Preventive Dentistry in Fredericksburg, VA
Serving the Fredericksburg, VA community
We care about your well-being and want to ensure you receive care that is most appropriate for your needs. Dr. Elnahass, DDS and our team want to understand what's important to you and enjoy spending time getting to know all our patients. Our goal is to develop a trusting relationship with you, so you feel comfortable turning to us with your concerns.
If there’s a secret to a healthy smile, it’s prevention. When you support your at-home oral hygiene efforts with semi-annual dental exams and cleanings at Blue Bird Dentistry, you have the foundation for a healthy smile.
Gum Disease Treatment
- I floss and brush well at home. Do I still need a dental cleaning?
- My gums bleed when I brush. What’s going on?
- How do you treat gum disease?
- What is scaling and root planing?
- How can I prevent gum disease?
How can your Fredericksburg dentist help me maintain good oral health?
Our goal at Blue Bird Dentistry is to provide you with all the information and support you need to maintain optimal health. An essential part of achieving that goal is providing preventive dental care that allow us to stay on top of potential oral health problems.
Patient education is an integral part of prevention, so our team is always happy to answer your questions. We also use state-of-the-art technology like intraoral cameras that enable us to share images with you so you can see the problem for yourself and understand why treatment is necessary.
What is the mouth-body connection?
Scientists and researchers have found numerous connections between the health of your mouth and your overall well-being. Some estimates say that over 100 conditions have been associated with chronic oral health problems, making preventive dental care more important than ever. These include:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Low birthweight babies
What happens during a dental exam?
Your comprehensive dental exams at Blue Bird Dentistry are very productive. Dr. Elnahass will:
- Check for tooth decay: We examine all teeth and note changes in condition on your patient record.
- Examine restorations: We check any dental crowns, fillings, or other restorations to ensure they’re in good condition.
- Take digital x-rays: High-resolution x-rays allow us to see small areas of decay as well as bone loss and tumors or cysts.
- Perform an oral cancer screening: Dr. Elnahass checks your lips, tongue, throat, and neck for early signs of oral cancer.
What is an intraoral camera and how does it benefit me?
An intraoral camera is a small handheld device that illuminates the inside of your mouth to give you an up-close view of what Dr. Elnahass sees when he performs a visual dental exam. As he directs the camera over your teeth, real-time images appear on your chairside monitor. Instead of just telling you what’s wrong, you can see for yourself what the problem is and why we recommend treatment.
We can store these images in your patient history so we can refer to them as needed to monitor conditions or send to specialists and insurance companies.
I floss and brush well at home. Do I still need a dental cleaning?
Brushing and flossing at home are essential if you want a healthy smile. But your efforts need to be paired with professional dental cleanings at our Fredericksburg, VA dental office every six months to be as productive as possible. During your cleanings, your hygienist will:
- Remove plaque – The sticky film that coats your teeth throughout the day is called plaque and is made up of food debris, saliva, and bacteria. We need to remove plaque because if it is allowed to feed on the sugars in your mouth, it produces acid that attacks tooth enamel and causes cavities.
- Remove tartar – Plaque that sits on your teeth eventually hardens into a deposit called tartar (calculus). Calcified tarter adheres to your teeth above and below the gum line, and only a skilled hygienist can remove it with specialized dental instruments.
- Floss your teeth – While your hygienist is flossing your teeth is a great time to ask for pointers to make sure you’re getting the most out of your flossing routine.
- Polish your teeth – The final step in your professional cleaning is polishing your teeth to leave you with a squeaky-clean smile.
My gums bleed when I brush. What’s going on?
Bleeding when you brush is one of the symptoms of periodontal (gum) disease, and it’s an indication that bacteria-filled plaque and tartar have caused a gum infection. Other symptoms of gum disease are:
- Tender, inflamed, or swollen gums
- Teeth that feel loose
- Receding gums
- A change in your dental bite
- Bad breath that won’t go away
However, gum disease can compromise your oral health without any noticeable symptoms. Ensuring that your gums are healthy are another reason we stress the importance of preventive exams and dental cleanings.
How do you treat gum disease?
In its earliest stages, gum disease is called gingivitis and treatment typically involves a thorough cleaning with one of our skilled hygienists. During this visit, they will point out problem areas and give you tips for improving your oral hygiene and nutrition.
If gum disease is not treated early on, the infection starts to break down the supporting structures that hold your teeth in place. This stage is of gum disease is called periodontitis, which requires a deep cleaning treatment called scaling and root planing.
What is scaling and root planing?
During scaling and root planing (SRP), your hygienist scrapes away all the plaque and tartar that linger on your teeth in places your brush and floss can’t reach. She also smooths the exposed root surfaces to eliminate rough areas where bacteria can collect and provide a surface to which the gums can reattach.
We can control periodontitis, but the damage done to the bone in your jaw cannot be undone, which makes early detection of gum disease critical.
How can I prevent gum disease?
Aside from visiting our Fredericksburg, VA dental office periodically for exams and cleanings, you can take the following precautions to say a step ahead of gum disease.
- Brush twice a day with a fluoride toothpaste
- Floss or use an interdental cleaner to get between teeth
- Ask us about germ-fighting mouth rinses
- Follow a healthy diet and cut back on sweets
- Visit us twice a year or as recommended
When should I bring my child to the dentist?
We agree with the recommendation of the American Dental Association that children should see the dentist within six months after the first tooth appears but no later than age one. Visiting a dental office can be overwhelming for a very young child, so we want to give them all the time they need to get comfortable with us.
Also, monitoring your child’s dental development starts when the first baby teeth arrive. If a baby tooth is lost too soon because of decay or infection, surrounding teeth begin to shift, resulting in crowding and alignment problems when the permanent tooth finally arrives.
Will my child need fluoride treatments or sealants?
As your child develops, we may determine that supplemental fluoride or dental sealants would be beneficial for protecting their oral health. Dr. Elnahass will examine your child’s teeth to see if he recommends a fluoride varnish or sealants to further strengthen and protect your child’s teeth.
We recommend dental sealant to protect teeth like molars that have deep pits and grooves that trap bacteria and cause cavities. A tooth sealant is a thin coating of plastic that is applied to these chewing surfaces and hardened with a curing light.
At Blue Bird Dentistry, we most often recommend sealants on permanent teeth, but if your child is prone to cavities, we may recommend putting them on baby teeth to protect them until permanent teeth are ready to emerge.