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Posts for: March, 2018

By Old Town Dentistry
March 16, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: nutrition  
FoodforThought-WhattoEatforOptimumOralHealth

March is national nutrition month—a good time to look at the connection between diet and oral health. You probably know that sugar is a major culprit in dental problems. This is because bacteria feed on sugars and create acid that can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Avoiding sugary foods and drinks as much as possible is a good rule of thumb, but there are some food choices that actually benefit your oral health. Here are nutrition tips that will help keep your smile healthy for life:

Say cheese. Dairy products such as milk, cheese and yogurt contain calcium and phosphorus to build teeth and strengthen the supporting bone. And cheese neutralizes acid in the mouth to help fight cavities and gum disease.

Choose lean proteins. Lean meats, poultry, fish, milk and eggs help strengthen teeth. They are rich in protein and phosphorous, which is essential for building strong bones and teeth.

Eat a rainbow. Fruits and vegetables provide many key nutrients, including vitamins necessary for healing, bone strength, and healthy gums. Besides being nutritious, fruits and veggies scrub your teeth while you chew and stimulate the production of saliva, which is necessary for neutralizing acid and rebuilding enamel.

Nibble on nuts. Nuts contain protein, fiber and healthy fats. They also contain essential vitamins and minerals to keep teeth strong and gums healthy. Further, chewing nuts stimulates saliva production, lowering the risk of tooth decay.

Go for the grains. Studies have shown that eating too many refined carbohydrates such as white bread and sweet bakery items can lead to chronic inflammation, which is a factor in gum disease, heart disease, stroke and other conditions. In contrast, eating complex carbohydrates such as whole grains may reduce inflammation in the body.

What you put in your body can play a big role in preventing tooth decay and gum disease, so choose foods that provide the right building blocks for optimal dental and overall health.

If you have questions about how nutrition affects oral health, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Nutrition & Oral Health.”


A dental crown is supposed to be the last step in tooth restoration, but this does not mean that you’ll never have to worry about dental crown problems and remedies. Even though a crown is a long-term solution for repairing damaged teeth, complications can still arise.

The following are some of the most common dental crown problems, as well as their solutions:

1. Dental decay

If you do not practice good oral hygiene after getting a crown, plaque may accumulate at the margin where the crown and the tooth meet. Though the crown cannot decay, your tooth still can.

The best remedy for this is to brush and floss your teeth twice daily. If you already have a small decay in an accessible area, the doctor can place a filling. However, if the decay is underneath the crown, the doctor will need to take off the dental crown, remove the decay, place a new core, and make a new dental cap. Since the cost of a dental crown is quite high, it is better and cheaper to take care of your teeth to prevent dental decay.

2. Sensitivity and discomfort

In the days after having your crown installed, you may notice that your teeth are sensitive to hot or cold foods. This often happens when the tooth enamel is trimmed away during the crowning process and the dentin is exposed. This means that the crown does not completely cover your tooth.

If this is the case, your dentist can apply a solution to the crowned tooth to protect the exposed dentin from temperature changes. He/she may also advise you to use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth.

3. Loose crown

Tooth decay or eating sticky foods could cause your crown to become loose. If this happens, you should contact your dentist immediately. This is because the loose crown allows bacteria to leak into your remaining tooth, causing further decay and damage.

4. Chips or fractures

Porcelain is not as tough as your natural teeth. Therefore, dental crowns made of porcelain or porcelain infused metal can sometimes chip, though this is rare. If the chip is small, your dentist can use composite resin to repair the crown. However, if the chip or crack is extensive, the only solution is to replace the crown.

5. Nerve issues

All teeth have a soft pulp where all the nerves are located. The process of getting a dental crown sometimes traumatizes these nerves. This could cause discomfort ranging from mild sensitivity to excruciating pain. You might notice symptoms of nerve issues soon after getting a dental crown, or even several months after the procedure.

The best remedy for this problem is to give your tooth a root canal and get a new crown.

6. Allergic reactions

This is a very rare problem that only affects people who are allergic to any of the metals used to make the crown. The only remedy is to get a new crown made from different materials.

7. A dark line at the gum

This is very common with crowns made of porcelain infused with metal. This dark line is simply the metal of the crown showing through. While it does not pose any health concerns, it is not aesthetically pleasing. If the dark line forms in the front of your mouth, the dentist can replace your crown with an all-ceramic or all-porcelain one.

Wrapping up

Dentists shy away from using the word ‘permanent’ because even the most durable solutions may encounter problems. If you experience any of these dental crown problems, contact a dentist for a remedy that will solve the issue and ease your discomfort or pain.

Call us at (703) 763-1337 for more information from Old Town Dentistry or to schedule an appointment in our dentist office in Alexandria.


As if a visit to the dentist wasn't distressing enough, now you also have to worry about the quality of service you receive at the dental office. This is because going to a subpar dentist could drain your wallet while leaving you with a sore set of not-so-pearly whites.

Most people select dentists based on reviews and recommendations from family members and friends. However, before setting up an appointment, you need to ensure your new dentist will provide top-of-the-line services.

Not sure what to look for? The following are some dentist red flags that should send you scrambling out of that office.

Dental Office Issues To Look Out For

1. Old dental records

The first thing the staff at the new dentist's office should ask you for is your old dental records and files. While some dental issues are pretty obvious, others require the dentist to track problems and look out for any changes. Documents and previous X-rays should help the dentist recognize any developing issues.

2. X-ray alert

Ideally, you should get a full set of dental X-rays once every two years. Repeating X-rays too soon exposes you to unnecessary radiation without any real medical benefit. Unless it's absolutely necessary, your new dentist should not pressure you to get an X-ray if you already have a recent one in your records.

Another thing to check out for is the type of X-ray technology they have. If they are using X-ray film, then you should look for another dentist. Digital X-rays are a lot better at diagnosing dental problems and cause less exposure to radiation than film X-rays. You should also be wary of the cone-beam X-ray which takes 3-D pictures of your mouth but delivers up to 18 times more radiation than other X-rays.

3. Germ control

It goes without saying that a dentist's office should be extremely clean. This is because anything that goes into your mouth should be sterile and hygienic to prevent the spread of germs and bacteria. A dentist treats several patients with different diseases every day. Make sure he/she changes his gloves and his face mask after attending to you or other patients. If he/she has his gloves on while using the keyboard or digging through his drawers, he/she should put a new pair of gloves before poking inside your mouth.

Another thing to look out for is the sterilization of tools. Ask the dentist whether he/she heat-sterilizes all tools before using them in a patient's mouth because some bacteria only die with heat.

4. Oral cancer screening

At each visit, or at least twice a year, the dentist should look out for signs of oral cancer while examining your mouth. Oral cancers linked to the Human Papilloma Virus have become quite prevalent in recent years, and a good dentist should check your mouth for any abnormal patches of cells or lesions.

5. Before and after pictures

If you want a cosmetic procedure such as porcelain veneers or dental implants, the dentist should be able to show you pictures of previous patients he has worked on. You need to know that your dentist has done these procedures successfully in the past. If he does not have any before and after shots, look for another dentist.

6. The dentist prefers invasive and expensive treatments

If a tooth has a small crack or decay, a less invasive treatment is usually best. Beware of any dentist who tries to upsell you on crowns and caps. If you still have at least 50-percent of the tooth, a bonding is a better way to restore it. This is because it is always better to preserve the structure of the tooth than to drill down with a cap, unless absolutely necessary. You should also be wary of any dentist who insists that the procedure has to be done right away and discourages you from getting a second opinion.

Wrapping up

Choosing a personal or family dentist is not a decision you should take lightly. A great oral professional should be more concerned about the health of your teeth than the health of his/her bank account. He/she should work with you to enhance your confidence and your smile. If he/she does not value you as a patient and is not willing to listen to you and educate you on the treatment options available, then you should consider looking for a new dentist.

For more information or to schedule an appointment with us, call (703) 763-1337. Our dental office is located in Alexandria. Call Old Town Dentistry today.


People often wonder if they should brush, floss or rinse first. This is a perfectly legitimate question that plenty of dentists do not address for varying reasons. In fact, some dentists do not have an opinion as to whether the teeth should be brushed or flossed first.

Here is a look at whether you should brush or floss first and the arguments made to justify each approach.

Floss Then Brush or Brush Then Floss?

The answer to this question is that flossing first can help to loosen bits of plaque between the teeth, but not everyone follows one specific method. What matters are that people brush and floss in a comprehensive manner. If people do not eliminate plaque from the teeth that causes decay, their oral health will undoubtedly suffer. Brushing the teeth removes plaque from along the surface of the teeth. However, it does not do the full job of plaque elimination.

It is also necessary to clean in between the teeth every single day with floss. Flossing plucks out food bits and other debris from in between the teeth in those tiny spaces the toothbrush cannot touch. Thus, patients do not need to concern themselves with the worry of brushing or flossing, whether one should brush or floss first. Patients need to focus more on the quality of the cleaning.

Patients who suspect that they are not performing a thorough cleaning of their mouth, the dentist may advise using plaque disclosing tablets people can obtain over-the-counter at pharmacies and other businesses that provide oral hygiene solutions. The patient chews these tablets after cleaning the mouth. They emit red dye in areas where the plaque is still in place throughout the mouth. The dye stains these spaces to identify portions that need a cleaning.

Why Some Argue to Floss First

The traditional approach to teeth cleaning is to floss first and brush the teeth afterward. Flossing removes the bits of food between the teeth. Once these little pieces of food and plaque are loose, the toothbrush will brush them away.

Why Others Argue to Brush First

The toothbrush will remove the vast majority of the plaque on the teeth. Flossing after this plaque removal forces the leftover fluoride remaining on the teeth down into those tiny spaces that otherwise would not be reachable for toothpaste/toothbrush bristles.

When in Doubt, Rely on Both Approaches

There are good arguments to floss before brushing and brush before flossing. The approach you employ will ultimately hinge on your unique preference, the input of your dentist and any other useful information you can obtain. If you are not sure as to which method is ideal, use both. Try flossing before brushing every other day and doing the opposite on the days in between. This way, your teeth will obtain the potential benefits of both approaches so your mouth will remain in optimal shape regardless of which method eventually turns out to be proven to be superior.


By Old Town Dentistry
March 05, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Crowns and Bridges  

Restore Your Natural Smile with Crowns and Bridges

In the past, if you had a broke, chipped or missing tooth your options were always minimal.  With advancements in dentistry, your dentist in Old Town Alexandria, VA can now provide you with improved treatments to restore your natural smile.  Two of the most popular procedures for restoring your smile are the installation of dental crowns or dental bridges. By visiting Old Town Dentistry, we can help you restore your smile once and for all. 
 
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that is placed over your damaged tooth to restore its size, shape, strength and appearance. A crown can be used to cover a misshapen or discolored tooth, protect a weak one, restore a broken or chipped tooth, or to support a dental bridge. Once the crown is installed, it will completely cover the visible portion of your tooth above the gum line.
 
While dental crowns are designed to restore teeth that are misshapen, discolored, chipped or broken, a dental bridge is designed to help replace a missing tooth. A dental bridge is made up of an artificial tooth, or teeth, that is anchored on either side by crowns.  To install a bridge, your Old Town Alexandria, VA dentist will begin by anesthetizing the area around the bridge and then filing down the two teeth that will receive crowns. Next, he or she will take an impression and send it to a dental lab, where your permanent bridge will be constructed in two to three weeks.
 
If you have a damaged or missing tooth, contact Old Town Dentistry for further diagnosis and treatment planning.  With help from your dentist in Old Town Alexandria, VA, you can restore your natural smile with crowns and bridges.