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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Here’s How to Take Oral Hygiene to the Next Level

Daily dental hygiene is an important aspect of general health and wellness. You’ve probably heard this your entire life; that you should brush twice a day and floss once a day to avoid cavities and gum disease. These are baseline recommendations that provide the guidance that is needed, but there could be more that you’re missing out on. If you struggle with maintaining oral health or want to change up your routine to enhance it, consider these tips.

  1. Use an electric toothbrush

Manual toothbrushes aren’t bad, per se, but some tools might work a little more efficiently. When you use an electric or sonic toothbrush, all you’ve got to do is navigate the brush around the four quadrants of the mouth. The vibrations of the toothbrush will do the rest. Just be sure that you are holding the toothbrush at the proper 45-degree angle against teeth and that you are not pressing too hard. These habits can lead to gum abrasions and recession. Also, whether using a manual or electric toothbrush, it is necessary to brush for two full minutes.

  • Floss properly

Flossing once a day is, as we stated, baseline. This habit is vital to sustaining oral health because it is the only way to remove debris, sugar, and bacteria from in between teeth. For flossing to be effective, the floss must be run under the gums. This should not be painful if done correctly and if your gums are not infected. When moving the floss around each tooth, it should be held in a C-shape, somewhat “hugging” the tooth. Like brushing, flossing must be done gently to avoid damaging soft tissue. If you have questions about flossing, talk with Dr. Price or your hygienist. We’re happy to demonstrate proper flossing so you can enjoy optimal oral health!

  • Rinse after flossing

This is a habit that most people miss. We know to rinse after we brush. Otherwise, we’re left with a mouthful of toothpaste. What gets overlooked is what flossing may do. When the floss is run in between teeth, it may pick up some debris and bacteria, and may only loosen some. What is loosened may go right back into hiding if not removed. Rinsing prevents this.

They say never to say “never” or “always,” but we’re going to. It’s never a bad idea to maximize what you’re doing to keep your teeth healthy. New strategies are always a good idea when it comes to oral health. To learn more about taking great care of your teeth, schedule a visit with us at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on October 15th, 2020


 

Two Ways to Improve Your Smile

There are several ways that you express your personality. You choose clothing and even music that reflects who you are and how you feel. These are preferences that you can choose. One that you cannot is your smile. You get what you get, right? No! Thanks to modern dental technology, you can make your smile a perfect match to your personality.

Here, we discuss some of the common ways this is done.

  1. Invisalign

We are incredibly proud to be a Premier Invisalign Provider in Northern Virginia. Dr. Price has helped many patients get their best and healthiest smiles using this convenient system. When Invisalign was first developed as an innovative aligner system, it barely held a candle to traditional orthodontics. Now, it is recognized as one of the leading alternatives to braces available today.

Invisalign works by first determining the best path to bite and alignment correction. We do this via sophisticated impressions and imaging, which are then processed in a high-tech laboratory. Then, the system is progressed through personal oversight from Dr. Price. Patients appreciate the results they can observe from one visit to the next. For Invisalign to work, patients need only commit to wearing aligners at all times other than during meals and when brushing and flossing. Aligners can also be removed for short periods such as special occasions.

  • Dental Implants  

Tooth loss is a common problem that does not get a lot of attention. Historically, when a person has lost a tooth, or many, a dentist would create a mold to match missing teeth. A lab would create new artificial teeth. This is not a match for what nature had intended, though. Our natural teeth don’t sit on top of the gums; they are tethered to the periodontal ligament and jawbone through their roots. When a tooth is lost or extracted, that stability is also lost. Dental implants have become the gold standard of tooth replacement for this very reason; these root replacements reinstate the stability that was once provided by natural teeth and roots.

An implant is a titanium “root” that is affixed to an artificial tooth through an attachment called an abutment. Each part of the dental implant system is made to be as durable as a natural tooth. The outcome of this procedure is more than 98 percent successful as it relates to natural form and function.

Dr. Price has established our Burke, VA office as a comprehensive dental practice in which patients can attend to their oral health needs. Call (703)-935-2879 to schedule a consultation to see how we can help you make the most of your smile!

Posted on September 30th, 2020


 

Smile Direct Club: Should I Do It?

If you’re reading this, you have lived long enough to understand that there are pros and cons to every choice we make in life. Some of the choices we make can cost us time, money, and emotional turmoil. This is true even when it comes to minor health matters and cosmetic appearance. If you have been concerned about your oral health and the appearance of your smile because you have been dealing with turned teeth or minor misalignment issues, you may be considering one of the latest trends, Smile Direct Club. If you are, you want to be aware of the pros and cons you are facing.

Dr. Stephen Price is a Premier Invisalign Provider in Northern Virginia. Our office has been established to help patients in the Burke area get the results they deserve, which we describe as beautiful, healthy smiles. Can Smile Direct get you there? Let’s see!

What Is Smile Direct Club?

More and more lately we have been exposed to innovative systems of product and service delivery. Smile Direct Club fits into this category of straight-to-you services. This online service mimics Invisalign in its intent to correct minor to moderate misalignment problems. In its essence, this business is made for convenience. To receive your treatment plan, you may order an impression-making kit that you complete at home and return to the lab. There, a series of custom-made aligners are made for you. We understand the appeal of this type of system, especially during current times. But does that mean you should do it? Let’s see!

Pros of Smile Direct Club:

  1. Little time commitment. If you’re busy and have little time to visit your dentist for in-person progress-checks (yes, we’re doing them!), then Smile Direct Club may be something to consider. With this system, once you receive your aligners, you have no further time commitment.
  2. Treatment is completed quickly. The average treatment time for Smile Direct patients is 6 months. It is important to understand that the reason the average treatment time is so short is that the system is usually used to correct very minor imperfections.
  3. Professional oversight. While a Smile Direct program does not involve check-ups, the initial treatment plan is overseen by a licensed dentist or orthodontist. This oversight may occur remotely, but it is the basis of treatment nonetheless.
  4. Convenience. Once a treatment plan is devised, you are given all of the aligners you need to complete your program. It is then up to you to use them as directed.

Cons of Smile Direct Club:

  1. Lack of personal care. Smile Direct Club is convenient, yes, but lacks personal oversight of your treatment plan. You do not need to see a dentist, but then again, you do not have a dentist to ask questions or address concerns, either.
  2. Higher incidence of error. If there is not a brick-and-mortar Smile Direct Club near you and you cannot receive in-person 3D scanning and impressions of your teeth, there is a chance that your self-made impressions will not be accurate and that your aligners may not be totally in line with your needs.

Look at the Big Picture

The purpose of any aligner system is to get the best possible results and to achieve long-lasting improvement. We are happy to currently be seeing patients in our Burke, VA office. For information about our safety protocols and success using Invisalign, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on September 15th, 2020


 

How Does COVID Affect Dental Visits?

The first half of this year has been uncertain, to say the least. Many cities have closed down, opened up, and closed down again. At this time, many people are wondering whether or not they should keep their regularly-scheduled dental exam and cleaning. Realizing that these services cannot be conducted from six feet away, it may sound like a good idea to just forego that dental appointment. However, this may come at a cost down the road. Here, we discuss what dental offices are doing to keep patients’ safety at the forefront of dentistry.

Social Distancing is a Priority

We’ve heard a lot in the news recently about the importance of maintaining a social distance of at least 6 feet. This is because studies show that droplets from a sneeze or cough can travel that far. This, in combination with wearing a mask, is believed to have a significant effect on the risk of infection. But how does this happen in the clinical setting?

Your Dentist is Social Distancing!

Obviously, it is not possible to maintain distance between the dentist and patient during exams, cleanings, and necessary procedures. However, there are steps that have been taken to increase the ability to maintain social distancing in the office. One of the ways this is achieved is by minimizing the number of people in the office at one time. To preserve the safest possible environment, the reception area is kept empty and is cleaned often. Magazines and other items that are normally available have been removed so patients are not touching the same objects. Hand sanitizer is also kept in an accessible location. Following these protocols, there is a very low chance that patients will even cross paths during their visits.

Additional Safety Measures

We may be facing a transition into a new normal in society, at least for the next several months. However, this new normal does not diminish the importance of regular dental care. In addition to social distancing and mask-wearing, the dental office may follow safety precautions such as family-friendly scheduling, quick and convenient prescreening for each patient, no hugs or handshakes (as much as we’d like to!), and regular temperature checks of staff members. These precautions allow our patients to receive the dental care they need with the peace of mind they deserve.

Do you have questions about our current practices or services? Contact our Burke office at (703)-935-2879 for friendly assistance.

Posted on August 30th, 2020


 

Expecting? Here’s How to Protect Your Oral Health!

One of the critical advances in dentistry in the past decade has been the intense study of the oral-systemic link. Multiple research projects have led to a clear understanding that every person’s oral health has a very real effect on their body. For pregnant women, this link includes effects on the developing fetus. Poor oral health has been identified as a contributing cause of gestational diabetes, intrauterine growth restriction, premature delivery, and preeclampsia, all conditions that expectant mothers wish to avoid.

It can be frightening to think that your oral health throughout pregnancy can affect your baby. To avoid problems can be a bit more challenging when you’re pregnant due to the ways that changing hormones influence the gums, in particular. It’s not all bad news, though. Here, we outline a few strategies for maintaining a healthy mouth throughout pregnancy.

Watch Out for Sweet Cravings

It’s an old wives’ tale that pregnant women have an unnerving craving for pickles. The truth is every woman may have new and unusual cravings. Sometimes, those are for sweets or high-carbohydrate foods such as bread and rice. Studies show that one of the dangers of starchy, refined carbs is that these molecules increase blood glucose levels. They act similarly to sugar in the way that they affect the teeth and gums.

If you’re pregnant and you find that you’re craving sweets more often than usual, satisfy your pregnancy cravings with fresh fruits, when possible. Fruits like strawberries can be enjoyed with a drizzle of honey or whipped cream for extra deliciousness, and they have a teeth-whitening effect to boot! Another option for satisfying that sweet-tooth without increasing the risk of cavities is to find sugar-free recipes online.

Managing the Effects of Morning Sickness

Morning sickness can be unpleasant at the very least. At worst, when nausea leads to vomiting, this pregnancy-related illness can be unhealthy. Extreme nausea and vomiting may cause dehydration and fatigue. This problem can also affect the teeth because of the acid in stomach reflux. The acid in reflux fluid erodes enamel and may result in cavities. While it may sound logical to brush teeth promptly if nausea causes vomiting, this should be avoided. Acid softens the enamel of teeth. Brushing within 30 minutes of acid exposure could scratch the outer surface of teeth, further increasing the risk of decay and erosion. Instead of brushing, rinse the mouth with water and dab a small amount of mouthwash around the gums for freshness.

Ideally, a thorough dental exam and cleaning can be done before pregnancy. If tooth pain or other problems arise during pregnancy, a call to the dentist can identify appropriate solutions. To schedule a visit to our Burke, VA office for your exam and cleaning, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on August 15th, 2020


 

Is Invisalign Faster than Braces?

The idea of a straight, attractive smile is very appealing to most of us. However, the timing of treatment is a big question many people have when considering orthodontics. Understandably, there is something to be said about achieving results as quickly as possible. This is one reason why so many people are drawn to Invisalign. But is Invisalign actually faster than braces? That depends. We’ll discuss that here.

Treatment Must be Customized

There are several options to getting a straighter smile, spanning the whole spectrum of conservativeness. Standard braces are often viewed as the least conservative method of straightening teeth because brackets are glued into place and strung with a wire that is only changed by the orthodontist. Invisalign is somewhere near the other end of the spectrum, a nearly-invisible aligner that can be removed whenever one wishes (sort of). An important aspect of treatment that needs to be understood is that every person has unique needs, which means all treatments have to be customized. Some of the factors that influence a dentist’s recommendations include:

  • The alignment issue that needs to be corrected
  • The severity of misalignment
  • The presence and severity of malocclusion (bite issues)
  • The general condition of the teeth and gums

Braces are typically recommended when a patient has more complicated dental issues such as severe crossbite or malposition of the molars. Braces may also be used to correct less complicated issues, including deep bites and minor tooth turning.

Invisalign is one of the least invasive methods of straightening teeth and may be recommended for mild to moderate misalignment in which teeth are either spaced too far apart or are crowded. Some patients may be candidates for Invisalign even if they have minor overlapping or turning.

So How Long Does It Take?

Many websites portray traditional orthodontic treatment as long and complicated. That’s not always the case. Some people have to wear braces for 18 months to a few years. Others, however, only have to wear braces for 6 months. The same can be said of Invisalign. Some patients need to wear aligners for about a year. Others may only need to wear them for a few months.

The difference between the timing of Invisalign and braces relates to the severity of the problem needing correction, not to the method of that correction. The primary difference between Invisalign and traditional orthodontic treatment is that one is simply more discreet, comfortable, and convenient than the other.

We’d love to help you get the straight smile you’ve always wanted. To schedule your Invisalign consultation in our Burke, VA office, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on July 30th, 2020


 

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


 

 

 

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