Woodbridge, VA

4 Reasons to See Your Dentist in Woodbridge Regularly

 When life’s busy, it’s easy to overlook your dental health. But the truth is, seeing your dentist in Woodbridge regularly can help catch and treat small concerns before they have a chance to develop into more serious problems. Maintaining dental visits every six months should be an important part of your routine. Here are five reasons why to see your dentist regularly. 

  • Professional Cleanings

Even if you take excellent care of your teeth at home by brushing and flossing every day, drinking plenty of water, and enjoying sugary sweets in moderation, you can still develop plaque and tartar buildup, especially in the hard-to-reach areas like the molars. Professional cleanings every six months will remove any plaque and tartar to help protect your teeth from decay. 

  • Early Cavity Treatment

Nearly every adult will experience at least one cavity in their lifetime. While cavities can have symptoms such as toothache or sensitivity, in their earlier stages, they may not show any signs of a problem. But during this early stage is when cavities are easier to treat. Regular dental checkups can help catch small cavities before they have a chance to grow bigger, deeper, and cause pain or problems. 

  • Oral Cancer Exam

Over 50,000 new cases of oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer were diagnosed in 2022. There were also over 11,000 deaths. Oral cancer is a serious health condition that can be treated in its early stages, but the longer it goes undetected, treatment gets harder and less successful. Preventive dental exams with your dentist every six months can help catch cancer in its tracks so you can get fast treatment. 

  • Gum Disease Detection

Another serious oral health problem that can develop is gum disease. Like oral cancer, gum disease is best treated in the early stages. If it progresses too far, it can’t be reversed. Gum disease can be caused by any number of things from poor oral hygiene to smoking and even some medications. Skipping out on dental checkups may allow gum disease to develop without the necessary quick intervention to treat it. Advanced gum disease can cause tooth loss and other whole-health problems such as heart disease, dementia, and diabetes. 

We always recommend that patients see their dentist in Woodbridge at least every six months, and for a good reason. These preventive checkups can help diagnose and treat several serious oral health conditions early before they develop into something more serious that can affect oral health and overall health.

If it’s been longer than six months since your last dental checkup, we welcome you to schedule an appointment with us today. 

How to Get Rid of Mouth Ulcers

 Mouth ulcers can pop up for any number of reasons, and most of the time, they’re nothing to be worried about. But that doesn’t change the fact that they can be annoying and painful, causing you to want to find the best way to get rid of mouth ulcers quickly. Check out some of the things your dentist in Woodbridge may recommend to ease ulcer discomfort and make them disappear. 

How to Treat an Ulcer at Home

Thankfully, there are several at-home remedies you can use to treat a mouth ulcer and alleviate pain. 

  • Rinse your mouth with warm saltwater several times a day
  • Don’t eat spicy foods
  • Drink water throughout the day
  • Buy an over-the-counter topical anesthetic
  • Continue to brush and floss your teeth every day

Should You See Your Dentist When You Have an Ulcer?

While most ulcers will heal on their own in about 10-14 days, if an ulcer lasts longer than three weeks, contact your dentist in Woodbridge as soon as possible. They may recommend antiseptic treatments, steroids, or immunosuppressants. Other signs that you should see your dentist for an ulcer include: 

  • Noticeable sores with no pain
  • Really large ulcers
  • Fever
  • Ulcers on the outside of your mouth
  • Pain that doesn’t go away with the use of medication

Could An Ulcer be Oral Cancer? 

Ulcers that don’t go away may be concerning and could actually be a sign of oral cancer. Ulcers associated with oral cancer typically form under or on the tongue, so keep an eye out for those in particular and see your dentist in Woodbridge quickly. Oral cancer can be treated successfully, especially in the early stages. 

Mouth Ulcer Symptoms

When someone has an ulcer in the mouth, they typically know it because they can feel it or see it. Ulcers are usually white, gray, or yellow in the middle and red on the outside. They can appear anywhere in the mouth including on the lips, gums, cheeks, roof of the mouth, and tongue. Pain and swelling are also common and can get worse when brushing your teeth or eating spicy, acidic, or salty foods. 

Are Mouth Ulcers Common? 

Yes! Mouth ulcers are incredibly common and will affect about 20% of people at least once in their lifetime. While there is no one main cause of developing an ulcer, certain people are more likely to suffer from them such as those who have: 

  • Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
  • Diabetes
  • Celiac
  • Immune disorders
  • HIV

Even though ulcers are typically nothing serious, they could indicate another problem in the mouth. If you’re concerned about a new ulcer or have one that won’t go away, schedule a visit to your dentist in Woodbridge

Tips to Protect Teeth During Illness

 From sniffles and coughs to sore throats and fevers, there are plenty of telltale signs that cold and flu season is among us. Unfortunately, December through February is typically prime time for a cold or the flu to affect your family, and we’re just now starting to enter that time frame. While it’s understandable that your sole focus is on feeling better, your dentist in Woodbridge wants to encourage you to also help keep your teeth healthy and protected during any sickness. 

Don’t Neglect Teeth

We always recommend that all patients brush and floss their teeth every day, even when they aren’t feeling well. In fact, brushing your teeth may be even more important when you’re under the weather. Regular brushings will help keep harmful bacteria from settling in the mouth and causing problems such as decay. 

Salt Water Can Ease Discomfort

The tried-and-true method of gargling with warm salt water to help ease a sore throat or painful swallowing still stands today. Rinsing and spitting out salt water helps to essentially pull fluids, along with germs and viruses, out of the throat and into a cup, bucket, or sink. Saltwater can also kill bacteria, ease discomfort, and help you feel better. 

Look Out For Sugary Medications

Many medications including popular cough drops and syrups contain sugar, and sugar is bad for teeth. Your dentist in Woodbridge understands that you will probably use any medicine that helps you feel better, but we do encourage you to find sugar-free options. If they aren’t available, make sure to swish or drink water after taking medicine. 

Drink Water

Every doctor and dentist will agree that we should drink plenty of water when we’re sick. Water helps keep the body and the mouth hydrated and can replace any fluids that are lost through vomiting, sweating, or simply not feeling well enough to eat or drink normally. Staying hydrated during an illness has many benefits such as helping to prevent bacteria from entering the body, decreasing a painfully dry nose, and combating an uncomfortable dry mouth. Dry mouth is a particular concern for your dentist in Woodbridge as a dry mouth is the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive, increasing the risk of decay and other oral health problems. 

Get a New Toothbrush

Even though some research suggests that getting a new toothbrush after an illness isn’t necessary, we like to err on the side of caution. Toothbrushes should be replaced at least every three or four months, but we also recommend getting a new toothbrush after you start to feel better. In between using your old toothbrush and the new one, make sure to rinse your toothbrush thoroughly with hot water to help kill bacteria. 

During this cold and flu season, protect your family by disinfecting surfaces that are touched often, encouraging sneezing and coughing into the elbow, and washing hands often. While we hope you all stay healthy, if someone does get sick, try to isolate them and make sure to protect their oral health along with their overall health. 

Is Xylitol Better for You Than Sugar? 

Xylitol is a natural sugar alternative that has been growing in popularity over the last couple of years. But is this sweet substitute for traditional sugar better for you? Can you still enjoy sweet snacks with xylitol without the guilt you may feel from eating too much sugar? Let’s check in with your dentist in Woodbridge to see how, and if, xylitol is better for you than sugar. 

What is Xylitol?

We’ve already covered the fact that xylitol is a natural sugar substitute, but there’s even more to know about the stuff. Xylitol is found naturally in many fruits, vegetables, and even in our own bodies. Its sweet taste can mimic traditional sugar, but there are a few differences between xylitol and sugar. 

Xylitol is lower in calories than sugar (by about 40%!) which means the weight concerns that often go hand-in-hand with eating too much sugar are reduced by replacing it with xylitol. Additionally, xylitol doesn’t increase blood sugar levels the same way sugar does. This can make xylitol a better choice for your sweet fix without the negative side effects on your body and without the need to sacrifice taste.

But the benefits of xylitol don’t stop there. As your dentist in Woodbridge knows, xylitol may also help improve and protect oral health.  

Xylitol & Oral Health? 

So the reality is that we all have bacteria in our mouths. Some of these bacteria are beneficial, but some are dangerous. One of the bad types of bacteria is called Streptococcus mutans, and these bacteria are the main causes of plaque buildup and cavity development. Streptococcus mutans really really love to eat sugar. This means the more sugar we have, the more we feed these bacteria. But there’s another problem. Streptococcus mutans won’t only feed on sugar, the sugar will also help them create more and more bacteria. But this doesn’t happen with xylitol. Streptococcus mutans will still feed on xylitol but instead of fueling bacteria, xylitol starves them and they die off. This can help: 

  • Reduce the risk of tooth decay
  • Decrease bacteria levels by up to 75%
  • Prevent oral inflammation
  • Lower the risk of gum disease

Swapping Sugar for Xylitol

Making the switch from sugar to xylitol may be easier than you think. In fact, one of the easiest swaps you can make is by choosing gum that contains xylitol. Chewing gum can increase saliva production, which washes away bacteria, and neutralizes acid to protect tooth enamel. Plus, the added benefit of xylitol can starve bacteria.

Another way you can make the switch is by looking for xylitol in your grocery store baking aisle. You can swap sugar for xylitol in many recipes so you can still enjoy a sweet snack without all of the risks of sugar. 

Keep in mind that swapping to xylitol instead of sugar isn’t enough to fully protect your teeth. You will also want to continue to brush and floss every day, as well as see your dentist in Woodbridge regularly for professional dental cleanings and exams. 

What is Nitrous Oxide Used for at The Dentist? 

Nitrous oxide, also known as laughing gas, is a colorless and odorless gas occasionally used for dental treatment. Now, while not everyone will be a candidate for nitrous oxide, this type of sedation dentistry has been known to help ease nervous or scared patients during procedures. If you have dental fear, you should talk with your dentist in Woodbridge about nitrous oxide or other sedation dentistry options. 

Why is Nitrous Oxide Used? 

One situation when nitrous oxide may be used in dentistry is when a patient is scared of the dentist. Fear of the dentist is incredibly common in the United States, and about 36% of people in the United States have fear of getting dental treatment. But nitrous oxide can help a patient relax and stay calm throughout their visit. 

Nitrous oxide may also be used if a procedure will take a bit of time. Patients can become uncomfortable laying back in the dental chair with their mouths open for prolonged periods. This may cause them to become jittery, making it hard for your dentist in Woodbridge to work. During these treatments such as a root canal or restorative dentistry, you may benefit from laughing gas or another form of sedation dentistry. 

What Are the Effects of Laughing Gas? 

Many dentists prefer nitrous oxide because the effects wear off quickly. In fact, your dentist will probably give you straight oxygen once treatment is done and you’ll be back to feeling like yourself in no time. Many patients can go right back to their day without downtime. However, it’s still wise to have someone drive you after your appointment. 

Patients may experience some side effects during or after using nitrous such as: 

  • Shivering
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

These symptoms should be temporary and short-lived. To help avoid nausea, only eat a small meal or snack before your appointment.

Is Nitrous Oxide Safe? 

Controlled and monitored use of nitrous oxide is considered safe by the American Dental Association. In fact, patients who use nitrous oxide at their dental appointments are still conscious and can answer questions from their dentist in Woodbridge

How is Laughing Gas Administered? 

Perhaps one of the best things about laughing gas is that there are no needles involved in administering it. The gas is administered through a small nose mask that allows you to simply breathe in the nitrous oxide and oxygen mixture. 

If you’ve been putting off routine dental care because of fear, or if you know you have a strong gag reflex or the need for a longer appointment, talk with your dentist about nitrous oxide or other types of sedation dentistry. Dental care, even bi-annual cleanings, x-rays, and checkups, shouldn’t be delayed. After all, preventive dentistry is the best way to avoid more complex treatment because it allows your team to catch problems early when they’re easier to treat. 

Should People With Dentures Still See The Dentist?

Dentures 2We always stress the importance of seeing your dentist in Woodbridge at least twice a year to protect your teeth from decay, disease, and other tooth troubles. But what happens if you no longer have any natural teeth and wear a denture instead? Should you still visit your dentist regularly? Absolutely! The truth is, your dentist’s job goes beyond treating natural teeth.

Why Are Dental Appointments Important? 

Dental appointments every six months are important for many reasons such as catching tooth decay early. But denture-wears without the worry of decay can still benefit from these visits for a number of reasons. 

  • Adjustments

Dentures may feel great when they’re new, but over time, they can loosen or the shape of the mouth can change and make dentures feel uncomfortable. Ill-fitting dentures can rub and cause sores or injuries to the gums. They need to be adjusted every so often to ensure they fit properly and are comfortable. Dentures that slip around or click should be a sign that it’s time to see your dentist in Woodbridge

  • Longer Lifespan

A high-quality denture that’s properly cared for should last between 7 to 10 years. However, dentures still need checkups to help prolong their lifespan. Unfortunately, dentures aren’t indestructible and can sustain wear and tear. At your dental appointments, your dentist will examine your denture and check for any damage that can be fixed quickly and easily. 

  • Oral Health

Oral health includes more than just teeth, so even if you no longer have any natural teeth, it’s still important to see your dentist in Woodbridge regularly. Denture-wearers can be at greater risk of gum disease than those with their natural teeth since dentures can harbor plaque, food particles, and bacteria which can sit on the gums all day and cause an infection. Gum disease can be treated successfully if caught early. But if left alone, gum disease can lead to other problems throughout the body such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. 

  • Partial Dentures

Even if you still have some of your natural teeth but use a partial denture to replace only a couple of teeth, you can absolutely benefit from seeing the dentist twice a year. You see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings of your natural teeth as well as for checkups on your partial. Like full dentures, partial dentures can increase the risk of gum disease and decay in natural teeth. 

Both people with a full set of natural teeth and those who wear a denture as a replacement for natural teeth should see their dentist every six months. After all, prevention is the best way to keep serious problems from suddenly popping up. 

What Happens If You Have An Impacted Tooth?

Impacted Tooth 1The term ‘impacted tooth’ refers to a tooth that was supposed to erupt yet hasn’t. As a result, the tooth can get trapped in the gums. Most commonly, impaction occurs with wisdom teeth, but the truth is any tooth can become impacted. So what exactly happens if you have an impacted tooth? Turn to your dentist in Woodbridge

Treatment

The good news is that an impacted tooth doesn’t necessarily always require treatment. If the tooth isn’t causing trouble and there is no concern for the neighboring teeth, your dentist in Woodbridge may recommend leaving it alone. However, in cases where treatment is recommended, solutions can vary from orthodontics to extraction. Each situation is different, and the best impacted tooth treatment for you will depend on your specific needs.  

  • Orthodontics – Braces or brackets can be used to move other teeth out of the way to make room for the impacted tooth and can even help pull the tooth down into place. This treatment is most common in younger patients. 
  • Extraction – If orthodontics isn’t an option, your dentist may recommend an extraction. This treatment is typically completed under anesthesia at your dentist’s office or with an oral surgeon. It’s a short, routine procedure that should have you recovered in no time. 

Causes

In most cases, an impacted tooth occurs because there isn’t enough room in the mouth for a new tooth to erupt. This is common when children lose baby teeth and the adult teeth are trying to pop through the gums. It’s also very likely to occur with wisdom teeth later in life. The jaw may be too small to accommodate additional teeth, or the teeth may already be overcrowded. Teeth that are growing sideways or at weird angles can also become impacted. 

Symptoms

Even though an impacted tooth sounds like a painful condition, the truth is many times a fully impacted tooth won’t have any symptoms. Partially impacted teeth, however, can exhibit some of these common signs: 

  • Bad breath
  • Pain in the gums or jaw
  • Swelling of the gums
  • Headaches
  • Bad taste when biting down

Now, it’s important to know the signs of an impacted or partially impacted tooth so you can seek treatment. However, seeing your dentist in Woodbridge twice a year for preventive exams and checkups can usually help spot a potential impaction early before there’s trouble. 

Complications

If treatment for an impacted tooth is recommended, it’s for a good reason. Occasionally complications can occur with impacted teeth, such as:

  • Misaligned bite
  • Difficulty brushing and, therefore, an increased risk of decay and gum disease
  • Abscess
  • Nerve damage
  • Bone loss

News of an impacted tooth can be concerning for anyone, but don’t worry, there are plenty of treatment options that relieve any symptoms that you have and give you a smile you’re proud of. If you are experiencing signs of an impacted tooth or partially impacted tooth, we recommend scheduling an appointment with your dentist for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan. 

How Can I Change The Way My Teeth Look?

Not white enough, not straight enough, not even enough – these are just a couple of things that tend to bother people about their teeth. If you’re someone who isn’t completely happy with the way your teeth look, you may shy away from fully smiling and enjoying life. Nobody should have to live a life like this. That’s why your dentist in Woodbridge is here to help change your smile and change your life. 

Smile Whitening

One of the most common things people do to change the way their teeth look is to use a smile whitening product. These products are available online, in most pharmacies and grocery stores, and through your dentist. However, before you jump into buying just any product, we recommend talking with your dentist in Woodbridge. Sometimes, a regular smile whitening product won’t work on certain types of stains. Other times, teeth may need some initial treatment before they’re healthy enough for smile whitening. To make sure you get the result you want without any negatives, schedule an appointment with your dentist first. 

Dental Veneers

If smile whitening isn’t the best way to whiten your teeth, your dentist may recommend dental veneers. These custom-made thin pieces of porcelain can cover up stains and give you an instant smile boost. But their benefits don’t end there. Veneers can also be used to:

  • Fix minor chips or cracks
  • Change the size and shape of teeth
  • Close gaps in between teeth
  • Make teeth appear straighter without orthodontics

Dental Crowns

Often referred to as a ‘cap,’ dental crowns can also cover up various imperfections in a smile. Unlike veneers that only cover the front surface of teeth, crowns will cover the entire tooth structure. Dental crowns are custom-made so they complement the size, shape, and color of your other teeth and can be used to cover large fillings, broken teeth, or misshapen teeth. This treatment requires an artistic eye and can give you a seamless smile. 

Dental Implants

The best way to replace missing teeth is with dental implants. These permanent teeth replacements not only give the appearance of a full smile, but they also help with long-term oral health. Since your dentist will replace both the visible tooth and the tooth root, the jaw bone continues to be stimulated and stays strong. There are different types of dental implants from single-tooth implants to implant-retained dentures, so make sure to talk with your dentist in Woodbridge about what type of dental implant is best for you. 

If you’ve been thinking about changing the way your teeth look, start by scheduling a consultation with your dentist. Come prepared to talk about any areas of your smile that you’re unhappy with, and your dentist will work with you to find the best treatments available. 

3 Steps to Take If Your Dentures Don’t Fit Properly

Dentures can be a game-changer for many people. They can help restore appearance as well as confidence. Dentures can even help people enjoy the foods they were once unable to eat. Many patients find their dentures a comfortable solution to missing teeth, but there are times when a denture can start to feel uncomfortable. Here’s some advice from your dentist in Woodbridge about what to do if your dentures don’t fit properly anymore. 

Step 1: See Your Dentist in Woodbridge

First thing’s first, you should schedule an appointment with your dentist so they can take a look at how your denture fits and talk to you about any recommendations they have. Don’t try to adjust a denture on your own. You can easily damage the appliance and it can be more costly to replace. 

Step 2: Get Your Denture Relined

Next, it’s important to know that dentures probably won’t last forever without any adjustments. This is because things in our mouths such as gum tissue and the jawbone can change over time and can cause a once-perfect fit to feel off and uncomfortable. This is when a reline will come into play. 

Having your denture realigned can adjust the fit to match the changes that have occurred in your mouth, allowing for a proper fit once again. There are two types of relines – soft and hard. 

Soft Reline – This type of relining is usually completed in your dentist’s office and is usually a quick process. Your dentist will make adjustments using a liquid polymer and allow patient feedback right in the dental chair for a perfect fit. 

Hard Reline – A hard reline still requires a dental appointment and your dentist to examine the current fit. However, with this process, your dentist will take new impressions and send dentures out to a lab to be remade using the new ideal fit. 

Step 3: Consider Alternatives

While dentures are a great solution to replace missing teeth, there are other options available that can provide a permanent, and often more comfortable, fit. Dental implants in Woodbridge can permanently replace not only the tooth but also the tooth’s roots. This provides a more stable base and continues to stimulate the jaw bone, keeping it stronger for longer. Additionally, dental implants eliminate the need for adhesives and overnight soaking. There are many different types of dental implants available including traditional implants to replace one or two missing teeth, mini implants, as well as implant-retained dentures that permanently affix a full denture on just a few implant posts. 

Living with a denture that doesn’t fit properly can be annoying and sometimes perhaps a bit painful. Don’t live with that discomfort, call your dentist in Woodbridge to schedule a checkup and we’ll get you back to smiling confidently in no time. 

Pain or No Pain: Dental Implants Explained

woman phoneWhen someone is missing a tooth or two, they may find themselves shying away from smiling and even avoiding some of their favorite foods. But the good news is that dental implants from your dentist in Woodbridge can be a game-changer. These surgical implants are permanent and don’t require any soaking or any additional care than your natural teeth. However, the treatment can be intimidating, so we’re here to explain just how a dental implant is placed so you can learn what to expect. 

Placing a Dental Implant

First thing first – there are multiple different types of dental implants, and which one may be right for you depends on your personal needs. The three most common types of dental implants are: 

  • Single-tooth implants
  • Implant-supported bridge
  • Implant-retained denture

All of these options are permanent solutions to missing teeth, and the procedure steps are relatively similar. 

  • Exam – The first thing your dentist in Woodbridge will do is a comprehensive exam, including x-rays, to determine which implant option may be right for you and to see just how much jaw bone is available to ensure a viable implant placement. 
  • Prep – Once your treatment plan is ready, your dentist will prep the area. This may include extracting a damaged tooth or performing a bone graft to boost the available bone in the jaw. 
  • Placement – Next comes the actual placement of the implant post. This metal post will be placed into your jaw bone to form a solid foundation for your final tooth placement. 
  • Healing – After the post is placed, it may take a few months for the post to become fully fused with the bone. This is an important step to make sure your implant lasts. 
  • Crown – Once the post is ready, your dentist will place an abutment for the final crown to be placed on. The crown, the white part of the tooth, will be custom-made for a seamless, perfect smile. 

Will There Be Pain? 

A dental implant is typically placed under general or local anesthesia, so during the process, you shouldn’t feel a thing. During the healing process, it’s completely normal to experience some mild discomfort. Any pain can be managed by properly following your dentist’s post-op instructions as well as: 

  • Gently rinsing with warm saltwater
  • Avoiding crunchy and hot foods
  • Continuing to brush and floss your teeth while making sure to brush gently near the implant site
  • Using a cold compress to help reduce swelling

Most discomfort should go away within 10-14 days. If you still experience pain after 14 days, contact your dentist in Woodbridge to make sure everything is healing correctly and there is no infection or other cause for concern. 

Dental implants can be a great solution to replace missing teeth, but they may not be right for everyone. Make sure to talk with your dentist in Woodbridge about your options so they can make the best recommendation for you. 

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