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Alexandria VA Periodontist | Are Dental Implants Right for Me? Your Questions, Answered.

If you are missing one or more teeth, you may be considering treatment options, one of which may be dental implants. Here, we’re going to answer many of the questions you may have regarding dental implants and why they may be the right solution for you.

What are Dental Implants?Alexandria VA Periodontist

Let’s start by answering the fundamental question, “what are dental implants?”. Dental implants are considered an artificial root, usually made from titanium and other materials that anchor to the jaw below the gum line.

The implants then serve as an anchor for the replacement tooth or teeth attachment. This surgical, dental procedure has been useful for over 40 years and has provided patients with the healthy appearance and function of natural teeth.

Am I a Good Candidate?

Your doctor will always go over your health and medical history to determine whether or not you are the right candidate for dental implants. However, as a general guideline, suitable candidates will have:

  • Good general and oral health
  • Sufficient jaw bone length to reinforce the implant
  • Healthy gum tissue
  • No signs of periodontal disease

Remember, our implant team will work with you to better determine if you are a suitable candidate for a dental implant procedure.

What Should I Expect During Recovery?

Many patients inquire about what the dental implant surgery will entail and what the recovery requires. Depending on the course of treatment your doctor decides on, the first practice to implement through your recovery is maintaining sufficient at-home dental care and regular dental visits to ensure the recovery procedure is going smoothly.

The recovery period time can vary depending on how many procedures are required and how your own body processes surgical recovery. Generally, it can take several months to recover from a dental implant procedure completely.

How Do I Get Started?

Nearly 3 million Americans have dental implants, and if you’re considering becoming one of them, a great first step is to speak with our team. From there, we will be able to give recommendations and assess your overall oral health.

If you are ready to consider dental implants to restore your smile, let’s get started. Contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today, and our team will schedule an appointment for you to meet with our Alexandria Periodontist.

 

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Healthy Smile, Healthy Body

Good oral hygiene habits are essential to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. What you might not know is that research has found the health of your mouth actually mirrors the

overall condition of your body. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, there is a direct relationship between gum disease and many serious health conditions, including heart disease,

stroke, and diabetes. The good news is, research also shows that good oral health may actually help prevent certain diseases from occurring.Alexandria VA Periodontist

Understanding the mouth/body connection

Poor oral habits can cause bacteria to build up on your teeth, making your gums more prone to

disease and infection. When that happens, your immune system goes to work attacking the

infection, leading to inflammation and gum disease, also known as periodontitis. Left untreated, periodontitis and chronic inflammation can wreak havoc on the rest of your body, leading to a host of health problems. Thankfully, this “worst-case-scenario” is easily preventable. Here’s what you can do to elevate your oral hygiene habits and keep unwanted health concerns at bay:

  • Brush twice a day for at least two minutes using a soft-bristled brush. Be sure to choose a toothbrush that is the right size for your mouth so you can reach back teeth easily. If you have any questions about which toothbrush we recommend for you, you can ask our office during your appointment.
  • Remember to replace your toothbrush every three or four months.
  • Choose an American Dental Association-approved fluoride toothpaste to keep teeth free from decay.
  • Floss daily to remove tooth decay-causing bacteria that tend to linger between teeth. Regular flossing also helps remove plaque under the gumline and minimize your risk of contracting gum disease.
  • Eat a healthy diet that limits sugary beverages and snacks.
  • Avoid cigarettes and other tobacco products, which are known to contribute to gum disease and oral cancer.

In addition to maintaining good daily oral health habits, seeing your Alexandria Periodontist regularly is one of the best ways to keep your mouth – and your body – healthy. These exams allow our team to monitor any changes to your teeth and gums and make recommendations that will help you avoid future health problems. Contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today to schedule an exam.

 

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

Alexandria VA Dentist | Are you at Risk of Developing Gum Disease?

Did you know that almost half of American adults (aged 30 or older) have some form of gum disease according to the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP). In fact, 64.7 million of us have periodontitis: an advanced stage of gum disease responsible for tooth loss in some cases.

Alexandria VA Dentist

Periodontal disease is a serious issue, widespread and the number one cause of tooth loss for adults, even above tooth decay. That being said, gum disease is often treatable and can be helped. Knowing whether you may be at an increased risk for developing gum disease can help you keep an eye on the health of your gums and get treatment early on. Here, we’ll outline some of the statistics compiled by the AAP on the risk of gum disease. If any of them describe you, it may be worth scheduling a periodontal evaluation to check on the health of your gums.

1.) If You Are a Smoker

Smokers are twice as likely to develop gum disease than those who do not.

2.) If You Have Diabetes

Nearly 95% of individuals with diabetes will experience some form of gum disease during their lives. In fact, periodontists are often the first medical professionals to diagnose early signs of diabetes because they keep a close eye on your gum health.

3.) If You Are Pregnant

More than half (60-70%) of pregnant women will experience gingivitis due to the increase in hormones caused by pregnancy. Studies have shown that mothers with unhealthy gums are at a higher risk of delivering prematurely as well.

4.) If You Are a Man

54% of men are diagnosed, while only 38% of women are.

5.) If You Are Older Than 35

Adults are more prone to losing teeth to periodontal disease than to tooth decay.

6.) If You Have a Family History of the Disease

It is estimated that nearly 30% of people experience gum disease because of a genetic predisposition for the disease. You may also be up to six times more likely to get periodontitis than those who do not have any genetic link to the condition

While gum disease may seem to be of little concern, it is much more important than many might believe. Periodontal disease can often lead to serious health complications for your overall health, including increasing your risk for stroke, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. If you have several of these risk factors, and have had trouble with your gums, contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS to schedule an evaluation.

 

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Are Your Favorite Snacks Causing More Damage Than They’re Worth?

Because of our often busy lives, it may be quick and easy to snack throughout the day. Whether it’s sipping on soda or grabbing handfuls of chips, your favorite snacks could be causing more damage than they’re worth. These foods can cause damage to your gums and the development of periodontal disease. Below are just a few of the most popular snack items and a description of how they could affect your oral health.Alexandria VA Periodontist

Sticky Sweets

While candies and caramels might satisfy your sweet tooth, the refined sugar from these candies can linger on your teeth and in the pockets of your gums. Creating plaque and tartar that can attack your gums and lead to disease, most sticky candy is not a friend to your oral health.

Carbonated Soft Drinks

Loaded with sugar and phosphoric acid, soda can cause irreversible damage to your healthy gums. A good substitute for soda is a carbonated beverage without the loaded sugar and without the phosphoric acid. There are many flavored beverages on the market right now which give that same satisfaction from carbonation without the added sugar or phosphoric acid. A carbonated beverage without the loaded sugar will have fewer calories too! 

Chips & Bread

Whether we grab a bag of chips with our favorite dip or make a piece of toast, both contain starch which converts to sugar and gets easily stuck between your teeth and deep in our gums. Much like with other sticky sweets, this trapped sugar can cause serious damage to your gums and push you towards periodontal disease.

Healthy Options

The best snacks for your teeth are those that contain compounds that are good for your oral health, such as calcium and natural antibacterial properties. Apples, carrots, celery, nuts, yogurt, and cheese top the list for oral health because of their high vitamin, mineral, fiber, and protein content. Just as convenient as the less healthy snacks on this list, your gums will thank you for these healthy alternatives.

At your next appointment, talk with our Alexandria Periodontist about other ways you can ensure your gum health. Contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today. We look forward to seeing you!

 

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Easy Flossing Alternatives to Preserve Your Healthy Smile

If there is one recommended dental habit that many people struggle to embrace, it’s flossing. Whether you find traditional thread flossing challenging to maneuver, messy, or just time consuming, you are not alone. However, The American Dental Association (ADA) and our office want you to be able to floss regularly and thoroughly. Consider these effective alternatives to remove unwanted plaque from the places your toothbrush simply can’t reach.

1.) Disposable Floss Pick

These convenient little tools have plastic handles and Y-shaped prongs that come pre-threaded with floss. No measuring, snipping or finger threading required. Ideal for travel and on-the-go use, simply grab the handle, insert the floss between your teeth, and when done, toss the tool away.

 

2.) Non-Disposable Floss Picks

Fashioned with a longer handle than their disposable counterparts, these picks may be an excellent option for patients with small mouths and/or crowded teeth. They also help to make reaching back teeth a breeze.

 

3.) Water Flossers

Electronic flossers use streams of pressurized water to clean between your teeth. There are many different models to accommodate price preferences, and most offer adjustable pressure settings to ensure your comfort during use.

 

4.) Interdental Brushes

Designed to look like tiny toothbrushes, interdental brushes are especially effective for those who wear braces. They are also a nice option for patients with mobility issues who struggle with traditional flossing. Another plus? Like toothbrushes they can be used repeatedly – simply ask our office when we recommend replacement.

 

5.) Air Flossers

These high-tech tools use air pressure combined with a small amount of water to keep teeth and gums clean and healthy. Considered to be less messy than their water-based cousins, air flossers offer easy point and click instructions – just aim the flosser between your teeth and a blast of air does the rest.

 

Keeping the spaces between your teeth and gums free from plaque and tartar is essential to your oral health. Finding tools and techniques that work for you is the first step towards establishing lifelong habits that lead to a lasting, healthy smile. Consider any of these flossing alternatives or call our Alexandria periodontist for a recommendation. Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS will be happy to evaluate your unique needs to help you find the solution that is right for you.

 

 

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Facts You May Not Have Known About Oral Cancer

According to The American Academy for Oral Systemic Health, oral cancer claims one American life every hour of every day. Unfortunately, most cases go undetected until it is too late, making the need for regular examinations of even greater importance. Those who are proactive and seek treatment early have the best chance of beating the disease and living a long, healthy life. Below are some facts you may not have known about oral cancer, including warning signs, trends, and more.

1.) Oral Cancer Affects More Men Than Women

No matter your gender, you should be aware of the very real dangers of oral cancer. While studies conducted by the Oral Cancer Foundation have shown that oral cancer is one the rise among women too, a 2:1 incidence ratio between men and women still remains. This correlation may be due to the fact that, statistically speaking, men smoke and drink more than women. Regardless of your own habits, remain aware of the signs and symptoms and ask your doctor to perform a regular oral exam if they do not already.

 

2.) Each Year, 450,000 New Cases Are Discovered

As such, it is likely that oral cancer has affected someone in your life. Whether you know someone who has had, or is currently dealing with their own struggle against oral cancer, you should know that they are not alone.

 

3.) Alcohol and Tobacco Increase Your Risk

Among the many risk factors, your lifestyle choices can have a huge impact on the likelihood of you developing this cancer. It is estimated by the Cancer Treatment Centers of America that roughly 80% of people with oral cancer are heavy smokers, while 70% are heavy drinkers. Add this unfortunate statistic to the list of reasons why you should leave the cigarettes behind.

 

4.) When Detected Early Enough, Oral Cancer has a Cure Rate of 90%

According to many experts, part of the reason why oral cancer can be so destructive is because it often goes undetected for long periods of time. Don’t overlook or ignore any suspicious new developments in your mouth and call your doctor or Alexandria periodontist as soon as you notice anything amiss.

 

The best way to overcome oral cancer is to stay informed and catch it early. As something that is important to all dental professionals, we hope you will take this disease just as seriously as we do. We look forward to helping you stay healthy and protecting your oral health throughout your life. If you have any questions call or contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS today and our Alexandria periodontist will assist you however we can.

 

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Halitosis Help Line

No one wants to be the person with bad smelling breath, or halitosis as it is called professionally. However, some breath issues can be persistent. This is not your fault, and we understand just how difficult a situation this can be. Luckily, Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS is here to help you overcome this issue and regain confidence in the scent of your breath again for good.

Alexandria VA Periodontist

Let’s take a look at a few of the ways you can keep your breath as fresh as you want it to be.

The Importance of Brushing and Flossing

If you have bad breath, it is possible that it comes from leftover plaque, debris, and bacteria stuck in your teeth or gums. Plaque is a sticky substance that acts almost like a bacteria magnet. That bacteria and the natural processes they undertake as a part of their life results in bad breath for you. By brushing and flossing, you can remove the plaque and therefore remove the bacteria that cause those stinky odors. Brush thoroughly every day, but make sure you don’t overdo things. Brushing too hard can cause damage too.

 

Take Care of Your Gums

Many cases of persistent bad breath are caused by periodontal disease.

 

To avoid becoming a victim of both periodontal disease and the halitosis it causes do everything in your power to keep your gums healthy. When you suffer from unhealthy gums, bacteria can get trapped in your gum pockets. This trapped bacteria causes your gums to suffer from disease, leading to poor breath, bleeding gums, and even tooth loss if not treated properly. If you do suffer from gum disease, your dentist may suggest you see a periodontist. Our Alexandria periodontist specializes in treating gum disease and can help you overcome your persistent bad breath issues as a result

 

If you are unsure if you have gum disease, but want to get your persistent bad breath checked, you should contact our periodontal team today and schedule an appointment. If it is gum disease that’s causing your bad breath, Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS is here to provide any help you require.

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

Alexandria VA Periodontist | Understanding the Gene-Factor in Gum Disease

Many chronic diseases have genetic factors, and gum disease is no exception. While research is ongoing, scientists have identified 38 genes associated with the increased risk of developing periodontitis. One in particular known as the FAM5C gene is not only linked to aggressive periodontal disease, but also cardiovascular disease and other conditions associated with chronic inflammation. The good news is, knowledge really is power when it comes to genetics; once you and our Alexandria periodontist identify your particular risk factors, there are healthy habits and lifestyle changes you can make to keep your teeth and gums healthy and disease-free.

Alexandria VA Periodontist

  1. Take extra care with brushing and flossing.

Everyone should prioritize these essential oral health habits, but those with elevated risk factors for gum disease need to be especially vigilant. If your gums already show signs of recession or infection, you may also want to ask our periodontal office about more frequent exams.

 

  1. Quit smoking.

The American Academy of Periodontology has identified smoking as one of the most significant risk factors for the development and progression of gum disease. If you make no other lifestyle changes, eliminating this one bad habit could dramatically improve your health and possibly lengthen your life.

 

  1. Eat a healthier diet.

Your immune system is tasked with fighting off infection in your body, including periodontal disease. A diet low in fat and high in lean meats, fish, fruits and vegetables is a simple change that can have a notably positive impact on your dental health.

 

  1. See a specialist.

Our Alexandria periodontist is a dental professional who specializes in the prevention and treatment of periodontal disease. If you are genetically at risk for gum disease, schedule an appointment with our office to assess the current health of your teeth, gums and bone structure so you can create a customized plan of action to preserve your smile.

 

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important to your overall health. For most of us, regular dental visits and good oral hygiene habits are enough. But, for those who are genetically predisposed to tooth decay and gum disease, taking extra precautions and partnering with a dental specialist can provide you with the information, tools and resources you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy now, and prevent existing conditions from progressing. Contact Karl A. Smith, DDS, MS to schedule an appointment today.

 

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

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