Dr. Stephen A. Price

NORTHERN VIRGINIA GENERAL DENTISTRY &
INVISALIGN PREMIER PROVIDER

Call today for your free no obligation consultation: (703)-935-2879

6035 BURKE CENTRE PKWY | SUITE #200 | BURKE, VA 22015

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Habits to Carry You Through Halloween Temptations

Some people love the spookiness of Halloween; the decorations and haunted houses galore. More popular than that, even, is the vast selection of holiday treats trick-or-treaters receive in a matter of just a few hours. Even the treat-givers are often tempted to set a few goodies aside for themselves as they enjoy the revelry. Regardless of how much Halloween loot you and your family get this year, know that there are easy ways to have your “cake” and eat it, too. Here, we discuss a few strategies to prevent unnecessary tooth damage during the coming festivities.

  1. Time the treats. For yourself or children, candy can be a dangerous treat if not handled carefully. Timing can make a huge impact on the effects of sugary delectables on teeth. Dentists suggest that a few pieces of candy be given after a meal vs. as a random snack. Doing this limits the frequency of exposure to sugar.
  2. Eat this, not that. It isn’t that some treats must be avoided altogether, but some varieties are better when limited. These include sugary gum, hard candies that dissolve slowly, and sticky candy like caramel or taffy.
  3. Rinse and repeat. While it isn’t always possible to brush after snacks and meals, one can easily reach for water to dilute sugar residue in the mouth. After consuming candy or other sugary items, a quick rinse with water can wash some of the sugar down so it does not sit on enamel. Even better than simply rinsing, we suggest drinking plenty of water throughout the day when candies are around. This is an excellent alternative to sugary sodas and other beverages.
  4. Be good about brushing. Regular brushing is always an important aspect of ongoing oral health. When there is a stronger temptation to consume sugar, oral care becomes even more critical to cavity prevention. Brush morning and night for a full two minutes. It’s that simple!

Halloween is a fun time of year that we look forward to as much as our patients do. It’s also a great time to schedule routine checkups and cleanings for the whole family. To make your appointment in our Burke office, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on October 15th, 2019


 

Taking Care of Invisalign Aligners is a Breeze

Invisalign  Burke, VA

Braces may have an important role in a person’s long-term dental health, not to mention their appearance and confidence, but that doesn’t mean any patient is particularly excited about sporting a mouthful of metal. We meet a lot of people who express an interest in straightening teeth without braces. As a premier Invisalign provider in Northern Virginia, Dr. Price has had the pleasure of helping many of them do just that.

Invisalign is an excellent treatment option for anyone who wants to improve their smile. However, no treatment is without some degree of commitment. With Invisalign, this commitment revolves partly around the care of aligner trays. Keeping aligners looking good, feeling good, and smelling good doesn’t have to be a chore. Some simple strategies include:

  • Brush them. Aligners are removed when you eat and when you brush and floss your teeth. After brushing your teeth, use your toothbrush to very gently brush the inside and outside of your aligners. This removes bacteria that could become plaque on the devices. Because aligners can be scratched, a very light touch must be used when cleaning them.
  • Rinse them. You may not always be in a place where you can brush your aligners before inserting them. Maybe you’ve just finished a nice meal out with family or friends and you don’t carry a toothbrush with you at all times. Maybe the idea of brushing your teeth in public is unappealing. That’s ok. Before inserting your aligners, rinse them with lukewarm water. While you’re at it, also swish some water around in your mouth, trying to get in between teeth. This process takes about one minute and goes a long way to prevent the accumulation of bacteria.
  • Remember to floss. Brushing is great and flossing is, too. To skip flossing is like brushing only half of your mouth. You wouldn’t do that, now, would you? Flossing after as many meals as possible (or rinsing your mouth) dislodges debris that could attract bacteria where they don’t belong.

We love talking about Invisalign! To learn more about this system and how it can work for you, schedule a consultation in our Burke office at (703)-935-2879 

Posted on September 30th, 2019


 

Dentures Don’t Have to Be a Pain

Years ago, when dentures were in their early developmental stages, this method of tooth replacement was often observed as a last resort. People would only get dentures when their natural teeth were lost or needed to be removed due to dental disease. At that time, the dentures that were available rarely fit as well as they needed to, which then meant that they were uncomfortable and hardly capable of chewing a wide variety of foods. Today, dentures are made so well that they are nearly indistinguishable from natural teeth.

As far as we’ve come in resolving the issues that were the norm for early denture wearers, these dental devices still have somewhat of a bad rap. Perhaps one reason this happens is that people believe that dentures have become so good these days that they should never slip or cause discomfort in any way. Unfortunately, this isn’t true. Sometimes, dentures can feel a little less-than-perfect. Here, we suggest a few tips for managing the fit and stability of your full dentures.

Getting Adjusted

Often, it is right after a person receives dentures for the first time when they experience new and potentially unpleasant sensations. It can take some time to adapt to having a row of acrylic teeth sitting over the gums. To manage this adjustment phase, try:

  • Rinsing the mouth with warm salt water a few times a day. This reduces inflammation.
  • Applying a topical analgesic such as a teething cream to the gums to relieve soreness.
  • Massaging the gums gently, maybe with a warm cloth, to increase circulation to sore tissue.
  • Using a denture adhesive to reduce any slippage that may occur while dentures are worn.

The adjustment period for new dentures is typically limited to about two weeks. If discomfort or slipping continues beyond that time frame, contact your dentist for assistance.

Natural Changes Could Lead to Discomfort

When there are no natural teeth in the mouth, the body naturally breaks down the bone that once supported them. These changes are typically most substantial in the first 18 months after a full denture is made. This is why dentures may need to be adjusted more frequently in the first 2 years of wearing dentures. After that time, the rate of bone deterioration slows down but it does not stop. Periodic relining of the dentures is necessary to keep up with these natural changes.

Relining due to bone resorption may be less of a necessity if you choose to support your dentures with dental implants. The process may take slightly longer but the results of this hybrid treatment can last decades.

Learn more about denture treatment by calling our Burke office at (703)-935-2879, where we can schedule your consultation with Dr. Price.

Posted on September 15th, 2019


 

How Long Does Invisalign Treatment Take?

Invisalign Burke, VA

Options for straightening teeth have expanded over time. First, we had braces with brackets that wrapped fully around individual teeth. Then, brackets got downsized and bonded to the front surface only. In time, manufacturers discovered that metal brackets and wires were not the only option for correcting misalignment and bite issues. Clear braces became a common method appreciated by patients who wanted a more discreet treatment. When Invisalign was developed, the entire game changed.

Invisalign was the first teeth-straightening treatment that did not involve bonding brackets onto teeth. Not only are there no brackets, but there are also no wires strung across the smile. Invisalign is still the most well-known and most popular of the handful of aligner methods that have been created. As discreet and efficient as this system is, patients still like to know how long they will have to wear aligners. We’ll discuss that here.

How Invisalign Works

To understand how long Invisalign treatment will take, we have to look at how the method works. Invisalign straightens teeth with aligners that look like an average mouth guard. A series of aligners are made using sophisticated animation software. First, a model of the patient’s mouth is sent to the Invisalign lab. From that model, an animation is created to predict and plan each movement of various teeth in a progressive manner. Then, aligners are created in a way that will apply gentle, consistent force to those teeth. By switching aligners every two weeks, the patient achieves the correction needed to bring out the best in their smile.

Factors that Affect Timing

On average, a course of Invisalign treatment lasts about 12 months. However, some patients take less time and some take more. This depends on factors such as:

  • The extent of misalignment. When teeth are only slightly crooked or crowded, treatment may take no more than a few months, followed by a retainer, of course. More severe alignment issues, such as an overbite, may require the full 12 months or longer.
  • Aligner wear. Braces are a “set-it-and-forget-it” kind of treatment. Invisalign requires more thought and commitment. When aligners are removed for meals, for instance, it is necessary to insert them right away. Leaving aligners out often or for prolonged periods means teeth are not being pushed into their rightful position, which means it will take longer to see results.
  • Follow up. Invisalign patients come into the office about every six weeks. These appointments are necessary to check progress and make adjustments as needed to stay on a timely track. Postponing appointments could mean prolonging treatment.

The best way to know how long Invisalign treatment would take for you is to consult with an experienced provider. To schedule a visit with Dr. Price, call our Burke, VA office at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on August 30th, 2019


 

Teeth Shifting? It’s Not Just a Teenage Problem!

As a premier Invisalign provider in Northern Virginia, Dr. Price works with patients of all ages to correct alignment issues. Quite a few who come to our office mention that their misalignment concerns only recently began. Teeth may shift at any time in life, which can come as a surprise. While the ultimate goal is to address the situation, many people are interested to know why their teeth have moved out of optimal position. The problem may stem from one of several factors.

Age

Throughout life, the jaw and facial bones may change somewhat. This can affect how teeth fit in the mandible. In particular, the lower front teeth are inclined to sit behind the upper front teeth. To maintain this, the lower teeth may crowd together, leading to turning or even overlap depending on the extent of shifting.

Bruxism

Bruxism is the term we use to describe teeth-grinding and jaw-clenching behaviors. Many people engage in grinding and clenching when they sleep so are unaware of the stress their jaw and teeth are under. The pressure that is exerted onto teeth by bruxism can cause shifting as well as several other problems. A nightguard can be custom-made to decrease the force on teeth.

Tooth Loss

In childhood, tooth loss is necessary for permanent teeth to grow in. Tooth loss as an adult can be problematic. If a tooth falls out, is injured, or needs to be extracted, our priority is to replace structure as quickly as possible. Teeth butt-up to one another for support. The space that is created by tooth loss depletes the support of surrounding teeth, inviting them to shift.

Whatever the cause, at whatever age, misaligned teeth can create unnecessary self-consciousness. As troubling as a crooked smile can be, this problem is one that can be easily corrected. Invisalign is a reliable solution that is appropriate for many people. In some cases, it may not even be necessary to straighten a tooth or teeth. Veneers can be made to cover a turned tooth, fill gaps, and generally enhance the appearance of the smile.

To learn more about how we can help you correct shifting teeth, call our Burke office at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on August 15th, 2019


 

Closing the Gaps on Imperfection

Ok. Maybe you don’t expect for your smile to be 100 percent perfection. However, if gaps between the teeth that make up your smile are causing self-consciousness, they have to go. A skilled dentist has several ways to make this happen. Fortunately, none of them are particularly complicated. If you are ready to see the smile you have always envisioned for yourself, one without gaps, read on to discover your options.

Bonding

Dental bonding is a relatively common cosmetic procedure intended for the correction of minor flaws. For example, a dentist may apply composite resin bonding material to a tooth that has chipped or cracked. The bonding material is the same that is put into a cavity to restore damage without affecting the natural appearance of the tooth. While there are advantages to direct bonding, using this technique for a gap may not be ideal due to the bite force that occurs in front teeth.

Porcelain Veneers

Veneers have become a popular cosmetic technique to address a wide range of smile concerns. Where dental bonding can last as little as a few months or as long as about 8 years, porcelain veneers have a lifespan of up to 15 years or longer with excellent care. To cover a gap with veneers, we schedule two appointments. The first is reserved for preparation and impressions. After slightly reducing surface enamel, we take impressions to obtain a model of the teeth the surround the gap. Veneers are then made in a dental lab to be slightly wider than natural teeth. Where natural teeth stop, the new veneers will meet at the center of the gap. The final product is bonded to teeth during the second and final visit.

Invisalign

Orthodontic treatment was historically necessary for people who wanted to close gaps in their smile. While we now have more options to cosmetically disguise gaps, there are benefits to physically closing space in between teeth. Fortunately, we can do this without disrupting a person’s life too much. Invisalign treatment is an excellent option for people who want to reposition their teeth permanently. When this approach is taken, the only form of maintenance that is needed is general upkeep to oral health.

We can help you love your smile. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Price, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on July 30th, 2019


 

How Can I Replace Damaged or Missing Teeth?

Tooth damage is sometimes unavoidable, as is tooth loss. In our Burke office, patients of Dr. Price can explore several restorative options to get their smile back. The tooth replacement options that are used today each seek to improve the appearance of the smile after tooth loss. Additionally, modern restorations are affixed in a way that also restores optimal chewing function. Here, we discuss a few of the common ways in which teeth can be replaced.

Dental Bridge

A dental bridge is a fixed restoration that can replace up to a few teeth that sit side-by-side. Various dental bridge options exist, including what is called a cantilever bridge that attaches to only one natural tooth rather than two. A standard dental bridge has two crowns with one or more artificial teeth in between. The crowns are cemented to natural teeth to stabilize chewing, bite, and speech.

Dentures

Dentures are typically removable, stabilized either by dental adhesive or clasps. A partial denture may look somewhat like a dental bridge, with lifelike artificial teeth and a small acrylic “gum.” Partial dentures attach to adjacent teeth with hidden clasps and are removed regularly for cleaning. A full denture sits on top of the gums and is made to fit in a way that provides natural suction to hold artificial teeth and gums in place. In many instances today, patients choose to combine full dentures with dental implants.

Dental Implants

This form of tooth replacement is not a treatment in and of itself. Dental implants are a base for a crown, a bridge, or a denture. Implants are very small cylinders made of titanium. Their role is to sit in the jawbone where natural roots once existed. With implants, we not only gain full stability for artificial teeth but we also recreate the stimulating structure that is necessary to prevent accelerated bone loss.

Learn More About Tooth Replacement

Each tooth replacement technique has advantages and disadvantages. To learn more about these options, schedule a consultation in our Burke office at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on July 15th, 2019


 

Dental Tips for a Happy, Healthy Summer Vacation

As the time approaches for school to be out of session, many families are looking forward to some time away from home. Summer road trips and vacations are meant to be fun and relaxing. An unexpected dental problem can significantly interfere with this ideal. Therefore, it is beneficial to look at ways to reduce the risk of unwanted surprises.

Oral Health Needs Consistent Attention

We know we need to take good care of our teeth if we want to avoid painful cavities. The value of daily hygiene is much more extensive than that. Oral health is integral to general physical wellness, long-term health, appearance, confidence, and peace of mind. We could go on, but you get the picture. A healthy practice needs to be established and maintained whether at home or across the country. What might that look like? Fortunately, it looks pretty easy:

  • Maintain a clean mouth with daily brushing. Before heading off on vacation, take a good look at everyone’s toothbrush. Have they been changed recently? Are the bristles bent? It may be time for a change. Studies show that kids and adults like the clean feeling they get from an electric toothbrush. Just remember, the toothbrush itself only does part of the work. It is necessary to make sure all surfaces of teeth are touched for several seconds before moving on the next step.
  • As you may have guessed, the next step in oral health maintenance is to floss. This habit should not be forgotten while on vacation. Make it fun, if need be, by getting flavored floss that cleans and refreshes at the same time.
  • Drink water. When on a long drive or out seeing the sights, it can be easy to do one of two things: forget to drink altogether or reach for sugary, flavorful beverages. Drinking water throughout the day is vital to disrupting the acid-bacteria cycle in the mouth. Don’t down it all in the morning or save it all for the afternoon. The trick to drinking water is to sip it throughout the day.
  • Watch the snacking. The more often we eat, the more we increase the acidity in the mouth. This is especially true when snacks include things like chips, crackers, cookies, and other starchy or sugary foods. As an alternative, provide the family with fresh fruits and vegetables. The crunchier the better.

Schedule a Pre-Vacation Checkup

One of the best things you can do to ward off sudden dental problems on vacation is to see your dentist. We’re happy to schedule your checkup and cleaning in our Burke office at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on June 30th, 2019


 

Are Plaque and Tartar the Same?

You may have heard the terms “plaque” and “tartar” and made the assumption that they are interchangeable; that they are, in fact, one and the same. This is an understandable mistake because both words are used in conversation regarding gum disease. Both are named as contributing factors to the onset of inflammation and infection. Here, we break down the differences between plaque and tartar. They matter!

What is plaque?

Plaque is a substance that sticks to tooth enamel. Often, it accumulates along the gum line. This colorless, sticky film is made up of saliva, tiny particles of food debris, and bacteria. You may not be able to see plaque but you can feel it; it’s that fuzzy feeling against your tongue that you sense when you haven’t yet brushed your teeth.

We all get plaque. This film develops as a natural response to the sugar and starches in the foods we eat. It develops in the hours between brushing and flossing. If oral hygiene is not sufficient (lasting two full minutes before flossing), plaque may build up right away after leaving the sink. Plaque is acidic in nature, so is a precursor to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

What is tartar?

Plaque is a concerning problem on its own; and yet, there’s more. Tartar, also called calculus, can significantly degrade oral health. This substance is the hardened, stuck-on film that was once plaque. Because tartar has solidified, it sticks to teeth until removed with a special instrument. Like plaque, tartar is also acidic. Allowed to remain on the teeth for too long, this hardened film can stretch beneath the gum line, where it can provoke infection in soft and hard tissues, namely the root of a tooth or teeth.

Protect Oral Health by Preventing Plaque and Tartar

We can’t overstate the value of good oral hygiene. It’s the way to prevent plaque buildup and, by default, also the way to prevent tartar. To protect your teeth and gums, consider the following suggestions:

  • If it’s been more than a few months since you’ve replaced your toothbrush, do so as soon as possible. Consider an electric or sonic toothbrush. Your toothbrush needs to be changed about every three months.
  • Brush your teeth for a full two minutes, twice a day. Pay close attention when brushing so you touch all surfaces of each tooth.
  • Floss daily. If you have difficulty reaching the back of your mouth, purchase a flossing tool from your local pharmacy. If you need help learning how to floss, talk with your dentist.
  • If possible, snack on a crunchy fruit or vegetable every day. This will naturally scrub your teeth and also dilute sugar residue that encourages plaque.
  • Visit our Burke office twice a year for a thorough dental exam and cleaning.

We’re here to help you avoid the preventable dental problems that cause stress and pain. Schedule your visit at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on June 15th, 2019


 

Setting the Record Straight on Dental Myths

Dental health is something that a person will manage for their entire lifetime. The more informed one is, then, the better they will fair as they face various situations that may degrade their teeth and gums. Here, we discuss a few wrong ideas that need to be set straight.

Adults are much less likely to get cavities than children.

In the last twenty or so years, tooth decay in school-aged children has been significantly reduced thanks to fluoridated water, fluoride treatments, and dental sealants. Conversely, statistics indicate that tooth decay among older adults has increased. One of the common contributing factors to tooth decay in seniors is dry mouth. This condition may stem from diabetes, medication, or chronic dehydration. Routine dental care can identify a person’s risk for tooth decay and establish protocols to reduce this risk.

For a toothache, place an aspirin next to the painful tooth.

This idea is one that needs to be tossed as quickly as possible. Aspirin can be taken orally to reduce the discomfort of a toothache but should never be placed directly against gum tissue. The highly acidic nature of aspirin could injure soft tissue and create an even bigger problem than the original toothache. Clove essential oil may be applied to the gums to minimize tooth pain. However, a toothache should also be quickly examined by a dentist. The sooner that care is obtained, the less extensive it will be.

All fillings need to be replaced at some point.

This used to be the case and still is the case with amalgam (silver) fillings. The reason these fillings eventually fail is because the metal in amalgam expands and retracts with temperature changes in the mouth. Over time, this movement can cause separation at the margins of the filling. Metal fillings can also crack or fracture when they become old. Newer materials such as composite resin are much more compatible with natural tooth enamel. These restorations have been known to last decades.

Knowing how to manage dental situations can be difficult sometimes. That’s why we’re here. Our team offers friendly care that focuses on preventing and restoring teeth to optimal health. To schedule an exam and cleaning with us, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on May 30th, 2019


 

 

 

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