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Posts for: November, 2021


Dental implants have revolutionized restorative dentistry. Not only are they the top choice for individual tooth replacement, implants also improve upon traditional dental work.

Dental bridges are a case in point. A few well-placed implants can support a fixed bridge instead of natural teeth, as with a traditional bridge. Furthermore, a fixed, implant-supported bridge can replace all the teeth on a jaw.

But although convenient, we can't simply install an implant-supported bridge and forget about it. We must also protect it from what might seem at first an unlikely threat—periodontal (gum) disease.

Although the bridge materials themselves are impervious to infection, the natural tissues that underly the implants—the gums and bone—are not. An infection plaguing the gums around an implant can eventually reach the bone, weakening it to the point that it can no longer support the imbedded implants. As the implants fail, so does the bridge.

To guard against this, patients must regularly remove any buildup of plaque, a thin biofilm that feeds disease-causing bacteria, adhering to the implant surfaces in the space between the bridge and the gums. To do this, you'll need to floss—but not in the traditional way. You'll need some form of tool to accomplish the job.

One such tool is a floss threader. Similar to a large needle, the threader has an eye opening at one end through which you insert a section of floss. You then gently pass the threader between the bridge and the gums toward the tongue.

Once through, you release the floss from the threader, and holding each end, you work the floss along the implant surfaces within reach. You then repeat the threading process for other sections until you've flossed around all the implants.

You might also use a water flosser, a device that directs a spray of water between the bridge and gums. The pressure from the spray loosens and flushes away any plaque around the implants.

Whatever the method, it's important to use it every day to reduce the threat of gum disease. You should also see your dentist regularly for further cleanings and checkups. Keeping your implants clean helps ensure gum disease won't ruin your fixed bridge—or your attractive smile.

If you would like more information on keeping your dental work clean, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Hygiene for Fixed Bridgework.”

By Occoquan Smiles
November 14, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Although we've advanced leaps and bounds over the years treating dental disease, our strategy for preventing them hasn't changed much. That's because these prevention basics are quite effective—and as the old saying goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

The core of an effective dental disease prevention strategy is mind-numbingly simple—brush and floss every day. These twin cleaning tasks remove accumulated dental plaque, a thin, bacterial film on tooth surfaces that's the primary oral disease driver.

True, there have been innovations concerning the "tools of the trade," i.e., toothbrushes, toothpastes and flossing devices. But what really makes this prevention strategy work is a consistent daily habit of oral hygiene.

In a way, simply "showing up" for daily oral hygiene goes a long way. But you can go even farther if you perform these tasks with greater proficiency—becoming a hygiene "ninja," of sorts.

Here, then, are 4 tips to improve your brushing and flossing prowess.

Be thorough when you brush. Try to cover all of your tooth surfaces when you brush, being sure to work the bristles into all the nooks and crannies and around the gum lines. A thorough brushing should take about 2 minutes.

Easy does it. Hard scrubbing may work on floors, but not your teeth—aggressive brushing can damage your enamel and gums. Brush gently and let the mild abrasives in your toothpaste do the heavy work of plaque removal.

Don't forget to floss. Although you may not like this "other hygiene task," flossing is necessary to remove plaque between teeth that your brush can't reach. Be sure, then, that you floss at least once a day.

Take the "tongue test." Wondering how well you're doing with your oral hygiene? A quick way to find out is by swiping your tongue across your teeth: If they feel gritty rather than smooth, you may have left some plaque behind.

Be sure to also ask your dentist for additional tips on better brushing and flossing. Improving your technique can help you put even more distance between you and dental disease.

If you would like more information on daily care for teeth and gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene.”

By Occoquan Smiles
November 04, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental injuries  

Although kids are resilient, they're not indestructible. They're prone to their share of injuries, both major and minor—including dental injuries.

It's common for physically active children to suffer injuries to their mouth, teeth and gums. With a little know-how, however, you can reduce their suffering and minimize any consequences to their long-term oral health.

Here are 4 types of dental injuries, and what to do if they occur.

Chipped tooth. Trauma or simply biting down on something hard can result in part of the tooth breaking off, while the rest of it remains intact. If this happens, try to retrieve and save the chipped pieces—a dentist may be able to re-bond them to the tooth. Even if you can't collect the chipped pieces, you should still see your dentist for a full examination of the tooth for any underlying injury.

Cracked tooth. A child can experience intense pain or an inability to bite or close their teeth normally if a tooth is cracked (fractured), First, call the dentist to see if you need to come in immediately or wait a day. You can also give the child something appropriate to their age for pain and to help them sleep if you're advised to wait overnight.

Displaced tooth. If a child's tooth appears loose, out of place or pushed deeper into the jaw after an accident, you should definitely see a dentist as soon as possible—all of these indicate a serious dental injury. If they're unavailable or it's after hours, your dentist may tell you to visit an emergency room for initial treatment.

Knocked-out tooth. Minutes count when a tooth is knocked completely out. Quickly locate the tooth and, holding it only by the crown and not the root, rinse off any debris with clean water. Place it in a glass of milk or attempt to place it back into the socket. If you attempt to place it back into the socket, it will require pressure to seat the tooth into position. You should then see a dentist or ER immediately.

A dental injury can be stressful for both you and your child. But following these common-sense guidelines can help you keep your wits and ensure your child gets the care they need.

If you would like more information on pediatric dental treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Occoquan Smiles
November 03, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

If you have questions about getting dental implants we’re here to answer them.

No one likes to think about losing a tooth, but for millions of Americans, this fear is a reality. Tooth loss can happen to anyone at any point in time. From sports injuries to severe gum disease, there are a variety of reasons why you might lose a tooth. Despite this, you don’t have to just deal with an imperfect smile. Find out more about the dental implants our Woodbridge, VA, dentists offer and how they can give you your smile back.

What are dental implants?

A dental implant is used to replace a missing tooth or teeth. It’s a tiny metal screw that is placed into the jawbone to hold an artificial tooth in place.

How long does it take to get dental implants?

Getting dental implants is a rather extensive process and can take anywhere from 8 months to over a year, depending on the number of implants, the placement of the implants, and how quickly you heal.

What is dental implant treatment like?

Getting dental implants involves three different visits. The first phase will require us to surgically place the implant into the jawbone. During the healing process, which can take anywhere from 3-6 months, your bone and tissue will begin to bond with the implant.

Once the natural bonding between your implant and the surrounding bone and tissue is complete, we will uncover the implant and place a small metal extension at the top known as an abutment. The abutment will eventually connect the dental crown with the implant.

The third and last phase of implant treatment will take place a few weeks after we place the abutment. This is when we will fit and permanently place your implant with a custom-made dental crown.

Does getting dental implants hurt?

Your procedure will be performed under local anesthesia, so you shouldn’t feel pain or discomfort. If you are concerned or would like to discuss sedation dentistry, your dentist would be happy to discuss your pain management options with you before undergoing your dental implant surgery in Woodbridge, VA.

How long will my dental implants last?

Dental implants are built to last, just like your natural teeth. However, accidents can happen that can affect your implants. That’s why you must keep up with your oral care and routine dental checkups. Care for your implants just like real teeth and your implants could last the rest of your life.

Am I a good candidate for dental implants?

Ideal candidates with be adults who are non-smokers and in good health. We will also need to check the health and integrity of the jawbone with a simple imaging test to make sure the jawbone is strong enough to support implants. If you have been diagnosed with a chronic health condition such as diabetes or heart disease you must let us know during your consultation.

If you are interested in finding out if dental implants in Woodbridge, VA, could give you the perfect smile, schedule a consultation with your family dentist. Call Occoquan Smiles at (703) 490-9094 today.