Blog

Periodontist Alexandria | What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

Why Are My Teeth So Sensitive?

Alexandria Periodontist

If taking a swig of ice-cold water makes you recoil, it’s likely due to your sensitive teeth. What causes this unpleasant reaction? There are several reasons you may need treatment for sensitive teeth.

Tooth sensitivity is usually influenced by the soft inner tissue beneath the enamel of your tooth called dentin. When extreme temperatures irritate the tooth nerve, you’ll feel a tingling sensation and sometimes pain.

Another cause of tooth sensitivity is when tiny tubes of fluid in the dentin become exposed. Sometimes this occurs due to receding gums lines or damaged teeth. If this happens, pain can be triggered by foods that are too hot or cold, too sweet or acidic, or simply from contact or exposure to air.

Temporary tooth sensitivity can also be caused by whitening or orthodontic treatments. This type of sensitivity will often dissipate in a couple weeks. However, in severe cases, the tooth nerve itself may be exposed. This causes severe pain and irritation and will require immediate treatment.

What Can I Do to Treat Tooth Sensitivity?

If your teeth are becoming increasingly sensitive, contact our office for immediate care. Our team will likely screen for underlying causes requiring treatment. We’ll also be able to recommend the best method to manage your discomfort.

How Can I Prevent Teeth Sensitivity?

Oversensitivity in teeth can sometimes be prevented. Try to avoid hard-bristled toothbrushes and don’t brush too aggressively. Brushing too hard can damage enamel and expose other sensitive areas. Additionally, wearing a mouthguard while playing contact sports protects teeth from trauma. Teeth will become more sensitive after being chipped or cracked.

After you rule out serious underlying conditions, you can start to managed mildly sensitive teeth with a special toothpaste designed to decrease sensitivity. If that doesn’t provide enough relief, ask about a prescription product.

Contact our office to schedule an appointment with our periodontist in Alexandria if you suffer from any level of tooth sensitivity and we will get you the help you need.

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

Periodontist Near Me | Gum Disease and Your Overall Health

Our mouths are home to all kinds of bacteria, some helpful and some harmful. Certain amounts are helpful, as they sanitize the mouth and break down food particles; however, too much bacteria will eventually lead to decay and development of gum disease. This can result in long term damage to your oral and overall health.

When bacteria start to build up in the mouth, they create a sticky colorless substance known as plaque. If plaque isn’t removed during your daily brushing and flossing, the particles can harden and turn into tartar. This hard coating becomes more difficult to remove over time, so it’s important to maintain your oral health with a professional dental cleaning.

If plaque and tartar remain on the teeth for too long, they become even more harmful and can cause long term damage to your oral health. Eventually, this buildup causes a mild form of gum disease called gingivitis. The best way to prevent gingivitis is through routine cleanings and proper at-home oral care. When gingivitis isn’t treated, it can advance to periodontal disease, an inflammatory condition that affects both the soft tissue (gums) and the tooth. When left unchecked, periodontal disease will eventually cause teeth to loosen or fall out.

Periodontal disease can have an effect on your overall health, as well. Studies show connections between periodontal disease and such serious conditions as diabetes and heart disease. With these kinds of risks, it’s even more important that you monitor your oral health.

When it comes to gum disease, our team has solutions to help you prevent decay and maintain outstanding oral health. For any questions about gum disease, gingivitis, or periodontal disease, be sure to contact the periodontics office of Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS.

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

Walford MD Periodontist | 5 Reasons to Consider Dental Implants

According to The American College of Prosthodontists, 178 million American adults are missing at least one tooth and nearly 40 million have lost all of their natural teeth.

Losing an adult tooth can have a number of negative impacts on your oral health, diet, speech, and even your self-esteem. If you’re interested in a long-term solution for tooth loss that can improve your smile, consider dental implants. Here are five ways that dental implants can improve your overall quality of life:

  1. Retain tooth positioning – Teeth that surround a missing tooth slot will eventually shift into the opening and distort the shape of your smile and bite. Dental implants will fill in the gap and prevent your surrounding teeth from readjusting.
  2. Jawbone protection – Your teeth are naturally embedded into your jawbone, so when the tooth and root are missing, your jaw bone structure will start to deteriorate. Dental implants will preserve and strengthen the bone just like natural teeth.
  3. Look younger and healthier – After you lose teeth, the skin near the gap may begin to crease or droop. Bone loss in your jaw can lead to further damage and eventually create an unnaturally aged appearance. Dental implants will restore your facial support and preserve jaw bone structure.
  4. Improved speech – Gaps in your teeth often cause speech impediments that can get worse over time. With dental implants, you’ll be able to fill in those gaps and speak more naturally.
  5. Brighten your smile – Gaps in your teeth can make you feel embarrassed and affect your self image. That’s why dental implants are made to look natural and can restore the beauty of your smile. Studies show that having confidence in your smile can boost your self-esteem, making you a happier, healthier and more social person.

Contact our periodontist in Alexandria to learn more about the benefits of dental implant restoration, and we’ll help you schedule an appointment.

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

Alexandria Periodontist | 7 Ways to Combat Bad Breath

Halitosis, commonly known as bad breath, is commonly associated with certain foods. Garlic, onion, and cabbage can all cause a foul odor and taste for several hours after you’ve eaten them. This type of temporary halitosis is easily solved by avoiding the foods that cause it. However, in some cases bad breath is a chronic problem that simply changing your diet won’t solve.

Long-term bad breath is caused by the presence of bacteria in your mouth. These bacteria are most often found on the back of the tongue and thrive when your mouth is dry. There are a variety of ways you can help reduce or eliminate chronic bad breath. Some of these include:

Practice good oral hygiene.

Brush your teeth after you eat as often as possible and at least twice daily. Clean between your teeth using dental floss or another interdental (between teeth) cleaner at least once each day. Food particles between teeth will break down slowly and cause unpleasant odors and tastes.

Brush your tongue.

Even if you brush and floss your teeth as recommended, the bacteria causing your bad breath may remain on your tongue. Use a tongue scraper or toothbrush to gently scrape away any particles of food or bacteria every time you brush. For best results, place the scraper or brush as far back as you can manage without gagging. This will generally become easier over time.

Keep well-hydrated.

Dry mouths allow bacteria to thrive. By drinking plenty of water, you can help prevent the bacteria growth and reduce or stop bad breath.

Avoid bad breath triggers.

Onions, garlic, cabbage, coffee, and tobacco products are all known to cause bad breath.

Chew sugarless gum.

By chewing sugarless gum, you increase saliva production and keep your mouth moist. This helps slow or prevent bacteria growth, minimizing chances of bad breath.

Improve your diet.

Crunchy fruits and vegetables, yogurt, and foods rich in vitamins C and D all work to prevent the growth of bacteria, keep your mouth cleaner, and increase saliva flow.

See your dentist.

Follow your regular schedule of dental hygiene appointments and exams. If you have tried the tips above without improvement, make an appointment for an exam to see if there may be an underlying condition that requires treatment. Treat any oral illnesses, such as decayed teeth, periodontal (gum) disease, or infection.

For more information about the potential causes and treatments for halitosis, contact our office.

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

601 Post Office Rd. Suite 1-B,
Waldorf, MD 20602
Phone: (301) 638-4867

Periodontist in Alexandria | Daily Flossing

We’ve all been told at least once in our life that flossing daily is crucial. Here are four reasons why flossing may be beneficial for your oral health routine:

  • Preventative care. Food and bacteria buildup between your teeth is unavoidable. Over time, these bacterial colonies lead to tooth decay and the destruction of your dental health. Flossing helps remove food and bacteria from areas that your toothbrush can’t reach.
  • Helps prevent gingivitis and gum disease. Your teeth aren’t the only part of your mouth that needs attention. Many people take care of their teeth but ignore their gums. Researchers at the New York University College of Dentistry explain that the people who floss regularly experience much lower instances of periodontal pathogens, gum bleeding, and decay-causing bacteria in contrast with people who do not floss.
  • Protects your smile. Flossing does more than just prevent cavities—it also preserves the bones that support your teeth. By preserving the height of that bony structure as well as a healthy smile, you’re maintaining a healthy and youthful appearance that will benefit you for years to come.
  • Gives you better overall health. Gum disease doesn’t just affect your mouth and jaw. It has also been linked to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even respiratory diseases. Flossing daily is more than just an optimal habit—it can help keep you healthy as you age.

We are pleased to offer a variety of oral health solutions to keep your smile healthy. We are also able to customize a health plan tailored to your specific needs. Book your appointment with our team today.

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

601 Post Office Rd. Suite 1-B,
Waldorf, MD 20602
Phone: (301) 638-4867

Alexandria Periodontist | Periodontal Disease: What You Need to Know

Periodontal disease can range from mild inflammation of the gum tissues to periodontitis, a serious disease that can result in soft tissue and bone loss. Periodontitis is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the United States. 

One of the main causes of gum disease is improper oral hygiene habits. Daily brushing and flossing and regular professional exams and cleanings are recommended to maintain optimal oral health. When these practices are not followed, plaque can form on the teeth and along the gumline. If this plaque is not properly removed, it may harden over time and become tartar. 

Another contributing factor of  periodontal disease is infrequent professional dental care. During a professional exam and cleaning, our team can remove any built up plaque and tartar to assist in the prevention of the disease. 

In early stages of periodontitis,, the gums redden, swell, and become prone to bleeding from normal activities, such as brushing or eating. Some other common symptoms include: 

  • chronic halitosis (bad breath)
  • sensitive teeth,
  • difficulty or pain with chewing. 

At this point, professional periodontal treatment may be needed to prevent the gingivitis from advancing. In later stages of the disease, symptoms subside, making a self-diagnosis difficult. 

When gingivitis is not treated in a timely way, it can progress and may ultimately lead to tooth loss. With periodontitis, gums begin to pull away from the teeth, creating small “pockets” along the gumline. These spaces are highly difficult to clean without professional care and can lead to rapid deterioration in overall oral health. Without prompt and thorough treatment, bone, gums, and soft tissues can be destroyed by periodontitis.

Some of the most common factors that contribute to the development of periodontal disease include: 

  • Poor oral hygiene habits
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Hormonal changes in women

Our doctor has the training and experience to diagnose and treat every stage of periodontal disease. If you have symptoms of periodontal disease, contact our office to schedule a consultation

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

Periodontist in Alexandria | The Impact of Periodontal Disease in Children

Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection in the gums that can impact the teeth and jawbone if left untreated. According to the American Academy of Periodontology, children also may suffer from periodontal disease. Fortunately, if identified and treated early, its effects can be managed and even reversed to allow your child to return to optimal oral health through adolescence and beyond.

There are several factors that can lead to the onset of periodontal disease in children. Poor oral hygiene and untreated plaque are the most common, however diet, diabetes, hormonal changes, and even genetic predisposition can also increase your child’s risk.

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, chronic gingivitis is common in children. Your child should be screened for periodontal disease if their gums are:

  • Sore
  • Swollen
  • Red
  • Bleeding from brushing and/or flossing

If left unchecked, periodontal disease can cause your child’s gums to pull away from the teeth, affecting the structure of the bone beneath and potentially impacting their jaw alignment and bite. Over time, bone and tooth loss can occur.

Periodontal disease is preventable and highly treatable. Regular cleaning and exam appointments will help keep your child’s teeth and gums healthy. Teach your child about the importance of daily oral hygiene. If periodontal disease has begun, our team can help. Contact our office for your child’s periodontal screening today.

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

Periodontist Near Me | Can Dental Implants Help Gum Disease?

Advancements in the construction and placement of dental implants have allowed them to become a viable option for helping reduce the effects of periodontal disease. They can encourage the healing of the gums and the strengthening of the jaw. With the help of bone grafts, dental implants can help alleviate some of the symptoms of gum disease.  

What is Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease is caused by bacteria that damage the tissues around teeth. If the bacteria is left untreated, irritation or inflammation begins to develop. This first stage of periodontal disease is known as gingivitis. The bacteria can continue to spread and infect deeper areas of the gums and jaw, leading to full-blown periodontitis.

As bone tissue is worn away by the bacteria, the gum tissues can begin to detach from the teeth and form pockets which can provide a place for bacteria to thrive. Cleaning and routine care become much more difficult, which can then perpetuate additional bone and soft tissue loss.

These losses can sometimes cause teeth to become loose or fall out entirely.

How Can Dental Implants Help With Gum Disease?

Even in its more advanced stages, the damage from periodontal disease can be controlled and even partially reversed. Dental implants can promote the growth of new, healthier bone in places where it was worn away. The metal implant bases become anchored in the jaw via osseointegration and help support the rest of the bone and neighboring teeth. This healing process can restore your jaw to much of its original form and strength.

While dental implants are a helpful way to reduce the damage from periodontal disease, there may be corrective measures that need to be taken before they can be placed. Gum and bone tissue that have been significantly worn away and damaged will not support implants properly. To fix this, we can utilize bone and tissue grafts to help create a strong base for the implants.

How Can Grafts Support Dental Implants?

According to the Mayo Clinic, bone grafts create a more solid base for implants. Bone grafts can help strengthen the jawbone if it isn’t thick enough or is too soft. The act of chewing creates a large amount of pressure on the jawbone, and if periodontal disease has caused significant bone loss, the surgery could potentially fail.

Bone grafts can be created from taking material from your own body or using a synthetic material. Once they are adhered to the jaw, the bone will heal around the graft. This begins to repair the damage done by gum disease, restoring lost bone material. This reversal of gum disease damage enables dental implants to take hold, which promote further bone growth and reconstruction.

Dental implants can be an effective way to treat your periodontal disease. Combining grafts and implants can promote healing and growth in your jaw and gums. If you have gum disease and questions about what dental implants can do for you, contact us today at our Alexandria periodontics office.

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

Alexandria Periodontist | Making Time to Floss

Flossing is an important part of maintaining the health of your teeth and gums, one that many people overlook. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), half of the American population over the age of 30 has some form of gum disease. Many people do not understand the link between proper flossing and the prevention of conditions like periodontitis. However, flossing is easy to incorporate into your routine, and leads to a wide range of benefits.

Method #1: Floss Picks

Utilizing floss picks is one way to incorporate floss into your routine. They are one-time use plastic tools that have a little piece of floss strung tightly between two prongs for getting between teeth. Keeping a few of them in places you frequent throughout the week can remind you to floss whenever you see them.

Method #2: Keep Floss Everywhere

No matter if you prefer standard string floss or floss picks, both are convenient for storing in a variety of places. String floss and picks can fit into a bag or purse, and can be taken on the go for use at any point during the day. Some places that are ideal for flossing include:

  • In the Shower – One method of making flossing a habit is to keep some on hand near the shower. This allows it to be integrated into a morning or evening routine.
  • In the Car – Floss picks are great for cars. They can be used with one hand, allowing you to use them at stoplights or upon arrival at your destination.
  • At Work – Whenever you need a small stretch break at work, take some string floss or a pick with you. Take the time to move your body, stretch, and floss.

Method #3: Utilize Technology

It can be easy to forget to floss if it isn’t an ingrained daily habit. For some, technology is the way to form a healthy flossing routine. Smartphones allow users to set alarms for any time and any reason. People who struggle with remembering to floss regularly can set a recurring alarm for the same time each day as a reminder. Over time, this habit can become instinctive.

Flossing is a vital part of an oral hygiene routine that often goes neglected. However, with some creative thinking and using resources available, flossing can be fit into your schedule with little effort. Contact us today for more information about flossing, how it can benefit you, and how you can incorporate it into your life.

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

Alexandria Dentist | Maintaining Healthy Gums

Your soft tissue or “gums” play an important role in maintaining a high level of oral health. Healthy soft tissue keeps teeth in place, reduces the rate of tooth decay, and keeps breath fresh while contributing to optimal overall health.

How Can My Gums Be Damaged?

The main condition that causes damage to the gums is periodontitis. Periodontitis (periodontal disease/gum disease) is the inflammation of the tissue around the teeth, and often causes damage to the gums and loosening of the teeth. Periodontitis occurs when plaque builds up, hardens and turns to calculus or tartar, creating pockets between the teeth and the soft tissue that holds the teeth in place. The inflammation process continues, bacteria spreads and this bacteria eventually may wear away supporting tissue. The earliest stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. Gingivitis causes the gums to become inflamed, tender, red, swollen, and prone to bleeding. Since the bone and tissue holding teeth in place isn’t affected, much of the damage from gingivitis is reversible.

However, if left untreated, gingivitis can progress into more aggressive forms of periodontitis and may result in tooth loss. Even with more severe forms of periodontal disease, effective treatment may be able to prevent the disease from progressing.

How Should I Take Care Of My Gums?

Periodontal disease is a serious and common condition among American adults. According to the CDC, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease. If you have periodontal disease, professional treatment is recommended.

Maintaining the health of the gums is crucial for maintaining your overall health. Here are ways to prevent periodontal disease or its progression:

  • Brush twice a day
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Floss at least once a day
  • Visit your dentist and follow the treatment plan provided

Periodontal disease has been linked to the following conditions:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Alzheimer’s
  • Low birth weight babies and premature delivery

Periodontal disease, while common, is a serious condition that requires professional medical care.

If you’ve been uncomfortable visiting the dentist, please do not hesitate to contact us. Many adults have periodontal disease at various stages. Our team is trained in providing compassionate care and will help you feel confident in your oral healthcare plan. Achieving optimal oral health is within reach and will make a significant impact on your overall health. Contact your Alexandria periodontist to schedule your examination and consultation.

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