January 31st, 2018
As the field of dentistry advances and the use of technology in the field increases, the concept of minimally invasive dentistry has emerged. Preservation of a healthy set of natural teeth for each patient should be the objective of every dentist. Minimally invasive dentistry is characterized by the following core beliefs:
- Regard original tissue as more valuable than its artificial counterpart.
- Preserve, rather than replace, original tissue.
- Focus on the prevention of disease above its treatment.
- When treatment is necessary, use invasive means as little as possible.
- Prevention begins with good oral hygiene.
- Dental caries are considered an infectious disease.
- Early detection of caries and other diseases can prevent the spread of infection and, consequently, further damage to healthy tissue.
- Infection control can reduce the incidence of restoration practices by as much as 50 percent.
- Focus on remineralization of enamel and dentin as a preventive effort in treating caries.
Our team at South Riding Cosmetic & Family Dentistry will tell you the goal of minimally invasive dentistry is to preserve as much original tissue as possible. The preservation of original tissue leaves a tooth stronger in structure than one which has been modified through invasive measures.
When a restoration, such as a filling, must be made to a tooth, a greater amount of healthy tooth tissue than actual decayed tissue is often removed. An estimated 50 to 71 percent of the work a dentist completes involves repair or replacement of previous restorations. The use of durable restoration materials decreases the need for later repair or restoration work.
Tooth tissue can be preserved at a greater percentage through the use of innovative adhesive materials. Glass ionomer cements release minerals into the surrounding tooth tissue and help prevent future cavities. Resin-based composite and dentin bonding agents are designed to bond to the enamel and preserve it.
New technology and the invention of small, hand-held tools allow for a less-invasive form of restoration. One such form is air abrasion, a technique that involves using powerful air pressure to direct aluminum oxide particles toward the tooth, which results in a gentler, less-damaging cut to the tooth.
For more information about minimally-invasive surgeries, or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Steger, Dr. Murphy and Dr. Abrol, please give us a call at our convenient South Riding, VA office!
January 24th, 2018
Biofilm is a protective home for bacteria that’s composed of microorganisms. Biofilm can be found in wet places such as ponds, sewers, and bathroom drains, and it also grows on metals and minerals.
But biofilm can also be found in your mouth, in either healthy or diseased form. Both are composed of the same compounds, but when they combine with certain amino acids or chemicals, diseased biofilm will begin to destroy your enamel. You might notice this as a slimy yellow buildup of dental plaque on the surface of your teeth.
Biofilm takes form when free-swimming bacterial cells land on a surface and attach in a cluster. The cells begin to multiply and form a micro-colony that promotes diverse bacterial species to grow. To prevent biofilm from settling in your mouth to begin with, make sure to keep up your daily oral routine.
Any mouth appliances you use should also be scrubbed or soaked in cleaner as often as possible. You should pick a toothpaste that has antibacterial ingredients, rinse with mouthwash, and floss daily.
There are many ways to treat diseased biofilm. One is to kill the microorganisms through the use of chlorhexidine, triclosan, and mineral agents that reduce the degree of plaque formed in your mouth.
Another way is to make sure to go to your regular cleanings every six months with Dr. Steger, Dr. Murphy and Dr. Abrol. During your cleaning, we remove excess biofilm that’s accumulated on your teeth over the past six months.
Don’t forget that it’s also essential to keep a healthy amount of biofilm in your mouth, though. This type of biofilm protects your body from disease and is replicated every twenty minutes. If you have a healthy amount of good biofilm, the chances of your mouth producing harmful bacteria decreases.
Ask about biofilm during your next appointment at our South Riding, VA office if you’ve noticed any irregular yellow-colored buildup on your teeth. Dr. Steger, Dr. Murphy and Dr. Abrol will make sure your mouth has a healthy balance of biofilm.
The best way to create a healthy environment in your mouth is to stay on track with your oral health regimen. Prevention is the best method when it comes to your dental hygiene and fighting diseased biofilm.
January 17th, 2018
Dental emergencies are bound to come up when you have young children. Dr. Steger, Dr. Murphy and Dr. Abrol and our team want to you to be prepared in case you run into a difficult situation. Problems can vary, from minor gum irritation to knocked-out teeth. Take a look at the different possibilities and how you can handle them.
Depending on the age of your child, there are common things to watch for when it comes to his or her teeth. Starting from a young age, your son or daughter may experience teething pain. This starts at about four months and can last up to three years.
Teething may cause your little one to become irritable and more prone to drooling due to tender gums. This is very common in young children who are teething, and can be alleviated by giving them a cold teething ring or by rubbing their gums with your finger.
Teething pain is as normal as your child’s first set of teeth falling out. On the other hand, if a baby tooth is knocked out in a forceful accident, make sure you bring him or her into our South Riding, VA office to check that other damage hasn’t occurred in the mouth. On occasion, permanent teeth may grow in before baby teeth have fallen out. This may not cause any discomfort, but Dr. Steger, Dr. Murphy and Dr. Abrol should make sure the teeth are growing in properly. Catching teeth that are coming in incorrectly can prevent issues from arising in adulthood.
If you’ve noticed your child’s gums bleeding often, this could result from a number of things. Bleeding gums may be an early sign of periodontal disease, which is caused by poor oral hygiene when it appears in children. Excessive gum bleeding can also occur when children brush their teeth too hard, or suffer an injury to their gum tissue.
If bleeding is continuous, rinse your child’s mouth with warm salt water and apply light pressure to the area. If you become concerned about the amount of blood, contact our South Riding, VA office and we will schedule an appointment for your youngster as soon as possible.
Depending on what type of dental issue your child is experiencing, you should make sure to treat it quickly and properly. If you have questions or concerns about what you can do to help your son or daughter develop better oral hygiene habits, ask Dr. Steger, Dr. Murphy and Dr. Abrol for tips during your next appointment.
Don’t forget: As a parent, you can provide the best education to your children on the importance of proper oral hygiene by setting a good example.
January 10th, 2018
Most people know when they have a cavity—they can either see it on their tooth or... ouch! They can feel it! But there are certain things that many of our patients don't know about cavities that could save them a trip to our South Riding, VA office!
1. Not all sugars are created equal
It's quite well known that eating dietary sugars in excess along with poor oral hygiene leads to dental decay such as cavities. This is due to the fact that the bacteria in your mouth feed on these sugars and excrete acids as a byproduct of that process, thus causing decay. But xylitol, a sugar alcohol derived from birch or corn, actually prevents the bacteria from converting sugars into acids.
Xylitol is available in the form of gum, mints, toothpaste, and even in a granulated form much like regular cane sugar. You might consider trying some xylitol products between meals to keep your mouth clean and fresh.
2. It's not always what you eat but HOW you eat
Are you a grazer, always snacking between meals and never satisfied? We now know that this kind of eating can contribute to cavities and other oral health problems.
Every time you eat anything with carbohydrates in it, you're feeding the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn produce acids. If you're constantly eating, it doesn't allow your saliva time to bring the pH of your mouth back into a more alkaline, neutral state. It takes your saliva about 20 minutes to neutralize the acids in your mouth after eating.
It's especially easy to harm your teeth in this way with soft drinks, sipping all day long. So, it's best to avoid sugary drinks and junk food, and if you need a snack opt for healthy vegetables or what are known as "detergent foods." If you do decide to drink a soft drink or eat something sugary, have it all at once and not over the course of the day.
3. Flossing is one of the most important oral hygiene techniques
Although most of our patients are aware that they need to brush, sometimes they can get lackadaisical when it comes to flossing. And that's a big mistake. Flossing is one of the most important (and we daresay, easiest) things someone can do to help prevent cavities and tooth decay.
You see, as we've already mentioned, the bacteria in your mouth that cause cavities feed on the food you eat. So if you've got pieces of that food stuck between your teeth all day and night, every day, that's asking for a problem.
Flossing clears that bacteria-feeding food out from between your teeth. Floss daily and whenever you decide to do it, morning or night, just do it!
4. A dry mouth can lead to cavities and tooth decay
Your teeth's best defense against cavities and tooth decay is actually your saliva! We've already talked about the pH neutralizing effect saliva has. So if you find you have a dry mouth often, make sure to have some water to sip on. Or why not try some xylitol mints or gum to get your saliva production kicked into action?
5. Over-brushing can damage your enamel
If you brush like a construction worker with a jackhammer, you should ease up! Brushing too hard can scrape away at your teeth's enamel, which leaves them more susceptible to cavities and decay. Brush lightly, with your brush angled at the gum line for two minutes, twice a day. That's all that is required!