Dr. Stephen A. Price


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



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


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




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