Dr. Stephen A. Price


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Common Questions about Dental Crowns

Teeth are not indestructible. They can decay and crack. They may be fractured by an old amalgam filling. They can get stained or chipped. When extensive damage occurs, a dentist will most likely recommend repairing the tooth with a crown. This type of restorative treatment is very common. If you’ve never had a crown, though, the whole idea may be disconcerting. Here, we answer a few of the most common questions patients have about dental crowns. We hope it helps you feel more confident about getting the treatment you need.

1.      Do I really need a crown?

We’ve mentioned a few of the ways a tooth can be injured, which are all reasons a person may need a dental crown. The reason this restoration would be recommended instead of a filling, as an example, is because it is necessary to prevent further damage from occurring. If the tooth is only filled when a crack has extended over the side or down to the gum line, there is a higher likelihood of decay or a full break down beneath the gums. Dr. Price is a fan of conservative dentistry. He recommends crowns only when other restorative care would not suffice.

2.      Will a crown look natural?

It has been many decades since all crowns were made of metallic materials like gold and metal alloy. To be truthful, there are still gold and metal alloy crowns. However, these materials are often used only as the crown base. They are overlaid with porcelain or other toothlike material that mimics natural enamel. Porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and even gold crowns without an overlay are well hidden in the back of the mouth. Front teeth are more often repaired with metal-free crowns that are slightly transparent, just like natural enamel.

3.      Does it hurt to get a dental crown?

Dental crown treatment is no less comfortable than getting a filling. A local anesthetic is administered to numb the area around the tooth. After the damaged parts of the tooth have been treated, the crown is easily placed without any discomfort. Often, a temporary crown is placed first and then replaced with the final crown about two weeks later. The replacement of the crown does not warrant anesthetic because no alteration of the tooth is performed at that time.

4.      How long with the crown last?

This is largely up to the patient and the material that is used to repair the tooth. Gold crowns have been known to last a lifetime. Porcelain and other ceramic crowns may last 5 or more years with good care. It is important to maintain crowns by brushing and flossing every day. Chewing on hard objects and foods can damage a crown so this should be avoided. People who grind or clench their teeth may be advised to wear a nightguard to protect their crowns.

Do you need a dental crown? We can help. Call our Burke office at (703)-935-2879 to schedule a visit with Dr. Price.

Posted on March 30th, 2020


Tips to Survive Your First Week of Invisalign

We love it when we get to introduce patients to their first set of Invisalign aligners. This means that they are on their way to the healthy, attractive smile they have been wanting for a long time. By the time patients receive their first set of aligners, they are pretty well-versed in the details of Invisalign. They realize they will need to wear their aligners nearly all the time and that they will have to take them out when they eat and drink. Knowing what to expect, though, is not anything like actually living with aligners. To prevent surprise, we offer some tips here.

1.      Protect Your Tongue

Aligner trays are made of clear plastic that molds over the teeth. The edges of the aligners sit at the gum line, where the tongue can run along them. Because aligners are different than the norm, the tongue will do this subconsciously. This can lead to irritation or sores. To prevent this, patients can apply a small pinch of dental wax to bothersome areas. Dental wax is very hard at first. It needs to be softened by rolling it between clean fingers. After a few days, when the tongue gets used to the feeling of aligners in the mouth, this will no longer be necessary.

2.      Be Ready to Manage Discomfort

We talk a lot about how Invisalign is much more comfortable and convenient than braces, not realizing that it can create the perception that this treatment is completely comfortable. It may not be. The teeth still have to move, which means there will be pressure. Patients should expect this and prepare for it by planning to eat softer foods for a few days while they get used to new aligners. Over-the-counter medication can also help. It may also help to do gentle chewing exercises, as this can massage the gums and increase circulation to the mouth, which can relieve pain.

3.      Keep Track of Your Trays

One of the most common mishaps with Invisalign aligners is that they get thrown out accidentally. This can be a stressful mistake to make, but it can be avoided. Various retailers, including Amazon, sell Invisalign cases that can be kept in purses, backpacks, and the glove box of the car. Always having extra cases can help you create the habit of storing aligners immediately when you eat or have a snack.

Successful Invisalign treatment is all about consistency and routine. Once you establish one that works for you, your treatment should be relatively stress-free. We know you must be excited about starting your Invisalign journey. We are excited for you and are here to answer any questions you have.

Contact us at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on March 15th, 2020


Why You Should See Your Dentist if Your Gums Bleed

We may hear quite a bit about gum disease but that doesn’t mean we would know exactly how to handle it if it developed. Many people do not get help for gum disease until they have begun to experience the signs of advanced disease such as a loose tooth or chronic bad breath. If you’re like most people, you may let bleeding gums slip right on by without giving it much thought. Maybe you brushed too hard. Some people blame bleeding gums on flossing. As nice as it might feel to explain away bleeding gums, it would feel much nicer to address this situation with the help of your dentist. C

Complications from Gum Disease

Gum disease is the term used to describe bacterial infection in the soft tissue around teeth. Infection develops when bacteria deposit acidic byproduct in a sticky film called plaque. Dental plaque often accumulates at the gum margins around the base of teeth. Unfortunately, more than half of all adults have accumulated plaque and some degree of gum disease. Fortunately, this condition is preventable and, when caught early, may be reversible.

Bleeding gums are one of the first signs that the gums are inflamed. The gum tissue may also look red and slightly puffy. When these indications are ignored or believed to be caused by brushing, infection is allowed to progress to a point at which acidity destroys the structure that supports teeth. Once gum disease progresses, the damage it causes is irreversible.

Protect Your Gums, Protect Your Health

Gum disease does not have to continue to be such a prevalent condition. When we know better, we can do better. Now that you know that bleeding gums is a sign that you may be developing gum disease, you can take steps to prevent irreparable damage by scheduling a visit with your dentist. If your gums do not bleed, regular dental exams and cleanings can provide the ongoing prevention you need to enjoy a healthy mouth.

Manage Your Oral Health

Contact our Burke office at (703)-935-2879 to schedule your dental exam and cleaning. We’re here to help you maintain optimal oral health.

Posted on February 28th, 2020


What to Do if You Lose a Tooth

Unexpected surprises are an expected thing in this life. While we’d love for every surprise to put a smile on our face, this is a relatively unrealistic desire. Sometimes, the unexpected that happens actually makes us want to hide our smile. If you’re in hiding because of a missing tooth, you’re not alone. Statistics indicate that more than 120 million Americans have lost at least one tooth. Nearly 40 million have lost all of their natural teeth.

We wouldn’t expect it to make you feel better about your predicament to know that others may be in the same boat. What can make you feel better is knowing that dentistry has expanded in its abilities to prevent and treat tooth loss with long-lasting solutions.

An Ounce of Prevention

It has long been said that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. A more modern phrase is that prevention is the best medicine. When it comes to dental and general health, this is true. It is much less stress and much more productive to undergo regular checkups that can catch problems before they cause severe damage to the teeth, gums, and supportive ligaments and bone. If you haven’t seen the dentist in the last six months, we invite you to contact us now to arrange your checkup and cleaning. We assure you we will prioritize your comfort and peace of mind during your visit.

Undoing Damage

Once a tooth or the gums have been damaged, it is difficult to reverse the injury that has occurred. Should you suffer deep inflammation or infection that can only be remedied with tooth extraction. Your dentist will discuss ways to at least undo the effects of tooth loss. Common solutions are to bridge the gap between two natural teeth or to implant new structures where the missing tooth once sat. In either situation, patients appreciate a natural-looking restoration that can last for years.

Getting the Smile Back Together

When there is a divide between two teeth, Dr. Price may design a dental bridge to fill the empty space. A bridge fits over two natural teeth at the edges and situates an artificial tooth in the space in between. This treatment can also be performed if the missing tooth was at the very back of the mouth. To fill the gap, a cantilever bridge that fits over only one tooth can be made.

If tooth loss is more substantial, dentures may be a good option for bringing the smile back to an attractive, functional state. Dentures have improved over time and now look and feel much more natural than they once did. Conventional dentures are fixtures that fit over the gums. For a stable bite, it is necessary to get the ideal fit, which can take periodic adjustments.

With an eye for the long haul, more patients are choosing to incorporate dental implants into their tooth-replacement treatment. Dental implants can be used along with crowns to replace individual teeth or with dentures to secure a larger restorative fixture.

Tooth loss doesn’t have to be the end of your healthy, happy smile. Call our Burke office at (703)-935-2879 to schedule your consultation to discuss tooth replacement.

Posted on February 14th, 2020


Save a Tooth or Pull It?

Price, Stephen DDS

When a tooth has been badly damaged by infection, extraction may seem like the best choice of treatment. Though no one really likes the idea of having a tooth pulled, pain can create the idea that extraction would be the easiest way to restore comfort. Perhaps this may sound like the easy choice, but pulling a diseased tooth may not be in your best interest. Here, we discuss why that may be.

Benefits of Saving a Tooth

  • Natural teeth are inherently strong. Natural enamel is one of the strongest materials in the body. Even if the tooth is damaged and needs a crown, the foundation of enamel and natural roots remains more durable against chewing and biting.
  • Treating the tooth is more comfortable. The recovery after treatment such as a root canal is quicker and more comfortable than recovery after tooth extraction. Plus, there are fewer risks and aftercare instructions that need to be followed.
  • There may be fewer visits needed to treat the damaged tooth than to extract it and then restore function with an artificial tooth, whether using a dental implant and crown or a dental bridge. Fewer visits also means lower cost.

How to Save a Tooth

In many cases, it is possible to save a tooth that has been damaged by infection by performing root canal therapy. This procedure removes the infected pulp material at the center of the tooth, as well as damaged enamel and dentin. All health parts of the tooth are left intact. The roots of the tooth are also removed and the root canals are filled with an inert material to seal out bacteria. When the tooth is restored with a dental crown, it looks and feels natural.

When Extraction is the Best Option

While it is preferable, it isn’t always possible to save a damaged tooth. Extraction may be the best treatment option when a tooth has been cracked in several places or has a crack that extends well below the gumline. Sometimes, a tooth is simply too weak to be restored.

In most cases, tooth damage can be avoided. One way to prevent the need for either root canal therapy or tooth extraction is to maintain regular visits with your dentist. To schedule your routine exam and cleaning in our Burke office, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on January 30th, 2020


It’s Cold Season! What Does that Mean for Your Mouth?

Price, Stephen DDS

We’re at the time of year when many of us have a pocketful of tissue with us at all times. Cooler, wetter weather has a way of bringing on the sniffles. Usually, a cold is nothing more than a minor nuisance; the coughing, the sore throat, the runny nose, and the congestion all keep us preoccupied and, in some cases, sleepless. What we don’t often see is what a cold could do to our oral health.

Cavities after a Cold?

With a big part of a cold being a sore or scratchy throat, one of the common remedies people reach for is a cough drop. How many cough drops we consume when we have a cold! On top of that, common beverages that seem to make a cold feel better include orange juice, 7UP®, and other carbonated drinks. All of these remedies may be soothing. All can also be loaded with sugar. The extra, inadvertent sugar consumption could easily increase the acidity in the mouth, thus increasing the risk of cavities as well as gingivitis.

Oral Care Habits Essential for Cold Season

When a cold strikes, it is even more important to practice consistent oral healthcare habits that include:

  • Brush twice daily using a soft-bristled toothbrush and toothpaste with fluoride
  • Be strict about flossing once every day
  • Drink water throughout the day to reduce mucus and also wash away sugar residue
  • Eat nutritious foods that soothe the throat and also build healthy immunity
  • Ease a sore throat by gargling warm salty water rather than mouthwash
  • Use sugar-free cough drops
  • Switch your toothbrush after you recovered from your cold

Ideally, we are able to steer clear of the downfalls of cold and flu season. If you find yourself coming down with the sniffles or a cough, know that oral care is an essential aspect of getting well more quickly and also avoiding unnecessary dental stresses along the way.

Has it been a while since you’ve seen the dentist? Let’s talk! Call (703)-935-2879 to schedule your routine exam and cleaning in our Burke office.

Posted on January 15th, 2020


When is it Time to Straighten Teeth?

Invisalign Burke, VA

There are so many ways to straighten teeth today and just as many reasons to attend to tooth alignment. The question isn’t whether or not to straighten teeth, but whether or not this process may be better at any specific stage. Generally, dentists begin to observe alignment and bite when children are 7 to 10 years old. Early orthodontic intervention may be ideal in certain situations, but today’s dental technologies make it possible to straighten teeth at any age. While teeth can be straightened any time a person so desires, there are some situations when timing is just right.

Aesthetic Teeth Straightening

Whenever crooked, crowded teeth degrade the confidence a person feels about their appearance, it is a good time to find the right straightening method. If you don’t feel your best in social or professional situations, if you cover your mouth when you laugh, then it’s time to view teeth-straightening as a worthwhile investment.

An upcoming event is often the catalyst that leads people to straighten their teeth. This could be a wedding, a new job, or starting a business. Any transition in life can make us feel both excited and vulnerable.  Harnessing the power of a great smile can help.

Functional Teeth Straightening

There are both cosmetic and functional benefits achieved with teeth-straightening treatment.  It may be time to undergo treatment when you want to:

  • Have a smile makeover of any kind. Dentists often look at the alignment of teeth and how this will affect restorations like crowns or veneers.
  • Resolve chronic headaches. Studies suggest that, when teeth do not fit well together, the joints and muscles of the jaw have to work harder. The stress on these structures then expands to stress on the muscles of the face, neck, and head. Straightening teeth to fit well reduces this stress.
  • Improve oral health. Teeth that are crooked, overlapping, or spaced far apart are all difficult to clean well. Oral health can suffer when small nooks and crannies harbor plaque and bacteria. With straighter teeth, brushing and flossing become much more effective and oral health can improve significantly.

Is Now Your Time?

Now is typically the best time to take care of ourselves. If your smile and oral health could use some care, come talk to us about the benefits of Invisalign. Call (703)-935-2879 to schedule an appointment in our Burke, VA office.

Posted on December 6th, 2019


Bridges 101

A large gap in the smile is not good for your look. Did you know that a large gap in between any teeth, even those at the back of the mouth, could also degrade your smile? The mouth is not built for gaps. Teeth are made to butt-up to one another to achieve optimal physical appearance, chewing function, and speech. A smile with gaps is a smile that needs help. Here, we discuss how bridging the gap works.

What is Dental Bridge Treatment?

Dental bridges literally do bridge the gap between two teeth. There are three common bridges that dentists use to achieve this. They include:

  • A traditional fixed bridge. Traditional bridges are used when a gap exists between two teeth. This type of bridge anchors to the neighboring teeth using dental crowns. The artificial tooth is suspended on the gums by these crowns.
  • The cantilever bridge. This type of bridge is sometimes used when there is only one neighboring tooth next to a gap. The cantilever bridge has one crown, which anchors to that neighboring tooth. The false tooth is bonded to the crown to hold it in place.
  • The Maryland bridge. This type of crown is not used as frequently today as it used to be due to advances in dental technology. The Maryland bridge does not use dental crowns to secure an artificial tooth, it uses metal wings that wrap discretely around neighboring teeth.

Bridges, Dentures, and Implants: What’s the Difference?

With so many dental techniques available today, it can be challenging to know which is right for you. At the same time, it is important to differentiate between various treatments to ensure you get the long-term results you deserve.

Dental bridges and dental implants are “fixed” types of restorations. they are intended to stay in place for many years. Dentures, on the other hand, are removable. The artificial teeth of a denture are not bonded or attached to other teeth in any way. Dental implants are root replacements, not tooth replacements. Situated in the jawbone in a minor surgical procedure, dental implants are intended as a new foundation for artificial teeth, such as crowns and bridges and, yes, dentures.

A dental bridge are an affordable option that provides good stability for chewing and speaking. This restoration can last 10 to 15 years with good care but may eventually need to be replaced due to wear and tear.

Is your smile in need of restoration? We can help. Contact our Burke office at (703)-935-2879 to schedule a visit with Dr. Price.

Posted on December 6th, 2019


Are You Clear on the Benefits of Flossing?

We know from years of research and clinical data that oral health is not complicated. There is no secret method of keeping teeth and gums healthy. All it takes is a consistent hygiene routine. With consistent brushing every morning and night (two full minutes) and flossing once a day, it’s possible to avoid a number of unnecessary problems. Here, we point out a few clear benefits of a daily flossing habit.

  • Flossing makes your mouth feel cleaner.

Brushing your teeth removes most of the plaque and debris that accumulate but not all of it. Flossing removes the debris that collects in between teeth and right beneath the gums. When gunk is removed from these hard-to-reach places, the mouth will feel ultra-clean because it is.

  • Flossing reduces the chances of gum disease and other problems.

Most people realize that flossing is their way to better gum health. On the contrary, when flossing is neglected, the gums become weak. Weak gums pull away from teeth. Where the fit between gums and enamel is loose, there is a chance of cavities forming. Because the area of the tooth exposed by weak gums is close to the root, there is a chance that the root area could become infected. This would need to be treated with root canal therapy.

  • And still bigger problems.

Studies have linked poor oral health and gum disease, in particular, with several potentially serious health conditions. Gum disease is a bacteria problem. The purpose of flossing is to remove the bacteria that naturally colonize between teeth at the gum line. If bacteria accumulate, they deposit toxic chemicals into the mouth. These can lead to bad breath at the very least, severe gum disease and, at worst, can contribute to diabetes, cardiovascular problems, and more.

  • Flossing can reduce the risk of discoloration.

Some of the stains that develop on teeth are localized at the inner corners where teeth meet. Stains can also occur along the gum line where plaque and tartar can build up. If nothing else, people may be motivated to floss to keep their smile as cosmetically pleasing as possible.

Flossing doesn’t have to be an unpleasant chore. The task takes less than five minutes to perform. That’s five minutes a day for a lifetime of healthy benefits. If string floss isn’t your thing, talk to your dentist about options such as a Water Pik or flossing tool.

Let us help you manage your oral health. Call our Burke office to schedule a checkup and cleaning.

Posted on November 18th, 2019


Are all Invisible Aligners the Same?

Not very long ago, the only path to a straight smile was through orthodontia. Even with changes to profile and materials, braces were pretty bulky. The brackets and wires patients were required to wear at all times overpowered the mouth both physically and cosmetically. No one really loved this but the outcome was worth the cost. It still is, actually, but we now have choices in how we straighten our teeth. The choice that many people make is to do so with invisible aligners.

Invisalign, the first of this kind of treatment, was developed in 1997. That’s a long time to be around! Dentists around the world still use this system with great success. The outcome of treatment is achieved by wearing custom-made aligners 22 hours a day. Though aligners can be removed, they shouldn’t be left out for too long. Patients are advised to take them out for meals and for brushing and flossing. Occasionally, they may be taken out for pictures or other special circumstances.

In light of the strong demand for convenient, discreet treatment, several other invisible aligner startups have recently emerged. SmileClubDirect is one of the most well-known. This type of system seems even more convenient and cost-effective because it cuts out the “middle-man” and puts orthodontic care in the hands of the patient through mail-order services. Seeing that the middle man in this scenario is the dentist, elimination may not be the best thing for the patient.

Invisalign Details

Invisalign’s RealSelf “Worth It” rating is over 90% with thousands of patients having undergone this treatment. The duration of care may range from as little as 6 months to a year and a half. What sets Invisalign apart from other systems is the degree of expert involvement in both the planning and active phases of treatment. This involvement of a trained dentist allows patients to address mild to complex issues including crowding, overlapping, gaps, and bite issues.

One of the important details about Invisalign that is directly related to results is the fact that this system goes beyond plastic aligners. In many cases, attachments are also worn. These transparent handles are affixed to teeth in a specific way that gets gripped by the aligners to achieve more complex movements. Dentists report that Invisalign attachments achieve much more than aligners could on their own.

Direct-to-Consumer Aligners

Aligners like those that are offered by SmileDirectClub have a RealSelf rating of about 57%. The average course of treatment lasts 6 months. Millions of dollars have been made by direct-to-consumer companies, even though patients have no meaningful contact with a dental professional. According to some people (we could hardly call them patients) self-treated with SmileDirectClub aligners, the lack of interaction made them wonder if anyone was overseeing their treatment at all. Some clients reported having a difficult time managing their care without a clear point-person to speak with about questions or concerns.

These concerns are more like complaints. What is concerning to dental professionals about direct-to-consumer aligners is that no x-rays are taken before treatment begins. Clients are asked only to submit photos to receive their prescribed aligners. Without x-rays, there is no way to know if the client has gum disease, impacted teeth, or root issues that could affect the outcome of treatment. Some dentists report seeing patients who self-treated with this type of aligner system only to find that, while their smile looks better, the teeth at the back of their mouth no longer meet.

The bottom line about aligners is that they are a big deal. Moving teeth is a big deal. When done correctly, teeth-straightening can improve function, hygiene, and appearance. When done incorrectly, teeth-straightening can create bite and joint problems that then require corrective treatment.

Choose Invisalign for your healthiest smile. Choose Dr. Stephen Price because he is Burke’s Premier Invisalign Provider.

Posted on November 18th, 2019




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