Dr. Stephen A. Price


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The Hidden Way that COVID-19 May Affect Dental Health

The Hidden Way that COVID-19 May Affect Dental Health

Over the past several months, we have been exposed to the uncertainties of life. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected society in multiple ways, leading us to rethink how we go about our days. While we’ve had to become more alert and mindful about things like handwashing and social distancing, we’ve also had to manage the mental impacts of these new stressors. In our Burke dental office, we have implemented strategies that have enabled us to continue serving our patients. Here, we serve by discussing how stress from the pandemic of 2020 may affect dental health and what you can do about it.

How Stress Impacts the Smile

When we are under stress, several dental conditions and habits may develop, including:

  • Nail-biting. This habit is a common subconscious reaction to stress. Biting on nails is like biting on any hard object; it can weaken teeth. Additionally, biting fingernails could introduce new bacteria into the mouth.
  • Bruxism. Like nail-biting, bruxism is an unconscious habit that weakens teeth and gums. Bruxism is the clenching and grinding that you may do in your sleep. Because of this, you may not realize you are doing it until you suffer a cracked tooth or other damage.
  • TMJ disorder. This condition may result from bruxism, chewing gum, chewing on hard objects, or other factors. The TMJs are the temporomandibular joints at the sides of the jaw. They help you open and close your mouth. Stress on these joints can lead to uncomfortable stiffness, pain, clicking, and other symptoms.

Relieving Stress is Good for Your Smile

As we continue to navigate how we will restore a sense of normalcy in our lives, specific habits can help you manage your healthiest smile in times of stress. Suggestions for making it through a stressful pandemic include:

  • Wash your hands several times a day and use hand sanitizer when you go out.
  • Get enough sleep. Experts say that we do best with at least 7 ½ hours a night. When stressed, the body may ask for more.
  • Engage in calming activities daily. This may include meditation, coloring, gardening, walking outdoors, or listening to favorite music.
  • Talk with trusted friends or a therapist. We are living in an unprecedented time. We cannot be expected to know how to manage the stressors we have been facing. Getting help can be one of the best decisions you make for your emotional and physical health.

Our patients’ peace of mind and health are our top priority. To talk with a staff member about our current protocols and to schedule your visit, call (703)-935-2879.

Two Ways to Improve Your Smile

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

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

  1. Invisalign

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

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

  • Dental Implants  

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

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

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

Protecting Your Oral Health Involves Daily Practice. Here’s Why!

We now know through multiple research projects that what happens in the mouth doesn’t stay in the mouth. A person’s dental health correlates directly with their overall health. This is information we can use to help us foster long-term health and wellness. Here, we discuss how our dental office works with patients to maintain relevant oral health goals.

It’s All about Biofilm

Biofilm is not a term that most people hear very often. However, it is the root cause of the most common dental conditions we see today. We all have a biofilm in our mouth. It begins at birth with bacterial colonization and does not end. There are over 700 microbial species in the dental biofilm. One of the critical steps in maintaining a healthy mouth is to manage them.

One way that we help our patients manage oral biofilm is to perform routine cleanings using specialized instruments. A trained dental hygienist understands the benefits of what is called “prophy angles,” a selective polishing technique that helps prevent excessive overgrowth in the biofilm. Additionally, we help patients maintain healthy mouths with demonstration and education.

Oral hygiene isn’t just about brushing and flossing every day. It’s also about consuming more foods and beverages that support healthy teeth and gums and fewer of those that do not. Many people are surprised to discover that their oral health problems are largely caused by their daily habits, including what they are eating and drinking. Beverages such as colas, energy drinks, even lemon water can degrade enamel with acidity. According to studies, younger adults tend to consume such beverages and also tend to brush only once a day. A small change in routine can make a big difference in the integrity of teeth and gums.

Tooth decay is an irreversible disease caused by microbial organisms that demineralize calcified tooth structure. This happens when the oral biofilm is flooded with the bacteria lactobacilli and Streptococcus mutans. These organisms feed on dietary sugars and then turn them into acidic byproducts.

You needn’t know all the details about how cavities and gum disease develop. All you need to know is how to care for your teeth and gums. We can help. To schedule your routine exam and cleaning, call (703)-935-2879.

Some Oral Care Habits Could Hurt Your Smile. Here’s What You Want to Avoid!

If you take your oral health seriously, you probably spend at least several minutes a day brushing and flossing your teeth. So why did your last dental visit reveal some gum recession or tooth damage? This situation happens more often than you may think, and patients don’t always ask their dentist why their daily habits aren’t paying off. So, here, we will explain the habits you want to avoid.

Brushing Too Hard

Many of us learned at an early age that to get something clean, we had to put some muscle behind our work. Well, this does not hold true for oral care. If you’re brushing with a lot of pressure against your teeth and gums, you may be doing two things. One is scratching the delicate margins between the gums and the teeth. The other is that you could be scratching the hard shell of enamel, causing erosion that could lead to cavities. The same problems can occur if you use a toothbrush with hard bristles. Why hard-bristled toothbrushes are still made we will never understand. Our advice is to choose toothbrushes with soft bristles. This still gets the job done.

Overusing Your Toothbrush

We often forget that our toothbrushes only last so long. Used day in and day out for months on end, a toothbrush is bound to degrade. Bristles may soften or bend at the ends, minimizing the amount of plaque removal that can occur. If a toothbrush is more than 90 days old, it’s time for a new one. Ideally, we should start checking our toothbrush for signs of wear after about 60 days of use. Furthermore, if we get a cold or other illness, once we are recovered, we should toss the toothbrush we’ve been using so as not to reintroduce germs into the mouth.

Brushing at the Wrong Time

Some people are so serious about taking good care of their teeth and gums that they brush after every meal. This isn’t necessary but can’t hurt, either, as long as you get the timing right. Experts say that we should not brush within 30 minutes of a meal. This is because the digestive acids that are produced to break down food temporarily weaken tooth enamel. Brushing too soon can lead to scratches that then harbor bacteria.

Your oral care is an important aspect of good general health. We’re here to help you maintain your teeth and gums in optimal condition. To schedule a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning with Dr. Price, call (703)-935-2879.

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.

Could an Electric Toothbrush Make Your Life Better?

Cavities Burke, VAWhen you visit the dentist for your semi-annual exam and cleaning, you most likely leave the office with a nice new toothbrush in hand. This is a longstanding practice in most dental offices, but we think our patients could do better. Here, we discuss why more and more dentists and hygienists are recommending that people of all ages use an electric toothbrush. In fact, the American Dental Association just gave the ADA Seal to the Oral-B Oscillating-Rotating-Pulsating Power Toothbrush, so your local dentist isn’t the only one in on the secret.

What Makes an Electric Toothbrush Better?

If you’ve ever had an electric toothbrush, you may remember that brushing your teeth with your nifty instrument was pretty fun. Because the head of the brush spins or vibrates in some way, there is very little left for you to do other than hold the bristles against your teeth. During a two-minute window of time, just move the toothbrush from one tooth to the next and over all surfaces of each (front, back, and surface) and, voilà! Clean teeth!

Electric Toothbrushes are great for nearly everyone. In particular, a powered toothbrush provides specific benefits in a number of circumstances, such as:

  • The aggressive brusher. Many people, in an effort to do the best possible job cleaning their teeth, go at it a little too hard. Brushing with a lot of pressure on the bristles of your toothbrush can scratch the gums where they meet the teeth. Abrasive brushing can actually lead to gum recession and inflammation. A manual toothbrush gives you the feeling of cleanliness without having to be rough with your gums.
  • The apathetic brusher. We all know that brushing our teeth can be a rather boring chore. Using an electric toothbrush doesn’t minimize the amount of time you should brush; you still need to keep it up for a full two minutes, but it can make the time pass more quickly.
  • Children brushers. Kids love fun gadgets, which means most appreciate a good electric toothbrush. Using a rotating, vibrating toothbrush, a child may be more motivated to develop good oral hygiene practices.
  • Senior brushers. By their senior years, most people have a good handle on their teeth-brushing techniques. The problem is, their hand dexterity may not allow them to brush as well as they used to. An electric toothbrush can increase efficiency and decrease instances of hand pain from moving the toothbrush rigorously.

We’re here to help our patients enjoy good oral health for life. To schedule a visit at our Burke office, call (703)-935-2879

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.

Snacking Can Be a Hazard to Your Smile

Dental services BURKE, VABack-to-School time has many parents on the hunt for the perfect snacks for their school-aged children. Snacking is a vital part of life for people of all ages, but especially for children. When we consume something small and healthy between larger meals, we can regulate blood sugar, mood, and our energy level. While snacks were initially intended for such positive purposes, we have somewhat fallen off the wagon. Snacking on cookies, chips, and soda could do much more harm than good. Here, we discuss how snacking can harm teeth and what to do to create a win-win snacking situation for yourself and those you love.

Snacking and Dental Plaque

As much as experts recommend snacking on fresh fruits and crunchy vegetables, this isn’t often what people reach for. A lot of the snacks that are popular contain sugar, which creates a risk of plaque accumulation around the gum line. Sure, cookies and coffee might sound perfect for an afternoon pick-me-up, but the sugar in one is compounded by the acidity in the other, and the results could be a significant increase in the risk for tooth decay. Sugar residue is invisible, just like the plaque it supports. As this residue sits on enamel, it feeds bacteria and leads to an acidic byproduct that softens enamel. Softened enamel is the precursor to cavities.

Snacking and Erosion

Snacking is supposed to build you up. To hear that your snacks might wear down your teeth can take the air right out of your pleasure balloon. Not to worry; snacking can be pleasurable and healthy. The issue with some snacks, like that cup of coffee or fresh, crispy pickle, is that acidic ingredients can also soften enamel. In recent years, dentists have seen a surge in tooth erosion, which is the large-scale wearing down of the hard, outer material on teeth. Erosion can lead to discoloration as well as dental decay and sensitivity.

Save Your Smile with Simple Habits

You don’t have to stop snacking to save your smile. As much as possible, reach for crunchy, fresh foods that naturally cleanse debris off of your teeth. When you indulge in any snack, rinse your teeth with water (no brushing for thirty minutes) to dilute sugars and acids that may otherwise harm enamel.

Your Burke dentist is on your side against dental decay. Schedule checkups and cleanings for your family at (703)-935-2879.

Fractures aren’t Just a Bone Thing

Dental Crown Burke, VAWhen we hear the word “fracture,” we usually imagine an unexpected injury to a bone in the arm, leg, or another area of the body. This is not a word we might associate with our teeth. We should. Just like any bone in the body, a tooth can sustain an injury that leads to a fracture, or clean break. This type of damage typically occurs without warning, usually when something hard is bitten or chewed. Depending on the extent of the injury, tooth pain may not happen. However, a fracture is not something to leave unattended. Here, we discuss a few of the ways a fractured tooth might be treated.

Dental Bonding

We usually refer to dental bonding as a cosmetic treatment that covers small chips or other flaws. However, the dental bonding technique is also used restoratively. In this instance, we know the procedure as a tooth-colored filling. To repair a fractured tooth using this method, a slight amount of roughing may occur. This helps the composite material adhere to enamel. A tooth-colored mixture of glass and resin is then applied in thin layers and cured with light. The hardened material is comparable to enamel and therefore capable of strengthening the fractured tooth to decrease the risk of further damage.

Dental Crown

A dental crown may be necessary if a fracture has affected the layer of tooth material beneath enamel. This is a softer layer of matter and therefore more sensitive. A crown will cover the entire surface of the tooth to the gum line, buffering any stress that stems from biting and chewing. Dental porcelain is a standard crown material that looks and behaves like natural enamel, providing years of functional use.

Dental Implant

Severe tooth fractures may cause too much damage for the tooth to be saved. If the damaged tooth must be extracted, we can insert a tiny titanium post into the place where roots would be. This treatment induces bone growth around the post, leading to a new foundation for an artificial tooth to rest on top.

In our Burke office, patients can expect to receive care that suits their needs and their budget. For help repairing a tooth fracture or other dental problem, call (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.



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