My Blog

Posts for: September, 2015

By Office of Charles L. Sour Jr., DDS
September 16, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Flossing  

Flossing Are you actually flossing as much as you need to keep your teeth and gums healthy?

How often do you floss your teeth? While you may be able to admit to yourself how often you truly floss, it seems that a lot of people have trouble being honest with their Woodbridge dentist, Dr. Charles L. Sour, about their oral care habits. In fact, a recent survey found that many patients are lying to their dentists about how often they floss. About 27 percent said they actually lie about flossing every day. So, where do you fall on the flossing spectrum? Find out the importance of flossing and why you should be giving daily flossing an honest try.

Does it matter when I floss?

You’ve probably heard dental experts tout the benefits of flossing before brushing while others may argue for brushing before flossing, but as long as you floss effectively that’s what really matters to your Woodbridge dentist. If you think that you’re more likely to floss if you do it in the morning before work rather than when you are ready to fall into bed, then do it at a time that works best for you.

This same survey found that about 14 percent found unpleasant habits like cleaning the toilet better than flossing each day! So whatever habits are going to make it easier for you to floss each day are probably the right ones.

Why is flossing so important?

While we all know the importance of brushing our teeth many of us don’t understand the benefits that flossing offers, making it harder to understand why we need to do it. Flossing and brushing offer a more effective clean than just brushing alone. Since your toothbrush can’t get into all those hard-to-reach spots between teeth, this is where floss comes in. Floss helps to remove food particles and plaque from between teeth so it doesn’t cause decay or gum disease.

Those who don’t floss are also more likely to develop gum disease, a condition that not only wreaks havoc on your smile but has also been linked to the development of serious systemic conditions like heart disease and diabetes. Protect your smile and your overall health, and start flossing today!

If you’re already a daily flosser we applaud you for your efforts. Just be aware that even those with the best at-home oral regime will still need to see their Woodbridge dentist every six months for cleanings and exams. We all miss spots when we brush, and it’s only through these cleanings that we can remove plaque, tartar and other debris to give you a truly clean smile. Call us today to schedule your biannual visit with us.

By Charles L. Sours, Jr. D.D.S.
September 16, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”

By Charles L. Sours, Jr. D.D.S.
September 01, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease   bleeding gums  

Did you ever brush your teeth and find that your gums were bleeding slightly? This unwelcome discovery is more common than you might think — and it might have something to tell you about your oral health. Here are five things you should know about bleeding gums.

  • As much as 90% of the population occasionally experiences bleeding gums. It happens most often while brushing — and it’s often a sign of trouble, indicating that your gums are inflamed and/or you aren’t brushing or flossing optimally.
  • Bleeding gums can be an early warning sign of gum disease. In its earliest stages, this malady is called gingivitis, and it’s quite common. About 10 to 15 percent of people with gingivitis go on to develop a more serious form of gum disease, called periodontitis. If left untreated, it can lead to gum recession, bone loss, and eventually tooth loss.
  • A professional exam is the best way to tell if you have gum disease. Your dentist or hygienist may use a small hand-held instrument called a periodontal probe to check the spaces between your teeth and gums. When gum tissue becomes detached from the teeth, and when it bleeds while being probed, gum disease is suspected.
  • Other symptoms can confirm the presence of gum disease. These include the presence of pus and the formation of deep “pockets” under the gums, where gum tissues have separated from teeth. The pockets may harbor harmful bacteria, and need to be treated before they cause more damage.
  • Several factors may influence the health of your gums. How effectively you brush and floss has a major impact on the health of your gums. But other factors are important too: For instance, women who are pregnant or taking birth control pills sometimes have bleeding gums due to higher hormone levels. Diabetics and people with compromised immune systems often tend to have worse problems with periodontal disease. Certain drugs, like aspirin and Coumadin, may cause increased bleeding; smoking, by contrast, can mask the presence of gum disease by restricting blood flow.

It’s never “normal” to have bleeding gums — so if you notice this problem, be sure to have an examination as soon as you can. If you have questions about bleeding gums or periodontal disease, contact us or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Assessing Risk For Gum Disease.”