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Posts for category: Oral Health

By Heritage Hunt Dental
May 26, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: CEREC Crowns  

Is it time to repair your tooth with a crown? You'll be pleasantly surprised to know that today's crown processes are faster and easier than ever before. At Heritage Hunt Center in Gainesville, VA, your dentist, Dr. Chris Houser, uses CEREC technology to design, create and place beautiful porcelain crowns in just an hour. Learn about this breakthrough treatment here.


What does CEREC mean?

CEREC means Chairside Economical Restorations of Esthetic Ceramic. Instead of lengthy treatment times, multiple trips to the dental office, uncomfortable impressions, and varying results, CEREC technology produces lifelike and accurate crowns, veneers, and other restorations in just about an hour. From initial evaluation by your dentist in his Gainesville office finished product, your new crown is a quick, no-hassle experience.

How long have dentists used CEREC processes?

The Journal of the American Dental Association reports widespread use in clinical practices since 1985. Over the years, dentists have improved the computer software, milling machines and other features to yield superior restorations suitable to a wide range of patients and dental issues.

How does CEREC work?

Dr. Houser first examines that damaged tooth and X-rays it to determine if a crown is the proper restoration. If it is, he uses a special powder and digital impression tool to quickly take a three-dimensional image of the tooth. Then, the surface prepares the tooth to receive the restoration.

Next, Dr. Houser uses computer-design processes to instruct the CEREC milling machine on the details of your restoration. From there, the CEREC machine carves the crown from a single piece of dental grade porcelain. Dr. Houser puts some finishing touches on the crown and bonds in place. Because CEREC processes are so accurate, little to no adjustment is needed for a dental bite.

Can such a quick treatment produce good results?

Yes, it can, and it does. CEREC processes use durable and lifelike porcelain which is laboratory grade. It is resistant to plaque and stains. Plus, the digital impressions are exceptionally accurate, transferring perfectly to the three-dimensional restoration. With no wait time (typically days to weeks for lab-created crowns), patients look good and feel great in a single visit with their Gainesville dentist.

How do I care for my CEREC crown?

Brush and floss as you usually do. See Dr. Houser at Heritage Hunt Dental for your usual six-month cleaning and check-up. Most CEREC restorations last 10 to 15 years with good at-home and in-office care.

How do I find out more?

Ask Dr. Houser about CEREC crowns at your next routine appointment. If you have a tooth with multiple fillings or have a crown that is old and unattractive, now may be the time to explore what a new restoration can do for your appearance and oral health. Call your dentist in Gainesville at (703) 754-5800.

By Heritage Hunt Dental
May 20, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

If you know anything about dental disease, then you know bacteria ranks high on the Usual Suspects list. Tooth decay gets its start from acid produced by bacteria; periodontal (gum) disease is often triggered by bacteria that infect the gums.

But the particular strains of bacteria that can cause dental disease are a small percentage of the 10,000-plus species inhabiting your mouth. The rest, numbering in the millions, are fairly benign—and some, as recent research is now showing, play a sizeable role in protecting your teeth and gums against other malicious bacteria, fungi and viruses.

Dr. Aaron Weinberg, a dental researcher at Case Western Reserve University, has been investigating these protective bacteria for many years. His research began with a scientific conundrum: although the mouth has one of the highest densities of bacterial populations, wounds in the mouth tend to heal quickly.

The answer, he believes, originates with human beta defensins (hBDs), substances produced by cells in the lining of the mouth that are natural antibiotics against disease. He has found that certain bacteria actually help stimulate their production.

This isn't just an interesting fact about the body's defenses and immune system. During his research, Dr. Weinberg was able to identify the agent within the bacteria that triggered hBD production. This has opened up a new line of research: The possibility that harnessing this agent might help assist in our treatment of infection by boosting the body's defensive capabilities.

For example, researchers have proposed including a form of the agent in toothpaste. Over time, this might stimulate hBD production and guard the mouth against the development of dental diseases like gum disease.

These possibilities all come from our increasing knowledge and understanding of the microscopic world around us, especially in our mouths. Bacteria are much more complex than we may have realized—not all are our enemies, and some are definitely our friends. Learning more may open up new ways to keep our teeth and gums healthy.

If you would like more information on the mouth's healing abilities, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


The March 27th game started off pretty well for NBA star Kevin Love. His team, the Cleveland Cavaliers, were coming off a 5-game winning streak as they faced the Miami Heat that night. Less than two minutes into the contest, Love charged in for a shot on Heat center Jordan Mickey—but instead of a basket, he got an elbow in the face that sent him to the floor (and out of the game) with an injury to his mouth.

In pictures from the aftermath, Love’s front tooth seemed clearly out of position. According to the Cavs’ official statement, “Love suffered a front tooth subluxation.” But what exactly does that mean, and how serious is his injury?

The dental term “subluxation” refers to one specific type of luxation injury—a situation where a tooth has become loosened or displaced from its proper location. A subluxation is an injury to tooth-supporting structures such as the periodontal ligament: a stretchy network of fibrous tissue that keeps the tooth in its socket. The affected tooth becomes abnormally loose, but as long as the nerves inside the tooth and the underlying bone have not been damaged, it generally has a favorable prognosis.

Treatment of a subluxation injury may involve correcting the tooth’s position immediately and/or stabilizing the tooth—often by temporarily splinting (joining) it to adjacent teeth—and maintaining a soft diet for a few weeks. This gives the injured tissues a chance to heal and helps the ligament regain proper attachment to the tooth. The condition of tooth’s pulp (soft inner tissue) must also be closely monitored; if it becomes infected, root canal treatment may be needed to preserve the tooth.

So while Kevin Love’s dental dilemma might have looked scary in the pictures, with proper care he has a good chance of keeping the tooth. Significantly, Love acknowledged on Twitter that the damage “…could have been so much worse if I wasn’t protected with [a] mouthguard.”

Love’s injury reminds us that whether they’re played at a big arena, a high school gym or an outdoor court, sports like basketball (as well as baseball, football and many others) have a high potential for facial injuries. That’s why all players should wear a mouthguard whenever they’re in the game. Custom-made mouthguards, available for a reasonable cost at the dental office, are the most comfortable to wear, and offer protection that’s superior to the kind available at big-box retailers.

If you have questions about dental injuries or custom-made mouthguards, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries” and “Athletic Mouthguards.”

By Heritage Hunt Dental
April 13, 2020
Category: Oral Health

Has your oral hygiene routine changed since you were a child? If you only spend a few seconds brushing and don't make flossing a regular habit, you may be at increased risk of tooth decay and gum disease. Good oral hygiene habits and regular visits to your Gainesville, VA, dentist, Dr. Chris Houser, can help you protect your smile.

Do You Follow These Oral Hygiene Recommendations?

A good oral hygiene regimen includes:

  • Brushing Twice Daily: Brushing first thing in the morning and in the evening reduces the buildup of plaque, a colorless, sticky substance contains bacteria and causes tooth decay. When plaque remains on your teeth for as little as 10 days, it becomes tartar, a hard substance that can cause gum disease.
  • Following the Two-Minute Rule: The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for at least two minutes. If you only brush for 30 seconds or less, plaque may remain on some areas of your teeth.
  • Brushing Your Tongue: Plaque also accumulates on your tongue and can transfer to your teeth soon after you finish brushing. Gently brushing your tongue with your brush or using a tongue scraper reduces the amount of plaque in your mouth.
  • Flossing Daily: Using floss every day removes plaque between teeth, an area that toothbrush bristles can't reach.
  • Buying Fluoridated Toothpaste: Toothpaste that features the ADA seal contains fluoride, a mineral that rebuilds weak areas of tooth enamel, reducing your cavity risk.
  • Using Mouthwash: Mouthwash doesn't just freshen your breath but also helps you avoid cavities. Many brands of mouthwash contain fluoride and also offer anti-bacterial protection.

How Dental Visits Help You Keep Your Smile Healthy

Visiting the Gainesville dental office is a simple way to maintain good oral health. During the visit, you'll receive a thorough dental exam and oral cancer screening. When you visit the dentist every six months, he can spot cavities, tooth decay, and other issues and treat them before they can significantly impact your oral health. Your visit also includes a dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar so as to make your smile sparkle.

Keep your smile bright and healthy with regular dental checkups! Call your dentist in Gainesville, VA, Dr. Houser, at (703) 754-5800 to schedule an appointment.

By Heritage Hunt Dental
March 31, 2020
Category: Oral Health

Watching your newborn develop into a toddler, then an elementary schooler, a teenager, and finally an adult is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences there is. Throughout the years, you’ll note the passing of many physical milestones — including changes that involve the coming and going of primary and permanent teeth. Here are some answers to frequently asked questions about children’s dental development.

When will I see my baby’s first tooth come in?
The two lower front teeth usually erupt (emerge from the gums) together, between the ages of 6 and 10 months. But your baby’s teeth may come earlier or later. Some babies are even born with teeth! You will know the first tooth is about to come in if you see signs of teething, such as irritability and a lot of drooling. The last of the 20 baby teeth to come in are the 2-year molars, so named for the age at which they erupt.

When do kids start to lose their baby teeth?
Baby teeth are generally lost in the same order in which they appeared, starting with the lower front teeth around age 6. Children will continue to lose their primary teeth until around age 12.

What makes baby teeth fall out?
Pressure from the emerging permanent tooth below the gum will cause the roots of the baby tooth to break down or “resorb” little by little. As more of the root structure disappears, the primary tooth loses its anchorage in the jawbone and falls out.

When will I know if my child needs braces?
Bite problems (malocclusions) usually become apparent when a child has a mixture of primary and permanent teeth, around age 6-8. Certain malocclusions are easier to treat while a child’s jaw is still growing, before puberty is reached. Using appliances designed for this purpose, orthodontists can actually influence the growth and development of a child’s jaw — to make more room for crowded teeth, for example. We can discuss interceptive orthodontics more fully with you at your child’s next appointment.

When do wisdom teeth come in and why do they cause problems?
Wisdom teeth (also called third molars) usually come in between the ages of 17 and 25. By that time, there may not be enough room in the jaw to accommodate them — or they may be positioned to come in at an angle instead of vertically. Either of these situations can cause them to push against the roots of a neighboring tooth and become trapped beneath the gum, which is known as impaction. An impacted wisdom tooth may lead to an infection or damage to adjacent healthy teeth. That it is why it is important for developing wisdom teeth to be monitored regularly at the dental office.

If you have additional questions about your child’s dental development, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Losing a Baby Tooth” and “The Importance of Baby Teeth.”

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