Dr. Stephen A. Price


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



What is the Purpose of Tongue-Scraping?

Dental Services BURKE, VAOne of our biggest objectives of patient care is to enable individuals of all ages to adequately care for their teeth and gums. We can do this by monitoring oral health on a routine basis. Additionally, we support patients by offering suggestions that may help them increase the efficiency of home care. There are several strategies that provide immense value, such as using a flossing stick to reach the back of the mouth or using an electric toothbrush to disrupt plaque formation around the base of teeth. Tongue scraping is another example, though one that may sound “out there.”

Standing the Test of Time

Throughout history, some trends have faded away, and some have stood the test of time. Tongue-scraping, as barbaric as it may sound, is one of them. This method of cleaning the back of the tongue dates back to ancient times. It continues to be popular among Ayurvedic practitioners today. Here’s why it may become popular with you, too.

Though technique has evolved over centuries of time, the simplicity of the tongue-scraping practice has sustained. The general purpose of this practice is to cleanse the back of the tongue. To do this, a non-sharp instrument is gently run from the back of the tongue forward. As the scraping instrument moves, it picks up debris. The debris that is removed includes microscopic food particles, saliva, and bacteria. Do you know what this mixture becomes? Plaque.

Today, we know plaque as Enemy Number One to longstanding oral health. Plaque causes cavities, gum disease, and bad breath – and these are just the short-term consequences of this biofilm. So, when you scrape plaque off the back of your tongue, you gain benefits such as:

  • Better oral health. Where there is a plaque, there will be a disease. It’s that simple. Plaque from the back of the tongue increases the chances of bacterial invasion between teeth at the back of the mouth.
  • Better breath. Sure, bad breath may come from the onions you had with lunch, but there is also a good chance that bacteria are to blame. The origin of chronic bad breath is often found on the back of the tongue, where bacterial byproduct emits an odorous smell.
  • Better taste! One of the interesting benefits of tongue-scraping reported by those who do it is that their food tastes better. This is likely because biofilm at the back of the tongue covers taste buds.

Home care is only one aspect of lifelong oral health. We can help you with the rest. To schedule an exam and to clean with your Northern Virginia dentist, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on April 30th, 2018


A Tooth-Colored Filling Offers Hidden Benefits

Dental Fillings BURKE, VAThe dental disease poses numerous problems. Whether disease involves a small part of a tooth or the entire center chamber of soft tissue situated around teeth roots, any amount of decay can lead to pain. Where there is the pain in the mouth, we imagine there is also stress. No one likes the idea of having to see the dentist for restorative care. We do what we can to make the treatment process as comfortable as possible. Additionally, it is important to us that the results of care benefit the patient in as many ways as possible. Tooth-colored fillings help us do that.

What is a Tooth-Colored Filling?

The answer to this may be obvious; a tooth-colored filling is a restoration that matches the natural color of your tooth. Because of this, the overall appearance of the tooth is not changed by dental treatment. This wasn’t always possible. Way back in the 1800s, cavities were repaired with gold. This proved to be a rather expensive option, so another material was developed. In 1830, dental amalgam, aka the silver filling, was developed out of copper, tin, silver, and mercury. Initially, an amalgam filling does look silver. However, over time, oxidation causes the metal to tarnish and darken, thereby becoming more obvious in appearance.

A tooth-colored filling is an attractive option, yes, but there’s more. One of the important aspects of restorative care is how a filling fits into the tooth, how it performs in the tooth, and how long it lasts. Amalgam is said to be beneficial because it can last decades, but that’s not the whole story. One of the reasons we do not use amalgam in our office is because amalgam is metallic. Metal expands when it becomes hot (which happens every time you chew). For an amalgam to swell in a tooth means that, eventually, that tooth may fracture. Why risk this when we can place a composite filling instead?

Composite fillings are bonded to enamel and maintain tight margins that lock out debris and bacteria. These fillings are also less reactive than amalgam when they become hot because they are metal-free. These two factors alone improve the end-result of restorative care.

Has it been more than six months since you’ve seen us? Call (703)-935-2879 today to get an appointment on the books. We’re here to help you avoid the need for fillings and other reparative treatments.

Posted on April 30th, 2018


How Long will I have to Wear Invisalign?

Invisalign Burke VANot so long ago, the question asked by patients seeking orthodontic treatment was “how long will I have to wear braces?” The very idea, for some, was too much. Millions of adults today seek treatment to straighten teeth, close gaps, and improve oral health because they did not or could not do so as teens. Fortunately, their wait may have led them onto the ideal path of being able to straighten teeth without braces at all.

We are proud to be a premier Invisalign provider, serving patients from Northern Virginia with personal, friendly care. Because we perform so many Invisalign cases, we are very well aware that, even though this system is convenient and much more comfortable than standard braces, patients still want to know how long they will have to wear Invisalign aligners. Here, we take a look at the treatment process.

This is How Teeth Get Straightened

Many orthodontic and Invisalign patients know that the fixtures worn on or over their teeth are what leads to a straighter smile. This is often where it ends, though. How braces and Invisalign work often never comes up in conversation. When we’re looking at timeframes, though, this is an important point.

Teeth get straightened by first getting loosened. You see, teeth are stable because they are tethered to the jawbone through the periodontal ligament. This strong band of soft tissue holds tight to teeth roots so, to get teeth into proper position, this hold must be disrupted. To do this too quickly would be painful. Both braces and Invisalign exert firm but gentle and constant pressure on teeth to relax the periodontal ligament enough to allow movement.

Invisalign progresses through this transition in two-week intervals. With every new set of aligners, patients move closer to the straight smile they deserve. To see this happen as they wish, it is important that aligners stay in place more often than not.

When aligners are worn as directed, patients can complete their course of treatment as estimated during their consultation. Most Invisalign cases are wrapped up in about a year, with some cases completing sooner and some extending a few more months.

Are you interested to know how close you are to the straight smile you want? Find out! Call (703)-935-2879 to schedule your Invisalign consultation in our Burke, VA office.

Posted on February 28th, 2018


An Important but Often Overlooked Detail of Dental Fillings

Dental Fillings Burke VAFor the past 150-plus years, fillings have been the most basic of all dental restorations. This procedure is performed every single day across the globe, and it provides patients the opportunity to prevent more complicated damage to tooth structure. Way back when fillings were made of gold. This protocol led to long-lasting structural repair. Many people have said that their gold fillings never needed to be replaced. Perhaps this is where the misperception about fillings developed. Since the use of gold transitioned into amalgam and, now, into a composite resin and other ceramics, the idea that fillings can last forever needs to be tossed aside.

Just about every dental restoration made today has an end-date. Just how long a restoration like a filling can last is dependent on a few factors. One is the material used to repair the tooth. Another is oral care. In many cases, fillings simply wear out from daily use. Because your dentist knows that fillings need to be replaced at some point, time is spent during every dental exam to closely observe the integrity of each restoration in, on, or over a tooth.

Indications that a Filling Needs to be Replaced

A few of the signs that it’s time to replace a filling include:

  • Clear separation around the filling. When we chew, the enamel of our teeth expands because friction creates heat. When the mouth cools, enamel constricts. The materials used to make fillings react the same way to heat and to cool, with expansion and contraction. The problem is, there is variation in how quickly and how much these materials expand and contract. Over time, this leads to space around the filling.
  • When a filling separates, it may do so to such a subtle degree that we cannot detect it with the naked eye. What can detect the space around a filing is oral bacteria. These microorganisms may accumulate in microscopic crevices near the filling margin, gradually causing decay.
  • Enamel is the strongest matter in the body. That’s a hard thing to match! Though dental materials have been selected based on their durability, each can wear down over time. If excessive wear is noticed, replacement is necessary.

Your Burke dentist offers personal dental care in a friendly office setting. Schedule your visit at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on February 15th, 2018


Healthy Teeth: The Mineral Files

Our teeth are important fixtures that are integral to health and wellness. We often pay attention to the appearance of our teeth more than anything else. If the idea of actual oral health comes up, it is tooth decay and gum disease that we want to take steps to prevent. There is an underlying matter that needs to be recognized, though. For teeth to be strong, they need to have adequate mineralization.

The Danger of Enamel Erosion

In recent years, we have come face to face with the problem of enamel erosion. Enamel is the hard substance that blankets the softer materials deeper within teeth. It is often called the hardest substance in the body. Being hard doesn’t make enamel indestructible, though. Eating and drinking acidic products, even fruit juice, can degrade the outer shell on teeth. Eating a diet high in carbohydrates, which many people do today, also promotes acidity and the breakdown of enamel. The problem with this process is that enamel is not a substance that regenerates in harsh conditions. Adequate mineral stores are necessary for enamel to stay strong.

How to Protect Enamel

The steps to protecting enamel are relatively easy. They boil down to what we eat and how we care for our teeth.

  • Eating well means consuming products that support remineralization. The body actually knows how to put minerals back into tooth enamel because the loss of minerals is a natural consequence of chewing. The goal is to put more minerals back in than are being lost. Foods that are good for remineralization include celery, apples, wild-caught fish, eggs, and cheese.
  • Oral care. It is good to brush. It is better to brush correctly. Research suggests that electric and sonic toothbrushes are advantageous for a healthier mouth. Whichever type of brush you choose, though, you need to brush for two full minutes; every morning and every night. Technique needs to be gentle, and bristles need to touch teeth at a 45-degree angle to get the best results.
  • A little something extra. Some people need a boost in order to prevent enamel from wearing down prematurely. Topical fluoride may help with this. Many cities have fluoridated drinking water, and most bottled waters also contain fluoride. However, there may be a need for a little more in some cases.

Our goal is to help our patients maintain healthy teeth and gums for life. For friendly dental care, call (703)750-9404.

Posted on January 30th, 2018


Having Your Best Smile Does More Than Make You Feel Your Best

cosmetic treatments  BURKE, VAWe smile for several reasons. When we do, our entire body benefits. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that just being witness to an authentic smile brings joy to the heart, and causes the release of “feel good” hormones in the brain. Who cares if smiling causes wrinkles (Thanks for that, Kim K.)? Who cares if our ancestors from the 1800s didn’t think it “cool” to smile, whatever the word they used at that time to describe being cool or uncool. There are benefits to smiling that cannot be denied. But to smile freely, most of us want to like what we see on our face.

In our Burke office, we perform some cosmetic treatments that can bring out the best in a smile. If you’ve been considering the reasons to schedule your cosmetic dentistry treatment, we’re going to give you more reason to stop thinking and start acting.

Your best smile makes you look successful.

This isn’t phenomena; books have been written about the value of how we carry ourselves. In Smile and Move, author Sam Parker breaks success down into simple attributes such as treating others respectfully and engaging in work with a smile on your face. Upon exploration of the effects of a smile, it has been discovered that people who observe the smiles of others perceive character traits such as being more successful, more authentic, and younger.

The Benefits of Your Best Smile

Having a great smile is good for our confidence. It’s even good for our career and our relationships. Research also suggests that the appearance of the smile, and the act of smiling, offers physiological benefit, as well. Specific positive consequences of smiling, as concluded in one university study, include:

  • Boosted immunity.
  • A more youthful appearance.
  • Reduction or alleviation of pain.
  • General sense of positivity.
  • Decreased blood pressure.
  • More smiles around you!

The world can sometimes feel full of negativity. Smiling is a great way to offset a heavy mood within yourself and those around you. We can help you want to smile more by addressing the concerns that you have about oral health or the appearance of your teeth. Contact our Burke office at (703)750-9404.

Posted on January 15th, 2018


Which Cavity is Causing That Toothache?

Extractions BURKE, VAAs we progress through the Winter months, there is a good chance that we may encounter a cold at some point. Even a minor cold could create a bit of confusion in your mouth, of all places. We don’t normally consider the connection between the various parts of the body. Unexplained tooth pain is a prime example of this because, sometimes, what feels like a toothache isn’t at all from the type of cavity you’d expect. We want to explain.

The Mysterious Pain-Causing Cavity

Typically, tooth pain relates to the onset of a cavity in the enamel of a tooth. That is precisely why we seek dental care when pain is noticed. It is possible, however, that a different cavity could be the origin of tooth pain: the sinus cavity. You see, right behind the upper arch of teeth is the maxillary sinus. The sinus borders the uppermost part of the mouth, almost meeting the roots of posterior teeth. In fact, the nerves and blood vessels that feed these roots are likely to travel through the maxillary sinus on their way to their destination. Therefore, they may be affected by inflammation in the sinus cavity.

Can You Tell the Difference?

There is a chance you may be able to tell if tooth pain is really tooth pain at all, or if it may be your sinuses. Obviously, one of the telltale signs is that your sinuses are congested. If you have a cold or the flu, and even if you have allergies, you might have associated tooth pain that has origins in the maxillary sinus. Another way to tell if you may actually have a sinus toothache is to notice if your pain is localized to one tooth or if it feels more like all of your teeth are sensitive and achy.  If these symptoms improve with the use of decongestant medication, you may have avoided a cavity that needs repair.

The Bottom Line

Tooth pain is never something that you want to let linger for too long. If a toothache does not coincide with sinus congestion, or if it lasts for more than a week and does not improve with cold or flu medication, the best approach is to see your dentist. We’re happy to schedule a visit for you in our Burke office. Give us a call at (703)-935-2879.

Posted on December 30th, 2017


Three Ways that Dental Implants Serve Your Smile

Dental Implants BURKE, VATo lose a tooth has historically meant to lose full function for biting, chewing, and speaking. Depending on the extent of tooth loss and the area in the mouth that has been affected, there is also a cosmetic component to live with. Fortunately, we don’t have to “live with” any of the consequences of tooth loss anymore. We’ve now got viable treatments that put teeth back where they belong.

Dentures and bridges have served us well throughout the years. However, they are not without limitations. In recent years, more people have begun turning to dental implants to get back what was lost along with a natural tooth or teeth. There are several personal reasons why dental implants may be chosen for restorative purposes. What we find, though, is that all of these reasons come down to three specific benefits.


Teeth are present in the mouth for a specific purpose or set of purposes. Teeth need to be stable to fulfill their function in the mouth, which is primarily to break apart food. Teeth also butt up to one another to support alignment and a nice aesthetic. Even the roots of teeth are necessary for ultimate oral health, aiding in the regeneration of bone tissue beneath the surface so teeth can be secure for many decades. One of the notable advantages of dental implants is that they act so much like natural structure that they meet all of these goals.


When dentures are used for tooth replacement, there is a need for routine maintenance that consists of periodic adjustments for fit. This is because a standard denture has no impact on the bone in the jaw. Without structures within the jawbone, natural or man-made, the bone will deteriorate. When implants are inserted into the bone, they gradually become encased. This integration secures them for life.


Natural teeth need to be brushed and flossed daily to stay healthy and optimally functional. To replace the natural structure in the best possible way means to be able to do so without creating an obstacle to hygiene. Dentures are removed and soaked. Seems simple enough. However, the fact that these artificial structures are so fragile makes cleaning a somewhat complicated task. Remove and clean dentures over a towel. Don’t leave dentures in the mouth too long. Brush, but only with approved cleansers or abrasions will occur. This can all feel like a lot. It is a lot.  Dental implants bring more ease back into oral hygiene because they are essential corrosion-resistant posts that are surrounded by bone. Brushing and other simple hygiene that is aimed at preserving gum health take minutes a day.

Schedule your visit to our Northern Virginia office to learn more about dental implants.

Posted on December 15th, 2017


Bring Your A-Game at Any Age

dental services BURKE, VAWe may not phrase it just like that, but most of us want to bring our A-Game wherever we go. This doesn’t change once we pass a certain age, but it can be easier to forget or brush off the idea that looking good is an important aspect of feeling good at any age. Men and women in the Baby Boomer generation are doing a lot more these days to maintain their appearance. Botox and other non-surgical treatments have made it easy to anti-age. There is more that can be done, though, and it can be powerful.

Smile regeneration is an excellent way for the Baby Boomer generation to stay in the game as far as confidence is concerned. According to research, there are good reasons to stay abreast of the latest dental treatments to revitalize the smile.

The Lines Have Blurred

There are numerous reasons why the lines between generations have become blurry. Sure, we have categories that span about every 20 years; we’ve got the Baby Boomers, the Generation X kids, and now we’ve also got the Millennials. All have their character traits as a group, but they share more than we may think.

Where it was once common for retirement to occur at the age of 65, this is no longer the case. Many in the Baby Boomer generation are still working in thriving careers. They may own businesses, or they may volunteer. The point is, they are staying active, and that means they need to stay competitive regarding appearance.

Professional success isn’t the only reason why older adults want to maintain a vibrant smile; there is also the matter of socializing. There is no expiration date on dating or getting married. There are many instances of men and women meeting later in life, and starting a new life together. When there is an interest in fostering a strong social life, there is also a desire to look good and feel confident. A warm smile can do wonders to achieve this.

Burke dentist Dr. Stephen Price performs preventive, restorative, and cosmetic treatments with great care to achieve the desired outcome; one that patients will appreciate for years. To schedule a visit with us, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on November 30th, 2017


Could Flossing be Easier?

dental services BURKE, VAMost people we meet are interested in maintaining a smile that is warm and welcoming. There is an inherent understanding, it seems, that an attractive smile is a valuable asset. There’s more, though. A healthy mouth is the basis of that attractiveness, and also a very important aspect of general health and wellness. To keep the smile healthy and looking (and smelling) good takes effort. So, we learn that we should brush our teeth morning and night and that we should floss to make sure debris and bacteria do not collect in between teeth. The problem is, flossing is tedious. As such, this is a practice that a lot of people skip.

Is Water the Answer?

There may be a solution to the whole “it’s a chore” aspect of flossing. It all comes down to technique. Over time, tools to make the process easier has been developed. The Waterpik, or oral irrigator, is one of them. Here, we want to point out why water may be a good alternative to flossing in some cases.

An oral irrigator works by directing a steady, pressurized stream of water into the mouth. This stream is self-directed by the user and can be adjusted for more or less pressure. The movement of the water-stream in between teeth and across the gum line mimics the action of floss, only easier.

Waterpik use may be ideal for older adults whose dexterity may have declined due to arthritis or other reasons. This tool can improve the performance and efficacy of oral care for people with bridgework, braces, crowns, and dental implants, as well.

What You Need to Know

If you are considering switching up your flossing routine, a Waterpik is certainly worth consideration. This is especially relevant for the abovementioned situations, and for instances in which flossing just doesn’t get done because, well, “it’s a chore.” What is important to know about oral irrigation as opposed to flossing is that water may be slightly less effective at removing all plaque that exists around the base of teeth. It may help to add a few drops of anti-bacterial oral rinse to the water reservoir or to floss and irrigate.

Home care is complemented by routine exams and cleanings in the dental office. To schedule your visit with your Burke dentist, call (703)-935-2879.

Posted on November 15th, 2017




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