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COVID-19 Updates

Patient safety is always our top priority at Fredericksburg Smile Center. Information regarding COVID-19 is changing daily and we are continually reassessing how our practice can best respond to these risks. 

To help you stay informed, patients can also access real-time information on COVID-19 from the Virginia Department of Health.

At this time, our practice is remaining open for emergency and critical dental care. If you need to schedule an emergency or critical care appointment or have general questions concerning your oral health, please contact us at 540-899-7791. To better serve all our patients, we now offer TeleDentistry video services available at this time. Please refer here.

TeleDentistry at Fredericksburg Smile Center

To help us connect and provide dental consultations for our patients from the safety of their own homes, we are happy to now provide TeleDentistry services. To learn more about these services and how to get started, please visit our TeleDentistry page.

Dental Implants Explained

If you are in need of replacement teeth and are looking for a safe way to get a healthy smile while also being able to confidently eat, laugh, and be active, you may want to consider dental implants

What Are Dental Implants

Dental implant surgery is a procedure that replaces tooth roots with metal, screw-like posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth that look and function much like real ones. Dental implants are those small screw-shaped artificial teeth roots that are able to integrate with your jaw bone so that they become a naturally strong base for crowns once they are inserted. 

In addition to the dental implant and crown, you will also have an abutment, which connects the crown to the dental implant. This helps ensure that dental implants and crowns continue to be the strongest option for replacement teeth. 

How Do Dental Implants Work

Those considering dental implants may wonder how they work. As mentioned above, dental implants are meant to help attach artificial teeth. To do so, the dental implants are surgically placed into one’s jaw bone so that they can support a crown and act as an artificial root.

Once the implant has been placed into the jaw bone and the gums have healed, a customized crown is placed onto the dental implant so that your tooth both looks and feels natural!

Why Dental Implants

People who choose to use dental implants do so because they want new teeth that look, function, and feel natural. Dental implants are also one of the sturdiest methods for supporting artificial teeth as the titanium in the implants fuse with one’s jaw bone, do not cause bone damage, and do not decay over time. In fact, they have been trusted and used by the dental industry for over 30 years now.

What Do Dental Implants Look Like

Dental implants consist of a screw-like cylinder that is made out of metal, such as titanium. However, since the dental implant acts as a root for crowns, the dental implant itself is not seen as the crown is what others will see. The crown looks like a real tooth, so no one will know the difference!

Types of Dental Implants

When patients choose to get dental implants, they are usually provided with four different dental implant type options. Those four are listed below.

  1. Endosteal/Endosseous Dental Implants
    This type of dental implants involves placing the implant into the jaw bone. It is often used as a substitute for dentures or a bridge.
  2. Subperiosteal Dental Implants
    A subperiosteal dental implant is also placed into the jaw bone, but the metal implant is left exposed to hold the restoration.

  3. Two-Stage Dental Implants
    This implant uses surgery to place the implant into the jaw bone and is left to heal for a time. Once healed, another minor surgery is required to expose the implant and attach the crown.

  4. Single-Stage Dental Implants
    This type of dental implant uses a lengthier implant so that the top stays exposed once placed into the jaw. Once healed, no surgery is then required to go back in and attach the crown.

Who Does Dental Implants

Dental implants are usually provided by dental health specialists, such as oral surgeons. If you are looking to get dental implants, it is worth checking around your local area for those who offer dental implant services. Most general dentists can place implants, as it is a standard of care for tooth replacement. Fredericksburg Smile Center’s Dr. Butterworth has had extensive training in implant dentistry.

Are Dental Implants Safe

While some may worry, dental implants are a well-known and reliable treatment for teeth replacement. Contemporary dental implants have been well-used throughout the dental community for over 30 years. The metal that they are typically made from, titanium, is biocompatible with human bodies. This procedure is also very popular as it has the highest level of comfort with the lowest level of risk for patients.

If you are interested in dental implants and want to learn more, please reach out to Fredericksburg Smile Center for more information.

Invisalign vs. Braces: What’s the Difference?

Invisalign or braces? That is one of the frequently asked questions among those who are looking for the best option to straighten their teeth or their children’s teeth. Many people want the option that best fits their individual situation to ensure their money will help deliver the best results. So, which is better? Braces or Invisalign? Let’s learn more about the differences!

Braces vs Invisalign: What You Need to Know

So, the overall goal for both braces and Invisalign is the same. They are designed to help straighten teeth, improve one’s smile, and better your overall oral health. Invisalign just happens to be a newer, less conspicuous way of achieving this goal.

How Do Braces Work?

Metal braces normally include metal brackets that are glued to your teeth and are connected by rubber bands and metal wires. These then help guide your teeth into a better position over time. 

How Does Invisalign Work?

Unlike braces, Invisalign uses trays made with BPA-free clear plastic that are designed to be worn overtop your teeth throughout the day and at night. Since these trays use plastic, they are nearly invisible when wearing them — hence the name, Invisalign! These trays gently move one’s teeth into the desired position. As your teeth move, you switch trays to continue that movement. 

Invisalign vs Braces: Which Is Better?

Now that you know how these two options generally work, you should make a few comparisons to see which of these best fits your situation. A few examples would be the Invisalign vs braces effectiveness, the cost, the speed of the option, or even wondering if Invisalign is faster than braces. Below we will get into more specific benefits of each.

Benefits of Braces

There are a number of benefits to braces that will depend on one’s personality. For instance, braces are unable to be removed so there are no temptations to leave them out so less self-discipline is needed. Braces can also tackle more complex oral issues, but they do take more time to achieve the desired results.

Benefits of Invisalign

With Invisalign, one major benefit is that they are removable and are clear. This makes it so patients are not embarrassed wearing these out in public and can easily remove them when they want to have a meal. There are no issues with getting food caught in the Invisalign trays since there are no wires. Also, with no wires, there is no discomfort from wires or brackets rubbing against the inside of your mouth. Lastly, Invisalign tends to reach results 2~3 times faster than traditional metal braces!

Which Should You Choose?

In the end, it will really depend on your specific situation. If you value ease, speed, and having the freedom to remove your trays, then Invisalign is for you. If hygiene is also important to you, then you may want to reconsider braces as they are harder to clean than Invisalign trays. Since every patient’s situation is different, it is always best to consult your oral health specialist when making a decision such as this. 

If you live in the Fredericksburg, VA area and are wondering, “Is there Invisalign near me?”, then reach out to us Fredericksburg Smile Center to set an appointment for a consultation.

All You Need to Know About Invisalign Attachments

 

Invisalign is a great option for teenagers, young adults, and older adults who want straighter teeth but want to get them in a discrete way. Many people who are beginning to research Invisalign have the impression that Invisalign consists of simple trays that you slip in and out of your mouth. While this is true, there is also a lesser-known aspect of Invisalign that people should keep in mind. This is the Invisalign attachment, which are small buttons placed on oddly shaped, angled, or sized teeth to help with alignment correction. 

 

Invisalign Attachment Types

There are a number of Invisalign attachment types. Attachments generally come as a triangular, square, or circular shape depending on the type and purpose of the attachment. These attachments are usually placed on the middle of the tooth and are tooth-colored to help keep them as invisible as possible. The type of attachment you receive will depend on if your goal is fixing a tooth extrusion, intrusion, or rotation.

 

What do Invisalign Attachments do?

Attachments are used as anchors for the Invisalign aligners so that your Invisalign fits better and works more effectively as you wear them. This will result in straighter teeth with a faster, smoother process.  

Not every person will require attachments, as it varies per person and per plan, but attachments do allow more people access to Invisalign. This is because attachments allow more tooth movements that would be impossible without them.

 

Invisalign Attachment Tips

As attachments are a lesser-known aspect of the Invisalign process, so to help you learn more about attachments below are a few tips to keep in mind about these attachments. 

  • The attachments are usually tiny.
  • Not every tooth requires an attachment. 
  • Depending on the location of the attachment, they can be more or less visible to others.
  • It is easy to add and remove attachments.
  • Oral cleanliness will be even more important when you have attachments. 

 

Invisalign Attachments Staining

If patients adhere to the rules surrounding Invisalign, they should not worry about attachment staining. However, those who continue to drink darker beverages, such as dark sodas, red wine, black teas, and coffee, may experience some staining. But not to worry, this staining can be removed by your hygienist at your routine cleaning appointments. 

To help prevent stains, anytime that one chooses to drink a darker beverage, using a straw should help prevent any stain. If the attachments become visibly stained, it is recommended to discuss this with your dentist to see if they have any solution to help whiten the stain. They are able to assist with this whitening. 

 

Want to Learn More?

If you want to learn more about Invisalign options in Fredericksburg, VA, contact us to schedule a consultation to see how Invisalign can help you.

The Natural Look and Feel of Dental Implants

The average adult smile consists of 32 teeth, and each tooth serves a purpose. When a tooth is lost from injury, gum disease, or decay, the gap left behind can expose the other teeth to harmful bacteria, decay, and potential injury. For over 50 years, dental implants have been recommended as an optimal solution for the replacement of missing teeth. Implants are typically suggested after all efforts to preserve a tooth has been made.

What is a dental implant?

An implant is an artificial replacement for the root of a tooth. It mimics the natural tooth structure and serves as an anchor for one or more replacement teeth. The term “dental implant” often refers to the three components: ceramic crown, connector or abutment, and the titanium base that fuses with the jawbone.

What does a dental implant look like?

There are three parts in the anatomy of a dental implant – crown, connector, and base.

  • The crown is the prosthetic, upper portion of the implant. Crowns are typically made of ceramic materials which are made to look just like a natural tooth. Even your natural color is matched.
  • The connector, sometimes referred to as an abutment, simply serve as a means of attachment for the crown and the base.
  • The base or the implant itself, is the titanium anchor screws into the jawbone. The implant takes the place that would otherwise be occupied by the root of the teeth.

Who are the ideal candidates for dental implants?

Many of our patients are surprised to learn that when it comes to dealing with the discomfort and frustration of having missing teeth, they are not alone. In fact, nearly 69% of adults aged 35-44 are missing at least one tooth. And avoiding tooth replacement is just as common.

The ideal candidates for dental implants

For patients who are candidates, dental implants look, feel, and operate just like natural teeth. With proper hygiene and care, an implant can last a lifetime. When it comes to your smile, implants are not just about aesthetics. There are significant problems that may occur when one or more teeth are missing and implants offer patients a long-term solution.

If you’re like the millions of Americans who have one or more missing teeth, you could benefit from dental implants. Serving the Fredericksburg region with a combined thirty-eight years of experience, Dr. Cathie Hidalgo Seaman and Dr. Joel Butterworth specialize in dental implant surgery. Contact Smile Center to schedule your consultation today: 540-899-7791!

Dispelling the Top 5 Misconceptions about Dental Implants

The average adult smile consists of twenty-eight teeth (not including wisdom teeth), and each tooth serves a purpose. When a tooth is lost from injury, gum disease, or decay, the gap left behind can expose the other teeth to harmful bacteria, decay, and potential injury. In the last couple of decades, dental implants have been recommended as an optimal solution for the replacement of missing teeth. Implants are typically suggested after all efforts to preserve a tooth have been made.

What is a Dental Implant?

An implant is an artificial replacement for the root of a tooth. It mimics the natural tooth structure and serves as an anchor for one or more replacement teeth. The term “dental implant” often refers to the following three components: ceramic crown, connector or abutment, and the titanium base that fuses with the jawbone.

Dispelling the Misconceptions

1. Dental implants look fake.

Perhaps the most common misconception about dental implants is that they will look noticeable, not natural. Most patients are actually surprised by how real their implants look and how natural they feel.

2. Getting implants is painful.

Actually, since there are not many nerve endings in bone, local anesthesia easily minimizes the discomfort. In fact, there is almost no postoperative pain involved. After the procedure itself, you may become used to your implants so quickly that you forget you even have them!

3. The cost of implants is expensive.

While implants do have a higher initial cost than most other dental procedures, they last much longer than other alternative options. Unlike bridges that may only last about ten years, implants can last a lifetime. The biocompatible titanium base is non-toxic and is integrated directly with your jawbone. Patients can brush, floss, and eat as they would with any of their other teeth.

4. Implants are unhealthy.

During the past several decades, this procedure has had a 95% success rate. The biocompatible titanium base is non-toxic and integrated directly with your jawbone.

5. Only an oral surgeon can place implants.

Oral surgery should always be performed by a skilled specialist. However, implants may be placed by a periodontist, prosthodontist, or general dentist who specializes in implants.

If you’re like the millions of Americans who have one or more missing teeth, you could benefit from dental implants. Serving the Fredericksburg region with a combined thirty-eight years of experience, Dr. Cathie Hidalgo Seaman and Dr. Joel Butterworth specialize in dental implant surgery. Contact Smile Center to schedule your consultation today: 540-899-7791!

The Top 7 Benefits of Dental Implants

Many of our patients are surprised to learn that when it comes to dealing with the discomfort and frustration of having missing teeth, they are not alone. In fact, nearly 69% of adults aged 35-44 are missing at least one tooth. And avoiding tooth replacement is just as common.

For patients who are candidates, dental implants look, feel, and operate just like natural teeth. With proper hygiene and care, an implant can last a lifetime. When it comes to your smile, implants are not just about aesthetics. There are significant problems that may occur when one or more teeth are missing, and implants offer patients a long-term solution.

7 Benefits of Dental Implants

Natural look and performance

Dental implants look, feel, and act like a natural tooth. Perhaps the biggest benefit is restoring the ability to chew normally. You can smile, eat, speak, and clean your teeth just as you normally would.

Permanence

Unlike dentures, implants are not removable. There’s no need to soak overnight. Teeth are brushed and flossed as usual and you can enjoy the comfort of having a complete smile at all times of the day and night.

Durability

Unlike bridges that may only last about ten years, implants can last a lifetime. The biocompatible titanium base is non-toxic and is integrated directly with your jawbone.

Reducing exposure

When a tooth is missing, the other teeth are exposed to deterioration and decay. Food may become trapped in gaps in the gum line and lead to the growth of harmful bacteria and gum disease. Without the protection of an adjacent tooth, exposed teeth also become more susceptible to injury.

Stability

Gaps from missing teeth can cause the adjacent teeth to become unstable. Without the support of the missing teeth, a significant shift in position can negatively impact your bite, ability to chew, and the appearance of your smile. This shifting can lead to problems with TMJ and pain in the jawbone.

Prevention of bone loss

Within the first year of losing a tooth, the exposed area of the jawbone deteriorates rapidly with up to 25% loss. This bone loss, caused by a lack of stimulation, can actually be accelerated by dentures with abrasion.

Preserving the shape of your smile

If the roots of the teeth are not replaced with implants, the bone deterioration can lead to significant sagging and premature aging of the face. This, in turn, may lead to partial facial collapse, thinning of the lips, and increased wrinkles around the mouth.

Schedule Your Consultation

If you’re like the millions of Americans who have one or more missing teeth, you could benefit from dental implants. Serving the Fredericksburg region with a combined thirty-eight years of experience, Dr. Cathie Hidalgo Seaman and Dr. Joel Butterworth specialize in dental implant surgery. Contact Smile Center to schedule your consultation today: 540-899-7791!

What Happens After Invisalign?

When the moment arrives and your Invisalign treatment is complete, we will all be smiling together! But what happens after Invisalign? Here is what you can expect upon completion of your Invisalign treatment.

Compare Before Invisalign and After Invisalign Photos

At your final appointment at Smile Center in Fredericksburg, we will take “after” photos so that you can compare your results. It’s always exciting for our patients to see how the “before” and “after” photos reveal amazing results that match the 3D images created at the very first appointment. From start to finish, we help you achieve the smile you deserve.

Achieve and Preserve Your Results

Here at Smile Center, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve and preserve those results. Like most doctors, we recommend the use of a retainer after orthodontic treatment. The retainer will ensure that your smile doesn’t shift back to its initial position over time. The treatment plan for preserving your results will vary from patient to patient. You may wear a retainer throughout the day for a period of time. You may wear a retainer only at night. We will discuss the best options for your smile.

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Vivera Retainers

There are many different types of retainers, but we are committed to the level of quality that Invisalign provides. That’s why we recommend Vivera retainers after Invisalign. Like Invisalign clear aligners, Vivera retainers are virtually invisible. They are made with the same state-of-the-art technology that created the Invisalign treatment system. 2x as durable and 30% stronger, Vivera retainers are less likely to break than any of the other leading clear retainer brands.

In the same way that your Invisalign clear aligners were designed for you, your Vivera retainer will be designed from a digital scan of your teeth. Your custom retainer will be ordered and we will contact you when it arrives. In fact, you’ll be supplied with four sets of retainers when purchasing. We recommend switching your Vivera retainers out every one to two years as the material can deform over time.

A Follow-up Plan That Suits Your Needs

Each patient will have a plan that uniquely suits their needs. Some may wear the retainer all day and night, gradually decreasing wearing time. Some patients may only need to wear their retainer at night. Call Smile Center today to schedule your free smile assessment. We’re with you every step of the way: 540-899-7791.

Taking Care of Your Clear Aligners

Taking care of your clear aligners is simple. Easy maintenance is actually one of the greatest benefits of using aligners for orthodontic treatment. Maintaining your oral health and cleaning your clear aligners is a very important part of the treatment process.

Cleaning Your Clear Aligners

The best way to clean your aligners is to use the Invisalign Cleaning System developed by Invisalign specifically for this purpose. It is available online or right in our office. The aligners can also be brushed with a toothbrush and toothpaste and then rinsed in lukewarm water. The most important thing to remember when cleaning your aligners is never to use hot water as it could permanently warp the plastic.

We like to encourage our patients to floss and brush after each meal or snack, before putting their aligners back into place. One of the reasons for this is to avoid staining the aligners with food residue (like berries or sauce).

Avoiding Bacteria with a Few Simple Steps

Our patients are also strongly encouraged to avoid harboring bacteria by keeping their aligners clean at all times. If you drop your aligners in an unsanitary place, it’s extremely important to ensure that they are hygienic before putting them back into your mouth. Invisalign Cleaning Crystals help keep your aligners clean and hygienic. In as little as 15 minutes, this cleaning system can remove plaque and keep your aligners clear.

Breaking or Losing Your Clear Aligners

If your aligner breaks or if you lose it, it’s important to call the office right away. Since aligners and retainers are considered prescription items, patients cannot order replacements directly from Invisalign. We will work with you to keep you on track with your treatment. For some patients, this could mean wearing a previous set of aligners until replacement aligners are ordered and delivered.

The simplicity and ease of caring for your clear aligners is just one more reason to smile about Invisalign! Call our office at (540) 899- 8859 to schedule your free smile scan today!

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Living with Invisalign: Answers to 8 Fantastic Questions from Our Patients

Invisalign clear aligners are designed to have a maximum impact on your smile and a minimum impact on your daily life. If you are considering clear aligner therapy, perhaps the following questions will help clarify some of your concerns.

Will my aligners be noticeable?

Invisalign clear aligners are comfortable and barely noticeable. Made from SmartTrack material and designed to comfortably conform to each tooth, Invisalign is virtually invisible.

Are my aligners removable?

Yes! One of the great benefits of clear aligner therapy is that your aligners are removable. You can eat, drink, brush and floss teeth as usual. They can even be removed for special activities or occasions like playing an instrument or sport, getting married or going on a job interview. In order to achieve the best possible results, we advise our patients to wear their aligners for 20-22 hours per day.

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Are there are eating restrictions?

There are no eating restrictions with Invisalign! The aligners can simply be removed while eating or chewing gum. That means you won’t have to say goodbye to your favorite foods during your treatment. It’s crucial to the treatment process, however, to minimize the time spent with the aligners removed. Since the aligners must be worn for at least 20-22 hours a day, we do recommend that you eat while wearing your aligners, if possible.

Is living with Invisalign painful?

With the use of precise, gentle pressure and constant force, the treatment can cause minor discomfort. This usually subsides within the first few days of wearing a new set of aligners. Our patients describe this temporary feeling as “pressure.” The good news is—that gentle pressure is a sign that you are getting closer and closer to your new smile! If discomfort persists, don’t hesitate to call our office.

Is it normal for my teeth to feel loose?

If your teeth feel slightly loose, that is normal. As your teeth gradually shift into proper position, this shifting and reforming can cause the sensation of having loose teeth. If it persists, please call our office.

Will my speech be affected by wearing aligners?

As your tongue adjusts to having the clear aligners in your mouth, it may feel awkward to speak. Some patients have a slight lisp that quickly goes away.

Will my aligners fall out while I sleep?

Your aligners are customized to fit your teeth comfortably and snugly. It is not likely that they will fall out whether you are sleeping, talking, laughing or exercising. You can enjoy maximum comfort with a minimal impact on your daily life.

What happens if I skip a couple of days during my treatment?

Don’t do this! However, your aligners may still fit if you have only skipped a couple of days. When putting your aligners back on your teeth, you may have some discomfort. Call our office immediately so that we can help you get back on track as quickly as possible!

 

At Smile Center, your Invisalign treatment will be a team effort! We are here to help answer any questions you may have, to fully customize your treatment and to ensure that you have the best possible experience with your clear aligners. Call our office today to start smiling with Invisalign: (540) 899-7791.