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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Are Dentures in Your Near Future? Here’s How to Plan for an Easier Transition!

Oral Health | BURKE, VA

Dentures provide a convenient and affordable solution for missing teeth. In our Burke dental office, Dr. Price carefully plans denture treatment around each patient’s needs. Whether you have several missing teeth already or you will undergo immediate denture treatment in which unhealthy teeth will be extracted and your denture will be seated in the same appointment, there is a transitional period in which you may encounter some odd experiences. Here, we offer a few suggestions that can help you get used to living with full dentures.

Expect a Few Modifications

Adjustments will likely be necessary after receiving a new denture. In the weeks following tooth extraction, swelling of the gums gradually subsides. As this happens, the fit of the upper and lower denture will change. In the first 18 months after teeth are extracted, the jawbone goes through quite a transformation in shape, as well. Through these changes, it is vital that adjustments are made periodically to keep the fit of your denture snug and stable.

Consider Temporary Dietary Changes

Dentures sit on top of the gums, which can take some getting used to. When tooth extraction accompanies the denture seating, the gums and jaw may feel sore for a few days. The new denture may also feel somewhat “clumsy” in the mouth. During this time, stress can be reduced by consuming softer foods. This is not the time to indulge in hard foods like popcorn or denser foods like a steak. For at least a few days, the mouth will appreciate a diet of eggs, oatmeal, yogurt, soup, and other foods that are soft and easy to chew.

Prioritize Oral Health

One of the most meaningful tips we can offer anyone who wears dentures is to continually prioritize oral health. Just because natural teeth have been replaced with artificial teeth that will not decay doesn’t mean disease cannot develop. In addition to cleaning dentures, it is necessary to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste to clean the gums. Just as you once brushed your teeth twice a day, you will be encouraged to brush your gums twice a day to keep the tissue beneath your dentures free of harmful bacteria.

A lot changes when natural teeth are replaced with dentures. We are here to support you through your transition with clear information and compassionate care. Learn more about tooth replacement options in a consultation at our Burke office. Call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on February 15th, 2019


 

Dental Visits During Invisalign Treatment

Invisalign, Burke,VAInvisalign is one of the most popular methods used to straighten teeth to ever be invented. There is nothing else that has come so close to perfection: convenience, comfort, and efficacy all wrapped up into a series of aligners. During Invisalign treatment, patients wear custom-made aligners for two weeks at a time. They need no special instructions for oral care. All in all, there is very little to worry about when going through treatment, aside from misplacing aligners. So why do we schedule periodic dental visits during a teeth-straightening program? We’ll discuss that here.

Invisalign Visits: Frequency

We schedule dental visits ever 6 weeks or every 12 weeks. The frequency of visits depends on each patient’s personal treatment plan. We discuss this detail of care during the initial consultation after we confirm that Invisalign is an appropriate method for alignment correction.

What Happens During Invisalign Dental Visits

The purpose of seeing the dentist periodically throughout a course of care is to follow the progress of teeth movement. Each visit, we observe how much movement has been achieved and confirm that teeth are moving in the way predicted at the onset of the treatment plan. Invisalign check-ups also provide patients with the opportunity to ask questions that may have arisen since their last visit.

The dental appointments that take place for Invisalign follow-up last only about 15 minutes in most situations. If a patient has questions or is facing issues with oral health or their aligners or any other aspect of treatment, visits can last longer, but typically no more than half an hour.

The Final Invisalign Visit

The final Invisalign visit may not be quite the same as a final orthodontic appointment because there are no braces to remove from teeth. Hence, there is no “big reveal” in which a patient gets to see a great new smile. Invisalign patients see their smile transform as they go through treatment so there are no surprises on this final day. During this last visit, fixtures that may have been placed are removed and impressions are taken so a retainer can be fabricated. Photos are also taken so patients can observe a side-by-side before and after of their smile.

Are you ready to begin your journey to a great new smile? Call our Burke office at (703)935-2879 to schedule your Invisalign consultation.

Posted on January 30th, 2019


 

Why Invisalign is So Popular

Invisalign, Burke, VAInvisalign has been around for several years now. It has become so common that many of the patients we meet know at least one person whose smile has been transformed without braces, but only because that person told them. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits of Invisalign is the discreet way in which the aligner system repositions teeth to improve the smile. As widely known as this benefit is, there are several other reasons why Invisalign is so popular.

Perfect for Teens and Adults

One of the first aspects of Invisalign that came to light years ago was the fact that aligners are an excellent solution for teens and adults of all ages. The development of clear plastic aligners has made it possible for thousands upon thousands of adults to finally get the straight smile they’ve wanted. Because there are no braces protruding from teeth, there is no effect on an adult’s professional or social image during treatment.

For teens, Invisalign makes it possible to continue engaging in sports and social activities without the discomfort and risks associated with braces. Attachment pieces designed over the years have improved the efficacy and overall capacity of aligners to move specific teeth in specific ways, too, increasing the appeal of Invisalign Teen for the average young person.

Perfect for Oral Health

Correcting misalignment is good for oral health no matter how you do it. However, clinical use of orthodontia has revealed specific obstacles presented by braces. Conventional orthodontic treatment affixes brackets onto individual teeth and then moves them using a wire that spans each entire arch of teeth. These fixtures may be necessary, but they make brushing teeth a real challenge. And flossing? Well, this must be done using a special tool. The problem with the roadblocks created by braces is that many patients do not spend the necessary amount of time cleaning carefully around each and every bracket and beneath archwires, let alone in between teeth. At the end of the average orthodontic treatment, restorative dentistry may be needed to repair teeth damaged by decay. Because Invisalign aligners are removable, the risk of dental problems during or after treatment is minimal.

There is so much to appreciate about Invisalign, and it seems like we just keep seeing more reason to love this treatment. Are you ready to begin your treatment? Call our Burke office at (703)935-2879 to schedule your consultation.

Posted on January 15th, 2019


 

Mail-Order Smile? Why You Should Say “No, Thanks!”

Invisalign Burke, VAWe all love the idea of a good shortcut now and then. However, when it comes to the smile, you’d think we would know by now that the best value to be found is in a dentist’s office. Consumers have collectively spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on commercial teeth whitening products only to eventually turn to their dentist to get the results they want. Today, we’re seeing something entirely new: mail-order orthodontics. Here, we discuss what the process of a mail-order smile looks like and why this solution is not an alternative to systems like Invisalign.

I’ll Have One Great Smile, Please

Mail-order orthodontic treatment is often structured like a club. For a start-up fee that usually hovers around $100, a consumer receives a kit in the mail. The package includes a dental impression mold and instructions on how to take impressions at home (all without professional help). When returning the impression to the mail-order orthodontic company, the consumer may also have to report that they are current on their checkups and x-rays with their family dentist (although rarely is proof requested). Also, the company may want a few “selfies” to get a good idea of oral anatomy and tooth alignment.

Using front-image photos of teeth and a potentially ill-performed impression, the orthodontic company then develops clear aligners similar to Invisalign. These aligners are worn as directed to achieve a better, healthier smile – again, without one ounce of professional supervision.

Your Smile Matters

You want a straighter smile because you care about how you look. You also care about your general health and well-being, we would assume. For this reason, we encourage you to seek professional dental care to correct your alignment concerns.

Invisalign and mail-order aligners do not compare. When you begin Invisalign treatment, digital impressions create a full-view observation of all of the teeth in your mouth. The imaging sent to the Invisalign lab is processed using software integration that has been extensively studied for efficiency and accuracy. The processing mechanism knows precisely where your teeth are and exactly which changes need to take place at which time to achieve the desired outcome. This process was developed after years of clinical testing to ensure proper bite alignment. Using nothing more than self-made impressions in which there is a large margin for error, and zero supervision, there is a higher likelihood that mail-order orthodontics could worsen a bad bite. This could lead to jaw problems and ongoing symptoms related to TMJ disorder.

Get your teeth straightened the right way using Invisalign. To learn more about this simplified method of teeth-straightening, call our Burke office at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on December 30th, 2018


 

Are You in the Know about Cavities?

Cavities Burke, VATooth decay, or cavities, is one of the most prevalent childhood diseases today. Furthermore, we aren’t immune to getting the occasional cavity throughout our adult life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that virtually every person in our country will develop tooth decay at some point. The good news is there are steps we can take to prevent the deterioration of teeth. The bad news is there are still plenty of people who aren’t quite sure how to do that. Here, we point out a few misconceptions about cavities and how you can avoid this unnecessary discomfort.

If I have a cavity, I will also have a toothache.

This could be true, but we do not encourage patients to look at pain as the only sign of a cavity. In almost every case, tooth decay progresses from a tiny spot of erosion on a tooth to a deeper channel of damage. It isn’t until a cavity has spread close to or into the dentin, where nerve endings are more sensitive, that a toothache may begin. Once decay has reached this point, the damage that has occurred may be too significant for a filling; root canal therapy may be needed.

Don’t wait to see your dentist. Keep up with routine exams and x-rays to catch cavities before they cause pain and extensive damage.

Sugar causes cavities.

Sugar has been pinpointed as a primary factor in cavity development, leading to the widespread notion that sugar causes cavities. This is only a half-truth. Cavities are the result of acidity, and acidity is a byproduct of the bacteria that live in the mouth. When you consume sugary foods, including potatoes, fruit, and bread (not just cookies and candy), the bacteria in your mouth also consume sugar in the form of residue left on your teeth and gums. The acid that gets deposited turns to plaque and sticks to teeth, causing erosion.

When the perception is that sugar causes cavities, there is also a common secondary thought that sugar-free foods are safer for teeth and gums. This is also not true. For example, a sugar-free soda is highly acidic and therefore quite likely to increase the amount of plaque that sits on teeth.

Sugar is not the main culprit of tooth decay, acid is. To protect your teeth from degradation, drink more water throughout the day and rinse your mouth with water after eating or drinking. Brush twice a day and floss every night before bed. Finally, maximize oral care by seeing your dentist every six months.

A new year is before us, and that means a whole new chance for a healthier smile. Call our Burke office at (703)-935-2879 to schedule a checkup and cleaning.

Posted on December 15th, 2018


 

Veneers or Braces?

Veneers BURKE, VAMany of our patients state that they want to have a more appealing smile. If you are interested in upgrading the appearance of your teeth, you have several options. When the concern relates to the alignment of one or more teeth, it may be possible to achieve the desired outcome with braces or veneers. Deciding which method of care is right for you takes a great deal of thought and detailed information from an experienced dentist.

The results from veneer treatment are outstanding when the process is carried out by a dentist familiar with not only your smile and desired outcome but also with the various materials that are used to make veneers. Like veneers, braces are used to correct specific flaws in the smile. The two approaches to a better smile may achieve similar outcomes, but that is where similarities end.

Braces, including Invisalign, physically correct misalignment. This is achieved over the course of several months, during which specific fixtures place gentle force on teeth to move them from one position to another. Dr. Price is a Premier Invisalign Provider in Northern Virginia who routinely utilizes this discreet system to correct overbite, underbite, crossbite, turned teeth and more. Once Invisalign treatment is complete, a retainer needs to be worn at all times for at least another 12 months. With consistent maintenance, the results of Invisalign can last a lifetime.

Veneers do not correct the problem of a turned tooth or mild misalignment. This treatment covers the problem so the tooth or teeth that are unappealing take on a whole new look. The process is much faster, taking only a couple of office visits. It is important to know that veneers do not last forever, and that good oral care is critical to preventing decay and inflammation around the covered teeth.

Crooked teeth pose significant cosmetic concerns. Any amount of misalignment can also mean that bacteria accumulate in between teeth and in hard-to-reach areas. There are advantages and disadvantages to any treatment option to give the smile a natural, beautiful look. To learn more about the options available to you, call our Burke office at (703)935-2879.

Posted on November 30th, 2018


 

November is Diabetes Awareness Month

Dental Services BURKE, VAWith this month being Diabetes Awareness Month, there is no better time to discuss the real risks posed by unregulated blood sugar. If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, you know that consistently high blood sugar levels can affect your kidneys, your heart, nerves, eyes, and your teeth and gums. It is our intent to help all of our patients overcome their particular risks for oral disease so they can enjoy a healthy smile for life.

The Connection Between Diabetes and Oral Health Problems

Blood sugar is the original problem affecting diabetics. The inconsistency of blood sugar levels puts stress on every part of the body. This is because the white blood cells that protect us from viruses, bacteria, and disease are weakened by excessive blood sugar. Because the mouth is a complete ecosystem with its own unique bacterial content, there is a particular risk for dental disease in individuals whose immune system is compromised in any way.

Specific dental problems associated with diabetes include:

  • Dry mouth.
  • Gingivitis and periodontitis (gum disease).
  • Thrush, or fungal infection in the mouth related to antibiotic use.
  • Poor healing from oral infection or dental work.

What about cavities?

There is a common school of thought that people with diabetes are much more likely to get cavities than those who do not have this health problem. The theory is that diabetics have more glucose in their saliva and that this enables bacteria in the mouth to thrive. Thriving bacteria eat away at enamel as well as gum tissue.

In reality, a person with diabetes has the ability to significantly reduce their risk for cavities and also gum disease. The heightened risk for tooth decay relates to persistently high blood sugar. When a person with diabetes is mindful about diet and prescribed therapies to regulate blood sugar, there may be no greater risk of cavities than is common to the average person.

Diabetes and Tooth Loss

Many people with diabetes carry unnecessary concern that they will lose their teeth as a result of their blood sugar levels. While it is true that uncontrolled diabetes increases the risk of gingivitis and progressive gum disease, there is usually ample opportunity to get gum health well under control long before the stability of teeth is affected.

Brushing, flossing, and frequent dental checkups and cleanings are as beneficial for the person with diabetes as they are for everyone. Schedule your checkup and cleaning in our Burke office at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on November 15th, 2018


 

A Chipped Tooth is No Laughing Matter

Dental Services BURKE, VAChipping a tooth can be quite an unpleasant surprise. Often, though, when a person chips a tooth, they live with it. It’s just a minor injury, right? Not necessarily. If the tooth that is injured is located in the smile line, its presence can degrade the smile. More tragic than that, a chipped tooth in the smile can severely diminish a person’s sense of confidence; so much so that their interactions with others are affected.

Anyone can Chip a Tooth

Most people are pretty careful with their teeth. We don’t meet many folks who use their teeth to open bottlecaps or tear open packages anymore. As durable as enamel is supposed to be, a rogue collision with a drinking glass or hard food might lead to an unexpected chip. Maintaining teeth with daily, conscientious oral care (including flossing!) may decrease the risk of chips by keeping enamel strong and resilient, as can avoiding soda and energy drinks.

If a tooth is chipped, it is important that a dental exam is performed to observe the severity of the injury. No two chips are alike.

Craze Lines

This type of chip affects only the enamel. It usually does not cause pain, but can create a cosmetic concern. The primary concern with craze lines, aside from their unappealing appearance, is that the jagged or sharp edges of enamel left behind could cut the tongue.

A craze line chip may be repaired in a few different ways. When the chip is so minor that the appearance of the tooth is still intact, we may only polish the edges of the tooth. A more severe chip may be covered with dental bonding or a porcelain veneer.

Broken Tooth

A severe chip fractures enamel and internal structures. This type of chip will cause pain because it will expose the nerves of the tooth. Treatment is necessary to eliminate pain and restore the tooth to a functional condition. This may involve root canal therapy and a crown, or a filling or crown on its own.

Split Root

It is possible for tooth damage to cause the root to split. Sometimes, this isn’t seen right away. The root damage can make its way to the chewing surface over time. In the meantime, the damage may cause inflammation or infection deep within the tooth. In the case of a split root, the best course of action may be to extract the damaged tooth.

Any degree of tooth damage is important to us. To schedule a consultation where we can examine a tooth injury, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on October 30th, 2018


 

What Sports and Energy Drinks are Doing to Your Child’s Teeth

Dental Services BURKE, VANow that we are settled into a new school year, many kids have developed their eating and snacking habits. As hard as parents may try, it can be difficult to keep kids away from foods that could harm their teeth. Here, we want to discuss the reality of sports and energy drinks and why they are not good alternatives to soda.

Many people turn away from soda as a way to avoid unnecessary exposure to sugar and chemicals that the body can’t process well. When it comes to kids, especially teens and children who play sports, the alternative is sports drinks. Interestingly, if we look at labels, there are types of sports drinks that may contain as much sugar as the average soda, or even more. This could be because a bottle of Gatorade, for example, contains more ounces of fluid than a can of soda. Regardless, the sugar content is something that poses a threat to oral health.

But Wait, There’s More!

Like soda, sports and energy drinks have an acidity level. This describes where chemicals lie on the spectrum of acidity. The scale ranges from 0 to 14. In the middle, at 7 pH, a substance is considered neutral. Pure water is an example of a neutral substance. A measurement below 7 pH means more acidity; greater than 7 means less. With each number change, the increase or decrease in acidity is 10 times different, and this is compounded. So, a pH of 5 is ten times more acidic than a pH of 6. A pH of 4 is 100 times more acidic than the pH of 6.

What does this have to do with your teeth? According to studies, if we were to place a tooth in a substance with a pH of 4, it would dissolve. In fact, enamel erodes when exposed to a pH of 5.5. Dentin, the softer matter just beneath enamel, erodes at pH 6.5. Seeing this, we might imagine we would never consume anything that was so acidic. We do.

Formal measurements on the acidity of a wide range of commonly consumed beverages reveal that we are downing quite a bit of acid with every can or bottle. A few examples include:

  • Root beer ranges in pH from just above 4 to just below 5.
  • Other sodas, including Pepsi, Coke, and Dr. Pepper, don’t even reach a pH of 4. The least acidic soda on the formal list is Diet 7 Up, with a pH of 3.7
  • Energy drinks and sports drinks, including Monster and Gatorade, range in pH from 2.53 to 3.49. Powerade red sits at 2.77.

Is There a Solution?

The ideal solution would be that we go back to what nature intended and we drink water and natural juices. This is a relatively far-fetched idea at this point in time, so we need other strategies. Dentists recommend:

  • Limiting how many non-water beverages a child consumes. If possible, do transition them away from chemically formulated drinks to those that are natural.
  • If children are allowed soda and sports drinks, help them develop the habit of rinsing their mouth with water afterward, being careful to swish water over all teeth, even front teeth.
  • Postpone brushing teeth until an hour has passed after consuming an acidic beverage. The high acidity of these drinks softens enamel. If a child brushes, that softened enamel is removed.

Your Burke dentist is interested in helping your family avoid uncomfortable dental problems. To schedule a checkup and cleaning with our friendly team, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on October 15th, 2018


 

Brushing and Flossing: Does Order Matter?

 Dental Services BURKE, VA Most of us are well aware that we should be brushing and flossing our teeth every day. What may not be quite so clear is which task should come first. Here, we discuss the points of interest in this conversation.

The Debate

Every conversation has two sides. When talking about the order in which brushing and flossing take place, there is one side that states that brushing is what cleans the teeth of most of the plaque that has accumulated, even in areas that are semi-difficult to reach. Another side argues that flossing loosens or removes plaque from the gum line and in between teeth, so should be done first. This side also states that, by flossing first, the toothbrush bristles and toothpaste have more cleaning action on teeth.

The Details of Oral Care

Teeth need to be cleaned every single day. Brushing does not need to exceed twice-a-day sessions; usually morning and night. Flossing is a once-a-day task but is no less vital to oral health than brushing. If you don’t floss for even a few days, plaque forms where you can’t see it, and it begins to harden. Hardened plaque, called tartar, can’t be flossed away. It will stay on enamel until removed by the dentist. Furthermore, forgetting to loss paves the way to bad breath.

Another important detail of oral care is that the back of the tongue needs to be cleaned. However, it isn’t ideal to brush the back of the tongue with your toothbrush. Doing so collects bacteria from the tongue and leaves it on the instrument you use to clean your teeth. Basically, brushing your tongue just creates a cycle for bacteria. A better idea is to get a tongue scraper from a pharmacy or drug store and gently run it from the back of the tongue to the front.

Benefits of Brushing and Flossing

There is a lot of information online about the dangers of gum disease. The primary advantages of daily brushing and flossing are that these activities significantly reduce your chance of getting cavities or infected pulp (which needs a root canal). Regular care also inhibits bacteria from invading the gums and causing hidden infection. It isn’t just gum disease and cavities that can be prevented with proper oral care. Studies suggest that a healthy mouth also supports a healthy body that has a lower risk of stroke, chronic health conditions, heart disease, and even dementia.

So what’s the answer to the initial question? The answer is, it doesn’t matter whether you brush or floss first. Just remember to do both every day. Your Burke dentist can support your daily oral care with thorough exams and professional cleanings. Call (703)-935-2879 to schedule a visit with us.

Posted on September 30th, 2018


 

 

 

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