Dupont Dental - Your Washington DC Dentist


  Contact : 1234 19th Street NW Suite 604 | Call us: 202.296.7714

All posts by Dupont Dental

5 Truths Your Dentist Wishes You Didn’t Know About Cosmetic Dentistry

The field of dentistry is populated by a number of different types of generalists and specialists. If you’re like most people, you tend to stick with a general dentist when it comes to your regular cleanings and checkups. If so, you can bet that the following five truths are ones that your dentist wishes that you didn’t know about in terms of cosmetic dentistry.

1. Cosmetic dentistry focuses on appearances

General dentistry focuses on oral health and hygiene while cosmetic dentistry focuses on appearances. While a patient might be more concerned about how their smile looks, this often cannot be achieved without healthy teeth. General dentistry and cosmetic dentistry are complimentary services instead of being opposing ones.

2. Teeth whitening doesn’t mean your teeth are clean

Having a pearly white smile is the goal for nearly everyone who visits the dentist. Not everyone understands the link that exists between a healthy smile and teeth that are white. Just because you visit a dentist for a session of teeth whitening doesn’t mean that your teeth are also clean and that you can forgo your regular dental checkup. In fact, numerous germs, acids and bacteria can remain in your mouth and on your gums after you’ve had your teeth whitened.

3. Bonding is a temporary fix

If you visit your dentist looking for solutions to address injuries to your teeth or chips, bonding is often an option. While it’s not possible to determine the validity of bonding for your particular situation until you undergo a complete examination of the problem, bonding is simple and relatively inexpensive. Bonding is a temporary solution because the material used can wear down over time.

4. Cosmetic dentistry is an investment

Cosmetic dentistry is the glamorous cousin to general dentistry’s focus on health. That being said, cosmetic dentistry solutions are often considered an investment in the patient’s smile. This is likely to transfer to better overall oral health. The reasons for this are often twofold. Firstly, being vigilant about regular dental checkups, flossing and brushing help maintain the beautiful results that cosmetic dentistry provides. Secondly, paying particular attention to your oral health can reduce the costs that you might incur in the future if your cosmetic work fails because of a lack of hygiene.

5. Protecting your tooth enamel is important

Your teeth’s enamel plays a vital role in their health. Unfortunately, it can often crack and chip which then exposes the rest of that tooth to cavity-forming bacteria and acids. Tooth enamel isn’t a living tissue so it doesn’t heal on its own. The shaping of your tooth enamel can help improve the appearance of your smile as well as your bite. It can also protect your teeth from further damage from substances.

At Dupont Dental, we provide a range of dental services — both preventative and cosmetic — that focus on providing our patients with the healthiest and most appealing smile. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Read More

What You Need to Know About Periodontal Disease and Treatment Options

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tooth’s structures. These include the ligaments, gums, bone and tissues that are necessary for good oral health. Bleeding and swollen gums are early signs of gums that have been infected with bacteria. According to a study by researchers at the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) performed in 1999, about half of Americans over the age of 30 experience bleeding gums. What’s even more surprising is the fact that many people think this occurrence is normal.

Stages of Gum Disease

In fact, the presence of bleeding and swollen gums is a sign that you could have the first stage of periodontal disease, gingivitis. This is caused by a buildup of plaque that occurs at the gum line. Plaque is a sticky substance that can form on the teeth. If plaque isn’t removed regularly, the body’s immune system releases substances that are an attempt to oust the bacteria. This reaction from your body is what causes the bleeding and swollen gums that mark gingivitis. It’s at this earliest stage that gum disease can most easily be reversed.

Periodontitis is the second stage of gum disease. It is at this stage that the bones, tissues and fibers that support your teeth are damaged. Periodontitis is marked by pockets that form below the gum line. Though gum disease cannot be reversed at this stage, there is much that a dentist can do for a patient with periodontitis. Improved oral care at home performed by the patient, as well as specialized dental treatment, can often help reduce further damage.

The final stage of gum disease is advanced periodontitis. It is at this late stage that the other, supporting structures of the teeth are damaged. These bones, ligaments and fibers are destroyed which can lead to your teeth becoming loose or shifting in your mouth. Not only can this adversely affect your bite, it can also require that those teeth be removed.

Treatments for Periodontal Disease

For people who have gingivitis, there is still hope of reversing the disease. With good daily oral care at home in the form of proper brushing and flossing — as well as regular professional dental cleanings — gingivitis can be reversed.

Once gum disease reaches the periodontitis stage, though, professional intervention is necessary in order to save the teeth. Scaling and root planing is a treatment that is performed at the dentist office to scrape and remove the tartar and plaque from the root surfaces and the teeth. Afterward, these surfaces are smoothed to remove any roughness that can provide a welcoming place for bacteria to settle and flourish. Scaling and root planing is a procedure that could take more than one dentist visit to finish. Eventually, the gums heal and then reattach to the clean surfaces of your teeth.

There are other treatments available for advanced gum disease. Have you had a regular cleaning at Dupont Dental lately? Contact us today to make an appointment and to obtain an evaluation of your oral health!

Read More
Christopher Banks and Zach Link

Christopher Banks, a D.C.-area dentist, Fixes Gay Bashing Victim’s Teeth for Free

Often when we see a heartbreaking news story we think, “I wish there was something I could do.” After finding out the details of Zach Link and his partner’s violent assault, Christopher Banks, a D.C. area dentist did more than just wish. He sprang into action.

On April 15, Zach Link and his partner were viciously attacked on U Street in D.C. at around 12:30 a.m. After being verbally assaulted and repeatedly punched and kicked in the face, Mr. Link discovered that his smile was literally shattered. His broken teeth served as a constant reminder of his experience, affecting him more mentally and emotionally than he first wanted to admit. A friend connected Mr. Link with Dr. Christopher Banks of Capital Cosmetic Dentistry who not only agreed to consult with him on repairing his broken teeth, but did so free of charge.

In a statement to WJLA TV, Dr. Banks said:

Without knowing the depth, breadth, and expense of Zach’s injuries, I reached out and offered full care because we are all members of a powerful, loving LGBT community before anything else,” Banks said in a statement. “It is through these acts of love in the face of hate that we will persist, thrive, and succeed in showing the world we want to be ’one.’

He later posted on Facebook to Mr. Link’s page, “Having you in the office today was a reminder of why I became a dentist in the first place. Being able to restore your smile has brought me such great joy.”

While the assault itself is still under investigation, Dr. Banks has successfully helped erase its lasting physical impact by restoring Mr. Link’s teeth to their original form. He has also reminded a community what it means to reach out in a time of need.

Read More
snoring and oral appliances

Turn to Dupont Dental for Snoring and Oral Appliances Help

Snoring used to be looked upon as nothing more than a nuisance that caused spouses to shake their loved one awake so they could reposition themselves and everyone could then get a good night sleep. Thanks to fairly recent research though it’s now evident that snoring is far from the benign occurrence that everyone thought it was. Of the estimated 60 million Americans who snore, about 18 million of them also suffer from obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).

What Exactly is Snoring?

To better understand snoring, OSA and its effects on a person, it’s important to define snoring accurately. Snoring occurs when your breathing is obstructed in some manner as you sleep. It results in the pharyngeal tissue vibrating as you breath. This obstruction could be the result of various factors including increased fat deposits caused by obesity. When a person takes a sedative or drinks alcohol before going to sleep, an increase in snoring could result. This is because the pharyngeal airway collapses more.

Another common cause of snoring is when the tongue becomes too relaxed. If this is the cause of snoring, it can be corrected easily by wearing an oral appliance. This device works by moving both the tongue and the lower jaw forward enough so that the airway stays open while the person is sleeping.

Perceptions Slowly Change

Until recently, it was thought that snoring was limited to being a social problem. Having a partner who snores can have a serious and negative impact on that person’s well-being. In addition to leading to daytime fatigue, having a partner who snores could result in the couple having separate bedrooms. It can also have a negative effect on the health of the bed partner. A recent report by USA Today found that of those couples who were aged 40 and older, 27 percent slept in separate spaces. It’s expected that as obesity in the population increases, so will the percentage of couples who must deal with snoring.

Snoring and Health Risks

Instead of being solely a social problem that largely affects only those around them, the person who snores is also at risk of side effects from OSA. These include heart attack, stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, heart arrhythmias and even death. If you are a snorer, it’s important to seek out care from a dentist with experience in the oral appliances that can put a stop to obstructive sleep apnea.

How Oral Appliances Can Help

While the health risks associated with snoring are scary, there are effective snoring remedies that can help. Two devices that are effective are a tongue retaining mouthpiece and a mandibular advancement device (MAD). The tongue retaining mouthpiece keeps the tongue from relaxing over the airway while the MAD moves the jaw forward to keep the airway open.

Working closely with your physician is the key to determining the right snoring solutions for your sleep apnea. At Dupont Dental, we custom design these oral devices, so they work comfortably and effectively. Contact us today to schedule an appointment or for more information.

Read More
fluoride vs antiseptic mouthwash

Fluoride vs Antiseptic Mouthwash – Who Wins and Why?

Mouthwash is an element of dental care that doesn’t seem to have the same level of respect as some others. In fact, about 52 percent of Americans don’t realize that using mouthwash provides valuable benefits to both their dental and overall health. While it’s true that brushing and flossing are arguably the most important steps you can take to care for your teeth at home, it’s highly recommended that you add the use of mouthwash to your daily routine.

What’s the Best Mouthwash for You?

With the array of mouth rinse options available today, it can be difficult to know which one is the right one for you. The list below can help you sort out the ones that are available to help any dental issues or health concerns you might have.

Bad Breath

Bad breath is often a reason why people might consider using mouthwash. If that is your primary reason, and you don’t have significant tooth decay or gum disease, the best mouthwash for you will be one that contains zinc and chlorine. This is because these ingredients help defuse the sulfur compounds that cause foul smells.

Also, some mouth rinses contain cetyl pyridinium, a germicide that helps fight gum disease while also helping to fight plaque. These tend to taste better than antibacterial mouthwashes.

Gum Disease

If you are also concerned about fighting gingivitis — perhaps better known as the first stage of gum disease — as well as bad breath, it’s better to look for an antibacterial mouthwash that contains certain ingredients. Products that contain methyl salicylate, eucalyptol, thymol, and menthol are the only ones that have earned the Seal of Acceptance from the American Dental Association (ADA) because of their effectiveness when it comes to reducing plaque and gum disease. In fact, studies have shown that using an antibacterial mouth rinse could slash the number of bacteria in your mouth by 75 percent on average.

Periodontitis

If you have periodontitis, it’s likely that you’ll need a prescription mouthwash. Periodontitis occurs when gum disease has advanced to a serious infection. This infection destroys the bone that provides the support that teeth need to be healthy and functional.

A prescription mouthwash contains chlorhexidine as its active ingredient. Chlorhexidine has been proven to have greater antibacterial properties than the ingredients that are found in mouthwash brands that can be purchased over the counter. In addition to the fact that most prescription mouthwashes contain alcohol, the chlorhexidine they also contain can stain your teeth brown. For this reason, prescription mouthwashes require close monitoring by a dentist.

To get the best results out of using mouthwash, it’s important to know about the health of your mouth. By visiting your dentist as recommended, you have a regular assessment of your oral health and can choose your mouthwash accordingly. At Dupont Dental, we can perform a thorough dental checkup and make a recommendation regarding the best mouthwash for you. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!

Read More
all about tooth decay

All About Tooth Decay

Dentists in Washington D.C and other places often talk about tooth decay. You know that tooth decay isn’t a good thing, but what exactly is tooth decay? What causes it, and what treatments are available to treat tooth decay?

What is Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay is a general term that refers to degradation of one or more parts of the tooth. Tooth decay can lead to holes in the tooth, cracks, and chipping. Left untreated, tooth decay can also lead to gum disease, and even more severe health issues, such as heart disease. There’s no reason to let tooth decay continue to such extremes, however. With regular dental visits, no one has to experience tooth decay.

What Causes Tooth Decay?

The underlying cause of tooth decay is bacteria. Oral bacteria make acid that constantly eats away at the teeth. The bacteria comes from plaque, a sticky substance that forms on the surface of the teeth. You can feel plaque buildup when you run your tongue over your mouth and detect a filmy substance. When you brush away plaque, that filmy feeling is gone.

Bacteria growth is accelerated when you eat sugary foods or drink sugar-laden beverages. It’s further accelerated when you don’t brush and floss your teeth enough.

The filmy substance called plaque can harden over time, making it impossible to brush away simply. When plaque hardens, only a dental professional can remove it. In the meantime, the acid from the bacteria in plaque continues to eat away at the teeth. This is just one reason why it’s so important to have regular dental visits.

What Parts of the Tooth Can Be Affected by Tooth Decay?

The Tooth is made up of several different layers. The surface of the tooth is made up of enamel. It serves as a protective outer layer. The next layer is called dentin. When enamel is eroded due to tooth decay, the dentin begins to be affected, causing what you know as a toothache. The center of the tooth is referred to as the pulp. The pulp contains the nerve endings and blood vessels that keep the tooth alive. All of these parts are susceptible to tooth decay.

Who Can Get Tooth Decay?

Tooth decay can affect people of all ages, including children. In fact, it’s recommended that children have their first dentist visit even before the first tooth erupts to the surface since tooth decay can affect teeth beneath the gum line.

How is Tooth Decay Treated?

The first line of defense against tooth decay is proper oral hygiene at home. Your dentist can guide you as to the latest recommended guidelines for brushing, flossing and rinsing. If you do develop tooth decay, there are many options for treatment, depending on the severity of the problem. These include filling cavities, fluoride treatments, bonding, extraction, dental implants and root canals. Some of these treatments are serious and invasive, while others are less severe.

Tooth decay doesn’t have to get to a stage where extraction and implants are necessary. Your dentist in Washington, D.C. can help you keep tooth decay from ever becoming an issue. Contact us today to book your appointment!

Read More
causes treatments tooth sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity 101: Causes and Treatments

If you have ever experienced tooth pain after eating an ice cream cone or taking a sip of hot coffee, you know that tooth sensitivity can be very irritating. Although tooth pain is never a welcome sensation, know that you are not alone. According to the Academy of General Dentistry, up to 40 million people experience tooth sensitivity at some point. What causes tooth sensitivity and what treatments are available to ease the symptoms?

What does “tooth sensitivity” mean?

Tooth sensitivity refers to pain or discomfort while eating or drinking hot, cold, or acidic foods. Even the cold air outside can trigger a bout of tooth sensitivity! This sensation is often described as a sharp pain that shoots throughout the affected tooth or teeth.

Causes of tooth sensitivity

But what causes certain teeth to be predisposed to this sensitivity? Often, sensitivity issues occur when the dentin, or tooth’s root, is exposed. As tooth enamel erodes or is damaged, the enamel loses the ability to shield the dentin from irritating substances. Understanding the cause of your tooth sensitivity can play a role in how you treat your condition. Common causes of tooth sensitivity include:

  • Diet: The food and drink choices we make play a large part in sensitivity issues. Acidic drinks like soda can wear down enamel quickly, causing the dentin to be at risk of sensitivity to hot and cold foods.
  • Wearing down enamel during brushing: Using an abrasive toothpaste or brushing vigorously can prematurely wear down enamel.
  • Aging: The National Institutes of Health estimate that the peak of tooth sensitivity is in individuals aged 30-40. The structure of teeth may change as we age, enamel can be worn down over time, and receding gum lines can contribute to exposed dentin.
  • Cracked or chipped tooth: Injuries to a tooth can also expose the sensitive dentin.
  • Teeth grinding
  • Teeth whitening treatments: Sensitivity is often cited as a common side effect of such treatments. Although, in this case, it tends to be temporary sensitivity.
  • Periodontitis

What types of treatment are available?

If you’ve experienced tooth sensitivity, your dentist may be able to help you find relief. The first step is to determine the cause of your sensitivity, as treatments will vary depending on the cause. Is diet to blame? If so, making a few dietary changes, such as eliminating soda, can help prevent further enamel erosion. Is a vigorous brushing routine to blame? If so, that can also be amended by switching toothpaste and using more gentle brushing strokes; your dentist will be able to suggest an appropriate toothpaste and rinse for sensitive teeth.

If your dentist determines that your tooth sensitivity is caused by more advanced issues, like a chipped tooth, you will have to address that problem before the sensitivity can be resolved.

Do hot, cold, and acidic foods make you cringe?

You don’t need to avoid hot coffee, ice cream, or lemon water any longer. Contact us today, and we can get you on the path towards relief!

Read More
hard candy bad for teeth

Why Hard Candy is Bad For Your Teeth

Do you have a sweet tooth? A sweet treat now and then is a perfectly acceptable way to indulge in that sweet tooth; however, the kind of treats you pick can affect your oral health. We already know that sweets and desserts tend to be high in sugar, but candy – especially hard candy – can negatively affect your teeth. Here’s the scoop on what’s in your candy dish.

Types of candy

Candy is a large category of sweets that encompasses everything from chocolate bars to truffles to lollipops and butterscotch candies. Not all candy affects your oral health in the same way.

  • Sticky or chewy candy, including gummy type candies, caramels, taffy, toffees: These types can dislodge dental and orthodontic appliances.
  • Chocolates
  • Hard candies, including peppermints, butterscotches, lollipops, lozenges

Why is hard candy bad for my teeth?

Most candies are created with a base of sugar and fat. Softer candies tend to have more fat than the hard candies (i.e., soft caramel has more butter and cream than the hard caramels). The hard candies have much more sugar; this is part of what makes them hard.

However, all of that sugar creates the perfect environment for cavities. Not only is there an increased amount of sugar, but the sugar sits for a prolonged time on the teeth while the hard candy melts and dissolves in the mouth.

The link between sugar and cavities

Sugar by itself does not create a cavity, but sugar does feed the bacteria that cause cavities. As the bacteria feed on sugar, they produce acid, and it is that acid that eats away at the tooth enamel.

What kind of candy can I eat?

We get it; no one wants to hear that they have to ban candy forever, but choosing the right candy and taking the necessary steps can help you safely enjoy the candy you do eat. Chocolate tends to be a better choice (as opposed to hard candy or chewy candy) because it rinses off the teeth much easier and does not sit in the mouth as long as a hard candy does.

Still, if you choose to eat hard candy, you can minimize the impact on your oral health, by following these steps:

  • Eat candy in moderation: The more you eat, the more sugar that is introduced into your mouth.
  • Drink water after eating candy: Water helps flush out any lingering sugars from the candy.
  • Eat candy with a meal: Once you finish your veggies, of course! Because your mouth has already produced more saliva during the mealtime, eating candy with a meal helps prevent decay.The salvia fights the acid in your mouth and also helps flush out the sugar quicker.
  • Floss and brush: As soon as you are able, floss and brush after eating candy.

Whether you treat yourself to a piece of candy once a week or once a month, remember to keep your routine dental appointments and to maintain a solid oral care routine. If you have questions about hard candy or cavities, don’t hesitate to ask us!

Read More
dried fruit oral health

Dried Fruit and Oral Health: What You Need to Know

Did you know that only 10% of Americans meet the minimum recommendation for daily fruit servings? Fruit isn’t just a sweet treat for breakfast; fruit can be a wonderful source of vitamins (especially vitamin C), antioxidants, and fiber. As a bonus, diets rich in fruits (and vegetables) can help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes.

Benefits of dried fruit

Nutritionists recommend eating a certain number servings per day (ranging from one cup for children and up to 2 cups per day for men), and those servings can come from fresh fruit, 100% fruit juice, and even dried fruit. Dried fruit is a popular choice for many people because:

  • Dried fruit is not as fragile as fresh fruit
  • It is easy to carry to work or school
  • Dried fruit has a much longer shelf life than fresh fruit
  • Due to high fiber content, dried fruit helps regulate the digestive system
  • Dried fruit is convenient as it does not need to be washed, peeled, or cut

Dried fruit and dental issues

Despite the health benefits of dried fruit, you may have heard that dried fruit is not an ideal food, regarding dental health.

  • Sticky: The American Dental Association recommends avoiding sticky foods, especially for those with dental appliances in their mouth. Sticky foods can also cause problems because the food sits on the teeth longer than other foods.
  • Sugar content: Because excess sugar consumption can lead to dental caries, many individuals worry that eating too much dried fruit can introduce too much sugar into the mouth. Ounce per ounce, dried fruit contains more sugar than fresh. However, the portion size of dried fruit is 30 grams compared to 80 grams of fresh fruit.
  • Damage to dental pieces: The stickiness of dried fruit can cause damage to braces, crowns, or other orthodontic pieces.

So is dried fruit good for us? Overall, yes. There are many positive benefits to eating dried fruit, especially if it hard for you to meet your minimum intake goals of fruit each day. Are the risks to dental health too much to risk? Eating dried fruit can be done with a few precautions.

But I love dried fruit! Now what?

Can’t get enough dried apricots in your oatmeal? Do you kids love raisins in their lunchbox? The good news is that dried fruit doesn’t have to be completely cut out of your diet! The British Nutrition Foundation studied the effects of dried fruit on dental health, particularly in children. Surprisingly, dried fruit “sticks” more to teeth when eaten alone. The solution? Include dried fruit with your meal rather than a stand-alone snack.

Additionally, after consuming dried fruit, dentists recommend the following:

  • Eat the recommended serving size of dried fruit to avoid eating too much sugar in one sitting
  • Rinse with water after eating dried fruit
  • Flossing: Pre-flossed flossers may be ideal in this situation
  • Brush your teeth: After eating any sticky or sugary food, brushing is recommended.

If you have questions about your particular dental history, call Dupont Dental today to learn how dried fruit may affect your specific dental appliances.

Read More
diabetes and dental care

Diabetes and Dental Care: What You Need to Know

Did you know that diabetes can affect many body systems? From circulation to eyesight, diabetes can affect more than just your blood sugar levels. Diabetes can also lead to mouth and teeth issues. If you or a family member has diabetes, you may have questions about your specific oral care needs.

How are diabetes and dental care connected?

Both type 1 and type 2 diabetes can increase your risk of cavities, gingivitis, and periodontitis. How? It is a vicious cycle that begins with high levels of glucose in your blood.

Because cavity-causing bacteria feed on sugars, if your sugar levels are elevated, there is a greater risk of tooth decay. With an abundant supply of sugar, the bacteria can go into overdrive to produce copious amounts of sticky film on your teeth. That sticky film is also known as plaque, which causes decay by eating away at your enamel, resulting in more cavities. Thus, more sugar in your blood means an elevated risk of cavities.

If the plaque is not removed, the increased levels of plaque can then increase your risk for gingivitis, which causes bleeding and tender gums. Unfortunately, gingivitis – if not treated quickly and properly – can lead to periodontitis, which is advanced gum disease. Periodontitis is a serious condition that threatens the integrity and strength of the bones in your jaw. Left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

To make the issues more complicated, patients with diabetes are more prone to infections and delayed healing times. The good news is that many of these issues can be prevented with good hygiene and regular appointments with your dentist.

What can you do to prevent issues?

Just because you have diabetes doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll have major dental issues. There are many things you can do to keep your teeth and mouth as healthy as possible. Most importantly:

  • Monitor and control your blood glucose levels: This includes following all instructions from the physician who manages your diabetes care.
  • Maintain a proper oral hygiene routine: Brush twice each day and maintain a regular flossing habit
  • Keep your regular dental appointments: Let your dentist know you have diabetes.
  • If prescribed medicated mouthwashes, follow the directions and remain vigilant with usage. Some mouthwashes are targeted for specific problems like bleeding gums or dry mouth.
  • Quit smoking: Smoking can exacerbate many diabetes-related issues, including oral care.

When to see the dentist

Whenever a problem arises in the mouth, it is always a good idea to speak with your dentist – whether you have diabetes or not. However, if you have diabetes, it is that much more important to address any issues as quickly as possible. Always call your dentist as soon as you notice problems such as:

  • Do you have pain or swollen gums? Are you having problems with your dentures fitting correctly or comfortably?
  • Bleeding gums
  • Dry mouth
  • Bad taste in the mouth not related to food
  • General aches or soreness in the mouth

How can we help you?

Do you have questions or concerns about diabetes and your dental care? Contact us today.

Read More