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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Protecting Your Oral Health Involves Daily Practice. Here’s Why!

We now know through multiple research projects that what happens in the mouth doesn’t stay in the mouth. A person’s dental health correlates directly with their overall health. This is information we can use to help us foster long-term health and wellness. Here, we discuss how our dental office works with patients to maintain relevant oral health goals.

It’s All about Biofilm

Biofilm is not a term that most people hear very often. However, it is the root cause of the most common dental conditions we see today. We all have a biofilm in our mouth. It begins at birth with bacterial colonization and does not end. There are over 700 microbial species in the dental biofilm. One of the critical steps in maintaining a healthy mouth is to manage them.

One way that we help our patients manage oral biofilm is to perform routine cleanings using specialized instruments. A trained dental hygienist understands the benefits of what is called “prophy angles,” a selective polishing technique that helps prevent excessive overgrowth in the biofilm. Additionally, we help patients maintain healthy mouths with demonstration and education.

Oral hygiene isn’t just about brushing and flossing every day. It’s also about consuming more foods and beverages that support healthy teeth and gums and fewer of those that do not. Many people are surprised to discover that their oral health problems are largely caused by their daily habits, including what they are eating and drinking. Beverages such as colas, energy drinks, even lemon water can degrade enamel with acidity. According to studies, younger adults tend to consume such beverages and also tend to brush only once a day. A small change in routine can make a big difference in the integrity of teeth and gums.

Tooth decay is an irreversible disease caused by microbial organisms that demineralize calcified tooth structure. This happens when the oral biofilm is flooded with the bacteria lactobacilli and Streptococcus mutans. These organisms feed on dietary sugars and then turn them into acidic byproducts.

You needn’t know all the details about how cavities and gum disease develop. All you need to know is how to care for your teeth and gums. We can help. To schedule your routine exam and cleaning, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on July 15th, 2020


 

Some Oral Care Habits Could Hurt Your Smile. Here’s What You Want to Avoid!

If you take your oral health seriously, you probably spend at least several minutes a day brushing and flossing your teeth. So why did your last dental visit reveal some gum recession or tooth damage? This situation happens more often than you may think, and patients don’t always ask their dentist why their daily habits aren’t paying off. So, here, we will explain the habits you want to avoid.

Brushing Too Hard

Many of us learned at an early age that to get something clean, we had to put some muscle behind our work. Well, this does not hold true for oral care. If you’re brushing with a lot of pressure against your teeth and gums, you may be doing two things. One is scratching the delicate margins between the gums and the teeth. The other is that you could be scratching the hard shell of enamel, causing erosion that could lead to cavities. The same problems can occur if you use a toothbrush with hard bristles. Why hard-bristled toothbrushes are still made we will never understand. Our advice is to choose toothbrushes with soft bristles. This still gets the job done.

Overusing Your Toothbrush

We often forget that our toothbrushes only last so long. Used day in and day out for months on end, a toothbrush is bound to degrade. Bristles may soften or bend at the ends, minimizing the amount of plaque removal that can occur. If a toothbrush is more than 90 days old, it’s time for a new one. Ideally, we should start checking our toothbrush for signs of wear after about 60 days of use. Furthermore, if we get a cold or other illness, once we are recovered, we should toss the toothbrush we’ve been using so as not to reintroduce germs into the mouth.

Brushing at the Wrong Time

Some people are so serious about taking good care of their teeth and gums that they brush after every meal. This isn’t necessary but can’t hurt, either, as long as you get the timing right. Experts say that we should not brush within 30 minutes of a meal. This is because the digestive acids that are produced to break down food temporarily weaken tooth enamel. Brushing too soon can lead to scratches that then harbor bacteria.

Your oral care is an important aspect of good general health. We’re here to help you maintain your teeth and gums in optimal condition. To schedule a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning with Dr. Price, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on June 30th, 2020


 

Three Common Questions about Invisalign

If there is an investment that can provide lifelong rewards, it is taking care of your oral health. One way to do this is to correct misalignment. When teeth are crowded or overlapping, they are difficult to clean well. Invisalign helps our patients not only get their confidence back, but it also helps them secure better oral health for many years, if not indefinitely. We are pleased to be a premier Invisalign provider in Northern Virginia. Here, we discuss a few of the questions patients frequently ask.

Can I Get Invisalign on the Top Teeth Only?

Teeth-straightening is often observed as a way to make the smile look better. This is one of the benefits of treatment like Invisalign, but there’s more. It is understandable that some people would be interested in straightening only one arch. If the other is “straight enough,” why treat it? There is a good reason. The upper and lower arches need to fit together for the bite to be aligned. The bite must be aligned to prevent unnecessary wear and tear on teeth and the temporomandibular joints. If we only correct the position of one arch, we may worsen the way that the two fit together. For this reason, most dentists recommend that Invisalign aligners be made for both the upper and lower arches.

Will Invisalign Work If I’ve Already Had Braces?

Many people who underwent orthodontic treatment made a critical error sometime after the completion of their teeth-straightening process: they did not wear their retainers as advised by their orthodontist. If you have had braces before and your teeth shifted somewhat afterward, you may be an excellent candidate for Invisalign. Custom made aligners can reposition teeth and also correct various bite problems.

Is It Difficult to Maintain Aligners?

We know how to take care of our teeth by brushing and flossing. Adding aligners into the mix, even though it’s easier than brushing around metal brackets and wires, can feel like a challenge. Maintaining clean aligners is necessary even though each set is only worn for two weeks. If aligners are not cleaned regularly, they may begin to look cloudy or they may develop a foul odor. That’s no fun! In most situations, all aligners need is a good rinse under cool water. If they need a little more cleaning, a very small amount of nonabrasive toothpaste may be used on a finger to clean the plastic trays.

Now is a great time to take the leap into Invisalign. To schedule your consultation in our Burke, VA office, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on June 15th, 2020


 

Can Invisalign Do Things that Regular Braces Can’t?

Regardless of how appealing it sounds to have straighter teeth, many people worry about how they will get from point A to point B. Will they have to wear braces like their parents or siblings did? If so, their approach to braces is No, Thank you. There are several concerns raised by patients who want to straighten their teeth, including comfort, appearance, and oral health. These concerns are addressed in the Invisalign system, which is one of the reasons why this treatment quickly became the leading request among patients who want straighter teeth. Here, we point out the leading advantages to Invisalign over traditional braces.

Invisalign Doesn’t Have Brackets or Wires

Braces are individual brackets that are glued on each tooth. Brackets are connected through an arch wire on the top row of teeth and one on the bottom row. Every so often, the orthodontist tightens the wires to pull teeth into their new position. Invisalign doesn’t have brackets or wires; it is a set of clear plastic aligners that look like something an athlete would wear, or like the trays that are used to whiten teeth. The material from which aligners are made is virtually undetectable due to clarity, eliminating the concern that the smile will be cosmetically diminished by braces.

A More Comfortable Experience

One of the primary reasons braces can be uncomfortable is that brackets project from the teeth. Brackets are square, which gives them edges that can be relatively sharp. Unless wax is applied over each bracket, there is a good chance that tissue inside the mouth could get caught on an edge now and then. This not only hurts in the moment but can lead to persistent swelling and irritation as the injury is repeated. Aligners form around teeth so there is nothing to poke at the cheeks or catch on the lips.

Does this mean that Invisalign is completely comfortable? No. Patients should remain aware that Invisalign treatment is moving their teeth. This will incur a bit of discomfort as roots move in the periodontal ligament. Most patients can manage comfort with an over-the-counter medication as needed.

Oral Health

Another advantage of Invisalign is that it is easier to care for teeth throughout treatment. With brackets and wires, there is plenty of opportunity for food to get trapped in hard-to-reach places. This increases the number of bacteria on teeth and the gums, which means a greater likelihood of cavities and gingivitis or gum disease. Invisalign patients need only remove their aligners every morning and night to brush and floss as they normally would.

We are proud to be a premier Invisalign provider in Northern Virginia. To schedule your consultation for a straighter smile, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on May 30th, 2020


 

How Can I Help My Dental Implants Last?

According to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, more than 3 million people have dental implants at this time. Furthermore, approximately half a million new implants are placed every year. Since this procedure became common several years ago, dental implant treatment has skyrocketed in popularity. Most patients who require tooth replacement now wish to do so with dental implants. There are several reasons for this. Primarily, it is because the result of dental implant treatment feels most natural.

Among the many benefits of dental implants, patients appreciate knowing that their new teeth roots can last their lifetime. This is significant because dental implants are an investment in long-term oral health and an attractive smile. The lifespan of the average dental implant, however, is not a given. It takes a bit of work to ensure this treatment keeps performing well over many years. This is no different than natural teeth, which must also be well-managed to avoid disease.

Tips for Dental Implant Care

Like natural teeth, dental implants must be preserved and protected. Like natural teeth, implants also respond well to much of the same practice that is suggested for avoiding tooth decay and gum disease. Best practices for preserving dental implants include:

  • Optimal cleanliness. Bacteria live in the mouth and can cause a lot of damage if not routinely washed away. In the case of dental implants, bacteria could penetrate the gums and cause pockets around the new roots. Bacteria within these pockets could then accumulate around the implant, causing breakdown in the jawbone. Fortunately, it can take months or years for periodontal disease to get this bad. With two minutes of brushing every morning and night, and flossing as recommended by the treating dentist, most dental implant patients can enjoy a lifetime of function.
  • Protective measures. Dental implants hold artificial teeth that are made out of dental porcelain or other lifelike material. These materials can be scratched by hard toothbrush bristles or abrasive toothpaste particles. It is necessary to protect new teeth as well as the gums so bacteria do not find tiny scratches in which to hide.
  • Professional care. Routine dental checkups and cleanings are as important for dental implant patients as for everyone else. The dentist performs checkups using special glasses that magnify enamel and the areas around the gums. Special instruments are used to remove plaque and caked-on tartar when needed.

Studies show that nearly 99% of dental implants are successful and long-lasting. We can help you make sure you’re part of this statistic. To schedule a visit at our Burke office, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on May 15th, 2020


 

Which Denture is the Right Denture for You?

Your dentist’s primary goal in caring for your teeth and gums is to help you keep your natural teeth for a lifetime. Tooth loss or necessary extraction sets the stage for ongoing problems. That’s why prompt action is recommended to replace a missing tooth or teeth. One of the most common ways this is achieved is with dentures or a dental bridge. Here, we discuss the various types of dentures so you can determine which may be right for you.

Types of Dentures

Several factors may cause tooth loss. Whatever the cause, dentures can be a good option for restoring chewing and speaking function. A partial denture may be considered when a few teeth need to be replaced. A fixed dental bridge may also be suitable in such cases. Full dentures, as implied by the name, are customized to the mouth to replace a full set of top or bottom teeth.

A fixed dental bridge is a restoration that requires the stability of surrounding teeth. To fit a dental bridge, the dentist creates crowns for two teeth. That means that they need to be reduced so the crowns fit over them. An artificial tooth called a pontic is bonded in between the crowns so, when the crowns are affixed to their teeth, the artificial tooth is secured in the empty space between.

A partial denture is also customized, similar to a dental bridge. This restoration, however, has an acrylic base that looks like gums and is stabilized with small clasps that grasp onto surrounding teeth. Both a dental bridge and a partial denture need particular care to ensure bacteria do not accumulate in small spaces.

Full dentures have artificial teeth set in an acrylic base that fits over the gums. Because complete tooth loss is often followed by bone degradation, full dentures typically need to be adjusted every so often. Maintaining dentures in this way decreases the likelihood of slipping and rubbing on the gums. An option that can be added to full dentures, and even larger bridges, is to secure them onto dental implants. Dental implants are small titanium cylinders that are inserted into the jawbone. The procedure is painless thanks to local anesthesia. After the cylinders are situated, the bone grows around them so they do not wiggle or shift. Because dental implants encourage ongoing bone regeneration, this is a preferred option for many patients.

Let’s Restore Your Smile

If you have suffered tooth loss or need to have teeth extracted, we are here to help you rebuild a smile that looks and feels natural. Call (703)-935-2879 to schedule your visit to our Burke office.

Posted on April 30th, 2020


 

Dental Facts That Need to be Understood

Dental care is integral to good oral and general health. Therefore, the persistence of misunderstood ideas about oral care doesn’t serve us at all. Often, the belief in outdated and unfounded misconceptions keeps people from asking their dentist questions that could promote healthier teeth. Here, we want to clear up a few of the most commonly misunderstood dental facts so you can avoid unnecessary discomfort and stress.

Baby Teeth Don’t Need to Be Brushed

Baby teeth will fall out, so strict oral care is not necessary. This could not be more inaccurate. Early dental care, including visits to the dentist, is vital to a child’s lifelong oral health. First, when a baby and toddler receive routine tooth-brushing from a parent, they learn the importance of this habit and are more likely to maintain it throughout life. Second, when a child begins seeing the dentist at a younger age, they are less likely to develop dental anxiety. Finally, baby teeth are placeholders. They are needed to create space in dental arches for the primary teeth that are developing directly behind them. When baby teeth become decayed, the development of primary teeth may be affected.

Sugar is Sugar

There is an expectation among patients that their dentist will tell them to avoid sugar. Sugar is indeed bad for our teeth. More than knowing this, it is important to understand why. How exactly does sugar lead to cavities and other problems? It’s a matter of timing. When we eat a sugary treat, the bacteria in the mouth convert that sugar to acid in less than 30 seconds. Then, the acid lingers in the mouth for about half an hour. The more we snack on sugary drinks and treats, the more acidity is washed over our teeth and gums. From this perspective, it is better to enjoy a sweet treat and then let the mouth restore healthier pH levels before eating again. An even better idea is to consume water after having something sugary. Don’t just drink the water, swish it around in the mouth. This will dilute sugar acids and help enamel to remineralize more quickly.

These are just a couple of the common misunderstood dental facts that persist today. We’re happy to share real facts with you during your visit to our Burke office. To schedule your exam and cleaning, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on April 15th, 2020


 

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


 

 

 

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