Growing up, most people learn about tooth decay/cavities and the importance of avoiding getting “holes” in their teeth. But few realize this condition, also known as caries, is actually a preventable oral disease that affects many, if not, most people. Tooth decay happens when sugars and starches in foods get left on teeth and form a sticky film called plaque. It combines with the mouth’s bacteria and this plaque-bacteria combo is the culprit that produces acids that damage the outer enamel layer of teeth. The unwelcome result: Tooth Decay. However, the talented dentists at Washington Center for Dentistry can use several procedures such as fillings or root canals to treat decay and cavities.
So, how can a patient avoid cavities? Saliva in the mouth, thought to be the body’s natural defense against decay, can sometimes counteract the effects of plaque by acting as a buffer or re-mineralizing agent. But usually, saliva loses the battle against decay.
Tooth Decay/Cavities Reviews
"Hard to tell if this is a dentist's office or a spa. From the moment you walk into the place, you see a super modern, clean, well appointed reception area complete with juices & bottled water. Every single member of the staff that passes you smiles and greets you, whether they are treating you or not. It's a really welcoming and professional place, which is reassuring and instills confidence. I've been to 3 dentists in DC prior to finding this place and my experience with them was horrible. The first set a rookie dentist on me to give me a bunch of fillings before firing him and asking me to come in so they could right their wrongs. No thanks! The other two had old, antiquated office space & run-of-the-mill service from staff. Dr. Doctors is fantastic and highly capable. You can just tell you're in the hands of a true professional. I had a really difficult filling that needed to be replaced and he handled it so well. He's also really friendly. Only downside is that you've got to pay up front for services and then wait for your insurance provider to reimburse you, which is hit or miss. I called my insurance company to see what % of the treatment I was going to receive would be covered and they said 80%, so I went with it only to get a check for 25% of the treatment. Now I have to go back to them and that's a hassle. But, to have good teeth and the feeling of trusting your dentist is worth it, I suppose!"- L.D. / Yelp / Dec 31, 2012
"As a recent transplant to the area, I've been dreading the eventual visit to the dentist. Alas, it was time. I had no idea where to turn to find a decent dentist so THANKS AGAIN YELP for pointing me to this practice. My apointment was yesterday and I couldn't wait to YELP about it. This is the best dental practice I have ever been too. Top notch all the way. I don't really know how to describe it other then, I wasn't sure if I was in a dental office or a spa. Awesome. I flaked and forgot to fill out the forms online so I was totally expecting to have to spend another 20 minutes filling out paper forms, wasting my time, but NO! They have free internet and computers you can use OR they handed me the Ipad to do it on. Pretty SWEET! Once the forms were filled out, I got the tour (YES, A TOUR!) and then was guided to my dental tech. I still wasn't sure I wasn't also getting a massage. The dental tech was great. Professional, personably and kind. She also really seemed to like her job and the place she worked which is also a nice change from my last dentist who didn't even HAVE a tech to do cleanings and xrays. She asked alot of questions and while I do not have any dentist nightmares of lore, I can rest assured it will stay that way for a long time! Pretty sure this is my dental practice for life, even if I move. The only catch, which I can imagine is hard for many people, is that you pay upfront and get reimbursed by your insurance. I'm ok with that but I don't know many people who can be out that cash up front. I would recommend saving your pennies though, this dentist is TOTALLY WORTH IT."- N.F. / Yelp / Mar 17, 2011
"I have had such great experiences with Washington Center For Dentistry. I love Dr. Doctors and I love all the hygienists. Everybody there is so friendly and helpful. I had tried out a few dentists in the area but never been completely satisfied until I came here. I have VERY sensitive teeth and they are always so gentle with me when I get cleanings and fillings. I am also an Invisalign patient about halfway through my treatment and so far I am very pleased with the results. Dr. Doctors has been great through the whole process. Really listening to me about how I want my teeth to look. I appreciate how he is working with me to make sure I am completely satisfied and get the smile I want. Granted I am in there pretty often for my Invisalign, but half the staff knows my name which is awesome. The downside of WCD is that they do not accept insurance, so you have to pay out of pocket up front and then get reimbursed from your insurance company. I know this is a deal breaker for a lot of people who cannot float the costs, but for me its totally worth it to get such good dental care. They have also been kind to me and made an exception allowing me to break up my costs into payments when I needed it. Their offices are clean and modern. The staff is very friendly. I like that they confirm appointments via email and text. They have convenient hours. They have the most modern technology. They are really a stand-out dentist office!"- K.M. / Yelp / Nov 16, 2011
"Dr. Rinaldi is an artist. I couldn't have asked for a more amazing cosmetic dentist. I visited for a filling replacement on a front tooth on which a previous dentist had done a horrible job. I was convinced that I would need a crown to cover up the tooth. With a simple filling, Dr. Rinaldi made it look like nothing had ever happened. I couldn't believe my eyes. However, be aware that this office is very expensive. But if quality is what you are looking for, this is the place."- A.K. / Yelp / Jan 24, 2012
"This place is such a mystery to me. I will never understand how a dentist's office can be so...peaceful? I always have such a zen experience here, I can never imagine going anywhere else. Every single person on the staff is kind, helpful and good-natured. I see Dr. Katsaros whose easygoing, gregarious personality really puts me at ease. You can tell he's super intense about his work also which, as a patient, I certainly appreciate. But he also genuinely wants you to be comfortable and happy and is more than happy to take time to sit with you and explain every facet of the procedure (he did my filling with a laser - cool!). My hygienist is Ann who is, simply put, the greatest dental hygienist ever. She makes me realize the error of my tooth/gum-care ways without ever being condescending or anything but sweet. I really could write a book about why/how this place is so wonderful but suffice it to say: go there - you will not regret it!! Each time, I leave that place in a better mood than when I entered."- M.P. / Yelp / Apr 25, 2013
Plan Your Procedure
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Our dietary choices and our oral hygiene practices are major players in the tooth decay tableau. In fact, a healthy diet and proper eating habits are critical factors in keeping our mouth healthy and keeping tooth decay at bay. For example, foods and beverages that are high in sugar provide the perfect double-whammy to ramp up the occurrence of cavities.
Other risk factors include:
• Bacteria live in the mouths of all of us. So, no one is exempt from risk when it comes to tooth decay.
• A high-carb and high-sugar diet raises risk for anyone.
• Living in a community with un-fluoridated water leaves people vulnerable to tooth decay.
• People with fillings and crowns and other dental restorations are at risk since bacteria gather around the restorations and provide a higher chance of developing decay.
Prevention and Treatment
There are certain things that patients can do to reduce, or altogether prevent, the occurrence of tooth decay or cavities.
• Most of us already know flossing and brushing daily is the gold standard when it comes to preventing cavities to remove build-up and debris form between the teeth.
• Fluoride, a natural substance, also helps to re-mineralize tooth structure and to rebuild early damage caused by plaque bacteria. Once the province of treatment for children, fluoride now also plays a key role in preventing tooth decay in adults. In fact, science has shown in recent years that fluoride cuts down the incidence of decay in adults by 85%.
• Maintain a healthy diet of fruits and vegetables and nutritious foods.
• Avoid starchy foods and drinks high in sugar.
• Visit the dentist for regular hygiene visits and dental cleanings.
• Use an anti-microbial mouth rinse to help reduce plaque.
• Get a protective coating called “sealants” placed on the biting surfaces of your back teeth. This layer prevents decay from being formed in the crevices of teeth.
The important moment to catch and treat tooth decay is before it spreads to the nerve of the tooth. That’s when a dentist can remove the decay and fill the space with a dental filling. If the decay is allowed to reach the nerve of the tooth, often a “root canal” is needed to save the tooth. The invading decay causes an infection in the root that must be cleaned out. Healing medication is placed in the root, and then sealed off.
Down with Decay!
One of the most common dental problems that patients experience is tooth decay/cavities. Not only is it unsightly, but painful and time-consuming. The highly-experienced dentists at Washington Center for Dentistry are here to help. We provide patient education, cleanings and hygiene appointments to prevent decay. If you're already suffering from it, we can effectively treat you to save your teeth and make and keep you healthier. If you want to learn more about our tooth decay/cavity treatments, we would be more than happy to discuss them with you. Give us a call today to schedule your appointment.