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Posts for: June, 2021

By Alexandria Smiles Dentistry
June 20, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

Though it sounds like an elite academic society, "The Freshman 15" is anything but. The phrase stands for the weight, pegged at 15 pounds, that many incoming students gain in their first few months at college—the result of poor dietary habits brought on by a hectic schedule and newfound freedoms.

These and other habits have consequences—and not just for unwanted pounds. Many can lead to dental problems, which could continue to overshadow a student's oral health long after college is over.

Here, then, are 5 tips to pass along to your newly minted college student (or anyone else, for that matter) to keep their teeth and gums as healthy as possible.

Brush and floss daily. While a hectic course load beckons, a student should still make time every day to brush and floss their teeth. Along with regular dental cleanings, these two tasks remove the daily buildup of plaque, a bacterial film that causes dental disease. Daily oral hygiene is good insurance against developing future tooth decay and gum disease.

Cut back on sugar. A student may rely on sugary snacks for a boost of energy throughout their day, but it could be setting them up for dental disease. That's because harmful oral bacteria also feed on sugar. Choose instead real, whole foods and snacks that are better for teeth—and for avoiding those dreaded freshman pounds.

Limit acidic beverages. Besides added sugar, sodas, sports and energy drinks also contain acid, another ingredient unfriendly to teeth. During prolonged contact, acid softens and erodes the mineral content in tooth enamel, opening the door to tooth decay. Those who drink these kinds of beverages should limit their consumption as much as possible.

Don't smoke. Smoking dries out the mouth, preventing saliva from buffering the acid that causes tooth decay. Its main ingredient nicotine restricts the mouth's blood vessels, further increasing the chances of dental disease. Tobacco use in general, including smoking, is also a key risk factor for oral cancer.

Avoid mouth "jewelry." It might be the bomb on campus, but lip rings, tongue bolts and other mouth jewelry can cause dental damage. Besides the possibility of chipped teeth, metal jewelry in or around the mouth is more likely to cause infection. Better to skip this fashion statement for healthier teeth.

If you would like more information on good oral practices, 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 “10 Health Tips for College Students.”

June 10, 2021
Category: Oral Health
Tags: invisalign  

The Invisalign clear aligner system gives you a chance to discreetly transform your smile in the most comfortable way possible using practically imperceptible removable plastic braces. The aligners are crafted from transparent material and are customized to adjust your teeth gradually. A consultation with your dentist in Alexandria, VA, Dr. Moutaz Abdeen of Alexandria Smiles Dentistry will determine your candidacy for the procedure. In the meantime, here’s a primer on how the treatment works.

Invisalign Treatment: Creating Your Treatment Plan

The first visit involves determining your treatment plan. Your teeth’s bite impressions will be evaluated and taken using 3D imaging technology. This technology also allows you to see digital representations of the proposed final results once you complete the Invisalign treatment.

3D imaging tech will likewise be utilized for transforming your teeth impressions into a customized series of Invisalign trays. Depending on the level of orthodontic correction you need, you will have to wear as few as 12 or as many as 48 aligners to achieve the results you want.

Invisalign Treatment: Getting Your Aligners

During this appointment, your dentist will give you your very first Invisalign aligners, including a set or two that you’ll also wear prior to your follow-up visit. Unlike traditional orthodontic treatments, Invisalign does not utilize brackets, wires, or other hard components.

Because the aligners are virtually unnoticeable, no one can really tell that you’re wearing them. They’re likewise flexible and specifically crafted to ensure a comfortable fit. Eating, brushing your pearly whites, and flossing is also very easy to do because the aligners are removable.

Invisalign Treatment: Getting The Most Out of Your Treatment

Generally speaking, you will need to use each aligner set for approximately two weeks and only remove them when doing your oral care practices and eating. You will likewise have to see your dentist in Alexandria, VA, every six weeks or so that he can check your progress. The average treatment time is 12 up to 18 months, considering that you follow all the instructions of your dentist.

Once you have your new smile, you might have to wear retainers while you sleep for about six months, more if your dentist sees fit, to help make certain that you preserve your results for as long as possible.

Want to See If Invisalign Treatment is Right For You? Contact Us

Schedule an assessment with your dentist here at Alexandria Smiles Dentistry in Alexandria, VA, Dr. Moutaz Abdeen, by calling (703) 671-0626.

By Alexandria Smiles Dentistry
June 10, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   retainer  

For nearly two decades, singer-songwriter Taylor Swift has dominated the pop and country charts. In December she launched her ninth studio album, called evermore, and in January she delighted fans by releasing two bonus tracks. And although her immense fame earns her plenty of celebrity gossip coverage, she's managed to avoid scandals that plague other superstars. She did, however, run into a bit of trouble a few years ago—and there's video to prove it. It seems Taylor once had a bad habit of losing her orthodontic retainer on the road.

She's not alone! Anyone who's had to wear a retainer knows how easy it is to misplace one. No, you won't need rehab—although you might get a mild scolding from your dentist like Taylor did in her tongue-in-cheek YouTube video. You do, though, face a bigger problem if you don't replace it: Not wearing a retainer could undo all the time and effort it took to acquire that straight, beautiful smile. That's because the same natural mechanism that makes moving teeth orthodontically possible can also work in reverse once the braces or clear aligners are removed and no longer exerting pressure on the teeth. Without that pressure, the ligaments that hold your teeth in place can “remember” where the teeth were originally and gradually move them back.

A retainer prevents this by applying just enough pressure to keep or “retain” the teeth in their new position. And it's really not the end of the world if you lose or break your retainer. You can have it replaced with a new one, but that's an unwelcome, added expense.

You do have another option other than the removable (and easily misplaced) kind: a bonded retainer, a thin wire bonded to the back of the teeth. You can't lose it because it's always with you—fixed in place until the orthodontist removes it. And because it's hidden behind the teeth, no one but you and your orthodontist need to know you're wearing it—something you can't always say about a removable one.

Bonded retainers do have a few disadvantages. The wire can feel odd to your tongue and may take a little time to get used to it. It can make flossing difficult, which can increase the risk of dental disease. However, interdental floss picks can help here. ¬†And although you can't lose it, a bonded retainer can break if it encounters too much biting force—although that's rare.

Your choice of bonded or removable retainer depends mainly on your individual situation and what your orthodontist recommends. But, if losing a retainer is a concern, a bonded retainer may be the way to go. And take if from Taylor: It's better to keep your retainer than to lose it.

If you would like more information about protecting your smile after orthodontics, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”