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What to Expect During Your First Dentist Appointment

What to Expect During Your First Dentist Appointment

Change is hard, and it’s worth celebrating that you’ve finally considered taking the plunge to invest your time with a new dentist.

You may feel nervous or anxious about going to a new place for the first time. After all, many Americans suffer from dental anxiety. But you shouldn’t worry. The more you know about what to expect from your first dentist appointment the less anxious you will likely be.

Read on and we’ll discuss the typical in and outs of your first meeting so that you can go into the experience informed and comfortable.

Welcoming, Peaceful Office

For many people, coming to the dentist can be a nerve-wracking experience. We’ve designed our office to encourage calm and peaceful thoughts, and to make you feel welcome from your very first steps into our office.

In our waiting room, you’ll enjoy plush leather recliners and sofas, cozy blankets, and soft throw pillows to make your wait as relaxing as possible. Help yourself to a cup of coffee or tea from our Keurig machine or a bottle of cold water from our convenience area as you enjoy the peaceful plants and natural light in our waiting room.

Your wait won’t be long – our friendly staff will greet you by name very shortly to bring you to our quiet exam rooms. Each room has a beautiful picturesque window which you can enjoy watching the birds eat from the bird feeders and the beautiful flowers in our manicured gardens surrounding our building.

X-Rays

Your first dental appointment will take care of a few housekeeping items. Our office will need new X-rays unless your previous dental office shared your records. These include bitewings and panoramic x-rays.

Bitewing X-rays are used to detect tooth decay, bone loss, gum damage or disease, and infection. Panoramic X-rays are used to check for bone abnormalities, tumors, and more. These X-Rays are one of the best tools dentists have in checking the current status of your teeth.

You will be fitted with a lead or lead-free apron to reduce radiation exposure, and the X-ray process typically doesn’t take longer than a few minutes.

Dental Exam

If it’s your first time at our office, chances are your first visit will feature a comprehensive dental exam. During this exam, your dentist will check your mouth and teeth for any potential problems, including signs of decay.

Your dentist will talk with you through any problems or discomforts you’ve been having. They can discuss with you an individual treatment plan for your future oral health.

Your first visit is a great time to start building a personalized and trusting relationship with your dentist that can last years and years.

Dental Cleaning

Part of your first dental visit will also include a standard cleaning of your teeth, known more formally as a dental prophylaxis. These cleanings are typically scheduled on a six-month basis and are essential in maintaining maximum oral health.

During a cleaning, a licensed dental hygienist will remove plaque from your teeth using a variety of specialized instruments. Following plaque removal, a ‘polish’ will be applied to your teeth for a perfect minty fresh clean.

Payment and Scheduling

Following your first visit, you will likely spend a few minutes with the administrative staff to discuss payment and your future visits. If you have dental insurance, the administrative staff will work with you and your insurer to figure out how much your visit is covered by insurance. If you do not have insurance, be sure to ask about alternative payment options and our Dental Savings Plan to make dental procedures more affordable.

Because cleanings and inspections are recommended every six months, the staff will assist you in picking a tentative next date for your follow-up visit.

Your First Dentist Appointment

We’re so excited to see you on your first dentist appointment and looking forward to having you as part of our Serene Smiles family. Changing to a new dentist can be nerve-wracking. But the knowledge above should allow you to feel more relaxed and comfortable on your first visit.

Check out our blog for more helpful information on oral health and dentistry practices.

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5 Ways Natural Dental Care Can Benefit More Than Just Your Teeth

5 Ways Natural Dental Care Can Benefit More Than Just Your Teeth

According to the American Dental Association, your mouth is the gateway to the rest of your body. They stress the importance of taking care of it, and they aren’t the only ones.

Of course, dental care is not always easy. It does take some time to keep up with your dental routines, but it takes even more money. In 2015 alone, Americans spent $117.5 billion on dental care services. Additionally, nearly 60% of Americans who don’t frequent the dentist cite the cost as the reason why.

Fortunately, there are many natural dental care methods you can pursue to keep yourself healthy and lower your costs. Check out these five ways natural dentistry can help.

1. Alternative Choices for Fillings

In the past, people exposed themselves to a lot of things that they didn’t know were unhealthy – one of those things was mercury. That’s how we got the Mad Hatter from Alice in Wonderland.

Unfortunately, amalgam fillings contain around 50% mercury. While the Food and Drug Administration has asserted the safety of dental amalgam, not everyone is convinced. In fact, many people are looking for natural dentists to remove their mercury fillings.

Thankfully, there are alternatives to mercury fillings. In natural dentistry, your dentist can use a resin to do the same job.

2. Teeth Whitening Options

There is a reason why only licensed professionals can offer teeth whitening services – traditional bleaching agents can be quite dangerous.

There have been cases where non-professionals have caused chemical burns to their customers. Some of those customers have even gotten ill from accidentally swallowing the product.

Through natural dental care, a natural dentist will use something more gentle, like hydrogen peroxide.

3. Options to Avoid Metals

Many people are particularly sensitive to metals. Their bodies experience unpleasant reactions when exposed to it. This can be an issue when seeking dental work.

With natural dental care, however, you can avoid the use of metals when correcting your teeth. Natural dentistry uses clear aligners made of resin rather than metal braces.

4. Fewer X-Rays

Everyone knows that x-rays expose you to radiation, but most people don’t actively try to reduce their exposure.

Natural dentists know this, and they are careful about ordering x-rays. This is an advantage that some other health care professionals don’t consider, especially because it means the insurance bill will be lower as a result.

5. Consider Your Whole Health

Natural dentists will not only avoid amalgam fillings, but they will also try to find the best materials and treatments to suit your unique body.

This means your dentist might order blood work or discuss your general health to understand your needs. This is to help avoid any sensitivity issues that may be completely unique to you.

More on Natural Dental Care

While you can try many natural dental care methods at home, it’s best to consult a professional. Natural dentistry is an entire field, and there are natural dentists out there ready to discuss your options. Improving your dental health means improving your quality of life.

You may be wondering, “Is there a natural dentist near me?” If so, give Serene Smiles of Fredericksburg a call today.

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What To Expect From Your New Natural Pediatric Dentist

What To Expect From Your New Natural Pediatric Dentist

Going to the dentist can be a stressful experience, especially for children. Luckily, you can make the trip better by taking your little one to a natural pediatric dentist.

Natural dentistry, or biological dentistry, is the newest way to take care of your oral health. Compared to traditional procedures, it’s a lot safer and less invasive.

There are plenty of things to expect as a parent when taking your child to the dentist. It’s important to take these factors into consideration if you’re thinking of making the switch from traditional dentistry once and for all.

Here are some things you can expect.

Personal Care

Natural dentists are nothing like normal dentists in the sense that they can offer unparalleled personal care.

When you visit an office offering “natural dentistry,” you can expect to go into an office where you are known by name.

These folks spend their time working with people and listening to their needs. You’ll feel like your child is in good hands because the dentist is going to be focused and concerned about your little one from the moment you step in the office.

It’s a fantastic feeling knowing that you’re getting taken care of by someone who really knows you and your child, and doesn’t treat you like “just another patient.”

Safe Procedures

These types of dentists make sure that all of their procedures are safe, natural, and non-toxic.

A great example is fillings. If your little one has to get fillings, you don’t need to worry about mercury or other harmful chemicals in the material.

Natural dentists strive to find ingredients and methods that help patients without the concern of toxic material in the mix.

You can rest easy knowing that your little one is getting the care that they need — without all of the side effects.

Body Health

Natural pediatric dentists don’t just focus on oral health; they emphasize full body health. They can give you advice on how to keep your child happy and healthy.

They may suggest changes in their diet, for example. They understand the nuances that other “traditional” dentists may miss. It’s great to have this kind of healthcare from someone you trust.

Many people trust their natural dentist because they have experience in both dentistry and understand how to properly care for the human body. This is especially true regarding our children — who sometimes need special care.

Find the Best Natural Pediatric Dentist

As you see, natural dentists are different from traditional dentists in many ways. They have a lot to offer for parents looking to make sure their children are cared for on an individual basis with special natural procedures.

Do you think that it’s finally time to make the switch to a natural pediatric dentist? If so, get in touch with us so we can show you why more people are making the switch.

We have a lot to offer both you and your child. Let us show you why natural dentistry is the future!

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Mother’s Day Gift Drawing

For many people, mom was the first person to teach us lots of things, including how to brush our teeth and the importance of keeping our teeth clean. So to thank all the mothers (and grandmothers, step-mothers, foster mothers, and everyone filling the role of “mother”), we’d like to say THANK YOU!

And we want to help you say “thank you” as well!

Now through Friday, stop by Serene Smiles of Fredericksburg and enter your mom’s name into our Mother’s day drawing. She’ll be entered to win either a Sonicare Electric Toothbrush or a gift card. Plus, every name entered will win a FREE dental hygiene kit!

So stop by today and enter!

(Rules: You must enter in-person, by filling out the form at Serene Smiles of Fredericksburg. Drawing will be held on or before May 14, 2018. Winners will need to pick up gifts in-person at Serene Smiles of Fredericksburg. Additional guidelines subject to Serene Smiles of Fredericksburg personnel.)

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Why You Need To See A Dentist About Sleep Apnea Therapy

Why You Need To See A Dentist About Sleep Apnea Therapy

Sleep apnea is a serious problem, and if you’re suffering through it, then you’ve probably wondered about what’s going on and how you can fix it.

What if I told you it had something to do with your oral health?

Most people wouldn’t think to start with their mouths to find clues about their sleeping problems, but more often than not that’s where it occurs.

Luckily for you, there’s a solution to this: Sleep Apnea Therapy. By going through therapy, you could find a way to end your sleeping problems, and a dentist can help you to get started.

Before we get into to that, let’s find out how sleep apnea occurs and ways that you can go about treating it.

Where the Problem Starts

For starters, your sleep apnea may be occurring because you can’t breathe properly through your mouth while you sleep.

This could be caused by a number of factors, such as the muscles in the back of your throat becoming too relaxed, or your tongue being too large, or even the jaw being too small.

In any case, the result is the same: your airway becomes obstructed, and you wake up in the middle of the night because of the lack of oxygen.

This could cause you to wake up any number of times from your sleep, leaving you depressed and deprived of energy.

If the problem is left untreated for too long, it could lead to symptoms such as worn teeth, weight gain, high blood pressure, and even heart disease.

Contrary to what you may have believed, this is actually a very common condition. In fact, millions of Americans suffer from obstructive sleep apnea, so you’re definitely not alone in your struggle.

Now that you know more about what causes these problems, it’s time to learn what can be done to help you sleep better.

Types of Sleep Apnea Therapy

When it comes to obstructive sleep apnea, a great first step is to talk to your dentist. They specialize in oral health, and they would be the best ones to tell you how severe your obstruction is and what can be done to treat it.

Your dentist will do a full oral examination to find out what exactly is causing your sleep apnea, and they’ll follow up with some questions about the quality of your sleep.

Be honest with them; the more that they know, the better they can tailor a therapy program to fit your needs.

Your dentist may recommend that you use a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure machine or the CPAP. This is the most popular choice for both dentists and patients and is considered to be the most effective.

The CPAP works by forcing healthy amounts of oxygen into the throat as you sleep, so your body gets the air it needs to sleep easier. It’s also very easy to install and use.

There are some people who can’t or don’t want to use a CPAP machine. If that’s you, don’t worry – there are other methods to try.

Another option would be to get an oral appliance. This involves getting a customized splint that you could wear at night to keep your tongue and jaw from collapsing in on your airway while you sleep.

Many people like this option because unlike the CPAP, it’s small and portable, making it perfect for those who are always on the go.

You can also try something called positional therapy.

Most people who have sleep apnea take their naps on their back, which causes the tongue and jaw muscles to close up around the throat.

With positional therapy, you wear a device around your body that keeps you from sleeping on your back and makes you sleep on your side. This should allow you to open up your airways and breathe easier.

No matter what option you choose, rest assured that sleep apnea therapy will give you a better night’s sleep.

Give Us a Call

When it comes to oral health, no one does it like we do. We strive to offer personalized services, answer any important questions, and give you the all-around dental care you deserve.

If you’re someone who values a long-term relationship with your dentist, we are the dentists for you. Reach out to us to learn more about what we can offer you and your family. We look forward to hearing from you.

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5 Common Causes of Yellow Teeth

5 Common Causes Of Yellow Teeth

Are you embarrassed by your smile because of your yellow teeth? If so, you’re not alone.

Thousands of people have — or will have, at some point — yellow teeth.

Here are five of the most common causes of tooth discoloration and what you can do about them.

1. An Acid-Rich Diet

When we think about our diet, we often think about whether or not what we’re eating is healthy. While that’s certainly important, it’s also necessary to consider the effects of our diet on our teeth.

Certain foods, particularly ones rich in acid, tend to accelerate discoloration and weaken enamel over time. Here are some of the most common offenders.

Beverages

  • Wine
  • Coffee
  • Soda
  • Juice

Foods

  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Berries
  • Citrus

As you can see, not all of these foods and drinks are unhealthy. Some, like fruits and vegetables, should even be a staple of your diet.

However, you’ll need to be extra vigilant about brushing after eating or drinking any of the above.

2. Tobacco Use

Each year, tobacco use is responsible for millions of deaths around the globe. Whether inhaled through a cigarette or chewed, tobacco is unhealthy for the entire body, and may even cause yellow teeth.

This is due to the tar and nicotine present in most tobacco-related products. These chemicals weaken your enamel, then sink to the lower levels of your tooth, causing hard to remove stains.

3. Lack of Brushing

Even if you somehow avoid tobacco and acid-rich foods, you’re not necessarily out of the woods.

There’s still no outrunning poor dental hygiene.

If you’re not brushing at least twice per day, you run the risk of accumulating plaque and tartar on your teeth. Once on your enamel, these pesky yellow bacteria are hard to get rid of.

Schedule a cleaning with your local dentist, and ask about special teeth-whitening toothpaste. Yellow teeth aren’t entirely reversible, but if you catch it soon enough, you stand a better chance of keeping a white smile.

4. Aging

Unfortunately, tooth discoloration is pretty much unavoidable. Even if you’re an avid brusher, your teeth may yellow and darken as you get older.

This is quite common, as reported by The New York Times.

As we get older, our enamel gradually weakens, revealing a softer, more vulnerable layer of dentin underneath.

Once exposed, dentin absorbs chemicals more easily than enamel, effectively staining your teeth faster.

5. Genetics

Finally, if you have yellowed teeth, it may not entirely be your fault. To some degree, genetics come into play.

When we think about inherited traits, we often think about hair or eye color. But did you know that you inherit your enamel strength, too?

If your parents or grandparents had discolored teeth, you may be more susceptible to tooth discoloration yourself.

Do You Have Yellow Teeth? Get Your Smile Back!

These five causes of yellowed teeth are all quite common. If you’re interested in getting your smile back, give us a call.

Serene Smiles is dedicated to making your or healthy easy and affordable. Get in touch today and ask how you can schedule a consultation.

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5 Tips for Preventing Gum Disease at Home

5 Tips for Preventing Gum Disease at Home

You may not know it, but you could have gum disease. The CDC estimates about half of the adults in the United States suffer from periodontal disease.

Periodontal disease consists of inflammation that if left untreated, can cause you to lose teeth. If you notice signs of gingivitis like red or bleeding gums, speak to your dentist. You are on your way to a serious issue but can definitely turn it around.

If you are looking for tips to ensure you avoid costly dental issues, keep reading for five great tips for preventing gum disease.

1. Check Your Daily Habits

The first step towards avoiding gum disease is proper prevention methods. These include brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing at least once a day.

It’s important to regularly clean your teeth this way to ensure food particles don’t remain on your teeth and cause decay and other issues.

Consider adding a mouthwash to your oral hygiene routine as an extra cleaning step and for minty breath.

2. Brush at the Gumline

Preventing gum disease also requires you pay attention to your gumline. This area tends to accumulate plaque and often isn’t cleaned well.

Keep your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle so you clean both your gums and teeth. Move your brush back and forth to reach every important area.

Using the proper technique for brushing your teeth will help you keep your smile healthy and avoid potential costly cosmetic repairs down the road.

3. Bone Health

Bones in your body break when they become weak. This applies to your jawbone too. Keep all your bones happy by exercising, eating healthy, and avoiding smoking.

Be sure to check if you are getting enough calcium in your diet. Teens and older women require more calcium than others.

4. Clean Your Tongue

If you ever felt like there was a film on your tongue, guess what? There probably was. Bacteria can cling to your tongue between all your taste buds and this bacteria can cause gum disease and other dental issues.

As part of your daily routine, scrape your tongue with your toothbrush or another object that isn’t sharp. You could use a Popsicle stick or even a spoon.

You will have to scrape back and forth anywhere from 10 to 20 times to completely clean it.

5. Decrease Your Stress

One last tip for preventing gum disease is to assess your overall lifestyle. Are you super stressed at work? Not sleeping or drinking more than normal?

Our body responds to how we feel and our gums are no different. Work towards decreasing your stress levels by testing out yoga or meditation. Try to work towards a healthy, balanced diet full of vegetables.

Preventing Gum Disease for Good

If you follow these helpful tips, you will significantly reduce the chances of having gum issues in the future.

These are good tips for anyone to follow, so be sure to implement them yourself, but to also share with your children and other family members.

Do you have some additional questions about your oral health? If so, contact us and we will be happy to help you out.

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dentist for shy patients

How to Find a Dentist for Shy Patients

One traumatic experience at the dentist is all it takes to develop odontophobia–the fear of going to the dentist.

Whether it was a painful shot, poor bedside manner, or being overcharged for a treatment, incidences like these can scar a patient for life. If you’re among the 20 percent of patients who have anxiety when seeing a dentist, don’t worry. You’re not alone.

Going to the dentist for shy patients can create so much anxiety that it can actually prevent them from getting the regular treatments they need. This leads to bigger problems, because putting off seeing the dentist can lead to untreated cavities, extractions, and root canals.

If you’re ready to take back your dental health, read on to learn how to find the best dentist for your needs.

How to Find the Right Dentist for Shy Patients

Finding a great dentist for shy patients can seem like a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be. As long as you know what to look for, your comfort levels and confidence will soar.

The first place to start is with people you know. Ask your friends. Ask your family. Ask your co-workers. Chances are, you’re going to get a few great references from your inquiry.

Next, read the reviews. The great thing about online reviews is that you can get insight from a variety of people. If they all brag about how the dentist was able to help them overcome their anxiety, take notice.

Lastly, ask your physician for a recommendation. The medical community is a great place to get a legitimate referral.

Next Steps

Once you have a few dentists’ names, visit their websites to get a feel for how they run their practice. A few good buzzwords to look for are “gentle”, “serene”, and “stress-free“.

Email or call your top picks with any concerns you might have about your first visit. If possible, make a consultation appointment to meet with the dentist and bring along a list of questions you’d like to ask.

After meeting with several dentists in person, you’ll have a much better perspective about who is right for you. Observing how the office staff interacts with patients, as well as your comfort level with the dentist, will also be a determining factor.

Once you’ve made your decision, call and make that appointment.

Prepare for Your First Appointment

Going to that first appointment can be very stressful, so make sure to prepare in advance. A few ways to help ease the jitters are:

  • Ask a friend or family member to go to the appointment with you.
  • Practice relaxation techniques such as slow breathing or visualization.
  • Bring a pair of headsets/earbuds and listen to relaxing music during the treatment.

If you still feel very anxious, there are several treatment options to help.

Treatment Options to Help Reduce Anxiety

Sedation can be a helpful option for patients who experience anxiety during office visits. During a sedation treatment, you are awake but relaxed and the treatment is managed with ease.

Consult with your dentist to make sure whether or not sedation is right for you. Your dentist should be able to offer several other options, too, to help alleviate any pain or anxiety.

Make sure to discuss any of your concerns before treatment so you can both be as prepared as possible.

We’re Here to Help!

If you’re ready to overcome your fear of going to the dentist, we think you’ll feel at ease with our practice.

We offer a peaceful and personalized experience for individuals seeking a dentist for shy patients.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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5 Ways to Celebrate National Tooth Fairy Day

February 28 is National Tooth Fairy Day!

The tale of the tooth fairy is a fun and imaginative way to get kids involved in their dental health. On February 28, we celebrate the Tooth Fairy and all her little helpers that keep encouraging kids to brush regularly and maintain a beautiful smile.

As the tale goes, when a child loses one of their baby teeth, they place the tooth under their pillow overnight. During the night, the Tooth Fairy will come and replace the tooth with a small token, typically money or a small toy.

Where did the Tooth Fairy Come From?

The legend of the Tooth Fairy dates back to the earliest written Norse and Northern Eurpoean writings, when Vikings practiced a tradition of tand-fé or a tooth fee. The earliest written mention of our modern notion of a Tooth Fairy was written in the Chicago Daily Tribune in 1908. Source

How Can we Celebrate National Tooth Fairy Day?

National Tooth Fairy Day gives us a great way to encourage young children to brush regularly and become involved in good oral hygiene. Here are some great ways you can get your kids excited about keeping their smile bright:

1. Draw a picture of the Tooth Fairy

Get crafty! Draw a picture of the Tooth Fairy, and add glitter, ribbon, and other craft materials. Hang the picture in the bathroom so kids can remember to brush often.

2. Use a brushing calendar

A brushing calendar will help kids remember to brush twice daily. Keep kids motivated by giving them a small reward for a week’s worth of brushing, like a trip to their favorite playground or perhaps a bike ride with mom & dad. Download your brushing calendar here.

3. Celebrate with Tooth Fairy Certificates and Tooth Reciepts

These fun little items, left behind by the Tooth Fairy, help kids keep the magic alive and keep brushing fun and exciting. Find your Tooth Fairy Certificate here and Tooth Receipts here.

4. Let your kids pick a special toothbrush

Picking a special toothbrush can be motivating to little ones. But the toothbrush aisle can be a little overwhelming. So give them a choice between two or three from their favorite characters.

5. Brush together

Let your kids see that you brush your teeth twice a day, too. Kids tend to want to emmulate their parents, and when they see you displaying good oral hygiene habits, they’ll want to do the same.

For more National Tooth Fairy Resources, including printable worksheets, scrapbook pages, and an interview with the Tooth Fairy, see the American Dental Assocation’s All About the Tooth Fairy page.

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Will Cosmetic Dentistry help my teeth?

How will Cosmetic Dentistry Help My Smile?

Bright white, gleaming smiles can be found all over television and magazines, but is there any way for the average person to obtain a beautiful smile? Absolutely! Cosmetic dentistry can be used to fix dental issues and give you the gleaming, beautiful smile you deserve.
Cosmetic dentistry will help with a variety of dental problems. The first step to a great smile is a consultation with a dentist who will evaluate your dental needs, and explain your options. Serene Smiles of Fredericksburg will do a thorough exam, and provide you an informative and easy-to-understand consultation to discuss your options.

Whitening

Teeth whitening is one of the most common forms of cosmetic dentistry. Discoloration on the teeth can come from many things, such as food (wine, coffee, blueberries), some medications, or smoking. Whitening is a pain free procedure that removes stains and returns tooth enamel to a bright white. Depending on the severity of the staining, the dentist may recommend one procedure or several procedures to obtain the look you want.

Bonding

For chipped, cracked, or decayed teeth, bonding may be helpful. This procedure uses tooth colored material which is hardened to the tooth with a special light, then polished. This procedure can last for many years, and is helpful for repairing many smile issues.

Veneers

Veneers are thin, porcelain laminates that are bonded directly to the teeth. They are a great option for changing the shape of teeth, closing gaps, or changing the color of teeth that aren’t responding to traditional teeth whitening methods.

Dental Implants

Dental implants are prosthetic implants for missing teeth. This can be a great solution for missing teeth, or for teeth that need to be removed.

Braces & Invisalign

The process of straightening teeth typically happens during adolescence, although some adults elect to straighten their teeth as well. Braces typically involve metal wires attached to teeth via metal posts. Invisalign treatments involve clear plastic mouth guards that gradually straighten the teeth.

Other options

Other options are available to address a variety of dental needs. These can include gum lifts, bite reclamation, inlays and onlays, tooth reshaping, and more. If you need help repairing your smile, contact Serene Smiles of Fredericksburg today to talk about your dental needs.Serene Smiles of FredericksburgSerene Smiles of Fredericksburg

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