Braces and What to Know

Whether you think your smile could be straighter or your child’s bite needs alignment, you’ve likely found yourself thinking about braces and what you may need to know about them.

Types of Braces

There are two common kinds of braces that we use for the correction of misaligned teeth. Both have come a long way as technology has massively improved.


Metal braces are made out of high-grade stainless steel, which has become much smaller and more comfortable than in the past. They’ve also come a long way in terms of attractiveness.



Self-ligating braces have small slide brackets that clip the wires in place. These systems use lighter wires, and the lower friction brackets keep everything moving continuously. This active ability for the brackets to slide along the wire as the teeth move allows for a much shorter treatment time and less time waiting for results.

What to Expect On Your Application Day

As you approach the day of installation, you should know that some discomfort accompanies putting on your braces for the first time and readjusting them later. While unavoidable, there are a few things that you can do to improve your first few weeks with braces.

We’ll send you home with some wax to help put a little cushion between your braces and your lips as you adjust to the new presence in your mouth. While it may seem silly, a little bit of wax really goes a long way. That pressure on your lips is also going to change how they sit a little bit, resulting in a slightly different look and a little bit of a lisp as you get used to the new hardware. However, this will pass quickly, and your patience will be rewarded.

Over the first few months, you will rapidly see straightening and improvements in your bite that will likely surprise you. To make the most of it, you will need to keep up your flossing and cleaning since braces are a little more difficult to clean around.

Keeping Your Braces Tuned Up

After your initial appointment, you will need to come back every 4 to 6 weeks for new elastic ties and adjustment if you have metal braces, and slightly less with self-ligating braces though each patient is a little different. Each time we adjust them, there will be a little discomfort, and your teeth will straighten more and more as we get closer to your goal of a beautiful and stable smile.

The average treatment plan is between twelve to thirty-six months for braces. However, treatment times can be longer in extreme cases or shorter for easier cases. Generally, after about two to three years, you should be on your way with a perfect, bright smile.

If you or someone in your family is considering getting braces, contact Lans Family Dentistry today to evaluate what type and treatment plan is right for your teeth so that we can start building a smile for you to live in.

The Importance of Dental Flossing

Dental flossing is an important part of oral hygiene that’s often overlooked, but it provides numerous benefits for your overall health and well-being. By removing plaque and food particles from areas that a toothbrush can’t reach, flossing helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy and reduces the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems.

One of the primary benefits of dental flossing is the prevention of gum disease. Gum disease is a common problem that occurs when plaque builds up along the gum line and irritates the gums. This can lead to inflammation, bleeding, and eventually, tooth loss. By removing plaque and food particles from the hard-to-reach areas between your teeth, dental flossing helps to keep your gums healthy and reduces the risk of gum disease.

dental_flossingDental flossing also helps to prevent cavities and tooth decay. Plaque contains bacteria that produce acid that can attack your teeth, causing cavities and tooth decay. By removing plaque and food particles with dental floss, you can reduce the amount of bacteria in your mouth, which can help to prevent cavities and tooth decay.

In addition to improving oral health, flossing can also improve your overall health. Research has shown that gum disease and other oral health problems can increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, and other serious health conditions. By maintaining good oral hygiene with regular flossing, you can reduce your risk of these health problems and maintain good overall health.

Dental flossing is also an effective way to freshen your breath. When food particles and plaque remain in your mouth, they can cause bad breath. By removing these particles with dental floss, you can help to keep your breath fresh and eliminate the source of bad breath.

Finally, dental flossing is a simple and easy way to improve your oral health. It only takes a few minutes each day to floss, and the benefits are well worth the effort. By making dental flossing a regular part of your oral hygiene routine, you can keep your teeth and gums healthy and prevent a range of oral health problems.

Flossing is a critical component of oral hygiene that provides numerous benefits for your overall health and well-being. By removing plaque and food particles from areas that a toothbrush can’t reach, dental flossing helps to keep your teeth and gums healthy, reduce the risk of gum disease and other oral health problems, improve your overall health, freshen your breath, and is a simple and easy way to improve your oral health. So, make dental flossing a part of your daily routine and enjoy the many benefits of a healthy smile!

Sleep Apnea and Your Oral Health

Sleep apnea affects about 25 million Americans or 26% of adults between the ages of 30 and 70 years of age and is considered a chronic disease. It can increase the chance of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, stroke, depression, and even oral health problems.


Sleep apnea is caused by collapsing tissues in the airway that lead to repeated breathing interruptions amid the sleep cycle. The tissues collapse because of weak airway muscles, obesity, sinus problems, a large neck, or other causes. This condition is dangerous because it stops oxygen from getting to the lungs.

Your Oral Healthsleep_apnea

Sleep apnea and oral health are more connected than most people realize. The disease can cause several issues with oral health, and vice versa.

First, individuals who suffer from sleep apnea most often sleep with their mouths open. This can lead to dry mouth, which can result in more plaque development, cavities, periodontal disease, and tooth decay. Mouth sores can also develop because of infections from dry mouth. Gingivitis, or gum disease, can result from this condition as well — studies show that 34% of people with sleep apnea also have gingivitis.

Treatment With Dental Care

While visiting a dentist regularly for routine cleanings and oral care treatments can remedy these conditions temporarily, the symptoms will return without treating the disease, which would be the underlying cause. If oral health issues are found to be the reason sleep apnea is occurring, treating those issues can then improve the negative associated effects.

Other connections with oral health include:

·      Temporomandibular joint (TMJ). This can be associated with sleep apnea when symptoms include pain in the neck, head, and shoulders, jaw pain, difficulty chewing, and clicking or grinding joints, as well as a locked jaw.

·      Bruxism. Also known as teeth grinding or jaw clenching, bruxism symptoms include waking up unrefreshed with headaches, neck pain, and jaw pain. Signs include eroded, chipped, cracked, broken, or loose teeth. Dryness in the throat, mouth, and lips upon waking up is also a sign of bruxism.

Symptoms of Sleep Apnea

Both children and adults suffering from sleep apnea may experience one or more of the following symptoms:

·      Clenching/grinding teeth

·      Pain and tightness in the jaw joints

·      Chewing on the inside of the cheeks that results in sore, raw spots

·      Dulled headaches with pain initiating at the temples

·      Snoring

·      Insomnia


A medical doctor should diagnose this type of disease and can then prescribe treatment such as a CPAP machine. Dentists can also treat oral symptoms with a dental mouthpiece that can manage the clenching and grinding of teeth while sleeping. Other sleep apnea symptoms can be alleviated via orthodontic treatments for dry mouth and misalignment, as well as regular dental health management.

Get in Touch With Lans Family Dentistry

To learn more about how oral healthcare can improve a sleep apnea diagnosis, contact Lans Family Dentistry. The experienced and caring professionals at Lans Family Dentistry can answer all your questions and schedule a consultation or a regular dental cleaning appointment.

10 Dental New Year’s Resolutions

With the New Year barreling towards us, thinking about positive changes and resolutions for next year may already be on your mind. While many people put health and finances on that list, one area that can get overlooked is your teeth. Let’s talk New Year’s dental resolutions!

Don’t skip out on your dental health for next year, and add these dental New Year’s resolutions to your list:dental new year's resolutions

  1. Make flossing a part of your routine. You probably hear it every time you go to the dentist’s office: you need to floss more. Some studies say that up to ⅓ of adults haven’t flossed in the last week.
  2. Skip acid-heavy foods. You may love the taste of citrus and other highly acidic foods, but the truth of the matter is that these kinds of foods can seriously damage your enamel and cause worse problems.
  3. Slow down on things that stain your teeth. That morning cup of coffee or glass or two of red wine with dinner may taste good, but they’re both causing issues with your teeth. Dental whitening certainly helps, but it can get costly, especially if you continue to consume those foods that will keep staining your teeth. Try cutting back.
  4. Stop smoking. Probably one of the most damaging things to your dental health is smoking. While it’s true that smoking causes all kinds of health risks, it absolutely wreaks havoc on your mouth by increasing your risk of gum disease and causing tooth loss.
  5. Hydration is key. Keeping yourself hydrated is good for several reasons, but it’s especially good for your dental health. Bacteria need to be frequently washed away for cavities to not settle in.
  6. Cut back on sugar in beverages. It’s easy to pick up a sugary beverage for a pick-me-up, but all that extra sugar can add up to bacteria and extra cavities, especially as drinks totally coat your mouth in whatever you happen to be drinking. Opt for water when you can.
  7. Use the full two minutes. We should be brushing our teeth for two solid minutes. You can set a timer and make sure to brush for the full time or invest in an electric toothbrush that will do the counting for you.
  8. Snack less. Unfortunately, many snacks are unhealthy, and consuming food between meals increases the number of bacteria in your mouth, leading to damage to your teeth.
  9. Scrape your tongue. You might not think this is important, but your tongue traps a lot of bacteria, and if this list has tried to teach anything, it’s that bacterium leads to dental damage.
  10. Attend regular check-ups. Regularly visiting the dentist can help you prevent a plethora of damage and disease in your mouth. Putting off your dental visit can do more harm than you think.

Contact Lans Family Dentistry

Are you overdue for your dental visit? Now is the best time to think about scheduling a check-up and preparing yourself for a happy and healthy new year. The team at Lans Family Dentistry is prepared to help you when you’re ready for your cleaning.

Maintaining Healthy Teeth During the Holidays

The holidays can be a tricky time for our health for a lot of reasons. One area that ends up taking the brunt of a lot of overindulgences is our teeth. From sugary treats, festive beverages, and hard candies, our healthy teeth and gums can really take a beating.

Here are a few things you can do to protect your teeth this holiday season.

  1. Don’t forget the fruits and veggies. We know that the plate of cookies looks so enticing, and that’s more than okay. Be sure to balance out your choices with crunchy vegetables and fruits, so you’re still getting all those healthy vitamins.
  2. Bottoms up. All kinds of festive drinks happen during the holidays, from adult cocktails to hot chocolate, but none of these should be more important than water. Water helps to clean out your mouth and stops mouth-dwelling bacteria from turning acidic and damaging your enamel.
  3. Keep up your routine. It’s easy to let good habits fall to the wayside with all the fun, but remember to brush properly, and floss helps protect your teeth. Cavities won’t be taking a break while you do, so rather than letting all that extra sugar turn into acid and damage your teeth, be sure to regularly brush and floss.
  4. Get your check-up. You might not be thinking about everything you have to do post-holidays, but now is a great time to schedule your check-up. Get your routine cleaning in, and have those pearly whites checked out so prevention can help before any issues get totally out of control and you need a more serious dental intervention.
  5. Don’t use your teeth for that. We know how easy it is to run out of hands to hold things and open things, but your teeth aren’t an all-purpose tool. Sure, it’s easy to chomp down on that cork or rip open a package with your teeth, but that’s not the best way to treat your teeth well. Too much of this will weaken the enamel on your teeth and cause a lot of damage.
  6. Opt for light-colored beverages. Maybe you’ve spent a lot of time and money on whitening your teeth this year. If that’s the case, you don’t want to undo all that hard work. Opt for beverages, such as wine and mixers, that are lighter in color. Prevent additional staining from one too many glasses of red wine or cranberry juice.
  7. Cheese is your friend. It’s probably not often you hear this, but if you’re imbibing, have a little cheese along with your beverage or between each sip. Cheese is excellent at neutralizing the acid in many sugary drinks, thus preventing a major holiday dental mishap.

Visit Lans Family Dentistry

 A little bit of forethought goes a long way. Whether you’ve been on a long dental journey, or you simply want to maintain a healthy smile, consider the above tips of the trade and keep smiling all year long. Let Lans Family Dentistry help with your healthy teeth.

6 Ways to Prevent a Dental Emergency

Dental emergencies are stressful events that no one expects to happen. They lead to a lot of pain and distress and are often expensive. You can lower your likelihood of an oral emergency by ensuring healthy habits.Sometimes, a dental emergency can be unpredictable, but it’s essential to avoid them when possible. By following the steps below to keep your mouth and teeth healthy, you can improve your long-term oral health.

  1. Maintain a Routine of Oral Hygiene

When you wake up and at the end of your day before you go to bed are the best times to brush your teeth and use mouthwash. Brushing your teeth twice daily for at least two minutes would be best. It would help if you also floss at least once a day. All these routines will clear out bacteria and plaque build-up and generally prevent tooth decay and gum disease.

  1. Make Regular Dental Appointments

Every six months or twice a year, you should make an appointment with your dentist for an exam and professional cleaning. This will remove plaque build-up that brushing fails to address. Regular trips allow your dentist to note changes or minor issues in your oral health and provide the care necessary to prevent them from becoming emergencies.

  1. Pay Attention to What You Eat

Many people are aware that sugar isn’t good for your teeth. That’s because it increases the acidity levels in your mouth which eat away slowly at your tooth enamel. Starchy foods are bad for your teeth, as are drinks such as soda, alcohol, coffee, or fruit juice. Many o

ther foods can also damage your mouth, such as crunchy or sticky foods that could get stuck in or hurt your teeth.

  1. Replace Your Toothbrush

A worn-down toothbrush fails to do its job of keeping your teeth clean. It would help if you switched to a new brush when your toothbrush looks worn, or the bristles are loose and frayed. Every two to three months is a good rule if the toothbrush doesn’t display these visual signs.

  1. Wear a Mouthguard

Suppose you participate in sports, whether contact or non-contact; a mouthguard is hugely beneficial to prevent severe damage to your teeth. A blow to the face can cause cracks or chips in teeth, cause damage to tooth sockets, or even knock teeth out of your mouth. A mouthguard will lessen the impact of blows on your teeth, reducing your risk of costly dental emergencies.

Vitamins can help strengthen your teeth and gums, lowering your risk of tooth and gum decay. Vitamins C, B-12, and E are good for healing and keeping gums resistant to disease, while Vitamin D and calcium are essential to keeping your teeth stable and robust.

Contact Lans Family Dentistry

Preventative care is incredibly important for your mouth’s current and future health. It’s an investment in your teeth and gums. You can save time, money, and stress by taking care of your oral health. If you need a professional dentist for regular cleaning or to address a dental emergency, contact Lans Family Dentistry today.


Do You Get Anxiety Before Going to the Dentist?

Going to the dentist can be stressful. While it’s a fear often associated with children, adults are just as likely to be anxious about visiting the dentist, and such fear can often keep people from scheduling appointments or coming in when they have a dental emergency. If you suffer from dental anxiety or even a dental phobia, don’t let your fears keep you from taking care of your teeth.

  1. Identify Your Fear

First, it helps to pinpoint exactly what your phobia is about. Painful procedures keep a lot of people at bay, and fear of the dentist might stem from the harsh lighting, an unsettling angle, and face-covering masks that make dentists seem scarier than they actually are. Once you know exactly why you’re afraid of visiting the dentist, you can take the steps necessary to conquer this fear.

  1. Practice Simple Relaxation Tools

This can be done through various means: guided meditation, a distracting hobby, or even just regular deep breathing exercises. When we have anxiety, our negative thoughts tend to kick into overdrive, and diverting those thoughts is a good way to stay calm and think through the situation more rationally.Dentist

  1. Communicate With Your Dentist

They’re there to keep your teeth clean and your mouth healthy, and they don’t want you to feel scared of them. By letting them know how you feel, they can find ways to help you put your mind at ease. Perhaps by setting up a break schedule or allowing you to signal if you feel uncomfortable. They can also provide a more calming atmosphere, such as by allowing the use of blankets or letting you listen to music during the procedure. You can also ask them to keep you informed of what they’re going to do at every step to avoid making you worried about what’s coming next.

  1. Ask for Numbing Medication

Whether it’s through Novocain, “laughing gas,” or any other sort of numbing agent, your dentist can prevent you from being in pain by temporarily dulling the sensation. If pain is what you fear, discuss whether numbing medication could be right for you.

  1. Consult a Professional About Sedation

In some circumstances, you might consider being voluntarily sedated during the dental process. While this may sound scary and would require you to prepare ahead of time, being sedated during the procedure means that you will have no pain or awareness of what’s happening. You can sleep through the procedure, wake up with a repaired smile, and skip out on the parts that cause the most anxiety.

  1. Find the Right Dentist For You

As with any professional relationship, it is important to find the right fit for you. Be aware of your needs, and feel empowered to find a dental professional who you trust.

Contact Lans Family Dentistry

If you’d like to visit a dentist that focuses on fostering a relaxing and welcoming environment, contact Lans Family Dentistry today to schedule an appointment or learn more about what services and accommodations we can provide for you. We understand that it can be stressful to visit the dentist, especially if you’re visiting a new dentist for the first time, and we’re here to help you feel comfortable during the visit and confident in your smile afterward.

How to Prepare for Your Root Canal Surgery

Root canals have often been associated with pain and are considered an overall unpleasant dental procedure for those who first learn they need one. While that may have been true in the past, modern dental medicine has come a long way and has made the procedure virtually pain-free. Still, we understand that getting ready for any type of procedure can create a bit of stress and anxiety. However, knowing the reasons for a root canal surgery and how to prepare can put you more at ease.

The Purpose of Root Canals

Root canals are a treatment for repairing and saving a seriously damaged or infected tooth versus removing it. The procedure is called a “root canal” because it involves cleaning the canals inside of a tooth’s root. This can occur when a cavity is left untreated for too long or if a tooth is cracked or damaged.

Preparing for a Root Canal

With any procedure or new experience, preparation is key to feeling more comfortable as you enter the situation. Preparing for a root canal is important, as it can lead to a more positive patient experience:

  • Research your options. Consider asking local friends or family members about their root canal experiences to see which providers they have had positive experiences with. Look at reviews online if you don’t have any personal contacts.
  • Learn about the procedure. The unknown can be scary, so understanding the root canal procedure before undergoing one can help ease some anxiety. A root canal consists of three general steps, and for most people, the procedure can be easily completed with just a local anesthetic. First, an opening is created in the tooth’s pulp, and the infected tissue is cleared. Next, the pulp chamber is cleared and shaped so that it can receive the filler material. Last, the opening is filled, which seals off the tooth to prevent future infection.
  • Eat before your procedure and prepare to eat soft foods afterward. Discuss the exact timeline with your provider, but you will usually want to eat a meal two or more hours before your procedure as eating afterward might be uncomfortable at first. Having soft and cold foods on hand after a root canal can be more soothing and appetizing as opposed to hot or crunchy foods initially.
  • Discuss pain medication and antibiotics. Your dentist may recommend you take over-the-counter pain relievers before your procedure, so follow these orders carefully. You may also discuss antibiotics with your provider, as they can help reduce the risk of infection.
  • Avoid alcohol and tobacco leading up to your procedure. These substances can negatively affect your root canal and recovery since both impact your blood flow. If you smoke or drink, discuss this with your dentist and follow their recommendations regarding how long to fast from these substances prior to your root canal for optimal recovery.

At Lans Family Dentistry, we provide root canal therapy for those who need it in Northern Virginia. We understand undergoing dental procedures can be nerve-wracking. That’s why we are committed to making our patients as comfortable as possible throughout the experience, which includes adequate preparation. Our team will answer any questions you have and will prepare you with detailed instructions before your procedure to limit your pain and help you recover as quickly as possible from your root canal surgery. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your concerns.

Electric or Manual Toothbrush? The Pros and Cons of Each

Brushing your teeth is the most basic, and possibly most essential, form of oral hygiene as it helps to remove any residual food and plaque. The plaque contains bacteria that attack tooth enamel. Without brushing, you become more susceptible to developing gum disease and cavities, so it is important to get into the habit of brushing twice daily for two minutes each time. That means you also need a toothbrush, but should you choose a manual or electric toothbrush? Which one provides the best care for your teeth? Both will get your teeth clean, and there are pros and cons to each.


Electric Toothbrushes


There are a variety of electric toothbrushes to choose from, each with different functions and features. At a minimum, an electric toothbrush makes some sort of automatic bristle motion to aid in cleaning teeth. They require battery power of some sort — either through being recharged or by changing out batteries as they die.


Pros of Electric Toothbrushes

Here are some of the advantages of electric toothbrushes:

  • When they are used correctly, they can increase the effectiveness of cleaning.
  • They work well for those with mobility impairments.
  • They can make brushing easier since less hand motion is required — the brush does the work for you.
  • Built-in timers let you know how long to brush. This is a big plus for children learning proper brushing techniques!
  • Some have smart functions that can provide the user with feedback on how well they are brushing (too soft, too hard, etc.).
  • They can be enticing to kids, which encourages better oral hygiene habits.
  • They provide more of a positive environmental impact since less waste is created by replacing the heads only, instead of the whole brush. 

Cons of Electric Toothbrushes

toothbrushesSome of the cons of electric toothbrushes include:

  • Higher cost — the cost of electricity to charge them and the cost of replacement heads
  • Must be charged, which can be inconvenient during travel
  • Require replacement heads
  • Bulkier than manual brushes

Manual Toothbrushes

While manual toothbrushes are less flashy and have fewer functions than their electronic counterparts, they are still an effective tool for cleaning your teeth and helping to prevent gum disease.


Pros of Manual Toothbrushes

Some of the advantages of manual toothbrushes are:

  • Low cost
  • Widely available and easy to find
  • Work without batteries
  • No inner electric components that could break

Cons of Manual Toothbrushes

Cons of manual toothbrushes include:

  • Lack of a timer
  • Possibly less effective, depending on how well a person brushes
  • Fewer features than electric toothbrushes

Some studies have found electric toothbrushes to be more effective than manual toothbrushes, but others have found manual to be just as effective, so the choice is ultimately up to the user’s preference. The most important takeaway is that brushing your teeth is the best way to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease. While electric toothbrushes have more functions and may be more effective in some cases, they aren’t a necessity over manual toothbrushes.


At Lans Family Dentistry, we can answer your questions about which toothbrush is right for you while we provide you with high-quality care. We are accepting new patients in the Ashburn, Virginia area. Contact us today to set up an appointment. We look forward to serving you and your family with all your dental needs!

3 Best Practices for Dental Hygiene

Dentists are often the first line of defense against serious oral health complications, but they can’t do their job without your help. Here are 3 best practices for dental hygiene.

Brush at least twice a day.

Your first thought might be, “Yes, I brush my teeth twice a day.” But do you really? If you think about it, the answer may surprise you.brush_your_teeth

Do you brush your teeth after every meal? Do you remember to floss daily (or at all)? As dental hygiene practitioners ourselves, we know that some patients find it hard to fit in basic oral hygiene practices between their busy schedules. That’s why we’re here: to help remind our patients of their responsibilities and get them into the habit of good oral health care for life!

Floss at least once a day.

Flossing is the most effective way to remove plaque from between your teeth. Plaque buildup on the surface of your teeth can lead to cavities, so it’s important to remove it regularly. In fact, flossing is often recommended as part of a daily oral hygiene routine.

If you’re using dental floss or another type of manual interdental cleaner, choose one that’s soft and flexible enough for you to easily navigate around your mouth without harming your gums or damaging any exposed roots. Dentists recommend using waxed nylon floss since it doesn’t break easily while removing plaque from beneath brackets or other fixed appliances in your mouth—it also helps prevent damage caused by overzealous toothbrushing!

If you’re not a fan of traditional dental floss (or if you have difficulty using it), alternative products like interdental brushes may be a better choice for keeping those hard-to-reach spaces clean and healthy!

Keep your toothbrush clean.

● Use a toothbrush holder or stand to keep your toothbrush upright and at an angle that promotes drying.

● Rinse your brush with hot water after brushing, making sure to remove all toothpaste residue as well as any food particles (and food particles often get stuck in the bristles).

● Store your brush out in the open air—not packed away where it could become moldy or develop bacteria growths.

Practice good brushing, flossing and using mouthwash to keep your mouth healthy.

Now that you’ve learned the basics of dental hygiene, it’s time to put them into practice.

Here are some tips on how to keep your mouth healthy:

● Brush twice a day for two minutes each time. This is the most effective way of removing plaque and preventing tooth decay—and if you’ve got kids, brushing after meals will help with their oral health as well!

● Floss once a day for two minutes or more. You’ll want to floss after every meal if possible; otherwise, at least do it once per day before bedtime. Your dentist may even recommend using an electric flosser which makes this process easier and less time-intensive than traditional flossing.

● Use mouthwash daily (particularly after eating). A good mouthwash will help eliminate bad breath by killing bacteria in the mouth but be careful not to overdo it—too much alcohol can dry out your gums and cause sensitivity over time! If possible, choose a non-alcoholic formula instead – these tend to have better ingredients overall such as fluoride which helps strengthen tooth enamel while keeping gums healthy too.”

Remember, a clean mouth is a healthy one. By adopting these habits, you’re ensuring that your teeth are strong and healthy for years to come!

Contact us to schedule an appointment for all your dentistry needs! We look forward to creating a better smile for you!