Dupont Dental - Your Washington DC Dentist


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Closing Gap Between Front Teeth

If Madonna Wanted To Close The Gap In Her Teeth, This Is What We’d Tell Her

For the record, we think Madonna looks perfect just the way she is, but if she insisted on closing the gap, we’d obviously obey, happily…

Sometimes when adult teeth come in, the two front teeth don’t come together completely, which leaves a noticeable gap. This space or gap between the teeth is called diastema and with today’s advanced dental techniques and materials, repairing this condition is easy and usually only requires a couple visits to the dentist.

Options for repairing the space between two teeth

The proper treatment for a space between the two front teeth depends on the size of the gap. If you have a gap between your two front teeth, it’s important to discuss the options for closing it, which can include:

Bonding can replace the space between two front teeth

Bonding is the easiest method of closing the space as the dentist applies tooth-colored resin material to the teeth. The shading of the material carefully matches the color of the teeth, giving a natural appearance to the smile. While bonding is one of the less expensive methods to close the gap, it’s also more vulnerable to breaking or chipping than other methods.

Porcelain veneers are AWESOME for closing the gap between the two front teeth

Porcelain veneers are the most durable, natural-feeling and natural-looking option for closing the gap between two front teeth. These custom-designed porcelain shells are wafer thin and reflect light like natural teeth. Veneers require minimal disruption to your existing teeth, but it can give your teeth a more flattering look with a new size or shape.

Porcelain crowns can close the gap and more

For teeth that are misshapen or badly turned, porcelain crowns are the best option for closing the space between front teeth. Closing the gap with porcelain crowns requires reshaping the existing tooth so the custom-designed crown fits properly. A crown covers the sides and the top of the tooth and protects the portion underneath. Crowns give a natural appearance similar to veneers and are more durable than bonding.

If the gap between your front teeth is wide, the dentist may need to involve other front teeth in the treatment so everything stays in proportion. Trying to treat only the front two teeth when the gap is wide can give the appearance of very wide front teeth, which doesn’t achieve the results of an appealing, improved smile.

The only way to know the best treatment for dealing with diastema is by having a dental exam and consultation. The dentist can assess your specific dental dilemma and give you the best options for closing the gap between your front teeth. After you’ve agreed on a treatment, you’re one step closer to achieving your dream smile. Learn about Dupont Dental’s various cosmetic dentistry options by contacting our offices today.

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foods that are good for your teeth

Foods That Can Improve Oral Health

Practicing good oral hygiene including regular brushing, flossing, and visits to the dentist helps keep your mouth healthy by eliminating the bacteria that leads to plaque formation. Recent research suggests that certain types of foods that are heart-healthy are also great for your oral health. Having another weapon in the battle against plaque, especially when it tastes good, helps you protect your beautiful smile.

Calcium and phosphorous-rich foods

According to the American Dental Association, food items that contain calcium, including almonds, leafy greens, and cheese, and items high in phosphorous such as eggs, fish, and meat may help tooth enamel remain strong and healthy. While acidic beverages and food can cause small holes in tooth enamel, consuming calcium and phosphate rich foods help redeposit minerals back into those holes. You already know calcium is good for your bones and that includes your jawbone.

Tea

Studies about the health benefits of tea are ongoing, but research indicates that the polyphenols in green and black tea can slow down the growth of bacteria that leads to cavities, decay, and gum disease. Tea prevents some bacteria from clumping together with other bacteria, which can lead to less plaque buildup on teeth. Black tea, especially, can help fight bad breath, as it suppresses bacteria that create unpleasant compounds in your mouth.

Cheese

Although already mentioned for its calcium rich characteristic, cheese has even more benefits. Research in the General Dentistry Journal reveal that teenagers ages 12-15 years who consumed cheddar cheese had lower acid levels in their mouths than the same age group who drank a glass of milk or ate sugar-free yogurt. The teenagers rinsed their mouths with water after eating the cheese and other foods and when the acid levels in their mouth were measured, those who ate cheese had a large drop in acid, while the other showed no change in pH levels. Researchers believe that cheese may neutralize plaque acid and that chewing increases saliva, which washes some bacteria from the mouth.

Apples and carrots

Eating crunchy foods like apples, carrots, cucumbers and celery may help cleanse teeth as it disturbs dental plaque. This means that the bacteria in your mouth gets cleared away and doesn’t settle on your teeth.

Raisins

With their natural sweetness, raisins don’t have table sugar or sucrose in them that can help bacteria stick to the surface of your teeth, which leads to plaque production. Raisins also contain phytochemicals and compounds that may eliminate bacteria that cause cavities and affect the growth of gum-disease-causing bacteria.

Cranberries

With polyphenols like those found in tea, cranberries help prevent plaque from clinging to teeth, which lowers the risk of developing cavities. The downside of cranberries is that their natural tartness means that many cranberry products contain added sugar that can undermine any potential benefits.

Milk

Although not as effective as cheese at lowering pH levels in the mouth, drinking milk after consuming sugar-sweetened foods like cake, can help neutralize some amount of the acid that plaque bacteria produces.

Sugarless gum

After eating, chewing sugarless gum increases saliva production, which helps clear away plaque-causing bacteria.

By eating foods that are good for your mouth and body, you’re improving your overall health, which gives you just one more reason to smile. Contact Dupont Dental to learn the best ways to protect, improve and maintain your oral health.

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A healthy man smiling

Does Smiling Improve your Health?

There are a variety of ways to try to boost your health including exercise, supplements, doctor visits, prescriptions, and dental visits, but one of the fastest, easiest—and best of all—free ways to do it is by smiling. Smiling gives a positive upward push to your mood, success, overall health, longevity and even the moods of those around you. Genuine smiles do the best but even forced smiling when you’re not happy can help reduce stress and improve your mood. Smiling makes you feel better, gives people a better impression of you, and has a host of other benefits you might not even realize.

Immune system boost – When you smile, your body relaxes, and this allows your immune system to defend against invaders more effectively and quickly.

Stress reduction – Stress causes numerous health problems so when you feel it creeping over you, try smiling and you’ll enjoy the endorphins released that counter and reduce stress hormones.

Improves mood – The endorphins released while smiling improve your mood so even if you’re not feeling it at first, smile anyway and eventually you’ll feel genuinely better.

Fountain of youth – A genuine smile lifts your face and brightens your appearance, making you appear an average of three years younger.

Happier heart – When you smile and laugh, studies show that you’re less likely to develop heart disease as smiling temporarily reduces blood pressure, relaxes the body, and slows the heart rate.

Build trust – A genuine smile can quickly earn the trust of those around you and improve your social health and professional life.

Beneficially contagious – When you smile, studies show that about 50% of people will smile back at you, which shares the health benefits with everyone around you.

Boost productivity – A few moments of laughing and smiling during the work day can boost productivity and make you feel more motivated performing tasks.

Improve attention – When you feel stressed, your field of focus narrows and your body assumes a coiled up fight or flight mode, but smiling widens your attention and enables you to multitask better to handle problems.

Pain reducer – Those smiling and laughing endorphins have yet another benefit as they lessen and sometimes stop the pain.

Increase attractiveness – Smiling can make you more attractive to everyone around you and have beneficial effects on your social and romantic life.

Promote success – When you smile, you appear self-assured, confident and in-control, which are all very appealing qualities in the workplace and can make your boss and coworkers more likely to approach you with beneficial opportunities.

Longer life – Studies show that people who smile more often can live approximately seven years longer than those who don’t smile as much. With the stress reducing, heart helping, and mood-boosting endorphins released while smiling, you may enjoy a longer, healthier life.

When you love your smile, you’re eager to share it with the rest of the world, and this not only improves your life, but it helps the moods of those around you. If you’re not as happy with your smile as you’d like, contact our offices to inquire about ways to achieve your best, most beautiful smile.

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Man with white teeth from having his teeth whitened by a dentist

Professional Teeth Whitening vs At Home

Continuing advancements in cosmetic dentistry mean that straight, white, beautiful smiles aren’t just for celebrities and other public figures. Having your teeth whitened is safer and more affordable than in the past, which means you can achieve a brighter smile easily with a trip to the dentist. A whiter, healthier smile makes you feel more confident about yourself and has a positive impact on your social and professional life.

Dental Whitening vs. store bought whitening kits

Although there are numerous whitening toothpastes, rinses, and kits, the safest teeth whitening treatment is the one that your dentist supervises and performs in office. He or she may also give you a take-home whitening system to improve and maintain your office-whitened smile, but the best results come from the specialized procedure your dentist uses during whitening. The differences between professional dental whitening treatments and store bought treatments include:

  • Bleaching agent – The bleaching agent in store bought treatments has the equivalent of approximately 3% hydrogen peroxide while in-office dental whitening products have 15-40+% hydrogen peroxide concentrations.
  • Trays – The trays that come in store-bought bleaching treatments are usually one size fits all and can be uncomfortable if your mouth isn’t that “one size.” Trays that don’t fit can irritate soft tissue and gums and allow the whitening gel to seep into those areas. In-office dental whitening treatments feature trays that your dentist had customized for your exact mouth and teeth shape by using an impression of your teeth. This means that your teeth receive maximum contact with the whitening gel applied in the mouthpiece trays and that your gums are better protected from the gel.
  • Protection – Store-bought whitening products don’t offer any protection to your gum tissue and oral cavities, which can lead to sensitivity. During a dental treatment, the dentist uses a rubber shield or gel before the procedure to protect sensitive areas from the effects of the product.
  • Experience – When you’re using a store-bought whitening treatment, you’re on your own figuring out how to use it properly. With a dentist supervised in-office treatment, your dentist first examines your mouth to make sure that bleaching is the best treatment for your cosmetic concerns. For an in-office treatment, the dentist supervises the procedure to achieve maximum results, and if he or she provides an at-home kit, they follow up with you to ensure that everything is working correctly and that there aren’t signs of irritation.

Evolution of dental whitening treatments

Along with the traditional gel and tray whitening treatments, dentists today have several whitening options for their patients. Most in-office whitening systems whiten teeth several shades in a single visit and with the ZOOM system, your smile can be an amazing 6-8 shades brighter in about an hour. These faster dental whitening treatments are ideal for people on the go who want fast results without the mess and discomfort of trying to use store bought kits at home.

With in-office dental teeth whitening, you and your dentist work together to achieve the exact results you want. The procedure is safer on your gums and oral tissues, more comfortable and faster than store bought kits. Find out about ZOOM in-office whitening and Opalescence at-home whitening system from Dupont Dental by contacting our offices today.

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Anxious man at the dentist

Dealing with Dental Anxiety

Even though dentistry today is virtually painless, many people still experience dental anxiety. There are several causes of dental anxiety, including past painful experiences during childhood dental visits or parents threatening a dental visit if children don’t brush their teeth. This triggered-fear-response makes the idea of going to the dentist unpleasant, but with so many advances in dentistry and a focus on keeping patients comfortable, there’s no need to feel anxious anymore.

Modern dental advances help reduce dental anxiety

Dental tools, treatments, and procedures have evolved positively over the last few decades. The needles used to inject numbing agents are much thinner than in the past and are disposable to be more hygienic. Improved tools and methods of delivering numbing agents also reduce the pressure and discomfort on the gums during injection. There are new products and medications that reduce pain such as dental patches and topical anesthetic gels that numb the gums so patients feel more comfortable during deep cleanings and injections.

Dealing with dental anxiety

One of the best ways to deal with dental anxiety is to remember that under the white coat, your dentist is just a normal person and not someone to fear. If your dentist isn’t open to working with you to overcome your dental anxiety, then it’s time to find a new dentist. Additional tips to deal with dental anxiety include:

Communication helps reduce dental anxiety

Discuss your concerns with your dental professional and ask them questions. A great dentist starts a visit by asking you what bothers you the most and makes you anxious so they can work around any issues. Explain to your dentist any past problems you’ve had during dental visits and ask them in advance what they’ll be doing during your treatment. Establish a cue like raising your hand that alerts your dentist in the event of any discomfort so they can stop. Once you know what’s going to happen, you should feel less anxious and nervous. To improve the calming atmosphere in the room, ask if it’s possible to have a pleasant, familiar scent in the room from an aromatherapy device. If there’s a radio in the room, ask about having it set to your favorite type of station so you can focus on the music during the visit.

Music or audio books help reduce dental anxiety

Establish a calm feeling before your exam even begins by listening to music or audiobooks on your Mp3 player in the waiting room. Don’t arrive too early to the visit, because the longer you sit, the more anxious you may feel—just make sure you arrive on time. As you listen to your favorite music, podcast or audiobook, focus on relaxing your breathing and concentrate on activities you enjoy to maintain a sense of calmness.

Positive surroundings help reduce dental anxiety

It’s common today for dental offices to have televisions and mp3 players available in their rooms for patients to use. Ask to watch your favorite channel or find a program that will distract you during your visit by putting your focus and mind somewhere else. Even dental offices without televisions usually have pleasing décor in the room such as inviting wall colors, pleasing pictures on the walls and ceiling, or fresh flowers.

Sedation dentistry when the above tips don’t eliminate enough of your dental anxiety

When the above dental anxiety coping techniques aren’t sufficient to calm you during your visit, ask about sedation dentistry. Sedation dentistry options include nitrous oxide/laughing gas, oral sedatives, and intravenous conscious sedation, all of which enable you to interact with the dentist while feeling relaxed and comfortable.

At Dupont Dental, your comfort is important to us and we want to ensure you have an anxiety-free visit. Schedule your appointment today and let us know how we can make your experience a truly positive one.

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Man brushing teeth after learning about oral health tips

Tips for Better Oral Health

You’ve been taking care of your oral health for most of your life and there’s a good chance it’s become such a habit that you’re just going through the motions. However, you might not be using the best oral hygiene techniques, which means you’re not spending your time as efficiently as you thought. Brush up on your dental health with some tips and you’ll enjoy the results.

Proper brushing technique

While you may know about and practice brushing your teeth twice a day, are you sure you’re doing it right? You need to brush for at least two minutes to do an effective job keeping your teeth and gums clean and preventing cavities and gum disease. Here are some other basic brushing guidelines from the American Dental Association:

  • Proper tools – Use a soft-bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste when you brush. Make sure the toothbrush fits your mouth comfortably and consider using a power toothbrush than can help reduce plaque better than a manual brush.
  • Good technique – When you hold your toothbrush, use an angle that aims the bristles where your teeth meet your gums, then gently brush back and forth on the inside and outside of chewing surfaces. Don’t forget to brush your tongue too.
  • Clean equipment – Rinse your toothbrush with water after using and store it upright so it can dry. Avoid storing toothbrushes in closed containers because that encourages bacteria growth.
  • Regular replacement – Replace your toothbrush or the head on your power toothbrush every 3-4 months or sooner if you’ve been sick or if the bristles are fraying.

Proper flossing procedure

No matter how you brush (and brushing harder isn’t recommended) you can’t reach the spaces between your teeth and below the gum line without flossing. Flossing daily is a chore many people don’t do, but it’s important for great oral health. To get the most out of flossing, follow these helpful tips.

  • Adequate floss – Pull out and break off a piece of floss 18 inches long, wind most of it around the middle finger on one hand and the rest around the middle finger on your other hand. Hold the floss securely between your forefingers and thumbs so it’s easier to guide.
  • Work gently – Gently and carefully guide the floss between your teeth with a rubbing motion down to the gumline, then curve it against a tooth and rub the side up and down. Pull out fresh floss for each tooth.
  • Persevere – If it’s difficult to floss with normal floss, try an interdental cleaner, waxed floss, or oral irrigator to clean between your teeth.

Whether you brush or floss first is a matter of preference but flossing first can help more fluoride from your toothpaste reach in between your teeth. Along with brushing and flossing, consider adding an antimicrobial mouthwash to help remove more bacteria from your entire mouth.

Signs that you need to visit the dentist

Along with regular brushing and flossing, you also need to have dental exams and cleanings to promote great oral health. If you notice any of the following signs of trouble, contact your dentist immediately to seek treatment.

  • New sensitivity to cold or hot
  • Tender, swollen, or red gums
  • Bleeding gums while flossing or brushing
  • Permanent teeth that are loose
  • Constant bad breath or unusual taste in mouth
  • Changes in bite
  • Receding gums

By following these basic oral health care tips, seeing your dentist regularly, and addressing any problems quickly, you can protect your teeth and gums and enjoy a lifetime of healthy smiles. Contact Dupont Dental today to set up an exam and cleaning.

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