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Alexandria VA Periodontist | The Importance Of Dental Specialists Working Together

If you’ve spent any amount of time with missing teeth, you know just how detrimental it can be to your quality of life. You may be ready to finally do something about it and restore your smile with a dental implant. However, if you’ve spent too much time with those teeth missing, you may have a problem.

Alexandria VA Periodontist |

Teeth have a natural ability to move due to periodontal ligaments and a thin layer of bony-like material called cementum. When you have a full smile, this ability for teeth to shift is not all that noticeable as the pressure from surrounding teeth tend to help everything stay in place.

However, when there is a gap from a missing tooth, the surrounding teeth suddenly have a lot more room to move, and will take up the space quickly. As a result, if you’ve gone a long time with missing teeth, your remaining teeth may have moved into the vacant area, blocking the place where your dental implant restoration needs to go.

In order to remedy this situation and get your mouth ready for your implants, it may be necessary to correct your alignment with orthodontics.

Orthodontic treatment, such as braces, is used to incrementally change the position of your teeth to get them back in place. When your teeth are back in place, your doctor will be able to place the implant. While orthodontics are an extremely effective method of correction, traditional metal braces can be quite noticeable in the mouth.

For those adults who may need orthodontic treatment, there are multiple options to choose from that can fit your lifestyle and your needs. If this is the case, one possible option may be found in the form of clear aligners.

While there are many aligner systems on the market today, many know about Invisalign or have seen a commercial for the system. Changed roughly every two weeks, these plastic trays are worn consistently to achieve the same effect as braces, but with a lower profile.

Regardless of which option works best for your needs, this process speaks to the interrelatedness all dental professionals must share in order to give you the smile of your dreams. Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS is happy to play its part in helping you smile with confidence again.

If you need to schedule an appointment, or want to ask us any questions about your current treatment, please don’t hesitate to contact our Alexandria Periodontist. We are here to help you smile and look forward to doing so.

 

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | What is The Color of Your Gums Saying About You?

More variable than you may think, the color of your gums can be an excellent indicator of the state of your oral and total body health. Keeping an eye on the color and texture of your gums can be a great way to catch changes in your health and get you the care you need sooner. Take a look at the list of potential gum colors below, and what they could mean for your health.

Pink
While there are a wide range of healthy gum colors, the most common is pink. Depending on your skin tone, the shade of pink may be darker or lighter, but as long as they are firm and a usualAlexandria VA Periodontist color for you, you should be proud that you keep your gums in excellent shape.

Brown
Brown gums do not necessarily mean that there is something off about your health. For many with a darker skin tone, brown gums are actually a good sign that you are healthy. Darker gums could also be the result of an increased exposure to sunlight. Causing the melanin in your gums to darken, an increase in the amount of time you spend in the sun is usually not a reason to see your dentist. If you are worried, check on the texture of your gums and the edges around your teeth. No matter their natural color, healthy gums should be smooth and firm.

Red
Red gums are one of the most common signs of unhealthy gums. Indicating inflammation or infection, red gums are often swollen and sensitive and could bleed during brushing and flossing. This is not normal for healthy gums and is a sign that you should seek professional help.

Yellow
As you may have guessed, a yellow tinge to your gums is also a sign of unhealthy gums. An indicator that you may have gingivitis, this condition is fairly common and can usually be remedied with a visit to your doctor. If you want to avoid yellow gums altogether, it’s important to maintain a strong oral health care routine.

Black
Black gums can be an alarming situation for anyone. Usually due to tobacco use or the taking of certain medications, talk to our Alexandria VA Periodontist about a plan of action based on your medical history.

White or Gray
Often the result of a weakened immune system, your gray gums will need the help of a doctor to return to a normal pink hue. Consult with your doctor right away.

Keeping your gums healthy through good oral hygiene can help you avoid any of these color changes. If you have any questions about your own gum health, feel free to contact our office or schedule an appointment.

 

Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St., Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Periodontist in Waldorf | Is It Time To See a Periodontist?

Periodontist in WaldorfAccording to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 50 percent of American adults have some form of periodontal disease. If you have concerns you may have gum disease, or have trouble keeping your gum disease under control, learning the symptoms of gum disease should be the next step in considering a visit to your Periodontist.

 

What is a Periodontist?

Periodontists are experts in gum disease. They receive extensive training that includes 3 extra years of specialized education in addition to dental school. They take this time to study the latest techniques for diagnosing and treating periodontal diseases. Periodontists handle a variety of treatments such as scaling and root planing or surface debridement. They can also treat severe gum problems with the use of  surgical procedures. With such a level of specialization related to gum disease, a periodontist can significantly better your dental health in many cases.

 

Should I see a Periodontist?

In some instances, your normal dentist is able to handle your periodontal needs. Your dentist can also help in determining if a periodontist is necessary. Some general signs to visit a periodontist can include painful, swollen, receding, or bleeding gums. Loose teeth or changes in your bite can be bigger signs of gum disease, and indicate that if you haven’t done so already, it is definitely time to give our office a call.

 

Scheduling an appointment with a periodontist preemptively can be very beneficial. Periodontal disease is usually painless and can remain undetected for some time without the proper assessment. Taking initiative when it comes to your oral health is very important.

 

Knowing the signs of gum disease is just as important as knowing when to visit a periodontist. Gum disease is very treatable and taking the steps quickly enough can make a big difference in your oral health. If you have any concerns or want to schedule an appointment, contact our periodontal office today for more information.

 

Karl A. Smith, DDS, LLC
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St. Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Waldorf Periodontist | Why Your Pants Can Have Pockets, But Your Gums Shouldn’t

Periodontist in WaldorfIf you’re one of the nearly 50% of American adults who suffer from periodontal disease, it’s likely that your gums have already begun to recede away from your teeth, creating what are known as gum pockets. Normal healthy gums should fit snugly around your teeth, keeping them in place and protected from bacteria. As such, gum pockets are the exact opposite of what you want for your oral health.

As these pockets deepen over time, they expose your teeth and their vulnerable roots to all kinds of bacteria that can wreak havoc on your oral health. In fact, these pockets actually serve as a space for this harmful bacteria to collect, where it will eventually permeate under the gum and infect your teeth, potentially leading to tooth loss.

If you don’t have gum pockets, awesome. You should maintain your oral healthcare routine to make sure it stays that way. If you do have them, not all hope is lost.

If your gums are in a bad state, your Periodontist can provide you with the treatment you need to restore your health. During the procedure, your gum tissue will be folded back, and thoroughly cleansed of all disease-causing bacteria before being secured back in place. This also allows your gum tissue to reattach to healthy bone and limit your chances of reinfection.

It’s important to get your periodontal pockets taken care of as soon as possible, as deeper pockets are more difficult to treat. Reducing depth and cleaning the bacteria are both critical to maintaining a healthy smile.

Because of the nature of gum disease, you will need to work with your Periodontist to make sure your oral care routine is strong, even after the procedure, as the disease can easily return. Together, you and our periodontal team’s professional care will increase your chances of keeping your natural teeth and steering clear or periodontal disease in the future.

If you are in the middle of your periodontal care, make sure you schedule your next appointment with our office to maintain your healthy, pocket free gums.

Karl A. Smith, DDS, LLC
Phone: (703) 894-4867
2500 N. Van Dorn St. Suite 128
Alexandria , VA 22302

Alexandria VA Periodontist | How to Recognize the Symptoms of Gum Disease

According to a study done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 50 percent (47.2 to be exact) of American adults have some form of periodontal disease. Despite this high rate, gum disease is often overlooked and many may not even be aware that they have the disease. A main factor in the “silent” nature of gum disease is that the symptoms usually don’t appear until advanced stages. Here we’ll outline some of the symptoms you may be able to recognize in order to get the treatment you need before it’s too late.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | How to Recognize the Symptoms of Gum Disease

Red, swollen, or tender gums can be one of the first and most easily recognizable signs of periodontitis. However, it is just as common for gum disease to induce little to no recognizable pain.  If this is the case, you may still be able to identify your early stages of gum disease in another way. If you find that your gums bleed while brushing, flossing, or even eating hard foods, this is another indicator that your gums may be swollen and sensitive. Healthy gums don’t bleed from regular maintenance. If yours do, you most likely are suffering from some form of gum disease.

 

Some of the other, more dramatic symptoms of gum disease include:

 

  • receding gums
  • loose teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • stubborn bad breath
  • changes in the way your teeth fit together

 

As the foundation of your smile, unhealthy or damaged gums can have serious consequences on your oral health. If left unattended, gum disease can even lead to tooth loss.

 

However, the disease is also very treatable, and the earlier treatment begins, the easier the recovery. If you begin to see even the faintest traces of any of these symptoms, or need an expert in periodontal care for any other reason, contact our office today and get started on healthier gums for tomorrow.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | There Are Two Types of Gum Disease. Both Need Treatment.

Gingivitis and periodontitis: these diseases that affect the gums are both fairly common among Americans. But just because they are common does not mean that they should go untreated. If taken care of early, both can be stopped with effective care. Below, we’ll go over the signs and symptoms of each, and how you should go about beginning treatment.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | There Are Two Types of Gum Disease. Both Need Treatment.

Gingivitis:

The milder form of gum disease, gingivitis is characterized by red and irritated gums. While this may not seem like a serious issue, gingivitis leads to much worse problems if left untreated. It is estimated that roughly 50 percent of the U.S. population experiences some kind of gingivitis.

 

According to the Mayo Clinic, poor oral hygiene is the primary cause of gingivitis. Those at increased risk include minorities, substance abusers, older adults, and pregnant women, among others. The disease develops quickly as a build up of plaque causes gums to become infected.

 

Symptoms include tender and bleeding gums, swollen or shiny gums, mouth sores and bad breath. The best way to prevent the disease is to practice good oral hygiene. However, if treatment is required, a professional will remove all plaque and tartar in a process known as “scaling”. Your doctor will work with you to determine how many cleanings are needed, if other treatment is necessary, and how over-the-counter mouthwashes may help keep plaque levels minimized.

 

Periodontitis:

If left untreated, gingivitis may soon lead to a much more serious disease – Periodontitis. This nasty disease can destroy gums, mouth bones, tissue and teeth. It arises when plaque spreads below the gum line, creating toxins that cause tissues and bones to break down.

 

The American Academy of Periodontology characterizes several types of periodontitis, including chronic, aggressive, as a manifestation of systemic disease, and necrotizing.

 

Symptoms include many of the same signs as gingivitis, but more advanced. Patients with the disease can expect receding gums, new spaces between teeth, loose teeth, and pus around teeth and gums. There are both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options, all of which you can discuss with your doctor, should the need arise.

 

Periodontal disease in any of its forms should be of serious concern to you. If you suspect you may be suffering from the disease, it is important to schedule a visit with our office right away to get the care you need quickly.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | The Truth About How We Hydrate

Prior to the 1960s, professional athletes, marathon runners, high school jocks, and little league ballplayers all reached for the same thing when they grew thirsty: water. But in 1965, sports drinks took the hydration game by storm.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | The Truth About How We Hydrate

Nowadays, people have all but replaced water with these sugary drinks. While popular among star athletes and weekend warriors alike, are these drinks any more effective in keeping us hydrated than water? What kinds of effects do they have on our teeth? Here we take a look at the most important factors to consider when deciding whether to reach for water or your favorite sports drink.

 

Sports Drinks Have Significantly More Electrolytes and Carbohydrates

Electrolytes. Almost all of us have heard the word, but what exactly are they? Electrolytes are minerals that create an electrical charge when absorbed by the body. These elements help aid the brain in sending nerve signals to the rest of the body, ensure proper muscle contraction, and regulate acidity in the blood (also known as pH levels). The electrolytes and extra carbohydrates contained in drinks like Gatorade and Powerade can be beneficial for individuals participating in intense, continuous exercise for several hours at a time.

 

However, the truth is, most of us don’t need either.

 

Some studies have found that because of the carbohydrates and electrolytes they contain, sports drinks can improve the performance of endurance athletes like runners, cyclists, and soccer players. But for regular individuals who aren’t planning on running a marathon or cycling for several hours in sweltering heat, water performs just as well. Several scientific studies have shown no difference in the hydrating power of the two drinks with mild to moderate activity. .

 

Sweeter Isn’t Always Better

While the sugars found in many sports drinks may help them taste great, they also produce acids that dissolve and damage your teeth. By contrast, water can actually help wash away the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, keeping your teeth and gums healthier.

 

As with every sweet treat, sports drinks can be enjoyed in moderation in order to protect your oral and overall health. For now though, good old fashioned water is still king of the beverages for us and our oral health.

 

If you haven’t done so already, book your next appointment today to keep your teeth and gums in optimal health. We look forward to seeing you.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | How Optimal Oral Health Can Protect You from Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a complex autoimmune condition that affects sufferers in a variety of challenging ways. While many of us are relatively familiar with how rheumatoid arthritis impacts our joints and energy levels, fewer are aware of the condition’s relationship to our oral health. RA is correlated with gum disease, gum inflammation, and tooth loss. This connection between rheumatoid arthritis and oral health has been firmly established by scientific research. While scientists have not definitively sussed out all the particulars of this relationship, what’s clear is that the fewer teeth we have and the worse our oral health is, the more susceptible we are to RA.

How Optimal Oral Health Can Protect You from Arthritis

Teeth, Gums, and Joints

A growing body of evidence over the past several decades has shown that there is a strong relationship between the health of our teeth and gums and whether or not we develop rheumatoid arthritis over the course of our lifetimes. A study conducted between 1987 and 1998 illustrates this connection. Researchers looked at over 6,000 men and women and found that individuals with serious gum disease were twice as likely to meet criteria for RA compared with people who had healthy gums and teeth.

 

A paper presented at the European Congress of Rheumatology in 2012 further solidified the connection. It showed that the fewer teeth a person has, the more likely they are to develop RA. Researchers also found that those with the fewest teeth had the most severe—and least treatable—rheumatoid arthritis.

 

Treating Our Mouths Can Alleviate RA Symptoms

This connection has a positive flip side, though. Individuals with RA or experiencing the early stages of RA symptoms may actually be able to protect themselves from the condition by treating their teeth. A 2009 study determined that by engaging in good periodontal care, rheumatoid arthritis patients were able to reduce the severity of their symptoms. The highly encouraging study suggests that by seeking out a dentist and rigorously treating periodontitis and gum disease, individuals can actually ease the joint pain and fatigue that can become a daily struggle for RA sufferers.

 

Recent research indicates that we can take even greater initiative, though. We don’t have to wait until rheumatoid arthritis symptoms are severe for us to seek periodontal care. It’s clear that the healthier our gums and teeth are, the more protected we are from RA. Keep on top of your oral health—fighting gum disease, gum recession, and tooth decay—and you’ll give yourself a much better chance of leading a completely RA-free life. Do so by scheduling your next appointment with our office today.

 

 

 

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Three Brushing Habits Causing More Harm Than Good

We’ve been hearing it for probably just about as long as we’ve had teeth. Brushing twice a day, every day is the best thing you can do for your oral health. But there’s far more to it than that. Brushing your teeth may have become a habit, but don’t let it be a bad one. You could be performing bad habits regularly- some of which you consider beneficial. But don’t fear, you can fix these bad habits easily if you know what they are.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Three Brushing Habits Causing More Harm Than Good

You brush too hard

We didn’t think it was possible either. But too much pressure can actually damage your teeth and irritate your gums. If you regularly bully your mouth it may even lead to scratches and infections.

 

It’s easier to remove plaque than you may think. Surprisingly loose, its only when it hardens to tartar that it becomes difficult to remove. Instead of trying to powerwash your teeth, gently massage, think soft strokes and a gentle massage. Be nice to your mouth and it will be nice to you.

 

You share your toothbrush

SURELY, this goes without saying, but just in case: Do NOT share a toothbrush. Even if you sometimes share food and drinks with your partner. Even if you regularly kiss each other. It’s gross and you should feel bad.

When you share a toothbrush you open your body up to all kinds of germs that it isn’t prepared to handle. Toothbrushes can harbor the flu, pneumonia, HPV, and not to mention that bacteria that causes tooth decay – streptococcus mutans- a scary name for a scary thing. Maybe you can’t bear to be separated from your partner, but trust us, this is the one exception you should make.

 

You’re brushing too quickly

The average American brushes spends 45 seconds brushing their teeth. That’s less than half the recommended time. If you’re one of the jokesters that’s rushin’ the brushin’, you should know that when you do so you’re leaving behind countless germs and bacteria that are damaging to your oral health. Additionally, some of the ingredients in your toothpaste, like fluoride, need time to do their job. Fluoride isn’t going to help protect your enamel in only 45 seconds.

 

To continue learning about the brushing habits that could be causing damage to your oral health, make sure that you check back in with our blog regularly. In the meantime, if you want to keep your best oral health schedule your next appointment with our office today.

 

Alexandria VA Periodontist | A Glass of Red Wine Keeps the Dentist Away

If you read the title of this article and began to immediately pour yourself a glass of cabernet, there’s good news and bad news.

Alexandria VA Periodontist | A Glass of Red Wine Keeps the Dentist Away

The good news is that red wine offers a host of potential health benefits, including keeping the brain young, promoting hormonal health and preventing heart disease. Recently, scientists from the Spanish National Research Council in Madrid found that exposure to compounds found in red wine can also help prevent bacteria from sticking to your gums. This bacteria, if left in your mouth, is directly responsible for plaque and tooth decay.

 

The compounds the researchers studied are called polyphenols and they can also be found in things like coffee, cranberry juice and other kinds of berries.

 

Despite the promising findings, you shouldn’t start looking for wine flavored toothpaste just yet. The chemicals used in the study were much more concentrated than they would be in wine and the exposure times lasted up to 47 hours. You may have more pressing concerns if you are able to drink for that amount of time.

 

Instead, the research done is a preliminary look into how these compounds might be used in the future as preventative medicines that would fight against oral diseases. For now, make sure you stick to regularly scheduled appointments with our team to keep your oral health in great shape. Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment.