Marv Thomas, DDS

Marv Thomas, DDS is a member of many dental assocations including the American Dental Association.

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The Dental Spa

12351 Dillingham Square
Woodbridge, VA 22192
(703) 580-8288

 

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Posts for: June, 2017

NewFrontTeethforaTeenagedDavidDuchovny

In real life he was a hard-charging basketball player through high school and college. In TV and the movies, he has gone head-to-head with serial killers, assorted bad guys… even mysterious paranormal forces. So would you believe that David Duchovny, who played Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files and starred in countless other large and small-screen productions, lost his front teeth… in an elevator accident?

“I was running for the elevator at my high school when the door shut on my arm,” he explained. “The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital. I had fainted, fallen on my face, and knocked out my two front teeth.” Looking at Duchovny now, you’d never know his front teeth weren’t natural. But that’s not “movie magic” — it’s the art and science of modern dentistry.

How do dentists go about replacing lost teeth with natural-looking prosthetics? Today, there are two widely used tooth replacement procedures: dental implants and bridgework. When a natural tooth can’t be saved — due to advanced decay, periodontal disease, or an accident like Duchovny’s — these methods offer good looking, fully functional replacements. So what’s the difference between the two? Essentially, it’s a matter of how the replacement teeth are supported.

With state-of-the-art dental implants, support for the replacement tooth (or teeth) comes from small titanium inserts, which are implanted directly into the bone of the jaw. In time these become fused with the bone itself, providing a solid anchorage. What’s more, they actually help prevent the bone loss that naturally occurs after tooth loss. The crowns — lifelike replacements for the visible part of the tooth — are securely attached to the implants via special connectors called abutments.

In traditional bridgework, the existing natural teeth on either side of a gap are used to support the replacement crowns that “bridge” the gap. Here’s how it works: A one-piece unit is custom-fabricated, consisting of prosthetic crowns to replace missing teeth, plus caps to cover the adjacent (abutment) teeth on each side. Those abutment teeth must be shaped so the caps can fit over them; this is done by carefully removing some of the outer tooth material. Then the whole bridge unit is securely cemented in place.

While both systems have been used successfully for decades, bridgework is now being gradually supplanted by implants. That’s because dental implants don’t have any negative impact on nearby healthy teeth, while bridgework requires that abutment teeth be shaped for crowns, and puts additional stresses on them. Dental implants also generally last far longer than bridges — the rest of your life, if given proper care. However, they are initially more expensive (though they may prove more economical in the long run), and not everyone is a candidate for the minor surgery they require.

Which method is best for you? Don’t try using paranormal powers to find out: Come in and talk to us. If you would like more information about tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework,” and “Dental Implants.”


By The Dental Spa
June 15, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Braces   orthodontics  

Throughout the years, braces have come to be known as a rite of passage for middle and high schoolers. However, orthodontic care can bracesbenefit individuals of all ages, including both teens and adults. But how can you tell if you need braces? While the answer can be hard to find, your dentist can help you determine if orthodontic care is the best treatment for you. Learn more about orthodontics with Dr. Marv Thomas at The Dental Spa of Virginia with two locations: Lake Ridge and Woodbridge, VA.

What is an orthodontist? 
An orthodontist is a dentist who has undergone extended training and education in the field of orthodontics. Orthodontics include treating issues related to irregularities of the teeth and jaw. Orthodontists hold a doctorate degree in dentistry and have completed three to five-year internships or fellowships. After becoming licensed as a dentist, orthodontists must undergo additional licensing examinations to hold the title of an orthodontist.

How can orthodontic care help me? 
Orthodontic care includes straightening the teeth and correcting issues with the bite to provide a beautiful, functional smile. Some of the most common reasons dentists recommend braces include:

  • misaligned or “crooked” teeth
  • overcrowding (overlapping teeth)
  • under crowding (gapped teeth)
  • overbite
  • underbite
  • crossbite
  • open bite

Do I need braces? 
While your orthodontist is your best source of information as far as determining whether or not you require orthodontic care, you can often tell if you need braces on your own. If you want a straighter smile, have gaps, have overlapping teeth, or if your teeth do not line up correctly, you can benefit from orthodontic care. Malocclusion, often referred to as a “bad bite”, is another reason dentists recommend braces. When you close your mouth, your upper jaw should fit over your upper jaw. If the jaw is misaligned and too far forward or backward or if the upper jaw sits to one side of the lower jaw, you may have malocclusion and need braces.

Braces in Lake Ridge and Woodbridge, VA 
If you think you could benefit from orthodontic care, ask your dentist about braces at your next dental examination and cleaning. For more information on braces or orthodontics, please contact Dr. Thomas at The Dental Spa of Virginia with two locations in Lake Ridge and Woodbridge, VA. Call (703) 580-1443 to schedule your appointment at Woodbridge, VA, and (703) 580-8288 to schedule your appointment at Lake Ridge, VA, today!


YoullExperienceLittletoNoDiscomfortDuringandAfterImplantSurgery

You’ve decided to obtain dental implants for your missing teeth. It’s a good choice — they provide the closest restoration to the function and appearance of natural teeth. You will, however, need to undergo a surgical procedure to imbed the implants’ threaded titanium posts into supporting bone.

It’s understandable if you’re a little apprehensive about undergoing surgery. We’re here, though, to set your mind at ease: implantation is a relatively minor procedure carefully planned in advance. Most patients experience no discomfort during the procedure and very little afterward.

We begin by completely numbing the surgical site with a local anesthetic. If you have a high level of anxiety, we can also administer a sedative or similar medication to help you relax. We then access the underlying bone through a series of incisions that create a flap in the gum tissue that we’ll later suture closed.

It’s quite common to have prepared a surgical guide or template beforehand. The template placed in the mouth marks the exact site for a small channel (or hole) we create in the bone. We then incrementally increase the size of the hole by drilling until it matches precisely the implant’s size and shape. This takes time to avoid overheating and damaging the bone.

We then remove the implant from its sterile packaging and insert it into the opening. We’ll also take x-rays to ensure correct positioning, which is critical for achieving an attractive result. We then suture the gum flap in place using stitches that will eventually dissolve. The implant will then integrate with the bone for a few weeks to create a strong, durable hold before we continue with the restoration.

Most patients can manage any post-surgical discomfort with mild anti-inflammatory pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen, although we can prescribe something stronger if you need it. We may also prescribe a mouthrinse with an anti-bacterial agent like chlorhexidine for you to use while the gums are healing to reduce the risk of infection.

Implant surgery is part of a long process that will eventually result in regaining the function of your lost teeth. What’s more, undergoing this minor procedure will also help you regain something just as important — a beautiful smile.

If you would like more information on dental implant restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implant Surgery.”




Questions or Comments?
We encourage you to contact us whenever you have an interest or concern about our services.

Phone (703) 580-8288