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Posts for: July, 2016

Bonded Restorations in Warrenton VAWhat are some tips for preserving bonded restorations?

Bonded restorations are the most common type of dental fillings done in most dental practices. The material tends to blend with the color of adjacent teeth and looks very natural. However, the composite material can be prone to chipping and breaking. Also sometimes composites can pick up the stain. That being the case how should a patient take care of these restorations.

Firstly is to keep the restorations clean. Composite likes to be kept clean. Restorations that are not maintained with appropriate oral hygiene tend to become porous with numerous slight craters developing, sort of like a little moonscape. Their surface remains relatively smooth if kept clean by regular brushing and flossing.

Secondly is to stay away from food and habits that introduce stains onto your teeth (smoking, drinking dark red acidic juices, and constant black tea drinking. These, when combined with less than stellar oral hygiene, tend to make bonded restorations look bad and may necessitate more frequent replacement.

Thirdly, wear a night guard. Bonded restorations, especially those with contact from opposing teeth, tend to be more prone to chipping, especially when patients do not wear a night guard. The longer I have been in practice, the more convinced that all patients should consider wearing night guards, not only to protect their jaw muscles and temporomandibular joint but to protect their teeth from chipping, wear, and breakage.

The fourth is to keep to your dentists recommended a schedule for checkups and cleanings. Let the hygienist polish your bonded filling at the same time she cleans your teeth. The dental practitioner will use a sandpaper disk on a rotary handpiece to finish of stain that can lodge on the fine margins of bonded restorations. If the repairs are properly designed (with a bevel), often superficial stain can be polished off by reducing some of the bonding at the margin of the restoration.

Next, stay away from overly abrasive toothpaste, especially those advertising whitening properties. These can shorten the life expectancies of bonded restorations. This is one pro tip that can assist with preserving those bonded restorations.

Do note to be careful not to over-whiten your teeth, since the bonding doesn't change color when teeth are bleached. This can make the bonding look relatively darker and yellower than your teeth. And make these filling look less aesthetic. Try not to bite into things that require too much force to cut or break. Chewing on hard candies, ice cubes, fingernails, and pencils can be dangerous for composite restorations.

Overall, it is important to remember that although composite restorations will not last forever, with appropriate care they can be extremely durable.

If you need a dental appointment in Warrenton, VA please call our office today at 540-347-2777.  Our Warrenton dental office is available with extended and convenient hours to fit your schedule.


Tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease pose the most common dangers to dental health. But there are some rare conditions that can also place teeth at risk to be on the lookout for during regular dental checkups.

One such condition is root resorption in an adult tooth, in which the root itself or its surface breaks down and is absorbed by the body. Resorption occurs naturally in a primary (“baby”) tooth so it can loosen and give way for an incoming permanent tooth.  Resorption still occurs in a limited form with young permanent teeth but should eventually stop.

Sometimes, though, it doesn’t, either from the inside of the tooth out (internal resorption) or more often from the outside in, usually around the neck-like (or “cervical”) portion of the tooth. This more common occurrence, External Cervical Resorption (ECR), can first appear as pink spots on the enamel and then progress into cavity-like areas. If not found and treated promptly, damage can occur quickly and lead to tooth loss.

We don’t fully understand the exact nature and causes for ECR, but we have identified risk factors for its development. Excessive orthodontic force on the teeth or any other trauma can cause damage to the periodontal ligament (which holds teeth in place with the jaw bone). Teeth grinding habits and some dental procedures like internal tooth whitening can also be risk factors.That being said, though, the vast majority of people who experience these issues don’t develop ECR.

Although the causes aren’t fully understood, we can still treat it: the key to success is early detection. You probably won’t notice early signs of ECR, but we can often detect spots from routine x-rays. We can then remove the tissue cells within the lesions causing the damage and restore the area with a tooth-colored filling material. If ECR has extended near the tooth’s interior pulp layer, then a root canal treatment may be needed.

Needless to say, the more extensive ECR occurs in the roots, the less likely the tooth can be saved and may need to be extracted. It’s important, therefore, to maintain regular dental checkups (at least twice a year) to increase your chances of catching a developing problem early.

If you would like more information on root resorption in adult teeth, 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 “Root Resorption: An Unusual Phenomenon.”

By Jeffrey A. Harris, D.D.S.
July 04, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavi­ties. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

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