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Common Dental Problems and Solutions

Saturday, November 28th, 2015

Modern dentistry offers remedies for just about every oral health problem you might experience. Let’s talk about some of the most common problems and ways to improve the beauty and health of your smile.

Stained teeth
Stubborn stains from colored drinks and tobacco are hard to remove with brushing, so teeth whitening is a popular solution. It’s available in at-home kits or professionally in dental offices.

Chipped or gapped teeth
Minor cosmetic issues may be treated with dental bonding, which can hide imperfections quickly and painlessly.

Tooth decay
A dentist will remove decay and usually fill the cavity with a composite resin filling. Dental inlays or onlays are sometimes needed to reinforce the tooth.

Cracked or broken teeth
For a severely damaged tooth, a crown may be necessary to provide stability and save the tooth.

Missing teeth
Dental implants and bridges are solutions to missing teeth, and can save your mouth’s function and appearance.

Crooked teeth or misaligned bite
Cosmetic dentistry can repair minor issues, but significant problems may warrant orthodontic treatment. Invisalign® clear braces provide a modern alternative to traditional braces.

Bleeding gums
Swollen, bleeding gums are often the initial signs of gum disease. Treatment ranges from deep cleaning to surgery, depending on how advanced the disease is.

Jaw Pain
The joint where your jawbone and skull meet is called the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). Stress or misalignment can cause pain, and dentists provide treatment like appliances, orthodontics, or relaxation techniques.

Unattractive smile
If you’re unhappy with your smile, porcelain veneers may be placed over your teeth to mask many problems. Severe dental problems can call for full mouth reconstruction, which provides a complete overhaul of your smile and transforms it completely.



Why Your Family Dentist Would Advise You to Maintain Good Oral Health

Wednesday, October 28th, 2015

Your family dentist has all the right advice regarding good oral health. Maintaining or developing good oral hygiene habits is essential to lifelong dental and overall health. Your family dentist will tell you to brush twice a day (or following meals) and to floss at night, before bedtime. He or she will recommend that you come in twice a year for checkups and professional cleanings to detect problems early.

Serious overall health issues can stem from poor oral hygiene. Your family dentist knows that the mouth is a gateway to the body for large numbers of micro-organisms. These can lead to infections that affect your internal organs and can be present in the digestive tract and in the bloodstream.

Your family dentist can tell you about studies linking several systemic diseases to being caused by or exacerbated by oral infections. Diabetes can cause trouble healing, and diabetics who also have periodontitis may have problems with infection increasing on a daily basis. Infections of the inner layer of the heart, known as infective endocarditis, can affect heart valves and is caused by pathogenic bacteria and fungi reaching the heart through the bloodstream from oral infections. Another type of heart disease, subacute bacterial endocarditis, is also caused by bacteria that damage the heart.

Untreated infections in a tooth can lead to sepsis, or infection in the blood. In 2007 and 2012, patients died when untreated tooth infections led to infection spreading to the brain, causing swelling and death. Once infection reaches the bloodstream, it can go anywhere in the body, into organs, glands and tissues, leading to serious health issues.

Periodontal disease may lead to stroke or heart attack. In pregnant women, it can lead to low birth weight in babies. Impacted wisdom teeth (wisdom teeth that push against other teeth) that are left in place can create underactive thyroid. It can also weaken the bones in the jaw and face.

Health problems aren’t the only problems that stem from bad teeth. Problems with self-esteem and other psychological effects can be present. Do your mind and your body a favor and seek help from your Richmond family dentist today.

Reasons You Might Need Root Canal Treatment

Wednesday, October 21st, 2015

Good oral hygiene and routine dental checkups are the steps to avoiding problems like severe tooth decay or infected tooth pulp. These conditions can lead to needing a treatment called root canal therapy to clean out the interior of the tooth and save it from loss or future complications. However, even patients who diligently perform dental care can end up with root canal treatment. Here are some of the most common reasons behind this kind of procedure.

The main cause for root canal treatment is severe tooth decay. If decay worsens to the point that it accesses the pulp chamber of the tooth, tooth sensitivity will often make the patient aware of a problem. If the decay progresses further, an infection or abscess can develop. To avoid tooth extraction, root canal treatment is the best solution.

Tooth fracture
It is possible to break a tooth by chewing ice or other hard foods, or grinding or clenching the teeth. Even hairline fractures may allow bacteria to enter the tooth’s pulp and cause infections. Root canal therapy is needed to clean out the infection and save the tooth.

Deep cavity
Cavities that go deep into the tooth let bacteria creep in and multiply. Sometimes patients do not even feel pain, but a harmful problem exists. Small cavities that go undetected can develop into deep cavities that require extensive treatment.

Significant damage can result if a tooth sustains a forceful blow such as in a car accident, sports injury, or a fall. The nerve can sever and die, and root canal treatment is needed to save the tooth.

Dental work
Extensive or repetitive dental work on a tooth may cause the need for root canal therapy. A tooth can experience trauma from procedures like deep fillings or multiple treatments.

Some people inherit negative oral traits from parents like soft teeth that easily decay. If patients prone to tooth problems don’t carefully maintain them, decay can occur quickly and lead to root canal treatment.

If you need a root canal dentist in the Richmond VA area, schedule your consultation today.

Don’t Rely on Photo Retouching for That Perfect Smile, Get a Smile Makeover!

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015

Do you have a special occasion coming up? Will you have photos taken of you that you’ll want to enjoy for years to come? Occasions like weddings, anniversaries, graduations or milestone birthdays can all be remembered with photographs. In the past, photo retouching could ensure that you look your best. Less than perfect smiles are whitened, straightened and otherwise corrected photo by photo, a costly and time-consuming process. What if you could have the perfect smile in each photo? What if you could look your best each time, before any retouching? A smile makeover could be the perfect choice for you!

Photo retouching can correct the brightness of your teeth for a photograph, but with just a single visit to your cosmetic dentist, you can brighten your teeth and whiten your smile by levels that will be noticeable in your everyday life, everywhere you go. Teeth whitening is one of the most popular, risk-free and fast-acting therapies chosen by patients visiting cosmetic dentist today. Your cosmetic dentist can advise you as to the best method of whitening for you and your smile makeover needs.

Is your smile a little crooked? Don’t turn to retouching to correct the problem, have your teeth reshaped by a cosmetic dentist. Your smile can be made over with bonding, when a resin composite dental material is applied to the tooth’s surface and then sculpted into an attractive shape by your cosmetic dentist. If you are looking to correct several teeth, dental veneers may be the best choice for you. Veneers made of porcelain or resin composite can be made to look like natural teeth, giving you a “Hollywood smile” and a huge boost of self-confidence.

If you are looking ahead to a special occasion, talk to the Richmond Virginia cosmetic dentists at BRS Dentistry now about a smile makeover. With only one or two visits to the dentist’s office, you could have a smile that is camera-ready all the time!

Should You Choose Braces or Veneers?

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

A large majority of adults suffer from crooked or misaligned teeth. Also known as malocclusion, this problem can create stress on the teeth which can result in early wear, chips, cracks and periodontal disease. Left untreated, this pressure can also lead to jaw pain, receding gums, loose teeth and tooth loss. Because crooked teeth are difficult to clean properly, the result is often gum disease which eventually can travel to your bloodstream, affecting your general health. Crooked teeth also affect the aesthetics of your smile, and ultimately your self-confidence.

There are several options to correct or mask misaligned teeth, including braces and veneers. While both achieve similar results to your appearance, there are several differences that are important to consider when evaluating your treatment options:

  • Veneers can change the tooth’s shape, size, or color. Braces can correct your bite, the spacing of your teeth, or the tooth’s position.
  • A veneer is a thin layer of porcelain or composite material that covers the surface of the tooth, masking chips, stains, or gaps. Braces are an appliance that exerts pressure on the teeth to correct alignment and bite problems.
  • Veneers take ten days to create and require the removal of a small part of the tooth’s enamel. Braces can take anywhere from one to three years to complete treatment, and then require the regular use of a retainer to ensure the teeth stay in place.
  • Veneers will last ten to fifteen years before needing replacement. With the consistent use of a retainer, the results of orthodontia can last a lifetime.

In some cases, it may be appropriate to combine braces with veneers to achieve the look and function you desire. Orthodontia can correct the malocclusion, followed by veneers to cover chips, cracks or stains. Consult with Richmond cosmetic dentists at BRS Dentistry to determine if veneers, braces, or a combination of both, would be the best option to achieve your healthiest smile.

How to Select a Cosmetic Dentist

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Thanks to the current popularity of cosmetic dental procedures and treatments, many dentists are offering cosmetic dentistry options within their practices. However, just because a dental professional has undergone training in the procedures you are seeking, that does not mean they are the most skilled or qualified person for the job. When considering undergoing cosmetic dentistry treatments, it is vital to do your homework and identify a dentist with the best training and most extensive experience in the procedures you are seeking.

First and foremost, when researching a potential cosmetic dentist, you should find out if they hold an accreditation with the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentists. This designation means they have undergone extensive training and examination in cosmetic dentistry procedures. Several other guidelines to follow when choosing a cosmetic dentist include:

  • Ask to review before and after pictures of previous procedures they have performed on actual patients.
  • Find out how long they have been practicing cosmetic dentistry and how often they perform the actual procedures you are seeking.
  • Inquire about the equipment used in their practice. Are they utilizing the most modern and up-to-date technology available?
  • Find out what type of technology they provide to preview your potential treatment options.
  • Ask about the type of continuing education the dentist pursues in order to stay current on advancements in cosmetic dentistry.
  • Assess the comfort of the office, their options for sedation dentistry, the emergency procedures they have in place, and the professionalism and helpfulness of their staff.

With careful research and consideration of these guidelines, you should be able to successfully locate an experienced and qualified cosmetic dentist in Richmond VA to help achieve the improved smile you desire.

Who is Not a Good Teeth Whitening Candidate?

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Professional teeth whitening is an excellent option for improving your smile. However, there are some conditions and circumstances that may preclude you from being a good candidate for successful teeth whitening treatment. The following are some reasons your dental professional may recommend you forgo teeth whitening for another time or treatment option:

  • Because the nerve of the tooth is still enlarged and highly sensitive, teeth whitening is not recommended for patients under the age of 16.
  • Teeth bleaching is not recommended for women who are pregnant or nursing.
  • Patients who have sensitive teeth or gums, or are allergic to peroxide, should consult with their dentist before using any at-home bleaching products.
  • If you have gum disease, tooth decay, exposed roots, or worn enamel your dental professional may discourage you from undergoing any whitening treatments until those issues are addressed and corrected.
  • Patients with tooth-colored dental restorations such as crowns, fillings, or bridges should be aware that these will not whiten and could result in uneven whitening when compared to your natural teeth after whitening treatment.
  • Individuals with unrealistic expectations such as wanting neon-white teeth may be discouraged from pursuing whitening treatments. Teeth can potentially be whitened up to ten shades, but should only be slightly brighter than the whites of your eyes.
  • Smokers who do not intend to discontinue their habit will deter any long-term whitening results.

To find out if you are a good candidate for teeth whitening, either professional or at-home, it is best to schedule a consultation with your dentist. At this time your oral and general health, lifestyle, and expectations can be evaluated to determine it teeth whitening treatments would be a viable and potentially successful option for you to achieve a more perfect smile.

When Your Root Canal Treatment Fails

Monday, September 14th, 2015

Root canal treatments are extremely common and have a very high success rate; however, between five to fifteen percent of root canal therapies fail. Any successful root canal treatment is permanent; however, some complications aren’t immediately apparent after the procedure itself is completed. Any problem with the root canal that does not prevent bacteria from entering the tooth again is highly likely to result in a failed procedure.

Extra or hidden canal branches within the tooth can lead to root canal therapy failure. Because these canals can be very difficult to locate and reach with dental instruments alone, a dentist can treat one branch without finding or treating the other. This leads to the reoccurrence of bacteria and infection at the site.

Root fractures, tooth perforations or cracks, seals that aren’t tight, or tooth restorations that are incomplete or faulty can lead to failed root canal treatments. The area beneath the tooth must be sealed while it is bacteria-free, after a thorough cleaning, or the bacteria that are left (or that travel to the site from the outside) can reinfect the tooth and lead to treatment failure.

If you are wondering if your root canal treatment is successful, look for signs similar to those you observed when you were diagnosed and recommended for a root canal procedure. Pain, swelling or a pimple-like bulge on your gums that lasts beyond the normal period of healing can signal a hidden problem. Some signs of a problem take months to appear. If you think you are experiencing any symptoms of a failed root canal, contact your dentist immediately to have the tooth examined.

Some failed root canal procedures necessitate a second root canal, while some can lead to oral surgery or tooth extraction. Talk to your endodontist today to see what procedures might be necessary for your tooth needs.

Myths About Dental Bridges

Tuesday, September 8th, 2015

You might have heard several things about dental bridge therapy, but it might not all be true. Read on to see if what you think you know is a fact or a myth!

Myth: Dental bridges are the same thing as a dental crown. This isn’t true! A dental crown is placed on top of a tooth that has received a root canal treatment. A bridge is a completely false tooth that fills in the spaces in a patient’s mouth. Often a crown is used to help anchor the bridge to the adjoining teeth, but the bridge itself isn’t a crown, it’s a false tooth.

Myth: A dental bridge is just another word for dentures. Dental bridges are not dentures. Both utilize artificial teeth, but dentures are made to be removed daily, and must be cleaned and brushed outside of the mouth. Dental bridges remain fixed in the mouth and are cleaned just as you would your natural teeth.

Myth: Dental bridges are obvious and everyone will know I have one. This is completely untrue. The only people who will know you have a dental bridge are those you personally tell and those who worked on you in the dentist’s office. Bridges are extremely natural and will not affect your speech patterns.

Myth: Dental bridges break or fall out all the time. A quality bridge applied by a trained dental professional is made to last a lifetime. Patients who eat foods that aren’t recommended (very hard or chewy foods, for example) might discover that the bridge has become loose and is in need of tightening. Dental bridges rarely break.

Myth: Dental bridges are the same thing as dental implants. Implants and bridges are very different. They are only similar in that they are both treatments for missing or gapped teeth. Dental implants are screwed directly into the jawbone, while dental bridges sit on top of the gum tissue.

Talk to the Richmond VA dentists at BRS Dentistry today if you have any lingering questions about dental bridges. Don’t let misconceptions prevent you from moving forward with your dental care!

Preventative Therapies Provided by Your Family Dentist

Friday, August 28th, 2015

Preventative dental care is the best dental care, stopping small problems before they become larger ones. Your family dentist has all of the training and knowledge required to provide you the best preventative dentistry care available.

Preventative dentistry helps you keep your mouth healthy and your natural teeth in place, thereby allowing you to need fewer dental therapies. Tooth decay and gum disease are the two leading causes of tooth loss. Addressing these two issues with your family dentist before they become larger problems gives you a greater chance of keeping your natural teeth for life.

Your family dentist’s team will examine your teeth and gums and recommend any necessary treatment. The team will remove all tartar, plaque and debris from your teeth in a process sometimes called “scale and polish.” Any existing fillings will be checked for problems. Fluoride treatments can be used to help teeth resist decay. Biting surfaces of the teeth can be strengthened by the application of sealants, helping to prevent decay in hard-to-reach areas like natural pits and fissures.

Your family dentist will educate you about developing good dental hygiene habits. If you don’t already know how to brush and floss properly, now is the time to learn! Your dietary habits will be examined. Are you eating foods that are staining your teeth, or do you have habits such as chewing ice that can lead to small breaks and a weakening of the teeth? Are you getting the right nutrients your body needs to maintain good bone and mouth health?

When you see your family dentist for regular checkups and cleanings, you are taking important steps toward keeping a healthy mouth and avoiding future complications. If you’ve missed an appointment or two, now is the time to contact your family dentist to have the protection good preventative dentistry care can offer.

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Patient Testimonial

Dear Dr. Brown,
I wanted to thank you and your entire staff for my recent dental experience at your Patterson office. Everyone exceeded my expectations in making my dental visits comfortable, from scheduling to the finish of my procedure. I truly felt everyone cared about me as an individual and took special steps to

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