Dr. Stephen A. Price


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


Why You Should See Your Dentist if Your Gums Bleed

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.

Gum Disease Can Harm Your Heart: Is it True?

Gum disease may be one of the most prevalent dental problems adults face, but that doesn’t mean everyone knows just how much they need to work on preventing inflammation and infection in their mouth. Statistics indicate that approximately 70% of tooth loss in adulthood is related to gum disease. More startling than that, even more adults (about 80%) have gum disease and don’t know it. If you’re wondering, gums that bleed when you brush and floss indicate inflammation. If your gums are puffy and red, bleed, and you have persistent bad breath, you can now count yourself as part of the 20% who are aware of their gum disease.

Knowing about gum disease is not enough. It is also necessary to understand why gum disease is a big deal and why we want to prevent it or treat it right away. One of the common theories is that gum disease is bad for the heart. Here, we dive into this concept to increase the awareness that all adults need to have.

What is Gum Disease?

Gum disease, gingivitis, and periodontitis or periodontal disease are all sides of the same coin. Each is a variation of inflammation and infection that affects the soft tissue that holds teeth in place. The progressive deterioration of the gums begins with an invisible film we call plaque. At first, plaque is soft. In time, it hardens as tartar against enamel. Both plaque and tartar are filled with bacteria. The microorganisms that live in the biofilm emit toxins that degrade both teeth and gum tissue. Weakened gum tissue pulls away from the teeth and allows bacteria to hide beneath the gum line, where extensive damage may be done.

What does This Have to Do with the Heart?

You may have heard the term “hardening of the arteries.” The condition doctors call atherosclerosis is a contributing factor to hypertension, stroke, and heart attack. It is also related to plaque. Atherosclerosis begins when sticky deposits of fat, cholesterol, and other debris become stuck in parts of various veins. The veins then become narrow and less capable of delivering oxygenated blood through the body. Studies have found that the plaque that forms in the blood vessels and arteries contains the same bacteria that are present in inflamed and infected gums. Scientists believe that these microorganisms naturally travel from the mouth into the bloodstream, where they then stick to the walls of important vessels.

Gum Disease Prevention and Treatment

The good news about gum disease is that it is one of the easiest disease processes to prevent and treat. You can start today by flossing your teeth. This habit should continue daily along with brushing teeth morning and night. If you notice redness or puffiness in your gums, schedule a visit with your Burke dentist. A thorough dental exam allows us to identify areas of inflammation and potential infection. We can measure the depth of pockets around teeth, if they exist, and discuss how to close them with proper treatment and home care.

Protect your gums, protect your heart. Schedule your visit with Dr. Price at (703)-935-2879.

What Kind of Cleaning do you Need?

When you schedule a dental checkup, you have certain expectations of what your dentist will do. In our Burke office, our thorough exam process may involve x-rays (depending on when you had them last). We will use small mirrors and instruments to check the surfaces of your teeth for softness, and will look at any restorations you have to assess structural soundness. A final aspect of the routine exam is to look at the gums. We don’t just look, though, we measure.

The standard of care for gum disease includes measuring the depth of spacing between each tooth and the soft tissue that surrounds it. The more space that has formed, the more inflammation is indicated. Depending on the extent of inflammation, what you expect next – your routine cleaning – may be scheduled for another day.

A Look at Process

The way that teeth-cleanings are performed is dictated by gum health. The routine cleanings that are performed in our office are conducted with the intent of removing debris and plaque or tartar that have accumulated around and in between teeth. To undergo such a cleaning when you have colonies of bacteria beneath the surface would be, well, pointless.

Let’s talk Periodontitis

The first indications of gum disease usually include minor nuisances like bad breath or a little bleeding when you brush. These symptoms cannot be explained away and they should prompt you to obtain dental care right away. When we treat this phase, known as gingivitis, we may be able to prevent bacteria from moving into the periodontal area of the gums.

Periodontitis is chronic inflammation from infection caused by the bacteria that live in plaque. It is a disease process that spreads inward, toward the bone that surrounds the roots of teeth. A routine cleaning does little to resolve this severe problem. To do so, we suggest a deep cleaning, otherwise known as scaling and root planing.

Scaling and root planing are two techniques that eradicate existing infection by removing the culprits, bacteria. The procedure is performed with local anesthetic to maintain comfort, and may be conducted in a series of treatments in order to address different areas of the mouth.

Prevention is always a better path to follow, and we’d like to support you toward that goal with the dental cleaning that is right for your needs. Call (703)750-9404 for an appointment with Dr. Price.

Want a Healthier Body? See your Dentist!

dental careWe have so many ways that we try to keep the body healthy. Some people yoga. Some run marathons. Some people eat a high protein diet, while others stick to high fat and low carb. Whatever your method of keeping your body healthy, it should include taking great care of your teeth. If you look at mounting research, you will see just how much the mouth and the body are entwined.

A healthy smile is generally a more attractive smile. Healthy teeth and gums are not considered sources of pain, because they are in good working order. What we are learning through ongoing research is that a healthy mouth is also a great indicator of health and wellness, and also of life expectancy.

Oral Wellness: the Missing Link?
Could we go so far as to say that keeping your mouth healthy will help you live longer? We probably could, and this would be backed by strong academic evidence. Through years of study, researchers have found direct links between the bacteria that cause periodontal disease and several serious health conditions. In fact, six of the seven leading causes of mortality, including Alzheimer’s, stroke, heart disease, and diabetes, all have ties to bacterium found in the mouth.

How it’s Possible
The idea of microscopic bacteria in the mouth causing deadly health conditions may seem far-fetched. A 2013 study published in Circulation is just one instance in which this is proven otherwise. In this study, as many of half of 101 heart attack events were linked to periodontal or endodontic bacterium. What many experts believe is that the bacterium themselves are just tiny matchsticks that light the fuse on a ticking time bomb that is fueled by systemic inflammation.

When the mouth, or any other part of the body, is infected, there is inflammation in that area. The immune system goes to work fighting this infection. If the original issue does not get resolved, inflammation continues to expand throughout the body. At some point, this becomes too great for the body to manage, and we see the development or worsening of disease.

All is not hopeless. No matter where you are in your oral health at this point, it is possible to mitigate infection and promote healthy teeth and gums. We are here to help you do that. Contact us for your checkup and cleaning.

See Why Gum Recession is Something to Avoid

gum diseaseGum recession is not a new problem. In fact, there was a common phrase used centuries ago that was directly related to this condition. Typically, it was an older person who may be called “long in the tooth.” Clearly, our teeth do not continue to grow longer as the years go by. What happens is that more tooth structure becomes visible when gum tissue recedes.

Gum Recession is not just a Cosmetic Problem

Part of the functionality of gum tissue is to cover the roots of teeth. When this does not happen, the same bacteria that cause cavities on other parts of tooth structure can do harm. In fact, because root structure is softer than enamel, more damage can be done in a shorter period of time.

When underlying structures are not adequately covered with gum tissue, one of the first indicators maybe tooth sensitivity. The intense reaction to hot or cold foods and beverages is the result of poorly protected nerves.

In many instances, gum recession occurs because this connective tissue you has broken down and strength. This results in increased risk for plaque accumulation and the development of small pockets that house oral bacteria. The build up within these pockets may cause persistent bad breath, and it definitely increases the risk for infection known as gingivitis.Does Gum Recession = Gingivitis?In many cases, the two conditions are interrelated. However, it is possible that your gums may be receding in the absence of infection. This could actually be a good thing because it gives us the opportunity to correct the issue at hand before gum disease develops.

Why Gums may Recede

  • You smoke or use tobacco. If this is a habit you engage in, you are no doubt aware of the inherent health risks. Specifically, if you chew tobacco, your gums are consistently in direct contact with harmful chemicals that impede oxygen absorption to regenerate tissue.
  • You brush too hard. It is not just that you brush and floss your teeth that is important, it is how you do it. Aggressive technique is not uncommon, so if you do it, you’re not alone. You are however, encouraged to learn a gentler way to manage your oral health. Abrasions are a common cause for gum recession.
  • You brush infrequently. The frequency with which you brush your teeth is important because it only takes about 24 hours for plaque to accumulate at the gum line.

Price and our experienced dental team can help you keep your gums healthy. Schedule a visit to our Springfield office for friendly care.

Gingivitis — It’s Not Just for Redheads

Gingivitis. Thanks to the omnipresent Listerine commercials everyone has heard the word. But most people don’t have a clue what it really entails. And it’s important to your future dental health. Here’s the lowdown on gingivitis from the team at Dr. Price’s.

What is gingivitis?

Its name sound ominous, but gingivitis is nothing more than gum inflammation. The main irritant? Plaque. Plaque is the film that forms on the teeth throughout the day consisting of bacteria, bacterial waste products, food residue, and saliva. When you brush and floss you remove the plaque. Then it starts to rebuild, only to be removed again when you brush. But if you neglect your oral hygiene the plaque can develop beneath the gumline, where it is very irritating to your gums. If allowed to stay there, the plaque hardens into tartar, causing more persistent irritation. While the term “irritation” sounds innocent enough, if this irritation is allowed to continue and progress, it leads to gum disease, clinically known as periodontitis. And you don’t want that.

What are signs of gingivitis?

gum diseaseGum irritation, gingivitis, is easy to spot. Your gums should be pink all over. Any bright red patches show irritation. Your gums should also lie flat against the teeth; inflamed gums tend to recede and pull away from the teeth. Your gums will also be prone to bleeding and this shouldn’t normally happen if you’re using a soft toothbrush. Bleeding is a sign of inflammation. And finally, as in the commercials, your breath will reek. The commercials get this part right — your bad breath is caused by bacteria that is being left to its own devices by your poor oral hygiene.

Gingivitis treatments

To keep your gums healthy and keep gingivitis at bay, it all starts with good home hygiene. Beyond that, these are treatments for gingivitis:

  • Prophylactic cleaning

Twice-yearly cleanings with Dr. Price are the first step. Why twice a year? That generally is the time it takes to start forming tartar and other issues that lead to decay. During these cleanings and checkups, not only will those problem areas receive a thorough cleaning, but we will also point them out to you for more attentive care at home.

  • Scaling

If you have a fair amount of tartar built up under your gumline, it may require dental scaling.

  • Root planing

Root planing removes any tiny grooves or pits from the tooth roots to make it easier for the gums to adhere and stop receding. This is done in multiple appointments with local anesthesia.

See, now you’re a gingivitis expert, regardless of what Listerine told you! Have other questions? Call us at 703-750-9404.

Why Should Diabetics Be More Concerned of Their Oral Health?

Diabetes is more than just elevated glucose (sugar) levels in the blood. By and large, diabetics and those who are in the pre-diabetic phases may suffer from complications involving the kidneys, heart and other vital organs. Your oral health is no exception. Here at our Springfield dental practice, we have seen a lot of patients who suffer from oral health conditions due to difficulties with their blood sugar levels.

Apart from lowering your resistance to infection and slowing down the healing process, the following oral health conditions has been associated with  persistently elevated sugar levels in the blood:

  • tooth decay
  • gum disease characterized by swollen, tender gums and/or gums that have pulled away from your teeth
  • impaired taste
  • persistent infection
  • salivary gland dysfunction
  • persistent bad breath

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, we encouraged you to get in touch with us. We also suggest that you have your blood sugar levels in control first and inform us about the medications you’re taking. 

For a free no-obligation consultation, call us at (703) 750-9404 or fill out this contact form. We look forward to helping you achieve a naturally beautiful smile!




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