The Benefits of Fluoride Varnish – Winchester, VA.

While fluoride varnish is a common treatment for children, it can benefit adults as well.  Fluoride treatments can help prevent tooth decay, strengthen the surface of the tooth or treat hypersensitivity. Fluoride varnish is high concentration of fluoride which is painted to the surface of the tooth to with a small brush. The fluoride then hardens and will wash away with regular brushing within 12 hours.

Various medications can cause a dry mouth, and this lack of saliva can increase the risk of tooth decay. In more extreme circumstances, radiation therapy in the head or neck may be necessary for a separate medical condition, but this radiation can damage the salivary glands and cause a far more harsh drop in the saliva production. Since the varnish can strengthen the surface of the tooth, it helps to counteract the risk.

Many suffer from sensitive teeth where they may be hesitant to eat cold foods like ice cream. While certain brands of toothpaste can limit the sensitivity, fluoride varnish can help as it can be applied to the exposed areas, strengthening the enamel and dentin. The seal provided by the varnish creates a barrier between the trigger of the sensitivity (such as ice cream). While the best practice is to brush and floss daily, many forget to maintain good oral hygiene on a regular basis. As a result, food can harden into plaque and cause tooth decay. For those with poor hygiene, the varnish helps to fight the decay.

Do you wish to have fluoride varnish applied to your teeth? Schedule an appointment today by calling (540) 486-5111 at Cedar Creek Dental.

Choosing if Dental Veneers are Right for you – Dental Care in Winchester, VA.

Dental veneers are thin shells, usually made of porcelain, which act as an additional cover for the tooth for cosmetic purposes.  Dental veneers serve the purpose of changing the color, size or shape of the tooth, thus they seek solely to address the appearance, rather than restore or protect the tooth.  For example, if your teeth are discolored, chipped, or abnormally shaped, then dental veneers can restore the teeth to a natural look.  

Since veneers are custom made, they will look natural and fit right in with your teeth, giving the benefit of increased confidence that comes with a perfect smile/  However, if you prefer a more modest look, you can choose a shade of white which is closer to the natural color of your teeth.  Consider the shade carefully – although a brighter shade of white may look more appealing, also remember that over the years your teeth may naturally change colors. However the veneers will retain their color until they are replaced.  Although dental veneers may be durable enough to last ten to twenty years, they are more fragile than dental crowns, so for individuals who grind their teeth or even chew on ice, then it will shorten the lifespan of the veneers.

When considering dental veneers, remember that the goal is cosmetic. If for example the teeth are decayed, the enamel is severely weakened. then dental crowns are are a better option.  However, dental veneers offer the benefit that they do not require a restructuring to your teeth.

If you want that perfect smile today,  then call (540) 486-5111 today to schedule an appointment with Cedar Creek Dental.

Everything to Know About Sealants – Winchester VA, Dentist

A dental sealant is a plastic coating applied to the surface of the tooth as a preventive measure against decay.  Since it tightly covers the incoming teeth, it protects the enamel of each individual tooth.  While daily brushing and flossing helps keep your teeth clean from food debris, it may not keep every single tooth safe in those hard to reach areas.

Tooth decay is more likely in the grooves of molars when they initially come in.  The sealant will cover the jagged grooves of an incoming tooth to create a smooth surface which dramatically reduces the chances of developing a cavity.  Sealants are best used starting at age 6 and may even be useful for baby teeth to help ensure that the baby teeth do not come out too soon.

How does the operation work? The process involves first cleaning the teeth with a paste and rotating brush.  Then, a solution is applied which changes the surface of the tooth to allow the sealant to form a tight bond to the tooth. Then the tooth is cleaned again and dried and the liquid sealant is added onto the tooth.  The dentist then uses either a light or a second chemical component as a catalyst to harden the seal.  Once it hardens, it remains as a smooth coating and a protective shield for years to come, and your child can chew and eat just as easily as before..

Sealants can help prevent decay for years, but it’s best to have them examined regularly or to see if they should be replaced.  Does your child need sealants for their molars? Schedule an appointment with Dr. Alexis today to see if your child needs sealants at 540-486-5111.

What is Leukoplakia? – Dental Care in Winchester, VA

Leukoplakia is characterized by thickened white or greyish patches that form on the insides of your cheeks, the bottom of your mouth, your gums, and sometimes even your tongue. These spots cannot be wiped off and are usually irregular or flat-textured. Some leukoplakia has fuzzy white patches on the sides of the tongue. This is called hairy leukoplakia and most often affects people with weakened immune systems due to medical problems, such as HIV or AIDS. Oral thrush and leukoplakia are often confused but oral thrush patches are softer and may bleed more easily.

The exact cause of leukoplakia is unknown but tobacco, injuries to the inside of your cheek, inflammatory conditions of the body, and rough or uneven teeth are all thought to contribute. While leukoplakia often resolves on its own, it can be reoccurring. It is recommended to avoid tobacco and alcohol products, have a dental professional address irritation from dental problems, and eat antioxidant-rich foods to help deactivate irritants.

a girl sticking her tongue out

While leukoplakia isn’t usually dangerous, it can be an early sign of oral cancer. If you are experiencing oral sores that don’t heal on their own within two weeks, lumps, persistent changes in the tissues of your mouth, pain, or anything else that seems abnormal to you, please call Dr. Alexis at (540) 486-5111. We care about your oral health.

Do I Need to Get My Wisdom Teeth Removed? – Dentist in Winchester, VA

Some people find that their wisdom teeth grow in just fine and don’t create any problems. If your wisdom teeth grow in completely, are positioned correctly with no problems biting properly with opposing teeth, and are easy for you to clean then you don’t need to worry about getting them removed. Unfortunately, this is not the case for many people.

Wisdom teeth can be very painful and create many problems for your overall oral health if not removed at the right time. Aside from wisdom teeth pushing your other teeth too close together while growing in, they can create jaw damage, sinus issues, inflamed gums, and many other problems.

If wisdom teeth are unable to emerge completely, they may become impacted within the jaw. This can result in infections or even cause cysts forming around new teeth. Ultimately, this could lead to nerve damage or damage the roots and bone support of your teeth.

Inflamed gums can make it very hard to clean your teeth properly. Pockets that help bacteria grow may appear between your teeth. The longer that bacteria is left uncleaned, the higher chance you will have of getting cavities.

Because your wisdom teeth can have such a huge impact on your overall oral health, it is important to consult a dental professional on whether you should have them removed or not. Dentists will look at the shape of your mouth and the position of your teeth in order to best advise you on the right course of action for you. Call Dr. Alexis at (540) 486-5111 to schedule your appointment today!

Eat Your Way to a Healthier Mouth – Dental Services in Winchester, VA

Chances are, if you have visited a dental professional before, you know that sugary food and drinks will give you cavities. But did you know that you can consume certain food and drinks to improve your overall oral health?

Black tea

Perhaps the most surprising thing you should consume for healthy teeth and gums is black tea. Despite the fact that tea and coffee can stain your teeth, black tea has actually been shown to improve oral health. Compounds in black tea can suppress the growth of bacteria in plaque which ultimately prevents cavities and gingivitis. Just be sure to brush your teeth after drinking black tea to help keep that smile white!

Crunchy fruits and vegetables

Less surprisingly, the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” rings true for the dentist as well. Crunchy fruits, such as apples, require a lot of chewing which increases the production of bacteria-neutralizing saliva. The less bacteria that is left in your mouth, the less plaque gets built up.

Calcium

Because your teeth are bones, they require calcium to stay strong. You may think that once you are an adult, calcium isn’t as important as when you were a child. This is a common misconception. The benefits of calcium to your teeth does not stop when your bones have stopped growing. When your body is lacking in calcium, it begins to take that calcium from your bones and teeth. This increases your risk of both cavities and tooth decay. To ensure that you get enough calcium in your diet, try adding more dairy, fish, and even kale to your daily meals.

Vitamin C

Just like when you get sick with a cold, a diet rich in vitamin c will help your body to fight off oral infections, such as gingivitis. Vitamin c will also help to repair connective tissue in your mouth. To ensure you are getting enough vitamin c, try to eat foods like bell peppers, dark leafy greens, and citrus fruit.

Following these tips will help keep your mouth healthy. However, it is still recommended to visit a dental professional every 6 months to make sure your teeth are kept in the best shape possible! To schedule an appointment with Dr. Alexis, please call (540) 486-5111.

Gingivitis: How to Reverse the Effects – Winchester, VA Dentist

 

 

a woman with healthy gums smiling

Understand what gingivitis is and what causes it

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease that causes inflammation, redness, and even bleeding of the gums. This is due to a buildup of plaque on your teeth which when not properly cleaned can harden into tartar and begin collecting bacteria. The longer this tartar is left to collect bacteria, the more irritation and a higher likelihood of the gingivitis progressing into a more permanent gum disease called periodontitis occurs. Because this condition is caused by a buildup of plaque patients who use tobacco products, have ill-fitting dental restorations, and those who practice poor nutrition or oral hygiene habits are at a higher risk.

Get a proper diagnosis

As with any medical problem, patients will want to have a dental professional provide a proper diagnosis. Patients experiencing tender or swollen gums, gums that bleed after flossing or tooth brushing, persistent bad breath, or formation of pockets between the teeth and gums should seek out of a professional opinion.

Practice good oral hygiene at home

Once a diagnosis has been made, patients will want to learn how to establish healthy oral hygiene habits. This will not only aid in reversing the current effects of gingivitis but will lower the patient’s chances of contracting this disease again in the future. The first thing that patients need to look at is whether they are brushing their teeth and flossing not only often enough but in the proper way. This will help to combat plaque buildup. Once healthy brushing and flossing habits are in place it is then necessary to look at other habits the patient may have. Since tobacco and poor nutrition are both risk factors for contracting gingivitis patients should aim to stay away from the use of tobacco products as well as large amounts of unhealthy food.

Visit a dental professional

While practicing good oral hygiene is important, only a dental professional can effectively treat gingivitis. Going for a professional cleaning will ensure plaque and tartar is completely cleaned from the teeth. This will also allow for the dental professional to advise the patient further on the proper steps to take in order to stay gingivitis free!

To make sure your gums are healthy or to get them back on the road to health, contact Dr. Alexis today!

What are Dental Veneers? – Cedar Creek Dental in Winchester, VA

Dental veneers, also called porcelain veneers and dental porcelain laminates, are thin segments of porcelain. They are used to restore the look of damaged or misaligned teeth, and are about as strong and durable as natural enamel. Veneers can make minor tooth positioning changes and can change tooth color, size, and shape.

a dentist comparing a dental veneer to natural tooth

How Dental Veneers Work

Dental veneers are bonded to the surface of teeth (hence their name: they literally provide a veneer for a tooth). The bonding creates a strong hold to keep the veneer in place. Typically, they are made from either porcelain or a resin composite. However, the former does a better job of reflecting light like natural teeth, and its surface is less vulnerable to stains.

Because dental veneers are thin, they do not require the removal of much tooth to be placed. They are matched with the color of surrounding teeth to provide an authentic smile without any noticeable cosmetic flaws. They are easy to install and provide reliable results.

When are Dental Veneers Used?

Often they are used to treat a number of conditions including:

  • Discolored teeth (typically caused by root canal treatment, resin fillings, or certain medications)
  • Chipped teeth
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Irregularly-shaped teeth

How Long does it Take to get Dental Veneers?

You can expect the process to take about three visits. The first is a consultation to ensure the proper course of action for your teeth. The second and third visits are used to create and place the veneers.

Dental veneers will last about 10 years, and they do not need special care. Treat them as you would normal teeth with proper preventative care (brushing, flossing, and mouthwash).

If you are considering dental veneers or would like to explore other cosmetic dentistry options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Alexis today!

Causes of Yellow Teeth – Teeth Whitening in Winchester, VA

The good news about yellow teeth (if there’s to be a silver lining): most of the time the issue isn’t hazardous to your health.

The not-so-good news: yellow teeth are, well, yellow. And they’re noticeable. They can make you question your dental hygiene. Worse yet, they can shake your confidence. We know how hard a dull and yellow smile can be to one’s self-esteem.

a before and after of a teeth whitening sessionWhy are my Teeth Yellow?

Yellow teeth can be caused by numerous things, including diet, oral cleanliness, generics, and lifestyle.

Frequently, coffee, red wine, soda, and fruit juice consumption leads to yellow teeth and are the leading causes we see in our office. Another common culprit is cigarette smoking and use of tobacco products. The juices and tars in these products have a tendency to stain tooth enamel.

A lesser-known cause is, incidentally, the use of over-the-counter tooth whitening products like peroxides and teeth whitening strips. These products can strip away the enamel, leaving it thin and weak. The result is an enamel more susceptible to yellowing and discoloration.

Genetics play another role, from determining how thick your enamel is initially to other oral factors that factor in. Some inherited disease also cause weakened enamel, contributing to or exacerbating the problem. Medications and other medical conditions (e.g. chemotherapy) can cause noticeable tooth discoloration as well; however, these will generally be darker and browner than typical tooth yellowing.

Many times though, tooth yellowing results simply from poor oral hygiene. Keeping the mouth clean and healthy is an ongoing endeavor: flossing and brushing everyday are critical components of a happy mouth. Scheduling regular dental cleanings will also help to combat tooth yellowness and alert you if any underlying issues are affecting your teeth.

If you’re ready to make your teeth shine, schedule an appointment with Dr. Alexis today!

What is Six Month Smiles? – Dental Services in Winchester, VA

Six Month Smiles is Dr. Alexis’s choice for orthodontic treatment. These modern, clear braces are great at any age (16 years and older) and are perfect for anyone wanting a straight smile! These hardly-noticeable braces are a great way to get the stunning smile you’ve always wanted.  

Benefits

Unlike traditional metal braces that are uncomfortable and restraining, Six Month Smiles provide optimum comfort while straightening your teeth. Other advantages include:

  • An average treatment duration of only six months
  • Lucid-Lok clear brackets and and tooth-colored wires are practically invisible
  • Braces for tooth-alignment have the most predictable final results
  • Six Month Smiles Patient Tray Kits
     make appointments fast, easy, and comfortable
  • The gentler force and short orthodontic treatment period increase patient comfort, safety, and hygiene
  • Six Month Smiles are usually less expensive than traditional braces, veneers, or other alignment therapy

And because Six Month Smile uses lighter forces on your teeth, gums, and mouth, there are fewer risks of root and tissue damage than with traditional orthodontic methods. All of these come together to make your smile the best it has ever been.

a woman with six month smiles

If you’re to make an easy yet drastic change in your dental appearance, to improve your overall confidence and quality of life, and to make the best first impressions with a stunning smile, you’re more than likely ready for Six Month Smiles!

To be sure, schedule a visit with Dr. Alexis so a thorough evaluation can be performed and determine if Six Months Smiles is the best solution for your teeth. Let us help bring out your best smile!