All posts by Kathleen Mullaney

Yes, you need to floss!

Flossing helps to remove food particles and bacteria from between your teeth and along your gumline. When this bacteria builds up, it forms plaque, a sticky, colorless film that can threaten your oral health by contributing to tooth decay and ginigivitis. Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease, which can then evolve into periodontitis, the full-blown form of this health condition. “Gingivitis is the inflammation of the gums around your teeth, which will progress to periodontitis, which is inflammation of the gums in combination with bone loss. When left untreated, periodontitis can lead to tooth loss.

 Bleeding gums, a high rate of cavities, bone loss, and bad breath” are prevalent in people who don’t make flossing a habit.

Here are tips for flossing more effectively:

    • When using traditional floss instead of another type of interdental cleaner, use a long piece around 18 inches so there’s enough clean floss to get in between all your teeth.
    • Tie the floss around your middle finger on both hands and pinch it with your thumbs.
    • Keep the distance between your two hands small and go between each tooth in your mouth. Do this gently to avoid harming your gums.
    • To clean both teeth, make a C shape, hugging one tooth and sliding up and down, then make a C shape around the adjacent tooth and repeat the motion. Don’t forget the back sides of your last teeth!
  • Consider using a mouthwash, such as Therasol, after flossing to rinse your mouth and remove as much bad bacteria as possible.

The bottom line: When combined with brushing your teeth, flossing every day is a great way to keep your mouth healthy.

Is Vaping safer than Smoking?

Vaping

E-cigarettes emerged around 2004-2005 and have become increasingly popular as the “Healthier” alternative to smoking.  Although initial studies showed vaping had far less impact on health compared to smoking things are changing now as there is more long term studies coming out to the contrary.

In 2015, a letter from the New England Journal of Medicine expressed concern over formaldehyde, a toxic compound found in the vapors produced by e-cigarettes. While researchers are still studying its link to cancer, formaldehyde is known to cause irritation to the skin, eyes, nose, and throat.

Irfan Rahman, professor of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester, led the first study to examine the impact of e-cigarettes on oral health.

“We showed that when the vapors from an e-cigarette are burned, it causes cells to release inflammatory proteins, which in turn aggravate stress within cells, resulting in damage that could lead to various oral diseases,” he said.

This year, he was one of the authors of a studythat examined artificial flavors for inducing tissue damage and having a toxic effect on white blood cells, with the worst impact coming from cinnamon, vanilla, and buttery flavored e-juices. There are around 250 harmful chemicals found in traditional cigarettes while the number is significantly reduced in vaping. But the presence of nicotine still poses a threat (particularly risk of heart disease) in its concentrated, e-liquid form.

Another study using mice showed secondhand e-cigarette smoke could compromise the immune system. Thomas Sussan, lead author and an assistant scientist at the Bloomberg School, explained how the exposure to e-cigarette vapor “was followed by a bacterial or viral infection, the harmful effects of e-cigarette exposure became even more pronounced. The e-cigarette exposure inhibited the ability of mice to clear the bacteria from their lungs, and the viral infection led to increased weight loss and death indicative of an impaired immune response.”

In our office we believe more long term studies will show that vaping is not good for your oral care and can cause many problems down the road.

I need a crown and I don’t mean the rhinestone type!


crown

So you have been told you need a crown and you are not even sure what that means- here is a brief description of a crown.

“A crown, sometimes known as dental cap, is a type of dental restoration which completely caps or encircles a tooth or dental implant. Crowns are often needed when a large cavity threatens the ongoing health of a tooth. They are typically bonded to the tooth using a dental cement. Crowns can be made from many materials, which are usually fabricated using indirect methods. Crowns are often used to improve the strength or appearance of teeth. ”

Crowns are nothing to be scared of, we make the procedure painless with proper numbing techniques and walking you through each step.  If you have been told you need a crown call us today for your consultation.

crwon gold

Bad Breath and Valentines Day

Does bad breath worry you, have you noticed a persitant bad taste in your mouth or bad breath? This could be a warning sign of gum disease called periodontal disease. Gum disease can be caused by many things like the buildup of plaque on the teeth, poor brushing techniques, lack of flossing, just to name a few. Untreated gum disease can damage the gums and cause bone loss which can mean the loss of teeth.

Other dental causes of bad breath include poorly fitting dental appliances, yeast infections of the mouth, and dental caries (cavities).

The medical condition dry mouth (also called xerostomia) also can cause bad breath. Saliva is necessary to moisten the mouth, neutralize acids produced by plaque, and wash away dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums, and cheeks. If not removed, these cells decompose and can cause bad breath. Dry mouth may be a side effect of various medications or continuous breathing through the mouth.

If you have bad breath call us now to schedule an exam with Dr. Mullaney so we can help you have the best breath around for Valentines Day!

703-650-9320

iTero Digital Scanner is here- say goodbye to messy impressions!

Dental and orthodontic procedures are often limited by technology. Improper crown and mouth guard fits, prosthetic devices that don’t quite match the bite of a patient and cumbersome molds are just a few problems that this limitation creates.
Advances in technology are allowing dentists and orthodontists to provide a new level of quality in their work.
Technology like the iTero™ scanner represents one of the most essential tools needed for any professional dealing with oral restoration.

Let’s explore the benefits that the iTero™ scanner enjoys over traditional impression technologies that have existed for decades without any radical changes.

What Does the iTero™ Scanner Do?

The iTero™ Intraoral Scanner is designed to make the process of measuring a patient’s mouth easier and more comfortable than ever before while offering a significantly higher degree of precision.
There are two parts to the iTero™: the wand and the station itself.
The wand employs incredibly precise imaging technology capable of capturing even the smallest details about a patient’s mouth. This occurs without the need for cumbersome impressions or movement of the patient’s mouth.
The wand captures thousands of images in the patient’s mouth that it then sends to the station. It does so automatically.
The station processes the data that the wand captures. It turns it into a 3D model that can be updated in real time.

Why Use the iTero™ Scanner Over Traditional Methods?

Traditional methods of creating an impression require the use of  impressions taken with material that gradually hardens.
The problem with both of these methods is that patients tend to feel uncomfortable in these situations. This can dramatically alter the results of these impressions.
Because the patient must adjust their mouth and keep it stationary for the best image, their bite may be artificially adjusted.
This can make everything from mouth guards to braces fit incorrectly, which can have long-term effects on a patient’s skeletal structure.
The iTero™ scanner doesn’t have these problems. It allows for a free impression of the patient’s mouth that automatically accounts for many of the deviations that tend to present themselves with other imaging techniques.
This allows for impressions that:
Are more accurate than other methods can provide.
Tend to be faster to record.
Are less prone to errors.
Require fewer retakes than other methods.
Create more accurate prosthetic devices that require less fine tuning.
Can be used to create devices faster due to the lack of needed modeling.
Tend to allow for a higher degree of comfort to the patient and care provider.

The iTero™ Scanner: Bringing a New Level of Quality to the Office The iTero™ scanner allows for dentists to give their patients significantly more accurate and comfortable work.
It makes appointments faster and reduces the amount of error encountered during the creation of devices made to fit in a patient’s mouth.
This means the iTero™ scanner represents a new level of quality when it comes to taking tooth impressions.
This allows for a higher degree of care that lasts longer, which ultimately benefits the patient and the care provider.

Join our office

Thursday, January 24th from 4pm – 7pm

to learn more about iTero scanning and

how it can benefit you!

Call now to reserve your spot for a free scan!

703-835-9251

Don’t leave money on the table!

If you have a flexible spending account, or FSA, time is running out to spend down your balance.
FSAs, which are typically offered as a benefit through your employer, give you the option of putting money directly from your paycheck, tax-free, into an account so they can be used to pay medical-related expenses throughout the year. The max contribution this year was $2,650 per person.  Dental appointments are generally covered so if you still have money available now is the time to call us for an overdue cleaning or any outstanding treatment.  Call us NOW at 703-548-8584.

Thanksgiving Dental Tips

5 Thanksgiving Dental Tips
Happy Thanksgiving!

Dr. Mullaney and the entire team hope you are able to spend quality time with your family and friends while enjoying a feast of foods. Keep in mind, this celebration is no time to slack on your dental care! Having to deal with a filling or dental emergency could put a damper on the holiday season. To help you have a happy and healthy Thanksgiving, we’ve compiled these five tips:

Five Thanksgiving Dental Tips
Shorten Your Meal Time. Perhaps the most damaging aspect of a typical Thanksgiving meal is its length. Enjoying the company of friends and family for hours is an important part of the day, but try to avoid dragging the meal out too long. Continuing to expose your teeth to the acids in food makes it easier for cavity-causing bacteria to build up in your mouth. Instead of passing the time by munching, focus on sharing stories, watching movies, or playing games.

Stay Hydrated. It’s always a good idea to drink lots of water, but especially when you’re eating lots of rich, sweet foods, staying hydrated can help wash away debris and prevent plaque formation. In addition to providing a light rinse for your mouth between bites, drinking water helps improve your saliva flow, which further fights cavities. Water is also an excellent replacement for more damaging drink options like juice or soda.

Brush and Floss. You need to be especially diligent about dental hygiene on Thanksgiving. Even if you go to a friend or family member’s home for the holiday, make sure you bring a toothbrush and floss. About thirty minutes after you’ve finished eating (so that your teeth have time to produce important protective minerals), quickly duck into the bathroom to brush and floss. If brushing your teeth proves difficult at another person’s house or you forget your toothbrush, at least floss. You can also bring xylitol gum to chew after the meal, which could help wipe away leftover food particles on your teeth, improve your saliva flow, and assist with your digestion.

Ditch the sticky sides. Cranberry relishes are a dentist’s worst nightmare; they’re acidic, sweet, and stick to your teeth for hours to come, creating an ideal environment for bacteria to infect your gums and eat through your enamel. Other sticky offenders are pecan pie and mashed potatoes. If one of these is your favorite, just make sure you swish with water after eating and brush your teeth to wipe away the gummy remains.

Make a Post-Holiday Cleaning Appointment. We all know the holiday season can be bad for your weight, but the desserts and long meals are also tough on your teeth. If you’re concerned about cavities or gum disease, this winter might be the perfect time to schedule a cleaning appointment.  Gina will thoroughly clean your teeth and Dr. Mullaney can examine your mouth for any signs of disease. That way, you can prevent issues before they become more uncomfortable or costly. We can also perform cosmetic treatments to give you a brighter smile for holiday photos or celebrations.

Be Thankful For Your Dental Health
Having beautiful, healthy teeth is certainly something to be thankful for this holiday season. Keep them that way by using our Thanksgiving dental tips and coming in for regular check-ups. Contact Dr. Kathleen Mullaney  with any questions or to schedule an appointment.

 

E-Cigarettes and It’s Effects on Wound Healing

A new study  says patients should be banned from vaping for two months before surgery to avoid complications.  Author Dr Jeffrey Spiegel, chief of facial plastic surgery at Boston Medical Center, said: ‘Based on our findings, e-cigarettes are not a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes as it relates to timely wound healing,’ this new study shows vapes have the same effect on injured flaps of skin as does nicotine from traditional cigarettes. Providers, and patients, need to understand the risks of both types of smoking so they can make the best decision to keep the patient as safe as possible before and after surgery.’
In experiments on rats, Dr Spiegel and colleagues found vaping affected skin wound healing, causing damage similar to that of conventional smoking.
Both forms resulted in more of the tissue dying, which delays wound healing. They said the same would apply to humans.
It follows a warning by other American experts two years ago that nicotine in e-cigarette vapor increases the risk of blood flow-related complications – just like smoking real ones.
The study, published in JAMA Facial Plastic Surgery, is the first direct evidence that they were correct.
Dr. Spiegel said the adverse effects of traditional cigarette smoking on wound healing has been well established in the surgical field.  He added: ‘Smoking and vaping appear to be equally detrimental to wound healing and to be associated with a statistically significant increase in tissue death.  ‘The results suggest vaping should not be seen as a better alternative to cigarette smoking in the context of wound healing.
‘Surgeons are advised to appropriately counsel their patients and to regard those who use e-cigarettes as having equivalent pre-operative healing risk as those who smoke cigarettes.’
Shaun Desai, a plastic surgeon at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, welcomed the findings and said patients should be screened for e-cig use before surgery.
He said: ‘This study presents evidence of the detrimental potency of e-cigarettes in rats, but there is a paucity of clinical evidence in humans.
‘Often, patients may not volunteer this information, mistakenly thinking vaping, because it is not smoking traditional cigarettes, is not relevant medical history that needs to be shared.
‘Similarly, until further studies are completed, all e-cigarette use should be stopped four weeks prior to any surgical procedure, as recommended by the current literature for traditional cigarettes.’

“Excerpts from the article recently published in Daily Mail UK”

HPV and Oral Cancer

FDA Approves HPV Vaccine For Men And Women Aged 27 To 45.

The New York Times (10/5, Grady, Hoffman) reported that the Food and Drug Administration has approved the HPV vaccine “for men and women from 27 to 45-years-old.” The article noted that the vaccine “had been previously approved for minors and people up to age 26.” The HPV vaccine “works against the human papillomavirus, HPV, which can also cause genital warts and cancers” including “tumors affecting part of the throat – called oropharyngeal cancers” which are on the rise.

CNN (10/5, Lamotte) reported that Dr. Peter Marks, director of the FDA’s Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research, said, “HPV vaccination prior to becoming infected with the HPV types covered by the vaccine has the potential to prevent more than 90 percent of these cancers, or 31,200 cases every year, from ever developing.”

The Washington Post (10/5, McGinley) reported that the approval “represents an important opportunity to help prevent HPV-related diseases and cancers in a broader age range,” said Dr. Marks.

 

HPV is linked to Oral Cancer and oral cancer is on the rise in the US- we complete a visual inspection for oral cancer at each visit and once a year we use our Velscope machine for a more in depth screening.  This screening is quick and painless!