Don’t Try This At Home! The Dangers of At-Home Plaque Scrapers

woman sticking out her tongue

Each year more oral health product manufacturers introduce dental instruments to the consumer market that promote the do-it-yourself approach. One of these recently popular tools is a dental scaler, also called a plaque scraper.

The one thing these products are not advertising: improper use of these products can easily harm your gums and teeth.

How Dental Cleaning Tools Work

During your checkup and professional cleaning at a dental office, the dental care professionals will use small dental tools to scrape off the tartar from your teeth. These small tools are pointed at one end. Some are curved to reach around the rounded surfaces of your teeth. During dental scaling, the plaque is removed from the tooth surface and underneath the gum line.

Removing plaque is vital to the cleaning process. When plaque is allowed to build up on the teeth, it can cause issues such as gum disease and tooth decay. The bacteria found in plaque release acids as they feed. These acids break down your tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to cavities and decay. Dental cleanings are great to use if you’re also considering dental fillings as well.

The Dangers of DIY Scraping

While plaque needs to be removed to care for your teeth properly, it should never be attempted at home. Plaque scraping should always be performed by a dental professional, a dental hygienist or a dentist.

  • Gum Recession. Because plaque scrapers are sharp, improper use can damage the delicate gum tissue. Trauma to the gum tissue of any kind is not only painful, but it can also lead to gum recession.
  • Tooth Sensitivity. If your affected gum tissue lowers and exposes the roots of the teeth, you will begin to experience extreme tooth sensitivity.
  • Infection. Improper use of plaque scrapers can result in infection. Tartar can be accidentally pushed under the gum line, leading to gum issues and infection.
  • Other Mouth Injuries. Plaque scrapers are incredibly sharp. These tools are specialized medical tools, and it takes extensive training to learn how to use them safely and correctly. Improper use could result in injuries to your cheeks, tongue, or other soft tissues inside your mouth.

Managing Plaque At Home

While it is not recommended to use a plaque scaler at home, there are many ways to keep your teeth healthy in between professional dental cleanings.

  • Floss. Using dental floss to clean between your teeth once a day is the best way to ensure you are thoroughly cleaning every surface inside your mouth.
  • Brush. Regularly brush your teeth using a steady and calm motion for two minutes, twice a day. Brushing your teeth about 30 minutes after each meal will help to reduce the amount of plaque and tartar buildup on your teeth.
  • Plaque Specific Toothpaste. Using a fluoride toothpaste or a tartar control specific toothpaste will help to repair any damage to your teeth. Fluoride works to protect your enamel against acid and decay.
  • Eat Raw Vegetables. The simple act of chewing raw vegetables can help to clean your teeth when brushing is not available.
  • Mouthrinse. Using mouthwash can help to clean your teeth in the hard-to-reach spaces inside your mouth.
  • Invest in an Electric Toothbrush. Sonic vibrations from an electric toothbrush allow for a superior clean because of their ability to perform a secondary cleansing action for removing plaque easily.

Managing Plaque Professionally

If you are concerned about plaque buildup on your teeth, visit your dentist regularly. Your dentist can examine your mouth to determine if you have plaque, tartar or other dental problems that need to be addressed. If necessary, plaque can be removed safely by a trained and licensed dental hygienist. If you’re worried about plaque buildup, be sure to schedule an appointment with Cherrywood Dental Associates today.

10 Last Minute Tooth-Inspired Stocking Stuffers

colorful christmas stockings hanging on fireplace with healthy treats inside

Looking for a few last-minute ideas to fill the stockings you have hung with care? Here are a few great last-minute gift ideas. Getting your family excited about taking proper care of their oral hygiene is half the battle, so add these ideas to your gift list and make dental hygiene fun again.

A Fancy New Toothbrush

Everyone loves a new toothbrush. For the holidays, pick one that will get your kids excited about brushing their teeth and into the holiday spirit. Instead of their usual pink or blue toothbrush, opt for a unique option that gets them excited about oral hygiene. The toothbrush aisle is full of character brushes, brushes that light up and even brushes that play music while you clean your teeth! Be sure to choose a soft-bristled toothbrush with the appropriately sized head for smaller mouths.

A Tooth Timer

If brushing for a full two minutes is a challenge for your kids, consider getting a small timer to keep in the bathroom. Brushing for a full two minutes can seem like a long time when the concept of time is still a work-in-progress. A tooth timer can ensure your kids are brushing for long enough and will make brushing into a game.

Wacky Toothpaste Flavors

Kids don’t always share the minty-fresh toothpaste preferences that adults care for. Try finding exciting new flavors for their dental stocking stuffers. Toothpaste now comes in a variety of flavors including watermelon, citrus, cinnamon, ginger, strawberry, and more. Changing up the toothpaste flavor daily or even weekly can give your child something to look forward to while brushing their teeth. When it comes to kids, a little extra motivation can go a long way towards keeping up healthy habits.

Children’s Books

Reading is essential for the development of any child, so why not encourage your child to keep up good habits with a dentist-related children’s book? You can choose from titles that educate children on proper oral hygiene habits or find a book that teaches them about their overall health.

Sugar-Free Chewing Gum With Xylitol

Chewing sugar-free Xylitol gum can help in the production of saliva which washes away trapped food particles from your teeth. Gum containing Xylitol has been proven to help reduce cavities, making it a must-have stocking stuffer for the entire family.

Chocolate

Yes, chocolate can be good for your teeth! With the recent findings, it’s now more true than ever, that chocolate is a superfood for your teeth. While it should still be enjoyed in moderation, chocolate is far better for your teeth than other candy options that are sticky, gooey, or chewy.

Sports Mouthguard

Does your child play sports? If so, consider getting a mouthguard for Christmas, so their teeth are adequately protected. Even if they already have one, a new color or style can get kids excited about staying in the habit of wearing one.

Toothbrush Holder

Is your child often sleeping over at their friends’ houses or spending time at sleepaway camp? A colorful toothbrush travel case will make it easy for your child to remember to pack their toothbrush wherever they go. As a bonus, a toothbrush holder will keep their toothbrush clean and bacteria free.

Lip Balm

The ideal gift that can be used by anyone regardless of age, lip balm makes for the perfect stocking stuffer. During winter, our lips are one part of our body that is always exposed to the cold weather, so it’s vital to maintain their moisture.

Reusable Straws

Using a straw is a great way to protect your teeth, especially when sipping on drinks that may be acidic or prone to staining your teeth. One of the main reasons that using a straw will benefit your teeth is simply because it reduces the amount of contact between beverages and your teeth. Reusable silicone straws are the perfect gift for the entire family to make drinking beverages more fun.

Scheduling Your Post-Holiday Exams

Give your child the gift of good oral hygiene with fun, but practical dental stocking stuffers. These colorful, lively gifts will make routine habits like brushing and flossing seem much more fun. After the holiday season is finished, be sure to schedule your first dental exams of 2019 with Cherrywood Dental Associates.

The Signs & Treatment of Gum Disease: What You Need to Know

The Signs & Treatment of Gum Disease: What You Need to Know

The health of your gums affects your entire body. For example, did you know that unhealthy gums are actually associated with an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s disease? This is clearly a serious issue, made more serious by the fact that nearly half of Americans aged 30 and over have periodontal disease.

It’s key to stay educated and empowered about your oral health so that you can practice good preventative care — and know when you need to seek professional help. Let’s look into the periodontal disease: causes, signs, treatments, and what you need to know to fight back against the disease.

What is Gingivitis?

Generally considered a precursor to periodontal disease, gingivitis is a milder form of periodontal disease. Just because it’s mild, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be taken seriously. Left untreated, the plaque and tartar associated with gingivitis can lead to more serious problems.

The role of plaque and tartar

In gingivitis, the “gingiva,” or the part of your gums that meet your teeth, become swollen and inflamed due to a build-up of plaque along your gumline. What exactly is plaque? It’s an invisible film on the surface of your teeth that forms when bacteria in your mouth interacts with starches and sugars that you eat. One of the reasons we brush our teeth is to prevent plaque from building up.

However, when plaque isn’t removed, it can then turn into tartar beneath your gumline. Tartar is a hard, calcified substance that stores bacteria near your gumline. Because it’s so hard, it can’t be removed without a dentist. Eventually, the bacteria that collects in tartar begins to irritate your gums, leading to the inflammation associated with gingivitis.

Unlike some diseases that give you warning signs through pain, gingivitis is often painless and so may go unnoticed and progress into a more serious form of gum disease called periodontal disease.

What is a Periodontal Disease?

As tartar builds up and gums become increasingly more inflamed from the bacteria, gingivitis can progress into periodontitis, also called periodontal disease or “gum disease.” After time, untreated tartar causes your gums to pull away from your teeth and create pockets into which more bacteria can grow. As the bacteria proliferates, it can cause even more damage. At its worst, periodontal disease can:

  • Cause your connective tissue to break down.
  • Lead to tooth loss and removal.
  • Destroy your bones and gums.

At this point, periodontal disease isn’t only putting you at risk for losing your teeth and damaging your jaw bone. Because of its links to overall health, periodontal disease may also put you at a greater risk for heart disease, osteoporosis, diabetes, and other health issues.

Once gingivitis has progressed into periodontal disease, it’s absolutely vital to see a skilled oral health professional to get treatment.

Warning Signs of Gum Disease

Although the early stages of gum disease (gingivitis) are generally painless, there are definitely some major signs that you or a loved one is suffering from this preventable oral disease:

  • Swelling & discoloration. Even in the earliest stages of gum disease (gingivitis), you will probably be able to detect inflamed gums as a result of your body battling against the bacteria. In the more advanced stages of gum disease, you may even notice that your gums are beginning to turn purple or red near your teeth.
  • Bleeding. Your gums may bleed when you brush or floss. Keep in mind that if you’ve only recently begun to floss, your gums may bleed for about a week. As long as it goes away, it may not indicate periodontal disease.
  • Bad Breath & Taste. If you’re noticing that your bad breath isn’t going away, or that you have a perpetually bad taste in your mouth, this could be a sign of gum disease.
  • Receding gums. As the bacteria begins to settle in under your gumline, you may notice that your gums start to recede from your teeth.

Risk Factors for Gum Disease

Some individuals may be more susceptible to gum disease than others. Pay special attention to your oral health if any of the following is true:

  • Lifestyle. If you smoke or have excess stress, you may be more at risk.
  • Disease. Those with diabetes or immuno-suppressed systems (like AIDS) are more susceptible. In addition, taking certain medications that cause dry mouth can be a risk factor.
  • Hormones. Pregnant women and those on oral contraceptives are more susceptible to gum disease.
  • Oral hygiene. If you don’t practice good oral hygiene, or you have naturally crooked teeth, you may be more prone to periodontal disease.

Treatment of Gum Disease

If you suspect you have gum disease, it’s important to get to a professional immediately. They’ll be able to diagnose you through examining your gums and teeth. In addition, they might use a device called a probe to measure how deep the pockets around your teeth are. From there, they’ll be able to recommend the appropriate plan of action for you. Let’s take a look at some of the common treatments for gum disease:

  • Tooth Cleaning. For mild cases of gingivitis, your periodontist might simply do a tooth cleaning that removes the build-up of tartar on your teeth.
  • Scaling and root planing. This is a type of deep cleaning. Scaling refers to scraping off the tartar that’s accumulated both above and below the gum line. In root planing, your dental professional removes areas on your tooth’s roots where bacteria has a tendency to gather.
  • Pocket Reduction Surgery. In this type of surgery, your periodontist will fold back the gum tissue and clean the bacteria that remains in the pocket that has formed. If your bone has been been damaged by the disease they can also smooth the bone to promote healing.
  • Soft tissue grafts. To fill in and enlarge your remaining gums, your dentist can take tissue from elsewhere in your mouth and graft it onto the damaged gums.
  • Bone grafts. If your jawbone has been injured by disease, your periodontist can fill in your bone with a hard tissue graft.
  • Laser gum surgeryUsing the laser-assisted new attachment procedure (LANAP), your dental professional will use a laser to sterilize and kill the bacteria inside the pockets in your gums. In addition to killing the bacteria, the laser will also kill dead tissue and plaque and help reduce the depth of the pockets (so less bacteria can proliferate). In the process, this stimulates your gums and bones to grow, and helps your gums to heal and re-attach to your teeth.

Treatment Aftercare: What to Expect

Your treatment depends on the stage of your gum disease. Depending on what treatment you received, your doctor will send you home with recommendations for aftercare.

For example, if you had surgery or grafts, you might need to take medication for pain for a few days. You also might use a special mouthwash that helps prevent infection. Depending on the type of treatment you received, be prepared to eat soft foods for a few days and avoid strenuous exercise.

Prevention of Further Loss

Once you’ve seen a dental health professional to get back on the path to good oral health, it’s important to maintain healthy habits to prevent further loss and issues. Here’s how you can help support healthy gums:

  • Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and preferably after meals.
  • Floss frequently.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • See a dentist every six months to a year for a cleaning (or more often if you have risk factors).
  • Eat a healthy diet low in sugar and high in nutrients to support overall oral health.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we like to empower our patients near Woodbridge, VA and Greenbelt, MD, with information about their oral health. As part of your healthcare team, it’s our goal to provide compassionate care coupled with innovative treatments. If you want to get in touch about how we can help restore your smile, please contact us today.

Remove The Root & Save The Tooth

If you have a toothache that just won’t go away, you need to get it checked out, and rather quickly. More than simply addressing the pain, which we realize can be quite intense, not tending to the problem can lead to much larger issues down the road.

The pain can come from a buildup of pressure caused by swelling often due to an infection and/or abscess at the base of the tooth, or in the roots. The only way to alleviate the pain is to get to its source.

What is a Root Canal?

The singular term of the root can be misleading. Your back teeth have multiple roots, whereas a front tooth generally has one. None-the-less, when having a root canal, all roots of that particular tooth will need to be addressed. A root canal is a dental procedure in which all of the nerves and pulp are removed. The canals are then cleaned, filled and sealed.

The Need for Root Canal Therapy

In general, we recommend a root canal over the pulling of a tooth. Although extraction is less expensive, nothing can replace the function of your own teeth, or look as natural.

An article by The American Association of Endodontists states:

Saving the natural tooth with root canal treatment has many advantages:

  • Efficient chewing
  • Normal biting force and sensation
  • Natural appearance
  • Protects other teeth from excessive wear or strain”

And replacement with an implant, or a bridge, can be more costly. Putting it off, or ignoring the issue, will only worsen it. The infection will heighten, can infect the bone, and can cause an overall infection throughout the body. “Leaving a tooth abscess untreated can lead to serious, even life-threatening, complications,” according to the Mayo Clinic.

What is Involved in Having a Root Canal?

Having a root canal is actually fairly easy. It can be done with local anesthesia. However, it does take time, and therefore patience.

  • Your dentist must access the roots by removing or drilling through any previous filling or crown, and the tooth, to reach each of the roots. He or she will then begin the process of carefully clean out each of the canals.
  • Sometimes this takes more than one visit, depending upon the severity of the infection, the number of roots, and the area which needs to be cleaned out. In between visits, you will receive a temporary filling. You should avoid chewing in the area.
  • On the subsequent visit, the canals will receive further cleaning. When cleaning is finished, the roots will be filled with a specific material designed for this purpose. You will again receive a temporary filling.
  • You’ll then set up an appointment for a permanent crown to further preserve your tooth.

Is Having a Root Canal Expensive?

The short answer is, it can be. A root canal is a lengthy, precise procedure. The cost will vary depending upon which tooth needs the work done, and how many roots it has. A front tooth will cost less than a back molar. It may also vary on the depth of the infection.

The good news here is that most dental plans cover root canals. Dental or health cards can also help meet the immediate expense, allowing payments over time.

Dispelling Some Falsehoods About Root Canal Therapy

  • Root canals are painful – Let’s face it, you are already in pain! We have had patients describe the experience or a root canal as relieving. Often the pain you had been under will go away immediately or within a day or so of your first procedure.
  • The root canal won’t work – A root canal does work when done properly by a trained dentist with experience in the procedure. Experts rate the average of root canal success to be 85% to 95%. There is the rare occasion when the base of the root may become infected again, even years later. If this is the case, an additional treatment procedure may need to be done in order to save the tooth and prevent further infection.
  • A root canal may make me sick – Generally, when you have the need for a root canal, you are already sick. You have an infection. The infection can travel. Without a root canal, you may become sicker.
  • Having your tooth pulled is a better alternative – There are cases when a tooth must simply be pulled when the decay is just too bad. But, as we said earlier, it is better to keep your own teeth, whenever possible. While functional, an implant or bridge just won’t work quite as well as your own natural teeth.

That’s Done, Now What?

Following your root canal, you’ll have your permanent crown placed. Nothing else needs to be done other than proper, routine dental care. If you have been remiss in having checkups, now would be a good time to have complete x-rays and professional cleaning.

Of course, not every pain you may feel in your mouth is caused by the roots of a tooth requiring a root canal. It could be from gum disease, known as gingivitis. Or it could be an old filling which cracked and is sensitive to hot and cold. This should be attended to quickly before a new cavity may have time to fester. It may simply require removal of the old filling and replacement with new material, an inlay, or possibly a crown.

We are Here for All Your Dentistry Needs

As with all forms of medicine, dentistry is keeping up with modern studies and techniques for meeting the health of the mouth, along with esthetic properties. Gone are the days of silver fillings, which would someday need replacement. At Cherrywood Dental Associates we not only welcome modern procedures and techniques, but we also embrace them.

We are here to help you prevent problems, and if and when you have one, we want to help you catch it at an early onset. The beginning of a cavity, or the beginning of a dental or gum infection, best be caught early to prevent further problems, which can be painful to you and your pocketbook.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we address all of your dental needs. From a routine checkup to a root canal, we have you covered. Dr. Bazgar and Dr. Pakpour, who happen to be husband and wife, have nearly 20-years-experience in dentistry. Dr. Bazgar was honored placement on the Excellent 2010 America’s Top Dentists for Cosmetic and General Dentistry, from the Consumers’ Research Council of America.

Whether you live in, or near, Greenbelt, MD or Woodbridge, VA, our local dental clinics are here to serve you. Give one of our offices a call and schedule your introductory consultation to let us help protect your teeth and meet your dental needs. Se Habla español. Our offices are handicap-accessible and we offer hearing-impaired communication assistance.

How Powerful Is Your Smile? Our Favorite Smiles Throughout History

A person’s smile has a powerful impact on first impressions, how you’re perceived, how you feel, and even how you’re remembered. In fact, a smile can be remembered for ages. Unlike treasured people of the past, today’s cosmetic dentistry world provides a wide array of innovative opportunities to help you improve your smile, to help you be remembered for that beautiful grin. Let’s take a look at some of the most memorable and unforgettable smiles throughout history and how you can use cosmetic dentistry to maximize the impact of your smile.

The Power of a Smile

Though many may not like to admit it, your smile can have an impact on a variety of things. It is one of the first things people see and one of the most memorable features on a person. A person’s smile is also a reflection of complex, personal feelings. Your smile can reflect emotions you are feeling, such as happiness, pain, discomfort, fear, and love.

A smile, much like other gestures and expressions, has become a learned habit for humans. Though smiles can come naturally from laughter and happiness, smiles are also an expectation considered a “social norm.” For instance, it is considered normal to smile when meeting someone or interviewing for a job, even though it may not reflect any happiness on your part.

In some of the world’s earliest photographs, as another example, most people posed without smiles. In today’s photographs, the expectation for showing your happiness through a smile is considered the norm. This may also link to the improvement we’ve seen of medical and dental care over time to provide better smiles as well.

Smiles Throughout Art

As touched on above, the cultural and societal norms of our time help dictate that we smile in photographs, videos, etc. But throughout history, the norm was quite the opposite. Smiles, in fact, were largely frowned upon and not often seen in traditional art and portraits. But this may also be one of the reasons why we remember certain art pieces and their smiles in particular. Some of the most memorable smiles seen in art include:

  • Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci: For a woman who doesn’t even show her teeth, her small, enigmatic grin is one of the most memorable throughout history. The smile you see in Mona Lisa has attracted, and confused, people for hundreds of years.
  • Buddha: As the largest symbol and center of Buddhism, even those not familiar with the religion know Buddha for his smile. As a representation of peace, enlightenment, and love, Buddha is seen smiling in every piece of art depicting him. This happy depiction has made him a welcome piece of art in homes all over the world.
  • Marilyn Monroe by Andy Warhol: Andy Warhol is one of the most remembered artists in the modern age. His well-known “pop” art changed the art industry, working with simple, but spectacular muses. Marilyn Monroe became one of these muses, and as one of the most beautiful women in the world, he captured her perfectly. Alongside bright colors, Marilyn’s smile reflects her personality, as well as her impact on society.

Smiles Throughout the Entertainment World

Whether it’s literature, film, or music, there are many people and characters that have made their way into our hearts with a simple smile. Beautiful, scary, or otherwise, here are some of the best smiles in entertainment:

  • The Cheshire Cat: Kids and adults alike can recognize the smile of the Cheshire Cat. The amazing Alice in Wonderland has been made into a variety of movie and TV adaptations, but that silly cat’s smile always stays the same.
  • The Joker: It doesn’t matter what actor plays this character since the Joker has been around since his debut in the Batman comics in 1940. It’s hard to forget his unique, sinister, and wide smile; making him one of the most popular characters/villains in the entire franchise.
  • Frank Sinatra: Still regarded as one of the best singers and entertainers of all time, Sinatra captured people everywhere with his captivating voice, ice-blue eyes, and a warm, welcoming smile.
  • Grace Kelly: This woman was iconic for more than her brilliant, beautiful smile. Though she was already well known for her beauty and talent, the American entertainer became part of her own, real-life “Cinderella” story, marrying the Prince of Monaco in 1956.
  • Marlon Brando: With more of a bad-boy-but-still-sweet smile, Brando made his way into the hearts of millions of women across the globe. Even today, his carefree, majestic smile is remembered and revered.

Though these celebrities and entertainers have not been around for as long as some of the others you’ll find on this list, they are still noted and remembered for their beautiful smiles- sure to be remembered for years to come:

  • Julia Roberts
  • Chris Pine
  • Anne Hathaway
  • James Franco
  • Eva Mendes
  • Patrick Dempsey
  • Angelina Jolie
  • Usher
  • Mila Kunis

Cosmetic Dentistry Today

Today’s dental industry is about more than just preventing serious issues and providing care for your oral health. Cosmetic dentistry today strives to do more than focus on the health of your smile, but also the appearance and the impact your smile has on your life.

Teeth whitening is a simple, yet effective procedure that helps whiten and brighten your teeth, with the help of a dental professional either in the office or at home. Other realistic options for correcting a smile like veneers and bonding provide life-like beauty to your smile while fixing any problems with your teeth at the same time. Highly customizable, these cosmetic options can perfect any smile, while more subtle options for straightening your teeth, like Invisalign, can provide comfort and simplicity to straightening and correcting any smile.

At Cherrywood Dental, we know the importance of a great smile. Our trusted professionals offer an array of cosmetic dentistry services to help keep your smile healthy and beautiful. Contact our office today to schedule your appointment or consultation for a free digital smile makeover. Come see what our team at Cherrywood Dental can do for you.

Getting Your Teeth Their Whitest and Brightest – Teeth Whitening Options

Everyone knows that bright, white teeth are a key factor in making your smile look its best! However, we also realize that lifestyle plays an important role in this. Our favorite beverages, such as coffee, tea, soda, and red wine are things that many of us can’t imagine living without, yet they leave unsightly stains on the teeth. Also, with age comes gradual yellowing of the teeth as well. So what do we do? Well, there is great news! With the help of a dentist, you can get a natural-looking, white smile with ease. The dentine underneath our tooth enamel is what ultimately determines the color of teeth, as the enamel itself is translucent. When we use whitening options, the bleach penetrates the enamel resulting in the bright smile that we all desire. The process is simple, and can be done either in the office or conveniently at home. Let’s take a look at the best teeth whitening options that are available.

What Causes the Teeth to Yellow or Turn Darker?

Before we begin, it is important to understand exactly what causes discoloration of the teeth. Aside from the above-mentioned factors, discoloration of the teeth can be caused by:

  • Medication – the use of certain medications can cause discoloration of the teeth, such as certain antibiotics and antihistamines.
  • Some fruits and vegetables, especially those that are acidic, can cause the teeth to yellow or stain.

While it is difficult to completely avoid every situation that may cause staining, there are simple changes that are easy to make to your daily routine in order to prevent yellowing.

Teeth Whitening Options

When you look in the mirror and realize that your teeth look slightly yellow, you will wonder what your options are. A dentist has several procedures that can be used to effectively remove stains and whiten the teeth. He or she will discuss what the best option is for the needs of each patient. The whitening is done with either hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Options include:

  • Bleaching that is done in-office – known as chairside bleaching, this process is easy and can be completed in one visit. It is painless and typically takes up to one hour. The result is teeth that are several shades whiter.
  • At-home bleaching – your dentist will provide custom-made trays that you take home. Bleach is applied to the trays, and they are worn according to the dentist’s instructions.

While teeth bleaching is typically painless, it can cause some sensitivity, so it is best to speak to your dentist if you have any concerns.

Procedure and Cost

Before a specific type of procedure is chosen for whitening the teeth, your dentist will perform an evaluation to determine which type of bleaching is best for you. He or she will talk to you about your lifestyle, how you plan to maintain the results, as well as take note of any dental work that you have had done.

Two of the main concerns for anyone who is considering teeth whitening is what is involved in the procedure, as well as the overall cost. Chairside bleaching is one of the most popular forms of teeth whitening. Keep in mind that this procedure does not work on veneers, crowns, or bonding. Using a hydrogen peroxide-based bleaching gel, the dentist will use intense light on the teeth for approximately 45 minutes. The light and the gel work together to penetrate the enamel of the teeth, breaking up stains and leaving a clean, white finish. This process can cost about $500 or more and is extremely effective.

For patients that choose the option of at-home bleaching, keep in mind that at least 2 appointments are typically necessary. During the first appointment, the dentist will take molds of the patient’s teeth for the purpose of creating custom trays. The patient will then be provided with a bleaching gel, and shown how to apply it to the trays and wear in the mouth for 30 minutes or so each day for approximately two weeks. The gel penetrates the tooth enamel, breaking up stains. This procedure is effective at removing stains and can cost approximately $300 or more.

Teeth-whitening options that are supervised by a dentist are safe for just about anyone.

Maintaining White Teeth After Professional Treatment

It is important for anyone who receives a professional teeth whitening procedure to be well-informed of how to maintain white teeth after the treatment is completed. Now that you have that bright, white smile you have always wanted, you need to make sure you keep it that way for as long as possible. The best way to begin is to avoid food and drinks that can cause long-term stainings, such as coffee, tea, red wine, and soda. Make sure to consume plenty of water throughout the day, as this helps wash away particles that are left in the mouth after eating and drinking other foods and beverages. Be sure you are following the proper teeth brushing techniques as well. Two times per day, using a whitening toothpaste, hold your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the teeth and gums. Brush for at least 2 minutes. Floss each tooth one time per day. Another great tip to remember is to try to enjoy all beverages through a straw. This helps the liquid from saturating the teeth and reduces the chance of staining. Also, it is important to know that teeth whitening, even professional bleaching, will not last forever! You must follow the above-mentioned tips in order to get the most from your procedure. By carefully maintaining the results, the teeth will remain white for several months to several years. However, you may have to visit your dentist for an occasional touch-up.

At Cherrywood Dental Associates, we understand just how important it is to put your best smile forward. That is why we offer several teeth-whitening options so that, together with your dentist, you can choose the one that is best for you. For more information, or to schedule an appointment, contact us today.

Should I Be Using an Electric Toothbrush?

Hand holding electric toothbrush

From a young age, you have been taught the importance of properly brushing your teeth. Despite your best efforts, though, you may not be brushing as well as you would like to. Electric and manual toothbrushes each have their own benefits. However, bristles on manual toothbrushes cannot reach to remove all of the plaque and tartar buildup that resides between your teeth.

Do you use an electric toothbrush? If not, what are you waiting for?

Benefits of An Electric Toothbrush

Electric toothbrush bristles vibrate or rotate to help you remove plaque buildup from your teeth and gums. The vibration allows for more micro-movements each time you move your toothbrush across your teeth. An electric toothbrush will enable you to reach further thanks to the combination of motion and equal pressure from the brush itself.

Equal pressure is vital – far too many manual brushers do a good job on one side of their mouth, while the other side suffers. A right-handed person often brushes the left side of their mouth more thoroughly with a manual toothbrush and vice versa.

Superior Plaque Removal

A review of studies showed that, in general, electric toothbrushes do decrease more plaque and gingivitis than manual toothbrushes. After three months of continuous use, plaque was reduced by 21 percent and gingivitis by 11 percent. Oscillating (rotating) toothbrushes also seem to work better than just vibrating toothbrushes.

Ease of Use

Regular manual toothbrushes require you to move them back and forth along your teeth, whereas electric toothbrushes do most of the work for you. That means you need only to guide it along the surfaces of your teeth, making them easier to use for people with limited mobility. Many people find this method of brushing easier. Likewise, they may be helpful for anyone with mobility limits including those suffering from:

  • Carpal tunnel
  • Arthritis
  • Developmental disabilities

Technology Features

Generally rich in technology and advanced features, some electric toothbrushes can even enable you to improve your brushing habits. Most come with convenient features like a brush head or toothbrush holder, bathroom counter storage units and travel chargers.

Some high-tech features may include:

  • Numerous brushing modes specialized for sensitive teeth
  • Whitening benefits
  • Gum-massaging action
  • Pressure sensors to signal when you are brushing too hard
  • Timers to help you track of how long you are brushing each quadrant of your mouth
  • Digital reminders to replace your brush head
  • Oscillating or rotating sonic technology
  • Multiple brush head compatibility so you can choose which type of bristle design you prefer

Fun For Kids

It can be challenging to get your kids excited about brushing their teeth. For those children who are less-than-interested in their dental hygiene, an electric toothbrush may be the answer you have been in search of. If an electric toothbrush is more engaging to your child, it can help accomplish good oral cleaning and establish healthy habits for children. The more you are able to instill healthy brushing habits at a young age, the more those habits will benefit your child as they mature.

Ideal For Orthodontic Patients

Electric toothbrushes are known to be particularly helpful for patients going through orthodontic treatment. Appliances such as braces make brushing difficult, so an electric toothbrush allows a more thorough clean of those hard-to-reach places. If you or your child find it difficult to clean their mouth while having orthodontics, an electric toothbrush may be able to improve their oral health during treatment.

Are you interested in switching to an electric toothbrush, but are overwhelmed at the options? Cherrywood Dental Associates is here to help! Ask us for a personalized recommendation at your next checkup to ensure you find the best toothbrush for your teeth.

 

Straightening Your Teeth (Again!) With Invisalign

Hand with blue glove holding medical oral orthodontics Invisible

Many people have had traditional orthodontic treatment when they were younger, and unfortunately, for one reason or another, their teeth have shifted back to their original position. Sound too familiar? Luckily orthodontic treatments have come a long way, and Invisalign is there for those who have experienced wandering teeth over the years.

Why You May Need Orthodontic Treatment for the Second Time

For one reason or another, most young adults stop wearing their removable retainers after their orthodontic treatment is complete. A decade later, that bad habit of not wearing them can catch up with you. Your formerly straight teeth can look crooked again because of these oral health issues.

Shifting Teeth

The most common cause of shifting teeth after braces is not wearing your retainers for the recommended amount of time following orthodontic treatment. The natural progression of teeth causes them to migrate back towards their original positions, causing your teeth to become crooked again over time.

The best way to avoid your teeth from shifting back to their original positions before braces is to continue to wear your retainers for as long as it is comfortable to do so. Generally, after the first year, you will be able to reduce your retainer wear down to only a few nights a week.

Having permanent or “bonded” wire retainers placed on the inside of the front teeth is one considerable way to avoid having to worry about your teeth shifting out of alignment as a result of not wearing your retainers.

Teeth Grinding

Bruxism, or chronic grinding of your teeth, can force pressure on your alignment. Clenching or grinding can put stress on your teeth and gums, causing them to shift into different positions. To help break these habits, an orthodontist or dentist can provide you with oral devices that help to keep your teeth in place while avoiding any damage bruxism may cause.

Bad Habits

Some habits can follow us around for years. Mostly unconscious, habits that can contribute to an ongoing misalignment of the jaw and crowding of the teeth are sometimes referred to as “myofunctional” habits. Things like breathing through the mouth, tongue thrusting, and reverse swallowing can be hard habits to break, and will also cause once-aligned teeth to become misaligned after orthodontic treatment.

Poor Oral Hygiene

Straighter teeth make it much easier to maintain a healthy, beautiful smile. Poor oral hygiene will make your teeth and gums susceptible to cavities and gum disease. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to infection, soft tissue damage, receding gums, and bone and tooth loss. Losing a tooth and not replacing it with a dental implant will cause the surrounding teeth to shift out of alignment to compensate for the space.

Illness or Injury

Facial trauma, such as a jaw injury or a mouth injury can have the effect of moving teeth out of place. Traumas are the most common cause of the most severe instances of crooked teeth. Losing teeth or having your jaw shift due to a forceful injury will create the effect of having your remaining teeth slowly shift to make up for the empty space over time.

Straighten Your Smile For Good

If you’ve already gone through traditional metal braces, but your teeth have shifted since your treatment ended, you may get even better results from Invisalign. Not only can Invisalign help your teeth get back on track, but your smile will have a better chance of staying perfect after your Invisalign treatment is over.

See the long-lasting results of Invisalign for yourself by scheduling a consultation appointment with Cherrywood Dental Associates today.

Teeth in One Day: All-On-4 Dental Implants

all on 4 dental implants

Imagine the option of permanent, reliable teeth in a single procedure. All-On-4  dental implants give you a full dental replacement in one visit. Four implants are positioned into bone – one on top and one on the bottom – allowing full-arch prosthesis on the same day of surgery. This special procedure of dental implants doesn’t replace just one tooth at a time; it allows your dental professional to attach an entire set of artificial teeth onto titanium inserts leaving you with a fresh set of chompers on the very same day.

We Know Dental Implants

The dentists of Cherrywood Dental Associates are proud to share their implant dentistry expertise with our patients hoping to replace lost teeth. Our dentists have undergone extensive specialized training for implant placement, and have practiced implant dentistry for over 13 years.  We can answer all of your questions about dental implants and let you know if All-On-4 implants are right for you.

The All-On-4 Advantage

Conventional dentures are tough to keep secure. The time spent caring for your removable teeth combined with the cost of adhesives and adjustments adds up. All-On-4 implants provides the convenience of a full-arch prosthesis with standard dental care.

Same-day implants are a game-changer for your schedule, with the majority of your procedure happening in one visit. While there is recovery and rehabilitation just like any oral surgery, single-day implant placement for patients eager to restore teeth quickly cuts out months of healing time typically associated with dental implants.

What Will This Cost Me?

Due to the accomplishments of the All-On-4 dental implants, it can be costly. The average cost for an entire All-On-4 can range between $15,000 and $35,000 depending on additional procedures needed and style of the denture. It is imperative to check with your insurance company to determine what type of coverage is available to you. At Cherrywood Dental, we will discuss dental financing options, too.

Let’s Talk

We want to see you smile. Schedule a free consultation today to learn if All-On-4 implants are the right choice for you. We have two convenient locations in Woodbridge, VA, and Greenbelt, MD. Hablamos Español.

Dental Implants: A Permanent Replacement

dental implants as a permanent solution a

Modern dental restorations are both durable and beautiful. With the option of dental implants, you can have a replacement tooth which feels, functions, and looks like the original. At Cherrywood Dental, we create new foundations for your teeth with dental implants.

What is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant is an artificial tooth permanently replacing a missing tooth. It is often made of titanium and bone-like components which can be compatible with the jaw and support a full denture. There are 2 types of dental implants: a subperiosteal implant is attached under the gum tissue via a metal frame while an endosteal implant is positioned directly into the bone. With your dental implants fused to your jawbones, they actually feel just like natural tooth roots.

Dental implants can replace any number of teeth from a single implant to a replacement of every tooth in both arches. At Cherrywood Dental, our office is unique in its potential to provide a same-day implant and restoration placement.

Benefits of Dental Implants

 If you’re ready to replace missing teeth, our team at Cherrywood Dental is equipped to restore your smile as quickly as possible. Here are some of the benefits of dental implants:z 

  • An improvement in your overall oral health can be achieved with dental implants. Gaps caused by missing teeth are breeding grounds for bacteria which can lead to an increase in plaque, tartar, cavities and periodontal diseases such as gingivitis.
  • An implanted tooth does not shift or slip, which allows you to have the same security and stability as the natural teeth.
  • You can clean implants in the same way as the natural teeth. There is no need to take these units out at night for soaking or cleaning.
  • Implanted teeth do not rely on other neighboring teeth for the right support. As a result, no tooth structure would be lost.
  • Implants can prevent nearby teeth from shifting and preserve the contour of your face and jawbone.
  • Implanted teeth are a great cosmetic solution to your missing teeth, providing you with a symmetrical gap-free smile and improved facial structure.

 

Healing Time for Dental Implants

The timeline for your procedure and recovery will, of course, depend on the amount of work required for your specific dental needs. Our team at Cherrywood Dental will help you plan out your schedule and discuss what can be expected during your recovery. Read more about an overview of what to expect during an implant healing process, and why the treatment time is as long as it is in order to have a successful implant. (internal link: )

Considering Dental Implants?

You may have many questions concerning the option of dental implants, especially the initial inquiry of whether or not you’re a likely candidate. Our staff at Cherrywood Dental can assist you in this decision process and evaluate your own special circumstance. We will review with you the conditions necessary to perform a dental implant procedure.

The cost of dental implants is an understandable concern for our patients. Most insurance companies including Medicare do not offer dental implant coverage. We’d be happy to discuss financing options that may be available to you for your dental care.

Let Us Fill in Your Smile

At Cherrywood Dental, our dentists pair dental implants with restorations to provide the stability that superficial restorations lack. Implants replace missing tooth roots and will support restorations for a lifetime. Our dentists have practiced implant dentistry for over 13 years and provide a unique same-day implant and restoration placement. Call or text us today to schedule your free consultation.  

 

 

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Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist

Dr. Barzgar was very professional and gentle. When I first came to his office to see Dr. Barzgar I had a major trust issue between dentist and patient from my past experiences. Dr. Barzgar is an excellent dentist, whose priority is making sure his...

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