Is this your child’s first cavity? Take a deep breath. We can help.
When you find out that your child has a cavity it may feel rather unsetting, particularly because you work hard to make sure your child maintains a healthy smile. A lot of children experience a cavity at some point and it’s important that when they do they have a family dentist in Arlington, VA, like our very own Dr. Mary Gregory, who can provide their teeth with the proper restorative care they need.
Why do cavities happen?
Everyone has bacteria in their mouth and when you consume certain foods, particularly starches or sugars, the bacteria turn these foods into acid. The acid, along with bacteria and the food that your child has just eaten then form a sticky substance over the teeth known as plaque. Over time, the acid found within plaque can wear away at the enamel, causing cavities or holes in your child’s teeth.
One of the best ways to reduce your child’s risk of cavities is to limit how much sugar they eat or drink. Checking nutrition labels is your best bet, because you may be surprised to discover just how many foods contain high levels of added sugar. Sugar and starches such as white breads and pastas can increase plaque buildup. If the plaque isn’t properly brushed away it hardens into tartar, which only our Arlington, VA, dentist can remove during a six-month routine cleaning.
How is decay removed?
If we do discover a cavity in your child’s tooth during a checkup it’s important that we remove the decay to prevent it from spreading further. To do this, we will first numb the area around the tooth with a local anesthetic before removing the decayed enamel. How much enamel we have to remove will depend on the extent of the damage.
Does my child need a dental filling?
If your child has a cavity then yes, a dental filling is most certainly in order. A filling doesn’t just restore the appearance of the tooth and refill areas where decayed enamel was removed but it also serves to re-strengthen the tooth so that it doesn’t weaken over time.
A dental filling is often made from a putty-like material known as dental resin. This resin is first matched to the shade of your child’s tooth before being applied in one thin layer over the area or areas of the tooth that need to be rebuilt. Once the layer is perfectly shaped we will shine a blue curing light over the tooth to harden the resin directly to the tooth’s surface. We will continue to apply more layers of resin until the tooth is completely restored. Getting a dental filling only takes a couple of minutes and it’s a completely painless process.
If it’s time to schedule your child’s next dental cleaning or if your child is dealing with dental pain or other symptoms of a cavity it’s important that you call our Arlington, VA, dental office to schedule an appointment for your little one. It’s important to have a family dentist you and your family can turn to.
Dental crowns have several important uses in dentistry, including restoring infected teeth after root canal therapy, covering implants, and securing dental bridges. You may find that crowns are the right choice for resolving your unique dental problem while giving you a long-term solution. You’ll know for sure after you visit Dr. Mary Gregory at her Arlington, VA, dentist office.
Dental Crown Treatment
Dentists place over 2 million crowns every year according to the American College of Prosthodontists, making it a top restorative treatment. It is one of the most beneficial treatments in dentistry, giving patients renewed confidence in the appearance and stability of their teeth. After months or years of seeing a tooth deteriorate, lose its attractive color, and weaken, a crown can make it strong and beautiful again. A crown treatment only requires you to commit to two or three dental visits in about a three-week span of time.
Is a Crown Right for Your Problem?
Your Arlington dentist must perform a dental exam and take X-rays to know for sure that you are a good candidate for a crown. There are a few circumstances when it’s likely that a crown will be the right solution for your dental problem:
- The tooth enamel is soft or weak.
- There are cracks in the surface of a tooth or broken edges.
- A single tooth shows dark discoloration that won’t respond to whitening gels.
- The enamel needs to be restored after root canal therapy.
- You have a missing tooth between two strong, healthy teeth (dental bridges use dental crowns).
If you do get a crown, it’s your responsibility to ensure its long-term stability. Ensure that it will stay in place for a very long time by observing the following important care tips:
- Brush and floss thoroughly around each tooth, paying close attention to the base of the crown. It’s important that you brush at least twice daily—once upon waking, and once after the last meal of the day. Floss before you go to sleep and between meals.
- Ask your dentist to create a nightguard if you’re grinding and clenching, which could damage a crown’s exterior.
- Avoid eating sticky or hard candies.
Get More from Your Smile
If your teeth have lost their strength and beauty because of dental damage, crowns might help. Contact Dr. Gregory’s family dental office in Arlington, VA, at 703-527-6495 today to schedule a dentist appointment.
Repairing your smile and replacing your missing teeth can benefit your teeth both aesthetically and functionally. However, many people are not aware of a permanent solution to a missing tooth, a restorative dental procedure called a dental implant. Are you a candidate for dental implants? Can you benefit from this procedure? Find out with Dr. Mary Gregory in Arlington, VA.
What are dental implants?
Dental implants are a dental restoration which replaces a missing tooth. The implant has three main parts: the fixture, the abutment, and the prosthetic. The fixture is a small, post-like titanium piece which your dentist surgically implants into the bone under your missing tooth, essentially replacing your tooth’s root. The prosthetic is the replacement tooth itself, normally a porcelain dental crown or bridge, which fits onto the fixture via the abutment, a small piece which connects the two main implant parts.
Can dental implants help me?
Dental implants replace one missing tooth, several missing teeth, or an arch of missing teeth. Implants stand alone and do not require the help of healthy teeth surrounding the gap to stay in place. This means that, for example, a dental implant can replace a single tooth on one side of your mouth and several teeth on the other. However, missing teeth cause bone atrophy, which causes the bone to degrade and break down over time. Implants require a solid foundation to stay in place, meaning that patients with significant bone atrophy may not be suitable for a dental implant. Though it is rare, a dental implant can reject due to poor oral hygiene. This makes a strong at-home daily oral care routine crucial to the life of your implants.
What can I expect from a dental implant procedure?
The procedure requires that you have several visits with your dentist and undergo an oral surgery to place the implant’s fixtures. A dental laboratory will customize your prosthetic teeth for your mouth to ensure that your new teeth fit seamlessly into your smile, from their shape to their length to their color. Your dentist will first place the implant’s fixture into the jawbone. The mouth then requires several months to heal. During the healing process, the bone grows around the fixture to anchor it into place. After your implant sites are fully healed, your dentist will attach the prosthetic teeth to the fixture using an abutment.
Dental Implants in Arlington, VA
Your journey to a new, full smile could be a simple phone call away. For more information on dental implants or how they can change your smile for good, please contact Dr. Gregory in Arlington, VA. Call 703-527-6495 to schedule your appointment today!
Preventive dentistry focuses on keeping your smile as healthy as possible. Dr. Mary Gregory, your dentist in Arlington, VA, emphasizes this important oral care by ensuring that your at-home hygiene works and that your in-office services are timely and thorough. She likes to see most patients every six months for cleanings and check-ups. You see, an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.
Maintaining your best smile
It starts at home as you and your loved ones brush twice daily and floss every day to remove soft plaque and avoid the formation of hard tartar. Both substances contain harmful oral bacteria which lead to tooth decay and gum disease. In addition, your healthy diet, low in carbs and high in fiber and calcium, reduces the chances of serious dental problems.
The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research says that tooth decay is the most common chronic disease among people ages 20 to 64 but that it can be controlled or prevented altogether. That's where good dental care from your Arlington dentist comes in.
Preventive care in the office complements your at-home routine. When Dr. Gregory examines your teeth and gums, she looks:
- For signs of tooth decay
- At the depth of your gum pockets (a painless process called periodontal probing which checks for gum disease)
- At your existing crowns and fillings and how your teeth bite together
- For signs of oral cancer
Your Arlington dentist assesses every patient for oral cancer because it is one of today's most deadly malignancies. However, says the Oral Cancer Foundation, cure rates improve significantly when oral cancer is detected early. As such, Dr. Gregory uses the innovative Velscope VX detection system. Handheld and wireless, this small probe assesses possible cancer lesions and other pathologies of the mouth in just minutes.
Keeping it clean
At your six-month appointment, your friendly hygienist carefully scales your teeth, including interdental spaces and the gum line to remove the tartar and plaque you miss at home. Also, she takes digital X-rays as needed. Finally, she'll suggest ways to improve your daily routine.
Other preventive services
Plastic sealants coat the deeply grooved chewing surfaces of selected teeth--usually molars. Painted on and cured with a special light, sealants ward off decay. Appropriate for children, teens, and adults, sealants are simple dental insurance which lasts about ten years.
So be diligent about your personal dental hygiene, and come to see Dr. Gregory every six months. Your smile and your overall health will benefit. Call the office today to arrange your routine exam and cleaning: (703) 527-6495.
Getting a root canal is never fun, but understanding the procedure and its benefits can make the process more comfortable. Dr. Mary Gregory, your dentist in Arlington, VA, wants her patients to be aware of the signs that they might need a root canal so they can quickly contact her and have the problem fixed promptly.
What is the purpose of a root canal?
To understand why your Arlington dentist performs root canals, it helps to think of them as an in-depth cavity filling. That's because the decay that started on the surface of the tooth - which would typically be treated with a filling - has infiltrated the inner portions of the tooth, which contain living tissue, blood vessels, and nerves. Decay that attacks these structures turns into a painful infection, and they will need to be removed in order to preserve the tooth's outer structure. The tooth is hollowed out and then filled with a rubber material, and topped off with a crown to protect it. With this tooth in its proper place, your other teeth will remain stable and healthy. Root canals, therefore, are designed to relieve pain, keep your tooth functional, and ensure the health of the rest of your teeth.
How do I know if I need a root canal?
A thorough discussion, examination, and X-rays from your Arlington, VA, dentist are the only real way to detect the presence of infected tissue inside of a tooth, but there are a few signs that could indicate that you need to make an appointment with Dr. Mary Gregory right away. They include:
- Lingering sensitivity after the tooth is exposed to hot or cold stimuli (soup or ice water, for example). This usually produces a painful, tingling sensation that lasts long after the stimulus has been removed.
- A deep ache inside the tooth, especially while biting down or chewing. This pain can also happen for no reason.
- The presence of a pimple-like lesion on the gum tissue near the tooth. This could mean your body is attempting to rid itself of the infection inside the tooth by creating an "escape."
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Mary Gregory, give our office in Arlington, VA, a call today!
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