Dupont Dental - Your Washington DC Dentist


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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.

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baby teeth cleaning

How Important is Baby Teeth Cleaning?

You might assume that you don’t need to clean your child’s baby teeth or take your child to the dentist until they get their permanent teeth. After all, their baby teeth fall out, right? Yes, but getting your child’s baby teeth cleaned and examined is one of the most important things you can do for your child’s oral health. Keep reading to learn all about the importance of baby teeth cleaning — and why it’s never too early for your child to begin a great oral care routine.

Why should you get your child’s baby teeth cleaned?

Even though they only last a few years, baby teeth are extremely important for your child’s oral health and development, as well as his/her overall health. These baby teeth help children chew, speak and smile. Also, they hold space in the mouth for permanent teeth.

As soon as your child’s baby teeth come in (usually starting around six months old), tooth decay can begin. This not only causes pain for your baby, but it can also destroy your child’s teeth and gums. Also, an untreated cavity in a baby tooth can cause serious or even deadly infections. Furthermore, tooth decay can cause trouble with eating, which can lead to your child not getting enough vitamins and minerals to grow up healthily.

Even as an infant, beginning your child’s life with good oral care can help protect their teeth for a lifetime. It’s never too early to begin taking great care of your child’s oral health.

What can you do to help keep your child cavity-free?

To help keep your child’s mouth healthy, it’s vital to clean his/her baby teeth regularly. As soon as you see your child’s first tooth coming in, it’s important to start a few key habits:

  • Wipe your baby’s gums after he/she eats. (Try using a clean, damp washcloth.) This helps remove bits of food and plaque.
  • Brush your child’s teeth twice a day (morning and night) with a child-sized toothbrush and child-safe toothpaste.
  • Floss your child’s teeth every time you brush them.
  • Never put your child to bed with a bottle or sippy cup.
  • Don’t put pacifiers in your mouth before giving them to your child. (Decay-causing bacteria in your mouth can easily be passed to your child.)
  • Limit the amount of juice, other sugary drinks, and sweets that you give your child.

When should your child see a dentist?

Dupont Dental usually does not see children until they are three years old, as this is the age when all baby teeth have come in, and children can typically fully understand and cooperate with an exam. However, if you have concerns and would like your child to be seen sooner, feel free to contact us anytime. We’re always here to answer any questions!

Remember: Even though baby teeth fall out, keeping them clean is the beginning of a healthy oral care routine for your much-loved child.

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periodontal disease diet

Enjoy Good Oral Health with a Preventive Periodontal Disease Diet

To prevent periodontal disease, it is necessary to have an effective oral health routine that includes regular brushing, flossing, and dental visits. However, what you eat and drink is also an important factor.

Your Gums and Your Health

The condition of your gums reflects your general health. If all of your bodily systems are functioning as they should, your body is better able to fight inflammation and illnesses. This means that your gums are more likely to be healthy and able to fight off the bacteria that can cause gingivitis, the precursor to periodontal disease. However, if you are not consuming the right nutrients, the resulting nutritional deficiencies will cause your gums to suffer. To stave off periodontal disease, it is important that you provide the nutrients your body needs with a well-balanced diet.

About Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is often considered to be an inflammatory disease. The bacteria that attacks your gums causes certain chemicals to be released in your gums, resulting in the inflammation of the tissue, which in turn, stimulates the nerves and creates sore, painful gums, infections, and loosened teeth. A healthy diet that contains plenty of anti-inflammatory foods with certain minerals and vitamins can help you have overall good health as well as good periodontal health.

Vitamin C

A deficiency in vitamin C is a common factor in people who suffer from gingivitis and periodontal disease, according to one study. Whether you eat an orange or drink a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice, be sure that you get your required amount a Vitamin C every day.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids

Omega-3 fatty acids are very effective in reducing inflammation, and as a result, preventing periodontal disease. Foods that contain these acids include walnuts, flaxseed oil and fatty fishes, such as tuna and salmon.

Zinc

Zinc is a mineral that has a significant role in growing, healing and repairing cells. According to one study, people who had a diet rich in zinc had periodontal health significantly better than those who were deficient in zinc. Oysters are extremely high in zinc. Some other common sources of zinc include nuts and red meat.

Beta-Carotene

Beta-carotene is a pigment and provitamin that gives many foods their orange color. Your body converts the substance into vitamin A, which is essential in the fight against inflammation and supporting health mucous membranes, such as your gums. According to research, non-smokers who consume diets that include foods that are high in beta-carotene can better fight off periodontal disease.

Make Wise Choices Regarding Your Diet

Here are some other dietary tips you can use to improve your oral health and avoid periodontal disease:

  • Consume plenty of foods that have calcium
  • Rinse thoroughly with water after eating sugar snacks
  • Avoid sugary drinks like soda, or choose sugar-free options
  • Drink water regularly
  • Opt for whole-grain foods instead of those made with white flour

The right diet is just one part of what is needed to have good oral health. Ask Dupont Dental about what other steps you should take to ensure that you can avoid periodontal disease.

 

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dental x rays

How Often Should I Get Dental X Rays?

What are Dental X-Rays?

Dentists and other dental care professionals use dental x-rays to take pictures of the bones, teeth and the tissues surrounding them to detect issues that they are unable to see with a visual examination. The pictures can be used to find a wide range of problems with the mouth, teeth, and jaw, such as:

  • Bone loss
  • Abscesses or cysts
  • Dental injuries, like cracked or broken teeth roots
  • Cavities
  • Dental structures not visible to the naked eye, like impacted teeth

Dental X-rays can also be used to help create tailored plan dental treatments and to assist with extensive, invasive surgeries. Dentists may also use the procedure review the results of dental treatments.

How Often Should You Get Dental X-Rays?

The frequency with which you get a dental X-ray will typically depend on your current oral health and your dental and medical histories. However, dentists typically recommend getting a bitewing X-ray, which shows your lower and back teeth at the same time, at least once a year. A more extensive type of X-ray, the full mouth series, or FMX, should be taken every three years.

When Do You Need More X-Rays?

There may be situations that require you to get a dental X-ray more frequently. Your dentist may use an X-ray to determine what condition is causing you pain or if there is a suspicion or concern about your oral health that has to be verified. Some of the factors that can require more frequent X-rays include:

  • Age: Because their teeth and jaws are still in development, children tend to require X-rays more frequently than adults. Their small teeth are also a factor as decay can damage their teeth and spread much quicker.
  • Significant Restorative Dental Work: If you have had extensive dental work, like fillings, crowns or implants, X-rays are needed to determine if decay is forming beneath treatments.
  • Periodontal Disease: People with gum disease may be prone to bone loss, which can be monitored with X-rays.
  • General health. The state of your overall health may make you more likely to develop cavities and gum disease. For example, if you have diabetes, your dentist may recommend more X-rays to detect any signs of gum disease, which is linked to diabetes.
  • Medications: Certain medications can cause dry mouth, which can make it easier for bacteria to attack your teeth. There are others that can weaken your bones, which will compromise the health of your teeth. If you are take medications strictly to address an oral health issue, additional X-rays may also be necessary.
  • Cancer Treatment: Because of the effects, radiation and chemotherapies can have on your bones; your dentist may suggest more X-rays to determine if your teeth and nearby bones are being negatively impacted.

Dental X-rays are an important part of achieving and maintaining healthy teeth and gums. By allowing your dentist to see what is happening under the surface of your teeth, signs of pending oral health issues can be detected early, which can lead to prevention or early treatment.

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dental appliances missing teeth

3 Dental Appliances for Missing Teeth

Missing teeth affect so many aspects of your life that you might not even be aware of them all. Of course, the first thing that you — like many people — think about is how you look with your teeth missing. This often depends on which particular tooth or teeth are missing as those toward the back of your mouth are often not as noticeable as those in the front.

Other Negative Effects of Missing Teeth

While your smile is probably the first thing you think about if you are missing teeth, there are other negative effects as well. Depending on where in your mouth the teeth are missing, eventually, their loss could result in your face becoming distorted or sagging because the support of your bony facial structures has changed.

Also, missing teeth can affect the way you eat. Without all your teeth in place, you could have difficulty chewing your food thoroughly. This could increase your chances of choking. It could also make it more difficult for your body to digest your food and extract the necessary nutrients from it.

Notable Dental Appliances for Missing Teeth

Fortunately, with the technology available today, dentists can offer their patients several notable dental appliances that are designed to help them look and feel their best. The following are three of the possible solutions:

1. Dentures

Dentures are often the first thing that you think of to address missing teeth. These removable dental appliances are often chosen because they provide a versatile method of replacing missing teeth that is not permanent. Available as partial and full dentures, they should be removed and cleaned according to your dentist’s instructions daily. While most dentures are made of a combination of metal brackets and a hard, resin material, flexible dentures might also be an option. These contain a flexible base that allows for a more realistic feel and movement of your mouth.

2. Dental Bridge

A dental bridge is a more permanent solution to the problem of missing teeth. In most cases, the dentist will reduce the teeth on either side of the missing tooth to create a more uniform surface. These are then covered with crowns that have been fused together before they are placed over the reduced teeth. A false crown that is designed to replace the missing tooth is also included in the bridge.

3. Snap-on Smile

A Snap-on Smile provides you with many of the same benefits as dentures with some unique additions. Easy to care for and quick to make, a Snap-on Smile dental appliance is a painless and affordable solution that can address many other problems as well. For example, if your teeth are stained, crooked or otherwise imperfect, a Snap-on Smile can address these issues while still providing a replacement for your missing teeth.

Which dental appliance is the right one for your missing teeth? Your dentist is the only one who can determine this. Contact your dental team today for a thorough evaluation and discover a smile you can be proud of.

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dental appliance for jaw alignment

Help for Jaw Alignment Problems with a Dental Appliance

Your body’s joints are aligned in a certain way to facilitate ease of movement and functionality. Your jaw is a large joint that allows you to bite, chew, swallow, yawn, speak, shout, smile, sing and much more. For those who suffer from jaw alignment issues, these functions are hindered, and accompanying pain may be present.

The Dangers of Jaw Misalignment

If you have jaw misalignment, it’s important that you have it professionally treated as soon as possible. Dupont Dental Associates in Washington can help with diagnosing and treating jaw misalignment. The dangers of not seeking treatment for jaw misalignment include worsening conditions that can lead to the necessity for more serious, invasive treatments, including surgery. Other potential ramifications of not getting treatment for jaw misalignment is teeth loss, gum disease, incorrect health diagnosis, and others. Following is information about identifying jaw misalignment issues, and available treatment with a non-invasive dental appliance for jaw alignment.

How to Tell if You Have Jaw Alignment Issues

Jaw misalignment is more common than you think, but the symptoms may not always be obvious. Here are some of the signs to look out for:

  • Teeth do not line up properly
  • Teeth have shifted
  • Pain or tenderness when biting or chewing
  • Inability to open mouth wide
  • Pain or tenderness when speaking for long periods of time
  • Slurred or hindered speech
  • Noticeable jaw discomfort when sleeping in certain positions
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Frequent, unexplained headaches ranging from mild to severe
  • Neck and base of the skull pain or tenderness
  • Decrease in range of head turning from side to side or up and down

Non-Invasive Treatment Option for Jaw Alignment issues

Don’t hesitate to contact Dupont Dental if you suspect that you may have a jaw alignment issues. If detected early enough, your treatment may consist of a simple, non-invasive treatment option for jaw alignment issues. This dental appliance is a specially-fitted device that subtly and gently helps to make minor adjustments in the way your jaw lines up. The device can be worn in the privacy of your home and is completely removable and insertable by you without any assistance. Over time, this dental appliance for jaw alignment can help to bring your jaw back into alignment and alleviate many or all of the above symptoms you may have been experiencing due to your jaw misalignment issues.

The Benefits of a Dental Appliance for Jaw Alignment Issues

The benefits of this non-invasive dental appliance for jaw misalignment include a restoration of your biting and chewing abilities. It’s likely that you may be able to return to your normal culinary habits after use of the dental appliance. Your teeth and gums will be in better shape because you’ll be able to care for them without discomfort. Once the jaw alignment is properly treated by Dupont Dental, any headaches caused by the jaw alignment issue will be mitigated or disappear entirely. Essentially, you’ll have your life back.

While noticing something at home is helpful, it’s crucial to get a professional diagnosis and proper treatment. If you notice any or all of the signs of a misaligned jaw, make an appointment right away with Dupont Dental in Washington.

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how long composite fillings last

How Long Does a Composite Filling Last?

Composite fillings — also known as dental fillings or simply as fillings — are designed to replace the portion of your tooth’s structure that has been lost because of decay. If you’re like many patients, you think that having a filling is a permanent solution to this problem. While fillings can last for a long time — for years in many cases — they will likely need to be replaced at some point.

Reasons a Filling Might Become Compromised

Like your natural teeth, any fillings that you have undergo a constant assault just from the normal actions that you put them through each day. Other factors that can place stress on a composite filling include grinding your teeth or clenching them. Injury, such as a fall, can also compromise the integrity of a filling.

What Happens to a Filling Over Time

If you have a filling that has started to wear away or that have fallen out, there are likely to be gaps in between the place where the filling was and your teeth. In some cases, you might be able to see these gaps, but in others, you won’t be able to identify them visually. Fillings that are chipped and cracked could also leave these gaps behind. Particles of food and other substances can work their way into these gaps and introduce bacteria. This bacteria, in turn, can lead to decay.

Bacteria and the Unique Problems it Poses

Because of their size, location and other factors, the bacteria that is often introduced into these gaps left by a filling that has often been compromised cannot be removed easily by you. Even if you are diligent about flossing, brushing and rinsing on a daily basis, it can be an almost impossible feat to remove these bacteria.

This can lead to decay that develops underneath a filling or along its edge. If this decay is not properly diagnosed and is left untreated, it can begin to affect the dental pulp of the tooth. This dental pulp contains both the tooth’s blood supply and its nerves. If the dental pulp is affected, a root canal is often necessary. In advanced cases, the tooth might need to be pulled.

Composite Filling Care 101

Once your dentist fills a tooth for you, it’s important to maintain regular dental checkups. During these appointments, your dentist will closely examine any existing fillings to detect any issues as early as possible.

Dental Tools That Help Spot Filling Issues

Using specialized dental equipment, such as an explorer, your dentist gently searches for any worn spots or other issues with your fillings. Dental x-rays provide another method of determining if there is any decay between your fillings or teeth. These signs often aren’t able to be detected during an examination. Any evidence of decay around the filling or a filling that has failed requires that it be replaced immediately.

Regular dental visits help you and your dental team catch any issues with your fillings early. This early detection can help lessen any pain associated with the tooth and could even save it.

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tooth filling material

Tooth Filling Material

If your dentist detects cavities in your teeth, one of the dental treatments that may be suggested may include having the rotten part of the tooth removed and then the vacated area filled with a dental material called tooth fillings.

There are different types of tooth filling materials that are available to help restore your teeth. Each one has advantages and disadvantages and differs from the other types of materials concerning aesthetics, durability, expense, and strength. The type of tooth filling material your dentist may recommend will depend on these factors in addition to which of your teeth have to be treated and the type of damage that has to be repaired.

Types of Tooth Filling Materials

Composite Resin Fillings

Composite resins are made of a combination of finely ground glass particles and plastic and can last you for at least five years. Because they can be matched to the exact hue of your teeth, they are ideal for front teeth, any visible portion of a tooth that requires small or large fillings and inlays. They can be bonded directly onto your teeth making the tooth stronger than it would be with other types of fillings. Depending on whether you require direct or indirect filings, having composite resin fillings installed may take more than one visit to the dentist office.

Gold Fillings

Gold fillings are one of the more expensive types of fillings; however, they are highly durable, do not corrode and can last at least 15 years. They are made of primarily gold and a mixture of other metals. Gold fillings are used for crowns, onlays, and inlays and having them installed requires at least two visits to the dentist office.

Amalgam Fillings

Amalgam fillings silver-toned fillings that are composed of almost 50 percent of mercury with the remaining portions comprised of a mixture of other metals, including tin, copper, silver, and tin. These non-bonded and durable fillings can be used to restore your back teeth and can last for more than ten years. However, they cannot be color-matched to your teeth and tend to corrode with time, resulting in discoloration in the areas where your tooth is in contact with the filling.

Ceramics Fillings

Usually composed of porcelain, ceramic fillings are used to restore veneers, crowns, inlays, onlays, orthodontic brackets, and implants. They are made to have the same coloring as teeth and can last you for over seven years. If it is necessary for you to have a ceramic inlay or onlay, the affected tooth will have to be reduced in size to make the filling sizable enough so that it will not break.

Glass Ionomer Fillings

This type of filling is composed of acrylic and fluoroaluminosilicate, a material used to make glass. Glass ionomer fillings may be recommended if you have decaying tooth material in your front teeth or below your gum line in the roots of your teeth. The fillings release fluoride, which can make the tooth stronger and more resistant to further decay. They can last you for at least five years but are weaker than composite resin fillings.

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scaling and root planing effectiveness

Taking Advantage of Scaling and Root Planing Effectiveness

Dentists conduct root planing and scaling procedures to treat cases of gum disease before it can do significant damage to your oral health. Take a few minutes to learn why scaling and root planing is such an effective dental treatment.

What is Scaling and Root Planing?

Scaling and root planing is essentially the deep cleaning of the area below the gum line to combat gum disease. Your dentist may recommend the procedure if your mouth shows early indications of gum disease.

What to Expect

Your dentist or dental hygienist may perform the cleaning. Depending on the condition of your mouth, it may take multiple visits to the dentist office for the procedure to be completed. During the scaling part of the cleaning, all of the traces of tartar, plaque, and bacterial toxins will be scaled from surfaces of your teeth and their roots. During the root planing portion of the procedure, the rough areas on the roots’ surfaces will be carefully smoothed away to make it more difficult for plaque, tartar, and bacteria to attach themselves beneath the gum line. This also allows the gums to reattach to the roots more firmly.

Is Root Planing Necessary?

Gums that are healthy will fit snugly around your teeth. However, if substances like bacteria, plaque and tartar are allowed to accumulate under and around your gums, they can damage the tissues supporting your teeth, creating pockets around your teeth and an environment where gum disease can develop.

Scaling and root planing is the most effective non-surgical procedure a dentist can use to treat gum disease. If the disease is detected while it is in its early stages and has not yet damaged the structures below the gum line, a simple professional cleaning will suffice. However, if the pockets between your teeth and gums have grown too deep, a scaling and root planing will be necessary. According to a 2015 study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, the deep cleaning is particularly useful to patients who suffer from chronic periodontitis, or gum disease that has advanced past the gingivitis stage.

Your dentist may recommend that you undergo a scaling and root planing if either of the following conditions exists:

  • Your gums have begun to pull away from the teeth.
  • There is tartar present on the roots of your teeth.

Scaling and Root Planing Before And After

You will see and feel a marked difference in the conditions of your gums after you have undergone the procedure. The area that was treated may be sore to the touch for almost a week. Depending on how extensive the treatment was and the location in the mouth where the procedure was conducted, you may also experience bleeding, swelling and discomfort.

During a follow-up visit, your dentist will examine your gums to determine whether they are healing as they should be and will evaluate the condition of the pockets near the roots. If the pockets are getting smaller and the gum tissue has returned to pinkish color is adhering firmly to the roots of your teeth, no additional treatment may be necessary.

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invisalign pros cons

Understanding Invisalign Pros and Cons

You may stick to your daily brushing and flossing routines throughout childhood and life as a young adult, but you can still end up with alignment issues or gaps between your teeth once your teeth settle into their permanent positions. While children and tweens often require the specific benefits provided by traditional braces, Invisalign is often a better option for older teens and young adults. Decide between braces and Invisalign only after understanding the pros and cons of the modern treatment. Keep reading for the Invisalign pros and cons.

Does Invisalign Work Faster than Braces?

In most cases, using a set of custom fitted Invisalign retainers will result in faster alignment improvements than you can get from traditional metal or clear braces. However, there is a caveat to this benefit. Invisalign treatments are somewhat more limited in how much adjustment is possible, while traditional braces can do a surprising amount of alignment changes over the course of three to five years. If you only want straighter teeth or a little less crowding among your pre-molars, Invisalign is the faster option if you’re concerned about how long you’ll need to deal with the mild discomfort of reshaping your bite pattern, which is less uncomfortable than the discomfort of traditional braces.

How Long Does Invisalign Take?

Traditional braces may need to remain in place for up to five years, and take a bare minimum of two years to achieve even basic improvements. In contrast, Invisalign makes subtle improvements to your smile within the first six months of treatment. For complete re-alignment, you can often complete treatment within 18 months to two years. A shorter treatment time allows you to get a straighter smile before a big event like a wedding or a career change. The shorter timeframe is also helpful if you’re concerned about living with a few dietary restrictions and some extra oral hygiene chores for longer than a couple of years.

What Does Invisalign Look Like?

One of the main reasons older patients choose Invisalign is because it’s hard to tell you’re wearing the nearly invisible treatment trays. They can be removed when you’re eating or brushing your teeth, allowing you to remove food residue without having to fight with your braces or deal with specialty picks and brushes. You can take your treatment devices off for up to six hours a day if your dentist approves it, giving you a break from the slight pressure required to reshape your smile.

Invisalign Problems

Not all Invisalign treatments are as removable as you might think. When advanced alignment changes are needed, the treatment retainers are attached to a few of the teeth with a non-permanent oral cement. You may also find that the trays are less than invisible if you wear them while drinking dark sodas, coffee, wine, and other staining drinks. Additionally, some people prefer not to take a retainer out and clean it before re-inserting it every time they want to enjoy food or drink. Braces come with more restrictions on what you can eat while wearing them, but they stay in place while you eat and don’t require the extra effort for removal and replacement.

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