My Blog

Posts for: December, 2014


As a successful author, interior design guru (with 127 makeovers in eight years on The Oprah Winfrey Show), and host of his own television program, The Nate Berkus Show, Nate Berkus understands the important role a beautiful smile plays in one's life and career. In a recent interview with Dear Doctor magazine, Nate discussed his oral health history. Berkus credits his all natural smile — no cosmetic dentistry here — to the treatments he received as a child from his dentist. “I'm grateful for having been given fluoride treatments and sealants as a child.” He then added that, “healthy habits should start at a young age.”

Dental sealants are important because they help protect developing young teeth until the enamel has matured. Without dental sealants, the newly erupted immature enamel of teeth is more permeable, meaning that the acids produced by bacteria in the mouth can damage these teeth more easily. This makes the teeth less resistant and thus more susceptible to tooth decay.

Regardless of how much your children brush their teeth, the reality is that toothbrush bristles cannot reach down to clean out the crevices found in the deep grooves (“pits and fissures”) of teeth. And if not removed, the bacteria found in these grooves produce decay-causing acids as a byproduct of metabolizing sugar. However, when sealants are used in combination with fluoride, good hygiene and nutrition (including lower sugar consumption), the odds of having tooth decay is dramatically reduced.

We refer to dental sealants as “pit and fissure” sealants because they protect the grooves found in the top of back teeth and the back of front teeth. Sealants also may reduce the need for subsequent treatments as your child grows older — just as it did for Nate Berkus. For these reasons, sealants are definitely something that all parents and caregivers should consider for their young children.

To learn more about dental sealants, contact us today to schedule an appointment so that we can conduct a thorough examination, discuss any questions you have as well as what treatment options will be best for you or your child. Or to learn more about sealants now, you can continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sealants for Children.” And to read the entire interview with Nate Berkus, please see the Dear Doctor magazine article “Nate Berkus.”

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
December 19, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Crowns  

Could restorative dentistry give you the smile you’ve always wanted?

A smile is one of the most noticeable features we have, and when it doesn’t look its best we often don’t feel our best. Flaws can often stand in the way of having the smile we want. If you are looking to cover these aesthetic problems and get a smile makeover, then your Warrenton restorative dentist is here to help.Dental crowns

We offer a variety of different restorative dental treatments:

Dental Crowns

If you are dealing with a fractured or severely decaying tooth, then dental crowns are a great option. Dental crowns are tooth-like caps that go over your damaged tooth to restore function and improve your tooth’s appearance. Those who’ve undergone root canal therapy often wear dental crowns to prevent further damage.

Dental Veneers

If you are dealing with minor gaps, overcrowding, crooked teeth or severe discolorations that whitening just can’t fix, then consider dental veneers. While not as extensive as dental crowns, these thin porcelain shells cover just the front of the tooth to hide minor imperfections. This is often an ideal treatment for someone looking to change their smile but nervous about extensive procedures.

In fact, veneers only require minimal tooth prep, so anesthesia isn’t necessary. First, we will remove a small amount of your natural tooth’s enamel to make room for the veneers. Using a specialized cement, we will then place the veneers on your teeth and use a laser to harden the cement permanently.


If you are missing the majority of your teeth, dentures are often the easiest and most inexpensive way to regain a full smile. Dentures are removable appliances with a gum-like bottom that are designed to resemble real teeth. There are two types of dentures: complete and partial. Complete is used when all of your teeth are missing and partial dentures are used if you still have some of your natural teeth.

Fixed Bridges

This is another way to replace missing teeth. A fixed bridge is cemented into place so unlike dentures, you can’t remove it. A bridge contains two dental crowns that go over the two teeth that surround the missing tooth. These two crowns are attached to an artificial tooth, which is designed to replace your missing tooth. Fixed bridges are a great way to prevent the rest of your natural teeth from shifting out of place and it also improves chewing and speaking.

Dental Implants

If you are missing one or several teeth and are looking for a permanent solution for your tooth loss, dental implants are a strong, reliable treatment option. First, we surgically implant a small metal post into the jawbone. Over time the surrounding bone and tissues grow around the metal to stabilize it. Once this occurs we will attach an abutment to the implant, which will firmly connect the dental crown to the implant.

If you are interested in finding out which restorative dental treatment in Warrenton could help you, call our office today for a consultation.

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
December 19, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   x-rays  

For decades, dental x-rays have helped us accurately diagnose and treat a wide array of dental diseases and conditions. But even with recent advances in digital imaging, the traditional x-ray does have one drawback: its two-dimensional view doesn’t always provide the “big picture” that a three-dimensional viewpoint can provide.

But a new type of x-ray technology can do just that: known as cone beam computed tomography (CBCT), these machines record hundreds of digital images as a cone-shaped beam of x-ray energy is projected through a device that rotates around a person’s head. A computer then assembles the images into a single three-dimensional image that can be manipulated on screen to view from various angles. Not only does this provide greater context and detail, it does so with no more radiation exposure than a standard 20-film digital full-mouth x-ray series.

While CBCT hasn’t replaced the traditional x-ray, it’s making its mark in a number of specialized areas of dentistry. The following are just a few of the ways CBCT is improving both accuracy and treatment outcomes.

Orthodontics. CBCT can provide a much more detailed view of the entire jaw; this can help us determine the best locations for realigning teeth safely and effectively.

Dental Implants. With a CBCT scan we can precisely locate nerve canals, sinuses and adjacent teeth before implant surgery to locate the best position for the implant.

TMD Treatment. To help develop the best treatment approach for alleviating the pain and dysfunction of temporo-mandibular joint disease (TMD), a CBCT scan can provide us detailed information on how the disease is affecting a patient’s joints, teeth, sinuses and airway.

Impactions. An impacted tooth can exert damaging pressure against the roots of neighboring teeth. A CBCT scan allows us to observe the impacted tooth from various vantage points to determine the best treatment approach for neighboring teeth, nerve canals and sinuses.

If you would like more information on CBCT technology, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Getting the Full Picture With Cone Beam Dental Scans.”

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
December 04, 2014
Category: Oral Health

When Giuliana Rancic, long-time host of E! News, first saw her new son, she said it was “the best single moment of my life.” Recently, on the eve of Duke's first birthday, the TV personality and reality star spoke to Dear Doctor magazine about her growing family, her battle with cancer — and the importance of starting her child off with good oral health.

“Duke will have his first visit with the dentist very soon, and since he is still a baby, we will make his visit as comfortable as possible,” Giuliana said. That's a good thought — as is the timing of her son's office visit. Her husband Bill (co-star of the couple's Style Network show) agrees. “I think the earlier you can start the checkups, the better,” he said.

The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry concurs. In order to prevent dental problems, the AAPD states, your child should see a dentist when the first tooth appears, or no later than his or her first birthday. But since a child will lose the primary (baby) teeth anyway, is this visit really so important?

“Baby” Teeth Have a Vital Role
An age one dental visit is very important because primary teeth have several important roles: Kids rely on them for proper nutrition and speech, and don't usually begin losing them until around age 6. And since they aren't completely gone until around age 12, kids will depend on those “baby teeth” through much of childhood. Plus, they serve as guides for the proper position of the permanent teeth, and are vital to their health. That's why it's so important to care for them properly.

One major goal for the age one dental visit is to identify potential dental issues and prevent them from becoming serious problems. For example, your child will be examined for early signs of dental diseases, including baby bottle tooth decay which is a major cause of early childhood caries. Controlling these problems early can help youngsters start on the road to a lifetime of good oral health.

Besides screening your child for a number of other dental conditions or developmental problems, and assessing his or her risk for cavities, the age one visit also gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have about dental health in these early years. Plus, you can learn the best techniques for effectively cleaning baby's mouth and maintaining peak oral hygiene.

Breezing Through the Age-One Visit
To ease your child's way through his or her first dental visit, it helps if you're calm yourself. Try to relax, allow plenty of time, and bring along lots of activities — some favorite toys, games or stuffed animals will add to everyone's comfort level. A healthy snack, drink, and spare diapers (of course) won't go unappreciated.

“We'll probably bring some toys and snacks as reinforcements,” said Giuliana of her son's upcoming visit. So take a tip from the Rancics: The age one dental visit is a great way to start your child off right.

If you would like more information on pediatric dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
December 01, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Eating Healthy  

According to the State Indicator Report on Fruits and Vegetables, 2013, US adults consume fruit about 1.1 times a day and vegetables 1.6 times a day. However, dietary guidelines recommend that everyone have between five and thirteen servings of fruits and vegetables daily, depending on caloric intake. For example, someone on a 2,000-calorie diet should have nine servings, or 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables a day.

Incorporating more fruits and vegetables into one’s diet is not only good for maintaining healthy weight but also boasts other health benefits. From reducing the chance of a heart attack or stroke by as much as 30 percent to staving off dental caries and Eat Healthygum disease, these miracle foods should be a crucial part of any meal.

Warrenton, VA dentist, Dr. Jeffrey A. Harris, DDS, is jumping on the awareness bandwagon to promote healthy eating habits and healthier smiles. According to MyPlate, a website run by the Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion, a healthy diet includes fruits and vegetables that cover at least half of your plate, accompanied by whole grains, low-fat dairy and lean proteins.
Snacking is one way to wreak havoc on a healthy smile. However, Dr. Harris recommends that patients and parents make nutritious choices for themselves and their children when they do choose to snack. He notes that cheese, fruits, vegetables and nuts are healthy snacking options that can also protect teeth. Most starchy and sugary snacks and drinks can increase the chance of cavities and enamel wear. Dr. Harris recommends opting for healthier, smile-healthy choices when needing a small snack.

School lunches are another area in which the US falls flat. With over 23 million children and teens either overweight or obese, Dr. Harris notes that it’s important to see what each child is eating during lunchtime. Help promote the National School Lunch Program, which is making strides to ensure that every child can have a healthy, balanced school lunch. When packing lunches, Dr. Harris also advises that parents follow the same dietary rules that MyPlate suggests. Limiting sugar and other simple carbohydrates will also reduce a person’s risk for cavities. This Warrenton dentist also recommends checking nutrition labels to identify hidden sugar in certain foods.

Join Dr. Jeffrey A. Harris, DDS in this healthy-eating movement. To find out more about this awareness month, visit To schedule an appointment with Dr. Harris call his office at (540) 347-2777, or request an appointment online:

About Dr. Jeffrey A. Harris, DDS: Dr. Harris has been offering dentistry to the Warrenton, VA area for over 25 years. After receiving his DDS from the Medical College of Virginia, he served as an overseas dentist with the United States Army. He is also an active member of several dental organizations including The American Dental Association and Academy of General Dentistry. Dr. Harris offers a range of dental services and specializes in cosmetic dentistry.