My Blog

Posts for category: Dental Procedures

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
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.

By Alexandria Smiles Dentistry
February 27, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral surgery  
SimpleProcedureCouldReduceBitingtheInsideofYourMouth

Somewhere between bites during a recent meal, the inside of your cheek found itself in the way of your teeth. You winced with pain at the resulting bite, and while it was sore for a day or two it seemed to heal over. Now, though, you’re noticing this same area of your cheek gets in the way of your teeth a lot more often, with more bites and sores.

What’s likely happened is that you have developed a traumatic fibroma. When the soft tissues of the inner cheek, lips or tongue heal after being injured, a small bit of fibrous tissue composed of the protein collagen forms like a callous over the bite wound to protect it after it heals. If, however, the process is interrupted by another bite, the fibrous tissue that subsequently forms may be thicker and thus more raised on the surface of the skin. This higher profile makes it more likely the site will be involved in repeated episodes of biting.

If the fibroma continues to be a problem, it can be solved with a simple surgical procedure. A surgically-trained dentist or oral surgeon will remove portions of the fibroma (usually with local anesthesia) to flatten the skin profile, and then close the resulting wound with a couple of stitches unless a laser was used. Any discomfort after the procedure can usually be managed with a mild anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin or ibuprofen, and the site should heal in just a few days to a week.

Although the vast majority of fibromas aren’t dangerous, it’s routine practice to have the excised tissue biopsied for abnormalities. More than likely the fibroma tissue will be normal; but by having the fibroma removed and examined, you’ll gain peace of mind about your oral health. In the process, you’ll also eliminate a bothersome and painful problem.

If you would like more information on mouth sores, 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 “Common Lumps and Bumps in the Mouth.”

By Alexandria Smiles Dentistry
February 17, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
LadyGagaWasntBornThisWay

Sometimes, looking at old pictures can really bring memories back to life. Just ask Stefani Germanotta—the pop diva better known as Lady Gaga. In one scene from the recent documentary Five Foot Two, as family members sort through headshots from her teen years, her father proclaims: "Here, this proves she had braces!"

"If I had kept that gap, then I would have even more problems with Madonna," Lady Gaga replies, referencing an ongoing feud between the two musical celebrities.

The photos of Gaga's teenage smile reveal that the singer of hits like "Born This Way" once had a noticeable gap (which dentists call a diastema) between her front teeth. This condition is common in children, but often becomes less conspicuous with age. It isn't necessarily a problem: Lots of well-known people have extra space in their smiles, including ex-football player and TV host Michael Strahan, actress Anna Paquin…and fellow pop superstar Madonna. It hasn't hurt any of their careers.

Yet others would prefer a smile without the gap. Fortunately, diastema in children is generally not difficult to fix. One of the easiest ways to do so is with traditional braces or clear aligners. These orthodontic appliances, usually worn for a period of months, can actually move the teeth into positions that look more pleasing in the smile and function better in the bite. For many people, orthodontic treatment is a part of their emergence from adolescence into adulthood.

Braces and aligners, along with other specialized orthodontic appliances, can also remedy many bite problems besides diastema. They can correct misaligned teeth and spacing irregularities, fix overbites and underbites, and take care of numerous other types of malocclusions (bite problems).

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids get screened for orthodontic problems at age 7. Even if an issue is found, most won't get treatment at this age—but in some instances, it's possible that early intervention can save a great deal of time, money and effort later. For example, while the jaw is still developing, its growth can be guided with special appliances that can make future orthodontic treatment go quicker and easier.

Yet orthodontics isn't just for children—adults can wear braces too! As long as teeth and gums are healthy, there's no upper age limit on orthodontic treatment. Instead of traditional silver braces, many adults choose tooth-colored braces or clear aligners to complement their more professional appearance.

So if your child is at the age where screening is recommended—or if you're unhappy with your own smile—ask us whether orthodontics could help. But if you get into a rivalry with Madonna…you're on your own.

If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Orthodontics For The Older Adult.”