What You Need to Know About TMJ Disorder

May 3rd, 2019

Across America there are millions that are suffering from chronic facial and neck pain, in addition to headaches. What most of them don’t know is that it could be caused by Temporomandibular Disorder, or TMD.

What is the Temporomandibular Joint?

The Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) is what connects the lower jawbone (mandible) to the skull, and is constantly in use throughout the day. It is unique to other joints in the body because it has a hinge and sliding motion, and the tissues attached also differ from other joints in the body. These features, with the high degree of movement, make the TMJ very complex and hard to repair for doctors when something goes wrong with it.

Dealing with TMJ Discomfort

Many people have discomfort in various joints of their body, so when they feel it in their jaw, they don’t think much of it and just try to live with it, either ignoring or managing with NSAIDs or other medicines. Sometimes the discomfort comes in cycles or just goes away after short periods of time. If the discomfort is constant, or grows into a significant long-term issue though, a dentist or orthodontist should be consulted in case it is TMD.

If you are suffering from possible symptoms of TMD, you may be wondering what you can do about it, how to properly diagnose it, and how to treat the disorder. TMD is a relatively new disorder, so there are still a lot of questions needing to be answered by researchers, but one key thing is that you should avoid any procedures that can cause permanent changes in your bite or jaw, as they could make things worse.

Causes of TMJ Disorder

The cause of TMD is still being heavily researched, it can sometimes be caused by trauma to the jaw, but there are just so many possibilities and scientists haven’t been able to narrow down the general cause. The condition is statistically more prevalent in women compared to men. Most often TMD starts without any obvious reason; research disputes the cause being related to bad bite, orthodontic braces, or jaw noises.

TMJ Disorder Symptoms

The symptoms of TMD can include:

● Jaw muscle stiffness,

● Jaw movement limitations, or locking

● Painful clicking, or other noises in the jaw joint when opening or closing the mouth,

● Change in jaw alignment

● Radiating pain in the face, jaw or neck.

TMJ Disorder Diagnosis

There is no current TMD standard test, so health care providers will take note of all symptoms, including dental and medical history, or do imaging studies to determine whether or not you could have TMD. Often ruling out other symptoms will help narrow the diagnosis down to TMD.

TMJ Disorder Treatment

There is no widely accepted safe or effective treatment of TMD at the moment. If you do have TMD, make sure that any treatments that are attempted are non-permanent, as permanent surgeries could cause long-term disability. There are many things you can do at home to reduce the effects of TMD, such as: eating soft food, using ice packs, minimize extreme jaw movements, relaxation techniques, and jaw exercises. If the pain is an issue, you can use over-the-counter NSAIDS such as ibuprofen to manage the pain, and if it gets to be too much you can request stronger medication from your healthcare provider. Stabilization splints may be recommended but they should only be used for short lengths of time to avoid permanent changes in your bite.

Are You Suffering from the Possible Signs of TMD?

If you are dealing with jaw pain and headaches or other symptoms of TMD, book an appointment with McLean Healthy Smiles today to get checked out.

The Importance of Dental Mouthguards for Athletes

March 26th, 2019

Your smile is often the first thing a person will notice about you. It can also say a lot about you, which is why it is important to keep your mouth and teeth safe during riskier activities. And there is perhaps no riskier activity than sports, which is why many people choose to use a mouthguard while playing. Regardless of the activity, a mouthguard is incredibly important for athletes, and many local sports enthusiasts choose to purchase a dental mouthguard in McLean, VA.

If you are an athlete, or the parent of an athlete, considering a dental mouthguard in McLean, VA, here are a few reasons why you may need one.

1. They Can Protect Against Injury

The most obvious and common reason for someone to buy and use a dental mouthguard in McLean, VA is to prevent injury. While our teeth may seem pretty durable, many of the sports we play can knock them loose, make them fall out completely or damage our mouths and jaw in other ways. Giving your mouth some extra protection can be the difference between staying on the field and heading out for emergency dental work.

Luckily, there are plenty of options for anyone looking for a dental mouthguard in McLean, VA, including custom fitted mouthguards. These products can help keep your mouth safe during many activities, but especially in contact sports like football or hockey.

2. They Can Help in the Healing Process

When someone’s jaw or teeth are damaged in an accident, especially a sporting accident, the recovery can be long and delicate. Getting back out on the field, however, usually comes much sooner. That is why many athletes choose to use a mouthguard to help with the healing process. When you have a dental mouthguard in McLean, VA, you can make sure that your mouth is protected from injury while it heals, and get back to playing much sooner.

3. They Can Protect Braces

Every parent knows that dental work and orthodontics for children are expensive. Even something as simple as an emergency repair for braces can be a big expense, which is why many people choose to buy their child a dental mouthguard in McLean, VA. The right dental mouthguard can actually fit over a child’s braces and help keep them safe while they are playing. These mouthguards can help adults with braces, too, with specialized designs that fit over the braces and protect them from potential impacts. When it comes to braces, the best choice is preventative action: have a mouthguard so you won’t have to pay more for repairs.

At McLean Healthy Smiles, we offer a wide range of dental services that can give you a great smile and protect your mouth and teeth from injury, especially if you love to play sports. These activities can come with extra risk, which is why it is important. If you are looking for a dental mouthguard in McLean, VA, come to McLean Healthy Smiles to learn more about how they can help you or a family member stay safe and keep their fantastic smile.

Periodontal Disease

March 25th, 2019

Have you ever wondered why your dentist is always adamant about you doing more than just brushing when it comes to your dental hygiene? Nearly a majority of adult Americans have some form of periodontal disease. The early stage of periodontal disease is most commonly called gingivitis, and it is characterized by the swelling of the gum line, and bleeding when irritated. The later stage is called periodontitis, and causes the gum line to pull away from the teeth, eventually causing bone or tooth loss. With a proper dental care regime, the more severe effects of periodontal disease can be stopped.

Causes of Periodontal Disease

The core cause of periodontal disease is bacteria building up in the mouth and infecting the tissue surrounding the teeth. As the bacteria build up, they start to inflame the gums, but also they start to deposit plaque on teeth, which is a thin film. As plaque hardens, it becomes tartar (or calculus), which can spread below the gum line, becoming harder to clean off. Once tartar has taken hold, only a dental health professional is going to be able to remove it properly.


There are many symptoms when it comes to periodontal disease, including the following:

● Bad breath that doesn’t go away

● Red or swollen gums

● Bleeding or tender gum

● Painful chewing

● Sensitive teeth

● Loose teeth

● Receding gum line, making teeth appear longer

● Teeth no longer aligning properly

Partial dentures no longer fitting properly

Who is Most at Risk for Periodontal Disease?

Periodontal disease generally doesn’t appear in most adults until they are in their 30’s or 40’s. Younger teenagers may have the start of gingivitis though, so should be taught to keep up a good dental hygiene regime to stop any further progress of the disease. There are several activities, body changes or other things that can cause an increased risk of periodontal disease, such as the following:

● Smoking

● Hormonal changes

● Diabetes

● Poor oral hygiene

● Crooked teeth

● Stress

● Heredity

● Immunodeficiencies (such as AIDS)

● Medications

● Malfunctioning dental procedures (bridges, fillings, etc.)

Treating Periodontal Disease

The best treatment for periodontal disease is preventative. Preventing the buildup of bacteria can completely stop the progress of periodontal disease before it becomes more serious and damaging. Cleaning your teeth twice a day with a Fluoride toothpaste, as well as flossing and yearly visits to the dentist for a checkup and deep dental cleaning.

For more severe cases of periodontitis, you’ll be referred to a periodontist for diagnosis and treatment of your periodontal disease. They will decide the best way to go forward with treatment for your case, but good daily hygiene will be key to complete treatment. Deep cleaning, called scaling and root planing is often performed to remove any tartar from the teeth above and below the gum line, then removing rough spots on the tooth root where bacteria can latch on and build up. Medications can also be used in the treatment, but surgery may be the only option to completely combat the disease. Flap surgery may be needed to clean deep pocket tartar and suture the gums back into the place. Further surgery may include bone and tissue grafts to help regenerate lost bone or gum tissue.

Prevention is the Best Medicine

When it comes to dealing with periodontal disease, prevention is always best, so contact McLean Healthy Smiles today to book a dental appointment.

Things You Should Look for in a Dentist

March 23rd, 2019

If you have recently moved, whether it is to a new city or country, it’s important that you find a new dentist. However, if you fall under the estimated seventy five percent of adults in the United States who are scared of the dentist, this isn’t an easy task. Our oral health plays a critical component towards our overall physical and mental wellbeing, so it’s no wonder that the thought of someone probing around our mouth with sharp tools makes us a little, or extremely nervous. But ignoring the dentist can lead to chronic diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and strokes. We’re here to help calm your anxiety and guide you through the process of finding your next dentist in McLean, with these four helpful tips!

1. Customer Service Matters

Regardless of whether or not the thought of going to the dentist in McLean fills your heart with dread, it probably isn’t high up on your list of favorite activities. While the treatment portion of your trip might not be pleasant, a root canal will never be fun, that doesn’t mean the staff can’t be nice. The customer service you receive when booking and waiting for an appointment has a big impact on whether or not a particular dentist is right for you. Choose an office that offers a streamlined process for booking appointments with friendly and responsive staff. Don’t be afraid to interview a potential dentist to learn more about them and their practice.

2. Do They Offer Emergency Services?

Accidents happen and that includes dental emergencies. Choosing a dentist in McLean that offers emergency services is important, especially if you have children and/or seniors in your care. Having access to extended hour clinics outside of regular office hours ensures dental emergencies can be resolved quickly. Want to avoid serious health ailments and large expenses? Don’t let a dental accident turn into a long-standing oral health problem.

3. You Should Feel Comfortable and Safe

One of the best ways to judge any service in today’s modern world is by reading customer reviews and asking your personal network for recommendations. No one knows a dentist in McLean better than their patients, so why not go directly to the source when you are searching for your perfect match? A dentist should make you feel comfortable and safe while also educating you on the treatment and your oral health. If a particular dentist office has an air of hostility, rudeness, or unprofessionalism, you can be certain that people will be talking about it!

4. Is Everything Clean and Up to Date?

Just like we expect hospitals and doctor’s offices to be clean and modern, the same goes for our dentist’s office. If the waiting area is clean and bright with a fresh stock of magazines and toys, chances are the same can be said for the equipment and service. Over the last century, dentistry has seen quite an advancement in regard to technology and services. A good dentist in McLean will want to stay up to date with the latest practices and gadgets. They will also invest in continuing education so they can expand their knowledge as research uncovers more and more about our oral health.

Myths and Facts of Dental Implants

March 22nd, 2019

While dental implants in Mclean are not a new procedure, their popularity has increased in recent years. Perhaps it has to do with the rise of social media, but regardless, dental implants are a great way to restore your oral health while also improving your natural smile. But what exactly is a dental implant? It’s a post made of medical-grade titanium that basically functions as a root for your new tooth. The crown, which is the part of the tooth you can see, sits on top of the post. This component is usually made of porcelain, which is strong enough to withstand biting into an apple or an ear of corn. For extra strength, the post and the crown are held together by the abutment. There are a lot of myths surrounding dental implants which can hold potential patients backs, but we’re putting an end to them once and for all!

1. Surgery is invasive and painful

The most common myth about dental implants in Mclean is that the surgical procedure is invasive and painful. While having dental implants put in is not a comfortable experience, modern technology has drastically minimized the overall pain level. On average, the procedure for dental implants takes about an hour and patients can be placed under local anesthesia and nitrous oxide sedation.

2. Recovery takes too long

While patients fully recover in a few days from the surgical component of dental implants, the titanium post does require time to bond with the surrounding jaw and gum. Depending on the patient, this can take between 3 to 6 months, but this is not unreasonably long considering how little your day-to-day life is affected. There is typically no discomfort felt during this period.

3. Caring for implants is a hassle

Contrary to popular belief, dental implants in Mclean do not require much upkeep. Just like your other teeth, they need to be brushed and flossed twice a day. But, unlike the rest of your teeth, you don’t have to worry about cavities or tooth decay! Honestly, it doesn’t get easier than that.

4. Implants are not worth the price

Dental implants do have a higher initial cost than other dental procedures, but that’s because they last much longer. While bridges, another popular way to replace missing teeth, have a lower cost than dental implants, they only last between 7 to 15 years. Which means, you’ll have to spend more money eventually. Dental implants in Mclean do not have to be replaced as often, and depending on your dental benefits, might not be as expensive as expected.

5. Dental implants look fake

The crown portion of dental implants are completely customizable. From color to shape, you can work with your dentist to match your dental implants in Mclean to the rest of your teeth. The end result is implants that look like the rest of your real teeth! People who knew what your smile previously looked like will be able to see a difference, but strangers won’t be able to notice unless you tell them.

A Pediatric Dentist Can Treat Complex Oral Health Problems

March 21st, 2019

What’s more precious than a child’s smile? Especially when that smile is healthy. Oral hygiene is one of the most important factors regarding a young child’s overall health, because a clean and clear oral cavity prevents several germs from entering the body. Because children’s teeth are more sensitive than adults, they require more frequent visits to a pediatric dentist. Not only can a pediatric dentist help with plaque and tartar control, but they can also treat complex oral health problems such as:

1. Tooth Rot

Tooth rot refers to a permanently damaged area on the surface of your child’s tooth, and occurs when a cavity goes untreated. Signs of a rotten tooth include toothache, sensitivity, discolored spots on the tooth, bad breath, and more. The only way to treat severe tooth decay is by completely removing the tooth from your child’s mouth. Prior to the treatment, the dental team will desensitize the part of the mouth that is going to be worked on, and give your child a sedative drug so they do not feel any pain. The decayed parts of the tooth are removed using a dental drill or bore, and a dental filling or crown is used to fill in the holes. If the rot continues to advance than a root canal is required.

2. Extractions

Another option for treating a contaminated or infected tooth is by removing it completely. This option is completely dependent on how severe the tooth has rotted and the soundness of the roots. Often, a pediatric dentist will only recommend this option for three reasons: if the tooth is decayed so badly that a root canal cannot save it, if the tooth is crowding the mouth, or if it is fractured beyond repair. The procedure can be a simple as numbing the area with local anesthetic and gently extracting the tooth; however, if the tooth is impacted it requires a more-complex operation in which the surrounding gum tissue must be removed as well.

3. Dental Holdings

If your child has split, broken, or chipped their tooth, rinse your child’s mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. If possible, locate and save the tooth fragment as it can be reapplied. Then, take your child to their pediatric dentist as quickly as possible to prevent infection and further injury from occurring. If the tooth has a jagged edge, it can cause a great deal of irritation and even cut your child’s mouth or tongue. The dentist will smooth the edge and fill in the part that chipped off. Dental holdings can be applied and solidified decently fast within in one visit. If your child’s tooth is completely knocked out, it can be re-implanted if done very quickly. To ensure the broken tooth stays together, the dentist may need to put a crown over it, which is also a cost-effective method.

Regular visits to the pediatric dentist can help your child avoid dental emergencies, but there are also a few ways you can prevent them from happening on a daily basis. Child-proofing your house prevents children from falling as well as making them wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports. We also recommend not allowing your child to chew on hard foods, like ice, popcorn kernels, or objects.

Tips for Choosing the Best Dentist

March 20th, 2019

If you haven’t seen a dentist for a while, then it’s probably time. Bleeding gums, toothache, yellowing and staining are just a few of the signs that you and your dentist need to connect. If one of the reasons that you have been putting it off is because you haven’t found the right dentist, then here are some tips to help you choose the best dentist in McLean, VA. It’s easier than you think.

Ask for recommendations

The most obvious tip is to talk to your friends to find out what they looked for when they chose their dentist, and which dentist they would recommend today. Now that you are looking, you want the best dentist in McLean, VA because you want a dentist who will be with you and your family for a long time. If your friends recommend a dentist, find out why they like that dentist and if they are happy with their care. Once you have a few recommendations then visit several dentists, in person and on their websites to see how they make you feel.

Look for one who is accessible

Choose a dentist who is accessible to you in terms of distance and availability. People often put off making that appointment despite knowing how important it is to maintain good oral health, so make it easier by choosing a dentist who is easy to get an appointment with. The commute shouldn’t be difficult, nor should the appointment scheduling be.

Check out the office

Once you have found a dentist you think you will like, look at the office. Is it clean and orderly and are the staff friendly and welcoming? They should not have to hunt for your records beforehand and should place them safely at the end of your visit.

Can you afford them?

One of the biggest concerns should be about costs, billings and insurance. Will your insurance cover all or just part of the visit? Before you start looking for the best dentist in McLean, VA talk to your insurance company to find out what is and is not covered by them. Don’t assume that because you have dental coverage that it is complete coverage. Another consideration should be how the dentist’s office handles the billing. The office should be upfront in explaining the costs and how they will be handled.

A focus on prevention

Finally, in your initial visit to the dentist, did you feel that they cared about your teeth? The best dentist in McLean, VA will do more than fix problems that have already occurred. A good dentist believes in the importance of tooth and gum care and will remind you of the importance of flossing daily, and of regular brushing at least twice per day. Preventing problems is much better than fixing them later since small problems with your teeth and gums can become much bigger problems. Choose a dentist who takes the time to explain why oral health is important to your overall health and will work with you so that you remain healthy. The best dentist in McLean, VA cares about your smile.

Say Goodbye to Dental Anxiety with Nitrous Oxide Sedation

January 24th, 2019

If you avoid going to the dentist, it’s probably because you suffer from anxiety. Let’s face it, no one likes going to the dentist. With the drills, lights and huge needles it makes sense you’re a little concerned. As well, sitting with your mouth open for a long time doesn’t make the situation any better. Therefore, today we want to share with you a way you can avoid anxiety when you get dental work with nitrous oxide sedation in McLean VA.

If you suffer from anxiety when you go to the dentist, nitrous oxide sedation in McLean VA might be a blessing. Sedation in dentistry is becoming an immensely popular way to put dental patients at ease. In fact, nitrous oxide has been used in dentistry since the 19th century.

If you don’t know a lot about oxide sedation in McLean VA or if you have no idea if it’s right for you, we’ll look at details of this type of sedation. We’re hoping this will help answer your questions, so you can make an informed decision about whether this dentistry sedation will help you.

Details About Nitrous Oxide Sedation in McLean VA

There are various levels of sedation. For example, with minimal sedation you’re awake, but you feel relaxed. It you’ve never heard of nitrous oxide sedation more than likely you’ve heard of laughing gas; and they are the same thing. Other sedation options are oral sedation, which puts you in a dream like state (you might even fall asleep); and anesthesia which puts you to sleep.

How Nitrous Oxide Sedation is Administered

When you go to the dentist and nitrous oxide sedation in McLean VA is used, a mask similar to an oxygen mask is placed over your nose. The nitrous oxide is then pumped through the mask into your nose and almost instantly you’ll feel relaxed.

Once the mask is removed the nitrous leaves your system immediately. Thus, there are no side effects when you have nitrous oxide sedation in McLean VA.

Other Uses of Nitrous Oxide Sedation in McLean VA

Along with relieving anxiety about going to the dentist it has other purposes for patients such as:

• Going through several treatments at the same time.

• Sensitive gag reflex.

• Trouble sitting in a dentistry chair for an entire treatment such as dental cleaning.

• Young children who are unable to sit still.

Safety of Nitrous Oxide Sedation

When you get nitrous oxide sedation in McLean VA you have nothing to worry about. Your dentist will watch you during your treatment. He or she will be with you the entire time. Your dental office will also research your medical and dental history before offering you this kind of sedation.
As you can see nitrous oxide sedation in McLean VA is a safe, painless, and can even take away all your concerns about going to the dentist. Dental health is just as important as your physical and mental health, so you should never neglect your teeth and smile.

If you want to say goodbye to dental anxiety with nitrous oxide sedation in McLean VA we can help. At McLean Healthy Smiles we care about your comfort as much as we care about your smile. To find out more or to book an appointment you can visit our website.

Essential Questions to Ask the Dentist

January 23rd, 2019

When you have chosen a new dentist in McLean, your first visit can be very daunting. To put your mind at ease, the following are essential questions to ask your dentist to ensure you get the best out of your visit.

Does the Dentist Keep Up With Advancing Technology, Procedures and Techniques?

As with every profession, you need to ensure that your dentist in McLean is keeping up with the times. As time goes on, the equipment available to dentists becomes more advanced, from the tools to the materials they use. You’ll want to ask about the filling materials they use, teeth whitening products, what they use for tooth replacements, and other cosmetic dentistry options. Also ask if they do any sort of continuing education to keep up with new techniques, and what training and education the staff is provided with.

What Kind of Sterilization Standards Do They Strive For?

If you are visiting your dentist in McLean, you want to make sure that everything is as clean as possible in the dental office you are visiting, as people are coming and going all day, with equipment being constantly used. You can ask for a tour of their facility, ensuring they have proper sterilization stations with a chemiclave or autoclave; proper labeling for clean and dirty equipment, and proper packaging to keep sterile tools clean.

Patient Specific Treatment Plans

When you are making appointments with your dentist in McLean, you want to make sure that the treatment you are getting is tailored to your needs. The ideal dentist for you will create treatment plans specific to the issues you are having, and not being dictated to the dentist by the insurance companies to ensure you get all you actually need, to fix any dental problems.

Health Status

After your appointment with your dentist in McLean, a good essential question to ask is if there is anything related to your general health status that you need to know. You’ll want to know if they have noticed anything about your oral health that you should inform your general practitioner of. Sometimes issues in one part of the body could be caused by a body-wide issue that your doctor should be treating, so keeping your family doctor up-to-date with your oral health status is important.

Prevention Techniques

You are going to the dentist in McLean because you are interested in keeping your teeth in the best condition they can be, so an essential question you should be asking your dentist is recommended prevention techniques that will make your next visits easier on you. You should ask about brushing techniques, recommended products to you, foods or drinks to avoid, etc.

Treatment Costs

Costs are often a huge concern when it comes to oral health, so an essential question to ask your dentist in McLean is the costs of the services they have available, and what your treatment plan is going to cost. As well, it’s good to know what will be covered by your insurance, and what you will have to pay out of pocket for. Another good question will be if you need to pay out of pocket, what kind of payment options are available?

If you are looking for a dentist in McLean, then contact McLean Healthy Smiles dental office to set up a complimentary consultations so you can ask your essential questions.