Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.
In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.
Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.
What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.
A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”
Even though baby teeth are not meant to last forever, they serve some very important functions for the time they are around. Healthy baby teeth allow your child to bite and chew food, articulate sounds correctly during speech, and, of course, to smile! They also help guide the permanent teeth, which will one day replace them, into proper alignment. So it’s important to take good care of them while they’re here. Let’s answer some frequently asked questions about pediatric dentistry.
Can I get my teeth cleaned while I’m pregnant?
Yes — and you should! Both the American Dental Association and the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women keep up with their regular schedule of dental cleanings and exams during pregnancy. Not doing so can allow disease-causing oral bacterial to flourish, which can be a health risk for both the expectant mother and her fetus.
Do infants need their teeth brushed?
Yes, it’s important to start a daily oral hygiene routine as soon as the first baby tooth appears — usually sometime between six and nine months of age. Use a very soft-bristled child-sized toothbrush and just a smear of fluoride toothpaste (the size of a grain of rice). When your child turns 3, increase the amount of fluoride toothpaste to the size of a pea.
When should I take my child in for her first dental appointment?
The answer to this one may surprise you: All children should see a dentist by the age of 1. Early dental visits get children accustomed to having their mouths examined and their teeth cleaned. Establishing this healthy habit early will go a long way toward promoting a lifetime of good oral health.
Should I worry that my child sucks his thumb?
That depends on how old he is. Thumb sucking is a normal, comforting habit for babies and toddlers. Most outgrow it by the time they are 4. But kids who don’t are at increased risk for orthodontic issues later on. If your child seems unable to break the habit, let us know; we can give you more detailed recommendations at your next appointment.
What can I do to prevent my children from getting cavities?
Make sure your children have an effective daily oral hygiene routine that includes brushing with fluoride toothpaste twice a day and flossing at least once per day. If they are too young to do a good job by themselves, help them complete these important tasks. Keep their sugar consumption as low as possible; pay particular attention to beverages — soda, sports drinks and even 100 % natural fruit juices can all promote tooth decay. We can offer individualized advice on fighting cavities, and even provide fluoride treatments and dental sealants for extra protection against cavities. So don’t forget to bring your child in to the dental office for regular exams and cleanings!
Professional teeth whitening can give you the brilliant smile you've always wanted. Dr. Amirreza Rafaat of Lansdowne Smile Design, which is located in Leesburg, VA, and Herndon Smile Design, which is located in Herndon, VA, offers professional solutions for patients who want a bright smile. Here are five reasons to consider professional teeth whitening.
1. You will look better.
A simple way for you to improve your appearance is with the ultimate accessory—a sparkling smile. Professional teeth whitening removes years of dental stains and the process is hassle-free. You will look and feel more attractive after a teeth whitening treatment.
2. You will feel more confident.
Teeth whitening can boost your confidence and self-esteem. Whether patients want to look their best for a special occasion or want a confidence boost, teeth whitening remains the most-requested dental procedure. Today’s patients want whitening that makes their precious moments more special, giving them the confidence to truly smile.
3. You will take years off your look.
Want to look younger? The fountain of youth has always been in your dentist’s office. A recent survey found that a healthier-looking smile makes people look younger. What’s even more surprising is that teeth whitening was found to be more effective in restoring a youthful appearance than facelift surgery.
4. You will see results quickly.
In-office bleaching will give you a movie-star smile in only one office visit. One in-office whitening session will make your teeth up to 8 shades lighter. An at-home whitening treatment provides fabulous results in a few weeks of use. An at-home treatment will make your teeth about eight shades lighter.
5. Professional teeth bleaching is safe.
Professional teeth whitening is one of the safest procedures in dentistry. Teeth whitening is safe when performed by a trained and experienced dentist and carries no serious side effects. Some patients may experience gum irritation and mild tooth sensitivity after bleaching. Patients with decay or periodontal disease should not have their teeth whitened until these conditions are treated.
Your smile defines you. It’s what makes you who you are. If you're unhappy with your smile, it can affect the way you feel about yourself and how other people perceive you. Call Lansdowne Smile Design at 703-724-4220 now to book an appointment for a teeth whitening session in Leesburg, VA. Call Herndon Smile Design at 703-464-0000 to schedule an appointment in Herndon, VA. We believe that everyone deserves a healthy, beautiful smile.
Once upon a time, the options for replacing missing teeth were limited basic dentures or crowns and bridges. While they are both good options that have significantly improved with modern dental technology and techniques, they only address part of the problem presented by tooth loss - the visible portion of your teeth. Dental implants go a step further and replace the root, which securely anchors the cosmetic crown and preserves the bone tissue in the gums. Dr. Amirreza Rafaat in Leesburg and Herndon, VA, recommends implants for healthy adults with enough remaining bone density to support an implant.
Implant Dentistry in Leesburg and Herndon, VA
When a tooth falls out or is removed via extraction, the surrounding bone tissue in the gums begins to erode, increasing your risk for periodontal (gum) disease and other oral health problems like inflammation and infections. Loss of bone density can also affect the stability of the rest of your teeth. Implant dentistry kills two birds with one stone by addressing both the cosmetic and oral health concerns associated with tooth loss. Made of a small, biocompatible titanium screw that replaces the missing tooth's root, the implant is surgically placed in the jaw, at which point it begins to fuse with the surrounding bone tissue. Once healed, the cosmetic crown is attached.
One of the many benefits of choosing implants is that they can be used to replace a single tooth, a few missing teeth, or support an entire set of dentures with just a few implants (known as implant supported overdentures). No more worrying about loose fitting dentures or use of adhesives. Implant dentistry is the closest restoration and the next best thing to a natural tooth.
Find a Cosmetic Dentist in Leesburg and Herndon, VA
To learn more about how dental implants work and if they are the right tooth replacement option for you, contact us today by calling 703-724-4220 to schedule an appointment in Leesburg, or 703-464-0000 for Herndon.
Have you started orthodontic treatment recently? Are you having a little trouble getting used to your braces? If so, you are not alone: Everybody goes through an adjustment period during which they momentarily wonder if they’ll really ever get used to this. Don’t worry — you will! And we’ve never heard anyone say, on the day their braces come off and their new smile is revealed, that they aren’t glad they went the distance. Just ask Houston Rockets all-star center Dwight Howard, who discussed his own orthodontic treatment in a recent interview.
“I’m sure I was no different than anyone else who has ever had braces,” he told Mediaplanet. “At first I hated them so much… That changed once I got used to them and I actually grew to love them.” What’s Howard’s advice? “Do exactly what your orthodontist says and know that the outcome is well worth it in the end.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some tips for wearing braces comfortably:
- Hard & Chewy Foods: If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great; there’s no reason to give them up, just the really hard ones. You don’t want to bite into an apple or carrot or any other hard foods like bagels and pizza that have any “size” to them. Small pieces may be ok as long as they can’t bend your wires. Chewy, sticky candy should really be avoided completely. Same with soda, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks because they contain acids that promote tooth decay and can cause a lot of damage around the braces.
- Effective Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever, but also more challenging than ever. It’s easy for food to get stuck under wires and around brackets, but failing to remove it can cause tooth decay, gum irritation and soreness. Therefore, the cleaner your teeth and your braces are, the healthier you will be. Use interdental cleaning brushes and/or a floss-threader to get behind your wires. A mouthrinse can also help strengthen teeth and keep bacteria in check. If you have any questions about how to clean between your teeth, please ask for a demonstration at your next visit.
- Pain Relief: Some soreness at the beginning of orthodontic treatment is normal. To relieve it, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw. If brackets or wires are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks or lips, try applying wax to these areas of your braces. If this does not offer enough relief, we may be able to trim the end of a poking wire. Call us if you need help with this.
Our goal is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible on the way to achieving your all-star smile. If you have questions about adjusting to braces, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”
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