A Smile for Every Generation
Vienna, Virginia is home to many excellent family dental services. From routine checkups and cleanings to advanced treatments like cosmetic dentistry, we have a wide variety of services to meet the needs of your entire family. Dr. Matthew Gerald is a family dentist in Vienna, VA. He helps patients of all ages get the oral health care they need.
Dr. Gerald and our dental care team create a warm and friendly dental office environment for young children and adults. Whether you need preventative care or specialized treatment for a particular condition, our dental professionals will be there for you every step of the way. Open communication with his patients allows Dr. Gerald to better understand your needs and exceed your expectations.
As a general dental service, family dentistry utilizes routine care to help prevent dental problems down the road. For example, our dentist can identify early signs of tooth decay and provide timely treatment to prevent further damage. Younger patients who routinely visit the dentist have a sound base for a future of healthy smiles. Visiting the dentist for checkups and maintaining oral hygiene at home will build healthy habits in your child for years to come.
Your Child’s First Dental Visit
Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be a daunting experience. But it doesn’t have to be! With the right preparation and knowledge, you can ensure that your child’s first dental visit is positive.
At your child’s first dental visit, we will assess their oral health and advise on keeping their teeth healthy. Our dentist will also check for signs of decay or other problems needing treatment. We may also discuss proper brushing and flossing techniques with you and your child, as well as answer any questions that you have about oral hygiene.
We provide a wide range of dental care services for our young patients, such as:
- Dental cleaning
- Preventative exam
- Dental sealants
- Fluoride treatment
Dr. Gerald advises bringing your child in for their first dental visit as soon as their teeth grow. Regular pediatric visits allow our team to screen for new oral health changes. We can also help parents learn how to reinforce good dental habits in their children. Our friendly dental team wants younger patients to be familiar with visiting the dentist so they can easily maintain their mouth.
Preventing Childhood Tooth Decay
Tooth decay is a common problem among children, and it can have serious consequences down the road. Fortunately, there are steps that parents and caregivers can take to help prevent childhood tooth decay. Regular visits to the dentist are essential for maintaining good oral health in children.
During regular dental visits to our dental practice, we will discuss the best diet, eating habits, oral hygiene practices, and other preventive measures that can help reduce the risk of tooth decay in children. Cavities and tooth decay are chronic childhood dental problems. To combat decay, we recommend that parents clean their child’s gums before their first teeth appear.
Gently wiping off food particles from the gums using a wet cloth prevents bacteria buildup. Harmful bacteria buildup on the teeth and gums will lead to tooth decay, cavities, and gum disease.
We may apply topical fluoride treatments and varnishes at routine visits. Fluoride slows decay down and strengthens the tooth enamel. Patients who are five or older can get dental sealants. Your dentist bonds sealants to teeth to “seal” out decay. This is a non-invasive and quick treatment that protects the teeth from cavities.
Age-Specific Dental Care
As a family dentist, our office treats patients of all ages. We need to know the most common problems of each age group to recognize and treat them properly. The prominent problems for toddlers usually aren’t the same as those most common for adults. As mentioned above, tooth decay is most common in young children. They have diets higher in sugar and aren’t able to brush and floss as well as adults.
In teenagers and young adults, wisdom teeth start to come into play. Usually, our mouths don’t have enough room for this extra set of molars. If they erupt, they put pressure on your other teeth, making them cramped and jumbled. But wisdom teeth can also be impacted or trapped underneath the surface. Impacted teeth cause pain, swelling, and an increased likelihood of developing infections and other oral health problems.
As we age, our teeth take on the passing years, like the rest of our bodies. Seniors are most likely to experience tooth loss with age. We offer many different options to replace missing teeth. We’ll consult with you and perform a full oral exam to determine your best choice. Whenever possible, we recommend dental implants. They’re the gold standard of tooth replacement and the only one that replaces the tooth root in addition to the crown.
Dental Care for Adults
Missing, damaged, and stained teeth can become problems as we age. Some of our cosmetic and restorative treatments include dental implants, dental veneers, dental bonding, and teeth whitening.
- Dental implants are prosthetics that replace missing and lost teeth at the root.
- Porcelain veneers are porcelain ceramic shells covering the front and sides of teeth. They can hide flaws very well.
- Tooth bonding is a more economical alternative to veneers. The bonding process uses biocompatible materials that the dentist sculpts onto the enamel.
- Teeth whitening can brighten the tooth enamel by multiple shades for a healthier and more youthful look.
Diet and Oral Health
Your diet and oral health are closely linked. There are certain nutrients for your gums and teeth to stay healthy. And some things can cause damage to your smile.
The Best Things for Your Smile
Calcium and Vitamin D are two of the most important nutrients for your smile. Calcium is necessary to build strong tooth enamel and prevent decay. Vitamin D helps to ensure that your body absorbs calcium properly. Calcium is most commonly found in dairy products, and you can often find dairy fortified with Vitamin D. The main source of Vitamin D, however, is sunlight.
When it comes to your gums, Vitamin C and antioxidants are vital. Vitamin C boosts your immune system and helps with collagen production, keeping your gums healthy. Antioxidants reduce inflammation, which is one of the main issues with gum disease. Citrus fruits, bell peppers, broccoli, and strawberries are good Vitamin C sources.
Fresh, fibrous fruits and vegetables act like natural toothbrushes when you eat them. The fibers can dislodge food and other debris that are between your teeth. Because they require so much chewing to break down, they also increase saliva production. Saliva is essential for your oral health. It neutralizes acids in your mouth and washes away food scraps and bacteria, getting them away from your smile.
This is why drinking water is so essential, too. It keeps the mouth hydrated and increases saliva production. Dry mouth is a symptom of many medications, so drinking water is necessary to keep your mouth healthy.
Things to Avoid
Sugar and acid are two of the most harmful things to your smile. Harmful bacteria in the mouth love feeding on sugar. When you have a diet high in sugar, they’re feasting on the food particles and emitting an acidic byproduct that eats away at the enamel of your teeth. The more sugar you eat, the more your teeth are exposed. If you’re eating foods like this constantly throughout the day, you’re constantly bathing your teeth in acid.
Many people think that only sweet foods are high in sugar. But carbs and starchy foods break down into sugars as you digest. Pretzels, bread, potatoes, and crackers are also high in sugar.
Acid is also harmful to your teeth. It wears away and weakens the tooth enamel, making your teeth more susceptible to decay. Soda, sports drinks, vinegar-based products, and tomatoes are all highly acidic. While brushing your teeth right after eating harmful foods is often best, you should wait at least 30 minutes after eating acidic foods to brush. Brushing too soon can actually cause harm to your smile.
Family Dentistry FAQs
Family dentistry takes care of the teeth of everyone in your family. Read the answers to these commonly asked questions to learn more.
Do I need to visit the dentist every six months?
Yes. Preventative care and oral health need to occur both at home and in our office. Brushing and flossing at home is essential; you may think that’s enough to care for your teeth. But there are areas of your mouth that only specialized dental tools can get to so that they’re cleaned properly. Without dental visits, plaque and tartar build up, putting you at risk for tooth decay and gum disease, even with regular brushing and flossing.
Can dental problems be hereditary?
Yes, certain dental problems can be hereditary. You’re more prone to develop gum disease or have a misaligned bite if it’s something that runs in your family. Oral cancer is another thing that can be impacted by genetics.
What are the differences between family, general, and pediatric dentists?
We have a family dentist office. This means that we treat patients of all ages, including children. A general dentist treats most patients but doesn’t deal with children. They’re only for adults and older patients. A pediatric dentist focuses especially on children and may not treat adult patients.
Do I need to worry about my child’s baby teeth if they’re temporary?
Yes, primary teeth still play an important role in the mouth. They’re the placeholders for the permanent teeth to come in. If they’re lost too soon or damaged, it compromises how the permanent teeth come in. They’re more likely to come in crooked or result in other complications for your child’s oral health.
Schedule a Dental Appointment Today
Do you need a new Vienna family dentist? Call Dr. Gerald at (703) 721-4796 for complete family dentistry. You may also request a dental appointment with Dr. Gerald and his team on our website. We serve Fairfax, Oakton, Falls Church, and Northern Virginia patients. Let us know if you have any questions about our family dental services. We will be happy to help.