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Posts for: March, 2019

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.


By Alexandria Smiles Dentistry
March 19, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  
StopGumDiseaseBeforeitHarmsYourHealth

If you're over 30 your chances for developing periodontal (gum) disease are better than half. And it's not a minor matter—untreated gum disease can lead not only to tooth loss, but to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and other inflammatory conditions.

Fortunately, we have effective ways to treat gum disease, even in advanced stages. But the best approach by far in avoiding a devastating outcome for your teeth is to prevent gum disease from developing in the first place.

It helps first to know how gum disease begins. The most common cause is dental plaque, a thin biofilm of food particles on tooth surfaces that harbors the bacteria that triggers the disease. If you keep your teeth clean of built-up plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) with daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings, you'll minimize the growth of disease-causing bacteria.

If you don't practice effective oral hygiene, however, within a few days you could develop an initial infection called gingivitis. This form affects the outermost layers of the gums and triggers a defensive response from the body known as inflammation. Ordinarily, inflammation helps protect surrounding tissues from infection spread, but it can damage your gums if it becomes chronic. Your weakened gums may begin to detach from the teeth, forming voids filled with inflammation known as periodontal pockets. Eventually, the infection can spread to the supporting bone and lead to tooth loss.

In addition to a dedicated oral hygiene and dental care program, you should also be on the lookout for early signs of gingivitis. Infected gums can become red, swollen and tender to the touch. You may notice they bleed easily while brushing and flossing, or a foul taste or breath that won't go away even after brushing. And if some of your teeth feel loose or don't seem to bite together as they used to, this is a sign of advanced gum disease that deserves your dentist's immediate attention.

Practicing preventive hygiene is the best way to stop gum disease before it starts. But if gum disease does happen, catching it early can be a game-changer, both for your teeth and your smile.

If you would like more information on preventing and treating gum disease, 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 “How Gum Disease Gets Started.”


4ThingstoAvoidifYouWanttoSupportYourChildsDentalDevelopment

Your child's oral development generates considerable changes during their "growing up" years. There are a number of things you can do to help support their development—but also things you shouldn't.

Here are 4 things not to do if you want your child to develop healthy teeth and gums.

Neglect daily oral hygiene. To set the best long-term course for optimum oral health, begin cleaning the inside of your child's mouth even before they have teeth. Simply use a clean wet washcloth to wipe their gums after feeding to reduce bacterial growth. Once you begin seeing teeth, start brushing them every day with just a smear of toothpaste; at about age 2 you can increase that to a pea-sized amount. And don't forget to teach them when they're ready to brush and floss on their own!

Allow unlimited sugar consumption. Besides the effect it has on overall health, sugar is also a prime food source for disease-causing oral bacteria. You can reduce the sugar available for bacterial growth by avoiding sugary snacks and limiting sweet foods to meal times. Less sugar means less bacterial growth—and a lower risk of tooth decay for your child.

Put them to bed with a sugary liquid-filled bottle.  Although a bedtime bottle may help calm your baby to sleep, it could also increase their risk of tooth decay. Allowing them to sip on sugar-filled liquids like juice, milk, formula or even breast milk encourages bacterial growth. Bacteria in turn produce acid, which can dissolve the minerals in enamel and open the door to tooth decay. Sipping through the night also deprives saliva of adequate time to neutralize acid.

Wait on dental visits until they're older. Dental and pediatric associations all recommend first taking your child to the dentist sooner rather than later—by their first birthday. Starting dental visits early will help you stay ahead of any developing tooth decay or other oral problems. And just as important, your child will have an easier time "warming up" to the dental office environment at a younger age than if you wait. Dental visit anxiety, on the other hand, could continue into adulthood and interfere with regular dental care.

If you would like more information on the best dental care practices for your child, 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 “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”