My Blog
By Alexandria Smiles Dentistry
April 18, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
EarlyOrthodonticTechniquesCouldStopGrowingBiteProblems

The longer many health problems go on, the worse they become. Treating them as early as possible could stop or slow their development.

That holds true for poor bites: while we can certainly correct them later in life, it's often better to "intercept" the problem during childhood. Interceptive orthodontics attempts to do this with treatments that influence how the jaws and other mouth structures develop during childhood. Many of these techniques are usually best implemented before puberty.

For example, some very complex problems called cross bites can occur if the upper jaw grows too narrowly. We might be able to stop this from happening by using an orthodontic appliance called a palatal expander during the childhood years. It works because the bone at the center of the palate (roof of the mouth) has a gap running back to front until the early teens when the gap closes.

We fit the palatal expander up under and against the palate, then extend out metal arms from a center mechanism to the back of the upper teeth that exert outward pressure on them. This widens the center gap, which the body continually fills with bone as the device gradually exerts more pressure. Over time this causes the jaw to widen and lessens the cross bite. Timing, though, is everything: it's most effective before the gap closes.

Another way to aid jaw growth is a Herbst appliance, a hinged device that alters the movement of the jaws. As a child wears it, a Herbst appliance draws the lower jaw forward to develop more in that direction. Like the palatal expander, it's best used before significant jaw growth occurs.

These are just two examples of techniques and tools that can guide structural growth and prevent bite problems. Because they're most effective in the early years of oral development, your child should undergo an orthodontic evaluation as early as age 6 to see if they need and can benefit from an interceptive treatment.

Interceptive orthodontics can stop or at least slow a growing bite problem. The effort and expense now could save you much more of both later on.

If you would like more information on interceptive orthodontics, 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 “Interceptive Orthodontics: Timely Intervention can make Treatment Easier.”

By Alexandria Smiles Dentistry
April 08, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: mouthguards  
AprilIsNationalFacialProtectionMonth

April brings the perfect weather to get outside and play. Fittingly, April is also National Facial Protection Month. Whether you prefer softball or basketball, skateboarding or ultimate frisbee, don't forget your most important piece of equipment: a mouthguard to protect your face and your smile!

In an instant, a blow to the mouth can cause a dental injury that is painful to endure and expensive to treat. In just about any sporting activity, your mouth could come into contact with a piece of equipment, another person or the ground. That's why the American Dental Association and the Academy for Sports Dentistry recommend using a mouthguard when participating in any of over 30 activities, including some that aren't typically considered contact sports, like volleyball and bike riding.

Common sense, observation and scientific research support the use of mouthguards during sporting activities—but are the ones you get from your dentist really any better than the kind you can grab off the shelf at a sporting goods store or drugstore? The answer is yes!

In a 2018 experiment, researchers created a model of the human head to test how direct impact affects the teeth, jaws and skull. They compared the effects of impact when using no mouthguard, when using a custom-made mouthguard available from the dentist, and when using a stock mouthguard. They also tested mouthguards of different thicknesses. The results? The experimenters determined that any mouthguard is better than no mouthguard and that custom mouthguards available from the dental office are more effective than off-the-shelf mouthguards in protecting teeth, jaws and skull from impact. They also found that the thicker the mouthguard, the better the protection.

Although custom mouthguards are more expensive than the kind you can buy at the corner store, the difference in protection, durability, comfort and fit is well worth the investment. We consider your (or your child's) individual needs, take a precise model of your mouth and provide you with a custom-fit mouthguard of the highest quality material.

Don't ruin your game. A mouthguard can go a long way in protecting your teeth and mouth from injury. If you would like more information about a sports mouthguard, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Mouthguards” and “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry.”

By Alexandria Smiles Dentistry
March 29, 2019
Category: Oral Health
ActorDavidRamseySaysDontForgettoFloss

Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.

“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.

Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.

“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.

Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?

Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.

Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a third to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.

Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”

Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.

If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”

By Alexandria Smiles Dentistry
March 26, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental Implants ModelIsn’t it time you understood more about this popular tooth replacement?

Want to replace your missing tooth with the next best thing to a real tooth? Wondering how dental implants work and what makes someone a good candidate for this restorative treatment? Our Alexandria, VA, dentist Dr. Moutaz Abdeen has been giving patients beautiful, full smiles thanks to dental implants and you could be next. But first, understanding more about this tooth replacement is key.

What is a dental implant?

An implant is a small titanium post that functions like tooth roots and is placed into the jawbone where your missing tooth used to be. What makes implants different from other tooth replacement options is that the metal post and the jawbone fuse together naturally over the course of several months to become one. Once this occurs the implant is a permanent part of your mouth, providing a strong and stable base from which to hold a crown or even dentures in place.

Who is a good candidate for dental implants?

People will be happy to hear that many healthy adults are good candidates for dental implants. In order to get implants you need to maintain good oral and general health, you must not smoke, you must have a strong healthy jawbone that can support the implant, and you must be dedicated to the lengthy treatment process of getting your new tooth. A consultation with our Alexandria, VA, restorative dentist will help you determine your candidacy for implants.

How long do implants last?

Another unique benefit of implant is that they fuse together with the jawbone, making them a permanent structure within your mouth. This means that as long as you maintain good oral hygiene and care for your implant properly this restoration could end up lasting the rest of your life.

Do I have to undergo surgery to get a dental implant?

Yes, you will have to undergo surgery. Fortunately, implant surgery is very minor and is performed right here in our dental office under local anesthesia. During surgery we will open up the gums to reveal the jawbone. From there, a small hole is drilled into the jawbone where the implant will then be placed. It takes about 45 minutes to place an implant and you can go home immediately after.

 

If you are living in Alexandria, Shirlington, or Bailey’s Crossroads, VA, and want to find out if you are an ideal candidate for dental implants then call Alexandria Smiles Dentistry today to schedule your free consultation.

By ALEXANDRIA SMILES DENTISTRY
March 22, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: invisalign  

Whether you have a specific bite and alignment problem or are just generally interested in getting straighter teeth - without traditional Invisalignmetallic braces or orthodontic appliances - Invisalign clear aligner trays offer a discreet and minimally invasive alternative for older teens and adults. There are a number of advantages to Invisalign that make them the ideal solution for common mild to moderate bite issues. Dr. Moutaz Abdeen, a dentist in Alexandria, VA, offers a number or restorative dentistry options to improve your smile as well as your oral health.

Straighter Teeth with Invisalign in Alexandria, VA

While Invisalign may not be right for everyone, it is a great treatment option for some of the most common orthodontic issues, like an overbite, cross bite, or spacing issues. Most people are drawn to Invisalign for the fact that it offers an alternative to traditional metallic braces, which can be obtrusive for adults and older adolescent patients. Made of high-quality plastic, the trays are virtually invisible once in place.

Other Benefits of Choosing to Straighten Your Teeth with Invisalign

In addition to the invisibility factor, Invisalign has a number of additional benefits that make it an attractive option for many patients. The trays can be removed for up to two hours every day, which makes it possible to eat comfortably and continue to brush and floss as normal. There are no dietary restrictions, and no brackets or wires to worry about like with traditional braces. As long as you wear the trays as prescribed the dentist and keep up with your follow up care, Invisalign can deliver results, often in a shorter time period than traditional braces in some cases.

Find a Dentist in Alexandria, VA

Invisalign can make the difference between the smile you have and the smile you want. For more information about how clear aligner trays work and to find out if they are the right option for you, contact Alexandria Smiles Dentistry by calling (703) 671-0626 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Abdeen today.





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