Patient Resources

Abscessed Tooth

An abscess is a pocket of infection in or around your tooth or gums. This big pocket of bacteria is your body's way of reacting to an infection and defending itself against that infection. Dental abscesses are often the result of a deep cavity or tooth decay or a cracked tooth. The infected area can become very painful because the inner tissue of the teeth, the pulp, has been exposed to the infection. If left untreated, the infection can spread to other parts of your body and cause more serious problems.

If you experience pain in your teeth, gums, or jaw, it could be a sign that you have a tooth abscess. Call your dentist immediately for an evaluation. In the meantime, you can try rinsing with warm salt water to help relieve the pain. Take over-the-counter pain medications as well.

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to fight the source of the infection. Other treatment options for abscessed teeth include a root canal treatment, surgery to drain the abscess, or a tooth extraction if the teeth can't be saved. After you've had treatment for your abscess, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions from your oral surgeon.

Dental Bonding

Dental bonding is a procedure in which a dentist applies a tooth-colored resin to a tooth or several teeth. The resin bonds to the tooth's enamel, repairing damage and concealing discoloration. Dental bonding can be a good solution for people who have minor damage to their teeth but do not want to undergo more serious procedures like dental crowns or veneers.

Dental bonding is a simple and non-invasive solution for a variety of dental issues, including minor chips or cracks in teeth, gaps between teeth, crooked teeth, discoloration, and more. The procedure involves applying a tooth-colored resin to the surface of a tooth to cover any imperfections and add strength to the tooth. Unlike veneers, which cover the entirety of a tooth, dental bonding only covers specific sections of the tooth for selective results.

Canker Sores

Canker sores are painful ulcers that develop in the mouth and on the tongue, gums, roof of the mouth, soft palate, throat, or inside the cheek. Canker sores are not contagious, and they're not the same as cold sores, which are caused by the herpes virus.

Most canker sores heal on their own within a week or two, although you can speed up the healing process if you rinse with salt water several times a day and avoid foods that are acidic, spicy, salty, hot, or sweet. Also, avoid brushing too vigorously around the affected area until the canker sore heals completely.

Most canker sores go away on their own, but if yours don't go away after a week or two, talk to your dentist about it. Sometimes, they can indicate an underlying health condition such as a vitamin deficiency or an autoimmune disorder such as lupus. Although there is no cure for these types of conditions, they can be managed with medication and lifestyle changes, so it's important to be checked out by a dentist if you have a lot of recurring canker sores.

Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays are an essential tool that helps dentists diagnose dental problems that are not visible to the naked eye. The X-ray machine uses a small dose of radiation to make images of the body, specifically the teeth and mouth. The images are used to look for any tooth decay or other issues that cannot be seen with the naked eye. These issues may include impacted teeth, cysts, or tumors that can only be seen through an X-ray image. Dentists use these images to diagnose what is causing a problem in the mouth.

Dental X-rays usually take less than a minute to complete and are very safe. They emit a very low level of radiation that is only harmful to the body in large doses over a prolonged period of time. While dental X-rays are safe to take, patients do have the option to not have them taken. However, this does mean that the dentist cannot diagnose any issues that may be going on in your mouth.

Patients should talk to their dentist about any concerns they may have about the safety of taking an X-ray or having dental work done in general.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer is a type of cancer that develops in the mouth, lips, or throat. It can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the tongue and salivary glands. The disease often starts in the flat cells lining the mouth. These cells are called squamous cells and line the moist tissues inside the mouth.

Squamous cells are thin and delicate; they can easily be damaged by chewing tobacco, drinking too much alcohol, or having HPV infections. When these cells are damaged, it increases the risk of infection and the growth of abnormal cells. This can result in the development of oral cancer.

Many of the symptoms of oral cancer are similar to the symptoms of other conditions like a cold or a sore throat. However, it's important to tell your dentist if you experience any of the following symptoms for over two weeks:

  • A sore that bleeds easily and doesn't heal within two weeks
  • Sores around your lips that don't go away after two weeks
  • White or red patches on your tongue or in your mouth that never go away
  • Difficulty moving your jaw or tongue
  • Persistent drooling
  • An unexplained lump in your neck

If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a dentist as soon as possible. During your visit, your doctor will check your mouth for sores or other signs of abnormality. They will perform a biopsy of any suspicious-looking tissue during your appointment. Your test results will be ready in a few days.

If your doctor finds any cancerous cells, they will remove the affected area of tissue to prevent them from spreading to other parts of your body. They may recommend radiation therapy to kill off any remaining cancer cells and prevent a recurrence. If you have any questions or would like to schedule an appointment, contact our office today. We look forward to speaking with you soon!

Orthodontic Treatment

Orthodontic treatment can help straighten your teeth and improve your bite. It can correct problems like crowding, spacing, overbite, underbite, crossbite, and open bite.

Dos and Don’ts for Braces and Retainers

For your orthodontic appliances to work properly, you’ll need to make sure you’re taking great care of them. Here are some helpful dos and don’ts of caring for your braces and retainers:

  • Do brush your teeth after every meal or snack.
  • Don’t skip out on wearing your Invisalign aligners.
  • Do visit your dentist for regular check-ups and cleanings.
  • Don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions about your treatment plan.

Here are some additional tips for cleaning your retainer:

  • Rinse your retainer with cold water before soaking it in mouthwash.
  • Place your retainer in a denture cleaner to soak overnight at least once a month.
  • When you are not wearing your retainer, keep it in a container with water or a cleaning solution to prevent it from becoming misshapen or warped.

Bad Breath and Dental Health

Bad breath, or halitosis, is a common problem. There are numerous causes, ranging from poor oral hygiene to health issues to certain foods.

Bad breath is often caused by a buildup of odor-causing bacteria in the mouth. Many people may not realize their breath smells, which is why others may have to point it out to them. If your dentist notices you have chronic bad breath, he or she may recommend a plan of attack that includes professional teeth cleaning and possibly more advanced treatments.

These can include medications that treat dry mouth or reduce gum inflammation. You may also be given a special antibacterial mouthwash to use daily at home. If you have gum disease or another oral disease, you may need treatment like periodontal therapy.

Children and Orthodontics

In some cases, early orthodontic treatment in children can help avoid tooth extractions or jaw surgery in the future. If left untreated, certain orthodontic issues can lead your child to face issues like difficulty chewing and speaking, poor appearance, and even tooth loss. Braces and retainers can help keep their smiles healthy and beautiful well into adulthood.

Early orthodontic treatment can also help with speech development and eating concerns. Oftentimes, an improper bite can cause problems with how certain sounds are pronounced. Having an orthodontist take a look at their oral structures may help them correct any improper habits, such as tongue thrusting as well. Orthodontic treatments can also improve a child’s ability to eat properly.

Overcrowding of teeth can also lead to the misalignment of permanent teeth when they emerge. An orthodontist will be able to monitor your child’s development closely to ensure that their teeth grow into their proper positions.

Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)

Bruxism is the medical term for teeth grinding and jaw clenching. It’s typically associated with stress or anxiety and usually occurs during sleep. The symptoms of this condition are headaches in the morning, sore jaws, sensitive teeth, and worn-down tooth enamel.

This condition can cause damage to your teeth over time, which is why visiting your dentist for an assessment is important. In some cases, your dentist may recommend that you wear a mouth guard at night to prevent teeth grinding from damaging your smile.

There are several reasons why you may be experiencing bruxism, and it isn’t always easy to determine why a person is doing it. Stress can be a common culprit as it allows muscles to tighten, particularly in the face. Another common cause of bruxism is a misaligned bite. When your teeth are not properly aligned, your jaw may be forced into overdrive in order to chew properly. This can cause your teeth to clench together as they attempt to cope with the problem.

Dental X-Rays

Dental X-rays are radiographs used to diagnose a patient's dental problems like tooth decay, cavities, dental structures, malignant or benign masses, and much more. Dental X-rays allow dentists to see and diagnose dental conditions or spot damage easily.

In dentistry, X-rays are used to take pictures of the teeth and bones inside the mouth. Your dentist will use these images to identify tooth decay, abscesses, cysts, impacted teeth, bone loss, tumors, infections, obstructions, and other oral conditions that are not visible to the naked eye.

A series of dental X-rays is usually recommended for new patients. Your dentist may need to take additional images over the course of your treatment if new issues arise. The frequency of your X-ray scans will depend on your individual oral health needs. If you're due for a check-up and cleaning, talk to our team about whether you will need any diagnostic imaging beforehand.

Gingivitis and Periodontal Disease (Gum Disease)

Gum disease is a bacterial infection that attacks gum tissue and destroys the tissue that supports the teeth. This infection is caused by bacteria, and it occurs when plaque is not removed from the teeth and hardens into tartar. Bacteria can grow beneath the gum line and cause inflammation of the gums, known as gingivitis. If left untreated, the infection can progress into a severe stage called periodontal disease. This infection can spread to the bone that supports the tooth and cause tooth loss.

The main cause of gum disease is poor oral hygiene. Plaque that remains on the teeth for too long can harden into tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing and requires professional dental cleaning. Good habits of thorough daily brushing and flossing may help prevent this common condition. Other factors can include tobacco use and diabetes. Genetics can also play a role in the development of gum disease.

Air Abrasion: Dental Care Without the Drill

Air abrasion is an alternative to dental drills and needles. It works by blasting away decay with a high-pressure stream of tiny aluminum oxide particles. Like drills, the particles stream in a focused beam. The particles abrade (remove) the surface of the tooth.

Air abrasion offers several benefits over drilling. First, it’s quieter. That makes air abrasion a better choice for patients who fear dental drills. Second, air abrasion is less likely to irritate the gums than drilling is. Third, it’s faster than drilling. Air abrasion can treat a cavity in minutes. Drills take much longer.

However, air abrasion isn’t appropriate for every situation. For example, it’s usually not strong enough to reshape teeth. It also can’t remove deep stains or fill cavities. However, it’s an excellent option for removing small amounts of decay, preparing teeth for fillings and sealants, and polishing teeth.

Air abrasion is an excellent procedure for patients who have a strong gag reflex or who are unable to go numb due to a medical condition. By using air abrasion, the dentist can prepare the tooth for restoration without the patient even feeling it. It is also a great tool for removing small cavities and preparing teeth for fillings and crowns.

Laser Use in Dentistry

Lasers are powerful tools that we use in a variety of different dental procedures. In our office, we use lasers to reshape gum tissue and remove bacteria during periodontal therapy. We also use a laser to remove tooth decay and prepare teeth for fillings. Lasers allow us to perform these treatments without having to use anesthesia, and most patients report little to no discomfort during a procedure when a laser is used.

Laser dentistry allows us to complete procedures more quickly and accurately than using the traditional tools of the past. The laser effectively kills off any harmful bacteria while also removing debris from between the teeth and gums. It also seals the gums and prevents bleeding or swelling. Many patients find laser treatments to be much more comfortable than using traditional methods. Lasers are also much safer and reduce the risk of infection following treatment.

Lasers are also used to perform cosmetic procedures such as teeth whitening, gum recontouring, and even orthodontic treatments. They are safe enough to use on children and adults alike, so you don’t have to worry about your child having to undergo uncomfortable treatment in order to correct their smile.

If you have questions about how we can use laser dentistry to help your smile, give us a call to schedule a consultation today.

What Is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that forms on the surface of the teeth after you eat. It’s composed of bacteria, mucus, and bits of food that can harden on the tooth surface if not removed through regular brushing. While it’s not possible to remove all of the plaque with at-home oral care, good oral hygiene can prevent it from hardening into tartar, the yellowish or brownish hardened substance that can only be removed by a professional cleaning.

The bacteria in plaque can cause tooth decay and gum disease if it isn’t removed. This is why it’s so important to keep up with your bi-annual professional dental cleaning and check-up appointments to get your teeth professionally cleaned by the dental team.

If your dentist sees that you have a higher-than-usual amount of plaque buildup during a routine exam and cleaning, they may have you come back for a periodontal cleaning, which is a deeper form of cleaning that goes deeper into your gums and along the roots of the teeth to remove any excess bacteria and to smooth out rough spots on the teeth. A periodontist is a dentist who specializes in the treatment of periodontal diseases.


Plaque can harden over time into the hard substance that we call tartar. Tartar can only be removed by a dental professional during a professional dental cleaning. Brushing and flossing at home can help prevent the development of tartar, but it won’t fully remove it once it has hardened on the tooth surfaces.

Tartar buildup can lead to serious oral health problems such as gingivitis, periodontitis, and tooth loss. During your regular six-month check-ups with your dental hygienist, they will remove the tartar from your teeth and give you the tools to both prevent future tartar formation and remove it yourself. Good oral hygiene habits and regular professional dental cleanings are the keys to keeping both plaque and tartar at bay.

One common cause of tartar formation is poor oral hygiene practices. If you don’t brush and/or floss properly, you allow plaque to grow in your mouth, which will eventually harden into tartar. If you do not remove plaque in time, it can infect your teeth and gums and cause serious oral complications. It is important to brush your teeth at least twice daily with fluoride toothpaste. Some people may need more diligent oral care depending on their unique situation.

Eating the wrong foods can also cause tartar buildup. Foods like candy and potato chips can stick in your teeth after eating them, developing plaque, which eventually turns into tartar if not removed quickly. Make sure to brush your teeth as soon as possible after eating these kinds of foods to avoid both cavities and tartar buildup.

Other causes of tartar buildup include genetics, puberty, certain medications, hormonal changes, pregnancy, dry mouth, and more.

Anesthesia Pain Management

Dental work can be associated with pain and discomfort; that’s why dentists offer various sedation dentistry options. Sedation allows you to remain awake and aware during your treatment while having all feelings of pain blocked. This goes a long way toward helping you relax and preventing you from feeling anxious or nervous about your procedure. It also helps to reduce the amount of stress and anxiety you might experience during treatment and allow you to have a more positive experience overall with the dentist.

General anesthesia is a type of sedation where the patient is completely unconscious during treatment. It is administered in a hospital or surgical setting by a specially trained anesthesiologist, dentist, or other medical professionals.

What are the risks of general anesthesia?

Patients should talk to their dentist to discuss whether general anesthesia is necessary for their procedure. If it is, the patient should provide all medical history to their dentist prior to the appointment to be sure they are a good candidate for the procedure and the anesthetic used. Also, all patients should be aware of the risks involved with general anesthesia and have an emergency plan in place just in case one is needed.

Healthy Teeth for Life: 10 Tips for Families

Brushing your teeth twice a day, flossing daily, and having regular dental check-ups are all good ways to maintain good oral health. However, there are additional steps you can incorporate into your daily routine to keep your teeth healthy and strong. Listed below are some everyday habits that are good for your teeth.

  • Dentists say that brushing your teeth twice a day is the simplest and most effective way to take care of your oral health.
  • Flossing at least once daily will help remove plaque and bacteria from between your teeth.
  • Eat a variety of foods from the five major food groups, including fruits, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy. Pick whole-grain products when you can. When eating proteins such as meat, poultry, or fish, choose low-fat varieties.
  • Drink plenty of clear liquids daily. This can include water, fruit juice, and milk. It’s recommended you drink between eight and ten glasses of clear liquids each day.
  • Practice good oral hygiene habits by always rinsing or gargling with an antiseptic mouthwash after meals to help eliminate bacteria in your mouth and prevent bad breath.
  • Visit your dentist every six months to have a professional cleaning done. This removes plaque buildup that can be difficult to remove with just a regular at-home dental care routine.
  • Avoid eating too many sugary foods, as this can contribute to tooth decay. Limit snacks in between meals to prevent teeth from appearing stained.
  • Quit smoking, as it can increase your risk of developing gum diseases and oral cancer.


Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are applied to the biting surfaces of teeth. Most commonly used on children’s teeth, dental sealants are highly effective in preventing tooth decay. Dental sealants are most often recommended for children because their teeth are more prone to cavities due to various factors.

Dental sealants are applied to the chewing surfaces of molars and premolars. These teeth are more susceptible to decay than other teeth because they are harder to reach with a toothbrush. By applying these thin layers of tough plastic material, we can protect teeth and discourage the formation of future cavities.

Sealants work by filling in the deep pits and grooves of teeth where bacteria can hide. This keeps out food particles, plaque, and acids that can damage enamel. The result is fewer cavities!

Using the same material we use to make white fillings, we make sealants from BPA-free plastic. They harden on the surface of the tooth to form a protective barrier against bacteria and acids. The application process is quick and easy and can be performed after your regular check-up and cleaning appointment. In most cases, the sealant will fully bond to the teeth in just 30 minutes.

While sealants can protect teeth for many years, they need to be checked regularly to ensure they haven’t chipped or worn away. Most dentists recommend reapplication every five to 10 years, depending on each patient’s individual oral health needs.


Malocclusion is a term that refers to crooked or misaligned teeth. It’s usually used to refer to teeth that are crooked or crowded. Malocclusion can be inherited, or it can occur during childhood or adolescence.

Malocclusion is the term used to describe teeth that are not properly aligned or positioned in the face. When patients have a malocclusion, it means that their teeth may be crooked, crowded, or spaced improperly in the mouth. This can leave patients at risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease because they may not be able to properly clean their misaligned teeth.

If left untreated, malocclusion can become worse over time because the patient’s bite will not meet correctly due to teeth that are out of alignment. This can lead to TMJ disorder, bruxism, and other complications that can impact the patient’s ability to chew and speak effectively. Our dentists can diagnose your malocclusion during a routine exam at our dental office and provide treatment to realign your teeth and restore your smile. We recommend visiting our office regularly to keep your smile healthy and prevent decay and misalignment from worsening.

Preventing Tooth Decay

Tooth decay is the destruction or demineralization of the teeth due to acid-producing bacteria. Tooth decay can lead to pain, cavities, and tooth loss. Tooth decay can be prevented by maintaining good oral hygiene:

We recommend brushing for two minutes at least twice a day using a soft-bristled brush and fluoride toothpaste. In addition to brushing, it’s important to floss daily to clean between your teeth, where food particles can become trapped and cause decay. If you have a hard time flossing, you can try an oral irrigator or water pick instead. You should also eat a healthy diet of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins and avoid sugary foods and beverages whenever possible.

Snacking can be healthy, but it’s important to limit between-meal snacking throughout the day. When you eat and drink too often, acids gradually wear away at the enamel on your teeth. This causes not only cavities but also enamel erosion and sensitivity issues.

If you do choose to indulge, it’s best to snack on foods that won’t harm your dental health, such as cheese, nuts, or vegetables. It’s also important to drink water after a snack. Water washes away food particles and helps to neutralize the acidic environment that plaque creates in your mouth.

If you have more questions about how to best care for your teeth and gums, please contact our office today. We’re happy to help!

Tooth Anatomy

Your teeth are made up of three layers: the enamel, dentin, and pulp. Each layer has its own important function. The crown of a tooth is the visible part of the tooth above the gum line. This is the part that people see when you smile or talk. It’s the part of your tooth that’s covered in enamel, the hardest substance in the body.

Underneath the thin enamel layer is a dentin layer, which contains microscopic tubules. Dentine is made up of tiny hollow tubes that run from the surface of the tooth to the pulp chamber in the root. This layer is mostly made of protein and collagen and helps to build the tooth’s structure.

Under the dentin layer, there is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels and nerves that run from the roots to the tip of the teeth. Pulp tissue can become infected if the gums recede or if the tooth becomes fractured. If an infection occurs in the pulp, you may need root canal therapy to remove the damaged pulp and restore the health of the tooth.


5130 Duke St, Suite 8, Alexandria, VA 22304

Phone: (703) 823-2848

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8608 Centreville Rd, Manassas, VA 20110

Phone: (703) 479-7654

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