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. 

Wisdom Teeth Removal Recovery

Your wisdom teeth are the molars farthest back in your mouth, and they are the last ones to erupt. Usually, wisdom teeth show up between the age of 17 and 21, but they can pop up sooner, later, or not at all. Many times your dentist in Woodbridge will recommend having wisdom teeth removed to allow more space in the mouth and make it easier to properly clean your teeth. This procedure is very common. However, going into surgery, it’s wise to know what your recovery after wisdom teeth removal will look like. 

In & Out Procedure

Wisdom teeth removal is done in a dental or oral surgeon’s office and you will get to go home the same day. The level of anesthesia will depend on your individual needs and your doctor’s recommendation. Using local anesthesia over general anesthesia typically means you’ll get to go home sooner as general anesthesia takes longer to wear off. Make sure you have someone available to drive you home and keep an eye on you for 24 hours. 

Care At Home

Once you get home from your procedure, you may still feel tired. You may also experience some pain, swelling, bleeding, and discomfort. To help with these symptoms, apply ice to your cheeks using a thin cloth in between your skin and the ice pack and take medications including antibiotics and pain medicine as recommended. 

Recovery Time

The typical recovery time from wisdom teeth surgery is about three to four days. However, if your wisdom teeth were impacted, recovery could take a week or two. Keep in mind, complete healing of the gums can take longer, up to a few months. Taking precautions and keeping an eye out for any signs of a problem can help speed up recovery. 

Signs of Complications

Call your dentist in Woodbridge  if you suspect any concerning complications, such as: 

  • Trouble swallowing or breathing
  • Fever
  • Numbness
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Pus coming out of your gums or nose

Tips for Recovery

Following these easy tips during your recovery can help prevent infections, dry mouth, and complications. 

  • Avoid smoking and drinking from straws
  • Don’t eat crunchy or sticky foods
  • Rest and don’t do any strenuous activities for at least three days
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Enjoy soft foods like mashed potatoes, applesauce, and yogurt
  • Gently rinse with any doctor-recommended products

Knowing what to expect before any surgery can help you feel calm, relaxed, and prepared. If your dentist in Woodbridge  recommends having your wisdom teeth removed, find relief in knowing that this procedure is only recommended if necessary and will help set you up for a lifetime of good oral health. 

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. 

How Can You Tell If Someone Has Gum Disease?

 Gum disease is one of the many oral health conditions that can affect other parts of the body. It’s a potentially serious infection that can lead to anything from tooth loss to cardiovascular diseases. Gum disease can’t be reversed by your dentist in Woodbridge in its more advanced stages, so it’s important to know the most common signs and symptoms so you can seek treatment early.

Bleeding Gums

A very common early-warning sign that gum disease may be brewing is if you notice blood while brushing or flossing your teeth. It’s a myth that bleeding gums are normal, and in fact, it’s usually a sign that there may be trouble. Signs of bleeding gums should be mentioned to your dentist in Woodbridge sooner rather than later for early intervention. 

Red & Swollen Gums

Another typical symptom of gum disease is red, swollen gums. While this can be apparent in the earliest stages of gum disease, it can also indicate that gum disease has progressed. Swollen or red gums may also be painful, but not always. Don’t ignore puffy gums or you may just be allowing gum disease to become severe and irreversible.

Sensitivity

While some people do have sensitive teeth and experience pain or discomfort when enjoying hot or cold food, it could also be a sign of gum disease. One sign of gum disease is gum recession, which is when the gum tissue starts to pull back from the teeth, exposing the sensitive nerves. Any new sensitivity should be talked about with your dentist.

Chronic Bad Breath

Periodic bouts of bad breath are usually normal and nothing to worry about, but bad breath that lasts and doesn’t go away no matter how hard you try could also be a symptom of gum disease. Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque and bacteria, and the bacteria release a stinky byproduct, causing bad breath. 

Levels of Gum Disease

There are varying levels of gum disease, with the symptoms and life-long risks increasing along with each stage. 

  • Gingivitis – The most common stage of gum disease and can be reversed
  • Stage 1 Periodontitis – Can’t be reversed, minor damage to the connective tissue between the teeth and the bone
  • Stage 2 Periodontitis – More noticeable, severe damage in the tooth and bone
  • Stage 3 Periodontitis – May require surgery, some tooth loss is likely
  • Stage 4 Periodontitis – Several missing with a likelihood of losing more

The best ways to protect your gums, teeth, and overall health from the risks of gum disease are to do everything you can to avoid it in the first place. Make sure you brush and floss daily, don’t use tobacco products, and see your dentist in Woodbridge every six months for preventive dental checkups. 

Sinus Pressure vs. Toothache

 Any type of tooth pain can be unbearable, just ask your dentist in Woodbridge. We’re all too familiar with toothaches and will do everything we can to help alleviate the pain. However, sometimes tooth troubles aren’t the actual cause of tooth pain. In fact, sometimes a toothache may be a sign of sinus pressure or a sinus infection, and it’s important to know the difference. 

Where Are The Sinuses?

Before we can dive into whether or not a toothache is a result of a sinus problem or an actual issue with your teeth, we need to look at where the sinuses are located and how tooth pain can result from either a tooth problem or a sinus problem. The sinuses are located throughout the face, and any inflammation in them can affect the eyes, forehead, nose, cheeks, or teeth. 

Sinus Infections & Tooth Pain

Pain in the teeth is often a side effect of a sinus infection. But this pain is usually localized to the back molars and doesn’t spread to other teeth. Keep in mind that the jaw can also be affected during a sinus infection, but it can also be a sign of other problems, including a misaligned bite or other tooth troubles. Keep an eye out for the differences between tooth pain caused by a sinus infection versus tooth pain caused by a dental problem. Some signs of a sinus infection include: 

  • Pressure in the nose, eyes, or forehead
  • Bad breath
  • Sore throat
  • Post-nasal drip
  • Thick mucus

Toothache Symptoms

There are some telltale signs of a toothache that results from a problem with the actual teeth as opposed to a sinus infection. Some of the symptoms of a toothache that requires treatment from your dentist in Woodbridge sooner rather than later include:

  • Sensitivity to hot and cold drinks and foods
  • Pain that moves throughout the mouth
  • Swollen or painful gums
  • Throbbing or sharp pain
  • Pain when chewing

When Should You See a Dentist for Tooth Pain?

Usually, any type of tooth pain should warrant a visit to your dentist in Woodbridge sooner rather than later. And if you’re in doubt about what’s causing your pain, it’s best to schedule an appointment. Some key signs that you should call your dentist include: 

  • Any mouth pain that lasts longer than two weeks
  • Bleeding when brushing or flossing your teeth
  • Zaps of pain when teeth are exposed to something hot or cold
  • Bad breath that doesn’t go away

If you’re not sure if you have a sinus infection that’s causing tooth pain or an acutal problem with your teeth, it’s always wise to contact your dentist when any discomfort in your mouth is apparent. We’ll do everything we can to find the source of your pain and work with you to find the best solution. 

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. 

Transform Your Smile With These 5 Cosmetic Dentistry Options

Cosmetic 1Do you hide your smile in pictures? Cover your mouth when you laugh? Avoid showing your teeth whenever or however you can? You’re not alone. More than 50% of Americans are insecure about their smile. But it doesn’t have to stay that way. Getting a smile that you love is possible with cosmetic dentistry from your dentist in Woodbridge

  • Dental Bonding

One of the fastest, and most popular, ways to improve your smile is through dental bonding. Cosmetic bonding can be done in as little as 30 to 60 minutes and can cover up small chips or cracks that may be keeping you from smiling. Your dentist in Woodbridge will use a resin to reshape the size, shape, and even color of a tooth to create a natural and full smile.  

  • Whitening

Another quick and affordable way to transform a smile is through teeth whitening. This treatment can brighten the shade of teeth from anywhere from two to nine shades whiter. But not all teeth bleaching products are the same. While you can buy whitening strips or trays on your own, we always recommend that you talk with your dentist before you decide. Not all stains can be removed through whitening treatments, so it’s important to share your concerns with your dentist before you invest in any product.

  • Porcelain Veneers

Teeth that can’t be whitened through bleaching may benefit from porcelain veneers. This treatment does require your dentist to remove a small layer of your natural tooth, but the procedure is usually pain-free. Porcelain veneers are thin slices of porcelain that are custom-designed to blend into your natural teeth so nobody needs to know you’ve had the treatment. Not only can veneers cover up stains, but they can also cover chips and misaligned teeth. 

  • Dental Crowns

Often referred to as caps, dental crowns toe the line between cosmetic dentistry and restorative dentistry, depending on what they’re used for. In the case of cosmetic purposes, crowns can change the appearance of individual teeth, including size or shape. Crowns are also custom-made so they’re unnoticeable in the smile. 

  • Dental Implants

Another form of cosmetic dentistry that may be offered by your dentist in Woodbridge and that can also be referred to as restorative dentistry is a dental implant. Dental implants are used as a permanent solution to missing teeth and will replace both the tooth’s root and the visual crown. This type of treatment is the most invasive of the options listed, but those who have the treatment say the process was worth it as it restored their smile. Whether you’ve lost a tooth due to decay or an accident, dental implants can help complete your smile. 

Nobody should live with a smile that they feel like they have to hide. If you find yourself shying away from smiling, we want to help. Call your dentist in Woodbridge today to schedule a cosmetic dentistry consultation. 

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