the scene is Invisalign®, a treatment program that involves the patient wearing a series of clear, plastic aligners over their teeth which exert pressure, guiding them into the desired location.
Health benefits of orthodontic treatment
In addition to transforming the appearance of your teeth and smile, orthodontic treatment can also benefit your health in a variety of different ways.
Better oral health
Many people choose orthodontic treatment because they have gaps in their smile. Unfortunately, gaps between your teeth can be extremely detrimental to your oral, and eventually your general, health. It is in these gaps that bacteria can accumulate, and plaque can form. It can be incredibly difficult to effectively clean in these tiny spaces, meaning decay and periodontal disease can quickly develop. Left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to bone and tooth loss, as well as some general health problems including heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers.
Orthodontic treatment closes both big and small gaps between the teeth, reducing the likelihood that you will develop dental problems.
Many people simply don’t realize that the way in which we speak can be dramatically changed by the position of our teeth. This is because as we speak, the movement of our tongue against our teeth helps us to form the sounds. For example, when a child loses their top two teeth, they may struggle to make the ‘S’ sound because they cannot push their tongue against them. Try it yourself and see how hard it is!
Orthodontic treatment can bring teeth into the correct alignment that makes sounding out words much easier.
Reduction in jaw related health problems
Often, people subconsciously adjust how they hold their jaw so that their teeth fit together better. However, over time this can cause a range of symptoms to develop including aches, stiffness and popping in the jaw, lockjaw and even head, neck and ear aches.
Orthodontic treatment can alleviate these health problems by addressing the position of your jaw and correcting your bite.
Better digestion and greater nutrition
The very first stage of the digestive process involves biting and chewing our food, so that it is broken down before it passes into the esophagus. Once food has been chewed, it is much easier for the body to process and absorb the nutrients that it needs. However, patients who have teeth that are poorly aligned often struggle to bite and chew their food effectively. This means that they may not receive all of the nutrition from their food. They may also be more likely to suffer from digestive issues such as increased stomach acid, as the body has to work much harder to process the food.
Prevention of dental injuries
Many people suffer from overbites. This is where the front teeth protrude over the bottom teeth. Unfortunately, overbites mean that the front teeth are more likely to be damaged if the person suffers an accident or trauma. Other people with misaligned teeth find that they sometimes accidentally bite or catch the soft tissue on the inside of their mouths, causing pain and occasionally bleeding.
Realigning the teeth so that they meet properly, and addressing bite problems, can help to prevent minor and major dental injuries.
If you would like to know more about the health benefits of orthodontic treatment, contact and arrange an appointment with our dentist as soon as possible.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
There might be a number of things about the way that you look that you dislike, but for a number of people, the appearance of their smile is the aspect of their appearance that they would most like to change. One of the main reasons for this is that our teeth are very difficult to hide. For those individuals who have a real dislike of their teeth, smiling with a closed mouth in photographs, avoiding eating in public and covering their mouth with their hand when they talk are ways to hide their most hated feature.
Fortunately, it is now more possible to improve the appearance of your smile than ever before, and this is thanks to the continuing evolution of an area of dentistry known as cosmetic dentistry.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry is the term given to dental procedures and treatments that are carried out with the primary intention of improving the esthetic appearance of the teeth. However, in doing so, many treatments also provide a degree of benefit to the patient’s oral health too. For example, the visible part of dental implants is entirely artificial, meaning that it can no longer be affected by tooth decay.
Cosmetic dentistry encompasses a wide variety of different procedures and treatments, including:
The most commonly requested cosmetic dental procedure in the world, teeth whitening is simple, painless and can transform the appearance of your smile in just a few short sessions.
These thin, shell-like covers are often used as an alternative to whitening, particularly where a patient’s staining is so severe that professional grade whitening is still unable to produce an acceptable result. They can also improve the appearance of your teeth by making them more uniform in height and closing small gaps between them.
Dental implants are the latest innovation in tooth replacement and work by filling the gap with a prosthetic tooth attached to a titanium post. This post has been inserted into the jaw bone where it fuses to it, creating a secure bond and giving the implants the durability for which they are known.
If your teeth are badly aligned, or you have an over, under or crossbite, your dentist may recommend that you consider orthodontic solutions to address their placement. These include traditional orthodontic braces and Invisalign, a revolutionary new treatment that shifts teeth into a new position using a sequence of clear, plastic aligners. Invisalign are significantly more discreet than regular braces.
Benefits of cosmetic dentistry
Most of us feel under pressure to conform to what society deems is an acceptable standard of appearance, and many people are turning to cosmetic dentistry to address the aspects of their smile that they don’t feel contribute towards this appearance. Whether it is changing the color of your teeth or adjusting their position, there are an array of benefits to choosing cosmetic dentistry. Here are just some of the most commonly cited advantages of cosmetic dentistry procedures.
Look and feel more attractive
Let’s face it, who doesn’t want to look more attractive to those around them? If you have cosmetic flaws with your teeth, chances are you hadn’t been feeling overly pleased with how you look, and this can have a negative effect on your self-esteem and your confidence when it comes to meeting new people. However, by transforming the areas of your smile that you dislike, you can look and feel more attractive.
As if looking more attractive wasn’t enough, brighter, cosmetically enhanced teeth can also help you to take years off of your appearance. This is because teeth naturally darken and erode with age. Teeth whitening and dental veneers are two very popular cosmetic dentistry treatments for helping your smile to look more youthful.
Strengthens your natural teeth
Our natural teeth go through a lot of hardship during our lifetime. Fortunately, many cosmetic treatments such as dental bonding and veneers can help to cover up fractures and worn edges, preventing future wear on areas of your smile that are already vulnerable and strengthening your existing teeth.
Enhance your career
If your work is largely dependent on your appearance, then it is easy to see why cosmetic dentistry could boost your career. However, it can still be beneficial even if the look of your smile has absolutely no bearing on your job. This is because people who dislike an aspect of their appearance are often held back by their lack of confidence and low self-esteem. Once your smile has been transformed, you will look happier and exude confidence, making you more likely to put yourself forward for greater responsibilities and even leadership.
To discover more about the benefits of cosmetic dentistry, or to arrange your consultation, please contact our experienced team at your convenience.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
Of all the teeth to require extraction, wisdom teeth are the most common. The very last teeth to erupt in our mouths, they often don’t put in an appearance until we are well into our teenage years and by this point, almost all of our adult teeth are already in place. Their location – one tooth in the far back corners of the upper and lower jaw – means that if there is no space for them to erupt normally, they may be retained, or come through at an awkward angle. Many people who have problems with wisdom tooth eruption find that they suffer from abscesses and infections while they are trying to break through the gum.
Wisdom teeth have no real purpose, and so when a patient has problems with theirs, many dentists will recommend that they are simply removed. While the concept of an extraction strikes fears into the heart of many patients, the truth is that today, wisdom tooth extraction is no more complicated or painful than any other dental procedure. The surgery is extremely safe and successful, but in order to ensure the best possible recovery from wisdom tooth extraction surgery, there are some guidelines that you should follow.
Here are our top tips for a smooth and timely recovery from wisdom teeth removal surgery.
Give yourself plenty of time to recover
Many people mistakenly assume that recovering from a tooth extraction should be much quicker than any other type of surgery. However, it can take up to two weeks to fully recover from wisdom tooth removal, and patients should ensure that they free up their schedule as much as possible so that they have adequate time to get back to normal. Most dentists recommend that you take off from work for at least two or three days.
Use pain relief
You can expect to be in some discomfort in the days after your surgery, and your mouth may feel swollen. Use pain relief and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to keep you as comfortable as possible. Arlington Dentistry by Design's dentist will be able to advise you if stronger pain relief is necessary or possible.
Follow the immediate after-care advice of our dentist
Our dentist will give you specific guidelines to follow for at least the first 24 hours after your wisdom teeth removal. These will normally include, avoiding hot drinks, spitting, rinsing and chewing gum, as these could dislodge blood clots that have formed over the incisions, causing the wood to open, start bleeding and be at risk of infection all over again.
Don’t smoke or consume alcohol
Not only is smoking and excess alcohol consumption extremely bad for your health, they can also inhibit the healing process and put you at risk of post-surgery complications.
Clean and care for your mouth
In the first 24 hours after your surgery, you should carefully rinse the extraction site using an antiseptic mouthwash. This will help to eradicate any bacteria and keep your mouth looking and feeling healthy. You could swap the antiseptic mouthwash for salt in a teaspoon of water, and as this has been proven to reduce soreness and irritation in the gum.
Attend your follow-up appointments
If you have wisdom teeth removal surgery, you will almost certainly be expected to attend a variety of follow-up appointments to check on the progress of your healing. Your follow-up appointments are a crucial part of your dental care as they will give our dentist the opportunity to check on the progress of your healing and check that there have been no long-lasting negative impacts on your oral or dental health.
If Arlington Dentistry by Design's dentist has recommended wisdom teeth removal, following these tips should help you to make sure your recovery is as fast, efficient and effective as possible. Contact us for more information you deserve to know.
Dr. Joseph Khalil
When was the last time you visited your dentist? Attending regular dental appointments are often not particularly high on many people’s priority list, but for some patients, they actively do everything that they can to avoid going to see a dental professional. In some cases, this even means overlooking symptoms of a dental problem or masking pain until it becomes impossible to do so.
Fear of the dentist may be a cliché, but for as many as 15% of U.S. adults, it is a very real fear that is preventing them from receiving the oral health care that they need and deserve. If you suffer from dental phobia, not only is your dental health almost certainly suffering, but you could find that your overall health is also affected. This is because poor dental hygiene and issues such as gum disease have been linked to the development of chronic conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, heart disease and even some forms of cancer.
Fortunately, there is a solution that can help you to overcome your fear of the dentist so that you can enjoy truly healthy teeth and an attractive smile for as long as possible. It is known as sleep dentistry.
What is sleep dentistry?
Also often referred to as sedation dentistry, sleep dentistry is the process of using sedative medications in order to induce a state of relaxation and calm during a dental procedure. Only one type of sedation actually sends you fully to sleep and keeps you unconscious, but the others can also relax you enough for you to be able to tolerate a dental procedure. They are combined with anesthetic so that you don’t experience any pain.
The most common types of sedation dentistry include:
This gas is administered via a mask placed over your nose and the effects last only as long as you inhale the gas, wearing off seconds after you stop breathing it. You will be aware of what is happening around you but feel calm and relaxed throughout.
Taken around an hour before your appointment, oral sedatives, such as diazepam, reduce your awareness of what is happening at your appointment and feel calm and unconcerned. They can take a few hours to wear off entirely, so you will need someone to drive you home after your appointment.
Administered intravenously, these can place you right onto the edge of consciousness. You won’t have any awareness of what is happening and will have no memory of the appointment. Again, you will need someone to drive you home after the appointment. General anesthetic is also administered intravenously.
Exactly which level of sedation will be recommended for you will depend on the extent of the dental work that you require during your appointment and your degree of anxiety.
Sleep dentistry for patients with disabilities
Some patients suffer from physical or cognitive disabilities that make it difficult or impossible for them to tolerate a standard dental appointment. For example, a patient may be unable to hold their mouth open for work to be performed, while another may not understand the importance of remaining still so that any treatment can be safely performed.
If you or a loved one has a disability that makes dental treatment difficult, sleep dentistry may be able to help. Speak to our team to determine if you are a suitable candidate for this valuable service.
To discover more about sleep dentistry, or to make an appointment with our team to see if you could benefit from sleep dentistry, please contact our offices in Arlington, VA today.
Arlington Smile Dentistry
When you have a special occasion coming up, it is understandable that you want to look your best and there are lots of different things that you can do to help you achieve that. If it is the position of your teeth that is causing you to feel self-conscious about your appearance, you may think that there isn’t enough time to improve it. Fortunately, with Six Month Smiles, you can achieve a straight smile in time for that all-important event.
What are Six Month Smiles?
Six Month Smiles is an innovative cosmetic dentistry solution that is designed for adults who want the benefit of a straighter smile but need to achieve it in just a few months, rather than the 12-24 months usually needed for conventional orthodontic treatment. This is because a Six Month Smile is more focused on the alignment of teeth at the front and side of each arch, rather than trying to change the position of back teeth and your bite – which are the elements that make the regular orthodontic treatment take as long as it does.
What makes Six Month Smiles different to conventional orthodontic braces?
Six Month Smiles are not dissimilar to regular braces. In fact, the treatment is based on the same system of using consistent, low force to gently move your teeth into their new and improved positions. However, unlike traditional braces, Six Month Smiles braces use clear and tooth-colored materials that make them almost impossible to see and therefore offer patients unrivalled discretion. This makes the treatment far more socially acceptable for some people who are concerned about how their teeth would look when wearing regular, metal braces.
Whilst it would usually take anywhere from 12-24 months for a conventional orthodontic treatment plan to be completed and your teeth to be made as straight as possible, Six Month Smiles are designed to do exactly what their name suggests – straighten out your teeth in six months or less. You will need to attend regular appointments, around once every 4 weeks, to adjust your Six Month Smiles brace. At the end of your treatment, you should have the smile that you have been dreaming of.
Since the Six Month Smiles treatment program is much shorter than that needed for traditional braces, this solution is usually less expensive.
Brushing your teeth as a Six Month Smiles patient
Unsurprisingly, one of the trickiest aspects of Six Months Smiles treatment is getting to grips with brushing your teeth. Negotiating brackets and wires is far from straightforward, but this doesn’t mean that it is impossible. You will just need to adjust your tools and technique. Opt for a small, round-headed toothbrush to give you the most space for moving it around inside your mouth. Start by ringing your mouth so that any lose particles are washed away. Then tilt your brush at a 45-degree angle and clean as usual, angling the bristles to clean the top and then the bottom of each bracket and around and underneath the wires. Use an interdental brush to get fully under each part of the wire and to get between your teeth.
Proper brushing is especially important when you are wearing any sort of brace. Failing to do can compromise the way your smile looks since dark marks and decay can form on your newly-straightened teeth.
If you have an event coming up, or if you are keen to transform your smile more quickly than is possible using traditional orthodontic treatment methods, contact us today to find out if you are a good candidate for a Six Month Smile.
Arlington Smile Design
Tooth decay is an extremely common problem and one that can cause various degrees of pain and suffering. Left untreated, severe decay can also lead to numerous other problems that include tooth loss, periodontal disease. There are a variety of different treatments available including cavity fillings, dental crowns and dental implants. However, we are firmly committed to helping our patients retain their natural teeth for as long as possible, and one of the best ways to do this is to do assist you in doing everything in your power to avoid tooth decay.
What is tooth decay?
Tooth decay is the destruction of the hardest, outer layer of your teeth known as the enamel. It occurs when plaque, which is a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on your teeth. Whenever you consume anything containing sugar, the bacteria in the plaque react, producing acid. It is this acid that attacks the enamel of your teeth and causes the enamel to erode, exposing the softer, inner layer called dentin. These holes of decay are referred to as cavities and are the most common dental issue seen by dentists across the country.
How to prevent tooth decay
The good news is that there are steps that you can take to prevent tooth decay from occurring.
Brushing your teeth
It may be the most obvious thing on this list, but in order to keep your teeth as clean and health as possible as possible you need to do a really good job of brushing them. Opt for a small, round-headed brush as this will make it easier to get into those really hard-to-reach areas. Better still, if you can, get an electric toothbrush as this will do a lot of the hard work for you!
Brush at least twice each day, preferably after you eat and before you go to bed as this will prevent acid from sitting on your teeth all night.
Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash
It is amazing how many people don’t realize the important of fluoride in their dental hygiene routine. Fluoride chelps strengthen your teeth and fights decay.
Floss or use interdental cleaning devices
Food debris and bacteria can easily become trapped in the tiny gaps that form between our teeth, and these are common sites for decay to develop. Fortunately, you can use floss or interdental brushes or other devices to help remove decay-causing plaque from between your teeth and reduce your likelihood of developing decay here.
Limit sugary snacks
Sugar is the primary cause of all developing dental plaque and by cutting back on sugary snacks, you can help reduce the likelihood of decay occurring. Remember that not all sugars are obvious either – there are natural sugars found in fruits and fruit juices, and carbohydrates such as chips and pretzels also contain large amount of the sweet stuff. The other problem with snacking is that you tend not to brush your teeth directly afterwards, so the sugars will sit on your teeth probably until you brush before bed, where they will have plenty of time to cause some damage.
Visit our dentist regularly
Our dentist is the only professional that can support your crusade against dental decay. With regular check-ups our dentist can spot the start of decay early and get it treated before it can spread and cause further damage to your teeth. Our dentist can also perform a professional clean, known as a scale and polish, which will further help remove any stubborn areas of tartar or calculus on your teeth and prevent additional damage to your teeth. Most dentists recommend that you schedule visits at least once every 6 months.
If you would like further advice on how to avoid tooth decay, our dedicated and experienced dental team would be pleased to assist you. Please contact our clinic today to schedule your consultation.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
Gum disease is a relatively common condition that begins with mild symptoms such as red swollen gums and bad breath. In its earliest stage, it is referred to as gingivitis.
However, if left untreated it can progress to a stage, where it is known as periodontal disease. At this point it can affect the structures around the teeth, including the gums, periodontal ligament and jaw bone, and cause the sufferer a wide range of dental problems.
Causes of gum disease
The main cause of gum disease is an accumulation of sticky, bacteria-laden plaque on the teeth. These bacteria produce acid which eats away at your teeth, causing decay and damage. It can also trap stains, causing your teeth to become discolored.
Plaque can begin forming in as little as 4 to 12 hours after brushing. This means that brushing at least twice a day, ideally after meals, is crucial to preventing plaque from causing gum disease and turning to tartar. This is a hardened form of plaque that can only be removed by a professional clean.
The effects of periodontal disease
Periodontal disease can have a number of undesirable consequences, which include:
- Severe pain and swelling
- Foul taste in the mouth
- Gum abscesses
- Receding gums
- Teeth that are so badly decayed that they require extraction
- Teeth that appear loose in their sockets
- Teeth that fall out of their own accord
Tips for treating periodontal disease
Before you become alarmed, there are things that you can do to prevent and treat periodontal disease.
Robust dental cleaning routine
By far the most important thing that you can do prevent and treat periodontal disease is follow a robust dental cleaning routine. Most plaque can be removed with twice-daily brushing and daily flossing, and using a fluoride mouthwash.
Get professional cleans
Professional cleans by your dentist or hygienist can help to remove any stubborn areas of plaque that simply refuse to budge. This is because professional cleans combine the benefits of unrestricted access to all parts of our mouths with specialist cleaning tools.
Not only is smoking catastrophic for your overall health and wellbeing, but it is a leading contributor of gum disease. Ditch the nicotine today and start feeling the benefits immediately.
We all like a sweet treat, but too much sugar spells disaster for your teeth. Cut right back on calorific sodas, swapping for water wherever possible. Limit how much candy and chocolate you consumed, and try and follow a well-balanced diet. Foods that are rich in calcium can help to strengthen your teeth, so there is no harm in stocking up on some dairy too.
If you are concerned that you may have any stage of gum disease, contact our dental office in Arlington today. Dr. Joseph Khalil and Dr. Ray Cho will be happy to examine your teeth and give you further tips for preventing and treating periodontal disease.
Dr. Joseph Khalil
To many people, a beautiful smile means teeth that are straight and perfectly aligned. Unfortunately, this is a feature that very few of us are naturally born with. Instead, teeth that are twisted, gapped and crooked are extremely common, and so dentists across the country are regularly inundated with requests for cosmetic orthodontic treatment to give patients a straighter, more desirable smile.
However, it may surprise you to know that the appearance of your smile is not the only thing affected by crooked teeth. Studies undertaken by the American Dental Association (ADA) have shown that crooked teeth can have a seriously detrimental impact on your dental and overall health and wellbeing.
What causes crooked teeth?
The alignment of teeth is largely down to genetics. People who have small jaws often find that they simply don’t have enough space to accommodate all their teeth. Teeth naturally shift to take up the space available to them. This means that while the earliest ones to erupt may come through straight, later teeth may come through twisted or crooked, fitting into any gap that they can find. Sometimes teeth even grow behind one another because there simply isn’t room for them!
Habits can also play a large part in the development of teeth. Thumb-sucking, lip sucking, excessive pacifier use and chewing objects can all affect the growth of your teeth, which can cause teeth to shift inaccurately and become crooked.
Problems caused by crooked teeth
Crooked teeth can impact on the health of your teeth and mouth, as well as having an effect on your overall wellbeing. Let’s take a look at three of the problems caused or contributed to by crooked teeth.
Gum disease is caused by the bacteria on our teeth forming plaque, which begins along the gum line. When this happens, the gums become red, swollen and can bleed. Without treatment, the gums can pull away from the teeth creating more room for bacteria to grow.
Gum disease is substantially more common in patients who have crooked teeth.
Poor dental health
One of the reasons that gum disease is more prevalent in patients with crooked teeth is because their positioning makes them much harder to clean. Even the best toothbrushes and most careful flossing can miss the tiny gaps and crevices caused by crooked teeth, and havens for bacteria growth.
In some cases, crooked teeth cause such extensive decay that extracting the affected teeth is the best solution to preserve the patient’s overall oral health.
Poor cleaning can result in lingering, smelly bacteria in the mouth, giving the patient unsavoury smelling breath. This can be extremely unpleasant and affect the taste of the food and drink that the patient consumes.
How can crooked teeth affect my overall health?
As we have discovered, crooked teeth dramatically impact upon a person’s ability to care for their teeth and gums. Invariably this means that some bacteria will accumulate over time, and this can cause a whole range of dental problems from gum disease to serious infections.
Studies undertaken by the ADA have shown undisputable evidence linking oral infections caused by increased levels of oral bacteria may lead to serious general health problems, including diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers.
How can I treat my crooked teeth?
There are several different treatment options that can correct crooked teeth and save your smile. Which is right for you will be determined by attending a consultation appointment with your dentist.
Conventional teeth straightening methods required the patient to wear an orthodontic brace. These devices, attached to your teeth, use a combination of wires and bands to gently guide the patient’s teeth to the desired position. While orthodontic braces are still available today, many patients are now opting for a revolutionary new treatment known as Invisalign®.
The Invisalign® treatment program is a series of clear, plastic aligners which are worn over the patient’s teeth to guide them to their new position. Invisalign® is a highly successful alternative to traditional orthodontic braces, and has a number of unique benefits.
Dr. Joseph Khalil and Dr. Ray Cho will be happy to discuss both Invisalign® and orthodontic braces with you to find the best solution for your crooked teeth.
The number one rule of dental care, and something that is drummed into many of us from an early age, is to brush our teeth twice a day. Brushing has shown to be one of the most effective defences against plaque and gum disease as it removes the majority of bacteria and food debris from teeth. This helps to keep teeth clean and free from problems.
Tooth decay is a major worldwide concern. Not only does it affect the function and appearance of your mouth, but it can also lead to number of serious medical problems including diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even some cancers.
However, brushing with water alone isn’t sufficient. Dental experts have found that certain combinations of minerals can help to prevent tooth decay and prolong our oral health. One of the primary ingredients used in the majority of toothpastes on the market today is fluoride.
What is fluoride?
Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral and the 13th most abundant material in the earth’s crust. It can be found in soil, foods and water supplies. It is also sometimes added to drinking water. This is because it has been found to be beneficial for oral health by helping protect teeth from decay. All water (whether from the faucet or bottled), contains some level of fluoride and more than 300 million people drink fluoridated water supplies each day.
How does fluoride help to prevent tooth decay?
The main way in which fluoride can support the prevention of tooth decay is because it strengthens the natural enamel of teeth, making it more resistant to decay. This makes it much harder for the bacteria in plaque and tartar to penetrate through the enamel of the tooth and attack the more sensitive parts of the tooth.
Fluoride also reduces the amount of acid that the bacteria on your teeth produce. This means that the PH balance of your much is more balanced, and it will take longer for decay to develop.
If fluoride can be found in my drinking water, so I still need to use a fluoride toothpaste?
Although all water contains some level of fluoride, it can vary from area to area. The best way of ensuring that you get the recommended amount each day is to use a fluoride toothpaste. If you live in an area where there is a reasonable amount of fluoride in the natural water supply, choosing a fluoride toothpaste can give patients a little extra protection from tooth decay.
With hundreds of different toothpastes available, choosing the right one can seem like an impossible battle. However, you can be certain that by choosing a fluoride toothpaste, you are taking positive steps towards maintain the appearance, function and longevity of your smile.
Everyone wants a bright, white and attractive smile. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that over time, our teeth naturally become discolored. Unfortunately, this can leave us feeling less than satisfied with the appearance of our teeth, sometimes so much so that we go out of our way to try and hide them from those around us. This can mean refusing to smile in photographs, covering our mouth with our hand when we talk or even avoiding eating in public.
Research shows that people with whiter teeth are perceived as being smarter, more socially competent and more attractive so perhaps it is little wonder that so many of us are turning to teeth whitening procedures in a bid to keep our smile looking as bright and white as possible.
What causes tooth discoloration?
Dental discoloration usually has one of three causes.
Intrinsic causes: these refer to changes within the inner structure of the tooth that causes it to darken such as having taken certain antibiotics, trauma to the tooth or too much exposure to fluoride at a young age.
Extrinsic causes: this refers to discoloration that happens to the outer layer of the tooth, known as the enamel. Extrinsic causes of tooth staining include certain foods, drinks and smoking.
Age-related causes: these usually combine intrinsic and extrinsic causes, as well as factoring in age-related changes. These include the enamel thinning as we get older, and the natural yellowing of dentin, which is the middle layer of our teeth.
Extrinsic causes of tooth discoloration are by far the most common. Fortunately, by avoiding the foods and drinks that cause staining to occur, we can help prolong the appearance of our smile for longer.
Foods and drinks that stain your teeth
Unfortunately, there are many different foods that can stain your teeth. While you don’t need to avoid these entirely to keep your teeth looking great, you certainly will want to think about limiting your intake, as well as ensuring that you brush your teeth well as soon as you can after consumption.
Some of the foods that will cause your teeth to become discolored include:
Citrus and highly acidic foods. These are more likely to erode the enamel covering the teeth and expose the yellower dentin underneath.
Coffee. While you may rely on your coffee to kickstart your mornings, our favorite hot drink contains tannins. Tannins, officially known as acidic polyphenols, have the ability to discolor and stain your teeth.
Red wine. Like coffee, red wine also contains high levels of tannins that can cause staining.
Dark fruits. Blueberries, blackberries and pomegranates may taste delicious, but they are also well known for causing dental discoloration, especially if eaten in high quantities.
Tea. Another tannin-rich beverage, tea can turn your teeth a range of different hues. For example, excessive green tea consumption can make your teeth appear grey, while drinking black tea actually causes your teeth to look yellower than normal.
Candy. We all know that candy is bad for our teeth in terms of decay, but did you know that decay can cause unsightly dark holes to develop in the enamel of your teeth? You do now.
Figuring out which products will stain your teeth is easier than you might think!
Think of your teeth as being like a white shirt. If you were to spill something that leaves a hard-to-remove stain on your shirt, chances are it will also have a discoloration effect on your teeth.
If you would like more information on tooth discoloration or would like to discuss your options with regards to tooth whitening, our knowledgeable and friendly team would be happy to assist. Please telephone our offices with your query or to schedule an appointment.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
Do you wake up in the morning with a grim taste in your mouth and breath that could turn a pathologist’s stomach? If so, you aren’t alone. Bad breath in the morning, also sometimes simply called ‘morning breath’ is an embarrassing occurrence, particularly if you share your bed with someone else. So, why exactly does our breath become so foul overnight and what can we do to minimize episodes of morning breath? Read on to find out everything that you need to know about why your breath smells in the morning.
What causes bad breath?
Bad breath, which is characterized by an unpleasant smell emanating from the mouth, has primarily been linked to poor oral hygiene. Brushing your teeth properly at least twice a day, flossing and visiting your dentist regularly are all essential components for a healthy mouth and neutral-smelling breath. However, when bacteria are allowed to breed, such as when they aren’t cleared away properly by brushing and flossing, they release an unpleasant odor that is expelled via your breath. For this reason, patients that have periodontal disease or dental problems such as untreated decay or infections are more likely to experience bad breath.
Why is my breath particularly smelly in the morning?
Even people who don’t experience bad breath during the day can wake up with a disgusting smell escaping from their mouths. There is a number of reasons for this:
Bacteria have time to accumulate overnight
Brushing your teeth before bed is extremely important. Removing as much food debris and as many bacteria as possible is essential if you are to prevent them from having plenty of time to interact and cause damage to your teeth. While we sleep, we aren’t drinking to wash away particles of food or bad bacteria, giving them the opportunity to multiply and to create plaque and plaque acids. The increased number of bacteria means greater noxious emissions, giving you unpleasant breath.
Saliva production slows while we sleep
A decrease in the amount of saliva we naturally produce while we sleep is another contributing factor to the development of bad breath. When we are sleeping, our salivary glands are not as active as they are during the day so that we don’t have to continually swallow – something which has the potential to wake us up. Unfortunately, since saliva is the body’s natural defense against tooth decay, this decreased production means that there is less fluid to neutralize plaque acids and wash away bacteria and food particles – enabling bacteria to thrive.
Eating strongly-flavored foods before bed
Even if you brush your teeth before bed, if you have eaten something which has a particularly strong flavor, you could find that you can still smell it on your breath in the morning. Common culprits for this include garlic and raw onion.
Gastrointestinal Reflux or GERD
Patients who have been diagnosed with GERD may experience waves of stomach acid washing back up into their esophagus when they sleep. Stomach acid contains lots of bacteria and has an unpleasant odor in its own right.
What can I do to improve the way that my breath smells in the morning?
Fortunately, there are a number of things that you can do to help improve the way that your breath might smell in the morning. These include:
- Brushing your teeth as thoroughly as possible before you go to bed. This means using a fluoride toothpaste for at least two minutes. Pay particular attention to the area where the teeth meet the gums as this is where the plaque is most likely to form.
- Remember to floss. While brushing will remove the vast majority of food particles and bacteria, there are teeny, tiny crevices between teeth where even the most expensive and effective toothbrush may not reach. Flossing, using conventional floss, a water flosser or interdental brushes, will get into these areas and ensure that they are as clean and bacteria-free as possible.
- Lay off the strong-smelling foods before bed. Try and ensure that your last meal of the day is fairly neutral in flavor to minimize the effect it could have on your breath.
- Drink water before bed. It may not be your beverage of choice, but water is the healthiest thing that we can drink and it will help to wash away any stubborn bacteria or food particles that are still clinging on. If you wake through the night, a few sips from a glass of water by your bed will help prevent your mouth from drying out too.
If you are experiencing embarrassingly bad breath in the morning and would like the advice and support of an experienced dental team, please don’t hesitate to contact our offices where our discreet staff is waiting to help you.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
Do you ever go to sleep with your teeth in perfect working condition, and wake up with your teeth feeling sore? Sometimes this soreness might be worsened by jaw pain and a headache. In some cases, sore teeth in the morning can be so extreme that patients are not able to chew their breakfast or feel comfortable brushing their teeth.
Suffice it to say, waking up with sore teeth is not the most pleasant way to start your day. Beyond putting you in a bad mood for the day, sore teeth in the morning might be indicative of a bigger dental health issue, and your dental health might be in danger. Today, we’re going to look at some of the primary reasons why your teeth might be sore in the morning, and when you should consult with our dentist to find a treatment for your problem.
Teeth Grinding Or Jaw Clenching At Night
You have probably heard of people grinding their teeth or clenching their jaw, a dental condition known as bruxism. Sleep bruxism is one of the most common reasons why patients wake up with sore teeth. A lot of people will experience teeth grinding at some point in their life. It is estimated that 1 out of 12 people grinds their teeth while they sleep.
While the exact cause of sleep bruxism is unknown, it is commonly linked to a number of factors, such as stress, bad dreams, alcohol, caffeine, or irregular sleeping temperatures. It is hard for patients who grind their teeth in their sleep to realize what is happening, since they are unconscious and don’t realize what is happening. Unfortunately, when people ignore tooth pain in the morning and don’t find a treatment to their bruxism, the condition can lead to dull teeth that are prone to cracking and breaking. Therefore, teeth grinding is a serious condition, in which you should seek dental treatment immediately.
One easy treatment for teeth grinding and jaw clenching is to wear a dental night guard. Dental guards protect the surfaces of your teeth from coming into contact with one another, so even if you are grinding your teeth, there won’t be any detrimental effects on your teeth.
At Arlington Dentistry by Design, we recommend custom-made night guards, which are created by dental impressions of your teeth. Custom-made night guards are much more effective than store bought dental guards, since they create little room for friction for teeth grinders. If you think you might be grinding your teeth at night, we will be able to diagnose and treat your condition by assessing the surface of your teeth.
Food Left In Your Teeth Overnight
Another common conundrum that can make your teeth feel sore in the morning is leaving food in your teeth at night from forgetting to brush before bed. Hard foods or meat stuck between the teeth are more likely to cause this condition, since their particles cause pressure in-between the teeth. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to avoid by making sure you brush your teeth and floss before sleep. By brushing and flossing before bed, you are able to extract any food particles and ensure you receive a comfortable night’s rest.
Sleeping In A Strange Position
Patients who are inclined to sleep certain ways are more likely to wake up with sore teeth. For example, people who sleep with their hand under their face near the jaw or those who sleep with something hard under their jaw, like rings or bracelets, are more prone to waking up with a sore jaw and teeth. If you believe this might be the cause of your sore teeth, you should observe the problem area by pinpointing where the pain and soreness are occurring. If the discomfort is solely on one side of your face or on either your upper or lower arch, then chances are you should try and change up your sleeping position. You can also try and avoid this discomfort by making sure you remove all of your jewelry before bed.
Patients also might experience soreness if they sleep with their face on their bed railing or against their bedroom wall. If you have a bed rail that you find yourself sleeping against, try placing a pillow between the bed rails and yourself.
What To Do If Your Teeth Are Sore In The Morning
If you’re experiencing chronic sore teeth in the morning, there are easy and convenient solutions to your condition. The quickest way to get to the bottom of your problem is by scheduling an appointment with our dentist. We will assess the sore area to determine causes of your jaw and teeth soreness. If we determine that TMJ or a jaw misalignment is the culprit of your bruxism, we can devise a treatment plan from there. We can also rule out other common causes of sore teeth, like gum disease, cavities, or even sinus infections. Contact us today to learn more.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
For many of us, tooth loss will be inevitable at some point during our lifetime. In fact, studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that as many as 69% of adults aged between 35 and 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth. More shockingly, they believe that by 50 years of age, most Americans will have lost an average of 12 permanent teeth.
The reasons for tooth loss can vary, but most cases are attributed either to poor dental hygiene resulting in severe decay or periodontal disease, or trauma to the mouth. As you can probably imagine, the effects of multiple tooth loss can be devastating. A smile is considered to be one of our most attractive features, and so any deviation from society’s interpretation of ‘perfect’ teeth can have consequences for our confidence and self-esteem. People who dislike their smile may find that they avoid social functions, eating in public and when they do have to speak to others, they cover their mouths with their hands. More importantly, the function of your teeth is dramatically compromised, and you may find it difficult, if not impossible, to bite and chew properly. Your speech may also be affected as our tongue needs to push against our teeth in various ways to help us form sounds.
Fortunately, dental innovation means that it is no longer necessary to live with the effects of multiple tooth loss. Dental implants are now well known as a solution for single or several missing teeth. However, it is now possible to restore entire upper or lower arches of teeth that are missing or require extraction.
What are Full Mouth Dental Implants?
As their name suggests, full mouth dental implants are a way of restoring a whole arch of missing teeth in just one procedure. They are also an increasingly popular alternative to conventional dentures.
Each complete arch is custom-designed specifically so that the prosthetics look completely natural, their size, shape and color agreed with you ahead of production. The prosthetics are then mounted on to a fixed bridge, which is in turn placed on to a number of titanium posts that have been pre-inserted into your jaw bone. This unique design makes dental implants extremely secure.
Once in place and you are used to your new teeth, your dental implants will look and feel just like regular ones.
Benefits of Full Mouth Dental Implants
Full mouth dental implants have a number of benefits over dentures, which has long been the conventional solution for multiple missing teeth.
Permanent and Secure
Unlike dentures which are secured using adhesive paste, dental implants are a permanent solution. There is no need to remove them to enjoy certain foods, nor to clean your teeth. They are also extremely secure which means that you do not need to worry about them slipping or moving around in your mouth, causing a potentially embarrassing scenario.
Dental implant prosthetics are well known for offering the most natural-looking alternative to real teeth. Each set is custom-designed to fit perfectly with any remaining teeth, and in a shade that is both realistic and attractive.
While the design of dentures has improved over the last few decades, they are still renowned for rubbing against patient’s gums and other soft tissue in the mouth. Dental implants are secured in place and cannot move, so there is no friction to worry about.
No Compromises or Worries
People who wear dentures often find themselves avoiding certain foods that are sticky or hard, for fear of pulling their dentures loose. They may also feel self-conscious when they cough, sneeze or laugh, worried that their dentures may slip out of place. Dental implants are completely stable so there is no need to fret about discretion - they won’t budge, not even a millimeter.
Dental implants have the highest success rate of any surgically implanted device – dental or medical!
Fix Your Smile with just One Procedure
Full mouth dental implants offer you the opportunity to receive a state-of-the-art smile with just one procedure. There is no need for an entire treatment program, and a couple of visits should be sufficient to get your new smile in place and beaming brightly.
With care and attention, dental implants have been shown to be capable of lasting upwards of twenty years, more than double the average lifespan of a set of dentures!
If you are missing a whole heap of teeth and are considering full mouth dental implants, contact us and our dentist would be delighted to give you more information about the benefits of this type of restorative dental treatment.
If you have ever been chewing on a piece of ice or hard candy and realized that you suddenly cracked or chipped your tooth, you probably immediately felt a sense of dread. It can be worrying to think about what you’re going to have to do to fix your tooth. However, if you are armed with some basic information about your options, it can help to remove some of your fears and get you back in action.
What Happens When You Damage a Tooth?
Before you can understand how the tooth can be fixed, it is important to understand how the damage occurred and what actually happened to the tooth. Your tooth is covered with enamel. The enamel that covers the tooth is the hardest mineralized substance in the body, so it takes considerable force to damage or break the enamel.
Unfortunately, this can happen from impacts, pressure, or from wear or deterioration of the enamel. If the force has been great enough to damage or crack the enamel, it is possible that the underlying tooth also has sustained some damage. This means that it is important to schedule an appointment with your dentist so that they can accurately assess the damage and make sure to fix any issues before problems can grow.
Before Your Appointment
A damaged tooth is at an increased risk for infection or decay, so you should get into your dentist as soon as possible. However, in the event that you can’t be seen immediately, you can do a few things to help protect the tooth and reduce your own discomfort.
Use a pain reliever – Over the counter medications can help to reduce pain and inflammation that may be caused by your damaged tooth
Cover the tooth – You may need to cover the tooth to protect it from anything getting inside. You can use a sugarless gum to cover the tooth or a piece of wax paraffin to cover the damaged tooth.
Avoid Foods – If you need to eat before you get into the dentist, be cautious about chewing on that tooth. If possible, chew your food on the opposite side of the mouth to avoid further damaging your tooth.
Your options for repair will vary based on the type of damage that you sustained. Your dentist can help guide you toward the best option for your case, but there are a few standard procedures that you could expect to discuss.
Dental Fillings or Bondings – If you have a small chip or crack, your dentist may suggest a filling or bonding. Bondings are tooth-colored plastic resins that can be shaped and molded to look just like a natural tooth. Your dentist may use this procedure to help repair the tooth, and it is typically one of the best options available.
Dental Cap or Crown – If more of the tooth has come off or a dental bond isn’t appropriate, your dentist may recommend a cap or a crown. This procedure prepares the tooth and then places a permanent crown that fits over the tooth. A crown is specially designed to fit over the tooth so that it doesn’t change your bite pattern.
Veneers – Veneers can be used to help cover minor damage or cracks. Porcelain veneers fit onto the surface of the tooth and can help protect and hide any damage.
Root Canal or Extraction – In more extreme cases, a dentist may need to perform a root canal. This procedure is necessary when the interior pulp of the tooth has been damaged or infected, and the dentist needs to clear any infection from your mouth. If extraction is necessary, your dentist can also suggest options to replace the missing tooth.
Cracked and chipped teeth certainly aren’t any fun, but understanding what your next steps should be can help remove some of the stress from the process. If you have a cracked or chipped tooth, call our office to schedule an appointment today.
Not everyone is automatically a good candidate for every type of dental restoration. Dental crowns may be a vital component in dental implants, but the procedures to fit both are dramatically different. As such, it is essential that our dental or implant surgeon carries out a full assessment of your dental and general health, as well as a physical examination, before approving you for either procedure.
What Makes Someone a Good Candidate for Dental Crowns?
Dental crowns are considered to be a minimally-invasive procedure, which makes them suitable for a wide variety of different patients. Dental crowns sit over the top of the affected tooth, encasing it inside rather than replacing it with a fake tooth. After your crown has been placed, it will restore the shape, size and appearance of your damaged tooth, plus return the full function of your teeth.
Dental Crowns are typically recommended for patients who have teeth that are:
Severely eroded/worn down. This is often due to grinding (a condition known as bruxism) or suffering from GERD.
Fractured, or weak and at risk of fracturing.
Severely decayed, beyond what can be repaired by a cavity filling.
An unusual shape
Badly discolored, which is usually a result of trauma to the tooth
Damaged in any other way.
Before a crown can be fitted, it is necessary to prepare the affected tooth. This means either filing it down so that the crown can be fitted properly over the top or building it up so that it can support the restoration. Although this process is very straightforward, our dentist will need to check that your tooth is healthy enough to make the procedure viable.
What Makes Someone a Good Candidate for Dental Implants?
If our dentist recommends that you consider dental implants, you probably already have, or soon will, have a gap in your smile. Although our dentist will do everything possible to ensure you retain your natural teeth, sometimes an extraction is the only real option. Fortunately, dental implants mean that you don’t have to live with a gap in your smile.
Dental implants are prosthetic teeth (supplied as a porcelain crown) that are attached to titanium posts. Each post is inserted into your jaw bone at a pre-determined location beneath your missing tooth, and act as an anchor for the prosthetic above it. However, for dental implants to be successful, the titanium post needs to fuse with your jaw bone in a process known as osseointegration. For this to happen, you need to have a sufficient amount and density of bone in the jaw. You must also have healthy gums. If either your gums or jaw bone are compromised in any way, you may not be a suitable candidate for dental implants. In some instances, it may be possible for you to receive a bone graft that could make implants a viable option.
Dental implants are extremely robust and secure and are a great solution for missing teeth. However, they are not always chosen purely for functional reasons. A small but growing number of patients are now choosing to replace teeth that are cosmetically unpleasant with dental implants, so that they might enjoy a more attractive smile.
Before you can be approved for a dental implant procedure, our dentist will need to meet with you to discuss your reasons for choosing this solution, and what your expectations for your smile are once the procedure has been completed. A thorough assessment of your mouth and jaw will also be conducted, which will almost certainly include x-rays so that the quality of your jaw bone can be determined.
If you have further questions about candidacy for either dental crowns or dental implants, call us to schedule an appointment and our dentist will be happy to discuss this with you in further detail.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
If you’re like most people throughout the world, coffee is a staple in your diet. Coffee is often glorified for tasting delicious, its ability to perk you up in the morning, and give you more energy throughout the day. There are even a range of studies on coffee’s health benefits, due to its abundance of antioxidants. Unfortunately, when it comes to your dental health, chugging coffee all day can damage your teeth in more ways than one. The good news is that when consumed responsibly, coffee is better for your teeth than most other caffeinated drinks, and it can even improve your gum health.
How Coffee Damages Your Teeth
While consuming moderate amounts (2-4 cups) of coffee a day won’t significantly harm your teeth, excessive coffee consumption can harm the health and beauty of your smile. With that said, if you are an excessive coffee drinker, being aware of these harmful effects might help you cut back on your coffee intake.
Enamel, the outer layer of your teeth, is a porous substance, containing tiny ridges and pits that absorbs colors from food and drinks. Coffee is notorious for staining teeth, due to its dark pigmentation. When coffee is consumed frequently, the dark pigmentation permeates your tooth’s enamel, creating permanent yellowed and stained teeth.
If you are a moderate coffee drinker, who is not committed to abstaining from coffee altogether, there are a number of ways you can limit the amount of staining caused by darkly pigmented drinks. For one, you can try drinking your coffee at specific break times, instead of slowly nursing a cup all day.
Secondly, after finishing a cup of coffee, it is a good idea to immediately rinse your mouth with water or softly brush your teeth to keep it from staining your enamel. Another way to deal with coffee stains is by scheduling routine appointments with our dentist for a professional teeth whitening treatment and making sure you attend regular teeth cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings whiten teeth by polishing away the surface stains caused by coffee, while teeth whitening treatments can bleach your enamel for a more beautiful and brighter smile.
Enamel Damage From Acidity
Enamel is an integral part to keeping your teeth strong and healthy. As we mentioned earlier, enamel is a porous material, making it susceptible to decay. Unfortunately, coffee is highly acidic, which can wear down your enamel. Not to mention, if you like your coffee on the sweeter side with cream and sugar, these sweeteners can further damage your enamel. When consumed constantly throughout the day, this can lead to cavities.
One way to minimize the enamel damage caused by coffee is drinking iced coffee through a straw. Using a straw reduces the amount of contact the coffee has with the surface of your teeth, which can help prevent staining and enamel damage. Rinsing your mouth out with water after consuming coffee can also neutralize the natural acidity of your mouth and protect your teeth from enamel damage.
Jaw Clenching and Bruxism
Excessive intakes of caffeine are linked to increased stress, irritability, and difficulty sleeping. Drinking too much caffeine can cause you to unconsciously clench your jaw, while drinking coffee before bed can cause you to grind your teeth while you sleep. Excessive teeth grinding and jaw clenching can lead to jaw pain, TMJ disorder, and pain in your teeth. Grinding your teeth in your sleep can weaken your molars, causing cracks and dulled teeth. Avoid jaw clenching and bruxism from coffee by switching to decaf or limiting the amount of coffee you drink during the day, especially later in the day.
The Benefits of Coffee for Your Gum Health
While drinking too much coffee might be harmful for your teeth, consuming moderate amounts can protect your smile from periodontal disease. In a study of more than 1,000 men over 30 years, scientists found that participants who drank one or more cups of coffee during the day experienced less bone loss and gum recession, most likely attributed to the antioxidants and anti-inflammatory components in coffee. Contact us today to learn more.
Arlington Dentistry by Design
There are many different types of dental problem that can potentially affect us during our lifetime. One of the most common is a chronic inflammatory condition that is known as periodontal disease which, left untreated, could eventually compromise not only the appearance of your smile but also your oral and general health.
Causes of periodontal disease
Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria present in plaque that has accumulated on the teeth begin to spread on to the soft tissue of the gums. The bacteria cause irritation which leads to the gums becoming red and sore, and further symptoms developing. Poor oral hygiene is therefore the biggest contributing factor to someone suffering from periodontal disease and your dentist will be sure to check for the presence of plaque or tartar at your regular dental appointments.
In addition to poor dental hygiene, there are some other things that could make someone more likely to suffer from the condition, including:
A diagnosis of diabetes
Pregnancy, since hormonal changes can make the gums more vulnerable to plaque
High levels of stress
A weakened immune system
Your age, since gum disease is more often diagnosed in older patients
What are the symptoms of periodontal disease?
The symptoms of periodontal disease are progressive which means that they worsen the longer the condition is left untreated. Unfortunately, the earliest signs of periodontal disease are fairly mild and easily overlooked or ignored. This means that by the time most patients seek professional help, the condition has begun to advance, and this can mean that irreversible damage has started to occur.
The very earliest stage of periodontal disease is often referred to as gingivitis and is characterized by:
Red and swollen gums
Gums that bleed after you have brushed or flossed your teeth
As the condition progresses it becomes known as periodontitis or periodontal disease. You may start to experience:
An unpleasant taste in your mouth
Pain in and around your teeth
Gum abscesses (these are collections of pus that develop under your gums or teeth)
Teeth that become loose or fall out
The consequences of periodontal disease
What many people don’t realize is that in addition to the unpleasant and somewhat debilitating symptoms listed above, there are other much more serious consequences to the development of periodontal disease.
The first is a loss of bone in your jaw. This occurs when the periodontal disease becomes so severe that teeth become loose and fall out. With no teeth to keep secure, the bone in the jaw deteriorates. This can affect the shape and definition of your face and make it harder to fit dental implants – the most popular tooth loss solution currently available.
The second major consequence of periodontal disease is infection and the effect this can have on your wider health. Periodontal disease is caused by infection-causing bacteria that destroy gum tissue and eventually your jaw bone. However, these bacteria can also pass into the bloodstream, using it as a highway to get around your body to your major organs. Studies have found a definitive link between patients with advanced periodontal disease and health problems including heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and more. By preventing periodontal disease, you are taking positive steps towards ensuring your overall health and wellbeing.
Treating periodontal disease
Maintaining an excellent oral hygiene routine is the best way to both prevent periodontal disease and treat it. In the early stages, making additional effort to take proper care of your teeth can even reverse the early symptoms and keep your smile in good health. However, if the condition has progressed then your dentist may recommend specific treatments that could include:
A scale and polish. This targets removing plaque and tartar from the teeth.
Root planing. This deep clean targets under the gums so that bacteria can be effectively removed from the roots of the teeth.
Antibiotics to help deal with any infection.
Extraction of the affected tooth.
If you are concerned that you may have periodontal disease, don’t delay in seeking professional assistance. Please contact our office today in Arlington. Virgina to schedule an assessment by one of our experienced dental team. Arlington Smile Design is open Monday - Fridays. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment. We can be reached at 703-997-7800.
Arlington Smile Design
Try as we might to look after our teeth, it is almost inevitable that we will experience some degree of decay and damage over the years thanks to the considerable wear and tear that our teeth suffer. While there are many restorative treatments available, there are occasions where a tooth simply can’t be saved, and extraction is the best viable course of action. Of course, there are also times when a damaged or decayed tooth falls out before treatment can be attempted or an extraction performed.
Tooth loss may not seem like the end of the world, but it can have a significant impact on your day to day life. If the gap in your smile is obvious, you may find yourself feeling embarrassed and try to avoid showing your teeth. You may also find that your ability to bite, chew and even speak properly is affected depending on the location of your gap.
Fortunately, there are solutions to missing teeth and these come in the form of dental implants and dental bridgework. Which is right for you will depend on your individual circumstances and should be decided with the help of our dentist. However, we have put together the following information to help you understand a little more about the differences between them.
One of the latest, and arguably greatest, innovations in dentistry, dental implants are a highly popular method of replacing teeth that have been lost through damage or decay. Their unique design consists of three components:
- A porcelain crown which acts as the visible part of the tooth
- A connector
- A titanium post
In a dental implant procedure, the titanium post is inserted through the gum and into the jaw bone, below where the prosthetic tooth is to sit. Once in the jaw, the bone begins to grow around the post. This starts to happen immediately, but the entire process takes several months and when it is complete, the post is anchored firmly into the jaw. The connector is then used to connect the post to the porcelain crown, which have been designed specifically in the shape, size and color to fit with the rest of your smile.
Dental implants are permanent, and you can eat, drink, speak, laugh, sneeze and even sing as normal. You can even brush them along with your regular teeth.
Advantages of Choosing Dental Implants
Many patients opt for dental implants because of the number of advantages that they have over bridgework. These include:
- No impact on surrounding teeth. Dental implants are standalone and do not require neighboring teeth for support.
- Strength and durability. Once the healing process is complete, dental implants are arguably the strongest of all dental restorations.
- Minimal maintenance. There are no complex components to dental implants, meaning that maintenance of your new smile is minimal and rarely extends beyond attending your regularly scheduled check-ups.
- No compromises on your lifestyle. Because they are permanent, patients who choose dental implants can enjoy their usual foods, drinks and activities without to spare a thought for their teeth.
Considerations when Choosing Dental Implants
There are really only two major considerations when it comes to choosing dental implants to resolve your missing teeth.
- Reliance on healthy jaw bone. Dental implants need a good, strong, healthy jaw bone if the procedure is to be a success. However, it is still possible to opt for a slightly different design of implant if you do not have sufficient quality or density jaw bone.
- Cost. Dental implants have a greater one-off cost than any other type of cosmetic dental treatment. However, they are very long-lasting and with the right care and attention, could prove to be a very wise investment in the long-term health of your teeth.
Dental bridges have, until fairly recently, been considered the preferred solution for gaps in our smile. A dental bridge works in the way that you would probably expect – by bridging the gap caused by a missing tooth. In this space is a porcelain crown prosthetic that is attached to a wire. This wire runs along the back of the teeth, where it joints on to metal or porcelain crowns. These crowns are attached to healthy teeth either side of the gap and are referred to as abutments.
Advantages of Dental Bridgework
There are a number of reasons why a patient may choose dental bridgework over an alternative treatment. These include:
- Less invasive surgery. The procedure to receive dental implants is very invasive which many people, particularly those with dental phobia, find disturbing.
- No reliance on jaw bone health. Dental bridges can be used by any patient who has healthy abutment teeth either side of the gap. This makes dental bridgework suitable for a wider demographic of patients.
- Less expensive. The initial outlay required for dental bridgework is significantly less than in dental implants.
Considerations when Choosing Dental Bridgework
Unfortunately, many patients cite that there are a range of disadvantages to choosing dental bridgework.
- Can damage surrounding teeth. Since bridgework is attached to the natural teeth on either side of the gap, this can cause these abutment teeth to come under abnormal levels of strain. This could then cause problems with these otherwise healthy teeth, such as cracks or fractures. It could also cause abutment teeth to move position slightly.
- Head to clean. The use of wires in dental bridges can make them much harder to clean than dental implants. This could increase your risk of suffering from decay and periodontal disease.
- Ongoing maintenance. Unfortunately, dental bridgework is considered to be much less robust than implants and this means that more maintenance visits to our dentist will be necessary.
If you are missing one or more teeth and would like to discuss the differences between dental implants and dental bridges in greater depth, our professional and knowledgeable team would be delighted to help. Drop by our offices or call us to schedule an appointment.
Arlington Dentistry By Design
Very few of us are blessed with perfectly straight teeth and aligned bites, yet gaps in our smiles and problems with our bite can leave us open to a range of dental and even general health hazards.
From increased risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease, to tooth loss, widespread infection and health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease that have been shown to be linked to poor oral health, there are many reasons why dentists have recommended addressing the positioning of our teeth and bite.
For a long time, orthodontic braces have been the primary treatment choice for people suffering from such problems. This highly successful treatment involves wearing a device that is attached to the teeth, which gradually propels them into the desired position. In the past, orthodontic braces have had something of a poor reputation, renowned for being large, metal contraptions that look unsightly, feel uncomfortable and severely limit the foods and activities that you can enjoy.
Thankfully, the design of orthodontic braces has evolved dramatically during the last few decades, and now there are many different types available. In fact, the newer styles of braces are so improved that many adults who initially refused to wear orthodontic braces in their younger years are now happily opting for this important dental process.
If you have been recommended for orthodontic braces, you most certainly are not alone. It is estimated that almost 4 million Americans currently wear some style of orthodontic brace, which will eventually help them to enjoy a healthier and more beautiful smile.
What Types of Orthodontic Braces are available?
If you or your child require the use of an orthodontic braces, our dentist or orthodontist will be happy to talk through the varieties available with you in more detail. This is particularly important as not all types of orthodontic braces is suitable for every patient. However, in general there are 4 key types of orthodontic braces available to patients in the United States.
Conventional metal braces
When people think of braces, they almost always conjure up an image of the conventional metal variety. These are made from stainless steel and are attached to your teeth using a special adhesive, where wires and brackets then work to propel them into the desired position. Conventional braces need to be adjusted regularly in order for the teeth to follow the projected pathway.
This type of orthodontic braces is arguably the most restrictive in that they look the most obvious and unsightly, they can make certain physical activities difficult to participate in, and our orthodontist will almost certainly recommend that you avoid certain foods, including items that are particularly chewy or sticky.
These look and work in an identical manner to conventional metal braces, and have many of the same limitations, but instead of dark, obvious metal, they made of tooth-colored or clear ceramic. This makes them blend more naturally into your teeth and appear much less obvious. It may even be possible for our orthodontist to arrange tooth-colored wires, offering you the ultimate in discretion.
Lingual braces are a popular alternative to conventional metal braces. Although the same materials are used, the braces are secured to the inside of your teeth where they are much less obvious to observers.
Invisalign is a revolutionary new orthodontic treatment that uses a series of custom-designed plastic, BPA-free liners that sit over the top of your teeth, directing them through the treatment pathway and to their final, desired position. Each liner is used in order, with each worn for approximately two weeks and for around 22 hours each day, which is necessary for the treatment to progress accurately and at the appropriate pace.
These clear, removable aligners give patients an unrivalled level of discretion and increased flexibility, making them one of the most popular orthodontic treatments available.
Although they look similar to some styles of orthodontic braces, retainers don’t actually perform the same function. Instead, they are used by patients after they have finished their orthodontic treatment program. Their purpose is to hold – or retain – the teeth in their new position, preventing them from moving back. There are two types of retainer available. A fixed retainer is a thin, stainless steel wire that is permanently attached behind your front teeth, while a removable retainer looks very similar to a transparent mouth guard and fits snugly over your teeth, holding them in place. Our orthodontist will be happy to discuss which retainer is right for you at the end of your treatment program.
For further advice about the types of orthodontic treatment available, contact us and make an appointment with our dentist or orthodontist.