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!
Mary Gregory D.D.S. Family Dentistry offers premiere preventive services. Of course, staving off dental problems starts early. Parents provide their children's first prophylactic care at home when they teach proper brushing and flossing. For Dr. Gregory's part, she supplies the in-office exams and cleanings that spot problems early and remove harmful tartar and plaque. Additionally, your Arlington, VA, dentist often advises children receive dental sealants, plastic coatings that shield molars from decay.
The problem of tooth decay
The National Children's Oral Health Foundation says that 40 percent of children have tooth decay by the time they are old enough for kindergarten. It's a scary statistic, but what can parents do besides brushing, flossing, offering a healthy diet and getting their kids their Arlington, VA, dentist every six months?
Well, don't worry. Dr. Gregory and her staff are experts in pediatric dentistry. They use the gentlest, but most thorough, of diagnostics and prophylactic cleanings to keep young teeth and gums bright and shining.
You see, decay starts when oral bacteria multiply in the plaque and tartar on and between teeth. This bacteria, secretes powerful acids that literally eat away at tooth enamel, causing holes we call cavities.
At-home oral hygiene and in-office cleanings combat plaque, tartar and those destructive bacteria, but most children (and some adults) benefit from a little extra help. That's where plastic sealants come into play.
What are plastic sealants?
Plastic sealants are thin coatings painted or dripped onto the deeply grooved chewing surfaces of molars. Most children receive molars between the ages of six and twelve, and because of their position and craggy structure, these teeth trap more food residues, develop more plaque and tartar and then, tend to decay.
The American Dental Association says that plastic sealants definitely help prevent cavities in children. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control agrees, stating that youngsters without sealants on their back teeth have three times the amount of decay than youngsters who have had their teeth protected.
So how do sealants work? Dr. Gregory cleans and dries the molars and applies a mild etching liquid. This liquid prepares the teeth so the sealant bonds well to them. Then, she paints on the plastic sealant, allowing it to cover the deep grooves. Next, comes a quick hardening with a blue ultraviolet light.
The whole treatment takes just a few minutes per tooth and lasts several years.
Find out more
The next time you bring the children to Mary Gregory D.D.S. Family Dentistry in Arlington, VA, ask the doctor about plastic sealants. After all, they are another effective weapon in the fight against tooth decay. Call for your routine appointments today: (703) 527-6495.
You'd like a whiter, brighter smile, wouldn't you? Sure, who wouldn't? Over time, tooth enamel retains organic materials from darkly pigmented foods and beverages, tobacco and even prescription medications. Get back your dazzling, youthful smile with teeth whitening from your Arlington, VA dentist, Dr. Mary Gregory. Safe, effective and professional supervised, teeth whitening at the office or in the privacy of your own home will give your smile the cosmetic lift it needs and you, the boost in self-image you deserve.
The story behind dental discoloration
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says that the one thing Americans would change about their smiles before anything else is tooth color. Older teens and adults alike often despair at how dingy their teeth look when compared with celebrities they see on TV or online. Frankly, though, few people retain a bright smile appearance as the years advance.
Why do teeth change color? The problem centers around the porous nature of tooth enamel. While the outer layer of your teeth is hard, it is also composed of a network of enamel strands, very like the threads in a piece of fabric. So, spaces in that network catch and hold whatever you put in your mouth. Common stainers are cigarette smoke, coffee, tea, cola, sports drinks, soy sauce, curry, and berries. Acidic foods such as tomato sauce and citrus fruits, while nutritious, actually soften tooth enamel, allowing stains to deeply penetrate its surface.
Teeth whitening in Arlington
While many over the counter whitening toothpastes, strips and rinses are fine as far as they go, only your dentist can produce excellent whitening results. Dr. Mary Gregory recommends professional teeth whitening to patients who have healthy gums and teeth, and she guarantees a pleasant, comfortable experience at her Arlington dental practice.
Here's how the process works. As a qualified whitening patient, you may choose from in-office or at-home whitening. Both employ a highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel which oxidizes stains, lifting them right out of tooth enamel.
In the office, gel is swabbed on the teeth and allowed to penetrate. After about an hour, the gel is rinsed off, leaving teeth up to eight shades brighter. At home, the patient uses custom-made acrylic trays to apply a less concentrated gel each day for a prescribed length of time. After a week or so of applications, the whitening results are similar to in-office treatments.
With good oral hygiene, occasional touch-ups and professional cleanings every six months with Dr. Gregory, teeth remain white up to five years. When combined with other cosmetic dental services, such as composite resin bonding or tooth-colored fillings, whitening completes smile makeovers for a totally new look that patients just love.
Are you ready for a white smile?
Achieve it with professional teeth whitening at Mary Gregory D.D.S. Family Dentistry. Contact the office today for a convenient appointment and outstanding patient care. Phone (703) 527-6495.
Bonding is a viable cosmetic dentistry procedure provided by Dr. Mary Gregory, your Arlington, VA dentist. This procedure is used in order to repair the tooth’s surface and/or structure. Bonding uses an enamel-like material that is applied directly to the tooth’s surface and sculpted to an ideal shape. From there, it is hardened and polished. The procedure itself typically takes just one visit.
More about Bonding
Bonding is usually performed to fill in gaps, change the color of teeth or to repair chips or cracks in the teeth. The results can last for years. Bonded teeth are cared for just like natural teeth with regular brushing and flossing. Our Arlington dentist, Dr. Gregory, can teach patients a viable oral hygiene routine that works.
Before the bonding procedure starts, the surface of the teeth is cleaned and etched with a gel that opens the pores that allows the bonding material to work better. This gel is then rinsed off before any of the composite resin material is painted on the surface of the teeth. A curing light is used to harden the material and then the teeth are polished to finish the procedure.
Bonding can be more susceptible to staining or chipping than veneers. Bonded composite resin is the most durable bonding option out there. Bonding can even be used as a tooth-colored filling for small cavities or severely chipped or broken teeth throughout the mouth. Bonding can be used to change the color or shape of the teeth or to close spaces between the teeth. For instances that bonding may not be as successful, your dentist may recommend a dental crown.
For more information on bonding and if you’re a viable candidate for this procedure, contact Dr. Gregory, your Arlington, VA dentist today by calling 703-527-6495.
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