My Blog

Posts for: December, 2015

By Charles L. Sours, Jr. D.D.S.
December 23, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal  

If there was an “Unsung Hero” award for dental procedures, the root canal treatment would win hands-down. Much aligned in popular culture, today’s root canal treatment is actually a valuable tool for saving teeth that would otherwise be lost. And contrary to popular belief, root canal treatments don’t cause pain — they relieve it.

To help you understand its true worth, here are some common questions and answers about the root canal treatment.

What problem does a root canal treatment fix?
A root canal treatment stops a bacterial infection that has invaded the innermost part of a tooth — the pulp — and is advancing toward the end of the root through small passageways known as root canals. Most people first notice the problem as a sharp pain in the affected tooth that may suddenly dissipate in a few days. The infection has attacked the inner pulp tissue, rich in nerve fibers; when the nerve fibers die they stop sending pain signals. The infection, however, hasn’t died: as it advances, you may then begin to experience pain when you bite down or when you encounter hot foods. You may also notice tenderness and swelling in nearby gums.

How does the procedure stop the infection?
A root canal treatment removes all the infected or dead tissue and cleanses the pulp chamber. We enter the pulp chamber through a small access hole created in the tooth’s biting surface. After tissue removal, we then “shape” and prepare the empty chamber and root canals (often with the aid of microscopic equipment) to be filled with a special filling. After filling, the tooth is then sealed to prevent re-infection (most often, we need to install a permanent crown at a subsequent visit for maximum protection).

How much pain can I expect during and after the procedure?
During the procedure, none — the tooth and surrounding gums are fully anesthetized before we begin the procedure. Afterward, you may experience mild discomfort for a few days that can be relieved with over-the-counter medications like aspirin or ibuprofen.

What’s the ultimate value for a root canal treatment?
The procedure can save a tooth severely damaged by the infection. Even covered by an artificial crown, a living tooth continuing to exist and function normally within the mouth is usually more conducive for optimum oral health than an artificial tooth replacement.

If you would like more information on root canal treatments, 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 “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment.”

By Charles L. Sours, Jr. D.D.S.
December 08, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

When the multi-platinum recording artist, songwriter and TV personality Jason Derulo was recently asked about his ideal woman, his answer covered a remarkably broad spectrum. "There’s no specific thing," he said, "so I think it’s unfair to say what my ‘type’ is." But it turns out that there is one thing the So You Think You Can Dance judge considers essential: A beautiful smile.

"I’m not into messy teeth," Derulo said. "If the grill has spaces and different colors, it’s not my vibe."

As it turns out, he may be on to something: A number of surveys have indicated that a bright, healthy smile is often the first thing people notice when meeting someone new. Yet many are reluctant to open up that big grin because they aren’t satisfied with the way their teeth look. If you’re one of them, consider this: Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of ways to improve your smile — and it may be easier and more affordable than you think.

For example, if your smile isn’t as bright as you would like it to be, teeth whitening is an effective and economical way to lighten it up. If you opt for in-office treatments, you can expect a lightening effect of up to 10 shades in a single one-hour treatment! Or, you can achieve the same effect in a week or two with a take-home kit we can custom-make for you. Either way, you’ll be safe and comfortable being treated under the supervision of a dental professional — and the results can be expected to last for up to two years, or perhaps more.

If your teeth have minor spacing irregularities, small chips or cracks, it may be possible to repair them in a single office visit via cosmetic bonding. In this process, a liquid composite resin is applied to the teeth and cured (hardened) with a special light. This high-tech material, which comes in colors to match your teeth, can be built up in layers and shaped with dental instruments to create a pleasing, natural effect.

If your smile needs more than just a touch-up, dental veneers may be the answer. These wafer-thin coverings, placed right on top of your natural teeth, can be made in a variety of shapes and colors — from a natural pearly luster to a brilliant "Hollywood white." Custom-made veneers typically involve the removal of a few millimeters of tooth enamel, making them a permanent — and irreversible — treatment. However, by making teeth look more even, closing up spaces and providing dazzling whiteness, veneers just might give you the smile you’ve always wanted.

If you would like more information about cosmetic dental treatments, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry — A Time for Change.”

By Charles L. Sours, Jr. D.D.S.
December 01, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  
Be prepared and know what to expect when you get dental veneers in Woodbridge.

Are you interested in getting dental veneers from your Woodbridge dentist Dr. Charles Sours? Then find out what goes into the actual veneersprocedure so you know exactly what you can expect from treatment.

Step 1: Discuss Your Smile Needs

Before you even get veneers you’ll need to come into our Woodbridge, VA dental office to determine whether veneers are the right treatment option for you. Besides examining your smile to check for signs of other issues like decay or gum disease that will need to be addressed first we will also talk to you about your smile goals. After all, we want to make sure that veneers can give you what you are looking for from cosmetic dentistry.

Step 2: Tooth Preparation

Once we’ve given you the green light for veneers the first real step in the process is preparing your teeth for your new restorations. This requires your cosmetic dentist in Woodbridge, VA to shave down some tooth enamel from the front and sides of the teeth using a dental drill. This will ensure that there is enough room for the veneer to be applied without the smiling looking fake and cumbersome.

While patients may shy away from any treatment that uses a drill, you’ll be relieved to hear that a very small amount of enamel is actually removed, that the process is painless and that anesthesia is rarely needed.

Once the teeth have been prepared we will take impressions of your smile to send to a lab.

Step 3: Choosing Your Shade

Next we will have you look through a shade guide with us to determine which color veneers you are looking to get. Remember, even though you’ll want to get ones that offer a more vibrant and whiter smile you’ll also want ones that are more realistic.

Step 4: Designing Your Restorations

The impressions that we took during your first visit will then be sent to a laboratory where they will create a replica of your teeth and then create veneer specifically for them. During the weeks that your veneers are being made we will fit you with temporary veneers, usually made from acrylic. While these veneers aren’t as durable as permanent ones, you will still be able to speak and chew comfortably.

Step 5: Applying Your New Veneers

Once your veneers have been sent back from the lab you’ll come in for a final visit so that we can remove your temporary veneers and place the real ones on. First we will paint special dental resin between the natural tooth and veneers, then using a special light beam we will harden the resin so that the veneers are permanently adhered to the front of your teeth.

If you are interested in getting veneers the next step is to schedule a consultation with us to find out if your smile is right for this cosmetic treatment. Book your next visit with us right now.