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Memorial Day: Parades, remembrance, and the unofficial start of summer!

May 24th, 2017

“The purpose of all war is peace.” - Saint Augustine

Fire truck sirens, baton twirlers, marching bands covering patriotic tunes, colorful floats, costumes, and millions of red, white, and blue American flags being waved in the air on a beautiful day in late May, that is what Memorial Day is all about. It is a federal holiday celebrated with town parades, remembrance, and a sense of unity and community togetherness.

Our team at Stonewall Dental Associates wants to take this time to wish you and your family a happy Memorial Day, as well as pause for a moment to reflect on what this holiday means and how it has changed over time. No, this is not a history lesson, but just a couple of thoughts and observances for you to take with you on your way to the next barbecue.

On the last Monday in May, America observes Memorial Day as a time to remember and celebrate the men and women who have lost their lives while serving our country in the Armed Forces. The holiday originated after the Civil War; at that time it was known as Decoration Day. While holidays like Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter remain the same from year to year, Memorial Day has changed over time, and in the 21st century we observe a far different holiday than what Americans did after the Civil War, or even the World Wars.

While many people place flags at cemeteries and visit national memorials in order to honor those who have passed away serving the country, Memorial Day is also a time for family barbecues, pool parties, trips to the beach, blockbuster movies, long weekend getaways, and fireworks. In America, Memorial Day has come to represent the unofficial start of the summer – a long, sunny, warm weekend devoted to family togetherness, outdoor events, and community.

It is time to load up the potato salad and the apple pie and head over to the neighbor’s house for their annual barbecue. And yes, contrary to popular belief, we do eat sweets, especially homemade apple pie! Everything in moderation, of course.

So whether you’re in the Manassas area or beyond, Happy Memorial Day to you and yours from Drs. Granato and Crandall!

Pediatric Dental Emergency Know-How

May 17th, 2017

First aid training is a must when you are a parent. You can put on a bandage with your eyes closed. Perhaps even apply butterfly tape to avoid stitches. What about a dental injury? Do you have a checklist in mind on what to do when a tooth is knocked out, broken, or displaced from impact? All of these situations happen often and should be in a parent’s emergency training regiment. Luckily Drs. Granato and Crandall and our team are here to be a resource for such an incident!

Children’s most common dental injury is chipping a front tooth. It is so common that it seems like a right of passage. Say, for example, a two year old trips and hits her front teeth on the tile floor. First, check to see if the teeth have been broken to the nerve. You can tell if you see layers and a pinkish center. Then, wiggle each tooth and make sure it is not loose. If the teeth feel firmly in place, that is a good sign. Even if they are a little loose, the teeth will tighten again with time. If she develops a severe temperature or bite sensitivity then you know treatment is needed, which may include a root canal. If there are minor symptoms that diminish with time, continued observation will be fine.

Knocking out a tooth is also common and requires more attention than observation alone. As soon as possible, locate the tooth, touch only the crown (not the root), and rinse any debris gently with milk or water. Place it back into the tooth socket as soon as possible. The American Association of Endodontists states a tooth has a high chance of survival and retention for life if it is re-implanted within five minutes or up to 60 minutes if soaking in milk or saline solution. Our team at Stonewall Dental Associates know many parents are nervous about the thought of doing this alone, but not to worry, our team is here to help!

Here’s another dental emergency example: Your child takes an elbow to the mouth during a basketball game and severely displaces a tooth but does not knock it out. What to do? First, apply light pressure in an attempt to move it back into place. Be extremely careful not to use excessive force. Place a cold pack for swelling and contact our office as soon as possible.

A dental emergency can be frightening. It is often messy and painful. The best initial reaction is to remain calm, and remember that we are here to help! Contact us at our Manassas office if your child encounters a dental emergency.

Stonewall Dental Associates Treats Gum Disease

May 10th, 2017

We all know that regular brushing and flossing helps rid your mouth of the plaque that builds up on your teeth. Our mouths are full of bacteria that can come from the food we eat. If this plaque isn’t removed with thorough brushing and flossing every day, it can harden into tartar over time. Tartar can only be effectively removed by your dentist, and if neglected will turn into more serious gum diseases like gingivitis and periodontitis.

Causes

The most common cause of gum disease is a lack of good oral hygiene. This may include neglecting brushing, flossing, and routine visits to the dentist to remove the buildup of tartar. When your teeth aren’t cleaned for extended periods of time, it can cause inflammation of the gums, otherwise known as gingivitis. Further progression of the disease causes destructive bone loss and loosening of the teeth, called periodontitis, which puts you at risk for potential tooth loss.

Signs and Symptoms

The first signs of gingivitis may appear as irritated gum tissues that are red and bleed easily. However, gingivitis can progress to loss of connective tissue that hold the gums tightly to the teeth. When the supporting bone around the teeth is destroyed, pockets around the teeth fill with debris. That’s when gingivitis turns into periodontitis. With periodontitis, the gums pull away and form bacteria-filled pockets. If left untreated, the teeth will eventually become loose and may need to be removed.

Risk factors

  • Smoking
  • Hormone changes
  • Diabetes
  • Illness
  • Medication
  • Genetics

Prevention

The main goal in the treatment of gum disease is to prevent the spread of the infection. Gum disease can be prevented with good oral hygiene and regular dental exams with professional cleanings. Other preventative measures can include daily brushing and flossing after meals, proper nutrition, and maintaining an active and healthy lifestyle.

Treatment

Treatment of gum disease in our office is first approached as a non-surgical therapy. Patients are seen by our hygienist, who will instruct them on the proper techniques of home care brushing and flossing. The hygienist will remove any debris in the pockets of gums and the root surface so that the gums can reattach to them. Each tooth is treated individually and re-evaluated periodically in circumferential points around every tooth. Oftentimes, if a pocket of disease doesn't respond, antibiotics can be applied directly in the pockets to help healing. If non-surgical therapies do not work, we refer patients to a local board-certified periodontist who can help our patients with a more advanced treatment.

Alleviating Anxiety before Your Implant Procedure

May 10th, 2017

Does the thought of getting a dental implant put knots in your stomach? There are many people who don't enjoy getting dental work done and there is a myriad of reasons why. For whatever reason you aren't at your best when you arrive at our Manassas office, we'd like to offer some tips that can help put you at ease for your implant procedure.

Sedation

For lengthy visits like an implant procedure, sedation dentistry may be an option for you. With sedation dentistry you are given sedation medication, usually orally with a pill or intravenously, which allows you to drift through the entire procedure without any memory of it afterward. If you decide on oral sedation, typically you take the medication about an hour before your procedure starts.

To avoid any complications, a complete medical background check is made along with a record of any allergies before any sedation is administered. Your vital signs are also monitored throughout the entire procedure.

If you decide sedation is not the right option for you, there are other techniques that you can benefit from. Some of these include:

  • Communication: This may seem obvious, but communicating any fears or anxiety you may have about your procedure with us is extremely helpful. Not only does this build a relationship of trust but it allows us to try and alleviate your anxiety as much as we can.
  • Herbal teas: Drink some herbal tea (like chamomile or lemon balm) before you visit the office. Many patients find this is a great help in relieving anxiety and putting them sufficiently at ease.
  • Relaxing music: Bring a pair of headphones along and listen to your favorite music during treatment (preferably something low-key). Or why not catch up on your reading when you visit us — some patients like to listen to audiobooks too!
  • Meditate or practice deep breathing: Meditation and deep breathing are good to practice in general, since they relax both the body and mind. They can be effective in the case of anxiety, too!
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